Friday, December 31, 2004


It's all our fault, of course

"Just look at the stark contrast between the damage done by similar disasters in different societies. Exactly one year before the Asian undersea earthquake (which measured 9 on the Richter scale), an earthquake measuring 6.3 devastated the Iranian city of Bam. More than 50,000 people were killed, making it comparable to the recent disaster in human terms - although, partly because none of them were Western tourists, we heard less about it. Just four days before the Bam tragedy, an earthquake of similar magnitude rocked California, one of the wealthiest states in the USA. It destroyed buildings, but left just two people dead. The difference between 50,000 dead and two is one of development. Advances in technology, construction and transport mean that natural disasters rarely cause mass casualties in developed societies. Of course, nothing that exists in California could have prevented the huge Asian tsunami creating havoc. But it could have greatly reduced the human cost.

Instead of acknowledging this simple fact, the message implicit in many responses to the Asian disaster is that it is folly for us feeble humans to get ideas above our station and try to do 'too much'. Writing in the London Times, the Conservative Lord William Rees-Mogg argued that 'the tsunami mocks the pride' of our 'arrogant' modern societies, and shows that 'nature, and not mankind, is still the real master'. While conceding that global warming did not cause the Asian disaster, he insisted that 'the tsunami did mimic some of the effects that global warming is now expected to have' if we do not make sacrifices to protect the environment, and speculated as to what impact such a tidal wave might have on London.

In responses such as these, serious journalism meets the sort of 'what if?' scenario popularised by the movie The Day After Tomorrow, in which man-made global warming causes a tidal wave that devastates New York. These Hollywood-style horror stories bear little relationship to the real science of climate change, where there are still serious questions to be answered about the scale and consequences of global warming. But the logic of the argument for economic restraint is to deny those societies struck by the tsunami the chance to achieve the very levels of development that would best equip them to cope with disasters.

Some eco-activists even claim that the tsunami proves development has already gone too far in these countries. One Indian activist claims that South Asia's ancient mangrove forests provided the best protection against the sea, before many were cleared for construction related to the tourism industry. So the road to the future presumably leads back to the mangrove swamps. But the problem is not that 'over-development' in these parts of Asia has somehow disrupted nature. It is that development has not gone nearly far enough. It has been patchy, uneven and concentrated on such fragile sectors as tourism, leaving millions in poverty and exposed to the elements.

If some crackpot preacher suggested that the South Asian disaster was God's vengeance for the sins of the tourist trade, there would be justifiable outrage. Yet if today's eco-preachers imply that it is somehow Nature's revenge for the arrogance of humanity, we are supposed to feel humble and nod along, head bowed.

More here


"The state's latest strategy to build more affordable housing and limit sprawl is drawing little enthusiasm, including in Governor Mitt Romney's hometown of Belmont, according to a new report and a survey of town and city planners. Officials in about a dozen of the Commonwealth's 351 cities and towns say they are interested in the program, in which the state provides cash for zoning changes that allow dense development in town centers or near transit stations. At least 20 percent of housing built in such 'smart growth districts' must be affordable. Among local leaders' concerns is the lack of money to offset school costs to handle new children in that housing, a provision removed by former House speaker Thomas M. Finneran earlier this year. Towns also say the districts require too much density, especially in suburban areas."

More here


Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Comments? Email me or here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Thursday, December 30, 2004


In order to help the environment, we're encouraged to recycle and upgrade to vehicles and equipment that produce less pollution - hydrogen powered cars, for example. Problem is, some studies show that recycling has a larger impact on the environment than does using virgin resources. And that hydrogen-powered car may not generate pollution in its exhaust, but how much pollution was created to generate that hydrogen? What to do? How to decide? William Baldwin has an answer:

You could drive yourself crazy calculating all the direct and indirect inputs behind a consumer choice, so here's a handy rule, courtesy of Jerry C. Taylor, head of natural resource studies at Cato: If you care about the environment, go for the cheaper item. "Prices are a signal for all of the resources that go into producing something," he says.

Of course, some will argue that the price of something isn't a good indicator, because so many goods that have a signficant environmental impact are subsidized. Their prices don't reflect their "true costs" in environmental terms. So don't order people to spend their money on hydrogen powered cars. Don't shame people into ignoring prices and other economic signals. End subsidies.

Post lifted from Rite Wing Techno-Pagan


I have just put up here an article by Louis Hissink that looks at the recent tsunami event in the light of the new/old plasma universe physics. Louis believes that the recent event helps us to understand some puzzling geology from the past.


EarthJustice, Friends of the Earth, the Center for International Environmental Law and other groups were busy in Buenos Aires, persuading Arctic Inuit Indians to sue an assortment of corporations for climate genocide, or something like that. The Inuits‚ subsistence traditions are threatened, they claimed, by catastrophic warming caused by our wanton use of fossil fuels. Attempting to paint their claims with a thin veneer of science was Dr. Robert Corell, lead author of the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA) study that had gotten the New York Times, Washington Post, London Guardian and other liberal media folks all agog.

"Very rapid and severe climate change in the Arctic," rising sea levels from the projected melting of Greenland's ice shelf, changes in animal habitats and possible shifts in ocean currents "present serious challenges to human health and food security, and possibly even the survival of some cultures," Dr. Corell solemnly intoned. Even now, "abnormally warm" weather might be causing wildlife to disappear, and the Inuits snowmobiles to fall through the ice. To back up these gloom-and-doom claims, he presented an array of glitzy charts and maps.

But the linchpin of his Armageddon theory lies in a temperature graph that depicts a 33-year warming trend, during which temperatures rose nearly 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 F). Project that out in a straight line, Dr. Corell said, and it's easy to foresee a potentially devastating temperature spike of 4.5 C or 8.1 F over the next century. Rising seas would surely inundate New York City, Bangladesh and the Florida keys, as another graphic graphically showed.

Thankfully, it's all just the stuff of Hollywood horror movies. Not only is the ACIA study flawed. It's as plausible as the "science" in "The Day After Tomorrow." Its horrific scenarios depend on Dr. C's deliberate selection of the 1971-2003 time snapshot, and his faulty assumption that this trend will continue, forever. Relatively cold in 1971 -- warmer in 2003 -- Arctic meltdown by 2100, if we don‚t slash fossil fuel use immediately.

But what if he and his team had selected a different window, just a few years earlier -- such as the period 1938 to 1966? During those three decades, Arctic temperatures FELL 3.5 C (6.3 F), according to studies by American, Canadian, Russian and other researchers. At this rate, equally misleading computer models could easily show, temperatures would plummet a whopping 12.5 degrees C (22.5 F) in just one century - and reach the temperature of dry ice (minus 109 F) in just five centuries. Talk about impacting wildlife and Inuit culture. This scenario is just as ludicrous - and just as reasonable -- as the scenarios that Corell & Co. are peddling. Actually, it's only a slight exaggeration of what their predecessors -- the global cooling alarmists who have since morphed into today's global warming alarmists -- did back in the 1970s.

That's when they, Newsweek (see its April 28, 1975 issue) and anxious colleagues were worrying about agricultural disaster brought on by global cooling -- because of our wanton use of fossil fuels, naturally. Had they been quicker on their feet back then, they would no doubt have found some natives in Hawaii (or Tuvalu) to file lawsuits to stop that cultural genocide.

However, it's a fact of life here on Planet Earth that our climate can be as unpredictable and cyclical as the solar and orbital variations that play prominent roles in determining that climate. Thus we get mild temperature shifts every 40 years or so, and much more significant changes every few hundred years -- amid interglacial periods that are marked at either end by massive walls of ice flowing down from this same Arctic, obliterating everything in their path: forests the last time, maybe entire cities the next. The global environmental movement, however, has long portrayed our planet as a stable, idyllic utopia - until evil people, corporations and technologies ruined everything. It has a nice, neat Garden of Eden ring to it. But it ignores the Ice Ages, Medieval Warm Period, Viking colonization of Greenland back in the days (950-1300) when people could actually grow crops there, and Little Ice Age (1350-1650) when northern seas were choked with ice and Europe was plunged into an era of cold, wet, stormy weather that destroyed crops, caused famines, and hammered populations, communities and cultures.

