Tuesday, May 31, 2005


Full speech (delivered 25 May 2005) here

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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


Monday, May 30, 2005


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More here


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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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


Sunday, May 29, 2005


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

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

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

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

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

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


For perspective, note this report from 1998:

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

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

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

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

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

And there was a 1970s scare too:

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

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

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

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


Prof. Brignell thinks Global Warming is

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


Saturday, May 28, 2005


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More here


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More here


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

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

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


Friday, May 27, 2005


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

More here


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More here


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

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

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


Thursday, May 26, 2005


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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More here

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


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

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

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


Wednesday, May 25, 2005


If anywhere could do with warmer weather, Scotland could

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

More here


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

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

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


Tuesday, May 24, 2005


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

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

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

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

More here


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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