Tracking the politics of fear....  

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31 May, 2005


Full speech (delivered 25 May 2005) here

Over the last few weeks, I have debunked the notion of a scientific "consensus" about global warming. The claim there is consensus rests on four fundamental pillars. My previous speeches made clear that the first three pillars are made of sand. It's not true, for example, that the National Academy of Sciences believes the science of climate change is settled. In fact, the report is replete with caveats warning the reader of the many uncertainties associated with claims of global warming. Yet advocates continue to recite small excerpts while ignoring the caution about uncertainties contained within the same paragraph or even the same sentence.

It is also not true that the second pillar - the UN science report known as the IPCC report - proves a consensus. The flagship study on which the IPCC report relies, known as the hockey stick and which shows an unprecedented rise in 20th century temperatures, has been thoroughly discredited by scientists on both sides of the debate. Moreover, the UN report relies on explosive increases in greenhouse emissions by poor countries over the next century based on the political decision by the report's authors that countries such as Algeria will be as wealthy, or wealthier, than the United States.

The third pillar supposedly proving that the science is settled - that the Arctic is melting - is not so much based on hard science as on political science. Arctic temperatures are no warmer than they were in the 1930s. Similarly, the thickness of Arctic glaciers and sea ice appears to vary naturally by as much as 16 percent annually. These and other facts which alarmists find inconvenient would seem to indicate that projections of an Arctic climate catastrophe are speculative at best.

Today I would like to conclude my series on the Four Pillars of Climate Alarmism by discussing the problems associated with global climate models. Let me begin by briefly explaining what climate models are and how they function. Climate models help scientists describe changes in the climate system. They are not models in the conventional sense; that is, they are not physical replicas. Rather, they are mathematical representations of the physical laws and processes that govern earth's climate. According to Dr. David Legates of the University of Delaware, climate models "are designed to be descriptions of the full three-dimensional structure of the earth's climate." Dr. Legates explained that models are used "in a variety of applications, including the investigation of the possible role of various climate forcing mechanisms and the simulation of past and future climates." Thousands of climate change studies rely on computer models.

The Arctic Council, whose work I addressed last week, stated that Arctic warming and the impacts stemming from that warming are firmly established by computer models. "While the models differ in their projections of some of the features of climate change," the Arctic Council wrote, "they are all in agreement that the world will warm significantly as a result of human activities and that the Arctic is likely to experience noticeable warming particularly early and intensely." Similarly, the IPCC, which I also discussed in an earlier speech, relied on such models to project a long-term temperature increase ranging from 2.5 to 10.4 degrees Celsius and assorted and potentially dangerous climate changes over the next century.

According to Dr. Kenneth Green, Dr. Tim Ball and Dr. Steven Schroeder, "politicians clearly do not realize that the major conclusions of the IPCC's reports are not based on hard evidence and observation but rather largely upon the output of assumption-driven climate models."

Alarmists cite the results of climate models as proof of the catastrophic warming hypothesis. Consider one alarmist scribe, who wrote recently, "Drawing on highly sophisticated computer models, climate scientists can project - not predict - how much temperatures may rise by, say, 2100 if we carry on with business as usual." He continued: "Although scenarios vary, some get pretty severe. So do the projected impacts of climate change: rising sea levels, species extinctions, glacial melting, and so forth."

Sounds pretty scary, but the statement is completely vacuous: It sheds no light on the likelihood or reliability of such projections. If, for example, a model shows a significant temperature increase over the next 50 years, how much confidence do we have in that projection? .....

Unfortunately, rarely does any scrutiny accompany model simulations. But based on what we know about the physics of climate models, as well as the questionable assumptions built into the models themselves, we should be very skeptical of their results. This is exactly the view of the National Academy of Sciences. According to NAS, "Climate models are imperfect. Their simulation skill is limited by uncertainties in their formulation, the limited size of their calculations, and the difficulty of interpreting their answers that exhibit as much complexity as in nature." At this point, climate modeling is still a very rudimentary science. As Richard Kerr wrote in Science magazine, "Climate forecasting, after all, is still in its infancy." Models, while helpful for scientists in understanding the climate system, are far from perfect. According to climatologist Gerald North of Texas A&M University, "It's extremely hard to tell whether the models have improved; the uncertainties are large." Or as climate modeler Peter Stone of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology put it, "The major [climate prediction] uncertainties have not been reduced at all." Based on these uncertainties, cloud physicist Robert Charlson, professor emeritus at the University of Washington, Seattle, has concluded: "To make it sound like we understand climate is not right."....


This month, the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works met to quiz and harass John Lewis, the FBI's counterterrorism deputy assistant director. This committee has them all. Chairman James Inhofe of Oklahoma has to contend with the Vermont party-switcher Jim Jeffords, self-proclaimed tree hugger Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey, probable Republican Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, Barbara Boxer of California, Joe Lieberman of Connecticut and Hillary Clinton of New York.

Little wonder that Lewis and his colleagues encountered problems in having the committee believe that environmental and animal-welfare militants are now the biggest terrorist threat in the United States. These militants increasingly use explosive and incendiary devices on targets ranging from housing developments and research laboratories to car dealerships. The committee members, obsessed with al-Qaida, were reluctant to believe that the FBI had 150 ongoing investigations and that 1,200 crimes by tree-and-bunny huggers were reported during the past decade. Their cost to us -- $110 million. The cost to them -- minimal.

What is most disturbing is that the criminals involved are mostly members of groups like the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) and the Animal Liberation Front (ALF), which hold open and well-publicized meetings. They are well- if not over-educated, mostly middle-class people from conventional homes who grew up with everything needed to be happy, and have a hatred for the American system.

If senators, the FBI, our readers and reporters wanted to attend their general meetings, all would be welcome. Track their money? It comes from our relatives and from clever mergers and acquisitions among environmental, animal and related rights groups.

Over the April 1 weekend there was a gathering of about 400 activists in New York City from 26 states and Canada. It was called the Grassroots Animal Rights Conference (GARC) at the Holyrood Episcopal Church in the Bronx. Those attending were lured by statements such as "Some of the most experienced activists and teachers in activist movements will converge at GARC with the goal of strengthening the grass roots." The GARC had experienced organizers for the conference. One of the speakers was Ramona Africa, from the Philadelphia group MOVE, who now "peacefully" protests at zoos and at circus performances. Ramona, the only surviving adult from the original MOVE, also has served seven years in jail for conspiracy and rioting.

One pamphlet distributed by Win Animal Rights (WAR) promised actions in May against "pharmaceutical and vivisection industries, their customers, suppliers and employees." Relying on the use of members' cell phones and the Internet, WAR's instruction -- "Be prepared to travel from one location to another taking the fight to both the business and home address of those that allow animal exploitation to continue!" -- creates a new level of fear.

Those attending the conference and the Senate hearing became aware that the direct-action phase of the animal and Earth liberation movements is, in 2005, about to enter a new and much more violent phase. "Our kids," totally oblivious of the new laws to suppress violence and terrorism and led by seasoned criminals, are preparing to vandalize and maim.

The Senate Committee does not seem to agree. Sen. Lautenberg said the Department of Homeland Security spent $40 billion a year to protect the home front but that groups based in Europe successfully had their American members attacking the homes, boats and cars of pharmaceutical executives in New Jersey and New York. Sen. Jeffords said "nothing much could be done about individual extremists committing crimes." He continued: "ALF and ELF may threaten dozens of people, but an incident at a chemical, nuclear or wastewater facility would threaten tens of thousands."

For a senator that was quite smart. However, did the senator consider that it could be an ALF or ELF crazy bombing a chemical or a nuclear plant? These are zealots with money, education and training. And, as of now, there is no federal agency that can guarantee protection against our homegrown idealist terrorists.



Some 3.2 million homes must be demolished over the next 45 years to fulfil the Government's aspirations for tackling global warming, academics have warned. The report, by researchers at Oxford University's Environmental Change Institute and Heriot Watt University, is bound to re-ignite the controversy caused by the proposed demolition of 400,000 homes in the Midlands and the North.

Households account for around 30 per cent of Britain's total energy use and the researchers conclude there is a "desperate need" for a clear strategy for housing stock to bring about the 60 per cent reduction in the country's fossil fuel emissions that Tony Blair has said he wants to see by 2050. The academics say that Britain's 25 million homes are among the oldest and least efficient in Europe and recommend that 14 per cent of the current stock - 3.2 million homes - should be pulled down by 2050.

Listed buildings would be spared, but the plan would quadruple the present demolition rate to 80,000 homes a year by 2016. "Care must be taken not to invest money in upgrading those homes that will ultimately be demolished," say the authors.

Even so, two thirds of the housing stock of 2050 has already been built and this will have to be made more efficient. The immediate priority is for walls and lofts, then solid walls, to be insulated. By 2050 all windows will be double or even triple glazed. The report, the "40 Per Cent House", emphasises the need to construct the 10 million new homes that will be built by 2050 to far greener standards than in current building regulations.

John Prescott's department has said that from April 2006 all publicly-funded new homes - including 120,000 planned for Thames Gateway - will comply with a new code for sustainable buildings, due to be released this year.

Quinlan Terry, the leading classical architect, criticised the researchers' recommendations last week at a conference in London about designing sustainable buildings. He said the proposed demolition missed a "bigger picture", which included the fossil fuels already expended in putting up existing buildings and how long the new buildings would last. He said that the embodied energy in each Victorian terrace house scheduled for demolition as part of the Government's urban renewal plans in the North was equivalent to 15,000 litres of petrol, according to the Buildings Research Establishment. The carbon from the fossil fuels burnt to build our existing housing stock was already in the atmosphere, warming the Earth. "So why repeat the process?" asked Mr Terry.



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

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

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


30 May, 2005


The current debate about U.S. oil policy is ... dominated by a special-interest lobby whose primary interest is to enrich automakers and alternative-fuel producers, and by journalists whose enthusiasm for the green agenda has clouded their understanding of basic economics. In 2004, the Apollo Alliance was patched together as an election-year opportunity to promote $300 billion in federal subsidies and tax breaks, largely for ethanol and methanol to (as the Kerry campaign put it) "help farmers and coal miners." This year, it has again endorsed a $12-billion subsidy plan.

Meanwhile, Set America Free, a group associated with the Apollo Alliance, has made a highly publicized claim that the government could painlessly bribe or compel Detroit (but not BMW or Infiniti) to make cars that get 500 miles per gallon. This bizarre number starts with the Toyota Prius, which gets about 44 mpg. What they don't tell you is that the figure would fall to 32 mpg if the Prius ran on the group's proposed mix of 85 percent ethanol. They claim such a car's mileage per gallon could be doubled by adding heavy batteries to be plugged in for short trips on electricity (i.e., 67 horsepower and no air conditioning) alone.

Even if drivers were willing to do this, it would be bad for the environment. As the Sierra Club's Dan Becker notes, "coal is more polluting than gasoline, and nearly 60 percent of U.S. electricity is generated by burning coal." Yet the plug-in supposedly gets us up to 100 mpg, which magically rises to 500 by assuming one out of every five or six gallons consists of gasoline and the rest is ethanol or methanol (and pretending those fuels can be produced without energy). They mean gallons of petroleum, not fuel. But it takes a lot of petroleum to farm corn (fertilizer, pesticides, and farm-equipment fuel), convert it to ethanol, and get it to market. By the same logic by which the IAGS came up with that 500 mpg figure, an all-electric car or a methanol-powered giant truck could be said to get infinite miles per gallon.

A closer look at some of Set America Free's supporters sheds a little light on the group's political objectives. Aside from their association with the Apollo Alliance - whose raison d'etre is to promote ethanol and methanol subsidies - the group is significant in that one-third of their masthead consists of directors and advisors to the Institute for Analysis of Global Security (IAGS), although just two are identified as such. Other individuals not directly affiliated with IAGS or Apollo include a few prominent names identified only by their past government jobs, even though some now have conflicting interests in energy companies and electric utilities. IAGS's directors and advisors include an executive director of the International LNG Alliance, the vice chairman of the International Committee on Coal Research, an executive director of the Gas Technology Institute, a founder of DCH Technology Inc. (a fuel-cell company), a founder of Global Energy Investors LLC, and a principal of Energy and Communications Solutions LLC.

What such disinterested advisors have in common is that they want to send $4 billion to U.S. automotive manufacturers to build the hybrids Japan already sells, $4 billion to "demonstration plants" to produce methanol or ethanol and provide the related pumps, $2 billion to those who will "continue work on commercializing fuel cell technology," and $2 billion to the incentive bin in the form of tax breaks for those rich enough to afford a $48,535 Lexus 400h or the larger new hybrids coming from GM and Ford (many of which promise only 10 to 15 percent better mileage than gas-powered equivalents).

The IAGS is a "global security" advocacy group, interested in energy economics only as a roundabout means to their global (not national) foreign-policy objective. They want to impose stern conservation on U.S. (not foreign) motorists. Putting possible special-interest conflicts aside, the ideological rationale of IAGS is to use austerity in driving as unilateral economic warfare against two identifiable Middle Eastern oil producers.

Their argument begins by feigning alarm that "22 percent of the world's oil is in the hands of state sponsors of terrorism." But only three of the seven countries on the State Department's list of terrorism sponsors are oil exporters, and one of those is now occupied by U.S. forces. That leaves Iran and Libya, who account for merely 7 percent of world production. Reserves are irrelevant. Governments are paid for what they produce, not for what remains in the ground. A full 93 percent of the proposed austerity in U.S. oil demand would be aimed at oil-producing countries who are not state sponsors of terrorism, notably Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. itself.

The IAGS nonetheless theorizes, "Reducing demand for Middle East oil would force the petroleum-rich regimes to invest their funds domestically, seek ways to diversify their economies and rethink their support for America's enemies." This echoes the "geo-green" theme of New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, who wrote in January that "if we put all our focus on reducing the price of oil - by conservation, by developing renewable and alternative energies and by expanding nuclear power - we will force more reform [of Middle Eastern politics] than by any other strategy." He promised $18 a barrel would guarantee "political and economic reform from Algeria to Iran."

But the process of replacing older vehicles with ethanol-fueled plug-in hybrids would move with glacial slowness, and would not shrink global oil demand enough to collapse oil prices. That is why Friedman proposes to further decrease demand by raising U.S. taxes high enough to keep gasoline above $4 a gallon regardless of the price of crude. In practice, this would simply mean that we would pay much more for gasoline so other nations could pay less.

Even if world oil did fall back to $18 a barrel, as Friedman would like, there would be no incentive for Asia or Europe to economize on oil use at all, nor for anyone to supply or demand expensive alternatives. Besides, the price of oil was below $18 nearly all the time from February 1986 to June 1999 - falling as low as $11 at the end of 1998 and remaining below $20 through the end of 2001. Yet cheap oil did nothing to promote economic or political liberty in Algeria, Iran, or anywhere else. This theory has been tested - and it failed completely....

More here


Those who remember Paul Ehrlich will know the answer to that one

Mass famine and starvation due to a collapse of agricultural production ranks high among myriad catastrophes environmentalists claim human-induced global warming will cause. Fortunately, this is one global warming bogeyman that's easy to slay. Regardless of the cause of the current warming, the best available evidence indicates a warmer planet should result in bountiful crops. The modest warming many scientists expect should result in longer growing seasons, more sunshine and rainfall, while summertime high temperatures change little. And a warmer planet means milder winters and fewer crop-killing frosts.

History shows the Earth's climate is less stormy and more stable in relatively warm eras. The present warming trend has not resulted in agricultural water shortages. Indeed, rainfall is increasing moderately over most of the world because global warming evaporates more water from the oceans, where it falls back down to earth in a reinvigorated hydrological cycle. Thanks partly to increased rainfall, infrared satellite readings show worldwide vegetative activity generally increased 6.17 percent between 1982 and 1999. The world is getting greener. Continued warming should increase, rather than reduce, rainfall.

In addition, global warming also increases carbon dioxide (CO2), which acts like fertilizer for plants. As the planet warms, oceans naturally release huge tonnages of additional CO2. (Cold water can hold much more of a gas than warmer water). CO2 in the atmosphere has increased more than 30 percent in the past half-century. CO2 is a critical component of photosynthesis, the process by which plants use sunlight to create carbohydrates -- the material that makes up their root and body structures. Increasing CO2 levels not only speeds the growth of plants, it improves their water use efficiency. More CO2 also decreases water loss in plants, which is beneficial in arid climates or during droughts. Botanists pump large volumes of CO2 into their greenhouses to enhance plant growth.

A series of 55 experiments by research scientist Sherwood Idso, formerly of the Agriculture Department, support botanists' faith in CO2's beneficial effects. For example, when Mr. Idso increased CO2 by 300 parts per million (ppm) above the current atmospheric level of more than 370 ppm, plant growth increased 31 percent under optimal water conditions, and 63 percent under water scarcity. With a 600 ppm CO2 increase, plant growth was enhanced 51 percent under optimal water conditions and an astonishing 219 percent under conditions of water shortage. CO2 enrichment causes plants to develop more extensive root systems that allow plants to reach additional pockets of both water and nutrients in the soil, reducing the metabolic energy required to capture vital nutrients. More extensive, active roots also stimulate and enhance the activity of bacteria and other organisms in the soil that are beneficial to plants. Since many of today's plants evolved when CO2 levels were much higher, some scientists fear today's plants are literally starving from CO2 deprivation.

Based on nearly 800 scientific observations around the world, a doubling of CO2 from present levels -- would improve plant productivity on average by 32 percent across species. Controlled experiments have shown that, that under elevated CO2 levels, average yields of cereal grains, including rice, wheat and oats are 25 percent to 64 percent higher. Tubers and root crops, including potatoes, and cassava, yield 18 to 75 percent more under high CO2 conditions. And yields of legumes, including peas, beans and soybeans, increase between 28 percent and 46 percent. So far, since 1950, in a period of global warming, these factors have helped the world's grain production soar from 700 million more than 2 billion tons last year.

Humans can help nature along. Recently, Egypt genetically engineered a drought-tolerant wheat plant -- containing a gene from the barley plant -- that needs to be irrigated only once, rather than eight times per season. The new wheat is expected to dramatically increase food production in semi-arid climates. In addition, constantly improving transportation systems help reduce localized food shortages. The real famine threat will come not in the present warming, but rather the next Ice Age when huge ice sheets will once again cover Canada and Russia, and the Northern Plains will be too cold to farm. Fortunately, that test may not come for another 10,000 years. By then, unless regulations interfere, the world should have genetically engineered a set of even higher-yielding and still more stress-tolerant crop varieties to feed humanity on dramatically reduced acreage.



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

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

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


29 May, 2005


The Greenies are like a dog with a bone when it comes to "chemicals"

A new health alert over chemicals used in make-up, shampoo and soaps is issued today. Experts say products containing the chemicals - called phthalates - could cause women to give birth to boys with female characteristics. Their research found shrunken genitals and less masculine behaviour in babies. Phthalates help to give cosmetics colour and bond perfume molecules. They are also used in pliable plastics such as clingfilm, kidney dialysis tubes, blood bags and even children's toys.

"This is a very big problem," said study leader Professor Shanna Swan, of the University of Rochester. The research, to be published-next month in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, found 90 per cent of babies exposed to high levels of the chemicals in the womb exhibited "more female physical traits". Professor Swan said: "We need to eradicate these chemicals. But it is rather like taking lead out of petrol - a slow process."

The study of 134 boys found a range of problems including shrunken genitalia and undescended testicles. They believe the effects could be permanent, although this needs to be confirmed over time. Professor Swan urged manufacturers to reveal which of their products contain phthalates - previously supposed not to be harmful - as a matter of urgency. "I would urge people to write and ask for that information," she said. "The problem for consumers is at the moment we just don't know where this chemical will show up."

Andreas Kortenkamp, an expert in environmental pollutants at the London School of Pharmacy, said: "If it's true, it's sensational. This is the first time anyone's shown this effect in humans." He added: "These are mass chemicals. They are used in any plastic that is pliable. Sorting this out is going to be an interesting challenge for industry as well as society."

A spokesman for the European Council for Plasticisers and Intermediates said reproductive effects had been seen in rats and mice only at levels of exposure "many times higher than those experienced by humans".


For perspective, note this report from 1998:

Parents shopping for soft, flexible, and safe plastic toys for their kids this holiday season may be out of luck. Companies such as Mattel and First Years recently announced that they would discontinue the use of certain plastic-softening chemicals in some or all of their toys. Then, on November 13, 1998, the giant retailer Toys "R" Us said that they were yanking from their stores worldwide all soft plastic toys kids put in their mouths.

The reason? A fear-mongering campaign against phthalates (diisononyl phthalates or DINP), the chemical used as a softener in toys and other products.The companies admitted that the plastic products were safe but were being pulled because of bad PR, mostly stirred up by Greenpeace. Over the years, soft plastic toys and teething rings have been embraced by parents who wanted products that wouldn't hurt their kids, were easy to clean, and were fun and flexible.

Greenpeace's scary but science-less attack raises the specter that the chemical leaching out from kids' sucking the toys can cause them serious harm. Yet Greenpeace has no scientific basis for its charges. Its "report" released on November 13 on phthalates' harm was nothing more than a press release with footnotes. In fact, the chemical has been tested for about a quarter of a century, with no evidence that phthalates are harmful to humans.

The chemical is toxic when mice and rats are fed massive doses. But, according to the prominent biochemist who invented the primary test for carcenogenic substances, Dr. Bruce Ames, about one-half of all chemicals tested, both natural and man-made, are toxic when tested at high doses in either rats or mice.

Thirteen years ago, probably egged on by Greenpeace, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) studied another related phthalate elasticizer, DEHP, and found no evidence of its toxicity. Nonetheless, producers discontinued its use and substituted DINP. Currently, the CPSC is researching the toxicity of those phthalates, undoubtedly again spurred on by Greenpeace's public relations campaign. CSPC's research follows on the heels of European studies done by the Dutch and the Spanish governments, which found no significant health hazards from phthalates in children's toys.

And there was a 1970s scare too:

Finally in this gallery we come to a portrait of a molecule that is present in everything we eat: phthalate. There have been several scares about phthalates over the years: a recent one in the UK concerned their presence in formula feeds for babies. Mothers were alarmed to be told that phthalates were contaminating their baby's feed, and that these molecules were being described, somewhat mischievously, as `gender-bending' chemicals. The panic that resulted echoed an earlier phthalate scare of the 1970s when they were said to leach from plastic wrapping into food, and were then accused of causing cancer. Despite these worrying assertions, there is no need for alarm, because phthalates cause neither cancer nor infertility in humans, as we will discover. Phthalates are derivatives of phthalic acid, which consists of a benzene ring with two acid groups attached. These groups may be next to each other, when the molecule is called simply phthalate, or on opposite sides of the ring, when it is called terephthalate. (There is a third form in which the groups are one atom apart, but these have little commercial significance.) Phthalates were first made in the 1850s and called naphthalates, from naphtha, the ancient Greek name for natural petroleum, but this was soon shortened to phthalate.

Phthalates are entirely manufactured and worryingly widespread; even in remote regions of the planet analysts have recorded 0.5 ppm of phthalates in rainwater, so even the peoples of the high Himalayas and the remote Pacific islands get a daily dose. The alarm over baby foods came from a report by the UK's Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, which released surveys entitled Phthalates in Paper & Board Packaging (1995) and Total Diet Survey (1996) which reported them to be present in almost all food analysed, not just in baby milk. Levels in milk and milk products were reported to be around 1 ppm, and for a time it looked as though this might be coming from the PVC tubing used in milking machines, but investigation showed that this source accounted for only a tenth of what was present.

Because of earlier fears about their safety, plasticizer phthalates are now among the most investigated of all chemicals. The leading plasticizer is DEHP, short for di(ethylhexyl) phthalate, but according to David Cadogan, of the European Union's Council for Plasticizers and Intermediates in Brussels, this poses little risk: `As far as humans are concerned it causes neither cancer nor reproductive effects. Nor are phthalates accumulating in the environment because they are biodegradable, and levels are falling. In Rhine sediment, for example, there has been a reduction of 85% since the 1970s. Phthalates are very insoluble in water--about a millionth of a gram per litre--so leakage from plastics in old landfill sites is tiny.'

In 1990 the EU Commission said that DEHP should not be classified as a carcinogen, because no carcinogenic or oestrogenic activity was found with fish, hamsters, guinea-pigs, dogs or monkeys. However, rats did show increased risks of liver tumours and smaller testes, but these animals, unlike humans, are known to be particularly prone to respond this way because they have been specially bred to be sensitive to cancer-forming chemicals. Humans are not at risk. The Danish Institute of Toxicology concluded that an intake of 500 mg a day was without effect. Our average daily intake is around 0.35 mg, which over a lifetime would amount to less than 10 g (a dessert spoonful). For babies, the tolerable daily intake is 0.05 mg per kilogram of body weight, but no formula feed would provide anything like this amount of DEHP. In any case the 0.05 guideline has a large inbuilt factor and is based on the tests on rats. The danger from phthalates is negligible, even to babies. If all the phthalates in a year's supply of milk were to be consumed at one feeding, it would still not be enough to make a baby sick, let alone anything more serious.


Prof. Brignell thinks Global Warming is

If anything is more shocking than that secret letter from the Royal Society to the media it is the lack of reaction to it. If the equivalent had happened in any other field of human activity, such as the Chief Rabbi advocating anti-Semitism, there would have been uproar.

There are by tradition two theories of history, the conspiracy and the cock-up. Conspiracy theories are a dime a dozen. Any notable statesman or film star meeting an untimely death will spawn dozens of books, all with different but incompatible conspiracy theories. We all, when visiting Dallas, for example, peer through the Depository window, stand on the grassy knoll and conjecture on the myriad explanations of what actually happened, but the truth is lost in the cloud of unknowing and invention.

Battles from Bosworth to Arnhem were decided by cock-ups rather than any human planning, which goes for most of the events that caused a fork in human history. Of course, there have always been the likes of the lean and hungry, daggers drawn, senators, but the great majority of significant events were the product of randomness or negligence. For want of a nail the battle was lost.

It is therefore not only a dangerous step to nominate something as the greatest conspiracy ever, but it invites accusations of pretentiousness or worse. Just look, however, at the ingredients. Some of those involved are organisations of size and power never before seen in human affairs - The Murdoch Empire, the BBC, political parties (particularly the Greens, but also those overtly or covertly affiliated to them), demonstrably corrupt international bodies, such as the United Nations and the EU etc. In addition there are huge industries raking off obscene profits, such as the wind turbine manufacturer who is a major donor to the party of Government that diverted substantial tax revenues into his pocket (not unique, as a minister for the other lot , Gummer, launched the whole thing and then set up a couple of companies to exploit it).

Above all there is that large proportion of the populace that is seduced by the idealistic preachments of the eco-theologues. They acquiesce to the destruction of the environment (and people) in the name of the environment, simply because they never hear the alternative argument. They are cold-bloodedly manipulated by a new priesthood, to whom science and its methods are at best an irrelevance.

Any doubt that it is a conspiracy if finally removed by the fact that we were not supposed to know about that letter. It was issued just to the media. But for the accident that one member was not so pliable, we would still not know. It is not that the proponents are simply mistaken - that would be forgivable. They know that they are lying: otherwise there would be no need for all the manufactured and selective evidence, the appeal to a claimed consensus (the like of which has never had a place within the scientific method), the gross attempts to censor any contrary argument, the abandonment of the essential scepticism of science, the vilification of doubters, the direction of huge quantities of taxpayers money into acquiescent "research" groups, the barrage of angled news-stories, the drama documentaries, irrelevant interpolations into editorial commentaries and on and on.

The evidence for the global warming disaster theory does not stand up to the most cursory examination, like the global cooling disaster theory that preceded it. Yet, a majority of simple souls accept that it is true, because it has been drummed into their brains by incessant repetition. Now the appeal is based on the "scientific consensus". From Galileo, through Darwin to Einstein, there is a clear law of scientific consensus; The law of scientific consensus: At times of scientific contention the consensus is always wrong. Alas, poor science.

Infant formula ambush: "Self-styled public-health activists often pursue issues that are surrogates for their real agenda. One example is the continuing attack on infant formula. Activists' underlying agenda is not the well-being of mothers or babies, but disparaging discrediting and disadvantaging multinational food producers. The U.N.'s World Health Organization soon will vote on whether to require prominent warnings that pathogenic microorganisms are present in infant formula."


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

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

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


28 May, 2005


I have used both oil-based and plastic house-paint for years and there is no substitute for the hard, smooth glossy finish that oil gives. It also makes the only wood-primer worth having. Other primers tend to allow "bleed-through" of timber volatiles -- leaving a brown stain. And I would like to see the proof that these restrictive rules do any good to anybody

Carlos Diez felt a little extreme when he stockpiled 1,000 gallons of oil-based house paint last November. But with his stash of the precious glossy dwindling, he's going a bit crazy again, stopping at any store he thinks might have some cans squirreled away. "I feel like an addict. I went to Strosniders last week in Bethesda. They had about 40 gallons. I bought all 40 gallons," he said. "I've been talking to everyone. I say, 'You have paint? What color?' If it's a color I think I can use, I buy it." When his stockpile is gone, he said, "I don't know what I'm gonna do."

What he'll probably do is switch to latex paint, as so many other painters in the area have done because of a new, but largely unpublicized, regulation restricting the sale of oil-based, or alkyd, paint in the mid-Atlantic region. It's a measure aimed at reducing ground-level ozone pollution, but it's one that many consumers and painters were unaware of until oil paint just started vanishing. "I will have to say that 75 percent of them don't have a clue," about the new rule, said Edgardo Lopez, assistant manager of the Northern Virginia paint store Alexandria Paint Co. "Twenty-five percent have heard a little bit but thought it was a myth."

Similar rules have been in effect for a while in California, and restrictive oil-paint laws are being crafted in many northern states. But the mid-Atlantic region has not made as much progress reducing overall pollution as New England has, so the paint restrictions kicked in first in this area. Since Jan. 1, stores in the District, Northern Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware and New York have not been able to order most of the oil-based paints commonly used in household and commercial applications. Paint stores are allowed to sell the alkyds they had on the shelves when the rule took effect, and some stores piled up their stockrooms in anticipation of the change. But those reserves are slowly depleting, just as painting season arrives.

That has created a burgeoning market for imports -- from southern Virginia, where the restrictions are not in place because the pollution there is not as bad. At the Virginia Paint Co. Benjamin Moore store in Fredericksburg, there has been a spike in oil paint sales. "It's been growing as they sell out of inventory in Northern Virginia," said Ted Arthur, outside sales representative for the store. "We're starting to see that influx of customers here to get that oil-based product, definitely."

Not all painters are wedded to oil-based paint, as it smells, it's harder to clean up and it dries so hard that it can crack rather than breathe with the typical expansion and contraction that weather can cause. There have also been great strides in the quality of water-soluble latex paint in recent years, in part because manufacturers have known for at least a decade that this regulation was coming. Oil paint accounted for 16.5 percent of the market in 2003, according to the Commerce Department, down from 18 percent in 1997.

