Sunday, March 09, 2008

Global Warming Censored: Networks Stifle Debate, Rely on Politicians, Rock Stars and Men-on-the-Street for Science

Global warming crusader Al Gore repeatedly claims the climate change "debate's over." It isn't, but the news media clearly agree with him. Global warming skeptics rarely get any say on the networks, and when their opinions are mentioned it is often with barbs like "cynics" or "deniers" thrown in to undermine them. Consistently viewers are being sent only one message from ABC, CBS and NBC: global warming is an environmental catastrophe and it's mankind's fault. Skepticism is all but shut out of reports through several tactics - omission, name-calling, the hype of frightening images like polar bears scavenging for food near towns and a barrage of terrifying predictions.

The Business & Media Institute analyzed 205 network news stories about "global warming" or "climate change" between July 1, 2007, and Dec. 31, 2007. BMI found a meager 20 percent of stories even mentioned there were any alternative opinions to the so-called "consensus" on the issue.

Disagreement Squashed: Global warming proponents overwhelmingly outnumbered those with dissenting opinions. On average for every skeptic there were nearly 13 proponents featured. ABC did a slightly better job with a 7-to-1 ratio, while CBS's ratio was abysmal at nearly 38-to-1.

Can I See Some ID?: Scientists made up only 15 percent of the global warming proponents shown. The remaining 85 percent included politicians, celebrities, other journalists and even ordinary men and women. There were more unidentified interview subjects used to support climate change hype than actual scientists (101 unidentified to just 71 scientists)

What's It Going to Cost?: All "solutions" have a price, but the cost of fighting global warming was something you rarely heard on the network news. Only 22 stories (11 percent) mentioned any cost of "fixing" global warming. On the rare occasion cost came up, it came from the lips of a skeptic like Kentucky state Rep. Jim Gooch (D), who said one climate change bill in Congress "would cost $6 trillion."

CBS the Worst: Journalist/global warming advocate Scott Pelley helped CBS be, by far, the worst network. Pelley argued in 2006 that he shouldn't have to include skeptics in such stories because "If I do an interview with [Holocaust survivor] Elie Wiesel, am I required as a journalist to find a Holocaust denier?" In 2007, he helped ensure only four skeptics were included by CBS - and not a single one was a scientist. Compare that to the 151 people used by the network to promote global warming hysteria. The wildly one-sided outcome was not surprising given remarks by some of its other journalists. Harry Smith declared that "There is, in fact, global climate change" on the Aug. 7, 2007, "Early Show."

ABC the "Best": Despite its over-the-top climate hypocrisy of jet-setting journalists around the world to cover climate change, ABC included more skepticism (36 percent) in its broadcasts than either NBC or CBS. Still, the network has plenty of work to do. Bill Weir made the outrageous claim during the Nov. 18, 2007, "Good Morning America" that "all these scientists" urge immediate action to stop global warming. Weather personality Sam Champion even referred to the most recent U.N. climate report as "unequivocal" and "definitive.

To improve coverage, BMI recommends:

Report the issue objectively: Reporters have a professional responsibility to remain objective and avoid inserting their own opinions into their reports. Many in the media have sorely missed that mark when it comes to reporting on global warming and climate change.

Include skeptics: The Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics states journalists should "Support the open exchange of views, even views they find repugnant." It is the media's job to inform the public, not persuade them by leaving out alternative viewpoints. Particularly, networks should give skeptical scientists the opportunity to share their findings - just like they include scientists who say manmade global warming is negatively impacting the planet.

Show Me the Money: If the U.S. government passes legislation to address global warming, it will carry a cost and American taxpayers have a right to know what it would be. The media need to do a much better job by asking about or including cost estimates of climate change "solutions."


Ten reasons to love global warming

All cranked up over global warming? Why? It's happened before and humans just like you survived it, so why not this time around? It's nothing new. The last recorded temperature uptick was known as the Medieval Warm Period, a time of unusually balmy weather, which lasted (depending on who's doing the figgerin') from around 800 to 1300 AD. The warm period was presumably preceded by a cold period, else how did anyone know it was a warm period? It was, in fact, followed by a cold period, known today as the Little Ice Age, which ran on Broadway and all over the Northern Hemisphere from (again, approximations) 1250 to 1850 AD.

