Monday, April 30, 2007

"Footprint" stupidity

Herbert Girardet taught planners about the human footprint idea when he estimated that London's footprint was 125 times its surface area, or about three hectares per person - an estimate that he says today was half what it should be. Girardet has been active in the environmental movement for more than 30 years, making documentary films and working with the United Nations and the New Economics Foundation to draw attention to the depletion of natural resources (1).

I took issue with Girardet's human footprint idea last year. In his account book for London he has two columns, one headed `inputs' (oxygen, water, food and so on) and the second headed `wastes' (including CO2, SO2 and NOx). What happened to the positive output of cities: the industrial goods, the farm equipment and fertilisers, the iPods, Channel 4 documentaries and Anya Hindmarch bags? These do not feature in the estimation of the human footprint. The very concept of the human footprint abstracts from humankind's positive, productive side, and reduces all output to pollution or waste (2).

Missing out the productive side of human output leads to a miscalculation of the human footprint. That is because although the input of consumer goods does indeed increase, so too does resource productivity. Or to put that in ordinary language, we get more from less. That is especially true of land. With the application of science to agriculture, grain yields increase, which has meant that even though we consume more year on year, the area under the plough has been decreasing since 1981. Far from being under pressure, more land is being freed up all the time. In area terms, that means the human footprint is actually shrinking (3).

The original idea of the human footprint is taken from two related concepts: sustainability and carrying capacity. `Sustainability' refers to the limits on non-renewable resources. It was first used about Halibut stocks in the Pacific that were being fished by Japanese and American fleets (4). `Carrying capacity' is the land's capacity to carry more or less people. It was first used by the colonial authorities in Northern Rhodesia to warn against population growth among black Africans - a particular concern of the white settlers (5). In both cases the mean-spirited interest in limits arose because those resources were the prize in a social conflict. That you could farm fish, or that settlers and natives did not need to fight over land, was beyond the terms of the debate.

The impact of the visualisation of the human footprint in Channel 4's documentary is remarkable. What surprises us is the scale of the human endeavour. It is a kind of solipsism not to understand that human beings really are very productive indeed. In the 1940s it was common for documentary filmmakers to show work processes that create the goods we consume. But the loss of interest in working life means that we rarely see `how milk gets to your doorstep' (or supermarket) today. Instead we see the reverse side - how the rubbish piles up in the landfill.

The paradox is that people's lives are secured by enlarging their ecological footprint, not reducing it. The greater the metabolism between man and nature, the larger are human possibilities, and therefore security increases. Resource efficiency does not come from limiting industry, but from expanding it.


Anti-malarial bed nets: the $10 insult

Giving nets rather than DDT to Africans sends a powerfully paternalistic message: `You can hide from disease, but you cannot eradicate it.' And mosquitoes don't bite during the day, of course

These days there is a special `day' for just about everything. So you can be forgiven if you missed that yesterday was Africa Malaria Day. Not Malaria Day, you will notice, but Africa Malaria Day. The reason it is called Africa Malaria Day is because in the developed West malaria no longer poses much of a problem. Southern Mediterranean countries, such as Italy, where hot and humid conditions would normally be a fertile breeding ground for malarial mosquitoes, have been malaria-free for more than 60 years (1). Yet the tool that rooted out malaria in the developed world - the mosquito-bashing pesticide DDT - is not considered fit for Africa today. So this Africa Malaria Day we were all encouraged to buy an African a bed net as the next best (environmentally-friendly) thing.

Buying a bed net might make you - and the celebrities who endorse the bed net campaign - feel good about yourselves. But it also sends a powerful message to Africans about their place in the scheme of things: that is, at the bottom, where the most they can hope for is to put a charity-donated flimsy shield between them and their harsh environment, rather than to transform their environment.

In America, Africa Malaria Day was big this year. The First Lady, Laura Bush, has been heading a campaign to encourage every American to donate $10 to buy an anti-malarial bed net for an African child through the charities Nothing But Nets and Malaria No More. International celebrities have also been marshalled to help spread awareness about the cause. At the suggestion of screenwriter Richard Curtis (of Comic Relief and Love, Actually fame), music mogul Simon Fuller allowed campaigners to ask for contributions on two episodes of his hit show American Idol. Titled `Idol Gives Back', the shows featured celebrities such as pop star Gwen Stefani and comedian Sacha Baron Cohen pleading for money to help charities supporting the victims of Hurricane Katrina and to purchase anti-malarial nets for African kids.

The economist Professor Jeffrey Sachs outlined his own case for anti-malarial nets in a poetic article for Time magazine titled `The $10 solution': `Listen for a moment to the beautiful and dignified voices of Africa's mothers. Despite their burdens of poverty and hunger, they will tell you not of their endless toil but of their hopes for their children. But softly, ever so softly, they will also recount the children they have lost, claimed by a sudden fever, children who died in their arms as they were carried in a desperate half-day's journey by foot from the village to the nearest clinic.' This, says Sachs, is `the ineffable sadness of malaria'. `Another African child has died of malaria since you started reading this article', he writes. `Perhaps two million children in all will succumb this year.' (2)

That millions die from malaria in the developing world every year is an obscenity - especially when we know that DDT has a very high success rate in obliterating mosquitoes. Will bed nets stop the scourge of malaria? Sachs, like Laura Bush, like Richard Curtis (whose `Red Nose Day' appeals on British TV earlier this year were also saturated with calls from celebs for more anti-malarial nets for Africa), argues that in order to cure Africa's malaria problem, `We should bring forth armies of Red Cross volunteers to distribute bed nets and to offer village-based training for tens of thousands of villages across Africa.'

Many in the developed world are no doubt greatly concerned about disease in Africa. But if we did swamp Africa with nets, how many children (not to mention adults) would be saved? According to Sachs, every 100 nets save the life of one African child a year. However, every net has to be replaced after four years, because the pesticides wear out, rendering the net useless. So sending a net to Africa is a $10 dollar `solution' that eventually wears out and which doesn't actually kill off malarial mosquitoes, instead just keeping them at bay (hopefully).

There is a reason why the West is no longer infested with malarial insects and why deaths from malaria are virtually zero. It's because over half a century ago we sprayed everything down with DDT. DDT is not very popular nowadays; it has become an anathema to environmentalists. In the Sixties and Seventies, various environmentalists raised concerns about the impact of DDT on wildlife. In her 1962 book Silent Spring, Rachel Carson claimed that DDT harmed birds of prey and their eggs.

Following intense lobbying, DDT was banned in America in 1972 by the Environment Protection Agency and its use was severely restricted in Europe. This had a big impact on its use in countries in Latin America and Africa. And all of this happened despite the fact that, as the campaign group Africa Fighting Malaria (AFM) points out, where heavy use of DDT in agricultural settings did occasionally cause harm to birds of prey, that harm subsequently `proved reversible', and `after 50 years of study there is not one replicated study that shows any harm to humans at all'.

Indeed, last year the World Health Organisation (WHO) `reversed a 30-year policy by endorsing the use of DDT for malaria control' (3). WHO explained that there is no health risk for humans from DDT. Dennis Avery of AFM estimates that, `The absence of DDT has led to the needless deaths of at least 30million people from malaria and yellow fever in the tropics' (4). Dr Roger Bate, resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research and former chairman of AFM, tells me that although bed nets can help in combating malaria, `if they rip or if you don't go to bed early enough or if you get up in the night, you can get bitten'. Bate favours Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) with DDT. `The fixation on nets stems from opposition to IRS', he says.

Although African countries tended to make DDT their first choice in fighting malaria, many of them discontinued DDT-use because some aid agency funding was made contingent on their adoption of other, more environmentally friendly sprays. According to BBC News: `South Africa was one country that switched, but it had to return to DDT at the beginning of [the 2000s] after mosquitoes developed resistance to the substitute compounds.' Arata Kochi, director of WHO's Global Malaria Programme, says that `of the dozen insecticides WHO has approved as safe for house-spraying, the most effective is DDT' (5).

Put in blunt terms, DDT is proven to be successful in the fight against malarial mosquitoes, and the environmentalist campaign against DDT has proved disastrous for millions of Africans. And now some of the same campaigners are telling Africans that they should combat malaria with bed nets instead. However, as well as being far more unreliable than a large-scale and targeted pesticide-spraying campaign - because, as Bate points out, people in Africa do not spend all their time in bed hiding from the world - the whole concept of using pesticide-soaked nineteenth-century colonial-style net curtains is regressive. What it effectively says to Africans is that you cannot eradicate disease, you can only protect yourself from it. You cannot change the world outside your front door - a world that consists of far too much disease and poverty - but you can put up a barrier, albeit a sometimes unreliable one, between you and that world.

The symbolism of the bed nets is striking - the focus is on protection from hardship rather than on getting rid of that hardship, as many of us in the developed world have done. The idea that Africans must hide behind a charity-bought veil for their whole lives, rather than buying a tank full of DDT and killing the pests that threaten to kill them, is inherently patronising. Like the buy-a-goat-for-Christmas schemes, the `insecticide-impregnated bed net' scheme is helping to ensure that Africa's development remains retarded, while allowing we in the comfortable West to feel good about having Done Something.

