GREENIE WATCH -- MIRROR ARCHIVE 
Tracking the politics of fear....  

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31 October, 2004

A DEVASTATING DEMOLITION OF GLOBAL WARMING FROM POLAND

Excerpts from a statement by Prof. Zbigniew Jaworowski, Chairman, Scientific Council of Central Laboratory for Radiological Protection, Warsaw, Poland

I am a Professor at the Central Laboratory for Radiological Protection (CLOR) in Warsaw, Poland, a governmental institution, involved in environmental studies. CLOR has a "Special Liaison" relationship with the US National Council on Radiological Protection and Measurements (NCRP). In the past, for about ten years, CLOR closely cooperated with the US Environmental Protection Agency, in research on the influence of industry and nuclear explosions on pollution of the global environment and population. I published about 280 scientific papers, among them about 20 on climatic problems. I am the representative of Poland in the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR), and in 1980 - 1982 I was the chairman of this Committee.

Great experience with ice-cores

For the past 40 years I was involved in glacier studies, using snow and ice as a matrix for reconstruction of history of man-made pollution of the global atmosphere. A part of these studies was related to the climatic issues. Ice core records of CO2 have been widely used as a proof that, due to man's activity the current atmospheric level of CO2 is about 25% higher than in the pre-industrial period. These records became the basic input parameters in the models of the global carbon cycle and a cornerstone of the man-made climatic warming hypothesis. These records do not represent the atmospheric reality, as I will try to demonstrate in my statement.

Deep ice cores inconclusive

Determinations of CO2 in polar ice cores are commonly used for estimations of the pre-industrial CO2 atmospheric levels. Perusal of these determinations convinced me that glaciological studies are not able to provide a reliable reconstruction of CO2 concentrations in the ancient atmosphere. This is because the ice cores do not fulfill the essential closed system criteria. One of them is a lack of liquid water in ice, which could dramatically change the chemical composition the air bubbles trapped between the ice crystals. This criterion, is not met, as even the coldest Antarctic ice (down to -73oC) contains liquid water[2]. More than 20 physico-chemical processes, mostly related to the presence of liquid water, contribute to the alteration of the original chemical composition of the air inclusions in polar ice.... This is why the records of CO2 concentration in the gas inclusions from deep polar ice show the values lower than in the contemporary atmosphere, even for the epochs when the global surface temperature was higher than now.

Shallow ice-core data fudged

The data from shallow ice cores, such as those from Siple, Antarctica, are widely used as a proof of man-made increase of CO2 content in the global atmosphere, notably by IPCC. These data show a clear inverse correlation between the decreasing CO2 concentrations, and the load-pressure increasing with depth. The problem with Siple data (and with other shallow cores) is that the CO2 concentration found in pre-industrial ice from a depth of 68 meters (i.e. above the depth of clathrate formation) was "too high". This ice was deposited in 1890 AD, and the CO2 concentration was 328 ppmv, not about 290 ppmv, as needed by man-made warming hypothesis. The CO2 atmospheric concentration of about 328 ppmv was measured at Mauna Loa, Hawaii as later as in 1973, i.e. 83 years after the ice was deposited at Siple. An ad hoc assumption, not supported by any factual evidence, solved the problem: the average age of air was arbitrary decreed to be exactly 83 years younger than the ice in which it was trapped. The "corrected" ice data were then smoothly aligned with the Mauna Loa record, and reproduced in countless publications as a famous "Siple curve". Only thirteen years later, in 1993, glaciologists attempted to prove experimentally the "age assumption", but they failed.

Other evidence shows HIGH carbon dioxide in pre-modern times

The notion of low pre-industrial CO2 atmospheric level, based on such poor knowledge, became a widely accepted Holy Grail of climate warming models. The modelers ignored the evidence from direct measurements of CO2 in atmospheric air indicating that in 19th century its average concentration was 335 ppmv. In Figure 2 encircled values show a biased selection of data used to demonstrate that in 19th century atmosphere the CO2 level was 292 ppmv. A study of stomatal frequency in fossil leaves from Holocene lake deposits in Denmark, showing that 9400 years ago CO2 atmospheric level was 333 ppmv, and 9600 years ago 348 ppmv, falsify the concept of stabilized and low CO2 air concentration until the advent of industrial revolution.

Improper manipulation of data, and arbitrary rejection of readings that do not fit the pre-conceived idea on man-made global warming is common in many glaciological studies of greenhouse gases. In peer reviewed publications I exposed this misuse of science. Unfortunately, such misuse is not limited to individual publications, but also appears in documents of national and international organizations. For example IPCC not only based its reports on a falsified "Siple curve", but also in its 2001 report used as a flagship the "hockey curve" of temperature, showing that there was no Medieval Warming, and no Little Ice Age, and that the 20th century was unusually warm. The curve was credulously accepted after Mann et al. paper published in NATURE magazine. In a crushing criticism, two independent groups of scientists from disciplines other than climatology (i.e. not supported from the annual pool of many billion "climatic" dollars), convincingly blamed the Mann et al. paper for the improper manipulation and arbitrary rejections of data.

More here



AUSTRALIAN GREENIE "DEFENCE" POLICY

In July, Greens senator Bob Brown proposed dispatching Australian troops to halt the genocide taking place in the Sudanese province of Darfur. In theory, that's fine and dandy. But in practice, a problem may arise from the fact that a Green Australia would have precious little with which to intervene.

The most casual study of the Greens' platform on "Peace and Security" reveals that in essence, the party's senators, Brown and Kerry Nettle (NSW), believe the best defence is no defence at all. The Greens proclaim the "demilitarisation of the South-East Asia-Pacific region" is their "short-term target". And they propose to kick things off by reducing "the level of defence spending and redirecting the savings to vital social and environmental programs". In other words, Brown wants to further squeeze an already modest Australian Defence Force to fund "investigations of options for the regulated supply of social drugs such as ecstasy in controlled environments", as the Greens outlined in their "Drugs, Substance Abuse and Addiction" policy.

Instead of maintaining a highly trained, well-armed military, the Greens would defend Australia through "a comprehensive strategy of non-violent conflict management". Nettle would sooner dispatch the "Love Boat" to deal with a terrorist threat than an RAN frigate. The Greens do not appear to comprehend that there is no such thing as Santa Claus in international affairs.

Moreover, after Nettle got through with the defence budget, whatever remained of the armed forces would be more subservient to the United Nations than to the Commonwealth of Australia. This is what the Greens mean by "maintaining an Australian military defence based upon a wide definition of security". But, while any such definition might be a mile wide, it would only be an inch deep.

And what about the war against al-Qaeda? The Greens "reject the US-led 'war on terrorism' as a cover for the promotion of US interests rather than an effective anti-terrorist strategy". To the extent that they want to combat terrorism at all, Brown and Nettle advocate treating Osama bin Laden as a criminal justice issue rather than a national security problem. Never mind that this was how Bill Clinton tried and failed to handle al-Qaeda during his presidency.

More here

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

Comments? Email me or here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site (viewable even in China!) here

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30 October, 2004

THE BEGINNING OF A CLIMBDOWN ON GLOBAL WARMING?

Even the BBC is now admitting that there are natural causes of global warming

"Plans to curb greenhouse gas emissions produced by industry are to be scaled back by the government, a move branded by green groups as a "major climbdown". Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions will now be capped at 756m tonnes over the next three years - up from of 736m tonnes. Environment secretary Margaret Beckett said the earlier figure, set in May, could have devastated industry.

The targets are part of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme which begins on 1 January 2005. Under the scheme, each EU country is allocated a target for CO2 emissions, and different sectors of industry -for example factories and power plants - are given "pollution permits" for the amount they can emit. These can be bought and sold on the open market.

In May, the government submitted the National Allocation Plan to the European Commission in readiness for 2005. Now the new rules will have to go back to the commission for approval.

Mrs Beckett said the change reflected new forecasts of energy demand, revised once it became clear the UK would need more than detailed in May. The government wanted to make the new emissions trading a success without damaging industrial competitiveness, said Mrs Beckett. "The fact of the matter is that we as a government were faced with a genuine and real dilemma, " she said. "Projections suggested that if we stuck with the original formula, it would have had a devastating effect on our industry. "None of us wanted to do that, but all of us wanted to get the emissions trading scheme off the ground." Mrs Beckett said the UK was still "on course" to meet it carbon dioxide reduction targets set in the Kyoto Protocol, though CO2 levels had "started to go up again", despite a reduction since Labour came into power. "But that has happened all over the Northern Hemisphere, " she said.

The move has angered opposition parties and environmentalists, who have dubbed the move a massive climbdown. Scientists believe carbon dioxide - released through industry, agriculture and the burning of fossil fuels - is exacerbating natural climate change.

More here



HIGH OIL PRICES = MORE OIL

High prices at the pump are finally giving oil companies the incentive to make long --and expensive-- bets to find new supplies. No one is going deeper than ChevronTexaco. The bad news for oil consumers is that global demand has been growing at 1.5% a year over the past five years, while production capacity has been inching ahead at 0.2%. That squeeze all but wiped out the industry's spare capacity and caused a spike in prices. The good news is that the zooming prices have gotten the attention of oil producers.

Outside the Middle East, West Africa and parts of Russia, most of the easily accessible reservoirs have been sucked nearly dry. Extraction and development costs in North America have rocketed to $11 per barrel from $5 in 1999, and in Europe to $18 per barrel from $11 over the same period. New reserves are much tougher to find and must be pried loose from wily dictators or from deposits deep under the ocean bed or in sandpits--and that costs big bucks. "The prospects are few and far between," says Louis Gagliardi, an oil analyst with John S. Herold Inc. in Norwalk, Conn. "Oil companies have to run hard and run fast just to stay in place."

At $20 a barrel, anyway. The prospects for long bets look a whole lot better at $34, which is where the five-year-out futures contracts are settling. "There's plenty of oil, but the costs of developing major new reserves in hard-to-get-to places are 100% higher than a decade ago," says analyst George Gaspar at Robert W. Baird. "High price is the incentive for these guys to step up to the plate." At the right price, there is a lot of oil. The Department of Energy estimates the amount of fluid hydrocarbons remaining in the Earth's crust is the equivalent of 7.6 trillion barrels of oil. That figure includes natural gas and tar sands. It's enough oil and gas to last 170 years.

Until the spike in prices, the Big Five were spending $47 billion a year on exploration and production--and getting less and less per dollar spent. ExxonMobil, the colossus among titans, shells out $12 billion a year on E&P and hasn't been able to grow beyond 4.2 million barrels a day for five years. At the bottom of the heap, ChevronTexaco of San Ramon, Calif. will invest $6.4 billion this year, but will still suffer a 4% decline in production. "I do worry about supply," says David O'Reilly, ChevronTexaco's chief executive. "I see upward pressure on demand in an economically developing world." In China--at 6.3 million barrels a day now the second-largest consumer of oil on the planet after the U.S.--energy use will probably double by 2020, says O'Reilly. Worldwide energy demand, driven by the population growth and industrialization of the developing world, will expand by 40% in the next 20 years.

How to meet that demand? The industry will enjoy estimated net income of $137 billion this year, up from $46 billion five years ago, according to Herold. The producers can easily, even after distributing $80 billion in dividends and share buybacks, afford the anticipated capital spending of $180 billion in each of the next two years. Tectonic shifts are already under way in their portfolios as they move out of declining fields in North America and the North Sea and push deeper into new regions with new technologies.

No one is pushing harder than ChevronTexaco, which is under tremendous pressure to show results. While it earned $10.4 billion on $130 billion in revenue over the last 12 months, its return on capital employed averaged 13% over the last five years, compared with 17% for ExxonMobil, reports Simmons & Co. That weakness is reflected in ChevronTexaco shares, which recently traded at 10.3 times expected 2004 earnings, compared with ExxonMobil's 14.4 and BP's 13.6.

ChevronTexaco is also a runt in terms of reserves, with 12 billion barrels of oil equivalents. ExxonMobil has 22 billion; BP, 18 billion; and Royal Dutch/Shell, even after its embarrassing 20% haircut, 14 billion. Production, at an average 2.6 million BOE (barrels of oil or the natural gas equivalent) a day, is about where it was three years ago at ChevTex.

Still, over the last five years the company has been the most adventuresome--at least by number of exploratory wells drilled--of the Big Five. Eager for a payoff, ChevronTexaco Vice Chairman Peter Robertson vows that production will hit 2 million barrels a day by 2008. "If I don't do this," he says, "I'm fired."

More here

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

Comments? Email me or here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site (viewable even in China!) here

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29 October, 2004

UNSCIENTIFIC RADIATION PANIC

I have put up many posts pointing out that radioactivity is actually good for you in moderate doses. Here are some extracts from Jerry Pournelle's site which also point that out:

In 1983 a group of 180 apartment buildings was completed in Taiwan. Somebody had made a serious mistake. They had mixed into the concrete a considerable amount of highly radioactive cobalt 60. This meant that ultimately 10,000 people lived in buildings for from 9 to 20 years so radioactive that they received an average of 74 mSv of radiation per year in 1983, declining thereafter as cobalt 60 has a half life of 5 r years. This compares with a rate of 0.5 mSv above background which is the normal maximum exposure for radiation workers & total of 15 mSv maximum safe limit for land fit for habitation according to US government standards.

According to the linear no threshold (LNT) theory currently in use world-wide for assessing nuclear risks there is no lower limit to the level at which radioactivity kills (hence the term "no threshold") & this, inhabited for a decade & a half before the radioactivity was traced & measured, should be the site of a truly massive cancer death rate.

It isn't.

A thorough & methodical tracing of all the 4,000 families by a team led by W. L Chen of Taiwan's Director of Medical Radiation Technology of Taiwan's National Yang-Ming University (the full report is available in English here ) has resulted in an unequivocal & spectacular result. Cancer rates in that highly radioactive building are down to 3.6% of prevailing Taiwanese rates.

For many years there has been an unfashionable alternative to the LNT theory called hormesis. This is an effect, long observed in plants & cultures, whereby intermediate level radioactivity actually stimulates life & improves health. There has been significant evidence for this (the deaths at Hiroshima did not appear to fit the LNT pattern, there are places in India & Iran with background radiation of 15mSv or higher with no observed increase in cancer & numerous studies of radon in homes have found a reverse correlation between radon levels & cancer). Nonetheless, such has been our fear of all things nuclear that the LNT theory has been absolutely accepted despite the fact that there has NEVER been any actual evidence for it.....

For many years the NRDC and other "pro-environment" groups have insisted that all radiation is dangerous no matter what the level, and cumulative as well, so that the only safe action is to eliminate radiation. Of course there is natural radiation, which varies from place to place; sealing one's house allows radon to accumulate, raising the radiation in the house, sometimes to surprising levels; and going to higher altitudes always results in higher exposures, so much so that airline crews get quite a lot of radiation exposure, enough to be of concern.

The NRDC hasn't quite said that we must evacuate Denver and Colorado Springs as dangerous radiation hazards, but such a policy would be logical, given their "scientific" assumptions. The alternative theories of radiation are the ancient pharmaceutical doctrine "The dose makes the poison," (i.e. that a some low enough level radiation is irrelevant), and "hormesis", which combines the "dose makes the poison" doctrine with the not entirely intuitive discovery that at low enough levels, radiation is actually good for you.

The hormesis hypothesis has been confirmed many times. One study was by the Swedish Army, which accumulated data on conscripts (Sweden has universal manhood conscription) from areas of known high radiation and compared their health statistics to recruits from areas matched in other characteristics. The conclusion was very much in favor of the hormesis theory. One participant in the study was Claes-Gustav Nordquist, the Surgeon Colonel of the Lifeguards Regiment who was until his retirement one of the leading oncologists in Sweden. There have been many others, but Claes is an old friend so I learned a good bit about the details of that study.

Despite the plethora of data confirming hormesis, the "environmental" movement continues to insist on the LNT (Linear, No Threshold) theory and this is one of their reasons for opposition to nuclear power as an alternative to fossil fuels.



Activists, not global warming, the third world threat

A coalition of environmental activists called this week for rich countries to do more to control global warming and to help poor nations cope with the alleged effects of climate change

The irony, of course, is their activism, not global warming, is the real threat. The activist groups, including Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, Oxfam and ActionAid, issued a report calling for cuts in greenhouse gas emissions far more stringent than those called for by the international global warming treaty known as the "Kyoto protocol". They also want industrialized countries to subsidize poor countries' adaptation to global warming to the tune of $73 billion per year, a sum on par with what industrialized countries now pay in subsidies to their domestic fossil fuel industries, according to the report.

Keep in mind that the Kyoto protocol, rejected by the U.S. Senate, President Bush and even Sen. John Kerry, only called for cuts in greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. of about 7 percent below 1990 levels - cuts that the Clinton-administration Department of Energy estimated could raise electricity prices 86 percent and gasoline prices 53 percent. Greenpeace and company now want greenhouse gas emissions to be cut by 60-80 percent from 1990 levels - cuts that would probably be economically devastating to the developed world

The activists' recipe for solving global warming thus appears to be, first, to kill off economic development in the developed world and, then, to have the developed world send what money it has left over to the developing world. It's not clear, though, that an economically crippled developed world would be able or willing to subsidize poor countries, leaving those countries forever impoverished.

While no one knows whether or to what extent humans may or may not be affecting global climate, climate change is a known and natural fact. The advantage that humans have over other species is that we can use our intelligence and wealth to adapt to changes in climate. Air conditioning, irrigation, desalinization are examples of human ingenuity overcoming otherwise inhospitable or uncomfortable climactic conditions. But harnessing technology to overcome climate challenges requires money - something that is often in short supply in poor countries. And, sadly, the environmental activists seem to be doing their best to make sure that poor countries stay poor.

For example, in a Jan. 22 media release, the activist Rainforest Action Network (RAN) "declared victory in its campaign to transform the environmental practices of the world's largest financial institution, Citigroup." Now Citigroup doesn't have the sort of "environmental practices" typically associated with manufacturing and chemical industries. But Citigroup does make loans for economic and industrial development. After a four-year-long campaign, the RAN pressured Citigroup to restrict its lending practices in the developing world, including: not lending to projects that might adversely impact natural habitats; banning logging in tropical forests; avoiding investment in fossil fuel energy projects; and reporting greenhouse gas emissions from power projects in its lending portfolio.

