Tracking the politics of fear....  

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31 January, 2005

Louis Hissink has just put up such a comprehensive debunking of Greenie myths that it would be superfluous of me to post anything today. Go read Louis. I may expand on some of the points he makes later.

30 January, 2005


How serious scientists could have overlooked the obvious here is beyond me. I think it shows what ideologues many scientists are. See if you can spot the fallacy:

A toxic chemical used to prevent barnacles from clinging to ship hulls may cause deafness in marine mammals and could lead whales to beach themselves, Yale researchers say. The hearing loss would be the latest environmental hazard linked to TBT, a chemical already known to be harmful to some aquatic life. TBT is banned in many countries but is still widely used. Yale researchers based their theory on a study of guinea pigs, because mammals have similar ear structure.

Since many marine mammals use sonar to get around, "it's possible this could be contributing to whales and dolphins beaching and hitting ships," said Joseph Santos-Sacchi, professor of surgery and neurobiology at Yale School of Medicine. "I think it's a reasonable hypothesis that this could possibly be happening," said Theo Colborn, a senior fellow at the World Wildlife Fund who has studied TBT but was not involved in the Yale research. "It sounds very logical."

Many scientists also believe the beaching of whales occurs for non-chemical reasons ó primarily the Navy's use of sonar. The Yale study will be published in the Biophysical Journal in March.

The generalization from guinea pigs to whales sure gives it away. In the ocean ANY chemical would be diluted away to NOTHING!

More here

Man-Made Global Warming Hoax

Global warming is a hoax, invented in 1988, that combines old myths including limits to growth, sustainability, the population growth time bomb, the depletion of resources, pollution, anti-Americanism and anti-corporate sentiment and, of all things, fear of an ice age. Those that espoused and supported the old myths have joined forced into a new group called "Environmentalists."

Most environmentalists have no technical or scientific credentials whatsoever. What they have are major news outlets ready and willing to publicize their every utterance regardless of whether or not they are backed up by scientific proof. Atmospheric science requires highly technical knowledge and skills, not possessed by the vast majority of the so-called environmentalists, who yet feel qualified to demand that human activity subjugate itself to the whims of their new deity, Mother Nature.

Environmentalists claim that the Earth's atmosphere is getting hotter. They claim that the polar icecaps and glaciers will melt and sea levels will rise over two hundred feet, flooding most coastal cities. They claim that many areas of the Earth will turn into deserts. They make all these claims but cannot substantiate them with real scientific evidence. Parts of the polar icecap and glaciers are melting but other areas of the polar icecaps and glaciers are thickening. The environmentalists base their "proof" of the existence of global warming on the melting areas but are strangely silent, even militant to the point of violence, if anyone mentions the areas that are thickening, and those thickening areas are many.

In the past, there have been many times when the global mean temperatures were warmer, sometimes much warmer and colder, much colder than they are now. Global mean temperatures are cyclical with the seasons but also with other normal cycles, as they have been for the entire history of the Earth. Scientific data from ice cores, tree rings and other indicators of global mean temperatures prove this. Human activity has never been the cause of these global temperature swings as the "global warming" advocates claim. If human activity was the cause, where were the SUVs, the power plants and industries in our historical past? They did not exist. If human activity was not the cause of these global temperature swings, what was?

The energy output of the Sun is far greater in one second than human activity could produce in a million years. The Earth rotates around the Sun. Its orbit is slightly elliptical. The energy reaching the Earth from the Sun varies slightly as the distance from the Sun to the Earth varies due to its elliptical orbit. The Sun activity increases and decreases with fluctuations in the solar flares emitted by the Sun. Differences in these fluctuation rates cause increases and decreases of solar energy hitting the Earth. This causes fluctuations in the global mean temperature of the Earth's atmosphere.

In 2004, the energy from massive solar flares bombarded the Earth with solar energy. This solar energy caused heating of the Earth's surface and atmosphere. Most of the energy of the solar flare eruptions dissipated into space. The amounts of energy ejected were massive, much greater than normal. Had the Earth received a full blast of the solar energy from one of the numerous flare eruptions in 2004, the consequences to life on Earth could have been disastrous. The higher than usual amounts of energy that struck the Earth's atmosphere did have their effects, however, including some heating of the atmosphere.

Then there is the eruption of volcanoes, such as Mt. St. Helens, ejecting dust and ash into the Earth's atmosphere. The amount of dust and ash in the atmosphere varies the amount of energy that can cause heating or cooling of the Earth's atmosphere. Volcanoes also eject the kind of compounds that environmentalists call greenhouse gases. A single eruption the size of the Mt. St. Helens eruption released more of these gases, dust and ash into the atmosphere than all such emissions by human activity since the beginning of recorded human history. And there are numerous volcanic eruptions yearly.

The oceans are also a major source of greenhouse gases, as are trees. Trees and other vegetation take in carbon dioxide and give off other gases such as methane, a major greenhouse gas, and a host of other compounds, many of which are also greenhouse gases. Decaying vegetation also gives off methane gas. Studies of smog in the Los Angeles basin indicate that over 90% of the smog is generated by the vegetation in the area. To aid in perpetuating the hoax, however, environmentalists, aided by major news media outlets, censored and suppressed this study.

Studies have shown that greenhouse gases produced by human activity accounts for around 1 percent of the gases in the atmosphere. The total elimination of human generated greenhouse gases would have a negligible effect on Earth's global mean atmospheric temperatures. The elimination of all U.S. gasoline powered vehicles would reduce worldwide "greenhouse" emissions by less than 0.2%." What would be the effect on global mean temperatures? None. Doubling of manmade greenhouse emissions above current levels would increase the global mean temperature by one degree Centigrade, which is within the normal range of temperature swings.

It is the fluctuations of the Earth's orbit around the sun, volcanic eruptions, the emission of gases by oceans and trees, all natural occurrences, that cause rises and declines in global mean temperatures, i.e., "global warming" and "global cooling," not human activity.

Satellite data taken over the past 25 years indicate no surface or atmospheric warming. If anything there has been a very slight cooling, on the order of 0.01 degree Centigrade.

Recently, astronomers have noticed a thinning of the polar icecaps on Mars. Is this "global warming, Mars style" and do Martian SUVs, power plants, and industries cause it? Hardly, but the "environmentalists" think so. Some even blame it on us here on Earth. Global warming IS a hoax. Those claiming that "global warming" is real have an agenda other than saving the planet from human activity.



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.

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


29 January, 2005


Using one tenth of one percent of the land is still too much for the never-happy Greenies

The Bush administration has approved oil and natural gas drilling on federal lands in the Otero Mesa in Mew Mexico, despite pleas from the state's governor and environmentalists to protect the desert grassland from energy exploration. The decision mirrors the White House's national energy plan to open more federal lands to drilling to boost domestic oil and gas supplies.

However, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, who is a Democrat and served as U.S. energy secretary under President Bill Clinton, opposes vast drilling in the area and will fight the government's ruling. "I am very disappointed by the Bush administration's failure to respect New Mexico's position on oil and gas leasing in this precious, sensitive and world-renowned area," Richardson said.

The Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management (BLM) said energy companies will be closely monitored and only 1,589 acres will be disturbed from well pads, roads and pipelines, which is less than one-tenth of 1 percent of the area's total 2 million acres located in the south-central portion of New Mexico on the Texas border. Energy companies would have to replant disturbed areas with native desert plants before other tracts could be developed. "We have the science, the tools, and the will to ensure that the very limited amount of exploration and development allowed under this plan is accomplished under today's strict environmental and social standards," said Linda Rundell, State Director of the BLM in Santa Fe.

There will be only 141 exploratory wells drilled, resulting in up to 84 producing wells, at most, the BLM said. The agency will permanently protect almost 36,000 acres of grassland having the highest potential as habitat for the endangered Aplomado falcon, and drilling will not be allowed on a total of 124,000 acres.



I recently saw a newspaper ad that urged Canadians to take the "one-tonne challenge". Placed by the Government of Canada, the ad featured a picture of none other than Rick Mercer of the CBC's metric hour (22 minutes) fame, holding up a booklet published by the government entitled The One-Tonne Challenge. The ad and the booklet exhorts Canadians to reduce personal emissions of so-called greenhouse gasses by 20 percent per year or one-tonne per person and to "take action on climate change".

I find it interesting that it's no longer about "global warming" and that the newest bug-aboo is "climate change". I remember in the late 70s everyone was concerned about the coming ice age. Clearly no one has a real clue about what is happening to the earth's climate, although the liberal left wants to turn whatever it is into a morality play. It gives me cause to be suspicious of the agenda of those who would impose restrictive compacts, such as the Kyoto Accord on the world. No matter how I look at the treaty and no matter what the treaty purports to achieve, it still looks like a wealth redistribution scheme disguised as a plan to save us from ourselves.

There is so much confusing and contradictory information about climate change circulating today, that it is difficult to make sense of it. Quite frankly, the issue has become too politicized to be meaningful, with complex data being reduced to slogans such as the one currently being touted by the Government of Canada. Both sides of the argument are claiming the other side is lying. Recently John Kerry chided the "non-scientific, pseudo-scientific, anti-scientific nonsense emanating from the right wing". When couched in terms such as these by people like John Kerry, I am given to wonder what the real agenda might be.....

In the 1980s the United Nations formed the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to act as a clearinghouse for climate research on a worldwide basis. The trouble with that is that the same wonderful group of bureaucrats that brought us the "Iraqi oil for food" scandal runs the IPCC. Except in this case, instead of money and oil disappearing, we're finding that scientific research that contradicts the accepted orthodoxy about climate change somehow doesn't find its way into the public eye, or if it does, it's in a highly edited form to ensure it conforms.

The IPCC's 1990 report, which was its first, acknowledged that there was a great deal of concern that human influence might be responsible for climate change; there was no concrete evidence that this was indeed the case. The 1995 report issued by the IPCC did announce that there was now evidence that there was "a discernible human difference" on the world's climate. One problem: the scientists who worked on this report did not actually say that. What they did say was that they could not tell whether or not there was a discernible human influence on climate. The claim was added after the research was completed and the conclusions were changed by the bureaucrats at the IPCC to conform to their agenda.

All the accepted dogma regarding climate change appears to be flawed in some manner. In his excellent new book State of Fear, Michael Crichton explodes a lot of myths, which many of us tend to accept as gospel. For instance, the idea that ocean levels are rising at an unprecedented level is total hogwash. According to research quoted by Crichton sea levels are rising, but at no faster rate than they have been for the past six thousand years. The rise is miniscule, no more than six to eight inches every century. Additionally, recent trends indicate that sea levels are increasing at a much slower level than they have in the past.

Some members of the scientific community have expressed concerns about glaciers melting. And while indeed there are a number of glaciers that appear to be melting, some are actually increasing in size. There are some 160,000 glaciers in the world today with about two-thirds of them inventoried (497 in California alone). The mass balance data from studies lasting more than 5 years available today only covers 79 glaciers. How can we infer from this small sample that all of them are melting and that man is responsible?

Much has been written about Mt. Kilimanjaro's glaciers melting, with blame going, where else, but to global warming. The facts are that the most recent studies of that mountain have ascertained that the glaciers' melting is actually due to the deforestation of the rainforest at Kilimanjaro's base, which has been responsible for warm, moist air currents feeding the glaciers. With the forests gone the air now rushing up the mountain is hot and dry, hence melting glaciers....

We can all put on hair shirts and suffer for our affluence by participating in the Kyoto accord. Not that it would do any good, as the same projections generated from computer simulations that we rely on to predict the inevitability of severe climate change, predict a decrease in global temperature of only .04 degree Fahrenheit over the next decade, providing the Kyoto accord is fully implemented.

More here


As cold weather sweeps across much of the U.S. and buries New England in several feet of snow, global warming hyperbole reached new heights today as an apocalyptic international report, "Meet the Climate Change," warned the world is reaching a "point of no return" that will bring unprecedented famine and drought catastrophes. The report was assembled by the Institute for Public Policy Research in Britain, the Centre for American Progress in the United States and the Australia Institute....

In addition to famine and drought of spectacular proportions, the report warns of increased disease, sea-level rise and the death of forests. "There is an ecological time bomb ticking away," said Stephen Byers, former British transport minister and a close ally of British Prime Minister Tony Blair. The report urges all G-8 countries to agree to generate a quarter of their electricity from renewable sources by 2025, and to double their research spending on low-carbon energy technologies by 2010.

The controversial Kyoto Protocol became binding on industrialized nations who have signed onto it after Russia reluctantly moved to ratify it.... Vladimir Putin's personal economic adviser, Andrei Illarionov, said last summer Russia's approval of Kyoto came under severe duress - an "all-out and total war on Russia" directed by Blair. He said the pressure included "bribes, blackmail and murder threats." Illarionov said global warming advocates refused to answer questions posed to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change at a Moscow symposium. He claimed British science advisers tried to stop skeptics from being heard. "When this attempt to introduce censorship ... failed, other attempts were made to disrupt the seminar," said Illarionov.

Illarionov said "none of the assertions made in the Kyoto Protocol and the 'scientific' theory on which it is based have been borne out by actual data. ... There is no evidence confirming a positive linkage between the level of carbon dioxide and temperature change. If there is such a linkage, it is of a reverse nature. ... The statistical data ... are often considerably distorted if not falsified."

While some in the U.S. have offered sharp criticism of the ideology driving the global warming crusade, none of the rhetoric has been as penetrating as Illarionov's, who compared it "with man-hating totalitarian ideology with which we had the bad fortune to deal during the 20th century, such as National Socialism (and) Marxism.... All methods of distorting information existing in the world have been committed to prove the validity of these theories," he continued. "Misinformation, falsification, fabrication, mythology, propaganda. Because what is offered cannot be qualified in any other way than myth, nonsense and absurdity.

Illarionov's comments, made in a press conference, were quoted by the Moscow News but received little international attention. He described the protocol as "one of the biggest, if not the biggest, international adventures based on man-hating totalitarian ideology, which, incidentally, manifests itself in totalitarian actions and concrete events, particularly academic discussions, and which tries to defend itself using disinformation and falsified facts. It's hard to think of any other word but 'war' to describe this."

Yuri Izrael, one of the three vice chairmen of the panel, said: "The Kyoto Protocol aims to impoverish our country, and not only us but our children and grandchildren.... There have been examples in our fairly recent history of how a considerable portion of Europe was flooded with the brown Nazi ideology, the red Commie ideology that caused severe casualties and consequences for Europe and the entire world," said Illarionov. "Now there is a big likelihood that a considerable part of Europe has been flooded with another type, another color of ideology, but with very similar implications for European societies and human societies the world over. And now we in Russia are facing a historical opportunity: Are we going to let the genie out of the bottle as the previous generations let the Nazi and Communist genies out of the bottles or not?"

DeWeese concludes: "The fact is that one person now stands between the global warming jackals and economic sanity - George W. Bush. Will he stand firm in his opposition to the Kyoto Protocol? Or will he capitulate to massive international pressure and sell America's soul?"

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.

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


28 January, 2005


An article that the pro-Greenie publication "Nature" would not print is now accepted into the scientific literature

A science article that appears today in Geophysical Research Letters casts serious doubt on the oft-cited claim that global temperatures are warmer now than they have been anytime in the last 1,000 years.

Stephen McIntyre and Ross McKitrick examined the methodology that led Mann et al. (1998) to publish in the popular science journal Nature the famous "hockey stick" shaped temperature curve, which was a centerpiece of the Third Assessment Report of the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2001. The hockey stick curve showed a gradual cooling since around 1400 A.D. (the hockey stick handle) then a sharp warming since about 1900 (the blade of the stick). This was taken as proof that the major climatic event of the last 1,000 years was the influence of humans in the 20th century.

As you might imagine, it's a little difficult to construct a temperature history for a period of record that, for the most part, had no reliable thermometer measurements. Since good thermometer measurements extend back to only around the mid-1800's, "proxy" measurements, primarily tree ring data, have been used to extend the temperature record back additional centuries.

McIntyre & McKitrick found that the Mann et al. methodology included a data pre-processing step, one which was not reported in the original study, that essentially guaranteed that a hockey stick curve would result from their analysis. They demonstrated this by applying the same methodology to many synthetic temperature records that were constructed with random noise. In almost every case, a hockey stick curve resulted. The claim of unprecedented warmth and the hockey stick shape appear to hinge on the treatment of one species of tree, the bristlecone pine, from North America in the 1400's. Further statistical tests showed that this critical signal in the early 15th century lacked statistical significance. This suggests that the results of Mann et al. were simply a statistical fluke, which greatly exaggerated a characteristic of the bristlecone pines, which may or may not be related to global temperatures.

The new article, like so much published science, simply points out errors in previously published science, which is the way science should work. So why should there be so much fuss this time? Because the original Mann et al. article has had huge repercussions. The hockey stick, along with the "warmest in 1,000 years" argument, has become a central theme of debates over the Kyoto Protocol, a treaty to limit emissions of greenhouse gases, in governments around the world. The question begging to be answered is: Why did the IPCC so quickly and uncritically accept the Mann et al hockey stick analysis when it first appeared? I cannot help but conclude that it's because they wanted to believe it.

More here


The post below was lifted from Spear Shaker. See the original for links

This blog has been critical of the Global Warming lobby, and skeptical of both the case and the proposed remedy for the perceived climate crisis.

This post isn't going to address the relative merits of the proponents vs. the skeptics. But I do want to point out that there seems to be a momentum shift away from the Global Warming Orthodoxy, and not just because Crichton published his book.

How can you tell? By the increasingly ominous rhetoric and doomsday scenarios that are being released into the media:

From the UK's Independent - A joint Australia, UK, and US report sponsored by the Center for American Progress (a liberal thinktank chaired by John Podesta, Bill Clinton's Chief of Staff), and the Australia Institute (an advocacy group which argues for communal rights over private property rights as it relates to environmental concerns), gives us ten years before the "point of no return" is reached in Global Warming - i.e., two degrees above the average temperature in the year 1750 - which the report says will be reached within the decade. The consequences, according to the report, will be dire:

These could include widespread agricultural failure, water shortages and major droughts, increased disease, sea-level rise and the death of forests - with the added possibility of abrupt catastrophic events such as "runaway" global warming, the melting of the Greenland ice sheet, or the switching-off of the Gulf Stream.

Fixing a date and precise temperature trigger to the onset of environmental cataclysm is not the sign of a self-assured movement that is confident in its data and policy prescriptions. By ratcheting up the fear factor, these groups are attempting to stall the counter-momentum that is being felt as adoption of Kyoto guidelines loom and skeptics challenge the policy prescriptions; Canada is having serious second thoughts, the E.U. is threatening many of its members for dragging its feet, Japan is going squishy, and Blair is desperately trying to fashion a Kyoto-lite that doesn't include CO2 caps.

The fever pitch of the hysteria, and The Day After Tomorrow media scenarios suggest that, instead of a concerned citizenry recognizing a real threat, thinking people are looking at all the evidence and determining that reasonable environmental limits, investments in technology, and the underlying principles of economic growth are the appropriate path forward. After Global Cooling, Nuclear Winter, the Population Explosion, and Acid Rain, people hear "ten years until catastrophe" and just step on the gas.


Greenies hate big cities but big cities use the least resources per head

My wife and I were married straight out of college, in 1978. We were young and naive and unashamedly idealistic, and we decided to make our first home in a utopian environmentalist community in New York State. For seven years we lived quite contentedly in circumstances that would strike most Americans as austere in the extreme: our living space measured just 65 square metres, and we didn't have a dishwasher, garbage disposal, a lawn or a car. We did our grocery shopping on foot, and when we needed to travel longer distances we used public transport. Because space at home was scarce, we seldom acquired new possessions of significant size. Our electricity bills worked out to about a (US) dollar a day.

