Tracking the politics of fear....  

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31 March, 2005


For more than ten years, America has stood at the threshold of a new era in environmental policymaking, but hasn't stepped forward. The successes--and failures--of many of our landmark environmental laws (the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Superfund program) have been clear since the 1990s. All have accomplished much, although at needless cost, and all are straining against their limitations, undermined by unforeseen complications and unintended consequences. They haven't met their goals completely, and they face uncertain prospects for getting the job done.

Enacted a generation ago, these laws have been revised only occasionally and incompletely, if at all. They were the first federal efforts to respond to important--and complicated--problems. It's not surprising that they weren't perfect; it's surprising they worked at all. By now, their strengths and weaknesses are well understood, and yet reforms have been halting at best.

Take, for example, the Clean Air Act. A vast army of state and federal bureaucrats is employed issuing thousands of permits, inspecting facilities, and litigating everything from medical science to speculative engineering questions. Rigid regulations require overly prescriptive and sometimes counterproductive approaches to complex problems. Perverse regulatory incentives hinder innovation, as companies focus on the letter of the law rather than the larger goal of environmental performance. Every sector of the economy--and every household--bears some of the cost of this inefficiency; in some sectors, the cost is considerable. Meanwhile, in some areas, air pollution remains a serious public health problem, despite 35 years of federal regulation.

To do better--to make further improvements in air quality, where it's needed, at less cost--we need a better regulatory approach. We need an approach that promotes less bureaucracy, less litigation, more flexibility and innovation--and perhaps most importantly, more reliable results. In broad terms, we know what is needed, but cannot agree on how to do it.

The success of the 1990 Clean Air Act's marked-based "cap-and-trade" program to control sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions is uncontested. Even skeptics admit that the program has produced far greater reductions in pollution, far faster, at much less cost than anyone had imagined possible. This approach has two strengths: It gives companies an economic incentive to excel, and it is 100 percent effective. No lawsuits, no army of permit-processing civil servants, and no excuses. It offers perfect compliance at a minimal cost.

Extending this approach to other pollutants, and perhaps other industrial sectors, is the obvious next step. For three years now, President Bush has proposed doing just that, with no success. This year, once again, he called on Congress to establish a national trading program for SO2, nitrogen oxides, and mercury.

The President's proposal would cut power plant emissions of these pollutants by more than 70 percent--to levels 90 percent lower than they were when the Clean Air Act was first enacted in 1970. Environmentalists concerned about acid rain in the Adirondacks could hardly believe their ears when the President announced this initiative in 2002--it was all they had dreamed of--but they were even more surprised when the national environmental groups geared up to block the bill in Congress.

Since then, there's been heated debate over whether the caps are too high, whether the timetables are too slow, whether it's safe to "trade" mercury emissions, and whether it's wise to ignore greenhouse gases. These are reasonable issues to debate, and there are reasonable ways to resolve them. All that is needed is determination to get the job done, and for the first time, there are signs of seriousness from the administration.

Recently, the Environmental Protection Agency announced that it will move forward this year with implementing as much of the President's initiative as possible through regulation if Congress doesn't act first. If Congress is smart, it won't wait for the EPA. Policymaking at this level is properly the responsibility of legislatures, not the courts or bureaucrats, and the legislative process is far more likely to produce a carefully crafted compromise that accommodates valid concerns on both sides.

For example, the ability to adjust the caps is one of the strengths of a cap and trade system. This flexibility needs to be limited--frequent adjustments would be costly and inefficient--but it can be useful. Congress could use this feature to craft a simple compromise: Adjust the targets or timetables as needed to satisfy a voting majority (probably making them somewhat more ambitious), while requiring an independent review of new information about pollution levels, health effects, and the efficacy of the trading system. Every five years, the caps could be adjusted, with an appropriate phase-in period for the new targets to take effect. The trading system could even be expanded, over time, to include new industrial sectors, and the caps reset accordingly.

The way forward on air pollution is clear. The reform agenda for other areas is, in many cases, equally obvious. It is well understood, for instance, that the Endangered Species Act creates perverse incentives for landowners: If your land offers suitable potential habitat for an endangered species, call the bulldozers--quick! If the owls show up first, the cabin you dreamed of building will remain just a dream. It's no surprise that once a species is listed as endangered, there's almost no chance that it will ever recover enough to be delisted. A new law that offers landowners positive incentives to protect species, and some reasonable flexibility in accommodating competing needs, would serve us well. On issue after issue, conservative environmentalism can be built on a foundation of simply learning from our successes--and our failures.

More here


Banking giant J.P. Morgan Chase is under pressure to condemn millions of people to perpetual poverty. Thanks to the short-sighted surrenders of two of its competitors, J.P. Morgan Chase's management is now facing serious harassment by the activist group Rainforest Action Network, who wants to dictate the bank’s lending policies in the developing world. Last week, RAN expanded its campaign against the U.S. financial services industry into tony Greenwich, Conn., to the very street where J.P. Morgan Chase's CEO, William Harrison, lives. RAN activists put up old-fashioned Wild West-type "Wanted" posters featuring Mr. Harrison as "Billy the Kid." The posters criticized the bank for "reckless investment in environmentally and socially destructive projects in dozens of countries" and urged Mr. Harrison's neighbors and friends to "ask him to do the right thing."

RAN wants to control J.P. Morgan Chase's lending policies in developing countries, especially with regard to energy projects and logging. As an extremist group that rails against oil, wood, and meat consumption, RAN wants to block lending to projects it claims may contribute to global warming or involve logging in "sensitive" areas. Given RAN's agenda, what’s next? Opposition to loans for ranchers and home builders?

What makes the stakes so high is that banking giants Citigroup and Bank of America have already caved in to RAN, following a similar poster assault near the home of Citigroup Chairman Sanford Weill in 2004. If J.P. Morgan Chase joins these capitulating capitalists, then that means the three largest financial services companies —­ thus, virtually an entire industry — will have ceded control of a portion of their businesses to anti-business activists and turned their backs on many in the developing world. J.P. Morgan Chase has so far held out against some of RAN’s more appalling tactics like rounding up second graders from Mr. Harrison's hometown in December, and transporting them to J.P. Morgan Chase's Manhattan headquarters to protest the bank during school hours — a stunt aptly described by Terence Corcoran of Canada’s National Post as "ideological child abuse."

But RAN’s latest brand of intimidation may be working. A J.P. Morgan Chase spokesman told the New York Times last week that the bank was "on track for April" in terms of a review of its lending policies as demanded by RAN. Let’s consider the consequences should Mr. Harrison give in to RAN.

“The real targets — the victims — of all these campaigns are the world’s poorest children and families,” point out Niger Innis and Paul Driessen of the Congress of Racial Equality. “Their countries are deprived of investment dollars to generate electricity, create jobs, improve health, education and nutrition, build modern homes and businesses, and instill hope for the future,” add Innis and Driessen. The World Health Organization reported in May 2002 that 5,500 children die every day from consumption of food and water contaminated with bacteria. The WHO painted a shockingly bleak picture for millions of third-world children: 1.3 million under the age of five die annually from diarrheal diseases caused by unsafe food and water; another 2.2 million die from respiratory infections caused or exacerbated by poor sanitation. This death toll equates to about 40 jumbo jets filled with kids crashing every day — a death toll that can only be alleviated by economic development.

CORE’s Driessen points out that 2 billion people around the world lack electricity. A billion people live on less than $200 per year; three billion live on less than $700 per year. As an illustration of the often disturbingly confused priorities of many environmentalists, a dam project in India’s Gujarat Province was halted after eco-activists pressured lenders to withdraw financial support. The dam had to be stopped because it would “change the path of the river, kill little creatures along its banks and uproot tribal people in the area,” one eco-activist smugly intoned. “The local ‘tribal people,’ however, don’t appear to appreciate her intervention,” wrote Driessen in his book Eco-Imperialism: Green Power, Black Death. “One resident angrily called the activists’ handiwork ‘a crime against humanity,’ because the project would have provided electricity for 5,000 villages; low-cost renewable power for industries and sewage treatment plants; irrigation water for crops; and clean water for 35 million people.”

People in the third world need economic development. It’s the only truly sustainable solution for them — and access to the financial services necessary for economic development is largely in the hands of lenders like J.P. Morgan Chase, with $1 trillion in assets and operations in 50 countries. Appeasing RAN would be an unconscionable and socially irresponsible business decision for J.P. Morgan Chase to make and would amount to a shameful betrayal of the millions who look to this nation and its lenders for hope.



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

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


30 March, 2005


"Our friends at Powerline wrote several weeks back about how the unctuous Bill Moyers had slandered Reagan's Interior Secretary James Watt by recycling the canard that "Watt told the U.S. Congress that protecting natural resources was unimportant in light of the imminent return of Jesus Christ. In public testimony he said, "after the last tree is felled, Christ will come back.'"

Watt never said any such thing, and though this urban legend has been knocked down for more than 20 years, as the Moyers article shows it lives on. Moyers had to issue a public apology to Watt, as did the Minneapolis Star Tribune, where Moyers article appeared. (He also made the same charge in a speech at Harvard.) So, too, the environmental website issued an apology and retraction (it had been Moyers' source for the quote): "Grist has been unable to substantiate that Watt made this statement. We would like to extend our sincere apologies to Watt and to our readers for this error."

All of this is prologue for considering what is likely an equally spurious quotation, if not in fact a fabrication, that appears in the pages of Jared Diamond's new best-seller Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed. In a particularly frothy passage on page 462 attacking mining companies, Diamond writes: "Civilization as we know it would be impossible without oil, farm food, wood, or books, but oil executives, farmers, loggers, and book publishers nevertheless don't cling to that quasi-religious fundamentalism of mine executives: `God put those metals there for the benefit of mankind, to be mined.'"

The "mine executive" who supposedly said this is not identified, nor the name of her company. (There are no footnotes or source notes for this quote, or any other in the book.) It is not clear from Diamond's prose whether this is meant to be a verbatim quotation, or a stylized characterization, The doubt about the authenticity of this quote is deepened by the immediate sequel: "

The CEO and most officers of one of the major American mining companies are members of a church that teaches that God will soon arrive on Earth, hence if we can just postpone land reclamation for another 5 or 10 years it will then be irrelevant anyway."

Again, Diamond identifies neither the mining company nor the denomination in question here. These things matter. Precisely because Diamond is a bestselling author of considerable reputation, his distortion or invention of ridiculous quotations threatens to inject them into wider circulation. In fact, it has already started.

Reviewing Collapse in Science magazine, Tim Flannery writes of "the CEO of an American mining company who believes that `God will soon arrive on Earth, hence if we can just postpone land reclamation for another 5 or 10 years it will then be irrelevant anyway.'" Suddenly we've gone from executives who attend an unidentified congregation that believes this to an unnamed CEO who "believes" this. The next short step will be directly attributing this non-quotation to the unnamed CEO.

It is beyond doubtful that any denomination believes as a matter of doctrine the ridiculous views Diamond describes. To paraphrase Orwell, only a university professor could believe such nonsense. Diamond owes it to his readers, and the mining company executives in question, to come clean with specifics about who supposedly said this and what denomination holds these views, so other journalists can verify the story. Either Diamond was had by some woolly faculty room chatter, or he fabricated another shameful slander reminiscent of the Watt remark".

(Post from No Left Turns -- which see for links)


And that one is ignored, of course

Almost every issue facing the EU - from immigration rates to crippling state pension liabilities - has at its heart the same glaringly plain root cause: a huge lack of babies. I could understand a disinclination by sunny politicians to peddle doom and gloom were it not for the fact that, in all other areas of public policy, our rulers embrace doomsday scenarios at the drop of a hat. Most 20-year projections - on global warming, fuel resources, etc - are almost laughably speculative. They fail to take into account the most important factor of all - human inventiveness: "We can't feed the world!" they shriek. But we develop more efficient farming methods with nary a thought. "The oil will run out by the year 2000!" But we develop new extraction methods and find we've got enough oil for as long as we'll need it.

But human inventiveness depends on humans - and that's the one thing we really are running out of. When it comes to forecasting the future, the birth rate is the nearest thing to hard numbers. If only a million babies are born in 2005, it's hard to have two million adults enter the workforce in 2025 (or 2033, or 2041, or whenever they get around to finishing their Anger Management, Systemic Racism and Gay Studies degrees). If that's not a political issue, what is? To cite only the most obviously affected corner of the realm, what's the long-term future of the Scottish National Party if there are no Scottish nationals?

When I've mentioned the birth dearth on previous occasions, pro-abortion correspondents have insisted it's due to other factors - the generally declining fertility rates that affect all materially prosperous societies, or the high taxes that make large families prohibitively expensive in materially prosperous societies. But this is a bit like arguing over which came first, the chicken or the egg - or, in this case, which came first, the lack of eggs or the scraggy old chicken-necked women desperate for one designer baby at the age of 48. How much of Europe's fertility woes derive from abortion is debatable. But what should be obvious is that the way the abortion issue is framed - as a Blairite issue of personal choice - is itself symptomatic of the broader crisis of the dying West.

Since 1945, a multiplicity of government interventions - state pensions, subsidised higher education, higher taxes to pay for everything - has so ruptured traditional patterns of inter-generational solidarity that in Europe a child is now an optional lifestyle accessory. By 2050, Estonia's population will have fallen by 52 per cent, Bulgaria's by 36 per cent, Italy's by 22 per cent. The hyper-rationalism of post-Christian Europe turns out to be wholly irrational: what's the point of creating a secular utopia if it's only for one generation?

The 19th-century Shaker communities were forbidden from breeding and could increase their number only by conversion. The Euro-Canadian-Democratic Party welfare secularists seem to have chosen the same predicament voluntarily, and are likely to meet the same fate. The martyrdom culture of radical Islam is a literal dead end. But so is the slyer death culture of post-Christian radical narcissism. This is the political issue that will determine all the others: it's the demography, stupid.

More here


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

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


29 March, 2005


Candles and stoves are in their sights. Burning ANYTHING inside your home may soon be a No-No

The California agency famous for putting the squeeze on automotive tailpipe emissions is poised to tackle dirty indoor air. In a hefty report to the Legislature completed this month, the California Air Resources Board asserts that indoor air can be as polluted and dangerous to breathe as outdoor air, costing the state at least $45 billion a year in lost worker productivity, medical expenses and premature deaths......

Some sources of indoor pollution are well-known, such as cigarette smoke. Others are less obvious - for instance, air purifiers that deliberately generate ozone. Makers tout ozone as killing germs and eliminating odor-causing chemicals. But ozone itself is harmful to breathe.

Another little-known trouble source: Natural-gas stoves. The biggest culprits are unvented stoves, or stoves in which cooks don't use the ventilation hood. But even properly vented appliances pose a risk, because combustion creates byproducts that aren't completely sucked away by a hood, Nazaroff said. "After the gas burns, you end up with nitrogen oxides and soot, and you also may end up with some formaldehyde," he said. "There's no exposure that's good to those things." By the same token, fireplaces and even candles make particulate pollution, which is bad for the lungs and heart. "Any kind of combustion, in my view, is something to avoid," Nazaroff said.

The list of sources goes on: Mold, dust mites, cockroach droppings; radon; off-gassing from particle board, new carpets and furniture; fumes from consumer products, including certain cleansers, pesticides, hair spray and nail polish.

At an air board meeting this month, industry representatives defended their products. "These aren't just pollutants in a can," said Laurie Nelson, a lobbyist for the Consumer Specialty Products Association, representing makers of goods marketed as providing a cleaner and healthier environment, including disinfectants and odor-masking fragrances. Nelson said reformulating products to minimize emissions could render those products less effective. Nevertheless, putting pressure on manufacturers to make less-polluting products is one obvious way to clean up indoor air, said Nazaroff, who supports more government involvement. Even a voluntary program could work, he said, one in which manufacturers who meet emission standards could put a label on their goods, similar to the "Energy Star" label allowed on energy-efficient products.

What regulating indoor air is not likely to involve is pollution police checking the air inside people's homes, Nazaroff added. "Some of what we're talking about ... is not going to require profound change in habits ... and could lead to significant improvement in environmental health," he said.

More here

Simplistic Religious Fundamentalism on the March

(This post lifted whole from Daily Ablution)

Today on BBC Radio 4, the hugely influential Today programme presented a discussion (streaming RAM) between Dick Taverne, author of The March of Unreason and highly sceptical about the environmental lobby in general, and Charlie Kronick, chief policy advisor for Greenpeace.

Although the piece was overall a well-balanced one, Sarah Montague's introduction struck an odd note:

"What happened to GM crop trials in Britain? It seems no-one wants to carry them out because the fields were attacked. So, environmental organisations have won the public debate."

Interesting that a tiny proportion of activists forcing a response through property destruction and the ensuing intimidation constitutes "winning the public debate" at the BBC. One wonders whether they'd take the same view of, say, a group of Tory party activists storming the Today studios, demanding that all presenters and producers espouse right-of-centre politics (think Monty Python's Hell's Grannies confronting Mr. Humphrys et al).

Conservative activists debate Today programme presenter (prone, shielding face)

In the unlikely event that such an action were to prove successful in forcing editorial change through direct intimidation, do you suppose that the unemployed Today team would see it as the result of "public debate"?

In the same segment, Greenpeace chief policy advisor Charlie Kronick wastes no time in making something "absolutely clear". Responding to the Lib-Dem Lord Taverne's assertion that "they [environmental NGOs, specifically Greenpeace] say there's a danger to health," when in fact study after study has shown none, Mr. Kronick is unequivocal:

"Well, first of all, Greenpeace doesn't oppose GM crops of the basis of health. Greenpeace opposed GM crops on the basis of their risk to the environment. So that's absolutely clear."

How odd that their chief policy advisor is unaware of the position laid out on the organisation's website (emphasis added):

"Greenpeace opposes the release of GM into the environment because they pose unpredictable and irreversible long-term risks to environmental and human health."

Or perhaps what his statement really makes clear is his propensity to mislead the public when it's necessary (or even just momentarily expedient).

Mr. Kronick goes on to illustrate the illogical certainty of the religious fundamentalist:

Sarah Montague, BBC: "Do you accept that there are some advantages to them?"

Charlie Kronick, Greenpeace: "No. We don't accept that there are advantages."

And later:

SM: "Do you not accept that there are some benefits to GM crops?"

CK: "We do not accept that there are benefits to GM crops."

None. And if it's possible for tests to demonstrate benefits, or to accurately quantify the risks, those tests must be stopped - through violence and intimidation of law-abiding farmers, if need be. One can't help but be reminded of the Church authorities' (apocryphal?) refusal to look at the moons of Jupiter through Galileo's telescope, for fear that the facts might interfere with the theological position so important to them.

(Incidentally, such one-dimensional certainty in the face of a complex issue (see also: nuclear power) is always amusing coming from the greens, given their frequently-professed contempt for the simplistic black-and-white mindset so often ascribed to President Bush.)

As far as possible advantages of GM crops are concerned, Mr. Kronick has previously demonstrated that "3 million people being able to eat" is not to his mind an advantage at all, having applauded the Zambian government's 2002 refusal to allow distribution of GM food aid (corn previously ground, and therefore incapable of 'contaminating' the gene pool) for those under an immediate threat of famine - ostensibly on human health grounds - as  "a triumph of national sovereignty. The US has been putting pressure on countries to accept the GM surpluses produced by its farmers."

Once again, an underlying priority of the Green movement is revealed. In fact, one could argue that Mr. Kronick's statement on human health contains an element of truth, shedding light as it does on the primary interest of his organisation - which has become so highly politicised that even its founder left in disgust, noting that "the environmental movement has been hijacked by political activists who are using green rhetoric to cloak agendas that have more to do with anti-corporatism and class warfare than with ecology or the environment."

For it is a fact - Greenpeace and their co-religionists are not primarily concerned about human health (see also: DDT and malaria). Nor is their main concern the welfare of the starving, nor even the broader environment itself. It is, all-importantly, opposition to global capitalism - especially as reflected in the policies of the US and the current administration - whenever possible, whatever the issue and whatever the situation.

And if that means widespread famine, or millions dead from malaria, so be it. After all, we're all going to die anyway, but Gaia and Green theology will live on - and aren't cherished religious principles worth more than a few million human lives?


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

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


28 March, 2005


Washington DC has a new baseball team, but the city's favorite pastime will surely remain "gotcha," a game in which it is possible to criticize someone for making the wrong decision, no matter what. (If the outcome is bad, he made the wrong choice; if the outcome is good, he was just lucky, or the price was too high.) Many politicians and columnists deserve membership in the Gotcha Hall of Fame.

We propose a new nominee: the Washington-based, ironically misnamed Center for Science in the Public Interest, for a hypocritical and disingenuous new report about the current state of agricultural biotechnology. CSPI's "analysis" concludes that the agbiotech industry "is not innovating, it is stagnating," leaving unfulfilled its promise "that genetic engineering would spawn a cornucopia of heartier crops, more-healthful oils, delayed-ripening fruits, and many more nutritious and better-tasting foods." Also, they allege, "the biotech cupboard remains pretty bare, except for the few crops that have benefitted grain, oilseed, and cotton farmers," and supposedly there now exists "a voluntary, antiquated, and inefficient hodgepodge of a regulatory system" that must be replaced "with a mandatory system that takes risk into account." These assertions are part of activists' Big Lie about the application of the new biotechnology, or gene-splicing, to agriculture and food production—namely, that the technology is unproven, untested and unregulated. In fact, nothing could be farther from the truth.

Gene-splicing is an extension, or refinement, of less precise and predictable technologies long used with great success; the new techniques offer plant breeders the tools to make old crop plants do impressive new things. In the United States, Canada and at least sixteen other countries, farmers are using gene-spliced crop varieties to produce higher yields, with lower inputs and reduced impact on the environment. American farmers' adoption of gene-spliced crops has promoted the use of no-till cultivation, which lessens soil erosion; and has obviated the need for millions of pounds of chemical pesticides, reducing runoff into waterways and occupational exposures.

