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Topic: Environmental issues (Read 33416 times)
Re: Environmental issues
Reply #50 on:
February 27, 2007, 07:13:47 PM »
Not that I personally think much of Gore or his (IMO) overblown environmentalist credentials, but what exactly does the size of his house and electric bill have to do with whether or not what he (and most of the climate science community) say about global climate change is true?
Is it perfectly OK for Bush and the oil company CEOs to live in huge mansions, drive Humvees, and fly around in private jets because such gross consumption is perfectly consistent with a belief that global warming is bullshit, or at least nothing to be blamed on pollutive industries?
Re: Environmental issues
Reply #51 on:
February 27, 2007, 09:24:25 PM »
C'mon Rog, the accusation here is one of hypocrisy so no, it is not a point on the merits.
As for the merits of his documentary, that has been discussed already. Glad you agree his credentials are overblown.
Re: Environmental issues
Reply #52 on:
February 28, 2007, 02:04:41 PM »
Quote from: Crafty_Dog on February 27, 2007, 09:24:25 PM
As for the merits of [Gore's] documentary, that has been discussed already. Glad you agree his credentials are overblown.
I haven't seen the movie and don't need to. Anyone wishing to do the global warming research on their own will come to the same conclusion when examining all the evidence (on all sides). Only those that start with the premise that GW is BS will find the contrary evidence (from questionable sources) compelling.
Re: Environmental issues
Reply #53 on:
March 01, 2007, 06:54:15 PM »
Only those that start with the premise that GW is BS will find the contrary evidence (from questionable sources) compelling.
Uhm, horse feces. Though I understand discussing this issue with you will bear no more fruit than discussing a heliocentric solar system with a medieval Catholic Bishop--I'm gonna be declared a heretic regardless--the certainty you bring to your pronouncements is chilling. I'd guess millions of scientists have made billions of observations regarding evolution, and manged to assemble a pretty complete picture of the process, albeit one containing gaps. It's still called the THEORY of evolution nonetheless, and folks who point out flaws in various findings aren't labled tools of biofirms. The THEORY of relativity has a similar history; fruit of that theory is ingrained in our lives yet it's still subject to modification, witness string theory and quantum mechanics. Have yet to hear a string theorist labled a shill for General Electric, however.
Along comes "global warming" and all the glaring holes documented throughout this thread, but for some odd reason we are supposed to treat this politically charged infant science as though it were carved in stone lest we be called mean things. Fornicate that medieval thuggery; dissent and contrary views are a part of science. Indeed, once those voices are excommunicated it's no longer science, it's religion and hence resistant to reasoned discourse.
Here's a piece documenting a single glaring hole in current global warming theory:
NOT THAT SIMPLE
By ROY W. SPENCER
February 26, 2007 -- REPORTS on the global-warming debate have now become part of our daily diet of news. Actors, musicians, politicians, columnists and even the occasional climate scientist all weigh in on how soon planetary disaster will strike, who's to blame and what we should do about it. With claims that manmade warming is anywhere from an undeniable fact to a hoax, anyone can be excused for feeling a little bit confused.
The media is, almost by definition, most interested in extreme views on the issue, so reporting seldom reveals that broad scientific uncertainty still exists. In fact, a silent majority of scientists still think that global warming could end up falling anywhere between a real problem and a minor nuisance: They can see reasons for it going either way. Call them the global-warming moderates.
How can different scientists look at the same atmosphere and yet come to such a wide variety of conclusions? It all depends on their level of faith in our understanding of the atmosphere. We put equations into a computer that describe the basics of how we think the atmosphere works, and then we expect the computer to predict how much warming we will get when we turn up the greenhouse gas "knob."
The Earth's natural "greenhouse effect" traps infrared (heat) radiation because of water vapor, clouds, carbon dioxide and methane. You have probably heard that the greenhouse effect keeps the Earth "habitably warm." So if burning of fossil fuels keeps adding more of a greenhouse gas like carbon dioxide (CO2), the Earth should keep on warming up, right?
Well . . . it's not that simple.
CO2 concentrations - now running at 380 parts per million (ppm), up about 40 percent in the last century - are indeed one possible explanation for our current warmth. But we also know that our climate is a nonlinear, dynamic system - which can go through sizeable gyrations all by itself.
Contrary to popular accounts, very few scientists in the world - possibly none - have a sufficiently thorough, "big picture" understanding of the climate system to be relied upon for a prediction of the magnitude of global warming. To the public, we all might seem like experts, but the vast majority of us work on only a small portion of the problem.
Here, for example, is an insight that even many climate scientists are unaware of: The one atmospheric process that has the greatest control on the Earth's climate is the one we understand the least - precipitation.
Over most of the planet, water is continuously evaporating, humidifying the air to form the Earth's dominant greenhouse gas: water vapor. Climate scientists will tell you that the extra CO2 we are putting in the atmosphere causes a "warming tendency" at the surface, which will evaporate even more water, which will amplify the warming. This positive water vapor feedback, so the theory goes, ends up turning the relative benign direct warming effect of CO2 - only 1 degree of warming late in this century - into a much more serious problem.
But surface evaporation is not what determines how much water vapor, on average, resides in the atmosphere - precipitation systems do. These not only control the water-vapor portion of the greenhouse effect, they directly or indirectly control most of the next most important greenhouse ingredient: clouds.
These systems continuously recycle the Earth's air, and so exert strong controls over the entire climate system. For instance, the rising air in precipitation systems is what causes the sinking, cloudless air over desert areas. Vast oceanic areas of stratus clouds form below a temperature inversion that is also caused by air being forced to sink by precipitation systems, usually thousands of miles away.
So, what does all this have to do with global warming? Unless we know how the greenhouse-limiting properties of precipitation systems change with warming, we don't know how much of our current warmth is due to mankind, and we can't estimate how much future warming there will be, either. To solve the global-warming puzzle, we first need to learn much more about the precipitation-system puzzle.
What little evidence we now have suggests that precipitation systems act as a natural thermostat to reduce warming. For instance, warm, tropical systems are more efficient at converting water vapor to precipitation than their cool high-latitude cousins. Hurricanes are believed to be the most efficient of all.
I believe that negative feedbacks such as this are the only way to explain the relative stability of our climate. Computerized models of our climate have had a habit of "drifting" too warm or too cold. This because they still don't contain all of the temperature-stabilizing processes that exist in nature. In fact, for the amount of solar energy available to it, our climate seems to have a "preferred" average temperature, damping out swings beyond 1 degree or so.
I believe that, through various negative feedback mechanisms, the atmosphere "decides" how much of the available sunlight will be allowed in, how much greenhouse effect it will generate in response, and what the average temperature will be.
Finally, remember that phrase, "the Earth's greenhouse effect keeps the Earth habitably warm?" I'll bet you never heard the phrase that is, quantitatively, more accurate: "Weather processes keep the Earth habitably cool."
Were it not for weather, the natural greenhouse effect would cause the surface of the Earth to average 140 degrees. Wonder why we never hear that fact stated?
I believe that when the stabilizing effects of precipitation systems are better understood and included into the models, predictions of global warming will be scaled back.
Despite current inadequacies, climate models are still our best tools for forecasting global warming. Those tools just aren't sharp enough yet.
Roy W. Spencer is principal research scientist at the Global Hydrology and Climate Center of the National Space Science and Technology Center in Huntsville, Ala. He is also U.S. team leader for the AMSR-E instrument flying on NASA's Terra satellite.
Of Cisterns and Carbon Credits
Reply #54 on:
March 01, 2007, 07:01:48 PM »
BTW, compare and contrast the Bush and Gore homes:
Another Inconvenient Truth…
March 1st, 2007 12:49 pm
We’ve seen all this talk about Al Gore’s hypocrisy in preaching a green lifestyle, but not quite living up to one, himself. Well, now we see evidence that the 2000 Presidential Candidate might actually be an eccentric eco-freak. Caution, though, this source is as liberal as they come:
The 4,000-square-foot house is a model of environmental rectitude.
Geothermal heat pumps located in a central closet circulate water through pipes buried 300 feet deep in the ground where the temperature is a constant 67 degrees; the water heats the house in the winter and cools it in the summer. Systems such as the one in this “eco-friendly” dwelling use about 25% of the electricity that traditional heating and cooling systems utilize.
A 25,000-gallon underground cistern collects rainwater gathered from roof runs; wastewater from sinks, toilets and showers goes into underground purifying tanks and is also funneled into the cistern. The water from the cistern is used to irrigate the landscaping surrounding the four-bedroom home. Plants and flowers native to the high prairie area blend the structure into the surrounding ecosystem.
Like I said, the 2000 Presidential candidate is pretty green.
Unfortunately for Al Gore, it’s the other 2000 Presidential candidate that gets the kudos here.
No, this is not the home of some eccentrically wealthy eco-freak trying to shame his fellow citizens into following the pristineness of his self-righteous example. And no, it is not the wilderness retreat of the Sierra Club or the Natural Resources Defense Council, a haven where tree-huggers plot political strategy.
This is President George W. Bush’s “Texas White House” outside the small town of Crawford.
Oops. Should we wait for a recount?
Now, I realize the rest of the article goes on to bash Bush as an enemy of the environment, but while Al Gore is talking the talk, President Bush is walking the walk… not just at home, but at work, too, where he’s issued an Executive Order to implement energy efficiency in federal office buildings.
Bush is actually doing something to reduce energy consumption… not merely pretending to offset his glutonous lifestyle, while preaching empty words to the masses for a buck. An inconvenient truth, indeed.
Gore buys his “carbon credits” from… himself! (hat tip: Jonathan)
According to the newspaper’s report, Gore buys his carbon offsets through Generation Investment Management:
Gore helped found Generation Investment Management, through which he and others pay for offsets. The firm invests the money in solar, wind and other projects that reduce energy consumption around the globe…
Gore is chairman of the firm and, presumably, draws an income or will make money as its investments prosper. In other words, he “buys” his “carbon offsets” from himself, through a transaction designed to boost his own investments and return a profit to himself. To be blunt, Gore doesn’t buy “carbon offsets” through Generation Investment Management - he buys stocks.
And it is not clear at all that Gore’s stock purchases - excuse me, “carbon offsets” purchases - actually help reduce the use of carbon-based energy at all, while the gas lanterns and other carbon-based energy burners at his house continue to burn carbon-based fuels and pump carbon emissions - a/k/a/ “greenhouse gases” - into the atmosphere.
Not only that, but…
Carbon offsets are an “alternative to reducing one’s own fossil-fuel consumption” and yet “the actual amount of carbon reduction (if any) from an offset project is difficult to measure, largely unregulated, and vulnerable to misrepresentation.”
In a nutshell, Gore consumes large amounts of carbon-based electricity while he trumpets a growing “global warming” crisis that drives up the value of “green” companies like the ones in which he buys carbon offsets invests in their stocks.
So that’s what he means by “green“…
Re: Environmental issues
Reply #55 on:
March 02, 2007, 10:37:46 AM »
Quote from: buzwardo on March 01, 2007, 06:54:15 PM
Only those that start with the premise that GW is BS will find the contrary evidence (from questionable sources) compelling.
Uhm, horse feces.
Hey, don't take my word for it. Like I said, anyone can do the research themselves, check your data/sources and mine, and draw their own conclusions. They can also look back in this thread and see the numerous times I've tried to draw you into a scientific discussion, and each time you come up with some lame excuse and disappear for a while.
So go ahead and call me all the names you want, it won't change the facts, but I'm done wasting my time debunking every article you post.
Re: Environmental issues
Reply #56 on:
March 15, 2007, 02:04:46 PM »
They can also look back in this thread and see the numerous times I've tried to draw you into a scientific discussion, and each time you come up with some lame excuse and disappear for a while.
Pot calls kettle black. Film at 11.
Sorry my medical and vocational complications don't conform to your expectations. I lose sleep over your opinon of me.
Last Edit: March 15, 2007, 02:55:24 PM by buzwardo
Re: Environmental issues
Reply #57 on:
March 18, 2007, 06:19:04 PM »
From a discussion a few weeks ago: Al Gore's 20x electric bill was revealed. The question back (paraphrasing) - what does that have to do with the merits of the argument? Answer: it was about hypocrisy, not the merits.
My two cents: Yes there is hypocrisy which one could use to question character. More importantly I think is it indicates he may not truly really believes his own story.
Let's say the US or 'Cally-fornia' for example makes a drastic, unilateral mandate to curtail economic activity, travel, production, etc. In the big picture we are only setting an example for rest of the world, hoping they follow. If the entire Kyoto group does it - likewise; they still exclude places like China, India, Brazil, Indonesia, etc. If you include all countries, but still allow massive CO2 production at negotiated levels, you still only touch on real, planetary change. In my view, the alarmists should be out front in setting the example and showing extreme sacrifices of lifestyle. My anecdotal observation is that even hybrid owners are generally well above the median in terms of total fossil fuel use when jet travel and utilities for mantions is included.
Further, I think the so-called 'offsets' are bogus. If they believe their own story, they should be doing both: the drastic personal sacrifices and buying and investing in all the offsets they can afford.
When leaders such as Al Gore have wasteful electrical usage and uncurtailed world jetting, when John Edwards clearcuts a forest to build a monument to himself, when John Kerry buys/owns a powerboat the size of my neighborhood, when Nancy Pelosi demands larger aircraft to carry more friends and avoid the inconvenience of refueling... yes it shows hypocrisy. But I don't care much about their personal shortcomings. More specifically it tells me they don't believe their own arguments and that their passion is feigned and opportunistic. JMHO.
Re: Environmental issues
Reply #58 on:
March 19, 2007, 01:38:21 AM »
WSJ online today:
Whose Ox Is Gored?
The media discover the former vice president's environmental exaggerations and hypocrisy.
Monday, March 19, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT
The media are finally catching up with Al Gore. Criticism of his anti-global-warming franchise and his personal environmental record has gone beyond ankle-biting bloggers. It's now coming from the New York Times and the Nashville Tennessean, his hometown paper that put his birth, as a senator's son, on its front page back in 1948, and where a young Al Gore Jr. worked for five years as a journalist.
Last Tuesday, the Times reported that several eminent scientists "argue that some of Mr. Gore's central points [on global warming] are exaggerated and erroneous." The Tenessean reported yesterday that Mr. Gore received $570,000 in royalties from the owners of zinc mines who held mineral leases on his farm. The mines, which closed in 2003 but are scheduled to reopen under a new operator later this year, "emitted thousands of pounds of toxic substances and several times, the water discharged from the mines into nearby rivers had levels of toxins above what was legal."
All of this comes in the wake of the enormous publicity Mr. Gore received after his documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" won an Oscar. The film features Mr. Gore reprising his famous sighing and lamenting how the average American's energy use is greedily off the charts. At the film's end viewers are asked, "Are you ready to change the way you live?"
The Nashville-based Tennessee Center for Policy Research was skeptical that Mr. Gore had been "walking the walk" on the environment. It obtained public records showing that for years Mr. Gore has burned through more electricity at his Nashville home each month than the average American family uses in a year--and his consumption was increasing. The heated Gore pool house alone ran up than $500 in natural-gas bills every month.
Mr. Gore's office responded by claiming that the Gores "purchase offsets for their carbon emissions to bring their carbon footprint down to zero." But CNSNews.com reports that Mr. Gore doesn't purchase carbon offsets with his own resources, and that they are meaningless in terms of global warming.
The offset purchases are actually made for him by Generation Investment Management, a London-based investment firm that Mr. Gore co-founded, and which provides carbon offsets as a fringe benefit to all 23 of its employees, ensuring that they require no real sacrifice on the part of Mr. Gore or his family. Indeed, their impact is also highly limited. The Carbon Neutral Co.--one of the two vendors that sell offsets to Mr. Gore's company, says that offset purchases "will be unable to reduce greenhouse gas emissions . . . in the short term."
The New York Times last week interviewed many scientists who say they are alarmed "at what they call [Mr. Gore's] alarmism on global warming." In a front-page piece in its science section, the Times headline read "From a Rapt Audience, a Call to Cool the Hype."
The Times quoted Don Easterbrook, an emeritus professor of geology at Western Washington University, as telling hundreds of experts at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America that "I don't want to pick on Al Gore. But there are a lot of inaccuracies in the statements we are seeing, and we have to temper that with real data." Mr. Easterbrook made clear he has never been paid by any energy corporations and isn't a Republican.
Even James Hansen, a scientist who began issuing warning cries about global warming in the 1980s and is a top adviser to Mr. Gore, concedes that his work may hold "imperfections" and "technical flaws." Other flaws are more serious, such as Mr. Gore's depiction of sea level rises of up to 20 feet, which would cause Florida and New York City to sink below the surface.
Sober scientists privately say such claims are exaggerated. They point to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations body that released its fourth report on global warming last month. While it found humans were the main cause of recent global warming, the report also indicated it was a very slow-moving process. On sea levels, the U.N. panel reported its s best high-end estimate of the rise in sea levels by 2100 was three feet. The new high-end best estimate is less than half the previous prediction, which was still far below Mr. Gore's 20 feet. Similarly, the new report shows that the panel's 2001 report overestimated the human influence on climate change since the Industrial Revolution by at least one-third.
In an email message to the Times, Mr. Gore defended his work as fundamentally accurate. But it's increasingly clear that far from the "consensus" on global warming we are told exists, scientists are having a broad and rich debate on many aspects of it. Nearly two decades after Mr. Gore first claimed that "we face an ecological crisis without any precedent in historic times," we don't know if that is really true.
Then there is the Gore zinc mine. Mr. Gore has personally earned $570,000 in zinc royalties from a mine his father bought in 1973 from Armand Hammer, the business executive famous for his close friendship with the Soviet Union and for pleading guilty to making illegal campaign contributions during Watergate. One the same day Al Gore Sr. bought the 88-acre parcel from Hammer for $160,000, he sold the land and subsurface mining rights to his then 25-year-old son for $140,000. The mineral rights were then leased back to Hammer's Occidental Petroleum and the royalty payments put in the names of Al Gore Jr. and his wife, Tipper.
Gore spokeswoman Kalee Kreider claims the terms of the 30-year Occidental lease agreement gave the Gores "no legal recourse" to get out of it. She said the Gores never thought about selling the land and would not comment on whether they ever tried to void the lease. "There is a certain zone of privacy once people go into private life," Ms. Kreidler said. She said critics of the arrangement should realize it should be viewed in a "1973 context, not a 2007 context. . . . There was a different environmental sensibility about all sorts of things."
But what about a 1992 context? That is the year Mr. Gore published "Earth in the Balance," in which he wrote: "The lakes and rivers sustain us; they flow through the veins of the earth and into our own. But we must take care to let them flow back out as pure as they came, not poison and waste them without thought for the future." Mr. Gore wrote that at a time when he would be collecting zinc royalties for another 11 years.
The mines had a generally good environmental record, but they wouldn't pass muster either with the standard Mr. Gore set in "Earth in the Balance" or with most of his environmentalist friends. In May 2000 the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation issued a "Notice of Violation" notifying the Pasminco mine its zinc levels in a nearby river exceeded standards established by the state and the federal Environmental Protection Agency. In 1996 the mine twice failed biomonitoring tests designed to protect water quality in the river for fish and wildlife. "The discharge of industrial wastewater from Outfall #001 [the Caney Fork effluent] contains toxic metals (copper and zinc)," the analysis stated. "The combined effect of these pollutants may be detrimental to fish and aquatic life."
The Gore mines were no small operations. In 2002, the year before they shut down, they ranked 22nd among all metal-mining operations in the U.S., with total toxic releases of 4.1 million pounds. A new mine operator, Strategic Resource Acquisition, is planning to reopen the mines later this year. The Tennessean reports that just last week, Mr. Gore wrote SRA asking it to work with a national environmental group as it makes its plans. He noted that under the previous operator, the mines had, according to the environmental website Scorecard, "pollution releases from the mine in 2002 [that] placed it among the 'dirtiest/worst facilities' in the U.S." Mr. Gore requested that SRA "engage with us in a process to ensure that the mine becomes a global example of environmental best practices." The Tennessean dryly notes that Mr. Gore wrote the letter the week after the paper posed a series of questions to him about his involvement with the zinc mines.
Columnist Steven Milloy recalls talking with Mr. Gore in 2006 about the 1997 Kyoto Protocol he helped negotiate as vice president. "Did we think Kyoto would [reduce global warming] when we signed it? . . . Hell no!" said Mr. Gore, according to Mr. Milloy. The former vice president then explained that the real purpose of Kyoto was to demonstrate that international support could be mustered for action on environmental issues. Mr. Gore clearly believes that the world hasn't acted with enough vigor in the decade since Kyoto, which may explain his growing use of the global-warming hype that concerns many mainstream scientists.
Mr. Gore has called the campaign to combat global warming a "moral imperative." But Mr. Gore faces another imperative: to square his sales pitches with the facts and his personal lifestyle to more align with what he advocates that others practice. "Are you ready to change the way you live?" asks Mr. Gore's film. It's time people ask Mr. Gore "Are you ready to change the way you live, as well as the way you lecture the rest of us?"
Re: Environmental issues
Reply #59 on:
March 22, 2007, 02:51:05 PM »
Congressional hearings detail political tampering in US climate research
By Naomi Spencer
22 March 2007
Hearings resumed March 19 in the US Congress on charges of political interference in governmental climate research. The evidence and testimony further demonstrate the lengths the Bush administration, at the behest of the oil industry, has gone to suppress scientists’ findings and confuse public opinion of climate change.
Among those testifying before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform were prominent NASA scientist James Hansen and a former officer from NASA Public Affairs, George Deutsch. E-mails presented at the hearing confirmed that Deutsch’s responsibilities as a PA officer included preventing Hansen from speaking about climate data with reporters, a fact that Bush administration officials have repeatedly denied.
Hansen, who is the director of NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS), recounted several instances of interference. In one case, one of his staff members submitted a press release based on a GISS paper that found the ocean was less effective at removing human-made carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than had previously been estimated. Public Affairs decided that this story could not be provided to the media.
Another staff member, Hansen testified, was made to attend a “practice” press conference, where he was asked whether anything could be done to stem the accelerating loss of sea ice. When he suggested, “We could reduce emissions of greenhouse gases,” he was told by officials, “That’s unacceptable!” Hansen told the House committee that Public Affairs had insisted, “scientists are not allowed to say anything that relates to policy.”
Following a public talk Hansen gave in 2004, in which he mentioned the practice of muzzling climate data, the NASA assistant administrator for public affairs traveled from headquarters to the Goddard Space Flight Center and gave what Hansen called an “oral ‘dressing down’ of the professional writer at Goddard Public Affairs who had informed me about this practice.”
The writer, Hansen said, “was admonished to ‘mind his own business.’ ” Such reprimands and instructions, Hansen said, are delivered orally so as to leave no paper trail. This way, “If NASA headquarters Public Affairs is queried by media about such abuses,” Hansen testified, “they respond ‘that’s hearsay!,’ a legal term that seems to frighten the media.”
