Thursday, December 29, 2005


From "The Times" of December 28th

Traffic chaos is expected today as millions of people struggle back to work in treacherous road conditions after the Christmas break. With many areas of the South East and Eastern England blanketed in up to 15cm (6in) of snow, heavy snowfalls are forecast again today and tomorrow. Motorists were warned by police not to travel “unless absolutely necessary” as strong northeasterly winds continue to bring in snow and icy conditions from Eastern Europe and western Russia....

Heavy snow across the South East closed main roads into Dover last night. The A20 and the A2 were among routes into the town closed after “heavy snow flurries”. The M20 remained open, but was down to one lane in places and a 50mph speed limit was imposed. Eurotunnel travellers who braved the roads to reach the terminal at Folkestone were frustrated when services were suspended at 6.45pm. A spokesman said snow-covered loading ramps had become too dangerous for cars to board the waiting trains. “It is absolute chaos,” said Graham Morse, 65, who was delayed for five hours on his way home to Switzerland. “There is no information and thousands of people are here and just don’t know what to do. There are just a couple of inches of snow outside and everything has ground to a halt, even though everyone knew this snow was on its way.”

Snowploughs were being brought from France through the tunnel to help the clearing effort and services were restored at 8pm, although the backlog of passengers was likely to take all night to clear. Hundreds of gritters and snowploughs were working round the clock to clear motorways and major roads, but drivers were being urged to be cautious in the conditions, which are expected to last until Friday. A Highways Agency spokesman said: “Drivers are advised to keep checking the forecast before they set out and during their journey. If conditions deteriorate, then delay your journey if you can until the weather improves.”

Motorists in the South East face an additional difficulty finding fuel as many petrol stations have run dry because of the fire at Buncefield oil terminal in Hertfordshire, which has disrupted supplies. Across East Anglia and Cambridgeshire, there were no reports of major accidents as many people stayed off the roads and council gritting lorries managed to keep routes passable.


The RAC advises motorists to stick to major routes and to inform someone of departure time, route, destination and estimated time of arrival

An ice scraper, de-icer, a torch, a first-aid kit, jump leads, a tow rope, a spade and a fully charged mobile phone are also essential

Take some high energy food, such as chocolate or boiled sweets, and a flask of soup

Take a blanket, waterproof clothing and sensible footwear

Do as I say, not as I do: Europe sets poor example on Kyoto

After repeatedly posing as global exemplars in the fight against global warming, the European Union's member-states need to take a long, hard look at the cold figures. According to a new study, 10 of the EU's 15 signatories to the Kyoto agreement are on course to miss their target to reduce greenhouse gases by five per cent of their 1990 figure by 2008-2012. Indeed, the Institute of Public Policy Research says that Britain is almost alone in Europe in making progress towards fulfilling its Kyoto commitments.

Indeed, looking at the wider world, Britain's performance – achieved largely through the contraction of the coal industry – stands out even more. Canada, for example, which played host to a major international climate-change conference in Montreal earlier this month, says it remains fully committed to its Kyoto obligations. However, by the end of 2003, its emissions were up 24.2 per cent on 1990 levels.

Meanwhile, since 2001, a period in which greenhouse-gas emissions across the EU have increased, those from the United States have fallen by almost one per cent. America may still be one of the world's worst polluters, but it is increasingly clear that those who seek to demonise Washington as the saboteur of Kyoto are hardly leading by example. Yet there has been as much hot air emitted by these countries' politicians, in their exhortations to the world to take action, as by their pollution-belching industries.

Kyoto was never meant to be an excuse for the self-righteous among nations to preen themselves on the global stage while doing nothing concrete to meet their own grandiose pledges. Yet, as the date nears by which action is supposed to have been taken, it is increasingly clear that this is the case. If Europe and Canada cannot back up their fine words with deeds, how can they ever hope to persuade the US of the worthiness of Kyoto? More to the point, how can they have any impact on China and the rapidly industrialising nations of Asia, whose projected emissions levels are likely to make the sacrifices made by countries such as Britain completely irrelevant?


Ditch Kyoto

Do you think manmade global warming threatens the planet? Or it's little more than an environmentalist sham? Either way it's time to realize the celebrated Kyoto Protocol -- long touted by the greens as essential to preventing ecological disaster -- isn't just dying, it's decomposing. It's time for something new.

The Kyoto Protocol was a 1997 pact to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, or otherwise reduce these gases in the atmosphere. Environmentalists and many scientists say gas-induced warming is already causing a cornucopia of ills including -- most recently -- polar bears drowning because of melting Arctic ice. More than 150 nations have now ratified the treaty, but the United States became a pariah for refusing to do so as did President Bush by abandoning it altogether.

Turns out, though, there's little distinction between those who ratified and those who didn't. Of the original 15 European Union ratifiers of Kyoto, at best four are on course to meet the treaty's target of an 8 percent reduction in greenhouse emissions by 2008-2012 from the 1990 base-year level. "The truth is, no country is going to cut its growth or consumption substantially in the light of a long-term environmental problem," British Prime Minister Tony Blair admitted in September.

But this becomes less disappointing once you learn Kyoto's dirty little secret. Even supporters concede that if all countries complied the warming prevented by 2100 would be at most 0.2 degrees Fahrenheit, except that 0.2 degrees is unmeasurable. Certainly it won't save a single polar bear. Kyoto's real purpose was to lead to stricter standards later, such as at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Montreal this month. But conferees were forced to go home with little more than an agreement to negotiate some more, for essentially the reason Mr. Blair gave. It's silly to plan a Mars landing when your rocket can't get off the launching pad.

Of course, Europe could continue setting goals and failing to meet them; but the European Union is becoming irrelevant anyway. "By 2010, the net reduction in global emissions from Europe meeting the Kyoto Protocol will be only 0.1 percent," said Margo Thorning, senior vice president for the free-market American Council for Capital Formation, in recent congressional testimony. That's "because all the growth is coming in places like India, China and Brazil."

And bizarrely, while these countries have ratified the treaty they are exempt from its requirements because until fairly recently they weren't major greenhouse gas producers. "We need to focus on things like the [Asia Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate], which are driven by long-term strategies to reduce emissions and boost growth," says Ms. Thorning. This is a U.S.-signed pact allowing participants to set goals for reducing emissions individually, but with no enforcement mechanism.

Eileen Claussen, president of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change and a Clinton administration climate negotiator, says it can't work. "If you really want results, you have to do something that's mandatory," she told reporters. Right. That's why those 11 EU nations are falling out of compliance. That's also why Kyoto signatory Canada produces 24 percent more carbon dioxide than in 1990 while the U.S. produces only 13 percent more. None of this prevented Canada's Prime Minister Paul Martin from emitting a noxious gaseous emission accusing his southern neighbor of lacking "a global conscience." Ultimately Kyoto has no more "teeth" than any voluntary agreement -- yet another explanation for why it's violated willy-nilly. "It is not that we should take these targets too literally,"as Italy's economic minister put it.

So if nations refuse to agree to real sanctions, we must offer them constructive approaches that emphasize maximum gain with minimum pain. That's the purpose of the first meeting of the Asia Pacific Partnership in January, at which innovation and technology will take center stage rather than top-down governmental controls. The conference should call for ramped-up production of nuclear power plants that produce no air emissions except steam. It will also probably advocate carbon sequestration, various artificial and natural processes for removing carbon from the biosphere.

But Kyoto? Ah, we hardly knew ye. Not that the effort's been a total waste. It's taught us massive international undertakings require just a bit more than making sanctimonious speeches and signing a sheet of paper.



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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