More than 200 million acres of gene-spliced crops were cultivated worldwide last year, about 80 percent of processed foods on supermarket shelves now contain gene-spliced ingredients (mostly byproducts of soy and corn), and Americans have collectively consumed more than a trillion servings of these foods. With all this experience, not a single person has been harmed or an ecosystem disrupted—a record that is superior to that of conventionally-produced products.

But the greatest boon of all from agbiotech in the long-term may be the enhancement of the ability of new crop varieties to tolerate periods of drought and other water-related stresses. Irrigation for agriculture accounts for roughly 70 percent of the world's fresh water consumption, so especially during drought conditions, even a small percentage reduction in the use of water for irrigation could result in huge benefits, both economic and humanitarian. Where water is unavailable for irrigation, the development of crop varieties able to grow under conditions of low moisture or temporary drought could both boost yields and lengthen the time that farmland is productive.

The biotech fix? Plant biologists already have identified and transferred into important crop plants the genes that regulate water utilization in wild and cultivated plants. These new varieties are able to grow with smaller amounts or lower quality water, such as water that has been recycled or that contains large amounts of natural mineral salts.

There are thorns on the rose, however: unscientific, gratuitous and overly burdensome regulation in the United States and elsewhere that has been championed by CSPI and other activist groups. Part of the activists' strategy to make agbiotech less accessible, this discriminatory regulation, focused specifically on the most precise and predictable techniques of biotechnology, has raised the cost of research and development to levels that "exclude the public sector, the academic community, from using their skills to improve crops," according to Dr. Roger Beachy, the director of the Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis. This is public policy at it most anti-social.

In fact, the very regulatory policies promoted by radical activists are the reason we don't have gene-spliced versions of more nutritious and flavorful fruits and vegetables, new varieties of grapes resistant to Pierce's disease, and improved subsistence crops for farmers in the developing world. It is revealing that CSPI's biotech spokesman, Gregory Jaffe, was a primary drafter of scientifically flawed legislation introduced in Congress by Senator Richard Durbin (D-Illinois) that would have established even more excessive and debilitating regulatory requirements specific for gene-spliced foods -- requirements that no conventionally produced food (made with less precise and predictable technology) could meet.

CSPI's crocodile tears for agbiotech remind us of the child who murders his parents and then asks for mercy from the court because he's an orphan.



So, Sen. Joe Lieberman, Connecticut Democrat, sees purported man-made global warming as "a moral issue which causes us to exercise moral leadership before the worst consequences are seen" ("Evangelicals lobby Congress on responsibility" Page 1, Friday).

By such leadership, he presumably means his McCain-Lieberman legislation seeking to implement a scaled-back version of the regime set forth in the unratified Kyoto Protocol. Precisely how scaled back remains unclear because, in a bid to strip away opposition, the bill's sponsors serially carve out industries from its emissions rationing scheme.

Precisely how moral is Mr. Lieberman's response is a legitimate issue given that the sole basis for such "greenhouse gas" regulation is the theory of catastrophic man-made global warming. Even Kyoto's proponents admit that a treaty, perfectly implemented, would not have a detectable climatic effect despite its enormous cost. As such, Mr. Lieberman offers a percentage of nothing in response to a purportedly grave and imminent threat so that we can say we are "doing something."

If the senator believes the basis for Kyoto/McCain-Lieberman, he needs to propose Kyoto's express endgame or at least something near thereto: 60 percent to 80 percent reduction of energy use emissions, and not just here in the United States. (Europe, by the way, admits it is not complying with Kyoto.) Amid the political firestorm Mr. Lieberman et al., can ponder the human consequences of their moral play.

In fact, the climate has always changed and always will. It is always getting cooler or warmer, wetter or drier. Man has always adapted, with the wealthiest societies adapting best. The solution to the entire parade of supposed horrors is not rationing energy—access to affordable, reliable supplies of which the world has too little, not too much—but wealth creation.

This is indeed a moral question. Politicians who seize it in the fashionable sense do so not only wrongly, but in a way that upon scrutiny appears to be little more than political posturing.



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

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


27 March, 2005


A global water crisis is looming. More than a billion people worldwide lack access to clean and safe water - with devastating effects: 12 million deaths annually and millions of others struck by diseases associated with the lack of sanitary water. Last year, more people likely died from lack of water than from armed conflicts.

There may be a solution to what had been an insoluble problem. In recent years, a small number of developing country governments have turned to the private sector for help and have introduced market-oriented reforms in the water sector. Overall, the results have been encouraging. The reforms have had limited scope - 97 percent of all water distribution, after all, is still in government hands - but millions of new households in such diverse locations as Argentina, Cambodia, Guinea, Morocco, and the Philippines, have been connected to water networks as a result of private investment. In developing countries with private investment in water infrastructure, 80 percent of the population now has access to an improved water source. Countries that don't allow private investment in water distribution have lagged behind their entrepreneurial rivals.

The attempts at privatization have met vociferous resistance. A coalition of Non-Government Organizations, trade unions for public employees, and international organizations such as the United Nations have done all they can to limit the role of the market and the business community. And they have had some success. The privatization pace has slowed down and the World Bank - one of the major advocates of privatization - has gone on the defensive. Global water companies are less and less inclined to invest in developing countries, for fear that their efforts may be nationalized......

Millions of women and children therefore spend many hours per day (the estimate is 10 million man-years per annum) fetching bad water from remote sources. They cannot work or go to school during this time, which helps to keep them in poverty. Too low prices also lead to waste and misallocations in agriculture where most water is used, and generally used inefficiently.

Most importantly, the billion people who are not connected to any water network are forced to buy water - usually of bad quality - that costs on average 12 times more than network water. These people will gain, not lose, from higher prices, when operators get capital and incentives to reach them. Since the poor are not connected to the networks, they do not gain from subsidized water; they pay for it with their taxes, financing cheap water for the better off.

Members of the anti-privatization movement claim that water is a human right that only governments can provide. The problem is that, for whatever reason, many governments simply will not provide this water. It is not surprising that water companies with skills, incentives, capital and technology are far better equipped to provide water. No matter how many documents there are stating that access to water is a fundamental right, people drink neither paper nor rights, but water.

Some people also argue that since water is necessary for life, it needs to be distributed "democratically" - i.e., by the government. That is nonsense. Food is also necessary for humans to survive. And in countries where food is produced "democratically," there tend to be neither food nor democracy.

More here


Tropical weather expert William Gray says nature, not mankind, is to blame for a period of increased hurricane activity that could last for another 20 or 30 years. The Colorado State University professor, known for his annual predictions, will be the closing speaker tomorrow at the 27th annual National Hurricane Conference in New Orleans.

Gray said hurricane activity began increasing 10 years ago after a slack period of about 25 years. He says faster-moving currents in the Atlantic Ocean produce more major hurricanes than slower currents, although they don't seem to have much effect on less powerful storms.

Gray is predicting another above average season in 2005 but not as busy as 2004, which saw 15 named storms including nine hurricanes. Six of them were major and Florida was hit by four hurricanes for the first time in the state's history. The initial 2005 forecast, released in December, was for eleven named storms including six hurricanes, three of them major. Gray also predicted a 69 percent chance that at least one major storm would make landfall in the United States.


We have been hearing this sort of story for around a hundred years: "The worldwide decline in new discoveries has profound implications for the global supply of energy and, by extension, the world economy. Given a recent surge in energy demand from China and other rapidly-developing countries, the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) predicts that, for all future energy needs to be satisfied, total world oil output will have to climb by 50% between now and 2025; from, that is, approximately 80 million to 120 million barrels per day. A staggering increase in global production, that extra 40 million barrels per day would be the equivalent of total world daily consumption in 1969. Absent major new discoveries, however, the global oil industry will likely prove incapable of providing all of this additional energy. Without massive new oil discoveries, prices will rise, supplies will dwindle, and the world economy will plunge into recession -- or worse."


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

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


26 March, 2005


Seeking to force the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to review the status of endangered species every five years or remove them from the protected list, the Pacific Legal Foundation sued the agency Tuesday in Sacramento federal court.

Noting the reviews are required by the Endangered Species Act, the foundation argues that continued listing of species that no longer need protection burdens California property owners with unnecessary land-use restrictions. The foundation, based in Sacramento, bills itself as "the nation's oldest and largest public interest legal organization dedicated to defending private property rights."

The suit alleges the agency has failed to perform reviews for at least 193 of the 298 species listed in California. Fish and Wildlife official Jim Nickles would not comment on the suit. But he said most of the agency's resources are devoted to the recovery of critical habitat, and most of that work is mandated by court order.



The Greenies are opposed, of course. They oppose anything that might help anyone

While Congress debates whether to allow oil and gas drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, a similar battle with much higher stakes is under way in northwest Canada. The $6 billion Mackenzie Pipeline project would open the Canadian Arctic for natural gas drilling and send the gas 800 miles south down the Mackenzie River Valley to Alberta. There, much of this fuel would be used to throttle up production in a huge but hard-to-tap supply of petroleum dispersed in underground gravel formations. These so-called oil sands hold petroleum reserves that are second in size only to Saudi Arabia's, and analysts say they could supply a large portion of U.S. energy needs for decades to come.

But the project has sparked opposition from some native tribal groups, which call it a federal grab of their ancestral lands, and from environmentalists, who say it would churn out greenhouse gases linked to global warming. It is a fight that is likely to forever set the course for Canada's vast and empty north. The project is full of continental superlatives -- North America's richest oil patch, its biggest construction project since the Alaska pipeline in the 1970s, its largest strip-mining operation. "By far the most important thing for North America are those oil sands in Canada," said Robert Esser, director of oil and gas resources at Cambridge Energy Research Associates in New York. "It's nice we're going to have access to (the Alaska refuge), but there are a lot of unknown questions there. We have no idea whether there is oil or gas or how much. In the oil sands, we know the reserves are huge, much larger than in Alaska."

The Canadian government, which calls the project an economic necessity, is not required to seek approval from Parliament in Ottawa. Pipeline construction is expected to start in early 2007, with gas flowing two years later.

In Alaska, by contrast, congressional authorization is required to develop the wildlife refuge. Last week's Senate vote to allow drilling will be followed by several more months of legislative maneuvering and, if the plan is approved, about eight years of preparation before oil begins to be pumped.

Despite its bright prospects, Canada's pipeline could still be stopped in its tracks by opposition from one of the region's native tribes, which are known in Canada as First Nations. The Deh Cho First Nation, a tribe of about 4,200 people who occupy the southern third of the pipeline route, has filed suit in federal court in Vancouver, British Columbia, to block the project. Unlike tribes of the northern Mackenzie Valley that have settled their land disputes with the government and support the pipeline, the Deh Cho are holding out for autonomous powers in their area. Until a deal is reached on the land dispute, the government lacks legal authority for a pipeline right of way, the tribe insists. "What we see today is Canada not living up to its obligations," said Noeline Villebrun, national chief of the Dene, the parent federation of Mackenzie Valley tribes. "If Canada hopes to settle the claims, then the Deh Cho have to see their rights being accommodated." The Deh Cho won a round last week, when a federal judge ordered the government to release briefing notes, minutes, draft plans, correspondence and other documents related to planning for the pipeline project.

Contained in the oil sands are vast quantities of so-called bitumen, or super-heavy oil, underneath an area of northern Alberta as big as Florida. One extraction process is similar to strip mining, in which sand is scooped out and cooked at high heat to extract the sludge. Another process pumps steam into the underground deposits, dissolving the bitumen and allowing it to be piped to the surface. Under both methods, the resulting goo is refined into commercial grades of crude oil and piped to customers, mostly in the western United States. About 2 tons of sand have to be dug up, heated and processed to make a single 42-gallon barrel of oil.

The crucial ingredient in this process is natural gas. Although other fuels have been used to cook the oil sands, such as coal and the bitumen itself, none works as well as gas. Production of gas from long-established fields in Alberta is expected to decline in coming years, and because demand for gas is rising fast, expansion of the oil sands will require new supplies. The nearest major source is in three well-explored yet untapped gas fields in the delta of the Mackenzie River on the shore of the Arctic Ocean. If the pipeline is built, gas from the delta can be funneled down to Alberta, where it will connect with the province's pipeline system to reach the oil sands.

With international oil prices soaring over $50 per barrel and likely to remain high for years to come, the oil sands are a bonanza in the making. The oil sands are estimated to contain 174 billion barrels of oil, second only to Saudi Arabia's 260 billion barrels. In contrast, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge contains only about 10 billion barrels. The Energy Department predicts output there will reach a peak of about 1 million barrels per day within a few years after the estimated 2015 start, and will decline gradually thereafter....

The economic potential of the pipeline project has been a powerful lure for many of the region's Natives. Poverty is rampant in the ramshackle Native villages that dot the boreal forest. Unemployment can be as high as 50 percent. "People need jobs, and although we're not sure the pipeline won't just hire outsiders from down south, there are a lot of people here who are really hopeful," Villebrun said. Three tribes in the Mackenzie Valley have allied themselves with the oil and gas companies behind the pipeline project. The Sahtu Dene, Gwichin and Inuvialuit, which settled their federal land claims in the 1990s, hold a one- third stake in the pipeline project along with its corporate parents: Exxon Mobil, Shell and ConocoPhillips.

More here


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

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


25 March, 2005


The environmental activist group Union of Concerned Scientists has launched an attack on the auto industry blaming it for contributing to smog and "global warming pollution". As is so often the case, these concerned scientists seem to have no concern for science. Let's look at some facts.

Smog is a mixture of pollutants, principally ground-level ozone, produced by complex chemical reactions in the air enhanced by sunshine, high temperatures, and calm winds. The Union of Concerned Scientists is correct in noting that a major portion of smog-forming chemicals comes from burning gasoline in our fleet of vehicles. However, in the case of smog, the newest vehicles are far cleaner than the cars and trucks from decades ago. And as time goes on, these older vehicles will be eliminated, and the principal smog producers will vanish from the landscape. I have been involved in studying air quality in Phoenix, and contrary to popular perception, the hard data show that visibility and air quality have improved over time in the city, despite a very large increase in population.

The Union of Concerned Scientists refers to something they call "heat-trapping carbon dioxide pollution". They are correct that burning fossil fuels in vehicles produces carbon dioxide and indeed, carbon dioxide traps heat and contributes to the greenhouse effect and global warming. However, carbon dioxide is not a pollutant and even the United States Environmental Protection Agency does not list carbon dioxide as a pollutant. Carbon dioxide is naturally-occurring and responsible for life on the planet. In fact, carbon dioxide concentrations were much higher in the past, millions of years ago, when plants evolved around the world. Literally thousands of biological experiments show that when carbon dioxide levels increase, plants grow faster, bigger, more resistant to any number of stresses, and far more efficient in their use of water.

The Union of Concerned Scientists suggests that carbon dioxide emitted from American vehicles is contributing to global warming, and in fact, they are correct. However, if you have exhaled while reading this sentence, you have emitted carbon dioxide and to some degree, you have contributed to global warming. Across the globe, human activities result in an emission to the atmosphere of approximately 6.5 billion tons of carbon (not carbon dioxide). Of that amount, 23 percent comes from the United States, and of that amount, approximately one-fifth comes from our vehicular fleet. The American fleet constitutes less than five percent of emissions globally: While the global emission of carbon is 6.5 billion tons, the emission from the American fleet is approximately 0.3 billion tons. Even if the fleet vanished from the face of the earth, human activities would still result in 6.2 billion tons of carbon, and the atmospheric concentration would continue to rise. Like it or not, with or without cars and trucks in the United States, the concentration of carbon dioxide will double this century, and the year when this will occur is not impacted much by American cars and trucks.

Another point to consider is that many developing countries have no obligation via the Kyoto Protocol to reduce or even stabilize emissions of carbon dioxide. China, India, Pakistan, Brazil, Russia, and many other countries are planning substantial increases in electrical generation, and almost all of that electricity will be generating by consuming coal, oil, and natural gas. What happens to the cars in America is dwarfed by orders of magnitude by development in the rest of the world. As the rest of the world increases their emissions of carbon dioxide, the American fleet becomes more and more trivial in terms of global emissions.

The Union of Concerned Scientists must do a more credible job presenting the science behind smog, the greenhouse effect, and enhanced global warming. Like many other groups, they seem to be on an environmental crusade in which facts are distorted to encourage their desired behavior. The auto industry is very much at the mercy of the buying public - they can manufacture small electric cars all day, but in a marketplace where people demand safety over fuel efficiency, we will continue to see larger cars in the fleet. However, those larger vehicles are remarkably clean in terms of smog contribution, despite the claims of the UCS. The cars undoubtedly produce carbon dioxide, but their total emission is small in terms of global carbon dioxide emissions.

Scientists throughout the world concede that even if the Kyoto Protocol magically stabilized global emissions to 1990 levels, we would never be able to detect its climate impact. Similarly, the American fleet could totally vanish, and its climate impact would never be detectable. These facts fly in the face of the latest distorted message coming from the Union of Concerned Scientists.



Critics are "lying about environmentalists" and "willfully representing facts" about them and their views, concerns and agendas. So says a recent commentary by the Earth Island Institute and Environmental News Network. A principle object of their wrath was a recent article by this author, shredding lofty claims about wind turbines, much as these towering "Cuisinarts of the air" eviscerate birds and bats. They particularly objected to this statement:

The Earth Island Institute longs for the day when Africa's poor made clothing for their neighbors "on foot-pedal-powered sewing machines" and says, "once they get electricity, they spend too much time watching television and listening to the radio."

"Earth Island longs for no such thing," the ENN column protested, "and Driessen is misrepresenting "a former Earth Island staff member who spoke supporting sustainable development in Africa." One can readily understand their pique at being roundly criticized for their eco-imperialistic, anti-development ideologies. However, the facts speak for themselves. Former EII editor Gar Smith's comments were duly reported in a 2002 story in which Smith opined:

"I don't think a lot of electricity is a good thing.. I have seen villages in Africa that had vibrant culture and great communities that were disrupted and destroyed by the introduction of electricity." [Once they got electricity,] African villagers spent too much time watching television and listening to the radio, allowing their traditional ways to fade away, according to Smith.

Smith lamented that "people who used to spend their days and evenings in the streets playing music on their own instruments, and sewing clothing for their neighbors on foot-peddle-powered sewing machines," lost their culture with the advent of electricity. "If there is going to be electricity, I would like it to be decentralized, small, solar-powered," he said.

Moreover, in the common vernacular of radical environmentalism and "corporate social responsibility," helping African villages to retain their "traditional ways" - by keeping their access to electricity at a bare minimum - is precisely what is meant by "sustainable development." Thus, actor Ed Begley, Jr. pontificates that "it's much cheaper for everybody in Africa to have electricity where they need it, on their huts." (And huts forever, one might suppose, since little solar panels like these can barely power a few light bulbs and small appliances - and certainly can never provide enough electricity for a modern hospital, school, office, manufacturing facility or society.)

Similarly, the Rainforest Action Network (RAN) demands that the World Bank, Citigroup, Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase and other lenders demonstrate their social responsibility by pulling the plug on coal and natural gas power projects, and funding only renewable energy. But not the most efficient and cost-effective of all renewable sources, of course - the hydroelectric facilities that generate 99% of all electricity that currently comes from renewables. Wind and solar are the only "appropriate" and "sustainable" sources permitted under radical green and CSR standards. And the smaller-scale the better, when it comes to poor developing countries.

Begley, RAN, Earth Island, Friends of the Earth, International Rivers Network and similar groups are adamantly opposed to "damming more rivers" to provide clean water and abundant, affordable, reliable electricity to the world's poor. Hydro projects "ruin good kayaking rivers" and "displace" little creatures that live along river banks. On the other hand, most of these activists voice few objections to the impact that forests of 300-foot-tall wind turbines have on scenic values or bird and bat populations.

Environmentalists airbrush and sanitize "sustainable development," dressing it up in fancy verbal raiment about pristine nature, indigenous cultures and future generations. But the result remains unchanged. "Sustainable development" is being used to justify blocking energy and economic development, and keeping the world's most destitute people mired in misery. "Cute, indigenous customs aren't so charming when they make up one's day-to-day existence," Kenya's Akinyi Arunga observes. "Then they mean indigenous poverty, indigenous malnutrition, indigenous disease and childhood death. I don't wish this on my worst enemy, and I wish our so-called friends would stop imposing it on us."

Opposition to hydroelectric projects is "a crime against humanity," a man in Gujarat, India angrily told a UK television news crew. "We don't want to be encased like a museum," a Gujarati woman told the crew, in "traditional" lifestyles so romanticized by Hollywood and radical Greens. "Telling destitute people in my country, and in countries with even greater destitution, that they must never aspire to living standards much better than they have now - because it wouldn't be `sustainable' - is just one example of the hypocrisy we have had thrust in our faces, in an era when we can and should grow fast enough to become fully developed in a single generation," South African anti-poverty activist Leon Louw says bluntly. "We're fed up with it."

One factor driving opposition to Third World development is the alarmists' fixation on theoretical human-caused climate change. They know that, despite the economic pain it will inflict on signatory nations, the Kyoto Protocol will at best keep global temperatures from rising a few tenths of a degree over the next century. That's why alarmists now say global emissions must be cut by 60 to 80 percent! But developing countries are exempted from the Kyoto treaty's draconian measures, and China, India and Brazil refused to be bound - and are strong enough that they can't be bullied. So the alarmists have turned their attention to the smaller nations, successfully pressuring banks and governments not to support power generation projects. The tactic supposedly keeps emissions down, if one ignores the millions of wood, grass and dung fires that substitute for electricity. It certainly keeps poor people from become middle class consumers (of "finite resources").

It also gets the banks and other organizations out of the pressure groups' crosshairs, at least for awhile. But it does so by imposing a death sentence on critically needed projects - and millions of people, who succumb to a host of diseases that no longer exist in developed countries. Why any ethical company or politician would want to be associated with such policies is a mystery. Poor countries need sustained development, not sustainable development, if they are ever to take what Rabbi Daniel Lapin calls "their rightful place among the Earth's prosperous people."