The utopian community was Manhattan. Most Americans, including most New Yorkers, think of New York City as an ecological nightmare, a wasteland of concrete and garbage and diesel fumes and traffic jams, but in comparison with the rest of America it is a model of environmental responsibility. By the most significant measures, New York is the greenest community in the US, and one of the greenest cities in the world. The most devastating damage humans have done to the environment has arisen from the heedless burning of fossil fuels, a category in which New Yorkers are practically prehistoric. The average Manhattanite consumes petrol at a rate that the country as a whole hasn't matched since the mid-1920s, when the most widely owned car in the US was the Ford Model T. Eighty-two per cent of Manhattan residents travel to work by public transit, by bicycle, or on foot. That's 10 times the rate for Americans in general, and eight times the rate for residents of Los Angeles County. New York City is more populous than all but 11 states; if it were granted statehood, it would rank 51st in per-capita energy use.

"Any place that has such tall buildings and heavy traffic is obviously an environmental disaster - except that it isn't," says John Holtzclaw, a transportation consultant for the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defence Council. "If New Yorkers lived at the typical American sprawl density of three households per residential acre [0.4 hectares], they would require many times as much land. They'd be driving cars, and they'd have huge lawns and be using pesticides and fertilisers on them, and then they'd be overwatering their lawns, so that runoff would go into streams." The key to New York's relative environmental benignity is its extreme compactness. Manhattan's population density is more than 800 times that of the nation as a whole. Placing 1.5 million people on a 60-square kilometre island sharply reduces their opportunities to be wasteful, and forces the majority to live in some of the most inherently energy-efficient residential structures: apartment buildings. It also frees huge tracts of land for the rest of America to sprawl into.....

When most Americans think about environmentalism, they picture wild, unspoiled landscapes - the earth before it was transmogrified by human habitation. New York City is one of the most thoroughly altered landscapes imaginable, an almost wholly artificial environment, in which the terrain's primeval contours have long since been obliterated and most of the parts that resemble nature (the trees on side streets, the rocks in Central Park) are essentially decorations. Ecology-minded discussions of New York City often have a hopeless tone, and focus on ways in which the city might be made to seem somewhat less oppressively man-made: by increasing the area devoted to parks and greenery, by incorporating vegetation into buildings themselves, by reducing traffic congestion, by easing the intensity of development, by creating open space around structures. But most such changes would actually undermine the city's extraordinary energy efficiency, which arises from the characteristics that make it surreally synthetic.

Because densely populated urban centres concentrate human activity, we think of them as pollution crisis zones. Calculated by the square metre, New York City generates more greenhouse gases, uses more energy and produces more solid waste than most other American regions of comparable size. On a map depicting negative environmental impacts in relation to surface area, therefore, Manhattan would look like an intense hot spot, surrounded, at varying distances, by belts of deepening green.

If you plotted the same negative impacts by resident or by household, however, the colour scheme would be reversed. My little town has about 4000 residents, spread over 100 thickly wooded square kilometres, and there are many places within our town limits from which no sign of settlement is visible in any direction. But if you moved 8 million people like us, along with our dwellings and possessions and rates of energy use, into a space the size of New York City, our profligacy would be impossible to miss, because you would have to stack our houses and cars and garages and lawn tractors and swimming pools and septic tanks higher than skyscrapers. (Conversely, if you made all 8 million New Yorkers live at the density of my town, they would require a space equivalent to the land area of the six New England states plus Delaware and New Jersey.) Spreading people out increases the damage they do to the environment, while making the problems harder to see and to address.

Environmentalists have tended to treat big buildings as intrinsically wasteful, because large amounts of energy are expended in their construction, and because the buildings place intensely localised stresses on sewers, power lines and water systems. But density can create the same kinds of ecological benefits in individual structures that it does in entire communities. Tall buildings have much less exposed exterior surface per square metre of interior space than smaller buildings do, and that means they present relatively less of themselves to the elements, their small roofs absorb less heat from the sun during cooling season and radiate less heat from inside during heating season. (The beneficial effects are greater still in Manhattan, where one building often directly abuts another.) A study by Michael Phillips and Robert Gnaizda, published in CoEvolution Quarterly in 1980, found that an ordinary apartment in a typical building near downtown San Francisco used just a fifth as much heating fuel as a new tract house in Davis, a little more than 100 kilometres away. Occupants of tall buildings also do a significant part of their daily coming and going in elevators, which, because they are counterweighted and thus require less motor horsepower, are among the most energy-efficient passenger vehicles in the world.....

When I told a friend recently that I thought New York City should be considered the greenest community in America, she looked puzzled, then asked, "Is it because they've started recycling again?" Her question reflected a central failure of the American environmental movement: that too many of us have been made to believe that the most important thing we can do to save the earth and ourselves is to remember each week to set our cans and bottles and newspapers on the curb. Recycling is popular because it enables people to relieve their gathering anxieties about the future without altering the way they live. But most recycling has, at best, a neutral effect on the environment, and much of it is demonstrably harmful. As William McDonough and Michael Braungart point out in Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things, most of the materials we place on our curbs are merely "downcycled" - converted to a lower use, providing a pause in their inevitable journey to a landfill or an incinerator - often with a release of toxins and a net loss of fuel, among other undesirable effects.

By far the worst damage we Americans do to the planet arises not from the newspapers we throw away but from the 3.2billion or so litres of oil we consume every day. We all know this at some level, yet we live like alcoholics in denial. How else can we explain that our cars have grown bigger, heavier and less fuel-efficient at the same time that scientists have become more certain and more specific about the consequences of our addiction to gasoline?

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.

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


27 January, 2005


Tucson's Center for Biological Diversity must pay rancher and banker Jim Chilton $600,000 because the environmental group defamed him with a press release and photos posted on its Web site, a jury decided Friday. In a 9-1 verdict, jurors in Pima County Superior Court awarded Chilton $100,000 for the harm done to his reputation and Arivaca cattle company. The jury tacked on an additional $500,000 in punitive damages meant to punish the center and deter others from committing libel. Chilton, whose wife, Sue, is chairwoman of the Arizona Game and Fish Commission, sued the center over material that alleged he mismanaged his 21,500-acre Forest Service allotment, northwest of Nogales.

Many of the center's 21 photos depicted barren patches that captions described as "denuded" by cows. But Chilton's lawyer showed jurors wide-angle photos taken at the same locations that revealed the surroundings as worthy of a postcard, with oaks and mesquites dotting lush, rolling hills. The center countered that the material it published in July 2002 couldn't be libelous because it was honest opinion. The photos weren't doctored, the center said, and they were public records that were part of its failed bid to block renewal of Chilton's grazing permit.

The center, which is typically the plaintiff in court, will probably appeal the decision, and its insurance should pay for at least some of the damages, if they're upheld, said policy director Kieran Suckling. "We did things with the best of intentions. If there were some mistakes, they were honest mistakes," he said. Suckling said he was most worried about the verdict's "chilling effect" on advocacy groups. "We really feel victimized by a wealthy banker who can afford to hire a large legal team to nitpick you to death," he said.

Chilton, donning a white cowboy hat outside the courtroom, said he doubted he'll be able to collect all the money from the center, which he described as "schoolyard bullies." ... "It does not matter if I ever collect a dime. We were in it because it's a righteous, just cause. People have taken too much abuse for too long in this community," he said. "I'm glad our system has a watchdog, and that's the jury system." Chilton said he'll use the award to pay his lawyers, reimburse himself for costs, then donate what's left over to the Arizona Cattle Growers' Association legal fund so it can "fight for justice."....

To prove the material was defamatory, Chilton not only had to show it was false and hurt him, but also demonstrate the activists knew they had lied or shown "reckless disregard" for the truth. Such evidence of malice had to be "clear and convincing." The bar would have been lower had Chilton not been ruled a public figure by Judge Richard Fields. An ordinary citizen would only have to show the center was negligent through a preponderance of the evidence. Kraig Marton, Chilton's attorney, told jurors in closing arguments Thursday that he'd proved at least four photos weren't even on Chilton's allotment and that the center willfully ignored scientific studies praising Chilton's grazing practices. "They were out to do harm, out to stop grazing and out to do whatever they can to prevent the Chiltons and others like them from letting cows on public land," Marton said....

But because the First Amendment guarantees the right of free speech, Judge Fields instructed jurors they couldn't consider the center's statements libelous if they viewed them as opinions, rather than facts. "We must enforce the people's right to express their opinion and have public debate over issues," Robert Royal, the center's attorney, told jurors. "That is what makes this country great."

But Marton told jurors they only had to look at the center's anti-grazing agenda and refusal to apologize in court for proof of its contempt toward Chilton and his way of life. If you're gonna lie," Marton said, "you have to pay the consequences."

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As we see the amazing pictures and data from the Huygens probe on Saturn's moon Titan, perhaps it's better not to waste time worrying over environmentalist scaremongers. But it is worth remembering that environmentalists opposed the launch of the mission that has sent back the new data. The Cassini satellite runs on nuclear energy - its Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (RTG) is powered by plutonium. Back in 1997 Greenpeace wrote to then US President Bill Clinton 'to express dismay and steadfast opposition to the planned launch of 72 pounds of plutonium into space onboard the Cassini space probe', and warn that '[d]ispersal of the plutonium in the event of a launch pad accident or disintegration in the atmosphere could pose a grave health risk'.

Yet this warning was based not only on playing up the small risk of an accident, but also on junk science that massively overestimated the toxicity of plutonium if the worst did happen.

A successful launch didn't stop the anti-Cassini activists. In order to pick up the speed to reach Saturn, Cassini had to swing by Venus and then the Earth. Protesters feared that a collision with the Earth during the flyby could poison billions of people. They demanded that the mission be aborted at Venus, and petitioned the UN to invoke the precautionary principle When their campaign to stop Cassini failed, the 'No Flyby' newsletter warned that we should prepare for the flyby by stockpiling food, buying gas masks, and turning off the air conditioning so as to keep out contaminated air.

Of course space exploration can be risky. But the success of Cassini-Huygens reminds us that some risks are worth taking and that worst-case scenarios generally don't come true. As John Zarnecki, professor of space science at the Open University and principal investigator of an experiment on the Huygens probe, wrote on spiked: 'If we had followed the precautionary principle, there would have been no exploration so far of the outer Solar System - no Voyager flybys of Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune and Uranus; no Galileo mission to Jupiter and Europa (with the discovery of oceans below the surface of Europa, and the possibility of primitive life existing there).'

If we are to see more successful space exploration, and especially if US President George W Bush is serious about his proposal for manned space exploration, we will need a robust attitude to risk. The precautionary principle would have stopped Cassini-Huygens. We shouldn't give it the chance to stop future exploration.



A case can be made, not a certain one but a strongly persuasive one, that Canada would have done a lot more good for the cause of global climate control by not signing the Kyoto treaty, which comes into effect in just four weeks. Having signed on (and having endlessly congratulated ourselves for doing more than those selfish, rapacious Americans), our government finds itself in the embarrassing position that there's quite obviously no way we can fulfill the Kyoto commitments we've taken on.

The government can't admit this, of course. So it's going to spend most of the time to 2012 (when the target of a 5.2 per cent reduction in greenhouse gases is supposed to be met) by faking it, by cheating and by fibbing - to us and to others. This last is the real rub. We pride ourselves on being "model world citizens." Quite a few countries actually sort-of believe this about us. If the good guy cheats, why shouldn't everyone else? This is why our contribution to reducing global warming is more likely to be an actual minus than just a zero. This unpleasant truth is just starting to break into public view.

Outsiders know it well. At a U.N. conference on climate change in Buenos Aires last month, the Japanese representative remarked, casually, as if it were self-evident, that when the Kyoto treaty comes up for renewal in 2012, Japan, Russia and Canada will all withdraw. Back here, our own insiders know it equally well. A document prepared for cabinet by senior officials that's just been leaked to the press declares that under current policy and programs, "Canada is still going to be significantly off the Kyoto target."

Unstated in this document is that faking and fibbing are already key parts of our current policy and programs. Canada intends to claim as a reduction in our greenhouse gas output any increase in natural gas sales to the U.S. on the grounds these substitute for more polluting oil sales. This proposition is patently rubbish. Kyoto or no Kyoto, we'll be selling all the natural gas we can to make more money, not to make less carbon dioxide.....

Our signing of Kyoto has been an exercise in political opportunism. Mostly, it enables us to do precious little while reassuring Canadians we're better than those awful Americans.

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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.

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


26 January, 2005

Humans 'may have saved world from ice age'

Humans may have unwittingly saved themselves from a looming ice age by interfering with the Earth's climate, according to a new study. The findings from a team of American climate experts suggest that were it not for greenhouse gases produced by humans, the world would be well on the way to a frozen Armageddon.

Scientists have traditionally viewed the relative stability of the Earth's climate since the end of the last ice age 10,000 years ago as being due to natural causes, but there is evidence that changes in solar radiation and greenhouse gas concentrations should have driven the Earth towards glacial conditions over the last few thousand years. What stopped it has been the activity of humans, both ancient and modern, argue the scientists.

Over the last 8,000 years carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have gradually risen, when previous trends indicated that it should have dropped. Methane, another greenhouse gas, had also increased instead of fallen. The unexpected trends could be explained by massive early deforestation in Eurasia, rice farming in Asia, the introduction of livestock, and the burning of wood and plant material, all of which led to an outpouring of greenhouse emissions.

The United States researchers, led by William Ruddiman from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, used a climate model to test what would happen if these greenhouse gases were reduced to their "natural" level. They wrote in the journal, Quaternary Science Reviews: "In the absence of anthropogenic contributions, global climate is almost 2C cooler than today and roughly one-third of the way toward full glacial temperatures."

At the peak of the last ice age, which began 70,000 years ago, 97% of Canada was covered by ice. The research showed that without the human contribution to global warming, Baffin Island would today be in a condition of "incipient glaciation".... "Portions of Labrador and Hudson Bay would also have moved very close to such a state had greenhouse gas concentrations followed natural trends," said the scientists. The experiment had probably underestimated the amount of ice that would exist today in north-east Canada without human interference, they said.

Anthropologist Dr Benny Peiser, from Liverpool John Moores University, said: "If the research findings are correct, a radical change in the perception of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions will be required. "Instead of driving us to the brink of environmental disaster, human intervention and technology progress will be seen as vital activities that have unintentionally delayed the onset of a catastrophic ice age."



Some answers to the "spiritual counsellors" and other expert protestors:

"Newspaper columns in Southern California newspapers are bubbling with a new paranoia from those on the left side of the political spectrum about the recently released new safety guidelines for perchlorate in drinking water recommended by the National Academy of Sciences. The suspicion is that the Bush administration has somehow put its thumb on the prestigious National Academy, and like allegedly rigged elections and deceitful wars, is jeopardizing children's health by loosening the former EPA standard of 1 part per billion to 20 parts per billion of perchlorate in drinking water.

Letter writer Dr. Michael Storrie-Lombardi, M.D., in the Jan. 18 issue of the Pasadena Star News writes:

"Please encourage L.A. County and the governor to implement a higher set of water quality standards for our children's drinking water in spite of the federal government's malign intent."

South Pasadena resident Megeen McLaughlin writes in the Jan. 22 issue of the Star News:

"As a spiritual counselor, mother, sister, and friend, I speak with all too many mothers who are tormented by the suffering of their children from learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder, and other maladies. To think that these afflictions may be linked to drinking water contaminated by perchlorate (a component of rocket fuel) is all the more disturbing."


The problem with the fear of perchlorate, according to many independent university toxicologists, is that other natural substances in the human diet have the same or greater effect as perchlorate. Thiocyanates (a salt) can inhibit iodine production in the thyroid and are found in milk, broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts. A 3.5 ounce serving of Brussels sprouts has the same effect as eating about 8,000 ppb's perchlorate, 8-ounces of milk not laced with perchlorate has the same effect of about 16 to 80 ppb's of perchlorate, and even drinking water that meets the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) standard for nitrates equates to about 90 parts per billion of perchlorate. U.C. Riverside toxicologist Bob Krieger states that the perchlorate risk is poorly understood and amounts to no more of a danger than eating Brussels sprouts. Moreover, it has now come to light that soybeans, used in tofu and soymilk, are another natural glandular disrupter similar to perchlorate.

There are even more disturbing problems with mandating costly cleanups of perchlorate from groundwater supplies.

The vast majority of the population in Southern California has for some 50-years been exposed to standard perchlorate levels (6 ppb) from Colorado River water without any documented widespread increase in hormonal abnormalities.

Secondly, casting aside the questionable methodologies of experimental studies with small sample populations, it would seem that the most reliable study of the health effects of perchlorate was that conducted on nearly 10,000 children from three cities in Chile where naturally occurring nitrate deposits make it the only place in the world where the effects of natural perchlorate have been measured for decades. Perchlorate is found in the groundwater in the Atacam Desert of Chile at about 120 parts per billion and dilutes into groundwater at 7 parts per billion, or about the same level as occurs in the Colorado River Aqueduct. Yet no effects on thyroid health among infants and children have ever been found beyond typical levels (J. Occup. Med. 2004, Jun: 46(6): 516-7).

The claim that perchlorate has entered the food chain and poses a health hazard in milk has also been proven to be bogus. As pointed out by Dr. Brahama Sharma, PhD, Fellow Royal Society of Chemists, it is chemically impossible for perchlorate to pose a health hazard in milk. Perchlorate (one atom of chlorine and four atoms of oxygen) is an ion which is negatively charged. Milk is composed of compounds of carbon, such as carbohydrates like lactose, which are abundant in milk and positively charged (Brahama D. Sharma, "Perchlorate Scare," Letter to Star News circa July 4, 2004). Thus, lactose in milk neutralizes perchlorate. In fact, one method of treating perchlorate contamination is by carbohydrate injection, which uses molasses or corn syrup as a neutralizer.

Dr. Michael Payne, a toxicologist at U.C. Davis, has stated: "Perchlorate definitely blocks (thyroid function) at high levels. But at these miniscule levels, any damage is theoretical. In fact, two studies conducted with populations' drinking water with much higher perchlorate levels than (those found in California milk) showed no adverse affects" ("Rocket Fuel Found in California Milk," SF Chronicle, June 22, 2004)"........

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Inconveniencing people is what it is really all about

San Francisco may become the first city in the nation to charge shoppers for grocery bags. The city's environmental commission is expected to ask the mayor and board of supervisors Tuesday to consider a 17-cent-per-bag charge on paper and plastic grocery bags. Their goal is to reduce plastic bag pollution. Environmentalists say plastic bags jam machinery, pollute waterways and often end up in trees. Officials believe that the city spends five-point-two cents per bag annually for street litter pickup and one-point-four cents per bag for extra recycling costs. But grocers and bag manufacturers argue that many people already reuse their plastic bags. Other opponents call the plan an unfair and regressive tax on shoppers.



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.

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


25 January, 2005


Panic: 'Child cancer "link to pollution"', says BBC News today, reporting new research that suggests that women exposed to air pollution during pregnancy are more likely to have children that develop cancer in childhood. Professor George Knox of Birmingham University compared data on child cancer deaths between 1966 and 1980 with pollution records from 2001, and found that women living within one kilometre of a pollution source were between two and four times more likely to have children with cancer.

Don't panic: The immediate problem with this study is that the cancer data is at least 20 years older than the pollution data. Many older pollution sources will have disappeared or been diminished, as a result of changing regulations and the decline of UK manufacturing.

But even if the two sets of data referred to the same time period, this would still not provide an accurate measure of the exposure of women to these pollutants. Even when a pollution source is close by, the place someone lives does not necessarily best reflect their exposure. Surely some account would need to be taken of where they worked, too? Different weather conditions and housing might also have an effect.

In any event, international comparisons of childhood cancers suggest that environmental hazards are unlikely to be to blame. Dr Anthony Michalski from the Institute of Child Health told the BBC: 'The rates of most paediatric tumours are relatively similar in industrialised and non-industrialised countries and that would not be expected if this hypothesis was correct.'

Even Knox accepts that this research should not be of much concern to the general public. 'The risk of a random child having a cancer is about one in 1000. In the hotspots it is two to four in 1000 so it's still a low risk.' Yet, on the basis of this study, he believes that there should be a substantial shift in research into the causes of childhood cancer. The real problem is the publicity given to studies such as this, which tell us little about the true causes of childhood cancer, and can only serve to alarm parents.



