Monday, April 24, 2006


Britain's "Independent" newspaper is in fact Britain's no. 1 Greenie rag. But to save face, they do occasionally publish something that is not pro-Green. On April 1, they published a letter from Professor Bob Carter of the Marine Geophysical Laboratory at James Cook University in Townsville, Australia. They published only the milder parts of the letter, however. Below is the full text of the original letter:

"Over the last few years your columns, and those of other leading British newspapers, have carried a steady stream of alarmist letters and articles on hypothetical, human-caused climate change. Similar articles in international magazines, such as the current issue of Time, have acted to exacerbate the propaganda barrage which faces the public. Each such alarmist article is liberally larded with words such as if, may, might, could, probably, perhaps, likely, expected, projected or modelled - and many involve such deep dreaming, or ignorance of scientific facts and principles, that they are akin to scientific nonsense.

The numerous letters that you have published so far in "Have your say on climate" exemplify the problem created by this alarmism, and by inadequate education systems, and it is not the problem of climate change. Almost without exception, your letter writers implicitly accept - as if they were articles of religious faith - that emissions of carbon dioxide are environmentally harmful, and that dangerous human-caused climate change is occurring.

The facts speak differently.

Carbon dioxide is a natural trace component of the atmosphere the presence of which carries many benefits. The two most important being that carbon dioxide encourages prolific plant growth, and probably also causes mild warming. ("Probably" because although the molecular properties of carbon dioxide make it one of a number of greenhouse gases, increasing its abundance causes both temperature positive and negative feedback loops, the balance of which remains unknown.) The latter fact notwithstanding, and despite a strong public impression otherwise, no simple or significant relationship has been established between the post-industrial increase in human emissions of carbon dioxide and increasing temperature.

Measurements from ground-based thermometers and independently from satellite and weather balloon sensors all agree (i) that a minor warming trend of a few tenths of a degree occurred during the last two decades of the 20th century, and (ii) that that trend has now flattened out. The warming occurred at a rate which is not known accurately but lies between 1 and 2 degrees C /century. Such rates fall comfortably within the multi-decadal warming and cooling rates of up to 3 degrees/century that occur commonly in the recent geological past. Ice core data from Greenland, and other geological data, show also that the magnitude of the late 20th century warming peak has been nearly matched or exceeded many times during climatic cycling in both the recent and deep geological past. Thus neither the rate nor the magnitude of late 20th century warming can yet be shown to be in any way unusual.

You are correct in identifying a huge problem with "climate change", but the problem is political, not environmental or scientific. The ineffectuality of the Kyoto Protocol now being apparent to all, climate policies in countries such as New Zealand (a Kyoto co-signatory with Britain) have descended to farce. One day a carbon tax is on, the next off. Politicians of all stripes reveal abysmal ignorance of the science of climate change on a daily basis. And that measures such as taxing farmers for farting cattle have been seriously entertained as public policy says it all.

A good place to start sorting out the mess would be to read again last year's House of Lords report on climate change, which contains much wise analysis, and at the same time to replace the government's evangelistic advisors on the matter with better versed persons."



Russia's state-controlled natural gas monopoly Gazprom said on Wednesday, April 19, that if European Union countries continue to block its international ambitions it could redirect gas supplies to other markets. The move comes after the British Financial Times newspaper reported that the British government wanted to legislatively block Gazprom's acquisition of Britain's biggest gas supplier Centrica.

In a statement after a meeting between Alexei Miller, Gazprom's chief executive, and EU ambassadors, the company said: "It is necessary to note that attempts to limit Gazprom's activities in the European market and politicize questions of gas supply, which in fact are of an entirely economic nature, will not lead to good results."

As MosNews reported earlier this week, the Financial Times learned that the U.K. government had considered changing merger rules to block a potential takeover of Centrica, Britain's biggest gas supplier, by Gazprom.

Gazprom's CEO met ambassadors of the 25 EU states in Moscow on Tuesday, April 18, to discuss Gazprom's relations with Europe, and insisted the world's largest gas producer understood its responsibilities as supplier of a quarter of the EU's gas.

