Tracking the politics of fear....  

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30 June 2005


A radical environmentalist who is one of the FBI's most wanted fugitives told an extradition hearing Monday he was being unfairly targeted by the U.S. government and should be allowed to remain in Canada. Tre Arrow, born Michael Scarpitti, is accused of taking part in the 2001 firebombings of logging and cement trucks in Oregon. The FBI also claims he is associated with the Earth Liberation Front, a group that has claimed responsibility for dozens of acts of destruction over the past few years. "I am being targeted by the U.S. government and the FBI, not because I am guilty but because I have chosen to challenge the status quo," Arrow, and a Green Party candidate for Congress in 2000, said at his extradition hearing.

In order for an extradition to be ordered, the judge must find there is sufficient evidence to convict the accused on the same charges in Canada. Prosecutor Rosellina Patillo said evidence from the federal prosecutor in Oregon indicates Arrow was among four conspirators involved in the bombings of a gravel company and a logging company between April and June of 2001. The evidence comes from statements of Arrow's three coconspirators who have pleaded guilty. The suspects intended to firebomb a U.S. Forest Service office, but abandoned the idea after they found the security system was too tight, Patillo said.

Arrow is seeking refugee status in Canada, his lawyer said. The 30-year-old Arrow - who says the trees told him to change his name - contends he would not get a fair trial in the United States because of the FBI's assertion that his alleged crimes are acts of terrorism. He faces federal charges in Oregon of using fire to commit a felony, destroying vehicles used in interstate commerce and using incendiary devices in a crime of violence. He faces up to 80 years in prison if convicted.



Even subsidies cannot preserve primitive farming practices so European farming villages are emptying out. As a result much land is reverting to the wild. Are the Greeniers happy with that? NO WAY! There is no such thing as a happy farmer or a happy Greenie. The Greenies are trying to STOP the land going back to a more natural state -- Believe it or not! Note that there is not much of a problem in more prosperous Britain, where gentrification is keeping the countryside alive. Lots of prosperous Brits can afford a second home in the country where most Europeans cannot

Home to 22 of the world's 25 lowest-birthrate countries, Europe will lose 41 million people by 2030 even with continued immigration, according to the latest U.N. Population Division report. The biggest decline will hit rural Europe. As Italians, Spaniards, Germans and others produce barely half the children needed to maintain the status quo-and rural flight continues to suck people into Europe's suburbs and cities-the countryside will lose close to a third of its population, say both the United Nations and the EU. "It's a triple time bomb," says University of Lisbon demographer Nuno da Costa. "Too few children, too many old people and too many of the remaining young people still leaving the village."

The implications of this transformation touch on everything from tourism to retirement locales to government conservation and agricultural policies. Our postcard view of Europe, after all, is of a continent where every scrap of land has long been farmed, fenced off and settled, where every tree has been measured, counted and named. But the continent of the future may look rather different. "Big parts of Europe will renaturalize," says Reiner Klingholz, head of the Berlin Institute for Population Development. Bears are back in Austria. In Swiss alpine valleys, farms have been receding and forests are growing back in. In parts of France and Germany, wildcats and ospreys have re-established their range.

This sounds like an eco-environmentalist's dream, inspiring loose talk of a Europe Pastoral-the return of wide-open spaces and primeval wilderness to a densely settled landscape. Yet the truth is more varied, and interesting. While many rural regions of Europe will empty out, others will experience something of a renaissance. Already, attractive areas within striking distance of prosperous cities are seeing robust revivals, driven by urban flight and a rising influx of childless retirees. From Provence to Piedmont, Kent to the Costa del Sol, ex-urbanites are snapping up vacation homes, hobby vineyards and horse farms

Contrast that with less-favored areas-from the Spanish interior across the Alps to Scandinavia and Eastern Europe. These face dying villages, abandoned farmsteads and changes in the land not seen for generations. Both types of regions will have to cope with a steeply aging population and their accompanying health and service needs, says Gunnar Malmberg, a rural geographer at Sweden's Umea University. "Rural Europe is the laboratory for demographic change."

Visit the Greek village of Prastos for an extreme glimpse of what Malmberg might mean. An ancient hill town in the eastern Peloponnese, Prastos once had 1,000 residents, most of them working the land. Now only a dozen are left, most in their 60s and 70s. With no children, the school has been closed since 1988. Sunday church bells no longer ring. "The old people here will die," says visiting ex-resident Petros Litrivis, 60. "Everything will be abandoned." Without farmers to tend the fields, rain has washed away the once fertile soil. Of the 50,000 goats that once grazed the hills, only a fraction remain. As in much of Greece, land that has been orchards and pasture for some 2,000 years is now covered with a parched scrub that, in the summer, frequently catches fire.

Rural depopulation is, of course, not new. Thousands of villages like Prastos dotEurope, the result of a century or more of emigration, industrialization and agricultural mechanization. "But this time it's different because never has the rural birthrate been so low," demographer Costa says. In the past, for example, a farmer could usually find at least one of his offspring to take over the land. Today, chances are he has but a single son or daughter, usually working in the city and rarely willing to return. In Italy, more than 60 percent of the country's 2.6 million farmers are at least 65 years old. Once they die out, many of their farms will join the 6 million hectares (one third of Italian farmland) that has already been abandoned.

Rising economic pressures will amplify the trend. One third of Europe's farmland is marginal, from the cold northern plains to the parched Mediterranean hills. Most of these farmers subsist on EU subsidies, since it's cheaper to import food from abroad. Already, the EU is trying to limit costly overproduction by paying farmers not to farm. "Without subsidies, some of the most scenic European landscapes would not survive," says Jan-Erik Petersen, a landscape biologist at the European Environmental Agency in Copenhagen. Take the Austrian or Swiss Alps. Defined for centuries by orchards, cows and high mountain pastures, those steep valleys are labor-intensive to farm, with subsidies paying up to 90 percent of the cost. The Austrians and Swiss pay up so that the postcard-perfect scenes can continue to exist. Across the border in France and Italy, subsidies have been reduced for mountain-farming. Since then, all across the southern Alps, villages have emptied out and forests have grown back in.

This isn't necessarily the environmentalist's dream it might seem. The scrub brush and forest that grows on abandoned land might be good for deer and wolves, but is vastly less species-rich than traditional farming, with its pastures, ponds and hedges. "Once shrubs cover everything, you lose the meadow habitat. All the flowers, herbs, birds and butterflies disappear," says the EEA's Petersen. "A new forest doesn't get diverse until it's a couple of hundred years old." An odd alliance of farmers and environmentalists have joined to put pressure on the EU to "keep the landscape open," as World Wildlife Fund spokeswoman Catherine Bett calls it. Keeping biodiversity up by preventing the land from going wild is one of the reasons the EU pays farmers to mow fallow land once a year. France and Germany subsidize sheep herds whose grazing keeps scenic heaths from growing in. Outside the range of these subsidies-in Bulgaria, Romania or Ukraine-big tracts of land are returning to the wild.

For governments, the challenge has been to develop policies that slow the demographic decline or attract new residents. In some places, such as Britain and France, large parts of the countryside are reviving more or less on their own as an increasingly wealthy urban middle class in search of second homes recolonizes villages and farms. In southern England, farmland prices have soared, helped along by burned-out investment bankers become hobby farmers, raising organic produce or rare breeds of pigs.....

More here


As an ABC News-Washington Post poll recently found, 59 percent of Americans are "mostly" or "completely" convinced that "global warming or the greenhouse effect is happening." That's not surprising, considering that they have heard little to the contrary for nearly two decades.

Fortunately, Americans are also blessed with an abundance of common sense. By an equally large margin, the respondents expressed the belief that global warming is "a long-term problem that requires more study before government action is taken." They know full well that the weatherman, armed with incredibly powerful computers, has difficulty predicting tomorrow's rain. Why should anybody be confident that computer models can predict the temperature a century from now?

There is a more basic reason for skepticism. Government isn't terrific at solving such complex problems, even when they turn out to be real. After all, a fair chunk of the population can still remember the last time government got itself deeply involved in trying to ration energy. The result was stagflation and the wasteful gas lines of the 1970s. And make no mistake about it, energy rationing -- as well as huge subsidies to the big corporations that make nuclear plants or wind turbines -- is precisely where the environmental hysteria over global warming was leading.

The latest bill rejected by the Senate, sponsored by Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz, and Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., would have mandated caps on carbon dioxide and a market-oriented system for trading them. Those who needed more energy could theoretically buy credits from those who could make do with less. But government would still have to establish the overall cap on energy use. Aside from the crucial question of whether a government bureaucracy is smart enough to do so, even environmentalists confess that Kyoto or McLieberman measures would have been a small first step in clamping a huge indirect tax on the American and world economy.

The collapse of the latest global warming boomlet is thus more than another bump in the political road. It represented the profound unease of the public about turning so much economic and social power over to Washington

More here


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

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

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


29 June 2005


I reproduce below a post of 26th from Steve McIntyre

Several people have drawn attention to letters from the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee to Mann, Bradley, Hughes, the director of the U.S. National Science Foundation and the chairman of the IPCC, which were posted up at the Committee website on Friday here.

The letters refer to the Wall Street Journal [this would presumably be the article of Feb. 14, 2005, in which Mann said that he would not be "intimidated" into releasing his algorithm, rather than the recent editorial], as well as to our articles. They have directed Mann, among other things, to produce his source code. In our E&E article, we pointed out several areas, where, in our opinion, MBH98 did not meet "full, true and plain disclosure" standards, which are routinely applied to securities offerings and promotions, e.g. the withholding of R2 and other verification statistics, the impact of the presence/absence of bristlecones (the CENSORED directory), the "editing" and misrepresentation of the Gaspe start date. Questions are asked specifically about these matters.

The questions are focussed on process, with particular emphasis on processes for validation and verification, issues which are obviously of interest to readers of this blog. The letters are well worth taking a look at.

And one of the comments on the above post is well worth reproducing too:

Adherence to facts allways pays off. Never mind the outcome of the investigation now launched , it´s of great help and reassurance to lay people like me trying to catch up with what is going on, that people like Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick are not afraid to stand up to the pressure from a sometimes fierce scientific community. And succeed. I´m sure that it will be clear to “both” sides of the debate, that never mind the outcome of the investigation, honest and real science will be the ultimate winner in the future. Once things have settled, I suppose that because such an investigation can be provoked, scientists will be much more careful not to give way to biased research, and that again could happen to be of great relief to ordinary people who might have their life negatively influenced because of bad science adopted by policymakers as the “truth". So from one who is willing to accept whatever the truth is, just it´s the real truth, a big thanks to Steve Mcintyre and Ross McKitrick.


The researcher described below rightly calls into question current usage of ethanol (industrial alcohol) as fuel for cars but what he says is largely irrelevant to how ethanol would be used if its usage was market-driven rather than Greenie driven. Under free trade and under conditions of higher oil prices, ethanol could be produced much more efficiently than it is. For a start, the basic feedstock used for production of ethanol in the USA is sugar extracted from corn. This is lunacy in economic terms as free-market sugar produced from sugarcane is only about a quarter of the price that Americans are forced to pay for their sugar by their government's trade controls. There would be no corn-sugar industry under free trade.

And traditional sugar-mills in countries like Australia are powered almost entirely by burning bagasse -- the pulpy waste that is left over when the cane is crushed to extract the sugar-laden juice. So little or no fossil fuel is needed to drive the process of sugar production. The sugarcane in effect crushes itself. And after the sugar is produced, little bugs (yeast) turn it into alcohol. That's how the alcohol in beer gets there. And the bugs are not powered by fossil fuel either. They do it for us for free, all by their little selves -- as they have been doing for thousands of years. You could in fact feed the cane-juice fresh out of the crusher directly to the bugs if you wanted to be really energy-efficient about it. There is no need for an intermediate stage of sugar production. And you could get good hooch out of doing that as well. If I remember rightly, that is how rum originated

"Ethanol, touted as an alternative fuel of the future, may eat up far more energy during its creation than it winds up giving back, according to research by a UC Berkeley scientist that raises questions about the nation's move toward its widespread use. A clean-burning fuel produced from renewable crops like corn and sugarcane, ethanol has long been a cornerstone of some national lawmakers' efforts to clear the air and curb dependence on foreign oil. California residents use close to a billion gallons of the alcohol-based fuel per year.

But in a recent issue of the journal Critical Reviews in Plant Sciences, UC Berkeley geoengineering professor Tad Patzek argued that up to six times more energy is used to make ethanol than the finished fuel actually contains. The fossil energy expended during production alone, he concluded, easily outweighs the consumable energy in the end product. As a result, Patzek believes that those who think using the "green" fuel will reduce fossil fuel consumption are deluding themselves -- and the federal government's practice of subsidizing ethanol by offering tax exemptions to oil refiners who buy it is a waste of money. "People tend to think of ethanol and see an endless cycle: corn is used to produce ethanol, ethanol is burned and gives off carbon dioxide, and corn uses the carbon dioxide as it grows," he said. "But that isn't the case. Fossil fuel actually drives the whole cycle."

Patzek's investigation into the energy dynamics of ethanol production began two years ago, when he had the students in his Berkeley freshman seminar calculate the fuel's energy balance as a class exercise. Once the class took into account little-considered inputs like fossil fuels and other energy sources used to extrude alcohol from corn, produce fertilizers and insecticides, transport crops and dispose of wastewater, they determined that ethanol contains 65 percent less usable energy than is consumed in the process of making it....

Ethanol has long been touted not just for its promise as a renewable fuel, but for its usefulness as a gasoline additive. Fossil fuels blended with it produce fewer carbon monoxide emissions than regular gasoline and have a higher octane rating, meaning they burn more evenly and are less likely to cause engine knocking. While most gasoline sold in the United States now contains approximately 5 percent ethanol, some cars -- such as the Ford Explorer and Chevy Silverado -- can run on fuel blends containing up to 85 percent.

Though his work has been vetted by several peer-reviewed scientific journals, Patzek has had to deflect criticism from a variety of sources. David Morris, an economist and vice president of the Minneapolis-based Institute for Local Self-Reliance, has attacked the Berkeley professor's analysis because he says it is based on farming and production practices that are rapidly becoming obsolete. "His figures (regarding energy consumed in fertilizer production) are accurate for older nitrogen fertilizer plants, but newer plants use only half the energy of those that were built 35 years ago," he said. He also cited the increasing popularity of no-till farming methods, which can reduce a corn farm's diesel usage by 75 percent....

Hosein Shapouri, an economist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, has also cracked down on Patzek's energy calculations. "It's true that the original ethanol plants in the 1970s went bankrupt. But Patzek doesn't consider the impact new, more efficient production technologies have had on the ethanol industry," he said. Shapouri's most recent analysis, which the USDA published in 2004, comes to the exact opposite conclusion of Patzek's: Ethanol, he said, has a positive energy balance, containing 67 percent more energy than is used to manufacture it.

More here


I mentioned it previously on 14th.

Some Canadian scientists have rejected the so-called "global warming" threat, insisting that climate change is normal and isn't even caused by humans. A new video, produced by the Calgary, Alberta-based group, Friends of Science, is titled, "Climate Catastrophe Cancelled: What you are NOT being told about the science of Climate Change!" In the video, Prof. Ross McKitrick from the University of Guelph in Ontario claims that advocates of the "global warming" theory used flawed computer models to try to prove their case. He describes a study "that appeared in the world's top science journal and yet years went by and they never noticed that the data description that had accompanied the paper was wrong, that there were very important methodological issues that weren't described in the paper."

Climate models, if used accurately, would show that the temperatures from hundreds of years ago were similar to the temperatures of today, adds Dr. Sallie Baliunas, a scientific advisory board member for the Friends of Science. "Past climate researchers have found out that over much of the world between about 1400 and in some places as late as 1900, there was a period of colder than average temperatures over many regions of the world, called the Little Ice Age," Baliunas asserts in the video. "Before that, there was a period of unusual warmth, so warming and cooling are the norm. The 20th century is not out of balance compared to the past," she adds. Baliunas, who is also a research scientist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass., maintains in the video that she has no quarrel with the idea of climate change. "Climate always changes," Baliunas says in the video. "It always has and it always will, no matter what humans are doing.

Speaking at the video's presentation on Capitol Hill June 23, Dr. Tim Ball, a retired professor of climatology from the University of Winnipeg, said the liberal view of climate change or "global warming" ignores some of the most important variables. He compared the investigation of climate change with that of a broken down car. "Ignoring the sun is like ignoring the engine, ignoring water vapor is like ignoring the transmission and focusing on human produced CO2 (carbon dioxide) is like looking at one nut on the right rear wheel," Ball said.

Baliunas agrees, declaring in the video that there is "much new evidence showing the sun has cycles over centuries [and that] the earth has warmings and coolings that follow in step with the sun. The sun's changes [are] one reason why the earth has climate change," she says.

The Friends of Science video describes water vapor as the "main greenhouse gas in the atmosphere," whose effects on the climate have not been sufficiently investigated. As for man-made carbon dioxide, enemy number one of "global warming" activists and the focus of the Kyoto Protocol - the international emissions reduction treaty -- it has not been shown to affect temperature levels, according to Dr. Tim Patterson, professor of geology and paleoclimatology at Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario. "We actually had a decline in temperature from the 1940s through about the late 1970s to 1980. All this while, CO2 levels were increasing like crazy all around the world," he said.

Prof. Ian Clark, from the department of earth sciences at the University of Ottawa, asserts in the Friends of Science video that his research into naturally-occurring CO2, tracked over the earth's history, showed that "CO2 acts as a result of temperature rise and [is] not a cause of temperature rise."

Baliunas defends carbon dioxide in the video, saying that as the level "has increased in the air over the last 50 years, plants have grown better, more vigorously, faster. Farmers have gotten a little extra bounty in their crops for free because there is more carbon dioxide in the air," she adds.

Ball said he has already lived through two climate changes: cooling and warming. But unlike the alarms being raised by liberal environmentalists and their political, academic and media allies, Ball pointed out that "the evidence is we're heading for cooling again."

The Friends of Science website states that its goal is "to encourage and assist the Canadian Federal Government to re-evaluate the Kyoto Protocol ... and to educate the public through dissemination of relevant, balanced and objective technical information on this subject."



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

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

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


28 June 2005


An email to Benny Peiser from Will Alexander, Professor Emeritus, Department of Civil and Biosystems Engineering, University of Pretoria, South Africa. Email

"Coming from Africa, I have followed the Academies of Science/G8 issue with a great deal of concern. I fully understand and appreciate the anxiety of the 12 northern hemisphere academies, but I fear that their conclusions are altogether wrong. The fundamental mistake that both the pro- and anti-climate change theorists have made and continue to make, is their reliance on unprovable process theory, instead of applying observational theory to the huge volume (thousands of station years) of routinely recorded data, where the linkage between the hydrometeorological processes (rainfall, river flow, floods and droughts) and climatic perturbations is abundantly clear.

These are the principal results from my three-year study of what appears to be the largest and most comprehensive climate-related database studied anywhere. My search was for climate-related signals that occurred concurrently in most data sets of most processes. This is what I found.

* There has been a 9% increase in rainfall over South Africa as a whole since the commencement of district rainfall records in 1922.

* This increase consists of an increase in the frequency of beneficial widespread rainfall events, with an acceleration from the middle of the last century.

* Corresponding changes in river flow and floods, if present, were undetectable against the background of high natural variability.

* The natural variability is directly related to statistically significant (95% level) 21-year periodicity in all processes other than open water surface evaporation.

* This periodicity in turn is directly related to, and occurs concurrently with, the double sunspot cycle. The linkage is clearly apparent and unequivocal. It has been well documented and reported in South Africa for more than a century.

* The commencement of the periodicity in the hydrometeorological responses is characterised by sudden changes from drought conditions to high rainfall conditions and floods. These are directly (but not precisely) related to corresponding sudden changes in sunspot activity that are associated with the occurrence of the sunspot minima. (We have just entered such a period.)

* The two independent sunspot cycles have fundamentally different effects on the hydrometeorological processes. These alternating sequences of wet and dry years are well recorded in the early hydrological literature. This is probably why efforts to correlate the 11-year cycles, instead of the double cycles, with climatic responses have been unsuccessful.

* There is some evidence of a linkage between increases in sunspot activity during the past century with corresponding increases in the South African surface air temperature and the frequency of widespread rainfall events.

* There is no linkage between climate and the occurrence of malaria in Africa.

In summary, if the consequences of human activity on the scale identified in the joint statement of the academies of science are so large, they should be readily identifiable in the large volume of data that I studied. Despite a diligent search and without any preconceived ideas or intentions, I was unable to find any evidence of the adverse effects of climate change that could not be explained by natural variability, including the effects of solar activity. Such changes that I was able to identify were all beneficial to both humanity and the natural environment.

If any of your readers have an interest, I can provide references and more information.


"When I fly, I always insist on taking the window seat. Maybe it's the 12-year-old boy in me - I like seeing the world as Matchbox cars and ants-as-people scurrying about. Even as an adult and a resident of a large metropolis, I'm always curious about exactly what this modern expanse of planned communities and shopping meccas really looks like from above. I recently took a flight from New Orleans, across the center of the country, into Chicago. Upon the flight's descent, about 50 miles outside of Chicago, I had a revelation; or, more apt, a bit of confusion: I'd flown 800-plus miles, most of it unobstructed by clouds, and all along I was asking myself - where exactly is this supposedly overwhelming urban sprawl? Certainly there were splotches of it here and there. Certainly there were rare specks of civilization within a virtual universe of green and brown. But sprawl? I just didn't see it.

All of this was little more than an interesting observation until the next day, when I read about the release of the United Nations atlas entitled "One Planet Many People" - comparing decades-old satellite photos of certain areas with modern ones, supposedly showing the global devastation of man. Interesting. I assumed the UN project had more resources for statistical analysis than I did during my few cross-country trips. But when I dug into the book, what I found wasn't actually a shocking exposé on how mankind is destroying the planet. Instead, I found an excellent exposé of the flaws of the fundamental environmentalist argument.

While environmentalist causes are often born anecdotally, they're certainly not always lacking in statistics - and the pages of this UN atlas have just enough, as they say, to be dangerous. The facts and figures sprinkled throughout this UN atlas are not necessarily invalid, but they always seem to be missing one concept - the context of the global calculus. X number of acres of rain forest have been cut down. OK, but X acres of how many total? Cities have grown X amount per year, on average. I believe you, but how much of our space is left? Carbon dioxide emissions for the decade were X tons. Great, that seems like a lot, but what specific events will happen because of this? Unfortunately, these questions often elicit a lot of "I don't knows", "maybes", and "possiblys".

Unless you're one who believes the end result must be dire merely because of a statistic in print, the numbers presented by traditional environmentalist arguments are rarely meaningful. Fine, so people don't like math - math is boring, I get it. People do like pretty pictures - hence, the UN is releasing an atlas rather than volumes of statistical analysis to prove its point. Now, I love nifty satellite photos as much as the next guy, but any search for true significance in them will yield far less than the proverbial thousand words. Looking at photo after photo comparing specific areas over decades, you can't deny that humans have had some effect on the planet. But how much? The majority of photos are close-ups of specific cities, so all that's evident is that coastlines are colored differently, a few trees are now buildings, and cities are growing.

After millenniums of seemingly massive population growth, humans take up only a minuscule amount of the planet. Even given our current growth rate, the human effect will still remain basically infinitesimal. Environmentalists would have you believe that we're inhabiting the lone, rare pockets of land that can sustain human life, and any damage to those are, indeed, globally devastating. However, when one zooms out, so to speak, from the areas we inhabit now what we see is ample land, ripe for our inevitable technological advancements to make inhabitable.

The collection of photographs in this book - and most photographic environmental evidence, in reality - proves only one thing: Our effects on the planet are really evident only when zoomed in on. Beyond the admittedly neat pictures, this attempt at an atlas of man's destruction crystallizes but one thing: Environmentalists love microcosms. Any situation they can prove to be gravely perilous in a 40-square-mile area, they tend to extrapolate globally. It's been the linchpin of the environmental movement forever: coal smoke in a few large cities during the early 1900s, a few miles of coastline destroyed by an oil tanker crash, the mere existence of pollutants in relatively tiny metropolitan areas - all these were heralded as environmental disasters.

Despite constant warnings, global devastation never quite seems to happen. We've been safe thus far - throughout industrial revolutions, oil landgrabs, and periods of rampant consumption - and there has yet to be any solid, fact-based rationale to explain how we won't always find a way to grow beyond microcosmic environmental problems. It appears environmentalists can't see the forest because they're zoomed in on one or two ailing trees.

Excerpt from The Christian Science Monitor, 23 June 2005


Global warming could trigger an Ice Age in the northern hemisphere as seen in a recent Hollywood disaster movie, a groundbreaking study suggested today. British scientists have analysed climate patterns at the end of the last Ice Age and believe that as the southern regions of the world heat up, northern parts could grow colder.

The findings by experts from the universities of Edinburgh, Stirling and Durham contradict the widely-held view that global warming will impact across the world. Their findings are more like something out of blockbuster film The Day After Tomorrow, in which global warming causes the Gulf Stream to be switched off.

The 11,400 years of climatic stability since the last Ice Age have resulted in a warm Europe and cold southern ocean because the Gulf Stream takes warm water north across the equator. But the study found global warming could prompt major cooling of the north Atlantic as ice caps melt, cooling the north Atlantic and transforming wind patterns around a warming Antarctica. The researchers say a bipolar climatic "seesaw" effect - last triggered when the Earth heated up after the Ice Age - could happen again.

The team spent 14 years analysing radiocarbon and isotope samples from Patagonia in South America - the most southerly land mass outside of Antarctica - where they built up a picture of glacier changes in the past 25,000 years. After comparing their results with data on north Atlantic glaciers over the same time period, they found that during periods of major climate change the Patagonian ice rivers expanded while those in the north shrank, and vice versa. The data shows the seesaw effect last happened during the transition from the last Ice Age, 17,500 years ago, to our present climate, 11,400 years ago.

With the Earth now appearing to move out of a settled climate period, the experts believe the time could be ripe for the seesaw effect to happen again. Project leader Professor David Sugden, of Edinburgh University's School of GeoSciences, said: "Our discoveries raise interesting questions for our present warming world. How stable is our present climate system? "How far can it be pushed before we inadvertently switch the bipolar seesaw on or off? Can it be switched on by changes in the southern hemisphere, for example by changes in Antarctica?

"The study confirms that we may be closer to Ice Age conditions in the northern hemisphere than many previously thought." Their research has been published in the Swedish journal Geografiska Annaler.

From The Scotsman, 23 June 2005


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

The Greenland ice sheet is made from layers of snow that have compacted into ice over millennia. By drilling a core of ice, researchers can look back in time and determine the temperature when the snow fell by analysing the ratio of oxygen isotopes in the ice. Two previous Greenland ice cores, one known as GRIP extracted by European scientists in 1992, and another called GISP2 retrieved by Americans a year later, gave climatologists their best ever records of temperatures going far back in time. The two cores agreed almost perfectly all the way back to 113,000 years ago, but then diverged dramatically.

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

But controversy erupted when GISP2 found no record of such fluctuations. It soon became clear that at least one team, and possibly both, had drilled in a region where the underlying rock is very hilly, potentially jumbling the bottom 10 per cent of the ice. To resolve the debate, European researchers went back to northern Greenland in 1996 and started drilling in a region with flat bedrock, which they reached in July 2003. The new core, known as NGRIP, goes back 123,000 years, and at ~3085 metres it is the longest ice core recovered from Greenland. Besides analysing the oxygen isotopes in the ice, the Europeans also looked at levels of methane trapped in air bubbles. Methane levels rise during warm periods and fall when it gets cold, and the variations back up the oxygen-isotope data.

"This time we are 100 per cent certain that the ice core is reliable:' says team member Jurgen Peder Steffensen of the University of Copenhagen in Denmark. "The new analysis also shows that the two older ice cores are only reliable to 105.000 years." The NGRIP core reaches into the final 8000 years of the Eemian. The team found that Greenland was then about five degrees warmer on average than today, [All those prehistoric SUVs at work, no doubt] and that the climate was stable. The warm period ended with a slow cooling over 5000 years"

Excerpt from New Scientist, 11 September 2004


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

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

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


27 June 2005


It may well get dearer, in which case we will use one or several of the many alternatives -- though nukes and ethanol are the obvious alternatives. At the moment a large slice of what you pay at the pump is tax anyway

For decades environmentalists have been warning that we are "running out of resources." The 1960s Club of Rome Report was the classic document of this genre. The authors were computer jocks at MIT who tried to build the first model of the world economy. They programmed in dozens of factors - resource supplies, technology improvements, pollution outputs - and then tried to project the whole thing forward 40 years to see how the world would make out.

The model kept collapsing. Try as they might, they couldn't program a "stable world environment." They decided that because they couldn't build a prosperous, pollution-free world on their MIT computer, the world itself wouldn't be able to produce one, either. So they wrote a book predicting disaster. It was an absurd exercise, yet it captured the imagination of millions of people eager to believe the worst.

The great Julian Simon refuted this kind of thinking. He proved, without doubt, resources are constantly growing more plentiful and human ingenuity is "the ultimate resource." Putting his money on the line, he won his famous bet with Paul Ehrlich about future commodity prices. Simon proved what economists since Adam Smith had been saying all along - certain activities are "profitable" only because they save people time, effort and energy. Left unhindered, the market will take us where we want to go.

Peter Huber and Mark Mills have reiterated Simon's argument in The Bottomless Well: The Twilight of Fuel, The Virtue of Waste, and Why We Will Never Run Out of Energy. Sticking it right in the face of environmentalists, Huber and Mills argue the more energy we consume, the better off we are. The world is awash with low-level energy. "What is scarce is not raw energy but the drive and the logic that is able to locate, purify, and channel it to our own ends." Waste - i.e., low-grade energy - is good because it means we are creating greater order somewhere else. That's the trade-off in the Law of Thermodynamics. The high-level order created by computerized seismological imaging, for example, enables us to hunt more and more inaccessible oil, which gives us more energy to hunt even more oil, and so on.

Now contrast this unbridled optimism with the book party at the National Press Club last week for Matthew Simmons Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy.

Simmons is not an environmentalist. He's a Houston investment banker with a degree from Harvard Business School who has been intensely involved in the oil business for thirty years. He thinks environmentalists are a bit kooky. "They seem to relish the idea that world oil production may peak and are gleefully looking forward to it," he says. Yet Simmons' argument is not terribly different from that of the Club of Rome.

Thoroughly versed in the geology of oil exploration, Simmons makes one simple point that is beginning to reverberate around the oil world these days: We may be running up against the limits of easy oil. Sure, there will still be trillions of barrels of oil in the tar sands of Alberta -Huber and Mills' point - but it will not be easy to access. For the last thirty years, we've been living off Middle Eastern oil that essentially rose to the surface when you stuck a pipe in the ground. Now those fields are aging. Simmons thinks the Saudis and Aramco damaged them considerably by pumping too hard in the 1970s and early 1980s so that extensive water and gas injection will be required to access what's left.

The example that Simmons and others use to make their case is the United States of America. In 1970, we passed "Hubbert's Peak," the point where oil production leveled off. Looking at the rate of new discovery in 1956, Shell Oil geologist M. King Hubbert predicted domestic oil production would peak in 1969. He missed by one year. Sure, we have discovered new oil in Prudhoe Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. And new technology allows us to extract more oil than previously possible. Still, domestic production has never gotten back above the 10 million barrels per day we pumped briefly in 1970. We now produce 8 billion bbd - while demand has nearly doubled. That's why we imported 15 percent of our oil in 1970, as opposed to 60 percent today.

That the entire globe will eventually reach its own "Hubbert's Peak" now seems inevitable. It may happen in 2040, or it may happen in 2010. (Simmons thinks it's even closer due to vast overestimations of Saudi capacity.) Once again, this doesn't mean we're "running out of oil" - only easy oil. The 500,000 wells operating in America still produce oil. Every last one. They just don't produce as much as they did in 1970.

And so the question arises, where will the world go to "import" more oil? Economic theory has a simple answer - substitution. Whale oil ran out around 1850 but "petroleum" took its place. We'll think of something else. Nuclear power is the obvious answer - unless you prefer the idea that we'll all ferment "biodiesel" in our backyards like hillbillies brewing their own whiskey. Or maybe we'll just cover North and South Dakota with windmills.

Nuclear power seems the obvious scientific solution. Yet it is still having a terrible time getting past political and environmental objections. And that's the one thing that enthusiasts of the "bottomless well" of human ingenuity commonly miss. Human beings also have a seemingly bottomless capacity to make a mess out of issues that, on paper at least, seem like they should be the easiest things in the world to resolve.

More here


There aren't too many places where you can celebrate the 4th of July weekend by hitting the slopes, but Utah is one of them, thanks to a record amount of snowfall. Typically, skiing and snowboarding ends by mid-to-late April. One area, the Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort, often stretches it to late May. But on Thursday, Snowbird announced it will be open weekends until Independence Day. That has happened only once before, in 1995. "This is awesome," said Greg Sperry, a 33-year-old snowboarder from Salt Lake City. "If anyone would have told me I would be here skiing in summer, I wouldn't have believed it. It's like a bonus round."