Excerpts from an article by David Henderson, formerly (among other things) Head of the Economics and Statistics Department of the OECD

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is a joint subsidiary of two international agencies, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). It was created by the member governments of these two agencies in 1988. Since then it has produced three full-scale Assessment Reports, issued respectively in 1990, 1995 and 2001. Work is now in progress on the Fourth Assessment Report (AR4), which is due in 2007.

The Panel operates through three Working Groups. WGI is concerned with scientific aspects of climate change, WGII with the prospective impacts of such change and ways of adapting to it, and WGIII with mitigation of the impacts. Each of the Groups produced its own report as part of the Third Assessment Report. Alongside them was the Special Report on Emissions Scenarios (SRES), prepared for WGIII, which provided in particular a range of projections of greenhouse gas emissions, covering the period from 1990 to 2100....

Over the past two and a half years or so, I and a co-author---Ian Castles, formerly Head of the Australian Bureau of Statistics---have put forward a joint critique of economic aspects of the work of the IPCC. While our main single target has been the SRES, our concerns extend to the IPCC process and milieu as a whole, including the Panel's sponsoring departments and agencies. Moreover, we have gone beyond criticism, by putting forward proposals for action. The main heads of our critique of the SRES can be summarised as follows:

* For the base year of 1990 it compares real GDP across countries on the basis of market exchange rates (MERs), rather than purchasing power parity (PPP) converters. These comparisons greatly overstate the differences in GDP per head between developing regions and OECD member countries.

* It gives a misleading account of the factors that bear on the choice between MERs and PPPs, and of the implications of such a choice.

* It builds in, for reasons that are open to question, rapid convergence in GDP per head between developing regions and OECD member countries. By thus assuming the substantial closure of a greatly overstated initial gap, it arrives at projections of output and GDP per head for developing regions which are higher than they would have been if the 1990 starting point had been correct, and high by comparison with other projections

* As a result, total projected world GDP is pushed up; and this in turn is reflected in higher projected emissions. Hence even the scenarios which show the lowest cumulative emissions over the present century do not in fact represent lower limits. The SRES projections do not, as is claimed for them, adequately encompass the full range of uncertainties about the future.

Our critique thus covers not only the results of the exercise, in the form of specific projections of emissions, but also the approach, the analytical basis of parts of the Report.

Our arguments have been strongly contested by authors who were involved with the SRES. Interested readers are referred to a series of articles that has appeared in recent issues of the journal Energy and Environment: the first four of these---two on each side---comprise the exchanges between us and the SRES authors, and three further articles have since appeared. Those who would prefer to invest considerably less time can be recommended, first, to two articles from the Economics Focus page of The Economist (15 February and 8 November, 2003), which weigh in on our side, and second, to an official press release issued by the IPCC in December 2003 and now posted, in a somewhat less impolite form than the original version, on the Panel's website. This latter document is concerned to expose our critique as baseless. Among other things, it states that 'In recent months some disinformation has been spread questioning the scenarios used by the IPCC'; and it refers to Castles and me as 'so called "two independent commentators"'. Along with our critique, our suggestions for change have been rejected by the Panel. The main proposals that we have made are three:

* That the SRES, because it is open to serious criticisms, should not be taken as the basis and starting point of AR4: an alternative and firmer basis should be sought, through less elaborate and more short-cut procedures than those of the SRES.

* That in assessing possible future developments in the world economy, and ways of projecting them, the involvement of economic historians and historically-minded economists should now be ensured---for the first time.

* That more generally, and going well beyond scenario-building, the IPCC process should be broadened, in particular through the active involvement, first, of national statistical offices in member countries, and second, of ministries of finance and economics.

As to the first of the above suggestions, the IPCC has determined that 'the SRES scenarios provide a credible and sound set of projections, appropriate for use in the AR4'. As to the other two, the Panel and its member governments appear as fully content with the present established procedures and arrangements for participation. The opening paragraph of the press release referred to above says of the IPCC that

"It mobilises the best experts from all over the world, who work diligently on bringing out the various reports,,, The Third Assessment Review of the IPCC was released in 2001 through the collective efforts of around 2000 experts from a diverse range of countries and disciplines. All of IPCC's reports go through a careful two stage review process by governments and experts and acceptance by the member governments composing the Panel".

In relation to economic aspects, there is good reason to question the claims to authority and representative status that the IPCC makes on its behalf. Those of us who are sceptics do not question the numbers of those involved, their diligence, or the existence and observance of formal review processes. But we think that when it comes to the treatment of leading economic issues, the milieu is neither fully competent nor adequately representative. We also hold that building in peer review is no safeguard against dubious assumptions, arguments and conclusions if the peers are all drawn from the same restricted professional milieu. A leading illustration of our case (it is not the only one) is the issue of MERs versus PPPs. Here the internationally agreed System of National Accounts (SNA), which dates from 1993, gives unambiguous guidance. In its opening chapter, it specifies (paragraph 1.38) that:

"When the objective is to compare the volumes of goods or services produced or consumed per head, data in national currencies must be converted into a common currency by means of purchasing power parities and not exchange rates ... Exchange rate converted data must not ,,, be interpreted as measures of the relative volumes of goods and services concerned".

Despite this ruling, misleading MER-based international comparisons have been uncritically made, not only by the SRES, but also in the reports of both WGII and WGIII; more recently, in a report issued by UNEP; and more recently still, in a document prepared for an IPCC-sponsored conference by one of the three current Vice-Chairs of the Panel. It seems probable that not one of the many participants in these various proceedings had heard of the SNA, and it is not referred to in either the text of the SRES or its 17 or so pages of references.

In the context of national accounts, there is a specific error in the SRES which, though only incidental, shows that mere numbers are no guarantee of representative status. On p. 115 of the Report the concept of GNP---now more usually referred to as GNI---is wrongly defined. This basic error was not picked up by any of the 53 authors, 4 review editors and 89 expert reviewers who are listed as participants in the preparation of the SRES.

In the IPCC press release referred to above, the statement is made that 'the economy does not change by using a different metrics (PPP or MEX), in the same way that the temperature does not change if you switch from degrees Celsius to Fahrenheit'. This assertion could be interpreted in different ways, but on any interpretation the analogy appears as false. Admittedly, not all economists would accept without qualification the case for using PPP-based converters, rather than some exchange-rate-based alternative; but even the sceptics do not argue that the choice is immaterial.

In the British case, it might be supposed that one or two members of the Government Economic Service, now said to be 800 strong, not to mention a person from the National Statistics Office, would have been drawn into the economic work of the IPCC and made it less unrepresentative. There is no sign of any such involvement. Speaking in the House of Lords last April on behalf of the responsible department, the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Baroness Farrington said that 'the views of Mr Castles and Mr Henderson were considered extremely carefully,,, by the Government,,,' If such consideration has indeed been given, its results have not been communicated to me.

The economic content of AR4 can be strengthened only if new participants are brought into the process, and this can be achieved only if and in so far as member governments act accordingly: the IPCC milieu appears impervious to unofficial criticism. In this context, it is the central economic departments of state---treasuries, ministries of finance or economics, and organisations such as the US Council of Economic Advisers---that have a potentially key role. Up to now, and despite the large amounts that are at stake, they have been content to leave the handling of economic issues within the IPCC process to the departments and agencies directly concerned. The questionable treatment of these issues by the IPCC and its sponsoring organisations, which Castles and I have drawn attention to as independent outsiders, has apparently not been noticed by a single official in a single finance or economics ministry in a single country. It is high time for this situation to change, and for these latter departments to become involved.

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.

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


24 January, 2005


Sounds like a "Yes Minister" fix is being tried

The Government is secretly trying to backtrack on its commitment to take action on global warming, according to campaigners Greenpeace. The environmentalists have posted documents on their website which show the UK Government asked for targets to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to be excluded from EU climate policy. The British Government asked for the phrase "substantial reductions by up to possibly 50% by 2050 compared to 1990 levels" to be removed. It also asked for a commitment of 60% to 80% reductions to be replaced with "significantly enhanced reduction efforts".

However, the amendments, which were proposed to draft council conclusions on climate change dated December 9, 2004, were overruled by other member states.

In his key speech on climate change in September last year Mr Blair said: "In the longer term, The Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution's seminal report on energy concluded that to make its contribution towards tackling climate change, the UK needed to reduce our carbon dioxide emissions by 60% by 2050. "This implies a massive change in the way this country produces and uses energy. We are committed to this change." He said climate change was a top priority for the G8 presidency, saying: "We have to recognise that the commitments reflected in the Kyoto protocol and current EU policy are insufficient, uncomfortable as that may be, and start urgently building a consensus based on the latest and best possible science."

However, a spokesman for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs insisted the Government was not opposed to setting targets but felt they should be based on cost benefit analysis which was still on-going. "When that's finished we feel it would be better to look then and not use a figure plucked out of nowhere," he said. "It shouldn't be interpreted as suggesting that we don't have a commitment but rather that we feel the figure should be based on full information."

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'I don't think we can put our hands on our hearts and say mobiles are safe.' This quote from Sir William Stewart was reported on the front page of the Sun, beneath the headline 'Mobiles "a danger to children"'. With these words, Stewart - former chief scientific adviser to the government and author of an influential report on mobiles back in May 2000 - launched a report by the National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB), the government's advisory board on radiological issues, on 11 January 2005. There was little new in the report, which is simply a restatement of the existing knowledge that there is no evidence of human harm from mobiles. The report didn't even recommend the enforcement of new restrictions on the erection of mobile masts, as many in the industry had feared.

The only thing for news editors to hang their headlines on was Stewart's personal intervention at the conference, when he took it upon himself to 'speak from the heart' and say that children under eight shouldn't be allowed to own a mobile. He reiterated his personal restriction of his grandchildren's mobile usage, and suggested that mobile companies were irresponsible for encouraging such a growth of usage among children.

This split between a scientific and more personal face is at the heart of the mobile phones saga. The original Stewart Report back in 2000 was essentially two reports in one. The first was an exemplary scientific review of knowledge in this particular field, which concluded that there was no significant evidence of harm. But the other aspect of the report was about self-consciously acknowledging public anxieties.

Public meetings were held - although these were attended only by a handful of anti-mobile activists. Through the course of these meetings Stewart established himself as a darling of the anti-mast campaigners (even they were taken aback at some of his precautionary recommendations). At the same time, the established scientific authority on the subject, the NRPB, was attacked in the report for not being sufficiently proactive in relation to public anxieties. The upshot was, in the mind of many, a clever blending of science and public fears that blandly stated that there was no evidence of harm, but precautions were nonetheless advisable.

Everybody was happy - except perhaps the billions of mobile phone users (the Stewart findings were publicised around the world) disconcerted by the 'no problem, but there may be a problem' message.

The mobile phone scare was kicked off by the London Sunday Times back in 1996, with the infamous headline that mobiles could 'fry the brain'. Subsequently the issue became a campaign focus for newspapers such as the Daily Express, with the media publicising any study that suggested some form of problem associated with mobiles, from disorientating homing pigeons to weakening sex drives or giving us cancer.

It was made clear in parliament that the Stewart Inquiry was set up in response to this media campaign (although the letters MPs were receiving from those angry at nearby mobile phone mast sitings also helped to create support). As some newspapers crowed, the seriousness with which the UK authorities took the mobile risk issue was testament to the power of the media in influencing a government that is clearly nervous about the extent of its connection to public concerns.

The ridiculous thing about this saga is that everybody knows that nothing will change - the mobile network is here to stay, and even the anti-mast campaigners only object to the specific location of masts. Sounding off about possible risks can therefore only be posturing without consequence; raising an alarm, but aware that the inevitable anxieties raised have nowhere to go.

But it is not strictly true that the scare is without consequence. One can safely speculate that levels of parental anxiety have increased. Many people now wrestle with the dilemma posed between warnings from an apparently definitive voice of science, and more direct experience that suggests no problem with allowing their children to use society's most popular means of communication.

The emphasis upon the risks posed to children has far more to do with presentational politics than it does with science. Instead of reflecting some new research involving children, it reflects the way in which a focus upon children's welfare is becoming de rigeur in contemporary Anglo-American science policy.

Meanwhile, the mobile phone companies have been set up as pantomime villains, hawking dangerous devices to toddlers. Stewart has frequently attacked their 'irresponsibility', putting himself on the side of the innocent public. Yet it is a myth that children have ever been specifically targeted through advertising. They don't need to be, given that texting in particular is so central to teenage social life. In any case, children can't get a mobile phone without parental consent and financing. The much-publicised MyMo phone that has been withdrawn in the wake of Stewart's pressure was not a serious mass-market device, but a gimmick pushed by a small group of entrepreneurs. (I was on a Scottish radio phone-in when a spokesman dramatically announced MyMo's withdrawal, after explaining it was a Chinese product they had picked up at a trade fair in Germany.)

There is one key mistaken assumption that it is particularly important to challenge. In a 'what every user should know' article in The Times (London) on 13 January 2005, for example, it was explained that the latest report 'noted gaps in the scientific literature and, accordingly, recommended a precautionary approach'. In fact, there is actually no necessary relationship between an issue of scientific knowledge, and the politics of precaution. Gaps in scientific literature might represent a case for further scientific research but they are certainly not grounds, in themselves, for advising precautionary changes in people's behaviour.

The world's leading experts in the field have themselves warned against the application of non-science-based precaution, making clear that some proof is required of a hazard. Even the consumer safety-obsessed European Commission, for its own reasons, has felt obliged to explain in an important communiqu, that one cannot simply invoke precaution without some kind of identifiable hazard, as opposed to mere uncertainty.

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.

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


23 January, 2005


There are countless ways to show how China is climbing the world's economic ladder, hurdling developed countries in its path, but few are more pronounced than its rush into nuclear energy - a technology that for environmental, safety and economic reasons most of the world has put on hold. Current plans in China call for new reactors to be commissioned at a rate of nearly two a year between now and 2020.

Planners predict a quadrupling of nuclear output to 16 billion kilowatt-hours by 2010 and a doubling of that figure by 2015. And with commercial nuclear energy programs dead or stagnant in the US and most of Europe, Western and other developers of nuclear plant technology are lining up to sell reactors and other equipment to the Chinese, whose purchasing decisions alone will determine in many instances who survives in the business.

China still derives as much as 80 per cent of its electricity from coal. The problem with nuclear power, some experts say, is that the country's energy needs are so immense that even the enormous expansion program will do little to offset the skyrocketing demand for power. China's eight nuclear reactors now in operation supply less than 2 per cent of current demand. By 2020, assuming the national plan is fulfilled, nuclear energy would still meet less than 4 per cent of demand.

There has been almost no public discussion of the merits and risks of nuclear energy, as the Government strictly censors news coverage of such issues. But critics of the program question whether such a small pay-off warrants exposure to the risk of catastrophic failures, nuclear proliferation, terrorism and the still unresolved problems of radioactive waste disposal. "We don't have a very good plan for dealing with spent fuel, and we don't have very good emergency plans for dealing with catastrophe," said Wang Yi, a nuclear energy expert at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing. "The nuclear interest group wants to push this technology, but they don't understand the risks for the future. They want to make money. But we scientists, we want to take a very comprehensive approach, including safety, environment, dealing with waste and other factors, and not rush into anything."

Chinese nuclear operators scoff at such concerns. "In China we have state-owned power companies, whereas abroad they have private companies," said Yu Jiechun, an engineer at the China Guangdong Nuclear Power Holding Co. "It's not a matter of someone's profit here."......

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Neil Craig has been having a bit of success in getting the MSM to publish his letters. This one in "The Independent" (widely known as "The Subservient") is good:


Martin Parkinson (letter, 18 January) acknowledges that we need nuclear power if we are to avoid massive blackouts but says that, for reasons undisclosed, new reactors can only be a short-term solution. May I make the alternative case, accepted by the peoples of France, Russia, China, Japan and India among others?

We have sufficient known resources of uranium to keep current nuclear generation going for 4.5 billion years. Nuclear power has a safety record far surpassing that of any other major world industry. Since the 43 deaths at Chernobyl there have been four accidental deaths, all in Japan, in an industry that provides 20 per cent of the world's electricity. By comparison, with coal, we tolerate over 100,000 deaths from black lung and emphysema every year. High-level reactor waste amounts to only a cubic metre per reactor year. Because of the short half-life inherent in high radioactivity it is, in 50 years, normally down to the level of the ore it was mined from.

It is the only possible system which can permanently generate enough to give everybody in the world the amount of power, and therefore a substantial fraction of the standard of living, we currently enjoy. This would take 5,500 reactors, which if mass produced would be very much cheaper than the current bespoke system. World-wide waste over 50 years would be equivalent to a single cube 65 metres on a side.

If allowing all our fellow members of the human race a decent standard of living were considered desirable, and I so consider it, a permanent commitment to expanded nuclear power would be an absolute requirement.


Neil has also been taking the Greenies on over economic growth. The letter below made it into "The Scotsman" on 21st.

For the Green Party spokesman to accuse the Executive of being to active in pursuing growth (letter 17th Jan) is a bit like accusing our national football team of being to successful.

World average growth this year is expected to be 5%, with Asia pushing up the average & Europe & Africa holding it down. Scotland will be lucky to achieve 2% & will certainly manage less than England.

The reason for this is that governments in Holyrood, Westminster & Brussels practice a dilute version of the anti-technology, nanny statist & anti-capitalist policies which, in a pure version, form the subtext to almost all green Party policies.

He hits a better note in saying that the pursuit of happiness is more important than wealth. However such, fairly imprecise, methods of measuring as exist show, as a recent Economist report detailed that the happiest nations (Ireland & Switzerland) are those where freedom & enterprise are acceptable & the most unhappy are those where it is not (Zimbabwe & Haiti). Happiness, freedom & economic success are closely linked & that is the path we should choose. To quote Mr Burt Rutan, the builder of the private enterprise spaceship "see what free men can do" - a sentiment which would have Green members calling for more government controls.


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.

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


22 January, 2005

Globally dim

Below is a recent post from the inimitable Prof. Brignell. It clarifies the media reports somewhat (mentioned here on 19th.) but still leaves standing the logic that efforts to reduce pollution should WORSEN global warming, not reduce it. The assumptions underlying global dimming theory are probably as fanciful as the assumptions underlying global warming theory but showing that the assumptions concerned lead to such inconvenient conclusions might just upset the whole applecart

10.05 pm and just trying to cool down after the latest dose of global warming from the BBC. It was absolutely magnificent - wonderfully photographed, compelling, convincing, relentlessly frightening - and total codswallop. Every trick in the book was there, non-sequiturs, ratchet reporting (deaths of heat in Europe in 2003, but no mention of the unusually large number of deaths from cold in the same year throughout the northern hemisphere), lies (that carbon dioxide is a major greenhouse gas) and the old testament prophet in the form of a "climate scientist" from the Hadley Research Centre calling down fire and brimstone upon us unless we adopt Green ways and start riding bicycles (not horses, because they fart greenhouse gases). It was called "Global Dimming", based on the thesis that pollution has been reducing the radiation reaching the surface of the Earth: a brilliant conceit, which at once explains away why global warming hasn't actually happened yet despite the prophecies, while promising even worse to come unless we mend our evil ways. Any uninformed punter who accidentally strayed onto the channel must have been terrified out of his wits. No horror was left unturned, even the ghastly famine in Ethiopia, while England's green and pleasant land was transformed into a desert before our very eyes. No wonder they are all turning to "reality" TV.

There has never been such brilliant visual propaganda since Germany in the late 1930s. The final outcome? Estimates of global warming will have to be revised upwards.



Just some excerpts from a long and comprehensive article

So today we use 40 percent of our fuel to power the [electricity] plug, and the plug powers 60 percent of GDP. And with the ascent of microwaves, lasers, hybrid wheels, and such, we're moving to 60 and 80 percent, respectively, soon. And then, in due course, 100/100. We're turning to electricity as fuel because it can do more, faster, in much less space-indeed, it's by far the fastest and purest form of power yet tamed for ubiquitous use. Small wonder that demand for it keeps growing.

