Author Topic: Environmental issues  (Read 82056 times)

rogt

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Re: Environmental issues
« Reply #50 on: February 27, 2007, 05:13:47 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?

Crafty_Dog

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Re: Environmental issues
« Reply #51 on: February 27, 2007, 07:24:25 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.

milt

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Re: Environmental issues
« Reply #52 on: February 28, 2007, 12:04:41 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.

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2004/12/index/

-milt

buzwardo

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Re: Environmental issues
« Reply #53 on: March 01, 2007, 04:54:15 PM »
Milt avers:

Quote
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.

http://www.nypost.com/php/pfriendly/print.php?url=http://www.nypost.com/seven/02262007/postopinion/opedcolumnists/not_that_simple_opedcolumnists_roy_w__spencer.htm





buzwardo

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Of Cisterns and Carbon Credits
« Reply #54 on: March 01, 2007, 05:01:48 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.

UPDATE:
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.”

How convenient.

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“…

http://www.texasrainmaker.com/2007/03/01/another-inconvenient-truth/

milt

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Re: Environmental issues
« Reply #55 on: March 02, 2007, 08:37:46 AM »
Milt avers:

Quote
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.

-milt

buzwardo

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Re: Environmental issues
« Reply #56 on: March 15, 2007, 12:04:46 PM »
Quote
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, 12:55:24 PM by buzwardo »

DougMacG

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Re: Environmental issues
« Reply #57 on: March 18, 2007, 04:19:04 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.


Crafty_Dog

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Re: Environmental issues
« Reply #58 on: March 18, 2007, 11:38:21 PM »
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?"


 

rogt

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Re: Environmental issues
« Reply #59 on: March 22, 2007, 12:51:05 PM »
http://www.wsws.org/articles/2007/mar2007/clim-m22.shtml

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. http://oversight.house.gov/story.asp?ID=1214

Crafty_Dog

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Re: Environmental issues
« Reply #60 on: March 22, 2007, 01:39:05 PM »
Rog:

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.   :wink:

Marc

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World Socialist Web Site
« Reply #61 on: March 22, 2007, 02:12:32 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.

Crafty_Dog

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Re: Environmental issues
« Reply #62 on: March 22, 2007, 02:45:45 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?

rogt

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Re: Environmental issues
« Reply #63 on: March 22, 2007, 03:01:36 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.   :wink:

I think that was Milt.  ;)

rogt

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Re: World Socialist Web Site
« Reply #64 on: March 22, 2007, 03:04:13 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:

Quote
Related PDF files from the Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearings are available through the committee’s web site. http://oversight.house.gov/story.asp?ID=1214

buzwardo

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Re: Environmental issues
« Reply #65 on: March 26, 2007, 09:34:43 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?

Crafty_Dog

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Re: Environmental issues
« Reply #66 on: March 26, 2007, 12:23:53 PM »
Ahem, , , lets focus on the science here more than Patricians and Demagogues playing "he said, she said".

Crafty_Dog

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Re: Environmental issues
« Reply #67 on: April 23, 2007, 07:23:58 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.

  Your friend,
 
 Newt Gingrich

DougMacG

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Re: Environmental issues - Kyo-Two
« Reply #68 on: December 06, 2007, 11:34:28 AM »
"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."

http://www.financialpost.com/analysis/story.html?id=eec03f41-5fa7-41b9-b179-614151eaf15e&k=87348

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.

DougMacG

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Re: Environmental issues
« Reply #69 on: December 07, 2007, 08:27:17 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.

Crafty_Dog

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WSJ: Kill the cows!
« Reply #70 on: July 19, 2008, 04:39:20 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.

Body-by-Guinness

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Monckton to McCain, 1
« Reply #71 on: October 18, 2008, 12:52:48 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 [2007].

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 [2004] 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 [2008], 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.



Body-by-Guinness

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Monckton to McCain, 2
« Reply #72 on: October 18, 2008, 12:53:18 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.

Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/2008/10/an_open_letter_from_the_viscou_1.html at October 18, 2008 - 12:48:17 PM EDTM

Body-by-Guinness

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Monckton to McCain, 3
« Reply #73 on: October 18, 2008, 12:56:07 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 &q