Opposition to centralized electricity and economic projects, support for "sustainable development" and "appropriate" forms of small-scale renewable energy projects, and an attachment to romanticized visions of "indigenous" cultures, are merely different facets of the anti-human attitudes that dominate so much of environmentalist thought today. They are ingredients in a recipe for sustained poverty, misery, disease and premature death. They need to be resisted - not applauded or promoted - by every ethical and socially responsible CEO, politician, journalist, clergyman and citizen. For its part, the environmental movement needs to do some serious soul-searching, and began to abide by the same rules of honesty, transparency, morality, accountability - and concern for people's lives - that it demands of everyone else.



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

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


24 March, 2005


Lately I have been reading "A Short History of Nearly Everything,' a breezy pop summary of scientific knowledge from the big bang down to us, by Bill Bryson. Published in 2003 by Broadway books, it rapidly became a bestseller, and I can see why. However well-educated you may consider yourself, it will tell you far more than you ever knew about the origins of the cosmos, the Earth, life and mankind.

For example, you may think that the ice ages that have afflicted the Earth arrived and departed gradually, over hundreds of thousands of years. But ice cores from Greenland tell a very different, very turbulent story. According to Bryson, "for most of its recent history Earth has been nothing like the stable and tranquil place that civilization has known, but rather has lurched violently between periods of warmth and brutal chill.

"Toward the end of the last big glaciation, some 12,000 years ago, Earth began to warm, and quite rapidly, but then abruptly plunged back into bitter cold for a thousand years or so. ... At the end of this thousand- year onslaught, average temperatures leapt again, by as much as seven degrees in 20 years, which doesn't sound terribly dramatic, but is equivalent to changing the climate of Scandinavia for that of the Mediterranean in just two decades.'

What most alarmed Bryson is that, with all of the current available data, ongoing research and modern technology, scientists have absolutely no idea what natural events could have rattled the planet's "thermometer' so violently.

Contrast this description of the recent history of the Earth's climate with the antics of the global-warming hysterics. They have gone into near-catatonic fits because their dubious computer models predict that the temperature of the Earth's surface will rise between 1 and 3 degrees centigrade over the next century. They are so horrified at that possibility, and at the further possibility that a fraction of that increase may be caused by human beings (notably through large discharges of carbon dioxide), that they want whole sectors of the global economy cut back to prevent this "global warming.'

Bryson has no special axe to grind in the global-warming controversy, but he does quote Elizabeth Kolbert, writing in The New Yorker magazine, as pointing out that "when you are confronting a fluctuating and unpredictable climate, 'the last thing you'd want to do is conduct a vast unsupervised experiment on it.''

People who are determined to worry about the near future of the Earth's climate would do better to concentrate on the possible collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet. In the past 50 years, Bryson points out, the waters around it have warmed by 2.5 degrees centigrade, and collapses have increased dramatically. Because of the underlying geology of the area, a large-scale collapse is all the more possible. If so, "sea levels globally would rise and pretty quickly by between 15 and 20 feet on average.' The only trouble is that not even the Sierra Club can bring itself to blame the warming of the Antarctic waters in the past half-century on American industry, and that takes all the fun (not to mention sense) out of demanding production cutbacks to stop it.

The simple fact is that the Earth's climate fluctuates, to a degree and owing to causes far more vast than any specified by the global-warming alarmists. We should respect that fact, and not permit these fluctuations to be tampered with by a bunch of hysterics who have no idea what they may be unloosing in the name of their cockeyed political agenda. Source


Animals and humans have suffered the menace of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) for three long decades. During this span, over 1,300 species have been listed as threatened or endangered under the Act's guidelines. According the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the ESA is responsible for recovering a mere 10 of them. That amounts to a pitiful recovery rate of less than one percent. When you take into account credible studies that show these 10 recoveries had little or nothing to do with the ESA, the "success" rate plummets to zero.

Saving zero of over 1,300 species is hard work and sacrifice under the Endangered Species Act. After all, you don't achieve a zero percent success rate without breaking a few eggs. When the Northern Spotted Owl was listed under the ESA in 1990, tens of thousands of Americans in the Pacific Northwest lost their jobs and their livelihoods. Billions of dollars were sapped from the regional economy. Private property was taken from landowners. Such is the toil and hardship associated with saving an owl that, as it turns out, isn't endangered and never needed saving.

Crucial military preparation and training operations have fallen victim to the ESA's relentless pursuit of imperfection. The Pentagon regards Camp Pendleton in Southern California as one of the best places to train U.S. marines due to its unique terrain and coastline. In fact, Camp Pendleton is the only amphibious training base on the West Coast. Alas, it is also home to the California gnatcatcher, the San Diego fairy shrimp, the tidewater goby, and more than a dozen other species listed as "endangered" or "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act. As such, our men and women in uniform must tread lightly, or not at all, in certain areas that used to be their training ground-lest they find themselves subject to penalties and fines. Dodging bullets may prove easier than avoiding fairy shrimp "vernal pools," or "puddles of water" to the layman. An inadequately trained military is a small price to pay when you've got a zero-for-1,300 streak on the line. Even during a time of war.

The Endangered Species Act does not discriminate. Just ask the family and friends of the four firefighters who were killed in 2001. Federal bureaucrats fiddled while the inferno around them burned. These four heroes were fighting the infamous Thirty Mile Fire in Washington's Okanogan National Forest when the blaze bore down on them and encroached on their emergency fire shelters. Their only salvation was the nearby Chewuch River, which could supply water to helicopters for a flame-dousing airdrop. Oh, if it were only that easy.

According to the Endangered Species Act, the Chewuch was home to a several endangered fish and, therefore, ladling water from the river might, could, possibly imperil a few of the little buggers. While paper pushers back East fretted over how to satisfy the ESA's requirements, these four brave men and women were snuffed out by the deadly fire. The good news is there are plenty of humans to go around. Fish, on the other hand, well, they're abundant too. But who are we to question the supremacy of the Endangered Species Act? Congressman Richard Pombo (R-CA) has stated: "It is no secret the ESA has been used by extremists to restrict, seize, and devalue private property rights, as well as halt important government projects. In fact, this is what most `green' obstructionist groups relish most about the Act."

Whatever intentions were behind the ESA when it was conceived in 1973 are of little consequence. Intended results mean nothing when compared to actual results. The ESA exists solely as a land-use and power tool, whereby radical environmentalists and their allies in government can take property and force their whims on the public. As Rep. Pombo points out, "The ESA has become the pre-eminent law of the land; in its implementation, it takes precedent over all else." Included in that "all else" is common sense. The Endangered Species Act punishes property owners for fostering an environment that is suitable for species habitation. You read that right. The ESA is so backwards that it creates a perverse incentive for landowners to actually rid their property of species and habitat for fear of government confiscation of their land or property rights.

"The incentives are wrong here," notes biologist and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Regional Director Sam Hamilton. "If a rare metal is on my property, the value of my land goes up. But if a rare bird is on my property, the value of my property goes down."

Stolen property, lost jobs, shattered livelihoods, broken dreams, billions of dollars, and lost lives. This is a pretty steep price for a law that has failed to save species. Can't America do better? Isn't it time to repeal the Endangered Species Act and start over?



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

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


23 March 2005


This study could lead to some fun. The Greenies will want to ban jet aircraft now. Back to the DC3! Seriously, however, it shows yet another climate-influencing factor left out of the global warming "models" (i.e. guesswork). If a large part of the warming is due to contrails, it means that estimates of carbon dioxide involvement are seriously wrong. And that is a BASIC assertion that is wrong. It means that the Kyoto treaty is focusing on substantially the wrong thing in its (pathetic) attempt to influence climate

NASA scientists have found that cirrus clouds, formed by contrails from aircraft engine exhaust, are capable of increasing average surface temperatures enough to account for a warming trend in the United States that occurred between 1975 and 1994. "This result shows the increased cirrus coverage, attributable to air traffic, could account for nearly all of the warming observed over the United States for nearly 20 years starting in 1975, but it is important to acknowledge contrails would add to and not replace any greenhouse gas effect," said Patrick Minnis, senior research scientist at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va. The study was published April 15 in the Journal of Climate. "During the same period, warming occurred in many other areas where cirrus coverage decreased or remained steady," he added. "This study demonstrates that human activity has a visible and significant impact on cloud cover and, therefore, on climate. It indicates that contrails should be included in climate change scenarios," Minnis said.

Minnis determined the observed one percent per decade increase in cirrus cloud cover over the United States is likely due to air traffic-induced contrails. Using published results from NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (New York) general circulation model, Minnis and his colleagues estimated contrails and their resulting cirrus clouds would increase surface and lower atmospheric temperatures by 0.36 to 0.54 degrees Fahrenheit per decade. Weather service data reveal surface and lower atmospheric temperatures across North America rose by almost 0.5 degree Fahrenheit per decade between 1975 and 1994.

Minnis worked with colleagues Kirk Ayers, Rabi Palinkonda, and Dung Phan from Analytical Services and Materials, Inc., of Hampton, Va. They used 25 years of global surface observations of cirrus clouds, temperature and humidity records from the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) reanalysis dataset. They confirmed the cirrus trends with 13 years of satellite data from NASA's International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project.

Both air traffic and cirrus coverage increased during the period of warming despite no changes in the NCEP humidity at jet cruise altitudes over the United States. By contrast, humidity at flight altitudes decreased over other land areas, such as Asia, and was accompanied by less cirrus coverage, except over Western Europe, where air traffic is very heavy.

Cirrus coverage also rose in the North Pacific and North Atlantic flight corridors. The trends in cirrus cover and warming over the United States were greatest during winter and spring, the same seasons when contrails are most frequent. These results, along with findings from earlier studies, led to the conclusion that contrails caused the increase in cirrus clouds. "This study indicates that contrails already have substantial regional effects where air traffic is heavy, such as over the United States. As air travel continues growing in other areas, the impact could become globally significant," Minnis said.

Humidity is the amount of water vapor in the air and determines how long contrails remain in the atmosphere. Contrails that persist for an extended period of time are most likely to impact the climate.

Contrails form high in the atmosphere when the mixture of water vapor in the aircraft exhaust and the air condenses and freezes. Persisting contrails can spread into extensive cirrus clouds that tend to warm the Earth, because they reflect less sunlight than the amount of heat they trap. The balance between Earth's incoming sunlight and outgoing heat drives climate change.


(I can't help noticing that one of the researchers is a Vietnamese by the name of Dung Phan. I wonder how often he has to endure jokes about the s**t hitting the fan?)

Envirocrats and Their Wall of Fear

Greenies use irrational fear to block things that are friendly to the environment -- such as nuclear power

The coining of a new word in the English language - envirocrat - has become necessary since a vociferous minority has falsely captured the moral high ground of the environmental consciousness of the American people.

Americans, by culture and heritage, love the flora and fauna that surround their daily lives. Intelligent corrections to environmental threats have been addressed and resolved. An example is the catalytic converter. New exhaust standards introduced in 1994 have reduced pollutants from automobiles up to 97.5 percent in hydrocarbons alone and carbon monoxide by 96 percent. The U.S. General Accounting Office estimated in one 20-year period the U.S. government and private industry spent close to one trillion dollars on pollution control and continues to spend at a cost of hundreds of billions per year.

But is this ever enough in the eyes of the envirocrat? The money to solve America's pollution problems comes from one source - the free enterprise engine of the great American capitalist economy. The vociferous minority of envirocrats represents a political group with a hidden agenda. That hidden agenda is the total destruction of capitalism. Lenin and Trotsky started a system to destroy capitalism in 1917 and for 75 years it continued, eventually ending in absolute failure. The envirocrat gang is chameleon-like in nature. They are masters at color changes. Miraculously they changed from red, the traditional Marxist color, to green to match their envirocrat endeavors. Not satisfied with their own color change from red to green, they succeeded in changing the color of their political party from red to blue, with the help of a like-minded mass media, leaving Republicans with their old Marxist red. In essence, the envirocrats emerged as watermelon Marxists - green on the outside, red to the core, with a designated political party colored Republican blue.

The envirocrat's stated view of capitalism is found on website, "Toward Ecological Democracy," Page 6, Paragraph 5: "Capitalism creates a wealthy class of social parasites who make no productive contribution to society."

Any sane person who claims to be an environmentalist knows that solutions to environmental problems invariably are reduced to money. It follows, therefore, that capitalism and a safe environment go hand in hand. Nothing that capitalist America can do or spend to resolve real or perceived environmental problems will ever be acceptable to the Marxist envirocrat. They are like the man who is standing with a loaf of bread under each arm, crying he is starving to death. The envirocrat cries hysterically, "We don't want American children to breathe foul air or drink poisoned water." A noble plea, indeed, if in fact, American children were breathing foul air or drinking poisoned water. Even an idiot knows America has the safest drinking water on the planet. As for foul air, America has the cleanest atmosphere of any industrialized nation in the world. In addition, capitalist America is constantly striving and spending billions of dollars to provide further safeguards.

What have the vociferous envirocrats done to help? Better yet, what have the envirocrats done to obstruct solutions to eliminate the remaining atmospheric pollution? Their answer is emphatically to make the environment worse by burning high pollution fossil fuels for America's electrical energy. In doing so, the envirocrats have lit a flame of fear within this nation by equating atomic energy plants with the atomic bomb. This is tantamount to building a wall separating the people of America from the cleanest, safest, most efficient and cheapest method of production of electrical energy known to the mind of man. Through concerted fear mongering, envirocrats have forced America to use coal, the highest producer of pollutants and greenhouse gases of all fossil energy resources. Today, 53 percent of America's electricity is generated in coal-fired plants.

Studies at Ohio State University, conducted by Gordon J. Aubrecht, Department of Physics, determined that the amount of coal burned annually to produce electricity in America releases nearly 1,500 tons of cancer-causing uranium and over 3,500 tons of cancer-causing thorium, resulting in 50 fatalities, 120,000 cases of respiratory ailments, tens of millions of dollars in property damage, plus the emission of nitrous oxide equivalent to 40,000 cars per year.

Oddly enough, the claimed wants of the envirocrats are the same as honest American environmentalists. Their wants are: (1) air free of radiation, (2) air free of carbon dioxide, (3) air free of nitrous oxide, (4) air free of carbon monoxide, and (5) decreased respiratory diseases and deaths caused by all the above. The envirocrats say that's what they want, but in reality they obstruct all efforts to solve the pollution problem. What the nation needs at this point is atomic energy. Atomic energy answers the claimed wants of the extremist envirocrats.

Atomic energy, when correctly managed as it has been in the U.S. for generations, releases no radiation. In 55 years, only one accident in the whole world released radiation; Chernobyl, Ukraine, where 31 lives were lost. Radiation sickness affected many more, but nowhere near the numbers that hysterical envirocrats" claim. Compare this to the tens of thousands of lives lost around the world just in the processing and transporting of fossil fuels; losses in coal mine; oil field and gas line explosions; and the environmental damage caused by 1.5 billion gallons of crude oil dumped in the ocean. This is what the envirocrats have forced on the American public with their blunt denial of the use of atomic power. The wall of fear needlessly built by the envirocrats must be torn down.



Green propaganda is now so pervasive in the media and public debate it has become part of the cultural background. Extraordinary errors and misrepresentations, on subjects such as global warming and native vegetation clearing, are regularly published without comment. Here's a story about just how hard it is to defend the truth against the Green spirit of our times.

On February 16, 2004 ABC TV's Four Corners aired a program about the Tasmanian timber industry. It is possibly the most biased Australian television program ever put to air. Called Lords of the Forest, its faults included a map that dramatically under-represented the amount of forest preserved in Tasmania, unsubstantiated allegations of criminal activity, the smearing of pro-logging speakers who appeared on the program, and emotive language. This included the following phrases: mushroom clouds, scorched-earth policy, an aggressive forest policy, a voracious appetite for timber, overwhelming devastation, absolute assault on the landscape and the senses, and corruption and cronyism.

Timber pays the wages of about 10,000 people in Tasmania. Many of them, their families and their supporters were appalled that the ABC could produce a program that treated their way of life with such contempt. But that was only the beginning.

Timber Communities Australia (TCA) is a volunteer organisation with a professional secretariat funded by the industry. It complained to the ABC about Lords of the Forests. Following an internal review, Geoffrey Crawford, director of corporate affairs, told TCA the corporation "cannot agree with your view that the program was unfair and impartial". All it would concede was that the map had been "oversimplified" and two other, minor, errors of fact. The ABC put a corrected map on its website but refused a request from TCA to correct any errors on air.

TCA and Forestry Tasmania, the state agency that manages public forests, then appealed to the Independent Complaints Review Tribunal. In stark contrast to the ABC's internal review, this one found, last December, "instances of serious bias, lack of balance and unfair treatment [the program] frequently casts doubt on the credibility of the 'Lords' and their supporters, but scarcely ever subjects their opponents to the same treatment". A complaint about the map was also upheld by the Australian Broadcasting Authority, which found last month that the program had breached the ABC code of practice and had "failed to present factual material accurately".

TCA again asked the ABC for an on-air correction, and was again refused. Apart from a short press release, the ABC did nothing in response to the independent findings. Its response can be compared with that of the British Broadcasting Corporation, which in 2002 also broadcast a biased and ignorant attack on the Tasmanian timber industry. In that case Britain's Broadcasting Standards Commission not only found against the program, it was able to order the BBC to run a summary of its finding on air after each of four subsequent programs, and publish a half-page summary near the front of The Times newspaper on June 2, 2003.

Strange to relate, while the Australian inquiries were under way, Lords of the Forest was one of a group of three programs from Four Corners that won the prestigious 2004 Australian Government Peter Hunt Eureka Prize of $10,000 for outstanding science communication. Following the damning findings of the two independent review organisations, last month TCA asked the Australian Museum, which administers the prizes, to have the decision reconsidered. The judges met and decided not to withdraw the prize, saying in a written statement that the factual inaccuracies upheld by the Independent Complaints Review Tribunal (including the map) were "relatively minor" and they did not believe the wording used in the program was unusually emotive.

This decision was supported in letters to Barry Chipman, Tasmanian state co-ordinator of TCA, by the museum's director Frank Howarth, and Brian Sherman, the president of the museum trust. Sherman wrote that "your suggestion that the museum overturn the reconsidered decision of a judging panel would, I believe, compromise the independence of the judging process and not be in the best interest of the integrity of the Australian Museum Eureka Prizes".

Following the ABA finding last month, Senator Ian Campbell, the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, intervened. He said he "was concerned that this prestigious award, sponsored by my department, has been given to a story that might not have met the highest standards of journalism". After writing to Sherman about the affair, Campbell added a member to the panel of judges: Professor Bob Carter, of James Cook University, an environmental scientist specialising in climate change. Campbell also demanded to see the criteria used for awarding the prize.

In December, Gunns Limited, the big Tasmanian timber company, launched a writ against 20 environmental activists and organisations - an action widely supported by the 10,000 people who live off timber, and their families and their union. To find the motivation behind the writ you need look no further than the frustration and bitterness created by years of media bias, typified by Lords of the Forest. The Tasmanians feel they have been betrayed by revered national institutions such as the ABC and the Australian Museum.

Anyone concerned by the left's domination of cultural institutions in this country will be further depressed by the sad example of this program, the cover-up afterwards, and the lack of interest in the whole sordid affair from the media.



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

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


22 March 2005


Wisconsin is considering allowing the hunting of cats. Not cougars or mountain lions or tigers on the loose but putty-tats: Sylvester the cat. Morris the cat. Garfield. The aim is to prevent the mass-killing of birds by cats, mostly of the feral - i.e., wild - variety. In other words, some people want to give granny a shotgun so she can kill Sylvester before he gets Tweety Bird. ...

Let's start with the big picture. If you know anything about American environmentalism, you know that Rachel Carson, author of "Silent Spring," is a secular saint. Time magazine named her one of the "100 People of the Century." In 1992 a highfalutin panel of distinguished experts named "Silent Spring" as the most influential book of the last half-century. "More than any other (book), it changed the way Americans, and people around the world, looked at the reckless way we live on this planet," writes Philip Shabecoff in "A Fierce Green Fire," his history of U.S. environmentalism. As the name suggests, the thesis of "Silent Spring" was that the birds were dying from the ravages of DDT and other pesticides. The chemical was found to thin the eggshells of some species of birds, most notably eagles and falcons - which, a pedant might add, are not particularly known for their contributions to melodious springs.....

Well, the inconvenient truth is that cats kill more American birds, particularly songbirds, than DDT and pesticides ever did. Wisconsin is considering allowing residents to shoot feral cats in part because a respected study found that felines kill between 7.8 million and 217 million birds in Wisconsin alone. Data from a Michigan study suggest that some 75 million birds are killed there just in the summer alone.

Cat defenders say that this is all bogus. If cats didn't slaughter the birds, natural predators would. Maybe, but they are, uh, natural predators, and nature's a big deal for environmentalists, right? Or have I been reading the wrong magazines? They also claim that losing habitat to development is a bigger threat than cats. OK, but even if that were true in some places, why should that get cats off the hook?

This raises an important insight into what is really going on here. The objection to DDT and pesticides has a great deal to do with the fear of technology and material "progress." For example, Carson's memory is still invoked regularly by the anti-pesticide movement today. Anti-pesticide activists claim that some 67 million birds die every year from such chemicals. In other words, compounds that make food cheaper and more abundant for everybody kill between 10 and 20 percent of the number of birds killed by cats every year. And yet, environmentalists are terrified of making cats a major issue, because it will split the movement. An official at the World Wildlife Fund calls the cat issue a "third rail" for environmentalists.

More here

BOOK REVIEW: State of Fear, by Michael Crichton (HarperCollins, 603 pp., $27.95)


If you want to see what an apoplectic fit looks like in print, check out Michiko Kakutani's review/denunciation in the New York Times of State of Fear, the latest book from Michael Crichton. Crichton is the author of Jurassic Park, Disclosure, The Andromeda Strain, and much more (or, in the case of Prey, less); in State of Fear he dares to challenge the numbskull pieties of "global warming" and that has made Michiko very mad indeed. State of Fear is, she writes, "shrill," "preposterous," and, horror of horrors, "right-wing." So many angry, foam-flecked adjectives jostle for attention in the text of Kakutani's padded-cell philippic (I'd use the words "shrill" and "preposterous," but she got there first) that the fastidious will want to mop the page for spittle before reading.

