Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Rare corporate courage and common sense

Wal-Mart stands up to activist intimidation, ensuring affordable, wholesome food for customers

Paul Driessen

Good for Wal-Mart! Despite intense pressure by anti-biotechnology activists, the retailing giant didn’t cave in to demands that it “reject” Monsanto’s genetically engineered (GE) sweet corn (maize).

Other retailers had capitulated to intimidation campaigns by Food and Water Watch, Greenpeace and similar anti-technology groups: McDonald’s, Heinz, Frito-Lay, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods. So this rare display of corporate courage, ethics and common sense should be applauded.

FWW launched its campaign in January 2012, claiming GE corn “hasn’t been tested for human safety” and contains DNA traits that “are potentially unsafe.” What utter nonsense.

All biotech crops, including GE sweet corn, have gone through years of testing, studies and approval processes by the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Nutrition, Agriculture Department’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Environmental Protection Agency and other labs, before being placed on the market. In fact, biotech crops have been tested far more rigorously than any other foods (including organic products), hundreds of peer-reviewed studies have determined that they are safe to eat. In the 16 years since such crops were first introduced in 1996, people have eaten more than two trillion servings of foods containing biotech ingredients – without a single documented case of injury to a person.

We all want safe, nutritious food, grown under the best agricultural and environmental practices. That’s what makes biotechnology so important. By precisely inserting specific traits into the genetic makeup of important food crops, scientists have been able to make many foods safer, equally or more nutritious, and better for the environment. The following traits are especially important.

Herbicide resistance. Corn that is resistant to Roundup or other herbicides enables farmers to employ no-till techniques to control weeds, instead of using cultivators to bury them too deep to grow. This preserves soil nutrients and organic matter, increases water absorption and retention, and significantly reduces erosion – improving soil fertility and crop yields, while reducing irrigation and fuel costs.

Insect resistance. A single gene (derived from a natural soil bacterium, Bacillus thuringiensis, or Bt, and inserted into the corn genome) enables corn plants to make a protein that is harmless to humans, but disrupts the digestive system of insects that munch on the plants’ roots or kernels, while leaving ladybugs, butterflies and other beneficial insects unaffected. The Bt gene augments corn plants’ natural defenses, slashes insecticide spraying (by up to 85% for sweet corn), dramatically reduces corn borer (caterpillar) and rootworm (beetle larvae) damage, keeps roots healthy and plants alive, and minimizes the amount of insect-damaged corn ears that are left to rot in fields or are rejected by consumers and thrown out by grocers.

Corn under corn borer attack

By killing insect borers in the ears, Bt corn largely eliminates pathways for fungal contamination that leads to dangerous levels of fumonisin in corn meal. This fungal toxin causes fatal diseases in horses and is linked to esophageal cancer in people and neural tube defects (like spinal bifida) in developing fetuses.

These benefits are hugely important for US farmers; for consumers who want safe, affordable, nutritious food; and especially for farmers and consumers in poor, drought-stricken, insect-plagued regions like Africa. They mean less land must be devoted to crops, leaving more for wildlife habitat, thereby improving biodiversity and ensuring sustainable agriculture. They explain why 10% of US sweet corn is already Bt (Syngenta introduced its Bt sweet corn more than a decade ago), 70% of processed foods in American diets contain ingredients from biotech crops (including corn, squash, soybeans, canola, sugarbeets and papayas), 88% of all corn (field and sweet) grown in the USA is biotech, and 17 million farmers in 29 nations (90% in developing countries) grow biotech crops on 395 million acres.

Wal-Mart doubtless understood all or most of this – and was not going be bamboozled or intimidated by a few noisy activists who did not represent its customers, sound science or the public interest.

Those activists may actually believe their allegations. They certainly know how to generate letters and phone calls, harass businesses, and frighten urban consumers who’ve never been on a farm, know little about how their food is produced, don’t understand genetics or biotechnology, and are thus susceptible to clever hoaxes and ridiculous claims by activists, who are often enlisted and paid by organic producers and retailers that profit mightily from their land and labor-intensive alternatives to conventional food.

In any event, Wal-Mart didn’t cave. So a few months later Food and Water Watch sent out a “we give up” letter, whining that Wal-Mart had “ignored the petitions, calls and public pressure” it had orchestrated. (Its 370-word letter included nine separate pitches for contributions.)