The deliberate lack of written records indicates that administration officials are well aware of the inappropriate and essentially illegal character of restricting scientists’ speech.
However, a series of memos and e-mails in late 2005 detailed instructions on constraining public speech, after Hansen presented GISS climate data to the American Geophysical Union. The GISS analysis demonstrated record global temperature in 2005, a finding that sparked unwanted media attention for NASA.
In response, Public Affairs issued tight regulations on Hansen, including a requirement that media interviews be approved beforehand, with NASA headquarters having “right of first refusal,” and that Hansen obtain approval of any posting on the GISS web site. Hansen testified that while these orders were delivered orally, along with a threat of “dire consequences” for non-compliance, the new Public Affairs officer over him, George Deutsch, left written descriptions of the rules.
Deutsch had worked for Bush’s reelection campaign before dropping out of college and taking the appointment for Political Affairs at NASA. Several of his e-mails presented during the hearing plainly demonstrated that NASA leadership was stifling Hansen’s contact with the press. In one, Deutsch wrote, “Senior management has asked us not to use Jim Hansen for this interview.” In another e-mail, it was discussed who could appear in Hansen’s stead to deliver Bush administration talking points: “Are [sic] main concern is hitting our messages and not getting dragged down into any discussions we shouldn’t get into.”
Hansen’s experience is by no means unique. A January survey by the Union of Concerned Scientists found that six in ten federally employed scientists experienced political interference over the past five years, and half were pressured to remove the words “climate change” and “global warming” from their work.
During the hearing, Representative Darrell Issa, Republican of California, ludicrously suggested that it was Hansen who was attempting to curb science and free speech. According to the New York Times, Issa claimed that by speaking out against White House efforts to inject uncertainty on global warming research, Hansen had become “an advocate for limiting the debate.” Hansen replied, “What I’m an advocate for is the scientific method.”
The White House has enormous control over scientific research via the allocation of funds. Along with the various other restrictive measures, punishment by the administration of outspoken climate researchers has also taken the form of budget cuts.
Hansen pointed out that when the Bush administration unveiled its 2007 budget, NASA’s science programs were given a funding increase of 1 percent. Yet Earth Science Research and Analysis faced a staggering 20 percent cut, which was to be enacted by cutting retroactively from the 2006 budget. Hansen remarked, “One way to avoid bad news: stop the measurements!”
“One-third of the way into fiscal year 2006,” Hansen explained, “NASA Earth Science was told to go figure out how to live with a 20-percent loss of the current year’s funds.” The cuts shelve most satellite missions and support for contracting and young scientists.
This comes at a time when NASA satellites are yielding important results. Two satellites measuring the Earth’s gravitational field, for example, found that the mass of Greenland is now decreasing by around 150 cubic kilometers of ice each year. West Antarctica’s ice depletion registered a similar loss. The area of ice sheets with melting has increased substantially, resulting in a doubling in the flow of ice streams, and the area in the Arctic Ocean with summer sea ice has decreased by 20 percent over the past two and a half decades.
Since the first part of the hearings on January 30, the panel has received eight boxes of relevant documents from the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ). The documents, released amidst Monday’s testimony, strongly support the charges of Hansen and others that the White House made an organized and deliberate effort to mislead the public about the dangers posed by climate change through the editing of government climate reports.
One of those charged with this undertaking was former CEQ chief of staff Philip Cooney, who resigned from his position in 2005 after the New York Times reported that he had made hundreds of edits to climate reports. After quitting, Cooney quickly landed a job at ExxonMobil; prior to his appointment, he was the “climate team leader” for the oil industry’s lobbying agency, the American Petroleum Institute (API).
In his congressional testimony March 19, Cooney said his work was “solely to promote the public policies of President Bush and his administration.” Indeed, the present administration, with its inseparable linkages to the oil industry, appointed him for precisely this purpose.
Documents showed at least 181 edits to the administration’s Strategic Plan of the Climate Change Science Program made by Cooney other CEQ officials, aimed specifically at exaggerating scientific uncertainties, and at least 113 edits to the same document for the express purpose of diminishing the importance of the human contribution to global warming.
Cooney also inserted numerous references to supposed possible benefits of climate change, while removing references to taking action to combat global warming based on the scientific evidence. He deleted references to the threat climate change posed to human health, society, and habitation, edits that he justified by saying he felt they “risked overstating human health impacts.”
He also removed references in the administration’s plan to the comprehensive National Assessment of the Potential Consequences of Climate Variability and Change after an interest group funded by the API sued the government over the report’s linking of global warming to the burning of fossil fuels.
Significantly, Cooney deleted any reference to average surface temperature reconstructions, which indicate they have been rising over the last millennium. In multiple places, he changed the words “global change” to “climate variability and change” to suggest that the current warming trend was part of a natural process.
The hearing committee made special note of dozens of alterations that amounted to reversals or negations of conclusions. For example, after a discussion of climate data in the draft, Cooney proposed insertion of the following sentence: “The negative commentary asserted that certain assessment efforts were exaggerated, contrived, or otherwise unsubstantiated.”
The June 2003 Strategic Plan draft read: “Climate modeling capabilities have improved dramatically in recent years and can be expected to continue to do so. As a result, scientists are now able to model Earth system processes and the coupling of those processes on a regional and global scale with increasing precision and reliability.” CEQ had this passage eliminated.
Most of the alternations were subtler, but had the effect of casting excessive doubt on already cautious and conservatively worded scientific findings. For instance, in one passage, the draft read, “Warming temperatures will also affect Arctic land areas.” As in dozens of other passages, Cooney replaced the word “will” with the word “may” resulting in a statement of complete uncertainty. Similarly, in numerous places, Cooney added the word “potentially.”
During his deposition March 12, Cooney was questioned about the Strategic Plan as well as the climate section of a major EPA report that CEQ insisted be altered in similar fashion. The CEQ exerted so much pressure, insisting on hundreds of edits, that the EPA eventually cut the entire section out of the report.
Related PDF files from the Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearings are available through the committee’s web site.
Re: Environmental issues
Reply #60 on:
March 22, 2007, 03:39:05 PM »
Very interesting! I look forward to Buz's reply. Similarly I look forward to your reply to his 10 part post on the Science etc forum in response to your request for a discussion on the merits.
World Socialist Web Site
Reply #61 on:
March 22, 2007, 04:12:32 PM »
I dunno, Crafty. I'm not particularly inclined to treat anything off a world socialist web site as definitive, at least until they get around to dealing with the abject failure of communism along with all the attendant human tragedy.
As I've noted here before, I'm pals with a NASA publicist who had to contend with Hansen's antics. There is certainly more than one perspective here.
Re: Environmental issues
Reply #62 on:
March 22, 2007, 04:45:45 PM »
While I certainly agree with you about Socialism/Communism, it reads to me here like they are actually dealing with factual specifics-- which I have seen referenced elsewhere by the way. I know nothing about Hansen-- what can you tell us about him?
Re: Environmental issues
Reply #63 on:
March 22, 2007, 05:01:36 PM »
Quote from: Crafty_Dog on March 22, 2007, 03:39:05 PM
Very interesting! I look forward to Buz's reply. Similarly I look forward to your reply to his 10 part post on the Science etc forum in response to your request for a discussion on the merits.
I think that was Milt.
Re: World Socialist Web Site
Reply #64 on:
March 22, 2007, 05:04:13 PM »
Quote from: buzwardo on March 22, 2007, 04:12:32 PM
I dunno, Crafty. I'm not particularly inclined to treat anything off a world socialist web site as definitive, at least until they get around to dealing with the abject failure of communism along with all the attendant human tragedy.
Fortunately, you don't have to take their word for it. From the very end of the article:
Related PDF files from the Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearings are available through the committee’s web site.
Re: Environmental issues
Reply #65 on:
March 26, 2007, 11:34:43 AM »
Silly me. I get the two of you confused.
Does strike me as odd, however, to post a piece about someone who claims to have been stifled in his attempts to prevent his data as you and your brother attempt to stifle any point that does not fit with your apocalyptic claims. Is it bad for Bush to do it but okay when you do?
Re: Environmental issues
Reply #66 on:
March 26, 2007, 02:23:53 PM »
Ahem, , , lets focus on the science here more than Patricians and Demagogues playing "he said, she said".
Re: Environmental issues
Reply #67 on:
April 23, 2007, 09:23:58 PM »
From a emailing from Newt Gingrich:
I had a debate a couple weeks ago with Sen. John Kerry -- followed by a speech last week -- about something called "green conservatism." Some of my old friends have approached me to ask why I'm spending so much time talking about the environment -- and with a former Democratic nominee for President no less.
The answer is simple: For the last 36 years, I have watched the pro-regulation, pro-litigation, pro-taxation liberals label themselves as the only Americans who care about the environment.
The leftwing machine would have you believe that to care about clean air and water, biodiversity, and the future of the Earth you have to both buy in to their catastrophic scenarios and sign on to their command-and-control bureaucratic liberal agenda, including dramatic increases in government power and draconian policies that will devastate our economy, as the only solution to environmental challenges.
The time has come to define a fundamentally different approach to a healthy environment and a healthy economy. The time has come for the development of Green Conservatism as an alternative to big bureaucracy and big litigation liberal environmentalism.
Conserving Our Environment, Not Expanding Our Government
Before I talk about what I mean by Green Conservatism, I want to say a few words about how I got to this belief and why I think it's so important for the future of our movement.
I first became interested in conservation when I was a kid in Pennsylvania. Notice that I use the word "conservation." It reflects my fundamental disagreement with today's liberal environmentalists. I believe we should be good stewards of the natural world. We should "conserve" it for our benefit and our children's and grandchildren's benefit, not use it as an excuse for massively expanding regulation, litigation and bureaucracy.
In any case, as a child I originally wanted to be either a zoo director or a vertebrate paleontologist because I was fascinated by the natural world -- and still am. In 1971, I participated in the second Earth Day and became the coordinator of an interdisciplinary Environmental Studies program at West Georgia College. In my commitment to the environment, I was echoing the conviction of two well known Republican leaders. The first was President Theodore Roosevelt, who said that "the nation behaves well if it treats the natural resources as assets, which it must turn over to the next generation increased, and not impaired, in value." The other was then Gov. Ronald Reagan, who upon the occasion of the first Earth Day said that "[there is an] absolute necessity of waging all-out war against the debauching of the environment."
Liberal Environmentalism: Radical, Hysterical and Inaccurate
I care about conserving our environment. But for too many years, liberals have defined what it means to care about the environment -- and too often at a level that is so radical, so hysterical and so inaccurate that the first reaction of conservatives is to oppose them. Without articulate conservative leadership on conservation, the result has too often been that conservatives are labeled anti-environment. For too long, we have not led with our solutions for the environment, while liberals propose and dominate the debate with ill-conceived regulations, a focus on litigation instead of science, and a focus on taxes instead of markets and incentives. Conservatives have allowed liberals to monopolize and hold the high ground on a subject of great concern to all Americans. With your help, I want to change that.
We have every reason to call out all outlandish, fear-mongering exaggerations -- but that doesn't mean we should stop there when it comes to the issue of the environment.
For example, former Vice President Al Gore suggests that global warming is so bad that we could have a 20-foot rise in the oceans in the near future. No responsible scientist anywhere believes that to be true. But if the debate becomes, "Al Gore cares about the earth, and we're against Al Gore," we end up in a defensive position where the average American could end up perceiving conservatives as always being negative about the environment.
Green Conservatism: Pro-Freedom, Pro-Market, Pro-Environment
I'd like to offer you a different view: You can be totally committed to conservative principles -- to individual liberty, a market economy, entrepreneurship and lower taxes -- and still be a Green Conservative. You can believe that with the sound use of science and technology and the right incentives to encourage entrepreneurs, conservatism can provide a better solution for the health of our planet than can liberalism.
So what is Green Conservatism? Here are its basic values:
Green Conservatism favors clean air and clean water.
Green Conservatism understands biodiversity as a positive good.
Green Conservatism favors minimizing carbon loading in the atmosphere as a positive public value.
Green Conservatism is pro-science, pro-technology and pro-innovation.
Green Conservatism believes that green prosperity and green development are integral to the successful future of the human race.
Green Conservatism believes that economic growth and environmental health are compatible in both the developed and developing world.
Green Conservatism believes that we can realize more positive environmental outcomes faster by shifting tax code incentives and shifting market behavior than is possible from litigation and regulation.
Key to Green Conservatism: Energy Independence From Dangerous Dictatorships
A key part of Green Conservatism is to make sure that we don't have only an "environment policy," but we have a comprehensive "energy and environment" policy.
For green prosperity and green development, we have to have a strategy that makes the transition from the unimproved fossil fuels that dramatically improved the quality of life over the pre-industrial period. We need a new generation of clean energy that will: enable us, in national security terms, to be liberated from dependence on dangerous dictatorships; enable us, in economic terms, to be effective in worldwide competition; and enable us, in environmental terms, to provide for a much cleaner and healthier future.
Reliable, affordable energy is indispensable to economic growth around the planet, and economic growth is essential to a healthier environment. In so many ways, both here and abroad, we truly achieve "green through growth."
Sounds Good, but How Do We Get There?
You may have heard me say before that one of the reasons I am optimistic about the future of America is that we can expect four to seven times as much new scientific knowledge and innovation in the next 25 years as we have had in the past 100. As a result, America is truly ideally suited to meet the challenges of conserving our environment. Americans excel at precisely those capabilities that will be required: entrepreneurially led technological innovation and utilization of the power of the free market to provide better environmental outcomes with economic growth advantages, not disadvantages.
There are two key ways we can encourage this entrepreneurialism and innovation:
Allow Prizes to Compete With Process in Our Government-led Scientific Research Investments. We should significantly invest in prizes as a competitive alternative to the current peer-reviewed process of scientific research. We should, for example, offer prizes for the development of high gas mileage cars and other carbon-reduction challenges. We must maximize the rate at which we develop and diffuse new technologies both here and abroad, and prizes have historically unleashed dramatic creativity and innovation. Read here for a partial listing of examples of previous and current prizes.
Offer Carbon Reduction Tax Credits. Green conservatism values reducing the carbon loading of the atmosphere. The least economically disruptive and least government empowering models will be the most effective in achieving this value. We should therefore create a program of carbon-reduction tax credits. One such tax credit idea is to incentivize the creation of new energy production technologies that reduce carbon loading.
Our Entrepreneurs and Markets vs. Their Lawyers, Bureaucrats and Regulations
Our generation faces the extraordinary challenge of bringing to bear science and technology, entrepreneurship, and the principles of effective markets in order to enable people to have a good life both economically and environmentally.
So in the future, I'm going to be talking a lot about Green Conservatism. After all, conservatives can stand toe to toe with any liberal anywhere in America when it comes to wanting to build a better future for ourselves and our families. Four hundred years of American experience has demonstrated that a commitment to science, entrepreneurship and free markets can create better solutions for a better future than lawyers and bureaucrats and their never-ending schemes of regulation and taxation.
So stayed tuned. Green Conservatism is an idea whose time has come.
Re: Environmental issues - Kyo-Two
Reply #68 on:
December 06, 2007, 01:34:28 PM »
"Capitalism had once been the enemy because it was alleged to make people poor. Now it was the enemy because of the alleged side effects of making them rich."
Road to Bali
Peter Foster, Financial Post Published: Thursday, December 06, 2007
The fate of the Earth hangs in the balance in Bali, but the issue is not whether humanity will succumb to a "climate crisis," or how the international community might craft a successor to the tattered Kyoto Accord (Let's call it KyoTwo). The real theme of this United Nations gabfest -- like that of its 12 predecessors, and of the hundreds, if not thousands, of related meetings --is whether globalization and trade liberalization will be allowed to continue, with a corresponding increase in wealth, health and welfare, or whether the authoritarian enemies of freedom (who rarely if ever recognize themselves as such) will succeed in using environmental hysteria to undermine capitalism and increase their Majesterium. Any successor to Kyoto will be rooted in hobbling rich economies, increasing the poor world's resentment, unleashing environmental trade warfare, and blanketing the globe with rules and regulations that benefit only rulers and regulators. Bali is not about climate; it symbolizes the continued assault on freedom by those who seek -- or pander to -- political power under the guise of concern for humanity.
Just at the point where Marxism was being consigned to the dustbin of history, the more or less concealed power lust that had fed it found a new cause in the environment. The fact that the UN's 1992 Rio conference followed hard on the collapse of the Soviet Union represented almost the passing of a poisoned baton. Capitalism had once been the enemy because it was alleged to make people poor. Now it was the enemy because of the alleged side effects of making them rich. The emissions of carbon-based industrial society would lead to a climate in turmoil:We would be beset by Biblical plagues of floods, droughts and monster hurricanes.
This simplistic narrative depended on carbon dioxide being the main driver of climate. Scientists who pointed that there were likely other more important factors, that climate science was in its infancy and that earth's climate had varied dramatically long before the invention of the steam, internal combustion or jet engine, were not scientifically refuted; they were howled down as "deniers" or industry shills.
The environmental left, centred in the UN, has achieved stunning success in building and pushing the climate change/sustain-ability bandwagon. They have done this first by funding, then hijacking, scientific research via the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. They have also promoted and allowed access to an ever-proliferating group of activist NGOs (Bali, significantly, is overrun by the non-elected "representatives" of scores of radical organizations, who have in turn forced similar numbers of industry representatives to follow them). NGOs have also had great success in pushing their alarmist message through a sympathetic media and thus --along with more direct lobbying--in achieving grossly disproportionate influence with democratic politicians. "Progressive" pols, meanwhile, have embraced environmental alarmism because it gives a much-needed boost to their flagging relevance.
Climate-change alarmism couldn't be presented as simply a new justification for power-seeking, so it had to be cloaked--as social-ism has always been cloaked, both consciously and unconsciously -- in concern for "the poor." Addressing climate change has always been linked in the UN script with Third World development, even though it in fact represents the greatest threat to such development. Nevertheless, the prospect of more international redistribution has meant that poor countries' corrupt and/or incompetent governments have become enthusiastic supporters of the Kyoto "process."
The rapid and unexpected explosion of economic growth -- and emissions -- in China and India has created a wrinkle. The United States and Canada claim that the ballooning emissions of these prospective economic superpowers mean that they must be part of any "solution." China and India, by contrast, assert --encouraged by their "poor" colleagues in the Third World bloc -- that since this "problem" was created by the developed countries, the developed countries must deal with it.
Bali will see nothing but posturing and preening, "tough" negotiations, and an agreement to talk further, in yet more exotic locations. But we should remember that the object of the exercise is not to deal practically with the problems of poverty, or to realistically address the challenges of extreme weather, whether caused by humans or otherwise. Bjorn Lomborg has eloquently pointed out why Kyoto-style approaches represent a very poor return on investment, and why we would be much better to deal directly with the specific threats of drought, flooding, malaria or hurricane damage, and with the broader issue of how to promote development. But that criticism misses the real significance of Kyoto and KyoTwo. They are not about effectively addressing specific problems, they are about exploiting ignorance about climate science, and continuing to demonize capitalism, in order to make ecocrats feel good, make others feel bad, pad incomes, and expand travel schedules.
Democratic governments have no choice but to cater to the ignorance/alarm/hypocrisy engendered in their electorates. This catering in turn reflects greater or lesser degrees of cynicism, skepticism, or moralistic bloviation.
The Australian delegation was feted on the first day of Bali because the subcontinent's new government chose at last to sign on to Kyoto, even though the agreement lay in ruins, and would have had virtually zero impact on the climate anyway. Canada's Environment Minister John Baird -- who must cope with the fact that his Liberal predecessors signed Kyoto without any plan or intention of fulfilling their obligations-- must sing from the U.N. hymnbook while keeping a firm hand on the nation's collective wallet. And preparing for the next meeting.
Re: Environmental issues
Reply #69 on:
December 07, 2007, 10:27:17 AM »
On the political side of environmentalism, here is a top ten hypocrites list from junkscience.com:
The Greenest Hypocrites of 2007
Thursday, December 06, 2007
By Steven Milloy
Green has traditionally been the color of the deadly sin of envy. But this year, a trendy upstart mounted a serious challenge to envy’s claim.
Here are green hypocrisy’s top 10 poster children for 2007.
1. Al Gore’s Inconvenient Lifestyle. While the former veep and nouveau-$100 millionaire jets around the world squawking about the “planet having a fever” and demanding that we all lower our standard of living, his own personal electricity use is 20 times the national average, including an indoor pool costing $500/month to heat.
While Gore deflected criticism of his inconvenient electric bill during March congressional testimony by saying he purchased “green” electricity, the truth is, he didn’t start doing so until 2007.
2. Google’s Sky Pig. A photo-op of Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin plugging-in a hybrid car was part of the search engine giant’s June announcement promising carbon neutrality by 2008. But how this PR-fluff squares with the so-called “Google party jet” — Page and Brin’s gargantuan personal Boeing 767, which burns about 1,550 gallons/hour — is any one’s guess.
3. RFK Jr. Tilts at Windmills. Outspoken global warming activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. recently railed against coal-produced electricity because “climate change is the most urgent threat to our collective survival.”
Meanwhile, Kennedy vigorously campaigns against a proposed Cape Cod wind farm that would generate CO2-free electricity because it would “impoverish the experience of millions of tourists and residents and fishing families who rely on the sound's unspoiled bounties.” Unmentioned in Kennedy’s tirades, however, is the windmill’s unfortunate proximity to his family’s famed Hyannis Port compound.
4. The U.N.’s ‘Bali High’. Early December will witness 10,000 climateers descending upon the paradisiacal island resort of Bali for the 13th annual U.N. global warming meeting. The reason for much jet and limo travel — and other prodigious greenhouse gas generating activity associated with such a mega-conference — is relatively modest: setting the agenda and timeframe for a post-Kyoto treaty. Sure seems like something that could have been handled in a less carbon-intensive way — either by Internet and video conferencing or, if meeting is necessary, somewhere in North America or Europe where most key attendees are based.
5. Nancy Nukes Nukes. Supposedly concerned that “global warming and energy independence…have profound implications for our nation’s economic competitiveness, national security, environmental quality and public health,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi created the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming to take the congressional lead on those issues.
So who did Speaker Pelosi pick to chair the committee? None other than long-time nuclear power opponent Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., who appeared with anti-nuke celebrities Bonnie Raitt and Jackson Browne at an October Capitol Hill press conference to denounce legislation promoting the development of ultra-green nuclear power.
6. Every home a Superfund site? “Mercury is highly toxic to everyone, but particularly to children and developing fetuses,” says the activist group Environmental Defense, a long-time campaigner against mercury from power plant emissions and in automobile convenience lighting.
So it came as quite a surprise when the group began advocating that consumers bring the “highly toxic” mercury into their homes in the form of compact fluorescent light bulbs in order to reduce power plant CO2 emissions. CFLs are so hazardous, according to public health officials however, that special safety precautions must be taken for disposal or if the bulbs break.