It's an extremely regressive lending policy that, in effect, gives environmental activist groups a veto on Citigroup loans for development in poor countries - and we all know how much environmental activists approve of development. The Rainforest Action Network is not stopping with Citigroup.

More here

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

Comments? Email me or here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site (viewable even in China!) here

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28 October, 2004

SO MUCH FOR THE PANIC ABOUT RUNNING OUT OF OIL

Sugar-powered plane unveiled

Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer today unveiled the world's first mass-produced commercial aircraft that runs on sugar cane ethanol fuel. The Ipanema aircraft is designed to take advantage of Brazil's supplies of the fuel, which is cheaper, burns more cleanly and is more efficient than fuels refined from crude oil, company officials said. Brazil is also a major producer of ethanol fuel, extracted from sugar cane.

Satoshi Yokota, a top Embraer official, said operating the plane on ethanol was three to four times cheaper than using airplane fuel. The Ipanema is designed mainly as a crop duster. Embraer is the world's fourth largest manufacturer of commercial airplanes.

Source.

See also my post below of 20th. Excerpt:

"There is now every evidence that oil will never run out and, even if it did, motor fuel from either coal or sugarcane is already proven technology that would cost us a bit more at the pump but that is all. And there is nothing more renewable than sugarcane. You can bring a whole crop from planting to maturity in one year! And as far back as World War II, Australians were running around in cars powered by alcohol derived from sugarcane. And the world has a chronic surplus of sugar. Sugarcane is so easy to grow that America has big tariff barriers up to keep "foreign" sugar out!



The dismal quackery of eco-economics

The notion that economic growth has to be curtailed is tragic when billions still live in dire poverty

The World Wildlife Fund warns that we are consuming 20 per cent more natural resources a year than the planet can provide. Are we living beyond our ecological means?

One of the most striking but least noticed aspects of the rise of environmentalism is the way that it has helped to redefine economics. Economic production and consumption are viewed in a fundamentally different way than they were before environmentalism became central to the dominant worldview. Environmentalist assumptions that, at the very least, should be the subject of debate are unquestioningly accepted. Environmentalism has become central to the mainstream outlook, rather than the particular property of green parties or organisations.

This development isn't just important at the level of ideas. A gloomy view of economic development plays an important role in holding back human potential. At its starkest, the acceptance of the idea that economic growth has to be curtailed is a tragedy in a world where billions of people still live in dire poverty. According to the latest available figures from the World Bank, 2.7 billion were living on less than $2 a day in 2001 of which 1.1 billion lived on less than a dollar.

The discussion of global warming provides a striking example of how this works. Almost everyone accepts that climate change means that the world needs to cut back on emissions of greenhouse gases. Yet this would almost certainly mean holding back economic growth, meaning that a large part of the global population will remain poor. There is hardly any discussion of how to deal with global warming while generating substantial economic growth at the same time. Indeed it will be argued that economic growth, far from being the problem, is central to humanity's capacity to handle climate change.

There are two recurring themes running through the environmentalist approach to economics. First, an obsession with the need for limits. The environmentalist debate, in numerous different ways, assumes that strict limits must be put on economic activity. Such premises ignore or at least downplay the power of human creativity. Economic activity does indeed often throw up problems - such as pollution - but it also, it will be argued, provides the means to overcome them.

Second, the idea of precaution has more recently become more central to the debate. The prevalent assumption is that people need to be cautious about economic development because it could have harmful unintended consequences in the future. Often such fears are expressed in the language of 'sustainability'. The precautionary approach, unlike earlier forms of environmentalism, acknowledges the power of human creativity. But advocates of precaution tend to see such creativity as a source of problems, usually in the form of risk, rather than a positive attribute of human beings.

Underlying both assumptions is a misanthropic view of humanity. Environmentalism can be seen as a counterattack against a key premise of the Enlightenment: that a central part of progress consists of increasing human control over nature. Instead, environmentalists argue that humans should accept their place as a mere subsidiary of the natural world. In practice this means reconciling humanity to poverty, disease and natural disasters.

There is environmentalist confusion between the mastery over nature and the destruction of nature. Control over nature means reshaping the natural world to meet human needs - for example, developing medicines to fight against disease or building dams to prevent flooding or generate electricity. This is not the same as destroying rain forests or making animal species extinct.

Nature has sometimes been destroyed as a side-effect of economic growth. But the aim of economic development is to benefit humanity rather than to destroy the natural world. It is important to remember that richer societies are in a much stronger position to create a positive environment for human beings than poor ones.

The remainder of this essay will examine the key tenets of environmentalist economics in more detail. It will argue that, in addition to being undesirable, the environmentalist worldview is based on fatally flawed assumptions....

More here

For a 30 year-old refutation of Greenie economics that is still relevant today, see here. Greenies have learnt nothing in the interim

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

Comments? Email me or here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site (viewable even in China!) here

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27 October, 2004

GREENIES LOSING SUPPORT

"The environment was mentioned only in passing in the Presidential debates and has been raised on the campaign trail rarely. What explains the absence of an issue that was so prominent during the last election cycle? First is that, for Americans, the environment is way down their list of priorities. The attacks of 11 September 2001, the subsequent American involvement in wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the associated economic downturn have all pushed the environment away from the forefront of America's collective mind.

This was confirmed by a Missing In Action poll organized by the Gallup organization for Earth Day, America's national day of environmental awareness, which celebrated its 34th anniversary this year. It found that Americans placed the environment 11th out of 12 major issues in terms of importance to them.....

Moreover, the poll found that 44 percent of Americans believed that the economy should take precedence over the environment. This probably explains why the Kerry campaign, which should find the environment a natural issue to focus on, has only seemed to mention the issue in certain areas. The Kerry campaign has made jobs a central issue in the campaign, and so does not want to set itself up for the accusation that its support for environmental policies would cost American workers their jobs.

This can be seen in the Kerry campaign's schizophrenic approach to the global warming issue. On Friday 19 August, the campaign issued a document aimed at keeping the West Virginian coal industry open. It included the words, "John Kerry and John Edwards believe that the Kyoto Protocol is not the answer. The near-term emission reductions it would require of the United States are infeasible, while the long-term obligations imposed on all nations are too little to solve the problem."

But on 24 August, The Journal Times of Racine, Wisconsin, published an account of John Edwards' visit to the town the day before. According to the paper, Edwards "lamented" America's failure to join the Kyoto treaty. It seems the Kerry-Edwards campaign opposes Kyoto when coal miners' votes are at stake but supports it in other areas. The context in which John Kerry raised the issue during the Presidential debates was that of foreign relations, not the environment....

American Enterprise Institute scholar Stephen Hayward points out that, in America at least, environmental spending has followed Gresham's Law, which states that bad money drives out good. He points to a campaign around Earth Day this year that sought to outlaw disposable diapers as a case of the public looking askance at an environmental movement seemingly increasingly divorced from reality.

When Americans vote, it will be literally true that the environment is the last thing on their minds.

More here:



DEFENSE DEPARTMENT TAKES ON GREENIE NONSENSE

It's a good thing someone does

"Defense officials say state and federal environmental agencies have too much power to demand costly and intrusive cleanups on military land. The Pentagon wants to cut its $4 billion a year in environmental costs - less than 1% of defense spending - by gaining more authority over where and how cleanups will be done. "Some of these regulators are doing wrongheaded things based on poor scientific evidence," says Raymond DuBois, deputy undersecretary of Defense for installations and environment. "Shouldn't we, as stewards of the taxpayers' money, decide how we're going to clean up?"

Congress, with support from both Republican and Democratic administrations, reinforced that notion repeatedly over the past two decades. It approved a series of measures to hold the armed services to the same environmental rules as private industry. The Pentagon responded with new efforts to control and clean up pollution, and now the military generally does as well as private industry in making current activities comply with environmental laws.

But the military's big challenge is cleaning up messes from the past, when less was known about the environmental risks associated with building the world's mightiest fighting force. That's where the Pentagon faces the biggest costs. And that's where environmental regulators see the biggest threat to public health.

State environmental regulators are facing military resistance, too. In Colorado, California, Ohio and Minnesota, the services are fighting state efforts to restrict the future use of contaminated military property. In California, Florida, Hawaii and Alaska, the military has challenged the authority of state officials to fine the armed forces for pollution problems.

Administration officials say there is no concerted effort to weaken environmental oversight of the military or to lessen its commitment to cleanups. After 15 years of pressure on the armed services to emphasize conservation and pollution control, they say, that commitment is here to stay. But Pentagon officials acknowledge that they're more aggressive in resisting environmental rules and cleanup demands that they see as misguided. With the services strained by wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, they add, it's more important than ever to make sure their missions aren't hampered. "There are two very important national issues here. There's the issue of protecting the environment and the issue of protecting our nation," says Donald Schregardus, deputy assistant secretary of the Navy for environment. "We want to make sure that the environmental laws allow us to do both."

Defense officials say cleanup orders from environmental agencies can limit their ability to "train as we fight," a motto of military readiness. They argue that some of the demands could dictate everything from where planes may practice their bombing runs to what sort of ammunition troops may use on artillery ranges. For instance, soldiers at Camp Edwards, an Army National Guard base on Cape Cod, Mass., do their howitzer training on simulators because a 1997 EPA order barred the use of live ammunition that was polluting drinking water supplies. Edwards is the only military installation in the nation where operations have been curtailed as a direct result of orders from an environmental agency.

More often, the services' disputes with state and federal environmental regulators are based on concerns about the scope and cost of cleanups. The services have learned a lot about "what makes sense" in cleaning up pollution, says Maureen Koetz, a deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force who oversees environmental matters. So military officials "come to the table with (proposals) that we think are a better menu of options for both us and the regulators."

The fight over the asbestos cleanup in Amy Ford's Lowry neighborhood revolves around a question driving many of the military's clashes with regulators: How much public health risk is acceptable at a polluted site? At the state's direction, workers have removed nearly all the tainted soil at Lowry, where the asbestos was left from building debris and an old steam pipeline bulldozed decades ago by the Air Force. But the Air Force says there wasn't enough danger to warrant the work. The science on asbestos is evolving, and there are no federal or state limits on how much can safely remain in soil. New research suggests that inhaling even a few asbestos fibers may cause lung disease. Other studies say low levels of asbestos are a negligible risk.

An Air Force risk assessment for Lowry concluded in April that residents could have up to a 4-in-100,000 risk of cancer or lung disease linked to asbestos exposure. And it put the risk to construction workers at 2-in-10,000. Those figures are well above the one-in-a-million threshold that health agencies typically deem a significant risk. But absent any legal limits on asbestos contamination, the Air Force report concluded that the threats weren't great enough to warrant a cleanup.

Pentagon officials say the big concern isn't the cost of cleaning up Lowry; it's the costs the services could face if they have to do similar cleanups elsewhere. Asbestos was a common building material for decades, and it would cost the Pentagon billions of dollars if the zero-tolerance cleanup demanded at Lowry became a precedent. "We want them to develop a cleanup goal based on risk," says Doug Karas of the Air Force Real Property Agency. "The state says there's a risk, but we haven't seen data to support that.""

More here

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

Comments? Email me or here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site (viewable even in China!) here

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26 October, 2004

LYING GREENIES HAVE ONLY CONTEMPT FOR THE POOR

The war against poverty is threatened by friendly fire. A swarm of media-savvy Western activists has descended upon aid agencies, staging protests to block projects that allegedly exploit the developing world. The protests serve professional agitators by keeping their pet causes in the headlines. But they do not always serve the millions of people who live without clean water or electricity.

Last year, I visited Uganda. I wanted to understand how a showcase of African hopelessness turned around, cutting the number of people living below the national poverty line by almost 40 percent during the 1990s. But I wanted to get to the bottom of another issue, too. The World Bank was promoting a dam near the source of the river Nile, at a beautiful spot called Bujagali. Western nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) were in revolt:

The International Rivers Network, based in Berkeley, California, maintained that the Ugandan environmental movement was outraged at the likely damage to waterfalls at the site, and that the poor who lived there would be uprooted from their land for the sake of electricity they couldn't afford. It was surely a clash that went to the heart of the globalization struggle. Was the NGO movement acting as a civilized check on industrialization, standing up for millions of poor people whose views the World Bank ignored? Or was it retarding the battle against poverty by withholding electricity that would fuel economic growth, ultimately benefiting poor citizens?

I called the Berkeley activists and asked for some advice. Who ran this Ugandan environmental movement they claimed was so outraged? Where were the villagers who would be cruelly dislocated by the dam project? NGOs such as the International Rivers Network usually love helping Western journalists, and because these journalists are generally far from the scene of the disputed development project, they sometimes simply report what they are told. But now that I was in Uganda, a few hours' drive from the proposed dam, I got a warier response. Lori Pottinger, the International Rivers activist who led the Bujagali campaign, explained that her Ugandan counterparts were preoccupied just then, and that snooping around the villages at the Bujagali site would get me into trouble with the authorities.

Not wanting to give up right away, I tracked down Pottinger's Ugandan counterparts by other means and telephoned their office. A friendly voice invited me to come over straightaway. When I arrived, the group's young director sat me down and plied me with leaflets and reports that gratefully acknowledged the sponsorship of a group called the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation. After half an hour of conversation, I asked the question that really concerned me: What kind of organization was this?

"This is a membership organization," I was told. "How many members?" I asked. My host kindly stood up and rummaged about in his desk, returning with a blue notebook. "Here is the list," he said triumphantly. Uganda's National Association of Professional Environmentalists had all of 25 members-not exactly a broad platform from which to oppose electricity for millions.

My next move was to visit Bujagali. I met up with a Ugandan sociologist who knew the region well and promised to translate for me. She stopped at a cluster of buildings on the edge of the dam site to check in with the local government representative who, far from threatening to call the cops, greeted us cheerfully. For the next three hours, we interviewed villager after villager and found the same story: The "dam people" had come and promised generous financial terms, and the villagers were happy to accept them and relocate. My sociologist companion said we might have sample bias because we were interviewing men, who might value cash more than the land that women tended. So we interviewed some women, who offered the same pro-project line. The only people who objected to the dam were those living just outside its perimeter. They were angry because the project would not affect them, meaning no generous payout.

This story is a tragedy for Uganda. Clinics and factories are being deprived of electricity by Californians whose idea of an electricity crisis is a handful of summer blackouts. But it is also a tragedy for the fight against poverty worldwide, because projects in dozens of countries are similarly held up for fear of activist resistance. Time after time, feisty Internet-enabled groups make scary claims about the iniquities of development projects. Time after time, Western publics raised on stories of World Bank white elephants believe them. Lawmakers in European parliaments and the U.S. Congress accept NGO arguments at face value, and the government officials who sit on the World Bank's board respond by blocking funding for deserving projects.

The consequences can be preposterously ironic. NGOs claim to campaign on behalf of poor people, yet many of their campaigns harm the poor. They claim to protect the environment, but by forcing the World Bank to pull out of sensitive projects, they cause these schemes to go ahead without the environmental safeguards that the bank would have imposed on them. Likewise, NGOs purport to hold the World Bank accountable, yet the bank is answerable to the governments who are its shareholders; it is the NGOs' accountability that is murky. Furthermore, the offensives mounted by activist groups sometimes have no basis in fact whatsoever.

More here



GREENIES TAKE AIM AT TOURISM

They HATE tourists!

"The current British hysteria over global warming, which has seen party leaders Tony Blair, Michael Howard, and Charles Kennedy all vying to see which one could sign up to the most of Greenpeace's economy-destroying agenda, has stalled in one important area. The UK's Department for Transport (where I used to work when it was simply a Department of Transport) has decided that if it is supposed to be for transport, it cannot, in all good conscience, urge people not to fly.

That would be the result if one of the more foolish ideas of the green lobby were to be adopted. Aviation accounts for some 3 percent of all carbon dioxide emissions worldwide and is therefore a major contributor to concerns over global warming. However, with aviation increasingly important to the worldwide economy, and to Britain's economy in particular (according to the DfT, one fifth of all air passengers worldwide are going to or from a British airport), reducing the number of flights is an undesirable step to take......

There is another scheme that might suppress aviation use even more effectively than a tax. The UK's Hadley Centre, a scientific organization, has proposed that everyone should have, in essence, a ration of carbon use, and people who need more will be able to buy the excess they need from people who don't need it. In practice, this will mean working families buying allowances from students, a nice little earner for the greens' biggest constituency, but it will also impact foreign travel considerably. For instance, the average Briton contributes about 11 tonnes of CO2 to the atmosphere every year from her lifestyle. One trip to Australia to see the grandkids would take up almost 4 tons-about a third of the allowance. Even a trip from Birmingham to Cyprus for the Summer holiday would use up three quarters of a tonne, one fifteenth of all the carbon the typical Briton contributes each year. The individual carbon allowance would simply destroy the foreign holiday industry."

More here

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

Comments? Email me or here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site (viewable even in China!) here

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25 October, 2004

SOME UPDATES:

The carbon dioxide 'footprint'

Personal Independence Day has added some worthwhile comments to my 'ecological footprint' post of 23rd. He expands on a point that I made at the very end of my post -- that the Greenies look only at the amount of carbon dioxide PRODUCED and then act as if that were the end of the matter. So they say that because the USA produces a lot of carbon dioxide therefore it must be a big "polluter" (though calling "pollution" a gas that we all produce in our bodies and breathe out of our mouths every minute of our lives has always been distinctly weird). As I pointed out, what the Greenies tightly close their eyes to is that carbon dioxide is also ABSORBED by plants, so what is produced is not at all the end of the story.

Personal Independence Day goes on to note that because of the huge expanses of America's farms, grasslands and forests, America is not only a big PRODUCER of carbon dioxide but also a big ABSORBER of it -- so much so that America appears to soak up more than it produces. On balance, the USA is not a polluter at all!

