An email from Prof. Richard S. Lindzen [rlindzen@MIT.EDU] of MIT
We are probably making a mistake in saying that there has been no warming since 1998. The standard enviro response is that 1998 was an El Nino year. While this is not an entirely meaningful response, one doesn't have to deal with it at all, since there has been no statistically significant warming since 1995. Of course, communicating the meaning of statistical significance could be difficult.
SO WHAT HAPPENED TO GLOBAL WARMING?
It's not just that it's disappeared from media headlines this year - shoved off by the credit crunch and natural disasters, for example. It can't be ignored that 2007 came and went as another very warm year - the 7th hottest on record since 1850 according to the World Meteorological Organization. But it wasn't a record. In fact that was 1998, a full 10 years ago - the year of an exceptional El Nino, a Pacific weather pattern which heats the whole globe. So is global warming not living up to the hype?
Two weeks ago Leibniz Institute's Noel Keenlyside stirred an academic hornet's nest by saying that we may have to wait longer - a decade or more - for another peak year, because a natural weakening in ocean currents may be cooling sea temperatures. Many scientists flatly rejected the idea, saying Keenlyside had over-estimated the effect. But some pointed out that a recent switch in a weather pattern called the North Atlantic Oscillation could indeed cool temperatures globally.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said last year recent warming was "unequivocal" and most of it "very likely" manmade. And almost all scientists in the latest debate, including Keenlyside, agree that any temporary cooling doesn't alter that - blips due to natural effects are to be expected.
But how long is a blip? No-one knows. It could be many years before there's an El Nino as bad as 1998, scientists say. And in the meantime the doubts will grow, just as policymakers try to negotiate one of the most complex global treaties ever. A new Kyoto Protocol will affect issues of equity and poverty: in the case of poor countries the right to grow, for island states perhaps the right to exist, and for rich countries the right to compete on a level economic playing field.
Meanwhile one or two doubters are already saying the present lull in warming casts doubt on just how far manmade greenhouse gases are influencing the climate. MIT's Richard Lindzen reckoned that if it was as bad as all that temperatures would be rising faster.
POST-KYOTO EFFORTS RUNNING OUT OF STEAM AND MONEY
Efforts to combat global warming risk running out of steam because rich, developed nations are failing to show the necessary leadership, Yvo de Boer, head of the U.N.'s climate change secretariat, said on Friday. In an interview, De Boer said goodwill and political desire remain strong after scientific reports last year on the climate crisis produced an agreement in December to try for a new global climate deal, but that little is happening in practice. "We need leadership on the part of the rich nations and money on the table that will make it possible for developing countries to do things that are not realistic within their economic growth and poverty eradication parameters," he said.
"I am not sensing strong signals on willingness to show leadership and I'm not clear how the money is going to come onto the table," said de Boer, in London to meet former prime minister Tony Blair, who is pushing a climate change initiative. "We know the why, we know the what. But there is not enough focus on the how."
De Boer, whose U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) runs the Kyoto Protocol on cutting climate-warming carbon emissions, said poor nations had agreed to come forward with viable and verifiable climate policies.
But to kickstart the process, developed countries must not only show they are taking tough action themselves but also take practical steps to help the poorer nations fulfil those promises through technology transfer and financial aid. "I am not getting clarity on how governments will mobilise the financial resources that will make possible further engagement on the part of developing countries," de Boer said.
GERMAN COAL USE JUMPS 3.5%, INCREASING EMISSIONS
German coal consumption jumped 3.5 percent in January as colder weather increased demand, boosting emissions of greenhouse gases in Europe's biggest economy, government statistics show. Electricity generated by burning hard coal and lignite climbed to 24.35 terawatt-hours from 23.52 terawatt-hours in the same month a year earlier, according to the state statistics office, whose January data is the latest available.
Coal burning expanded to meet higher demand for heating as temperatures in Berlin fell an average 2.3 degrees Celsius below those a year earlier. The price of December carbon dioxide emission permits averaged 21.99 euros ($34.09) a metric ton in the month, according to the European Climate Exchange in London. That's more than five times the 3.85 euro price of December 2007 permits a year earlier.