Because many painters now use latex, especially for exterior jobs, little information about this change was passed on to painters and consumers. "This was supposed to be relatively seamless for them," said Christopher Recchia, executive director of the Ozone Transport Commission, an organization created under the Clean Air Act and charged with helping Eastern states develop regulations to prevent further diminishing of the ozone. "For the most part, you can go and buy these products that not only work as well as the other products, but they are environmentally safer."

The problem with oil paints is that as they dry or sit out in the open, they give off volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, that not only make the paint smell but interact with sun and heat to create ozone pollution. Recchia said alkyds create 170,000 tons of emissions a day in the so-called Ozone Transport Region. "It's one of the largest causes of VOC emissions, and it's comparable to some of the industrial plant sources," he said.

The rules do not eliminate VOCs but set such low limits that most products had to be reformulated into latex versions. And a few industrial-use paints, such as those for metal or roofs, were allowed to stay on the market. But the interior versions most popular with painters are going away. For high-end painters, oil has long been the covering of choice for wood trim and certain other applications.

"We're just not going to be able to do as nice a looking job as previously," said painter Mitchell Fagan, whose jobs include faux painting styles that rely on some of the oils taken off the market. "Once I've used what I've stockpiled, we won't be able to achieve certain looks."

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And temperature is only a minor influence on them anyway. The main influence is the amount of snowfall, which varies from year to year

The Mote, et al papers referenced earlier included the statement: "A study of springtime mountain snowpack in the Pacific Northwest showed widespread declines in snowpack since 1950 at most locations with largest declines at lower elevations indicating temperature effects."

Note the starting point for this analysis; the late 1940s-early 1950s were an exceptionally snowy period in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest. The Mote, et al papers used 1950 as a starting point because snowpack measurements were "widespread by the late 1940s" (Mote, et al, 2005) and much less extensive earlier. However, in view of the fact that climate conditions prior to the late 1940s were very different, one might wonder if inclusion of longer period data sets would change the result. We explore that here.

Snow course measurements are made throughout the winter by USDA and other agencies. These are currently collected and archived by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Early measurements were made manually, usually once per month. The "rule of thumb" for high elevations is that the deepest snow pack occurs on or about April 1. For the purposes of this analysis, historical values of April 1 snow water equivalent (SWE) -- the water content of the snow pack -- were examined.

Initially, the linear trend in SWE from 1950-current was calculated. It is recognized that linear trends are inappropriate for many time series, but they were used in the Mote, et al analyses and we wished to be consistent. For stations whose period of record extended back well before 1950, linear trends for the entire period of record were calculated....

The longest available SWE data set in the region is from Bumping Lake, Washington, for which data are available back to 1915. As above, trends in the data were computed for 1950-current and for period of record. They are shown in Figure 10, with the shorter data set exhibiting a downward trend of 16" per century, but the period of record data actually showing a slight increase.....

Finally, in an attempt to answer the question "what is the primary variable causing variations in snow pack?" we present Figure 14, a double scatterplot of total monthly snowfall versus average monthly temperature and monthly snowfall versus monthly precipitation for January (1953-2003). The site is Government Camp, at about 4000 feet in elevation on the south side of Mt. Hood in the northern Oregon Cascades; January is the snowiest month at that location. The chart reveals an expected positive correlation between precipitation and snowfall and a negative temperature-snowfall relationship. Note, however, the r-squared values: .08 for temperature and .55 for precipitation. In other words, temperature variability explains only 8% of the variance in the snowfall values, while precipitation trends explain 55%....

The use of snowpack trends from 1950 through current suggests a much different (steeper) trend than if period of record measurements are used. Granted, there exist relatively few stations that extend back prior to 1940, but those stations whose records are available make it clear than monotonic decreases in snow pack do not occur through the entire period of record.

More here


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

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

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


27 May, 2005


Some new Russian research on global warming has just become available from one of the academic journals. Here is an excerpt:

"The researches of global variability of atmosphere, climate and the environment are foregrounds in present time. Special attention is paid to the research of the global warming (GW) origin of the climate, its manifestations over different territories and forecasts of the climate changes for the further decades. This is a fundamental problem, the answer to which has not only theoretical and applied importance but also the political-economical one. To what extent the GW has the anthropogenic origin during the last decades - this question appears to have the overriding meaning for the understanding of the climate changes character on the Earth in the past and in the future. Unfortunately, the model calculations of the quantitative contribution of CO2 into the observed and predicted global warming on the basis of contemporary climatic models show that the global temperature increases widely ranging from 1ø up to 5ø (Dymnikov et al., 2004). This does not make it possible to conclude that the warming in the 20th century is caused by the exclusively anthropogeneous factors and, moreover, to assert that only CO2 is responsible for the observed global warming.

And with that the most significant and substantiated argument, which makes us doubt that the observed GW is caused only by the contribution of CO2 of anthropogeneous origin, is the absence of the answer to the question of the causes of the existence of warm and cold periods in the last millennium. The observed correlations of long-time changes of global temperature and CO2 do not mean that the cause of GW is CO2 because the ocean temperature increase (which is really observed) also leads to the CO2 increase in atmosphere, i.e., the increase of CO2 could be the consequence, but not the cause of global warming (Monin and Shishkov, 2000)".


But the global warmers "just know" it is stable, of course

The most intense burst of solar radiation in five decades accompanied a large solar flare on January 20, shaking space weather theory and highlighting the need for new forecasting techniques. The solar flare occurred at 2 a.m. ET, tripping radiation monitors all over the planet and scrambling detectors on spacecraft within minutes. It was an extreme example of a flare with radiation storms that arrive too quickly to warn future interplanetary astronauts.

"This flare produced the largest solar radiation signal on the ground in nearly 50 years," said Dr. Richard Mewaldt of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, a co-investigator on NASA's Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE) spacecraft. "But we were really surprised when we saw how fast the particles reached their peak intensity and arrived at Earth."

Normally it takes two or more hours for a dangerous proton shower to reach maximum intensity at Earth after a solar flare, but the particles from the January 20 flare peaked about 15 minutes after the first sign. That's important," said Mewaldt, "because it's too fast to respond with much warning to astronauts or spacecraft that might be outside Earth's protective magnetosphere. In addition to monitoring the Sun, we need to develop the ability to predict flares in advance if we are going to send humans to explore our solar system."

The event also shakes current theory about the origin of proton storms at Earth. "Since about 1990, we've believed that proton storms at Earth are caused by shock waves in the inner solar system as coronal mass ejections plow through interplanetary space," says Professor Robert Lin of the University of California at Berkeley, principal investigator for the Reuven Ramaty High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager (RHESSI). "But the protons from this event may have come from the Sun itself, which is very confusing."......

However, rotating sunspots are not the whole story. The unique flare came at the end of a string of five other very large flares from the same sunspot group, and no one yet knows why this one produced more sudden high energy particles than the first four. "It means we really don't yet understand how the Sun works," says Lin, "and we need to continue to operate and exploit our fleet of solar-observing spacecraft to identify how it works."

More here


Not as big a boondoggle as windmills or as costly as the opposition to nuclear power, though

Nearly 15 years ago, electric cars were all the road rage with bureaucrats and environmentalists who thought the nonpolluting vehicles would eventually take over California's freeways. But the growing popularity of hybrid cars and an upcoming state "Hydrogen Highway" proposal highlight how other cheaper, more convenient or politically expedient technologies have leapfrogged the vehicles powered by rechargeable batteries. The electric car is wheezing its last breath. Fewer than 1,000 of them remain on the road in California, and automakers have turned their backs on the technology. "The big problem with electric vehicles is that the automakers have thumped their heads on getting battery technology up to snuff," said James Bell, publisher of Campbell-based IntelliChoice, which tracks trends in the automotive industry. "They've never been able to solve the range and recharge problems to make electric cars competitive."

Pushed by tax credits and the California Air Resources Board's 1990 mandate to produce zero-emissions vehicles, the Big Three U.S. carmakers issued limited runs of electric autos from 1996 to 2003. General Motors Corp. had its EV1 compact car and an electric version of its Chevy S10 truck. Ford Motor Co. leased its TH!NK City two-passenger vehicle and Ranger EV pickup. DaimlerChrysler AG produced the EPIC Minivan EV. Foreign automakers got into the act, too. Honda Motor Co. Ltd. delivered a compact, the EV Plus, and Toyota Motor Corp. rolled out its RAV4 EV. With a few exceptions, such as the RAV4 EV, the vehicles only were available through closed-end lease agreements. At the end of the lease, the manufacturer would take the vehicle back and dismantle it. "All of these vehicles were designed to be 'proof of concept' cars," Bell said. "The cynical side says that it was a way for manufacturers to prove that rechargeable cars couldn't work and that there was no consumer demand. The manufacturers' side says that it was merely a technology in development and a half-step to hybrids."

At the height of the EV wave in 1997-98 about 5,000 all-electric vehicles were on the state's roads, and battery charging stations were installed at Sacramento sites from Arden Fair mall and the Wells Fargo Building downtown to the Mel Rapton auto dealership on Fulton Avenue. By 2000, the number of electric cars had dropped to 3,000, according to California Air Resources Board researchers. Today, the number is down to "around 900, and getting smaller all the time," said board spokesman Jerry Martin. The vehicles are mostly being supplanted by hybrids, such as the Toyota Prius, that combine a gasoline engine with an electric motor that kicks in during stops and low speeds. Also, many people think another alternative, hydrogen-fueled vehicles, is the key to selling Americans on zero emissions autos.

But electric car enthusiasts aren't letting their vehicles go without a fight. Earlier this year, Mariposa County resident and Ranger EV owner David Raboy staged an eight-day vigil in front of Sacramento's Senator Ford dealership to buy his truck after his lease ran out. Ford relented and sold the pickup to Raboy and other leaseholders for $1. "Baywatch" TV actress Alexandra Paul was arrested in March after blocking trucks that were hauling EV1 cars from a Burbank storage facility to Arizona for crushing.

GM spokesman Dave Barthmuss said the Detroit-based car manufacturer spent approximately $1 billion on all-electric car research and produced about 800 EV1s between 1996 and 2000. "We stopped making the car because we couldn't afford to keep losing money on a product with no broad public demand," Barthmuss said.

This month several environmental and pro-electric groups have organized under the banner to pressure Toyota not to recycle its RAV4 EV. The company made 1,484 of the small electric SUVs from 1998 to 2003. About 600 are still on American roads, half of them purchased and the other half under lease. The rest have been crushed and recycled, said company spokeswoman Cindy Knight. For the next few years Toyota will make parts as needed for the RAV4 EV, which originally retailed for about $42,000. But made-to-order parts are expensive: A battery pack, which lasts an average of three years, costs $25,000 to replace.

It looks like public officials, including Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, have already moved on. More than a year ago, he called for a "Hydrogen Highway" stretching the length of the state, with hydrogen fueling stations every 20 miles. The state Environmental Protection Agency has been working on a blueprint that recommends clustering the stations in Sacramento, the Bay Area, Los Angeles and San Diego. It proposes the state spend $54 million over five years to help build 100 hydrogen fueling stations, buy some fleet vehicles and provide incentives.

More here


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

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

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


26 May, 2005


A curious but ultimately heartening trend is that some Scandinavians, who inhabit what many view as the most successful and popular welfare states in the world, are starting to discover the benefits and blessings of free markets and capitalism, and to become almost evangelical in their enthusiasm. Maybe it's the fairly universal hunger for what you don't have, the inclination to see greener pastures on the other side of the ideological fence. Or maybe it's that those who live in a socialist country are more alert to its shortcomings. This trend began in 2001, when Danish statistician Bjorn Lomborg published "The Skeptical Environmentalist," which questioned numerous shibboleths of political environmentalism, most notably that the Kyoto treaty was likely to do much to ameliorate global warming (if it exists). In 2003 Johan Norberg, a fellow at the Swedish think tank Timbro, who began political life as a left anarchist, wrote "In Defense of Global Capitalism," which argued that globalization and capitalism do much more to help the world's poor than international conferences and government plans.

Now comes "Water for Sale," by Fredrik Segerfeldt, senior adviser at the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise, who also has a connection to Timbro. He notes that about 1.1 billion people, more than live in North America and Europe combined, are without access to safe and clean water supplies. The consequences are devastating. Each year about 1 billion people contract water-borne or water-related diseases and 12 million a year die. Those without access to water mains often spend hours a day buying and transporting water in buckets, priced at 10 to 30 times the system's prices, which means they can't be learning or working during those hours, which perpetuates poverty. Wars have been fought over water. Segerfeldt argues, however, that the best way to improve the situation is to get private commercial companies more involved in providing water. Here he butts up against most of the world's Non-Governmental Organizations and anti-globalization activists. Driven, he argues, more by anti-business ideology than humanitarian considerations, they have opposed every effort to "privatize" water delivery undertaken in the Third World and seek to close it off as an alternative. The specter of greed-driven corporations exploiting and waxing fat off the world's poor looms large here.

Mr. Segerfeldt is clear that nowhere in the world has water distribution been completely privatized, in the sense of a private company actually owning and selling water. But he analyzes the few instances in underdeveloped countries where private companies have been allowed to run what he acknowledges is a natural monopoly. Although there have been problems, in every instance the result was that more poor people got access to clean water, usually at prices lower than they had been paying before. In Guinea, for example, the number of urban dwellers with access to safe water went from two in 10 to seven in 10 in little over a decade with partial privatization. In Manila, millions of people who used to pay 100 pesos per cubic meter now pay 15 pesos and have a reliable supply. Poor people in four cities in Cambodia that tried partial privatization now have better access than in cities where water is still controlled by the government.

Even in cities cited as privatization failures, notably Cochamba in Bolivia and Buenos Aires, critics have to acknowledge that getting private companies involved led to more poor people having access to water, although not at lower prices in all cases.

As an example of irrationality when government runs water, Segerfeldt even mentions California, where farmers get below-market prices and city-dwellers pay much more. In short, this little book makes a strong practical, theoretical and humanitarian case for giving businesses more involvement in providing water, about which, as W.H. Auden said, "thousands have lived without love, not one without water."



Global warming became the environmentalists' cause celebre in the late 1980s. They had turned on a dime, for only a few years earlier global cooling had been their mantra. They didn't know what had caused that earlier "cooling trend," but its effects were sure to be bad. "The drop in food output could begin quite soon, perhaps only in ten years," Newsweek reported in 1975. "The resulting famines could be catastrophic."

Now warming is the specter, with its melting glaciers, inundated cities, and the Gulf Stream reversing course. But I doubt if the enviros can keep on fomenting the scare much longer. It has been based on little more than extrapolated temperatures and spurious charts. What are the facts? Surface temperature measurements show a global warming period from about 1910 to 1940, followed by a cooling period until 1975. Since then we have experienced a slight warming trend. These three periods add up to a surface-temperature increase of perhaps one-degree Fahrenheit for the entire 20th century.

Satellite measurements of atmospheric temperatures do not agree, however. They began only in 1979, and have shown no significant increase over the last quarter century. Balloon readings did show an abrupt, one-time increase in 1976-1977. Since then, those temperatures have stabilized.

Environmentalists believe that the 20th-century warming was caused by human activity, primarily the burning of fossil fuels. That produces carbon dioxide -- one of several "greenhouse gases." The argument is that their release into the atmosphere wraps the Earth in an invisible shroud. This makes the escape of heat into outer space slightly more difficult than its initial absorption from sunlight. This is the Greenhouse Effect. So the Earth warms up.

But whether man-made carbon-dioxide emissions have caused measurable temperature increases over the last 30 years is debated. Carbon dioxide is itself a benign and essential substance, incidentally. Without it, plants would not grow, and without plant-life animals could not live. Any increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere causes plants, trees, and forests to grow more abundantly. It should be a tree-hugger's delight.

The surface data suggest that man-made carbon dioxide has not in fact increased global temperatures. From 1940 to 1975, coal-fired plants emitted fumes with great abandon and without restraint by Greens. Yet the Earth cooled slightly in that time. And if man-made global warming is real, atmospheric as well as surface temperatures should have increased steadily. But they haven't. There was merely that one-time increase, possibly caused by a solar anomaly. In addition, an "urban heat island effect" has been identified. Build a tarmac runway near a weather station, and the nearby temperature readings will go up.

GLOBAL WARMING BECAME THE FOCUS of activism at the time of the Earth Summit in Rio, in 1992. Bush the elder signed a climate-change treaty, with signatories agreeing to reduce carbon dioxide emissions below 1990 levels. The details were worked out in Kyoto, Japan. But America was the principal target, everyone knew it, and Clinton didn't submit the treaty to the Senate for ratification. The 1990 date had been carefully chosen. Emissions in Germany and the Soviet Union were still high; Germany had just absorbed East Germany, then still using inefficient coal-fired plants. After they were modernized, Germany's emissions dropped, so the demand that they be reduced below 1990 levels had already been met and became an exercise in painless moralizing.

The same was true for the Soviet Union. After its collapse, in 1991, economic activity fell by about one-third. As for France, most of its electricity comes from nuclear power, which has no global-warming effects but has been demonized for other reasons. If the enviros were serious about reducing carbon dioxide they would be urging us to build nuclear power plants, but that is not on their agenda. They want windmills (whether or not they kill golden eagles).

Under the Kyoto Protocol, U.S. emissions would have to be cut so much that economic depression would have been the only certain outcome. We were expected to reduce energy use by about 35 percent within ten years, which might have meant eliminating one-third of all cars. You can see why the enviros fell in love with the idea.

Third World countries are exempt, as are China and India. Australia, like the U.S., has refused to ratify. Thirty-five countries, mostly in Europe, have agreed to reduce emissions. But there are no enforcement mechanisms, the potential for cheating is unlimited, and the principal irritation today is that the main enemy, the United States, slipped the noose.

Any unusual event is now likely to be linked to climate change. Within 24 hours of the tsunami in December, the CBS evening news displayed a graphic that had only the words "global warming" and "tsunamis." Citing unnamed "climate experts," Dan Rather intoned:

Climate experts warned today that tsunamis could become more common around the world and more dangerous. They cite a number of factors, including a creeping rise in sea levels believed to come from global warming and growing populations along coastal areas.

The claim that the globe is warming depends on knowing earlier temperatures. Such information can only be obtained indirectly. Climate scientists depend on tree rings, bore holes, ice cores, the skeletons of marine organisms. The graph that was most effective in persuading policy-makers became known as the hockey stick. The temperature line is mostly horizontal, perhaps declining slightly for 900 years, then abruptly heading up into a warmer range over the last 100 years. The 900 years are the handle, the last hundred are the blade.

THE "HOCKEY STICK" was first published in 1998 by the climatologist Michael Mann of the University of Virginia, and co-authors. It was immediately used by the United Nations to promote the idea that we have an unprecedented crisis on our hands. But the chart also aroused suspicions, because for years there had been a broad agreement among climatologists that global temperatures had not been as unvarying as the chart implied. There had been something called the Medieval Warm Period, which persisted until the "Little Ice Age" took hold in the 14th and 15th centuries. Both periods lasted for several hundred years.

The warmer period, accompanied by a flowering of prosperity, knowledge, and art in Europe, seems to have been wholly beneficial. Agricultural yields increased, marshes and swamps -- today called wetlands -- dried up, removing the breeding grounds of malaria-spreading mosquitoes. Infant mortality fell, the population grew. Greenland was settled by the Vikings, who reached a peak of prosperity in the 12th and 13th centuries. They began declining in the late 14th century, with the colder weather. Then the settlements perished.

The warm period has been recognized in the climate textbooks for decades, and it was an obvious embarrassment to those claiming that the 20th-century warming was a true anomaly. Also, the earlier changes occurred when fossil-fuel consumption could hardly have been the culprit. They would prove that warming could occur without human intervention.

Consider, in this context, the experience of David Deming with the University of Oklahoma's College of Geosciences. In 1995, he published a paper in the journal Science, reviewing the evidence showing that bore hole data showed a warming of about one degree Celsius in North America over the last 100 to 150 years. Deming continues:

With the publication of the article in Science, I gained significant credibility in the community of scientists working on climate change. They thought I was one of them, someone who would pervert science in the service of social and political causes. So one of them let his guard down. A major person working in the area of climate change and global warming sent me an astonishing email that said, "We have to get rid of the Medieval Warm Period."

Whether intentionally or not, that is exactly what Mann's "hockey stick" did.

Once doomsayers convince us that we are experiencing something new, they feel free to claim that we face a catastrophe. They can extrapolate from the minor and beneficial warming that we may (or may not) have experienced in the last generation and argue that temperatures will keep on rising until the ice caps melt and cities flood.

Then the hockey stick was challenged by a Toronto minerals consultant named Stephen McIntyre, who, remarkably, had no credentials as a climatologist. He spent two years and $5,000 of his own money trying to uncover Mann's methods. Mann at first did give him some information, but then cut him off saying he didn't have time to respond to "every frivolous note" from nonscientists. McIntyre was joined by another Canadian, and in 2003 they published a critical article. Mann had "used flawed methods that yield meaningless results."

In a rebuttal, Mann revealed new information that had not appeared in his original paper. It had been published in the British journal Nature, which later published a correction. McIntyre thinks there may be more errors but still doesn't know how the graph was generated. Mann has refused to release his secret formula. A Wall Street Journal reporter doggedly pursued the matter and contacted Mann. He told the reporter: "Giving them the algorithm would be giving in to the intimidation tactics that these people are engaged in."

Michael Mann now concedes it is plausible that past temperature variations may have been larger than thought. Fred Singer, a leading critic of warming scares and founder of the Science and Environmental Policy Project, says that "the hockey stick is dead."......

To keep the money rolling in, environmentalists always need a crisis. It looks as though they will have to cook up a new one.

More here

Court restrains chemical phobia: "The government can no longer require chemical makers and users to account for how much methyl ethyl ketone, a widely used ingredient in plastics, textiles and paints, is released into the environment each year. A federal appeals court Tuesday ruled in favor of the American Chemistry Council, which had petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency to remove the chemical, known as MEK, from its annual Toxic Release Inventory List. The yearly list, which began with a 1986 community right-to-know law, tracks the several billion pounds of toxic chemicals released each year. EPA officials consider it an important tool, but not all-inclusive, in helping the public keep tabs on chemical pollution."


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

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

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


25 May, 2005


If anywhere could do with warmer weather, Scotland could

Global warming is a bigger threat to the world than Hitler, a leading historian has warned. Dr Jim Hunter told a conference on renewable energy that it would finish the job of the Highland Clearances Dr Hunter, former chairman of Highlands and Islands Enterprise, said Scottish communities would be obliterated over the next two generations by climate change. He said: 'Global warming is a more insidious and longer-term danger than Hitlerism,but it's one that could be far more deadly

Dr Hunter added that windfarm objectors in the Highland and Western Isles were missing a very serious point. He said: 'In 1940, the notion that an airbase should be resisted because of the way it would irrevocably alter the nature and the character of the community that hosted it would have seemed patently absurd. 'The Nazi threat was deemed, correctly, to be a greater hazard to our way of life than the concrete and the tarmac being spread across the landscape.'

Dr Hunter, director of the UHI Centre for History in Dornoch, was speaking at a conference being hosted on the Knoydart peninsula.



Schellenberger and Nordhaus may overstate the case that environmentalism is dead, but the upcoming event in Los Angeles suggests it is gravely ill. One thing keeping it on life support is a compliant media. Most environmental groups, no matter how radical, get kid-gloves treatment from the press. When I reviewed news stories about the Ruckus Society for an article I wrote recently, I noticed that none mentioned its radical politics, and only one, in the Seattle Times, mentioned its involvement with the 1999 protests-cum-riots in Seattle. U.S. News and World Report recently noted that the Ruckus Society will hold training camps this summer to teach activists the art of disrupting U.S. Army recruiters. Given the way the press views the military, don't be too surprised if this new tactic wins Ruckus Society the moniker "mainstream."

It appears the media prefer to reserve the term "radical" for violent groups like the Earth Liberation Front (ELF). This week William Jensen Cottrell, a graduate student in physics at CalTech and self-proclaimed member of ELF, was convicted for his role in acts of arson and vandalism in August 2003 that destroyed 125 SUVs at various dealerships. The Associated Press story dubbed ELF "radical." The Los Angeles Times called ELF "militant." That was when the press bothered to mention Cottrell's association with ELF. No mention of ELF in the Reuters account or in this blurb from the San Jose Mercury News. Perhaps it is too impolitic to mention violence by environmental extremists just before Earth Day.

Of course, what can you expect from the San Jose Mercury News? The tone for its coverage of environmental issues was set by its now-departed editor David Yarnold, who became executive vice president of Environmental Defense. Yarnold claimed he was joining "one of the nation's most accomplished and respected environmental advocacy non-profits." That it is also a very liberal organization, has vehemently opposed many of the Bush Administration's environmental policies, and has extensive ties to Teresa Heinz-Kerry apparently mattered not a whit. Indeed, one can infer from the lack of media coverage over Yarnold's career change that the mainstream media considers an editor of a large daily newspaper going to work for a liberal advocacy organization no different from a second baseman being traded from the Giants to the Yankees.

Finally, while the Associated Press may have gotten the ELF connection right, its bias was on full display in a story about an Energy Information Administration (EIA) study purporting to show that mandatory limits on greenhouse gases "would not significantly affect average economic growth rates across the country through 2025." The article can't help but note that the EIA study "runs counter to President Bush's repeated pronouncements that limits on carbon dioxide and other gases that warm the atmosphere like a greenhouse would seriously harm the U.S. economy." But while observing that Bush rejected the Kyoto treaty, it ignores the Senate's 95-0 vote against Kyoto because the agreement's provisions let developing countries off the hook. And what about the critics of the EIA study? Well, the AP story doesn't mention any. You'll have to read Joel Schwarz's piece in Tech Central Station for that.

"Environmentalism" may now be little more than yet another than a special interest, but environmental groups have little to fear. Sympathetic press coverage can prop up a movement long after its moment has passed. And few causes currently receive better media treatment than environmentalism.

More here


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

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

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


24 May, 2005


Mexico: "Two years ago, artists and architects banded together to stave off McDonald's from opening on the picturesque main square in the southern city of Oaxaca. Now some of those same activists are under attack themselves, over their plan to evict another foreign invader — the towering India laurel trees that shade the historic plaza. Opponents say the idea is political correctness run amok. "This is almost dogmatic," said painter Francisco Verastegui, who joined the fight to oppose McDonald's but is leading the battle against the renovation project. "They're nonnative species, so we have to get rid of them? That's like botanical racism."

His foe is a group of artists and architects who launched — with little public consultation — a vast remodeling project at the square that included talk of eventually replacing "foreign" laurels with native trees. Planted in the 1870s, the broad-limbed, dense laurels have shaded generations who come to the plaza to escape Oaxaca's hot, dry climate. Bulldozers felled one of the laurels as workers were ripping up pavement in the square in late April. The project's planners called that an accident, saying they meant to replace the 11 laurel trees in the square only gradually, as they die off.

But many people in Oaxaca no longer trust the would-be renovators, and started a Citizen's Committee to defend the trees and protest the lack of public consultation and cost of the plan, which includes repaving the entire square. Founded in 1532, downtown Oaxaca is listed as a U.N. World Heritage site and a Mexican national historic area. The plaza is bordered by colonial-era arched walkways, government and church buildings and open-air restaurants. The trees shading the square are huge, some of them soaring 100 feet high. The designers of the renovation say they favor smaller trees, arguing the current ones dwarf the surrounding buildings and block views.

But when workers showed up with chain saws to cut up the tree tipped over by the bulldozers, angry residents stood guard around the laurel and stopped them. The tree was later propped back up and may survive. The fight — which has left one of Mexico's foremost tourist attractions ripped up and roped off — has become so heated that federal authorities stepped in, ordering the city to slow down and open the plan to more public comment. Authorities also found the project lacked permits required for such work in historic districts.

More here


"How to Change the North American Climate," announced the headline of one modest proposal published in The Atlantic. How indeed? It's quite simple, says the study's author: Reroute the Pacific Ocean's warm Kuroshio Current through the Bering Strait. "If the vast low-lying districts of Eastern Siberia and Western Alaska were sunk beneath the sea . . . it would open wide the road of this vast ocean stream straightaway to the pole." And then . . . Paradise! Arctic temperatures would instantly rise by 30 degrees; the ice caps would melt, New England winters would become a quaint memory, and lawns and trees could commence "their march towards the pole."

It sounds like the stuff of science fiction, but it was science fact . . . in December 1877. The article's author was Nathaniel Shaler, a leading Harvard geologist and later its dean of sciences. He'd suffered enough Boston winters-"the fossil sunshine of old coal makes poor amends for the vanished warmth of an earlier day," he groused-that climate change sounded both splendid and eminently attainable. There was nothing unnatural about it, Shaler eagerly explained: In past eras the earth had been much warmer. Just carve out the Alaska coastline a bit, and you could turn back the clock to the balmy dinosaur days of yore.

But why melt the caps with the Pacific when you could do it cheaper and closer to home? "A jetty . . . extending eastward from Newfoundland across the water on the Great Banks" could divert the warm Gulf Stream upward toward the Arctic, noted The New York Times of one proposal in 1912. The man behind climate change this time was Carroll Livingston Riker, an engineering wunderkind who had already designed both the world's first refrigerated warehouse and a dredging system that successfully cleared the Potomac River at half the cost of government estimate. Building a 200-mile-long jetty would cost $190 million-less than the cost of the Panama Canal, the Times pointed out-and it was, Riker insisted, not visionary at all. "It is exceedingly practical," he said flatly.

Imaginations ran wild, and The Washington Post envisioned Manhattan becoming a tropical paradise: "People would be gathering oranges off the trees in Central Park, or picking cocoanuts from palms along the Battery, [and] hunting crocodiles off the Statue of Liberty." The prospect sounded so splendid to New Yorkers that Senator William Calder tried to get $100,000 appropriated for a study of the idea. But in a twist worthy of Montgomery Burns, it seems Riker's plan hid a side effect: Diverting the Gulf Stream away from the British Isles would probably . . . well, freeze them solid. "Considerable indignation is expressed in England that Americans should plan to destroy the British climate," The Washington Post drolly reported in 1913-a prospect the paper helpfully illustrated with an artist's conception of the Houses of Parliament encased in ice; in the foreground, an Eskimo spears a walrus on the frozen-over Thames. Oh, and melting the caps too quickly might cause another problem, the Post pointed out: an immense movement of weight distribution that would cause a cataclysmic shift of the earth's axis. Oops.

Melting the Arctic would truly have global effects-if, perhaps, not quite the ones its proponents anticipated. Earthquakes, cities sinking under the waves, what have you . . . details, details. But what about picking coconuts in Manhattan? When do we get our coconuts? Standing at a podium in Madison Square Garden on a chilly evening in December 1945, one man had the answer. "Atomic dynamite," his voice rang out over the PAs. Blow up the North Pole? If the notion sounds a tad aggressive to you, consider the source: Julian Huxley, then the Secretary-General of UNESCO, the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization. The brilliant zoologist brother of writer Aldous Huxley, and himself a co-author of books with H.G. Wells, Julian used his bully pulpit at UNESCO to imagine a brave new world of atomic landscaping. Blast away the ice cap with A-bombs, Huxley reasoned, and you'd create both a warmer climate and new habitable lands.