7. Doesn’t everyone own a NASA scientist? In March 2007, NASA’s climate alarmist-in-chief James Hansen criticized “special interests” campaigning against climate regulation.
“By larding the campaign coffers of numerous politicians, the fossil fuel industry has succeeded in subverting the democratic principle…Until the public indicates sufficient interest, and puts pressure on political systems, special interests will continue to rule.”
Though Hansen poses as a humble civil servant, it recently came to light that his alarmist efforts have been bankrolled by leftist billionaire and MoveOn.org sugar-daddy George Soros. Doesn’t Soros qualify as a “special interest,” Dr. Hansen?
8. Like a Virgin’s Carbon Footprint. London’s Daily Mail reported (“What planet are they on?, July 7) on the climate consciousness of Madonna and other Live Earth performers.
“[T]he pop stars headlining the concerts are the absolute antithesis of the message they promote with Madonna leading the pack of the worst individual rock star polluters in the world… Madonna alone has an annual carbon footprint of 1,018 tons… the average Briton produces just 10 tons… [her] Confessions tour last year produced 440 tons of carbon pollution in just four months, simply in flights between venues.”
That’s one small footprint for the average Brit, but one giant footprint for celebrity-kind.
9. The NBC Poppycock. NBC-Universal kicked-off of its “Green is Universal” initiative by dimming the studio lights — but not two giant video screens and advertisements — during a break in the Nov. 4 Cowboys-Eagles game.
Candle-lit host Bob Costas then cut to video of Today show personalities Matt Lauer, Al Roker and Ann Curry reporting about climate change from the Arctic, Amazon and Antarctic, respectively. None gave even a nod to the energy-hogging effort required to send them and crews to do such pointless broadcasts from exotic locales.
10. California’s Hypocritenator. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared in June 2005 that, “California will be a leader in the fight against global warming…the time for action is now.”
But just two years later, the Los Angeles Times reported that state efforts had been derailed by the governor’s mismanagement and deceit. Schwarzenegger even fired the state’s chief regulator for refusing to limit the number of greenhouse gas regulations. Columnist Debra Saunders noted that, “Schwarzenegger boasts that he is a world leader in the fight against global warming — but his advocacy shouldn't keep him from flying in private jets or driving a Hummer.”
The one thing these honorees all have in common is that their real-life actions belie their carefully crafted green public images. If they don’t take their commitment seriously, why should you?
Steven Milloy publishes JunkScience.com and DemandDebate.com. He is a junk science expert and advocate of free enterprise and an adjunct scholar at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
WSJ: Kill the cows!
Reply #70 on:
July 19, 2008, 06:39:20 PM »
The Lawnmower Men
July 19, 2008; Page A8
Al Gore blew into Washington on Thursday, warning that "our very way of life" is imperiled if the U.S. doesn't end "the carbon age" within 10 years. No one seriously believes such a goal is even remotely plausible. But if you want to know what he and his acolytes think this means in practice, the Environmental Protection Agency has just published the instruction manual. Get ready for the lawnmower inspector near you.
In a huge document released last Friday, the EPA lays out the thousands of carbon controls with which they'd like to shackle the whole economy. Central planning is too artful a term for the EPA's nanomanagement. Thankfully none of it has the force of law -- yet. However, the Bush Administration has done a public service by opening this window on new-wave green thinking like Mr. Gore's, and previewing what Democrats have in mind for next year.
The mess began in 2007, when the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in Mass. v. EPA that greenhouse gases are "air pollutants" under current environmental laws, despite the fact that the laws were written decades before the climate-change panic. The EPA was ordered to regulate if it decides that carbon emissions are a danger to the public. The 588-page "advance notice of proposed rulemaking" lays out how the EPA would like it to work in practice.
Justice Antonin Scalia noted in his dissent that under the Court's "pollutant" standard "everything airborne, from Frisbees to flatulence, qualifies," which the EPA appears to have taken literally. It is alarmed by "enteric fermentation in domestic livestock" -- that is, er, their "emissions." A farm with over 25 cows would exceed the EPA's proposed carbon limits. So would 500 acres of crops, due to harvesting and processing machinery.
But never fear. The EPA would regulate "farm tractors" too, plus "lawn and garden equipment." For example, it "could require a different unit of measure [for carbon emissions] tied to the machine's mission or output -- such as grams per kilogram of cuttings from a 'standard' lawn for lawnmowers."
In fact, the EPA has new mandates for everything with an engine. There's a slew of auto regulations, especially jacking up fuel-efficiency standards well beyond their current levels, and even controlling the weight and performance of cars and trucks. Carbon rules are offered for "dirt bikes and snowmobiles." Next up: Nascar.
The EPA didn't neglect planes and trains either, down to rules for how aircraft can taxi on the runway. Guidelines are proposed for boat design such as hulls and propellers. "Innovative strategies for reducing hull friction include coatings with textures similar to marine animals," the authors chirp. They also suggest "crew education campaigns" on energy use at sea. Fishermen will love their eco-sensitivity training.
New or modified buildings that went over the emissions limits would have to obtain EPA permits. This would cover power plants, manufacturers, etc. But it would also include "large office and residential buildings, hotels, large retail establishments and similar facilities" -- like schools and hospitals. The limits are so low that they would apply to "hundreds of thousands" of sources, as the EPA itself notes. "We expect that the entire country would be in nonattainment."
If this power grab wasn't enough, "EPA also believes that . . . it might be possible for the Agency to consider deeper reductions through a cap-and-trade program." The EPA thinks it can levy a carbon tax too, as long as it's called a "fee." In other words, the EPA wants to impose via regulatory ukase what Congress hasn't been able to enact via democratic debate.
That's why the global warmists have so much invested in the EPA's final ruling, which will come in the next Administration. Any climate tax involves arguments about costs and benefits; voting to raise energy prices is not conducive to re-election. But if liberals can outsource their policies to the EPA, they can take credit while avoiding any accountability for the huge economic costs they impose.
Meanwhile, the EPA's career staff is unsupervised. In December, they went ahead and made their so-called "endangerment finding" on carbon, deputizing themselves as the rulers of the global-warming bureaucracy. The adults in the White House were aghast when they saw the draft. EPA lifers retaliated by leaking the disputes of the standard interagency review process to Democrats like Henry Waxman and sympathetic reporters. Thus the stations-of-the-cross media narrative about "political interference," as if the EPA's careerists don't have their own agenda. So the Administration performed triage by making everything transparent.
At least getting the EPA on the record will help clarify the costs of carbon restrictions. Democrats complaining about "censorship" at the EPA are welcome to defend fiats about lawnmowers and flatulent cows.
Monckton to McCain, 1
Reply #71 on:
October 18, 2008, 02:52:48 PM »
Open letter from The Viscount Monckton of Brenchley to Senator John McCain about Climate Science and Policy.
Dear Senator McCain, Sir,
YOU CHOSE a visit to a wind-farm in early summer 2008 to devote an entire campaign speech to the reassertion of your belief in the apocalyptic vision of catastrophic anthropogenic climate change - a lurid and fanciful account of imagined future events that was always baseless, was briefly exciting among the less thoughtful species of news commentators and politicians, but is now scientifically discredited.
With every respect, there is no rational basis for your declared intention that your great nation should inflict upon her own working people and upon the starving masses of the Third World the extravagantly-pointless, climatically-irrelevant, strategically-fatal economic wounds that the arrogant advocates of atmospheric alarmism admit they aim to achieve.
Britain and the United States, like England and Scotland on the first page of Macaulay's splendid History of England, are bound to one another by "indissoluble bonds of interest and affection". Here in this little archipelago from which your Pilgrim Fathers sailed, we have a love-love relationship with what Walt Whitman called your "athletic democracy". You came to our aid - to the aid of the world - when Britain had stood alone against the mad menace of Hitler. Your fearless forces and ours fight shoulder to shoulder today on freedom's far frontiers. The shortest but most heartfelt of our daily prayers has just three words: "God bless America!" For these reasons - of emotion as much as of economics, of affection as much as of interest - it matters to us that the United States should thrive and prosper. We cannot endure to see her fail, not only because if she fails the world fails, but also because, as the philosopher George Santayana once said of the British Empire and might well now have said of our sole superpower, "the world never had sweeter masters." If the United States, by the ignorance and carelessness of her classe politique, mesmerized by the climate bugaboo, casts away the vigorous and yet benign economic hegemony that she has exercised almost since the Founding Fathers first breathed life into her enduring Constitution, it will not be a gentle, tolerant, all-embracing, radically-democratic nation that takes up the leadership of the world.
It will be a radically-tyrannical dictatorship - perhaps the brutal gerontocracy of Communist China, or the ruthless plutocracy of supposedly ex-Communist Russia, or the crude, mediaeval theocracy of rampant Islam, or even the contemptible, fumbling, sclerotic, atheistic-humanist bureaucracy of the emerging European oligarchy that has stealthily stolen away the once-paradigmatic democracy of our Mother of Parliaments from elected hands here to unelected hands elsewhere. For government of the people, by the people and for the people is still a rarity today, and it may yet perish from the earth if America, its exemplar, destroys herself in the specious name of "Saving The Planet".
Science and the climate: the facts
The facts about "rising temperatures"
You have said: "We have many advantages in the fight against global warming, but time is not one of them. Instead of idly debating the precise extent of global warming, or the precise timeline of global warming, we need to deal with the central facts of rising temperatures ... Today I'd like to focus on just one [challenge], and among environmental dangers it is surely the most serious of all. Whether we call it ‘climate change' or ‘global warming', in the end we're all left with the same set of facts. The facts of global warming demand our urgent attention, especially in Washington. Good stewardship, prudence, and simple commonsense demand that we act to meet the challenge, and act quickly. ... Across the world average temperatures ... seem to reach new records every few years."
Here, Sir, are the facts about "rising temperatures". The facts which I shall give you in this letter are taken not from my own imagination, nor from the obscurantist reports of the UN's climate panel, nor from any lobby group, but from the peer-reviewed scientific literature.
Very nearly all of the citations that support the crucial facts which your advisers seem not to have put before you, and which I shall set forth in this letter, are from peer-reviewed papers. Some, however, such as the documents of the UN's climate panel, the IPCC, are not peer-reviewed in the accepted sense of the term. Peer-reviewed papers will be indicated by citations with the date in parentheses, thus: Boffin et al. (2008). Papers that are not peer-reviewed will be indicated by square brackets, thus: IPCC .
I begin with a geological and historical perspective on global mean surface temperature that your advisors seem to have withheld from you. For most of the past 600 million years, the mode of temperature - the temperature that most often prevailed globally - is thought to have been 12.5 °F higher than today's temperature: for today's temperature, in the perspective of the long recent history of our planet, is unusually low.
During each of the last four interglacial periods over the past half-million years, temperature was 5 to 8 °F warmer than the present (Petit et al., 1999).
For 2000 years in the Bronze Age, during the Holocene Climate Optimum (which is called an "Optimum" because warmer is better than cooler), temperature was up to 5 °F warmer than the present. Thanks to the warmer weather, on many continents simultaneously, the world's first great civilizations emerged.
It was also warmer during the 600 years of the Graeco-Roman warm period, when the twin civilizations that were the foundation of our own flourished in the Mediterranean. And it was warmer during the half millennium of the Mediaeval Climate Optimum, when the Renaissance reawakened humanity after the Dark Ages, and the great cathedrals and churches of Europe were built.
In 2001 the UN's climate panel made a maladroit and disfiguring attempt [IPCC, 2001] to heighten the baseless alarm that underlies all of its reports by denying that the Middle Ages were warmer than the present. However, three eminent statisticians working at the instigation of your own House of Representatives produced the definitive report [Wegman et al., 2005], confirming the peer-reviewed research of McIntyre & McKitrick (2003, 2005) establishing that the UN's graph had been doctored so as falsely to deny the reality of the mediaeval warm period, to whose existence hundreds of peer-reviewed papers from all parts of the globe attest.
At both Poles, it was warmer only half a century ago than it is today. For temperatures in the Arctic, see Soon et al. (2004). For the Antarctic, see Doran et al. (2002).
During the Maunder Minimum, a period of more than half a century ending in 1700 when there were no sunspots on the surface of our Sun, a Little Ice Age occurred all over the world (Hathaway, 2004). In 1700 there began a recovery in solar activity that has continued ever since, culminating in the 70-year Solar Grand Maximum that seems recently to have ended. During the Grand Maximum, the Sun was more active, and for longer, than during almost any previous similar period in the past 11,400 years (Solanki et al., 2005; and see Usoskin et al., 2003; and Hathaway, 2004). A symposium of the International Astronomical Union  concluded that it is the Sun that was chiefly responsible for the warming of the late 20th century.
From 1700-1998, temperature rose at a near-uniform rate of about 1 °F per century [Akasofu, 2008]. In 1998, "global warming" stopped, and it has not resumed since: indeed, in the past seven years, temperature has been falling at a rate equivalent to as much as 0.7 °F per decade [Hadley Center for Forecasting, 2008; US National Climatic Data Center, 2008]. Very few news media have given any prominence to this long and pronounced downturn in the temperature trend.
It is now thought possible that no new global annual temperature record will be set until at least 2015 (Keenlyside et al., 2008). Yet the projection of the UN's climate panel had been that temperature would rise by about 1 °F during the 17 years to 2015. It is no surprise, then, that Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, the panel's chairman, has called for a re-evaluation of its hitherto very high estimates of "climate sensitivity" - the temperature change in response to the ever-increasing atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide.
The facts about supposedly "rising temperatures" which I have set out above, can be readily verified by your advisors. If you like, I can assist them in finding the relevant peer-reviewed papers and global temperature datasets. On these facts, there is no scientific basis for your assertion that "We have many advantages in the fight against ‘global warming', but time is not one of them."
Since the world is not warming at the rate projected by the UN's climate panel, it follows that the urgency relentlessly suggested by that panel and echoed in your speech is by no means as great as the UN's reports would have us believe.
The correct question, posed by Akasofu , is this: Since the world has been warming at a uniform rate in parallel with the recovery of solar activity during the 300 years following the Maunder Minimum, and since humankind could not have had any significant influence over global temperature until perhaps 50 years ago, if then, is there any evidence whatsoever that the observed anthropogenic increase in carbon dioxide concentration over the past half-century has had any appreciable influence, at all, on global temperature?
Another relevant question may occur to you: Is it not strange that the "global warming" scare has been rising in the media headlines and in the rhetoric of the classe politique throughout the past seven years, even though global temperature has been falling throughout that period?
Finally, now that you have the facts about temperature before you, it will be evident to you that you were not correct in having said that a new temperature record seems to be set every few years. Despite rapidly-rising carbon dioxide concentrations, there has been no new record year for global temperature in the ten years since 1998; and, in the United States, there has been no new record year for national temperature since 1934 - a record set almost three-quarters of a century ago, and well before humankind could have had any significant influence on temperature.
Monckton to McCain, 2
Reply #72 on:
October 18, 2008, 02:53:18 PM »
The facts about carbon dioxide concentration
You have said: "We know that greenhouse gasses are heavily implicated as a cause of climate change. And we know that among all greenhouse gasses, the worst by far is the carbon-dioxide that results from fossil-fuel combustion."
Sir, the first of your two quoted statements requires heavy qualification: the second is scientifically false. The combined effect of the two statements is profoundly misleading.
Greenhouse gases keep the world warm enough for plant and animal life to thrive. Without them, the Earth would be an ice-planet all of the time rather than some of the time. The existence of greenhouse gases, whether natural or anthropogenic, retains in the atmosphere some 100 Watts per square meter of radiant energy from the Sun (Kiehl & Trenberth, 1997) that would otherwise pass out uninterrupted to space.
According to the UN's climate panel [IPCC, 2007], anthropogenic "radiative forcings" from all sources compared with 1750 account for just 1.6% of this total, or perhaps almost 5% if temperature feedbacks as currently overestimated by the UN are taken into account. I say overestimated because the sum of the UN's high-end estimates of individual temperature feedbacks exceeds the maximum that is possible in the feedback equation used by the UN, implying that the central estimates are also very likely to be excessive. Your words "heavily implicated", therefore, seem somewhat overstated.
As to your second statement, the "worst" greenhouse gas - the one which, through its sheer quantity in the atmosphere, accounts for two-thirds of the 100 Watts per square meter of greenhouse-gas radiative forcing reported by Kiehl & Trenberth (2007, op. cit.) - is water vapor. Carbon dioxide accounts for little more than a quarter.
Two-thirds of the carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere is naturally present, and carbon dioxide occupies just one-ten-thousandth more of the atmosphere today than it did 250 years ago (Keeling & Whorf, 2004, updated): for the atmosphere is large and we are small.
The UN's climate panel [IPCC, 2007] thinks that a doubling of carbon dioxide concentration compared with 1750 might occur later this century on current trends, and may lead to a global temperature increase of almost 6 °F. However, numerous papers in the peer-reviewed literature confirm that the UN's central climate-sensitivity projection must be excessive.
Allowing for the fact that the UN's climate panel has exaggerated the effects of temperature feedbacks, the temperature increase in consequence of a doubling of carbon dioxide concentration could be as little as 1 °F. Values as low as this have been suggested in the peer-reviewed literature (e.g. Chylek et al., 2007).
You have proposed, in your speech that three-fifths of the US economy should be closed down by 2060. Do you not think that a far greater degree of scientific certainty as to the effects of minuscule increases in carbon dioxide concentration on temperature would be advisable before strategic damage on any such scale is inflicted upon the US economy from within, and by a Republican?
The facts about the basis of the imagined scientific "consensus"
You have said: "We stand warned by serious and credible scientists across the world that time is short and the dangers are great."
Sir, the implication of your quoted remark is that the "serious and credible scientists" who are warning us that "time is short and the dangers are great" outnumber the equally "serious and credible scientists" who are not warning us of anything of the kind. The reverse is the case. A recent survey (Schulte, 2008) of 539 peer-reviewed scientific papers published since January 2004 and selected at random using the search term "global climate change" reveals that not a single paper provides any evidence whatsoever that "time is short" or that "the dangers are great".
The notion of imminent, catastrophic climate change is a fiction that is almost wholly absent in the scientific literature. Indeed, the only papers that predict catastrophe are written by a tiny clique of closely-connected, extravagantly-funded, politically-biased scientists with unhealthily close political and financial connections to certain alarmist politicians in the party that you nominally oppose.
Suppose, ad argumentum, that the UN's exaggerated climate-sensitivity estimates, proven in the peer-reviewed literature and in the unfolding temperature record to be fantasies wholly unrelated either to scientific theory or to observed reality, are true. Even then, the disasters imagined by the UN's climate panel and by certain politicians are unlikely to occur. Since the UN's estimates are indeed exaggerations, and are known to be so, the only potentially-"credible" basis for the alarmism reflected in your speech falls away. In the scientific literature, there is no "consensus" whatsoever to the effect that anthropogenic "global warming" will be "catastrophic".
It is vital that you should understand the extent to which the UN's case for panic action is founded not upon theoretical proofs in climatological physics, nor upon real-world experimentation (for nearly all of the parameters necessary to the evaluation of climate sensitivity are not directly measurable, and their values can only be guessed) but upon computer models - in short, upon expensive guesswork.
However, using computer models to predict the climate, even if the input data were known rather than guessed, cannot ever be effective or accurate: for the climate, in the formal, mathematical sense, is chaotic. The late Edward Lorenz (1963), in the landmark paper that founded the branch of mathematics known as chaos theory, proved that long-run climate prediction is impossible unless we can know the initial state of the millions of variables that define the climate object, and know that state to a degree of precision that is and will always be in practice unattainable.
Why is such very great precision necessary? Because it is the common characteristic of any chaotic object, such as the climate, that the slightest perturbation, however minuscule, in the initial value of even one of that object's variables can induce substantial and unpredictable "phase transitions" - sudden changes of state - in the future evolution of the object. Unless the initial state of the object is known to an unattainably high degree of precision, neither the timing of the onset, nor the duration, nor the magnitude of these phase transitions can be predicted at all. Accordingly, the predictions go off track very suddenly and dramatically, but ineluctably.
The UN [IPCC, 2001], accepts that the climate is "a complex, non-linear, chaotic object", and, consequently, that "long-term prediction of climate states is impossible". Yet it then attempts the impossible by making predictions of climate sensitivity that are already being proven exaggerated by the failure of temperatures to rise as the computer models had predicted (or, recently, at all).
All of the climate models relied upon by the UN predict that the distinguishing characteristic or "fingerprint" of anthropogenic greenhouse-gas forcing as opposed to any other forcings is that in the tropical mid-troposphere, about 6 miles up, temperature over the decades should rise at two or even three times the rate of increase observed at the tropical surface. However, this predicted "hot-spot" over the tropics is not observed in any of the tropospheric temperature datasets since reliable measurements were first taken by balloon-borne radiosondes 50 years ago.
Douglass & Knox (2006) and Douglass et al. (2008) have established that the absence of the "hot spot" predicted by the UN's models is real, and is not (as was suggested by Thorne et al., 2007) a measurement error or artifact within the estimated uncertainty interval of the observed record. Lindzen (2008) estimates that in the absence of the "hot-spot" the UN's estimate of climate sensitivity must be divided by at least three. Thus, making this adjustment alone, a doubling of carbon dioxide concentration would raise global temperature not by 6°F but by a harmless and beneficial 2 °F.
You also need to know that the values for climate sensitivity in the computer models - in short, the central estimates of how much the world's temperature will increase in response to a given rise in the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere - are not outputs from the models, but inputs to them. The computers are being told to assume high climate sensitivity [Akasofu, 2008].
Let me summarize the irremediably shaky basis for the UN's alarmist case. It is not based on physical theory. It is not based on real-world observation. It is based on computer modeling, in which - astonishingly - the models are told at the outset the values for the very quantity (temperature response to increased carbon dioxide concentration) that they are expected to find.
Now you will appreciate how ridiculous it is, to any competent mathematician, to hear the IPCC claiming that it is "90% certain" that most of the observed warming during the 50 years before the warming stopped in 1998 is anthropogenic. For a start, a 90% confidence level is not a recognized statistical interval: 95% confidence, or two standard deviations, is a recognized interval, but that would be even more absurd than trying to claim 90% confidence for a proposition that depends absolutely for its validity upon parameters that cannot be measured and can only be guessed: and a proposition that is demonstrated to be false with each successive year during which no further "global warming" takes place. It is regrettable that anyone should seek to make policy, as you have done, on such a manifestly unsound basis.
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Monckton to McCain, 3
Reply #73 on:
October 18, 2008, 02:56:07 PM »
The facts about "rising sea levels"
You have said: "We need to deal with the central facts of ... rising waters."
The "central facts" about "rising" sea levels are as follows.
Sea level has been rising since the end of the last Ice Age 10,000 years ago. It is 400 feet higher now than it was then. The rate of increase has averaged 4 feet per century. Yet in the 20th century, when we are told that "global warming" began to have a major impact on global temperature and hence on sea level, sea level rose by just 8 inches.
