Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Secret plans for a multi-billion-pound package of stealth taxes on fuel, cars, air travel and consumer goods have been drawn up by the Government to combat global warming. The proposals, leaked to The Mail on Sunday, show that the Government is considering introducing a raft of hard-hitting 'eco-taxes' that will have a devastating effect on the cost of living. Families with big cars could end up paying more than 1,000 pounds a year extra in tax. And nearly every household in Britain will be hit in the pocket.

Most controversial of all, the documents reveal the Government is planning to grab billions of pounds of extra revenue from motorists - without telling them. It is considering introducing a special mechanism so that whenever oil prices go down, the Government would get the cash in extra fuel tax - not the motorist. A leaked letter from Environment Secretary David Miliband to Chancellor Gordon Brown says the advantage of this is that the Government would gain billions of pounds 'without individual announcements on fuel-duty rises needing to be made'. The Government was immediately accused by the Conservatives of trying to introduce more 'stealth taxes' and failing to be honest with voters about the consequences of dealing with climate change.

The leak comes 24 hours before Tony Blair launches a major report warning that floods and other natural disasters caused by global warming will spark an economic catastrophe worse than the 1929 Wall Street Crash. But the report, by economist Sir Nicholas Stern, does not reveal what the Government plans to do about it. But a leaked letter written from Mr Miliband to Mr Brown on October 18 and obtained by The Mail on Sunday spells out the grim reality: wide-ranging tax rises that will have a dramatic impact on family incomes.

Mr Miliband calls for tough measures to combat 'car use and ownership' with a 'substantial increase' in road tax, which currently costs a maximum of 210 pounds a year. Mr Miliband says road tax should copy the 'success' of companycar taxes which forced people to switch to smaller vehicles with annual levies of up to 5,000 pounds. He also suggests a 'Treasury mechanism' allowing the Government to benefit from any fall in oil prices and reintroducing the 'fuel-duty escalator', which put up the duty on petrol by five per cent over inflation until Mr Brown ordered a freeze in 1999. Mr Miliband calls for a new 'pay-per-mile pollution tax' on motorists. And he urges VAT on air travel to EU destinations and new taxes on inefficient washing machines and light bulbs.

He also backs fresh laws to let town halls impose a 'rubbish tax' on households by using 'spies' placed in dustbins to weigh non-recyclable refuse. The letter says: 'Differential charging for waste at household level can have a significant role to play and local authorities should be given the powers to do so.' Mr Miliband also called for landfill tax - paid by businesses and local councils that bury rubbish - to be increased from 21 pounds a ton to 75. But one environmental expert said this could lead to more flytipping unless it is properly policed.

The letter to Mr Brown, marked ' Restricted', demands urgent and radical action in next month's public-spending review and next year's Budget. Changing people's behaviour can be achieved only by 'market forces and price signals', it says, adding: ' Marketbased instruments, including taxes, need to play a substantial role. As our understandings of climate change increases, it is clear more needs to be done.' The Government must 'increase the pace of existing tax measures, broaden them into sectors where incentives to cut carbon emissions are weak and identify new instruments to drive progress in tackling greenhouse gas'.

An aide to Mr Miliband said last night: 'We don't comment on leaked documents. These are ideas, not a package of measures.' An ally of Mr Brown added: 'The Chancellor does not approve of conducting Government business on the basis of leaks.'

Tory environment spokesman Peter Ainsworth said: 'No one is more committed to tackling climate change than the Conservatives. But if the Government wants to deal with it successfully, it must do so in an upfront way instead of bringing in stealth taxes by the back door. As with everything this Government does, the devil is in the detail. If motorists and consumers think all the Government wants to do is to slap taxes on everything, they may respond negatively. 'Tony Blair's Government has sat on its hands for ten years. Tackling the enormous challenge of climate change would have been much easier if they hadn't left it so late.'

Professor Julian Morris, environmental economist at Birmingham University and director of the International Policy Network, a free-market think-tank, called the new taxes 'underhand' and accused the Government of 'nannying'.



British business is this weekend fighting off calls for a raft of new green taxes that it fears will follow the publication of an influential government report tomorrow. The Stern Review is expected to warn that failure to address climate change could slash global economic growth by up to 20 per cent a year - a controversial view that will turn conventional thinking on climate change on its head. Businesses are worried that the Chancellor, Gordon Brown, will use the report by Sir Nicholas Stern, the respected economist, as an excuse to introduce a range of new anti-business pollution taxes.

David Frost, the director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: "We are very concerned that business is going to be made to pick up the tab for solving the world's environmental problems. "The fact is that families produce a lot of CO2 as well. It's vital the Government resists the temptation to introduce more taxes and regulations." Stephen Alambritis of the Federation of Small Businesses said: "There seems to be an all-party consensus that something needs to be done about the environment. We fear business may be thought of as a soft target. In reality, a lot of the increase in CO2 emissions is down to domestic use and greater use of transport. But it's consumers who vote - not businesses."

The Chancellor has a range of possible green taxes at his disposal. Options include raising fuel duty or increasing taxation on air travel. Nick Goulding of the Forum of Private Business said it was vital that any new regulations inspired by the report were not rushed through. "Business already pays too much tax," he said. "If new taxes are increased then the Government must slash other business taxes, ideally National Insurance contributions. If not, the economy will suffer."

Many businesses have already taken steps to improve their energy efficiency because of soaring fuel prices over the past two years. The BCC said 52.7 per cent of its members in a recent poll considered themselves "energy efficient", while a further 31.1 per cent were considering become more so. However, a hard core of about 20 per cent said it was too costly for them to consider becoming more energy efficient. The lobby groups maintain that the Government should do more to encourage businesses to go green.

The Forum of Private Business wants to see bigger tax breaks for firms that buy environmentally friendly machinery. Meanwhile, the BCC wants to see the Government beef up the Carbon Trust, the agency that works with businesses to lower carbon emissions.

The report by Stern stretches to 700 pages. An official close to the review said he would call for a dramatic boost in research and development spending on green energy and technology by government and businesses. Stern will say that global R&D spending by government and business will have to double from $10bn (œ5bn) to $20bn over the next five to ten years. "The report itself will not outline specific tax policies," said an official. "It will point out that becoming more energy efficient is also an opportunity to boost our economies."



Almost every day produces another doom-filled warning about global warming: a report tomorrow predicts a worldwide recession as a result of climate change. But, as Ross Clark reports, where there is anxiety, there's also business opportunity... and taxes, of course

Tomorrow, when Sir Nicholas Stern, the head of the Government's Economic Service, publishes his 700-page report claiming that global warming could shrink the world economy by 20 per cent, Ru Hartwell will have some reason to feel optimistic. He has just taken out a 30,000 pound mortgage on his home in Tregaron, west Wales, in order to set up a business, treeflights.com, which helps airline passengers assuage their consciences by having a tree planted, at 10 pounds a time, every time they take to the sky. In the three months since he started his business he has already taken 600 orders on his website, plus another 200 to 300 through a link-up with several travel agencies.

Buyers are promised that their tree will be numbered and tagged, so that they can come and inspect the sapling planted in an attempt to counter the environmental vandalism of their fortnight in Marbella. "I have been planting trees for years to offset my carbon emissions," says Mr Hartwell, 48. "But I ran out of resources and thought, rather than just me making a contribution, why not get people who are polluting more than I am to make a contribution too?"

Mr Hartwell is one tiny part of a multi-million pound industry that has grown out of the guilt created by grim predictions of global warming. There are dozens of companies now offering to "offset" your carbon emissions by planting trees, contributing towards the construction of windfarms or paying for green energy schemes in the third world.

On the subject of whether planting a tree really will make up for the carbon emitted by an airline trip, Mr Hartwell, who has worked as a professional tree-planter for, among others, the Forestry Commission, is honest. "I have planted my land with trees and I heat my home with wood rather than fossil fuels. If anyone was carbon-neutral it would be me, but I'm still nowhere near. A tree stores carbon for the duration of its life, but then releases it when it starts to rot. "That is why I am thinking of setting up a trust which will harvest the trees in a hundred years, and then dump them at sea or bury them underground in anaerobic conditions where they will continue to store their carbon.

"I'm trying to do it right, but what some carbon offset companies have been doing is taking money from the public, then claiming more money for tree-planting under the Woodland Grant Scheme. They then plant their trees on land which they don't own. How secure is that? The landowner could harvest the trees well before they had offset your emissions."

Besides being invited to offset their carbon emissions, guilty consumers are being tempted with lorry loads of "carbon-neutral" gifts. "This year make your Xmas a little greener by giving gifts from our great selection," screams the website of the Carbon Neutral Company. "You could balance out the emissions from someone's flights, home or travel... We've got ecogifts and gadgets that you and your family are sure to love." Among them are a "water-powered calculator" at 14.99 and a "wind-up torch and phone-charger" at 11.99.

