Thursday, August 04, 2005


California's San Joaquin Valley for some time has had the dirtiest air in the country. Monday, officials said gases from ruminating dairy cows, not exhaust from cars, are the region's biggest single source of a chief smog-forming pollutant. Every year, the average dairy cow produces 19.3 pounds of gases, called volatile organic compounds, the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District said. Those gases react with other pollutants to form ground-level ozone, or smog. With 2.5 million dairy cows - roughly one of every five in the country - emissions of almost 20 pounds per cow mean that cattle in the San Joaquin Valley produce more organic compounds than are generated by either cars or trucks or pesticides, the air district said. The finding will serve as the basis for strict air-quality regulations on the region's booming dairy industry.

The San Joaquin Valley, Houston and Los Angeles have the three worst air-pollution problems in America. Their relative rank varies from year to year depending in part on weather conditions. Over the last six years, however, the San Joaquin Valley has violated the federal limit on ozone smog over an eight-hour period more than any other region. That "eight-hour standard" is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's main barometer for the severity of smog.

The dairy industry will be forced to invest millions of dollars in expensive pollution-control technology in feedlots and waste lagoons, and may even have to consider altering animals' diets to meet the region's planned air-quality regulations. Not surprisingly, industry officials challenged the estimate as scientifically unsound. "Science is supposed to guide this regulation, not fairy dust," said Michael Marsh, chief executive officer of Western United Dairymen, a lobbying group that said it was considering a lawsuit to block regulations based on the new finding. "It's impossible to capture emissions that scientists can't even detect."

Air-quality regulators defended their estimate as a conservative one based on the best available research. But it was criticized by some scientists - including one whose work was used by the district to arrive at the figure. "If you closed all the dairies in California tomorrow, you would not see much of an impact on ozone formation," said the scientist, Frank Mitloehner of UC Davis, who was hired by air-quality officials to study cow emissions and now contends his findings were misconstrued. "We really don't have the science to back this number up," he said.

Five members of Congress and 12 state legislators had demanded that the district reconsider a similar draft estimate, calling it absurdly high. Environmentalists and some community groups, meanwhile, called the same figure too low. The entire exercise of estimating cow emissions has been lampooned on talk radio as "fart science" run amok -although most gas actually comes from the front end of the cow. "I'd like to challenge the people that came up with this information to enclose yourself in a shop with a cow, and at the same time have someone enclose themselves in a similar shop with a car or truck running," one critic, Steve Hofman of Ripon, Calif., wrote to the Modesto Bee. "Then let me know the results."

Cars do emit many significant pollutants that cows do not, and they are responsible for more smog-forming emissions overall. But in a region where many children suffer from asthma and officials issue smog warnings on hot summer days, supporters of strong regulations said the role of cows in emitting organic gases is no laughing matter. "This is not some arcane dispute about cow gases," said Brent Newell, an attorney for the Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment. "We are talking about a public health crisis. It's not funny to joke about cow burps and farts when one in six children in Fresno schools is carrying an inhaler."

The dairy industry is growing fast in the San Joaquin Valley as farms driven out of the Chino area in Southern California by urbanization move into the Central Valley. Government officials estimate that over the next several years, the number of cows in the San Joaquin air basin will increase from 2.5 million to about 2.9 million.

Although air-quality officials now have a figure on the extent of the cow pollution problem, it remained unclear how far they could push dairies to reduce bovine emissions. Most of the gases, scientists believe, come from the bovine digestive process, which consists of constantly swallowing and regurgitating food. This is known as rumination, or "chewing the cud," which produces large amounts of gas.

Cow manure is also a major source of emissions and will probably be targeted for regulation. Officials said they may also require dairies to alter the food cows eat in order to reduce flatulence. New dairies will be required to use the best available equipment to curtail emissions. Existing dairies will face less-restrictive requirements, but will also be forced to make changes to reduce cow gases.

Possible measures include scraping manure from cow corrals more frequently so it won't fester in the heat and installing digesters to break down pollution in the lagoons where cow waste is later flushed. "We need immediate regulation now. We know the pollutants are coming off these dairies," said Tom Frantz, a native of Shafter, Calif., who heads a group called the Assn. of Irritated Residents. He says that he developed asthma in the last five years as factory dairy farms moved into the region. "Ag hasn't been regulated in the past, but times are changing. Our lungs will not become an agricultural subsidy."