That is just one-sixth of the mean centennial rate over the past 10,000 years. Why so little? Because almost all of the world's ice - including the vast sheets that once covered much of what is now the United States - melted away long ago.
True, the UN imagines that most sea-level rise will come not from the melting glaciers about which the media so frequently fantasize, but from thermosteric expansion - sea water swelling as it warms. However, thermosteric expansion can only occur if the body of water in question is getting warmer. The oceans are not getting warmer (except in certain regions, such as the Antarctic Peninsula, where there is evidence of undersea volcanic activity).
Lyman et al. (2006) reported that the oceans of the world had been cooling since 2003. They published a correction the following year, to the effect that the oceans had not been cooling, but had not been warming either.
Now a definitive study based on readings from 6000 bathythermographs, shows that the oceans have indeed been cooling since at least 2003, in line with the atmospheric cooling noted in the observed temperature record.
It is no surprise, then, that the UN's climate panel [IPCC, 2007] has been compelled to cut by one-third its previous high-end estimate [IPCC, 2001] that sea level would rise 3 feet by 2100. Its new high-end estimate is less than 2 feet, with a best estimate of no more than 1 ft 5 in.
The world's foremost expert on sea level is Professor Niklas Moerner, who has been studying nothing but sea level throughout his 30-year career. In a recent paper (Moerner, 2004), he condemns the IPCC for its baseless exaggeration of future sea-level rise, and says there is no reason to suppose that sea level will rise any faster in the 21st century than it did in the 20th - i.e., by about 8 inches.
There is not and has never been any scientific basis for the exaggerated projections by a certain politician that sea level might imminently rise by as much as 20 feet. That politician, in the year in which he circulated a movie containing that projection, bought a $4 million condominium just feet from the ocean at Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco.
You may well ask whether he actually believed his own prediction and, if so, why he spent so much buying a condominium that - if his prediction were right - would very soon be worthless. In a recent case in the High Court in London, intended to prevent the transmission of alarmist pseudo-science to children, the judge said of this politician that "the Armageddon scenario that he predicts is not based on any scientific view."
The facts about "receding glaciers"
You have said: "Satellite images reveal a dramatic disappearance of glaciers ... And I've seen some of this evidence up close. A few years ago I traveled to the area of Svalbard, Norway, a group of islands in the Arctic Ocean. I was shown the southernmost point where a glacier had reached twenty years earlier. From there, we had to venture northward up the fjord to see where that same glacier ends today - because all the rest has melted. On a trip to Alaska, I heard about a national park visitor's center that was built to offer a picture-perfect view of a large glacier. Problem is, the glacier is gone. A work of nature that took ages to form had melted away in a matter of decades."
The facts about "receding glaciers" are by no means as "dramatic" as you suggest. You cite evidence from just two glaciers. Even if it were pardonable to deploy anecdotal evidence from a couple of glaciers and then to perpetrate the logical fallacy of arguing from the particular to the general, it is evident that your two examples do not represent a sufficient sample to be credible as a basis for drawing the drastic conclusion that you have drawn.
It may surprise you to learn that there are more than 160,000 glaciers in the world [IPCC, 2001]. Your two examples are a minuscule fraction of one percent of the world's glaciers. Most of these glaciers have never been visited, measured, or analyzed by humankind. The vast majority of them - including the biggest on the planet, which is 250 miles long and 40 miles wide - are in Antarctica, most of which has been cooling for half a century (Doran et al., 2002).
Professor M. I. Bhat, of the Indian Geological Survey, was kind enough last year to communicate to me his results concerning the 9,575 mountain glaciers that debouch from the Himalayan plateau into India. These glaciers, thanks to the British Raj, have been studied and recorded for longer than any others. Professor Bhat reports that most of the glaciers have been receding at a uniform rate since 1880 at the latest. Some of them had begun receding even before this date. His analysis is confirmed on a global scale by Robinson, Robinson & Soon (2007), who report that since 1880 mountain glaciers have receded worldwide at a near-uniform rate, with no appreciable acceleration in the second half of the 20th century, before which time the anthropogenic influence on climate must have been negligible.
Professor Bhat raises the right question: Given that glacial recession began long before humankind could have had any appreciable effect on global temperature, and given that the rate of recession has remained uniform, on what basis can it be said, as you have implied, that it is anthropogenic "global warming" that is causing the glaciers to recede?
The recession of glaciers in the Swiss Alps has revealed mediaeval roadways, forests, and even an entire silver mine that had been buried by ice during the Little Ice Age. The glaciers had not been present in the mediaeval warm period: now they are again absent. There is nothing "dramatic" about this: climate change is indeed real, and has long been occurring for entirely natural reasons. It is far more difficult than the UN's climate panel and certain politicians have suggested to distinguish between natural climatic cycles and any supposed anthropogenic influence in recent decades. And, as you will now appreciate, it is not scientifically credible to state that the Alaskan glacier you mention had taken "ages" to form. Glaciers come and go quite quickly in response to changing climate cycles.
Mount Kilimanjaro has been one of the poster-children for anthropogenic "global warming". A certain politician has publicly suggested that the observed recession of the Furtwangler glacier at the summit - which, he says, may lead to the disappearance of Hemingway's "snows of Kilimanjaro" within a few years - has been caused by anthropogenic "global warming".
However, the scientific facts are remarkably different. As Professor Bhat might say, the right questions that a true scientist rather than a mere politician would ask are these: When did the recession of the glacier begin? And what has been the trend in temperature at the summit of the mountain? The answers are these: the glacier began to recede in 1880, and more than half of the "snows of Kilimanjaro" had already vanished when Hemingway wrote his novel under that title in 1936. Furthermore, since satellite monitoring began in 1970, the surface temperature at the summit has averaged 12.5 °F below freezing, and has never exceeded 3 °F below freezing (Molg et al., 2003). The glacier is not, therefore, melting. It is ablating, not because of "global warming" but because of desiccation of the atmosphere caused by a prolonged and natural regional cooling, compounded by imprudent post-colonial deforestation of the surrounding territory. The High Court judge rightly had harsh words to say about a certain Democrat politician's highly-publicized suggestion that Kilimanjaro had melted because of "global warming".
In the very cold winter of 2007/8, during which the biggest January-to-January fall in global temperatures since records began in 1880 was recorded, several glaciers in Greenland began to re-advance.
Finally, only a tiny proportion of the future sea-level rise imagined by the UN's climate panel is attributed by it to melting glaciers [IPCC, 2007]. It is true that the excitable media reported that melting glaciers would have a very large effect on sea level, but this was because the UN's bureaucrats had inserted into its 2007 report, after the scientists had signed it off, a table in which the estimated contributions to sea-level rise from glaciers and from ice-sheets had each been multiplied by 10, by the simple expedient of moving four decimal points sideways. When I wrote to the UN pointing out this error, the UN quietly corrected, relabeled, and moved the table: but by then it had obtained the alarmist headlines that had been intended: and not one of the newspapers that had printed the incorrect figure bothered to correct it once the UN had been compelled to revise the table. It is episodes such as this that ought to have led you and your advisors to think very carefully about whether the UN's climate panel is as independent, unbiased, science-based, and competent as would be necessary to justify the very drastic damage which you propose to inflict upon the US economy.
The facts about "disappearing Antarctic ice shelves"
You have said: "Satellite images reveal a dramatic disappearance of ... Antarctic ice shelves."
Eight ice shelves, with a combined area that is less than 2% of the area of Texas, have disintegrated in recent years, and one of them has already re-formed. However, it is significant that all of these ice shelves are concentrated in a single area of Antarctica - the Peninsula - which itself represents only 2% of the total area of Antarctica.
There has been no significant recession of ice shelves anywhere in Antarctica except in the Peninsula, where subsea volcanic activity may have contributed to the observed disintegrations, which are in any event to be expected given that global temperature has been rising for 300 years. In the first 250 of those 300 years, humankind could not by any stretch of the most alarmist imagination be conceived to have had any significant impact on temperature or on melting ice.
It is also significant that the Larsen B ice shelf, which disintegrated suddenly a few years ago, had not been present during the mediaeval warm period (Pudsey et al., 2006). As with the glaciers, so with the ice shelves, all we are seeing is a natural cycle in the coming and going of the Earth's ice. Since it was warmer than the present throughout most of the past 10,000 years, it is likely that at many times there has been less ice at either Pole than there is today.
An interesting recent example is the case of what the alarmist clique calls "Warming Island" - a peninsula in northern Greenland that recently turned out to be an island when a small ice shelf joining it to the mainland melted. The news about "Warming Island" flashed around the world, and various news media carried front-page headlines about this latest alleged evidence for "global warming". Setting aside the consideration - which cannot be too often repeated - that the fact of warming tells us nothing of its cause, one methodical researcher decided to see whether there were any earlier maps that showed "Warming Island" to be an island. The researcher did not even have to go back as far as the mediaeval warm period. In fact, he had only to go back to 1957, when a book published by an Arctic explorer plainly showed "Warming Island" as an island. You will recall that in the 1940s the Arctic was warmer than it is today. Therefore "Warming Island was then an island, and was still visibly an island when the explorer made his map in the late 1950s. Then a natural cooling cycle supervened, and "Warming Island" became what we might call "Cooling Peninsula". Now it is "Warming Island" again.
On the evidence, therefore, the satellite images of disappearing ice shelves do not provide any scientific basis for assuming that the warming that caused the disintegrations was other than local; or that it was caused by anthropogenic rather than solar or volcanic warming; or that the ice shelves that disintegrated had always been present until the recent disintegration. In short, these disintegrations provide no basis whatsoever for the drastic policies that you have proposed to remedy what is on any view a non-problem.
The facts about "melting polar ice sheets"
You have said: "Satellite images reveal a dramatic disappearance of ... polar ice sheets."
Here, Sir, are the facts about "melting polar ice sheets". There are four great polar ice sheets: the East and West Antarctic ice sheets; the Greenland ice sheet; and the Arctic ice-cap. We shall consider each in turn.
The East Antarctic ice sheet is on a high plateau at high latitude. Since most of Antarctica has cooled over the past 50 years (Doran et al., 2002), so much so that environmental damage caused by cold has occurred in some of the Antarctic glens, there is no danger of this ice sheet disappearing, and there are no satellite images revealing that it has done so, is doing so, or is about to do so.
The West Antarctic ice sheet is grounded below today's sea level. From time to time, therefore, the warmer ocean around it causes sometimes very large pieces of the edge of the ice sheet to disintegrate. However, these edges tend to re-form in the long Antarctic winter. Logs kept by whalers going back hundreds of years record flat-topped icebergs - inferentially, pieces of the West Antarctic ice sheet - many hundreds of miles long. So there is nothing new in these occasional breakages from the edge of the ice sheet. They have happened before; they have happened again; and they tell us nothing about whether or to what extent the warming (whether natural or anthropogenic) that ceased in 1998 was or is responsible. We know, however, that both the summer and the winter extent of the sea ice surrounding Antarctica was greater in 2007/8 than at any time since the satellite record began 30 years ago. Therefore the West Antarctic ice sheet gives no ground for alarm.
The Greenland ice sheet, like that of East Antarctica, is on a high plateau. Also, that plateau is ringed by mountains: for the enormous weight of the ice sheet has borne down heavily on the rock below to create a basin in which the bulk of the ice sheet sits. That is why recent alarmist stories about "moulins" - summer meltwaters getting below the ice sheet and lubricating it so as to allow it suddenly to rush down to the sea - are entirely baseless.
Such moulins are not new: they have often been recorded in the past, and they are a normal part of the Greenland summer climate. Some glaciers debouching from the plateau through gaps in the ring of mountains that surrounds it have indeed receded: recently, however, others have advanced. In late May 2008, in south-western Greenland, one would normally have expected spring flowers: however, the snow still lay thick on the ground.
But the most telling evidence of all is that of Johannesen et al. (2005), who used satellite interferometry to determine that the mean thickness of the Greenland ice sheet increased by 2 inches per year - a total of 1 ft 8 in - during the decade 1993-2003. Once again, there is no cause for alarm.
The last time the Greenland ice sheet melted was 850,000 years ago: and that melting, of course, occurred entirely through natural causes. The UN's climate panel [IPCC, 2007] says that if the Greenland ice sheet melts again, it will only do so if global temperature was sustained at 4 °F above today's for several millennia. Even then, according to the UN, the cause of any such disintegration would be natural rather than anthropogenic.
The facts about "reduced snowpack"
You have said: "Our scientists have also seen and measured reduced snowpack, with earlier runoffs in the Pacific Northwest and elsewhere."
The facts about "reduced snowpack" are not as you have been led to think they are. Once again, after some three centuries of gradual warming, one would certainly expect to see less rather than more snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere. That would not be surprising. Yet, even if it were so, the fact of the warming that caused the reduction in snow cover would tell us nothing of the cause. However, there has been no reduction in overall snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere in the 30 years since satellites were first able to measure its extent.
Your advisors needed to go no further than the Rutgers University Snow and Ice Lab, which has monitored snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere in the vital winter months for 30 years. During that time, there has been no trend in winter snow cover. There has been no decline at all, either in any individual winter month or at all. Indeed, new records for the extent of Northern-Hemisphere winter snow cover were established in 2001-2 and again in 2007-8, the winter immediately before your speech.
There is, therefore, no scientific basis for the notion that there has been any downtrend in snow cover during the past 30 years. Since natural climate change occurs on regional as well as hemispheric or global scales, there will be some regions with more snow cover and others with less from time to time. But to focus only on those regions with less snow cover, and then to argue from the particular to the general as you have done, drawing the improper implicit conclusion that anthropogenic "global warming" has caused a decline in snow cover, is not only a fallacy of logic but also lacks any scientific foundation in the observed record.
The facts about "sustained drought"
Monckton to McCain, 4
Reply #74 on:
October 18, 2008, 02:56:46 PM »
You have said: "We have seen sustained drought in the Southwest ... In the years ahead, we are likely to see reduced water supplies ..."
The facts about "sustained drought" are these. The atmosphere has been warming for 300 years, as the activity of the Sun has increased from the Maunder Minimum that ended in 1700 towards the Grand Maximum of the past 70 years, during which solar activity was greater than at almost any previous similar period in the past 11,400 years (Solanki et al., 2004; and see Usoskin et al., 2003, and Hathaway, 2004). One of the few proven results in climatological physics is the Clausius-Clapeyron relation, which establishes that, as the space occupied by the atmosphere warms, so its carrying capacity for water vapor increases near-exponentially. The UN's climate panel calls this phenomenon the "water-vapor feedback".
Over a sufficient timescale of decades, then, a warmer climate will entail not a drier atmosphere but a moister one. Sure enough, some of the world's driest regions - such as the southern Sahara - have experienced more, not less, precipitation over the period of the satellite record. The Sahara - contrary to the alarmist claims of a certain Democrat politician - has actually shrunk in area by 300,000 square kilometers over the past 30 years, allowing nomadic tribes to return to regions that they had not occupied within living memory (Nicholson, 1998, 2001).
As to your suggestion that "we are likely to see reduced water supplies", you have yet again blamed "global warming" for a problem that has nothing to do with warmer weather. As the human population expands, its demands on water supplies increase, leading to shortages. That, and not "global warming", is why many parts of the world do not have regular supplies of drinking water.
You may have read John Steinbeck's novel, The Grapes of Wrath. It is set in the Great Plains of the 1930s, and its theme is the prolonged and devastating droughts that occurred in the first half of the 20th century but have been absent in the generally warmer and moister climate since.
Once again, therefore, you have argued from the particular to the general when there was no logical or scientific basis for having done so.
The facts about "extreme weather events"
You have said: "We have seen a higher incidence of extreme weather events ... We are likely to see ... a greater intensity in storms. Each one of these consequences of climate change will require policies to protect our citizens, especially those most vulnerable to violent weather."
Here are the facts about "extreme weather events". The UN's climate panel has said, and said repeatedly, that it is not scientifically possible to attribute any extreme-weather event to anthropogenic "global warming". The most extreme of all extreme-weather events is the hurricane, tropical cyclone, or typhoon. However, there has been no trend in the frequency of hurricanes that make landfall on the eastern seaboard of the United States for a century, even though global mean surface temperatures rose by more than 1 °F during that century. Furthermore, in the past 30 years the frequency of severe tropical cyclones and of severe typhoons has exhibited a pronounced downtrend.
It has long been settled science that a warmer climate would reduce the frequency and intensity of severe storms outside the tropics. Until recently, a minority of dissenting scientists had held that "global warming" might intensify not the frequency but the intensity of hurricanes, tropical cyclones, and typhoons in the region of the Equator. However, it is now known that warmer weather reduces the temperature differential between the Equator and the Poles; and that wind-shear tends to dampen the intensity of the worst hurricanes.
Two prominent dissenters - notably Emanual (2008) - have resiled in recent weeks from their previously-published opinions to the effect that the intensity of hurricanes might be expected to increase with warmer worldwide weather. There is, therefore, no longer any credible, scientific basis for your implicit conclusion that "a higher incidence of extreme-weather events" has occurred because of anthropogenic "global warming", for three reasons: first, there has been no increase in extreme-weather events in the observed record; secondly, it is not possible to attribute any individual extreme-weather event to anthropogenic "global warming"; and thirdly, for the past ten years there has been no "global warming", so that, even if there had been "a higher incidence of extreme-weather events", which there has not, "global warming" (whether natural or anthropogenic) cannot possibly have been the cause.
The facts about "sudden changes" in animal habits and habitats
You have said: "In the frozen wilds of Alaska, the Arctic, Antarctic, and elsewhere, wildlife biologists have noted sudden changes in animal migration patterns, a loss of their habitat..."
The facts about "sudden changes" in animal habits and habitats are not as you have implied. First, since the climate has always changed naturally (it is, after all, a chaotic object in mathematical terms), animals are constantly having to change their migration patterns, or to move to new habitats as old ones disappear. To take one obvious example, sea level has risen 400 feet in just 10,000 years. This rise in sea level occurred naturally. Vast lands that were formerly inhabited by a great variety of land mammals are now underwater, and are inhabited by fish. The North Sea is a good example. It was not there 10,000 years ago, and Britain was joined to Europe.
Secondly, since the fact of the warming that ceased in 1998 tells us nothing of its cause, even where it is possible to attribute significant changes or losses of habitat to warmer weather, and even where such changes or losses are harmful, your implication that the "global warming" that caused these undesirable changes is anthropogenic has no scientific basis.
Thirdly, "global warming" - whether natural or anthropogenic - is by no means the most pressing threat to wildlife. The direct intrusion of humanity into the landscape and seascape is the real danger. Scientifically-unwarrantable tendencies to ascribe every adverse event in the biosphere to "global warming" is actually dangerous to the world's most vulnerable creatures, because it diverts attention and vital resources from the true causes of environmental threats towards the non-problem of anthropogenic "global warming".
Let me take one example - the polar bear, poster-child of the alarmist faction. Acres of print and hours of electronic media coverage have been devoted to the imagined disappearance of the polar bear's habitat - the Arctic ice-cap. A question that ought to have occurred to your advisors is this: How long has the polar bear stalked the Arctic, and has the Arctic ice-cap been there throughout that period? The answer is that polar bears evolved from the land-based brown bear some 200,000 years ago. But 125,000 years ago there was an interglacial period, during which global temperatures - so the ice-core analyses tell us - were about 6 °F warmer than they are today. We may legitimately infer that there was no ice-cap during that interglacial period: yet the polar bears survived. How? Because they are warm-blooded animals and are perfectly capable of surviving on land - such as Greenland, or Siberia, or northern Canada, or Alaska - if there is no Arctic ice-cap.
Therefore, even if it were possible to attribute the disappearance of the Arctic ice-cap to anthropogenic rather than to natural "global warming", it is not scientifically credible to say that the disappearance would in any way threaten the existence of the polar bears. They survived the far higher temperatures of the previous interglacial period: there is no reason to suppose they would not be able to survive this one.
The facts about "polar bears" responding to "new dangers"
You have said: "You would think that if the polar bears, walruses, and sea birds have the good sense to respond to new conditions and new dangers, then humanity can respond as well."
The facts are that polar bears are not intelligent beings. Accordingly, they act not by a conscious effort of will but by instinct. They cannot display "good sense". By natural selection, as they evolved from the brown bear, their coats became white, they became larger and more resistant to cold, and they migrated northward on to the Arctic ice-cap during their hunting season.
The chief danger to polar bears has nothing whatever to do with "global warming" - indeed, a recent survey (Norris, 2001) for the World Wide Fund for Nature shows that in those parts of the Arctic that have warmed the population of polar bears has increased; in those parts that have neither warmed nor cooled the population is stable; and in those parts that have cooled the population has fallen. Polar bears, like us, are warm-blooded animals, and, like us, they prefer warmer weather. The recent bitterly cold winter in the Arctic drove many starving bears to approach human habitations in the hope of finding food.
The real danger to polar bears is hunting. The chief reason for the increase in their population since the Second World War is that both the hunting of polar bears and the culling of the seals on which they feed have been subjected to legislative control. The protection of polar bears and their food supply has worked, is working, and will continue to work. Once again, you have addressed a non-problem by suggesting that the polar bears are at risk (which they are not) because of anthropogenic "global warming", which will be entirely harmless to them, even if the Arctic ice-cap entirely melts away, as it did 125,000 years ago and may well have done during the two-thirds of the past 10,000 years when global temperatures were warmer than they are today.
But the key question is this: Does the polar bear exhibit the key characteristic of a species at risk? Your advisors might have asked that question. And what is the key characteristic of a species at risk? It is, of course, declining population. However, the population of polar bears is not plummeting. Instead, there are five times as many polar bears in the Arctic today than there were in the 1940s. As you may think, that is hardly the profile of a species facing imminent extinction as its habitat shrinks away. Polar bears do not breed on the Arctic ice-cap, but in land-based dens. Though their current staple diet is seal-blubber, their land-based origins are still evident in the fact that their favorite delicacy is blueberries, which do not grow on the Arctic ice-cap, but only on land. Even if the ice-cap vanished, as it has done before, the polar bears would not vanish. There is no scientific basis for your attribution of a non-existent threat of extinction of polar bears to the non-problem of anthropogenic "global warming".
The facts about "more forest fires"
You have said: "We are likely to see more forest fires than in previous decades ..."
The facts about forest fires are that, yet again, you have attributed to "global warming" a problem that manifestly has another and more obvious cause. We have already established (or, rather, the great physicist Clausius established long ago) that warmer weather means a more humid atmosphere, so that "global warming" is not very likely to cause "more forest fires". The obvious principal cause of forest fires is human activities - such as arson, which has accounted for a significant proportion of all forest fires in the United States in recent years, or accidental discarding of cigarette-butts, or arcing power-lines. It would be cheaper, and hundreds of times more effective, to police the forests more efficiently, to educate the population not to light fires near standing timber during dry weather, and to create fire-breaks even in natural forests so that if fires do start they are easier to control.