July will mark the ninth consecutive month of skiing at the resort, located about a half-hour south of Salt Lake City. A combination of early and consistent snowfall, a lack of powder in the Northwest and a residual tourism bounce from the 2002 Winter Olympics have combined to make this the longest and busiest season in Utah history. Attendance is up 12 percent over last season's record of 3.4 million, according to Nathan Rafferty, a spokesman for Ski Utah, a marketing association that promotes the state's skiing industry. "It's just one of those seasons where all the pieces fell into place," Rafferty said. "You would have to go to Mt. Hood, which is on a glacier, or Saasfee in Switzerland to be skiing this late in the year."

The season got off to a rousing start on Nov. 5, when Snowbird had its earliest opening ever. The most recent dump--a half-foot--fell June 12. In between, storms regularly blanketed the Wasatch Range, and a chilly spring has insulated the snow that was already on the ground, maintaining the base. From start to finish, the mountain received 633 inches--a whopping 52 feet of snow. The result? A scene that is eerily out of sync with the calendar: jammed parking lots, long lines for food and a bustling singles scene. "I was here on Memorial Day . . . and I plan to celebrate July 4th here, too, " said Julie Williams, 25, of Los Angeles, relaxing before she took the tram up to the top of Hidden Peak, which is 11,000 feet high. "This is where all the guys are . . . which is why I took up snowboarding. You can't ask for much better odds than this.".....

More here


DDT came to be seen as an enemy of the environment following the publication of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring in 1962. My younger brother - who despite his denials is an out-and-out green (if it quacks like a duck and waddles like a duck, it's a duck) - recently sent me a new copy of Carson's book, published by Penguin Classics. And after re-reading it for the first time in years, I am amazed that so many people found it credible.

We used to have a slogan in the Royal Navy: 'Bullshit Baffles Brains.' In her book, Carson lumps together chemicals used for fighting weeds and insects that were proven to have sometimes terrible side effects - such as 2,4-D, DDD, DDE, BHC, aldrin, lindane and heptachlor - with DDT, for which there was little proof of such side effects. Even her dedication to Albert Schweitzer is a distortion. She quotes him saying: 'Man has lost the capacity to foresee and to forestall. He will end by destroying the Earth.' The implication is that Schweitzer was opposed to insecticides; in fact, he was talking about the dangers of nuclear warfare, not DDT. Indeed, in his autobiography Schweitzer wrote: 'How much labour and waste of time these wicked insects do cause us…but a ray of hope, in the use of DDT, is now held out to us.'

Carson focused much of her attention on the apparent harm caused to birds by DDT. She wrote about robins at Michigan State University that were apparently dropping dead as a result of DDT. Michigan ornithologist George Wallace theorised that the robins were dying because they had eaten earthworms contaminated by DDT. Neither Wallace nor Carson bothered to mention that there were high levels of mercury at Michigan, as a result of soil fungicide treatments on campus, and that the dead robins displayed symptoms of mercury poisoning. At the EPA hearings on DDT in the late 1960s, Joseph Hickey of the University of Wisconsin said that, in tests, he had been unable to overdose robins with DDT because they passed it through their digestive tracts and eliminated it in their faeces.

Carson also wrote of Dr James DeWitt's 'now classic experiments' which showed that, while DDT may cause no observable harm to birds themselves, it may seriously affect their reproduction and reduce the number of eggs that hatch successfully. In fact, DeWitt came to a very different conclusion. He reported no significant difference in egg hatching between birds fed DDT and birds not fed DDT. Carson also omitted to mention DeWitt's report that DDT-fed pheasants hatched about 50 per cent more eggs than 'control' pheasants.

In the late 60s, Dr Joel Bitman and his associates at the US Department of Agriculture found that Japanese quail fed DDT produced eggs with thinner shells and lower calcium content. Yet further examination of Dr Bitman's study revealed that the quails under experiment had been fed a diet with a calcium content of only 0.56 per cent, where a normal quail diet consists of 2.7 per cent calcium. And calcium deficiency is known to cause thin eggshells.

After much criticism, Bitman repeated the test, this time with sufficient calcium levels, and the birds produced eggs without thinned shells. Following years of feeding experiments, scientists at the Department of Poultry Science at Cornell University 'found no tremors, no mortality, no thinning of eggshells and no interference with reproduction caused by levels of DDT which were as high as those reported to be present in most of the wild birds where "catastrophic" decreases in shell quality and reproduction have been claimed'.

Various things cause thinning eggshells, including season of the year, nutrition (in particular insufficient calcium, phosphorus, vitamin D, and manganese), temperature rise, type of soil, and breeding conditions (for example, sunlight and crowding). But environmentalists, it seems, rarely let scientific evidence get in the way of their campaigns against DDT and other 'modern evils'.

Carson died in 1964, two years after her book was published. So she missed the demolishing of her theories by the scientific community. Yet her book became the bible of the greens and Carson their Holy Mother.

More here


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

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

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


26 June 2005


The Endangered Species Act (ESA) has failed and will continue to fail so long as private property owners are penalized for good environmental stewardship, The National Center for Public Policy Research and 52 other leading national and grassroots organizations say in a letter sent to House Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo.

The ESA, which is on the fast track for reform and reauthorization this year, has by most accounts been a stunning failure.

Since it became law over 30 years ago, only nine of the close to 1,300 species given special protection under the ESA - or 0.6 percent of the total - have recovered.

Despite its poor performance, some on Capitol Hill are calling for more of the same.

Signatories to the letter to Chairman Pombo, however, strongly disagree.

"You can not fix an already poisonous law by increasing its dosage," said David Ridenour, vice president of The National Center for Public Policy Research and one of the coalition letter's organizers. "The ESA hasn't failed because it isn't strong enough. It has failed because it has the incentives all wrong."

Today, private landowners live in fear of the ESA. Those who harbor endangered species on their property or merely own land suitable for them often find themselves subject to severe land use restrictions. To avoid such restrictions and the losses in property values that accompany them, many have been forced to preemptively sterilize their land to keep rare species away.

"Such pre-emptive sterilization benefits no one - least of all the species the ESA was meant to protect. The good news is that this practice can be stopped by compensating landowners for their losses," said Ridenour. "But make no mistake: If Americans continue to be penalized for good stewardship practices, they will cease such practices and even more rare species will be condemned to extinction.


A longer article on the same subject is here. Excerpt:

"The Endangered Species Act has been a remarkable failure since its inception in 1973. According to the House Resources Committee, in its 32-year existence the law has failed to recover over 99% of the roughly 1,300 species it lists as threatened or endangered.

The cost of this failure to Americans has been enormous. For example, when the Spotted Owl was dubiously listed under the ESA in 1990, tens of thousands of Americans lost their jobs and their livelihoods. In 2001, four firefighters in the state of Washington lost their lives due to bureaucratic fumbling over the Act. And all across America, countless property owners have fallen victim to the menace of radicals who use the ESA to pillage property.

"How many more lives must be ruined before Congress finally stops cowering before the radical green lobby?" asked DeWeese. "Congress should not reauthorize the ESA unless complete and total property rights protections are given to landowners."

In a 2003 critique of the ESA, Congressman Pombo wrote: "It is no secret the ESA has been used by extremists to restrict, seize and devalue property rights, as well as halt important government projects. In fact, this is what most ‘green’ obstructionists groups relish most about the Act.""


They have their snouts in just about every trough imaginable

Too often the media portrays environmental groups as selfless do-gooders and their opponents as greedy corporate polluters and the Bush Administration. But the press rarely mentions that moneyed interests are also behind environmental groups. Just take a look at who's funding the environmental groups that are trying to attach global warming regulations to the energy bill now before Congress.

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Environmental Defense are two of the noisiest groups that want the U.S. Senate to adopt what's called the McCain-Lieberman bill, named after its two sponsors. In a stream of seemingly endless emails, they are imploring their members to pressure Congress to support McCain-Lieberman. This bill, officially called the Climate Stewardship and Innovation Act, would seriously harm our economy by requiring American businesses to cut their current output of carbon dioxide to 2000 levels by the year 2010. Yet none of the news stories about this bill mentions how much money the NRDC and Environmental Defense have raised -- much of it from government -- to promote this job-destroying legislation.

From 2000-2002 the NRDC and Environmental Defense were among the top recipients of almost $125 million in grants that federal government agencies gave for climate change-related projects. According to a recent report from the George C. Marshall Institute, NRDC took in $6.7 million in grants from left-leaning foundations and government agencies. Environmental Defense garnered just over $5 million.

Does the Bush Administration know that its agencies are spending taxpayer money to fund groups opposed to its own policies? In 2004 the NRDC received over $390,000 from the Environmental Protection Agency to study how to reduce gas emissions. So not only does the NRDC lobby for legislation that will hurt American taxpayers, but the American taxpayer gets the pleasure of helping it do so.

The NRDC and Environmental Defense also raise money from a Who's Who of private U.S. foundations. The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation gave $300,000 to both groups to maintain the "momentum" for imposing global warming regulations. Ted Turner's foundation handed the NRDC $800,000 and Environmental Defense $100,000. The Public Welfare Foundation gave the NRDC a cool $1 million, while a more reticent Energy Foundation gave a mere $970,000 to Environmental Defense for global warming.

To get around the Administration's opposition to taxing Americans for an unproven theory, many foundations also fund state-level climate change initiatives. Last year, the Pew Charitable Trusts -- one of the most aggressive foundations on climate change -- gave $550,000 to the NRDC to promote global warming initiatives in the West and Northeast. Environmental Defense received grants from the Dyson Foundation ($25,000 in 2002) and the Wallace Global Fund ($10,000 in 2002) for state climate-change campaigns; The NRDC got money from the Bullit Foundation for this effort ($110,000 in 2001). The Energy Foundation of San Francisco is a cash cow for state-level climate change. Since 2001 it has given five grants totaling more than $610,000 to NRDC and four grants worth $520,000 to Environmental Defense for climate-change programs in places like California.

The NRDC raises money by playing the national security card on global warming, and then raises more money by opposing other national security measures. On global warming, the NRDC raises the specter of Middle East oil. "Global warming pollution and dependence on foreign oil are urgent problems," the NRDC's website warns. Yet the group opposes a national missile defense and has raised money fighting it: $50,000 from the John Merck Fund and $400,000 from the Turner Foundation.

Grants to environmental groups like the NRDC and Environmental Defense would soar if global warming regulations were added to the current energy bill. Green groups would go hat-in-hand to private foundations and the federal government requesting money to "study implementation" of the regulation and "monitor compliance" with its provisions for reducing so-called greenhouse gases.

Climate change regulation is potentially a huge economic burden on the United States (but not on India, Russia or Brazil). The debate should not go forward without acknowledging that the environmental lobby has a financial stake in promoting global warming hype.



It is almost impossible to overstate how radically different the Jewish Bible thought was from the thought of the rest of its contemporary world. And it continues to be, given how few societies affirm Judeo-Christian values and how much opposition to them exists in American society, the society that has most incorporated these values. Among the most radical of these differences was the incredible declaration that G-d is outside of nature and is its creator.

In every society on earth, people venerated nature and worshipped nature gods. There were gods of thunder and gods of rain. Mountains were worshipped, as were rivers, animals and every natural force known to man. In ancient Egypt, for example, gods included the Nile River, the frog, sun, wind, gazelle, bull, cow, serpent, moon and crocodile. Then came Genesis, which announced that a supernatural G-d, i.e., a g-d who existed outside of nature, created nature. Nothing about nature was divine.

Professor Nahum Sarna, the author of what I consider one of the two most important commentaries on Genesis and Exodus, puts it this way: "The revolutionary Israelite concept of G-d entails His being wholly separate from the world of His creation and wholly other than what the human mind can conceive or the human imagination depict."

The other magisterial commentary on Genesis was written by the late Italian Jewish scholar Umberto Cassuto, professor of Bible at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem: "Relative to the ideas prevailing among the peoples of the ancient East, we are confronted here with a basically new conception and a spiritual revolution . . . The basically new conception consists in the completely transcendental view of the Godhead . . . the G-d of Israel is outside and above nature, and the whole of nature, the sun, and the moon, and all the hosts of heaven, and the earth beneath, and the sea that is under the earth, and all that is in them - they are all His creatures which He created according to His will."

This was extremely difficult for men to assimilate then. And as society drifts from Judeo-Christian values, it is becoming difficult to assimilate again today. Major elements in secular Western society are returning to a form of nature worship. Animals are elevated to equality with people, and the natural environment is increasingly regarded as sacred. The most extreme expressions of nature worship actually view human beings as essentially blights on nature.

Even among some who consider themselves religious, and especially among those who consider themselves "spiritual" rather than religious, nature is regarded as divine, and G-d is deemed as dwelling within it.

It is quite understandable that people who rely on feelings more than reason to form their spiritual beliefs would deify nature. It is easier - indeed more natural - to worship natural beauty than an invisible and morally demanding G-d.

What is puzzling is that many people who claim to rely more on reason would do so. Nature is unworthy of worship. Nature, after all, is always amoral and usually cruel. Nature has no moral laws, only the amoral law of survival of the fittest.

Why would people who value compassion, kindness or justice venerate nature? The notions of justice and caring for the weak are unique to humanity. In the rest of nature, the weak are to be killed. The individual means nothing in nature; the individual is everything to humans. A hospital, for example, is a profoundly unnatural, indeed antinatural, creation; to expend precious resources on keeping the most frail alive is simply against nature.

The romanticizing of nature, let alone the ascribing of divinity to it, involves ignoring what really happens in nature. I doubt that those American schoolchildren who conducted a campaign on behalf of freeing a killer whale (the whale in the film "Free Willy") ever saw films of actual killer whale behavior. There are National Geographic videos that show, among other things, killer whales tossing a terrified baby seal back and forth before finally killing it. Perhaps American schoolchildren should see those films and then petition killer whales not to treat baby seals sadistically. If you care about good and evil, you cannot worship nature. And since that is what G-d most cares about, nature worship is antithetical to Judeo-Christian values



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

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

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


25 June 2005


It looks like a consensus IS emerging -- but not the one the Greenies claim. The IPCC is of course Mecca for the global warming religion -- if not the Kaaba itself. The article below is by Yury Izrael, Director, Global Climate and Ecology Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences and IPCC Vice President

One issue on the table at the G8 summit at Gleneagles in early July is global climate change. As I see it, this problem is overshadowed by many fallacies and misconceptions that often form the basis for important political decisions. G8 leaders should pay attention to them. There is no proven link between human activity and global warming.

According to 10,000 meteorological stations, average temperatures have increased by just 0.6 degrees in the last 100 years. But there is no scientifically sound evidence of the negative processes that allegedly begin to take place at such temperatures. Global temperatures increased throughout the 1940s, declined in the 1970s and subsequently began to rise again. Present-day global warming resembles the 1940s, when ships could easily navigate Arctic passages. However, man's impact was much smaller at that time. A Russian expedition that recently returned from the central Antarctic says that temperatures are now starting to decrease. These sensational findings are one of Mother Nature's surprises.

Experts compiling climate-change reports every five years mention the possible influence of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, methane, freons, etc. Atmospheric carbon dioxide was 280 PPM (parts per million air mollecules) in 1880, and now stands at 378 PPM. It has increased by 31% since the pre-industrial era. This is quite a lot, but temperatures have increased by only 0.6 degrees. Paradoxically, temperatures tended to rise by one to 12 degrees at peak intervals, with carbon-dioxide fluctuations totaling not more than 300 PPM. This contradiction is rather baffling. Therefore I believe that the link between man's activities and rising temperatures has not been proved completely. Natural factors and the impact of man seem to be interlinked.

The European Union has established by fiat that a two-degree rise in global temperatures would be quite dangerous. However, this data is not scientifically sound. Many specialists estimate the peak atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration at 400 PPM. Our calculations show that carbon-dioxide concentrations would increase by just 800 PPM if all known and produced fuel were incinerated in the space of a few hours. But we will never reach this ceiling. In ancient times the Earth had periods when maximum CO2 concentrations were 6,000 PPM (in Carboniferous period). But life still goes on.

In other words, we must comprehend what will happen while the carbon-dioxide levels will grow from the current 378 PPM to 800 PPM, that will hypothetically occur when all the fuel on earth is burned. Global temperatures will likely rise by 1.4-5.8 degrees during the next 100 years. The average increase will be three degrees. I do not think that this threatens mankind. Sea levels, due to rise by 47 cm in the 21st century, will not threaten port cities.

It is said that the sea may rise significantly because of additional carbon dioxide and higher temperatures. The sea has risen by 10-20 cm in the last 100 years. The port of London, not the entire city, would face a disaster if this trend persists. However, the situation can be rectified by building new piers. The Far Eastern city of Magadan has multi-level piers for coping with eight-meter high tides.

The people of Bangladesh, who live at sea level, may face problems if the Indian Ocean rises. Still, their resettlement would be much cheaper than projected Kyoto Protocol expenses.

Some academics claim that the slowly melting Greenland ice cap threatens the entire world because it will melt in 3,000 years, if annual global temperatures rise by three degrees. Still, we should understand that sea level will rise by just 1-2 cm in the first several hundred years.

The G8 can adopt some effective climate-related decisions. In my opinion, academics, politicians and governments should assess maximum permissible temperatures and carbon-dioxide levels. Quite possibly, the world would have to sacrifice something in the face of a common threat. Scientists should comprehend the needs of politicians, and vice versa. I think this concept is quite effective. Unfortunately, some political decisions disregard the opinion of science. G8 summits would prove effective if the G8 maintained close-knit ties with academics.


("Curses!" say the sugarcane farmers and ethanol producers)

According to the Association for the Study of Peak Oil & Gas, the end is near - when the earth's oil reserves start to run dry and scarce petroleum will go to the highest bidder. Seers have written books detailing that time, and websites such as forecast a steady rise in prices - such as Tuesday's oil price of more than $59 a barrel.

Not so fast, maintains a new report issued Tuesday by the widely respected group Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA). Instead of the wells running dry, CERA says petroleum supplies will be expanding faster than demand over the next five years, according to an analysis oil field by oil field. In good news for the SUV set, the new oil will be light, sweet crude - ideal for making gasoline. And since supply will grow, CERA forecasts prices will fall, possibly below $40 a barrel "We expect supply to outpace demand growth in the next few years, which would take the pressure off prices around 2007-2008 or thereafter and even lead to a period of price weakness," says Peter Jackson, a coauthor of the report.

Kjell Aleklett, a professor of physics in Sweden and president of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil & Gas, says the CERA report is overly optimistic. In addition, he says, one of his students looked at a draft of the report and concluded that CERA double-counted. "I'm not worried about this report," he said from a cellphone in Madrid. "Over the next several years, they will find new oil fields, but then it will be hard to do it."

Still, CERA maintains that higher prices are encouraging production and that technology is helping to capture oil from older fields. It foresees non-OPEC production expanding rapidly through the rest of the decade, particularly as new supplies come onstream from Russia, the Caspian, Brazil, Angola, and Canada. Much of the production increase is already starting to happen as oil-rich nations begin to dig deeper and produce faster. According to the report, there are approximately 20 to 30 new major projects (producing more than 75,000 barrels per day) coming onstream every year until 2010. These will add 3 million to 4 million barrels of oil per day each year.

Over the next five years, there will be 10 million barrels per day of new light or medium crude and 3 million barrels per day of new heavy crude. Altogether, supply will exceed demand by 6 million to 7.5 million barrels per day later in the decade, according to CERA. While many of the oil-depletion theories claim that Saudi production will falter, CERA predicts that the oil-rich nation will expand its production by as much as 2 million barrels of oil per day by 2010. In fact, the CERA analysis concludes that OPEC production will expand the fastest - to 45.6 million barrels per day, up from 36.8 million last year. But because of political uncertainty, it has shaved its estimates for oil production from Russia. Any decline of Russian crude production would also be mirrored by a continued decline in production from other non-OPEC countries, such as the United States.

CERA does not foresee an actual "peak" in oil production. Instead, with huge projects coming onstream on a regular basis, it predicts an "undulating plateau" in terms of supply and demand for decades. An "inflexion" point will come in the third or fourth decade of the century, according to CERA. "There is no indication to suggest peak oil is imminent," says Daniel Yergin, CERA chairman and author of several books on petroleum. The main risks to its forecast, says Mr. Yergin, are political and operating changes that could delay expansion. If that happens, CERA predicts that oil production will increase by only 11.5 million barrels of oil per day between 2004 and 2010.



Comment from a reader on my post of 21st:

You are right, there is a greenie war on Australian farmers, and governments have been persuaded by conservation interests to position themselves very nicely to wage it.

First, property rights are a package of rights of use that landowners have. In Australia they all come from the Crown (ie State of Federal Governments). In the past, if a landowner had a property right diminished or extinguished in the public interest, he could expect compensation. But the conservation 'public good' shopping list was too expensive for govenments to pay for.

So the broad stragegy, rignt across Australia has been as follows: First, a property right is extinguished by legislation -- ie right to clear vegetation, right to water falling on land, etc, making it necessary for a landowner to obtain permission to carry on or continue with a past right or activity.

Then a statutory obligation is placed on landowners to preserve or maintain the resources they are longer able to use. The State is not obliged to assist people to meet their statutory obligations. So no compensation. These statutory obligations are often portrayed as a 'duty of care', opening up the way for moralising at farmers to mask the legislative swindle. But under common law, a duty of care can only be owed to people or their property. It cannot be owed to 'the environment'.

The Australian system is conservation on the cheap - cost shifting the cost of 'public good' conservation onto landowners. My source for the above is the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Environment and Heritage report into Public Good Conservation, September 2001.

As the public (or government) can exempt themselves from compensating landowners, then the shopping list is unlimited! These laws are speeding up the depopulation of the country, while at the same time increasing the statutory environmental obligations placed on those who remain.

Bans on offshore drilling split coastal-state senators: "Senators from five coastal states are working to lift state moratoriums on offshore drilling and require the states to provide an inventory of promising oil deposits along their coastlines, an issue the Senate will vote on today. Some coastal states fear that taking an inventory would be the first step toward a federal mandate to lift state bans on offshore drilling in the outer continental shelf -- the section of the ocean beyond the seabed of the continental United States. Sen. Mary L. Landrieu [D-LA] was able to get the mandatory inventory provision into the stalled energy package while it was in committee, and she is expected to push for lifting current bans on oil and gas drilling in a deal that also would allow her state to reap more revenue royalties."


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

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

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


24 June 2005



Amazingly, some Senate Republicans are seriously considering cosponsoring an amendment to the energy bill offered by Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D., N.M.), which incredibly almost got the backing of Energy Committee Chairman Sen. Pete Domenici (R., N.M.). This amendment seeks to tackle global warming by controlling and limiting the use of fossil fuels. Like Kyoto, it would set caps on energy use and set in place a vast bureaucracy to manage the new centrally planned economy. The amendment even assumes that jobs will be lost as a result, as it includes language aimed at increasing unemployment assistance.

So why on earth would Senate Republicans consider backing a growth-destroying, job-wrecking, welfare-creating measure? It cannot be because of its effect on global warming, as its effect would be unmeasurably small. The proposal is opposed vehemently by House Republicans, and as such if the Senate were to insist on the measure it would kill the energy bill outright. So the only plausible explanation is that it is being considered as a bargaining chip, to give the Senate conferees something to drop in exchange for the House dropping something the Senate doesn't like when the bill enters conference - most likely the liability protection the House bill gives to manufacturers of gasoline additive MTBE, now banned but once the darling of the environmental movement.

If this is what senators are thinking, it is the height of irresponsibility. Not only would Senate approval of the measure, even in the knowledge that it will never be enacted, establish the principle that Kyoto-like measures are acceptable to the U.S. Senate, but it gives the President's European foes a chance to wreck the Gleneagles agreement and to revive a dying Kyoto treaty that Europeans are currently helping to kill. Former British Foreign Secretary Nye Bevan famously said that the Labor party approving of unilateral nuclear disarmament would send him "naked into the conference chamber." It is no surprise that Democrats want to see an embarrassed president, but it is a galling sight to see leading Senate Republicans ready to tear the clothes off the president's back.

After (?)

Attempts to require US industries to cut carbon dioxide emissions as a way to address global warming appear to be headed for defeat in the Senate after a key Republican withdrew his support amid White House lobbying to keep greenhouse gas control programs voluntary. Senator Pete V. Domenici, the New Mexico Republican who chairs the Senate Energy Committee, had indicated he would support a proposal to cap industrial carbon dioxide emissions, an attempt to address climate change. That left environmental groups hopeful that the Senate would defy the Bush administration and for the first time force companies to cut the emissions, which many scientists have tied to global warming. But after meeting late last week with Vice President Dick Cheney -- and huddling Monday with about 10 GOP Senate colleagues -- Domenici opted out of supporting the amendment that was being prepared by his fellow New Mexico senator, Democrat Jeff Bingaman.

That meant Bingaman's amendment apparently lacks enough Republican votes to pass, and he is considering withdrawing it today. Another proposal with stricter emissions caps by Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, and Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, Democrat of Connecticut, will be voted on today, but it is widely expected to fail.

Democrats accused President Bush of blocking lawmakers from addressing what some scientists say is a leading cause of global warming. Senate minority leader Harry Reid said Bush and Cheney have convinced Republican senators to join them in bowing to energy companies. ''The White House is the administration of the oil companies," said Reid, a Nevada Democrat. Both President Bush and Vice President Cheney worked for oil companies, and it's obvious that global warming [legislation] is something the oil companies don't want."

Domenici said he chose not to support the amendment because he was concerned there wasn't a sensible way to enforce the caps, not because of White House lobbying. He said it would be unfair to require nuclear power plants, which are relatively clean, to cut their emissions as much as aging coal-burning plants, which are major producers of carbon dioxide. ''If everyone gets the same dose of medicine, it would never work," Domenici said. Domenici said he will hold hearings in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee to work on what he said would be a fairer emissions-cap proposal.

Yesterday, the Senate voted 66-29 to expand tax credits and incentives for private-sector companies that find new ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The amendment, introduced by Senator Chuck Hagel, Republican of Nebraska, includes no mandatory caps and parallels existing Bush administration policies. It passed primarily with Republican votes. ''Innovation and technology are the building blocks for an effective and sustainable climate policy," Hagel said. ''There are viable policy options for protecting the environment without sacrificing economic performance in the manufacturing and other sectors.".....


For 70 years, the federal government has regulated - or tried to, anyway - the cow herds that graze across millions of acres of public land in the West. It's been a political struggle between preserving a rural way of life that epitomizes the nation's mythical pioneering history, supporting a slice of a regional economy that's dwindled in comparison to recreation and high-tech corridors, and responding to a growing environmental ethic that cares more about watersheds and biodiversity. As it has done with other social and economic sectors dealing with natural resources, such as mining, oil drilling, and logging, the Bush administration is tugging that difficult balance back toward ranchers.

The just-issued federal lands regulations make it easier for cowboys to go about their business. The new rules give ranchers more time, up to five years, to reduce the size of their herds if the cattle are damaging the environment, as well as shared ownership in the water rights and some structures on federal land. The regulations also lessen the current requirements for public input in deciding grazing issues. Government officials say they're simply "adjusting rather than conducting a major overhaul" of such regulations. Left in place will be the $1.79 per month that ranchers pay to graze a cow and its calf, a horse, or five sheep on federal land.

Kathleen Clarke, director of the US Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which oversees 261 million acres of federal land in the West, says the new regulations "will produce long-term rangeland health benefits." These include more vegetation along stream banks, which will reduce soil erosion and provide more wildlife habitat, says Ms. Clarke. This is in line with claims of representatives of the beef cattle industry, who assert that cows are good for the land.

But environmentalists point to government reports over the years showing that federal lands have been degraded where cattle roam, and they say the losers are wildlife, water quality, and the condition of the fragile arid Western range that supports them. "Almost nothing in these rules benefits the public lands or the millions of Americans who use them for purposes other than raising cattle," says Tom Lustig, senior counsel for the National Wildlife Federation.

Other critics note that, like the logging of timber on federal lands, the federal grazing program is a money loser for Uncle Sam. That may be true, comes the rebuttal, but help for Western ranchers - even though they produce a very small fraction of US beef - sustains rural communities and a way of life that's worth preserving in the face of residential subdivisions and strip malls.

Meanwhile, some government biologists say the administration is fiddling with the science of range management - mainly biology and hydrology - in order to promote its pro-ranching agenda.

An internal report by BLM scientists warned that the proposed regulations would be bad for the environment. "The cumulative effects ... will be significant and adverse for wildlife and biological diversity in the long-term," the scientists wrote. "The numbers of special status species [those listed or proposed for listing under the Endangered Species Act] will continue to increase in the future under this alternative." That language was removed from the scientific analysis that accompanied the new grazing regulations. As first reported in the Los Angeles Times, two scientists involved in the original analysis - both now retired - complained that their work had been "watered down."

Some observers note government efforts to help cattle ranching come at a time when those same agencies - principally the BLM - have been trying to reduce the number of another iconic animal: wild horses. Descended from domestic stock (some from as far back as Spanish explorers), such horses actually are feral rather than truly wild, and they do compete with cattle for forage and water in the Great Basin and other parts of the West. Until recently, the BLM was allowing them to be sold for slaughter and export as horsemeat.

BLM director Kathleen Clarke notes that "grazing is a proud heritage of the West." Ever since passage of the Taylor Grazing Act in 1934 - the first governmental effort to regulate cattle ranching on federal public lands - how to maintain that heritage without destroying the resource on which it is based has been a continuing political struggle.



The EU failed to cut emissions because it was COLDER. But isn't it supposed to be getting WARMER?

"Emissions of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide rose in the European Union by 1.5% in 2003 after falling in 2002, the European Environment Agency reports. Italy, Finland and the UK were named as the worst offenders while cold weather was blamed for a rise in the use of fossil fuels to heat homes and offices.

Some commentators now doubt the EU can meet its promise to cut emissions by 8% of 1990 levels by 2012. A spokesman for Friends of the Earth called the new figures "shocking". "The blame goes mostly to national economy and industry ministers, who constantly block any attempts to introduce mandatory targets for renewable energies, energy efficiency rules or fuel consumption standards for cars," Jan Kowalzig said. Carbon dioxide emissions have risen by 3.4% since 1990, according to the EEA figures. The Copenhagen-based EEA said emissions in the 15 old EU member states increased by 53 million tonnes, or 1.3%, in 2003, after a drop in 2002. According to its figures, between 2002 and 2003, Italy, Finland and the UK saw the largest emission increases in absolute terms - 15m tonnes, 8m tonnes and 7m tonnes respectively. EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas called on member-states to meet their commitments.



80 degrees F in a NYC summer! Wow!

An attempt to raise the world's largest ice pop in a city square ended with a scene straight out of a disaster film - but much stickier. The 25-foot-tall, 17 1/2-ton treat of frozen Snapple juice melted faster than expected Tuesday, flooding Union Square in downtown Manhattan with kiwi-strawberry-flavored fluid that sent pedestrians scurrying for higher ground. Firefighters closed off several streets and used hoses to wash away the sugary goo. Some passers-by slipped in the puddles, but no serious injuries were reported.

Snapple had been trying to promote a new line of frozen treats by setting a record for the world's largest ice pop, but called off the stunt before it was pulled fully upright by a construction crane. Officials said they were worried the thing would collapse in the 80-degree, first-day-of-summer heat. "We planned for this. ... We just didn't expect for it to happen so fast," said Snapple spokeswoman Lauren Radcliffe. She said the company would offer to pay the city for the cleanup costs.

More here


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

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

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


23 June 2005

German Government Study Questions Value of Wind Power

The German government's energy agency has released a study that concludes wind farms are an expensive and inefficient way of generating sustainable energy. The study, released in February, suggests that joining Germany's existing wind farm to the national supply grid in order to meet the government's target of producing 20 percent of its electricity from renewables by 2015 would cost 1.1 billion Marks ($1.3 billion). About 800 miles of cables would need to be laid or modified. Power plants would have to be upgraded or replaced so the system would be able to cope with the large fluctuations associated with wind-based energy.

The report concludes, "Instead of spending billions on building new wind turbines, the emphasis should be on making houses more energy efficient." Opposition spokesmen such as Klaus Lippold MP agreed. Lippold told the Guardian, "The problem with wind farms is that you have to build them in places where you don't need electricity. The electricity then has to be moved somewhere else. There is growing resistance in Germany to wind farms, not least because of the disastrous effect on our landscape."

Environment Minister Juergen Trittin of the Green Party disagreed, telling the Guardian the "central parts" of the report supported his claim that wind energy could be expanded quickly and cheaply. "There are no grounds for pessimism," he said. Nevertheless, the head of the environment agency, Stephan Kohler, admitted, "Wind energy is expensive. That's true. You can't dispute it. Conventional methods are cheaper."

One revealing comment on the German study came from Greenpeace UK chief executive Stephen Tindale, who acknowledged problems in those parts of Germany where wind power is already supplying 20 percent of the electricity. "Everyone accepts that when you get to that level it is much more of a problem because of the fact that wind is intermittent," conceded Tindale. The UK government aims to provide 20 percent of electricity from renewable sources by 2020. "There is simply no getting around the intermittency problem of wind power," Sterling Burnett, senior fellow with the National Center for Policy Analysis, said. "The wind does not always blow, and its variability cannot be predicted on even a minute-by-minute basis. Even after constructing large wind-turbine complexes, one must have sufficient backup power generated by conventional power plants. This redundancy raises overall electricity prices. Moreover, wind farms harm the environment in their own right, and are horribly prolific killers of aviary wildlife."