The Carbon Neutral Company began life as Future Forests Ltd, doing much the same as Mr Hartwell does now. Since then, it has branched out into consultancy work, advising companies such as Honda and the mobile phone operator O2 on how to promote a greener image. Honda, for example, was advised to come up with a wheeze offering customers "one month of carbon-neutral driving" - in other words it gave a small donation to carbon-offset schemes for every car sold.

Under a tab marked "evidence", the website of the Carbon Neutral Company does not offer proof of global warming or give any hint as to whether the company's activities will make any difference to the planet. What it does offer is a piece of research by something called the Institute of Business Ethics, claiming: "Companies with a public commitment to ethics perform better on three out of four measures than those without. These companies also have 18 per cent higher profits on average."

Another way to cash in on global warming, as The Sunday Telegraph revealed in July, is to take advantage of the European Union's Emission Trading Scheme, which set carbon emission targets for particular industries and then allowed those industries to "sell" emissions if they undershot their targets and forced them to "buy" emissions if they overshot their targets. A study by the think-tank Open Europe found that some companies have been making a fortune from undershooting extremely liberal targets: GlaxoSmithKline's plant in Dartford, for example, used only a fifth of its allocation, while the scheme boosted the profits of BP and Esso by 5 million and 5.8 million respectively. Perversely, some of that money came from NHS hospitals, which had overshot their targets and were forced to buy emission rights from oil companies.

But it is not just private enterprise that has found fear of global warming to be the route to a fortune. Public bodies are using global warming as an excuse for revenue-raising. Justifying his plan to charge drivers of 4x4s 300 pounds for a parking permit, Serge Lourie, the leader of Richmond-upon-Thames borough council, said last week: "Climate change is the single greatest challenge faced by the world today. We can no longer bury our head in the sand and pretend that it is not happening."

While the Government lowered petrol taxes in face of the protests of September 2000, it has used climate change as an excuse for levying charges on homeowners. From next June, all homeowners thinking of placing their homes on the market will be obliged first to obtain an "energy performance certificate" at a cost of around 150 pounds a time. Since 2002, homeowners replacing windows, much to the glee of the double-glazing industry, have been obliged to fit double-glazing, and to pay their local authority to inspect it.

A growing number of public servants owe their careers to global warming. The Carbon Trust, a not-for-profit company which advises industry on how to cut its carbon emissions, chomped its way through a grant of 73.7 million from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs last year, paying its chief executive, Tom Delay, salary and bonuses of 200,478. Many of its functions are duplicated by the Energy Saving Trust, another not-for-profit company that spent 59 million worth of public grants last year. On top of that, there are the likes of the climate change co-ordinator recently appointed by the unelected North East Regional Assembly on a salary of 35,000.

There are also two Government-funded research units into climate change: the Hadley Centre, which is part of the Met Office, and the Tyndall Centre, which funds researchers at a number of universities, armed with a 10 million grant from the Government. Anyone wondering why British scientists appear often to present a united front on the issue of global warming may do well to study the Tyndall Centre's "objectives", which include "to seek, evaluate and facilitate sustainable solutions that will minimise the adverse effects of climate change and stimulate policy for the transition to a more benign energy and mobility regime". In other words, if you want public money to study climate at a British university, the answers are given upfront: the climate is changing, it is the fault of mankind and it can be alleviated by reducing energy use and travel.

It is an ill wind that blows no one any good. As the nation starts to digest Sir Nicholas's report tomorrow, it may care to reflect that some people are finding global warming quite profitable too.



By Prof. Richard Lindzen

No, global warming isn't a real threat, says Richard Lindzen, Arthur P Sloan Professor of Meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Over the last 100 years or so, globally averaged surface temperature, which is always varying a little, has gone both up and down, but over the whole period it is estimated to have risen about half a degree centigrade (using the US National Climate Data Centre's analysis; other analyses give as much as 0.65C). However, this value is associated with substantial error bars, and the warming is occurring in a system that can vary about that much without any forcing at all - something not surprising in a system that is both turbulent and heterogeneous.

Yes, there does appear to be warming, but the amount is hardly certain or indisputable. And the amount found does not appear that alarming. The alarm, I would suppose, comes from the notoriously inadequate climate models. As the primary "consensus" document, the Scientific Assessment of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change notes, modellers at the United Kingdom's Hadley Centre had to cancel two-thirds of the model warming in order to simulate the observed warming. So the warming alarm is based on models that overestimate the observed warming by a factor of three or more, and have to cancel most of the warming in order to match observations. Rather than entertaining the rather obvious possibility that the models are over-reacting to increasing greenhouse gases, advocates are assuming that the cancellation will disappear in the future.

Why might models be over-reacting? The answer is actually fairly simple. Carbon dioxide and methane are minor greenhouse gases (and methane has, for unknown reasons stopped increasing, during the last five years). Doubling carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would, all else held constant, only lead to about 1C of warming; quadrupling carbon dioxide would only add another 1C (there is a diminishing return in warming per unit carbon dioxide).

The greater response arises because in current models, the most important greenhouse substances, water vapour and clouds, act so as to amplify the impact of increasing carbon dioxide. But, as the previously cited IPCC document notes, water vapour and especially clouds are major sources of uncertainty in models.

Given the above, what is all the hyperventilating about? Personally, I don't know. It certainly can't be the temperature record. For the past five years, the global mean temperature has been flat to within a few hundredths of a degree (well within the measurement uncertainty); indeed, there has been no statistically significant change in 10 years.

Perhaps, on the other hand, that is the reason. Individuals across the planet have been pushing their agenda to "hurry the future" for over 20 years. Maybe, they feel that if they can't get their way now, they may never be able to. After all, like hurricane frequency or the price of oil, global mean temperature is as likely to go down as up.

However, the more obvious question is why is the agenda specified (typically such things as pollution reduction, energy independence, efficiency, north-south transfer of wealth and technology, etc.) in need of the artificial support of global warming hysteria? Many of those goals could be more easily achieved (assuming they are reasonable goals) if we ceased to focus on carbon dioxide, which is a natural and essential substance produced by breathing. With trillions of dollars at stake, this is no small matter.

To be sure, for those who enthuse over the regulatory state, the possibility of regulating breathing must be like a dream come true. Under the circumstances, perhaps we should be suspicious of the dishonourable tradition of establishing the alleged truth of global warming by constant repetition, while ignoring reality.



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 Pages are here or here or here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Monday, October 30, 2006


Seven countries set to break emission limits, says environment commissioner

The European Union, self-styled global champion in the battle against climate change, is falling woefully short of its targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions and will need to take radical measures to achieve them, new projections have shown.

The European commission said that, based on current measures and policies, the emissions of the EU's original 15 members will be just 0.6% below 1990 levels by 2010. The EU-15 countries are committed under the Kyoto protocol to an 8% cut on 1990 levels by 2012.

The new figures predict that emissions in 2010 will actually be 0.3% higher than they were in 2004.

The commission's projections come ahead of Monday's report by Sir Nicholas Stern, former chief economist at the World Bank, which will warn that climate change could push the global economy into the worst recession in recent history.

Sir David King, the government's chief scientific adviser, said this week that the Stern report showed that "if no action is taken we will be faced with the kind of downturn that has not been seen since the great depression and two world wars".

The findings published yesterday, based on national projections compiled by the staff of Stavros Dimas, the EU environment commissioner, are designed to spur European leaders into pressing for tougher targets in the second, post-2012 round of Kyoto at a UN conference on climate change in Nairobi early next month. The 25 governments have set targets of up to 30% cuts by 2020 and 80% by 2050, but not made them binding.

Mr Dimas said that, on unchanged policies, seven countries - Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain - would exceed their individual emission limits, which are binding under EU law. Even with extra measures, Spain is projected to exceed its 1990 emissions by 51.3% in 2010, compared with an allowed increase under Kyoto of 15%.

Spain's annual economic growth is nearly 4%, one of the highest rates in western Europe, but it has suffered from extreme weather prompting greater use of fossil fuels. Ireland is projected to reach 30% above 1990 levels by 2010, against an allowance of 13%, and Portugal 42.7% higher, with an allowance of 27%.

Esther Bollendorff, climate campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe, said: "This is pretty dramatic as the projected 0.6% is not even a tenth of the target. This sends a very weak signal about the EU ahead of the Nairobi conference."

Mr Dimas is to propose that civil aviation be brought within the EU's CO2 emissions trading scheme and is considering legislation for car manufacturers. Transport accounts for 22% of EU emissions, jeopardising gains made in heavy industry. He is threatening to slash the planned industry emission caps submitted by 18 countries and has begun infringement proceedings against seven that failed to submit plans on time. Only Britain, which is projected to cut emissions by 23.2% against a Kyoto limit of 12.5%, and Sweden, likely to achieve a 1% cut against an allowed increase of 4%, are on track on current policies.