Fundamentally, the net-based scheme to save the children of Africa won't work. DDT, on the other hand, might. The charity nets are not a $10 solution; they're a $10 insult.


We're not to blame, says expert

The United States' leading hurricane forecaster says global ocean currents, not human-produced carbon dioxide, are responsible for global warming. William Gray, a Colorado State University researcher, also said the Earth may begin to cool on its own in five to 10 years. Speaking to a group of Republican MPs, Dr Gray had harsh words for researchers and politicians who said man-made greenhouse gases were responsible for global warming. "They are blaming it all on humans, which is crazy," he said. "We're not the cause of it."

Dr Gray said in the past 40 years the number of serious hurricanes making landfall on the US Atlantic coast had declined even though carbon dioxide levels had risen. He said increasing levels of carbon dioxide would not produce more, or stronger, hurricanes.

Dr Gray, 77, has long criticised the theory that heat-trapping gases generated by human activity are causing the world to warm. Earlier this month, he dubbed former US vice-president and 2000 Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore "a gross alarmist" for making the Oscar-winning documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, which helped focus media attention on global warming.

Yesterday, Dr Gray said that politics and research into global warming had created "almost an industry" that had frightened the public and overwhelmed dissenting voices. He said research arguing that humans were causing global warming was "mush" based on unreliable computer models that could not possibly take into account the hundreds of factors that influenced the weather. He said little-understood ocean currents were behind a decades-long warming cycle, and disputed assertions that greenhouse gases could raise global temperatures as much as some scientists predicted. "There's no way that doubling CO2 is going to cause that amount of warming," he said. Dr Gray also said warming and cooling trends could not go on indefinitely and believed temperatures were beginning to level out after a very warm year in 1998.


The "Green" Vanity Fair

The cover of this month's Vanity Fair shows Leonardo DiCaprio standing on a glacier lagoon in Iceland alongside Knut, that cute polar bear cub from Berlin Zoo. The two celebrities (Knut has his own blog and TV show; the other one's an actor) did not actually meet each other, much less travel together for their `photo shoot' in Iceland. Rather they were brought together by the magic of photoshop, with Knut superimposed on to a shot of Leo on a glacier. Re-arranging imagery to create a certain impression might look stylish on the front cover of a magazine. However, it doesn't bode well for the magazine's contents.

On the inside cover, Vanity Fair declares `yes, we know, there are no polar bears in Iceland' - yet it justifies its photo-shopped fiction of Leo and the cub on an Icelandic glacier by arguing: `If current trends continue, there won't be any [polar bears] in Canada either.' Er, okay. Leaving aside the fact that some researchers say that polar bear numbers are actually quite healthy these days, how a photoshopped pic from Iceland is supposed to raise awareness about events in Canada is anyone's guess. Couldn't Vanity Fair be said to have created a convenient untruth with its latest front cover?

Vanity Fair is one of the jewels in the crown of American journalism. It publishes sometimes very good investigative and commentary pieces, mainly written by those opposed to the current Bush administration. Yet its green issue feels less open-minded; it does not open up debate but rather declares a simplistic war of green words against the Bushies' perceived failure to follow the environmentalist line as laid down by the likes of Al Gore.

Rather than putting forward convincing arguments about climate change, and the action required to deal with it, Vanity Fair's green issue comes across as a conspiracy theory about the Bush administration. In a piece titled `Texas Chainsaw Management' by Robert F Kennedy Jr - which examines the `revolving door' between Washington and big business - there is little more than a summary of who has worked in which institution, when they worked there, and who they tried to influence. Drawing such links, without putting forth a convincing political argument against the activities of these various individuals and groups, smacks of lazy journalism and even conspiracy-mongering.

Editor Graydon Carter claims that the world's scientific community is now `in almost universal agreement that human activity is accelerating global warming'. He cites the Spring report by the UN-backed Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. However, there is much scientific disagreement over the rates of and effects of human activity on global warming, and over what we should do about warming. Indeed, the very concept of a `scientific universal agreement' is not in keeping with the traditional critical standards of science. As James Woudhuysen and Joe Kaplinsky have pointed out on spiked: `Science thrives on verification and falsifiability. Any consensus is always open to challenge - that is the spirit of the scientific method. Of course, there is a consensus that gravity exists and that the Earth is round. But in these cases we are talking about scientific principles that have been tested experimentally again and again over centuries. Climate science is not quite that definitive.' (See A man-made morality tale, by James Woudhuysen and Joe Kaplinsky.)

Carter argues that, on the question of climate change, the Bush presidency `has fallen so out of step with the rest of the Western world that it is nothing short of a national scandal'. He refers to the USA's refusal to cut greenhouse gas emissions in the way that European Union countries are doing. Yet there is no unity in carbon-cutting among EU nation states; some are behind and others are ahead in the big race to cut emissions. Moreover, Vanity Fair fails to ask any critical questions about why certain EU states might be more willing to cut emissions (and to make a big deal of it) than, say, America or China; perhaps it is the most sluggish and tired economies that make an issue of reducing their carbon use, whereas more dynamic economies are unwilling to make such promises.

Vanity Fair seems less interested in critically exploring the contemporary politics of climate change than in adopting a lofty greener-than-thou approach. It features photographs of and articles on the new `Global Citizens', including Hollywood environmental activists, organic food producers, green-minded musicians, Sir Nicholas Stern (the UK government's economic adviser and author of a recent major climate change report), Prince Charles (yes, American greens love our mad heir), a businesswoman who makes `non-toxic clothing', an `enlightened hotelier' (as opposed to all those unenlightened hoteliers), and a bloke who writes novels about people who `destroy the Florida he loves'. They look less like serious politicos and more like a modern version of The Beautiful People, or perhaps ladies-who-lunch - that is, rich people with time to kill who take up charity work to make themselves feel more fulfilled.

Vanity Fair's front-cover eco-star, DiCaprio, stars in the forthcoming global warming documentary The 11th Hour. The magazine gushes about the actor `stepping forward to take the baton from Al Gore', as if he is some kind of environmental president-in-waiting.

What makes the green issue seem so, well, arid, is the absence of any lively discussion of how humans might work together to deal with climate change and improve the world while they're at it. Instead the magazine gives the distinct impression that there are lots of greedy and `unenlightened' people out there and it is up to the likes of DiCaprio or members of the Kennedy clan or hoteliers with sustainable pillow cases (ie, the wealthy and sensible) to show us the errors of our ways. Not surprisingly, this does not make for a good read; it's all a bit like being hit over the head with a rolled-up magazine rather than actually reading one.

There is some serious content. In his article `Jungle Law', VF's international correspondent William Langewiesche details the legal fight by an Ecuadorian man on behalf of 30,000 Amazon settlers and indigenous people against Chevron, the billion-dollar global company that exploits oil and gas reserves in 35 countries. The article says that Texaco (bought by Chevron) spent 30 years spilling 17million gallons of oil into the Amazon river and despoiling 1,700 square miles of Amazon rainforest. Only the naive could be surprised that big multinationals exploit local people and often despoil nature in their efforts to mine for oil and gas. But who does it help when big business is presented as the destroyer of nature and local Amazonians are depicted as the guardians of nature? Is that what Vanity Fair and other green campaigners really want for certain communities in Latin America? That they should live forever in harmony with nature, and their societies remain underdeveloped, natural, organic, hard work, at risk from the elements.?

Little mention is made of the scientific progress that has been made in environment clean-up technology - such as the new oil-spill clean-up skimmer, developed last year by scientists at the University of California-Santa Barbara, which removes nearly 100 per cent of the adhered oil with each rotation. Instead, in VF, spillages are looked upon as permanent blots on nature's landscape. These are in effect simplistic morality tales rather than serious investigations. There is a great deal to be said for Ecuadorians assuming more control over their natural resources and their lives, and improving their living standards in the process; yet in the eyes of many greens, indigenous peoples are the eternal victims of evil corporations and they need gracious and selfless campaigners from the West to highlight their plight and save them.

Myron Ebell, a global-warming sceptic who works at the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), is the only contrary view included in VF's green issue. Yet even his points are neutered by the time you get to them. In his introduction to the magazine, editor Carter says that the sceptics' views are akin to the nonsense spouted by the Flat Earth Society. The interviewer of Ebell is said to have caught him in `full denial'; the d-word is used to depict the critics of the politics of climate change as sinners against a gospel truth. It's almost as if the magazine is showing off that it has had the `courage' to interview Ebell, while simultaneously telling readers that they don't have to read the interview because the guy is nuts.

A MORI poll in Britain at the end of last year found that 32 per cent of those surveyed knew little or nothing about the alleged threat of climate change, despite the fanfare of media coverage on the issue. It would seem that a lack of robust debate on the full spectrum of scientific and political issues around climate change has caused some people to switch off and think about other things instead. I doubt whether this celebrity-worshipping, self-congratulatory, unengaging, environmentalist-for-one-month issue of Vanity Fair will turn many readers back on to the debate about climate change.


