Wednesday, October 31, 2007


By Alan Carlin, US Environmental Protection Agency


Proponents of greenhouse gas emissions reductions have long assumed that such reductions are the best approach to global climate change control and sometimes argued that they are the least risky approach. It is now generally understood that to be effective such reductions would have to involve most of the world and be very extensive and rapidly implemented. This paper examines the question of whether it is feasible to use only this approach to control dangerous global climate changes, the most critical of the climate change control objectives. I show that in one of two critical cases analyzed recent papers provide evidence that such an approach is not a feasible single approach to avoiding the dangerous climate changes predicted by a very prominent group of US climate change researchers. In the other case using a widely accepted international standard I show that such an approach appears to be very risky and much more expensive than previously thought. These conclusions further reinforce previous research that emissions reductions alone do not appear to be an effective and efficient single strategy for climate change control. So although emissions reductions can play a useful role in climate change control, other approaches would appear to be needed if dangerous climate changes are to be avoided. This conclusion suggests that the current proposals in a number of Western European countries and the United States to use emissions reductions as the sole means to control global warming may be doomed to failure in terms of avoiding such dangerous changes. An alternative approach is briefly discussed that would be more effective and efficient, and could avoid the perilous risks and high costs inherent in an emissions reduction only approach.

Fundamental to a rational decision as to what to do about global climate change is what the problems are that need to be solved and what and how much needs to be done how soon to solve them (1). It is sometimes forgotten that the objective of global climate change control should not be to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) but rather to reduce specified risks resulting from climate change. Previous research has shown that the very widely proposed approach of reducing emissions of GHGs is not likely to be either effective or efficient in reducing the risk of dangerous climate changes or some of the other goals of climate change control (1). Of four such risks previously identified (1), the most critical one is dangerous climate changes.

In order to investigate the feasibility of using an emissions reduction approach in reducing the risk of dangerous climate changes, it is necessary to define either the threats that we are trying to avoid or the goals that if achieved would avoid the threats since different threats may require different solutions. For this purpose I have defined two such threats/goals, representing two of the most prominent ones discussed in the literature. Obviously there may be other threats/goals, but a useful approach should at least control the most prominent ones unless we know for certain that another threat is the only one that will occur. [...]

One of the threats, which I will call the Greenland/West Antarctica ice sheet melt, has been proposed by a prominent group of American climate scientists, usually with James Hansen as the lead author. Two new papers on the subject are by Hansen et al; both concern the risks from additional global warming as a result of sea level rise due to melting ice sheets in Greenland and West Antarctica. The first paper (2) argues that there are dangerous risks if global temperatures rise more than another 1oC from current levels.

The second (3) uses data from the last 400,000 years of Earth history to predict how and why they believe that sea levels may rise significantly over this century and to quantify key parameters including much higher climate sensitivity to increased carbon dioxide (CO2) levels.

A third paper with Hansen as the sole author (4) summarizes other research showing that the Greenland and West Antarctic ice caps are eroding, including speculation that the resulting sea level rise could be as much as 5 meters by 2100. New Scientist describes the consequences as follows (5):

Without mega-engineering projects to protect them, a 5 meter rise would inundate large parts of many coastal cities--including New York, London, Sydney, Vancouver, Mumbai, and Tokyo--and leave surrounding areas vulnerable to storm surges. In Florida, Louisiana, the Netherlands, Bangladesh and elsewhere, whole regions and cities would vanish. China's economic powerhouse, Shanghai, has an average elevation of just 4 meters.

The long standing concern about dangerous climate changes is that there may be a "tipping point" where a continued rise in global temperatures will trigger non-linear, selfreinforcing further warming or other dangerous environmental effects beyond those resulting immediately from the temperature rise itself. Numerous scenarios have been proposed (1), but Hansen et al. believe that the most likely and most critical of these dangerous effects is the possibility of substantial sea level rise due to the breakup of parts or all of the ice sheets covering Greenland and West Antarctica. Taken together, Hansen et al (2, 3, and 4) paint a rather alarming forecast of what they view as the dangerous effect of global warming is as they see it. Their words could not be more much more graphic or stark in their description of the risk they believe we face:

"Our concern," Hansen et al. (3) write, that business as usual greenhouse gas scenarios "would cause large sea-level rise this century...differs from estimates of the IPCC (2001, 2007), which foresees little or no contribution to twenty-first century sea level raise from Greenland and Antarctica.

However, the IPCC analyses and projections do not well account for the nonlinear physics of wet ice sheet disintegration, ice streams and eroding ice shelves, nor are they consistent with the palaeoclimate evidence we have presented for the absence of discernable lag between ice sheet forcing and sea-level rise." "Civilization developed," Hansen et al. say ominously "and constructed extensive infrastructure, during a period of unusual climate stability, the Holocene, now almost 12000 years in duration. That period is about to end."

Hansen et al., however, believe that their concerns can still be met through reductions in emissions of both CO2 and the other GHGs, but they do state that they believe we are now at the outer limits of what can still be done to prevent the catastrophe that they predict will otherwise occur.

In the second case, the threat/goal is derived from the conventional United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the announced policy by the European Union (EU) as to how it should be implemented. The ultimate goal of climate change control, the UNFCCC has declared, is to avoid dangerous climate changes. This has generally been interpreted as a temperature ceiling that if observed would accomplish this. The EU has explicitly adopted a limit of 2oC above pre-industrial levels (6) and Germany, Britain, and Sweden have implicitly accepted it (7). These four Western European jurisdictions have all proposed implementing it, however, in ways that are unlikely to achieve the 2oC limit (7), possibly because they appreciate the difficulty of meeting it. California, however, has used the limit as the basis for its climate change control legislation, as have some of the bills that have been proposed in Congress. The history and scientific basis for the 2oC limit is briefly summarized in Hansen, et al. (2) and more extensively in Rive et al (8). Others have also suggested that a 2oC warming is not likely to be safe (9) (10) (11).

A recent paper by Rive et al. (8) analyzes a range of possible limits on the rise in global temperatures to determine the near-term emission reductions needed to realize them using a variety of climate change parameters. This paper primarily uses their methodology as a framework by which to assess the feasibility of an emissions control approach to global climate change control in terms of limiting temperature increases to the levels specified in each of the two threat/goal scenarios just outlined. More specifically, the two cases are:

(A) Greenland/West Antarctica ice sheet melt: Hansen et al are assumed to be correct that climate sensitivity to increased levels of CO2 is approximately 6oC for a doubling of CO2 (3) as well as their belief that there is substantial risk of a dramatic sea level rise if global temperatures increase more than another 1oC (2).

(B) EU 2oC Temperature Limit: There is assumed to be a substantial risk of dangerous climatic changes if global temperatures exceed 2oC above preindustrial levels. This is a little less strict than the second half of (A) since a further increase of global temperatures of 1oC would be roughly consistent with a 1.8oC increase from pre-industrial levels. [...]

Although nature long ago demonstrated that there are atmospheric geoengineering options that could be effective in controlling global temperatures (1) (23) and meeting the 2oC limit or any other desired temperature limit, no real effort has been made to optimize these options, carefully determine their non-climate change environmental effects, nor build an international mechanism for decision-making to implement them (24) despite the much lower costs (3 to 5 orders of magnitude) compared to de-carbonization and the fact that one country with the required technological and financial resources could if necessary implement such a solution directly without involving other countries or people once a decision had been made to proceed (1).

Numerous arguments both for and against using atmospheric geoengineering have been debated for years, but often hinge on a metaphysical issue of whether humans should alter emissions to alter climate or alter global temperatures directly (1) (25). One possibility is a combination of early geoengineering to avoid any danger of dangerous climate changes with cost-effective ERD involving increasing energy efficiency but not decreasing energy services. Lack of preparation and support for using geoengineering approaches may prove to be unfortunate since the result is likely to be expensive but ineffective ERD and extensive adaptation. And if Hansen et al. and Caldeira are correct, the resulting adaptation currently appears likely to include adaptation to "dangerous" climate changes and the loss of the world's coral reefs.

The first step towards an effective and efficient response to global climate change would appear to be to carefully examine each of the problems posed by global climate change and to determine the best solutions to each problem (see 1) rather than offering a single panecea (ERD) that appears to have critical limitations as an overall solution. The second step appears to be to carry out the needed development and also to develop a decision-making process for better using atmospheric geoengineering, and the third is to carefully research and attempt to find workable solutions to ocean acidification, including consideration of the use of ocean geoengineering. Continuing down a path towards ERD, if Hansen et al. are correct, will apparently not avoid dangerous climate changes, or if he is not, would still be very risky, very expensive, and probably disastrous in the end.


Reducing emissions could speed global warming (??)

There's no such thing as a happy Greenie and Prof. Lovelock is unhappy about EVERYTHING

A rapid cutback in greenhouse gas emissions could speed up global warming, the veteran environmental maverick James Lovelock will warn in a lecture today. Prof Lovelock, inventor of the Gaia theory that the planet behaves like a single organism, says this is because current global warming is offset by global dimming - the 2-3§C of cooling cause by industrial pollution, known to scientists as aerosol particles, in the atmosphere.

His lecture will be delivered as Hilary Benn, the Environment Secretary, launches the results of a public consultation on the Government's proposed Climate Change Bill which is intended to cut Britain's greenhouse gas emissions by 60 per cent by 2050. Prof Lovelock will say in a lecture to the Royal Society: "Any economic downturn or planned cutback in fossil fuel use, which lessened aerosol density, would intensify the heating. "If there were a 100 per cent cut in fossil fuel combustion it might get hotter not cooler. We live in a fool's climate. We are damned if we continue to burn fuel and damned if we stop too suddenly."

Prof Lovelock believes that even the gloomiest predictions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are underestimating the current severity of climate change because they do not go into the consequences of the current burden pollution in the atmosphere which will last for centuries. He argues that though the scientific language of the IPCC, which reported earlier this year, is "properly cautious" it gives the impression that the worst consequences of climate change are avoidable if we take action now....

According to Professor Lovelock's gloomy analysis, the IPCC's climate models fail to take account of the Earth as a living system where life in the oceans and land takes an active part in regulating the climate. He will argue that when a model includes the whole Earth system it shows that: "When the carbon dioxide in the air exceeds 500 parts per million the global temperature suddenly rises 6§C and becomes stable again despite further increases or decreases of atmospheric carbon dioxide. "This contrasts with the IPCC models that predict that temperature rises and falls smoothly with increasing or decreasing carbon dioxide."