Last week the commission published an energy efficiency plan designed to achieve 20% savings by 2020, including a EUR100bn (67bn pound) cut in fuel bills. It said yesterday that additional measures already agreed at EU and national levels would take the EU15's reduction to 4.6% - if fully implemented on time. But only by buying rights to emit greenhouse gases from countries in the ex-communist bloc will the EU get even close to hitting the 8% cut.



A ground-breaking report due on Monday will say that the impact of global poverty, conflict and mass migration due to climate change far outweighs the costs of taking urgent action to counter global warming. The report by chief British government economist Nicholas Stern will underpin efforts to reach a new global deal to combat climate change when the current Kyoto Protocol agreement ends in 2012.

The United States, the world's biggest producer of greenhouse gases that cause climate change, pulled out of Kyoto saying taking action would too expensive and cost jobs.

The report, by the former World Bank chief economist, tackles US scepticism head-on by seeking to prove the costs of tackling global warming are small compared to the potentially enormous impact of runaway climate change in year's ahead. In his closely-argued 700-page review Mr Stern says action to curb the most dangerous effects of global warming will hold back growth in the world economy only slightly over the next 45 years, said a source who had seen a draft.

But the effects of uncontrolled climate change could be devastating, Mr Stern says in a report pitched at policymakers who gather next month to discuss extending Kyoto. "He will talk a lot in that report about the scale and urgency of what's required," said John Ashton, special representative for climate change at the British foreign office. "We are all (including Britain, Europe) going to have to do an awful lot better. There is no government which has in place the policies that will eat into this at the scale and with the urgency necessary at the moment," he said.

A scientific consensus is emerging that global greenhouse gas emissions, except from food production, will have to shrink to near-zero by mid-century, said Mr Ashton - requiring a huge leap given that emissions are rising in the European Union. "We need to get very close to a zero carbon global energy economy. This is the biggest structural shift in the way the global economy works that has ever been attempted by humanity, it's an enormous demand of any economy."

Mr Stern will stress that taking action on climate change offers benefits, given that a major way to cut greenhouse gas emissions is by burning fossil fuels more efficiently, offering huge cost-savings. To drive the necessary energy investment changes he will call for a global carbon price, whether through carbon taxes or carbon markets - affixing a clear cost to pollution.

This would build on rather isolated existing carbon markets, such as in the European Union and among countries that have ratified the Kyoto Protocol, and mooted markets in California and other US states. "We'll need to develop deep and liquid carbon markets," said a Treasury source. "The combination of price and trading schemes will be central to drive financial flows (investment in emissions cuts)."

Carbon markets set an overall cap on emissions of greenhouse gases but allow companies or countries to trade rights to emit. The idea is that businesses and countries that can cut emissions cheaply will over-achieve and sell their surplus rights to emit to others, cutting the overall cost of cuts. Mr Stern wants an expansion of carbon trading between rich and poor countries under Kyoto.

Britain has raised the alarm on climate change in the run-up to Mr Stern's review. Prime Minister Tony Blair and his Dutch counterpart Jan Peter Balkenende said last week the world had just 10 to 15 years to take steps to avoid catastrophe.



Airlines could relocate out of the European Union if the European Commission decides to include aviation emissions in Europe's carbon emissions trading scheme, the European Regions Airline Association warned Tuesday. The emissions scheme, which charges industry for emitting carbon dioxide, should apply to non-EU as well as EU airlines in order to prevent EU airlines from being placed at a competitive disadvantage, the ERAA said in a report.

But ERAA spokesman Simon McNamara said that for legal reasons the scheme would be difficult for the Commission to impose on companies based outside the EU flying in Europe, which might encourage airlines to relocate outside of Europe. "Are you really solving the problem of (rising aviation emission), which is an international issue, if companies are just relocating?" McNamara said.

The EU launched emissions trading scheme in 2005 where governments set limits on the amount of carbon dioxide that can be emitted by industry, such as electricity, steel and cement. Firms that stay within their limits can sell their spare emission permits to companies that have exceeded their limits. The scheme was designed to ensure that Europe meets its target of reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 8 percent by 2012 compared with 1990 levels.

In the first phase of the scheme (2005-2007), the aviation industry was excluded but the European Commission said Thursday that it plans to release proposals for including aviation in the emissions trading scheme in the next few weeks.

The ERAA report also argues that the emissions trading scheme shouldn't apply to other greenhouse gases emitted by airplanes, such as nitrogen oxide, because there is insufficient scientific knowledge regarding the effect of these gases on global warming. The ERAA also argues that nitrogen oxide emissions by airlines are already effectively controlled and taxed by international standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization _ which could mean aircraft would be penalized twice for these emissions.

According to the European Commission, emissions from Europe's international flights increased by 73 percent from 1990 to 2003. At that pace, by 2012 they will have risen by 150 percent from 1990 levels.



Czech President Vaclav Klaus stressed the need to rehabilitate further sources of energy, including nuclear, at the current informal EU summit, and dismissed warnings against global warming. Klaus said in his speech that the discussion on the EU's external energy policy must follow up its internal energy policy, and the use of other energy sources, such as thermal and nuclear power plants. He said that he was surprised that no one pronounced the word "nuclear" in the two hours of deliberations that preceded his speech.

Klaus said at a subsequent press conference that nuclear energy is the cheapest of all available forms of energy. Without it, humankind cannot survive, or it would have to return to pine torches. Referring to a claim by Javier Solana, High Representative for the EU Common Foreign and Security Policy, Klaus said that some 100 nuclear power plants will be built in the world within 20 years and that he believes that Europe cannot stand aside.

Klaus also challenged the assertion of the British and Dutch prime ministers, Tony Blair and Jan Peter Balkenende, respectively, that the world will reach a disastrous point of reverse within 10 to 15 years due to global warming. Blair and Balkenende expressed this warning in a letter they addressed to the summit.

Klaus said in his speech in this connection that "the future discussion on the EU's energy policy...should be conducted on the basis of rational considerations about possible connections of the energy industry and climatic changes." "In my opinion, such loose statements as those used in this letter are not of this character," Klaus said. He said at the press conference that "what is concisely referred to as global warming, is a fatal mistake of the present time."

Klaus said that first a reply must be given to the question whether something like this does exist, and if it does, whether it is connected with human activities. "And if any movement in temperatures does occur, and it will in any case be x-times smaller than what some bearers of disastrous news claim, will it be any problem for man?" Klaus said.



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 Pages are here or here or here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Sunday, October 29, 2006


Internationally renowned environmental campaigner Professor David Bellamy has joined the New Zealand group of scientists trying to refute what they believe are unfounded claims about man-made global warming. Dr Bellamy, who joins scientists such as former MetService chief meteorologist Dr Augie Auer in the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition, was introduced to the group through a member in England. The coalition has set down "seven pillars of climate wisdom" that include:

* Historically, conditions in many parts of the world have been warmer and cooler than they are now.

* A major driver of climate change is variability in solar effects, such as sunspot cycles, and not increased carbon dioxide.

* Global temperatures have not increased and a projection of solar cycles suggest cooling could set in and continue to about 2030.

* Stories of impending climate disaster are based almost entirely on global climate models.

Dr Bellamy said: "I look forward to working with the New Zealanders to create an international coalition to serve as a united voice for the many scientists around the world who believe climate science is not settled, that the world is not on the brink of a man-made global warming catastrophe and that we have much more to learn about this planet of ours that has been through and survived many natural upheavals and climatic cycles."

In 2004, Dr Bellamy described man-made global warming as "poppycock" then asserted last year that a large percentage of the world's glaciers were advancing, not retreating, but later admitted the figures were wrong.

NIWA climate scientist Brett Mullan, who is also a member of the Royal Society's New Zealand Climate Committee, said the coalition's refusal to believe in man-made global warming was a "frustration". "I am disappointed. We point them to the evidence and they just don't seem to wish to accept it." He said climate modelling had proven effective, such as in projecting temperature increases after the eruption of Mt Pinatubo in the Philippines in 1991. Solar activity, monitored over the past 30 years, did not account for the climate changes being experienced now. Temperatures varied from year to year, with the last peak in 1998, but overall temperatures were still much higher now than in the 1950s or 60s. [Pick a date and get any answer you wish] Dr Mullan said the world's top climate scientists had formed a consensus through the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. "We are seeing warming and it's caused by human activities."