The ample historical record of these events underscores how turbulent and uncertain Earth's climate has always been. (It's doubtful that cavemen, Vikings, Medieval alchemists or a lost race of aliens from another galaxy caused those past climate mood swings.) To suggest that we have suddenly arrived at an immutable ideal state may serve the pressure groups‚ political ends, but it is not reality.

More here


Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Comments? Email me here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Wednesday, December 29, 2004


The recent devastating tsunami in the Indian ocean that cost thousands of lives was OF COURSE the result of global warming! I think I will leave further comments on the matter to Louis Hissink. He has a provocative conclusion: "Putting it bluntly, the Greens and their fellow travellers must accept responsilibility for the loss of life on December 27, 2004 from the tsunamis of that day."


National Geographic has just listed its ten top news stoiries for the year. Alan Caruba finds that they are mostly bunk science -- including the usual heavily hyped global warming scares, of course. Scares sell magazines, I guess. Any idea that the National Geographic is any sort of quality information-source must be abandoned, however. See here


No matter that ships have been bringing "foreign" algae in for 200 years! It's just the usual self-important Greenie attempt at disruption, of course

A study due out next year is expected to show that efforts to keep more invasive species from entering the Great Lakes have been a failure, according to a published report. The Muskegon scientist who worked on the study says dramatic action is needed now to stop the army of non-indigenous species of fish, mussels and microorganisms marching into the Great Lakes. ``It's time to close the Welland Canal,'' said Gary Fahnenstiel, director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Lake Michigan Field Station in Muskegon. ``This a simple problem with a simple solution.''

The Welland Canal connects Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. The canal, which is part of the St. Lawrence Seaway, allows ships traveling through Lake Ontario to bypass Niagara Falls and reach lakes Erie, Huron, Superior and Michigan. ``We have a natural choke point and we can shut off the flow of exotics into the Great Lakes,'' Fahnenstiel told The Muskegon Chronicle for a story today.

Shipping industry officials said closing the Welland Canal would cripple the region's economy.

Fahnenstiel's study, a draft of which was obtained by the newspaper, found several exotic species of algae living in foreign ships with empty ballast tanks. Some of these species thrived when put in fresh water. Since the St. Lawrence Seaway opened, ballast water from ships has accounted for an estimated 77 percent of new exotic species in the lakes. At least 160 exotic species have entered the Great Lakes since 1800.

Although freighters are the No. 1 source of exotics entering the lakes, industry officials said banning foreign ships would devastate the region's economy. Closing the Welland Canal would require ships to unload in Buffalo, N.Y. That cargo would have to be transported by rail or truck to other parts of the region. ``It's somewhat of a simple response to say we need to close off the Great Lakes to oceangoing vessels. What economic impact are you going to have by closing off the Great Lakes to oceangoing vessels?'' said Jim Weakly, president of the Cleveland-based Lake Carriers Association.



Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Comments? Email me here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Tuesday, December 28, 2004


There was a lot a campaign talk about our nation's energy policy, and Bush and Kerry offered their own competing energy plans. With Bush's victory and increased Republican majorities in Congress, the long-stalled energy bill may finally reach passage. But in truth, we don't really need a new national energy policy so much as we need to end our current anti-energy policy.

Too many politicians and far too many regulators believe the federal government's duty is to oppose energy infrastructure. Goaded by environmental activists and like-minded media, they have treated oil and natural gas wells, pipelines, refineries, electric power plants, transmission lines and the like as bad things that need to be stopped, or at least severely limited.

This was particularly true during the Clinton Administration, whose only real contribution to the nation's energy infrastructure was to launch several high-profile legal crackdowns on it. And, despite more pro-energy rhetoric from the current administration, not much has actually changed. Is it any wonder our energy future seems bleak?

Domestic oil production has been declining in recent years, and only part of the reason is limited reserves. Many promising new fields are currently off limits-including the 5.7 to 16 billion barrels estimated by the U.S. Geological Survey to lie beneath Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). Likewise, new natural gas production has been held up, as has much-needed natural gas pipelines. And, despite abundant supplies of coal, all but a few new coal-fired electric power plants have been blocked by the federal government.

To the extent this philosophy constitutes our national energy policy, we would be better off without one....

The federal government has made it hard to maintain the nation's existing energy infrastructure-much less build the necessary additions to it-without running into environmental objections. A few of these objections are legitimate, but most are exaggerated. For example, ANWR drilling would only disturb a very small part of ANWR's 19 million acre expanse. Furthermore, the strong environmental record achieved in Alaska's Prudhoe Bay, where drilling has occurred since the 1970s using technology far less environmentally sensitive than that available today, gives additional reason for optimism. Likewise, state-of-the-art coal-fired power plants are far cleaner than those built decades ago and could be added in significant numbers without jeopardizing the declining trends in air pollution.

More here


There is big news from the Middle East that is unusual in several ways: It's positive, involves a scientific advance, and comes from a developing country. Researchers at Cairo's Agricultural Genetic Engineering Research Institute have shown that by transferring a single gene from barley to wheat, the plants can tolerate less watering for a longer period of time before their leaves wilt. This new, drought-resistant variety requires only one-eighth as much irrigation as conventional wheat, and actually can be cultivated with rainfall alone in some desert areas. It could literally make the desert bloom.

Agricultural shortfalls around the world, especially in developing countries, are being aggravated by the potential catastrophe of water shortages, not only for agriculture but also for basic human needs. As groundwater dwindles, millions of wells throughout Asia and Africa are drying up. Bureaucrats and aid workers long have searched for solutions. Gene-spliced, drought-resistant crops might provide one-so long as unfounded fears and flawed public policy don't block progress.

Modern biotechnology, also known as gene-splicing or genetic modification (GM), offers plant breeders the tools to make old crop plants do spectacular new things. In the United States, Egypt and at least 16 other countries, farmers are using GM crop varieties to produce higher yields, with fewer resources and reduced impact on the environment. In spite of activists who have resisted research and governments that have overregulated it, some GM crop varieties specifically tailored to aid the plight of poor countries' farmers are in the development pipeline, and a few are nearing commercialization.

Most of these new varieties are designed to resist the particular pests and diseases that ravage crops in the poor tropical regions of Africa, Asia and Latin America. Others improve nutritional quality. But the greatest long-term boon to food security in the developing world may be the enhancement of the ability of new crop varieties to tolerate periods of drought and other water-related stresses. In most of central Africa, for example, farmers have no access to water for irrigation, so the development of crop varieties able to grow despite low moisture or temporary drought could both boost yields and lengthen the time that farmland is productive.

Aside from new varieties that use less water, the pest- and disease-resistant GM crops that are widely cultivated by North American farmers indirectly make water use more efficient. Much of the loss to insects and diseases occurs after the plants are fully grown-that is, after most of the water required to grow a crop has already been applied. Therefore, using GM varieties that experience lower post-harvest losses means that the farming (and irrigation) of fewer plants can produce the same total amount of food. Merely by planting some of the insect-resistant GM varieties now grown in America, African subsistence farmers could control the stem-boring insects that destroy as much as half their corn and cotton crops. In other words, more consumable crop for the drop.

There is an impediment to this rosy scenario, however. Unscientific, overly burdensome regulation in the U.S., and by agencies of the United Nations and the European Union, has raised significantly the cost of producing new plant varieties and kept most crops from ever reaching the market. This flawed public policy-which flies in the face of scientific consensus that GM is essentially a refinement of earlier techniques for crop improvement-adds tens of millions of dollars to the development costs of each new GM crop variety. Those extra costs, as well as the endless (and gratuitous) controversy over growing these precisely crafted and highly predictable varieties, discourage research on new varieties of subsistence crops such as millet, sorghum, cassava and sweet potatoes. Not surprisingly, it is primarily the most commercially profitable species-commodity crops grown at vast scale-that have emerged from the research and development pipeline.

Biotechnology applied to agriculture can help the poor by sowing a second Green Revolution, but only if politicians create public policy that enables it to flower.