People are obsessing about today's global warming because anti-libertarian political opportunists and cultural Marxists and enviro-religionists and government-paid researchers who stand to gain political and/or social power and prestige and tons of taxbucks are demanding that we obsess about it. To counter the Al Goregoyle-lead gloomsayers, here are 10 reasons to love global warming.

1. Longer growing seasons. - more food for hungry people, more biofuels for hungry cars.

2. Burning less fossil fuel for warmth. Just what the Goregoyles want, right?

3. Won't need winter wardrobes. Save big bucks. If the weather turns chill just toss on another layer of summer duds. An "I Heart Global Warming" Tee shirt should do the trick.

4. Alaska will melt. This will create the biggest land rush since government goons stole the Cherokee Strip from the Oklahoma Indians and opened it up to White settlement. Just think, new farms and homes and cities, causing a population shift away from dense overcrowded cities in the lower 48. Those who stay will have less traffic to tussle with on their travels to and from work.

5. Panama will sink. Panama below the canal is mostly swampland now. Large freighters and supertankers too large for the locks will have a free shortcut across the immersed isthmus, making world trade cheaper and faster.

6. Panama will sink. Great news for the anti illegal immigration crowd. With the land bridge between the two continents gone it'll be tougher for South American border-busters to migrate north. And if the Rio Grande permanently flows at floodtide from melting glaciers...

7. Vikings will get Greenland back. Greenland must indeed have been a green land when Erik the Redheaded Stranger homesteaded there and named it in 982, since it was during that aforementioned Medieval Warm Period. Alas, the last known Norse record from Greenland indicates that the island was abandoned around 1500, smack in the middle of the Little Ice Age. That period's global warming brought them, and the expanding ice cap literally pushed them over the edge. Now their Danish descendents can dig up old deeds and return to their ancestral homes once today's Post-Modern Warm Period gets cranking.

8. England will get their wine industry back. Yep, Jolly Ol' England had vineyards just like France and Germany and Italy, until that nasty Little Ice Age came along and turned it all into frozen Snapple Grapeade. With global warming comes Vineyards and Fine English Table Wines and a whole new industry creating jobs for thousands. What some people call Global Warming, others will call Getting Back To Normal.

9. More months of bikini babes and beachboy biceps. Need more be said?

10. Stop the next Ice Age. Scientific American ran a March 2005 cover story by marine geologist Prof William Ruddiman of Virginia U entitled "Did Humans Stop an Ice Age?" How so? According to the Prof, up until about 8,000 years ago the Earth had been regularly alternating between cold periods and warm periods due to Earth's orbital wobble, but then the planet suddenly missed a period. It stayed warm. His explanation is "farming." People all across southern Eurasia whacked down forests so the sun could get to their crops. Others flooded wetlands and created rice paddies. So, clearing the forest generated carbon dioxide and irrigation generated methane.

This article, along with acknowledgement of the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age, have been studiously ignored by the world's Goregoyles, apparently because they constitute "Incontinent Truths."

For every bad thing that happens when the Earth's average temperature rises, other good things happen. Warming and cooling have been going on for eons and humans have been successfully adapting to it. Some libertarians might suggest that Warming Worrywarts acquaint themselves with history rather than just the latest hysterical headline to confirm this. It's not Global Warming, it's Ice Age Abatement.


Two thirds of scientists polled say the science is NOT settled

Only about one in three Alberta earth scientists and engineers believe the culprit behind climate change has been identified, a new poll reported today. The expert jury is divided, with 26 per cent attributing global warming to human activity like burning fossil fuels and 27 per cent blaming other causes such as volcanoes, sunspots, earth crust movements and natural evolution of the planet. A 99-per-cent majority believes the climate is changing. But 45 per cent blame both human and natural influences, and 68 per cent disagree with the popular statement that "the debate on the scientific causes of recent climate change is settled."