One of the most misguided ideas in any debate is the idea that the consensus view is usually, if not always, right. All too frequently the accepted wisdom has been completely and comprehensively wrong. We may react with disbelief that anyone believed, or indeed still believes, that ships would sail over the edge of earth, and possibly be gobbled up by monsters, because the earth was flat. But historically this has been an accepted wisdom. And we may be bemused, even a trifle alarmed, that Galileo was threatened with the torture because he supported Copernicus's revolutionary (no pun intended) theory that the earth goes round the sun rather than vice versa. But Copernicus's maverick theory challenged a consensus that was politically dangerous to challenge.

Economics, albeit more prosaically, has also been subject to fads, whims and consensus views to which history has not been kind. Twenty-five years ago Britain was at an economic crossroads. The credibility of the British economy was collapsing as inflation and unemployment soared, manufacturing output slumped and the national debt spiralled upwards. Margaret Thatcher and her Chancellor, Sir Geoffrey Howe, concluded that drastic action was required. Taxes were raised by £4bn (then a huge sum) in the 1981 Budget in order to provide scope for lower interest rates and tackle public sector borrowing. There was, unsurprisingly, substantial political opposition.

But, of more interest, 364 economists signed a letter to The Times stating that there was "no basis in economic theory or supporting evidence" for Sir Geoffrey's policy and that it threatened Britain's "social and political stability". An alternative course of action must be pursued, these savants insisted. Almost the entire academic economic establishment stood against the Government with a mere handful of brave "mavericks" dissenting from the consensus view. But, as we now know, the letter's signatories were wrong because they believed in the then ubiquitous, but faulty, Keynesian consensus of the time.

Moreover, not only did the economics establishment regard Sir Geoffrey's Budget as fundamentally flawed, they also took the same view of the mavericks' judgments. This is instructive. Many in academia seem to believe that "peer-reviewed" research guarantees impartial, sound and independent assessment. It does not. Mavericks can be marked down and dismissed by their consensus-minded peers. Dissension is rarely popular.

The story of the 364 economists should be a warning to all who give the impression that the consensus view is an impregnable fortress of truth. Yet only recently Sir David King, the Government's Chief Scientist, was again reassuring us that at a meeting in Monterrey, Mexico, there had been a "scientific consensus" about climate change. Man-made carbon emissions were the main drivers of global warming. But the meeting was organised by the British Government to discuss the climate change action plan agreed at Gleneagles last year and the main protagonists were G8 ministers, hardly independently minded free spirits.

By happy coincidence, as the G8 delegates were flying to and from Monterrey, liberally scattering carbon emissions into the ether, the Royal Society was publishing a paper by a team from the Danish National Space Center (DNSC) of the utmost scientific significance. Interestingly, the DNSC team leader, one Henrik Svensmark, has been impeded and persecuted by scientific and government establishments in recent years because his findings have been politically inconvenient. Politically inconvenient they are indeed.

Very briefly, the latest DNSC research shows how cosmic rays from exploding stars can encourage cloud formation in the earth's atmosphere. As the Sun's magnetic field, which shields the earth from cosmic rays, strengthened significantly during the 20th century the average influx of cosmic rays, and hence cloudiness, was reduced over this period. The resulting reduction in cloudiness, especially low-altitude clouds which have an overall cooling effect, could, therefore, be a highly significant factor in the last century's global warming.

I am no climate scientist. But it is clear this research seriously challenges the current pseudo-consensus that global warming is largely caused by manmade carbon emissions. All the current carbon hysteria is a mistake - and a potentially costly one at that.

I have to admit I have some reservations about the Royal Society. They have sorely misrepresented me in the press at least twice. And they have frequently been accused of being the Government's mouthpiece on the science of global warming. After all, 67pc of their funding, some 30 million pounds, comes from Government. They have also, apparently, been accused of denying funding to any climate scientist who does not share their alarmist views. But, in publishing this research, they have added to a debate that has major economic and business implications for this country. They should be applauded.


"Climate change" as a scapegoat

Australia is the dry continent -- with recurrent droughts. But opportunists are blaming the present dry spell on global warming. Writing with particular reference to his home State of Victoria, Andrew Bolt writes that this is just a convenient excuse for governmental failure to prepare for the inevitable drought conditions

The merchants of global warming panic are wrong. Again. No, this is not the worst drought ever recorded. No, it is not so unprecedented that it proves man-made global warming is real. In fact, this may not even be a drought at all. Rainfall figures show we may be simply going back to the just-as-dry weather of the not-so-distant past. And those who shriek that global warming is now frying us like never before are peddling green hype, rather than the cool science we need to keep ourselves well-watered.

I'm referring, of course, to religious zealots such as Deputy Premier John Thwaites, the (No) Water Minister, who declared: "So all the evidence points to a significant involvement of global warming in the present drought." I'm referring also to Professor Peter Cullen, a National Water Commission member and top government adviser, who gloated that, thanks to the drought, "flat earth sceptics who have been in denial about climate change are now realising that wishing it away didn't work and are now berating governments for not building more dams". And I mustn't forget The Age, this cult's Bible, which claimed: "The continuing drought has forced . . . belated recognition by sceptics that climate change is not a fiction disseminated by doomsayers."

Nonsense. Consult not their faith but my facts, and look at the graph on the right, showing Victoria's annual rainfall from 1900 to 2005, as measured by the Weather Bureau. What you see are decades of often dry years followed by decades of often wet ones. And now -- in this past decade of drought -- we've gone back to where we once were. As in dry. Here are the figures that tell that story.

From 1900 to 1945, Victoria's average annual rainfall was 603mm. Then came 50 years of plenty, with average falls of 671mm. But in the past decade our rainfall has dropped back to around the average of those pre-war years -- or 591mm. You might say this still means we're (a fraction) drier than before. But this past decade is not even close to being the driest on record. Our average rainfall now of 591mm is still way above the panting lows recorded from 1936 to 1945 -- an average of just 543mm. And no one back then wailed in the dust about global warming.

So what does all this suggest? Three things. First, as I warned here two years ago, Victoria's patterns of rainfall may have shifted. Second, this change in climate is not at all unusual or extreme, and so certainly not proof of global warming, let alone of the man-made kind. Third, we may not even be in a drought at all, but returning to drier conditions that are perhaps more usual. What may be unusual is not this dry, but the few wet decades before that filled our big new Thomson dam.

None of what I've said will surprise people with a long history of managing the land and its water. Hear it from farmer George Warne, general manager of the giant Murray Irrigation, who says: "It is an overreaction to say this (drought) is climate change. "My family has been farming (in Victoria) since 1888, and we have kept records on weather conditions. I am certain a huge component of the latest drought is cyclical." Or hear it from the boss of water company United Utilities, Graham Dooley, who, like me, does not deny climate change, but says: "About every 50 years we get a drought. This latest dry is part of the typical cycle."

So if this drought -- or dry spell -- is not unusual, you should ask some hard questions of a few powerful people who don't seem to be facing these facts. Here's one: Why didn't the Bracks Government prepare the state for a big dry that's actually a normal part of our ever-changing climate? Why didn't it build a new dam for growing Melbourne, say, and find new supplies for Ballarat and Bendigo, when we still had time on our side?

The Government still hides behind the excuse that this drought came out of nowhere -- a sudden catastrophe caused only by this spooky and unexpected phenomenon of global warming. But these rainfall figures show that the only thing spooky is the way the Government is using a seemingly natural change in the weather as proof of the rightness of its green faith that humans are ruining the world. But the figures show something more serious besides -- that blaming the drought on man-made global warming is actually just a miserable excuse for failure. Why didn't our leaders do more long ago to save our parched cities from a normal drought that any fool could have seen coming? Even a fool like me.



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 Pages are here or here or here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Saturday, October 28, 2006


Blunting the greenhouse panic

A new study provides experimental evidence that cosmic rays may be a major factor in causing the Earth's climate to change. Given the stakes in the current debate over global warming, the research may very well turn out to be one of the most important climate experiments of our time-if only the media would report the story.

Ten years ago, Danish researchers Henrik Svensmark and Eigil Friis-Christensen first hypothesized that cosmic rays from space influence the Earth's climate by effecting cloud formation in the lower atmosphere. Their hypothesis was based on a strong correlation between levels of cosmic radiation and cloud cover-that is, the greater the cosmic radiation, the greater the cloud cover. Clouds cool the Earth's climate by reflecting about 20 percent of incoming solar radiation back into space.

The hypothesis was potentially significant because during the 20th century, the influx of cosmic rays was reduced by a doubling of the Sun's magnetic field, which shields the Earth from cosmic rays. According to the hypothesis, then, less cosmic radiation would mean less cloud formation and, ultimately, warmer temperatures-precisely what was observed during the 20th century.

If correct, the Svensmark hypothesis poses a serious challenge to the current global warming alarmism that attributes the 20th century's warmer temperatures to manmade emissions of greenhouse gases.

