Tracking the politics of fear....  

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31 October, 2005


An Idaho weatherman says Japan's Yakuza mafia used a Russian-made electromagnetic generator to cause Hurricane Katrina to strike America. Meteorologist Scott Stevens, a nine-year veteran of KPVI-TV in Pocatello, said he believes the artificially created hurricane was a bid to avenge Japan for the Hiroshima atomic bomb attack -- and that this technology will soon be wielded again to hit another U.S. city. Stevens said he had been struggling to forecast weather patterns starting in 1998 when he discovered the theory on the Internet. It's now detailed on Stevens' Web site.

Scientists discount Stevens' claims as ludicrous. "I have been doing hurricane research for the better part of 20 years now, and there was nothing unusual to me about any of the satellite imagery of Katrina," said Rob Young, a hurricane expert at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, N.C. "It's laughable to think it could have been man-made."

Stevens, who is among several people to offer alternative and generally discounted theories for the storm that flooded New Orleans, says a little-known oversight in physical laws makes it possible to create and control storms. That's especially true, he contends, if you're armed with the Cold War-era weapon said to have been made by the Russians in 1976. Stevens became convinced of the existence of the Russian device when he observed an unusual Montana cold front in 2004. "I just got sick to my stomach because these clouds were unnatural and that meant they had (the machine) on all the time," Stevens said. "I was left trying to forecast the intent of some organization rather than the weather of this planet."

Stevens said oddities in Hurricane Katrina storm patterns underpin his theory. And, according to his Web site, so does the fact that Katrina and Ivan -- the name given to a destructive hurricane that hit Florida in September 2004 -- both sound Russian.

Stevens' bosses at KPVI-TV say their employee can think and say what he wants -- as long as he keeps the station out of the debate and acknowledges that his views are his own opinion. Bill Fouch, KPVI's general manager, compared Stevens' musings to political or religious beliefs that journalists suppress on the job. "He doesn't talk about it on his weathercast," Fouch said. "He's very knowledgeable about weather, and he's very popular."



An amused comment by Bob Carter, professor of paleoclimatology at Australia's James Cook University, on some recent pandering to Greenie fantasies by Australia's Environment Minister

The debate on climate change is over, says Ian Campbell. Claiming to be speaking on behalf of the federal Government, and expressly John Howard, the Environment Minister, according to the front page of this newspaper yesterday, said "he agreed broadly with the contention promoted recently in ... Tim Flannery's book The Weather Makers". The report summarised Campbell's opinion as follows: "As far as the Howard Government is concerned, Australians must accept that humans contribute to global warming and adapt their behaviour to save the planet."

Fine environmental rhetoric, which could have come straight out of Flannery's book. But what exactly is the threat that is now proclaimed to be beyond doubt and that we are being exhorted to avoid? Is it "global warming"? Unlikely. Earth's been there and done that plenty of times before, without our help. During the past 5000 years, in Greenland there have been five previous gentle warming cycles similar to that of the late 20th century. Two of these attained temperatures a little higher than was achieved in 1998, which marks the apparent peak of our most recent, and seemingly entirely normal, warming cycle.

Or we could go back another few thousand years, to the earlier part of our present warm, interglacial interval. Climatic records from many places in the world record temperatures then that were 1C-2C higher than today's, which is why that period of time is sometimes called the early Holocene climatic optimum.

We could take a deeper breath and think about four earlier interglacial intervals during the past 400,000 years, when on each occasion temperatures lasted for about 10,000 years at levels comparable with today's.

Each such interglacial interval also features a short, especially warm climatic optimum. Counting backwards in the Antarctic ice core record, these optima attained temperatures respectively of about 4C, 1C, 6C and 3C warmer than today. Must have been lots of parrots dropping out of the trees in Cairns on those heatwave occasions. Where are their bodies?

Ah, but surely it is "human-caused global warming" that's the problem? Who says? The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change? Recall that its 2001 report said that "there is new and stronger evidence that most of the warming observed over the past 50 years is attributable to human activities." Well, not much credibility left there. Not only has some of the pivotal science of the IPCC report been undermined by later analysis, but its econometric modelling has been so bad that Nigel Lawson, former British chancellor of the exchequer, has recently recommended to the US Senate that the panel be closed down. He is not alone in this view. It seems, then, that it wouldn't be sensible for Australia to base its climate policy on advice from the now-discredited IPCC.

Humans certainly have an effect on local climate. For instance, the surrounds of Melbourne are now about 1C warmer than they were before European settlement. This, the urban heat island effect, is because modern metropolises comprise extensive areas of concrete, macadam, steel, bricks and glass, all of which act to trap more solar energy than did the preceding virgin landscape.

You might think that this effect, aggregated all over the world and added to by other landscape changes associated with modern agricultural practices, would produce the human-caused global warming signature that the minister seems to be worrying about. You might think so. But truth to tell, and IPCC views notwithstanding, no global human temperature-change signal has yet been detected that stands out from the natural background vagaries of the climate system. And this despite worldwide expenditure of about $US50 billion on climate-related research since the early 1990s.

So, finally, it must be the increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that's worrying the minister, who says he has "spent an enormous amount of my time getting to understand the problem and getting to understand the solutions", noting that the world's carbon levels began spiking alarmingly in the 1950s and were headed for dangerously high levels. But why is the minister worried about this? Dangerously high? Is this more IPCC mythology? All the evidence is that atmospheric carbon dioxide is beneficial to the ecology of the planet. There have been many times in the geological past when carbon dioxide levels exceeded those of today by up to an order of magnitude. The main result was lush plant growth and a diversified ecology.

The minister may be right to assert that the debate on climate change is over. But only in two ways: that contemporary climate change is proceeding in the same manner as known earlier episodes of natural climate change; and that any human-caused global climate signature is buried in the noise of the climate system.


Books that question the conventional wisdom on the environment

As summarized by MICHAEL CRICHTON

1. "Playing God in Yellowstone" by Alston Chase (Atlantic Monthly Press, 1986).

That raw sewage bubbles out of the ground at Yellowstone National Park--after more than a century of botched conservation--would come as no surprise to Alston Chase, who 20 years ago wrote "Playing God in Yellowstone: The Destruction of America's First National Park." Mr. Chase, a former professor of philosophy turned journalist, presents a clear critique of ever-changing environmental beliefs and the damage that they have caused the actual environment. As a philosopher, he is contemptuous of much conventional wisdom and the muddle-headed attitudes he calls "California cosmology."

2. "The Culture Cult" by Roger Sandall (Westview, 2001).

In "The Culture Cult: Designer Tribalism and Other Essays," anthropologist Roger Sandall explores romantic primitivism--the myth of Eden and the Noble Savage. Mr. Sandall's histories of utopian communities (Robert Owen's New Harmony, John Humphrey Noyes's disastrous Oneida) are vivid, and his portraits of leading primitivists, from Rousseau to Mead to Levi-Strauss, are sharply drawn. This ignorant nostalgia for our tribal past ignores the truly horrific reality of tribal initiation, warfare, mutilation and human sacrifice.

3. "Man in the Natural World" by Keith Thomas (Oxford, 1984).

Don't be put off by the academic title of Keith Thomas's "Man in the Natural World: Changing Attitudes in England 1500-1800." The book's a delight. Mr. Thomas's account is both detailed and charming as he guides the reader from the Tudor view, that nature was made for man to exploit, through the later sense that nature was to be worshipped and cherished (such that trees became pets and aristocrats gave names to their great estate trees and said good-night to them each evening). Still later came the Romantic preference for untouched nature and rough settings, a rarified taste that required "a long course of aesthetic education." At every turn, Mr. Thomas emphasizes the contradictions between belief and behavior.

4. "The Skeptical Environmentalist" by Bjrn Lomborg (Cambridge University Press, 2002).

No one should miss Bjrn Lomborg's "The Skeptical Environmentalist." The author, a Danish statistician and former Greenpeace activist, set out to disprove the views of the late Julian Simon, who claimed that environmental fears were baseless and that the world was actually improving. To Mr. Lomborg's surprise, he found that Simon was mostly right. Mr. Lomborg's text is calm and devastating to established dogma.

5. "The Logic of Failure" by Dietrich Doerner (Perseus, 1998).

Future environmentalists will heed Dietrich D”rner's "The Logic of Failure." Mr. Doerner is a cognitive psychologist who invited academic experts to manage the computer simulations of various environments (an African herding society, a town in Maine). Most experts made things worse. Those managers who did well gathered information before acting, thought in terms of complex-systems interactions instead of simple linear cause and effect, reviewed their progress, looked for unanticipated consequences, and corrected course often. Those who did badly relied on a fixed theoretical approach, did not correct course and blamed others when things went wrong. Mr. Doerner concludes that our failure to manage complex systems such as the environment reflects bad habits of thought, overreliance on theory and lazy procedures. His book is brief, cheerful and profound.


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

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

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


30 October, 2005


The latest twist in the endless saga of Greenie nuttiness. These guys must have very little to do with themselves if they have time to worry about this stuff. I'll bet not many of them are raising families

Anti-globalists and environmentalists often decry the increasingly complex interactions between producers and consumers. They prefer that people buy products grown or made closer to home even when they cost substantially more than goods transported longer distances.

Take, for example, Locavores, a San Francisco-based "group of concerned culinary adventurers" who try to only eat foods that were grown within a hundred miles of that city. This summer the group suggested that people try to go the entire month of August without buying food produced more than that distance from home.

Locavores obviously has not heard of "roundabout methods of production" as described by Austrian economist Eugen von B”hm-Bawerk in the late 1800s. He concluded that productivity increases often result from more time-consuming methods of production. (See Economics for Real People by Gene Callahan, pp. 133-37, for a short explanation of the concept.)

The only reason a longer production process would be adopted is because it is more economically efficient than the alternatives. In a developed economy most of the direct approaches to increased productivity have already been tried and only the roundabout ones remain to be pursued.

The Locavores claim that our food travels an average of 1,500 miles en route to our homes. They do not cite a source, but that seems reasonable to me. Sound economic reasons have caused food-supply chains to lengthen over the past 50 years. Most of the population growth of the United States over that time has been in the coastal states, while much of the best farmland is in the heartland of the country. People have chosen to live in suburbs with more living space, which means that land which 50 years ago could have grown locally produced food now is unavailable for food production.

As family incomes have gone up over that time, we have sought out more varied diets. People in Boston have grown accustomed to Florida orange juice and California whole oranges. We also want oranges 365 days a year, not just as a Christmas treat, as was common a few generations ago. Chilean grapes are available in my suburban-Chicago grocery store in the middle of the winter. Consumers in Minneapolis would have a pretty bland diet in January if all their food came from within a hundred miles.

The supply chain has also lengthened because North Dakota is simply a better place to grow high-protein wheat for pasta than is Florida. Economies of scale in production and processing also create longer supply chains. Many places in the country could grow processing pumpkins, but about 60 percent of the harvested acreage is in central Illinois because that provides the greatest economic efficiencies.

What is true in the United States is even truer in the rest of the world. Our country is blessed with some of the best farmland in the world, a varied climate, and a large population. Try anything close to the locavore approach in Tokyo or Helsinki, and it would be a disaster.

The Locavores website makes obvious that their concerns are broader than just eating locally to get fresh food. The members believe that corporations are the principal beneficiaries of the global food system rather than family farms, local businesses, and consumers. In reality, corporations serve as a vital link between crop and livestock producers and consumers. A family hog farmer in central Nebraska needs some type of business, such as a corporation, to transform a hog into a pork crop and transport it to consumers on the West Coast. Local firms in central Nebraska would be out of business without an intermediary linking farmers to consumers in far off cities.

More here

Facts catch the loudmouths on the hop

The keen defence of kangaroos means real dangers to native animals are overlooked, writes a really sincere environmentalist -- Barry Cohen. Barry Cohen was an Australian federal legislator from 1969 until 1990. He recently sold his feral-animal-proof wildlife sanctuary on the Central Coast, which was created to show that the exclusion of cats and foxes would ensure native wildlife would not only survive, but thrive.

On my first trip to Britain as federal environment minister, having just announced the 1984 annual kangaroo cull quota of 2 million, I was unprepared for the reception at my London hotel. A seven-metre-high inflatable kangaroo and a sign, "MR COHEN THE KANGAROO KILLER IS IN TOWN", greeted me.

I asked the protester what concerned him. "This Cohen fellow is massacring Australia's national symbol. They'll soon be extinct," he bellowed. "Which species do you object to Australia culling?" He looked at me blankly. "Do you know how many species there are?" After a long silence he answered, "Three? Five?"

"Close. There are 51 species of kangaroos (macropods) of which seven are believed to be extinct with many others rare, endangered or vulnerable. Smaller species, under five kilograms, such as the parma, yellow foot, brushtail and bridle nail-tailed rock wallabies, are very rare and highly protected. The species culled are the eastern and western grey kangaroos, the red kangaroo, the wallaroo, whiptail, agile and Bennett's wallaby. Increased crops, pastures and dams and the lack of natural predators ensures these larger species are often in their tens of millions and in plague proportions. If we didn't control their numbers there wouldn't be any farmers left."

He looked at me with disbelief. "How do you know all this?" "I'm Barry Cohen."

Discussion elicited that he had been fed "information" by some Australian conservation organisations. The lies some told were legendary, their predictions grotesque. Foremost among the predictions was the imminent extinction of the "kangaroo". It never happened. A few years ago the cull quota rose to about 7 million. This year, it's just under 4 million.

When their dire predictions failed to eventuate the conservationists talked of the inhumane methods of killing. One fanatic produced a photograph of a kangaroo supposedly skinned alive to save the cost of a bullet. I suggested she try catching a kangaroo and skinning it alive. Not surprisingly, the tabloid press and TV had a field day.

I had thought this nonsense had finished but with the release of the book Kangaroos: Myths and Realities, by the Australian Wildlife Protection Council, the usual suspects surfaced mouthing the same old cliches. No one ever asks them the obvious question: "You were predicting the extinction of the kangaroo 40 years ago, yet despite an annual cull quota averaging about 3 to 4 million the population of the culled species is still in the tens of millions. How is that?"

I loathe this nonsense because of the damage it does to the cause of the preservation of species that are genuinely endangered - the small species - and the failure by governments to tackle the problem of the introduced predators - cats and foxes - that are also destroying a vast array of native wildlife including birds, reptiles and amphibians. More than 20 years ago the NSW government, under pressure from the anti-fox-fur lobby, abolished the bounty on fox skins. The fox population exploded. The effect on native wildlife was devastating. I take a different view from the animal liberationists. Every woman who wears a fox fur should get an Order of Australia medal.

And then there are cats. Beautiful creatures, but they have no place in the Australian bush. No matter how well fed, they are natural hunters. You can have cats or native wildlife; you can't have both. Fortunately, a more environmentally aware generation is opting not to have cats as pets. Don't, however, hold your breath waiting for politicians or conservationists to call for action against cats. One politician in Western Australia did and was pilloried. Foxes and cats do more damage to our native wildlife than all the farmers, loggers, miners and developers put together. The latter do their share of damage but don't come close to that wrought by the ferals.

The danger from the latest outburst against the scientifically determined kangaroo cull is that it will divert attention from the task of preserving genuinely endangered native wildlife.

One More Chance For Sound Energy Policy

As debate begins in the U.S. Senate on an energy bill, government needs to remove barriers outside of Hurricane Alley that restrict domestic energy production and refining that would benefit consumers, according to NCPA Senior Fellow H. Sterling Burnett, noting that private firms both prepared for and responded to the recent hurricanes better and with more effectiveness than governments.

"The moratorium on new oil and gas development and production along the Atlantic shelf and California must end, and we must move forward with production in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR)," Burnett said. "A disruption in the supply of energy, especially gasoline, as a result of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita has highlighted a problem that policy makers have ignored for too long." A bill has already passed the House of Representatives, but contains several potential pitfalls, Burnett explained:

* The House bill does not provide for expanding energy production outside the Gulf of Mexico.

* Political road blocks - federal, state and local - continue to inhibit expansion, even though market conditions were already encouraging companies to seek out new opportunities.

* Allowing new refineries to be built on public lands could preempt state and local restrictions, but the bill should make it clear that any leasing arrangements should be done at market rates with subsidies.

Burnett also pointed out that new energy legislation need not address price gouging, since government already has the power to investigate such behavior through the Federal Trade Commission and other agencies and, indeed, an investigation of pricing following the devastation from Katrina and Rita is already underway. Based on past experience, another study of the issue will be a waste of scarce federal resources at a time when money and manpower are scarce. "There is very little that can be done short-term to improve America's energy prospects in the short term," Burnett added, but allowing states to share the wealth from new energy development off their coasts is a good start to correcting these errors."



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 October, 2005


The research abstracted below shows that decreased snow cover is a major CAUSE of regional warming in the Arctic. But what causes the decreased snow cover? The authors assert, of course, that it is our old villain, global warming. But, in very cold climates, the amount of precipitation is the major influence on what builds up on the ground so it seems likely that the reduced snow cover is the effect of reduced precipitation (snowfall) rather than anything else. And since global warming should INCREASE precipitation, that effect can hardly be traceable to global warming -- so is most probably traceable to more local climate cycles

Role of Land-Surface Changes in Arctic Summer Warming

By F. S. Chapin, III et al

A major challenge in predicting Earth's future climate state is to understand feedbacks that alter greenhouse-gas forcing. Here we synthesize field data from arctic Alaska, showing that terrestrial changes in summer albedo contribute substantially to recent high-latitude warming trends. Pronounced terrestrial summer warming in arctic Alaska correlates with a lengthening of the snow-free season that has increased atmospheric heating locally by about 3 watts per square meter per decade (similar in magnitude to the regional heating expected over multiple decades from a doubling of atmospheric CO2). The continuation of current trends in shrub and tree expansion could further amplify this atmospheric heating by two to seven times.


Some realism about the inevitability of nuclear power from an editorial in "The Scotsman"

There were floods in Hawick this week. Not quite Hurricane Katrina, but with basking sharks invading Scottish waters we all know our climate is doing funny things. A consensus has emerged over the past couple of decades that it is best to be safe rather than sorry in this situation. So public policy has moved in the direction of redirecting the emission of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, which scientists have implicated as a possible factor behind global warming. But just how serious are our politicians about cutting carbon dioxide emissions? Do they really mean it or is it just playing to the gallery? And how committed are the various environmental pressure groups to making the many political compromises needed to effect change in the energy market? Are they players or merely utopians who reject any compromise solution - which is no solution at all.

The facts speak for themselves. The Blair government has set a target for achieving 10 per cent of Britain's energy from renewable sources by 2010. however we can barely manage 4 per cent, & most of it from large-scale hydro-electric plants which the environmental lobby would oppose if built today. Wind power is the only practical renewable technology available in the timeframe but it struggles to produce 0.5 per cent of electrical power after 15 years of development at enormous public subsidy. Besides the environmental lobby has now turned its guns against shore-based wind turbines. Lesson: the government will not meet its 2010 renewable energy target as the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, hinted loudly in his speech to the Labour Party conference a few weeks ago.

In Scotland, championed by the environmental minister, Ross Finnie, illusions regarding renewable power illusions are even more fanciful. Scotland has the advantage of the great hydroelectric schemes built in the 1940s & 1950s, which provide around 13% of our electric needs. Rather than build on this legacy in a sensible fashion, Mr Finnie has set an absurd target of generating 40 per cent of power generation needs provided by renewables in 2020. This makes the Executive - especially its Liberal Democratic part - look heroic to the more impressionable part wing of the environmental lobby. However any sensible observer realises Mr Finnie's figure is either hopelessly farfetched or a cynical ploy be a politician who won't be around in 15 years time when it is exposed as a fraud.

A look at the small print of the Executive's policy on renewables reveals it is premised on the untenable assumption that future growth in energy demand is limited to between zero and 1% per annum. But governments of all parties have championed energy conservation in Britain for 30 years only to see demand soar by 60%. Electricity demand in the United Kingdom rises at 1-1.5% a year. Unless Mr Finnie plans to knock down most of Scotland's houses over the next 15 years & rebuild them with a serious eye to energy conservation you can forget the 40% figure. Even if Mr Finnie did succeed in his plans, renewable energy is substantially more expensive than other forms of generation. Household bills would skyrocket, while what is left of Scottish industry would be put at a serious competitive disadvantage.

Fortunately a little common sense has started to break out in government circles in the past few weeks, especially at Westminster. Mr Blair has begun a not-so-subtle campaign to put nuclear power back on the agenda as an alternative that renewables or conservation can do the job of cutting down on fossil fuel emissions fast enough to help with global climate change.

A clue as to how serious the Prime Minister is can be found in the fact that that the Department of Trade & Industry has recently confirmed it has been holding preliminary talks with major nuclear utilities in Germany & France. The DTI has already identified 3 sites to host new reactors, including Hunterston in Ayrshire. That puts Scotland squarely in the nuclear frame.

Not for the first time, the Executive is prevaricating. The Hunterston B nuclear power station in Ayrshire is set to close in 2011, while Torness in East Lothian will last until around 2020. Together they supply some 20% of Scotland's electricity. Take them out of the game & renewable will have to fill even more than that impossible 40% target. Unless new nuclear stations are commissioned, the reality is that Britain & Scotland are going to have to burn a lot more expensive, imported natural gas. So much for cutting fossil fuel emissions. So much for security of energy supply.

The conclusion is inescapable: if we want to cut fossil fuel emission in a reasonable timeframe, the only practical policy is to build a new generation of nuclear generating plant. Others are thinking this way too. China plans to build 30 new reactors by 2020, while environmentally-conscious Finland has already broken Europe's long moratorium on commissioning atomic power stations.

The latest designs of nuclear plant embody passive safety systems that do not require human intervention in the case of an accident. The Chernobyl reactor on the other hand, relied on human operating procedures which were violated. The new reactors are also much more economical to build, operate & maintain than the current generation.

Long term waste storage remains an issue, but if there is a choice to be made it is surely more to cut the fossil fuel emissions now and sort out the nuclear waste at our leisure. Half a loaf is always better than nothing to a starving man. It is just such hard political choices that the Executive has to start making.


Revised EU climate change programme launched

The second European programme includes road transport, aviation and shipping, plus carbon capture and storage, for the first time. The programme will form part of the EU’s strategy on climate change after 2012, which will include setting new targets on greenhouse gas emissions.

The European Commission plans to develop its climate change programme by bringing new sectors under carbon management, including shipping, light-duty vehicles and aviation – which is also due to be included in the EU emissions trading scheme. The Commission wants a “strong push for innovation” in new technologies such as carbon capture and storage, and in “adaptation to those aspects of climate change that are unavoidable”.

Four working groups will report to the Commission next spring on: The existing climate change programme: This includes EU Directives that seek to reduce energy demand and change the energy mix, plus the contribution of agriculture, transport and greenhouse gases other than CO2. The Commission plans to issue a policy paper on the review by mid-2006. Carbon capture and storage: The technology’s potential, costs and risks will be examined, plus the outline of a regulatory framework that would encourage its development. A Commission Communication is planned by early 2007. Aviation and how it should be incorporated into the emissions trading scheme. Reducing emissions from light-duty vehicles. A fifth working group will report in September 2006 on measures to help the EU adapt to climate change, including the likely impacts on land, agriculture and water resources, and on human health and habitation.

The existing climate change programme: This includes EU Directives that seek to reduce energy demand and change the energy mix, plus the contribution of agriculture, transport and greenhouse gases other than CO2. The Commission plans to issue a policy paper on the review by mid-2006. Carbon capture and storage: The technology’s potential, costs and risks will be examined, plus the outline of a regulatory framework that would encourage its development. A Commission Communication is planned by early 2007. Aviation and how it should be incorporated into the emissions trading scheme. Reducing emissions from light-duty vehicles. A fifth working group will report in September 2006 on measures to help the EU adapt to climate change, including the likely impacts on land, agriculture and water resources, and on human health and habitation.



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 October, 2005


California water-quality enforcers have agreed to drop all allegations of wrongdoing against the world's largest cheese factory in the biggest water pollution case in Central Valley history, according to a tentative settlement released Tuesday. In exchange, Hilmar Cheese Co. of Merced County will pay $3 million to be divided between the state and a Hilmar-commissioned study of groundwater pollution of the food processing industry as a whole, according to the agreement. The pact becomes effective upon approval by the politically appointed members of the state Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board, which is scheduled to consider it at a Nov. 28-29 meeting in Sacramento.

Settlement talks began six weeks ago after Hilmar launched a vigorous legal defense against a $4 million penalty, the largest the environmental enforcement agency has levied in the Central Valley. The penalty followed a Sacramento Bee investigation showing that the company saved millions of dollars by delaying required wastewater treatment. Neighbors of the plant south of Turlock have complained of hordes of flies and putrid odors coming off fields of milky waste. The factory produces more than 1 million pounds of cheese daily.

The agreement effectively acknowledges the company's key argument that the water board's pollution limits were technologically impractical to meet, considerably relaxing for the interim restrictions on salinity in Hilmar's wastewater. The settlement explicitly releases Hilmar from all allegations, not only those raised by the water-quality regulators, but also allegations of criminal wrongdoing - including illegally dumping wastewater into an irrigation canal. The criminal allegations were under investigation by the attorney general's office, which determined in July it would not file charges. In all, the settlement shifts the enforcement spotlight away from its wastewater disposal practices to those of food processors statewide, many of which operate under less restrictive pollution limits. "We are embracing this settlement because it sets the foundation for solutions to the issues that plague the entire food processing industry in the Valley," said John Jeter, Hilmar's chief operating officer.

Attorneys for the regional water board accepted the settlement "to avoid the uncertainty and expense of protracted litigation, and for Hilmar to focus its resources and efforts instead on seeking solutions to salinity issues confronting the Central Valley and other areas of the state," the agreement states.

The enforcement action against the cheese maker spotlighted the salty wastes from lightly regulated cheese manufacturers in the nation's No. 1 dairy state along with the factory leftovers that wineries, canneries and other food processors routinely spread on land. Industry representatives say the wastes break down as they percolate through the soil, keeping harmful levels of salts and other pollutants out of groundwater. Hilmar Cheese's own pollution tests in the past 15 years, however, showed otherwise, The Bee found. And state water board regulators said that the more they look, the more they find high levels of salinity in the groundwater beneath other waste fields of food processors.

The settlement requires Hilmar to dedicate $1 million of its $3 million payment to studying ways food processors can reduce salinity in wastewater. Although the salts, sugars and organic wastes from food processors are not considered toxic, [Salt and sugar not toxic! Phew! Glad we found that out] high levels can render groundwater economically untreatable for drinking water and irrigation.

The agreement states that the study "will not directly benefit" state water-quality regulators. "We're not directing the study, but we're hopeful that it will be beneficial across the board to government, to industry and to the public," said Catherine George, an attorney with the regional water board. The settlement payment also includes $1.85 million to the state for water pollution cleanups and $150,000 to reimburse the attorney general's office for helping the water board fend off Hilmar's legal challenges.



The truth is, the number and scale of disasters worldwide has been rising rapidly in recent decades because of changes in society, not global warming. In the case of hurricanes, the continuing development and urbanization of coastal regions around the world accounts for all of the increases in economic and human losses that we have experienced.

Even if tomorrow we could somehow magically put an end to global warming, the frequency and magnitude of climate-related disasters would continue to rise unabated into the indefinite future as more people inhabit vulnerable locations around the world. Our research suggests that for every $1 of future hurricane damage that scientists expect in 2050 related to climate change, we should expect an additional $22 to $60 in damage resulting from putting more people and property in harm's way.

None of this means that we should not pursue reducing greenhouse gas emissions, or that mitigating climate change is a bad idea. But we simply cannot expect to control the climate's behavior through energy policies aimed at lowering greenhouse gas emissions.

The current international policy framework for reducing greenhouse gas emissions - the Kyoto Protocol - is far too modest to have any meaningful effect on the behavior of the climate system. And even the modest agreements reached under Kyoto are failing.

For example, the European Environment Agency reported in 2004 that 11 of the 15 European Union signatories to Kyoto "are heading toward overshooting their emission targets, some by a substantial margin." And the other four are meeting their targets only because of non-repeatable circumstances, such as Britain's long-term move away from coal-based energy generation. To make matters much worse, most of the growth in emissions in coming decades will occur in rapidly industrializing nations such as China and India, which are exempt from Kyoto targets.

To make matters still worse, because of the way that greenhouse gases behave in the atmosphere, even emissions reductions far more rapid and radical than those mandated under Kyoto would have little or no effect on the behavior of the climate for decades. As James Hurrell, a scientist at the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research, testified before the U.S. Senate in July, "It should be recognized that [emissions reductions actions] taken now mainly have benefits 50 years and beyond now."

The implications are clear: More storms like Katrina are inevitable. And the effects of future Katrinas and Ritas will be determined not by our efforts to manage changes in the climate but by the decisions we make now about where and how to build and rebuild in vulnerable locations.

Do we have the will to pay the upfront economic and political costs of strict building-code enforcement and prudent land-use restrictions? Will we have the imagination to build resilience into the local economy, rewarding companies that find ways to preserve jobs after a disaster and contribute to a faster recovery? Do we have the decency to counter the market forces that cause poor people to live in the most vulnerable areas?

As we learn the lessons of this terrible hurricane season, the answers we give to these kinds of questions will create the conditions that determine the effects of future hurricanes. We are, that is, about to begin the process of managing the next disaster. What kind of disaster do we want it to be?

More here


Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the muscular headliners of this hurricane season, are just a preview of what to expect in coming years: More powerful storms. And the trend could span decades.... "We are solidly into one of these active periods," said Colin McAdie, a meteorologist with the National Hurricane Center. "We're figuring we're 10 years into this one. We could be looking at 10 to 20 more years."

That means next year, and the years after that, could be just as scary as this one, with mega-storms taking aim at Florida, the Carolinas or the Gulf Coast, spiking the anxiety levels of those in their path.

Hurricanes feed on warm water and scientists say the pattern of increased storm frequency and strength is caused by a cyclical rise in ocean temperatures. Besides fueling more powerful hurricanes, a higher number of storms means more of them will be stronger. "Certainly, with more frequency of active systems, we can see a lot more chances to have more intense hurricanes," said another storm forecaster, Chris Sisko.

The cycles commonly run about 25 to 30 years, scientists say, but can vary and see breaks of as much as a decade. The current cycle started around 1995. Prior to then, from 1975 to 1995, only four major hurricanes, defined as a Category 3 or higher, impacted the state. "In the `70s and `80s," McAdie said, "people were saying, `I guess we don't get hurricanes any more.'"

By contrast, 23 hurricanes hit South Florida alone during the last cycle of high hurricane activity, from 1926 to 1965. Of those storms, 15 were major ones. "We had about a 40-year period when it was very busy," said meteorologist Chris Landsea with the National Hurricane Center. During that cycle, on Labor Day 1935, a Category 5 hurricane hit the Florida Keys....

A cycle of warm ocean water fuels individual storms like Rita, and gives rise to stronger hurricanes during high activity cycles such as the present one. Researchers say a higher salt content in the Atlantic causes the water to become more dense, which in turn causes the water to grow warmer, perhaps by as much as a degree. That single degree can make a difference in whether a tropical wave rolling across the sea will develop into a devastating hurricane.

Researchers have yet to decipher the rhythm of the storm cycles. "The oceanographers are looking into that, trying to understand that," Landsea said. Contrary to speculation, the cycles may not result from human-induced global warming. Prevailing scientific opinion says global warming has little or nothing to do with the trend. "The science is not settled on that," McAdie said. "It's an open question."

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 October, 2005


Biotechnology holds the promise of some day allowing people to enhance themselves and their children using pharmaceuticals or genetic interventions. This prospect is welcomed by some, but causes a great deal of anxiety in many people: Are there enhancements whose benefits would come at the price of our humanity?

The President's Council on Bioethics worries that people who choose to use biotech enhancements would somehow lose themselves: The Council's report "Beyond Therapy" warns "we risk 'turning into someone else,' confounding the identity we have acquired through natural gift cultivated by genuinely lived experiences, alone and with others." Liberal bioethicist George Annas from Boston University is pushing for a global treaty that would ban all inheritable modifications to any person's genetic makeup. He favors such a treaty because he believes that "species-altering genetic engineering [is] a potential weapon of mass destruction, and [that] makes the unaccountable genetic engineer a potential bioterrorist." These are not objections grounded in concerns about safety or equity, but in the fear that such changes threaten the very humanity of those who choose them. But do they really?

At the annual conference of the Association for Politics and the Life Sciences last month, George Washington University philosopher David DeGrazia offered a quite different perspective. DeGrazia, who was participating in panel discussion on "Genetic Engineering and the Concept of Human Nature" asked: Are there core characteristics of being human that are inviolable? He concluded that "traits that are plausibly targeted by enhancement are not problematic." DeGrazia considered several traits as candidates for inviolability: internal psychological style, personality, general intelligence and memory, sleep, normal aging, gender, and being a member of the species Homo sapiens. He then systematically demolished various concerns that had been raised about each.

Regarding psychological style, there is no ethical reason to require that a particular person remain worried, suspicious, or downbeat if they want to change. As DeGrazia pointed out, psychotherapy already aims at such self-transformation. If a pill will make a person more confident and upbeat, then there is no reason for them not to use it if they wish. Personality is perhaps the external manifestation of one's internal psychological style, and here, too, it's hard to think of any ethical basis for requiring someone to remain cynical or excessively shy.

But what about boosting intelligence and memory? Of course, from childhood on, we are constantly exhorted to improve ourselves by taking more classes, participating in more job training, and reading good books. Opponents of biotech enhancements might counter that all of these methods of improvement manipulate our environments and do not reach to the genetic cores of our beings. DeGrazia points out that that the wiring of our brains is the result of the interaction between our genes and our environment. For example, our intellectual capacities depend on proper nutrition as well as on our genetic endowments. DeGrazia concludes that one's genome is not fundamentally more important than environmental factors. "They are equally important, so we should bear in mind that no one objects to deliberately introducing environmental factors [schools and diet] that promote intelligence," declares DeGrazia. It does not matter ethically whether one's intellectual capacities are boosted by schooling, a pill, or a set of genes.

All vertebrates sleep. Sleep, unlike cynicism, does seem biologically fundamental, but so what? Nature is not really a reliable source for ethical norms. If a person could safely reduce her need for sleep and enjoy more waking life, that wouldn't seem at all ethically problematic. I suspect that our ancestors without artificial light got a lot more sleep than we moderns do, yet history doesn't suggest that they were morally superior to us.