We've been meeting half of that new demand by burning an extra 400 million tons of coal a year, with coal continuing to supply half of our wired power. Natural gas, the fossil fuel grudgingly favored by most environmentalists, has helped meet the new demand, too: it's back at 16 percent of electricity generated, where it was two decades ago, after dropping sharply for a time. Astonishingly, over this same period, uranium's share of U.S. electricity has also risen-from 11 percent to its current 20 percent. Part of the explanation is more nuclear power plants. Even though Three Mile Island put an end to the commissioning of new facilities, some already under construction at the time later opened, with the plant count peaking at 112 in 1990. Three Mile Island also impelled plant operators to develop systematic procedures for sharing information and expertise, and plants that used to run seven months per year now run almost eleven. Uranium has thus displaced about eight percentage points of oil, and five points of hydroelectric, in the expanding electricity market.

Renewable fuels, by contrast, made no visible dent in energy supplies, despite the hopes of Greens and the benefits of government-funded research, subsidies, and tax breaks. About a half billion kWh of electricity came from solar power in 2002-roughly 0.013 percent of the U.S. total. Wind power contributed another 0.27 percent. Fossil and nuclear fuels still completely dominate the U.S. energy supply, as in all industrialized economies.

The other great hope of environmentalists, efficiency, did improve over the last couple of decades-very considerably, in fact. Air conditioners, car engines, industrial machines, lightbulbs, refrigerator motors-without exception, all do much more, with much less, than they used to. Yet in aggregate, they burn more fuel, too. Boosting efficiency actually raises consumption, as counterintuitive as that sounds. The more efficient a car, the cheaper the miles; the more efficient a refrigerator, the cheaper the ice; and at the end of the day, we use more efficient technology so much more that total energy consumption goes up, not down..... No conceivable mix of solar and wind could come close to supplying the trillions of additional kilowatt-hours of power we'll soon need.

Nuclear power could do it-easily. In all key technical respects, it is the antithesis of solar power. A quad's worth of solar-powered wood is a huge forest-beautiful to behold, but bulky and heavy. Pound for pound, coal stores about twice as much heat. Oil beats coal by about twice as much again. And an ounce of enriched-uranium fuel equals about 4 tons of coal, or 15 barrels of oil. That's why minuscule quantities contained in relatively tiny reactors can power a metropolis.

What's more, North America has vast deposits of uranium ore, and scooping it up is no real challenge. Enrichment accounts for about half of the fuel's cost, and enrichment technologies keep improving. Proponents of solar and wind power maintain-correctly-that the underlying technologies for these energy sources keep getting cheaper, but so do those that squeeze power out of conventional fuels. The lasers coming out of the same semiconductor fabs that build solar cells could enrich uranium a thousand times more efficiently than the gaseous-diffusion processes currently used.

How worried should we really be in 2005 that accidents or attacks might release and disperse a nuclear power plant's radioactive fuel? Not very. Our civilian nuclear industry has dramatically improved its procedures and safety-related hardware since 1979. Several thousand reactor-years of statistics since Three Mile Island clearly show that these power plants are extraordinarily reliable in normal operation.

And uranium's combination of power and super-density makes the fuel less of a terror risk, not more, at least from an engineering standpoint. It's easy to "overbuild" the protective walls and containment systems of nuclear facilities, since-like the pyramids-the payload they're built to shield is so small. Protecting skyscrapers is hard; no builder can afford to erect a hundred times more wall than usable space. Guaranteeing the integrity of a jumbo jet's fuel tanks is impossible; the tanks have to fly. Shielding a nuclear plant's tiny payload is easy-just erect more steel, pour more concrete, and build tougher perimeters.

In fact, it's a safety challenge that we have already met. Today's plants split atoms behind super-thick layers of steel and concrete; future plants would boast thicker protection still. All the numbers, and the strong consensus in the technical community, reinforce the projections made two decades ago: it is extremely unlikely that there will ever be a serious release of nuclear materials from a U.S. reactor....

Greens don't want to hear it, but nuclear power makes the most environmental sense, too. Nuclear wastes pose no serious engineering problems. Uranium is such an energy-rich fuel that the actual volume of waste is tiny compared with that of other fuels, and is easily converted from its already-stable ceramic form as a fuel into an even more stable glass-like compound, and just as easily deposited in deep geological formations, themselves stable for tens of millions of years. And what has Green antinuclear activism achieved since the seventies? Not the reduction in demand for energy that it had hoped for but a massive increase in the use of coal, which burns less clean than uranium.

The best thing we can do to decrease the Middle East's hold on us is to turn off the spigot ourselves. For economic, ecological, and geopolitical reasons, U.S. policymakers ought to promote electrification on the demand side, and nuclear fuel on the supply side, wherever they reasonably can.

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.

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


21 January, 2005


I have been thinking about the tsunami. It's now up to 250,000 perhaps. Startling. Yet over a million a year die of malaria because we don't send DDT to appropriate places. Overuse of DDT was not a good idea and some Americans sprayed it everywhere. More was used in some farm counties than would be needed for one spraying a year in African residences -- all of them in Africa in mosquito areas.

Of course there is no funding for studies to determine safe uses for DDT and the benefits of insect control.

If we had a tsunami like that every month for a year it would be 3,000,000 people. That's about how many die every year from controllable infectious diseases of which malaria is a major factor. For about what's being spent on emergency aid we could eliminate many of those diseases. For a lot less than the Kyoto Accords would cost we could eliminate a lot of those deaths.

Well, a day. St. Matthew 20 and all that. But the great concern over the tsunami victims, and the indignation that the US didn't do enough, seems oddly misplaced when those most critical of US response to this disaster seem bent on perpetuating preventable disasters that keep on coming year after year.



British Prime Minister Tony Blair has complained about the failure of countries to reach agreement on scientific evidence of the human-made portion of global warming, which he views as incontrovertible and disastrous. A British government spokesperson was quoted as saying, "Until we get consensus on the science we will never get a consensus on the rapid action needed before it's too late." Proponents of dramatic action on climate are calling for "consensus" among scientists on the issue of global climate change in order to convince policymakers that the United States should immediately and sharply curb carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions as the promised means to prevent disastrous climate change.

Scientific agreement, though, differs distinctly from consensus wrought by social-political pressures. Efforts to force a consensus are pernicious to science. The body of evidence and facts on which scientists agree--as currently known--must always be challengeable by new information. That is the basis of the scientific method. An upcoming paper in Environmental Science & Policy sheds some light on the distortion of climate science by "consensus" politics. Daniel Sarewitz of Arizona State University, who was on a panel that authored a 2003 climate report for the National Academies of Sciences' National Research Council (NRC), provides an inside view of the NRC report's publication process and details what outsiders may get as the "consensus." It isn't what most people would expect from a scientific body.

The NRC report introduced the need for continued research: "The consensus view of scientists is that human activities are changing Earth's climate and that this could have very important consequences for human life and natural ecosystems." That made sense. Most scientists agree that carbon dioxide concentration has increased by approximately 30 percent in 200 years because of human activities. And they agree that, all things being equal, the addition of greenhouse gases to the air should cause some warming.

The big questions, which can be answered only by science, are: How much warming, and when? To get accurate answers--pinning down the meaning of "could have very important consequences"--involves tackling uncertainties in the scientists' climate forecasts. Thus, the charge to the NRC panelists also was sensible, as it was embodied by the title of the draft report: "Climate Change Feedbacks: Characterizing and Reducing Uncertainties." Climate is a complex and non-linear system, involving "feedbacks"--for example, clouds, ocean currents, plants--that may amplify or dampen initial perturbations into disproportionate outcomes, large or small. Scientists remain highly uncertain of the precise workings of many of those physical processes, and reducing uncertainty is essential to gaining accurate climate forecasts. But along the way, discussion on research uncertainties was shifted to an insistence that science should look as tidy as possible--a social consensus. As Sarewitz notes, the final NRC report title omitted the highlight on uncertainties and read merely "Understanding Climate Change Feedbacks."

One certainty in science is that all its results are uncertain; achieving better accuracy means reducing uncertainty, but always within limits. Progress comes from tension among hypotheses, equipment and instruments for observing and measuring, experimental results, and evidence, with scientists acting as unique mental rebels. Columbia University sociologist Robert K. Merton (1910-2003) noted, "Most institutions demand unqualified faith; but the institution of science makes skepticism a virtue."

The convenience of quiet consensus is in opposition to the structured, skeptical rebelliousness of the scientific method, which strikes at uncertainty by trying to reduce it. Michael Crichton, author of Jurassic Park and creator-producer of ER, recently remarked, "Consensus is the business of politics. If it's consensus, it isn't science. If it's science, it isn't consensus. Period." Right now, tremendous uncertainty exists in answering important questions about climate. Physical law is not made by social consensus, only by scientific evidence, which comes from acknowledging those things we know as uncertain or even unknown--not accepting as incontrovertible that which is still unproven.



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.

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


20 January, 2005


"A National Academy of Sciences panel says the Environmental Protection Agency hasn't justified the need for a virtual no-tolerance limit on pollution from perchlorate, a chemical in rocket fuel and military munitions that has fouled drinking water supplies nationwide. The panel's review aims to settle a high-stakes EPA dispute with the military and aerospace communities, which could face billions of dollars in cleanup costs if the agency strictly limits perchlorate pollution. The Pentagon pushed for the Academy review after an EPA study concluded that perchlorate levels in drinking water should be limited to 1 part per billion to ensure public safety. There currently is no federal limit on perchlorate pollution, though a few states are moving to set limits of less than 10 ppb in drinking water.

Perchlorate is a salt that affects the thyroid gland's hormone production. Some studies have found that even relatively small doses can affect the mental development of young children, especially if their mothers consume it during pregnancy. The pollutant has turned up in 35 states, and low levels have been found in many public drinking water supplies, including the Colorado River. About 11 million people drink water with at least 4 ppb of the chemical, according to the Academy. The Academy concluded that humans can safely ingest 20 times as much perchlorate as the EPA study suggested. That still is far lower than the amount the Pentagon and its contractors say is safe.

But environmental and public health groups consider the Academy's findings a defeat because many areas where drinking water is polluted with relatively low concentrations of perchlorate won't have to be cleaned up if the Academy's conclusions become law. "Places where there are low concentrations of perchlorate spread over a large area will be wiped off the map in terms of cleanup" if the EPA adopts the Academy's findings, says Lenny Siegel of the Center for Public Environmental Oversight.

A Bush administration official praised the report as an independent review that can help settle the debate. "We respect the (Academy) recommendations," says Bob Hopkins of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. "We will work with the agencies ... on how best to incorporate these findings into (regulatory) action."

More here


The N.Z. Greens actually want us to revert to sailing ships! A New Zealander correspondent writes:

"Have you seen this "state of the planet" speech, no less, by one of the co-leaders of the NZ Greens. Strong on doomsday oil-running-out rhetoric and 'only the greens can save us' nonsense. Also a fairly large dose of leftist claptrap...

"It is oil that makes it seem normal for two ships to pass in the Tasman Sea, one carrying Griffin's biscuits and Tip Top ice cream from New Zealand to Australia, the other carrying Arnott's biscuits and Streets ice cream from Australia to New Zealand. And with a net effect of what, exactly?"

Heaven forbid you get a choice of icecream. But then this might be saved by...

"We will no longer trade low-value goods in bulk around the world. We will trade less and do more for ourselves. We will use air less and high-tech wind-assisted shipping more. We will abandon the free-trade agreements we are seeking and develop fair-trading relationships for those products we really need."

Yep, sail is going to bring in the Aussie delicacies. But then "we" will decide what you really need anyway, so guess what you don't actually need. Then in a concluding paragraph on why you should vote Green and taking a broad swipe at the opposition, after outlining what the government will decide for the people and what must be done for the good of the planet no less...

"they will be taken even closer to National's authoritarianism"

Leftist projection again, National being the moderate centre-right party and not exactly authoritarian by any stretch. Oh there is the obligatory "US foreign policy" rant as well, for some reason. You could fisk the whole thing, but it ain't worth the trouble. It is a laugh, well it would be if the clowns weren't in power and it didn't sound like a Nuremberg address. Oh there is an election coming up, so it is little wonder the doomsday prognoses are coming out.


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.

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


19 January, 2005



Is this the ultimate kick in the pants for the global warming fanatics -- that what they advocate will PRODUCE the problem, not solve it?

Cutting down on fossil fuel pollution could accelerate global warming and help turn parts of Europe into desert by 2100, according to research to be aired on British television on Thursday. "Global Dimming," a BBC Horizon documentary, will describe research suggesting fossil fuel by-products like sulfur dioxide particles reflect the sun's rays, "dimming" temperatures and almost canceling out the greenhouse effect. The researchers say cutting down on the burning of coal and oil, one of the main goals of international environmental agreements, will drastically heat rather than cool climate. "When the cooling affect goes away -- and it must do because particles like sulfur dioxide are damaging to humans -- global warming will be much stronger," climate change scientist Dr Peter Cox told Reuters on Wednesday. Temperatures could increase in the worst case by up to 10 degrees by the end of the century, the researchers said -- much more than current estimates.

Scientists differ as to whether global warming is caused by man-made emissions of carbon dioxide and other "greenhouse" gases, by natural climate cycles or if it exists at all. Take away fossil fuel by-products like sulfur dioxide without tackling greenhouse gas emissions, and the extra heat will speed warming, irreversibly melting ice sheets and rendering rain forests unsustainable within decades, Dr Cox said. "The climate will warm more in the future but the ability of the land to store carbon dioxide will be compromised," he said, adding that warmer soil was less able to hold the greenhouse gas.

Source. And Spear Shaker sums it up well too.


Wow! The annual IPCC reports are the mainstay of global warming theory. One of the scientific authorities behind past reports has now dissociated himself from them as running contrary to the scientific evidence. Here is an excerpt from his open letter:

"After some prolonged deliberation, I have decided to withdraw from participating in the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). I am withdrawing because I have come to view the part of the IPCC to which my expertise is relevant as having become politicized. In addition, when I have raised my concerns to the IPCC leadership, their response was simply to dismiss my concerns.

With this open letter to the community, I wish to explain the basis for my decision and bring awareness to what I view as a problem in the IPCC process. The IPCC is a group of climate researchers from around the world that every few years summarize how climate is changing and how it may be altered in the future due to manmade global warming. I had served both as an author for the Observations chapter and a Reviewer for the 2nd Assessment Report in 1995 and the 3rd Assessment Report in 2001, primarily on the topic of tropical cyclones (hurricanes and typhoons). My work on hurricanes, and tropical cyclones more generally, has been widely cited by the IPCC. For the upcoming AR4, I was asked several weeks ago by the Observations chapter Lead Author - Dr. Kevin Trenberth - to provide the writeup for Atlantic hurricanes. As I had in the past, I agreed to assist the IPCC in what I thought was to be an important, and politically-neutral determination of what is happening with our climate.

Shortly after Dr. Trenberth requested that I draft the Atlantic hurricane section for the AR4's Observations chapter, Dr. Trenberth participated in a press conference organized by scientists at Harvard on the topic "Experts to warn global warming likely to continue spurring more outbreaks of intense hurricane activity" along with other media interviews on the topic. The result of this media interaction was widespread coverage that directly connected the very busy 2004 Atlantic hurricane season as being caused by anthropogenic greenhouse gas warming occurring today. Listening to and reading transcripts of this press conference and media interviews, it is apparent that Dr. Trenberth was being accurately quoted and summarized in such statements and was not being misrepresented in the media. These media sessions have potential to result in a widespread perception that global warming has made recent hurricane activity much more severe.

I found it a bit perplexing that the participants in the Harvard press conference had come to the conclusion that global warming was impacting hurricane activity today. To my knowledge, none of the participants in that press conference had performed any research on hurricane variability, nor were they reporting on any new work in the field. All previous and current research in the area of hurricane variability has shown no reliable, long-term trend up in the frequency or intensity of tropical cyclones, either in the Atlantic or any other basin. The IPCC assessments in 1995 and 2001 also concluded that there was no global warming signal found in the hurricane record.

Moreover, the evidence is quite strong and supported by the most recent credible studies that any impact in the future from global warming upon hurricane will likely be quite small. The latest results from the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (Knutson and Tuleya, Journal of Climate, 2004) suggest that by around 2080, hurricanes may have winds and rainfall about 5% more intense than today. It has been proposed that even this tiny change may be an exaggeration as to what may happen by the end of the 21st Century (Michaels, Knappenberger, and Landsea, Journal of Climate, 2005, submitted).

It is beyond me why my colleagues would utilize the media to push an unsupported agenda that recent hurricane activity has been due to global warming.

I personally cannot in good faith continue to contribute to a process that I view as both being motivated by pre-conceived agendas and being scientifically unsound. As the IPCC leadership has seen no wrong in Dr. Trenberth's actions and have retained him as a Lead Author for the AR4, I have decided to no longer participate in the IPCC AR4.

Sincerely, Chris Landsea"


You get to play with expensive toys, have a great time travelling and end up convincing people that you are doing it all for THEIR good! So you get a lovely dollop of righteousness as cream on your cake.

"Actor Ted Danson, who served drinks on the TV show "Cheers," used a bottle of bubbly to christen a ship that will search the high seas for signs of pollution and threatened marine life. Danson on Friday christened the 71-foot catamaran Ranger at Marina del Rey.

He is a board member of the conservation group Oceana, which plans to sail the vessel on a five-month, 11,000-nautical mile voyage to areas of Central America, the Caribbean, Africa and Europe that are threatened by pollution and overfishing. "Ranger will be Oceana's eyes and ears in the oceans," Danson said. "It will enable us to record visually the wonders of the deep as well as the horrors of what is happening to our oceans and the marine life they sustain. "If we can make all this come alive in people's living rooms, we may get them to join our worldwide campaign to save the oceans," he said.



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

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


18 January, 2005


The market-based system used in London -- the "congestion charge" -- works like a charm -- 7 days a week!

Several Italian cities, and notably Rome and Milan, are to ban private cars from their central neighbourhoods this Sunday due to excessive air pollution. The ban in Rome, to run from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm (0900 to 1700 GMT) will apply to around half of the central area within the city's ring-road, municipal officials said Saturday. In Milan, a major economic centre in northern Italy, a similar ban will run from 9:00 am to midday and then from 3:00 to 6:00 pm. Other northern cities, notably Bergamo, Como and Brescia, were applying similar bans.

The measures come amid efforts by many Italian cities to curb pollution by placing restrictions on the movements of private vehicles. From next week both Rome and Milan are to test a measure banning cars with even- or odd-numbered license plates on alternate Thursdays. Similar schemes are already in place in cities such as Venice, Turin and Verona. Florence, meanwhile, has decreed that on three days each week vehicles that are not equipped with catalytic converters on their exhaust systems are banned from its ancient streets.



"Britain is set to take up the G8 presidency this year and Kyoto Protocol advocate Tony Blair plans to make climate change one of his top agenda items. Writing in the Economist, the British prime minister has stated that the G8 should engage actively with developing nations to ensure that they meet their energy needs "sustainably." December's U.N. climate change conference also heard calls for developing nations such as China and India to somehow get on board with the Kyoto process. Would this mean that they should eventually sign up to Kyoto-style emissions caps, perhaps after the agreement expires in 2012?

Many developing nations would be wary of doing so. Emissions caps could seriously damage the high economic growth upon which their status of "developing" -- as opposed to just simply "impoverished" -- depends." (Greg Price, The Wall Street Journal)

Price is only partly correct. The Kyoto Protocol is certainly all-pain, no-gain but the reason is that it's the most expensive way imaginable to not address a non-problem rather than Price's assertion that it is an inadequate means of dealing with a massive problem. We seem to have drifted back to media-driven hysterics regarding the enhanced greenhouse hypothesis so perhaps it's time to review that consensus thing and what some of the major players actually said:

* "In sum, a strategy must recognize what is possible. In climate research and modeling, we should recognize that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that the prediction of a specific future climate state is not possible." -- Final chapter, Draft TAR 2000 (Third Assessment Report), IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). Note that "FAR" (the Fourth Assessment Report) is expected sometime in the future.

