Friday, April 07, 2006

The Media and Reporting on the Environment

Post lifted from Real Clear Politics

Next time you read a magazine cover story like the one Time just published ("Be Worried. Be VERY Worried. Polar Ice Caps Are Melting ... More And More Land Is Being Devastated ... Rising Waters Are Drowning Low-Lying Communities... The climate is crashing, and global warming is to blame") you should remember one little fact: U.S. media companies, including Time Warner, donate more to the environmental movement than any other industry. Companies like The New York Times, Gannett, Tribune, ABC, CBS and NBC have donated more than a half-billion worth of ad space since the 1990s to raise money for some of the nation's most extreme environmental groups. And yes, that was billion with a B.

To put that number in perspective, America's media companies donate more to environmental groups every year than the much-feared Olin Foundation's spent annually in its effort to build the institutional foundation of the conservative movement.

The deal works like this: The Ad Council endorses and distributes ads that encourage people to give money to "Earth Share," a fundraising front group whose members include dozens of groups from the moderate Nature Conservancy to the radical Friends of the Earth. Media companies donate vast amounts of air time and ad space, assuming that Ad Council campaigns follow the charity's standards such as the rule that campaigns must be "non-commercial, non-denominational, non-partisan, and not be designated to influence legislation." (

That rule may be important to our non-partisan media, but the Ad Council treats it like a joke. Earth Share's Fall 2005 newsletter, released at the same time as the latest round of Ad Council ads, brags that its members helped "defeat numerous efforts to pass legislation." (

Environmental ads' dubious facts

And the ads sponsored by Earth Share, endorsed by the Ad Council and fueled by media donations are not exactly examples of truth in advertising. Here's the text of one radio ad released last fall:

"Place your hand on your heart ... measure the beats ... 1...2...3...4...5... That's how long it takes to protect your child's life. Five heart beats. That's how long it takes to learn about the dangers of pesticides that could be in your child's classroom. Asthma, lower IQ scores and cancer have all been linked to prolonged exposure to these toxins ..."

Want to know the number of national medical and public health organizations that consider classroom chemical exposure a significant cause of cancer. Z-E-R-O. Want to know the number of scientific groups that blame classroom chemical exposure for asthma and low IQs? Yep, zilch. (Indeed, if you take the time to look it up, average IQ scores are rising.)

An agenda bigger than environmentalism

By giving free space to environmentalists' fundraising campaign, the press is not just broadcasting deceptive messages that stoke public anxiety, they're also laundering the image of environmentalism. The Ad Council name gives the fundraising a patina of non-partisanship. The Earth Share name gives the campaign a soft-focus that hides the full agenda of its member groups.

If you've given money to Earth Share, you might believe, as Harrison Ford says in some of Earth Share's Ad Council sponsored ads, there's "one environment and one simple way to care for it" - give some cash to Earth Share.

The reality is less simple. There may be one environment, but there are many other causes that can hijack your money: Efforts to stop missile defense testing (Union of Concerned Scientists), running attack ads against Senators who opposed campaign finance reform (Sierra Club) and derailing global trade negotiations or trying to give Bill Bradley the Democratic presidential nod instead of Al Gore (Friends of the Earth) are all causes supported by Earth Share members.

Earth Share members also tend to take a knee-jerk anti-technology stance, even when the new technology may benefit the environment. For instance, Earth Share's membership is almost universally opposed to biotechnology because "Frankenfood" genes may contaminate the environment or harm someone, somewhere, somehow. Who knows, they may be right. But while they raise these hypothetical concerns, they ignore concrete environmental benefits. Genetic engineering has significantly raised crop yields, allowing farmers to feed more people with less land. That leaves more room for wildlife. Genetic engineering also increases resistance to plant pests allowing farmers to slash their use of chemicals.

And now onto global warming

Which brings us to the latest news from the nexus between extreme environmentalism and the "non-partisan" Ad Council: The launch of a new campaign aimed at raising public awareness of our global warming crisis. The web site for the campaign ( makes things pretty clear: "Global warming is the most serious environmental issue of our time."

If those are the stakes, then the Ad Council would surely want the most persuasive messenger to bring this important information to the public, right?

And since "most respected scientific organizations have stated unequivocally that global warming is happening, and people are causing it ...," it should be easy for the Ad Council to find a non-partisan scientific messenger, then right?

Well, for some reason, no. The Ad Council has given us exactly the opposite: Their messenger is Environmental Defense (formerly known as the Environmental Defense Fund), a group with a reputation for crying wolf. Right now on their web page, ED asks parents to click to find out whether their children are in "danger" from dirty air. Nowhere can parents find the more comforting fact that, no matter where they live, kids today are breathing cleaner air than they did 50 years ago.

Just to add to their credibility, ED also has a reputation for partisanship, regularly adding its name to anti-Bush administration attacks ads and featuring the wife of the last Democratic presidential aspirant on its board.