Steven Hayward comments:

"Guess what? Cows are now a larger source of pollution than cars in California's central valley, which still have a significant smog problem. So says a terrific story in today's Los Angeles Times, by Miguel Bustillo, one of the better environmental beat reporters in the country. Once again, we see another vindication of Ronald Reagan's much ridiculed view that there were lots of natural (or non-human) sources of smog. About 15 years ago the LA smog regulators did a study of emissions from trees, and concluded that they might not be able to meet the Clean Air Act targets for the LA basin unless they began to regulate . . . landscaping. The LA Times reported this quite well; It turned out that Japanese trees were lower-emitting trees than native American trees. The head of Tree People, a local tree-planting group, told the Times that they were very concerned, but would be sure to make sure that their members "planted low-emitting trees." Evelyn Waugh could hardly have written better satire."


With the recent bombings in London, most concerns about terrorist strikes on the US focus on the jihadist movement. But the next major terrorist strike in the US could come from an unexpected direction -- the extremist animal rights and environmental movements. According to FBI Deputy Assistant Director John Lewis, the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) and the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) are "one of today's most serious domestic terrorism threats." Skeptics, including The New York Times editorial page, argue that this threat is over hyped as these groups have confined themselves to property crime, unlike the well-established record of deadly right-wing terrorism. But waiting for terrorist groups to turn to murder is pre-9/11 thinking and the growing violence and sophistication of ALF and ELF are worrisome. The FBI's Lewis testified to the Senate: "Attacks are also growing in frequency and size. Harassing phone calls and vandalism now co-exist with improvised explosive devices and personal threats to employees. . Extremists of these movements adhere to strict security measures in both their communications and their operations."

The membership is well educated with many graduate students in their ranks. ALF and ELF are a non-hierarchical group with self-forming autonomous cells that are in one-way contact with the "press offices." The press offices provide ideological and practical guidance and participate in conferences where members can be recruited and trained. Cells, in turn, report actions to the press offices by anonymous e-mail. Closing the press offices has limited utility, since it is easy to start another website while breaking up a cell has minimal impact on the movement as a whole. These are not the operations of amateur coffeehouse revolutionaries, but of a sophisticated underground network of dedicated members.

Equally troubling, the internal rhetoric of the movement is shifting. Traditionally ALF freed lab and farm animals, insisting that they would never purposefully harm a human. But affiliated groups in Europe have beaten opponents, and Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn's assassin was an animal rights activist. At an August 2003 Animal Rights Conference in Los Angeles, an ALF spokesman, Dr. Jerry Vlasak, stated: "I think there is a use for violence in our movement. And I think it can be an effective strategy. Not only is it morally acceptable. . I don't think you'd have to kill -- assassinate -- too many vivisectors before you would see a marked decrease in the amount of vivisection going on." When an audience member stated that this was the same as the pro-life movement killing abortionists, Vlasak responded, "Absolutely, I think they've had a great strategy going."

The ALF and ELF worldview is also expanding. Their rhetoric (which can be read on a number of websites including has become infused with Marxist and anarchist ideology, criticizing the familiar litany of globalization, American imperialism and capitalism. In March 2003, just before the Iraq war, ELF ideologue Craig Rosebraugh called for, "strategies and tactics which severely disrupt the war machine, the U.S. economy, and the overall functioning of U.S. society." In his book, The Logic of Political Violence, Rosebraugh wrote: "[R]evolution in the United States . cannot be successful without the implementation of violence." Transferring ALF's and ELF's enemies from particular industries and companies to society as a whole could inspire larger scale terrorist attacks.

ALF and ELF could also link with international terrorists as they have affiliates in Europe and connections to the radical left internationally. Daniel Andreas San Diego (who is on the FBI's most wanted list for a series of attempted 2003 bombings of animal research facilities) demonstrated this kinship when he sent an e-mail claiming credit for the bombings that ended with a salute to international terrorists, including the Real IRA, Columbia's FARC and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (which is closely linked with the Islamist terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah). Such links would increase ELF and ALF capabilities and radicalism and could lead to Americans being recruited to international terrorist groups.

Domestic terrorism from the right has been far more deadly than domestic terrorism from the left and law enforcement has responded appropriately. Rightwing extremist groups are monitored and infiltrated. But ALF and ELF have been less vulnerable to law enforcement countermeasures, consequently they are more likely to undertake a major operation successfully. Downplaying the threat of ALF and ELF by arguing that these groups have not yet perpetrated Oklahoma City type attacks ignores the seminal lesson of 9/11. These groups need to be stopped before they turn to large-scale violence.