The increase in coal burning comes as the region tries to limit greenhouse gases blamed for global warming in the five years through 2012, the compliance period of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. The EU's mandatory carbon dioxide program is the world's biggest greenhouse gas trading market.
Power generated by burning lignite, a soft coal with high emissions, climbed 2.8 percent to 13.05 terawatt-hours from 12.7 terawatt-hours in the same month a year earlier. Electricity from hard coal, a lower-emitting fuel, advanced 4.5 percent to 11.31 terawatt-hours from 10.82 terawatt-hours, the data showed.
The average temperature in Berlin was 2.2 degrees Celsius (36 Fahrenheit) during January, compared with 4.5 degrees the same month in 2007, according to Customweather Inc. on Bloomberg.
The Green Recession
by Eric Englund
Americans are feeling the pinch of stagflation. Going to the grocery store and to the gas station leaves consumers in a state of sticker-shock. Neighbors are losing their homes. Retailers, restaurants, and countless other businesses are closing their doors. Mass layoffs are being announced with alarming frequency. As inflation and joblessness spiral upward, the economy plunges to greater depths. Opinions abound as to why America's economic ship is taking on water. Just as certainly as John McCain has personally witnessed global warming, I have ascertained the cause of America's economic malaise. Indeed, in a moment of deep insight, I have discovered that our economy is sinking in direct proportion to the rise of the environmental movement. The greener Americans become, the further our economy falls.
Please understand that I have written this essay holding myself to the same standards as eco-alarmist Stephen Schneider. In the spirit of scaring humanity straight into the clutches of the green movement, Dr. Schneider (a Stanford University Professor) stated the following in the October 1989 issue of Discover magazine:
To do this, we need to get some broad-based support, to capture the public's imagination. That, of course, entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we may have. This "double ethical bind" we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.
To say the least, the green movement is presently receiving loads of media coverage. Day after day anthropogenic global warming is mentioned on TV news, PBS documentaries, talk shows, etc. Fortune 500 companies are paying for expensive television ads declaring that they have gone green and are fighting to protect Mother Earth. We are being harangued to conserve this, recycle that, and boycott something or other. Americans have been so saturated with environmentalist gobbledygook, that green has become mainstream.
If one person epitomizes the rise of the green movement, it is Al Gore. He is the environmental movement's self-appointed ambassador who has brought a high degree of legitimacy to the green movement. Mr. Gore has accomplished this by winning, in 2007, a Nobel Peace Prize and an Academy Award for his "documentary" An Inconvenient Truth.
Today, thanks to Al Gore, greenies are riding high. For it is they who are the anointed ones who have the answers to prevent hurricanes, tornadoes, typhoons, soil erosion, flooding, osteoporosis, indigestion, migraine headaches, and shark attacks. (Of course, their real objective is to eradicate humanity, but that is an issue I have covered previously). And, true to Stephen Schneider's "vision", the green movement's success has been built upon a pack of lies.
For those who want an antidote to the gibberish being spewed by greenies, I highly recommend The Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming and Environmentalism by Christopher C. Horner. As for attempting to understand the natural fluctuations pertaining to Earth's climate, a terrific book to read is The Chilling Stars: A New Theory of Climate Change by Henrik Svensmark and Nigel Calder. I also recommend this article about the distinct possibility of global cooling. But I digress.
So let's get back to the robust correlation between the rise of the green movement and the decline of the American economy. Greenies, and their political minions, are constantly bossing Americans around. Watch out for having too large of a carbon footprint. Did that bottled water come from Fiji? Recycle your paper, your plastic, your metals and don't you dare mix any of these materials in the wrong recycling bin. Don't water your lawn, get a low-flow toilet, and for gosh sakes replace your incandescent light bulbs with fluorescent ones. Are you driving an SUV? Shame on you. Think globally, but act locally. Blah, blah, blah.