Crichton's book is, she sneers, "ham-handed"; the plot of this "sorry excuse for a thriller" is "ludicrous," its disquisitions "talky," its facts "cherry-picked," its assertions "dogmatic," and its efforts to make a case "lumbering." Still, at least she spared Crichton contemporary culture's most fashionable insult, that irrevocably staining mark of Cain, that deepest red of all scarlet letters, that other N-word. The Los Angeles Times does not; according to its reviewer, Crichton has written "the first neo-con novel." Ouch.

At this point, wiser, calmer readers will suspect that a book that attracts that sort of condemnation in the pages of the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times (reassuringly, The New Yorker didn't like it either) must be really, really good. The wiser, calmer readers will be right. It is.

Crichton has, unsurprisingly, chosen to incorporate his message into the medium he knows best, the thriller, but what is surprising is that this latest effort is packed with graphs, scientific discussion, footnotes, a manifesto, and an extensive bibliography: not usually the stuff of popular fiction. And, remarkably, the whole package - all 600 pages of it - succeeds. State of Fear is a good, solid, exciting read, and if the writing is occasionally wooden, it is so in the finest, somewhat flat tradition of Ludlum, Turow, and the other bards of the airport bookstore.

State of Fear is a didactic work, but its author has not neglected the conventions of his genre: Men are men, women are hot (it's the planet that's not), and deaths are excruciating. Bullets fly, cars crash, poisonous octopi do their worst, hideous catastrophe looms, and, the last surviving fans of the late H. Rider Haggard will be delighted to know, cannibals make an appearance. Cannibals! And not effete Lecters either, but real honest-to-goodness, traditional missionary-in-the-pot anthropophagi, who know that fresh flesh needs neither sips of Chianti nor fava-bean frippery to make it something truly tasty.

But all those daunting graphs and lurking footnotes are a reminder that, populist format or not, Crichton is making a serious point about the dead and dangerous end that modern "environmentalism" has reached. In the hands of contemporary Greens, it no longer has much to do with brains, or, at least, reason. Protecting our planet has, he argues, degenerated into a religion - a matter of faith, not science.

The frenzied response to State of Fear proves his point. Crichton's arguments have not been treated as a contribution to a legitimate debate, but as blasphemy. Yet if this is an urgent, insistent, sometimes overstated book, it's because Crichton cares so much about the environment, not so little. Who with any brains does not?

Yes, Crichton raises the rhetorical stakes very high, but the real stakes are even higher. If the prescriptions of the Kyoto Treaty are followed, the cost could run into hundreds of billions of dollars a year, a cost that, if history is any indication, will be disproportionately borne by the world's poor. Under the circumstances, the science that backs it had better be rock solid. Crichton argues that it is not.

To take just a sample of the intriguing data that turn up in this book, the melting of Antarctica is confined to just one relatively small peninsula. The continent as a whole is getting colder, its ice thicker. At the other end of the planet, Greenland too is chilling up, while here at home, the temperature in the United States is roughly where it was in the 1930s, there has been no increase in extreme weather, and changes in upper-atmospheric temperature have been far smaller than most global-warming models would suggest.

Those are some cherries, Ms. Kakutani.

In her disdain for inconvenient, ornery facts, however, Kakutani is sadly typical. While there are those in the Kyoto crowd who have genuine, and carefully thought-through, scientific concern about the fate of the Earth, the motivation of the many who shout so loudly and so dogmatically about the perils of global warming frequently owes less to logic than to neurosis, misplaced religious faith, and, often, the characteristic dishonesty of a Left looking for yet another stick with which to beat both Western civilization and those wicked, dirty capitalists.

And then there's something else: greed. One of the more entertaining aspects of Crichton's tale is that the clever, conniving, white-collar villains, regular thriller fare of course, are not the standard corporate swine. No, in this book they are environmentalists acting from exactly the sort of motives more usually attributed to the bad boys from the boardroom than to the saints from the NGOs. In State of Fear, the Gekkos are Green. They are caricatures, but Crichton is making a fair point: Big Environment is a big, big business, "a great fundraising and media machine - a multi-billion industry in its own right - with its own private agenda that's not necessarily in the public interest," and like any big business it comes complete with temptations, timeservers, fat paychecks, fatter payrolls, and a legion of lawyers trying to make a fast buck.

This combination of false gods and real mammon has replaced the hard science of global warming with scaremongering, publicity stunts (both have a key part to play in State of Fear), and relentless pressure, political and otherwise, to sign up for the new orthodoxy. The problem for its believers, however, is that it's an orthodoxy that the facts do not support. In reality, the facts, such as they are, do not support any orthodoxy. There aren't enough of them, and those that exist often appear to contradict one another. The hard science of global warming is, as Crichton explains, well, hard; the data are far from reliable, and there are so many variables that, even for today's computers, the value of most climate-prediction models lies somewhere between a bookie's tip and a crystal ball.

Crichton has his own theories as to what is going on (very roughly: mild warming, possibly purely natural, perhaps associated with the heat islands of urban development, or maybe both), but he is at pains to describe these as guesses, a humility that would be equally welcome among those who would base their highly interventionist environmental policy on little more than hysteria and a hunch - something, I suspect, that helps explain their reluctance to see their version of the truth subjected to serious intellectual criticism.

For matters to improve, Joe Friday science, freed from agendas, has to return to the center of the investigation of global warming. How mankind responds to those facts, once discovered, is a legitimate topic for political controversy and debate. Trying to establish what they are should not be. If Michael Crichton can push thinking even a little way in this direction, he will have written a very good book indeed.

(I believe that this review appeared in "National Review" but cannot find it online)

Michael Crichton on science policy: "Considering that we are a society deeply dependent on information, Crichton is surprised that we are slow to think of information as a 'product;' he foresees product-liability lawsuits in the near future concerning flawed information. 'How do we set policy in uncertainty?' He cited the example of the recent tightening of the 'safe' level of arsenic, despite the absence of decisive evidence that the new standards will bring about a significant improvement in public health. He recommends tying policy to research; in the case of arsenic, establishing very long-term studies at costs that would be a fraction of the costs of implementing the proposed, un-tested standards."


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

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


21 March 2005


(note: "ojirowashi" means "white-tailed sea eagle")

"Between February and March, several ojirowashi were killed in collisions with 100 meter tall windmills in Tomamaecho, Hokkaido. On Dec. 10, an ojirowashi was killed after colliding with a giant windmill at a facility recently built in Nemuro, Hokkaido. The incidents occurred above marine terraces where rising air currents make it easy for the raptors to fly. The ojirowashi is a species facing possible extinction, with the number in the country estimated at about 150. The deaths resulting shocked many people.

Cape Soya in Wakkanai, Hokkaido, is another location that can be dangerous to wild birds. The cape, which many migratory birds, including ojirowashi, pass on their way from Russia and Sakhalin, is currently constructing the largest wind power plant to date, with 57 windmills. Saiko Shiraki, a researcher specializing in ojirowashi at the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, said construction of wind power plants should be given a second look because about half of the world's 5,000 ojirowashi pass by Cape Soya."

What is more: Steller's eagles (the world's largest) fly down from Kamchatka to winter on Hokkaido. They will be at risk too, say Japanese ornithologists.

In the UK, we have about 30 pairs of the magnificent white-tailed sea eagle. All of them are in Scotland, mainly in the Hebrides. Yet our politicians want to cover these islands with wind turbines. - Is that smart? Apart from killing the sea eagles, they will also wipe out the golden eagles, which are slow to reproduce (all eagles are). And where is the biggest windfarm in the world (700 MW) to be constructed? - In the Hebrides, within and around the Lewis peatlands Special Protection Area (for birds), Special Conservation Area (for peat), and RAMSAR wetland. Our politicians will get away with this crime if we don't stop them."

More here. Background information here


The Earth Liberation Front - the underground environmental network that has used sabotage, arson and vandalism to attack everything from logging equipment to genetically engineered crops and SUVs - has hit the foothills town and fast-growing nearby communities. And this time, the radical group's target is sprawl.

In late December, crude incendiary devices were found in three houses under construction at a luxury subdivision in Lincoln, Calif. Graffiti that read "Enjoy the world as is - as long as you can" was found along with buckets filled with gasoline, diesel fuel, wires and kitchen timers. In January, five more devices were found at a commercial building under construction in Auburn. And last month, a newly built apartment complex in the Amador County hamlet of Sutter Creek was targeted. "We will win," was scrawled in red paint at the site, but a sprinkler system rendered most of the devices useless before they went off.

No one has been injured. But the spate of attacks - and the arrest of four young locals in connection with the arson attempts - has stunned residents, infuriated developers and contractors and intrigued law enforcement officials who have tracked the elusive "elves" for years. Investigators still have not caught the members who burned down a San Diego apartment complex in August 2003, causing $50 million damage. The ELF has been tough to crack because its members operate in autonomous cells and are savvy about technology, surveillance and forensics. ELF attacks - which have occurred across the country - are often marked by two calling cards: graffiti and politically charged missives claiming responsibility for and explaining the "action." "It was done in honor of everyone who has felt helpless to sprawl and development, everyone who feels their rural lifestyles are being threatened by these mass-produced designer communities," reads the communique about two of the three arson attempts in the foothills near Sacramento, Calif.

Last month, a tip led FBI agents to Newcastle, Calif., resident Ryan Daniel Lewis, 21. He was indicted Feb. 24 in all three incidents, and was denied bail. Lewis, who lives with his parents on a 17-acre mandarin orange orchard, has pleaded not guilty, and his defense attorney has requested a jury trial. After Lewis' arrest, pipe bombs were found at the historic Placer County Courthouse in Auburn and a local DMV office. And last week, three other Newcastle residents - Jeremiah Colcleasure, 24, and sisters Eva and Lili Holland, ages 25 and 20 - have also been arrested in connection to the first three attempted arsons.

Joyce Estey, 65, agrees that the foothills are growing too quickly. But she questions why someone would turn to arson and pipe bombs to make their point. "You feel like you live in a rural area, and something like this doesn't happen here," said Estey, shortly after the news of Lewis's arrest. Estey regularly meets her daughter and grandson at the courthouse. Built in 1894, the majestic three-story building is the crown jewel of Old Town Auburn. But the attempted bombing makes her uneasy. "Why would they put a bomb in a courthouse that's more than 100 years old?" said Estey. "And doesn't a bomb or a fire pollute the environment?"

More here

Potential potato cure But it's biotech so the Greenies will oppose it: "Each year, about 350 million people worldwide are chronically infected with hepatitis B virus. Spread through blood and other bodily fluids, this virus puts them at high risk for cirrhosis, chronic liver disease and liver cancer -- diseases that kill about 1 million people each year. Yet through the magic of biotechnology, the lowly spud may change that. For centuries, potatoes have saved lives with their nourishment. Now they'e tackling diseases spread by viruses and bacteria. Using potatoes with a protein gene (called antigens) from HBV spliced into them, researchers have produced high levels of immunity-providing antibodies in volunteers who ate them. Their findings, reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Online, should lead to cheaper, safer and easier-to-deliver vaccines."


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

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


20 March 2005


There have been reports too numerous to mention about the banning of DDT coinciding with a rise in malaria deaths in the Third World. It would appear however that the relationship between the two events has not been straightforward in at least some cases. One of my more dedicated readers has drawn my attention to this academic journal article (PDF) which reviews the use of DDT in India. As is occasionally mentioned, Third World countries were exempted from the ban at their own discretion and it appears from the article that India already had its own DDT factories so continued to use it. After some years, however, the mosquitoes developed resistance to DDT so it was that resistance which caused malaria to rebound in India rather than the banning of DDT.

The real problem behind the malaria resurgence, then, was the quite criminal bureaucratic incompetence of India's socialist government in allowing resistance to develop. As the article says:

"Coverage rates are too low. To be effective a DDT spraying programme must cover a high (>90% of structures) portion of the targetted area. However India historically has undersupplied its spraying programme. For example, a study by NMEP reported that during the period of MPO from 1977 to 1984, insecticide spray (DDT, HCH, Malathion) could cover only 40-60% of the targetted areas."

Note that again: It is not only DDT which has been grossly misused in India but also the main alternative chemicals, HCH and Malathion. So it is getting to the point where NOTHING will kill an Indian mosquito.

So it seems to be bureaucratic incompetence rather than the Greenies that is reponsible for India's continuing malaria problem -- and the same seems to be true in Sri Lanka. Whether that applies in other countries, however, I have no information at this stage. Moral of the story? If the Greenies don't get you the socialists will!


After all, the money will only come out of the pockets of home buyers and who cares about them? They're rich!

Protecting the endangered arroyo toad in California could cost $1 billion over the next 10 years, the federal government says. The price tag includes purchasing land for toad habitat, delays in getting development projects through environmental regulations, and altering construction projects to minimize harm to toads, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service analysis says. About $937 million of the cost would fall on the real estate industry. "Some of the estimated costs already are occurring due to the listing of the arroyo toad and protective measures in place as a result of the listing," the Fish and Wildlife Service said. "These costs include lands set aside for toad conservation to compensate for loss of toad habitat, and measures needed to protect the toad while construction is ongoing."

The gravel-colored arroyo toad -- bufo microscaphus californicus -- lives in rivers with shallow, gravelly pools adjacent to sandy terraces. The adult toads burrow into the sand during the day and emerge at night to eat insects. Once found in streams from San Luis Obispo County to Baja California, the arroyo toad has been driven from an estimated 75 percent of its former range by human activity, federal officials say. Those include dams, farming and urbanization, and the introduction of non-native predators like rainbow trout and bullfrogs. The toad was declared in danger of extinction in 1994....

Representatives of the building industry, which has argued previous economic studies have underestimated the costs, said they had not yet reviewed the latest study and could not comment.

The analysis is coming out at a time when the Fish and Wildlife Service is taking comments on a revised plan for the designation of critical habitat for the arroyo toad. After originally proposing nearly 500,000 acres for critical habitat, the Fish and Wildlife Service has reduced the latest proposal to 95,655 acres, from Santa Barbara County to San Diego County. More than half of the acreage is in private hands....

Because of the toad's endangered status, 3,000 acres along Little Rock Creek in the Angeles National Forest have been closed to off-roaders, fishermen and campers since 1999.... The size of the proposed critical habitat is not large enough, according to the environmental group Center for Biological Diversity. The organization is examining the proposal to determine whether it will pursue legal action against it.

More here


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

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


19 March 2005


Excerpt from Heardman. See the original for links

The gnashing of teeth and rending of clothes that preceded and continues about the opening of ANWR to oil exploration and possible production is truly amazing. We are talking about an area the size of South Carolina and developing a part of it smaller than the Charleston International Airport.

Most of this doomsaying is coming from those who say they support conservation and alternative fuel and energy sources such as wind energy as long as it's NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) such as the denizens of Martha's Vineyard and Cape Cod off the coast because it might ruin the aesthetics out the window. These are also the same ones who block at every turn new refineries or nuclear power plants. People who have not just one SUV but several, have limosines and private jets yet want the little people to drive Yugos.

We were told without doubt that the Alaskan Pipeline would devastate wildlife and totally wipe out the caribou herds. The population of those herds have risen from 3,000 to 30,000...a tenfold increase.

The Inuit who live on the coastal plain of ANWR are solidly for the development. This item from the Nunatsiaq News says much:

IQALUIT - Inuit on Alaska's North Slope have found themselves at the crux of an international clash over oil and the polar environment.

The battlefield is the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, a vast plain of pristine tundra along Alaska's north coast, rich in polar bears, birds, caribou - and crude oil. Under U.S. law, the 7.7 million hectare refuge is protected from oil exploration and development. But over the last decade, Alaskan Inuit have tirelessly lobbied the president and Congress to change the law.

And this is from the Christian Science Monitor by George N. Ahmaogak Sr. mayor of North Slope Borough in Barrow, Alaska. He is an Inupiat Inuit leader.

Many people oppose drilling because they fear that human impact on the land, the wildlife, and the native Gwich'in Indians will forever change the Gwich'in culture. The Gwich'in live south of this area and subsist on a caribou herd that migrates from the Arctic coastal plain through the mountains into Gwich'in territory each year.

As a native leader who lives on the Arctic coast and also hunts caribou, I share their determination to protect the health of the herd. But I believe their fear for the future is unfounded......

But unlike the Gwich'in, my people have seen oil development in our region. Prudhoe Bay - North America's largest oil reserve - lies under our land. When it was discovered in the late 1960s, we instinctively assumed that oil production would destroy our traditional way of life. But we have learned it is possible to open the land to drilling and protect our way of life, too.


The scare story about vaccines containing mercury and causing autism is still with us, as a recent story on Fox 5 news here in New York City -- and a new book on the topic from St. Martin's Press -- suggest. (Indeed, the Fox 5 story caused such an outpouring of fear from parents that Fox 5 run it again.)

The newspaper AM New York jumped on the bandwagon on March 9, running a completely irresponsible, alarmist, and misleading (when not actually false) article titled "Mercury-Based Preservative in Vaccines May Be Putting Infants at Poisoning Risk." The story may have the unintended effect of sickening and killing infants and children. These needless, preventable deaths will be the predictable result of frightened parents avoiding vaccinations that they would have ordinarily made sure that their children received. Parents will recoil in panic over "poisoning" from mercury-laced vaccines -- which do not in fact exist.

The caption under a photo of vaccinations in the AM New York piece states "Vaccines carry a mercury-based preservative to prevent infection." This is false. The mercury-containing preservative Thimerosal has been removed from all vaccines given to children, except for tiny amounts in a few remaining flu vaccines; in any case, it has not been associated with any neurological disorder in children of any age as a result of vaccinations. Analysis of literally hundreds of thousands of study patients has confirmed the lack of any association between children's vaccines and neurological impairments, including autism-spectrum disorders.

The only people still not convinced of the truth of these statements are parents of autistic children, whose judgment is understandably clouded, and plaintiff's attorneys, whose "judgment" is based solely on how much money they can extort from drug companies over unfounded fears.

Meanwhile, unvaccinated children will go on to get preventable childhood diseases and transmit them to their schoolmates and household contacts. In this case, the reporters and editors who fancy themselves watchdogs of public wellbeing should be ashamed.



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

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


18 March 2005


In presidential campaign of 2004, Bush and Kerry managed to find one piece of common ground: Both spoke glowingly of a future powered by fuel cells. Hydrogen would free us from our dependence on fossil fuels and would dramatically curb emissions of air pollutants, including carbon dioxide, the gas chiefly blamed for global warming. The entire worldwide energy market would evolve into a "hydrogen economy" based on clean, abundant power. Auto manufacturers and environmentalists alike happily rode the bandwagon, pointing to hydrogen as the next big thing in U.S. energy policy. Yet the truth is that we aren't much closer to a commercially viable hydrogen-powered car than we are to cold fusion or a cure for cancer. This hardly surprises engineers, fuel cell manufacturers and policymakers, who have known all along that the technology has been hyped, perhaps to its detriment, and that the public has been misled about what Howard Coffman, editor of, describes as the "undeniable realities of the hydrogen economy." These experts are confident that the hydrogen economy will arrive-someday. But first, they say, we have to overcome daunting technological, financial and political roadblocks. Herewith, our checklist of misconceptions and doubts about hydrogen and the exalted fuel cell.

True, hydrogen is the most common element in the universe; it's so plentiful that the sun consumes 600 million tons of it every second. But unlike oil, vast reservoirs of hydrogen don't exist here on Earth. Instead, hydrogen atoms are bound up in molecules with other elements, and we must expend energy to extract the hydrogen so it can be used in fuel cells. We'll never get more energy out of hydrogen than we put into it.

"Hydrogen is a currency, not a primary energy source," explains Geoffrey Ballard, the father of the modern-day fuel cell and co-founder of Ballard Power Systems, the world's leading fuel-cell developer. "It's a means of getting energy from where you created it to where you need it."

Unlike internal combustion engines, hydrogen fuel cells do not emit carbon dioxide. But extracting hydrogen from natural gas, today's primary source, does. And wresting hydrogen from water through electrolysis takes tremendous amounts of energy. If that energy comes from power plants burning fossil fuels, the end product may be clean hydrogen, but the process used to obtain it is still dirty.

Once hydrogen is extracted, it must be compressed and transported, presumably by machinery and vehicles that in the early stages of a hydrogen economy will be running on fossil fuels. The result: even more C02. In fact, driving a fuel cell car with hydrogen extracted from natural gas or water could produce a net increase of CO2 in the atmosphere. "People say that hydrogen cars would be pollution-free," observes University of Calgary engineering professor David Keith. "Lightbulbs are pollution-free, but power plants are not."

In the short term, nuclear power may be the easiest way to produce hydrogen without pumping more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Electricity from a nuclear plant would electrolyze water-splitting H2O into hydrogen and oxygen. Ballard champions the idea, calling nuclear power "extremely important, unless we see some other major breakthrough that none of us has envisioned."

Critics counter that nuclear power creates long-term waste problems and isn't economically competitive. An exhaustive industry analysis entitled "The Future of Nuclear Power," written last year by 10 professors from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University, concludes that "hydrogen produced by electrolysis of water depends on low-cost nuclear power." As long as electricity from nuclear power costs more than electricity from other sources, using that energy to make hydrogen doesn't add up.

Perform electrolysis with renewable energy, such as solar or wind power, and you eliminate the pollution issues associated with fossil fuels and nuclear power. Trouble is, renewable sources can provide only a small fraction of the energy that will be required for a full-fledged hydrogen economy.

From 1998 to 2003, the generating capacity of wind power increased 28 percent in the U.S. to 6,374 megawatts, enough for roughly 1.6 million homes. The wind industry expects to meet 6 percent of the country's electricity needs by 2020. But economist Andrew Oswald of the University of Warwick in England calculates that converting every vehicle in the U.S. to hydrogen power would require the electricity output of a million wind turbines-enough to cover half of California. Solar panels would likewise require huge swaths of land.