Just last week, Mr. Svensmark and other researchers from the Centre for Sun-Climate Research at the Danish National Space Centre published a paper in the Proceedings of the Royal Society A-the mathematical, physical sciences and engineering journal of the venerable Royal Society of London-announcing that they had experimentally verified the physical mechanism by which cosmic rays affect cloud cover.

In the experiment, cosmic radiation was passed through a large reaction chamber containing a mixture of lower atmospheric gases at realistic concentrations that was exposed to ultraviolet radiation from lamps that mimic the action of the Sun's rays. Instruments traced the chemical action of the penetrating cosmic rays in the reaction chamber.

The data collected indicate that the electrons released by the cosmic rays acted as catalysts to accelerate the formation of stable clusters of sulfuric acid and water molecules-the building blocks for clouds. [For more details about Mr. Svensmark's hypothesis and experiment, including high-quality animation, visit here]

"Many climate scientists have considered the linkages from cosmic rays to clouds as unproven," said Mr. Friis-Christensen who is the director of the Danish National Space Centre. "Some said there was no conceivable way in which cosmic rays could influence cloud cover. [This] experiment now shows they do so, and should help to put the cosmic ray connection firmly onto the agenda of international climate research," he added.

But given the potential significance of Mr. Svensmark's experimentally validated hypothesis, it merits more than just a place on the agenda of international climate research-it should be at the very top of that agenda.

Low-level clouds cover more than a quarter of the Earth's surface and exert a strong cooling effect. Observational data indicate that low-cloud cover can vary as much as 2 percent in five years which, in turn, varies the heating at the Earth's surface by as much as 1.2 watts per square meter during that same period.

"That figure can be compared with about 1.4 watts per square meter estimated by the [United Nations'] Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for the greenhouse effect of all the increase in carbon dioxide in the air since the Industrial Revolution," says Mr. Svensmark.

That is, cloud cover changes over a five-year period can have 85 percent of the temperature effect on the Earth that has been claimed to have been caused by nearly 200 years of manmade carbon dioxide emissions. The temperature effects of cloud cover during the 20th century could be as much as 7 times greater than the alleged temperature effect of 200 years worth of additional carbon dioxide and several times greater than that of all additional greenhouse gases combined.

So although it has been taken for granted by global warming alarmists that human activity has caused the climate to warm, Mr. Svensmark's study strongly challenges this assumption.

Given that the cosmic ray effect described by Mr. Svensmark would be more than sufficient to account for the net estimated temperature change since the Industrial Revolution, the key question becomes: Has human activity actually warmed, cooled or had no net impact on the planet?

Between manmade greenhouse gas emissions, land use patterns and air pollution, humans may have had a net impact on global temperature. But if so, no one yet knows the net sign (that is, plus or minus) of that impact.

Not surprisingly, Mr. Svensmark's potentially myth-shattering study has so far been largely ignored by the media. Though published in the prestigious Proceedings of the Royal Society A, it's only been reported-and briefly at that-in The New Scientist (Oct. 7), Space Daily (Oct. 6) and the Daily Express (U.K., Oct. 6).

The media's lack of interest hardly reflects upon the importance of Mr. Svensmark's experiment so much as it reflects upon the media's and global warming lobby's excessive investment in greenhouse gas hysteria.



When the population of the United States hit 200 million in 1967, President Lyndon Johnson marked the occasion with a speech at the Commerce Department, home to the US Census Bureau and its official "population clock." In 1776, LBJ said, the American people had numbered only 1.5 million, but as the nation grew in population, so too had it grown in stature and strength. "We have seen success in America beyond all of our wildest dreams," he went on, but "mighty challenges" remained: the challenges of urban life, of race relations, of industrial pollution, of inadequate public schools. "I cannot tell you this morning that we are going to be able to meet successfully all of these challenges."

It was not a particularly upbeat speech, but at least it was a speech. When the population clock surpassed 300 million last week, President Bush offered only a two-paragraph statement calling the big round number "a testament to our country's dynamism and a reminder that America's greatest asset is our people."

If presidents seem less than thrilled about the population milestones reached on their watch, perhaps it is because they have been unable to shake off the prophecies of doom about "overpopulation" that date back at least to Thomas Malthus's prediction that starvation and misery were the inevitable consequence of population growth. That was in 1798, and we have been hearing from "Malthusian" alarmists ever since. (Ironically, Malthus himself came to realize that his pessimism was groundless, and sharply revised his famous essay in 1803.)

Within months of President Johnson's speech, for example, Paul Ehrlich published *The Population Bomb,* which opened with the grim assertion that "the battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the 1970s, the world will undergo famines -- hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now."

But "the Great Die-Off," as Ehrlich called it, didn't arrive in the 1970s. Nor in the 1980s. Undaunted, Ehrlich wrote in 1990 that "starvation and epidemic disease will raise the death rates over most of the planet" and humanity would experience the "deaths of many hundreds of millions of people in famines." It still hasn't happened. In fact, on the whole human beings are better fed today (as well as better housed, better educated, and longer-lived) than ever before. Where starvation still occurs, it is usually the result of deliberate government policy, not agricultural failure. In many parts of the world, the fastest-growing nutritional problem is not hunger, but obesity. Yet the idea that more people means more pain and penury dies hard.

At 300 million, America's population is three times what it was in 1915. Over that span of time the quality of American life has soared. From health and wealth to technology and transportation, from leisure time and homeownership to life expectancy and productivity, from clean air and water to entertainment and travel, most Americans today enjoy conveniences and benefits that not even the Rockefellers and the Vanderbilts could have afforded a century ago. But to hear some experts tell it, we should be tearing our hair out in distress.

"The world does not need more people, and the US in my judgment does not need more people either," grouses Charles Westoff of Princeton's Office of Population Research. The Washington Post quotes Dowell Myers, a demography professor at the University of Southern California: "At 300 million, we are beginning to be crushed under the weight of our own quality-of-life degradation."

Crushed? We're not even mildly cramped. It might not seem that way to someone stuck in a rush-hour traffic jam, but America is actually one of the world's least congested nations, with a population density far lower than that of Britain or Germany. The land area of the United States is so vast that each American could have 7 acres to himself, and there would still be 200 million acres left over. We are in no danger of running out of space.

To be sure, the United States has its problems, some of them quite serious. But a burgeoning population isn't one of them. As Europe and Japan age and shrink, America continues to grow and stay comparatively youthful. That means not just more mouths to feed and more bodies to house. It also means more brainpower and more human energy -- more problem-solvers, more entrepreneurs, more thinkers, more fighters, more leaders. The late Julian Simon famously called human beings "the ultimate resource," and the United States is blessed with more of it than any other First World nation.

"In other words, you ain't seen nothing yet," The Economist predicts. "Anyone who assumed the United States is now at the zenith of its economic or political power is making a big mistake." As good as things are, they are about to get even better. It's great to have you with us, No. 300,000,000. Welcome aboard!



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 blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Friday, October 27, 2006


George Monbiot writes below:

In seeking to work out how a 90% cut in carbon emissions could be achieved in the rich nations by 2030, I have made many surprising findings. But none has shocked me as much as the discovery that renewable micro generation has been grossly overhyped. Those who maintain that our own homes can produce all the renewable electricity and heat they need have harmed the campaign to stop climate chaos, by sowing complacency and misdirecting our efforts.

Bill Dunster, who designed the famous BedZed zero-carbon development outside London, published a brochure claiming that "up to half of your annual electric needs can be met by a near silent micro wind turbine."...To provide the 50% Bill Dunster advertises, you would need a machine 4 metres in diameter. The lateral thrust it exerted would rip your house to bits.

[Converting to rooftop solar] would be staggeringly and pointlessly expensive - there are far better ways of spending the same money. The International Energy Agency's MARKAL model gives a cost per tonne of carbon saved by solar electricity in 2020 of between 2200 and 3300 pounds. Onshore macro wind power, by contrast, varies between a saving of 40 and a cost of 130 pounds a tonne.

Similar constraints affect all micro renewables: a report by a team at Imperial College shows that if 50% of our homes were fitted with solar water heaters, they would produce 0.056 exajoules of heat, or 2.3% of our total demand; while AEA Technology suggests that domestic heat pumps could supply only 0.022 eJ of the UK's current heat consumption, or under 1%. This doesn't mean they are not worth installing, just that they can't solve the problem by themselves.

Far from shutting down the national grid, as the Green MEP Caroline Lucas has suggested, we should be greatly expanding it, in order to produce electricity where renewable energy is most abundant. This means, above all, a massive investment in offshore windfarms. A recent government report suggests there is a potential offshore wind resource off the coast of England and Wales of 3,200TWh. High voltage direct current cables, which lose much less electricity in transmission than an AC network, would allow us to make use of a larger area of the continental shelf than before. This means we can generate more electricity more reliably, avoid any visual impact from the land and keep out of the routes taken by migratory birds. Much bigger turbines would realise economies of scale hitherto unavailable. [And don't forget nukes, George!]