FWW also announced that it was launching a new campaign – to get state and federal laws passed, requiring that all GE foods be labeled. The proclaimed justification for labeling is that “people have a right to know what’s in their food and how it is produced.” The real reason is that labels will make it easier for anti-biotech activists to single out and stigmatize biotech products, generate consumer anxiety, and intimidate grocers into taking nutritious and perfectly safe products off their shelves.

While “progressive” (anti-business) states like California and Oregon may go along with this nonsense, responsible legislators will tell the activists to take a hike. Or they could require that all foods carry relevant (and spooky) safety labels, and consumers be offered more detailed information (prepared by competitors). For instance, lawmakers could mandate that organic products carry warnings like these.

* No studies have ever demonstrated that organic products are safer or more nutritious than milk, meat, fruits or vegetables produced by conventional or biotech methods.

* Various organic crops were developed using gamma rays, x-rays and potent chemicals like colchicine, to induce numerous (mostly unknown) mutations in seeds, in the hope that a few might be beneficial.

* Many organic farmers regularly spray live Bt spores and proteins, copper sulfate, petroleum oils and other insecticidal chemicals, to control crop pests. Some secretly use chemical herbicides and insecticides.

* Random testing has found that biotech corn meal has fumonisin levels well below the 500 parts per billion regulatory limit, whereas pure (non-blended) organic corn meal is often far above the limit – with some organic corn meal testing at 9,000 or even 16,000 ppb: 18-32 times above safety standards.

* Mad cow disease was first found on an English organic farm – and some organic dairy farmers continue milking cows infected with mastitis until the animals die, rather than treating them with antibiotics.

* The deadly spinach E. Coli outbreak several years ago was traced to a farm that was in transition from conventional to organic. Organic produce is always more susceptible to bacterial contamination, because the farmers rely on manure instead of chemical fertilizers (many derived from nitrogen in the air).

All these statements are true – but largely irrelevant. Thanks to regulations, inspections, and responsible practices by seed producers, farmers, processors and retailers, America’s food is generally very safe. The few occasional E. coli and salmonella outbreaks could be prevented by irradiating the most susceptible fruits, vegetables and meats – but anti-biotech activists also oppose irradiation. Go figure.

We’d all be better off if these ridiculous attacks on conventional and biotech (and organic) foods were simply thrown out with the garbage. Most critically, Third World farmers and families would suffer far less poverty, malnutrition, starvation, Vitamin A deficiency and deprivation, if anti-biotech activists (especially in Europe) would end their fanatical obsession about “potential” biotech “contamination” of conventional and organic foods (and flowers!) imported from Africa and other impoverished regions.

Meanwhile, let’s all congratulate Wal-Mart for taking a principled, ethical, scientific stand.


Hansen – The Climate Chiropractor

Need your climate adjusted? – call Dr. James Hansen at GISS. Below is a chronology of the destruction and politicization of the US and global temperature record.

The Northern Hemisphere used to have a broken hockey stick problem. According to the National Academy Of Sciences in 1975, the hemisphere had cooled 0.7C since the 1930s, and was colder than it was at the turn of century.

Dr. Hansen realized he had a problem when he took over – that data didn’t look anything like a hockey stick. So he fixed it! You can do such cool stuff when you are pushing an agenda, and you control the historical record.

The figure below shows Hansen’s remarkable changes to the pre-1975 temperature data. He simply removed that pesky warm period from 1890 to 1940.

But that was just the beginning of Hansen’s history rewrite. He had another problem – the United States.

Until the year 2000, the US temperature graph looked very similar to the 1975 NAS Northern Hemisphere graph.

Overlay below.

Hansen’s problem was that he had fixed the data for the rest of the world, but the US data was still not looking like a hockey stick.

Phil Jones and NOAA had clearly stated that there was no warming in the US.
February 04, 1989

Last week, scientists from the United States Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said that a study of temperature readings for the contiguous 48 states over the last century showed there had been no significant change in average temperature over that period.

Dr. (Phil) Jones said in a telephone interview today that his own results for the 48 states agreed with those findings.