The facts about "changes in crop production"
You have said: "We are likely to see changes in crop production ..."
The facts about crop production are that it is susceptible to changes in the climate, but only if the changes are very substantial. You have only to look at the wide latitudinal distribution of the world's staple crops to appreciate that - even if "global warming" were continuing, which it is not, and even if humans were the cause, which to a great extent we are not - even substantial rises in temperature are not likely to have an adverse effect on crop yields. Indeed, the UN's climate panel says that increases of up to 4 °F would be likely actually to increase crop yields. The astronomer Herschel, in 1801, noticed when reading a table of grain prices in Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations that the price of grain was inversely correlated with the number of sunspots visible on the surface of the Sun. The warmer the weather, the higher the grain yield, and - in accordance with the law of supply and demand - the lower the price. So there is no scientific basis for your implication that "changes in crop production" will be negative, or that any negative changes will be caused by anthropogenic "global warming".
The facts about "heat waves afflicting our cities"
You have said: "We are likely to see more heat waves afflicting our cities ..."
The facts about "heat waves" are that they can and do occur naturally, and that their frequency is likely to diminish during periods of global cooling, such as the last seven years. Studies of deaths caused by heat waves in Texas and Mexico, which have identical (and hot) climates, show that heat-induced deaths are a function not so much of temperature as of the economic capacity and administrative and medical skill that are available. A heatwave in Mexico can kill thousands: the same heatwave in Texas will kill no one. The United States has the necessary economic strength (which your proposals for shutting down three-fifths of the economy would of course put at risk). And it has the administrative and medical ability. Consequently, it has learned how to deal with heat waves so as to prevent deaths. Therefore there is no scientific basis for saying or implying that anthropogenic "global warming" is or may become the principal cause of death from heat waves. It is lack of economic and social development that causes deaths from heat waves.
Science and the climate: conclusion
Sir, every one of the reasons that you have advanced for alarm and consequent panic action has been demonstrated to be hollow and without any scientific foundation or merit. Yet, if your proposal to close down three-fifths of the economy of the United States is to be justifiable, then not only the false scientific propositions but also the false policy propositions that you have advanced must be shown to be true. Here, then, are ten propositions, with each of which you appear to agree, each of which is actually false. All of these propositions must be proven true before any action is taken to tamper with the climate, still less the fatal, self-inflicted wounds that you would invite your nation to make to her economy:
1. "The scientists, politicians, and media behind ‘global warming' are honest": They are not;
2. "The debate is over and all credible climate scientists are agreed": They are not;
3. "Temperature today has risen exceptionally fast, above natural variability": It has not;
4. "Changes in solar activity do not much impact today's global warming": They do;
5. "Greenhouse-gas increases are the main reason why it is getting warmer": They are not;
6. "The fingerprint of anthropogenic greenhouse warming is clearly present": It is absent;
7. "Computer models are accurate enough to predict the climate reliably": They cannot be;
8. "Global warming is to blame for present and future climate disasters": It is not;
9. "Mitigating climate change will be cost-effective": It will not;
10. "Taking precautions, just in case, would be the responsible course": It would not be.
We have examined the scientific propositions that you have advanced, and found them wanting. We now turn to your policy prescriptions and the basis for them.
Page Printed from:
at October 18, 2008 - 12:47:07 PM EDT
Monckton to McCain, 5
Reply #75 on:
October 18, 2008, 02:58:29 PM »
Public policy and the climate
Global intervention: your proposed remedy for "market failure"
You have said: "For all the good work of entrepreneurs and inventors in finding cleaner and better technologies, the fundamental incentives of the market are still on the side of carbon-based energy. This has to change before we can make the decisive shift away from fossil fuels. ... As a nation, we make our own environmental plans and our own resolutions. But working with other nations to arrest climate change can be an even tougher proposition. China, India, and other developing economic powers in particular are among the greatest contributors to global warming today - increasing carbon emissions at a furious pace - and they are not receptive to international standards ... The United States and our friends in Europe cannot alone deal with the threat of global warming. No nation should be exempted from its obligations. And least of all should we make exceptions for the very countries that are accelerating carbon emissions while the rest of us seek to reduce emissions. If we are going to establish meaningful environmental protocols, then they must include the two nations that have the potential to pollute the air faster, and in greater annual volume, than any nation ever in history. "
By now I hope I have established in your mind the possibility, at the very least, that there is no need whatsoever for any controls on the emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere that has previously and harmlessly contained 20 times today's concentration. And I trust that you will at least pass this letter to your advisors and invite them to contact me to verify the truth of the facts which I have spelt out here. You owe your nation and its citizens at least that much consideration before you shut down three-fifths of its economy and transfer three jobs in five to China, increasing the world's "carbon footprint" as you do so.
When Sir Nicholas Stern launched his now-discredited report on the economics of climate change, he made it plain from the outset that his analysis was political, and from a Leftist perspective, by announcing that State intervention on a massive scale was necessary to overcome what he described as "market failure". His then Prime Minister, Tony Blair (a Socialist), also used the phrase "market failure" at the Press Conference at which the Stern report was launched.
What you are suggesting in the above-quoted passage from your speech is dangerously close to the Leftist rhetoric of Stern and Blair. You are saying, in effect, that the free market on its own is incapable of acting fast enough to prevent worldwide damage caused by anthropogenic "global warming", and that there should be a globalization of etatiste interventionism to counter "market failure".
The facts are that the free market can scarcely be blamed for having failed to address an imagined "problem" that has not long been widely talked of; that, now that the free market has been made aware of the imagined "problem", it will be able to deal with the "problem" (to the extent that the "problem" is real) far more quickly and effectively than the State; and that, given the late Milton Friedman's Nobel-prizewinning observation that the State consumes twice as much of the world's resources to achieve a given objective as the free market, it is the State, not the market, that has failed, and it is the State, not the market, that must be cut down to size, regulated, and controlled.
A recent report by an association of manufacturers in the United States, designed to demonstrate how heavy the cost of "carbon trading" would be, said that the consequence of the introduction by the Federal Government of a "cap-and-trade" scheme would be the doubling of electricity prices by 2030. However, the free market has already achieved this doubling in just a couple of years.
This illustrates a central point that your advisors seem to have missed: namely, that even if the fancifully-exaggerated estimates of climate sensitivity generated by the UN's climate panel were correct (and they are not), the world will have largely run out of the fossil fuels that are the alleged cause of the alleged "problem" long before any significant environmental damage can occur. And long before the fossil fuels become exhausted, their price will rise (thanks to the free-market law of supply and demand), so that the market will ration them by price long before any State-imposed system of rationing, whether by "cap-and-trade" or otherwise, could possibly have gained sufficient public acceptance to make any difference.
Therefore the "decisive shift away from fossil fuels" that you say is necessary will occur - and rapidly - quite irrespective of any action by the State. The economic competitors of the Western nations know this perfectly well. Russia, India, and above all China have made it abundantly plain that they do not propose to reduce their "carbon emissions".
China, ingeniously, has said that it will happily reduce its "carbon emissions" to the same level per capita as the West. This would, of course, entail a considerable increase in China's emissions, and she is already the world's largest gross emitter. So, even if the West were to close down all of its industries and transport systems and factories and hospitals and schools and power stations, and even if we were to revert to the Stone Age but without the ability even to light carbon-emitting fires, the growth in China's and India's emissions would entirely replace all of our emissions within little more than a decade.
All that we should achieve, if we inflicted upon ourselves a severe enough system of rationing actually to reduce our emissions by the three-fifths you have suggested, would be to transfer our industries, our workers' jobs, our emissions, and our well-controlled environmental pollution to China, which is opening one or two new coal-fired power stations every week, and whose record of pollution is currently the worst on the planet. What conceivable economic benefit could such a policy have, even if China's dictators were prepared to go along with it (which they are not)?
Some defects of your proposed "cap-and-trade" policy
You have said: "For the market to do more, government must do more ... The most direct way to achieve this is through a system that sets clear limits on all greenhouse gases, while also allowing the sale of rights to excess emissions. And this is the proposal I will submit to the Congress if I am elected president - a cap-and-trade system to change the dynamic of our energy economy ... As part of my cap-and-trade incentives, I will also propose to include the purchase of offsets from those outside the scope of the trading system ... The cap-and-trade system will create jobs, improve livelihoods, and strengthen futures across our country. ... We need to set a better example in Washington, by consistently applying the best environmental standards to every purchase our government makes."
Sir, never did I think to see a Republican uttering the words, "For the market to do more, government must do more." It is, of course, the other way about. For the market to do more, government must do less. Remember the Friedman multiple: government consumes twice as much - and hence emits twice as much carbon - to do any given thing than the private sector.
Your proposal to introduce "cap-and-trade" would require a vast, complex, costly, bureaucratic nightmare of controls, regulations, intrusions, and interferences that would swiftly and forever destroy the economic vigor and prominence of the United States. And, in doing so, it would actually increase the "carbon footprint" of the nation, by transferring into the inefficient public sector a range of activities that - to the extent that they were necessary or desirable at all - would be far more efficiently and cheaply and hence non-emittingly done than the same activities done by the public sector.
The facts are that "cap-and-trade" is a concept invented by the Environmental Defense Fund - no friends of the Republican party. We shall see, when I reach the final section of this letter, the catastrophic worldwide effect of a previous intervention in politics by this organization. Given the unsatisfactory track record of this organization, which has long been bitterly and implacably inimical to the Western freedoms for which the Republican party stands, it is no less than breathtaking that you could so insouciantly advocate the introduction of a system of arbitrary, State-controlled rationing at that organization's instigation.
What is "cap-and-trade"? Let us spell it out. First and foremost, it is a complex regime of State-inflicted rationing, by which government officials interfere in the free market by arbitrarily deciding which industries shall or shall not be permitted to emit, and how much each of them shall have the right to emit. The economic distortions caused by this system would be monstrous. Favored industries, with generous permissions to emit, would gain sudden and immense economic advantages at the expense of unfashionable industries, with strictly-curtailed permissions to emit. The industries not favored by the State would either go under or go off-shore. They would leave behind an increasingly unemployed and disenchanted workforce, which would never forgive the Republican party for so deliberate, so baseless and so insensate a destruction of their livelihoods.
For you cannot escape the central flaw of the Environmental Defense Fund's "cap-and-trade" system. If carbon trading is to work, it will not be cheap; and, if it is cheap, it will not work. And when I say it will not be cheap, I am not talking purely in financial terms but in human terms. If you introduce cap-and-trade, you will destroy millions, and probably tens of millions, of jobs throughout the United States and in all sectors of the economy.
And those jobs - the livelihoods of working people and their families throughout the Republic - will have been sacrificed for no environmental benefit whatsoever: for whatever we cease to make, China will make in our place; whatever we cease to emit, China will emit in our place, and will emit in greater quantities because her systems of power generation are far less efficient than our own.
You will not only destroy the livelihoods of tens of millions: you will also increase the planet's total emissions of carbon dioxide. I am not worried by the extra emissions, for they will be harmless; but, if you actually believe (per impossibile) what you have said in your speech about the imagined dangers of increased emissions of carbon dioxide, then you had better abandon "cap-and-trade" at once: for the policy you propose would be calculated to increase the world's carbon footprint, not to reduce it.
The chimera of "market rewards for alternative energy"
You have said: "As never before, the market would reward any person or company that seeks to invent, improve, or acquire alternatives to carbon-based energy."
The facts are that the greatest market incentive is price. While fossil fuels were plentiful, cheap and not in heavy worldwide demand, there was no market incentive to develop new technologies. Now, the price of oil has increased by 1000% in five years, thanks to the free-market law of supply and demand. Therefore, the market has already multiplied by ten the rewards for developing and deploying alternatives to oil.
Since there is no longer any spare capacity in the system of oil production, and since most oilfields are in nations with unstable regimes at least as inimical to the West as your friends in the Environmental Defense Fund, and since China, India, Indonesia, Russia, and Brazil are growing rapidly and using more and more oil, the market will continue to increase the price of oil and, therefore, the incentive to find and fund alternative technologies. On any view, that is market success, not "market failure".
What, then, would happen if you were to introduce a State-inflicted rationing system on an economy already reeling under the oil-price shock? Even if there were a scientific case for cutting carbon emissions (which there is not), there is now not the slightest economic case for doubling the damage already caused by the increase in oil prices by imposing "cap-and-trade" on top.
If you were to impose "cap-and-trade" on top of steep and inexorably-continuing increases in the price of oil, you would merely drive the economy from recession to destruction. In short, the market has already done your job for you. Gasoline prices are higher than they could ever have been under a "cap-and-trade" regime; so are electricity prices. You can safely leave the market to bring about reductions in carbon emissions. No State intervention is either necessary or desirable.
Capital in the service of freedom: Smith's "invisible hand"
You have said: "It is very hard to picture venture capitalists, corporate planners, small businesses and environmentalists all working to the same good purpose. But such cooperation is actually possible in the case of climate change, and this reform will set it in motion."
Sir, please re-read Adam Smith's Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. It was Smith - the world's first economist, and one of its best - who first drew attention to the fact that entrepreneurs are guided as if by "an invisible hand" to provide what their customers want and need. Capitalism is built upon this foundation. It is precisely because entrepreneurs only prosper by giving people what they want that capital and liberty go everywhere hand in hand.
Directly contrary to what you say, it is not in the least hard to picture venture capitalists, corporate planners, and small businesses working together to the same good purpose. However, environmentalists are not always working to a good purpose. They are a narrow, special-interest group just like any other. It would be foolish to ignore the fact that, after the Berlin Wall fell, many on the Left found a new home in the environmental movement, seeing it as the new hope for the destruction of the Western, capitalist hegemony that they so detest.
One of the founders of Greenpeace - a man with a genuine concern for the environment but otherwise with no political opinions - has told me that he was compelled to leave the movement after a year, when the international Socialist Left took it over and used its true objectives as a mere front for what is in all material respects indistinguishable from Communism.
Monckton to McCain, 6
Reply #76 on:
October 18, 2008, 02:59:04 PM »
His testimony - and other founders of Greenpeace have agreed with him - ought to alert you to the reality that the environmental movement in general, and the "global warming" alarmists in particular, may have an agenda that is political rather than environmental - an agenda that is a serious, strategic threat to the peace, security, prosperity, and liberty of the West, and an immediate and pressing threat to the very survival of the poorest peoples of the world.
At the very least, there is an obvious coincidence of interest between those who persistently exaggerate the supposed adverse consequences of "global warming", as you have done in your speech, and those who have long planned and intended to dismantle and destroy the economies and liberties of the free and prosperous West from within. In our schools, the slick, relentless propaganda of the alarmists - based not on fact but on fear - infects the minds of innocent children. Gripping children in a self-serving, manipulative state of fear robs them of their childhood.
In our newspapers and on our television channels, the same half-baked but ingenious propaganda is shamelessly peddled, with little or no attempt either at balance or at genuine identification and presentation of the scientific truth. Among our classe politique, "global warming" is seen not as a crusade to "Save The Planet", but rather as a priceless opportunity to extend the empires of the new and growing aristocracy of overpaid, over-privileged bureaucrats and the politicians who cravenly serve them, and to increase the taxes and imposts inflicted on the people, and to intrude into every aspect of our lives, from the light-bulbs we use to the automobiles we drive.
It is to this admittedly powerful coincidence of interests between the international Left and the powerful educational, media, and political lobby groups that your speech has imprudently pandered. You, of all people, who have served your country and the cause of freedom so gallantly, and who have been tortured and imprisoned to keep us free, ought to be alive to the threat to our liberty that the perversion of environmentalism that is the "global warming" scare ineluctably entails.
As Francis Bacon wrote in one of his Essays, "Walled towns, stored arsenals and the like be to no avail except the spirit of the people be stout and warlike." If the spirit even of a courageous warrior such as you is no longer stout or warlike, what is the point in maintaining armed forces to defend our freedoms and our interests throughout the globe? What is the point of keeping troops in Iraq or Afghanistan, bases in Guam or Diego Garcia, intelligence operations in Cyprus or Beirut?
In giving naïve and uncritical credence to the pseudo-scientific gibberish that is "global warming", you have adopted a policy long beloved of our own Foreign Office - that of the pre-emptive cringe. You have declared to the enemies of liberty and of capital that they have won; and that the opening words of your Declaration of Independence about "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" are henceforth irrelevant, meaningless, and one with the Treaty of Westphalia, which Pope Innocent X described as "null, void, invalid, damnable, reprobate, inane, and empty of meaning for all time."
The heavy cost of the economic destruction you propose
You have said: "We will cap emissions according to specific goals, measuring progress by reference to past carbon emissions. By the year 2012, we will seek a return to 2005 levels of emission ... by 2020, a return to 1990 levels ... and so on until we have achieved at least a reduction of sixty percent below 1990 levels by the year 2050. ... In pursuit of these objectives, we cannot afford to take economic growth and job creation for granted ... We want to turn the American economy toward cleaner and safer energy sources. And you can't achieve that by imposing costs that the American economy cannot sustain."
Let us translate what you have said into plain English. You have said that within 42 years - the working lifetime of a high-school graduate today - the policies which you propose to introduce will have shut down, deliberately, consciously, and to no environmental benefit whatsoever, more than three-fifths of the entire United States economy. You propose to throw your nation back in the direction of the Stone Age - electricity one day a week if that, automobiles replaced by horses and carts, elevators replaced by stairs, all aircraft grounded, the conquest of space abandoned, factories silent, at least one hundred million jobs destroyed and transferred to China, the machine-press and combine-harvester replaced by the hammer and sickle.
You have naively assumed that, somehow, new technologies will emerge to replace fossil fuels and nuclear power (for, like oil and gas, uranium will also be largely exhausted and at best prohibitively expensive by the year 2050). Let us briefly examine the credibility of this assumption. At present, fossil fuels and nuclear power, between them, provide more than 98% of the energy we use. So-called "renewable energy" accounts for less than 2%. Even the UN's climate panel no longer believes that you can close down 98% of your nation's power supplies and retain anything more active than a Stone Age economy.
Already, some 60 coal-fired power-plants have been refused zoning consent for construction in the United States. You have been culpably silent in the face of this attack on the economic lifeblood of your nation, and on the jobs and prospects of the working people who extract the coal and convert it into the electric power your nation needs. I say "culpably", because proven reserves of coal will last for at least 300 years, whereas all other major sources of electric power, fossil or nuclear, will be either exhausted or prohibitively expensive within 50 years.
The pretext for this potentially-fatal, self-inflicted wound on your nation's economy is that the burning of fossil fuels will enrich the atmospheric concentration of "greenhouse gases", causing a dangerous warming of the planet which must be prevented at all costs. If you have done me the kindness of reading the first part of this letter, you will have been given good reason - with dozens of references to learned papers in the peer-reviewed, scientific journals - to disbelieve any such apocalyptic nonsense.
At the very least, I implore you and your advisors to look very much more closely at the supposed science behind the notion that the planet would be at risk if the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere were once again to reach a concentration one-tenth of that which occurred - without disaster - in the Cambrian Era. One only has to mention that single fact to draw the attention of any reasonably impartial mind to the probability that the supposed threat posed to our planet by "global warming" must have been exaggerated beyond all reason.
The carbon footprint of the economic interferences you propose
You have said: "Over time, an increasing fraction of permits for emissions could be supplied by auction, yielding federal revenues that can be put to good use. Under my plan, we will apply these and other federal funds to help build the infrastructure of a post-carbon economy. We will support projects to advance technologies that capture and store carbon emissions. We will assist in transmitting wind- and solar-generated power from states that have them to states that need them. We will add to current federal efforts to develop promising technologies, such as plug-ins, hybrids, flex-fuel vehicles, and hydrogen-powered cars and trucks. We will also establish clear standards in government-funded research, to make sure that funding is effective and focused on the right goals."
It is understandable that you should have made a conscious decision, in framing your policies for the Presidency, to adopt a "One-Nation" approach, reaching out to those in the Democrat party whose central belief is in government of the people, by the bureaucracy, and for the bureaucracy - in short, in the tyrannical, anti-democratic system of command-economy administration that we in Europe would call Communism, or Fascism, or International Socialism: there is little to choose between them except in the numbers of people they kill.
With respect, however, your proposal vastly to increase the powers and intrusions and costs of the federal administration at the expense of the rights and freedoms and prosperity of the individual citizen goes very much too far. Every attempt made by any government to dictate the future shape or size or direction of its national economy by the fiat of its ruling elite has ended in failure. Your proposal to command the reshaping of the economy from the center has no merit, not merely because there is no scientific or economic need for it, but because, even if there were, it cannot and will not work.
Remember Friedman's multiple. The State consumes twice as much resources as the private sector in performing any given function. Therefore, if you truly believe that the planet is menaced by an insignificant and harmless increase in the atmospheric concentration of a trace gas that is essential to life, then your first duty as President will be to do the reverse of what you propose: in short, to shut down all unnecessary functions of the federal administration altogether, and to transfer as many as possible of the remainder to the private sector, which has already done a better job of disincentivizing the consumption of fossil fuels in just two years than your proposed "cap-and-trade" system is expected to do in almost a third of a century.
We can no longer afford the luxury of over-extended, over-ambitious, centralized government. The framers of your Constitution intended that power and wealth should be and remain in the hands of the people. Your proposal to concentrate vast additional powers in the hands of government is not merely doomed to ignominious failure; it is not merely guaranteed to increase your nation's "carbon footprint" under the guise of taking steps to reduce it; it is an explicit and abject abandonment of the liberty for which the Republican party stands. If you continue to advocate a policy so purposeless and so self-defeating, you will lose the Presidential race, and lose it spectacularly: and you will deserve to lose.
Your pointless devotion to the pointless Kyoto protocol
You have said: "I will not permit eight long years to pass without serious action on serious challenges. I will not accept the same dead-end of failed diplomacy that claimed Kyoto."
Let me, once again, put the facts before you. During the "eight long years" of the Presidency of the current leader of your party, the United States has succeeded in reducing its "carbon emissions", while the European Union has not; and, during those "eight long years", there has been no increase whatsoever in global mean surface temperature; during seven of those "eight long years", worldwide temperature has actually fallen; and, during those "eight long years", more and more peer-reviewed scientific papers have queried every major tenet of the "consensus" that you believe in.
Under the previous administration - that of Clinton and Gore - the Senate voted unanimously, 95-0, to reject the Kyoto Protocol and any other treaty that imposed upon the United States obligations to reduce its "carbon emissions" that were not also imposed upon China, India, and other substantial emitters worldwide. Faced with this clear and entirely sensible expression of united will on the part of all parties in the Senate, combined with the rickety and uncertain scientific case for global panic, why should George Bush have diverted federal energies and funds towards the chimera of "climate change" with any sense of urgency, or in any greater amounts than those which his administration has already so generously spent? Besides, the United States appears to have acted with a greater sense of urgency than most countries that signed Kyoto - for, unlike most of them, it has reduced its "carbon emissions".
