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**************************************************************************************** 30 November, 2005


From The Times

The United Nations conference that began yesterday in Montreal and will stretch on for nearly two weeks will fail in its aim: to devise a successor to the Kyoto Protocol on global warming. That does not matter; in fact, it is the best outcome. Kyoto has been an extraordinary piece of work. A treaty that its most important signatories have found impossible to meet, and which has changed behaviour very little, has still become a resonant global symbol.

The best way forward now is not a "successor" to Kyoto, which covers the years until 2012. Another treaty that attempted to set fixed targets for cutting emisssions could be economically very damaging - in the unlikely event that countries ever reached agreement. The better answer is in the plethora of bargains between a handful of rich and poor countries, which some are already exploring. It is also in the development of new technology to combat global warming, and in deals to spread these quickly to poorer countries.

Some of these new suggestions for life after Kyoto have come from the US, China and India, which all found Kyoto unpalatable. For just that reason, they are more valuable than son-of-Kyoto would be. It is no surprise that European Union countries became so enamoured of the Kyoto Protocol, which finally came into force in February this year. They have found its targets fortuitously easy to meet. For them, the treaty coincided with a revolution in energy supply.

Kyoto set the EU a target of cutting "greenhouse gases" by 8 per cent from 1990 levels by the period 2008 to 2012. Members divided up the reductions between themselves; some could see that they would find big cuts easier than others. They are slightly off course, but not by so much that they think they have surrendered the moral high ground.

The figures tell the political story. In 2003 Britain's emission of greenhouse gases was 13 per cent down on 1990 levels, slightly ahead of its EU-appointed target of 12.5 per cent.

Of course, emissions are likely to rise between now and 2008. Britain is also missing the Government's own target of cutting emissions of carbon dioxide by 20 per cent on 1990 levels by 2010. All the same, these drops have been made possible by the shift from coal-fired power stations to gas in the early 1990s.

Germany, similarly, is almost in line with its Kyoto targets, with an 18 per cent drop in 2003, on its target of 21 per cent. France is down by nearly 2 per cent, ahead of its target of no change. True, many smaller EU countries are not doing so well. But many of the new eastern members show sharp drops well ahead of target, because of the closure of old industries.

Those "achievements" of the EU have made Kyoto an irresistible tool with which to berate others, notably the US. But extending Kyoto would be difficult for the EU too. The EU would be well advised to look more sympathetically on the new proposals coming out of the US, Britain and the conference hosts, Canada. These include "intensity targets" - cuts in emissions per dollar of economic output. They are more attractive than Kyoto to poor countries as well as to the US. So are proposals for rich countries to invest in technology to filter out emissions and to share it with developing countries. Other suggestions include sector targets, which would set emissions standards for some of the biggest industries, such as steel and cars.

Under most of these systems of new, flexible targets, it might still be possible to set up markets in pollution, in which countries or industries could trade the right to release emissions. Any agreement to curb greenhouse gases is worth little if the US, China and India do not sign up. Kyoto failed in that basic requirement. For all the rhetorical mileage which some European countries have found in Kyoto, at the US's expense, their own "success" - such as it is - is due to a quirk of history rather than to self-discipline or the powers of their leaders. That gloating is no basis on which to move forward.


The view from The BBC

The European Union is likely to miss its greenhouse gas targets by a wide margin, according to an official assessment of the Union's environment. The European Environment Agency says that the 15 longest-standing members of the EU are likely to cut emissions to just 2.5% below 1990 levels. This falls well short of their target 8% cut. Growth in the transport sector is partly to blame, with increased air travel offsetting gains made elsewhere.

The European Union is at the heart of the Kyoto process, and is committed to substantial cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. But real performance is poor according to the new report on Europe's environmental health - emissions have in fact been rising since the year 2000. Improvements in industrial efficiency and reductions in methane emissions from waste tips have given the most dramatic gains. But elsewhere the story is one of reverses. Longer car journeys have more than eaten into any gains in engine performance, and ship and airline journeys are also increasing fast.

Environmentalists will be disappointed that the share of renewable sources of electricity has increased by only 0.5% since 1990. Renewables like wind and biomass being seen as the key to any low-carbon economy. On the other hand, the report does include a glimmer of hope - that if measures that have been promised are implemented, the Kyoto target will be more than met. The trouble is that reality and promise don't seem to be matched at the moment.

More on Environmentalists & Peak Oil

Post lifted from The Commons

Many environmentalists have embraced the "peak oil" hypothesis that world oil production has already peaked and will inexorably decline. Many Greens seem to believe that convincing the world that we are running out of oil will spur the adoption of government-mandated conservation and subsidies for alternatuive energy sources. Yet, as Dave Roberts notes, there is no reason to assume that the public reaction to a "peak oil" consensus will be so "green."

Environmentalists seem to have a somewhat naive faith that once the concept of peak oil sinks in, people will move -- as though by the force of tides -- to support renewable, decentralized energy.

But why should that be true? A much more natural, predictable reaction would be to push like mad for more drilling and for more coal gasification. Both more drilling and more coal-to-liquid-fuel production would fit better with our existing infrastructure and practices, however environmentally malign they may be.

The economics of peak oil will scare and motivate people, but there's no particular reason the environmental aspects of it will grip them.

Of course, there is a larger problem: The peak oil hypothesis is still a fringe theory about which there is much dispute. And, even if it were true, the market reaction to impending oil shortages would be far more effective than any government policy the Greens (or anyone else) would think up.


Looking over the record of industrialized countries in controlling their greenhouse-gas emissions is to see cases of the good, the bad and the downright ugly. Among the countries judged to be good are Germany and Britain. They're undisputed leaders in showing the way for countries to curb their releases of planet-warming gases. Unfortunately, Canada is listed among the ugly.

In preparation for this week's international climate summit in Montreal, the UN's climate change secretariat has released a report on the progress, or lack thereof, made by the 40 developed countries covered by the Kyoto Protocol. Canada has vowed to cut its emissions by 6 per cent from its 1990 level over the period from 2008 to 2012, but its emissions by the end of 2003 were up 24 per cent. Federal Environment Minister Stephane Dion attributes Canada's rise partly to robust economic growth. The economy has grown by 43 per cent since 1990. Canada is also being saddled with emissions from the booming energy industry, which is exporting record amounts of oil and gas to the United States. Mr. Dion said Canada is committed to meeting its Kyoto target and he predicted it would soon start to show more progress. "At the end of the day in 2012, we'll have far less emissions and also much more economic efficiency," he said.

Elizabeth May of the Sierra Club of Canada said some federal officials were so nervous about the optics of Canada's record that they were initially reluctant to agree to act as host to the UN climate conference for fear environmentalists would use it to embarrass Ottawa. "We're just going to give the [non-governmental organizations] a chance to treat us like a pinata right before the world comes to Canada," Ms. May said about the fears of some in the government.

Federal officials dispute Ms. May's account, but nonetheless, it's unlikely that anyone will be mentioning Canada's record at the conference. Conservation activists say they will be pulling their punches to help Mr. Dion work on the most important item at the conference: starting talks on a new climate regime to replace the Kyoto Protocol when it expires in 2012. Ms. May said environmentalists will not be "beating up on our government. What we're concerned about is getting real reductions globally before the Western Antarctic ice sheet falls into the ocean."

Other countries are expected to cut Canada slack because it didn't follow the United States and Australia out of Kyoto, and has remained committed to meeting the protocol. At first reading, the UN figures indicate that the industrialized world has made considerable progress in fighting global warming. By the end of 2003, emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases fell an average of 5.9 per cent below their 1990 levels. That is more than Kyoto's requirement for an average cut of 5.2 per cent.

But the report also shows that national performances are all over the map when it comes to controlling planet-warming gases, mostly carbon dioxide and methane, spewed from the burning of fossil fuels and other industrial activities. The report shows that a huge, one-time greenhouse gas reduction occurred after the economic collapse of the former Communist countries. The former East Bloc's emissions fell from 5.7 billion tonnes in 1990 to 3.4 billion tonnes in 2003, a stunning drop equivalent to eliminating three times Canada's total annual contribution to warming the planet.

But since the early 1990s, most countries in the East and West have muddled along, making little headway in weaning themselves from their fossil-fuel dependency. Excluding the former East Bloc, emissions among industrialized countries actually rose 9.2 per cent between 1990 and 2003...

One surprise in the figures is that Canada's emission record is far worse than even the United States, where the Bush administration has refused to ratify Kyoto. Mr. Bramley said the United States is "actually ahead of Canada in just about every area" of environmental policies used to curb emissions. And he said the record of individual states "is far ahead of any province in Canada."

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.


29 November, 2005


I go into hospital for a rather large surgical procedure today. It is however day surgery so I hope to be back home by the evening and blogging away as usual. If that proves too optimistic, however, this blog may not be updated for a day or so.


"The great game of the 21st century is being played out before our eyes, but few seem to notice. Last week, Tony Blair hinted that he was prepared to go ahead with a new generation of nuclear reactors at an as yet unknown cost. In Iraq, an American-inspired deal to hand over development of oil reserves, the third largest in the world, to US and British companies is being rushed through by the oil minister and Deputy Prime Minister Ahmed Chalabi before next month's election. In Russia, President Putin has ruthlessly constructed a monopoly of oil and gas production which controls some 90 per cent of the country's reserves. On the way, he imprisoned Mikhail Khodorkovsky, stripping his oil giant, Yukos, of its assets and, in a separate deal, paid off Khodorkovsky's fellow oligarch, Roman Abramovich, with US $13 billion for his stake in the oil producer Sibneft.

The link is the supply of energy to the high-consuming, wasteful Western democracies. With about 50 years of oil reserves left and maybe 85 years of gas, the struggle for control of the world's energy resources will increasingly dictate events. It will impact on each of us and there will be almost no area of domestic or foreign policy unaffected by this desperate scramble. Lest people think that the invasion of Iraq was undertaken to establish democracy and eliminate Saddam's weapons of mass destruction, rather than to secure Iraq's oil reserves, then last Monday's revelations about Chalabi's 30-year binding contracts should give them pause.

If you imagine that Tony Blair's musing on the nuclear option popped out of the blue, just remember Putin's visit to Britain in October and the conversation the two leaders had on the sidelines of the Russia-EU summit. Believe me, they were talking about gas, not chatting about democratic reform in Russia. Having consolidated Russia's state monopoly, Putin came to Europe with his power greatly enhanced. More than 25 per cent of Europe's natural gas is supplied by Russia: By 2020, that figure will be nudging 40 per cent. The former KGB officer has got his hand resting on Europe's throat and with rising gas prices, it cannot be anything but sensible for Blair to look at other options.

These events and the cold assessment of what lies ahead are way above an average individual's understanding or awareness. We are so used to having all the energy we require that we are barely conscious of our needs and do not trouble ourselves with realities of the world as it is and, more seriously, as it will be....

What we need is true enlightenment in the liberal classes, not the naivety that shudders at the idea of nuclear power, or places undue faith in renewables, or runs an SUV that uses four times the fuel of an ordinary car, or maintain homes haemorrhaging energy.

The other day, I flew into Britain on one of those cold, clear evenings when everything is pin-sharp. It's a spectacular sight if you forget that the carpet of light is one of the reasons why we're heading for such trouble. Half the people producing all that light below were probably against the war in 2002. The same proportion have doubts about nuclear power and fret about global warming. But all were spewing energy and carbon into the atmosphere, apparently unaware that these things are related. (I am far from guiltless in this respect. For one thing, I was on a transatlantic flight, typically calculated to release about one ton of carbon dioxide per passenger.)

Nuclear power appears to be a solution because it is held to occupy a position where the requirements for clean electricity and for independence from suppliers like Vladimir Putin overlap. I am tempted, but have yet to be convinced. No sensible debate has yet taken place and I am certain it would be disastrous if Tony Blair briskly commits us to this course without one. We need to know the costs and estimate the risks of nuclear power and see how they compare with other combinations of power generation, including renewables. More important, this debate has to take place in a context of a settlement between government and the people about the immediate need for energy conservation, which is why David Cameron's idea of cross-party group dedicated to the environment is a good one.

This is no longer a matter for party politics. The urgency is great. Those who read the scientific press or attend conferences on climate change know of the profound threat. Equally, they can see the disconnect between what society accepts intellectually and how people continue to behave. We have to understand that the crises of energy and global warming will intersect soon and that this will change the course of history in a most terrifying manner. Governments can do much to help - creating a dedicated ministry that links energy to the environment would be a start....

We can no longer expect the government to get fossil fuels for us to burn because, quite apart from anything else, they ain't going to be there for much longer".

More here

What happened to the positive case for nuclear power?

Once again the debate over nuclear power is heating up in the UK - but it hasn't yet reached a sufficient temperature to generate anything useful.

The greens are upset by reports that the case for nuclear is gaining ground in government. Jonathon Porritt, government-appointed chair of the Sustainable Development Commission, has warned that a revival of nuclear power would be 'foolish' and 'a very serious own goal'. Former environment minister Michael Meacher has talked of a 'conspiracy', led by chief scientific adviser Sir David King, to bring back nuclear.

Kate Hudson, chair of CND, is also worried. 'Government spin doctors and the nuclear industry myth-makers are working overtime to repackage nuclear power as the green solution to climate change', she said. Friends of the Earth has issued a press release headed 'Blair must not back new nuclear power plants'.

So what are these reports? Perhaps Blair has made a statement supportive of nuclear power? Well, not quite. Asked by the House of Commons Liaison Committee about nuclear power and climate change, he replied: 'With some of the issues to do with climate change - and you can see it with the debate about nuclear power - there are going to be difficult and controversial decisions government has got to take.' So no actual decisions about nuclear power, then. But Blair does understand a decision must be taken, which is nice to know. Indeed some people seem as worried at the prospect that Blair may have already 'made up his mind' as by the actual decision.

In fact, decisions have been deferred until after (yet another) review, due to report next year. Energy minister Malcom Wicks says: 'I happen to be nuclear-neutral and so is Alan Johnson [trade and industry secretary]. I think that's helpful.' The prime minister's official view remains that 'we need to look at all the options'. If there is an orchestrated campaign to make the case for nuclear energy, it looks well hidden.

One reason why the case for nuclear power is gaining ground is practical. Blair told MPs that new nuclear power stations must be considered a real option because 'the facts have changed over the last couple of years'. One key fact that is changing is that the proportion of electricity derived from nuclear power is falling. It now stands at 21 per cent, but is set to fall rapidly to four per cent as all but one of Britain's nuclear power stations close by 2023. Much non-nuclear electricity generation has also suffered from underinvestment - 52 per cent of non-nuclear capacity is more than 30 years old.

Faith in wind power, in which the government has more publicly invested its hopes, is a short-term perspective. If wind does expand at maximum capacity it may cover the growth of up to a few per cent per year in electricity demand, although after a few years of such growth the intermittency of wind will become an increasing problem. Wind cannot begin to replace older nuclear and coal capacity. As Downing Street tactfully put it, renewables are 'not 100 per cent effective'.

It should be an elementary point, but the argument made by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and the GMB Union that the country needs an effective energy supply to function, must be taken seriously. With each passing year the prospect of an energy shortage becomes a little more plausible.

Instead, nuclear advocates have fixed upon the argument that because nuclear power emits no carbon dioxide it is an essential weapon against climate change. Indeed this point has become so firmly established (although it is contested by environmentalists) that we are in danger of forgetting why we build power stations in the first place. After all, if the aim was just to minimise waste and pollution the simplest solution would be not to build anything at all.

It may seem peculiar to suggest that anybody, aside from a few environmentalist extremists, seriously thinks that we should live without a modern energy supply. But in an age of uncertainty, when none of the old moral, political or religious truths seems to stand, few people confidently assert that the greens are wrong.

It is the sense of moral disorientation that environmentalist and Guardian columnist George Monbiot appeals to when he writes about the consequences of climate change: 'Everything we thought was good turns out also to be bad. It is an act of kindness to travel to your cousin's wedding. Now it is also an act of cruelty. It is a good thing to light the streets at night. Climate change tells us it kills more people than it saves. We are killing people by the most innocent means: turning on the lights, taking a bath, driving to work, going on holiday. Climate change demands a reversal of our moral compass, for which we are plainly unprepared.'

So, were the consequences of electrification good or bad? Did the spread of electrical consumer goods in the 1950s help to liberate women from housework, or did it fuel our addiction to consumption? Did the electrification of rural communities free them from the capricious tyranny of nature, or did it alienate them from the land? For many, these are not clear-cut questions. When all our past achievements are called into question it is important to remember that we have not just survived problems such as climate change and pollution, but that life has improved. Few people would really choose to live in the past.

It is our uncertainty that has turned climate change into an insuperable problem. The problem with putting climate change at the centre of decision-making is illustrated by the 2005 advertising campaign run by the Carbon Trust. 'I am become the destroyer of worlds', it ran. This is a quote from Robert Oppenheimer, scientific director of the Manhattan Project, on seeing the detonation of the first atomic bomb. He was quoting in turn from the Bhagavad Gita Hindu scripture, and the message was clear: technology has become a means of destruction.

In these terms, nuclear technology becomes a source of apocalypse. But in fact we have only just begun creatively to tap the possibilities of nuclear technologies, not just in power generation but in applications from space flight to medicine. By focusing on problems we narrow our horizons, missing out on the possibilities for future developments. If instead we ask about innovations that can satisfy new needs and desires, experience has shown that older problems become more manageable with our expanded capacities. This should govern our approach to the expansion of nuclear power.

The government clings to combating climate change as one of the few unquestioned moral absolutes today. But without a more positive motivation than staving off the effects of man's destructiveness, it seems unlikely that it can throw its weight behind a proper investment in nuclear power.

If this situation continues, we will all suffer the consequences of a decaying energy infrastructure - and will forgo as yet unimagined opportunities.


Nuclear power being examined in Australia too

Probably just talk, however. Australia has huge reserves of coal that are being cheaply dug up on a large scale by open-cut (open cast) mining

The Federal Government is building the case for a nuclear power industry in Australia, planning a high-level academic inquiry into its prospects. Science Minister Brendan Nelson and Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane have put a proposal for the inquiry, costed at less than $1 million, to John Howard. The proposal responds to the Prime Minister's call earlier this year for a nuclear power debate.

In a television interview yesterday, Dr Nelson said the inquiry would involve the Academy of Science, together with the academies of social science and humanities. The Technical Science and Engineering Academy is also involved. "I think we owe it to our future to examine all of our options," he said. "We can't responsibly dig 30 per cent of the world's uranium out of the ground, export it overseas and allow some 450 reactors to operate and expand in other parts of the world and not seriously consider this as an option for ourselves." He said the inquiry would examine the geological, environmental, physical and social aspects of a nuclear power industry in Australia.

Although the academies often make submissions individually to Government inquiries, such as reviews of higher education, it is the first time a Government has gone to them with a proposal for a combined inquiry. "The Government certainly had strong support from the academies from the outset, " Academy of Social Science executive director John Beaton said yesterday. "The academies all welcome the opportunity to consider how issues of nuclear power and related topics will affect society," Dr Beaton said. "Nuclear power generation and waste management have come a very long way since Chernobyl and this debate needs to be had in the light of a much better understanding and newer technology, but it also must respond to concerns of the Australians."

The Government is still refining the terms of reference for the inquiry, which is expected to take a year to complete. The Government's objective is to have a set of facts that can be marshalled against opponents of nuclear power.

Although there has been discussion within the Labor Party about its policies on uranium and nuclear power, it remains opposed to an expansion of the industry. Labor spokeswoman for education and research Jenny Macklin said yesterday that no matter which organisations Dr Nelson got to do the study, it wouldn't address the concerns of Australians about nuclear power. "Australia is as far into the nuclear cycle as the Australian public wants to be. It's absurd that Brendan Nelson is running this issue of nuclear energy when he can't even get consensus or public support to locate a dump for existing low-level waste," Ms Macklin said.

Dr Nelson said the Government was determined to build a low and intermediate level nuclear waste repository for waste from medical and industrial uses in the Northern Territory. He noted there was already 16 cubic metres of nuclear waste stored at Darwin Hospital and at Mt Todd, 40km from Katherine. "We owe it to ourselves. I mean, every Australian will benefit from a nuclear-sourced medical procedure," he said. Dr Nelson said that "under no circumstances" would the proposed repository be used for storing high-level nuclear waste from any eventual nuclear power industry in Australia.


Further musings on Jared Diamond's Collapse

Review lifted from The Commons

Julian Morris and I recently co-edited an edition of the interdisciplinary journal Energy and Environment, in which we commissioned a series of reviews of Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared Diamond. Several of these reviews have now been posted on the contributors' websites.

One broad problem with the book is that Diamond distinctly fails to discuss how institutions such as property rights have enabled (and continue to enable) individuals to address the 'tragedy of the commons'. Another problem is that the facts simply do not support many of his claims.

Julian Morris wrote an introduction to the series of papers - "Confuse: How Jared Diamond Fails to Convince" -- which highlights some of the specific problems with Diamond's analysis.

The institutional economist Wolfgang Kasper contributed a review which focused specifically on Diamond's lack of attention to how institutions (or their absence) underpin human decision-making - what Kasper calls the "software of economic development". Overview available here, PDF version available here

Social anthropologist Benny Peiser analysed Diamond's portrayal of Easter Island (PDF available here).

Australian biologist Jennifer Marohasy analysed Diamond's portrayal of modern Australia and found that his facts were generally lacking.

Jane Shaw writes about why Diamond has made such pessimistic claims about the future.

My own article analyzes Diamond's chapter about modern Montana. There were several blatant errors in this chapter - such as a claim that Montana has 20,000 abandoned mineral mines, which Diamond believes are contaminating Montana's water supply. By all accounts, this figure is a huge exaggeration. My article is available at the SSRN.


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 November, 2005


Britain's coal industry could enjoy a resurgence with new mines created and existing pits re-opened in an effort to tackle the country's deepening energy crisis. A return to coal mining on a large scale has been put forward as a way of responding to Britain's growing demand for power and the soaring price of natural gas. The country's precarious energy provisions have been thrown into sharp relief this winter with fears that gas supply will not meet demand. And a greater reliance on coal is already being considered by the Government, which has pumped money into "clean coal" technologies to find ways of reducing pollution when coal is burnt.

Yesterday, Andrew Davies, the economic development minister for the Welsh Assembly, claimed the idea could mean a new era for Britain's mines. He said: "We have very limited stocks of oil and gas yet we have hundreds of years' worth of known coal reserves right on our doorstep. "Now that the value of coal has risen it's becoming a viable option again," Mr Davies added. "If it continues, then in five or 10 years we could have old mines reopened and new ones, too."

Currently, a third of all electricity generated in the country is obtained from coal-fired power stations, which burn 50 million tons each year. Twenty million tons are mined from eight deep mines in England and Wales plus a handful of smaller, open-cast operations. The remainder is imported. At the start of the 1980s, 219 mines were operational in Britain. By 1984, with cheaper imported coal available, the National Coal Board announced the closure of 20 pits it considered uneconomical. The closures prompted a bitter and protracted miners' strike and was followed by further wholesale pit closures.

But now a new mine could soon open at Margam in South Wales, where rising fuel prices have forced the steel giant Corus to consider extracting coking coal for use at its plant at Port Talbot. A spokesman for Corus said: "We are looking into the viability of opening a mine at Margam because our import costs have been going up. Coal prices have increased by 100 per cent in the last year." If the initiative goes ahead, Margam will be the first new pit to open in Britain since Asfordby, in Leicestershire, which opened in 1995 but closed two years later because of problems excavating the coal made it uneconomical to run.

The cost of opening a new mine could be up to £500 million and the investment needed to bring a closed mine back into production would be almost as high. An announcement about the Government's future energy plans is expected this week yet already there are indications that a return to coal could be given the go-ahead. The Government has recently invested £25 million in "clean coal" technologies, including plans to store carbon dioxide, which is produced when coal is burnt, under the North Sea.

Nigel Yaxley, the marketing director for UK Coal, Britain's biggest pit owner, said: "The price of coal has doubled in the last year so coal mined here is now competitive with imported coal, but the stumbling block is investment." A spokesman for the Department of Trade and Industry said yesterday: "We are keen on cleaner use of fossil fuels and have invested in that sort of technology. "We have invested in the coal industry where there has been commercially viable proposals."



Is having a child -- even one -- environmentally destructive? Let's hope lots of Greenies think so. It would do no harm for all such simplistic thinkers to die out -- while the rest of us continue to have ever-better lives

"We can't be breeding right now," says Les Knight. "It's obvious that the intentional creation of another [human being] by anyone anywhere can't be justified today." Knight is the founder of the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement, an informal network of people dedicated to phasing out the human race in the interest of the health of the Earth. Knight, whose convictions led him to get a vasectomy in the 1970s, when he was 25, believes that the human race is inherently dangerous to the planet and inevitably creates an unsustainable situation. "As long as there's one breeding couple," he says cheerfully, "we're in danger of being right back here again. Wherever humans live, not much else lives. It isn't that we're evil and want to kill everything -- it's just how we live."

Knight's position might sound extreme at first blush, but there's an undeniable logic to it: Human activities -- from development to travel, from farming to just turning on the lights at night -- are damaging the biosphere. More people means more damage. So if fewer people means less destruction, wouldn't no people at all be the best solution for the planet? I've been thinking about this a lot lately because my wife and I have been talking about having a child. We're the kind of people who reduce, reuse and recycle. We try hard not to needlessly fritter away resources. We think globally and act locally in our day-to-day decisions. So while the biggest quandary of most couples in our shoes might be what color to paint the nursery, we have to ask ourselves, Is the impact of a new person justified?

The problem is stark: The United Nations estimates that the human population, currently at 6.5 billion, is well on its way to 9.1 billion in 2050. Many estimates place a sustainable population in which most of the people on Earth are able to enjoy their lives at between one and two billion. By nearly every measure -- pollution, carbon emissions, forest loss, fishery depletion, soil fertility, water availability and others -- the growing population is wreaking havoc on the Earth's systems. And it's setting our civilization up for a big, hard fall.

As it is, even with my vegan diet, avid bicycling, recycling and energy-conservation measures, if everyone on the planet lived the way I do, we'd need three more Earths. As far as I know, they aren't making any more of these. Meanwhile, almost 16,000 humans are born each hour. Regardless of the merits of reducing the population to nil -- as Knight advocates -- it's pretty clear that the world could do without any additional people.

Certainly without more Americans. In 1994, Charles Hall, an ecologist at SUNY Syracuse, performed a life- cycle analysis of the average American (PDF file) by determining each person's lifetime share of the nation's total consumption of various resources. It's the kind of study usually undertaken for assessing the impacts of a new product or policy, and the results are unsettling. Hall and his colleagues found that a single new American born in the 1990s will be responsible, over his or her life, for 22 million pounds of liquid waste and 2.2 million pounds each of solid waste and atmospheric waste. He or she will have a lifetime consumption of 4,000 barrels of oil, 1.5 million pounds of minerals and 62,000 pounds of animal products that will entail the slaughter of 2,000 animals. "In terms of energy usage alone, [which is] a convenient measure of environmental impact," Knight says, "the average Ethiopian uses one 310th of what we use. So when an American couple stops at two kids it's like an Ethiopian couple stopping at 620."

According to Knight, there are other ways people can have kids in their lives. "Adoption, foster-parenting, step-parenting -- there are a lot of opportunities for people who really do want to get involved with children." Knight himself is a substitute high school teacher in Portland, as befits his patient but forcefully clear demeanor. Knight takes care to point out that VHEMT isn't anti- child. Many of its members are parents. Some of its members are children. In many ways, the idea of reducing the world's population is as much about human quality of life as it is about the health of the planet. "May we live long and die out," says Naomi Thompson, quoting the VHEMT slogan. Thompson, who is in her late 20s and works as an analyst for Wells Fargo in San Francisco, has also concluded that childbearing is irresponsible. "It's not about wanting to kill people, but it's selfish to have a kid at this point when so many aren't getting the love and attention that they deserve." "I really do love kids," she continues. (Thompson and Knight say they were raised in large, happy families.) "I know it might seem odd for someone who really likes kids to have this stance on breeding -- women are mothering, nurturing people, and I definitely have that in me. But women in this society feel a lot of pressure to have babies, and I would like to see more people expressing that by adopting instead."

The question of having children gets to the heart of some of our most basic drives, a place where rationality can take us only so far. Though I can picture myself as a father, I just can't see myself adopting. I'm more like Mary and Mike Brune. The Alameda couple are longtime environmentalists. Mike Brune is executive director of the Rainforest Action Network, so he spends his entire workday thinking in excruciating detail about just how much trouble the planet is in. Like most environmentalists -- even most Americans - - the Brunes have taken steps to reduce their environmental impact. "We certainly do as much as we can to limit our consumption," says Mike Brune. "We made sure we live near mass transit. We have one of the new Priuses. We buy organic food almost exclusively. We feel that it's very important to connect our personal values to all aspects of how we live: where we work, what we eat, what we buy."

But when, after six and a half years of marriage, it came time for the couple to consider a child, those strong personal values came up against an even stronger drive. "I understand rationally the argument for not having children -- I can see the point," says Mary Brune, a technical writer and, since becoming a mother, co- founder of Making Our Milk Safe, an organization that monitors industrial toxins in human milk (watch this space for more on that issue). "I've talked to friends who have made certain that they can't have children so they don't bring another person into the world," she continues. "But for us there's a real primal need to have a child. For me, personally, I had a desire to bear my own child." So they went for it: Their daughter Olivia is now 15 months old.

At RAN, Mike Brune works to transform some of the most powerful elements of our society, going after oil companies and banks to change the way they do business. He says that for him this kind of big-picture environmentalism doesn't translate to the personal decision of whether to have a child. "The goal here isn't for Safeway to have one aisle of organic food -- it's to get to a point where all food is produced in a healthy way," he says. "The same would be true of hybrid cars: We don't want Ford Motor Co. to just have a few hybrid vehicles, we want to have every vehicle nonpolluting." For Mike Brune, the choice to have a child is a personal, emotional one that sits apart from the systemic change he's working for.

But does approaching the issue as an emotional question hinder our ability to address population problems? VHEMT's Knight says there's a taboo against talking about population control in what he calls our "natalist" culture -- a barrier that has resulted in many environmental groups either not addressing population or doing so inadequately. "Nobody will come right out and say that this is unsustainable, you can't do this," says Knight. "If you really are serious about the environment and your impact, zero is the optimal number of offspring that we should be producing." But the Brunes are sanguine. "We brought a new person into the world," says Mary Brune, "and we hope that she'll be one more soldier on the front lines who's going to fight for the Earth when she grows up."

Knight says even if little Olivia becomes the "firecracker radical activist" her father hopes, it's going to be extremely difficult for her to overcome the environmental original sin she embodies. "I do think that if you added up a whole lifetime of one person, even living lightly," he says, "reproducing would bump you up into the Hummer-driver category." Rather than focus on raising new people in a certain way, says Knight, "if you instead help other people become the people that you think we all should be, you can have far more impact." "In light of the number of species going extinct because of our increase, and the tens of thousands of children dying every day from preventable causes, there's just no good reason to have a child," adds Knight. "We have to ignore all those children to create another one. It's like saying, 'Well, they just don't matter.' But they do matter: They're all children in the human family." But breeding is anything but rational, which is why I'm having such a hard time figuring out what to do. I'm a pessimistic optimist, or maybe an optimistic pessimist. But that kind of nuance doesn't wash when it comes to raising a kid -- either you do it or you don't. Nothing could be more hardwired: Every single one of our ancestors, dating back billions of years, has successfully reproduced -- it's the essence of what living things do. It really comes down to whether you are an optimist about human nature. Having a kid is an implicit endorsement of the idea that it's possible to have a sustainable ecosystem that includes humans -- that it's possible to find a way out of the mess we've created. Knight doesn't think people can do it.

"Other than a few examples of tribal societies, we never have lived sustainably," he says. "We're so dangerously clever that we can become very civilized and industrialized and separate ourselves from nature. Most of the people who do live close to nature are just a hand ax and a shotgun away from starting on the slippery slope that leads to driving around and talking on cell phones." In many ways, it's an apples-and-oranges situation: The reasons not to breed -- stacked up next to the deep-seated biological and cultural satisfaction of having offspring -- can only illuminate the gulf between reason and emotion. It can't tell us which side of the gulf we'll spend the rest of our lives on -- only that we can't have it both ways. I still have no idea what we're going to do. At least by thinking about it and entering into it consciously or not at all, we're rising above mere biology and taking a real step toward overcoming the animal drives that are consuming the planet -- a step both Knight and the Brunes agree is important in the evolution of the human animal. "There's no end to the guilt you can feel as a parent, about everything as a person alive today," says Mary Brune. "But I'm grateful every day for being a mom and glad that she's here in our lives." But, she adds, maybe one is enough: "It is something to question if we should have another child. Adopting a child instead is definitely something to consider." Even Knight, in his oddly cheery brand of pessimism, thinks that the drive to breed may be insurmountable. "It's not too likely that the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement is going to succeed," he told me. "I don't think any of us are so naive as to think that 6.5 billion people are going to say, 'Yeah, let's stop breeding, this is great.' But it's still the right thing to do."



You could have fooled me! Calculating dubious savings into the distant future is no way to help get the poor into their own housing

City officials and others are recognizing that energy-efficient buildings, while they may cost a bit more to build, are far more affordable than traditional housing in the truest sense of the word. They cost less to operate and live in, and they provide tenants with a healthier atmosphere that can save on healthcare costs.

This fall, when reviewing certain grant proposals, New York City will start giving developers who want to build affordable housing "extra points" if builders pledge to incorporate green building principles. At the same time, Chicago is offering housing developers and apartment-building owners incentives if they build "green roofs," which are essentially roof gardens that help both insulate buildings better and improve overall air quality. And in Los Angeles, city officials have incorporated green standards into parts of the city's building code.

In the past year, the Enterprise Foundation, a leading provider of capital and expertise for the development of affordable housing, has helped start 77 green developments in 21 states, which will create more than 4,300 environmentally efficient homes for low-income families.

"If you just take the 4,300 homes in the pipeline right now, each year we will have $1.5 million of energy savings in those homes, more than 5,000 tons of reduced greenhouse-gas emissions per year, and 30 million gallons of reduced water use a year," says Bart Harvey, CEO of the Enterprise Foundation. "Those are remarkable savings, and they really reflect that the country needs to think and work in a different way: Green and affordable need to become synonymous."

The notion of green building is often associated with counterculture, leftist environmentalists of the 1960s and '70s. But during the past decade, green building principles have become increasingly incorporated into commercial buildings by corporations conscious of the bottom line. To encourage that trend, the US Green Building Council created the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), a group that trains and certifies architects, builders, and designers.

More here

Activists Blocked New Orleans Levee Plan

A massive levee system, approved by President Lyndon Johnson and supported by the Army Corps of Engineers during the Carter administration, would have held back the flood waters from Hurricane Katrina and saved the city of New Orleans, scientists and engineers have concluded. The proposed levee system was abandoned after environmental activist groups sued to stop construction of the project.

The proposed levee system gained bipartisan support after Hurricane Betsy, a Category 2 hurricane, barreled into the Louisiana coast in 1965. Congress passed legislation authorizing the project, and Johnson signed the bill into law. In 1977, while the law was being implemented by the Carter administration, environmental activist groups obtained a court injunction to stop construction, arguing the levees would impede the flow of ocean water into Lake Pontchartrain and distress the lake's shrimp population. "If we had built the barriers, New Orleans would not be flooded," Joseph Towers, retired chief counsel for the Army Corps of Engineers New Orleans district, told the September 9 Los Angeles Times.

J. Bennett Johnston, a Democratic U.S. senator from Louisiana when the levee was approved by Congress and Johnson, agreed with Towers' assessment. "It would have prevented the huge storm tide that came into Lake Pontchartrain," Johnston told the Times. "My feeling was that saving human lives was more important than saving a percentage of shrimp and crab in Lake Pontchartrain," Towers told the Times. "I told my staff at the time that this judge had condemned the city. Some people said I was being a little dramatic."

Johannes Westerink, a professor of civil engineering at the University of Notre Dame, ran computer simulations of the Katrina storm surge, this time with the scuttled levee system in place, and concluded "it would have stopped that," according to the Times.