Australia: The nuclear argument

With their usual adherence to high principle, the Left say that it is OK to mine uranium but not to use it!

Labor has attacked Prime Minister John Howard's plans for a nuclear energy industry in Australia, after its own national conference dumped a long-standing ban on new uranium mines. Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd's motion to scrap the 'no new mines' policy was passed by a slender 15 votes at the ALP national conference, with environment spokesman Peter Garret among those voting to maintain the ban.

But the move was overshadowed by Mr Howard's outlining of a future nuclear energy industry for Australia. Speaking at the Victorian Liberal Party conference, Mr Howard said Australia needed to rethink its energy production in the face of climate change, and the only feasible options were clean coal technology and nuclear power. "Part of the solution must be to admit the use, in years to come, of nuclear power," he said. "If we're fair dinkum about this climate change debate we have to open our minds to the use of nuclear power."

Shortly after the Labor conference vote Mr Garrett went on the offensive against Mr Howard's nuclear proposal. "He has plans for nuclear power plants to be dotted around this country," he said. "He's taking us down a road and a path which I think is very dangerous."

Mr Howard said the Government would invest in research on the setting up of a nuclear power industry while Federal Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane said legislative barriers would be removed. And Mr Macfarlane accused Labor of debating "last century's policy" on uranium mining.

Mr Garrett says he accepts the conference vote on uranium mines but others in the party are less happy. Some are angry with union leader and Federal candidate Bill Shorten, who linked the vote to support for Mr Rudd. "If you think that rolling the leader is a great idea then go ahead and vote for the Albanese-Garrett amendment," Mr Shorten told the debate. Critics of Mr Shorten say the tactic was immature, naive and damaging.

Western Australian Premier Alan Carpenter says there will be no uranium mining in his state while he was in government. "I don't feel under any pressure whatsoever," he said. "The West Australian economy is powering ahead, we've got the highest economic growth figures and the lowest unemployment figures, we don't desperately need for economic reasons or any other reasons to pursue uranium mining."



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

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Sunday, April 29, 2007


Ford Motor Company, fast losing ground to its competitors, has moved aggressively into the area of "green transportation" with its 2008 hay-powered Ranchero IV. The company admits that consumers used to traditional automotive transportation will have to make some adjustments in storage, upkeep, and convenience. And they also acknowledge that the time to get where you're going may be just a bit extended. Nevertheless, with the desperate need to reduce CO2 emissions before the polar ice caps melt and wash civilization away altogether, Ford is confident that the Ranchero IV will become a big-seller. Pic below:


Global warming debate 'irrational': scientists

The current debate about global warming is "completely irrational," and people need to start taking a different approach, say two Ottawa scientists.

Carleton University science professor Tim Patterson said global warming will not bring about the downfall of life on the planet. Patterson said much of the up-to-date research indicates that "changes in the brightness of the sun" are almost certainly the primary cause of the warming trend since the end of the "Little Ice Age" in the late 19th century.

Human emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), the gas of concern in most plans to curb climate change, appear to have little effect on global climate, he said. "I think the proof in the pudding, based on what (media and governments) are saying, (is) we're about three quarters of the way (to disaster) with the doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere," said Patterson. "The world should be heating up like crazy by now, and it's not. The temperatures match very closely with the solar cycles."

Patterson explained CO2 is not a pollutant, but an essential plant food. Billions of taxpayers' dollars are spent to control the emissions of this benign gas, in the mistaken belief that they can stop climate change, he said. "The only constant about climate is change," said Patterson.

Patterson said money could be better spent on places like Africa. "All the money wasted on Kyoto in a year could provide clean drinking water for Africa," said Patterson. "We're into a new era of science with the discussion of solar forces. Eventually, Kyoto is going to fall by the wayside. In the meantime, I'm worried we're going to spend millions that could have been spent on something better like air pollution."

Tom Harris, executive director of the Natural Resources Stewardship Project - an organization that attempts to debunk some of the popular beliefs about climate change - supported Patterson's findings. Global warming assertions are based on inconclusive evidence put forth in science reports that had not been published yet, he said. "The media takes (inconclusive) information that only suggests there could be a climate problem and turns it into an environmental catastrophe," said Harris. "They continually say we only have 10 years left, and they've been saying it for 20 years, and it's ridiculous," he said. "The only reason I got involved in talking to media is that I think our resources are being mismanaged. "Go after something real and tangible like air pollution."

After hearing a second scientist say climate change is part of a natural cycle, Elaine Kennedy - a local environmental activist - is interested in investigating the issue further. She looks forward to examining scientific reports that will be published in a couple of months by the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. "The problem may not be climate change, but the problem is still pollution," said Kennedy.

She's not alone in her assertion global warming is a pollution problem. David Phillips, a senior government environment expert, believes there is more than one contributing factor to global warming. There's a human element, as well as natural cycles. "I'm a man that's difficult to convince," he said. "What convinces me is the large body of evidence, and highly reputable people promoting global warming, who are not lobbyists, but only seeking truth in science. They say the the earth is warming up faster and greater now than in the past."

People who are contradicting the global warming reality, Phillip thinks, have their own motives for doing so. "These skeptics are keeping the debate alive (for their own interests). They try to confuse people into inaction," said Phillips. Phillips believes global warming is solvable. "We solved the ozone and acid rain problem. With effort, and a new way of doing things we could solve this one too," said Phillips.


British police protect Green saboteurs

What a sick country!

The operation to sabotage the government's GM potato trial was planned with care and under conditions of great secrecy. Two hundred and fifty protesters swooped on the 16-hectare site outside Hull, armed with shovels and filled with indignation. In less than an hour they had moved to invalidate the trial, planting thousands of organic potatoes. Mission accomplished. If only they had got the right field. Activists from yesterday apologised to farmer David Buckton after it emerged that they wrongly identified his land as the site of the GM trial. The field they planted was sown with beans.

By the time Mr Buckton was alerted to the protesters on his land, it was too late to stop the direct action. The protesters were determined to move quickly on the basis that the land would be rendered unsuitable for the GM trials once other root crops were in the ground.

In a statement said: "With the information that we had and the short timescale available to us ... we sincerely believed this to be the correct field. The public were not given sufficient information by the government, who supplied only a four-figure grid reference for the location of the trial." The group said they conducted extensive investigations within the area specified by the environment department and outside. "While it is regrettable that the wrong site and farmer were targeted, we would also like to make it clear ... that people will continue to disrupt the planting of GM crops despite the difficulties faced by this lack of full disclosure," the group added.

Yesterday Mr Buckton, 54, said the mix-up was the strangest event to have befallen his family in four generations of farming. He said the protesters were accompanied by two police officers on horseback. "I told the police officers that it was a bean field but they said the protest seemed peaceful so we'd better let them get on with it. The beans are just about peeping through. The protesters should have been able to see that," he said.

Mr Buckton said he had no great enthusiasm for GM crops. "I certainly wouldn't have been giving up my land to test them, he said." The company BASF plans trials of GM potatoes at two sites: Cambridge, which already has government approval, and in the East Riding of Yorkshire.


More on the lightbulb lunacy

Greenies ignore themselves!

How much money does it take to screw in a compact fluorescent lightbulb? About $4.28 for the bulb and labor - unless you break the bulb. Then you, like Brandy Bridges of Ellsworth, Maine, could be looking at a cost of about $2,004.28, which doesn't include the costs of frayed nerves and risks to health. Sound crazy? Perhaps no more than the stampede to ban the incandescent light bulb in favor of compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs) - a move already either adopted or being considered in California, Canada, the European Union and Australia.

According to an April 12 article in The Ellsworth American, Bridges had the misfortune of breaking a CFL during installation in her daughter's bedroom: It dropped and shattered on the carpeted floor. Aware that CFLs contain potentially hazardous substances, Bridges called her local Home Depot for advice. The store told her that the CFL contained mercury and that she should call the Poison Control hotline, which in turn directed her to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. The DEP sent a specialist to Bridges' house to test for mercury contamination. The specialist found mercury levels in the bedroom in excess of six times the state's "safe" level for mercury contamination of 300 billionths of a gram per cubic meter.

The DEP specialist recommended that Bridges call an environmental cleanup firm, which reportedly gave her a "low-ball" estimate of $2,000 to clean up the room. The room then was sealed off with plastic and Bridges began "gathering finances" to pay for the $2,000 cleaning. Reportedly, her insurance company wouldn't cover the cleanup costs because mercury is a pollutant.

Given that the replacement of incandescent bulbs with CFLs in the average U.S. household is touted as saving as much as $180 annually in energy costs - and assuming that Bridges doesn't break any more CFLs - it will take her more than 11 years to recoup the cleanup costs in the form of energy savings.