In 1999, Hansen himself said that he didn’t see much happening in the US.
Empirical evidence does not lend much support to the notion that climate is headed precipitately toward more extreme heat and drought. The drought of 1999 covered a smaller area than the 1988 drought, when the Mississippi almost dried up. And 1988 was a temporary inconvenience as compared with repeated droughts during the 1930s “Dust Bowl” that caused an exodus from the prairies, as chronicled in Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath…..

in the U.S. there has been little temperature change in the past 50 years, the time of rapidly increasing greenhouse gases — in fact, there was a slight cooling throughout much of the country

Undaunted by reality, all the evidence, and millions of temperature records – in the year 2000 Dr. Hansen and Tom Karl at NOAA adjusted the US temperature record to make it look like Hansen’s already adjusted global temperature record.

Below is an animation of their handiwork. 1934 was no longer the hottest year, and the 1930s was no longer the hottest decade. Hansen essentially erased the Dust Bowl.

Conclusion. US and global surface temperature records are so corrupted as to be meaningless.

More HERE (See the original for links)

"Nature" magazine warns that scientific findings are full of systematic bias

Evidence is mounting that research is riddled with systematic errors. Left unchecked, this could erode public trust, warns Daniel Sarewitz below:

Alarming cracks are starting to penetrate deep into the scientific edifice. They threaten the status of science and its value to society. And they cannot be blamed on the usual suspects — inadequate funding, misconduct, political interference, an illiterate public. Their cause is bias, and the threat they pose goes to the heart of research.

Bias is an inescapable element of research, especially in fields such as biomedicine that strive to isolate cause–effect relations in complex systems in which relevant variables and phenomena can never be fully identified or characterized. Yet if biases were random, then multiple studies ought to converge on truth. Evidence is mounting that biases are not random. A Comment in Nature in March reported that researchers at Amgen were able to confirm the results of only six of 53 'landmark studies' in preclinical cancer research (C. G. Begley & L. M. Ellis Nature 483, 531–533; 2012). For more than a decade, and with increasing frequency, scientists and journalists have pointed out similar problems.

Early signs of trouble were appearing by the mid-1990s, when researchers began to document systematic positive bias in clinical trials funded by the pharmaceutical industry. Initially these biases seemed easy to address, and in some ways they offered psychological comfort. The problem, after all, was not with science, but with the poison of the profit motive. It could be countered with strict requirements to disclose conflicts of interest and to report all clinical trials.

Yet closer examination showed that the trouble ran deeper. Science's internal controls on bias were failing, and bias and error were trending in the same direction — towards the pervasive over-selection and over-reporting of false positive results. The problem was most provocatively asserted in a now-famous 2005 paper by John Ioannidis, currently at Stanford University in California: 'Why Most Published Research Findings Are False' (J. P. A. Ioannidis PLoS Med. 2, e124; 2005). Evidence of systematic positive bias was turning up in research ranging from basic to clinical, and on subjects ranging from genetic disease markers to testing of traditional Chinese medical practices.

How can we explain such pervasive bias? Like a magnetic field that pulls iron filings into alignment, a powerful cultural belief is aligning multiple sources of scientific bias in the same direction. The belief is that progress in science means the continual production of positive findings. All involved benefit from positive results, and from the appearance of progress. Scientists are rewarded both intellectually and professionally, science administrators are empowered and the public desire for a better world is answered. The lack of incentives to report negative results, replicate experiments or recognize inconsistencies, ambiguities and uncertainties is widely appreciated — but the necessary cultural change is incredibly difficult to achieve.

Researchers seek to reduce bias through tightly controlled experimental investigations. In doing so, however, they are also moving farther away from the real-world complexity in which scientific results must be applied to solve problems. The consequences of this strategy have become acutely apparent in mouse-model research. The technology to produce unlimited numbers of identical transgenic mice attracts legions of researchers and abundant funding because it allows for controlled, replicable experiments and rigorous hypothesis-testing — the canonical tenets of 'scientific excellence'. But the findings of such research often turn out to be invalid when applied to humans.

A biased scientific result is no different from a useless one. Neither can be turned into a real-world application. So it is not surprising that the cracks in the edifice are showing up first in the biomedical realm, because research results are constantly put to the practical test of improving human health. Nor is it surprising, even if it is painfully ironic, that some of the most troubling research to document these problems has come from industry, precisely because industry's profits depend on the results of basic biomedical science to help guide drug-development choices.