Save Our Wetlands (SOWL) led the opposition to the levee project. The activist group, which still raises significant money in pursuit of an extremist agenda, proudly proclaims on its Web site its role in scuttling the needed levees: "While politicians talk, SOWL sues! SOWL has been involved in countless lawsuits involving Lake Ponchartrain on every subject," including "New Orleans Mosquito Control Drainage schemes in wetlands of New Orleans East" and "Corps of Engineers Hurricane Barrier Project" ( "SOWL has always fought bitterly against the United States Army Corps of Engineers," the group's Web site boasts.

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.


27 November, 2005


(From France)


Below is an amusing email from Andrew Nimmo (Space Development Council secretary -- to Benny Peiser in which he also advances reasons to be skeptical about the "fossil" origin of oil:


If Jerome Corsi or anyone else is really interested in the "fountain of youth" as far as oil is concerned, I can tell you exactly where it is. Right above your heads in the sky. There's oil galore up there! A number of asteroids are what is called 'carbonaceous chondrites' and back in the 70s as I recall, a number of these were spectro-analysed. Virtually all of them turned out to be partially made up of what was called "oil-like sludge". On average, 10% of every carbonaceous chondrite appeared to be made up of this - and the vast majority of all of the thousands of relatively large asteroids so far discovered are carbonaceous chondrites. Should our planet really ever run short of oil, I guess the oil companies could probably afford to go up there and import some, but it would almost certainly turn out to be very politically incorrect to do so. Do the 'fossil-fuel' folk really think our asteroids once teemed with life? Personally I don't, but I do very much suspect the oil off Mexico's shore probably came down with the dinosaur-killer itself. No wonder there were world-wide fires!


Below is the summary from Science of one of their latest articles:

"Assessing the likely affects of global climate change remains a high priority for all nations. Schroeter et al. (p. 1333, published online 27 October) show how the pattern of Europe's vulnerability to global changes is likely to change in the 21st century caused by the decreased supply of ecosystem services such as plant growth, carbon sequestration, biodiversity, water, and soil fertility. They apply four climate models to Europe and combine them with socioeconomic scenarios to project the evolution of a range of ecosystem services for the coming century, ranging from carbon sequestration to freshwater provisioning and biodiversity. The loss of these services is likely to be accentuated particularly in the Mediterranean and in mountainous regions.


Again I await expert comment on this study but to assume that plant growth is going to be less, that carbon sequestration is going to be less, that significant biodiversity is going to be less, that water will be scarcer and soil fertility is going to be less must be just about the biggest string of dubious assumptions I have ever encountered. It sounds more like the Apostles Creed than science. I won't endeavour to refute each assumption in detail but just two notes:

CO2 is the major plant food so if CO2 concentrations DO increase, that should FERTILIZE plants and lead to MORE plant growth, not less. And the modern-day availablity of "artificial" fertilizers should ensure that we can have whatever level of soil fertilty we wish. In the Western world, we no longer rely on shit for fertilizer.


This blog is mainly a collection of articles from other people about environmental issues rather than a venue in which I offer original analyses of anything so my comments on the Times article yesterday (see immediately below) were just a few preliminary thoughts. I am sure that far more expert critiques than mine will eventually emerge and I am pretty sure that I will hear of them when they do. Given the great skepticism about environmental journalism that past experience engenders, however, I have taken a very brief glance at the sources on which the Times article relied. I have not read the original journal articles in full but the summary of them offered in the journal where they were published suggests that the Greenies are being as dishonest in this matter as they are in so many others.

What I reproduce below are three summaries. The first is the summary of the articles on atmospheric composition by Siegenthaler et al and by Spahni et al. I then present the summary of a "Perspective" on those articles by Brook. And it is that "Perspective" which mostly seems to have guided the science journalist in The Times. Thirdly, I present the summary of the article about sea-levels by Miller et al. which The Times also referred to. As far as I can see at the moment, there seems to be a large mismatch between the original scientific reports and what has been said about them:

"Air trapped in glacial ice contains the only reliable direct record of atmospheric composition before scientific sampling began in the 18th century. Since 1997, the oldest ice available for analysis was that from the Vostok, Antarctica, ice core, which extends back to 420,000 years ago and covers four complete glacial cycles. A new ice core from the EPICA Dome C site in Antarctica now extends back to an age of 740,000 years or more. Two reports present data on the composition of the atmosphere between 400,000 and 650,000 years ago, an interval soon after glacial cycles switched from a dominantly 41,000-year period to the dominantly 100,000-year period that occurs today (see the Perspective by Brook). Siegenthaler et al. (p. 1313) present measurements of the atmospheric concentration of CO2, the most important trace greenhouse gas, and show how its concentration varied during a much more narrow range than it did during the past 400,000 years. Spahni et al. (p. 1317; see the cover) present parallel measurements for two other important trace greenhouse gases, CH4 and N2O. As is the case for CO2, CH4 varied between much more narrow bounds during that time, although N2O varied just as much as it did in the nearly half-million years since then. These data will be keys to understanding how the carbon cycle has operated since the middle of the Pleistocene epoch".


"Our knowledge of long-term human effects on greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere comes from air trapped in ice cores taken from polar ice sheets. These ice core samples allow researchers to place modern changes in the context of natural variations over hundreds of thousands of years. In his Perspective, Brook discusses results reported in the same issue by Siegenthaler et al. and by Spahni et al. based on new samples obtained by the European Project for Ice Coring in Antarctica (EPICA). The new long records of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide from EPICA extend the window on greenhouse gas levels to 650,000 years. The results confirm that the modern atmosphere is highly anomalous and reinforce the view that greenhouse gases and climate are intimately related."


"Changes in sea level have exerted a powerful influence on climate, ocean chemistry, the evolution of terrestrial and marine organisms, and the geology of continents and the sea floor. These changes can be caused by the growth and decay of ice sheets, increases and decreases in the volume of water stored in lakes and groundwater, variations in ocean basin volume, and the thermal expansion and contraction of seawater. Miller et al. (p. 1293) review how sea level has changed during the past 543 million years, the Phanerozoic Eon, and concentrate on variations that occur on time scales of tens of thousands to hundreds of millions of years. They discuss the mechanisms that were responsible for producing those changes."


So a study of "the composition of the atmosphere between 400,000 and 650,000 years ago" suddenly tells us about "the modern atmosphere"??? And a study that looks at times scales of "tens of thousands" of years suddenly tells us something about the last 200 years??? Go figure!


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 November, 2005


I will leave it to the "non-existent" climate scientists who are skeptical of the human role in any global warming to do a full critique of the latest bit of over-interpretation below (from The Times) -- but even as a humble social scientist I see some rather large flaws in the argument. They showed that sea-levels fluctuated wildly during the Cretaceous, long before any human influence, but then go on to conclude that recent sea level changes MUST have been due to human influence! Why? If natural influences can change sea levels in one era why cannot they do the same in another?

I think at that point further comment really becomes rather superfluous but even if we accept that the correlations indicate human influence, there is still the question of WHICH human influence was at work. They rightly point out that both methane and CO2 levels appear to have risen in the last 200 years or so but fail to point out that the big rise has been in methane rather than in CO2 -- and methane is a much more powerful greenhouse gas than is CO2. So any recent rise in sea levels is much more likely to be due to methane -- which is primarily a result of food production (including rice paddies) -- than to CO2. So cutting down on CO2 output from industry is ignoring the elephant in the bedroom. What we really need to do is to cut methane production -- which would mainly mean stopping all the vastly increased populations of Asia from growing all that rice that they use to feed themselves. I think you can see why they did not pursue the role of methane in global warming!

A third point: It is not at all evident that the slight recent rise in global temperatures that appears in most estimates should have caused sea-levels to rise. Warmer oceans should produce more precipitation (rain and snow) and increased precipitation in areas characterized by permanent sub-zero temperatures -- such as most of the Antarctic and parts of the Arctic -- should have the effect of locking up more water in land-based ice (glaciers, icecaps) -- and recent studies have in fact suggested increased ice depth in central Antarctica and Greenland

"Ocean levels are rising twice as fast as they were 150 years ago, providing further evidence of man-made global warming. A study has shown that world sea levels are rising at a rate of 2mm (0.08 inches) a year; double the speed at which levels rose for 5,000 years before the start of the industrial age. The switch occurred after the mid-19th century, when factories and increased use of coal and later oil started pouring greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Kenneth Miller, a professor at Rutgers University in New Jersey, and colleagues produced a new sea level record spanning 100 million years. They took five 500m-deep (1,640ft) core samples from sediments along New Jersey's coastline. A study was then made of the sediment type, the fossils it contained and variations in the atomic forms, or isotopes, of elements. These measurements were correlated with others from around the world, enabling sea levels to be calculated.

Some of the findings, published in the journal Science, were surprising. They showed that during the Late Cretaceous period, at the end of the dinosaurs' reign, sea level frequently fluctuated by tens of metres. Only changes in the size of the ice caps could produce these fluctuations, showing that the Earth was not ice-free at this time in its history, as most experts had thought.

The team found that over the period, sea levels had been steadily rising at about 1mm a year until the Industrial Revolution. Since then, the rise had doubled. Professor Miller said: "The main thing that's changed since the 19th century and the beginning of modern observation has been the widespread increase in fossil fuel use and more greenhouse gases. Our record therefore provides a new and reliable baseline to use in addressing global warming."

A second paper in Science states that the levels of global warming gases such as methane and carbon dioxide have steadily risen. Ed Brook, a professor at Oregon State University in Corvallis, and colleagues analysed ancient bubbles in Antarctic ice cores. The results add another 210,000 years to knowledge of the make-up of the atmosphere, and confirm that levels of greenhouse gases have risen dramatically since the Industrial Revolution. The results, he said, made it clear that the conditions of the past 150 years were unusual. "The levels of primary greenhouse gases such as methane, carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide are up dramatically since the Industrial Revolution, at a speed and magnitude that the Earth has not seen in hundreds of thousands of years," he said. "There is now no question this is due to human influence.""



"In the Mesozoic, and later in the Tertiary, the planet was a lot warmer than it is today, by 30 or 40 degrees Fahrenheit. It was a green and growing planet, with all kinds of new flora and fauna evolving happily. Then global temperatures crashed. We will be discussing this further in coming posts, but eventually it got so cold the planet nearly froze, or mostly froze, in the Ice Ages. In which we are still involved. We live in a short-timer interstice between 100,000 year episodes of Refrigerator Planet.

Put another way, in the 400 million years since the Lower Devonian, when seaweeds and fish first crawled onto terra firma, it has almost always been warmer than now. The Ice Ages began about 2 mya, so for 99.5 percent of the History of Life on Dry Land, Planet Earth has been warmer than now. It has always been rainier too, except for during the worst of the Ice Ages, again.

About 6,000 to 8,000 years ago our Interstice experienced something called the Climatic Optimum. It may have been 2 to 5 degrees F warmer than now. It was the Golden Age of Agriculture, when scads of plants and animals were domesticated and hybridized. We still eat plants and animals from the Golden Age. There was another mini-Optimum about 4,000 to 5,000 years ago, when Civilization really took off. Those were good times, climatically speaking. Mesopotamia, the Levant, and North Africa were green and rich with fields, farms, and forests. The American Southwest had a farmer culture, as did most of the Western Hemisphere. Today, they are all big deserts. Warmer means more rain. Warmer makes deserts bloom. Warmer makes forests spread like wildfire.

If global warming happens, as predicted by so many "scientists", sea levels may rise. I do not know, but I doubt it. Apparently modern sea level is no different than it was 6,000 years ago, during the warmer Optimum. If all the sea ice on the planet melted, it wouldn't change the sea level. Try this experiment: put an ice cube in a glass of water. Mark the water level. Cover the glass to prevent evaporation. Wait for the ice to melt. Mark the water level again. There will be no change! It's simple physics, having to do with the relative densities of ice and water.

If all the glaciers on land melted, excluding Greenland and Antarctica, the sea level might go up a few centimeters. Polar landmasses are unlikely to melt, since throughout geologic history there have always been ice caps on polar landmasses. When part of Pangea was over the South Pole, there was an ice cap, even though the rest of the planet was much, much warmer on average than now. About 50 mya, when southern Pangea, Gondwana, broke up and the Antarctic Plate drifted back over the South Pole, the current ice cap formed there. It's not going to melt soon, trust me.

Sea levels have been falling since the Pangean breakup in the Cretaceous Period of the Upper Mesozoic Era, over 100 mya. Sea level relative to continental plates has less to do with land ice and more to do with subsidence of spreading sea floors and the deepening of the abyssal.

If, however, for some inexplicable reason the waters do rise, then some folks may have to move inland or uphill. But the interior will be so much nicer, what with more temperate and lush conditions, that moving a few yards or miles inland will be desirable. The coastal littoral is windy, foggy, salty, stinky, muggy, buggy, and miserable, anyway".

More here


"Heavy wintry showers are expected to arrive in the South East today with the Met Office giving warning that the country is facing the coldest winter in living memory. Blizzards were forecast to move southwards through the West of the country last night with snow expected in London and Manchester later today. The Met Office warned of the dangers of freezing and burst pipes overnight as it issued its second spate of severe weather warnings in as many days. The Highways Agency has had scores of gritting lorries on standby since last night.

The Met Office conducted an unprecedented emergency briefing to its industry clients yesterday on the prospects for this winter. Wayne Elliott, a Met Office forecaster and spokesman, said that the briefing to industry, which was closed to the press, was just a precaution. "In the first event of its kind, the Met Office today met leaders from business and central Government to brief them on the prospects for the coming winter," he said. "Society has changed since the last time we had a cold winter of any magnitude, so this is an effort to get the business energy customers and the Government prepared."

Western parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland were hit by the heavy snow and blizzards yesterday and forecasters confirmed their prediction that this winter is likely to be colder than average. The last time that happened was in the winter of 1995-96, but a spokesman said yesterday that this year could be even colder. The heavy wintry showers were then due to spread into West Wales and North and southwest England by this morning. The blizzards are then expected to move East during the day and into the weekend, according to the Met Office. Mr Elliot said southern parts would be most affected by the departure from normal temperatures, because they are not used to it.

Temperatures in Aberdeen and some of the worst-affected areas approached freezing with a -15C windchill factor yesterday and the average temperature in London dropped by 5C.Mr Elliott said: "This is the first time this year we have experienced weather like this. Very strong winds are coming in from the North and are set to drive down the country overnight. Temperatures are falling and there's the potential for freezing pipes in many areas. It will start to feel very raw as the winds pick up. Anywhere could see snow." The Highways Agency said that more than half a million tonnes of sand has been stockpiled to cope with freezing conditions on roads. Councils have also put their gritting teams on alert.

Four hillwalkers were rescued after they became stranded in blizzards on the plateau of Britain's second-highest mountain. An RAF helicopter and four rescue teams were involved in the operation on Ben Macdui in the Cairngorns. The hillwalkers were in their sleeping bags in a tent on top of the 4,300ft (1,310m) mountain when they raised the alarm"



"The Institute for Trade, Standards and Sustainable Development (ITSSD) is calling public attention to the impending Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a secret regulatory regime designed by nine northeastern governors that will significantly raise energy, goods and services prices for regional consumers.

"The RGGI is essentially another hidden [consumer] tax." It was conceived of by New York State Governor George Pataki during 2003, and has since been expanded behind 'closed doors' and without public debate to include eight other states, including New Jersey and Massachusetts. "The RGGI ... is a controversial interstate, and perhaps, international commerce agreement ... [that will] ... cap the ... carbon dioxide ... emitted regionally by businesses. Although it will first target electricity-producing power plants, the RGGI will later cover other industry sectors as well ... "

The ITSSD study finds that the energy efficiency, energy reliability and economic cost modeling assumptions underlying the RGGI are flawed. As a result, northeastern consumers will pay dearly without receiving much, if any, environmental benefit in return. According to co-author Slavi Pachovski, "The high costs of RGGI will be borne in vain by regional consumers and businesses because RGGI will be unable to deliver the environmental, energy reliability and energy security benefits promised."

Furthermore, the ITSSD study reveals that Europe is depending on the RGGI to inspire a state-level insurgency against U.S. federal climate change policy, to prompt Washington's return to the Kyoto Protocol negotiating table. "Hence, it is now apparent that, while Brussels officials and rotating EU Presidents had long occupied the attention of the Bush White House as their experts ruminated about how to collectively address the effects of global warming at an international level, EU member state governments, with the aid of Washington think-tanks, congressman, and northeastern governors, were busy sneaking RGGI in through the 'back door' of U.S. public policy-making."

The ITSSD study concludes that, "[i]f the RGGI is enacted in the near future without public debate", European industry will "benefit ... at the expense of American consumers, American industry, and the American economy." "Were this to occur", admonishes CEO Lawrence Kogan, "these governors, congressman and policy experts will have much to answer for ... "



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 November, 2005


THE drive for "green energy" in the developed world is having the perverse effect of encouraging the destruction of tropical rainforests. From the orang-utan reserves of Borneo to the Brazilian Amazon, virgin forest is being razed to grow palm oil and soybeans to fuel cars and power stations in Europe and North America. And surging prices are likely to accelerate the destruction

The rush to make energy from vegetable oils is being driven in part by European Union laws requiring conventional fuels to be blended with biofuels, and by subsidies equivalent to 20 pence a litre. Last week, the British government announced a target for biofuels to make up 5 per cent of transport fuels by 2010. The aim is to help meet Kyoto protocol targets for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions.

Rising demand for green energy has led to a surge in the international price of palm oil, with potentially damaging consequences. "The expansion of palm oil production is one of the leading causes of rainforest destruction in south-east Asia. It is one of the most environmentally damaging commodities on the planet," says Simon Counsell, director of the UK-based Rainforest Foundation. "Once again it appears we are trying to solve our environmental problems by dumping them in developing countries, where they have devastating effects on local people."

The main alternative to palm oil is soybean oil. But soya is the largest single cause of rainforest destruction in the Brazilian Amazon. Supporters of biofuels argue that they can be "carbon neutral" because the CO2 released from burning them is taken up again by the next crop. Interest is greatest for diesel engines, which can run unmodified on vegetable oil, and in Germany bio-diesel production has doubled since 2003. There are also plans for burning palm oil in power stations.

Until recently, Europe's small market in biofuels was dominated by home-grown rapeseed (canola) oil. But surging demand from the food market has raised the price of rapeseed oil too. This has led fuel manufacturers to opt for palm and soya oil instead. Palm oil prices jumped 10 per cent in September alone, and are predicted to rise 20 per cent next year, while global demand for biofuels is now rising at 25 per cent a year.

Roger Higman, of Friends of the Earth UK, which backs biofuels, says: "We need to ensure that the crops used to make the fuel have been grown in a sustainable way or we will have rainforests cleared for palm oil plantations to make bio-diesel."


Australia: Anything rather than build a dam and upset the Greenies

Sydney's desalination plant would cost up to $1.3 billion and would be fully funded by the Government, New South Wales Premier Morris Iemma said today. Mr Iemma said the desalination plant, to be built on the Kurnell peninsula south of Sydney, would be capable of producing 125 megalitres of drinking water a day. It would be funded through Sydney Water's capital works budget, he said. "The plant will give Sydney an extra 125 million litres of water per day - enough to supply 350,000 people," Mr Iemma said. "The delivery of a secure water source is a vital service for the people of this city, so the government has decided that the desalination plant will be publicly owned. "It will be designed, built, operated and maintained by the private sector - but it will remain in public ownership." ...

The Government had set aside $100 million for projects such as tree plantations and wind or gas fired power stations to offset the greenhouse impacts of the desalination plant. The environmental impact assessment report on the plant was due to be made available to the public for comment tomorrow.

The Government estimated households in Sydney and the Illawarra would have to pay about $1.20 per week in higher water bills to pay for the desalination plant. [So it's going to cost around a million dollars per year to run whereas a dam costs virtually nothing to maintain]

More here

Australian research: Corals 'adapt to climate change'

Australia's Great Barrier Reef is of course the biggest coral reef in the world

Scientists believe corals may be able to protect themselves from devastating bleaching events after discovering some can adapt to climate change. The find, described by Dr Ray Berkelmans as "tremendously exciting", comes amid predictions up to 100 per cent of the Great Barrier Reef could be wiped out by the end of the century because of rising water temperatures. Dr Berkelmans, from the Australian Institute of Marine Science and CRC Reef Research Centre, said a predicted 1 to 3 degree increase in temperatures could result in between 80 to 100 per cent bleaching. Water temperatures could rise to as high as 32 degrees in some parts of the reef and could take as long as 100 years to recover, he said.

But Dr Berkelmans said his studies had found coral could adapt to climate change by using a particular type of algae to become "thermally tolerant". "Through an extensive transplant experiment and also through laboratory temperature stressing experiments we were able to determine that, at least for the species that we were looking at, under some conditions the corals were able to take on a new type of algae into their system," Dr Berkelmans said. "There are different types of algae that it can associate with and when it associates with a particular type called D, it becomes more thermally tolerant. "That's a tremendously exciting find. Up until recently we weren't sure that corals could adapt at all."

Dr Berkelmans said the most common "zooxanthellae", or algal partners, were type C and D, with type C found in more than 95 per cent of the reef. "We found instances where individual corals change the dominant zooxanthellae type from type C to D after a major stress event," he said. "It's evolution within the lifespan of an individual coral, and that's the exciting part." Dr Berkelmans said the find gave scientists "scope for optimism" that corals could survive future bleaching events.

But he said they were still baffled as to why some changed and under what conditions. "We don't know which species, we don't know where, we don't know why," he said. "We're only just starting on this area but there's a glimmer of hope."



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 November, 2005


An early morning arson fire that damaged four unoccupied townhouses could be the work of a group of radical environmentalists, the FBI and the city's fire chief said Monday. An anonymous e-mail sent to news organizations said the fire had been started by the Earth Liberation Front, a loosely organized group that has used economic sabotage -- most often arson -- to further its goal of protecting the environment. The FBI, which is assisting the Hagerstown Fire Department, considers the group one of the country's most dangerous domestic terrorist organizations.

The single-alarm fire early Sunday at the Hagers Crossing development of townhouses and single-family houses destroyed one townhouse and damaged three others, Fire Chief Gary R. Hawbaker said. The fire was contained immediately, and no one was hurt, he added.

The e-mail said that the goal of the arson was "to strike at the bottom line" of Ryan Homes, one of the developers of Hagers Crossing. "We warn all developers that the people of the Earth are prepared to defend what remains of the wild and the green," the e-mail continued.

Hawbaker estimated that the fire caused $300,000 of damage. Hagers Crossing is to contain 940 units, said Shelby Daniels, a sales and marketing representative for Ryan Homes. The townhouse prices start at $250,000. Daniels and Hawbaker said there had been nothing particularly controversial about the project, which opened its first homes in 2003.

Assistant Fire Marshal Doug DeHaven, the department's chief investigator, examined the site Monday as construction continued. The destroyed townhouse was reduced to a heap of charred debris and the faint smell of burnt wood. Metal pipes, still intact, poked out of the ground. Neighboring townhouses in the linked set of four -- one wrapped in Tyvek -- appeared undamaged on the outside. Hawbaker said the department had identified no suspect but had gathered physical evidence from the scene. He would not describe the evidence, saying that could slow the investigation. Also, he would not say how the fires, one in each house, were started. As for the e-mail, "We're looking at this as any other lead we might have," Hawbaker said. "It's just a normal investigation."...

Hawbaker said the department learned about the e-mail from a reporter for the Hagerstown Herald-Mail. The e-mail was provided to The Washington Post by Christopher Law, a reporter with the National Security News Service. Law said he had received word from ELF saying the group took responsibility for the arson. Law, who said he was not a spokesman for the group and had no involvement with ELF, said he could not be certain the claim was legitimate. Asked why he had forwarded the e-mail, Law said, "I felt people should know why it happened."...

More here


The latest shot in the dark for the "See what a caring person I am" brigade

Increasing levels of ocean noise generated by military sonar, shipping, and oil and gas exploration are threatening dolphins and whales that rely on sound for mating, finding food and avoiding predators, according to a new report. The report released Monday by the Natural Resources Defense Council found that the affects of ocean noise on marine life range from long-term behavioral change to hearing loss to death. The report, a follow-up to a 1999 study, included details from necropsies performed on beached whales suspected of being exposed to Navy sonar.

Scientists who examined more than a dozen whales that beached in the Canary Islands in September 2002 found bleeding around the brain and ears and lesions in the animals' livers and kidneys. "It is a set of symptoms that have never before been seen in marine mammals," said Michael Jasny, the report's principal author. "That physical evidence has led scientists to understand that the sonar is injuring the whales in addition to causing them to strand." Researchers believe that whales are suffering the same type of decompression sickness that is known as "the bends" in humans. The leading theory is that sonar either causes whales to panic and surface too quickly or forces them deeper before they can expel nitrogen, leading to nitrogen bubbles in the blood.

A federal probe into the mass stranding of 17 whales in the Bahamas in March 2000 cited the Navy's use of mid-frequency sonar as a contributing factor. The Natural Resources Defense Council sued the Navy last month in federal court in Los Angeles in an attempt to curb its use of mid-frequency sonar, which is the most common method of detecting enemy submarines. The environmental group wants limits on sonar during training exercises, not in war. In the new report, the NRDC urged the National Marine Fisheries Service to better enforce the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act. The service should also require the Navy to obtain permits for its sonar exercises, according to the report. A fisheries service spokeswoman said the agency had not seen the report and could not comment on it.

Jasny said noises from oil and gas exploration have also been linked to lower catch rates of halibut, cod and other species of fish. "It's been shown that some species of fish suffer severe injury to their inner ears, which can seriously compromise their ability to survive," he said.

The NRDC recommended year-round restrictions of excessive ocean noise in critical habitats and seasonal restrictions on migration routes. For example, the group suggested that oil-and-gas companies avoid seismic surveys in the winter off the west coast of Africa when baleen whales are breeding offshore. It also called on the fisheries service to increase oversight of oil and gas surveys, which rely on shooting high-intensity air guns at the ocean's floor. The true impact of ocean noise remains unknown because strandings likely represent just a small portion of marine life effected by excessive noise, Jasny said.



In slow motion, of course. Pic of the varmint below

The UK is unlikely to meet its 2010 target of reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 20%, the government's chief scientific adviser has admitted. Sir David King told the BBC the target was perhaps a "bit optimistic" but said the government had not given up and long-term plans were in place. The "green light" should be given for more nuclear reactors, he added. Environmental groups accused Prime Minister Tony Blair of backtracking on the issue of setting targets.

Sir David told the BBC's Sunday AM programme that the 2010 target on reducing emissions was a "very tough target to hit at the moment". He admitted the UK could miss it but said one reason was that long-term plans took time to pay off. "The longer term targets are actually the critical ones. These things like building a new power station take many, many years to come through. "I think perhaps we were being a bit optimistic, but the government has not given up on its target for 2010."

Sir David said Mr Blair should "give the green light" to a new generation of nuclear reactors. Nuclear power met almost a quarter of Britain's electricity needs in recent years but that will fall to just 4% by 2020 if reactors were not replaced. "All of that is coming from a CO2-free source. I think we need every tool in the bag to tackle this problem," he said.

Mr Blair faces stiff opposition from green groups and some in his Labour Party if he sanctions new reactors. Environment minister Margaret Beckett said there was "nothing extra" nuclear power could do to help meet the Government's target to reduce CO2 by 2010. Speaking on the BBC's Politics Show, she said: "There's just no way you could get new nuclear power stations in time to contribute to that." She denied she was anti-nuclear but said there were "lots of concerns" about its use.

Earlier this month, the prime minister caused fury by suggesting that a "child-of-Kyoto" agreement, with firm targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, could be tricky. "People fear some external force is going to impose some internal target on you which is going to restrict your economic growth," he said. "I think in the world after 2012 we need to find a better, more sensitive set of mechanisms to deal with this problem."

Sir David said he believed Mr Blair's comments on targets had been misunderstood and that Mr Blair had been talking about involving China, India, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa in discussions. "I believe what he was discussing was... how do we extend that to include these five countries? Of course we're also concerned about the United States' position. "The US emits 25% of the world's carbon dioxide [And soaks up more than it emits] . How do we bring them on board?"

More here


After two long, frustrating years of tripping up on Queensland Government red tape, it's a wonder that Steve Lawrie can still find something to grin about. That's how long it's taken for his family to persuade the Department of Natural Resources and Mines to correct the colour on the all-important vegetation maps covering their Central Queensland properties from green to white. It's a battle which has necessitated countless phone calls, meetings, and even a trawl through the family album in a bid to prove that country on Sebastapol, 50km west of Rockhampton, and on another property near Middlemount, had been previously cleared.

But the beef producer from Powlathanga Station, west of Charters Towers, hasn't lost his sense of the ridiculous. "It's pretty scientific, isn't it" he said. "A colour gets incorrectly slapped on a map and it's gospel - then it's hell to get it changed."

The Lawrie family's woes began when they received the maps more than two years ago, with "a couple of thousand" acres of country which had been cleared nearly 20 years ago marked as untouched. When initial complaints proved fruitless, the Lawries dug up old photos, taken when Steve was only 14 years old and showing distinctive landscape features that proved the so-called "green" country and the pulled timber were one and the same. While the department declined their offer to view the photographs, it took until last Friday for Steve's parents Robert and Jenny to finally receive word the Sebastapol maps would be changed. Meanwhile, the Middlemount property has changed from green to pink, despite the family's arguments that the country is plagued with regrowth, not virgin scrub.

"I really don't know where (the department) gets its information from," Mr Lawrie said this week. "It's not just the initial ruling on map colours, it's also the hassles of pursuing changes. We found we could never speak to the same person twice, the rules kept changing and there's such a huge lag time in following up on requests - it took 15 months for NRM to get us aerial pictures and satellite maps, and when they finally arrived, they were for the wrong country. It took 18 months for the department to send someone out to actually physically inspect the area."

While the Lawries can at last sit down to plan development and maintenance on their properties, two years of toing and froing has cost them dearly. "We couldn't begin to put a price on what we've lost in land productivity production, what it's cost in all the trips to Rockhampton and in not getting work done on the properties because we were tied up with NRM. I don't even want to think what the price has been."



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 November, 2005


The founder of the faith focused all his attention on salvation. It seems a mite strange that all those who claim to follow him do not focus similarly: "My Kingdom is not of this world" (John 18:36)

The National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) is no longer the organization it was only a few years ago. Its Washington office has been trending green. Risk Policy Report wrote on October 25 that NAE had been planning soon to release a policy statement on global warming that would call for mandatory greenhouse gas controls. There is now more reason to hope that reason and NAE traditional values - rather than unproven science - will win the day.

NAE president, the Reverend Ted Haggard, commented in March 2005 to Laurie Goodstein, a reporter for the New York Times: "The question is, `Will evangelicals make a difference?' and the answer is, `The Senate thinks so.' We do represent 30 million people, and we can mobilize them if we have to."

Months earlier, NAE had issued "For the Health of the Nation: An Evangelical Call to Civic Responsibility," which included a plank on "creation care." It emphasized that government must fight "environmental degradation" and it drew the signatures from many evangelical leaders. Richard Cizik, NAE Vice President for Government Affairs, cited a biblical passage, Genesis 2:15, which states "The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it." He has been active in promoting a greener NAE stance on global warming and other environmental issues.

According to a recent article by New York Times reporter Michael Janofsky, the draft of the policy statement in support of a global warming policy favored by greens was supposed to be reviewed by NAE leadership. The NAE leadership vote, had it been unanimous in support of the draft, was to have been issued as a policy statement. If only a majority voted in support, it would have been released but only as "an evangelical statement on climate change."

NAE will be out of step with many leaders in the religious community if it supports mandatory reductions in greenhouse emissions. A new coalition called the Interfaith Stewardship Alliance (ISA) has a membership that includes prominent leaders and thinkers in the Evangelical, Catholic and Jewish Faiths. The Reverend Dr. D. James Kennedy, president of Coral Ridge Ministries, is a member of the Advisory Council. Others include Rabbi Daniel Lapin, president of Toward Tradition; Father Richard John Neuhaus, president of the Institute on Religion & Public Life; Father Robert A. Sirico, president of the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty; and Dr. Marvin Olasky, professor of journalism and history at the University of Texas, Austin.

ISA maintains that too many religious leaders in recent years have let their desire to do good trample a clear-headed understanding of how, through the Judeo-Christian tradition, we are to relate to nature. ISA advisers were among those who issued the Cornwall Declaration on Environmental Stewardship in April 2000 to clarify the relationship between man and his environment. Here are excerpts that distinguish between legitimate and false concerns regarding the environment:

While some environmental concerns are well founded and serious, others are without foundation or greatly exaggerated. Some well-founded concerns focus on human health problems in the developing world arising from inadequate sanitation, widespread use of primitive biomass fuels like wood and dung, and primitive agricultural, industrial, and commercial practices; distorted resource consumption patterns driven by perverse economic incentives; and improper disposal of nuclear and other hazardous wastes in nations lacking adequate regulatory and legal safeguards.

The problems cited above are not global in scope but can be dealt with through practical policies, including the use of market incentives to upgrade facilities and technologies. The fact is that global warming is a highly speculative theory and the draconian solutions advocated by environmentalists stand to have an adverse impact on the economies of the developed world. In short, the alarmism by the greens is an even greater threat to the economic security of the world than global warming. The Cornwall Declaration reminds us:

"Public policies to combat exaggerated risks can dangerously delay or reverse the economic development necessary to improve not only human life but also human stewardship of the environment. The poor, who are most often citizens of developing nations, are often forced to suffer in poverty with its attendant high rates of malnutrition, disease, and mortality; as a consequence, they are often the most injured by such misguided, though well-intended, policies.

The Cornwall Declaration concludes by saying its signers aspire to a world in which "widespread economic freedom" makes available more environmentally sound technologies, products and practices. Were that to occur, the world's population and its environment would be mutual beneficiaries.

The intent of the supporters of the Kyoto Treaty on global warming, which mandates emissions controls, is absolutely contrary to the intent of the Cornwall Declaration. Margot Wallstrom, European Union (EU) Commissioner for the Environment, has said: "[Global warming] is not a simple environmental issue where you can say it is an issue where scientists are not unanimous. This is about international relations, this is about economy, about trying to create a level playing field for big business throughout the world. You have to understand what is at stake and that is why it is serious."

Indeed, our country's adherence to the Kyoto Treaty would choke our economic engine, according to a study by Wharton Econometric Forecasting Associates, which is cited by Senator James M. Inhofe in a booklet, "The Facts and Science of Climate Change," issued by the United States Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. Wharton Econometric Forecasting Associates, a private consulting firm the founders of which were professors at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School, estimates that implementation of the Kyoto Treaty would cost 2.4 million jobs; our country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) would be reduced by 3.2 percent; prices would rise for food, housing, heating.

A letter signed by prominent evangelical leaders will soon be sent urging NAE to refrain from taking any position on global warming. Many evangelicals believe there is no consensus on the climate issues and that NAE should instead focus on major issues upon which there is widespread Christian agreement - such as abortion, abstinence and AIDS prevention. At the same time ISA will work to galvanize prominent Jewish, Protestant and Catholic leaders to advocate the sound environmental principles of the Cornwall Declaration. I am pleased to say that Kyle Fisk, NAE executive administrator, called me recently and indicated his organization's willingness to cause NAE to refrain from issuing the global warming statement.

However, there is a vociferous and unrelenting faction within the evangelical community more concerned with global warming than upholding the sanctity of life and traditional marriage and addressing other truly important moral issues. They will not relent in their efforts, particularly if Reverend Haggard tries to reinstate NAE on a proper course in which it refrains from endorsing speculative science in regard to global warming and concentrates its efforts on the moral issues that most of its leading members view to be most important from biblical and moral perspectives.

Liberal foundations have been spending millions of dollars to cause people of deep faith - Jews and Christians - to become sidetracked from addressing important moral issues, diverting resources toward addressing a problem of science that is highly speculative and has divided the scientific community. Their effort had started to permeate the Washington leadership of a prominent evangelical organization.