More here


Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Comments? Email me here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Monday, December 27, 2004


The European Commission has recently asked five member states to lift their bans on genetically modified (GM) crops and foods. Nevertheless, the future of agricultural biotechnology in Europe looks bleak. Supermarkets do not stock GM food. Regulatory obstacles make commercial production of GM crops uneconomical, except in Spain. In the US, by contrast, three-quarters of food in supermarkets contains ingredients from GM plants and Americans have been eating food with a GM content for more than seven years without harm and even, significantly, without a single lawsuit alleging harm.

More than 80 percent of the soya bean crop grown in America, 70 percent of cotton and 38 percent of maize is now genetically modified. But in an important book Henry Miller and Gregory Conko show that in the US, too, biotechnology is threatened*. An unholy alliance of big companies and green pressure groups has created a burden of over-regulation that stifles innovation and hamstrings research.....

Field trials with GM crops are now 10 to 20 times more expensive than experiments with similar conventional crops. Over the past 20 years the time to develop a significant GM crop variety has increased from six to 12 years and the cost has risen from $50m to $300m. Competition has been suppressed and so has innovation because neither small start-up companies nor academic institutions, two big sources of innovation, have the resources to comply with the regulatory burdens. For example, an allergen-free GM wheat variety developed at the University of California, Berkeley, will not be tested in the field because the cost of compliance is prohibitive. Products that would benefit the poor and hungry have been hit particularly hard because only field trials of high-volume products for rich markets can be justified commercially.

In Europe, regulatory burdens are even greater and their effect is felt worldwide. Regulations that impose rules for mandatory labeling and traceability are a case in point. They go far beyond any reasonable requirements to provide consumers with choice. The traceability rules alone may finally exclude all GM crops from EU markets because, in practice, they will require exporters to maintain separate grain elevators, freight wagons, barges and drying and processing facilities. Costs will double.

GM plants already help the developing world. More than 5m small farmers in China, India and South Africa now grow GM cotton and the reduced need to use pesticides has greatly increased their income and improved their health. Yet excessive regulation is holding back one of the most promising technologies of modern times.

More here:


The Bush administration issued broad new rules Wednesday overhauling the guidelines for managing the nation's 155 national forests and making it easier for regional forest managers to decide whether to allow logging, drilling or off-road vehicles. The long-awaited rules relax longstanding provisions on environmental reviews and the protection of wildlife on 191 million acres of national forest and grasslands. They also cut back on requirements for public participation in forest planning decisions. Forest Service officials said the rules were intended to give local foresters more flexibility to respond to scientific advances and threats like intensifying wildfires and invasive species. They say the regulations will also speed up decisions, ending what some public and private foresters see as a legal and regulatory gridlock that has delayed forest plans for years because of litigation and requirements for time-consuming studies. "You're trying to manage towards how we want the forest to look and be in the future," said Rick D. Cables, the Forest Service's regional forester for the Rocky Mountain region. The rules give the nation's regional forest managers and the Forest Service increased autonomy to decide whether to allow logging roads or cellphone towers, mining activity or new ski areas.

Environmental groups said the new rules pared down protection for native animals and plants to the point of irrelevance. These protections were a hallmark of the 1976 National Forest Management Act. "The new planning regulations offer little in the way of planning and nothing in the way of regulation," the conservation group Trout Unlimited said in a statement. Martin Hayden, a lawyer with Earthjustice, a law firm affiliated with the Sierra Club, accused the administration of watering down protections "that are about fish and wildlife, that are about public participation, or about forcing the agency to do anything other than what the agency wants to do.".. "What you are left with is things that are geared toward getting the sticks out," Ms. Hayden said.

The original 1976 law on forest management was intended to ensure that regional managers showed environmental sensitivity in decisions on how the national forests would be used. During the 1990's, the Clinton administration sought major revisions in the rules governing how the act was carried out. But the Clinton-era regulation was not completed in time to take effect before President Bush assumed office.

The new rules incorporate an approach that has gained favor in private industries from electronics to medical device manufacturing. The practice, used by companies like Apple Computer, allows businesses to set their own environmental goals and practices and then subjects them to an outside audit that judges their success. These procedures are called environmental management systems. When the Forest Service started investigating these systems, said Fred Norbury, a deputy associate chief at the Forest Service, "what we discovered to our surprise is that the U.S. is a little behind the rest of the world and we in government are a little behind the curve." In the case of the Forest Service, the supervisors of the individual forests and grasslands will shape forest management plans, and the effects of those will be subject to independent audits. The auditors the Forest Service chooses could range from other Forest Service employees to outsiders, said Sally Collins, an associate chief at the Forest Service. She said the auditors could come from an environmental group or an industry group like timber "or a ski area, local citizens or a private contractor."

Forest supervisors are appointed by the Forest Service to manage national forests and report to regional managers. Some are more supportive of pro-timber policies, while others are more steeped in the environmental ethos. One of the ways the new rules give forest supervisors more power is that they are allowed to approve plans more quickly for any particular forest use - ranging from recreation to logging to grazing - and to adjust plans with less oversight.



Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Comments? Email me here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Sunday, December 26, 2004


The moral high ground is often claimed by and granted to “environmentalist” groups that tend to push a partisan agenda. But citizens need to take a much closer look at the credibility of organizations pushing such dogma before accepting it at face value. The Sierra Club, the League of Conservation Voters, and other eco-activist groups insist, for example, that the Bush administration isn’t just misguided, it’s immoral. Whether “gutting” environmental laws, “waging war” on the environment, or colluding with “polluters,” the dogmatic gist is that “W” stands for “World-killer.” One might expect unimpeachable ethical standards from “white hat” critics like these. However, their notion of ethics leaves many of us scratching our heads.

They oppose oil drilling virtually everywhere, for example, and say we should just drive smaller cars. Unfortunately, reducing the size and weight of cars to help meet mileage standards costs lives: an additional 1,300 to 2,600 fatalities every year, and ten times that many injuries, than if people had been driving bigger cars, according to the National Academy of Sciences. Even if every car on the road were economy-sized, we’d still get thousands of needless injuries and deaths every year in collisions with buses, trucks, trees, and walls. Even worse, the impact is felt most by the poor, who can least afford safety features found in late-model luxury cars. They’re forced to buy older, less high-tech, less safe cars.

It’s curious how environmentalists demand lower arsenic levels in drinking water to prevent a dozen theoretical cancer deaths a year. But they ignore this very real carnage on our roads and demand even tougher mileage standards and the elimination of sport utility vehicles, even though many Americans choose to drive bigger vehicles to give them an extra margin of safety, or to haul boats, kids, or construction tools.

As for global warming, which radical environmentalists claim is exacerbated by SUVs, our planet has warmed a degree since 1900. But catastrophic global climate change theories are supported only by unreliable computer models and ground temperature gauges that are contaminated by urban heat. They are not backed by satellite or weather balloon data, which show little recent warming, or by 18,000 scientists who have signed a petition saying they see “no convincing evidence that humans are disrupting the earth’s climate.” The Kyoto climate treaty and other “solutions” would do almost nothing to stabilize greenhouse gases or reduce global warming. However, they would send energy prices soaring. In future cold snaps and heat waves, thousands could die because heating and air conditioning would become unaffordable for many, especially minorities and the elderly.

Studies by the U.S. government and a coalition of minority business groups found that the treaty could cost over 3 million American jobs, including 800,000 in black and 500,000 in Hispanic communities. Minority family incomes could plummet by $2,000 or more. The payoff for all this misery? Average global temperatures would rise by 0.2 degrees less than if the treaty had never been implemented, according to studies reported in Nature magazine and by the U.S. Energy Information Agency.

Our planet’s poorest and most powerless people are already imperiled by policies intended to prevent theoretical climate change. Over two billion Africans, Asians, and Latin Americans still do not have electricity, and activists tell them they must be content with wind generators or little solar panels on their huts, because fossil fuel plants would cause global warming, hydroelectric plants would dam up scenic rivers, and nuclear power is simply taboo. “Socially responsible” organizations like the World Bank, Citigroup, and Bank of America have succumbed to these claims and now refuse to fund such projects. So millions of people continue to die every year in these countries from lung diseases, because they have to burn wood, grass, and animal dung. Millions more die from drinking contaminated water, because they lack electricity to purify and transport safe water, or to operate clinics.

