Monday, June 20, 2005


Just when it seemed that the dark clouds had lifted, they all came back again. Not Britain's on-again, off-again summer, but climate scientists calling for action to prevent global catastrophe. Last Wednesday, the scientific academies of all the G8 major industrial nations, as well as Brazil, China and India, said that they were now convinced that humans were chiefly to blame for making the planet hotter, and that measures must be taken to combat climate change. In an unprecedented joint communique, the academies declared that: "The scientific understanding of climate change is now sufficiently clear to justify nations taking prompt action," adding that the threat posed "is clear and increasing". Lord May, the president of the Royal Society, Britain's leading scientific institution, put it more bluntly: "Never before have we faced such a global threat. And if we do not begin effective action now, it will be much harder to stop the runaway train as it continues to gather momentum."

Lord May is clearly hoping that his apocalyptic statement will win the ear of policymakers who have so far shown a reluctance to take any kind of drastic action. He may also be hoping that it will see off those dissenting scientists who remain sceptical of claims that humans are causing potentially catastrophic climate change. Vilified as "climate-change deniers", they have been accused of being everything from lackeys of the oil industry to just plain stupid. Yet ... another group of academics has begun fighting to have its voice heard.

It includes experts in fields ranging from agriculture to medicine, and most of them agree that something strange is happening to the Earth's climate. Where they part company with Lord May is in their assessment of the threat it poses. After studying the likely consequences for everything from crop yields to human health, their results are anything but apocalyptic. They have found that a hotter planet brings with it many benefits, and that humans can adapt perfectly well to it.

Indeed, far from joining the calls for action, some now warn that trying to prevent climate change could prove far more catastrophic than learning to live with it. Nor is this cheery vision based solely on questionable computer models. Analysis of past episodes of dramatic - but entirely natural - climate change repeatedly shows the benefits of a warmer world. "If you could vote for a change in climate, you would always want a warmer one," says Philip Stott, emeritus professor of biogeography at the University of London. "Cold is nearly always worse for everything - the economy, agriculture, disease, biodiversity".

According to Prof Stott, times of historical prosperity have often been tied to unusually warm periods, such as the so-called Medieval Warm Period between 1100 and 1300. In contrast, the Little Ice Age between 1450 to 1890 was characterised by famines, pandemics and social upheaval. "We should be glad we've left that behind," he said. The possibility that a warmer future could bring further benefits has long been noted by climate-change scientists, albeit reluctantly. The draft of the most recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change - regarded as the voice of mainstream scientific opinion - conceded that many developed nations could make "net economic gains", at least for moderate levels of warming.

This rare glimmer of optimism was watered down when the final report emerged in 2001. Since then, however, studies by researchers in a host of fields have cast doubt on the relentlessly gloomy forecasts. The heat-wave that struck much of Europe in 2003, killing more than 11,000 in France alone - was seized on by ecoactivists as proof-positive of the lethal effects of global warming. Yet a review published last year by scientists at the University of London pointed out a basic medical fact: in many countries, cold kills far more people each year than heat. For the kind of temperature rise predicted for the UK over the next 50 years, the team estimated that heat-related deaths would rise by about 2,000 a year - but that this figure would be dwarfed by a cut in cold-related deaths of 20,000.

Other climate-related health scares have collapsed under close scrutiny. In 2002, Professor Sir Liam Donaldson, the Chief Medical Officer, added his voice to claims that Britain could be facing the return of malaria. A subsequent analysis by experts at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine concluded that changes in land use and socio-economic trends made the risk "highly unlikely". Oddly, the lifting of this eco-threat was not widely reported.

It is a similar story with agriculture. During the 1990s, researchers repeatedly claimed that global warming would have dire consequences for key crops. Even developed nations such as America were predicted to suffer. Apocalyptic scenarios of a sweltering world unable to feed itself began to gain currency. Once again, however, more sophisticated studies are revealing a different picture, having taken account of a factor so often ignored: human adaptability. Global warming is also routinely regarded as disastrous for everything from Alpine ski resorts to tropical beaches. Yet the picture now emerging from more sophisticated studies is far less apocalyptic. Last year, a team at the University of Hamburg showed that a modest temperature rise would lead to 30 per cent more tourists visiting countries such as Russia and Canada. The benefits to UK tourism may also be substantial, according to a recent study by the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, which concluded: "We may witness not only an expansion in the domestic market, but an expansion in the inbound international market as the UK develops a more Mediterranean climate."