Responsible leaders and the grassroots must start campaigning to assure that the leftward drift is completely halted and that its Washington leadership respects the wishes and values of the churches and congregations outside the Beltway. Let's hope the grassroots becomes motivated to halt this leftward drift on global warming and other issues. Otherwise we will be a much poorer nation both spiritually and materially.


Bill Gates invests in ethanol

Smart move

Bill Gates seems to want a piece of the action when it comes to renewable energy. The billionaire's investment company, Cascade Investment, has agreed to invest $84 million in Pacific Ethanol which will help it finance construction of several planned fuel-additive plants on the West Coast. Cascade's investment gives Gates a 27% stake in Pacific Ethanol. Gates will be sharing the company with petroleum distributor SC Fuels, which owns the majority stake in the ethanol producer and is one of its biggest customers. It could be a lucrative investment, since federal law requires that the U.S. nearly doubles the amount of ethanol it uses annually to 7.5 billion in 2012 from 4 billion gallons in 2006.

More here

For background on ethanol as a solution to the "peak oil" non-problem, see here

Hostile Takeover of Fox News

AIM comments:

While Bob Woodward's belated acknowledgement of a secret source in the CIA leak case has attracted a lot of attention and criticism, another journalism scandal has come and seemingly gone involving the Fox News Channel (FNC). The "fair and balanced" network that usually gives conservatives a fair shake was taken over by radical environmentalist Robert Kennedy Jr. and his liberal-left allies. Kennedy, a liberal lawyer and Democratic Party activist, became a "special correspondent" for an FNC special program on global warming that was so extreme as to be laughable. Kennedy was a star in the show.

This was new territory for FNC, which is frequently accused of being a propaganda organ of the Republican Party. Kennedy has written a book accusing President Bush of "crimes against nature" and "hijacking our democracy." He calls Bush "the most corrupt and immoral President that we have had in American history" and says that Bush policies spawned Hurricane Katrina. He implies that the Bush Administration is fascist or Nazi-like. Kennedy, who had previously criticized Fox News and other "right-wing media" for misinforming the American people on critical public policy issues, has apparently changed his opinion. But what is behind FNC giving a platform to Kennedy and his ilk?

It was almost the reverse of the situation decades ago when conservative Senator Jesse Helms was reported to be interested in taking over CBS News through a shareholder revolt and becoming Dan Rather's boss. That never happened, of course. In this case, the liberal-left managed to take over FNC, at least on a temporary basis, with the connivance of FNC chairman Roger Ailes, a long-time Republican. This astonishing media coup was greeted with cheers on the liberal-left while most conservatives remained silent, apparently afraid to say anything for fear of offending Ailes and getting blacklisted from future appearances on FNC.

At Accuracy in Media, where our founder Reed Irvine taught us to pursue truth no matter where it leads, the truth in this bizarre case has to be told. FNC's November 13 program on global warming, "The Heat is On," was a piece of junk_or more specifically, junk science. Indeed, Steven Milloy, publisher of, told AIM, "I am disappointed that almost no effort was made to qualify, balance and challenge the wild assertions of manmade catastrophic global warming. Even more disappointing was the program's effort to dismiss, diminish and denigrate those who question global warming alarmism." Milloy is being kind. The program was one-sided to the point of being comical. Viewers expecting a serious treatment of the issue found FNC offering up actors such as Alan Alda, dressed up in a tuxedo at a Hollywood premier, offering their thoughts on global warming as if they were "experts" on science, technology and energy issues.

Milloy urged the program's viewers to check out climatologist Pat Michaels' review of the program on Michaels said the show was "more one-sided than anything I've seen in the entire sad history of climate change journalism." Milloy has contributed articles to the Fox News website that make mincemeat of some of the arguments that were made in favor of man-made global warming that peppered the FNC program. For example, an October 13 Milloy piece, "What Arctic Warming?," completely undermined the theory, which was stated as fact in the program, that human activity is melting the polar regions.

Marc Morano, a guest on FNC when he exposes the left, didn't get any invitations to go back on the network when he reported on that FNC Chairman Ailes had approved the one-sided program after Kennedy "dragged" him to a lecture by former Vice President Al Gore on the topic. When asked about this, Ailes was unavailable for comment, Morano reported.

In advance of the show, the conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) sent a letter to Ailes pleading for fair and balanced treatment of the issue. While the host for the special, Rick Folbaum, had written that "the vast majority of the scientific community says we're witnessing a unique and troubling kind of climate change" and that "no one can argue with this," CEI said that "Many scientists have gone on record disputing this, many of whom are readily available to tell you that science does not support global warming alarmism, and that no one can credibly predict climate change over the next century." A "disclaimer" was read before the show by a Fox News anchor justifying its slanted nature. She said, "Tonight we are presenting "The Heat is On." You'll hear primarily from those experts and citizens who believe that global warming is a crisis. Many people disagree with that statement. We will continue to investigate the science and hear from others in future Fox programming."

"The earth is sending out a desperate alarm," is how Folbaum began the program. The statement was made as viewers heard the "tick, tick, tick" of a loud clock, as if we were running out of time to save Mother Earth. Viewers saw thick smoke billowing from industrial smokestacks, a dead fish and traffic jams. It went from bad to worse. As noted by Dr. Michael R. Fox, who has 40 years of experience in the energy field, one of the silliest parts of the program was when FNC put forward an Indy race car driver as an energy expert. The driver favors the use of ethanol for race cars. "It's well known among energy experts that in most cases ethanol is NOT a net source of energy," Dr. Fox commented. "The reason for this is that it requires a great deal of energy to make a gallon of ethanol. In fact, it requires more energy to make a gallon of ethanol than can be obtained from burning the gallon of ethanol. Taken in its entirety, an ethanol fuel system is a net energy consumer." Near the end, Folbaum provided a free commercial for a radical environmental group led by Laurie David, a "global warming activist," and plugged her website.

But not only was the show biased, Kennedy was on FNC the day before the airing of the program to attack scientists who don't buy into his beliefs as "biostitutes." This smear was a clever play on the word "prostitute," suggesting that those opposing the Kennedy view have been paid off. The "fair and balanced" network had no one on to rebut Kennedy.

Dr. Fox asked, ".what is it about the green lawyer Robert F. Kennedy, which Fox News finds so appealing? Is he an energy expert? Or is he just a noisy Kennedy lawyer, unskilled in physics, chemistry, and engineering? And what is it about Laurie David, the self-appointed energy expert that Fox News found so appealing? What do these people know about climate, energy, and how energy is made, converted, and transported? What are their qualifications, and did Fox News look for anyone more qualified?"

Even more ridiculous, FNC offered Jeffrey Nachmanoff as an expert. He is the screenwriter behind "The Day After Tomorrow," the Hollywood production that depicts global warming producing tidal waves that envelop New York City. Folbaum said Nachmanoff was "alarmed by the message of his own movie" and now saves energy by installing high-efficiency light bulbs in his home.

Folbaum offered the most ridiculous comments of all, saying at the end of the slanted show that FNC was still fair and balanced. "It is our position here at Fox News to examine issues fairly and openly," he claimed. "We do not and will not advocate any position to our viewers. We report .You decide."

There has to be some rational explanation of what happened here. Did FNC chairman Ailes really find Al Gore persuasive? That's hard to believe. Or was putting on the program a clever strategy by Ailes? Did he realize that the environmentalists would make fools of themselves by going to extremes if he let them have the run of the network? The trouble with this theory, of course, is that the credibility of FNC was also damaged in the process.

Some observers think FNC turned its airtime over to Kennedy because he may be in a position to help or hurt them. It has been reported that Kennedy wants to run for high office in New York, where FNC parent News Corporation is based. FNC is said to be cozying up to New York Senator Hillary Clinton for the same reason.



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 November, 2005


Tony Blair is rapidly moving from Greenie to realist while denying, of course, that he is doing any such thing

Britain will start building new civil nuclear power stations under plans backed by Tony Blair, The Times has learnt. Less than two years after a government paper called nuclear power an unattractive option, the Prime Minister has become convinced that building nuclear power stations is the only way to secure energy needs and meet obligations to reduce carbon emissions. In a controversial move, he wants planning procedures to be quickened so that the first stations could be under construction within ten years, far earlier than expected, advisers have told The Times.

After first promising a decision on new stations by the end of this Parliament, then by the end of next year, Mr Blair will face down critics and set up a government review within the next two weeks, asking it to reach conclusions by the early summer.

The stations would be built on existing sites in the hope of reducing public opposition and swifter planning and building procedures. They would involve the latest technology expected to be adopted soon in France and the US. Margaret Beckett, the Environment Secretary and the Cabinet's leading opponent of nuclear power, hinted yesterday that even she would back the move. In an interview with the BBC's Politics Show, she said that, although there were many problems with nuclear power, "I've always accepted we can't afford to close the door on nuclear."

But Mr Blair, who has been given private preliminary studies, believes that all the arguments point to nuclear power and has effectively made up his mind, according to authoritative sources. His decision is a remarkable U-turn.

The review, though headed by a senior figure from the Trade and Industry Department, will report to the Prime Minister and Alan Johnson, the Industry Secretary, and contain members from other departments and, crucially, from the Downing Street strategy unit. Critics will suspect that membership will be chosen to ensure a different conclusion to the last energy White Paper in 2003.

Britain's 12 nuclear power stations provide 22 per cent of the electricity. Unless they are replaced there will only be three stations left by 2020. Studies prepared for Mr Blair by Sir David King, his chief scientific adviser, and other advisers have convinced him that renewable forms of energy, such as wind and wave power, cannot fill the gap. As coal-fired and nuclear stations close they will have to be replaced by gas-fired electricity stations and Britain will soon become a net gas importer.

Mr Blair's advisers maintain that the debate should not be seen as a competition between nuclear power and "renewables", which the Government is committed to boosting.

The nuclear option is unlikely to be opposed by the Conservatives. David Willetts, the Shadow Industry Secretary, said at the party conference: "We must make the case for civil nuclear power to tackle the energy crisis with least damage to the environment.



Britain has, on the whole, been lucky with energy. North Sea oil and gas have helped provide the vast majority of power needs. This happy state has led many to bury their heads in the sand when it comes to future requirements. But if ever there was a time to scan the horizon, it is now.

North Sea energy stocks are dwindling. Oil prices have been volatile. Britain's nuclear and coal-fired plants are due for increasingly rapid decommissioning. And all this at a time when domestic energy demand is projected to rise just as Britain tries to cut its carbon emissions to those levels agreed at Kyoto. It is therefore encouraging that, as we report today, the government is at last prepared to grasp the nuclear nettle.

Nuclear energy is an emotive subject, and it was politically understandable, though democratically lamentable, that the Prime Minister wanted to avoid it until after this year's general election. But, stripped of emotion, the position is stark. Britain's 12 ageing nuclear power stations provide a fifth of the country's energy needs. Yet all but one will be out of business by 2023. Many coal-fired plants, which produce another 30 per cent, fall foul of Brussels rules on clean air and will also be shutting down over the next two decades. By then, Britain will need to find 50 gigawatts of new capacity. Given the lead time for any successor plants to be designed, approved and phased in, decisions need to be made in the next year or two.

One of the looming problems for the Government is self-made. It has allowed the vacuum over its nuclear policy to be filled by hopes for the possibilities of wind power and other renewables that are bit-part players. Those who believe giant turbines can close the energy gap are thinking with their hearts rather than their heads. Wind power, by definition, depends on the wind blowing not too weak and not too strong. Wind farms run well below their capacity, (around 15 per cent in Germany). And they are unlikely even to be up to the job of providing 10 per cent of our electricity by 2020, the Government's target.

There will inevitably be an ugly political battle, but it is winnable. The ace is climate change. For those concerned about global warming, nuclear power is the logical step. It is clean, carbon-free, and it is relatively cheap - up to a third of the price of fossil fuels and nearly half the price of wind power per kilowatt-hour. New pressurised water reactors produce a tenth of the waste of the current reactors, (though what to do with that waste needs to be addressed, as does the security of any new plants, given the new terrorist threat.) But shut-down technology should make another Chernobyl disaster impossible. If new reactors are sited at current power stations, planning battles with local communities will be minimised.

Mr Blair should continue to encourage renewable sources. The potential of wave power and tidal waters should be explored; and there must be much more research into making the storage of solar energy more efficient - Sharp, the Japanese electronics company, claims to be close to a breakthrough in this area. But in the meantime he should ask the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate to begin examining existing nuclear sites for future use. Nuclear reactors may not be what Mr Blair has in mind when he thinks of his legacy. But the next generation would thank him for this initiative.



AMID the frosty silver birches and firs of Olkiluoto island, off the west coast of Finland, the foundation pillars of one of the most improbable stuctures in Europe are starting to rise. The tangle of steel wires and concrete pylons emerging from a four-hectare hole is the germ of the continent's first nuclear reactor to be started since the Chernobyl accident of 1986, which tore apart public confidence in the power of the atom.

Finland, among the countries worst affected by fallout from the stricken Soviet power station, seems an unlikely candidate to lead a revival of the nuclear age. Yet in a nation that boasts 1.5 million saunas - one for every four people - and a vast, electricity-hungry paper industry, energy issues have acquired a high political profile. The Finns are no longer content to rely on imported gas, oil and coal for their power, or to pump out more and more of the greenhouse gases that are anathema to their environmentally conscious traditions. The nuclear option, they decided after a two-year national debate, has become least worst way of generating electricity cheaply and reliably.

The result is Olkiluoto 3, the third nuclear plant to be built on the island and the country's fifth, for which the foundation stone was laid in September by Paavo Lipponen, the former Prime Minister. When the 1,600 megawatt station begins operations in 2009, it will supply up to 10 per cent of Finland's electricity.

The Finnish example is now being keenly studied by British politicians, in search of clues to swinging the public behind an industry that has struggled to shed a reputation for accidents, pollution and an addiction to subsidies. It proves that even a sceptical public can be won over to a nuclear future - but also demonstrates many of the hurdles that Britain will have to cross if the Government is to secure popular support for a new generation of nuclear power stations.

Finnish government officials and executives of TVO, the consortium of major energy users that commissioned Olkiluoto 3, agree it is unlikely that the plans would have been approved by parliament - by a narrow margin of 107 votes to 92 - had not several conditions been met. Some of these would present Britain with few problems. Like Finland, Britain has several existing nuclear sites, with both the national grid infrastructure to support new plants and a sympathetic local population who are used to living with atomic energy. Significant improvements in reactor design since Chernobyl have also helped. The 2 billion pound European Pressurised Water Reactor (EPR) model, is also designed to be fail safe. "If there is a problem, the reaction will stop," Vincent Hertault, the safety manager, said.

Perhaps the most important factor in Finland's decision, however, was that the nation has taken firm steps to resolve the problem of long-term storage of waste. An underground repository for low and intermediate-level waste is already operating 100 metres below the surface at Olkiluoto, and work has begun nearby on an even deeper facility for high-level waste. Deep underground disposal was accepted as the only option, with even Green MPs backing the plans when the Finnish parliament voted by 159-3 to approve the store.

The Finnish experience suggests that transparency, public debate and genuinely open minds in Government are vital if the case for nuclear power is to be made



Those damned Plutonians and their SUVs!

"Astrophysicists are scratching their heads about what's happening on the sun and in our solar system. Why has this so-called "Solar Minimum" been so active? It should be quiet now with very few sunspots because this is supposed to be the low point of the Sun's 11-year-sunspot cycle. But this week, there was a sunspot called 822 that's 87,000 miles across - the size of the planet Jupiter! Could it erupt with more powerful X-flares as has happened the past few months. Big flares threaten all the broadcast, global positioning and military satellites that now orbit our planet. As I've reported before in Earthfiles, the sun is not "normal." Is it warming up? Earth's North Pole and Mars's South Pole are melting at a surprisingly rapid rate. Even far out Pluto seems to show some melting. Is the sun a bigger player in all this than originally thought?

In September, NASA reported new evidence from Mars Orbiters that "for three Martian summers in a row, deposits of frozen carbon dioxide near Mars's South Pole have shrunk from the previous year's size, suggesting a climate change in progress." The Martian South polar ice cap shrinking has been accelerating since 1999 at a "prodigious rate," according to Michael Malin, Principal Investigator for the Mars Orbiter Camera. Dr. Malin said, "The images documenting changes from 1999 to 2005 suggest the Martian climate is presently warmer - and perhaps getting warmer still - than it was several decades or even centuries ago."

Scientists are not sure if the Sun is getting hotter and heating up the entire solar system, including Mars, the Earth and even Pluto. Could there be other independent forces on Mars and Pluto we don't know about that are heating up those planets? If the Sun is warming up, on top of the carbon dioxide blanket that modern industry has created around Earth, how much more heat could the Sun be adding?

In October, scientists at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, released a solar study in which they concluded: "The Sun might have minimally contributed about 10% to 30% of the 1980 to 2002 Earth global surface warming. Greenhouse gases would still give a contribution, but not so strong as was thought. We don't know what the Sun will do in the future."

Another scientist who is trying to figure out what the Sun is doing and what effect it's going to have on Earth and the solar system is Sallie Baliunas, Chair of the Science Advisory Board, at the George C. Marshall Institute in Washington, D. C. Dr. Baliunas is also an astrophysicist at the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts. This week I asked Dr. Baliunas about the Solar Minimum that has not been so minimum, and what's happening on Mars and Pluto?

Interview with Sallie Baliunas, Ph.D., Astrophysicist, Chair of the Science Advisory Board, George C. Marshall Institute, Washington, D. C.; and Professor, Harvard University Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, Massachusetts:

"We don't know why the Sun has been so peculiar in the past few years. This cycle has not been the (normal) rule, though. We've had tremendous amounts of flare activity down at solar minimum. Part of the problem is that we see the Sun through a very limited lens of short time scales. We've been only able to study the Sun in detail above the atmosphere of the Earth through the spacecraft era, so not more than 40 years. We know the sun varies on time scales of seconds to eons, to billions of years. And we don't have all those well defined.


(laughs) That's an excellent question. I would say the Sun always acts odd because we have such limited knowledge about it. What is normal for the Sun? During the 17th Century, almost 400 years ago, the Sun's magnetic field output was extraordinarily low for almost a century. That happens every few centuries. Is that odd? But it's not rare. The Sun right now is probably averaging over several decades is the most active it's been in 400 years. Is that odd? Yes. Is it rare? Probably not. There are indications of the Sun's magnetism going back through time and maybe 800 to 1200 years ago, the Sun might have been more active. So, what's normal for the Sun? I don't know.


How does that look against the temperature records? It matches up pretty well with the beginning of the 20th Century. But it does not match up so well now. The surface temperature (of Earth) seems to have risen a little more dramatically than the Sun has in recent decades. So, in terms of a straightforward link between the two, an association between the Sun and Earth, it looks like the Sun has not been the cause of most of the late 20th Century warming. It could have made a contribution.

We've measured the Sun directly and we measure its total energy output. That's been measured by satellites for about 25 years now. So we know the Sun's energy output has been increasing with the magnetic cycle. We know right now because we're in a low point in that 11 year cycle that the Sun has backed off a little bit in its energy. But it's going to be on the rise again.

Over 25 years, there is evidence from some researchers that suggest there has been a subtle rise in the background and that also might contribute to the amount of energy the Earth receives. But in terms of Mars, one of the polar caps is pulling back the ice. The solar cap is melting back and has done some interesting layering and shelving there that can be measured by the satellites we currently have on Mars. Mars has - it's not clear that Mars is responding very quickly to these changes on the Sun because we don't have enough detailed measurements of Mars to say so. Mars has warmed and cooled in the past. When we look back at pictures of Mars, we see that events that have gone on where it looks like river gullies with subsurface frozen ice melting, coming up to the surface and causing some valleys and rills on Mars.

Pluto - boy, it's hard to say what's going on there! Pluto is probably very little effected by the amount of radiation the Sun puts out. For one reason, it's so far away. For another reason, we just don't understand what's happening on Pluto. There are probably a lot of chemical reactions, gas reactions, in its atmosphere. Pluto does have a highly eccentric orbit, but there you're talking about changes on timescales of thousands of years, not the 11 year cycle. So, it's not clear that they are all linked to the Sun in any direct way. But our view of the Sun is so limited in time that it gets hard to rule a lot of things out. It's worth looking at. It's a very good question.


Mars has seasons, very long-term changes. There are changes in its atmosphere that occur on timescales of months. Dust storms crop up. We don't know why those dust storms crop up. Chemical reactions that shift energy around in the system and that the system finally responds. So, like the earth, the climate of Mars is complicated. There are changes going on many different timescales.


You look at the surface of Mars, there are the remnants of volcanoes. There are only older volcanoes now, the old shield volcanoes. But it looks like Mars might still have some seismic activity, but nothing like the drama we have here on Earth. So yes, there are internal changes on Mars. There are shifts in energy internally on Mars that are also going to crop up and interact with the climate system and cause some changes.


Don't know. Right now, everybody is looking to see whether they think these changes are linked to the Sun. The first thing you ask is: do you see the Sun's well known 11 year cycle in the glacial ice pullback in the caps on Mars? The answer is: probably not. We've had enough information and it does not seem very well correlated with the Sun's very familiar 11 year cycle.

Then you ask: If not the 11 year cycle, which we know so much about, then what of the Sun is causing this (ice) pullback? Then the question is: While the Sun is active, we don't think that's a real direct source of heating. It's putting out a lot of flares, but they don't put out a lot of warmth, a lot of energy, that would melt ice.

So, it would require some unusual mechanisms on Mars and in the Mars climate system coming from the particles streaming from the Sun, or from some of the flares. That's very far out. There's not a good explanation right now.


For the pullback of ice on Mars? Mars's climate is very dynamic, as the Earth's is. There are changes on most timescales. For example, we see windstorms kick up every few years on Mars and no one has a good explanation for those. When you kick up a lot of dust in the Mars atmosphere, you very much change the amount of energy in the system. Mars's climate system is poorly understood.

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 November, 2005


In a very roundabout British way, of course

Britain is to open the door for other nations to abandon setting compulsory targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions: the principle at the heart of the Kyoto agreement to tackle climate change. Margaret Beckett, the Environment Secretary, has told The Observer she is prepared to accept voluntary targets - a move hinted at this autumn by Tony Blair.

The news caused consternation among green campaigners last night. 'Voluntary targets are not worth the paper they are written on,' said Stephen Tindale, head of Greenpeace UK. 'Without mandatory targets [the Kyoto Protocol] is effectively dead.'

Beckett was speaking ahead of next week's climate change summit in Montreal where she will act as the UK and European Union negotiator in discussions on what is to follow the Kyoto agreement when it runs out in 2012. She said it would be impossible to achieve consensus on compulsory targets. She likened developed countries which insist that such targets be agreed by poorer developing nations to new imperialists. 'Such an approach would be utterly destructive to any kind of agreement,' she said. 'People would never engage in dialogue if they thought the outcome was preconceived and ... could hamper their development.'

Instead of compulsory national targets, future agreements could set targets for 'sectors' - potentially transport, domestic energy use or industry, or even individual commercial sectors. Another idea is voluntary targets. Beckett said: 'Targets will always have a very important role to play and will be part of a framework, but not everybody has to be in exactly the same position.' Pressed to explain, she added: 'I'm reluctant to go any further into it. There are people who might be outraged that anybody would consider a voluntary approach.'

But the Environment Secretary also dismissed the argument of the Prime Minister and the US that countries would not reduce emissions because this would damage economic growth. 'Actually, there's quite a lot of evidence to suggest you can do things to tackle climate change without damaging your economy,' she said. 'If you look at some major global companies that have started to take steps to tackle their own emissions, far from being economically damaging it's actually economically beneficial.'

Some commentators suggested yesterday that Beckett, who is admired for her firm stand on green issues, was raising the prospect of voluntary targets as a negotiating ploy to win support from the US and other countries reluctant to agree tough emissions reductions.

More here

Global Warming, Global Governance

The European Parliament this week adopted a resolution on a report authored by one of its MEPs. Entitled, "Winning the Battle Against Global Climate Change," it offers a new example of the institutionalized scare-mongering so characteristic of the current climate debate.

"Climate change is different from any other environmental problem we face. The main reason is that the climate system is non-linear in character, with positive feed-backs. Once we pass a certain level of green-house gas concentration (GHG) in the atmosphere, the whole system is likely to undergo drastic change. Globally intolerable impacts with disastrous consequences may occur, like annual material damages due to extreme weather events in the range of hundreds of billions of dollars, tens of millions of people being displaced, severe heat waves, large-scale change of crop and species distribution etc.

"Developing countries are likely to be the hardest hit. The poor are much more vulnerable to phenomena like floods, storms and droughts. In some regions a drier climate will lead to food production losses. Adding to that, large regions in the South will be seriously affected by rising sea levels. In spite of its different character, climate change is still mostly seen as an environmental problem and mainly the responsibility of the environment ministers. This has to change.

"Climate change has serious implications, not only for ecosystems, but for the economy as a whole, for public health, water and food security, migration etc."

This mindset is a fertile breeding ground for a quantum leap in international governance, shifting sovereignty from the national level to that of international organizations. In a way, they might promote a phoenix-like rebirth of earlier attempts, in the 1970s and 1980s, to establish an International Economic Order (NIEO), aimed at the "management of interdependence". These proposals encompassed a series of measures and reforms in the areas of raw materials, including oil, international trade, development aid, the international monetary system, science and technology, industrial development and the global food supply. They were the topic of a string of international negotiations, which took place in the second half of the 1970s in countless conferences organized by the UN, UNCTAD (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development) and UNIDO (United Nations Industrial Development Organization).

It takes little imagination to see that all this would have resulted in a degree of government intervention - at both national and international level - which has never been equaled in the history of mankind. The whole project was characterized by a high level of international dirigisme. In other words, top-down control of the international economy by governments on the basis of international political decisions and implementation by international and national bureaucracies. Thus, what it all came down to was more government and less market. Ironically enough, the plan appeared at a time when serious defects were becoming visible in central economic control at national level, in particular in the Soviet Union and its satellite states with their command economies. In addition, the rise of the new economic liberalism at the beginning of the 1980s led to a trend reversal: more market and less government. As a result, all these proposals died a quiet death.

Nevertheless, supporters of a new world order remain convinced that they had solutions to many of the world's problems. But, in the absence of international political agreement, they were solutions in search of a suitable problem. Like a fire brigade that has spent years on tenterhooks in the station before finally being called out to extinguish a major fire, the advent of man-made global warming offered the adherents of world government a fresh chance.

But will their efforts this time be crowned with success? It does not seem likely. It has become clear that Kyoto's costs are excessively high and its benefits, in terms of net climate cooling, infinitesimal. Cost estimates for the first round of Kyoto, from now till 2012, are of the order of €500-billion to €1 trillion. The proponents of Kyoto have calculated (but never published) that this will result in a net cooling of less than 0.02 (two hundredths!) degrees Celsius in 2050. This is undetectable even with the most accurate thermometers of today. Moreover, the yearly fluctuations of temperatures are a multiple of this figure.

Many countries, including the US, Australia, China, India and Brazil, are unwilling to join the Kyoto approach of binding caps on carbon dioxide emissions in conjunction with tradable emission rights. Italy, which joined the first round of the treaty, has already announced it will drop out when this round ends in 2012. If this happens, Russia, which Europe bribed into Kyoto in exchange for European support of its membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO), will have a perfect alibi to back out as well.

At the July G8 Summit at Gleneagles, the world leaders failed to agree on a follow-up round, although many months earlier, summit host Tony Blair had billed this as a major issue. But after the summit Blair has hinted that Britain may pull out of attempts to draw up a successor to the Kyoto climate treaty because the economic price of cutting greenhouse gas emissions is too high. Rather than rely on global agreements to reverse rising greenhouse gas emissions, Blair appeared to place faith in science, technology and the free market - as President George W. Bush had in repudiating the Kyoto treaty in 2001.

Of course, Blair's admission has outraged environmentalists on both sides of the Atlantic, who lamented that it flied in the face of his promises made in the past two years. Moreover, they feared that it will effectively block the upcoming Ottawa talks on a new treaty to combat climate change. As Jonathan Brown, observed in The Independent, "Tony Blair came under concerted attack from leading environmental groups yesterday as he was accused of appearing 'indistinguishable' from George Bush on green issues. Green campaigners feel betrayed after Mr Blair made the environment a centrepiece of Britain's presidencies of the G8 and EU, both of which expire at the end of the year. They say the Prime Minister has actually undermined hard-fought gains, particularly on the Kyoto protocol, by questioning the need for binding targets on reducing emissions and by suggesting they might be incompatible with economic success."

All this does not augur well for the for the next Conference of the Parties (COP11) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which is due to take place from 28 November to 9 December 2005, in Montreal, where some 8,000 - 10,000 participants are expected. With the modesty which is so characteristic of the true believers, the organizers have already declared the conference to be a historic event. But it is more likely it will herald the demise of Kyoto.

Would it not be better to forget about the whole thing after all? Many would argue that this is totally inconceivable since so much political capital has been invested in the undertaking and since the population wants the governments to do "something" about the "'threat" of global warming. I suspect not. The aborted NIEO showed many similarities with Kyoto. It was an equally grandiose worldwide scheme which aimed at a considerable degree of global economic management or control, backed by enormous funds and a huge bureaucracy. It ultimately fell apart because it was ill-conceived and because it became abundantly clear that it did not serve the interests of the parties which were engaged in the process. The same might happen to Kyoto.

It could be argued that because of the flaws in its scientific underpinnings, its complexity and inconsistencies Kyoto will collapse under its own sheer weight. But in the mean time it may cause a lot of harm. It acts as a sword of Damocles, depressing the investment climate, especially in Europe. Therefore it is high time for Kyoto to be buried and to cover it with a tombstone carrying the epitaph: "Here lies a serious case of collective folly -- an exercise in modern day rain dancing ... and equally effective. RIP."



Post lifted from the Adam Smith blog

It seems that the World Health Organization (WHO) has finally accepted the quick, simple, cheap and safe solution to fighting malaria: DDT. But Africans still face a battle with environmentalists and trade blocs who oppose this demonized pesticide.

The WHO's Roll Back Malaria (RMB) started in 1998: millions of dollars later, a WHO report admits "malaria has got somewhat worse during this period." The real tragedy is that malaria would have got somewhat better if the WHO had adopted a sensible strategy from the start. Spraying the inside walls of residential buildings with DDT and other insecticides should be central to this. It prevents most mosquitoes from entering dwellings and it repels or kills those insects that do make it inside.

Over the last few decades, however, the WHO and various NGOs have deliberately discouraged the use of DDT, egged on by western environmentalists who claim it is dangerous. However, Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique and SA have experienced tremendous success by using DDT. DDT is what eradicated malaria in the southern US and Mediterranean Europe in the mid-20th century. There has never been any evidence of harm to humans or animals: one of its proponents, J Gordon Edwards, used to eat spoonfuls of it at lectures and he died this year whilst hiking, at 85.

This week the WHO said it would make DDT part of its malaria campaign. But Africa faces still faces numerous hidden barriers, such as NGOs and western governments refusing to fund supplies of DDT or threatening to ban exports from areas where it is used. The European Union threatened Uganda this year with bans on agricultural exports if it started using DDT against malaria, even though such very limited use was allowed by a little-publicized WHO rule and by the 2004 Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants.

These types of barriers will continue to be used against African produce in Europe and the US by governments and environmentalists unless the WHO publicly and noisily takes the side of malaria victims. Africans must demand that RBM's plans include DDT, plus a campaign to counter the opposition of western governments, NGOs, and environmentalist pressure groups. Millions of African lives depend on it.

Australian greenhouse emissions up

Goodie! A sign of our rapid economic growth on all fronts. And a bit of extra carbon dioxide will be good for our crops. To them carbon dioxide is food.

Australian greenhouse gas emissions have increased 23 per cent over the last 13 years, prompting environmental campaigners to call for urgent action. A report prepared by the Bonn-based United Nations Climate Change secretariat and released this week ahead of the international climate conference in Montreal later this month warned that the western world was losing its grip on the climate change problem. The report, covering the period between 1990 and 2003, found Australia's greenhouse gas emissions had risen 23.3 per cent on 1990 levels.

The Australian Government's target is to limit emissions increases to 108 per cent of 1990 levels over the period 2008-2012. A spokeswoman for Environment Minister Ian Campbell said the Australian emissions figure was misleading because it failed to take into account changes in land use. "The fact remains that Australia through the Government's $1.8 billion package of measures to address climate change is one of a handful of countries in the world on track to meet its Kyoto targets through domestic action alone," she said. Australia has refused to ratify the Kyoto protocol....

The UN report reveals Australia is far from the worst offender with a number of nations which have ratified the Kyoto protocol recording greater increases in greenhouse emissions. Spain topped the list with a 41.7 per cent increase, followed by Monaco (37.8), Portugal (36.7) and Greece (25.9). The United States, which also has not ratified Kyoto, reported increased emissions of 13.3 per cent, while New Zealand, a Kyoto signatory, performed only slightly better than Australia with a 22.5 per cent increase. [Note that the huge manufacturing industries of China are not mentioned. They are "exempt". So we would be "saving the planet" by transferring all our industries to China, apparently!]

UN researchers found that overall in the industrialised world, greenhouse gas emissions were down 5.9 per cent in 2003 compared to the 1990 levels. The major reductions were achieved in central and eastern Europe in the early 1990s when polluting communist era industries were shut down as countries restructured their economies. The best performer was Lithuania which recorded a decrease of 66.2 per cent.

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.


20 November, 2005


What a backdown from Britain's most ardent global warmer! It shows he just says whatever he thinks Tony Blair wants to hear

Worldwide interest in the threat from greenhouse gases has undergone a "massive change", the government's chief scientific adviser has said. Sir David King told the Commons Environmental Audit Committee he had noticed a "culture change" in attitudes to pollution in the last two years. But this had to be translated into a greater international effort. Sir David warned of rising sea levels and melting ice caps if global warming was allowed to worsen.

He told MPs no government in the world would switch off its power stations to maintain carbon dioxide levels below 400 parts per million, if this seemed to threaten the country's economy. He said that globally, if carbon dioxide was to be kept below 550 parts per million, there would need to be a reduction of CO2 by 2050 of between 60% and 65%. But this would mean getting a worldwide agreement to cutbacks in fossil fuel, which was "unrealistic".

Sir David said: "We are not anticipating that Africa and India will reduce their emissions, let alone reduce them by that amount over that period of time. "If we could maintain China, India, and Brazil to a relatively low growth in emissions, we'd be doing rather well." However, environmentalists had "managed to achieve something of a culture change. I'm not saying that we're all the way there. "But certainly when I went out to Australia a few weeks ago, there was an enormous amount of interest in climate change. It got a lot of media attention. "So climate change is very much up there and people are considering it."


Poverty: The killer that matters most

A new study by a University of Wisconsin - Madison research group has concluded that global warming is causing the deaths of about 150,000 people each year. Part of the research draws upon World Health Organization (WHO) estimates from a few years ago that addressed warming-related increases in malaria, diarrhea, flood related fatalities, and drought-related malnutrition. Poor countries, especially those in Africa, are noted to be, by far, the most affected. This new study will likely be a hot topic at the next U.N. climate conference to be held in Montreal in early December, at which representatives from countries around the world will discuss future policy responses to increasing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases from the use of fossil fuels.

Coincidently, at the same time this study was released, I happened to be at the Ugandan Embassy in Washington D.C. The Ambassador to the U.S. from Uganda, Edith Ssempala, spoke forcefully and passionately about the negative influence that western policies have had on her people. Due to the unintended negative consequences of policies that the wealthier countries of the world have adopted, Africans continue to die by the millions each year.

But the policies the Ambassador was criticizing had nothing to do to with global warming. What is killing Africans in greatest numbers is poverty, and international trade policies that prevent Africans from protecting themselves from diseases that are easily preventable. The Ambassador mentioned pressure from environmentalists in wealthy nations that has prevented the construction of hydroelectric dams in Africa, denying electricity to millions of people. Two billion of the Earth's inhabitants still do not have access to electricity, leading to massive death tolls from problems such as food-borne illnesses (due to a lack of refrigeration) and pneumonia brought on by breathing air contaminated by the burning of dung or wood for heat and cooking. Anyone that has had to suffer through a loss of electricity for any length of time becomes quickly aware of how necessary electricity is for daily life.