Scientists rightly extol the capacity of research to self-correct. But the lesson coming from biomedicine is that this self-correction depends not just on competition between researchers, but also on the close ties between science and its application that allow society to push back against biased and useless results.

It would therefore be naive to believe that systematic error is a problem for biomedicine alone. It is likely to be prevalent in any field that seeks to predict the behaviour of complex systems — economics, ecology, environmental science, epidemiology and so on. The cracks will be there, they are just harder to spot because it is harder to test research results through direct technological applications (such as drugs) and straightforward indicators of desired outcomes (such as reduced morbidity and mortality).

Nothing will corrode public trust more than a creeping awareness that scientists are unable to live up to the standards that they have set for themselves. Useful steps to deal with this threat may range from reducing the hype from universities and journals about specific projects, to strengthening collaborations between those involved in fundamental research and those who will put the results to use in the real world. There are no easy solutions. The first step is to face up to the problem — before the cracks undermine the very foundations of science.


Green grief

Periodically I like to review the news from the gay world of Gaia worship — that is, to pass along the latest stories on all matters green. And there is a lot to report.

Start with some interesting news from the animal kingdom. Despite sad sagas of emperor penguins disappearing as Antarctica allegedly melts (allegedly because of our greedy species’ greenhouse gas emissions), a recent story reports that more studies — ones that use satellite imagery to count the nattily attired birds — reveal that the penguins are doing just fine. By former estimates, there are about 270,000 to 350,000 of the waddling beasts. Now it appears that in reality, there are 595,000 of them! The aerial survey discovered a whole flock of new colonies. If the ice is melting, it doesn’t seem to be harming these birds.

Moving quickly to the other pole of the Earth: polar bears are also in great demographic shape. The bears have been centerpieces in some of the most lurid global warming tales: remember the infamous shot of a miserable looking polar bear clinging to a tiny ice floe. Because of such tales, the US put polar bears on the endangered species list. This, in spite of the fact that the beasts are far from cuddly — they are one of the few predators with a taste for human flesh, especially the human liver (with or without Fava beans).

But another recent story reports that in the crucial Nunavut region of Canada, the polar bear population — which in 2004 had been estimated at around 935 (22% lower than estimates made 20 years earlier), and was projected to fall even further, to 610 animals by 2011 — has now been more accurately counted. The Canadian government did aerial surveys and found 1,013 cute but vicious carnivores in that region alone. The population, far from dwindling, seems to be thriving, despite global warming and illegal hunting. (polar bear pelts fetch up to $15,000 in Russia and China, and about 450 bears are illegally killed each year). Despite the heat and the hunters, the polar bear population now appears to have reached the highest peak ever recorded — something like 25,000 across the Canadian Arctic.

Reports such as these are continually coming in. They may be the reason that no less a green guru than scientist James Lovelock, the fellow who came up with the whole “Gaia Concept,” now admits that his earlier warnings about a rapidly heating, life-killing earth were alarmist.

Turning now to green energy, here too a slew of politically incorrect reports continues to gut the Great Green Narrative. Start with the fascinating news that a recent survey of hybrid car owners (conducted by R.L. Polk and associates) indicates that hybrid owners of any model are unlikely to buy another hybrid — either the same model or any other. These are not good tidings for the future growth of the hybrid car market, as it shows that actual experience with the product tends to make consumers dislike it. Hardly a good omen.

The Polk data show that only 35% of hybrid owners of any brand bought another hybrid of any sort. At the high end was the Prius, but only 41% of Prius owners bought another hybrid (again, of any sort). At the other end of the scale is the Honda hybrid: only a pathetic 20% of Honda owners went on to buy another hybrid of any sort. And the aggregate numbers bear this poll out. At their peak in 2008 (when domestic gas prices hit their highest level ever), hybrid sales were only a miserable 2.9% of the American car market. Last year they dropped to 2.4%.

The problem is several-fold. First, regular internal combustion engines keep getting better and better gas mileage. The 2013 Nissan Altima is rated at 38 mpg, and the Ford Fusion is rated at 37 mpg — both quite close to what hybrids deliver. Second, hybrids are more expensive than similar internal combustion engine models. Indeed, it can take seven to ten years of ownership merely to recover the extra cost, and many Americans like to change cars more often than that.