"Unfortunately, most governments look through rose-colored glasses at these `green power' projects that are supposed to provide power and improve the environment," said Burnett. "Initial opponents to such projects are immediately labeled shills for industry. But once governments start implementing these plans, problems appear. "It is not surprising that the German government is finally learning, the hard way, about problems with so-called green power, and is finally beginning to take its blinders off," said Burnett. "The German study sheds light on the European illusion that the so-called `renewables' may be a viable alternative to fossil fuels," Carlo Stagnaro, director of Italy's Istituto Bruno Leoni, said. "In fact, the wind lobby has been able so far to push a lot of programs all across the Old Continent. The result? Expensive, unreliable energy, waste of taxpayers' money, and environmental degradation due to wind farms and miles and miles of cables to move electricity from windy zones to the places where real people live. At the present state of knowledge, wind power, as well as solar power, is unsustainable."

More here

Britain Considers Energy Rationing because of Kyoto Mania

British residents could face a form of energy rationing within the next decade under proposals currently being studied to reduce the U.K.'s carbon dioxide emissions to comply with the Kyoto Protocol. Under the proposals, known as Domestic Tradable Quotas (DTQs), every individual would be issued a "carbon card," from which points would be deducted every time the cardholder purchased fossil fuel, for example, by filling up a car or taking a flight. Over time, the number of points allotted to each card would decline. High-energy users would be able to purchase points from low-energy users, with the end result being a trading market in carbon similar to the one already in place in the U.K. for industrial users.

A report set to be released this week by the Sustainable Development Commission, which advises Prime Minister Tony Blair on environmental issues, will recommend that by 2007, the British government should seriously consider introducing DTQs. The report, a draft copy of which was obtained by Cybercast News Service, calls for more research into how the proposals would work in practice.

British Environment Minister Elliott Morley said in a telephone interview that the DTQ plan, also called personal carbon allowances, is one of several being considered by the government. "Personal carbon allowances are a very attractive intellectual idea," he said. "The implementation would potentially be very expensive, but that shouldn't stop us from looking at the arguments," he said. Morley said the government was also considering a straightforward carbon tax, and acknowledged that the complexity of a centrally run system could be a major barrier. "There is a big job involved in explaining the idea of carbon allowances to the public (but) we shouldn't rule any idea out just on this basis," he said.

One of Britain's leading scientists looking into the proposals characterized DTQs as a form of rationing and said the project would start from a point of strict equality in the allocation of "carbon points," despite wide current disparities in individual energy usage. "Every individual, whether you're the Queen or someone living in a poor neighborhood, will get the same carbon allocation," said Kevin Anderson of the Tyndall Center at the University of Manchester.

A bill to establish DTQs and a trading system was introduced in the last parliamentary session by MP Colin Challen, a member of Blair's Labor Party. Challen's legislation was introduced as a private members bill, where debate is limited to ten minutes, and it stood virtually no chance of passing. Challen said that some sort of compulsory energy program would be necessary to meet Blair's environmental promises. Under the Kyoto accord, which the U.S. has backed out of, the U.K. will need to reduce its emissions by 12.5 percent by 2012.

Washington withdrew from the Kyoto Protocol in 2001. President George W. Bush said limits on greenhouse gas emissions would be too expensive to implement, harming the U.S. economy -- with adverse effects on American workers. President Bush also argued that the agreement did require developing countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, even though some of those countries -- such as China and India -- are among the world's heaviest polluters.

Some scientists question whether global warming is taking place to begin with -- and whether the Kyoto Protocol is an effective solution. The Blair government, however, has unilaterally pledged to reduce U.K. carbon emissions by 60 percent by 2050. Scientists say more research is needed to understand how DTQs and other proposals designed to meet such goals would affect the British economy. "We have to get far more personal in the ways we tackle carbon emissions," Challen said in a phone interview. "A voluntary approach will only get through to about 20 percent of the population." Challen said his proposals have support among senior government officials in the U.K.'s Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, but said that some ministers were "understandably wary" of a mandatory plan with potentially sweeping economic consequences.

Researchers also have suggested that the plan could be linked to the Blair administration's proposed mandatory ID card, a controversial bill that is scheduled to be reconsidered in Parliament later this month. A proposal to issue every U.K. resident with a card containing biometric information such as fingerprints and an iris scan was opposed by the Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties in the last legislative term, and the bill failed after time ran out. Anti-card campaigners have expressed worries about the possibility that the vast majority of U.K. energy transactions would be logged in a central database. "There's clearly many other ways such a (carbon trading) scheme could be offered without adding the massive bureaucracy of an ID card system," said Michael Parker, spokesman for the NO2ID group. However, the plan's proponents suggest that the rationing system could be implemented within the decade. "I'm not a betting man, but I think this could realistically be up and running within four to ten years," Anderson said.



But wait! Were we supposed to have global warming in 1945?

India's capital Monday recorded its hottest day of the season at 45 degrees Celsius [113 degrees Fahrenheit] as a severe heat wave continued to sweep parts of the country. The previous high of the season was recorded Sunday at 44.2 degrees Celsius. Monday's temperature was six degrees Celsius above normal, the weather department said. The highest temperature ever recorded in the capital in June was 46.7 degrees Celsius in 1945.

There was no respite from the searing heat, which added to the Monday morning blues of the people. Many office-goers had not stepped out of home during the weekend, but there was no escaping the blazing sun Monday. "Travelling by bus is a nightmare. (While walking) It almost feels like it is the earth that is radiating the heat and not the sun," said Anju Dhawani, a primary school teacher from Lajpat Nagar in south Delhi. "There is practically no difference between shaded and sunny areas. There is no relief unless one is indoors."

Two-wheeler riders and pedestrians were the worst affected. Housewives said even water coolers were of little help by early afternoon. "I was scared I would faint today. If I had any option I would quit my job and go back home rather than roast in this sun," said B. Anbuvel, a security guard at a restaurant.

If the heat was deadly, the 59 percent humidity was no consolation either. An official of the Indian Meteorological Department told IANS the situation would not be improving anytime soon. Even the minimum temperature has been hovering around 30 degrees Celsius for the past few days....

More here


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

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

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


22 June 2005


After environmental legislation and Greenie litigation has almost destroyed the nuclear power option, it is going to take an effort and money to reverse the damage and give access to unlimited clean power

More than 26 years after a near-meltdown at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant, the Senate is considering an energy bill that includes financial incentives for construction of nuclear plants. It's the latest sign of the industry's quiet rehabilitation.

Sen. Pete Domenici, a New Mexico Republican who is the chief architect of the bill being debated, has long been an advocate of nuclear energy. And President Bush will repeat his call for boosting nuclear power when he visits the Calvert Cliffs plant in Lusby, Md., this week. They have some unexpected company:

* Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada said that although he has been "totally opposed to nuclear power" in the past, he's now willing to give it a second look. "You're going to see a move towards nuclear power," he predicted. "If it's done right, it will protect the environment."

* Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., includes incentives for nuclear power in a measure he plans to offer to reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. McCain argues that nuclear power can help solve global warming. "I am a green and I entreat my friends in the movement to drop their wrongheaded objection to nuclear energy," he said in a Senate speech

* Another recent convert: Sen. Frank Lautenberg, a Democrat whose home state of New Jersey gets nearly 52% of its electricity from nuclear power. "Nuclear issues are being forced on us by the realities of life," he said. "We are being blackmailed by those who produce fossil fuels that we import, and more traditional domestic energy production poses risks to the environment."

27 years with no new licenses

No nuclear power plant has been licensed in the USA since 1978, the year before the Three Mile Island accident in central Pennsylvania. But interest is growing. The reasons: rising prices for oil and natural gas, concerns that fossil fuel emissions are harming the climate, and an increasing desire to make the nation less dependent on energy supplies from the Middle East. "It's now dawning on people that if you're talking about producing cleaner energy that will really fulfill needs of large populations, nuclear stands alone," Domenici said in an interview this week.

No one died at Three Mile Island. But the failure of mechanical systems, which caused a partial meltdown of the reactor core and some release of radioactivity, was "a public relations disaster for our industry," said Steve Kerekes of the Nuclear Energy Institute. Even so, nuclear power never went away. There are 103 nuclear plants operating in 31 states, which Kerekes said generate 20% of the nation's electricity. Now, three companies have told the Energy Department that they plan to file for nuclear power plant licenses.

The Senate energy bill and a version passed by the House contain incentives to encourage investment in nuclear power. Both bills renew federally backed insurance for the nuclear industry, which Bush also supports. Under the Senate bill, new nuclear plants could qualify for federally backed loan guarantees for "innovative technologies." The Senate energy bill also provides tax credits for companies that develop new nuclear reactors. Keith Ashdown of Taxpayers for Common Sense, a non-partisan watchdog group, called the credits one of "the worst" of the measure's "giveaways to energy special interests" and estimated that it could cost taxpayers "billions of dollars in tax breaks."

Potentially costly for taxpayers

Some environmentalists, including Stewart Brand, editor of The Last Whole Earth Catalogue, are endorsing nuclear power as a way to reduce global warming. But according to Dave Hamilton, director of global warming and energy programs for the Sierra Club, "by and large the environmental community is united in thinking that nuclear power is a bad idea that causes more problems than it solves."

Nuclear reactors do not produce greenhouse gases, but they do create radioactive waste. There will be 52,000 metric tons of spent nuclear fuel in U.S. storage by the end of this year, according to Dave McIntyre of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Safety and security are key issues, especially amid concerns of possible terrorism.

Hamilton said nuclear power is potentially costly for taxpayers because the government will have to pay for the cost of waste storage and the bulk of any cleanup after a reactor accident. But he says the industry has done a good job of cultivating lawmakers. "They have done an exceptional job of lobbying."

The Nuclear Energy Institute's political action committee has contributed $76,376 to candidates so far this year; 95% of the contributions have gone to Republicans, The industry has also donated to Senate Democrats, such as Tom Carper of Delaware, Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana



On June 13, USA Today declared that "The debate's over: Globe is Warming." That's another headline you can ignore. The world has been warming ever since the last Ice Age, but it is not rapidly warming in ways that threaten our existence, nor warming in a way that requires the industrialized nations to drastically cut back on their use of energy to avoid the many scenarios of catastrophe the Greens have been peddling since the 1980's.

Global warming is a classic scare campaign initiated by the Greens after a previous effort in the 1970s to influence public policy by declaring a coming Ice Age failed to generate any response. What we are seeing now is yet another worldwide coordinated campaign by the Greens to rescue the global warming theory from the junk heap to which it should be consigned. In early June, the National Resources Defense Council, one of the large Green organizations, declared that, "Global warming is fast becoming the number one environmental problem of our time." It has organized an Internet campaign led by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Sen. John McCain, and other so-called environmental leaders to drum up the fears of people who know little of the real science of the Earth in order to force the U.S. to implement the United Nations Kyoto protocol on "climate control." Anyone who thinks humans have any control over the Earth's climate is willfully ignoring the evidence that we have none.

The NRDC declared, "The world's leading scientists now agree that global warming is real and is happening right now. According to their forecasts, extreme changes in climate could produce a future in which erratic and chaotic weather, melting ice caps and rising sea levels usher in an era of drought, crop failure, famine, flood and mass extinctions." Scary, eh? One huge volcanic eruption could this. As to the weather, it is the very definition of chaos and has been for billions of years.

The good news is that leading climatologists and meteorologists are actively debunking this nonsense. One of them, Dr. F. Fred Singer, president of the Science and Environmental Policy Project, is in the forefront. He debunks a June 7 statement issued by several national academies of sciences just before Britain's Tony Blair arrived for talks with President Bush, saying, "The Statement simply regurgitates the contentious conclusions of the (U.N.) International Panel on Climate Change report of 2001, which has been disputed by credible scientists. The so-called scientific consensus is pure fiction."

Among the data he cites is the fact that, "Since 1940, there has been a 35-year-long cooling trend and not much warming in the past quarter-century, according to global data from weather satellites." Moreover, "an extrapolation of the satellite data gives at most a fraction of a degree rise for the 2lst century," adding that, "The IPCC further claims that the 20th century was the warmest in the past 100 years, but this myth is based on a seriously flawed publication. The IPCC also claims that sea levels will rise by up to nearly a meter by 2100; but every indication is that they will continue to rise inexorably and much less, as they have for nearly 20,000 years since the peak of the last Ice Age."

Bear in mind that the IPCC is a creation of the United Nations and we have all seen how corrupt that institution has become, failing to fulfill its mandate for a more peaceful world while seeking to become a world government that would destroy the sovereignty of the United States and all other nations.

Other scientists have joined Dr. Singer to dispute the global warming claims. Paul Knappenberger of the University of Virginia, says of the claims made by the science academies that, "What is missing is the scientific assessment of the potential threat. Without a threat assessment, a simple scientific finding on its own doesn't warrant any change of action, no matter how scientifically groundbreaking it might be." What passes for a threat assessment is simply the claims being made. Knappenberger noted, "The fact of the matter is that there does exist a growing body of scientific evidence that the climate changes in the coming decades will be modest and proceed at a rate that will lie somewhere near the low end of the IPCC projected temperature range."

Here's what you must keep in mind: the IPCC claims are based on what virtually every scientist knows to be seriously flawed computer models for its projections. In short, we are being asked to believe what computer engineers are telling us, not what credible climatologists and meteorologists are telling us. There isn't a computer model for the world's weather that can reliably predict the future by more than a week at best. This is why tracking the routes of hurricanes proves so difficult. This is why blizzards often turn out to be better or worse than initial projections.

Iain Murray, another scientist, laid into the statement of the national academies for having committed the sin of advocacy. "Climate alarmists in the scientific community now face a long retreat, while the victory of President Bush's position on the issue seems assured. Even the hopes of European intervention are dashed." The U.S. Senate unanimously rejected signing the Kyoto protocol many years ago. "Rational nations will not take action if the costs of the action outweigh the benefits," said Murray of the protocol's demand for energy caps on emissions while exempting nations like China and India, each with more than a billion people.

Meanwhile, in Congress we have people like Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), the ranking member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, seeking to introduce legislation that would put "caps" on emissions of greenhouse gases and implementing what is essentially the Kyoto protocol that the Senate rejected long ago. The U.S. Department of Energy has estimated that a cap-and-trade program such as Bingaman proposes would cost $331 billion in lost GDP between 2010 and 2025. Other senators like McCain and Lieberman have similar strategies. Caps are idiotic and, in my view, treasonous.

There is no scientific consensus. There is only the manipulation of public opinion and the effort to influence public policy. There is no rapid global warming and no way that any limits on energy use could have any effect on it if it did exist. Global warming is a classic scare campaign and we may well be witnessing its last desperate gasps as more and more scientists step forward to debunk it.



A short extract: Full debunking here

"The front page of the June 8th, 2005 New York Times carried a piece by science writer Andrew Revkin that revealed edits to a government global warming reports that were made by White House Council on Environmental Quality chief of staff and former American Petroleum Institute employee Philip Cooney. An example of one such change that had Revkin concerned was "Mr. Cooney amplified the sense of uncertainty by adding the word 'extremely' to this sentence: 'The attribution of the causes of biological and ecological changes to climate change or variability is extremely difficult.'"

Such trivialities led science and policy expert Roger Pielke Jr., to write on his weblog that the Revkin piece amounted to "Manufactured Controversy". For instance, Pielke Jr. points out that one of the documents cited by Revkin as being altered by Cooney, the U.S. Climate Change Science Program's Strategic Plan, later went on to be thoroughly reviewed and approved by the National Research Council. The NRC then endorsed its scientific content and recommend that it be implemented "with urgency." Apparently Cooney's edits weren't found to be too objectionable by the NRC.

Not satisfied to let the Times have the monopoly on manufacturing controversy, 10 days later, on June 17th, 2005, the Washington Post ran a front page article by staff writer Juliet Eilperin who claimed to have uncovered further evidence that the U. S. government was editing "scientific or policy documents to accord with its position that mandatory carbon dioxide cuts are unnecessary." This time the guilty parties were U. S. negotiators who were involved in drafting some climate change verbiage to be discussed"


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

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

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


21 June, 2005


Global warming is a hot issue in Congress right now, but not just because of pressure from the usual suspects in the radical eco-activist movement. Instead, a few businesses are leading the charge - which happens to be calculated to fill their coffers at the public's expense.

Though Americans already have successfully dodged the global warming bullet twice - the Senate rejected the international treaty known as the Kyoto Protocol by a vote of 95-0 in 1997 and President Bush pulled the U.S. out of the treaty in 2001 - there are three bills in the Senate that supporters are trying to attach to the energy legislation moving through Congress. The bill that looks like it has the most support - but not yet enough to pass at the time of this column - was introduced by Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M. It favors nuclear power, mandates limits on emissions of greenhouse gases, and would make consumers financially responsible for emissions in excess of permitted levels.

Bingaman's bill was developed from the recommendations of a group calling itself the National Commission on Energy Policy - a somewhat misleading name since it has none of the federal government backing that its name implies. The NCEP, in fact, was established by a group of left-leaning private foundations, including the Pew Charitable Trusts, the MacArthur Foundation and the Packard Foundation.

These foundations have supported global warming alarmism for some time and so their support of emission caps is hardly unexpected. The NCEP, however, is co-chaired by John Rowe, the chairman of Exelon Corporation, the largest operator of U.S. nuclear power plants. While it's understandable that Exelon supports increased use of nuclear power, what seems far less above-board is the company's effort through NCEP and the Bingaman bill to tax its competitors - producers and users of oil, natural gas and coal - thereby making consumers pay higher prices for energy. Under the Bingaman bill, for example, power plants and industrial facilities whose emissions of carbon dioxide exceed allowances (to be determined in the future by government bureaucrats) would be forced to purchase "extra" allowances from the federal government at a cost of $7 per ton of carbon dioxide released. For a coal-burning utility company like American Electric Power, which emits more than 220 million tons of carbon dioxide annually, the cost of extra allowances could be substantial and would most likely be passed on to consumers. The Bingaman bill would make nuclear-generated electricity from the likes of Exelon more competitive price-wise with coal-generated electricity from the likes of AEP.

This might make sense if there were some tangible and worthwhile benefits to be derived from favoring nuclear power over coal, but in terms of global warming at least, there don't seem to be any. The Competitive Enterprise Institute's Marlo Lewis estimates that the Bingman bill would cost $331 billion in lost productivity between 2010 and 2025 while perhaps avoiding an insignificant 0.008 degrees Celsius of potential global warming by 2050 - a projection in line with estimates that the Kyoto Protocol has cost about $49 billion since its inception in February 2005 while possibly averting about 0.0005 degrees Celsius of warming by the year 2050.

Competing with the Bingaman bill is legislation introduced last year by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., which, like the Kyoto Protocol, would establish a national cap on industrial emissions of greenhouse gases. This Kyoto-in-disguise legislation would also establish a trading system under which industrial facilities could buy and sell greenhouse gas emissions allowances. But even with its absurd provisions for trading hot air permits as if they were valuable commodities, McCain-Lieberman is a bill that only appeals to environmental activist groups. Even global warming-friendly oil company BP opposes the bill's mandatory emissions caps, in favor of a third global warming proposal - a bill introduced by Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., that offers tax breaks to energy companies that voluntarily reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

But there is yet one more Senate bill - the Ratepayers Protection Act of 2005 - that would address global warming hysteria as the quintessential junk science phenomenon it is. Some power companies, like Duke Energy and Cinergy, have embraced global warming-mania and are starting to take steps to address their carbon dioxide emissions, the costs of which will be passed on to ratepayers (consumers). But the Ratepayers Protection Act, introduced by Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., would ensure that the costs associated with voluntary actions taken by utilities under the guise of global warming are not passed on to consumers. "As the need for those reductions is not grounded in science, it is important that those costs are not passed on to electricity consumers," stated the bill's media release. Sen. Inhofe's bill would rightly make utility shareholders, not consumers, responsible for footing the bill of corporate management folly concerning global warming. While it's not likely that companies looking to profit from global warming alarmism will support the Ratepayer Protection Act, the rest of us should rally behind Sen. Inhofe rather than bear the costs of all this hot air scheming.



This week I heard grief at the end of the phone line. They're coming to take away Peter Spencer's sheep. Next week he will meet relatives to decide whether to walk off his farm, which is near Bredbo. Spencer is the latest victim of the drought, and also of the cruel green war against farmers that the State Government has been waging for the past decade.

In Bob Carr, political power is combined with religious passion (in his case, for green beliefs), a mixture that has long been acknowledged in the West as potentially dangerous. Supported by green activists and the city's lack of interest in the fate of farmers, Carr has been gradually destroying the lives of many people in the country.

I've written about Spencer before. His sufferings in the green war are like something from the Book of Job. In the 1980s he bought a lot of grazing land in Shannons Flat, just south of the ACT. More than 80 per cent of it became covered in regrowth and before he could clear it the government brought in native vegetation laws which made clearing illegal. There was no compensation for what was effectively the nationalisation of 80 per cent of Spencer's property.

He then invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in setting up ponds for trout fishing, but the introduction of new water laws ended the venture. There was no compensation.

Then Spencer set up a fine-wool breeding program, advised by scientists from the University of New England, in an attempt to make more profitable use of the small amount of cleared land on his property. The fires of 2003 in the national parks that ring the area pushed out hundreds of wild dogs, which have devastated farmers in the area. Spencer lost hundreds of sheep. His property is now home to thousands of kangaroos, which destroy pasture.

This invasion of his land happened because of gross underspending on park management in NSW and the ACT, specifically on fire prevention activities, the culling of kangaroo and wild dog populations, and fencing. There is no compensation for farmers unlucky enough to live near parks, which have increased in area by 50 per cent under Carr's premiership.

Then the big drought hit and Spencer suffered the final blow. The Federal Government refused to give him drought relief because his farm, deprived of 80 per cent of its earning potential, is considered economically unviable. In a way, this has been the cruellest cut of all. Some city people will tut-tut and say it's a good thing that "marginal" farmers leave the land. But if Spencer's farm is marginal (he'd argue not), it's because the State Government has destroyed its economic basis.

Put yourself in Spencer's shoes. Imagine you're in middle age and supporting a family and a mortgage. Then imagine the State Government announces your house is now worth only 20 per cent of what you paid, and all your future earnings will be cut by 80 per cent. Finally, when you seek welfare this is denied on the grounds you were a financial basket case.

Since first writing about native vegetation laws I've heard from dozens of other farmers. Two are Peter and Darren Hepburn, a father and son in Bombala Shire, near the Victorian border. I've visited them and talked to Bruce Bashford of the Monaro Rural Financial Counselling Service, who tried unsuccessfully to help them fight another case of almost unbelievable injustice. The Hepburns bought a block of 500 hectares in 1994, intending to clear 303 hectares (which had been logged in the past) and sell the timber to repay their bank loan of $300,000. They needed to expand their existing farm to ensure it would be viable in the future. Bashford says Peter Hepburn is a "battling cockie who did everything right". He got written permission from all the relevant government authorities. And he had an understanding with a timber company to buy the logs. The purchase was a responsible business decision.

Then in 1995 an early native vegetation law, SEPP 46, came in and suddenly the Hepburns had to apply for permission to clear their land. This was refused. The financial implications for the Hepburns have been horrific. The land was unuseable and unsaleable, and by 2000 they had incurred interest costs of $200,000. Peter Hepburn has had to sell another piece of land, 180 hectares he's owned since 1957, to help cope with the disaster.

The State Government has been completely unsympathetic. Documents I've seen show public servants trying to get the Hepburns to sign an agreement to set aside a large part of their block for conservation purposes in return for permission to clear and farm another part. It's a disgraceful abuse of the power of the state that remains unresolved today. And it's going on all over NSW.

This war on farmers reminds me of a less extreme version of the attacks on peasant farmers by the Soviet commissars after the Russian Revolution. There's the same appeal to ideology to justify an assault on an often disliked class of people. Back then the ideology was social, now it's environmental. It's just as unfair, and it's time we started talking about the morality of government appropriating private property without paying compensation.

More here


Like any pesticide, DDT has to be managed so as to avoid resistance buildup, but that it no excuse for trying to ban it altogether. And extremists seem to want to ban ALL pesticides.

Last month at a health conference in Darwin, researchers warned of a regional epidemic of such mosquito-borne diseases as malaria, Japanese encephalitis and dengue fever. They also warned that malaria in the Asia-Pacific represented a major impediment to economic growth with about 1.4 million people in the region exposed each year. While Australia was declared malaria-free in 1981, the disease kills about one person a year and infects 800 to 1000.

But worldwide the mosquito death toll is staggering. The World Health Organisation says malaria kills 1.2 million to 2.7 million people each year, most of them in Africa - mostly children and pregnant women - and causes brain damage to many more. That is one dead child every 30 seconds. Only AIDS is a bigger killer of Africans.

All those deaths are the reason Rachel Carson's seminal 1962 book Silent Spring, about the evils of pesticides, was last week voted among the most dangerous books of the past two centuries. Fifteen American scholars enlisted by conservative magazine Human Events awarded Carson the honour along with Karl Marx and Adolf Hitler. Silent Spring, with its scary talk of cancer and dead fish and the mantra that man must not interfere with nature, launched the modern environmental movement. It also demonised DDT. "We should seek not to eliminate malarial mosquitoes with pesticides," wrote Carson, "but to find instead a reasonable accommodation between the insect hordes and ourselves." Which is fine as long as it's not your child dying from a mozzie bite.

The US Environmental Protection Agency banned DDT in 1972, and the rest of the world followed suit. Tens of millions of people have died from malaria since. Almost overnight, what has been described as one of the greatest public health tools of the 20th century became one of its biggest bogymen. It was only thanks to widespread spraying of DDT in the 1950s and 1960s that malaria was eliminated from all developed countries and controlled in tropical Asia, Latin America and parts of Africa. In 1970 the US National Academy of Sciences declared that, in scarcely 20 years, DDT had prevented 500 million deaths. Advertisements of the time, which today seem preposterous, extolled it as a benefactor of all humanity, with slogans such as "DDT is good for me-e-e".

But malaria's mounting death toll in the decades since is finally prompting a rethink on DDT. In the footnotes of his best-selling anti-green novel State Of Fear, Michael Crichton asserted that the ban on the pesticide "has killed more people than Hitler". An article in Britain's Spectator magazine last month went further, branding the DDT ban as the worst crime of the 20th century, and blaming environmentalist extremists for the deaths of about 50 million people.

Five years ago, South Africa began spraying small amounts of the dreaded pesticide on the inside walls of houses to arrest a malaria plague. Other parts of Africa are following, despite the reported disapproval of the UN, WHO and other agencies. Another green-centric organisation, the European Union, even threatened Uganda this year with an export ban if it used DDT to restart a malaria control program.

But even environmentalists from Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Fund, while not admitting any guilt, are doing U-turns on their opposition to DDT, says The New York Times, and are beginning to weigh the benefits (live humans) against the risks (dead fish). Perhaps the pendulum has swung from the knee-jerk eco-hysteria of Silent Spring to a more realistic approach to sparing human suffering.

More here


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

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

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


20 June 2005


Just when it seemed that the dark clouds had lifted, they all came back again. Not Britain's on-again, off-again summer, but climate scientists calling for action to prevent global catastrophe. Last Wednesday, the scientific academies of all the G8 major industrial nations, as well as Brazil, China and India, said that they were now convinced that humans were chiefly to blame for making the planet hotter, and that measures must be taken to combat climate change. In an unprecedented joint communique, the academies declared that: "The scientific understanding of climate change is now sufficiently clear to justify nations taking prompt action," adding that the threat posed "is clear and increasing". Lord May, the president of the Royal Society, Britain's leading scientific institution, put it more bluntly: "Never before have we faced such a global threat. And if we do not begin effective action now, it will be much harder to stop the runaway train as it continues to gather momentum."

Lord May is clearly hoping that his apocalyptic statement will win the ear of policymakers who have so far shown a reluctance to take any kind of drastic action. He may also be hoping that it will see off those dissenting scientists who remain sceptical of claims that humans are causing potentially catastrophic climate change. Vilified as "climate-change deniers", they have been accused of being everything from lackeys of the oil industry to just plain stupid. Yet ... another group of academics has begun fighting to have its voice heard.

It includes experts in fields ranging from agriculture to medicine, and most of them agree that something strange is happening to the Earth's climate. Where they part company with Lord May is in their assessment of the threat it poses. After studying the likely consequences for everything from crop yields to human health, their results are anything but apocalyptic. They have found that a hotter planet brings with it many benefits, and that humans can adapt perfectly well to it.

Indeed, far from joining the calls for action, some now warn that trying to prevent climate change could prove far more catastrophic than learning to live with it. Nor is this cheery vision based solely on questionable computer models. Analysis of past episodes of dramatic - but entirely natural - climate change repeatedly shows the benefits of a warmer world. "If you could vote for a change in climate, you would always want a warmer one," says Philip Stott, emeritus professor of biogeography at the University of London. "Cold is nearly always worse for everything - the economy, agriculture, disease, biodiversity".

According to Prof Stott, times of historical prosperity have often been tied to unusually warm periods, such as the so-called Medieval Warm Period between 1100 and 1300. In contrast, the Little Ice Age between 1450 to 1890 was characterised by famines, pandemics and social upheaval. "We should be glad we've left that behind," he said. The possibility that a warmer future could bring further benefits has long been noted by climate-change scientists, albeit reluctantly. The draft of the most recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change - regarded as the voice of mainstream scientific opinion - conceded that many developed nations could make "net economic gains", at least for moderate levels of warming.

This rare glimmer of optimism was watered down when the final report emerged in 2001. Since then, however, studies by researchers in a host of fields have cast doubt on the relentlessly gloomy forecasts. The heat-wave that struck much of Europe in 2003, killing more than 11,000 in France alone - was seized on by ecoactivists as proof-positive of the lethal effects of global warming. Yet a review published last year by scientists at the University of London pointed out a basic medical fact: in many countries, cold kills far more people each year than heat. For the kind of temperature rise predicted for the UK over the next 50 years, the team estimated that heat-related deaths would rise by about 2,000 a year - but that this figure would be dwarfed by a cut in cold-related deaths of 20,000.

Other climate-related health scares have collapsed under close scrutiny. In 2002, Professor Sir Liam Donaldson, the Chief Medical Officer, added his voice to claims that Britain could be facing the return of malaria. A subsequent analysis by experts at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine concluded that changes in land use and socio-economic trends made the risk "highly unlikely". Oddly, the lifting of this eco-threat was not widely reported.

It is a similar story with agriculture. During the 1990s, researchers repeatedly claimed that global warming would have dire consequences for key crops. Even developed nations such as America were predicted to suffer. Apocalyptic scenarios of a sweltering world unable to feed itself began to gain currency. Once again, however, more sophisticated studies are revealing a different picture, having taken account of a factor so often ignored: human adaptability. Global warming is also routinely regarded as disastrous for everything from Alpine ski resorts to tropical beaches. Yet the picture now emerging from more sophisticated studies is far less apocalyptic. Last year, a team at the University of Hamburg showed that a modest temperature rise would lead to 30 per cent more tourists visiting countries such as Russia and Canada. The benefits to UK tourism may also be substantial, according to a recent study by the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, which concluded: "We may witness not only an expansion in the domestic market, but an expansion in the inbound international market as the UK develops a more Mediterranean climate."

Even the frightening prospect of rising sea-levels caused by the melting of the polar ice caps - widely regarded within the climate-change lobby as one of the most devastating consequences of global warming - is now under serious scrutiny. Millions of people, from those living in the coastal cities of the West to the inhabitants of Pacific islands, are at risk, we were warned. But then the early claims of 5ft rises started to give way to far less dramatic predictions; the most recent estimate, published last year by the International Quaternary Association, puts the figure at a sea-level rise of somewhere between 8in and zero. A recent study found that sea levels around the allegedly threatened Maldives have actually fallen. In any case, even the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change now concedes that there is little fear of millions being made permanently homeless by flooding. Its most recent report states: "Human settlements are expected to be among the sectors that could be most easily adapted to climate change, given appropriate planning and foresight."

Climate scientists have made little of the benefits of a warming planet, and even less of the ability of humans to cope with the consequences.... "If you just take an agronomic model and make conditions hotter and drier, then, yes, crop yields go down," says Professor Richard Adams, an agricultural economist at Oregon State University. "But if you're a farmer, you see your crops aren't doing so well and plant a more heat-resistant type." Prof Adams is one of a group of academics pioneering the use of studies that take into account such adaptability. The results frequently contradict the simplistic models, with dire losses turning into sizeable gains....

Ironically, some of the benefits come from the growth-promoting effect of the very greenhouse gas now causing so much alarm: carbon dioxide. Global yields of wheat and rice are expected to rise by 18 per cent, while yields of clover - a key foodstuff for grazing animals - looks set to rise by 36 per cent. Global vegetation density seems to be benefiting already, with net gains in growth across the whole planet since the early 1980s. Even tropical forests and the Amazon are reported to be growing more luxuriant as CO2 levels rise....

