Friday, March 31, 2006

U.K. Misses Its Own Climate Change Targets-- WHAT NEXT?

As the U.K. today faces the reality that its official policy for fighting climate change has failed to deliver its own ambitious targets, it must acknowledge the harsh impact of cap and trade systems, which fail to protect the environment but instead have a damaging impact on energy prices, economic growth and jobs

The UK Government today announced that its Climate Change Programme Review, on which it has spent more than a year, will not deliver its key global warming target to cut CO2 emissions to 20 per cent less than 1990 levels by 2010.

The International Council for Capital Formation (ICCF) urged U.K. policymakers to stop one-sided catering to environmental pressure groups and instead help to build practical, global solutions that will balance environmental goals with sound economic development. "The high costs of compliance with a major pact like Kyoto are proving to be a heavy burden for industry and energy companies to bear," said ICCF Director Dr. Margo Thorning."If the U.K. stays this course consumers will ultimately pay the price in higher energy costs and lost jobs. In fact, indications are that the Emissions Trading Scheme is already raising UK energy prices."

A series of in-depth studies recently published by ICCF has analyzed the economic and energy implications of meeting emissions reductions defined under the Kyoto Protocol through an emissions trading regime in the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain and Germany.The studies show a significant rise in energy costs for consumers and businesses if the four countries meet their Kyoto emissions reduction targets in 2010 including:

* Increasing energy bills: An average increase in electricity prices of 26% and an average increase of 41% of natural gas prices by 2010 (across UK, Germany, Spain)

* Significant job losses: Job losses of at least 200,000 in each of Italy, Germany, UK and Spain to meet Kyoto targets by 2010 - rising to as many as 611,000 in Spain in 2010

* Damage to economy: A significant reduction in annual GDP below base case levels by 2010: 0.8% for Germany (18.5 billion Euros), 3.1% for Spain (26 billion Euros), 2.1% for Italy (27 billion Euros) and 1.1% for the UK (22 billion Euros).

These economic effects are already being felt throughout the European Union, as sentiments appear to be changing over cap and trade systems.Last September, mounting concerns over Kyoto led the UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair, whose own authority has been long waning, to state, "The truth is no country is going to cut its growth or consumption substantially in the light of a long term environmental problem.To be honest, I don't think people are going, at least in the short term, to start negotiating another major treaty like Kyoto."

ICCF noted that near-term emission reductions in developed countries should not take priority over maintaining strong economic growth and that the best course for the U.K. is to focus on the development of new, cost-effective technologies for alternative energy production and conservation while encouraging the spread of economic freedom and economic growth in the developing world. "Energy use and economic growth go hand in hand," Thorning said."The U.K. should reject mandatory programs, look to free market policies based on technology and reducing energy intensity, and work with developing countries on cleaner development - promoting improvements in their living standards while slowing their very rapid growth in greenhouse gas emissions."



A sign of Ireland's great growth in prosperity: Exactly what the Greenies aim to stop

Ireland's greenhouse gas emissions from transport rose almost six times faster than the European average with more than a million extra cars on the country's roads now. Greenhouse gas emissions rose by 130% over a 10-year period in Ireland, compared to an EU average rise of 22%. The increase is in line with the country's major economic growth over the last decade, but poses a huge challenge for meeting Kyoto targets and is a serious threat to health.

Fine Gael MEP Avril Doyle wants the Government to introduce bio-fuels fast as the best chance to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. A report from the European Environment Agency (EEA), to be launched today, shows that more goods and passengers are being transported farther and more often across Europe. But the figures show that Ireland has raced ahead with a 160% increase in freight transport compared to the European average of 34%. .....


Australian climate policy interests Blair

Australia has held talks with Tony Blair on forging a post-Kyoto accord to cut carbon emissions, with the British Prime Minister calling for a "real dose of realism" in the debate over greenhouse gases. John Howard and senior government ministers yesterday discussed with Mr Blair a possible climate strategy involving the world's 20 biggest carbon emitters, including China, India, Australia, the US and Britain. Mr Howard signalled he was keen to explore options, suggesting the recently formed Asia- Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate as a bridge to get other nations "into the tent". Australia and the US are among a few countries that have not ratified the Kyoto Protocol, amid concerns the regime will unfairly penalise developed economies that rely strongly on fossil fuels as an energy source.

Mr Blair, who has championed a global push to cut greenhouse gases, described the Asia-Pacific framework, dubbed AP6, as a "very important positive sign". It comprises Australia, the US, China, India, Japan and South Korea. Climate change was one of a number of issues discussed as Mr Blair met cabinet ministers in Canberra yesterday. It is understood Mr Blair and government MPs discussed the need for progress on climate change, with the British leader later accepting that countries such as Australia were reluctant to embrace the Kyoto targets. "Countries are going to be very worried about external targets being imposed on their economic growth," Mr Blair told reporters.

Instead, Australia is hoping the AP6 framework will emerge as a serious group that can lead to the introduction of cleaner energy technologies to cut greenhouse emissions. A group of about 45 Australian representatives, mainly from industry, will travel to the US next month to discuss ways to spend hundreds of millions of dollars offered by governments. But there is a recognition that more will have to be done to combat the rising levels of carbon emissions.

Mr Blair's discussion yesterday revolved around a group of about 20 countries - including the six AP6 members - that could drive global reform. Mr Blair said there was need for a new framework "that allows us to move forward in a disciplined way". "But I think the fact that you've got these initiatives at the moment, all tending in the same direction, is actually a positive sign."


No showers at night for Brisbane?

Greenie opposition to dams to service Australia's third-largest city is taking its toll

Water pressure is to be turned down at night across southeast Queensland in a desperate bid to stop the region from running out of the precious resource. The dramatic step, with the potential to affect fire-fighting abilities in some areas and increase pumping costs for developers, is one of several conservation initiatives from a drought management taskforce. Without serious rain, experts predict the city will run out of water in August 2008 - even with tough stage three water restrictions to come in in May. The wet season is almost at an end. And the Brisbane City Council has been told there is a less than 50 per cent chance of above-median rainfall before the harsher restrictions take effect.

Environment and sustainability committee chair Helen Abrahams said the decision to turn down pressure was taken because most mains burst at night. Brisbane loses 10 per cent of its water from an average of seven main breaks each day. In some areas, pressure is too high; in others, too low. Cr Abrahams said most breaks occurred at night time, "when we are all asleep and not using the water . . . the pressure builds up in the system. So by a simple way of putting valves at various locations, we can actually reduce that pressure at night time, reduce the incident of breaks, and therefore be able to increase the pressure in the morning when you get up and your domestic use increases again."

In August the council revealed that ageing water pipes in the inner city area were dangerously below firefighting standards. It was claimed that emergency crews were hampered in some densely populated older suburbs with a large number of timber houses, because they received less than one-third of the water volume and velocity needed to control blazes. Developers, who have spent thousands of dollars on pumps to increase water pressure in their buildings to offset the city's poor infrastructure, now face even greater expense. "We would prefer the city take action to actually repair the water mains," said Steve de Nys of the Property Council of Australia industrial committee. It was disappointing that infrastructure fees paid by developers were diverted to the general fund rather than being used on repairs and upgrades, he said....

More 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.


Thursday, March 30, 2006


Global warming advocates are typically leftists, and it is a curiosity today that there are others on the left who have views that entail that global warming isn't occurring. I refer to those humanities professors who insist that truth is subjective, that the scientific method is unreliable and merely reflects current power relations, that reality is some sort of construct, etc.

Obviously, if all this is right, then it is false that global warming is happening objectively. We need to see a debate between these two groups, since both can't be right. If global warming is occurring, and if we can know this via science, then why are we paying these professors to dish out such garbage in our colleges and universities?

On the other hand, if these professors have some legitimate criticisms of the scientific method, fine. Let's hear them. But that will mean a legitimation of the skepticism that so many on the right now have concerning global warming.


Tony Blair was accused last night of caving in to American pressure by proposing a watered-down replacement for the Kyoto Protocol that relies on new technology rather than binding greenhouse gas cuts as the solution to climate change. The Prime Minister will call today for a new international goal of stabilising temperatures and carbon emissions at present levels when the Kyoto agreement expires in 2012, to be achieved primarily by investment in cleaner energy technologies.

Though the plan will be presented as a way of resolving deadlock over the best way to tackle global warming, it was attacked by environmental groups as a toothless sop to the Bush Administration that would fail unless backed by rigorous targets. "In attempting to try to bring Bush on board he's moving so far that we might end up without a coherent framework," Mike Childs, of Friends of the Earth, said. "The trouble with saying we need new technology without having targets is that the business community won't invest. It will keep its money in coal, oil and gas."

Mr Blair's proposal, which comes as the Government admitted that it would miss its pledge to reduce carbon dioxide output by 20 per cent of 1990 levels by 2010, will be laid out in a speech to a climate change conference in Wellington, the New Zealand capital. It is intended to break the international stalemate over the Kyoto Protocol, which sets targets for emissions reductions by rich countries but is repudiated by the US. A source close to the Prime Minister said it was now clear that Kyoto was a "dead-end street", as it has developed into a religion that countries stand implacably for or against.

Sir David King, Mr Blair's influential Chief Scientific Adviser, has argued that the world should seek to stabilise atmospheric carbon dioxide at 550 parts per million (ppm) by 2050, which he says is an achievable target that would limit the worst impacts of global warming. This goal, however, has been criticised as insufficient by green groups, who point to research suggesting that a maximum level of 400-450 ppm would be needed to confine climate change to 2C (3.6F) of warming.