And, by the bye, hybrids actually seem to get lower gas mileage than the EPA estimates. A recent piece reports that the EPA overestimated hybrid gas efficiency by 20% before 2008 and is still overestimating it now. This report also notes that as much as 40% of any real gas savings by hybrids is nullified by the extra driving done by the owners. The report reminds us that hybrids have batteries with lots of acid, lead, and other toxic crap, all of which requires enormous amounts of energy to mine and manufacture, and which subsequently fouls the environment when the batteries wear out and must be disposed of.

Finally — and this the article doesn’t note — most Americans view hybrids as cramped, clunky, slow, and butt-ugly.

Checking now on green power, we discover the great news that First Solar, maker of solar equipment, is cutting a third of its work force — over 2,000 jobs — closing a factory in Germany, halting another in Vietnam, and postponing the opening of yet another in Arizona. The company has lost 83% of its market capitalization over the past year, while losing nearly $40 million in the same period. The problem in this case is simple and clear. It is cheaper for power companies to buy solar panels from China. More importantly, countries around the world are cutting subsidies for solar power — and without government aid, solar is generally uncompetitive.

Grimly ironic is the report that BrightSource Energy’s Ivanpah solar power project, located in the Mojave Desert, is killing desert tortoises — an endangered species! The Ivanpah project is huge: it will use 3,500 acres of public land — six square miles! — and cost $2 billion to produce only 400 megawatts of electricity at max (i.e., when the sun is shining overhead and no clouds are present). BrightSource says it has paid $56 million to help protect the environment, but tortoises are still dying. They die because even after BrightSource moved them out of the way of the construction, they still got crushed under truck tires or became vulnerable to predators. One research ecologist — Jeff Lovich, who has studied the impact of “renewable” energy projects on desert tortoises — notes, “What I determined is science is playing catch-up to energy concerns. . . . This is all a grand experiment and we need more research — both on the short-term effects and the long-term effects that projects like these are going to have on the wildlife and the ecosystem.” But he concludes ruefully, “For the desert tortoise, it really is death by a thousand cuts.”

So, surprise, solar power farms destroy flora and fauna. No surprise here, really — remember, wind farms also destroy massive amounts of wildlife — specifically, birds. American wind farms shred about 400,000 birds a year. The problem again is physics. Solar and wind power are just power derived directly or indirectly from the sun, and they collect only feeble amounts of solar radiation. Thus either form of energy requires a huge footprint — you need many acres of solar collectors or wind turbines to get appreciable amounts of power, compared to a small nuclear or fossil fuel powered plant. And bigness is bad for small animals.

About wind power there is a spate of bad news. Start with the report out of Nevada on the results of one of the state’s programs to get people to install wind turbines (especially outside of cities). The report points out that one of these programs, started five years ago, is already proving a costly, miserable failure.

Specifically, Rich Hamilton of the Clean Energy Center testified to the state Public Utilities Commission about the program’s problems. For one thing, the PUC gives rebates to customers who put up turbines, whether or not they actually generate appreciable energy. Under the 2007 law, the state has paid $46 million for 150 wind turbines. But in Reno, for example, the $416,000 it spent on wind turbines resulted in its receiving $150,000 in rebates but a laughable $2,800 savings in electricity costs. The bureaucrat who runs Reno’s renewable energy program, one Jason Geddes, had an amazing suggestion: accurately research wind patterns before building turbines. Obviously, this hasn't been done up till now.

Then there is the hilarious news that wind power may be harming the environment in a hitherto unsuspected way. We’ve known all along that wind turbines massacre birds. But it turns out that wind power actually increases ground temperature around the turbines. This is the result of a study published by Liming Zhou in the journal Nature Climate Change. Apparently the turbine blades pull down warmer air, displacing the cooler air on the ground.

The reason this is bad news is that heat can hurt crops and cattle, or the native ecosystem. This is especially troublesome for Texas (where the study was done), because it is already suffering from a drought and uses night irrigation, which may be affected by the action of the turbines.

Add to all that the Reuters report about Obama’s green energy jobs program. Despite his promise that his green energy push would create “millions” of jobs, it has been a costly failure. Since 2009, for example, during a period when the oil and gas industry created 75,000 high-paying blue-collar jobs — even in the face of a regulatory blitzkrieg by the Obama administration — the wind industry lost 10,000 jobs. Obama's $500 million green energy “job training” program was guaranteed to produce 80,000 jobs by 2013. So far, it has trained a miserable 20,000, to what lame standards we can only guess. Even the administration’s own Labor Department’s inspector general recommended last year that the department should end the boondoggle and give the unspent money back to the treasury.