And true to form, Environmental Defense takes a reasonable case - we should do something about global warming - and turns it into a joke: "While the world itself will not end, the world as we know it may disappear," ED intones in a Q & A on the site.

Saving the climate by stopping wind power

And that's where this whole Ad Council/Earth Share/Environmental Defense tangle gets impossible to follow.

We know, because the Ad Council tells us so, that "global warming is the most serious environmental issue of our time." The world as we know it is at stake. We also know, because the Ad Council tells us so, that there is "one simple way" to care for the environment - give money to Earth Share.

We also know, that in the short term, there are four kinds of energy society can use that are a) widely available and b) will lower our impact on the global climate: Hydro-electric, wind power, nuclear energy and natural gas.

Yet in every case, the Ad Council is using its vast resources to raise money that makes turning to those sources of power harder, not easier.

Earth Share members, such as the Union of Concerned Scientists, have filed complaints asking the government to shutter dozens of nuclear power plants across the U.S., they're standing in the way of opening a central repository for nuclear waste and they're opposing regulatory changes that would streamline the permitting process so that the United States could add new zero-climate impact nuclear power for the first time in a generation.

Today, the United States is among the top three nations in the world in producing climate-friendly hydro-electric power. It might not stay that way. In an effort to protect endangered trout and salmon, Earth Share members, such as Defenders of Wildlife, have pushed repeatedly - and in some cases successfully -- to "breach" hydro-electric dams as a way to restore fish habitat.

Of fossil fuel power sources, natural gas is the cleanest and, because it is also the most efficient, it has the least impact on climate. Yet all over the United States environmental groups both local and national are fighting to stop its use. In the mountain West, Earth share members are fighting to stop exploration for and production of natural gas. If we can't produce natural gas in the United States, then we'll need to import it. That can't happen either because Ad Council-funded groups such as the U.S. PIRG, People for the Narragansett Bay and Save the Sound, are fighting to stop the infrastructure projects that would allow that.

Which brings us to the most bizarre case of all - wind power. If there's one thing you'd think would be mom and apple pie for environmentalists, wind power would be it, but its not.

For the most part, environmentalists are embarrassed by the fact that they can't even stomach the development of wind turbines. For that reason, environmentalists are letting the local NIMBY's do most of the heavy lifting, while national environmental groups such as Earth Share's Audubon Society quietly push for greater regulations under the cover of protection for endangered bats and birds. If you talk to wind power executives, they'll tell you that one-two punch of angry locals and quietly influential national groups have stalled and scaled bank wind farms from Vermont to California.

It may be true that every single one of the environmental concerns raised to block hydro-power, wind energy, nuclear plants and natural gas development are all valid. But if global warming is really, really the "most serious environmental issue of our time," shouldn't environmentalists be willing to put their other concerns aside until we deal with the dangers of runaway climate change?

Maybe if our largest television networks, newspapers and magazines weren't the largest fundraisers for these same environmental groups, they'd be in a position to ask.


Post lifted from the Adam Smith blog

The planning process on the Penicuik wind farm project began last week. This involves balancing local objection based on adverse environmental impact against national advantage of supposedly clean energy. Appeasing the Greens must also attract marginal votes.

Sadly the climate debate is dirtied by a sensationalist press. The notion that climate warming means Armageddon is upon us has gained such momentum that even the Archbishop of Canterbury has offered his scientific pennyworth. Charles Moore says in the Telegraph:

the politics of climate change are bad. They attract the self-righteous and the self-flagellating, the controlling, the life-denying, the people who don't like people, the people who, like Private Fraser in Dad's Army, think we're "all DOOMED".

Coincidentally Matthew Parris notes in the Times that Eco-apocalypticism is the new religion. Windpower attracts unusual agreement among experts revealing mutual derision on wind farms.

David Bellamy thinks wind farms are a scam:

They kill bats and birds and need 1,000 tonnes of concrete as well as a road infrastructure. It beggars belief that some environmental groups can say they are 'green'."

James Lovelock of Gaia fame, first guru of the Greens, now says wind-farms won't cut CO2 emissions at all. John Etherington says:

If each UK household replaced the conventional electric bulb most used with a low energy bulb, the energy saved would equal the entire output of all existing and proposed onshore wind-farms.

Ireland has given up trying to integrate windpower in the grid. Denmark dumps surge surplus free on neighbours, displacing clean energy. Even California suffers regular breakdown, reports Richard Courtney.

The only lobby for windfarms is the Greens, who won't have them in their own back yard. The only beneficiaries are local farmers renting land at incalculable cost for the environment.

I nearly forgot the sponsors applying for planning approval at Penecuik. Guess who? E.ON the biggest wind energy provider in the EU. With BP, the energy giants cannot get into clean energy fast enough, seduced by the massive subsidies. These are the oil and energy companies said by the eco-apocalypse NGOs to be financing those skeptical on catastrophic climate warming and against Kyoto!