Mr Blair has accepted that the US will not sign up to a "son of Kyoto" agreement that involves concrete reductions in carbon dioxide emissions, and fears that a failure to agree a new climate pact would be a disaster for the planet.

Peter Ainsworth, the Shadow Environment Secretary, described the new initiative as appalling. He said: "He's taking his cue from George W. Bush. One has a sense of towels being thrown in all over the place."

Michael Roberts, of the CBI, said: "Tony Blair is right to say that technology is important to tackling climate change - but firm international commitments to cut carbon emissions will also help to drive technological change."

American objections to Kyoto stem from concern about the security of its energy supplies, and the damage that binding carbon emissions cuts might cause to its economy. It has said it will not sign up when two of the world's largest polluters - China and India - are not part of the process.

Chris Huhne, the Liberal Democrat environment spokesman, said: "It's very regrettable that the Prime Minister is cooling on targets. Technology is not a substitute for having a clear framework."



Visitors to the Statue of Liberty may not know it, but the monument's elevator now runs on a new, biodegradable hydraulic fluid made from soy oil. Until recently, Lady Liberty's elevator used mineral oil formulations derived from petroleum-based stocks. But the National Park Service (NPS), which manages both Liberty and Ellis Island, has decided to "go green," using products made from renewable sources that are less polluting. In February 2002, NPS building and utilities foreman Jeff Marrazzo contacted ARS chemist Sevim Erhan about the feasibility of developing a biobased fluid for use in the statue's elevator.

Erhan, at ARS's National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research (NCAUR), Peoria, Illinois, recalls Marrazzo's specifications for such a product: It had to readily break down in the environment in case of a leak; it had to come from a renewable resource; the process for making the biofluid had to be economical and nonpolluting; and it had to meet all industry standards for safety and performance, such as for viscosity, stability, and flame resistance.

It so happened that Erhan's group at NCAUR's Food and Industrial Oil Research Unit already had the expertise and equipment in place for attempting such a technological feat.

Erhan's first order of business was to examine the chemical structure that gives mineral-oil-based hydraulic fluids their functional properties, such as transferring energy in moving parts. Along with Atanu Adhvaryu, a Pennsylvania State University postdoctorate scientist working at NCAUR, Erhan then formulated a new elevator hydraulic fluid using soy oil and tested it extensively to see that it had the necessary properties.

Though other vegetable oils will work, soy oil was chosen because of its low cost, chemical versatility, and availability as a renewable, home-grown resource, says Erhan. Second only to corn as America's most widely grown crop, soy is the nation's leading source of food-grade oil. Yet only 517 million pounds--3 percent of the total supply--are used for industrial purposes, according to the latest figures from Soy Stats.

Agri-Lube, Inc., a Defiance, Ohio, firm collaborating with Erhan's lab, scaled up production of the final biobased formula for testing--first by Otis Elevator using a 50-gallon sample, and then by Mazzarro at Liberty Island using 1,000 gallons.

In both tests, the biofluid worked as well as or better than the mineral-oil-based formulations, especially in terms of lubricity and biodegradability. "We noticed the bioformula also had a higher flashpoint than the mineral-oil-based fluids," says Agri-Lube owner Jack Stover, who is negotiating licensing rights to commercialize ARS patents on the hydraulic fluid and two vegetable-oil-based printing inks. Erhan hopes innovations like these will spawn new market outlets for soy and other oilseed crops while easing the reliance on petroleum and its burden on the environment.


The Environmentalists Are Trying to Frighten the Natives

(Post lifted from economist George Reisman)

In a manner reminiscent of witch doctors urging primitive people to sacrifice their sheep and goats in order to mollify the wrath of the gods, today's environmentalists and their shills in the media and academe repeatedly urge the people of the United States and the rest of the modern world to sacrifice their use of energy and their standard of living in order to avoid the wrath of the Earth and its atmosphere. That wrath will allegedly take one form or another: a new ice age (recall the predictions of Paul Ehrlich) or, if not a new ice age, then global warming and a resulting rise in sea levels. And if global warming and a rise in sea levels of 1 to 3 feet over the next 100 to 150 years is not sufficiently frightening, then a rise in sea levels of 13 to 20 feet over centuries lying still further in the future is projected. Both of these sea-level results are supposed to proceed from a projected rise in average global temperature of 4 degrees, and of average temperature in the Arctic specifically of 5 to 8 degrees. (See Melting Ice Threatens Sea-Level Rise" and "Climate Data Hint at Irreversible Rise in Seas" in today's [March 25, 2006] New York Times.)

None of these predictions is based on any kind of scientific experiment. Nor could they be. A scientific experiment would require a laboratory somewhere that contained two identical planets, Earth 1 and Earth 2. There would be just one difference between them. The human population of Earth 1 achieves an Industrial Revolution and rises to the level of energy use and standard of living of our own present-day Earth and its likely level of energy use within the next century. In contrast, the human population of Earth 2 fails to advance beyond the energy use of the Dark Ages or pre-industrial modern times. And then the scientists in the laboratory observe that the average temperature of Earth 1 comes to exceed the average temperature of Earth 2 by 4 degrees, and that of its Arctic region by 5 to 8 degrees, and that its sea level proceeds to rise by the number of feet described, while the sea level of Earth 2 remains unchanged.

Obviously, this is not how such temperature and sea-level projections are arrived at. They are reached on the basis of combining various bits and pieces of actual scientific knowledge with various arbitrary assumptions, which combinations are then fed into computers and come out as the results of "computer models." Different assumptions produce different results. The choice of which bits and pieces of scientific knowledge to include also produces different results. The process is very similar to an individual with a spreadsheet combining various financial formulas with various assumptions about rates of return, periods of time, tax rates, and so forth, and then coming out with projections of his retirement income.

Imagine being a member of a jury, charged with deciding the guilt or innocence of a defendant on the basis of such computer models. Would it then be even remotely possible to render a verdict that met the standard of "guilty beyond a reasonable doubt."

Yet this is the caliber of the evidence on the basis of which the environmentalist prosecutors/persecutors of Industrial Civilization want us to convict it and condemn it to death. Yes, the death of the Industrial Revolution and Industrial Civilization. That is what is meant by such statements as, "`we will have to commit soon to a major effort to stop most emissions of carbon to the atmosphere,'" i.e., to stop the consumption of most or all oil, coal, and natural gas, and thus throw the world back to the pre-Industrial ages. (This particular statement was made by Dr. Jonathan T. Overpeck of the University of Arizona, one of the "scientists" referred to in The Times' articles. Its meaning is supported by major segments of the environmental movement with little or no opposition from the rest of the movement.)

Industrial Civilization is not a disembodied concept. It is the foundation of the material well-being and of the very lives of the great majority of the 6 billion or more people now living. It's destruction would mean the collapse of the production of food and medicine and literally result in worldwide famines and plagues. This is a result that would be of great satisfaction to those environmentalists who believe that the pre-Industrial World's population limit of about a billion people was somehow more desirable than the subsequent growth in population to its present size. But it would not be of any comfort or joy to those who had to suffer and die in the process and who saw their loved ones suffer and die. Nor would it be of any comfort or joy to the survivors, who would have to live lives of abject poverty and misery.

There are juries that bring in verdicts in defiance of all reason. The question is, is the jury of contemporary public opinion in the developed world in general and in the United States in particular so simple minded and irrational as to bring in a totally unjustified death-penalty verdict not only against modern Industrial Civilization, but against most of the human race at the very same time?


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, March 29, 2006


(Comment by Iain Murray)

There's a definite whiff of a co-ordinated scare campaign over global warming at the moment. There have been some questionable doomsday papers in the major science journals Science and Nature, complete with policy recommendations in the body of the science, front page articles in the Washington Post, cover stories from Time magazine, and a major new advertising campaign from Environmental Defense and, shame on them, the Ad Council. All these attacks seem dedicated to scaring Congress into some sort of action to force Americans to cut back on their economy-sustaining use of energy.

First of all, there is nothing new in the science to justify such alarmism. Pat Michaels has the lowdown on that here.

As for the reality of cutting greenhouse emissions, the sort of things that are being talked about on the Hill would do virtually nothing to reduce warming, even accepting the alarmist projections (note, not predictions - the science is too uncertain to allow that), as my colleague Marlo Lewis has pointed out. Meanwhile, the United Kingdom is about to publish its much delayed review of climate change policy tomorrow. It seems it will recognize that the sort of policies that green groups want adopted just aren't feasible, although it will spin away the fact the the UK is unlikely to meet its Kyoto targets any more. The UK Environment Secretary has even been quoted as saying that tackling global warming is "more complicated" than they thought as recently as 2000.

We could have told her that. If you fall for exaggeration, hype and alarmism, you're probably going to get yourself into trouble.


Next week's government review of climate change programmes will not impose the kind of targets on industry to cut greenhouse gas emissions that green groups are calling for, the Environment Secretary indicated yesterday. But Margaret Beckett insisted the government would not drop its overall target of cutting the UK emissions by 20 per cent from 1990 levels by 2010, despite recent figures showing carbon dioxide levels have actually increased since Labour came to power.

Friends of the Earth describes the Climate Change Programme Review which Mrs Beckett will publish tomorrow as the "acid test" of the government's credibility on global warming. It has urged the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, to adopt a series of solutions to cut global warming gases from transport and industry and get Britain back on track to meet its commitments.