The report gives figures that show a paradigm deflating. In 2008, Obama boastfully promised that if the taxpayers spent $150 billion on green energy, it would create five million jobs. A year later, VP Biden more modestly promised that the $90 billion in tax dollars then put aside for green energy jobs would buy 722,000 of them. A year after that (November 2010), the administration could show only 225,000 jobs created, and even that estimate appears to have been overly optimistic.

The green statist worldview faces a huge and swelling number of anomalies. That wouldn’t normally be so bad — every worldview faces some anomalies, after all. But the enviro worldview is the one being shoved down our throats. That is, it is the one that is being used by the state and federal governments to limit our liberties and prosperity, and to do so in a massive way.


Climate Nazis


What is it with the "warmists", Al Gore and his clones who keep insisting the Earth is warming, that too much carbon dioxide (CO2) will be the death of us, and that we have to immediately stop burning "fossil fuels" if we are to save the planet? They are the most relentless liars on the face of the planet.

They want us to cover the surface of the U.S. with solar panels and the mountains with wind turbines to generate the energy needed for everything we do. These Green energy alternatives are so wonderful they are producing a mere three percent of our current needs, require government subsidies and loan guarantees to exist, and tend not to be all that great when the sun isn't shining and the wind isn't blowing.

So why are we still hearing from this discredited and disgraced bunch of charlatans and buffoons? In early May, The New York Times published "Game Over for the Climate" by a major offender of the truth, Dr. James Hansen, who for some reason is still the director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), despite having pocketed big bucks beyond his humble government salary. In 2007 he split a million dollar Dan Davis Prize with someone else and in 2001, received a $250,000 Heinz Award. Former GISS employees want him fired.

As debased as The Times is, in 2006 the American Association for the Advancement of Science selected Hansen to receive their Award for Scientific Freedom and Responsibility. I cite this as a warning that even a Pulitzer Prize winning newspaper and formerly respected science organization have long since gone over to the dark side when it comes to global warming. Nothing they have to say on the subject should be regarded as more than pure propaganda.

Suffice to say that Dr. Hansen's opinion article cited every global warming lie we have been hearing since 1988 when he first gained famed testifying before a congressional committee that we were doomed. In his Times article, he predicted that the "semi-permanent drought" would turn the Midwest into "a dust bowl." Like every other global warming prediction (that hasn't come true) this will happen "over the next several decades." Time enough for Dr. Hansen to pick up a few more awards and fatten his bank account.

The face of the global warming hoax, Al Gore, will not shut up. He made news in August 2011 when he totally lost it while speaking at the Aspen Institute. Anyone, noted climatologists, meteorologists, and mere science writers like myself were the target of his rant for actually citing things such as the fact that the Earth has been in a natural COOLING cycle since 1998 and other inconvenient facts about the climate.

"And some of the exact same people" said Gore, frothing at the mouth, "I can go down a list of their names-are involved in this. And so what do they do? They pay pseudo-scientists to pretend to be scientists to put out the message. ‘This climate thing, it's nonsense. Man-made CO2 doesn't trap heat. It may be volcanoes' Bullshit! ‘It may be sun spots.' Bullshit! ‘It's not getting warmer.' Bullshit!"

The climate is not cooperating. The Church of Global Warming is crumbling around them. People are making fun of them. Parents are objecting to their scaring children with their lies. People actually want to warm their homes in winter and cool them in the summer. Meanwhile, using the global warming lies, the Environmental Protection Agency is trying to shut down the entire U.S. coal mining industry and attacking "fracking" to access natural gas. The Department of the Interior has virtually shut down all oil drilling on federal land and offshore. How crazed is all this?

One of their number, Dr. Peter Gleick, formerly of the American Geophysical Union's Task Force on Scientific Ethics-the irony is too delicious-perpetrated a fraud against The Heartland Institute earlier this year, pretending to be a member of its board in order to secure a list of its donors and allegedly authoring a memo about a scheme to invade the nation's schoolrooms with a program to dispute global warming. After confessing to the former, he resigned from the task force. An FBI probe is underway to determine if he broke any laws. Heartland has dubbed it "Fakegate."