So Europe, which is more densely populated and absorbs less carbon dioxide, is actually a much BIGGER polluter (on balance) than the USA is! What fun!



Supersonic "transports"

Personal Independence Day also notes, quite rightly, that Europeans and others do on some occasions make cynical use of Greenie scares. If you can use a Greenie scare to turn customers away from one of your commercial rivals, it is tempting to do so.

I don't think the example given in Personal Independence Day is a good one, though. Personal Independence Day suggests that the U.S. aircraft industry may have exploited Greenie paranoia about the ozone layer to put people off using the "Concorde" supersonic aircraft produced by their Anglo/French rivals. In fact, however, the Greenie opposition to supersonic passenger planes started whilst both the Europeans and Boeing had such aircraft on the drawing boards and Boeing quite wisely decided that their project was not likely to be commercially viable in the face of such opposition. The Europeans, on the other hand, had the bottomless pockets of taxpayers to draw upon so were not much concerned about commercial viability. So the Europeans went ahead, built the aircraft and lost billions, in the customary socialist way.

What is true, however, is that the Greenie opposition to supersonic passenger planes was a lot of codswallop -- as you can read here (alternative site here).



Water shortages in Australian capitals

Louis Hissink takes up the issue of water shortages in Australian capital cities that I addressed in my post immediately below. He notes that rainfall has not changed significantly over the years so the problem is one of governments not building any new dams to provide for the expanding population. And we know why the politicians have not built any new dams, don't we? Greenies HATE dams and go quite hysterical over them. So Greenie-sympathizing politicans like New South Wales Premier Bob Carr are reduced to little more than hand-wringing.

If Sydney people get harassed enough by water-shortages, however, Bob Carr might find himself on the losing side of a future election. At the Federal level, Australian conservative politicians thumbed a nose at the Greenies with great success recently so one would hope that that lesson would not be lost on the rather spineless conservative State politicians who at present sit in opposition to Bob Carr.

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

Comments? Email me or here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site (viewable even in China!) here

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24 October, 2004

GOVERNMENT IS THE PROBLEM IN THE SYDNEY WATER SHORTAGE

"Sydney's water monopoly has to be broken open to solve the crisis facing Australia's largest city. Water efficiency expert Peter Coombes said the NSW Government's 25-year water plan looked like an attempt to protect the revenue of Sydney Water, a state monopoly, when what was needed was more private sector innovation.

NSW Premier Bob Carr announced new details of his water plan yesterday. By July 2007 all houses for sale would have to be certified water-efficient. This might cost as little as $22 for subsidised devices such as water-saving shower heads. Mr Carr said big commercial water users, government agencies and local councils would have to come up with water conservation plans.

But Dr Coombes, of Newcastle University, said Sydney's water strategy needed to draw on wider expertise and enterprise. "We have to let the private industry in. We might have to highly regulate them, but we have to have incentive for innovation," he said yesterday. Dr Coombes said energy-intensive desalination (a government research option) and wastewater treatment, Sydney Water-style, would favour the flow of utility dividend payments to the Government. He said it was easier for the private sector to mount efficient smaller-scale wastewater projects in Melbourne, where utilities were more enlightened."

More here



AND ANOTHER AUSTRALIAN STATE CAPITAL PROVES IT

ADELAIDE carrot and onion farmer Morris Nicol shakes his head when he thinks of all the good drinking water going down the drain in Sydney. "If they're using mains water for any sort of garden or irrigation work, then they're wasting it," said Mr Nicol, working on his market garden on the outer northern fringe of Australia's driest state capital. Adelaide gets an average 575mm of rain a year, mostly in the winter months, while Sydney is second only to Darwin in rainfall, receiving 1230mm throughout the year.

Because South Australia is so dry, farmers like Mr Nicol have been forced to innovate, and in the past six years he and almost 285 other irrigators have received about 20gigalitres of water recycled from a nearby sewage treatment plant. The scheme cost big money - $55million to upgrade the water treatment plant to produce germ-free class A water - but has taken pressure off underground supplies, and cut the amount of nutrients released into the sea in sewage. "They tell you not to drink it, but you could," said Mr Nicol. "Because of this we've been able to extend our operation and grow a bit more produce." The overall volume of treated wastewater reused in the state has increased by nearly 400 per cent in the past six years, from 3691 megalitres in 1998 to 19,205 in 2003-04.

John Bingham, chief operating officer of SA Water, said this was made possible by a state government investment of $30million in a filtration and disinfection plant to treat effluent from the Bolivar wastewater treatment plant. So while Sydney households have to cut back on water use, arid area farmers in South Australia are expanding their land under irrigation.

CSIRO head of water reclamation research Peter Dillon said Sydney had not investigated water recycling and preservation in the past because it had approximately four times the storage capacity relative to demand that Adelaide had.

More here

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

Comments? Email me or here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site (viewable even in China!) here

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23 October, 2004

THE "SUDDEN UPSURGE" OF CARBON DIOXIDE IN 2002/2003 IS BUNK

A few excerpts from a comprehensive article

Now the amount of CO2 in the earth's atmosphere is rather a small amount, with current estimates from the data at Moana Loa in the Hawaiian Islands as some 378 ppmv (Parts per million by volume). This looks like a big number but in reality it isn't.

However the CO2 Centre reckons it is a much ado about nothing, and as usual the data points emphasised by the press are right at the end of the data series, which statistically place an undue emphasis on the trend. Mask the end points and the spectacular trend disappears...... What our hysterical scientists did was to use the last three values (these are not measurements by the way - just averages from many stations) and interpret this as the real CO2 increase. It is otherwise known as junk-science.

Now the most often quoted source of measurement of CO2 is the measuring station on the Hawaiian Islands. Except there is a small detail which only a geologist would recognise - Hawaii is also a rather large volcano and a significant source of CO2 - 49% ! One would as much place a CO2 monitoring station on an active volcano as one would near a coal fired electricity generating plant. This is problematical to say the least.

But there is even more complexity to the problem as William Kininmonth writes here in Tech Station Central writes:

"Monthly and annual values of carbon dioxide concentration for ten global sites are available from the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, USA. Two sites are in close proximity at Hawaii. The difficulty of maintaining an ongoing observation program can be judged from the three sites that have seriously incomplete records and not suitable for intercomparison. Nevertheless, there are six well-distributed sites extending from the Arctic to the Antarctic with long and nearly complete records of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration.

Notwithstanding the media claim, the increase in concentration from 2001 to 2002 exceeded 2.0 ppm at only two of the six stations. The average of all stations exceeded 2.0 ppm but only because of an unexplained large increase at the South Pole site, far from centres of industrialisation".


Just one elevated measurement of CO2 at the South Pole has the ability to skew the average! And on this skew much ado is made by Sir David King, Britain's Chief Scientist.

Clearly the CO2 content of the atmosphere varies from place to place, and one suspects that the large increase of CO2 at the South Pole site might well be due to Mt Erebus, another active volcano. The geology of this volcano is interesting because "during the last year ash eruptions and even a small lava flow have been observed", so if Erebus is increasing its volcanic activity, this could easily explain the increased CO2 at the South Pole.

Yet this localised natural increase in CO2 that has nothing to do with the burning of coal or gas or petroleum forms the basis of a panic scare by the climate scientists, and of course faithfully reported by the news media, that we have a runaway greenhouse effect......

More here



Our 'ecological footprint'

Just for once I will do a little bit of fisking -- on the Greenie preachment below, which appeared here, among other places

"Humanity's reliance on fossil fuels, the spread of cities, the destruction of natural habitats for farmland and the exploitation of the oceans are outstripping the planet's capacity to cope, the conservation group WWF said. They would The biggest culprits are residents of Australia, the United Arab Emirates, the United States, Kuwait and Sweden, who leave the biggest "ecological footprint," the World Wide Fund for Nature said in its regular Living Planet Report. China and India and Russia don't pollute, of course. Humans currently consume 20 per cent more natural resources than the Earth can produce, the report said. Huh? So where did the resources come from?. "We are spending nature's capital faster than it can regenerate," said WWF chief Claude Martin, launching the 40-page study. "We are running up an ecological debt which we won't be able to pay off unless governments restore the balance between our consumption of natural resources and the Earth's ability to renew them." He does not seem to have noticed that Saudi oil reserves keep increasing

But Fred Smith, president of the US-based Competitive Enterprise Institute and a former official of the US Environmental Protection Agency during the Nixon and Ford administrations, said he was skeptical. In a telephone interview, Smith claimed the WWF view is "static" and fails to take into account the benefits many people get from resource use. Wow! The opposition got only two sentences in

Use of fossil fuels such as coal, gas and oil increased by almost 700 per cent between 1961 and 2001, the study said. And the reserves have increased faster than consumption. Burning fossil fuels - in power plants and cars, for example - releases carbon dioxide, which experts say contributes to global warming. The planet is unable to keep pace and absorb the emissions, WWF said. What an outright lie! Carbon dioxide is plant food. It just makes trees and crops grow faster. The more there is around the more lushly they will grow

Populations of land, freshwater and marine species fell on average by 40 per cent between 1970 and 2000. The report cited urbanisation, forest clearance, pollution, overfishing and the introduction by humans of non-native animals, such as cats and rats, which often drive out indigenous species. Species counts are almost entirely guesswork "The question is how the world's entire population can live with the resources of one planet," said Jonathan Loh, one of the report's authors. We seem to be doing fine, with the prices for most natural resources continually dropping -- reflecting supply that keeps ahead of demand

The study, WWF's fifth since 1998, examined the "ecological footprint" Just a weird dreamed-up metaphor of the planet's entire population. Most of a person's footprint is caused by the space needed to absorb the waste from energy consumption, including carbon dioxide. WWF also measured the total area of cities, roads and other infrastructure and the space required to produce food and fibre - for clothing, for example. The land area "used" by each person seems to be what they are getting at. But that reflects availability. The inhabitants of Holland use only a fraction of the land that Australians do but still live well.

"We don't just live on local resources," so the footprint isn't confined to the country where consumers live, said Mathis Wacknagel, head of the Global Footprint Network, which includes WWF. Aha! They want to hide national differences by averaging! No wonder. Those national differences would reveal what a silly sermon their land-per-person story is. And if you think land is scarce, you should spend a few days driving across Australia from East to West. There is no sign of human life and not much sign of any life for 95% of the time (spinifex excepted, of course). It's not the amount of land that counts. It's what you do with it For example, Western demand for of Asia's palm oil and South America's soybeans has wrecked natural habitats in those regions, so the destruction is considered part of the footprint of importing nations. The same applies to Arab oil consumed in the United States. And planting wheat and grazing cattle sure has destroyed a lot of habitat too. Poison all wheat! Wipe out all cattle!

The findings are similar to those in WWF's 2002 report, which covered the period up to 1999. But the latest study contains more detailed data stretching to 2001. It shows the situation has changed little in most countries, and is now more worrying in fast-growing China and India. The world's 6.1 billion-strong population leaves a collective footprint of 13.5 billion hectares, or 2.2 hectares per person. To allow the earth to regenerate, the average should be no more than 1.8 hectares, said WWF. A totally made-up number. It depends on what you want to regenerate and to what extent.........

The Competitive Enterprise Institute has been a frequent critic of what it calls "environmental alarmism" from organisations like WWF. Smith said the footprint idea is wrongheaded. "It's sort of like saying, 'General Motors must be much more wasteful than the local laundromat because General Motors spends more resources.' Yes, but they are producing more product too," he told the AP. "The real question is not whether the United States is a wealthy place but rather whether it's producing more wealth than it's consuming. Obviously we are. We're using a lot of the world's resources but we're producing far more of the world's resources." Wow! The opposition gets a few more sentences in

Loh said governments, businesses and consumers should switch to energy efficient technology, such as solar power. Efficient? Solar is the least efficient of all if you count in all the costs "We can consume energy in a way that's harmful or in a way that's sustainable," he told reporters. The technologies are available to enable the world's population to live within the capacity of one planet." They sure are. We do so already

High oil prices may help focus their minds. "But it's not a question of how much oil is left," he said. "The question we should be asking is how much fossil fuel consumption the Earth can sustain. The Earth has a limited capacity."" Aha! So they DO know that oil is not running out. So now it is using oil that is bad! -- in some mysterious way. I guess it might produce more of that lovely carbon dioxide for plants to soak up. Greenies seem to totally ignore the fact that just PRODUCING carbon dioxide means nothing. It could perhaps be a problem if plants did not grab it to make themselves grow faster -- but they do. Greenies seem to think that any extra carbon dioxide produced just hangs around. Nobody told the plant kingdom that! Greenies really are pathetic. You would think that they of all people would have some clue about what plants do

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

Comments? Email me or here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site (viewable even in China!) here

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22 October, 2004

THE GLOBAL WARMING "HOCKEYSTICK" MISREPRESENTS HISTORY

And only censorship of contradictory findings is keeping it in play

Von Storch et al (ScienceExpress, Sept. 30) first looked at the likelihood of being able to get an accurate climate signal from historical proxy data (tree rings, boreholes, ice cores etc.) by estimating the amount of statistical "noise" inherent in such data. They discovered that the amount of noise was such that it was likely that hockey-stick like reconstructions had severely underestimated past climate variability. This would explain why the hockey stick failed to show evidence of the Medieval Climate Optimum and Little Ice Age, for which there is plenty of historical evidence.

In a commentary on Von Storch et al's paper, Osborn and Briffa, prominent paleo-climatologists from the University of East Anglia, stress the importance of the findings. They say, "The message of the study by von Storch et al. is that existing reconstructions of the NH temperature of recent centuries may systematically underestimate the true centennial variability of climate" and, "If the true natural variability of NH temperature is indeed greater than is currently accepted, the extent to which recent warming can be viewed as "unusual" would need to be reassessed."

In an interview with the German newspaper Der Spiegel, Von Storch commented, "We were able to show in a publication in `Science' that this graph contains assumptions that are not permissible. Methodologically it is wrong: rubbish." Von Storch also pointed out the IPCC's role in cutting off questioning on the subject: "It remains important for science to point out the erroneous nature of the Mann curve. In recent years it has been elevated to the status of truth by the UN appointed science body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). This handicapped all that research which strives to make a realistic distinction between human influences and climate and natural variability."

Von Storch also commented on Mann's defense of his now discredited graph. "His influence in the community of climate researchers is great," he said. "And Mann rejects any reproach most forcefully. His defensiveness is understandable. Nobody likes to see his own child die. But we must respect our credibility as research scientists. Otherwise we play into the hands of those skeptics of global climate change who imagine a conspiracy between science and politics."

Source.



WOBBLY "MODELS" OF CLIMATE

Global warming computer models have inbuilt biases towards extreme results

Computerized models of the Earth's climate are at the heart of the debate over how policymakers should respond to climate change. Global climate models (GCMs)--also called general circulation models--attempt to predict future climate conditions by starting with a set of assumptions about how the climate works and making guesses about what a future world might look like in terms of such factors as population, energy use, and technological development.

Numerous analysts have pointed out, however, that many of the assumptions used in modeling the climate are of dubious merit, with biases that tend to project catastrophic warming. As a consequence, these analysts argue, climate models have many limitations that make them unsuitable as the basis for developing public policy.

Computerized climate models have very little usefulness in the formation of public policy toward climate change, particularly for policy decisions as critical as ratification of the Kyoto Protocol, according to a July 7 study, "The Science Isn't Settled: The Limitations of Global Climate Models," released by The Fraser Institute.

The study notes current global climate models have two significant limitations. They rely on observed data, including surface station readings, weather balloons, and satellites, which are of uncertain value and accuracy due to the short length of the record and the need for adjustments to correct for artificial discontinuities such as instrument and satellite changes. Moreover, the models project future climate trends not only by extrapolating from observed data, but by including "fudge factors" and other complex adjustments that make the projections very unreliable.

"Climate models oversimplify many poorly understood climate processes, and results from the models can be contradictory," said Dr. Kenneth Green, author of the paper and director of risk, regulation, and environment studies at The Fraser Institute. "Clearly, the data generated do not provide a meaningful foundation on which to base sound public policy decisions, especially something as significant as the decision to ratify Kyoto."

More here

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

Comments? Email me or here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site (viewable even in China!) here

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21 October, 2004

SELF-DEFEATING GREENIES

All over the country, particularly in the West, wildlife habitat is being fractured by what has become the American dream of a half-acre and a house. Much of this can be traced to cheap fuel and/or high-mileage automobiles that have put outlying "bedroom communities'' within economic reach of millions of Americans.

Nevertheless, the 40-mile-per-gallon automobile remains the darling of the environmentalists who claim it will free America from its dependence on foreign oil, save the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from oil drilling and help stop global warming. In this month's issue of Outside magazine, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. chastises U.S. automakers for their failures to build cars that get even better gas mileage as well as the government for not forcing automakers to build such cars. The editors ask Kennedy if "spoiled" Americans unwilling to make sacrifices are part of the problem. No, says the lead attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council. The problem is all big business.

That might be the politically correct answer for an environmentalist, but it is wrong. I have met the problem, and it is us. Let's face it, we don't want to make personal sacrifices -- not for the environment, not for our communities, not even for our health. We're the fattest people in the world, and we drive the most. The two are related.... It's all about economics. Better gas mileage has the same effect as cheap gasoline. It drives down the cost of travel and makes other life choices affordable. Instead of settling for a condominium in the city, one can spring for the house in the Valley where you can burn up even more gas in the lawn mower.

This is the dirty underbelly of the technological solution to our energy problems that the environmental community ignores. Improving automobile fuel economy only makes a difference on oil imports if people limit themselves to driving the same distances tomorrow that they drive today. History suggests the opposite is more likely. The mushrooming bedroom community springing up here is only one case in point. Small towns and cities once separated by large expanses of open land have been sprawling together for years across America. Urban areas are spreading, too.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development says these city-states expand into the open space around them at about twice the rate of population growth. As they do, they bury the land in pavement and buildings. Wildlife habitats disappear. Streams grow turbid and polluted with parking lot run-off. Natural areas become weed infested plots. Homeowners unhappy with weeds wage chemical warfare. In Alaska, these changes are magnified by steady population growth. But even where populations hold steady, Cornell professor Rolf Pendall has found sprawl. He looked at 282 metropolitan areas in the 1980s and discovered that even where there was no growth, the amount of urbanized land still increased by an average of 18 percent.