Since Mr Blair came to power in 1997, the UK's emissions of CO2 have risen by 1.9 per cent, leaving the country just 5.6 per cent below 1990 levels. Experts suggest that Britain will struggle even to meet its Kyoto Protocol commitment of a 12.5 per cent cut by 2010, let alone its more ambitious self-imposed targets. Environmentalists claim that a row with the Department of Trade and Industry has stopped Mrs Beckett from imposing a three million tonne ceiling on annual CO2 emissions by industry. Alan Johnson's DTI has reportedly argued for a nine million tonne cap, to avoid harming competitiveness.

Mrs Beckett said: "We are not abandoning our 20 per cent. "We do believe that that is something we can achieve. "We are not necessarily going to give the kind of specific targets for each sector that some people might want to see at this moment." Mrs Beckett said she hoped the review would get across the message that tackling climate change was a matter not just for government, but for individuals, communities and businesses. The review would "certainly move us very much in the right direction", but was "very much not the last word" on climate change, she said. Mrs Beckett denied that a delay of about a year in the publication of the review was due to rows with the DTI. "We did postpone publishing the review because we hoped we could draw all the strands together, but it hasn't been possible to quite do that," she said.

The Scotsman, 27 March 2006


The amount of sunshine reaching earth is increasing but that only explains PART of global warming, of course

A series of independent studies around the world show a significant rise in the amount of sunshine penetrating the atmosphere to be absorbed by the earth's surface and turned into heat. The research will concern climate researchers who are already predicting a rapid rise in global temperatures due to man-made emissions of so-called greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide. "The enhanced warming we have seen since the 1990s along with phenomena such as the widespread melting of glaciers could well be due to this increased intensity of sunlight compounding the effect of greenhouse gases," said Professor Martin Wild of the Institute of Atmospheric and Climate Science in Zurich, Switzerland.

Researchers will present their findings to the European Geophysical Union conference in Vienna next week. They reverse a 30-year trend. Measurements of sunshine levels between 1960 and 1990 had shown a decrease in the amount of sunshine reaching the earth, a phenomenon known as global dimming. This was thought to have been caused by dust, smog and other pollutants, mainly from industrialised western countries.The pollutants, known as aerosols, reduced sunshine levels by absorbing and scattering solar radiation and promoting the formation of clouds that reflected radiation back into space.

In the last two decades, however, there have been significant decreases in such pollutants, partly due to industry becoming cleaner but largely because of the collapse of the Soviet Union and much of its heavy industry. Wild said: "Sunshine levels had been decreasing by 2% a decade between 1960 and 1980 - a total decline of about 6%. Now they are going up again. Perhaps this is why our Swiss glaciers are melting."

A 6% increase in the amount of solar radiation reaching earth would have a powerful impact on climate, especially when added to the warming effect of greenhouse gases which have already raised global temperatures by about 0.6C. Researchers predict an additional rise of at least 1.5C by 2050. Such rises could be disastrous for agriculture [Why? Rather the reverse], wildlife and human settlements in many regions, especially the tropics. But scientists warn they may have to revise these calculations sharply upwards if the impact of "global brightening" has to be factored in.

Atsumu Ohmura, of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, has collated measurements from 400 sites worldwide and found an increase in sunshine at 300 of them, sited mainly in Eurasia and the Polar regions. Some showed a decline in sunshine since 1990, largely in fast-developing countries such as China and India. "A widespread brightening has been observed since the 1980s. This may substantially affect surface climate, the water cycle, glaciers and ecosystems," said Ohmura.

The Sunday Times, 26 March 2006


(By Dennis T. Avery, a senior fellow for Hudson Institute in Washington, DC and the Director for Global Food Issues ( He was formerly a senior analyst for the Department of State)

Humans now control Earth's climate, James Hansen of NASA told CBS' "60 Minutes" last week. His evidence: the edges of the Greenland ice sheet are melting rapidly. Hansen says the speed of this melting proves that man-made greenhouse gases are responsible.

Sorry, Dr. Hansen, but the melting edges of the Greenland ice sheet don't prove your point. Melting around the edges is exactly what the Vikings saw on Greenland 1000 years ago when they named the island-for its green coastal meadows. They moved in with their cattle, and thrived for 300 years, during what we now call the Medieval Warming. The Vikings' mistake was thinking that Greenland would stay warm, that the Earth's climate was stable. Greenland was then warmer than today, and the summers were longer. There was ample grass and hay for the Vikings' dairy cows. The Norse settlement grew to 3000 people.

Then Greenland's climate suddenly got colder. The Little Ice Age had begun. Sea ice moved south, and the Vikings' sailing ships could no longer get through to trade wood for seal furs. Shorter summers produced less hay to feed the Viking cows through longer, colder winters. The last written record found in the abandoned Viking colonies was dated 1408.

Our panic-prone scientists seem to have forgotten their own ice cores, drilled deep into the Greenland ice sheet in the 1980s. These ice cores document a natural, sudden-but-moderate 1500-year global warming cycle. Oxygen isotopes in the ice layers show 300 worldwide warmings over the past 500,000 years. The ice cores tell us that variations in the sun are constantly warming and cooling our planet. The big Ice Ages come about every 100,000 years. The warm interglacial periods like our own last about 10,000 to 12,000 years.

Through it all, however, runs the moderate, natural 1500-year climate cycle that raises temperatures about 2 degrees C above the mean for 750 years or so-and then abruptly drops the temperatures 2 degrees C below the mean (at the latitude of northern Europe).

Man's climate impacts are puny compared to the million-degree heat of the sun. There's no evidence that human-emitted CO2 has added much to the current temperatures. Our moderate warming to date-0.8 degree C-virtually all occurred before 1940, and thus before much industrial development.

If you want to talk about sudden, ice cores from the Freemont Glacier in Wyoming show it went from Little Ice Age cold to Modern Warming warm in the ten years between 1845 and 1855. Naturally.

Greenland today has 20,000 people, 50,000 sheep and a sizeable fishing industry. But the climate cycle will turn in a few more centuries. Then Greenland's sheep will be in serious trouble and its fishermen will need icebreakers to reach the fishing grounds. (There were no fish bones in the Norse colonies' trash heaps).

As for melting ice from Greenland flooding London, remember that it didn't happen during the Medieval Warming, so it's unlikely to happen in the Modern Warming. The melting of 100 cubic kilometers of Greenland ice would raise sea levels by only 0.01 inch. Dr. Hansen should know that recent satellite research shows Greenland's interior ice sheet has thickened 2 inches in the past 11 years, because warmer temperatures are evaporating more seawater to make more snow.

The Vikings can be forgiven for missing the 1500-year climate cycle. They didn't have thermometers, written records or the ice core histories. NASA's Dr. Hansen cannot be let off the hook so easily., 26 March, 2006


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, March 28, 2006


The Greenies won't like this:

A healthy form of bacon, ham and even pork scratchings could soon be available after the cloning of pigs genetically modified to produce beneficial fats. The piglets have been enhanced with a gene from a nematode worm to give their meat up to five times the normal level of omega 3 fatty acids. A diet rich in these fats, usually found in fish and vegetable oils, has been linked to improved brain function and a lower risk of heart disease and stroke, suggesting that the pigs' meat could be sold as a healthier option.

The pigs - three of which were named Salmon, Tuna and Trout after fish high in omega 3 fats - are the first cloned livestock that can make the beneficial compounds. The success, by a research team in the US, paves the way for a new era of animal breeding, in which animals are genetically engineered to make their meat healthier.

While GM and cloned meat is not approved for human consumption in the US or Britain, scientists are working on chicken, beef and fish with enhanced omega 3 fat content. Jing Kang, of Harvard University, said: "I think we will be eating transgenic animals in the near future. Livestock with a healthy ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 fatty acids may be a promising way to rebalance the diet without relying on diminishing fish supplies or supplements."

Meat is generally low in omega 3 fatty acids and high in omega 6 fatty acids, which do not have the same healthy properties. Fish such as salmon and tuna are omega 3 rich, but some scientists are concerned about people eating a lot of such fish because they contain toxic heavy metals such as mercury, and because of the pressure on collapsing fish stocks.

While the beneficial effects of omega 3 fats were challenged in a study published last week, the Food Standards Agency recommends that people eat at least a portion of oily fish and a portion of white fish every week.

The new research, which will be published in the journal Nature Biotechnology, suggests that GM pork could be another option. "While fish is one of the best food sources of omega 3 fatty acids, we have been warned to limit consumption because of high mercury levels," said Yifan Dai of the University of Pittsburgh, the study's lead author. "These animals could represent an alternative source." ...

As well as their potential for producing healthier meat, the GM animals have value as laboratory models for investigating the effects of omega 3 fatty acids on heart function. "Pigs and human beings have a similar physiology," Professor Prather said. "We could use these animals as a model to see what happens to heart health if we increase the omega 3 levels in the body. It could allow us to see how that helps the heart. "If these animals are put into the food chain, there could be other benefits. First, the pigs could have better cardiovascular function and therefore live longer, which would limit livestock loss for farmers. Second, they could be healthier for human consumption."

More here


Because attention-seeking behaviour never stops

Fred Krupp, president of Environmental Defense, has teamed with the Ad Council, which has challenged social norms with public service campaigns like "Friends don't let friends drive drunk" and Nancy Reagan's "Just say no." In a series of TV and radio spots that one publicist termed "edgy" - and that a global warming skeptic called "the ultimate triumph of propaganda over science" - the group is hoping to spawn a massive shift in social awareness that will send millions rushing to turn down their thermostats, inflate their car tires and recycle their plastic. All in an effort to reduce carbon emissions, which many scientists say contributes to global warming.