As everyone knows, the only inevitabilities are taxes and death. Death used to come far more frequently at younger ages, but globally average life expectancy has now risen from around 30 years in 1900 to about 66 years today. "Is normal aging an essential part of any recognizable human life?" asks DeGrazia. He falters here, admitting, "Frankly, I do not know how to determine whether aging is an inviolable characteristic." The question, then, is whether someone who does try to "violate" this characteristic by biotechnological means is acting unethically. It is hard to see why the answer would be yes. Such would-be immortals are not forcing other people to live or die, nor are they infringing on the rights and dignities of others. DeGrazia does recognize that biotech methods aimed at slowing or delaying aging significantly are not morally different from technologies that would boost intelligence or reduce the need for sleep. He concludes, "Even if aging is an inviolable core trait of human beings, living no more than a specified number of years is not."

In the age of transgendered people, it seems a bit outmoded to ask if one's biological sex is an inviolable core characteristic. Plenty of people have already eagerly violated it. Yet, the President's Council on Bioethics declared, "Every cell of the body marks us as either male or female, and it is hard to imagine any more fundamental or essential characteristic of a person." Clearly, thousands of people's fundamental sexual identities depend on more than the presence of an X or Y chromosome in their bodies' cells.

Finally, DeGrazia wonders if even being a member of the species Homo sapiens constitutes an inviolable core trait. He specifically thinks of a plausible future in which parents add an extra pair of artificial chromosomes carrying various beneficial genetic modifications to the genomes of the embryos that will become their children. Such people would have 48 chromosomes, which means that they could not reproduce with anyone who carries the normal 46 chromosomes. "It seems to me, however, that these individuals would still be 'human' in any sense that might be normatively important," concludes DeGrazia. I believe that DeGrazia is correct. After all, infertile people today are still fully human. Oddly, DeGrazia thinks that this "risk to reproductive capacities" might warrant restricting the installation of extra chromosomes to consenting adults only. But why should one think that a person with 48 chromosomes who falls in love with a person with only 46 chromosomes can't simply use advanced genetic engineering techniques to overcome that problem?

DeGrazia convincingly argues that whatever it is that makes us fundamentally us is not captured by the set of characteristics he considers. The inviolable core of our identities is the narrative of our lives—the sum of our experiences, enhanced or not. If we lose that core, say through dementia, we truly do lose ourselves. But whoever we are persists and perhaps even flourishes if we choose to use biotech to brighten our moods, improve our personalities, boost our intelligence, sleep less, live longer healthier lives, change our gender, or even join a new species.



In the 1970s, disco was groovy and Congress enacted a lot of counterproductive, over-regulatory energy policies. Subsequent years saw both polyester suits and command-and-control energy policy fall out of favor, to the nation’s benefit. The heavy hand of Uncle Sam, however, today still governs automakers with an outdated scheme called the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards. In some quarters, disco is making a comeback, and similarly the bad ideas embodied in CAFE are also threatening to make another go-round on Capitol Hill.

Back in 1975, Congress responded to the 1973 OPEC oil embargo by creating the CAFE regulatory program. CAFE works by mandating a “sales-weighted mean” or average of the fuel economies for the fleets of new cars and light trucks that a manufacturer sells each year. As it currently stands, every automaker must meet a total average mileage requirement for their fleet of cars of 27.5 miles per gallon. For heavier trucks and SUVs, the standard is lower, rising from 21 mpg this year to 22.2 mpg in 2007. Got that?

In the face of rising gasoline and oil prices, some in Congress and the Administration are feeling the temptation to tighten the CAFE standards for U.S. automotive fleets.

In September, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration proposed a major tightening of CAFE for light trucks. And earlier this month, Sen. Pete V. Domenici, New Mexico Republican and chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee told The Hill newspaper that "…we must take another look at the CAFE standards” in the wake of Katrina. Tightening CAFE, however, would be a major policy blunder. In fact, CAFE needs to be substantially reformed or even repealed and replaced with market-based incentives to reduce fuel consumption and improve air quality.

First, CAFE has not really worked. America’s national “total fleet fuel economy” peaked in 1987 at 26.2 mpg and has been declining slightly since then, primarily because the nation prefers heavier and more powerful light trucks and SUVs, which have a lower fuel economy. Beyond consumer preference, CAFE also does not work in part because as cars become more fuel-efficient, we drive them further.

More troubling is the tragic unintended consequence of CAFE, which prompts automakers to build cars that are lighter and use less steel. The result is cars that are less safe, and the additional deaths of literally thousands of Americans on our roadways every year. A 1999 USA TODAY analysis of crash data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that CAFE standards have resulted in about 46,000 people dying in accidents where the victims would have survived if their cars had been bigger and heavier. That is an extraordinary loss of life and a largely untold story.

Many in Congress and the environmentalist movement, and their co-conspirators in the mainstream media, seem to care more about imposing misguided feel-good conservation measures on American motorists than protecting the lives of innocent drivers. It is outrageous that some of the biggest Congressional supporters of CAFE also oppose new drilling for U.S. oil in Alaska (drilling that can be done using modern techniques that minimize the environmental impact) and oppose construction of new oil and gas refineries. These politicians and their environmentalist supporters are making an explicit choice that values the false promise of CAFE over safer cars and trucks for American families.

CAFE was part of a number of ill-considered policy responses to the oil shock that also included lowering the national speed limit to 55 mph and imposing price controls on oil and gasoline. Price controls and the national speed limit were both foolish ideas and have been repealed, but sadly CAFE lives on.

The goals of CAFE are admirable, but there are much better ways to encourage conservative than mandating the design of automotive fleets. We will never be able to regulate our way to fuel economy. It is time to reform or repeal CAFE, and instead pass forward-thinking policy measures that use market mechanisms to advance the goal of conservation while also giving consumers more choice and safety. Let consumers choose and let markets work.



The excerpt below is from an environmentalist site

Two hugely challenging global issues have dominated the UK's Presidency of the G8 - climate change and Africa. So far, there is no doubt that the second has captured the limelight, in terms of public awareness, media attention, political progress and the effectiveness of campaign groups. Ashok Sinha is in a unique position to understand the interface between the two issues and, perhaps, to redress the balance. In the 1990s, his background as a physicist led him into research on renewable energy and climate change issues, culminating in work for Forum for the Future on solar power. "I'd always been interested and active in development issues, but not professionally," Dr Sinha says. "It's become clear that there is a need to bring together development and environment campaigns."

Four years ago, the chance came to put this thinking into practice when he took over as coordinator of the Jubilee Debt Campaign, a coalition of local and national groups campaigning for the cancellation of debt for the poorest countries. It built on the hugely successful Jubilee 2000 movement, which secured 24 million signatories for its petition.

More recently, Dr Sinha sat on the coordinating committee for Make Poverty History, the coalition set up to pressurise G8 leaders to deliver on third world debt and aid. Members of this coalition are concerned that they were sold short at July's Gleneagles summit - but even so, there is no doubt that the summit achieved much more for Africa than on climate change (ENDS Report 366, p 53 ).

Coming back to climate change issues as director of Stop Climate Chaos "wraps things together on a personal level," Dr Sinha says. "Climate change is the most cross-cutting, unifying moral issue of our time. No sector of society is unaffected - it brings together really hard questions on global energy security with working with community groups in sub-Saharan Africa to help them adapt."

Stop Climate Chaos, launched in September, is explicitly modelled on the Jubilee 2000 and Make Poverty History campaigns. "Jubilee 2000 is a great example of how it's possible to take a difficult issue that's widely seen as remote and detailed, and effect change by pooling resources, developing a diverse but common platform, and taking a strong moral stance," Dr Sinha says.

The new climate movement employs only three people, but its mission is ambitious: "To build a massive coalition that will create an irresistible public mandate for political action to stop climate change." The coalition will draw strength from supporting organisations. So far it has won backing from 18 campaign groups, representing several million supporters. Major environmental groups - Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, WWF and the RSPB - are key players. But other participants include large development groups such as Oxfam, Cafod and Christian Aid, together with several faith organisations and the National Federation of Women's Institutes.

Dr Sinha argues that the breadth of the coalition is one of its key strengths. "We've got to turn climate change from an environmental question to a moral imperative, the same way we did with third world debt and poverty. If we continue to be seen as 'green' we're not going to be successful - we've got to break out of the green ghetto." .....

The launch of Stop Climate Chaos coincided with the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The images of a flooded New Orleans, and scenes of the world's superpower struggling to cope with a climatic disaster, provided a powerful reminder of the potential impacts of global warming. Stop Climate Chaos took out a full-page advert in the Times under the headline "Global warning". "We can't be sure Hurricane Katrina was caused by global warming," the advert read. "But without urgent action to slash greenhouse gas emissions we can expect hurricanes as powerful as Katrina to occur more often."


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 October, 2005


The following moan is about a capital city (Adelaide) of an Australian State but I am sure similar moans are coming from Greenies in many American cities too. The claim is that housing drives out wildlife -- and that claim is is just plain wrong. I live in an old inner-city suburb of another Australian State capital (Brisbane) and over the years people have planted or let grow on their properties all sorts of trees and other greenery -- so that there are in fact many more trees than houses -- and many of them are towering trees at that. And all sorts of wildlife have taken up residence in the habitats so provided. I hear all sorts of bird calls of a morning, possums thunder around in my roof at night so much that I would be scared stiff if I was not used to them. I have a blue-tongue lizard living under my front stairs that occasionally frightens my Asian tenants to death (although it is of course harmless), I once had to rescue one of my Indian tenants from a large moth that had fluttered into his room and was terrifying him and a large python (about 8' long) recently took up residence in one of the toilets here. And I see little geckoes scuttling about nearly every day. And as for tadpoles, there are plenty of toads about so all of them would have been tadpoles once. And we won't mention the spiders and wasps.

The land may have originally have been cleared but it has been recolonized with a vengeance over the last 100 years. No doubt the pattern of species at present is different to what it once was but there is life abundant here nonetheless. The passage I have highlighted in red reveals the authoritarian intentions behind this massively overblown scare

"Seventy-five of the state's top scientists have issued an alarming warning that unless attitudes change towards Adelaide's environment, it will become an "urban wasteland" devoid of much of the plant and animal life existing today. In a groundbreaking new book, to be launched next month, the team of scientists claims that by 2036 Adelaide's range of naturally occuring flora and fauna could be reduced from thousands of species to about 100.

Adelaide, Nature of a City is the largest biodiversity analysis of a city done in the world. A team of historians, geographers, architects, biologists and social scientists spent the past three years documenting the city as a living, breathing environment. Co-editor of the book and environmental biology professor Chris Daniels says a loss of biodiversity could make quality of life "appalling". "Children could grow up in a community that's free of our natural environment, so they don't get exposed to blue tongues and tadpoles," he says. "If we lose contact with the environment, our children could grow up thinking concrete and bricks is all there is. I don't think life would be worth anything, the quality of life would be appalling."

The study comes as Adelaide's urban sprawl - now stretching across 80km in mainly single storey housing - has reached proportions exceeding Rome, Mexico and Kolkata (formerly Calcutta). The book finds that if Adelaide continues to develop without being sympathetic to the natural environment: WEEDS such as boneseed and feral olive trees will continue to overtake parks and open areas; NATIVE animals will empty from national parks; Thousands of animal species today could be reduced to a meagre 50 species of birds, 16 species of mammals, 20 reptile species and as few as two frog species by 2036.

But the authors of Adelaide, Nature of a City stress while the predictions are dire, the 600-page book empowers people to do something about it - but we need to act now. Dr Daniels said poor planning, a lack of open space, habitat clearance and new housing and city office developments which failed to consider biodiversity were killing the natural environment. "For years we have been driving out our plant and animal life, building without thinking about how it will affect the ecology," Dr Daniels said. "We are building sprawling developments, clearing native habitats and creating tiny backyards. And when we compare our open space to other cities it is not as impressive as we might think." As the cityscape becomes more dense, residential blocks decrease in size and inner city living becomes more popular, there is less green space. Already, Adelaide is the most urbanised Australian city with 1.1 million of the 1.3 million South Australians living in the metropolitan area between the Hills and the sea.

In order to avoid a desolate future, people had to realise their backyards and parks interacted with native ecosystems and had a profound impact on local biodiversity, Dr Daniels said. "What you plant, clear, build and tear down could be the difference between a species' survival and extinction. To be visionary, we must be conservationists." "

More here


A new report by economic consultancy Castalia reiterates and amplifies earlier warnings about the cost to the economy of attempts to meet greenhouse emission goals set out by the Kyoto accord, saying significant social and economic dislocations are in the cards should the government make a serious compliance attempt. The report was prepared by Castalia for the Greenhouse Policy Coalition, an industry association representing energy intensive companies on greenhouse gas and climate change issues. Last year, Castalia prepared an immensely controversial report saying the government had massively underestimated the costs of Kyoto compliance. Rubbished at the time by the government, the report has since been validated in its central points.

Author of that -- and this -- report, Alex Sundakov, says until new technologies have been developed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel use and agriculture, it will be impossible to reduce emissions in New Zealand if we want to continue to grow our economy. “With nearly half our greenhouse gas emissions coming from agriculture, where there are no easy solutions, it will be very expensive if we have to try to wring the required national emission reductions out of the remaining sectors of the economy”, he said. “In addition, increasing CO2 emissions from transport are closely related to economic growth.”

He says another factor is that industrial process emissions are all associated with sectors that are globally mobile, so companies can move their operations to countries where they would not face carbon taxes and price based measures. The result would be a loss of business for New Zealand - the emissions simply moving to another country.

The Castalia report notes that New Zealand already has a large amount of renewables in our electricity generation system (hydro, wind, geothermal) and looking into the future, we have more thermal than renewable options to meet increasing demand for electricity. The report says the economic growth that New Zealand has enjoyed recently has been and will continue to be driven by the industrial processing/commodity exporting sectors and tourism, and while these are energy intensive activities this does not mean we are inefficient in our use of energy.

“We can not let climate change policies put a handbrake on the economy when we produce only 0.2 per cent of global emissions, half of which are from agriculture which is still the backbone of the economy," said Catherine Beard, executive director of the Greenhouse Policy Coalition. She said it is clear that price based measures like carbon taxes or carbon trading will do nothing in the absence of alternative technologies to reduce emissions, rather they will be a drag on the economy. “Even Britain’s Tony Blair has recently conceded that technology is the answer to the problem and that no country will willingly sacrifice its economic growth." She said the Asia Pacific Partnership -- a partnership between Australia, China, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea, and the United States of America -- represents nearly half the world’s population and 48 per cent of global emissions. "They are investing in technology solutions – we need to ask is this a more effective path for New Zealand to take?," she asked.


Why 'Green Bunnies' will always be 'Unhappy Bunnies' (or the rage of impotence).....

(A post lifted from Prof. Stott)

I'm so glad I am not an ecofundamentalist. To be a 'Green Bunny' is to doom oneself to perpetual unhappiness, frustration, and anger with your fellow human beings and the state of the world. The reason is simple. Ecofundamentalism is utopian (and remember "utopia" means "nowhere"). People will just not do what you demand. You are never going to achieve even a smidgen of your desires, and whatever you do manage to squeeze from a reluctant and unconvinced populace, you will always, like Oliver Twist, be left wanting more.

'Global warming' is the classic instance. Forget the science. The real drive for 'global warming' has always been a neo-puritan agenda to limit growth, to make small beautiful, to reduce population to some nebulous optimum, to rein in the 'Great Satan' (America), to crush the car and aeroplanes, to curb capitalism and globalisation, to continue to laud it over the developing world, especially those rampant Asian dragons, and to return us all to a 'Golden Organic Age' that never was. So powerful is 'global warming' as a legitimising 'science' for this deeply emotional agenda that there is no way the 'Green Bunnies' can drop it, whatever the scientific, economic, and political realities. The burrow would collapse. I actually feel sorry for them.

For reality will always bring a cold chill to the burrow. As Mr. Blair reminded us only a couple of weeks ago, no country can afford to abandon growth, and debating globalisation in the face of Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Korea, South Africa - you name them - is like arguing whether summer comes before autumn. Indeed, rising CO2 levels are little more than a proxy measure of much-needed growth.

The truth is that the 'Green Bunny' agenda is just not going to happen, whatever the column inches of angst and anger in The Guardian, The Independent, and on Channel 4 (watch out for the new digital spin-off channel, More4, which launches this Monday, the 10th). There will be no limits to growth. Humans will continue to outpace limitations through constant adaptation and technological wizardry. Population will continue to rise naturally to around 8.9 billion, before the curve flattens through normal economic processes, through increasing wealth, and, hopefully, through the empowerment of women. Overall, life expectancy will continue to rise, despite the inevitable setbacks of AIDS and other viruses.

We will also, of course, continue to be afflicted by an ever-unstable earth, with earthquake, fire and flood, although the evidence clearly indicates that the more wealthy the country, the less damage these inflict. But stuff happens; that's life on a restless planet. And, there may indeed be that ultimate supervolcano or asteroid about which we can do absolutely nothing but pour out the single malt.

The 'Green Bunnies' are silflaying in the wind, and their increasingly shrill squeaks will follow, one by one, a pattern outlined in a brilliant article in The Economist way back in 1997 (I précis):

In Phase 1, some obscure scientists discover what they think is a potential threat to the Earth. In Phase 2, left-wing journalists oversimplify and grossly exaggerate the threat. The scientists become minor celebrities (The Big Brother Lab?). In Phase 3, the 'Green Bunnies' seize their opportunity, and they deliberately aim to polarise the issue - in the words of the original article: "Either you agree that the world is about to come to an end and are fired by righteous indignation, or you are a paid lackey of big business." In Phase 4, the bureaucrats emerge out of their cocoons, with international conferences mooted, thus keeping public officials well plied with club-class tickets and treats abroad. This inevitably diverts the argument to regulation, and totemic targets are set - and then ignored. In Phase 5, it is time to pick on a scapegoat. This is usually America, or 'big business'. Phase 6 sees the entrance of the sceptics who declare that the scare is grossly exaggerated. Again, in the words of The Economist article: "This drives greens into paroxysms of pious rage. 'How dare you give space to fringe views?' cry these once-fringe people to newspaper editors." Phase 7 witnesses the politicians and bureaucrats, and even some of the scientists who first proposed the scare, waivering, and trying to re-emphasise the scientific and political complexities. Meanwhile, the journalists start to get bored with the topic. Phase 8 becomes the quiet climb-down, while the issue slowly dies away from the headlines, to be replaced, of course, by a totally new scare. "And so", as Samuel Pepys might have said, "Back to Phase 1"...

In the long run, to be a 'Green Bunny' is going to make you a very 'Unhappy Bunny' indeed. Rupert Bear's 'Nutwood' is but a childhood Utopia; 'Virtualia', by contrast, is a future we cannot even yet conceive.

And 'Green Bunny' anger (not to mention More4) is but the rage of impotence.

[For an excellent reader on Utopias see: The Faber Book of Utopias, ed. John Carey, Faber & Faber, 1999 (2000).]

Philip, academically intrigued by Utopian 'Golden Ages'. They always end in tears before bedtime.


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 October, 2005


(Part of a summary of Kurzweil by the excellent Arnold Kling)

Labor productivity is perhaps the most important statistic in the economy. Over time, output per worker is what drives wage rates and the standard of living. Economists routinely forecast annual growth in U.S. labor productivity of roughly two percent for the next several decades. For example, the Trustees' Report for the Social Security Administration assumes productivity growth of 1.6 percent in its "intermediate" scenario.

To Kurzweil, this forecast would be ludicrously pessimistic. He would see it as an example of what he calls "intuitive linear" thinking, in which people forecast the future on the basis of a linear extrapolation of the past. For example, from 1960 through 1992, productivity growth in the nonfarm business sector averaged 1.6 percent. Accordingly, that may seem to be a reasonable rate of increase to project going forward.

However, since 1992, productivity growth has sped up. As this article from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco points out, "The performance of productivity in the U.S. economy has delivered some big surprises over the last several years. One surprise was in the latter half of the 1990s, when productivity growth surged to average an annual rate of over 3%, more than twice as fast as the rate in the previous two decades. A bigger surprise has been the further ratcheting up...productivity growth averaged around 3.8% for the 2001 through 2004 period." This good news on productivity rarely surfaces in the media. In part, this represents a general pessimistic bias in the media and among the population at large. In part, it reflects the inability of people to grasp nonlinear thinking.

Technological innovation is what drives productivity growth. Kurzweil argues that the rate of technological innovation is doubling every decade, which to me would imply that the rate of productivity growth will double every decade. If annual productivity growth was 3.5 percent in the decade ending in 2005, then it will be 7 percent in the decade ending in 2015 and 14 percent in the decade ending in 2025. By that time, productivity would be more than 7 times what it is today. Thus, if average income per person is $35,000 today, then it will be over $250,000 per person (in today's purchasing power) in 2025.

At a growth rate of 14 percent, output per person "only" doubles at a rate of about every 5 years. Using a more elegant mathematical model of technological change, George Mason University economist Robin Hanson arrives at an even more striking forecast. He writes, "we might see yet another transition to a much faster mode, if such faster modes are possible. The suggestion is fantastic, namely of a transition to a doubling time of two weeks or less sometime within roughly the next century."....

In The Great Race, an essay that reflects the influence of Kurzweil's earlier writings, I pointed out that a question going forward is whether the economy can grow faster than Medicare. I argued that Moore's Law favors the economy, but demographic and political considerations favor Medicare.

If output per person in 2025 is more than 5 times what it is today, then the economy will have won the race. That means that all of the concerns that economists raise about the middle of this century, such as the external debt of the U.S. economy (the cumulative trade deficit), the fiscal implications of Social Security and Medicare, or gloomy scenarios for global warming, will be trivialized by the sheer heights that economic wealth will have scaled by that time. If Kurzweil is correct, then the mountain of debt that we fear we are accumulating now will seem like a molehill by 2040. We will pay off this debt the way someone who wins a million-dollar lottery pays off a car loan.

I hope that the lottery-winning Kurzweil scenario materializes, but I am still not comfortable watching our government accumulate obligations to future entitlement recipients at the current rate. As of now, however, the data on average productivity growth over the past decade is reasonably consistent with the hypothesis that the economy is winning the Great Race.


But that's still bad news to the Greenies, of course

Rainfall over parts of Africa's Sahel appears to be rising but its greening could prove a mixed blessing if the population surges as a result and drought follows, a leading ecologist said on Monday.

"Climate change models suggest the Sahel should be getting drier but observations suggest it is currently getting wetter," Jon Lovett of the University of York in Britain told Reuters on the sidelines of a conference on climate change in Johannesburg. "This could lead to an increase in food production and population, but this will be bad if it suddenly goes into another cycle of drought which cannot support all of the additional people and livestock," he said. "It has cycles of boom and bust."

Lovett said the Sahel was relatively green during the 1940s through to the 1960s but since then it has gone into a dry phase that seems to be ending. Intriguingly, he said research done more than a decade ago linked a wetter Sahel to increased hurricane activity in the Gulf of Mexico -- and this appeared to be occurring in the wake of the devastation wrought by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. "This shows that what is happening in Africa can have an affect on the Gulf of Mexico," he said.

The Sahel is a transition zone between the arid Sahara to the north and the wetter more tropical areas in Africa to the south. It includes Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Nigeria and Chad. Niger experienced a famine this year brought on by poor rains and locust swarms, underscoring the region's vulnerability.



They're aptly named, anyway. Most likely just a student prank

Green Pirates for Peace landed outside MP Martin Salter's west Reading office to demand Tony Blair be keelhauled for caving-in on international efforts to avert climate change. The pirates - from environ-mental action group Rising Tide - want the Prime Minister to declare an immediate state of emergency in a last ditch attempt to avoid "catastrophic" climate change. Rising Tide also wants the government to slap economic sanctions on the USA for refusing to sign up to the Kyoto agreement.

The pirates almost ran their ship aground when they heard Tony Blair's "brutally honest" statement on drafting a successor agreement to Kyoto. He said: "The truth is, no country is going to cut its growth or consumption substantially in the light of a long-term environmental problem."

The pirates are also demanding the prime minister get down to work and negotiate a "fair and equitable" replacement for Kyoto, and to make a full apology for his comments.

But, after avoiding the plank over his captain's sins, Mr Salter said: "I do not believe in engaging in childish gesture politics such as calling for sanctions against the USA, or merely shouting at those who take a different point of view. "But when parliament returns after the summer recess I will be sponsoring two private members bills on climate change and sustainable energy and on the management of energy in buildings."


The smart-growth scam: "Transportation is essential to the daily life of nearly every American. Millions of people flock onto the freeways and streets to accomplish innumerable tasks each day. Americans love their cars. No other mode of transportation provides the same individualized choices, schedules, and overall convenience as the automobile. Despite the obvious advantages of automotive transportation, politicians and environmentalists continue to praise mass transit. They cite all kinds of data aimed at denigrating automotive transportation while claiming that public transportation works better and is more efficient. However, even though billions of dollars have been spent on such systems, they continue to lose money and passengers."


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 October, 2005


As I've often said: There's no such thing as a happy Greenie. This one certainly believes in the old ZPG slogan: "People are pollution"

It is healthier to walk along a busy road and breathe in exhaust fumes than to sit in the comfort of an airconditioned car, a U.S. researcher said on Wednesday. Robert Baker, president of the non-profit U.S. Indoor Air Quality Association, said American scientists have found the air inside cars to be more contaminated than the air outside, even in urban areas. This was due to unfiltered air from exhaust fumes and chemical smells from car seats, audio equipment and air fresheners. "The air in an indoor space does not clean itself, unlike the outdoors, where air travels," Baker told a news conference at the launch of a Singapore Web site on car cabin air quality.

The site,, says prolonged exposure to bad cabin air can cause cancer and respiratory diseases. Drivers often install air cleaning devices, such as airconditioner filters.

The biggest pollutants in indoor spaces, however, are people, said Baker. "We release gases, bacteria and fungi into the air. The more people there are in an enclosed area, the more harmful it is," he said. One solution was to open the car's windows, though the Web site recommends doing so only along country roads.


The Fake Energy Crisis

(Post lifted from Cafe Hayek)

Twice in the last week I've seen mention of a new "crisis" in energy markets. The crisis? We may have reached the peak in oil production, meaning that in future years, the amount of oil available will dwindle. This story is the lead story on today's front page of USA Today. The headline:
Debate Brews: Has Oil Production Peaked?
The story begins:

Almost since the dawn of the oil age, people have worried about the taps running dry. So far, the worrywarts have been wrong. Oil men from John D. Rockefeller to T. Boone Pickens always manage to find new gushers.

But now, a vocal minority of experts says world oil production is at or near its peak. Existing wells are tiring. New discoveries have disappointed for a decade. And standard assessments of what remains in the biggest reservoirs in the Middle East, they argue, are little more than guesses.

The first expert is an investment banker:

"There isn't a middle argument. It's a finite resource. The only debate should be over when we peak" says Matthew Simmons, a Houston investment banker and author of a new book that questions Saudi Arabia's oil reserves.

In case you think this is no big deal, think again:

If the "peak oil" advocates are correct, however, today's transient shortages and high prices will soon become a permanent way of life. Just as individual oil fields inevitably reach a point at which it gets harder and more expensive to extract the oil before output declines, global oil production is about to crest, they say. Since 2000, the cost of finding and developing new sources of oil has risen about 15% annually, according to the John S. Herold consulting firm.

As global demand rises, American consumers will find themselves in a bidding war with others around the world for scarce oil supplies. That will send prices of gasoline, heating oil and all petroleum-related products soaring.

"The least-bad scenario is a hard landing, global recession worse than the 1930s, says Kenneth Deffeyes, a Princeton University professor emeritus of geosciences. "The worst-case borrows from the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: war, famine, pestilence and death".

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse? War, famine, pestilence and death?  They ought to put this quote in the next OED under "hyperbole". And I thought this guy was trying to really scare us (Ht: Alan Nemes) but it turns out he's a moderate.

"This fear that we're running out of oil or some other key resource is a steady feature of the worrying class.  The worriers have a bad track record. I understand that just because you're paranoid it doesn't mean people aren't chasing you and just because the worriers have always been wrong doesn't mean this won't be the time they get it right. But I still sleep well.

"There's nothing inherently worrisome about a peak in oil production. Such imagery preys on a quick emotional response--before the peak, we're going up. After the peak, it's all downhill.  But there's nothing significant about a world where we produce and consume less oil next year than this year. If that's because remaining oil stocks are increasingly costly to bring up from the ground, that increases the incentive to economize on oil usage and find cheaper ways to get it out of the ground. That mitigates the harm.

"The worriers like to say that we've had cheap oil in the past and now we're going to have expensive oil in the future. They make it sound like it's a geophysical relationship between production and prices.  As long as we're finding more oil, oil is cheap. When we're past the peak, it'll be expensive. Cheap oil means the good life. Expensive oil means misery. But prices aren't high or low. They move around. They are high or low relative to other prices. If oil becomes increasingly scarce, we'll do a thousand, (more like a billion) things to find other ways of doing what oil does.

"If it happened tomorrow, if tomorrow, there were no gas in the pumps and this persisted forever, it would be a very unpleasant adjustment.  It isn't going to happen tomorrow. If it happens gradually over the next 30 or 50 or 100 years, it will have little or no impact on our overall well-being.

"And wasn't it supposed to be good not to rely on fossil fuels? Why all this new worrying? I think the worriers are trying to exploit the recent spike in gasoline prices to push public policy in directions that won't happen otherwise.

"Meanwhile, read Julian Simon. Remember that human creativity is the ultimate resource. Remember that the geophysicists don't understand prices. Sleep well, despite the worriers' desire to keep you tossing and turning. And if you hear the sound of hoofbeats in the still small spaces of the night, it's probably just a horse.

For more on why the "peak oil" simpletons are wrong, see my own article on peak oil here


(Post lifted from Marginal Revolution)

The NYTimes Magazine has an excellent article on the housing market based around a discussion of the development firm Toll Brothers. Bob Toll the president of the firm is predicting that US housing prices will converge with those in Europe.

"In Britain you pay seven times your annual income for a home; in the U.S. you pay three and a half." The British get 330 square feet, per person, in their homes; in the U.S., we get 750 square feet. Not only does Toll say he believes the next generation of buyers will be paying twice as much of their annual incomes; in terms of space, he also seems to think they're going to get only half as much. "And that average, million-dollar insane home in the burbs? It's going to be $4 million."

Toll agrees with Glaeser et al. that the key force driving up prices is zoning and growth regulations. In New Jersey it now takes Toll Brothers up to two million dollars in legal fees and ten years in time to get the permits necessary to build.

Susan Wachter, a housing economist at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, has an interesting public choice insight about why zoning is worse in Europe.

European towns also have less incentive to encourage development, Wachter says, because they generally do not, unlike their American equivalents, depend on their local tax base to pay for education and services, which tend to be federalized.

This implies that towns in states that reduce their reliance on the property tax - often done, as in CA, in order to "equalize" school funding or other expenditure - will soon restrict development. Go to it graduate students.


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 October, 2005


Is global warming a methodological artifact? An email below from Australian climate scientist, Warwick Hughes:

"Last month I started a "20th Anniversary Review" of the Jones et al 1986 papers that gave us IPCC global warming trends so frequently published. See here. It is strange that considering the obvious flaws in the Jones et al methodology there were no Comments in the original journal.

In 1988 Dr Fred Wood a Congressional researcher published a critique of the Jones et al 1986 papers in the Elsevier journal Climatic Change and Wigley & Jones replied saying that Wood was in error on 9 points. I post both papers and analyse the W & J replies point by point here.

Some of the W & J replies are bizarre and I can not see that it is Wood who was in error. In the 1986 Jones et al Southern Hemisphere paper Jones et al 1986 make the amazing statement that, "... very few stations in our final data set come from large cities." Readers should look over; this, where I list Jones et al SH stations sorted by population. Note the population figures are added by me using mainly GHCN data.

Incidentally, the people at have picked up on my work and there is a post here that has over 70 comments now. Greenie Watch gets an irate mention in comment 5. Comment 74 made some good points about urban heat-island effects".

Warwick's rather stunning chart above shows what happens when you use temperature records from stations that are remote from urban heat-island effects.

The irate mention of this blog that Warwick refers to is a typical example of the Leftist "argument by abuse" method. No attempt is made to rebut anything said in the abused sources. Ad hominem condemnation alone is all the writer can manage by way of an argument. I am pleased to say that subsequent commenters pointed that out.


An email from Michael Martin-Smith ( to Benny Peiser:

Despite all the talk of doom and gloom, our human civilisation has, in the past decade, seen the Solar System expand threefold, the discovery of a whole new class of " planetary" object out in the Kuiper Belt, the discovery of 150+ extrasolar planets, the increasingly accurate data from space satellites on the very origins of our Universe, and the widening scope of astrobiological inquiry to Mars, Europa and, perhaps, even Titan and Enceladus. This New Age of Discovery seems set to dwarf even that of Copernican and Elizabethan times .

If our global civilisation is guilty of any crime it is a failure to build adequately on the Apollo achievements. Had we built strategically upon that legacy we could now have had clean solar power satellites and moon/asteroid based industrial expansion. As it is , with a little resolution, we could yet achieve the same over the coming generation or two. We have nothing to lose and a whole lot to gain by going for it. If the pessimists are right, we can say with Olaf Stapledon that "It is a fine thing to have been Man" and given it our best shot. If not ,and our faith is justified - we have a Universe to win.

Failing that, this century will surely see China, with or without India, take up the baton if relinquished by a self-doubting West. We live in interesting times, maybe - but a failure of civilisation and the end of human progress leading to a New Stone Age? I doubt it. We should foster the Highest Common Factor, not the Lowest Common Denominator in Humanity. Life - and Evolution - are games in which those who do not strive to win deserve to lose!


Indeed, most of the emerging leaders of the anti-capitalist movement seemed to be surprisingly well-heeled. Mark Brown (Radley School), heir to the Vestey fortune was acquitted of leading the Carnival Against Capitalism of June 1999; Lord Peter Melchett (Eton), former cabinet minister and grandson to Imperial Chemicals Industry's Lord Alfred Mond, was head of Greenpeace UK, as well as standing trial for wrecking genetically modified crops. Charles Secrett (Cranleigh), executive director of Friends of the Earth, explains the appeal of environmentalism among the upper classes: 'Among the aristocrats there is a sense of noblesse oblige…a feeling of stewardship towards the land.'

Sir Crispin Tickell used his wardenship of Green College, Oxford to provide a base for one rising star of the movement, George Monbiot. Educated at Stowe school and Brasenose College, Oxford, Monbiot was headed for a career at the BBC until he threw in his lot with the Donga tribe at Twyford Down, and, despite some suspicions about this 'careerist' and 'media tart', he succeeded in making himself an accepted spokesman.