Even if you don't go for the full-scale panic of the $2,000 cleanup, the do-it-yourself approach is still somewhat intense, if not downright alarming. Consider the procedure offered by the Maine DEP's Web page entitled, "What if I accidentally break a fluorescent bulb in my home?" Don't vacuum bulb debris because a standard vacuum will spread mercury-containing dust throughout the area and contaminate the vacuum. Ventilate the area and reduce the temperature. Wear protective equipment like goggles, coveralls and a dust mask. Collect the waste material into an airtight container. Pat the area with the sticky side of tape. Wipe with a damp cloth. Finally, check with local authorities to see where hazardous waste may be properly disposed. The only step the Maine DEP left off was the final one: Hope that you did a good enough cleanup so that you, your family and pets aren't poisoned by any mercury inadvertently dispersed or missed.

This, of course, assumes that people are even aware that breaking CFLs entails special cleanup procedures. The potentially hazardous CFL is being pushed by companies such as Wal-Mart, which wants to sell 100 million CFLs at five times the cost of incandescent bulbs during 2007, and, surprisingly, environmentalists. It's quite odd that environmentalists have embraced the CFL, which cannot now and will not in the foreseeable future be made without mercury. Given that there are about 4 billion lightbulb sockets in American households, we're looking at the possibility of creating billions of hazardous waste sites such as the Bridges' bedroom.

Usually, environmentalists want hazardous materials out of, not in, our homes. These are the same people who go berserk at the thought of mercury being emitted from power plants and the presence of mercury in seafood. Environmentalists have whipped up so much fear of mercury among the public that many local governments have even launched mercury thermometer exchange programs. As the activist group Environmental Defense urges us to buy CFLs, it defines mercury on a separate part of its Web site as a "highly toxic heavy metal that can cause brain damage and learning disabilities in fetuses and children" and as "one of the most poisonous forms of pollution."

Greenpeace also recommends CFLs while simultaneously bemoaning contamination caused by a mercury thermometer factory in India. But where are mercury-containing CFLs made? Not in the U.S., under strict environmental regulation. CFLs are made in India and China, where environmental standards are virtually non-existent.

And let's not forget about the regulatory nightmare known as the Superfund law, the EPA regulatory program best known for requiring expensive but often needless cleanup of toxic waste sites, along with endless litigation over such cleanups. We'll eventually be disposing billions and billions of CFL mercury bombs. Much of the mercury from discarded and/or broken CFLs is bound to make its way into the environment and give rise to Superfund liability, which in the past has needlessly disrupted many lives, cost tens of billions of dollars and sent many businesses into bankruptcy.

As each CFL contains 5 milligrams of mercury, at the Maine "safety" standard of 300 nanograms per cubic meter, it would take 16,667 cubic meters of soil to "safely" contain all the mercury in a single CFL. While CFL vendors and environmentalists tout the energy cost savings of CFLs, they conveniently omit the personal and societal costs of CFL disposal.

Not only are CFLs much more expensive than incandescent bulbs and emit light that many regard as inferior to incandescent bulbs, they pose a nightmare if they break and require special disposal procedures. Should government (egged on by environmentalists and the Wal-Marts of the world) impose on us such higher costs, denial of lighting choice, disposal hassles and breakage risks in the name of saving a few dollars every year on the electric bill?



By veteran Australian columnist Errol Simper -- "The Scribe"

One of the unfortunate things about the climate change debate is that to be a climate change sceptic is to become a dirty word. To be a climate change sceptic has become about the most unfashionable thing you could possibly become. Kevin Rudd all but sneers at John Howard for being a sceptic about the long-term weather forecasts. Howard, of course, vehemently rejects that he's a sceptic. Well, he would.

The word, as it relates to global warming and all the rest, has become code for fool, ignoramus, moron. This phenomenon is more than unfortunate. Many an ancient media practitioner may also find it a bit odd. You don't have to go back too many years to discover a time when scepticism was regarded as an admirable quality. For a journalist, for example, to be described as sceptical was - when the scribe started out in this caper many years ago - a compliment. To be sceptical was good. It meant you thought about things, delved below the surface, didn't rule out other possibilities. It certainly didn't mean you were uninformed, gormless or weak in the head.

Whether the media has been sceptical enough to date about climate change and concomitant alarmism is something the scribe has ruminated about since The Sydney Morning Herald appeared on green paper on Friday, March 30. The humble scribe isn't here trying to be droll at the expense of a rival journal. There's no obvious harm in a public-spirited newspaper sponsoring an "earth hour" and urging Sydneysiders to turn off their lights for 60 minutes the following day. Lots of us will have seen plenty of wanton waste and too conspicuous, greed-driven consumption. And there's nothing inherently wrong with green paper, perhaps excepting the fact you very probably have to expend extra energy to render it so.

It's fair to suggest that page 17, the opinion page, carried a particularly scintillating piece of journalism from Sydney's Lord Mayor Clover Moore. Moore began her missive with the jolly announcement: "Climate change is with us." Her article warned a few paragraphs later: "Climate change will spell the end of many familiar ways of doing things." She somehow contrived to make it sound like a wish fulfilment. What may have been missing from The Green Issue was, with respect, a dose of old-fashioned, agonising, doubt.

Maybe Moore's space should have gone to a hard-bitten sceptic. Such individuals do exist. One of the US's most experienced weather forecasters, William Gray - an emeritus professor of atmospheric science at the University of Colorado - said recently global warming during the past 30 years was due simply to fluctuations in key ocean currents. Gray, 77, believes the currents will alter course in the next decade or so and the planet will cool accordingly. Those scientists linking human activity to every bout of inclement weather are, Gray says, simply fishing for climate change study grants. He says doom-laden pronouncements are mere foolishness. And he says an inconvenient truth about Al Gore is that he's "an alarmist who doesn't know what he's talking about". For those of a sceptical nature the scribe should hasten to say he read all about Gray in a recent edition of Perth's The Sunday Times. So it must be true.

It is, of course, a debate that throws onerous responsibility on to the media. Science and environment specialists find themselves with the task of dissembling and editing copious information that may help decide the result of the forthcoming federal election and, at least according to some, the fate of our grandchildren.

The scribe might venture that few environment writers would be better credentialled for the job than this journal's Matthew Warren. Warren did a 1985 journalism cadetship at Adelaide's The News (no longer published), then switched to The Australian. He left in 1991 to study environmental economies at the University of Adelaide before undergoing a traineeship in Brussels with the European Union's environmental directorate. He became an environmental consultant, and worked for the Australian Food and Grocery Council and the mining industry before returning to journalism about six months ago. Warren, 42, is happy to be labelled a climate change sceptic. He doesn't mean he has no time for those who worry about global warming. He means it's his job "to challenge both sets of theories".

"Look, the science of this is complex, far more complex than many people seem to realise," Warren says. "There are those who'll tell you: 'The science is over and pointing unequivocally to human-induced global warming.' That's just uninformed. Science is a journey; it's always been a journey. I'm not sold on any one body of science. But I am respectful that a majority of responsible scientists is genuinely concerned. So, I suppose I'm sold on the risk. I believe when we look back on this debate in - say - 30 years' time, we'll either be incredibly grateful we had it or else we'll have to concede: 'We conned ourselves senseless."'

Another science writer with strong credentials is Peter Pockley. The founding director of the ABC's science unit, now a writer for Australasian Science magazine, Pockley finds himself sympathetic to those who are certain climate change is a reality but concedes the debate has become "polarised in a political way". He says: "Perhaps the most important thing we science journalists can do is to carefully assess the credibility and track record of those who speak out prominently on this matter. And it's not always an easy thing for us to do simply because we're not in that academic or professional swim."

The scribe? Well, the wisest among us usually keep an open mind about most things. On the other hand, the ancient scribe has seen lots of weather in his time. So he leans, just for the moment, towards the second of Warren's outcomes. We conned ourselves senseless.



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

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Saturday, April 28, 2007

This is definitely a Green religion

Environmentalism may not be saving the planet, but to judge by the news it seems to be conquering the world. Some of us have long thought that it is assuming pseudo-religious status, with its self-righteous claims to absolute truth and demands for sinners to repent. Now comes confirmation that, just as old Labour genuflected to new Labour, so our old state religion has converted to the new one.

The Church of England this week launched a booklet of "green tips" for the faithful entitled How Many Christians Does it Take to Change a Lightbulb? (only 4.99, if you still have that fiver). Its eco-commandments include: thou shalt share cars on the road to church, use virtuous green lightbulbs but cast off the Devil's junk mail, and not flush the loo three times before the cock crows.

This is more than a stunt. The C of E is serious about embracing the new orthodoxy. When it launched its Shrinking the Footprint crusade last year, the Archbishop of Canterbury complained that "early modern religion contributed to the idea that the fate of nature is for it to be bossed around by a detached sovereign will, whether divine or human". Possibly those misguided early modern religionists got that idea from the bit in the Book of Genesis about God giving Man dominion "over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth". Yet now the Archbishop condemns notions of nature being "bossed around" not only by Man, but even by God. Creepy.

As with Labour, it is not the power of the new religion that explains this craven conversion but the feebleness of the old. Such is the lack of confidence within the traditional Establishment today, everybody from politicians to church leaders wants to hug environmentalism as a new form of unquestioned authority. Scientists have become the equivalent of high priests in white coats, summoned to condemn heretics; a group of them now demand that the Channel 4 documentary The Great Global Warming Swindle be amended to reflect the one true faith before the DVD goes on sale. Perhaps they would like to burn it, if not for the CO2.