The first ads in what will be a multi-year campaign are going out to TV and radio stations nationwide Thursday. As is the norm with public service ads, stations will run them at no cost, when they choose. Krupp got the idea about a year ago. Struck by what he called a "cascade" of scientific evidence, he said he realized global warming is "the overwhelming environmental issue of our generation ... Our children's future is at stake." He called Peggy Conlon, president of the Ad Council, who was intrigued. A global warming ad campaign would be a first, she said. The council, which conducts public service ad campaigns with the help of volunteer agencies, stays away from politics. But it's big on mobilization - for seat belts, for father involvement, for youth volunteerism, against crime.

Environmental Defense had already worked with the Ad Council in the 1980s. Remember "If you're not recycling, you're throwing it all away"? Back then television and radio stations donated about $300 million worth of ad time, Krupp said. Recycling increased. Another of the ads, all done by Ogilvy New York, shows a fragile plant growing near train tracks, then a speeding locomotive. A man appears. "Global warming," he intones over the "chugga-chugga of the train. "Some say irreversible consequences are 30 years away. Thirty years? That won't affect me." He walks off. But behind him - right in the path of the train! - is a little girl, blonde curls framing her puzzled frown. The ads steer viewers and listeners to, which also debuts Thursday and includes tips on how Americans can stick to a "low-carbon diet."

James Taylor, an editor with the Heartland Institute, a public policy organization that is skeptical of global warming, said the campaign is partisan and out of line with the Ad Council's stated mission. "To the extent that the Ad Council says individuals should take advantage of opportunities to be energy-efficient in a general sense, that is quite admirable," he said. "But any implication that the scientific debate over global warming is settled ... is simply wrong." He said the campaign "amounts to nothing more than an end-run around a skeptical Congress, a skeptical president and a sharply divided scientific community." The Ad Council's Smokey the Bear "gave us advice on preventing forest fires," Taylor said. "He did not jump into the debate on national forest policy."

President Bush has declined to take action on greenhouse gas emissions, saying the case is unproven. Many scientists have found indisputable evidence that the planet is warming. The Arctic polar cap is melting, and sea levels are rising. But there's debate over what's causing it and whether it's a short-term blip or a persistent trend. Either way, is a viewing public fixated on March Madness and sitcoms really ready to confront the end of the planet as we know it and do something about it? "They're up against a huge amount of clutter," says Los Angeles marketing consultant Larry Londre.

Besides, if people haven't turned down their thermostats by now, what's going to make them start? The public has heard most of this stuff for years - to spare not only the planet, but also their wallets.....

The ads remind Tom Hollihan, associate dean of the Annenberg School of Communications at the University of Southern California, of the 1964 presidential campaign ad that featured a little girl plucking petals off a daisy. An unseen man spoke about the threat of nuclear holocaust if Barry Goldwater were elected. "They're borrowing from the same playbook," Hollihan said. "The notion of a ticking clock, irreversible harm. It's a time-tested, persuasive strategy."

More here


When the link between "mad cow" disease and vCJD was established a decade ago, Britain looked to have a mass outbreak on its hands. Projections suggested that the condition might kill up to 500,000 people for whom nothing, barring a great medical breakthrough, could be done.

As time has gone on, it has become clear that this worst-case scenario is not going to happen. To date, 154 people have died of vCJD, and six are ill. The number of deaths reported annually has fallen steadily since a peak of 28 in 2000, with five last year and one so far in 2006. Last year the most definitive epidemiological research, by Paul Clarke and Azra Ghazi of Imperial College, London, predicted that no more than 70 more people were likely to die. Another 3,000 are probably infected, but will die of other causes before showing symptoms of the brain-wasting disease.

The Lancet study fits squarely within this picture, but adds a new twist. The mouse experiments appear to confirm that, for most people, the incubation time for vCJD is so long that they are unlikely to develop the condition even if they are infected with the rogue prion proteins that cause it. The research, however, also shows that people with all three of the genetic variations that affect susceptibility to vCJD can be infected, even though only one seems vulnerable to the clinical disease. The implication is that the disorder is almost certain to cause a few new infections every year.

More here


Facing a worsening crunch in the supply of electricity, soaring prices, and rolling blackouts, top New England utility officials are thinking about some once-unthinkable solutions: more coal and nuclear power.

Officially, no proposals for new nuclear reactors or coal-fueled power plants are in the works. But in an interview with the Globe, Gordon van Welie, chief executive of Independent System Operator New England, which runs the six-state power grid, broached the idea of coal and nuclear plants -- along with better conservation and wind power -- as steps the region, overly reliant on natural gas, must consider to stave off a power crisis.

''We don't want coal. We don't want nuclear power. We don't want windmills off the coast of Massachusetts. We don't want windmills in Vermont," van Welie said. ''We don't want any of that stuff, but then once you've made that decision, acknowledge what the costs are. You can't have it both ways."

To many environmentalists, coal and nuclear remain nonstarters. But as ISO New England girds for the possibility of having to impose Third World-style rolling blackouts as soon as the summer of 2008 to stretch out insufficient electric supplies, van Welie said, regional officials must "start tackling the resource mix issue." That refers to New England's much heavier reliance on gas and oil and less on coal and nuclear power than other regions, for producing electricity.

About $6 billion worth of new electric plants began operating in New England between 2000 and 2004 -- almost all built to run on natural gas. Had this winter been colder, ISO New England foresaw rolling blackouts, because demand for gas for heat and electricity could have outstripped supply.

Van Welie is not specifically urging the construction of coal- or nuclear-powered plants, nor does he have any authority to build or approve them. But he is the region's top official responsible for keeping the lights on, and he has thought in detail about where and how coal and nuclear plants could be built.

"There are several sites where you could go" for nuclear generation, van Welie said, including the Seabrook, N.H., nuclear site -- in the 1970s, there was a plan for a second reactor there -- and two decommissioned plants, Millstone I in Waterford, Conn., and Maine Yankee in Wiscasset, where new reactors could be built.

"If we're going to go down the path of coal in New England, you'd want to keep it near the water" for barge delivery of coal, van Welie said, to avoid "all the problems you're having in the Midwest," where congested railroads struggle to deliver Wyoming and Appalachian coal to power plants. New coal plants here would have to use "gasification," warming the solid fuel to yield clean-burning methane gas, he added.

Van Welie doesn't underestimate the hostility that burning coal or generating nuclear power would provoke. ''You know there's going to be a lot of opposition for anything that's big and ugly. We can't even get wind power built in New England," he said, referring particularly to the controversy-mired 130-tower Cape Wind proposal in Nantucket Sound.

Alan Nogee, clean energy program director for the Union of Concerned Scientists, a Cambridge environmental group that has criticized unsafe nuclear industry practices, said he understands van Welie's job ''is to say everything's on the table."

But, Nogee said: ''Coal and nuclear face enormous challenges trying to expand in this region. I would be really surprised to see any serious nuclear proposals anywhere in the Northeast."

''Building a new nuke up at Seabrook is not a good idea," said Seth Kaplan senior attorney with the Conservation Law Foundation, a Boston environmental group. ''What is a legitimate conversation is to say: If we aren't going to do things like that, what are we going to do?"

Good options, Kaplan said, include better ''demand response" efforts to encourage power conservation on hot days and super-efficient ''distributed generation" of electricity on site by businesses, industries, and institutions.

Kaplan said van Welie's group is ''honestly trying to be agnostic" about how to do it, but his comments reflect the fact that ''the ISO is a bunch of engineers who are paid to keep the lights on."

Boston Globe, 23 March 2006


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, March 27, 2006


By the end of this month, 100 percent of the electricity that powers the Old Lady in the Harbor and Ellis Island, where millions of Americans first set foot in America, will be "green power." Windmills in West Virginia and Pennsylvania will supply the electricity [Let's hope the wind keeps blowing!] that powers up the floodlights that shine on Miss Liberty's torch and the air conditioning that keeps all those immigration records from mildewing. "It's a powerful public-policy statement to fuel such an important symbol in that way," says Jim Coyne, a renewable energy expert at FTI Consulting in Cambridge, Mass.

In some ways, shifting away from the heavy use of oil and natural gas is part of the US government's energy strategy. President Bush said wind power could provide up to 20 percent of the nation's electricity. The General Services Administration (GSA), which runs US government facilities, has been switching over to green power for some time. In the Northeast and Caribbean (Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands) regions of the country, 33 percent of the electricity usage, or about 75 million kilowatt hours, are now renewable energy. These include buildings such as the Peter Rodino Office Building in Newark, N.J., and New York's 26 Federal Plaza, which houses the GSA and the FBI. Until the latest contract was signed, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island received half their electricity from green sources. The GSA also notes that going green is not costing taxpayers more money, because it buys electricity in bulk. "It's a wash," says Emily Baker, a spokeswoman for the GSA in New York. "Plus, there are so many other benefits such as the money farmers get from leasing their land for windmills."

Alternative sources of energy are still relatively small in the US energy picture, representing only 1 to 2 percent of US electricity use. But the industry is growing quickly: A record 2,400 megawatts were installed in 2005, enough to support the annual consumption of 650,000 homes. This year is expected to top last year, says Mr. Coyne.

The Statue of Liberty won't be directly hooked up to the windmills. [How did I know that? We wouldn't want the lights to go off and on all the time, would we?] The GSA is purchasing a renewable energy credit. The electricity the windmills produce is fed into the nation's electrical grid, offsetting the same amount the government uses. The process reduces the amount of electricity that needs to be produced by the conventional means of oil, gas, or coal. The statue and Ellis Island consume same amount of electricity used by 1,000 homes for a year, according to Pepco Energy Services, which is supplying the power to the statue. Although Ms. Lazarus had no idea the Statue would ultimately use clean energy, she wrote: "Give me ... your huddled masses yearning to breathe free." Her words now take on new meaning.