It was Zac's father, corporate raider Sir James Goldsmith, who founded the Ecologist magazine, edited by his brother Edward in 1970; and the organisation Friends of the Earth was founded in the same year. Three years later the Ecology Party - later the Green Party - was formed. These groups had supported the Tory government's 'Save It' campaign, popularising austerity measures in 1974, but in the late 1970s they clashed with the establishment over the public inquiry into the Windscale nuclear plant. Conservation had made the transition from 'a fairly close and "gentlemanly" dialogue with the state' to a counter-cultural lifestyle 'comprising vegetarian diets, concern for animals, wholefood shops, open-air festivals, cycling, hiking and rallies'.

But it was only with the decline of the Labour left, following the party's 1983 election defeat, that environmentalism became widely accepted as an alternative to the status quo in the UK. The traditional left's nadir, 1989, coincides with the apex of environmental concerns, when eight per cent of Europeans voted for green parties.

The old left by no means welcomed the environmentalists' claim on radicalism. Tony Benn recorded his impressions of a Friends of the Earth Christmas party in 1980: 'One felt that all this concern was the middle class expressing its dislike of the horrors of industrialisation - keeping Hampstead free from the whiff of diesel smoke, sort of thing'.

But already the old left was reaching out for a 'red-green alliance' to try to compensate for its declining influence - which wasn't something that held an immediate appeal for environmentalists. As the political agenda became more stridently anti-capitalist, though, the remnants of the old left found a home in the new anti-globalisation movement, doing the donkey-work of leafleting, placard-making and mobilising their supporters. Much of the movement was 'reds, pretending to be greens, pretending to be reds', one Trotskyist ruefully admitted to me.

Contemporary green activists have complex attitudes to the movement against capitalism represented by the old left. The rebranding of the anti-globalisation movement as an anti-capitalist movement means taking on some of the rhetorical force of the socialist slogans. Tony Juniper, executive director of Friends of the Earth, explains the evolution in their thinking:

'For the past 10 years we've been locating ourselves more in the bigger economic debate and less in the "save the whales" type debate. Talking about rainforests led us into talking about Third World debt. Talking about climate change led us to talk about transnational corporations. The more you talk about these things, the more you realise the subject isn't the environment any more, it's the economy and the pressures on countries to do things that undercut any efforts they make to deal with environmental issues.'

But just as the anti-globalisation movement reached its apex, it disintegrated. An anti-capitalist demonstration planned for the weekend after 11 September 2001 was cancelled. The left moved on from anti-globalisation to campaigning against the war in Iraq. Recent anti-debt protests in July 2005 were organised at a discrete distance by UK chancellor Gordon Brown and prime minister Tony Blair, working through their 'youth' frontmen Bono and Bob Geldof. But despite the hype, the Edinburgh protests were a damp squib.

More here


A cactus gene isolated and transplanted into wheat for better heat tolerance to beat the vagaries of climate is just a futuristic scenario. But top agriculture scientists from the US and India could soon be working towards such solutions to mitigate the effect of climate change on agriculture as part of the research collaboration launched by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and US President George W Bush. India has sent its first draft proposal to the US, which includes climate change among others, for the Indo-US Knowledge Initiative on Agricultural Research and Education.

Director General of Indian Council for Agriculture Research Dr Mangala Rai, along with his team, has had four video-conferencing sessions with his American counterpart in the US Department of Agriculture on the research areas that would mutually benefit both India and US. And climate change has emerged as an area of focus for both countries. The US team is likely to visit India in November. With global climate change concerns growing rapidly, the potential detrimental effect on crops has been pinpointed as an area of mutual concern during these interactions.

‘‘We are visualising a basic modelling of predicting climate change and a way of combating it. For example, if we visualise a rise in temperature when wheat is maturing, we could look for genes that have thermal tolerance to prevent crop loss,’’ said Rai. ‘‘This is a long-term futuristic approach to develop cutting-edge technology to mitigate effects of climate change.’’ Apart from development of high temperature tolerant varieties of cereals and models for climatic risk predictions, the objective is also to examine strategies to reduce methane emissions from paddies and livestock.



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 October, 2005


Over something with a population that obviously varies greatly anyhow

Saving the endangered delta smelt, a tiny fish considered a key indicator of the health of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, could cost hundreds of millions of dollars, according to a report to be released Thursday. The price tag includes projects that also could aid other troubled species and the overall ecology of the delta, which provides drinking water to more than 70 percent of Californians. This summer, scientists said the delta smelt population had fallen to its lowest level since scientific measurements began in 1959. Three other bellwether fish populations also are at record or near-record lows and would likely benefit from the delta smelt plan. The delta smelt is considered particularly vulnerable, however, because its one-year life cycle means a catastrophic collapse could eliminate the species.

Options to restore the population and their costs vary, according to the 14-point recovery plan obtained by The Associated Press. The report, developed by the state Department of Water Resources and Department of Fish and Game, also said further research could affect decisions on what actions to take. "This gives us a range of things we could do," said Chuck Armor, a California Department of Fish and Game biologist. "Some of that is pretty big dollar amounts. The next step will be ... how do we choose among those options and how do we pay for it?" Armor manages the Interagency Ecological Program, which is composed of six federal and three state agencies that track the delta's ecology.

U.S. Rep. Richard Pombo, chairman of the House Resources Committee, objected that the plan includes myriad water projects under the umbrella of rescuing the delta smelt. He calls it a possible tactic to curry favor with lawmakers who would have to approve funding. Pombo also was surprised that none of the proposed actions focuses on foreign species that have invaded the delta and are suspected of causing problems for native fish. "I do have a lot of concerns about the underlying science," said Pombo, a Republican whose Tracy home borders the delta. He said a survey just a few years ago showed the delta smelt were so prolific that they might qualify for removal from endangered species protection.

One proposal would spend $75 million to install permanent gates that would be used each spring to dam water in some parts of the delta. That would raise the water level and make it easier to pump irrigation water. The report says the barriers and increased volume of water would keep smelt and other fish species from being sucked into the pumps.

The report also suggests studying whether it makes sense to divert some fresh water entirely around the delta to the giant pumps that send it to Southern California. A proposed "peripheral canal" was rejected by California voters in 1982. But over the next two years, the California Bay-Delta Authority is to reconsider diversion projects, which the draft report says would cost billions of dollars .....

More here


Within hours of Turkey being confirmed as the latest nation to fall prey to bird flu, many in Britain began exhibiting the first symptom of an encroaching pandemic - a total loss of perspective.

Those who should be most worried by the arrival of the dreaded H5N1 virus in Europe are also least likely to know about it, as they are birds. Despite all the scary talk of a repeat of the Spanish Flu pandemic, which killed at least 20 million in 1918-19, the new virus has yet to make the critical jump to humans. Those that have died so far - barely 70 people worldwide - have all been in close contact with birds carrying the virus. As yet, not a single case of human-to-human transmission has occurred.

The doom-mongers may well be right in saying it is only a matter of time. Yet the fact remains that, even at this very early stage, the world's health agencies are already on full alert. Compare that to SARS, the almost-forgotten deadly form of pneumonia that emerged in China in 2002. By the time Chinese officials admitted they had a problem, the SARS virus had made the jump into humans, spread across Asia and was killing 10 per cent of those it infected - a hit-rate even worse than the dreaded Spanish Flu.

Despite being on the brink of a pandemic, the world's health agencies snapped into action and stopped the virus in its tracks. And they did it not with fancy genetic medicine or mass vaccination, but by grabbing anyone who looked unwell and slinging them in isolation hospitals. In the end, the global toll was less than 800.

The SARS epidemic was a damned close-run thing. But the way it was beaten should soothe the nerves of anyone infected by the flap over bird flu



Clinical trials will begin within weeks on a Liverpool-produced vaccine for the deadly bird flu virus which it is feared could kill millions of people worldwide. Experts at the Chiron plant, in Speke, have spent several months working on a vaccine for the H5N1 avian flu virus. A spokeswoman for the company told the Daily Post last night that thousands of doses would be shipped to the US in the next few weeks when scientists will begin testing it on humans.

Fears of a global bird flu pandemic grew over the weekend after a suspected outbreak at a turkey farm in Turkey and another possible case among ducks in Romania. It is feared H5N1 could mutate and acquire the ability to pass from human to human, threatening the lives of millions of people worldwide. Around 60 people in Asia have already died from the virus which was first identified at a chicken farm in South Korea in 2003.

In May last year, the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) awarded a contract to Chiron to produce 8,000 test vaccines against H5N1. The Chiron spokeswoman said: "The H5N1 test vaccines have been produced in Liverpool and will be supplied to NIAID for testing later in the autumn." She added it would be difficult to say how long it would take before the vaccine would gain final approval. "There is obviously a lot of focus on this right now, but it would depend on what the mechanism was for approval - it might be there is a variation on the normal," she said..

Experts at Liverpool have already produced a test vaccine for another strain of bird flu, H9N2, which has recently undergone trials in Italy. At the end of last week, US President George Bush called in the chief executive of Chiron, along with representatives from other pharmaceutical firms, to the White House and urged them to speed up their efforts to head off a possible global pandemic. The US Health and Human Services secretary, Mike Leavitt, said after the meeting: "We talked about what is necessary to get to the goal of having enough vaccine in the shortest possible time."



What was done:
The authors investigated the thermosteric (i.e., due to temperature only) sea-level change over the last 50 years using the global ocean temperature data sets of Levitus et al. (2000) and Ishii et al. (2003).

What was learned:
It was found that thermosteric sea level variations are dominated by decadal oscillations of the planet's main coupled ocean-atmosphere climatic perturbations (El Ni¤o-Southern Oscillation, Pacific Decadal Oscillation and North Atlantic Oscillation). In terms of the global mean, in the words of the authors, "thermosteric trends computed over 10-year windows exhibit a time oscillation of around a 20-year period," and they say that these trends "show large fluctuations in time, with positive values (in the range 1 to 1.5 mm/year for the decade centered on 1970) and negative values (-1 to -1.5 mm/year for the decade centered on 1980)."

What it means:
Over the full half-century period of data, there has been a net rise in sea level due to the thermal expansion of sea water, but only because the record begins at the bottom of a trough and ends at the top of a peak. In between these two points, there are both higher and lower values, so that one cannot be sure what would be implied if earlier data were available or what will be implied as more data are acquired. Noting that sea level trends derived from Topex/Poseidon altimetry over 1993-2003 are "mainly caused by thermal expansion" and are thus "very likely a non-permanent feature," Lombard et al. conclude that "we simply cannot extrapolate sea level into the past or the future using satellite altimetry alone."

Consequently, even the 50 years of global ocean temperature data we possess are insufficient to tell us much about the degree of global warming that may have occurred over the past half-century, as any long-term increase in global thermosteric sea level it may have caused is absolutely dwarfed by decadal-scale variability.

Lombard, A., Cazenave, A., Le Traon, P.-Y. and Ishii, M. 2005. "Contribution of thermal expansion to present-day sea-level change revisited". Global and Planetary Change 47: 1-16.

From: CO2 Science Magazine, 19 October 2005


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

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

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


21 October, 2005


This is a longish essay by Wendell Krossa but it covers a lot of ground so I am not going to put anything else up here today. The essay includes brief reviews of several books

We appear to be building up toward another one of those historical peaks of fear, kind of like the building of a fever just before it breaks. All this scare-mongering of late points to something more fundamental about being human. Something a bit pathological.

Nietzsche spoke of the basic human mood or orientation- hating life or affirming it. The darker orientation of some people toward doom and gloom appears to be almost hardwired in human brains. Note, for instance, that fear is considered a primary emotion which is behind hate and aggression. All that nasty residual stuff exploding from the amygdala and related structures (the ancient reptilian brain).

Tom Robbins expressed something of the influence of this darker side of the human psyche on literature in his Harpers piece (Sept 2004) titled In Defiance of Gravity. Comparing comedy and despair in literature he said, "Comedy is deemed inferior to tragedy primarily because of the social prevalence of narcissistic pathology. In other words, people who are too self-important to laugh at their own frequently ridiculous behavior have a vested interest in gravity because it supports their illusions of grandiosity...many people are unable to function without such illusions". What has this produced in modern literature?

"Most of the critically lauded fiction of our time concentrates its focus on cancer, divorce, rape, racism, schizophrenia, murder, abandonment, addiction, and abuse. These things are rampant in our society and ought to be examined in fiction. Yet to trot them out in book after book, without the transformative magic of humor and imagination- let alone a glimmer of higher consciousness- succeeds only in impeding the advancement of literature and human understanding alike" (p.60-61).

And further, "Despair is as addictive as heroin and more popular than sex, for the single reason that when one is unhappy one gets to pay a lot of attention to oneself. Misery becomes a kind of emotional masturbation. Taken out on others, depression becomes a weapon".

He points to something David Altheide expressed so well in his book Creating Fear- the pathological human orientation toward catastrophe, disaster, the morbid, and despair. Consequently, many people will insist that things are getting worse and worse despite overwhelming evidence of the objective reality that "most citizens are safer, healthier, living longer, and more secure in their environments than virtually any population in history" (p.42- his research is on the US but the same principles apply elsewhere). According to sociologist Altheide, many media outlets tend to respond to and feed this propensity toward the dark and despairing in humanity and have become, not truth seekers, but entertainers. Hence, while murder declined in the 1990s by 20% in the US, media reporting on murder increased by 600%.

Such media reporting promotes the sense that the world is out of control. Altheide notes those who have a stake in promoting fear- government, military, and even sociologists- and the rewards they reap, such as social control, support for policies, and continued income for programs.

So are we just animals and slavishly subject to this nasty little reptilian leftover that orients us too often to fear and despair? Three highly related responses- no, no, and no. We are human. We have a cortex. It is wired for hope, optimism and love (John Pfeiffer, The Emergence of Humankind). It makes us something entirely different from animals and heading in an entirely different direction from animal life.

The cortex, which mediates consciousness, enables us to pause, to step back from the moment, and to place local catastrophe, cruelty, and accident in the larger, long term context of developing life. This is the best antidote to fear/despair and it is exactly what Julian Simon (The Ultimate Resource) and Bjorn Lomberg (The Skeptical Environmentalist), among others, have done. Simon says that researching the actual state of things is what saved him from his own depression. He refused to let his mental outlook- depressive- shape his research. Instead, his research and discovery of "the extraordinarily positive trends that have continued until now, and that can reasonably be expected to continue into the future" (p.xxxvii) changed and brightened his basic mood. And his depression never returned.

Another who has also wisely stepped back from fear to place events in a wider context is Luke Mitchell in his March 4/04 article called "A Run On Terror". The fear of terrorism has become "the animating principle of nearly every aspect of American public policy" when it ought to be on the level of concern of annual workplace accidents or drownings, both of which caused more deaths in 2001. As Mitchell says, this is not to dishonor the losses to those families but neither should their anguish eclipse that of others.

And better yet, step back even further and look at the greater universe story as set forth by Brian Swimme (The Universe Story), Harold Morowitz (The Emergence of Everything) and others. Progress is something far more fundamental to reality and life than just the positive trends of the past few centuries. From the moment of the Big Bang material reality began to organize from chaos toward order and from the simple toward the more complex. Emerging life followed this same trajectory from simple organisms to more complex and ordered ones. Now human society continues this trajectory in domestication or civilization. Some powerful organizing principle or impulse keeps us moving away from the random and chaotic toward the more ordered, reasoned, and humane. And as big kids now, it appears that we are becoming more and more responsible for this direction of life.

However one wishes to read this rising trajectory of reality and life, it can not be dismissed as just wishing for the best or whistling in the dark. It is hard nosed, rational fact that the universe and life are endlessly rising and progressing. And there are some 13.7 billion years of this evidence. It is the longest of the long term trends.

The rising trajectory of life in an evolving and rising universe (Big Bang- Simon Singh) resonates with the very structure of our cortex which, as noted above, is wired for hope. Perhaps then, hope, along with creativity and other features, defines ultimate reality.

The fundamental trajectory evident in the greater universe story- this trajectory of creativity, advance, and hope- will place us in touch with the Tibetan 'crazy wisdom' that Tom Robbins refers to in his article noted above. This is a form of playfulness that possesses "an unfailing capacity to arouse ridicule in those who crave certainty, reverence, and restraint...playfulness- a kind of divine playfulness intended to lighten man's existential burden and promote what Joseph Campbell called the 'rapture of being alive'". This playfulness says Robbins refuses to avert its gaze from the sorrows and injustices of the world, but insists on joy in spite of everything. It grasps the greater reality of rising, advancing, developing, and progressing life. So the ancient shaman quoted by Campbell was right then to urge us all, "Don't fear the universe". Don't fear life. Fear hinders the perception of what life is really about and it hinders human understanding and progress.

The orientation to fear and despair has found no more powerful expression than in Fall/apocalyptic mythology. And with the historical demise of such mythology, despair continues to find expression in newer more secular forms, including scientific ones.

This is evident in the article 'Waiting for the lights to go out'. It appears that the author, Brian Appleyard, is among the many who have fallen prey to one of the greatest deceptions ever foisted upon humanity- that of Fall/apocalyptic mythology. This mythology states that things were once better, sinful humanity has screwed things up, disaster is coming, and salvation is to be found in the denial of life and abundance; in a return to the 'moral superiority' of a simple, low-consumption lifestyle, preferably out in a mud hut in the bushes.

This barbaric and distorting mythology has darkened human consciousness like nothing else over human history. As in the case of this writer, it leads people to carefully select and quote experts that support your basic assumptions and orientation to despair. It shapes how people view reality and the evidence that they are willing to look at. This is why, despite the constraints of the scientific method, this mythology continues to influence scientific research. This is also why such science misses entirely the fundamental direction of the universe and life.

Appleyard's Fall perspective becomes clear in his comments on the fallenness and unredeemableness of human beings. "Our aggressive, tribal nature is hard-wired, unreformed and unreformable. Individually, we are animals and as animals incapable of progress". Pardon me, but what unmitigated nonsense.

Just look at the past twelve millennia of human existence. Note those early Sumerian attempts (Circa 2400 BCE) at democratic rule and rights for women. Remember those early Greek slave women advocating for individual liberty and rights (700 BCE). The story of humanity is so clearly a story of progression from the barbaric to the more humane.

The amygdala, along with its naughty friends hanging around there in the core brain, still influences us, but it does not define us as human. The cortex, with its more humanizing features, enables us to pause, to check the baser drives, and to choose more human response. The cortex, with its basic impulses and emotions, is what essentially defines us as human. This humanizing organ helps to explain the story of humanity as an unstoppable and irreversible trajectory of advance.

And no - progress is not built on a fragile foundation. Greg Easterbrook in his A Moment On The Earth blows this fragility-of-life idea out of the water. Life is exceedingly durable and resilient and nothing is more durable or resilient than human life with its consciousness. This amazing faculty of thought and reason enables us to now help nature out of the many dead ends that its chaotic and random impulses have gotten it into.

Brian Appleyard's apocalyptic stance is most evident in his reading of the world energy situation. Unfortunately, his mood and perspective lead him to miss entirely another fundamental feature of the universe and life- that of limitless generosity. Just recently the International Energy Agency issued its report, Resources to Reserves, Oil and Gas Technologies for the Energy Markets of the Future, which states that there are some 10 trillion barrels of oil in conventional reserves and some 10 trillion barrels of non-conventional. In Alberta alone the estimations are up to some 350 billion conventional barrels and possibly up to 2 trillion tar sands barrels. With current world consumption at 84 million barrels a day or 30.6 billion barrels a year, well, do the math. Sure, use will increase but so we will continue to make new discoveries and return to abandoned reserves that were uneconomical to extract at lower prices.

Wilfred Beckerman in his crisply argued A Poverty of Reason shows why sustainability ideology with its pessimistic outlook consistently misses world resource estimations by centuries and even millennia. Also remember, even with spikes in prices like the current oil spike, the overall long term trend in resource prices has been steadily downward.

This is not to dismiss the search for alternatives. As Beckerman says, it is silly to think we will continue with oil in the future. Along with this, remember Arthur C. Clarke's prediction that in some 50 years time we will have tapped into dark energy and accessed a limitless supply of energy.

Then I almost laughed out loud at the pessimism in the comments on exhausting new ideas. It reminds me of the US Patent Office clerk who stated in 1900, "Everything that can be invented, has been invented". Or the economist back in the mid-1800s who worried that with a limited supply of musical notes humanity would soon run out of new music. He should have lived to hear Enya's "Orinoco Flow" or "What a Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong.

So yes, there is a positive function to death. It is a huge face saver.

And contrary to Stein's argument, increased population does not bring increased problems and increased disaster. As Simon (The Ultimate Resource) shows in his careful research on human population- increased population is the answer to our problems. It produces more Norman Borlaugs and Einsteins and many others who will find solutions that will lead us toward that better future that we all want. More human beings, means more human minds with more creative ideas and innovations. It's a simple addition thing.

"Perhaps we are close to the limit and the time of plenty is over". Well, this is about all that you can expect from the dark pessimism of sustainability ideology with its orientation to strict limits (A Poverty of Reason). It can advocate nothing other than limits because at core it is part of a greater anti-development and anti-progress ideology. See Alston Chase's excellent In A Dark Wood (one of the 100 best books of the last century) for a thorough treatment of the environmental expression of this anti-human ideology/mythology.

Finally, the refusal to accept apocalyptic mythology has nothing to do with being Pollyanna-like. It has everything to do with cold, hard, rational fact and the long term trends of life. This is not to deny recurring catastrophe, setback, downturn and the rest of the pornography of human suffering. But such things do not define the overall trajectory or nature of life.

Also remember how repeatedly apocalyptic has misled even the brightest minds. Remember Paul Ehrlich trying to panic the public about food production and mass starvation back in the 1970s. Fortunately, Nobel winner Norman Borlaug (arguably the greatest living human being) refused to listen to Erlich's doomsterism and went out to father the Green Revolution and save the hundreds of millions that Ehrlich predicted would die. He has been credited with saving the lives of possibly 1 billion human beings. Environmental doomsters continue to dog him about his use of fertilizers and try to stop various foundations from funding his work.

In conclusion, I would argue that progress is much more than just a modern Enlightenment fad. It has to do with what the universe is fundamentally about. It was certainly there long before conscious humans came on the scene. So it is more than something that we just cottoned on to a few centuries ago in relation to technological innovations and such.

As noted above, progress has a long and well established history, even in the human species. Steven LeBlanc (Constant Battles) and Paul Seabright (In The Company Of Strangers) together have given an interesting overview of our progress. LeBlanc exposes the archeological myths of noble savages to show the nasty pre-civilized past of humanity. Then Seabright shows how developing trust and trade between people led to the formation of modern civilization and the benefits of modern human societies. We have been steadily moving from barbarity to a more humane existence and we have been doing this for multiple millennia. This was long before we even understood what progress was all about. We have just been following that basic, universal impulse for something better; an impulse that appears to be fundamental to all the universe and life.

Focusing on the longer term context will shed more light on what life and humanity is all about, rather than just picking on reverse-type spikes here and there. Remember the scientist noted by Lomberg who argued from a short term counter trend in the 1990s that TB was getting worse (Skeptical Environmentalist, p.24). Lomberg exposed his conclusions with the longer term trend of TB declining. Let's not sink too far into our present moment that we miss the greater overall story of life.

Life in many elements is not yet perfect and progress may not be automatic, but we are doing better and better all the time. In this regard I have some interesting articles on such things as the historical trend in violence (Manuel Eisner's research), the democratic trend, war (Douglas Todd), and similar material. It's available here.

And just today we read of the release of the "Human Security Report" which corroborates Eisner's research on the historical decline in violence (from 20 homicides per 100,000 people in the 1300s to only 1 per 100,000 today). Kelly Patterson ('Global warfare less deadly', National Post, Oct.18/05) says that the popular misconception that we live in an increasingly violent world can be blamed on the media. All forms of political violence have been decreasing by significant percentages and only terrorism has increased but it accounts for only a tiny fraction of the annual death toll. Other security experts claim the terrorist impulse has no long term future.

Once again - enough of the despair of Fall/apocalyptic mythology. This writer, Brian Appleyard, has taken the dark orientation of an archaic mythology of despair and tried to fashion just another Johnny-come-lately version of the same old, same old. No matter how scientific it is made out to be, Fall/apocalyptic misses entirely the rising trends of life.


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 October, 2005


An Israeli-led consortium is completing the world’s largest, most technologically advanced and economical water desalination plant, a project that backers say could influence prospects for Mideast peace and development of arid regions worldwide. The $250 million plant will produce 100 million cubic meters of water a year in two identical, adjacent facilities from water drawn from the Mediterranean Sea, sufficient to provide 5 percent of the water consumed in Israel. One desalination unit here is complete, and a second unit is expected to be finished by the end of the year.

Lance Johnson, manager of large desalination projects at Dow Chemical Co. — which makes the membranes at the center of the process — said output will equal “500 million half-liter size bottles of water a day — a lot of water.” Israeli officials have quietly begun talks with the Palestinian Authority about the possibility of increasing the plant’s production to 120 million cubic meters a year, with 20 million cubic meters to be shipped to Gaza, 5 miles away. “After this plant is in operation, people will realize it’s much cheaper to build this kind of plant than fight for water in the Middle East,” said Gustavo Kronenberg, general manager of the VID Desalination Co. and the man in charge of the plant’s construction.

The project is being developed by VID, a joint venture made up of IDE Technologies and Elran Infrastructures, both of Israel, and Veolia Water of France. The Israeli government will take ownership of the facility after 25 years. Aiman Jarrar, head of the Palestinian Water Authority’s regulatory directorate, said Gaza residents need affordable water. “The Palestinians realize that one of the solutions of water shortage in Gaza strip is desalination,” Jarrar said in an e-mail.....

Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, Israel’s infrastructure minister, said the country has embarked on a five-year plan to develop desalination plants capable of creating 300 million cubic meters of water. Israel uses 600 million cubic meters of water annually for human consumption and another 1.3 billion or so for agriculture and industry. The Ashkelon plant is coming on line just as Israel has begun to focus on developing its vast Negev desert region. The bulk of the water produced in Ashkelon will be shipped to the Negev, and some will go to Jerusalem, Kronenberg said.

The plant will be the world’s largest facility producing water through reverse osmosis, a type of filtering process. Currently, only about 20 percent of worldwide desalination involves reverse osmosis, but membranes developed in recent years have made the process more economical. In fact, as the technology improved, the Israelis doubled the Ashkelon plant’s planned capacity. In 1999, when planning for the project began, the estimated cost of producing water had fallen from $1 per cubic meter to 70 cents. Kronenberg said the Ashkelon plant will produce water at 53 cents per cubic meter, which he called “the lowest price ever seen for desalinated water.”

Three pipes extending more than a half-mile into the sea take in water about 45 feet below the surface, where it’s clearest. The incoming water is routed to two desalination units located just north of a huge, coal-fired power plant whose smokestacks loom over Israel’s southern Mediterranean coast. Pulled by gravity, the seawater is filtered through layers of sand. Additives and cartridge filters remove suspended particles larger than 10 microns. The seawater then is routed to a pumping chamber, where its pressure is elevated. Half of that water flows through special membranes and becomes potable. The remaining brine, under high pressure, is used to help boost the pressure of incoming seawater — helping to dramatically reduce the energy needed for the process.....

More here


(Post lifted from the Adam Smith blog)

Dr Alister McFarquhar asks whatever happened to our Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir David King? Jonathan Leake tells us in the Times. Sir David is one of two senior government figures calling for a green tax system to force individuals and firms to cut energy consumption. The other, worryingly, is Elliot Morley, an environment minister. In Montreal in November a successor to the Kyoto treaty on climate change will be sought if possible for when it expires in 2012.

The hope must be that they fail. Firm leadership from the US fortunately put an end to the Kyoto madness of spending billions to cut our growth. The US-led proposal of effective technological solutions will achieve far better results, and since Blair effectively signed off from Kyoto last month, looks like the way forward in future.

What the illustrious Sir David wants is personal energy quotas for all of us, rather like ration books. If we drive a lot or take airplane flights, we'll have to buy unused quota points from others. The aim is to control emissions by forcing people to use less energy. King doesn't go into detail for fear of "angering the Treasury," but Morley spells out a 'growing interest' in imposing carbon quotas on people.

Neither of them says how much of global warming is part of a natural geophysical and solar cycle, and how much is man-made. Nor do they tell us what proportion of the latter element is caused by energy use, as opposed to activities like farming. Both assume that humankind has to use less energy, and think energy or carbon taxes are the only way forward. Both overlook the very real possibility that emissions might be controlled not by using less energy, but by using cleaner energy, and developing technologies which address the problems.

You might drive people with sticks such as carbon taxes and energy ration books, but carrots are usually more successful. The carrots might include incentives to develop cleaner energy use, and perhaps lower taxes on the forms which pollute less. That is what worked for unleaded fuel. The kind of restrictive, authoritarian thinking which produced Kyoto and ideas like personal energy quotas is fortunately looking well past its sell-by date; and the same is true of Sir David King and Elliot Morley.

Chewing Up Enviro-myths

(Post lifted from Cheat-Seeking Missiles)

I've laughed with frustration when, on the one hand, environmentalists say grazing is extremely damaging to the environment and must be banned on federal lands, and on the other, they call some century-old cattle ranch pegged for development a pristine ecosystem that must be saved.

Now the publication Conservation Biology has a study that's probably quite close to the truth: cattle are good for the environment.

Before the greenies amoung you actually turn green, take a moment to consider biological history. Before ranchers came to the west, there were large grazing animals all over the place -- buffalo, elk, and so forth. They interfaced with the land just as cows do.

They are no longer with us, and with their departure, an important aspect of natural ecosystem balancing disappeared. Cows replace this function quite efficiently:

Cattle grazing could help endangered species

There may be a surprise in store for environmentalists - removing cattle grazing could actually be damaging to the environment

There may be a surprise in store for environmentalits - removing cattle grazing could actually be damaging to the environment. An article published in the latest issue of Conservation Biology finds that cattle grazing plays an important role in maintaining wetland habitat necessary for some endangered species. Removing cattle from grazing lands in the Central Valley of California could, inadvertently, degrade the vernal pool habitat of fairy shrimp and tiger salamanders.

Cattle grazing influences the rates of evaporation which work together with climate to determine the depth and duration of wetland flooding. Cattle have been grazing in the land for roughly 150 years and have become a naturalized part of the ecosystem. "In practical terms, this means that grazing may help sustain the kinds of aquatic environments endangered fairy shrimps need to survive," author Christopher R. Pyke states.

The authors looked at 36 vernal pools on two different geologic formations on a 5000-ha ranch in eastern Sacramento County, California. Their experiments found that removal of grazing reduced the duration of wetland flooding by an average of 50 days per year.

Their simulations show that climate change could compound these impacts, potentially, leaving endangered fairy shrimp and tiger salamanders without enough time to mature before their temporary aquatic environments disappear.

"Consequently, land managers can play an important role in climate change impacts, i.e. they can exacerbate or ameliorate, the local impacts of global change," Pyke adds. Conservationists may find that grazing is not always a negative factor, and it presents real opportunities to adapt to climate variability and climate change..

The study is published in the October issue of Conservation Biology


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 October, 2005


Living as we do amid contant technological advances it is hard not to laugh at the latest scare but let's have a quick look anyway. The author concerned seems to recognize that the easy and obvious scientific problems have now been solved so the remaining problems are harder and take longer to solve but he still seems to see that inevitability as a catastrophe. His basic premise seems to be that we HAVE to innovate to stay prosperous etc but he offers no proof for such an absurd claim. Given the projected falling populations in the developed world, we would in fact arguably have MORE resources per head in the future than we do now -- without a single further innovation.

The whole article could do with a good fisking, as it is so full of demonstrably dubious assumptions ("peak oil", for instance), but perhaps one final point: Even if all innovation were suddenly to cease tomorrow, just making more use of what we already know would enable huge increases in living standards etc. -- increased use of nuclear power or decreased use of agricultural protectionism being just two obvious instances of that. The topic is being discussed on Majority Rights at the moment for anybody who wants to see a few further thoughts on the matter

Jonathan Huebner is an amiable, very polite and very correct physicist who works at the Pentagon's Naval Air Warfare Center in China Lake, California. He took the job in 1985, when he was 26. An older scientist told him how lucky he was. In the course of his career, he could expect to see huge scientific and technological advances. But by 1990, Huebner had begun to suspect the old man was wrong. "The number of advances wasn't increasing exponentially, I hadn't seen as many as I had expected - not in any particular area, just generally."

Puzzled, he undertook some research of his own. He began to study the rate of significant innovations as catalogued in a standard work entitled The History of Science and Technology. After some elaborate mathematics, he came to a conclusion that raised serious questions about our continued ability to sustain progress. What he found was that the rate of innovation peaked in 1873 and has been declining ever since. In fact, our current rate of innovation - which Huebner puts at seven important technological developments per billion people per year - is about the same as it was in 1600. By 2024 it will have slumped to the same level as it was in the Dark Ages, the period between the end of the Roman empire and the start of the Middle Ages.

The calculations are based on innovations per person, so if we could keep growing the human population we could, in theory, keep up the absolute rate of innovation. But in practice, to do that, we'd have to swamp the world with billions more people almost at once. That being neither possible nor desirable, it seems we'll just have to accept that progress, at least on the scientific and technological front, is slowing very rapidly indeed.

Huebner offers two possible explanations: economics and the size of the human brain. Either it's just not worth pursuing certain innovations since they won't pay off - one reason why space exploration has all but ground to a halt - or we already know most of what we can know, and so discovering new things is becoming increasingly difficult. We have, for example, known for over 20 years how cancer works and what needs to be done to prevent or cure it. But in most cases, we still have no idea how to do it, and there is no likelihood that we will in the foreseeable future.

Huebner's insight has caused some outrage. The influential scientist Ray Kurzweil has criticised his sample of innovations as "arbitrary"; K Eric Drexler, prophet of nanotechnology, has argued that we should be measuring capabilities, not innovations. Thus we may travel faster or access more information at greater speeds without significant innovations as such.

Huebner has so far successfully responded to all these criticisms. Moreover, he is supported by the work of Ben Jones, a management professor at Northwestern University in Illinois. Jones has found that we are currently in a quandary comparable to that of the Red Queen in Through the Looking Glass: we have to run faster and faster just to stay in the same place. Basically, two centuries of economic growth in the industrialised world has been driven by scientific and technological innovation. We don't get richer unaided or simply by working harder: we get richer because smart people invent steam engines, antibiotics and the internet. What Jones has discovered is that we have to work harder and harder to sustain growth through innovation. More and more money has to be poured into research and development and we have to deploy more people in these areas just to keep up. "The result is," says Jones, "that the average individual innovator is having a smaller and smaller impact."

Like Huebner, he has two theories about why this is happening. The first is the "low-hanging fruit" theory: early innovators plucked the easiest-to-reach ideas, so later ones have to struggle to crack the harder problems. Or it may be that the massive accumulation of knowledge means that innovators have to stay in education longer to learn enough to invent something new and, as a result, less of their active life is spent innovating. "I've noticed that Nobel-prize winners are getting older," he says. "That's a sure sign it's taking longer to innovate." The other alternative is to specialise - but that would mean innovators would simply be tweaking the latest edition of Windows rather than inventing the light bulb. The effect of their innovations would be marginal, a process of making what we already have work slightly better. This may make us think we're progressing, but it will be an illusion.