I recently went to a mobile phone mast protest meeting. The local church was full of well-heeled people poring over leaflets about the possible dangers of electromagnetic radiation. Then something started to ring. The man on my right calmly pulled his Nokia out of his Paul Smith jacket and started yabbering into it. “Do you all have mobiles?” I asked the group I had joined. Yes. “Er, don’t you think you need a mast to get a signal?”

They hadn’t thought. Didn’t really want to. They were much readier to sign a petition and express outrage over a cup of coffee than actually to tackle their own contribution to the problem. Like the people who drive around the country expleting at wind turbines, oblivious to the pollution streaming out behind them. Like those who campaign against incinerators — the health risks of which are far clearer, and more alarming, than those of phone masts — without apparently asking themselves whether they could stop chucking away the vast amounts of unwanted plastic that they insist on purchasing.

If you really thought mobile phones were irradiating your children, surely you would jack them in and stick to the landline? If you think wind turbines are damaging the landscape, why don’t you reduce your energy use? If can’t be bothered to compost your rubbish or give usable stuff you don’t want to someone who does via www.freecycle.com (an activity, incidentally, that I highly recommend for offsetting both carbon and guilt), who are you to argue when an ugly great dioxin-emitting chimney comes to perch on your doorstep? Our budding consciences have led to a lot of soul-searching, but not yet to much personal action.

Part of the problem, of course, is the fear that any minuscule step one takes to do good will simply be exploited by someone else. Why should I endure the rain at the bus stop with my four-year-old every morning when some other mother is just going to use the road space I have vacated? I do, because my conscience dictates it. But I wouldn’t mind Ken Livingstone extending the congestion charge. My decision not to drive would be backed up with penalties for those who do, and the proceeds invested in alternatives that I use.

Now I want someone to back up my other principles. I am fed up of feeling like a criminal when I prowl around the office at night switching off colleagues’ computers; of feeling pressured to buy a new handbag (or five) when my old one hasn’t worn out; of taking holidays that do not involve flying, only to be looked at strangely by friends who have started to apologise for taking so many planes, but who still flaunt their tans when they get back.

The greatest objection to the wider use of environmental taxes is their regressive nature: they tend to hit the poor hardest. The fuel protests are still uppermost in ministerial minds, which is why cross-party support for the climate change Bill has been so vital. The other problem, less discussed, is that such taxes will have the least impact on the rich, who have the most impact on the planet. Richmond upon Thames council’s decision, much publicised yesterday, to slam gas-guzzling cars with high parking fees provoked howls of predictable outrage from the AA. But what will an extra £200 a year mean to someone who can afford to buy a Jaguar X-Type or a BMW X5 in the first place? Not much.

The Richmond councillors have become evangelical about SUVs since they discovered, through a British Gas survey of local authorities, that the people in their borough consume more energy and emit more carbon dioxide than anyone else in Britain. British Gas found that people living in the richest areas use three times more energy than the rest. It stands to reason: they drive more, they heat larger homes, they buy more stuff.

To price the rich out of polluting activities would either mean prohibitive tax burdens for everyone else, or slanting the burden so much the other way that you would get a revolution by the chauffeur-driven classes. So the answer must also lie in cultural change. We all crave the status symbols that the rich create. But while Hollywood celebrities sport their caring credentials on unbleached hemp sleeves, the new rich ethical mafia is in serious danger of jumping on the wrong bandwagon.

We cannot save the planet by shopping. “Fairtrade” and “Green”, for example, which are mentioned in the same breathless breath, are almost wholly contradictory. The one encourages the importation of consumer goods from halfway round the globe, which contributes to the climate change that will hit the poorest countries first and hardest. The other dictates that we buy locally, if at all.

Since “ethical lifestyle” became the hottest new trend, a lot of rubbish is being peddled as eco-chic. Despite heroic attempts by some travel editors, “eco” and “tourism” are a non sequitur. While sales of the hybrid Toyota Prius are helping to kick-start a new market, the bog-standard Honda Insight has better mileage. Even recycling, the great guilt-absolver, puts diesel-powered trucks on every street to collect mountains of glass that cannot be used and shipping plastic bottles off to China to be burnt, when the water we drank from them could have come a lot cheaper from the tap.

Which brings me back to phones. Why do people rush to protest about the infinitesimally small risk posed by a mobile phone mast, but seem unable to feel anything about the much greater risk of climate change? It is partly because the potential impact of one is much more local and immediate. It may also be because the mast company is a more clearly defined enemy. But in both cases we are actually both victims and perpetrators.

Righteous indignation is easy. If we can’t face taking personal action, we can at least back the Government to give us some incentives. And the fashionistas could also do me a personal favour, by designing a hair shirt that I can wear every season and look cool.


The nuclear revival in Australia

It was striking how quiet it was when the nuclear industry held an international conference in Sydney this week. A handful of anti-nuclear demonstrators made a fleeting stand in Pitt Street outside the hotel hosting the 15th Pacific Basin Nuclear Conference, then left. The conference's trade hall was full of international companies spruiking the latest gadgets to make nuclear power plants go faster, as delegates from Russia, South Korea, China and Japan milled around.

Nuclear energy provides 16 per cent of the global electricity supply, with about 440 reactors operating in the world, another 30 under construction and 200 in planning or proposal stages. China alone wants to build 50 reactors by 2030. Like an ageing pop star on the comeback trail, nuclear energy is in the middle of a revival as countries look for ways to cut greenhouse gas emissions while keeping the lights on.

World Nuclear Association director-general John Ritch enthusiastically calls it "a global nuclear renaissance". Federal Resources Minister Ian Macfarlane, a nuclear sceptic turned convert, told the gathered representatives that "uranium is coming in from the cold".

But don't tell the environment movement or the Left, because they remain dug in behind their no-nukes barricades, first erected in the Cold War. "The environment movement is ideologically opposed to nuclear energy," Ritch said this week. "There is a carry-over from the anti-weapons movement and there is also an unexamined premise that nuclear power somehow embodies the evil of the military industrial complex. "Serious environmentalists who have looked at nuclear power recognise that against the cataclysmic projections of climate change this technology will be absolutely essential if we hope to avert a catastrophe. It's not even a close call."

Hang on. Is this the same technology that caused the meltdown at the Three Mile Island plant in Pennsylvania in 1979? Or, more seriously, the disaster at Chernobyl in 1986 that directly killed 56 people, caused the relocation of 336,000 others and dropped a plume of radioactive fallout across northern Europe?

The growing momentum of climate change as a threat to the planet is changing the rules of engagement. Not only has nuclear technology become safer, more reliable, more efficient and cheaper, but its ability to generate large quantities of base-load electricity with low net greenhouse gas emissions has given it new lease of life.

Prime Minister John Howard seems enchanted by its spell. Since May he has been running nuclear energy up the flagpole of public opinion with increasing ardour, from a flirtatious "may consider" in May to a full-blown proposal this week with the suggestion Australia could have nuclear power within a decade.

This is all the more intriguing as the business case for a nuclear industry in Australia remains remote. As the energy generation industry points out, Australia's abundant supplies of coal and gas mean that even with significant efficiency gains in nuclear technology, it is still about 50 per cent more expensive than existing base-load generation capacity. That means a local nuclear industry will need an unlikely large spike in the price of coal and gas or an equally brutal cost placed on carbon dioxide emissions. Neither is likely in the immediate future, but even if they were, no generator would seriously consider building a nuclear plant until the political risk had diminished. A lot.

Indeed, recent experience suggests mainstream Australia's naivety when it comes to nuclear energy makes fertile ground for a localised fear campaign, particularly over the thorny issue of where nuclear plants would be located. In July, left-wing think tank the Australia Institute mischievously issued a list of potential sites across the country, mostly picturesque seaside towns 100km or so from the big mainland cities. Media dutifully took the bait, interviewing fearful local residents who, unsurprisingly, were strongly opposed to a nuclear power plant in their back yard.

Despite these political risks, Howard obviously sees an upside in driving a nuclear debate in Australia. The debate on climate change has moved faster than even a veteran political strategist such as he could have predicted. Given his lack of any serious policy blueprint in response, promoting nuclear energy as a low-emissions technology creates the impression of a strategy, even if it is impractical in the short or medium term.

When it comes to wedge politics, there are few issues as good as nuclear energy for its ability to polarise and marginalise those on the Left, which includes some environmental groups. The environmental Left remains dogmatically opposed to nuclear energy and its perceived relationship to nuclear weapons. For these groups, no nukes is more than just a policy decision, it's a belief. Greenpeace, the first and most celebrated of these groups, was forged in the crucible of the anti-nuclear testing and anti-Vietnam war movement in 1971.