The divisions showed up in a canvass of more than 51,000 specialists licensed to practice the highly educated occupations by the Association of Professional Engineers, Geologists and Geophysicists of Alberta. "We're not surprised at all," APEGGA executive director Neil Windsor said today. "There is no clear consensus of scientists that we know of." The only agreement among professionals is "we should do everything we can" to understand climate, adapt structures such as buildings and bridges to change and reduce human contributions to harmful trends, Windsor said.

The survey received 1,077 replies or a sample rated as an accurate portrait of the occupational groups' views to within three percentage points 19 times out of 20, APEGGA reported. Alberta Environment helped design the poll and will give the results to the provincial government, association spokesman Philip Mulder said. APEGGA is planning an "environmental summit" with other concerned agencies on Alberta climate change causes, effects and adaptations. No date is set yet for the event. "We would prefer to have it sooner rather than later," Mulder said. "These sessions can be structured so that they result in ... a concerted action plan to be directed at policy makers," APEGGA's environment committee said in a report to association members.

Potential actions include devising Alberta climate change forecasts, encouraging greenhouse-gas cleanups like industrial waste carbon disposal, and developing adaptation programs such as water conservation and energy efficiency, the committee said. Only one-third of engineers and earth scientists polled by APEGGA rated the province's current climate change action plan as adequate. About two-thirds of the professionals said the government should take on a leading role in developing renewable or sustainable energy sources and promoting energy efficiency among consumers. About half urged the province to make Alberta a world capital of capturing and storing industrial greenhouse-gas waste.

Engineers and earth scientists mostly feel free to speak out about climate change and take it into account in their work. About two-thirds of the professionals say they feel no peer pressure to take particular stances on global warming, and 70 per cent report they have enough independence to take the issue into account in their professional roles.

But willingness to spend money on long-range climate change adaptations is still rare among employers of the science-based occupations, the survey results indicated. In the poll of APEGGA's highly educated membership, "66 per cent state that corporate decision making is governed by short-term cost considerations rather than long-term investment." Only 31 per cent of Alberta engineers and earth scientists say the organizations they serve regard them as valuable technical advisers on climate change. Just 26 per cent of the professionals believe they can influence corporate decisions.


More on the Greenie light bulb madness

Light bulb manufacturers have convinced environmentalists and lawmakers that the compact fluorescent light (CFL) is more energy efficient than the incandescent. Okay. No problem. When you go to buy a new light bulb, if you care to spend the extra money (CFLs cost about six times as much as incandescents), you might feel good about helping the environment. Nothing wrong with that. Enjoy. Problem is, those light bulb makers have quietly mounted a very successful campaign to MAKE you buy their new bulbs. No choice. Their new bulb is your new bulb. This past December, President Bush signed an energy bill that will make it illegal to manufacture or sell incandescent light bulbs as of 2014. So if you prefer incandescent light, too bad for you. Within a decade, every home in the U.S., including yours, will be lit with little glowing swirls of mercury.

In the e-Alert "A Modest Proposal" (2/6/08), I told you about the Environmental Protection Agency's tips on how to clean up after a broken CFL. Tip number one suggests you open a window and leave the room for 15 minutes to reduce exposure to mercury. And why don't you want to be exposed to mercury? Because it's a neurotoxin. What a fantastic idea! Let's fill fragile tubes with a neurotoxin and place them all over the house!

Another tip suggests that when broken CFL debris is on the carpet, you should pick up fragments and powder with sticky tape before vacuuming. But an HSI member named Ed spotted a problem here. Ed writes: "If you vacuum the mercury you will blow the mercury around the room through exhaust of the vacuum cleaner." Good point, Ed. So to the EPA's tips we can add this one: If you break a CFL in a carpeted area, roll up the carpet, put it on your front lawn, and call the EPA to come take it away.

Environmentalists claim that filling our homes with CFLs will actually lower our exposure to mercury. Here's how the logic goes: About half the electricity in the U.S. is supplied by burning coal, which emits mercury into the atmosphere. But CFLs are energy efficient, so less coal will be burned, and less mercury will waft on the breeze.

