Wednesday, August 31, 2005


Once again I am thinking of all those "ecologically responsible" Greenie cyclists. They could really lose their juju if they do too much of it. Article below from from: J. Sex Med. 2005; 2: 596-604:

Bicycle Riding and Erectile Dysfunction: An Increase in Interest (and Concern)

By Vincent Huang, MS, Ricardo Munarriz, MD, and Irwin Goldstein, MD


Introduction. From 1999 to 2004, there had been 21 publications from multiple medical specialties (sexual medicine, urology, neurology, cardiology, biomedical engineering, sports medicine, emergency medicine, and officials from the National Institute for Safety and Occupational Health) investigating the relationship between bicycle riding and erectile dysfunction (ED). In the previous 18 years, there have been 14 such studies.

Aim. The primary aim was to summarize accumulating data on the safety of bicycle riding based on medical evidence categorized by levels of evidence, including case reports, observational studies, case control studies, mechanistic studies, and population-based epidemiologic investigations. The secondary aim was to address the concerns of bicyclists and propose measures to minimize the risk of ED associated with bicycle riding.

Methods. An English-language medical literature review was made of publications in peer review journals from 1981 to 2004, including published abstract presentations at major medical meetings.

Main Outcome Measure. Ranked published epidemiologic data on bicycle riding and ED.

Results. Bicycle riding more than 3 hours per week was an independent relative risk (RR = 1.72) for moderate to severe ED. In case control studies, the prevalence of moderate to severe ED in bicyclists was 4.2% and 4% vs. age-matched runners 1.1% (P less than or equal to 0.018) and swimmers 2% (P = 0.05), respectively. Therefore, bicycle riders should take precautionary measures to minimize the risk of ED associated with bicycle riding: change the bicycle saddle with a protruding nose to a noseless seat, change the posture to a more upright/reclining position, change the material of the saddle (GEL), and tilt the saddle/seat downwards.

Conclusions. The mechanism is hypothetically related to the rider interaction with the bicycle saddle at the perineum to saddle interface. Straddling bicycle saddles with a nose extension is associated with suprasystolic perineal compression pressures, temporarily occluding penile perfusion and potentially inducing endothelial injury and vasculogenic


By Roger Pielke Jr.

Disaster losses have increased dramatically in recent decades. Yet as discussed here frequently there is no scientific evidence showing that any part of this increase can be attributed to changes in climate, whether anthropogenic in origin or not. This is a long post on this subject. It contains a lot of gory detail on what I consider to be a major misuse of science in the climate debate, viewed through the lens of a recent paper in Science.

I focus on this issue mainly because this is an area where I have considerable expertise, and in this context my work is often mis-cited or ignored. This misuse of science is pretty much overlooked by scientists (here is one exception) advocates on either side of the debate, and the media (here is one exception).

A number of colleagues and I have a letter on this subject coming out in the November Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (I'll post a pre-publication version of this soon). Also, in partnership with Munich Re we are organizing a major workshop on attribution of causes underlying the observed trend of ever-escalating disaster damages. Munich Re seems very supportive of rigorous science on this topic. So clearly, I intend to pursue this subject.

(FULL ARTICLE in Science Policy, 22 August 2005)


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

Comments? Email me here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Rainforest Eco-Hysteria

Post lifted from Cheat-seeking Missiles

BBC reports Brazil's Amazon rainforest deforestation figures: A drop of 50 percent in the last year -- 3,475 sq miles in the last year vs.6,950 sq miles in 2003 to 2004. That seems like a lot, but there are 2.5 million sq miles of rainforest down there, so last year, only .00139 of the Brazilian forest, a bit over one-tenth of one percent of the forest was converted. Of this, a portion was converted to agriculture or development, but much was logged and will grow back. Brazilian environment minister Marina de Silva attributed the drop to greater government control and more emphasis on sustainable development projects.

Environmentalists, of course, don't take good news well. BBC quotes Greenpeace saying it is too soon to talk about a long-term slowing of the destruction of the forest. They warn that illegal loggers may just be biding their time. Greenpeace also warns that a new economic initiative by the Brazilian government is bad news for the rainforests:

In January 2001 the Brazilian government announced its plans for "Avan‡a Brasil" (Advance Brazil). This is a US$40 billion plan to cover much of the Amazon rainforest with 10,000 km of highways, hydroelectric dams, power lines, mines, gas and oilfields, canals, ports, logging concessions and other industrial developments. Scientists predict that these planned developments will lead to the damage or loss of between 33-42 percent of Brazil's remaining Amazon forest.

In other words, they want us to believe that Brazil intends to wipe out up to 1,050,000 square miles of rainforest! Really?!

The United States is not quite three times bigger than the Amazon rainforest, covering 3,537,441 square miles. Of this, almost 1.7 million square miles is either developed or in agriculture. Adusting for the size disparity, if the U.S. were the size of the Amazon rainforest, it would have 1.2 million developed square miles.

We are a heavily industrialized country that's been hard at work at conquering the wilderness for 500 years -- 150 in mechanized earnestness -- and we've just barely accomplished on our entire subcontinent what Greenpeace says may happen to the Brazilian rainforest.

The claim isn't merely mathematically ridiculous. Brazil has a lot of much more developable land outside the rainforest, so whatever resources are poured into developing that country will be spread around, leaving only a portion for the rainforest. We didn't concentrate our development in the Louisianna bayous; the Brazilians won't concentrate it in the rainforest.

Like so many environmentalists fears, this is another that is nothing more than eco-hysteria.


Yet another factor missing from the Greenie climate "models" that are used so omnisciently

Cosmic dust from meteors could have a bigger impact on our climate than once thought, scientists say. Researchers at Australia's Davis base in Antarctica, who discovered the vapourised remains of a meteor that disintegrated as it entered the atmosphere, report their findings in the journal Nature today. Lead author Dr Andrew Klekociuk from the Australian Antractic Division in Tasmania says analysis of the dust particles by remote laser sensing after the explosion shows the particles were much larger than expected. "It's previously been thought that when large bodies burn up in the atmosphere ... it turns the body into tiny particles of smoke, but there's been no real observational evidence for that," Klekociuk says. "What we found to our surprise here is that the dust seems to be larger."

The particles were about 1000 times larger than the international team of scientists predicted; they were in the micrometre scale as opposed to the nanometre scale. In sufficient quantity, the particles observed at Davis may have been big enough to potentially influence the weather.

Klekociuk says the house-sized meteor that had been orbiting between Venus and the Earth disintegrated into cosmic dust as it entered the atmosphere in September 2004, south of South Africa and about 7000 kilometres from the Davis base. The explosion released as much energy as the nuclear bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima and produced 1000 tonnes of dust.

Klekociuk says the disintegration of the meteor is unlikely to have had any immediate impact on climate. However, the findings about the size of the particles should cause us to rethink the cumulative effect of cosmic dust globally, he says. Dust has the potential to warm or cool the Earth depending on the size and composition of the particles. It can do this by either scattering or absorbing solar visible light. If light scatters away from the Earth cooling occurs, and if it's absorbed there's warming. It can also trigger cloud nucleation, which occurs what drops of water cling to a speck of dust, eventually causing clouds to form.

The magnesium, iron and silica composition of the meteor dust could also react with chemicals in the atmosphere, potentially eroding the ozone layer. "If the dust from large meteors was much larger it would have a much larger climate forcing potential," Klekociuk says. Analysis of the dust could also predict how the climate would be affected if a meteor were to crash into Earth.

Klekociuk says around 40 tonnes of cosmic dust fall to Earth each day. "If you ran your finger along your window sill at home some of that will actually be meteoric dust," he says. He says the researchers believe they have retrieved some dust from the September event from ice near Davis and will analyse it further.



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

Comments? Email me here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Monday, August 29, 2005


(By eminent statistician Ian Castles in Climate Audit, 22 August 2005)

During the past three years I and a co-author (David Henderson, former Head of the Department of Economics and Statistics at OECD) have criticised the IPCC’s treatment of economic issues.

Our main single criticism has been the Panel’s use of exchange rate converters to put the GDPs of different countries onto a common basis for purposes of estimating and projecting output, income, energy intensity, etc. This is not permissible under the internationally-agreed System of National Accounts which was unanimously approved by the UN Statistical Commission in 1993, and published later that year by the United Nations, the World Bank, the IMF, the OECD and the Commission of the European Communities, under cover of a Foreword which was personally signed by the Heads of the five organisations.

The practice of exchange rate conversion has been explicitly rejected by at least three Nobel Laureates in economics (Sir Richard Stone, Paul Samuelson and Amartya Sen) and three Distinguished Fellows of the American Economic Association (Irving Kravis, Robert Summers and Alan Heston). In the course of the current controversy, Sir Partha Dasgupta of Cambridge University has told Stephen Schneider of Stanford University, a leading IPCC figure, that “Castles is of course completely right” (in rejecting the use of “outmoded accounting practices”); William Nordhaus of Yale University advised an IPCC Expert Meeting on Emissions Scenarios last January that estimates of output or income using exchange rates are “simply wrong”, “constructed on an economically unsound basis”, “fundamentally wrong”, “highly misleading” and “precisely wrong”; Richard Tol of Hamburg University informed the recent UK House of Lords Committee inquiry into “The Economics of Climate Change” that the IPCC scenarios “essentially assume convergence based on market exchange rates, which is ludicrous”; Ross McKitrick of Guelph University drew the Committee’s attention to a statement by John Reilly of MIT that the IPCC scenarios exercise was “in my view, a kind of insult to science”; and the world’s leading expert on historical international comparisons of output and income, Angus Maddison, gave the Committee “an illustration of the implausibility of using exchange rate converters in historical analysis or futurology (as in the IPCC Special Report on Emissions Scenarios …)” In its unanimous report, the 13-member Select Committee on Economic Affairs of the House of Lords said that “We found no support for the use of MER in [long-term emissions scenarios], other than from Dr Nakicenovic of the IPCC.”