The stupidity that happens when your farm lobby makes you use good ol' American corn as a feedstock instead of the vastly more practical sugarcane. Brazil uses ZERO fossil fuels in producing ethanol and already does so on a large scale. Something to learn there?

Late last year in Goldfield, Iowa, a refinery began pumping out a stream of ethanol, which supporters call the clean, renewable fuel of the future. There's just one twist: The plant is burning 300 tons of coal a day to turn corn into ethanol - the first US plant of its kind to use coal instead of cleaner natural gas.

An hour south of Goldfield, another coal-fired ethanol plant is under construction in Nevada, Iowa. At least three other such refineries are being built in Montana, North Dakota, and Minnesota. The trend, which is expected to continue, has left even some ethanol boosters scratching their heads. Should coal become a standard for 30 to 40 ethanol plants under construction - and 150 others on the drawing boards - it would undermine the environmental reasoning for switching to ethanol in the first place, environmentalists say. "If the biofuels industry is going to depend on coal, and these conversion plants release their CO2 to the air, it could undo the global warming benefits of using ethanol," says David Hawkins, climate director for the Natural Resources Defense Council in Washington.

The reason for the shift is purely economic. Natural gas has long been the ethanol industry's fuel of choice. But with natural gas prices soaring, talk of coal power for new ethanol plants and retrofitting existing refineries for coal is growing, observers say. "It just made great economic sense to use coal," says Brad Davis, general manager of the Gold-Eagle Cooperative that manages the Corn LP plant, which is farmer and investor owned. "Clean coal" technology, he adds, helps the Goldfield refinery easily meet pollution limits - and coal power saves millions in fuel costs. Yet even the nearly clear vapor from the refinery contains as much as double the carbon emissions of a refinery using natural gas, climate experts say. So if coal-fired ethanol catches on, is it still the "clean, renewable fuel" the state's favorite son, Sen. Tom Harkin likes to call it?

Such questions arrive amid boom times for America's ethanol industry. With 97 ethanol refineries pumping out some 4 billion gallons of ethanol, the industry expects to double over the next six years by adding another 4.4 billion gallons of capacity per year. Tax breaks as well as concerns about energy security, the environment, and higher gasoline prices are all driving ethanol forward.

The Goldfield refinery, and the other four coal-fired ethanol plants under construction are called "dry mill" operations, because of the process they use. The industry has in the past used coal in a few much larger "wet mill" operations that produce ethanol and a raft of other products. But dry mills are the wave of the future, industry experts say. It's their shift to coal that's causing the concern. Scores of these new ethanol refineries are expected to be built across the Midwest and West by the end of the decade, and many could soon be burning coal in some form to turn corn into ethanol, industry analysts say. "It's very likely that coal will be the fuel of choice for most of these new ethanol plants," says Robert McIlvaine, president of a Northfield, Ill., information services company that has compiled a database of nearly 200 ethanol plants now under construction or in planning and development.

If all 190 plants on Mr. McIlvaine's list were built and used coal, motorists would not reduce America's greenhouse gas emissions, according to an in-depth analysis of the subject to date by scientists at University of California at Berkeley, published in Science magazine in January....

Coal may end up being merely a transitional fuel in the run-up to cellulosic ethanol, including switch grass and wood, says another RFA spokesman. While ethanol production today primarily uses only the corn kernel, cellulosic will use the whole plant. Cellulosic ethanol, mentioned by President Bush in his State of the Union speech, could turn the tide on coal, too, by burning plant dregs in the boiler with no need for coal at all. "It's a fact that ethanol is a renewable fuel today and it will stay that way," says Matt Hartwig, an RFA spokesman. "Any greenhouse-gas emissions that come out the tailpipe are recycled by the corn plant. I don't expect the limited number of coal-fired plants out there to change that."



(From World Climate Report, 21 March 2006 -- including several reasons why the "models" have got it wrong)

Just when you were starting to believe that variations in the amount of energy coming from the sun weren't responsible for much of the observed surface warming during the past 20 years, comes along a paper in Geophysical Research Letters from two researchers at Duke University, Nicola Scafetta and Bruce West, that concludes otherwise:

We estimate that the sun contributed as much as 45-50% of the 1900-2000 global warming, and 25-35% of the 1980-2000 global warming. These results, while confirming that anthropogenic-added climate forcing might have progressively played a dominant role in climate change during the last century, also suggest that the solar impact on climate change during the same period is significantly stronger than what some theoretical models have predicted.

Scafetta and West arrive at their conclusions after applying a mathematical scheme that allows the cycles in solar variations to explain the cycles in temperature variations. They find this empirical method far superior to theoretical (i.e. climate models) methods because empirical methods take advantage of real behavior while theoretical methods are just that-theories-which very likely do not capture all of the real-world intricacies relating solar energy to climate processes. The authors summarize:

The sun played a dominant role in climate change in the early past, as several empirical studies would suggest, and is still playing a significant, even if not a predominant role, during the last decades. The impact of solar variation on climate seems significantly stronger than predicted by some energy balance models.The significant discrepancy between empirical and theoretical model estimates might arise because the secular TSI [total solar irradiance] proxy reconstructions are disputed and/or because the empirical evidence deriving from the deconstruction of the surface temperature is deceptive for reasons unknown to us. Alternatively, the models might be inadequate because of the difficulty of modeling climate in general and a lack of knowledge of climate sensitivity to solar variations in particular.

In fact, theoretical models usually acknowledge as solar forcing only the direct TSI forcing while empirical estimates would include all direct and indirect climate effects induced by solar variation. These solar effects might be embedded in several climate forcings because, for example, a TSI increase might indirectly induce a change in the chemistry of the atmosphere by increasing and modulating its greenhouse gas (H2O, CO2, CH4, etc.) concentration because of the warmer ocean, reduce the earth albedo by melting the glaciers and change the cloud cover patterns.

In particular, the models might be inadequate: (a) in their parameterizations of climate feedbacks and atmosphere-ocean coupling; (b) in their neglect of indirect response by the stratosphere and of possible additional climate effects linked to solar magnetic field, UV radiation, solar flares and cosmic ray intensity modulations; (c) there might be other possible natural amplification mechanisms deriving from internal modes of climate variability which are not included in the models. All the above mechanisms would be automatically considered and indirectly included in the phenomenological approach presented herein.

The bigger the observed solar impact, the smaller the observed human impact. The smaller the human impact, the less sensitive the climate is to greenhouse gas emissions. The less sensitive the climate is to greenhouse gas emissions, the less the impact greenhouse changes (and greenhouse gas emissions restrictions) will have in the future.

Reference: Scafetta, N., and B. J. West, (2006). Phenomenological solar contribution to the 1900-2000 global surface warming. Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 33, L05708.

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


As Britain faces a miserable summer of hosepipe bans and drought, households in some of Japan's most densely populated cities are to be "punished" for saving too much water. The national drive to cut down on water usage - galvanised by having the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on the environment signed on its doorstep - has been a catastrophic success. A drop in consumption of up to 10 per cent over the past five years has shocked even the water authorities and several plan to impose an emergency 20 per cent price rise next week to protect their revenues.

Unlike Britain, Japanese water boards are tacitly hoping that the conservation trend reaches a plateau soon. "The Government cannot, of course, tell people to use more water but there is rising concern over how far the average monthly water bill might fall," a senior member of the Government's committee on natural resources said. The concern is financial and, say experts, exposes the legacy of Japan's worst pork-barrel excesses. The water boards have spent the past two decades in an expensive orgy of dam construction and river management.

Even last year, amid calls from the Ministry of Finance to reduce the number of public works projects, there remained 200 dam projects on the go, sucking about 400 billion yen (2 billion pounds) from the public purse. Seven years ago the number was twice as high. The Government, via the water boards, has borrowed heavily to finance the spree and long-term payment plans to the dam builders were based on the stability of revenues.

Kazuhiko Arita, the leading Japanese expert on the water industry, believes that the country has undergone an overnight change of mindset and become less wasteful of water. "The use of tap water is decreasing everywhere. Now we have to pay for the fact that the country based its planning on the excessive demand forecast and kept building completely useless dams."

Sei Kato, of the Ministry of Health and Welfare, admitted that the burden of paying for all the dams and other engineering projects was catching up with the water boards, but insisted that the projects were all undertaken to ensure stable supplies. The local boards have also spent heavily on maintaining the system itself: total leakage in metropolitan Tokyo in 2004 amounted to about 4.8 per cent, and the authorities believe that this can be reduced to 4 per cent by the end of this year.

Unfortunately for the Government, the need to meet loan payments coincides with a surge of environmentally conscious product development by the country's biggest manufacturers of white goods. Sharp, Matsushita and Sanyo have all based recent marketing on water efficiency, and the buying public has been hooked.

Many houses filter the water as it leaves the kitchen tap - a process that usually wastes a lot of water because the filters empty themselves every two minutes. A new version made by Panasonic stores the water for ten minutes, and manages to save each household a tonne of water a year.