The Kyoto Protocol would have failed whether or not the United States had agreed to participate. Why? First and foremost, because nearly every nation that is obliged by that Protocol to reduce its "carbon emissions" to the levels that obtained in 1990 by 2010 will fail to meet its target unless (as some countries have done) it artificially increases the amount of emissions that it made in 1990. As the European Union's dictators lecture the world about the need to control their emissions, its own emissions relentlessly rise year by year, even as those of the United States fall.
Secondly, the Kyoto Protocol was designed to allow its signatories to evade their responsibilities under it. There is no mechanism in the Protocol for enforcing emission control on defalcating signatories: even if the were, there is (thank Goodness) no international army or police force strong enough to carry out the task of enforcement.
And the Protocol was designed to allow, and even to encourage, fraud. Not only have signatories fiddled their 1990 emissions to allow themselves the right to emit more in 2010 than they did in 1990; many of them have set up "cap-and-trade" schemes, such as that which you have proposed, and have then fiddled the operation of the schemes. The European dictatorship, for instance, allowed each of its satrapies to trade quantities of emissions that exceeded their current total emissions by a comfortable margin. That is why the European "cap-and-trade" scheme collapsed.
Kyoto expires in 2010. So far, there is no agreed international mechanism to replace it. Nor is there any need for one - whether urgent or otherwise. The "climate problem" is in truth a non-problem: and the correct policy for addressing a non-problem is to have the courage to do nothing.
Page Printed from:
at October 18, 2008 - 12:47:53 PM EDT
Monckton to McCain, 7
Reply #77 on:
October 18, 2008, 03:00:52 PM »
The threat that your policies pose to international free trade
You have said: "If the efforts to negotiate an international solution that includes China and India do not succeed, we still have an obligation to act. In my approach to global climate-control efforts, we will apply the principle of equal treatment. We will apply the same environmental standards to industries in China, India, and elsewhere that we apply to our own industries. And if industrializing countries seek an economic advantage by evading those standards, I would work with the European Union and other like-minded governments that plan to address the global warming problem to develop a cost equalization mechanism to apply to those countries that decline to enact a similar cap. ... Pressing on blindly with uncontrolled carbon emissions is in no one's interest, especially China's."
Those who oppose the freedom that capitalism brings with it have always and everywhere been opposed to free trade. Once again, it is baffling that a Republican presidential candidate should threaten to gang up with the European dictatorship (which has always been implacably opposed to free trade, and has repeatedly done its best to wreck the settlement rounds of the World Trade Organization) to try to bully China, India, and other heavy emitters of harmless carbon dioxide into emitting less. Your "cost equalization mechanism" is protectionism under a fancy name. It would have catastrophic economic consequences worldwide: but the greatest harm it would cause would be to America herself.
Consider what would happen if your "cost equalization mechanism" were imposed on China. Then the workers in your own country whom you had flung out of work under the pretext of "Saving The Planet" would not even have the compensating advantage of being able to buy cheaply from China the goods that they had themselves made until you had stopped them. All goods, worldwide, would become more expensive. Free trade, which has allowed not only the free West but also the emerging tigers of Asia to grow and prosper, would be stifled. That would not only harm the United States: it would also harm those nations against which it was directed.
In any event, the United States no longer has it in her power to interfere with international free trade in the dismal, unconstructive manner you have proposed: for it is the World Trade Organization, not the Federal Government, that now protects world trade against protectionism.
You may answer that a sovereign nation always retains the right - or, if not the right, at least the power - to unmake a treaty that is no longer congenial. Not so. If you tamper with the delicate flower of free trade that the World Trade Organization has so patiently established in recent decades by resiling unilaterally from it and reintroducing protectionism, even for purposes that you imagine (however wrongly) to be beneficial, you will inflict incalculable poverty and misery not only upon your own working people but upon the less fortunate peoples of other nations. No policy could be more irresponsible than this. I urge you and your advisors to reconsider, before it is too late.
The immorality and the cruel consequences of your proposals
The UN's climate panel, in its various quinquennial reports, has in the past advocated the substitution of one gallon in ten of gasoline by "biofuels". Unthinking politicians worldwide, panicked by the nonsensical calculations by the UN's climate panel (calculations that egregiously exaggerate the actually very limited effect of carbon dioxide on climate), rushed to support the "biofuels" program, under which agricultural land that had previously been used for growing food was instead used for growing fuel for automobiles.
The entirely predictable result was a doubling of the world price of all major, staple foods. Previously, food production and consumption had been reasonably in balance, except in those countries where dictatorship rather than democracy was the rule. In Africa, for instance, post-colonial dictators such as Mugabe and his carbon-copy "politburo" in Zimbabwe keep their people starving; and in Europe, the dismal dictatorship keeps millions of acres of productive land lying fallow, notwithstanding the will of its unconsidered peoples (who have no say and no vote in this or any other matter within what is laughably described as the "competence" of the European Union).
Now, in all parts of the world, real and serious harm is being caused by the sudden rise in world food prices that is the direct and obvious consequence of the international dash for "biofuels". It matters not that learned paper after learned paper demonstrates with devastating clarity the fact that the production and use of "biofuels" emit more carbon dioxide than the production and use of the gasoline they so inefficiently replace.
In Haiti, the doubling of food prices that resulted directly from the "biofuels" fiasco has forced the poorest of the poor to live on mud pies. Here is the recipe. Mix 6 oz. of soil with enough water to make a paste. Add a pinch of salt and a tiny knob of butter. Stir vigorously. Bake in the sun until dry and hard. Serve, or sell to neighbours for 3 US cents.
Sir, policies - however well-intentioned - have consequences. No one doubts that your intentions in proposing what you have proposed are honorable. But the road to starvation is paved with good intentions. There have been food riots in poor countries throughout the world, as the first victims of the "climate change" policies that you have so uncritically endorsed can no longer afford to feed themselves or their children.
No surprise, then, that even the UN has begun to reconsider its position. At first, it favored the conversion of food into "biofuels". Then, last year, one of its senior spokesmen called for a five-year moratorium on the conversion of food to biofuels. Now, the UN's rapporteur on food for the poor has said that when so many are starving it is "a crime against humanity" to burn their food in our automobiles. The consequence of the policy to which you have given your enthusiastic support is mass starvation. And that, Sir, is morally unacceptable.
Earlier in this letter I undertook to illustrate the track record of the Environmental Defense Fund, which invented the "cap-and-trade" policy that you advocate with such insouciant enthusiasm. It was the EDF that brought the legal case that led to the ban on the use of DDT first in the US and then throughout the world.
The UN's climate panel makes no mention of the three letters "D", "D", and "T" in its mendacious ramblings about the alleged (but in reality non-existent) link between warmer weather and the prevalence of malaria. Therefore I should explain that DDT is the only effective agent against the mosquitoes that carry malaria; that its inventor won the Nobel Prize for Medicine because the use of DDT had reduced malaria deaths to 50,000 per year worldwide; that DDT is entirely harmless to humans, who can eat it by the tablespoonful and not come to any harm; and that, if sprayed in the interior of dwellings, it will not cause any harm to wildlife, except to mosquitoes.
Yet DDT was banned. The effect of the ban was murderous. Annual malaria deaths swiftly rose from 50,000 to 1 million. In a third of a century, the excess deaths caused by the ban on DDT amount - according to the scientific literature - to between 30 and 50 million. Therefore, Sir, if you or your advisors are ever tempted to say that we should introduce such drastic measures as "biofuel" development or "cap-and-trade" or shutting down three-fifths of the US economy, as a precaution just in case the UN's climate panel and other politicized extremists are right, I pray that you will think again. The "precautionary principle" is not a principle: nor do its advocates pray it in aid for any other reason than to provide a specious credibility for policies that would otherwise be self-evidently purposeless and cruel.
The very body that invented the "cap-and-trade" scam that you now propose to sanctify as a policy of the Republican party in government would have the deaths of 50 million children - for it is children who are nearly always the victims of malaria - on its conscience. If, that is, it had a conscience. And, lest its apologists and spin-doctors dare to challenge my presentation here of its murderous role in the DDT ban, I shall tell you a story.
During the final stages of the case that led to the ban on DDT, the Board of the Environmental Defense Fund met with its lawyer. He said to the Chairman: "Sir, I beg you not to press for a total ban on DDT. If you succeed in getting it banned altogether, tens of millions of children will die of malaria. My advice is that, for pressing scientific reasons, you should allow it to be used indoors, so that children will not be bitten at home."
The lawyer carefully put before the Board the scientific evidence he had accumulated, and just as carefully - for he was scientifically literate and competent - he spelled out exactly why and how a total ban on DDT would kill tens of millions, and undo a malaria eradication program that had almost succeeded in wiping this curse from the Earth.
And what was the reaction of the Board of the Environmental Defense Fund - your allies in introducing yet another mad scheme based on a policy that is already killing people of starvation in the world's poorest countries? They dismissed their Counsel on the spot. As he left the room, he heard the Chairman say to the Board, "That's the last time we ever again employ a lawyer who knows anything about science."
There is, however, some glimmer of what may eventually be a happy ending. On September 15, 2006, the World Health Organization - under intense humanitarian pressure from me and many others - at long last reversed the ban on the production and use of DDT. Not only that, but the WHO now once again recommends DDT as the first line of defense against the mosquito.
Dr. Arata Kochi of the WHO, announcing the end of the DDT ban, said that in this field politics usually prevails, but that it was now time to pay heed to the science and the data.
The Environmental Defense Fund, as one of its lines of argument when obtaining the ban on DDT, had said that, even if there was no scientific case against a ban, a ban should be imposed anyway, as a precaution. That "precaution" killed 30-50 million children.
Monckton to McCain, 8
Reply #78 on:
October 18, 2008, 03:01:20 PM »
That is why it is necessary not to be careless about the science; not to believe grand-sounding international organizations which put their own political predispositions and financial interests ahead of the common interest and even the life of humanity; not to accept the case for climate alarm merely because it suits you to be seen to reach out to the millions of young people who have been relentlessly propagandized in their schools, or to cross the political divide and attract voters from the Democratic electorate; not to advocate or adopt policies which originate with an organization that had knowingly adopted and inflicted on the US and the world a policy that it had been told would kill tens of millions, but pursued that policy regardless.
That is why it is necessary that you should have the courage and honesty to do what marks out the statesman from the mere politician: to change your mind; to admit that, in relying upon a policy advocated and promoted by the lavishly-funded Environmental Defense Fund, you do not wish to repeat the slaughter of the innocents; to cast aside the corrupt folly of the climate scare and of the policies which its promoters self-servingly advocate; and to tell the people that not another penny will be diverted from the real environmental problems of the world to the non-problem of "global warming" unless and until compelling scientific evidence of the imagined planetary threat shall have been provided. For the avoidance of doubt, the diffuse and corrupt ramblings of the UN's climate panel do not constitute scientific evidence, but a deliberate, artful, systematic fraud.
Let me end this section of my letter by summarizing the moral arguments against alarmism. A certain tendentious Democrat politician goes about saying that what he fatuously calls the "climate crisis" is "a moral issue." So it is. To "announce disasters", as the UN climate panel's first scientific chairman admitted he was doing, or "scary scenarios", as one of the handful of extremist scientists who support the more wayward conclusions of the UN admitted he was inventing, or "over-represent factual presentations", as a certain Democrat politician admitted he was doing, in place of adherence to the scientific truth - that is a moral issue.
To let politicians insert data into official scientific documents; to alter those documents so as to contradict scientific findings; to manipulate decimal points so as to engender false headlines by exaggerating tenfold - those are moral issues.
To exaggerate twenty-fold not only the atmospheric lifetime of a trace gas but also the effect of that gas on temperature; to reduce the magnitude of its predicted influence on temperature without reducing the predicted temperature itself - those are moral issues.
To claim scientific unanimity where none exists; to assert that catastrophe is likely when nearly all scientists do not; to exalt theoretical computer models over real-world observations; to misstate the conclusions of scientific papers or the meaning of observed data; to overstate the likely future course of climatic phenomena by several orders of magnitude - those are moral issues.
To reverse the sequence of events in the early climate; to infect the minds of children with baseless propaganda intended to terrify them; to persist in false denial that past temperatures exceeded today's; to state that climate events that have not occurred have occurred; to ascribe these non-events as well as specific extreme-weather events unjustifiably to humankind - those are moral issues.
To propose, as you have proposed, solutions to the non-problem of climate change that would cost many times more than the problem itself, if there were one; to advocate, as you have advocated, measures to mitigate fancifully-imagined future climatic changes when adaptation would cost far less and achieve far more; to ignore, as you have ignored, the real problems of resource depletion, energy security, bad Third World government and fatal diseases that kill millions - those are moral issues.
To advance, as you have advanced, policies congenial to the narrow, short-term political or financial vested interest of some mere corporation or faction at the expense of the wider, long-term general interest of us all - those are moral issues.
Above all, to propose, as you have proposed, to inflict upon the nations of the world a policy of ever-grimmer energy starvation calculated not merely to inconvenience the prosperous but to condemn the very poorest to remain imprisoned in poverty forever, and to die in their tens of millions for want of the light and heat and power and food which we have long been fortunate enough to take for granted - that is a moral issue.
Sir, in each of us, however far apart in mere distance or origin or wealth or achievement, there is the image and likeness of our Creator. By this intimate communion with our Maker each of us, however poor, is of unique and precious value. Therefore there is only one race, the human race. The suffering, starving children of Africa, of Asia and of South America, imploring us with their hopeless, hopeful eyes, are our people. They cannot look to their own. They look to us. We must get the science right or we shall get the policy wrong. We have failed them and failed them before. We must not fail them again.
The strategic threat to your nation's leadership of the world
You have said: "We need to keep our eyes on big goals in energy policy, the serious dangers, and the common interests of the American people."
The central "goals of energy policy" are security of supply, security of supply, and security of supply, in that order. All other goals are secondary to security of supply. If you run out of energy, then you have no energy policy. Resource depletion will be the hard reality of the 21st century. Demand for gasoline and for electrical power is already outstripping the capacity of the world's fossil-fuel corporations: therefore the iron law of supply and demand is driving up the price of oil and of electrical power worldwide.
And what does your speech say about these increases in the price of oil and electricity which you and I can perhaps afford, for now, but which the poorer people of your own nation and of other nations cannot? Your speech says nothing about security of supply, except to express a vague, pietistic hope that windmills and waves and tides and sunshine will at some imagined future date, in some unspecified manner, replace the 98.5% of the world's energy that is currently supplied by nuclear power and by fossil fuels.
The "serious dangers" that you speak of are not dangers arising from the very slightly warmer weather that the world may enjoy as a result of enrichment of the atmosphere by fractional increases in the proportion of the air we breathe in that is occupied by carbon dioxide such as that which we breathe out. The climate scare is, as you will now realize, a mere bugaboo - a horror story for children, that only children and those with a mental age on a par with children can be expected to swallow. The real, pressing, "serious dangers" to the peace, prosperity, and freedom of the world are the dangers that spring from the very measures you propose to drive away the fearsome-sounding but harmless climate bugaboo.
The world needs the United States to continue as the engine-house of prosperity, the wellspring of invention, the hope of freedom, the guarantor of peace. You must not transform your great nation into merely another stifling, inept, corrupt, bureaucratic-centralist dictatorship such as China, Russia, or the European Union.
At the national election in which you are the Republican candidate, the fate not merely of the United States but also of the world will be decided. We owe you much, and, because you have given us much, we look to you to give us more. We look to the United States for a continuation of her leadership of the world, for what you have called "the common interests of the American people" are the strategic interests of humanity itself.
Not for a single moment longer must you allow yourself to be distracted by the murderous foolishness of the climate alarmists. If the United States does not stand firm against cruel, pseudo-scientific nonsense of the sort that is already killing millions through purposeless starvation, then who will stand firm? Not Britain, alas, nor Europe, for we are closed countries now, administered by closed minds.
Only your "athletic democracy" can save us now - save us from the follies of policy that will merely inconvenience the prosperous but is already killing the poor. Therefore, Sir, I end this letter with the words of your poet Longfellow, addressed by Winston Churchill to your great wartime President in that darkest hour before the new dawn of freedom:
Sail on, o ship of State;
Sail on, o Union strong and great:
Humanity, with all its fears,
With all the hopes of future years,
Is hanging, breathless, on thy fate.
Monckton of Brenchley
Page Printed from:
at October 18, 2008 - 12:48:45 PM EDT
Re: Environmental Politics, restrictions on exhaling and driving to work
Reply #79 on:
April 28, 2009, 08:41:06 PM »
The EPA named carbon dioxide a dangerous pollutant and opened a 60 day comment period on April 18. Even if you have never written your government on anything before, please write to them on this one. Write to the EPA and write to all the senators and members of congress that you can find unless you want a new intrusion that makes the IRS and tax compliance look like child's play.
Please write to them and post what you write here, if you want, to motivate and help others.
Will we arrest polar bears and fireflies as they emit also, and bicyclists? Ticket God for careless volcano activity?
Would you like to be on the honor system or have the feds GPS your carbon excesses 24/7?
Written comments on the proposed finding may be submitted by using the following instructions:
Mail: Environmental Protection Agency, EPA Docket
Center (EPA/DC), Mailcode 6102T, Attention Docket ID
No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2009-0171, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue,
NW, Washington, DC 20460.
When providing comments, please submit them with reference to Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2009-0171.
Reply #80 on:
May 04, 2009, 10:16:46 AM »
From The Sunday Times
May 3, 2009
'Green' lightbulbs poison workers
Hundreds of factory staff are being made ill by mercury used in bulbs destined for the West
Michael Sheridan, Foshan
WHEN British consumers are compelled to buy energy-efficient lightbulbs from 2012, they will save up to 5m tons of carbon dioxide a year from being pumped into the atmosphere. In China, however, a heavy environmental price is being paid for the production of “green” lightbulbs in cost-cutting factories.
Large numbers of Chinese workers have been poisoned by mercury, which forms part of the compact fluorescent lightbulbs. A surge in foreign demand, set off by a European Union directive making these bulbs compulsory within three years, has also led to the reopening of mercury mines that have ruined the environment.
Doctors, regulators, lawyers and courts in China - which supplies two thirds of the compact fluorescent bulbs sold in Britain - are increasingly alert to the potential impacts on public health of an industry that promotes itself as a friend of the earth but depends on highly toxic mercury.
Making the bulbs requires workers to handle mercury in either solid or liquid form because a small amount of the metal is put into each bulb to start the chemical reaction that creates light.
Mercury is recognised as a health hazard by authorities worldwide because its accumulation in the body can damage the nervous system, lungs and kidneys, posing a particular threat to babies in the womb and young children.
The risks are illustrated by guidance from the British government, which says that if a compact fluorescent lightbulb is broken in the home, the room should be cleared for 15 minutes because of the danger of inhaling mercury vapour.
Documents issued by the Chinese health ministry, instructions to doctors and occu-pational health propaganda all describe mercury poisoning in lighting factories as a growing public health concern.
“Pregnant women and mothers who are breastfeeding must not be allowed to work in a unit where mercury is present,” states one official rulebook.
In southern China, compact fluorescent lightbulbs destined for western consumers are being made in factories that range from high-tech multina-tional operations to sweat-shops, with widely varying standards of health and safety.
Tests on hundreds of employees have found dangerously high levels of mercury in their bodies and many have required hospital treatment, according to interviews with workers, doctors and local health officials in the cities of Foshan and Guangzhou.
Dozens of workers who were interviewed on condition of anonymity described living with the fear of mercury poisoning. They gave detailed accounts of medical tests that found numerous workers had dangerous levels of the toxin in their urine.
“In tests, the mercury content in my blood and urine exceeded the standard but I was not sent to hospital because the managers said I was strong and the mercury would be decontaminated by my immune system,” said one young female employee, who provided her identity card.
“Two of my friends were sent to hospital for one month,” she added, giving their names also.
“If they asked me to work inside the mercury workshop I wouldn’t do it, no matter how much they paid,” said another young male worker.
Doctors at two regional health centres said they had received patients in the past from the Foshan factory of Osram, a big manufacturer serving the British market.
However, the company said in a statement that the latest tests on its staff had found nobody with elevated mercury levels. It added that local authorities had provided documents in 2007 and 2008 to certify the factory met the required environmental standards.
Osram said it used the latest technology employing solid mercury to maintain high standards of industrial hygiene equivalent to those in Germany. Labour lawyers said Osram, as a responsible multi-national company, was probably the best employer in a hazardous sector and conditions at Chinese-owned factories were often far worse.
A survey of published specialist literature and reports by state media shows hundreds of workers at Chinese-owned factories have been poisoned by mercury over the past decade.
In one case, Foshan city officials intervened to order medical tests on workers at the Nanhai Feiyang lighting factory after receiving a petition alleging dangerous conditions, according to a report in the Nanfang Daily newspaper. The tests found 68 out of 72 workers were so badly poisoned they required hospitalisation.
A specialist medical journal, published by the health ministry, describes another compact fluorescent lightbulb factory in Jinzhou, in central China, where 121 out of 123 employees had excessive mercury levels. One man’s level was 150 times the accepted standard.
The same journal identified a compact fluorescent lightbulb factory in Anyang, eastern China, where 35% of workers suffered mercury poisoning, and industrial discharge containing the toxin went straight into the water supply.
It also reported a survey of 18 lightbulb factories near Shanghai, which found that exposure levels to mercury were higher for workers making the new compact fluorescent lightbulbs than for other lights containing the metal.
In China, people have been aware of the element’s toxic properties for more than 2,000 years because legend has it that the first emperor, Qin, died in 210BC after eating a pill of mercury and jade he thought would grant him eternal life.
However, the scale of the public health problems in recent times caused by mercury mining and by the metal’s role in industrial pollution is beginning to emerge only with the growth of a civil society in China and the appearance of lawyers prepared to take on powerful local governments and companies.
A court in Beijing has just broken new ground in industrial injuries law by agreeing to hear a case unrelated to lightbulbs but filed by a plaintiff who is seeking £375,000 in compensation for acute mercury poisoning that he claims destroyed his digestive system.
The potential for litigation may be greatest in the ruined mountain landscape of Guizhou province in the southwest, where mercury has been mined for centuries. The land is scarred and many of the people have left.
Until recently, the conditions were medieval. Miners hewed chunks of rock veined with cinnabar, the main commercial source of mercury. They inhaled toxic dust and vapours as the material seethed in primitive cauldrons to extract the mercury. Nobody wore a mask or protective clothing.
“Our forefathers had been mining for mercury since the Ming Dynasty [1368-1644] and in olden days there was no pollution from such small mines,” said a 72-year-old farmer, named Shen.
“But in modern times thousands of miners came to our land, dug it out and poured chemicals to wash away the waste. Our water buffaloes grew stunted from drinking the water and our crops turned grey. Our people fell sick and didn’t live long. Anybody who could do has left.”
The government shut all the big mercury mining operations in the region in recent years in response to a fall in global mercury prices and concern over dead rivers, poisoned fields and ailing inhabitants.