In May, former BP executive and now Australian head of the World Wildlife Fund Greg Bourne accepted the reality that Australia was a uranium exporting country. He didn't endorse it, just acknowledged its reality. That was enough to elicit a withering response from fellow non-government organisations. Wilderness Society campaign director Alec Marr told Bourne to go "back to industry where he came from".

Climate change may have been put on the radar by environmentalists but they are victims of their own success. They ignited a broad debate, but the extensive resources of government and business have taken over most of the discussion. Business leaders are more practical and less ideological than the green movement. Their position is simple: any technology that can deliver sustained growth in energy supply and cuts in greenhouse gas emissions at a bearable cost is in the mix of possible solutions. In the stable of solutions on offer there are promising yearlings such as carbon capture and storage, wind, solar thermal and hot rocks. But so far there are few real starters. For most countries without Australia's cheap energy sources, nuclear power bears closer consideration. Reflecting this, uranium demand is tipped to double by 2020.

A recent CSIRO survey found 93 per cent of Australians think climate change is a serious issue. As with other complex and global problems, they expect governments to fix it. Howard is betting they don't go to bed at night worrying about the risks of nuclear energy and he's probably right. Mainstream Australia, like business, is likely to be more than happy to accept compromises that sustain their quality of life while fixing one of the biggest challenges on the planet.

If he is right, the environmental Left will find itself isolated in its own debate, trapped in a Cold War-style dogma that ignores changes in technology and attitudes. The cracks are already appearing. While the main environmental Left groups are locked into non-negotiable opposition, individuals are not. Two years ago British environmentalist James Lovelock was the first headline act to back nuclear energy as a serious solution to climate change. Last year it was departing NSW premier Bob Carr. This year it was scientist Tim Flannery.

Labor is having headaches with its policy of no new uranium mines, with Opposition Leader Kim Beazley out on a limb in flagging a desperately needed review of that position at next year's federal convention. This week, unions gagged this month's ACTU congress from debating the ban. "We've already got a policy from 1979 opposing uranium mining and my straw poll of the union movement has detected no great desire to revisit it," ACTU chief Greg Combet says.

It speaks volumes about how hamstrung Labor is that Beazley's best shot in reply to the Government's support for nuclear energy is to back solar energy. "Solar Not Nuclear" may have made a sassy bumper sticker in the 1980s, but it makes lousy environmental policy in the noughties. Today's photovoltaic technology is about 10 times more expensive than conventional energy, while the best guesses on emerging technologies such as solar hybrid and solar thermal are about three to four times. Few see solar as anything but a bit player in the short to medium term.

Howard's other objective is more strategic: to reposition nuclear fuel in the minds of Australians as environmentally friendly. The Wilderness Society's Marr says Howard is positioning the debate to make it easier to promote Australia's more likely involvement in the technology - uranium mines, enrichment and even waste storage - after the Prime Minister's taskforce reports next month.

The green movement has a dilemma. It says climate change is the most pressing problem facing the planet, but it is prepared to accept only a narrow set of solutions. It is dealing itself out of the policy-making process.



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 blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Thursday, October 26, 2006


On 3 August 1562 a thunderstorm hit central Europe. At noon the heaven darkened as if it were night and a severe storm began, destroying roofs and windows. After some hours the thunderstorm turned into a hailstorm, lasting until midnight, destroying crops and vineyards, and killing birds and other animals, including some unprotected horses and cows. The next day trees without leaves and branches could be seen, the fields were a picture of devastation (Warhafftiger und gruendlicher Bericht, 1562). Travellers recognized the unusual strength of the hailstorm. A nobleman, riding from Vienna to Brussels, reported that he had seen the severe damage throughout the postal route (Weyer 1586, 189). The meteorological front must have covered an area of several hundred kilometers in diameter. A printed newsletter reported that many people feared the beginning of the last judgement.

Since observers of the period had no memory of similar climatic desasters "for a 100 years", many considered this thunderstorm as "unnatural" and looked for explanations. Three possible interpretations arose: The hailstorm could be a sign of God, a work of the devil, or a result of witchcraft. Though a number of decisions of councils since the early middle ages had anathemized the idea of weathermaking by human beings, there had always been reluctance to accept this negation of human influence on the climate. In my article I want to propose, that it was the influence of the climatic deterioration known as the Little Ice Age, which contributed decisively to the development of a new species of crime, which was previously rarely accepted by the authorities: Witchcraft.

Unfortunately, the concept of the Little Ice Age seems not yet well defined. Since its invention by F. E. Matthes in 1939 its proposed endurance has shrunk to an epoch between 1300 and 1860 (LeRoy Ladurie 1971; Lamb 1981). Some scholars suggested that the beginning of the Little Ice Age occurred around 1430 (Webb 1980) and ended around 1770 (Ladurie 1971), well aware of the fact that the period of more than 550 years of coldness was interrupted several times by warmer periods. Christian Pfister identified a core phase of the Little Ice Age between 1570 and 1630 (Grindelwald-Schwankung). Since all researchers based their periodisations upon indicators drawn from physical environment (dendrochronology, glaciology, etc.), in my essay I want to propose another approach. My suggestion is to take into account the subjective factor and consider human reactions to climatic changes as an important indicator for an assessment of the beginning, the periodisation, and the end of the Little Ice Age.

Though persecutions for heresy were known already in high medieval Europe (Moore 1987), persecutions of inner enemies for their supposed influence on the physical environment began around 1300 (Pfister 1996), when lepers and jews collectively were made responsible for the return of the Black Death, especially after the europe-wide epidemics of 1348-1350, and subsequent epidemies of the later 14th century (Graus 1987). During these decades, when a sequence of cold and long winters indicated the return of Little Ice Age conditions the interdependance between climatic factors, crop-failure, rise in prices, hunger and the outbreak of epidemics, and the classical pattern of subsistence crises of Old Europe became more visible. Thus attention shifted from epidemics to weather, and it is striking to see that the gradual emergence of a new crime was closely connected to the waves of climatic hardship during the earlier phases of the Little Ice Age (Pfister 1996).

Though witchcraft in popular imagination has traditionally been seen as one of the major causes for hailstorms (Gesemann 1913; Fiedler 1931; Bloecker 1982), christian theological authorities in early and high middle ages had refused to accept such accusations (Agobard of Lyon; Hoffmann 1907). It was only in the 1380ies that magic and weather-making in inquisitorial trials became increasingly prominent. During the 1430ies the first systematical witch-hunts occured in some Alpine valleys of the duchy of Savoy by papal Inquisitors and secular judges in the Dauphin‚ and parts of Switzerland (Blauert 1989). During the 1480ies the image of the weathermaking witch was finally accepted by the church. Urged by the Alsatian dominican friar Heinrich Kramer, Pope Innocence VIII. in 1484 acknowledged weathermaking as a reality in his bull Summis desiderantes affectibus. Kramer himself tried to incite witch-hunts for religious purposes, using the popular demands for eradication of the suspected witches who were made responsible for the destruction of the harvests. Kramer summarized this ideas in his notorious Malleus maleficarum, the Witches Hammer (Hansen 1900). Between the 1480ies and the 1520ies there were endemic witch-hunts in parts of central and southern Europe, still confined to Italian, French and Swiss Alpine valleys, parts of the French and Spanish Pyrenees, Southwestern Germany, and the Rhine Valley down to the Netherlands.

Harsh criticism of the practice of the Inquisition by humanists like Erasmus of Rotterdam, Andrea Alciati, or Agrippa von Nettesheim, and the beginning Reformation stopped these inquisitorial witchcraft persecutions. Even the Spanish Inquisition forbade to use the Witches Hammer as an authority und suppressed local witch trials. The Imperial Law, the Constitutio Criminalis Carolina of 1532, ignored the supposed crime of witchcraft (Hexerei) altogether, imposing sanctions only against the traditional crime of sorcery (Zauberei), strictly limiting the judicial procedure to ordinary measures (processus ordinarius) which made accusations of weather-making almost unprovable. Many contemporaries therefore considered times of witchcraft persecutions as being over, part of the past or of dark pre-reformatory times (Weyer 1563, preface).

This was the situation when the impact of the Little Ice Age began to be felt again. Contemporary chroniclers like Johan Jacob Wick from Zurich reported that the summer 1560 was unusually wet. The following winter was the coldest and longest winter since 1515/16. For the first time since generations large Alpine lakes like the Lake Constance (Bodensee) froze ("Seegfroerni") and the vegetation period shortened decisevely (Pfister 1988, 68). The following winter 1561/1562 was not only of similar coldness, but surprising with its immense snowfall mentioned in a broadsheet printed in Leipzig 1562. According to an orthodox Lutheran theology these events were interpreted as signs of God who was thought to be furious due to the sins of the people (Uber die grossen und erschrecklichen Zeichen am Himmel 1562). The coincidence of coldness and wetness struck the agrarian-based society and damaged the harvest. An increase of prices deteriorated the living conditions of the poorer people (Pfister 1988, 118-127). During the spring and summer of 1562 thaw and heavy rainfall caused inundations in different parts of Germany, poisoned the fields and led to cattle diseases, rising infant mortality and the outbreak of epidemics.