Why? Cheap transportation. We're an automobile society. The family dinner has given way to drive-through dining. Cellular telephones and computers have put the office in the front seat, while the DVD player is promising to make the back seat the entertainment center. Cars are such an integral part of the American lifestyle it takes a real effort to break free. The desire to stay fit is the only thing that keeps my truck at home while I ride the bike -- even if the municipality would prefer I drive....

Instead of pushing for a fat gas tax to make Americans reconsider driving so much, the Sierra Club joined the Natural Resources Defense Council and other conservation groups in pushing for federal rules to require cars to go farther on each gallon of gas. The inevitable outcome: Americans won't have to think of the costs -- economic or environmental -- of driving. This is the sort of environmental ethic that has helped to pave the foothills of the Cascade Mountains outside of Seattle, carve good parts of the Midwest up into five-acre "ranchettes'' and cut the wide-open spaces of the Susitna Valley up into ever smaller lots sporting "No Trespassing" signs with no place to walk between.

More here



GLOBAL WARMING PANIC COSTS LIVES

"The global-warming alarmists haven't managed (yet) to bring on the worldwide economic paralysis that would result from implementation of the Kyoto Treaty, but they are about to score a lesser victory that will result in the loss of thousands of human lives.

The California Air Resources Board has approved a plan that would sharply reduce, over the next 11 years, vehicular emissions of carbon dioxide, which some scientists contend is partly responsible for what they believe is a recent rise in global temperatures. (Other scientists disagree that world temperatures are rising, let alone that increases in carbon dioxide caused by human activity are responsible; but the media, feeding the same public anxiety that not long ago fastened on nuclear winter, acid rain and the ozone hole, has turned "global warming" into a worldwide cause celebre.)

The regulation, which would phase in from 2009 to 2016, would force each year's new cars and trucks to meet increasingly stricter limitations on emission of carbon dioxide and other gases supposedly linked to global warming. The board's own staff estimates this will add about $1,000 to the cost of each new vehicle, but contends that savings on gasoline would, in the long run, more than make up for this. (Would, that is, if the initial buyer drove the vehicle for more than 100,000 miles, which few do.)

Industry spokesmen disagree with the cost estimate, putting it at from $2,000 to $3,000 - far more than any gasoline savings. If so, car manufacturers will do the only thing they currently can to keep prices at an affordable level: downsize new vehicles. (Hybrid cars won't solve the affordability problem because they cost, at least currently, up to $4,000 more than similar conventional cars.)

Well, what's so bad about downsizing? Do Americans really need the mid- and larger-sized passenger cars that clog the roads today? Mightn't we all be better off if forced to drive smaller and lighter vehicles?

Unfortunately, the answer is no. While sport-utility vehicle rollover deaths have increased (up by 200 deaths between 2002 and 2003), a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration showed that vehicle downsizing in the 1970s and 80s, in the name of fuel economy, resulted in 2,000 deaths and 20,000 serious injuries. The National Academy of Sciences confirmed the finding, and USA Today, extrapolating the results to all years in which fuel economy standards have been in effect, found that vehicle downsizing caused 46,000 deaths. The increased risk run by people in small cars is one of the best-established statistics in the whole field of car safety. As Ralph Nader himself put it in 1989, "Larger cars are safer."

More here

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

Comments? Email me or here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site (viewable even in China!) here

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20 October, 2004

MORE EVIDENCE THAT OIL IS NOT A FOSSIL FUEL AND IS NOT RUNNING OUT

Fossil fuel may not require fossils, as the pressure of deep Earth has been found capable of creating hydrocarbons from inorganic matter. The findings, by an American team of researchers, suggest that hydrocarbons, the main constituents of fossil fuels such as coal, petroleum and natural gas, could be extracted from a virtually endless source. "These experiments point to the possibility of an inorganic source of hydrocarbons at great depth in the Earth-that is, hydrocarbons that come from simple reactions between water and rock and not just from the decomposition of living organisms," says researcher Russell Hemley of the Carnegie Institution of Washington's Geophysical Laboratory in DC.

There are two theories on the origin of fossil fuels, the biogenic theory and the abiogenic theory. According to the biogenic theory, fossil fuels are the remnants of ancient plant and animal life deposited in sedimentary rocks. According to the abiogenic theory, hydrocarbon deposits are primordial, being part of the Earth as it formed. The abiogenic theory holds that petroleum is produced by nonbiological processes deep in the Earth's crust.

For their experiments, the researchers created laboratory conditions mimicking the Earth's upper mantle, which underlies the crust at depths of about 20 to 60 kilometers (12 to 37 miles). The researchers squeezed materials common at the Earth's surface-iron oxide, calcite and water-to pressures ranging from 50,000 to 110,000 times the pressure at sea level. They then heated the samples to temperatures up to 1,500ÝC (2,700ÝF). They were able to get methane to form by reducing the carbon in calcite over a wide range of temperatures and pressures, supporting the possibility that the deep Earth may produce abiogenic hydrocarbons.

"This paper is important," says physicist Freeman Dyson at Princeton University in New Jersey. "Not because it settles the question whether the origin of natural gas and petroleum is organic or inorganic, but because it gives us tools to attack the question experimentally. If the answer turns out to be inorganic, this has huge implications for the ecology and economy of our planet as well as for the chemistry of other planets."

More here



ANOTHER CRAP FILM

There is a new Greenie film out called: The End of Suburbia - Oil Depletion and the Collapse of the American Dream. Below are some excerpts from a review of it by a true believer:

"A simple fact of life is that any system based on the use of nonrenewable resources is unsustainable. Despite all the warnings that we are headed for an ecological and environmental perfect storm, many Americans are oblivious to the flashing red light on the earth's fuel gauge. Many feel the "American way of life" is an entitlement that operates outside the laws of nature. At the Earth Summit in 1992, George H.W. Bush forcefully declared, "The American way of life is not negotiable." That way of life requires a highly disproportionate use of the world's nonrenewable resources. While only containing 4% of the world population, the United States consumes 25% of the world's oil. The centerpiece of that way of life is suburbia. And massive amounts of nonrenewable fuels are required to maintain the project of suburbia".

Where do you start with such a steaming heap of old-fashioned credulity? Paul Ehrlich said much the same in the 60's and concluded that the "population bomb" would explode by 1975 -- ending civilization as we know it. Instead, of course, we had more resources and wealth than ever by 1975. And by 2004 we have even more.

Take the sentence: "A simple fact of life is that any system based on the use of nonrenewable resources is unsustainable". Of course it is. The statement is what philosophers call analytically true -- i.e. it is true by definition. What is NOT true is its assumption that the resources we rely on are nonrenewable. There is now every evidence that oil will never run out and, even if it did, motor fuel from either coal or sugarcane is already proven technology that would cost us a bit more at the pump but that is all.

And there is nothing more renewable than sugarcane. You can bring a whole crop from planting to maturity in one year! And as far back as World War II, Australians were running around in cars powered by alcohol derived from sugarcane. And the world has a chronic surplus of sugar. Sugarcane is so easy to grow that America has big tariff barriers up to keep "foreign" sugar out!

I could go on but you don't argue with a hot-Gospeller -- especially if the gospel is a Greenie one.

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

Comments? Email me or here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site (viewable even in China!) here

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19 October, 2004

MORE DISHONEST MAINSTREAM SCIENCE: THIS TIME IN BASIC ASTRONOMICAL THEORY

Big bang theory based on an assumption now known to be wrong

"But the same text-books that extoll the magnificence of scientific achievement and discovery fail to mention the numerous black eyes of science. Many are unaware that below the visible exterior of this noble endeavor lies a dark underbelly of corruption, greed, and political warfare. Everyone is familiar with the travails and injustices suffered by some of history's great scientific pioneers, the most famous being Copernicus and Galileo. These "dangerous" mavericks paid an enormous price for challenging traditional assumptions. Unbeknownst to many, this pattern of suppression and censorship, directed at those who "think outside the box," has continued into the modern era.

In the field of cosmology - the study of how the universe began, how it works, and where it is going - a number of popular theories are considered so "obviously true" that few dare to challenge them. The big bang, black holes, dark matter, and the fundamental theory of gravitational dominance in the Universe are widely presented as FACTS by the scientific mainstream. But what if I told you that a key underpinning of these popular THEORIES has already been disproved by Space Age discoveries?

The big bang, or rather the reasoning behind the theory, has been shattered by recent images from space. This may seem like a bold assertion, but it's not. It's an indisputable fact. The most fundamental assumption behind the big bang has been proven wrong. I will explain why in plain English. The entire rationale for the big bang rests on an interpretation of a well-known phenomenon called REDSHIFT. The light from distant objects in space is shifted towards the RED. What does this mean?

Many years ago, it was concluded that redshift could only mean that the space objects were moving away from the observer, stretching out the lightwaves emanating from the objects. This enabled astronomers, based on the degree of redshift, to calculate both the distances and velocities of the objects. It was from these calculations that they were driven to a pre-ordained conclusion: if all of the objects are moving farther away, it must mean that the universe is EXPANDING. If the universe is expanding, it could not be traced back indefinitely - it must have had a STARTING POINT. This required an unimaginable EXPLOSION capable of producing the expansion of the entire universe. In 2003, a team of scientists placed this event at between 11.2 billion and 20 billion years ago.

One reason for the ambivalence as to the size and age of the universe is the discovery of QUASARS - a revelation that shattered the previous picture of the heavens. Quasars are highly energetic stars that are the most "redshifted" objects in the universe. In fact, they are so strongly shifted towards the red that the astronomers' scale put them outside the previously imagined boundaries of the universe. Moreover, at that distance, they must be more GIGANTIC than any star previously imagined by astronomers. These conclusions were, by the astronomers' own admissions, inescapable. And they became the foundation for modern cosmology - the so-called Queen of the Sciences.

This picture CANNOT BE CORRECT. It can now be shown indisputably that quasars are not super giants at the outer edges of the universe. They are physically and energetically connected to the CLOSEST galaxies. For years, this observation has been made by Halton Arp, the leading authority on peculiar galaxies, who has amassed direct evidence that the universe is not expanding, and there never was a big bang.

Most recently, on October 3, 2003, the Hubble telescope photographed a galaxy (NGC 7319) known for its dense clouds obstructing all objects behind its core. In front or close to the front of the galaxy's core is a strongly redshifted QUASAR. This means that the quasar is NOT at the outer regions of the universe...but NEARBY. Its redshift has nothing to do with velocity or distance - it is just an intrinsic, and yet unexplained, QUALITY of the quasar. And that means that the astronomers' assumptions about redshift, and everything that logically followed, are FALSE.

There is more to this story, and the facts grow increasingly unsettling. Halton Arp has been delivering critical information to astronomers for many years, and has paid a heavy price. Eventually, the astronomical community DENIED Arp further telescope time, forcing him to leave the United States to carry on his work (he is now affiliated with the Max Planck Institute in Germany.) The people responsible for these actions no doubt felt they were justified in ostracizing Arp for the "greater good." But the evidence is becoming clear that this is yet another black mark on science that will not be easily removed.

Recently, dozens of top scientists, including Arp, Eric J. Lerner, and Michael Ibison authored an open letter to the scientific community, arguing that the dominance of big bang theory "rests more on funding decision than on the scientific method." They write: "Today, virtually all financial and experimental resources in cosmology are devoted to big bang studies. Funding comes from only a few sources, and all the peer-review committees that control them are dominated by supporters of the big bang. As a result, the dominance of the big bang within the field has become self-sustaining, irrespective of the scientific validity of the theory. "Giving support only to projects within the big bang framework undermines a fundamental element of the scientific method -- the constant testing of theory against observation. Such a restriction makes unbiased discussion and research impossible..." "

More here. See also here.



Other examples

Astronomy is a bit outside the focus of this blog but I have reproduced the excerpts above to show that scientific dishonesty is not confined to climate science and that scientists generally are not the little tin Gods of popular imagination. Like other people, they find it hard to overcome their prejudices and preconceptions. I found the same myself in my scientific field -- which is psychology. See here, for instance. Evidence is just ignored that conflicts with the conventional theory.

Astronomy is in fact replete with prejudice and refusal to face facts. Nothing has changed in that regard since Galileo. It takes many years for false theories to be seen as what they are. Another good example of astronomers clinging on to myths in the face of the evidence is the case of comets. Current astronomical dogma is that astronomical bodies are not electrically charged -- so how do we account for how bright comets seem in the sky? The orthodox theory is that comets are "dirty snowballs" -- composed of mush that flares out as a gas in the heat of the sun. BIG PROBLEM: We now have seen a number of comets close up and they are in fact just lumps of rock! See here. But is the orthodox theory being abandoned? No way! That would require a re-think of the whole subject of electical charges to astronomical bodies. MUCH easier to ignore the evidence and carry on with conventional thinking.

And note the treatment of Andrew Prentice by other astronomical physicists. His comprehensive theory of how the solar system was formed was always either ignored or mocked by his colleagues -- until various satellite flybys of the outer planets kept confirming his predictions. Now that his theories have even accounted for the findings of the recent Cassini flyby, I think a lot of backpedalling is to be expected from the orthodox theorists. The space-probe findings are too big and important a body of data for even orthodoxy to ignore.

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

Comments? Email me or here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site (viewable even in China!) here

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18 October, 2004

THIS IS SOMETHING THE GREENIES SHOULD BE GETTING ANGRY ABOUT (BUT THEY DON'T)

Story from aboard a fishing trawler in the Irish sea:

"As the first batch was sorted, we watched in mounting horror as Mate, Francois Bruneel with Steve McDaid and Gary Hugman, the enormously impressive crew, threw marketable fish into red plastic bins - not unlike laundry baskets - sweeping the rest, undersize and unmarketable fish along the belt. Lubricated by a constant flow of sea water, they were flushed through a small opening in the hull, back into the sea, dead and dying, from whence they had so recently been plucked.

That was the horror. From that first, bulging net, the harvest of the sea, we estimated that at least ninety percent of the catch was dumped - or "discarded" in the clinical jargon of the trade. By far the bulk of this waste was immature plaice, thousands of baby fish, some only three or four inches long, tiny, perfect replicas of the few remaining adult fish which would be landed later that day and sold for the dinner plates of the nation.

Then came the next batch, smaller in quantity - much smaller. Good, clean adult fish, mainly prime plaice, ripe for the market, tossed swiftly into the red bins, ready for gutting and cleaning. This time the bulk of the "discards" amounted to unsaleable "dogs" - lesser spotted dogfish. These where were also flushed through the hatch. Plunging into the water, each shook itself like a canine, as if indignant at their treatment, and swum swiftly away from the trawler, none the worse for their experience.

So what was happening here? Why the obscene waste from the first batch - "next year's harvest", one of the crew observed bitterly - and so little from the second?

As we grouped in the tiny mess room after the nets had been "shot" for the second time, supping mugs of scalding tea, Skipper Dell explained. It was the nets he was forced to use. They had been specified by the EU commission in regulations under the Common Fisheries Policy, perversely - to the utter frustration of all the fishermen of Fleetwood - as a "conservation" measure, supposedly designed to aid "cod recovery" in the Irish Sea.

If you wanted logic, Dell continued, there was none - none that he and his colleagues could discern...."

More here.



U.K. GOVERNMENT WIND POWER SCHEMES ARE A JUGGERNAUT

Hard to stop even though nobody now thinks they are a good idea

"The Government's plan to dominate hundreds of square miles of Britain's countryside with wind turbines is the centre of a battle rapidly approaching its crisis. This year 30 new schemes have been approved, for turbines supposedly generating 770 megawatts of power - equal to the entire capacity of the 1,165 turbines erected to date. Up to 9,000 turbines are now at different stages of the planning process - and many are far bigger than the majority of those already built.

The Government is desperately bending the planning laws to get the turbines up because the EU requires us to generate 20 per cent of our power from renewable sources by 2020. Meanwhile, ever more scientists, engineers and conservationists are adding their voices to the argument that wind turbines are ludicrously costly and inefficient - and do not bring the ecological benefits they are supposed to achieve anyway. There are many who warn that the Government is making a catastrophic blunder.....

The statistics demonstrating the futility of wind power are now overwhelming. Electricity from wind is two-and-a-half times more expensive than from conventional sources. The claims for the amount of power generated by turbines - which consumers already subsidise to the tune of ú1.5 billion a year through higher bills - are wildly exaggerated. On the Government's own admission, the output of each turbine, thanks to the vagaries of the wind, is less than a quarter of "installed capacity" (24.1 per cent), so that the 1,165 turbines already built produce an average of only 186 megawatts: a fraction of that produced by one large conventional power station.

The saving in greenhouse gas emissions is minimal: the 1,165 turbines already built may "displace" 93 tons of CO2 an hour but, for comparison, five jumbo jets in flight will give off 100 tons an hour. And even this notional saving is discounted by the need to keep conventional power stations permanently ticking over, ready to take over for the three-quarters of the time when turbines are unable to generate.

The Government, as deluded by its windmills as Don Quixote, is backed by a strange alliance of ill-informed, sentimental greens and the wind-power companies themselves. The latter cannot believe their luck at a bonanza worth more than ú1 billion a year. On the opposing side, led by such eminent conservationists as Prof Bellamy and James Lovelock, is an increasingly clued-up army of critics, who cannot understand why we should desecrate vast tracts of Britain's most beautiful countryside for what they see as "the scam of the century".

More here.

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

Comments? Email me or here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site (viewable even in China!) here

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17 October, 2004

GLOBAL WARMING SCARE BASED ON INCOMPETENT MATHEMATICS

Now clearly proved even though a corrupt mainstream scientific journal tried to suppress it on plainly ridiculous grounds

Progress in science is sometimes made by great discoveries. But science also advances when we learn that something we believed to be true isn't. When solving a jigsaw puzzle, the solution can sometimes be stymied by the fact that a wrong piece has been wedged in a key place. In the scientific and political debate over global warming, the latest wrong piece may be the "hockey stick," the famous plot, published by University of Massachusetts geoscientist Michael Mann and colleagues. This plot purports to show that we are now experiencing the warmest climate in a millennium, and that the earth, after remaining cool for centuries during the medieval era, suddenly began to heat up about 100 years ago--just at the time that the burning of coal and oil led to an increase in atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide.....