Worries over death tolls from global warming is a case of misplaced concern and priorities. Stop using fossil fuels tomorrow and see how many people die within one month. Sure, that is an extreme example, but it raises a valid point. Even if warming does indeed cause an increase in malaria-related deaths, is it better to go ahead and use what works (safely!) to rid humanity of the disease, or to instead punish the world's production of wealth in our efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions? One thing history has taught us is that wealthier is healthier. As they say, those that haven't learned the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them.

The Ugandan Ambassador was particularly critical of westerners that have a romantic view of how Africans should live, as if the simpler life is a preferable one. How many people in the industrialized world with this view would be willing to trade places? There is a reason poor countries are much more concerned with achieving a decent standard of living than whether there might be some environmental consequences. Haven't you ever wondered why environmental concerns are almost exclusively restricted to people with a good standard of living? Those that have access to abundant refrigerated food, clean water, and health care? They can afford to spend some of their wealth to reduce pollution. Much of the world can not. As it is, many areas of poor countries have been mostly deforested as people forage for wood to cook and heat with. Is this what environmentalists want? Also, the poorest countries have the greatest rates of population growth. Is this what environmentalists want?

But, you might argue, doesn't the generation of wealth increase certain risks (e.g. global warming)? Sure! But the possibility that you might choke to death on your food doesn't keep you from eating. When environmentalists don't mention that the benefits of wealth generation far outweigh the risks, they are at best supremely naive, or at worst dishonest and inhumane. It has been calculated by many reputable economists that the cost of doing anything substantial about global warming far exceeds the cost of adaptation to it. I am not suggesting that we do nothing, only that we be smart about what we do. And if we are truly interested in solving the global warming problem (to the extent that one exists), technological advancement is the only way to achieve large greenhouse gas reductions. And guess what it takes to make those technological advancements? Wealth.

The whole DDT issue is a good example of stupid environmental policy. Insiders say the de facto ban on DDT was the result of politics, not of overriding human health and environmental concerns. Threats of trade bans on countries that dare to use DDT, one of the safest and most effective insecticides available, have contributed to over one million malaria-related deaths each year in Africa. Literally hundreds of millions of people contract the disease each year. While the knee-jerk hostility to DDT is now increasingly being realized to be bad policy (the reinstitution of DDT use in South Africa has reduced malaria deaths there by about 95%), it is but one example of how disinformation spread by well-meaning environmentalists lead to massive human suffering.

Gradually, though, the tide is turning. More and more politicians, such as Tony Blair, are realizing that it is impractical to ask people to suffer economically for unmeasurable reductions in future levels of global warming. Governmental representatives (such as those that will attend the Montreal conference next month) that make a career out of finding new ways in which to restrict the freedom of people around the world to serve one another as they wish through market economies can not be allowed to succeed in implementing ill-conceived solutions to environmental problems. Or, as one man from South Africa put it, Africans should not be forced to suffer simply so rich tourists can drive by in their air-conditioned Land Rovers and take pictures of their quaint way of life.



Greenpeace protested by dumping tonnes of coal outside Downing Street. 'We've blockaded Downing Street with coal because Tony Blair has failed on climate change', said executive director Stephen Tindale. 'They told us things can only get better, but Blair's burning more coal than ever, our CO2 emissions have gone up, he's set to miss his own global warming targets and now it seems he's trying to kill off the Kyoto Protocol.'

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has also gone on the attack. 'Despite the huge difference in historic rhetoric on the key issues of climate change and the control of hazardous chemicals, the actual negotiating position of the prime minister becomes daily less discernable from that of US President George W Bush', said campaigns director Andrew Lee.

These campaign groups are not alone in their concern. Lord Robert May, president of the Royal Society, has spent much of the past year making increasingly dramatic statements on climate change policy. As the BBC's Roger Harrabin noted on the Today programme recently, 'Lord May, if you have been following his utterings of the past year or so, has been getting more and more and more shrill on the issue of climate change. He is sounding like a desperate man. But he is shouting and shouting, and people aren't hearing'.

They have good reason to be worried. It had been widely assumed that Kyoto would be the first of a series of agreements setting tough targets to reduce greenhouse emissions. However, the cost of implementing even this treaty, which is widely recognised to be no better than a starting-point even by its most ardent supporters, is now starting to cause alarm.

The New Labour government smugly announced that Britain would set even tougher targets for itself than Kyoto demanded; yet it now seems likely that Britain will fail to reach those self-imposed goals, or even the Kyoto targets. As Baroness Byford noted in a House of Lords debate on the subject last week, 'At Kyoto, the British government agreed to reduce UK carbon dioxide emissions by 12.5 per cent by 2012. Since 1997, UK emissions have risen by 5.5 per cent, and that increase steepened by 1.5 per cent in the last six months of 2004 and by 2.5 per cent in the first half of this year.'

Having spent a fortune promoting renewable energy, particularly wind power - about œ1billion in subsidies are expected over the next five years - and having imposed a Climate Change Levy on homes and businesses making energy use more expensive, there seems to be less and less stomach for imposing the kind of additional burdens that would enable the UK to meet the targets it set itself only a few years ago.

If the fears of climate scientists are confirmed, significant climate change will happen anyway regardless of whether the Kyoto targets are met. In fact, as 'skeptical environmentalist' Bjorn Lomborg has noted elsewhere on spiked, even if you accept the worst fears about climate change, setting targets about carbon emissions is likely to be a horrendously expensive way of achieving very little. 'Despite our intuition that we naturally need to do something drastic about such a costly global warming, economic analyses show that it will be far more expensive to cut CO2 emissions radically than to pay the costs of adaptation to the increased temperatures', Lomborg argues.

Therefore, a shift towards adaptation rather than prevention as the basis of policy seems to be underway. The Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra) last week announced a consultation into existing preparations for climate change. Environment minister Elliot Morley commented: 'Climate change is happening and it will impact on all organisations across the country. The government is aiming to put together an adaptation strategy to assist in this planning. But first we need to know what is already in hand.'

Whether or not there really will be substantial climate change remains unknown. But warmer weather, if it comes, should be balanced against all the other competing demands placed on society that are not given privileged status. As it happens, Blair is still banging the drum about the dangers of climate change - all he has suggested is a change in the way it is tackled.

But even this change of emphasis threatens to downgrade the status of environmental campaigns. Their response is tantamount to a child's tantrum at being ignored.


Mobile phones no health risk: WHO

The World Health Organisation has a simple message for people who think mobile phone transmissions or their signal emitting base stations are making them sick. Televisions and radios pose more of a risk.

The organisation's Mike Repacholi said signals from mobile phone base stations were generally less powerful than those from TV and radios. People had been exposed to these for decades. He said people were generally scared by new technology but after $250 million worth of research had been carried out over 10 years there was still no evidence that mobile phone masts posed a substantial health risk.

Dr Repacholi was in Melbourne this week for a two-day workshop during which the latest findings relating to radio frequency fields were discussed.



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 November, 2005


Implicitly admitting that carbon emissions are a problem but providing a distraction from worse nonsense

The Bush administration will use a United Nations climate change meeting in Canada to tout a voluntary plan to store heat-trapping gases underground, an Energy Department official said on Wednesday.

Environmental groups said the administration will try to derail any attempt at the Montreal meeting to set mandatory targets to extend the Kyoto Protocol beyond 2012, when its first phase ends. Kyoto requires developed nations to cut emissions of greenhouse gases by 5.2 percent from 1990 levels by 2008-2012. Carbon dioxide is one of several gases blamed for climate change that is melting glaciers and raising sea levels. The United States, the world's biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, shunned the Kyoto pact, saying it would be too costly to the U.S. economy.

The White House prefers a voluntary, multi-national plan to sequester and store carbon dioxide. The plan would include most European Union nations, India and Saudi Arabia. It would encourage nations to separate carbon dioxide from industrial emissions and pipe it into geologic formations or deep beneath the ocean floor for permanent storage, an Energy Department official said.....

Montreal could provide a crucial start of negotiations for a new round of emission cuts, according to environmental groups. But "the United States wants to block this process from starting," said David Doniger, a climate change expert at the Natural Resources Defense Council. "Look for the U.S. to use a variety of strategies to try to veto consensus," Doniger said, such as lining up Middle Eastern OPEC countries and India in favor of voluntary approaches.

A major source of greenhouse gases comes from burning fossil fuels like crude oil and coal. "There's got to be a better and cheaper way to do this" than mandatory cuts envisioned by Kyoto, said John Grasser, an Energy Department spokesman. "That's why sequestration is taking off -- it might be our ace in the hole." Doniger said he is "bullish" on sequestration technology, but it must be accompanied by specific carbon cuts.....

Sequestration projects have been shown to work. Some 5 million tons of carbon dioxide were successfully stored in a oilfield in Canada while doubling the field's crude oil recovery rate in a multinational project...

U.S. lawmakers' attempts to require cuts in American emissions have repeatedly failed in Congress.

More here

Dawkins on GM crops: Don't Turn Your Back On Science

This is science author Richard Dawkins's reply to a lecture that Prince Charles gave in May 2000 about "Sustainable Development"

Your Royal Highness,

Your Reith Lecture saddened me. I have deep sympathy for your aims, and admiration for your sincerity. But your hostility to science will not serve those aims; and your embracing of an ill-assorted jumble of mutually contradictory alternatives will lose you the respect that I think you deserve. I forget who it was who remarked: 'Of course we must be open-minded, but not so open-minded that our brains drop out.' Let's look at some of the alternative philosophies which you seem to prefer over scientific reason. First, intuition, the heart's wisdom 'rustling like a breeze through the leaves'. Unfortunately, it depends whose intuition you choose. Where aims (if not methods) are concerned, your own intuitions coincide with mine. I wholeheartedly share your aim of long-term stewardship of our planet, with its diverse and complex biosphere.

But what about the instinctive wisdom in Saddam Hussein's black heart? What price the Wagnerian wind that rustled Hitler's twisted leaves? The Yorkshire Ripper heard religious voices in his head urging him to kill. How do we decide which intuitive inner voices to heed? This, it is important to say, is not a dilemma that science can solve. My own passionate concern for world stewardship is as emotional as yours. But where I allow feelings to influence my aims, when it comes to deciding the best method of achieving them I'd rather think than feel. And thinking, here, means scientific thinking. No more effective method exists. If it did, science would incorporate it.

Next, Sir, I think you may have an exaggerated idea of the naturalness of 'traditional' or 'organic' agriculture. Agriculture has always been unnatural. Our species began to depart from our natural hunter-gatherer lifestyle as recently as 10,000 years ago - too short to measure on the evolutionary timescale.

Wheat, be it ever so wholemeal and stoneground, is not a natural food for Homo sapiens. Nor is milk, except for children. Almost every morsel of our food is genetically modified - admittedly by artificial selection not artificial mutation, but the end result is the same. A wheat grain is a genetically modified grass seed, just as a pekinese is a genetically modified wolf. Playing God? We've been playing God for centuries!

The large, anonymous crowds in which we now teem began with the agricultural revolution, and without agriculture we could survive in only a tiny fraction of our current numbers. Our high population is an agricultural (and technological and medical) artifact. It is far more unnatural than the population-limiting methods condemned as unnatural by the Pope. Like it or not, we are stuck with agriculture, and agriculture - all agriculture - is unnatural. We sold that pass 10,000 years ago.

Does that mean there's nothing to choose between different kinds of agriculture when it comes to sustainable planetary welfare? Certainly not. Some are much more damaging than others, but it's no use appealing to 'nature', or to 'instinct' in order to decide which ones. You have to study the evidence, soberly and reasonably - scientifically. Slashing and burning (incidentally, no agricultural system is closer to being 'traditional') destroys our ancient forests. Overgrazing (again, widely practised by 'traditional' cultures) causes soil erosion and turns fertile pasture into desert. Moving to our own modern tribe, monoculture, fed by powdered fertilisers and poisons, is bad for the future; indiscriminate use of antibiotics to promote livestock growth is worse.

Incidentally, one worrying aspect of the hysterical opposition to the possible risks from GM crops is that it diverts attention from definite dangers which are already well understood but largely ignored. The evolution of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria is something that a Darwinian might have foreseen from the day antibiotics were discovered. Unfortunately the warning voices have been rather quiet, and now they are drowned by the baying cacophony: 'GM GM GM GM GM GM!'

Moreover if, as I expect, the dire prophecies of GM doom fail to materialise, the feeling of let-down may spill over into complacency about real risks. Has it occurred to you that our present GM brouhaha may be a terrible case of crying wolf?

Even if agriculture could be natural, and even if we could develop some sort of instinctive rapport with the ways of nature, would nature be a good role model? Here, we must think carefully. There really is a sense in which ecosystems are balanced and harmonious, with some of their constituent species becoming mutually dependent. This is one reason the corporate thuggery that is destroying the rainforests is so criminal.

On the other hand, we must beware of a very common misunderstanding of Darwinism. Tennyson was writing before Darwin but he got it right. Nature really is red in tooth and claw. Much as we might like to believe otherwise, natural selection, working within each species, does not favour long-term stewardship. It favours short-term gain. Loggers, whalers, and other profiteers who squander the future for present greed, are only doing what all wild creatures have done for three billion years.

No wonder T.H. Huxley, Darwin's bulldog, founded his ethics on a repudiation of Darwinism. Not a repudiation of Darwinism as science, of course, for you cannot repudiate truth. But the very fact that Darwinism is true makes it even more important for us to fight against the naturally selfish and exploitative tendencies of nature. We can do it. Probably no other species of animal or plant can. We can do it because our brains (admittedly given to us by natural selection for reasons of short-term Darwinian gain) are big enough to see into the future and plot long-term consequences. Natural selection is like a robot that can only climb uphill, even if this leaves it stuck on top of a measly hillock. There is no mechanism for going downhill, for crossing the valley to the lower slopes of the high mountain on the other side. There is no natural foresight, no mechanism for warning that present selfish gains are leading to species extinction - and indeed, 99 per cent of all species that have ever lived are extinct.

The human brain, probably uniquely in the whole of evolutionary history, can see across the valley and can plot a course away from extinction and towards distant uplands. Long-term planning - and hence the very possibility of stewardship - is something utterly new on the planet, even alien. It exists only in human brains. The future is a new invention in evolution. It is precious. And fragile. We must use all our scientific artifice to protect it.

It may sound paradoxical, but if we want to sustain the planet into the future, the first thing we must do is stop taking advice from nature. Nature is a short-term Darwinian profiteer. Darwin himself said it: 'What a book a devil's chaplain might write on the clumsy, wasteful, blundering, low, and horridly cruel works of nature.' Of course that's bleak, but there's no law saying the truth has to be cheerful; no point shooting the messenger - science - and no sense in preferring an alternative world view just because it feels more comfortable. In any case, science isn't all bleak. Nor, by the way, is science an arrogant know-all. Any scientist worthy of the name will warm to your quotation from Socrates: 'Wisdom is knowing that you don't know.' What else drives us to find out?

What saddens me most, Sir, is how much you will be missing if you turn your back on science. I have tried to write about the poetic wonder of science myself, but may I take the liberty of presenting you with a book by another author? It is The Demon-Haunted World by the lamented Carl Sagan. I'd call your attention especially to the subtitle: Science as a Candle in the Dark .

Thin Green Line Is Bad Science

Comment by Debra Saunders

There is a myth in the American media. It goes like this: The good scientists agree that global warming is human-induced and would be addressed if America ratified the Kyoto global warming pact, while bad, heretical scientists question climate models that predict Armageddon because they are venal and corrupted by oil money.

A Tuesday Open Forum piece in The San Francisco Chronicle, written by a UC Berkeley journalism professor and a UC Berkeley energy professor, provides a perfect example of this odd view that all scientists ascribe to a common gospel: "The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a U.N.-sponsored group of more than 2,000 scientists from more than 100 countries, has concluded that human activity is a key factor in elevated carbon-dioxide levels and rising temperatures and sea levels that could prove catastrophic for tens of millions of people living along Earth's coastlines."

The piece also cited research by "Naomi Oreskes, a science historian at UC San Diego, who reviewed 928 abstracts of peer-reviewed articles on climate change published in scientific journals between 1993 and 2003 and could not find a single one that challenged the scientific consensus that human-caused global warming is real."

The authors then attacked best-selling author Michael Crichton because Crichton accepted an invitation to testify from Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., "who is heavily supported by oil and gas interests" and who -- horrors -- dared to ask whether the global-warming scare is a hoax. That is the sort of McCarthyist guilt by association that one would not expect to encounter in the name of science.

Crichton spoke at an Independent Institute event Tuesday night with three apostate scientists. It's odd that Oreskes couldn't find a single article that didn't follow the thin green line on global warming. Panelist and Colorado State University professor of atmospheric science William M. Gray, a hurricane authority, announced that he thinks that the biggest contributor to global warming is the fact that "we're coming out of a little ice age," and that the warming trend will end in six to eight years.

Said Gray, sagely, "Consensus science isn't science." No lie. In fact, it's a bizarre argument. Why do global-warming believers keep pushing this everyone-agrees line when consensus uber alles is so, well, unacademic? The ideal should not be scientists who think in lockstep, but those in the proud mold of the skeptic, who takes a hard look at the data and proves conventional wisdom wrong.

Independent Institute President David Theroux hailed that trait in this year's winner of Nobel Prize for medicine, Barry Marshall, who believed ulcers were caused by bacteria, when the establishment knew that Marshall's theory was "preposterous" -- except that Marshall turned out to be right.

Crichton focused on the many times that fad science has been wrong. Remember Y2K? Ho-hum. The population-bomb scare? Yawn. Then there's Yellowstone, the national park that declined due to rangers' misbegotten (and often fatal for the wildlife) conviction that they knew what was best for the animals -- in this case, they killed wolves and overprotected elk until the whole ecosystem suffered.

On Tuesday, Inhofe issued a statement from Capitol Hill that noted how scientists with independent views don't get on too well with the IPCC. Witness Chris Landsea of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, who resigned from the IPCC this year because he believed an IPCC top hurricane scientist wrongly linked severe hurricanes to global warming. As a result, he wrote, "the IPCC process has been subverted and compromised, its neutrality lost."

I've seen this when covering failed educational fads: Curriculum boards chase out the free thinkers, then smugly announce that all the experts agree with them -- so they must be right.



Comment from NEW DELHI

"India is unlikely to agree to any emission caps in the next phase of the Kyoto Protocol because of its expanding energy-hungry economy, but analysts say developed nations will continue to pile pressure on the nation.

Asia's third-largest economy and home to about a sixth of humanity has some of the most polluted cities in the world, many of them continually shrouded in eye-stinging smog of noxious fumes from cars and industry. Its growing energy needs are only expected to increase along with pollution levels in the next few decades, despite growing fears that global warming will spare no one.

The Kyoto climate change pact requires developed nations to cut their emissions of heat-trapping gases by 5.2 percent from 1990 levels by 2008-2012. The United States and Australia refused to ratify the pact and developing nations, such as China and India are exempt from emissions caps all four countries say threaten economic growth. China's appetite for oil and coal is even greater than India's.

Both are likely to come under pressure to do more to curb emissions growth when they join officials from 150 countries in Montreal for a U.N. climate change summit. The Montreal meeting from November 28 will help shape the Kyoto Protocol after its first phase ends in 2012, but disagreement is rife and hopes of progress slim.

"There is no way that anybody can expect countries like India to cap their emissions for the next 20-25 years," said S.K. Joshi, a senior official in the environment ministry. "We welcome the talks among the parties for the second commitment period strictly in accordance with the requirements of the Kyoto Protocol. The issue of entitlements has to be addressed and the countries that have agreed to take on commitments under the protocol have to show demonstrable progress.""


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 November, 2005


(From Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics: "Regional sun-climate interaction" by A. Kilcik. In press, 2005.)


It is a clear fact that the Earth's climate has been changing since the pre-industrial era, especially during the last three decades. This change is generally attributed to three main factors: greenhouse gases (GHGs), aerosols, and solar activity changes. However, these factors are not all-independent. Furthermore, contributions of the above-mentioned factors are still disputed. We sought whether a parallelism between the solar activity variations and the changes in the Earth's climate can be established. For this, we compared the solar irradiance model data reconstructed by J. Lean to surface air temperature variations of two countries: USA and Japan. Comparison was carried out in two categories: correlations and periodicities. We utilized data from a total of 60 stations, 18 in USA and 42 in Japan. USA data range from 1900 to 1995, while Japan data range from 1900 to 1990. Our analyses yielded a 42 per cent correlation for USA and a 79 per cent for Japan between the temperature and solar irradiance. Moreover, both data sets showed similar periodicities. Hence, our results indicate marked influence of solar activity variations on the Earth's climate.

1. Introduction:

It is known that the solar radiation output changes periodically and also that it affects the Earth and near-space environment in various ways, such as the formation of aurora, adverse effects on satellites and communications, etc. Considering the historical evolution of climate changes on Earth, the cold period lasting from the second half of the 17th century to the beginning of the 18th century (1645-1715) is called Little Ice Age, and the corresponding period of practically no activity on the solar surface, Maunder Minimum. Contrary to this, the positive "Medieval Warm Period" (12th-14th centuries) appears to be less distinct; evidence, mostly from Western Europe, did not suggest that this was a global phenomenon (Mann et al., 1999). During this period, temperatures had been about 0.2 øC warmer than compared to 15th-19th centuries, but rather below those of mid-20th century (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), 2001). This might have arisen from higher solar activity, as claimed by Eddy (1976).

The Earth climate system has shown irregular changes during the second half of the 20th century, especially for the last three decades. Interest to this subject is therefore continuously increasing. Since the climate system depends on many parameters, such as evaporation, wind, pressure, rainfall, temperature, etc., climate change phenomenon is a very complex problem and the contribution of each parameter to this change is not clear. This change is generally attributed by many scientists including Hegerl et al. (1997) and Lean and Rind (1996) to the increasing concentration of greenhouse gases (GSGs) and aerosols in the atmosphere due to human activity. Among others, Santer et al. (1996), and Wigley et al. (1997) claim that solar forcing and anthropogenic forcing together are enough to explain overall warming trend. Another point due to Crowley (2000) is that the Earth climate system would have been controlled by the Sun before the pre-industrial era, but later anthropogenic effects began to dominate.

To show the Sun-climate connection, many indicators have been used in the literature. For the Sun, these are sunspot numbers (Chambers, 1878), sunspot areas (Nordo, 1955; Dixey, 1924), sunspot decay rates (Hoyt, 1979), solar rotation rates (Sakurai, 1977), solar cycle lengths (Friis-Christensen and Lassen, 1991), geomagnetic aa indices (Cliver and Boriakoff, 1998), solar irradiance changes (Pap, 2002; Floyd et al., 2002; Douglass et al., 2004), solar radius through solar irradiance (Rozelot, 2001), long-term solar activity data obtained from 14C, and 10Be isotope concentrations (Beer et al., 1988). These data sets are compared with climatic parameters such as surface temperature, rainfall, lake level, and air pressure. Amongst these, "temperature is the most commonly, and presumably the most accurately, measured parameter" (Hoyt and Schatten, 1997). Some of these solar activity data sets have shown good agreement with climate parameters, such as the length of the solar cycle and geomagnetic aa index.

2. Data and reduction:

We considered the solar irradiance as a reliable indicator of solar activity. However, observational solar irradiance data exist only since 1978. Hence, solar irradiance data acquired from the World Data Center (WDC) were compared to the data of Ca plage areas and sunspot areas (acquired from National Geophysical Data Center (NGDC)) which are indications of solar chromosphere and photosphere, respectively. Besides, we used surface temperature data acquired from the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) for analyses. We selected the temperature data according to the following criteria: presence of a minimum of 10 stations on selected regions and availability of uninterrupted monthly temperature data from these stations. Since USA and Japan have better long-term instrumental temperature data than most of the other countries, we used only these two countries' temperature data sets, the temperature being a climate indicator. In this study, temperature data sets covering the period 1900-1990 for Japan and 1900-1995 for USA were selected. These time interval selections are based on the coverage of both pre-industrial and fast-industrial growth era witnessed in these periods (Wiscombe, 1995; Tett et al., 1999). Monthly temperature data were used to obtain the annual mean values for each station. Station averages were then used to obtain the country-wide temperature data for each country. To satisfy equality of station heights and surface areas for both countries, data from only 18 stations of USA and 42 stations of Japan have been used in this study (see Fig. 1). Station heights vary between 3 and 497 m for USA and between 2 and 611 m for Japan.


5. Conclusion:

We know that a great deal of effort has been put to determine the effects of solar variability on the Earth's climate, and that, to explain the effects of all relevant factors in climate change, one needs to consider a model on a scale of decades to centuries. For the time being, proposed models are not yet of sufficient accuracy to permit any verification (Rozelot, 2001). This study is more a "heuristic" guide to the determination of the principal factors controlling our climate system. We obtained different correlation coefficients between temperatures and solar irradiance depending on the region considered, although we obtained almost identical periodicities for all data sets. Despite the fact that we only used the three-step running average smoothing technique, we obtained a fairly high correlation. On the other hand, our results suggest that atmospheric aerosols have more dominant effect on the Earth's climate than GHGs. Moreover, the existence of similar periodicities for all data sets point out that periodicities in the solar activity manifest themselves in periodic variations on the Earth's surface temperature with almost identical periods. However, prominence of this influence is suppressed by increasing concentration of GHGs in the atmosphere.

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

A Greenie Flop in Queensland, Australia

A "Green" project killed by Greenie fussing over almost everything to do with it. Excerpt from here:

"A power plant touted by the State Government as pioneering renewable energy generation is a multimillion-dollar flop. The troubled Rocky Point co-generation plant in the Woongoolba-Jacobs Well area south of Brisbane is expected to be sold at a fraction of its cost. The power plant - which uses sugarcane and timber waste to produce electricity - has cost its government-owned operator Stanwell Corp tens of millions of dollars since it was commissioned three years ago. It was worth $60 million when it opened in 2002 but is now valued at $7.5 million.

The plant had been forced to write down nearly $48 million, or about 80 per cent of its original value, as Stanwell Corp struggles against operating issues not planned for in the original design. The Rocky Point project cut Stanwell Corp's overall after-tax profit by more than $7.4 million to $29.4 million last financial year, a 28 per cent drop on its 2003-04 result.

Rocky Point also faced legal action by environmental authorities over its alleged role in allowing contaminated water to flow into the Logan River, leading to the death of a substantial amount of fish. The company has since upgraded its wastewater treatment facilities....

The Rocky Point plant also attracted a $3 million Commonwealth "renewable energy showcase" grant to help pay for its construction, which involved importing a steam turbine and generator from Germany. At the time it was commissioned, it was the largest co-generation facility of its type in Australia, powering the equivalent of 18,000 homes a year.

Promotional material produced by Stanwell boasts that the biomass industry had "extended the life of sugar farms in the Woongoolba area and ensured the viability of the Rocky Point sugar mill for another 20 years". The plant uses bagasse, or waste cane fibre, from the privately owned Rocky Point sugar mill, as well as council green waste, sawdust and woodchips. It also produces steam and electricity to power the sugar mill....

Stanwell chief executive Gary Humphrys yesterday issued a statement saying the plant's operational problems had to do with the processing of fuel and the disposal of waste water and ash. He said the requirement to store waste water and ash were "not planned in the original project design"."


An international panel including corporate and government officials who have been involved in climate-treaty negotiations has called for a broader version of the Kyoto Protocol, one that might include the Bush administration's voluntary approach to combating global warming. Its report, released here yesterday by the nonprofit Pew Center on Global Climate Change, calls for negotiators to revise the 1997 treaty to allow some countries to choose alternatives to international regulations that assign each country a quota and a timetable to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and five other gases thought to be contributing to climate change. Officials from the U.S., Japan, the United Kingdom and China were among the panel's members.

The next round of talks on the future of the treaty are slated to begin in two weeks at the United Nations' convention on climate change in Montreal.

The Pew Center's report endorses the Bush administration's gradual and voluntary reduction of carbon-dioxide emissions, in proportion to economic output, as one of a number of new approaches that might be used in 2012 when the treaty's current regulatory regime expires.

The Bush administration, however, said it isn't interested in an early renegotiation of the protocol. "We don't think initiating these discussions at this time is going to be productive," said one U.S. official, who underlined the administration's preference for voluntary efforts outside the treaty.

Charles Holliday Jr., chairman and chief executive of DuPont Co., one of five corporations involved in the Pew-sponsored study, said his company is "very much aligned" with the report's recommendations. He said the approach to climate change emphasizes the need for new technology and flexibility that will allow executives "to grow a business while addressing a societal need."

In signing the Kyoto Protocol, 38 industrial nations agreed to reduce their emissions from 1990 levels by an average 5.2% during the period from 2008 to 2012. One of the treaty's problems is that the globe's two largest emitters of man-made carbon dioxide, the U.S. and China, aren't subject to its controls. Another issue is that some of the protocol's most enthusiastic backers, including Canada, the U.K. and Italy, have recently been increasing their emissions, making it more difficult for them to meet the 2012 targets.

One of the leaders of the effort to broaden the treaty's reach and to experiment with more "flexible" controls is British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Echoing a complaint made previously by President Bush, Mr. Blair recently said that some governments "fear" that external controls would harm their economies. "We need to find a better, more sensitive set of mechanisms to deal with this problem," Mr. Blair said earlier this month. Afterward, his aides insisted the U.K. wasn't abandoning the treaty's targets and timetables.

The U.S. and Australia are among 40 nations that haven't joined the Kyoto treaty, and Canadian leaders will make an effort in Montreal to draw them into a broader agreement to curb emissions, outside the treaty's framework. China has ratified the treaty, but, as a developing nation, isn't subject to its emission controls. If some countries shift away from specific reductions and timetables after 2012, it could become more difficult to trade emissions credits, which allow countries and companies to reduce their obligations by financing cheaper emissions controls elsewhere, often overseas.



Or his he just setting them all a good example?

"A leading Brazilian environmentalist has died after setting fire to himself during a demonstration. Francisco Anselmo de Barros was protesting on Saturday against the construction of alcohol factories in the Pantanal marsh region. He died in intensive care a day later. He had suffered burns of more than 90% after wrapping himself in a burning duvet, the authorities said.

Mr Barros had dedicated his life to fighting for the environment. As president of the Foundation for the Conservation of Nature in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul, he had fought against the establishment of factories in the Pantanal basin since the early 1980s, when two were constructed there. Mr Barros argued that the burning of sugar cane would have a catastrophic effect on the area...."

(Sugarcane was burnt before harvesting for over a century every year in tropical Australia -- to protect the cane-cutters from disease and vermin -- and no-one found any problems with it. It was discontinued only when mechanical harvesters came in)


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 November, 2005

The Greenies Hate Us

Oz Politics has found some survey results that "floored him". Had I not expected them, they would have floored me too. He looked at the opinions expressed by the candidates whom the various political parties put up to represent them at a recent Australian election. I'll just pick out two results which confirm vividly what I have always said about the Greenies as being people-haters:

When asked "How proud are you to be Australian"?, below are the percentages who answered "Very proud"

Conservative coalition candidates: 96.2%
Labor Party candidates: 53.6%
Green Party candidates: 17.9%

What a contrast!

Perhaps even more revealing were the answers to the question: "How much respect do you have for individual freedom?". The percentages in each party who answered "A lot of respect" were the following:

Conservative coalition candidates: 67.5%
Labor Party candidates: 18.8%
Green Party candidates: 7.6%

One wonders why the Greenies don't all go and live somewhere else. Canada, maybe? (Hat tip to Evil Pundit)


Greenies admit that they are just using Grizzlies as a front for their general anti-development campaign

The Bush Administration will announce plans this week to remove the grizzly bear from the endangered species list, provoking a furious response from conservation groups. The White House is backing a plan to remove the protected status of the bears in areas surrounding the Yellowstone National Park because their numbers have gone up spectacularly in the 30 years since they were listed. If adopted, the plan could lead to the reintroduction of grizzly hunting across 2.4 million hectares (6 million acres) of wild and spectacular land in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.

The grizzly, or Ursus horribilis, is one of America's most fabled animals, and once roamed unchecked from the Great Plains to the Pacific Ocean. By 1975, however, after hunting and the destruction of much of their habitat because of human expansion, only 200 grizzlies survived in the greater Yellowstone area. Today, after one of the greatest accomplishments of the Endangered Species Act, more than 600 grizzlies live in the greater Yellowstone region. The population is growing at between 4 per cent and 7 per cent a year. Many scientists, and the US Fish & Wildlife Service, believe that Yellowstone holds as many bears as its landscape can support. Grizzlies have also begun roaming well beyond the park's borders, killing cattle, angering ranchers and triggering alarming face-to-face encounters with householders, whose rubbish bins are a welcome food source for the bear.

Under the Bush Administration plan, bears outside Yellowstone Park will no longer have federal protection. Instead, the three states will assume responsibility for their management, gaining far greater flexibility to open the areas for bear hunters. Already, in the past two years, 21 grizzlies have been illegally killed in northwest Montana alone. Bears inside Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks will remain protected.

The Sierra Club, a conservation group, and the National Resources Defence Council (NRDC) both claim that the end of federal protection will leave the grizzly vulnerable to habitat loss and persecution. They also say the plan is aimed at opening the way for oil and gas drilling, development and logging in the area. "Federal protection is the only reason these bears exist in Yellowstone today, and they aren't ready to survive without it," Louisa Willcox, director of the NRDC's wild bears project, said. "Delisting the Yellowstone bear prematurely would drive it back to the brink of extinction." She added: "It would open their habitat to oil and gas drilling and would allow hunters to kill bears that roam outside the park."

Lance Craighead, a bear biologist, said that many bears already live in areas outside the national parks. He said: "Development there has been restricted because of the bear's status. But once it's off, then the Bush Administration has nothing to slow down oil and gas development and timber harvest in those areas

More here


(From "The use of historical catch data to trace the influence of climate on fish populations: examples from the White and Barents Sea fisheries in the 17th and 18th centuries" in Journal of Marine Science, Volume 62, Issue 7 , October 2005, Pages 1426-1435 by Dmitry L. Lajus et al.)

"We analysed catch records of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar), cod (Gadus morhua), and halibut (Hippoglossus hippoglossus and Reinhardtius hippoglossoides) from the 17th and 18th centuries from several locations of the Barents and White Seas areas. Historical records, found in Russian archives, allow analysis of long-term series of catches, and sometimes of the average weight of the fish. In total, we obtained data on catches of salmon for 51 years (for the period from 1615 to 1772) and of cod and halibut for 33 years (for the period from 1710 to 1793). These data are comparable with respect to fishing effort within the series. The data on Atlantic salmon are also comparable with statistical data for the period 1875-1915. We found notable fluctuations in catches and sometimes in the average weight of salmon. There was also fluctuation in catches of cod and halibut. Both observational comparison of catch series and temperature data and formal statistical analysis showed that catches tended to decrease during relatively colder periods."

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


(The first by Michael R. Fox Ph.D., who has nearly 40 years experience in the energy field. He has also taught chemistry and energy at the University level. His interest in the communications of science has led to several communications awards, hundreds of speeches, and many appearances on television and talk shows):

"Fox News Reporter Rick Fulbaum signed off at the end of the 60-minute special on "Global Warming" this Sunday Nov. 13, 2005, by repeating the Fox News mantra "We Report, You Decide". Fulbaum and Fox News failed to provide any data upon which to make any decision. Where were the actual global temperature data from stations from around the world, where were the discussions of the fatal flaws of solar, wind energy, and ethanol to name a few? Where were the discussions of electrical energy, and what it has meant to the strength of our nation. Where were the discussions of the consequences of huge electrical shortages to a nation such as ours?

As a fan of Fox News network I was hoping the reporters would care enough about their credibility to present some of this information to be "fair and balanced". Instead the program promoted some of the same old green silliness we got during the Carter era 30 years ago.