But why stop there when you could also bomb the South Pole? "Cracking of the Antarctic icebox," the World War I flying ace Eddie Rickenbacker put it just weeks later, would reveal vast mineral riches. The idea was enthusiastically pitched to America's tool-belt demographic by Mechanix Illustrated in May 1946, quoting one Columbia professor who "likens the polar ice to a 'common cold' afflicting the earth in 'head' and 'feet,' producing what he considers an unnatural condition." Bombing the polar caps, presumably, would be like blowing the earth's nose-but blowing really, really hard.

A few spoilsports pointed out that city dwellers wouldn't have too much time to enjoy their lovely coconuts if, the Times noted, there were "fish swimming in the lower offices of New York and other cities, and only the upper stories of skyscrapers protruding from the water." But someone in Moscow, at least, didn't get the memo. The Bering Strait dam project, the brainchild of Soviet engineer P.M. Borisov, was a Stalin-era update of Shaler's old idea. Borisov proposed "liquidating the ice sheet of the Arctic Basin" with a low dam across the Bering Strait; a series of atomic-powered pumping stations could skim off the cold surface waters of the Arctic and induce a flow of warm water in from the Atlantic. This would return the earth to balmy "climatic conditions which existed 1.5 million years ago. . . . Subtropical crops would be grown in the regions adjoining the Black Sea from the north, and in the lower reaches of the Don and the Volga." At long last, Russia could make its transition from a vodka- to a rum-based economy.

The idea was taken seriously enough that in 1972 Borisov's book was translated into the English-language volume Can Man Change the Climate? But even within his own book Borisov noted the dawning realization that man was already changing the climate; he quotes oceanographer N.M. Knipovich marveling that "In a mere 15 years or less time there has been such a change in the distribution of marine fauna as is usually associated with long geological periods."

And so now, alas, climate change is merely the province of Bond villains . . . and consumers. It turns out we didn't need monolithic jetties, atomic landscaping, or giant pumping stations to change the earth. All we had to do was drive over to the Circle-K for a six-pack and leave the engine idling.



A hastily assembled special negotiation of the Kyoto Protocol begins this week in Bonn, Germany, to try and define a future for a climate-change treaty that runs for five years (2008-2012) but already appears dead. This comes on the heels of European Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas coming to Washington with the message that Europe is leading on climate change and America could cheaply comply. The public deserves some candor about Kyoto's, and Europe's, actual failure and the radical changes necessary if Europe sincerely believes that American involvement is "critical" in any next steps. What we are witnessing instead is a growing European Union effort for a U.S. bailout from the political corner into which its leaders have painted themselves.

In Washington, Mr. Dimas repeated the ritual assessment of a "thawing" in U.S.-EU relations over climate change. These claims increase in frequency as Kyoto's failure becomes increasingly obvious to all but its most insulated advocates. Such pleas seek to create the inference of a Bush Administration gravitating toward agreement on Kyoto: Don't abandon ship, help is on the way.

Nothing could be further from the truth. That was reaffirmed the very week before Mr. Dimas spoke in a public speech overseas by the White House's own Council on Environmental Quality director.

In repeating the fable of a low-cost Kyoto, Mr. Dimas peddled a claim that has already proven spectacularly false back home. The specifics should surprise those familiar with Europe's righteous claims of a United States grossly out of step with the Kyoto-compliant world. In fact, Europe is not complying with Kyoto, and this failure will soon create significant internal political tension in the European Union to match that with the United States.

Almost to a nation, those few covered countries aren't complying. Under Kyoto, the EU-15 committed to collectively reduce "greenhouse gas" emissions to 8 percent below 1990 levels. Internally, however, a deal was struck under which many EU countries were permitted emission increases. These would presumably be covered by over-complying states Great Britain and Germany, due to the respective "one-off" political developments of shifting from coal to gas and shutting inefficient eastern production. This is Brussels's vaunted "burden sharing agreement."

However, those countries have since made clear they will not carry the rest of the EU-15 over the finish line of compliance. This is important for the simple reason that, regardless of any country's promise to Brussels, under the treaty each and every country among the EU-15 is stuck with an 8 percent-below-1990 commitment. As such, 12 of the EU-15 project egregious violation (by between 20 and 77 percent) of a treaty invoked by many in the European Union to demonstrate U.S. irresponsibility.

Consider the following projections for 2010 by member countries, as reported to Brussels, in relation to their now-operative Kyoto "Article 4" commitment of 8 percent below 1990: Portugal, over its promise by 77 percent, Spain by 61 percent, Greece by 51 percent, Ireland by 41 percent, Luxembourg by 31 percent, Finland by 27 percent, Denmark 26 percent, Italy by anywhere from 13 to 23 percent (following Italy's submission, the numbers discussed suddenly got worse), France by 19 percent, Austria by 18 percent, Belgium by 16 percent and the Netherlands by 10 percent.

Brussels masks these reported figures with clever rhetoric that does not withstand scrutiny nor crunching of the numbers that member states publicly submit, if with little fanfare. In early May, Spain became only the second EU country to (grudgingly) admit it will not comply.

These are not mere technicalities, but the reality behind the European Union's anti-U.S. rhetoric, and the stuff of political problems as talks presumptuously turn to a "second phase" of cuts. This is also why Italy has refused to consider the inane, operative EU posture of "Now that we have broken one promise, it is time to break an even bigger one!"

Europe's flagrant lack of adherence to Kyoto is wildly belied by the remarkable rhetoric aimed by official Europe at the United States. The EU claims the mantle of "leadership" on Kyoto while finding no apparent shame in the fact that the "rogue" United States, using the same baseline, would be tied with Ireland only for fourth-worst in Europe, at 41 percent over. Canada projects violation by 54 percent.

These facts should roil a debate dominated by scolding the United States for being so grossly out of step with the rest of the world, acting alone - with 155 others - by refusing to make an unrealistic promise. In fact, the European Union can no longer credibly blame the United States about the current state of Kyoto. The question now is whether the European Union will accept Kyoto's failure, and its own, and accept a more practical rethinking of the issue for the future. If not, it only has itself to blame.



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

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

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


23 May, 2005


Letter sent to "Physics Today" on 28th June, 2004 but rejected without explanation

Need for re-assessment of global warming science

The present debate on Global Warming(GW) and the review of the book "The Discovery of Global warming" appearing in Physics Today ( June 2004) has prompted me to write this letter and make a case for re-assessment of the science of GW.

Several recent studies published in the last couple of years have seriously questioned many assumptions and observational evidence of GW that have been highlighted in the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) Climate Change documents as well as other scientific articles and news media. The earth's mean temperature variation over the past millennium has been derived using proxy data ( tree-rings, ice cores etc.) and is often presented by the well-known "Hockey Stick Curve" which shows an unprecedented warming of the earth's surface since about 1850 AD (Mann et al, 1999), the curve between 1850-2000 being shown in red representing the blade of the hockey stick, while the rest of the curve (hockey stick) shows mean temperature below a zero reference line. Recent studies (McIntyre &McKitrick, 2003: Esper et al, 2004) have questioned the methodology which produced the Hockey Stick Curve and have come up with revised earth's mean temperature variation which shows that during the MWP ( Medieval warm Period) of 8th thru 12th century, the earth's mean temperature was indeed warmer than the present warming of the recent 25 years. While the debate on this issue continues ( McIntyre & McKitrick, 2004), more and more questions are being asked about the earth's mean temperature calculation and whether the 20th century was indeed the warmest century in the last 1000 or more years.

A recent paper by McKitrick & Michaels (2004) documents that the recent mean temperature calculation of the earth may be significantly contaminated by extraneous factors like population growth, economic activity, GDP (Gross Domestic Product) etc. in many regions of the world. Thus the recent increase in earth's mean temperature, estimated to be about 0.32C in 25 years may not be all due to increase in atmospheric concentration of CO2 and other greenhouse gases(GHG). Another paper by Kalnay and Cai (2003) estimates that urbanization may account for up to half the recent increase in the mean temperature of the earth. A comprehensive paper by Pielke et al.(2002) suggests that urbanization and land-use change may be an important climate forcing and may overwhelm the GHG forcing in future climate projections.

The impact of GW on present and future climate and in particular on present and future worldwide extreme weather events is being debated extensively at present. In a report prepared for the Government of Alberta (western Canada), I have carefully examined 20th century data (Khandekar, 2002) and have concluded that extreme weather events like thunderstorms/tornadoes, heat waves, winter blizzards etc. are NOT increasing anywhere in Canada at present and the probability of these events increasing in future remains very small at this point in time. Many other reported studies, when carefully examined, show only a tenuous link between GW and extreme weather events.

There are many other issues re GW science that are being debated at present. The most recent projections of future warming suggest only a moderate warming of about 10C in the next fifty years or so. These and other studies strongly suggest a need for re-assessment of the GW science and a revised Climate Policy based on the present state of the GW science (Khandekar, 2004).


Esper, J.,D.C.Frank and R.J.S.Wilson, 2004: Climate reconstructions: low-frequency ambition and high-frequency ratification. EOS, Vol.85,No.12,23 March 2004,p.113

Kalnay, E. and M.Cai,2003: Impact of urbanization and land-use change on climate. Nature, 423, p.528-531

Khandekar, M.L. 2002: Trends and changes in extreme weather events: An assessment with focus on Alberta and Canadian Prairies. Rept. Prepared for Alberta Environment, Edmonton, AB, 56p. ( available on:

----2004: Are climate model projections reliable enough for climate policy? Energy and Environment, 15, 519-523

Mann, M.E.,R.S.Bradley and M.K.Hughes,1999: Northern hemisphere temperatures during the past millennium: Inferences, uncertainties and limitations. Geoph. Res. Lettters, 26,759-762.

McIntyre, S. and R.McKitrick, 2003: Corrections to Mann et al proxy data base and northern hemisphere average temperature series. Energy & Environment, 14, 751-771.

----2004: Global temperature patterns and climate forcings over the past six centuries: a comment. Submitted to Nature

McKitrick, R. and P. Michaels, 2004: A test of corrections for extraneous signals in gridded surface temperature data. Climate Research, 26, 159-173.

Pielke, R.A.,Sr. et al. 2002: The influence of land-use change and landscape dynamics on the climate system: relevance to climate change policy beyond the radiative effect of greenhouse gases. Phil.Trans.Royal Society,London,A,360:1705-1719


Madhav L Khandekar
(Consulting Meteorologist 52 Montrose Crescent Unionville, ON, L3R 7Z5, CANADA 1-905-940-0105: )

p.s. I am a former Research Scientist from Environment Canada and am presently on the Editorial Board of two international Journals, Natural Hazards (Kluwer, Netherlands) and Climate Research (Inter-Research, Germany).


I wouldn't be seen dead in one myself but I see it as a personal preference and nothing more

According to a report in the Daily Telegraph this week, household appliances produce more carbon emissions than a 4x4. One cycle of a kitchen dishwasher reportedly releases around 756g of CO2, more than double that produced by a short spin in a Range Rover Turbo Diesel, which releases 299g per kilometre.

An hour's use of a petrol lawnmower releases more than 1,000g of CO2, while a holiday for a family of four to Disneyworld in Florida, with all the travelling and consumption involved, releases a whopping 2,415,000g of CO2. London buses, which are bigger than any jeep, release around 1406g of CO2 per kilometre, four times the amount released by a 4x4. Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson tried to draw attention to this when he chained himself to a bus in west London this week.....

So why has this vehicle more than any other, and more than dishwashers, lawnmowers and buses, become a focus for anti-pollution campaigning? Austin Williams, a writer on motoring matters, says some people dislike 4x4s simply because they are an expression of conspicuous consumption. "The crusade to make everyone drive smaller cars is premised on high moral contempt for what is deemed to be 'unnecessary' and 'irresponsible' consumption," he says.

Some emails:

My Land Rover Discovery TD5 is no larger than a Renault Espace and has the same number of seats. The C02 emissions from the 2.5 TD5 Diesel engine are very similar to those of the Espace V6. So why is my Discovery any worse simply because it is a 4x4? Yes, I take my kids to school in it but I also take two of my neighbours children too, thus removing two other cars from the road in the morning. Do I need it? well you try towing a 6m boat trailer with anything else in safety. Then try reversing it down a slip way or hauling it up a beach. Enough said I think !

My family use a 7-seater Landrover for amongst other things, taking the kids to school. Why? With 4 kids, there aren't so many choices of vehicle anyway, and we certainly don't want our kids exposed to danger in estate cars with rear-facing seats in the back. As concerned parents, we're not prepared to compromise on our kids safety. When it comes to leisure travel, we all use two wheels and pedals, and here in Belgium, it is significantly safer to do that than the UK which provides almost no safety areas for real green transportation.

I drive a pick-up truck purely because I need it to tow my horse to shows. It is practical and I feel safer in it than I would in a little car. When I had smaller vehicles male drivers caused me hell and I had various stupid accidents. Now I get respect on the road for once! I DO NOT HAVE A DISHWASHER - the only dishwasher in the house is me. I could never afford to pay more road tax than I do already, just because I am a horse owner does not mean I'm rich! Quite the opposite in fact! It's time campaigns were fought against things that really matter instead of this blame culture that exists nowadays, it's pathetic. Lighten up people!

More here


DDT is often considered to be a relic of our industrial past -- but it also happens to be very effective at preventing malaria-carrying mosquitoes from transmitting the disease to humans. Although often eclipsed in the public eye by news about HIV/AIDS, malaria kills one million children and women each year and contributes indirectly to many more deaths. It also takes an often overlooked toll by incapacitating, for weeks every year, hundreds of millions of otherwise productive people.

A few months ago, though, EU representatives casually suggested to Ugandan ministers that if Uganda chooses to use DDT for malaria control, exporters will have to procure expensive equipment to ensure that their products do not contain any amount of residual DDT; otherwise they will face sanctions against their agricultural products. This negotiating technique is also known as blackmail.

Given the chemical's success at reducing the incidence of malaria in southern African nations, it is only natural that Uganda and other African countries are also considering using the chemical to battle one of their biggest human and economic scourges. "DDT has been proven, over an over again, to be the most effective and least expensive method of fighting malaria," said Ugandan health minister Jim Muhwezi. "Europe and America became malaria-free because of using DDT, and now we too intend to get rid of malaria by using it."

But thanks to the EU's not-so-subtle threats, many Ugandans have now second thoughts whether they can afford to save their people from dying. The country's $32 billion in annual agricultural exports to the EU are at risk.

As a result of this arm-twisting, two of Uganda's trade associations concluded that DDT ought not be used to control malaria. Producers of flowers -- 99% of which are not consumed -- contended that residual DDT would scare their consumers in foreign markets.

Uganda's coffee exporters followed suit. Paradoxically, coffee is a substance which contains hundreds of untested chemicals, many of which would probably be carcinogenic if consumed on their own in large doses. But (so far) no caffeine-deprived European bureaucrat has suggested that coffee production and consumption should be subject to the same chemicals and environmental treaty that regulates the use of DDT.

Interestingly, such threats were never waged against South Africa, Zambia and India, which also use DDT to control malaria. These countries already made the decision far too long ago for a threat by the EU to be meaningful. No European consumer has complained about agricultural produce from these countries, nor have their exporters been de facto forced into procuring expensive monitoring equipment.....

In Uganda, as in other countries, minimal amounts of DDT would be sprayed inside dwellings -- approximately one tablespoon of DDT is immersed in water, and sprayed on the walls. This program would be orchestrated by trained sprayers under intense government and international monitoring. The chemical would not be available in sufficient quantities to be used in any agricultural pursuit, nor would trace amounts of these chemicals find their way into flowers, coffee or other agricultural produce.

Luckily, at least some environmental groups seem to have abandoned their "zero-risk" approach. "If there's nothing else and it's going to save lives, we're all for it. Nobody's dogmatic about it," Greenpeace spokesperson Rick Hind said a few weeks ago, ahead of a meeting in Uruguay to negotiate the POPs treaty.

More here


All caused by global warming, of course

The world's largest ice sheet is growing due to increased snowfall caused by climate change, scientists announce today. The study of the east Antarctic ice sheet will be seized on by sceptics to dispute claims made about sea level rises caused by global warming. However, scientists point out that melting glaciers in other regions, especially the smaller but more rapidly changing west Antarctic ice sheet and in Greenland, will more than offset the effects reported today.

The study, described in the journal Science by scientists from the Desert Research Institute and Universities of Missouri and Arizona in America, and Edward Hanna at the University of Sheffield, used satellite measurements to assess the thickness of ice from 1992-2003. They also used weather forecast models and ice core data to study trends in snowfall during the same period. Dr Hanna said: "We found that, while the west Antarctic ice sheet was thickening in places and thinning in others, the east Antarctic ice sheet showed significant thickening in many areas, specifically towards the centre. "This thickening correlated very well with the snowfall modelling, showing that the increased snowfall is causing the ice sheet to grow in mass. We estimate that the ice sheet is holding an extra 45 billion tons of water each year, the equivalent of a sea level drop of 0.12mm a year.

"At the same time, the thinning of the Greenland ice sheet is contributing to [Do you like the weasel words? How much is Greenland contributing? And what is evidence for the 0.2mm quoted?] a sea level rise of 0.2mm a year. This is being offset to some extent by the sea level drop caused by the thickening of the east Antarctic ice sheet. "Global warming may mean a moister atmosphere and therefore a wetter climate that increases snowfall on the east Antarctic ice sheet," he said, adding that natural climate variations cannot be ruled out without more data.

(From The Daily Telegraph, 20 May 2005. Note: Contrary to the face-saving assertions above, the Greenland ice-cap is NOT melting. See here. Greenland is getting COLDER.)


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

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

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


22 May, 2005


Stuff that people have been eating for thousands of years is suddenly bad for you

Gov. Dirk Kempthorne has met with California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in an effort to exempt french fries from a California list of foods requiring warnings that they could cause cancer. California is revising a citizen's right-to-know law passed in 1986 and will likely include specific warnings about food-based acrylamide. The chemical was previously considered an industrial agent until a 2002 study reported that it occurred naturally in many carbohydrate-rich foods. It occurs in cereals, for instance, though high levels in potatoes have been a focus, scientists say. It is released when the food is baked or fried.

Studies have linked acrylamide to cancer in animals, according to the World Health Organization, and McDonald's and Burger King have been sued in California for not providing warning labels about their fries. Some consumer advocates say Kempthorne is misguided, arguing he should be lobbying the food industry to slash levels of the chemical. But Kempthorne wants potatoes - Idaho's No. 1 agricultural product accounting for $2 billion of the state's economy - off the table in the law's revision, concerned that certain changes could stoke fear among consumers and dent potato sales that have already been hurt by low-carbohydrate diet trends. "It could have negative economic impact on interstate commerce," said Mike Journee, a Kempthorne aide. "How are you going to get away from something that's naturally occurring?".....

In a measure backed by Kempthorne, potatoes and other foods would be exempted from warning requirements if it could be shown that acrylamide was formed solely from the foods' natural makeup and was released as a result of being cooked, and if producers did everything possible to cut the chemical to the lowest possible levels. Should California's 35.4 million consumers sour on french fries because of cancer fears, potato industries in Oregon and Washington would take a hit, industry officials warned. "If the french fry business in California drops, it would hurt everybody," said Keith Esplin, director of the Potato Growers of Idaho....

A 2002 Swedish National Food Authority study first reported that acrylamide occurred naturally in some starch-rich foods - as a result of cooking or heat processing. Until then, the chemical was generally thought of as an industrial agent, used in food packaging and even to treat sewage, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Swedish study provided the impetus for reviewing the law, Monahan said, saying the effort may take until April 2006 to complete. It likely won't require warning labels on packages, opting instead for cautionary signs in restaurants and stores. "We want people to still eat the foods that are good for them," Monahan said. "We just want people to know, so they can make good choices."....

Industry advocates counter that science hasn't proven a link to human cancers and that state-by-state efforts to require warnings could create chaos. They also note that people have been eating potatoes since about 750 B.C. in South America, and french-fried potatoes since at least the 1830s, when French and Belgium diners popularized the preparation style, according to "The Secret History of French Fries," a history of the tuber

More here

Science gave a Parkinson's victim new life but animal rights activists called him a Nazi

Mike Robins is a man redeemed. Thanks to pioneering surgery, the debilitating effects of Parkinson's disease that were wrecking his life are now under tight control. With the flick of a switch, he can turn off the uncontrollable tremors that stopped him holding down a job, having a social life or even getting to sleep. Not surprisingly, Robins reckons he is lucky to be fit and alive. Others are not so sure.

At a recent public meeting to discuss a proposed animal research centre in Oxford, 63-year-old Robins was jeered and ridiculed when he tried to show how surgery, perfected through animal experiments, had transformed his life. 'I was bayed at,' said Robins, a retired naval engineer from Southampton. 'Several hundred people were shouting. Some called out "Nazi!", "bastard!" and "Why don't you roll over and die!" I tried to speak, but was shouted down. It was utterly terrifying.' ....

'I wanted people to see how a person can benefit from animal experiments,' said the Oxford surgeon Tipu Aziz who operated on Robins and spoke at the debate. 'That is why I asked Mike to appear at the debate. I am now very sorry I put him through that horrible ordeal. To these people, Mike's existence is a refutation of their core beliefs. They say animal experiments do no good. Then Mike stands up, switches his tremors on and off, and their arguments are blown away. That's why they shouted him down.'

Now Robins has a panel sewn into his chest and uses a gadget like a TV remote to control his symptoms. When Robins switches the current on his incapacitating symptoms - waving right hand and shaking right leg - disappear instantly. It was this striking demonstration of medical science that Robins hoped to give last month but was blocked because the meeting had been packed by anti-vivisectionists. 'I want to show them what had been done for me but found myself in a room full of 250 people who were baying for my blood. The venom was horrific.' ...

More here


Only a Greenie would think that warmth or CO2 was bad for crops

Environmental lobbyists argue that continuing human-caused global warming poses a significant threat of world famine. They say hotter temperatures will cause crops to wither on the vine and increase the evaporation rate of moisture from the soil. The available evidence, however, undermines their claims, say Dennis T. Avery (Hudson Institute) and H. Sterling Burnett (National Center for Policy Analysis).

Indeed, a warmer planet has beneficial effects on food production. It results in longer growing seasons -- more sunshine and rainfall -- while summertime high temperatures change little. And a warmer planet means milder winters and fewer crop-killing frosts.

Botanists have long realized that CO2 enhances plant growth, which is why greenhouse owners pump large volumes of CO2 into their sheds -- to grow more tomatoes or carnations. This was confirmed by 55 experiments conducted by research scientist Sherwood Idso, formerly of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. For example:

* Increasing CO2 by 300 parts per million (ppm) above the current atmospheric level of more than 370 ppm enhanced plant growth by 31 percent under optimal water conditions, and 63 percent under water scarcity.
* With a 600 ppm CO2 increase, plant growth was enhanced 51 percent under optimal water conditions and an astonishing 219 percent under conditions of water shortage.

Based on nearly 800 scientific observations around the world, a doubling of CO2 from present levels would improve plant productivity on average by 32 percent across species. Controlled experiments have shown that:

* Under elevated CO2 levels, average yields of cereal grains - including rice, wheat, barley, oats and rye - are 25 percent to 64 percent higher.
* Tubers and root crops, including potatoes, yams and cassava, yield 18 to 75 percent more.
* And yields of legumes, including peas, beans and soybeans, increase 28 to 46 percent.

Source: Dennis T. Avery and H. Sterling Burnett, "Global Warming: Famine -- or Feast?" National Center for Policy Analysis, Brief Analysis No. 517, May 19, 2005.

(Summary from here)


Several of the nation's most prominent environmentalists have gone public with the message that nuclear power, long taboo among environmental advocates, should be reconsidered as a remedy for global warming. Their numbers are still small, but they represent growing cracks in what had been a virtually solid wall of opposition to nuclear power among most mainstream environmental groups. In the past few months, articles in publications like Technology Review, published by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Wired magazine have openly espoused nuclear power, angering other environmental advocates.

Stewart Brand, a founder of the Whole Earth Catalog and the author of "Environmental Heresies," an article in the May issue of Technology Review, explained the shift as a direct consequence of the growing anxiety about global warming and its links to the use of fossil fuel. "It's not that something new and important and good had happened with nuclear, it's that something new and important and bad has happened with climate change," Mr. Brand said in an interview.

For many longtime advocates of environmental causes, such talk is nothing short of betrayal. Because of safety fears that reached a peak during the Three Mile Island accident in 1979 and unresolved questions of how to dispose of nuclear waste, environmentalists have waged unrelenting campaigns against plants from Shoreham on Long Island to Diablo Canyon near the California coast. But as mounting scientific evidence points to a direct connection between increasing carbon emissions and climate change, Mr. Brand and others have come to see conventional fuels like oil and coal as a greater threat.

In his article, Mr. Brand argued, "Everything must be done to increase energy efficiency and decarbonize energy production." He ran down a list of alternative technologies, like solar and wind energy, that emit no heat-trapping gases. "But add them all up," he wrote, "and it's just a fraction of enough." His conclusion: "The only technology ready to fill the gap and stop the carbon-dioxide loading is nuclear power."

In recent statements, three top environmental experts - Fred Krupp, the executive director of Environmental Defense, and Jonathan Lash, the president of the World Resources Institute and James Gustave Speth, the dean of Yale's School of Forestry and Environmental Studies - have stopped well short of embracing nuclear power, but they have emphasized that it is worth trying to find solutions to the economic, safety and security, waste storage and proliferation issues rather than rejecting the whole technology.

More here


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

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

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


21 May, 2005


They once rallied around appeasement of Hitler too

"I've had a letter from Sir David Wallace, CBE, FRS. In his capacity as treasurer and vice-president of the Royal Society, he writes: "We are appealing to all parts of the UK media to be vigilant against attempts to present a distorted view of the scientific evidence about climate change and its potential effects on people and their environments around the world. I hope that we can count on your support."

Gosh! The V-P of the Royal Society! How could anyone not support such an eminent body, especially as Sir David warns: "There are some individuals on the fringes, sometimes with financial support from the oil industry, who have been attempting to cast doubt on the scientific consensus on climate change." I say! A conspiracy as well. Definitely time to rally round, chaps, and repel fringe individuals. To help us do so, there's a "guide to facts and fictions about climate change written in a non-technical style" that even non-members of the Royal Society can grasp.

There's no doubt that this is a difficult subject that arouses strong emotions and which, if the more pessimistic projections turn out to be anywhere near the truth, will cause mankind some serious problems in the coming decades. Yet I fear I am going to be a great disappointment to Sir David. However vigilant we may be against attempts to present a distorted view of the scientific evidence, he cannot count on my support, and it's not merely because of my instinctive leaning towards individuals on the fringe. In his helpful, non-technical guide, he refers to a survey of 928 papers (count 'em) on climate change published between 1993 and 2003, which found that three quarters of them accepted the view that man's activities (anthropogenic, in the jargon) have had a major impact on the climate.

Amazingly, not a single one rejected it. Never mind that this is probably a greater consensus than can be found for the theory of evolution, the lack of a single dissenting voice smacks of the sort of result Nicolae Ceausescu used to get in his Romanian elections. So just what was this survey? It is by one Naomi Oreskes, and was published in Nature last December, and it has surprised those whom Sir David might describe as fringe individuals. Among them are eminent researchers who have discovered periods in history when the Earth was hotter, even with lower levels of carbon dioxide than in today's atmosphere, and other scientists who believe that solar activity is the biggest cause of recent climate change.

These people are not nutcases, nor are they in thrall to the oil companies (even if they were, does anyone seriously believe that Big Oil wants to destroy the planet?). They are just as capable of doing serious science as those who take it as an article of faith that global warming is all our fault. Six such individuals have just published a paper arguing that cosmic ray intensity and variations in solar activity have been driving recent climate change. They even provide a testable hypothesis, predicting some modest cooling over the next couple of years, as cosmic ray activity increases cloud cover. Since the conventional - sorry, consensus - wisdom says we are on a rising temperature curve to disaster, a couple of cool years would deal a serious blow to the anthropogenists.

There is much more in Sir David's briefing paper that other experts could challenge. One of the more terrifying aspects of global warming is the threat of rising sea levels as the polar ice melts, and the oceans expand through rising temperatures, threatening the millions of people who live in places only a few feet above sea level. Dramatic pictures of receding ice shelves in Antarctica seem to back this up, but a report in February to the Earth Observation summit in Brussels found that the ice masses there seem to be growing. Sea level does not appear to be rising; satellites can't detect any change, and low-lying islands such as Tuvalu are refusing to disappear beneath the waves.

As I said, this is a difficult subject, and it would be foolish to assume that everything will turn out fine, whatever we do. But that hardly justifies Draconian measures that will make us poorer, unless the scientific evidence is overwhelming. This was what the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change was set up to do, and its findings form the basis for the Kyoto treaty. Yet a closer examination of the scientific case shows that what are now considered by the doomsayers to be firm forecasts of temperature rises are actually "scenarios" of what might happen on different assumptions. There is a huge margin for error here, certainly enough to justify America's refusal to sign up to the treaty. It's fashionable to claim that George W. Bush has rejected Kyoto because he's too stupid to see the problem (and, of course, he's in thrall to Big Oil), but he can just as plausibly argue that the treaty is based on bad science.

Climate change is an important, perhaps vital, debate, but it remains just that. Warning of disaster has become a global industry, and the livelihoods of thousands of scientists depend on our being sufficiently spooked to keep funding the research. The worry is that many of these researchers have stopped being scientists and become campaigners instead. I do hope that the vice-president of the Royal Society is not one of them."

From The Telegraph


(Prof. Philip Stott's comment:)

And, thank goodness, the media has reacted quite correctly as the true guardians of free and open debate: 'Global warming generates hot air' (The Daily Telegraph, May 16):

"There's no doubt that this is a difficult subject that arouses strong emotions and which, if the more pessimistic projections turn out to be anywhere near the truth, will cause mankind some serious problems in the coming decades. Yet I fear I am going to be a great disappointment to Sir David.

However vigilant we may be against attempts to present a distorted view of the scientific evidence, he cannot count on my support, and it's not merely because of my instinctive leaning towards individuals on the fringe."

One up to the media there; yet, a lamentable day for science. I, for my part, shall continue to smuggle out corrective comment on a daily basis from the Arcetri of my PC.

And, by the way, can I stress, yet once more, that yours truly has no links at all with the oil industry and that I am a totally independent academic who is simply interested in seeking the 'truth', however darkly we may perceive it. This snide 'smeering' (nice neologism, Philip) has to stop - (The Smeerings of Snide Corner - a truly Dickensian construct!)