If Huebner and Jones are right, our problem goes way beyond Windows. For if innovation is the engine of economic progress - and almost everybody agrees it is - growth may be coming to an end. Since our entire financial order - interest rates, pension funds, insurance, stock markets - is predicated on growth, the social and economic consequences may be cataclysmic.

Is it really happening? Will progress grind to a halt? The long view of history gives conflicting evidence. Paul Ormerod, a London-based economist and author of the book Why Most Things Fail, is unsure. "I am in two minds about this. Biologists have abandoned the idea of progress - we just are where we are. But humanity is so far in advance of anything that has gone before that it seems to be a qualitative leap."

For Ormerod, there may be very rare but similar qualitative leaps in the organisation of society. The creation of cities, he believes, is one. Cities emerged perhaps 10,000 years ago, not long after humanity ceased being hunter-gatherers and became farmers. Other apparently progressive developments cannot compete. The Roman empire, for example, once seemed eternal, bringing progress to the world. But then, one day, it collapsed and died. The question thus becomes: is our liberal-democratic-capitalist way of doing things, like cities, an irreversible improvement in the human condition, or is it like the Roman empire, a shooting star of wealth and success, soon to be extinguished?

Ormerod suspects that capitalism is indeed, like cities, a lasting change in the human condition. "Immense strides forward have been taken," he says. It may be that, after millennia of striving, we have found the right course. Capitalism may be the Darwinian survivor of a process of natural selection that has seen all other systems fail.

Ormerod does acknowledge, however, that the rate of innovation may well be slowing - "All the boxes may be ticked," as he puts it - and that progress remains dependent on contingencies far beyond our control. An asteroid strike or super-volcanic eruption could crush all our vanities in an instant. But in principle, Ormerod suspects that our 200-year spree is no fluke.

This is heartily endorsed by the Dutch-American Joel Mokyr, one of the most influential economic historians in the world today. Mokyr is the author of The Lever of Riches and The Gifts of Athena, two books that support the progressive view that we are indeed doing something right, something that makes our liberal-democratic civilisation uniquely able to generate continuous progress. The argument is that, since the 18th-century Enlightenment, a new term has entered the human equation. This is the accumulation of and a free market in knowledge. As Mokyr puts it, we no longer behead people for saying the wrong thing - we listen to them. This "social knowledge" is progressive because it allows ideas to be tested and the most effective to survive. This knowledge is embodied in institutions, which, unlike individuals, can rise above our animal natures. Because of the success of these institutions, we can reasonably hope to be able, collectively, to think our way around any future problems. When the oil runs out, for example, we should have harnessed hydrogen or fusion power. If the environment is being destroyed, then we should find ways of healing it. "If global warming is happening," says Mokyr, "and I increasingly am persuaded that it is, then we will have the technology to deal with it."

More here


And there are few schools of thought more theological than "Global Warming"

TSUNAMI, HURRICANE, DROUGHT AND now earthquake and flood. In a single year, the Earth has buckled and lashed out, piling calamity on catastrophe to the point where humanity inevitably asks whether the catalogue of disasters is natural, in the sense of random and routine, or whether these are evidence of a pattern: either global warming, government failure, or God's wrath.

Writers have always responded to the Earth's cruelties in this way, searching for an explanation of the forces that lie beyond human control. The biblical flood was evidence of a divine intention to cleanse the world of sin. In medieval Europe, as Norman Cohen has shown, plague and devastation prompted millennial movements, since they presaged Apocalypse and, therefore, redemption. The California earthquake of 1906 led to a sharp rise in religious fundamentalism.

In our own time, there are those who have seen Hurricane Katrina as punishment for the sins of New Orleans, Sodom on the Mississippi. Others allocated the sin elsewhere, in man's alleged mismanagement of nature. In the aftermath of Katrina, Germany's environment minister declared: "The American President has closed his eyes to the economic and human damage that natural catastrophes such as Katrina - in other words, disasters caused by a lack of climate protection measures - can visit on his country."

Sales of apocalyptic literature have grown hugely in recent times: the doom boom is nigh. While scientists give warning of scientific disaster - Atlantic hurricanes, a new European ice age as the Gulf Stream dies, the disintegration of the Antarctic ice shelf - others foresee Apocalypse, Armageddon and Rapture, the bodily ascent to Heaven of the saved. A recent poll in Newsweek showed that some 55 per cent of Americans believe in the Rapture, and more than a third believe that the world will end as predicted in the Book of Revelation. The 12 novels in the Left Behind series of Christian apocalyptic fiction have sold more than 63 million copies.

Alongside the religious and scientific responses to natural disaster lies another, humanist, tradition. This surveys the devastation and finds not God's vengeance but man's powerlessness and, perhaps, his courage amid the implacable elements. The tempest puts man in his place in the natural world, like mighty King Lear humbled by the weather:

"Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! rage! blow!
You cataracts and hurricanoes, spout."

The best modern example of this genre is Sebastian Junger's The Perfect Storm, an essay in fear telling the story of the great hurricane that struck America's Eastern Seaboard in October 1991, and the fate of the swordfish boat Andrea Gail, lost 500 miles from land. Junger brilliantly evokes sea weather, "the smell of ocean so strong that it can almost be licked off the air."

Simon Winchester has mined a rich seam of literary post-disaster reconstruction. Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded: August 27, 1883 (2003) describes the worst volcanic eruption in known history, when Krakatoa vaporised, generating immense tsunamis, engulfing entire towns in hot ash, and forming islands of pumice in a hot sea. The shock waves travelled seven times around the globe, but some of the more intriguing reverberations were political and religious. Winchester argues that the Dutch abandonment of its Indonesian colonies in the wake of the calamity turned many towards radical Islam. The latest explosion in Bali can thus be traced, in part, back to that devastating eruption of 1883. Winchester's latest book, A Crack in the Edge of the World: The Great American Earthquake of 1906, is published this month. In a similar vein, it describes the time when the Earth suddenly yawned across San Francisco, toppling buildings, igniting firestorms and crumbling to dust, in less than a minute, a significant part of the American Dream.

These authors owe a debt to Daniel Defoe. On November 26, 1703, England and Wales were struck by a devastating hurricane which ripped across the country, killing 8,000 people, hurling cows into trees, scything down forests and destroying a fifth of the royal fleet. In The Storm, reissued on the 300th anniversary with an excellent introduction by Richard Hamblyn, Defoe gathered together eyewitness accounts and scientific evidence. A factual work of reportage, The Storm brought out the themes that would resonate in Defoe's later writings (most notably Robinson Crusoe) and in modern accounts of natural calamity: collective suffering, individual resilience and the implacable might of nature.

Many saw the storm of 1703 as God's vengeance. A year earlier, the Archbishop of Dublin, William King, had declared that "earthquakes, storms, thunder, deluges and inundations . . . are sometimes sent by a just and gracious God for the punishment of mankind".

The turning point would come a few years later, with the Lisbon earthquake of 1755, which destroyed a third of a great European city, killed tens of thousands and undermined theological certainty.

Voltaire, most famously, reacted with a rationalist's fury, rejecting the notion that such suffering fitted some scheme of divine justice. In Candide, he would savage the philosopher Leibniz's placid insistence that "all was for the best in the best of all possible worlds

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.


18 October, 2005


Only half a decade ago the future of Europe looked greener than ever before. Green parties were part of the governments of five European countries, pushing the environment closer to the forefront of policy-making. "Some had the impression that a luminous sunflower was hanging in the grey sky," wrote Juan Behrend, the former secretary general of the Green federation in the European parliament. But that era is now over.

With the cementing of a grand coalition in Germany this week, Greens have lost their last toehold in western European government, and their most recognisable figure, former German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, is out of office. And this at a time, says Mr Behrend, when "the current climate is asking for Green politics".

Having been ejected from government in Finland, France, Italy, Belgium and now Germany, it would be no surprise if the Greens' optimism, like the imaginary sunflower, had wilted. "These are setbacks, clearly, in every case. Greens are not now shaping policy," says Hubert Kleinert, once a German Green MP, now a political scientist. That ties their fortunes closely to the left, he says, as "it does make the parties of the centre-left very dependent on the Greens". For Prof Kleinert, being out of power gives greens a chance to rethink their allegiances, including the possibility of entering coalitions with centre-right parties like Germany's CDU. It could be a divisive debate, as "the feeling of the Greens' leaders is surely more to the middle, but the feeling of the base is more left-wing".

But other commentators say there is no need for Greens to panic. They are part of Romano Prodi's left-wing alliance expected to challenge hard in Italy's elections next year, and are likely to form part of the left-wing bloc competing in France in 2007. "Greens have shown they can be serious politicians, can hold cabinet office and can be trusted, and these will count if their time comes again," says Dr Neil Carter of the University of York.

But what about environmental policies? With no Green ministers now at cabinet tables, or at EU ministerial meetings, will there be no-one to push ecological considerations? The Green Party in Germany was instrumental in forming that country's policy of shutting down nuclear energy, and its huge increase in the use of renewable energy. Are these achievements now at risk? Prof Rootes thinks not, as these ideas are now "entrenched" in the political mainstream.

Mr Behrend says that people across Europe realise the importance of environmental protection, and they will not allow any political party to neglect that in its policy making. "Green politics and sustainability are not just post-materialistic dreams," he says. "They are hard politics that we're going to have to face in the coming years



Popular wisdom is that wind power is the best choice for electricity generation, especially if the goal is to reduce the emissions of mercury, SO2, NOx, or CO2. However, in a paper published on ES&T's Research ASAP website, researchers report that consumers in Texas paid about 5.7 cents per kilowatt hour (›/kWh) more for renewable power in 2002 than if the same power had been produced by state-of-the-art coal-powered plants designed to reduce these 4 significant air pollutants.

The analysis, conducted by Katrina Dobesova from the University of Economics, Prague, and Jay Apt and Lester Lave from Carnegie Mellon University's Electricity Industry Center, examined the cost of renewable power in Texas, the U.S.'s largest power producer. The state has enacted a tough renewable portfolio standard (RPS), which requires that utilities obtain a certain percentage of their power from renewable sources. The authors focused on wind power, because it provided 87% of Texas's renewable capacity in 2002. The state also produces a lot of air pollution: In 2002, Texas was the origin of 10% of the U.S.'s mercury, 19% of its CO2, and 14% of its NOx emissions.

The study found that the same pollution reductions could be reached more cheaply with an integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) coal plant that uses carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) than with wind power. Combined-cycle plants that use pulverized coal or natural gas and include CCS could obtain achieve the same costs. There are 11 IGCC plants operating in the U.S. and 112 in the world, Apt says.

The District of Columbia and 20 U.S. states have enacted some form of renewable policy for electricity generation, the authors say. Most RPS proponents favor non-fossil-fuel energy sources, Apt suggests. Several state legislatures are debating new RPSs right now.

As part of the analysis, the researchers considered the cost incurred by utilities for "fill-in power"-the energy usually bought from coal- or natural-gas-powered plants when the wind doesn't blow. Texas wind turbines spin about one-third of the time on average, Apt explains. This means that utilities must purchase power for the other two-thirds of the time. These costs had been previously estimated at 1.1 ›/kWh, Apt says. Other factors that played an important role in their calculations included the federal wind-energy production tax credit for renewable energy, which they calculated as 1.8 ›/kWh, and the loss of power as it moves along transmission lines from wind turbines typically located far from major cities, which they peg at 0.9 ›/kWh.

In the end, Dobesova, Apt, and Lave conclude that an energy policy that is broader than an RPS might provide society with the least expensive, and least polluting, energy source. "Legislation like that enacted in Pennsylvania includes IGCC [technology] and thus addresses directly the issue of carbon control within the framework of a politically palatable mechanism," the three write.

More here


Another blow at the popular misconception of the sun as invariant. A note from Oliver K. Manuel, Professor of Nuclear Chemistry University of Missouri

A new paper from UCLA and Stanford uses helioseismology data collected over a 9 year period to confirm stratification of the Sun, even at shallow depths >0.005 Ro. "We have found a variability of the "helioseismic" radius in antiphase with the solar activity, with the strongest variations of the stratification being just below the surface around 0.995 Rsun. Besides, the radius of the deeper layers of the Sun, between 0.975 Rsun and 0.99 Rsun changes in phase with the 11-year cycle."

The new paper documents that the Sun is variable and "breathes" on an 11 year cycle, with anti-correlated radius changes above and below 0.99 Ro like the anti-correlated radius changes in our chest and stomach during breathing. See here. Michael Mozina reported evidence of shallow stratification of the Sun earlier this year in images from NASA's SOHO satellite and Trace satellite programs. The UCLA/Stanford paper follows close on the heels of a paper co-authored by Mozina which posits that the Sun is a magnetic plasma diffuser with rigid, iron-rich structures (See Figs. 14 and 15) below its fluid photosphere.


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 October, 2005


An email to Benny Peiser from David Henderson ( David Henderson CMG was formerly Head of the Economics and Statistics Department of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). In 1985 he gave the BBC Reith Lectures. Currently he is a Visiting Professor at the Westminster Business School in London

Over the past three years I and an Australian colleague, Ian Castles, have presented and developed a critique of the treatment of economic issues by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The Panel, through its Chairman, has dismissed us as purveyors of disinformation and described us as 'so-called "two independent commentators"'.

A feature that we have consistently stressed in our critique is the strange and culpable failure of treasuries and finance ministries to involve themselves in questions of climate change and policies relating to it. Despite the large amounts that are at stake, these ministries, including Her Majesty's Treasury, have been content to leave the economic aspects to be dealt with exclusively, as they have seen fit, by environmental departments and agencies. Whitehall showed no interest in what we had written.

But in April 2004 Lord Taverne asked in the House of Lords 'Whether [the Government] are satisfied with the economic and statistical work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change'. On behalf of the government, Baroness Farrington replied:

'My Lords, we are satisfied that the economic work of the IPCC is the most comprehensive assessment available. We note that it represents consensus between governments based on careful analysis'.

This, long-established official position remained unchallenged until this summer, when a new element appeared on the scene. The new element is an impressive report, entitled 'Economic Aspects of Climate Change', from the House of Lords Select Committee on Economic Affairs, a high-powered body. The report was unanimous. In the opening paragraph of the Abstract, the Committee 'calls on the Government to give HM Treasury a more extensive role, both in examining the costs and benefits of climate change and presenting then to the United Kingdom public, and in the work of the [IPCC].'

The decision to launch the Stern Review was almost certainly prompted by this and other criticisms of the official government line, as also of the IPCC, voiced by the Select Committee. Does the decision imply that government polices on climate change have been, or are about to be, radically recast? In my view, this is not the case. All the same, the government has shifted its position in one important respect, though without saying so. The complacent words that her officials put into the mouth of Baroness Farrington in April last year, as quoted above, have been tacitly eaten. If the IPCC's handling of economic issues was truly beyond challenge, the Stern Review would have no point. By commissioning the review, and by suggesting that it could contribute usefully to the IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report which was launched almost two years ago, a British government has conceded for the first time that the IPCC process is less than wholly authoritative and could be improved from outside. This is a welcome though belated development.


A property owner who took political hack hot air about renewable energy sources seriously decided to power a new olive oil processing plant she's building on her property with a 210 foot tall windmill. What could possibly be wrong with that? Everything, according to the pinheads on the Marin County (Mexifornia) planning commission who voted it down by a 6-to-1 margin.

Everyone at the meeting made approving noises about the renewable energy scheme, a concept they fervently the abstract. But, the usual suspects - especially the windmill-building property owner's neighbors - whined that this all too real renewable energy source was too damn big, would probably be too damn loud, and worst of all it's gonna exact a heavy toll on Tweety and all his avian pals. Too big? It's a whopper but, since it's not on the whiners' property, so damn what? Killing Tweety and his pals? That's the way the cookie crumbles. Too loud? A loud windmill? I way don't think so Tim, not that it's any of the whiners' business.

The final fun fact here is that the Marin County lefties already approved another windmill, but it's just a puny critter that measures a mere 80 feet. This just in! Hypocrisy is alive and kicking in Marin County, but property rights are on life support.

(From post of Oct 11 on Pig Blog)


Nature was pretty chaotic around the beginning of last century too

"NINETY-NINE years ago this December, one of the greatest - and certainly most famous - natural disasters to hit the Western world struck the Californian boomtown of San Francisco. A massive earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale wrenched a gash in the Earth's crust, along the San Andreas fault line. Thousands of buildings were destroyed, and perhaps 3000 people killed.

This was not the only natural disaster that year. In his book, A Crack In The Edge Of The World, Simon Winchester labels it as the "most ill-behaved of times in the entire century". A series of earthquakes struck, hitting places as diverse as Taiwan, the Caribbean island of St Lucia and Ecuador. As a result of the latter quake, a 10m tsunami pounded the Ecuadorian coasts and several hundred were killed.

Still Nature had more: Vesuvius, the most famous volcano in the world, erupted, belching and burning and killing 150 or so unfortunate Italians living on its flanks. No wonder some saw these catastrophes as proof of a geological conspiracy.

Now, almost a century later, one would be forgiven for thinking we are witnessing another period of geological and meteorological misbehaviour. The most recent temper tantrums started in January last year, when the ancient fortified city of Bam in Iran was flattened by a major quake, killing tens of thousands. On Boxing Day came the worst natural disaster in recent years. A massive quake off the coast of Sumatra generated a series of immense tsunamis that probably killed more than a third of a million people. And finally, last weekend, the great faultlines that underlie the Himalaya mountains rumbled again, sending death and destruction across the beautiful valleys of Kashmir. Yesterday, seven days after the massive earthquake, Pakistan called off rescue operations to focus on relief efforts.

Add to this Hurricane Katrina (and half a dozen of her ugly sisters) and it is tempting to see a pattern - to wonder if Earth, is taking her revenge on humanity for a century or more of profligacy, pollution and over-population.

Tempting, perhaps, but wrong. For despite the catastrophes we have witnessed, the Earth is no more unstable than it ever has been. So what is going on? The Earth has not changed, but we have. The mathematics of demography mean natural disasters are killing more and more, and will continue to do so for decades. The human population has increased almost exponentially during the past 100 years. When San Francisco was hit back in 1906, the world's population was just 1.6 billion. In recent times, tens of millions of people a year have been added.

And it just so happens that many, if not most, of those souls live in some of the most vulnerable areas of the planet - along the great earthquake faults of Asia and South America or on the tropical floodplains of the Indian and Pacific Oceans. We have built gargantuan, jerry-built cities of concrete - the teetering, shabby low-rise cement towns that stretch from the Levant to India. When the ground shakes, they fall like houses of cards.

It never used to be like this. Back in 1893, the Dutch East Indies island of Krakatoa exploded, with the force of several thermonuclear bombs. This was probably the most dramatic geological event of recent times, yet despite the effects (huge tsunamis washing the coast of Indonesia and South-East Asia) the death toll was estimated at 38,000 - bad, but scarcely a tenth of that in the great Asian earthquake and the tsunami of last year. The people back then weren't lucky; there were just fewer of them to be killed.

The same is true of the devastation caused by the extreme weather we have witnessed in recent years. After the horrors of Katrina and Rita, it is tempting to believe that hurricanes are gaining in strength and frequency. In fact, meteorological records show there have been rather fewer hurricanes in the past 50 years than in the preceding half-century - we are only now seeing an upswing in what is probably a natural cycle.

But in one sense, hurricanes are getting worse. The reason is not the storms themselves - it is simply that more people live in areas in their path. Natural disasters of all kinds will always be with us. They are dramatic, and make us wake up and take notice that the Earth is not always as benign as we would like to believe. Unless whole communities could be persuaded to relocate away from such disaster zones - an utterly impractical proposition - there is nothing we can do to avert such epic disasters, save put in place tighter building controls and better planning.

As a species, homo sapiens has been incredibly successful. But sometimes we will inevitably pay the price for this success, as earthquakes, storms and volcanoes wreak havoc on human habitation. That is not the Earth's revenge. It is simply the price we pay for living on an inherently unstable planet.



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 October, 2005


(I was tempted to say: "But the charges won't stick"!). The real reason Greenies have for the attack is that teflon is so widely used that attacking it offers the maximum prospect of disrupting the everyday lives of ordinary people

The uncanny ability of President Ronald Reagan to deflect public criticism won him the nickname, "The Teflon President." Ironically, now it is Teflon itself that is facing the heat, as anti-chemical groups and trial attorneys have joined forces to cook up controversy over a product that has become one of America's most trusted consumer icons, as well as an integral part of our language, like Thermos and Kleenex.

The radical Environmental Working Group has charged that the billions of meals worldwide prepared every day on Teflon cookware are being contaminated with "Teflon toxins," and two Florida-based law firms have filed a $5 billion class-action suit in eight states against the manufacturer, DuPont, for "failing" to warn consumers about the product's alleged dangers. But, like many product-safety scares these days, these charges are bogus. And that really fries us.

The truth is that an EPA advisory panel has recommended more testing of a chemical known as PFOA, which is used to make non-stick coatings and numerous other products, including those trademarked as Teflon. However, both Teflon and PFOA have been the subject of numerous studies, and there is not a shred of evidence that either poses a human health risk.

Only when tested at very high doses on mice and rats, has PFOA been shown to cause cancer, but under the EPA's current policy, such questionable animal data are enough to classify the chemical as a "likely human carcinogen." That high-dose test methodology is unreliable, though, because it is totally irrelevant to real world exposures. In fact, a wide spectrum of naturally occurring chemicals -- including many that are common constituents of our diet -- also cause cancer in lab animals at high doses. At the very low doses to which humans are actually exposed, most natural and synthetic chemicals are completely harmless.

Most compelling of all, PFOA is not present in the actual non-stick cookware coating -- including pots and pans coated with Teflon. A recent peer-reviewed published study confirmed that there is no detectable consumer exposure to PFOA through Teflon-coated cookware. Even the chronically over-cautious European Food Safety Administration recently dismissed the trumped up concerns and allowed the continued use of non-stick coatings in cookware. Studies in Denmark and China also have also confirmed Teflon's safety. Finally, the risk-averse U.S. EPA has stated quite clearly that it "does not believe there is any reason for consumers to stop using any consumer or industrial related products" as a result of their ongoing investigation into PFOA.

That should be the end of the story. But the persuasive evidence against any injury caused by Teflon doesn't faze attorney Alan Kluger. "I don't have to prove that it causes cancer," he said. "I only have to prove that DuPont lied in a massive attempt to continue selling their product."

What's going on here? The typical formula used in these big class action suits is to trump up some bogus health claim, demand a quick settlement, and then cut and run before the facts are weighed in litigation. The lawyers know they can count on people's fear of chemicals and their natural concern for the health of their families to generate public outrage. Teflon has been around for half a century and is ubiquitous.

As toxicologist and president of the American Council on Science and Health Dr. Elizabeth Whelan has pointed out, "Teflon, probably more than any industrial product, is the poster child of modern technology, one that has made our lives easier and more enjoyable." It is precisely the product's "stellar success story [that] makes it a very ripe target for those who spew chemical-phobia in their crusade to eliminate the tools modern industrial chemistry has given us -- pesticides, pharmaceuticals, food additives, and more."

Another factor in pursuing bogus claims is that the plaintiffs' lawyers know they can often count on a major corporation like DuPont to capitulate in order to protect its reputation. In 2004, for example, the company paid an $82 million out-of-court settlement to the residents of Parkersburg, West Virginia, who alleged that PFOA from a nearby DuPont plant had tainted their water supplies -- in spite of the lack of any supportive evidence. In fact, a University of Pennsylvania study examined neighbors of the Parkersburg claimants who used the same water source and found no harmful effects. We hope that this time DuPont fights to the bitter end to expose this class action charade....

Distortion and manipulation of science by self-styled consumer groups in pursuit of political agendas and by voracious plaintiffs' attorneys looking for the next big score erodes our society's capacity to innovate and prosper. It jeopardizes safe and beneficial products and harms manufacturers and their employees. In the absence of persuasive evidence vetted by experts, consumers should reject the attacks on Teflon, as well as on other essential products like vaccines, pesticides, medical drugs, and many others. The charges just won't stick.

More here


Let me predict right now that Greenies will soon be calling the new body, "The Stern Gang"

The Chancellor announced on 19 July 2005 that he had asked Sir Nicholas Stern to lead a major review of the economics of climate change, to understand more comprehensively the nature of the economic challenges and how they can be met, in the UK and globally. The Terms of Reference for the review have now been announced and are annexed to this Press Notice. A call for evidence has also been issued.

The review will be taken forward jointly by the Cabinet Office and HM Treasury, and will report to the Prime Minister and Chancellor by Autumn 2006. It takes place within the context of existing national and international climate change policy. The announcement of this review is a further demonstration of the importance which this Government attaches to the issue of climate change, and follows its decision to make climate change a priority for the UK Presidencies of the G8 and EU.

Sir Nicholas is Head of the Government Economic Service, and has also been appointed today as Adviser to the Government on the economics of climate change and development. He said: "I am delighted to be taking on the challenge of conducting this review of the economics of climate change. Climate change is one of the most serious issues facing the world in the 21st century. In order to tackle it whilst also promoting a dynamic, equitable and sustainable global economy, we will need to have a deep understanding of the economics of this complex problem. That is what I hope this Review can achieve"

Sir Nicholas is today asking interested stakeholders in the UK and the rest of the world, including academic, private sector, scientific, NGO and other experts, to submit evidence to the Review. Evidence on all areas relevant to the Terms of Reference will be welcomed. The deadline for evidence to be submitted is 9 December 2005.

More here

Planet endures hottest month since 1880

You've read the headline now read the story:

"September was the hottest month recorded on the planet Earth since 1880, US weather trackers said overnight. The global temperature was 0.63 degree C above the mean going back to 1880, when the first reliable instrument recordings were available, said the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, part of the US Commerce Department.

Earth's second-hottest month was September 2003, but September 2005 was only the fourth-hottest month ever for the United States, NOAA said.

This year, the US state of Louisiana had its hottest September in 111 years. The US Gulf Coast was battered by the first of two hurricanes on August 29, during a particularly active tropical storm season".

More here

So although we appear to be amid a period of slight warming, the warming is so slight (less than one degree above the average for the last 125 years) that what was true of the earth as a whole was not true of the USA nor of Louisiana. In other words, if you are looking at tiny variations in temperature, what the hottest period is varies from place to place. How surprising! If you keep looking hard enough at even a series of random numbers you will always find unusual bits here and there -- particularly if you are looking at only a tiny fragment of the total sequence -- and records going back only 125 years are a VERY tiny fragment of the earth's temperature history -- a history which proxy measurements show to be highly variable. And in months when the temperature is below average, do we hear: "Earth cools down"? I think not.


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

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

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


16 October, 2005


Lord Nigel Lawson recently testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works -- testifying on the Kyoto Protocol and assessing the status of efforts to reduce greenhouse gases. Lord Lawson is a former Chancellor of the Exchequer [i.e. Treasurer, Finance minister] in the British government. A seat in the House of Lords is permanent so members can speak their minds without fear or favour. And Tony Blair's reforms have greatly enhanced the authority and expertise of the House. How annoying for Leftists that the world's most "anachronistic" parliamentary body should also arguably be the wisest -- not that Leftists would admit it, of course. The text of Lord Lawson's very comprehensive statement is below:

"I am grateful for your invitation to testify before you today. I am aware that you have been provided with the Report of the House of Lords Select Committee on Economic Affairs on The Economics of Climate Change in advance of these proceedings, so I intend simply to summarise our key findings and to provide some commentary of my own. By way of background, the Economic Affairs Committee is one of the four permanent investigative committees of the House of Lords, and fulfils one of the major roles of our second chamber as a forum of independent expertise and review of all UK government activity. It is composed of members of all three main political parties. Its climate change report, which was agreed unanimously, was published on 6 July 2005, just ahead of the G8 summit at Gleneagles in Scotland. In summary, the Committee concluded that:

* The Government should give the UK Treasury a more extensive role, both in examining the costs and benefits of climate change policy and presenting them to the public, and also in the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC);

* There are concerns about the objectivity of the IPCC process, and the influence of political considerations in its findings;

* There are significant doubts about the IPCC's scenarios, in particular the high emissions scenarios, and the Government should press it to change its approach;

* Positive aspects of global warming have been played down in the IPCC reports: the IPCC needs to reflect in a more balanced way the costs and benefits of climate change;

* The Government should press the IPCC for better estimates of the monetary costs of global warming damage and for explicit monetary comparisons between the costs of measures to control warming and their benefits;

* A more balanced approach to the relative merits of adaptation and mitigation is needed, with far more attention paid to adaptation measures;

* UK energy and climate change policy appears to be based on dubious assumptions about the roles of renewable energy and energy efficiency, and the costs to the UK of achieving its objectives have been poorly documented, and the Government, with much stronger Treasury involvement, should review and substantiate the cost estimates involved and convey them in transparent form to the public;

* Current UK nuclear power capacity should be retained;

* International negotiations on climate change reduction will prove ineffective because of the preoccupation with setting emissions targets. The Kyoto Protocol makes little difference to rates of warming, and has a na‹ve compliance mechanism which can only deter countries from signing up to subsequent tighter emissions targets. Any future Protocols might be more fruitfully based on agreements on technology and its diffusion.

I cannot of course speak for the Committee as a whole, but my own understanding of the issue is clear:

* The IPCC's consistent refusal to entertain any dissent, however well researched, which challenges its assumptions, is profoundly unscientific;

* Although its now famous "hockey stick" chart of temperatures over the last millennium, which inter alia featured prominently in the UK Government's 2003 Energy White Paper, is almost certainly a myth, the IPCC refuses to entertain any challenge to it;

* The IPCC's scenarios exercise, which incidentally incorporates a a demonstrably fallacious method of inter-country economic comparisons, manifests a persistent upward bias in the likely amount of carbon dioxide emissions over the next hundred years. For example, a combination of steadily increasing energy efficiency and the growth of the less energy-intensive service economy has led to a steadily declining rate of growth of carbon dioxide emissions over the past 40 years: all the IPCC's scenarios unaccountably assume an abrupt reversal of this established trend.

So why is the IPCC so adamant that it will not revisit its conclusions? It may be that they are so profoundly concerned about the perils of global warming that the darkest possible picture is painted in order to secure urgent action. There may also be the inevitable institutional characteristic of making the problem more serious than it is in order to command greater attention. This too may be a consequence of the way research funding is administered - it is a cold, isolated world for the climate change contrarian in the modern scientific community.

Whichever reason - and I suspect it may be both - the IPCC's absolutist position is unhelpful. The world faces a number of other, and arguably more imminent, challenges and competing claims on resources: the threats from nuclear proliferation and international terrorism, and the need for humanitarian aid for the world's poorest, are obvious examples. Choices always have to be made, and they need to be based on rational assessment.

So far as climate change is concerned, I am not qualified to pronounce on the science. While it seems clear to me, as a layman, that - other things being equal - increasing carbon dioxide emissions will, in time, warm the planet, I note that the science of climate change is uncertain and that reputable scientists hold greatly differing views about the rate at which such warming is likely to occur - which in any case is not simply a matter of the science: it depends just as much on the likely rate of future economic growth and the pattern and nature of that growth. The key question, which is not a matter for scientists at all, is what should be done about such global warming as may occur.

* There are two possible approaches, which are not of course mutually exclusive: mitigation, that is, seeking to stabilize and if possible reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and adaptation, that is to accept that the climate may well be warming, and to take action to counter any harmful consequences that may flow from this.

* The IPCC and its acolytes make only the most perfunctory acknowledgment of adaptation. Their estimates of the damage from global warming are based on the assumption that very little adaptation occurs, and focus almost exclusively on the need for mitigation. In my view, however, the most important conclusion of the House of Lords report is that adaptation needs to take centre stage. . * Numerous studies have shown that adaptation is the more cost-effective option, which is hardly surprising. Not only is that the way in which we normally come to terms with climatic vagaries, but there are benefits as well as costs from global warming. There are, of course, regional variations: in northern Europe, for example, including Britain, for the rest of this century the benefits are likely to exceed the costs, whereas for the tropics the reverse is the case. But adaptation, which implies pocketing the benefits while acting to diminish the costs, has obvious attractions.

* The four principal costs potentially involved in global warming are damage to agriculture and food production, water shortage, coastal flooding (as sea levels rise), and - allegedly - malaria:

o In the case of agriculture, adaptation, much of which will occur autonomously, that is, without the need for government action, would consist of cultivating areas which have hitherto been too cold to be economic and, in other cases, switching to crops better suited to warmer climates.

o In the case of water shortage, there is massive wastage of water at the present time, and ample scope for water conservation measures - which incidentally would also help on the farming front.

o The most serious likely cost is that caused by coastal flooding of low-lying areas, where government action is clearly required, in the form of the construction of effective sea defences - as the Dutch, incidentally, put in place more than 500 years ago. With modern technology this becomes an admittedly expensive but nonetheless highly cost-effective option.

o Finally, as to malaria - which leading malaria experts, whom the IPCC was careful to exclude from its deliberations, argue is in any event unrelated to temperature, noting that the disease was endemic in Europe until the 17th century - the means of combating if not eradicating this scourge are well established.

* By contrast, the Kyoto and emissions caps and targets approach seems a most unattractive option:

o Even if the existing Kyoto targets were attained they would make little if any difference to the predicted rate of global warming. Kyoto's importance is presented as a first step to other, stiffer future agreements. But this is pie in the sky.

o The developing countries, including major contributors to future carbon dioxide emissions such as China and India are - and are determined to remain - outside the process.

o Since the only sanction against non-compliance with Kyoto (which is likely to be widespread) is even stricter targets in any successor agreement, the realism of this approach is even harder to detect.

o In addition, even if targets were achievable, the cost of reaching them would be horrendous. Essentially, it would work by raising the cost of carbon-based energy to the point where carbon-free energy sources, and other carbon saving measures, become economic. For Kyoto-style mitigation to be seriously effective, it would involve a substantially greater rise in energy prices than anything we have yet seen despite recent spikes.

o The real cost of this approach is not so much dearer energy as the reduced rate of world economic growth which this would imply. It is far from self evident, not least for the developing countries, that over the next hundred years a poorer but cooler world is to be preferred to a richer but warmer one. Nor should it be overlooked that the Kyoto strategy requires the present and next generation to sacrifice their living standards in order to benefit more distant generations who are projected in any event to be considerably better off.

* Mitigation can however, be a desirable complement to adaptation. Far better than the Kyoto approach is additional support for research into reduced carbon technologies of all kinds, thus bringing forward the time when at least some of these technologies may become economic. A nation which performs relatively well in terms of cutting back emissions is bound to lose out competitively whereas a nation which achieves a technological breakthrough is likely to benefit competitively.

