Friday, August 18, 2006

WashPost Highlights Argument That Heat Wave 'Linked to Global Warming'

Post lifted from Newsbusters

Washington Post reporter Juliet Eilperin puts the pedal to the metal in her Friday story, "More Frequent Heat Waves Linked to Global Warming." We're told "scientists who have studied decades of weather records and computer models" are connecting the heat to Al Gore's favorite bogeyman.

Eilperin lines up all the studies promoted by global-warming salesmen, and the skeptics aren't granted an appearance untilÿthe end, in paragraph 18: "Some climate experts and industry lobbyists, however, question the correlation between global warming and heat waves."

But here's one place where I just start to choke on the panicked claims.

Since July, 179 Americans, most of them Californians, have died in the current heat wave; more than 52,000 died during the 2003 episode in Europe, where air conditioning is less common.

Excuse me? A heat wave with the death toll ofÿan Indonesian tsunami? Where does this number come from? Eilperin has no footnote. The data comes from the Earth Policy Institute, a group of hard-core greenies run by Lester Brown. Janet Larsen crunches her questionable numbers this way:

Of the new information that has trickled out over the last few years, the biggest surprise has come from Italy. According to the Italian National Institute of Statistics, the summer of 2003 yielded more than 18,000 excess deaths when compared with 2002. In August alone, 9,700 fatalities were likely connected to the high temperatures, which in parts of Italy averaged 16 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than in the preceding year. These elevated numbers far exceed the Italian Health Ministry's early assessment that some 4,000 people died from heat country-wide during the hottest days.

The Italian site is here, although I can't find this data easily. But notice how much guesswork seems involved in this, that 10,000 fatalities were "likely" connected to the heat? And how can an Italian health ministry underestimate the number of heat-wave deaths by 14,000 people?

Reporters like Eilperin ought to note to readers that groups like the Earth Policy Institute are putting out their data with the intention of scaring people into liberal political action. As their own website explained their mission:

The Earth's capacity to support the economy continues to deteriorate. The gap between what we need to do to arrest the deterioration of the Earth and what we are doing continues to widen. Somehow we have to turn the tide. There is a need for a new initiative, a new organization, and a new organizational model, one engaged in a research program and research products that are designed for use by the media and that are directed at policymakers. The goal of the Earth Policy Institute is to raise public awareness to the point where it will support an effective public response to the threats posed by continuing population growth, rising CO2 emissions, the loss of plant and animal species, and the many other trends that are adversely affecting the Earth. The dissemination of information from the Institute is designed to help set the public agenda.

There is certainly nothing wrong with trying to set the public agenda. But it ought to make reporters more skeptical when they're dealing with scientific claims, especially big heat-wave death counts that suddenly spurt upward dramatically two or three years after the fact.

Natural fertilizer rejected

The Chinese and Indians wouldn't believe it!

Los Angeles is challenging a new voter-approved ban that will soon block the city from dumping almost all of its treated sewage on rural farm fields near Bakersfield. The lawsuit also contends the ban is forcing the city to seek alternative ways to dispose of the sludge "at a cost of millions of dollars and great environmental harm." Two Southern California sanitation districts, farmers who spread the biosolids on their land, and businesses that transport the sludge are also listed as plaintiffs.

Even though the waste isn`t spread on land where food is grown for market, the ban was overwhelmingly approved in June by Kern County voters who were convinced that the unsavory mixture fouls the air and endangers the groundwater in the area, about 115 miles north of Los Angeles. The ban takes effect at the end of the year.

The Environmental Protection Agency decided in the early 1990s that spreading treated sewage waste over farmland was preferable to sending it out to sea or pouring it in landfills. Since then, urban centers have trucked their sewage to rural areas, where the waste primarily is used as fertilizer for animal feed crops. Southern California sewage districts trucked about 470,000 tons of sewage sludge last year to Kern County, one of the nation`s most productive farming regions.


New Alaska oil leases being offered

The Interior Department is set to open a vast area of environmentally sensitive wetlands in Alaska to new oil drilling, even as opponents point to corroding pipelines to the east at Prudhoe Bay as a reason to keep the area off-limits. The lease sale, opposed by environmentalists and some members of Congress, comes as federal regulators and a House committee investigate inspection and maintenance programs of BP-Alaska where widespread pipeline corrosion forced the partial shutdown of Prudhoe Bay oil production Aug. 6.

Government geologists believe at least 2 billion barrels of oil and huge amounts of natural gas lie beneath the coastal lagoons, river deltas and sedge grass meadows - an area also where caribou give birth to their calves and thousands of geese migrate each summer to molt. The lake and its surrounding wetlands are within the federal National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPRA), a vast area of 22 million acres set aside in 1923 by the federal government for its oil and gas resources.