Most striking has been the steep rise in the use of dishwashers. Where ten years ago the machines were a relative rarity in Japan, they have now become commonplace. In the days of hand-washing the pots and pans, Japanese would tend to leave the taps running and got through about 150 litres a day on washing-up. The average dishwasher does the same job with about 10 litres. The dishwasher boom has also coincided with technological advances in the science of lavatories. The two biggest bathroom equipment makers have developed lavatories that use six litres of water per flush - half the amount used in 2001. Even more water is saved because 80 per cent of lavatories in homes have as standard a sink on top of the cistern, which allows the water that would be refilling the system anyway to be used for handwashing. An Inax spokesman explained that the eco6 lavatory will save a family of four about a bath full of water every two days - the equivalent of about 45,000 litres a year.



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, March 26, 2006


When tropical Cyclone Larry lashed the Queensland coast at the weekend it raised questions of whether it was a sign of a changing climate. Could it be the harbinger of a new drought-busting La Ni¤a weather cycle? Could it be a product of human-induced climate change? Or is it just too soon to tell?

Larry slammed into Australia's northeast coast on Sunday morning, local time. Initial reports said it was the most powerful cyclone to hit the continent in decades, moving at unusual speed and packing winds of up to 290 kilometres an hour. Dr Geoff Love, director of meteorology at the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) says Larry was on a par with Cyclone Tracey, which devastated Darwin in 1974. The BOM categorises cyclones from 1 to 5, with 5 being the most severe. Love says Larry was probably "high category 4, probably not quite 5" and neither unusual nor unexpected. "Larry was no different from any other tropical cyclone," he says.

But Love says more cyclones hit tropical Queensland in La Nina conditions, a possible sign that Australia is headed for a change after emerging from El Nino three years ago. "With an El Nino, cyclones tend to form out closer to the dateline and probably occur before they reach Australian longitude, in La Ni¤a they form closer to the Australian coast," he says. Records going back to the 1880's show a clear La Nina-El Nino cycle, Love says.

The La Nina and El Nino effects are two extremes of an atmospheric and oceanic oscillation in the Pacific Ocean. They have a direct and significant impact on climate in some parts of the world, including Australia. El Nino occurs when the surface of the ocean warms and leads to drier conditions in Australia, which mean more droughts and fires. Cooling surface waters cause La Nina , which causes wetter conditions and more flooding. The two phases switch every few years. But they don't always neatly alternate, making it difficult to make predictions.

Love says there have been about 20 El Ninos and 20 La Nina s in the past 120 years. This amounts to about 20 six year cycles made up of roughly four neutral years and two years of El Nino or La Nina, or one year of each. Australia is currently in what Love calls a "neutral, weak, wishy-washy" period, although there are signs we're trending towards La Nina. "I think we have been sort of just on the borderline," he says. "The Americans have a lower threshold, they're calling it a weak La Nina. We're saying it's just short of being a La Nina."

The latest global tropical cyclone season, which is just coming to an end, has been described as one of the worst in recent times, making it tempting to view Cyclone Larry as a product of human-related climate change. Grant Beard, a climatologist with the BOM's National Climate Centre, says the recent increase in intense tropical cyclones may be linked to warming. "Looking at the globe ... it seems that the number of intense tropical cyclones has increased over the last 30 years," he says. "That's linked probably to the rising ocean temperatures and this is one sign of the enhanced greenhouse effect."

Dr Kevin Walsh is associate professor of meteorology at the University of Melbourne and previously worked on the effect of climate change on tropical cyclones at CSIRO. He says climate change is likely to have some impact on cyclones, although this is yet to be proved. "All the projections say sea temperatures are warming and there are well known theoretical relationships between the warmth of the ocean and tropical cyclones," he says. "But it's controversial whether those effects have yet been detected."

Love says only time will tell whether Larry is the product of climate change. "The jury's out," he says. "Any one event by itself doesn't prove or disprove anything."


A tiny rodent is the hottest political issue in Colorado

Here in Colorado, the hottest political issue of the day may not be the war in Iraq or the out-of-control federal budget, but rather the plight of a tiny mouse. Back in 1998, a frisky eight-inch rodent known as the Preble's meadow jumping mouse gained protective status under the 1973 Endangered Species Act (ESA). What has Coloradans hot under the collar is that some 31,000 acres of local government and privately owned land in the state and stretching into Wyoming--an area larger than the District of Columbia--was essentially quarantined from all development so as not to disrupt the mouse's natural habitat. Even the Fish and Wildlife Service concedes that the cost to these land owners could reach $183 million.

What we have here is arguably the most contentious dispute over the economic impact of the ESA since the famous early-'90s clash between the timber industry and the environmentalist lobby over the "endangered" listing of the spotted owl in the Northwest. That dispute eventually forced the closure of nearly 200 mills and the loss of thousands of jobs. Last week the war over the fate of the Preble's mouse escalated when a coalition of enraged homeowners, developers and farmers petitioned the Department of the Interior to have the mouse immediately delisted as "endangered" because of reliance on faulty data.

The property-rights coalition would seem to have a fairly persuasive case based on the latest research on the mouse. It turns out that not only is the mouse not endangered, but it isn't even a unique species.

The man who is almost singlehandedly responsible for exposing the truth about the Preble's mouse is Rob Roy Ramey, a biologist and lifelong conservationist, who used to serve as a curator at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Mr. Ramey's research--published last year in the peer-reviewed journal Animal Conservation--concluded that the Preble's mouse "is not a valid subspecies based on physical features and genetics." The scientist who conducted the original research classifying Preble's as unique now agrees with Mr. Ramey's assessment. Even scientists who defend extending the mouse's "endangered" status admit that it is 99.5% genetically similar to other strains of mice.

Nor is the mouse on the road to extinction. "The more people look for these mice, the more they find. Every time scientists do a new count, we find more of the Preble's mouse," Mr. Ramey says. It's now been found inhabiting twice as many distinct areas as once thought. These are mice, after all, and the one thing rodents are proficient at is breeding. The full species of the meadow jumping mouse, far from being rare, can be found over half the land area of North America.

"The federal government has effectively shut off tens of millions of dollars of economic development," complains coalition spokesman Kent Holsinger, "based on saving a species that we now know doesn't even exist." But green groups and Department of Interior bureaucrats, who regard the ESA as a sacred pact--the modern-day equivalent of Noah's Ark, as former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt called it--pledge to fight any change in status.

Not surprisingly, Mr. Ramey has been accused of being "dishonest," a "whore for industry" and a "shill for the Bush administration." Under intense political pressure from environmental activists, he was removed from his curator's job at the museum. "I've been nearly stampeded by a herd of agitated elephants in Africa and suspended from some of the highest cliffs in North America, but nothing prepared me for the viciousness of the attacks from the environmentalist lobby," he tells me.

Meanwhile, the Preble's mouse continues to impose huge costs on local communities. One water district in Colorado was recently required to build two tunnels for the mice under a man-made pond to spare the critters the inconvenience of having to scurry around it. Regulators even asked local officials if it would be feasible to grow grass in the tunnels for the mice, which was only slightly less absurd than padding the mouse thoroughfares with red carpet. The extra cost to the water project to make it mouse-friendly? More than $1 million. The Fish and Wildlife Service also has the authority to assess penalties on property owners if they even inadvertently spoil mouse habitat. Owners can even be fined if their cats do what cats do: chase and apprehend mice.

Because of preposterous regulations like there, many land owners resort to extreme measures. A comprehensive 2003 survey found that more than one in four land owners impacted by the Preble's mouse regulation "admitted to actively degrading habitat following the species listing in 1998." This is often precisely what happens in these situations: Because most of 1,500 or so species that have been listed as threatened since 1972 are anything but, people have no respect for the designation and attempt to force the species away from their land. For truly endangered species, the ESA is a disaster.

Many of these land owners have been so strong-armed by federal bureaucrats that they have come to believe--with good reason--that the original and widely supported intent of the ESA has been subverted into a back-door means to slam the brakes on economic development. "It's a cost-free way for the government and the greens to impose land-use control on property owners," says R.J. Smith, an ESA expert at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

Therein lies the crux of the problem. The law tries to achieve the societal policy goal of saving species from extinction by imposing all of the costs on a hapless few. House Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo has sensibly proposed reforms that allow land owners to get fair compensation from the government if their land is depressed in value due to a wetlands or endangered species designation. That seems equitable: If society wants to preserve habitat for the common good, then the cost should be borne by all taxpayers, not individual land owners, who would no longer regard endangered species as an economic plague on their property.

If anything good can come out of the Preble's mouse fiasco in Colorado, it will be that it has awakened Congress to the reality that the ESA isn't just failing property owners but the very irreplaceable species it was designed to protect.



Britain cannot ignore recent, international climate change agreements as it struggles to meet its domestic carbon emission targets, a government official told a Reuters conference on climate change and investment. Britain is set to announce this month whether it will meet by 2010 a target to reduce its emissions of heat-trapping carbon dioxide -- commonly blamed for global warming-- by 20 percent from 1990 levels. But since it set that target, the global Kyoto Protocol and the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) have created carbon markets that allow polluters to buy their way toward meeting their limits on emissions.

These markets make it more difficult for Britain to view its emissions targets in isolation, given that from next year UK companies will be able to buy permission to emit carbon from as far afield as China or India. "It is now obligatory for us to have our energy-intensive industries within the EU ETS," Henry Derwent, Head of the Climate Change Programme at the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, told the conference late on Monday. "It would be politically pretty difficult for us to say that we repudiate the whole Kyoto mechanisms and the whole extension of the market to Europe in order to maintain absolute purity of a set of domestic targets. It's got broader, wider than that."

The government says Britain is currently heading toward only a 10 percent carbon reduction by 2010. To include within this domestic target emission reductions that industry had bought from outside the country could help it meet its goal but prove politically difficult to explain.