In conclusion, I believe that the IPCC process is so flawed, and the institution, it has to be said, so closed to reason, that it would be far better to thank it for the work it has done, close it down, and transfer all future international collaboration on the issue of climate change, where the economic dimension is clearly of the first importance, to the established Bretton Woods institutions.

It is profoundly important that all governments, most importantly their Treasury departments, make their own independent and rigorous economic analysis of the issue. At the time the Lords committee was taking evidence this, for whatever reason, had not happened in the UK. I very much hope that, following our report, it will. We appear to have entered a new age of unreason, which threatens to be as economically harmful as it is profoundly disquieting. It must not be allowed to prevail."


More scientific wisdom bites the dust

It used to be gospel among astrophysicists that comets were made of ice with a bit of dust in them. The Tempel 1 mission is now however accepted as having shown the opposite -- that comets are dust with a bit of ice in them. No doubt that theory will be abandoned in due course too. And there is probably no such thing as a typical comet anyway -- if the Jovian and Saturnian moons are any criterion.

The new conclusion is of course something of a boost for those "wacky" old astrobiologists -- as is this finding:

"Organic chemicals that play a crucial role in the chemistry of life are common in space, a study by NASA researchers has found. These chemicals are "prevalent throughout the universe," said Douglas Hudgins of NASA Ames Research Center in California's Silicon Valley, chief author of a study detailing the findings in the Oct. 10 issue of the Astrophysical Journal. "NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has shown complex organic molecules called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. are found in every nook and cranny of our galaxy."

Science just is not the right place for dogma -- though you would never guess it from reading what some scientists say. I wonder how that other astrophysical maverick, Andrew Prentice, fared with predictions about Tempel 1? I cannot find anything online.


When we note in Greenies their Leftism, their romanticism about a mythical natural past, their misanthropy, their disregard for facts and reason and their willingness to lie and deceive in their quest for power, it should be noted that all those things were characteristic of a "Green" 1930s political party too -- the National Socialist German Worker's party -- generally abbreviated as the "Nazi" party. The Nazis were as Green as they were socialist and they reveal the sort of tyranny we could expect if the Green/Left of today rose to unrestricted power. Below is just one excerpt from a comprehensive and fully referenced article on the prewar German "Greens":

"It is frequently pointed out that the agrarian and romantic moments in Nazi ideology and policy were in constant tension with, if not in flat contradiction to, the technocratic-industrialist thrust of the Third Reich's rapid modernization. What is not often remarked is that even these modernizing tendencies had a significant ecological component. The two men principally responsible for sustaining this environmentalist commitment in the midst of intensive industrialization were Reichsminister Fritz Todt and his aide, the high-level planner and engineer Alwin Seifert.

Todt was "one of the most influential National Socialists," directly responsible for questions of technological and industrial policy. At his death in 1942 he headed three different cabinet-level ministries in addition to the enormous quasi-official Organisation Todt, and had "gathered the major technical tasks of the Reich into his own hands." According to his successor, Albert Speer, Todt "loved nature" and "repeatedly had serious run-ins with Bormann, protesting against his despoiling the landscape around Obersalzberg." Another source calls him simply "an ecologist." This reputation is based chiefly on Todt's efforts to make Autobahn construction—one of the largest building enterprises undertaken in this century—as environmentally sensitive as possible.

The pre-eminent historian of German engineering describes this commitment thus: "Todt demanded of the completed work of technology a harmony with nature and with the landscape, thereby fulfilling modern ecological principles of engineering as well as the 'organological' principles of his own era along with their roots in voelkisch ideology." The ecological aspects of this approach to construction went well beyond an emphasis on harmonious adaptation to the natural surroundings for aesthetic reasons; Todt also established strict criteria for respecting wetlands, forests and ecologically sensitive areas. But just as with Arndt, Riehl and Darre, these environmentalist concerns were inseparably bound to a voelkisch-nationalist outlook. Todt himself expressed this connection succinctly: "The fulfillment of mere transportation purposes is not the final aim of German highway construction. The German highway must be an expression of its surrounding landscape and an expression of the German essence."

Todt's chief advisor and collaborator on environmental issues was his lieutenant Alwin Seifert, whom Todt reportedly once called a "fanatical ecologist." Seifert bore the official title of Reich Advocate for the Landscape, but his nickname within the party was "Mr. Mother Earth." The appellation was deserved; Seifert dreamed of a "total conversion from technology to nature," and would often wax lyrical about the wonders of German nature and the tragedy of "humankind's" carelessness. As early as 1934 he wrote to Hess demanding attention to water issues and invoking "work methods that are more attuned to nature." In discharging his official duties Seifert stressed the importance of wilderness and energetically opposed monoculture, wetlands drainage and chemicalized agriculture. He criticized Darre as too moderate, and "called for an agricultural revolution towards 'a more peasant-like, natural, simple' method of farming, 'independent of capital'."

With the Third Reich's technological policy entrusted to figures such as these, even the Nazis' massive industrial build-up took on a distinctively green hue. The prominence of nature in the party's philosophical background helped ensure that more radical initiatives often received a sympathetic hearing in the highest offices of the Nazi state. In the mid-thirties Todt and Seifert vigorously pushed for an all-encompassing Reich Law for the Protection of Mother Earth "in order to stem the steady loss of this irreplaceable basis of all life." Seifert reports that all of the ministries were prepared to co-operate save one; only the minister of the economy opposed the bill because of its impact on mining.

But even near-misses such as these would have been unthinkable without the support of Reich Chancellor Rudolf Hess, who provided the "green wing" of the NSDAP a secure anchor at the very top of the party hierarchy. It would be difficult to overestimate Hess's power and centrality in the complex governmental machinery of the National Socialist regime. He joined the party in 1920 as member #16, and for two decades was Hitler's devoted personal deputy. He has been described as "Hitler's closest confidant," and the Fuehrer himself referred to Hess as his "closest advisor." Hess was not only the highest party leader and second in line (after Goering) to succeed Hitler; in addition, all legislation and every decree had to pass through his office before becoming law.

An inveterate nature lover as well as a devout Steinerite, Hess insisted on a strictly biodynamic diet—not even Hitler's rigorous vegetarian standards were good enough for him—and accepted only homeopathic medicines. It was Hess who introduced Darre to Hitler, thus securing the "green wing" its first power base. He was an even more tenacious proponent of organic farming than Darre, and pushed the latter to take more demonstrative steps in support of the lebensgesetzliche Landbauweise. His office was also directly responsible for land use planning across the Reich, employing a number of specialists who shared Seifert's ecological approach.

With Hess's enthusiastic backing, the "green wing" was able to achieve its most notable successes. As early as March 1933, a wide array of environmentalist legislation was approved and implemented at national, regional and local levels. These measures, which included reforestation programs, bills protecting animal and plant species, and preservationist decrees blocking industrial development, undoubtedly "ranked among the most progressive in the world at that time." Planning ordinances were designed for the protection of wildlife habitat and at the same time demanded respect for the sacred German forest. The Nazi state also created the first nature preserves in Europe.

Along with Darre's efforts toward re-agrarianization and support for organic agriculture, as well as Todt and Seifert's attempts to institutionalize an environmentally sensitive land use planning and industrial policy, the major accomplishment of the Nazi ecologists was the Reichsnaturschutzgesetz of 1935. This completely unprecedented "nature protection law" not only established guidelines for safeguarding flora, fauna, and "natural monuments" across the Reich; it also restricted commercial access to remaining tracts of wilderness. In addition, the comprehensive ordinance "required all national, state and local officials to consult with Naturschutz authorities in a timely manner before undertaking any measures that would produce fundamental alterations in the countryside."

Although the legislation's effectiveness was questionable, traditional German environmentalists were overjoyed at its passage. Walter Schoenichen declared it the "definitive fulfillment of the voelkisch-romantic longings," and Hans Klose, Schoenichen's successor as head of the Reich Agency for Nature Protection, described Nazi environmental policy as the "high point of nature protection" in Germany. Perhaps the greatest success of these measures was in facilitating the "intellectual realignment of German Naturschutz" and the integration of mainstream environmentalism into the Nazi enterprise."

Much more here


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

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

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


15 October, 2005


I haven't heard of any other country paying for their breaches of this nonsensical treaty

Ireland could face a total bill of between EUR500 million and EUR600m for failing to meet its greenhouse gas limits under the Kyoto Protocol. But the Government yesterday said it would only have to pay EUR280m once a series of gas-cutting measures were introduced. A report commissioned by the Department of Environment found Ireland significantly in breach of its limits under the Kyoto agreement.

The legally binding treaty sets Ireland to a greenhouse gas emission limit of 13% above 1990 levels by the first commitment period 2008-2012. The report estimates that Ireland will produce 8.1 million more tonnes of carbon dioxide per annum than it is supposed to under the protocol. The Government plans to pay for the violation through an emissions trading system, under which countries breaching their limits can buy credits from countries below their limits. The consultants estimate the average price of carbon in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme will be EUR15 for the period 2008 and 2012. This would lead to an annual bill of EUR121m and a total bill of EUR607m over the five-year period.

The consultants said a range of cost-effective 'abatement' measures would be possible, reducing emissions by 1.34 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per annum. This would mean Ireland would produce 6.8 million extra tonnes per annum - resulting in an annual bill of EUR102m and a total bill of EUR510m. A spokesperson for the Department of Environment said the Government would only have to buy 3.7 million carbon credits per year between 2008-2012. He said this would be achieved by emission reductions in the non-trading sectors of the economy, participation by Irish industry in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme and the purchase of carbon emission credits. "The figure of 3.7 million credits is not being revised upwards on the basis of the preliminary projections and the State will not be expected to purchase 8.142 million tonnes of credits per annum," he said. He said this would result in an annual cost to the exchequer of EUR55.5m and a total cost of EUR277.5m. Green Party spokesperson for Finance Dan Boyle TD said the Government continued to be negligent in failing to put in place fiscal measures targeted at those who have created our level of carbon dependency.



Britain's main opposition parties are uniting today to call for a tough new policy for tackling climate change. The Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats are seeking cross-party consensus on countering global warming and new measures to cut greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide which cause it. The Lib-Con pact has been prompted by evidence of rapid climate change advances, such as this year's record melting of the Arctic sea ice, and by a sense that Britain's climate policy is starting to drift. UK CO2 emissions, which are meant to be going down, have gone up for three years in a row, and recent comments by Tony Blair have prompted questions of his commitment to the Kyoto protocol, the international climate change treaty.

The Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives believe the situation is so serious, and the time for action so limited, that normal party politics should be put aside. They want the three main parties to unite around a common position on global warming, which would involve a more rigorous approach to tackling CO2 emissions. They suggest there should be compulsory annual cuts in greenhouse gases, and that an independent body be established to monitor emissions. The idea of a cross-party initiative has come from Norman Baker, the Liberal Democratenvironment spokesman, and it has been accepted by his Tory counterpart, Oliver Letwin. In a Commons debate on climate change today they will make their case for unity.

Margaret Beckett, the Environment Secretary, described the idea as interesting. But she told Mr Baker: "The Conservative positions on a number of key issues, their leadership election, and your own ongoing review of all Liberal Democrat policy means that this would not be an easy discussion."

Government sources said that a fortnight ago Mrs Beckett wrote to Mr Letwin, pointing out that John Redwood, the Tories' spokesman for deregulation, recently said that "the fashionable media have decided that climate change is one of the biggest challenges to mankind, but they ignore the fact that the earth has lived through hotter times than today."

Mr Baker said he was disappointed in Mrs Beckett's response. "It looks to me as if the Government is finding reasons not to agree, rather than accept a degree of common ground and build on that."

Mr Letwin said: "Since this is the biggest environmental threat - and one of the biggest problems of any kind - facing humanity at present, it is right that the UK should develop a new approach which is based on cross-party consensus."....

Britain's CO2 emissions - along with those of many other European countries - have been steadily going up, largely because of a switch from burning gas in power stations, to cheaper but more carbon-rich coal. The Government accepts that as things stand it will not meet its target of cutting CO2 emissions to 20 per cent below 1990 levels by 2010, and has instituted a review of its climate change programme to try and achieve this. The Government is confident it will hit its Kyoto target of cutting UK greenhouse gases by 12.5 per cent by 2010.



From CO2 Science Magazine, 12 October 2005

What was done:

As scientists seek to determine the climatic impacts of rising anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations, it is critical that they first obtain a firm understanding of the forcings and feedback factors that contribute to earth's natural climate variability. Only then can they honestly assess the likelihood that an anthropogenic influence may be evident in historical temperature data. Consequently, and in an attempt to advance our knowledge of natural climate variability, Willard et al. utilized pollen assemblages identified in four sediment cores extracted from the mainstem of the USA's Chesapeake Bay as a proxy for the winter temperature of this region over the past 10,000 years.

What was learned:

Multi-taper harmonic and power spectral analyses of the pollen data revealed five highly significant centennial- to millennial-scale oscillations with periods of 148, 177, 282, 521 and 1429 years, the troughs of the latter of which oscillations are temporally correlated with relatively prolonged minima in Pinus abundance and represent winter temperature declines of up to 2øC. The most recent such minimum was associated with the Little Ice Age and represented a two-stage event. The first and more severe low-temperature stage occurred between 650 and 550 years BP, while the second occurred between 450 and 350 years BP. With respect to the cause of the 1429-year millennial-scale oscillation, Willard et al. note that the climate cycle correlates well with a similar-scale cycle of solar activity evident in cosmogenic isotope records. In addition, they say it is well correlated with proxy climate cycles found in records from Greenland, the North Atlantic and Alaska, which have also been shown to be correlated with cyclical changes in solar activity.

What it means:

Evidence for an approximate 1500-year solar-driven climate cycle continues to grow, suggesting to us that the warming that has occurred since the end of the last cold stage of the Little Ice Age is most likely natural in origin.


Willard, D.A., Bernhardt, C.E., Korejwo, D.A. and Meyers, S.R. 2005. Impact of millennial-scale Holocene climate variability on eastern North American terrestrial ecosystems: pollen-based climatic reconstruction. Global and Planetary Change 47: 17-35.


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 October, 2005


Apparently the email below has been widely circulated. The absurdities I have highlighted in red show that the email is meant for true believers only. Nowhere is it mentioned that only about 1% of the ANWR is proposed for drilling. And the "massive oil spills still devastating the Gulf Coast" are pure fiction of course. How desperate Hollywood actors are to be taken seriously! And how ably they reveal why they are NOT worth taking seriously

From: "Robert Redford, NRDC Action Fund"
Subject: Don't let the Arctic Refuge become Katrina's next victim
Date: Wed, 12 Oct 2005 15:02:35 -0400 (EDT)

Dear NRDC Action Fund Supporter,
The Bush Administration and Congressional leaders are shamelessly exploiting Hurricane Katrina as the latest excuse to hand over the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to the oil industry. Given the massive oil spills still devastating the Gulf Coast, it defies belief that our leaders are rushing headlong to hand over America's greatest wildlife sanctuary to the oil lobby. Instead of making America more energy efficient -- the fastest way to meet our energy needs and avoid oil supply shocks -- they would sponsor yet another corporate raid on our natural heritage.

This cynical exploitation of a national tragedy has revealed, as nothing else could, the complete bankruptcy of President Bush's pro-polluter energy policies -- policies inspired by nineteenth-century oil barons. Five years of coddling the oil industry has given us higher gas prices and left us more vulnerable than ever to oil shortages -- not to mention oil spills, air pollution, despoiled public lands, and catastrophic global warming.

You and I must not let the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge become the next preventable casualty of this president's failed policies. Within the next few weeks, Congress will cast its make-or-break vote on a Budget Reconciliation Bill that would allow oil drilling in the Arctic Refuge. I urge you to pour your heart and soul into defeating that bill. If you've alerted five friends to the urgency of this effort, mobilize five more:

Make a donation so that the NRDC Action Fund can run ads mobilizing the public in key Congressional districts:

Write a personal, hand-written letter to your Representative:

Please do what it takes to win. Because all the beauty and wildness we've worked so hard to protect over the past 30 years could be lost in a single day. We can win this fight, but only if we build overwhelming public pressure on Congress one person at a time. Thank you for joining with me to make it happen.

Robert Redford
NRDC Action Fund


An interesting email from a reader below. Any thoughts from other readers?

As you may remember, I have posted often about global warming, arguing (as you so often do) that while global warming may indeed be occuring, the cause or causes are yet unknown. I saw your post today on Greenie Watch about global warming, and it again got me to thinking about a post I hope to one day write regarding the thermal inertia of water.

So often we hear that because of human activity and expulsion of "greenhouse gasses" from our industries that the atmosphere is heating up. That is the basic argument, of course, of the GW fanatics. They usually go on to argue that since the atmosphere is heating up, that the polar ice caps and the oceans are heating up. The recent spate of strong hurricanes has given them what they believe is strong evidence of the heating of oceans.

I am not a climatologist, nor even a scientist, but I do have at least a rudmentary grasp of logic. I know that the thermal inertia of water is much, much higher than that of the atmosphere. Therefore to suggest that the atmosphere is heating the water is, to me, ludicrous (sp?). To further inconvenience the GW fanatics, only the surface of the water contacts the atmosphere. Without significant churning and upwelling, the water just below the surface will not be affected by what happens on the surface.

Again, I am no scientist, but I would guess that the thermal inertia of water is many, many times that of atmosphere, and the surface of the earth is 80% water, as I seem to recall from my 7th grade science class. Assuming all that is true, I would therefore argue that if the atmosphere is getting warmer, that either the water was getting warmer FIRST, or that the sun is warming the atmosphere, as some recent research has shown. In simpler terms, the oceans affect the atmosphere, not the other way around.


Deep divisions within the Labor Party on the nuclear power issue surfaced again yesterday when a Federal Labor MP appeared before the uranium industry arguing the case for nuclear power as a solution to climate change. Speaking at the Australian Uranium Conference in Fremantle, shadow minister for industry and resources Martin Ferguson said the debate about nuclear power had been swept under the carpet for too long. He said it was time for Australians to engage in a debate about the "strategic importance of Australia's uranium resources, not only for our nation, but for the global community, and particularly, the fast growing countries of the Asia-Pacific Partnership".

The partnership includes Australia, the United States, China, Japan, India and South Korea, and the Federal Government is working on an agreement to develop "clean" technological solutions to climate change as an alternative to Kyoto.

Mr Ferguson said Australia was the second biggest exporter of uranium in the world and with the planned expansion of the Olympic Dam in South Australia, we would become the biggest in a few years. "Whether we like it or not, Australia is undeniably part of the global nuclear cycle," he said.

Mr Ferguson said despite Labor's commitment to Kyoto, it was necessary to consider other initiatives such as nuclear power to address climate change. "We supply almost one-quarter of the world's mined uranium and export to three countries within the partnership - Japan, the United States and South Korea," he said. "It is clear that, with the likely growth in nuclear power capacity around the world, uranium will be in greater and greater demand." Labor's three mines uranium policy prohibits the expansion of uranium mining in Australia.

Opposition Leader Kim Beazley's spokesman, Colin Campbell, said while Labor supported uranium exports to China, it was against a further expansion and did not see nuclear power as the solution to climate change. "The Labor Party does not support the establishment of a nuclear power industry in Australia," he said. "But it recognises that many countries are following that (nuclear power) path."

Labor MP Peter Garrett - who has previously come out strongly against using nuclear power as a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions - said Mr Ferguson's speech appeared to dismiss Kyoto. "My understanding of Labor's current policy is that Kyoto is a fundamental part of any national response to climate change and it is perplexing if it is downplayed in any discussion about energy policy," he said.

Shadow minister for the environment Anthony Albanese said Labor's view on addressing climate change was to ratify Kyoto, not to use nuclear power. "Labor's position is clear. We are opposed to a nuclear power industry. We think Australia is as far into the nuclear cycle as we want to go," Mr Albanese said.



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

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

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


13 October, 2005


As distinct from those dinky "models"? Surely temperatures don't vary NATURALLY! News from Britain:

The Government has summoned industrialists and generating companies to an emergency meeting next month amid fears of an energy crisis if Britain suffers a harsh winter. Long-distance forecasters are predicting that the country is facing its coldest weather for a decade, putting lives at risk and forcing businesses to lay off workers. The CBI said that there were only 11 days’ gas held in reserve. In comparison, other European countries keep an average of 55 days in reserve. The Met Office has already put the energy industry, the NHS and the Government on high alert. Now there are fears that Britain could run out of fuel. Sir Digby Jones, the Director-General of the CBI, said: “If we have a cold winter, we are going to throw the switch; businesses will shut down.”

The National Grid has identified emergency measures to ensure that power is maintained to homeowners. Under the plans, manufacturers who use large amounts of gas for industrial processes would be required to shut down factories on very cold days. Britain has not had a particularly cold winter for ten years, but some experts believe that temperatures over the coming months could plummet as low as the winters of the 1970s.

Paul Simons, The Times weatherman, said that the shift in temperature was influenced by a phenomonon known as North Atlantic Oscillation, or NAO, influenced by a lowpressure system over Iceland and high pressure over the warm Azores islands in the sub-tropical Atlantic. When the Icelandic pressure rises and the Azores pressure dips, Britain catches blasts of bitterly cold air. He said: “In the 1940s the NAO turned negative and brought some of the coldest European winters of the 20th century, including the bitter freezes that helped to defeat Hitler’s invasion of Russia. Another bout of negative NAOs in the 1960s included the worst winter for more than 200 years, when homes were buried under snow and ice floes drifted in the English Channel. “The Met Office is forecasting a negative NAO this winter. Although they cannot tell how severe the weather will be, the past ten winters had such ridiculously mild weather that even an average British winter will come as a rude shock.”

Last week Ofgem and National Grid Transco gave warning that gas supplies were at their lowest for ten years. The energy market regulator said that large industrial users and gas-fired power stations would be switched off in the event of a severe winter. Gas is used to fuel around two fifths of the country’s power stations. Malcolm Wicks, the Energy Minister, said: “It’s not about switching off the domestic customers but there could be problems for industry.” The National Grid has not imposed compulsory measures to conserve power supplies since the blackouts caused by the miners’ strikes during the 1970s



Post lifted from World Climate Report

Global sea level rise figures prominently in most climate doom and gloom stories. And, not surprisingly, good news is either ignored or mis-reported.

First, a little history. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimated, in its Third Assessment Report (2001), that between 1990 and 2100, the global average sea level will rise somewhere between 3.5 and 34.6 inches, with a central value of 18.9 inches. Of course, the values falling near the low end of the range are usually left out of global warming scare stories, while the values near the high end are prominently featured (e.g. see here and here)

A couple of recent modeling studies demonstrate that those who have said that estimates near the low end of the UN’s huge range (i.e., us) are probably right. Using the high resolution version of the climate model developed at the Center for Climate System Research at the University of Tokyo run with two different IPCC emissions scenarios (resulting in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations of 550 and 720ppm by 2100), a research team led by Tatsuo Suzuki found that global average sea levels by 2100 were projected to rise by somewhere around 12 inches (in the 550ppm scenario) and 15 inches (in the 720ppm scenario). The warming projected to accompany the 15-in. sea level rise in the 720 ppm scenario (SRES A1B) was about 4.0ºC.

sea level rise

Figure 1. Components of sea level rise as projected by the Japanese climate model run under two different IPCC emissions scenarios. Add up the contributions from expansion (steric rise) and from Greenland and Antarctica, and you get between 12 and 15 inches (30 and 38 cm) by the end of this century.

Another modeling study found about the same thing. Although the details are a bit sketchy, a press release from the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, touts that scientists using the latest-greatest version of the Max Planck climate model project a global average sea level rise of about 12 inches (30 cm) in association with a temperature rise of 4ºC by 2100. From what we can gather from the press release, this occurs when the climate model is input one of the IPCC high CO2 emissions scenarios. The Max Planck modelers also used more moderate emissions scenarios, but these results were not reported in the press release for reasons that should be obvious (no problem=no funding).

Since the upward trend in global averaged temperatures that has been well-established for about the past 30 years is about 0.18C per decade (and there is a new paper suggesting that solar variability has been responsible for about 10-30% of that, see here), a rise of 4ºC in the next 100 years as a result of anthropogenic alterations to the earth’s atmospheric composition is just too much.

The central tendency of the consensus of climate models is that, once warming starts as a result of human influence, it takes place at a constant (not an increasing) rate. So, 1.8°C/century, at the max, is what we can expect (i.e. ten times 0.18°). Since the sea level rise is closely tied to the temperature rise, even the modest 12-15 inch projections from the most-current climate models, are also on the high side.

Thus it appears that the demand for policy actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions has lost another of piece of its foundation—the threat from a rapidly rising ocean. After all, a future sea level rise on the order of a foot or so by the end of this century hardly seems bad enough to jolt people into lifestyle-altering action, especially considering that over the last century, the sea level rose by about one-half to two-thirds that amount, and coastal development boomed.

Max Planck Society press release, Climate Change More Rapid Than Ever, September 30, 2005.

Suzuki, T., et al., 2005. Projection of future sea level and its variability in a high-resolution climate model: Ocean processes and Greenland and Antarctic ice-melt contributions. Geophysical Research Letters, 32, doi:10.1029/2005GL023677.


From Chinn, T., S. Winkler, M.J. Salinger, and N. Haakensen, 2005. Recent Glacier Advances in Norway and New Zealand: A Comparison of their Glaciological and Meteorological Causes Geografiska Annaler, Series A, Vol. 87, No 1, pp. 141-157, March 2005


Norway and New Zealand both experienced recent glacial advances, commencing in the early 1980s and ceasing around 2000, which were more extensive than any other since the end of the Little Ice Age. Common to both countries, the positive glacier balances are associated with an increase in the strength of westerly atmospheric circulation which brought increased precipitation. In Norway, the changes are also associated with lower ablation season temperatures. In New Zealand, where the positive balances were distributed uniformly throughout the Southern Alps, the period of increased mass balance was coincident with a change in the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation and an associated increase in El Nino/Southern Oscillation events. In Norway, the positive balances occurred across a strong west-east gradient with no balance increases to the continental glaciers of Scandinavia. The Norwegian advances are linked to strongly positive North Atlantic Oscillation events which caused an overall increase of precipitation in the winter accumulation season and a general shift of maximum precipitation from autumn towards winter. These cases both show the influence of atmospheric circulation on maritime glaciers.


Glacier ADVANCES! What is this? The earth is warming, don't you know? The glaciers are all RETREATING O unbeliever!


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 October, 2005

Agony for British Greenies: Blair gives green light to new nuclear power plants

Amusing that it takes the spurious global warming scare to get them to do something sensible

Tony Blair has decided to back new nuclear power stations, which would be built on the sites of existing plants and presented to the public and his party as a job-creating answer to climate change. A year-long government inquiry into Britain's future energy requirements is expected by the Prime Minister to conclude that more nuclear energy is the only plausible answer to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The nuclear industry is willing to proceed without any government money on three conditions: that it is supported with planning applications, is helped with nuclear waste disposal and offered protection against an energy price crash.

In the past fortnight, the Prime Minister has privately disclosed that he is firmly in favour of more nuclear reactors, and that he expects the coming inquiry to make a case that can be supported by an all-party consensus. He believes the mood among Labour MPs has been irreversibly shifted by their involvement in the global warming debate, and that a backlash from the Iraq war has stoked concern about UK dependence on oil from the Middle East. Employment, Blair believes, will win over many on the Left - especially as 8,000 jobs are expected to be lost during the decommissioning of Sellafield nuclear plant in Cumbria, which employs 12,000.

However, the situation in Scotland is complicated by the Labour-Liberal Executive's opposition to any new station north of the Border. Yesterday, Scottish LibDem leader Nicol Stephen upped the ante in a speech to his party, saying the country should shift away from nuclear towards more wind and wave power.

The Prime Minister's position on nuclear power has been made clear by those who have spoken to him directly and believe he wants to send out a positive signal to the nuclear industry so that they start planning now. Blair is prepared to go as far as he can without prejudging the nuclear review. A fortnight ago, he made the case for nuclear power to the Labour Party conference while stopping short of calling for its implementation. "Global warming is too serious... to split into opposing factions on it," he told delegates. "And for how much longer can countries like ours allow the security of our energy supply to be dependent on some of the most unstable parts of the world?"

The Department of Trade & Industry confirmed on Friday that it has been holding discreet talks with major energy providers about nuclear options: E-On and RWE of Germany, and EdF of France. BNFL has a design for a new plant. The issue of nuclear power was avoided by the 2003 Energy White Paper, completed at a time when plunging wholesale energy prices triggered the collapse of British Energy. But rising prices make this viable again. A merchant banking source advising one of the firms said they would seek a system where this trap door could not open again - and, above all, a degree of political stability to ensure a future government would not change direction. "We need certainty about energy prices, and that is very different from subsidy," he said. "We need a thoroughly pro-nuclear White Paper, without any sense of an argument about it from the Treasury."

This may come from the inquiry into the economics of climate change commissioned by Chancellor Gordon Brown and led by Sir Nicholas Stern, deputy permanent secretary at the Treasury and former chief economist at the World Bank. The Chancellor now has family ties with the nuclear industry. Andrew Brown, the Chancellor's brother, is head of media relations at EdF, the French energy giant expected to be a main bidder.

Blair's advisers are pro-nuclear. Sir David King, his chief scientific officer, decided three years ago that renewable energy sources would not be developed fast enough to fill the gap expected in 2020. Other Cabinet sceptics are coming around. Margaret Beckett, Environment Secretary, last week claimed at a climate change conference that she has "never said" she is against nuclear power. This contrasts with remarks by Elliot Morley, environment minister, who said last month that "nuclear plants are expensive and if you're looking at the energy mix, I think you'll probably get more value from investment in clean coal".

Research so far shows that, while there is political opposition, it is far from overwhelming. A commons motion opposing more nuclear energy has been signed by only 41 of Labour's 354 MPs.

More here


What Greenies never mention is that any climatic warming could be a good thing. Lots of Russians certainly wish for it. And the recent warming in parts of the Arctic looks like being a good example of an economic benefit

Global warming and melting ice caps are generating very good business for an elite band of Arctic entrepreneurs. But perhaps none has reason to celebrate more than Pat Broe. Mr Broe, a US railway magnate, bought the frozen and forlorn sub-Arctic Canadian port of Churchill, Manitoba, in 1997, for $7. Now he stands to make hundreds of millions of dollars as the retreating ice unlocks passages, opening the prospect of a longer shipping season. Mr Broe has become part of an Arctic land grab among businessmen, governments and developers who realise that the melting ice, a source of concern for environmentalists, is a boon for them.

Potential winners include Norway and Russia, according to The New York Times, which published an analysis yesterday of what one expert called “the Great Game in a cold climate”. The latest study of the Arctic ice cap showed that this summer it shrank to its smallest recorded size.

For Mr Broe, 57, from Denver, Colorado, the ice melt opens up the possibility of an “Arctic bridge”, a regular shipping lane from Murmansk, in Russia, to Churchill, a far shorter route from northern Europe to the North American continent than any other. The normal route from Murmansk to Canada ends in Thunder Bay, Ontario. That usually takes 17 days. Murmansk to Churchill can take only eight days. Currently, the shipping route from Murmansk to Churchill is open only from July until October, because the Hudson Bay ices over for the rest of the year. But Mr Broe and the Russian Government hope that the warmer weather will open the port for much longer — potentially up to eight months a year.

In recent years Churchill, which has 1,000 residents, could count on income only from several thousand tourists a year who visit to view polar bears and beluga whales. But in January, George Mamedov, the Russian Ambassador to Canada and a proponent of the Arctic bridge, visited, as have industrialists, shipping experts and grain producers.

Mr Broe brought Churchill almost as an afterthought. Having paid $11 million for 810 miles of denationalised railway tracks in Manitoba, he acquired the port at auction from a Canadian Government eager to rid itself of a money-loser. Since then, his company, OmniTrax, has spent $50 million dredging the port so that it can accommodate bigger ships and tankers. The ice melt could soon bring $100 million a year to Churchill. Ron Lemieux, the transportation minister of Manitoba, told The New York Times: “It’s the positive side of global warming"



A tale with a very relevant moral

Time was when our best medical minds thought peptic ulcers were a lifestyle disease, the result of too much stress, too much spicy food or some combination thereof. For treatment, doctorly prescriptions included time off work, chewing your food thoroughly, popping antacids and drinking quantities of milk. In severe cases, patients went under the knife to have their stomach linings removed.

So it is not altogether surprising that when Australian physician Barry Marshall suggested, at a Brussels conference in 1983, that peptic ulcers might have a bacterial cause, his findings were dismissed by colleagues as "the most preposterous thing ever heard", according to his entry in the Current Biography Yearbook. Far from being deterred, however, Marshall pursued his line of inquiry into a bacterium named Helicobacter pylori, which had been discovered by his Australian collaborator Robin Warren and which seemed to be closely associated with gastric inflammation. Marshall even went so far as to make himself a research guinea pig by drinking a microbial stew that caused him to become ill but that further confirmed the validity of their hypothesis.

Today, the milk-and-rest cure is a thing of the past, surgeries are rare and a disease that affects four million Americans annually can usually be treated successfully within a few weeks with an antibiotic cocktail. For their findings, Marshall and Warren shared this year's Nobel Prize in Medicine. It's an inspired choice and a useful reminder that just because there's a scientific consensus, that doesn't mean it's true. .


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 October, 2005


A scornful article by Signor Antonio Martino, Italy's defense minister

The devastating hurricanes that hit the U.S. recently offered "eco-doomsayers" -- who like to blame human activities, preferably of the industrial kind, for all sorts of natural disasters -- yet another chance to lash out at the Bush administration. America's "failure" to ratify the Kyoto Protocol -- regularly held responsible for extreme weather conditions around the globe -- was quickly found guilty of the destruction brought about by Katrina and Rita.

As usual, the eco-doomsayers care very little for the small fact that their sweeping accusations have absolutely no basis in modern science. First of all, it is not true that President George W. Bush is alone in opposing the Kyoto agreements that his predecessor Bill Clinton signed. In fact, when Kyoto was submitted to the U.S. Senate for ratification on July 27, 1999, the result was 95 nays and zero yeas. Not a single senator, not even from the most liberal fringe, voted in favor of Kyoto. (The ratification of international treaties requires the support of at least two-thirds of the Senate.)

Mr. Bush's position, in other words, is not simply the product of a supposedly archconservative president who arrogantly imposes his radical views on a nation held hostage by religious zealots -- as a rather popular myth here in Europe would have it. It is instead a view shared widely on both sides of the aisle in Congress and supported by the vast majority of the American public.