Wednesday's statement by Gazprom threatened to devote more of the company's supplies to fast-growing markets elsewhere if plans to expand in Europe - where it has ambitions to move into downstream gas distribution - were thwarted. "It should not be forgotten that we are actively familiarizing ourselves with new markets, such as North America and China. Gas producers in central Asia are also paying attention to the Chinese market. This is for a reason: competition for energy resources is growing," it said.

Gazprom said that, while it would fulfill its current contracts with European clients, any future relationship with these countries should take into account the Russian company's ambitions to move into the downstream markets. Sergei Kupriyanov, a spokesman for Gazprom, told the Financial Times: "We just want European countries to understand that we have other alternatives in terms of gas sales. We have a fast-growing Chinese market, and a market for liquefied natural gas in the U.S. If the European Union wants our gas, it has to consider our interests as well."

Gazprom's threats follow an outline agreement between Russia and China to supply the Chinese market with gas from Western Siberia, which is also the main source of gas for Europe. Given that Gazprom's reserves have been static for the past five years, the supply of gas to China will decrease the volume of gas available to European countries. Gazprom has made no secret of its ambition to supply up to 20 percent of the U.K.'s gas by 2015.

Other European countries have also expressed concerns about Gazprom's plans to take a share in their domestic markets. The EU earlier indicated it would be prepared to let Gazprom into its downstream market if Russia were to liberalize access to gas pipelines to other countries and independent producers - a prospect that Gazprom has ruled out.

MosNews, 20 April 2006

Report powers push for nuclear energy

A study by the West's energy watchdog is expected to show that expanding civil nuclear power offers the best hope of tackling global energy insecurity - a finding that would strengthen the hand of governments looking to build new reactors. The International Energy Agency, which represents 26 developed countries, is to support a study highly likely to make the case for greater reliance on nuclear power. The body is likely to conclude that nuclear power also offers the best solution for those governments wishing to meet emissions targets.

The agency's move comes as European concerns over the stability of Russian gas supplies intensify. This week Gazprom, the world's biggest gas producer, threatened to ship gas elsewhere if its European expansion plans were blocked. Earlier this year Moscow halted gas supplies to Ukraine in a price dispute, cutting the flow of gas to Europe for a brief period.

The industrialised developed world's energy watchdog is looking to nuclear power to guarantee security amid growing fears about the reliability of natural gas supplies, particularly out of Iran and Russia. IEA chief economist Fatih Birol said that security of supply and climate change were the main concerns in the years ahead: "We think security of supply will be a big problem." The decline of gas production in North America and in the North Sea would leave Europe and many other parts of the world hostage to a shrinking number of suppliers, reducing energy security, he warned.

Analysts said the IEA's study suggested backing for nuclear power was building up and could force an end to the decades of moratoriums and stalled reactor programs that followed the Chernobyl accident 20 years ago. One diplomat called the study a small step on the road to nuclear acceptance, while others noted that the de facto endorsement of nuclear by the IEA - which has never put its weight behind it - marked a major shift. All 26 members of the agency support the study, although their policies on nuclear power differ widely. Austria, Germany and Ireland oppose the use of nuclear fuel, while Spain, Britain, Italy and Sweden are reviewing whether to build new reactors. Britain is carrying out a review of energy needs that is expected to back building new nuclear power plants. The review is due to be completed by the northern summer.

The decision to allow the next World Energy Outlook, the IEA's flagship yearly publication, to analyse and probably support the use of nuclear power marks a big shift towards "the nuclear solution" by the world's developed countries. Andrew Wright, analyst at UBS, said: "The IEA is a respected, august body and when confronting opposition, national governments may well use the independent OECD agency (IEA) in support of their argument in favour of nuclear."

Europe has become increasingly reliant on gas from a few, increasingly distant suppliers as many of its nuclear reactors are near the end of their lives. Meanwhile, most of Iran's vast gas reserves remain untapped as its dispute with the West over Tehran's nuclear ambitions thwarts investment progress. The European Commission On Thursday urged Gazprom to stick to contractual commitments and warned it against threatening European supplies. The IEA, established after the 1970s oil shocks, is charged with advancing energy security and helping inform the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development on energy policy.


REQUIEM FOR ENVIRONMENTALISM (From a rather surprising source)

Environmentalism is dead; long live the environment!