I remember a speech by a newspaper editor when discussing the media's relationship to the truth. He said "Our only obligation to the truth is to quote liars accurately". I was also reminded of the observation of David Horowitz "How can we be fully educated if we are told only half the story?" Historian Robert Conquest also observed "How can a citizen be called fully educated if he has been trained to misunderstand the world". How can Foxnews consider itself to be "fair and balanced" if they tell only half the story, and that half with little merit?

Regrettably, Fox News reverted to being a propaganda ministry for the political left. Within the hour, Fox News dredged up many of the green cliches without provided any temperature data to support the warming claims. If one wonders whether the temperature is increasing or decreasing, he should check the thermometers (or in this case the temperature data). Nor was there any explanation of what energy is, no discussions of what a net energy source is, how it is made, and how energy benefits us all.

The same political movement which has opposed nuclear energy, oil energy, hydro energy, is now opposed to the rest of the fossil fuel, coal. Collectively these produce more than 98 percent of the nation's electrical energy. Oil fired energy provides a huge fraction of the energy needed for transportation. This movement is opposed to it all. If this movement can't abolish these sources outright, they are regulated to such a level as to make them too costly. These agendas need to be part of the discussions, too.

And what is it about the green lawyer Robert F. Kennedy, which Fox News finds so appealing? Is he an energy expert? Or is he just a noisy Kennedy lawyer, unskilled in physics, chemistry, and engineering? And what is it about Laurie David the self-appointed energy expert that Fox News found so appealing? What do these people know about climate, energy, and how energy is made, converted, and transported? What are their qualifications, and did Fox News look for anyone more qualified?

Was it the network's intent to actually train its audience, as Conquest might have observed, to misunderstand the world's climate? If not why not include people who do know about energy, energy flows, and climate? As a scientist I can state that if these "specials" make scandalous assertions without provided actual climate data, actual sea level data, actual ice data, and actual insolation data in these presentations, we can't take these shows seriously....

Fox News would do well to remember the advice by the great physics Nobelist Richard Feynman about the pursuit of truth and the limits of modeling (which the climate modelers would do well to remember):

"In general, we look for a new law by the following process. First, we guess it. Then we compute the consequences of the guess to see what would be implied if this law that we guessed is right. Then we compare the result of the computation to nature, with experiment or experience; compare it directly with observation to see if it works. If it disagrees with experiment (real data) it is wrong. It's that simple statement is the key to science. It does not make any difference how beautiful your guess is. It does not make any difference how smart you are, who made the guess, or what his name is -- if it disagrees with experiment (the actual data) it is wrong."

What could be simpler to understand? In the pursuit of truth the first obligation of a scientist (or anyone else) is to prove himself wrong. Regrettably, too many people today including people with law degrees, Ph.Ds and television shows, do not abide by this rule.

In stark contrast they don't pursue the truth, but instead advocate for particular agendas destructive as they may be, and a point of view (theirs), and suppress, ignore, and ridicule any data which do not support these agendas. It would have been more informative to the viewing audience if Fox News had adopted the powerful guidance from Feynman.

Other comments:

"Climatologist Patrick J. Michaels, the author of several books on climate change including "Meltdown: The Predictable Distortion of Global Warming by Scientists, Politicians, and the Media," believes the contribution of human activity on planetary warming will be "modest" and pointed out several examples of what Fox News omitted in terms of the scientific debate. "The net ice balance in Antarctica is positive, it is gaining ice," Michaels said, noting that the Fox News special only focused on areas where ice is melting to imply an alarming rise in sea level is imminent. Michaels is an environmental sciences professor at the University of Virginia and a senior fellow at the Cato Institute.

Antarctica "will contribute to reduction in sea level because it is gaining ice ... The net ice balance in Greenland is very close to neutral," Michaels added. Other scientific information was lacking, according to Michaels. "There have been three periods in the last 2,000 years in which Alaska was as warm as it is now; the show failed to mention that," he said. "Because of the nature of planetary warming and the central behavior of our computer models, we now know with considerable confidence that warming within the foreseeable future will be modest," Michaels added. "The other side, which I now include Fox News on, seems to do everything it can to suppress that story."

Michaels also disputed an assertion by Laurie David on Fox News Channel's "On The Record: With Greta Van Susteren" last week. After noting that people should "worry a lot" about climate change, David asserted, "there's been more consensus on this issue than there was consensus on smoking causes cancer." "To counter the argument that climate change will be modest requires invalidating billions of dollars worth of climate models," Michaels responded.

Meanwhile, the author of a new book debunking alarmist predictions on climate change is charging that Fox News Channel got "hoodwinked" by airing only one perspective. "The American people are being hoodwinked not just by the green activists, but by the scientists who get billions of dollars for creating global climate models that can't even forecast backward, let alone forward," said Dennis Avery of the Hudson Institute's Center for Global Food Issues in an interview with Cybercast News Service.

Avery is the co-author of the upcoming 2006 book entitled "Unstoppable Global warming-Every 1500 Years." The book is written with S. Fred Singer, the president of The Science & Environmental Policy Project. Avery maintains that any modest planetary warming is part of Earth's natural cycle. Avery joined Michaels in disputing what he termed the "alarmist" scientific scenarios in the Fox News special. "We are in our third warming in recorded human history. We had the Roman warming and the Romans thrived," Avery said. The second warming was during the medieval period, when "most of the castles and cathedrals of Europe were constructed ... because there was more food and thus more people and more labor."

Looking at more recent history, "the Arctic was warmer in 1930 than it is today," Avery said, insisting that any current warming trend is not unique or alarming. "We have evidence from around the globe in ice cores, sea bed sediments, cave stalagmites and pollen of fossilized pollen, that show that these [climate] cycles have existed for the last million years. They are moderate, natural and solar linked," Avery said. Contrary to the Fox News special, which depicted large portions of Florida being inundated in the future with rising sea levels as ice melts, Avery said there is nothing to worry about. "It's not a disaster. Every single species on the planet has been through at least 600 of these two degree (Celsius) warming cycles," he said, referring to past warming periods.

Jody Clarke, the spokeswoman for the free market environmental group Competitive Enterprise Institute, (CEI) joined in the criticism of the Fox News special. Clarke said she was "surprised" by the opening disclaimer, which explained that viewers would "hear primarily from those experts and citizens who believe that global warming is a crisis." Clarke said after watching the show, she realized that the disclaimer "should have said all of the experts will express this particular point of view," noting the absence of any contrarian scientific point of view in the hour-long program. CEI sent a letter to Fox News CEO Roger Ailes last week protesting that only one scientific perspective was featured in the special"."


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 November, 2005


It began with all the hype of a Hollywood movie trailer. Flickering scenes of smokestacks, trucks and cars whizzing down the highway and dead fish in a stream were overlain with this ominous message: "The earth is sending out a desperate alarm." That's how Fox News began its self-described "special on climate change and global warming." "The Heat Is On" went downhill from there, piling on a steady stream of left-wing activists, Hollywood celebrities, inaccuracies and exaggerations to paint a picture of a global climate apocalypse.

The broadcast showed terrifying images of Hurricane Katrina with a voiceover by reporter Rick Folbaum, who hosted the documentary. "And this past summer, a preview of another threat of global warming," he said ominously. However, a statement on the Web Site by Folbaum made it clear he didn't even believe that was true. "Did global warming cause Hurricane Katrina? We wanted to know, since we were working on this report at the same time the Gulf Coast was devastated. The answer we got was no," said Folbaum's statement.

Fox News Live's Jamie Colby introduced the special by saying that a Fox poll found "77 percent of Americans believe global warming is happening." She told viewers, "You'll hear primarily from those experts and citizens who believe that global warming is a crisis." Colby added that "Many people disagree with that statement," but none of them was cited in the hour-long documentary. She vowed that "We will continue to investigate the science and hear from others in future Fox programming."

"The Heat is On" was a quite a departure for Fox. A Nov. 8, 2004, Free Market Project (FMP) study found Fox News the best of all five major TV networks in its news stories about global warming and the Kyoto Protocol. FMP analyzed news coverage from Jan. 20, 2001, until Sept. 30, 2004, and found "The Fox News Channel delivered better and more balanced reporting on global warming."

The heat has actually been on Fox News for several days as climate change critics heard about the impending broadcast. According to a Cybercast News Service story by Randy Hall and Marc Morano, Competitive Enterprise Institute senior fellow Chris Horner "is also criticizing Fox News Channel, not only for its decision to air the documentary, but for featuring Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., a prominent agenda-driven environmentalist and registered lobbyist for green causes ... as a 'special correspondent' for the show."

Folbaum made it clear on the Web site that he had made up his mind ahead of time: "I've learned this simple fact: the earth is heating up," or as he put it in the broadcast, "Now for the bad news. The heat is on." Folbaum didn't stop there. He talked about assigning blame: "Is this our fault? There are scientists out there who argue that none of this is human-related. But those experts appear to be in the minority." So much so that he left them out of the entire report. However, Folbaum started off his broadcast with this vow: "And here at Fox News Channel, we like to examine the big issues facing Americans: terrorism, crime, health care, just to name a few. Tonight, we make a commitment to shed light, not heat, on one of the biggest issues looming on the horizon."

The only thing Folbaum shed was balance. In all, the "Fair & Balanced" network included nearly 30 people in the broadcast and nearly all were strong believers in climate change. The only other people represented were a few environmentally friendly speakers who took no public position on the issue. Folbaum went so far as to describe the U.N.-sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as the place "where policy makers turn for the last word on global warming." What he left out is that the only policy makers who do that are the ones with a global warming agenda.

The Realities of Global Warming:

There are three major issues involving climate change: 1) Is it happening?; 2) If so, who is to blame?; and 3) What might we do about it? The Fox special left no doubt about the first two. Yes, Folbaum said it is happening, although scientists dispute how much warming has really occurred. The Fox report claimed the earth has warmed two degrees in the last hundred years. Many other scientists claim the change is just one degree, and there are strong questions about the accuracy of the measurements.

In answer to the second question, Folbaum was quick to let the Sierra Club place blame on corporate America. "So who is to blame for global warming?" he asked and then let Dan Becker, the club's Global Warming and Energy Program director, answer. According to Becker, industry was clearly at fault and he was trying to stop "corporate polluters claiming to solve the problem."

The special was light on what really could be done about climate change. While it included some possible choices including ethanol, bio-diesel and hydrogen energy sources, it also undermined those options. "While ethanol has plenty of fans already, environmentalists argue ethanol production and even corn farming is very polluting," said Folbaum. He went on to point out other problems with various alternatives, including the million-dollar cost for a hydrogen-powered car.

A Hollywood Production:

The Fox program was a quintessential Hollywood production - complete with celebrities from Alan Alda to NASCAR driver Paul Dana and filled with songs from "The Electric Slide" to the theme from the cartoon "Speed Racer." It wouldn't be a climate change report without clips from the left-wing propaganda film "The Day After Tomorrow," and this broadcast was no exception. Not only did Folbaum use clips from the movie, he interviewed Jeffrey Nachmanoff, a "co-screenwriter" of the movie. Folbaum even included the major life changes Nachmanoff was making to stop climate change. "I changed out light bulbs in my house to make them high-efficiency light bulbs," explained the screenwriter.

Much of the broadcast focused on the efforts of Laurie David, the wife of TV writer/actor Larry David, the creator of "Seinfeld." The November edition of Outside magazine claimed she had managed to convince Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes to do the special. David had been on Fox's "On the Record" where she admitted "I'm not a scientist." That didn't matter for a program that made its point with numerous scary scenarios that included sharks, numerous horrific diseases, widespread floods and "death and destruction" as one graduate student Folbaum interviewed put it.

Some Errors That Slipped Into the Broadcast:

In addition to the one-sided propaganda of the Fox broadcast, there were several factual errors:

* Folbaum claimed that "Eight years ago, the Kyoto Protocol was pushed as a solution. The agreement required the U.S. to cut emissions by 7 percent" by 2012. That is incorrect. The U.S. received the strongest sanction and was required to cut emissions 7 percent below 1990 levels - nearly 20 percent below 2004 estimates.

* He quoted former President Bill Clinton advocating for Kyoto. "But the Bush White House said Kyoto would cost companies and the American taxpayers too much money," he added. Actually, the massive cost and job loss figures for Kyoto don't come from the Bush White House. They come from the government's Energy Information Administration and were calculated during the Clinton administration. According to EIA, Kyoto would cost the United States between $225 billion to more than $400 billion per year. The agency also predicted signing the treaty would cause widespread employment loss nationwide ranging from 1.1 million to 4.9 million jobs. And it wasn't only the Bush White House that rejected the treaty, either - that was a 95-0 Senate vote.

* The report quoted Michael Oppenheimer of Princeton University, who claimed, "It's become too late for the U.S. to realistically meet its Kyoto goals." Since the U.S. never signed on to the treaty, that is irrelevant. But what the report left out is that other nations won't meet Kyoto goals, either. For example, even the Sierra Club of Canada admitted in its 2004 report card that Canada "has made little progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions." Aftenposten reported in September that Norway's "greenhouse gases" had actually increased.



The usual exhibitionists and self-promoters at work

Greenpeace activists blockaded three entrances to Downing Street with several tonnes of coal in protest at what they see as the Prime Minister's failure to tackle global warming. The protesters simultaneously dumped sacks of the polluting fuel across the Horse Guards Road entrance, the King Charles Street entrance and the access point of Horse Guards Parade.

The campaigners informed police what they were about to do before a truck emblazoned with the slogan "Blair - Climate Failure" tipped the mounds of coal in front of the gates to Tony Blair's residence. Another tipper truck destined for the Whitehall entrance, with 14 tonnes on board and the slogan "Things can only get wetter", was stopped by police.

Greenpeace claim Mr Blair is "rowing back" on his commitment to the Kyoto Protocol - the international and legally binding agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. The environmental campaign group also claims that, in a series of statements in recent weeks, the Prime Minister has appeared to cast doubt on his long-term support for the global agreement and they are unhappy that carbon dioxide emissions have risen since Labour came to power.

Stephen Tindale, a former environment adviser to Labour and now the executive director of Greenpeace, said: "We've blockaded Downing Street with coal because Tony Blair has failed on climate change. "We hope he clears his diary and spends the day in his office working to strengthen Kyoto and cut British emissions, because so far all he's done is make speeches. "They told us things can only get better, but Blair's burning more coal than ever, our CO2 emissions have gone up, he's set to miss his own global warming targets and now it seems he's trying to kill off the Kyoto Protocol."

Greenpeace is preparing to publish a dossier detailing what it considers to be Mr Blair's failures on the issue of climate change. The group points to the rise in CO2 emissions since Mr Blair became Prime Minister, the failure to stem the flow of wasted energy from Britain's buildings and the growth in the use of cars.



British scientists have confirmed that recent rises in UK temperatures and sea levels are directly linked to the obesity rate and not to pollution levels as was originally thought.

Doctor Greg Mullet of the British Medical Association, said: "The BMA has carried out its most extensive research effort ever over the past couple of days. We have identified that the rise in UK temperatures is due to the increased calorie intake of some of our population, equivalent to an additional 29.597 billion Giga-Joules of heat energy, and that the 'perceived rise' in sea levels around the UK is simply due to the fact that the UK is sinking with the increased weight of its population".

"We can also back these findings with archaeological evidence that shows this has happened before. Not many people are aware that around 600 years ago, next to the Isle of Wight, was the 'Isle of Left' whose major exports were chocolate and sponge cakes. This island sank without trace around the year 1376 with no survivors - as all the boats sank when the population tried to leave."

The BMA report also highlights links to the number of motorway repairs, cracks in pavements, and the reduction in the number of carriages that can now be pulled by the average British locomotive. The report also identifies that a minor tsunami on Blackpool beach earlier this year was caused by two members of the Mullet family, on holiday from Sheffield, entering the water at the same time.

Professor Douglas Ramsbottom of the global research organisation 'Scientists for Lowering Obesity' (SLOB) said: "With one in five of the British population officially classed as a 'salad-dodger', we believe at this rate of increase in obesity that the UK will be totally submerged in about fifty years."

According to a Downing Street spokesman: "The government is taking the report seriously and considering a variety of options, including forcibly redistributing some of the population more evenly across the UK, and sending John Prescott as Ambassador to Iran."

Source (Yes. It is a spoof. Hard to tell these days, though)


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 November, 2005


(A summary of Goosse, H., Renssen, H., Timmermann, A. and Bradley, R.S. (2005): "Internal and forced climate variability during the last millennium: a model-data comparison using ensemble simulations" Quaternary Science Reviews 24: 1345-1360 from CO2 Science Magazine, 9 November 2005)


The Northern Hemispheric temperature reconstruction of Mann et al. (1999) and the global temperature reconstruction of Mann and Jones (2003) fail to clearly portray the existence of the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) and Little Ice Age (LIA), which failure has led many proponents of CO2-induced global warming to conclude that these multi-century intervals of relative warmth and cold were but regional temperature anomalies that occurred in certain lands surrounding the North Atlantic Ocean, as opposed to true Northern Hemisphere-wide or global phenomena forced by variations in some factor or factors external to earth's climate system.

What was done:

In the present paper, the authors "address the question as to whether the MWP and the LIA are robust features which were forced by solar and volcanic activity or whether they are representations of internal climate noise." This is done via a three-dimensional climate model that was used to perform 25 simulations over the last millennium driven by what the authors believe to be "the main natural and anthropogenic forcing." The results of these model runs were then "compared to available reconstructions in order to evaluate the relative contribution of internal and forced variability during this period."

What was learned:

The results of this "model-data comparison," in the words of Goosse et al., was that the MWP and LIA were found to be "hemispheric-scale phenomena, since the temperature averaged over the Northern Hemisphere was, respectively, generally higher/lower during those periods because of a stronger/weaker external forcing at that time."

With respect to the former of these periods, they say "the MWP was a hemispheric-scale phenomenon, at least [our italics], since the temperature averaged over the Northern Hemisphere was generally higher during the period 1000-1200 AD than during the following centuries," and they state that "this is the consequence of a global [our italics] forcing, external to the climate system itself."

Natural internal variability of the system still exerts itself, however, and in some places and at some times it masks the external global signal; and "because of this role of internal variability," as they put it, they conclude that "synchronous peak temperatures during the MWP between different locations are unlikely to have occurred." Nevertheless, they find that on local and regional scales, the external forcing results in "a higher probability for any location to have warm conditions than cold ones during the MWP."

What it means:

These findings are very significant, for they support the likely global-scale reach of the MWP and LIA. They are not yet the end of the story, however, for as noted by Goosse et al., they were "only able to test the response of the physical processes well represented in the model and processes not included might imply a different behavior," as well, we would add, as a different magnitude of temperature change. Many of the papers whose archived reviews may be found in our Subject Index, for example, portray a much warmer MWP than is suggested by the data employed by Mann et al. and Mann and Jones in developing their temperature histories. Hence, we believe it will not be too much longer before it will be impossible to deny that the MWP was at least as warm as it has been in recent decades, the significance of which conclusion resides in the fact that whatever caused the warming of the Medieval Warm Period (which we know was not CO2) could well be responsible for creating the equivalent (or possibly even lesser) warmth of the Modern Warm Period.

Nature cult's devious tactics exposed

Nature cultists have been lying for decades about the supposedly "devastating" impacts of ranching, mining, lumbering, and just about any other productive use of the Western lands that you can think of. One of their favorite tactics is to post misleading photos of "damaged" lands on their Web sites -- blithely ignoring the fact that many ecosystems depend on large ungulates (today's cattle partially replacing yestersday's bison, elk or antelope) to trample grass seeds into the ground, fertilize and stir up creeks to promote insect hatches, etc.

Down in Arivaca, Ariz., near the Mexican border, rancher Jim Chilton, 66, went on the Internet and was shocked to find a bunch of green extremists dubbed the Center for Biological Diversity had done the same job on him, posting photos which they claimed showed the harm Joe's 425 cattle were doing to his mountainous 21,500-acre leased alotment of U.S. Forest Service land. But this time, they'd picked on the wrong cowhand. True, Jim Chilton is a fifth-generation descendant of frontier settlers who still owns the first saddle he got as a child (it's now used by his 4-year-old grandson), and often spends 12-hour days in the (now presumably larger) saddle. But Jim Chilton is neither struggling economically, nor unversed in the ways of the world. Besides ranching, Joe is president of a Los Angeles municipal investment bank he co-founded, and which his oldest son now largely runs, The Wall Street Journal reported in an Aug. 19 feature story.

Mr. Chilton set about taking his own photos of the very areas the nature cultists contended his cattle had destroyed -- showing the pro-desert group's photos had been carefully framed to make isolated dirt patches amidst plentiful greenery look like some kind of war zone. His real coup, though, concerned photo No. 18 -- a shot of Joe's cattle resting on a bare stretch of sand. Joe Chilton filed a defamation lawsuit against the center in January 2004, contending the stretch of sand depicted in photo No. 18 had been the site of a big May Day weekend campout involving several hundred people only two weeks before the center's posted photo had been taken. And he produced a photo of the campout. Under oath at the two-week trial, CBD member A.J. Schneller admitted that he had attended the camporee on the Forest Service site, and knew darned well what had trampled down the land.

Mr. Chilton said he would have been happy with the vindication of a $1 damage award. But the Tucson jury was not so forgiving, awarding $600,000, including $500,000 in punitive damages against the lying anti-human green extremists, whose co-founder now says the jury award could financially devastate the group. Let's hope so. The real goal of these fruitcakes is to remove all human activity from vast swatches of the rural West (turning most of it back into an untended desert), whereupon they seem to imagine only they and their closest friends will be handed picnic permits.

And the Center for Biological Diversity is actually among the more litigious of these gangs; a third of its $3 million income in 2003 came from court awards and settlements, according to the Journal. Live by the sword, die by the sword? Jim Carlton of the Journal reports the Chilton case "if upheld, could spark a legal uprising by ranchers against environmentalists, experts say." The lawsuit "has given hope to a lot of ranching families," agrees C.B "Doc" Lane, executive vice president of the Arizona Cattle Growers' Association. And about time.

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DDT Saves Lives in Fight against Malaria

The President's decision in June to spend an additional $1.2 billion over five years to halve the cases of malaria around the world was very welcome. Sadly, this noble gesture may be worth less than it should be, due to excessive reliance on bad advice and continued trust in an agency with a poor record on malaria control.

It is the current fashion in international public health to attempt malaria control with insecticide-treated bednets. However, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), which has been put in charge of the project, buys very few nets. In the recent past, while USAID has spent over $400 million on malaria control, analysis of the 2004 budget shows less than 10 percent of this was spent on actual commodities that save lives. USAID considers that its area of expertise is to provide technical assistance and this is consistent with why 81 percent of its 2004 budget never left the United States. While USAID advises people to sleep under bednets and doctors to buy drugs, it regards the provision of these essentials to be somebody else's job. USAID is reticent about publishing data on its projects, but in the few cases that have been detailed it was shown that, while this advice had been dispensed, neither bednets nor drugs were available.

Net Distribution is not Disease Prevention. Nevertheless, USAID touts its policy as a success and hopes to apply the model in Angola . According to its own reports: "[T]he distribution of free ITNs [insecticide treated nets] to mothers at the time they bring their children for immunizations has been very successful in both Togo and Zambia ." Ninety percent of mothers went away with bednets. But distribution is not protection; unfortunately USAID considers distribution a successful end-point. This is a fatally flawed assumption for several reasons.

In the rural areas, after six months, only 72 percent of households had even bothered to hang up the nets. iv Donald Roberts, Professor of Tropical Diseases at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, analyzed USAID's papers for Africa Fighting Malaria-the organization that we head-and said that: "A review of data on use of insecticide treated nets in Zambia and Togo show that even when nets are provided free of charge, less than 56 percent of children possessing nets actually sleep under them. Net usage in urban areas is considerably less than the 56 percent usage in rural areas."

Only one net per household is distributed. Since children under five are at greatest risk of death, the youngest child is often allowed the protection, but what if there are several children under five in the house? What about other family members? Many malaria l mosquitoes enter houses at sunset and feed most aggressively in the early hours of darkness, so unless a child is actually in bed under the net at nightfall he is at risk. If the protected child cannot sleep and wants to get into bed with Mom and Dad, stay up late, or get up early he is at risk.

Furthermore, the insecticide-usually synthetic pyrethroids-in the net wears off after several months and, unless USAID is planning to buy long lasting insecticide nets, the net has to be taken for re-treatment. It is unclear from the reports from Zambia and Togo how many nets were brought back for re-treatment. Additionally, nets can be torn easily and subsequently offer very little protection. USAID cannot claim success in net distribution when it doesn't even know if the nets have been re-treated. None of these problems were measured in USAID-backed reports to estimate real efficacy, and, far more importantly, there was no effort to measure impact on morbidity or mortality from malaria .

The Solution: Indoor Residual Spraying. Fortunately, there are highly effective alternatives. Several southern African states have initiated their own programs using a proven prevention method along with new treatment drugs to successfully control malaria . The only problem with this method is that it is politically unpopular in the developed world, and, most dismaying, it is shunned on environmental grounds that have no relationship to usage in malaria control.

The best method of protection against malaria, in use for 50 years, is indoor residual spraying (IRS), which consists simply of spraying insecticide on the interior walls of houses. And the most effective, safest, cheapest, longest-lasting insecticide for this job is DDT-it crucially deters mosquitoes from entering a building where it has been sprayed. DDT eradicated malaria from the U.S. and Europe and its careful use led to dramatic declines in many other parts of the world. But over the last four decades environmental activists have persuaded public health professionals against using insecticide sprays, especially DDT.

Where this dubious advice has been followed, malaria rates have risen proportionately to the reduction in spraying. But fortunately, those countries that did not have to rely on foreign funding for malaria protection-and could therefore afford to make their own public health decisions-went back to using DDT. A private initiative by a mining company in Zambia, covering over 360,000 of its workers, their families, and surrounding villages, reduced malaria incidence by 50 percent in just one year. After South Africa suffered its worst ever malaria outbreak, it decided to risk Western displeasure and revert to the old methods. In one year, incidence of malaria was reduced by 80 percent. Uganda is currently considering a return to DDT but is being threatened by the European Union (EU) with sanctions against agricultural products....

Concluding his analysis of bednet distribution programs in Togo and Zambia and USAID's favored approach, Professor Roberts says: "These data show the fatal flaw of placing total reliance on use of insecticide treated nets for malaria prevention. Additionally, the costs, planning, and infrastructure required for net use are far greater and more demanding of scarce public health resources than proponents are willing to admit."

Conclusion. President Bush has shown great foresight and compassion in determining to control malaria , and has consistently mentioned the need for IRS. But by setting a target that is not measurable, and using USAID, which grudgingly accepts moderate coverage of IRS, as implementing organization, little good will come. Yet it is not too late. If the Bush Administration shifts USAID to buying malaria-preventing commodities, especially DDT, and assesses performance on actual cases and deaths rather than simple bednet distribution, real success is possible.

More here


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

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

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


14 November, 2005


The weather has been on everyone’s mind of late. First it was Katrina, followed by Rita, and then Wilma wondering about in a fashion that defied the ability of the most sophisticated computers of the U.S. Weather Service to predict. Typically, the perpetrators of scare campaigns were quick to announce that the number and ferocity of these and other hurricanes this passed season was due to “global warming.”

This is as false as the theory of global warming. Climatologists agree the hurricanes were due to the Atlantic Ocean Conveyer, a system that determines whether the ocean is warmer or cooler, moving large currents around. It is, like most things in nature, a regular cycle, one that produced many storms in the 1940s and 50s, then eased off until the 70s and 80s, and has now returned.

It is well known that, of the course of billions of years, the earth has gone through warming and cooling cycles. From 1850 to 1950, the earth gained about one degree Fahrenheit in warmth. It has been warmer in the past such as during the millions of years that dinosaurs existed. The earth, however, is not showing signs of significant warming. The Ice Shelf in Greenland and Antarctic is actually getting thicker and, in 2004, the temperature in the Arctic grew noticeably cooler. This is not something to be ignored because the earth has been in an interglacial period between ice ages that lasts about 11,200 years and we are due another ice age any day now.

Just as there is nothing mankind can do to prevent a bogus global warming, there is likely nothing we can do to avoid the very real prospect of the next ice age. When it comes it will be extinction time for people, plants, and animals north of the equator. That’s the way it was the last time. Indeed, in the course of its five billion years, the earth has experienced such extinctions on a regular basis.

While the environmentalists have flooded the classrooms and media of America with endless nonsense about global warming, the fact is that the schedules, i.e. the movement of the earth around the sun, galactic timetables, and ways in which the earth and our solar system function are well known to scientists who study these things and, frankly, none if it bodes well for the human race and other critters. At least, that is the conclusion of Robert W. Felix, the author of Not by Fire, But by Ice: The Next Ice Age Now ($15.95, Sugarhouse Publishing, Bellevue, Wash.) Piling scientific fact upon fact, Felix notes that, “We’re beginning to realize that earth is a violent and dangerous place to live. We’re beginning to realize that mass extinctions have been the rule, rather than the exception for the 3.5 billion years that life has existed on earth.”

There’s environmental propaganda and then there is hard, cold science. No pun intended. Here’s what Felix writes: “Then, about 11,500 years ago, the ice age ended. And it ended fast. As the world grew warmer, tropical animals moved back into Europe, and the barren tundra filled with trees once again…It was a global sweep of death--mass extinction--destroying not only the mammoth, but some 75% of all of America’s larger mammals. But why only the big ones? And why so fast?”

It hardly does justice to Felix and his book to try to encapsulate his view that a predictable reversal of the magnetic poles will act as a trigger for the next ice age and it is not the much ballyhooed global warming that troubles Felix, but evidence that vast, unseen, underwater volcanic warming of the earth’s oceans will bring about the next ice age. As the oceans warm, evaporation increases, which leads to more precipitation and when the excess precipitation begins falling as snow, it portends a new ice age.

“There is a cycle,” says Felix, “a cycle that includes orogenesis (creation of mountains), seismic activity, sea level changes, black shale deposition, volcanism, extinctions, seafloor spreading and magnetic reversals.” (To learn more, visit

Science is a wonderful thing. It gathers huge quantities of facts, organizes, tests, and analyzes them. It is science that has given us an understanding of gravity, our solar system, the human genome, and everything else that has influenced and advanced our lives. Felix has peered into the past and into the future to warn us that all to bundle up. Is he right? I hope not, but the science he cites, plus the climate worldwide, seems to suggest that he is.



And "natural" is the Greenies' highest term of praise

It took humans until the 20th century to build a nuclear reactor. Mother Nature, on the other hand, built one that turned itself off and on, stored its waste, never threatened a meltdown—and did it 2 billion years ago.

Physicists analyzing a tiny sample of this ancient georeactor—discovered in the African country of Gabon in 1972—have now determined how it worked. Alexander Meshik at Washington University in Saint Louis and his colleagues conclude that river water trickling into uranium-rich bedrock acted like the control rods in a modern reactor, increasing the efficiency of fission and causing the uranium to produce a chain reaction. The reaction released heat that boiled the water. Once all the water was gone, the fission fizzled out, preventing a meltdown. Gradually, more water trickled in and the process started anew.

By analyzing how xenon (a radioactive by-product of the reaction) was trapped in the rock as it periodically cooled, Meshik’s team could measure the timing of this ancient nuclear cycle. For 150 million years the reactor switched on for 30 minutes every couple of hours or so. “What’s amazing is that it was exactly 30 minutes—not 25, not 35,” Meshik says. Grains of a natural compound called alumophosphate had sequestered the xenon waste for eons without leaks. Eventually so much of the original uranium decayed that the reactor shut down for good. The whole process confirms that the laws of nuclear physics worked just the same 2 billion years ago as they do today. Now we just need to match nature’s finesse.



I guess I am biologically important to the bacteria that infest my gut

In the community where I live, environmentalists are hard at work to put a stop to all developments, meaning, all efforts to increase the available housing and other human amenities for people wanting to live there. Orange County, CA, is a highly prized area—the weather is very desirable, there is nowadays an abundance of jobs, schools are passable, and the entertainment and amusement being offered up are better than in most places around the globe. So it’s no wonder people want to live there, and those with land find a demand to fill for homes and other amenities—developments, as they have been dubbed, probably because the designation tends to remove from it the human element and suggests raw greed.

Just now the biggest land owner in the region, the Irvine Company, has proposed what is referred to the "East Orange scheme," which is the nemesis of the local and other branches of the Sierra Club. The Club and all its allies are hard at work to try to bring the project to a halt. Their first line of attack is based on the contention that the new development is likely to grind the local traffic to a halt. But, in fact, this is only the first of their salvos. The far more important sounding reason they offer—when you check out their web site at — is that, "These lands are part of one of the most biologically important open space areas in the entire state." ....

Anyway, what struck me about the crucial reference to how "biologically important" is the land to be used for development is that, while it sounds significant, if one thinks about it a bit, that phrase carries very little meaning. Suppose it said that the land is botanically important? Or zoologically important? Or residentially important? All these might convey some nearly clear meaning because they point to an area of life that the land may benefit. It may help plants, or animals, or people looking for someplace to live. "Biologically" is too broad a category and, since the company’s plans to develop it for human habitation, that, too, may well be part of what makes it important. We are, after all, biological entities, and when land is used to provide us with living space, that could be construed as being biologically important.

Surely, however, this is not what the Sierra Club & Co., want to convey by that phrase. But then, what? Something, one may assume, that is left deliberately unspecified in the text on the website. For something to be important, it must be important to something else. Water is important for most life, as is oxygen and inhabitable land. Because, however, there is probably more demand for such land in certain regions of the world than is available, priorities need to be set.

In a free society the priorities are set by way of the pricing system, because costs show just how badly people want something. This amounts to a reasonably sensible rationing process, where the quantity and quality of goods people receive depends on how well-off they are, how hard they have worked to be so well-off, how lucky they have been, etc. All this works out without some group of central planners of the kind they had in the old Soviet Union, groups that are in the end clueless about how to allocate resources rationally.

My bet is that the Sierra Club people are just as clueless about that as were those in the Kremlin, although I am sure they fancy themselves very wise. And this they evidence by using such ambiguous and thus useless language as exemplified by the phrase "biologically important." Don’t get me wrong—gridlock on Orange County roads can be hellish, in part because they are built by government, which tends to plan much like those guys did in the Kremlin, without a clear idea what actually is in demand and how much it will cost. Still, one can appreciate worries about crowded roads and other infrastructure challenges. What is a mystery, however, is what on earth "biologically important" should be understood to mean

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 November, 2005


Mankind would henceforth be found guilty of existing, and through his existence, be found guilty of causing hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes, global warming, and other natural phenomenon. The intrinsically evil worldview had finally stepped out of the shadows and revealed an appalling goggle-eyed face of neo-paganism. The stage had been set for the next phase of their plan to redeem the world from the evil of humankind. The campaigns to debase humanity, to destroy social and human norms, and to eliminate the human plague organisms began apace.

Humans As Nonpersons and Plague Species

1. "Saying homo sapiens are a `plague species,' the London Zoo opened a new exhibit featuring--eight humans. We have set up this exhibit to highlight the spread of man as a plague species and to communicate the importance of man's place in the planet's ecosystem." (Human Beings: Plague Species; WorldNet Daily, 2005)

2. "Human beings, as a species, have no more value than slugs." (Earth First! Journal editor John Daily)

3. "To feed a starving child is to exacerbate the world population problem." (Yale professor Lamont Cole)

4. "The only hope for the world is to make sure there is not another United States." (Michael Oppenheimer, Environmental Defense Fund)

5. "Until such time as homo sapiens decide to rejoin nature, (we) can only hope for the right virus to come along." (David Graber, research biologist with the National Park Service)

6. "Nonpersons or potential persons cannot be wronged.because death does not deprive them of something they value." (John Harris, Sir David Alliance professor of bioethics, University of Manchester, England)

On the Elimination of Human Weeds and Other Schemes

1. "In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine, and the like would fill the bill. All these dangers are caused by human intervention.the real humanity itself." (The First Global Revolution, published by the Club of Rome)

Note: The Club of Rome bills itself as a global think tank. It's comprised of scientists, economists, businessmen, international high civil servants, university presidents, members of parliament, heads of state, and former heads of state from all five continents. They describe themselves as people "who believe that the future of humankind is not determined once and for all." This is code for evolutionary humanism.