None of this criticism has moved the IPCC. Its Chairman, Dr Rajendra Pachauri of India, told the House of Lords Committee that the criticism of the emissions scenarios “only validates the methodology that the IPCC used earlier” and “does not invalidate it”. A press statement published on the IPCC website which is devoted specifically and exclusively to brushing aside the Castles and Henderson critique says that the IPCC “mobilises the best experts from all over the world”, and describes us as “so called ‘two independent commentators’”. The IPCC has selected Professor Nakicenovic and Brian Fisher, Director of the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARE), as the two Coordinating Lead Authors of the chapter in the Panel’s next assessment report (AR4) that is to assess criticism of the IPCC Special Report on Emissions Scenarios (SRES). In their first response to the Castles and Henderson critique, Professor Nakicenovic and 14 other lead authors of the SRES said that “Mr Castles and Mr Henderson have focused (at tedious length) on constructing a ‘problem’ that does not exist”, and in their “final” response Nakicenovic and 17 other lead authors persisted in affirming the “methodological soundness of the use of MER for developing long term emissions scenarios”. Brian Fisher, the other CLA of the chapter that is to assess the IPCC scenarios, is the co-author of an article published by ABARE (of which he is Director) which states that “The use of [market exchange rates] … in the SRES remains valid and the critique by Castles and Henderson cannot be sustained.”

Australia’s leading scientific research organisation, the CSIRO, appended an opinion piece by atmospheric scientist Kevin Hennessy to its submission to an Australian Senate Committee Inquiry into the Kyoto Protocol Ratification Bill 2003. According to Mr Hennessy,”Castles and Henderson have claimed that the IPCC warming projections are based on greenhouse emissions that are too high because market exchange rates (MER) were used rather than purchasing power parity (PPP) in calculating future economic growth. The claims have been reviewed and refuted by international experts (Nakicenovic and others).” The list of references to the opinion piece did not include any paper by “Nakicenovic and others”. Mr Hennessy subsequently declined an invitation to produce a paper on the CSIRO’s emissions scenarios for Energy & Environment (the journal in which Nakicenovic et al appeared), on the grounds that the CSIRO prefers to publish in peer-reviewed journals listed by the Institute for Scintific Information (ISI). Mr Hennessy has been selected as a Coordinating Lead Author of the “Australia and New Zealand” chapter of the next IPCC Report.

At the IPCC Expert Meetings on Emissions Scenarios last January, Professor John Weyant of Stanford University, Director of the Energy Modeling Forum, defended the use of exchange rate converters by the IPCC on the ground that “best practice can differ between making historical welfare comparisons and model projections of GDP, energy and carbon emissions.” According to the Report of the meeting “Weyant recommended using MERs or PPPs consistently.” It is of course a contradiction in terms to urge the use of MERs “consistently”.In a letter to Dr Pachauri three years ago I pointed out that an expert committee appointed by the UN Statistical Commission had found that there were “material errors” (that is, errors which left the reader with ‘a fundamentally distorted view of the phenomena being described’) in the UNDP’s Human Development Report 1999. I noted that the same statements had been repeated uncritically in IPCC reports. Two of these were in a chapter of the last assessment report of which Professor Weyant was Coordinating Lead Author. The IPCC has not acknowledged that any mistakes were made in the last assessment report and has selected Weyant as Review Editor of the Chapter in the next assessment report which is to review criticisms of the IPCC emissions scenarios.

Another Lead Author of the next IPCC Assessment Report whose country of residence appears on the IPCC lists as “Australia” is Bill Hare, who was one of the invited experts to the recent IPCC Workshop on Emissions Scenarios (as a representative of “Greenpeace, Environmental NGO”). Mr Hare argued for a strong role for the IPCC in the development of scenarios in the future, and asserted that the SRES had been a “big success”.

In my first letter to the Chairman of the IPCC three years ago, I said that it would “be desirable to seek the involvement of national statistical offices and of the International Statistical Institute (ISI) in the new emissions projections that I understand are to be prepared for the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report.” The IPCC subsequently decided that there would be no emissions projections. It has not invited any representatives of national statistical offices or of the ISI to any of its expert meetings, nor have any national accounts experts been included in the writing teams for the next assessment report.

The IPCC can ignore the world’s leading economists and statisticians with impunity, because it has the support of “the worldwide scientific community”. In its submission to the House of Lords Committee, the Royal Society (UK) explained that: “The work of the IPCC is backed by the worldwide scientific community. A joint statement of support was issued in May 2001 by the science academies of Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, the Caribbean, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Malaysia, New Zealand, Sweden and the UK. It stated: ‘We recognise the IPCC as the world’s most reliable source of information on climate change and its causes, and we endorse its methods of achieving consensus.”

The joint statement of support appeared in “Science”, the journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In a news item published in the same issue of “Science”, the President of the Royal Society, Lord May, explained that the Royal Society had organised the petition because of resistance to the terms of the Kyoto Protocol by countries such as the US and Australia.


(From Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. Article in Press)

Temperature responses to quasi-100-yr solar variability during the past 6000 years based on delta 18 O of peat cellulose in Hongyuan, eastern Qinghai-Tibet plateau, China

By: Hai Xu a), b), Yetang Hong b), Qinghua Lin b), Yongxuan Zhu b), Bing Hong b) and Hongbo Jiang b) a) State Key Laboratory of Loess and Quaternary Geology, Institute of Earth Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 10 Fenghui South Road, High-tech Zone, Xi'an, Shaanxi Province, PO Box 710075, China b) State Key Laboratory of Environmental Geochemistry, Institute of Geochemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guiyang, 550002, China


During the past 6000 years, the temperature variation trend inferred from ?18O of peat cellulose in a peat core from Hongyuan (eastern Qinghai-Tibet plateau, southwestern China) is similar to the atmospheric 14C concentration trend and the modeled solar output trend. The general trend of Hongyuan ?18O during the past millennium also coincides well with the atmospheric 14C concentration trend, the 10Be concentration trend in an ice core from the South Pole, the reconstructed total solar irradiance trend, as well as the modeled solar output trend. In addition, temperature events also correspond well to solar perturbations during the past 6000 years. Therefore, the driving force of Holocene temperature variations should be properly ascribed to solar activity. The spectrum analysis further illustrates that quasi-100-yr fluctuation of solar activity was probably responsible for temperature variations in northeast Qinghai-Tibet plateau during the past 6000 years.

1. Introduction

A Considerable number of investigations have been performed to study Holocene temperature variations and the related mechanisms in China recently (Hong et al., 2000, Xu et al., 2002 and Yang et al., 2002). Temperature changes inferred from delta18 O in peat cellulose at Hongyuan (Xu et al., 2002) and Jinchuan (Hong et al., 2000) (Fig. 1) are synchronous with those discovered in numerous studies in China and those revealed by other studies in the Northern Hemisphere (Xu et al., 2002). Recently, Yang et al. (2002) studied temperatures in China over the past 2000 years and discovered that temperature trends in different regions of China are consistent with one another. Close attention should be paid to the synchrony of temperature variations in different regions in China because the climate dynamics are quite variable. China is one of the most active and extensive monsoon regions. Different regions, influenced variably by a number of monsoon sources, have different climatic patterns. The complex topography can also lead to climatic variations (An, 2000). Thus, if the temperatures in different regions are synchronous, a common and dominant forcing process is strongly supported.

The nature of such a common forcing agent is still debated. Variation of the total energy reaching the Earth may be a major factor that influences the Earth's climates. During the latest two sunspot cycles, Earth-satellite measurements indicate that the total solar output, which has long been considered constant, has varied by 0.1% (Reid, 1997). These small solar perturbations, whose effect can be magnified by different feedback mechanisms (Van Geel et al., 1999, Bond et al., 2001 and Shindell et al., 2001), may ultimately lead to climatic oscillations on several time scales, such as annual to decadal and/or centennial scales, as well as millennial scales. Therefore, solar variability can possibly be considered as a primary factor when studying the mechanisms of Holocene temperature variations (Blackford and Chambers, 1995, Chambers et al., 1999, Van Geel et al., 1999, Reid, 1997, Lean and Rind, 1999 and Beer et al., 2000).

The atmospheric 14C concentration has long been recognized as a sensitive proxy of solar variability (Eddy, 1976). In addition, variations of the modeled solar output (Perry and Hsu, 2000), which are consistent with temperatures, may also be used as a surrogate of solar activity. In this paper, we compare temperature variations inferred from delta18 O in peat cellulose at Hongyuan with solar activity inferred from several kinds of solar proxy indices, and perform cross-spectral analysis to investigate the relationship between temperatures and solar variability. Our study reveals that quasi-100-yr fluctuations of solar activity are possibly the primary driving force of Chinese temperatures during the past 6000 years.