Galloping Galileos. Papal bulls are the enemies of 'truth' in science. Steady state or big bang? Time recedes.

Philip, needing a solid lunch. We live in a dangerous age. The Inquisition is round the corner..... Reminds me all too vividly of Schiller's Don Carlos, which I have just seen at 'The Gielgud' in London. Splendid. A warning from history.


This will not come as news to seasoned number watchers, but it is still a shock to see it revealed in a national newspaper. Leading scientific journals 'are censoring debate on global warming' is the headline in the Sunday Telegraph of May 1st. The decline of that once great scientific journal Nature has been one of the recurring themes of Number Watch since its inception, a decline that is paralleled by that of another once great journal, Science.

The reason for the decline is that they have both been taken over by editors who are members of the eco-theocracy. Nothing illustrates the nature of the beast better than this quote:

"The idea that we would conspire to suppress science that undermines the idea of anthropogenic climate change is both false and utterly naive about what makes journals thrive"

Contrast this statement with the reality, which gave rise to the opening diatribe of this year. This habit of saying one thing and doing another is reminiscent of your bending author's experience as an apprentice working in a shop controlled by a communist shop-steward. The similarity to communism does not end there, for one of its most powerful techniques was "entryism". Eco-theologians have penetrated the most powerful and influential bodies in science at the highest level, even the Royal Society. Needless to say, the ranks of environmental correspondents in the media are filled by the exclusive brethren who ensure that alternative ideas are suppressed by ruthless censorship. The behaviour of Jonathan Leake towards the Apocalypse No conference is an egregious example.



They KNEW the Oreskes paper was wrong when they published it

Six eminent researchers from the Russian Academy of Science and the Israel Space Agency have just published a startling paper in one of the world's leading space science journals. The team of solar physicists claims to have come up with compelling evidence that changes in cosmic ray intensity and variations in solar activity have been driving much of the Earth's climate. They even provide a testable hypothesis, predicting that amplified cosmic ray intensity will lead to an increase of the global cloud cover which, according to their calculations, will result in "some small global cooling over the next couple of years.".....

What the Russian, Israeli and Canadian researchers have in common is that they allocate much of the climate change to solar variability rather than human causes. They also publish their papers in some of the world's leading scientific journals. So why is it that a recent study published in the leading U.S. journal Science categorically claims that skeptical papers don't exist in the peer-reviewed literature?

According to an essay by Naomi Oreskes, published by Science in December, 2004, there is unanimous "scientific consensus" on the anthropogenic causes of recent global warming. Oreskes, a professor of history, claims to have analyzed 928 abstracts on global climate change, of which 75% either explicitly or implicitly accept the view that most of the recent warming trend is man-made. When I checked the same set of abstracts, I discovered that just over a dozen explicitly endorse the "consensus," while the vast majority of abstracts does not mention anthropogenic global warming. Oreskes even claims that this universal agreement had not been questioned once in any of the papers since 1993 and concludes: "This analysis shows that scientists publishing in the peer-reviewed literature agree with IPCC, the National Academy of Sciences and the public statements of their professional societies. Politicians, economists, journalists and others may have the impression of confusion, disagreement or discord among climate scientists, but that impression is incorrect."

What happened to the countless research papers that show global temperatures were similar or even higher during the Holocene Climate Optimum and the Medieval Warm Period, when atmospheric CO2 levels were much lower than today; that solar variability is a key driver of recent climate change, and that climate modeling is highly uncertain? An unbiased analysis of the peer-reviewed literature on global warming will find hundreds of papers (many of them written by the world's leading experts in the field) that have raised serious reservations and outright rejection of the concept of a "scientific consensus on climate change." The truth is, there is no such thing.

In fact, the explicit and implicit rejection of the "consensus" is not restricted to individual scientists. It also includes distinguished scientific organizations such as the Russian Academy of Science and the U.S. Association of State Climatologists, both of which are highly skeptical of the whole idea....

In the meantime, activists, campaigners and a number of scientific organizations routinely cited Oreskes' essay as final confirmation that the science of climate change is settled once and for all. In a worrying sign of attempted press containment, Britain's Royal Society has even employed her study to call upon the British media to curtail reporting about the scientific controversy altogether.

Yet the scientific community is far from any global warming consensus, as was revealed by a recent survey among some 500 international climate researchers. The survey, conducted by Professors Dennis Bray and Hans von Storch of the German Institute for Coastal Research, found that "a quarter of respondents still question whether human activity is responsible for the most recent climatic changes." Remarkably, a research paper about their survey and some of its key results were submitted to Science in August, 2004. Yet shortly after the paper was rejected, the journal published Oreskes' study, which claimed a universal consensus among climate researchers.

The decision to publish Oreskes' claim of general agreement (just days before an important UN conference on global warming, COP-10) was apparently made while the editors of Science were sitting on a paper that showed quite clearly the opposite. It would appear that the editors of Science knowingly misled the public and the world's media. In my view, such unethical behaviour constitutes a grave contravention, if not a corruption of scientific procedure. This form of unacceptable misconduct is much worse than the editors' refusal to publish the numerous letters and rebuttals regarding Oreskes' flawed study....

More here


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

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

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


20 May, 2005


Environmental and animal rights activists who have turned to arson and explosives are the nation's top domestic terrorism threat, an FBI official told a Senate committee on Wednesday. Groups such as the Animal Liberation Front, the Earth Liberation Front and Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty are "way out in front" in terms of damage and number of crimes, said John Lewis, the FBI's deputy assistant director for counterterrorism. "There is nothing else going on in this country over the last several years that is racking up the high number of violent crimes and terrorist actions," Lewis said.

ALF says on its Web site that its small, autonomous groups of people take "direct action" against animal abuse by rescuing animals and causing financial loss to animal exploiters, usually through damage and destruction of property. ELF is an underground movement with no public leadership, membership or spokesperson. The British-based SHAC describes itself as a worldwide campaign since 1999 to rescue animals tortured in research labs and shut down the businesses that rely on their use. It says it "does not encourage or incite illegal activity."

Lewis said the FBI concluded that after analyzing all types of cases and comparing the groups with "right-wing extremists, KKK, anti-abortion groups and the like." He said most animal rights and eco-extremists so far have refrained from violence targeting human life. "The FBI has observed troubling signs that this is changing. We have seen an escalation in violent rhetoric and tactics," he told the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. "Attacks are also growing in frequency and size."

Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., the panel's chairman, said he hoped to examine more closely how the groups might be getting assistance in fundraising and communications from tax-exempt organizations'"mainstream activists" not directly blamed for the violence. "Just like al-Qaida or any other terrorist organization, ELF and ALF cannot accomplish their goals without money, membership and the media," Inhofe said.

The FBI said 35 of its offices have 150 open investigations, with activists claiming credit for 1,200 crimes between 1990 and mid-2004. Investigators cite examples of people using arson, bombings, theft, animal releases, vandalism, harassing phone calls, letters rigged with razor blades, and office takeovers. Such tactics have been used in what officials call "direct action" campaigns to disrupt university research labs, restaurants, fur farms and logging operations. Newer targets include SUV dealerships and new home developments as signs of urban sprawl.

Officials say the incidents have caused more than $110 million in damage. The biggest so far was an arson at a five-story condominium under construction in San Diego in August 2003 that caused $50 million in damage. In the past few years arson fires and explosives have been used increasingly, Lewis said. "We have a serious movement afoot," he said. Since 1993, when ELF declared solidarity with ALF, "there has been a convergence of agendas," said Carson Carroll, deputy assistant director for field operations of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the nation's premier bomb investigators. "The most worrisome trend to law enforcement and private industry alike has been the increase in willingness by these movements to resort to the use of incendiary and explosive devices," Carroll said.



Corporate concern about the environment is a fine thing. But there's a growing, and dangerous, trend among corporations to jump into bed with radical environmentalists — people who are intent on destroying the very free-enterprise system that their new-found bedmate represents. The latest industry group guilty of "sleeping with the enemy" is the nation's big banks. Specifically, Citigroup, Bank of America, and, most recently, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., have all adopted new environmental policies, at the behest of the ardently anti-capitalist Rainforest Action Network (RAN).

RAN claims to promote "peaceable solutions," but its tactics include ugly protests at CEO's homes. And it was reportedly was among the prime organizers of the 1999 Seattle World Trade Organization protests and the resulting riots. Another RAN initiative stopped Burger King from buying $35 million worth of beef from Costa Rica and Guatemala — because ranches in those countries had once been forested. The result of that boycott, of course, was to deprive Third World workers and countries of export income. Adam Smith, in short, isn't exactly the Rainforest Action Network's patron saint.

The troubling J.P. Morgan Chase-RAN alliance hits particularly close to home for me. In the '70s and '80s, when it was known simply as The Chase Manhattan Bank, I served as Chase's senior vice president and director of public affairs, responsible for the bank's philanthropic giving program, which awarded $12 million a year to a wide range of charities — from educational institutions and hospitals, to inner-city arts groups and international public-policy foundations. Chase's wide philanthropic reach in those days largely reflected the eclectic interests of our CEO, David Rockefeller. Not only did we give to groups with vastly diverse purposes, we also donated to institutions of different political persuasions. We gave grants to conservative organizations, like the American Enterprise Institute and the Heritage Foundation, as well as to more liberal organizations, like the Brookings Institution and Planned Parenthood. We had one overriding philanthropic intent — to award grants to worthy groups, regardless of political philosophy. All we required was that our grantees basically supported the private-enterprise system that allowed us the resources to grant such meaningful philanthropic gifts. Conversely, we refused to support any nonprofit group that rejected what our company stood for and fundamentally opposed capitalism. Subsidizing such groups would be akin, we felt, to "feeding the hand that bites us," and that's where we drew the line. Boy, how times have changed at poor old Mother Chase.

Last month, JPMorgan Chase announced the adoption of a sweeping new environmental policy, created in cooperation with RAN. For months, the militant group had harangued the bank with public demonstrations, posters and protests that extended from the company's Park Avenue headquarters all the way to the palatial Greenwich home of CEO William Harrison. A year earlier, RAN had completed a similarly successful sniping of Chase's arch rival, Citigroup, and its own Greenwich-domiciled CEO at the time, Sandy Weill. That earlier triumph, which took RAN four years of guerrilla warfare to complete, included such niceties as blockading branches, "crashing" Citigroup community parades, and distributing "Wanted" posters with Weill's picture to Greenwich grocery stores. Apparently, Harrison wasn't interested in seeing his likeness overlooking the frozen vegetables. So Chase folded meekly — after demonstrations at Chase branches and at its annual meeting — to RAN's demands.

Among the concessions to which JPMorgan Chase capitulated are new standards tying carbon-dioxide emissions to loans for power plants, new strictures on loans for energy development and logging, and new "no go" criteria to protect biodiversity and critical habitats. What Chase's new environmental policy failed to address was what the bank would do if its interpretation of such concepts as "endangered conservation values" or "adversely impacting a critical natural habitat" differs materially from the viewpoint of its friends at RAN. Nor did the company speculate on what might happen when other similarly "well-meaning" advocacy groups approach JPMorgan Chase to ensure that their own chosen policies of societal improvement are applied to the way the bank does business.



Hands up all those mothers who feel a green glow when filling their washing lines with pristine nappies [diapers] and who pooh-pooh the disposable variety for destroying the planet. You can wipe those smug smiles off your faces: according to a four-year study commissioned by the Environment Agency, disposable nappies are just as eco-friendly. Or unfriendly. The agency checked the environmental impacts of disposable nappies and compared them with real nappies washed at home and real nappies collected and delivered by a professional laundry. All three involved destruction of raw materials such as trees and plants, leading to a depletion of resources.

All three contributed to global warming, from the air miles involved in flying in cotton to Britain from China, Pakistan and the United States, to the electricity used in washing and drying nappies at home; to the fuel used to collect and deliver clean nappies to a household; and to the methane produced from disposables that biodegrade in landfill sites.

The pollution watchdog's verdict - that there is "little or nothing" to choose between real and disposable - is the first official blessing to young mothers who have felt guilty every time that they placed another bumper pack of Pampers into the shopping trolley.

The result is particularly amusing for the novelist Wendy Holden, whose latest bestseller is The Wives of Bath. The real versus throwaway nappy is one of the main contrasts between her protagonists, Alice Duffield, former media lawyer, and Amanda Hardwick, celebrity interviewer for a glamorous magazine. Alice, married to eco-warrior Jake, is limited to three real nappies a day for baby Rosa, while Amanda's Theo is thoroughly Pampered.

Ms Holden, mother of Andrew, 2, and Isabella, 1, said: "It's a great relief to know that all that messing about with flushing linings away, endless fiddling with the temperatures of washing machines and so on doesn't put anyone on the moral high ground - more probably back in the landfill site with everyone else.

The Environment Agency has, nevertheless, called for improvements in all nappy use and production. Tricia Henton, the director of environmental protection - a mother who used disposable and reusable - said: "Although there is no substantial difference between the environmental impacts, it does show where each system can be improved." She was concerned particularly about the 400,000 tonnes of disposables, some 2.5 billion nappies, that end up in landfill sites.

Real-nappy champions can continue to save the planet by changing their laundry routines. "Parents should consider if the nappies can be washed in a bigger load at a lower temperature," Ms Henton said. She also advised parents to use low-temperature detergents, wash only in full loads and avoid pre-soaking and fabric softeners, which affect absorbency of nappies.

Not everyone was happy with the results of the research. The Women's Environmental Network condemened it last night as "seriously flawed" and appealed to parents to stick with the reuseable variety. Yet manufacturers of disposables were cock-a-hoop. Tracey Stewart, director-general of the Absorbent Hygiene Products Manufacturers' Association, said: "We are over the Moon. Parents can no longer be demonised for using disposables. No one any more can claim the moral high ground on nappies."



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

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

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


19 May, 2005


Protesting the Greenie-run holocaust in Africa. The Greenies obviously think that the lives of a few million dumb niggers don't matter compared with their anti-DDT religion. Greenies are the new "Aryans"

"We are a group of scientists, doctors and researchers who are writing to you because of our deep concerns over the way in which WHO is conducting Roll Back Malaria (RBM) and other malaria control initiatives.

We feel that the WHO ignores the advice and research of many malaria control scientists and specialists from around the globe and supports malaria control initiatives based on political, and not scientific, criteria. We object to the stance that the WHO has taken against the use of insecticides in indoor residual spraying (IRS) programmes. More specifically, we object to WHO exerting political and financial pressure to force malaria endemic countries to reduce or not begin use of DDT for malaria control. We object to the notion that is put forward by the WHO that IRS programmes are unsuitable for most malaria endemic areas. IRS has proved extremely successful in lowering malaria morbidity and mortality in the past and remains so in many parts of the world. IRS is only unsustainable or unsuitable if countries and international organisations do not give it the required political, financial and scientific support. Where IRS programmes receive such support, they lead to a sustained reduction in malaria transmission.

While we recognise the potential importance of insecticide treated nets (ITNs) in malaria vector control programmes, their use should not exclude the use of IRS, and countries and international organizations should not support the use of ITNs at the expense of IRS.

We urge you to consider the points raised in our letter and to act fully and promptly upon them.

Our concern with Roll Back Malaria (RBM) and our desire to see significant changes in the way in which WHO conceives and conducts ongoing RBM activities prompts this letter.

As the WHO and UNICEF's Africa Malaria Report 2003 acknowledges, malaria is the biggest killer of young children and the most significant health threat to pregnant women and newborns in the developing world. As malaria scientists, we are well aware of the appalling burden that malaria places on some of the world's poorest and most vulnerable people, and we are concerned that the RBM programme increases that burden by deliberately undermining one of the most effective tools against malaria, indoor residual spraying (IRS). Not only does RBM not support the use of this life saving tool, RBM also fails to fulfil its stated objective of supporting the development of new insecticides for IRS. Furthermore, we believe that by undermining vertical malaria control programmes, RBM has undermined malaria control efforts in many poor countries and has dissipated some important human capital needed for malaria control.

Our concerns are not new. Malaria control experts have voiced them over many years. From the late 1970s, through the 1980s and 1990s, malaria control strategies evolved primarily through political processes, not by consultation and deliberation with malaria control experts. As a result, malaria has re-emerged and is now a global public health disaster. As the malaria burden increases in developing countries, the threat of malaria introductions in developed countries grows apace. For these reasons, there is now a strong consensus among experts that WHO's malaria control strategies are not appropriate and changes are necessary.

We call on RBM to reverse its policy against the use of IRS . Instead of undermining IRS use, RBM should actively promote it and support those countries that wish to implement IRS programmes. We further call on RBM to form public-private partnerships to investigate and develop new insecticides for malaria control and not to force countries to adopt horizontal malaria control programmes.....

The policy stance against IRS contrasts not only with the malaria control policies and activities of most southern African nations, but also with the clearly stated wishes of African leaders. In April 2003, the South African Minister of Health was widely quoted in her defence of the use of DDT and the South African IRS programme and urged other African countries to not only use, but also expand the use of DDT. The Ugandan Minister of Health recently made similar calls, and in Nigeria, Kenya and Tanzania, researchers and politicians have made impassioned pleas for the return of DDT based IRS programmes."

More here


Commenting on Jared Diamond's book "Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Survive"

Diamond thinks that in order to demonstrate that mankind is currently engaged in unsustainable economic activity, it's enough to offer a sample of the insults modern economies have been inflicting on nature. Thus he reports a case of deforestation here, increased pesticide run-off there, loss of biota somewhere else and carbon emissions everywhere. But we have been travelling that route for nearly five decades now: environmentalists have routinely pointed to the damage modern economic activity inflicts. Moreover, in recent years such environmental scientists as Paul Ehrlich, Edward Wilson and, most recently, Gretchen Daily, Harold Mooney and Walter Reid, have spoken out while taking far greater care with details and qualifications than Diamond appears to believe is necessary.

The more important reason why Diamond's rhetoric doesn't play well any longer is that it presents only one side of the balance-sheet: it ignores the human benefits that accompany environmental damage. You build a road, but that destroys part of the local ecosystem; there is both a cost and a benefit and you have to weigh them up. Diamond shows no sign of wanting to look at both sides of the ledger, and his responses to environmental sceptics take the form of 'Yes, but . . .' If someone were to point out that chemical fertilisers have increased food production dozens of times over, he would reply: 'Yes, but they are a drain on fresh water, and what about all that phosphorus run-off?' Diamond is like a swimmer who competes in a race using only one arm. 'In caring for the health of our surroundings, just as of our bodies,' he writes at one point, 'it is cheaper and preferable to avoid getting sick than to try to cure illnesses after they have developed' - which sounds wise, but is simply misleading bombast. Technology brings out the worst in him. At one point he claims that 'all of our current problems are unintended negative consequences of our existing technology,' to which I felt like shouting in exasperation that perhaps at some times, in some places, a few of the unintended consequences of our existing technology have been beneficial. Reading Diamond you would think our ancestors should all have remained hunter-gatherers in Africa, co-evolving with the native flora and fauna, and roaming the wilds in search of wild berries and the occasional piece of meat.

Here I should put my cards on the table. I am an economist who shares Diamond's worries, but I think he has failed to grasp both the way in which information about particular states of affairs gets transmitted (however imperfectly) in modern decentralised economies - via economic signals such as prices, demand, product quality and migration - and the way increases in the scarcity of resources can itself act to spur innovations that ease those scarcities. Without a sympathetic understanding of economic mechanisms, it isn't possible to offer advice on the interactions between nature and the human species.

Here is an example of what I mean. Forests loom large in Diamond's case studies. As deforestation was the proximate cause of the Easter Islanders' demise, he offers an extended, contrasting account of the way a deforested Japan succeeded, in the early 18th century, in averting total disaster by regenerating its forests. Now consider another island: England. Deforestation here began under the Romans, and by Elizabethan times the price of timber had begun to rise ominously. In the mid-18th century what people saw across the landscape in England wasn't trees, but stone rows separating agricultural fields. The noted economic historian Brinley Thomas argued that it was because timber had become so scarce that a lengthy search began among inventors and tinkerers for an effective coal-based energy source. By Thomas's reckoning, the defining moment of the Industrial Revolution should be located in 1784, when Henry Cort's process for manufacturing iron was first successfully deployed. His analysis would suggest that England became the centre of the Industrial Revolution not because it had abundant energy but because it was running out of energy. France, in contrast, didn't need to find a substitute energy source: it was covered in forests and therefore lost out. I'm not able to judge the plausibility of Thomas's thesis - there would appear to be almost as many views about the origins, timing and location of the Industrial Revolution (granting there was one) as there are economic historians - but the point remains that scarcities lead individuals and societies to search for ways out, which often means discovering alternatives. Diamond is dismissive of the possibility of our finding such alternatives in the future because, as he would have it, we are about to come up against natural bottlenecks. We should be persuaded by the evidence that has been gathered over the years by environmental scientists that he is right, but simply telling us that we are about to hit bottlenecks won't do, because environmental sceptics would reply that discovering alternatives is the way to avoid them.

More -- much more -- here.

There is another critique of Diamond here -- noting how Diamond twists the facts: "Another instance of forcing the facts to fit the theory is Diamond's "law of history" asserting that agricultural societies will inevitably come to dominate their non-agricultural neighbors. He ignores the multitude of instances where settled farmers were conquered by nomadic horsemen: the Hittite conquest of the ancient Middle East, (possibly) the invasion of Greece by the Dorians, the successive movements of the Celtic and Germanic people across Europe, the Aryan migration into India, the Turkish conquest of much of the Moslem world that began in the 11th century, and the vast Mongolian conquests of the 13th and 14th centuries. In fact, such examples led both the political theorist Albert Jay Nock and the economist Murray Rothbard to suggest a typical pattern in history nearly the opposite of Diamond's. They hypothesized that states arise when some nomadic people, who have been repeatedly raiding a nearby society of relatively peaceful farmers over an extended period, come to realize that it is more profitable to settle right in the farming community as rulers"

The statues of Easter Island have fascinated many for a long time now and Diamond's article explaining how they got there and why the civilization of Easter Island collapsed seems excellent. But when Diamond comes to the conclusion that the Polynesian civilization which produced the statues underwent a collapse due to their own destruction of the island's natural resources, he of course moralizes that: "The parallels between Easter Island and the modern world are chillingly obvious". He says that we too could undergo a similar fate if we are not more careful of the environment. That Western man IS wiser than the Polynesians were and that we have been actively conserving our environment and setting aside natural areas for over a century and that agricultural SURPLUSES have long been the major problem for international trade go unmentioned.


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

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

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


18 May, 2005


Robert Evans says he found an endangered plant while hiking near his Sebastopol home last month. Authorities say he found a crime scene. The state Department of Fish and Game has concluded that someone transplanted the protected Limnanthes vinculans -- a low-growing white wildflower commonly known as Sebastopol meadowfoam -- onto land slated for 145 houses and apartments, a controversial project called Laguna Vista. "People joke about this all the time -- stopping a development by putting an endangered plant in its path," said Gene Cooley, a Fish and Game botanist who surveyed the meadowfoam last week. "I have 25 years' experience with state and federal agencies, and this is the only instance I know of where it's actually happened." Sebastopol meadowfoam is endangered under state and federal law, and thus cannot be legally transplanted without special permits.

At least five agencies, including the city of Sebastopol, are looking into the alleged "translocation." But not everyone agrees that the plants were planted -- including Evans, the man who found them. "The idea that someone would dig holes and put those plants in is insane, " said Evans, a retired school administrator and member of the Laguna Preservation Council who is a leading opponent of the housing development. Evans says that if anyone is guilty of tampering with the meadowfoam, it's project supporters who made the plant appear to be transplanted.

Sebastopol meadowfoam is a small herb found in just a handful of wetlands, whose profuse white flowers prompted its name. In a city where three council members are registered Greens, it has the potential to become a thorn for developer Schellinger Homes of Santa Rosa. The city is awaiting a draft environmental impact report on the 21-acre project on the margins of the Laguna de Santa Rosa, south of downtown Sebastopol on Highway 116.

Evans said he spotted the meadowfoam April 10 during one of his many hikes on the property. He called Sonoma State University biology Professor Phil Northen, who called authorities after determining the plants were naturally occurring. Northen said Sunday that he plans to challenge the state's finding. Even though it comes years after the project was started, the meadowfoam's discovery wasn't a scientific shocker: Laguna de Santa Rosa is within the natural range of the species, and the plant has been known to sprout from seeds that had lain dormant in the soil for years.

But Cooley, who visited the site last Monday, said Sunday that it took about an hour to conclude that the Sebastopol meadowfoam -- along with patches of the more common snowy meadowfoam -- had been transplanted. He wouldn't give details, saying he didn't want to educate potential copycats. Marco Waaland, who owns the firm Golden Bear Biostudies, which is working on the project's environmental impact report, said the plants "weren't even rooted into native soil." "I'm dismayed that someone would try to use ecology in an unethical, unfair, unjust way," said Waaland. "It seems like a desperate act to me."



He admits to being one of many who 'fell under the spell of Rachel Carson' when reading her book, The Silent Spring, in 1962. In the late Sixties, as a Labour treasury minister, he took time off from 'contemplating the economic problems of the UK' to attend a conference at which Paul Ehrlich - the widely read prophet of doom - was 'the star attraction'. Taverne later joined both Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace, and in the mid-Seventies - to make his 'small contribution to cleaner air' - gave up owning a car in favour of a bicycle. 'It is a most enjoyable way to travel about London', he says. 'You can be sure of arriving on time, and you suffer none of the frustrations of being stuck in traffic jams or not finding anywhere to park' ...

Despite his longstanding concerns for the environment, Taverne doesn't pull his punches when it comes to attacking 'irrational and fundamentalist forces' in the environmentalist movement. 'I am a militant rationalist', he tells me. 'Not that I think all that matters in the world is reason, or that poetry and music do not matter. But where reason is applicable and things can be judged by evidence, then we cannot discard reason and evidence.' Taverne set up the charity Sense About Science in 2002, and his March of Unreason contains a wealth of evidence against the benefits of alternative medicine and organic farming and for the benefits of genetically modified food.

Taverne is concerned that irrational practices - 'eco-fundamentalism' and fundamentalist religion - are flourishing, and undermining the health of civilised society. He is 'a great admirer of the Enlightenment as a glorious period in the history of mankind', and warns that we are in danger of turning back the clock. The 'back to nature' movement is 'a deeply disturbing anti-Enlightenment reaction', he argues. In The March of Unreason, Taverne warns that 'many people have become increasingly sceptical about the benefits of new technology and no longer trust experts. Possible risks from new developments loom larger in the public mind than possible benefits and we hear constantly about the need to apply "the Precautionary Principle", as if it is some scientific law that needs no further explanation.'

Although Taverne is 'an optimist by nature', he does not believe we should view the world through rose-tinted glasses. But he does think it is 'an extremely unfortunate feature of life if we are pessimistic'. His optimism allows him to view the 'back to nature' movement as 'a passing fad'. 'Homeopathy and alternative medicine: they all claim it works', he says. 'Of course it works. The placebo effect works. Witchcraft worked when people believed in it. Anything that makes people feel better is, in a sense, a good thing, but it is also a form of deceit.' He thinks that alternative medicine will do a lot of damage, but that 'in due course people will come to realise - perhaps through education - that modern medicine is much more important than going back to ancient superstitions'.

He also believes that the popularity of 'organics' will fade. 'But at the moment', he says, warning me that he feels very passionately about this issue, 'organic farming is deeply damaging. The idea that we can save the world by going organic is not just an illusion and a throwback to pre-historic days; it is also positively damaging. Organic farming is a very inefficient use of land'.

Taverne's critics are, it seems, as passionate about this issue as he is. 'Writing for the Guardian, I get a certain amount of abuse if I write something in favour of genetically modified crops or if I question any other fads - but if I write something attacking organics I get a torrent of abuse.' The first line of criticism is usually that he must be in the pay of big companies. It seems almost impossible to put the case for progress, science and development today without being accused of being in bed with big corporations. Taverne has no illusions about the motivations of such corporations, warning that they have to be watched, 'like all organisations with an agenda'. 'But I don't find that companies are necessarily more motivated to cause ill to mankind than the movements designed to save the planet', he says.

Neither pressure groups nor companies are accountable or democratic, but at least companies face the discipline of the market. As Taverne points out, 'If a company produces a dud product it may ruin the company. Look at what happened to Distillers (Biochemical Ltd) after the thalidomide scandal. It disappeared.'

Taverne does not believe that pressure groups face a similar kind of discipline. 'Their only test of success is whether they increase their network of support. And the more scare stories they raise, the better they will be at raising money. They suffer a bit if scare stories are exposed, but not much, as we seem quickly to forget about that.' He points out that the Brent Spar saga did not do much damage to Greenpeace. In the mid-Nineties, Greenpeace initiated a campaign to stop Shell from dumping a disused giant oil rig in the Atlantic ocean. Shell might be one of the most powerful companies in the world, but in the face of Greenpeace's effective media campaign and a Europe-wide boycott of its petrol stations, it caved in and left Brent Spar in a Norwegian fjord instead. The Natural Environment Research Council later confirmed that disposal in the mid-Atlantic would have been a cheaper and environmentally more beneficial way of getting rid of the rig.

The 'dogmatic environmentalists' that Taverne persuasively criticises in The March of Unreason have a lot to answer for. But I wonder whether Taverne is endowing them with too much power? In his book, he traces 'some of the reasons for this change from optimism to widespread suspicion and pessimism towards science that exists today, and identif[ies] the rise of the environment movement as probably the most significant'. He warns that 'there is a semi-religious streak in the green fundamentalists. When they say "I don't give a damn about the evidence because I know I am trying to save the world", then they are not a million miles away from the creationists who say "I don't give a damn about the evidence because it is written in the Bible"'.

More here


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

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

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


17 May, 2005


Patrick Moore is a pariah. Not only did he once belong to the world's most well-known environmental organization, he helped to found it... But let's not get ahead of ourselves. Patrick Moore's story gets going in his college years. During this time he came to see that science and spirituality need not be mutually exclusive: "Ecology showed me that everything is interrelated. It's all one big system. I discovered through science you could understand the mystery of nature and life. In my own way, I understood genesis or creation." Maybe it was this epiphany that led Moore to conclude people and their needs should be thought of as a part of such a system.

When Patrick and some friends (hippies, journalists, and other assorted characters) went to Alaska to protest nuclear testing by the US government, Greenpeace was born. In the 1970s, many of their common concerns had to do with nuclear proliferation and the Vietnam War, not just the environment. "I fashioned myself as a crusader for truth and justice." As a founding member of Greenpeace, Moore handled various campaigns, including the protection of whales and protests against nuclear warships, the killing of sea lions, and uranium mining. He served nine years as president of Greenpeace Canada and seven years as director of Greenpeace International.

But something happened. "I realized you just can't save the environment and forget about the people," said Moore. As Moore began to think more and more about sustainable development, he realized that not only had Greenpeace begun to evolve, but that he had begun to question some of their priorities. "All social movements evolve from an earlier period of polarization and confrontation during which a minority struggles to convince society that its cause it is true and just, eventually followed by a time of reconciliation if a majority of the population accepts the values of the new movement. For the environmental movement this transition began to occur in the mid-1980s."