2. "In Guyana, within 2 years, it (DDT) had almost eliminated chief quarrel with that it has greatly added to the population problem." (Alexander King, former president of the Club of Rome)

Note: In the 60's, a group of depopulation environmentalists conspired to have DDT banned from being used to control mosquitoes and malaria. The subsequent banning of DDT resulted in millions of deaths. One source estimated the death total as 500 million.

3. "I do not pretend that birth control is the only way in which population can be kept from increasing. There are others.If a Black Death could be spread throughout the world once in every generation survivors could procreate.without making the world too full.the state of affairs might be unpleasant but what of it? Really high-minded people are indifferent to suffering, especially that of others." (Bertrand Russell, The Impact of Science on Society)

Note: Although they've not managed to spread a Black Death, they have managed to ignite a worldwide conflagration of STDS and AIDS. Keep in mind that it's progressives, liberals and their international cohorts who have been preaching their gospel of ''salvation and redemption by sex'' (safe sex). What they don't want you to know is that it's the environment (Gaia) that they are trying to save from the human plague. Causing human weeds to become diseased, sterile, psychologically damaged, or to die is part of their scheme to redeem the world.

Ask yourselves why there has been no logical response to this plague. Why, for instance, has there been no call to quarantine the infected? And in the face of mounting death totals (468,000 dead from AIDs since 1981), why do they continue to teach your children to engage in the very behaviors which they know to be the cause of death? The CDC (2002) reports that 16,000 deaths from AIDs occur annually. Another 40,000 new cases of infection occur within the same time frame. There are 1 million cases of HIV, 31-50 million of herpes simplex, 24 million of HPV, and 1 million cases of chronic hepatitis B.

Now connect the dots between the Aids and STDs devastations and the 486,000,000 surgically and chemically induced abortions between 1965-1996 ( It would appear that America is on a slippery-slope to committing demographic suicide.

How Many Should We Allow to Exist?

1. "The total world population should be no more than 2 billion rather than the current 5.6 billion." (Cornell University professor David Pimentel, speaking before the American Assoc. for the Advancement of Science)

2. "The damage people cause is a function of demographics.One American burdens the earth much more than 20 Bangladeshes.In order to stabilize world population, we must eliminate 350,000 people per day." (Jacques Cousteau, the UNESCO Courier, Nov. 1991)

3. "Cut the population by 90%" (Dr. Sam Keen, Gorbachev Conference in San Francisco)

In speaking before the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco on Sept. 15, 2003, Michael Crichton told his audience, "certain human social structures.can't be eliminated from society. One of religion. Today it is said we live in a secular society in which.the best people, the most not believe in any religion. cannot eliminate religion from the psyche of mankind.suppress it in one form; in another form. Today, one of the most powerful religions in the Western World is environmentalism."

Environmentalism (worshipping the creation) in conjunction with social Darwinism (the scientism that validates this lethal brew) and Chesterton's ''theology of the demons''-these are the elements that comprise the most intrinsically evil religion ever known to mankind.

More here



Most people think overpopulation is one of the worst dangers facing the globe. In fact, the opposite is true. As countries get richer, their populations age and their birthrates plummet. And this is not just a problem of rich countries: the developing world is also getting older fast. Falling birthrates might seem beneficial, but the economic and social price is too steep to pay. The right policies could help turn the tide, but only if enacted before it's too late.

The wrong reading:

You awaken to news of a morning traffic jam. Leaving home early for a doctor's appointment, you nonetheless arrive too late to find parking. After waiting two hours for a 15-minute consultation, you wait again to have your prescription filled. All the while, you worry about the work you've missed because so many other people would line up to take your job. Returning home to the evening news, you watch throngs of youths throwing stones somewhere in the Middle East, and a feature on disappearing farmland in the Midwest. A telemarketer calls for the third time, telling you, "We need your help to save the rain forest." As you set the alarm clock for the morning, one neighbor's car alarm goes off and another's air conditioner starts to whine. So goes a day in the life of an average American.

It is thus hardly surprising that many Americans think overpopulation is one of the world's most pressing problems. To be sure, the typical Westerner enjoys an unprecedented amount of private space. Compared to their parents, most now live in larger homes occupied by fewer children. They drive ever-larger automobiles, in which they can eat, smoke, or listen to the radio in splendid isolation. Food is so abundant that obesity has become a leading cause of death. Still, both day-to-day experience and the media frequently suggest that the quality of life enjoyed in the United States and Europe is under threat by population growth. Sprawling suburban development is making traffic worse, driving taxes up, and reducing opportunities to enjoy nature.

Televised images of developing-world famine, war, and environmental degradation prompt some to wonder, "Why do these people have so many kids?" Immigrants and other people's children wind up competing for jobs, access to health care, parking spaces, favorite fishing holes, hiking paths, and spots at the beach. No wonder that, when asked how long it will take for world population to double, nearly half of all Americans say 20 years or less.

Yet a closer look at demographic trends shows that the rate of world population growth has fallen by more than 40 percent since the late 1960s. And forecasts by the UN and other organizations show that, even in the absence of major wars or pandemics, the number of human beings on the planet could well start to decline within the lifetime of today's children. Demographers at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis predict that human population will peak (at 9 billion) by 2070 and then start to contract. Long before then, many nations will shrink in absolute size, and the average age of the world's citizens will shoot up dramatically. Moreover, the populations that will age fastest are in the Middle East and other underdeveloped regions. During the remainder of this century, even sub-Saharan Africa will likely grow older than Europe is today.....

All told, some 59 countries, comprising roughly 44 percent of the world's total population, are currently not producing enough children to avoid population decline, and the phenomenon continues to spread. By 2045, according to the latest UN projections, the world's fertility rate as a whole will have fallen below replacement levels.....

The implications

Although at first the fact that there are fewer children to feed, clothe, and educate leaves more for adults to enjoy, soon enough, if fertility falls beneath replacement levels, the number of productive workers drops as well, and the number of dependent elderly increase. And these older citizens consume far more resources than children do. Even after considering the cost of education, a typical child in the United States consumes 28 percent less than the typical working-age adult, whereas elders consume 27 percent more, mostly in health-related expenses.

Largely because of this imbalance, population aging, once it begins creating more seniors than workers, puts severe strains on government budgets. In Germany, for example, public spending on pensions, even after accounting for a reduction in future benefits written into current law, is expected to swell from an already staggering 10.3 percent of GDP to 15.4 percent by 2040 -- even as the number of workers available to support each retiree shrinks from 2.6 to 1.4. Meanwhile, the cost of government health-care benefits for the elderly is expected to rise from today's 3.8 percent of GDP to 8.4 percent by 2040.

Population aging also depresses the growth of government revenues. Population growth is a major source of economic growth: more people create more demand for the products capitalists sell, and more supply of the labor capitalists buy. Economists may be able to construct models of how economies could grow amid a shrinking population, but in the real world, it has never happened. A nation's GDP is literally the sum of its labor force times average output per worker. Thus a decline in the number of workers implies a decline in an economy's growth potential.

Theoretically, raising the retirement age could help to ease the burden of unfunded old-age benefits. But declining fitness among the general population is making this tactic less feasible. In the United States, for example, the dramatic increases in obesity and sedentary lifestyles are already causing disability rates to rise among the population 59 and younger. Researchers estimate that this trend will cause a 10-20 percent increase in the demand for nursing homes over what would otherwise occur from mere population aging, and a 10-15 percent increase in Medicare expenditures on top of the program's already exploding costs.

The same point applies to the U.S. ability to sustain, or increase, its levels of foreign aid. Although the United States faces less population aging than any other industrialized nation, the extremely high cost of its health care system, combined with its underfunded pension system, means that it still faces staggering liabilities. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the imbalance between what the U.S. federal government will collect in future taxes under current law and what it has promised to pay in future benefits now exceeds 500 percent of GDP. To close that gap, the IMF warns, "would require an immediate and permanent 60 percent hike in the federal income tax yield, or a 50 percent cut in Social Security and Medicare benefits." Neither is likely. Accordingly, in another 20 years, the United States will be no more able to afford the role of world policeman than Europe or Japan can today

Even if there are fewer workers available to support each retiree in the future, won't technology be able to make up the difference? Perhaps. But there is also plenty of evidence to suggest that population aging itself works to depress the rate of technological and organizational innovation. Cross-country comparisons imply, for example, that after the proportion of elders increases in a society beyond a certain point, the level of entrepreneurship and inventiveness begins to drop. In 2002, Babson College and the London School of Business released their latest index of entrepreneurial activity. It shows that there is a distinct correlation between countries with a high ratio of workers to retirees and those with a high degree of entrepreneurship. Conversely, in countries in which a large share of the population is retired, the amount of new business formation is low.

More -- much more -- here


Post lifted from the Adam Smith blog

The National Center for Policy Analysis has published a report on the physical evidence that the earth experiences a shorter 1,500 year cycle of temperature change in addition to the ice age cycles.

It has long been accepted that the Earth has experienced climate cycles, most notably the 90,000-year Ice Age cycles. But in the past 20 years or so, modern science has discovered evidence that within those broad Ice Age cycles, the Earth also experiences 1,500-year warming-cooling cycles. The Earth has been in the Modern Warming portion of the current cycle since about 1850, following a Little Ice Age from about 1300 to 1850. It appears likely that warming will continue for some time into the future, perhaps 200 years or more, regardless of human activity.

Scientists were alerted to this from 1980s studies of Greenland ice cores nearly two miles long which represent 250,000 years of climate history. Dansgaard and Oeschger estimated the smaller temperature cycles at 2,550 years, later shortened to 1,500 years (plus or minus 500 years). Other long term proxies of climate change include seabed and lake sediments, and fossils of pollen grains and tiny sea creatures.

An ice core from the Antarctic's Vostok glacier showed the same 1,500 year cycle, which is compatible with known data about glacial advance and retreat in Europe, and Atlantic seabed samples reveal nine of these cycles. It also fits data from fossilized pollen, boreholes, tree rings and mountain tree lines. It all adds to our knowledge of the geophysical cycles of climate change to which the earth has been subject for hundreds of millennia.


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 November, 2005


Post lifted from Tim Blair

Guardian environment correspondent David Adam reveals some shocking environmental news ... in his third paragraph:

The UK risks losing its international authority on climate change because of its failure to cut greenhouse gas pollution, according to a leading scientist.

Bob May, president of the Royal Society, said new figures showing that UK emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases which contribute to global warming have risen for the last two years, made it difficult for British politicians to be taken seriously on the issue.

He said: "It is very difficult to criticise other countries such as the United States if we are unable to meet our commitments. Indeed, emissions by the United States have actually declined over the last two years ..."

Excuse me? The US has actually become cleaner under the rule of enviro-hater Bush? You'd think -- although May also notes that US pollutant outputs are "still some 20% above 1990 levels" -- that this might rate more highly as a news story. Then again, Bush apparently reduced industrial pollution by 11% during his governership of Texas, and nobody cared for that news, either ...


Full transcript here

It seems likely that there will be disagreements in Montreal over whether new targets for reducing emissions should be set beyond the first period of the Kyoto Protocol .... Of course, it is difficult to take costly action today on behalf of a seemingly distant future. The Prime Minister said, "the blunt truth about the politics of climate change is that no country will want to sacrifice its economy in order to meet this challenge". The blunter truth about the politics of climate change is that countries are not doing enough to sever the link between economic growth and increasing emissions of greenhouse gases. --Lord May of Oxford

The noble Lord, Lord May, speaks with great passion and, indeed, with great charm-it is a potent combination. However, it has to be said in the kindest possible way that he is a serial alarmist. When some 30-odd years ago the Club of Rome produced its report on the limits to growth-many of your Lordships will recall it-which stated that there would be such a shortage of resources that growth would more or less grind to a halt within a reasonably short space of time, this fallacious forecast, which received a great deal of media attention at the time, was warmly endorsed by the noble Lord, Lord May, as he now is. He said that he thought growth would come to an end even sooner as a result of the second law of thermodynamics. Now he is sending out a new alarm which is the exact opposite; that is, he refers to the alleged rise in carbon dioxide emissions, and therefore global warming, as a result of very rapid continuing growth for a long time to come. So he has backed both horses in the race. --Lord Lawson of Blaby

I hope that the new British government initiative under Sir Nick Stern will be done with the intellectual vigour which I associated with the Treasury when I was a Minister there some 20 years ago. Whether it is done in the Treasury or the Cabinet Office does not matter too much. I also hope that the Government will use their influence, and specifically the work that is being done by the Stern review, to press strongly for improvements in how the IPCC works. There are two other options recently suggested by Professor Henderson which should be considered in this context, particularly if it proves difficult to reach agreement on change. The first is that the economics of climate change should be reviewed regularly by the OECD. It is perfectly proper for the OECD to look at the economics of global warming. Its endorsement of the economics would greatly enhance the forecasts that are made. Secondly, Professor Henderson recommends that an independent audit of the IPCC process should be possible. The fact is that not enough detailed information is released on the publication of some of its data to permit replication by others. --Lord Wakeham

These days we are all liberal politicians and we much prefer persuasion to dictation. But, faced with the crisis that we have heard outlined so far, we have to ask whether persuasion will be enough. --Baroness Scott of Needham Market

So what do we need to do to get action on climate change? I thought Sir Crispin Tickell did rather well when he said that we need three things: leadership from above, pressure from below and catastrophe.--Lord Haskel

One of my final jobs as a Minister was to go to the United States to try to persuade people to be more constructive about the Gleneagles agreement. I failed lamentably in that regard. ... Given the default of the American leadership, much of the international leadership has fallen to our own Prime Minister, both in the EU and internationally.... That is why it is doubly unfortunate that some recent figures on carbon burn in the UK have gone the wrong way. It is also unfortunate, but wrong, that that has been accompanied by rumours that the leadership of the Government is no longer committed either to the 20 per cent target or to an effective post-Kyoto agreement. --Lord Whitty

The effects and consequences of climate change are all too evident to me. Our summers are becoming drier, although I have to say that it has not seemed like that living in the north-east of England this year. --The Lord Bishop of Newcastle

Implementation by government needs a policy, a sort of philosophy. If you will excuse the parallel, when I used to read a lot about politics as a Labour activist, I was always impressed by Lenin's strange policy of power to the Soviets, plus electrification. The parallel for new Labour was power to the markets, plus targets. If one takes away targets, one is left with a hole. We need to hang on to targets, which have been very effective, whether social, economic or scientific. Any wobbling on that makes the whole structure worrying. --Lord Hunt of Chesterton

I am one of those who, like my noble friend Lord Lawson, reacts adversely to scare stories, and also, to some extent, to an overwhelming consensus of all sensible people. I am therefore doubly suspicious of an overwhelming consensus trying to scare me.... So I start from a point of view that when a dissident voice comes along and sticks pins in the consensus, I am predisposed to favour the dissident; in this case, that global warming is all the fault of the Americans, or more particularly George W Bush. I therefore start with the view that Mr Matt Ridley and Mr Bjorn Lomberg sound like the scientists for me; and that the more they are berated by the powers that be, the more I remember how the dissidents on BSE and AIDS were berated by the powers that be. If you doubt that they are berated, go on to the Internet, or read Andrew Simms in the Guardian; the language is not that of science but of the commination service from the Book of Common Prayer. --Lord Waldegrave of North Hill

At Kyoto, the British Government agreed to reduce UK carbon dioxide emissions by 12.5 per cent by 2012. Since 1997, UK emissions have risen by 5.5 per cent, and that increase steepened by 1.5 per cent in the last six months of 2004 and by 2.5 per cent in the first half of this year.--Baroness Byford


The government is beginning a 12 week period of consultations with industry and some public sector institutions to find out exactly what is being done to prepare the UK for the effects of climate change.

In a press notice issued today, the Department for Food, the Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra) argues that the UK must adapt because some impact from climate change is inevitable "regardless of current and future action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions".

Environment Minister Elliot Morley commented: "Climate change is happening and it will impact on all organisations across the country. The government is aiming to put together an adaptation strategy to assist in this planning. But first we need to know what is already in hand."

Defra suggests preparation for the impact of climate change could include things like relocating businesses, redesigning buildings, and forming partnerships with other similar organisations to help spread the costs.*

The findings will be used to inform the development of an adaptation policy framework. This framework will be designed to establish local and national objectives and measures of progress, provide a structure for adaptation activities and provide long term guidance on climate change policy.

* We are preparing for the impact of climate change here at El Reg by commissioning the construction of a large floating craft upon which animals could go, two by two.



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 November, 2005


A Fox News Channel documentary on "global warming," set to air Sunday night, provides only the liberal take on the controversial issue and was approved after environmentalist Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. reportedly "dragged" Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes to a lecture by former Vice President Al Gore, "kicking and screaming."

Clay Rawson, the Fox News Channel producer of the hour-long special titled "The Heat Is On: The Case of Global Warming," told Cybercast News Service Tuesday that the project "was a little bit different for us. "Often on Fox News Channel, we present both sides, according to our 'fair and balanced' motto, but this is the global warming story," Rawson said. "We do make it clear that this is one side of the issue through inclusion of a disclaimer," he added. The documentary is said to ignore scientific skeptics who believe that human activity is not responsible for catastrophic climate change.

The Bangor Daily News (Maine) on Sept. 23 reported Kennedy's comments about having "dragged" Ailes to the Gore lecture. The November edition of Outside magazine also features a column by Amanda Griscom Little, in which she asserts that Laurie David, the wife of comic Larry David managed to persuade Ailes about the need to air the special. According to Griscom Little's column, Ailes telephoned Laurie David to discuss the "one-hour global-warming report that his network will air this fall, thanks in large part to Laurie's badgering." Griscom Little also wrote that "Ailes was charmed by what he calls Laurie's 'impressive passion and dedication'" and that Ailes "considers her one of the country's 'leading authorities' on global warming." Laurie David is a trustee of the Natural Resources Defense Council. Ailes was unavailable for further comment Wednesday night.

Fox News Channel reporter Rick Folbaum, in a statement on the news organization's website, explained that "after months of research and interviews with many experts, I've learned this simple fact: The earth is heating up. And it's happening much faster than ever before. No one can argue with this."

But Chris Horner, senior fellow with the free market environmental group, Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), is among those arguing about the theory of "global warming." He is also criticizing Fox News Channel, not only for its decision to air the documentary, but for featuring "Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., a prominent agenda-driven environmentalist and registered lobbyist for green causes ... as a 'special correspondent' for the show." Despite the disclaimer at the beginning of the program, Horner told Cybercast News Service that "many and possibly most viewers would not even see this disclaimer ... "While it is unfathomable that a reputable news network would air so blatantly a one-sided program regardless of any disclaimer, that the 'fair and balanced' network would put itself in the position of suspending its motto is stupefying," Horner said. CEI plans to deliver a letter to Ailes on Thursday morning, complaining about the documentary. "I hate to draw attention to a Sunday night 'filler' program, but it is important to expose this disgraceful excuse for journalism, particularly by the so-called 'fair and balanced' crowd," Horner said. "Maybe a special on the 10,000 dead in New Orleans could follow."

Folbaum asserted in his Fox News website statement that "the vast majority of the scientific community says we're witnessing a unique and troubling kind of climate change, one where changes that used to occur over centuries are now taking place during the course of a single lifetime." The reporter concluded by pleading for website visitors to tune in to Fox News Sunday, Nov. 13 at 8 p.m. "Learn the facts about global warming and decide for your self what needs to be done about these new realities," Folbaum stated.



A proposed ban on planting or cultivating genetically altered crops was rejected by Sonoma County voters Tuesday night. With 68 percent of precincts reporting, Measure M lost 57 to 43 percent in one of the county's most expensive ballot fights ever. Supporters and opponents of the proposed 10-year ban spent a combined $850,000. Only three counties in the nation - all in California - ban genetically altered crops.

Sonoma County anti-biotechnology crusaders placed Measure M on the ballot earlier this year, hoping to join neighboring Mendocino County in officially banning biotechnology from its farms, spread out over a region best known for pastoral vineyards and lush orchards. Mendocino County voters in March 2004 were the first in the nation to enact such a ban, overwhelmingly approving the measure despite a well-funded counter campaign from the biotechnology industry.

In November 2004, voters in Marin County, a mostly suburban region just across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco, enacted their own ban on genetically modified crops, while voters in Humboldt, Butte and San Luis Obispo counties voted down proposed biotechnology bans. The Board of Supervisors in tiny Trinity County also passed a similar ban.

Opponents of genetically modified crops have lobbied for outright bans in Hawaii and Vermont, but California remains the only state in the nation where voters have enacted such bans. The bans are largely symbolic because few - if any - genetically engineered crops were grown in those counties. The same is true for Sonoma County, where the winemaking grape is king. No genetically engineered grapes are commercially available.



British companies could take advantage of an opt-out clause in the European Union's emissions trading scheme if fears are realised of a harsh winter in the UK. But any such move could provoke a clash with the European Commission, which claims the clause should apply only in the event of severe emergencies.

UK companies could press the government for permission to exceed their allocations of greenhouse gas emissions if cold weather forced further rises in the price of gas and a shortage of the fuel. The CBI, the UK employers' lobby, warned recently that gas shortages could lead to power cuts this winter.

Alan Johnson, UK secretary of state for trade and industry, said on Tuesday the opt-out would be used only in "extreme circumstances". He said: "Waiving environmental standards would need the approval of the Environment Agency. We do not see this arising. [This is a] contingency plan."

The UK Environment Agency confirmed that a "declared power shortage" would be considered circumstances in which the opt-out could be used. A Commission official said the emissions trading scheme did include a force majeure clause that governments could invoke to opt out in an emergency. However, this would be applied only in exceptional circumstances, for example if a storm were to cut off oil supplies to an EU state.

As gas prices have risen, coal has become more attractive to electricity generating companies. But coal generates more greenhouse gas emissions. Under the EU's emissions trading scheme, companies are allocated allowances for the carbon dioxide they emit. If businesses wish to exceed their allocation, they must purchase additional allowances on an open market.



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 November, 2005


Gordon Brown and other senior cabinet ministers have been pushing for the Government to scrap its target for reducing emissions of the main pollutant that causes global warming, The Independent on Sunday can reveal.

The Chancellor, the Secretary of State for Transport, Alastair Darling, and the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, Alan Johnson, pressed at a meeting, chaired by Mr Blair, of the Environment and Energy Cabinet Committee for the abandonment of a promise to reduce emissions of CO2 by 20 per cent by 2010, even though this formed part of Labour's election manifesto just six months ago.

So far, the Prime Minister has said the Government will stick to its commitment, though he came under fire last week for casting doubt on whether to set new international targets to cut emissions in future. At a special meeting of rich and poor nations on the issue, at Lancaster House, he called for "a better and more sensitive set of mechanisms" than pollution-reduction targets.

So far, UK emissions are only 3 per cent below their level in 1990, the base year for comparison.



"Greenland's ice sheets tell a climate-change story of their own. A Norwegian-led team of scientists reports on an 11-year study of ice sheet growth in Greenland's vast interior. The findings, planned for publication in a leading scientific journal, reveal a strong relationship between Greenland's ice sheets and global warming.

Greenland, or more particularly its huge ice sheets, has been the focus of increasing attention of late. Elevation or melting of these sheets can tell scientists much about regional - and ultimately - global climate change.

An international team of climatologists and oceanographers, led by the Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center (NERSC) in Norway, estimates that Greenland's interior ice sheet has grown, on average, 6cm per year in areas above 1 500m between 1992 and 2003. This contradicts earlier reports of high-elevation balance. Below 1 500m, on the other hand, the team reports ice sheet thinning by 2cm a year.

The average overall increase is 5.4cm per year, or equivalent to approximately 60cm during the 11 years - but perhaps as low 54cm a year when 'isostatic uplift' (post-Ice Age phenomenon causing the land to rise) is taken into account. Ola M. Johannessen of NERSC says the sheet growth is due to increased snowfall brought about by variability in regional atmospheric circulation, or the so-called North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). As reported in Science, using Greenland's ice sheet figures and a special index, Johannessen and team confirm, for the first time, a direct relationship between the elevation change and the NAO. "The strong correlation between winter elevation changes and the NAO index suggests an underappreciated role of the winter season and the NAO for elevation changes - a wildcard in Greenland ice sheet mass-balance scenarios under global warming," notes the team.

But they caution about drawing hasty conclusions from this sort of finding. Recent evidence of ice sheet growth found by Johannessen and company "does not necessarily reflect a long-term or future trend", they say. "Natural variability in the high-latitude climate system, including the NAO, is very large," so even their 11-year-long study is still short in the grand scale of climate change.

This sort of research on "climate forcing" is far from straightforward, the scientists insist. Numerous variables, such as solar radiation and greenhouse gas levels, surface temperature, cloud cover, glacier-flow dynamics, precipitation and so on, can play into it. What's more, it is difficult to collect reliable ice-sheet readings of the vast high-altitude regions of Greenland.

There is a clear need for continued monitoring and further research using new satellite altimeters and other observations, together with numerical models, to calculate the Greenland ice sheet melt versus gain balance, they conclude. In fact, large sums have been set aside in the European Union's Sixth Framework Programme (FP6) for research into climate change".


Another report of the same findings:

While the edges of the glaciers are melting, the ice sheets in Greenland's interior are getting thicker, according to satellite data collected over the last 11 years. On average the ice sheets have got thicker by about six centimetres each year, the researchers say. The researchers, based at Norway's Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center (NERSC), say that this is probably because snowfall in the region has increased, due to a weather pattern known as the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO).

The research was conducted using the European Space Agency's ERS satellites. These carry radar altimeters that send 1800 radar pulses to Earth each second, and record how long they take to return to the satellite. The sensor can time this journey down to the nanosecond, ESA says, meaning that the instrument is accurate to within two centimetres.

In total tens of millions of data points were collected. The results were then compared to the known fluctuations in the NAO over the period. The researchers found a strong relationship between changes in the height of the ice sheet and the strong positive and negative phases of the NAO.

Professor Ola Johannessen of NERSC says that the results suggest that the role of the NAO in ice thickness is more significant than previously thought, making it something of a wildcard in climate modelling. "There is clearly a need for continued monitoring using new satellite altimeters and other observations, together with numerical models to calculate the Greenland Ice Sheet mass budget," Johannessen commented. It is just the kind of work that the CryoSat mission would have taken on, had it not been lost during its launch.

The NAO was first identified in the 1920's, and is an imbalance in atmospheric masses between the high pressure of the subtropicals the low pressure of the northern polar regions. The size of the difference influences the weather across the whole of the northern hemisphere, and is much more important in the winter months.

Finding out whether or not the Greenland ice sheet is shrinking overall is important because it is so large. While plenty of data has been collected on the retreating glaciers and thinning edges of the ice sheets, much less in known about the interior.



(From Prof. Philip Stott)

Oh! I do like it when a tough, rough business 'person' punctures the PC platitudinousness of our more poncy PC environmentalists. And today's 'Quote of the Day' is a blinder in this respect.

Here is Michael O'Leary, Chief Executive of Europe's biggest low-cost airline, Ryanair [first half profits up to a record £160 million], on the environmentalists who are constantly whinging on about its low-fare structure increasing emissions:

"We will double our emissions in the next five years because we are doubling our traffic. But if preserving the environment means stopping poor people flying so only the rich can fly, then screw it."

And when you think about it, Mr. O'Leary has a good point. Scratch an environmentalist, and you will invariably find an elitist. First, as I have pointed out before on this blog, the leaders of the UK environmental movement are a particularly toffee-nosed bunch, Lord Snootys to a chap and gal, from Prince Charles to an Eton mafia.

Secondly, have you noticed? Environmentalists always want things "to cost more", from organic parsley to hemp underwear. It's hard cheese if you are on benefits, lass. Thirdly, they are forever hollering for more taxes on everything, and all of these proposed taxes are retrogressive on the poor. And finally, they just have to fly, my darlings, or drive spiffing cars, because what they do is so important, and, in any case, they will plant a few pretty trees on their estates to offset their 'naughtiness'.

The double standards are often breathtaking. I have never forgotten watching a television report of a 'Top People's Bash' in which a leading posh UK environmentalist stood blithely in front of a line of limousines delivering the great and the good of the environmental and PC worlds to the feast while lecturing the rest of us, 'the bedint', on environmentalist ethics. It really was the "We haves" and "You shall not haves"." If you don't do what we say, Nanny will be wery, wery cross."

To adapt a famous quotation: "Only the little people pay environmental taxes."

When you deconstruct so much of the environmentalist pieties, you will smell a class rat lurking beneath the garbage. And just watch the rich 'Green' farmers wriggle when you talk about the evils of subsidies and the need for free trade.

Class warfare? You bet. Thank goodness for the Michael O'Learys; we need them to blow away all this trustafarian tosh.

Yet, in the real world, despite all the nannying, they don't stand a chance. I also noticed that another low-cost airline, EasyJet, has just recorded a 13.7% increase in passenger numbers.


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 November, 2005


A scientist has invented an artificial tree designed to do the job of plants. But the synthetic tree proposed by Dr Klaus Lackner does not much resemble the leafy variety. "It looks like a goal post with Venetian blinds," said the Columbia University physicist, referring to his sketch at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Denver, Colorado.

But the synthetic tree would do the job of a real tree, he said. It would draw carbon dioxide out of the air, as plants do during photosynthesis, but retain the carbon and not release oxygen. If built to scale, according to Dr Lackner, synthetic trees could help clean up an atmosphere grown heavy with carbon dioxide, the most abundant gas produced by humans and implicated in climate warming.

He predicts that one synthetic tree could remove 90,000 tonnes of CO2 in a year - the emissions equivalent of 15,000 cars. "You can be a thousand times better than a living tree," he said.

More here

Katrina Exposes Media's Global Warming Bias

No sooner had Hurricane Katrina moved inland to spawn tornadoes, flooding, misery, and tragedy than global warming alarmists and some in the media began spawning junk science. "The hurricane that struck Louisiana yesterday was nicknamed Katrina by the National Weather Service. Its real name is global warming," opined long-time alarmist Ross Gelbspan's August 30 op-ed in the Boston Globe. Gelbspan also blamed global warming for snow in Los Angeles, high winds in Scandinavia, drought in the Midwest, a heat wave in Arizona, heavy rainfall in India, and an ice storm in New England. Gelbspan offered no scientific arguments to back up his assertions. He instead blamed the media for "according the same weight to a handful of global warming skeptics that is accorded to the findings of the [United Nations]."

Environmentalist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. blamed Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour for "derailing the Kyoto Protocol and kiboshing President Bush's iron-clad promise to regulate carbon dioxide. "Now we are all learning what it's like to reap the whirlwind of fossil fuel dependence which Barbour and his cronies have encouraged. ... Katrina is giving our nation a glimpse of the climate chaos we are bequeathing our children," wrote Kennedy on August 29 on the Huffington Post blog.

Kennedy at least tried to offer some scientific argument--a recent paper by MIT researcher Kerry Emanuel claiming hurricanes have intensified by 50 percent since the 1970s. But leading hurricane forecaster Dr. William Gray of Colorado State University told the Boston Globe Emanuel's claims aren't based on any direct measurements of hurricane winds. He described the study as "a terrible paper, one of the worst I've ever looked at."

A Baltimore Sun editorial on August 30, however, was in no mood for questions about Katrina's cause: "Such warmer waters fuel the formation and ferocity of hurricanes. Warmer oceans are an inseparable by-product of global warming, and it's foolish to ignore the link to the burning of fossil fuels."

The Washington Post presented only the views of researchers willing to link extreme weather and Katrina with global warming. "There's a clear signature of global warming in [Katrina]. While it's not the dominant factor, in some things it becomes the straw that breaks the camel's back," said Kevin Trenberth of the nonprofit National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) to the Post on August 30. The Post didn't say what the alleged "clear signature" was, nor did it mention that NCAR is institutionally committed to global warming alarmism.

Not all major dailies, however, were quite so smug. "Katrina Hits the Gulf Coast: Storms Turn Focus to Global Warming; Though some scientists connect the growing severity of hurricanes to climate change, most insist that there's not enough proof," headlined the Los Angeles Times on August 30. The rest of the article was similarly balanced. The Times also offered a direct rebuttal to the global warming scare stories, from University of Colorado science professor Roger Pielke, who "attributed the losses to a simpler cause: more people living in harm's way in areas such as Florida and Louisiana."

A most welcome surprise was the New York Times' August 30 coverage, headlined, "Storms Vary With Cycles, Experts Say." The Times interviewed Gray, who pointed out that from 1995 to 2003, 32 major hurricanes with sustained winds of 111 miles per hour or greater formed in the Atlantic. Only one in 10 of those hurricanes struck the United States at full strength, whereas historically the rate has been one in three. Then last year three of six (one in two) major hurricanes hit the United States. Gray attributed last year's activity to chance. "We were very lucky in that eight-year period, and the luck just ran out," he told the Times.

"It is a contravention of science to attempt to link Katrina's intensity to global warming," said Pat Michaels, past president of the American Association of State Climatologists and senior fellow at the Cato Institute. "Since 1982 we have had weekly records of sea surface temperature," Michaels noted. "During this time period we can examine on a fine scale the relationship between hurricanes and sea-surface temperature. The threshold water temperature for category 3 hurricanes is 28§ C. Interestingly, for category 4 or 5 hurricanes, there is no statistical relationship with the amount of elevation beyond 28§ C. The Gulf of Mexico reaches 28§ C every year, whether or not the planet has warmed or is cold. "The most intense tropical cyclone to ever strike the United States was Hurricane Camille in 1969," observed Michaels. "Camille landed very, very close to where Katrina landed. Significantly, Camille occurred when the temperature of the northern hemisphere was at its low point for its last 80 years. Camille simply needed an ocean temperature of 28§ C. Clearly, it is irresponsible to link severe Gulf of Mexico hurricanes to global warming."

"We now know that Hurricane Katrina was no more than a Category 3 hurricane, and possibly only a Category 1 hurricane when it hit New Orleans, so all the talk about global warming making hurricanes stronger and thereby contributing to the disaster is revealed as the opportunistic cant it is," said Competitive Enterprise Institute Senior Fellow Iain Murray. "For hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico, sea surface temperatures need only get above 28§ C for them to help make the hurricane Category 4 or 5," Murray said. "Sea surface temperatures there regularly go above that level, and have done so for as long as we can remember."



"Europe's push to meet pollution targets agreed under the Kyoto Protocol on climate change could dent its economies and cost hundreds of thousands of jobs by 2010, according to research published on Monday. Compliance with Kyoto's greenhouse gas reduction targets could hit gross domestic product in Germany, Britain, Spain and Italy as energy energy bills soar, said pro-business thinktank International Council for Capital Formation (ICCF). "The findings of our research suggest that an alternative approach (to climate change) is urgently needed for both the developing and developed world," said Margo Thorning, Managing Director of the Brussels-based ICCF.

ICCF predicted the loss of at least 200,000 jobs in each of Italy, Germany, Britain and Spain as governments chase greenhouse gas reduction targets set out under Kyoto, which came into force in February. Average increases of 26 percent in electricity prices and 41 prices in gas prices by 2010 were also predicted in the ICCF's study. Germany's gross domestic product (GDP) could be reduced by 0.8 percent from base case levels by 2010, with Spain and Britain suffering reductions of 3.1 percent and 1.1 percent respectively, the ICCF said. The United States has refused to sign up to Kyoto, saying it could damage the U.S. economy.

Thorning said the ICCF's findings supported recent comments by Prime Minister Tony Blair, who said last week that the world may need to move away from target-based climate change policies after Kyoto's first phase ends in 2012. Later this month, United Nations talks on climate change will take place in Montreal, the first formal talks over how to approach the issue after 2012. "A cooperative global approach to reducing emission growth is more likely to produce real emissions reductions, without damaging economic growth in the EU and elsewhere," said the ICCF's Thorning.



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 November, 2005


A good bit of satire below:

You may be interested to know that global warming, earthquakes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters are a direct effect of the shrinking numbers of Pirates since the 1800s. For your interest, I have included a graph of the approximate number of pirates versus the average global temperature over the last 200 years. As you can see, there is a statistically significant inverse relationship between pirates and global temperature.