"Economic studies clearly show it will be far more expensive to cut greenhouse gases than to pay for the cost of adapting to a warmer planet", says Professor Bjorn Lomborg, of Copenhagen Business School and author of The Skeptical Environmentalist, whose critique of the climate change debate has incensed environmentalists. Even if we shut every fossil-fuel power station, crushed every car and grounded every aircraft, the Earth's climate would still continue to get warmer, according to Prof Stott. "The trouble is, we would all be too impoverished to cope with the consequences," he said.

More here


"As Congress once again contemplates the wisdom, necessity and consequences of oil exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), one of the most persistent arguments against it has been the alleged potential threat to the Porcupine Caribou herd, so-named after the Porcupine River, which is within the herd's range. The most popular voice for that argument has come from the Gwich'in tribe, approximately 7,000 Indians who live in 15 remote villages near the Arctic Circle......

There is some truth in the Gwich'in advocacy, but not nearly enough to rise above its significant factual contradictions and omissions. Consider:

The Gwich'in tribe is not native to ANWR. The Gwich'in do not live in ANWR. Of the approximately 7,000 Gwich'in, 6,000 reside in Canada, only 1,000 in the U.S.

The Gwich'in do live within the overall range and along the migration routes of the Porcupine Caribou herd, but those routes are exceptionally fluid, nearly impossible to predict and predominantly based on climatic conditions and delineated into eight distinct annual life-cycle periods. Due to completely natural forces and reasons, there are years when the caribou do not venture near the "caribou people."

The Gwich'in did not always oppose oil exploration in the region. The Gwich'in, in fact, actively sought oil exploration on some of their own lands three times until it was determined that there is no oil under those Gwich'in lands. Undeterred, the Gwich'in then proposed leasing oil rights to all their lands. There were no takers.

Estimates of the size of the Porcupine Caribou herd vary, but approximately 123,000 seems to be the best current estimate. Despite all the speculation about the potential effects ANWR oil exploration might have on the herd, the greatest single, ever-present threat - their harsh natural habitat, including weather, food supply and predation - is almost never discussed beyond research papers. During a series of severe winters in the early 1990s, weather conditions alone depleted approximately 15 percent of the herd.

The second greatest existing threat to the Porcupine Caribou - the only human one - is the Gwich'in themselves. On the Canadian side of the border, approximately 3,000 Porcupine Caribou are killed each year by Gwich'in hunters. (That is not a criticism, just a fact.)

Any discussion of oil exploration in ANWR is misleading without an understanding of and perspective on that vast area. It is likely that meaningful opposition would have faded years ago were it not for the opportunistic exploitation of ignorance about a terrain and the conditions thereof that few people understand and fewer still will ever see.

More here

Lomborg: "Perhaps the most pressing environmental problem in the world is indoor air pollution, which kills 2.8 million people each year, just behind HIV/AIDS. The pollution is caused by poor people cooking and heating their homes with dung and cardboard. The solution is not environmental (to certify dung) but rather economic, helping these people build enough wealth to afford kerosene."


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

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

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


19 June 2005


The Climate Action Report, a periodic report to the United Nations, was issued in early June. A media frenzy claimed that this report somehow contained revelatory new science that changed the debate on global warming. The report has little new science. But since 1992, when America embarked on the Rio Treaty, a great deal of new science has come forward. The United States is a leader in studying the subject. The U.S. has invested some $45 billion in research funding on this question over the past 10 years. I wanted to update you on the latest science since 1992 and assure you that what is in the Climate Action Report is really nothing revelatory.

The scientific facts on which everyone agrees are that, as a result of using coal, oil, and natural gas, the carbon dioxide content of the air is increasing. The air's concentration of other human-produced greenhouse gases, like methane, has also increased. These greenhouse gases absorb infrared radiation from the sun, and they retain some of that energy close to earth. All computer simulations of climate change say that, based on how we understand climate to work, the low layer of air for one to five miles up (the low troposphere), where the radiation is trapped, should warm. That low layer of air warming should, in turn, warm the surface.

Scientific facts gathered in the past 10 years do not support the notion of catastrophic human-made warming as a basis for drastic carbon dioxide emission cuts.

You probably know that the Kyoto agreement fails to stop the hypothesized human-made global warming. Kyoto would hurt America's and the world's workers and the struggling poor and the elderly, owing to the severe cuts in energy use that it entails.

Now for the science. There are two important records that we'll look at. I just told you how we think climate operates in the presence of increasing carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases in the air from human activities. The layer of air one to five miles up retains energy and that layer, in turn, heats the surface of the earth. The human-made greenhouse warming component must warm both layers of air, with computer simulations indicating the low troposphere would warm more quickly and to a greater amount than the surface. Let's start with the surface temperature records. They are made by thermometers, and go back to about the mid-19th century in locations scattered around the world. For some locations the records go back even further.

Two groups have analyzed these surface temperature records: the Climatic Research Unit in Great Britain, and the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Sciences. They broadly say the same thing: The 19th century was cooler than the 20th century. There may be some disagreement on the exact amount of the warming, but certainly the 20th century was warmer than the 19th.

To see if the 20th-century surface warming is from human activity or not, we begin looking in detail at the surface record. In the 20th century, three trends are easily identified. From 1900 to 1940, the surface warms strongly. From 1940 to about the late 1970s, a slight cooling trend is seen. Then from the late 1970s to the present, warming occurs. Briefly, the surface records show early 20th-century warming, mid-20th-century cooling, and late 20th-century warming.

Most of the increase in the air's concentration of greenhouse gases from human activities--over 80 percent--occurred after the 1940s. That means that the strong early 20th century warming must be largely, if not entirely, natural. The mid-20th-century cooling can't be a warming response owing to the air's added greenhouse gases. The only portion of this record that could be largely human-made is that of the past few decades. The slope of that trend calculated over the past few decades is about one-tenth of a degree Centigrade per decade.

Now, most all the computer models agree that the human-made warming would be almost linear in fashion. So over a century the extrapolated warming trend expected from continued use of fossil fuels would amount to about 1 degree Centigrade per century. That's what the surface temperature says would be the upper limit. But I gave you a scientific test to do early in my remarks. The question is, What happens in the low layer of air from one to five miles up that must warm in response to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations? The surface warming can be concluded as owing to human-made greenhouse gas emissions only if the low troposphere warms, if the computer simulations are accurate.

One can have surface warming from a variety of reasons. So the key layer of air to look at is the one-to-five-mile up layer of air.

NASA launched satellites starting in 1979 to measure this layer of air. The satellites look down and record these measurements daily. I've plotted the monthly averages. There are lots of jigs and jags in the data, and they are real. The air temperature varies not only on a daily basis, on a monthly basis, but also from year to year. A very huge warming spike in 1997-1998 is a strong, natural phenomenon called El Nino, a warming of the Pacific that in turn warms the air. Because the Pacific is so pervasive in the global average, it raises the temperature. But it doesn't last very long, and after the El Nino subsided, temperatures fell.

El Ninos are natural and occur every several years. In 1982, an equally strong El Nino was developing in the Pacific. But then, a volcano erupted. Material lofted by strong volcanic eruptions can temporary cool temperatures. So those two events occurring at nearly the same time meant there was a net cooling just after 1982, instead of an unmasked strong El Nino-driven pulse of warmth. El Nino is part of a system of ocean and air changes called the El Nino Southern Oscillation, in which the La Nina phase tends toward cooling. Detailed physical understanding of the El Nino Southern Oscillation is lacking. Again, these phenomena are naturally occurring. They have existed for many millennia prior to human-added greenhouse gases in the air.

I asked the computer to naively draw a linear trend through the data recorded by satellites. This linear trend probably has a bias, an upward bias because of that strong 1997-1998 El Nino warm pulse. Nonetheless, the fitted trend is: positive four-hundredths of a degree Centigrade per decade. Now, this is the layer of air sensitive to the human-made warming effect, and the layer that must warm at least as much as the surface according to the computer simulations. Yet, the projected warming from human activities can't be found in the low troposphere in any great degree. The four-hundredths of a degree Centigrade might be entirely due to this El Nino bias. If the small warming trend in the low troposphere were assumed to be entirely human-caused, the trend is much smaller than forecast by any model. Extrapolated over a century, the observed trend indicates a human-made warming trend no greater than four-tenths of a degree Centigrade.

In contrast, the computer models say this very key layer of air must be warming from human activities. The predictions are that the air must be warming at a rate of approximately a quarter of a degree Centigrade per decade. Comparing what the computer models say should be happening with the actual satellite observations shows a mismatch of around a factor of 6. That is, this layer of air just is not warming the way the computer simulations say it should. There should have been a half a degree Centigrade per decade warming in this layer of air over the period of satellite observations. The human-made warming trend isn't there.

Now, an argument is often made that the measurements made by satellites looking down on this key layer of air are biased, or that the satellites have instrumental problems. NASA researchers worked very hard to make these measurements the best possible, and to correct for any of the deficiencies seen in them. But it's always useful to have an independent set of data, and we have that from NOAA (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) scientists and from other groups around the world.

Measurements are also made of this layer of air from weather balloons that carry thermometers. Balloons are launched worldwide every day to make the measurements. The balloon data go back to 1957, and importantly, they overlap with the satellite data which began in 1979 and have continued through the present. During the period of overlap, the correlation coefficient between the two data sets, the technical term for how well do these two independent measurements agree, is well over 99 percent. In other words, the satellite data and the balloon data both say that the records reflect the actual change in this layer of air. Again, as with the satellite record, one can recognize short-term natural variations--El Nino, La Nina, volcanic eruptions--but one does not see the decades-long human-caused warming trend projected by climate models.......

The satellite data and the balloon data agree when both records coexist, from 1979 to the present. The balloon record reaches back four decades. Neither record sees a meaningful human-made warming trend.

Now, just remember this one thing from this talk, if nothing else: That layer of air cannot be bypassed; that layer of air must warm if computer model projections are accurate in detailing the human-made warming trend from the air's increased greenhouse gases. But that layer of air is not warming. Thus the human-made effect must be quite small.

Now, if the surface data are warming for a natural reason, what might that be? Our research team studies changes in the energy output of the sun and its influence on life and the environment of earth. Records of sunspot activity reach back to the days of Galileo, some 400 years ago. Scientists then could project an image of the sun and draw these dark sunspots that were seen through early telescopes. We know sunspots to be areas of intense magnetic activity, and from NASA satellite measurements in the last 20 years, we know that over time periods of decades, when the magnetism of the sun is strong, the energy output of the sun is also more intense. That is, the sun is a little bit brighter when magnetism is high, and the sun is a bit fainter when magnetism is weaker. The sharp ups and downs in the sunspot record define the familiar 11-year cycle, or sunspot cycle. The period is not exactly 11 years. It varies between eight and 15 years, and there is no good explanation for the cause of the cycle. But I'm not going to look at the short term, but rather the changing sun over decades to centuries.

Over the past half-century, the sun has become very active, and the sun is more active than it has been for 400 years. Therefore, the sun is likely at its brightest in 400 years.....

The next step is to look closer at the temperature records on earth, and see if they link to the decadal-to-century changes in the sun's energy output. Climate scientists believe they can reliably reconstruct Northern Hemisphere land temperature data back to, say, the year 1700. If changes in the energy output of the sun, drawn from the envelope of that activity of changes in the sun's magnetism, are superposed on the reconstructed temperature record, then the two records show a good correlation.

The ups and downs of each record match fairly well. The coincident changes in the sun's changing energy output and temperature records on earth tend to argue that the sun has driven a major portion of the 20th century temperature change. For example, a strong warming in the late 19th century, continuing in the early 20th century, up to the 1940s, seems to follow the sun's energy output changes fairly well. The mid-20th century cooling, and some of the latter 20th century warming also seem matched to changes in the sun.

To review: The surface warming that should be occurring from human-made actions, which is predicted to be accompanied by low troposphere warming, cannot be found in modern records from balloon and satellite platforms. Thus, the recent surface warming trend may owe largely to changes in the sun's energy output.

More -- much more -- here


They could kill you!

Fuel efficiency amendments ignore safety issue: "As the Senate debates an energy bill this week, amendments are expected to be introduced that would drastically increase fuel economy standards, without regard to technological feasibility or the safety of America's drivers. ... 'These attempts to increase fuel economy all have one thing in common. They totally ignore the lethal of effect of higher fuel economy standards, which reduce crashworthiness by restricting vehicle size and mass,' says Sam Kazman, CEI's general counsel."

CAFE standard insanity: "As the Center has argued in the past, raising CAFE standards is a misguided and costly venture for countless reasons. At the time CAFE standards were implemented the U.S. was importing 30 percent of its oil. Today, over 50 percent of U.S. oil is imported. While CAFE did create more fuel-efficient cars, it also increased the public's incentive to drive because of the cheaper fuel costs. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation?s Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Americans are driving twice as many miles as they did than in the 70?s. More surprising, studies indicate that CAFE regulations are responsible for 46,000 traffic fatalities that were otherwise avoidable. A more fuel efficient and therefore smaller car, amounts to less safety in the event of an accident."


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

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

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


18 June 2005

Solar Power: Too Good to Be True

Excerpts from a review of "The Solar Fraud: Why Solar Energy Won't Run the World" by Howard C. Hayden

There is an old adage that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. That adage is especially applicable to solar energy. For decades, there have been delirious proclamations that the world would soon run on solar energy. Those statements always have sounded too good to be true ... and, sure enough, they always have been false. In the famous "Peanuts" comic strip, each year Lucy promised to hold a football so Charlie Brown could do a placekick. Each year as Charlie Brown charged the ball, Lucy pulled it away at the last moment, and Charlie Brown landed on his back. Likewise, each year solar promoters with no serious scientific credentials tell us solar energy is the answer to our problems.

Solar's Failed Promises

Hope springs eternal, however, so the news media continue to publish glowing stories of solar homes despite years of failed predictions. Coincidentally or not, most high-profile solar enthusiasts tend also to be anti-capitalist collectivists who wish every family unit operated off its own individual windmill or photovoltaic cell instead of the 1,911 U.S. power stations containing 9,493 power generating turbines driven by steam provided from water heated by coal, natural gas, nuclear energy, or liquid petroleum.

The usual socialist suspects have been polyannaishly predicting the success of the futile wind/solar venture for more than 40 years. Examples abound. In 1977 Dennis Hayes, founder of Earth Day, predicted that by the year 2000 40 percent of global energy would be from renewable sources. In 1978 Ralph Nader said all power would be solar in 30 years. In 1997 he repeated that claim. In 1996 Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) predicted solar energy would be the primary source of energy in the twenty-first century.

Beneficiaries of Tax Breaks

Experience tells us the wind in most places does not blow steadily enough and predictably enough to be an economical power source. Moreover, the sun's energy is too widely dispersed and the land area required to collect it too vast for solar to become a large-scale power source. At best, a pleasant niche exists in the remotest of places and for the most affluent enviro-zealots. In reality, solar and wind power remain on today's radar screen only as a result of wasteful tax breaks to appease the green community. But don't take my word for any of this. Read the second edition of "The Solar Fraud" by the Mr. Wizard of academic physics, Howard C. Hayden, professor emeritus of the University of Connecticut.....

Energy Efficiency

The United States today consumes 100 quadrillion BTU or "quads" of thermal energy each year. In 1950 the figure was 35 quads; in 1910 about 7 quads, not counting horses and other agricultural sources of energy. Hayden quotes Peter Huber, author of "The Efficiency Paradox" (Forbes, August 20, 2001): "The efficiency of energy-consuming devices always rises, with or without new laws from Congress. Total consumption of primary fuels arises alongside. The historical facts are beyond dispute. When jet engines, steam power plants, and car engines were much less efficient than they are today, they consumed much less total energy, too."

But the efficiency paradox is nothing new. In the nineteenth century, the efficiency of steam engines was steadily improving as a result of James Watt's steam engine. For a while, the consumption of coal decreased by as much as one-third, but in the subsequent 33-year period, Hayden tells us, the consumption increased tenfold. English economist Stanley Jevons commented on the paradox in 1865: "It is wholly a confusion of ideas to suppose that the economical use of fuel is equivalent to diminished consumption. The very contrary is the truth. It is the economy of its use which leads to extensive consumption. It has been so in the past and it will be so in the future," Jevons noted.

Wind Power No Answer

Because air must leave a wind turbine with some velocity and hence some energy, only some of the kinetic energy of the wind is taken by the turbine. It turns out that only 59 percent of the energy carried by the wind could be extracted by a perfect wind turbine; the very best real wind turbines peak at about 50 percent efficiency, and then only under ideal conditions.

With the elegance of Einstein's equation of relativity and the delight of a Mr. Wizard, Hayden explains the physics and complexity of turning the wind's kinetic energy into electricity. Wind farms, he writes, can generate electrical power at the rate of 1.2 watts per square meter (w/m2) for most sites and up to about 4 w/m2 in the rare sites where the wind always comes from one direction--though Hayden has been unable to find any. Now suppose the goal is to provide enough energy to average 1 billion watts of energy (1,000 mw) around the clock, the power output of one typical traditional power plant. At 1.2 w/m2, the land area requirement is about 833 square kilometers.

Imposing Inefficiencies

Hayden puts that land area into perspective. He writes, "imagine a one-mile-wide swath of wind turbines extending from San Francisco to Los Angeles. That land area is what would be required to produce as much power around the clock as one large coal, natural gas, or nuclear power station that normally occupies about one square kilometer."

Hayden makes it clear that if wind were a viable power source, utilities would be champing at the bit to use it. Utilities use every technology available to cut their fuel costs; they would gladly use photovoltaic and wind turbines if they were economical.

Solar Cells Unworkable

There are not many people left who believe acres and acres of mirrors following the sun will ever answer any of our energy needs. Some of us still cling to the idea that we can efficiently heat a swimming pool or hot water for the home with direct sunlight, though the numbers of such solar-collecting devices are declining. However, because few of us understand the magic of the photovoltaic cell that runs our pocket calculators, many still hold out hope for them.

A short description of the solar problem is that no matter how you design the system it will always be inefficient and capture only a small, uneconomical amount of solar energy. The best solar cells available on a large scale have an efficiency of about 10 percent--they can only capture about 10 percent of the solar energy that strikes the cells. There is a seductive fallacy about solar cells: that more exotic materials and increasingly clever computer-type designs will cause the price of the cell to drop dramatically. However--unless you are still dazzled by the old alchemists' idea of turning lead to gold--Hayden will easily convince you this just is not so.

Hydrogen Not the Answer

The last tidbit of this book I want to share with you regards hydrogen as a form of energy. By now, most of our readers know hydrogen is not a new form of energy but only a conveyer of energy, and not a very efficient one at that. With current technology, the process of removing hydrogen from water or methane and then burning the hydrogen as fuel results in a net energy loss of 38 percent. Similarly, fuel cells typically are 60 percent efficient, meaning only 60 percent of the 140 megajoules of energy within each kilogram of hydrogen can be usefully squeezed out. Hydrogen, in short, shows no promise of being a near-term power source.

More here. [Funnily enough, the one efficient way to use solar energy is hydroelectric power -- but Greenies have a HORROR of dams!]


Excerpts from an article by G.W. Burrows retired analytical chemist and former director of toxicology and environmental chemistry laboratories

The contributions of human activities to global warming is a topic of continuing and intense debate. Unfortunately, the vast majority of articles and reports on the effects of anthropogenic carbon dioxide are overstated and exaggerated....

So what effect have human activities had on climate? To some extent, quite a lot. Building large cites creates "heat islands," which cause localized changes in weather. Massive deforestation (for example, in the tropics) causes changes in the hydrological (rain) cycle. Pollution contributes to changes in atmospheric chemistry; for example, smog and particulates produce haze and ozone as well as other pollutants such as NOX (various nitrogen oxides). Refrigerants are blamed for destruction of ozone.

But what about carbon dioxide? Produced by all forms of combustion and fermentation, CO2 has been the focus of debate on climate change to such an extent that controls on CO2 production have been connected to world economics (Kyoto Treaty) and pollution bartering. At the present time, carbon dioxide makes up approximately 0.03 percent (or 300 parts per million) of the earth's atmosphere. In and of itself, that number is small when compared to the other major gases in the atmosphere. For example, oxygen and nitrogen are present at 21 and 78 percent respectively. To obtain a sense for how much heat carbon dioxide absorbs and therefore contributes to global warming, the following information must also be considered. More than 98 percent of all CO2 in the atmosphere is produced by sources other than by man. For example, CO2 is produced by forest fires, volcanoes, fermentation and animal and plant respiration....

Approximately 500 billion tons of carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide are added to the atmosphere each day, of which 98 percent is naturally produced. In other words, only 2 percent is anthropogenic. Around 1.16 billion tons of water is evaporated each day. At any given time, there are 106 billion tons of carbon dioxide and 12.9 x 106 billion tons of water in the atmosphere. And so the important question is "What do all of these numbers mean?"

First, there is a lot more water in the atmosphere than CO2. Second, the amount of CO2 pumped into the atmosphere by human activities is small when compared to the amount of water already in the atmosphere. Finally we also must evaluate how much heat energy both carbon dioxide and water are capable of absorbing. Pound-for-pound, water absorbs two times more heat energy than CO2.....

The amount of carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere by human activities (2 percent of 0.03 percent, which is 0.000006 percent) when compared to water that is always present (range of 0.5 percent to 4 percent) is a very small amount. Pound-for-pound, water absorbs two times more heat energy than carbon dioxide.

Too often, experts, and even scientists study and report the effects of CO2 on climate in a manner that is similar to the story of five blind men describing an elephant. Each one views the elephant as a completely different being because he doesn't include the information from any of the others. The situations with studies or reports on global warming are similar. Unless we consider all of the factors that contribute to our climate simultaneously, we are using an unscientific technique known as data selection, which is inappropriate in thorough and accurate research. By evaluating changes in climate or temperature over shortened periods, such as decades or centuries instead of hundreds of thousands or even millions of years, we either overestimate or overstate the changes that might or might not be occurring. Data selection can be used to verify any reasonable conclusion about climate change.

Because there is a lot more water in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide and because water absorbs so much more energy than carbon dioxide, we should conclude that the effect that these gases have on the warming of the atmosphere is largely caused by water. Man's contribution, although it certainly exists, is more like throwing a stone into the ocean, real and calculable, but barely noticeable.

It's the atmosphere, stupid!: "Greenhouse warming theory, of course, is an atmospheric theory, not a surface theory, under which the atmosphere warms first and the warmth reradiates downward. Given that the atmosphere inarguably shows no appreciable warming in the 25-year history of satellite and radiosonde measurements (initiated in response to the cooling panic), to assert that runaway global warming is as real as President Bush's re-election is an absurd proposition. This, instead, illustrates how responsibility for the greens' problems lies with unsupportable claims in pursuit of laughably premature and inconsistent scare campaigns."


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

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

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


17 June 2005


There is so much illogic and misinformation emanating from Greenies that trying to fisk it all would be a labour of Hercules but I cannot resist noting some of the feats of self-hypnotism below. The story basically is that two Greenie disciples wanted to trek to the North Pole to "highlight" global warming. Instead it highlighted global cooling if anything. The weather was far colder and more stormy than they expected. But did that dent their faith? Not a bit of it. They said that the storms "proved" global warming -- despite the fact that the experts on the subject say that such storms are unrelated to global warming. And note the contradiction in the two passages I have highlighted in red:

"It took 2 years for polar explorers Lonnie Dupre and Eric Larsen to plan their trek across the Arctic Ocean. But once launched, it took only three weeks for it to fall apart. Amid a stretch of extraordinarily heavy snowfall, strong winds and broken and shifting ice, the two men from Grand Marais, Minn., who had hoped to become the first adventurers to cross the Arctic Ocean in summer, abandoned their expedition Thursday after advancing only 45 miles in 24 days. Conditions were so treacherous, in fact, that the men, who had hoped to make the crossing to call attention to global warming and the receding polar ice cap, couldn't be picked up and airlifted out by helicopter until Friday. "The weather conditions deteriorated so significantly that it was putting them at risk," said Jane Kochersperger, a spokeswoman for the environmental group Greenpeace, which cosponsored the expedition....

But almost from the start, the weather "was pretty chaotic," and not what they expected, said Carol Gregory, a Greenpeace spokeswoman. Heavy and consistent snowstorms and strong winds and ocean currents made for difficult travel.

Dupre also wrote that "summer has hit this region early, making travel extremely dangerous at best." He said he believed the weather extremes in the Arctic "are directly related to global warming.""

More here


Dr. Klaus Toepfer, executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme, remarked, "More and more, people around the world are aware that there is climate change. Nobody is questioning that any longer." And the temperature's being turned up on the United States. The European Parliament has called for trade sanctions against the United States unless it agrees to curb its carbon dioxide emissions.

Few people dispute that the Earth has warmed. But what is disputed is why it is warming, whether man is responsible, and if we should even care. Climatologist Pat Michaels of the CATO Institute stated, "Climate changes, yes, humans have something to do with this change, but climate has changed in the past without human beings having anything to do with it. There was an Ice Age, not very long ago -- 5,000 feet of ice over Chicago, and look, here we are, thriving on a planet with an ever-changing climate."

But environmentalists say it is now changing for the worse. They warn that rising sea levels, from melting in the Arctic, could submerge most of New York and turn the Washington monument into riverfront property. Michele Candotti of the World Wildlife Fund Italy said, "Glaciers are melting. Our water storage system is leaking, and is leaking dramatically." Susan Joy Hassol, the author of the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment Report, remarked, "Climate change is happening now. This is not a distant problem. It is happening now in the Arctic, and the impacts are being felt now in the Arctic, and they'll be increasingly felt there and around the world."

But Michaels says before you buy a life raft, hold on. First of all, in the North Pole, that is ice that is floating in the ocean. If that melts at the end of summer, that means nothing to sea level. The South Pole, Antarctica is the largest ice mass on the planet. It is gaining ice, not losing it.

The Earth's temperature has been fluctuating since its creation. It was warmer 1,000 years ago than it is today, but then began to cool. Colonial America was gripped by the tail end of a period known as Little Ice Age, with some of the deepest snows and coldest temperatures in recorded North American history. Michaels stated, "It was cold. In Jefferson's time it was definitely colder, and Jefferson writes in his book, "Notes on the State of Virginia",`"The snow used to lie on the ground for months at a time; now it only does so for weeks or days.'"

It lasted into the 1800s, with the year 1816 known as the "year without summer." And some climate scientists today are more worried about another ice age than global warming. But they have been drowned out by a worldwide movement that has branded global-warming skeptics as evil, even comparing them to people who deny the existence of the Holocaust. At least part of the European Left's hatred of George Bush is his refusal to sign onto the Kyoto Protocol, an agreement among industrialized nations to lower their carbon dioxide emissions as a way to fight against global warming. But it is not all President Bush's fault - under President Clinton, the Senate killed the treaty 95 to nothing. But at next month's G-8 summit in Scotland, British Prime Minister Tony Blair will again be pushing President Bush to finally join the global warming fight.

Blair has declared, "I think that the Kyoto Protocol is essential. It is an essential first step, I think. We then need to build on it, and one of the parts of the debate we are pursuing with the United States is if whether there are at least areas in relation to science and technology that we can agree we need major investment in, for the future."

Michaels remarked, "The reason the U.S. is doing what it's doing is because it, unlike Europe, recognizes that the Kyoto Protocol will do nothing measurable about global warming." By one estimate, it would make a difference of only seven one-hundredths of one degree Celsius after 50 years. Michaels asserted, "Not seven-tenths of a degree. Not seven degrees. But seven one-hundredths of a degree - an amount too small too measure. The European answer to this is, "Well, at least we're doing something. Yes, they are doing something. They're wasting money that they could use to invest in the technologies of the future. And those technologies are not where their governments are putting their money right now. They're throwing it at solar energy and windmills. They have double-digit unemployment. It's been pointed out by many people that the biggest supporters of Kyoto in the industrialized world have the worst economies."

More here


"Despite the lack of a scientific consensus to warrant such measures, climate change alarmists - in the heat of the summer for the scariest effect - are promoting mandatory caps on carbon dioxide emissions in the USA. It's a classic case of "ready, fire, aim."

Until recently, the foundation of climate change alarmism has been the so-called hockey stick graph. The graph, constructed by Dr. Michael Mann, a professor at the University of Virginia, and shaped like a hockey stick, purports to show a link between rising temperatures and human activity.

Recent Canadian research discredited the graph because of its errors and improper methodologies. An Environment Canada statistician agreed Mann's method "preferentially produces hockey sticks when there are none in the data." Dr. Hans von Storch, a contributor to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, called it "rubbish" methodologically, and Dr. Rob van Dorland, an IPCC lead author, said the IPCC "made a mistake by only including Mann's reconstruction and not those of other researchers."

In spite of this, some still seek to solve a problem even before it has been established one exists. Two Senate bills would, like the Kyoto Protocol, cap carbon dioxide emissions. Wharton Econometrics Forecasting Associates estimates that the costs of implementing Kyoto would cost an American family of four $2,700 annually. Two international leaders once described Kyoto's intent. Margot Wallstrom, the European Union's commissioner on the environment, said Kyoto is "about leveling the playing field for big businesses worldwide," and French President Jacques Chirac called it "the first component of an authentic global governance."

MIT professor Dr. Richard Lindzen sums up the current state of affairs best: "Science, in the public arena, is commonly used as a source of authority with which to bludgeon political opponents and propagandize uninformed citizens. ... A fairer view of the science will show that there is still a vast amount of uncertainty - far more than advocates of Kyoto would like to acknowledge." Based on that uncertainty, our constituents hardly need "global governance," but they do deserve responsible governance at home."


The Green version of musical chairs: "A lot of Greens don't want to accept that they are doomsday prophets. They adamantly deny it. But since their movement burst onto the scenes in the 1960s they have been lamenting death and disaster with regular consistency. Their vision of the world is inherently catastrophic. This is why there is always such an urgency in everything they say. They never suggest that 'something must be done' but that there is time to ponder the facts and decided on the best course. Everything is 'now' and immediate. Changes must be implemented 'immediately' 'before it's too late.'"


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

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

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


16 June 2005

Radical Environmentalists Lose Attack On Judge

Last year, a left-wing environmentalist and social(ist) lobbying organization called the Community Rights Counsel ("CRC"), filed a petition alleging ethics violations against four judges who served on the Board of Directors of the free-market-leaning Foundation for Research on Economics and the Environment ("FREE").

Three of those judges resigned from the Board of FREE, but one, Judge Danny Boggs of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, decided to stand up to the attack.

FREE gives seminars to judges, lawyers and business people, including sometimes allowing judges to participate free of charge. Since FREE often espouses free-market and good science-based approaches to environmental issues, CRC argued that the seminars gave people who might have business before the court improper ability to influence a judge. FREE argues that the seminars are educational in nature and that FREE itself does not take positions in cases.

In a decision which was somewhat stunning for its bluntness, the deciding Judge, James Loken, Chief Judge of the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Loken ruled that FREE's seminars are indeed educational, noting that FREE had a wide range of financial contributors and that if judges could not attend seminars they would be cut out from substantial learning opportunities. Not only did Judge Loken throw out the ethics violations charges but he also excoriated CRC for "presuming a lack of integrity and impartiality" and for resorting to "character assassination".

[It is instructive to read the position of left-wing activists, including but not limited to environmentalists, at the "Trips for Judges" site (link below.) Note that they are complaining because judges are learning from people who discuss free-market and capitalist solutions to economic and environmental problems. I can't say that I'm surprised to see John Kerry's name linked to the move to prevent such junkets. He can't truly believe it would cause a judge to be impartial; he just doesn't like what they're learning.]

(Post lifted from Rossputin. More here)


From Reason Online, 2 June 2005 by Ronald Bailey:

Michael Crichton's technopolitical thriller State of Fear (HarperCollins) turns on a controversial notion: that all the talk we've been hearing about global warming-polar ice caps melting, weather systems sent into calamitous confusion, beach weather lingering into January-might be at best misguided, at worst dead wrong. It's The Da Vinci Code with real facts, violent storms, and a different kind of faith altogether.....

State of Fear is, in a sense, the novelization of a speech Crichton delivered in September 2003 at San Francisco's Commonwealth Club. He argued there that environmentalism is essentially a religion, a belief system based on faith, not fact. To make this point, the novel weaves real scientific data and all-too-real political machinations into the twists and turns of its story. Kenner uses the data to rebut Drake's exaggerated assertions that humanity is headed toward environmental calamity.

For example: Contrary to claims that rising global temperatures will melt the ice caps of Greenland and Antarctica, thus elevating sea levels catastrophically, average temperatures over Greenland have been falling since 1987 at a rather steep rate of 2.2 degrees Celsius per decade. Over Antarctica, they've been falling for 50 years. Crichton also correctly reports that Nils-Axel Moerner, a professor of geodynamics at Stockholm University, has found "a total absence of any recent sea level rise" and has instead found evidence of a fall in sea levels in the last 20 years.