In 1986 Moore left Greenpeace. He came to understand that it could be in no one's interest (much less that of the ecosystem) to be fundamentally anti-business, anti-technology, and just plain anti-civilization. Thus, in 1991 he formed Greenspirit, a consulting firm that focuses on environmental policy, biodiversity, and natural resources.

Instead of radical activism, Moore favors approaches that involve bringing various interested parties together for roundtable meetings. Often, he finds, communities have a lot more common ground on issues than one might think. Such discoveries of mutual interest through dialogue, claims Moore, can be far more effective than jumping onto fishing vessels with campy T-shirts, or amassing large sums of money to press Congress into enacting economically stifling regulations. Patrick Moore continues to speak out against radical environmental activism, as well as the deleterious consequences that may be hidden behind its well-meaning agendas.



With the cost of fuel, in many instances doubling in the last year,opponents to drilling in Alaska and coastal waters are more often than not of the political party that is supposedly for the "little guy." If it really was for the "little guy" the "poor" and the "disadvantaged," who can least afford increases in fuel costs, why does it continue its opposition to use of U.S. resources? After all, that opposition penalizes the same "little guy, poor and disadvantaged" that the Democrat Party supposedly champions.

Democrat opposition to exploration and exploitation has nothing to do with their interest in protecting the aforementioned "classes" of people, or even the environment, and has everything to do with obstructing and inducing failure of attempts to implement a multi-faceted approach to energy self-sufficiency. It wouldn't be a surprise if most of them own stock in some middle east oil company.

Democrats don't get it. They lost the election, now they are consolidating that loss into permanent political minority status. Even longstanding ethnic-minority-lapdog interests in this country are beginning to see through Democrat partisan maneuverings, and increasingly awaken to the fact that it isn't in their interests to continue going along with them. After all, the Democrat Party is: pro-high fuel costs, pro-homosexual marriage, pro-abortion, pro-higher taxes, pro-every-evil-issue-in-the-cloak-of-"civil-rights," anti-religion, anti-morality, anti-life, and anti-marriage; all of which are issues that most minorities eschew.

Democrat Party machinery is finally being revealed for what it is, a bunch of rich racists who create, then prey on the fears of the elderly,minorities and women for the purpose of "exacting from each according to their ability, and to each according to their needs." Regarding this last, those who understand, understand; those who don't, didn't and probably never will

More here


It is just a variant of a failed Communist idea

American suburbs are "a chaotic and depressing agglomeration of buildings covering enormous stretches of land." The cost of providing services to such "monotonous stretches of individual low-rise houses" is too high. As a result, "the search for a future kind of residential building leads logically to" high-density, mixed-use housing.

This sounds like typical writings of New Urbanist or smart-growth planners. In fact, these words were written nearly forty years ago by University of Moscow planners in a book titled The Ideal Communist City. The principles in their book formed a blueprint for residential construction all across Russia and eastern Europe. With a couple of minor changes, they could also be the blueprint for smart growth.

Mixed-use developments, wrote the Moscow planners, allow people easy access to "public functions and services" such as day care, restaurants, parks, and laundry facilities. This, in turn, would minimize the need for private spaces, and the authors suggest that apartments for a family of four need be no larger than about 600 square feet. Prior to the late 1960s, such apartments were built in five- to six-story brick buildings, but the authors looked forward to new, reinforced-concrete building techniques that would allow fifteen- to seventeen-story apartment buildings.

Like the New Urbanists, the soviet planners saw several advantages to such high-density housing. First, it would be more equitable, since everyone from factory managers to lowly janitors would live in the same buildings. While New Urbanists are less concerned about housing everyone in nearly identical apartments, they do promote the idea of mixed-income communities so that the wealthy can rub shoulders with lower-income people.

Second, the soviets believed apartments would promote a sense of community and collective values. Single-family homes were too "autonomous," they said, while the apartment "becomes the primary element in a collective system of housing." Similarly, many New Urbanists claim that their designs will produce a greater sense of community.

Third, high-density housing was supposed to allow easy access to public transportation. "Private individual transportation has produced such an overwhelming set of unresolved problems in cities that even planners in bourgeois societies are inclined to limit it," the Russians prophetically observed. With their high-density apartments, as many as 12,000 people could live within 400-yard walking distances of public transit stations. That's about 70,000 people per square mile, slightly greater than the density of Manhattan. "The economic advantages of (public transit) for getting commuters to and from production areas are obvious," says the book, "and it is also an answer to congestion in the central city."

Soviet-block countries were building such new cities even as the University of Moscow planners were writing their book. In 1970, East Germany developed a standard building plan known as the WBS 70 (WBS stands for Wohnungsbausystem, literally, "house building system") that was applied to nearly 650,000 apartments in East Berlin and other East German cities. "The WBS 70 was the uniform basis of the accelerated housing construction until the end of the GDR," says a paper titled Architecture as Ideology. According to page 23 of this paper, the WBS 70 offered a generous 700 square feet in its three-room apartments, not counting 75 square feet of private balcony.

The WBS 70 was one of the major designs used in Halle-Neustadt, a bedroom community built between 1964 and 1990 for about 100,000 people on the outskirts of the manufacturing city of Halle. I first became aware of Halle-Neustadt at a 1998 conference on sustainable transportation at which two planners from the University of Stockholm declared it to be one of the most sustainable (i.e., least "auto-dependent") cities in the developed world.

What the Swedish researchers failed to note in their 1998 presentation, but faithfully recorded in their full paper, was that Halle-Neustadt was only "sustainable" during the socialist period. When Germany reunified, many residents moved out, and those who stayed bought cars so that auto ownership "reached nearly the level of western Germany." Naturally, this created major congestion and parking problems: "The cars are parked everywhere -- on pavements, bike-ways, yards and lawn." The Swedes feared that proposed construction of new parking garages would "undermine" the "planning concept of concentrating the parking places on the city's outskirts." (See page 263 of The Vanishing Automobile for a somewhat greater discussion of the Stockholm paper.)

[These days] the apartment buildings range from reconstructed to totally abandoned. According to various web sites on the city, Halle-Neustadt's population peaked at 94,000 in 1990 but since has fallen to 60,000. After reunification, the apartments were privatized and are now owned by various housing companies. These companies have successfully lobbied the federal government to fund the demolition of unneeded buildings, and more than two dozen high-rises in Halle-Neustadt are scheduled for destruction. Yet the population of east German cities is declining so fast that demolition cannot keep up: despite numerous demolitions, the region is expected to have even more vacant housing in 2010 than it does today.

Where did all the people go? Many found jobs in western Germany; since reunification, east Germany has lost more than 1.25 million people. But many of those who stayed got away from the slabs by moving to suburbs of new duplexes and single-family homes. Wendell and I did not have to search very far to find such suburbs, mostly added onto existing villages. But well away from any village, in the middle of farmlands, we found several big-box stores, including a home improvement center, a furniture store, and a hypermart.

Today no one in Germany refers to such suburbs as "monotonous." This term is instead reserved for the grey slabs of concrete that most people are abandoning as fast as they can. Throughout Europe, high-rise apartments are increasingly becoming ghettos for Muslim and other foreign "guest workers." While the houses shown above are admittedly smaller than ones found in modern American suburbs, the Germans are fast catching up. A little further from Halle we found a suburban village that included many large homes with large backyards.

By 1980, research by Northwestern University economist Edwin Mills had thoroughly discredited the hypothesis that more compact cities would have less congestion and air pollution because people would be more likely to walk and ride transit. That didn't stop the U.S. House of Representatives from holding hearings titled Compact Cities: A Neglected Way of Conserving Energy. In 1996, compact cities were tied to sustainability in a book titled, Compact City: A Sustainable Urban Form?

Which brings us full circle to 1998 when University of Stockholm researchers tell an international group of planners that Halle-Neustadt is one of the most sustainable cities on earth -- knowing full well (but not mentioning) that the prerequisite for Hanoi's sustainability was keeping its residents poor and oppressed.

While I don't seriously equate urban planners with communists, the similarities between the Ideal Communist City and smart growth are far more numerous than their differences. As the table below shows, both seek to use planning to create a sense of community and promote collective rather than individual transportation. Beyond the superficial difference that the soviets preferred high rises and smart growth prefers mid rises, the main difference is that the communists tried to put everyone in identical small apartments while smart growth allows people to have as big a house or apartment as they can afford, but just tries to get them to build those houses on small lots.

Though they publicly claim they want to reduce congestion, most smart-growth plans admit they seek to increase congestion to encourage people to use transit. Though they publicly claim to worry about affordable housing, smart-growth plans drive up land and housing costs with the hidden agenda of encouraging people to live in multifamily housing or at least on tiny lots.

Planners call this giving people more "choices"; what they mean is forcing people to accept lifestyles that they would not choose for themselves. How is this fundamentally any different from the philosophy of the Ideal Communist City?

More here


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

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

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


16 May, 2005


Professor David Bellamy is likely to lose his role as the figurehead of two leading wildlife organisations because of his refusal to believe in man-made global warming. The television presenter and conservationist is the president of Plantlife International and of the Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts. Both organisations have given warnings that wildlife faces a catastrophe because of global warming. They have been acutely embarrassed to discover that while they have been campaigning to raise awareness, their president has been leading seminars and writing articles in science magazines declaring that man-made warming is a myth.

Last week Plantlife International, Britain's leading charity dedicated to the conservation of wild plants, wrote to Bellamy to say that his term of office would end in the autumn and he would not be asked to renew it. His presidency of the Wildlife Trusts - which has 562,000 members and manages 2,500 nature reserves - also ends in the autumn and is unlikely to be renewed. Stephanie Hilborne, chief executive of the Wildlife Trusts, confirmed that Bellamy's position was due to be discussed at a board meeting at the end of this month. "We are not happy with his line on climate change. It is a very serious situation and there is a lot we need to talk about," she said. "Our views certainly differ from our president's and that is not a good situation to be in." Both organisations paid tribute to Bellamy who, they said, had put a huge amount of time and effort into supporting their other work.

Bellamy, 72, a former botany lecturer at Durham University, endeared himself to generations of youngsters with a series of popular wildlife programmes that ran from the 1970s through to 1999. He has also written many wildlife books. He won respect from hardline environmentalists with his campaigns to save Britain's peat bogs and other endangered habitats. In Tasmania he was arrested when he tried to prevent loggers cutting down a rainforest.

In January he gave a keynote speech at the Royal Institution in London which was hosting Apocalypse No, a conference organised by the Scientific Alliance. "Global warming is a largely natural phenomenon. The world is wasting stupendous amounts of money on trying to fix something that can't be fixed," he said. Last month he made similar assertions in New Scientist magazine when he claimed that glaciers were expanding because the world was getting cooler rather than warmer. The claim contradicted recent scientific studies that found 85% of the world's glaciers are in retreat.

Bellamy said this weekend: "If an organisation asked me to stand down of course I would, if they actually think I'm doing more harm than good." He added: "The climate-change people have no proof for their claims. They have computer models which do not prove anything. When I say that they say `You must be in the pay of the oil industry'. I'm not. I'm not in the pay of anybody."

From The Times


Can we continue to burn fossil fuels and still hope to halt global warming? It seems unlikely - and with the cost of generating wind and solar electricity falling, perhaps unnecessary. Despite this, big money and big politics are lining up behind the development of "zero-emission" power plants that burn coal or gas but release no carbon dioxide.

The latest advocates are former fans of renewable energy at the European Union, who say the strategy will be "essential" if the EU is to meet targets for limiting the emissions of the greenhouse gas CO2. This month, at a conference in Brussels, Europe's new commissioner for energy, Andris Piebalgs, said the EU could cut CO2 emissions while continuing to burn its native coal and lignite. And still stay economically competitive.

One way to do this, Piebalgs said, is to embrace clean coal technologies - a move that would chime with the Bush administration's push for clean-coal technology in the US. The other is to store CO2 by capturing it before it leaves power plants and burying it underground. These are now the EU's two top priorities in energy research, something that will anger environmentalists who want the world to abandon fossil fuels as quickly as possible.

One technique to stop power stations producing CO2 is to pass emissions though chemical scrubbers which contain amines that react with and trap CO2. Similar technology is already used to remove CO2 from natural gas, to boost the proportion of hydrogen it contains. "It's just a matter of scaling up," says Julio Friedmann, a former ExxonMobil geologist now at the University of Maryland. In future, the carbon could even be removed from fuel before it is burnt.

To bury the CO2 securely underground, the gas has to be compressed, then injected under pressure down a pipeline into redundant coal seams, old oil or gas wells, or porous rocks filled with salt water. On a rig in the North Sea, the Norwegian company Statoil already strips a million tonnes of CO2 each year from natural gas at the Sleipner gas field and buries it in a saline aquifer without ever bringing it to land. At the Salah gas field in Algeria, energy giant BP last year began reburying a similar amount of CO2 in sandstone 2 kilometres down. Old oil and gas fields stored hydrocarbons safely for millions of years, raising hopes that the same can be done for CO2 from power stations.

Oil companies like the idea, because injecting CO2 into oil wells can flush out any remaining oil. As the oil dissolves the CO2, its viscosity falls and its volume increases, forcing it out under pressure. This technology too has been shown to work: more than a million tonnes of CO2 a year is being injected into the Weyburn oilfield in Saskatchewan, Canada, to flush out the remaining oil. In a similar way, the coal industry expects to be able to inject CO2 into coal seams, and recover methane gas into the bargain for use as fuel. An EU trial is under way in Poland.

More here


Post lifted from Ogre's View

You might be part of the majority of sane people who now realize that global cooling warming cooling warming is simply not true. There is now almost no data that supports any form of global warming, much less the drastic fear-mongering predictions of lunatics that actually believe "The Day After Tomorrow" might happen here...the day after tomorrow. If you are in that majority, you are clearly not a member of the North Carolina Legislature who have introduced these gems:

Senate Bill 1134 actually passed a committee. It spends money (from that budget that's cut to the bone) to study increases in global warming IN NC, and is to provide possible reduction goals for the state. I have a reduction goal: STOP SPENDING MY MONEY ON CRAP!

How about Senate Bill 1150? It gives away more money in the form of tax credits for people who use ethanol. The auto manufacturers would surely support this bill because ethanol-based fuels will destroy your engine faster than Harvey on Evil Glennn.

Not enough stupidity? Maybe you'd like House Bill 1460. This one wants to make North Carolina adopt California emissions standards rules. Of course they're selling it as being only required for state agencies. Sure, that makes sense. Make the state, who shouldn't be buying 1/100th of the vehicles they're already buying, pay even MORE for the vehicles they want. My counter proposal? Stop buying so many damn vehicle for lazy state workers and you'll reduce emissions even more!

Remember that the state's budget has been cut as much as they can cut it when you read House Bill 1556. This bill gives a check to "Global Warming Initiatives" (GWI) in the amount of $600,000. Why? Because they can. Of course, GWI is staffed with consultants and former elected officials and lobbyists. We have cut the budget to the bone. Keep repeating it.

And there's more! House Bill 1600 would force every agency in the state to report every year "their activities and research related to greenhouse gas emissions and climate change." And that won't cost a dime because we're already giving literally billions to every one of those state agencies. Oh, but it gives another $400,000 to the "State Energy Office" to process these reports.Your liberal Democrat North Carolina Legislature is still in session. Want an instant raise? Vote the Democrats out of office


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

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

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


15 May, 2005


But it's mainly harmless tokenism to make themselves sound good

SEATTLE - Unsettled by a series of dry winters in this normally wet city, Mayor Greg Nickels has begun a nationwide effort to do something the Bush administration will not: carry out the Kyoto Protocol on global warming. Mr. Nickels, a Democrat, says 131 other likeminded mayors have joined a bipartisan coalition to fight global warming on the local level, in an implicit rejection of the administration's policy.

The mayors, from cities as liberal as Los Angeles and as conservative as Hurst, Tex., represent nearly 29 million citizens in 35 states, according to Mayor Nickels's office. They are pledging to have their cities meet what would have been a binding requirement for the nation had the Bush administration not rejected the Kyoto Protocol: a reduction in heat-trapping gas emissions to levels 7 percent below those of 1990, by 2012. On Thursday, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg brought New York City into the coalition, the latest Republican mayor to join.

Mr. Nickels said that to achieve the 7 percent reduction, Seattle was requiring cruise ships that dock in its bustling port to turn off their diesel engines while resupplying and to rely only on electric power provided by the city, a requirement that has forced some ships to retrofit. And by the end of this year the city's power utility, Seattle City Light, will be the only utility in the country with no net emissions of greenhouse gases, the mayor's office said.

Salt Lake City has become Utah's largest buyer of wind power in order to meet its reduction target. In New York, the Bloomberg administration is trying to reduce emissions from the municipal fleet by buying hybrid electric-gasoline-powered vehicles.

Nathan Mantua, assistant director of the Center for Science in the Earth System at the University of Washington, which estimates the impact of global warming on the Northwest, said the coalition's efforts were laudable, but probably of limited global impact. "It is clearly a politically significant step in the right direction," Dr. Mantua said. "It may be an environmentally significant step for air quality in the cities that are going to do this, but for the global warming problem it is a baby step."

Mr. Nickels said he decided to act when the Kyoto Protocol took effect in February without the support of the United States, the world's largest producer of heat-trapping gases. On that day, he announced he would try to carry out the agreement himself, at least as far as Seattle was concerned, and called on other mayors to join him. The coalition is not the first effort by local leaders to take up the initiative on climate change. California, under Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, is moving to limit carbon dioxide emissions, and Gov. George A. Pataki of New York, also a Republican, has led efforts to reduce power plant emissions in the Northeast. But the coalition is unusual in its open embrace of an international agreement that the Bush administration has spurned, Mayor Nickels's office said, and is significant because cities are huge contributors to the nation's emission of heat-trapping gases.....

More here


The global warmers are getting desperate as the evidence piles up against them

Recent articles about global warming in ultra "progressive" Mother Jones magazine reflect a meltdown in fundamental principles of science, economics, ethics, and democracy. The Earth has warmed slightly since the Little Ice Age ended 150 years ago, and humans today are no doubt exerting some influence on our climate. But aside from computer-generated worst-case scenarios about temperatures, storms, melting Arctic icecaps and rising sea levels, there is little to support theories of calamitous global climate change. Models and clamorous claims of climate catastrophe are not evidence, especially when satellite and weather balloon data show only slight atmospheric warming. So MJ writer Chris Mooney offered a new tactic.

ExxonMobil Corporation's "products and policies are a slow-moving assault on poor people of color," who are "on the front lines of climate change," he asserted. Thousands of companies produce or burn fossil fuels to power our modern societies. Why single out ExxonMobil? Because the company has not been bullied into agreeing that a climate emergency exists, believes more research is needed, and supports public policy institutes that likewise perceive no evidence of a looming planetary disaster.

Scary stories about a climate Armageddon are based on extreme predictions that temperatures could increase 6 to 10 degrees Celsius (11 to 18 degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of this century. But most scientists and models say a 1 or 2-degree increase is far more likely. It's not climate change that will hammer people of color - but the purported solution to this hypothetical problem: raising energy prices (through taxes), to "persuade" us to use less energy. Recent oil price increases affect poor people far more severely than middle and upper class families. Imagine what would happen if prices increased another 50, 100 or 200 percent.

Studies by the US government and minority business groups have calculated that the Kyoto climate treaty could cost 1.3 million jobs in US black and Hispanic communities. Average minority family incomes could plummet by $2,000 and families could be forced to pay a much larger portion of this reduced income for food, transportation, heating and air conditioning. Economic output in states with large minority populations could plunge by $5 billion or more. Their tax revenues could fall by several billion dollars a year, making less money available for welfare and unemployment benefits precisely when they are most needed.

But even this would keep average global temperatures from rising by just 0.3 degrees less than if the treaty were never implemented. That's why climate alarmists now seek "vast reductions" in total power use and emissions - 50% to 80% less than now, by doubling or tripling taxes on energy. This would cripple developed nation economies and devastate poor families. Not being able to afford AC during heat waves would likely prove fatal to many.

These actions would also send tsunami-sized ripples across the Atlantic and Pacific. Because the United States' powerful economic engine drives nearly 25% of global trade, poor countries that depend on exports would close down factories and turn millions of workers into beggars. Families would be forced to continue burning wood and dung, further impairing economic growth and people's health. Environmental purists have long opposed coal and gas-fired electrical generation (global warming), hydroelectric projects (damming rivers) and nuclear power (radioactive wastes). This leaves energy-deprived poor countries with little recourse, except a vague promise of eco tourism to compensate for lost economic opportunities. Now even that is under assault by radical greens. "A growing army of concerned individuals" has decided that, "although travel to Third World countries may bring unexpected boosts to local economies and even stimulate an increase in eco-friendly tourism, the environmental price can no longer be justified," reports UK's Guardian and Observer. "The government should take the decision away from people," to prevent climate change, one eco-soldier intoned.

Destitute Third World citizens might be excused if they aren't quite so enthusiastic about yet another effort that keeps them mired in poverty and disease. Two billion of them still don't have electricity. They would like to see the "precautionary principle" applied in a way that protects them from these very real dangers, says India's Barun Mitra, until alarmists prove their climate disaster theories are correct, and their "solution" won't be equivalent to cutting off a patient's leg out of fear that a cut might someday cause gangrene.

Returning to ExxonMobil, radical greens detest it because of its support for think tanks that keep raising these issues, disputing the "overwhelming scientific consensus" that Mooney claims exists on global climate change, and preventing US ratification of the Kyoto treaty. But there is no consensus. Over 18,000 scientists have signed a petition stating there is "no convincing scientific evidence" that greenhouse gases are causing "catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate." Moreover, the Science magazine article so often cited in support of this supposed consensus has been debunked by several expert analysts. For example, Dr. Benny Peiser, senior science lecturer at John Moores University in Liverpool, UK, analyzed the same 1,000 documents that Dr. Naomi Oreskes originally reviewed - and found that only one-third backed the supposed consensus, and only 1% did so explicitly. As of this writing, Science has refused to publish his analysis.

Furthermore, ExxonMobil's contributions to climate skeptic organizations (like the ones where this author is a senior policy advisor) pale by comparison to what liberal foundations give to alarmist groups. Exxon donated a total of $5 million to the top 18 free market institutes pilloried by Mooney. By contrast, foundation grants to 11 of the most prominent global warming advocacy groups totaled $23 million in 2002, and Bill Moyers' Schumann Foundation gave $5.5 million in 1999 to American Prospect, where Mooney interned to learn his trade as an "investigative" journalist.

(Mooney doesn't think much of Dr. Michael Crichton and his best-selling, amply footnoted novel State of Fear, either. "Crichton doesn't have a clue about climate science," this 20-something Yale English major sneered, in reference to the 60-something Harvard MD whose expertise in matters of science is legendary. The doctor has spent years studying global warming and modern environmentalism, which is why he can safely say "the evidence for many environmental issues is shockingly flawed and unsubstantiated.")

Most important, Mooney's articles are a clumsy attempt to muzzle skeptical voices on this vital public policy matter. They assault a fundamental principle of democracy: open, robust debate. "The widest possible dissemination of information from diverse and antagonistic sources is essential to the welfare of the public," the United States Supreme Court has noted. "Contributing honestly to the public debate is ethical," says John Guineven, associate professor of public relations at Elon University. "Doing anything to constrain debate, to keep voices from being heard, is unethical."

As to climate change, it isn't even clear yet "whether mankind is the perpetrator, Mother Nature is an accomplice, or vice versa," notes University of Alabama Professor Roy Spencer, a leading authority on satellite measurements of global temperatures. "Ultimately, the problem will be solved through energy technology research, which necessarily requires strong economies that can afford to fund that research, which in turn requires access to affordable energy now." That's why this debate must continue, and why real corporate social responsibility means helping to ensure that critical policy decisions are made in the same rough-and-tumble atmosphere that surrounded the 1787 Constitutional Convention.



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

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

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


14 May, 2005


(Post lifted from Publius Pundit. He seems to specialize in all things Latin American)

Leftist ecology outfits are basically money-making operations. The more of a stink they can raise on an issue, the more the cash rolls into their coffers. It has nothing to do with merit, only buzz. And the causes they champion are not based on principle but on how leftwing. Ask anyone who's ever been involved with an NGO racket. Not one of them is normal. They are all sharks. That's why their biggest causes aren't necessarily the most objectively serious ones. Greenpeace or an eco-outfit like them will happily harass a Midwestern farmer over a `wetland' (read: swamp) or sandalista away in the trenches to deny critical oil development to an impoverished Inuit or Indigenous community. As Jim Holt adds, they don't mind what Africans die of, so long as it is not DDT.

But when something really serious is at stake, like a significant anaconda and flamingo preserve about to be turned into a collective farm, they go mysteriously silent when they realize the leftwing credentials of the perpetrator. Which is precisely why Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez is confident he can get away with just about anything he'd like in eco-destruction. He's part of their protection racket. And therefore, he's protected. But nature itself is on its own.

Alek Boyd has an email conversation with Greenpeace here


In light of the general hysteria over global warming, it's nice, once in a while, to be able to couch our current and ongoing climate changes into some larger perspective. We keep hearing about historically warm years, warm decades, or warm centuries, uncharacteristically long or severe droughts, etc. for which mankind's striving for a high quality of life is to blame, via the internal combustion engine and its by-product, carbon dioxide. But in reality, in most cases, we have a tragically short record of good observations to really determine how much of a record we're even close to setting.

For example, let's take one fairly recent climate discovery called the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, or PDO. In the late 1990s, some west coast fisheries researchers noted cyclical behavior in the annual salmon harvest and tied it to a Pacific Ocean climate anomaly. It turns out that when the Pacific Ocean off of Southern California and the Baja Peninsula is warmer than normal at the water surface, temperatures are typically lower than normal in the north central Pacific well south of the Aleutians. This state, called the positive phase of the PDO, is also linked to dry conditions in the Pacific Northwest and the northern Rockies and above average rainfall in the Desert Southwest (see Figure1). In the opposite situation, negative PDO, you simply flip the sea-surface temperatures and precipitation patterns.

What's interesting and potentially useful about the PDO is that it's behavior is quasi-cyclic, as the name suggests -- it oscillates from positive to negative back to positive every 50 to 70 years or so. Thus, the PDO should be a useful tool for forecasting water resources in the western U.S., where water is more precious than fresh salmon.

With the phenomenal accuracy afforded by hindsight, we now know that, sometime around 1977-78, our planet underwent an abrupt shift from one climatic state (generally cold) to another (warm), and much of the "action" was centered in PDO territory in the north Pacific Ocean. In the late 1970s, the PDO switched from negative to positive, and the snowpack in the northern Rockies hasn't recovered.

Of course, this climate shift was retrospectively blamed on increasing greenhouse gases, because such dramatic and abrupt shifts just couldn't be "natural." Presumably Nature, left to her own devices, does not cotton to wild mood swings. But is global warming really to blame? Not likely, based on some new analyses by UCLA geographers Glen MacDonald and Roslyn Case. Using tree rings gathered from a hydrologically sensitive species of pine in California and Alberta (near two of the centers of high and low rainfall associated with the PDO), MacDonald was able to reconstruct the PDO all the way back to 993 A.D. Now this is a long climate record.

Their reconstruction (see figure 2) has two very important implications on our understanding of contemporary climate. First, the "great" climate shift of the late 70s that sent climatologists ballistic pales in comparison to many of the changes observed over the past 1000 years or more. Based on this graphic, the PDO is diving and leaping more than an Italian midfielder during the World Cup. It's awfully hard to see any evidence of global warming in the last 150 years of that record. Second, the 50 to 70-year quasi-periodicity of the PDO was not present in the 13th, 17th, and 18th centuries (also NOT related to greenhouse gases). It's also interesting and supportive of their analysis that a medieval mega-drought in western and central North America from about 900 to 1300 A.D. is evident in the PDO record which was negative over that entire time period, and, of course, unrelated to greenhouse gases.

More here


Environmental green lights will no longer be needed before the State Government approves critical projects such as the proposed desalination plant, the expansion of the Port Botany container terminal, light rail, roads and new railway lines. Anxious to secure jobs and major construction investment, the Government has dropped its insistence that rigorous environmental studies be conducted to determine if a state-significant project is appropriate. In future, select developments would be declared valid from the start. The community consultation and approval process will be reduced to determining how declared projects should best be handled with regard to sustainability principles, environmental and planning concerns.

Property groups, infrastructure providers, the tourism lobby, and the Local Government Association supported the moves, which were part of a planning reforms announced yesterday by the Premier, Bob Carr, and the Minister for Infrastructure and Planning, Craig Knowles. But some green groups, including the Nature Conservation Council, said removing key protections - which the Government said could halve approval times - was "frightening" and appeared to support fears the Government wanted to "give developers the keys to the state's future."

Under the changes, Mr Knowles will also bring other significant project decisions worth more than $50 million under his control, condensing 85 planning rules to one measure for major commercial, residential, chemical and mining projects. For these projects, existing environmental rules still apply. Mr Knowles gets more power, with authority for coralling the heads of departments to get big projects going. Big project developers who satisfy certain rules will be able to bypass councils and go to him. He also takes control of site-specific projects he believes are iconic, from the Australian Museum to the maintenance of the Sydney Cricket Ground.

In return, Mr Knowles said councils would get back 60 per cent of the work he administers. A key feature is the concept of a "one-stop shop", where developers only need to satisfy one approval process. It will be an combine the myriad planning requirements. Some projects now need 31 separate and overlapping permits, licences or conditions. The changes also introduce a "concept approval" clause, giving legislative certainty upfront to development plans that satisfy the broad thrust of government planning criteria. Mr Knowles said this would give developers the certainty they needed to finance complex projects before starting detailed design work.

The NSW executive director of the Property Council of Australia, Ken Morrison, said the changes were a breakthrough in the fight against red tape. "We can't afford to have major job generating projects locked up in processes which don't add value," he said. But the director of the Nature Conservation Council, Cate Faehrmann, said the ending of "stop the clock" provisions, where projects can be halted midstream if sensitive environmental material was unearthed, was alarming, because it had led to more sustainable outcomes.



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

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

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


13 May, 2005


In ancient times, priestesses at the Oracle at Delphi often answered important political questions with enigmatic predictions derived from dreams, signs, casting lots or reading animal entrails. Today, in the realm of climate change, that function is served by scientific priests and priestesses who offer forecasts of dubious value, derived from computer models. Investing in the stock market, like planning next summer's vacation, is a dicey proposition. But if someone offered to eliminate the uncertainty - by using computer models to pick surefire investments and perfect weather windows at idyllic resorts - few would jump at the chance. Most people know complex markets and weather defy such predictions. Computers certainly help understand and analyze these systems; they can even forecast trends, if they've been tested against actual data. However, even predicting tomorrow's IBM closing price or hurricane path is iffy, and attempts to do so months or years in advance are meaningless.