The two founders of Google, the multi-billion dollar internet search engine company that has become a verb, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, are known for their left-wing sympathies, to say the least. A while back the company announced they were going start giving tens of millions of dollars to liberal organizations to help advance their causes, everything from groups that promote "progressive" policies to organizations that protect the environment.

Like many liberal billionaires, they don't live up to their own standards. It seems they decided Google needed a corporate jet, so they bought one. If that were all there was to the story, I don't think anyone would think it odd. Google is a huge company with lots of money, I'd be surprised if they didn't have a jet. But it's not the fact that they have a jet that's funny, it's the type of jet they have chosen to buy.

The environmentally friendly, left-wing sympathetic company bought a 767! That's right, they bought a plane designed to carry 180 people. But they have no need for a plane that carries 180 people, so they are refurbishing it. Once their remodeling is done it will carry 50 people. It will still be a giant plane that burns tons of fuel, but it will do it for a lot less people. It makes me wonder what they are going to put inside of it that will fill the space normally taken up by 130 people.Swing sets? Trees to hug?

I don't begrudge them their success, they did it, they earned it, they can buy whatever kind of plane they want to buy, and as many of them as they want to buy. I take issue with the fact they are giving a ton of money to groups that oppose what they are doing, but would never protest them. They support organizations that want to tell us how to live, tax us into serfdom, tell us what do drive, etc., but they won't live up to their ideals.



"I have grown used to federal environment ministers becoming the captives of their department. Robert Hill was also a sucker for catastrophist science. Even John Howard now pays lip service to the idea that, somehow, man-made carbon dioxide is a problem. For a sceptical conservative, these are discouraging signs of the times. It is (just) understandable that a Liberal prime minister fighting on several fronts at once should refuse to buy into an argument he doesn't expect to win in the short term, during his time in office. Displaced millennial anxiety is hard to counter with mere rational argument. However, Howard has gone a step further and decided on a policy of appeasement. I had hoped that, having handled the Kyoto Protocol debate so sensibly, he'd continue to take a stand on the underlying principle and also avoid wasting public money on tokenistic projects. He has failed on both counts.

I cannot bring myself to believe that Howard is a born-again catastrophist because it's just not in his nature. Spending $1.8 billion on an issue his advisers must have warned him is a chimera is something of which he was once constitutionally incapable. But after Campbell's boast about all the serious money he was devoting to greenhouse gases, I went to his website and checked.

There I found his modest "Saving the Climate Factsheet". Some of the expenditure was on more or less respectable solar projects and other marginal forms of renewable energy. More than $40 million went to catastrophist research and various kinds of rent-seeking alternative enterprises. Some $522 million has been allocated to a Low Emission Technology Demonstration Fund.

Let us take a charitable view and say that perhaps $800 million of the money notionally covered by the rubric of saving the climate was defensible on other grounds. What about the rest of those vast new budgets; for example, the expenditure on developing technologies for carbon sequestration? William Kininmonth, arguably Australia's leading climatologist, says that: "Any project that sets out to reduce CO2 emissions for its own sake is a complete waste of money."

There was a time Howard believed in frugality in public spending. I suppose that, after nearly 10 years in Kirribilli House, $1billion may have come to seem neither here nor there in the grand scheme of things. Perhaps it can be rationalised away as the price of conciliating some at least of the so-called doctors' wives and hanging on to a few marginal seats. As the Protestant Henry of Navarre said when he claimed the throne of France: "Paris is worth a mass." But even if a policy of such brazen expediency can be excused, can the same be said of Campbell? .....

If Campbell, or anyone else in the Howard Government for that matter, is interested in a conservative approach to the issues of climate change and greenhouse gases, they would do well to read Britain's recent cross-party House of Lords committee report. The peers found that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the UN-backed emissions watchdog, is tainted by "political interference". It also found that policy-makers were too focused on mitigating climate change rather than adapting to it, according to The Scotsman.

Lord Lawson, a former Tory chancellor of the exchequer and committee member, was especially critical of the way Kyoto targets for greenhouse gas emissions had been "subcontracted" to the IPCC, which he described as "very, very flawed". He said that "an issue so central to Britain's economy should be decided by the Government. I can tell you that I was astonished when the Treasury witness said that the Treasury really wasn't involved in any serious way at all. When I was chancellor, it would have been unthinkable on a matter as important as economic affairs - important in public expenditure terms - that the Treasury was not making a very thorough analysis of the issue."

During the House of Lords debate, the non-scientific component of climate-change prediction was questioned in a more sustained way than we're generally accustomed to. Lord Taverne, a former Labour MP, asked: "Does the minister agree that forecasts of global warming depend not only on scientific forecasts but on economic forecasts? Is the department aware that some extremely pertinent criticisms have been made of the special report and emissions scenarios by two very distinguished economists: Ian Castles, the former head of the Australian Bureau of Statistics, and David Henderson, the former head of the economics division of the OECD? They point out that the measure used - the market exchange rate - is quite inappropriate for measuring the difference between rich and poor countries: it exaggerates them. Some questionable assumptions are also made about the rate of closure of the gap between rich and poor nations. As that will affect policy and is very important in relation to future policy, will the minister urge her colleagues at the Treasury to get involved in the process of economic forecasting? At the moment something is very wrong."

The minister, Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton, professed herself satisfied with the process, then Lord Lawson intervened again. "Under the flawed proceedings of the IPCC, even the lowest emission scenario, which leads to the lowest extent of projected global warming, is based on a rate of growth of the developing countries in the coming century that is far faster than has ever been known. "As a result, by the end of the century under its projections, the average income of Algerians, South Africans and North Koreans will be higher than that of citizens of the United States. Is the noble baroness really content that this very important matter on which major policy and public expenditure decisions have to be taken should be left to what is little more than an environmentalist closed shop that is unsullied by any acquaintance with economics, statistics or, indeed, economic history?"

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 November, 2005

Global warming treaty goes cold but not many know it

Blair and others might be casting doubt on the Kyoto Protocol, but the general belief in global warming is still rarely publicly challeged

Is the Kyoto treaty dead in the water? That was the suggestion underlying Tony Blair's speech this week to a conference on climate change in London. But while Blair's speech provided little encouragement for those demanding massive cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, there is little sign that the hysteria about global warming will subside any time soon.

If Blair is downbeat about Kyoto, he is only being realistic. The aim of the treaty was to cut emissions of greenhouse gases by relatively small amounts in the major industrialised nations by 2012. Developing countries, most notably China and India, were exempt in this first phase but the expectation was that any future emissions pact would include them, and involve much stiffer cuts in emissions.

However, when the USA refused to take part, the treaty became pretty pointless. Bill Clinton may have signed up for the treaty, but the US Senate did not, voting 95-0 against ratification. For all the Bush-bashing over global warming, it was always unlikely that Congress would have agreed to it.

As it happens, the treaty's biggest supporter, the European Union, has been more supportive in word than deed. As BBC News noted in July, the EU 'pledged to bring total greenhouse gas emissions to eight per cent below 1990s levels by 2008-2012, but by 2002 they had dropped only 2.9 per cent - and CO2 emissions had risen slightly. Only four EU countries are on track to achieve their own targets.' And the EU is economically stagnating. Any significant return to economic growth would surely end any prospect of meeting the targets.

Missing those targets will be expensive. A report in Ireland suggests that unless dramatic action is taken, the Irish government will have to pay as much as 120 million per year to buy carbon allowances from other countries to meet its Kyoto obligations. Even though Ireland is booming by European standards, that's quite a lot of money for a relatively small economy.

To top it off, even the most ardent environmentalist would concede that Kyoto would have no noticeable impact on climate change. The cuts envisaged are simply too small. The long-term target is for a cut of 60 per cent compared with 1990 levels by 2050, but this seems highly unlikely unless there is a dramatic shift in the way we generate electricity and power our vehicles.

'The blunt truth about the politics of climate change is that no country will want to sacrifice its economy in order to meet this challenge', said Blair in his London speech. 'I think in the world after 2012 we need to find a better, more sensitive set of mechanisms to deal with this problem.' So while the Kyoto targets still apply, Blair is keeping his fingers crossed that some other deal can be put together which can supersede them.

This is welcome news. The rush to cut emissions was thoroughly irrational. Even if climate change does proceed in the way that the biggest doom-mongers suggest, the draconian cuts in emissions would have cost far more than mitigating the problems caused by a warming world - and hindered economic development in the process.

Two recent disasters illustrate the benefits of development. The USA has been hit by a particularly busy hurricane season. One of its major cities has been flooded and millions of people displaced. Meanwhile, Pakistan has been struck by a massive earthquake.

In the former, the city has already been pumped dry and the death toll is in the hundreds. In the latter, many sections of the country are still paralysed, hundreds of thousands are still without proper shelter, and the dead are counted in the tens of thousands. Yet environmentalists persist in believing that the best way to cope with the floods and droughts forecast to result from climate change is effectively to downgrade development as a priority in favour of 'sustainability'.

The new emphasis encouraged by Bush and Blair will be on the development of new, low-emissions technologies and energy efficiency. This may well prove to be a diversionary gravy train in which huge sums are thrown at ideas that wouldn't otherwise have been considered practical: why else are huge windfarms assaulting our coasts and hills? There is at least some prospect of positive material spin-offs in a way that was unlikely with the target-setting approach. If this new initiative encourages the development of nuclear power, a technology that raises the possibility of producing a lot more energy in the future, it will be a good thing.

However, none of this really challenges the consensus around climate change: that the production of certain waste gases associated with economic growth will ultimately screw up the planet - and that in the not-too-distant future, the planet will exact some kind of revenge on humans both for their hubris in trying to control nature and their greed in wanting ever-greater standards of living.

In this regard, the EU is rhetorically as gung-ho as ever. In part, this is because global warming, along with the war in Iraq, has been one of the best sticks with which to beat the USA. Europe might be an economic failure, but that won't stop its leaders from trying to seize the moral high ground whenever possible.

While there is a shift going on in relation to the best method of dealing with climate change, there has been in many ways a closing of minds on the science. Now that Bush has less need to oppose emissions targets, he has sounded a less sceptical note on the science itself, stating on the eve of the G8 conference in July that 'the surface of the Earth is warmer and that an increase in greenhouse gases is contributing to the problem'. If the politicians close ranks around the assumption that the world will get dramatically warmer in the future unless we change our ways, that may leave less room in public debate for those who are critical of the global warming orthodoxy.

If some realism is brought to bear on the subject of climate change, all the better. But the problems still remain: the basic science has been politicised to the point where sensible discussion of genuine uncertainty is impossible; the capacity of human society to cope with change, climate or otherwise, is still denigrated; and development is still assumed to be a luxury that should take a backseat in favour of the environment.


Science goes down the river

Insane US environmental authorities have forced General Electric to remove a type of 'cancer-causing' chemical from the Hudson River. On what evidence?

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and General Electric (GE) - described by as 'the world's second-biggest company by market value' - recently reached agreement on plans to begin removing polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) from the Hudson River. Specifically, GE agreed to meet EPA demands to remove 10 per cent of the PCBs along a 40-mile stretch of the river in upstate New York. Negotiations are still underway regarding the clean-up of the other 90 per cent, and EPA will sue GE if it does not agree to a second phase of the removal process.

Environmentalists think this agreement is a travesty. As a Sierra Club officer put it: 'It's like an oncologist going in and only taking out 10 per cent of a tumor.' Indeed, the 'agreement' is a travesty, but not for the reason cited by the Sierra Club.

EPA maintains that PCBs, particularly in Hudson River fish, pose a cancer hazard - but there is no evidence that such a risk exists. The stark truth is that there is no benefit to public health in mandating that traces of PCBs be removed from the river. There are, however, big costs - all of which will be borne by consumers.

Until 1977, PCBs were used in the manufacture of transformers, adhesives and capacitators, among other things. GE legally disposed of PCBs by releasing them into the river north of Albany. The PCBs are now embedded in the mud beneath the river and are not generally dispersed in the water.

The EPA's assertion that PCBs in fish pose a human cancer risk is based solely on observations that high-dose, prolonged PCB exposure causes tumors in laboratory animals. A representative from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), which is staffed with the top cancer epidemiologists in the world, told me that they know of 'no evidence' that eating fish from the Hudson poses a human cancer risk.

So, a private company is being ordered by the government, under threat of large fines, to remove trace levels of PCBs, which they had deposited legally, when there is no evidence that this massive effort will in any way protect public health. EPA will require GE to spend at least $700million in this purposeless effort. Those costs are likely to be borne by GE stockholders, employees and consumers. Enormous costs, zero benefits.

How did this EPA order come about? Three reasons come to mind: First, for many years General Electric, armed with stacks of scientific literature showing that trace levels of PCBS in the Hudson posed no human health threat, fought the EPA mandate - but the company eventually gave up, perhaps under the pressure of public opinion, and elected to comply. Second, cancer experts at the NCI and at medical centres around the USA did little or nothing to protest this misdirection of cancer prevention efforts toward a phantom threat. Third, America's fear of cancer is so intense that there is a prevailing view that we should do anything and everything to prevent the disease, even if there is no evidence that our efforts will be effective.

The strongly held (but inaccurate) belief that what causes cancer in very high doses in rodents must also be assumed to cause cancer in much smaller doses in humans prevails today as it has for almost 50 years. Indeed, we cling to animal cancer tests almost as we do to superstitions. As one cancer epidemiologist told me recently: 'Of course rodent tests do not accurately predict human cancer risk, but most Americans perceive we have nothing else to protect ourselves from cancer. So, even if these tests are not useful in predicting our risks, we still embrace and respond to them - in the same way we know that walking under a ladder won't bring us bad luck, but we take a few steps out of our way, just in case.'

The tragedy here is that that we do have alternatives to using animal data to prevent cancer: the science of epidemiology has clearly outlined factors that pose real cancer threats. And the more of our time and resources we squander on non-risks - like traces of PCBs in the Hudson - the less we have for tackling cancer.


Fuel's paradise? Power source that turns physics on its head

I have the feeling that we have heard all this before but being dogmatic about anything in subatomic physics would be the height of folly

It seems too good to be true: a new source of near-limitless power that costs virtually nothing, uses tiny amounts of water as its fuel and produces next to no waste. If that does not sound radical enough, how about this: the principle behind the source turns modern physics on its head.

Randell Mills, a Harvard University medic who also studied electrical engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, claims to have built a prototype power source that generates up to 1,000 times more heat than conventional fuel. Independent scientists claim to have verified the experiments and Dr Mills says that his company, Blacklight Power, has tens of millions of dollars in investment lined up to bring the idea to market. And he claims to be just months away from unveiling his creation.

The problem is that according to the rules of quantum mechanics, the physics that governs the behaviour of atoms, the idea is theoretically impossible. "Physicists are quite conservative. It's not easy to convince them to change a theory that is accepted for 50 to 60 years. I don't think [Mills's] theory should be supported," said Jan Naudts, a theoretical physicist at the University of Antwerp.

What has much of the physics world up in arms is Dr Mills's claim that he has produced a new form of hydrogen, the simplest of all the atoms, with just a single proton circled by one electron. In his "hydrino", the electron sits a little closer to the proton than normal, and the formation of the new atoms from traditional hydrogen releases huge amounts of energy.

This is scientific heresy. According to quantum mechanics, electrons can only exist in an atom in strictly defined orbits, and the shortest distance allowed between the proton and electron in hydrogen is fixed. The two particles are simply not allowed to get any closer.

According to Dr Mills, there can be only one explanation: quantum mechanics must be wrong. "We've done a lot of testing. We've got 50 independent validation reports, we've got 65 peer-reviewed journal articles," he said. "We ran into this theoretical resistance and there are some vested interests here. People are very strong and fervent protectors of this [quantum] theory that they use."

Rick Maas, a chemist at the University of North Carolina at Asheville (UNC) who specialises in sustainable energy sources, was allowed unfettered access to Blacklight's laboratories this year. "We went in with a healthy amount of scepticism. While it would certainly be nice if this were true, in my position as head of a research institution, I really wouldn't want to make a mistake. The last thing I want is to be remembered as the person who derailed a lot of sustainable energy investment into something that wasn't real."

But Prof Maas and Randy Booker, a UNC physicist, left under no doubt about Dr Mill's claims. "All of us who are not quantum physicists are looking at Dr Mills's data and we find it very compelling," said Prof Maas. "Dr Booker and I have both put our professional reputations on the line as far as that goes."

Dr Mills's idea goes against almost a century of thinking. When scientists developed the theory of quantum mechanics they described a world where measuring the exact position or energy of a particle was impossible and where the laws of classical physics had no effect. The theory has been hailed as one of the 20th century's greatest achievements.

But it is an achievement Dr Mills thinks is flawed. He turned back to earlier classical physics to develop a theory which, unlike quantum mechanics, allows an electron to move much closer to the proton at the heart of a hydrogen atom and, in doing so, release the substantial amounts of energy he seeks to exploit. Dr Mills's theory, known as classical quantum mechanics and published in the journal Physics Essays in 2003, has been criticised most publicly by Andreas Rathke of the European Space Agency. In a damning critique published recently in the New Journal of Physics, he argued that Dr Mills's theory was the result of mathematical mistakes.

Dr Mills argues that there are plenty of flaws in Dr Rathke's critique. "His paper's riddled with mistakes. We've had other physicists contact him and say this is embarrassing to the journal and [Dr Rathke] won't respond," said Dr Mills.

While the theoretical tangle is unlikely to resolve itself soon, those wanting to exploit the technology are pushing ahead. "We would like to understand it from an academic standpoint and then we would like to be able to use the implications to actually produce energy products," said Prof Maas. "The companies that are lining up behind this are household names."

Dr Mills will not go into details of who is investing in his research but rumours suggest a range of US power companies. It is well known also that Nasa's institute of advanced concepts has funded research into finding a way of using Blacklight's technology to power rockets.

According to Prof Maas, the first product built with Blacklight's technology, which will be available in as little as four years, will be a household heater. As the technology is scaled up, he says, bigger furnaces will be able to boil water and turn turbines to produce electricity.

In a recent economic forecast, Prof Maas calculated that hydrino energy would cost around 1.2 cents (0.7p) per kilowatt hour. This compares to an average of 5 cents per kWh for coal and 6 cents for nuclear energy.

"If it's wrong, it will be proven wrong," said Kert Davies, research director of Greenpeace USA. "But if it's right, it is so important that all else falls away. It has the potential to solve our dependence on oil. Our stance is of cautious optimism."



A reader has sent in the following comments on the article above. For those who enjoy such things, the last word of the second sentence tells you the nationality of the writer!

"I read your excerpt about the hydrino stuff. Don't buy any shares in it eh! Just reading the excerpt you posted sets off enough alarm bells.

1. Claiming scientific heresy. Maybe it was just to spice the article up, but no scientist thinks in terms of heresy.

2. "According to quantum mechanics, electrons can only exist in an atom in strictly defined orbits, and the shortest distance allowed between the proton and electron in hydrogen is fixed. The two particles are simply not allowed to get any closer."

That is flat out wrong. The orbits are not strictly defined, for different "orbits" the electron has a probability of being located at particular points, which is described by the wave function. Some of the states even penetrate the nucleus.

3. "We ran into this theoretical resistance and there are some vested interests here. People are very strong and fervent protectors of this [quantum] theory that they use."

Ahh, the old chestnut. If you go back and look at when QM was developed it didn't take long at all for these fervent protectors to take to it like ducks to water. Why? Because it was better, explained more and opened up a whole new field for people to work in.

4. "Dr Mills's idea goes against almost a century of thinking. When scientists developed the theory of quantum mechanics they described a world where measuring the exact position or energy of a particle was impossible and where the laws of classical physics had no effect. The theory has been hailed as one of the 20th century's greatest achievements."

Again, wrong. Is this guy supposed to be a physicist? The Heisenberg uncertainty principle says no such thing. It basically states that you can't measure complementary properties to an arbitrary degree at the same time. You can quite happily measure the energy of a particle to whatever accuracy your apparatus will allow, you just can't simultaneously measure some other properties to the same degree at the same time. The laws of classical physics do have effect when suitably recast in terms of quantum operators.

5. "But it is an achievement Dr Mills thinks is flawed. He turned back to earlier classical physics to develop a theory which, unlike quantum mechanics, allows an electron to move much closer to the proton at the heart of a hydrogen atom and, in doing so, release the substantial amounts of energy he seeks to exploit."

Here is where I'll get a bit catty. These alternative breakthrough theories that "disprove" quantum mechanics are near universally developed by electrical engineers. Why? Because they don't like thinking in terms of wave functions, statistical mechanics and all that new-fangled rubbish. They love currents and classical mechanics, things they can express as circuit diagrams or the like. Which is why these new theories are always a step backward from quantum mechanics to some pseudo-classical model. They'll find some actual anomaly or unexplained phenomenon (because such things do exist, chiefly because there is an awful lot to research and not that many people that can do it) and sieze on it as a failure of the entire theory. While in the past such things have lead to a breakthrough (eg the orbit of Mercury and Einstein's relativity) the vast majority have not, and left quite a few people a bit lighter on cash. The research community at large wouldn't suppress this sort of thing, it's the sort of thing every researcher loves... a whole new field to play in and make discoveries with. The problem is that this guy has this great new model to explain some supposedly unexplainable things, which actually seems more like his dislike for the nature of QM itself, but he can't show that everything else explained by QM, from lasers to semiconductors to nuclear power to, well, everything will still be explainable. My bet would be that many of these things would fail under his new theory. Even worse is that these states of hydrogen should have been blindingly obvious to any graduate student doing lab work. QM is undoubtedly incomplete and flawed, but the natural successor to it will not be a step back to more classical mechanics. If you do a search on the web you'll find this guy touting for cash for over a decade with his hydrinos that supposedly explain why the big bang is wrong as well... it is a theory that explains too much, yet explains nothing.

6. "Dr Mills will not go into details of who is investing in his research but rumours suggest a range of US power companies. It is well known also that Nasa's institute of advanced concepts has funded research into finding a way of using Blacklight's technology to power rockets."

If he won't give details, don't give him cash. It's the old running a car on water scam.

7. "According to Prof Maas, the first product built with Blacklight's technology, which will be available in as little as four years, will be a household heater. As the technology is scaled up, he says, bigger furnaces will be able to boil water and turn turbines to produce electricity."

Prediction, you won't see anything in four years and it won't be because the great physics research cabal has stifled him either.

8. ""If it's wrong, it will be proven wrong," said Kert Davies, research director of Greenpeace USA. "But if it's right, it is so important that all else falls away. It has the potential to solve our dependence on oil. Our stance is of cautious optimism.""

Pinning hopes on a new science that will supposedly revolutionise and save the world. It's worth remembering that none of the great breakthroughs have ever been done for this and when they do actually offer such a thing they are kneecapped by the greenies. Oh the irony.

Oh these things are funny when they pop up, there was even some guy on NZ TV documentary trying to sell a water-based combustion engine. The main problem is that media have no ability to spot the obvious fakes drumming up cash for their pet hobbies.

In the end, to say something is a load of crap isn't dogmatic. It should be a challenge to show why you're right and not brand those who call you out as "conservative" or "vested interests"... that smacks of the global warming debate and the bile directed at those who don't accept the hockey stick".


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 November, 2005


A nutty politician ignores all the science in order to attack potatoes!

Apparently stung by the criticisms about his junk science crusade against acrylamide, California Attorney General Bill Lockyer has come out swinging as only a trial lawyer turned politician can do -- by coupling a refusal to talk about the real scientific issue with a host of outright misrepresentations. Writing in the San Francisco Chronicle (October 17, 2005) Lockyer made the following claims:

1) "Acrylamide is a potent cancer-causing chemical" ; 2) "Acrylamide is found in certain kinds of potato chips and French fries at levels 80 times over the healthy exposure limits" ; 3) Instead of alerting consumers about high levels of acrylamide, some food manufacturers "are concealing the facts: the junk-food industry is peddling junk science."

So just what are the facts about acrylamide; or, more to the point, about Bill Lockyer's claims about acrylamide, for the two are not at all the same? Lockyer claims that acrylamide is a "potent cancer-causing chemical". Now there are two quite extraordinary things about this claim: one is what it doesn't say and two is that even though it is his central argument, he provides no evidence to support it. First, notice what Lockyer is NOT saying. He isn't claiming that acrylamide causes cancer in human beings. Instead he is claiming that it causes cancer AND is found in human food. For the hurried reader or the inattentive listener, these come out as the same thing, but they are not. Acrylamide causes cancer and acrylamide causes human cancer through food are not at all the same thing.

The attorney general has conflated two quite separate points. The difference is crucial since as Elizabeth Whelan of the American Council on Science and Health has pointed out there is a difference between causing cancer and causing cancer in humans through their food. She writes that "If we were to label every food containing something that causes cancer in rodents, few foods would be spared."

There is evidence that acrylamide causes cancer in lab rats, but the risk is significant only at lifetime doses of 500 micrograms per kilogram of rat body weight, according to Joseph Levitt, Director of the FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. Assuming that one can extrapolate from rat risks to human risks, this means that a human would have to consume a lifetime daily dose of 35,000 milligrams of acrylamide to have the same cancer risk as a rat.

To get some idea of what this means, a person would have to eat about 180 pounds of French fries per day for life. Put differently, humans typically get a daily dose of acrylamide in their food that is 10,000 times less than that which gives cancer to rats. So, yes acrylamide causes cancer in lab rats, but only at extraordinarily high doses, doses that no human would encounter in his food.

And what about acrylamide and human, as opposed to rat cancer? Here the evidence is of two sorts, occupational exposures to acrylamide and food-based exposures. According to studies by Marsh et al (1999) there is not a statistically significant association between occupational exposure to acrylamide and cancer, a fact confirmed by the World Health Organization in its March report on acrylamide. There are five major studies that have looked at the cancer risks from acrylamide in food. Four of these studies were done by Lorelei Mucci of Harvard. In her first study published in 2003 Mucci looked at dietary acrylamide and cancer of the large bowel, kidney and bladder and found no association between acrylamide and these cancers.

Similar results were found in a 2004 study by Mucci and others which looked for an association between acrylamide and the risk of renal cell cancer and which again found no link. In March, 2005 Mucci published a prospective study which examined whether there was a link between acrylamide and breast cancer. Once again there was no increased risk even for those subjects who ate the highest amounts of foods with acrylamide. Finally, in July 2005, Mucci published another prospective study which looked at acrylamide and the risk of colorectal cancer and found that the "intake of specific food items with elevated acrylamide (e.g. coffee, crisp bread and fired potato products) was not associated with cancer risk."

More here


(Post lifted from the Adam Smith blog)

"Ross Clark asks in Saturday's Times "What is Sustainability?" a question I have asked in Adam Smith Institute blogs long past.

EVERYTHING is "sustainable" these days: there are sustainable cars, sustainable blocks of flats, even sustainable school dinners. Everything, that is, except the Prince of Wales's arguments. The heir to the throne said this week that if we wanted to save the planet we must all eat more local, "sustainable" food, and complained that we couldn't go on importing food by jet aircraft.

The concept of sustainability has been used by the environmental movement since at least the 1970s, but it acquired general currency as a result of Our Common Future, a report published in 1987 by the World Commission on Environment and Development. According to the Brundtland report.[sustainable development] is anything "which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs" - a definition that the UN Division for Sustainable Development has adopted.

Clark goes on to suggest that "in the absence of any precise meaning, the concept of sustainability is pointless. It could mean virtually anything, and therefore means absolutely nothing. It has become merely a marketing slogan."

But in the UN and World Bank reports, when global companies, or even local governments, go green, the word sustainable has proved sustainable in the titles of their reports. It smacks of apple pie and motherhood. It is the new Malthus doctrine, substituting environment and economic growth for famine and population. It fails to recognize that we have never run out of resources because we substitute one for another; or that the environment is better in rich countries than poor ones.

I have no problem with royalty going into business, or advertising their products, organic or otherwise; or with pollution being penalized. But the current attack on air traffic and other methods of transport assumes that environment degradation is due to carbon emissions, and that the changes are mostly caused by humans. This is not proven, even though it is assumed by green politicians, many employed as scientists. It is disturbing, however, that celebrities, government officials and politicized environment lobbies have captured the ear of the heir to the throne and are using him as their mouthpiece. It bodes ill for the future of the monarchy and its constitutional role outside of politics.


And it is only if land-based icecaps shrink that sea-levels will rise. It is the most basic physics that any melting of sea ice (i.e. most of the Arctic) cannot affect sea-levels one iota -- something newspaper reports rarely mention

One of the great fears generated by global warming is that the ocean is about to rise and swallow our coasts. These concerns have been heightened by the substantial uptick in Atlantic hurricane activity that began in 1995. The frequency of really strong storms striking the U.S now resembles what it was in the 1940s and 50s, which few people (aging climatologists excepted) remember.

Those arguing that global warming is an overblown issue have been claiming for years that "consensus" forecasts of sea-level are equally overwrought. The United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts a global average rise of from 3.5 to 34 inches by 2100, with a central estimate of 19 inches. Depending upon how you slice or dice the data, the last century saw maybe six inches. Critics have long argued that these changes require a substantial net melting of some combination of the world's two largest masses of land-based ice, Antarctica and Greenland. In addition, they note that observed global warming is right near the low end of the U.N.'s projections, which means that realized sea level rise should be similarly modest.

Over 15 years ago, John Sansom published a paper in Journal of Climate that showed no net warming of Antarctica. While it was widely cited by critics of global warming doom, no one seemed to take notice. After all, it relied on only a handful of stations. Then, in 2002, Peter Doran published a more comprehensive analysis in Nature and found a cooling trend.

At the same time, a deluge of stories appeared, paradoxically, about Antarctic warming. These studies concentrated on the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, the narrow strip of land that juts out towards South America. That region, which comprises less than one-half of one percent of Antarctica, is warming because the surrounding ocean has warmed.

Warmer water evaporates more moisture. The colder the land surface over which that moisture passes, the more it snows. So, Antarctica as a whole should gain snow and ice. Last year, C.H. Davis published a paper in Science about how this accumulating snowfall over East Antarctica was reducing sea level rise. This year, Duncan Wingham, at the 2005 Earth Observations summit in Brussels, demonstrated the phenomenon is observed all over Antarctica.

Greenland is more complex. In 2000, William Krabill estimated the contribution of Greenland to sea level rise of 0.13 mm per year, or a half an inch per century. That's not very much different than zero. Just last month, using satellite altimetry, O.M. Johannessen published a remarkable finding in Science that the trend in Greenland ice is a gain of 5.4 cm (two inches) per year. Almost all of the gain in Greenland is for areas greater than 5000 feet in elevation (which is most of the place). Below that, there is glacial recession. It shouldn't be lost on anyone that because no one ventures into the hostile interior of Greenland, all we see are pictures of the receding glaciers near the coast! The temperature situation in Greenland is more mixed than in Antarctica. Over the last 75 years, there's been cooling in the southern portion (where the recession is greatest) and some warming in the North.

The only other masses of ice on the planet that can contribute to sea level rise are the non-polar glaciers, but they are very few and far between. The biggest is the Himalayan ice cap, but it's so high that a substantial portion will always remain. Most of the rest are teeny objects tucked away in high elevation nooks and crannies, like our Glacier National Park.....

Meanwhile, Antarctica grows. Computer models, while still shaky, are now encountering reality, and every one of them now says that Antarctica contributes negatively to sea level rise in the next century, while almost every model now has Greenland's contribution as a few inches, at best. It is inevitable that one of tomorrow's headlines will be that scientists have dramatically scaled back their projections of sea level rise associated with global warming. Had they paid attention to data (and snow) that began accumulating as long as fifteen years ago, they would have never made such outlandish forecasts to begin with.

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 November, 2005


Global warming has been blamed for a dramatic reduction in the Arctic ice cap. The 2005 northern summer melting of the ice cap has been the largest measured over 21 years, according to an American study. Britain's Channel 4 claimed: "By the end of the century, and possibly much earlier, the region is likely to be ice-free through the summer months - pushing temperatures not seen there for around a million years." (Channel 4 News UK, September 29, 2005). Similar reports appeared in the Australian media.

What are the facts, and what does all this mean? America's National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) released a report late in September which said: "For the fourth consecutive year, NSIDC and NASA scientists using satellite data have tracked a stunning reduction in Arctic sea ice at the end of the northern summer." It added: "If current rates of decline in sea ice continue, the summertime Arctic could be completely ice-free well before the end of this century."

However, a careful examination of the report and accompanying information, gives a considerably more complex picture. There have, indeed, been four years of significantly warmer temperatures in the Arctic than previously; but if these are discounted, the previous 20 years show no clearly discernible trend. Further, history records that there have been many periods of warming and cooling of the polar regions. A prolonged cooling phase in the late 1840s, which saw no melting of the Arctic ice in summer, is now believed to be the cause of the failure of Franklin's expedition to find the Northwest passage from Europe to Asia, which resulted in the death of every man in the expedition.

The Arctic is subject to complex ocean currents, which influence both sea and atmospheric temperatures. Among the most important of these are the global thermohaline currents, which push warmer waters towards the Arctic in both the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. If the Arctic Ocean is warming up, eventually the atmosphere above it will become warmer and wetter, leading to heavy snow falls which will increase the size of the ice cap. This feedback mechanism will counter the effect of solar radiation which the report suggests will cause further warming of the Arctic atmosphere.

The NSIDC web site reports that, since satellite data has been available in 1972, "Arctic ice has been decreasing at an average rate of about 3 percent per decade, while Antarctic ice has increased by about 0.8 percent per decade". If global warming has caused the decline in the Arctic ice cap, it would be expected to have caused the same effects in Antarctica. In fact, the opposite is happening. More significantly, the total ice area of Antarctica is far greater than that of the Arctic. The land mass of Antarctica is 13 million square km, and the band of sea ice surrounding it is a further 20 million square km in winter. In contrast, the Arctic ice cap area typically is less than half this, 14-16 million square km. According to the Australian Antarctic Division, the Antarctic ice sheet "holds 90 percent of the world's ice".

In the Antarctic, the increase in the ice cap points to increasing rain/snow fall. A study, published some years ago in the Journal of Climate, suggested that during the next century, the Antarctic's ice volume could grow a little, on account of global warming It suggested that increased snow falls would occur because warmer air, when saturated, carries more water vapour.

In any event, in relation to global warming, there is no scientific consensus. Critics argue that short-term climate variations are sufficiently large to mask long-term trends. Further, while computer models forecast rapidly rising global temperatures, owing largely to increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, data from weather satellites and balloon instruments over the past 25 years show no warming trend. All this indicates that melting of the arctic ice cap is an extremely complex phenomenon, which cannot be attributed to one factor.

William Kininmonth, former head of the National Climate Centre in Canberra, wrote recently that the temperatures of the polar regions are mainly regulated by energy carried from the tropics towards the poles by ocean currents and wind. Without this, the poles would be much colder. He said: "A one-percent increase in the annual average transport in the Northern Hemisphere, if sustained, would transport additional energy sufficient to melt the Arctic Ocean sea ice in about seven years (and computer models cannot simulate the poleward transport of energy with such accuracy!)."

After observing that climatic trends oscillate over periods ranging from decades to centuries, he concluded: "We should not be too concerned about recent rises in temperatures over the Arctic. There will not be a runaway warming because the region is reliant upon transport of energy from the tropics to maintain its 'warmth'."



Scotland at present gets a large share of its electicity from nukes but there are moves to reduce this. I recently reprinted an editorial from "The Scotsman" favouring the building of new reactors. That editorial produced some debate. I first reprint below an anti-nuke argument that points to non-nuclear alternatives for Scotland's electricity needs. I then reproduce what I think is a rather devastating reply to that from blogger Neil Craig

"The pro-nuclear lobby keeps trying to inflate the amount of nuclear power generated in Scotland, usually quoting figures between 50 and 55 per cent with Neil Craig (Letters, 22 October) quoting 55 per cent. Official figures for 2001, 2002 and 2003 are 36.8, 32 and 37.2 per cent respectively.

If the Hunterston B (1,190 MW) licence is not extended beyond 2011, it will close, but before 2010 almost 1,900 MW of additional power capacity will be available in Scotland. The modernised Peterhead gas/oil-fired power station has a further 821MW that could be made available if the east-coast grid was strengthened. A 350 MW prototype carbon-free hydrogen-fired power station at Peterhead is planned to be operational by 2009.