But The Sunday Times found that in this remote corner of a poverty-stricken province, the European demand for mercury had brought the miners back.
A Chinese entrepreneur, Zhao Yingquan, has paid £1.5m for the rights to an old state-run mine. The Luo Xi mining company used thousands of prisoners to carve out its first shaft and tunnels in the 1950s.
“We’re in the last stages of preparing the mine to start operations again in the second half of this year,” said a manager at the site, named Su.
At Tongren, a town where mercury was processed for sale, an old worker spoke of the days when locals slaved day and night to extract the precious trickles of silvery metal.
“I worked for 40 years in a mine and now my body is full of sickness and my lungs are finished,” he said.
Additional reporting: Sara Hashash
WSJ: Absurd Results
Reply #81 on:
October 05, 2009, 07:38:22 AM »
'In recent years, many Americans have had cause to wonder whether decisions made at EPA were guided by science and the law, or whether those principles had been trumped by politics," declared Lisa Jackson in San Francisco last week. The Environmental Protection Agency chief can't stop kicking the Bush Administration, but the irony is that the Obama EPA is far more "political" than the Bush team ever was.
How else to explain the coordinated release on Wednesday of the EPA's new rules that make carbon a dangerous pollutant and John Kerry's cap-and-trade bill? Ms. Jackson is issuing a political ultimatum to business, as well as to Midwestern and rural Democrats: Support the Kerry-Obama climate tax agenda—or we'll punish your utilities and consumers without your vote.
The EPA has now formally made an "endangerment finding" on CO2, which will impose the command-and-control regulations of the Clean Air Act across the entire economy. Because this law was never written to apply to carbon, the costs will far exceed those of a straight carbon tax or even cap and trade—though judging by the bills Democrats are stitching together, perhaps not by much. In any case, the point of this reckless "endangerment" is to force industry and politicians wary of raising taxes to concede, lest companies have to endure even worse economic and bureaucratic destruction from the EPA.
Ms. Jackson made a show of saying her new rules would only apply to some 10,000 facilities that emit more than 25,000 tons of carbon dioxide each year, as if that were a concession. These are the businesses—utilities, refineries, heavy manufacturers and so forth—that have the most to lose and are therefore most sensitive to political coercion.
View Full Image
.The idea is to get Exelon and other utilities to lobby Congress to pass a cap-and-trade bill that gives them compensating emissions allowances that they can sell to offset the cost of the new regulations. White House green czar Carol Browner was explicit on the coercion point last week, telling a forum hosted by the Atlantic Monthly that the EPA move would "obviously encourage the business community to raise their voices in Congress." In Sicily and parts of New Jersey, they call that an offer you can't refuse.
Yet one not-so-minor legal problem is that the Clean Air Act's statutory language states unequivocally that the EPA must regulate any "major source" that emits more than 250 tons of a pollutant annually, not 25,000. The EPA's Ms. Jackson made up the higher number out of whole cloth because the lower legal threshold—which was intended to cover traditional pollutants, not ubiquitous carbon—would sweep up farms, restaurants, hospitals, schools, churches and other businesses. Sources that would be required to install pricey "best available control technology" would increase to 41,000 per year, up from 300 today, while those subject to the EPA's construction permitting would jump to 6.1 million from 14,000.
That's not our calculation. It comes from the EPA itself, which also calls it "an unprecedented increase" that would harm "an extraordinarily large number of sources." The agency goes on to predict years of delay and bureaucratic backlog that "would impede economic growth by precluding any type of source—whether it emits GHGs or not—from constructing or modifying for years after its business plan contemplates." We pointed this out earlier this year, only to have Ms. Jackson and the anticarbon lobby deny it.
Usually it takes an act of Congress to change an act of Congress, but Team Obama isn't about to let democratic—or even Democratic—consent interfere with its carbon extortion racket. To avoid the political firestorm of regulating the neighborhood coffee shop, the EPA is justifying its invented rule on the basis of what it calls the "absurd results" doctrine. That's not a bad moniker for this whole exercise.
The EPA admits that it is "departing from the literal application of statutory provisions." But it says the courts will accept its revision because literal application will produce results that are "so illogical or contrary to sensible policy as to be beyond anything that Congress could reasonably have intended."
Well, well. Shouldn't the same "absurd results" theory pertain to shoehorning carbon into rules that were written in the 1970s and whose primary drafter—Michigan Democrat John Dingell—says were never intended to apply? Just asking. Either way, this will be a feeble legal excuse when the greens sue to claim that the EPA's limits are inadequate, in order to punish whatever carbon-heavy business they're campaigning against that week.
Obviously President Obama is hellbent on punishing carbon use—no matter how costly or illogical. And of course, there's no politics involved, none at all.
Mopping the Last Morsels
Reply #82 on:
October 10, 2009, 01:27:19 AM »
By Robert T. Smith
"The environment has never been cleaner in my lifetime than now".... is the way I begin a part of my guest lecture to the business classes at a local college here in Pennsylvania. The look on the faces of the products of our public school educational system is one of disbelief.
As a nearby, familiar example, I try to relate to the future of America students the conditions when Pittsburgh was truly the Steel City. Coke plants, tar plants, steel mills, glass manufacturers, and ancillary other heavy industry lined the banks of the rivers, producing the raw products of the country's industrial revolution.
Donora, Pennsylvania, the location of one of the worst air pollution incidents in our country's history lies just down-river from Pittsburgh. In October 1948, 20 people died and over 7,000 were hospitalized or became ill as a result of an air inversion that trapped the air emissions from the Donora Zinc Works and other nearby industrial operations in this small town's valley (Donora Smog). Industrial wastewater discharges were pumped into any nearby stream or river to severely test the buffering capacity of the natural system to absorb such a flux of pollutants. Wastes were disposed in a manner that simply got them out of the way from the production area so as not to be an impediment to work. This was the state of the environment up until even the 1970s.
Recognizing these issues, and the work of addressing the obvious environmental concerns, President Richard Nixon began and established the groundwork for many of the alphabet soup of major environmental laws: National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), Clean Water Act (CWA), Clean Air Act (CAA), Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), etc. In addition, he established the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to oversee these programs. The results of these programs had, and still have tremendous immediate, and long-lasting return on the efforts.
"The problem," I tell the students, "is similar to the experience when watching the Steelers play on Sunday with your wife or girlfriend, while eating potato chips and French onion dip. At first, each chip is generously covered with dip, a good return on each effort of chip dipping, you can even do it with peripheral vision and focus on the game. As the dip volume decreases, some adjustments have to be made; additional efforts, focus and attention are expended. Initially, the extra effort is simply turning the dip tub to a more favorable angle for your chip dipping success, after all, it is in your girlfriend's or wife's best health interest, almost an altruistic act on your behalf.
"Then additional effort is expended to actually retrieve the dip tub and closely focus on ferreting out sufficient dip for each chip way down in the bottom crease or under the lip of the lid. This is ultimately followed by the effort of the finger swipe and mouth chip/dip mixing. It is at this point that some reasonable person needs to stop the process. There is no longer a sufficient benefit to continuing efforts to try to ingest the last dip residue ... don't lick that dip tub ... is the admonishment from your better half."
This is the analogy to the history and current story of our environmental regulations. Where once contamination was emitted almost freely into the environment, now, it is not so extreme. We continue to expend more and more efforts to seek those last molecules of contamination to satisfy our environmental appetite for cleaner.
Pennsylvania passed a law that disallows diesel engines to idle for more than 5 minutes in an hour. Think about that as a truck driver working your way through traffic to deliver your goods from point A to point B.
A tar plant spills about a gallon or so of tar on the ground in its facility and spends numerous man-hours and costs to notify the national emergency response center, document the spill event, clean up the material and dispose of it, and submit follow-up reports to the regulatory agencies. At the same time, the entire road through town outside the gates of the tar plant is being paved with the same material.
A former industrial site is required by the regulators to be cleaned up by a past owner to a regulatory-mandated human health risk assessment level of 1 x 10-6. That is as if just one person in one million people may (not will, but may) be harmed if they were to accidentally ingest a certain amount of contaminated soil from the site every day for seventy years.
Simply because a facility manufactures a certain product, it falls into a category in which there is a mandate to spend capital to install, monitor, operate and maintain a natural gas-fired thermal oxidizer (incinerator) to destroy any air emissions from tanks containing this product. Capital costs total hundreds of thousands of dollars initially and ultimately millions of dollars over time. The amount of air emission "pollutants" from the product storage tanks destroyed is trivial in comparison to the excessive amount of air emission pollutants caused by burning the natural gas to operate the thermal oxidizer equipment.
This is the current story of our environmental regulations. It is well past time for reasonable people to say to the politicians and government regulators: "Don't lick that dip tub."
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at October 10, 2009 - 02:23:42 AM EDT
CA Oil & Gas Seep Link
Reply #83 on:
October 12, 2009, 08:34:12 AM »
Interesting USGS site documenting naturally occurring oil and gas seeps in CA. Comparisons between naturally occurring "pollution" and man made spills are one of the data points that emerge viewing this site.
Reply #84 on:
October 19, 2009, 07:41:26 PM »
Fox and anyone else better keep up the noise about what a serious blunder Bama is going to commit and how he is going to continue to destroy our nation as he continues his personal revolution:
Comments The Second Battle of Copenhagen
by Patrick J. Buchanan
Before President Obama even landed at Andrews Air Force Base, returning from his mission to Copenhagen to win the 2016 Olympic Games, Chicago had been voted off the island.
Many shared the lamentation of Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, "What has become of America, when Chicago can't steal an election?"
A second and more serious battle of Copenhagen is shaping up, in mid-December, when a world conference gathers to impose limits on greenhouse gases to stop "global warming." Primary purpose: Rope in the Americans who refused to submit to the Kyoto Protocols that Al Gore brought home in the Clinton era.
The long campaign to bring the United States under another global regime -- the newest piece in the architecture of world government -- has been flagging since 2008. Then, it seemed a lock with the election of Obama and a veto-proof Democratic Senate.
Why has the campaign stalled? Because global warming has stalled. The hottest year of modern times, 1998, came and went a decade ago.
As BBC climate correspondent Paul Hudson writes: "For the last 11 years, we have not observed any increase in global temperatures. And our climate models did not forecast it, even though manmade carbon dioxide, the gas thought to be responsible for warming our planet, has continued to rise."
What this powerfully suggests is that what man does and does not do is far less responsible for climate change, if it is responsible at all, than other factors over which he has no control.
Consider. Though the emissions of carbon dioxide rose constantly throughout the 20th century -- with the industrialization of the West, Japan, Southeast Asia and, finally, China and India -- global temperatures have not risen steadily at all. They have fluctuated.
John Sununu, writing in the St. Croix Review, says the Earth underwent "cooling in the 1920s, heating in the 1930s and 1940s, cooling in the 1950s and 1960s and 1970s, warming in the 1980s and 1990s, and cooling in the past decade."
But if there is no crisis, why are we even going to Copenhagen? And if there is no causal connection between carbon dioxide and global warming, what is the true cause of climate change?
Some scientists say that 98 percent of the Earth's temperature can be explained by the sun. When the sun's energy increases, a matter over which man has zero control, the Earth's temperature rises. When the sun's energy diminishes, the Earth's temperature falls.
One solar scientist, Piers Corbyn, claims to have found a link between solar charged particles hitting the Earth and global warming and cooling.
Others, like professor Don Easterbrook of Western Washington University, contend that the oceans explain climate change. As they heat and cool cyclically, the Earth heats and cools. And where the oceans were cooling for 40 years before the 1990s, they have lately been heating up. Easterbrook says these cycles tend to last for 30 years.
As Hudson notes, there are scientists who claim they have taken all these factors into consideration and insist that the Earth, over the long haul, is warming. But Hudson cites Mojib Latif of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, who says we are in the first stage of a long-term cooling trend that will last another 10 to 20 years.
The anecdotal evidence almost daily contradicts Al Gore and the end-of-times environmentalists. Lately, there have been record-breaking cold spells in the Midwest and West. Snow came to Colorado this October, postponing a baseball playoff game. The hurricane season turned out to be among the mildest on record. Contrary to predictions, the polar bear population seems to be doing fine.
While the ice cap at the North Pole is receding, the Antarctic ice cap, which contains 90 percent of the world's ice, is expanding.
Moreover, receding ice in the Arctic is opening up a northwest passage from Europe to Asia. The Russians believe the immense mineral resources of the Arctic may soon be accessible. While we wring our hands, they are rushing to get them.
The mounting evidence that global warming has halted and man is not responsible for climate change has thrown the Kyoto II lobby into something of a panic. Barbara Boxer and John Kerry are re-branding the Senate cap-and-trade bill as a national security measure.
If, however, cap-and-trade, which the Congressional Budget Office says will be another blow to economic growth, can be stopped before the Copenhagen summit in December, the republic may have dodged another bullet. And the goal of the globalists -- an end to the independence and sovereignty of the United States, and the creation of a world government -- will have sustained yet another welcome postponement.
Mr. Buchanan is a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Churchill, Hitler, and "The Unnecessary War": How Britain Lost Its Empire and the West Lost the World, "The Death of the West,", "The Great Betrayal," "A Republic, Not an Empire" and "Where the Right Went Wrong."
Reply #85 on:
October 19, 2009, 08:19:47 PM »
This has nothing to with environmental issues but why do you post articles by Pat Buchanan? I don't see the value in spreading his commentary. There has been some criticism of Pat Buchanan from this board but why isn't there more?
Re: Environmental issues
Reply #86 on:
October 19, 2009, 11:44:13 PM »
Jumping in and guessing Rachel's issue with Buchanan... CCP, you may want to search the anti-defamation league website for Buchanan,
They have quite a focus on him for not being a friend of Israel to put it lightly.
Buchanan was a huge early critic of Iraq war, which is fine, but I don't like when people imply Israel has too much power in America and that's why we went. Like the war or not, we didn't go because some group has both parties on puppet strings.
Other areas: He is a consistent opponent of freedom to trade, opponent of free trade agreements etc. which is a political philosophy opposite to mine at least in that area. He is a critic of immigration, and not just the illegal kind. Also very pro-life and he is pro-limited government in most other policy areas. I think he is pretty much right-on with this piece on climate change legislation. But as mentioned previously, conservatism needs better leaders.
Re: Environmental issues
Reply #87 on:
October 19, 2009, 11:51:30 PM »
This particular piece makes sense, but sometimes Pat gives a pretty good impression of having anti-Jewish tendencies.
Re: Environmental issues
Reply #88 on:
October 20, 2009, 07:12:23 AM »
What criticism do you want to see of Buchanan?
Re: Environmental issues
Reply #89 on:
October 20, 2009, 08:16:23 PM »
It is not the kind of criticism it is the frequency.
I feel like if I regularly posted an article from someone who is more left wing that had diminished the Holocaust and made somewhat supportive statements of Hitler and made antisemitic and anti Israel statements things would be different. You would comment all the time and fill threads with the criticism. Why is Buchanan being treated with respect at all here. What exactly has he done to deserve that?
It would be nice if when Buchanan got on TV people would change the channel . If a newspaper has the bad sense to publish him don't click on the links for his stories and at the very least don't republish his works. Does everyone here really want to be identified with him? There is no other conservative commentator you like better?
Re: Environmental issues
Reply #90 on:
October 21, 2009, 07:57:23 PM »
I guess I am the perpetrator of posting Buchanan occasionally.
He probably does have a deep rooted dislike of Jews.
I have my own feelings about this.
Yet I find him to be the only one who will state what others are literally afraid to state.
Many could legitimetly argue he was correct about Iraq.
And he wasn't the only right winger who was against this venture.
I recall Joe Scarborough for one was very skeptical as to the wisdom of it.
I agree with him on protecting our borders although I simply don't know enough about some of his other protectionist ideas.
He has made what most would consider outrageous claims about other wars.
Including an argument that Abraham Lincoln is responsible for more deaths of US citizens than any other President.
He even stated and argued we should have stayed out of Europe in WW2 and that we pushed Japan into attacking us.
Do I agree with these arguments - no. Yet I find them interesting.
If he offends you I won't post his stuff anymore.
I can think of people who write or say things I wouldn't want to hear. Take Loius Farrakan for example.
You want a real Jew hater take him.
Re: Environmental issues
Reply #91 on:
October 23, 2009, 07:00:53 AM »
There are number of reason philosophical disagreements happen
1.Someone does not have all the facts
2. Someone has all the facts but there are things that reasonable people can disagree
3. People can be very rational on some parts of their life and not rational in others and they probable think you are crazy as well.
It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into. Jonathan Swift Quote
4. There are things that cross the line of human decency.
Buchanan crosses the line of human decency .
There is certainly value in reading someone who is not afraid to speak their mind but I don't think Buchanan is worth it. I'm not saying you have to disagree with everything Buchanan says but If Buchanan is treated a respected commentator we all look bad.
I would greatly appreciate if you wouldn't post any more article by Buchanan.
Farrakhan is also on the list of those cross the lines of human decency and the only reason I would ever post anything by Farrakhan would be to criticize him.
Re: Environmental issues
Reply #92 on:
October 23, 2009, 10:24:01 AM »
"Buchanan crosses the line of human decency ."
I don't expect everyone to love Jews. I don't care if they don't. But some Jews take the slightest offence at anything even potentially negative said about them.
Where is this line of decency? Some feel Glenn Beck crosses the line of decency. Yet I feel pretty much everything he says is true.
So should he shut up because those on the left don't like what they hear?
"I would greatly appreciate if you wouldn't post any more article by Buchanan."
I respect your opinion. That's is ok. I don't need to post his pieces if it offends people on this board. I don't love the guy. But some of what he says I find I agree with and much of what he says I find food for thought.
I don't particularly like things he says about Jews at times. Yet there IS a disproportionate number of Jews in high visible places with key advisorial roles in our nation from political, to legal, to health care, to policy, to financial.
So if we are going to be outspoken in our views around the nation, if we are going to keep reminding everyone about the holocaust and our long history of persecution followed by survival followed success followed by resentment followed by persecution followed by the never must we let this happen again then I don't think we can expect everyone else to simply fall in love with us.
It just flies in the face of human nature.
That said I can take the heat. But that said I amp perfectly willing to defend and go on offense when the heat is a threat of any nature. But when it is just opinion - well - I don't know.
Re: Environmental issues
Reply #93 on:
October 23, 2009, 02:52:12 PM »
"That said I can take the heat. But that said I amp perfectly willing to defend and go on offense when the heat is a threat of any nature. But when it is just opinion - well - I don't know."
I would like to clarify what I meant; of those (such as Buchananan) who want to criticize Jewish opinion I can take that criticism.
When it crosses the line for me is when it evolves into threats like they should all die, or be shoved into the sea, etc.
Or they are to blame for all the world's ills etc, or the holocaust didn't happen, etc.
Just my opinion.
Of Stopped Clocks & Blind Pigs
Reply #94 on:
October 23, 2009, 07:14:06 PM »
I'm having trouble wrapping my head around some of the Buchanan discussion. Stopped clocks are right twice a day and blind pigs can find acorns so I can conceive of the notion of reading one of his pieces and perhaps posting it, though the latter is most likely to occur as an example of what I'm arguing against. Plenty of unsavory idiots and pompous windbags on the planet, keeping a list of who's too insufferable to post would require a lot of work, while prior restraint gives me the willies so I'd prefer not to go there.
Think anti-semitism, thinly veiled or otherwise, though, needs to be called and ought to inform us as we are evaluating a source. I've long held that many of the problems on this planet are caused by having simple explanations ascribed to complex phenomena, and holding Jews accountable for any broad conspiracy falls into that category. Makes no more sense than blaming eclipses on right handers, redheads, or the knock kneed, IMO.
As for Pat himself, I think the Thai plum could cure much of what annoys me about him. Minute or two of Thai knees, elbows, and maybe a headbutt would wipe that pig-eyed neo-fascist smirk right off his face and he'd likely run his mouth less, until they removed the wires from his jaw at least.
Last Edit: October 23, 2009, 09:47:17 PM by Body-by-Guinness
Re: Environmental issues
Reply #95 on:
October 23, 2009, 10:07:29 PM »
I predict a great future as a pundit
Lets take this up to the Fire Hydrant thread.
Reply #96 on:
December 02, 2009, 08:57:35 AM »
Three Myths about Trash
Mises Daily: Wednesday, December 02, 2009 by Floy Lilley
There are three things everybody knows when we talk trash:
We know we're running out of landfill space;
we know we're saving resources and protecting the environment by recycling; and
we know no one would recycle if they weren't forced to.
Let's look at these three things we think we know. Are they real or are they rubbish?
1. Are We Running Out of Landfill Space?
Two events created the perfect garbage storm in the late 1980s. One barge and one bureaucrat created this overhyped myth. The garbage barge was the Mobro 4000. The bureaucrat was J. Winston Porter.
The Mobro 4000 gaine celebrity status by spending two months and 6,000 miles seeming to scour the Atlantic coastline and the Gulf of Mexico looking for a home for its load, as if no landfills existed. The physical availability of landfill space was not the issue, but you would not have guessed that from the hysteria the media whipped up.
J. Winston Porter became a star that season at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by writing a report entitled The Solid Waste Dilemma: Agenda for Action, in which Porter proclaimed that recycling is absolutely vital because America is running out of landfill space.
What Porter thought he knew was simply not so. The EPA had noticed that the number of landfills was dropping. They failed to notice that the size of landfills was getting much bigger much faster. Total landfill capacity was actually rising. The EPA also underestimated the prospects for creating additional capacity.
Obviously, and as usual, the real landfill problem is not a landfill problem at all but a political problem. "Fears about the effects of landfills on the local environment have led to the rise of the not-in-my-back-yard (NIMBY) syndrome, which has made permitting facilities difficult. Actual landfill capacity is not running out."
Today, 1654 landfills in 48 states take care of 54 percent of all the solid waste in the country. One-third of them are privately owned. The largest landfill, in Las Vegas, received 3.8 million tons during 2007 at fees within the national range of $24 to $70 per ton. Landfills are no longer a threat to the environment or public health. State-of-the-art landfills, with redundant clay, plastic liners, and leachate collection systems, have now replaced all of our previously unsafe dumps.
"We are not running out of landfill space."
More and more landfills are producing pipeline-quality natural gas. Waste Management plans to turn 60 of their waste sites into energy facilities by 2012. The new plants will capture methane gas from decomposing landfill waste, generating more than 700 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 700,000 homes.
Holding all of America's garbage for the next one hundred years would require a space only 255 feet high or deep and 10 miles on a side. Landfills welcome the business. 40 percent of what we recycle ends up there anyway. We are not running out of landfill space.
2. Are We Saving Resources and Protecting the Environment by Recycling?
What are the costs in energy and material resources to recycling as opposed to landfill disposal, which we've just looked at? Which method of handling solid waste uses the least amount of resources as valued by the market?
As government budgets tighten and the cost of being "green" rubs against the reality of rising taxes, recycling coordinators like Auburn University's Leigh Jacobson will increasingly be under pressure to justify their programs as cost-effective alternatives to waste-disposal methods like landfills.