Even the frightening prospect of rising sea-levels caused by the melting of the polar ice caps - widely regarded within the climate-change lobby as one of the most devastating consequences of global warming - is now under serious scrutiny. Millions of people, from those living in the coastal cities of the West to the inhabitants of Pacific islands, are at risk, we were warned. But then the early claims of 5ft rises started to give way to far less dramatic predictions; the most recent estimate, published last year by the International Quaternary Association, puts the figure at a sea-level rise of somewhere between 8in and zero. A recent study found that sea levels around the allegedly threatened Maldives have actually fallen. In any case, even the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change now concedes that there is little fear of millions being made permanently homeless by flooding. Its most recent report states: "Human settlements are expected to be among the sectors that could be most easily adapted to climate change, given appropriate planning and foresight."

Climate scientists have made little of the benefits of a warming planet, and even less of the ability of humans to cope with the consequences.... "If you just take an agronomic model and make conditions hotter and drier, then, yes, crop yields go down," says Professor Richard Adams, an agricultural economist at Oregon State University. "But if you're a farmer, you see your crops aren't doing so well and plant a more heat-resistant type." Prof Adams is one of a group of academics pioneering the use of studies that take into account such adaptability. The results frequently contradict the simplistic models, with dire losses turning into sizeable gains....

Ironically, some of the benefits come from the growth-promoting effect of the very greenhouse gas now causing so much alarm: carbon dioxide. Global yields of wheat and rice are expected to rise by 18 per cent, while yields of clover - a key foodstuff for grazing animals - looks set to rise by 36 per cent. Global vegetation density seems to be benefiting already, with net gains in growth across the whole planet since the early 1980s. Even tropical forests and the Amazon are reported to be growing more luxuriant as CO2 levels rise....

"Economic studies clearly show it will be far more expensive to cut greenhouse gases than to pay for the cost of adapting to a warmer planet", says Professor Bjorn Lomborg, of Copenhagen Business School and author of The Skeptical Environmentalist, whose critique of the climate change debate has incensed environmentalists. Even if we shut every fossil-fuel power station, crushed every car and grounded every aircraft, the Earth's climate would still continue to get warmer, according to Prof Stott. "The trouble is, we would all be too impoverished to cope with the consequences," he said.

More here


"As Congress once again contemplates the wisdom, necessity and consequences of oil exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), one of the most persistent arguments against it has been the alleged potential threat to the Porcupine Caribou herd, so-named after the Porcupine River, which is within the herd's range. The most popular voice for that argument has come from the Gwich'in tribe, approximately 7,000 Indians who live in 15 remote villages near the Arctic Circle......

There is some truth in the Gwich'in advocacy, but not nearly enough to rise above its significant factual contradictions and omissions. Consider:

The Gwich'in tribe is not native to ANWR. The Gwich'in do not live in ANWR. Of the approximately 7,000 Gwich'in, 6,000 reside in Canada, only 1,000 in the U.S.

The Gwich'in do live within the overall range and along the migration routes of the Porcupine Caribou herd, but those routes are exceptionally fluid, nearly impossible to predict and predominantly based on climatic conditions and delineated into eight distinct annual life-cycle periods. Due to completely natural forces and reasons, there are years when the caribou do not venture near the "caribou people."

The Gwich'in did not always oppose oil exploration in the region. The Gwich'in, in fact, actively sought oil exploration on some of their own lands three times until it was determined that there is no oil under those Gwich'in lands. Undeterred, the Gwich'in then proposed leasing oil rights to all their lands. There were no takers.

Estimates of the size of the Porcupine Caribou herd vary, but approximately 123,000 seems to be the best current estimate. Despite all the speculation about the potential effects ANWR oil exploration might have on the herd, the greatest single, ever-present threat - their harsh natural habitat, including weather, food supply and predation - is almost never discussed beyond research papers. During a series of severe winters in the early 1990s, weather conditions alone depleted approximately 15 percent of the herd.

The second greatest existing threat to the Porcupine Caribou - the only human one - is the Gwich'in themselves. On the Canadian side of the border, approximately 3,000 Porcupine Caribou are killed each year by Gwich'in hunters. (That is not a criticism, just a fact.)

Any discussion of oil exploration in ANWR is misleading without an understanding of and perspective on that vast area. It is likely that meaningful opposition would have faded years ago were it not for the opportunistic exploitation of ignorance about a terrain and the conditions thereof that few people understand and fewer still will ever see.

More here

Lomborg: "Perhaps the most pressing environmental problem in the world is indoor air pollution, which kills 2.8 million people each year, just behind HIV/AIDS. The pollution is caused by poor people cooking and heating their homes with dung and cardboard. The solution is not environmental (to certify dung) but rather economic, helping these people build enough wealth to afford kerosene."


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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