There will also be a further 400 MW gas-fired station at Westfield, Fife, an upgraded 120 MW gas-fired station in Fife became operational in December 2004, and an additional 120 MW hydro capacity will be available by the winter of 2008, and we now have 50 MW of biomass and waste-fuelled power plants available."

Neil Craig replies:

"The letter saying that Scotland only relies on nuclear for 37.2% of our electricity rather than the 55% I said deserves a response. The figure he gives derives from a DTI report which also says that this was artificially reduced in 2002/3 by technical problems (mainly at Torness). The figure of 55% was accepted at Holyrood. The former relates to theoretical capacity, the latter to market share of power produced. Thus, for example while there may be 50 MW capacity of bio-mass (aka wood) available, without planting many hundreds of square miles of new forest it would be impossible to utilise this continuously as nuclear can.

In any case since my letter was in response to well justified predictions of catastrophe if we lose 20% of our power to say that it may actually, on an average day, be only 37% is not reassuring.

I agree we could put in new cabling to use power from Peterhead, though the hysteresis losses in moving power make that an inefficient measure. However, with the ratification of the Kyoto treaty, it is now illegal to increase CO2 production & thus we cannot rely on increased coal & gas fired power.

His reference to a prototype hydrogen powered generator solving our problems is misplaced. Hydrogen is not a power source - hydrogen is merely a storage medium. There is no such thing as a hydrogen well. To make 350 MW from hydrogen you have to first use over 1000 MW of power to make the hydrogen from water. This actually makes some sense if you use the off peak power of a nuclear reactor. Reactors work best producing flat out continuously & have minuscule fuel costs so the marginal cost, when demand is low is very small. However this only works if we actually have the reactor in the first place.

Mr Robertson has produced serious figures to back up his letter unlike so many "renewable" supporters who think electricity just comes from sockets but the fact remains that we are facing major blackouts over the next 2 decades for purely hysterical reasons. France produces 85% of its power from nuclear, sells large amounts of it very profitably to its Luddite neighbours (including 5% of UK power keeping the south of England warm) & is doing very nicely out of it. I think that is better than having pensioners dying of hypothermia because they can't pay their fuel bills as, according to Help the Aged, happens to 24,000 pensioners in Britain every winter".


"The Guardian" records a changing scene where the Greenies are reduced to a few squawks of impotent protest in reponse to Tony Blair's new priorities

Environmental campaigners demanded that Tony Blair clarify his comments on global warming last night after the prime minister appeared to signal a shift away from a target-based approach to cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

The prime minister said "informal mechanisms" were needed to address global warming that were likely to include an increasing focus on the private sector. At the end of the first day of a two-day conference of environment and energy ministers in London he said countries would not sacrifice economic growth for external agreements.

Tony Juniper, director of Friends of the Earth, said: "We need to understand immediately what he means by that. His role at the moment is pivotal. He's the only world leader who's pushing climate change as an issue that has to be dealt with. So what he says is going to carry particular weight and he's basically just rewritten the history of climate change politics."

Phil Thornhill, from the Campaign Against Climate Change, said: "The idea that we're going to deal with a problem as massive as this on a voluntary basis is pure, self-serving fantasy and wishful thinking. If you have mandatory limits there will be investment in new technology. The trouble with Blair is that he says we need international agreement to move forward on climate change but it's also important to have something to agree on. If we all agreed to do nothing or next to nothing it's just as bad as having no agreement. People have agreed that we need targets. To have a treaty with no targets is like having a peace treaty where you can still fire guns."

Mr Blair has been seen as a strong supporter of the Kyoto protocol and was thought to be keen on working towards finding a successor to the treaty. In September the government was still arguing that China and India's plans did not go far enough when they gave their backing to a US plan that backs technology, not emission targets, as a solution.

As part of his support, the prime minister made tackling climate change his priority for the presidency of G8 and the EU this year, describing it as a greater threat to the world than terrorism. In May's election manifesto the government firmed up its pledge to cut carbon dioxide levels by 20% on 1990 levels by 2010, despite the fact that ministers had conceded that with current measures the UK was not going to reach its targets.

However, yesterday Mr Blair said legally binding targets to reduce pollution made people "very nervous and very worried". He said when Kyoto expires in 2012, the international community would need a more sensitive framework for tackling global warming: "People fear some external force is going to impose some internal target on you, which is going to restrict your economic growth. I think in the world after 2012 we need to find a better, more sensitive set of mechanisms to deal with this problem."

His words come in the build-up to key United Nations talks in Montreal later this month on how to combat global warming after Kyoto. They appear to be aimed at drawing the US and developing countries into the international negotiations.

Experts fear countries such as China and India, which are exempt from pollution caps under the Kyoto protocol, could derail attempts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Both countries say they take the threat of climate change seriously, but they are keen to use abundant coal stocks to feed the energy demands of their booming economies. China plans to build a new coal-fired power station a week and will overtake the US as the world's largest carbon dioxide emitter by 2025.

The informal meeting brings together ministers from 20 countries as a follow-up to the G8 summit earlier this year. Speaking before the meeting, the environment secretary, Margaret Beckett, said partnerships to develop new technology that would allow developing countries to burn their vast stocks of coal more cleanly were the best way to get them to cooperate in efforts to tackle climate change.

She admitted there had been "a serious divide" in recent years about whether the solution to climate change was through setting targets or developing technology. "This is clearly a false divide. Technology is essential to make the transition to a low carbon economy, and targets or goals or objectives set by country or sector or internationally have a vital role to play in driving forward that progress."

Norman Baker, the Liberal Democrat environment spokesman, said: "It is all very well for the government to trumpet the merits of technology in reducing carbon emissions. But we need robust, measurable targets - not just vague aspirations."

The US and the EU have had discussions with India and China on finding and transferring clean technology as an alternative way to bring emissions down. Central is the idea that carbon pollution could be stored underground, keeping it away from the atmosphere. The concept - also called carbon sequestration - has become popular with politicians, who see it as a way to carry on burning fossil fuels, and environmentalists, who view it as a way to prevent the building of new nuclear power stations. It could reduce emissions by up to 90% without restricting fossil fuel use, but experts say a viable large-scale system could be decades away.

Mr Juniper said: "There are existing technologies that we could be using now which would cut fossil fuel demand ... Climate change is threatening the lives of millions. We must see real progress on the development of sustainable energy."


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

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

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


4 November, 2005


Below is an excerpt from what is a fairly routine article (dated 23 September 2005) in a British newspaper that is noted for its devotion to global warming. The article is by Michael McCarthy, Environment Editor of The Independent. What is notable about the article is that "Neo-Cons" are blamed for skepticism about global-warming. And "Neo-Cons" is of course standard Leftist code for "Jews".

The irrationality of the attack is further heightened when we note that some of the leading voices of neo-conservatism share green concerns about fossil fuels. As Robert Bryce pointed out earlier this year, "many of the leading neoconservatives who pushed hard for the Iraq war are going green. James Woolsey, the former director of the Central Intelligence Agency and staunch backer of the Iraq war, now drives a 58-miles-per-gallon Toyota Prius and has two more hybrid vehicles on order. Frank Gaffney, the president of the Center for Security Policy and another neocon who championed the war, has been speaking regularly in Washington about fuel efficiency and plant-based bio-fuels. See "As green as a neocon" in Slate and also "Neoconservatives and greens find common cause on energy conservation" here.

So the article below and what it reports is not only ignorant in every way but it is clearly just another example of the Jew-baiting that has become so common among the present-day British Left -- something Isi Leibler has recently outlined at length. I am indebted to Benny Peiser for the heads-up on this.

"Super-powerful hurricanes now hitting the United States are the "smoking gun" of global warming, one of Britain's leading scientists believes. The growing violence of storms such as Katrina, which wrecked New Orleans, and Rita, now threatening Texas, is very probably caused by climate change, said Sir John Lawton, chairman of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution. Hurricanes were getting more intense, just as computer models predicted they would, because of the rising temperature of the sea, he said. "The increased intensity of these kinds of extreme storms is very likely to be due to global warming."

In a series of outspoken comments - a thinly veiled attack on the Bush administration, Sir John hit out at neoconservatives in the US who still deny the reality of climate change.

Referring to the arrival of Hurricane Rita he said: "If this makes the climate loonies in the States realise we've got a problem, some good will come out of a truly awful situation." As he spoke, more than a million people were fleeing north away from the coast of Texas as Rita, one of the most intense storms on record, roared through the Gulf of Mexico. It will probably make landfall tonight or early tomorrow near Houston, America's fourth largest city and the centre of its oil industry. Highways leading inland from Houston were clogged with traffic for up to 100 miles north...."


Excerpt from the BBC report below:

Technology and science will provide at least part of the solution to global warming, Tony Blair said as 20 nations held talks in London. The prime minister was speaking at the two-day G8 summit of energy and environment ministers. The focus is on curbing climate change through technology, not binding deals.

Mr Blair said there were divisions over the Kyoto climate agreement. But he said economic growth could be combined with helping the environment. The meeting brought together the G8 group of industrialised countries alongside developing world nations. It paves the way for a major summit in Montreal later the next round of United Nations climate negotiations, which open in Montreal later this month.

Mr Blair has described the UN as the "only forum" for formal talks on future treaties but in recent weeks he has downplayed the impact of the Kyoto Protocol. He has expressed doubts there will ever be another treaty which sets mandatory, binding targets on greenhouse gas emissions. Major developing countries such as India and China are also known to be sceptical about a "child-of-Kyoto" deal. Mr Blair said: "The solutions will come in the end, in part at least, through the private sector in developing the technology and science." Countries, such as the USA, were taking action on their own, he said.

And he argued the issue would never be tackled properly unless the world could combine the need for growth with "a proper and responsible attitude" towards the environment. "The blunt truth about the politics of climate change is that no country will want to sacrifice its economy in order to meet this challenge," he said. "But all economies know that the only sensible, long-term way to develop is to do it on a sustainable basis."

Mr Blair said people were very nervous about talks of specific frameworks and targets. "People fear some external force is going to impose some internal target on you which is going to restrict your economic growth," he said. "I think in the world after 2012 we need to find a better, more sensitive set of mechanisms to deal with this problem." The discussions follow the climate agreement drawn up at July's G8 summit in Gleneagles, which emphasised the importance of climate-friendly technologies such as clean coal, nuclear power and renewables.

Report from The Guardian below

Tony Blair appeared last night to undermine more than 15 years of climate change negotiations when he signalled a shift away from a target-based approach to cutting greenhouse emissions. Speaking at the end of the first day of a summit in London of environment and energy ministers, the prime minister said that legally binding targets to reduce pollution made people "very nervous and very worried".

He said when the Kyoto protocol expires in 2012, the world would need a more sensitive framework for tackling global warming. "People fear some external force is going to impose some internal target on you ... to restrict your economic growth," he said. "I think in the world after 2012 we need to find a better, more sensitive set of mechanisms to deal with this problem." His words come in the build-up to UN talks in Montreal this month on how to combat global warming after Kyoto. "The blunt truth about the politics of climate change is that no country will want to sacrifice its economy in order to meet this challenge," he said. "If we can deal with this in the right way and have this informal mechanism then I think we can find a way of meeting what I believe is the clear desire of our people - which is to find a way of combining rising living standards with the responsibility to protect our environment."

The statements echoed sentiments Mr Blair expressed informally at a meeting organised by Bill Clinton in New York recently, when he said he was "changing my thinking" on the best way to tackle climate change. Mr Blair's office said at the time his remarks had been misinterpreted and they did not signal that the UK was changing its position or adopting an attitude similar to that held by the US.

The US has refused to sign up to Kyoto because it says caps on pollution would damage its economy. George Bush also objects to big developing countries, such as China and India, being exempt. Mr Blair has acknowledged he will not overcome such opposition and has instead focused on the need to develop green technology.


Since global warming should cause an increase in rainfall, this one was too much of a stretch even for the Greenies. Using their logic, however, the events below are proof of global COOLING

Lake Victoria, the source of the White Nile, and dozens of other critical freshwater supplies across Africa could be reduced to swamps within decades unless action is taken to save them, the United Nations says in a report. Satellite images have revealed an unprecedented deterioration in all of Africa's 677 biggest lakes, raising fears that water shortages could soon trigger new conflicts across a continent where millions still lack access to safe drinking water.

Klaus Toepfer, a former Environment Minister of Germany, who is now executive director of the UN Environmental Programme, said: "I hope these images of Africa's lakes will galvanise greater action to conserve and restore these crucial water bodies. The images should ring a warning around the world that, if we are to overcome poverty and meet internationally agreed devel opment goals by 2015, the sustainable management of Africa's lakes must be part of the equation." Herr Toepfer was presenting the report, The Atlas of African Lakes, at the start of the 11th annual World Lakes Conference in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital, this week. The report compared past and present satellite pictures to reveal the growing dangers to African lakes - which contain about 30,000 cubic kilometres (7,200 cubic miles) of water, the largest volume in any continent. It detailed some startling changes to inland water bodies across sub-Saharan Africa, home to about 800 million of the world's poorest people. The water level of Lake Victoria, the largest African freshwater lake, which provides fishing and transport for 30 million people, has dropped by a metre in the past ten years alone.

The report also revealed the rapid shrinking of Songow Lagoon, in Ghana, caused partly by salt mining; "extraordinary" changes to the Zambezi river system caused by the building of the Cahora Bassa dam; and the shrinkage of Lake Chad by almost 90 per cent. Rapidly increasing populations, climate change, deforestation, poor farming methods and pollution are blamed for the changes, which the report said highlighted the need for vastly improved cross-border co-operation to ensure access to life's most precious resource. "Africa's freshwater supply, including lakes, is threatened by depletion of water resources through pollution, environmental degradation and deforestation," the report said. "High population in Africa is the major cause of degradation and pollution of most African lakes, as everyone exploits aquatic resources to make a living."

According to the United Nations, two thirds of the rural population and a quarter of the urban population in Africa are without safe drinking water, while even more lack proper sanitation. The report said that as much as 90 per cent of Africa's water was used in farming, of which 40 to 60 per cent was lost to seepage and evaporation.

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.


3 November, 2005


Trying to keep Greenies happy is futile, not to mention costly to the public

The wind farm at Altamont Pass produces clean electricity for tens of thousands of homes. The windmills also kill a large number of migratory birds passing through the region east of San Francisco. Two environmental groups are going to court with the ultimate aim of shutting down the farm for three months during the migration season to help protect red-tail hawks, golden eagles, and other raptors killed by the mills.

On Friday, the nonprofit group Californians for Renewable Energy filed a suit in Alameda County Superior Court demanding the county conduct an environmental impact report on the windmills. CARE president Michael Boyd said on Saturday the Golden Gate Audubon Society was filing a sister suit on Monday. "The perception is it's environmentalist versus environmentalist," Boyd said. "But it's environmentalists versus the power cartel."

The nearly 6,000 windmills on the rolling hills of Altamont Pass, 60 miles east of San Francisco, make up one of the largest wind farms in the country. The turbines generate enough electricity to power more than 120,000 homes. And more birds are killed in the region than at any other wind farm in the country, according to the California Energy Commission.

Earlier this year, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors and the companies that operate the turbines agreed to shut down 50 percent of the turbines during prime migration season, set to begin on Tuesday, and to shut 100 mills permanently as part of a plan to protect the birds. But Boyd said the plan did not go far enough and did not have merit because it was drawn up without conducting an environmental impact reporting required by the California Environmental Quality Act.

Under the act, when a suit is filed, all parties involved must sit down for a mandatory settlement conference. At that time, Boyd said, CARE will ask for all turbines to be shut down for three months during migration, and for 200 mills to be removed.

More here


Forget Kyoto. By the time Christ appeared on Earth, the planet was already belching enough gas to cause global warming. And we have our ancestors to blame. Or thank. William Ruddiman, a professor of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia, is behind a controversial theory suggesting that humans had a hand in warming the planet nearly 8,000 years ago, and in doing so, might have prevented another ice age. In his new book titled Plows, Plagues, Petroleum: How Humans took Control of the Climate, Ruddiman delves further into the theory that first made waves in the winter of 2003. “I presented my results at the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco back then,” recalls Ruddiman. His findings threw a monkey wrench into a time-honoured theory: that global warming began only 150 years ago, shortly after the Industrial Revolution.

Earth gracefully pirouettes like a ballerina around its axis. Every now and then – once in 22,000 years to be exact – the axis tilts causing the planet to wobble. This clumsy movement is enough to cause warmer summers in the Northern Hemisphere and drive methane levels up in the atmosphere through the breakdown of plant matter in the wetlands. Then, as the Northern Hemisphere moves away from the sun, methane emissions plummet, reaching a nadir 11,000 years later. Thus waxed and waned methane throughout recorded history, up until 5,000 years ago. Then it took a wrong turn.

As Ruddiman pored over data collected from ancient air trapped inside Antarctic ice cores, he found that the methane levels reversed directions 5,000 years ago, soaring back to 700 parts per billion when they should have ebbed to 450 ppb, akin to previous cycles. Intrigued, he turned his attention to carbon dioxide. Here, a similar picture unfolded. During the current interglacial period, the level of CO2 peaked around 10,500 as expected and continued its slow decline through modern times. Then, it reversed course 8,000 years ago. By the start of the industrial era, CO2 concentrations had soared to 285 parts per million, around 40 ppm higher than expected. Ruddiman suspected that these discrepancies were not driven by natural causes.

So, could humans have been responsible for this anomaly? Ruddiman found his answers in the ancient civilizations of China and Mesopotamia. Ruddiman found evidence from studies in archeology and human historical records to show that Europeans began clearing forests to make way for new crops like wheat, barley and peas around 8,000 years ago. “This significant deforestation would have pushed levels of CO2 upwards,” he opines. Likewise, around 5,000 years ago, Chinese farmers began flooding lowlands near rivers to grow rice, which would have contributed to a rise in atmospheric methane. Thus, ancient agriculture, not modern industry, was responsible for the onset of global warming. Plows, not petroleum

As with all radical theories, this one has its skeptics. In particular, Ruddiman found one critique that warranted a closer look. Fortunaut Joos is a professor of environmental physics at the University of Bern, Switzerland. For the past many years, Joos has developed models of carbon cycling, thanks to which he can predict the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere at a given period of time. Joos jumped on Ruddiman’s assertions and stated that there is no way forest clearing could account for the anomalous 40 ppm rise in CO2. With the area of forestland prevalent in the day, any rise in CO2 would level off at four ppm. So, Ruddiman’s assertions were off the mark – by a factor of 10. “Indeed,” confessed Ruddiman, “he was right. Deforestation could only account for 35-45 per cent of the anomalous CO2 rise.” So, where did the rest of the CO2 come from?

After much rumination, Ruddiman hit upon a possible answer. “It dawned on me that, alongside human factors pushing CO2 levels up, there might be another mechanism keeping the CO2 levels from going down.” Further research revealed a cooling trend prevalent in previous interglacial cycles. Looming sea ice in Antarctica is believed to drive down atmospheric CO2 values by reducing carbon exchanges between southern ocean surface water and the atmosphere. This cooling mechanism is absent today, thus possibly adding to an already increased level of gas.

The critics notwithstanding, Many of Ruddiman’s colleagues have welcomed his new assertions and the resulting paradigm shift in our understanding of climate change. Ruddiman’s theory brings up an intriguing prospect. Greenhouse gases distanced us from an impending ice age. Could this mean that global warming was a good thing? “Ah, you’ve hit the nail on the head!” exclaims Ruddiman.

Yet today, the face of global warming is decidedly ugly: floods, melting glaciers, droughts, disease. How then to reconcile the devastating effects of global warming with this new image of greenhouse gases as a warm cuddly blanket, shielding Earth from the next ice age? “My theory is about the past,” he emphasizes, “and we simply cannot make inferences about the beneficial effects of global warming today based on yesterday’s records.” “If anything,” he notes, “this study should be a lesson in humility. As humans, we were able to alter the climate simply by growing food,” he muses. “Now, with all the technology at our disposal, just imagine what we can do with the climate in the near future!”



They were recently fined in Alaska too -- for a violation of environmental regulations. They are just egotists who like playing with big toys -- floating toys in particular

Greenpeace is to be fined after its flagship Rainbow Warrior II damaged a coral reef in the central Philippines during a climate change awareness campaign. The ship and its crew were assessed a 640,000-peso ($15,000) fine after the 55m motor-assisted schooner ran aground at the Tubbataha Reef Marine Park yesterday, park manager Angelique Songco said. The ship's bow sliced through a reef formation measuring 160sq m, she said.

A Greenpeace official in the Philippines described the incident as accidental, and said it would comply with the marine park authorities' ruling. Rainbow Warrior II arrived in the reservation in the middle of the Sulu Sea, about 600km south of Manila, last weekend as part of a four-month Asia-Pacific campaign to promote earth-friendly energy sources, Greenpeace campaign manager Red Constantino said. He said the crew made dive sorties to inspect the effect of global warming on the coral formation, which is listed among the World Heritage sites of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation. The chart indicated we were a mile and a half" from the coral reef when the ship ran aground, Mr Constantino said....

Mr Constantino said that Greenpeace divers on the Tubbataha expedition had found that healthy coral and no evidence of bleaching, believed to be caused by warming sea temperatures. He said the healthy state of the Tubbataha Reefs did not disprove the theory of global warming, which he described as an "extremely complicated science". [A rare admission!]

More here. (Neo-Con has had a laugh at this story too)


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 November, 2005


Scandal-plagued Enron Corp., cited by Democrats as a big giver to President Bush and the GOP, gave a cool $420,000 to Democrats when the corporation was desperate to get the Clinton administration's help in having the potentially disastrous Kyoto treaty made the law of the land. Senate ratification of the treaty, which foes explained would have cost the U.S. billions and had a deadly effect on the U.S. economy, would have been a bonanza for Enron.

According to Washington Times reporter Jerry Seper, a December 1997 private internal memo written by Enron executive John Palmisano said the treaty would be "good for Enron stock!!" "The memo said the Kyoto treaty - later signed by Mr. Clinton and leaders of 166 other countries, but never ratified by the Senate - 'would do more to promote Enron's business than will almost any other regulatory initiative outside of restructuring the energy and natural gas industries in Europe and the United States.'"

Writing in Wednesday's Times, Seper reports, "Federal and confidential corporate records show that after donating thousands of dollars in soft money and PAC donations beginning in 1995, Enron received easy access to President Clinton and Vice President Al Gore." Seper revealed that Clinton's Energy Department and Environmental Protection Agency "often made themselves available for Enron executives to discuss the firm's needs, according to records, even arranging for meetings with key congressional staffers."

Enron's drive to get the Kyoto Protocol ratified continued even after the Senate voted 95-0 to set restrictions on any climate negotiations. The Senate resolution warned U.S. diplomats against negotiating any climate treaty in which less developed nations such as communist China would have fewer restrictions imposed on them than the U.S. and other developed countries.

That vote gave clear warning that the Senate would never ratify the treaty, costing Enron potential profits in the billions. As a result, Enron used its open door to the Clinton White House to lobby hard for a treaty that would give it the ability to buy and sell trading credits to emit carbon dioxide as part of a strategy to reduce "greenhouse gases." Under the system pushed by Enron, new investments in gas-fired plants and pipelines would be expanded and coal-fired power plants, which emit more carbon dioxide, would be curtailed. Seper noted, "Natural gas, electricity and their delivery systems constitute Enron's major businesses."

During a White House meeting in July 1997, Enron Chairman Kenneth L. Lay prodded Clinton and Gore to support a "market-based" approach to what he described as the problem of "global warming," a theory discredited by a majority of the world's climatologists. In the face of Senate hostility to the Kyoto accords, Enron continued to urge the Clinton administration to seek a "restructuring" of the treaty that would have been a "first step to solving the problems of global climate change." Seper notes that the company "sought laws that would have favored Enron's natural gas inventory and reduced competition from coal."

Much more here. Additional background on Enron as it was in 2002 can be found here and here


Meteorologist William Gray may be the world's most famous hurricane expert. More than two decades ago, as professor of atmospheric science and head of the Tropical Meteorology Project at Colorado State University, he pioneered the science of hurricane forecasting. Each December, six months before the start of hurricane season, the now 75-year-old Gray and his team issue a long-range prediction of the number of major tropical storms that will arise in the Atlantic Ocean basin, as well as the number of hurricanes (with sustained winds of 74 miles per hour or more) and intense hurricanes (with winds of at least 111 mph). This year, Gray expects more activity, with 15 named storms, including 8 hurricanes. Four of them, he says, will be intense.

How did you get involved in predicting hurricanes?

G: It was an outgrowth of my teaching. We always wanted to know when we went to Florida whether the Atlantic basin would have an active season or not, because it has the most variable season of the global basins. There are some years with very few storms and other years with a large number of them. Twenty-five years ago, there was no way to tell. We tried studying local variation in the sea surface temperatures in the western Atlantic, the surface pressures, the wind shears, and various other things, but we could not develop a scheme that worked very well. Then I discovered that the secret was to look globally. I found that if there is an El Ni¤o in the Pacific, the Atlantic seasons tend to be rather weak; if there is not an El Ni¤o, they tend to be stronger. Then we found that if the global stratospheric winds blow from the west, we tend to have more storms. We looked at West African rain-we hadn't been doing that-and found that had a precursor signal to it too. The more we learned, the better the predictions got.

How can you predict hurricanes six or nine months in advance but not the weather next week?

G: We don't say where or when the storms are going to occur. We give a number for the season. It is a different prediction.

What is the point in predicting the severity of the season if you can't say where a storm will hit, or when?

G: People want to know what the odds look like, and we can say something about that by looking at the conditions that existed before the active season in prior years and comparing those to what we see now.

A few years ago when there were quite a few light seasons in a row, you said Florida had just been lucky-and that it was going to end.

G: They've been extremely lucky. The last major storm to come through Florida, before hurricane Andrew hit in 1992, was hurricane Betsy in 1965, which went through the Keys. Eight of the last 10 years have been very active-in fact, we've never had as much activity on the records, going back to about 1870 or so, as in the past 10 years-and yet we went from 1992 until last year with no hurricanes coming through Florida. If we look back earlier, from 1931 through 1965, Florida was hit 11 times with major storms. The major storms, the category 3, 4, and 5 hurricanes, only account for about 25 percent of the number of named storms, but they cause about 80 to 85 percent of the damage.

There was a lot of devastation last year. That doesn't seem very lucky.

G: Although last year was a terrible year for them, it could have been worse because none of the four storms that affected the Florida region went into a highly populated area.

What do you expect over the next few years?

G: Our feeling is that the United States is going to be seeing hurricane damage over the next decade or so on a scale way beyond what we have seen in the past.

Is there a reason so many storms reached land last year?

G: What made last year so unusual were the steering currents. In 9 of the previous 10 years from 1995 through 2003, we tended to have this upper-level trough-or low-pressure area-off the northeast United States, and that brought the westerly winds down into the tropics, where they curved the storms out to sea before they could hit the United States. On average, about one in 3 major Atlantic storms hits land, so by all reckoning we should have had 9 or 10 major storms hitting the United States since 1995. We only had 3 because of this trough. Last year, the thing changed. Instead of a trough off the northeastern United States, we had this high-pressure ridge, and that kept the westerly winds far north of the tropical Atlantic storms. The storms didn't curve away; they just kept coming westward.

What will happen this year?

G: We think that this year we probably won't curve all the storms, but we are not as confident of that as we are that this will be a pretty active year-a lot like last year.

How accurate can hurricane prediction get?

G: There are two types of prediction. The type we do is with climate, where we don't say when and where but we say the number. I think that will get slightly better if we keep working on it. The critical prediction is in the short range, 12 to 48 hours, of the track of the storm and of its intensity. Track prediction is getting a little better because researchers have been flying planes around the outside of the storm, measuring the steering currents. The errors in three-day track prediction now are equivalent to the errors you used to see in two-day predictions. But the skill at intensity predictions is still very small. That is a tougher nut to crack because it involves the complexity of the inner core of the storm.

A few years ago, you almost called it quits because you'd lost so much funding. What made you continue?

G: I don't have the budget that I had, so I have cut my project way back. I am in retirement. I'm still working every day, but I don't teach and I don't have as many graduate students and as much financial need. I've got a little money from Lexington Insurance out of Boston, and I have some National Science Foundation money. For years I haven't had any NOAA, NASA, or Navy money. But I'm having more fun. Right now I'm trying to work on this human-induced global-warming thing that I think is grossly exaggerated.

You don't believe global warming is causing climate change?

G: No. If it is, it is causing such a small part that it is negligible. I'm not disputing that there has been global warming. There was a lot of global warming in the 1930s and '40s, and then there was a slight global cooling from the middle '40s to the early '70s. And there has been warming since the middle '70s, especially in the last 10 years. But this is natural, due to ocean circulation changes and other factors. It is not human induced.

That must be a controversial position among hurricane researchers.

G: Nearly all of my colleagues who have been around 40 or 50 years are skeptical as hell about this whole global-warming thing. But no one asks us. If you don't know anything about how the atmosphere functions, you will of course say, "Look, greenhouse gases are going up, the globe is warming, they must be related." Well, just because there are two associations, changing with the same sign, doesn't mean that one is causing the other.

With last year's hurricane season so active, and this year's looking like it will be, won't people say it's evidence of global warming?

G: The Atlantic has had more of these storms in the least 10 years or so, but in other ocean basins, activity is slightly down. Why would that be so if this is climate change? The Atlantic is a special basin? The number of major storms in the Atlantic also went way down from the middle 1960s to the middle '90s, when greenhouse gases were going up.

Why is there scientific support for the idea?

G: So many people have a vested interest in this global-warming thing-all these big labs and research and stuff. The idea is to frighten the public, to get money to study it more. Now that the cold war is over, we have to generate a common enemy to support science, and what better common enemy for the globe than greenhouse gases?

Are your funding problems due in part to your views?

G: I can't be sure, but I think that's a lot of the reason. I have been around 50 years, so my views on this are well known. I had NOAA money for 30 some years, and then when the Clinton administration came in and Gore started directing some of the environmental stuff, I was cut off. I couldn't get any NOAA money. They turned down 13 straight proposals from me.



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 November, 2005


It is microscopically tiny and most agree that it could one day revolutionise medicine, manufacturing, energy production and life in the 21st century. But the ultra-fine particles created for cosmetic, industrial and high-technology uses could prove to be as deadly in future as asbestos is today, according to groups calling for a moratorium on "nanotechnology". The moratorium should stay in place until more is known about the health effects of the new technology and a licensing system is introduced for the thousands of different microscopic nanoparticles being created, the groups say.

The technology involves manipulating and engineering matter at an atomic or molecular level - so extraordinarily small that it can change the physical properties of the particles, developing new products, but also new and unknown hazards. At this scale, the standard measure is a nanometre - one billionth of a metre, or about 1/80,000th the width of human hair. The diameter of DNA, our genetic material, is in the 2.5 nanometre range. At this size, it is possible that particles can enter the bloodstream through the skin barrier, or from the lungs and intestinal tissue.

Even though there are no specific regulations governing it, nanotechnology is already used in areas such as electronics, pharmaceuticals, sunscreens, and optical fibres. Products on the market range from computer displays, self-cleaning windows, paints, varnishes and wrinkle creams. In Australia, government and industry invest about $100 million a year in nanotechnology. About 50 companies use or are researching the technology and the Australian Research Council finances more than 200 nanotechnology projects. The State Government has invested $12 million in Nanotechnology Victoria, a venture between Monash, RMIT and Swinburne universities and CSIRO that aims to commercialise the technology. As well as high-technology applications, nanoparticles are found in the by-products of diesel engines, furnaces and welding.

The director of lobby group GeneEthics, Bob Phelps, says: "Each type of nanoparticle may be as deadly as asbestos so the worker and public health challenge is huge." He wants a national new technology assessment and regulation office created to research the environmental, occupational and public health risks involved. He says 25 per cent of the investment in nanotechnology should be spent on research.

Friends of the Earth estimates that 300,000 Australian workers could be exposed to nanoparticles in the refining and welding fields; a further 33,000 may be exposed through handling various fine powders, mainly in the pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries, and about 700 in universities and R&D companies. Friends of the Earth says a "regulatory vacuum" surrounds nanotechnology. It supports a moratorium on the research, development and manufacture of synthetic nanoparticles until regulations are developed to protect workers, the public and the environment from exposure. "This could prevent huge human and financial costs and waves of expensive compensation claims from injured persons, as has been seen with asbestos," it says in a submission to a Senate committee inquiry.

The Australian Council of Trade Unions has demanded research into the risks to workers and for nanoparticle exposure levels to be regulated. It wants manufacturers and importers regulated and nanoparticles to undergo safety assessments before being used in products. The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union also points to Australia's high asbestos-related mesothelioma rate and says: "It would be an act of negligence to future generations if we did not heed the concerns now being raised in the research community about the health effects of nanotechnology." The union says it has grave concerns about the exposure of workers in laboratories and commercial research departments, where unions and regulators often do not have the power to investigate. "It has been our bitter experience that due to the new and exciting nature of the work, worker health and safety is often jeopardised."

The federal Industry Minister, Ian Macfarlane, said the Government was developing a national nanotechnology strategy to be completed by June next year. Environmental health-and-safety issues would be considered as part of the strategy. "We already have in place a well-developed national regulatory framework addressing occupational health-and-safety and environmental issues," Mr Macfarlane said. "But I've asked . whether this framework should be updated, given development in nanotechnology. As legislators, we also have a responsibility to move with the times - as science and industry do. Nanotech is now more than just an emerging science and has to be considered in legislative sense."

More here


I will admit that my first acquaintance with government planners was a planning class in my Master's program, where I was given the party line about how important it was to plan for growth. I read dozens of books, by some very brilliant writers, bemoaning the fact that our society doesn't plan growth, and I was treated to descriptions of the planning utopia that would exist if we just "planned" our growth.

I then sat on a City Planning Commission.

Anyone who thinks that planning for "growth" is anything other than a exercise in futility is still experiencing the mind-altering visions that their college chemicals visited upon him or her so many years ago. Today's planners meet in little rooms, draw pretty pictures on paper maps, use the prettiest crayons they can find, and - whamo - the city has a plan. Wonder and utopia are supposed to follow, and never again will the city experience traffic congestion or cosmic disharmony.

We also don't have enough houses, apartments, or commercial buildings. More important, these necessary commodities all end up in the wrong place, and their placement seems to increase traffic and school congestion. The great plans, drawn by the learned planners, in search of community utopia, have all failed.

The fact is, people build stuff where they want to build it, when they want to build it, and how they want to build it, no matter what the government says. The only reason they don't build it is that the government will throw them in jail if they don't comply with the plan. The only people that don't build the right stuff in the right place at the right time are those that work for the government. In other words, we don't have traffic congestion because of developers;we have traffic congestion because planners don't build roads, and the government has more planners than they have road builders.

When the government draws up a plan, the plan works if the people who own the land agree with the plan (that is, if they think they will make money if they follow the plan). If they don't think they will make money, the land stays vacant. Interestingly enough, even developers don't decide what will get built, as they are also subject to market forces.

Homebuyers and retail customers decide by choosing to visit the business or buy the homes that are built. Nobody builds a home that no one will buy, or starts a business that no one will visit. Customers and home buyers decide; not business, not developers, and particularly not government planners.

That is why I chuckle whenever I hear my colleagues in Sacramento talk about "ten year plans." This week, the Legislature had a bill for a "ten year" road plan. Of course, in California, it takes 23 years to build a freeway, because we plan and plan, and never build. The Legislature's solution? Another plan. We have planned so well in this state that today our roads are extremely congested, our houses cost entirely too much, our schools are horrendously overcrowded, our budget is out of balance, and we are running short on water, electricity and gasoline.

And we continue to extol the virtue of government plans. We know that socialism is a failed experiment, as demonstrated by the failure of the Soviet Union, socialism's most devoted practitioner. My socialist colleagues in the Legislature, however, think that they are smarter than the Russians and that socialism will work here in California if we just have the right plan. The most recent polls tell us that the public is not satisfied with how we are doing our job. Maybe we should try something different, like freedom and free enterprise, the principles that made this country great.



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.