Thursday, April 13, 2006


David Cameron faced criticism from his own shadow team last night for planning a trip to see a glacier in Norway in the middle of the local election campaign. The Conservative leader has scheduled a three-day visit to Norway later this month so he can see the impact of climate change first hand. Television cameras will join Mr Cameron on the trip which takes place just two weeks before next month's local elections, the new Tory leader's first big electoral test. The tour will include a visit to a research station at Ny-Alesund on the Island of Svalbard. He will also see a glacier at Longyearbyen that has retreated in recent years as a result of climate change.

Last night a senior member of Mr Cameron's shadow cabinet voiced concern about the choice and timing of his first big overseas visit. The shadow minister said: "I think it really is barmy to be jetting off to do this in the middle of the local election campaign. There will be Conservatives all over the country knocking on doors, and where is he? He's off looking at glaciers in Norway. I'm afraid he's missing the target - it just has the feel of a gimmick. "If he's worried about climate change, why isn't he looking at the problem of flooding on his doorstep. People have been saying to him that they're not sure he's going in exactly the right direction but he's not for changing. He made that quite clear in Manchester."....

The Daily Telegraph, 10 April 2006

Benny Peiser comments:

"Let's forget local elections and the political shenanigans for a moment. Isn't it rather comical that Mr Cameron has chosen to visit a glacier in Norway - of all places! Just how green behind his ears is this ecotoff? Doesn't he know that glaciers in the western part of Norway have been advancing for much of the last two decades? See: Bjorn Wangensteen et al., Geografiska Annaler 88 A (2006).

I guess the White House is still out of bounds for the Tory leader. However, if I were a Labour spin doctor or a tabloid journalist, I would make mincemeat out of Mr Cameron's rather bizarre choice. Perhaps someone should ask Mr Cameron to visit the Nigardsbreen glacier that has actually advanced some 280 meters during the last few decades".


New York City's refusal to burn its garbage is not just a waste of money - it's an environmental hazard. The city instead trucks its municipal waste to landfills in Pennsylvania and Virginia. But health studies consistently show that such landfills emit trace levels of toxins, as well as large amounts of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. Yes, modern waste-to-energy (WTE) plants also produce some greenhouse-gas emissions - but only about 1 percent as much as landfills. Indeed, the European Union has banned trash landfills over global-warming concerns. The EU, the federal Environmental Protection Agency and 15 U.S. states recognize WTE as clean, reliable and renewable power.

New York City is not only NOT deriving those benefits - it's burning more than 5 million gallons of fuel oil a year to truck its garbage to those polluting landfills, thus adding toxic diesel emissions far beyond what comes from controlled WTE facilities. The city pays about a million dollars a day for long-distance waste disposal, when it could earn about $150 million a year by cleanly burning that trash, generating electricity.

Part of New York's phobia dates to problems at a Hempstead plant back in 1980. That facility was poorly controlled, and emitted high levels of dioxin. But it's been replaced by an efficient, clean plant - indeed, one of the cleanest in the country.

Activists are sometimes wrong, sometimes right. In the battle over the Brooklyn Naval Yard WTE project back in the '80s, they distorted facts to scare locals about dioxins. But I must confess that it took years to get my former agency, the state Department of Environmental Conservation, to adopt Best Available Control Technology air-emission standards for WTE. In fact, my own work with Aaron Teller, formerly the dean of engineering and science at Cooper Union, proved long ago that dry-scrubbing air-cleaning controls can effectively control dioxin emissions. Plants around the country and the world now do so year in, year out.

The federal EPA's maximum-available-control-technology rules encouraged four-stage air-pollution controls at WTE plants. The result is negligible emissions - the equivalent to the exhaust from a few modern cars. And emissions from WTE plants account for less than a fraction of a percent of the dioxin released into America's air. It's a non-issue. Idealists promote "zero waste" as a solution - when it can only ever be a target. Yes, we should recycle as much as possible, but zero waste is a practical impossibility. Zero disposal should be our goal.

More than 600 successful WTE facilities now operate worldwide, including 89 in America. The electricity those U.S. plants generate saves about 1.4 billion gallons of fuel oil a year. On site, these plants also remove for recycling about 800,000 tons of ferrous metals and more than 900,000 tons of glass, metal, plastics, batteries, ash and yard waste. Ash is processed to be environmentally safe, to be used as an aggregate material in roads, etc. Bricks or floor tiles can also be made as recycled products. Thanks to WTE, Palm Beach County, Fla., spends only $28 per ton to dispose of municipal waste. New York City spends about $125 per ton for long-range transport and landfilling. Thus, the city could save about $300 million a year. We should protect our environment for future generations, reduce our dependence on Middle East oil and improve our balance of payments.


The unending Greenie moans about Australia's vast coral reefs

How many times must the experts be wrong about Barrier Reef devastation before we disbelieve their scares? How many times must the Great Barrier Reef "survive" before we figure it's not really dying? Actually, the real question is a bit ruder. As in: How many times can global-warming alarmists such as Prof Ove Hoegh-Guldberg be wrong about the reef's "devastation" before we learn to ignore their scares?