6. Conclusions

During the past 6000 years, temperature variations in China exhibit high synchrony among different regions, and importantly, are in-phase with those discovered in other regions in the northern hemisphere. Comparisons between temperature variations and solar activities indicate that both temperature trends on centennial/millennial timescales and climatic events are related to solar variability, suggesting that solar variability is possibly a primary driving force that influences temperatures. Cross-spectrum analyses indicate that there exists a series of periodicities between temperatures in Hongyuan, temperatures in Jinchuan, and solar activities. These common periodicities are mainly a response to variations in solar activity. Quasi-100-yr fluctuations of solar activity may be the primary driving force of temperature during the past 6000 years in China.

The Doi (permanent) address for the full article above is here

Another judge who thinks he knows better than both Congress and the administration: "Two environmental groups and four U.S. cities may sue U.S. federal agencies which finance overseas projects which they say contribute to global warming, a federal judge has ruled... It was brought by Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace and the cities of Boulder, Colorado, Santa Monica, California, Oakland, California and Arcata, California. Judge Jeffrey White ruled on Tuesday that U.S. law allows the groups and cities to proceed with their lawsuit because they may be affected by overseas agency-backed projects whose emissions are linked to global warming. "The landmark decision is the first time that a federal court has specifically granted legal standing for a lawsuit exclusively alleging injury from global warming and challenging the federal government's failure to evaluate the impacts of its actions on the Earth's climate and U.S. citizens," the Friends of the Earth said in a statement on its Web site".


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

Comments? Email me here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Sunday, August 28, 2005

The McCain/Clinton Surreal View of Global Warming

Eskimo stories trump thermometers!

U.S. Senators John McCain and Hillary Clinton, together with Senators Susan Collins and Lindsey Graham, recently completed a tour of parts of Alaska and Canada "to see firsthand the effects of global warming," which is how one reporter described the purpose of their highly-publicized junket. So what did they discover that led McCain to state, as reported by Associated Press Writer Dan Joling, that the trip was "valuable for the accumulation of evidence," specifically, evidence that could be used to support the McCain-Liebermann bill that would limit anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions?

Among the items cited by Joling were "anecdotes from Alaskans and residents of the Yukon." As elucidated by Senator Graham, according to Joling, "if you can go to the native people and listen to their stories and walk away with any doubt that something's going on, I just think you're not listening," or as McCain is reported to have said, "anyone doubting the effects of human activity on global climate change should talk to the people it affects in Alaska and the Yukon."

Well, of course, "something's going on," but the important questions are What? and Why? McCain and Clinton say that the what is unprecedented global warming and that the why is because of anthropogenic CO2 emissions from the burning of fossil fuels. To our way of thinking, however, real-world data far outrank anecdotes and stories when it comes to answering these key questions; and when the former are employed, some vastly different answers are obtained.

To focus our efforts in illustrating this fact, we concentrate on what it was that enticed McCain and company to visit Alaska and the Yukon in the first place. According to another report of the trip, McCain claims that the planet's north and south polar regions "are the miner's canaries on the issue, showing the effects of global warming first." Hence, it was only to be expected that local residents of the planet's north polar region would regale him and his associates with tales of dwindling sea ice, coastal erosion, melting permafrost and the northward spread of spruce beetles. And it was those anecdotes and stories, according to one press report, that "confirmed his belief that humans are contributing to global warming."

But what does science have to say about the issue? This is a question we have broached repeatedly on our website, focusing on the "canary in the coal mine" claim as applied to earth's polar regions in three consecutive editorials, those of 10 Mar 2004, 17 Mar 2004 and 24 Mar 2004.

In the first editorial, we describe the study of Overpeck et al. (1997), who combined paleoclimatic records from lake and marine sediments, trees and glaciers to develop a 400-year history of circum-Arctic surface air temperature. From this record they determined that the most dramatic warming of the last four centuries (1.5øC) occurred between 1840 and 1955, over which period the air's CO2 concentration rose by 28 ppm. Then, from 1955 to the end of the record (about 1990), the mean circum-Arctic air temperature actually declined by 0.4øC, while the air's CO2 concentration rose by 41 ppm. On the basis of these observations, we calculate that over the first 115 years of warming, when the air's CO2 concentration rose by an average of 0.24 ppm/year, air temperature rose by an average of 0.013øC/year; while over the final 35 years of the record, when the air's CO2 content rose at a mean rate of 1.17 ppm/year (nearly five times the rate at which it had risen in the prior period), air temperature actually decreased, at a mean rate of change (0.011øC/year) that was nearly the same as the rate at which it had previously risen. Hence, it is abundantly clear from this analysis of air temperature behavior in the Arctic (where CO2 effects are supposed to be most evident and first detectable) that whatever effect the increase in the air's CO2 content might have had on earth's surface air temperature over the period of study was totally overpowered by the simultaneous effect of whatever changes may have occurred in whatever is the chief determinant of climate change on earth.

In the second editorial, we concentrate on directly-measured temperatures, as opposed to the reconstructed temperatures used by Overpeck et al., focusing on the study of Polyakov et al. (2003), who derived a surface air temperature history that stretches from 1875 to 2000 based on measurements made at 75 land stations and a number of drifting buoys located poleward of 62øN latitude. From 1875 to about 1917, the surface air temperature of this huge northern region rose hardly at all; but then it took off like a rocket, climbing 1.7øC in just 20 years to reach a peak in 1937 that has yet to be eclipsed. During this 20-year period of rapidly rising air temperature, the atmosphere's CO2 concentration rose by a mere 8 ppm. But then, over the next six decades, when the air's CO2 concentration rose by approximately 55 ppm or nearly seven times more than it did throughout the 20-year period of dramatic warming that had preceded it, the air temperature of the region poleward of 62øN latitude experienced no net warming and, in fact, may have actually cooled a bit.

In light of these results, as before, it is difficult to claim much about the strength of the warming power of the 75-ppm increase in the air's CO2 concentration that occurred from 1875 to 2000, other than to say it was miniscule compared to whatever other forcing factor or combination of forcing factors was concurrently having its way with the climate of the Arctic. One cannot, for example, claim that any of the 1917 to 1937 warming was due to the 8-ppm increase in CO2 that accompanied it, even if augmented by the 12-ppm increase that occurred between 1875 and 1917; for the subsequent and much larger 55-ppm increase in CO2 led to no net warming over the remainder of the record, which suggests that just a partial relaxation of the forces that totally overwhelmed the warming influence of the CO2 increase experienced between 1937 and 2000 would have been sufficient to account for the temperature increase that occurred between 1917 and 1937. Understood in this light, CO2 does not even enter the picture.

In the third of our "canary in the coal mine" editorials, we concentrate on perhaps the most climatologically-significant area of the Arctic, i.e., Greenland, where the complete melting of its ice sheet could raise sea levels globally by some five to six meters. In this endeavor, we focus on the work of Chylek et al. (2004), who analyzed the temperature histories of three coastal stations in southern and central Greenland that possess almost uninterrupted temperature records stretching from 1950 to 2000. They discovered that "summer temperatures, which are most relevant to Greenland ice sheet melting rates, do not show any persistent increase during the last fifty years." In fact, working with the two stations with the longest records (both over a century in length), they determined that coastal Greenland's peak temperatures occurred between 1930 and 1940, and that the subsequent decrease in temperature was so substantial and sustained that current coastal temperatures "are about 1øC below their 1940 values." Furthermore, they note that "at the summit of the Greenland ice sheet the summer average temperature has decreased at the rate of 2.2øC per decade since the beginning of the measurements in 1987." Hence, as with the Arctic as a whole, Greenland did not experience any net warming over the most dramatic period of atmospheric CO2 increase on record. In fact, it actually cooled during this period ... and cooled significantly.

At the start of the 20th century, however, Greenland was warming, as it emerged, along with the rest of the world, from the depths of the Little Ice Age. What is more, between 1920 and 1930, when the atmosphere's CO2 concentration rose by a mere 3 to 4 ppm, there was a phenomenal warming at all five coastal locations for which contemporary temperature records are available. In fact, in the words of Chylek et al., "average annual temperature rose between 2 and 4øC [and by as much as 6øC in the winter] in less than ten years." And this warming, as they note, "is also seen in the 18O/16O record of the Summit ice core (Steig et al., 1994; Stuiver et al., 1995; White et al., 1997)." With respect to this dramatic temperature rise, which they call the great Greenland warming of the 1920s, Chylek et al. correctly conclude that "since there was no significant increase in the atmospheric greenhouse gas concentration during that time, the Greenland warming of the 1920s demonstrates that a large and rapid temperature increase can occur over Greenland, and perhaps in other regions of the Arctic, due to internal climate variability such as the NAM/NAO [Northern Annular Mode/North Atlantic Oscillation], without a significant anthropogenic influence." Yet again, therefore, we have another situation where something other than the air's CO2 concentration rode roughshod over whatever tiny effect the historical increase in the innocuous trace gas' concentration may have had on earth's surface air temperature.

For information on an even greater body of relevant scientific evidence that pertains specifically to Alaska, we direct your attention to our Subject Index Summary Temperature (Trends - Regional: North America, Alaska), where we review the results of several additional studies dealing with proxy temperature reconstructions, as well as a couple that focus on permafrost, all of which come to pretty much the same conclusion as that reached in the editorials discussed above, i.e., that there is absolutely no real-world data that suggest that the historical increase in the air's CO2 concentration has had any effect whatsoever on the climate of Alaska.