He argues that we should cut greenhouse gas emissions, nonetheless, because it might help slow the pace of global heating. We also have to do our best to lessen our destruction of natural forests but this is unlikely to be enough and we will have to learn to adapt to the inevitable changes we will soon experience.

The pro-nuclear Prof Lovelock will say that we should think of the Earth as a live self-regulating system and devise ways to harness the natural processes that regulate the climate in the fight against global warming. This could involve paying indigenous peoples to protect their forests and develop ways to make the ocean absorb and store carbon from the atmosphere more efficiently.

Prof Lovelock intends to add: "We are not merely a disease; we are through our intelligence and communication the planetary equivalent of a nervous system. We should be the heart and mind of the Earth not its malady." ...


Ethanol Conspiracy Theories Ignore Fuel's Legitimate Shortcomings

Yesterday, Renewable Fuels Association President Bob Dineen issued a statement urging Congress to pump billions of subsidies into ethanol. Dineen's rhetoric begs lawmakers to create an artificial market for ethanol, build the extra infrastructure needed for transport, and condemns anyone who speaks about its shortcomings as part of a "coordinated offensive of mistruths".

These statements undermine the effort to have a serious debate about the right way to diversify our energy sources and increase America's energy security. The ethanol industry has been getting super-sized subsidies for more than two decades. Throughout that time, cellulosic ethanol has always been "right around the corner."

We should be looking to innovators and entrepreneurs to develop the next great technological breakthroughs in energy -- not to lobbyists seeking more handouts in Washington. Despite Dineen's accusation of an "insidious campaign" by the fossil fuels industry against biofuels, there are a myriad of legitimate concerns about ethanol. Those concerns include, but are not limited to, ethanol's effect on food prices, its huge water demands, and its overall financial cost. (For more on this see the recent Wall Street Journal editorial, "Ethanol's Water Shortage".)

The Institute for Energy Research supports energy diversity, tapping into the most efficient traditional, alternative, and renewable sources capable of sustaining themselves in a free market, including using ethanol as a gasoline blend. However, propping up less efficient producers with endless subsidies and mandating production of biofuels will not increase our energy security, and will likely produce a host of negative unintended consequences.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration believes that the practical limit for domestic ethanol production is about 13.8 billion gallons by 2030, or about 7 percent of the transportation fuels market (Annual Energy Outlook 2007). Mandating the production of 36 billion gallons of ethanol by 2022 will require a fleet of flex-fuel vehicles, but currently, less than one percent of retail stations sell E85, a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline.

According to IER Adjunct Scholar Jerry Taylor, virtually all studies show that greenhouse gases associated with ethanol are about the same as those associated with conventional gasoline once the entire life cycle of the two fuels are compared. Further, as more land is harnessed for corn production, less fertile soils will be brought into production, requiring more energy intensive inputs into the corn production process, primarily in the form of increased use of fertilizers and irrigation. "As we re-open previously dormant land to produce corn for ethanol -- we may be unwittingly emitting tons of carbon dioxide with simple land-use changes," warned Amy Kaleita, assistant professor of agriculture and bioengineering at Iowa State University.

Such a massive increase in corn production for ethanol poses other serious environmental risks emerging in the so-called "Dead Zones" in the Gulf of Mexico and the Chesapeake Bay.

Dineen claims that we are close to making cellulosic ethanol a reality, but Robert Bryce, a fellow with the Institute for Energy Research, wrote, "cellulosic ethanol is akin to the tooth fairy: it's an entity that many believe in, but no one ever actually sees. There are plenty of believers in cellulosic ethanol, but there's no reason to expect that the industry will be able to grow fast enough." ("The Senate's Ethanol Delusion," Energy Tribune).

These are legitimate concerns that require serious thought before Congress mandates the use of billions of gallons of renewable fuels. The breakthroughs in technology necessary to produce new energy sources will come from entrepreneurs and innovators. Academic energy experts are researching and evaluating the best options to secure a robust supply of energy well into America's future. The free market should pick the next great technology, not the lawmakers and lobbyists on Capitol Hill.


Australian Labor Party gets real about Kyoto

They have finally seen that dragging down the economy for Greenie tokenism is not a good deal

KEVIN Rudd has said it is "absolutely fundamental" that developing nations sign up to Kyoto emissions targets as he tries to limit the fallout after forcing Peter Garrett into an embarrassing backflip on Labor's policy. Mr Garrett said yesterday that the inclusion of developing nations China and India - major greenhouse gas emitters - was "not a deal-breaker" to Labor signing on to a post-Kyoto climate accord if the party wins the federal election. By the evening he said it was a pre-requisite.

Mr Rudd has said on ABC radio this morning that any deal would be sent back to the drawing board if developing nations refused to sign. He had said yesterday that developed nations should show leadership by signing on first. "It's absolutely fundamental that such commitments are contained, and that for us is a pre-condition," he said. He said Labor's policy was "clear-cut" and Mr Garrett had been totally consistent. He said Mr Garrett had originally been speaking about the four years between now and 2012, when Kyoto expires. From then on, Mr Rudd said, developing nations had to be on board.

Mr Garrett's backdown came after a Labor crisis meeting, which followed a day of sustained assault by John Howard and senior ministers on Mr Garrett's comments. The Coalition seized on the Labor position. Mr Howard said it was a policy to "reduce Australian jobs", not to reduce Australian emissions.

Last night, Mr Garrett issued a statement, attempting to clarify his position. "Appropriate developing country commitments for the post-2012 commitment period ... would be an essential pre-requisite for Australian support." The blunder enabled the Coalition to shift the heat on climate change away from Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull. It was revealed on the weekend that Mr Turnbull had asked Cabinet six weeks ago to sign up to Kyoto because Australia would meet its targets anyway. Mr Rudd had attacked Mr Turnbull, highlighting his difference with Mr Howard - who rebuffed Mr Turnbull's suggestion - and the rest of Cabinet.

A Newspoll released this morning has found a four-point swing back to the Coalition, but Labor still had an election-winning lead with 54 per cent of the two-party-preferred vote. But in worse news for Labor, Peter Costello - who would take over from Mr Howard at some point if the Coalition wins - has almost double to support of Wayne Swan as preferred Treasurer. Mr Costello and Mr Swan will debate each other this afternoon.

Mr Howard had said Mr Garrett's original commitment, in an interview with The Australian Financial Review and on ABC radio, was against Australia's interests and would put Australian jobs at risk. "We can't have a situation where Australian industry is bound to take steps to curb greenhouse gas emissions, but competitive countries like China are not bound," Mr Howard said. He said that would effectively export Australian emissions - and Australian jobs - to China.

Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said committing to any new deal without the explicit support of developing countries was "absurd". "You cannot be the government of Australia and go into negotiations saying 'developing countries don't have to make a contribution, we'll sign the agreement anyway' and think you are going to do something to solve this problem of greenhouse gas emissions," he said.....

Only after Mr Howard and other Coalition ministers began to publicly question the policy, and the media began asking questions, did Mr Rudd, Mr Garrett and a team of advisers hold a crisis meeting at lunch-time in Cairns. It was decided that Mr Garrett, who had made the initial commitment, should release a statement that "clarified" Labor's position and recognised the need to lock developing nations into targets for greenhouse gas emission cuts.....


Kids do what a negligent Green-influenced government refused to do

Having a 6' croc living behind your house is no problem?

Two boys have admitted taking revenge on a crocodile lurking near their Cairns home, hooking it and bashing it to death with a rock. Police and wildlife officials are investigating the attack on the 1.8m croc in a drain at Dillon St, Westcourt, and have warned the boys may face hefty fines. But residents last night defended the boys' actions, saying they were fed up with the number of croc sightings in suburban creeks and drains and had been forced to take matters into their own hands.

David Stallwood, 12, last night told how they caught the animal and killed it because of safety fears. "We got a torch, a big hook and some meat and went down and got it," he said. Added his mate Henry Tabuar, 14: "We just wanted to get it out for the safety of the people."

Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service conservation services manager Dr Mark Read said the croc was the same animal spotted in the Dillon St drain on Sunday. He said he would work with police today to further investigate the attack and possibly lay charges. Dr Read warned anyone caught harming a croc could face a $16,000 fine.

The incident comes after a spate of sightings of crocs in Cairns in the past week. Also yesterday, a Miriwinni woman told how her horse was mauled by a croc at a popular fishing spot and two northern beaches were closed following another sighting. Cairns Mayor Kevin Byrne said people had probably had enough of finding crocs in urban areas. But he said there was not a crocodile problem in the city. "It's a fact of life, they (crocodiles) get in, they get out," Cr Byrne said. "It's unfortunate that an animal has been killed, but it's probably an indication that people have had enough." ....

Lifeguards closed both Yorkeys Knob and Trinity beaches again yesterday morning after a croc sighting at Trinity Beach. The beaches were closed all day Friday when a crocodile was spotted swimming north, close to the shore.



For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL 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.


Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The complete media sellout to sensationalism -- truth regardless

Al Gore hasn't secretly bought every mainstream media news outlet, has he? Then why do so few journalists even pretend anymore to play fair, straight and skeptical on global warming?

This swing to subjective journalism on environmental issues began decades ago. But it reached a tipping point in 2001, when both U.S. News & World Report and Time jettisoned all pretense of objectivity and cranked out sensationalized cover stories about the various apocalypses that anthropogenic global warming was certain to bring to our tender planet. Since then, most mainstream journalists effectively have decreed that the global warming debate is over, that man's fossil-fuel burning is the primary culprit and that anyone who doesn't parrot the James Hansen-Laurie David party line is in bed with ExxonMobil or is the moral and intellectual equivalent of a Holocaust denier.

Today you rarely see or hear a skeptical peep on catastrophic global warming from CBS, NBC, PBS, NPR, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Newsweek or the already-know-it-alls at The New Yorker. Scientific American has devolved into a huckster for Al Gore. The senile tough guys at "60 Minutes" have gone soft. Only John Stossel of ABC's "20/20" can be counted on to regularly challenge the media's alarmist consensus on climate change.