Failure to meet its 2010, self-imposed target would not represent any treaty violation but would be an embarrassment to British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who has put tackling climate change high on his agenda. Britain is on track to meet its separate, Kyoto Protocol carbon emission targets for 2008 to 2012.

Reuters, 21 March 2006


A remarkable scientific claim was made by Jim Hansen in a CBS News story. The article included the statement:

"Those human changes, he says, are driven by burning fossil fuels that pump out greenhouse gases like CO2, carbon dioxide. Hansen says his research shows that man has just 10 years to reduce greenhouse gases before global warming reaches what he calls a tipping point and becomes unstoppable. He says the White House is blocking that message."

My question is where is the modeling support, or other theoretical support, for the claim that "man has just 10 years to reduce greenhouse gases before global warming reaches what he calls a tipping point"? While I completely support Jim Hansen's right to make such a statement, as a climate scientist it is a requirement to provide the scientific peer reviewed reason for such a forecast. In addition, based on whatever scientific evidence Dr. Hansen has, what specific policy action would have to be taken within the next ten years to avoid the "tipping point"? What theoretical tool has he used to produce the policy recommendations?

While I agree with Dr. Hansen that the climate system does have "tipping points", the reality is, since our knowledge of the real world climate system variability and change remains limited, that we do not know if human activity moves us closer or further from them. It is prudent to persue "no regrets" policy (i.e. "win-win") regardless. However, if policymakers are to move beyond these policies, the scientific evidence must be based on solid peer reviewed research.

The quote by Ralph Cicerone in the same news article does not add substance to the discussion, unfortunately:

"`Climate change is really happening,' says Cicerone. Asked what is causing the changes, Cicerone says it's greenhouse gases: `Carbon dioxide and methane, and chlorofluorocarbons and a couple of others, which are all the increases in their concentrations in the air are due to human activities. It's that simple.'"

The 2005 NRC Report from the National Academy presents a more complex message. An excerpt from the Report states:

"Policies designed to manage air pollution and land use may be associated with unintended impacts on climate. Increasing evidence of health effects makes it likely that aerosols and ozone will be the targets of stricter regulations in the future. To date, control strategies have not considered the potential climatic implications of emissions reductions. Regulations targeting black carbon emissions or ozone precursors would have combined benefits for public health and climate. However, because some aerosols have a negative radiative forcing, reducing their concentrations could actually increase radiative warming. Policies associated with land management practices could also have inadvertent effects on climate. The continued conversion of landscapes by human activity, particularly in the humid tropics, has complex and possibly important consequences for regional and global climate change as a result of changes in the surface energy budget."

The climate system is clearly not as "simple" as expressed by Ralph Cicerone.

More 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, March 25, 2006


And it was not even a clever fraud. That "Nature" was so keen to attack "Britannica" suggests that "Britannica" must still adhere to at least some traditions of scholarship. Given its recent degeneration into a propaganda sheet, "Nature" would hate that. The full reply from "Britannica" can be found here (PDF). There is a very weak reply by "Nature" here (PDF)

Nature magazine has some tough questions to answer after it let its Wikipedia fetish get the better of its responsibilities to reporting science. The Encyclopedia Britannica has published a devastating response to Nature's December comparison of Wikipedia and Britannica, and accuses the journal of misrepresenting its own evidence. Where the evidence didn't fit, says Britannica, Nature's news team just made it up. Britannica has called on the journal to repudiate the report, which was put together by its news team.

Independent experts were sent 50 unattributed articles from both Wikipedia and Britannica, and the journal claimed that Britannica turned up 123 "errors" to Wikipedia's 162. But Nature sent only misleading fragments of some Britannica articles to the reviewers, sent extracts of the children's version and Britannica's "book of the year" to others, and in one case, simply stitched together bits from different articles and inserted its own material, passing it off as a single Britannica entry.

"Almost everything about the journal's investigation, from the criteria for identifying inaccuracies to the discrepancy between the article text and its headline, was wrong and misleading," says Britannica. "Dozens of inaccuracies attributed to the Britannica were not inaccuracies at all, and a number of the articles Nature examined were not even in the Encyclopedia Britannica. The study was so poorly carried out and its findings so error-laden that it was completely without merit." In one case, for example. Nature's peer reviewer was sent only the 350 word introduction to a 6,000 word Britannica article on lipids - which was criticized for containing omissions.

A pattern also emerges which raises questions about the choice of the domain experts picked by Nature's journalists. Several got their facts wrong, and in many other cases, simply offered differences of opinion. "Dozens of the so-called inaccuracies they attributed to us were nothing of the kind; they were the result of reviewers expressing opinions that differed from ours about what should be included in an encyclopedia article. In these cases Britannica's coverage was actually sound." Nature only published a summary of the errors its experts found some time after the initial story, and has yet to disclose all the reviewer's notes.

So how could a respected science publication make such a grave series of errors?

When Nature published the news story in December, it followed weeks of bad publicity for Wikipedia, and was a gift for the project's beleaguered supporters. In October, a co-founder had agreed that several entries were "horrific crap". A former newspaper editor and Kennedy aide John Siegenthaler Snr then wrote an article explaining how libellous modifications had lain unchecked for months. By early December, Wikipedia's Jimmy Wales was becoming a regular feature on CNN cable news, explaining away the site's deficiencies.

"Nature's investigation suggests that Britannica's advantage may not be great," wrote news editor Jim Giles. Nature accompanied this favorable news report with a cheerful, spin-heavy editorial that owed more to an evangelical recruitment drive than it did a rational analysis of empirical evidence. It urged readers to "push forward the grand experiment that is Wikipedia."

(Former Britannica editor Robert McHenry dubbed Wikipedia the "Faith based encyclopedia", and the project certainly reflects the religious zeal of some of its keenest supporters. Regular Register readers will be familiar with the rhetoric. See "Wikipedia 'to make universities obsolete').

Hundreds of publications pounced on the Nature story, and echoed the spin that Wikipedia was as good as Britannica - downplaying or omitting to mention the quality gap. The press loves an upbeat story, and what can be more uplifting than the utopian idea that we're all experts - at whatever subject we choose? The journal didn't, however, disclose the evidence for these conclusions until some days later, when journalists had retired for their annual Christmas holiday break. And this evidence raised troubling questions, as Nicholas Carr noted last month. Many publications had assumed Nature's Wikipedia story was objectively reporting the work of scientists - Nature's staple - rather than a news report assembled by journalists pretending to be scientists.

And now we know it was anything but scientific. Carr noted that Nature's reviewers considered trivial errors and serious mistakes as roughly equal. So why did Nature risk its reputation in such a way?

Perhaps the clue lies not in the news report, but in the evangelism of the accompanying editorial. Nature's news and features editor Jim Giles, who was responsible for the Wikipedia story, has a fondness for "collective intelligence", one critical website suggets. "As long as enough scientists with relevant knowledge played the market, the price should reflect the latest developments in climate research," Giles concluded of one market experiment in 2002. The idea became notorious two years ago when DARPA, under retired Admiral Poindexter, invested in an online "terror casino" to predict world events such as assassinations. The public didn't quite share the sunny view of this utopian experiment, and Poindexter was invited to resign.

What do these seemingly disparate projects have in common? The idea that you can vote for the truth. We thought it pretty odd, back in December, to discover a popular science journal recommending readers support LESS accurate information. It's even stranger to find this institution apparently violating fundamental principles of empiricism. But these are strange times - and high summer for supporters of junk science.



The real (attention-seeking) agenda of the allegedly gagged climatologist who seemed extremely audible anyway

The scientist touted by CBS News' "60 Minutes" as arguably the "world's leading researcher on global warming" and spotlighted as a victim of the Bush administration's censorship on the issue, publicly endorsed Democrat John Kerry for president and received a $250,000 grant from the charitable foundation headed by Kerry's wife. Scientist James Hansen has also admitted that he contributed to two recent Democratic presidential campaigns. Furthermore, he acted as a consultant in February to former Vice President Al Gore's slide show presentations on "global warming," which Gore presented around the country.

But Scott Pelley, the "60 Minutes" reporter who profiled Hansen and detailed his accusations of censorship on the March 19, edition of the newsmagazine, made no mention of Hansen's links to Kerry and Gore and none to the fact that Kerry's wife -- Teresa Heinz Kerry -- had been one of Hansen's benefactors. Pelley's "Rewriting the Science" segment focused on Hansen's allegations that the Bush administration was preventing his views from becoming publicized because it did not like his conclusions. Hansen's complaints were first publicized in January. "In my more than three decades in the government, I've never witnessed such restrictions on the ability of scientists to communicate with the public," Hansen told Pelley.

But Hansen had made similar claims of another Republican White House allegedly censoring his views. In 1989, Hansen claimed that President Bush's father - then-President George H. W. Bush - was censoring his climate research. Kerry and about a dozen other senators eventually co-signed a letter written by Gore, who was also a senator at the time, demanding an explanation for the alleged censorship.

Hansen has previously acknowledged that he supported the "emphasis on extreme scenarios" regarding climate change models in order to drive the public's attention to the issue, but Pelley's "60 Minutes" report made no mention of that admission. "Not only are [Hansen's] apocalyptic predictions not coming true, but more and more countries are beginning to realize that they will destroy their economies just under Kyoto 1, to prevent about 0.1 degrees of warming," Paul Driessen, the author of Eco-Imperialism: Green Power - Black Death, told Cybercast News Service. "Hansen's rants might still garner headlines in the Washington Post and New York Times, and raves from CBS - especially if you believe every beetle infestation, forest fire, cold snap, hot flash, dry spell, flood, frog death and malaria outbreak is due to global warming - but they're complete hogwash," Driessen said.