When there is only one recycled hymn sheet in town and you can believe in any shade of politics or religion just as long as it's green, those of us who put our faith in humanity should surely worry more about the new dogma than the old. They all now buy into the same non-plastic bag of fashionable prejudices: that people are the problem rather than the solution, and we must be saved from ourselves. Sackcloth and ashes is the new black. As a wise man once said, kick against the pricks. Or as we might say today, give them a human footprint up the carbon emissions.



In the past year, concern for the environment has risen to the top of the public's agenda. Now the environmental movement must face a monster of its own making. The very success of environmentalism threatens to undo two of mankind's most significant environmental victories. The first is the near stabilization of humanity's agricultural footprint, expansion of which is the single largest threat to biodiversity worldwide. The second is the spectacular reduction in chronic hunger and malnutrition without which the pressure to convert land for agricultural use would have been stronger.

Around the globe between 1990 and 2003, the amount of land given over to agricultural uses increased less than 2 percent, even though population growth increased 20 percent. Chronic hunger in developing countries declined to 17 percent from 37 percent between 1970 and 2001, despite an 83 percent increase in population. These improvements, largely due to greater agricultural productivity, increased food production per capita, helping to drive down global food prices by about 75 percent since 1950. As a result, access to food increased worldwide, despite increasing demand from a wealthier and more populated world.

The resulting reductions in hunger further reduced pressures for converting more land for agricultural uses. Global warming hysteria - a boon for the ethanol and other biofuel enterprises - has boosted demand for crop-based fuels worldwide. This now threatens to reverse a half century of gains not only against world hunger, but also in holding the line against conversion of undeveloped land. The cost of food has jumped over 10 percent in India over the past year, and 6 percent in China, according to The Wall Street Journal.

This is partly due to the diversion of corn to biofuels. In the United States, driven by subsidized ethanol, farmers were planning to plant a record 90.5 million acres in corn in 2007, the highest since 1944, while at the same time reducing acreage in soybeans, rice and cotton. Meanwhile, European demand for biofuels to replace gasoline is fueling plans for massive clearing of rainforests for palm-oil plantations in Indonesia and Malaysia. These rainforests, among other things, provide refuge for the Sumatran tiger, Borneo's orangutan and the Malaysian elephant.

Ironically, much of the hysteria over global warming is itself fueled by concerns that it may drive numerous species to extinction and increase hunger worldwide, especially in developing countries. Yet the biofuel solution would only make bad matters worse on both counts. As long as global warming is hyped as the world's most important environmental problem - as many politicians and environmental pressure groups claim - it will be virtually impossible to rationally evaluate other options in dealing with climate change, or confront the unintended consequences unleashed by global warming hysteria.



A group of British climate scientists is demanding changes to a skeptical documentary about global warming, saying there are grave errors in the program billed as a response to Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth." "The Great Global Warming Swindle" aired on British television in March and is coming out soon on DVD. It argues that man-made emissions have a marginal impact on the world's climate and warming can better be explained by changing patterns of solar activity.

An open letter sent Tuesday by 38 scientists, including the former heads of Britain's academy of sciences and Britain's weather office, called on producer Wag TV to remove what it called "major misrepresentations" from the film before the DVD release -- a demand its director said was tantamount to censorship.

Bob Ward, the former spokesman for the Royal Society, Britain's academy of science, and one of the letter's signatories, said director Mark Durkin made a "long catalogue of fundamental and profound mistakes" -- including the claim that volcanoes produce more carbon dioxide than humans, and that the Earth's atmosphere was warmer during the Middle Ages than it is today. "Free speech does not extend to misleading the public by making factually inaccurate statements,'' he said. "Somebody has to stand up for the public interest here."

Durkin called the letter "loathsome." "This is a contemptible, weasel-worded attempt to gag scientific criticism, and it won't work," he said. "I don't believe they're interested in quality control when it comes to the reporting of science -- so long as it's on their side." Durkin acknowledged two of the errors highlighted by the scientists -- including the claim about volcanic emissions -- but he described those changes as minor and said they would be corrected in the expanded DVD release.

But the scientists do not want the DVD released without edits to completely remove the material they object to -- something Ward said would fatally weaken the film's argument. "The fact is that it's a very convincing program, and if you're not very aware of the science you wouldn't necessarily see what the errors are," Ward said. "But the errors are huge. ... Without those errors in, he doesn't have a story."

Ward has also complained to Britain's media regulator, which said it was investigating the matter. British broadcast law demands impartiality on matters of major political and industrial controversy -- and penalties can be imposed for misrepresentations of fact.

The decision to broadcast Durkin's documentary on Channel 4 was an unusual move in a country where the role of man-made carbon emissions in heating the globe is largely taken for granted and politicians regularly spar over which party has the greenest environmental policy. As for the former vice president, Gore has been hired as an adviser to the British government, which plans to send copies of his film to schools around England.



A FLAGSHIP EU scheme to cut pollution is "counter-productive" and could damage the Welsh steel industry, the chief executive of Corus warned yesterday. Philippe Varin, pictured right, said the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, first introduced in 2005, was a major contributor to rising electricity prices, one of the firm's big headaches. A 6.2bn pound takeover of Corus by Indian firm Tata steel was finalised earlier this month, and some fear the move will have serious implications for its Port Talbot plant, which employs more than 3,000.

Around 90% of new capacity in the steel industry is being developed in the 70% of the world not covered by the Kyoto agreement on cutting greenhouse gases. The current system involves EU Governments setting an emission cap for all manufacturing plants covered by the scheme. Each firm is then given an allowance, and can sell on any surplus if it cuts its pollution.

But there are many anomalies, including the inclusion of steel but not aluminium, and the lack of a similar scheme outside the EU. Asked by MPs about the impact on the firm if the scheme were not changed, Mr Varin said, "The consequence would be we wouldn't expand at all, then shrink production. We would import steel, we would continue to produce as much CO2 and it would be worse. "Production would be relocated to other countries."


Better fish dinners coming?

Fish are said to be growing bigger and faster as oceans warm but somehow that is a disaster! The global warming religion requires that there be a dark lining in every silver cloud

Researchers believe that some species of Australian fish are growing bigger, much faster, because ocean temperatures are warming up. A CSIRO study has found that increasing ocean temperatures are speeding up the growth rate of wild fish stocks by up to 30 per cent. But while fish in shallow waters are growing rapidly, species in the cooler deeper ocean are growing at a much slower rate.

Lead author Dr Ron Thresher says this will have huge implications for the long-term sustainability of the marine ecosystem. "Some species are probably going to be able to track an environmental temperature by moving up and down the coast or moving up and down in the water column so they stay in their optimal temperature range," he said. "But the fish we looked at, it doesn't look they're doing that and they're just trying to cope with the temperatures as they're changing," he said. "Sooner or later eventually they'll reach a point where they can't cope and at that stage they're going to be in real trouble."



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

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Friday, April 27, 2007

Britain: "Green" garbage collection bad for your health

At the behest of the EU, most of Britain has reduced garbage collection from weekly to fortnightly -- to "encourage" people to recycle!

HANDLING rubbish that has been left out for a fortnight before being collected can increase the risk of health problems including asthma and nausea, a study has found. Researchers found that the level of bacteria and fungal spores in the air above bins that had not been emptied for two weeks was more than 10 times that in locations where there was a weekly collection.

The findings come amid concerns about the public health risks of cutting collections. More than 140 councils in England have moved to fortnightly emptying to encourage recycling and cut costs, despite warnings of an increase in rat and insect infestation.

The spread of fortnightly collections has also raised fears about fly-tipping [illegal dumping]. Government figures show incidents rose by over 10% last year. In 2005/6 there were 1,034,518 cases, up from 926,534 in 2004/5. Caroline Spelman, the shadow local government secretary, said: "Fortnightly collections, designed to be a green initiative, could result in more people driving to the countryside to dump waste." But Ben Bradshaw, the environment minister, said: "There is absolutely no evidence of any connection between alternate weekly collections and fly-tipping."

The new report, published in the journal Science of the Total Environment, found rubbish left out for longer periods produced tens of thousands more spores. Dr Tom Kosatsky, a medical epidemiologist at McGill University in Montreal, said: "If rubbish is decaying for two weeks and is heated by warm weather, it provides a fertile breeding ground for spores. "Exposure to fungi on this level can trigger sore throats, respiratory symptoms, faintness, weakness and depression, asthma and other allergic reactions."

Dr Toni Gladding, a lecturer in environmental engineering at the Open University, said: "Councils introduced the change without recognising there may be a risk to occupational health."



Prof. Brignell comments on the British garbage nonsense -- nonsense that is as destructive as almost all current Greenie ideas are. See the original post for links

For the first time since the Great Stench of London in 1858, the steady improvement in Britain 's hygiene has gone into reverse. There are so many reasons why this further disaster is a typical product of modern British politics:

1. It was dreamt up by unelected Brussels bureaucrats

2. The British Government is desperately trying to cover up its lack of authority by pretending that it is defending its own policies, however dim-witted.