“Ethical” greens also oppose pesticides that could slash malaria rates, preventing progress against a disease that infects 300 million people yearly, killing 2 million of them. They also battle biotechnology, ignoring the productivity gains that such technology brings with it. Meanwhile, malnutrition strikes down millions of children every year, and leaves others too weak to survive other diseases.

These are bedrock ethical issues. Why do environmentalists rarely discuss them? “Do not do unto others as you would not have them do unto you.” Healthy, well-off First World activists and politicians repeatedly violate this version of the Golden Rule, to ward off distant, speculative, relatively minor dangers, while preventing Third World citizens from addressing very real, immediate threats that are literally killing them and their children.

Environmentalists who disregard the unintended consequences of the policies they advocate fail to assess adequately the ethical implications of those policies. We need to bring honesty, ethics, and humanity back into our environmental debates. A first step toward helping the poorest among us take their rightful place among the Earth’s healthy and prosperous is rejecting Green authoritarianism, both at home and abroad.



Yushchenko PROVES it is all hype

It's perhaps fitting that dioxin was used in the attempted political murder of Ukrainian presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko. That's because dioxin is the most politicized chemical in history. It's notorious for its role at New York's Love Canal and Missouri's Times Beach, but primarily as an ingredient in the defoliant Agent Orange. Yet Yushchenko is alive because what's been called "the most deadly chemical known" is essentially a myth.

Dioxin is an unwanted by-product of incineration, uncontrolled burning and certain industrial processes such as bleaching. It was also formerly in trace amounts in herbicides and liquid soaps. We all carry dioxin in our fat and blood. But Dutch researchers said Yushchenko's exposure, probably from poisoned food, was about 6,000 times higher than average. So why, as the Munchkin coroner said of the Wicked Witch of the East, isn't Yushchenko "not only merely dead" but "really most sincerely dead"?

The "deadly dioxin" legend began with, of all things, guinea pigs. When fed to them in studies, they did fall over like furry tenpins. Yet hamsters could absorb 1,000 times as much dioxin before emitting their last squeals and other animals seemed impervious to the stuff. Further, the animal deaths were from acute poisoning. Yet as a matter of convenience for activists, it not only became accepted that guinea pigs are the best animal model for humans but also that dioxin is a powerful carcinogen.

The original promoters of the humans-are-like-guinea-pigs legend were Vietnam activists. Agent Orange, which contained a trace of dioxin, effectively stripped away the jungle canopy that hid communist forces. So the enemy and its U.S. sympathizers claimed it was poisoning not just trees but humans. Pressured by these "humanitarians" the military quit spraying in 1971, giving back the enemy his sanctuary from which to kill our troops.

From there, the myth snowballed. After it was found in the goop on which homeowners in Love Canal, New York had built their houses, every illness in the area was blamed not just on the contamination generally but often specifically on dioxin. Likewise for when some yahoo knowingly sprayed dioxin-containing oil near Times Beach to keep down road dust and a flood then swept it into the town. Both areas were ordered evacuated. But "Numerous studies found no excess illness in either area and today children again play in the dirt at Love Canal," notes Michael Gough, a biologist who was chairman of a federal advisory panel concerning Agent Orange from 1990 to 1995. Nevertheless, the cleanup of dioxin-contaminated areas continues to cost U.S. industry a fortune.

As to Vietnam vets, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that despite the earnest beliefs of many vets, "The blood [dioxin] levels of the Vietnam veterans were nearly identical to the levels found among the non-Vietnam veterans." Further, "levels were not related to the estimate of Agent Orange exposure based on either military records or self-reported exposure. Only those who did the actual spraying, members of Operation Ranch Hand, actually got significant doses.

Some did develop the same awful skin disease Yushchenko suffers, called chloracne. But that was only from direct contact with their skin, and they developed no other symptoms at the time. Since then the Air Force has continually monitored them, finding no unusual rates of any illness save for an alleged slight excess of diabetes. Yet a government study of American chemical workers with higher dioxin exposure found no excess diabetes. The Ranch Hands also have only half the normal rate of stomach cancers.

Chloracne was also the only serious symptom in the highest exposures of dioxin ever recorded, in which one young Austrian woman had about 16,000 times the normal body level, while another had 2,900 times the normal level. (Interestingly, the women were given the snack chip fat substitute olestra to help her excrete the dioxin faster. Not exactly a selling point for selling potato chips but . . .) "We don't know of a single person who has ever died of acute dioxin poisoning," says Robert Golden, president of the Maryland-based consulting firm ToxLogic....

The massive dioxin disinformation campaign has caused tremendous harm. But for Yushchenko it was a godsend. He'll look terrible for some time; but he's alive. Had the would-be assassin instead used a few drops of old-fashioned strychnine or even a teaspoon of the vital nutrient iron, Yushchenko wouldn't be running for president; he'd be pushing up Ukrainian daisies. Fortunately, the culprit bought into the myth that began with a guinea pig.

More here


Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Comments? Email me here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Saturday, December 25, 2004


To all those who come by here on this great day

And may all those who recognize Jesus as Lord always walk in his wisdom


"A group of Connecticut second graders was bused to New York last week for a well-publicized protest to save the rainforest. And the field trip has some up in arms. The kids wielded posters they made in school as part of a contest sponsored by an environmental group called the Rainforest Action Network. 'Today we have rainforest heroes, kids the earth can count on are here today to visit J.P. Morgan Chase, the world's second largest bank, to ask them to save the rainforest,' said Michael Brune, executive director of the network. 'I celebrate the world, I celebrate the rainforest, and I care [about] the reality of what is happening with my students, which is only fair, and I let them make their own choices,' said teacher Paula Healey. ... But when 6 and 7-year-olds stage a demonstration, questions arise as to who is behind the event and whether the children are being manipulated and exploited to serve someone else's agenda."

More here. There are some more comments on the story here and here.


The Bush administration agreed yesterday to pay California farmers $16.7 million to compensate for water the government held back to preserve two imperiled fish species in the early 1990s, a pact that some legal experts said will make it harder for the federal government to protect endangered species. Property rights advocates hailed the settlement between the Justice Department and several thousand farmers from five San Joaquin Valley water districts, who lost as much as a third of their water deliveries in 1992 and 1994, when a long drought threatened the survival of the area's chinook salmon and delta smelt populations. The agreement affirmed a federal judge's 2001 decision that federal authorities' decisions to conserve water for the fish violated farmers' property rights.

The farmers' lawyer, Roger Marzulla, who served in the Justice Department's environmental division under President Ronald Reagan, said the government will no longer be able to deny citizens use of their land or water without compensation, even if a species is in trouble. "The principle has been established that if the federal government does take water rights . . . then the federal government must pay for that water," Marzulla said in a telephone interview. "It is now on the books."

Both California authorities and lawyers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which oversees efforts to protect the fish, had urged the Justice Department to appeal the 2001 verdict on the grounds that a settlement would spark new legal challenges to state and federal water policies. Judge John Paul Wiese ruled the government owed the farmers $14 million, a figure that ballooned after the court added in attorneys' fees and accrued interest. Tom Dresslar, spokesman for California Attorney General Bill Lockyer, said that "the claims court decision will present problems for the state, and hinder its ability to manage water to protect the environment and meet other public interests."

At the Justice Department, spokesman Blain Rethmeier did not explain why the administration decided to forgo an appeal, aside from saying, "This settlement is the result of careful and deliberate negotiations between the parties."

John D. Echeverria, who directs Georgetown University's Environmental Law and Policy Institute, said an appeals court could rule differently on the matter at some point, but "in the meantime, the United States government has given a great big stocking stuffer to California's cotton industry."

It was unclear how much of a legal precedent the settlement might establish. Sue Ellen Wooldridge, an Interior Department lawyer, said many federal and state water contracts include language that protects the government from liability when it acts to protect species. The three-page agreement between the administration and the San Joaquin Valley farmers also says the settlement should not "be interpreted to constitute a precedent or argument in this or any other case." But Marzulla said government officials had already begun to accommodate private property interests because of his lawsuit, and experts across the political spectrum said it could affect government decisions involving water used for public recreation and navigation.


California Farmers have until year's end to turn in plans to clean the air

Suddenly country air is bad for you! Let's all go and take a deep breath of that healthful city smog!