Compare skeptic Stossel to Anderson Cooper. For his laughably one-sided "Planet in Peril" special last week, Cooper jetted to Greenland's treacherous ice sheets to demonstrate, ad nauseam, that global warming is causing glaciers there to melt at a faster rate than 10 years ago. In their journalism snow job, Cooper and his producers made sure to include the media's pet climate alarmist, NASA's James Hansen, but they left out the elements invariably left out when global warming issues are reported: balance and perspective.

No ice chip of skepticism threatened CNN's scary story line. Cooper -- who made a major gaffe when he said 40 percent of Greenland's ice sheet had gone away in the last 40 years [Recent scientific report showing overall GROWTH in the Greenland ice-sheet here] -- did manage to admit it was not likely the island's 630,000 cubic miles of ice were going to melt anytime soon.

But for perspective's sake, he might have noted how Greenland got its name -- because it was hotter -- and greener -- 900 years ago than it is today. So couldn't its current warming be part of a natural long-term cycle? Sorry, doesn't fit the standard story line.

Cooper's up-close-and-personal encounter with polar bears was just as journalistically sloppy. He rode along with a scientist who used a helicopter to chase down and dart a mother bear and her two cubs, who then were weighed and had who knows what else in the name of science done to them to see how they are coping with the shrinking polar ice cap that has liberaldom's top journalists in such a panic. Polar bears -- the official charismatic poster mammals of catastrophic global warming -- are under stress, underweight, acting strange and in danger of becoming extinct by 2050, Cooper said somberly. How many polar bears are there in the Arctic? How many separate bear populations? Are they all losing bears? Are they maybe under stress because they are being terrorized by helicopters, shot full of drugs and manhandled by mad scientists?

Don't ask Anderson. He was too busy playing Nanook of the North and exploiting polar bears the same way most of his fellow journalists in the unfair and unbalanced news media do -- as cliched props in a propaganda war.


A climate hysteria ripoff

Imagine you are an advocacy group and want to sway a government's policy development, but really want to keep your activism a secret. You could learn a lot by observing and then avoiding the practices of the Center for Climate Strategies, a group of global warming worrywarts. CCS in recent years has approached many states, including Washington, with an inexpensive, tantalizing offer: to establish and manage a process for climate change policy development. The results are a study legitimized by government that promotes onerous regulations, property rights infringement through smart growth initiatives, and new taxes and fees on fuels and utilities.

CCS operates in Washington in nearly the same way it's worked in every other state where it's been hired. First a governor (such as Gov. Chris Gregoire) issues an executive order declaring global warming a problem that must be confronted through state policy. Then a so-called stakeholder (political appointees and special interests, really) panel considers dozens of CCS-created policy options -- most of which impinge upon individual rights, increase energy costs, or add to the cost of government -- that ostensibly reduce CO2 emissions in the state. CCS holds the hand of the group through several meetings and its decision-making, until the threats to personal liberty and financial well-being are established as official government philosophy. Ideally (to CCS), legislatures will adopt them and add to everyone's cost of living. Nanny-staters celebrate.

But believe it or don't, CCS says it does not take a position on climate change solutions or push states into their greenhouse gas emissions decisions. Executive director Tom Peterson told me in an interview months ago, "(CCS) does not have an advocacy mission, and it doesn't have an advocacy history." But CCS' concealment of its activism is like the fat kid standing behind a flagpole in a game of hide and seek.

Start with its funding. CCS comes to states promising to bring money with them to pay for their greenhouse-gas reduction development. Who foots the bill? Several foundations on the global warming panic train: the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, The (Ted) Turner Foundation, The Heinz Endowments, the Energy Foundation, and many others. For example, the state of Washington is paying only $200,000 for CCS' services -- half of what their cheap process has cost in other states.

Then CCS controls the entire policy development: the agenda, scheduling and oversight of their meetings; the CO2 reduction options that stakeholders consider; analysis (which is not an examination of cost/benefit or climate impact) of those options; the voting process; the changing and/or elimination of options; and the writing of all meeting minutes, presentations and reports.

Virtually every one of CCS's greenhouse gas-reducing options, which stakeholders find almost impossible to eliminate or alter (as if they wanted to) because the voting procedures are stacked against it, will curtail individual freedom or further burden taxpayers and consumers. Rather than surveying stakeholders in an up-or-down vote, options are instead considered already approved unless enough members (who are political appointees, with almost no scientists or economists) are bold and knowledgeable enough to object to them.

CCS has conducted this cookie-cutter process in more than a dozen states, and more are in its sights. The motives, tactics and plans are not hard to see, but they are a threat. State government watchdogs and free-market believers need to tag that kid behind the flagpole. He is only getting fatter.



Last July I was privileged to be in Aspen, Colo., where 10,000-square-foot luxury log cabins aspire to the soaring Rockies, billionaires tool Priuses to private jets and the world's powerful gather for cold salmon and big truths. And they were feeling bad.

About 20 of us--including venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and Washington strategists--were asked to imagine the year 2050. With few exceptions, our predictions were a grim amplification of all of today's worst headlines: global warming, famine, unending terrorism. Not much different, I'd guess, from what gets forecast at most salons and dinner parties when the talk turns this way: The future as a Mad Max movie, only without the style and thrills.

What's going on here? We were, by almost any measure of space or time, a group others would kill to become--affluent Americans in 2007. We are longer-lived and with access to more knowledge and experiences than any king or pope who has come before, never mind the lives of the countless billions whose ordinary tragedies are collectively called "history." This much luck should make us hug ourselves with delight.

Having slipped catastrophes like the 1914-1945 worldwide conflicts (with 100 million dead), or the nuclear threat of the 44 cold years that followed, there are also reasonable grounds to believe we can work out our problems. The daily advances in science and technology lend hope that on balance things can be even better. Except that we do not feel that way.

The opposite inclination, projecting a future of paradise on Earth, is the province of millennial movements like Communism, Nazism, the Crusades and much of today's Islamic fundamentalism. Usually someone has to die in those totalitarian scenarios, and in reality things works out bad for everyone. A decent future is going to have to have some chaos in it too--but that does not demand that we forecast despair.

Another nasty positive comes from the fact that we have gained a lot of power over nature, from fertilizers and antibiotics to nerve gas and nukes. We will have more. With so much good fortune on the upside, the downsides are higher, too. It worries some of the world's top scientists, who forecast exotic extinction scenarios (see "Our Final Hour"). Even they disagree about the actual risks, though, and most of us do not worry about runaway atomic colliders.

An apocalypse is sadly attractive. If we cause catastrophe--by our rape of the planet, our failure to address a social problem or we anger a deity--then our generation becomes the most important to ever have lived. Like the stolid bourgeois that the bohemians have always attacked, we are more likely to simply muddle through, trying to make things better where we can. Bo-ring.

Something else underlies all these reasons why we are so dark about the future, I believe. I call it "The Paramaribo Problem."

I began in journalism on a business newswire. I stayed up all night reading Associated Press dispatches from around the globe, and sending readers the stories that might matter to their markets. Mideast conflicts went on the wire, naturally, but so did earthquakes in Paramaribo, Surinam, since that mattered to shipping or oil pipelines. A bus heading off a cliff in rural India might not. The point is that I read them all--about every crisis, mass death and refugee exodus.

Pretty soon the work showed up in my life. Like almost all the other novices, I started washing my hands more, checking in with my wife several times during work and making small talk about scary-looking people whom I'd seen on the street, or the prospects of war. I was a walking case of the heebie-jeebies. It was normal, the seasoned vets told me: Before, I could not have found Paramaribo on a map; now I was in on its tragic loss of life. I knew about bus crashes in the abstract, but now I saw them scroll over a computer screen, soon replaced by a cholera outbreak in Sumatra or gunshots in Kinshasa. The awareness of so much chaos bore a terrible cost.

That was 20 years ago, and now thanks to cable television and the Internet we are all in a much bigger and incessant newsroom. There's a Paramaribo every minute, compounded by a digital fight for our attention. Even the advertisements and technology breakthroughs play a role, creating expectations of how things might be that can never match our mortal realities. The alarming news of the present, raised to a level of continual urgency, has taught us to think of the future in terms of continual catastrophe. It affects some more than others--my friends in Aspen are very well-informed people.

In my newsroom days, the Paramaribo Problem took care of itself over time. You read a lot of the stories, and maybe your heart broke enough to scar over, but you gained the perspective to resume some kind of normality. Experience taught that our close world of work and loved ones continued on pretty well.

Perhaps we can learn to do that again in our thoughts about the future of the planet. I suspect that it will be harder to gain the necessary experience, though. You only get to play out the next 50 years once.



I'm old enough to recall the days in the late 1960s when people wore those trendy buttons that read: "Stop the Planet I Want to Get Off." And I will never forget that era's "educational" films of what life would be like in the year 2000. Played on clanky 16-millimeter projectors, they showed images of people walking down the streets of Manhattan with masks on, so they could avoid breathing the poison gases our industrial society was spewing.

The future seemed mighty bleak back then, and you merely had to open the newspapers for the latest story confirming how the human species was speeding down a congested highway to extinction. A group of scientists calling themselves the Club of Rome issued a report called "Limits to Growth." It explained that lifeboat Earth had become so weighed down with humans that we were running out of food, minerals, forests, water, energy and just about everything else that we need for survival. Paul Ehrlich's best-selling book "The Population Bomb" (1968) gave England a 50-50 chance of surviving into the 21st century. In 1980, Jimmy Carter released the "Global 2000 Report," which declared that life on Earth was getting worse in every measurable way.

So imagine how shocked I was to learn, officially, that we're not doomed after all. A new United Nations report called "State of the Future" concludes: "People around the world are becoming healthier, wealthier, better educated, more peaceful, more connected, and they are living longer."

Yes, of course, there was the obligatory bad news: Global warming is said to be getting worse and income disparities are widening. But the joyous trends in health and wealth documented in the report indicate a gigantic leap forward for humanity. This is probably the first time you've heard any of this because--while the grim "Global 2000" and "Limits to Growth" reports were deemed worthy of headlines across the country--the media mostly ignored the good news and the upbeat predictions of "State of the Future."