What about the trend in global average temperatures, a question central to the debate in State of Fear? According to satellite data, since 1978 the planet has been warming up at a rate of 0.08 degree Celsius per decade. Simple arithmetic reveals that, if that rate continues, the planet will warm by 0.8 degree Celsius by the end of the century. That compares with an increase of 0.6 degree Celsius during the 20th century. No catastrophe there.

Indeed, Crichton has one of his characters note the costly uselessness of the supposedly heat-reducing Kyoto Protocols. State of Fear also addresses other environmental scares. For example, Crichton notes how millions of lives have been lost to malaria because of the misconceived ban on the pesticide DDT. He debunks the notion that power lines are causing a cancer epidemic and that 40,000 species go extinct each year.

Such facts help counter the conventional wisdom we hear every day in real life and, in State of Fear, act as a plot-driving counterforce to the less-than-admirable activist characters. Crichton gets the scaremongers exactly right throughout State of Fear. But the author is not 100 percent accurate. The MIT professor Kenner claims at one point that "environmental groups in the U.S. generate half a billion dollars a year." The actual amount for just the 12 largest environmental lobby groups in the U.S. in 2002 was almost $2 billion. That buys a lot of influence in Washington.


Reliant on brown coal, Victorians live in a high-polluting state. Opposition to nuclear power makes little sense when we have the capacity to safely dispose of the waste.....

The green left believes nuclear power plants are unstable and dangerous. Mining and transporting uranium are unhealthy and a menace to Aborigines. Disposal of radioactive waste is impossible, except that which is used in nuclear weapons.

However, let's look at some facts. Chernobyl frightens us away from nuclear power, but the Canadian province of Ontario, not unlike the state of Victoria, gets 40 per cent of its power from nuclear plants and, as far as I know, has not had a nuclear accident.

France gets about 75 per cent of its power from nuclear sources and the French people congratulate themselves on doing their bit to keep the atmosphere clean.

In Victoria, it is stating the obvious to say that a nuclear power generator would be safer than our filthy brown-coal burners. In fact, the two states that desperately need nuclear power are South Australia and Victoria, arguably the two worst polluting places on the face of the planet. Taking everything into consideration, I would feel more confident of my grandchildren's future in France than in Victoria.

Just last week, the Chinese Government announced its intention to install 40 reactors over the next few years, aiming to produce 6 per cent of its power using nuclear energy. That is a relief. China is the world's second biggest consumer of electricity after the US, so the more nuclear plants and the fewer coal-fired plants it installs the better. Having said that, it is hypocritical to then say, "But not here, thank you. It is too dangerous".

I have never been convinced by the waste-disposal argument. In fact, I wonder if those who use it to damn nuclear power even believe it themselves. We live on a vast continent, most of which is uninhabited, geologically stable desert. If ever there were an ideal place for safe disposal of toxic radioactive waste, this is it. Even those who hold a romantic view of the desert must admit that there are thousands of square kilometres of wasteland of no scenic or economic value.

In the end, we must get our base-load electricity from either burning fossil fuels or using uranium. Deep greens scoff at geosequestration of carbon dioxide and are implacably opposed to nuclear. But Carr and Howard are right: it's going to be one or the other, and we had better be quick about it.

More here

More waste of resources at the behest of Greenies: "California's start this year of mandatory recycling of computers and television sets -- paid for by consumer fees of up to $10 -- has sparked congressional interest in developing a nationwide policy on dealing with electronic waste. Two other states, Maine and Maryland, have followed California in adopting recycling plans, but they use different financing mechanisms that collect money from manufacturers to pay for the recycling. And 24 other states are considering their own programs. Fifty different state laws are unworkable, say manufacturers, retailers and recyclers, and they want a uniform federal approach to a multimillion-dollar problem."


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

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

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


15 June 2005


By the distinguished ROBERT H. ESSENHIGH (E.G. Bailey Professor of Energy Conversion, Department of Mechanical Engineering at Ohio State University, Columbus)

"Last Saturday's "Heating up" editorial on global warming covers quite a lot of territory but still misses the principal point: that man's addition to the carbon-dioxide flux in the atmosphere, by fossil-fuel combustion, is essentially irrelevant.

Of the two main reasons, the first is that nature does a far bigger job in the carbon-dioxide supply rate, and the second is that carbon dioxide is secondary to water as a so-called greenhouse gas. So shouldn't we first try to control water? And behind that again is the alternative warming concept, most generally known as the Arctic Ocean Model, which is considered by many to be the real driver for the temperature oscillations and has been for the last million years or so.

So, is the carbon dioxide driving the temperature, as so many people seem to believe? Or, is the temperature driving the carbon dioxide? If it's the latter, then what's the problem with carbondioxide emissions?

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change - and can the it be wrong? - nature's rate of carbon supply to the atmosphere (carried as carbon dioxide) and back out again is about 150 gigatons per year. About 60 gigatons per year come from and go back to vegetation, and 90 gigatons per year are from and to the sea.

And from man? That's about 5 or 6 or possibly 7 gigatons per year, which is about the size of the noise in the nature data and is essentially trivial by comparison. And, of the two gases in the atmosphere that do most of the warming, carbon dioxide, as noted, is secondary. Water is responsible for roughly 80 percent to 85 percent of the absorption and re-radiation, and carbon dioxide is responsible for (most of) the balance of 15 percent to 20 percent. The radiation, by the way, isn't "trapped." It is coming and going: It's known as Radiative Exchange (governed by what is known as the Schuster-Schwartzchild or S-S Integral Equation of Radiative Transfer). But, next, when it comes to atmospheric heating, we need the heat anyway. If the atmosphere wasn't warmed, the Earth would be too cold to live on, and we wouldn't be here. So what's the big problem?

What has the correlation between rising temperature and rising carbon dioxide got to do with anything? In fact, quite a lot. First, it is real. Second, if we reverse the drivers as suggested, we then see that it is most probably the rising temperature that is driving up the carbon dioxide, not the other way around. The quantity of carbon dioxide that water - in the sea or lakes or rivers and so on - can absorb will drop as the temperature rises.

You can run the numbers using the Absorption Equilibrium Constant for carbon dioxide in water (this is standard physical chemistry). And if the water can't hold it, it goes into the atmosphere, and there you have a possible, or most probable, answer to most, or all, that is going on with the current rise in carbon dioxide.

These numbers have been around for decades. In the last million years, the world has been subject to a temperature cycle with a 100,000-year period (the Arctic Ocean Model again), and we are currently in the final rise of the latest interglacial period.

We can certainly go for carbon dioxide control and sequestration, but this is likely to be somewhere between highly and catastrophically expensive. And to what end, if that isn't the problem? I'm not alone in this position. Merely one of a large minority. But those with the power evidently don't want to listen. So is this science or just politics?"

Source (A letter to the editor. May not stay online for long. Also online here)


Carbon dioxide is not a harmful gas and has helped produce the "green" world agricultural revolution, according to an Australian climate expert. Rob Carter, from James Cook University in Townsville, said the rising level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere in recent decades had boosted agricultural crop yields. "Carbon dioxide is the best aerial fertiliser we know about," he told the Victorian Farmers Federation in Morwell late last week. Professor Carter, a marine geologist, is research professor in the university's Marine Geophysical Laboratory. He said the Kyoto Protocol would cost billions, even trillions, of dollars and would have a devastating effect on the economies of countries that signed it. "It will deliver no significant cooling - less than 0.02 degrees Celsius by 2050," he said. "The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has been the main scaremonger for the global warming lobby . . . Fatally, the IPCC is a political, not a scientific body."

To understand climate change, it was necessary to look at the longer record, he said. Through an examination of material taken from deep below the ocean floor, marine geologists could study layers of earth's history similar to the way a tree's age could be determined by tree rings. "We are in a relatively warm period today," he said. "But 20,000 years ago, it was as cold as it has ever been - that was the peak of the last glaciation." Professor Carter said that over 2.5 million years there had been 50 glacial and interglacial periods. Of the past 400,000 years, the earth had been colder for 90 per cent of the time, with briefer warmer periods of about 10,000 years. He said the earth was now at the end of a warmer period, and reputable climate-change scientists agreed that the climate was going to get colder. The debate was whether it would take tens, hundreds or even thousands of years to occur. On a shorter time scale, Professor Carter said the earth had broadly got warmer in the modern period, from 1860 to 2000, although it had also been warmer in Roman and medieval times. There had also been a Little Ice Age between 1550 and the 19th century, when the Thames used to freeze over. A cooling trend took place between 1940 and 1970, when temperatures began to rise again, reaching a peak in 1998. "This coincided with the biggest El Nino in the 20th century," he said. However, research by the climate research unit at East Anglia University in Britain had shown that the average global temperature had declined since 1998.

Professor Carter said greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide were not causing the earth to warm up. On both annual and geological (up to 100,000-year) time scales, changes in temperature preceded changes in carbon dioxide, he said. This was true even in the famous 1960-1991 graph showing rising amounts of carbon dioxide. Professor Carter said that without the natural greenhouse effect, the average earth temperature would be minus 18 degrees Celsius, compared with the average of plus 15 Celsius that had nurtured the development of life and civilisation. Water vapour made up about 95 per cent of the greenhouse effect. Carbon dioxide was a minor greenhouse gas, responsible for 3.6 per cent of the total greenhouse effect, he said. Of this, only 0.12 per cent, or 0.036 degrees Celsius, could be attributed to human activity. Climate had always changed and "always will", he said. "The only sensible thing to do about climate change is to prepare for it."



Last Tuesday, 11 of the world's leading academies of science, including the Royal Society, told us that we must take global warming seriously. Their argument is that global warming is due to mankind's use of fossil fuels, that the consequences 100 years from now will be serious, and that we therefore should do something dramatic. We should make substantial and long-term reductions of greenhouse gases along the lines of the Kyoto Protocol. This is perhaps the strongest indication that well-meaning scientists have gone beyond their area of expertise and are conducting unsubstantiated politicking ahead of next month's meeting of the G8.

Of course, as scientists, they should point out that fossil fuels will warm the world. This is indeed the majority opinion and likely to be true. Moreover, they should also tell us the likely impact of global warming over the coming century, which is likely to have fairly serious consequences, mainly for developing nations. But to inform us accurately they have to go further than that. They should tell us what will happen even if we implement the fairly draconian measures of Kyoto - which they curiously do not. They do not tell us that even if all the industrial nations agreed to the cuts (about 30pc from what would otherwise have been by 2010), and stuck to them all through the century, the impact would simply be to postpone warming by about six years beyond 2100. The unfortunate peasant in Bangladesh will find that his house floods in 2106 instead.

Moreover, they should also tell what they expect the cost of the Kyoto Protocol to be. That may not come easy to natural scientists, but there is plenty of literature on the subject, and the best guess is that the cost of doing a very little good for the third world 100 years from now would be $150billion per year for the rest of this century. Even after the Brown/Blair exertions to extract more aid for Africa, the West spends about $60billion helping the third world. One has to consider whether the proportions are right here.

This brings us to the strongest evidence that the national academies are acting in a political rather than scientific and informational manner. Why do they only talk about climate politics? Surely this is not the only important issue with a considerable science component? What about the challenge of HIV/Aids? What about malaria, malnutrition, agricultural research, water, sanitation, education, civil conflicts, financial instability, trade and subsidies? The list goes on.

What is more than curious is that the national academies have not found it necessary to tell the politicians that solutions to these many problems should be top priorities too. Even the host of the G8, Tony Blair, has recognised that the problems of Africa should also be a top priority.

Of course, this is because one cannot talk about top priorities from a natural science perspective. What we should do first depends on the economics of where we can do the most good for the resources we spend. Some of the world's most distinguished economists - including three Nobel laureates - answered this question at the Copenhagen Consensus last year, prioritising all major policies for improving the world. They found dealing with communicable diseases like Aids and malaria, malnutrition, free trade and clean drinking water were the world's top priorities. The experts rated urgent responses to climate change at the bottom. In fact, the panel called these ventures, including Kyoto, "bad projects", because they actually cost more than the good they do.

Surely we can all agree that the G8 meeting should do the most good possible, but we already know that this does not mean dealing with just climate change. The national academies must stop playing politics and start providing their part of the necessary input to tackle the most urgent issues first. The urgent problem of the poor majority of this world is not climate change. Their problems are truly very basic: not dying from easily preventable diseases; not being malnourished from lack of simple nutrients; not being prevented from exploiting opportunities in the global economy by lack of free trade. So please, let us do the right things first.



As the Government prepares to renew backing for a huge expansion of wind farms, the owner of the world's biggest manufacturer of wind-turbine blades was shown yesterday to be a major donor to the Labour Party. Nigel Doughty gave 250,000 pounds shortly before the election was called. Mr Doughty runs Doughty Hanson, a venture capital company that owns 95 per cent of LM Glasfiber, a Danish turbine blade manufacturer. Details of the contribution will be published tomorrow with the rest of the Electoral Commission's list of donors to political parties. Mr Doughty, 47, is reported to have had dinner with Tony Blair this year, but it is not known whether wind farms were discussed at the meeting, where other potential donors were guests.

Malcolm Wicks, the minister responsible for power generation, will tell a conference on renewable energy tomorrow that the Government is fully committed to an expansion of the technology. Industry figures suggest this may mean 3,500 wind turbines as the Government seeks to reduce greenhouse gases.

LM Glasfiber said recently that its growth would suffer in many areas but potential investors were promised increased returns in Britain and "parts of Scandinavia" in 2005, "based on known on-shore and off-shore projects". Labour said all donations were accurately recorded in the proper way but gave no details of individual gifts. Mr Doughty did not comment.



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

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

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


14 June 2005


There is a new article out by some distinguished atmospheric scientists (Pielke, Landsea, Emmanuel, Mayfield, Laver & Pasch) in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society which pisses all over the Greenie claim that hurricanes are increasing because of global warming. You can read it here (PDF).

The Bottomless Well: The Twilight of Fuel, the Virtue of Waste, and Why We Will Never Run Out of Energy

A recent book by Peter W. Huber and Mark P. Mills under the above title was recently published. Below are two reviews of it. You can read the Preface of the book itself here. First an excerpt from the Preface (p. xxiv to xxv):

..."These are the seven great energy heresies we propound in this book:

1. The cost of energy as we use it has less and less to do with the cost of fuel. Increasingly, it depends instead on the cost of the hardware we use to refine and process the fuel. Thus, we are now witnessing the twilight of fuel.

2. "Waste" is virtuous. We use up most of our energy refining energy itself, and dumping waste energy in the process. The more such wasteful refining we do, the better things get all around. All this waste lets us do more life-affirming things better, more cleanly, and more safely.

3. The more efficient our technology, the more energy we consume. More efficient technology lets more people do more, and do it faster - and more/more/faster invariably swamps all the efficiency gains. New uses for more efficient technologies multiply faster than the old one get improved. To curb energy consumption, you have to lower efficiency, not raise it.

4. The competitive advantage in manufacturing is now swinging decisively back toward the United States. Steam engines launched the first industrial revolution in 1774; internal combustion engines and electric generators kicked off the second in 1876 and 1882. The third, set in motion by two American inventors in 1982, is now propelling the productivity of American labor far out ahead of the competition in Europe and Asia.

5. Human demand for energy is insatiable. Life is energy in unceasing pursuit of order, and in tireless battle against the forces of dispersion and decay.

6. The raw fuels are not running out. The faster we extract and burn them, the faster we find still more. Whatever it is that we so restlessly seek - and it isn't in fact "energy" - we will never run out. Energy supplies are infinite.

7. America's relentless pursuit of high-grade energy does not add chaos to the global environment, it restores order. If energy policies similar to ours can be implemented worldwide, our grandchildren will inhabit a planet with less pollution, a more stable biosphere, and better-balanced carbon books than at any time since the rise of agriculture some five thousand years ago."

Review 1:

As is probably clear, these folks are going against the now frequently seen `energy crisis' theme that is getting quite a bit of play in books like `The End of Oil'. I had seen this book once before, and when I found it again I decided I should read it to challenge some of my own opinions on the subject.

The main point that the authors hammer home (repeatedly) is that our use of energy, going back to the steam engine (if not earlier), is to use it to get more energy, and to increase the effective power of that energy. The steam engine was devised by Watt to pump water out of coal mines, so more coal could be pulled out. Nowadays we use lasers (very `ordered' power) to create computers that we can use to find more energy (among other things). They say that increasingly we are paying not so much for the basic fuel but for the additional hardware and processing that goes into making the energy `ordered.' `The virtue of waste' line comes from the inevitable output of heat as we increase the order of the energy (2nd law of thermodynamics).

They argue convincingly that gains in efficiency in the use of energy tend to increase our demand for it. While it's true that if we just kept using exactly the things we use today but increase the efficiency, we'd need less energy, but in fact we just keep creating more and more uses of electricity, and demand continues to rise.

They show one breakdown of the use of different types of energy, and show that most of our transportation is fueled by oil, while most electricity is created from gas and nuclear, and heating uses oil and gas. They don't really deal with the `Peak Oil' argument of world production levels, and instead make claims based on historical trends of increasing efficiency in pumping oil. While there may well be a vast supply of 'sand oil' up in Canada, the economics of the situation will have to change quite a bit before there's a reason to extract it. Moving cars from internal combustion to increased use of electricity is discussed in detail.

They acknowledge that we will probably be able to come up with increasingly efficient solar collectors and wind energy collectors, but argue that these increases will need to trump increases in nuclear power efficiency to really make headway. (It is interesting to note that some formerly `green' voices have started talking about nuclear power.)

Review 2:

One virtue of reading is occasionally a book makes you rethink a pet topic. I admit to being a bit of a bug on the subject of energy conservation. In the past twelve months, I signed up for 100% renewable energy with our local electric utility, I travelled to Canada to import a car capable of 50 mpg--which Toyota doesn't sell in the States - and I went through our house swapping out 60-watt and 100-watt incandescent bulbs for compact fluorescents by the dozen. But after reading THE BOTTOMLESS WELL, seemingly a paean to pedal-to-the-metal energy consumption, I'll live with my choices, but I no longer see SUV drivers as evil personified.

Iconoclasts, contrarians, original thinkers- authors Huber and Mills are all these. The apple cart they overturn goes back years: the OPEC oil shocks of the 1970s, public disenchantment with nuclear energy after Three Mile Island (later Chernobyl), widespread fear about global warming induced by gas guzzlers and sippers alike, mass acceptance of "guilt" about Americans using more than their fair share of energy ... the list goes on.

Overturning these worried givens for many social policy discussions is a tall order. Yet, in this compelling and stylish meditation on energy, at times showing an intellectual reach bordering on the metaphysical, the authors pull it off. They offer a documented, cogent vision of the future to lead us out of the Land of Chicken Little (and away from that well-intentioned Kyoto Protocol).

For starters, this is one well-written book. Any nonfiction book whose first sentence sums up the book's overarching argument hits the ground running for me: "What lies at the bottom of the bottomless well isn't oil, it's logic." Emblematic of that logic is the Scottish inventor James Watt. Coal was always around as fuel in Great Britain. Primitive steam engines existed before Watt came along. But Watt came up with a steam engine regulator (or logic device) that brought amazing power to steam engines, compared to the earlier Newcomen engine. That combination plus plentiful coal touched off the Industrial Revolution in Great Britain. The Brits never looked back.

Today, in the Information Age (or the Post-Industrial Revolution), America occupies some of the primacy Great Britain enjoyed more than 200 years ago. The logic converting raw energy into power is now written in silicon (our cars are more and more networked computers with attached wheels). The central argument in THE BOTTOMLESS WELL is that America's primacy in logic devices will ease our adaptation to the day the gas pumps go dry.

Huber and Mills don't think current declines in worldwide oil production, coupled with increasing demand in such places as China, need spell an energy catastrophe. Our future is electricity and for that we have two fuel sources. Coal and uranium. The world's supply of each will last millennia. With silicon chips, we now can render emissions of a car engine cleaner than ambient air. We can do the same for coal-burning power plants. Also with silicon chips (and enough concrete), we can ensure safe uranium-fuelled power plants that confirm Chernobyl was a primitive-technology aberration.

One of the book's more pointed jabs at popular misconception has to do with the idea Americans are hell-bent on laying waste to the environment and polluting the planet. Americans, to be sure, consume more energy than anyone else. So all those SUVs we Americans drive guarantee we contribute far, far more than our share to global warming, right? Well, as Michael Crichton learned with his recent novel, STATE OF FEAR, some people don't want to be troubled by observable data when it comes to the global warming controversy. Not if it's outside their schema of bumper sticker logic. So what if in a mere generation, at the current rate of reforestation, America has as many trees as when the Pilgrims landed in the 1600s?

Well, that might be one of the whats that leads to, as Huber and Mills point out, an odd thing. Based on more reliable data than make the case for global warming--the North American continent is a net carbon sink! That is, on balance, Canadians, Americans, Mexicans and the terra firma they occupy are absorbing, not emitting carbon dioxide. Sounds like a punt for the Kyoto Protocol Team and possibly novelist Crichton is not an apologist for Halliburton, or some similar lefty fantasy I recently read.

There's much more in this book than a review can fairly capsulize (I won't attempt the Second Law of Thermodynamics in twenty-five words). If the book lacks anything--and to be fair, this is outside what the authors gave as the book's scope--I'd like to see something about how the transition to less reliance on petroleum can be gracefully negotiated. We can't one morning wake up to gas lines and expect to muddle through again, if we're out of gas for good. But that's another book and THE BOTTOMLESS WELL for now is a worthwhile update about what our energy future looks like and how digital technology can take us there with the power of logic.

Climate Catastrophe Cancelled: What you're not being told about the science of climate change

Researchers at the University of Calgary, in cooperation with the Friends of Science Society, have released a video entitled: Climate Catastrophe Cancelled: What you're not being told about the science of climate change

At a news conference held in Ottawa, some of North America's foremost climate experts provided evidence demonstrating that the science underlying the Kyoto Protocol is seriously flawed; a problem that continues to be ignored by the Canadian government. Scientists called on the Canadian government to delay implementation of the Kyoto Protocol until a thorough, public review of the current state of climate science has been conducted by climate experts. Such an analysis has never been organized in Canada despite repeated requests from independent, non-governmental climate scientists.

Carleton University Professor Tim Patterson (Paleoclimatologist) explains the crucial importance of properly evaluating the merit of Canada's climate change plans: "It is no exaggeration to say that in the eight years since the Kyoto Protocol was introduced there has been a revolution in climate science. If, back in the mid-nineties, we knew what we know today about climate, Kyoto would not exist because we would have concluded it was not necessary."

Contrary to claims that the science of climate change has been settled, the causes of the past century's modest warming is highly contested in the climate science community. The climate experts presenting in the video demonstrate that science is quickly diverging away from the hypothesis that the human release of greenhouse gases, specifically carbon dioxide, is having a significant impact on global climate. "There is absolutely no convincing scientific evidence that human-produced greenhouse gases are driving global climate change", stated climatologist, Dr. Tim Ball. He added that the Canadian government's plan to designate carbon dioxide as a "toxic" under CEPA is irresponsible and without scientific merit. "Carbon dioxide is a staff of life, plain and simple. It makes up less than 4% of greenhouse gases and it is not a toxic."

IPCC assertions about the unprecedented nature of the past century's warming, or the widespread beliefs that we are experiencing an increase in extreme weather, accelerated sea level rise and unusual warming in polar regions are also shown in the video to be wholly without merit.

The idea for the video was initiated by the Friends of Science Society, a registered not-for-profit group of geologists, environmental scientists and concerned citizens, "in an effort to make the science of climate change available and understandable to the general public", stated Dr. Doug Leahey, President of Friends of Science Society. Commenting on his decision to get involved with the video project, University of Calgary's Professor Barry Cooper stated, "Universities are in the education business. In a democracy like Canada, education and informed discussion of public policy are tightly linked. The public, media and government would benefit by hearing from all sides on this important issue in order to make as informed a decision as is possible."

You can access the video here


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

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

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


13 June 2005


Two astronomers have produced evidence showing that -- so the evidence that there is in fact NO global warming going on at the moment is a great relief. Note however that we ARE overdue for another ice age. An excerpt from the latest paper:

Continuous sedimentary records of climate proxies from the ocean floor and ice sheets, together with accurately dated past sea level stands, leave little doubt that the primary cause of Pleistocene glaciations was the variation of the Earth's orbit around the sun. The orbital parameters were computed with high precision more than a century ago from the laws of celestial mechanics (Lagrange, 1871; Milankovitch, 1920 and Milankovitch, 1941). Radiometrically dated paleoclimatic proxies have been shown to have the same frequencies as astronomic variables (Hays et al., 1976), but the mechanism linking the two remains largely unexplained. It is commonly claimed that the climate response to insolation forcing is delayed by several millennia (Imbrie et al., 1984; Ruddiman, 2004). This may be true for the delay in the peak volume of polar ice behind the insolation forcing but is highly unlikely for the ice growth mechanism itself. Otherwise the rapid reaction of global climate to the relatively minor radiative influences of volcanic eruptions (Robock and Mao, 1995) and cosmic rays (van Geel et al., 1999; Hu et al., 2003) would be difficult to explain.

The greatest puzzle is the start of a glaciation at a time when the world's climate, similar and sometimes even warmer than today, was transformed into a glacial landscape by changing insolation. While greenhouse gases or snow and ice albedo provide efficient feedbacks (Shackleton, 2000; Ruddiman, 2003; Ruddiman and Raymo, 2003) the primary cause of the change must be external and the redistribution of incoming solar radiation is the only cause which meets the test of available data. The internal dynamics of disintegrating polar ice masses played an important role during deglaciations and may explain the 100 kyr cycle (Ridgwell et al., 1999; Ruddiman and Raymo, 2003). However, it probably had little importance at the start of a glacial.

The total annual insolation received at the top of the atmosphere (TOA) remains approximately constant through time. Only its geographic and seasonal distribution changes. The processes linking celestial mechanics to the workings of the climate system therefore require some part of the globe or some season to be exceptionally sensitive to solar radiation reaching the planet's atmosphere and surface (Berger et al., 1981).

Based on the above considerations we first determined in radiometrically dated paleoclimatic proxies the times of accelerated build-up of global ice. We then identified the orbital configuration and the geographic and seasonal distribution of insolation at those times. Lastly, we postulate the likely impact of the redistributed insolation on the climate system.....

Conclusion: We have suggested a hypothetical explanation for the origin of Pleistocene glaciations based on the radiometrically dated evidence of the climates of the past 400,000 yr. The hypothesis has not yet been fully tested in climate models. The key feature of the proposed orbital impact is the substantial increase of the equator-to-pole insolation and temperature gradients. The relatively rapid switches from the interglacial temperate "plateaus" into episodes of rapid coolings, difficult to explain by the slow sinusoidal changes of orbital elements, could be expected to follow hypothetical insolation thresholds terminating the arctic summer melt season and changing the nature of the ENSO cycle.

There is an important difference between the proposed natural global warming at the transition to a glacial and that modeled for the man-made increases of greenhouse gases. In the former case, the strongest warming would take place in the low latitudes in contrast to cooling in the high latitudes. It would be marked by an increase of the temperature gradient. The modeled greenhouse impact shows the peak warming in the high latitudes and a reduced equator-to-pole temperature gradient. Consequently, the increase in global mean temperature alone with unspecified latitudinal characteristics may not be the best indicator of man's impact on climate.

Because parameters of the earth's orbit are considerably less extreme today than at the end of the last three interglacials, we cannot directly predict the future natural climate development. However, we can test climate models by evaluating their response to known past variations of short-wave radiation. Meanwhile, we must take into account that past qualitative analogs of the current orbital setting, although of considerably larger amplitude than today, have likely increased the tropical and global mean temperature and were followed by the growth, not melt, of polar ice.

Convention on Biological Diversity: Looking for the Pot-o-Green at the End of the Proverbial Rainbow

Many proposals to regulate bio-resources will impede progress and minimize benefits

Anti-free enterprise activists are at it again. This time they’re using the 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), which gave signatory nations and indigenous people sovereignty over their biological resources. During the coming months, World Trade Organization (WTO) and CBD delegates will meet again in Geneva and elsewhere, to devise an international legal framework to control access to the resources – and ensure “fair and equitable sharing” of any financial or other benefits that might come from utilizing genetic materials and “traditional knowledge” to create new drugs.

Unfortunately, many aspects of the CBD are counterproductive. One of the most damaging proposals would curtail existing patent rights for pharmaceutical products derived from plants, under the guise of “benefit sharing.” This proposal is based on several fallacies and would have serious negative consequences for biotechnology and the Convention’s stated goals.

Fallacy 1: Existence equals value.

The Stone Age didn’t end because our ancestors ran out of stones – and the Iron Age didn’t begin because iron ore deposits suddenly appeared on our planet. The resources were always here. But until human creativity – our “ultimate resource” – figured out how to extract, refine and forge ore into things people needed, those deposits had no value.

Likewise with the notion of “green gold,” the activists’ (and Convention’s) assumption that vast untapped wealth lies within these biological resources – and must be protected from “bio-pirates” who want to “patent them for private profit.” Unlike gold, these bio-resources do not have intrinsic value. Genetic resources are valuable only if researchers are allowed to discover their pharmacological secrets and create affordable new drugs that address health problems better than alternatives. Until then, all this potential bio-wealth is just a pot of green gold at the end of the rhetorical rainbow.

Invention is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration, and lots of cash. Unlocking the pharma vault in some Amazon plant might be relatively easy if locals already use it to relieve pain (aspirin), suppress appetites (hoodia) or cure malaria (artemisinin), for instance. Most often, though, it takes years of expensive trial-and-error research, followed by years in the drug-approval-process briar patch.

On average, companies invest 10 years and $800 million, to screen over 5,000 compounds, get 5 into human clinical trials, and launch a single new drug. Only 3 of every 10 successful new drugs generate revenues greater than their R&D costs; those three must finance all the unsuccessful efforts. Research with natural bio-resources faces even longer odds: only one sample in 250,000 will eventually yield a commercial drug, though many may provide leads to other drugs.

Moreover, the mere discovery of a resource does not garner a patent or create value. A patent will be granted – to safeguard the investment, intellectual property rights, process and product – only if a creative new process ensures probable commercial success and public benefit.

Fallacy 2: A big UN program is better than small bilateral agreements.

Politics, ideology and infighting often impede progress. Nearly 7 years after the WHO’s Roll Back Malaria campaign was launched, malaria rates are up 10% and 10 million more people have died – while a straightforward South African program cut rates and deaths by 93% in three years.

In the decade before the CBD was signed, Costa Rica entered into agreements with drug companies to provide biological samples, in exchange for up-front fees, royalties, laboratories, equipment and training for local scientists. It’s now advising other developing nations. Today, the CBD is still moribund, as parties continue to squabble over definitions of fundamental terms like “bio-piracy” and “bio-prospecting.” Worse, NGOs like Friends of the Earth insist that there is no such thing as legitimate bio-prospecting. To them, all bio-prospecting and patenting of genetic resource inventions is piracy, virtually any corporate engagement with indigenous people should be prohibited, and limiting biotech patentability is just one step toward eliminating all patents for biotech products.

Fallacy 3: Battling corporate biotechnology will spur development.

Emotional polemics don’t generate progress. Companies and investors don’t have to go where they aren’t wanted – or to countries that attack intellectual property rights, pirate patented products, or threaten to impose fines and overturn drug patents years after the fact. At the 2001 WTO Ministerial meeting in Doha, activists attacked corporate patents for HIV/AIDS medicines – and succeeded only in reducing investment in developing new generations of AIDS drugs. Limiting patentability for biotech will simply hurt those with the most to gain from transferring technology and research opportunities to developing countries, through legitimate bio-prospecting. The legal wrangling and threats have also played a major role in causing industry to lose interest in exploring rainforests for prospective drugs – and switch to synthetic drug development in labs. At this point, CBD countries would be better off if they worked with industry to reignite interest in biological resources.

Fallacy 4: A complex international regime will bring benefits to developing countries.

In fact, 50% of zero is nada. Countries that create cumbersome, unfriendly, counterproductive legal regimes generate little investment, and fewer benefits. Those that participate in a system that’s already produced thousands of life-enhancing drugs will build a future founded in science, property rights and wealth-generation, ensuring better lives for their people. When obstacles are strewn in the path of investment, innovation, discovery and patent protection, investors and researchers seek less risky opportunities, such as “combinatorial chemistry” with synthetic molecules. In the Philippines, Colombia and virtually every other country that has created such obstacles, bio-prospecting has evaporated.

The result is that the next generation of biological drugs is never born – and countries and indigenous people who might actually have the next taxol, cortisone, artemisinin or hoodia never realize their dream of turning it into a blockbuster.

Governments, companies, NGOs, indigenous people and patients alike agree that benefits from commercial development of new products from genetic resources should flow back to their providers. But developing countries don’t need another symbolic victory. They need real, tangible benefits. That means recognizing these basic principles, abandoning polemics and the search for pots of green gold, and agreeing on workable, mutually acceptable definitions for basic terminology. Most of all, it means crafting a bilateral or global system that eliminates legal minefields … encourages and rewards investors, companies and researchers for their risk-taking and dogged persistence … and ensures the creation – and sharing – of real benefits that can come only from real discoveries.

It’s a lesson that should probably be applied to a lot of public policy debates these days.