More here


(In case you have never heard of him, Paul Martin is Canada's Prime Minister)

Steve McIntyre is Paul Martin's worst nightmare. A couple of years ago, the Toronto mining consultant got interested in the science behind global warming. Mr. McIntyre is not a scientist. He's just a curious citizen with a first-rate mathematical mind who was intrigued by the biggest public policy issue of the age. "It started as a hobby," he says. But soon his research on climate change took over his life -- at some cost, he says ruefully, to his business. Today, his conclusions are making waves around the world. For the politicians and bureaucrats in Ottawa, they could mean an acute case of policy indigestion.

In a nutshell, Mr. McIntyre says one of the biggest claims made for climate change is wrong. The claim is that we are now experiencing a warming period unprecedented in the past thousand years. Maybe you've seen the famous graph -- the one shaped like a hockey stick, with the big spike at the end; this graph has been a major marketing tool for global warming. But Mr. McIntyre says the data show no such thing. Yes, the world is getting warmer. But this warming spell is nothing special. "The math involved is not particularly sophisticated," he says. "The errors would have been discovered long ago had there been even routine checking."

Mr. McIntyre's published findings, which he co-authored with Canadian scientist Ross McKitrick, have set off a storm of debate. One leading climate scientist says the study has made him fundamentally revise his views, and others say it's obvious that the original hockey-stick study is full of holes. Unlike almost everyone else in the highly charged climate-change debate, Mr. McIntyre has nothing personal at stake. He doesn't need to advance his career or get research grants. He's never taken money from any company or industry group. And he is astonished that climate science isn't subject to the same audits and due diligence that are carried out in any ordinary business. "And yet we're making billion-dollar decisions based on it," he says.

Well, make that $5-billion. Or maybe $10-billion. That awesome number is the latest figure being bandied about as the price tag for meeting our Kyoto commitments. It's no secret that Ottawa's Kyoto strategy is a shambles. Nobody can figure out what to do or how to do it, and Paul Martin is said to be mightily impatient with his ministers' inability to "reach a consensus" on a plan. But Mr. Martin has a bigger problem. It is slowly dawning on some folks in Ottawa that the science behind global warming isn't bulletproof after all.

The trouble is that global warming is no longer a scientific issue. It's also political and ideological. Within the science world, pressures to support the global-warming doctrine are rampant. Some scientists say they've been urged to suppress their data for the good of the cause. Meantime, the climate skeptics -- who include leading figures from Harvard and MIT, as well as dozens of Canadian scientists -- are all but ignored in the mainstream media. Even careful readers would scarcely know these people exist, or what arguments they make. (Don't count on the Conservatives for a good critique. Their position on Kyoto is incoherent.)

But wait. Don't most scientists still believe in the perils of man-made global warming? "Sure," says Mr. McIntyre. "And most stockbrokers believed in Enron."

He says that most scientists haven't analyzed the data, and that scientists, like everyone else, are subject to peer pressure and groupthink. "Just because everybody thinks something's true doesn't make it true." Even its strongest supporters admit that the Kyoto protocol is "flawed." They defend it because it's better than nothing, and remind us that we must act now, even if we don't know all the facts. But what if Kyoto is worse than nothing? What if the science is flawed, too? What if the world will keep on warming up and cooling down no matter what we do? And what if we simply don't know?



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

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


17 March 2005


Britain's Greenie "expert" at reducing traffic congestion wants to do it by slowing drivers down -- which will keep them on the roads longer -- which will INCREASE congestion!

Speed cameras are a major cause of traffic congestion and the technology to replace them already exists, Britain's new motorway "jambuster" has admitted. Derek Turner, who was appointed by the Highways Agency last month to tackle congestion on major routes, said speed governors, similar to those used in lorries and coaches, offered an alternative way of slowing traffic.

He said the device could help prevent the traffic jams caused by drivers braking sharply as they approach a camera. Mr Turner said: "Speed cameras do cause congestion. There is a lot of sophistication in the electronics field that you could introduce."

He also criticised car drivers who clog up motorways by taking short trips. He said: "A lot of the problem is to do with people joining the motorway at one junction and coming straight off at the next junction. These are strategic roads, designed for longer-distance traffic." He is considering placing more traffic lights on slip roads to encourage drivers to shun motorways. "If people can't get on to the motorway so easily, they will probably choose to use totally acceptable trunk roads," he said.

Andrew Howard, head of road safety at the AA Motoring Trust, said the comments seemed to be a "little bit batty". He said: "In a number of places ... previous roads have been replaced by motorways and have been seriously reduced in capacity in an attempt to stop people using them and in an attempt to make driving through surrounding villages less possible and less desirable." And he added: "I am a trifle baffled by the speed camera comment. "The only way I can think they affect congestion, they do make people go slower to be safe - and the answer to that is remarkably simple: go and put up signs so people know what the limit is."

Tony Vickers, spokesman for the Association of British Drivers, said Mr Turner's comments came as "no surprise at all" as he had been one of the major lights introducing the congestion charge in London. "He always made his priorities very clear. He sees private car users as the bottom feeders effectively, the people least entitled to any privileges whatsoever on the road." He described government policy since 1997 as "negative" and a "war on motorists", which had completely failed to reduce the numbers of cars on the roads.



Senior officals from KYOTO PROTOCOL nations are gathering in London for a two day conference on so-called "man-made global warming" - global climate change that is SUPPOSEDLY the result of increased emissions of man-made "greehouse gases" due to industrialization and "excessive" use of "fossil" fuels.

Evidence exists that ENTIRELY DISPROVES THIS BUNK. Here it is...

EXHIBIT #1: Hysterical Left-wing Greenies' Make Outrageous Charges -

"Reuters": A photo of Mount Kilimanjaro stripped of its snowcap for the first time in 11,000 years will be used as dramatic testimony for action against global warming as ministers from the world's biggest polluters meet today. Gathering in London on Tuesday for a two-day brainstorming session on the environment agenda of Britain's presidency of the Group of Eight rich nations, the environment and energy ministers from 20 countries will be handed a book containing the stark image of Africa's tallest mountain, among others.

"This is a wake-up call and an unequivocal message that a low-carbon global economy is necessary, achievable and affordable," said Steve Howard of the Climate Group charity which organised the book and an associated exhibition. "We are breaking climate change out of the environment box. This crisis affects all of us. This is a global challenge and we need real leadership to address these major problems -- and these ministers can give that leadership," he told Reuters.

The pictures include one of Kilimanjaro almost bare of its icecap because of global warming, and coastal defences in the Marshall Islands threatened with swamping from rising sea levels.

EXHIBIT #2: REAL Scientists Counter with TRUTH -


... reports of glacial recession on Kilimanjaro first emerged in 2002, the story was quickly picked up and trumpeted as another example of humans destroying nature. It's easy to see why: Ice fields in the tropics-Kilimanjaro lies about 220 miles (350 kilometers) south of the Equator-are particularly susceptible to climate change, and even the slightest temperature fluctuation can have devastating effects.

"There's a tendency for people to take this temperature increase and draw quick conclusions, which is a mistake," said Douglas R. Hardy, a climatologist at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, who monitored Kilimanjaro's glaciers from mountaintop weather stations since 2000. "The real explanations are much more complex. Global warming plays a part, but a variety of factors are really involved."

According to Hardy, forest reduction in the areas surrounding Kilimanjaro, and not global warming, might be the strongest human influence on glacial recession.

"Clearing for agriculture and forest fires-often caused by honey collectors trying to smoke bees out of their hives-have greatly reduced the surrounding forests," he says. The loss of foliage causes less moisture to be pumped into the atmosphere, leading to reduced cloud cover and precipitation and increased solar radiation and glacial evaporation.

Evidence of glacial recession on Kilimanjaro is often dated from 1912, but most scientists believe tropical glaciers began receding as early as the 1850s.

Stefan L. Hastenrath, a professor of atmospheric studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, has found clues in local reports of a dramatic drop in East African lake levels after 1880. Lake evaporation indicates a decrease in precipitation and cloudiness around Kilimanjaro.

"Less cloud coverage lets more sunlight filter through and hit the glaciers," Hastenrath said. "That increase in sunlight then provides more energy for evaporation of the glacier."

Hastenrath found further evidence in sailing expedition reports from the same period. "Ships along the East African coast recorded very fast equatorial winds around 1880," he said. "Just like today, swift westerlies are always linked with drier seasons in East Africa, so it's very likely Kilimanjaro had a dry period around this time."

Along with a higher risk of evaporation, a drop in precipitation also makes for a dark glacial surface, made up of old, dirty snow. A darker glacial surface absorbs more solar radiation than fresh, white snow (like a blacktop playground baking in the sun).

Global warming began to take effect in East Africa by the early 20th century.

(1) The current recession of Mt. Kilimajaro's glacier began a CENTURY BEFORE fossil fuel use became global.

(2) The current recession of Mt. Kilimanjaro's glacier is the result of LOCAL activities which can be addressed locally - and have NOTHING to do with use of fossil fuels in other parts of the world.

(3) The current recession of Mt. Kilimanjaro's glacier is also effected by regional wind current patterns and local cloud cover - and NOT CLIMATIC CHANGES OR GLOBAL WARMING.

(4) The "Greenies" ADMIT that Mt. Kilimanjaro was GLACIER FREE 11,000 YEARS ago; WELL... there were NO SUV's then, and NO man-made "greenhouse gases" to cause this; therefore, asserting that "greenhouse gases" are causing it now is HIGHLY SUSPECT.
THEREFORE: it is OBVIOUS that KYOTO is a COLOSSAL WASTE, a MASSIVE DIVERSION of valuable resources which could be better spent in ways that would more directly and quickly SAVE AND IMPROVE the lives or more people in the Third World who are currently suffering as a result of REAL ENVIRONMENTAL THREATS - like dirty water, and water borne diseases.

Instead of shackling our First World's industrial base (the world's money-making/wealth-generating machine) with WORTHLESS "GREEN" laws, we should be be building water treatment plants in the Third World and begin spraying large areas with DDT.

That is, if we REALLY want to help improve the lives of HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS of people.

I have the feeling the GREENIES relentless and irrational attachment to KYOTO and against "fossil fuels" has more to do with making themselves feel good, than improving the lives of anyone.

More HERE from BJORN LOMBORG (an op-ed titled: "Save the world, ignore global warming") and HERE.

UPDATE: Welcome SHAKING SPEARS readers - and if you're not one yet, you should be EVERYDAY!

(Post lifted from Astute Blogger. He might also have mentioned that some glaciers elsewhere are rapidly getting bigger -- such as the Franz Josef glacier in New Zealand. Tricky stuff that global warming! Using local phenomena to make global inferences is of course the real idiocy involved. You can "prove" anything by argument from example)


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

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


16 March 2005


The Michael Mann crowd have now taken note of what I have noted several times (e.g. on on 13th. and on July 16th last year) -- that increased carbon dioxide levels historically FOLLOW warming periods rather than preceding them. And as Hume pointed out long ago, the essential feature of the notion of cause is that causes PRECEDE effects. So increased carbon dioxide levels do not cause the warming (as Greenies say) but rather the warming causes the increase in carbon dioxide. So here is what the global warmers say about all that. I have highlighted the words to note as they try to weasel their way out of it:

"This is an issue that is often misunderstood in the public sphere and media, so it is worth spending some time to explain it and clarify it. At least three careful ice core studies have shown that CO2 starts to rise about 800 years (600-1000 years) after Antarctic temperature during glacial terminations. These terminations are pronounced warming periods that mark the ends of the ice ages that happen every 100,000 years or so.

Does this prove that CO2 doesn't cause global warming? The answer is no.

The reason has to do with the fact that the warmings take about 5000 years to be complete. The lag is only 800 years. All that the lag shows is that CO2 did not cause the first 800 years of warming, out of the 5000 year trend. The other 4200 years of warming could in fact have been caused by CO2, as far as we can tell from this ice core data.

The 4200 years of warming make up about 5/6 of the total warming. So CO2 could have caused the last 5/6 of the warming, but could not have caused the first 1/6 of the warming.

It comes as no surprise that other factors besides CO2 affect climate. Changes in the amount of summer sunshine, due to changes in the Earth's orbit around the sun that happen every 21,000 years, have long been known to affect the comings and goings of ice ages. Atlantic ocean circulation slowdowns are thought to warm Antarctica, also.

From studying all the available data (not just ice cores), the probable sequence of events at a termination goes something like this. Some (currently unknown) process causes Antarctica and the surrounding ocean to warm.... etc., etc."

As you see from the words I have highlighted in red, they are reduced to speculation. They admit that they don't know what is going on. They even admit that other things than carbon dioxide do historically cause warming. And THESE are the quacks who want the world to spend billions of dollars on the basis of their being right!


It would be surprising if the well-known sunspot cycle was the only regular cycle in solar activity

"With surprising and mysterious regularity, life on Earth has flourished and vanished in cycles of mass extinction every 62 million years, say two UC Berkeley scientists who discovered the pattern after a painstaking computer study of fossil records going back for more than 500 million years.

Their findings are certain to generate a renewed burst of speculation among scientists who study the history and evolution of life. Each period of abundant life and each mass extinction has itself covered at least a few million years -- and the trend of biodiversity has been rising steadily ever since the last mass extinction, when dinosaurs and millions of other life forms went extinct about 65 million years ago.

The Berkeley researchers are physicists, not biologists or geologists or paleontologists, but they have analyzed the most exhaustive compendium of fossil records that exists -- data that cover the first and last known appearances of no fewer than 36,380 separate marine genera, including millions of species that once thrived in the world's seas, later virtually disappeared, and in many cases returned. Richard Muller and his graduate student, Robert Rohde, are publishing a report on their exhaustive study in the journal Nature today, and in interviews this week, the two men said they have been working on the surprising evidence for about four years. "We've tried everything we can think of to find an explanation for these weird cycles of biodiversity and extinction," Muller said, "and so far, we've failed."

But the cycles are so clear that the evidence "simply jumps out of the data," said James Kirchner, a professor of earth and planetary sciences on the Berkeley campus who was not involved in the research but who has written a commentary on the report that is also appearing in Nature today. "Their discovery is exciting, it's unexpected and it's unexplained," Kirchner said. And it is certain, he added, to send other scientists in many disciplines seeking explanations for the strange cycles. "Everyone and his brother will be proposing an explanation -- and eventually, at least one or two will turn out to be right while all the others will be wrong."

Muller and Rohde conceded that they have puzzled through every conceivable phenomenon in nature in search of an explanation: "We've had to think about solar system dynamics, about the causes of comet showers, about how the galaxy works, and how volcanoes work, but nothing explains what we've discovered," Muller said.

The evidence of strange extinction cycles that first drew Rohde's attention emerged from an elaborate computer database he developed from the largest compendium of fossil data ever created. It was a 560-page list of marine organisms developed 14 years ago by the late J. John Sepkoski Jr., a famed paleobiologist at the University of Chicago who died at the age of 50 nearly five years ago. Sepkoski himself had suggested that marine life appeared to have its ups and downs in cycles every 26 million years, but to Rohde and Muller, the longer cycle is strikingly more evident, although they have also seen the suggestion of even longer cycles that seem to recur every 140 million years.....

Muller's favorite explanation, he said informally, is that the solar system passes through an exceptionally massive arm of our own spiral Milky Way galaxy every 62 million years, and that that increase in galactic gravity might set off a hugely destructive comet shower that would drive cycles of mass extinction on Earth....."

More here


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

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


15 March 2005


You might as well drive a fuel-thirsty car. You will get taxed as if you do anyway. Upping taxes on fuel-efficient cars shows what the REAL Greenie agenda is. It's not the environment. It is good old socialism -- government control of people and their property

So. You bought some tin-can hybrid econotoy powered by a burble motor, greased with biodegradable, recycled chicken fat. Saving that gas. Doing your thing for the environment. Wearing your greenie baseball cap. Feeling all good about yourself.

Traitor! In your typically short-sighted zeal, you may not have realized you were just bollixing everything for your state tax collectivists. Less gas, less tax. Less tax, less spend.

Oh, don’t be so naďve. There’s never going to be less spend, just more tax. Ha! If they can’t get it for the gas they’ve convinced you to conserve, they’ll get it for the green mile you go. You can’t stop going. You gotta get there. There’s a Sundance Rally before Telluride on your way to the Freakers Ball. Racking the miles.

Oregon knows, already feeling the gas tax pinch. Got them a university, Oregon State. Engineers there got a solution, already being “road tested,” as they say. Gonna tax you by the mile. Gonna slap a GPS gadget on your car, which you’ll undoubtedly get to pay for along with your mandatory five-point seat corset (those belts just let too much fat hang loose) and your mobile safe-baby vault.

The GPS loopengooper will measure your mileage, down to fractions of millimeters. When you eventually pull in for the smidgen of gas you need, a new, smarter than you gas pump will get all intimate with your odometer and tax you, standing right there with the pump still in your hand, for the miles driven. Tax Kaching! You ain’t even gonna have enough change left for a Twinkie or a Ho Ho.

Oregon’s already got it going. California is watching closely. New tax gimmicks tarry for no man. We’d urge you to start walking, but your cell phone already knows where you are, and they can pack some pretty mean electronics into the sole of a Nike.



The underlying problem for environmentalists is not that they typically engage in factual distortions and scaremongering for a good cause. The problem is that their cause isn't good. Among the "unexamined assumptions" and "outdated concepts" of environmentalism that ought to be challenged are its core philosophic premises -- chief among them, the idea that "pristine nature" has inherent or "intrinsic value" in itself, independent of any usefulness to humans. This anti-human premise in fact lies at the root of most environmentalist scaremongering and "extremism." And ironically, Kristof himself is a major public purveyor of that premise.

Consider the recommendations in his [Kristoff's] latest article. He insists that "priority should go to avoiding environmental damage that is irreversible, like extinctions, climate change and loss of wilderness. And irreversible changes are precisely what are at stake with the Bush administration’s plans to drill in the Arctic wildlife refuge, to allow roads in virgin wilderness and to do essentially nothing on global warming. That’s an agenda that will disgrace us before our grandchildren."

But note what is tacitly implied in this passage. Why does he equate "environmental damage" with "extinctions" and "loss of wilderness"? Why is it a "disgrace" for the Bush administration "to allow roads in virgin wilderness" or "to drill in the Arctic wildlife refuge"?

These are not concerns and criticisms based upon scientific or economic facts; they are based on certain philosophical values. In fact, I dissected Kristof's value premises in some of my earliest blog entries, "A conflict of values in the Arctic" and "Krisfof's Choice -- and ours." I noted that, in a series of articles, Kristof had opposed any oil and gas exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Preserve, even though he readily conceded all the following scientific and economic facts:

* that the 3,000 acres under consideration for drilling represent only a minuscule fraction of the refuge's vast area;

* that the area targeted for exploration is a frozen patch of barren tundra with zero aesthetic appeal, and isn't "environmentally sensitive" even by green standards;

* that the Prudhoe Bay area of Alaska, the bustling center of existing oil drilling, hasn't caused a biological holocaust, but on the contrary is teeming with wildlife -- that herds of carabou, for instance, have even quintupled in the area;

* and that modern drilling techniques are far less environmentally intrusive than even those then used at Prudhoe Bay.

In addition to all this, Kristof also acknowledged that "It's also only fair to give special weight to the views of the only people who live in the coastal plain: the Inupiat Eskimos, who overwhelmingly favor drilling (they are poor now, and oil could make them millionaires). One of the Eskimos, Bert Akootchook, angrily told me that if environmentalists were so anxious about the Arctic, they should come here and clean up the petroleum that naturally seeps to the surface of the tundra."

Finally, he admitted that "we need to get our oil from somewhere, and Americans are dying now in Iraq because of our dependence on foreign oil." Surely that's a fact which ought to trump all other considerations.

But no. In his series conclusion, Kristof simply tossed out the window all of these compelling factual scientific, economic and geopolitical considerations...when balanced against a single premise -- the alleged inherent value of untouched wilderness:

The argument that I find most compelling is that this primordial wilderness, a part of our national inheritance that is roughly the same as it was a thousand years ago, would be irretrievably lost if we drilled. The Bush administration's proposal to drill is therefore not just bad policy but also shameful, for it would casually rob our descendants forever of the chance to savor this magical coastal plain -- and to be slapped in the butt by a frisky polar bear." [emphasis added]

I replied:

"So there it is. Balanced against human lives, it's far more important to Mr. Kristof (and those of his spiritual brethren who can afford private excursions to remote Arctic wastelands) that he can be awakened by being slapped on the butt by a bear.

"On behalf of our kids in Iraq, would that some bear had slapped him in the face."

The problem, you see, isn't environmentalist "extremism" or "moderation." As I note in my extended essay on environmentalism, even self-styled "moderate" environmentalists like Kristof all share the notion that "pristine nature" represents a kind of moral-metaphysical ideal, and that the presence and activity of people "degrades," "mars," "blights," "ruins," etc., the purity and perfection of an "unsullied" natural environment. Pick up any environmentalist book, listen to any environmentalist spokesman, and you'll find such language tossed about with abandon. And all of them tacitly assume a value system in which humans and their activities are, by nature, immoral.

Those are the real "unexamined assumptions" and "outdated concepts" at the heart of environmentalism -- whether the proponents are violent "extremists" like PETA and ELF, scientific "alarmists" like the NRDC and climatologist Stephen Schneider or self-declared "moderates" like writers Schellenberger, Nordhaus and Kristof.

What does it mean, in practice, to hold a philosophy that pristine nature has intrinsic value in itself, and that Man and his activities are intrusive threats to the so-called ecological balance? Ideas have consequences, and the policies and laws arising from this philosophical outlook have been devastating to human life and well-being -- as I show in my own article, "Death By Environmentalism."

In the closing comment of his recent column, Nicholas Kristof says, "So it’s critical to have a credible, nuanced, highly respected environmental movement. And right now, I’m afraid we don’t have one." He's right, at least in his last conclusion. But he doesn't grasp the reason.

If environmentalists truly care to do something about their own waning credibility and influence, what they first need to confront -- and reject -- is their anti-human philosophy. For the environmentalist movement will never earn credibility and respect unless it jettisons the morally bankrupt assumption at its very foundation.