But here they are: World-wide illiteracy rates have fallen by half since 1970 and now stand at an all-time low of 18%. More people live in free countries than ever before. The average human being today will live 50% longer in 2025 than one born in 1955.

To what do we owe this improvement? Capitalism, according to the U.N. Free trade is rightly recognized as the engine of global prosperity in recent years. In 1981, 40% of the world's population lived on less than $1 a day. Now that percentage is only 25%, adjusted for inflation. And at current rates of growth, "world poverty will be cut in half between 2000 and 2015"--which is arguably one of the greatest triumphs in human history. Trade and technology are closing the global "digital divide," and the report notes hopefully that soon laptop computers will cost $100 and almost every schoolchild will be a mouse click away from the Internet (and, regrettably, those interminable computer games).

It also turns out that the Malthusians (who worried that we would overpopulate the planet) got the story wrong. Human beings aren't reproducing like Norwegian field mice. Demographers now say that in the second half of this century, the human population will stabilize and then fall. If we use the same absurd extrapolation techniques demographers used in the 1970s, Japan, with its current low birth rate, will have only a few thousand citizens left in 300 years.

I take special pleasure in reciting all of this global betterment because my first professional job was working with the "doom-slaying" economist Julian Simon. Starting 30 years ago, Simon (who died in 1998) told anyone who would listen--which wasn't many people--that the faddish declinism of that era was bunk. He called the "Global 2000" report "globaloney." Armed with an arsenal of factual missiles, he showed that life on Earth was getting better, and that the combination of free markets and human ingenuity was the recipe for solving environmental and economic problems. Mr. Ehrlich, in response, said Simon proved that the one thing the world isn't running out of "is lunatics."

Mr. Ehrlich, whose every prediction turned out wrong, won a MacArthur Foundation "genius award"; Simon, who got the story right, never won so much as a McDonald's hamburger. But now who looks like the lunatic? This latest survey of the planet is certainly sweet vindication of Simon and others, like Herman Kahn, who in the 1970s dared challenge the "settled science." (Are you listening, global-warming alarmists?)

The media's collective yawn over "State of the Future" is typical of the reaction to just about any good news. When 2006 was declared the hottest year on record, there were thousands of news stories. But last month's revised data, indicating that 1934 was actually warmer, barely warranted a paragraph-long correction in most papers.

So I'm happy to report that the world's six billion people are living longer, healthier and more comfortably than ever before. If only it were easy to fit that on a button.



For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL 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.


Monday, October 29, 2007

Unstoppable skeptic

In the great, never-cooling debate over the causes and consequences of global warming, it's always clear whose side Fred Singer is on: not Al Gore's. Singer, who was born in Vienna in 1924, was a pioneer in the development of rocket and satellite technology and holds a Ph.D. in physics from Princeton.

Now president of the Science & Environmental Policy Project research group (, his latest book (with Dennis Avery) is "Unstoppable Global Warming Every 1,500 Years." I talked with Singer -- who will debate global warming issues with climate scientist Charles Keller Thursday at a sold-out event at Duquesne University -- by phone from his offices in Arlington, Va.:

Q: What did you think upon hearing of Al Gore's Nobel Peace Prize?

A: First of all, I was really not surprised. The peace prize is a political exercise. Remember that Yasser Arafat got the peace prize for, ha, contributing to lasting peace in the Middle East. It's very interesting, the peace prize selection committee comes from the Norwegian Parliament, so they're all politicians. The government is a very left-wing government right now. I spoke about it this morning, in fact, and said that if the government changes -- if the Progress Party, which is an anti-immigration party. gains majority control -- it might give a peace prize to Pat Buchanan. It's purely political, unlike the other prizes, which are awarded by the Swedish academies and which are based on committees that know something about the subject.

Q: Have you seen Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth"?

A: Yes. I saw a slide show at a presentation, which he made in Washington. I saw the movie and I read the book. They're all the same amount of bunk. They're all very, very well presented -- very skillfully presented from a technical point of view. But the science is really shoddy.

Q: A lot of people have seen the movie but they don't really keep up on this global-warming debate, which is very complex and very nasty sometimes about which science is true and which isn't.

A: It is nasty, but it shouldn't be complex. The issue is very simple. The only really important issue is, is the warming we are experiencing now natural or is it man-made? That's really the only issue. Everything else is commentary.

Q: Now the Gore camp will say global warming is man-made and they'll point to all kinds of things to prove that.

A: And they're all wrong.

Q: Is there anything that they point to where you say, "Yes, that's true but ...?"

A: Yes. There are a lot of things they point to where I say, "Yes, but... ." For example, they say glaciers are melting. Yes, but. It doesn't tell you what the cause is. You see, any kind of warming, from whatever cause, will melt ice. Whether it's natural or man-made warming, the ice doesn't care. It will melt when it gets warmer. This is a trick that they do.

They play this trick many times over -- showing the consequences of global warming, which really don't tell you what the cause is. And the only important question is, remember, "What is the cause? Is it natural or man-made?" If it's natural, then there is nothing we can do about it. It's unstoppable. We can't change the sun or influence volcanism or anything of that sort. We're not at that stage yet. It also means that all these schemes for controlling CO2 are useless, completely useless. It's all bunk.

Q: When you say global warming is natural, what is your chief culprit?

A: The sun. The sun. Definitely. The evidence we have shows an extremely strong correlation with solar activity. The (Earth's) temperature follows the solar activity and the correlation is very strong. The mechanism itself is still under some dispute, but we think in some way the sun influences cosmic rays, which in turn influences cloudiness.

Q: That doesn't even count the heat output of the sun, which changes over time, doesn't it?

A: Those are very small and are not enough to account for all the climate changes that we see. What is causing it is not just the heat of the sun, but emissions from the sun that we don't see -- except with satellites and spacecraft -- the so-called solar winds and magnetic fields.

Q: What about the things like the wobble of the Earth on its axis and the Earth's eccentric orbit around the Sun?

A: That's also important, but on a different time scale. For each time scale there is a particular cause. The time scale I'm talking about when I talk about direct solar influences are of the order of decades. The time scales that involve wobbles and orbits of the Earth around the sun involve times scales of 10,000 or 100,000 years.

Q: Can you give a synopsis of "Unstoppable Global Warming Every 1,500 Years"?

A: Yes. Our book -- I co-authored it with Dennis Avery -- basically looks at published papers in the peer-reviewed literature by geologists and other paleo-scientists, oceanographers and so on, who have studied the climate records of the past. Every one of them shows this (roughly 1,500-year) cycle. It was first discovered in ice cores in Greenland. Then it was seen in ocean sediments in the Atlantic. And now it's been found everywhere, including in stalagmites in caves. In all kinds of climate records that you wouldn't think of that have been studied, you see this cycle. It shows warming and cooling -- that's an oscillation -- a slight warming and a slight cooling. It's not a big effect. But it could well account for the current warming. It can well account for the warming that occurred 1,000 years ago. It can well account also for what we call "The Little Ice Age," which occurred roughly 500 years ago.

Q: When people talk about the ice sheets on Greenland and Antarctica growing or shrinking or melting completely, what should we know about that?

A: Well, the ice sheets of Greenland have not melted in historic time at all, even though it was much warmer 1,000 years ago and very much warmer 5,000 years ago. The ice sheets on Antarctica haven't melted for millions of years, because it's really quite cold there. There is always some melting that takes place during the summer, of course, when the sun shines directly on the ice. But in the precipitation that falls -- the rain and snow that falls -- soon turns to ice and grows the ice sheet back again.

Q: Is the quote-unquote "scientific consensus" that Al Gore and his acolytes are always speaking of growing stronger or weaker?

A: Let me put it this way: Many scientists, unfortunately, support the idea that the human influence on climate is very strong compared to natural influences. We don't. We see the evidence differently. But most scientists disagree with Gore on specifics. For instance, on sea level rise: The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Control), which is the U.N.'s climate advisory body, has come out with its report and predicts a sea level rise on the order of a foot and a half per century. Al Gore has a 20-foot rise. So he's way out of line compared to the mainstream science.

Q: People like you, who think that global warming is not a crisis that demands instant or dramatic government action, are regularly accused of being tools of the oil, gas and coal industries. How do you defend yourself from that charge?

A: Ha, ha. Well, there are various ways. In the first place, I've held these views for a very long time. And secondly, I'm not a tool of the oil industry. In fact, when you think about oil -- let's take Exxon for an example -- what the global warmists are trying to do is to demonize coal. Why? Because coal emits more carbon dioxide than oil or gas. Well, if they do that -- if they prevent the use of coal -- it figures that it makes oil and gas more valuable. It drives up the price. Exxon has huge reserves of oil and gas. So, in a sense, Exxon should benefit from global-warming alarmism. I don't know if people have thought about that. It's not been commonly discussed that all these holders of oil and gas reserves benefit financially any time the global warmists prevent the use of coal.

Q: The global warming community thinks we're going to turn to wind and solar and ocean-wave energy to replace fossil fuels.

A: None of that is economic. It will produce some energy at a great cost. Put it this way: If it were economic, it would have been done by now. The only way you can do wind and solar is with large government subsidies. And you ask yourself, "Why should we all subsidize with our tax dollars something which is basically uneconomic?"

Q: Here's my McCarthy Era question: Do you now or did you ever get money or grants or whatever from energy companies?

A: Sure. I'd love to get more, but they only did it once, I think. It was unsolicited, unannounced, and I cashed the check immediately. I've been wishing for more, ha, ha, but they haven't given me any more. Now, don't forget that what they've given me amounts to a tiny fraction of 1 percent of our total cumulative budget (at ). And don't forget that the energy companies give hundreds of millions of dollars -- which is at least 10,000 times as much as we're getting -- to researchers everywhere who are working to show that global warming exists and is human-caused.

Q: Do you have any explanation why the Al Gore camp has won the global warming argument in the mainstream media?

A: That's not really my field. I'm not sure they've won the argument in the media. I'm sure there are still many people in the media who are skeptical of Al Gore's arguments -- and they should be.

Q: Should they be skeptical of your arguments as well?

A: Some are skeptical of my arguments, yes, of course. That's because they haven't looked into it. In other words, I'm very convinced that when I talk to somebody one-on-one and show them the evidence, they will agree with me.