3. It is facilitated by the total lack of effective opposition in Parliament.

4. It is being done in obeisance to the new eco-religion.

5. It involves the diversion of control away from elected authorities to unmovable officials.

6. It is justified by the global warming myth (but an even more bizarre version based on methane).

7. It defies all the basic sciences of human hygiene, such as bacteriology and mycology.

8. It involves ordinary citizens in elaborate rituals, with draconian fines it they get them wrong.

9. It exposes ordinary people, but especially those occupationally involved, to greatly magnified risk of serious disease.

10. It is being done in total defiance of mounting anger among the victims.

11. It is being done against the advice of the Government's own expensive consultants.

12. It will lead to a substantial increase in illegal activity that is distressing and dangerous to the general populace.

It is the abandonment of weekly refuse collection, one of the staples of health protection law since the great Public Health Act of 1875. The enfeebled British Government is obliged to enact this gross and murderous folly or be fined by the EU Commissars for failing to reduce the burial of rubbish. It is self evident to anyone with a modicum of general scientific education that this is a route to human disaster, but if people must have "modern" research, see this in the Times.

The bacterial generation time can be as short as twenty minutes. You don't need a calculator to know that after a week one cell can turn into a figure with rather a large number of noughts behind it. After a fortnight the number of noughts is more than somewhat bigger. Then there are the rodents and insects. One common housefly, musca domestica, can convey millions of bacteria on its feet. Houseflies can transmit intestinal worms, or their eggs, and are potential vectors of many serious diseases such as dysentery, gastroenteritis, typhoid, cholera and tuberculosis. In the nutritive warmth of a putrid dustbin, the total reproductive cycle can be as short as a week. Dustbins now contain human excreta, particularly of babies, so houseflies complete the closed loop by settling on food. Rats spread several serious diseases. Overflowing dustbins are rodent heaven. The inevitable increase in illegal fly-tipping [illegal dumping in parks and by roadsides etc.] will distribute uncontrolled, festering sources of pestilence all over the country.

Can any sane person of moderate intelligence believe that this is anything but one of the most insane and dangerous policies ever devised by man?


This week's announcement by the Canadian government -- that it may join a U.S.-led coalition focused on voluntary emissions cuts -- could be part of a global shift away from Kyoto's binding targets. In a somewhat surprising development, Canada, a long-time supporter of the Kyoto Protocol, announced that it may want to join the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate (AP6), a six-nation coalition focusing on voluntary emission-reduction steps and technology transfers.

Many environmentalists oppose AP6 out of a fear that it may undermine political support for the legally binding Kyoto treaty. The partnership, launched in mid-2005, is an agreement among six countries -- Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and the United States -- to develop and share greenhouse-gas reduction technology to combat climate change. According to the AP6 Web site, the six partner countries "represent about half of the world's economy, population and energy use, and they produce about 65% of the world's coal, 48% of the world's steel, 37% of world's aluminium, and 61% of the world's cement." The countries also account for half the world's greenhouse-gas emissions.

Unlike the Kyoto Protocol, the Asia-Pacific Partnership is voluntary and technology-based, and lets each country set its own goals for greenhouse gas emission reductions, rather than legally binding them to a greenhouse gas reduction target. The group sees itself as "a voluntary, non-legally binding framework for international co-operation to facilitate the development, diffusion, deployment, and transfer of existing, emerging and longer term cost-effective, cleaner, more efficient technologies and practices." Green activists fear that AP6 -- officially a complementary approach to Kyoto -- could be converted into an opposing bloc.



This Earth Day, Professor Richard Lindzen, an atmospheric physicist and the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology at MIT, wants you to calm down. The Earth, he says, is in good shape. "Forests are returning in Europe and the United States. Air quality has improved. Water quality has improved. We grow more food on less land. We've done a reasonably good job in much of the world in conquering hunger. And yet we're acting as though: "How can we stand any more of this?"

A leading critic on the theory of man-made global warming, Professor Lindzen has developed a reputation as America's anti-doom-and-gloom scientist. And he's not, he says, as lonely as you might think.

Q You don't dispute that the globe is warming?

A It has never been an issue of whether the Earth is warming -- because it's always warming or cooling. The issue is: What are the magnitudes involved? It's a big difference if it's warming a degree or two or 10, or if it's warming a few tenths of a degree.

Q And it's inconclusive how much it's warming?

A Sure it's inconclusive. It's a very hard thing to analyze because you have to average huge fluctuations over the whole Earth, and 70% of the Earth is oceans where you don't have weather stations. So you get different groups analyzing this. And they're pretty close. One group gets over the last century a warming of about .55 degrees centigrade. Another group says it's .75 degrees.

Q Is there any scenario in which global warming could be beneficial for the planet?

A Of course. Canada looks like it will benefit considerably if it were to happen. And it might very well happen -- but it won't be due to man.

Q You charge that the hysteria that's been created around global warming is an enormous financial scam. It's all about money? A Well, how shall I put it? It's not all about money, but boy, there's a lot of money floating in it. I mean, emissions trading is going to be a multi-trillion dollar market. Emissions alone would keep small countries in business.

Q Are you suggesting that scientists manipulate their findings to get in on the gravy train?

A You have to differentiate the interests of different groups. In the scientific community, your interest is for your field to be recognized so that it will have priority in government funding.

Q So you are not accusing your scientific colleagues of corruption?

A No, I'm accusing them of behaving the way scientists always behave. In other words, some years ago, when Richard Nixon declared war on cancer, almost all the biological sciences then became cancer research. I mean, I don't call that corruption, I'm saying you orient your research so that it has a better chance to get resources.

Q And it helps if your findings suggest something catastrophic is about to happen?

A In this case it certainly has helped. First of all, the funding increased so greatly that it exceeded the capacity of the existing field to absorb it. You'll notice that Working Group 2 of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change came up with lots of scary things, but everything was always preceded by could, might, may, all these qualifiers. And the reason it was is those studies start out assuming there's a lot of warming. They assume all the science is in, and then they say, 'Well, how will this impact my field of insect-borne diseases, or agriculture, or health?' So they are almost, by definition, going to generate catastrophic scenarios, but they will never be based on anything other than the hypothesis that this will already happen.

Q I read that you bet one of your colleagues that the Earth will actually be colder 20 years from now?

A I haven't bet on it, but I figure the odds are about 50-50. If you look at the temperature record for the globe over the last six years, it's gone no place. That's usually the way it behaves before it goes down. In fact, I suspect that's why you have this tsunami of exposure the last two years, with Gore's movie and so on. I think that this issue has been around long enough to generate a lot of agendas, and looking at the temperature records there must be a fear that if they don't get the agendas covered now, they may never get them.

Q Did you watch Al Gore ge this Academy Award?

A No! Bad enough I watched his movie.

Q He would appear to have the support of the majority of your scientific colleagues.

A Not really. This is an issue that has hundreds of aspects. The very thought that a large number of scientists all agree on everything is inconceivable. Among my colleagues, I would say, almost no one thinks that Gore's movie is reasonable. But there will be differences. Some believe it is possible that warming could be a serious problem. Others think it's very unlikely. People are all over the place.

Q Some suggest that Roger Revelle, Gore's scientific mentor, would not have agreed with the movie?

A Well, he's dead.

Q Yes. So that makes it harder for him to speak out.

A It's a horrible story. Before he died, Roger Revelle co-authored a popular paper saying, 'We know too little to take any action based on global warming. If we take any action it should be an action that we can justify completely without global warming.' And Gore's staffers tried to have his name posthumously removed from that paper claiming he had been senile. And one of the other authors took it to court and won. It's funny how little coverage that got.

Q How cynical do you think Gore is?

A It's hard for me to tell. I think he's either cynical or crazy. But he has certainly cashed in on something. And 'cash in' is the word. The movie has cleared $50-million. He charges $100,000-$150,000 a lecture. He's co-founder of Global Investment Management, which invests in solar and wind and so on. So he is literally shilling for his own companies. And he's on the on the board of Lehman Brothers who want to be the primary brokerage for emission permits.

Q That sounds more cynical, less crazy.

A I think his aim is not to be president. It's to be a billionaire.

Q What do you find to be the attitude among your MIT undergraduates on global warming?

A I find that they realize they don't know enough to reach judgments. They all realize that Gore's book was a sham. They appreciate that Michael Crichton at least included references.

Q That's encouraging. Because I find the indoctrination at schools to be pretty relentless. On a recent Grade 7 test my daughter was asked something to the effect of, "How are you going to educate your parents about global warming?"

A I know. It's straight out of Hitlerjugend.

Q Having said that, are there any behaviours we should be changing, as a society, in order to protect our planet?

A Yes. We should learn math and physics so we don't get fooled by this idiocy.