The trouble is our reef is so well-loved that green militants, desperate that we back their theory of man-made global warming, consider it the perfect hostage. No month goes by without one screaming: "Freeze! Out of the car, or the reef gets it!" And Hoegh-Guldberg, head of Queensland University's Centre for Marine Studies, has threatened us more often than most. Just three months ago he was at it again, issuing a press release with a grim warning: High temperatures meant "between 30 and 40 per cent of coral on Queensland's Great Barrier Reef could die within a month". Just four paragraphs on he upped the ante, warning that the warm seas "may result in greater damage" still -- to more than 60 per cent of the reef -- and we "have to rapidly reduce the rate of global warming by reducing carbon dioxide emissions." You heard him, jerk. Get out of your car.

But as anyone who's seen the reef lately knows, it's still there and still beautiful. Ask -- hey! -- Hoegh-Guldberg himself. He's just back from a trip out to the outer reef and reports that, um, the bleaching, er, has had, well, "quite a minimal impact", after all. In fact, just 1 per cent was affected. And history tells us even that little bit will recover. What history? The history of an earlier Hoegh-Guldberg scare. In 1999, Hoegh-Guldberg was commissioned by Greenpeace -- warning -- to find out why bits of the reef had just turned white. Global warming was to blame, he concluded, which pleased Greenpeace awfully. More, it moaned, and the professor obliged: Warming seas meant "coral reefs could be eliminated from most areas of the world by 2100". Our own reef "looks to be under pressure within, say, the next 30 years".

Note well: I'm certain Hoegh-Guldberg believed this booga booga, based on his understanding of the science. Yet how lucky for him that he did. He was promptly awarded the Eureka Prize for scientific research by the green-worshipping Australian Museum, and journalists who'd credulously reported his claims were shortlisted for top media awards. Soon the ABC's 7.30 Report, to name one of many, was claiming the "once-spectacular reef" was being "bleached bone white" -- proving host Kerry O'Brien hadn't bought goggles and Speedos to check this unlikely claim with his own eyes. Actually, I can't resist naming a second offender: The ABC's Four Corners added that "across the world, coral reefs are turning into marine deserts".

Except, of course, our reef (and others) recovered from the bleaching of 1998, something which Hoegh-Guldberg conceded was "surprising". It recovered from the bleaching of 2002, as well, just as it's done after other bleachings in its immense life. Not that this has stopped Hoegh-Guldberg from issuing yet more death notices. Last November, for instance, he claimed the reef's coral could disappear within just 20 years. Last month he warned: "The climate is changing so quickly that coral reefs don't keep up."

I repeat: I'd agree Hoegh-Guldberg is honest and says all this because that's what the science tells him, and other scientists back him. But again he's found this doom-preaching has its perks. He now chairs a $20 million global warming study funded by the World Bank. I asked another scientist, Dr Peter Ridd of James Cook University's department of physical sciences, if he'd noticed how the big institutional money seemed to go to the ones who say the scariest stuff on global warming. "Yes," he said shortly.

But silly Ridd, formerly with the Australian Institute of Marine Sciences, won't play by those rules. He instead points out the "most of the supposed threats to the reef, whether from global warming or agricultural run-off, have in fact been grossly overstated". Most of the reef does not get bleached, and almost every bit that does recovers. Boring, Peter. Boring.

Speaking about global warming preachers generally rather than Hoegh-Guldberg, Ridd even warns: "I think the media have been manipulated . . . and scientists are rapidly getting the same reputation as used-car salesmen and real estate agents." Actually, Ridd is far too easy on the media. I suspect many journalists much prefer green hype to sober hope.

Ask Dr Ben McNeil, an oceanographer of the University of New South Wales, who with colleagues from CSIRO and AIMS calculated that global warming could in fact be good for coral reefs, because warmer water helped red algae calcify faster. Even allowing for more acidic seas, says McNeil, "our analysis suggests that ocean warming will foster considerably faster future rates of coral reef growth". Fancy that. Not dying reefs, but growing. But only if we keep pumping out gas. Such good news, yet only one daily newspaper in the country published it -- and then in just four paragraphs.

Still, I'm sure you've learned by now not to trust one more global warming scare. You need only take a Captain Cook at the reef to see why you're right to question even a professor as admired as Hoegh-Guldberg. Speaking of the greater man, Prof Bob Carter of James Cook University's Marine Geophysical Laboratory, points out: "Should the ghost of Captain Cook sail north along the shelf again today . . . equipped with modern measuring equipment, he would be unable to detect any changes to the reef from when he first observed it in 1770." Time the global warming scaremongers found some other hostage. They've squeezed this reef dry.


Snails face relocation for mine development

A colony of snails that has been holding up a controversial coal mine development in New Zealand will be removed by hand to allow the project to go ahead. Conservationists and coal miners have been at loggerheads over the mine's environmental impact. New Zealand's state-owned coal miner Solid Energy has been keen to develop a deposit near Westport on the South Island, but they have been stymied by a small colony of rare powelliphanta snails and their supporters. Conservation Minister Chris Carter has now agreed to a controversial plan to relocate the snails - all 250 of them - by hand, despite claims by the Royal Forest and Bird Society that the move could kill them. Civic leaders and businesses say the local economy would have been hard hit if the $A330 million project was stopped because of the snails.



Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

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