The Central Valley's dairy, cotton, fruit and vegetable farms are the newest front in the fight to clean up one of the nation's dirtiest air basins. The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District is requiring farmers with more than 100 contiguous acres and dairies with more than 500 cows to submit plans by the end of the year showing what they're doing to reduce the microscopic particles of dust, chemicals or other substances that come from their land. More than 6,400 farms and dairies in the 270-mile-long valley between San Francisco and Los Angeles meet the requirements to participate in the plan. The farmers can choose from dozens of dust-fighting options. They include measures many already practice, such as watering unpaved roads, switching to organic farming and working at night when winds are lighter.

Environmental activists lauded the new requirements, saying it was about time farmers joined local governments and other industries in controlling dust. But critics said the requirement asks for too little and gives farmers too much room to count measures they already were taking as part of their improvement package. The requirements are "really just a sham," said Brent Newell, an attorney with the Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment. Farmers are turning in plans in which they give themselves credit for actions they might have been taking for decades, he said. That would include growing permanent crops such as almonds and peaches.

Some farmers also have been critical of the program, although for different reasons. They say air regulators are focusing on agriculture because it's an easy target, while the other big source of particulate matter - vehicle emissions - goes unchecked on the local level. "We have less land in agriculture today than we had 40, 50 years ago, and the pollution is worse," said San Joaquin Farm Bureau program manager Joe Petersen, who farms 50 acres of cherries and wine grapes in San Joaquin County. "That says for me that ag isn't the problem." Despite the concerns, more than two-thirds of farmers with enough land or cows to fall under the new rules had complied and submitted their two-year plans by early December, said Rick McVaigh, the regional air board's permit services manager.

Health advocates said asking farmers to do their part is an important step in addressing the region's pollution problem. Farms raise 51 percent of the tiny specks of dust that help give the valley one of the nation's highest asthma rates.

Farmer John Pucheu said the requirement has raised farmers' awareness of the need to keep dust down. Like many farmers, however, he said the air among the cotton fields where he lives feels a lot cleaner to him than what he sees when he goes into Fresno, the valley's largest city. "In these urban areas, you have hundreds of thousands of cars," said Pucheu, who farms 3,500 acres in the west Fresno County town of Tranquillity. "Out here, most days the fields are just sitting there, growing."

The latest cleanup plan proposes reducing particulate pollution by 23 percent, or 34 tons a day, by 2010. To date, the region has missed a series of federal deadlines to reduce pollution - and residents in the area are paying for it with the nation's highest asthma rate. Medical research has shown that the particles that concern the air regulators and health workers- called PM10 because they are under 10 micrometers, or one-seventh of a human hair in width - can lead to chronic respiratory problems. According to the American Lung Association, the tiniest particles - those smaller than 2.5 micrometers - can lodge themselves deep inside lung tissue. They have been linked to heart attacks, strokes and a shorter life expectancy. The particles can consist of diesel exhaust, soot, ash and organic compounds from dairies such as ammonia, in addition to the dust that can rise from fields during harvest or tilling. "No one likes to get regulated," said Josette Merced Bello, chief executive officer of the American Lung Association of Central California. "Ag is not the only source, and this is not the only solution. But it's important for everyone to get involved."



Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Comments? Email me or here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Friday, December 24, 2004


The "Biodiversity Crisis" has gained significant attention in recent years as the worlds' leading ecologists and environmentalists warn us that plant and animal species are going extinct in ever increasing numbers; this demise, commonly referred to as "The Sixth Extinction", being largely caused by human destruction of habitat and the consumption of natural resources. Acting on this impending doom, governments worldwide have been greatly stepping up wildlife protection and habitat conservation measures.The Biodiversity treaty signed by 153 nations in 1992 at the Rio Earth Summit, places species preservation at the forefront of the global environmental agenda, with staggering political, social and economic ramifications affecting virtually everyone.

Despite the emphasis placed on this dilemma, scientists concede that shockingly little is actually known about global biodiversity and extinction rates in the first place. Because of this, estimates are subject to wild speculations. Currently, these range anywhere from 10 million to upwards of 100 million species; based on these totals, ecologists have projected rates of 27,000 extinctions each year to as much as half of all living species to disappear in our lifetime!

For the first time, the total number of living species on earth, as well as actual extinction rates, have been calculated from reliable data. At most, there are 3.63 million species and the extinction rate is 3 to 5 species annually, vastly differing from the much higher estimates embraced by environmentalists and accepted by many policy makers.In light of the factual evidence presented herein, the entire issue of biological conservation needs to be reevaluated and various endangered species laws in both the United States and abroad reformed or abolished.

(Much) more here


Michael Crichton's new novel, State of Fear , is a gripping novel about eco-terrorism that may do more to raise public awareness about global warming than any academic book on the subject. In his research for the novel, Crichton spent three years immersed in the literature on global warming. His novel remains gripping despite and, in part, because of a wealth of charts, graphs, and footnotes from the scientific literature. Crichton embeds scientific arguments about global warming into the dialogue of the novel itself, so skillfully and lucidly that the narrative tension is enriched rather than hampered.

There are at least four open questions about global warming: (1) Is it bad; (2) Is it happening; (3) Are we causing it; and (4) Will efforts like the Kyoto protocols make much difference anyway? If you can't imagine that all of these really are open questions, consider this one word: Greenland. Notice anything funny about its name? Right. It's not very green anymore--but it was in the Middle Ages when, as we know, the planet was warmer. Thanks to that extra plant energy, it was also a good time to be a farmer. The extra warmth wasn't bad then and it certainly wasn't caused by man.

Crichton never stops being a novelist, but he handles the technical material with such precision and thoroughness that the book could serve as a primer on the scientific debate itself, and on the way the debate has been manipulated by environmental groups and the mainstream media.

Anyone who raises questions about the global warming hysteria usually very quickly gets made to feel like he's against the earth, against trees, flowers, and butterflies. Crichton is to be commended for his willingness to suffer years of extreme discomfort at cocktail parties for the cause of truth.



Some excerpts from here

It seems the ghost of Velikovsky has been resurrected again, which I suspect is my fault. The ad Hominem "Velikovskian" is the means by which the scientific mafia rid themselves of unpleasant truths that contrary scientists utter when facts are considered in preference to complex computer models purporting to be facsimiles of physical reality. In 1950 Immanuel Velikovsky, a Jewish - Russian psychoanalyst, published a controversial book - Worlds in Collision - which caused a furore in academia. His apparent sin was to question the omnipotence of gravity as the sole cosmic force, and accepting the Old Testament as literal fact.

Most of his critics seized on his account of Joshua Ben Nun stopping the sun, mentioned last week, as proof of his status as a crank. However if one actually read World's in Collision one would discover, shock and horror, that Velikovsky wrote no such thing, arguing instead that there must be another force operating in the Cosmos, in addition to gravitation. (Most of Velikovsky's critics have avoided reading any of his books. Your lowly scribe, like the famous American geophysicist, Harry Hess of Princeton University, owned a copy of Earth in Upheaval - Velikovsky's scientific explanation for his historical interpretation described in Worlds in Collision - for some 17 years before finally realising that Velikovsky was onto something).

Velikovsky also wrote, based on the historical evidence, that past civilisations seem to have been destroyed by some sort of cosmic cataclysm involving, at various times, Venus and Mars. I am not going to repeat those stories here as there is plenty of information on the web. However an unfortunate side effect is that religious fundamentalists often tend to favour Velikovskian explanations as scientific evidence for their beliefs, so many critics automatically assume that if one favours Velikovskian scenarios, one must be some sort of religious fundamentalist.

Alas, I seem to have been outed! But I must confess I don't have any religious belief, preferring to remain, as H. L. Mencken wrote, a religious moron. Velikovsky was a man of his time, a European Jew reacting to the German Historical Tradition and in his books, perhaps unconsciously, assigning a more significant contribution to Western civilisation by the Jewish people that available evidence suggests. We all make errors and Velikovsky was not exempt from this common human affliction. Except for Global Warmers and social democrats of course, most of whom are error free, apparently.

Never the less his main argument, that the earth suffered global catastrophes in the past, is strenuously denied by mainstream science. This is, of course, contradicted by recent publications:

Bloomberg, 13 December 2004
Acta Astronautica, Volume 55, Issue 12 , December 2004, Pages 991-1006
San Francisco Chronicle, 13 December 2004
Comptes Rendus Geosciences, Volume 336, Issue 16 , December 2004, Pages 1491-1500
Parade Magazine, 5 December 2004
Michael Martin-Smith
DISCOVER Vol. 25 No. 12 | December 2004

No catastrophes happened in the past but we can expect future catastrophic collisions and all sorts of disasters in the future? Pull the other one....

So it comes with some irony that our scientific post-modernists, the scientific uniformists, deny past catastrophes happened despite an abundance of contrary oral and written evidence, but then have no difficulty predicting future catastrophes. One suspects there are more than the normal number of oxymorons in this mind set. (Excuse me for the use of a misplaced metaphor). Clearly their prognostications of the future are not based on historical precedent. Anthropogenic global warming is one imagined impending catastrophe.

Benny Peiser in a recent CCnet newsletter also pointed to a number of recent books all based on the topic of avoiding future catastrophes, some which I list here.

Oxford University Press, November 2004
Slate, 22 November 2004
The American Lawyer, 1 November 2004

Ironic isn't it - totally rejecting past catastrophes as Velikovskian fantasy, mainstream science has no difficulty coping with future catastrophes, whether climatic, meteoritic or asteroidal. I am sure many would have been excellent subjects for Velikovsky's skills as a psychoanalyst.

Was Velikovsky right in raising questions about gravitation being an unsatisfactory force to explain the historical recorded facts? Yes - it is called Plasma cosmology and I quote a leading scientist in this field, anonymously of course, from an email I received from him a few days ago in response to a comment I posted on a restricted scientific forum, to which both of us contribute, about a question a poster asked reading a new book on the Plasma Universe without crediting existing scientific workers. I replied - "Not to matter Ian, it is the next generation which will change ideas, not ours. We are setting the foundations for others to build on". I received the reply-


Correct and that is really all I want. I am aware of the book Ian has found and like so many other new books on Birkeland, Auroral dynamics, and Space Plasma, we old-timers often don't see our names mentioned at all. But in fact, the Plasma Universe is now PROMOTED by the American Physical Society, parts of the American Astrophysical Society, and most certainly the IEEE. At conferences, the term Plasma Universe is freely used, but presenters at APS and AAS most certainly don't understand the importance of the circuit aspect and usually try a Tycho-Brahe compromise, acknowledging plasma throughout the universe, but trying to meld it with 'traditional' astrophysics ideas.

And why not? It is all about funding. On the other hand, the schools belonging to the American Geophysical Union, Space Plasmas division and the IEEE present the material in the true tradition of Alfven and Birkeland, avoid the non-physical 'magnetic-reconnection' nonsense. Nevertheless, while I saw several presentations of the Plasma Universe at the APS conference in Savannah in November, some even mentioning the big-bang as part of it, there were no presentations on a Big Bang Universe. Of course, it is different in the Astrophysical Cosmological group whose 'standard' cosmology today resembles in no way that presented a decade ago."

The Plasma Universe is the scientific result by those of us who thought Velikovsky's ideas had merit. But the science of geology remains hamstrung in its Lyellian Post-modernism and some us, including your lowly scribe, are starting to develop the science of Plasma Geology. The plasma universe incorporates electricity, in addition to gravity, as the dominant cosmic force. An excellent site is that of the US Scientist Anthony Peratt, the discoverer of Peratt Instabilities described in the scientific Plasma Physics literature.

So why do I even bother with this arcane topic of a Plasma Universe? Because it shows our mainstream understanding of the Sun, and the solar system, is seriously in error, an error that is being propagated into the Anthropogenic global warming frenzy we are being made to suffer by the Greens and their fellow travellers.....


Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Comments? Email me here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Thursday, December 23, 2004


The Kyoto Club now consists of 129 nations - only 30 of these nations are bound by its restrictive provisions. The other nations are free to use as much fossil fuel as they wish, and are designated recipients of the wealth transfer required of the 30 developed nations.

As far as the Kyoto Club is concerned, human-caused global warming is an absolute fact - regardless of a preponderance of scientific evidence to the contrary. Their battle cry is to prevent the world's temperature from rising two degrees (C) above pre-industrial levels, which they contend will be catastrophic. They completely ignore the fact that a thousand years ago, the global temperature was at least two degrees (C) above current levels, during a period that science refers to as the "Medieval Climate Optimum." Greenland was actually green during this period.

Then the world entered a period known in science as the "Little Ice Age," which reached its depths between 1560 and 1850. Since then, global temperatures have risen steadily, until the mid 1900s, when the temperature leveled, and began to decline slightly.

This scientific record is undisputed, though some global-warming advocates have tried to obscure the record. The Kyoto Club simply ignores the record, and relies instead on computer models which can only predict from the data they are fed. When the same computer models are fed the known data from the last century, they fail to accurately project the known climate pattern. Why they should be relied upon to predict future patterns from projected data is a question that has yet to be answered.

Now that the Kyoto Club has the power of international law, it does not have to answer questions. It can simply issue decrees and declarations, create regulations, and penalize the non-compliant.

Already, the participants at COP 10 are dreaming of ways to penalize the United States, to force the U.S. to join the international global warming club. Cathie Adams, president of Texas Eagle Forum , who is attending the gathering, reports that the World Trade Organization is seen to be the enforcer of choice .

More here


The United Nations' (UN) annual climate change convention conference is meeting from 6-17 December in Buenos Aires, Argentina. In this city famous for its tango dance, it is fitting that nations tango over the scientifically unresolved theory called global warming. Mostly Third World diplomats, led by the infamous "oil-for-food" bureaucrat Secretary-General Kofi Annan, are here to create a methodology to rob industrialized nations. The UN aim is clear: UNLESS the developed countries fill the coffers of corrupt Third World governments, the sky will surely fall.

The official name of this conference is the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change-Conference of the Parties #10 (UNFCCC-COP 10). Since 1997, I have watched the UN maneuver like "Keystone Cops" to conjure up a man-caused global warming theory and then convince the citizens of the world that the sky will fall UNLESS we obey their demands to redistribute wealth via implementation of the Kyoto Protocol.

Of the 191 member nations that promise to be "peace-loving states," including the Islamic Republic of Iran and Communist Cuba, 128 are Parties to the Kyoto Protocol. The U.S. and Australia are the largest industrialized holdouts of the treaty. Nonetheless, the UN has decided that it will become legally binding on 15 February 2005, since our "ally" Russia ratified it, thus meeting the UN criteria that it would go into effect once 55% of the world's producers of the non-polluting carbon dioxide (CO2) and five other greenhouse gases ratified the protocol/treaty.

Next February 30 industrialized nations will be legally bound to the Protocol to be enforced by the World Trade Organization (WTO). Discussions during this two-week meeting will focus on an international carbon-trading market, Clean Development Mechanisms (CDMs) and Adaptation Fund. This UN-speak requires some explanation.

First, the WTO is a huge international bureaucracy based in Geneva, which was created by a 14-page document sneakily added to the 22,000-page General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs (GATT), just before former President Clinton signed it, to set, administer and enforce global rules for world trade.. It has a legislative body (in which 110 nations each have one vote), a multi-national bureaucracy, and a supreme court to decide trade disputes (whose rulings cannot be vetoed by any nation).....

Even though the U.S. is not a party to the Kyoto Protocol, we are members of the WTO, which is its implementation arm. Since they have a history of imposing "sanctions" on the U.S. for not kowtowing to their demands, it remains to be seen whether they will use this legally binding treaty to impose new sanctions, regardless of our non-ratification. Stay tuned for more from the scene of the Keystone COPs and robbers in Argentina.

More here


Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Comments? Email me here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Wednesday, December 22, 2004


The Kyoto treaty is pointless without a follow-up and the combination of the USA, China and India ensures that there won't be one

When Paula Dobrianksy, the State Department's senior official on climate change, presented Washington's partnership programs on climate change this week during the Buenos Aires conference on climate change, alongside her on the platform were the representatives of China, India and Italy. This is who is now in charge of UN climate change negotiations. No wonder NGOs looked glum.....