An enormous amount of physical and mental energy is expended to make the green busybodies happy. None of this "work" is productive. Sure there are those who feel a sense of fulfillment by following these mind-numbing edicts from greenies - as one feels more connected to nature and to a worthy cause (I suppose). I have little doubt that green sympathizers are the same people who celebrate the income tax so that money can be forcibly taken from bad people and transferred to the good downtrodden proletariat. Hurray for April 15th! All in all, going green is a monumental waste of time and energy. It is, consequently, a drag on our economy and a proximate cause of economic decline.
MBAs, across the country, have been indoctrinated with the claptrap that just about anybody or anything can be a stakeholder in a business. It is pass‚ to believe that simply treating employees well and pleasing customers are the keys to business success. No, it is now chic, and politically correct, to integrate varying degrees of environmentalism into a company's business plan. For Mother Earth herself is a stakeholder in every business. The intrinsic value of nature must be acknowledged and celebrated in order for a business plan to be credible. By embracing such twaddle, it is no wonder once-great American companies are slipping into mediocrity or worse. MBAs, from top business schools, are part of the problem, not the solution.
Recently, some of Wall Street's mightiest companies - such as Citigroup, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, and Wachovia Corporation - have had to go begging for money to repair damaged balance sheets. Due to blatant numbskullery, these titans of finance have lost focus and poisoned their respective corporate cultures with standards that are impossible to meet. After all, how does one perform as a stockbroker, on an environmentally-sustainable basis, so that the stockbroker may protect the global ecosystem? How does a loan officer see to it that a loan is being originated in an environmentally-friendly manner? How can a financial company, or any company for that matter, really battle climate change? Wouldn't this entail controlling the Sun's output? Good luck with that. Business planning, peppered with green ideology, apparently causes companywide brain damage. Thus, it is no wonder that these companies have reported staggering losses.
In each company's own words, here are their respective declarations of greenness. Read it and weep (or laugh). I did a little of both.
Citigroup: At Citi, we believe that working to promote environmental and social sustainability is good business practice. As a global corporate citizen, we view sustainability issues from both a risk and an opportunity perspective. We analyze the potential impacts of our business activities and take action to reduce environmental risk and impact. We also look for opportunities to make sustainable investments and develop products and services with positive environmental and social impacts.
Lehman Brothers: As a global corporate citizen, Lehman Brothers is committed to addressing the challenges of climate change and other environmental issues which affect our employees, clients, and shareholders alike. It is critical that we continue to develop initiatives to focus on these challenges facing our environment now and in the future.
Merrill Lynch: At Merrill Lynch, a longstanding commitment to the fundamental principles of corporate social responsibility underpins our recognition that protecting our global ecosystem is of vital importance to us as a commercial enterprise as well as a good corporate citizen.
We are strongly committed to reducing unnecessary or wasteful exploitation of scarce nonrenewable resources. And we are committed to providing sound investment analysis, guidance and capital to enterprises dedicated to promoting environmentally responsible and sustainable economic development.
Wachovia Corporation: Wachovia is committed to being the best, most trusted and admired financial services company. We carefully consider the impact of our business activities on shareholders, customers, communities, employees, and the environment. We leverage our social, economic, and human assets to deliver business results in a way that supports fair business practices and sustainability. Our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Report highlights our social responsibility commitment and values in action.
What a load of tripe. Multiply these declarations of greenness by countless companies, and it becomes obvious that American businesses have lost their way. It would be hilarious to compel corporate executives to define exactly what "sustainability" means and how they can measure their respective contributions to environmental sustainability. By diverting precious capital and human resources toward nebulous objectives such as eco-sustainable business practices, innumerable companies are damaging themselves and the economy as a whole.
As Wilfred Beckerman stated in his magnificent book A Poverty of Reason: Sustainable Development and Economic Growth:
If, therefore, the increasing popularity of the concept of sustainable development cannot be explained by its intellectual strength, its growing influence on international and national policy might perhaps be better explained by reference to sociological phenomena, such as the public's appetite for dramatic environmental scare stories or politicians' tendency to jump on media-supported bandwagons. Such phenomena also fit easily into what economists describe as rent-seeking behavior of various agents in society: each agent seeks to maximize its market power by means other than socially valuable methods of increasing productive efficiency and the like.
