Monday, January 15, 2007


Even the Vegos are hopping onto the global warming bandwagon -- but with a surprising amount of skepticism about the source of it. They say it is all due to farting cows. See below

Global warming poses one of the most serious threats to the global environment ever faced in human history. Yet by focusing entirely on carbon dioxide emissions, major environmental organizations have failed to account for published data showing that other gases are the main culprits behind the global warming we see today. As a result, they are neglecting what might be the most effective strategy for reducing global warming in our lifetimes: advocating a vegetarian diet.

The environmental community rightly recognizes global warming as one of the gravest threats to the planet. Global temperatures are already higher than they've ever been in at least the past millennium, and the increase is accelerating even faster than scientists had predicted. The expected consequences include coastal flooding, increases in extreme weather, spreading disease, and mass extinctions.

Unfortunately, the environmental community has focused its efforts almost exclusively on abating carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Domestic legislative efforts concentrate on raising fuel economy standards, capping CO2 emissions from power plants, and investing in alternative energy sources. Recommendations to consumers also focus on CO2: buy fuel-efficient cars and appliances, and minimize their use. ,

This is a serious miscalculation. Data published by Dr. James Hansen and others show that CO2 emissions are not the main cause of observed atmospheric warming. Though this may sound like the work of global warming skeptics, it isn't: Hansen is Director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies who has been called "a grandfather of the global warming theory." He is a longtime supporter of action against global warming, cited by Al Gore and often quoted by environmental organizations, who has argued against skeptics for subverting the scientific process. His results are generally accepted by global warming experts, including bigwigs like Dr. James McCarthy, co-chair of the International Panel on Climate Change's Working Group II.

The focus solely on CO2 is fueled in part by misconceptions. It's true that human activity produces vastly more CO2 than all other greenhouse gases put together. However, this does not mean it is responsible for most of the earth's warming. Many other greenhouse gases trap heat far more powerfully than CO2, some of them tens of thousands of times more powerfully. When taking into account various gases' global warming potential-defined as the amount of actual warming a gas will produce over the next one hundred years-it turns out that gases other than CO2 make up most of the global warming problem.

Even this overstates the effect of CO2, because the primary sources of these emissions-cars and power plants-also produce aerosols. Aerosols actually have a cooling effect on global temperatures, and the magnitude of this cooling approximately cancels out the warming effect of CO2. The surprising result is that sources of CO2 emissions are having roughly zero effect on global temperatures in the near-term!

This result is not widely known in the environmental community, due to a fear that polluting industries will use it to excuse their greenhouse gas emissions. For example, the Union of Concerned Scientists had the data reviewed by other climate experts, who affirmed Hansen's conclusions. However, the organization also cited climate contrarians' misuse of the data to argue against curbs in CO2. This contrarian spin cannot be justified.

While CO2 may have little influence in the near-term, reductions remains critical for containing climate change in the long run. Aerosols are short-lived, settling out of the air after a few months, while CO2 continues to heat the atmosphere for decades to centuries. Moreover, we cannot assume that aerosol emissions will keep pace with increases in CO2 emissions. If we fail start dealing with CO2 today, it will be too late down the road when the emissions catch up with us.

Nevertheless, the fact remains that sources of non-CO2 greenhouse gases are responsible for virtually all the global warming we're seeing, and all the global warming we are going to see for the next fifty years. If we wish to curb global warming over the coming half century, we must look at strategies to address non-CO2 emissions. The strategy with the most impact is vegetarianism.

By far the most important non-CO2 greenhouse gas is methane, and the number one source of methane worldwide is animal agriculture. Methane is responsible for nearly as much global warming as all other non-CO2 greenhouse gases put together. Methane is 21 times more powerful a greenhouse gas than CO2. While atmospheric concentrations of CO2 have risen by about 31% since pre-industrial times, methane concentrations have more than doubled. Whereas human sources of CO2 amount to just 3% of natural emissions, human sources produce one and a half times as much methane as all natural sources. In fact, the effect of our methane emissions may be compounded as methane-induced warming in turn stimulates microbial decay of organic matter in wetlands-the primary natural source of methane.