Interestingly, these observations lead us to actually agree with some of Senator Clinton's statements on the subject, such as "I don't think there is any doubt left for anyone who actually looks at the science," which she was quoted by Joling as saying, as well as "the science is overwhelming." Unfortunately, what she and Senator McCain call science is something radically different from what we call science. Also, we find we agree with Clinton when she says that some people "just keep saying something no matter how untrue and unfactual it might be, over and over and over again, and try to drive the politics to meet [their] ideological or commercial agenda." However, we feel that this astute observation better fits her and Senator McCain than the people to whom she directs it. Surely you must too, if you put more credence in real-world data than in anecdotes and stories.

More here


"This issue's temperature record of the week is from Balmorhea, TX. During the period of most significant greenhouse gas buildup over the past century, i.e., 1930 and onward, Balmorhea's mean annual temperature has cooled by 1.56 degrees Fahrenheit. Not much global warming 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.

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

Comments? Email me here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Saturday, August 27, 2005


(And no mention that almost all arctic ice is sea ice and that melting sea ice would not affect ocean levels one iota)

The rate of ice melting in the Arctic is increasing and a panel of researchers says it sees no natural process that is likely to change that trend. Within a century the melting could lead to summertime ice-free ocean conditions not seen in the area in a million years, the group said today. Melting of land-based glaciers could take much longer but could raise the sea levels, potentially affecting coastal regions worldwide. And changes to the permafrost could undermine buildings, drain water into bogs and release additional carbon into the atmosphere.

"What really makes the Arctic different from the rest of the non-polar world is the permanent ice in the ground, in the ocean, and on land," said Jonathan Overpeck of the University of Arizona and chairman of the National Science Foundation's Arctic System Science Committee that issued the report. "We see all of that ice melting already, and we envision that it will melt back much more dramatically in the future, as we move towards this more permanent ice-free state," Overpeck said in a statement.

The panel's findings were published in today's issue of Eos, the weekly newspaper of the American Geophysical Union. The report comes just days after environmental ministers and officials from 23 countries met in Greenland to call on governments to stop arguing over global warming and start acting.....

In the past, Arctic climate has included glacial periods with ice sheets extending into North America and Europe, and other times of relative warming.

After studying how various parts of the climate system interact, the researchers said there are two major feedback systems influencing the region - ocean circulation in the North Atlantic and the amount of precipitation and evaporation that takes place. They got that last bit pretty right

More here

CONSERVATION: Conservation vs. environmentalism

Farmers, fisherman and hunters are by nature conservationists, argues scientist Professor Walter Starck. But today they have been unfairly maligned by a powerful but ignorant urban minority which controls the environmentalist agenda.

Fishermen, farmers and hunters are by nature conservationists. Their own well-being requires a sustainable relation to a healthy natural world. They not only appreciate the beauty of nature; they see themselves as a part of it and it as an important part of themselves. For most of the past century their views and concerns played an important role in conservation. Over the past few decades, however, a new vision of conservation has emerged with a quite different constituency. It's called environmentalism. Like other "isms", it has assumed some of the aspects of a religion. In this view, nature is something pure and perfect while humans are separate and apart from nature, by definition not natural. Any detectable effect of humans is unnatural, undesirable, a desecration.


For its more extreme adherents it has become a form of fundamentalism, with all of the righteousness, narrowness and even hatred that so often accompanies that form of belief. Environmentalism reflects not so much a connection with the natural world as a disconnection from it. It has arisen from the modern urban lifestyle where necessities come from shops and nature is a distant romanticised ideal known chiefly through television, books and magazines.

Although consumers of vast quantities of natural resources from all over the world, most urbanites have little real awareness of the effect they have beyond the store or the garbage bin. They live a blameless existence, shielded by middlemen from most of the effects of their lifestyle.

Environmentalism has a lot going for it. A righteous cause offers purpose and direction to life along with a delicious sense of moral superiority. Why feel guilt or gratitude when you can feel righteous superiority instead? For politicians it has become a constituency they can't ignore. It also affords an ample supply of political cheap shots. Promises to "save" things or prevent "threats" are widely popular and cost little. Closely following public and political concern, the academic community has found environmental issues can provide generous access to government funding. Bureaucracy too has found this to be a rich vein of budgets and authority with little accountability for results.

For the media it is a rich source of drama, abounding with dire threats, conflicts, controversy and attractive suggestions of wrongdoing. Finally, it is big business. Greenpeace, the World Wildlife Fund, the Nature Conservancy, Conservation International and various other environmental organisations are in fact multinational corporations. Their logos and brand names have global recognition rivaling their commercial counterparts. They have also borrowed useful bits from religion. Like churches and charities, they are tax-exempt. They offer attractive career opportunities and lifestyles. Though not as lavish as those afforded by commercial companies, they are more secure and less demanding of ability or performance, more in fact like a church.

Unlike old-style conservation, which was outcome-oriented and celebrated its successes, environmentalism is problem-oriented and seldom speaks of success other than with suspicion. Any suggestion that a problem may not be as serious as proposed, or that a simple solution may be possible, is greeted with hostility, not interest. Little distinction is made between the real and apparent vs. the hypothetical. Invocation of the precautionary principle justifies all possibilities, so long as they are detrimental.

Indisputably, we live in a finite world and human influence is increasing. Environmental problems do exist. Some are growing; some are being successfully addressed. Determining what is happening and what to do about it is not so easy. Recognising and assessing problems are important. But confusing a difficult task with misinformation, exaggeration and outright lies not only makes the task harder; it squanders resources and leaves important problems unaddressed.

Thrive on problems

Environmentalism has come to embody an unholy coalition of disparate parties whose main commonality is a vested interest in there being problems. Followers and leaders of the movement, politicians, bureaucrats, academics and the media all thrive on environmental problems. Farmers, fishermen and hunters do not; but they are a minority with little voice in an agenda overwhelmingly determined by the urban majority. They also make attractive scapegoats for problems, both real and imagined.

Over the past four decades, hardly a year has passed without some dire threat to the Great Barrier Reef being declared. Crown-of-thorns starfish, over-fishing, tourism, anchor damage, pesticides, fertiliser, cattle, cane, oil shale, coastal development, roads, marinas, shipping, global warming and sundry other menaces have been repeatedly declared and "experts" trotted out to support them. None of these things have been dealt with in any effective manner, yet the reef remains much as it has always been. Credibility, however, never seems lacking for another threat, nor for more expert opinions.

The truth is, scientific understanding of reefs is still only patchy and highly specialised. Only a handful of persons have the scientific background, plus widespread and long-term experience necessary to make reasonable judgments of reef conditions.

Highly variable

Even then, assessment is difficult owing to the highly variable nature of reef communities. What is often seen as evidence of human detriment is either a natural condition of reefs in a particular situation or the result of natural events such as storms, floods and population fluctuations of various organisms that appear unnatural to those of limited experience.

Although reefs in many places have indeed been damaged by human activities, the extent of such damage has been considerably inflated by the prevailing assumption of detriment and a focus on information and interpretation that support this while ignoring or dismissing that which does not. Even accepting recent reports, that about one-third of reefs have suffered noticeable damage, it still means that two-thirds have not. Of those affected, damage is often patchy and how much is from natural causes that will repair is unknown.

Regardless of what may or may not be happening on some heavily impacted reefs elsewhere, that is there and the Barrier Reef is here. You don't board up your house in Townsville because a hurricane threatens Florida.

The Great Barrier Reef is among the most pristine of reef areas. Distance, weather and a relatively small population mean most of the reef is rarely even visited. Of the 2,900 reefs in the complex, only a few dozen are regularly used for tourism, and the total annual fish harvest per square kilometer is less than one per cent of what reefs elsewhere commonly sustain. Solutions appropriate to the problems of heavily impacted reefs are at best uncalled for and may even have undesirable results here.

No-take areas have proven effective where fishing pressure is very high and breeding stocks have been reduced to low levels. Their benefit has not been demonstrated and would not be expected where substantial breeding stock is already widespread as on the Great Barrier Reef. The benefit from closed areas here is undemonstrated and unlikely. Their effect should be monitored and evaluated on an experimental basis before applying them on a large scale. The proposed re-zoning will concentrate fishing pressure by about half as much again in the areas left open. It amounts to wholesale environmental meddling for no good reason and no idea of what the effect will be or even a plan in place to monitor it. Calling this a precautionary measure defies common sense. It is indeed just the opposite.

Threats to the reef from siltation, pesticides, and fertiliser are equally ill-founded. Their extent and detriment are unmeasured and undemonstrated. Their threat is almost entirely assumed and hypothetical. Abundant reason and evidence to the contrary are ignored. Still, threats and problems, no matter how uncertain, receive all the attention; and good news remains no news, regardless of how well founded it may be.

So, what can farmers and fishermen do against the arrayed power of the media, urban voters, politicians, bureaucrats, academics, eco-freaks and self-appointed saviours of the environment? Getting the matter before a court is the only way reason and evidence can prevail, uncertainties be exposed, and answers to questions be demanded. Laws regarding defamation, discrimination, vilification, environmental protection, negligence, and even consumer protection all provide possible grounds for litigation. In the legal arena, the questionable, exaggerated and false claims that are being repeatedly made would be very difficult to defend; and damage, both financial and to reputation, could be shown.