But now a shock: independent Canadian scientists Stephen McIntyre and Ross McKitrick have uncovered a fundamental mathematical flaw in the computer program that was used to produce the hockey stick. In his original publications of the stick, Mann purported to use a standard method known as principal component analysis, or PCA, to find the dominant features in a set of more than 70 different climate records. But it wasn't so. McIntyre and McKitrick obtained part of the program that Mann used, and they found serious problems. Not only does the program not do conventional PCA, but it handles data normalization in a way that can only be described as mistaken.

Now comes the real shocker. This improper normalization procedure tends to emphasize any data that do have the hockey stick shape, and to suppress all data that do not. To demonstrate this effect, McIntyre and McKitrick created some meaningless test data that had, on average, no trends. This method of generating random data is called "Monte Carlo" analysis, after the famous casino, and it is widely used in statistical analysis to test procedures. When McIntyre and McKitrick fed these random data into the Mann procedure, out popped a hockey stick shape!

That discovery hit me like a bombshell, and I suspect it is having the same effect on many others. Suddenly the hockey stick, the poster-child of the global warming community, turns out to be an artifact of poor mathematics. How could it happen? What is going on? .....

McIntyre and McKitrick sent their detailed analysis to Nature magazine for publication, and it was extensively refereed. But their paper was finally rejected. In frustration, McIntyre and McKitrick put the entire record of their submission and the referee reports on a Web page for all to see. If you look, you'll see that McIntyre and McKitrick have found numerous other problems with the Mann analysis. I emphasize the bug in their PCA program simply because it is so blatant and so easy to understand. Apparently, Mann and his colleagues never tested their program with the standard Monte Carlo approach, or they would have discovered the error themselves. Other and different criticisms of the hockey stick are emerging (see, for example, the paper by Hans von Storch and colleagues in the September 30 issue of Science).

Some people may complain that McIntyre and McKitrick did not publish their results in a refereed journal. That is true--but not for lack of trying. Moreover, the paper was refereed--and even better, the referee reports are there for us to read. McIntyre and McKitrick's only failure was in not convincing Nature that the paper was important enough to publish.....

If you are concerned about global warming (as I am) and think that human-created carbon dioxide may contribute (as I do), then you still should agree that we are much better off having broken the hockey stick. Misinformation can do real harm, because it distorts predictions..... A phony hockey stick is more dangerous than a broken one--if we know it is broken. It is our responsibility as scientists to look at the data in an unbiased way, and draw whatever conclusions follow. When we discover a mistake, we admit it, learn from it, and perhaps discover once again the value of caution.

More here



BIOTECH IS SAFE

Certainly a lot safer than crossing the road

"In the late 1990s, political scientist Gregory Conko had been studying food and pharmaceutical regulation as a fellow of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, and noticed the rising concerns in the European Union over genetically modification of crop plants. "I saw this was an issue that was getting much bigger and that it would likely also become a bigger issue in the United States," he says. So he began shifting his focus almost exclusively to examining issues of the regulation of genetically engineered foods. Last month, Conko and Henry I. Miller, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, published The Frankenfood Myth: How Protest and Politics Threaten the Biotech Revolution (Praeger Publishers), a book that examines some of what they say are the major misunderstandings about agricultural biotechnology.

Excerpts from an interview with Conko:

After recombinant DNA techniques were first demonstrated in the early 1970s, the scientific community started to take a very close look at the technology. They determined that while it certainly increases the flexibility of the kinds of genetic modifications that one can make in microorganisms, plants, or animals, the techniques don't inherently increase the risks of engineered organisms.

With both old and new technologies, you could create a crop plant that might have significantly heightened environmental risks. If you're making an herbicide-tolerant plant, for example, you can do this with either conventional breeding techniques or with recombinant DNA technology. There is no risk difference between the two end products. The scientific consensus essentially holds that you don't want to look at the process used to create a particular new organism; you want to evaluate its characteristics to ensure that the plants themselves don't become invasive or spread harmful genes either to related crop plants or related wild plants.

Similarly on the food safety side, you want to ensure that the genes you're transferring into crop plants or into the food supply are safe, and you want to do that whether you're using recombinant DNA technology or not. Potatoes and tomatoes are both part of the nightshade family, and both produce toxins that, if they were present in high levels, could be very harmful to human consumers. So when you're creating or breeding new potato and tomato varieties, you want to be in tune to whether you may be accidentally increasing the level of toxins-and that's true regardless of whether you're using recombinant DNA or more conventional technology.

For a very long time, the National Academy of Sciences and specifically the National Research Council panel have gotten the question of scientific risk right. Through the last decade and a half, there have been reports essentially coming to the same conclusion: that there's no reason to believe that organisms created using recombinant DNA will be inherently risky, either for the environment or for human consumers.

More here

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

Comments? Email me or here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site (viewable even in China!) here

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16 October, 2004

WIND POWER OUT OF PUFF IN AUSTRALIA TOO

An intervention by federal Environment Minister Ian Campbell to halt development on a southern Victorian wind farm was a "political stunt" that might kill the burgeoning wind industry in Victoria, the state Government has warned. State Energy Minister Theo Theophanous said Senator Campbell was merely "pandering to a group of people" who opposed the farm after intervening on behalf of the Liberal candidate for the marginal seat of McMillan during the federal campaign. "OK, well, the election's over now, he should become a responsible Environment Minister," Mr Theophanous said. "This action has the potential to kill the wind energy industry if it's taken seriously."

Mr Campbell announced the intervention in the proposed Bald Hills wind farm on the Bass Coast of South Gippsland late on Tuesday. He said he was worried about native birds and migratory birds being caught up in the 52 125m-high turbines, and the associated power transmission line.

The above report appeared in "The Australian" newspaper on October 14, 2004 (p. 3)



GREENIES PUT ARMY PREPAREDNESS AT RISK

It's getting too expensive to prevent Greenie legal harassment

"The Army's largest major command is cautioning the Pentagon that its spending cuts could make it unable to comply with some environmental laws, putting the military at risk of having training sites shut down by activists' lawsuits. The Army Forces Command "is concerned that funding for the sustained management of the training lands ... dwindles dramatically" for the next several years, Maj. Gen. Larry D. Gottardi, a deputy chief of staff for the Forces Command, based at Fort McPherson, Ga., wrote in a Sept. 24 letter.

A spokesman for Gottardi, Barry Morris, said it's up to the military training ranges and bases to manage their natural resources. "How worried are we? I would say we're always concerned that something will impact on our training. That's why we closely monitor environmental laws and impacts," Morris said Tuesday. In the letter, Gottardi tells his Pentagon bosses that "regrettably" most Army projects to sustain the ecological health of its training ranges "were considered optional" and, therefore, will not be funded.

"The policy change also places the training mission in potential jeopardy by providing a sound legal basis for private parties or conservation activists to obtain court-ordered injunctions and effectively shut down all training operations," Gottardi wrote. That management is watched closely by environmentalists. "These are some of the most important wildlife habitats in the world," said Jeff Ruch, executive director of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, a whistle-blower group that obtained Gottardi's letter. "In many cases, these lands have never been used commercially or recreationally."

In the last two years, Congress has approved several exemptions from environmental laws requested by the Pentagon. They include lowering the threshold for what is considered harassment of a marine mammal and fewer requirements for setting aside areas to help recovery of species of plants and animals in danger of vanishing. It remains unclear just what Congress requires the Pentagon to do to avoid having to set aside as much habitat for species, Gottardi wrote.

More here.

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

Comments? Email me or here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site (viewable even in China!) here

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15 October, 2004

PETROLEUM IS NOT A "FOSSIL FUEL"

Excerpt from the front page of the Gas Resources Corporation.

Modern petroleum science, - or what is called often the modern Russian-Ukrainian theory of deep, abiotic petroleum origins, - is an extensive body of knowledge which has been recorded in thousands of articles published in the mainstream, Russian-language scientific journals, and in many books and monographs. However, effectively nothing of modern petroleum science has been published in the U.S.A., and this body of knowledge remains largely unknown in the English-speaking world....

The articles on this site have been put here to accommodate the many requests for reprints and further information, received during the past few years following the publication in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the U.S.A. of an article formally enunciating the modern Russian-Ukrainian theory of deep, abiotic petroleum origins and demonstrating the high-pressure genesis of petroleum.

It deserves to be recognized that all of the contributors to these articles that deal with petroleum science and petroleum operations are all highly competent oil and gas men and women. All have extensive experience in discovering and producing petroleum.

In the pages containing articles connected with petroleum economics, there are several papers by Professor Michael C. Lynch of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology which address directly the myth of "oil exhaustion." There is also a link to an article by Professor Peter Odell of the London School of Economics concerning the common misperceptions connected with petroleum economics.

One should understand that these papers cannot give justice to the immense literature of modern Russian petroleum science. During the half century between 1951-2001, there have been thousands of articles published in the mainstream Russian scientific journals on the modern Russian-Ukrainian theory of deep, abiotic petroleum origins, and many books and monographs. For example, V. A. Krayushkin has published more than two hundred fifty articles on modern petroleum geology, and several books.



WHAT A LAUGH!

Government arranging some preening for the self-righteous

It's not easy being green, but California's government is trying to move the state's hotels in that direction. The new Green Lodging Program, which launched this week, includes a Web site listing hotels that comply with a range of environmental standards. State workers in California are encouraged to book "green" hotels when they travel on business.

Surf the site, and you'll find a list of 26 hotels that have changed the way they do business, including adding recycling systems, eco-friendly cleaning agents and landscaping methods that require less water and amenity dispensers instead of individual bottles and soap bars.

For a variety of reasons, you may not be able to stay at one of those properties on your next trip, but it couldn't hurt to ask at your next hotel if it belongs to such an organization. And if not, how come? It's time, people ... the planet ain't getting any younger.

Source.

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

Comments? Email me or here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site (viewable even in China!) here

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14 October, 2004

EVER MORE LAND KEPT AWAY FROM THE PEOPLE WHO ARE PAYING FOR IT IS WHAT THE "CONSERVATIONISTS" WANT

The latest push in Nevada:

"The new act sets aside another 770,000 acres -- 1,200 square miles -- of new wilderness. But darn it, it's just not enough.... Mr. Hartwell acknowledges it's already illegal for his "looters" to "pillage archaeological and historical sites" (of which, let us note, the Pahranagat range has none -- not a pyramid, not a cliff dwelling, not so much as one of the prehistoric rock walls which were torn down in profusion to build the modern city of Phoenix). And this so-called "looting" occurs despite all these onerous federal laws. Why? Precisely because those who use our tax money to promote this "preservation" religion can never get enough.

The federal government has plenty of resources to protect the great parks -- Yellowstone, Yosemite, the Grand Canyon. But the Parks Service is going broke and is far behind on deferred maintenance because congressional delegations -- responding to this endless and organized bellowing for more "protection" -- keep throwing more millions of acres at the guys in the Smokey the Bear hats, even as they protest they have no staff or resources to handle such sprawling acreages as the recently created "Mojave Desert Preserve." If you seek to "protect" 30 percent of America, you will end up with inadequate resources to "protect" anything.

Economists call this "the tragedy of the commons." Private ownership works darned well at protecting resources. But once they're "held in trust for all the people" by corrupt and/or incompetent government "stewards" (the kind who, say, find nothing amiss with spending a cool million dollars on a two-seat solar outhouse) ... let the looting begin.

Mr. Hartwell's solution? Why, just get rid of that "all-too-easy accessibility that nearby roads provide," of course. Block off even off-road trails by digging huge holes or dumping huge boulders across bottlenecks so as to stop hikers, hunters, rock collectors, "despoiling" off-roaders of any kind.

There are already 1.7 million acres of "wilderness" set aside in Nevada, of course -- 2.2 percent of the state's land mass. But that vastly underestimates the area of land effectively off limits to Nevada's human inhabitants, once we start considering wildlife ranges, gunnery ranges, the Nevada Test Site ... Heck, you can't even drive in and access Lake Mead from most of the dirt trails that used to lead down to the lake from the north and west, or use metal detectors there without being arrested and fined, and that's supposed to be a recreation area -- not an area "protected" from human use, but an area set aside entirely for human use!

More here:

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

Comments? Email me or here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site (viewable even in China!) here

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13 October, 2004

That wicked carbon dioxide is actually good for you: "A clear, odorless gas that is nontoxic to humans at many times current atmospheric levels, CO2 neither fouls the air, impairs visibility, nor contributes to respiratory disease. More important, CO2 is the basic building block of the planetary food chain, and rising concentrations help most plants grow faster and bigger, use water more efficiently and resist pollution and other environmental stresses. The ecological benefit of an atmosphere richer in CO2 is well-nigh universal, because all animals depend, directly or indirectly, on plants as a food source. Empirical studies suggest that the 100 parts per million increase in atmospheric CO2 content over the past 150 years has increased mean crop yields by significant amounts: for example, about 60 percent for wheat, 33 percent for fruits and melons, and 51 percent for vegetables. Were it not for the extra CO2 put into the atmosphere by fossil fuel combustion, many people now living might not exist or many forests now standing might have been cleared and turned into farmland - or both. Far from polluting the planet, CO2 emissions are greening the Earth, enhancing biodiversity and global-food availability."



Scientist finds huge jump in global warming gas

"A US scientist has noted a surprising jump in the amount of carbon dioxide, the gas that causes global warming, on the eve of a Greenpeace conference in London. According to figures published in The Guardian and The Independent, it was the first time that the quantity of carbon dioxide - the main greenhouse gas - in the atmosphere had risen by more than two parts per million over two consecutive years. Between 2001 and 2002 the number of parts per million of carbon dioxide rose from 371.02 to 373.10, an increase of 2.08 over the year. Then it rose again in 2003 to 375.64, an annual increase of 2.54.

The data was recorded at the summit of Mauna Loa mountain in Hawaii by US scientist Charles Keeling, who has been collecting the data since 1958. Keeling said that up to then rises of over two parts per million had been recorded in only four years - 1973, 1988, 1994 and 1998 - and each time it was a year marked by the climatic phenomenon known as El Nino. "The rise in the annual rate to above two parts per million for two consecutive years is a real phenomenon," he was quoted as saying.

The most disturbing thing for the 74-year-old scientist was that neither of those two years had been marked by El Nino and there was no data to explain the increase."

More here.

I guess the world must have suddenly sprouted 30% more factories in just two years. When will Greenies face the fact that most of the things that they try to blame on human activity are part of natural weather and climate fluctuations?

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

Comments? Email me or here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site (viewable even in China!) here

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12 October, 2004

CALIFORNIANS CUT DOWN OTHER PEOPLE'S TREES

In effect

"California's lumber production is at its lowest level in 20 years; its timber harvests have fallen 60 percent since 1988. Nationally, logging on federal lands has fallen to its lowest level in half a century. The state imports about 75 percent of its wood and paper products from Oregon, the U.S. Southeast, Canada and Europe.

The drop in harvesting timber coincided with the environmental movement's 25-year campaign to stop logging in California. If environmentalists really cared about the environment around the world, why haven't they considered the effect their policy of stopping the harvesting of timber in California is having on forests outside of the state?

From all accounts, they do not support us harvesting trees from the forests in California to supply even the 25 percent that we now get from in-state. Environmentalists continue to oppose meaningful forest management to thin dangerously overgrown stands, a practice that would help to provide for California's lumber needs and reduce the growing problem of deforestation outside California.

Do we not have a moral obligation to those forests outside our state to try to provide for our own needs? In light of the high tree density in many of our forests in California, and the opportunity to salvage damaged trees, wouldn't it be sound environmental policy to thin out our forests and salvage the timber from the fires to avoid affecting other forests? Much of the salvageable timber from burned areas is left to rot or buried in landfills or incinerated. Is this a wise use of this resource?

These areas, once the timber is salvaged or thinned out, could then be subjected to controlled burns (when the conditions permit), to remove any remaining debris. Seedlings could then be planted if needed to rehabilitate areas where trees were salvaged.

Wouldn't this make more sense than continuing to provide for our needs from forests outside our state? The environmentalists' agenda is elite and immoral; they prevent the harvesting of California's trees, even though it is a sustainable resource, without worrying about the impact on other forests outside of California. Is this sound environmental policy?

More here.



CALIFORNIA: A GREENIE FAD DIES

The rhetoric is familiar -- and so is the ultimate result -- government waste

"Burying state offices to save energy seemed like a fine idea in the 1970s, but today's state government is treating the grass-covered "subterranean" building much like an avocado shag rug: something that just has to go. The state Department of General Services, which acts as landlord to state agencies, has placed the sunken office complex at Seventh, Eighth, N and O streets in downtown Sacramento squarely on the chopping block. It plans to replace the single story of offices housed below a sculpture park with a complex up to 22 stories tall. "The underground building is very small," said Anne Cavanagh, General Services project director in charge of planning for the offices. "In modern planning, you want higher density." In other words, it's a waste of expensive downtown real estate.

The state's lack of regard for the underground building contrasts markedly with the fanfare it received in September 1977, when its design was chosen over 40 others in an architectural competition. Both the underground building and its companion structure, a solar-paneled building across the street, were among a group of then cutting-edge structures conceived under Gov. Jerry Brown. When the $17 million underground-and-solar complex was completed in 1982, the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration & Air Conditioning Engineers called it "the nation's most energy-efficient office building."

Enamored with the "small is beautiful" philosophy and squeezed by high fuel prices, Brown and his team of architects sought to showcase energy-saving technology and provide a hospitable place for people to work. They wanted designs to mesh with, not overwhelm, the surrounding residential community. "The whole focus was on using state buildings to demonstrate things we thought should be done," said Sim Van der Ryn, the state architect during Brown's first four-year term."