Post dated April 1, 2006 lifted from "A Place to Stand"

Environmental experts have issued new scientific studies that prove that if we do not take immediate and very strong action the human race is doomed. They have found:

1). A minimum of ten million people, most of them children, will starve to death during each year. But this is a mere handful compared to the numbers that will be starving within 3 decades.

2). The battle to feed all of humanity is over. Hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now. At this late date nothing can prevent a substantial increase in the world death rate.

3). To prevent overpopulation we must have population control at home, hopefully through changes in our value system, but by compulsion if voluntary methods fail.

4). Known world supplies of zinc, gold, tin, copper, oil, and natural gas would be completely exhausted in 20 years

5). If we continue our present rate of growth in electrical energy consumption it will simply take, very shortly, all our freshwater streams to cool the generators and reactors.

6). The period of global food security is over. As the demand for food continues to press against supply, inevitably real food prices will rise. The question no longer seems to be whether they will rise, but how much.

7). 40,000 species per year are going extinct and that 1 million species will be gone in 20 years.

8). the world is going to run out of oil soon if we do not conserve our resources.

9). A nuclear reactor accident could be blamed for the deaths of some 2,500 people.

OK clearly this was an April fool's joke, however it differs from other April fool stories in being true - only the dates have been removed to protect the guilty.

(1), (2) & (3) were said by Paul Ehrlich, author of The Population Bomb & numerous other ridiculous claims, in 1971 so that starvation catastrophe that wiped out so much of the 3rd world peaked in 2001. He remains an environmentalist guru. See here

(4) Comes from the enormously influential Club of Rome report of 1973. Again the date of catastrophe has been passed without any bother (or apology).

(5) Comes from a David Bower who seems like a typical twit. From Brainy Quotes

(6) Is Lester Brown in 1981 another environmental guru. see here

(7) Is Thomas Lovejoy 1979 here. He originally said "by 2000" which I changed to in 20 years - since that was about 1/4 of all species believed to exist at the time it seems he was somehat in error.

(8) Was the common expectation in the 1850s when they believed they were passing peak oil, eventually they found it was possible to obtain oil from sources other than dead whales.

(9) Was a statement from Greenpeace in 1996 referring to Chernobyl & thus has the unique virtue of being a prophesy made long after the event which was still wrong. Current official estimates are 53, which assume there will be another deaths some time in the future from radiation. See here

This last was a bit of a rush since I know much higher estimates were made. I remember reading a UK newspaper the next day in which they stated as fact that 10,000 people had already died & that the estimates of 28 from the Soviet politicians & media, as it was then, proved that they don't have the sort of trustworthy free press that we do

Wotta Laugh!

Greenie versus Greenie again

The potential death of one orange-bellied parrot a year has killed off a $220 million wind farm project and sparked a state rights brawl between Canberra and Victoria. Federal Environment Minister Ian Campbell yesterday invoked extraordinary commonwealth powers to stop the proposed Gippsland wind farm, 580 days after the facility was approved by the Bracks Government. Senator Campbell said a government-commissioned report found the wind farm at Bald Hills would have threatened the existence of the orange-bellied parrot. The report found only one additional orange-bellied parrot would die each year as a result of projected wind turbine collisions. There are between 99 and 200 orange-bellied parrots left in Australia and the report said the bird risked becoming extinct within 50 years without taking into account the effect of wind farms. It said any negative impact could be enough to tip the balance against its continued existence and "it may be argued that any avoidable deleterious effect - even the very minor predicted impacts of turbine collisions - should be prevented".

The project operator, Wind Power, attacked the decision and was considering what action, if any, could be taken. "Clearly this process sends a strong message to businesses considering investing in regional and rural Australia and that message is 'you are not welcome'," the company said. It said it had been more than 580 days since the state Government approved a permit for the facility, which had also been the subject of two environmental effects statements and an independent planning panel report that included six weeks of hearings. The report found orange-bellied parrots lived within 2km of the coastline, but the nearest proposed turbine was just over 2km from the coast. "The delay by the minister is completely unreasonable and will act as a deterrent to businesses that want to invest in infrastructure projects in rural and regional areas," it said. "It is highly coincidental that the minister is making a decision two days before the Federal Court was due to consider forcing him to make a decision as a result of the company's court actions."

Victorian Planning Minister Rob Hulls said Senator Campbell had jeopardised the future of renewable energy to garner votes in Gippsland and appease the oil and coal industries. "His blatantly political decision is not only inappropriate but will call into question future investment in renewable energy right around the country," Mr Hulls said. "This is about the federal Government forsaking renewable energy to look after its fossil-fuel mates. "There's been no scientific evidence of the orange-bellied parrot on the Bald Hills wind farm site. "What there has been is some historical sightings, and also some potential foraging sites, between 10 and 35 kilometres from the Bald Hills wind farm site that may or may not have been used by the orange-bellied parrot. "What he has really done is, for purely political purposes, stopped a $220-million investment going ahead in Victoria."



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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