More here


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

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


14 March 2005


From Kristoff in the NYT

""The Death of Environmentalism" resonated with me. I was once an environmental groupie, and I still share the movement's broad aims, but I'm now skeptical of the movement's "I Have a Nightmare" speeches.

In the 1970's, the environmental movement was convinced that the Alaska oil pipeline would devastate the Central Arctic caribou herd. Since then, it has quintupled.

When I first began to worry about climate change, global cooling and nuclear winter seemed the main risks. As Newsweek said in 1975: "Meteorologists disagree about the cause and extent of the cooling trend ... but they are almost unanimous in the view that the trend will reduce agricultural productivity for the rest of the century."

This record should teach environmentalists some humility. The problems are real, but so is the uncertainty. Environmentalists were right about DDT's threat to bald eagles, for example, but blocking all spraying in the third world has led to hundreds of thousands of malaria deaths.

Likewise, environmentalists were right to warn about population pressures, but they overestimated wildly. Paul Ehrlich warned in "The Population Bomb" that "the battle to feed humanity is over. ... Hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death." On my bookshelf is an even earlier book, "Too Many Asians," with a photo of a mass of Indians on the cover. The book warns that the threat from relentlessly multiplying Asians is "even more grave than that of nuclear warfare."

Jared Diamond, author of the fascinating new book "Collapse," which shows how some civilizations in effect committed suicide by plundering their environments, says false alarms aren't a bad thing. Professor Diamond argues that if we accept false alarms for fires, then why not for the health of our planet? But environmental alarms have been screeching for so long that, like car alarms, they are now just an irritating background noise.

At one level, we're all environmentalists now. The Pew Research Center found that more than three-quarters of Americans agree that "this country should do whatever it takes to protect the environment." Yet support for the environment is coupled with a suspicion of environmental groups. "The Death of Environmentalism" notes that a poll in 2000 found that 41 percent of Americans considered environmental activists to be "extremists." There are many sensible environmentalists, of course, but overzealous ones have tarred the entire field.

The loss of credibility is tragic because reasonable environmentalists - without alarmism or exaggerations - are urgently needed.

Given the uncertainties and trade-offs, priority should go to avoiding environmental damage that is irreversible, like extinctions, climate change and loss of wilderness. And irreversible changes are precisely what are at stake with the Bush administration's plans to drill in the Arctic wildlife refuge, to allow roads in virgin wilderness and to do essentially nothing on global warming. That's an agenda that will disgrace us before our grandchildren.

So it's critical to have a credible, nuanced, highly respected environmental movement. And right now, I'm afraid we don't have one.


ANWR is 16 MILLION acres. That's big.

The footprint for the STATE OF THE ART, WORLD-CLASS proposed oil drilling facility in ANWR is 2,000 acres. That's sounds big, but it isn't as big as it sounds. That's 1/8000ths of ANWR'S total area!

PUT IT INTO PERSPECTIVE: The NEVERLAND RANCH - Michael Jackson's ranch in California is 2744 acres - that's about 40% BIGGER than the proposed oil facility. (And what allegedly goes on in Neverland is more disgusting than what goes on in any an oil facility anywhere!)

By the way: Canada - our #1 foreign source for oil - currently extracts oil from an area in Canada right near ANWR, and just like ANWR - with the approval of the Native Americans who live there. If they can do it safely, so can Americans! ALSO: if Norwegians and Brits can safely extract oil from the dangerous North Sea, then we Americans can certainly extract oil safely from good old terra-firma!

And to those who claim that the ONE MILLION BARRELS P/D that ANWR might produce is a paltrey amount which not worth the risk I say: When Iraq's oil production went UP to one-million barrels it was an important and positive milestone for Iraq and the global oil markets. Now, Iraq produces 2 million barrels a day. If ANWR produces 50% of what Iraq produces, then I'd say we were doing ALL RIGHT! The U.S. Geological Survey, updated May 2000, estimated that the area might contain up to 16 billion barrels of oil — five years of U.S. imports. That's nothing to sneeze at!

THEREFORE: Opposition to drilling in ANWR is irrational. Which is probably why it fits right in with Leftist policies.

More HERE (facts from the DOI), and HERE (why Canadian Native Americans favor drilling for oil in Canada, but oppose it in the USA).

(Post lifted from Astute Blogger)


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

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


13 March 2005


Malaria had almost been wiped out before DDT -- one of the world's safest chemicals -- was banned under the pressure of baseless Greenie panic-mongering about a "silent spring"

The number of cases of malaria may be double that previously estimated, a team of researchers has found. A team of scientists, led by Robert Snow, based at the Wellcome Trust Research Laboratories in Kenya found that over half a billion people could be infected with the killer disease.

The research, which has been published in 'Nature', estimated that there were around 515 million clinical cases of malaria in 2002, although the actual figure could be between 300 and 660 million. The study also found that the figures dramatically rose in areas outside Africa, where the new figures were at least three times as high as those previously estimated by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Malaria is caused by a mosquito-borne parasite and it is thought to be one of the world's biggest killers. The new study, which has been published in Nature, used a computer model to construct a detailed world map to demonstrate how many people are likely to be experiencing malaria symptoms.

The team divided the world into regions where the disease is present, excluding areas above a certain altitude, where the parasite would be less able to survive, and extremely built-up areas where there was less clean water in which the mosquitoes could breed. The search was further refined by the addition of population density estimates, the risk of becoming infected from a mosquito bite and medical reports on the likelihood of an infection developing into full-blown fever and other symptoms.

The report has been published as a global effort to tackle malaria is increasing. The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, which co-ordinates government and private funding, has put ś3.1 billion into researching these diseases since it was established in 2002.

However, public health advisors and advocates have said that more money is needed, mainly because it has already known how to treat malaria, through the use of measures such as insecticide-treated bed nets and drugs.

Experts at the WHO have confirmed that they will be working with Mr Snow's team to refine their own estimates of malaria infection. Eline Korenromp, from the WHO's malaria-monitoring unit in Geneva, Switzerland, said that the organisation's latest figures, due to be published later this year, are between 350 and 500 million and largely overlap with the findings of Mr Snow's team.



One of the many headaches that George W. Bush inherited from his predecessor was the Puerto Rican Island of Vieques. In the waning years of the Clinton administration, protesters demanded that the U.S. Navy abandon bombing and naval gunfire exercises that had taken place on the largely uninhabited island for nearly seventy years. It became a leftist cause. Liberal icons bumped into one another to fly to Puerto Rico, boat over to the island, trespass (but never on a day that there was an exercise scheduled) and get arrested for the benefit of the New York Times or Newsweek. They included the Reverend Al Sharpton, Mrs. Jesse Jackson, Joan Baez, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Edward Olomos, Michael Moore and Ramsey Clark, just to name a few.

Hillary Clinton, then running for the U.S. Senate in New York, chastised the U.S. Navy for not bowing to the "will of the citizens of Puerto Rico," until her husband, a week before the election, issued an executive order to phase out the facility by 2003, despite recommendations to the contrary by his own Secretary of Defense and the Chief of Naval Operations.

In 2002, the bombing exercises were transferred to an Air Force bombing range in central Florida, not far from the Jacksonville and Pensacola Naval Air Stations. In January, many of the protesters were back in Puerto Rico, celebrating the final bombing exercise on Vieques and waved Puerto Rican flags and placards that read "U.S. Navy, get out of Puerto Rico."

On February 21, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld announced that the U.S. Navy will close the Roosevelt Roads Naval Air Station in Puerto Rico in 2004, eliminating 1200 civilian jobs as well as 700 military positions. This naval facility is estimated to put nearly $300 million annually into the local economy. The next day a stunned Governor Sila Calderon, held a news conference in San Juan, protesting the base closure as a serious blow to Commonwealth's fragile economy. The governor stated that "The people of Puerto Rico don't now or never did have an interest in closing the Vieques bombing range or the Roosevelt Roads naval base. My government is interested in both staying in Puerto Rico."

When asked, Admiral Robert J. Natter, Commander-in Chief, Western Atlantic Command, said, "Without Vieques, I see no further need for the facility at Roosevelt Roads. None."



Abstract of a recent scientific paper from the Netherlands:

This paper provides a literature study of the observations on temperature changes and the accumulation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. It investigates the cause-effect relationship between these parameters, and makes an alternative interpretation to that given by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The IPCC assumes increased used of fossil fuels is the major cause of the increasing concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. And the increasing carbon dioxide leads to global warming because of infrared absorption by this gas. The following observations are not in agreement with the assumed direct correlation.

1. There is a very gradual increase to the annual human production of carbon dioxide, but the accumulation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is not proportional to the human emission. The annual uptake of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is highly variable.

2. The measured average global temperature is also very variable and it is not proportional to the observed concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

The variable amount of carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere each year, follows reasonably well the specific average value of the temperature in that year. This leads to the suggestion that the temperature causes the accumulation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere (i.e. the opposite of the IPCC's assumption): the annual average temperature varies under various influences, and this causes variable additions of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. These influences can be external (cosmic) or internal (due to inherent instability of the climate system).

The human emission of carbon dioxide may be contributing to the accumulation of this gas in the atmosphere - although we do not know to what extent - but this does not necessarily contribute to an extra temperature rise through infrared absorption. The temperature of the atmosphere is not exclusively determined by the radiation balance, but also by the high circulation rate of water. Evaporation from the Earth's surface absorbs heat and transports it to the higher air layers where condensation releases the heat so cool water returns to the surface as precipitation. This contributes to the pleasant climate on Earth.

The alarming message about a global temperature rise originates from measurements made at weather stations almost all in land areas. Weather balloons did not register this. The temperature of the troposphere has been measured world-wide since 1979. These observations - that include the oceans - do not as yet indicate a significant rise.

Taking into consideration the rapid passage of water through the atmosphere, which is expected to provide for an effective natural and self-regulating thermostat, provides explanation of several observations which are still puzzling in the current IPCC conception.

Climate change is a natural phenomenon that has always happened. It is generally assumed that since ~1870 there has been a trend of slight temperature increase over land. But this trend shows no direct annual relationship with the carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere.



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

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


12 March 2005


The b******s even want to stop us using burnt trees! Note the arrogance:

Loggers began chopping down trees Monday inside a wildfire-ravaged old-growth forest after authorities hauled away environmentalists trying to block the logging from taking place. Loggers toting chainsaws, axes and fuel cans hiked past the protest site on the Siskiyou National Forest and a short while later the roar of chainsaws and trees crashing to earth could be heard. Authorities arrested 10 people and towed away a disabled pickup draped with an Earth First banner.

The battle has become the focus of a national debate between conservationists and the Bush administration over how to treat the millions of acres of national forest that burn every year in wildfires and whether to log any of the remaining old growth in national forests. Old-growth forest reserves were designated primarily for fish and wildlife habitat under a 1994 forest plan. That act was created to balance logging against habitat for salmon and the northern spotted owl.

About 50 protesters assembled at the forest before dawn in an attempt to stall logging that had been made possible by the expiration of an injunction. "We have no laws in our forest so we will be the law," said Joan Norman, 72, of Selma, before Forest Service law enforcement officers picked her up in her metal lawn chair blocking a logging road bridge.

John West, president of Silver Creek Logging Co., said the protesters had a right to their say, but a federal court injunction that held up the logging for months has expired, and work has to proceed quickly to avoid further loss of the fire-killed timber to insects and rot. "The people of this country have given the Forest Service the responsibility for taking care of this land," West said. "The Forest Service is trying to do that."

Monday's logging occurred at the site of a wildfire that charred 500,000 acres and was the largest in the nation in 2002.

The Forest Service and timber industry contend that by cutting trees on a small fraction of the forest burned by the fire, they can finance work to speed the growth of a new forest while providing much-needed timber for local mills.

More here


A litany of false prophecies:

It's time for a new perspective on all the ominous warnings about global warming, scarcity of resources, overpopulation, deforestation, etc: Yes, we do have problems with the environment that we must address. But some of these problems no longer exist or never did, and our technological advances are doing a good job of addressing the others. Yet the doomsayers act as if the problems are ignored, which is just not true.

For one example, after hearing scary talk about global overpopulation for most of our lives, it is now predicted by U.N. and independent researchers that the world's population will stabilize by midcentury, then start declining. Why? Technological advances have yielded great affluence, and affluent families tend to be smaller.

The plunging fertility rate is already creating problems with Europe's social welfare programs. There aren't enough workers joining the job force to pay for benefits. But this phenomenon is not limited to developed countries. The fertility rate is also dropping in Third World nations as they become richer.

Along with talk about overpopulation, we also used to hear that if big industrial nations kept up their insatiable demands for limited resources, we would run out ofthose resources. Instead, thanks to technology, we enjoy abundance, not scarcity.

For another example, the green movement would have us believe that because of our indifference to environmental preservation, we are mowing down our forests to feed our rapacious industries.

But that's false, according to Jack Hollander, professor emeritus of energy and resources at UC Berkeley. "Technological advances [have] contributed to saving the American forests. As new fossil-fuel-powered agricultural machines were introduced early in the 20th century, farmers were able to produce crops more efficiently, so they needed less land for a given output," Hollander wrote in his book, "The Real Environmental Crisis: Why Poverty, Not Affluence, is the Environment's Number One Enemy."

What happened in Vermont is a good example. In the 1700s, Vermont was almost totally covered with forest, yet by 1850 so much clearing had taken place for agricultural use that the forest cover had dropped to 35 percent. People feared that Vermont would become a wasteland. Today, however, Vermont's forest cover has sharply rebounded to the point where it is now seen in 77 percent of the state.

In the United States as a whole, over 300 million acres of forest were lost between 1600 and 1920 due to farming and the use of wood for cooking and heating. Forest acreage began to stabilize around the turn of the 20th century and has been expanding since 1920. At present, total forest acreage is 737 million acres - almost three-quarters as much as in 1600.

Since the 1950s, timber growth has consistently exceeded harvest. The wood supply in the United States will be available indefinitely because industry and government continue to invest in efficient forest management techniques and technologies.

For a third example, let's look at global warming. Robert C. Balling Jr., a climatology professor at Arizona State University, points out that the Kyoto Treaty isn't so much about preventing this supposed phenomenon asit is about vindicating a political process that led to a dubious U.N. and world "consensus." This process has made it difficult for sound science to triumph in evaluating whether the threat is real, but what is known is hardly a cause for alarm, Balling and other respected scientists contend.

The key point here is that the possibility of global warming isn't just being ignored by Kyoto critics, as Kyoto supporters say. Instead, it's being taken seriously by scientists whose own research leads them to question the consensus.

Unfortunately, the environmental movement is now more about protecting its fund-raising efforts than protecting the environment. Whatever the facts, greens aim to scare people into thinking environmental catastrophe is right around the corner - and that only your dollars will allow them to stop it.

But the reality isn't that scary at all, and when real problems pop up, they are being dealt with, not ignored.



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

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


11 March 2005


Neal Boortz comments:

Gas prices are on the way up. Look for over two bucks a gallon for most of your Spring and Summer driving. The problem here is not that the world's supply of oil is running short. The problem is that the supply is undependable. Every time Islamic goons blow up an oil pipeline in Iraq you see a spike in oil prices. Add the terrorism problem to the fact that we don't have enough refining capacity .. and you have expensive gas.

How many years has it been since an oil refinery was built in the United States? I think that it's been over 25 years. Can't you imagine that this is having some affect on getting gas to the pumps for your Summer driving? And then there's all those special blends. We have about 55 different blends for different parts of the country .. all demanded by the eco-whacko crowd. The refineries can't keep up.

Who to blame? How about environmentalists? Any plan to build a new refinery is immediately met by a tidal wave of opposition from so-called "environmental" groups. Ditto for any suggestion that we start retrieving the supplies of crude oil and natural gas from the Gulf shore of Florida and the Pacific coast. No can do, the environmentalists don't like it. Then, of course, there's ANWR. On its best days ANWR looks like a vacant urban lot. Most of the time it looks like an iced-over K-Mart parking lot. There's oil there, but we can't get to it. Again .. blame the environmentalists.

What about nuclear power plants? Environmentalists again.

Remember, for many of the so-called environmentalists, the goal isn't protecting the environment. The real goal is weakening America. The environmental movement became the refuge-of-choice for socialists and communists who had nowhere else to go after the fall of the Soviet Union and the worldwide communist movement. Here they found a movement they could use to further their goals of weakening capitalism and the American economy ... and anyone who dares to challenge them is branded as a wicked capitalist who wants dirty air and water.

When you fill up your tanks for your trip to grandmas, remember to thank your friendly local environmentalist groups for their help.


Facts versus fears on biotechnology: "By reducing the need to cultivate for weed control, herbicide-tolerant crops greatly decrease soil erosion (by nearly a billion tons per year), keeping sediment out of lakes and streams. No-till farming also reduces fuel use (by some 300 million gallons of gasoline a year), and increases carbon dioxide uptake by soils -- good news for anyone worried about global warming. Increased crop yields, in turn, mean African farmers can grow enough crops to feed livestock, so they can regularly include protein in their diets for perhaps the first time in their lives. But anti-GM activists won't let anything as silly as facts affect their misplaced resolve to stop biotech progress in its tracks."


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

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


10 March 2005


Just another way of wasting money and raising taxes

Haste maketh waste, and in the fast- paced world of technology, there's a lot of it. In California, home of the technology revolution, 10,000 home computers and TVs are retired daily. While that amounts to a tiny fraction of the state's total waste stream, the issue is creating heaps of hype and hysteria about what to do with the growing amount of electronic waste or "e-waste." This year, California became the first state to hold consumers responsible for their e-mess. Californians buying a TV, home computer or laptop must now pay $6 to $10 to finance a costly program to collect and recycle all used machines throughout the state.

While the fee may seem insignificant, there is little reason to believe it will remain low for long; the cost to recycle a single computer is six times that amount. Advocacy groups such as the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition, who have been aggressively lobbying the state and Congress for mandatory recycling laws, already are arguing the fee does not go far enough. They would like to see the fee raised to $60 per product to cover the full costs of recycling. California's new law also requires manufacturers to rethink the way they build computers. By 2007, they must phase out lead - currently used in computers to protect users from the tube's X-rays - mercury, cadmium, and other substances crucial to the operation of PCs.

The widespread panic is based on misinformation spread largely by powerful eco-activist groups who believe the growing amount of electronic waste reflects the ills of a "throwaway" society and that recycling e-waste is our moral obligation to achieve "zero waste tolerance." Among the myths bandied about are that e-waste is growing at an uncontrollable, "exponential" rate; and that heavy metals contained in computers are leaking out of the landfills, poisoning our ground soil.

In reality, e-waste has remained at only 1 percent of the total municipal waste stream since the U.S. EPA began calculating electronics discards in 1999. Furthermore, the annual number of obsolete home computers is expected to level off at 63 million this year and will then begin to decline. While that still sounds like a lot of computers, it's not an unmanageable amount. Our landfills are fully equipped to handle all our waste - e-waste included.

Nor is there any scientific evidence that e-waste in landfills presents a health risk. Landfills are built today with thick, puncture-resistant liners that keep waste from coming into contact with soil and groundwater. Timothy Townsend of the University of Florida, a leading expert on the effects of electronic waste in landfills, conducted tests in 2003 on 11 municipal landfills containing e-waste from TV and computer monitors, along with other solid waste. He and his associate Yong-Chul Jang found concentrations of lead far below the safety standard and less than 1 percent of what EPA's lab tests had predicted. "There is no compelling evidence," according to Townsend, that e-waste buried in municipal landfills presents a health risk.....



By now you would think that the idea of global warming was a fait d'accompli but even with predictions of soaring temperatures and the incessant cries of "global warming" it seems that things are not so hot on the climate change front. Global temperatures are yet to exceed the levels of 1998 despite the carbon dioxide emissions for the last six years being about 10 per cent of the total increase since 1750, according the UK's Climate Research Unit and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. The average temperature in 2004 was 0.45C above the 1961-90 average but 1998's temperature was 0.13C higher again. It must anguish the proponents of global warming to see that all this extra gas appears to have no discernible effect.

There is little doubt that certain parts of the world are warming but it doesn't take an expert climatologist to understand that with global average temperatures still below 1998 levels it would seem that many regions are showing only very minor warming, little change or even perhaps some cooling.

Australian average temperatures show a similar pattern to global temperatures with 1998 still the highest in the approximately 85 years of reliable records. Last year's average temperature was 0.45C above the 1960-91 average, a long way short of the 0.84C above that average in 1998. According to the Bureau of Meteorology 2004 was merely the tenth highest on record, behind even the distant years of 1973, 1980, 1988. What's more, two of the six years since 1998 had average temperatures below that 1960-91 average. It would be premature to say that we are now entering a cooling phase but it could be a distinct possibility.

The late Dr Theodor Landscheidt, a specialist in studies of solar activity predicted that solar activity will now decline until about 2030 and this will cause a mini-ice age just as it did several times in the last 2,000 years. Whether that prediction will be correct remains to be seen but just now the earth is not warming as quickly as the pundits say that it should.

But it is more than just temperatures which have raised questions about global warming matters. Just last month the journal Geophysical Research Letters published an article by two Canadian researchers, McIntyre and McKitrick, which disputed the "hockey stick" graph of temperature, the famous graph which attempts to show that temperatures in the last 20 years have been the highest in the last 1,000 years. With complex mathematics and statistics they showed that the method used to create that graph would produce a similar graph from even random data. (Pre-print copy available here (pdf file 122KB).) This finding has caused quite a stir in several countries with contrary articles appearing in The Wall Street Journal, Canada's National Post and several Dutch newspapers.

The theories underlying climate change were also disputed at a conference at Gummersbach, Germany, on February 18 to 20. Called Kyoto - Climatic Predictions: Meaningfulness of the models and strategies for action, this conference was unusual because global warming sceptics were invited to present their arguments.

Feeling was running high in Germany following recent strong publicity for Michael Crichton's new book State of Fear in the widely-read Stern magazine with 17 pages devoted to the discussion of climate issues criticising some of the unjustified exaggeration of climate change issues, under the main title "Climate Catastrophe: a panic scare?". This was after Der Spiegel, another weekly, published an interview with Professor Hans von Storch in which he described the "hockey stick" graph as rubbish and criticised the unfounded hype of potential risks by climate alarmists.