Q: You plan to debate Dr. Charles Keller in Pittsburgh next week --

A: Right. I will show the evidence, and if he's honest, he'll agree with me.

Q: What in general is your chief argument going to be with him?

A: My chief argument will be that the actual data show that the climate models don't work, and the actual data show that the cause of the global warming can not be a greenhouse effect.

Q: Have you debated him before?

A: Yeah, we had a debate about 10 years ago.

Q: What have you learned since then?

A: A great deal.

Q: As you've watched this global-warming debate evolve, are you optimistic that good science, honest science, will trump politics?

A: Yes, I'm optimistic because eventually it must do that. The problem is the word "eventually." In the meantime, a great deal of damage can be done to our economy as various schemes are being put forward to control CO2 emissions -- essentially to control the use of energy.


Apocalypse Now?

by Patrick J. Buchanan

The scaremongers are not always wrong. The Trojans should have listened to Cassandra. But history shows that the scaremongers are usually wrong. Parson Malthus predicted mass starvation 250 years ago, as the population was growing geometrically, doubling each generation, while agricultural production was going arithmetically, by 2 percent or so a year. But today, with perhaps 1 percent of our population in full-time food production, we are the best-fed and fattest 300 million people on Earth. Karl Marx was proven dead wrong about the immiseration of the masses under capitalism and the coming revolution in the industrial West, though they still have hopes at Harvard.

Neville Shute's "On the Beach" proved as fictional as "Dr. Strangelove" and "Seven Days in May." Paul Ehrlich's "Population Bomb" never exploded. It fizzled, when the Birth Dearth followed the Baby Boom. "The Crash of '79" never happened. Instead, we got Ronald Reagan and record prosperity. The Club of Rome notwithstanding, we did not run out of oil. The world did not end in Y2K, when we crossed the millennium, as some had prophesied. "Nuclear winter," where we were all going to freeze to death after the soot from Reagan's nuclear war blotted out the sun, didn't quite happen. Rather, the Soviet Empire gave up the ghost.

Is then global warming -- a steady rise in the temperature of the Earth to where the polar ice caps melt, oceans rise 23 feet, cities sink into the sea and horrendous hurricanes devastate the land -- an imminent and mortal danger? Put me down as a disbeliever.

Like the panics of bygone eras, this one has the aspect of yet another re-enactment of the Big Con. The huckster arrives in town, tells all the rubes that disaster impends for them and their families, but says there may be one last chance they can be saved. But it will take a lot of money. And the folks should go about collecting it, right now.

This, it seems to me, is what the global-warming scare and scam are all about -- frightening Americans into transferring sovereignty, power and wealth to a global political elite that claims it alone understands the crisis and it alone can save us from impending disaster.

Under the Kyoto Protocol, from which China and India were exempt, the United States was to reduce carbon emissions to 1990 levels, which could not be done without inducing a new Depression and reducing the standard of living of the American people. So, we ignored Kyoto -- and how have we suffered? The Europeans who signed on also largely ignored it. How have they suffered?

We are told global warming was responsible for the hurricane summer of Katrina and Rita that devastated Texas, Mississippi and New Orleans. Yet Dr. William Gray, perhaps the nation's foremost expert on hurricanes, says he and his most experienced colleagues believe humans have little impact on global warming and global warming cannot explain the frequency or ferocity of hurricanes. After all, we had more hurricanes in the first half of the 20th century than in the last 50 years, as global warming was taking place.

"We're brainwashing our children," says Gray. "They're going to the Gore movie ("An Inconvenient Truth") and being fed all this. It's ridiculous. ... We'll look back on all of this in 10 or 15 years and realize how foolish it was." Gray does concede that for a scholar to question global warming can put his next federal grant in mortal peril.

While modest warming has taken place, there is no conclusive evidence human beings are responsible, no conclusive evidence Earth's temperature is rising dangerously or will reach intolerable levels and no conclusive evidence that warming will do more harm than good.

The glaciers may be receding, but the polar bear population is growing, alarmingly in some Canadian Indian villages. Though more people on our planet of 6 billion may die of heat, estimates are that many more may be spared death from the cold. The Arctic ice cap may be shrinking, but that may mean year-round passage through northern Canadian waters from the Atlantic to the Pacific and the immense resources of the Arctic made more accessible to man. Why else did Vladimir Putin's boys make their dash to claim the pole?

The mammoth government we have today is a result of politicians rushing to solve "crises" by creating and empowering new federal agencies. Whether it's hunger, poverty or homelessness, in the end, the poor are always with us, but now we have something else always with us: scores of thousands of federal bureaucrats, and armies of academics to study the problem and assess the progress, with all their pay and benefits provided by our tax dollars.

Cal Coolidge said that when you see 10 troubles coming up the road toward you, sometimes the best thing to do is nothing, because nine of them will fall into the ditch before they get to you. And so it will be with global warming, if we don't sell out America to the hucksters who would save us.


Not "Peak Oil", But Lots More Oil

In his new book The Battle for Barrels, Duncan Clarke dissects the Peak Oil myth and its advocates with surgical skill and patience

There was an interesting news item out of Moscow in late September to which most people probably paid little heed. "Russia is one of several countries that have rushed to lay claims to the area where a U.S. Study suggests as much as 25 percent of the world's undiscovered oil and gas could be hidden." Earlier the Russians sent two small submarines to plant a tiny national flag under the North Pole. In response, Canada vowed to increase its icebreaker fleet and build two new military facilities in the Arctic and Denmark sent a team of scientists to seek evidence that the ridge in question was attached to its territory of Greenland.

When it comes to oil and natural gas, nations have no sense of humor, even if in the case of the United States they often display an astonishing lack of good sense. You are no doubt familiar with the long fight over permitting drilling in Alaska's Natural Wildlife Reserve where it's estimated there are billions of barrels of untapped oil; but you are surely going to be surprised to learn that the oil industry is excluded from exploring 85 percent of all American territorial waters.

President Bush is fond of saying that America is "addicted" to oil, but he might as well say that Americans are addicted to water or food. It's not an addiction. It is a perfectly rational requirement of not only our own, but every other nation's need for energy to power its industry, its homes, and its transportation needs. Before Bush, former President Jimmy Carter became convinced in the 1970s that all the proven reserves of oil would shortly be used up.

As Duncan Clarke, Chairman and CEO of Global Pacific & Partners and author of a new book, The Battle for Barrels, points out regarding America's continental shelf, "The undiscovered oil potential in the areas demarcated for possible offshore (exploration) in the Pacific, Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico could allow the tapping of up to 85 billion barrels of oil that technically could be recoverable awaits the political passage of bills through the legislature," i.e., Congress.

With the price of oil hitting more than $80 per barrel, one would think that Congress would be inclined to opening access to those billions of barrels, but the current Democrat-controlled Congress is more concerned about a bogus global warming than it is about insuring Americans can drive their cars and trucks, heat their homes, and process oil for the countless products it produces. And this doesn't even include the vast reserves of natural gas that are estimated to exist.

The fact is that there are billions more barrels to be found in the world, whether it's in the Middle East, Africa, Russia, Venezuela, and much of the yet to be geologically researched map of the world. That bit of knowledge, however, rarely makes it into the mainstream media, which can be depended upon to give lots of coverage to the "Peak Oil" crowd that has been predicting we will run out of oil any day now. A former chairman of Shell made news in late September when he warned the price of oil could hit $150 a barrel "with oil production peaking within the next 20 years." You had to read further on in the article, published in London's The Independent on September 16, to learn that he also said, "I don't know whether there is going to be a peak in world production . . .."

That's why Clarke's book is subtitled Peak Oil Myths & World Oil Reserves. The notion of Peak Oil, a point at which the world's oil reserves begin to fall off and chaos follows, is based on the belief that there is a finite amount of oil, no new oil will be discovered and extracted, and, well, we're doomed. This is fine for pessimists, but there is a real world out there and the indications are there's plenty of oil. The Russians obviously think there's some under the Arctic and are taking steps to lay claim to it. "Thanks to vivid media coverage," writes Clarke, "and prodigious output of publications, Peak Oil has begun to capture the public imagination . . . It has only rarely been subjected to rigorous analysis, although much evidence to contradict its thesis is found." And just how often is the media wrong about events and trends? Every day.

I doubt that Clarke's book will leap onto the bestseller lists. It will be read by anyone who is in the energy industry and those of us who keep an eye on energy events and trends. It is not easy reading because Clarke is an economist by trade, an advisor on corporate strategy and geopolitical issues in the oil industry, and much in demand on six continents for his expertise. Fact by fact, Clarke's analysis requires one to bring a great deal of concentration and effort to read his book, but it is well worth the effort because he dissects the Peak Oil myth and its advocates with surgical skill and patience.

Anyone who has followed the trajectory of the environmental movement for the last three or four decades knows that much of it is based on ludicrous claims that the Earth is doomed and mankind is to blame. Peak Oil and its "end of civilization" message got its impetus from a study by M. King Hubbert, an American geoscientist with a long career in the oil industry who, in 1956, predicted that the world would begin to run out of oil within a few decades.

Hubbert's prediction was picked up and amplified by others to the point where there is now an Association for the Study of Peak Oil that has had to revise its estimates of when the world runs out of oil several times. The reason for the revisions is simple. New reserves of oil, new technology to revive existing fields, find new ones, and to drill in the ocean's depths keeps pushing the date further and further off. To put it another way, Peak Oil predictions exist mostly to maintain the waning credibility of those who keep making the predictions.

Yet another way of looking at Peak Oil is that it is now sustained, not by facts, but by public relations in the form of new books, new studies, international symposia and conferences, websites devoted to the subject, and all the ways the idea is maintained despite its questionable merit. Like environmentalism, it is less a science and more a new form of religion in which one takes its "facts" on faith. Selective computer models keep producing these "facts," but events like the September 2006 discovery by Chevron of a huge deep water new field in the Gulf of Mexico keeps contradicting them. "Overall," writes Clarke, "it is clear that conventional proven oil reserves estimates considerably exceed those used by Peak Oil in Africa, Latin America, Russia, the Middle East, and elsewhere."

Why has the price of oil hit a new high? Well, there's a war going on in Iraq to insure Osama bin Laden - who wants to take over all the nations in that region - doesn't get his wish. Add to that the ambitions of the Persian mullahs running Iran. There's a communist dictator in Venezuela who has nationalized its oil industry. There's Russia's ambitions in the Arctic. There are hurricanes that impact oil extraction in the Gulf of Mexico. Et cetera!