* "The forcings that drive long-term climate change are not known with an accuracy sufficient to define future climate change." -- James Hansen - sometimes called "the father of global warming."

* "The consensus is that major advances are needed in our modelling and interpretation of temperature profiles . . . and their analysis by the scientific community worldwide." -- David Parker, Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research, Berkshire.

What does it all mean? In short, we still can't knowledgably forecast the weather a couple of weeks hence and, since "climate" is the sum of all weather over a period, we have no means of predicting climate 50 to 100 years hence, any more than we can do so for 2 weeks from next Thursday. We know that we need to learn a great deal more about what drives long-term climate change and we all agree that major advances are needed in our climate modeling and analysis. We can not agree on the current global mean temperature and we have no idea what constitutes an optimum mean temperature for the biosphere save perhaps that it's a lot warmer than an ice age.

Given that the fossil record indicates the biosphere truly thrives when the globe is significantly warmer than today it is surely time to wonder why some people seem determined to squander enormous sums in a vain effort to prevent the world becoming a more life-friendly place."

Source (Post of Jan 14, 2004)


Reef madness: "Now that Russia has ratified the Kyoto Protocol, Australia is the only industrialized country besides the United States to reject the U.N.-sponsored climate treaty. However, a report commissioned by Australian affiliates of World Wildlife Fund and Greenpeace denies that Australia has any choice in the matter. The report, prepared by the Sydney Centre for International and Global Law, contends that the World Heritage Convention a treaty administered by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) obligates Australia to ratify the Kyoto Protocol and, thus, limit its emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG), chiefly carbon dioxide (CO2) from fossil-fuel combustion."


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.

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


17 January, 2005


A metal stamping plant owner says he plans to sue EPA criminal investigators for at least $10 million over a fruitless investigation that nearly ruined his business. Steve McNabb, whose wife, Jan, owns American Carolina Stamping, this week said he is gathering information to sue members of the Environmental Protection Agency's Criminal Investigation Division for discrimination and retaliation during a more than four-year investigation of the Transylvania County company.

McNabb said he plans to sue for $10 to $15 million for lost business, attorneys fees and other damages. "When you're under criminal investigation you can't take government contracts," he said. "Sixty-five percent of our business was government contracts."

On Jan. 15, 1999, CID and other law enforcement officers raided the plant that manufactures wire forms, electrical contacts and metal stamping products. Officers were acting on tips that the plant between U.S. 64 and Old Hendersonville Highway was improperly disposing hazardous waste, including a hexane-based solvent, commercially sold as Zep. "The investigation to date has revealed the illegal storage and disposal of hazardous waste by American Carolina Stamping," special agent Tyler Amon said in his request for a search warrant.

McNabb contended that the solvent was too expensive to dump and that he reuses it until it evaporates. Zep is only considered a hazardous waste because of its flammability, he said.

As is the custom of federal law enforcement groups, the CID refused to talk about the case while it was open or even to confirm whether such an investigation existed.

In 2003, 10 months before the expiration of the five-year limit on investigations, the EPA closed the case against McNabb. The organization then took up civil action against him. But in November it dropped that too.

Organized in 1982 the CID has a staff of 200 and handles criminal investigations of environmental violations. Like other law enforcement officers, CID agents are armed and use body armor. They receive nine weeks of training, including one on the use of protective gear, such as respirators.

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EU countries jib at Greenie nonsense when it hits the pocket

The EU's carbon dioxide emissions trading scheme (ETS), the world's first market-based plan for cutting greenhouse gases, is in danger of being stillborn because of threatened legal action by Britain, Germany and other countries against the European commission. Margaret Beckett, environment secretary, has warned Stavros Dimas, the environment commissioner, that the UK will take Brussels to the European court of justice if he does not approve a new version of Britain's plan for emissions by power generators and energy-intensive sectors that is more generous to industry.

The threat of legal action, which could delay trading in the ETS for several months, is causing consternation within Britain's manufacturing sector, which fears that the European Union's scheme will add significantly to increased energy costs this year. The ETS was launched on January 1, with the first deal (on forward credits) between Shell and the mining group BHP Billiton executed three days later in London, when 5,000 tonnes of CO2 were brokered by TFS at a price of five pounds, eighty pence a tonne. It aims to help to cut EU emissions to 8% below 1990 levels by 2012.

The EEF, the manufacturers' organisation, has warned ministers that delays to the scheme, including legal action, will add further uncertainty to industries whose energy costs this year are expected to rise to 6 billion pounds, compared with 4.2 billion pounds 2003 - with 30% of the rise down to the ETS. It has told Ms Beckett that, if legal action produces a more effective and equitable scheme, manufacturers would back the government. An EEF report argues that, because of Britain's liberalised market, British companies will end up paying more for energy than their EU rivals.

The government's national allocation plan, which sets out how much CO2 companies or plants can emit in a given year and enables them to trade such allowances on the open market, was approved by the commission in July last year - subject to a few technical changes. But after further reports from consultants, ministers submitted a revised scheme in October, which the commission has rejected as it contains bigger and more generous allowances.

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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.

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


16 January, 2005


Remarkably, the Natural Resources Defense Council recently published a report that began with these words: "While emission of nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide are decreasing..." Reading on, it's all downhill from there, naturally. NRDC, like environmental groups everywhere, assures us that we're doomed to choke on all of the filth in the air, if climate change doesn't incinerate us first.

Still, those ten words stand out because they are so rare. The golden rule among environmental groups is "never, ever admit that progress has been achieved--especially when Republicans are in power." It's awfully tough for those organizations to raise money if donors aren't kept in a constant state of panic.

Putting the global warming debate aside for a moment, the fact is that emissions of all air pollutants, not just the two that NRDC happened to mention, have been steadily declining for a long time. Emissions have been reduced by about half over the last 30 years, and have continued to drop under the administration of that sworn enemy of environmental groups everywhere: George W. Bush.

In spite of these facts, environmental organizations continue to live in a fantasy land where every ecological move the President makes is bad, even when they admit it's good. Consider NRDC's recent reaction to the administration's Clean Air Interstate Rule, which will reduce emissions from power plants by another 7 million tons per year. In a December 12 AP story, John Walke, NRDC's director of clean air programs sniffed, "The Bush administration is now staking its money on a bill in Congress that weakens and delays public health protections already provided under the current Clean Air Act, while forcing the EPA to delay public health protections under current law."

What does any of that mean? Cutting power plant emissions by more than half weakens public health protections?....

Yet one could still read an editorial in The New York Times on October 6, 2004 entitled "Cover Up on Clean Air" in which the paper continued to perpetuate the myth that New Source Review Reform is an unprecedented disaster. Apparently they don't understand the Clean Air Act. There are no two ways about it: Discounting the dubious value of CO2 reductions, emissions of air pollutants have been continuously reduced in this country and the Bush Administration has ensured that the trend will continue downward into the next decade.

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The chairman of the US Senate's environment committee, Senator James Inhofe, warned the EU against pursuing its climate change agenda-stalled to date in the international negotiating process-through backdoor means such as the World Trade Organization.

Specifically, Inhofe (Republican, Oklahoma) took to the floor of the Senate on the opening day of the 109th Congress to address recent scientific evidence debunking alarmist claims of catastrophic man-made global warming, and warn of various attempts that may be in the works-given that even Italy has now sworn off a second round of cuts in the floundering Kyoto Protocol treaty.

Inhofe said: "As [`COP-10'] talks in Buenos Aires revealed, if alarmists can't get what they want at the negotiating table, they will try other means. I was told by reliable sources that some delegation members of the European Union subtly hinted that America's rejection of Kyoto could be grounds for a challenge under the WTO [World Trade Organization]. I surely hope this was just a hypothetical suggestion and not something our European friends are actively and seriously considering. Such a move, I predict, would be devastating to US-EU relations, not to mention the WTO itself."

The possible WTO challenge, long hinted at by EU policymakers past and present, would amount to one of two claims. First, by refusing to adopt Europe's steep (and soon be increase further) energy taxes, the US is impermissibly subsidizing its energy-intensive industries by failing to fully incorporate the full `societal cost' of minimizing governmental interference in the availability and affordability of energy.

Alternately, the challenge would be on the grounds that the US is `eco-dumping', again by its refusal to adopt the EU's energy tax schemes.

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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.

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


15 January, 2005


A few excerpts from a very detailed article:

I am often asked about the "peak oil" theory. I've even had some people send me junk mail predicting when the date would come. Sometime in June, 2006, I recall....

But as demand across the world rises, and the call on the resource increases, the price will likely slowly but inexorably rise. Efficiency and conservation will buy room, but the economic affect of using less and using more efficienctly is equivalent to increased production, and those extra barrels will be used by someone somewhere. And for those wishing for an end to Saudi influence on the oil market, officials with the Bush Administration have said that a 120-million-barrel-pay day world is going to need 20 million barrels each day from Saudi Arabia, making the world more, and not less, dependent on the Gulf kingdom....

Sure, there are alternatives. There are huge bitumen deposits in Venezuela and Alberta, tar sands that combined hold more than twice the current estimated world reserves of liquid crude oil. But bitumen is costly to refine, a potential environmental nightmare to extract, and right now, only a tiny fraction of the crude in either the Athabasca oil sands or the Orinoco Belt can be recovered.

There's a lot of shale in North America, and the process to synthesize crude from shale is fairly old and well known. It is also water intensive, and not terribly economical right now (because most of the shale is buried out West, where there is very little water). The technology is pretty well established to make synthetic crude oil from coal (lots of North American coal too) or natural gas, or even turkey guts or pig manure - if the price is right.....

It isn't that any US oil company would say "no" to Iraq contracts if the situation shaped up there and contracts came their way. But Iraq is a mess right now, and is there is no security - political, legal or physical - to guarantee a return on a multi-billion dollar investment. It's unlikely that any of these companies asked for this invasion because they all prize stability - the stability of contractual arrangements, of a regular return on capital, of not getting their employees killed and their equipment blown up - above nearly anything else. Even the stability guaranteed by very nasty governments. Dealing with the "devil," whatever headgear it wears, is pretty common in the oil business.

But there is an oil component to the invasion and occupation, and I believe it is this: the United States, through invading and occupying a nation with significant oil reserves, would show the world - especially the up-and-coming consuming nations of China and India - that in the event that push comes to shove, and this resource gets scarce, Americans come first. "Everyone else gets in line behind us. If there's any left, we'll make sure you get some."

But we need to remember a few things. First, whatever ends up replacing petroleum will come in its own good time, later than we'd like but probably sooner than we expect. It will come because it stores energy and power better than gasoline does and more cheaply to boot. It will come with some tremendous benefits and some unfortunate drawbacks. Consider as you lament the evils of crude oil: the fairly accidental discovery of kerosene and expansion of the refining process in the second half of the 19th century saved whales from an early mass extinction while at same time making nighttime light and winter heat affordable to even the most impoverished parts of Asia, Africa and Latin America. Gasoline itself was originally a waste product, largely unused until the invention of the internal combustion engine, and automobiles made for cleaner streets (no more manure) and safer farm equipment, given that farmers no longer had to wrestle with motors that had minds of their own. Kerosene itself languished as an unloved byproduct of refining for several decades until the invention of the jet engine.

Second, that new fuel will probably not come as the result of government-sponsored research. Government efforts to target new development - whether hydrogen fuel cells, hybrid engines, coal gasification, ethanol subsidies - may contribute some, but the kind of thinking and investing needed to find or make that new fuel probably cannot be done by government bureaucrats, scientists or regulators, who can only think incrementally and usually only consider efficiency and conservation, rather than entirely new ways of doing things.

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The generalizations that are really agreed on turn out to be fairly trivial

What do scientists mean when they talk about the "scientific consensus on climate change"? The answer is helpfully provided by the new web log set up by a variety of climate scientists entitled There, British Antarctic Survey scientist William Connolley defines the consensus in these terms:

"The main points that most would agree on as 'the consensus' are:

1. The earth is getting warmer (0.6 +/- 0.2Ý C in the past century; 0.1Ý C/decade over the last 30 years)

2. People are causing this

3. If GHG emissions continue, the warming will continue and indeed accelerate

4. (This will be a problem and we ought to do something about it)"

Connolley also includes the following important rider: "I've put those four points in rough order of certainty. The last one is in brackets because whilst many would agree, many others (who agree with 1-3) would not, at least without qualification. It's probably not a part of the core consensus in the way 1-3 are. Most.of us here on RealClimate are physical scientists-we can talk sensibly about past, present and future changes in climate, but potential impacts on ecosystems or human society are out of our field."

This is a useful summary, because it enables us to see where the disagreements lie. Point 1 is generally accepted, although the fact remains that satellite temperature measurements show a smaller warming trend and the reasons for that remain a topic of genuine scientific debate. Nevertheless, there is general agreement that the world warmed slightly over the past century.

Point 2 is rather imprecisely worded as everyone agrees that temperature changes over the last century have been affected by a variety of human and natural effects, both warming and cooling. The idea that man has not affected the climate in any way has virtually no supporters. Roger Pielke, Jr.-no skeptic-of the University of Colorado compiled a list where he demonstrates that all the so-called skeptics, including Fred Singer, Pat Michaels and even President Bush, have accepted that there is an anthropogenic influence on climate. The claim that opinion-formers deny this is a classic straw man.

Yet all scientists agree that there is more than just one form of human influence. As well as greenhouse gases, land-use changes, aerosol concentrations and other "forcings" have a role to play. At the time of the last IPCC report, we knew a lot only about the role of greenhouse gases (see figure 9 here), but we have invested a lot of time, money and energy into finding out more about the other forcings. They have enabled scientists to declare that such factors as land-use changes and black carbon (soot) concentrations may account for large portions of the recent warming. Moreover, we now know more about natural forcings such as the oceanic phenomenon known as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation which some researchers think may account for half of the recent warming trend. This is an area of genuine ongoing scientific discovery.

Point 3 is more contentious, as it relies on theories that assume that there is a so-called "positive feedback mechanism" in the atmosphere that will accelerate any warming trend. This is where the so-called skeptical scientists part company with the consensus. MIT Professor of Meteorology Richard Lindzen, for instance, is well-known for having advanced a credible, peer-reviewed theory that the Earth has an infrared "iris effect" that will produce negative feedbacks. Recent NASA research indicates that feedback mechanisms are not as pronounced as climate models suggest.

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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.

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


14 January, 2005


The Bush administration undertook some of its own disaster recovery last week by increasing U.S. aid to tsunami victims from $15 million to $350 million. But much more could, and should, be done for the health and economic development of the tsunami victims and of other developing nations' populations. The President could start the process of providing that much-needed relief with the stroke of his pen - and it wouldn't cost U.S. taxpayers one cent. All President Bush needs to do is to withdraw the U.S. from the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs treaty).

Tentatively agreed to in May 2001 by 90-plus nations, including the United States, the POPs treaty is intended as a means by which the United Nations and other international bureaucrats can control the use of industrial chemicals. The treaty became effective in May 2004 after France became the 50th nation to ratify it formally. Though the Bush administration has endorsed the treaty, the Senate has not yet ratified it. So the U.S. is not yet bound by its terms - which would impose deadly consequences on much of the developing world.

The POPs treaty bans or restricts the use of 12 targeted chemicals alleged to cause human health effects, including cancer, and to harm wildlife. One of the chemicals targeted by the POPs treaty is the insecticide DDT - which, as discussed in earlier columns - was banned by the U.S. in 1972 based on junk science. The POPs treaty limits how much DDT nations may store, how they can acquire it, and when and how they can use it. These rules will increase the cost of, and delay access to, the only effective defense against the mosquitoes that transmit malaria. "The POPs treaty could virtually eliminate the use of DDT, perhaps the most affordable and effective pesticide and repellant in existence, " said Richard Tren of the Africa Fighting Malaria, a nonprofit health advocacy group based in South Africa and the U.S. that focuses on the political economy of diseases and disease control in developing countries.

The World Health Organization estimates that each year, malaria kills millions of people and cuts the GDP of African nations by 1.3 percent and costs them $12 billion in economic losses. The POPs treaty will only guarantee that such health and economic devastation continues....

The ongoing malaria catastrophe with its death toll in the millions has not, and in all likelihood, will not, likely get even a fraction of the media coverage devoted to the recent tsunamis - even though its costs are orders of magnitude higher. Fighting malaria by promoting the use of DDT is not nearly as glamorous as publicly pledging millions in tsunami aid or photo-ops in devastated areas - advocating DDT, unfortunately, takes much political courage. But that would be just about the only cost incurred for an effort to save millions of lives and livelihoods.

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Another Greenie-imposed burden. Better garbage disposal is all that is really needed

In the cold vacuum of space, on a gleaming metal surface inside the Galaxy 4 communications satellite, tiny whiskers of tin grew in perfect stealth-until May 19, 1998, that is. That's when at least one of those whiskers bridged a pair of metal contacts in the satellite's control processor. The short circuit killed the satellite. Some 40 million pagers stopped working all over the country. Millions of dollars' worth of ATM and credit card transactions were interrupted. The $250 million satellite became, in the words of NASA engineer Henning Leidecker, "a doorstop in space."

The loss of Galaxy 4 was just one of the more visible consequences of a little-understood problem with catastrophic potential for electronic and electrical systems: metal that grows whiskers. An F-15's radar system, pacemakers, fuse switches in air-to-air missiles, electronic relays in a nuclear power plant, and global positioning system receivers-not to mention many other satellites-all have fallen victim to the problem. One group of University of Maryland theorists has estimated that tin whiskers have caused losses of billions of dollars to date.....

Until the new millennium the tin-whisker problem actually seemed like a plague of the past. The metallurgical bug first became apparent in the late 1940s to telecommunications engineers who were investigating why relays in telephone switching systems were failing. The research community came up with a whisker-quashing solution: Add 2% to 3% lead to the tin plating used in electronic assemblies, particularly on wires and leads to make them solderable. Lead-tin alloys became standards for the industry, and their use relegated tin whiskers, at least for most of us, to nuisance status.

As often happens, the solution became a problem: Lead became a material non grata and for good reason. It does a nasty number on neural circuitry, especially if you're a kid. To reduce human exposure to lead, governments have regulated it out of paint, gasoline, plumbing, and other sources. The relatively small amount of lead in electronic and electrical systems-about 0.2 gram in an Intel processor and about two to three grams in a motherboard-hadn't attracted much attention, but that changed as the volume of electronic waste showing up in landfills began ballooning.

Although some companies had been anticipating an era of lead-free electronics for more than a decade and already are shipping lead-free products, the get-the-lead-out clock started ticking in earnest for the entire electronics industry in 2002 when the European Union enacted the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) and the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) directives. Among other things, the directives mandate that by July 1, 2006, only lead-free electronic and electrical products will be legally salable in member countries. Unfortunately, no one knows for sure whether there is a no-lead substitute that will be immune to whisker growth. And that means tin whiskers and the failures they can foment could become as familiar in electronic products as flat tires are in cars....

Almost as out of sight to most people as the tin whiskers themselves is a worldwide network of detail-minded engineers, metallurgists, technology managers, chip manufacturers, government officials, and others who are racing against the clock to make sure that the get-the-lead-out movement does not awaken the tin-whisker dragon. They have until about right now to come up with a solution if they want to make sure that the products that ship in the coming months and years do not collectively harbor a Y2K of sorts-the wide distribution of everything from microwave ovens to missiles that are more prone to whisker-induced failure than most electronic products have been for the past half-century.

"You don't want to go out and buy a brand-new HDTV, only for it to fail before you've finished your payments," says Gedney. Researchers have come up with a variety of potential solutions. Semiconductor maker Agere Systems, for example, announced in September that it will undercoat the leads on the components it uses with nickel before it puts pure tin on top. Engineers also have developed a tin-silver-copper alloy that appears to limit whiskers to a mostly manageable fact of metallic life.