More here

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

Comments? Email me or here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site (viewable even in China!) here

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11 October, 2004

DELIBERATE DISHONESTY AMONG "SCIENTISTS"

"Last week, The New York Times delivered the worrisome news that a team of scientists has concluded that maximum hurricane winds will increase 6 percent by the 2080s, thanks to global warming. I was very upset to read that news, but not because I'm afraid my great-grandchildren will get blown away. My concern is what those scientists' work says about the state of climate science.

The researchers reached their conclusions using a series of climate models called General Circulation Models. They assumed that the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide-the main global warming gas-will increase by 1 percent per year, compounded yearly. That would warm the ocean, which would create slightly stronger storms. But there's a problem: Any atmospheric scientist who is worth his or her salt knows that atmospheric carbon dioxide is not increasing at that rate and has not been doing so for decades. And that makes a real difference in the modeling results. The increase has been about four-tenths of a percent per decade, averaged over the last 30 years - not 1 percent. Charitably, throw in another tenth of a percent because of other human "greenhouse" emissions (though the two major ones, chlorofluorocarbons and methane, are declining or holding steady). That means that the researchers' models are envisioning twice the actual increase in carbon dioxide as has been occurring for decades....

The reason that carbon dioxide is growing so slowly is because the world is gradually becoming more energy-efficient as its people become more affluent. That results in both a reduction in per-capita emissions and a reduction in the number of "capits" that are born, as rich folks have fewer kids. Among big countries, this trend started in the United States. It is now spreading globally as the enriching world buys more-efficient cars and power plants. This trend isn't going to change anytime soon. That means the growth rate in carbon dioxide over the next few decades is likely to be the same as the rate for the last few. Using the more realistic rate delays the time that hurricane winds will increase by 6 percent from the 2080s to the 2180s - 175 years from now. And it's pretty hard to speculate what impact humanity will have on nature over nearly two centuries in time.....

Because carbon dioxide increases have been bouncing around four-tenths of a percent per year for three decades, why do climate modelers insist on using the wrong number? It seems peculiar that people who have the equivalent of doctorates in applied physics (which is what climate science is) would somehow be perfectly happy to do something they know is wrong..... There are literally hundreds of scientific papers out there in which climate models use this wrong number. Each of those papers gets sent to three outside peer-reviewers. The fact that 1 percent continues to be used only means one thing: when it comes to global warming, hundreds of scientists must prefer convention to truth. But why? Is it because, when the real numbers are put in, there's no story for The New York Times to report?

More here:



MORE FROM JANE GALT ON "SMART GROWTH"

On 4th I put up excerpts from two articles that attacked "smart growth" -- one of which was by "Jane Galt". She has since put up another big post on the subject -- from which I have pulled just a few excerpts. I agree with her that the "mixed use" ideas of smart growthers are sound. Mixed use is what happens naturally anyway. It's only planners who stop it. But the idea that there is any generally better alternative to car-based transport is just a dream.

The excerpts:


"Let me start by saying that I'm firmly behind many of the aims of smart growth, such as mixed-use zoning. I think the attempt to ensure that poor people can't come within 100 miles of you by restricting zoning to one-acre lot single-family homes is one of the more repulsive uses of the state. This is saying something, from someone who basically thinks that most uses of the state are pretty repulsive.

Where I depart from the smart-growth/new-urbanist is in rejecting the belief, which I think is hopelessly naive, that If You Zone it They Will Come. While I agree that there is more of a market for denser, old-style suburban living than is currently being satisfied, I do not believe that those consumers are a majority of home buyers.

And I strongly disagree with the Smart Growthers that you can have meaningful mass transit at population densities much lower than New York City's.....New York City is the only city in the US where mass transit accounts for the majority of commutes.... if you want a place where public transportation is really dominant, Manhattan is the only game in town. That should tell proponents of mass transit something about what kind of densities are really necessary to make public transportation work. My affiliation of the smart growth cause with city living is thus not ignorant accident; it's a deliberate rejection of the idea that you can have walkability without high density.

The libertarians are not passing laws preventing the old, young, or disabled from living in walkable areas (I am unfamiliar with the notion that someone can be "too poor to drive", and statistics on poor households indeed show that most of them have at least one car). They just aren't agitating for laws forcing everyone else to live in neighbourhoods most hospitable to the old, young, and disabled. We stand shoulder to shoulder with the smart-growth crowd on disabling the pernicious zoning practices that keep denser housing from being built--but they get in a snit because we won't help them pass laws keeping anything else from being erected".

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

Comments? Email me or here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site (viewable even in China!) here

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10 October, 2004

AN ANTI-GREENIE IN THE GUN

No wonder it is mostly retired professors who feel safe enough to criticize Greenie myths. (I am one myself!)

"For those of us who see television news and commentary as a vast, statist wasteland, the work of John Stossel has been welcome relief. Each week on the ABC show 20/20, Stossel has his "Give Me a Break" segment in which he comments acerbically on the latest follies of government regulation and taxation.

Stossel's brief commentary, along with the numerous shows he does on the limitations of government, has earned him a large following among conservatives and libertarians. It has also earned him numerous enemies in television, government, and among leftist groups. And like the conservative columnist Jeff Jacoby, who was recently ousted from the Boston Globe, Stossel finds his career in deep trouble because of an innocent error.

Earlier this year, Stossel twice broadcast a comparison of fruits and vegetables grown "organically" (that is, with manure as fertilizer) and that same produce grown by conventional means with chemical fertilizers and pesticides. (I saw one of those segments.) According to Stosselís research, the conventional produce was actually safer than the organic stuff and was better for the environment. This was a major challenge to environmentalist orthodoxy. However, as we shall see, there was a small problem with what he said, and it is that problem that has become the fig leaf covering the real reason that some prominent people want Stosselís scalp....

Stossel's analysis, however, lacked one component, that being whether or not there was pesticide residue on the conventional foods. His researcher said there was none, and like any journalist, who depends upon the accuracy of his staff, Stossel went with the story. However, it turned out that no tests had been conducted. It was an honest mistake, and, in reality, one that should have been irrelevant, since toxicology has long shown that pesticides can easily be washed from produce and that the tiny doses that might be left pose absolutely no threat to human health.

Unfortunately, statists who have long seethed at Stosselís commentary have been able to leap onto this small glitch and have turned it into a major anti-Stossel campaign. The ABC News hierarchy has already suspended the researcher without pay and Stosselís critics are demanding that Stossel be fired, despite the fact that he has already made a public correction of his "error."

The stench of hypocrisy here is overwhelming. Leftist journalists for years have trumpeted inaccurate information on environmental issues for years. Time Magazine has even proudly announced that it has renounced all journalistic "objectivity" in its quest to convince its readers that we are in a life and death environmental crisis. In other words, in modern journalism good science does not matter when the environment is at stake. Other news organizations are following the same path. Therefore, since some of the targets of Stosselís criticism have been environmentalists and the outright falsehoods they promote, it is not difficult to see why Stossel has been in the crosshairs of leftists for many years.....

Stossel has been the unending target of his journalistic peers. It now looks as though they have an issue with which to hang him. While every other mainstream "news" organization has committed far worse sins against the truth, Stossel has done something that is truly unforgivable. He has exposed the hypocrisy of the media, and for that there can be given no quarter until the man is destroyed".

More here.



CYCLES IN SUN ACTIVITY COINCIDE WITH CLIMATE CHANGE ON EARTH

"Records of cosmic ray byproducts from Antarctica and Greenland suggest a pattern of low cosmic ray flux (and high solar magnetism) approximately 800 to 900 years ago, followed by several periods of high cosmic ray flux (low solar magnetism) for the next few centuries, and a return to generally low cosmic ray fluxes (and high solar magnetism) beginning in the 19th Century.

Remarkably, the records of cosmic-ray byproducts sometimes show surprisingly good correlation with independent records of past change in local environments.

* One example comes from cave formations in southern Arabia, where researchers at Heidelberg and Bern find that periods of smaller calcite growth rings, indicating reduced rainfall during northerly shifts in monsoon patterns, correspond to periods of high amounts of cosmic ray byproducts between 9,900 and 5,500 years ago, the period of their study.

* Researchers in The Netherlands provide another. They found increases in moisture-thriving plants in bogs in eastern Netherlands from 4,500 to 2,500 B.C., generally during periods of greater concentrations of cosmic ray byproducts.

* Seafloor sediments from the North Atlantic, signifying sharp cooling periods very roughly every 1,500 years over the last ten thousand years, largely coincide with periods of increased cosmic ray byproducts, according to Columbia University work.

* And elevated populations of diatoms in Lake Arolik, Alaska, denote periods of greater lake productivity that tend to recur during periods of high cosmic ray flux, according to researchers at the University of Illinois and elsewhere.


Many similar correlations between local environmental indicators and cosmic ray byproduct concentrations have been found, largely owing to advances in measuring technology. There have been many attempts to explain the good correlations between the dramatic changes in observed local environments and observed production of cosmic ray byproducts. But most amount to guesswork, rather than providing truly satisfactory answers.

One suggestion made has been that cosmic rays striking dust particles in the air might help to trigger clouds to form, perhaps thereby changing precipitation or temperature patterns or both. But how and which types of clouds might be formed, and their effects on climate or other environmental measures, remain too sketchy to conclude anything reliable and quantitative.

Another suggestion involves the varying Sun itself. While the sun's magnetism modulates the incident of cosmic ray flux, at the same time the sun's total energy output is changing, along with particular wavelengths of the sun's energy and fast moving-particles streaming out of the Sun's wind. Total energy output of the Sun has been observed by satellite instruments to vary so slightly over the last two decades, that the change seems too small to create the observed dramatic ecosystem changes. Yet, it may be that some aspects of ecosystems are very sensitive to tiny amounts of some or many of the changes in the solar output, or yet again that small solar changes are amplified by the oceans or clouds.

Currently, though, it is impossible to say with accuracy what causes the many newly discovered correlations between the cosmic ray byproducts found in terrestrial reservoirs and ecosystem changes. That leaves forecasting future ecosystem change with rather large gaps in reliability.

More here

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

Comments? Email me or here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site (viewable even in China!) here

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9 October, 2004

Spud car: "Toyota's latest environmentally friendly concept car is made from spuds. Rear bumpers, trims and mats in the ES3 prototype hatchback are built from a plastic derived from a natural acid in sweet potatoes. The organically formed substance is perfectly biodegradable as well as being as tough as conventional materials, reports the "Daily Mirror". A spokesman for the car firm told the paper: 'It's proven science and environmentally kinder. Eco-plastic has enormous potential.' Toyotas made using potatoes are being introduced in Japan and may soon be launched in the UK."



ELITES BLOCK A WIND-FARM

Elite scenery threatened! Horrors! Only peasants have to bear the burdens caused by Greenie fads

"In a carefully orchestrated campaign to block the proposed Nantucket Sound wind project, a bill pending in the Senate contains a provision that would stop all such projects cold. The amendment, filed by Sen. John Warner, R-VA, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, would prevent the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from processing any permits for wind farms on the Outer Continental Shelf until Congress approves more comprehensive regulations controlling such development.

The amendment, according to Seth Kaplan, senior attorney for the Conservation Law Foundation in Boston, was tacked onto the defense authorization act, already approved by both the House and Senate, and now in conference committee before it is re-voted in both chambers and sent to President Bush for his signature. Besides Warner, another key senator serving on that conference committee is Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-MA, who strongly opposes the project....

Cape Wind Associates, of Boston and Yarmouthport, hope to build the country's first off-shore wind farm, a 130-turbine project in a 24-square mile area over Horseshoe Shoal in Nantucket Sound....

Two years ago Warner stepped into the wind farm debate here, far from his normal stomping grounds, saying that locating a wind farm in Nantucket Sound was "questionable." Besides the Cape Wind project, the Warner amendment would also deflate hopes of the Long Island Power Authority to construct its own off-shore wind farm east of Long Island's Jones Beach in the Atlantic Ocean"

More here.



GREENIES ARE PRO-VERMIN

"The next time you see rats roaming around public housing units in New York City, think of Attorney General Eliot Spitzer. He and a handful of his colleagues in other states are working hard to make the city's public housing safe-for rats, mice, cockroaches and other city "wildlife." Working with a collection of green activists, Spitzer and five other state attorneys general recently announced that they might sue the feds for using pesticides in public housing-poor, minority families living in vermin-infested buildings not withstanding.

The AGs claim they want to promote "integrated pest management," which just means using a variety of means to control pests-including pesticide use. But these taxpayer-funded "consumer advocates" seem more interested in their own irrational quest to eliminate chemicals.

Advocating the opposite is the National Organization of African-Americans in Housing (NOAAH)-a nonprofit consumer-advocacy group promoting healthy housing for minority groups. The organization explains on its Web site 1) that proper use of pesticides can help control health problems that plague many low-income and minority households, and 2) that Environmental Protection Agency's regulations on pesticides keep public-exposure levels so low that the risk of proper use of these products is tiny.

Cockroach infestations are a particularly serious contributor to the nation's allergy and asthma problems. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that about 6 million children suffered from asthma in 2000 and about 4 million suffered asthma attacks. According to the CDC, asthmas disproportionately affect poor, minority children living in the inner city, and cockroach-related allergies are among the most common and problematic. These kids miss school more often, have more emergency medical visits, and lose more sleep than do kids with other kinds of allergies.

Rats also are a common problem for poor, urban minority children according to Dr. Pamela Nagami, author of the new book "Bitten: True Medical Stories of Bites and Stings." Doctors in a Los Angeles Hospital, she reports, tallied the number of rat bites they treated over a three-year period and found that all the patients were either Hispanic or African-American. Nagami says that rats, which are carriers of more than 70 diseases, commonly bite the faces and hands of children under 5 years old while these kids are asleep in their homes."

More here.

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

Comments? Email me or here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site (viewable even in China!) here

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8 October, 2004

ARROGANT GREENIE BUREAUCRATS THINK THEY OWN THE COUNTRY

A four-year "study"? Why not let the people vote on it instead?

"The Bureau of Land Management's surprise decision last week to halt permit work on three controversial gas wells west of Choteau is part of a broader plan that will halt drilling on the Rocky Mountain Front for at least the next four years, the agency announced Tuesday. Rather than taking a piecemeal look at individual leases, the BLM has decided to do a thorough study of the entire Front, said Rebecca Watson, assistant secretary of land and minerals management for the Department of Interior. The study will allow government agencies to make some long-term decisions about the future of the ecosystem, she said. [Good of them!]

Also Tuesday, another branch of the Interior Department, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, announced an ambitious proposal to place conservation protection on about 170,000 acres along the Front. The announcements came during a news conference in Billings.

The BLM late last week stopped work on a million-dollar environmental review of a proposal to drill three natural gas wells in the Blindhorse Outstanding Natural Area of the Front."

More here.



AUSTRALIA'S "WORST DROUGHT" ACTUALLY QUITE ORDINARY

Wok Hughes is once again hitting the climate doomsters with the facts:

"Many claims have been made by advocacy groups the media and prominent people that 2002 was the "..worst drought in a hundred years.." or "..worst drought ever..". In early 2003 we were very suspicious of these claims because most rainfall histories we reviewed showed dryer episodes than 2002 at varying time-spans back into the past but very rarely did we have to look back 100 years to find a dryer episode. At that time we did not have an Australia-wide dataset but earlier in 2004 we noticed the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) had posted on an ftp site a ~370 station "high quality rainfall dataset" (HQRD) which we have reviewed.

What did we do ? We examined annual data for each station, and after rejecting stations that either; had no data for 2002, or had too many missing years or garbled data. We ended up with 253 stations with useful series of annual rainfall totals, most of which extended back about a century, some about 120 years and a few from more remote areas covered maybe half of the 20C. We then manually checked the number series to pinpoint the most recent dryer episode compared to 2002, taking into account 2001 if that was also a dry year. The timespans back to the next worse drought episode were rounded to the nearest decade and colour coded with a mapping program used to portray the station localities.

It is obvious from the map that for vast areas of Australia the 2002 drought was simply a repetition of a similar but dryer event not too distant in the past. Claims of "..worst drought in a hundred years.." or "..worst drought ever.." can only be justified for a very small proportion of the area of Australia, mainly in western Queensland. The name "Great West Queensland Drought of 2002" is proposed.

How is it that the Myth of "Australia's worst drought" grew so fast and these manifestly inaccurate claims get such wide currency ? We have to realize that the media thrives on gloom and doom bad news stories to sell papers and rate well on TV. This will not change but we must be very sceptical of any claims made on the media connected with the environment. The media are natural allies of Green groups who have made an art form of distorting the science of natural phenomena to generate gloom and doom / sky falling in stories to convince us how terrible our society is so we will vote for them or at least give them money. In the case of drought there are also farming and rural groups suffering financial uncertainty and it is unreasonable to expect an accurate view of distant historical events from them".

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

Comments? Email me or here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site (viewable even in China!) here

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7 October, 2004

THE USA IS A LOW EMITTER OF "POLLUTANTS"

(On a comparable basis)

I got my fair share of abuse recently on the BBC. "Isn't the U.S. an awful country?" ranted a Labor MP. "With only 5 percent of the world's population, it produces 20 percent of those terrible gases that are warming our atmosphere. How dare President Bush say he won't go along with the U.N.' s Kyoto Protocol on global warming!"

Holding up America as the environmental bad boy is just as ill-advised. Sure, the United States leads in per capita emissions of carbon dioxide. But what does that mean? Instead, people should focus on is how efficient we are with respect to these emissions. If India and China produce, say, one half of our emissions per citizen (as they will in a few years), they still emit far more than we do. And if their gross domestic product remains below ours, they then suffer from the twin sins of emissions and inefficiency.

So, let's get real and see how many bangs we get for each carbon dioxide buck. The best way to do this is to divide our greenhouse emissions by our economic output, which gives emissions per dollar of gross domestic product. For the 10 biggest emitters, the worst in this respect is Russia, where 148 million people produce virtually nothing. The scope of Russia's poverty is now beginning to show up in life expectancies, which are nose-diving toward the 1900 level of 50 years for males.