And that would be a strong pro-CFL argument if we only used electricity to light our lamps. I don't about you, but at my house the refrigerator, the televisions, the computers, the central air, the microwave and dozens of other appliances all run on electricity. I've got a hunch that most of that burning coal is going to keep right on burning.

When an HSI member named John read "A Modest Proposal," a CFL went on over his head and he wrote with this question: "Does the danger also exist in the long ones in use for years?" By "long ones," of course, John is referring to fluorescent tube lighting that many of us already use in our homes. And the answer is yes - the long ones contain mercury and are dangerous when broken. In fact, they're even dangerous when they're not broken in the home. If they're not carefully recycled, they end up breaking in landfills and the mercury may become airborne or migrate into water supplies. According to a U.S. Navy web site, fluorescent tubes in landfills create the second largest source of mercury pollution. You have to imagine that CFLs will only contribute to the problem.

But no, no, no - that won't happen at all, according to environmentalists. Because CFLs will be recycled. See? Problem solved! Or that's what will happen in some imaginary perfect green world. Meanwhile, back here on earth, who's kidding who? Millions of burned out CFLs will go straight into the trash.

Out of curiosity I recently purchased a CFL, and was astonished to read this note included in the packaging: "May cause interference to radios, televisions, wireless telephones, and remote controls. Avoid placing this product near these devices."

You've got to be kidding. In our increasingly wireless society, this is going to be the only type of light bulb we can buy? And in rooms where I have a television, I may have to decide between TV or light? Who in the world came up with this insane plan? And even worse - who decided to FORCE it on us?

But wireless interference is just one of the annoying little problems with CFLs.

CFLs don't work well (or sometimes at all) in very cold weather, so operation of porch lights and outdoor security lights in northern states may be erratic in wintertime

If a CFL is turned on and off frequently, its energy efficiency drops and its highly-touted life expectancy decreases

Most CFLs can't be used with dimmer switches or timers

CFLs won't fit in many existing lighting fixtures

CFLs may smoke or smolder, but don't worry - we're assured they won't catch fire

Energy Star - a government program that encourages energy conservation - offers this hilarious procedure to follow when a CFL fills a room with smoke:

"If you have a product that does begin to smoke or smolder, immediately shut off the power to the CFL and, once it has cooled, remove it from the light socket. Then, send us alert us of this incident. Please include the product manufacturer's name and model information that is included on the CFL base and if possible an electronic photo. Also please tell us how the CFL was used - open or enclosed light fixture; indoors or outdoors; base orientation - up, down or sideways. Then visit the manufacturer's web site to find customer service contact information to inform them of the early failure."

When a CFL in my home starts smoking I'm going to get rid of the foul thing. I'm not going to send Energy Star an e-mail, and I'm not going to tell them how I was using it, and I'm not going to visit the manufacturer's web site. But then maybe someone is busy right now writing a law that will force me to do those things.


An Ugly Heritage: The poor man's national park; the citizen's burden

A few years ago, Lee Ott was driving around his vegetable farm in Yuma, Ariz., when he spotted a crew of surveyors putting stakes in his land. "I stopped and asked them what was going on," he recalls. It turned out they were marking the boundaries of the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area. Ott's farm fell entirely within its 22 square miles, and nobody had bothered to tell him. "I became worried because I wanted to build a new house and a shop on the farm," he says. "I didn't need anybody to give me a bunch of rules about how they should look or whether I could even build them."

So he decided to fight back. He met with the Yuma County Farm Bureau, which then contacted all of the landowners within the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area. "About 600 people came to our meeting," says Harold Maxwell, a farm-equipment distributor. "When I asked for a show of hands from those who knew they were in the NHA, only one hand went up."

National Heritage Areas are like a poor man's National Park - they aren't actually owned by the federal government, but they're zoned by it. Instead of employing Park Rangers in stiff-brimmed hats, they're often administered by liberal groups that want to weaken the property rights of the people who hold a piece of land within or even near NHA boundaries. This is generally done in the name of historic preservation and environmental conservation. The Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area, for instance, includes an old territorial prison and some wetlands along the Colorado River. Yet NHAs are perhaps best regarded as a clever combination of pork-barrel spending and land-use regulations - and they're an increasingly popular tool for slow-growth activists who bristle at the thought of economic development that they don't personally control.