These are geopolitical forces at work that have absolutely nothing to do with how much oil exists or is yet to be found. If the world did not have to contend with these dictators and wannabes, oil would be flowing to meet all our needs for a very long time to come. The world is not running out of oil, but neither is it running out of religious fanatics, dictators, and communist thugs who want to line their own pockets, while holding us hostage and enslaving vast portions of the world's population.


Global warming

by Tom McClintock

An excerpt below from an excellent speech given at the Western Conservative Political Action Conference, October 12, 2007

You have extended to me a very dangerous invitation tonight - to speak to a gathering of political conservatives on the day that Al Gore has received the Nobel Peace Prize for discovering that the earth's climate is changing. I've heard that he's going to contribute half of his prize money to environmental causes and use the other half to pay his electricity bill. And anything left over will come in handy to help pay for the fleet of private jets that allow him to travel around the world to tell us that you and I need to ride our bikes to work. You have to admit, there is a certain Helmslyesque quality to it all - "We don't conserve - only the little people conserve."

Of course, for those in the liberal elite who jet to environmental conferences in Gulfstream Fives and drive around in Hummers singing the praises of hybrids and bicycles, the Left now sells indulgences - you can actually calculate your sins on-line and they'll gladly tell you how much money to send them (all major credit cards accepted) to assuage your conscience. These indulgences will be used for such activities as planting more trees to absorb carbon dioxide. After all, young trees absorb an enormous amount of this "greenhouse gas" - far more than old trees. But isn't replacing old-growth timber with young-growth timber what lumber companies used to do until the radical environmentalists shut them down?

They've also forbidden the clearance of flammable brush from around your home in areas like Lake Tahoe - that's an affront to Mother Nature. You're supposed to either let it burn - and your home along with it - or just let it sit and rot because those are the two best ways for Nature to release lots of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Apparently natural carbon dioxide is a good thing and man-made carbon dioxide is a bad thing. That's also why we're supposed to do away with chemical fertilizer and replace it with natural compost, because replacing man-made greenhouse gases with natural greenhouse gases is the wave of the future.

So are electric cars and trains. But this also gets a little complicated, because there are only two ways of generating vast amounts of clean electricity: hydroelectricity and nuclear power. But there's no faster way to send one of these Luddites into hysterics than to mention that inconvenient truth.

The politically correct replacement is solar energy - roughly 17 times more expensive than either nuclear power or hydroelectricity - meaning, of course around 17 times LESS electricity to run electric cars and trains. Energy conservation, then, is the answer, which is why we're being told only to use energy efficient fluorescent lights rather than the warm and fuzzy incandescent bulbs. But wait - didn't we just ban the disposal of fluorescent lights with your trash because of the extreme environmental hazard they pose in our landfills? So I approach the subject tonight with an admitted level of confusion as to what these people are thinking.

And I also approach it with a certain degree of trepidation. After all, at Al Gore's rally to save the planet in New York in July, no less an authority than Robert F. Kennedy Jr. said that those of us who still have some questions over their theories of man-made global warming are "liars," "crooks," "corporate toadies," "flat-earthers" and then he made this remarkable statement: "This is treason and we need to start treating them now as traitors." Ah, the dispassionate language of science and reason.

In a speech in New York several months ago, our own governor called those who question the religion of global warming "fanatics" and vowed our political extinction. I certainly don't want to die a traitor's death or be run out of town on a rail. So I want the record to be very clear: I believe that the earth's climate IS changing and that our planet IS warming. I actually figured that out in grade school in the 1960's when our third grade class took a field trip to the Museum of Natural History and saw the panorama of dinosaurs tromping around the steamy swamps that are now part of Wyoming. They were right next to the exhibit of the Woolly Mammoths foraging on the glaciers that were also once the same part of Wyoming. And I never got a Nobel Prize for that discovery. In fact, I later found out that my third grade teacher never even nominated me! Then I got to high school in the 1970's and learned from the Al Gores of the time that we foolish mortals were plunging ourselves into another ice age. All the scientists agreed.

By the way, you may have seen the Washington Times story a few weeks ago about the researcher who recently stumbled upon a lurid story in the Washington Post dated July 9, 1971. It included the scary headline: "U.S. Scientist Sees New Ice Age Coming." The scientist based this on a scientific climate model developed by a young research associate named James Hansen. They warned that continued carbon emissions over the next ten years could trigger an unstoppable ice age. This is the same James Hansen who is one of the gurus of the current global warming movement. And it is the same James Hansen who, just three months ago, published a paper claiming that continued carbon emissions over the next ten years could trigger a run-away greenhouse effect.

Let me begin by asking three inconvenient questions:

First, if global warming is caused by your SUV, why is it that we're seeing global warming on every other body in the solar system? For the last six years, the Martian south polar ice cap has conspicuously receded. Pluto is warming - about two degrees Celsius over the past 14 years. Jupiter is showing dramatic climate change by as much as 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Even Neptune's moon, Triton, has warmed five percent on the absolute temperature scale - the equivalent of a 22 degrees Fahrenheit increase on Earth - from 1989 to 1998. If you have any doubt, just Google "Pluto Warming" or "Mars Warming" or whatever your favorite planet might be.

Meanwhile, solar radiation has increased a measurable .05 percent since the 1970's. Is it possible that as the sun gets slightly warmer, the planets do too? This would be a little scary in its own right, except for the second inconvenient question:

If global warming is being caused by your SUV, why is it that we have ample historical records of periods in our recent history when the planet's temperature was warmer than it is today? During the Medieval Warm Period, from about 900 to 1300 AD, we know that wine grapes were thriving in northern Britain and Newfoundland and that the temperature in Greenland was hot enough to support a prosperous agricultural economy for nearly 500 years. That period was brought to an end by the Little Ice Age that lasted from 1300 until 1850. We know that during colonial times, Boston and New York Harbors routinely froze over in winter and during Elizabethan times, an annual Winter Festival was held ON TOP OF the Thames River, which froze solid every year.

And finally the third inconvenient question: If global warming is caused by YOUR SUV, why is it that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide always follow increases in global temperatures by several hundred years, indicating that CO2 is a byproduct of increasing temperatures - not a cause.

Is it possible that this is the reason Al Gore won't debate the subject? You've seen the "Inconvenient Truth." In it, he portrays himself as an indefatigable, lonely sentinel (who should have been President of course) wandering the planet trying desperately to awaken the world to the danger it faces. "I've given this speech a thousand times," he says about a thousand times.

But according to the Chicago Sun Times this pious paragon of truth - who assures us he's willing to go anywhere and talk to anybody to save us from our mortal folly - is strangely UNwilling to take up the Heartland Institute's publicized offer to organize an international debate on the subject. The Institute has challenged our new Nobel Peace Prize laureate of the left to debate any one of three internationally recognized authorities who dispute his claims, and it's willing to front all costs - at Oxford University, no less, and in a format of Gore's own choosing. After all, Gore's new book extols the importance of science and reason in the public policy debate, so what better way to deliver the coup de grace to the "skeptics" than to expose their fallacies in front of an international audience? And yet, Al Gore, who has given his speech "a thousand times," won't give it just once more in a forum where it might be questioned by a knowledgeable authority.

Much more here


For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL 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, October 28, 2007

California Fire Smokescreen

By Steven Milloy

Are climate alarmists using the Southern California wildfires to fan the flames of global warming? Are environmentalists and government bureaucrats using global warming to cover up their share of responsibility for the wildfires that have displaced more than 500,000 people and destroyed more than 1,300 homes?

The CBS news show "60 Minutes" - which has a history of promoting climate alarmism - kicked off the blame-global-warming campaign last Sunday with a segment entitled "The Age of Mega-Fires." Reporter Scott Pelley prompted chief federal firefighter Tom Boatner with the statement, "You know, there are a lot of people who don't believe in climate change." Boatner responded: "You won't find them on the fire line in the American West anymore, because we've had climate change beat into us over the last 10 or 15 years. We know what we're seeing, and we're dealing with a period of climate, in terms of temperature and humidity and drought, that's different than anything people have seen in our lifetimes."

CNN's Anderson Cooper incorporated the fires into his plug for the cable channel's alarmist program "Planet in Peril." "At the top of the next hour, as I said, the big picture," said Cooper. "These fires are really a piece of it. Fire, drought, global warming, climate change, deforestation, it is all connected. Tonight, 9:00 p.m. Eastern - 'Planet in Peril' starts in just 30 minutes."

It came as no surprise, then, that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., told reporters this week, "One reason why we have the fires in California is global warming." Is this true?

The alarmists' line of reasoning appears to be that: one, man-made carbon-dioxide emissions increase global temperature; two, increased global temperature alters atmospheric conditions to prevent rainfall; and three, ensuing drought conditions are exacerbated by warmer temperatures that increase drying on the ground.

This line of thinking falls apart at the very beginning, of course, since it's not at all clear that global temperatures are driven by atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide. But for the sake of argument, we will continue down the path of the alarmists' thinking. So does rising global temperature cause drought? In the context of what appears to have been a one-degree Fahrenheit rise in mean global temperature since 1900, the observed relationship between temperature and precipitation in North America does not favor the hypothesis. During the period 1900-2005, precipitation seems to have actually increased in areas above 30 degrees north latitude - including California and the rest of the U.S. - according to the most recent assessment from the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

This does not mean, of course, that droughts haven't occurred in North America over the last 100 years, but it doesn't support a link between rising global temperature and increased drought. Examining the occurrence of drought in southern California since 1900 is also illuminating. According to data maintained by the federal National Climatic Data Center, drought conditions are no stranger to southern California. During the period 1900 to 2005, moderate-to-severe drought conditions occurred in Southern California during 34 of those 106 years - that is, about one-third of the time. Comparing the southern California drought record against the global temperature record reveals the following:

- During the period 1900-1940, when most of the 20th century's one-degree Fahrenheit temperature increase occurred, there were 7 years of moderate-to-severe drought.

- During the period 1941-1975, when global temperatures cooled, giving rise to concerns of a looming ice age, there were 11 years of moderate-to-severe drought.