I don't think she will be able to do it. But it should be easier for Leigh at the university than it will be for her counterpart in the City of Auburn, or in any city that funds curbside recycling. Curbside recycling is substantially more costly — that is, it uses far more resources — than a program in which disposal is combined with a voluntary drop-off/buy-back option.
Overall, curbside recycling's costs run between 35 percent and 55 percent more than other recycling methods, because it uses huge amounts of capital and labor per pound of material recycled. Recycling itself uses three times more resources than does depositing waste in landfills.
The largest US organization dedicated to recycling just found out how difficult this chosen path can be. The final death knell for the National Recycling Coalition (NRC) appeared to ring earlier this year when the organization announced it would be filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The NRC ceased operations and terminated all staff members at the close of business on Sept. 4, shortly after an attempt to merge with Keep America Beautiful failed. NRC is now trying to avoid bankruptcy by reorganization.
Even though they are a half-million dollars in debt, NRC may legally continue to exist if they can raise funds, negotiate with their creditors and develop a business plan. What seems to be their business plan? They are counting on the Kerry-Boxer Bill on clean energy to include recycling language. In other words, they are counting on being bailed out and subsidized. The market knows this is a losing proposition, so these players are trying to get taxpayers to fund their enterprises.
"Wherever private-property rights to forests are well-defined and enforced, forests are either stable or growing."
The Solid Waste Association of North America found that, of the six communities involved in a particular study, all but one of the curbside recycling programs, and all the composting operations and waste-to-energy incinerators, increased the cost of waste disposal. Indeed, the price for recycling tends to soar far higher than the combined costs of manufacturing raw materials from virgin sources and dumping rubbish into landfills.
Recycled newspapers must be deinked, often with chemicals, creating sludge. Even if the sludge is harmless, it too must be disposed of. Second, recycling more newspapers will not necessarily preserve trees, because many trees are grown specifically to be made into paper. The amount of new growth that occurs each year in forests exceeds by a factor of 20 the amount of wood and paper that is consumed by the world each year. Wherever private-property rights to forests are well-defined and enforced, forests are either stable or growing.
Glass is made from silica dioxide — that's common beach sand — the most abundant mineral in the crust of the earth. Plastic is derived from petroleum byproducts after fuel is harvested from the raw material. Recycling paper, glass, or plastic is usually not justified compared to the virgin prices of these materials.
The best way to measure the scarcity of natural resources, such as trees, sand, or oil, is to use the market prices of those resources. If the price of a resource is going up over time, and it's not just inflation pushing those prices higher, the resourceis getting scarcer. If the price is going down, it is becoming more plentiful. Indeed, since 1845, the average price of raw materials has fallen roughly 80 percent after adjusting for inflation.
This paradox of our having more by using more is explained by the use of the most important resource — man's mind. Human ingenuity makes natural resources increasingly available through prices, innovation, and substitution.
Bureaucrats, however, appear to occupy a place at the opposite end from human ingenuity. Their interferences in markets do damage. Just two examples will illustrate what I mean by that. One is about a light that has a dark side. The other example requires that you either clean your plate or become a composter.
In 2007, Congress banned incandescent bulbs — not exactly a market action. The phasing out of incandescent light is to begin with the 100-watt bulb in 2012 and end with the 40-watt bulb in 2014. By 2020, bulbs must be 70 percent more efficient than they are today. While a standard, 100-watt bulb costs $1.24, the spiral compact fluorescent light (CFL) 100-watt sells for $4.97. Advocates argue, however, that the CFL lasts longer and uses less energy. The packaging claims that after six years I will have saved $74 in energy.
Thereby, in the year 2007 alone, under this edict, some 397 million compact fluorescent light bulbs were placed on the market. Their debut is counted as a success.
"Recycling would seem to be the philosophy that everything is worth saving except your own time and money."
However, the recycling of spent household CFLs has been an abject failure. Despite CFL-disposal bans in states like Maine, despite continuing statewide education efforts, and despite a free CFL-recycling program there, households throw the used bulbs into the trash that ends up in the landfills.
What's the problem with that? Landfills, as we've learned, have the space and the appetite for our waste. Well, the problem is the potential public and environmental health effects of the collective release of the small amount of mercury in each discarded CFL. For example, using the mean amount of 5 milligrams per CFL, the total amount of mercury contained in the 2007 shipments of CFLs alone is a large amount.
There is no mention on GE's packaging of the bulb's mercury component or any special precautions you must take when this bulb breaks.
Notice that "mercury free" is already a selling point for the producers of new LED technology Accent bulbs. "Accent" means you can't actually get enough light from them to read by. But, you can tell the packager has obviously experienced how ugly the CFL-produced light is, because the buyer is assured a warm, white light, which is something you do not get with a CFL.
In June of this year, Maine adopted the nation's first law that requires CFL bulb manufacturers to share the costs and responsibility for recycling mercury-containing CFLs through a producer-financed collection and recycling program, which must include an education component. This mandate will drive the CFLs' cost even higher. Additional specialized equipment will have to be created for handling light bulbs that will be seen to be hazardous waste. How can any savings ever result from such a boondoggle?
Then, bringing new depth and meaning to the word "boondoggle," San Francisco's newest mandatory-recycling ordinance took effect last month. All residences, all restaurants and all commercial buildings must participate in the city's recycling and composting programs. A recent study had unearthed the fact that 36 percent of the city's landfilled waste is compostable. That happens to be the ingredient that makes the landfill valuable as an energy source.
Collecting your food scraps, plant trimmings, soiled paper, and other compostables is considered necessary by San Franciscans to fight global warming. Residents get both a green cart and a green report titled "Stop Trashing the Planet." Residents face $100 fines if they fail to separate their food scraps from their papers or cans. Businesses face fines of $500. Really bad actors could be fined $1000. The stated goal is to get to zero waste, meaning no garbage at all going into landfills, by the year 2020.
Obviously, San Francisco believes we have run out of landfill space. Obviously, they do not have the vision to see the energy plants that landfills can become when waste is actually put in them.
In light of these facts, how can San Franciscans and others think recycling conserves resources? First, many states and local communities subsidize recycling programs, either out of tax receipts or out of fees collected for trash disposal. That's the case with Auburn University's recycling grant. Thus the bookkeeping costs reported for such programs are far less than their true resource costs to society. Also, observers sometimes erroneously compare relatively high-cost, twice a week garbage pickup with relatively low-cost, once or twice a month recycling pickups, which makes recycling appear more attractive.
"Mandated recycling exists mainly because there is plenty of money to be made by labeling products as "green" or "recycled" to get municipal and federal grants."
Why do these same people think that recycling is protecting the environment by not polluting? Recycling is a manufacturing process, and therefore it too has environmental impact. The US Office of Technology Assessment says that it is "usually not clear whether secondary manufacturing such as recycling produces less pollution per ton of material processed than primary manufacturing processes."
Increased pollution by recycling is particularly apparent in the case of curbside recycling. Los Angeles has estimated that its fleet of trucks is twice as large as it otherwise would be — 800 versus 400 trucks. This means more iron ore and coal mining, more steel and rubber manufacturing, more petroleum extracted and refined for fuel — and of course all that extra air pollution in the Los Angeles basin as the 400 added trucks cruise the curbs.
Manufacturing paper, glass, and plastic from recycled materials uses appreciably more energy and water, and produces as much or more air pollution, as manufacturing from raw materials does. Resources are not saved and the environment is not protected.
3. Do People Recycle Only When They Are Forced To?
If all we knew about recycling was what we heard from environmentalist groups, recycling would seem to be the philosophy that everything is worth saving except your own time and money. Costs of recycling are mostly hidden. If we add in the weekly costs of sorting out items, it makes more sense to place everything in landfills.
But private recycling is the world's second oldest, if not the oldest, profession. Recyclers were just called scavengers. Everything of value has always been recycled. You will automatically know that something is of value when someone offers to buy it from you, or you see people picking through your waste or diving into dumpsters.
Aluminum packaging has never been more than a small fraction of solid waste, because metals have value. Ragpickers separating out cloth from waste may not be in season now, but cardboard, wood, and metals have always been in some demand.
Scrapyards recycle iron and steel because making steel from virgin iron and coal is more expensive. Members of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industriesrecycle 60 million tons of ferrous metals, 7 million tons of nonferrous metals, and 30 million tons of waste paper, glass, and plastic each year — an amount that dwarfs that of all government (city, county, and state) recycling programs.
Recycling is a long-practiced, productive, indeed essential, element of the market system. Informed, voluntary recycling conserves resources and raises our wealth, enabling us to achieve valued ends that would otherwise be impossible. So yes, people do recycle even when they are not forced to do so.
However, forcing people to recycle makes society worse off. Mandated recycling exists mainly because there is plenty of money to be made by labeling products as "green" or "recycled" to get municipal and federal grants.
Henry Hazlitt and Ludwig von Mises speak to our recycling topic.
In Economics in One Lesson, Hazlitt teaches us that mandatory recycling considers only-short term benefits to a few groups — politicians, public-relations consultants, environmental organizations, and waste-handling corporations — instead of looking at the longer-term effects of the policy for all groups. The negative consequence will be the squandering of human resources.
In conclusion, Mises also teaches us what to expect. Mises, in his great work Human Action, does not say that recycling is a bad belief. He shows by example that mandatory recycling is an inappropriate means of caring about the environment. Waste is inescapable. Austrian economics leaves it to every person to decide whether his or her belief in recycling is more important than the avoidance of the inevitable consequences of forced recycling policies: wasted natural resources and wasted human resources.
Comrade Lysenko Smiles
Reply #97 on:
December 08, 2009, 01:49:14 PM »
Comrade Lysenko in Copenhagen
How Stalin’s favorite scientist paved the way for today’s global-warming enthusiasts.
By Alex Alexiev
As the illustrious conclave of global-warming true believers, led by Pres. Barack Obama, gathers in Copenhagen for yet another exercise in environmental doom and gloom, observing the proceedings with the sly smirk of somebody who’s “been there, done that” is likely to be the ghost of one Trofim Denisovich Lysenko. No ordinary ghost he: Comrade Lysenko was Stalin’s favorite scientist for decades and the driving force behind the greatest scientific fraud in history prior to anthropogenic global warming (AGW). Indeed, to fully understand the nature, magnitude, and implications of the AGW scam, it’s worthwhile to revisit Academician Lysenko’s exploits.
The 1950 edition of the Great Soviet Encyclopedia, the arbiter and repository of all politically correct Communist knowledge, had the following entry under genetics: “Soviet scientists under the leadership of Academician Lysenko proved scientifically that genes do not exist in nature.” Having Mendelian genetics outlawed on the grounds that it was not a science was probably Lysenko’s crowning achievement.
A self-taught agronomist, Lysenko early on jumped aboard the Stalinist bandwagon and developed a number of agricultural ideas — ideas that rejected all established science as “bourgeois” and therefore “counter-revolutionary,” an approach similar to the Nazis’ assault on “Jewish mathematics.” Included were promises to dramatically raise grain yields through the practice of something called “vernalization,” change the climate of Siberia by planting trees, and make wheat plants produce rye, among others. To push these ideas, Lysenko called his opponents “wreckers” and the mere discussion of his theories “political sabotage.”
Invariably these “saboteurs” lost their jobs (if they were lucky) or landed in the Gulag. Today’s global-warming “deniers” would easily recognize all these tactics minus the Gulag. The U.K.’s energy and climate-change secretary, Ed Miliband, recently even referred to AGW skeptics as “saboteurs.” Some of our latter-day Lysenkos have called for legal prosecution of skeptics.
Despite a well-known record of bogus research, experiment falsification, and faked results, and with Stalin’s blessing, Lysenko and Lysenkoism ruled Soviet agricultural science for three decades with dismal consequences for agriculture and the country at large. While pre-Lysenko Russia was known as the granary of Europe, the Soviet Union was never able to feed its population and relied on huge grain imports until its demise.
Why was this charlatan tolerated for years even after Stalin’s death? The answer to that is simple. Lysenko may have been a fraud as a scientist, but he was a Communist scientist par excellence. Communist ideology, just like Nazi ideology, required strict obedience to partisanship in all realms, and science was not an exception.
And here Lysenko’s contribution was impressive. By denying genetics and propounding the idea that acquired characteristics are inheritable, he provided the “scientific” underpinning of Marx’s theory that after a few generations of Communist dictatorship, a new selfless and docile Communist man — a perfect ant in an anthill — would emerge.
It is here that Lysenkoism’s resemblance to AGW is most striking. Just as the former was only tangentially concerned with agriculture, the latter is only tangentially concerned with climate. Like many previous campaigns against imaginary evils (such as acid rain, overpopulation, urban sprawl, etc.), its real targets are capitalism and individual rights. Its solution is the unrestricted primacy of government over the citizen and of collectivism over individual rights.
The objective is the age-old socialist dream of the Left under a new and more benign guise. This new direction was best framed by the American academic socialist Robert Heilbroner after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Lamenting the fall of Communism and the socialist economic model, he urged his fellow leftists to use the ecological movement to impose socialism and central planning. This has proven to be sound advice, and today radical environmentalism has become the ramming rod of the anti-capitalist Left and a vastly more effective instrument for undermining markets and free societies than socialist ideology ever was.
Man-made climate change has become for its supporters what Lysenko’s theory of heredity was for the Stalinists. For the small international cabal of top AGW functionaries, it isn’t about climate — and it’s about more than money, power, and prestige (though, with the connivance of sycophantic Western governments and U.N. bureaucrats, there is plenty of that too). It is about ideology, in the name of which at least some of them were perfectly prepared to dissemble, falsify records, and destroy others’ careers. And their pseudo-scientific edifice, built with much underhanded effort over the years, will not go down without a fight, as Copenhagen’s confab will undoubtedly prove. For the AGW zealots in government and academia know well that the unraveling of the global-warming scam may well be the beginning of the end of radical environmentalism as the most promising means to destroy the hated free-enterprise system.
Consider, for a minute, how closely the various ongoing assaults on capitalism in the United States depend on AGW. The minute it is proven conclusively to be a fabrication, the rationale for government takeover of the energy sector via cap-and-trade disappears, as does the raison d’être for taxpayer-subsidized renewable-energy fantasies or the efforts to undermine Americans’ property rights through “smart growth” land-use restrictions. Or think of the likely impact of proven malfeasance by the AGW mandarins on their allies in U.S. government agencies, like EPA and NASA, whose regulatory proposals and policy recommendations have relied so heavily on the IPCC’s forged consensus. They are already circling the wagons and, given the support of the Obama administration and the mainstream media, it is premature to write the mandarins off quite yet.
Nonetheless, what looked like an impregnable AGW fortress a while ago has been breached and appears shaken and vulnerable, and Copenhagen will not change that. With China and India not willing to join in the global-warming demagoguery of the West, no agreement worth the paper it’s written on is likely to come out of it. In the meantime, with new Climategate investigations, FOIA requests galore, and almost daily revelations of the disingenuous shenanigans of the environmental zealots and their government supporters, it no longer looks outlandish to imagine the AGW scam and Comrade Lysenko put to rest once and for all.
-- Alex Alexiev is a visiting fellow at the Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C.
National Review Online -
WSJ: Lets do what Europe does (right!)
Reply #98 on:
December 09, 2009, 06:04:05 AM »
Kill Jobs, Get Rich--What's Not to Like?
The EU Referendum blog has a fascinating story on how Cap'n Trade--or, as it's called in Europe, the "emission trading scheme"--works. It seems that the Corus Group, a London-based steel maker that is a subsidiary of India's Tata Group, is shutting down one of its plants--a plant the company bought just two years ago "as part of its strategy to give it better access to European (including UK markets) [sic]."
Closing the plant, the site explains, will give the company an ETS jackpot:
With redundancy and decommissions costs, very little of that can actually come from the process of closing down the Redcar plant. But, with a capacity of 3,000,000 tons of steel, closure of the plant will deliver further "savings" over 6 million tons of carbon dioxide, worth an additional £80 million per annum at current rates but around £200 million at expected market levels.
This, even for a company the size of Tara steel, is a considerable windfall, over and above the money it will already make from the EU scheme. But, with a little manipulation, the company can still double its money. By "offshoring" production to India and bringing emissions down – from over twice the EU level--to the level currently produced by the Redcar plant, it stands to make another £200 million per annum from the UN's Clean Development Mechanism.
Thus we see Indian plants being paid up to £30 a ton for each ton of carbon dixoide "saved" by building new plant, while the company which owns them also gets gets paid £30 for each ton of carbon dioxide not produced in its Redcar plant. That gives it an estimated £400 million a year from the closure of the Redcar plant up to 2012--potentially up to £1.2 billion. And that is over and above benefitting from cheaper production costs on the sub-continent.
So the company gets a windfall for moving jobs from Britain to India, and the new plant will produce no less carbon than before. Brilliant, isn't it? We can't wait till America has such a policy.
NYT: Millions drink contaminated water
Reply #99 on:
December 09, 2009, 06:56:24 AM »
Millions in U.S. Drink Dirty Water, Records Show
Published: December 7, 2009
More than 20 percent of the nation’s water treatment systems have violated key provisions of the Safe Drinking Water Act over the last five years, according to a New York Times analysis of federal data.
The water system in Ramsey, N.J., has illegal concentrations of arsenic and the solvent tetrachloroethylene, both linked to cancer.
Times Topics: Water Pollution
Series: Toxic Waters »
Takeaway With Charles Duhigg
That law requires communities to deliver safe tap water to local residents. But since 2004, the water provided to more than 49 million people has contained illegal concentrations of chemicals like arsenic or radioactive substances like uranium, as well as dangerous bacteria often found in sewage.
Regulators were informed of each of those violations as they occurred. But regulatory records show that fewer than 6 percent of the water systems that broke the law were ever fined or punished by state or federal officials, including those at the Environmental Protection Agency, which has ultimate responsibility for enforcing standards.
Studies indicate that drinking water contaminants are linked to millions of instances of illness within the United States each year.
In some instances, drinking water violations were one-time events, and probably posed little risk. But for hundreds of other systems, illegal contamination persisted for years, records show.
On Tuesday, the Senate Environment and Public Works committee will question a high-ranking E.P.A. official about the agency’s enforcement of drinking-water safety laws. The E.P.A. is expected to announce a new policy for how it polices the nation’s 54,700 water systems.
“This administration has made it clear that clean water is a top priority,” said an E.P.A. spokeswoman, Adora Andy, in response to questions regarding the agency’s drinking water enforcement. The E.P.A. administrator, Lisa P. Jackson, this year announced a wide-ranging overhaul of enforcement of the Clean Water Act, which regulates pollution into waterways.
“The previous eight years provide a perfect example of what happens when political leadership fails to act to protect our health and the environment,” Ms. Andy added.
Water pollution has become a growing concern for some lawmakers as government oversight of polluters has waned. Senator Barbara Boxer, Democrat of California, in 2007 asked the E.P.A. for data on Americans’ exposure to some contaminants in drinking water.
The New York Times has compiled and analyzed millions of records from water systems and regulators around the nation, as part of a series of articles about worsening pollution in American waters, and regulators’ response.
An analysis of E.P.A. data shows that Safe Drinking Water Act violations have occurred in parts of every state. In the prosperous town of Ramsey, N.J., for instance, drinking water tests since 2004 have detected illegal concentrations of arsenic, a carcinogen, and the dry cleaning solvent tetrachloroethylene, which has also been linked to cancer.
In New York state, 205 water systems have broken the law by delivering tap water that contained illegal amounts of bacteria since 2004.
However, almost none of those systems were ever punished. Ramsey was not fined for its water violations, for example, though a Ramsey official said that filtration systems have been installed since then. In New York, only three water systems were penalized for bacteria violations, according to federal data.
The problem, say current and former government officials, is that enforcing the Safe Drinking Water Act has not been a federal priority.
“There is significant reluctance within the E.P.A. and Justice Department to bring actions against municipalities, because there’s a view that they are often cash-strapped, and fines would ultimately be paid by local taxpayers,” said David Uhlmann, who headed the environmental crimes division at the Justice Department until 2007.
“But some systems won’t come into compliance unless they are forced to,” added Mr. Uhlmann, who now teaches at the University of Michigan law school. “And sometimes a court order is the only way to get local governments to spend what is needed.”
A half-dozen current and former E.P.A. officials said in interviews that they tried to prod the agency to enforce the drinking-water law, but found little support.
“I proposed drinking water cases, but they got shut down so fast that I’ve pretty much stopped even looking at the violations,” said one longtime E.P.A. enforcement official who, like others, requested anonymity for fear of reprisals. “The top people want big headlines and million-dollar settlements. That’s not drinking-water cases.”
The majority of drinking water violations since 2004 have occurred at water systems serving fewer than 20,000 residents, where resources and managerial expertise are often in short supply.
It is unclear precisely how many American illnesses are linked to contaminated drinking water. Many of the most dangerous contaminants regulated by the Safe Drinking Water Act have been tied to diseases like cancer that can take years to develop.
Millions in U.S. Drink Dirty Water, Records Show
Published: December 7, 2009
(Page 2 of 2)
But scientific research indicates that as many as 19 million Americans may become ill each year due to just the parasites, viruses and bacteria in drinking water. Certain types of cancer — such as breast and prostate cancer — have risen over the past 30 years, and research indicates they are likely tied to pollutants like those found in drinking water.
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Times Topics: Water Pollution
Series: Toxic Waters »
Takeaway With Charles Duhigg
A blog about energy, the environment and the bottom line.
The violations counted by the Times analysis include only situations where residents were exposed to dangerous contaminants, and exclude violations that involved paperwork or other minor problems.
In response to inquiries submitted by Senator Boxer, the E.P.A. has reported that more than three million Americans have been exposed since 2005 to drinking water with illegal concentrations of arsenic and radioactive elements, both of which have been linked to cancer at small doses.
In some areas, the amount of radium detected in drinking water was 2,000 percent higher than the legal limit, according to E.P.A. data.
But federal regulators fined or punished fewer than 8 percent of water systems that violated the arsenic and radioactive standards. The E.P.A., in a statement, said that in a majority of situations, state regulators used informal methods — like providing technical assistance — to help systems that had violated the rules.
But many systems remained out of compliance, even after aid was offered, according to E.P.A. data. And for over a quarter of systems that violated the arsenic or radioactivity standards, there is no record that they were ever contacted by a regulator, even after they sent in paperwork revealing their violations.
Those figures are particularly worrisome, say researchers, because the Safe Drinking Water Act’s limits on arsenic are so weak to begin with. A system could deliver tap water that puts residents at a 1-in-600 risk of developing bladder cancer from arsenic, and still comply with the law.
Despite the expected announcement of reforms, some mid-level E.P.A. regulators say they are skeptical that any change will occur.
“The same people who told us to ignore Safe Drinking Water Act violations are still running the divisions,” said one mid-level E.P.A. official. “There’s no accountability, and so nothing’s going to change.”
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