No area outside California comes anywhere close to having "some of the worst air pollution in the nation." And yet a search through newspapers both large and small reveals that journalists and environmental activists have collectively put more than half the country into this category.....

This is all a bit ridiculous. Even without looking at any air pollution monitoring data, it is obvious that most of these claims must be wrong. But to see just how wrong, let us compare the claims with actual air pollution monitoring data....

Note that no area outside California comes anywhere close to having "some of the worst" ozone air pollution in the country. An additional irony is that even if we remove California from the comparison, most of the areas cited in the news articles above still would not make it into the "some of the worst" fraternity. For example, the worst location in Texas has about 50 to 100 percent more ozone exceedance days per year than the worst locations in Ohio, New York, Connecticut, and Washington, D.C. The Washington Post's claim of high levels of air pollution in Phoenix, Arizona, and the Bradenton Herald's claim of high pollution levels in Florida are particularly absurd. But not quite as absurd as New Jersey PIRG's claim that Passaic County has "some of the worst air pollution in the country." Passaic County does not even have some of the worst air pollution in New Jersey. In an average year, the worst location in New Jersey has nearly three times as many eight-hour ozone exceedance days as Passaic.

Most of the news stories cited above are really about ozone, even though they usually refer generically to "air pollution." There are a few reasons for this. First, many of the stories reported on the release of reports from environmental activists, such as the American Lung Association's State of the Air and the Public Interest Research Group's Danger in the Air. These reports focused only on ozone until their 2004 editions, when PM2.5 was added. Second, some of the stories were focused more generally on the summer "ozone season," which runs from May through September and often generates news stories in areas that fail to comply with federal standards. And third, national PM2.5 monitoring data did not become widely available until around the middle of 2002....

PM2.5 is monitored at about 1,000 unique locations around the country. Some cities, such as Bakersfield or Birmingham, have more than one PM2.5 monitoring location within the city limits. In such cases, only the worst location is included in the figure. The only exception is Los Angeles, which covers a very large land area. The Lynwood and Los Angeles monitoring sites are both within the Los Angeles city limits but are about ten miles apart. Liberty, Pennsylvania, is the worst location outside California, but it is still well below California's worst areas. Compared with Rubidoux, the worst location in the country, Liberty is more than halfway toward attainment of the federal standard. Thus, just as for ozone, no area outside California can be said to have "some of the worst" particulate air pollution in the nation....

PM2.5 levels are in a state of transition. From 1999-2002, the worst locations in California were well above the highest non-California levels. However, while PM2.5 levels have been dropping around the United States, California has made very rapid progress. The worst levels in California were comparable to Liberty, Pennsylvania, and Birmingham, Alabama, during 2003 and 2004. Furthermore, owing to a long stretch of stagnant air during the winter of 2003-2004, Logan, Utah, chalked up some of the highest short-term PM2.5 levels of recent times. So for PM2.5 there are now three cities outside California that can truthfully be said to have "some of the worst" particulate air pollution in the country. Still, this provides no comfort for the news stories cited above, since almost all of them were written before the middle of 2004, when data on particulate levels during 2003 would have first become available. And in any case, hardly any of those stories were about the handful of non-California cities that could realistically vie for the "worst particulate pollution" title.

While much air pollution exaggeration involves a "some of the worst" claim, the director of the American Lung Association's Santa Clara, California, chapter took a different approach, asserting simply that "we've got the same smog problems in the [San Francisco] Bay Area that they have in Los Angeles." Figure 3 shows that it would be hard to make a more erroneous statement about the relative air quality of southern California and the Bay Area. As of the end of 2004, the entire Bay Area complied with all federal air pollution standards. Nevertheless, some local reporters have not caught on to the Bay Area's low air pollution levels. Reporting on ALA's 2005 installment of State of the Air, the Oakland Tribune ran the headline "Air Pollution Still Abysmal in Bay Area."

Uncovering journalists' and activists' air pollution bloopers makes for good sport, but the constant and ubiquitous inflation of air pollution levels has sinister implications. Activists depend on public fear and outrage over air pollution to keep the donations flowing and maintain their political power. Constantly claiming that virtually everyone breathes "some of the worst air pollution in the country" helps to create and maintain the desired but unwarranted climate of fear and anxiety.

Journalists should be acting as a check on these exaggerations, but they are not. Part of the problem may be that journalists, like much of the public, consider environmentalists to be the presumptive guardians of the public good. Reporters get much of their information on air pollution levels from activists' reports such as State of the Air and Danger in the Air. News stories on these reports suggest that most journalists take the information in them at face value and pass it along without even cursory validation. The exaggerations have been repeated so often by ostensibly credible sources that they are now "common knowledge." Many of the news stories quoted above do not even source their "some of the worst" assertions. They have quietly become an unquestioned part of the zeitgeist.

Polls continue to show that most Americans "know" many things about air pollution that are in fact not true. Reporters and activists bear much of the responsibility. Environmentalists have a strong incentive and desire to keep people scared about the environment, even when fear is unwarranted, and they are unlikely to reform their behavior. But we should expect more from journalists. The public's interest is in getting an accurate portrayal of air pollution levels, trends, and health risks. But this can only happen if journalists treat environmentalists' claims with the same skepticism appropriate for other interested parties in environmental debates.

More -- much more -- here

The Pickett's Charge of climate alarmism : "The release on June 8 of a statement signed by 11 separate national science Academies on global warming represents the Pickett's charge of climate alarmism. Not only has it dashed against the rock of the defensive position of the United States, but the attempt has also needlessly thrown away the academies' reputations for unbiased information, just as Pickett's charge threw away General Lee's reputation for invincibility. Climate alarmists in the scientific community now face a long retreat, while the victory of the President Bush's position on the issue seems assured. Even the hopes for European intervention are dashed."


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

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

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


12 June 2005


I mentioned this on 3rd June. Here is more:

He may not look like a revolutionary, but Ulrich Joerin, a wiry Swiss scientist in his late twenties, is part of a small group of climatologists who are in the process of radically changing the image of the Swiss mountain world. He and a colleague are standing in front of the Tschierva Glacier in Engadin, Switzerland at 2,200 meters (7,217 feet). "A few thousand years ago, there were no glaciers here at all," he says. "Back then we would have been standing in the middle of a forest." He digs into the ground with his mountain boot until something dark appears: an old tree trunk, covered in ice, polished by water and almost black with humidity. "And here is the proof," says Joerin.

The tree trunk in the ice is part of a huge climatic puzzle that Joerin is analyzing for his doctoral thesis for the Institute for Geological Science at the University of Bern. And he is coming to an astonishing conclusion. The fact that the Alpine glaciers are melting right now appears to be part of regular cycle in which snow and ice have been coming and going for thousands of years.

The glaciers, according to the new hypothesis, have shrunk down to almost nothing at least ten times since the last ice age 10,000 years ago. "At the time of the Roman Empire, for example, the glacier tongue was about 300 meters higher than today," says Joerin. Indeed, Hannibal probably never saw a single big chunk of ice when he was crossing the Alps with his army.

The most dramatic change in the landscape occurred some 7,000 years ago. At the time, the entire mountain range was practically glacier-free -- and probably not due to a lack of snow, but because the sun melted the ice. The timber line was higher then as well.

The scientists' conclusion puts the vanishing glaciers of the past 150 years into an entirely new context: "Over of the past 10,000 years, fifty percent of the time, the glaciers were smaller than today," Joerin states in an essay written together with his doctoral advisor Christian Schluechter. They call it the "Green Alps" theory.

Joerin admits his theory goes against conventional wisdom. "It is hard to imagine that the glaciers, as we know them, were not the norm in past millennia, but rather an exception," he says while he and his companions dig out the tree trunk with shovels, axes and bare hands.....

Although glacier experts like Hanspeter Holzhauser have been collecting remains of plants in the vicinity of glaciers for years, they only began systematically analyzing the finds about 13 years ago. At first, he and his students collected over a thousand little chunks of wood and shreds of turf on their excursions along the glaciers, from the Engadin in the east to the Unterwallis in the west, from the Forno and Stei Glacier to the du Mont Mine Glacier. Finds include the remains of birch trees, willows, Norway spruce, pines, larch and a lot of the resilient Swiss stone pine.

There is a simple deduction that lends support to the Green Alp theory: The bits of trees that have been washed out of the glaciers must come from further up the mountain. And if trees grew up there, then the mountains could not have been covered by glaciers.

Schluechter sent over a hundred of the old bits of wood to a special laboratory for carbon dating. They discovered that the trees didn't grow up there continually, but rather within ten periods of time since the end of the last ice age.

"The history of the glacial cover apparently is more dynamic than had been assumed until now," says Schleuchter. According to this model, the glaciers were smallest about 7,000 years ago, largest during the "mini ice age" of 1650 to 1850. Since this last cold spell, the tongues of ice have been receding quickly -- for a paleo-climatologist 150 years are just a wink in time.

More here


China's booming economy is driving a rapid rise in water pollution so severe that densely crowded cities could be left without adequate supplies, a Cabinet minister said Tuesday. ``Limited water resources are threatened by pollution, and water safety in cities is facing severe challenges,'' said Qiu Baoxing, deputy minister of construction.

The unusually blunt warning came after a separate government report last week said Chinese cities are threatened by rising levels of acid rain from industrial pollution. The reports emphasize the high environmental cost of China's surging economy in a dry, crowded country whose ecology already is strained by the demands of sustaining 1.3 billion inhabitants.

The government has tried in recent years to rein in environmental damage, imposing air- and water-quality standards and restricting logging. But such efforts have had only limited success.

More than 100 of China's 660 cities face ``extreme water shortages,'' Qiu said at a news conference. Intense demand by booming Chinese industries, farms and sprawling cities _ some of them with more than 10 million people - has left many areas without adequate water supplies. China supports 21 percent of the world's population with just 7 percent of its water supplies, Qiu said.

Conflicts over water supplies have led to violent clashes. In April, scores of people were injured in the eastern province of Zhejiang when police clashed with villagers who occupied an industrial complex that they said ruined their crops by polluting water supplies.

The communist government has tried in recent years to rein in environmental damage, banning the clear-cutting of forests, imposing air-quality standards and forcing paper mills and other heavily polluting industries to close. Premier Wen Jiabao promised in February to make guaranteeing adequate supplies of clean drinking water a priority in his annual report to China's legislature on government plans for the year. ``This is an urgent matter,'' Qiu said.

More here


The environmentalist group Greenpeace has gone on trial in a Copenhagen court as the first organization charged under new Danish anti-terror laws introduced after the attacks in New York and Washington on September 11, 2001. Greenpeace was charged under the new legislation last month following a protest by a group of activists in October 2003 at the Copenhagen headquarters of the Danish Agriculture association against genetically modified organisms (GMOs) used in the Scandinavian country's booming pork industry. The individual protestors, who entered the Danish Agriculture building and reportedly hung a banner reading "No to GMO swine" from a window, have been accused of violating domestic peace.

The new terror legislation allows the courts to hold organizations responsible for the actions of their individual members, which according to prosecutors clears the way for the charges brought against Greenpeace.

The group has meanwhile claimed that the charges constitute a violation of the new laws, which it insists are meant to lay responsibility for terrorist acts on the organizations that support them, and not punish "peaceful" groups for activist protests. "When the terrorism laws were introduced, the rule was that organizations could be punished for doing something illegal. But it was clear that the aim was to target organizations that supported terrorism," Greenpeace lawyer Steen Beck said in an interview on Danish public radio. "Now, they are trying to use the laws against a peaceful group like Greenpeace," he added.

Parties in opposition to Denmark's right-leaning coalition government have also criticized the application of the laws, pointing out that they risk stifling the political debate in the country. "Greenpeace hopes that the court will acquit the organization on the basis that the law is not and should not be directed towards the civil society," Greenpeace Denmark spokesman Sebastian Ostenfeld Jensen said. The trial was scheduled to wrap up on Friday, but it remained unclear when a verdict would be handed down.


What a lovely joke on a Greenie: ""After a True's beaked whale washed ashore in Virginia, Woods Hole chemist Emma Teuten toiled for seven months trying to whittle 10 kilograms of blubber down to a milligram of methoxylated polybrominated diphenyl ethers – chemicals synthesized for use as industrial flame retardants and regarded as persistent environmental pollutants. But improved carbon dating methods revealed that these PBDEs were natural compounds, possibly originating in marine sponges."


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

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

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


11 June 2005


The Statement released by several national academies of sciences on June 7, 2005 is a politically motivated document and scientifically flawed. The politics is blatantly obvious: the release date coincides with Prime Minister Blair's visit to Washington and his meeting with President Bush. As the convenor of the G8 meeting in July in Scotland, Blair has already announced his two priorities: Global Warming and Africa. The Times (May 20, 2005) reports: "On climate change, Mr Blair has set three targets for Britain's [G8] presidency: to secure an agreement on the basic science; provide the foundation for further action; and to speed up measures needed to meet the threat of climate change....

We will make no further comments on the politics and strange choice of priorities except to note the memorable claim by Mr Blair's science adviser Sir David King that Global Warming presents a greater threat than terrorism. But is there really a Global Warming? The Statement simply regurgitates the contentious conclusions of the IPCC report of 2001, which have been disputed by credible scientists. The so-called "scientific consensus" is pure fiction.

The claimed warming for the 20th century occurred mainly before 1940 when greenhouse-gas levels had not increased much. Since 1940, there has been a 35-year-long cooling trend -- and not much warming in the past quarter-century, according to global data from weather satellites. To estimate temperatures for the year 2100, the Statement relies on conflicting answers -- 1.4 to 5.8 degC -- from several climate models. They differ by 400 percent; yet none of them have been validated against observations.

Meanwhile, an extrapolation of the satellite data gives at most a fraction of a degree rise for the 21st century. The IPCC claims to be able to reproduce the temperature history of the 20th century; but with the use of a number of adjustable parameters this becomes simply a curve-fitting exercise. The IPCC further claims that the 20th century was the warmest in the past 1000 years; but this myth is based on a seriously flawed publication. The IPCC also claims that sea levels will rise by up to nearly a meter by 2100; but every indication is that they will continue to rise inexorably - and much less -- as they have for nearly 20,000 years -- since the peak of the last ice age.

There is little left then of the "threat" of Global Warming. So what do the academies want? What's all the hue and cry about? While their Statement calls for G8 statesmen to "acknowledge the threat of climate change," many of their recommendations are quite innocuous and recognize the need for adaptation to inevitable future climate changes from all sources, including natural causes. After clearing away a lot of verbiage about "leadership," "mobilizing the scientific community," "assisting developing nations," etc. etc., the action recommendation boils down to "identify cost-effective steps" for energy conservation. Who can disagree with that? For once, a real consensus.

(S Fred Singer, Atmospheric physicist, Professor Emeritus of Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia, and former director of the National Weather Satellite Service. The above statement was received via email)


Just as British Prime Minster Tony Blair and President Bush conclude informal talks in Washington on global warming, the national scientific bodies of 11 nations have issued a statement calling for "cost-effective" measures to respond to the possible future effects of climate change. The national scientific academies of the G8 nations, along with those of Brazil, China and India, have called upon their governments to adopt mitigation policies best suited to the current technological and economic capacity of each area of the world.

Based on the academies' recommendation that new governmental initiatives be cost-effective, the joint statement clearly supports a strategy of resiliency focused on continued economic growth. "In terms of this latest statement from the world's leading scientific bodies, the global warming strategy embodied by the Kyoto Protocol is clearly a dead end," said CEI Senior Fellow Iain Murray. "Dragging down the leading economies of the world in an attempt to stop what is, at least in part, a natural and unavoidable process is an especially irresponsible and short-sighted response. In the event the planet does eventually experience dramatic climate change, only a flourishing and dynamic world economy will enable the nations around the world to successfully mitigate its impact."

"Like the Kyoto Protocol internationally, domestic proposals such as the McCain-Lieberman Climate Stewardship Act can also clearly not meet the test of cost effectiveness," added CEI Director of Global Warming & International Environmental Policy Myron Ebell. "The European Union and Japan are learning the hard way that Kyoto is simply too expensive to implement, and Kyoto is only the first of thirty increasingly costly steps that would be needed."

The joint statement of the national scientific academies of Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, India, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States is being issued in anticipation of debate over a coordinated international climate change policy at the Gleneagles G8 Summit next month.



In 2003, on a party-line vote, Maine passed legislation implementing the New England Governors/Eastern Canadian Premiers Climate Change Action Plan (CCAP). The CCAP, a regional version of the Kyoto Protocol, committed New England and Eastern Canada to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to 1990 levels by 2010, 10% below that by 2020, and eventually by 70-80% or more. Policymakers have not been concerned that the CCAP is constitutionally suspect, expensive and ineffective. The Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) crafted the plan and decided not to discuss either the costs or the averted global warming benefits explicitly, but rather to focus on other environmental benefits (such as an alleged reduction in asthma) and to ignore or obscure the likely impact on energy bills. The plan would not be submitted for an up or down vote, but rather implemented piecemeal by executive order, litigation, statute, rule-making and public education.

Representative Henry Joy (R-Crystal) had a different idea and submitted LD 72, An Act to Promote Sound Science in Climate Change Policy. LD 72 was short (under 200 words), clear and concise: it required that "when the Department of Environmental Protection adopts rules designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the department must issue an estimate of the amount of global warming that will be prevented and the costs that will result from the rules requiring reduction in greenhouse gas emissions." In the absence of any legislation on overall climate change policy, and given the appealing simplicity of the bill itself, LD 72 seized the climate change policy agenda.

Maine's business and regulated community, in an unusual showing of both unity and backbone, testified in favor of the bill. National advocates for sound science and market capitalism, including TCS's Sallie Baliunas, American Council for Capital Formation's chief economist Margo Thorning, and the American Legislative Exchange Council gave powerful supportive testimony. The DEP and Maine's environmental groups testified against the bill. Two committee members, Reps. Tom Saviello (D-Wilton) and Robert Daigle (R-Arundel), both environmental professionals, were publicly criticized by the environmental left for crafting bi-partisan consensus as opposed to partisan gridlock and status quo. Facing unaccustomed criticism and having already lost control of the issue, the committee and DEP leadership accepted the watered down compromise, perhaps incorrectly assuming they could control and limit the actual implementation.

The result is a first for Maine environmental policy: economic factors will be considered, however faintly. Some minimal increase in honesty, transparency and accountability will be expected. Maine's climate change policy now has at least a patina of bipartisan consensus and legitimacy which it previously lacked. The "sound science" in the original title proved too odious for environmentalists to bear, and was replaced with An Act To Review Climate Change Policy Effectiveness.

The DEP and the Governor's office declined to issue even a press release upon gubernatorial signature. In the absence of any official ownership and explanation, the environmental left quickly moved to inaccurately define one of the first truly bipartisan environmental laws in more than a decade as "Money trumps environment " and a step backwards. It was left to market and sound science advocates to offer any positive analysis. The DEP has once again lost control of the agenda, and environmental policy and public opinion thereof is still a drive-by victim of the culture war.

More here


Ever since saving the Amazon became a fashionable cause in the 1980s, championed by Madonna, Sting and other celebrities, the jungle has consistently been likened to an enormous recycling plant that slurps up carbon dioxide and pumps out oxygen for us all to breathe, from Los Angeles to London to Lusaka. Think again, scientists say. Far from cleaning up the atmosphere, the Amazon is now a major source for pollution. Rampant burning and deforestation, mostly at the hands of illegal loggers and of ranchers, release hundreds of millions of tons of carbon dioxide into the skies each year.

Brazil now ranks as one of the world's leading producers of greenhouse gases, thanks in large part to the Amazon, the source for up to two-thirds of the country's emissions. "It's not the lungs of the world," said Daniel Nepstad, an American ecologist who has studied the Amazon for 20 years. "It's probably burning up more oxygen now than it's producing."

Scientists such as Nepstad prefer to think of the world's largest tropical rain forest as Earth's air conditioner. The region's humidity, they say, is vital in climate regulation and cooling patterns in South America - and perhaps as far away as Europe. The Amazon's role as a source of pollution, not a remover of it, is directly linked to the galloping rate of destruction in the region over the last quarter-century.

The dense and steamy habitat straddles eight countries and is home to up to 20% of the world's fresh water and 30% of its plant and animal species. Brazil's portion accounts for more than half the entire ecosystem. Official figures show that, on average, 7,500 square miles of rain forest were chopped and burned down in Brazil every year between 1979 and 2004. Over the 25 years, it's as if a forest the size of California had disappeared from the face of the Earth. Such encroachment on virgin land is theoretically illegal or subject to tough regulation, but the government here lacks the resources - some say the will - to enforce environmental protection laws.

Loggers are typically the first to punch through, hacking crude roads and harvesting all the precious hardwoods they can find. One gang of woodcutters, in cahoots with crooked environmental-protection officials, cut down nearly $371 million worth of timber from 1990 until it was busted in the biggest sting operation of its kind in Brazil, authorities said last week.

Close on the loggers' heels are big ranchers and farmers, who torch the remaining vegetation to clear the way for cattle and crops such as soy, Brazil's new star export, which is claiming ever larger quantities of land....

However, under the international environmental treaty known as the Kyoto Protocol, Brazil and other poor countries are not required to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases. Nor does the accord contain financial incentives to encourage nations such as Brazil and Indonesia to rein in the destruction of their tropical forests. "This is a very sensitive issue in Brazil and among developing countries," said Paulo Moutinho, research coordinator for the Amazon Institute of Environmental Studies. "If you want to include developing countries, especially countries with large areas of tropical forests, in some kind of mechanism to mitigate climate change, you need to compensate deforestation reduction."....

Even without the massive burning, the popular conception of the Amazon as a giant oxygen factory for the rest of the planet is misguided, scientists say. Left unmolested, the forest does generate enormous amounts of oxygen through photosynthesis, but it consumes most of it itself in the decomposition of organic matter....

"Concern about the environmental aspects of deforestation now is more over climate rather than [carbon emissions] or whether the Amazon is the 'lungs of the world,' " said Paulo Barreto, a researcher with the Amazon Institute of People and Environment. "For sure, the Amazon is not the lungs of the world," he added. "It never was."

More here


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

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

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


10 June 2005


Angela Merkel, the Chancellor candidate of Germany's conservative party [i.e. Germany's likely next Prime Minister], announced a radical change in Germany's energy policy in the event of an election victory. She plans to significantly ease restrictions on power station operators and the energy industry. "There will be significant corrections, if we receive the confidence of the popular vote", Merkel said on Wednesday in Berlin.

The high energy prices have became a "growth risk" for the German economy. Among other things, Merkel promised to reduce the burden posed by the eco-tax. The boss of the CDU wants to correct substantial projects of the red-green energy policy on emission trading, nuclear energy, climate change and the promotion of renewable energies. Above all, the operators of coal and nuclear power stations would profit most from such changes.

In addition, Merkel plans to scrutinise the targets for the reduction of CO2 emissions set by the Kyoto Protocol: "We need a Kyoto plus." The US, who do not want to limit their emissions, would have to be included. According to Merkel, the red-green plans for stricter targets of the emission trade starting from 2008 would be also changed. Only Germany and Great Britain have committed themselves to lower their greenhouse gas output in this context. This, however, represents a competitive disadvantage.

"National politics are not the correct answer to globalisation and global challenges," said Merkel with regard to CO2 emissions in developing countries..

More here (In German)


It's nearly summertime -- and the living is chilly across much of Europe. Fresh snow fell Wednesday on parts of Austria -- so much in some places that authorities closed roads to cars without tire chains -- and temperatures dipped below freezing in corners of Croatia and Scotland, fouling moods and spoiling picnic plans.

The unseasonably cold June has even caused headaches in Italy, a country that's normally balmy at this time of year: Officials say cooler-than-usual temperatures and hailstorms have inflicted millions of euros (dollars) in damage on crops. In agricultural areas near Verona in northeastern Italy -- one of the hardest-hit areas -- between 30 and 40 percent of peaches and apples were lost after the hail pummeled trees, according to Coldiretti, an Italian farmers' association. Heavy rains and strong winds flooded some of Rome's cobblestone streets overnight, uprooting trees and forcing authorities to close several roads to traffic. The gusts continued Wednesday, rustling Pope Benedict XVI's white vestments during his open-air audience in St. Peter's Square and forcing the pontiff to take off his skullcap.

Parts of Austria's Alps were blanketed with up to 40 centimeters (nearly 16 inches) of fresh snow early Wednesday, and the country's automobile club said numerous tow trucks were called to aid stranded motorists. No injuries were reported. Although the snow was limited to higher elevations, temperatures have dipped to 7 degrees Celsius (44 degrees Fahrenheit) in Vienna. Austrians call the late spring chill "Schafskaelte," or sheep's cold -- invoking the image of sheep shivering in the fields after being shorn of their first wool of the season.

To be sure, not all of Europe was chilly. In three of Portugal's northern districts, firefighters were on maximum alert Wednesday as a heat wave sharply increased the risk of forest fires. But in Croatia, a few centimeters (inches) of snow fell overnight on the southern mountain of Biokovo, where the mercury plunged to minus-3 degrees C (37 degrees F) Wednesday morning, officials said.

It's been a far colder than usual in parts of Germany, where overnight temperatures recently have dropped as low as 2 degrees C (35 degrees F) in the east, and in neighboring Switzerland, where high winds swept away several tents at a fairground last weekend.

Many parts of Britain also have had an unusually cold June. Temperatures fell below freezing on Tuesday, with thermometers in the village of Aboyne, Scotland, recording minus-1.1 degrees C (30 degrees F), the Meteorological Office said, predicting more chilly nights this week. The Royal Air Force base at Benson in Oxfordshire notched its lowest June temperature ever at minus-0.3 degrees C (31.46 degrees F) on Tuesday, beating the zero degrees C (32 degrees F) mark recorded in June 1962.

From CNN, 8 June 2005


What he put forward were goals with no proposals about how to achieve them so it is probably just hot air to please the voters in America's weirdest state but in case he meant it seriously.....

Schwarzenegger's plan calls for the virtual elimination of GHG emissions in California over the next few decades. This alone should give people pause, as the only way to achieve such large GHG reductions is to drastically curtail the use of fossil fuels such as gasoline, diesel, and natural gas.

True Lies

With the Governor calling for such a radical reorganization of Californians' lives, we need to ask what problem Schwarzenegger and his environmentalist allies are trying to solve. The Governor's executive order claims human-caused climate change threatens to increase California's air pollution, reduce its water supplies, increase heat-related mortality, infectious diseases and asthma, harm the state's agricultural industry, and flood the state's 1,100 miles of coastline.

This isn't the place for a treatise on climate change science and health impacts. But even a cursory survey of the research literature should make everyone queasy about using the claim of human-induced climate change as the pretext for forcing a drastic reorganization of human economies. First, rising temperatures will at worst have no effect on heat-related mortality. Urban temperatures have been rising for decades, probably due to an expanding urban heat island effect. Nevertheless, between the 1960s and the 1990s, the rate of heat-related mortality declined more than 75 percent in U.S. cities. No matter. Environmentalists and politicians continue to claim that climate change will increase heat deaths.

But perhaps we shouldn't be too hard on environmentalists and politicians. They get help from scientists who lend credibility to their false claims. For example, despite large observed declines in heat-related mortality, a group of scientists recently published a study in the prestigious journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) claiming that rising temperatures will increase future heat-related deaths in California. Several authors of the PNAS study are also the authors of Union of Concerned Scientists climate change reports.

Likewise, regardless of whether temperatures rise in the future, this will not increase air pollution. For particulate matter, higher temperatures are associated with lower pollution levels. For ozone, most ozone-forming pollutants will be eliminated over the next 20 years, making future climate virtually irrelevant for ozone levels. Observations of the recent past should also put to rest any concerns about future air pollution levels in a changing climate. Despite rising urban temperatures over the last few decades, air pollution of all kinds has drastically declined.

Schwarzenegger's asthma-air pollution link is also spurious. Asthma prevalence has more than doubled in the U.S. since the early 1980s, but during the same period, air pollution of all kinds declined.

We could also use a bit more skepticism regarding claims about human contributions to climate change. These claims depend on the output of climate models that purport to demonstrate a causal link between the observed atmospheric buildup of greenhouse gases and surface temperatures. But these models do a poor job of reproducing the Earth's actual climate. For example:

* Climate models predict that rising atmospheric CO2 should cause temperatures in the lower atmosphere to increase more rapidly than at the surface. But just the opposite has happened. Surface, balloon, and satellite temperature trend data show no change in lower atmosphere temperatures during the last few decades, even as surface temperatures have risen. One potential explanation is that the surface temperature increases may be largely due to increasing urban heat island effects, rather than to greenhouse-gas buildup.

* Understanding clouds is key to predicting climate change, because clouds can cool or warm the atmosphere depending on their structure and location. A recent study compared measurements of cloudiness with predictions of ten climate models. The study reported both large variations between models -- as large as a factor of four for predictions of some types of clouds -- and large discrepancies between the models and the observations.

* Climate models predict that greenhouse-gas induced climate change should be most salient at the Earth's poles. But Antarctica is not cooperating. The southernmost continent has been cooling for decades, and sea ice and snowpack have been increasing. The increasing Antarctic snowpack is also reducing sea levels, because the snow ultimately comes from evaporation of ocean water.

These are just a few among many examples of how climate models fail to represent the Earth's actual climate and of how the Earth's climate doesn't behave in accord with the predictions of human-induced-greenhouse theory. Despite the inability of climate models to accurately represent global climate, this hasn't stopped scientists from using these same models to make precise predictions about the ostensible effects of human-induced climate change on relatively small regions of the Earth, such as California. For example, the Union of Concerned Scientists states without qualification "rising temperatures, possibly exacerbated by declining winter precipitation, will severely reduce snowpack in the Sierra Nevada" causing a substantial reduction in California's water supplies.

UCS makes this claim based on the same PNAS study cited above. But the study's conclusions are based on the output of a climate model that does no better than a table of random numbers in predicting measured U.S. temperatures during the 20th Century. Furthermore, the model results don't appear to jibe with other key data. For example, data for the last hundred years show no correlation between average winter temperatures in California and subsequent Sierra Nevada water runoff during the spring. There's also no correlation between average temperatures and average winter precipitation in California. And despite rising temperatures during the late 20th Century, the last decade has had the wettest California winters of any decade during the last 50 years, and the 3rd wettest of the last 100 years.

According to a paper in the journal Geophysical Research Letters ice melting in the Arctic Ocean will cause a large decline in winter rain and snowpack in California, resulting in future water shortages. These results were based solely on the output of the National Center for Atmospheric Research's climate model. Unfortunately, the authors of that research didn't check their modeled results against actual data. If they had, they would have found that there is no correlation between the amount of Arctic sea ice and winter precipitation in the western U.S. In fact, even as global-average surface temperatures have risen during the last few decades, U.S. precipitation has been rising as well. Once again, these problems with regional impacts studies are just the tip of the iceberg. Climate modelers admit privately that global climate models are not capable of providing accurate predictions of regional climate.

Governor Schwarzenegger justifies his call for a near elimination of California's GHG emissions with scary stories about future human-wrought climate disasters. But the only "evidence" for these upcoming disasters is the output of computer models that don't jibe with reality. This is not evidence, but nonsense.

Collateral Damage

The case for reducing GHGs depends on whether GHG emissions are changing the climate in ways that harm human health. But the evidence for GHG-induced climate change is weak. Regardless of whatever harms might be caused by future human-induced climate change, measures to reduce GHG emissions will likely cause much greater harm.

The federal Energy Information Administration, the Department of Energy's independent research arm, recently provided a reality check on the costs of GHG reduction requirements. EIA estimated that reducing national GHG emissions 11 percent below business-as-usual by 2025 would cost a total of $620 billion nationwide during the next 20 years. California has a somewhat different GHG mix than the nation, but assuming similar unit costs for California, the state's pro-rated cost would be about $40 billion, or an average of $2 billion per year.

Schwarzenegger wants to achieve by 2020 more than twice the percentage reduction in GHGs that EIA evaluated for 2025. Marginal costs increase with each increment of GHG reduction. California also has relatively low per-capita GHG emissions compared to the national average, due largely to a mild climate and virtually no use of coal for electricity. As a result, the state's unit GHG reduction costs will likely be greater than the national average. Thus, even getting the state's GHG emissions down to 1990 levels is likely to cost at least several billion dollars per year, or several hundred dollars per year for each California household. Achieving the Governor's 2050 goal is simply a pipe dream (or nightmare, as the case may be). While reducing GHG emissions to 1990s levels would impose hardship, attempting to reduce GHGs 80 percent below 1990 levels would amount to destroying California in order to purport to save it.

More here


It's not the stuff of headlines, like fraud. But more mundane misbehavior by scientists is common enough that it may pose an even greater threat to the integrity of science, a new report asserts. One-third of scientists surveyed said that within the previous three years, they'd engaged in at least one practice that would probably get them into trouble, the report said. Examples included circumventing minor aspects of rules for doing research on people and overlooking a colleague's use of flawed data or questionable interpretation of data. Such behaviors are "primarily flying below the radar screen right now," said Brian C. Martinson of the HealthPartners Research Foundation in Minneapolis, who presents the survey results with colleagues in a commentary in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature. Scientists "can no longer remain complacent about such misbehavior," the commentary says.