Since the first NHA was created in 1984 to preserve a 61-mile canal that runs between Lake Michigan and the Illinois River, more than three dozen have come into existence. Today, they're a growth industry: Ten were added in 2006 alone, and last fall, the House of Representatives passed a $135 million bill that would set up six more. Some, such as the one in Yuma, are just dots on the map. Others are sprawling. The Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area takes up the entire state.

"These are basically federal zoning laws," says Peyton Knight of the National Center for Public Policy Research, a free-market think tank that has tried to draw attention to the problem. The rules governing NHAs vary from place to place, but they tend to have a few features in common. One important element is the involvement of a "management entity" that works in conjunction with the Park Service to come up with a plan - in the case of one NHA, this means creating an "inventory" of properties of "national historic significance" that it wants "preserved," "managed," or "acquired."

Sometimes the ambitions of an NHA amount merely to a bit of parkland pump-priming. The website of the Rivers of Steel NHA near Pittsburgh boasts that it "is spearheading a drive" to have the National Park Service absorb an old steel mill and mentions a bill in Congress. So it's a federally funded organization that lobbies Washington for ever more subsidies.

But does the National Park Service really need more parks? It already operates almost 400 sites. Although some remain incredibly popular, visits within the system have declined in the last decade - a trend that started before the terrorist attacks of 9/11 resulted in fewer foreign visitors. What's more, the Department of the Interior is having trouble maintaining the properties it already runs. Its maintenance backlog is a multibillion-dollar wish list of unfunded repairs and improvements. The National Parks Conservation Association, a non-profit group, says that the parks need an extra $800 million per year just to fund their existing operations adequately. This certainly isn't the result of a Scrooge-like Bush administration: The Park Service is spending more money per visitor, per acre, and per employee than ever before.

Supporters of NHAs insist that they aren't in the business of buying or regulating property, which is true in the sense that NHAs do neither of these things directly. But they work to achieve these results indirectly, by encouraging local governments to implement restrictive land-use plans. "That's how they achieve their goals--by pushing counties and towns to do what they can't do for themselves," says Cheryl Chumley, a Virginia writer who has tracked NHAs.

They do this by dangling the prospect of federal largesse in front of potential recipients. West Virginia's Wheeling NHA, which is basically a downtown preservation project, makes this explicit, according to a Heritage Foundation report by Chumley and Ron Ott. Its management plan calls for new zoning ordinances and the acquisition of private property. And how will it achieve these goals? As Chumley and Ott write, "Major funding to support the activities ... and the recommendations of this plan will be coming from the National Park Service." In the year prior to its most recent available tax filing, the Wheeling NHA received more than $2.5 million in government contributions--and not a dime from private sources.

One of the most controversial NHAs is the proposed Journey Through Hallowed Ground, which would encompass a corridor roughly 175 miles in length between Charlottesville, Va., and Gettysburg, Pa. The exact boundaries aren't determined because this NHA at least technically remains on the drawing board. But that didn't stop Congress in 2005 from giving a $1 million earmark to the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership, a non-profit group that's pushing for the NHA. The organization's board is full of slow-growthers, including Peter Brink, the senior vice president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. "If this NHA becomes a reality, it would essentially deputize the National Trust and its allies to oversee land-use policy in the whole region," says Knight.

Once upon a time, historic-preservation groups operated public-education programs and tried to save old homes and hotels, often by purchasing them. Nowadays, however, they're much more interested in regulating land that they don't own. In Oregon and Washington state, where property-rights advocates have put forth ballot initiatives to compensate landowners when government regulations lower the value of their property, the National Trust has campaigned to defeat them. It even worked to derail a transportation project in Virginia because a proposed road expansion would have increased traffic near the Chancellorsville battlefield--not in it, just near it. Three years ago, Emily Wadhams of the National Trust testified to Congress that "private-property rights have never been allowed to take precedence over our shared national values and the preservation of our country's heritage."