- During the period 1976 to 1990, when global temperatures rose back to the 1940 level, there were 8 years of moderate-to-severe drought.

- Since 1991, when global temperatures rose slightly past the 1940 levels, there have been 7 years of drought.

It's a record that would seems to largely prevent any simple conclusions from being drawn - that is, rising temperatures with few drought years, followed by falling temperatures and increasing drought frequency, followed by temperatures rising back to the original levels with increased drought frequency, followed by a leveling off of drought occurrence despite higher temperatures.

Though there is no obvious relationship between global temperature and drought in southern California, the alarmists nevertheless advocate the quixotic task of preventing drought and wildfires by controlling greenhouse-gas emissions. Global warming, it seems, also makes a good excuse for federal and state bureaucrats and politicians who have failed to properly manage high-risk areas, at least in part because of pressure from anti-logging and anti-development environmental groups.

We can be better prepared for drought and wildfires by improving forest management - as this column previously suggested in the aftermath of the deadly California wildfires of 2003. Drought and forest fires happen. We have no reason to think that we can do anything to prevent the former, but we know that can do a lot about preventing and controlling the latter - if only the environmentalists will let us.


A REAL debate at an American university: Wow!

Two internationally respected scientists with widely differing views on the controversial issue of global warming sparred with studies and charts in a debate Thursday night at Duquesne University.

The Allegheny Institute for Public Policy, a Castle Shannon think tank, and Duquesne's Graduate Center for Social and Public Policy brought together skeptic S. Fred Singer and believer Charles Keller, and posed the question: "Is human activity causing global warming?" "It is an important question to many companies in our region," said Allegheny Institute President Jake Haulk. "There is a huge local impact because coal and hauling coal on the rivers, and burning it to make power are very important to this region."

Keller, a retired Los Alamos National Laboratory scientist whose research led to the formation of the laboratory's program on Global Climate Change, began the debate, moderated by former Allegheny County Chief Executive Jim Roddey. "I don't consider there to be any debate anymore," Keller said. "Most of the global warming -- at a 95 percent confidence level -- in the last 20 years has been caused by human beings putting greenhouse gases in the atmosphere."

Keller presented weather station recordings dating back to the 1880s showing annual temperatures increasing dramatically since the 1980s, measurements of glacial ice melting rapidly in the last 20 years and ice core samples indicating that levels of carbon dioxide and methane echo rising and falling temperatures. He discussed the reliability of scientific models to study climate change, concluding with a chart showing concurrence among several models that show human-produced greenhouse gases increasing global temperatures.

Singer, a retired professor of environmental science at the University of Virginia and president of The Science and Environmental Policy Project, a nonprofit research group that he founded in 1990, began his presentation by saying he does not believe in models. To debunk models, he pointed to a report he said was commissioned by former Vice President Al Gore to predict precipitation patterns through 2090. Two models were created, and they showed dramatically different amounts of precipitation.

Singer then argued that weather station temperature readings are unreliable because those located in urban areas are skewed by the heat generated by cities. He also presented research linking historic temperature changes to fluctuations in the earth's magnetic field that would have allowed varying amounts of solar radiation to reach the planet.

"The cause (of global warming) is primarily natural and not human," Singer said. "The effect from greenhouse gases is minor, negligible, insignificant and, therefore, all of our efforts ... to control in some way the emissions of greenhouse gases is completely misplaced."


Gore's weak answers to criticism

KALEE KREIDER, Environmental adviser to Al Gore:
"The judge himself never used the term "errors." That was an allegation made by the plaintiff--whose motives are quite suspect. Stewart Dimmock, who brought this case, appears to have been funded by the very same fossil fuel interests who have sought to undermine the scientific consensus behind global warming in the past."

--Response to The Fact Checker, October 18, 2007.

MR JUSTICE BURTON, British High Court judge:
"There are errors and omissions in the film [An Inconvenient Truth], to which I shall refer, and respects in which the film, while purporting to set out the mainstream view (and to belittle opposing views), does in fact itself depart from that mainstream."

--Legal decision permitting the Gore movie to be shown in British schools, together with teacher guidance pointing out alleged "errors." October 10, 2007.

The Facts

Earlier this month, on the day former Vice President Gore won the Nobel peace prize, we ran an item reporting that a British judge had found various "errors" in his movie An Inconvenient Truth. We invited readers to debate the question whether Gore may have exaggerated some points in the movie to draw attention to global warming. Readers responded with more than 700 comments, many of them vituperative. The Fact Checker was accused of everything from "Nobel Prize envy" to being part of a right-wing "propaganda machine" worthy of Joseph Goebbels.

At the time, I (it's probably time to abandon the royal "we") did not take a position on the accuracy or inaccuracy of either the Gore movie or the judge's critique. Now that the smoke has cleared away a bit, I feel more confident about reaching some conclusions. I do so with no pretense of scientific expertise, merely as a detached and hopefully fair-minded non-expert who has listened to both sides make their case.

The first point to make is that I am unimpressed by ad hominem attacks of the kind that Gore spokeswoman Kalee Kreider engaged in above. So what if the plaintiff in the British case was "funded by...fossil fuel interests" or Gore has "ties" to the environmental lobby? What has that got to do with a factual debate about the accuracy of specific statements in a movie? In this case, it is doubly irrelevant--unless you believe that the judge is also the tool of "fossil fuel interests."

Our mission statement (the plural is appropriate here because it was endorsed by Washington Post muckety-mucks) included the following promise to readers: "We will stick to the facts of the issue under examination and pay no attention to ad hominem attacks. The identity or political ties of the person or organization making a charge is irrelevant: all that matters is whether their facts are accurate or inaccurate." If I ever break that vow, I hope that readers will call me on it.

Onto the matter at hand. Contrary to Kreider's assertion, the judge did talk about "errors" in the Gore movie, and did not always put quotation marks around the word error, as some readers maintained. See points 18 and 19 in his judgment available in full here. In deciding that the movie could be shown in British schools, he agreed that Gore's presentation was "broadly accurate." At the same time, he insisted on new teacher guidance, including the following points:

* [The movie] promotes partisan political views (that is to say, one-sided views about political issues);

* Teaching staff must be careful to ensure that they do not themselves promote those views;

* In order to make sure of that, they should take care to help pupils examine the scientific evidence critically (rather than simply accepting what is said at face value) and to point out where Gore's view may be inaccurate or departs from that of mainstream scientific opinion;

For full teacher guidance on the movie, see here.

There is little to be gained re-examining each and every disputed point in An Inconvenient Truth. By the Gore camp's own admission, some scenes in the movie have been over-simplified. As Kreider points out, science does not transfer easily to the big screen. Scientists sympathetic to Gore have effectively conceded several errors or omissions in the movie:

* The "evacuation" of Pacific atolls. Kreider acknowledges that the wording of the movie, implying the wholesale evacuation of some communities to New Zealand, was "unfortunate." As supporting evidence, she cited a 2005 report by the United Nations Environment Program of a "small community" on the Pacific island of Vanuatu. The only report that we have been able to find from this date states that the islanders were relocated "higher into the interior" after their coastal homes were repeatedly swamped by storm surges and aggressive waves linked with climate change." A later news report spoke of some Tuvalans moving to New Zealand "for many reasons - better jobs, college, overcrowding on the islands - and to escape what many see as a threat of sea level rise, caused by global warming."

* The melting of snow on Kilimanjaro and the drying up of Lake Chad. Gore supporters concede that neither of these phenomena have been conclusively linked to global warming. Jonathan Foley, a climatologist at the University of Wisconsin who has studied Lake Chad extensively and admires Gore's work on climate change, said the primary explanation for the disappearance of the lake appeared to be regional climate cycles exacerbated by local irrigation practices. He said that the cycles of drought and heavy rain had been going on for "hundreds of years," and appeared unrelated to global warming. See his 2001 report here.

* Drowning polar bears. Gore cited a scientific study showing that polar bears had drowned by "swimming long distances--up to 60 miles--to find the ice." According to Andrew Derocher, chair of the polar bear group at the World Conservation Union, studies show that there is a good chance that the polar bears died by drowning but no definitive proof. Storms and hypothermia are other major concerns.


Since Kalee Kreider mentioned that Gore had relied on the research of Lonnie Thompson of Ohio State University for his Kilimanjaro/global warming conclusions, I asked the professor to weigh in on the debate. His argument seems to revolve around the phrases "attributed to" and "consistent with." Here is his e-mailed reply, received this morning:
One would have to ask what in the world a judge in England would know about Climate Change or the ice fields of Kilimanjaro. It is like saying the California fires can not be attributed to human-induced climate change, while certainly they are consistent with human-induced climate change...What is clear is glaciers are being loss on Kilimanjaro, Mt. Kenya, the Ruwenzori's all in Africa, the tropical glaciers throughout the Andes of South America, the Himalayas and even the one remaining glacier in New Guinea. [A balance of evidence] points to human-induced climate change. What is certain on Kilimanjaro as of last week is those ice fields continue to retreat and will in fact disappear going forward. The problem with climate change research is every Tom, Dick and Harry and now apparently a judge in England has an opinion, while most have never lifted a finger toward doing the hard work to get the necessary data nor studying the science to even warrant an opinion.


Senator Inhofe Exposes Costly Global Warming 'Solutions'

Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), Ranking Member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, delivered a more than two-hour floor speech on October 26, debunking fears of man-made global warming. Below is an excerpt of his remarks about the economics of so-called global warming "solutions."


First, going on a carbon diet would do nothing to avert climate change. After the U.S. signed the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, Al Gore's own scientist, Tom Wigley of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, calculated that Kyoto would reduce emissions by only 0.07 degrees Celsius by the year 2050. That's all. 0.07 degrees. And that's if the United States had ratified Kyoto and the other signatories met their targets.

But we didn't and they won't. Of the 15 original EU countries, only two are on track to meet their targets. And even one of those, Britain, has started increasing its emissions again, not decreasing.

Similar calculations have been done to estimate other climate bills. The Climate Change Stewardship Act that was defeated 38-60 last year would have only reduced temperatures by 0.029 degrees Celsius, and another bill modeled on the National Commission on Energy Policy (NCEP) report would have only reduced temperatures by 0.008 degrees Celsius. That's right - 0.008 degrees Celsius, or less than one percent of one degree......

