Saturday, May 14, 2005


(Post lifted from Publius Pundit. He seems to specialize in all things Latin American)

Leftist ecology outfits are basically money-making operations. The more of a stink they can raise on an issue, the more the cash rolls into their coffers. It has nothing to do with merit, only buzz. And the causes they champion are not based on principle but on how leftwing. Ask anyone who's ever been involved with an NGO racket. Not one of them is normal. They are all sharks. That's why their biggest causes aren't necessarily the most objectively serious ones. Greenpeace or an eco-outfit like them will happily harass a Midwestern farmer over a `wetland' (read: swamp) or sandalista away in the trenches to deny critical oil development to an impoverished Inuit or Indigenous community. As Jim Holt adds, they don't mind what Africans die of, so long as it is not DDT.

But when something really serious is at stake, like a significant anaconda and flamingo preserve about to be turned into a collective farm, they go mysteriously silent when they realize the leftwing credentials of the perpetrator. Which is precisely why Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez is confident he can get away with just about anything he'd like in eco-destruction. He's part of their protection racket. And therefore, he's protected. But nature itself is on its own.

Alek Boyd has an email conversation with Greenpeace here


In light of the general hysteria over global warming, it's nice, once in a while, to be able to couch our current and ongoing climate changes into some larger perspective. We keep hearing about historically warm years, warm decades, or warm centuries, uncharacteristically long or severe droughts, etc. for which mankind's striving for a high quality of life is to blame, via the internal combustion engine and its by-product, carbon dioxide. But in reality, in most cases, we have a tragically short record of good observations to really determine how much of a record we're even close to setting.

For example, let's take one fairly recent climate discovery called the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, or PDO. In the late 1990s, some west coast fisheries researchers noted cyclical behavior in the annual salmon harvest and tied it to a Pacific Ocean climate anomaly. It turns out that when the Pacific Ocean off of Southern California and the Baja Peninsula is warmer than normal at the water surface, temperatures are typically lower than normal in the north central Pacific well south of the Aleutians. This state, called the positive phase of the PDO, is also linked to dry conditions in the Pacific Northwest and the northern Rockies and above average rainfall in the Desert Southwest (see Figure1). In the opposite situation, negative PDO, you simply flip the sea-surface temperatures and precipitation patterns.

What's interesting and potentially useful about the PDO is that it's behavior is quasi-cyclic, as the name suggests -- it oscillates from positive to negative back to positive every 50 to 70 years or so. Thus, the PDO should be a useful tool for forecasting water resources in the western U.S., where water is more precious than fresh salmon.

With the phenomenal accuracy afforded by hindsight, we now know that, sometime around 1977-78, our planet underwent an abrupt shift from one climatic state (generally cold) to another (warm), and much of the "action" was centered in PDO territory in the north Pacific Ocean. In the late 1970s, the PDO switched from negative to positive, and the snowpack in the northern Rockies hasn't recovered.

Of course, this climate shift was retrospectively blamed on increasing greenhouse gases, because such dramatic and abrupt shifts just couldn't be "natural." Presumably Nature, left to her own devices, does not cotton to wild mood swings. But is global warming really to blame? Not likely, based on some new analyses by UCLA geographers Glen MacDonald and Roslyn Case. Using tree rings gathered from a hydrologically sensitive species of pine in California and Alberta (near two of the centers of high and low rainfall associated with the PDO), MacDonald was able to reconstruct the PDO all the way back to 993 A.D. Now this is a long climate record.

Their reconstruction (see figure 2) has two very important implications on our understanding of contemporary climate. First, the "great" climate shift of the late 70s that sent climatologists ballistic pales in comparison to many of the changes observed over the past 1000 years or more. Based on this graphic, the PDO is diving and leaping more than an Italian midfielder during the World Cup. It's awfully hard to see any evidence of global warming in the last 150 years of that record. Second, the 50 to 70-year quasi-periodicity of the PDO was not present in the 13th, 17th, and 18th centuries (also NOT related to greenhouse gases). It's also interesting and supportive of their analysis that a medieval mega-drought in western and central North America from about 900 to 1300 A.D. is evident in the PDO record which was negative over that entire time period, and, of course, unrelated to greenhouse gases.

More here


Environmental green lights will no longer be needed before the State Government approves critical projects such as the proposed desalination plant, the expansion of the Port Botany container terminal, light rail, roads and new railway lines. Anxious to secure jobs and major construction investment, the Government has dropped its insistence that rigorous environmental studies be conducted to determine if a state-significant project is appropriate. In future, select developments would be declared valid from the start. The community consultation and approval process will be reduced to determining how declared projects should best be handled with regard to sustainability principles, environmental and planning concerns.

Property groups, infrastructure providers, the tourism lobby, and the Local Government Association supported the moves, which were part of a planning reforms announced yesterday by the Premier, Bob Carr, and the Minister for Infrastructure and Planning, Craig Knowles. But some green groups, including the Nature Conservation Council, said removing key protections - which the Government said could halve approval times - was "frightening" and appeared to support fears the Government wanted to "give developers the keys to the state's future."

Under the changes, Mr Knowles will also bring other significant project decisions worth more than $50 million under his control, condensing 85 planning rules to one measure for major commercial, residential, chemical and mining projects. For these projects, existing environmental rules still apply. Mr Knowles gets more power, with authority for coralling the heads of departments to get big projects going. Big project developers who satisfy certain rules will be able to bypass councils and go to him. He also takes control of site-specific projects he believes are iconic, from the Australian Museum to the maintenance of the Sydney Cricket Ground.

In return, Mr Knowles said councils would get back 60 per cent of the work he administers. A key feature is the concept of a "one-stop shop", where developers only need to satisfy one approval process. It will be an combine the myriad planning requirements. Some projects now need 31 separate and overlapping permits, licences or conditions. The changes also introduce a "concept approval" clause, giving legislative certainty upfront to development plans that satisfy the broad thrust of government planning criteria. Mr Knowles said this would give developers the certainty they needed to finance complex projects before starting detailed design work.

The NSW executive director of the Property Council of Australia, Ken Morrison, said the changes were a breakthrough in the fight against red tape. "We can't afford to have major job generating projects locked up in processes which don't add value," he said. But the director of the Nature Conservation Council, Cate Faehrmann, said the ending of "stop the clock" provisions, where projects can be halted midstream if sensitive environmental material was unearthed, was alarming, because it had led to more sustainable outcomes.



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.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

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