The Institute, by the way, is sponsoring its 7th annual conference on climate change, May 21-23, in Chicago, immediately following the NATO conference that will be held in the windy city where it is headquartered. Its theme this year is "Real Science, Real Choices." Among the speakers will be Czech President Vaclav Klaus, Rep. James Sensenbrenner, vice chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, and two former NASA astronauts.

The lesson we can draw from the last few decades is that the entire environmental movement, of which the global warming hoax is one part, is an extension of what Dr. Robert Zubin, a Senior Fellow with the Center for Security Policy, addressed in his new book, "Merchants of Despair: Radical Environmentalism, Criminal Pseudo-Scientists, and the Fatal Cult of Antihumanism."

Antihumanism has been around a long time. As Dr. Zubin points out, it has taken the form of "Darwinism, eugenics, German militarism, Nazism, xenophobia, the population control movement, environmentalism, technophobia, and most recently, the incredibly demented climatophobic movement, which seeks to justify mass human sacrifice for the purpose of weather control."

Al Gore, James Hansen, and even President Obama's science advisor, John Holden, are card-carrying members of this cult. In 1971 Holden co-authored "Global Ecology" with Paul Ehrlich, famed for his 1968 book, "The Population Bomb." They wrote "when a population of organisms grows in a finite environment, sooner or later, it will encounter a resource limit. This phenomenon, described by ecologists as reaching the ‘carrying capacity' of the environment, applies to bacteria on a culture dish, to fruit flies in a jar of agar, and to buffalo on a prairie. It must also apply to man on this finite planet."

So you need to understand that you are no better than a fruit fly and you need to die in order to avoid depleting the planet's supply of food and its energy resources.

God knows I would like to ignore or-better still-never have to hear from these climate Nazis, but that is not going to happen so long as The New York Times, the United Nations, and a host of others keep repeating their lethal lies.


Leaked Strategy Paper: EU Plans To Phase Out Green Energy Subsidies

The economic cost of the expansion of renewable energy could become prohibitively expensive. Subsidies in the EU for solar and wind power should be phased out as quickly as possible. That is what the European Commission says in an internal draft strategy paper that EU Energy Commissioner, Günther Oettinger, will present in Brussels early next month.

In doing so, the EU Commission is supporting the German government which wants to reduce solar subsidies by up to 30 percent, a plan which has met with resistance in the Upper House of the German Parliament.

The expansion and especially the maturity of renewable energy such as solar and wind power have grown much faster than expected, the strategy paper points out. The cost of photovoltaic systems, for instance, had fallen by 48 percent in the last five years. The cost for the construction of offshore wind farms had decreased by 12 percent since 2008. In light of these developments, member states would have to make their programmes more flexible to phase them out.

At the expense of taxpayers

If green subsidy programmes are too rigid, there is a risk that producers would be over-compensated and the cost of developing renewable energy would become intolerable, the paper warns. The sharp decline in the cost of many new green energy sources together with the strong expansion of solar and wind energy had driven the cost for consumers and, in some cases, for taxpayers sharply higher. For many people, energy costs were already too high, especially in light of the difficult economic situation today. The price for renewable energy such as solar and wind power would therefore have to be left entirely to the forces of the free market and as quickly as possible.

However, the Commission does not intend to abolish all forms of renewable subsidies. The development of newer green energy sources, such as geothermal or novel solar thermal power plants, that are not yet commercially viable should be encouraged even beyond the year 2020.

Harmonisation of green subsidies among member states

In its strategy paper, the Commission also calls for the harmonisation of national subsidy and support programmes. The Commission has been criticising the coexistence of different support systems for some time. This dicrepancy has led to the inefficient use of renewable energy within the EU given that they have often been developed in countries where they are simply inappropriate. Instead of subsidising the expansion of solar energy in Northern Europe, for example, the Commission wants these nations to finance their expansion in sunny countries like Greece. The paper specifically mentions the so-called Helios Project in Greece. Energy generated in such projects could then be counted towards the renewable targets which Northern Europeans have signed up.

Until now, the German government has opposed any such Europe-wide plan because it would put in question Germany’s Renewable Energy Law (EEG) in which the feed-in tariff for renewable energy is set out. Not a single German party is currently prepared to agree to such a plan.



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


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