One sensation of the Gummersbach conference was the announcement that out of 500 European climate researchers surveyed, 25 per cent still doubt whether most of the warming during the last 150 years can be attributed to human activities and CO2 emissions. So much for the supposed consensus on global warming among climate scientists. So much also for claims that only a tiny minority are sceptical. Speakers at this conference also disputed fundamental claims about global warming. Professor Mangini of the University of Heidelberg said with regard to the geological past, scientists are agreed about ice core evidence which suggests that the rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels followed an increase of temperatures - and not the other way round. Professor Gerlich of the Technical University of Braunschweig argued that at 0.03 per cent of the total volume of the atmosphere the concentration of carbon dioxide was simply too insignificant to cause any measurable temperature change. He and Britain's Julian Morris had little time for mathematical modelling with Gerlich suggesting that climate modellers were worse than astrologers, the latter of whom at least observed real planets and their movements.

Those comments about modelling may well be true if the predictions by Australia's CSIRO are anything to go by. The CSIRO models appear to be unable to accurately reproduce the temperature and rainfall in the last 40 years. What hope is there that their predictions for the next 100 years will even be close? In a recent paper in Ecological Modelling, Craig Loehle of the USA analysed 2 temperature sequences of 3,000 years. He concluded, as many global warming sceptics have before him, that anywhere from a major portion to all of the warming of the 20th Century could plausibly result from natural causes.

On February 25, 2005 David Taverne, a member of Britain's House of Lords, stated in parliament that he was in favour of reducing carbon dioxide emissions but went on to mention several of the uncertainties about climate change. He particularly noted the tendency for the IPCC's draft documents to initially show uncertainties but replace these with more definite statements prior to publication, a process he described as "sexing up". He went on to say, "There is a sort of political taboo about the issue. If you express doubts, you must be in the pay of the oil industry or a Bush supporter. There is a slight whiff of eco-McCarthyism about."

With natural events now being seen as the likely cause of recent warming, the accuracy of models being questioned, growing disquiet about global warming in several countries, more dissent among scientists than claimed, the "hockey stick" looking rather mangled, and temperatures failing to behave in the manner they are supposed to - and whether one will attract the ire of eco-McCarthyists or not for saying so - it seems that global warming theories may be headed for meltdown.

If global warming theories are indeed incorrect and carbon dioxide is not the cause, then the primary justification for the Kyoto Agreement disappears, and with it the associated concept of carbon trading, alternative energy systems, and funding for research projects. No wonder a few people are getting a little hot under the collar.



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

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


9 March 2005


A lot of "science" is no longer scientific. You can't trust them, sad to say. Science is now a branch of politics. You have to listen to all sides to get the full story

In the United Kingdom, most of the respected broadsheet newspapers have cut costs and increased circulation by adding a tabloid edition. Some argue that this downsizing has led to a dumbing down of the papers' content. But, in both Britain and America, it is not just the news industry that is shifting to a more sensationalistic attitude. Some scientific journals are abandoning scientific neutrality in favor of policy stances and headline-grabbing scare stories, favoring style over substance.

A prime example is the British Medical Journal (BMJ), which recently published a news story that suggested that Eli Lilly, the makers of Prozac, had failed to disclose links between the drug and violent behavior and suicide. The story alleges that certain documents detailing the alleged links—and provided to the BMJ by an anonymous source—had not been shared with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and had gone "missing" during the trial of man charged with murder in 1994. In a strongly worded response, Lilly pointed out that the documents had been in general circulation for years. In fact, the BMJ's one example of missing scientific data had been published by Lilly in the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology in 1992! The BMJ refused to allow Lilly to review the documents prior to publishing the story; Lilly was only able to do so after obtaining copies from Democratic congressman Maurice Hinchey of New York, who had received copies from the BMJ. Moreover, the BMJ told Lilly that it would have an opportunity to discuss the issue further after the Christmas holidays—but then went ahead and issued its story on January 1; it also sent the documents to the FDA.

This is "gotcha" journalism at its worst. The story would not have survived a cursory glance by a newsroom editor because the authors neither gave Lilly a chance to respond in an informed fashion nor checked the relevant background to see whether the documents were credible. Yet it was published by a scientific journal supposedly bound to uphold the highest standards of accuracy.

Yet the problem goes wider than journals. Even some scientists are keen to trumpet their claims by means of sensational press releases, thus doing a disservice to sound science policy. For example, last November, a Johns Hopkins University research team found a correlation between consumption of high doses of Vitamin E and early death. They released the results to the press the same day they were published online by Annals of Internal Medicine. This resulted in a USA Today story headlined, "High Dose of Vitamin E May Increase Death Risk." The research concentrated on the elderly, especially those with heart disease, and could not be generalized to healthy people under 60—but this important fact was buried deep in the press release and was not given the emphasis it should have been by any news coverage. In addition to this significant problem, the actual difference in risk of early death—5 percent—was small enough to raise question marks among anyone familiar with epidemiological principles.

Meanwhile, Nature, Britain's premier journal of natural science, has overtly abandoned neutrality in favor of specific policy stances in certain areas, most notably global warming. For instance, in the past year it has published an editorial favoring restrictions on the aviation industry; a news article that concludes that greenhouse-gas emissions trading shows that industries must reduce emissions; an essay on Napoleon's scientist Joseph Fourier that asks whether a future Nature essayist will look back and ask why we ignored evidence that the Earth's climate can change dramatically; and a speculative study on species extinction that endorses reducing greenhouse-gas emissions.

Perhaps the most blatant example of this "tabloidization" of science is the recent change in the cover design of the prestigious British medical journal The Lancet. For years, its cover featured a simple table of contents. Now, however, it is emblazoned by one extracted quote in a style worthy of Britain's Daily Mirror. For example, its October 1, 2004, issue's cover quotation read, "The prospect that vitamin pills may not only do no good but also kill their consumers is a scary speculation given the vast quantities that are used in certain communities." Yet the journal also ran an editorial comment on the study that pointed out that the elevated risk of death originated from "one trial in an anomalous population of smokers, ex-smokers and occupationally exposed asbestos workers. The other high-quality not suggest increased mortality."

More here


"Is environmentalism dead? That's the startling question posed by a pair of young environmentalists, Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus, who stirred a brouhaha at a meeting of the Environmental Grantmakers Association last fall by arguing that Americans are tuning out on the environment.....

But the idea that environmentalism is an endangered species is absurd. It might not rank as high on the list of political priorities as today's environmentalists would like, but ask the average American whether he or she considers himself or herself to be an environmentalist, and the answer will be an unequivocal yes -- as poll after poll has shown. Even the dreaded Bush feels constrained to offer solutions to presumed threats like global warming despite disagreement about the causes and dangers.

No, the question is not whether environmentalism is dead. It's whether a particular brand of environmentalism -- precisely the progressive brand favored by the likes of Shellenberger and Nordhaus -- is dead. And the answer there is an equally clear yes. The Shellenberger/Nordhaus thesis assumes that there is only one possible form of environmentalism: ever-increasing government regulation; public ownership of ever-growing amounts of land; restrictions on where and how people can live; international treaties limiting carbon dioxide (and thus energy use) -- in short, a long list of command-and-control strategies predicated on the assumption that the political elites know best how to organize things in a sustainable way.

But command-and-control strategies in the environmental arena suffer from the same fatal defect as any other government-controlled enterprise: vast expense but dismal results, at least when measured by the claims made for most environmental legislation. Less than 20 creatures, for example, have been removed from the list established by the very intrusive Endangered Species Act of 1973. The air and water are cleaner, but they were growing rapidly cleaner anyway prior to formation of the EPA, according to some environmental historians.

Only by generating scare stories in the media has the environmental movement sustained itself. But now that many scare stories have been questioned, the movement is losing credibility.

Around the world, economists also are beginning to understand that the one sure marker of a clean society is a wealthy society -- because economic growth means more efficiency, less waste (pollution) and more resources to deal with remaining problems. As wealth increases, so does public desire for environmental amenities. Entrepreneurs are finding ways to capture the value of those amenities and even profit from them -- a far more sustainable approach than relying on the goodness of a government bureaucracy. Environmentalists like Shellenberger and Nordhaus keep insisting that the answer is for environmental donors to kick in ever greater gobs of money to progressive causes. But it makes you wonder if they are really interested in progressive results. And it misses the real environmental revolution taking place.

More here


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

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


8 March 2005

Global warming: 21st century eugenics

The most important point in Michael Chrichton's runaway best seller "State of Fear" is his comparison of the global warming theory to the theory of eugenics. The theory of eugenics contends that the human condition would be improved through government-mandated selective breeding. The theory of global warming contends that government-mandated reduction in the use of fossil fuel is required to prevent catastrophic climate change.

Francis Galton coined the term "eugenics" in 1883 to describe the practice of studied, selective breeding to improve the human race. It was a reasonable idea at the time, supported by the growing practice of agricultural selective breeding to produce more productive farm animals. The eugenics theory attracted popular support on both sides of the Atlantic. The first International Congress of Eugenics was held in 1912, and the American Eugenics Society was organized in 1922. Yale University professor Irving Fisher served as president. Similar organizations were formed in Europe, headed by leading scientists and academicians.

Eugenics proponents reasoned that since society could be improved by insuring that only the "well-bred" should produce offspring, then society would be diminished by the offspring of people who were not "well-bred," or who were poor, criminals or "feebleminded." It was quickly discovered that marriages among the rich, professional classes tended to produce fewer offspring than marriages among the poor, uneducated working classes......

By the mid 1930s, the theory of eugenics was accepted as fact in America and throughout Europe. Julian Huxley (founder of UNESCO and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature) was the president of the European Eugenics Society. Scientists, academicians, politicians and individuals who did not embrace the eugenics theory were ostracized as heretics and contrarians. Eugenics was the consensus belief among the scientific, academic, political and philanthropic communities.

They were all wrong. Eugenics gave rise to the Ku Klux Klan, to the white supremacy movement and to Adolf Hitler's gas chambers. Despite these horrors, it was not until 1967 that the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Virginia's "Racial Integrity Act" and similar laws in 15 other states. Government-mandated sterilizations continued until the mid 1970s. Interestingly, the American Eugenics Society changed its name in 1973, to the Society for the Study of Social Biology. Eugenics proponents misused science to advance their social-engineering agenda.

When it was introduced, the global warming theory sounded reasonable: Since carbon dioxide was known to be increasing in the atmosphere, the "thickened" atmosphere would trap the sun's heat and cause global warming. (Of course, initially, in the 1970s, it was thought that the result of increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would be global cooling and the onset of a new ice age)....

Scientists who dare to question the global warming "consensus" are ridiculed and branded as contrarians, as were the skeptics of eugenics. Government and foundations withhold grants from researchers whose work product fails to advance the global warming consensus, in much the same way skeptics of eugenics were denied research grants. Universities and education associations teach the global warming theory as fact, just as they taught the theory of eugenics as fact. Even churches are pressured to take up the global warming cause - just as they were pressured to preach eugenics. Politicians who fail to toe the global-warming line are targeted for replacement - as were the politicians who opposed segregation and forced sterilization....

In the end, the truth will prevail. If it takes a century for the global warming theory to collapse, the bodies of people who were denied electricity - and the heat, clean water and refrigeration it can provide - will weigh more heavily than the Holocaust upon a society that should have learned from its mistaken belief in eugenics.

More here


Self-strandings by marine mammals have always been common but the one case where a submarine was nearby, it has to be the submarine's fault. No prizes for guessing what the real agenda is -- and it's not concern for dolphins. The news report follows:

"The Navy and marine wildlife experts are investigating whether the beaching of dozens of dolphins in the Florida Keys followed the use of sonar by a submarine on a training exercise off the coast. More than 20 rough-toothed dolphins have died since Wednesday's beaching by about 70 of the marine mammals, Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary spokeswoman Cheva Heck said Saturday.

A day before the dolphins swam ashore, the USS Philadelphia had conducted exercises with Navy SEALs off Key West, about 45 miles from Marathon, where the dolphins became stranded. Navy officials refused to say if the submarine, based at Groton, Conn., used its sonar during the exercise.

Some scientists surmise that loud bursts of sonar, which can be heard for miles in the water, may disorient or scare marine mammals, causing them to surface too quickly and suffer the equivalent of what divers know as the bends - when sudden decompression forms nitrogen bubbles in tissue.

"This is absolutely high priority," said Lt. Cdr. Jensin Sommer, spokeswoman for Norfolk, Va.-based Naval Submarine Forces. "We are looking into this. We want to be good stewards of the environment, and any time there are strandings of marine mammals, we look into the operations and locations of any ships that might have been operating in that area."

Experts are conducting necropsies on the dead dolphins, looking for signs of trauma that could have been inflicted by loud noises."


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

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


7 March 2005


Ketchikan District Court Judge Kevin Miller has denied motions to dismiss state charges that Greenpeace and ship agent Willem Beekman violated oil spill prevention laws last year. A trial is set for March 29. Greenpeace denied responsibility, saying it never owned, operated or had crew members aboard the Arctic Sunrise. State prosecutors replied that Greenpeace's motion amounted to "a corporate shell game designed to avoid the consequences of their actions."

Judge Miller said it would be for a jury to decide. "The court finds that the State of Alaska has produced sufficient evidence such that the court cannot conclude as a matter of law that the State has improperly charged Greenpeace Inc.," Miller wrote in papers filed Thursday.

Greenpeace and Arctic Sunrise Capt. Arne Sorenson were each charged with two counts of operating in state waters without an oil discharge prevention and contingency plan. They also were charged with two counts of operating without proof of financial responsibility for oil spill damages.

In its motion to dismiss the charges, Greenpeace claimed it was not the party responsible for operating the motor yacht Arctic Sunrise or for filing its required paperwork. Greenpeace attorney Sidney Billingslea claimed that the ship's owner, Stichting Phoenix, chartered the vessel to Stichting Marine Services. "Greenpeace International painted the hull and funnel with Greenpeace colors and flew the house flag as permitted under the charter between Stichting Phoenix and Stichting Marine Services," Billingslea wrote. "Greenpeace Inc. had no ownership or operational involvement with the charter of the Arctic Sunrise."

Prosecutors said Greenpeace's attempts to distance itself from the crimes were disingenuous. "The defendant acts in conjunction with all other entities named in the information under the generic name 'Greenpeace' whenever it suits their purpose, but disavows the relationships when liability and convenience dictates."



United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Control (IPCC) sponsors adoption of the Kyoto Protocol by most industrialized nations around the world, with estimated costs of legally binding compliance estimated at over $150 billion per year. The chief promotional artifact in the proceedings, the "hockey stick" historical temperature chart of IPCC Third Scientific Assessment Chapter Lead Author Michael Mann , is shown to be based on a computer program that produces hockey sticks from over 99 percent of ten thousand samples of random noise fed to it. Stephen McIntyre, retired Canadian minerals consultant, demonstrates numerous other defects and distortions in both the data and statistical methodology, ultimately the subject of a front-page article in the Wall Street Journal of February 14 and a follow-up editorial on February 18.....

Scientists, like the rest of us, have among their number many members of a certain very dangerous group: those who would govern. And like the governing class everywhere, they seek to govern without the encumbrance of having to tolerate dissent from those who pay their salaries and experience the consequences of the policies they emplace.

Indeed, they resist inquiries from the unannointed into the bases of their pronouncements and, while feeding on the tithes exacted from the unwashed, insist on handing their pronouncements down as dicta that may not be questioned. The flavor of this may be discerned palpably in a visit to, a Web site launched early this year by climatologists and other "scientists" (today's codeword for priest).

This Web site expresses the "frustration" felt by "real scientists" who have to contend with the inquiries and ignorance of non-scientists who are inflamed by their petty suspicions that they are being oppressed in the name of bogus theories. As well, it provides an eight-point set of standards for article comments (which are required to be "constructive" among other things). In "language your parents could understand," the Web site provides a "Dummies' Guides" to its subject, and the impression that they truly regard their audience (and parents) as dummies is irresistible.

What the site does not provide in its Links section is a link to the Web site of the opposition, the more-modestly named, set up about the same time to publicize flaws detected in the data and mathematics of the "hockey stick" found by semi-retired minerals consultant Stephen McIntyre of Toronto. Yes, this site does provide a link to realclimate, and doesn't seem to qualify comments or commenters. Some of the comments on climateaudit are hostile to articles and comments on the site, while over at realclimate, things are eerily more-harmonious. I'm always grateful when the propagandist's hand is so easily discerned.

Actually, as described in the Wall Street Journal editorial of February 18, two climatologists, Willie Soon and Sallie L. Baliunas, had the temerity to advance criticism of Mann's article in 2003. The tsunami of protest from the academy against this suggestion that man may not be warming up his planet after all would have made Trofim Lysenko , the Soviet Union's quack official geneticist of the 1930s, proud.

The "fact" of global warming is today as entrenched in the government-sponsored academy as ever was Lysenko's theory that acquired traits, such as selfless devotion to the common good, could be inherited by the children of parents so indoctrinated. In the abject retraction by the journal that carried Soon and Baliunas's heresy, Climate Research, they announce the resignations of their editor-in-chief and two other editors.

Peer review, the overrated orthodoxy-dominated system by which journal articles are supposedly vetted, has turned into a mechanism for enforcement of the ruling paradigm, if it was ever anything else. Among other things, it did not catch the errors in Mann's seminal article. But peer review, which is not only unpaid, but highly political as well, has as a matter of practice never entailed what McIntyre calls an "audit" of the data and mathematics involved in developing the conclusions arrived at in an article.

Because of this, not only do journals not make a practice of publishing the data and algorithms behind the development of the conclusions, but peer reviewers virtually never have occasion to request the information either. A few exceptions such as the journals of the American Economic Association, have begun to appear.

Michael Crichton, whose current novel State of Fear describes a vast hoax perpetrated on a fearful world by rogue climatologists, is predictably excoriated on realclimate. Crichton stands to make a very large amount of money from acting on the skeptical side of this controversy.

But the greatest credit must go to the unpaid Stephen McIntyre and his partner in this quest, Ross McKitrick. They are the ones who first blurted out: "The professor has no clothes!"

More here


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

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


6 March 2005


The ongoing Greenie hysteria about depleted uranium munitions has caused a partial switch worldwide to munitions that use tungsten as a substitute. But guess what? The switch was done purely under Greenie pressure, with no research to check on how safe the substitute was. But now some research HAS been done and the results are disastrous:

"The peer-reviewed journal Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP) today published online a paper reporting that weapons-grade tungsten alloys, newly incorporated into the battlefield munitions of several countries, rapidly cause tumors, then lung cancer, when embedded in rats to emulate shrapnel wounds.

Concern over the human and environmental health effects of other metals long used in weapons has led many countries to replace depleted uranium (in some armor-penetrating munitions) and lead (In small-caliber ammunition) with various alloys of tungsten. One motivation for such a replacement is widespread public concern about the health and environmental impact of continued use of metals such as uranium and lead, along with the belief that tungsten has only limited toxicity. "However, to our knowledge, none of these militarily relevant tungsten alloys have been tested for potential health effects, particularly as embedded shrapnel," the study authors write.

Rats were implanted with a low dose (4 pellets) or a high dose (20 pellets) of tungsten alloy. Other rats received 20 pellets of nickel, a known carcinogen, or tantalum, an inert control metal. In findings that surprised the researchers, 100% of the rats implanted with tungsten-alloy pellets developed extremely aggressive tumors surrounding the pellets, although tumor growth was slower in rats implanted with lower doses. The tumors then rapidly metastasized to the lungs of the rats, necessitating euthanasia of the animals well before the anticipated end of the study.

"[The findings raise] extremely serious concerns over the potential health effects of tungsten alloy-based munitions currently being used as non-toxic alternatives to lead and depleted uranium," write the authors.

Tumors grew in the high-dose tungsten alloy implanted rats within 4 to 5 months of implantation. Changes in these rats' blood, including significant increases in red and white blood cells, were apparent as early as one month after implantation.

"While switching to tungsten was an effort to create a 'greener bullet,' these surprising findings demonstrate the complexity of understanding how metals combined into alloys might affect human health. If the findings of this paper are validated by further research, it appears that soldiers could be at risk of surviving battlefield wounds only to develop an aggressive form of cancer," said Dr. Jim Burkhart, science editor for EHP.

Source (Link via Interested Participant)

So once again Greenie know-alls have created a problem rather than solving anything. There was very little evidence that depleted uranium did any harm but the Greenie substitute is very harmful indeed

Moyers Unhinged

Post lifted from Logical Meme

It’s so refreshing to see dinosaurs like Dan Rather and Bill Moyers ‘retiring’, thrashing and spewing a bit before they recede from the spotlight. I personally am refreshed knowing I won’t have to read too many more columns like the following tripe from Moyers in the upcoming NY Review of Books (a rare and privileged opportunity for Mr. Moyers to cut-to-the-chase and tell us what he really feels).

Evangelical Christian Nazis Are Leading Us To An Environmental Apocalypse” is how Moyers might've titled his recent column. The column's actual title, now that I think about it, isn't too far off: “Welcome to Doomsday”. Oooooh, how scary, foreboding, and indicative of a superior intellect’s premonitions!

“We are witnessing today a coupling of ideology and theology that threatens our ability to meet the growing ecological crisis,” Moyers writes. After then spending much of his column suggesting that fundamentalists are running the (Bush) government, Moyers writes:
"I am not suggesting that fundamentalists are running the government, but they constitute a significant force in the coalition that now holds a monopoly of power in Washington under a Republican Party that for a generation has been moved steadily to the right by its more extreme variants even as it has become more and more beholden to the corporations that finance it. One is foolish to think that their bizarre ideas do not matter."
Wow, it’s all getting clearer to me now! Evil corporations provide the necessary financing for evangelical Christians to destroy the environment. Why hadn’t I seen this connection before?!