For this effort, let's assign the Russians an emission-economic rating of 100, the worst rate. On this relative scale, America rates a 33. The best are the Japanese, at 18, not far ahead of the United States, and mainly because of their intensive use of nuclear power. For comparison, South Africa rates a 69, Saudi Arabia-- despite its high GDP from oil revenues-- a 62, and our Canadian neighbors 36. Among the 10 largest emitters, in terms of economic efficiency, America comes in third, after Japan and Germany. That's not bad, considering our lack of nuclear, which, in recent years has provided only a bit more than 10 percent of our total energy. The basic figures needed to make these calculations are easily obtained from various government agencies, such as the Departments of Energy and Commerce.

On average, about one-third of a nation's energy use goes to transportation. So, everything else being equal (a condition that rarely obtains except in arguments like this!) nations that are bigger geographically are going to emit more carbon dioxide, even after adjusting emissions for economic efficiency.

One solution is to adjust emissions per unit GDP for the area of each country. In this calculation, the United States comes in as the number one most efficient nation on earth. The worst is the United Kingdom, where everyone is crabbing about Bush's position on Kyoto.

More here



A LEADING AUSTRALIAN CONSERVATIVE CALLS A SPADE A SPADE

"The Greens are like watermelons -- green on the outside and red like communists on the inside -- Deputy Prime Minister John Anderson said yesterday. Speaking at a luncheon at the Ballina RSL in the marginal northern NSW seat of Page, Mr Anderson said Greens leader Bob Brown and his party were a danger to democracy.

The extraordinary attack in the seat held by National Party MP Ian Causley by a margin of 2.8 per cent is the latest offering in a Coalition campaign to persuade wavering supporters not to experiment with a protest vote to the Greens. "They are watermelons, many of them, green on the outside and very, very, very red on the inside," he said. "They're talking about things like legalising drugs -- you know, ecstasy over the counter -- that would be terrific," he said sarcastically. "Abolishing valuable programs like work-for-the-dole and making work-for-the-dole available whether you wanted to work or not." Mr Anderson asked the 80 people at the lunch not to vote for the Greens because they were radicals. "They are not a halfway house, and please tell your friends to look long and hard before you think about going that way."

Mr Anderson said that if the Greens had existed in the 1950s, they would have been members of the Communist Party. "This idea that they are some warm, nice midway house between the Coalition and the Labor Party overlooks the fact that they're actually a home for people who in the 1950s would have joined the Communist Party." "

More here.

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

Comments? Email me or here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site (viewable even in China!) here

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6 October, 2004

AUSTRALIANS DON'T LIKE WIND-FARMS EITHER

"Rural residents in two states can't sleep at night because of noise from a Queensland Government-owned corporation's alternative energy projects. Homeowners in Queensland and Victoria have all but resigned themselves to the noise of the Stanwell Corporation wind turbines, which they claim have devalued their properties. Stanwell Corporation has said it is doing the right thing and has told residents there is no problem with noise. But Jim and Dot Newman say they have to turn up their air conditioner and shut the windows and doors just to sleep at night.

The couple live on a 106ha dairy farm at Windy Hill on the Atherton Tableland in north Queensland across the road from 20 wind turbines built by Stanwell in 2000. Mrs Newman said the throbbing, thumping noise from the generators could be heard at all hours of the day. "It was very frustrating in the beginning and makes us extremely upset, but there is nothing we can do about it," she said. Within 12 months, the couple, who are in their fifties, had had enough and they decided to move but they still cannot find a buyer.

A number of Victorian residents know exactly how the Newmans feel and are equally angry at Stanwell Corporation. In Victoria, Stanwell Corporation have built three wind farms including 12 turbines at Toora, 188km southeast of Melbourne, in the South Gippsland region. Kath and Terry Hurst of Toora were told by Stanwell they would not be disturbed by the wind farms. After doing some research the couple along with two other residents launched an unsuccessful bid through the Victorian Civil Administrative Tribunal to stop the development.

Stanwell build two 50m pylons 750m and 810m from their house. "It was terrible, we had real trouble sleeping and the worst part was we decided to move and it took 18 months to sell the place," Mr Hurst said. Mr Hurst said while the local property market was booming, they lost money selling their house".

More here.



RUSSIA WAS DRAGOONED INTO "KYOTO" BY THE EU

The anti-American EU bribed the Russians into signing. It was a quid pro quo for getting into the WTO, with its opportunities for trade deals

"Moscow, a signatory to the protocol, had prevaricated for years over ratifying and there were signs yesterday that it approved ratification over the heads of some in the political elite who say it will harm the economy and is based on suspect science. Andrei Illarionov, an economic adviser to Mr Putin who attended the cabinet meeting, said Russia had been forced to approve a pact that would damage it economically. "It's a political decision, it's a forced decision," he said. "It's not a decision we are making with pleasure. The decision will be very harmful to Russia's national interest in the short, medium and long term."

Mr Putin sent a clear signal that he approved the protocol in May after the European Union supported Russia's campaign to join the World Trade Organisation. The EU was jubilant at the decision, calling it a "huge success".

The Confederation of British Industry said the Russian govenment's move was "good news for companies and the environment" but gave warning that the treaty would not mean much if countries such as the United States, India and China continued to drag their feet.

More here



And this article (written in 2002!) explains why the EU was desperate to get Russia onboard and thus get the treaty up and running. Key quote:

"The EU apparently intends to claim that all U.S. goods are impermissibly subsidized by the United States' refusal to adopt Kyoto-style energy taxes. Last week, FOE fired the first shot in this inevitable conflict, demanding the EU apply penalties against energy-intensive U.S. products in retaliation for the United States not going along with Kyoto.

Such a penalty, or alternatively an EU "eco-dumping" suit, would force the pro-growth World Trade Organization to address anti-growth multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) such as Kyoto. It is not clear whether the WTO, confronted with this conflict, would remain true to its pro-growth mission. Such a suit would also trigger a landmark battle over the freedom of states to refuse to adopt the policies of others, without incurring penalty for unfair trade practice".

So it's all about turning the WTO into a sort of world government

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

Comments? Email me or here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site (viewable even in China!) here

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5 October, 2004

MORE ON SO-CALLED "SMART" GROWTH

A comment from a reader now living in the South

"You left out one important detail. In the 60s and 70s many people WERE going back to cities - Boston was undergoing an explosion of new construction and remodeling of old Brownstone houses, etc. Many people just liked the city life, and didn't like driving. But with another product of extreme liberalism and activist judges - BUSSING - all this inertia turned in the other direction - toward the suburbs.

No doubt much suburban development would have occurred anyway, but certainly at a slower pace. When the business climate deteriorated, businesses moved out as well. You know the rest.

With children grown up, my wife and I might just like NYC - but I refuse to live in a town where cops don't allow citizens to defend themselves, and where taxes must subsidize "the disenfranchised" and provide hotel rooms to any and every "homeless" bum.

One of my colleague's daughters was a social worker. She worked with "the homeless" here. What an earful about "the homeless" I got last week. She said that none of these people could stay off drugs; you simply couldn't ever give them enough - housing, counselling, food, money, anything. She decided that she or anyone else could not help these people".

My reader is right. Here in Brisbane, Australia, where we have none of the American social pathologies alluded to above, there is an absolute explosion of new residential construction in the heart of the city



PLANTATION PINE TREES ARE BAD NOW

And you MUST not log natural forests. And plastic comes from oil. And making steel burns lots of coal. So: Back to the caves!

Changes in U.S. forests caused by land use practices may have inadvertently worsened ozone pollution, according to a study led by Princeton University scientists. The study examined a class of chemicals that are emitted as unburned fuel from automobile tailpipes and as vapors from industrial chemicals, but also which come naturally from tree leaves. These chemicals, known collectively as VOCs, react with other pollutants to form ozone, a bluish, irritating and pungent gas that is a major form of smog in the lower atmosphere.

While clean-air laws have reduced the level of man-made VOCs (volatile organic compounds), the tree-produced varieties have increased dramatically in some parts of the country, the study found. The increase stems from intensified tree farming and other land use changes that have altered the mix of trees in the landscape, said Drew Purves, the lead author of the study that included scientists from four universities. "There are seemingly natural but ultimately anthropogenic (human-caused) processes in the landscape that have had larger effects on VOC emissions than the deliberate legislated decreases," said Purves.

The study may help explain why ozone levels have not improved in some parts of the country as much as was anticipated with the enactment of clean-air laws, Purves said. Environmental technologies such as catalytic converters and hoses that collect fumes at gas pumps have substantially reduced human-produced VOCs. However, in some parts of the country -- particularly the area extending from Alabama up through the Tennessee Valley and Virginia -- these improvements may have been outweighed by increased VOC emissions from forests, mainly because of tree growth in abandoned farmland and increases in plantation forestry.

They found that areas where farmland has been abandoned during the last century have early generations of trees that produce higher levels of VOCs than older growth forests. In the South, pine plantations used for their fast-growing supplies of timber have proven to be havens for sweetgum trees, which are major producers of VOCs. Indeed, virtually every tree that grows fast -- a desirable quality for forestry production -- is a heavy emitter of VOCs. "It's just one of those biological correlations," said Purves. "What you want is a fast-growing tree that doesn't produce a lot of VOCs, but that doesn't seem to exist."

Noting President Ronald Reagan's notorious 1980 reference to trees causing pollution (Reagan said: "Approximately 80 percent of our air pollution stems from hydrocarbons released by vegetation."), the authors conclude: "The results reported here call for a wider recognition that an understanding of recent, current and anticipated changes in biogenic VOC emissions is necessary to guide future air-quality policy decisions; they do not provide any evidence that responsibility for air pollution can or should be shifted from humans to trees." [Which translates as: "Reagan was right!"]

More here.



FAR-LEFT SUPPORT GREENS

One of Australia's most Left-wing unions has switched its support to the Greens -- because they are the most protectionist. Environmentalism is often just another cloak for an impoverishing Far-Left agenda

"In a break with tradition, the AMWU will donate $100,000 to the Australian Greens in the run-up to next month's federal election. National president, Julius Roe, confirmed that around half his organisation's election spend would go to the Greens in recognition of their "consistent support for issues that will make a difference to our members and their families". Roe highlighted the positions taken by Bob Brown's party with regard to free trade and industrial relations.

The AMWU will also make contributions of up to $10,000 to 16 individual ALP candidates who have supported union members on free trade and manufacturing jobs.

Roe is urging union members to get involved in the campaign to evict John Howard from the Lodge. "This Government is the most anti-worker in Australia's history," Roe says. "It is in the interests of all our members, and their families, that it is defeated on October 9. "It has betrayed Australia's economic, cultural and political independence by putting George Bush's interests ahead of our own. The war in Iraq, and the US Free Trade Agreement were clear examples of that."

Roe conceded the AMWU had been "very disappointed" by ALP support for Howard on free trade, particularly after the Senate committee it dominated listed dozens of concerns."

More here.

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

Comments? Email me or here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site (viewable even in China!) here

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4 October, 2004

DEBUNKING "SMART GROWTH" VERSUS "SPRAWL"

"Any policy encouraging drivers to use their axles of evil is now suspect. Americans still love their own cars, but they're sick of everyone else's. The car is blamed for everything from global warming to the war in Iraq to the transformation of America into a land of strip malls and soulless subdivisions filled with fat, lonely suburbanites. Al Gore called the automobile a ''mortal threat'' that is ''more deadly than that of any military enemy.'' Cities across America, with encouragement from Washington, are adopting ''smart growth'' policies to discourage driving and promote mass transit. Three years ago, at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new freeway just outside Los Angeles, Gov. Gray Davis declared that it would be the last one built in the state. Standing at the cradle of car culture, he said it was time to find other ways to move people.

I sympathize with the critics... But I no longer believe that my tastes should be public policy. I've been converted by a renegade school of thinkers you might call the autonomists, because they extol the autonomy made possible by automobiles. Their school includes engineers and philosophers, political scientists like James Q. Wilson and number-crunching economists like Randal O'Toole, the author of the 540-page manifesto ''The Vanishing Automobile and Other Urban Myths.'' These thinkers acknowledge the social and environmental problems caused by the car but argue that these would not be solved -- in fact, would be mostly made worse -- by the proposals coming from the car's critics. They call smart growth a dumb idea, the result not of rational planning but of class snobbery and intellectual arrogance. They prefer to promote smart driving, which means more tolls, more roads and, yes, more cars.

Suppose you have a choice between two similarly priced homes. One is an urban town house within walking distance of stores and mass transit; the other is in the suburbs and requires driving everywhere. Which one would you pick?

If you chose the town house, you're in a distinct minority. Only 17 percent of Americans chose it in a national survey sponsored by the real-estate agents' and homebuilders' trade associations. The other 83 percent preferred the suburbs, which came as no surprise to the real-estate agents or others who spend time in subdivisions. For all the bad press that suburbs get in books like ''The Geography of Nowhere'' -- whose author, James Kunstler, calls America a ''national automobile slum'' -- polls repeatedly show that the vast majority of suburbanites are happy with their neighborhoods.

You could argue that Americans are deluded because they haven't been given a reasonable alternative. Smart-growth advocates say that suburbs have flourished at the expense of cities because of government policies promoting cheap gasoline, Interstate highways and new-home construction. What if the government, instead of devastating urban neighborhoods by running expressways through them, instead lavished money on mass transit and imposed high gasoline taxes to discourage driving?

As it happens, that experiment has already been conducted in Europe with surprisingly little effect. To American tourists who ride the subways in the carefully preserved old cities, the policies seem to have worked. But it turns out that the people who live there aren't so different from Americans. Even with $5-per-gallon gasoline, the number of cars per capita in Europe has been growing faster than in America in recent decades, while the percentage of commuters using mass transit has been falling. As the suburbs expand, Europe's cities have been losing people, too. Paris is a great place to visit, but in the past half-century it has lost one-quarter of its population.

''Cities are spreading virtually everywhere in the world despite all the antisprawl measures,'' says Peter Gordon, a professor at the University of Southern California School of Policy, Planning and Development. ''As soon as people have enough money, they want their car.''

Consider some of the prevailing beliefs:

Sprawl traps drivers in traffic hell. It's true that highways have gotten much more congested, but the worst traffic tends to be in densely populated urban areas that haven't been building new roads, like New York and Chicago -- the kind of places hailed by smart-growth planners but now avoided by companies looking for convenient offices. During the 1990's, the number of suburban workers surpassed the number downtown. These commuters still encountered traffic jams, but by not driving downtown they could still get to work reasonably quickly. The length of the average commute, now about 25 minutes, rose just 40 seconds in the 1980's and about 2 minutes in the 1990's. Sprawl didn't trap drivers -- it gave them an escape.

Sprawl is scarring the American landscape. If by ''landscape'' you mean the pasture or forest near your home that has been paved, then sprawl does look like an abomination. Who wouldn't prefer to be surrounded by greenery, especially when you're not paying property taxes for it? But if you look at the big picture, America is not paving paradise. More than 90 percent of the continental United States is still open space and farmland. The major change in land use in recent decades has been the gain of 70 million acres of wilderness -- more than all the land currently occupied by cities, suburbs and exurbs, according to Peter Huber, author of ''Hard Green: Saving the Environment From the Environmentalists.'' Because agriculture has become so efficient, farmers have abandoned vast tracts of land that have reverted to nature, and rural areas have lost population as young people migrate to cities. You may not like the new homes being built for them at the edge of your town, but if preserving large ecosystems and wildlife habitat is your priority, better to concentrate people in the suburbs and exurbs rather than scatter them in the remote countryside.

Mass transit is the cure for highway congestion. Commuter trains and subways make sense in New York, Chicago and a few other cities, and there are other forms of transit, like express buses, that can make a difference elsewhere. (Vans offering door-to-door service are a boon to the elderly and people without cars.) But for most Americans, mass transit is impractical and irrelevant. Since 1970, transit systems have received more than $500 billion in subsidies (in today's dollars), but people have kept voting with their wheels. Transit has been losing market share to the car and now carries just 3 percent of urban commuters outside New York City. It's easy to see why from one statistic: the average commute by public transportation takes twice as long as the average commute by car.

Drivers are getting a free ride. Yes, the government spends a lot more money on highways than transit, but most of that money comes out of the drivers' pockets. If you add up the costs of driving -- the car owner's costs as well as the public cost of building and maintaining highways and local streets, the salaries of police patrolling the roads -- it works out to about 20 cents per passenger mile, and drivers pay more than 19 of those cents, according to Cox. A trip on a local bus or commuter train costs nearly four times as much, and taxpayers subsidize three-quarters of that cost.

New highways just make things worse. Environmentalists and smart-growth planners say that more highways merely create more problems because of ''induced demand,'' also known as the if-you-build-it-they-will-come theory. They argue that any new stretch of highway will fill up quickly because drivers discover new uses for it. Adding new lanes or roads may ease traffic temporarily, they say, but ultimately you're doomed to become like Los Angeles.

A new freeway does indeed attract new drivers, but that doesn't mean it's not worth building. Besides benefiting those drivers (no small thing), it eases the strain on the road network. This year's report from the Texas Transportation Institute confirms other research showing that when you take population growth into account, traffic congestion has been increasing more rapidly in the cities that haven't been building roads. The reason for Los Angeles's traffic morass is that it didn't build enough freeways, incredible as that sounds. The great symbol of sprawl is not what it seems when you compare it with other cities using the Census Bureau's definition of an ''urbanized area,'' which extends until the point where there's open countryside. By this definition, Los Angeles is the most densely populated city in America, with 7,068 persons per square mile of urbanized area. Its traffic is terrible because it built only about half the freeways originally planned, so that it now has fewer miles of freeway per capita than any other major city."

MUCH more here.



"SMART GROWTH" IS ONLY GOOD FOR RICH FOLKS

Like most Greenie ideas

"If I had to design my perfect place to live, it would be a townhouse, on a square of similar townhouses that opened up onto a large communal yard where children and dogs could romp. A train station would be no more than a few blocks away, as would shops, schools, and other accoutrements of refined living. But unlike the smart growth folks, I recognise that this is, to a large extent, a fantasy.