The advances over the last Century are not simply interesting historical facts. They show us not only why we are a prosperous nation, but a roadmap to a prosperous future. Threats to prosperity have real consequences for how well and how long Americans will live. Whatever actions we take today, we must also safeguard the well-being of America's families now and into the future.

The United States Senate has acknowledged this when it passed two similar resolutions establishing a standard for passing global warming legislation. In 1997, the Byrd-Hagel Sense of the Senate, which passed 95 - 0, resolved that the U.S. should not be a signatory to any international agreement that would result in serious harm to the U.S. economy or did not mandate reductions from the developing world. Similarly, the Bingaman Sense of the Senate, passed in 2005, resolved that the U.S. should address global warming as long as it will not significantly harm the United States economy and encourages comparable action by other nations that are major trading partners and key contributors to global emissions.

Neither the Kyoto Protocol nor a single bill before Congress meets these criteria - not one. They range from costly to ruinous. But they all fail to meet the requirements of Byrd-Hagel or Bingaman.

Both the Energy Information Administration (EIA) and Wharton Econometric Forecasting Associates analyzed the costs of Kyoto when it was signed, and the costs were staggering. For instance, EIA found the annual cost would be up to $283 billion a year, and that's in 1992 constant dollars. Wharton put the cost even higher, at more than $300 billion annually, or more than $2,700 per family of four each year.

The estimated costs to comply with carbon legislative proposals in the U.S. would also be unreasonable. The NCEP approach would do nothing to lessen global warming even according to the alarmists, but according to EIA, it would still cost more than 118,000 American jobs simply to make a symbolic gesture.

And according to an MIT study, the Sanders-Boxer bill would cost energy sector consumers an amount equal to $4,500 per American family of four. The same study found the Lieberman-McCain bill would cost consumers $3,500 per family of four. Similarly, EIA found that it would have cost 1.3 million jobs. A new EPA analysis shows the Lieberman - McCain bill would cost up to half a trillion dollars by 2030 and $1.3 trillion by 2050.

Now environmentalists will tell you that's okay. Dan Lashof of the Natural Resources Defense Council says that EPA's analysis of the Lieberman-McCain bill show "it is affordable." Although EPA finds that fuel will increase by 22 percent, he calls fuel impacts "pretty modest" - Now activists inside the Beltway may think big jumps in gas prices are no big deal, but I doubt the people living in the real America would agree.


What few Americans realize is that the impact of these policies would not be evenly distributed. The Congressional Budget Office recently looked at the approach taken by most global warming proposals in Congress - known as cap and trade - that would place a cap on carbon emissions, allocate how much everyone could emit, and then let them trade those emissions. Let me quote from the CBO report:

"Regardless of how the allowances were distributed, most of the cost of meeting a cap on CO2 emissions would be borne by consumers, who would face persistently higher prices for products such as electricity and gasoline. Those price increases would be regressive in that poorer households would bear a larger burden relative to their income than wealthier households would."

Think about that. Even relatively modest bills would put enormous burdens on the poor. The poor already face energy costs much higher as a percentage of their income than wealthier Americans. While most Americans spend about 4 percent of their monthly budget on heating their homes or other energy needs, the poorest fifth of Americans spend 19 percent of their budget on energy. Why would we adopt policies which disproportionately force the poor and working class to shoulder the heaviest burdens through even higher energy costs?


Inhofe on burgeoning scientific skepticism about global warming

Excerpt. See the original for links:

Let me repeat a key point [Ivy League Geologist Dr. Robert] Giegengack makes: "If we reduced the rate at which we put carbon into the atmosphere, it won't reduce the concentration in the atmosphere; CO2 is just going to come back out of these reservoirs." (reservoirs such as the oceans, soil and permafrost)

Giegengack is explaining the heart of the scientific skepticism about CO2's role in the Earth's climate system. But Giegengack is not finished. "In terms of [global warming's] capacity to cause the human species harm, I don't think it makes it into the top 10," Giegengack said in an interview in the May/June 2007 issue of the Pennsylvania Gazette. (LINK)

It is entirely appropriate that a man who supports Gore politically may be putting the final nail in the coffin of the man-made global warming fears.

`Unverified, remote, and abstract dangers'

The global warming scare machine is now so tenuous, that other liberal environmental scientists and activists are now joining Giegengack and refuting the entire basis for man-made global warming concerns.

Denis G. Rancourt professor of physics and an environmental science researcher at the University of Ottawa, believes the global warming campaign does a disservice to the environmental movement. Rancourt wrote on February 27, 2007: "Promoting the global warming myth trains people to accept unverified, remote, and abstract dangers in the place of true problems that they can discover for themselves by becoming directly engaged in their workplace and by doing their own research and observations. It trains people to think lifestyle choices (in relation to CO2 emission) rather than to think activism in the sense of exerting an influence to change societal structures." (LINK)

Rancourt believes that global warming "will not become humankind's greatest threat until the sun has its next hiccup in a billion years or more in the very unlikely scenario that we are still around." He also noted that even if C02 emissions were a grave threat "government action and political will cannot measurably or significantly ameliorate global climate in the present world."

Most significantly, however, Rancourt -- a committed left-wing activist and scientist -- believes environmentalists have been duped into promoting global warming as a crisis.

Rancourt wrote: "I argue that by far the most destructive force on the planet is power-driven financiers and profit-driven corporations and their cartels backed by military might; and that the global warming myth is a red herring that contributes to hiding this truth. In my opinion, activists who, using any justification, feed the global warming myth have effectively been co-opted, or at best neutralized."

"Global warming is strictly an imaginary problem of the First World middleclass," Rancourt added. Finally, Rancourt asserted that in a warm world, life prospers. "There is no known case of a sustained warming alone having negatively impacted an entire population," he said, "As a general rule, all life on Earth does better when it's hotter: Compare ecological diversity and biotic density (or biomass) at the poles and at the equator," he added.

Indeed, 2007 has turned into the "tipping point" for the unsubstantiated fears and gross distortion of science by activists who have committed decades trying to convince the world it faced a man-made climate crisis. Rancourt so eloquently summed up the movement as one featuring "Unverified, remote, and abstract dangers."

Renowned Scientists Convert to Skeptics

Perhaps the biggest shock to the global warming debate was the recent conversion of renowned French geophysicist Dr. Claude Allegre from a believer in dangerous man-made warming fears to a skeptic.

Allegre, a former French Socialist Party leader and a member of both the French and U.S. Academies of Science, was one of the first scientists to sound global warming fears 20 years ago, but he now says the cause of climate change is "unknown." He ridiculed what he termed the "prophets of doom of global warming" in a September 2006 article. (LINK)

Allegre has authored more than 100 scientific articles and written 11 books and received numerous scientific awards including the Goldschmidt Medal from the Geochemical Society of the United States. He now believes the global warming hysteria is motivated by money. "The ecology of helpless protesting has become a very lucrative business for some people!" he explained.

I find it ironic that a free market conservative capitalist in the U.S. Senate and a French Socialist scientist both apparently agree that sound science is not what is driving this debate, but greed by those who would use this issue to line their own pockets.

Bravo for the growing scientific dissent. You don't have to believe me. In October, Washington Post Staff Writer Juliet Eilperin conceded the obvious, writing that climate skeptics "appear to be expanding rather than shrinking."

The Washington Post's Eilperin wrote: "In late May, Michael Griffin, administrator of NASA, which conducts considerable amounts of climate research, told National Public Radio that he was not sure climate change was `a problem we must wrestle with" and that it was `rather arrogant' to suggest that the climate we have now represents the best possible set of conditions. Alexander Cockburn, a maverick journalist who leans left on most topics, lambasted the global-warming consensus last spring on the political Web site, arguing that there's no evidence yet that humans are causing the rise in global temperature."

Left-wing Professor David Noble of Canada's York University has joined the growing chorus of disenchanted liberal activists. Noble now believes that the movement has "hyped the global climate issue into an obsession." Noble wrote a May 8 essay entitled "The Corporate Climate Coup" which details how global warming has "hijacked" the environmental left and created a "corporate climate campaign" which has "diverted attention from the radical challenges of the global justice movement." (LINK)

Geologist Peter Sciaky echoes this growing backlash of left-wing activists about global warming. Sciaky, who describes himself as a "liberal and a leftist" wrote on June 9: "I do not know a single geologist who believes that [global warming] is a man-made phenomenon." And finally, world leaders like Czech President Vaclav Klaus and former German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt have been outspoken in their climate skepticism.

Schmidt said on June 4 that fears of global warming were "hysterical" and "overheated" and called efforts to control the Earth's temperature "idiotic." (LINK) Another EU leader -- Spanish opposition leader Mariano Rajoy - spoke out against climate orthodoxy on October 23. Rajoy said, "No scientist has guaranteed to me what the weather will be like tomorrow" and he then asked "How can anyone know what will happen in the world within 300 years?" (LINK)

Former Vice President Gore's biggest worry is now coming true; previously committed believers in man-made global warming are now converting to skeptics after reviewing the new science.

New scientific findings changing minds

The 60 prominent scientists, many of whom advised the Canadian Prime Minister in the 1990's to ratify Kyoto, became the first to foresee 2007 as the "tipping point" for climate alarm. "Significant [scientific] advances have been made since the [Kyoto] protocol was created, many of which are taking us away from a concern about increasing greenhouse gases. If, back in the mid-1990s, we knew what we know today about climate, Kyoto would almost certainly not exist, because we would have concluded it was not necessary," the 60 scientists wrote in an open letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper on April 6, 2006. (LINK)

The climate skeptics have welcomed many scientists from around the world into the fold recently. They include the previously noted Claude Allegre, top Israeli astrophysicist Nir Shaviv, Australian mathematician David Evans, Canadian climate expert Tad Murty, Paleoclimatologist Tim Patterson, Geologist Bruno Wiskel, Paleoclimatologist Ian D. Clark, Environmental geochemist Jan Veizer, and Climate scientist Chris de Freitas of New Zealand. (LINK)

And that is just to name a few. Again, please go to EPW.Senate.Gov for the full report and stay tuned for the upcoming blockbuster report detailing the hundreds of scientists who have spoken out recently to denounce man-made global warming fears.



For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL 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.