The media readily and often one-sidedly provide prominence and credibility to such claims without the exercise of due diligence or concern. They then purvey such material to consumers as factual "news". This is consumer fraud of a particularly dangerous kind as it not only damages individuals, industries and the economy; it weakens the very foundation of democracy which is an informed electorate. As with any other faulty product, the media should be held liable for damages and subject to penalties if neglect or fraud is apparent. Appropriate consumer protection laws already exist; they need only be applied.

A few such lawsuits against key individuals, organisations and media companies could do wonders for bringing about a fairer, more considered, honest and balanced public debate in place of the one-sided publicising of unsubstantiated claims with little or no opportunity of rebuttal. If a large majority of fishermen and farmers, plus like-minded concerned citizens, contributed only a small amount each to a non-profit association set up for the purpose of demanding honesty in environmental issues, a war chest quite adequate to pursue such legal action would be available with little effort or risk to anyone - anyone, that is, but those so ready and willing to decide for us all, regardless of the evidence or how little they themselves really know.

Above article from Prof. Walter Starck, a reef expert


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

Comments? Email me here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Friday, August 26, 2005


Another great Greenie lie that totally ignores history -- Author of the article below, Benny Peiser, is an anthropologist writing within his own special field on this topic so he KNOWS what actually happened on Easter Island. That most accomplished twister of the facts, Jared Diamond, whose account of Easter Island history Peiser takes apart, is a physiologist

By Benny Peiser, Liverpool John Moores University, Faculty of Science Liverpool L3 2ET, UK.( Paper from Energy & Environment, 16:3&4 (2005), pp. 513-539


The 'decline and fall' of Easter Island and its alleged self-destruction has become the poster child of a new environmentalist historiography, a school of thought that goes hand-in-hand with predictions of environmental disaster. Why did this exceptional civilisation crumble? What drove its population to extinction? These are some of the key questions Jared Diamond endeavours to answer in his new book Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Survive. According to Diamond, the people of Easter Island destroyed their forest, degraded the island's topsoil, wiped out their plants and drove their animals to extinction. As a result of this self-inflicted environmental devastation, its complex society collapsed, descending into civil war, cannibalism and self-destruction.

While his theory of ecocide has become almost paradigmatic in environmental circles, a dark and gory secret hangs over the premise of Easter Island's self-destruction: an actual genocide terminated Rapa Nui's indigenous populace and its culture. Diamond, however, ignores and fails to address the true reasons behind Rapa Nui's collapse. Why has he turned the victims of cultural and physical extermination into the perpetrators of their own demise? This paper is a first attempt to address this disquieting quandary. It describes the foundation of Diamond's environmental revisionism and explains why it does not hold up to scientific scrutiny.


Of all the vanished civilisations, no other has evoked as much bafflement, incredulity and conjecture as the Pacific island of Rapa Nui (Easter Island). This tiny patch of land was discovered by European explorers more than three hundred years ago amidst the vast space that is the South Pacific Ocean. Its civilisation attained a level of social complexity that gave rise to one of the most advanced cultures and technological feats of Neolithic societies anywhere in the world. Easter Island's stone-working skills and proficiency were far superior to any other Polynesian culture, as was its unique writing system. This most extraordinary society developed, flourished and persisted for perhaps more than one thousand years - before it collapsed and became all but extinct.

Why did this exceptional civilisation crumble? What drove its population to extinction? These are some of the key questions Jared Diamond endeavours to answer in his new book Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Survive (Diamond, 2005) in a chapter which focuses on Easter Island. Diamond's saga of the decline and fall of Easter Island is straightforward and can be summarised in a few words: Within a few centuries after the island was settled, the people of Easter Island destroyed their forest, degraded the island's topsoil, wiped out their plants and drove their animals to extinction. As a result of this self-inflicted environmental devastation, its complex society collapsed, descending into civil war, cannibalism and self-destruction. When Europeans discovered the island in the 18th century, they found a crashed society and a deprived population of survivors who subsisted among the ruins of a once vibrant civilisation.

Diamond's key line of reasoning is not difficult to grasp: Easter Island's cultural decline and collapse occurred before Europeans set foot on its shores. He spells out in no uncertain terms that the island's downfall was entirely self-inflicted: "It was the islanders themselves who had destroyed their own ancestor's work" (Diamond, 2005).

Lord May, the President of Britain's Royal Society, recently condensed Diamond's theory of environmental suicide in this way: "In a lecture at the Royal Society last week, Jared Diamond drew attention to populations, such as those on Easter Island, who denied they were having a catastrophic impact on the environment and were eventually wiped out, a phenomenon he called 'ecocide'" (May, 2005).

Diamond's theory has been around since the early 1980s. Since then, it has reached a mass audience due to a number of popular books and Diamond's own publications. As a result, the notion of ecological suicide has become the "orthodox model" of Easter Island's demise. "This story of self-induced eco-disaster and consequent self-destruction of a Polynesian island society continues to provide the easy and uncomplicated shorthand for explaining the so-called cultural devolution of Rapa Nui society" (Rainbird, 2002).

The 'decline and fall' of Easter Island and its alleged self-destruction has become the poster child of the new environmentalist historiography, a school of thought that goes hand-in-hand with predictions of environmental disaster. Clive Ponting's The Green History of the World - for many years the main manifest of British eco-pessimism - begins his saga of ecological destruction and social degeneration with "The Lessons of Easter Island" (Ponting, 1992:1ff.). Others view Easter Island as a microcosm of planet Earth and consider the former's bleak fate as symptomatic for what awaits the whole of humanity. Thus, the story of Easter Island's environmental suicide has become the prime case for the gloomiest of grim eco-pessimism.

After more than 30 years of palaeo-environmental research on Easter Island, one of its leading experts comes to an extremely gloomy conclusion: "It seems [...] that ecological sustainability may be an impossible dream. The revised Club of Rome predictions show that it is not very likely that we can put of the crunch by more than a few decades. Most of their models still show economic decline by AD 2100. Easter Island still seems to be a plausible model for Earth Island." (Flenley, 1998:127).

From a political and psychological point of view, this imagery of a complex civilisation self-destructing is overwhelming. It portrays an impression of utter failure that elicits shock and trepidation. It is in form of a shock-tactic when Diamond employs Rapa Nui's tragic end as a dire warning and a moral lesson for humanity today: "Easter [Island's] isolation makes it the clearest example of a society that destroyed itself by overexploiting its own resources. Those are the reasons why people see the collapse of Easter Island society as a metaphor, a worst-case scenario, for what may lie ahead of us in our own future" (Diamond, 2005).

While the theory of ecocide has become almost paradigmatic in environmental circles, a dark and gory secret hangs over the premise of Easter Island's self-destruction: an actual genocide terminated Rapa Nui's indigenous populace and its culture. Diamond ignores, or neglects to address the true reasons behind Rapa Nui's collapse. Other researchers have no doubt that its people, their culture and its environment were destroyed to all intents and purposes by European slave-traders, whalers and colonists - and not by themselves!

After all, the cruelty and systematic kidnapping by European slave-merchants, the near-extermination of the Island's indigenous population and the deliberate destruction of the island's environment has been regarded as "one of the most hideous atrocities committed by white men in the South Seas" (Metraux, 1957:38), "perhaps the most dreadful piece of genocide in Polynesian history" (Bellwood, 1978:363).

So why does Diamond maintain that Easter Island's celebrated culture, famous for its sophisticated architecture and giant stone statues, committed its own environmental suicide? How did the once well-known accounts about the "fatal impact" (Moorehead, 1966) of European disease, slavery and genocide - "the catastrophe that wiped out Easter Island's civilisation" (Metraux, ibid.) - turn into a contemporary parable of self-inflicted ecocide?

In short, why have the victims of cultural and physical extermination been turned into the perpetrators of their own demise? This paper is a first attempt to address this disquieting quandary. It describes the foundation of Diamond's environmental revisionism and explains why it does not hold up to scientific scrutiny.

FULL PAPER here (PDF). For those who still think Diamond has some credibility, note that "Gene Expression" have up a post on Diamond, who currently claims that race is a myth and that there is no genetic difference between the Western European whites who created the modern world and anybody else. All those "dead white males" did so well purely by accident, apparently. The "Gene Expression" post however reprints one of Diamond's scientific papers from the days before he had hopped onto the politically correct bandwagon -- a paper in which Diamond shows important inherited differences between the races! That blogospheric fact-checking sure is pesky for frauds!


Another prominent and respected scientist, Roger Pielke Sr., has resigned from an important government panel citing political bias built into the process of researching climate change. Pielke is also the Colorado state climatologist and professor at Colorado State University. "Just like the Commissars of the old Soviet Union, activists in the scientific community brook no dissent in the ranks," said NCPA Senior Fellow H. Sterling Burnett. "They suppress findings that are at odds with their dogmatic view of climate science."

Pielke resigned in a letter to the head of the Climate Change Science Program (CCSP), citing a recent article in The New York Times as the "last straw." He complained not only that certain aspects of a CCSP report had been leaked to The Times, but also that another committee member was surreptitiously circulating a chapter to replace the one for which Pielke was lead author. Referring to other CCSP members in an entry on his blog, Climate Science, Pielke noted that ".they, inappropriately, vigorously discourage the inclusion of diversity of perspectives on the topic of the CCSP report in order to promote a narrowly focused topic which has a clear political agenda." ( Pielke's resignation follows several other major disputes about the "theology" of climate change:

* Respected hurricane expert, Chris Landsea, resigned from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), charging that its leaders overstated the influence of global warming on hurricanes for political purposes.