In endorsing Kerry's presidential bid late in the 2004 campaign, Hansen conceded that it could harm his reputation. "Dr. Hansen, 63, acknowledged that he imperiled his credibility and perhaps his job by criticizing Mr. Bush's policies in the final days of a tight presidential campaign." according to the Oct. 26, 2004, edition of the New York Times. In a speech delivered on that same day, Hansen praised the Massachusetts senator, declaring that "John Kerry has a far better grasp than President Bush on the important issues that we face."

Three years earlier, Hansen had accepted the $250,000 Heinz Award granted by the foundation run by Kerry's wife Teresa. But the same day Hansen publicly endorsed Sen. John Kerry's presidential candidacy in 2004, the New York Times quoted Hansen as saying that the grant from the Heinz Foundation had had "no impact on my evaluation of the climate problem or on my political leanings."

But George C. Deutsch, who served as a spokesman for NASA until resigning in February, said he quickly learned that "Dr. Hansen and his supporters have a very partisan agenda and ties reaching to the top of the Democratic Party." Deutsch resigned his post earlier this year following a controversy surrounding a false resume claim that he graduated from Texas A&M University. Deutsch also denied that the Bush administration was clamping down on scientific views that did not support its preferred conclusions. "There is no pressure or mandate from the Bush administration or elsewhere, to alter or water down scientific data at NASA, period," Deutsch said, according to a Feb. 11, article in the Washington Post. Instead, he said, there existed a "culture war" at the federal agency. "Anyone perceived to be a Republican, a Bush supporter or a Christian is singled out and labeled a threat to their views. I encourage anyone interested in this story to consider the other side, to consider Dr. Hansen' s true motivations and to consider the dangerous implications of only hearing out one side of the global warming debate," Deutsch added.

Hansen fired back at Deutsch's assertions in an online statement published in February, calling Deutsch's claims "nonsense." "I can be accurately described as moderately conservative," Hansen wrote, while acknowledging that he had endorsed Kerry for president in 2004 "because he recognized global warming problem." Hansen stated that he had great respect for former Vice President Al Gore, noting that he met with Gore in January 2006 and ended up consulting Gore on his climate change slide show presentations. "I have great respect for Vice President Gore and his dedication to communicating the importance of global warming. He has a better understanding of the science of global warming than any politician I have met, and I urge citizens to pay attention to his presentation, which I understand will come out in the form of a movie," Hansen wrote. Hansen wrote that his only two political contributions were to Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential campaign and to either the 2000 Al Gore presidential run or the Kerry 2004 campaign. "I don't remember which," Hansen stated.

Hansen, described by Pelley in the "60 Minutes" report as an "independent," also reportedly refused to go along the Clinton administration on the issue of "global warming." The Clinton administration "wanted to hear that warming was worse than it was," Pelley reported.

In the March 2004 issue of Scientific American, Hansen appeared to be justifying the past use of climate models to scare the public into believing the "global warming" problem was urgent. "Emphasis on extreme scenarios may have been appropriate at one time, when the public and decision-makers were relatively unaware of the global warming issue," Hansen wrote in 2004. "Now, however, the need is for demonstrably objective climate-forcing scenarios consistent with what is realistic under current conditions."

Patrick J. Michaels, the author of several books on climate change, including the recently published "Shattered Consensus: The True State of Global Warming," declared that Hansen has "advocated the use of exaggeration and propaganda as political tools in the debate over global warming." Michaels, who leveled his charges in a Feb. 21 commentary entitled "Hansen's Hot Hype," wrote that "Hansen thought the public should be subjected to nightmare scenarios regardless of the scientific likelihood of catastrophe, simply in order to gain people's attention." Michaels, who believes claims of catastrophic, human-caused "global warming" are scientifically unfounded, is a climatologist at the University of Virginia and a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. Michaels has previously credited Hansen with taking a more moderate stance toward climate change. "The irony is that, in recent years, Hansen's positions on global warming have come increasingly in line with those of the administration he claims is censoring him," Michaels said.

Several attempts to contact Hansen for comment were not returned. Telephone calls to Bill Owens and Catherine Herrick, the two CBS News employees who produced Pelley's "60 Minutes" segment, were referred to the network media affairs office. "60 Minutes" spokesman Kevin Tedesco defended the segment, telling Cybercast News Service that "it was a fair and accurate report."



The Big River tract in California's Mendocino County is a sprawling expanse of towering redwoods and Douglas firs, woods that for years have provided an ideal habitat for rare spotted owls and endangered coho salmon and steelhead trout. Now, it's all up for sale. Big River, neighboring Salmon Creek and dozens of other forests across the nation have come on the market in recent years as timber companies shed holdings that are worth more as real estate than as a source of lumber. The trend has spurred a land rush that has conservation groups scrambling to raise money to buy environmentally sensitive tracts in competition with private investors seeking to snap up the land for development.

A recent U.S. Forest Service study predicted that more than 44 million acres of private forest land, an area twice the size of Maine, will be sold over the next 25 years. The consulting firm U.S. Forest Capital estimates that half of all U.S. timberland has changed hands in the past decade. The Bush administration also wants to sell off forest land, by auctioning more than 300,000 acres of national forest to fund a rural school program. "The nation has never seen anything like this," said Conservation Fund President Lawrence A. Selzer, whose 20-year-old group is hoping to raise $48 million in the coming months to buy the 16,000 acres that make up Big River and Salmon Creek. "It has the potential to permanently and profoundly change the landscape of America."

The United States still has large swaths of forest -- much of it private -- that provide critical habitat for large animals such as bears and cougars as well as recreational opportunities for the public. But if the selling spree continues, environmentalists fear, these areas could be cut up into much smaller parcels in which condominiums and trailer parks would replace soaring trees. The sales have attracted limited national attention because they are mostly private transactions and involve local planning decisions, but the stakes are enormous. In the Pacific Northwest, New England, Southeast and parts of the upper Midwest, traditional timber companies or newly emerging timber investment management organizations, known as TIMOs, own vast stretches of forest that rival the national forest system.

Today, a third of the U.S. land mass is forest -- the same proportion as in 1907 but just 71 percent of what existed before settlement by Europeans -- and 57 percent of it is privately owned. But competition from cheap imported lumber, soaring land prices and pressure from Wall Street are now prompting timber companies to sell. Stephen Levesque, the Campbell Timberland Management area manager who oversees the company's forest holdings in Mendocino, said new state regulations have made lumber operations increasingly expensive and developers have come by with tempting offers. The company recently sold off 160 acres that are likely to become lots for residential homes. "There's tremendous pressure for development," Levesque said....

Environmental groups such as the Conservation Fund, the Nature Conservancy and the New England Forest Foundation have tried to limit the environmental impact of the sell-off by purchasing habitats that hold the greatest ecological value, but they cannot afford to buy all the vast expanses and halt this trend outright.

More here


The giant Bufo Marinus toad (introduced from Brazil) is a great pest in Northern Australia -- killing a lot of wildlife by its poison

Territorians are being offered free beer in return for live cane toads. The RSPCA, Coopers Brewery and the Cavenagh Hotel have teamed up in the name of animal welfare and the result is that toads can be turned into beer. In a move designed to turn seasoned Top End beer drinkers into lean, mean, toad-catching machines, the three Darwin organisations have got together to set up a toad-for-beer exchange. Anyone over the age of 18 who captures a toad and delivers it alive to the Darwin RSPCA qualifies for a glass of icy cold Coopers beer at the Cavenagh Hotel. ``Everyone who takes a cane toad to the RSPCA to be disposed of humanely gets a voucher for a free pot of Coopers ale at the Cav,'' Coopers Brewery's NT sales executive Sean Gould said. He said there would be a beer for each toad -- up to a limit of six a day.

``It's an idea we had from the locally-produced movie Bufo Marinators that screened at the Cav last week,'' Mr Gould said. The film, which featured a posse of toad hunters and a simulated orgy of bufo killing, caused quite a fuss. ``We want to encourage the humane treatment of animals,'' acting chief executive of RSPCA Darwin Lindsay Wilkinson said yesterday. ``If you get a free Coopers out of it then it's a bonus.'' Cavenagh Hotel general manager Brett Simmonds said: ``It's all about the toads, not about the beer.'' But the toads must be alive. ``No coupons for squashed toads,'' Mr Wilkinson said. He was keen to make it clear he wasn't starting a roadkill collection. ``Healthy, live, no squashed cane toads,'' he said.

And Mr Simmonds agreed, saying the deal was ``fresh toads for fresh beer''. While the toad catchers are enjoying their cold ale, the RSPCA will be busy euthanasing the toads with sodium pentobarbitone, an overdose of barbituates administered with a few drops on the skin that kills toads immediately. ``It's the most humane way to kill an animal,'' Mr Wilkinson said. ``They just go to sleep.''

But beer fiends shouldn't get too worked up. Mr Simmonds said there would be a six-pot maximum per person per day. ``The idea is to get people catching toads and taking them for humane disposal, not to get people too drunk,'' Mr Simmonds said. ``If you take six toads in to the RSPCA, you get six vouchers. If you take 100 toads, you get six vouchers.'' But he's worried people will get the wrong idea and deliver a bucket load of toads to his pub hoping to trade them for a few cold ones. Mr Simmonds said no one would get a beer for taking a toad to the pub. He said the toads must be taken to the RSPCA at 80 Boulter Rd Berrimah between 1pm and 5pm on weekdays. Vouchers for the promotion will be valid until April 30.



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.