Last October, the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership issued a report on how it would pursue its objectives in an NHA: "Farmland, in particular, is a threatened resource.... There are many opportunities to further protect these resources through conservation easements, Rural Historic District designations, Agricultural and Forestal districts, and private and public easement and land acquisition." Except for easements, in which landowners sell certain rights to their land, each of these suggestions would amount to having government agencies tell property holders what they can do--or, more likely, what they can't do. In September, more than 110 groups, including the American Conservative Union, the Family Research Council, and FreedomWorks, signed a letter urging Congress to reject new NHAs.

Backers of Journey Through Hallowed Ground, including Republican congressman Frank Wolf of Virginia, cite a poll to claim that the public is behind them. What they don't reveal is something that the Fauquier Times-Democrat, a local newspaper, uncovered: The poll was sponsored by a group that endorses the NHA, and 96 percent of the people in the survey didn't even know what the NHA is.

That's what happened in Yuma, Ariz.: Congress created the Yuma Crossing NHA, and hardly any of the locals knew about it until Lee Ott saw the surveyors on his property. The good news is that Yuma's farmers fought back--they asked members of Arizona's congressional delegation to intervene, and eventually the NHA was downsized dramatically. Today, it covers only four square miles. Threats loom elsewhere, however, and an exhibit on the Yuma County Farm Bureau's experience will be featured at this year's American Farm Federation Bureau convention.

Although Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson, is run by a private group rather than the federal government, supporters of the Journey Through Hallowed Ground like to mention that the boundaries of their NHA would include it. They would do well to read Jefferson's words, and in particular a line that their foes enjoy quoting: "The true foundation of republican government is the equal right of every citizen in his person and property and in their management."



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Anonymous said...

[Stock market chart links failed. Same link in URL bar. This information will not out!!!]

ABC = owned by Disney.

Uh-oh!! Their stock quote temperature peaked in 2000, and correlates well with recent earthly warming.

CBS = Its own public company. Also correlates with global temperatures:

NBC = Owned by GE.

Radiation via radio waves is highly correlated with recent global temperature variations, and therefore we must stop television. You see, it ionizes the air, and everybody knows ions are hot since they, uh, well, you know, they are ionic.

That I honestly cannot find a yearly graph of actual viewership over the last few decades for each news program means my conspiracy theory about a coverup is real.

Anonymous said...

Dimmable fluorescents are great, except for one minor issue. They vibrate at a very piercingly high pitch due to a beat pattern with the way electronic dimmers work. Electronic wall dimmer switches are computerized so they pulse full voltage on and off instead of just reduce the voltage. Of course, dimming a dimmable fluorescent makes it much less efficient and vastly reduces its life, since they have to fit a HIGH VOLTAGE power supply into the literal size of a light bulb base, which doesn't allow any large voltage smoothing capacitors to fit in there, which are prone to blowing up, and I mean really exploding, anyway. So you have the electronic square wave pulsed power supply within the bulb, mated with the electronic square wave pulsed dimmer switch. Both being very high frequency in order to allow transformers inside to be very tiny, mismatches between these frequencies create AUDIBLE whines in the high frequency PIERCING upper range of human hearing. This is thus a plot to drive us all utterly crazy.

And since fluorescent bulbs, unlike conventional ones, slowly dim over months instead of suddenly burn out, if you have any fixtures with two or more bulbs, their brightness will never match, since the new one will be much brighter, and of newer design than the old one.

Mercury, unlike hot lead which you can see on conventional light bulbs holding a wire to a notch in the screw base, is actually quite volatile, so a spill is indeed a problem, especially when it's of very very high surface area as it is when adhered to the phosphorescent powder that coats the inside of the explosively low pressure glass spirals of those new bulbs.

But hey, we use mercury alloy (amalgam) to fill our cavities, right? No problem there, since most cavities are filled when we are little kids when are brain is still growing, so it can adjust to mercury by merely becoming dumber, which is good, since people are too smart for their own good, just like a peacock's tail is too big.