However promising those lead-free solutions might look in laboratory and beta tests, however, the real assessment of their long-term ability to keep whiskering at bay will be taking place over the next few years in the wild as lead-free electronic systems are made and sold throughout the world. It's a done deal for any electronics industry player that wants to remain in the game, but all are moving forward with the nagging anxiety that they might be setting trillions of individual stages for the quiet, stealthy growth of metal whiskers that can do no good.

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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.

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


13 January, 2005


Distinguished climatologist, Prof. Reid A. Bryson has dismissed the global warming scare as follows:

Hardly a day goes by without a news article in the paper containing a reference to someone's opinion about "Global Warming". A quick search of the Internet uncovers literally hundreds of items about "Global Warming". Issues of atmospheric science journals will normally have at least one article on climatic change, usually meaning "Global Warming" or some aspect thereof. Whole generations of graduate students have been trained to believe that we know the main answers about climate change and only have to work out the details.

Why then do I bother you by introducing this section with such a ludicrous title? I do it because, as one who has spent many decades studying the subject professionally, I find that there are enormous gaps in the understanding of those making the most strident claims about climatic change. In order to read the news rationally, the educated reader needs a few keys to quickly sort the patently absurd from the possibly correct. I propose to supply some of those keys to give the reader at least a rudimentary nonsense detector.

Some Common Fallacies

1. The atmospheric warming of the last century is unprecedented and unique. Wrong. There are literally thousands of papers in the scientific literature with data that shows that the climate has been changing one way or the other for at least a million years.

2. It is a fact that the warming of the past century was anthropogenic in origin, i.e. man-made and due to carbon dioxide emission. Wrong. That is a theory for which there is no credible proof. There are a number of causes of climatic change, and until all causes other than carbon dioxide increase are ruled out, we cannot attribute the change to carbon dioxide alone.

3. The most important gas with a "greenhouse" effect is carbon dioxide. Wrong. Water vapor is at least 100 times as effective as carbon dioxide, so small variations in water vapor are more important than large changes in carbon dioxide.

4. One cannot argue with the computer models that predict the effect of a doubling of carbon dioxide or other "greenhouse gasses". Wrong. To show this we must show that the computer models can at least duplicate the present-day climate. This they cannot do with what could be called accuracy by any stretch of the imagination. There are studies that show that the average error in modeling present precipitation is on the order of 100%, and the error in modeling present temperature is about the same size as the predicted change due to a doubling of carbon dioxide. For many areas the precipitation error is 300-400 percent.

5. I am arguing that the carbon dioxide measurements are poorly done. Wrong. The measurements are well done, but the interpretation of them is often less than acceptably scientific.

6. It is the consensus of scientists in general that carbon dioxide induced warming of the climate is a fact. Probably wrong. I know of no vote having been taken, and know that if such a vote were taken of those who are most vocal about the matter, it would include a significant fraction of people who do not know enough about climate to have a significant opinion. Taking a vote is a risky way to discover scientific truth.

So What Can We Say about Global Warming?

We can say that the Earth has most probably warmed in the past century. We cannot say what part of that warming was due to mankind's addition of "greenhouse gases" until we consider the other possible factors, such as aerosols. The aerosol content of the atmosphere was measured during the past century, but to my knowledge this data was never used.

We can say that the question of anthropogenic modification of the climate is an important question -- too important to ignore. However, it has now become a media free-for-all and a political issue more than a scientific problem. What a change from 1968 when I gave a paper at a national scientific meeting and was laughed at for suggesting that people could possibly change the climate!



A letter sent to the WSJ by David Douglass, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Rochester

Antonio Regalado reported (WSJ Dec 17) on a recent Statement, Human Impacts on Climate Change, issued by the American Geophysical Union (AGU) council. Regalado's piece, Panel Shifts Stance on Global Warming, is an accurate report of the AGU Statement. However, the Statement does not necessarily represent the views of the 41,000 members of the AGU. The AGU council consists of 28 people, most of whom are not climate scientist, who speak only for themselves. This Statement was prepared by them in secret during a large meeting of the AGU in San Francisco but announced the next week at a press conference in Washington with no prior opportunity for the other 40, 972 members of AGU to see and comment on it.

The essence of the Statement can be characterized by the sentence: "... carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases will cause global surface climate to be warmer." The rest of the Statement asserts that this is true but this is only a Hypothesis that must be tested against observations. The Statement goes on to say that the climate system is difficult to predict, yet computer models predict: mid-continents will warm; warming will be greater at higher latitudes; some polar ice will melt; oceans will warm; sea levels will rise; and hydrological cycle will change. Quite a list of catastrophes. These predictions are offered as evidence to support the Hypothesis. However, this is not evidence. These are only a manifestation of and an extension of the Hypothesis. A consensus of the 41,000 AGU membership implied or even honestly obtained is also not evidence.

What is the evidence that the Hypothesis is correct? The Statement only offers this: "... no single threshold level of green house gases ... at which the beginning of dangerous level anthropogenic interference with the climate system can be defined. Some impacts have already occurred..." What are these impacts? They offer neither examples of impacts nor any other evidence to support the Hypothesis.

Have the models been successful in predicting anything? They, of course, predict global warming. This is not surprising given the expressed belief of some of the model builders in the global warming Hypothesis and the many parameters in the model that need to be determined. However, the models also predict unambiguously that the atmosphere is warming faster than the surface of the earth; but all the available observational data unambiguously shows the opposite!

Truth in science is always determined from observational facts. One finds the truth by making a hypothesis and comparing observations with the hypothesis. It is absolutely essential that one should be neutral and not fall in love with the hypothesis. If the facts are contrary to any predictions then the hypothesis is wrong no matter how appealing. Truth by Assertion is not science



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

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


12 January, 2005


Australia has unusually large bats -- which we refer to as "flying foxes", though in the body they are in fact smaller than most cats. I grew up in tropical Australia seeing huge black flocks of them flying overhead at nightfall from their "camps" towards the fruit trees. So I have some affection for the remarkable little mammals that provided such a notable display every evening

"Jessica Kerns thought her survey of new power-generating wind turbines on a mountaintop in West Virginia would yield the standard result: a smattering of dead birds that were whacked by the whirring blades. But the University of Maryland doctoral student turned up something unexpected amid the trees and rolling ridges of Backbone Mountain: hundreds of bat carcasses, some with battered wings and bloodied faces. "It was really a shock," Kerns said.

Thousands of bats have died at Backbone and on another nearby wind farm in Meyersdale, Pa. -- more per turbine than at any other wind facility in the world, according to researchers' estimates. The deaths are raising concerns about the impact of hundreds more turbines planned in the East, including some in western Maryland, as the wind industry steps up expansion beyond its traditional areas in the West and Great Plains. The bat deaths, which have baffled researchers, pose a problem for an industry that sells itself as an environmentally friendly alternative to conventional power plants. Wind proponents already have had to battle complaints about bird deaths from the blades and about unsightly turbines marring pristine views.

The white turbines in Appalachia rise more than 340 feet above the ground -- well above the tree canopy -- and are lined up close to one another to catch the wind as it blows over the mountains and ridges.

The bat problem could worsen, conservationists fear, as wind developers rush to erect new turbines following the recent renewal of a federal tax break for a year. The wind industry, which had been virtually dormant since the last tax break expired a year ago, projects more wind turbines to be built around the country this year than in any previous year. In the areas near where bats have been killed in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, activists said, roughly 700 new turbines have been proposed or approved. "Take the most conservative estimates of mortality and multiply them out by the number of turbines planned and you get very large, probably unsustainable kill rates," said Merlin D. Tuttle, president and founder of Bat Conservation International, whose Austin-based group is leading the research effort in Appalachia. "One year from now we could have a gigantic problem."

Bats serve an important role in nature, and their populations are believed to be in decline, scientists said. The bats getting killed in Appalachia devour insects that pose grave threats to crops such as corn and cotton. They also feast on pests that can spread disease, such as mosquitoes."

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But the tactics never die

As 2004 came to an end, there was an Associated Press story about a study that had stretched into seven years and cost at least $3 million. What the study found was that, in an area of Niagara Falls, NY called Love Canal, the "preliminary findings indicate no spikes in cancer or death rates and, minimal, if any, effects on births."

In the late 1970s, Love Canal had become synonymous with corporate evil and a threat to the lives of some 900 families. President Carter declared a federal emergency that led to the evacuation of those families and the bulldozing of an elementary school and two streets on the Canal over or adjacent to which they had been built. Years before, Hooker Chemicals & Plastics Corporation had used the abandoned Canal, with the full knowledge of Niagara Falls city leaders, to dump 21,800 tons of chemical byproducts. Despite that, in 1957 the city had punched a sewer line through the Canal walls, thus allowing wastes from the dump to seep throughout the neighborhood sewer system. The city's Board of Education, which bought the site in1953, was aware of the hazards that lay beneath the subsurface construction, but deliberately ignored the problem to build a school.

Niagara Falls, despite its fame as a destination for newlyweds and other tourists, was actually more dependent for its local economy on the chemical industry and, in the 1950s, if you flew over, you could actually see the smog that covered it with a gray-brown cloud. "Chemical Row" along Buffalo Avenue, skirting the southern edge of the city, was the area's larger employer and evoked a great deal of civic pride. Hooker Chemical had chosen the segment of the abandoned Love Canal because its soil was a form of impermeable clay and the area was sparsely populated. That was before the baby boom that followed World War II began to demand more housing and more schools.

On October 16, 1952, Hooker donated the land to the Board of Education for $1.00 after unsuccessfully trying to get the property restricted for use only as a park. Failing to get agreement, Hooker insisted on a deed restriction that would warn all future property owners of the presence of dangerous chemicals. All kinds of construction, including the sanitary sewer noted above would follow. In 1968, the New York State Department of Transportation disturbed still more of the buried chemicals during the construction of an expressway.

By 1978, a series of articles by Michael Brown, a reporter for the Niagara Gazette, set events in motion that led to Love Canal's becoming the symbol, not of the failure of city fathers to act responsibly, but of Hooker Chemical & Plastic Corporation's alleged bad faith. Environmentalists had a field day with the story and it became an element in any number of similar scare campaigns to frighten Americans about chemical storage dumps, radon, and asbestos.

The media was-and continues to be-complicit in all of the hysteria. The $3 million study, however, has found no relationship between cancer or any other malady and having had a home in the Love Canal area or of having attended school there, despite the fact that by the 1960s and 1970s contaminated groundwater was leaching into back yards and the school grounds. As the State Health Department reported in 2001, there was no greater incidence of cancer among the people who formerly lived in Love Canal than for any other comparable group of upstate New Yorkers. Love Canal, the famed pit of environmental pestilence, was remarkably benign.

One would hope the public would get a bit more savvy about these scare campaigns, whether they are leveled against the chemical industry, the pharmaceutical industry or any other industry said to exist solely for the purpose of killing all its customers. The fact that people today still think of Love Canal as a place that caused widespread disease and death is a travesty. Love Canal, the symbol of corporate evil, was and is a lie. It began with the failure of the city fathers and the Board of Education to act responsibly. It escalated thanks to the hysteria drummed up by local environmentalists.

It is comparable to all the lies you hear and read daily, perpetrated by environmentalists who thrive on scare campaigns. Remember that the next time someone glibly refers to Love Canal or global warming. You are being duped. Again.



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.

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


11 January, 2005


How awful! Now all the birds are going to die and we will all have a "silent spring". How COULD they back down on something as important and well-proven as that?

The World Wildlife Fund and Greenpeace apparently have reversed their long-standing opposition to the use of DDT to fight malaria. In his column in the New York Times (Jan. 8), Nicholas Kristof quotes spokesmen from WWF and Greenpeace as supporting the use of DDT in anti-malarial programs:

* "I called the World Wildlife Fund, thinking I would get a fight. But Richard Liroff, its expert on toxins, said he could accept the use of DDT when necessary in anti-malaria programs. 'South Africa was right to use DDT,' he said. 'If the alternatives to DDT aren't working, as they weren't in South Africa, geez, you've got to use it. In South Africa it prevented tens of thousands of malaria cases and saved lots of lives.'"

* "At Greenpeace, Rick Hind noted reasons to be wary of DDT, but added: 'If there's nothing else and it's going to save lives, we're all for it. Nobody's dogmatic about it.'"

DDT was banned by the U.S. -- and for practical purposes by the rest of the world -- in 1972 following an intense lobbying campaign by the Environmental Defense Fund. Tens of millions of people -- mostly pregnant women and children -- have died from malaria during the last 30 years. Many, if not most, of these deaths may have been avoided had DDT been more widely used.

The WWF nevertheless maintains on its web site that "DDT should be phased out and ultimately banned." Greenpeace has long called for banning DDT, and has been a leading advocate of the POPs Treaty, which would make DDT more difficult to use in anti-malaria programs, if not operate as a de facto ban.

It might be easy for some to dismiss the past 43 years of eco-hysteria over DDT with a simple "Nevermind..." -- a la Saturday Night Live's Emily Litella -- except for the blood of millions of people dripping from the hands of the WWF, Greenpeace, Rachel Carson, Environmental Defense Fund and other junk science-fueled opponents of DDT.

I suppose it's possible that WWF's Richard Liroff and Greenpeace's Rick Hind were misquoted by Kristof or that they don't really mean what they say. But if they really stand by use of DDT in anti-malarial programs, calls on the World Wildlife Fund and Greenpeace to apply their multi-million dollar budgets toward ensuring that not another death occurs that could have been prevented by DDT.

A pity that millions of people in poor countries had to die of malaria while the Greenies changed their minds!



The organisation that has spent decades attacking corporate interests and the institutions of capitalism wasn't attacked by the oil or chemicals industry, but by the New York based Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). In what is increasingly a black and white issue, CORE charges Greenpeace with being racist and keeping Africa poor, sick and underdeveloped. Last Saturday, Greenpeace organised a run in Liberty State Park, New York, to campaign against chemicals that it considers to be a danger to human health. CORE arranged a rival event at the same venue to highlight Greenpeace1s policies and their damaging and sometimes deadly effects on Africa. CORE's spokesman, Niger Innis lambasted Greenpeace for being a "powerful elite of First World activists whose hardcore agenda puts people last."

Greenpeace has been at the head of campaigns to ban the use of the insecticide DDT. Green groups were successful in banning DDT use in agriculture in most countries during the 1970s. The insecticide is still permitted for use in public health programmes where it saves lives from mosquito borne diseases such as malaria. Despite the fact that it saves lives every day, Greenpeace still campaigns against its production, trade and use. Greenpeace and others campaign against most pesticide use, but most Greens are particularly fond of attacking DDT; many environmentalists cut their teeth on the DDT issue. Their influence stretches far beyond disaffected anti-globalisation students from rich countries who are desperate to be angry. The World Health Organisation, World Bank and United Nations Environment Programme are all against the use of DDT and are encouraging African governments to reduce its use.

The upshot of this pressure is that lives are lost. In 1996 South Africa submitted to Green pressure and removed DDT from its malaria control programme. The result was one of the worst malaria epidemics in the country1s history as malaria cases rose by around 1000% in just a few years and hundreds upon hundreds of lives were lost. South Africa thankfully did the right thing and reintroduced DDT in 2000. In one year, the number of cases fell by 80% in the worst hit province, KwaZulu Natal.

Despite the clear evidence in favour of DDT, Green groups continue to insist that DDT is dangerous to the environment and to human health. In reality DDT is sprayed in tiny quantities on the inside walls of houses and simply does not escape into the wider environment. Even if it did, the environmental impacts of DDT have always been grossly exaggerated. As to the human health impacts of DDT use, in the 60 years of its use, not one scientific study has been able to replicate a case of actual human harm from the chemical. In all that time and with widespread use, one would think that someone somewhere would have had some ill effect from DDT if it was so dangerous, yet apparently not. In any event, the human health dangers from malaria far outweigh those of DDT.

Perhaps it isn't surprising that groups like Greenpeace campaign against something that could save lives. Charles WĀrster, a leading environmentalist with the Environmental Defence Fund captured Green thinking succinctly in 1972 when the US Environmental Protection Agency was in the process of banning DDT. When someone pointed out to him that banning DDT would cost lives in poor countries he is reported to have said: "So what? People are the cause of all the problems. We have too many of them. We need to get rid of some of them and this is as good a way as any."

Modern greens may be more subtle now, but their misanthropic philosophy still runs deep. If Greenpeace really cared about people, as it likes to portray, why would it campaign against GM technology in agriculture? GM food, which has been consumed in the US for many years, has been shown to be safe for human consumption and to improve agricultural yields. If Africa were free to adopt GM technology, not only could we feed more people and reduce starvation, but we could increase farmers' incomes.

Campaigns against the burning of fossil fuels to provide energy ignore some basic realities and highlight the outrageous naivete of Greenpeace. In almost any African or Indian city, young children suffer from terrible and life threatening respiratory diseases as a result of burning biomass like wood and dung indoors to provide heat. Even the dirtiest coal-fired power plant providing cheap electricity would be a technological advance that would reduce illness. Yet Greenpeace prefers to promote expensive, renewable energy such as solar or wind power, even though this would keep electricity well out of reach of poor people in Africa.

Greenpeace's run in New York was organised by white, wealthy and healthy New Yorkers that were seemingly amazed that anyone would be opposed to their views. Their quizzical looks at the sight of 70 black CORE activists chanting "Africa Yes, Greenpeace NO" betrayed their ignorance of the policies for which their organisation stands. Liberty State Park is a million miles from the poverty and disease in Africa that Greenpeace is helping to perpetuate. But the rally was held in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty, that beacon of hope and freedom that so many oppressed people around the globe look up to.

If the Greenpeace activists were capable of looking beyond the ends of their noses, they might have recognised the importance of the statue towering above them. Africa needs the liberty that the US enjoys. We need the liberty and freedom to use whatever technology we require without interference and restrictions from organisations like Greenpeace that have little interest in human life. We need free trade and individual liberties that made the US the wealthiest and most powerful nation on earth. We don1t need the racist, misguided and life-threatening anti-growth campaigns run by eco-imperialist Greenpeace.



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.

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


10 January, 2005


For most observers the South Asian tsunami disaster appears to be one of the most devastating tragedies in modern history. But some environmentalists are actually celebrating the tidal wave that killed nearly 200,000 people, saying it rid the coastal area of development and other forms of human contamination. "This whole area was littered with commercialism," regular visitor Greg Ferrando told the Associated Press on Friday as he surveyed the damage in Phuket, Thailand. "There were hundreds of beach chairs out here. I prefer the sand. Everyone is talking about it. It looks much better now," he added. "This looks a lot more like Hawaii now, where vendors aren't allowed on the beach." ....

Moriel Avital, a 24-year-old Israeli who lived on the island for four months, said there was a lesson in the tsunami. "It's telling people not to mess with nature," she said. "Paradise should be paradise and should not become this civilized." ....

More here

Environmentalist BS never stops: "Environmental activists are shamelessly trying to exploit last week's earthquake-tsunami catastrophe in hopes of advancing their global warming and anti-development agendas. Two days after the tragedy, the executive director of Greenpeace UK told the British newspaper The Independent, 'No one can ignore the relentless increase in extreme weather events and so-called natural disasters, which in reality are no more natural than a plastic Christmas tree.' Friends of the Earth Director Tony Juniper told the same British newspaper, 'Here again are yet more events in the real world that are consistent with climate change predictions.'" So global warming even causes movement in the earth's tectonic plates. Haven't heard that one before!


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.

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


9 January, 2005


Idaho and Montana will get more authority to manage gray wolves under a new rule adopted by the federal government, wildlife officials announced Monday. The rule, which takes effect Feb. 2, gives the states and private landowners more control in curbing wolf attacks on livestock, domestic animals and wild game herds. Ed Bangs, wolf recovery team leader for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, said the new rule would especially help private landowners by allowing wolves to be killed without prior written approval if ranchers can prove the animals are harassing livestock. "Under the old rule, the wolf had to have its teeth in the livestock," Bangs said. "Under the new rule, it has to be a foot away, chasing them."