More Leftist projection

Post lifted from Blue Crab -- which see for links

Fascist America in 10 easy steps . That is the title of a breathless story (or fairy tale) in the Guardian written by Naomi Wolf. Oh, do take the time to read it, what follows will make much more sense if you wade about in the fever swamp for a moment. But Naomi did present a little blueprint that fits something else that is going on in the world. Therefore, we here in the Crabitat have decided to reinterpret the list Ms. Wolf so graciously projected:

1. Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy

Global warming! Global warming! We're all going to die.

2. Create a gulag

Demand the ouster of people who do not accept the "consensus" about global warming from their jobs. (Prison to follow.)

3. Develop a thug caste

Send in the screeching hordes to shout down anyone who disagrees with global warming "consensus."

4. Set up an internal surveillance system

Set up "global warming deniers database ." (If we weren't before, we expect to be on it shortly).

5. Harass citizens' groups

See 3.

6. Engage in arbitrary detention and release

So far, only refusing to allow publication of opinions that disagree with "consensus" in scientific journals and threatening letters from US Senators - give it time.

7. Target key individuals

Expect to be reviled and accused of being a tool of the oil companies if you dare to speak out against the "consensus."

8. Control the press

The New York Times. Case closed.

9. Dissent equals treason

See 4.

10. Suspend the rule of law

Give them a chance at power and the full set will be complete.

Amazing how that works, isn't it?


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

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Thursday, April 26, 2007


Applying the wisdom of the very offset Gore-meister

If anybody is not sure what the third cartoon above refers to, see my fourth post yesterday.

DDT Backlash Begins

The usual Greenie misrepresentations

Seven months after the World Health Organization reversed its deadly 30-year ban on the use of DDT to fight malaria, the anti-DDT movement is up to its old tricks. "South African medical researchers have reported alarming evidence of low sperm counts and other damage to the male reproductive system linked to the use of the pesticide DDT in anti-malaria spray campaigns," reported the Mercury/Independent Online (South Africa) on April 12. The lead researcher told Mercury that there is sufficient evidence to be concerned about the health impacts of DDT and to consider moving toward safer alternative methods for malaria control.

To be published in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Andrology, the study compared levels of DDT and its metabolites in the blood of 311 South African men aged 18 to 40 with the quantity and quality of their semen. The men were selected from three communities where malaria is endemic and DDT is sprayed to control mosquitoes. "Laboratory analysis showed abnormally low sperm counts, lower semen volumes, slower-moving sperm and fewer viable sperm," reported the Mercury. "The results imply that non-occupational exposure to DDT is associated with impaired seminal parameters in men."

The only thing that actually appears "impaired," as far as I can tell, is the researchers' willingness to communicate what they actually found - precisely nothing. Before going into their specific results, it's necessary to have a basic understanding of the sort of statistical analysis they undertook.

The researchers conducted a so-called "regression analysis" to evaluate the nature of any statistical relationships between blood levels of DDT and various characteristics of the men's semen/sperm. The key result in this type of analysis is called the "beta." In the context of these analyses, a non-zero beta (either positive or negative) means that a statistical relationship between DDT levels and sperm characteristics was observed, while a beta of zero means no relationship was observed. The greater the beta is (either positive or negative), the stronger the statistical association; the closer to zero, the weaker the statistical relationship.

The sign (positive or negative) of the beta indicates the direction of the relationship: A negative beta indicates decreasing semen/sperm quality with increasing blood DDT while a positive sign indicates the opposite. Keep in mind that statistical relationships do not necessarily represent actual biological or cause-and-effect relationships.

For semen volume and blood DDT, the researchers reported a beta of -0.0005, meaning that they measured a very slight decline in semen volume with increasing blood DDT levels. But this beta result is so close to zero - and statistically insignificant, to boot - that it cannot constitute evidence of a relationship between semen volume and DDT exposure.

Though the researchers reported a beta of -27.63 for DDT and sperm motility, this result was also not statistically significant, meaning it could have occurred simply by chance. The likelihood that this beta is a spurious result is strengthened by the fact that the average sperm motility of the study subjects was within the standards of normalcy as determined by the World Health Organization.

In terms of sperm count, the results were, if anything, self-contradictory. While the beta for the DDT metabolite known as DDE was a statistically insignificant -0.0003, the beta for DDT was 0.0022 - meaning that sperm counts slightly increased with greater levels of blood DDT. Both betas, however, are so close to zero that, once again, they are probably meaningless. For the final sperm endpoint mentioned in The Mercury article, sperm viability, the researchers reported betas of -0.6571 and -1.7258 for DDE and DDT, respectively. But neither result was statistically significant.

Not only have these researchers failed to statistically link DDT with harm to semen/sperm - let alone have they linked the two biologically - their study flies in the face of a couple of key touch points with reality.

First, there weren't any reproductive health issues among the men studied, with the researchers acknowledging that the semen/sperm characteristics were either within or close to World Health Organization standards.

Next, despite the past widespread use of DDT, no prior studies credibly link DDT with semen/sperm problems. Keep in mind that the period of heaviest use of DDT in the U.S. and other Western countries - the years 1946 to 1960, when DDT was indiscriminately applied all over the place - coincides precisely with the "baby boom" generation. If DDT use harms sperm, one can hardly prove it by the worldwide proliferation of boomers.

This study represents the vanguard of the coming backlash against the WHO's lifting of the DDT ban by anti-DDT environmental activists who are advocating an international treaty that would essentially ban DDT once and for all.

The study authors, in fact, give away their anti-DDT bias by their favorable reference to the dubious works of well-known anti-chemical, eco-activist researchers including "Our Stolen Future" author Theo Colburn; the University of Missouri's Frederick vom Saal; the University of Florida's Louis Guillette; and the University of Copenhagen's Neils Skakkebaek.

Last year, the WHO bravely moved to rectify one of the greatest tragedies in public health by lifting its DDT ban. The mosquito-killer has proven to be the most effective tool against malaria, a disease that annually kills 1 million children, sickens hundreds of millions and reduces economic development in poverty-stricken regions of the world. It would be a shame if junk science is once against used to thwart the desperately needed use of DDT.


British eco-imperialism

The UN Security Council this week held its first ever debate on climate change and the potential threat that global warming poses to international security. British foreign secretary Margaret Beckett, who chaired the meeting, organised the open session to highlight what she called the `security imperative' to tackle climate change. According to Beckett, climate change can exacerbate problems that cause conflicts and threaten the entire planet. She was clearly very pleased with the UK-led initiative, stating that: `This is a groundbreaking day in the history of the Security Council, the first time ever that we will debate climate change as a matter of international peace and security.' (1)

Not all the Council members agreed with her. The UK, currently holding the rotating council presidency, had to undertake a lot of `behind closed doors' lobbying to even get the Council to agree to hold the open session (2). Even so, the discussion was marked by strong disagreements over whether the Security Council had the authority to deal with the issue of global warming and, as expected beforehand, no resolution was reached.

China's deputy ambassador, Liu Zhenmin, was blunt in rejecting the session: `The developing countries believe the Security Council has neither the professional competence in handling climate change - nor is it the right decision-making place for extensive participation leading up to widely acceptable proposals.' Russia also warned that the Council, whose mandate is only peace and security, was not the place to take concrete action on climate change (3).

The main argument raised against Beckett's proposal was that the Security Council was stepping on to the territory of more democratic bodies, such as the UN General Assembly. The two major groups representing developing countries - the Nonaligned Movement and the Group of 77 - wrote separate letters accusing the Security Council of `ever-increasing encroachment' on the role and responsibility of other UN bodies such as the 192-member General Assembly (4).

However, none of the participants in the debate challenged the substance of Beckett's argument that climate change posed a major risk to international peace and security. The opposition from some of the Security Council's permanent members and from many other states was posed in terms of the Security Council's authority and mandate to deal with such an extensive issue. It would seem that even those states which spoke in favour of Beckett's position, including the EU members and Japan, were less concerned with the substance of the argument than the desire to prioritise the issue of climate change itself. This was also clearly the case for UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon, who hopes that the higher profile given to the relationship between climate change and global conflict will lead the member states to support his initiative to create a new UN Environmental Organisation, in an effort to coordinate action on climate change (5).

