Saturday, January 06, 2007


Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.) delivered a Senate floor speech analyzing the proposed Endangered Species Act listing of the Polar Bear by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Following is an excerpt of the speech

"A 2002 U.S. Geological Survey of wildlife in the Arctic Refuge Coastal Plain noted that the polar bear populations `may now be near historic highs.' So if the number of polar bears does not appear to be in decline, why are we considering listing the species as threatened? Because the ESA is broken and this proposal is indicative of what is wrong with it," Senator Inhofe said. "In the proposal, the Fish and Wildlife Service acknowledges that for seven of the 19 worldwide polar bear populations, the Service has no population trend data of any kind," he added.

"The [ESA] law also allows for the Fish and Wildlife Service to justify its proposal on a sample from a single population in Western Hudson Bay in Canada, where bear populations have decreased by 259 polar bears in the last 17 years. Yet hunting was allowed during that entire period in the Western Hudson Bay population. In fact, according to the latest figures collected by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, 234 bears have been killed in the last 5 years alone. How many more were killed in the previous 12 years and what overall affect did this have on population numbers?" Senator Inhofe said.

"Ironically, the Canadian government is right now considering a proposal to increase the quota on the harvesting of polar bears in the Western Hudson Bay population. This would allow more hunting of the population whose condition is so dire that the Service based its listing decision on it. While I support hunting as a general matter, we need to fully understand its impact on the polar bear populations before we blame global warming for changes in bear populations.

"The Fish and Wildlife Service asserts that the reason for the decline in the Western Hudson Bay population is climate-change-induced ice melting. To make that assertion, they rely on hypothetical climate change computer models showing massive loss of ice that irreparably damages the polar bear's habitat. The Service then extrapolates that reasoning to the other 18 populations of polar bears, making the assumption that all bears in these populations will eventually decline and go extinct. Again, this conclusion is not based on field data but on hypothetical modeling and that is considered perfectly acceptable `scientific evidence' under the ESA.

"I do not believe our federal conservation policy should be dictated by hypothetical computer projections because the stakes of a listing decision under ESA can be extremely high. The listing of the polar bear is no exception."



The U.S. Interior Department at the end of the year proposed listing the polar bear as "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act. The agency said the threat to the top-of-the-food-chain predator (they like humans about as well as they like seals) is global warming.

The arctic is enjoying a warming that has brought temperatures up to levels not seen since the 1930s, and this has the green community in a tizzy. The polar bears allegedly are seeing a population decline as the ice flows and ice sheets where they live and trap seals for most of the year are said to be breaking up. (When I was at the North Slope in 1995, oil company workers told me of polar bears stalking oil-field workers on land, so perhaps the eco-niche of the white bears isn't as narrow as the greens believe.)

My friend David Wojick, a prominent warming skeptic, has published a very funny blog on the bears at his Washington Pest site. He notes, quite correctly, that the polar bear is threatened by computer models, the first animal subjected to such a man-made threat. Not guns, but bytes.

It's interesting to note that polar bears at Churchill, Manitoba, Canada, retreat to land when their ice floes melt in July. There they are fairly passive and common, which has generated a significant tourist industry of folks who want to see, and photograph, the cuddly and ferocious bears. But the bears also scavenge the local garbage dump, where they are easy targets for photogs. (It's worth noting that the easiest way to get a really good picture of a bald eagle is at the garbage dump at Dutch Harbor on Alaska's Aleutian islands.) Churchill traps the rogue bears to remove them from the garbage dump.

Wojick's polar bear blog posting generated several comments, one of which was mine. I've seen Alaska's "brown bears," not the cuddly critters we see hiking in the Appalachian Mountains, but what we call "grizzly bears" in the lower 48, at close range. It's pretty clear grizzlies are related to the polar bears, with which, according to Interior, they can interbreed. Both are fearsome creatures.

A grizzly aside here. Several years ago, I was on a trip to Alaska. Part of that involved observing grizzly bears from a Zodiac inflatable boat, off of Kodiak Island and the mainland, while the bears were onshore engaging in various behaviors. We got very close, as the bears did not consider a Zodiac attack a threat. One of the bears, a gigantic strawberry blond fellow, was clamming - scooping up clams and shucking them quickly with his powerful and articulate thumb claw, then slurping the innards (it made me hungry). My guide, the aptly-named field biologist Conrad Field, noted that clamming is a learned behavior. Bears with mothers that clam, learn to clam. Those with mothers that don't, don't. These are smart critters.