Wolf kills still must be backed by physical evidence, such as bitten livestock or broken fences and trampled vegetation, Bangs said.

The agency reintroduced the gray wolf into central Idaho and Yellowstone National Park in 1995. The wolves have thrived and now exceed the population goals set by wildlife officials, with about 825 animals living in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming. But before the wolves can be removed from protections under the Endangered Species Act, each of the three states must have management plans approved by the federal government. Idaho and Montana plans have been approved, but Wyoming's was rejected and that state is suing. The wolves cannot be removed from the endangered species list until that dispute is resolved.

Interior Secretary Gale A. Norton told a telephone news conference that the new rule reflected the plans of Idaho and Montana. It also gives the states more authority to kill wolves that are reducing big game herds. Bangs said the new federal guidelines would likely "result in removing about 10 percent of the population, which is still well within what the population is able to stand."

Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne (R) said the rule was a welcome change. "The old rule . . . was written to protect 25 to 40 wolves when they were initially reintroduced. The dynamic has changed, so management must also change," Kempthorne said.


Anti-biotech fanatics: "The 'new biotechnology,' or gene-splicing, applied to agriculture and food production is here to stay. More than 80 percent of processed foods on supermarket shelves -- soft drinks, preserves, mayonnaise, salad dressings -- include ingredients from gene-spliced plants, and Americans have safely consumed more than a trillion servings of these foods. But opposition continues to genetically improving plants by use of these precise and predictable techniques, largely due to a drumbeat of misrepresentations by antibiotechnology activists. Some of these radicals, like Greenpeace, make no secret they intend to stop at nothing to eliminate gene-splicing from agriculture, while other groups claim not to oppose gene-splicing but only to want it 'properly' regulated."


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.

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


8 January, 2005


"As the death toll keeps rising, it seems certain that the tsunami on December 26 killed more than the 140,000 who died at Hiroshima. A search for culprits has begun, but is misdirected. The real culprit is nature. Ecologists have created the myth that nature represents a harmonious equilibrium threatened by human excesses. In fact nature's apparent harmony is a short-term illusion between cataclysms. Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything reveals enough natural dangers to make man's survival so far seem a miracle.

Nature's vagaries have made extinct 99.99% of the 30 billion species created since life began. The Ordovician and Devonian extinctions wiped out 80-85% of all living species. The Permian extinction (245 million years ago) wiped out 95%. Humans have done their bit too. Estimates of man-made extinctions range from two per month to 600 per week. Yet, even the high figure pales besides nature's own extinctions. Humans have survived only by squeezing through a series of closing doors over millennia.

The last 2.5 million years witnessed 17 major ice ages, all killers. The periods between the ice ages represented global 'global warming', and were (ironically) saviours. Maybe greenhouse emissions will cause calamitous weather changes in a century. But a greater disaster by far will be the next ice age. The interval between ice ages has been as short as 8,000 years. The last ice age was 10,000 years ago. A new one is due.

We worry that greenhouse gases could raise the earth's temperature by 3 degrees in the next century. But nature itself creates more dramatic warmings. Ice cores from Greenland reveal episodes when temperatures shot up by 15 degrees in 10 years.

Since 1850, humans have lofted seven billion tonnes per year of carbon into the atmosphere. But nature belches 30 times more through volcanoes and decaying vegetation. One single volcanic explosion at Krakatoa, Indonesia, in 1883 threw more particulate matter into the atmosphere than all the industrial smoke ever generated by humans, and created tsunamis that reached Britain. A volcanic eruption at Sumbawa, Indonesia, in 1815 was equivalent to 60,000 Hiroshima bombs. Thirty six cubic miles of dust and ash cloaked the sun globally. Summer failed to warm the earth as usual, leading to the worst year in history for agriculture. Crops failed everywhere, causing famines and epidemics.

Even bigger was the Toba volcanic eruption 74,000 years ago in Sumatra, which led to at least six years of 'volcanic winter'. This is believed by scientists to have brought humans to the verge of extinction: maybe only a few thousand of us survived.

Supervolcanos like Yellowstone Park, USA, will one day wipe us out. Yellowstone's geysers are a tourist attraction, caused by boiling rock underground. These create 1,260 earthquakes a year, most too small to be felt. Yellowstone is the crater of an old supervolcano that has exploded periodically every 600,000 years or so. The last explosion was 630,000 years ago. The next is due".

More here. (Via Commonsense & Wonder)


It is anything but. Saying it is "settled" is just a desperate attempt to deny reality

Like so many in the media, Mr. Fikes has apparently accepted without much independent thought the prevailing view of global warming and its causes in human activity. He doesn't like the idea that someone like Crichton could question the mainstream view of science. He continues the argument that global warming is real, and the industrialized world we have created is the source of the problem. But is the Earth's atmosphere actually warming, and if it is, what is the real cause?

Recently released reports from Ohio State University, as well as a new study by the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Germany, suggest an alternative explanation: fluctuations in solar radiation. The Ohio State study, authored by professor Lonnie G. Thompson, whose area of expertise is earth system science, paleoclimatology, glaciology, and polar geology, showed that there was a sudden climate change approximately 5,200 years ago. Based on carbon dating of plants uncovered by retreating glaciers in Peru, this sudden lowering of the Earth's temperature coincides with radical fluctuations in solar radiation in the same period. Thompson cited evidence that shows that solar radiation first dropped significantly, and then rose over a very short period. He believes this severe oscillation caused the dramatic cooling that followed this solar event.

Some scientists have concluded that these solar oscillations may relate to sun spot activity. As reported at the American Geophysical Union's spring 2002 meeting, scientists have long known that a global cooling period known as the Little Ice Age occurred between A.D. 1450 and 1850, which also corresponded to similarly significant oscillations in solar radiation. This has also been known among climatologists as the Maunder Minimum. In the preceding years, Greenland was actually green.

The Late Maunder Minimum, between A.D. 1670 and 1710, corresponded with known decreased sun spot activity. During this time, northern Europe saw very cold winters, with the canals of Holland freezing solid, as depicted in many Dutch paintings from the period.

Another aspect of the global warming debate to consider is the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Today, carbon dioxide is commonly considered a human source resulting from burning of fossil fuels, and the primary ingredient of so-called "greenhouse gases." According to Harvard University professor of geochemistry Daniel Schrag, current levels are about 380 parts per million, and are expected to rise to 1,000 ppm by the end of this century. Not since the Eocene epoch, 55 million to 60 million years ago, have carbon dioxide levels been that high, which begs the question, "What caused those high levels of carbon dioxide?" Could something other than human activity have caused such high levels? Since humans weren't even on the scene for another 53 million to 58 million years, it seems rather unlikely that we were the source of these levels of carbon dioxide during the Eocene.

The point of raising these alternative explanations for the modest rise in global temperatures is that we simply don't have enough data to conclude that human activity is the root cause. It seems probable that human activity is a contributing factor to global warming, but not to the level of confidence that warrants the potential costs of billions of dollars that the U.S. economy, industry and the American people will bear by accepting the terms of the Kyoto Protocol. The penalties imposed by Kyoto could mean the loss of many tens of thousands of American jobs. Moreover, focusing on just this one aspect of global warming causes could result in overlooking other potentially more significant sources and possible solutions.

It also strikes me that those who are the most disturbed by prospects of global warming seem to have a static view of the environment. The Earth is really a living biosphere that is constantly changing. New species are being discovered all the time, and it's possible that some of these are newly emerging species. At the same time, many species are going extinct as well. The creation of new species and the extinction of older species is a natural part of evolution, and of our constantly and naturally changing environment.

I haven't had the opportunity to read Michael Crichton's new book, but from what I have read about it, his objective is to raise questions about the commonly held view of global warming and the motivations of those who are that perspective's strongest advocates. Based on all I have heard, read, seen and learned about the subject, the science is not even close to being settled. There are those who, for one reason or another, accept as fact that human activity is the source of global warming. There are also a significant number of scientists who do not, and in spite of what Mr. Fikes' opinion is on the subject, much more research is needed before the subject can be settled.

The worst part of the current debate is the fact that it is no longer a scientific debate but a political one. A scientist working in most universities today who argues against the politically correct point of view will see his grant money dry up, as well as his future if untenured. I find it also very curious that those opposed to globalization and the free market capitalism have such a convenient argument against modern industry and business.

Before you accept the notion that the success of American industry and American consumerism is responsible for global warming, consider who among us are most vociferously exclaiming our culpability.

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.

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


7 January, 2005


Too often, environmental teaching takes the form of fearful and gloomy messages, presented to children as early as kindergarten or even preschool. It's a disturbing trend with potentially devastating ramifications. In 1994, Nancy Bray Cardozo, writing in Audubon magazine, shared her uneasiness about children's environmental education. Her 6-year-old daughter had received a hand-me-down bed from an aunt, and she was about to sleep in it for the first time. Cardozo noticed that something was bothering her daughter, and she asked what it was. The little girl told her, "They killed trees to make my bed.' The gloom and anxiety often overshadow the facts. Students become alarmed about toxic waste, acid rain, deforestation and global warming, without ever learning basic scientific facts about these complex issues.

Environmental education became popular in the 1990s, when global warming and species extinction issues reached fever pitch. Parents noticed their children coming home with strange ideas about the natural world. Adults were condemned for normal things like having a job as a logger, or driving cars. One parent wrote to The New York Times, "I have noticed a disturbing trend. With each passing school year, my children are more convinced that humans and technology are bad for the planet.' Observations like these prompted Michael Sanera and me to review high school textbooks covering history, biology, civics and environmental science to examine how they dealt with environmental issues. What we found led to our book "Facts, Not Fear.'

The misinformation was astounding. For example, to illustrate the dangers of global warming, several textbooks publish pictures of how flooded cities might look if the ice caps melted including drawings of New York with all but the tallest buildings submerged. Actually, scientists anticipate that global warming might lift sea levels by between 6 and 40 inches not hundreds of feet. Other textbooks have graphs showing world population climbing inexorably upward. In fact, population growth rates have been declining since the mid- 1960s, and most demographers expect the world's population to level in about 50 years.

When it comes to forests, young people receive images of severe devastation in the United States. "Large areas of forest also have been wasted,' says "Biology: Living Systems' (Oram, 1989), implying that cutting trees to build houses or make paper was a waste of resources. "Environmental Science: Framework for Decision Making' (Chiras, 1988) reports: "Commercial interests in the United States took an especially narrow view of the forests until after World War II, seeking monetary gain with little concern for the future.' Rarely do students learn the economic realities of sustaining forests, or that until the early 1900s abundant wood and low timber prices made replanting trees a losing business proposition, or that even Gifford Pinchot, the famed first director of the Forest Service, was unable to make any money planting trees when he managed timber in North Carolina.

Jim Bowyer, a professor of forest products at the University of Minnesota, became concerned about student attitudes when he taught a course called "Natural Resources as Raw Materials.' Some students were overtly hostile to forestry and he tried to find out why. So, he developed a survey on forestry and related environmental issues in the late 1990s that was taken by more than 2,000 students at 11 universities in the United States. The results were troubling. Seventy-three percent of the students believed: "At current rates of deforestation, 40 percent of the current forests in the United States will be lost by the middle of the next century.' In fact, the forested area of the United States has been stable since 1920 and more timber is grown than is cut every year. Seventy-two percent of the students thought that populations of elk, pronghorn antelope and wild turkey have declined in the past 50 years. Truth is, they have increased dramatically.

What bothered Bowyer most was a comment made in a classroom. He had asked the students how old a tree lives on average. Some thought several thousand years others "until the tree is cut down.' In other words, some thought that trees could live forever. As Bowyer discovered, students are not simply uninformed they are misinformed in one direction. They are led to think that our natural resources, including our forests, are in danger of elimination....

A study by the Independent Commission on Environmental Education (now the Environmental Literacy Council) concluded: "Many high- school environmental-science textbooks have serious flaws. Some provide superficial coverage of science. Others mix science with advocacy.'



If it costs the taxpayer heaps and hardly anybody wants it, then it MUST be good!

Despite spending millions to promote its clean-energy effort, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has lost nearly 75 percent of the program's participants -- many of them phantom, nonpaying customers. Today, fewer than 2 percent of the DWP's customers are signed up for the Green Power Program, and the number is declining, although millions of dollars was spent to market it, using the controversial contracts with the public relations firms of Fleishman-Hillard and the Lee Andrews Group. Since it was launched in 1999, the program has been the subject of glowing national press coverage -- and stinging internal audits, which found that the conservation effort included more than $4.8 million in marketing costs.

Enrollment in the program has dropped from a peak of nearly 100,000 of the DWP's 1.4 million electricity customers to about 27,000 today. DWP officials acknowledged Tuesday that most of the losses came after a critical audit persuaded them to drop some 60,000 low-income customers who were assigned to the Green Power Program even though they weren't paying the $3 monthly charge for it. Still, the DWP calls the program a success, noting that it's one of the nation's largest such efforts.

The program has dwindled from nearly 40,000 paying customers a couple of years ago to 27,000 today, but DWP officials say it's still one of the bigger energy-conservation efforts in the nation. "Of our paying customers, a lot have stuck with it," said Walter Zeisl, a DWP spokesman for the Green Power Program. "Twenty-seven-thousand customers is still a sizable figure that shows that consumers want to bring environmentally friendly energy to Los Angeles."

The Green Power Program once was the centerpiece of the DWP's energy-conservation efforts, with the utility paying Fleishman-Hillard and the Lee Andrews Group millions of dollars a year to market it. Those contracts have been the target of highly critical audits by City Controller Laura Chick and are now swept up into county and federal investigations of the administration of Mayor James Hahn. Part of the DWP's $3 million annual payment to Fleishman-Hillard involved the Green Power Program, while all of the Lee Andrews Group's $2.4 million annual contract was for the program. Both contracts were terminated in 2004 amid a growing "pay-to-play" scandal involving allegations that city contracts were traded for political donations and favors....

Green Power customers pay an average of $3 a month more on their power bills, with the added cost going toward more expensive renewable energy sources such as solar and geothermal power.....

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.

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


6 January, 2005


This time about damaged babies

Pregnant women who live in areas with high levels of air pollution may give birth to slightly smaller babies, according to U.S. government researchers. A new study of more than 18,000 full-term infants born in California in 2000 found that a mother's exposure to fine-particle air pollution seemed to make a difference in her baby's birth weight and the infant's risk of being below average in size. Fine particulate matter, called PM2.5 by scientists, is composed of microscopic substances such as acids, metals and organic chemicals, and can be seen in the form of a hazy sky. It is given off by the burning of fuels from sources such as cars, power plants and some industrial processes.

In the study, babies born to women who lived in areas with the highest levels of PM2.5 were 26 percent more likely to be small for their gestational age compared with infants born to women from low-pollution areas. The absolute difference between these groups of infants was modest. Among women with the least exposure to fine-particle pollution, 8.5 percent had a baby who was small for gestational age. That compares with 9.2 percent of women with the highest pollution exposure. Similarly, the difference between the groups as far as average birth weight was slight, noted the study's lead author, Dr. Jennifer D. Parker of the National Center for Health Statistics in Hyattsville, Maryland. "But the results are consistent with other research," she said in an interview with Reuters Health. Therefore, the "body of evidence" points to an effect of air pollution on birth weight, according to Parker.

She and her colleagues report their study findings in the January issue of the journal Pediatrics. According to Parker and her colleagues, PM2.5 levels may influence birth weight either indirectly through effects on the mother's health or by directly affecting fetal development. The exact reason for the link between fine-particle pollution and birth weight is not yet clear, however, Parker said. For their study, she and her colleagues analyzed data from air pollution monitoring stations in California and looked at birth records for 18,247 full-term infants whose mothers lived within five miles of a monitoring station during pregnancy.

The women were split into four groups based on their exposure to fine particulate matter and to carbon monoxide. Average birth weight was lowest in the group with the highest exposure to particulate matter, though the difference between this group and the group with the highest average birth weight amounted to 42 grams, or less than two ounces. A limitation of breaking exposures into four broad groups like this is that it cannot determine anything about "extreme" exposures, Parker noted. It's unclear, she said, whether air pollution might have a greater impact on birth weight when a woman works amid car exhaust at a highway toll plaza, for example.

OK. It is not at all clear from the above that any of the results are more than random but let's presume that there is a real effect there. Why might it be? Might it be because poorer people live in more polluted areas because such areas are cheaper? Might it be that poor people in general have lower birthweight babies because of poorer nutrition or other reasons? Brain-size is correlated with IQ (smaller brains mean lower IQ) so work out a few more possible connections from that for yourself. For example: Might clever people be generally richer and not live in such undesirable areas? Might that mean that the poor people in such areas are overall a bit dumber? Might that mean that they have babies with smaller brains? Wouldn't smaller brains tend to mean lower birthweight? You can be sure that such politically incorrect hypotheses were not examined above



If one-off events in places like Antarctica are proof of global warming, why are not opposite one-off events elsewhere proof of global cooling?

Yes, it was a shocker. Snow, frost, hail and a tornado marked the first month of summer, with the coldest temperatures recorded in December since 1945. National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research figures for last month show it was the fifth coldest since records were established in 1853. The national average temperature was just 13.4C - 2.2C below normal and more like spring than summer. The record-breaking low temperatures not only kept the summer clothes in the cupboard but slowed the growth and ripening of berries, stone fruit and crops. Southerlies produced dramatic amounts of rain, with more than double normal rainfall in eastern regions from Hawkes Bay to Southland. Rainfall was also well above average in Auckland, Coromandel, Waikato, Ruapehu and Wanganui.

Despite that, less than three-quarters of average rainfall was recorded in sheltered parts of Fiordland and south Westland. And if you thought there was a dire shortage of sun, there was. Auckland recorded only 174 hours of sunshine - 83 per cent of the normal figure and the third lowest since records began in 1963. Of the four main centres, Wellington was the sunniest and Christchurch the driest.

Niwa principal climate scientist Dr Jim Salinger said the above-average number of lows centred south of the Chatham Islands produced the strongest south-to-southwest airflow over New Zealand on record. But don't despair. Things are going to improve, apparently. Dr Salinger said northern New Zealand could expect more westerly winds, more settled weather and warmer temperatures late this month and next. The large number of lows was unlikely to repeat itself in January. "Last holiday period, Christmas and New Year were perfect. This year it has been the opposite," Dr Salinger said. "Each season plays itself out differently than the previous year. My expectation is that January will improve."

Coldest December since 1945. Lowest temperature of minus 3.7C recorded in Southland on the 20th. Frost in inland areas of the North Island and the South Island. Gale force southerlies brought hail to Auckland, Port Waikato, Hawkes Bay, Tasman and Canterbury. Snow in the South Island to 600m and light snow on the Desert Road in the Central North Island. Eastern regions from Hawkes Bay to Southland had more than double their normal rainfall.



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.

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


5 January, 2005


I have lifted the post below from the excellent Madsen Pirie. See the original for links. I think I have met Madsen Pirie during one or two of my stays in London long ago. I seem to recollect he has a fondness for bow ties

"An engaging article about Bjorn Lomborg by Giles Whittel is in the Jan 1st Weekend Review of the Times. The article covers the familiar ground of Lomborg's work on The Skeptical Environmentalist. What strikes one immediately is Whittel's view that Lomborg, furiously assailed with a passion rarely seen outside of politics and academe, has actually won, and thereby changed the world.

But unlike most contemporary thinkers, including the Nobel laureates with whom he increasingly fraternises, he can claim to have waded into one of the great arguments of the age, initially as a complete novice, and, well, won it.

It is possible for a single person to demolish one of the great myths of their times. Julian Simon whom I greatly liked and respected, did this with the argument that the world was running out of scarce resources. He also helped to kill the Population Time Bomb myth. As in a fairground shooting gallery, a new one pops up whenever one is shot down.