Thus the rapt attention that certain academics, journalists and policymakers give to climate models is truly astounding. The latest example comes from Columbia University, where the Earth Institute asserts that its new "Climate Change Information Portal" will enable people to assess, avoid and adapt to "the problems that climate change and variability can cause" - and can even do so years into the future for regions as small as the tri-state New York metropolitan area. The Institute begins by assuming that human-induced global warming of alarming proportions is a fact. It then offers computer-driven guidance as to how we should respond.

Several computer models have presented "scenarios" of what might happen if temperatures really do increase 5 or 10 degrees in 100 years. These dire projections garner extensive coverage. However, the models fail miserably when tested against actual data, and there is simply no evidence to support theories of catastrophic climate change. Indeed, satellite and weather balloon measurements have found little or no warming over the past 25 years, and other climate models project only modest warming - a degree or two over the next century. Such warming would be mostly beneficial, by bringing us longer growing seasons and lower heating bills. This kind of change people and planet can readily adapt to.

World-class geologists and climatologists emphasize that Planet Earth has been buffeted by numerous natural climate shifts for millions of years. The shifts often come in 50, 500 and 1,500-year cycles, they say. For instance, our Earth went through a 500-year Little Ice Age - then warmed about a degree since that era ended around 1850. Nearly half of this warming occurred before 1940 - long before carbon dioxide began building up in the atmosphere. Other past climate swings also show there is little cause for alarm.

Wild weather whipsawed Detroit awhile back, according to news accounts. Six snowstorms hit during April of '68, frosts in mid-August of '69, ice in mid-May and a 98-degree heat wave in June of '74, and ice-free lakes in January of '77 and '79. But that was 1868 to 1879! New England saw average annual temperatures increase by about 2.5 degrees F over a half century. But that was 1904-1954. Arctic temperature increases between 1971 and 2003 might spell trouble if they continued, even though the rise was below what computer models had predicted: 1.4 degrees F per half century. However, between 1938 and 1966 average annual arctic temperatures fell 6 degrees F. Had that trend continued, temperatures would have plummeted 10.7 degrees F in 50 years!

Moreover, the CO2 that is supposedly causing "catastrophic" warming represents only 0.00035 of all the gases in the atmosphere (1.25 inches out of a 100-yard football field), and proposals to control this vital plant nutrient ignore a far more critical greenhouse gas: water vapor. There are at least three reasons the debate has nonetheless focused on carbon dioxide - though some are now talking about dandruff as a possible source of global warming! CO2 is easy to measure, villainize and regulate. It would be extremely difficult to sequester water vapor, without draining the Great Lakes and turning the planet into a vast Sahara Desert. And water vapor doesn't come out of tailpipes, smokestacks and chimneys. It isn't an unwanted bastard child of the hated fossil fuel industries that radical greens want to relegate to the ash heap of history. Certainly, human pollution and land use activities can and do affect climate. But overall that influence is minor, except sometimes locally. So we should resist calls for immediate drastic action, especially the kind that would take a wrecking ball to our economy.

Natural climate change will always be with us - driven by variations in the sun's energy output and other factors over which we have no control. For this reason, and because huge countries like China and Brazil would not be bound by their restrictions, proposals like the Kyoto Protocol would have almost no effect on future temperatures. Even treaty proponents admit that, at best, the treaty might lower the Earth's temperature by 0.1 degrees over the next half century. That's why hardcore eco-activists now insist on a series of treaties, each one more restrictive - and more destructive - than the last. Ultimately, they would force signatory nations to slash their fossil fuel use and air emissions by up to 80% over the next 50 years. But even this wouldn't stop Mother Nature.

However, it would devastate our economy, and Europe's. Manufacturing jobs would head to countries that are not governed by the treaties. Prices for gasoline, heating, air conditioning, food and consumer goods would skyrocket - hurting our poor most of all. And government tax revenues would fall precipitously, even as demand for welfare and unemployment benefits soars. A far better alternative is to continue improving fuel efficiency and pollution control. This would conserve resources, improve people's health and reduce potential impacts on our climate.....

Those scary dinosaurs in "Jurassic Park" sure did look real. So do the frightening scenarios conjured up by outliers in the computer modeling and climate change catastrophe industries. The challenge is separating fact from probability, possibility and agenda-driven fantasy.



A few years ago, R.J. Braithwaite's peer-reviewed article in Progress in Physical Geography described a "mass balance analysis" he conducted of 246 glaciers sampled all around the world between 1946 and 1995. That's 50 years of data. Braithwaite found some glaciers were melting, while a nearly equal number were growing in size, and still others remained stable. He concluded, "There is no obvious common or global trend of increasing glacier melt in recent years." But if your goal is to frighten the public into thinking humans are causing global warming with potentially catastrophic consequences, there is no shortage of melting glaciers to report upon. By some estimates, 160,000 glaciers exist on Earth. Only 63,000 have been inventoried, and only a few hundred have been studied in the detail described by Braithwaite.

For example, a favorite melting glacier of the global warming activists sits atop Mt. Kilimanjaro in northern Tanzania, near the equator. Satellites have been measuring temperatures near its summit for more than 25 years, finding no warming at all, yet the global warmers trot out Kilimanjaro as a poster child for their cause. A scientific study published in Nature in November 2003 explained that deforestation of the mountain slopes -- not warming temperatures -- explains the melting. But the scaremongers don't particularly care why Kilimanjaro is melting, only that it is. Any other facts get in the way of their lobbying and fund-raising efforts.

The scaremongers also point out as many as seven ice shelves have broken off the Antarctic continent over the last 50 years. They blame global warming, rather than address the inconvenient confounding evidence -- that the continent is actually cooling dramatically. Between 1986 and 2002, the continent cooled by 0.7 degrees Celsius per decade. There also has been a statistically significant increase in sea ice area, as well as an increase in the length of the sea ice season, since 1990.

More here


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

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

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


12 May, 2005


In The Real Environmental Crisis: Why Poverty, Not Affluence, Is the Environment's Number One Enemy, Jack Hollander hopes to teach environmentalists that the key to protecting Planet Earth both locally and globally lies in understanding that poverty guides the poor. Hollander's thesis is simple: wealthier nations and peoples improve environmental quality rather than degrade it. This runs contrary to the rhetoric of many environmental organizations.

Professor Hollander is not the first to make such a claim. Bjorn Lomborg made this argument with his 2001 tome, The Skeptical Environmentalist. A host of economists, most notably the late Julian Simon, have argued along the same lines. But Hollander brings credentials to the table that might garner more respect among those in the hard sciences. Neither a statistician like Lomborg, nor an economist like Simon, Hollander was an early pioneer in the environmental sciences when ecological research focused more on ecosystem energy flows. At present, he is Professor Emeritus of Energy and Resources at U.C. Berkeley. He is largely credited with positing the wealthier is healthier argument.

Much of Hollander's data (as well as his thesis) will be old hat to those who read Lomborg's Skeptical Environmentalist. Hollander tackles whether we can feed everyone (we can), what to do about fishing problems (affluent nations have technological and institutional solutions available), global warming (affluent nations are prepared to adapt if it is a problem), water scarcity (again technological fixes are available to the wealthy with the proper institutional incentives), and air quality (improving steadily in the wealthy parts of the world). Hollander's writing on each of these subjects tends to be less interesting than Lomborg's. (Who would have thought a statistician could write?) And Lomborg's extensive citations make it easy to pull the original material when trying to sell it to a skeptical audience. Hollander's citations are comparatively sparse. But Hollander does spare the reader the torture of over 100 pages on global warming - something that Lomborg would have been wise to do.

Where Hollander really brings some fresh air to the "wealthier is healthier" front is on the subject of energy policy. Given Hollander's extensive background in the field, it should not be surprising that the chapters on nuclear power, fossil fuels, and renewable energy are where he shines. They are the most informative part of the book and also where Hollander's excitement for the material finally surfaces.

After challenging those who argue we will soon run out of fossil fuels, Hollander moves on to describe the differences in fuel use in the developed and developing world. The developed world employs cleaner fuels such as oil and natural gas while the poor are stuck with dirty-burning fuels such as wood, coal, and animal dung. Adding insult to injury, direct exposure to indoor emissions from these fuel sources create severe health problems and shorten the lives of those in the third world. Poverty is once again the culprit.

Hollander's discussion of renewable energies is downright fascinating. Wind power and direct solar energy, according to Hollander, actually make a lot of sense for the developing world as they don't require the large capital investments for transmission and distribution that fossil fuels and fossil-fueled electrical power require. But according to Hollander, extensive subsidies for large-scale renewables in the developed world have swallowed up the investment for small-scale renewables that could work in the developing world. Thus, the wealthy world's drive for renewables is preventing their development for the parts of the world where renewables could truly improve people's lives.

As for nuclear power, Hollander believes the environmental benefits could be great, but that the public has confused the dangers of commercial use with those of military use. He acknowledges that certain forms of nuclear power create a risk of providing material for terrorist-type activities, but thinks the public will come around to nuclear power in time.....

Joshua Hill, who is currently a PhD candidate in Economics at George Mason University, served in the Peace Corps in Togo for two years (2000-2002). He identifies three problems with development assistance that are particularly telling. First, development assistance creates a culture of dependency. Second, it diverts the "best and brightest" away from creating wealth to managing aid. Finally, foreign aid's annual hand-outs retard the development of the institutional systems needed for a lasting improvement.

During his tour in Togo, Hill was assigned to spur local entrepreneurs into small business. But there was sparse demand for his services because locals were still recovering from a pounding development hangover left by a half-century's overindulgence in foreign aid. Twenty years ago, locals would have responded to Hill by asking why they should struggle to create an enterprise when they could sit around in the shade, drink the local brew, and wait around for the next development check. But with cutbacks in aid, a few wish to engage their entrepreneurial spirit. The inertia of a dependency culture is hindering the progress as even knowledge of how to act like an entrepreneur has been lost. Corruption further discourages entrepreneurship as formal businesses become subject to bribery demands by local bureaucrats.

The bureaucracy is by no means evil, but its members are also part of the culture of dependency. During the "golden" years of development, there was no incentive to seek the long term growth that comes from institutions grounded in the rule of law rather than the rule of lawlessness. As bureaucrats and government officials could rely on their next foreign aid check, they had no need to raise money through internal taxes. Without a need for tax income, there was no reason to encourage the businesses that could provide that revenue. Thus, no time was spent developing the rule of law, the property rights, and the contracting systems that lead to the long term growth of private business. When the aid stopped flowing, many officials turned to bribery as a means to their own survival......

Hollander does yeoman's work convincing traditional environmentalists that wealthier is healthier. For some, it is obvious that the poor will consider endangered specie a moniker for lunch and pollution a means to a better life until their lot improves.

More here


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

The New Yorker is running a series on how the Arctic's sea ice, permafrost and glaciers all are melting because of man-caused global warming. Mother Jones has a cover story essentially saying that ExxonMobil has bought and paid for virtually every scientist who's skeptical of global warming. Even The Weather Channel is doing weather-docs on Arctic thawing. For a little balance, we called up Fred Singer, an expert on global climate change and a pioneer in the development of rocket and satellite technology. He holds a Ph.D. in physics from Princeton and happens to be the guy who devised the basic instrument for measuring stratospheric ozone. Now president of the Science & Environmental Policy Project research group (, his dozen books include "Hot Talk, Cold Science: Global Warming's Unfinished Debate." I talked to him by telephone from his offices in Arlington, Va.:

Q: Here's a line from the Mother Jones article: "There is overwhelming scientific consensus that greenhouse gases emitted by human activity are causing global average temperatures to rise." Is that true?

A: It's completely unsupported by any observation, but it's supported by (computer) climate models. In other words, the models would indicate this. The observations do not.

Q: What's the best argument or proof that global warming is not happening?

A: The best proof are data taken of atmospheric temperature by two completely different methods. One is from instruments carried in satellites that look down on the atmosphere. The other is from instruments carried in balloons that ascend through the atmosphere and take readings as they go up. These measurements show that the atmospheric warming, such as it is, is extremely slight -- a great deal less than any of the models predicts, and in conflict also with observations of the surface.

Q: What is the most dangerous untrue "fact" about global warming?

A: The rise in sea level. Again, the observations show that sea level has risen in the last 18,000 years by about 400 feet and is continuing to rise at a uniform rate, and is not accelerating, irrespective of warming or cooling. In fact, sea level will continue to rise at a slow rate of 8 inches per century, as it has been for the last few thousand years.

Q: If you had a 12-year-old grandkid who was worried about global warming, what would you tell him?

A: I would tell them that there are many more important problems in the world to worry about, such as diseases, pandemics, nuclear war and terrorism. The least important of these is global warming produced by humans, because it will be insignificant compared to natural fluctuations of climate.

Q: How did you become what Mother Jones says you are -- "the godfather of global warming denial"?

A: That's easy. Age. I organized my first conference on global warming in 1968. At that time I had no position. It was a conference called "The global effects of environmental pollution." At that time I remember some of the experts we had speaking thought the climate was going to warm and some thought it was going to cool. That was the situation.

Q: Climate is extremely complicated -- is that a true statement?

A: Immensely complicated. Which is a reason why the models will never be able to adequately simulate the atmosphere. It's just too complicated.

Q: Give me a sample of how complicated just one little thing can be.

A: The most complicated thing about the atmosphere that the models cannot capture is clouds. First of all, clouds are small. The resolution of the models is about 200 miles; clouds are much smaller than that. Secondly, they don't know when clouds form. They have to guess what humidity is necessary for a cloud to form. And of course, humidity is not the only factor. You have to have nuclei -- little particles -- on which the water vapor can condense to form droplets. They don't know that either. And they don't know at what point the cloud begins to rain out. And they don't know at what point -- it goes on like this.

Q: Is this debate a scientific fight or a political fight?

A: Both. I much support a scientific fight, because I'm pretty sure we'll win that -- because the data support us; they don't support the climate models. Basically it's a fight of people who believe in data, or who believe in the atmosphere, versus people who believe in models.

Q: Is it not true that CO2 levels have gone up by about a third in the last 100 years?

A: A little more than a third, yes. I accept that.

Q: Do you say that's irrelevant?

A: It's relevant, but the effects cannot be clearly seen. The models predict huge effects from this, but we don't see them.

Q: Why is it important that global warming be studied in a balanced, scientific, depoliticized way?

A: It's a scientific problem. The climate is something we live with, and we need to know what effect human activities are having on climate. I don't deny that there's some effect of human activities on climate. We need to learn how important they are.


Steven Greenhut is amused by Greenie penguins!: "Editorial Page Editor Cathy Taylor pointed out this hilarious tidbit from the April 18 New Yorker magazine. In an article about nature photographer Sebastiao Salgado, writer Ian Parker explains: "Freezing his position in the quarter-crouch of someone who has just begun to sit down, he waited for the penguins to look at him, and, when they did, it was hard not to project into their stare a silent plea for the Kyoto Protocol. (Some of the gorillas and tortoises he recently photographed gave him the same look.)" As Dave Barry would say, I am not making this up. This is not a passage from the humor site the Onion. This is serious text in a serious article in a serious magazine. Yes, the penguins and the gorillas and the tortoises are crying out for Kyoto. They no doubt would have voted for John Kerry. They might not say so, but you could see it in their eyes". (Post of May 6th).


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 May, 2005


A Rome court convicted a Vatican cardinal and a top Vatican Radio official Monday of polluting the environment with electromagnetic waves from a transmission tower, an official from Vatican Radio said. Cardinal Roberto Tucci, former head of Vatican Radio's management committee, and the Rev. Pasquale Borgomeo, the station's director general, were sentenced to 10 days in jail, said the Rev. Federico Lombardi, the station's program director.

The sentences for the two Jesuits were automatically suspended. In Italy, brief jail terms for first offenders are routinely suspended. After 1 1/2 years of trial and 30 minutes of deliberation, Judge Luisa Martone also ordered the two to pay court costs as well as damages in a civil suit linked to the trial. Those damages will be determined later.

Lombardi said the defense would appeal. "We're stunned," Lombardi said in a telephone interview. "We contend that our transmission is in line with accords between Italy and the Vatican." A third Vatican Radio official, the head of technical services, was acquitted. Prosecutors had alleged that the officials violated Italy's strict standards on electromagnetic emissions, charging that transmitting equipment in the Rome suburb of Cesano damaged the health of those living nearby. The exact charge was "dangerous launching of objects" -- referring to the electromagnetic waves reaching the town.

Cesano residents applauded the prosecutors as they left the courtroom. The prosecutors made no immediate comment. "It is a great success and a great victory, for those people who have been suffering for years," said Lorenzo Parlati, head of the environment group Legambiente for the Lazio region, which was part of the civil suit. "A mother whose child died of leukemia shouted out of emotion when the verdict was read out," he said. Cristina Tabano, a lawyer from Codacons, a consumer group that joined in a civil suit attached to the trial, said she was satisfied the court found there was criminal responsibility. The group also appealed to Pope Benedict XVI to see to it that Vatican Radio transmitters be removed from inhabited areas to safeguard health. Tabano said Cesano residents complained they could hear Vatican Radio broadcasts through their lamps because of electromagnetic disturbances.

In a statement, Vatican Radio described the convictions as "clearly unjustified, both on consideration of rights and of the facts." Vatican Radio said it "always followed international recommendations on electromagnetic transmissions, even before the existence of Italian laws, and from 2001, following agreement with the Italian government, carefully respects the limits set by the new Italian law." It said measurements taken for a bilateral commission back its claim of respecting the limits. "Given that it's a quite restrictive rule, there is no justified reason for worry by the population," Vatican Radio said, expressing confidence it would win on appeal.

In 2002, a judge threw out the case, which had been brought by environmentalists, saying the Vatican officials enjoyed immunity under a 1929 treaty between the Holy See and Italy that established the Vatican as an independent city-state. But Italy's supreme court later ruled that the Vatican Radio officials could be tried, and the case went ahead. Tucci, an 84-year-old who is now retired, was made a cardinal in 2001 by Pope John Paul II for his years of work in leading advance teams for the pontiff's many overseas pilgrimages.

More here


They throw fits when any company is similarly negligent

A jury found Greenpeace guilty Monday on two misdemeanor criminal negligence charges that were filed after the group's ship entered Alaska waters for an anti-logging campaign without required paperwork. Greenpeace's ship came to Alaska to conduct an anti-logging campaign in the Tongass National Forest. The ship was carrying more than 70,000 gallons of "petroleum products" at the time, court papers said.

Under state law, a large non-tank vessel must file an oil spill response plan application five days before entering state waters. Greenpeace had not, but said the oversight was quickly corrected.

State regulators charged Greenpeace, ship Capt. Arne Sorensen and ship agent Willem Beekman with multiple counts of misdemeanor criminal negligence last July for not filing the spill plan or having proof of financial responsibility in case of a spill. The six-person state District Court jury convicted Greenpeace on two counts of failing to have the oil spill prevention plan and acquitted the group on the two counts of failing to obtain a certificate of financial responsibility. Sorensen was convicted on three counts, and Beekman was acquitted on all charges.


An update on Endangered Species Act reform: "Senior members of Congress, including Representative Richard Pombo (R-Calif.), Chairman of the House Resources Committee, and Senator James Inhofe (R-Ok.), Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, have once again begun talking about reforming the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA). Repeated failures over the past decade to enact any ESA reforms at all suggest that this isn't going to be easy. And it is not yet clear whether the reforms to be proposed are going to be worth the heavy lifting needed to push them toward enactment."


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 May, 2005


"Agenda 21" is a policy document adopted at the U.N. Conference on Environment and Development, by more than 170 nations in 1992. It was implemented in the United States by President Clinton's Commission on Sustainable Development, created by Executive Order, with no congressional debate or involvement. The agencies of government set out to implement the recommendations of "Agenda 21" by rule, and by economic "incentives and disincentives." This means, simply, that grants are available to states and communities that do what the feds want, and penalties and fund withdrawals await those communities that resist....

One of the high-priority recommendations of "Agenda 21" and the President's Commission on Sustainable Development is to create a "new decision process." This means take the policy-making process out of the hands of elected officials, and put it in the hands of "professionals".....

The sales pitch is always the same: more efficient government, reduce the cost of duplicated services, and on, and on. Lost in the argument is the idea that government is most responsive to the people governed when the decision-makers are accountable to the people who are governed. Government officials who are appointed – whether appointed by Bart Peterson, or Fidel Castro – are responsive to the people who sign their paychecks, not to the people they govern.

Another high-priority recommendation of "Agenda 21" is to get people to live within "growth boundaries" instead of wherever they want to live. Despite the fact that Lincoln County's population has declined steadily since 1980, Curt Temple believes 600,000 people will invade his county by 2025, and therefore, the county must plan now to prevent "urban sprawl." He, and his planning commission are deciding where these people may, and may not live.

Curt Temple says: "There is broad consensus in our society that land use and development should be controlled." If that consensus exists, it exists only among planners and bureaucrats. In the West, and elsewhere, there is a broad and growing consensus among Americans that government should get out of the way and leave people alone. In America – the land of the free – people should be able to live wherever they choose and can afford to live. For government to tell a person, "No, you cannot build a home here," because a planner drew an "urban boundary line" on a map, is ridiculous – especially in a place like Lincoln County, N.M.

The planning craze afflicts virtually every community. The so-called problems these plans are supposed to prevent often become problems that future generations have to correct. The first wave of planning in the late 1960s and 1970s produced high-density housing for low-income families. These high-rise, low-cost apartments became the slums and gang headquarters in Chicago, and other cities, which ultimately had to be destroyed

More here


The tenor of the energy debate now reaching a crescendo on Capitol Hill is increasingly bizarre. The periodic panic over “foreign-oil dependence” is back as is the unshakable faith in the magical power of taxpayer subsidies to deliver a fuel that will replace gasoline in transportation markets without bankrupting the economy. Those ideas have been aided and abetted by the ostensible party of free markets — the Republican party — whose leaders argue not whether the invisible hand ought to be banished but only the manner in which the market ought to be rigged in its absence.

The hostility directed at “foreign” oil is ridiculous. The amount of oil we import has no bearing on the impact of world oil-market shocks on our economy. Even if the United States imported no oil at all (and we did not restrict trade), supply disruptions abroad would have a similar effect on our economy as if all our oil came from overseas. That’s because oil is traded in global markets: Anything that affects supply or demand anywhere affects prices everywhere. Great Britain discovered this in 1979. The North Sea crude the U.K. relied upon for all its oil consumption became just as costly as similar grades of Iranian crude when the Shah fell in 1979, an event that increased prices in energy independent and energy-dependent nations alike.

Not only would energy independence not help us, removing ourselves from international energy markets in a quest for independence would make us more vulnerable to supply disruptions for two reasons. First, it’s easier for terrorists to disrupt energy production if the sources of supply are geographically concentrated rather than dispersed. Second, if a domestic disruption were to occur and a trading infrastructure were not in place, we would not be able to avail ourselves easily of supplies elsewhere.

Why, then, do some politicians (usually Republican) argue that domestic oil is “good” and foreign oil is “bad”? Pure ignorance is one possibility. Cold-eyed political calculation is another. The domestic oil industry is made up of thousands of small producers in a number of southern and western states who are very well organized politically and relatively important economically. Thousands of other jobs rely both directly and indirectly on the health of that sector of the U.S. economy. No politician from those regions or with national aspirations can afford to offend the domestic oil constituency.

If reducing foreign-oil imports won’t protect us from supply disruptions overseas, should we reconsider our reliance on oil altogether? The choice we face is between using a transportation fuel that is usually cheap but occasionally expensive (oil) and a using a transportation fuel that is usually expensive but less volatile (switch grass, electricity, ethanol, hydrogen, methanol, compressed natural gas, liquefied coal, turkey droppings, whatever). It’s not obvious that the latter is economically preferable to the former. And that’s particularly true once you realize that moving away from oil usually means moving away from the international energy trade.

Why can’t the more expensive but less volatile fuels succeed in the marketplace? Why must we subsidize, order, or mandate? The usual rationales are that (a) energy investors and auto companies are short-sighted, (b) we need to level the playing field because we’re subsidizing oil, (c) we need to speed up what the market is already doing in slow motion, or (d) all of the above.

Regarding (a) and (c), it’s time to learn some humility. Prof. Vaclav Smil, in his book Energy at the Crossroads observes that “for more than 100 years, long term forecasts of energy affairs — no matter if they were concerned with specific inventions and subsequent commercial diffusion of new conversion tech-trends — have, save for a few proverbial exceptions confirming the rule, a manifest record of failure.” The lesson is that we should let private investments play out through trial-and-error in the market because spending one’s own money gets the incentives right. Spending other people’s money does not.

Regarding (b), subsidies to the oil industry are small and probably do not lower marginal production costs and, hence, the price of oil. Instead, the subsidies are simply wealth transfers from taxpayers to shareholders. Moreover, the net effect of government interventions in the oil market, such as the Texas Railroad Commission and the actions of OPEC, has been to increase prices for oil relative to what they have been in the free market. The failure of alternatives to oil to compete successfully on price cannot be explained by past or present government policies that made oil cheaper than it would be under laissez-faire.

With oil prices between $50-60 a barrel, the industry doesn’t need any additional incentive to produce more oil, invest in alternatives to oil, or to produce more energy efficient vehicles. Moreover, nothing is gained by this quixotic crusade to limit our reliance on foreign oil as opposed to domestic oil. The bottom line: no energy bill necessary.



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 May, 2005


Sort of, anyway. A few excerpts:

With landfill sites becoming increasingly expensive, and of course banned in Europe, there is a push towards alternative methods of waste disposal. Global Renewals, a private company, is on the cusp of waste management technology. In yet another stellar display of globalization, the company has licensed Italian and German technology to build a revolutionary waste management and recycling plant in Australia. Located in Sydney, the UR-3R facility, as it is known, promises to divert around 80 percent of waste from landfills, recover recyclable materials from the waste, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, produce compost and fertiliser products, and even become a source of green electricity. Your trash has now become a valuable resource.

The new technology is based on mining industry separation processes. Like the material dug up by miners, household waste contains all kinds of junk - ranging from rotting vegetable matter and foodstuffs to more valuable metal, plastic, glass, and paper. The UR-3R facility will divert waste away from the landfill by separating out these valuable products and converting the organic component of the waste into compost and fertiliser products.

Garbage trucks bring waste straight to the plant where huge magnets pick up ferrous metal and a conveyor system quickly sorts the inorganic material from the organic. The organic material - the stinky stuff - is fed into massive percolators and sprayed with water that absorbs the easily soluble material such as sugars. This sugar-rich water is then put into anaerobic digesters with bacteria that consume the organic material. In the process of consuming this organic material, a methane-rich biogas is produced. The gas is able to produce enough electricity to run the plant with enough left over to export about 10 percent back into the grid. (Learn how bio-waste can be used to generate electricity, an article on aBE by John Schrock.)

From each 100 ton of waste, the separation process will produce 3.2 tons of metals, one tonne of film plastics (largely plastic bags), 2.6 tons of glass, 7.2 tonnes of paper, and 5.8 tonnes of mixed plastics, which can then be sold on the market. The 60 or so remaining tonnes of solid organic material are put through a 16-week composting process, producing a compost product for commercial sale.

The plant is also water self-sufficient; it turns out your trash is about 50 percent water. When the waste is put in percolators, the cell structure breaks down and water is released. Excess water is used in the compost-building.

The plant will also reduce the social impacts of waste collection and disposal. By dealing with waste locally and in an enclosed facility, noise, dust and odour are reduced. Furthermore, waste is not transported over long distances - reducing transportation and other external costs.....

Despite, or perhaps because of, its benefits the UR-3R recycling plant is still not as cheap as landfill. In the short-term it will cost consumers an extra $10 a year in garbage collection fees levied by local government. However, the cost of landfills goes up every year and within five or six years, it is estimated that this type of facility will be cheaper than landfill in most parts of the developed world. Besides, the small additional cost in the short-term is more than offset by the sites' environmental benefits.

More here


While the raw materials are free, wind-powered energy generation is relatively inefficient, as variable wind speeds mean that most turbines operate at only about one-third capacity. Obviously, if the wind doesn’t blow no power is generated. Furthermore, wind-generated power is expensive. As a result, the wind business relies heavily on subsidies, at times necessitating as much as three-quarters of the total cost for a new development. And there are environmental detriments: dead birds, dotted natural landscapes, and opportunity costs associated with the subsidies.

The Wind Energy Association, a well resourced and highly organized lobbying group for wind energy producers, maintains regional associations throughout the world - Australia, Great Britain, Canada, Denmark, Europe, and India. Needless to say, they don’t take allegations of inefficiency and dependence on subsidies lying down. They counter that wind energy is just one of several energy technologies that garner public subsidies (like hydro, solar and biomass). WEA also contends that wind turbine costs are falling.

Various other complaints have arisen against the turbines. Some critics believe wind energy-production is: noisy, harmful to birds, depreciates land value, diminishes environmental aesthetics (i.e. they are ugly) and detracts from tourism. The WEAs counter: “Wind turbines produce a predominantly ‘whooshing’ sound” and “A conversation can be carried out at the base of a modern operating turbine without raising one’s voice.” Furthermore, “Any tall structure presents a risk to birds” it is “estimated that 100 million bird deaths a year can be attributed to domestic cats,” and “There is no evidence that wind farms negatively impact tourism,” “wind turbines cause very little permanent damage, occupying less than 2% of the land area within a given wind farm boundary. They can be dismantled after 20-25 years and the land returned to virtually its former state,” and finally, “There is no evidence that wind farms negatively impact tourism.”

Ultimately, though, these are peripheral issues. If wind-power doesn’t work, or proves too inefficient, then the debate over how much noise turbines make or how they look seems irrelevant. Professor James Lovelock, a leading environmental scientist, believes, “At the best, wind power cannot provide more than a tiny fraction of the energy needs of civilization. It’s a nice idea. It looks good. It’s showy. I think it's one of those things politicians like because it can be seen that they're doing something. But in practice, it's not really a useful remedy.”

Lovelock’s attitude is contrary to what the wind-energy lobby’s message. They often cite Denmark as a nation that now derives 20% of its energy needs from wind power. Lobbyists are reluctant to mention, however, the extent to which the Danish government props up the industry through tax incentives and subsidies. For example, in 2001 the previous Danish government, led by the Social Democratic Party, provided substantial subsidies to the Middelgrunden Offshore Wind Farm Cooperative, the first large project placing wind turbines off shore.

The Danes are free to do what they choose. But if they are investing in wind farms in order to gain an economic return, as opposed to philosophic, they are likely to be disappointed. Despite lobbyists’ claims, wind farms are expensive and inefficient. Most conservative estimates place the cost of wind power at double that of other forms of energy. And while the Danes may be content to see public monies used to prop up unviable industries, most nations are not. Many renewable energy technologies receive subsidies, which encourage malinvestment and mispricing and reward unproductive behaviour. Moreover, such externalities may impede innovation in renewable energy industries.