Moyers spits out a litany of misrepresentations of environmental law, policy, and processes under Bush, too many to respond to individually here, before he kicks it into overdrive with some of the most cringe-worthy melodrama feasible:
I read all this and look up at the pictures on my desk, next to the computer —pictures of my grandchildren: Henry, age twelve; Thomas, ten; Nancy, eight; Jassie, three; SaraJane, one. I see the future looking back at me from those photographs and I say, "Father, forgive us, for we know not what we do."
The only thing missing is the image of the Native American elder with a visible tear trickling down his cheek. (Maybe Ward Churchill is available for a photo shoot? Quick, call his agent!).

Like Thomas “Kansas” Frank, Moyers then retreads the tired Marxist logic that “populist religion winds up serving the interests of economic elites.” In a shocking expose that is a testament to Moyers’ skills as a fact-based PBS/NPR reporter, he writes:
“Forty-five senators and 186 members of the 108th Congress earned 80 to 100 percent approval ratings from the most influential Christian Right advocacy groups. Not one includes the environment as one of their celebrated ‘moral values.’"
Translation: Christians don’t care about trashing the environment! The inferences that Moyers makes with respect to this “fact” is so logically unsound it is laughable. That an individual does not characterize “the environment” (an increasingly loaded term when used by the left) as a “moral” issue in no way means that the same individual doesn't care about the environment. In fact, it is entirely possible that those same Christian advocacy groups have a higher-than-average concern for the environment. But exploring this plausible (and likely) hypothesis is too much work for Moyers. Like his compatriot Dan Rather, Moyers doesn't need to prove or argue for the obvious fact that 'Republicans don't care about the environment'. If we have to establish this assertion with facts and logic, for cryin' out loud, we'll never get out of the gate!

Moyers already knows this, and as his reference to King Lear makes apparent, he feels it.


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

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


5 March 2005


"The major source of potentially climate-changing soot in the air over south Asia is home cooking fires, according to a team of Indian and American researchers. The burning of wood, agricultural waste and animal manure for cooking is the largest source of black carbon in the air in that region, according to the team led by C. Venkataraman of the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay. "We therefore suggest that the control of these emissions through cleaner cooking technologies, in addition to reducing health risks to several hundred million users, could be of crucial importance to climate change mitigation in south Asia," the researchers wrote in a paper appearing in Friday's issue of the journal Science.

The effect of soot in the air over the Indian Ocean is some 10 times that of the so-called greenhouse gases, according to the researchers. The pollution causes the air to absorb more sunlight, warming the atmosphere and cooling the surface beneath. Such changes can affect rainfall patterns, contributing to intensity of floods and droughts, the group said in their paper. Worldwide, most atmospheric scientists are concerned that increasing greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, from industrial processes are trapping heat increasing the planet's overall temperature in ways that could lead to climate change.

The researchers conducted tests, burning various fuels used in home cooking in India to determine the type of soot produced, and measured soot in the air. They calculated that, of the black soot in the atmosphere, 42 percent originates from cooking fires, 25 percent from burning fossil fuels and 13 percent from open burning such as forest fires."



A report from the Swedish Research Council

"A new study of climate in the Northern Hemisphere for the past 2000 years shows that natural climate change may be larger than generally thought. This is displayed in results from scientists at the Stockholm University, made in cooperation with Russian scientists, which are published in Nature on 10 Feb 2005.

The most widespread picture of climate variability in the last millennium suggests that only small changes occurred before the year 1900, and then a pronounced warming set in. The new results rather show an appreciable temperature swing between the 12th and 20th centuries, with a notable cold period around AD 1600. A large part of the 20th century had approximately the same temperature as the 11th and 12th centuries. Only the last 15 years appear to be warmer than any previous period of similar length.

This study builds on an analysis of indirect climate data, such as information from ocean and lake bottoms, ice sheets, caves and annual tree rings. The use of this kind of material to reconstruct climate far back in the past is nothing new in itself. The difference between the new study from previous ones, is the selection of data series and the method used to estimate temperatures from them.

A 1000-year long climate simulation, undertaken (by another research group) with a computer model for the physics of the atmosphere and the oceans, show large similarities with the new reconstruction. The climate in this model is governed by reconstructed variations of solar radiation and the amount of volcanic dust in the atmosphere (which reflects sun-light back into space). The fact that these two climate evolutions, which have been obtained completely independently of each other, are very similar supports the case that climate shows an appreciable natural variability - and that changes in the sun's output and volcanic eruptions on the earth may be the cause.

This means that it is difficult to distinguish the human influence on climate from natural variability, even though the past 15 warm years are best explained if one includes human influence in the simulations. The new study underscores the importance of including natural climate variability in future scenarios. It is not only the humans that can cause appreciable climate changes - nature does it all the time by itself".



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

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


4 March 2005


And note that it is now years since the ozone-limiting Montreal agreement went into effect but they still don't know how ozone levels work. They regulate what they don't understand -- but that's Leftism all over, of course

"The reported risk of a hole in the ozone layer appearing over the Arctic this winter has been overstated, a Swedish researcher said Wednesday. "The stratosphere in the Arctic region has been unusually cold this winter," said Donal Murtagh, a professor of global environmental measurements at the Chalmers University of Technology in Goteborg.

Murtagh also is the lead director for atmospheric science research for the Swedish orbital observatory Odin, which orbits the poles.

Ozone, a form of oxygen, helps protect the Earth from some of the damaging ultraviolet radiation from the sun. The reduction of ozone has led to fears of more skin cancer and other problems in affected areas. Low temperatures this year have created large amounts of ozone-destroying chlorine compounds in the stratosphere at the end of January, which resulted in reports of the likely appearance of an "ozone hole," he said. Using the satellite, and computers on the ground, he said researchers have found that the threat of such a hole was unlikely, unless temperatures remain cold beyond winter. "Only renewed cooling of the stratosphere could change the situation, but it is hard to see how this could happen," he said.

Launched in 2001, Odin is the only satellite to have mapped the amount of chlorine in the ozone layer. The primary purpose of its ozone studies is not to verify the existence of holes, but to unravel the mechanisms behind their appearance. Besides Sweden, France, Canada and Finland are involved in the project, named for the chief deity in Norse mythology. Odin was designed and developed by the Swedish Space Corp. and its operations are based at the Esrange rocket launching pad near Kiruna, some 765 miles north of the capital."



Get the sun to sign a treaty! Seriously, though, in science, if you can't predict it, you don't understand it and the Greenie scientists haven't got a clue about this stuff

A dramatic thinning of Earth's protective ozone layer above the Arctic last year was the result of intense upper-level winds and an extra dose of space weather, scientists said Tuesday. Ozone, which screens out some of the Sun's harmful ultraviolet radiation, declined by up to 60 percent in the stratosphere over high northern latitudes in the spring of 2004. Officials issued a health warning earlier this year for residents of the far North.

In a new study, scientists conclude that an intense round of solar storms around Halloween in 2003 was at the root of the problem. Charged particles from the storms triggered chemical reactions that increased the formation of extra nitrogen in the upper stratosphere, some 20 miles up. Nitrogen levels climbed to their highest in at least two decades.

A massive low-pressure system that confines air over the Arctic then conspired to deplete ozone. Upper-atmosphere winds associated with the system, called the polar stratospheric vortex, sped up in February and March of 2004 to the fastest speeds ever recorded, the new study found. The spinning vortex allowed nitrogen gas to sink from the high stratosphere, some 20 miles up, to lower altitudes.

The nitrogen gas is known to destroy ozone. "This decline was completely unexpected," said Cora Randall, a physicist at the University of Colorado, Boulder who led the study. "The findings point out a critical need to better understand the processes occurring in the ozone layer."

Researchers from Canada and Europe contributed to the study, which drew data from seven satellites. The results are detailed in the March 2 online issue of Geophysical Research Letters, published by the American Geophysical Union.

Ozone is a form of oxygen. Its protective qualities make life as we know it possible. (Near the ground, ozone plays the opposite role, being the main component in smog. The upper-level ozone layer has thinned dramatically in the Southern Hemisphere in recent decades, creating a dangerous hole through which UV rays stream. The decline is due largely to man-made chlorofluorocarbons released into the atmosphere.

The new study suggests a better understanding is needed of how the Sun itself alters the ozone layer. "No one predicted the dramatic loss of ozone in the upper stratosphere of the Northern Hemisphere in the spring of 2004," Randall said. "That we can still be surprised illustrates the difficulties in separating atmospheric effects due to natural and human-induced causes."


Attack of the killer crops?: "Activists are again trying to frighten poor people in developing countries by claiming the U.S. is poisoning them with genetically modified food. Never mind that 280 million Americans have been eating biotech-enhanced crops for nearly a decade with zero evidence that it has caused anyone so much as a sniffle or a bellyache. Friends of the Earth tested samples of corn and soybean distributed both commercially and as aid to several Central American countries, to see if they contained genetically modified varieties. They really needn't have bothered, since it's public knowledge that 85 percent of U.S. soybean acreage and 45 percent of its corn are sown in biotech crop varieties that are resistant to pests and herbicides. What would be surprising is if they found no genetically enhanced corn or soybeans in food shipments from the States. The activists merely went through the motions of testing the crops to place a scientific facade on their latest biotech scare."


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

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


3 March 2005

Antarctic ice shelf retreats have happened before

The retreat of Antarctic ice shelves is not new according to research published this week (24 Feb) in the journal Geology by scientists from Universities of Durham, Edinburgh and British Antarctic Survey (BAS). A study of George VI Ice Shelf on the Antarctic Peninsula is the first to show that this currently `healthy' ice shelf experienced an extensive retreat about 9500 years ago, more than anything seen in recent years. The retreat coincided with a shift in ocean currents that occurred after a long period of warmth. Whilst rising air temperatures are believed to be the primary cause of recent dramatic disintegration of ice shelves like Larsen B, the new study suggests that the ocean may play a more significant role in destroying them than previously thought.

The University of Durham's, Dr Mike Bentley, one of the leaders of the project said, `We know that rising air temperatures can break up ice shelves but there has been a suspicion for some time that the role of the ocean may have been underestimated. This is some of the first evidence that a shift in ocean currents can actually destroy ice shelves. In this case it's possible that a preceding warm period may have primed the ice shelf to disintegrate when the ocean currents shifted.'

The scientists analysed sediments from the bottom of a freshwater lake close to the edge of the present George VI Ice Shelf. The results revealed that about 9500 years ago the ice shelf retreated, allowing the sea to flood into the lake. The ice shelf didn't reform until 1500 years later, and has been present ever since.

The findings are particularly relevant for other studies on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet where scientists have found that a relatively warm current, Circumpolar Deep Water, is causing high melt rates on the underside of an ice shelf in Pine Island Bay*. The gradual removal of this ice shelf may be causing the glaciers inland to flow faster, which could lead to enhanced drainage of part of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, and a consequent rise in sea level.

George VI ice shelf lies south of the recently collapsed ice shelves along the Antarctic Peninsula. British Antarctic Survey scientists have monitored a very slow retreat of the ice shelf front since its discovery in the mid-20th century.

It is important to appreciate that ice shelf collapses have happened before. For example, BAS scientists Carol Pudsey and Jeff Evans reported that the Prince Gustav Ice Shelf, which collapsed in 1995, had also collapsed several thousand years ago. This new study is the first to show that a currently `healthy' Antarctic Peninsula ice shelf has retreated in the past, and that the ocean may have been involved in the past retreat.

What this study shows us is that these are not random occurrences but that they are closely linked to changes in ocean circulation (George VI Ice Shelf) or periods of atmospheric warming (Prince Gustaf Channel Ice Shelf). These historical patterns mean that scientists can be increasingly confident that the present-day collapses of the Antarctic ice shelves are intimately connected to changes in our climate and our oceans.

In 2001 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC) predicted future sea level rise on the assumption that the Antarctic ice sheet would not make a significant contribution over the next one hundred years. Recent data from the Pine Island and Thwaites glaciers in Antarctica suggest that this area is making a contribution, but whether this is a short-term fluctuation, or a result of recent or ancient climate change, is an open question. Our ability to predict the future of this part of the West Antarctic ice sheet is limited and basic information such as the ice sheet thickness, conditions beneath the ice at bedrock, and past ice sheet history are required to build numerical models that will allow robust prediction.

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No End to the Energy Stalemate

In December 2004, the National Commission on Energy Policy (NCEP) released a report titled "Ending the Energy Stalemate: A Bipartisan Strategy to Meet America's Energy Challenges." The group claims to have established "a constructive center in the often polarized debate over national energy policy," and indeed its report contains ideas and recommendations often found in reports produced by industry groups or by environmental advocacy groups but rarely in both.

The report contains some good ideas, and the studies prepared by subcontractors to the commission, listed in an appendix to the report, may contain valuable original research. (This writer has not read them.) However, the report's recommendations often seem to combine the worst, rather than the best, of what these two sides in the debate have to offer.

Rather than setting their private interests and agendas aside, corporate members of the commission call on taxpayers and consumers to subsidize and bear the financial risk of programs that would benefit them, while the commission's professional environmental advocates make little effort to temper their alarmist agenda with sound science or common sense.

Taxpayers, consumers, many credible scientists, economists, moderates, and conservatives have all been left out of this "bipartisan strategy." Behind the big PR budget, the NCEP is just another liberal advocacy group calling for more government spending and regulating.

The NCEP was not created by its 16 commissioners. It was founded in 2002 by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and four "partner" foundations: Pew Charitable Trusts, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and the Energy Foundation.

According to the Capital Research Center, a philanthropy watchdog organization, all five foundations fund primarily left-of-center causes. For example, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation is a major contributor to the Tides Center, which is believed to funnel dollars to radical and even eco-terrorist groups, as well as the Union of Concerned Scientists, Environmental Defense Fund (now called Environmental Defense), Worldwatch Institute, and Sierra Club. None of these groups can be called moderate or bipartisan......

Like its funders, the staff of the NCEP leans to the left. Jason Grumet, executive director of the NCEP, was previously executive director of the Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management (NESCAUM), where he advocated adoption of California emission standards, mandatory production and sale of zero-emission vehicles in the Northeast, and tighter regulation of air quality. Deputy director Lisel Loy was President Clinton's staff secretary from 2000 to 2001. Paul W. Bledsoe, NCEP's director of communications and strategy, was a senior vice president with Fenton Communications, the public relations firm used by the Natural Resources Defense Council to create the infamous ALAR scare of 1989. Drew Kodjak, program director, worked for Grumet at NESCAUM and also is an advocate of zero-emission vehicles.

The result is a report that differs only in minor ways from those released by many leftist environmental advocacy groups.....

The NCEP seeks to win corporate and Republican support for its recommendations by validating some of their concerns. For example, on the topic of global warming, the Commission says "the United States must take responsibility for addressing its contribution to the risks of climate change, but must do so in a manner that recognizes the global nature of this challenge and does not harm the competitive position of U.S. businesses internationally." (p. ix)

The Commission says the way to do this is to focus, as the Bush administration has, on the emission intensity of the economy (tons of emissions per dollar of GDP) rather than actual emissions. It would phase in caps and emission permit trading and include a "safety valve mechanism" that allows more permits to be issued if compliance costs exceed $7 per metric ton.

The report also supports construction of a natural gas pipeline from Alaska, (p. 46) removal of regulatory barriers and uncertainty that stand in the way of new energy infrastructure, (p. 84) siting new liquid natural gas receiving terminals, (p. 47) safe storage of radioactive waste, (p. 60) and larger public investments in clean coal technology (p. 51) and a new generation of nuclear power generators (p. 57).

Each of these items often appear on the wish list of corporations and business groups, but of course that does not mean they would be good public policy. Removing regulatory barriers is almost always good public policy, but subsidies in most cases are wasted on producing products for which there is no market demand or giving windfalls to companies that would do much the same things without subsidies. In either case, wealth is forcibly transferred from one group to another without producing any social gains.....

On the controversial matter of global warming, the report comes perilously close to repeating the now meaningless mantra of a "growing scientific consensus" on the need for immediate action (meaningless because science does not advance through consensus and because scientists are leaving the alarmist camp, as demonstrated just this month by the resignation of Chris Landsea from the IPCC). However, the Commission narrowly avoids the error by leaving out any mention of how much warming can be attributable to the human presence and what harm, if any, that warming could cause. (p. 20)....

On its face, it appears that the business members of the Commission signed off on the environmentalists' agenda in exchange for support of higher taxes and massive subsidies to businesses. It may be a fine deal for the 16 Commissioners, but it is very bad public policy for the rest of the country.

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

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


2 March 2005


In 1986, Marc Reisner authored a popular book “Cadillac Desert” that mounted an environmental attack against the rice growing industry in California saying rice farmers were growing a “monsoon” crop in the middle of the desert with Federally-subsidized water..... According to the Pacific Institute the original Federal water contracts are pending renewal which will cost the taxpayers a reported $500 million over the next 10 years. The Institute report proceeds to tell us that 1,000 acre-feet of water produces 900 jobs in the semiconductor industry, 2,500 jobs in commercial offices, 35 jobs in grape and wine production, but a mere three jobs growing cotton. We are told that cotton and alfalfa produce only $60 of gross state revenue per acre foot of water compared to $1 million in the semiconductor industry....

What has been left out of the Pacific Institute press release is an awful lot. Firstly, the report fails to tell us that the water in the Sacramento Bay Delta, where most of the rice growing occurs, is not exclusively used for rice farming. It is used for flood control, for cultivating other irrigated farm crops, as natural habitat for waterfowl and wildlife, for natural water purification, and for public recreation. If farmers have to fallow land or rice paddies because of the ups and downs of the agricultural market, the water allocated to them remains unused.

According to the Audobon Society the rice fields of the Bay Delta are the home of some 40,000 birds. Rice paddies offer wetland habitat to huge number of ducks in a state that is always decrying that it is losing wetlands. And rice paddies serve as natural water filtration systems to break down herbicides used by rice growers. Even Marc Reisner, the author of the book Cadillac Desert, eventually changed his mind about rice farming and called it one of the most “progressive” agricultural enterprises.

And the illogical notion that using water for rice farming takes more economically productive jobs from the semiconductor industry or commercial economy, as the Pacific Institute report contends, is nonsense. Halting water to rice growers or making them pay the urban retail price for the water won’t produce more semiconductor jobs or vice versa.....

The not-so hidden agenda of the Pacific Institute apparently has little to do with stopping waste or even preserving the environment as much as it does in stopping population growth and development. It is probably not coincidental that Stanford University professor Dr. Anne H. Erlich, co-author of the infamously wrong 1968 book The Population Bomb, is on the Board of Directors of the Pacific Institute.

What think tanks in “blue cities” like the Pacific Institute apparently want to do is to stop agricultural enterprises and new housing development from thriving in “red counties” where the population is growing. What might be called liberal Land Rover environmentalism continues to paint a distorted image of California agricultural water politics as a Cadillac Desert rather than as a horn of plenty for both the economy and the environment.

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The nation's strongest laws against sprawl are beginning to buckle here in Oregon under pressure from an even stronger, voter-approved law that trumps growth restrictions with property rights.

In a collision between two radically different visions of how cities should grow, claims under Oregon's new law are pitting neighbor against neighbor, rattling real estate values, unnerving bankers and spooking politicians.

The property-rights law, which was approved overwhelmingly by voters last fall and is known as Measure 37, is on the brink of wrecking Oregon's best-in-the-nation record of reining in sprawl, according to state officials and national planning experts. They say the new law illustrates a nationwide paradox in public opinion: Although voters tend to favor protection of farmland and open space, they vote down these protections if they perceive them as restrictions on personal rights. "Measure 37 blew up our land-use system," state Sen. Charlie Ringo, a Democrat from suburban Portland, declared while presiding over a tense, standing-room-only hearing on the law that was held recently here in Hood River, a resort town in the Columbia River Gorge.

The law compels the government to pay cash to longtime property owners when land-use restrictions reduce the value of their property -- or, if the government can't pay, to allow owners to develop their land as they see fit. Because there is virtually no local or state money to pay landowners, Measure 37 is starting to unravel smart-growth laws that have defined living patterns, set land prices and protected open space in this state for more than three decades.

Although the unraveling is being watched with alarm by smart-growth advocates across the country, it is exactly what local backers of the new law say they want as recompense for what they describe as years of arbitrary bossiness in the enforcement of land-use restrictions. Smart-growth laws attempt to direct development to areas served by existing roads and utilities and curtail new housing and business construction that will sprawl out to rural areas. "If you are going to restrict what someone can do with his land, then you have to pay for it," said Dale Riddle, vice president for legal affairs at Seneca Jones Timber Co., an Oregon firm that was the largest donor to the campaign for Measure 37.

Thanks to Oregon's new law, anti-sprawl legislation has lost political momentum across the country, according to Harvey Jacobs, a professor of urban planning at the University of Wisconsin. "It has really excited the property-rights movement and suggests to its supporters that they can challenge smart-growth laws everywhere," he said.

More here


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

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 March 2005

Fence fight: Estuary or security? : "A ragged fence and a canyon called Smugglers Gulch mark the westernmost stretch of the California-Mexico border, a crossing point for illegal immigrants and drug runners. The federal government and a powerful local Republican congressman have been pushing for years to fortify the 3 1/2-mile stretch of border just north of Tijuana, Mexico. Their plan is opposed by California coastal regulators and environmentalists who say it could harm a fragile Pacific estuary. Now supporters may be getting closer to victory. A provision in an immigration bill expected to pass the House next week would give the homeland security secretary authority to move forward with the project regardless of any laws that stand in the way, and would bar courts from hearing lawsuits against it."

Good to see. Pests jailed: "Six Greenpeace activists were sentenced Tuesday to jail terms ranging from five to 30 days for climbing a smokestack at a coal-fired power plant in protest of President Bush's energy policy. The protesters cut a hole in a fence that surrounds Allegheny Energy's Hatfield Ferry Power Station about 40 miles south of Pittsburgh on June 23, then climbed the 700-foot smokestack and unfurled a 2,500-square-foot banner. The six pleaded guilty Tuesday to misdemeanor charges that included reckless endangerment, disorderly conduct and defiant trespass, according to Tom Wetterer, general counsel for Greenpeace. Felony charges of criminal trespass were dropped. Five of the six will spend five days in jail and one person was sentenced to one month in jail".


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

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