With methane emissions causing nearly half of the planet's human-induced warming, methane reduction must be a priority. Methane is produced by a number of sources, including coal mining and landfills-but the number one source worldwide is animal agriculture. Animal agriculture produces more than 100 million tons of methane a year. And this source is on the rise: global meat consumption has increased fivefold in the past fifty years, and shows little sign of abating. About 85% of this methane is produced in the digestive processes of livestock, and while a single cow releases a relatively small amount of methane, the collective effect on the environment of the hundreds of millions of livestock animals worldwide is enormous. An additional 15% of animal agricultural methane emissions are released from the massive "lagoons" used to store untreated farm animal waste, and already a target of environmentalists' for their role as the number one source of water pollution in the U.S......



Rebecca and Emmet O'Connell swear that they are not car people and that they worry about global warming. Indeed, they looked miserable one recent evening as they drove home to suburban Lucan from central Dublin, a crawling 8.5-mile journey that took an hour.

But in this booming city, where the number of cars has doubled in the last 15 years, there is little choice, they said. "Believe me -- if there was an alternative we would use it," said Ms. O'Connell, 40, a textile designer. "We care about the environment. It's just hard to follow through here."

No trains run to the new suburbs where hundreds of thousands of Dubliners now live, and the few buses going there overflow with people. So nearly everyone drives -- to work, to shop, to take their children to school -- in what seems like a constant smoggy, traffic jam. Since 1990, emissions from transportation in Ireland have risen about 140 percent, the most in Europe. But Ireland is not alone.

Vehicular emissions are rising in nearly every European country, and across the globe. Because of increasing car and truck use, greenhouse-gas emissions are increasing even where pollution from industry is waning. .....



British opposition leader David Cameron said on Wednesday he was trying to recapture the climate change issue from the "doom mongers" and said it was important to show people there were positive reasons for saving energy. Cameron has made the environment a priority since taking over the leadership of the Conservative Party in late 2005, helping the party build a lead over Prime Minister Tony Blair's Labour Party in most opinion polls. Blair has said he will step down this year although the next general election is not due until 2009.

Cameron said he was not trying to scare people into voting by talking about the environmental challenges facing the world. "I've been trying to recapture the environment and climate change from the sort of doom mongers. I mean if this is all about doom and gloom and taxes, we're not going to persuade people to come with us," he said in an interview to be broadcast by Sky News on Wednesday. "If you switch to a hybrid car you can cut the cost of your transport. If you cycle to work every now and again you feel fit and healthy. There's a good positive reason for doing these things which is not just about money -- it's about your own well-being," he said. "If we can convince people of that, then I think we're half-way there," he added. The key was not to try to be a "hair shirt-wearing doomster", he said. "We've got to try and make the environment and climate change uplifting and fun and interesting ..."

On Tuesday, Blair drew fire from environmentalists for refusing to commit to giving up long-haul holiday flights in the interests of combating global warming. Blair, who has championed international action to counter climate change, said individuals could make a difference on global warming but what mattered was an international agreement. Blair's spokesman said later the prime minister asked earlier this week for all his personal travel to be "offset", which works by investing funds in energy efficiency or forestry projects to counter greenhouse gas emissions from travel.

As British political parties compete for environmental leadership, Cameron is having solar panels and a wind turbine installed at his London home. Some of his attempts to prove his environmental credentials have backfired, such as when it was revealed that his chauffeur drove behind with his briefcase and a change of clothes when he cycled to work. Cameron said "green" taxes should be mainly aimed at changing behaviour rather than at raising revenue. "I think the right thing to do is to see the share of taxes taken by green taxes go up and then at the same time, take taxes on other things down," he said.


Resource envy -- what the Greenies have in mind for us all

A warning situation in Australia: The Greenies have managed to create water-scarcity (and thus water envy) by their constant opposition to new dams. In Victoria they even went one further -- by persuading the State government to pour already-dammed water down the Snowy river as an "environmental" flow. Now if only they could make OTHER resources scarce by their ceaseless agitation. Their "Greenhouse" nonsense COULD make electricity scarce. How they would enjoy that!