Regardless of economics, wind power appears to be an extremely popular method of energy production and WEAs regularly cite surveys that say 95% of respondents support the use of wind power. Unfortunately, community support is rarely matched by a willingness to pay the higher price for inefficient energy production. Even if consumers were willing to pay, it is clear that wind power’s limitations will make it very difficult to provide more than a small fraction of the world’s energy. Windmills might make us feel good, but it is probably time to search elsewhere for clean power

More here. Note that the article above omits one of the biggest costs of wind power -- the cost of backing up wind generators with coal-burning or oil-burning generators for when the wind is not blowing.


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 May, 2005


Lots of people are laughing about this one. The post below is lifted from Reliapundit

Two new studies confirm that CLEANER air contribute to global warming (hat-tip MICHELE MALKIN). Cleaner air - with less smog, less dark particulates that SHADED THE EARTH FROM RADIANT WARMING - means that the Earth absorbs more heat, warms up more.

Increased sunlight is powerful; this increased local sunlight (from lack of cloud cover) - and NOT GLOBAL/MAN-MADE CO2 is what's causing the Kilimanjaro Glacier to melt (see previous post HERE).

The MORE SMOG we have; the LESS HOT the Earth gets. SMOG/POLLUTION DECREASES global warming. It seems to me, therefore, that the Leftie "GLOBAL WARMING FREAKS" - who up until now have militantly supported KYOTO - should instead be pro-pollution and demanding a repeal of KYOTO and the CLEAN AIR-CLEAN WATER ACT. Heh.

SERIOUSLY: I think these studies show just how COMPLEX global atmospherics really are. And why we shouldn't just rush into ALARMIST treaties (like KYOTO) which will hamstring economic growth and thereby impair the First World's ability to improve Third World living standards. IMHO: the greatest contribution advanced ecomonies can make to improving Third World living standards would occur if the Global community would ABANDON KYOTO and just spend more money on water treatment and malaria control in the Third World.

Below is an excerpt from one of the scientific reports concerned -- with the crucial conclusion in red:

Earth's climate is being changed substantially by a buildup of atmospheric greenhouse gases, but a group of leading climate scientists contends the overall impact is not understood as well as it should be because data are too scarce on how much energy the planet reflects into space.

Reflectivity, or albedo, is largely governed by clouds and atmospheric particles called aerosols, but it is one of Earth's least-understood properties, said Robert Charlson, a University of Washington atmospheric scientist. Yet research aimed at quantifying the effects of albedo and helping scientists understand how it could affect future climate change has been delayed or shelved altogether.

"The attention being paid to the greenhouse effect is warranted. But the changes to the energy budget of this planet don't just involve the enhanced greenhouse effect. They also involve aerosols and clouds," Charlson said.

"If we don't understand the albedo-related effects, that is aerosols and clouds, then we can't understand the effects of greenhouse gases."


"Drunk as a lord" hardly applies to Dick Taverne - or Lord Taverne, since 1996 when he was made a baron - the sober, polymathic and persuasive author of "The March of Unreason." Although not himself a scientist, Mr. Taverne, a Queen's Counsel (an especially learned barrister appointed to advise Her Britannic Majesty), former member of the British Parliament and currently member of the House of Lords, offers a spirited defense of science and its evidence-based approach to public policy.

He argues that "in the practice of medicine, popular approaches to farming and food, policies to reduce hunger and disease and many other practical issues, there is an undercurrent of irrationality that threatens the progress that depends on science and even [threatens] the civilized basis of our democracy" and that we ignore this trend at our peril. In making his case, Mr. Taverne demolishes many modern foibles and myths, as well as the radical "eco-fundamentalists" who promulgate them.

He notes the paradox that as people live longer and safer lives, they seem to be increasingly obsessed with societal risks of all sorts, and that as society devises better prevention and treatment of disease and produces more nutritious and varied food more efficiently, more people turn to alternative medicine such as homeopathy and quack remedies, and denounce the most precise and predictable methods for the genetic improvement of crop plants. Remorselessly and effectively, he skewers the mania for organic food, the popularity of astrology and other forms of mysticism, and the widespread but baseless bias that "nature knows best."

Mr. Taverne is not averse to alternative medical treatments when there is evidence to support their use, but as Oxford University evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins has pointed out, most often they "refuse to be tested, cannot be tested, or consistently fail tests." This is certainly true, for example, of the vast majority of herbal dietary supplements, which enjoy huge popularity in the United States and Europe. Many of these products, which are not very different from the infamous 19th century snake-oil preparations, are known to be toxic, carcinogenic or otherwise dangerous. Few have been shown to be effective for anything, and serious known side effects include blood-clotting abnormalities, high blood pressure, life-threatening allergic reactions, abnormal heart rhythms, exacerbation of autoimmune diseases, and interference with life-saving prescription drugs....

Mr. Taverne uses the saga of measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine to illustrate the social damage that can be wrought by the rejection of evidence-based medicine. In 1988, Dr. A.J. Wakefield and his colleagues described a case series of 12 patients at a referral clinic in England, all of whom presented with inflammatory bowel disease and autism. They hypothesized that in some children the MMR vaccine provokes inflammation of the intestine, which permits toxins to leak into the bloodstream, and thence into the brain, where they cause the damage that shows up as autism. Panic ensued, with the anti-vaccination lunatic fringe - helped by the sensation-seeking media - orchestrating a campaign against MMR. Assurances by governments that the triple vaccine was safe were ignored; and where vaccination rates have declined, there have been outbreaks.

Mr. Taverne characterizes as "a monument to irrationality" the trend toward consumers' buying overpriced organic food, promoted by advocates whose "principles are founded on a scientific howler; it is governed by rules that have no rhyme or reason, and its propaganda could have an adverse effect on the health of poor people." In the United States, for example, the rules that define organic products are nonsensical, in that organic standards are process-based and have little to do with the actual characteristics of the product. Certifiers attest to the ability of organic operations to follow a set of production standards and practices that meet the requirements of the regulations. Paradoxically, the presence of a detectable residue of a banned chemical alone does not constitute a violation of this regulation, as long as an organic operation has not used excluded methods.....

Mr. Taverne argues compellingly that the conflict over gene-spliced crops is the most important battle of all between the forces of reason and unreason, both because of the consequences should the forces of darkness prevail, and also because their arguments are so perverse and so consistently and completely wrong. In fact, agricultural practices have been "unnatural" for 10,000 years, and with the exception of wild berries and wild mushrooms, virtually all the grains, fruits and vegetables in our diets are genetically modified. Many of our foods (including potatoes, tomatoes, oats, rice and corn) come from plants created by "wide cross" hybridizations that transcend "natural breeding boundaries." Gene-splicing is no more than an extension, or refinement, of less precise, less predictable, older techniques, and gene-spliced plants, now grown in at least 18 countries, have for a decade been cultivated worldwide on more than 100 million acres annually. They are ubiquitous in North American diets: More than 80 percent of processed foods on supermarket shelves - soft drinks, preserves, mayonnaise, salad dressings - contain ingredients from gene-spliced plants, and Americans have consumed more than a trillion servings of these foods. From the dirt to the dinner plate, not a single ecosystem has been disrupted, or a person injured, by any gene-spliced product - a record that is superior to that of conventional foods.

As Mr. Taverne observes, the objection to gene-spliced foods is purely ideological, bordering on the religious. During a House of Lords Select Committee hearing in 1999, Lord Melchett, then director of Greenpeace, was asked "Your opposition to the release of [gene-spliced plants], that is an absolute and definite opposition? It is not one that is dependent on further scientific research?" He replied: "It is a permanent and definite and complete opposition."

Mr. Taverne deplores the "new kind of fundamentalism" that has infiltrated many environmentalist campaigns - an undiscriminating "Back-To-Nature" movement that views science and technology as the enemy and as a manifestation of a mechanistic, rapacious and reductionist attitude toward nature. He notes that eco-fundamentalists are also strongly represented in anti-globalization and anti-capitalism demonstrations around the world. In this, Mr. Taverne echoes Michael Crichton, who argues in his latest novel, the much-acclaimed "State of Fear," that eco-fundamentalists have reinterpreted traditional Judeo-Christian beliefs and myths and made a religion of environmentalism, a religion with its own Eden and paradise where mankind lived in a state of grace and unity with nature until mankind's fall, which came not from eating an apple, but after eating from the forbidden tree of knowledge (that is, science). This religion also has a judgment day to come for us all in this polluted world, except for true environmentalists, who will be saved by achieving sustainability.

These are ominous trends. Not only do they retard technologies which, applied responsibly, could dramatically improve and extend many lives and protect the environment, but they could eventually strangle scientific creativity and technological innovation. Even worse, irrational practices born of eco-fundamentalism undermine the health of civilized society and of democracy, by limiting citizens' ability to engage in voluntary transactions. Defend science and reason, argues Mr. Taverne, and you defend democracy itself.

More here


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

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


7 May, 2005


The Bush administration yesterday overturned one of the most significant land conservation measures of the Clinton presidency: a ban on road building, logging and development on 58.5 million acres of national forests. The move could open large areas of pristine land to industry. The "roadless rule" affects 31 percent of all national forestland, mostly in Alaska and the West - an area about one-third the size of Texas. President Clinton put the far-reaching land-conservation initiative in place during the final days of his administration.

Though 38 states have some areas of national forests without roads, 97 percent of the land at issue is in 12 Western states. The U.S. Forest Service manages about 191 million acres of forests and grasslands. The new rule gives governors 18 months to propose to the Agriculture Department which national forestland should be left untouched and which should be opened for other uses. If governors propose no changes in the way the national forests in their states are currently used, or their proposals for changes are rejected by Washington, roadless areas could be opened immediately for development unless specifically protected by 10-year forest plans.

Undersecretary of Agriculture Mark Rey said the goal is to "afford protection to roadless areas in the right way." Efforts dating back 40 years failed, he said, because they ignored the views of state officials and local residents about how national forestland should be used and invited lengthy lawsuits.



Environmentalists filed a challenge with the NAFTA Commission for Environmental Cooperation on Tuesday against a U.S. liquefied natural gas import terminal planned off Mexico's Pacific coast, within sight of San Diego. Greenpeace Mexico and six other U.S. and Mexican organizations accused Mexico of failing to fully evaluate the possible impact of the plant near Baja California's Coronado Island on an endangered seabird known as Xantus' murrelet. "The Commission for Environmental Cooperation should consider this complaint, because this is a species of bird that migrates and involves all three (NAFTA) countries," Arturo Moreno of Greenpeace Mexico told reporters in Mexico City. Isla Coronado is home to the largest known colony of the small black-and-white seabird, and Moreno said it could be harmed by the lights, activity and chlorinated water discharges at a plant located just 600 yards from the island's shore, which is 8 miles off the coast of Tijuana, and just south of the international border. The bird's population is estimated to be less than 10,000, with more than half of that nesting at Isla Coronado.

The other groups filing the complaint include the American Bird Conservancy, the Los Angeles Audubon Society and the Pacific Environment and Resource Center. The environmental commission, based in Montreal, Canada, was created under the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement between Mexico, the United States and Canada. While the commission has the power to carry out an investigation of whether member countries have failed to enforce their environmental rules, it cannot make recommendations or order them to comply.

Moreno claims oil companies are treating Baja California as their "backyard," with gas plants and electrical power plants located in Mexico that mainly serve the California market. U.S. energy giant ChevronTexaco Corp. already has the main federal approvals necessary for the proposed terminal at the uninhabited Isla Coronado.

Greenpeace says Mexico's Environment Department failed to gather sufficient scientific information about impacts on the birds and failed to properly catalog plants and wildlife at the islands.

More here


Reporting on air quality has improved, but not by nearly as much as air quality itself. The American Lung Association's annual State of the Air report has also improved, but not by nearly as much as air quality reporting. Despite unprecedented gains in air quality during the last two years, State of the Air continues to exaggerate air pollution levels and health risks. And despite a few positive headlines about air pollution trends, journalists continue to parrot ALA's claims with little or no critical review of their veracity. We still have a long way to go before activists' and journalists' claims match air quality reality.

Recent air quality improvements are extraordinary. Days exceeding EPA's tough new 8-hour ozone standard dropped more than 50 percent nationwide between 2003 and 2004, even though 2003 was itself a record year. Forty-four percent of ozone monitoring locations violated the standard as of the end of 2003, but only 31 percent as of the end of 2004. Both are huge improvements over the 1970s, when 80 percent of monitors violated the 8-hour standard.

The 2003 and 2004 ozone improvements were partially due to cool, wet weather. Nevertheless, other years have had weather unfavorable to ozone formation, but none have had ozone levels anywhere near as low as 2004. Ongoing declines in ozone-forming pollution are the main reason for the long-term downward trend. Four of the last five years were the four lowest ozone years since national monitoring began in the mid 1970s, suggesting that something more than random weather variations explains recent air quality improvements.

Levels of fine particulates (PM2.5) are also at record lows. Annual-average PM2.5 levels declined more than 14 percent between 1999 and 2004, and 45 percent between 1981 and 2004. Thirty-three percent of U.S. monitoring locations violated federal PM2.5 standards in 2001, but only 15 percent as of the end of 2004. Once again, both are huge improvements over the 80 percent violation rate during the early 1980s.

Readers of State of the Air don't learn any of this. The report doesn't say a word about 2004's pollution levels. Air quality progress receives a quick mention, but without any of the specific or quantitative details that would show the extraordinary magnitude of the improvements. Providing these details would undermine much of the impact of ALA's report, which likely explains the omission.

These air pollution improvements occurred despite large increases energy use and a doubling of total miles driven by motor vehicles since 1980. The story of the last hundred years has been more people, more highways, more cars, more energy, more wealth.and less air pollution. Ever improving technology has allowed us to have far cleaner air without the need to restrict people's choices about where and how to live, work, and travel.

ALA also exaggerates the amount of pollution in the air. State of the Air claims 152 million Americans, more than half the population, lives in areas that violate federal air pollution standards. In reality, fewer than half this number of people live in areas that violate federal pollution standards. Here's how ALA fudges the numbers: First, if even one pollution monitor in a county violates a pollution standard, ALA counts everyone in the county as breathing air that violates the standard. For example, 99 percent of San Diegans live in areas that comply with EPA's 8-hour ozone standard. Only one rural area violates the standard, but ALA counts all 3 million people in the county as breathing air that violates the standard. This is not an isolated example. More than 90 percent of people in Cook (Chicago) and Maricopa (Phoenix) counties live in areas that comply with the 8-hour ozone standard, and even in Los Angeles County 60 percent of people live in areas that comply with the standard. These four counties alone are home to more than 21 million people, and ALA wrongly counts more than 16 million of them as breathing air that violates EPA's ozone standards. A similar over count can happen for particulate levels. Only one of Allegheny (Pittsburgh) County's dozen PM2.5 monitors violates EPA's 24-hour PM2.5 standard......

Despite ALA's exaggerations, tens of millions of Americans really do live in areas that exceed EPA's health standards for ozone, PM2.5 or both. ALA creates the impression that everyone living in areas that exceed EPA's standards is suffering serious health damage or even death. In reality, EPA's pollution standards have become so stringent that exceeding them has few implications for people's health.....

Even activists' own studies sometimes suggest air pollution is having a small effect on people's health. A study commissioned by the Clean Air Task Force estimated that a 75 percent reduction in U.S. power plant pollution would reduce the incidence of serious respiratory and cardiovascular health effects by 0.4 to 1.6 percent. And even this study ignores the fact that high concentrations of ammonium sulfate, the type of particulate matter from power plants, have been shown to have no health effects in studies with human volunteers, including studies with elderly asthmatics.....

Polls continue to show that most Americans believe air pollution has stayed the same or worsened over the last decade, will worsen in the future, and is a widespread and serious threat to health even at current, historically low levels. All of these beliefs are false. We can't expect ALA to make State of the Air correspond with reality, for reality is too benign to meet ALA's needs. But we should expect more from journalists and editors. It's time for the Fourth Estate to treat environmental activists with the same skepticism appropriate for other interested parties in environmental debates.

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 May, 2005


A plan to provide an alternative form of energy in Wisconsin is pitting two sets of environmentalists against each other. Some favor cleaner air, others want to protect nearby wildlife. Doug Duncan, a Wisconsin farmer who uses windmills to add to his two-turbine farm, said his crop is so good, it's encouraging neighbors to get their own windmills. A Chicago-based energy company wants to build 133 wind turbines like Duncan's that could produce enough energy to power 100,000 homes near the city of Fond du Lac. "Every kilowatt hour of wind actually preserves cleaner air," said Michael Vickerman of RENEW-Wisconsin. "[Wind energy] will have a lowering effect on electricity rates. With this project in place, rates could actually decline or at least not go up as fast."

But wildlife enthusiasts oppose the project. The reason? Birds. The turbines may be as close as a mile and a half from the Horicon Marsh, a federally protected wildlife preserve. "This is a major migratory bird route here, feeding and nesting area for tens of thousands of birds. We strongly fear that lots of birds will be killed by these turbines," said Curt Kindschuh of the Horicon Marsh Systems Advocates

A state environmental impact report has concluded that not enough evidence is available to say what kind of impact wind turbines could have on bird populations. If the project were to go forward, just 1 percent of Wisconsin's energy would be wind-generated.

Opponents say they would feel differently about the endeavor if the project were built elsewhere. "Wind energy is good, but there is a place to put that and you don't put 133 turbines within a mile and a half of a wildlife refuge," Kindschuh said. Farmer Dennis Oechsner said delaying alternative energy is not in order. "It's sad to say that everybody can squawk about it and push it off to someone else, but if we keep moving it elsewhere, sooner or later, we're not going to have it," he said. Farmers will receive more than $4,000 a year for each windmill built on their property. With times not being the best for traditional farmers, those in support of the plan call it a windfall.



The World Health Organisation (WHO) and its partners such as the United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef), the World Bank and US donor USAID formed Roll Back Malaria in 1998 with the goal of halving the burden of malaria by 2010. More than halfway through that programme, malaria cases have risen more than 10%. This year's theme for Africa Malaria Day is a typically empty UN-style slogan: Unite Against Malaria - Together we can beat malaria. The WHO is only partly right in asserting that unity will beat malaria - there are successful partnerships against malaria, but most do not include any UN organisation, the World Bank or donor agencies.....

Malaria started to decline in Italy towards the end of the 19th century as Italy became wealthier. It was only eradicated, though, after teams sprayed the insecticide DDT on the inside walls of houses. This indoor residual spraying repels or kills mosquitoes. It is probably the most effective way of controlling malaria and attracted great support from the UN and donor organisations.

Environmentalist campaigns from the 1970s onwards, with pressure from within WHO and Unicef, have meant that support for DDT has dwindled. The result - an ever-increasing number of malaria cases and deaths. However, some countries, such as SA, continue to use DDT and support dedicated malaria control programmes. SA has also introduced effective malaria treatments based on an ancient Chinese herbal remedy.

The result has been a dramatic decline in malaria cases and deaths. So successful has this strategy been that other African countries are following the model. With funding from government, the private sector and the Global Fund for AIDS, TB and Malaria, spraying programmes in Swaziland, Mozambique (which does not use DDT) and Zambia have achieved equally impressive declines in malaria.

The WHO's Afro office in Harare tries to support spraying that actually works, yet is continually frustrated by bureaucrats far removed at the WHO's headquarters in Geneva. They are also undermined by the donors that supposedly fund malaria control in Africa. USAID is particularly inept when it comes to controlling malaria. This leading donor chooses not to spend its $80m malaria budget buying insecticides or drugs that may save lives. Instead, it spends more than 70% of its budget on US consultants.

These consultants could promote effective malaria control if they wanted to - what is working is no secret. Yet funding spraying programmes would mean that the agencies would have to put money directly into health department malaria-control programmes and would have to buy insecticides and drugs. This would mean that there would be less left over for the consultants to run their workshops and to drive about in four-wheel-drive vehicles. Predictably, the agencies and their consultants prefer to promote insecticide-treated mosquito nets as the main method of control, though this strategy has led to the 10% increase in cases.

Many African governments know what has to be done. Uganda wants to restart its malaria control programme using DDT, which worked spectacularly well in the 1960s. Yet the European Union threatened to ban all Ugandan agricultural exports if it did.

Malaria is entirely preventable and curable. It is scandalous that so many people die from it each year and that the leading organisations charged with controlling it continue to fail. There is hope, though. The US senate is debating a neglected diseases bill which will force USAID to support indoor residual spraying, and to support insecticide-treated nets only if it can prove they work. African governments and the private sector owe it to the millions of malaria sufferers to unite against UN and donor politics and to promote effective malaria control

More here


JP Morgan Chase's chief executive, William Harrison, is a dream come true for Left-wing anti-business activists. Not only did Mr. Harrison announce last week that JP Morgan Chase would fully surrender to their demand that the bank adopt activist approved lending policies - he also announced plans to make the bank an active tool of the radical environmental movement. Following activist demands, JP Morgan will compel its borrowers to embrace the unsubstantiated hysteria about global warming - thus putting their businesses at significant financial risk.

Borrowers will be forced to disclose emissions of greenhouse gases - a practice likely to benefit only trial lawyers eager to sue businesses based on allegations that their greenhouse gas emissions contributed to global warming, which the lawyers hope to link to property damage from natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and other severe weather events. Borrowers will also be pressured to include on their balance sheets liabilities for global warming - essentially imaginary liabilities that will compel borrowers to reserve monies for paying off trial lawyers, Green activists, and their allies in the property and casualty insurance industry.

JP Morgan Chase also agreed to allow the activists to dictate where the bank may lend money. Areas designated by activists as being of "high ecological" value will be "no-go" zones where lending is restricted. Since there are no objective standards for identifying areas of "high ecological value" - thereby leaving the activists in charge of designating those areas - the policy essentially gives the activists a veto over bank lending. The bank will also force borrowers to require that "indigenous peoples" have a say in each stage of project preparation, implementation, and operations. While this may sound reasonable at face value, in real world terms, it simply means that borrowers will be constantly fighting local groups who have been whipped up against them by activists.

As if all this is not bad enough, CEO Harrison went above and beyond activist pressure to announce that JP Morgan Chase will now form and lead a coalition of U.S. banks that will pressure the American government for a national global warming policy.

Although the Senate rejected the international global warming treaty 95-0 in 1997 and President Bush pulled America out of the treaty in 2001, JP Morgan Chase - a bank whose role is to provide financial services to society for a profit - will now become a lobbyist for global warming hysteria, an agenda that has already been rejected through our democratic political process......

Another dismaying aspect of Mr. Harrison's capitulation is that it encourages the activists to continue attacking other law-abiding businesses - RAN is already polling it members about which industry should be besieged next - resulting in an ever worsening domino effect that will adversely impact not only the American economy, but also the developing economies of the most desperately poor regions of the globe. Thanks to the likes of Mr. Harrison and other craven corporate managers, people in the developing world who wish to better their lives through free enterprise will pay the biggest price of all - and there's no one to lobby for them.

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.


5 May, 2005


In California, of course. It is only heavy industrial exposure to asbestos that has ever been shown to be harmful. You are far more likely to die from eating too many hamburgers. There is only one interesting aspect of the findings below: Is the incidence of mesothelioma higher in that area? It should be easily checkable and the asbestos has been there forever so any effects should have shown up by now. The silence about that tells its own story, I think: Another case of "the dog that didn't bark" being the key fact

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has found that everyday recreation at El Dorado Hills' busiest park and nearby schools can significantly elevate exposure to a particularly toxic kind of asbestos, according to air test results obtained by The Bee. Simply bicycling the nature trail through Community Park, the recreational hub of the family-oriented foothills community, can kick up the naturally occurring asbestos fibers in concentrations as much as 43 times higher than if there were no activity in the area, the EPA tests showed. Playing baseball can elevate the asbestos level 22 times. The hazardous exposure can be raised multiple times even for those too small to swing a bat or ride a bike. Air samplers at the toddlers' playground measured a tenfold increase in asbestos concentration as EPA technicians played on the jungle gym and bounced balls. Not even pavement was a safe harbor. Playing basketball increased the airborne asbestos concentrations three to four times at Jackson Elementary and Rolling Hills Middle School, the data showed. The outdoor courts apparently were covered with the invisible fibers, deposited by wind or the soles of sneakers, EPA officials said.

The EPA playgrounds study, scheduled for release today, is the first in seven years of foothills asbestos investigations to show that the threat is not limited to the obvious. The studies stem from a 1998 Sacramento Bee investigation that found home builders and gravel miners in fast-developing western El Dorado County creating a potential public health hazard by digging into asbestos veins and leaving the fibrous minerals exposed. Tests commissioned by The Bee found high concentrations of a particularly hazardous kind of asbestos in settled dust inside homes and in the dust raised by traffic on rural roads graveled with serpentine, a native rock that hosts the asbestos. But the new data suggest the danger extends to areas where there are no telltale signs, to neighborhood schools, parks, and even homes.

EPA officials said they found no visible signs of asbestos in the rock outcrops at Community Park, yet relatively high concentrations of the mineral showed up in air samples wherever EPA technicians kicked up dust. The study also breaks ground by tying the asbestos hazard not to disturbances from bulldozers and graders, but to the individual activities of children and adults.

County and state air pollution regulators have adopted measures to reduce exposure to asbestos released by development, such as wetting down construction sites to keep the minerals' invisible fibers from going airborne. But results from the playgrounds air tests suggest the protective strategies must be broader and applied to everyday activities: knowing, for example, what's in your neighborhood soil when planting gardens or installing backyard pools; learning when and where to use leaf blowers; re-routing the morning jog to avoid dust. "The business interests, the schools, the community service providers, the county government and the public all need to get involved in how to address this issue," said Dan Meer, a top EPA official who supervised the study. "It's similar to living in earthquake country," Meer said. "There are certain things government does and certain things individuals do, and they all come together to try to reduce the risk."

For many in El Dorado Hills, population 31,000, the reports of toxic contamination in their midst have seemed unreal or overblown. The community, after all, is home to gracious homes with views of Folsom Lake and the Sierra, not factories and railyards. But by quantifying the asbestos exposures in the community's green belts, the EPA report makes the geologic hazard more difficult to discount. It also gives the community the kinds of information needed to devise precautions. The threat at Community Park, frequented by hundreds of children daily, could be abated significantly, for example, by replacing tainted dirt in the baseball diamonds with clean fill or wetting the infields more often, Meer said. Asbestos was found in almost all of the more than 400 air samples taken from Oct. 1 through Oct. 11 at the park and schools, Meer said.

Scientists are not sure exactly how non-occupational asbestos exposures such as those in the foothills translate into health risks..... But the study doesn't answer nagging questions: Exactly how do the exposures affect human health? How much is too much? Risk-assessment experts said the tools they commonly use to predict risk of disease from toxic substances don't work for exposure to asbestos in the general environment. ....

Vicki Summers, who lives in a large custom-built home in El Dorado Hills, said she has been surfing the Internet and calling environmental officials for advice. She recently started requiring family and visitors to remove their shoes at the door to prevent them from tracking in asbestos fibers. She plans to remove carpeting because vacuuming can re-suspend fibers. And she has switched from vacuuming to mopping hardwood floors to avoid churning up fibers into the air. Still, Summers said she worries whether she's doing enough to keep her family safe. "So do I throw my mop away after every cleanup?" she asked. "What kind of mop should I use?" ......

Jon Morgan, the county's chief environmental enforcer, had a different reaction to the EPA news. Morgan, who oversees asbestos dust-control laws for the county, slammed the EPA's study as sloppy and alarmist given uncertainties about the actual health risks from this type of exposure. He issued a press release in late March warning that the test results "may scare the daylights out of every man, woman and child in western El Dorado County." And he advised residents to tune in to his cable TV presentation on the asbestos hazard. "To be more informed, watch the Foothill 7 production of Comcast television throughout the month of April for an interview with Jon Morgan," the release said. ......

The EPA is the third public health agency since early April to complete a study of the foothills hazard. The state Department of Toxic Substances Control on April 8 released a study showing that traffic on rural roads covered with asbestos-containing gravel significantly raises the exposure for residents living within at least 300 feet. The agency advised residents to pave the serpentine-gravel roads and driveways.

More here


Review of "America's War on "Carcinogens": Reassessing the Use of Animal Tests to Predict Human Cancer Risk:

This book challenges the notion that cancer is a modern disease caused by increased exposure to synthetic chemicals. While it is true that cancer accounted for less than 4% of all U.S. deaths in 1900 but 23% in 2000, the authors point out that the major cause is the increase in cigarette smoking and the longer life expectancy of a population no longer susceptible to past epidemics. But try telling that to the activists who have targeted synthetic chemicals to a host of misconceived rules and regulations.

One major problem with current regulatory policy is its reliance on animal testing. Most cancer testing today is usually performed on rats and mice. But humans are not rodents. As the book notes: "Findings of carcinogenicity in animal tests are not strongly predictive of human carcinogenicity. Only a limited number of chemicals initially found to cause cancer in animals have been subsequently found to be human carcinogens." Another problem with rats and mice is that the breeds "most commonly used.have high spontaneous rates of certain types of tumors; this limits their predictive value." Finally, animal tests typically use the "maximum tolerated dose" (MTD). The MTD is the highest amount of a substance that can be tested on rats and mice without killing them. But humans are almost never exposed to such high levels. For example, a human would have to drink 7,500 cans daily of a soda containing red dye #2 to achieve the test levels that caused the dye to be banned as potentially carcinogenic.

Unfortunately, most cancer agencies (e.g., the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the National Toxicology Program, and the Environmental Protection Agency) rely on animal testing to determine whether a substance is likely to cause cancer in humans. The National Cancer Institute (NCI), the federal government's principal cancer research agency, relies on a mix of animal and human data. Still, the book faults NCI for not taking "a lead role in informing the public about whether exposure to trace levels of synthetic chemicals in the environment contributes to the human cancer toll."

Once a substance is deemed a carcinogen, it is subject to the "Delaney clause" of the 1958 Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. It states that: No additive shall be deemed to be safe if it is found to induce cancer when ingested by man or laboratory animals or if it is found, after tests which are appropriate for the evaluation of the safety of food additives, to induce in man or animals.

However, the Delaney clause is also a grandfather clause because it only applies to new additives and substances. All substances recognized as safe before adoption of the 1958 law are allowed. That has produced a classic unintended and perverse effect. The authors observe: One result of the Delaney clause has been to preclude the replacement of [old] substances or those approved before 1958 with newer, possibly safer or more effective alternatives, because the law forbids any risk whatsoever for substances given new regulatory approvals but holds the older substances to a looser standard. Thus, one unintended result of the Delaney clause had been to discourage innovation, even if such innovation could have resulted in food products with enhanced quality or safety.

The unintended effect of the Delaney clause has been deadly. For instance, it is now estimated that at least 30 million people worldwide have died from malaria, a disease once prevented by DDT. But DDT was banned after researchers discovered that it caused cancer in mice. Ethylene Dibromide (EDB) is a pesticide once used on fruit, and apple growers used Alar to slow growth in certain types of apples and prevent rotting. The cancer risk for humans of these two chemicals is virtually zero. However, once public hysteria reached fever pitch their use was discontinued. Farmers now resort to less effective alternatives, which makes their crop smaller and their fruit less affordable for consumers. Since studies routinely show that high fruit intake is linked to a reduction in some types of cancer the result is that we actually may be less safe than before use of these pesticides was ended.