* Author and physician Michael Crichton's book, State of Fear, published earlier this year, echoed his Commonwealth Club lecture that environmentalism has become the religion of Western elites.

* In a recent editorial in The Wall Street Journal titled, "The Theology of Global Warming," former Energy Secretary James Schlesinger noted "concerns about objectivity of the international panel (IPCC) of scientists that has led research into climate change."

* John Christy, director of the Earth System Science Center at the University of Alabama-Huntsville, who is also co-author of the IPCC report said of a recent dispute about global warming in Science Magazine that the debate about climate change has become more political than scientific.

"It's time for all points of view to get a hearing in academic journals and by peer review. Refusing to acknowledge dissenting views undermines our knowledge base, especially when science is the basis for formulating public policy," Dr. Burnett added.



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

Comments? Email me here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Thursday, August 25, 2005


If anybody knows anything about Siberia, the Russians do and the Russian experts say that the latest scare about Siberia emanating from British Greenies is just a fraud. I pointed out some of the illogic in the original scare on 13th

Last week, the British press (the Guardian, The Times, and The Daily Telegraph) warned of "swamp terrorism" from Siberia. Citing experts, the newspapers claimed that the permafrost covering Siberian swamps is rapidly thawing due to climatic warming. They said that billions of tons of methane could be released into the air causing an ecological disaster.

Academician Vladimir Melnikov spoke to RIA Novosti about the problem. Melnikov is the director of the world's only Institute of the Earth's Cryosphere. The Russian Academy of Sciences' Institute is located in the Siberian city of Tyumen and investigates the ways in which ground water becomes ice and permafrost. "This is just another scare story, this time about the Siberian swamps." This was Melnikov's first reaction when asked by RIA Novosti to comment on claims by The Daily Telegraph that thawing Siberian permafrost could cause an ecological crisis.

Russia is situated in one of the coldest parts of the planet. As much as 60% of its territory is covered with permafrost, which extends to the border with China in the south. "It is, however, a mistake to speak of the Siberian swamps as being all permafrost," he said. "This is not so, because ordinary swamps cover vast areas." Melnikov said that the swamp zone in Western Siberia was growing, but then added, "This ecological structure is balanced and is not about to harm people with gas discharges."

He pointed out an interesting consequence of the growth of the swamp zone: As the water-covered surface increases, it gives off more evaporation, and this process generates cold. "So, in a way, the swamps are compensating for global warming. There is simply no way that all the permafrost will melt," the scientist said.

He also refuted claims that the swamps are rapidly thawing and forming small lakes. "Both scientific findings and experience suggest that small lakes result from irregularities when laying oil and gas pipes and other engineering systems," Melnikov said. "But the scale on which new formations are appearing is small, and they do not pose any threat."

When asked if methane might erupt from the swamps and seriously pollute the atmosphere, Melnikov said, "The swamps are accumulating tremendous amounts of methane. This is an energy reserve for future generations, who will find a way to release it. Swamps are governed by the laws of nature, and we would need an exceptional reason to alter the natural course of things. A rise in temperature of one degree Celsius in the Siberian region in the 20th century cannot cause the permafrost to suddenly melt."

He pointed out that the greatest man-made menace is not methane, but CO2, which is the principal greenhouse gas. "Through ignorance many people talk a lot about the 'methane threat' from the swamps, but say very little about their ability to retain and deposit CO2, thus doing a tremendous service to nature and mankind," he said.

Yuri Izrael, director of the Institute of Climatology and Ecology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, agrees that a catastrophic release of methane from the Siberian swamps is impossible. He says that the whole notion is misconceived. "The boundaries of the Russian permafrost zone remain virtually unchanged. At the same time, the permafrost is several hundred meters deep. For methane, other gases and hydrates to escape to the surface, it would have to melt at tremendous depths, which is impossible.

In Yakutia, for example, the permafrost thaws by up to one and a half meters during summer. This is a normal phenomenon. In the 20th century, the temperature in Siberia rose by one degree Celsius, which was only 0.4 degrees more than in the Mediterranean (which rose by 0.6 degrees Celsius). But even if, as predicted, by the end of the 21st century temperatures have risen by three degrees, this will not be a catastrophe. The swamps are covered in vegetation. Bushes and moss grow above, and peat, which is an excellent insulator, is found below. Only a massive rise in temperature, which is unlikely in the foreseeable future, could alter the situation," Izrael said.

The Russian Academy of Sciences has found that the annual temperature of soils (with seasonable variations) has been remaining stable despite the increased average annual air temperature caused by climate change. If anything, the depth of seasonal melting has decreased slightly. "Unscrupulous scientists are exaggerating and peddling fears about permafrost thawing and swamp methane becoming aggressive," said Professor Nikolai Alexeyevsky, Doctor of Geography and head of the land hydrology department at Moscow State University. "Siberia has vast natural resources, oil and gas above all. The article aims to set public opinion against Western Siberia and discourage investment in its industry, oil and gas. They are saying, 'Swamp methane poses a global threat, so don't touch Siberia.' They are deliberately trying to cause panic."

Alexeyevsky says that permafrost has a natural cycle of change, and that it advanced and retreated in the pre-industrial era as well. "It is likely that the next attack will be on rice paddies in China and India, which also release enormous quantities of methane. And this onslaught will likewise pursue economic and political, rather than environmental, aims: Namely, to reduce the production of rice, which is the staple food of these successfully developing nations," he said. "I would think otherwise if I were not analyzing the trends. The issue is seen from one specific self-interested angle, the aim of which is to discredit methane, as they managed to do in the past with freons and perfectly sound refrigeration freon-based technologies." He then added that corporations spent vast sums pursuing their own agendas, and involved unprincipled individuals in their campaigns.

From RIA Novosti, 22 August 2005

"Peak Oil:" Welcome to the media's new version of shark attacks

Post lifted from the Freakonomics blog

The cover story of the New York Times Sunday Magazine written by Peter Maass is about "Peak Oil." The idea behind "peak oil" is that the world has been on a path of increasing oil production for many years, and now we are about to peak and go into a situation where there are dwindling reserves, leading to triple-digit prices for a barrel of oil, an unparalleled worldwide depression, and as one web page puts it, "Civilization as we know it is coming to an end soon."

One might think that doomsday proponents would be chastened by the long history of people of their ilk being wrong: Nostradamus, Malthus, Paul Ehrlich, etc. Clearly they are not.

What most of these doomsday scenarios have gotten wrong is the fundamental idea of economics: people respond to incentives. If the price of a good goes up, people demand less of it, the companies that make it figure out how to make more of it, and everyone tries to figure out how to produce substitutes for it. Add to that the march of technological innovation (like the green revolution, birth control, etc.). The end result: markets figure out how to deal with problems of supply and demand.

Which is exactly the situation with oil right now. I don't know much about world oil reserves. I'm not even necessarily arguing with their facts about how much the output from existing oil fields is going to decline, or that world demand for oil is increasing. But these changes in supply and demand are slow and gradual -- a few percent each year. Markets have a way with dealing with situations like this: prices rise a little bit. That is not a catastrophe, it is a message that some things that used to be worth doing at low oil prices are no longer worth doing. Some people will switch from SUVs to hybrids, for instance. Maybe we'll be willing to build some nuclear power plants, or it will become worth it to put solar panels on more houses.

The NY Times article totally flubs the economics time and again. Here is one example from the article: The author writes:

The consequences of an actual shortfall of supply would be immense. If consumption begins to exceed production by even a small amount, the price of a barrel of oil could soar to triple-digit levels. This, in turn, could bring on a global recession, a result of exorbitant prices for transport fuels and for products that rely on petrochemicals -- which is to say, almost every product on the market. The impact on the American way of life would be profound: cars cannot be propelled by roof-borne windmills. The suburban and exurban lifestyles, hinged to two-car families and constant trips to work, school and Wal-Mart, might become unaffordable or, if gas rationing is imposed, impossible. Carpools would be the least imposing of many inconveniences; the cost of home heating would soar -- assuming, of course, that climate-controlled habitats do not become just a fond memory.

If oil prices rise, consumers of oil will be (a little) worse off. But, we are talking about needing to cut demand by a few percent a year. That doesn't mean putting windmills on cars, it means cutting out a few low value trips. It doesn't mean abandoning North Dakota, it means keeping the thermostat a degree or two cooler in the winter.

A little later, the author writes

The onset of triple-digit prices might seem a blessing for the Saudis -- they would receive greater amounts of money for their increasingly scarce oil. But one popular misunderstanding about the Saudis -- and about OPEC in general -- is that high prices, no matter how high, are to their benefit. Although oil costing more than $60 a barrel hasn't caused a global recession, that could still happen: it can take a while for high prices to have their ruinous impact. And the higher above $60 that prices rise, the more likely a recession will become. High oil prices are inflationary; they raise the cost of virtually everything -- from gasoline to jet fuel to plastics and fertilizers -- and that means people buy less and travel less, which means a drop-off in economic activity. So after a brief windfall for producers, oil prices would slide as recession sets in and once-voracious economies slow down, using less oil. Prices have collapsed before, and not so long ago: in 1998, oil fell to $10 a barrel after an untimely increase in OPEC production and a reduction in demand from Asia, which was suffering through a financial crash.

