Friday, February 24, 2006


A US city is hoping to harness the power of dog poo, which accounts for almost four per cent of its residential waste. San Francisco already recycles more than 60 per cent of its garbage, but officials hope to turn into energy the 5,900 metric tonnes of dog waste a year - nearly as much as disposable nappies, according to the city. Within the next few months, Norcal Waste, a garbage hauling company that collects San Francisco's rubbish, will begin a pilot program using biodegradable bags and dog-waste carts to pick up droppings at a popular dog park. The droppings will be tossed into a contraption called a methane digester, a tank in which bacteria feed on faeces for weeks to create methane gas. The methane could then be piped directly to a gas stove, heater, turbine or anything else powered by natural gas. It can also be used to generate electricity.

Methane digesters are nothing new. The technology was introduced in Europe about 20 years ago, and more than 600 farm-based digesters are in operation there. Nine are in use on California dairy farms, and chicken and hog farms elsewhere in the United States also use them.

Neither Norcal Waste spokesman Robert Reed nor Will Brinton, a Maine-based recycling and composting consultant, knew of anyone in the United States who is using the $A1.36 million devices to convert pet waste to energy. But Brinton said some European countries process dog droppings along with food and yard waste. "The main impediment is probably getting communities around the country the courage to collect it, to give value to something we'd rather not talk about," Brinton said. "San Francisco is probably the king of pet cities. This could be very important to them." San Francisco - the city named after Saint Francis, patron saint of animals - has an estimated 240,000 dogs and cats.

Some experts believe methane digestion must become more attractive economically before it gets popular. Landfill space is relatively cheap, and natural gas and electricity also remain fairly inexpensive. Reed points to San Francisco's groundbreaking food composting program, which began 10 years ago, as proof an unusual idea can work in this forward-thinking city. A Norcal Waste subsidiary collects 272 tonnes of food scraps per day from homes and restaurants and converts it into a rich fertiliser sold to vineyards and organic farms.



From the Adam Smith blog

The UK government is to give ministers a choice of 'green' cars - a Toyota Prius hybrid or a Jaguar that runs on biodiesel - alongside the conventional alternative. (The picture shows a Toyota Prius being driven by a government minister).

Ministers could, of course, save the planet in more effective ways. Why do they all have to have official cars in the first place? It's pretty appalling to see ministers and their officials being driven the 300 yards from the two ministries near the ASI to the House of commons.

In any case, the chauffer-driven lifestyle separates them from their electors, who have to crowd into the trains and buses. They actually forget how the rest of us live.

They could do most for the environment, however, by issuing less paper. Like all those Bills and regulations (and, no doubt, Whitehall rule-books on things like the specifications for ministers' cars. The volume of official reports and 'consultation documents' - not to mention just straight government puff pieces - that are regularly mailed or biked round to ASI from ministries and quangos is quite ridiculous.

Save trees - stop employing so many scribblers, having so many rules and passing so many laws!


Ruling against a lower court, the Oregon Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld a sweeping, voter-approved measure that could allow many Oregon landowners to develop their property more intensively than current land-use regulations allow. Measure 37, passed by Oregon voters in 2004, allows property owners to seek compensation from local or state agencies if land-use laws and rules reduce the value of their land. If governments can't afford to pay - and none in Oregon says it can - those regulations would be waived.

Measure 37's approval inspired the Washington State Farm Bureau to file a similar property-rights measure, Initiative 933, in this state earlier this month. But supporters and opponents of the initiative said the Oregon Supreme Court's decision won't affect their plans much, if at all. "It's good news for property owners in Oregon," said Dan Wood, the Farm Bureau's government-affairs director, "but we didn't take the language in Measure 37 as the model for ours."

Environmentalists and other opponents hope to persuade Washington voters to defeat I-933 if it is on the ballot this fall, which would mean its constitutionality would never need to be tested in court, said Aisling Kerins of the Community Protection Coalition. "It's basically a big win for big developers," she said of the Oregon ruling. To qualify I-933 for the November ballot, backers must collect signatures of at least 224,880 registered voters by July 7. Supporters and opponents are fighting over the wording of the ballot title, but Wood said petitions should be available by the second week of March.

Measure 37's approval in Oregon sent ripples across the nation. The state adopted land-use policies in 1973 that are often regarded as a national model for protecting farmland and open space and encouraging compact growth. Those policies sparked a property-rights revolt that eventually produced Measure 37. More than 2,000 claims for compensation or waivers were filed after the measure took effect in December 2004. Many landowners simply sought permission to build a home, but some wanted to put large subdivisions or shopping centers on farmland. The law has been in a legal limbo since October, when Marion County Circuit Judge Mary James said it violated the state and federal constitutions. The state's highest court ruled otherwise Tuesday, saying James' arguments were not persuasive. The ruling means people whose claims were bottled up after James' decision can go ahead and try to get local and state agencies to approve their development plans.

While Oregon's high court said the measure was constitutional, that is not the last word. There are still a raft of legal disputes involving such issues as whether a landowner can transfer a Measure 37 right to develop property through a sale or a bequest. "Without some action by the Legislature, it may be years before additional court cases begin to clarify all of the uncertainties about the law," Gov. Ted Kulongoski said in his response to the Tuesday ruling. "In the process, those cases will entail substantial costs and frustrations for state and local governments and private-property owners throughout Oregon."....