Unfortunately, American regulatory policies tend to reinforce the activist-led cancer scare campaigns based on shaky science. We would be far better off with a public health system that conveys sensible information on real cancer risks like cigarette smoking and over-exposure to sunlight. What can policymakers do to inform themselves about misleading scare campaigns? A good place to start would be to read America's War on Carcinogens.



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 May, 2005


After eight years and three trials, a group of protesters whose eyes were swabbed with pepper spray during a series of anti-logging demonstrations finally won their case Thursday against Humboldt County sheriff's deputies and Eureka police -- but were awarded only $1 each in damages. A federal jury deliberated for about 12 hours starting Tuesday before returning its verdict, finding that law enforcement had used excessive force while trying to break up three different protests in the fall of 1997, including one at then-Rep. Frank Riggs' Eureka office and another at the Scotia headquarters of the Pacific Lumber Co.

It was the third time the civil case has gone to trial in U.S. District Court in San Francisco. The first two trials -- one in 1998 and the other in 2004 -- ended in deadlocked juries. This time, Attorney Dennis Cunningham asked the jurors to award Spring Lundberg, who was 17 at the time of the protests, and the other seven plaintiffs in the case between $10,000 and $100,000 for pain and suffering. Despite the jury's paltry award, he said his clients feel vindicated. "It was never about the money," Cunningham said. "It was always about the principle."

He said that the jurors, who appeared to be emotionally drained after the two-week trial, didn't say much about how they came to their decision. He said he could only surmise that the eight-person panel compromised. "They probably felt that the cops had to do something," said Cunningham, adding that although the protesters did not suffer long-term injuries from the pepper spray, it was a "profound experience that will stay with them for the rest of their lives."

Police and deputies put pepper spray directly into the eyes of the protesters, who had chained themselves together, in hopes that the burning would force them to unlock their shackles.

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Michael Duffy (former Leftist politician) writes:

Many farmers in Australia face ruin from environmental legislation. I stress that I'm not opposed to the objectives of much of this. But there's a moral issue here, the crushing burden that's being placed on farmers to achieve environmental benefits for all of us. In the past decade a series of innocuously named "native vegetation" laws and regulations has been introduced in NSW, as in other states. The effect is to ban almost all further clearing of land. This includes not just virgin forest but regrowth, of which there is a great deal around the state.

Spencer bought his property in the 1980s. It included about 4000 hectares of lightly wooded grazing land that he could not begin to farm for more than a decade, in which time saplings grew all over it. When he was ready to introduce stock, the native vegetation regulations had come in and it was illegal to clear the tree growth. He now owns 4000 hectares of what is effectively national park, even though - as I saw when driving through it last weekend - it has gates and fences running through the trees, indicating how, before the 1980s, it was productive grazing land. For this government assault on his assets and his livelihood he has received no compensation.

Spencer's case is extreme, but I have communicated with dozens of other farmers who have been severely affected by native vegetation laws. Others are quoted in the Productivity Commission's report of last August on the effects of these laws. It was severely critical of the unfairness of the laws and their implications for the economy, even finding that in some situations they are environmentally counterproductive. The commission called for decent compensation for farmers - there is some available at the moment, but almost none.

The full implications of native vegetation regulation are still to be calculated, but initial estimates are disturbing. Professor Wolfgang Kasper, of the liberal Centre for Independent Studies, says his crude guesstimate is the regulations will reduce the value of Australia's agricultural output by 15 per cent. The human cost will be considerable, with the Productivity Commission saying "a relatively large number of landholders have been affected".

The issue was touched on at last month's Outlook conference held by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics. A paper presented by a bureau economist, Lisa Elliston, described the damaging effects of native vegetation regulation for farmers in north-western NSW, not least because it prevents them from using long cycle rotations of grazing and cropping activities. Commenting on the regulations' impact on farming practices, the Deputy Prime Minister, John Anderson, told the conference: "What absurd, unadulterated hogwash. What rubbish. What sort of blinded, ideologically driven bureaucrat thinks this sort of nonsense up?" Anderson promised to take the issue to the Council of Australian Governments in June.

The farmers I've spoken to, while pleased with Anderson's sentiments, wonder what he can achieve, as native vegetation regulation is a state issue. They also point out that the Federal Government has put money into supporting the laws in NSW. The central issue for the council will be fair compensation for farmers' loss of asset value and income. The Federal Government has supported the Productivity Commission's call for compensation, but the amount involved is enormous, running into many billions of dollars. In 2002 the Australian Conservation Foundation described compensation as "an unreasonable burden on the public purse", and pointed out that there would be much less environmental legislation if governments had to pay those hurt by it. It's a logical argument, if a little short on compassion.

Native vegetation laws are an extraordinary attack on private property, and effectively nationalise large areas of private land. They are a reminder of how much harm can occur if only the cause in which it is done is sufficiently noble. It is disturbing to see just how savagely a group of Australian citizens can be targeted and hurt once they become unfashionable.


Objectivity and balance would sink them

Residents in the New York metropolitan region now can consult Climate Change Information Resources. This new web page sews together climate science and public advice through an advisory committee that includes government agencies and environmental organizations. The fabric may be chic; the science woven into it is a minor thread. That thread can be summarized thusly: The air's concentration of carbon dioxide, methane and other greenhouse gases has increased over the past 200 years, as the gases have been released by energy production and land-use changes. As a result, the enhanced greenhouse effect has surely affected climate.

Even scientific climate skeptics agree on those points. But the question skeptics persist in asking is: How much of recent climate change is caused by that enhanced greenhouse effect? To find the answer, more accurate knowledge is needed on the roles of other human effects on climate, for example, the emission of soot, or black carbon, and sulfate aerosols, plus landscape modification itself, and natural climate factors.

At present, dividing the recent surface warming trend among natural and human contributions is an art yielding uncertain results. Nonetheless, CCIR displays temperature and precipitation projections decades in the future based on work from the United Kingdom's Hadley Centre and Canadian Climate Centre for Climate Modeling and Analysis that is similar to projections in the 2001 report of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Of the various model results from the 2001 IPCC report that could have been exhibited, the UK and Canadian models produced among the most extreme projections for the United States -- the Hadley Centre's for precipitation; the Canadian Centre's for temperature. In other words, the projections shown are not middle-values but high-end, unlikely results.

The web resource thus lost an opportunity to detail and quantify uncertainties in the projections. And it did so again in referencing but not quoting the 2001 National Academy of Sciences report, Climate Change Science: An Analysis of Some Key Questions. That report noted: "A causal linkage between the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and the observed climate changes during the 20th century cannot be unequivocally established." It also said: "The fact that the magnitude of observed [surface] warming [trend] is large compared to natural variability as simulated in climate models ... does not constitute proof of a linkage [to the increased atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases] because the model simulations could be deficient."

Another missed opportunity opens when CCIR shows examples of past large and rapid climate change of uncertain or unknown origin. Such change occurs well before the recent period of industrialization, and emphasizes the need for better understanding of natural climate change.

Another absence is discussion about a key, unresolved contradiction of the climate models that estimate a significant warming trend for the last 25 years resulting from the enhanced greenhouse effect. During that period, satellite-based observations and good measurements have been made independently from instruments carried aloft in weather balloons. The measurements contradict the projections that the layer of air from the surface to about five miles in altitude should have shown an accelerated warming compared with the observed surface temperature, not the other way around. The disagreement suggests that better theoretical understanding of clouds and water vapor is needed, model deficiencies that were described in the scientific portion of the 2001 IPCC report.

More here


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

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


3 May, 2005


Post stolen from Dr. Roy Cordato

I want to thank Scott Mouw, Chief of Community and Business Assistance at DENR for calling my attention to a study that DENR has put out regarding job creation from recycling. It was apparently stimulated by a piece in last Friday's (Earth Day) Durham Herald where I was asked to submit 5 things that people can do to help the environment. The 5 included:

1. Don’t litter.
2. Respect your neighbor’s property rights. Harming the person or property of others is at the root of all environmental problems.
3. Recycle only what makes sense. The process of recycling, like all other production processes, uses resources and energy. Recycling can often use more than it saves.
4. No matter what size you choose, drive a newer car. Emissions are reduced by about 10 percent each year as old cars come off the road.
5. Before forming opinions about environmental issues learn some basic science and realize that there are at least two sides to every issue. Quite frequently, what everyone seems to know, just ain’t so.

[As an aside, I was the only person to suggest that people shouldn't litter. I was also probably the only one who would not be considered a traditional environmentalist.]

I think it was number 3 that caught Mouw's eye. I am particularly happy because the publication that he sent me and the study that it was derived from will now appear on the reading list for the class I teach at NC State--as example of really bad economic analysis. What needs to be realized is that the whole point of the study is to brag about the amount of labor resources that are being used up and diverted from other productive activities for recycling. This is only one of its many problems

Below is part of the abstract from this study. To get a sense of what is wrong with this whole thing I have substituted the word "pyramid" for "recycling" whenever it appears in the text.

"The objective of this study is to quantify the impacts of pyramids on jobs in North Carolina. This was accomplished by collecting survey data on the current employment status in public and private sector pyramid businesses and then comparing current data with information from 1994 and 2000 to determine the employment trends. Employment data from the pyramid industry is also compared with other industries’ employment over the same time period. Survey data indicates that the pyramid is a significant employer in North Carolina, supporting approximately 14,000 employees, or 0.35% of North Carolina’s workforce. The private sector supports ten times the number of pyramid employees as the public sector. In contrast to most other industries, pyramid employment has increased over the last 10 years. While traditional industries such as textiles and manufacturing have lost significant numbers of jobs over the past decade, pyramids have created jobs and increased their share of the labor market. North Carolina has approximately 1.2% of the nation’s pyramid jobs. This study points to the economic importance of continuing and expanding pyramid programs in North Carolina, which adds to the environmental benefits of recovering as much waste as possible. At the state and local levels, there is need for policies that encourage participation in pyramid programs and discourage waste disposal."

The original is here:

"The objective of this study is to quantify the impacts of recycling on jobs in North Carolina. This was accomplished by collecting survey data on the current employment status in public and private sector recycling businesses and then comparing current data with information from 1994 and 2000 to determine the employment trends. Employment data from the recycling industry is also compared with other industries’ employment over the same time period. Survey data indicates that recycling is a significant employer in North Carolina supporting approximately 14,000 employees, or 0.35% of North Carolina’s workforce. The private sector supports ten times the number of recycling employees as the public sector. In contrast to most other industries, recycling employment has increased over the last 10 years. While traditional industries such as textiles and manufacturing have lost significant numbers of jobs over the past decade, recycling has created jobs and increased its share of the labor market. North Carolina has approximately 1.2% of the nation’s recycling jobs. This study points to the economic importance of continuing and expanding recycling programs in North Carolina, which adds to the environmental benefits of recovering as much waste as possible. At the state and local levels, there is need for policies that encourage participation in recycling programs and discourage waste disposal."

Silly me--I thought the point of recycling was to save resources. Oh, I guess labor isn't a resource. The Soviet system generated full employment quite consistently.


Born 35 years ago in a fever of political activism, Earth Day is now a Hallmark Holiday. Earth Day and its traditional pieties about recycling and conservation now engender all of the public passion of Arbor Day. The Hallmarkization of Earth Day aptly symbolizes the predicament of 21st century ideological environmentalism. Unfortunately for green activists, the public now recognizes that their relentless predictions of imminent environmental apocalypse are a bunch of hooey. In fact, people need only look around to see that the state of the natural world in the United States and much of the world has greatly improved over the past 35 years. Sure, public schools still teach environmental doomster tracts to impressionable children, but public schools are always decades behind the rest of society, being, after all, the absolutely last places where new facts and ideas infiltrate.

Just in time for Earth Day, the American Enterprise Institute and the Pacific Research Institute released their annual Index of Leading Environmental Indicators 2005. The 2005 Index looks at trends in air and water quality, the amount of toxic materials being released into the environment, and forest growth in the United States. Some the best news is on air quality trends. The Index finds that "air pollution fell again in the United States to its lowest level ever recorded." The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that since 1976, when national measuring began, levels of ozone in the air have dropped 31 percent, sulfur dioxides are down 72 percent, nitrogen dioxide was cut by 42 percent, carbon dioxide plunged 76 percent, and particulates (smoke and dust) fell by 31 percent. Air quality in the 10 largest metropolitan areas (four of the five most improved are in California) has improved an average of 53 percent since 1980.

The long-term trend in toxics being released into the environment is also positive, dropping by 55 percent since 1988. Despite ongoing suburbanization, between 1990 and 2000, U.S. forests expanded by more than 10 million acres. The Index notes that "for the eastern half of the United States, land cleared for farming and grazing in the 19th century has been reverting back to forestland at a net rate of one million acres a year since 1910." A big part of the reason that forests are expanding is that we no longer use horses for transport (land cleared for their grazing) and wood for fuel. Annual use of wood for noncommercial fuel has fallen from 5 billion cubic feet in 1900 to about 500 million cubic feet.

More problematic are water quality trends. Not because they are getting worse, but because scientists have never devised a good system for tracking water quality trends in rivers and lakes. The problem is that droughts, floods, seasonality and many other variables affect water quality in any given body of water at any given point. The EPA, trying to remedy this data insufficiency, has launched the Wadeable Streams Assessment program which will monitor streams at 500 randomly selected locations.

Nevertheless, Lake Erie is no longer "dead;" the Potomac, which in the 1960s was lined with signs warning against coming into contact with the water, now has beavers swimming under the Key Bridge connecting Roslyn and Georgetown; and the Cuyahoga River, which infamously caught fire, is now an upscale riverfront dining and entertainment district. The Index points out that the United States has spent nearly a $1 trillion on water quality since 1970. As a result, the wastes from 165 million Americans are today treated at modern sewage plants, up from 86 million in 1968.

More here


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

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


2 May, 2005


Science that censors debate and criticism is not science

Two of the world's leading scientific journals have come under fire from researchers for refusing to publish papers which challenge fashionable wisdom over global warming. A British authority on natural catastrophes who disputed whether climatologists really agree that the Earth is getting warmer because of human activity, says his work was rejected by the American publication, Science, on the flimsiest of grounds.

A separate team of climate scientists, which was regularly used by Science and the journal Nature to review papers on the progress of global warming, said it was dropped after attempting to publish its own research which raised doubts over the issue.

The controversy follows the publication by Science in December of a paper which claimed to have demonstrated complete agreement among climate experts, not only that global warming is a genuine phenomenon, but also that mankind is to blame. The author of the research, Dr Naomi Oreskes, of the University of California, analysed almost 1,000 papers on the subject published since the early 1990s, and concluded that 75 per cent of them either explicitly or implicitly backed the consensus view, while none directly dissented from it. Dr Oreskes's study is now routinely cited by those demanding action on climate change, including the Royal Society and Prof Sir David King, the Government's chief scientific adviser. However, her unequivocal conclusions immediately raised suspicions among other academics, who knew of many papers that dissented from the pro-global warming line. They included Dr Benny Peiser, a senior lecturer in the science faculty at Liverpool John Moores University, who decided to conduct his own analysis of the same set of 1,000 documents - and concluded that only one third backed the consensus view, while only one per cent did so explicitly. Dr Peiser submitted his findings to Science in January, and was asked to edit his paper for publication - but has now been told that his results have been rejected on the grounds that the points he make had been "widely dispersed on the internet".

Dr Peiser insists that he has kept his findings strictly confidential. "It is simply not true that they have appeared elsewhere already," he said. A spokesman for Science said Dr Peiser's research had been rejected "for a variety of reasons", adding: "The information in the letter was not perceived to be novel." Dr Peiser rejected this: "As the results from my analysis refuted the original claims, I believe Science has a duty to publish them."

Dr Peiser is not the only academic to have had work turned down which criticises the findings of Dr Oreskes's study. Prof Dennis Bray, of the GKSS National Research Centre in Geesthacht, Germany, submitted results from an international study showing that fewer than one in 10 climate scientists believed that climate change is principally caused by human activity. As with Dr Peiser's study, Science refused to publish his rebuttal. Prof Bray told The Telegraph: "They said it didn't fit with what they were intending to publish."

Prof Roy Spencer, at the University of Alabama, a leading authority on satellite measurements of global temperatures, told The Telegraph: "It's pretty clear that the editorial board of Science is more interested in promoting papers that are pro-global warming. It's the news value that is most important." He said that after his own team produced research casting doubt on man-made global warming, they were no longer sent papers by Nature and Science for review - despite being acknowledged as world leaders in the field. As a result, says Prof Spencer, flawed research is finding its way into the leading journals, while attempts to get rebuttals published fail. "Other scientists have had the same experience", he said. "The journals have a small set of reviewers who are pro-global warming."

Concern about bias within climate research has spread to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, whose findings are widely cited by those calling for drastic action on global warming. In January, Dr Chris Landsea, an expert on hurricanes with the United States National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, resigned from the IPCC, claiming that it was "motivated by pre-conceived agendas" and was "scientifically unsound".

A spokesman for Science denied any bias against sceptics of man-made global warming. "You will find in our letters that there is a wide range of opinion," she said. "We certainly seek to cover dissenting views." Dr Philip Campbell, the editor-in-chief of Nature, said that the journal was always happy to publish papers that go against perceived wisdom, as long as they are of acceptable scientific quality. "The idea that we would conspire to suppress science that undermines the idea of anthropogenic climate change is both false and utterly naive about what makes journals thrive," he said.

Dr Peiser said the stifling of dissent and preoccupation with doomsday scenarios is bringing climate research into disrepute. "There is a fear that any doubt will be used by politicians to avoid action," he said. "But if political considerations dictate what gets published, it's all over for science."

(From the London Telegraph. Winds of Change has also picked up on the seriousness of this affair. The climate fanatics are threatening the credibility of science as a whole. Once the discrediting of global warming theory is complete, people are going to see ALL future scientific pronouncements as suspect)


In Australia they have become rather like the sacred cows in India

The way we define a problem will have a powerful effect on the way we think about solutions to that problem.

The Productivity Commission recently released its Draft Report on the Impacts of Native Vegetation and Biodiversity Regulations. The report defined the policy problem thus: 'The problem that prompted this inquiry is that private landholders are perceived as providing too little native vegetation and biodiversity conservation on their land.'

If this were the case, the native vegetation regulators across Australia would target those who have no trees on their properties and, for example, suggest that they replant. The Productivity Commission's definition of the problem side-steps the real issue: across Australia, landholders with heavily timbered properties are the ones most affected by the regulations because it is the act of clearing that is the real issue.

The bottom line is that trees have become sacred in Australia, like cows in India. It is the act of cutting down trees that most offends environmental fundamentalists---it is the ultimate sin.

But environmentalists confuse us, they give the impression that they are all about science and they appeal to the authority of science. They claim that trees need to be protected to prevent land degradation, protect biodiversity and prevent global warming.

The Productivity Commission's report, reflecting this popular but na‹ve assessment of the problem, states: 'the reasons for increasing conservation on private land, and the benefits of doing so, will vary by region depending on issues such as how much native vegetation exists, what habitat it provides, and what key objectives the government wants to pursue (for example, salinity, climate change or biodiversity)'. Yet the reality is that for any one region the objectives (salinity, greenhouse, runoff, biodiversity) have been promoted at different times depending on what the conservation movement believes will give it most political leverage at that point in time. For example, in South West Queensland, restrictions were introduced with the Queensland Vegetation Management Act 1999 on the basis that there was a need to conserve biodiversity. It soon became evident, however, that there was still potential for clearing, so the need to stop clearing to prevent salinization of the landscape was promoted, culminating in additional restrictions based on flawed salinity hazard maps in July 2002. When it was evident that even with the biodiversity and salinity restrictions there would still be potential for some clearing, there was a push for controls for greenhouse reasons, culminating in the moratorium on new permits introduced in April 2003.

The latest campaign, launched by the Wilderness Society in December 2003, is focused on a series of television advertisements shown, 'on the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast over the busy summer holiday period to bring the problem of land clearing into people's lounge rooms'. It ran with the slogan, 'Land Clearing---Turning Queensland into Wasteland'.

The Queensland Herbarium recently completed analysis of data from 2001 which showed that 81.3 per cent of Queensland remains covered in what is classified as remnant vegetation. The figure for 1997 was 82.3 per cent and for 1999 is 81.8 per cent. So while it may seem hard to believe, the reality is that most of Queensland is covered in remnant vegetation---Queensland is not being turned into a wasteland!

Yet the clear impression from the campaigners, via the media, is that landholders are irresponsibly clearing large areas of native vegetation---resulting in irreparable damage to the environment. Even during the height of clearing in 1999-2001, however, the annual clearing rate was only 0.7 per cent of the 81 million hectares of woodland and forest ecosystem in Queensland. Furthermore, the 2001 estimate that forests covered 81 million hectares of Queensland is an increase of 5 million hectares over a 1992 estimate that put forest cover in Queensland at 76 million hectares. The Australia's State of the Forests Report 2003 also suggests an increase, rather than a reduction, in the area of Australia covered in forest. No-one, however, is reporting the net increase. The media and even the Australian Bureau of Statistics are only interested in reporting the clearing.

The general impression, reinforced by the jargon used in the Queensland Vegetation Management Act (VMA), is that trees don't re-grow. There is constant reference to the protection of remnant vegetation. Yet the detail of the legislation accommodates and includes 're-growth' in the definition of 'remnant' where re-growth is at least 50 per cent of cover and 70 per cent of the height of what would have been its undisturbed state. As a consequence, 'remnant' can include vegetation less than a decade old.

The general impression, supported by the legislation, is that remnant ecosystems are fixed in time and place and steadily disappearing. It is assumed that the maintenance of these remnant ecosystems simply involves the exclusion of human activity. Yet the reality is that the Australian landscape is constantly evolving and changing and has been actively managed for thousands of years---predating European settlement. Along the coast, the fire regimes of the Aborigines created open eucalypt woodland where rainforests would have otherwise developed. In the semi-arid rangelands, remove fire and introduce cattle and the tendency in Australia (and other parts of the world) is for woodlands to thicken and acacia thickets to replace once open grasslands. Despite the phenomenon of vegetation thickening being well documented in the scientific literature, its existence as a phenomenon and its potential impacts on farm viability continue to be ignored.

The phenomenon is ignored because the concept of an 'Eden' is so important to environmentalism as a religion, along with the idea that because broad-scale tree clearing occurs, Queensland must be turning into a wasteland. We have cut down trees, therefore we have sinned and therefore everything must be going to hell. Never mind that trees grow back and never mind the statistics which, on scrutiny, might indicate our grasslands are more at risk than our forests. Interestingly, Queensland satellite data show that 26 per cent of all clearing in 2000--2001 was of land that had no trees in 1991.

The above is an excerpt from an address by Jennifer Marohasy under the title "Fighting Ignorance with Evidence" delivered to the combined Annual General Meeting and Conference of "Property Rights Australia", in Roma, Queensland, Australia, on Saturday 14th February 2004


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

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 May, 2005


Climate "sensitivity" is the change in surface temperature expected for each additional Watt of energy that is re-radiated onto the earth's surface and lower atmosphere by slight changes in the greenhouse effect. The main cause of these changes in the greenhouse effect, of course, is the increasing levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide caused by the combustion of fossil fuels. You would think that it would be big news when Hansen-the guy who started all this mess with his incendiary 1988 congressional testimony-lowers his estimate for the sensitivity to two-thirds of the value he used back then.

Hansen's most recent figure, just published in Sciencexpress, is that the surface temperature ultimately changes 0.67?C per Watt per square meter (W/m2). In 1988 he said it was a full degree, and in 2001 he lowered it to 0.75. The lower the climate sensitivity, the less that the global temperature will rise in the future (given the same amount atmospheric carbon dioxide) and the lower the threat of catastrophic climate change.

But the greenhouse emissions are also much lower than people expected. The standard modeling technique raises the carbon dioxide concentration of the atmosphere 1% per year, but the actual rate of increase for the last three decades has been around 0.45% per year. And, despite scary news stories, there's little evidence for any sharp upward change. There was a lot of press when the 2003 concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide rose considerably, and virtually no coverage when it was balanced out by much smaller changes in 2004. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assumes an average change of roughly 0.65% per year in carbon dioxide, or 41% greater than the observed, very constant rate.....

These are big changes and should be big news, but it is apparent that those who report on these matters may be far from a hand calculator. Hint to taxpayers, who fund over $4 billion per year in climate change research (at least that's what's in the proposed budget): all of these calculations are pretty much unnecessary. It is already become well established over the course of the past 35 years or so that the rate of global average temperature rise is a remarkably constant 0.17ºC. That would give right around 0.8ºC additional warming to 2050. In his new work, Hansen is really just doing what any rational scientist would do: adjusting the sensitivity for what has been observed in the real world....

In climate science, we really have only two tools: computer models and observations. And it is clear, when the two are combined, that future warming is going to be at the low end of the wild projections that have been made by the IPCC. What Hansen has done is really nothing more than this, lending more evidence to what we already pretty much know. The rate of future temperature rise will be modest, as will be the accompanying climate impacts. Some will be positive, some will be negative, but they will all be at the low end.

More here


If logic ever gets through to them

"Over the next ten years, I predict, the mainstream of the environmental movement will reverse its opinion and activism in four major areas: population growth, urbani-zation, genetically engineered organisms, and nuclear power. Reversals of this sort have occurred before. Wildfire went from universal menace in mid-20th century to honored natural force and forestry tool now, from "Only you can prevent forest fires!" to let-burn policies and prescribed fires for understory management. The structure of such reversals reveals a hidden strength in the environmental movement and explains why it is likely to keep on growing in influence from decade to decade and perhaps century to century.

The success of the environmental movement is driven by two powerful forces-romanticism and science-that are often in opposition. The romantics identify with natural systems; the scientists study natural systems. The romantics are moralistic, rebellious against the perceived dominant power, and combative against any who appear to stray from the true path. They hate to admit mistakes or change direction. The scientists are ethicalistic, rebellious against any perceived dominant paradigm, and combative against each other. For them, admitting mistakes is what science is.

There are a great many more environmental romantics than there are scientists. That's fortunate, since their inspiration means that most people in developed socie-ties see themselves as environmentalists. But it also means that scientific perceptions are always a minority view, easily ignored, suppressed, or demonized if they don't fit the consensus story line.

Take population growth. For 50 years, the demographers in charge of human population projections for the United Nations released hard numbers that substantiated environmentalists' greatest fears about indefinite exponential population increase. For a while, those projections proved fairly accurate. However, in the 1990s, the U.N. started taking a closer look at fertility patterns, and in 2002, it adopted a new theory that shocked many demographers: human population is leveling off rapidly, even precipitously, in developed countries, with the rest of the world soon to follow. Most environmentalists still haven't got the word. Worldwide, birthrates are in free fall. Around one-third of countries now have birthrates below replacement level (2.1 children per woman) and sinking. Nowhere does the downward trend show signs of leveling off. Nations already in a birth dearth crisis include Japan, Italy, Spain, Germany, and Russia-whose population is now in absolute decline and is expected to be 30 percent lower by 2050. On every part of every continent and in every culture (even Mormon), birthrates are headed down. They reach replacement level and keep on dropping. It turns out that population decrease accelerates downward just as fiercely as population increase accelerated upward, for the same reason. Any variation from the 2.1 rate compounds over time.

That's great news for environmentalists (or it will be when finally noticed), but they need to recognize what caused the turnaround. The world population growth rate actually peaked at 2 percent way back in 1968, the very year my old teacher Paul Ehrlich published The Population Bomb. The world's women didn't suddenly have fewer kids because of his book, though. They had fewer kids because they moved to town. Cities are population sinks-always have been. Although more children are an asset in the countryside, they're a liability in the city. A global tipping point in urbanization is what stopped the population explosion. As of this year, 50 percent of the world's population lives in cities, with 61 percent expected by 2030. In 1800 it was 3 percent; in 1900 it was 14 percent.

Along with rethinking cities, environmentalists will need to rethink biotechnology. One area of biotech with huge promise and some drawbacks is genetic engineering, so far violently rejected by the environmental movement. That rejection is, I think, a mistake. Why was water fluoridization rejected by the political right and "frankenfood" by the political left? The answer, I suspect, is that fluoridization came from government and genetically modified (GM) crops from corporations. If the origins had been reversed-as they could have been-the positions would be reversed, too.

Ignore the origin and look at the technology on its own terms. (This will be easier with the emergence of "open source" genetic engineering, which could work around restrictive corporate patents.) What is its net effect on the environment? GM crops are more efficient, giving higher yield on less land with less use of pesticides and herbicides. That's why the Amish, the most technology-suspicious group in America (and the best farmers), have enthusiastically adopted GM crops.

There has yet to be a public debate among environmentalists about genetic engineering. Most of the scare stories that go around (Monarch caterpillars harmed by GM pollen!) have as much substance as urban legends about toxic rat urine on Coke can lids. Solid research is seldom reported widely, partly because no news is not news. A number of leading biologists in the U.S. are also leading environmentalists. I've asked them how worried they are about genetically engineered organisms. Their answer is "Not much," because they know from their own work how robust wild ecologies are in defending against new genes, no matter how exotic. They don't say so in public because they feel that entering the GM debate would strain relations with allies and would distract from their main focus, which is to research and defend biodiversity.....

Can climate change be slowed and catastrophe avoided? They can to the degree that humanity influences climate dynamics. The primary cause of global climate change is our burning of fossil fuels for energy. So everything must be done to increase energy efficiency and decarbonize energy production. Kyoto accords, radical conservation in energy transmission and use, wind energy, solar energy, passive solar, hydroelectric energy, biomass, the whole gamut. But add them all up and it's still only a fraction of enough. Massive carbon "sequestration" (extraction) from the atmosphere, perhaps via biotech, is a widely held hope, but it's just a hope. The only technology ready to fill the gap and stop the carbon dioxide loading of the atmosphere is nuclear power.

Nuclear certainly has problems-accidents, waste storage, high construction costs, and the possible use of its fuel in weapons. It also has advantages besides the overwhelming one of being atmospherically clean. The industry is mature, with a half-century of experience and ever improved engineering behind it. Problematic early reactors like the ones at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl can be supplanted by new, smaller-scale, meltdown-proof reactors like the ones that use the pebble-bed design. Nuclear power plants are very high yield, with low-cost fuel. Finally, they offer the best avenue to a "hydrogen economy," combining high energy and high heat in one place for optimal hydrogen generation......

Within the environmental movement, scientists are the radical minority leading the way. They are already transforming the perspective on urbanization and population growth. But their radicalism and leadership will have to increase if humanity is to harness green biotech and step up to its responsibilities for the global climate. The romantics are right, after all: we are indi-visible from the earth's natural systems

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.