Margaret Norriss is living in fear. The retired teacher is so scared of the emergence of water vigilantes that she doesn't dare hose her front garden, even though she has been using a rainwater tank for the past nine years. "The whole thing is turning the community against one another," Ms Norriss told The Sunday Age. "It's becoming like Big Brother and I'm starting to feel very uncomfortable." Although the State Government will not reveal until next month the number of calls it has received to the new Dob in a Water Cheat line, it restricted to a trickle water to three households for breaches committed between 2003 and 2006.

Like an increasing number of Melburnians, Ms Norriss is terrified of being wrongly accused of breaking the new water restrictions. Terrified at the thought of a knock on the door from the "water police". She has hung a sign on her front fence declaring only non-town water is in use. But that hasn't stopped the abuse and glares of people as they slow to pass her Northcote home. "Sometimes human nature is wonderful and people pull together in the most amazing ways, but I believe we are moving into a situation where people are getting quite nasty, and I'm really starting to get paranoid," Ms Norriss said.

She is not alone. Garden envy is rife and threatening to spill over to open hostility as the State Government asks the community to anonymously "dob in a water cheat". While Melburnians bemoan the death of historic elm trees lining the Yarra and despair over the state of their yards, a drive around suburban back streets reveals a vast array of thriving gardens, complete with lush, green lawns.

For those adhering to the new restrictions and using grey, rain or bore water to maintain their treasured gardens, the only defence from the prying eyes of neighbours is the signs that are springing up in front yards from the leafy, expansive homes of Toorak to the workers' cottages of Thornbury and Williamstown. Even Deputy Premier and Water Minister John Thwaites, who is also Minister for Communities, has recognised the problem and suggested that people hang home-made signs in their yards. Monash University academic David Dunstan fears the growing hysteria about water is threatening our sense of community as "neighbour is pitted against neighbour". "I think it is most unhealthy and potentially dangerous," he said, adding that neighbourhood trust and goodwill was being replaced with "a climate of suspicion".

Last week, The Sunday Age highlighted the emerging culture of "dobbing" and sparked a number of debates on talkback radio. Many listeners confessed that they were spying on their neighbours' water usage. "The Government is encouraging neighbour to spy on neighbour and dob them in," Dr Dunstan said. "Rather than appealing directly to people to save water, they are now saying your neighbour is your policeman and we will provide the stick to support them." He goes so far as to liken the situation to the rise of fascism in pre-war Germany and Stalinist Eastern Europe, where people could not even trust their family. "Nobody felt safe because they could be visited at 4 o'clock in the morning. It's an extreme example, but these were the means by which totalitarian societies kept their population in fear."

Four years ago, Len Williams and his wife built a new front fence at their Surrey Hills home and planted roses, gardenias and camellias. Just before Christmas, he rigged up his own recycling system of pipes, garbage bins and filters to re-use the grey water from the kitchen and bathroom. "I don't want to lose the plants," he said. "The money I spent in setting the water system up is nothing compared to what the replacement cost of the plants would be." His wife told the neighbours they were using grey water, but Mr Williams said it was still necessary to make a sign to hang on the front fence. "It's not only neighbours; a lot of people walk past and I don't want people to think that we are breaking the water restrictions by watering what appears to be on the wrong day," he explained. Like Ms Norriss, Mr Williams said he feared the "knock on the door" following a misguided complaint.

Still, others like former National Australia Bank boss Frank Cicutto and his wife, Christine, told The Sunday Age they installed the sign in their yard to encourage others to use recycled or tank water. The couple's spokeswoman said Mrs Cicutto, who was raised in the country, was very concerned about the water shortage and had insisted on the installation of rainwater tanks when the $8 million Canterbury mansion was built.

LJ Ryan and her husband have recently laid turf at their new Toorak home, and although they qualify for an exception to the restrictions, she said they felt compelled to let people know they were only using tank water. While they were primarily driven by the desire to encourage others to use non-town water on their gardens, Mrs Ryan conceded that there was also a fear of being wrongly reported to the authorities. "We were concerned about what the neighbours think, because you don't want to be seen to be flouting the restrictions," she said.



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

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


No comments: