Thursday, December 09, 2004

Suit to de-list endangered species

Bob Briggs' wife's family has owned about 1,000 acres of redwood forest off Waddell Creek since 1913. He doesn't clearcut, and logs about once a decade. He pays the property taxes on the Rancho del Oso land with money from the wood and an organic farm. "If I couldn't farm my property here, if I couldn't harvest my timber from time to time, I would not be in an economic position to keep this land," Briggs said. But coho salmon and steelhead spawn in the creek, so Briggs, 80, said he faces a growing number of restrictions on what he can do with his property, located about seven miles north of Davenport. For example, he said, it took two years and a consultant for him to get a permit to clear a log jam that diverted water over his fields.

Many in the Central Coast Forest Association - a group of about 200 people who own small woodland swaths of Santa Cruz and Monterey counties - share his frustrations, Briggs said. So they have teamed up with a Sacramento law firm and others to challenge the Endangered Species Act listings of salmon and steelhead in California, Oregon, Washington and Idaho. "All of these regulations and restrictions are not about fish, they're about the government controlling land use," said Briggs, spokesman for the Central Coast group.

The Pacific Legal Foundation recently filed an intent to sue the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries, a federal agency responsible for protecting and preserving marine resources. The letter asserts coho salmon and steelhead bred in the wild are genetically identical to those raised in hatcheries, said Russ Brooks, managing attorney for the foundation. Because there is no difference, the filing contends, counters should include both in their tallies and remove the fish from the threatened and endangered species lists. Coho salmon and steelhead spawn in streams and rivers and both are listed as threatened in Santa Cruz County. They also are threatened or endangered around the Pacific Northwest.

In a related development, the Bush administration on Tuesday proposed cutting the federally designated habitat critical to the recovery of threatened and endangered salmon by more than 80 percent in the Northwest and 50 percent in California, focusing protection on rivers where the fish now thrive. Briggs said he looks forward to the relaxed land restrictions his group's lawsuit could provide.

Scientists argue hatchery fish aren't as strong as wild fish. They compete with them for food and threaten the gene pool. Fishermen say the difference between catching a wild and hatchery fish is like that between a wild turkey and a Butterball. But Brooks said the listings are not about fish. Instead, they are a tool to block logging and development.



A Science Magazine essay claiming there is a "scientific consensus" about human-caused "global warming" was ridiculed Monday by a British scientist, who compared such a "consensus" to the near-unanimous elections that existed in the old Soviet Union. On Monday, Benny Peiser, a United Kingdom social anthropologist, called the Dec. 3 essay, "The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change," a "disturbing" study. "A one-hundred-percent record of 'scientific consensus' on anthropogenic climate change would be a sensational finding indeed. In fact, such a total result would be even more remarkable than any 'consensus' ever achieved in Soviet-style elections," Peiser noted sarcastically.

The Science Magazine essay analyzed 928 abstracts containing the keyword "climate change," all published in peer-reviewed scientific journals between 1993 and 2003. The essay found that not a single one of the studies showed climate change to be naturally occurring. The essay was written by University of California professor Naomi Oreskes, a member of the University's Department of History and Science Studies Program. According to Oreskes, "None of these (928) papers argued that [current climate change is natural]. This analysis shows that scientists publishing in the peer-reviewed literature agree with [United Nations] IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), the National Academy of Sciences, and the public statements of their professional societies," Oreskes wrote. "Politicians, economists, journalists, and others may have the impression of confusion, disagreement, or discord among climate scientists, but that impression is incorrect," she added. "The question of what to do about climate change is also still open. But there is a scientific consensus on the reality of anthropogenic (human caused) climate change. Climate scientists have repeatedly tried to make this clear. It is time for the rest of us to listen," concluded Oreskes.

But Peiser, a senior lecturer in Social Anthropology & Sport Sociology at Liverpool John Moores University and the editor of of CCNet (Cambridge Conference Network) webzine, labeled Oreskes' essay a "disturbing article. Whatever happened to the countless research papers published in the last ten years in peer-reviewed journals that show that temperatures were generally higher during the Medieval Warm Period than today, that solar variability is most likely to be the key driver of any significant climate change and that the methods used in climate modeling are highly questionable?" Peiser asked. "Given the countless papers published in the peer-reviewed literature over the last ten years that implicitly or explicitly disagree with the hypothesis of anthropogenic global warming, one can only conclude that all of these were simply excluded from the [Science Magazine] review. That's how it arrived at a 100 percent consensus!" he added.

According to Peiser, Oreskes' assertion that there is a 100 percent consensus about the issue is not backed by science. "Even [former Soviet dictator Joseph] Stalin himself did not take consensus politics to such extremes," Peiser explained. "In the Soviet Union the official 'participation rate' was never higher than 98-99 percent. So how did the results published in Science achieve a 100 percent level of conformity? Regrettably, the article does not include any reference to the [unpublished?] study itself, let alone the methodology on which the research was based. This makes it difficult to check how Oreskes arrived at the truly miraculous results," he added.

Chris Horner, a senior fellow at the free market environmental group Competitive Enterprise Institute, also criticized the idea that there is a "scientific consensus" on "global warming." "Publishing such an easily debunked falsehood in an erstwhile reputable, peer-review publication (Science Magazine) demonstrates either a new low in desperation or a new generation believing there are no checks and therefore no limits," Horner told After all, past nonsense brought increasing taxpayer funding for decades. What would make them think they can't just make things up?" Horner added.

Iain Murray, a senior fellow in International Policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, wrote a letter to the editor of Science Magazine questioning why the study was even published. "I was surprised to see Science publish an article crowing over the existence of a scientific consensus on global warming and then advancing the non-sequitur that political action is therefore needed. Neither is a point worthy of consideration in an objective, scientific journal," Murray wrote in his letter to the editor, dated Dec. 6. "...the message of the article -- that politicians must act on the basis of the science -- is clearly a political point rather than a scientific one," Murray continued. "...the argument advanced by the author that 'our grandchildren will surely blame us if they find that we understood the reality of anthropogenic climate change and failed to do anything about it' is barely economically literate and has no place in a scientific journal," he added.


The above story reminds me of this piece of "research" reported in an eminent psychology journal. Although the authors of that study express some pride that they "cast a wide net" in looking for articles to include in their summary, they in fact leave out practically everything that does not suit them. They look only at articles that they like. It is NOT in any way a comprehensive, objective survey of the literature on the subject. For instance, how many of my 200+ published academic journal articles on the subject did they cite? Just two. So just in ignoring the great bulk of my articles on the subject they ignored half the relevant literature. But Leftists always have been good at ignoring evidence. So they concluded that their Leftist approach to the study of politics "has withstood the relentless tests of time and empirical scrutiny" and go on to cite 13 articles that support their approach as evidence for that assertion. If they had been fair and objective, they could also have quoted 100 articles of mine that upset that assertion. But in good Leftist fashion it is only people who support their views that they cite. Any science with Leftist involvement swiftly degenerates into bunk. More on that 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.

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