Tuesday, March 29, 2005


Candles and stoves are in their sights. Burning ANYTHING inside your home may soon be a No-No

The California agency famous for putting the squeeze on automotive tailpipe emissions is poised to tackle dirty indoor air. In a hefty report to the Legislature completed this month, the California Air Resources Board asserts that indoor air can be as polluted and dangerous to breathe as outdoor air, costing the state at least $45 billion a year in lost worker productivity, medical expenses and premature deaths......

Some sources of indoor pollution are well-known, such as cigarette smoke. Others are less obvious - for instance, air purifiers that deliberately generate ozone. Makers tout ozone as killing germs and eliminating odor-causing chemicals. But ozone itself is harmful to breathe.

Another little-known trouble source: Natural-gas stoves. The biggest culprits are unvented stoves, or stoves in which cooks don't use the ventilation hood. But even properly vented appliances pose a risk, because combustion creates byproducts that aren't completely sucked away by a hood, Nazaroff said. "After the gas burns, you end up with nitrogen oxides and soot, and you also may end up with some formaldehyde," he said. "There's no exposure that's good to those things." By the same token, fireplaces and even candles make particulate pollution, which is bad for the lungs and heart. "Any kind of combustion, in my view, is something to avoid," Nazaroff said.

The list of sources goes on: Mold, dust mites, cockroach droppings; radon; off-gassing from particle board, new carpets and furniture; fumes from consumer products, including certain cleansers, pesticides, hair spray and nail polish.

At an air board meeting this month, industry representatives defended their products. "These aren't just pollutants in a can," said Laurie Nelson, a lobbyist for the Consumer Specialty Products Association, representing makers of goods marketed as providing a cleaner and healthier environment, including disinfectants and odor-masking fragrances. Nelson said reformulating products to minimize emissions could render those products less effective. Nevertheless, putting pressure on manufacturers to make less-polluting products is one obvious way to clean up indoor air, said Nazaroff, who supports more government involvement. Even a voluntary program could work, he said, one in which manufacturers who meet emission standards could put a label on their goods, similar to the "Energy Star" label allowed on energy-efficient products.

What regulating indoor air is not likely to involve is pollution police checking the air inside people's homes, Nazaroff added. "Some of what we're talking about ... is not going to require profound change in habits ... and could lead to significant improvement in environmental health," he said.

More here

Simplistic Religious Fundamentalism on the March

(This post lifted whole from Daily Ablution)

Today on BBC Radio 4, the hugely influential Today programme presented a discussion (streaming RAM) between Dick Taverne, author of The March of Unreason and highly sceptical about the environmental lobby in general, and Charlie Kronick, chief policy advisor for Greenpeace.

Although the piece was overall a well-balanced one, Sarah Montague's introduction struck an odd note:

"What happened to GM crop trials in Britain? It seems no-one wants to carry them out because the fields were attacked. So, environmental organisations have won the public debate."

Interesting that a tiny proportion of activists forcing a response through property destruction and the ensuing intimidation constitutes "winning the public debate" at the BBC. One wonders whether they'd take the same view of, say, a group of Tory party activists storming the Today studios, demanding that all presenters and producers espouse right-of-centre politics (think Monty Python's Hell's Grannies confronting Mr. Humphrys et al).

Conservative activists debate Today programme presenter (prone, shielding face)

In the unlikely event that such an action were to prove successful in forcing editorial change through direct intimidation, do you suppose that the unemployed Today team would see it as the result of "public debate"?

In the same segment, Greenpeace chief policy advisor Charlie Kronick wastes no time in making something "absolutely clear". Responding to the Lib-Dem Lord Taverne's assertion that "they [environmental NGOs, specifically Greenpeace] say there's a danger to health," when in fact study after study has shown none, Mr. Kronick is unequivocal:

"Well, first of all, Greenpeace doesn't oppose GM crops of the basis of health. Greenpeace opposed GM crops on the basis of their risk to the environment. So that's absolutely clear."

How odd that their chief policy advisor is unaware of the position laid out on the organisation's website (emphasis added):

"Greenpeace opposes the release of GM into the environment because they pose unpredictable and irreversible long-term risks to environmental and human health."

Or perhaps what his statement really makes clear is his propensity to mislead the public when it's necessary (or even just momentarily expedient).

Mr. Kronick goes on to illustrate the illogical certainty of the religious fundamentalist:

Sarah Montague, BBC: "Do you accept that there are some advantages to them?"

Charlie Kronick, Greenpeace: "No. We don't accept that there are advantages."

And later:

SM: "Do you not accept that there are some benefits to GM crops?"

CK: "We do not accept that there are benefits to GM crops."

None. And if it's possible for tests to demonstrate benefits, or to accurately quantify the risks, those tests must be stopped - through violence and intimidation of law-abiding farmers, if need be. One can't help but be reminded of the Church authorities' (apocryphal?) refusal to look at the moons of Jupiter through Galileo's telescope, for fear that the facts might interfere with the theological position so important to them.

(Incidentally, such one-dimensional certainty in the face of a complex issue (see also: nuclear power) is always amusing coming from the greens, given their frequently-professed contempt for the simplistic black-and-white mindset so often ascribed to President Bush.)

As far as possible advantages of GM crops are concerned, Mr. Kronick has previously demonstrated that "3 million people being able to eat" is not to his mind an advantage at all, having applauded the Zambian government's 2002 refusal to allow distribution of GM food aid (corn previously ground, and therefore incapable of 'contaminating' the gene pool) for those under an immediate threat of famine - ostensibly on human health grounds - as  "a triumph of national sovereignty. The US has been putting pressure on countries to accept the GM surpluses produced by its farmers."

Once again, an underlying priority of the Green movement is revealed. In fact, one could argue that Mr. Kronick's statement on human health contains an element of truth, shedding light as it does on the primary interest of his organisation - which has become so highly politicised that even its founder left in disgust, noting that "the environmental movement has been hijacked by political activists who are using green rhetoric to cloak agendas that have more to do with anti-corporatism and class warfare than with ecology or the environment."

For it is a fact - Greenpeace and their co-religionists are not primarily concerned about human health (see also: DDT and malaria). Nor is their main concern the welfare of the starving, nor even the broader environment itself. It is, all-importantly, opposition to global capitalism - especially as reflected in the policies of the US and the current administration - whenever possible, whatever the issue and whatever the situation.

And if that means widespread famine, or millions dead from malaria, so be it. After all, we're all going to die anyway, but Gaia and Green theology will live on - and aren't cherished religious principles worth more than a few million human lives?


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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