Smart growth is great if you are an upscale professional, preferably without children, who can score a relatively large apartment fairly close to work. It's a lot less fun for the majority trying to cram your family into four or five rooms. Smart growth is great if you are savvy enough to manipulate an urban school system into keeping your children away from the poor kids; it is not so nice for the majority who must make do. Smart growth is great if you can afford to have everything you buy delivered, or are in excellent physical condition with a physically undemanding job; it is not so great if you have to come home from your shift at the nursing home to lug groceries a quarter-mile down the street, and then up three flights of stairs.

Smart growth is great if you can afford to eat in the plethora of restaurants; it is not so enjoyable if you have to scrape up an extra 20% for the ingredients in tuna casserole. Smart growth is great if you have a nanny to take the kids to the park during the day; it is not so terrific if you have to choose between wasting several precious hours standing around the playground, or letting your kids languish inside. Smart growth is great if you can afford taxis when you need them; it is not so good if you are forced to take three busses to get somewhere you really need to be. Smart growth is great if your family members are all affluent enough to take care of themselves; it is not so fulfilling when you have to shove your ailing mother into the kids room when her resources fail.

Smart growth, in other words, is wonderful for those with the werewithal to smooth over its little rough spots. But ask the priced out secretaries commuting 2 hours a day from Yonkers how "liveable" New York is.....

The fact is, public transportation is an absolute failure everywhere it has been tried except for cities which grew up around a public transportation network in the pre-automobile era. Public transportation -- and I am second to none in my love for public transportation, and have a fabulous commute besides -- is more expensive, both in money and environmental costs, than automobiles outside of New York, Boston, San Francisco, Philadelphia, and Chicago. That's right, I said it's more environmentally costly than giving every person on the train a car, because a train running empty consumes an enormous amount of energy.

In order to persuade people to live in a public transit zone, rather than an auto zone, the trains have to run frequently enough, and for a long enough period, for people to be able to base their lives around them. Those five cities (and I'm not sure about Philly) produce net energy gains only because they shift an enormous number of people during rush hour; enough to offset the inevitable losses during off peak periods, when the trains expend a tremendous amount of energy to move very few people. If your trains aren't jam packed for six hours a day during rush periods, you can never make up the losses. Such usage levels require a whole infrastructure at each end of the journey, a network of very dense development that affords the benefits, like a wide array of restaurants and bars, that attract people to such areas. But that sort of development is complementary; restaurant owners and developers won't build where there isn't enough traffic to support them, and people won't move where the lifestyle isn't well established. Plus the train network has to be huge to allow people to quickly get from their house to their office; they can't up and move to a different train line every time they get a new job. And unless you (or nature) sharply restrict mobility, people won't choose those places anyway; the majority of Americans want a detached house with a yard, and they'll vote with their feet.

Putting a monorail in LA is not going to make Angelenos live like Manhattanites. (more's the pity)."

More from "Jane Galt" here

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

Comments? Email me or here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site (viewable even in China!) here

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3 October, 2004

CLIMATE PANIC IS AN OLD FOLLY AMONG "LEARNED" MEN

"In the 1770s the Lunar Society of Birmingham, England, whose members were some of the leading thinkers of the era, regularly gathered to discuss their concerns about global climate change. They were interested in the scientific aspects of the change, but being entrepreneurs as well as thinkers, they also formulated plans to cope with it. Their basic strategy was to stop the cooling of the earth by dragging icebergs away from the Arctic regions to let them melt in the tropics. That's right: they were worried about global cooling.

The Lunar Society of Birmingham (1766-1809) was an informal club of never more than 14 men, who met to exchange information on scientific experiments, discuss scientific theory; and promote their own entrepreneurial activities. As the name indicates, they met on the Monday nearest the full moon each month. Among them were several godfathers of the Industrial Revolution, men whose contributions to science and technology, as well as industry and manufacturing, render their names still familiar: James Watt, developer of the steam engine, and his business partner, Matthew Boulton, who was also founder of the Birmingham Mint and a major manufacturer of metal products; Erasmus Darwin, grandfather of Charles and a distinguished naturalist in his own right; William.....

Small summarized: "I am led by this and many other reasons to suppose, nay to believe, that the frozen space of the Globe is annually increased at the rate of about the 300th part of a degree of latitude . . . so that after a certain number of years all Europe, and finally the whole surface of this earth, will be frozen, as the Moon is now and has long been." Quickwitted and ingenious as he was, Small had a scheme to deal with this horrifying prospect, namely, a "project for producing perpetual summer," which he outlined for Watt. The central feature was to use gunpowder to blow up the polar ice, thus creating icebergs, which could be towed to the tropics. There the icebergs would serve as air-conditioning units, rendering the tropics more temperate and habitable. Simultaneously, of course, the removal of ice from the arctic would slow the southerly spread of the freeze that threatened to cover all Europe and finally the whole earth.

Small's next words give us a glimpse of his views on the political institutions of his day, especially monarchy, and are interesting in light of Jefferson's connection with Small. "I will be bold to say, that if all the gunpowder which has been spent by their Imperial and Royal Majesties the Emperors and Empresses of Constantinople, Germany and Russia, the Kings of France, Spain, Britain and Prussia, within these last twenty years, had been laid out upon it [his iceberg project], the powder would have produced at least as much benefit to every one of them as it has done by being expended on their own schemes. I have had thoughts of writing a circular letter to these potentates, and if you give me any encouragement, notwithstanding my laziness, I will still do it, although there is but little to be made of kingly heads, I fear.".....

In a very long "philosophical footnote" to the above passage, Darwin says that visitors to the north provided evidence that the "islands of ice" steadily grow and that the winds passing over them deliver cold temperatures to points south. "We cannot doubt that the northern ice is the principal source of the coldness of our winters . . . " Darwin wrote. "Hence the increase of the ice in the polar regions, by increasing the cold of our climate, adds, at the same time, to the bulk of the Glaciers of Italy and Switzerland."

The great firm of Watt & Boulton became much too busy in the next few years making steam engines to pursue the "iceberg removal" project. The idea of moving icebergs to achieve various human objectives still comes up from time to time: to irrigate the vegetable gardens of California or to provide more drinking water to Los Angeles. But so far as modifying the climate is concerned, our preoccupations have reversed in the past two centuries: from global cooling in the late 1700s to global warming in the late 1900s".

More here.



Bring back DDT, quickly

It's not just the best way to control disease-bearing mosquitoes - it's safe, too

"The West Nile virus deaths being reported across North America are a grim echo of a larger tragedy. Each year 1 million lives are taken worldwide by another mosquito-borne killer: malaria. Though nearly eradicated decades ago, malaria has resurged with a vengeance. But the real tragedy is that its horrific death toll is largely preventable. The most effective agent of mosquito control, the pesticide DDT, has been essentially discarded - discarded based not on scientific concerns about its safety but on environmental dogma.

The environmental crusade against DDT began with Rachel Carson's anti-pesticide diatribe "Silent Spring," published in 1962 at the height of the worldwide anti-malaria campaign. The widespread spraying of DDT had caused a spectacular drop in malaria incidence - Sri Lanka, for example, reported 2.8 million malaria victims in 1948, but by 1963 it had only 17. Yet Carson's book made no mention of this. It said nothing of DDT's crucial role in eradicating malaria in industrialized countries, or of the tens of millions of lives saved by its use.

Instead, Carson filled her book with misinformation - alleging, among other claims, that DDT causes cancer. Her unsubstantiated assertion that continued DDT use would unleash a cancer epidemic generated a panicked fear of the pesticide that endures as public opinion to this day.

But the scientific case against DDT was, and still is, nonexistent. Almost 60 years have passed since the malaria-spraying campaigns began - with hundreds of millions of people exposed to large concentrations of DDT - yet, according to international health scholar Amir Attaran, the scientific literature "has not even one peer-reviewed, independently replicated study linking exposure to DDT with any adverse health outcome." Indeed, in a 1956 study, human volunteers ate DDT every day for over two years with no ill effects then or since.....

So if scientific facts are not what has driven the furor against DDT, what has? Estimates put today's malaria incidence worldwide at around 300 million cases, with 1 million deaths every year. If this enormous toll of human suffering and death is preventable, why do environmentalists - who profess to be the defenders of life - continue to press for a global DDT ban?

The answer is that environmental ideology values an untouched environment above human life. The root of the opposition to DDT is not science but the environmentalist moral premise that it is wrong for man to "tamper" with nature. The large-scale eradicationof disease-carrying insects epitomizes the control of nature by man. This is DDT's sin....."

More here.

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

Comments? Email me or here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site (viewable even in China!) here

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2 October, 2004

THE ECONOMICS OF THE "KYOTO" GLOBAL WARMING TREATY

"Pincas Jawetz's argument that the United States economy would benefit by following the path of the Kyoto Protocol's few adherents is logically and factually unsound. Consider his premise: 38 countries of the world -- Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Iceland, the United States, etc. -- agreed in principle to an energy suppression measure, the Kyoto Protocol. The same measure was refused by 160 other countries: China, Mexico, India, Brazil, South Korea, and the like. Even among the mere 38, an insufficient number agreed to ratify the treaty to bring it into effect according to the agreement's own formula.

Only the United Kingdom and Sweden among the pre-May European Union-15 nations are actually in compliance. By remaining among the 160-plus countries with no desire to inflict Kyoto on themselves, by Mr. Jawetz's logic, the United States is going it alone. What of those proud, supposedly economically vibrant few who soldier on "in exasperation" with our refusal to adhere?

Other than 10 percent unemployment and next-to-flat economic growth since they undertook this campaign, stubbornly clinging to Kyoto's prescriptions seems to be working out just fine. Actually, this experience further dispels the notion that energy suppression paves the road to economic health. Every major economic downturn in the past century was preceded by the increase in energy prices that is Kyoto's hallmark. In fact, just wait until the energy rationing really kicks in and the results match pro-Kyoto rhetoric."

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RUSSIA SEEMS TO HAVE SAGGED ON GLOBAL WARMING

Russia's ratification is vital for transforming Kyoto from a draft 1997 agreement into a working international treaty. Moscow had for years hedged on whether it would approve the pact. The treaty requires industrialised signatories to trim output of six "greenhouse" gases by between 2008 2012 compared with their 1990 levels.

Russia's cabinet backed the treaty earlier on Thursday, a key step that is likely to finally enable the measure to enter into force despite its categorical rejection by the United States. The cabinet decided to send the treaty on to the State Duma lower house of parliament for approval, which is all but guaranteed in a chamber where the Kremlin holds a two-thirds majority.

Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov was quoted saying that the various Russian ministries will adopt the proper legislation required for the treaty to be formally ratified by Russia within three months.

EU reaction

The European Union also welcomed the endorsement of the UN agreement designed to stem global warming. "This is a very welcome event," EU spokesman Reijo Kemppinen said. The EU is "confident" the Russian parliament also will endorse the treaty, he said.

U.S. reaction

But the United States is standing firm in rejecting Kyoto. The State Department had no comment on the decision by the Russian cabinet to submit the document to the Duma for approval but said Washington remained committed in its own way to battling climate change.

"The United States' position on the Kyoto Protocol has not changed," spokesman Richard Boucher said. "We thought at this point it wasn't the right thing for the United States, but it's up to other nations to independently evaluate whether ratification is in their national interest."

The Bush administration strongly opposes the 1997 treaty, arguing that its requirements on developed nations are unfair and unrealistic. Instead, Washington has opted for its own efforts to curtail global warming, which include domestic initiatives to move to alternative energy sources and international programs to boost research and cooperation on combating climate change.

Japanese reaction

Japan's Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi welcomed the decision by Russia but business leaders here voiced scepticism. "I think it is desirable. I want to welcome it," the Japanese premier told reporters when asked about the Russian cabinet's decision. But corporate Japan was concerned about the treaty's negative impact on the world second biggest economy, particularly Tokyo's commitment to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by 6 per cent.

"It is difficult to meet the obligation to reduce emissions by six per cent," said Nobuo Yamaguchi, president of the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry. "It is feared (that it will) accelerate the hollowing-out of the country's economy and employment by promoting moves by companies to locate their activities overseas," he said.

Yuzo Ichikawa, executive director of the Japan Iron and Steel Federation, said: "It is questionable if the treaty, which commits only one third of the world's countries to obligations, will prove effective while the United States and China stay out of it".

More here.



AUSTRALIA STANDS FIRM

Prime Minister John Howard said Friday his conservative government won't follow Russia's lead and approve ratification of the Kyoto Protocol if it wins a fourth term at the October 9 election. Mr Howard maintained that signing the pact on greenhouse gases will cost Australia, a large producer of energy and commodities, both investment and jobs.

The Prime Minister also restated the agreement is flawed because developing nations such as China aren't subject to the same rules as developed countries. He said Australia is on track to meet its Kyoto emissions goal. "The difficulty through ratifying under present conditions is that countries like China and Brazil and Indonesia would not be subject to the emission targets that we would be subject to, and therefore it would be more attractive for industry to invest in those countries rather than in Australia," Mr Howard told Melbourne radio station 3AW.

More here

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

Comments? Email me or here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site (viewable even in China!) here

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1 October, 2004

Green v. black: "Among the many luxuries wealth can buy is insulation from reality -- the most dangerous luxury of all. Another dangerous luxury is a sense of being one of the wonderfully special people with superior wisdom and virtue. Environmental extremism flourishes among those who can afford both luxuries. Did you know people in the wealthy San Francisco suburb of Sausalito, across the bay, own 80,000 acres of land in Kenya? What are they doing with it? They are setting it aside as a nature preserve, to keep poor people in Kenya from hunting animals for food on those 80,000 acres. ... What are rich people doing, in the first place, trying to stop poor people on the other side of the world from getting something to eat? They are feeding their own egos by hindering poor Africans from feeding themselves.



LAW TWISTED ON BEHALF OF "MIGRATORY BIRDS"

Soviet-style Greenie bureaucrats say you can't fill in a puddle without their permission

John A. Rapanos, a 68-year-old Michigan landowner faces a 10-month federal imprisonment and up to $10 million in fines. Rapanos cleared and graded 175 acres of fallow farmland that he had owned since 1950 with the intention of constructing a shopping center. When the shopping center deal fell through, he leased the land to a local grain farmer. What was his crime?

Under the Clean Water Act, no person may discharge, dredge or put fill material into the navigable waters of the United States without a permit. The closest navigable waters to Rapanos' land are in Saginaw Bay, some 20 miles away. Rapanos' crime in the eyes of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was that he filled in depressions on his land without permission.

According to his defense at the California-based Pacific Legal Foundation, "the Corps has argued that isolated pools and puddles were magically transformed into `navigable waters,' and subject to regulations, merely by the stopover of `migratory' birds." With the Corps' reasoning, you could go to jail if you had a tree stump ground out and filled the hole.

In the early stages of Rapanos' case, U.S. District Judge Lawrence Zatkoff -- noting that a drug dealer had been before him that day -- said rebelliously, "Here we have a person ... who commits crimes of selling dope, and the government asks me to put him in prison for 10 months. And then we have an American citizen, who buys land, pays for it with his own money, and he moves sand from one end to the other, and the government wants me to give him 63 months in prison. Now if that isn't our system gone crazy, I don't know what is. And I am not going to do it."

More here.



Nobody Told the Birds About Global Warming

Again it is only a retired Professor who is in a position to speak the truth:

If your mind is made up about global warming, all confirmation is welcome, no matter how flimsy or suspect. Even the free movement of birds is used to confirm warming and alarm our citizens. The National Wildlife Federation states on its Web site, "The Brown Thrasher is in danger of disappearing from Georgia." In a global-warming editorial, one newspaper noted the thrasher is returning from winter migration 21 days earlier than it did 20 years ago.

Bullfeathers! Humans have very sensitive instruments for measuring temperature and still are uncertain of global warming; how does our state bird know? In contrast to this suspicious behavior of the brown thrasher, other species have been nesting progressively farther south for more than half a century; not as if our climate is becoming warmer, but as if it is cooling. Nobody but a few serious birdwatchers seems to have noticed. World-famous ecologist Eugene Odum and co-workers noted the invasion of 14 species into the Athens area in the 20th century, mostly from the north.

The American robin is familiar to Georgians and perhaps we think of it as being everywhere, not shifting in its habits. But it underwent radical change in the 20th century, building its nests farther south. In 1946 Odum noted, "Until only a very few years ago it nested only in the extreme northern part of the state, but now has spread almost the length of the state."

Confirmation comes from the annual North American Breeding Bird Survey, conducted every year across the country by the U.S. Geological Survey. In Pike County near Griffin, the survey has found an average of 21 robins per year since 1994, one third more than the count of brown thrashers. During those years, two robins per year were counted in Wrightsville, well into the Coastal Plain. So, although robins have always migrated north across Middle Georgia in late winter, in recent decades they have been nesting there during summer, and even farther south. In August, I saw robins in Statesboro, where my brother said they nested in his yard.

The song sparrow in Georgia is spreading southward, too: In 1946, Odum and Burleigh described a line from Ellijay to Cleveland to Lakemont in extreme Northeast Georgia that "approximately represents the present `front'" for the bird. Today, the Breeding Bird Survey regularly finds the song sparrow near Cartersville (Bartow County; two per year since 1980), Bowdon (Carroll County; none before 1993; almost two per year since then), and Siloam (Greene County; none before 1982, but 3.9 per year since)......

The next time someone declares global warming is disrupting ecological habitats, remember the dozens of birds spreading their nests southward across Georgia. Perhaps they are responding to southern cooling, because the South has, in fact, cooled. Not, of course, in cities like Atlanta, which developed "heat islands," but in smaller places representing the countryside. Most records for such places in Georgia show a cooling in the 20th century. A graph for Newnan, from the Web site of the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, shows that temperatures there have cooled 2.5 degrees to 3 degrees since the 1920s.....

Some "thrashers" in this scuffle over global warming need a reality check, and it ain't the birds

More here.

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

Comments? Email me or here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site (viewable even in China!) here

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