Lomborg's contribution has been to cast doubt upon the extent to which global warming is occurring because of human-generated emissions, and on whether measures like the Kyoto Protocol represent a sensible and effective use of resources. Michael Crichton's State of Fear will probably help to spread Lomborg's doubts at a more popular level. Whittel says that Lomborg should no longer call himself an environmentalist because:

Environmentalists believe that protecting the natural environment has value in and of itself. Lomborg's entire outlook, by contrast, is based on putting people first.

..environmentalists would strive to protect the Amazon rainforest even if no human beings lived there and no medicinal plants grew there. Lomborg, apparently, would not.

"It turns out most people like other sorts of forest much better," he says airily. "Parents like open forest where you can see where the kids are playing. You also want signs to tell you what you're seeing . . . It's a very different kind of forest that most people actually want. You need a parking lot close by, that kind of stuff."

Lomborg has done environmentalists a tremendous service by showing them what happens when they cry wolf. But he's not one of them. He's on the other side now - the one that's winning.

Whittel could be right. While many of the lemmings are still dashing headlong towards the cliff edge, spurring each other on and deriding those who question the direction, more and more are pausing to consider the alternatives.


It seems the Senator Ian Campbell, Minister for the Environment, has been got at by his permanent Secretary of his department, Sir Humphrey Enviroby. An article in the Oz today flags "a forum on global warming in Sydney in April, hosted by the US-based Pew Centre, and involving Australia, New Zealand and business representatives." The Pew Centre is a left-wing environmental organisation.

In particular is his assertion that Perth has had a 12% decrease in rainfall over the last 25 years, which Warwick Hughes has already shown to be a furphy here. As for the sudden collapse of the Larsen Ice Shelf, that was caused by the sudden eruption of a nearby undersea volcanoe which caused local warming.

Those of us who enjoyed watching the "Yes Minister" and "Yes Prime Minister" BBC comedy series, which Ex Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser was reported to have said were too close to the truth for comfort, would realise that the following comes as no surprise:

"Having spent several months in his new environment portfolio reviewing the evidence, Senator Campbell said he accepted the greenhouse theory that emissions such as carbon dioxide from industry were the cause of global warming"

Global warming is a billion dollar tax-payer funded gravy train, like the UN which invented it in the first place. As politicians are not elected for their cerebral acuity, Senator Campbell's statement "Even if you're a greenhouse sceptic you need to face the fact that the climate is changing" should be no surprise. That is why it is called climate Minister, because it is always changing!

Post lifted from Mangled Thoughts


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.

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


4 January, 2005


An excerpt from "National Review" -- not online:

In Buenos Aires this month, the proponents of the Kyoto Protocol danced their last tango. The treaty, designed to slow the emission of greenhouse gases, effectively died during a U.N. conference there. The treaty will not be ratified by enough countries to take effect, and will expire in 2012. The New York Times and green groups predictably painted the United States as a villain for obstructionism. But it was the Europeans, the principal agitators for Kyoto, who were out of step. At the beginning of the conference, China, India, and the rest of the developing world stood with the U.S. and Australia against limits on energy use. The developing world knows rising energy use is required for its ascent from poverty. Then Italy shocked the participants by announcing its intention to withdraw from Kyoto after 2012. The Italian environment ministers have concluded rightly that Kyoto simply can't work to achieve its stated goals.

The remainder of the meeting took a more constructive turn, as participants focused on building "adaptive capacity" - wealth, infrastructure, technology - to handle any future climate change. To his list of accomplishments as Time's Man of the Year, add George W. Bush's assertion at the beginning of his presidency that the Kyoto Protocol was "fatally flawed." It took three years to sink in, but much of the rest of the world has now come around to his view.


Despite the fact that in 1997 the Senate rejected global warming policies that exclude developing nations and harm the U.S. economy (Kyoto does both) by a vote of 95-0 (S. Res. 98) the issue is very much alive here in the United States. At the federal level, Sens. McCain and Lieberman introduced The Climate Stewardship Act (S.139), which would severely cut energy emissions by capping CO2 emissions at 2000 levels by 2010, costing the American economy $106 billion. Fortunately, the bill was not voted on and was referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works. Yet Sen. McCain held a hearing on global warming on November 16th, where he attacked the Bush administrationís position on global warming. The president continues to oppose Kyoto, but says he wants to focus on domestic plans that include researching alternative forms of energy.

As the debate rages on in Washington, individual states are taking action to limit CO2 emissions on their own, creating a backdoor for possible Kyoto-style regulations. California has already adopted rules to regulate car emissions linked to global warming, adding an estimated $3,000 to the price of every car according to manufacturers. The Golden State also joined with Oregon and Washington to create another group called the West Coast Governorís global warming initiative.

Perhaps the biggest move towards regulation is in the Northeast. Nine states in the region (Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont) formed The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), and Maryland, Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia are observers in the process. The organization, started by Governor Pataki, aims to enact a cap-and-trade program for power plants in the region. Their goal is to have a program designed by 2005 that allots emissions credits to power providers that they can buy or sell to each other. RGGI plans on regulating other sources of CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions in the future.

Whatís more, some states are also turning towards legal action to limit CO2 emissions. Attorneys general from eight states (California, Connecticut, Iowa, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Wisconsin) as well as New York City filed a public nuisance lawsuit against five parties because of greenhouse gases (American Electric Power Co., Southern Co., Xcel Energy, Cinergy, and the Federal Tennessee Valley Authority). They make up about 10 percent of Americaís CO2 emissions. These junk lawsuits are an attempt to use the courts to address an issue that should be dealt with by the legislature. If the suits are successful, America may face a de facto CO2 emissions regime.

Surely, these state-level initiatives will hurt businesses nationally. One RGGI official said that state-level initiatives create calls for federal regulation, comparing their effort to national nitrogen oxide emissions. Businesses may even push for national limits because of the costs of complying with a patchwork quilt of state regulations. Some businesses are even voluntarily limiting their CO2 emissions in order to comply with anticipated state level regulation and avoid legal action. At some point, these companies may call for mandatory standards, which would impose new costs on their rivals.

This backdoor approach to regulation would certainly slow American growth and give the state more control over the private sector. Carbon dioxide restrictions would drastically increase the cost of energy, which goes into every good produced. Thatís why FreedomWorks is fighting alongside other grassroots organizations like United for Jobs against these initiatives, state by state, and supports including all major producers of CO2 in any and all international discussions.

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.

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


3 January, 2005


"For nearly four years, network news programs have presented a skewed view of global warming and the Kyoto treaty that liberal environmentalists claim would cure it. Those same newscasts have all-but ignored the negative economic consequences that ratifying Kyoto would have on the U.S. The network coverage also largely ignored scientific evidence questioning global warming theory, while touting dramatic claims of liberal environmental activists.

To document how network news has slanted the global warming debate, researchers with the Media Research Center's Free Market Project analyzed all 165 news stories about global warming aired on the three broadcast network evening newscasts and two cable news shows between January 20, 2001 and September 30, 2004. Among the major findings:

* Global Warming More Dangerous Than Kyoto Treaty: Three times as many network stories (46 percent) featured dramatic reports about global warming's potential impact than mentioned the downside of signing the treaty (12 percent).

* NBC, CBS and CNN Ignore Specific Cost of Kyoto: The cost to American taxpayers of adopting the Kyoto provisions have been estimated as high as $440 billion annually. ABC and the Fox News Channel were the only two networks that told viewers about the potentially crippling price tag. Even those were brief mentions in larger reports. NBC, CBS and CNN failed to pass on this essential information. No story on any network was devoted solely to discussing the treaty's economic impact. Broadcast news shows mentioned polar bears three times as often as they discussed any cost attributed to signing Kyoto.

* Bipartisan Opposition to Treaty Unreported: Only one of 165 news stories mentioned that the Senate had voted unanimously 95-0 against Kyoto. Forty-nine stories on all five news programs cited President Bush's blocking or pulling out of Kyoto without mentioning the unanimous vote. That unanimous resolution included Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry, though that is never discussed either. The Fox Report was the only show that included this key information about the Senate opposition.

* No Science Debate Allowed: Broadcast news programs presented the claims of liberal environmentalists that global warming is a given, that mankind is to blame for it, or both, 55 percent of the time (77 stories). That's six times more often than they showed valid scientific objection to global warming theories.

* Fox Report the Best News Show, NBC Nightly News the Worst: The best show for covering climate change was the Fox Report. It reported the cost of Kyoto and was the only show to mention the Senate vote opposing the treaty. It also made effective use of experts on both sides. Sixty-four percent of the NBC Nightly News climate change stories were pro-Kyoto - more than any other program. Only three of those stories raised questions about the science behind global warming.

* ABC's Bob Jamieson the Best Reporter, NBC's Robert Hager the Worst: The best reporter was ABC World News Tonight's Bob Jamieson. Jamieson was the sole broadcast reporter who included the costs of signing the climate treaty. Reporter Robert Hager's January 8, 2004 story earned him the title as worst reporter. Hager undermined an interview subject by referring to him as being "with a think tank funded in large part by big oil companies."

The MRC's Free Market Project report concludes with four recommendations. First, news organizations must provide a balance of experts and opinions on both sides of issues in their stories. The global warming stories show that is a major problem. Secondly, news shows need to explain the cost and impact of significant proposals like the Kyoto Treaty. Third, the networks need to be more skeptical of comments made by environmentalists, just as they are skeptical of comments from the business community. Lastly, networks need to find a way to monitor coverage over time so they can track their performance on these key concerns.

More here


This is one "Green" car I would like to see. Not only does it make more sense than most but I have always been a steam buff. You either "get" steam or you don't. These guys don't care a hoot about the environment of course. They just use it as a pretext for having fun

Have you heard the one about the new green car proposed by British researchers? Using the latest technology, it will be capable of up to 320kmh and runs on steam. It sounds like a joke, but a British design team hopes a prototype steam racer it is building could change public thinking about alternative energy.

The designers of the Inspiration racer aim to smash a long-standing steam land speed record and will put their vehicle through its paces in the middle of the year. They argue steam could also be a viable energy source for everyday motor vehicles because it releases less carbon dioxide (CO2) and almost none of the toxic nitrogen oxygen (NOx) compounds produced by regular engines. "Steam-powered vehicles have potential that today's internal combustion engines lack," the British Steam Car Challenge team said in a statement. "It is hoped that the project will create interest among the next generation of engineers and designers to work towards cleaner and safer forms of transportation, both public and private."

Looking a little like a green Batmobile, Inspiration's power source is a modern take on an old concept. At its heart is a steam turbine capable of producing about 225kilowatts when it is operating at 12,000 rpm. Propane gas is used to heat water to about 400 degrees as it passes through a steam generator. The steam leaves the generator under high pressure and is fed into four nozzles on a two-stage turbine arrangement. The pressure of the steam creates the velocity to power turbine wheels. These turn gears, which in turn drive the car's wheels. The boiler section is in the centre of the car directly behind the driver's seat. There are four separate boilers, which can run independently.

Inspiration's designers hope the vehicle will be able to smash a 1906 record for the highest land speed achieved by a steam-powered vehicle. The record was set by Fred Marriott, who reached a speed of just over 205kmh. Inspiration's developers hope their machine will go as fast as 320kmh.

They said that while a gas/steam engine as used by their vehicle still used fossil fuels, it could be used in "green" commuter cars because it produced fewer harmful pollutants, such as CO 2, carbon monoxide (CO) and NOx, than regular engines. "While hydrocarbon-fuelled external combustion [steam] engines also produce CO 2 and H 2O [water], the process can be more tightly controlled and the production of CO can be drastically reduced," they said. "And, since external combustion engines can operate efficiently at much lower peak temperatures and pressures, the production of NOx compounds is virtually eliminated."

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.

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


2 January, 2005


Greenies have that typical Leftist hate of other people doing well

The Sea Ranch coastal development, some 100 miles north of San Francisco in Sonoma County, is probably the best-known attempt to address environmental issues with innovative architecture and private covenants. As the development's Chamber of Commerce puts it, the community has sought to "blend man-made structures with their natural setting, and to `live lightly on the land.'"

The architects who designed the early buildings at The Sea Ranch not only fomented what has become known as the "Sea Ranch Style" but drove the creation of the legal covenants that defined the landscape and created the community that exists today. They advocated "a close relationship to nature and the use of natural materials"; they believed that "buildings can and should become a part of the encompassing landscape."......

In the early 1970s, though, The Sea Ranch became a target for the Sierra Club and other environmental groups, which didn't think people and nature should be mixed in this fashion and opposed any exclusive access to the shoreline, even by the "nature lovers" at The Sea Ranch. Their efforts led to the creation of the California Coastal Commission, a powerful new regulatory body set up to protect the state's coastline. The commission immediately imposed a building moratorium on The Sea Ranch, which lasted from 1973 to 1980.

To end the moratorium, The Sea Ranch had to agree to reduce the number of home sites from 5,200 to 2,300. At the start of the moratorium, there were 300 homes and 1,400 lots sold. The design and landscape restrictions, contrary to the fears of some real estate agents, were increasingly cited by buyers as a selling point. After eight years without building and a severe reduction in lots, however, The Sea Ranch was losing money hand over fist. When building finally did resume, the covenants were loosened considerably to generate a quick infusion of cash.

As a result, there are now effectively two Sea Ranches. As described by Lyndon, "The southern sectors, which were developed in the 1960s and 1970s, have an air of restraint and respect, their houses indeed in partnership with the land. In the northern meadows, houses put up after the early 1980s line up rigidly along the streets and form solid, view-blocking walls along the bluffs. Others protrude, exposed, from the forest above."

And that is how a state effort to protect coastlands derailed the most environmentally progressive development California had ever seen.

More here


McCain, chief co-sponsor Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.), and their advocacy group allies are on offense. They aggressively seek opportunities to publicize their message, expand their support base, and advance their agenda. The same aggressive approach characterizes the climate alarmist camp generally. At home and abroad, in courts and legislatures, in the media and regulatory bodies, alarmists are on the attack:

* Environmental activist groups endlessly lambaste President Bush for "withdrawing" the United States from the Kyoto global warming treaty.

* The British Government's Chief Scientific Advisor, Sir David King, in an attempt to influence U.S. policy, called climate change "the most severe problem that we are facing today-more serious even than the threat of terrorism."

* European Union politicians relentlessly pressed Russian leaders to ratify the Kyoto Protocol.

* Twelve state attorneys general (AGs), 14 advocacy groups, and three cities are suing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for rejecting a petition to regulate carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from motor vehicles.

* State legislators introduced at least 60 bills in 2004 proposing some form of CO2 regulation.

* New York Governor George Pataki and nine other Northeastern governors plan to cap CO2 emissions from their states' electric power sector.

* Six New England governors formed a compact with five Eastern Canadian Premiers to reduce regional greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2010 and 20 percent below 1990 levels by 2020.

* The California Air Resources Board approved its plan to implement AB 1493, a state law mandating "maximum feasible" reductions of greenhouse gas emissions from new motor vehicles.

* The AGs of seven states plus the New York City corporation counsel are suing America's five largest electric power producers to require each company to cap its CO2 emissions and then reduce them by a specified percentage annually for at least a decade.

* The National Academy of Sciences published a study predicting apocalyptic climate impacts in California, such as an 8.3ÝC (14.1ÝF) increase in average summertime temperatures by 2100, unless urgent action is taken to reduce emissions. [[xi]] The NAS published the study even though its dire forecasts derive from discredited emissions scenarios [[xii]] and a climate model (the U.K. Met office Hadley Centre model) found to be incapable of replicating past U.S. temperature trends regardless of the averaging period used (five-year, 10-year, or 25-year).

* The Sydney Centre for International and Global Law published a report arguing that Australia has a legal obligation, under the 1972 World Heritage Convention, to ratify the Kyoto Protocol and, indeed, to cut greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 60 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.

Despite this surge of activism, alarmists have scored few if any victories at the national level:

* Senate leaders kept climate language out of the Senate energy bill.

* As already noted, the Senate rejected the McCain-Lieberman bill. Despite pro-Kyoto activists' high-profile efforts to depict President Bush as an environmental criminal, [[xvi]] the environment was not a key issue in the November 2004 elections, and the Senate lost four supporters of McCain-Lieberman-Tom Daschle (D-SD), John Edwards (D-NC), Bob Graham (D-Fla.), and Ernest Hollings (D-SC). In the House, legislation of the McCain-Lieberman variety has no chance of passing or even of coming to a vote.

* Kyoto remains in such disfavor with most Americans that the Democratic Party's 2004 platform-in sharp contrast to the party's 2000 platform-did not even mention the climate treaty negotiated by former standard-bearer Al Gore.

* The Bush Administration backed away from its proposal to award Kyoto-type emission credits to companies registering "voluntary" greenhouse gas emission reductions.

* When EPA rejected the petition to regulate CO2 emissions from motor vehicles, it also disavowed, as no longer representing the agency's views, statements by Clinton administration officials claiming authority under the Clean Air Act to adopt regulatory climate policies.

Supporters of pro-growth energy policy have, in short, done a reasonably good job of fending off several major thrusts by climate alarmists during the past 18 months. However, in politics, as in war, staying permanently on defense rarely leads to victory. A purely defensive posture cedes the initiative to one's opponents, allowing the other team to generate the headlines, capture the public imagination, and frame the terms of debate.

The battle over climate policy is a protracted struggle. To win it, the friends of economic liberty, scientific inquiry, and affordable energy must advance their own vision and compel alarmists to react to it. Taking a leaf out of McCain's playbook, they should introduce their own "Sense of Congress" resolution on climate change, recruit co-sponsors, and "force votes" on the bill, year after year, until it passes.

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.

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


1 January, 2005

Winds, ice motion root cause of decline in sea ice, not warmer temperatures

A report from the University of Washington. Excerpts:

Extreme changes in the Arctic Oscillation in the early 1990s -- and not warmer temperatures of recent years -- are largely responsible for declines in how much sea ice covers the Arctic Ocean, with near record lows having been observed during the last three years, University of Washington researchers say. It may have happened more than a decade ago, but the sea ice appears to still "remember" those Arctic Oscillation conditions, according to Ignatius Rigor, a mathematician with the UW's Applied Physics Laboratory and a presenter at the American Geophysical Union's annual fall meeting this week in San Francisco.

The Arctic Oscillation is a seesaw pattern in which atmospheric pressure at the polar and middle latitudes fluctuates between positive and negative phases. The wind patterns associated with the Arctic Oscillation affect the surface winds and temperature over North America and Eurasia, as well as the Arctic. The Arctic Oscillation was in an extreme "high," or positive, phase in the early '90s and is generally in a moderate phase today. Rigor and John M. Wallace, UW professor of atmospheric sciences, say the extreme high caused winds at the surface to circulate in ways that blew most of the thicker, older ice out of the Arctic Ocean into the Atlantic. "It was as if winds generated in response to the Arctic Oscillation in those years became a far bigger 'broom' sweeping ice out of the arctic," Rigor says.

At the same time, changes in surface winds started causing the already thin ice to re-circulate back to the Alaska coast more quickly, decreasing the time it had to thicken before another melt season started. Today the ice in places remains just too thin to last through the summer melt, he says. The result is that 70 percent of the ice is 3 years old or younger, Rigor says. In the 1980s, some 80 percent of the ice was 20 to 30 years old or more. As for ice extent -- the area of the ocean covered by ice -- last summer was again among the record low years, nearly 15 percent lower than average. With a wintertime ice pack roughly the size of the United States, that's like having areas equivalent to the states of Texas and Colorado melt away. In the 1980s, it was more an area the size of Rhode Island.

The melting in places was extensive even where local temperatures were colder than normal. This was the case in the summers of 2002 and 2003 for Alaskan coastal waters. "The temperature itself doesn't explain it all," Rigor says, "but the age of sea ice explains more than half the variance in summer sea-ice extent in those coastal waters." ......

The Intellicast weather-watch site has some good articles on climate change by their "Dr. Dewpoint". It is almost a library of refutations for Greenie myths.


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.

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