Even in the case of the UK, which has been so keen to push the link between climate change and global security, the substance of the argument appears to be of little importance. It is as if any important issue must be, of its very nature, a security risk in our globalised and interconnected world; it seems that every threat is so great that only the concerted action of the world's governments can deal with it. The UK has been keen to situate itself in the forefront of campaigning on climate change and Margaret Beckett argued some weeks ago that she hoped that the UN Security Council discussion would `foster a shared understanding of the way in which climate stress is likely to amplify other drivers of conflict and tension. This can only strengthen the commitment of the international community to the collective action that we urgently need.' (6)

It would appear that the substantive evidence for linking climate change with conflict is secondary to the concern that urgent collective action is taken. Beckett hinted as much in her speech to business organisations in New York the day before the UN Security Council debate: `[T]he, perhaps rather sad, truth is that the international community will not move with the necessary urgency or the necessary resolve if climate change is seen as primarily something that affects insects, animals and plants. To steal a slogan from Amnesty International, we need to show that tackling climate change is about saving the human.' (7)

For Beckett, the key issue is not so much the link between climate change and global conflict but the government's desire to take the international moral high ground in stressing the urgency of action in relation to climate change. It is this that has driven Beckett to engage in presenting climate change as a global security threat. She says: `Particularly over the past year, I have discussed the link between climate and security with many people. Some of them are sceptical. They respond that we can't prove that climate change will lead to this or that particular event - still less that it will cause any one outbreak of violence or hostilities. But that is to misunderstand the issue and the argument. If you are looking for a simple, linear connection between climate change and a particular flashpoint, you are only picking up a glimpse of a much wider picture. The implications of climate change for our security are more fundamental and comprehensive than any single conflict.' (8)

Beckett is clearly not, in fact, arguing that climate change causes conflict in any direct or straightforward way open to evidence-based debate. As the Guardian notes, `Britain refuses to site [sic] examples of global warming-related conflicts' (9). The reason for this obvious: it is not possible to substantiate a linkage between global warming and conflict. Even the alarmist CNA Corporation report, National Security and the Threat of Climate Change - released the day before the UN Security Council meeting, in which 11 former senior US generals, including Anthony Zinni, retired chief of Central Command, and Gordon Sullivan, formerly the US army's most senior general, called on the Bush administration to do more to tackle climate change - does not make any clear or direct links, despite arguing that `climate change is a threat multiplier for instability in some of the most volatile regions of the world' (10).

The generals' report links climate change to conflict only in the most non-specific and indirect terms: `Projected climate change will seriously exacerbate already marginal living standards in many Asian, African and Middle Eastern nations, causing widespread political instability and the likelihood of failed states.' (11) From the generalised nature of the report and its focus on poor and marginal societies, it is clear that the problem it highlights is not climate change as such, but rather the political, economic and social context upon which climate change may have an impact. To see climate change or resource shortages as a cause of conflict would involve depoliticising conflict and naturalising social and economic conditions in the countries under analysis (12).

Even given that there can be no direct link between climate change and conflict, the report gives very little concrete evidence of conflicts in which climate change can be held to have played a major role. It admits that, despite its importance, `no recent wars have been waged solely over water resources' and that `even tense disputes and resource crises can be peacefully overcome' (13). When the report does venture a few cursory attempts to claim examples where resource scarcity is held to be a contributing factor - Rwanda, `furthered by violence over agricultural resources', `the situation in Darfur, which has land resources at its root', the 1970s overthrow of Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie `through his government's inability to deal with food shortages', and the 1974 Nigerian coup `that resulted largely from an insufficient response to famine' (14) - it is clear that the meaning and consequences of resource scarcity are social and political questions, not ones of environmental science, and certainly not ones liable to be ameliorated by any reductions in carbon dioxide emissions.

Beckett follows a similar approach to that of the CNA report in grouping a wide-range of problems together, including those of resource scarcity, land erosion, energy supplies and food production and distribution. Once these social, economic and political problems are reframed in terms of natural resources then she is able to proclaim that we should: `Think of the world today, then, as a dangerously simmering pot. An unstable climate risks that pot boiling over. And we ignore that risk - literally - at our peril.' (15) Of course, if the risks are so great, the cause is ever more vital and heroic: `Now it is time for us to rise to our newest and biggest challenge: to fight the first great war of interdependence, the struggle for climate security.' (16)

Underneath the Churchillian rhetoric that Beckett uses to declare that climate change is a `gathering storm', comparable to the threat posed by Nazi Germany in an earlier era, lies an attempt to re-establish the UK's moral and political standing in the world - not through old-fashioned militarism but through what the government clearly believes to be the UK's strongest card: the power of rhetoric.


Britain's trains -- what the Greenies are wishing on us all

And you thought wobbly old Amtrak was bad!

A week ago a return Virgin Train ticket for the 85 minute journey from Euston station, London, to Birmingham New Street cost me more than œ70 ($168). For the outward journey that bought a seat on a window side of the carriage; but rather than a window, the seat was up close and personal with a beige plastic wall. A pale yellow light allowed me to read, just. The seat-back table was stickier than a poodle dipped in custard. Across the PA came an announcement that at any time we "customers" could move into a first-class carriage, where we could pay an extra œ10 for the upgrade. Halfway through the journey a Virgin employee scuttled through the carriages with a plastic bag the size of a small piggery, into which we could chuck the remains of our snacks.

But Virgin is luxury compared with First Great Western. One journey from Oxford to London Waterloo was plastic-rubbish-bag-free. Customers stepped carefully over floor puddles of food and drink remains, or kicked them aside.

Now for the stations. London Euston, a destination for 55 million passengers a year, is to be demolished and redeveloped at a cost of œ250 million. Early publicity promises a "light and airy thoroughfare" to replace the grey floors and grey-block ceilings that match the grey, dive-bombing pigeons. A tribute to the Brutalist architectural philosophy of the 1960s when it was built, Euston was demolished this month in print by the columnist Richard Morrison, who wrote: "The design should never have left the drawing board - if, indeed, it was ever on a drawing board. It gives the impression of having been scribbled on the back of a soiled paper bag by a thuggish android with a grudge against humanity and a vampiric loathing of sunlight."

Euston is so depressed that even its lavatories have gone on strike. After my trip from Birmingham New Street - a grotesquely ugly station itself - customers were forced to hop and shuffle in line to enter the Euston ladies and gents. Two of the three gates, demanding 20 pence each, were out of order.

Ealing Broadway, west London - there's another wrist slasher of a station. Late last month I booked online for a journey to Oxford, with plans to pick up the ticket at a Fast Ticket machine at the station. With 15 minutes to spare, I discovered every Fast Ticket machine at Ealing Broadway carried an "out of order" sign, strangely reminiscent of those black felt-tip pens on brown cardboard pleas: "Help, down on my luck." The queue to buy tickets was 30 people long. With my train due in less than five minutes, one extra ticket counter was s-l-o-w-l-y opened and my ticket handed over.

Finally, the entirely lift-free Stratford-on-Avon. To board a train to London, customers must carry their bags from one platform up a flight of steps, across a bridge, and down another flight to reach the right platform.

More here

Australia: Melbourne's trains -- what the Greenies are wishing on us all

The frequent complaints about woeful service from Sydney and Brisbane trains are similar. The Melbourne service is provided by a private contractor. The Brisbane and Sydney services are directly run by their State governments

COMMUTERS using some of Melbourne's busiest inner and middle-suburban stations are being left behind on platforms because of overcrowding on the rail system. Hot spots across the network include West Footscray, Yarraville, Kensington, Prahran, Glenhuntly, Armadale and Hawksburn stations. A Connex spokeswoman said it received complaints from squashed and stranded passengers and said most of the problems were caused by late or cancelled services. But the Public Transport Users Association and Connex drivers told The Age that increasing numbers of passengers were being left at busy inner-suburban stations. The State Government's decision to scrap Zone 3 has also increased passengers travelling from outer-suburban stations.

Metlink chief executive Bernie Carolan said anecdotal evidence showed car parks at former Zone 3 stations were almost full. "Those car parks are more popular than ever," Mr Carolan said. Metlink has also seen a rise in tickets being sold at former Zone 3 stations. Almost 170 million trips were made on the suburban network last year - an increase of 13 per cent.

While more passengers from Melbourne's outer suburbs use public transport, commuters in the middle and inner suburbs are feeling the squeeze. Department of Infrastructure figures show the Cranbourne, Pakenham, Sydenham and Broadmeadows lines suffer the worst levels of overcrowding. Pressure on inner-city stations such as Kensington on the Broadmeadows services will increase after the opening of the electrification extension to Craigieburn later this year.

A Connex driver said it was common for trains during the evening peak to wait up to four minutes for passengers to squeeze on at City Loop stations such as Melbourne Central and Parliament. "It's great to see all these people using trains but the services are just inadequate," he said. "It's just getting ridiculous. There are some trains that they could virtually cancel and put them elsewhere. They've still got the same old tired timetable. Let's review the lines and see where people are living."

But as the operator of the system, Connex cannot purchase new trains and make changes to timetables or increase services without Government approval. The Department of Infrastructure's train plan from 2003, obtained by The Age, showed at least 60 new trains needed to be purchased to cope with increased patronage from 2009. PTUA president Daniel Bowen said the lack of planning by the Government for new trains "was bordering on incompetence".

His comments came after Public Transport Minister Lynne Kosky confirmed that the Government had paid $100,000 for nine Hitachi carriages that were initially sold off in 2002 for $2600 each. "They should also be making better use of the existing fleet, ensuring that frequent services run beyond the current peak hours, to help spread passenger numbers," Mr Bowen said. "The people of Melbourne have spoken with their feet and they want more trains."

Ms Kosky defended the purchase and said the second-hand trains would allow for four extra services a day, capable of transporting another 3200 passengers. She would not be drawn on whether the Government would fund new trains in next week's state budget. Opposition public transport spokesman Terry Mulder said it was an appalling lack of planning and said passengers should not be surprised to find themselves soon travelling on steam engines.



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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