But "I don't think we've been complacent," said Mark S. Frankel, director of the Scientific Freedom, Responsibility & Law Program at the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Frankel, who wasn't involved in the survey, said its results didn't surprise him. But he said that the survey sampled only a slice of the scientific community and shouldn't be taken as applying to all scientists.

The survey included results from 3,247 scientists, roughly 40 percent of those who were sent the questionnaire in 2002. They were researchers based in the United States who'd received funding from the National Institutes of Health. Most were studying biology, medicine or the social sciences, with others in chemistry and a smaller group in math, physics or engineering. Of the 10 practices that Martinson's study described as the most serious, less than 2 percent of respondents admitted to falsifying data, plagiarism or ignoring major aspects of rules for conducting studies with human subjects. But nearly 8 percent said they'd circumvented what they judged to be minor aspects of such requirements.

Nearly 13 percent of those who responded said they'd overlooked "others' use of flawed data or questionable interpretation of data," and nearly 16 percent said they had changed the design, methods or results of a study "in response to pressure from a funding source." Martinson said the first question referred to other researchers in their own lab, and the second question referred to pressure from companies funding their work.

But David Clayton, vice president and chief scientific officer at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, which focuses on biomedical research, said he found both questions worded so vaguely that they could be referring to perfectly acceptable activities.

More here


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

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

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


9 June 2005


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Environment Canada are poised to highlight more good news on North America's environment. The 2004 Annual Progress Report on the Great Lakes Binational Toxics Strategy, just off the press but, as of this writing, not yet released, documents progress in dealing with a particularly nasty suite of persistent, toxic chemicals which accumulate in the environment with increasing concentration up the food web. These are pollutants of national and international concern, but they have pronounced impacts on the biota and fisheries of the Great Lakes, and the people who rely on them, because of the size of the lakes and the longer residence time of the contaminants in such huge bodies of water.

The strategy was the result of a 1997 agreement between the U.S. and Canada “to virtually eliminate toxic substances from the Great Lakes to meet previous commitments under their Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. As ambitious or foolhardy as this goal may sound, it seems that success is within reach with respect to priority pollutants such as mercury, PCBs, dioxins/furans, and hexachlorobenzene (HCB). Using “Great Lakes” in the title is some what confusing since the goals for both countries are, for the most part, national in scope. But these waters are major receptors of the pollutants addressed in the Strategy. Many of these pollutants travel great distances in the air. In the case of some, mercury for instance, they cycle about globally. Nevertheless, the 2004 report gives us a snapshot of tremendous progress which extends well beyond just the Great Lakes region.

Of the 17 reduction goals set forth for the top twelve toxic substances (“Level 1”) back in 1997, “ten have been met, three will be met by the target timeline date of 2006, and the remaining four will be well advanced toward meeting the targets by 2006,” states the report.

Regarding mercury, the subject of much debate in Washington these days, the report notes that the U.S. met its national mercury-use reduction goal of 50 percent, and currently stands at over 50 percent based on a 1990 baseline. Mercury is now out of batteries, paints, high-school labs, some illuminated tennis shoes, and other products. When was the last time your kids played with elemental mercury in the high-school chemistry lab? Digital thermometers obviate the need for mercury in that high-volume product, too. In the mid-1990s, this writer, on behalf of then Governor John Engler of Michigan, worked with the Big Three auto companies to phase out 9.8 metric tons of mercury going into convenience-light switches under hoods and trunks annually. The chlor-alkali industry accounted for almost 35 percent of mercury use in 1995, and its total mercury use decreased 76 percent between 1995 and 2003 (with some plant closures). The fluorescent-lamp industry reported using 6 tons of mercury in 2003, down from 32 tons in 1997. The Canadians are also making great progress towards a 90-percent reduction goal (based on a 1988) baseline. They are now at 83 percent.

Keep in mind that these are figures for the deliberate use of mercury, not emissions per se. U.S. mercury emissions decreased approximately 45 percent between 1990 and 1999, according to the annual report. Significant reductions in emissions from municipal-waste combustors and medical-waste incinerators, by 1999, resulted from regulatory mandates under the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990. The good news is that the U.S. has yet to see the new reductions to be achieved from regulation of the power industry pursuant to the new Clean Air Mercury Rule which will eventually cut those mercury emissions by nearly 70 percent.

The 2004 report recognizes tremendous progress by the U.S. and Canada in reducing emissions of dioxins and furans. The U.S. projects a 92-percent reduction in nationwide releases of these pollutants by the end of 2004 against a goal of 75 percent by 2006. Nothing like under promising and over delivering! Canada stands at 84 percent and expects to meet its 2000 target of 90 percent by 2005. Again, past regulation of combustion sources has yielded these substantial reductions. When pending regulatory actions are fully implemented, “the largest source in the United States will be household garbage burning,” according to the report. Think about it: We have done such a great job controlling dioxin emissions from large, industrial sources that we only have backyard burn barrels to go after. Check out

PCBs, second only to mercury as a cause of fish-consumption advisories nationally, is also a top priority of the Binational Toxics Strategy. The goal for high-level PCBs was a 90-percent reduction of use in electrical equipment along with proper management and disposal to prevent accidental releases. PCBs were banned by law many years ago, but they were still in use at the time the strategy was conceived. In the U.S. about 87,000 PCB transformers and 143,000 PCB capacitors were disposed of between the 1994 baseline and the end of 2002. This represents reductions of 43.5 percent and 10 percent respectively.

The 2004 Annual Progress Report on the Great Lakes Binational Toxics Strategy is a treasure trove of statistics, graphs, and general information on our sustained, continuing efforts to protect human health and the environment. Executive summary: It's a greener world than you know.



Environmentalists - convinced that the world was on the brink of disaster through "global warming" - were delighted in 1997 when the UN Climate Change Convention in Japan drafted the Kyoto Protocol, which called for mandatory reduction of emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases. But today they might be wondering whether their feelings of triumph were premature. Eight years later, as the Kyoto Protocol comes into force, it is emerging that green lobbyists have unwittingly been responsible for an outcome none of them could have wished for. In a growing number of countries, an increasingly preferred source of base-load electrical power is none other than nuclear energy.

Renewable energy sources (e.g., solar, wind power, tidal or geothermal) produce only two per cent of global electricity. Oil and gas usage has increased, as a result of the increased number of motor vehicles on the roads, so the only way out for many countries has been to turn to nuclear energy, against which the greens have a pathological aversion.

Indeed, countries around the world have been investing more in nuclear power since the Kyoto protocol came into effect. The UN's International Atomic Energy Agency estimated earlier this year that up to 130 new 1000-MW nuclear power plants are in the offing. Nuclear power is becoming popular precisely because it has no greenhouse gas emissions, allowing countries to meet their Kyoto obligations to cut emissions. In Britain, for example, the last Conservative Government closed down the last of Britain's coal-powered generators, leaving all of them running on gas (much of which needs to be imported from Russia), and 14 nuclear power stations, built many years ago.

In order for Britain to meet its legal obligations under Kyoto, the only alternative that is currently under discussion by both the Conservatives and Labour is nuclear energy. Referring to the Labour Party's recent election manifesto, the London Times observed, "There is remarkably little said about the matter at all, given the apocalyptic view that the Prime Minister apparently takes of the impact of climate change. There are two reasons for this unwonted reticence. The first is embarrassment. Having pledged to curb UK carbon emissions by 20 per cent of the 1990 rate in 2020, and 60 per cent within a generation - cuts far steeper than the Kyoto Protocol requires - emissions have been rising, not falling, for the past two years. The second reason is the reluctance to grasp the nuclear nettle. Labour is determined to get through this election without saying where it stands on building new nuclear power stations - one of the 'greenest' energy sources in climate change terms, but a dirty word with green lobbies worried about waste and potential 'meltdown'."

France, one of the strongest supporters of the Kyoto Protocol, has been phasing out old coal-fired power stations and replacing them with nuclear power plants for many years. Currently, France obtains nearly 80 per cent of its electrical needs through nuclear energy. The US currently acquires 20 per cent of its electricity from nuclear energy, and Russia 16 per cent. The accelerating price of both oil and coal is also pushing countries towards the nuclear option. It is ironic that the radical environmentalists who most strongly pushed for the Kyoto Protocol, are about to see the re-emergence of their worst nightmare, nuclear power.

More here


Global warming may not have the catastrophic effect on the diversity of the world's species that has been forecast, according to a new book. Plants and animals may actually be able to respond to the temperature rises that are expected to occur over the next century, the University of East Anglia's Professor Godfrey Hewitt claims.

Drawing on the fact that many species have survived ice ages without becoming extinct, Prof Hewitt believes man's destruction of habitats is a far greater threat to biodiversity. The theory is put forward in Climate Change and Biodiversity, to be published this Friday. Prof Hewitt, an evolutionary biologist, said: "Most [species] can probably cope with the small increases in temperature we are seeing. Far more serious would be a sudden large drop in temperature, possibly the beginning of a new ice age. This is linked to another real worry, which is the destruction by man of habitats where species have survived many such major climate changes."

The book suggests that the threat of global warming to biodiversity should take account of longer-term climate changes. Species have endured repeated global cooling and warming through several ice-age cycles, which for northern Europe oscillated between ice cover and conditions warmer than today. Elements of certain species will move north as temperatures rise, leading to potential genetic change in those species. Prof Hewitt added: "Organisms may adapt to new conditions, change their range with suitable environments, or go extinct."

The migration of species may also lead to genetic change, and loss of genetic diversity, although this probably poses no threat to humans.



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

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

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


8 June 2005


I cannot imagine that there is ANYWHERE in Britain where a SUV is a necessary means of transport but we live in an era of unprecedented energy abundance and cheapness so if people enjoy wasting it they are entitled to

Eleven climate change protesters were arrested yesterday after chaining themselves to Land Rovers at the start of a national campaign against 'gas guzzling' four-wheel drive vehicles. At dawn up to 1,000 Greenpeace activists stormed Ford dealerships across the UK and attached wheelclamps on sports utility vehicles or handcuffed themselves to their steering columns. The environmental group promised a summer of mobilisation against the marketing of 4x4 vehicles for urban use by Ford, which owns Land Rover. They particularly dislike its latest model, the Range Rover Sport, which they see as aimed at city drivers. Placards calling the dealerships as 'climate crime scenes' were erected on forecourts in seven cities - including London, Leeds, Bristol, Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow - in an attempt to disrupt sales.

At a dealership in Kensington, targeted because of its location in the heartland of the 'Chelsea tractor', police arrived minutes after the protesters. Arrests came after more than two hours of negotiations with officers, who eventually carried out body searches to find the keys to heavy-duty chains around protesters' waists.

More here


A study of two wind energy farms in West Virginia and Pennsylvania estimates as many as 2,600 bats were killed by the whirling blades during a six-week period last year. Between Aug. 1 and Sept. 13, 2004, researchers with the Bats and Wind Energy Cooperative found 765 dead bats on the ground at the Mountaineer Wind Energy Center's 44 wind towers in Tucker County, a report summary released Sunday shows.

Researchers estimate that between 1,364 and 1,980 bats were actually killed in that period at Mountaineer, and many more before and after. An estimated 400 to 660 bats were killed at Meyersdale Wind Energy Center in Pennsylvania, which has about 20 wind towers, according to the study. "Based on 2004 findings, BWEC scientists recommend comparisons of feathered versus normally operated turbines during periods of low wind, the condition under which most bat mortality occurred," researchers said in a statement.

Turbines produce electricity only when the blades are turning. Owners can lose money any time blades are feathered, either as a safety measure in very high winds or for the proposed tests. That could raise the average price of wind power. Feathered turbine blades are turned parallel to the wind direction to keep them from spinning. "The goal is to measure exactly how much mortality can be prevented and at what cost to industry. To date, the BWEC has not been able to identify a project owner willing to host such experiments."....

With public, private and industry funding, BWEC scientists planned three years of experiments to figure out why bats were colliding with wind turbines and to develop possible solutions.....

More here


Like any pesticide it needs resistance-management but so what?

In the pantheon of poisons, DDT occupies a special place. It's the only pesticide celebrated with a Nobel Prize: Swiss chemist Paul Mueller won in 1948 for having discovered its insecticidal properties. But it's also the only pesticide condemned in pop song lyrics -- Joni Mitchell's famous "Hey, farmer, farmer put away your DDT now" -- for damaging the environment. Banned in the United States more than 30 years ago, it remains America's best known toxic substance. Like some sort of rap star, it's known just by its initials; it's the Notorious B.I.G. of pesticides.

Now DDT is making headlines again. Many African governments are calling for access to the pesticide, believing that it's their best hope against malaria, a disease that infects more than 300 million people worldwide a year and kills at least 3 million, a large proportion of them children. And this has raised a controversy of Solomonic dimensions, pitting environmentalists against advocates of DDT use. The dispute between them centers on whether the potential benefits of reducing malaria transmission outweigh the potential risks to the environment.

But the problem isn't that simple. This is a dispute in which science should play a significant role, but what science tells us is that DDT is neither the ultimate pesticide nor the ultimate poison, and that the lessons of the past are being ignored in today's discussion. The United Nations Environment Program has identified DDT as a persistent organic pollutant that can cause environmental harm and lists it as one of a "dirty dozen" whose use is scheduled for worldwide reduction or elimination.

But some DDT advocates have resorted to anti-environmentalist drama to make their case for its use in Africa. They have accused environmental activists of having "blood on their hands" and causing more than 50 million "needless deaths" by enforcing DDT bans in developing nations. In his best-selling anti-environmentalist novel "State of Fear," Michael Crichton writes that a ban on using DDT to control malaria "has killed more people than Hitler."

Such statements make good copy, but in reality, chemicals do not wear white hats or black hats, and scientists know that there really are no miracles. Malaria is caused by a protozoan parasite that is transmitted by mosquitoes. For decades, there have been two major strategies for curbing the disease: killing the infectious agent or killing the carrier. Reliably killing the protozoan has proved difficult; many older drugs are no longer effective, new ones are prohibitively expensive, and delivering and administering drugs to the susceptible populace presents daunting challenges. Killing the carrier has long been an attractive alternative. And DDT has been an astonishingly effective killer of mosquitoes.....

DDT advocates are right to suggest that DDT may be useful as a precision instrument under some circumstances, particularly considering that environmental contamination in Africa may be less of a problem than it has been in temperate ecosystems because the chemical can degrade faster due to higher temperatures, moisture levels and microbial activity. Moreover, resistance evolves due to random mutation, so there are, by chance, malaria-carrying mosquito species in Africa that remain susceptible to DDT despite more than two decades of exposure to the chemical. But environmentalists are right to worry that the unwise use of DDT, particularly where it is likely to be ineffective, may cause environmental harm without any benefit.

In 2000, I chaired a National Research Council committee that published a study titled "The Future Role of Pesticides in U.S. Agriculture." Our principal recommendation is germane to discussions of malaria management: "There is no justification for completely abandoning chemicals per se as components in the defensive toolbox used for managing pests. The committee recommends maintaining a diversity of tools for maximizing flexibility, precision, and stability of pest management." Overselling a chemical's capacity to solve a problem can do irretrievable harm not only by raising false hopes but by delaying the use of more effective long-term methods. So let's drop the hyperbole and overblown rhetoric -- it's not what Africa needs. What's needed is a recognition of the problem's complexity and a willingness to use every available weapon to fight disease in an informed and rational way.

More here


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

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

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


7 June 2005


Ehrlich's hilariously wrong "population bomb"

During the last three decades, the issue of overpopulation - or perceived overpopulation - has been discussed in various capacities. The primary instigators of these discussions have been the radical environmentalists, the radical animal rights activists, and certain wealthy elites in our Western society. All of these groups more or less assert that human beings are destroying the planet. There are too many of us, they say. Hence, we must utilize “family planning” (read: abortion, contraception, sterilization), even in a coercive manner, to limit the number of people born into the world.

As a result of this elitist, anti-life mentality, also known as the “contraceptive mentality,” several countries, including the U.S., are steeped in what the late Pope John Paul II called a culture of death. In third world countries, abortion, contraception and sterilization seemingly abound; yet the most basic needs of food, clean water and medicine are often lacking. Why is this so?

It would seem that international organizations such as the United Nations and Planned Parenthood are more interested in reducing the population of those less fortunate than in working to promote authentic economic development in developing countries. The main questions involving this matter, I submit, are these: Is the world indeed overpopulated? What can be done to promote economic development and responsible parenthood in a way that is morally acceptable to virtually everyone?

The assertion that the world is overpopulated is essentially a myth. In a January 29, 2005 address given by Cesare Bonivento, Roman Catholic bishop of Papua New Guinea, at the Family Life International Symposium held in Papua New Guinea, Bishop Bonivento cited a 2003 report issued by the United Nations Population Division warning that “future fertility levels in most developing countries will likely fall below 2.1 children per woman, the level needed to ensure the long-term replacement of the population. By 2050, the UN document says, three out of every four countries in the less developed regions will be experiencing below-replacement fertility, with all developed countries far below replacement level as well.”

Bishop Bonivento continued: “The deeper reductions in fertility will have as a consequence a faster aging of the population of developing countries, and this aging will stress social security systems. Globally, the number of older persons (60 years or over) will nearly triple, increasing from 606 million in 2000 to nearly 1.9 billion by 2050.” Interestingly, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) released a report in 2004 predicting “that the world's population will increase by almost 40% by 2050, to 8.9 billion inhabitants” and that “such a demographic increase is an obstacle for development and for the environment.”

Bishop Bonivento gave the following observation for the aforementioned contradictory report: “Why such an evidently contradictory evaluation? Because the warnings of the other UN agencies and of the demographers are jeopardizing UNFPA's effort to curb the population with any means, including legal abortion. UNFPA is the agency supporting the Chinese one-child policy, which includes forced abortion for women having a second child.”

Now, what can be done to foster economic development in third world countries? According to Dr. Brian Clowes, author and researcher for Human Life International, such a program would: “provide basic health care and prenatal care to women and children, thereby dramatically reducing infant mortality rates; build road systems and bridges to remote areas, thus promoting regional economic self-sufficiency; help break down artificial economic barriers, such as family-run utility monopolies and overly complicated procedures for securing permits in order to start small businesses, thereby stimulating healthy competition; improve agricultural production with rural electrification, mechanization and adequate grain storage, thereby improving nutrition; provide clean running water to villages, reducing endemic diseases; and provide basic education to those who are not receiving it.”

Finally, the widespread promotion of natural family planning, also known as natural fertility regulation, is vital, as it is “morally acceptable to all religions and cultures.”



In Australia, Greenies are certain that our huge coral reefs are threatened by farm runoff, even though the reefs are mostly many miles out to sea -- causing a huge dilution of almost anything. The study from the Caribbean below offers an entirely different explanation for reef degradation. But "Save the sharks!" just doesn't have that ring to it, somehow

One of the most striking products of the study is a stark picture of human impacts on marine ecosystems and the consequences of targeted fishing. In the Caribbean, overfishing of sharks triggers a domino effect of changes in abundance that carries down to several fish species and contributes to the overall degradation of the reef ecosystem. Overfishing species randomly, the study shows, is not likely to cause these cascading effects. “It appears that ecosystems such as Caribbean coral reefs need sharks to ensure the stability of the entire system,” said Sala, deputy director of the Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation at Scripps.

When sharks are overfished, a cascade of effects can lead to a depletion of important grazers of plant life. This is because there are fewer sharks to feed on carnivorous fish such as grouper—causing an increase in their numbers and their ability to prey on parrotfishes. The removal of plant-eating animals such as parrotfishes has been partly responsible for the shift of Caribbean reefs from coral to algae dominated, the authors note. Thus overfishing of sharks may contribute further to the loss of resistance of coral reefs to multiple human disturbances. “The community-wide impacts of fishing are stronger than expected because fishing preferentially targets species whose removal can destabilize the food web,” the authors conclude in their report.

Because of their comprehensive approach in developing the intricate food web, the authors say their study and its results address more than individual species protection and speak to larger ecosystem protection issues. “The paper presents a community-wide approximation of conservation problems,” said Bascompte. “We cannot asses all of the implications of overfishing by only looking at the target species or a few others. Species are embedded in a complex network of relationships and this network has a particular shape. This has large implications for the propagation of the consequences of overfishing through the whole food web.”

More here


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

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

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


6 June 2005


It goes without saying that the global economy depends on the availability of affordable energy. Many place their hopes for abundant energy supplies in yet-to-be-imagined technologies. But while researchers tinker with far-off possibilities, there’s something we should do right now to keep the energy flowing: break the radical environmentalists’ chokehold on national energy policy. Regardless of form — whether oil, gas, coal or nuclear — the Green movement is blocking efforts to harness our accustomed energy sources while leading us down the primrose path of so-called “renewable energy.”

First, we’re not running out of oil. “Notwithstanding the recent paucity of discoveries of new major oil fields, innovation has proved adequate to meet ever-rising demands for oil,“ wrote Alan Greenspan last October in "Middle East Economic Survey." “Gross additions to reserves have significantly exceeded the extraction of oil the reserves replaced,” added Greenspan. These new reserves don’t include unconventional oil sources, including the vast Canadian tar sands and Venezuelan heavy oil.

Nevertheless environmentalists are hindering efforts to obtain that oil — witness, for example, their fight against drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). Environmentalists currently are whipping up Floridians against the offshore drilling provisions in the current energy bill in Congress, forcing Republican Sen. Mel Martinez to defy Senate leadership and kowtow to the activists. “Any weakening of protections currently in place off Florida's coasts is unacceptable,” says Martinez, echoing the anti-drilling position of environmental groups.

Green opposition to increased oil production is international in scope. Acting through such diverse groups as Amnesty International and Christian Brothers Investment Services, activists are harassing oil company BP about its $3.2 billion Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline from the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean Sea.

There’s also plenty of natural gas to be had — if the Greens would let us have it. As spotlighted recently by the Wall Street Journal editorial page, environmentalists “have successfully pushed moratoriums for most new offshore drilling of the fuel, have fought to keep the most gas-rich federal lands off-limits to exploration, and have used lawsuits to tie up those pieces that are accessible.” The Greens are also obstructing the importation of liquefied natural gas by blocking the construction of new port facilities based on fears that they would be terrorist targets.....

The energy crisis has arisen not because there’s a lack of sufficiently clean and affordable energy supplies — our problem is that we’ve allowed the Greens to have too much power.

More here

The Nonsense That is Ozone-Depletion

"Cancer threat as deadly UV rays build up" reported the NZ Herald on September 10th. Referring to a "disturbing new study" the writer reported a finding that "increases in UV radiation over summer have occurred because of ozone depletion caused by pollution". The article contained three assumptions:

1) UV has increased long term,
2) Ozone protects us from UV (and less now means less protection),
3) That ozone depletion is caused by humans polluting our natural environment.

Unfortunately, these claims are false on all counts. In order to simply understand the relationship between UV(sunlight), ozone and oxygen (air), think about what you see when you go to the beach. The order of things is Water - Surf - Beach. The boundary where the water hits the beach is called surf, and in the upper atmosphere, the boundary where the sunlight hits the air is termed the ozone layer, because in that region ozone is produced as a result of the UV acting on the oxygen, in other words where the sunlight hits the air.

Sunlight - Ozone - Air

Just as the surf cannot in any way protect the land from the sea, ozone cannot 'protect' the air and our environment that is below it from UV. A result cannot be defined as a protector. To lament that ozone depletion is taking away "our protection" is the same as crying that surfers are wearing down the surf, and as the surf is all there is holding back the ocean, when the surf goes (due to human behavior) the water will flood over the land and destroy mankind.

As with so many theories, threads are tied together to build a case. The case is then launched to the media to attract attention. The attention is then added to by 'further findings', 'disturbing new studies' and 'concerns' The end result is the willing granting of research funds to research "the problem". If the Cancer word can be attached, so much the better for the case. The public will donate any amount of money for cancer research. It only wants to see the case for it spelled out in a conclusive-sounding way.

The Case

We do know that ozone exists. We know that there are two ozone depletion zones: over each of the Earth's poles. We know the depletion zone over Antarctic is bigger than that over the Arctic. We have found that CFCs which are man-made substances commonly used in refrigeration and aerosol cans, contain chlorine. And we know that chlorine can destroy ozone.

At this point let's revisit school science. We breathe in oxygen and expell it as carbon dioxide. 02 is two oxygen atoms stuck together. Given sufficient energy applied, now and then three oxygen atoms will stick together, making an 03 molecule, which is called ozone. The energy required for this can come from electrical discharge through the air, such as lightning, or from the sun in the form of UV sunlight. You can smell ozone if you sniff around an electric motor that has arcing around the brushes - the pungent smell is the 03.

When in space the Sun's energy races down here to meet Earth's rising air, a certain amount of 03 is produced. But like the surf, it is merely the result of the photo-chemical process between oxygen and UV light. But it is the photo-chemical process itself which protects us; the ozone is a mere by-product. The air itself absorbs most of the UV radiation and disperses it. As the air contains ozone, so the ozone also combines with the UV. In the same way, if you dropped a cup of ink into the sea it would spread out and disperse. And if either the air or sunlight pack up, we will have long since suffocated or frozen to death before we start developing cancer.

There is not a 'layer' of ozone at all, any more than there is single layer of air; and ozone doesn't protect us from anything. The Sun's rays hit us at exactly the same time as they hit the ozone. Therefore, protection is impossible. In the same way, 'hard' water molecules, H3O, doesn't prevent anyone from getting wet. If we could snap our fingers and make every single last molecule of ozone disappear, it would have absolutely no bearing on the amount of UV light reaching the Earth.

Now, back to the poles, where there are indeed observed ozone-depletion zones. How come? Well, there happens to be two places on Earth where UV light doesn't meet rising warm air molecules: where the Sun shines less and where it is cold - at the Poles! Because the Earth is tilted, there is a wide area of depletion around both poles, and NZ happens to be under the southern depletion zone for much of the winter. In fact the "hole" gets bigger towards spring, because the highs and lows of the effect are modified by Earth's wind systems and subsequently the flow of warm and cold air. That is why you see glaring headlines on sudden discoveries about ozone depletion around NZ around NZ's springtime. But by December the hole is much smaller, and that's when NZ has its summer, when the skin cancer risk from the sun is higher.

Bricks Don't Float Up

Despite all the information you may have read, there is not one shred of supportable evidence that CFCs have found their way 40 miles up above the Earth. No one has ever found any up there because they are roughly five times heavier than air. They are like a brick in a swimming pool. It is not often that you will see a brick floating to the surface of your pool. CFCs are so dense that even as a gas you could fill a bucket with it and pour the contents of one bucket into another. Secondly there is no evidence that they can destroy anything because they are very stable and unreactive substances. Most dictionaries and chemistry books describe them as inert gases.

Faced with this rather unfortunate logic, some researchers extend the plot, claiming that in the upper atmosphere the intense UV light is sufficient to break down the CFCs, releasing chlorine which then does the damage. If that actually could happen though, then the "ozone layer" would just get replaced by the CFC layer, which would then further "protect" us from UV radiation.

There is, too, another difficulty with the theory: the fact that all the CFCs in the world are insufficient to even dent the known amount of ozone. The factor is 1 in 100,000. So we get told of yet another scenario - that in some imagined chain reaction, chlorine would keep on getting released by the UV until all the ozone was destroyed. But even if we supposed that this could happen, then all of these reactions going on would only further absorb UV, protecting us even more. We would right now be dying from lack of UV light and vitamin D deficiency.

There is no evidence that such a chain reaction would occur. Also, it is a long jump and unscientific to say that if a reaction could occur, then it would. Furthermore, there are some 192 known chemical reactions and 48 photochemical reactions occurring in the stratosphere(the ozone area) all the time. How would it be that chlorine and ozone, which are only in minute quantities anyway, should be able to carry on this reaction to the exclusion of the other 241 known reactive processes?

And who says that the "holes" are getting bigger? In 1988 NASA's Nimbus satellite appeared to show that the southern hole was increasing. Here was supposed proof that man was aggravating the situation. The fact that the following year's results showed the hole smaller than ever previously recorded went totally unannounced, except in obscure journals. Neither was it reported that the variation in depletion-area size seemed to correspond with increases in sunspot activity, which throws out more UV radiation.

Where did all this nonsense start?

The "CFC Depletion Theory" was first published in 1974 by F. Sherwood Roland and Mario J. Molina, University of California. Their work was treated as a joke by the world's scientific community until the mid-80s, when suddenly there were plenty of funds available for the study of such things.

There are genuine experts concerned at the erosion of truth. In 1986 the prestigious science journal "Geophysical Research Letters" asked forty-six of the world's leading climatologists and meteorologists to submit individual papers on their research and findings on the subject of the "Antarctic Hole" The overview of those findings includes.."despite the number of public announcements, no clear link between manmade pollutants and ozone depletion over Antarctica has been established; indeed, a number of papers in this issue present serious alternatives to and constraints on the suggested chemical scenarios..The appearance of the South Polar total ozone minimum(the Hole) and higher values at mid-latitudes in the spring has been observed since the late 1950s, well before man-made pollutants could have had important impact on the stratosphere." The introduction went on to suggest that the hole was apparently a natural phenomenon, affected by climatic shift in the upper atmosphere.....

More -- much more -- here

California's bogus baby bottle scare : "The California State Assembly is about to consider legislation intended to frighten parents about the safety of baby bottles, teethers, pacifiers and other plastic toys. Assemblywoman Wilma Chan, D-Oakland, has introduced a bill (AB319) that would ban the manufacture and sale of any toy or child care article intended for use by a child under three years of age if that product contains the chemical bisphenol-A (BPA). AB319's provisions claim that BPA is an 'estrogen-mimicking endocrine disruptor chemical' that 'has been shown to have hormone disrupting effects.' The bill echoes unfounded allegations from a 1990s-era, environmental activist-generated scare about chemicals in the environment supposedly interfering with hormonal processes to cause everything from cancer to infertility to attention deficit disorder."


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

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

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


5 June 2005

Twenty-five years of research has rubbished claims of a link between childhood cancer and overhead power lines. So why do new studies keep appearing?

A new epidemiological study suggesting a link between childhood cancer and overhead power lines was launched at a press conference yesterday, 2 June. The study, which appears in the British Medical Journal with an accompanying editorial, immediately generated considerable media interest.

Over 29,000 children with cancer, including 9,700 with leukaemia, were included in the study. The children were aged 0-14 years and were born in England and Wales between 1962 and 1995. They were compared with a control group of children individually matched for sex, approximate date of birth, and birth registration district. The distance of each child's home address at birth from the nearest high voltage power line was calculated. Children who lived within 200m of high voltage power lines at birth appeared to have a 70 per cent raised risk of leukaemia compared with those who lived beyond 600m. There was also a slightly increased risk for those living 200 to 600m from the lines at birth.

The press release is at pains to emphasise that the results should be treated with caution, and even if there were some role played by these so-called power frequencies (or what is known by the usual acronym ELF - extremely low frequency fields), this could only explain a very small number of childhood leukaemias. Usefully, the press release explains the scale of the possible association: 'To put these risks into perspective, about five of the 400-420 cases of childhood leukaemia that occur annually in England and Wales may be associated with power lines.'

The authors add that the effect could be simply down to chance or another cause. The most important so-called 'confounding factor' (all the other influences that equally might explain any association found between one factor and another) in this case has long been recognised to be the fact that neighbourhoods with heavy concentrations of power lines are typically poor, congested and polluted - all of which are risk factors for cancer.

This is particularly relevant with this study. As the Institute of Electrical Engineers points out in its press release, also published on 2 June, the elevated rates are found some 600 metres from the power lines. It explains: 'At these distances, the magnetic fields in homes due to the lines are negligible compared to background levels.' Given that it is generally accepted that it could only be the magnetic fields generated by power lines that might cause a problem, it must be something other than the power lines themselves that explains the results.

With such a tiny possible problem identified, and with such heavy qualification provided, one is left to wonder why this study was deemed worthy of such attention. Given that the research was not stimulated by an evident problem - notably any increased incidence of leukaemia among children - one might also ask why the study was carried out in the first place. This is particularly the case given that the anxiety over a potential link between power lines and childhood leukaemia dates back over 25 years, and has already generated a large amount of research. So why do the researchers' conclude that even more research is needed? Not only is it questionable whether such a tiny association merits further investigation in itself, but the enormous quantity of previous research in this area has effectively ruled out any such need.

The cancer rate among electrical workers is lower than the general population

The high profile created for the power line issue ensured that an enormous amount of research resources were dedicated to it. A 1994 study, for example, that typically found no overall increased cancer risk, looked at 223,000 Canadian and French electrical workers over four years. A similar American study the following year had an even larger population and found that the cancer rate among electrical workers is lower than the general population.

The renowned physicist Robert Park, in his book, Voodoo Science, identifies two decisive moments in what he calls 'slamming the door shut' on the controversy (2). The first was the so-called Stevens report by the (American) National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in 1996, which concluded definitively that 'the current body of evidence does not show that exposure to these fields presents a human health hazard'. Significantly, and unlike the single study released today, the NAS report was based upon a review of all the relevant research literature published to date - some 500 studies. According to its review, any link was too weak to detect or to be concerned about.....