Second, there is no scientifically sound link between rising global temperatures and an increase in the frequency and intensity of hurricanes. Nor are the events of the recent weeks unprecedented: As Max Mayfield, Director of the National Hurricane Center, pointed out, a comparable series of hurricanes of similar intensity has already been observed in 1915.

Third, and most important, while a scientific consensus about the true nature of climate change is still lacking, we know for certain that the impact of Kyoto on the average global temperature will be negligible at best. The U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change forecasts that without the ratification of Kyoto, the average global temperature will rise about one degree Celsius by 2050. The same panel predicts that after the implementation of Kyoto, the temperature will still rise 0.94 degrees. In other words, the benefits from Kyoto amount to about 0.06 degrees in half a century.

Remarkably, this is even the most optimistic estimate: S. Fred Singer -- the climatologist who developed the method for measuring the ozone layer -- reckons that it may be as small as 0.02 degrees. This is a difference so minuscule that our available instruments wouldn't even be able to notice it! Moreover, the U.S. is not the only country that did not ratify the Kyoto Protocol. Both China and India, major and growing producers of so-called "greenhouse-gas emissions," are not required to abide by its terms.

The EU countries, including my own, ratified Kyoto. That the EU would still insist on implementing the protocol must be seen as an institutional form of collective self-flagellation. Kyoto will severely penalize the European economy without bringing any real progress toward the noble aims proclaimed by the EU. As Carlo Stagnaro, environmental director at the Istituto Bruno Leoni, Italy's free-market think tank, observes, the Earth's atmosphere cannot tell European carbon dioxide emissions from the rest of the world's.

What's more, the limitations imposed by Kyoto will make our current energy problems worse. The relative slowing of oil prices after the steep rise of the last weeks must not deceive us -- the world's energy demand is bound to grow in lockstep with the breathtaking economic growth of China and India. Those countries, such as Italy, that for decades steered clear of building new power plants and gave up on nuclear power -- the cleanest, safest and cheapest energy source available today -- will need to face up to a harsh reality: Compliance with the Kyoto Protocol will punish even the existing energy-producing capacity by capping emissions.

The cost of energy in Italy, already higher than the European average, let alone that in the U.S., will go up even more. Given the country's lack of competitiveness, that can only be described as a self-inflicted wound. Perhaps the problems of our times are man-made, after all. But rather than being caused by those "neocons" in Washington, they stem from the noble intentions of environmentalists so bent on "saving nature" that in the process they wage an unremitting war against mankind and its endeavors.



Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in a BBC interview Thursday Russia's pledges under the Kyoto Protocol on emissions of greenhouse gases were not quite fair. More specifically, those pledges ignore the fact that Russia is not by any means the largest polluter of the Earth's atmosphere, while the countries emitting far greater amounts of greenhouse gases do not have such restrictive commitments, Lavrov said.

He confirmed that Russia would take part in subsequent talks but with due account of facts and its own national interests, as well as the international community's interests. Lavrov indicated that Russia is establishing dialogue with European partners at the moment, but the pledges would be subject to new negotiations after 2012.



The Premier of my home state of Queensland overturns a ban on dolphin feeding from his own environment supremo

Mr Walker, 42, of Barnacles Cafe, who manages the Cooloola Coast feeding operation with business partner Troy Anderson, had been locked in battle with the Environment Protection Agency since it banned feeding the dolphins in August. "I didn't know if I could fight the powers-that-be another day when I got a call from the Premier himself," Mr Walker said yesterday. "I have no idea how he got my mobile number, but he said, 'Mate this has gotten out of hand'."

Mr Walker said he sat in disbelief as Mr Beattie told him all legal action had been dropped and dolphin feeding would continue indefinitely. "A weight lifted and my fear of losing everything, especially our friendships with the dolphins, was gone," Mr Walker said.

Mr Beattie's overturning of a controversial decision by Environment Minister Desley Boyle to ban the feeding of two wild dolphins had the coastal community 280km north of Brisbane celebrating last night. "It's going to be a good night in Tin Can Bay," Mr Walker said. For the past two weeks Ms Boyle had threatened fines up to $250,000 for anyone who fed the two Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins, called Mystique and Patch. The Environmental Protection Agency believed the feeding sessions were endangering the animals, which have frequented the area for 13 years.

More here


The Greenies won't care. They KNOW anyway

Space agencies are investigating why a rocket carrying a European mission to map polar ice fell into the ocean. The European Space Agency's Cryosat spacecraft was lost minutes after lift-off from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia on Saturday evening. Russian officials say an error caused the rocket's second stage to run out of fuel, so it could not eject the probe. The 90 million pound (135m euro) craft was designed to monitor how the Earth's ice masses are responding to climate change. The Esa satellite was launched at 1902 local time (1602 BST), but mission controllers failed to make contact with the spacecraft as planned some two hours later.

Cryosat had a main mission goal of studying the sea ice in the Arctic Ocean, which appears to be thinning rapidly. He said there was no other satellite like it on the books. "Space is a risky business, it always has been, it doesn't always go perfectly," he said. "We just have to think about where we go from today." Any moves to rebuild the mission now rest on funding. Ministers from member states must decide in December how much money to commit to Esa's science programme. But any "Cryosat 2" will face stiff competition from other projects such as a future robotic mission to Mars.

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.


10 October, 2005

Amazon River at lowest level in 36 years in Peru

I am sure somebody has attributed this to global warming by now but is that logical? If the oceans were REALLY warming wouldn't they be evaporating off more water and thus bring about INCREASED rainfall? I think if we followed the usual Greenie logic, we would have to say that the Amazon shows the effects of global COOLING!

"The Amazon River, South America's largest, has hit its lowest level in the 36 years since records have been kept near its source in Peru, experts said. Peru's National Port Company (ENAPU) has recorded the river's level at the river port of Iquitos, in northeastern Peru, since 1969.

The level at Iquitos was reported to be 106.5 meters (349 feet) above sea level, below the previous, 1995 record of 106.6 meters (350 feet). The volume of the river's flow was a "weak" 12,000 cubic meters (424,000 cubic feet) per second, said hydrologist Jean-Loup Guyot. "It is quite clear that low levels have been more frequent in the past 10 years," said the French researcher.

The Amazon is the second-longest river in the world, after the Nile, but discharges far more water at its mouth than any other. It also drains more territory than any other, from Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru, Paraguay and Venezuela before running across Brazil and into the Atlantic. Low levels could bring economic havoc in areas of Peru that depend on the Amazon for shipping, by denying boats a navigable river as well as usable ports and harbors. "This year we have had adverse weather conditions that are rarely seen along the Amazon, which have resulted in less rainfall," said Ena Jaime, a climatologist with Peru's National Meteorology and Hydrology Service".



Post lifted from Sir Humphrey

"Last week the topic of polar ice melting was brought up. One of the issues that was most important was the probelm of models versus real life, because most of the reports discussed expected ice melting from modelling of "global warming". While it wasn't quantified it appeared that most of the models were somewhat light on the real world parameters, ie they didn't include many significant factors. A BBC report about the coming launch of the European Space Agency's launch of their new Cryosat satellite is interesting in indicating how little is known in some areas of the modelling. The satellite is going to fly a three year mission to actually measure Arctic ice thickness directly, although three years is a short time and cycles longer than a couple of years won't be evident it will do what isn't done now.

If you read around the obligatory blurb about threats to the world and so on, which permeate articles like this and distract from the real issues, then this is interesting
Data from the US space agency (Nasa) and European Space Agency (Esa) satellites (Envisat, ERS) gives the most accurate record of changes in ice cover.

But the orbits of these satellites, which are designed to study the whole of the planet, leave vast areas uncharted, in particular the nine degrees of latitude nearest the poles. Historical records suggest that this sector may be subject to the greatest thinning.

Climate models predict what may happen to ice as the planet warms. These rely on a number of assumptions - if ice melts, the ocean will become warmer, as there will be less ice to reflect radiation back into space. Scientists need hard data to feed into the models to firm up their predictions.
Huge tracts of Arctic and Antarctic ice are uncharted, areas expected to be of most significance are not studied in any detail. The models on which predictions are made are reliant on assumptions, but these are poorly tested by the lack of real information. Remarkably one of the most important predictions, ice thinning, is not directly measurable in a meaningful way. The Cryosat is intended to help that by actually doing the measurements, being able to determine altitudes to millimeter precision over an area of about a kilometre wide. The ESA web page describes the mission in more detail. For instance, the rationale for the new satellite is
The generation of radar altimeters currently flying on satellites including ERS-2 and Envisat have made a large contribution to our knowledge of the mass balance of Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, but they cannot return reliable data from the ice edge, where the rate of change is greatest. Similarly, over the ocean their resolution is insufficient to detect the majority of individual pack ice pieces. The design of CryoSat's new SAR Interferometric Radar Altimeter (SIRAL) has been optimised to close these data gaps.
The current generation of survey satellites can't measure very well the very areas of most importance in this work.
"Back then, analysis of this data suggested that a significant – up to 40% - thinning had occurred since the 1960s, with the largest thinning around the pole. The big question is whether that thinning has reversed or continued as we have entered the new century."

"That question has gained even more impetus since the news that the extent of summer ice in the Arctic has reached a record minimum this year. But has it also thinned? That's the crucial question to which CryoSat will provide the answer."
While the ice has been retreating in summers, no one actually knows if it is also thinning, which is crucial in the debate. If it isn't thinning much then "global warming" is not a large factor since retreating edges would be caused by sea currents. Here is another nugget
"As a scientist I am interested in using CryoSat data for validating our sea ice models, and combining the data with other met-ocean data to better understand the variability of sea ice thickness," Haas explains. "We also want to assimilate sea ice thickness into our models."
Sea ice thickness is not currently modelled, this is just one of the reasons to take "models" with a grain of salt. If you don't know what is included, excluded and assumed then it is very hard to rely on their predictions. Or this may be the most telling quote
"Despite all available measurements of snow accumulation, ice velocity, surface and basal melting and iceberg discharge, it is still not known for certain even whether the ice sheet is growing or shrinking." CryoSat should remedy this state of affairs.
With all current knowledge the actual state of the ice sheets is unknown, pretty much all the modelling is speculation at this point.

Reading press releases from scientific groups about this or that measurement of an ice field indicating the imminent flooding of a city is pretty much an exercise in fiction. It is important to remember that models are not scientific theories, they do not hold the same status and pretty much all models will eventually be found wanting in critical aspects. The current state of knowledge is quite poor, in relation to the policies and massive actions being proposed to deter the results of some modelling. Improved data collection helps improve modelling, but even that cannot make the existing models account for longer term cycles that are neglected in the models. The three year Cryosat mission will tell us what is happening now, but it won't be able to say anything about decadal or century long cycles (they will appear as trends). What it does do is improve a section of the puzzle".

One of the points raised in the "Comments" was good fun:

Actually satellite measurement has shown that the Antartic ice cover is thickening over the bulk of the continent. The only exception being the Antartic peninsula (which lies outside the Antartic circle). Naturally the Nature article that reported this quoted a Global Warmer who claimed that GCMS predicted this very result. Increased warmth leads to increased evaporation leads to increased precipition bla bla.... All of which begs the question if Global Warming causes the Antartic Ice cover to increase why doesn't it do the same in the Northern Hemisphere?"


More like Shinto than science, actually. Article by Christopher Pearson

Of late, I have fallen into a strange habit. Between six and eight o'clock in the morning I've taken to tuning into the ABC's Radio National. What possesses me? It's not undertaken as a penance or, as some of the Quadrant circle use it, to maintain the rage. It's more a matter of field study; akin to coming across bits of corrugated iron in a paddock and lifting them up to see what's underneath.

What's disclosed in those early morning encounters is a Lilliputian parallel universe; a dark, microcosmic parody of the workaday world. Like Swift's, it operates on a recognisable but slightly different time zone, one in which the Berlin Wall hasn't quite fallen and where the likes of Noam Chomsky, Gore Vidal and John Pilger still rule the conversational roost.

One of the Radio National world view's more disconcerting features is its enthrallment to apocalyptic science. Sometimes, listening to Fran Kelly discussing the latest portents of global warming, I can almost hear the polar ice melt and rising waters lapping at the front doorstep. No hint of licensed scepticism, no inkling that this may be just one more millennial fantasy, is allowed to obtrude. This is not a radio show. It's a sacramental observance for true believers.

It was while listening to Radio National that I first began to understand Tim Flannery, the director of the South Australian Museum and author of a number of popular science books. Previously I've dismissed him in this column as the P.T. Barnum of his profession, just a showman. But, as his new book The Weather Makers makes plain, he's more shaman than showman, a folk mystic and prophet for the New Age remnant.

Mainstream science is committed to sceptical inquiry, to falsifiable hypothesis and empirical method. Flannery embraces the Gaia principle: that the Earth is a single, planet-sized organism. This mystical theory was first advanced, at least in its modern form, by a mathematician called James Lovelock in 1979. He named it Gaia after an ancient Greek earth goddess.

Flannery hopes to keep a foot in the rationalist camp by suggesting: "Let's use the term Gaia as shorthand for the complex system that makes life possible, while recognising all the while that it may result from chance." From the standpoint of scientific method that is still, at best, a superfluous hypothesis. How does he justify it?

He says: "Does it really matter whether Gaia exists or not? I think that it does, for it influences the very way we see our place in nature. Someone who believes in Gaia sees everything on Earth as being intimately connected to everything else, just as organs are in a body. In such a system, pollutants cannot simply be shunted out of sight and forgotten, and every extinction is seen as an act of self-mutilation. As a result, a Gaian world view predisposes its adherents to sustainable ways of living."

As Dorothy famously remarked to her little dog, as they were swept up on to the yellow brick road: "Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas any more." Consider the solipsistic logic. It matters that Gaia exists not because it's true but because it helps us to conceive of the world and our place in it in what he supposes is a desirable way.

It's an exercise in mystagoguery, justified on instrumentalist grounds. Once swallowed whole, it becomes as immune to argument as the patent falsehood that when, for any reason, a species becomes extinct, humans have somehow mutilated themselves. Species become extinct for many reasons, some quite unrelated to human activity. The idea that all changes to biodiversity are down to human mischief is as hubristic as the notion that we're collectively responsible for changes in the weather.

Bob Carter, a science professor at James Cook University, took The Weather Makers to task the other day for what he called "Mother Earthism". As he says, it's a debilitating affliction involving "a touching belief in the Garden of Eden, the halcyon state of the Earth in times before the wicked Industrial Revolution. This balmy, and barmy, garden existed in a state of existential ecological balance."

While Flannery is indeed a true believer, his general stance is that of a man of knowledge who has satisfied himself that human-generated greenhouse gases threaten our survival and is telling his readers as much as they need to know. Most of the time impending catastrophe is offered simply as the informed consensus view, but sometimes he takes us into his confidence on thorny questions of cognitive dissonance.

The most artlessly comic example occurs halfway through the book. "We must now turn to the key uncertainty that remains in all models: will a doubling of CO2 lead to a 2C or a 5C increase in warming, and can we expect a reduction in this uncertainty in the near future? This is a critical issue not least because the US Government has signalled that it will not reconsider its climate change policy until there is more certainty. Given that almost 30 years of hard work and astonishing technological advances have failed to reduce the degree of uncertainty, we should not be too sanguine about hopes for more precision."

The tone of this admission is so cack-handed and the margin for error so large. What government in its right mind, you may wonder, would commit to spending billions of dollars on the strength of computer modelling so lacking in predictive authority? Doesn't he realise how withering a light this casts on all that Gaian wisdom, not to mention the much-vaunted consensus scholarship and technological ingenuity? Probably not, I suspect.

William Kininmonth is a meteorologist with more than 40 years' experience. In the space of a single column in The Sydney Morning Herald last week he drew attention to three problems with Flannery's argument. First of all, he pointed out that historically the Earth had often experienced naturally occurring extremes of climate. Even so, "the evidence that the climate system may pass some imagined critical point that leads to runaway global warming is not convincing".

Second, he noted that, from a climatological perspective, the influence of CO2 was vastly overrated. "Water vapour is a more powerful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide and the formation and dissipation of clouds has a bigger impact on the climate."

Finally, "climate is a complex system for exchange and transport of energy, to balance the excess solar radiation of the tropics and the deficit over polar regions. Existing computer models are not able to adequately replicate these essential energy processes, raising serious doubt over their ability to predict future climate."

In ordinary scientific debate, the proponents hammer out the issues and the matter is eventually decided on the force of evidence and argument. If an expert in the field writes an article saying there's nowhere near enough evidence for the case you're trying to make or that, whoops, you're concentrating on the wrong gas or that your computer models don't correspond to observable reality, you reply as best you can. But, for subscribers to catastrophist theories, these days belief apparently supplants the need to engage with your critics.

It is clear that Flannery and Kininmonth no longer inhabit the same universe of discourse, to return to my opening metaphor of parallel worlds. Flannery doesn't feel any personal need to defend himself in the public arena. Nor does he feel, as a museum director, that the prestige of the scientific institution he heads obliges him to do so. Instead he is content to plug his book and preach to the converted on Radio National in conversation with Phillip Adams.


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 October, 2005


Hurricanes feed off of warm water. So the one-two punch to the Gulf Coast from Katrina and Rita has naturally led many people to wonder: Is global warming to blame for back-to-back major hurricanes slamming into the United States? European officials and some environmentalists have been quick to assert a connection. After Katrina, Germany's environmental minister, Jurgen Trittin, called America "climate-polluter headquarters." As Rita bore down on the Texas coast, British scientist John Lawton cited it as evidence that the United States' policies on curbing pollution were responsible.

Not so fast. The science backing a link between global warming and devastating storms is preliminary, skimpy and contradicted by many hurricane experts. Even the researchers who suggest there may be a link caution against leaping to conclusions without lots more study. That sensible restraint hasn't slowed those who would exploit a tragedy to score political points and advance their agendas. Global warming is real, and reducing emissions from burning fossil fuels requires urgent action worldwide, according to the National Academy of Sciences and 10 other leading world bodies. But jumping out ahead of the science sensationalizes the issue, polarizes the debate and damages the credibility of those who make outlandish claims.

Because hurricanes form and intensify over warm ocean water, and water temperatures have risen slightly in recent years, it's understandable why there's much speculation that global warming is causing the increased number and ferocity of storms. But there's far more reason to be skeptical:

* Science doesn't support a link between global warming and recent hurricane activity, notes Max Mayfield, director of the National Hurricane Center. Katrina and Rita are part of a natural cycle. The increase in number and intensity of storms since 1995 is hardly unprecedented, says William Gray, a leading hurricane expert based at Colorado State University. He points out that two major hurricanes hit the Gulf Coast only six weeks apart in 1915, mimicking the doubly whammy of Katrina and Rita.

* If global warming were to blame for recent storms, there should have been more typhoons in the Pacific and Indian oceans since 1995, Gray says. Instead, there has been a slight decrease - at the same time China and India have increased their industrial output and emissions of greenhouse gases.

* The impact of hurricanes might seem more severe because of the intensity of news coverage and because more people are living in hurricane alley. That means more property damage and more loss of life. The current cycle of more and deadlier storms could last 15 to 20 more years, notes the National Hurricane Center. It's worth researching whether global warming is affecting the frequency and intensity of those storms, but there's certainly no proof at the moment. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions without wrecking economic growth is an important challenge. Blaming Katrina and Rita on global warming just adds to the hot air surrounding the issue.



Post lifted from Prof. Stott

Now, I am no Instapundit, nor even a Daily Ablution, but I think I know a key story when I see one.

On Tuesday last week, I reported the distinct cooling of Tony Blair, the British PM, towards the Kyoto Protocol based on the answers he gave in mid-town Manhattan on September 15 at the Clinton Global Initiative [see: 'Mr. Blair quietly kills off the Kyoto Protocol.....', my September 20 blog]. I even sent a verbatim copy of the Blair quotations to various British media outlets that have often responded in the past to information I have provided them. You would thus think that our media might have jumped at such a story. Yet nothing appeared. I also aired Blair's change of attitude, en passant, while appearing on the excellent 'Daily Politics' show (BBC 2), mid-week.

At last, today, certain Sunday newspapers have started to pick up on the story, if only in short, inside-news pieces - and this, remember, is ten days after Mr. Blair made his carefully-worded remarks. The Sunday Times is one such newspaper (see: 'News', p. 5), while The Observer is another, with 'Blair is accused of Kyoto U-turn' (on 'News', p. 2). The sub-heading for the latter is particularly amusing: 'PM moves closer to Bush's solutions.' The best coverage is probably in The Sunday Telegraph with 'Why Kyoto will never succeed, by Blair'. And the most hysterical? Of course, what a surprise, The Independent on Sunday, with the inevitable headline, 'Blair falls into line with Bush view on global warming', and vocabulary like "outrage", "undermined", "endangered", and "sold out". Yep, you can rely on The Indy. How about, for a change, "sensible", "politically realistic", "practical", and "economically sound"? [See also this parallel comment on the interesting Clive Davis blog: 'Blair & Kyoto redux', (September 25)].

In addition to all this, the ever-redoubtable Professor S. Fred Singer has let me know that the section of a typically-clear interview he did for BBC-4, in which he quoted Tony Blair's ("whom we much admire") statements from the Clinton New York conference, "where he pulled the plug on Kyoto", was cut from the final broadcast. He adds tellingly: "The BBC guy didn't like this at all." Quite.

I think this is all extremely illuminating. Much of the British media has invested enormous amounts of uncritical, emotional, soggy 'left' capital in support of the Kyoto Protocol over the last ten or so years. They have too willingly failed to apply critical journalism to the politics of climate change, with far too many commentators and news broadcasters allowing their own prejudices (not to mention their innate anti-Americanism - Mr. Blair is right about this too!) show.

Now, to their horror, these soggy left 'Green' pundits are finding themselves abandoned by the world, and they are sounding more and more shrill (and extremely shallow). They are increasingly in denial, often failing to pick up on the plate tectonic shifts in climate-change politics that have been slowly accumulating around the globe - shifts which that ever-consummate politician, Tony Blair, has more astutely grasped.

Anyone with even a smattering of understanding concerning the international politics of climate change knows that the Kyoto Protocol has been moribund for some time. Moreover, the world has moved on, shifted to the Pacific Rim, to technological solutions, and away from the 'command-and-control', socialistic, Old European formulae. The issues now (correctly) focus on energy, and on world energy needs, for growing economies. As Mr. Blair himself admitted in Manhattan, no country is going to opt for reduced growth, especially China and India - and most certainly not a UK under Mr. Gordon Brown.

As I have said before, it is time for the British media to grow up over the politics of climate change. The infantile foot-stampings of newspapers like The Independent should be left in the nursery. And, once again, Mr. Blair has demonstrated that New Labour is the only serious party on the British political landscape. Yet, even he is failing to make vital decisions over issues like clean coal and nuclear power.

The British media must recognise that 'global warming' is neither simplistic science nor the politics of the kindergarten.

The Conservation Hoax

President Bush tells us to drive less and limit trips to only the essentials, while the EPA's EnergyStar program is urging us all to "change a lightbulb" in our homes, from a regular one to a government-approved one, which they claim will save hundreds of millions. You are also supposed to take a pledge: "I pledge to do my part to save energy and help protect our environment by changing a light in my home to an ENERGY STAR qualified one"--then the government will send you a free "zipper pull."

We can see where this is headed: back to the days of relentless brow-beating, intimidation, regulation, and calls for national sacrifice-possibly even regimentation and control-all in the name of saving energy. (How much energy is consumed in making and sending the zipper pull?)

Just in time to check this growing mania comes The Bottomless Well, by Peter W. Huber and Mark P. Mills (Basic Books, 2005). It provides nothing less than a total shift of paradigm for viewing the energy crises that have animated the media for at least the past 35 years. For those to whom the book's revelations are largely new, a lifetime's habits of thought on the subject of energy face complete refutation.

And here it is: energy is abundant, virtually everywhere, and with technologies already in use, is accessible to man's appropriation and use. And while the use of energy can create pollution of various forms, all such pollution is subject to abatement by . . . use of more energy. Breathtaking corollaries cascade one from the next both in consequence and in support of this proposition, such as, the more energy is used, the more can be found and exploited for any and all of the growing range of purposes to which energy applies.

Many of the book's revelations are delivered through what might be called shift of point of view. The authors identify the familiar steam engines of Newcomen and then Watt as the beginning of use of energy for mechanical power. But for what purpose were these machines devised? Why, to get more energy (specifically, to remove water from coal mines)! And by no coincidence, their fuel was that very coal that they were helping to mine.

Canards of conventional thinking tumble like tenpins. Chief among these may be the widespread, ill-considered assumption that improvements in efficiency, such as those mandated for vehicle engines by the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) Act of 1978, can produce reductions in total energy consumption.

Using both a priorireasoning long familiar to Austrian and other enlightened economists together with a tsunami of empirical data, the authors demonstrate that the reverse is ineluctably true: improvements in efficiency lead to the consumption of more energy, whether in vehicle engines, electrical appliances, electricity generation, or computation.

Another of these is that Earth must eventually suffocate or burn up under a growing mantle of carbon dioxide and other emissions from the process of burning fossil fuels such as coal and petroleum. Theories of global warming have been debunked both well and often prior to this book, but this book brings to the discussion three facts that overcome the concern even if it should in fact be grounded in reality.

* First, technologies exist to reduce carbon-dioxide and other emissions that require for their implementation little more than the will to consume the additional amounts of energy required for their use.

* Second, nuclear power, an obvious and available solution to greenhouse-gas concerns since the 1960s, is today safer (against both terrorism and operational mishap) and more efficient than it ever has been, such pollution as it generates in the form of spent fuel being far easier to deal with than anti-nuclear interests have led the public to believe.

* And third, perhaps most astonishingly, North America, with its massive total and per-capita burning of fossil fuels, is evidently not a producer of carbon to global processes, but according to reliable measurements, actually absorbs carbon in net from other parts of the world whose carbon accounts are in surplus.

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.


8 October, 2005


Compare and contrast the two articles from "The Scotsman" below. Do you get the impression that nobody knows what they are talking about on this topic?

Article dated 19th Sept.:

"Scotland is facing blackouts this winter amid predictions it will be the coldest in years and lead to power cuts as the national grid fails to cope with extra heating demands. As British Gas today implements its third big price rise in two years, industry representatives warned that, with improvements to the national gas infrastructure still taking place, a prolonged cold spell could see demand for power exceed supply. The Met Office prediction that the UK, and Scotland in particular, would suffer unusually low temperatures and high snowfalls this December and January, has also seen bookmakers prepare for a rush of punters keen to bet on a white Christmas. Paul Noon, the general secretary of Prospect, the trade union which represents the energy industry, said: "There is a very real threat this could be the winter our luck runs out. "The reality is that we have a limited energy supply and if we have a severe winter the national grid will struggle to cope." A Met office spokesman said temperatures were expected to be "significantly colder than average". "We issued the warning to energy companies as there was a concern that they might get caught out with their current supplies." He added: "If the predictions are correct it does increase the likelihood of a white Christmas." An estimated 16 million homes will today see a 14.2 per cent increase in gas and electricity bills from British Gas".

Article dated 2nd. October:

A white Christmas may soon be no more than a dream in many parts of southern England because of global warming, experts warn. Friends of the Earth said the build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere was making snow in December less and less likely in the south west, south east, East Anglia and parts of the Midlands. And a university climate lecturer said there was a chance that a city such as Norwich might never see a white Christmas again. "You can never say never but the likelihood is that white Christmases are going to become rarer and rarer in southern England - say south of a line drawn between the Wash and the Bristol Channel," said a spokesman for Friends of the Earth. "That is what global warming will mean.

Ski resorts in some parts of Europe may also find that they have no snow. That's happening already in some parts of Scotland." The environmental campaign group spokesman was speaking as Dr Nathan Gillett, a lecturer in climate change at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, made similar predictions in an interview with his local newspaper. "White winters are already rare in Norwich. There are less than one in 20. I think there is a chance we will never see a white Christmas again," Dr Gillett told the Norwich Evening News. "By the middle of the century I don't think we are going to have any more white Christmases because of global warming.


There is an old English saying that goes back to Shakespeare's time or thereabouts: "If ifs and ans were pots and pans, there'd be no room for tinkers". Given the state of modern education, maybe it is only old guys like me who still understand that saying so let me explain: The word "an" in both Middle English and Early New English was a synonym for "if". And tinkers are guys who mend pots and pans. So the saying expresses scorn for the proliferation of "ifs" and the way people are always bothering their heads about them. The article below is a good example of such foolish agonizing. It ASSUMES that global warming is going to occur on a large scale in future and IF that were true then what they say might well be right. But they are not even good enough scientists to put in the "if".

"Up to 15,000 Australians could die each year from heat stress, and dengue fever could spread as far south as Sydney by the end of the century unless greenhouse gas emissions are cut, a new report warns. A joint report by the Australian Medical Association and the Australian Conservation Foundation found growing temperatures would lead to increased poverty rates, more migration and large scale population movement in the Asia Pacific. The report urges immediate action by governments and individuals to counter the threat. The two groups called for the greater use of renewable energy, mandatory biofuel blends, and an effective, national emissions control program.

AMA president Mukesh Haikerwal said there had to be a national response to climate change and its effects on human health. "Projected heat-related deaths to 2100 could be halved with strong policy action and, while the zone for potential dengue transmission is likely to move south to Rockhampton or Gympie, it would stay north of [the] more heavily populated south-east Queensland, coastal NSW and metropolitan Sydney," Dr Haikerwal said. "Failure to dramatically cut carbon dioxide emissions will leave the world with serious environmental and health problems.""

etc., etc

More here


"John Bolton, the blunt and controversial U.S. ambassador to the UN, has promised "to advance American interests and ideals at the United Nations." During his first two months on the job, Bolton has denounced the United Nations Development Program for its "unacceptable" funding of Palestinian propaganda and publicly identified "countries who are in a state of denial" about the need for UN reform. He told a reporter that he feels "a little like Rod Serling has suddenly appeared and we're writing episodes from 'The Twilight Zone.'" I'm having a similar experience in Japan as a member of the US delegation to a UN task force on biotechnology-derived foods. The group is a creature of the Codex Alimentarius Commission, which sets food standards on behalf of the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Health Organization (WHO).

The very scope of this exercise -- which has gone on for five years and shows no signs of abating -- makes no sense. It is concerned with regulatory requirements only for foods made with the newest, most precise and predictable techniques of biotechnology -- while exempting others made with far more crude and less predictable technologies, including irradiation mutagenesis and hybridization.

For example, the task force has selected as one of its new projects, "Food Safety Assessment of Food Derived from [Gene-Spliced] Plants Modified for Nutritional and Health Benefits." This scope of work completely ignores that past problems with unexpected food toxicity in new plant varieties -- in two varieties each of squash and potato, and one of celery -- have resulted from the imprecision of conventional plant breeding. There is a broad scientific consensus that the precision of gene-splicing makes the accidental introduction of toxins or anti-nutrients into new foods far less likely. (Note that no food modified by traditional techniques -- that is to say, virtually the entire diet of Europeans and Americans -- could (or should) meet the existing Codex standards for biotech foods.) It is rather like circumscribing for extra regulation only automobiles outfitted with disk brakes, radial tires and air bags -- and then limiting only those to a lower speed.

I've participated in these kinds of negotiations and meetings for more than a quarter-century, but never before have I had the same feeling that the inmates were running the asylum. This Codex travesty is rife with irony and hypocrisy. First, the conference was opened by Japan's Vice-Minister for Health, Labor and Welfare, who extolled at length the virtues of biotechnology applied to agriculture and food production. However, his government has approved not a single food plant, fruit or vegetable for sale in Japan. In San Francisco, a gene-spliced, virus-resistant Hawaiian papaya costs about $1.25 per pound. Japan won't accept the gene-spliced variety, so they import only conventional Hawaiian papayas (mostly from trees that have been ravaged by the papaya ringspot virus, which diminishes their yield) -- and the cost in Tokyo is about $15 dollars a pound! (This vignette was less like "The Twilight Zone" and more like the British comedy, "Yes, Minister!")

Second, during the plenary the European Community's delegation sanctimoniously lectured the other nations on how to regulate biotechnology. Considering that biotech applied to agriculture is virtually nonexistent in Europe thanks to ill-conceived, unscientific over-regulation and intractable disagreements among European countries, this is rather like the government of Columbia instructing others on how to stop drug trafficking.

Third, at the same time that medical experts around the world are fearful of a pandemic of influenza that could kill tens of millions and disrupt the world's economy, the senior WHO representative kept lobbying the task force to work on "ethical considerations" of gene-spliced organisms. This bizarre concern about the "ethics" of a sweeter melon or pest-resistant potato is rather like worrying about flossing your teeth when you're in the path of a Category 5 hurricane.

Fourth, during five years of negotiations by this task force, the participants -- including the U.S. delegation, now headed by a senior USDA official -- have willfully ignored scientific principles and the basic axiom that the degree of regulatory scrutiny should be proportionate to risk. They have also disregarded the scientific consensus that gene-splicing is an extension, or refinement, of older, traditional techniques of genetic modification, and that it does not warrant discriminatory, excessive regulation. They have overlooked the fact that during almost two decades of widespread use, the performance of gene-spliced crops has been spectacular, with farmers enjoying increased yields, decreased costs of agricultural chemicals, and lower occupational exposures to pesticides. The environmental benefits likewise have been stunning, with less chemical runoff into waterways and greater availability of no-till farming techniques that reduce soil erosion.

Fifth, many who attended this meeting appear to be completely ignorant of the appropriate context of new and conventional biotechnology, unaware that with the exception of fish and wild game, berries and mushrooms, virtually all of the foods in our diet are derived from organisms that have been genetically improved in some fashion. It is pathetic -- and a cruel misuse of resources -- to see representatives here from countries like Sudan, Papua New Guinea, Uganda, Lesotho, Nepal and Laos clamoring for "capacity building" to regulate gene-splicing. Shouldn't the priorities of poor countries be nutritional deficiencies, infectious diseases, occupational safety, and the lack of childhood vaccines and clean water, rather than the discriminatory, gratuitous regulation of a superior agricultural technology that UN-based regulation already has made too expensive to be applied widely to developing countries' crops?

Sixth, this project of Codex (which operates on behalf of the UN's FAO and WHO, remember) makes a mockery of the UN's Millennium Development Goals -- especially the first, and most ambitious: "to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger" by 2015. That can't be accomplished without innovative technology, and there won't be innovative technology if it is regulated excessively and stupidly. FAO calls on one hand for greater allocation of resources to agriculture, and then makes those resources less cost-effective by gratuitous over-regulation of the new biotechnology. (Another UN initiative that has vitiated agricultural biotechnology is the "biosafety protocol" of the UN-based Convention on Biological Diversity, but that's another story.)