To be sure, green companies may as well rewrite their respective business plans in order to concentrate upon searching for, and capturing, griffins and unicorns.
Without a doubt, by using the green movement's "correlation equals causation" methodology, I have proven that America's current economic downturn is directly correlated with the meteoric rise of environmentalism and its damaging effects on business management (just as certainly as global warming brought about the destruction of New Orleans). Using this standard, set by greenies themselves, feel free to blame environmentalists for what may be unfolding as the United States' next Great Depression. They've earned such opprobrium.
Obama and Clinton Vote Against Oil Independence - Again
Domestic Exploration in Desolate Areas Would Reduce Dependence upon Foreign Oil, but Liberals Once Again Prohibit It
Liberal political leaders, including two who happen to be running for President, constantly claim to seek American oil independence. Invariably, however, they turn around and thwart measures to achieve precisely that.
This week, a bill introduced by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R - Kentucky) once again illustrated liberals' duplicity on this subject. Senator McConnell, along with twenty other Republican Senators, had introduced the Domestic Energy Production Act, which sought to allow domestic oil exploration and production in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) and the deepwater Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). This would result in production of more barrels of oil here at home, creating well-paying American jobs in the process, as opposed to further increasing dependence upon oft-hostile foreign sources. Unfortunately, the liberals who now dominate the Senate defeated this prudent measure, and once again said "no" to greater American oil independence.
For those still unfamiliar with ANWR, it is an isolated, frigid wilderness area at the far northeastern tip of Alaska. This barren area has almost no trees or mountains, and is completely blanketed by snow and ice for nine months out of the year. For three months out of the year, in fact, it is covered in 24-hour darkness. And even during summer months, its coastal plain is pocked with bogs, runoff ponds and permanently-frozen tundra.
Beneath its barren, inhospitable surface, however, ANWR presents an invaluable new source of domestic oil. According to geologists, ANWR constitutes America's greatest prospect for oil discoveries, with billions of barrels of recoverable reserves. A 1987 survey determined that 500 million barrels likely existed below its coastal plain alone, an estimate that was increased in 1998 following a United States Geological Survey.
In other words, ANWR is precisely the type of deserted, inhospitable area from which we should be recovering the critical oil resources upon which our nation's economy and livelihood depend. Moreover, merely 8% of the entire ANWR area would be open to environmentally-safe exploration and recovery, preserving 92% to its current desolate, untouched state. But you'll obviously never hear that admission from liberal politicians who favor environmental special interest groups over everyday American consumers paying excruciatingly high prices at the pump.
As for the deepwater OCS, geologists estimate that it holds approximately 85 billion barrels of oil. By way of comparison, Americans use approximately 5.5 billion barrels of oil per year, meaning that ANWR and the OCS constitute untapped pools that would boost American oil independence immeasurably. Despite this fact, the United States remains the only industrialized nation that prohibits offshore resource recovery.
Opponents contend that exploring ANWR and the OCS would provide no short-term benefit to American consumers, but they are incorrect. In addition to adding billions of barrels of oil over the long-term, ANWR and the OCS would provide a stable, reliable, domestic source of oil production upon which markets could depend. As a consequence, the cost of oil in commodities markets would immediately begin to drop because the current price of oil partially reflects potential instability and production disruptions in such places as Nigeria, the Persian Gulf and Nigeria.
Thus, Senator McConnell's bill would increase America's domestic oil supply and immediately begin to reduce gas prices, while simultaneously creating new American jobs. By blocking this proposal, Senate liberals instead voted in favor of begging foreign suppliers to increase production, and merely increased OPEC's power over America's economy and consumers.
Both Senators Obama and Clinton voted against Senator McConnell's effort toward oil independence, which voters should remember whenever they hear either candidate claim an interest in relieving dependence upon foreign sources.
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