The EU and the NGOs came to Buenos Aries to celebrate the entry into force of the Protocol. The UN Secretariat had festooned is administrative offices at La Rural, the international conference centre in Buenos Aries with posters carrying the message, "Ten years in partnership". The posters listed the NGOs who had campaigned for Kyoto. The European Commission offices were emblazoned with the message "Combating Climate Change for Ten Years". This message was unintentionally ironic. There is little to show for Commission effort. The Kyoto Protocol will have no impact on levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and would probably slow growth in the world economy a little if it is fully implemented. Climatologists would say, "What would you expect? Ten years is a nanosecond in climate time".

The commitments in Kyoto run out in 2012. They only apply to industrialized countries. The writing was on the wall last year in Milan at the 9th Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Developing countries had already made clear they would not make commitments in the future to cut emissions. This made the European Commission, Greenpeace, the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) and Friends of the Earth edgy in Milan. Despite 10 years of agitation with exaggeration and unsubstantiated claims of calumny and doom about global warming, the Kyoto Protocol was the best they could do and it fell far short of their expectations. To make the best of a bad situation, they started justifying Kyoto as "just the first step", arguing Kyoto itself did not have to make a difference, it would just begin a process where progressively tougher and tougher terms would be adopted in subsequent "steps".

The Environment Directorate of the European Commission has been cocky about Kyoto. The Bush Administration's refusal to support Kyoto had been lambasted in Europe as one of the defining examples of US "unilateralism" (the other being invasion of Iraq) which undermined the multilateral system of international affairs. In Buenos Aires, the Bush Administration showcased peerless multilateral diplomacy. Here it was working publicly hand in glove with China, a leader of the developing country group, and India, another leader in that group. It even was working with Italy, immediate past President of the EU. The European Commission is isolated and casual slights against the US have ceased, except among the NGOs who haven't twigged to the change.

They are simply sullen and puzzled. One confessed he couldn't work out why the mood was different. This was typical. By and large NGOs have failed to understand the capacity of the UN to work conscientiously on colossal white elephants which have no prospect of working and, when finally reality bites -- usually when Governments work out the cost -- discarding them or reshaping them into something else. The US and the developing countries decided in Buenos Aires to discard the Protocol......

The developing countries are not just following the US lead. They appreciate that the Kyoto strategy of regulating reductions in emissions of carbon dioxide will flatten growth. The Greens accuse them of ignoring the impending threat of greenhouse warming. They are not stupid. They evidently find the case of global warming and the science adduced to support it unconvincing.

More here


Louis Hissink has a reply here to a critic who accuses him of not being a proper scientist. One excerpt:

"I am professionally paid as a diamond exploration geologist. My work involves searching for orebodies, specifically diamond bearing orebodies, and in order to do this we do some extremely unusual things - we frame hypotheses, collect samples to test them, and if the sampling is negative, we dump the hypothesis and start on another tack. This practice is done often. It is called the “Scientific Method". My critic insinuates that I don’t understand this - the first lie.

I think it would be truthful to suggest that of all the scientists in professional employment, exploration geologists are probably the most intensive practioners of the scientific method, partly because if we don’t find anything we don’t get paid. This is a serious incentive to actually getting it right, and from many years of experience, we have developed an extremely good ability to discern scientific bullshit when we come across it; human induced global warming is one such instance.

Anthropogenic warming was first mooted by Callender, cited by Jaworowski in his submission to the US Senate in March this year (2004). full text here. As Jaworowski notes in his figure 2, Callender selectively extracted that data to support his hypothesis - hardly a scientific method, but my critic and his/her fellow travellors have yet to contradict this evidence. They have also not countered the fraud committed described in Figure 1 presented by Jaworowski, cited above. Of course they can’t, scientific fact is hard to counter".


Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Comments? Email me or here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Tuesday, December 21, 2004


November has been quite a month for climate disaster stories! First, Nature magazine reports that the Antarctic food chain is all out of whack, with krill populations crashing around the South Orkney Islands because of global warming. Then a new, federally funded "Arctic Climate Impact Assessment" (ACIA) comes along, predicting the upcoming extinction of polar bears and the death of Inuit culture. But you can breathe a sigh of relief because both of those disaster stories are critically flawed. In fact, the only real disaster they demonstrate is the disheartening decay of the peer-review process in science.

The krill story should be especially disturbing to anyone who places faith in the refereed scientific literature, which once could reliably be cited as the canon of current truth. Krill, if you don't know, are small, shrimp-like animals that basically are manna to whales and other sea life. The authors of the Nature report that the krill population around South Orkney Island in the South Atlantic Ocean varies directly with the amount of sea ice that forms each winter. Because that area has warmed in recent decades, and because the krill population has declined rapidly from the 1970s to today, the authors conclude that global warming is killing the krill.

But the very same data that show a relationship between the amount of ice and the krill also show that there has been absolutely no change in the amount of ice around South Orkney Island since 1975. That's right; the factor that the authors claim is controlling the krill population hasn't changed a lick. The sea ice data were published in the journal Environmental Conservation in 2002. It is inconceivable that the authors of the Nature paper did not know about it, because they used it to "prove" the relationship between ice and krill. Why wasn't this caught in the peer review process? It's in the magazine's best interest for embarrassments like this to get spotted before they appear in print. Anyone sent this paper for commentary would (should?) have asked whether the ice was in fact in decline.

Lax review is also evident in the Arctic Assessment, which probably received more press than any climate story in recent years. One of the big headlines that it generated was that polar bears are going to go extinct because of climate change. the Washington Post quoted Lara Hansen of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), who expressed serious concern that populations will stop reproducing as climate warms. In 2002, the WWF published a huge report on polar bears and global warming, called "Polar Bears at Risk." The organization found 22,000 polar bears scattered in 20 somewhat distinct populations around the Arctic. According to the WWF, 46 percent of the populations were stable, 17 percent were in decline, 14 percent were increasing, and the status of 23 percent was unknown. Red flags waving on bad math! Any number divided by 20 yields a multiple of 5 -- 5, 10, 15, etc... An accompanying map only showed 19 populations, but no whole number divided by 19 yields 46, 17, 14, or 23.

The WWF did not map out the regions where the polar bear populations were changing. They left that to enviro-curmudgeons like me. And what I found was this: Where the polar bear populations are in decline -- around Baffin Bay (the region between Canada and Greenland), temperatures are also going down, big time. And the area where temperatures are rising the most -- in the Pacific region bordering on Alaska and Siberia, polar bear populations are increasing. That fact did not make it into the ACIA report, but the doomsday WWF claim did. Again, the simplest check of an hypothesis was not made.

How many stories are out there like this on global warming? Plenty. These two are just the most recent and two of the more egregious. Why does this happen? Washington has handed out nearly $20 billion in global warming research money in recent years. That is ample money to do good research. There is absolutely no incentive to tell the truth, if the truth will make one poor.



Evidence regardless

Pennsylvania lawmakers are facing pressure from activists to impose stringent mercury restrictions on power companies. Penn Future, an anti-mercury activist group with the motto, "We refuse to accept our current environmental condition and dedicate ourselves to changing it," is pressuring the state legislature not only to issue mercury standards in advance of federal action, but to preempt whatever federal rules are ultimately issued. "Penn Future has formally petitioned the Pennsylvania Environmental Quality Board (EQB) to adopt new rules to require power plants to reduce their emissions of toxic mercury pollution by 90% by 2007," states the group's Web site. Moreover, Penn Future urges the legislature simply to disregard the prohibitive costs of such a standard. "Whatever the cost is, it's unavoidable," Penn Future President John Hanger told the Harrisburg Patriot on August 10. "We have so much mercury within our borders. It's past time to get going," asserted Hanger.

Analysts contend the proposed restrictions would not only be expensive, but would have little impact on the state's environment. Connie Walker, a spokesperson for Pennsylvania Power and Light, observed in the Patriot that 75 percent of U.S. mercury pollution comes from outside the nation's borders. Walker further noted that power plants are responsible for just 10 percent of U.S. mercury pollution and merely 1 percent worldwide. "State regulations will have little impact on lakes, streams, and fish in Pennsylvania," Walker told the Patriot. "They will put us at a competitive disadvantage and increase the cost of electricity."