Other Millennium Goals inevitably will be compromised, directly or indirectly, by this Codex project (and by the "biosafety protocol" of the CBD). An important way, for example, to "reduce child mortality," the fourth goal, would be to produce childhood vaccines cheaply in edible fruits and vegetables, but there is near-hysteria at Codex over conjectural food-safety problems with this approach. Moreover, when the impoverished of the world are forced to spend more than necessary to grow or obtain food, fewer resources are available for other public health and environmental needs. As Wellesley College political scientist Robert Paarlberg has noted, the continued globalization of this sort of "highly precautionary regulatory approach" to gene-spliced crops will cause the "the biggest losers of all [to be the] poor farmers in the developing world," and "if this new technology is killed in the cradle, these farmers could miss a chance to escape the low farm productivity that is helping to keep them in poverty. How about this for an additional Millennium Goal: Stop genocide-by-regulation by UN bureaucrats".

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 October, 2005

The toxicity of environmentalism: Their motivations are anti-human

Recently a popular imported mineral water was removed from the market because tests showed that samples of it contained thirty-five parts per billion of benzene. Although this was an amount so small that only fifteen years ago it would have been impossible even to detect, it was assumed that considerations of public health required withdrawal of the product.

Such a case, of course, is not unusual nowadays. The presence of parts per billion of a toxic substance is routinely extrapolated into being regarded as a cause of human deaths. And whenever the number of projected deaths exceeds one in a million (or less), environmentalists demand that the government remove the offending pesticide, preservative, or other alleged bearer of toxic pollution from the market. They do so, even though a level of risk of one in a million is one-third as great as that of an object from airplane falling from the sky on one's home.

While it is not necessary to question the good intentions and sincerity of the overwhelming majority of the members of the environmental or ecology movement, it is vital that the public realize that in this seemingly lofty and noble movement itself can be found more than a little evidence of the most profound toxicity.

Consider, for example, the following quotation from David M. Graber, a research biologist with the National Park Service, in his prominently featured Los Angeles Times book review of Bill McKibben's The End of Nature:

"This [man's "remaking the earth by degrees"] makes what is happening no less tragic for those of us who value wildness for its own sake, not for what value it confers upon mankind. I, for one, cannot wish upon either my children or the rest of Earth's biota a tame planet, be it monstrous or — however unlikely — benign. McKibben is a biocentrist, and so am I. We are not interested in the utility of a particular species or free-flowing river, or ecosystem, to mankind. They have intrinsic value, more value — to me — than another human body, or a billion of them.

"Human happiness, and certainly human fecundity, are not as important as a wild and healthy planet. I know social scientists who remind me that people are part of nature, but it isn't true. Somewhere along the line — at about a billion years ago, maybe half that — we quit the contract and became a cancer. We have become a plague upon ourselves and upon the Earth.

"It is cosmically unlikely that the developed world will choose to end its orgy of fossil-energy consumption, and the Third World its suicidal consumption of landscape. Until such time as Homo sapiens should decide to rejoin nature, some of us can only hope for the right virus to come along."

While Mr. Graber openly wishes for the death of a billion people, Mr. McKibben, the author he reviewed, quotes with approval John Muir's benediction to alligators, describing it as a "good epigram" for his own, "humble approach": "'Honorable representatives of the great saurians of older creation, may you long enjoy your lilies and rushes, and be blessed now and then with a mouthful of terror-stricken man by way of a dainty!'"

Such statements represent pure, unadulterated poison. They express ideas and wishes which, if acted upon, would mean terror and death for enormous numbers of human beings.

These statements, and others like them, are made by prominent members of the environmental movement. The significance of such statements cannot be diminished by ascribing them only to a small fringe of the environmental movement. Indeed, even if such views were indicative of the thinking of only 5 or 10 percent of the members of the environmental movement — the "deep ecology," Earth First! wing — they would represent toxicity in the environmental movement as a whole not at the level of parts per billion or even parts per million, but at the level of parts per hundred, which, of course, is an enormously higher level of toxicity than is deemed to constitute a danger to human life in virtually every other case in which deadly poison is present.

But the toxicity level of the environmental movement as a whole is substantially greater even than parts per hundred. It is certainly at least at the level of several parts per ten. This is obvious from the fact that the mainstream of the environmental movement makes no fundamental or significant criticisms of the likes of Messrs. Graber and McKibben. Indeed, John Muir, whose wish for alligators to "be blessed now and then with a mouthful of terror-stricken man by way of a dainty" McKibben approvingly quotes, was the founder of the Sierra Club, which is proud to acknowledge that fact. The Sierra Club, of course, is the leading environmental organization and is supposedly the most respectable of them.

There is something much more important than the Sierra Club's genealogy, however — something which provides an explanation in terms of basic principle of why the mainstream of the ecology movement does not attack what might be thought to be merely its fringe. This is a fundamental philosophical premise which the mainstream of the movement shares with the alleged fringe and which logically implies hatred for man and his achievements. Namely, the premise that nature possesses intrinsic value — i.e., that nature is valuable in and of itself, apart from all contribution to human life and well-being.

The antihuman premise of nature's intrinsic value goes back, in the Western world, as far as St. Francis of Assisi, who believed in the equality of all living creatures: man, cattle, birds, fish, and reptiles. Indeed, precisely on the basis of this philosophical affinity, and at the wish of the mainstream of the ecology movement, St. Francis of Assisi has been officially declared the patron saint of ecology by the Roman Catholic Church.

The premise of nature's intrinsic value extends to an alleged intrinsic value of forests, rivers, canyons, and hillsides — to everything and anything that is not man. Its influence is present in the Congress of the United States, in such statements as that recently made by Representative Morris Udall of Arizona that a frozen, barren desert in Northern Alaska, where substantial oil deposits appear to exist, is "a sacred place" that should never be given over to oil rigs and pipelines. It is present in the supporting statement of a representative of the Wilderness Society that "There is a need to protect the land not just for wildlife and human recreation, but just to have it there." It has, of course, also been present in the sacrifice of the interests of human beings for the sake of snail darters and spotted owls.

The idea of nature's intrinsic value inexorably implies a desire to destroy man and his works because it implies a perception of man as the systematic destroyer of the good, and thus as the systematic doer of evil. Just as man perceives coyotes, wolves, and rattlesnakes as evil because they regularly destroy the cattle and sheep he values as sources of food and clothing, so on the premise of nature's intrinsic value, the environmentalists view man as evil, because, in the pursuit of his well-being, man systematically destroys the wildlife, jungles, and rock formations that the environmentalists hold to be intrinsically valuable. Indeed, from the perspective of such alleged intrinsic values of nature, the degree of man's alleged destructiveness and evil is directly in proportion to his loyalty to his essential nature. Man is the rational being. It is his application of his reason in the form of science, technology, and an industrial civilization that enables him to act on nature on the enormous scale on which he now does. Thus, it is his possession and use of reason — manifested in his technology and industry — for which he is hated.

The doctrine of intrinsic value is itself only a rationalization for a preexisting hatred of man. It is invoked not because one attaches any actual value to what is alleged to have intrinsic value, but simply to serve as a pretext for denying values to man. For example, caribou feed upon vegetation, wolves eat caribou, and microbes attack wolves. Each of these, the vegetation, the caribou, the wolves, and the microbes, is alleged by the environmentalists to possess intrinsic value. Yet absolutely no course of action is indicated for man. Should man act to protect the intrinsic value of the vegetation from destruction by the caribou? Should he act to protect the intrinsic value of the caribou from destruction by the wolves? Should he act to protect the intrinsic value of the wolves from destruction by the microbes? Even though each of these alleged intrinsic values is at stake, man is not called upon to do anything. When does the doctrine of intrinsic value serve as a guide to what man should do? Only when man comes to attach value to something. Then it is invoked to deny him the value he seeks. For example, the intrinsic value of the vegetation et al. is invoked as a guide to man's action only when there is something man wants, such as oil, and then, as in the case of Northern Alaska, its invocation serves to stop him from having it. In other words, the doctrine of intrinsic value is nothing but a doctrine of the negation of human values. It is pure nihilism.

It should be realized that it is logically implicit in what has just been said that to establish a public office such as that recently proposed in California, of "environmental advocate," would be tantamount to establishing an office of Negator of Human Valuation. The work of such an office would be to stop man from achieving his values for no other reason than that he was man and wanted to achieve them.

Of course, the environmental movement is not pure poison. Very few people would listen to it if it were. As I have said, it is poisonous only at the level of several parts per ten. Mixed in with the poison and overlaying it as a kind of sugar coating is the advocacy of many measures which have the avowed purpose of promoting human life and well-being, and among these, some that, considered in isolation, might actually achieve that purpose. The problem is that the mixture is poisonous. And thus, when one swallows environmentalism, one inescapably swallows poison.

Given the underlying nihilism of the movement, it is certainly not possible to accept at face value any of the claims it makes of seeking to improve human life and well-being, especially when following its recommendations would impose on people great deprivation or cost. Indeed, nothing could be more absurd or dangerous than to take advice on how to improve one's life and well-being from those who wish one dead and whose satisfaction comes from human terror, which, of course, as I have shown, is precisely what is wished in the environmental movement — openly and on principle. This conclusion, it must be stressed, applies irrespective of the scientific or academic credentials of an individual. If an alleged scientific expert believes in the intrinsic value of nature, then to seek his advice is equivalent to seeking the advice of a medical doctor who was on the side of the germs rather than of the patient, if such a thing can be imagined. Obviously, Congressional committees taking testimony from alleged expert witnesses on the subject of proposed environmental legislation need to be aware of this fact and never to forget it.

Not surprisingly, in virtually every case, the claims made by the environmentalists have turned out to be false or simply absurd. Consider, for example, the recent case of Alar, a chemical spray used for many years on apples in order to preserve their color and freshness. Here, it turned out that even if the environmentalists' claims had actually been true, and the use of Alar would result in 4.2 deaths per million over a seventy-year lifetime, all that would have been signified was that eating apples sprayed with Alar would then have been less dangerous than driving to the supermarket to buy the apples! (Consider: 4.2 deaths per million over a seventy year period means that in any one year in the United States, with its population of roughly two hundred and fifty million people, approximately fifteen deaths would be attributable to Alar! This is the result obtained by multiplying 4.2 per million times 250 million and then dividing by 70. In the same one-year period of time, approximately fifty thousand deaths occur in motor vehicle accidents in the United States, most of them within a few miles of the victims' homes, and undoubtedly far more than fifteen of them on trips to or from supermarkets.) Nevertheless, a panic ensued, followed by a plunge in the sale of apples, the financial ruin of an untold number of apple growers, and the virtual disappearance of Alar.

Before the panic over Alar, there was the panic over asbestos. According to Forbes magazine, it turns out that in the forms in which it is normally used in the United States, asbestos is one-third as likely to be the cause of death as being struck by lightning......

More here

Fanatical EPA rules stop refineries and raise gas prices

Ever-increasing worldwide demand for gasoline, U.S. oil refineries operating at or near capacity, and the recent one-two punch from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita resulting in facility shutdowns and infrastructure damage, are major reasons that gasoline has spiked to over $3 per gallon. Of these reasons, only the increasing worldwide demand is more or less inevitable. But even rising demand can be satisfied by increasing supply — and this is where action can be taken, according to a December 2004 report issued by the National Petroleum Council, a federal advisory committee to the Secretary of Energy.

One major bottleneck in the gasoline supply is refinery capacity. If you've followed the news coverage about the gasoline spike, you've probably heard that we need more refineries — especially since we've not built a new one in 30 years. But don’t hold your breath waiting for construction of new refineries. In addition to the hurdles of not-in-my-backyard opposition and burdensome environmental regulation, the oil refining business has not produced terrific financial returns for investors — a 5.5 percent return on investment in the oil refining industry versus a 12.7 percent return on investment in blue-chip stocks from 1993 to 2002, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The good news, however, is that while new refineries may not be built any time soon, production at existing refineries can be expanded — and that’s what’s been happening over the last 20 years. Remarkably, we’ve gone from about 320 refineries producing about 100 billion gallons of gas in 1980 to about 150 refineries producing about 130 billion gallons of gasoline in 2004. But while it is possible to expand domestic refinery capacity without constructing new refineries, current and planned EPA rules act as disincentives to refinery expansion.

In 1997, the EPA made air quality standards across the country more stringent. As I’ve written in this column many times before, these standards were not based on sound science and, consequently, aren’t likely to produce benefits commensurate with their $100 billion annual cost. Although the EPA’s 1997 rules have not yet been fully implemented, states are already being held hostage by them. States where air quality standards fail to meet (or “attain” in air pollution lingo) EPA air quality standards can be penalized through loss of federal highway funds — a coveted source of revenue to states.

But the EPA stands ready to penalize the states before the 1997 rules have had the chance to have an impact on air quality. In the language of the National Petroleum Council report, “As currently structured, [air quality] attainment deadlines precede the benefits that will be achieved from emissions reductions already planned.” The effect of enforcing the EPA rules before they’ve had a chance to have an effect on air quality will be to force states to take action that will discourage refinery expansion. States may require refineries to implement more costly emissions controls that further reduce the economic attractiveness of refinery expansion or reduce the viability and profitability of existing domestic refining. Less domestic refining means greater reliance on imported gasoline, which can be more expensive and more difficult to obtain.

As if enforcing air quality standards that haven’t had a chance to materialize yet isn’t bad enough, the EPA is preparing to embark on a new rulemaking process to make those standards even more stringent — forcing states to take even more drastic action that would act as even a greater disincentive on refinery expansion. While the President and Congress might not have the political will to force the EPA to revise its 1997 standards, they should at least press the agency to delay the attainment deadlines. This would give states sufficient time to assess the impact of the 1997 rules and perhaps not make refinery expansion any more economically unattractive than it already seems to be.

The NPC recommended in a 2000 report that “Regulations should be based on sound science and a thorough analysis of cost-effectiveness.” President Bush issued Executive Order 13211 in 2001 requiring agencies to consider the impacts of regulatory actions on energy supply, distribution and use. But the NPC 2004 report spotlights EPA’s air quality standards as “examples of regulations that [do not] reflect a thorough analysis of their energy supply effects.” We may not be able to do anything about the ever-increasing global demand for energy or the extreme weather, but our leaders certainly have the authority to force government agencies to use sound science, cost-benefit analysis and, from time to time, even some common sense



What a laugh! But I suppose we should congratulate them on the "if" in the part I have highlighted

In 75 years' time, the UK could be plagued by fly populations 250% up on today's levels if forecasts of climate change prove accurate, ecologists have warned. Writing in a special climate change issue of the British Ecological Society's Journal of Applied Ecology, Dave Goulson and colleagues from the University of Southampton found that if the worst case scenario for climate change occurs - a 5 deg C rise in temperature by 2080 - house fly numbers in the UK could explode.

Studies on the ecological impact of climate change has to date largely focused on butterflies and birds, two groups for which data on distribution and abundance abounds. Until now, ecologists have been less keen to study flies, but says Dr Goulson: "The annoyance and public health risks associated with large populations of flies are considerable, and potential increases in their abundance as a result of climate change are a cause for concern."

Between January 2000 and December 2003 Dr Goulson and his colleagues monitored populations of calyptrate fly species - including the house fly Musca domestica and bluebottles Calliphora spp. - at six sites in Hampshire, three of which were near landfill sites. Over the four years they set almost 10,000 yellow sticky traps and caught more than 100,000 calyptrate flies.

Using the first three years' data for weekly fly catches and prevailing weather conditions (temperature, rainfall and humidity) Dr Goulson constructed a model of the relationship between weather and fly populations. He then tested the model's predictions against the actual number of flies caught in the fourth year of the study.

More here


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

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

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


6 October, 2005



I appreciate the opportunity to discuss the important subject of politicization of research. In that regard, what I would like to emphasize to the committee today is the importance of independent verification to science. In essence, science is nothing more than a method of inquiry. The method says an assertion is valid-and merits universal acceptance-only if it can be independently verified. The impersonal rigor of the method means it is utterly apolitical. A truth in science is verifiable whether you are black or white, male or female, old or young. It's verifiable whether you like the results of a study, or you don't. Thus, when adhered to, the scientific method can transcend politics. And the converse may also be true: when politics takes precedent over content, it is often because the primacy of independent verification has been overwhelmed by competing interests.....

A striking feature of climate science is that it's permissible for raw data to be "touched," or modified, by many hands. Gaps in temperature and proxy records are filled in. Suspect values are deleted because a scientist deems them erroneous. A researcher may elect to use parts of existing records, ignoring other parts. But the fact that the data has been modified in so many ways inevitably raises the question of whether the results of a given study are wholly or partially caused by the modifications themselves. In saying this, I am not casting aspersions on the motives or fair-mindedness of climate scientists. Rather, what is at issue is whether the methodology of climate science is sufficiently rigorous to yield a reliable result......

Yet these issues are central to the now-familiar story of the "Hockeystick graph" and the debate surrounding it. To summarize it briefly: in 1998-99 the American climate researcher Michael Mann and his co-workers published an estimate of global temperatures from the year 1000 to 1980. Mann's results appeared to show a spike in recent temperatures that was unprecedented in the last thousand years. His alarming report formed the centerpiece of the U.N.'s Third Assessment Report, in 2001. Mann's work was immediately criticized because it didn't show the well-known Medieval Warm Period, when temperatures were warmer than they are today, or the Little Ice Age that began around 1500, when the climate was colder than today. But real fireworks began when two Canadian researchers, McIntyre and McKitrick, attempted to replicate Mann's study. They found grave errors in the work, which they detailed in 2003: calculation errors, data used twice, data filled in, and a computer program that generated a hockeystick out of any data fed to it-even random data.

Mann's work has since been dismissed by scientists around the world who subscribe to global warning. Why did the UN accept Mann's report so uncritically? Why didn't they catch the errors? Because the IPCC doesn't do independent verification. And perhaps because Mann himself was in charge of the section of the report that included his work.

The hockeystick controversy drags on. But I would direct the Committee's attention to three aspects of this story. First, six years passed between Mann's publication and the first detailed accounts of errors in his work. This is simply too long for policymakers to wait for validated results. Second, the flaws in Mann's work were not caught by climate scientists, but rather by outsiders-in this case, an economist and a mathematician. They had to go to great lengths to obtain data from Mann's team, which obstructed them at every turn.

When the Canadians sought help from the NSF, they were told that Mann was under no obligation to provide his data to other researchers for independent verification. Third, this kind of stonewalling is not unique. The Canadians are now attempting to replicate other climate studies and are getting the same runaround from other researchers. One prominent scientist told them: "Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it."....

But if independent verification is the heart of science, what should policymakers do with research that is unverifiable? For example, the UN Third Assessment Report defines general circulation climate models as unverifiable. If that's true, are their predictions of any use to policymakers? I would argue they are not....

In closing, I want to state emphatically that nothing in my remarks should be taken to imply that we can ignore our environment, or that we should not take climate change seriously. On the contrary, we must dramatically improve our record on environmental management. That's why a focused effort on climate science, aimed at securing sound, independently verified answers to policy questions, is so important now.


Hurricanes Katrina and Rita destroyed 109 oil platforms and five drilling rigs in the Gulf of Mexico, but only a small portion of production will be lost for good, the US government said. Rita accounted for most of the damage in a region that ordinarily produces nearly one-third of US crude oil imports, Interior Secretary Gale Norton said in presenting a preliminary assessment report. Rita destroyed 63 platforms and one drilling rig when it tore through the region on September 24, she said. Katrina destroyed 46 platforms and four drilling rigs when it hit the Gulf at the end of August.

Katrina also caused extensive damage to another 20 platforms and nine drilling rigs. Rita seriously damaged 30 platforms and 10 drilling rigs. "The two hurricanes coming so close together really illustrate how much of our offshore production was affected," Norton told the CNBC network. "We had altogether, with both of the hurricanes, about 2,900 platforms that were in the path of the hurricanes," she said. "We have no official estimate of the dollar value of the damage and the amount that it will cost to repair those facilities, but it will clearly be in the billions of dollars."

In advance of the hurricanes, crude oil production ground to a halt as Gulf sites were evacuated. A total of 342 platforms remain evacuated, roughly 40 percent of the manned sites in the Gulf, Norton said. As a result, 90 percent of crude production and 72 percent of natural gas output is paralysed, she said. But Norton also stressed that only one of the damaged platforms was built after federal construction standards were tightened in 1988.

The ones that were destroyed were nearing the end of their lives. "As a result, only a very small percentage of production is expected to be permanently lost," she said in a statement. "Despite such intense winds and powerful waves offshore, we experienced no loss of life or significant spills from any offshore well on the outer continental shelf," Norton added.

Source. (HT Reliapundit)


"Geophysical Research Letters" (GRL) is a respected academic journal. The excerpt below from Steve McIntyre details how something strange happened to them when they rejected a pro-global-warming article. The The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) referred to is a corporation carrying out climate research with $200 million in annual revenue. It's vested interest in the matter is clear

"On May 11, 2005, on the day that Ross McKitrick and I were presenting in Washington, UCAR issued a press release announcing that one of its scientists, Caspar Ammann ( a former student of Raymond Bradley) and one of its former post-doc fellows, Eugene Wahl, had supposedly demonstrated that our criticisms of the hockey stick were "unfounded". The press release announced that they had submitted articles to Climatic Change and GRL. Unfortunately for UCAR, on June 6, 2005, GRL rejected the submission by Wahl and Ammann. This was never announced. The rejection by GRL was not mentioned in two letters to the House Energy and Commerce Committee by Mann and the European Geophysical Union, which cited this press release.

The Comment by Ammann and Wahl was one of four Comments submitted to GRL on our work. Two Comments, one by von Storch and Zorita and one by Huybers, were accepted and, together with our Replies, will be published in the near future. One other Comment, by David Ritson, was rejected. I can’t imagine that UCAR was very happy about the rejection of Ammann and Wahl, especially with the press release hanging out there. There have been some strange events. In late August, the editor-in-chief of GRL, James Famiglietti, told a reporter at ES&T that he had taken over the Comment file pertaining to our article.

In the last week, a couple of curious events occurred. On Sep. 27, 2005, Famiglietti told us that the rejected Ritson Comment had now been accepted. In breach of AGU policies which require that both a Comment and Reply be sent together for refereeing, Famiglietti had sent the previously rejected Ritson Comment out without a Reply; after getting the Comment accepted, Famiglietti invited us to reply.

Background to the initial rejection

At this time, there were a total of four Comments in play. One of the problems we’d faced with some of the Comments was misrepresentation of what our actual claims were. In some previous Replies, we had replied to these mischaracterizations. Our editor, James Saiers, made it very clear that he did not want to have this type of argument under his watch. He instructed us to present any concern over mischaracterization directly to him and he would assess it editorially, rather than having a needlessly rancorous exchange in the article itself.

This presented a real problem when the Ammann and Wahl Comment arrived. They were so bilious that they could barely see straight. You’ll eventually see why "mini-Mann" is not merely a term of sarcasm. Aside from the bile, their GRL submission is essentially a pyramid scheme. The conclusions in their GRL article are not supported or based on any analyses in their GRL article, but on their other submission. The conclusions of their other study are cited in the text, carried forward to their Summary and quoted in their Abstract. But there was nothing in the four corners of their GRL submission to support their Abstract. We pointed this out to Saiers on May 24, 2005, shortly before he rejected Ammann and Wahl.

The Coup at GRL

Later in the summer, I read in an article at Environmental Science & Technology here that the Jay Famiglietti, the editor-in-chief of GRL, had decided to personally assume control of this file. ES&T:

Famiglietti, editor-in-chief of GRL, says that because the McIntyre paper generated a total of four letters, an abnormally high number, he will personally supervise their acceptance. He says that the letters differ in their specific criticisms and adds that he is ignoring the political controversy and focusing on the science.

Notice the phrasing. At that time, two comments were in play and two were in the garbage can. The Huybers and von Storch comments were both proceeding nicely. There was no apparent reason to replace Saiers on the file. So why was there a coup at GRL?

The pennies began dropping towards the end of September. On Sept. 27, we received an email from GRL that the rejected Comment by Ritson had been pulled out of the garbage can, re-submitted and accepted. We were advised that we had 3 weeks to submit a Reply, if we wished to do so. We were thunderstruck to say the least. The Ritson Comment was goofy, as will become apparent. He seems to have no idea that MBH98 uses the hockey stick shaped PC series in a regression analysis and purports to show that the flawed MBH98 PC method has minimal impact on calculating the column mean of the data set as approximated by the first few PCs. It’s a goofy comment. My inclination right now is to write about a 500-word Reply. It’s hard to see why Famiglietti would break AGU Comment policies in order to pull the Ritson Comment out of the garbage can

Yet it had been sent out for review without notifying us, without an accompanying Reply, on and on, all in breach of the AGU Comment policy. Needless to say, we were irritated - not because of the Comment, we can live with that, but because of the GRL editor putting his hand on the scale"."

So you just CANNOT reject a pro-global-warming article. It MUST be accepted, no matter how poor it is scientifically. And it seems that the second rejected such article is now well on the way to acceptance too

More here


A small excerpt from here

Here's another brutal, honest fact about Kyoto: Before then-Vice President Al Gore left for the global-warming conference in 1997, the Senate told the Clinton administration, via a 95-0 vote, not to agree to a treaty that exempted developing nations. Gore ignored the Senate, which ultimately would have to ratify the treaty. No wonder then that Clinton, who did not take the opportunity last week to disagree with Blair, never asked the Senate to vote on Kyoto ratification while he was in office.

Of course Clinton stayed mum. He said he supported Kyoto, which would have made America reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 7 percent below 1990 level. Lo and behold, emissions were 14 percent higher than the 1990 level when Clinton left office in 2001.

While the left likes to fault Bush on Kyoto, even 2004 Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry said, if elected, he would not ask the Senate to ratify Kyoto. It should be noted that Kerry was one of the 95 senators who voted no before Gore left for the Kyoto conference. Be it also noted that there are those who criticize Bush for not giving lip service to Kyoto yet drive big SUVs. I do not write this to brand them as hypocrites -- but to point out that if the folks who believe global warming is a severe threat to the planet don't ride the bus, why would anyone else?

The enviros say that scientists are on their side. That's easy to say, as the left ignores scientists who aren't. The fact is, this is a highly political issue, and even scientists who want to go strictly by the data get sucked into the political vortex. Pro or con, they can't help but become partisans.


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 October, 2005


A NASA scientist has just reviewed the what the satellite data (Yes. Satellite data, not tales from Eskimos) show about the ice cover at the North and South poles. Here is his summary of the data:

"Global warming of about 0.5 to 1 oC during the last century has been observed from meteorological stations around the world and postulated to be caused in part by increasing anthropogenic greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The best regions for detecting the impact of such changes are the polar regions where the signals are supposed to be amplified because of ice-albedo feedbacks. Satellite data reveal that the most remarkable change in the polar regions is in the rapid decline of 9% per decade in the Arctic perennial ice cover which has been observed to be anomalously low in 2002, 2003 and 2004. The sea ice cover in the Bellingshaussen Sea has been observed to be retreating as well, at the rate of 6%/decade. The changes are more modest in the entire Northern Hemisphere with the ice declining at around 2 to 3% per decade only while that in the Southern Hemisphere has been basically constant during the last 25 years.

So if it is GLOBAL warming that is causing some shrinking of the NORTHERN icecap, how come nothing much is happening at the SOUTH pole?


When you stand at the gas pump and watch those numbers spin by so fast you can't read them keep in mind that the soaring price of gasoline is no accident - it is the work of a new fifth column. Back in the 30s and 40s people who aided and abetted the enemy were known as Fifth Columnists - a term coined during the Spanish Civil War when rebel sympathizers inside Madrid worked against their Soviet-backed enemy from within, while four columns of fellow rebels were attacking the city from outside.

For many years the United States has been the target of another brand of fifth columnists, covert Marxists who by their subversive activities, clothed in the mantle of citizens concerned with the environment, have played havoc with the economy of this nation and the freedoms of the American people. While their campaigns have for the most part been carried out in the open, their sinister motives and behind-the-scenes manipulations have been well hidden and can be discerned only by observing the damage they have done, such as ruinous hikes in the cost of gasoline and heating oil and the deliberately created scarcity of abundant energy resources.

This fifth column is rich and powerful. Just one environmental group, the Sierra Club, can boast of an annual budget of tens of millions of dollars and almost 600,000 members. Their political contributions reach into the millions. A Sierra Club attack on a Congressman's environmental voting record no matter how distorted can be a kiss of death. As a result when the Sierra Club talks, Congress listens - and acts. And another set of regulations ruinous to the economy and the individual freedom of Americans gets on the books.

And the Sierra Club is just one of the many so-called "Green" lobbying groups busy savaging the economy and putting shackles on ordinary Americans powerless to resist the flood of restrictions imposed on them from above by bureaucrats who are forced to comply with the thousands of regulations and laws affecting their agencies, that have been imposed on our national economy, affecting all the rest of us.

As Alan Caruba has observed "One of the first actions 'the government' took was the Environmental Protection Agency announcement that it was suspending the idiotic mandates requiring countless different formulations of gasoline, to insure that a sufficient supply was available nationwide. In one state after another, these mandates insure that different formulations are required in different areas of the same state." Those idiotic regulations are the result of the environmental fifth column's political clout.

To get to the heart of the matter it is important to understand what got us into this mess, and the part that the fifth column played in it. The sudden rise in the cost of oil which translated itself into pump prices was the application of the law of supply and demand - there are more and more consumers of petroleum without a corresponding increase in the supplies of black gold. The Chinese, for example have abandoned rickshaws in favor of gas guzzling automobiles and their demand for oil is getting astronomical.

That was bad enough, but along came Katrina and Rita both of which curtailed refining of crude oil supplies from here and abroad. That's the part of the story of our present situation. But it's only a tiny part of the energy crisis now afflicting the U.S.

Thanks to the environmental fifth column the United States has been unable to take advantage of its own crude oil supplies. Abundant supplies of crude oil beneath the U.S. mainland and offshore, locked in shale deposits, and in Alaska's North Slope remain untapped thanks to the environmentalists who have stopped development of our natural oil resources.

Given an abundant supply of crude oil however, we are still in trouble. Crude oil must be refined before it can become gasoline or fuel oil. Thanks to the fifth column, which has managed to have Congress and local governments impose crippling regulations on their construction and operations, we have not built a refinery in over 30 years and even if we cut all the red tape and start now with a crash program of refinery construction it will be years before they can come on line. In the meantime, gasoline and heating oil will be one of the biggest items on our household budgets.

The environmentalist lobbies and their Democrat and liberal allies keep chanting about the need for the development of new sources of energy while at the same time having done everything in their power for years to prevent the use of an alternative technology long available - nuclear energy. The electric power industry is one of the nation's prime consumers of petroleum - cut power plants out of the chain of petroleum consumers and the availability of gasoline and fuel oil increases by multiples that boggle the mind. And the more gasoline and fuel oil on the market, the cheaper it gets.

Nuclear power can do the trick. It's been there for decades - a resource spurned because of the scare tactics of the environmentalist fifth column - tactics that have created false alarms about the imaginary dangers posed by nuclear power plants. In 1954 the late Admiral Lewis Strauss said that atomic energy would make electricity "too cheap to meter." Providing that energy however, proved to be anything but cheap.

According to Tom Bethel in the September issue of the American Spectator, since 1979, no new nuclear facilities not already under order have been built. We had the magic wand for the energy crisis, and we simply threw it away....

The next time you stand at the pump and watch your hard earned dollars go gushing into your car's fuel tank, remember who did this to you. And this is hardly the least of the crimes committed by the environmental fifth column. In the name of the socialist doctrine they conceal within their breasts, they have imprisoned you and our fellow Americans in a web of destructive regulations that are slowly strangling out economy. And that's what they want. When the economy hits bottom, they have Karl Marx waiting in the wings to take charge.

More here


That’s the conclusion of Joe White, Detroit Bureau Chief for The Wall Street Journal, who looked into buying a Prius for his own daily driver. White was interviewed on NPR’s Morning Edition September 30.

White first looked at trading in his Subaru for a Prius, and found that at roughly $3 per gallon for gas, he wouldn’t recover his financing costs. Joe figured that at his annual mileage, he’d save about $746 a year in fuel costs, but it would take too long to recover the premium he’d pay for the hybrid.

Next he looked at the hypothetical situation of someone without a car looking to buy either a Honda Civic or the Prius. In this case, the fuel savings were roughly $506 per year, versus a purchase price difference of about $8,000. Without even considering cost-of-money issues, it would take nearly 16 years just to break even.

With the current tax deduction of $2,000 converting to a $2,000 tax credit January 1, which decreases every year thereafter, the government subsidies don’t make the switch economically feasible, either.

The bottom line? Unless gas prices go a lot higher, or the government increases hybrid subsidies, or both, buying a hybrid probably won’t save you money. Of course, there are the intangible but real benefits of reducing your personal environmental impact, but then you have to ask yourself if you’re really getting the biggest bang for your environmental investment.



When it comes to the Intelligent Design debate (and note that I myself am an atheist but I claim no virtue or superiority for that), the Left are vocal in claiming that they are the ones who are "scientific" and "reality-based". But that is just the usual insincere leftist posturing with no genuine committment behind it at all. As the following excerpt points out:

"Consider the environmentalist movement. Environmentalism is generally considered to be a scientific movement, its views based on facts discovered by climatologists and ecologists trying to understand nature. But the warnings and prescriptions issued by environmentalists are often anything but fact-based.

In 2004, the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment issued "Impacts of a Warming Arctic," a report that proclaimed, "Global warming could cause polar bears to go extinct by the end of the century by eroding the sea ice that sustains them." Yet the facts contained in the group's own report clearly disprove their claims: they show that the temperature fluctuations recorded by the group represent, not a continual warming trend, but the warming phase of a warming/cooling cycle; they show that these temperature fluctuations cannot be the result of increased manmade emissions of greenhouse gasses; they show that, at worst, human activity has caused a .6 degree Celsius rise in average global temperature since the start of the Industrial Revolution, even though average global temperatures can naturally fluctuate more than three degrees. To top it all off, the group's key finding clashes with all available evidence, which indicates that the population of polar bears has actually increased!

Such a massive departure from the truth cannot be the result of honest error--it can only be achieved by people who believe that misrepresenting the facts is a virtue when it serves a noble cause. Yet such is the mentality of the environmentalists, and while this case is striking, it is by no means unique. Whether the issue is global warming (or global cooling), DDT, acid rain, the depletion of the rainforests, or the Alar scare, every single environmental panic has been shown to be, if not completely baseless, then wildly exaggerated. "We have to offer up scary scenarios," said Stanford University Environmentalist Stephen Schneider, "make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we may have. Each of us has to decide the right balance between being effective and being right."

To be scientific demands more than a science degree. It means basing conclusions on facts rather than searching for (or creating) facts to confirm one's convictions. Yet despite environmentalism's consistent record of false predictions, faulty methods, and deceptive claims, the left continues to embrace the environmentalist cause.