Oops, there goes the whole peak oil argument. When the price rises, demand falls, and oil prices slide. What happened to the "end of the world as we know it?" Now we are back to $10 a barrel oil. Without realizing it, the author just invoked basic economics to invalidate the entire premise of the article!

Just for good measure, he goes on to write:

High prices can have another unfortunate effect for producers. When crude costs $10 a barrel or even $30 a barrel, alternative fuels are prohibitively expensive. For example, Canada has vast amounts of tar sands that can be rendered into heavy oil, but the cost of doing so is quite high. Yet those tar sands and other alternatives, like bioethanol, hydrogen fuel cells and liquid fuel from natural gas or coal, become economically viable as the going rate for a barrel rises past, say, $40 or more, especially if consuming governments choose to offer their own incentives or subsidies. So even if high prices don't cause a recession, the Saudis risk losing market share to rivals into whose nonfundamentalist hands Americans would much prefer to channel their energy dollars.

As he notes, high prices lead people to develop substitutes. Which is exactly why we don't need to panic over peak oil in the first place.

So why do I compare peak oil to shark attacks? It is because shark attacks mostly stay about constant, but fear of them goes up sharply when the media decides to report on them. The same thing, I bet, will now happen with peak oil. I expect tons of copycat journalism stoking the fears of consumers about oil induced catastrophe, even though nothing fundamental has changed in the oil outlook in the last decade.

(For those of you interested in more economic perspectives on peak oil, check out these three posts by Jim Hamilton of econbrowser: here, here, and here. And thanks to Alex from marginalrevolution for pointing me to Hamilton's posts.)


There's no such thing as a happy Greenie

A new plant gene identified by scientists could help to allay fears over the safety of genetically modified crops. Research at the University of Tennessee suggests that the naturally antibiotic-resistant gene from the simple thale cress could provide a strong alternative to the way GM plants are created.

GM plants are usually made with an antibiotic resistance marker obtained from bacteria. Until now, the potential for reverse migration of the resistance marker into bacterial cells has raised safety issues, with fears that eating GM plants could increase human immunity to antibiotics. The research indicates that resistance markers from plants should not lead to reverse migration, due to differences in cell structure and machinery.

The finding was greeted with cautious optimism by critics of GM crops, but Gundula Azeez, policy manager with the Soil Association, said the issue was just one of many concerns.



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

Comments? Email me here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Cycling puts healthy Londoners on road to early heart disease

Excuse me while I laugh at all the "ecologically responsible" Greenie cyclists! Wicked of me, I know

Cyclists may be doing themselves more harm than good by pedalling to the office along congested roads, according to pioneering research by the British Heart Foundation. Tests showed that after just one hour of cycling in traffic, the microscopic particles carried in diesel fumes caused significant damage to blood vessels, increasing the risk of heart disease. Those cycling at high speeds in the hope of improving their fitness levels are doing themselves the most damage, by breathing in a higher volume of the polluted air.

The system of locating most cycle paths within bus lanes has the perverse effect of forcing cyclists to inhale the most dangerous air, spewed out by diesel-powered buses and taxis. The number of diesel-engine cars in Britain grew from 1.6million to 5million between 1994 and last year.

The health warning will dismay the many commuters who have switched to bicycles to improve their fitness, to avoid high fuel prices or, in London, because they fear another terrorist attack on public transport. Cycling is on the increase. In London it is up by 25per cent in the past year, according to cycling charity CTC, and Transport for London has reported an extra 50,000 bike journeys a week since the July 7 bombs.

There is no dispute in principle about the health benefits of cycling -- it improves the circulation, keeps weight down and boosts fitness -- yet the new research indicates they could be outweighed by the polluted conditions of a busy road. "Cycling through congested traffic exposes the cyclist to high levels of air pollution, especially as the exercise of cycling increases breathing and the individual's exposure," said David Newby, British Heart Foundation senior lecturer in cardiology at Edinburgh University. "This is bad for the heart."

He had 15 healthy men cycle on exercise bikes for an hour while being exposed to levels of diluted diesel exhaust comparable to the air they would inhale cycling on a congested city road. Six hours after exposure to the fumes, damage was detected to their blood vessels. They became less flexible and there was a reduction of a protein that breaks down blood clots in the heart. This is associated with the early stages of heart disease.

More here

Government Polluters

The main sources of pollution are not industry but bodies that various levels of government control, directly or indirectly

Since 1987, thousands of American companies have been legally required to submit annual reports of their chemical releases to the air, land and water. These reports are mandated under the popular and quite successful "right-to-know" program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, authorized by the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-know Act (EPCRA) of 1986. Environmental activist groups and journalists routinely use this information-which is available on the web-when reporting on (or bashing) those "corporate polluters" that many people love to hate.

But there are some gaping holes in this program, which is approaching its second decade of existence. Not surprisingly, the exemptions are exclusively for the government and its close allies, namely, municipal sewage systems, the highly socialized farming industry and the government-regulated energy business.

There seems to be a pattern, not to mention a conflict of interest. EPA and its political supporters force private industry to report embarrassing right-to-know information each year. Then they proceed to flaunt those reports in public, denouncing the actions of "reckless" corporations as they demand more restrictions. On top of the tens of billions spent each year for environmental compliance, corporate Americans can now expect to face six-figure fines or prison sentences for running their businesses before completing voluminous permit applications, for discharging air or water with chemical levels a few parts per million above arbitrary limits, or for failing to properly incriminate themselves on the latter.

Meanwhile, similar or worse behavior from the public sector is allowed to proceed in secrecy, and in many cases gets supported by public tax dollars. The current state of affairs begs the question: Are EPA and its green allies more anti-pollution or anti-industry? But even more offensive than the gross double-standards are the staggering amounts of unreported pollution spewed out from these stealth sources. The groups exempted from reporting happen to be some of the worst polluters in the country.

Power plants emit millions of tons of particulate matter, sulfur dioxide, and smog-causing volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides each year. EPA collectively attributes these emissions to thousands of premature deaths and many more cases of respiratory problems annually in the U.S. While the agency has used its broad powers to more than double the list of reportable chemicals from 320 initially to about 650 today, these major pollutants are all somehow exempt from RTK reporting.

EPA figures that combined storm-and-sanitary sewers (found in older cities) annually discharge 850 billion gallons of untreated sewage and storm water-equivalent to 13 days of flow from Niagara Falls . Dedicated sanitary sewer lines-full of toilet water, ground-up food, and everything else flushed down the drain-overflow another 23,000 to 75,000 times each year; due to poor reporting, EPA isn't sure what the real number is. That torrent of filth leads to thousands of U.S. beach closings and ruined vacations, and somewhere around 500,000 to one million illnesses each year, as EPA quietly estimates. EPA figures that "Americans take a total of 910 million trips to coastal areas each year and spend about $44 billion at those beach locations," despite the frequent problems.

Farm pollution is probably the most serious legitimate environmental problem facing America today (notwithstanding many illegitimate scare topics advanced by environmentalists). The EPA's biennial National Water Quality Inventory cites farming as causing more miles of river pollution and more acres of lake contamination than all other industry combined. According to the U.S. Geological Survey and state agencies, runoff from agricultural fertilizers and manure are the leading causes of large "dead" zones in the Gulf of Mexico and the Chesapeake Bay , and create problems in nearly every state from the Florida Everglades to central California . Polluted groundwater and runoff from farming is also responsible for scores of fish kills, including some spectacular displays of millions of rotting carcasses. Thousands of drinking water wells are contaminated with nitrates from fertilizers, often at dangerously high levels.

So these issues of government-related pollution are not a futuristic doomsday theory like global warming-which receives far more media attention. These are real issues that affect millions of Americans right now. But with liberals obsessed with "corporate" pollution and conservatives hostile to green topics, government polluters have gotten a free pass.

Since environmental topics tend to be high on emotion and low on principle, a few basic points need to be stated. If an industrialist or farmer wants to ruin his land with piles of toxic waste, that is (or should be) solely their business. But once these parties start discharging their mess onto other people's land (as both groups often do) causing measurable harm, then they are reducing the value of neighboring property and may be adversely affecting public health. In this instance, the government has a valid cause to step in.

And RTK reporting is a very useful tool in protecting the property values and health of those who live downwind or downstream from polluters. EPA has called RTK reporting under the EPCRA law "one of the most powerful forces in empowering the Federal government, state governments, industry, environmental groups, and the general public, to fully participate in an informed dialogue about the environmental impacts of toxic chemicals in the United States ." Environmental groups also rave about this program.

Under the 1986 EPCRA law, a separate "toxic release inventory" report is required for any of the now roughly 650 listed chemicals that an industry "uses" in a quantity of at least five tons or "processes or manufactures" of at least 12.5 tons; a few chemicals like lead, mercury and dioxin have much lower reporting thresholds. These public reports, which are five pages per chemical, are required even if a company-due to well run operations or the installation of expensive pollution controls-has no actual releases at all.

Leaving the worst for last, let's go back to power plants, and consider their level of government control. At American power companies, various state and federal agencies have final authority over everything from initial site location to types of technology and fuels selected to the complex formulas that determine rate pricing-and that's just for the "private" companies. The nation's largest power supplier-with 59 generating units fired by mega-polluting coal and another 79 that burn oil or natural gas-is the Tennessee Valley Authority, which is owned and operated by the federal government. Overall, the government position appears to be: we're in control, that's all the public needs to know.