In Illinois, activist groups are urging Governor Rod Blagojevich (D) to impose the strictest possible mercury standards on the state's power suppliers. For example, the Illinois Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) is pushing for a 90 percent reduction in mercury emissions by 2010, regardless of cost. PIRG supports its demand by asserting "the vast bulk of mercury loading into our waterways comes from coal-burning electric power plants." Scientists dispute that claim.

A recent study by Derek Winstanley and Edward Krug, published in the journal Hydrology and Earth System Science, concluded most of the mercury found in the environment comes from natural rather than manmade sources. According to a review of the Winstanley and Krug study in Electricity Daily, "The background for the study is a longstanding problem with the theory that coal-fired power plant emissions are the leading cause of mercury in fish, namely that there is no correlation between power plant locations and high mercury levels. To overcome this lack of evidence the proponents of the theory, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, have claimed that mercury circulates nationally and globally via a process of general atmospheric deposition."

The Winstanley and Krug study tested the EPA theory by comparing human-source mercury emissions with newly measured environmental mercury levels globally, nationally, and in Illinois. The study showed most mercury emissions are natural in origin: "Hg [mercury] concentrations and contents of Illinois and USA soils are too great to be accounted for by atmospheric anthropogenic [man-made] Hg deposition," they conclude. As a result, notes Electricity Daily, "reducing the estimated 50 tons of mercury emitted by U.S. coal fired power plants might have little or no effect on environmental mercury levels."

Winstanley and Krug note, "The reported average Hg concentration of USA soils is about 2.5 times greater than that of the Illinois soils, whereas average total USA atmospheric Hg deposition is reported to be about half that of Illinois." In other words, Illinois has twice as much mercury deposition as the U.S. average, but mercury concentration in Illinois soils is about 40 percent lower than in the U.S. on average. For that reason, Winstanley and Krug write, "The hypothesis that most Hg in Illinois and the USA soils is of anthropogenic origin is rejected."

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Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Comments? Email me here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Monday, December 20, 2004


The Greens will never approve no matter what the GOP does anyway

Environmental activists wanted two things to happen on Election Day—they wanted President Bush to lose and their cause to be a big reason why. They got neither, and that may bode well for the future of environmental policy reform. Surveys taken before the elections showed that the environment was far down on the list of voters' concerns. For example, a Gallup poll taken earlier in 2004 ranked it 11th in importance among 12 issues. The election-day results bore this out, as the environment was barely on the radar compared to security, the economy, health care, and other issues. Overall, it is safe to say that environmental issues played no role in the outcome, and that probably would have been the case even if Bush had narrowly lost.

This was not for lack of trying. The big green groups, most of whom maintain only a pretense of nonpartisanship, began their attacks as soon as Bush took office and never let up during the ensuing four years. When the President wasn't poisoning the children with arsenic in drinking water or mercury in fish, he was handing over national forests to loggers or walking away from the international consensus to fight global warming. The elite media gave these and other factually questionable allegations ample publicity and minimal scrutiny.

The League of Conservation Voters handed Bush a grade of F on the environment, and at a press conference expressed regret that there was no lower grade to give. Natural Resources Defense Council activist Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. called Bush "America's worst environmental president," and was far from alone in doing so. The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, CBS, NBC, and ABC gleefully ran with nearly every hit piece the green groups fed them. And Democratic politicians tried to make the most of these attacks.

But on Election Day, "America's worst environmental president" lost very few votes because of the environment. The eco-vilification could not have been any more intense, yet politically it amounted to nothing. It wasn't, as green activists now assert, that voters were simply distracted by other issues—the electorate also demonstrated skepticism towards the anti-Bush environmental hyperbole.

There are lessons for both parties. The Democrats were proven wrong in thinking that they could beat up Bush and the Republicans with a green stick. Indeed, many congressional Democrats even grandstanded against Bush's least controversial environmental reforms, such as the wildfire-reducing Healthy Forests Restoration Act. They thought they would score political points, but it clearly did not happen. Perhaps Democrats will finally realize that they don't gain from knee-jerk opposition to Republicans on environmental matters.

Republicans have lessons to learn as well. Despite the howls from the environmental left and the media, the real story of the Bush environmental record thus far is one of timidity and fear of criticism. With only a few exceptions, the administration has declined to take bold action to fix the many outdated, costly, and ineffective federal environmental measures enacted over the past three decades. Such efforts would have sparked opposition from the environmental old-guard, who see any fundamental change as change for the worse, even in programs with a poor track record.

Beyond struggling in vain to avoid criticism, Bush also tried to court environmentalists with occasional "me too" measures no different than ones an Al Gore administration would have enacted, such as the tough new emissions controls on diesel equipment. Of course, the Republicans never came anywhere close to placating the greens, and the election results show that they need not have bothered to try.

Looking ahead, the environmental activists will certainly continue their over-the-top attacks, but President Bush and the Republican-led Congress have little reason to be concerned. At the very least, they can safely engage in obstructionism and stop environmental policy from getting worse.... Better still, the administration and Congress could also engage in reforming existing policy. "The environmental regulatory system in the United States is broken and needs repair," says Jonathan Adler, Associate Professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Law......

More here


After years of cowardly pandering to environmental and animal rights activists, at last industry is fighting back. Groups such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and the Wilderness Society have long been getting away with twisting the truth and using questionable methods to push their agendas. Many other groups have become power-crazy bullies using a compliant media to expand their influence. But last week, in a twin blow for fairness, the Tasmanian timber company Gunns Ltd filed suit against 20 activists, alleging they have told lies and sabotaged the company; and Italian clothing giant Benetton refused to cave in to PETA threats and boycott Australian wool. Not only that, but the Australian Wool Innovation group last month launched legal action in the Federal Court to stop PETA threatening clothing retailers.

Gunns filed its $6.3 million lawsuit at the same time as the ABC's Independent Complaints Review Panel upheld three complaints that a Four Corners program in February, Lords Of The Forests, was inaccurate, showed bias and lacked fairness. That's putting it mildly. But it was just this kind of inaccurate, unfair hyperbole that fuelled Opposition Leader Mark Latham's ill-fated visit to Tasmania's forest with Greens leader Bob Brown. Maybe the ALP should join Gunns lawsuit. Gunns, Tasmania's largest employer, is suing 20 groups and individuals, including Brown, Tasmanian Greens leader Peg Putt and Wilderness Society national campaigns director Alec Marr. The company accuses them of a sustained campaign of vilification, vandalising machinery, disrupting operations and seriously damaging crucial business with Japan. Tasting some of his own medicine, Brown went purple at the intimidation. "They can take every penny," he told the ABC. "They can take every peaceful night's sleep. They can take every home comfort. They will never stop me campaigning against their vile destruction of Tasmania's forests and its wildlife." Gunns shares rose to an all-time high at initial news of its legal action, reported Hobart's The Mercury newspaper.

Meanwhile, in Chicago on Friday, PETA made good its blackmail threat to Benetton: boycott Australian wool or face a corporate vilification campaign. Protesters paraded red sheep and bloody videos titled United Cruelty Of Benetton outside Benetton stores to convince shoppers to boycott the label. PETA's target is Australian wool, because it claims the age-old practice of mulesing by Australian farmers is cruel. Mulesing is the removal of loose skin around the sheep's anus to prevent painful, even fatal, attacks by blowflies and maggots. As yet, there is no viable alternative, farmers say. Already, US retailer Abercrombie & Fitch has buckled under PETA pressure and promised not to use Australian wool.

Make no mistake, wool is the new fur and PETA will not rest until it has destroyed our wool industry, in much the same way it has been pulverising the Indian leather industry by persuading shoe and fashion retailers, such as Nike, Reebok, Gap, Marks & Spencer and J.Crew to boycott their leather. India's leather industry is its second largest employer. But PETA, like its fan, the artist known again as Prince, couldn't care less about people. On his new album, Prince poses in fake wool under the words: "To my mind, the life of a lamb is no less precious than that of a human being."

Right. It's about time activists were forced to take responsibility for their actions, instead of blithely threatening other people's livelihoods in order to make themselves feel good or enhance their social lives. If you tell lies or break the law, you should face the consequences, because the company, its workers, contractors and shareholders certainly do.



Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Comments? Email me or here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.