.... an editorial in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine following the release of the NCI study in 1997 remains admirably clear: 'It is sad that hundreds of millions of dollars have gone into studies that never had much promise of finding a way to prevent the tragedy of cancer in children. The many inconclusive and inconsistent studies have generated worry and fear and have given peace of mind to no one. The 18 years of research have produced considerable paranoia, but little insight and no prevention. It's time to stop wasting our resources. We should redirect them to research that will be able to discover the true biologic causes of the leukemic clones that threaten the lives of children.'

More here


Some years ago a British newspaper arranged a square-off between a meteorologist, an astrologer and a woman with corns, to see who could best predict the weather. The woman with corns won.

In almost every newspaper around the world and at least once a week, some report surfaces suggesting we stay worried in the light of latest figures and analyses. Not only is Global Warming occurring, we are assured, but it is now accelerating at some alarming rate and pretty soon the poles will have all melted, the sealevels will have risen and all low-lying atolls and seaside villages will be covered over with this calamitous rising tide. And apparently this gigantic catastrophe is due to human behaviour.

We are informed that if our wicked CFC and CO2-producing ways continue, we will be doomed as a civilisation. Today we are so buffeted by what is put forth as irrefutable evidential science as to the nature of the so-called problem, that we don't even think to question it on any basic level. What is still essentially viewpoints and nothing more, based on tiny sample data and extrapolated, is now promoted as scientific fact, regardless of the lack of real evidence. The voices of the many diligent scientists calling for real hard evidence are drowned out by those who have the ear of a worldwide media hungry for sensational and emotive headlines.

The result is that the picture many now have is of the Earth heating up and hotter now than it has ever been. But... 1999 was cooler than the year before. The hottest day in all recorded history was at Al Azizah in Libya back in 1922. There was warming from the 1880s to the 1940s, then a cooling for the next 40 years. Some of the hottest years were in the 1930s, when builders in Britain began putting pipes on the outside of buildings because frosts were only a memory. Then the thermometers turned around and from 1940 right up to 1980, global mean temperatures fell by about 0.3degC. All those houses in Britain started getting burst pipes....

Nearer to the truth is that the climate has always had its ups and downs. In 1100 AD the Earth enjoyed a much warmer environment than it does now - closer to a Meditterranean climate in the north of England. Around 549AD it appears a fireball may have swept through much of Europe, melting the facias of some castles. For many years the Vikings wandered around in their shirtsleeves. The Great Fire of London in 1666 came in a year of tremendous drought. This century just gone saw higher temperatures and heavy droughts around particular recurring years. Each drought in the past was described as the worst in living memory. But there is a simple mathematical pattern here.

The Pattern is Lunar

As far as Earth's climate is concerned, the lunar movement is a major influence. To understand it better, imagine a settling pot-lid as it is spun on its flat side on a table top. It wobbles around and around. Imagine a point on the rim. As the lid settles, the point will wobble around in an ever-flattening sine curve. That's what the Moon does around the Earth's ecliptic (plane of orbit around the Sun). As it moves it drags more or less of the atmosphere with it, spreading the atmosphere further over the Earth's surface at the high end of the cycle and confining the atmosphere to a narrow band within the tropics at the lower end. The warming effect is that of milder summers and warmer winters, and at the moment we are well past the midpoint. Global-warmingists will point to the higher temperatures and claim that they were right all along. But up till now they haven't wanted to look to the Moon. After the last high end in 1987, temperatures did start descending especially around 1991/2, but most failed to notice.

Through its considerable gravitational force the Moon moves the atmosphere two and a half times more than does the Sun. Scientists agree that the Moon's gravity is greater on us than is that coming from the Sun, to the extent that the Moon moves seatides with very small contribution from the Sun, but a dwindling few still claim that the Sun causes the weather. Whatever the Sun does, the Moon does two and a half times as much.

The atmosphere is both our protection from the searing heat of the sun and the freezing cold of space. Without this protection we would all die under 180degF heat or freeze under -222deg cold.

If it wasn't mixed and distributed by the Moon daily, more of the atmosphere would end up on the Sun's side because the Sun would be the only body in space with any gravitational pull. There would be one giant cloud always on the Sun's side, just as there is on Venus, which is why Venus looks so bright. We would therefore never see the Sun for the constant cloud. Moreover, trees, which need direct sun's rays, would not photosynthesize, therefore not produce oxygen which is so essential to life and our existence. So without the Moon there could be no life as we know it on Earth. When we are looking in space for evidence of life on other planets, scientists sometimes miss the fact that we should be looking for a planet our size and speed around its sun; that has a Moon just like ours in size and distance and orbital speed, and a Sun just like ours exactly the same distance away and size. Otherwise we are not looking for life as we know it. And if we're not, then it's not life, it's something else, because life is life as we know it.

With good reason then, in lunar cultures the Moon has always been the symbol of life itself. Strong reason for it to have been universally revered as the god of fertility and growth. In their all-out zeal to rewrite our universe so history would be more palatable, 17th century theologians made as much distance as they could between Christian society and that symbol of everything pagan; the Moon. There was no room for the Christian god in the old Moon-oriented science, which dictated that climate and weather were cyclically predictable. The 'hand of God' was a non-issue. Now, only God was allowed to know what was going to happen. All predictions and prophecies were heresy.

It is this legacy that has led to one of the most appalling gaffes of modern day science: to factor the Moon out of every weather computer-model. Yet the atmosphere has a high and a low tide, which causes weather, and which, just like the sea-tide, is pulled around by the gravitational force of the Moon. Not only is the atmosphere our protection; it is also our blanket. By retaining the heat of the sun it redistributes this heat wherever it moves to. By shifting the atmosphere, the Moon is directly responsible for Earth's climate....

More here

Vegetarians versus rainforest! "It's been called the "Magic Bean" -- hailed by nutritionists as a wonderfood---it's rich in protein and apparently cuts the risks of all kinds of diseases. We're talking about the soy bean. And we're afraid we've got some bad news about a food that's been called "nature's medicine". Precisely because of these many health claims, there has been a dramatic rise in soy consumption around the world. And while soy bean producers and traders have been rubbing their hands gleefully, environmentalists are worried about the crop's popularity--especially in Brazil. Because as long as soy remains lucrative, more saws will continue clear bigger swaths of the Amazon rainforest. Environmental group Greenpeace has been loudly criticizing the Brazilian government of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. It says President Lula should be restricting soy plantations to areas that are already cleared". Update here.


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

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

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


4 June 2005


On past form, if the numbers had been up, global warming would certainly have been blamed but when there have been fewer tornadoes than usual that has nothing to do with global warming of course. Silly me to expect otherwise!

No one died in a tornado in April or May, normally two of the three busiest months for the storms. The National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center reported Wednesday that only 129 tornadoes struck the USA last month. There were more than 500 in May of both last year and 2003. Over the past decade, an average of 1,274 tornadoes a year struck the nation. For the first five months of this year, the count is 365, far below normal. In another twist, Oklahoma, in the heart of "Tornado Alley" and home to the prediction center, had zero tornadoes in May, a new record. Five people have died in tornadoes since Jan. 1, matching the lowest total recorded. In 1992, there were five tornado deaths, and none in April or May. "It's a pretty unusual, quite a drastic change," said Dan McCarthy, warning coordination meteorologist at the prediction center in Norman. Tornadoes have killed an average of 51 people a year since 1990. May is usually the deadliest month. An average of 19 people were killed in May each year from 1997 to 2004.

Deaths generally are down and sightings of tornadoes are up over the past two decades. Factors include better-trained tornado spotters in the field and better forecasting techniques. Improved warning systems also have helped. McCarthy said a key factor in the low number of tornadoes so far this year has been a large low-pressure system that has persisted over the Great Lakes and Northeast this spring. He said the low pressure blocked the usual parade of storms from forming in the Plains and Midwest. Those weather systems draw moist air from the Gulf of Mexico to create thunderstorms that can spawn tornadoes. But McCarthy cautioned that June, usually as busy for tornadoes as May, could bring the count back to normal. "By any measure, we're not out of the woods yet," he said. He noted that in 1992, the last year with so few deaths early in the year, 98 tornadoes struck in the first week of June. He said conditions for possible tornadoes are likely this weekend and again in the middle of next week.

Antarctic Ice: A Global Warming Snow Job?

(I have lifted this post from World Climate Report. It suggests that the sort of moderate global warming that is usually predicted could LOWER sea levels -- by increasing snowfall in Antarctica and hence building up the antarctic icecap. Antarctica is so cold that the main influence on the size of the icecap is how much snow falls on it rather than slight variations in temperature. What fun!)

Climate scientists have long suspected that warming the oceans around a very cold continent is likely to dramatically increase snowfall. Consider Antarctica. It’s plenty chilly, dozens of degrees below freezing, and it’s surrounded by water. The warmer the water, the greater the evaporation from its surface, and, obviously, the more moisture it contributes to the local atmosphere.

So, when this moisture gets swirled up by a common cyclone, do you think it’s going to fall as rain in Antarctica?

A recent study, no shocker to real climatologists (but perhaps to climate doomsayers), demonstrates this simple physics. It appears in the latest SciencExpress, and it shows that the vast majority of the Antarctic landmass is rapidly gaining ice and snow cover.

Obviously this moisture comes from the sea. And, being deposited in solid form on the land-way-down-under, this lowers the earth’s sea level.

Like we said, this should shock no climatologist. But consider the “profession” of environmental journalism, which ran these headlines just one teensy month ago:

“Antarctic glaciers shrink” –The Baltimore Sun, April 22, 2005

“Study shows Antarctic glaciers shrinking” –Associated Press, April 22, 2005

“Vanishing glaciers: Antarctica’s big melt” –The Australian, April 23, 2005

“New study points to big melt in Antarctica” – Sci-Tech Today, April 22, 2005

“Antarctic glaciers in mass retreat” –, April 21, 2005

“Antarctic glaciers at risk of global warming” – All Headline News, April 22, 2005

“Antarctic glaciers are getting smaller faster” –The Times On-line, April 22, 2005

“Shrinking glaciers confirm the worst” –New Scientist, April 27, 2005

Suddenly the tune has changed:

“As climate shifts, Antarctic ice sheet is growing” –Los Angeles Times, May 20, 2005

“Scientists link global warming to Antarctic’s ice cap’s growth” –Chicago Tribune, May 20, 2005

“Antarctica ice cap thickens” –Pittsburgh Post Gazette, May 20, 2005

“Warming is blamed for Antarctic’s weight gain” –New York Times, May 20, 2005

“Ice sheet confounds climate theory” – The Telegraph, May 20, 2005

“Antarctica ice cap thickens, slowing rise in sea levels” – Pioneer Press, May 20, 2005

Recent climate changes have led to a fairly large warming trend in the region around the Antarctic Peninsula—the spit of land the stretches from the Antarctic mainland towards the southern tip of South America. In this region, comprising about 2% of the entirety of Antarctica, significant changes associated with rising temperatures are being observed—floating ice shelves are breaking up, glaciers are shrinking, seal species are moving in, grasses, tiny shrubs and mosses are thriving, etc. By most accounts, transitioning from a relatively barren, frozen landscape to a warmer, less frozen one would seem to be a positive development, as this change presents a growing opportunity for increased species richness and diversity. But, in today’s world, dominated by an eagerness to demonstrate how human activities are impacting the innocent “natural” species of the world, all change is bad.

The fact is that the vast majority of global warming stories that have come out of Antarctica are based upon observations and events on and around the Peninsula. This isn’t surprising as it conforms to my theory of “Predictable Distortion” recently published in my book Meltdown.

Indeed, the number of stories about Antarctic melting is roughly in inverse proportion to the percentage of the Antarctic continent that they pertain to (and thus their global significance). For instance, most of Antarctica has actually been cooling for the past couple of decades (see here for more details). And now comes word that the snow and ice cover over large portions of Antarctica has been increasing, leading to a drawdown of global sea level.

In their SciencExpress article, Curt Davis (University of Missouri-Columbia) and his collaborators used satellite radar altimetry measurements from 1992 to 2003 to determine that, on average, the elevation of about 8.5 million square kilometers of the Antarctic interior has been increasing (Figure 1). The increasing elevation was then linked to increases in snowfall, which was translated into a mass gain of 45 ± 7 billion tons per year, tying up enough moisture to lower sea level by 0.12 ± 0.02 millimeters per year.

(The study region covered about 70% of the total ice sheet area–the satellites couldn’t “see” all the way to the South Pole due to orbital constraints, and the altimetry doesn’t work well in areas of rough terrain such as along the coastline).

Figure 1. Rate of elevation change (cm/yr) from 1992 to 2003 as determined by satellite altimetry measurements (from Davis et al., 2005).

This 0.12 millimeters is a very fortuitous number. In 2000, NASA iceman William Krabill grabbed global headlines by claiming that melting in the world’s other big icebox—Greenland—was raising sea level by 0.13 millimeters annually. In blackjack, this would be called a “push,” and everybody would get to keep their money. (Global warming obviously isn’t “21”, is it?)

It seems perfectly logical that a warming of the Southern Oceans (as opposed to most of the Antarctic continent proper where temperatures have been decreasing) has led to higher levels of atmospheric moisture that eventually precipitates out over Antarctica. The authors caution though, that from their work alone, it is impossible to tell whether the observed snowfall increases are from natural climate variations or from a human-induced global warming.

Just for the hey of it, assume the increased snow cover is because of anthropogenic global warming. That would be more evidence it that the global climate system has more checks and balances in it than the U.S. Constitution, something as obvious as this planet’s propensity to sustain life for three billion years.


Cook, A.J. et al., 2005. Retreating Glacier Fronts on the Antarctic Peninsula over the Past Half-Century. Science, 308, 541-544.

Davis, C.H., et al., 2005. Snowfall-driven growth in East Antarctic ice sheet mitigates recent sea-level rise. SciencExpress, May 19, 2005.

Krabill, W., et al., 2000, Greenland Ice Sheet: High Elevation Balance and Peripheral Thinning, Science, 289, 428–430.

Michaels, P.J., 2004. Meltdown: The Predictable Distortion of Global Warming by Scientists, Politicians and the Media. Cato Books, Washington DC. 272pp.


Now and again, I feel a flash of my old respect for Tony Blair. One such moment came recently, when he announced a commitment to reopen the debate on nuclear power. If this remark prompts action, and does not slip away into the sand like so much government rhetoric, then Blair will have done something genuinely statesmanlike. Contrast his words with those of a junior minister on the radio a few months ago. This functionary observed complacently that there was no urgency about nuclear decisions because Britain's power needs were secure for at least 15 years. What he meant, of course, was that he would have long since retired to a comfortable billet in the House of Lords before any lights started going out.

One could hear the man's relief at not having to participate in a public argument that provokes so much heat and dust. I got a taste of this the last time I suggested in the Guardian that nuclear power might come to seem the least bad option for Britain's energy needs. I almost drowned in cross emails from readers, not all called Toynbee or Monbiot, of which the general refrain was "Never!"

Before anything can happen there is a bitter public argument to be won, yet it is surely worth the winning. Good government, as distinct from comfortable politics, is about making unwelcome choices. At present, the very word "nuclear" inspires a Pavlovian reaction, understandable in this 60th anniversary year of Hiroshima.

It is chilling that some military chiefs - though, thank heavens, no British ones - display a continuing fascination with the concept of "usable nukes". Terrorists will strive to gain possession of nuclear devices. Preventing them will remain a major preoccupation for global security in the 21st century.

Yet it seems wrong to dismiss nuclear energy merely because of our revulsion for nuclear weapons. Atomic power has worked. Today it provides 23% of Britain's energy, which is scheduled to fall to 7% by 2020 as old stations reach their expiry date.

Nobody can propose a credible alternative energy source that is anything like as environmentally acceptable. Anyone who supposes that wind turbines can meet demand is a mathematical duffer. A wind farm the size of Dartmoor would be required to provide the energy of one nuclear plant. In the past, atomic power has been very costly, but in the future it is reckoned that it will be cheaper than fossil fuels if oil prices exceed $28 a barrel (the current price is $50).

Opponents of nuclear power are on good ground when they point to the incompetence, and propensity for deceit, of those who have managed the British atomic industry over the past half-century. I remember a Tory minister saying in exasperation 15 years ago: "It is depressing to stand up in the House of Commons and broadcast explicit assurances from our nuclear 'experts' one day, only to find them discredited the next."

If Britain builds a new generation of nuclear generators, we can be confident that they will overrun cost predictions and there will be mishaps. A sceptic might explode and say: "You can't use a word like 'mishap' to describe a nuclear accident!" Yet all industries suffer accidents. Almost 50 years of worldwide nuclear power generation has killed far fewer people than the oil or mining industries in the same period. Britain's surviving coalpits suffer an annual 11 deaths per 100,000, and twice as many miners die in Russia. The Piper Alpha oil rig disaster killed 167.....

Need is causing a lot of people to think again about their gut resistance. Even Germany, with its powerful Green party, is thinking hard about its decision to end nuclear generation. In 1988 Sweden started to phase out its 11 nuclear power stations. Today, however, the rising price of fossil fuels, together with a mounting enthusiasm for curbing greenhouse gas emissions, has caused a start ling change of public sentiment. A recent poll suggests that 80% of Swedes now favour nuclear power. The country is building a new repository for nuclear waste....

The anti-nuclear lobby is so impassioned and the public's instinctive inertia so great that it may be years before a new commitment is made to nuclear power. It takes at least a decade to design and build a power station, and the Sizewell B planning inquiry lasted six years. Every British business and household will pay for delays in formulating and executing a new policy. But I will bet my socks that half a century from now our children will depend heavily on nuclear power to keep their lights burning - because there will be nothing else that is clean, affordable and works.

More here


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

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

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


3 June 2005


In California, of course. We've got some really big flies in Australia's cattle-country that we could donate to them if they're short

Since 1993, when the Delhi Sands flower-loving fly made the endangered species list, the tiny insect has cost the region millions of dollars, and hindered development. The fly added $3 million to the cost of Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton, when the hospital had to be moved 250 feet. The fly also delayed the construction of the improved Sierra Avenue interchange on Interstate 10 in Fontana, among many other projects.

But regional cooperation hasn't blossomed in San Bernardino County. Colton fears it could become the fly hub for the rest of the county, because it has the largest stretch of available fly habitat. But if other cities can develop their fly habitat in exchange for enlarging the fly's zone in Colton, the tradeoff would rob Colton of economic activity and revenue that is vital to the city's future. In fairness, any regional approach would need to address Colton's concerns about equity.

Such deliberations should not be deal-breakers, though, because areas with fly populations -- including Rialto, Fontana and parts of unincorporated San Bernardino County -- stand to gain from a unified approach. As it is, every jurisdiction must independently negotiate fly protection with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which slows the progress for all.

A coherent, cooperative plan for the fly is possible and desirable. Flies cross city boundaries; plans for protecting them should be able to, as well.


I have lifted this post bodily from The Commons

The New York Times reports that housing prices in many markets are far too high, at least when compared with rents in the same markets. Nationally, home prices increased from about 12 times annual rents in 2000 to 17 times today. But in many California markets, prices are more than 25 times rents.

This is, of course, just the latest of many reports of a housing "bubble." But few reporters have bothered to ask why some markets have a bubble while other fast-growing markets do not. The usual answer is that the bubbles are on the coast because everyone is moving there, but many fast-growing regions in the West and South do not appear to have a bubble.<

The answer appears to be that "smart growth" and other growth-management policies restrict housing supply. Since housing is an inelastic good, a small restriction on supply leads to rapid increases in prices. This brings speculators into the market -- and a large percentage of homes today are being purchased with no-down-payment, interest-only loans by people who don't plan to live in the homes; in other words, speculators.

A list of regions that are suffering bubbles reveals that a very high percentage have implemented some form of growth management such as urban-growth boundaries, greenbelts, or restrictions on building permits.

One exception that probes the rule is Las Vegas, which has remained very affordable despite being the fastest-growing urban area in the U.S. -- until three years ago, when prices started rapidly increasing. Since Nevada is almost entirely federally owned, Las Vegas depends on federal land sales to meet the demand for housing. But environmental restrictions have limited sales in the past few years, limiting housing supply.

As long as builders can keep up with the demand for housing, markets should not suffer bubbles. As long as planners try to impose their visions of utopia on urban areas, homebuyers will suffer high prices and volatile markets. For more information, see my article on smart growth and housing bubbles.


It is well-known that alpine glaciers are shrinking. But now it turns out that they were even smaller during Roman times; 7000 years ago, they possibly disappeared almost completely. "A few thousand years ago, there were no glaciers here," says Ulrich Joerin, a Swiss researcher. "At that time, we would be standing in the middle of a forest. And here is the proof." With his mountain boots he uncovers something dark in the snow: an old trunk, ice-covered, smoothly polished from the water and nearly black as a result of the humidity. "We are here today because of this trunk," he says.

Joerin is a climatic researcher at the Institute of Geology at the University of Berne and collects material for its PhD. Together with a small group of climatic researchers, he is fundamentally revising the picture of the Swiss mountain world. The trunk in the ice is part of a gigantic climatic puzzle, whose first outlines become recognizable now - and amazing obvious: The fact that the current melt of alpine glaciers is apparently nothing special at all, but rather part of the variability of ice and vegetation that has been going on for thousands of years.

According to the new hypothesis, alpine glaciers shrank at least ten times since the end of the last ice age some 10,000 years ago, and even came close of disappearing completely at time. "During the times of the Romans, for example, the glacier 'tongues' were about 300 meters higher than today", says Joerin. On his military passage over the Alps, Hannibal probably never saw any large ice mass.

The alpine landscape was changed drastically approximately 7000 years ago: At that time the mountains were nearly completely glacier-free - probably not due to a lack of snow, but because the sun caused the ice to melt. In addition, the tree line was higher than at present. The scientists' conclusions place the decrease of glaciers of the last 150 years into a completely new context: "For more than 50 per cent of the time during the last 10,000 years, the [alpine] glaciers were smaller (and shorter) than today", Joerin wrote in a paper which he co-wrote with Christian Schluechter, his PhD supervisor.

More here


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

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

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


2 June 2005


An interesting email from Norm Kalmanovitch, Calgary, Alberta (

I am a practicing geophysicist with over 35 years of experience operating at a very basic scientific and academic level. From this simplistic and pragmatic perspective I see two basic easily provable overlooked flaws with the Kyoto Accord which you might find interesting. The first is the Accord itself. Assuming that its nonsensical "science" base is correct, the essence of the Accord is to physically reduce CO2 emissions to below 1990 levels. I use the word "physically" because the actual reductions required by the Accord are only "paper" in nature consisting of credits for using various alternative energy sources, purchasing these credits or in the case of "underdeveloped" countries political exclusion from the accord. The result of this is that even with full implementation of the Accord there is no material change to world CO2 emissions.

The simple proof of this is clearly and absolutely shown by world fossil fuel consumption numbers that are outside the manipulative control of the "Kyoto people". With the exception of breathing and the burning of non fossil fuels all of the "anthropogenic" CO2 comes from human consumption of coal, oil, and natural gas. Coal is mostly carbon, oil is about 83% carbon and methane is 75% carbon, and when these are consumed each ton of carbon produces about 3.67 tons of CO2. These are clear absolute and undisputable facts which when compared to world consumption figures show absolutely no influence of the Accord on the physical CO2 emissions. In fact, instead of decreasing emissions to 8% below the 1990 level, CO2 emissions in 2004 were 17.4% higher from coal, 18.2% higher from oil and 22.5% higher for natural gas. Furthermore, in spite of Kyoto, actual consumption of all of these commodities is projected to increase at similar or accelerated rates. Kyoto is based on reduction but allows unabated increase in emissions. What could be a simpler proof?

The second flaw relates to CO2 contributions to climate. The basis of the Accord, that anthropogenic CO2 emissions have caused a global warming, requires CO2 to have powers at least an order of magnitude greater than its true physical properties. This empirically derived set of properties is often used in climate models and forms the basis for alarmist predictions. I have seen numbers published that attribute a greenhouse effect for CO2 that is 33 times higher that its true physical properties.

This makes for a very curious "hockey stick" graph. If you use these CO2 values to derive the temperature for the graph you end up with a hockey stick with a 6 inch handle and a 6 foot blade. The accepted value for the atmospheric greenhouse effect on Earth is about 35 degrees C, and before Kyoto the contribution of CO2 at only 350 ppm represented only 0.7deg C of this greenhouse effect or about 0.0020 degrees for each ppm of CO2. If one uses this number to corroborate any climate predictions, any of the alarmist predictions will demonstrate themselves to be well beyond any possible physical reality.

There is a very interesting verification of this 0.002 number that can be found on Mars. The Martian atmosphere is over 95% CO2 and even though the atmosphere is about a hundred times thinner than that of Earth there is still over 9 times more CO2 in absolute terms on Mars than on Earth. In spite of this the greenhouse effect on Mars is only about 5 deg C. and when divided by its equivalent concentration the number comes to 0.0016 degrees for each ppm of CO2. This basically shows that the correct number for the true physical capacity of atmospheric CO2 is most likely between 0.0016 and 0.002 degrees C. for each ppm of atmospheric CO2.

Even taking the higher of these two numbers and applying them to climate models, shows that each .7 degree C rise in global temperature would require a doubling of atmospheric CO2 and the doomsday predictions of 2 to 3 degrees in the next 50 years will require 5.5 to 8.5 times as much carbon dioxide as is currently present in the atmosphere. If Kyoto is right, all of this will come from humans even though natural sources account for well over 90% of the annual CO2 emissions. These flaws, one political and one quasi scientific show the insidious nature of the accord.


Nuclear power has proven to be very safe. If you exclude the Chernobyl disaster of 1986, which was due to Soviet management rather than nuclear technology, there have been almost no deaths. In comparison, coal has killed hundreds of miners around the world and contributed to the deaths of thousands of people who've breathed in its smoke. And the carbon emitted by coal-fired power plants is a significant contributor to the looming greenhouse calamity predicted by environmental groups.

Surely it's time for all rational environmentalists to consider the nuclear option. Australia is well placed to become a world leader. Not only do we have enormous deposits of uranium, we are an empty continent that is geologically stable, therefore well-suited to companies wishing to reprocess and store nuclear waste. We are also the home of Synroc (a ceramic that immobilises high-level radioactive waste), which could provide a vital ingredient in an Australian-integrated spent-fuel management industry.

The market for nuclear services is huge and growing. Nuclear power accounts for 17 per cent of the world's electricity (35 per cent in the crowded European Union). There are about 440 nuclear power plants in 31 countries. The power requirements of China and India are booming. Thirty reactors are being built around the world, and most of those on order or planned are in Asia. The world's energy requirements are estimated to increase by 50 per cent by 2020: anyone concerned about air pollution and the greenhouse effect ought to hope that most of that will be provided by nuclear power.

Given all this, it's a little surprising that green groups haven't been more vocal in urging governments to adopt nuclear energy. It's true they would prefer energy to come from the wind or the tide. But for the foreseeable future this will be prohibitively expensive, unless heavily subsidised by government. In any case, wind farms are deeply unpopular because they're blots on the landscape. We should replace hundreds of wind towers with a few nuclear power plants, maybe tucked away on Lake Macquarie or in the Southern Highlands.

And yet most environmental activists still oppose nuclear power. Why so? There's naturally some concern about the spread of nuclear weapons, but the nuclear non-proliferation treaty has been one of the great successes of international co-operation. As for nuclear plant safety and waste management, these are no longer significant problems. So when you weigh the small risks of going nuclear against the enormous benefits of reducing carbon emissions, you have to wonder why anyone who genuinely believes in a looming greenhouse tragedy would oppose nuclear power.... The next time someone lectures you on the greenhouse apocalypse, they should also tell you how they feel about nuclear power. If they don't, you're entitled to have grave doubts about the fundamental seriousness of their environmental concerns.

More here

America's self-imposed energy shortage: "Many think America is suffering from an unavoidable energy shortage. In truth, we're failing to harness the energy we have. Standing between this energy and the public are brigades of environmental lawyers using federal statutes to block projects they dislike. ... Examples can be found nationwide: One environmental group recently announced a lawsuit to stop construction of a power plant in southern Illinois that would have used abundant local coal. Other groups are suing to block natural gas production throughout the Rocky Mountain region. ... Such lawsuits have become the norm. Almost every major energy project in the U.S. can expect a court battle before moving forward. And years of litigation usually come after years of administrative delays, sometimes initiated by the same parties who later file suit."


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

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

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


1 June 2005


Here is another comment on the man who thinks ecology explains just about everything

I saw Diamond speak at UC Davis last week and gained more insight into his views, or lack thereof, on the importance of human institutions. After his talk, a questioner asked Diamond for his thoughts on whether market prices protect modern societies from overrunning their resources, since these prices let everyone know when various products are abundant or scarce. Diamond responded that free markets work in some situations, but fail in others. As examples of the failure of free markets, he pointed to overfishing of the world's oceans, and the complete clear-cutting of Easter Island's forests by its Polynesian inhabitants.

What Diamond calls a free market is actually the tragedy of the commons -- the state of affairs that results from common ownership of resources and absence of price signals -- exactly the opposite of a free market. A free market requires well-defined, freely exchangeable, and enforceable private property rights. Diamond casually discounts free markets, but doesn't seem to understand what a market is, or to be aware that it is the absence of free markets that causes much of the environmental degradation he laments. Indeed, the creation of free markets in fishing rights is beginning to address overfishing problems around the world.

Easter Island was deforested by the early 1700s. During his talk, Diamond asked "what was the Easter Islander thinking as he cut down the last tree?" He provided a few potential answers given by students in his classes at UCLA:

* It's my property and I'll do what I want with it.
* Don't worry; new technologies will come along to replace wood.
* This proposed ban on logging is premature -- we need more research.

This is as deep as Diamond went in his economic analysis, and was also indicative of his style of argumentation. He brought facts and reason, the discourse of science, to bear when discussing his favored explanations for societal collapse, but resorted to ridicule and caricature to preempt reasoned discussion of alternatives that don't fit into his incomplete paradigm.

Diamond is an engaging speaker, his erudition is extraordinary, and his discourses on past civilizations are fascinating. And yet, while he has been wildly successful as an author, his Collapse thesis fails as science. Diamond claims to have uncovered the factors that determine the success or failure of human civilizations. But he has done so without reference to the societal institutions that have played a major causal role. As a result, despite his detailed and captivating case studies, he draws spurious and misleading conclusions.

The question still remains: what was that Easter Islander thinking when he cut down the last tree? Here's my guess: "If only we had well-defined property rights instead of common ownership, and if only we had the rule of law instead of the law of the jungle. Then we would have avoided the tragedy of the commons that's forced me to cut down this tree before the next guy gets it. We would be trading among ourselves and with other tribes, instead of fighting each other for control of an ever-shrinking resource base. We would have created new technologies that would allow us to make more stuff from a given amount of resources, transform formerly useless materials into new resources, and create substitutes for resources that become scarce. And we would have supplanted wood with better and cheaper materials a long time ago."

More here


Bucking the Bush administration, Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is set to unveil an ambitious plan this week to combat global warming that would make California the largest state in the nation to set concrete goals for cutting greenhouse gases, the Mercury News has learned. Under an executive order Schwarzenegger plans to sign Wednesday, the governor will call on state officials to develop new ways to reduce greenhouse gases by 11 percent over the next five years, 25 percent by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050. The proposal would put California at the forefront of a burgeoning state and local effort to try to curtail emissions heating the Earth's atmosphere and place Schwarzenegger at odds with President Bush, who has rejected international efforts to combat global warming.

But critics said Saturday that the governor's plan is long on symbolism and short on substance. The executive order, the specifics of which were outlined in a two-page administration fact sheet obtained by the Mercury News, essentially sets goals without offering any laws or regulations to enforce the governor's agenda. `Until you bind someone in the law to meet a target, the pronouncements are all toothless,'' said state Sen. Sheila Kuehl, a Los Angeles Democrat. She and other lawmakers plan Tuesday to call on Schwarzenegger to go further and embrace new anti-global-warming measures the group plans to champion this year.

Skeptics also suggested that Schwarzenegger was merely piggy-backing on existing anti-global-warming efforts, including a pioneering 2002 measure law that requires automakers to set tighter emissions standards for millions of cars, trucks and other vehicles on California roads.

Administration officials declined to discuss the governor's proposal until he unveils it before attending the World Environment Day conference in San Francisco on Wednesday.

Business executives briefed on the proposal could not be reached for comment Saturday. But one industry executive said global warming is a difficult issue for one state to tackle. ``Climate change is a global concern and there is a limit to the impact that any one state, let alone any one country, can have,'' said Dan Riedinger, a spokesman for the Edison Electric Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based association of power companies.....

Schwarzenegger's plan takes longer to meet a similar goal by calling on California to reduce its emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. Because California has long been at the forefront of environmental issues, critics said Schwarzenegger should set more visionary targets for the state. ``It's ambitious in 2050, but the impacts of climate change are already being felt in California today,'' said Assemblywoman Fran Pavley, the Woodland Hills Democrat who was the author of the 2002 anti-global-warming bill targeting cars. In September, the state's Air Resources Board adopted new rules to implement the law, which require automakers to reduce vehicle greenhouse-gas emissions starting in 2009, with a 30 percent reduction by 2016.

More here


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

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

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