(From Advances in Water Resources, Article in Press. "Comments on "Evidence for global runoff increase related to climate warming"" by Labat et al.)

By: David R. Legates a), Harry F. Lins b) and Gregory J. McCabe c) a) Center for Climatic Research, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716-2541, USA b) U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, VA 20192-0002, USA c) U.S. Geological Survey, Denver, CO 80225-0046, USA


We have examined the evidence presented by Labat et al. and found that (1) their claims for a 4% increase in global runoff arising from a 1 øC increase in air temperature and (2) that their article provides the "first experimental data-based evidence demonstrating the link between the global warming and the intensification of the global hydrological cycle" are not supported by the data presented. Our conclusions are based on the facts that (1) their discharge records exhibit non-climatic influences and trends, (2) their work cannot refute previous studies finding no relation between air temperature and runoff, (3) their conclusions cannot explain relations before 1925, and (4) the statistical significance of their results hinges on a single data point that exerts undue influence on the slope of the regression line. We argue that Labat et al. have not provided sufficient evidence to support their claim for having detected increases in global runoff resulting from climate warming.

Article Outline
1. Use of discharge records that reflect non-climatic trends
2. Documented lack of a relation between streamflow and air temperature in previous studies
3. Inappropriate estimation of data to fill gaps in long-term streamflow records
4. Selection of the time period analyzed and lack of explanation for relationships before 1925
5. Regression and the presence of an influence point
6. Summary & References

A recent article by Labat et al. [5] suggests observational evidence for a correlation between global annual temperature and runoff exists; specifically, that a 4% increase in global runoff has resulted from a 1 øC increase in global temperature. These results vary by continent, however, from a negative trend over Africa to a pronounced positive trend for North America-but most continents exhibit a statistically significant trend. It is postulated that increasing temperatures lead to increased oceanic evaporation and, consequently, increased terrestrial precipitation and continental runoff. The Labat et al. paper [5] claims, "this contribution provides the first experimental data-based evidence demonstrating the link between the global warming and the intensification of the global hydrological cycle" (p. 641). If true, this result has profound implications for our understanding of climate change mechanisms and for finding a direct link between changes in the energy and water balances.

A long-standing discussion has argued that an increase in global air temperatures might lead to increased runoff due to increased precipitation (as suggested by Labat et al.) or decreased runoff due to increased continental evaporation rates and hence continental drying. Labat et al.'s results strongly argue that increased precipitation would outweigh the increase in evapotranspiration. Labat et al. [5] have tried to address a complicated problem for which too few data and too many confounding effects exist. Therefore, we believe that the conclusions reached by Labat et al. [5] are incorrect owing to a number of concerns. In particular, their analysis (1) uses discharge records that exhibit non-climatic trends, (2) does not attempt to refute previous studies that found no relation between air temperature and runoff, (3) inappropriately estimates data to fill gaps in long-term streamflow records, (4) does not explain relations before 1925, and (5) is based on regression results that are adversely affected by a single influence point. We address each of these issues, as well as additional concerns in the manuscript, below.


6. Summary

In their recent article, Labat et al. [5] have made two strong claims. First, using data from 1926 through 1994, they claim that a 4% increase in global runoff has arisen from a 1 øC increase in global air temperature. We strongly question that claim based on the fact that the 221 discharge records used by Labat et al. include anthropogenic changes on the watershed to varying degrees, thus biasing the data. Verifying that the data used are truly 'climate-sensitive' is the only way to ensure that variations in runoff are truly reflective of climatic variations and are devoid of confounding anthropogenic influences. Moreover, their conclusions cannot explain relations before 1925, and the statistical significance of their result is based on a single observation that exerts undue influence on the slope of the regression line. Their second claim is that their article provides the "first experimental data-based evidence demonstrating the link between the global warming and the intensification of the global hydrological cycle". Other studies have attempted to analyze relations between changes in air temperature and other components of the hydrologic cycle. Labat et al. [5] have not proven why their work overcomes the conclusions of and contradicts seminal papers on the subject [4]. We therefore conclude that, contrary to their arguments, Labat et al. have not provided sufficient evidence to support their claim for the existence of a relation between air temperature and runoff or that increases in global runoff have resulted from climate warming.

Doi (permanent) address for the above paper here


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

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

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