Andrew Cook, a lawyer in the pro-property-rights Pacific Legal Foundation's Bellevue office, said the Oregon court ruling could help I-933 if it passes and is challenged. "Courts do look to other states," he said. "This sets a good precedent for Washington state."

More here


Below are two open letters to the chief collaborators in the frauds

Open letter to "Science" magazine from Benny Peiser and others, dated 22 February 2006:

R. Brooks Hanson
Managing Editor, Physical Sciences, Science
American Association for the Advancement of Science

Dear Dr Hanson

In early March, the National Research Council of The National Academies of the United States is convening a committee to study "Surface Temperature Reconstructions for the Past 1,000-2,000 Years". According to the NAS announcement, "the committee will be asked to summarize the current scientific information on the temperature record over the past two millennia, describe the proxy records that have been used to reconstruct pre-instrumental climatic conditions, assess the methods employed to combine multiple proxy data over large spatial scales, evaluate the overall accuracy and precision of such reconstructions, and explain how central the debate over the paleoclimate temperature record is to the state of scientific knowledge on global climate change."

In order for the NAS panel and the invited scientific experts to evaluate the overall accuracy and precision of temperature reconstructions based on multiple proxy data, it is essential that a complete archive of the data is made available. This is particularly relevant for a number of contentious papers published in Science that will feature prominently during the NAS assessment.

We understand that some authors of paleo-climate reconstructions published in Science (Osborn and Briffa, 2006; Thompson et al., 1989; 1997; Esper et al., 2002) have failed to provide complete data archives. We would like to ask Science to ensure that the NAS assessors and scientific experts will have full access to the data and that the authors in question provide a complete archive as required under Science policies.

Yours sincerely

Benny Peiser, Liverpool John Moores University, UK
Sir Colin Berry, Queen Mary, University of London, UK
Freeman Dyson, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, USA
Chris de Freitas, The University of Auckland, New Zealand
Mick Fuller, University of Plymouth, UK
Lord Taverne, House of Lords, UK

Letter to "Science" from Steve McIntyre, dated 19 February 2006:

Dear Dr Hanson,

I am writing in connection with the failure of Osborn and Briffa [2006] to comply with Science's policies on data archiving, which are both explicit and mandatory. For example:

Science supports the efforts of databases that aggregate published data for the use of the scientific community. Therefore, before publication, large data sets ... must be deposited in an approved database and an accession number provided for inclusion in the published paper.

In addition, I am also writing to remind you of the similar continuing failures in connection with Esper et al [2002] and Thompson's Dunde and Guliya ice cores, both of which are cited directly or indirectly in Osborn and Briffa, and about which we have corresponded in the past without any positive outcome.

We note that D'Arrigo et al. [2006] have arrived at precisely opposite conclusions to Osborn and Briffa [2006] on the relationship several Osborn and Briffa sites (Jaemtland, Boreal, Upperwright) to gridcell temperatures. In some cases, although Osborn and Briffa appear to say that they have used identical sites to Esper et al. [2002], the attributions of some datasets seem to differ (e.g. Esper et al. attribute a Quebec dataset to Payette and Filion, whereas Osborn and Briffa cite cana169.) Obviously, the exact data, as contemplated under Science data archiving policies, is necessary to reconcile these differences.

Accordingly, would you please ensure that authors Osborn and Briffa provide a complete archive including the following information:

1. Digital versions of all 14 series as used in their final compilations;

2. For each of the tree ring sites analysed (both the 11 retained and Esper site not used, including Gotland, Jaemtland, Mackenzie Mts and Zhaschiviersk), an exact data citation to a public archive (e.g. WDCP) for the data set used; or, in the alternative, an archive of the data set at the Science website. In cases, where the publicly archive dataset for a site is related to but different from the version used by Osborn and Briffa, please archive the data set as used.

3. Digital versions of the specific gridcell temperature series used in each of the reported temperature correlations together with version date.

Would you similarly ensure that Esper et al. also provide a complete archive including the following information:

4. Exact data citations to a public archive for all datasets used, or, if such do not exist, an archive of the data set at the Science website.

5. A clear and operational definition distinguishing "linear" and "nonlinear" trees, preferably with source code showing any differences in methodology.

Osborn and Briffa [2006] use a composite from Yang et al [2002], which uses data from Thompson's Dunde and Guliya ice cores, previously published in Science. As discussed in previous correspondence, there are several inconsistent grey versions of this data, which cannot be reconciled on the present record. We have previously corresponded about this without any information being provided by Thompson. The matter has re-surfaced once again with Thompson's grey data once again being used indirectly in Osborn and Briffa [2006]. This is a very unsatisfactory situation. Would you please ensure that:

6. Thompson provides a complete archive of both Dunde and Guliya ice cores, including both isotope and chemical data.

Thank you for your consideration.

Yours truly,

Stephen McIntyre

"Science" has replied to McIntyre but are still evading the issue. See 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.


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