The reason is obvious--the left isn't pro-science at all. No one is more explicit about this than the left itself, at least when they are speaking off the record, safely tucked away inside the walls of academia. In their book, Higher Superstition, Paul Gross and Norman Levitt catalogue the academic left's assault on science from all quarters of the social sciences: post-modernist, Marxist, feminist, multiculturalist, and, of course, environmentalist. Each of these schools, sometimes distinct from the others, sometimes not, has its own complaint about science. Science, say the post-modernists, is just our culture's particular faith, no better than any other culture's myths. Science, say the Marxists, "is really bourgeois' science." Science, say the feminists, "is poisoned and corrupted by an ineradicable gender bias." Science, say the multiculturalists, is "inherently inaccurate and incomplete by virtue of its failure to incorporate the full range of cultural perspectives." Science, say the environmentalists, embodies "the instrumentalism and alienation from direct experience of nature which are the twin sources of eventual (or imminent) ecological doomsday."....

To defend science, one must first defend man's mind. And if one wants to defend man's mind, one must replace the baseless acceptance of ideological dogma with a passionate, unwavering commitment to the truth. One must stop searching for facts to fit one's vision, and fix one's vision on the facts.

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

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

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


4 October, 2005


"The Independent" is a British Leftist newspaper (the only thing it is independent of is the truth) with some pretensions to being a "quality" paper. They must however have been losing market-share lately because they have descended into scare stories that differ from what you read in the tabloids only in their being much longer. Their last ecocatastrophe scare story so outraged the scientist that they were supposedly quoting that he vowed never to speak to them again. See my post of Oct 1st.

The last story must have been good for circulation, however, because they have now come up with another story of the same ilk that leaves no stone unturned in seeking out ecological disasters. Amusingly, one of the authors is an "Andrew Buncombe" (pronounced "bunkum") so I suppose that is fair warning.

To fisk the whole thing would be a labour of Hercules as they have managed to gather together almost every Greenie distortion there is. If anybody reading this does want to do a full fisking of it, however, I will be delighted to post it. I reproduce the opening salvo from the article below and follow it with a comment that shows just how much science it is based on:

"The polar bear is one of the natural world's most famous predators - the king of the Arctic wastelands. But, like its vast Arctic home, the polar bear is under unprecedented threat. Both are disappearing with alarming speed. Thinning ice and longer summers are destroying the bears' habitat, and as the ice floes shrink, the desperate animals are driven by starvation into human settlements - to be shot. Stranded polar bears are drowning in large numbers as they try to swim hundreds of miles to find increasingly scarce ice floes. Local hunters find their corpses floating on seas once coated in a thick skin of ice.

It is a phenomenon that frightens the native people that live around the Arctic. Many fear their children will never know the polar bear. "The ice is moving further and further north," said Charlie Johnson, 64, an Alaskan Nupiak from Nome, in the state's far west. "In the Bering Sea the ice leaves earlier and earlier. On the north slope, the ice is retreating as far as 300 or 400 miles offshore." Last year, hunters found half a dozen bears that had drowned about 200 miles north of Barrow, on Alaska's northern coast. "It seems they had tried to swim for shore ... A polar bear might be able to swim 100 miles but not 400."

His alarming testimony, given at a conference on global warming and native communities held in the Alaskan capital, Anchorage, last week, is just one story of the many changes happening across the globe. Climate change threatens the survival of thousands of species - a threat unparalleled since the last ice age, which ended some 10,000 years ago.

The vast majority, scientists will warn this week, are migratory animals - sperm whales, polar bears, gazelles, garden birds and turtles - whose survival depends on the intricate web of habitats, food supplies and weather conditions which, for some species, can stretch for 6,500 miles. Every link of that chain is slowly but perceptibly altering.

Europe's most senior ecologists and conservationists are meeting in Aviemore, in the Scottish Highlands, this week for a conference on the impact of climate change on migratory species, an event organised by the British government as part of its presidency of the European Union. It is a well-chosen location. Aviemore's major winter employer - skiing - is a victim of warmer winters. Ski slopes in the Cairngorms, which once had snow caps year round on the highest peaks, have recently been closed down when the winter snow failed. The snow bunting, ptarmigan and dotterel - some of Scotland's rarest birds - are also given little chance of survival as their harsh and marginal winter environments disappear.

A report being presented this week in Aviemore reveals this is a pattern being repeated around the world. In the sub-Arctic tundra,caribou are threatened by "multiple climate change impacts". Deeper snow at higher latitudes makes it harder for caribou herds to travel. Faster and more regular "freeze-thaw" cycles make it harder to dig out food under thick crusts of ice-covered snow. Wetter and warmer winters are cutting calving success, and increasing insect attacks and disease.

So after all that uncheckable anecdotal "evidence" from Eskimos etc. about polar bears dying out (no doubt stories mostly "suggested" by the "researchers" themselves), what do the scientific experts say? They say the opposite. Here's just one excerpt:

"The world's polar bear population is on the increase despite global warming, which scientists had believed was pushing the animal towards extinction. According to new research, the numbers of the giant predator have grown by between 15 and 25 per cent over the last decade. Some authorities on Arctic wildlife even claim that hunting, and not global warming, has been the real cause of the decrease in polar bear numbers in areas where the species is in decline.

A leading Canadian authority on polar bears, Mitch Taylor, said: "We're seeing an increase in bears that's really unprecedented, and in places where we're seeing a decrease in the population it's from hunting, not from climate change." Mr Taylor estimates that during the past decade, the Canadian polar bear population has increased by 25 per cent - from 12,000 to 15,000 bears. He even suggests that global warming could actually be good for the bears, and warns that the ever-increasing proximity of the animals to local communities could mean that a cull will be required sooner rather that later if bear numbers are to be kept under control.

In the northern territories, where temperatures have risen an average of four degrees since 1950, wildlife experts such as Mr Taylor say the bears have never been healthier or more plentiful.

The findings fly directly in the face of recent warnings from the scientific community on the demise of the species, with the Canadian World Wildlife Fund currently speculating that the last polar bear could vanish from the earth within 100 years. The WWF website states: "By 2100, there may be no ice left in the Arctic in the summer. That means no polar bears. Global warming - caused by fossil fuels - is to blame."

Like the Fascists of old, Greenies just want to take over and they will lie and cheat to achieve that.


If it's any gas we should be worrying about it's methane, not CO2. Methane is much more potent as a greenhouse gas than CO2 and there is heaps of it being produced

The world may not end with a bang or even a whimper - just a burp. This is the worrying scenario sketched by a French expert, who has discovered that the world's cattle are huge contributors to global warming because of the methane emitted by their belches. The bovine role in TEOTWAWKI (The End of the World As We Know It) scenarios has so far remained remote. Until now, the spotlight has been on cars, trucks, power stations and factories that burn fossil fuels and spew out gigatons of carbon dioxide (CO2), the principal greenhouse gas.

But, according to a researcher at the Climate Mission at the Caisse des Depots, a French state-owned bank, farm animals must also shoulder some of the blame. France's 20 million cows account for an astonishing 6.5% of national greenhouse-gas emissions, according to his estimates. Each year, their belches send 26 million tons of these gases into the atmosphere. Their faeces - "dejection bovine", to use the poetic-sounding French phrase - account for another 12 million tons. Compare that with the 12 million tons of gas emitted by French oil refineries, demonised by greenies as climate-killers.

Nor is bovine gas just any old gas. It comprises methane and nitrous oxide, which volume-for-volume are 21 and 310 times more effective at trapping solar heat respectively than boring CO2. By itself, methane is to blame for a fifth of the man-made greenhouse effect of the past 200 years.

The good news is that, when it comes to cow farting, we can all breathe a little easier. "Bovine flatulence plays a negligible role in global warming," is the prim assessment of researcher Benoit Leguet. His work seems offbeat, but its purpose is serious - to pinpoint major sources of greenhouse gas that have escaped notice simply because climatology is such a young science.

Agriculture and forestry have long been identified as major factors in the greenhouse debate, both as contributors to and mitigators of the problem. But accurate data is sparse, and this has made political decisions extraordinarily difficult. France has the biggest agricultural economy in the European Union. Other countries that have big bovine populations include the United States, Argentina and Australia, and these too are likely to be interested in the figures.

Higher-protein fodder or feed as soya can reduce the gastric fermentation that produces these gases, and faecal waste can be put in a closed silo that traps the methane, which can then burned as a biofuel. Australian scientists are trying a pharmaceutical approach. A prototype vaccine against three species of microbe that produce methane in sheep's stomachs reduced methane belches by eight percent in a 13-hour test. The scientists, from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CISRO), believe they can tweak the vaccine so that it combats more of the remaining methane-inducing germs.


All the signs of full-blown Mother Earthism

Spending trillions of dollars to possibly lower the planet's temperature is madness, writes Bob Carter. Carter, a research professor at James Cook University, is an experienced environmental scientist

Many Australians are worried, rightly, by the possibility that avian flu might infect the nation. They should be just as concerned about the disease of Mother Earthism which has reached our shores, and is now approaching epidemic status. One of its most virulent strains is called Hansenism, after James Hansen, the high-profile NASA scientist who started the global warming scare campaign running back in 1988.

These diseases attack persons who venture public opinions on matters of environmental concern. Its most recent manifestation is in two alarmist books on climate change by popular science writers Ian Lowe ( Living in the Hothouse) and Tim Flannery ( The Weather Makers).

Mother Earthism has complex symptoms. Foremost is a touching belief in the Garden of Eden, the halcyon state of the Earth in times before the wicked Industrial Revolution. This balmy, and barmy, garden existed in a state of existential ecological balance, within an unchanging, benign environment. The roots of its philosophical trees lie with Rousseau, and those who tend these trees deny the dynamic, ever-changing character of our planet, its biota, and its climate.

Secondary symptoms of Mother Earthism include: appeal to authority rather than explanation or discussion of the science; false claims of consensus among scientists; cherry-picking of research and opinions which support a desired world view; guilt-by-association smearing and vilification of those who hold alternative views; the erection of conspiracy theories about improper industry influence; endless repetition of inaccuracies, or facts out of context; a preference for computer model predictions over real world measurements; recourse to the intellectually vapid precautionary principle; the exploitation of guilt among ordinary citizens; and, above all, an unwavering alarmism that the world is going to hell in a handbasket - and it's all our fault.

The biggest serpent in this Garden of Eden is alleged to be carbon dioxide, and we must give up our fix. Why? Because it's causing global warming, silly. And so it is. The Earth's comfortable (for us) average temperature of about 15C is maintained that way by the atmosphere. The presence of small amounts of water vapour, carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide - the "greenhouse gases" which absorb Earth's outgoing heat radiation and re-emit some of it downwards - causes warming. Most of the total warming of 33 degrees is caused by water vapour (more than 30 degrees), carbon dioxide contributing only about 1.2 degrees worth. And of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, just 3per cent comes from human sources, which equates to a warming effect of about four-hundredths of a degree.

Against this, computer models suggest that a further human-caused increase in temperature of perhaps two-tenths of a degree might be averted. To crucify the world's industrialised economies by spending trillions of dollars for a possible temperature drop of 0.20 defies comprehension. The hairshirt policy exemplified by the Kyoto accord is a classic non-solution to a non-problem.

As Flannery points out in a different context in his book, the individual members of the public can exert influence by witholding their memberships and donations from the organisations (including especially green groups) responsible for spreading the disease, and by not buying alarmist books. The Government could do its bit by dis-establishing the professional greenhouse lobby groups that now dominate its own environmental and energy policy bureaucracies.

A goal to "stabilise world climate" is misplaced, not to mention unattainable. Climate is a dynamic system within which extreme events and dramatic changes will always occur, irrespective of human actions or preferences. Witness hurricanes Katrina and Rita. As for other major natural disasters, the appropriate preparation for extreme climate events is to mitigate and manage the negative effects when they occur. Climate impacts are generally slower to appear than those of other "instantaneous" disasters like earthquakes, tsunami, storms, volcanic eruptions, landslides or bushfires. This difference is not one of kind, and neither should be our response plans.

Needed is more research, together with the preparation of response plans for climatic coolings and warmings. Not needed is more futile feelgoodery espoused by those infected with the Mother Earthism syndrome.


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 October, 2005


And proposed by none other than Bob Hawke, a former long-serving Australian Labor Party (Leftist) Prime Minister. Needless to say, the Greenies are going off their brains over it. A recent report below. Note that Australia has been a major uranium exporter under governments of all stripes. It might also be noted that Mr Hawke is a very smart man -- a former Rhodes scholar with a degree in economics:

"Former Labor prime minister Bob Hawke's suggestion that Australia should promote itself as a place to store the world's nuclear waste is sensible and responsible, says a nuclear expert. In a speech to Oxford University graduates in Sydney last night, Mr Hawke said Australia should accept responsibility for storing other countries' nuclear waste.

Associate Professor Bob Hunter, the national president of Scientists for Global Responsibility, today said the idea of a nuclear repository in Australia would be difficult to advance but was based on sound reasoning. "In terms of Australia's future economic potential - and that's what Bob Hawke was talking about - it makes quite a bit of sense," Prof Hunter said. "We've depended ... on digging things up and sending them somewhere else. "Having control of that process (of the use of exported uranium) and requiring that the spent fuel be returned to Australia is quite responsible. "In a moral world, we would be required to do so. If we're going to make noises about these things being so dangerous, an obvious option is to take control of the whole process and store it here."

He agreed with claims by Mr Hawke that Australia has the safest places in the world to store nuclear waste. "Australia and Canada are the two most likely spots," Prof Hunter said. "Canada has a problem in that theirs is a wet environment ... whereas ours is desert and so I would say in that sense it would seem likely his statement is correct."

Mr Hawke also suggested Australia would reap an economic windfall from accepting nuclear waste, and could spend the money on environmental programs. Prof Hunter said the costs of establishing a nuclear-waste storage facility would be high. But he said a repository may only need to be a "cube" of 10 metres by 10 metres in a geologically stable underground site. Prof Hunter said Australian agriculture was finding it difficult to compete in the global market and the government needed to consider how to "value-add" to other exports, such as uranium.


Dumping irrational fears

Andrew Bolt thinks Australia is the hope of the world in nuclear waste disposal:

We need to dig this hi-tech dump of Bob Hawke's, and not just to bury nuclear waste. We need it also to bury the green unreason which has held up great ideas like this for far too long. Hear it already, the hyperventilating over this suggestion from the former Labor prime minister for a nuclear waste dump that would be worth billions. But enough, please. Green myths have too often won out over science and it's already cost us a fortune.

Where do we even start to count these losses? With, say, genetically modified food crops? Why not? Scientists agree GM crops such as canola are safe and useful. Our Gene Technology Regulator approved GM canola for use. Yet, spooked by nothing more than green believers and their technophobic dupes in the media, our state governments have banned them. Result? We're losing so many sales to GM-hip countries such as Canada that the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics this month warned these bans may cost us $3 billion over 10 years. That's gold-plated idiocy.

Or take this green superstition that we can stop global warming with wind farms. So we build huge windmills in our loveliest spots to grind out power at twice the price, but with no effect on the weather that any instrument can detect. Keep counting. Figure how much we'll pay for our failure to build the dams we need, thanks to politicians too scared to "steal" water from rivers to give to nasty humans.

Or figure, as uranium prices soar, what we've lost in sales by stopping more than three uranium mines from opening, to placate earth worshippers who think nuclear power is a crime against Nature. Keep counting. Add the millions we'll spend on taking scarce water from farmers to send it instead down the Murray to "save" the river from "dying" -- when the water in fact is as sweet now as it was 60 years ago. So deep does this new unreason run that Victoria University even offers a Bachelor of Science degree for quack non-science cures such as homeopathy (see below). Are we crazy?

Why have scientists taken this assault on their traditions so meekly? Why hasn't the Australian Academy of Science fought this rising superstition? Where has anyone been who claims to value reason? Well, it's time to fight back. Let this battle over the nuclear waste site be the Waterloo of the greens. The plan pushed this week by Hawke is not new, of course. Pangea, an international company, proposed the very same thing in 1999, figuring a waste facility would earn an astonishing $2 billion a year. Judged on the science alone, it made sense -- and still does. Around the globe, 440 nuclear reactors pump out almost a fifth of the world's electricity -- but also around 12,000 tonnes a year of nuclear waste. But no country has yet built a permanent high-level waste facility, and for 40 years spent nuclear fuel has been left at temporary sites.

THAT'S unsafe. That's also a hell of a business opportunity, with $1 million a tonne on offer to bury this stuff. As Pangea said, no one is better placed than we are to take advantage. The reason is that to store this waste safely you need a big stretch of flat land with dense rock that's been geologically stable for hundreds of millions of years. That land must also get little rain, have little ground water to disturb the waste and have nothing around that's likely to be needed for a long time. Four places fit the bill -- China's Terim Basin, southern Argentina, southern Africa and desert Australia.

But wait. Do you trust China to handle nuclear waste well? South Africa? That leaves us -- the hope of the world. The country with the place, talent and trustworthiness to handle such a vital and delicate job. .....

ENOUGH. It's time for scientists to defend good science. Time to listen to experts with answers, not mystics with vibes. Time to defend the reason that has made us rich. Time to bury the superstitions that will make us poor. You see, there aren't that many Australians and our country is not so very rich in nature's gifts, whatever our anthem says. The edge we have on the rest of the world is our brains. If we stop thinking rationally, we won't even have that. The green mystics must be defied and reason must again rule. This dump is our test. Let's start digging.


Jack Wheeler gets pretty scathing about Greenies and Martians. Some excerpts:

It was to be expected that in response to NASA releasing satellite photos this week showing that the ice caps on Mars have been retreating several feet per year for some time now, former vice-president Al Gore claimed this was "the inevitable result of George Bush's disastrous environmental policies and his unconscionable failure to sign the Kyoto Global Warming Treaty."

At a joint press conference held with Mr. Gore, Democrat Congressman Charlie Rangel (D-NY) denounced the warming of Mars as "demonstrating once again George Bush's racism - Mr. Bush cares as little for the well-being of Martians as he does about African-Americans."

Democrats and enviro-loonies on space patrol aside, serious people here on earth know the NASA announcement dealt a major blow to the theory of Man-Made Global Warming (MMGW). Here's another:

Take a close look at this rock and you'll see it's a fossil: it bears the imprint of a leaf. The leaf is 50 million years old and is from Axel Heiberg Island in the High Arctic of Canada, 600 miles from the North Pole. It was given to me by a scientist working there while I was on one of my North Pole expeditions.

He explained that 50 million years ago the Arctic Ocean was warm - not just ice free, warm. The weather back then on Axel Heiberg, which is far more north than all of Siberia, was like Florida is today - with forests, including huge redwood trees, and lots of animals like alligators and turtles.

The entire earth was warm during this period known as the Eocene, which lasted some 22 million years (55-33 mya, million years ago). Al Gore probably thinks George Bush and SUVs are responsible. Clearly, according to Gore's way of "thinking," they also caused the Medieval Climactic Optimum between 1000 and 1300 AD, when farmers grew wine grapes in northern England and raised sheep and dairy cattle in Greenland.....

What the eco-fascists are most desperate to deny is that however much "global warming" is taking place, it's caused by the sun and not us. Yet the single most established correlation between earth temperatures and anything else is with sunspots. The correlation goes back over 400 years when we first got telescopes to see the sun: When sunspot activity dropped ending the Medieval Optimum, global temperatures plunged into a Little Ice Age when the Thames River in London would freeze solid. They plunged in tandem again when Charles Dickens was a young boy, so he recalled London snowstorms for his "Christmas Carol."

For 500 years, from 1400 to 1900, the northern hemisphere was cooler than average 20th century temperatures. We're finally getting back to normal with more solar activity:.....


Those prehistoric SUVs and power stations at work again! Below is the abstract from "Annals of Glaciology", Volume 35, Number 1, 1 January 2002, pp. 19-24(6)

Ice-core evidence for widespread Arctic glacier retreat in the Last Interglacial and the early Holocene

by Roy M. Koerner; David A. Fisher.

"An early study of the various components of the Greenland, Antarctic and Canadian Arctic ice-cap cores (Koerner,1989) suggested that during the last interglacial period, the Greenland ice sheet suffered massive retreat and Canadian ice caps melted completely. Since then, modeling has helped support this interpretation (Cuffey and Marshall, 2000). Ice-core records of stable isotopes, melt layering and chemistry from the same Canadian ice cores, and others from the Russian Arctic islands, Svalbard and Greenland are presented as evidence for a more modest, but still substantial, retreat in the early Holocene. The sections representing the first half of the Holocene in many cores have less negative delta 18O values (delta values) and a higher percentage of melt layers than recently deposited ice, suggesting that temperatures were 1.3-3.5øC warmer than today. Given that glacier balances are slightly negative today, they must have been substantially more negative during the early-Holocene thermal maximum, leading to retreat of the circumpolar ice caps. Evidence is presented to suggest that, with the exception of Academii Nauk ice cap, the ice in the Russian Arctic islands and Svalbard must have almost disappeared. In the Canadian Arctic, the larger Canadian ice caps retreated but survived. The cooling trend that followed this thermal maximum promoted re-expansion and new growth of most of the ice caps in the Russian Arctic islands and Svalbard".


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 October, 2005

'Eco-Terrorism' Advocate's Speech Sponsored with Taxpayer dollars

An Ohio taxpayers' group is appealing to the publicly funded Ohio University to repeal its sponsorship of an environmental activism conference that is hosting an outspoken supporter of "eco-terrorism." Two departments at the university are co-sponsoring the Buckeye Forest Council's conference, "Defending the Earth in Times of War." The keynote speaker on Saturday is Derrick Jensen, an author and activist who has advocated the tactics used by groups like the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) to disrupt industries that profit from the environment.

"Our problem is that Ohio University, which is funded with public dollars, taxpayer dollars, is a sponsor of this program," said Ohio Taxpayers Association director Scott Pullins. "We don't think our taxpayer dollars should be used to subsidize folks that advocate violence."

Connie Pollard, the administrator of the Department of Environmental and Plant Biology at Ohio University, told Cybercast News Service that her department made a "modest" contribution to the conference, but declined to give the exact amount. The university's Environmental Studies department is also listed as a co-sponsor. In exchange for the donation, Pollard said, the department sent a student to the conference free of charge. Ohio University students will also be able to attend Saturday's keynote address without registering for the conference, which normally costs $25. Buckeye Forest Council Executive Director Susan Heitker also declined to give the exact amount of the sponsorship, but told Cybercast News Service that sponsors must donate at least $250 in order to send a representative to the conference for free.

Jensen explained his feelings in a 1998 essay titled "Actions Speak Louder than Words." "Every morning when I awake, I ask myself whether I should write or blow up a dam. I tell myself I should keep writing, though I'm not sure that's right," Jensen wrote. He compared the unwillingness of environmentalists to act violently to the "striking blindness" of German resistance to Hitler from 1933 to 1945 and compared acts of violence to "the honeybee stinging to defend her hive; it's the mother grizzly charging a train to defend her cubs." In an undated interview with the militant animal liberation magazine, No Compromise, Jensen said his goal was "to bring down civilization." He said he "fully support[s]" groups like the ELF that blow up dams, set fire to SUV dealerships and hack computer systems.

The FBI's domestic terrorism section chief, James Jarboe, called the ELF "a serious terrorist threat" in 2002 congressional testimony. He told the House Resources Committee that ELF and its animal rights counterpart, the Animal Liberation Front, were responsible for more than 600 criminal acts since 1996, amounting to more than $43 million in damage.

"Free speech only extends until someone's hurt," Pullins said. "We can't yell 'fire' in a crowded theatre, we can't encourage crowds to beat and maim people and we can't advocate the blowing up of dams and other things." Pullins added that college campuses are "a hotbed of liberal activism and that's fine, but in cases of where they're supporting the advocacy of violence, we're going to try to prevent that." Pullins told Cybercast News Service that the university was aware of his group's concerns, but Pollard said she had not heard of any concerns and seemed to be unaware of Jensen's connections to eco-terrorists. "I will look into this," she said. "I don't feel comfortable saying anything more. I think I'll just look into it on my end because this is the first I've heard of it."

Heitker, of the Buckeye Forest Council, said she sees no problem with the university departments co-sponsoring the conference because it is "an educational event." She said taxpayers fund universities because they are educational institutions and "part of being an educational institution is about learning and discussion." She told Cybercast News Service that Jensen will be addressing how environmentalists can protect the environment when much of the nation's focus is on international affairs such as the war in Iraq. "That is what we presented to the university and that is what these departments at the university are co-sponsoring," Heitker said.

Jensen will not be talking about blowing up dams and setting fires to SUV dealerships, Heitker insisted. "As far as the Buckeye Forest Council, we don't condone violence but we do believe in free speech," she said. [Try saying that homosexuals are agents of the Devil and see how much free speech she believes in!]



Increased output from the Sun might be to blame for 10 to 30 percent of global warming that has been measured in the past 20 years, according to a new report. Increased emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases still play a role, the scientists say. But climate models of global warming should be corrected [Heresy!] to better account for changes in solar activity, according to Nicola Scafetta and Bruce West of Duke University. The findings were published online this week by the journal Geophysical Research Letters. Scientists agree the planet is warming. Effects are evident in melting glaciers and reductions in the amount of frozen ground around the planet.

The new study is based in part on Columbia University research from 2003 in which scientists found errors in how data on solar brightness is interpreted. A gap in data, owing to satellites not being deployed after the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster, were filled by less accurate data from other satellites, Scafetta says. The Duke analyses examined solar changes over 22 years versus 11 years used in previous studies. The cooling effect of volcanoes and cyclical shifts in ocean currents can have a greater negative impact on the accuracy of shorter data periods. "The Sun may have minimally contributed about 10 to 30 percent of the 1980-2002 global surface warming," the researchers said in a statement today.

Many questions remain, however. For example, scientists do not have a good grasp [So who cares? It's ACTION that matters! Mussolini said the same in the 1920s] of how much Earth absorbs or reflects sunlight. "We don't know what the Sun will do in the future," Scafetta says. "For now, if our analysis is correct, I think it is important to correct the climate models so that they include reliable sensitivity to solar activity. Once that is done, then it will be possible to better understand what has happened during the past hundred years."



This time in New Zealand. Apparently selling apples is bad. Yep. You've got it: Selling apples is bad

New Zealand apple growers say they are outraged over remarks made by Green co-leader Rod Donald on a recent visit to Australia. They say the remarks should eliminate the Greens as possible coalition partners in any government. According to the Apple Growers Action Group, on a visit to Australia before New Zealand’s election Mr Donald stated that he was opposed to apple and potato exports to Australia from New Zealand “on the basis that they should be consumed locally." He also said he wanted to see an end to products crossing the Tasman which can be grown locally, such as dairy foods, the growers association said.

The association has waged a long-standing battle, supported to at least some extent by the Labour government, to gain access to Austalian markets. Association spokesperson and grower Phil Alison said he was "staggered at the naivety of Mr Donald’s suggestion," pointing out that New Zealand is a primary producing nation that is dependant on export earnings. “The New Zealand Apple Industry generates about half a billion dollars of export earnings and produces too many apples for local consumption even though we have one of the highest consumption rates of apples in the world,” he said. “Under the Green’s policy how would New Zealand afford to pay for imported items that it does not grow or manufacture itself? “Mr Donald is a senior politician who has been in parliament for a number of years. To come out with this is astounding – particularly when he was in Australia at the time. “The Greens have never supported our Australian apple access campaign and are now undermining it. “I find it alarming that the Greens party and their policies may be associated with a new coalition government of New Zealand.

More here


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

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

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


1 October, 2005


There has been a lot of press in recent days about the Arctic icecap having recently shrunk drastically -- and that naughty anthropogenic global warming is to blame of course. One of the more sober accounts of the matter is here, where appropriate doubts about what it all means are included. The original sensationalist article, however, appears to have been by Steve Connor in "The Independent" (sometimes known to conservatives as "The Subservient").

The simplest answer to the scare by far is to ask: "If it's all mankind's fault, how come the Northern icecap on Mars is melting too?" There must be a lot of Martians up there after all -- all driving around in SUVs and relying on coal-fired electricity generating stations!

But anyway, let's not be too satirical and look a bit more closely at the whole thing. The lead scientist in the study concerned was Mark Serreze and he has distanced himself from all the sensationalism. With Mark Serreze's approval, Roger Pielke has reproduced his response, dated September 19, 2005, with respect to "The Independent" news article. This response was sent to a mail group that questioned the article (

"Folks: I need to bring your attention to several key points regarding the article. Mr. Connor, who wrote the Article in the "Independent" has jumped the gun. My quotes stemmed from interviews back in mid-late August. They arose from an EOS article that I co-authored with Jonathan Overpeck and others. Mr. Connor's article indicates that there will be a press release on September 20. There is no such release planned for that date. Apparently, he misconstrued statements from one of my colleagues. We are assembling a series of "talking points" regarding 2005 sea ice conditions, but this will only be released when all the facts are in.

John: According to our calculations, sea ice was still declining as of last Friday (see This is based on AMSR data. I think the Univ. IL information is based on SSM/I, but I'm not sure. Will 2005 be a record? I don't know. I know it will be close one way or the other. We'll know in a couple of weeks. And as part of this investigation, we need to address discrepancies with the Univ. IL data.

Mr. Connor seems to have taken a wild guess that we will have a new record minimum. Maybe he will be right. The numbers that he quotes were apparently taken from the web site listed above, but they are based on incomplete information. We are tracking sea ice conditions closely, but as stated, we don't yet know how 2005 will stand in comparison to other years. If it is a record, we will certainly let this be known.

In conclusion, Mr. Connor has "jumped the gun." I am firmly convinced that at least part of what we are seeing in the Arctic is due to human influences. However, sensationalist articles like Mr. Connor's only serve to further polarize what is already a very polarized issue. As I have reported in a number of peer reviewed articles, climate change is a complicated issue.

As my colleague Dr. Polyakov has frequently pointed out, the Arctic is home to large natural fluctuations in climate. I feel "ambushed" by Mr. Connor's article. I will make no further responses on this issue until the final numbers are in. And I will certainly not be talking with Mr. Connor.

In other words, Serreze has rightly said that it is only his belief that the shrinkage is human-caused and has also said that there are competing explanations. I doubt that there is a lot of point in my saying much further but because it does not seem to be available in English elsewhere, I reproduce below a translated excerpt from Die Welt (issue of 6 March 2005), a major German newspaper, on the subject. The title of the article is "Die Eisdecke der Antarktis waechst" ("The icecap of the Antarctic is growing"):

"The West Antarctic peninsula only covers one tenth of the south pole's ice. There are rarely spectacular reports about the much larger parts of the continent. These do not provide a uniform scientific picture. In total, however, the ice masses of the continent, which hold about 70 per cent of the world's fresh water resources, seem to be growing. This conclusion was reported at the Earth Observation summit in Brussels in the middle of February by Antarctic researcher Duncan Wingham (University College London).

Wingham presented new satellite data which show that the Antarctic ice cover is getting thicker. "To claim that the ice sheets are melting is rather daring," Wingham said in an interview with Die Welt. Wingham presented radar measurements taken by the European satellites ERS-2 and Envisat, whose altimeter exactly measures elevations on the earth's surface down to two centimeters by means of electromagnetic wave pulses. This way, changes of the ice cover can be identified over many years. Soon, even more precise measurements will be possible once the European satellite Cryo Sat is going to be launched later in June. Orbiting the polar regions, Cryo Sat will take exact measurements (at the millimeter level) for at least three years of the ice thicknesses on both the mainland and the sea at both poles. At a conference in Frascati next week, these operations are going to be prepared.

However, whether Cryo Sat's measurements will be abale to clarify how the ice cover of the Antarctic thick (which is up 4770 meters thick) will evolve in the future, remains questionable. Systematic climate research has been going on for some 30 years on the seventh continent - with contradictory findings: the climate of the Antarctic is complex. A temperature rise over the western peninsula has coincided with a cooling of the south part of the continent. And even in the west the ice cover has been growing. Standard explanations claim that a slight warming will lead to intensified snow whenever it freezes. A global temperature rise could possibly lead to the thickening of the Antarctic ice cover altogether. In any case, the doomsday scenario of an Antarctic meltdown - and consequently a rise in sea level of up to 60 meters - seems rater unrealistically".

So if the Arctic is shrinking and the Antarctic is growing, where does that leave global warming? Nowhere that I can see. The German article quotes Wingham extensively. You can find another suitably cautious interview with Wingham here (in English). And there is a BIG article here (under the heading: "Arctic Temperature Trends -- Summary") setting out the evidence that the current Arctic shrinkage is well within the range of past natural fluctuations. [That last site I linked to is a bit pesky. They default you to their front page so you may have to click the link given here twice to get to the actual article].

I may put up some more on this subject tomorrow.


Read the abstract below from this paper:

"The oceans are becoming more acidic due to absorption of anthropogenic carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The impact of ocean acidification on marine ecosystems is unclear, but it will likely depend on species adaptability and the rate of change of seawater pH relative to its natural variability. To constrain the natural variability in reef-water pH, we measured boron isotopic compositions in a roughly 300-year-old massive Porites coral from the southwestern Pacific. Large variations in pH are found over roughly 50-year cycles that covary with the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation of ocean-atmosphere anomalies, suggesting that natural pH cycles can modulate the impact of ocean acidification on coral reef ecosystems.

There's no mistaking the belief system in the first sentence of that is there? But what they then go on to show thoroughly undermines that belief system. They show that ocean acidity varies naturally over roughly 50 year cycles. So how do we know that ANY variation in acidity we observe is not part of a natural process? Or are they asserting that the only cycles which exist are ones that have been observable over the last 300 years? What utter rubbish you read in scientific journals sometimes! I used to publish critiques of some of the rubbish once but occasional comments on my blogs are all I rise to these days.

I do however know from long experience how journal editors can mangle articles so I am going to give the authors some benefit of the doubt and assume that they originally started out their abstract with the words: "There is reason to believe that ... " or some such. Given the well-known biases of editors at Science (See for instance here and the fourth article down here), I would be perfectly willing to believe that it was one of them who excised the proper qualification to the initial statement.

Speaking of unscientific biases among editors of allegedly scientific journals, I recently put up on Tongue-Tied a pretty swingeing criticism of Leftist bias in one of the editors of Nature. I immediately emailed the link to his agent but I have not heard a squeak out of him in reply. I wonder why?

Carles Pelejero, Malcolm T. McCulloch, John F. Marshall, Michael K. Gagan, Janice M. Lough, Bradley N. Opdyke (2005) "Preindustrial to Modern Interdecadal Variability in Coral Reef pH" Science, Vol 309, Issue 5744, 2204-2207.


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

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

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