As a result, about 99 percent of power plant emissions are exempt from RTK reporting. Although the EPA has required electric utilities to report on trace impurities like lead, mercury, and various acid vapors, the vast majority of pollutants that cause widespread smog and haze problems-affecting millions of urban citizens and visitors to national parks-are left out. Those omitted emissions-combustion byproducts such as nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide and particulate matter-are most definitely "toxic," which is the criteria for RTK listing, since EPA claims these chemicals are killing people by the thousands. While power plants must comply with many other eco-standards, reports on annual emission levels are buried in disperse regulatory archives, virtually inaccessible to the general public. This was also a leading complaint against industrial pollution before the RTK law.

According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation had over 24,800 days of beach closings and advisories against swimming during 2004, as reported on surveys of beach operators. The leading cause of U.S. beach closings, according to NRDC and EPA, is pollution stemming from mismanagement of sewage handling systems and urban storm water runoff. Both waste streams carry pollutants like heavy metals, gasoline, and nitrates that already appear on EPA's list of RTK chemicals, and many other nasties that should be included like disease-causing bacteria and oxygen depleting chemicals.

Sewage treatment plants and storm water collection systems are almost always run by local governments, with partial funding and sporadic oversight typically kicked in from the state and federal level. But EPA's role of independent oversight is compromised by the fact that they have worked to funnel over $100 billion (adjusted for inflation) in federal grant money to help reckless municipalities clean up after their own neglect. So local failures have become federal failures, which result in gentle understanding and excuses. On the rare event that EPA does talk about sewage dumping, their official terms are passive ones like "blending" and "overflow." Aggressive descriptions such as "reckless" and "dumping" are reserved strictly for industrial discharges.

Farm pollution is a profound mess due to decades of political pandering to the farm lobby and the refusal by many farmers to take responsibility for their actions. The main issues begin with the roughly 20 million tons of nitrogen, phosphate and potassium fertilizer injected and sprayed onto the ground each year. By U.S. Department of Agriculture and many other estimates, around one-half or more of those chemicals will bypass their targeted crops and head straight to the nearest ditch or groundwater table, volatilize to the air, or accumulate in the soil. Also important are the 1.4 billion tons of livestock manure produced each year, which is 130 times the amount of human waste generated annually in the U.S. Added to that each year are about 1.1 billion tons of eroded sediment from exposed cropland.

These all leave their mark on nature. Waters loaded with too much nutrients experience excessive weed growth and algae blooms. As the algae decay, oxygen gets depleted from the water, suffocating fish. Bacteria and other disease carrying organisms in animal manure cause illness and sometimes death when contacted from swimming or consumed from tap water. Sediment from erosion smothers aquatic plant life along with shellfish beds and fish eggs. Fertilizers also typically contain nitrates and ammonia, as well as micronutrients zinc, manganese, and copper, which are all on the RTK list; these chemicals are toxic to fish and humans when at elevated levels. EPA data show that pesticides are the least significant source of farm pollution, so these over-hyped chemicals will not receive further attention in this article.

The problem isn't the vast quantities of fertilizer and manure used and soil eroded, but the government's refusal to set any objective limits on the noxious swill that cascades off these materials any time it rains. Instead, the EPA, the USDA and the farming industry all prefer no standards at all (as in most cases), or voluntary guidelines and written reports about internal farming practices that are generally not available to the public and impossible to enforce.

The EPA's most recent biennial inventory of water quality cited farming as causing nearly 129,000 miles of river pollution and 3.2 million acres of lake contamination, based on state data collected in 2000. (EPA is a year behind its normal schedule for issuing the 2002 inventory.) In comparison, all industrial point sources together caused less than 16,000 miles of river pollution (thus not ranking among the top 20 pollution sources), and 466,000 acres of lake contamination. These figures are all for "impairment," which is a pollution level so high that it precludes one or more public uses like drinking, swimming, or fish consumption.

The trend of farm pollution dwarfing industrial pollution of rivers and lakes has been reported by EPA for many years. This is despite rather lenient standards on farm pollutants like nitrates, bacteria and oxygen levels compared to the very strict limits on industrial pollutants like mercury and PCBs, which EPA fails to mention.

The once bountiful Chesapeake Bay is now struggling from nutrient overloads, despite over 20 years of state and federal efforts to fix the problems. During the summer, the Bay Program's website notes, "dissolved oxygen levels can become dangerously low in about half of the Bay's deeper waters-critical habitat for some Bay fish and shellfish species." As of 2002, agriculture was the leading source of the Chesapeake 's main problem of nutrient pollution, contributing 41% of the nitrogen loading and 47% of the phosphorous inputs. In comparison, sewage treatment plants and all industrial sources contributed 21% of nitrogen and 22% of phosphorous loads into the Bay (other sources were forests, urban runoff and septic tanks).

The Mississippi River -with its enormous watershed covering two-fifths of the lower 48 states-is also loaded with farm pollution that is eventually dumped into the Gulf of Mexico . In many recent years the size of the Gulf's dead zone is larger than the state of New Jersey . According to extensive monitoring and analyses by the USGS, the main problem is excessive nitrogen that comes primarily from agriculture, which delivers 755,000 tons per year of it at the Mississippi 's outlet to the Gulf. That amount dwarfs all other natural and man-made sources, which combined for 425,000 tons per year of the pollutant.

On the topic of fish kills, see the NRDC report " America 's Animal Factories," which unfortunately focuses too much on the "factory" feedlots, the main offense of which seems to be earning too much profit. One of the more amusing headlines cited was "Spill's Toll is Limited by Earlier Fish Kill," based on a discharge of almost half a million gallons of hog manure in Iowa .

EPA has done even less on the topic of agricultural air pollution. Based on the limited data available, it is known that significant amounts of ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, methane and other harmful gases are emitted from the rotting piles of animal waste that accompany many livestock operations. It is also known that large quantities of particulate matter are discharged into the air from the 840 million tons per year of wind erosion at farms. But in the 35 years since the Clean Air Act was passed, EPA has done virtually nothing to regulate or even report on this.

Prior to the 2004 election, when questioned about the environmental loopholes for farming, President Bush told Pollution Engineering magazine: "To help States clean up non-point source pollution, I signed a record $40 billion in conservation funding into law as part of the 2002 Farm Bill."

Regulators and lawmakers like to make excuses for farm pollution, citing technical jargon about the alleged difficulties in reducing "non-point" pollution (that is, pollution without a discharge pipe). But landfills, Superfund sites and ground soaked from leaking fuel storage tanks are also classic non-point sources. That flimsy excuse never stopped Congress and EPA from targeting those for infinitely more expensive cleanups.

People should also realize that private sector food processors and fertilizer manufacturers have always been required to file right-to-know reports under this same EPCRA law of 1986. So the EPA and the rest of Washington have no special compassion for the food supply.

To understand the government's passion for making excuses for farm pollution, one needs to realize the major role that Washington has in agribusiness (and has had for over 90 years). The U.S. Department of Agriculture alone has spent over $1.1 trillion (current dollars) just since 1990-quite a remarkable sum considering that many farm programs were sold to the public decades ago as "temporary" and "emergency" relief measures. And the agency has over 110,000 staffers to implement its complex web of programs for subsidized education, cheap loans and insurance, direct price supports for many crops, indirect farm welfare via food stamps and many other services. That hefty USDA price tag doesn't include the ethanol mandates, generous property tax breaks, special exemptions to utilize child labor and immigrants, or the cut-rate water prices granted to agribusiness.

Like no other group, the farming industry is dominated by the District of Columbia 's central planners. With so much federal prestige riding on the pristine image of the "family farmer," no one in Washington wants to publicize embarrassing data on agricultural (and government) neglect-all the more reason for public disclosure.

The addition of electric utilities, municipal sewage systems and socialized farming to the ranks of those required to file annual right-to-know emission reports is the least that should be required of these major polluters. And if Washington refuses to do this, states and counties should step in and take the lead.

There are two main benefits to this proposal, in debatable order of importance. First of all, shining a spotlight on government polluters will help dispel the persistent myth that all pollution comes from industry. This lie, promoted by many activists and public officials, has been used to bully people in the private sector into a state of submission, where very few will dare speak out for their own rights in fear of bad press coverage and government retribution.

Secondly, thanks to the pressures of public disclosure, industrial releases fell by nearly 50 percent in the first ten years of right-to-know reporting. Similar results could probably be achieved for government polluters, if they are ever led out of the closet. With thousand of public beaches too foul to swim in, moderate to severe levels of air pollution in many cities and the widespread impacts of farm pollution, there is much room for improvement.


There's one born every minute: "He went to prison for fraud and was ordered by the U.S. government to stop touting health products on infomercials, but Kevin Trudeau's book "Natural Cures 'They' Don't Want You to Know About" is a bestseller. Trudeau, who for years sold snoring remedies and memory enhancers through long-format commercials dressed up as talk shows, says he is a consumer advocate battling the "unholy alliance" of drug companies and government regulators. "It's all about money. The drug industry does not want people to get healthy," he says in a commercial for his book. Trudeau says he has sold about 4 million copies of the book in under a year, a huge amount for a self-published book marketed initially only through the Internet and television infomercials. The book -- whose back cover says "Never get sick again!" and "Learn the specific natural cures for herpes, acid reflux, diabetes ... cancer ... and more!" -- has topped the Publishers Weekly nonfiction bestseller list for the past three weeks"


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

Comments? Email me here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.