This pronouncement might seem a touch premature, especially to the 500 million people who will celebrate the 37th Earth Day this weekend-a collective "not dead yet" wheeze. However, these numbers mask the growing irrelevance of the environmentalist movement. Having lost its credibility with alarmist rhetoric and obsolete ideological ballast, the movement must develop a moderate discourse while challenging its previous assumptions and outdated theories.

The contemporary environmentalist movement faces a stark choice: change tactics or fade into irrelevance. Over the past decade, environmentalists have achieved few political victories and utterly failed to influence the general public. As indicated by a recent MIT study, the public knows little about environmental problems, and cares less. Out of 21 national and international issues, Americans ranked environmental problems 13th, well below terrorism, taxes, crime, and drugs.

Alarmism - the environmental movement's basic strategy - has led to this dead end. Since Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring," the movement has been dominated by doomsday scenarios. Even on the first Earth Day in 1970, biologist George Wald predicted that "civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken" while the New York Times warned that "man must stop pollution and conserve his save the race from intolerable deterioration and possible extinction." Fortunately, such apocalyptic forecasts have repeatedly proven to be wrong.

Take biologist Paul Ehrlich's popular Malthusian broadside, "The Population Bomb." Farsighted Ehrlich predicted that a "population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make," causing world-wide famine and the death of "hundreds of millions of people" annually from starvation. Oops-in the subsequent 35 years, increased agricultural productivity exceeded population growth and the total amount of cultivated land barely increased.

Ehrlich is hardly alone; the environmental movement has spawned a remarkable number of would-be Cassandras. Between 1970 and 2006, global cooling predictions mysteriously morphed into global warming fears. Concerns about rampant Dodo-ism proved baseless: the rate of animal extinction in the U.S. has been declining since the 1930s, and only seven species have gone extinct since 1973. And rather than running out of resources, the world has experienced a commodity glut, with the prices of most metals and minerals dropping by 30 to 50 percent. The litany of failed apocalypses goes on.

Not that this history of crying wolf has chastened contemporary environmentalists. Activists and researchers still issue dire warnings with mind-numbing regularity. Just three weeks ago, a panic-stricken Time magazine story on global warming shouted, "Be Worried, Be Very Worried." Harping on worst-case scenarios like a 220-foot rise in the ocean's water level, the article more closely resembled "The Day After Tomorrow" than a serious report.

Although such scare mongering persists, it has reached the point of diminishing returns. Knowing the movement's track record of false alarms, the American public dismiss dire environmental warnings out of hand. Moreover, these alarming reports attract a disproportionate amount of media attention, discrediting the environmentalist movement twice over: First when the sensational predictions drown out more plausible reports, then again when the highly-publicized disaster fails to occur.

Contrary to popular opinion, the U.S. environment is getting healthier. The U.S. population has more than doubled since 1970, yet forest coverage has increased. Measurements of major air pollutants-sulfur, suspended particulates, and carbon monoxide-have registered declines of 15 to 75 percent. Likewise, the number of healthy rivers and lakes has roughly doubled since the first Earth Day, and Lake Erie, declared "dead" in the 1970s, now supports a healthy fishing industry. There are exceptions to this positive trend, but the overall direction is unmistakable: The U.S. natural environment is improving.

Of course, environmentalists claim credit for this trend. Alarmists can't lose: either doomsday comes true, or their warnings averted disaster. Certainly, part of the positive trend is due to activism and government regulations, but much of the change is a result of increased technological efficiency as well as longstanding trends that predate the rise of environmentalism.

Although the impact of the movement's past achievements is uncertain, its future success clearly depends on a fundamental reevaluation of long-unquestioned theories and policies. Doomsday warnings no longer shock the public into action; instead, environmentalists need to develop moderate arguments that don't depend on the 'stick' of calamity. This means abandoning Soviet-style "command-and-control" regulation, epitomized by the Kyoto Treaty, and exploring ideas, like the use of DDT, that are currently considered heretical.

Thus, on the 37th anniversary of Earth Day, the environmental movement is looking increasingly long in the tooth. Alarmist environmentalists have overshadowed moderate, careful researchers, and undermined the credibility of the entire movement. Until environmentalists cease depending on nightmare scenarios, they will fail to influence the public at large. Let the next generation of environmentalists begin to reestablish the movement's credibility by exploring currently heretical ideas and producing moderate, nuanced reports, even if they do not make for good press.

The Harvard Crimson, 20 April 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

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