They contend that the risks to the environment were reinforced by the recent disclosure of shoddy maintenance, inadequate inspections and corroded pipes that led to the partial shutdown of North Slope oil production. BP Alaska has said it is replacing two thirds of its 22-mile Prudhoe Bay feeder pipeline system because of corrosion. But the oil industry says it spends tens of millions of dollars for environmental protection on the North Slope and using modern technology can explore and develop oil fields in sensitive areas without a risk to wildlife and the environment.

Recently, 19 senators and 66 House members separately urged Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne to reconsider offering leases in the Lake Teshekpuk area. Interior`s Bureau of Land Management said that in its upcoming lease offering it will limit the surface areas within the nearly 500,000 acres to protect geese molting and caribou calving areas. The restrictions apply to roads and drilling pads, but not to elevated 30-inch pipelines.

Edward Bovy, a spokesman for BLM-Alaska, said the agency`s restrictions on surface activity are aimed to protect the environment, but that pipeline safety and integrity "are separate issues" and do not affect leasing decisions.


Australia to expand its nuclear industry

The Bush administration has indicated it will support Australia developing a uranium enrichment industry, despite the White House's policy to restrict new entrants to the world nuclear club. In response to John Howard's campaign to ensure the existing nuclear powers do not lock Australia out of future nuclear development, a senior US official has said "special rules" apply to Australia and Canada. Dennis Spurgeon, assistant secretary for nuclear power at the US Department of Energy, said Australia and Canada were likely to be given special consideration because they would play a pivotal role in a new nuclear suppliers club the US is trying to establish. "I think Australia, and Canada for that matter, play a special role in world nuclear affairs because obviously you are two countries that have the majority of economically recoverable uranium resources," Mr Spurgeon said in an exclusive interview with The Australian yesterday.

Asked if this gave Australia and Canada a strong bargaining chip in negotiating their entry into a new nuclear club, he replied: "Exactly. So in any discussion, you have to take into account the facts as they lay." "I think Australia is viewed as a totally reliable and trustworthy country, so I don't think there is any issue there whatsoever."

The Government has launched an inquiry, headed by former Telstra boss Ziggy Switkowski, to examine the economics of expanding Australia's uranium mining sector, becoming involved in uranium enrichment and establishing a domestic nuclear power industry. It comes after the Bush administration unveiled last year the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership, which is designed to restrict the number of countries enriching uranium to existing players such as the US, Britain, China, Russia and France.

But under the GNEP, nuclear fuel would be shipped to feed energy-hungry developing countries and the spent fuel taken back to the supplier so it could not reprocessed and used for weapons. Its clear aim is to prevent nuclear proliferation as witnessed in rogue states such as North Korea and as fears grow that Iran's civilian nuclear push is simply a cover for nuclear weapons manufacture. It is also designed to promote a fuel source that does not produce greenhouse gases.

But the plan caught the Howard Government off guard and it was one of the main issues the Prime Minister raised with US President George W.Bush on his trip to Washington in May. Mr Howard then travelled to Canada to discuss the GNEP program with counterpart Stephen Harper. Last month, Mr Howard told The Australian he was not suspicious of the initiative "but I'm keen to keep an eye on it and keen to ensure it doesn't damage Australia's position".

The GNEP policy, as it stands, would freeze Australia out of the enrichment club and presents an awkward policy conflict between Australia and the US. Mr Spurgeon admitted the GNEP policy as envisaged presented an "unusual situation" in relation to Australia and Canada. "Any time you make a general rule you always find maybe it doesn't apply in all circumstances," he said. "The United States depends on, and wants to continue to have, a very close partnership and working relationship with Australia. "We end up with a little bit of an unusual situation here because the policy is really designed to try to help countries like Vietnam, for example, to be able to have the benefit of nuclear energy without needing that kind of enrichment plant and without needing a reprocessing facility."

Keen to assuage fears that Australia would not be dealt a bad hand in the program, Mr Spurgeon added that future discussions with Australia "comes down to the way in which we might jointly agree on a path forward for implementing the principles contained in GNEP". "But it is just that. It's a discussion. It's not a dictation in any manner of speaking. "We are pleased Australia is looking at nuclear energy and does want to be an active partner as we attempt to increase the use of nuclear energy worldwide in a responsible way." He stressed he was not in a position to make a definitive comment on what the administration's position would be on Australia enriching uranium, saying that was for the State Department to comment on. However, a spokesman for the State Department's Bureau of Non-proliferation declined to comment.



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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