Churchill, Manitoba, is not to be confused with Churchill Falls, Labrador, one of the largest hydroelectric power plants in the world. Churchill Falls, which began generating electricity in 1971, has 5,428 MW of generating capacity.

My point on the Washington Pest blog was that if computer models are threatening the polar bears, the obvious policy option is to change the behavior of the computer models. That ought to be really simple, an easy way to save the bears. And has anyone else noticed how much Energy Secretary Sam Bodman resembles a polar bear: round, sleek, very white, and endangered?



So let's have nukes!

Should New Zealand worry as China and the United States greatly increase their capacity to produce electricity? It sounds a silly question. But it should not be treated that way.

More and more coal around the world is being burned in power plants to generate electricity. This threatens to have the biggest single impact on the potentially catastrophic rise in global temperatures caused by emissions of gases heating the earth's atmosphere. Coal is increasingly popular as an industrial-scale fuel because it is abundant, widely distributed, and cheaper than oil, natural gas or renewable energy sources like wind power.

China and the US have vast reserves of coal compared with their limited supplies of domestic oil and gas. Since electricity demand is soaring, both countries are adding coal-fired plants like crazy. Over 150 new ones are planned or being built in the US. In China, some 550 such plants are under construction. ....



"My ideal picture," says the marketing director of Galanz, the largest microwave manufacturer in the world, "is of a Chinese peasant coming home after a day in the fields and cooking supper in a microwave." Until recently, most people - including Chinese peasants - would have laughed at such a vision. Galanz built its brand, as did almost every other consumer goods company in China, by selling to the prosperous citizens of boomtowns on the east coast.

But now, say business analysts and economists, China is poised for a consumer-products revolution. Whereas the burgeoning elite in China's major industrial cities has spent the last several years cashing in on an export boom, an emerging middle class in the country's interior has only recently begun to see the fruits of economic liberalization. As government policies shift to encourage consumer spending, businessmen may finally realize their fantasies of an enormous, untapped consumer marketing frontier.

"We have to increase the number of people with a microwave oven from 200 million to 1.2 billion," says Ms. Chen, a gleam in her eye as she measures the prospect. "That's where our future lies."

And after many years of waiting the future has arrived, says Andrew Grant, head of McKinsey & Co., the consulting firm, in China. "At the moment, China's consumer economy is about the size of Italy's, but in two years' time it is going to start adding an Italy every year," says Mr. Grant, noting that while the average Italian spends $11,511 on consumer goods each year to China's $543, the middle kingdom's enormous population makes up for the difference.


Greenie dam-hatred finally starts to turns off water to homes in Australia

Some Brisbane households may soon not have enough water pressure to run taps [faucets] after City Hall admitted to progressively turning down the mains pressure under a radical scheme to conserve water. Brisbane City Council water spokeswoman Jane Prentice also said residents would have to personally foot the bill to increase pressure by purchasing a booster pump, at a cost of up to $1000. The pump would also need to be installed by a plumber and electrician.

Those likely to be most affected will be residents of apartment buildings and homes on hillsides and hilltops, along with homeowners whose renovations included the installation of extra upstairs faucets. Cr Prentice said some inner-city areas had been secretly tested and a full roll-out would be completed by mid-year. She said council would notify major industry in coming weeks and homeowners over the next two months. "We will be giving plenty of notice that the pressure is being reduced and homeowners may have to put in booster pumps," she said. [How kind!]

Brisbane's ageing inner-city water pipes leak up to 13 million litres a day. Stopping that would help the municipality hit stringent State Government water-saving guidelines. As The Courier-Mail reported yesterday, the Queensland Water Commission this week slammed councils for having fallen behind their target to save 62 megalitres of water per day by fixing leaks and pressure.

Cr Prentice said water pressure delivered to a property's boundary would not fall below the national standard of 210kPa, or the strength to shoot a column of water 21m into the air at the property's boundary. However, she conceded that it could drop below that mark once inside the boundary. Brisbane properties currently receive over 300kPa. "Some people at the bottom of the hill (currently) get lovely pressure but at the top sometimes you need a pump," Cr Prentice said. "We have found old apartments are unlikely to have the boosters and that water pressure can drop out in an upstairs ensuite for example. "This is particularly evident for those people who have renovated and live on hillsides. But I don't think it will affect many people. Some people might find it is under the 210kPa by the time it gets up the hill or to the top of the house, but it is only the Council's responsibility to deliver national standards and we will do that."



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 generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

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

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