The unusually severe thunderstorm hit Central Europe on 3. August 1562 in a state of progressive sensibilisation for meteorological events. Though most theologians - lutheran as well as catholic or calvinist - still blamed the sinful people for having caused gods fury, under the pressure of meteorological desaster this traditional embankment began to collapse (Midelfort 1972). While the larger territories and Imperial Cities remained stable, small political entities turned out to be more susceptible to the popular demands for witchcraft persecution. In the small barony Illereichen the pesants made their count, who never before had tried a case of witchcraft, uncertain by means of demonstrations and petitions. Finally count Rechberg conceded to imprison some women suspected for weathermaking, having caused crop-failure, inundations, and cattle disease. Here and elsewhere the mechanism of torture, confession, and denunciation led to an extension from singular cases to witch-hunts. The largest hunt occurred in the small territory of Wiesensteig, belonging to the Lutheran counts of Helfenstein, where within a year 63 women were burned as witches. Since a contemporary newsletter reported over this event, the witch-hunt became well-known throughout the Empire (Warhafftige und Erschreckhenliche Thatten 1563).

The Wiesensteig witch-hunt served as an example for radical eradication of "the evil", and between 1562 and 1565 an interesting debate emerged about the possibility of weather-making. In the small Imperial City Esslingen the populistic evangelical preacher Thomas Naogeorgus supported the popular demands for witch-hunts and urged the magistrate to extend its persecution, which had already begun, as a kind of regulation of the weather (Jerouschek 1992, 73-88). At the same time in Stuttgart, the capital of the duchy of W?rttemberg, the lutheran orthodoxy had managed to stop the local witchcraft-persecutions after one burning. The leading theologians of the territory, Matth„us Alber and Wilhelm Bidenbach, bitterly attacked Naogeorgus and his idea that witches could be responsible for hailstorms or other meteorological events. In accordance with W?rttembergs reformator Johannes Brenz, who had given a similar sermon on hailstorms before, they insisted that only God was responsible for the weather, and not human beings. On the other hand, they agreed in principle that witches should be condemned to death due to their compact with the devil as a spiritual crime of utmost severity (Alber/Bidembach 1562).

The debate on weather-making witches escalated when Johann Weyer, the Erasmian court physician of duke Wilhelm of J?lich-Kleve, attacked Johann Brenz and his followers for their inconsequence. In his famous volume De praestigiis daemonum, written as a response to the resumption of witch-burning, Weyer argued that witchcraft as a crime was physically impossible and the performance of witch-trials in general and for weather-magic in particular was a bad mistake (Weyer 1563; Weyer 1586, 182-192). He agreed with Brenz that it was impossible for witches to change the course of nature. But if witches by definition could not at all be responsible for hailstorms, as Brenz and the Lutherans conceded, then why should they be punished? Even if they wished to do harm, according to the Imperial Law Code it was not possible to impose capital punishment. There was no article which defined spiritual deviance as a capital crime. So Weyer asked Brenz as opinion leader of the orthodox Lutherans to change his attitude. After a negative reply by Brenz, whose sermon on hailstorms was reprinted twice in 1564 and 1565 (Predigt vom Hagel, Donner und allem Ungewitter, 1565), Johann Weyer published their correspondence in the 1565-edition of his book and accused the famous reformer of injustice and bloodthirsty cruelty, a reproach ususally uttered against dominican Inquisitors (Weyer 1586, 485-502).

The resumption of witch-hunting in the 1560ies was accompanied by a debate about weather-making, because this was the most important charge against suspected witches. Though witches were certainly made responsible for all kinds of bad luck, in an agrarian society weather is especially important. Crop failure caused increases in prices, malnutrition, rising infant mortality, and finally epidemics. Through sources we can observe that while individual "unnatural" accidents resulted in individual accusations of witchcraft, in case of "unnatural" weather and collective damage whole peasant communities demanded persecution. In comparison to individual accusations, which tended to lead to trials against individual suspects, collective demands for persecution - when accepted by the authorities - regularly resulted in large-scale witch-hunts (Behringer 1995). Without going into details, the fundamental interdependance of meteorological desaster, crop failure, and a popular demand for witch-hunts can be demonstrated by two further examples: the largest witch-hunt of the sixteenth century, and the largest witch-hunt of the seventeenth century, which occurred between 1626-1630 and was the climax of European witchcraft persecutions. The mechanisms detected in the background of these persecutions can be applied to all large witchcraft persecutions in traditional Europe.

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Newsweek Changes Media Climate 31 Years after Global Cooling Story

Magazine admits first article was 'wrong,' but still wasn't 'inaccurate' journalistically

It took 31 years, but Newsweek magazine admitted it was incorrect about climate change. In a nearly 1,000-word correction, Senior Editor Jerry Adler finally agreed that a 1975 piece on global cooling "was so spectacularly wrong about the near-term future."

Even then, Adler wasn't quite willing to blame Newsweek for the incredible failure. "In fact, the story wasn't `wrong' in the journalistic sense of `inaccurate,'" he claimed. "Some scientists indeed thought the Earth might be cooling in the 1970s, and some laymen - even one as sophisticated and well-educated as Isaac Asimov - saw potentially dire implications for climate and food production," Adler added. However, the story admitted both Time magazine and Newsweek were wrong on the subject - Newsweek as recently as 1992.

The situation was brought to light after Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) gave an extensive speech about media climate change coverage to the Senate on September 25. Inhofe told his Senate colleagues: "Much of the 100-year media history on climate change that I have documented today can be found in a publication entitled `Fire & Ice' from the Business & Media Institute."

Adler described Inhofe as "chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee and the self-proclaimed scourge of climate alarmists." The article agreed that, to use a phrase from the Watergate era of the first story, mistakes had been made, but questioned whether Inhofe had drawn the right lesson from the media failures.

Adler said scientists have also predicted in the past that Earth would be hit by a "giant meteorite," but ". that doesn't mean that journalists have been dupes or alarmists for reporting this news. Citizens can judge for themselves what constitutes a prudent response ." However, citizens can't "judge for themselves" if they are getting only one theory, whether it is global cooling or global warming.

Newsweek cited information culled from the BMI report that "for more than 100 years journalists have quoted scientists predicting the destruction of civilization by, in alternation, either runaway heat or a new Ice Age." But he was unwilling to admit that what the media now say about climate change could be wrong.

Newsweek wasn't alone in its climate revisionism. The October 12 New York Times included an editorial that criticized Inhofe for his criticism of the Times. Inhofe's comments, according to the article, were "a brisk survey of the way the news media have covered climatic predictions over the past century." It continued, "Cooling, warming - we never get it right." But the Times editors still castigated Inhofe for his comments because they "do not expect Mr. Inhofe to see the light - or feel the heat - any time soon."

At least Newsweek was willing to admit that the world was better off for having ignored the 1975 story. "All in all, it's probably just as well that society elected not to follow one of the possible solutions mentioned in the Newsweek article: to pour soot over the Arctic ice cap, to help it melt."

It took Newsweek 31 years to correct its mistakes on global cooling. If they want to recant their latest global warming stance and start the calendar today, that means the next correction will run on October 23, 2037.


Ignore the doomsday prophets

Environmental alarmist Paul Ehrlich has been wrong before and he'll be wrong again, writes economics editor Alan Wood

Australia's Treasurer has made it on to the cover and into the pages of a journal in which the world's finance ministers rarely, if ever, feature. Peter Costello loves to say demography is destiny, and it was demography that did the trick. It was Costello urging families to have "one for Australia" that made the cover of New Scientist and it is environmentalist Paul Ehrlich he has to thank. Ehrlich is well known to demographers and economists for his spectacularly wrong predictions on world population growth and its consequences, including famine, economic catastrophe and the end of industrial society.

Some of the most spectacular were in his 1968 book The Population Bomb. As it happens, the book was the result of an article Ehrlich wrote for New Scientist in 1967. Now he is back again, undaunted, with another article, written with his wife Anne.

Before we get to this, it is worth recalling a few Ehrlich gems. Perhaps most often quoted is this one from The Population Bomb: "The battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the 1970s and 1980s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now." In fact, the final quarter of the 20th century was more remarkable for the increase in food production from the Green Revolution and the reduction in famine deaths and poverty.

Another prediction was that the US would see life expectancy drop to 42 years by 1990 due to pesticide usage, and its population fall to 22.6 million by 1999. According to the US Census Bureau, life expectancy in the US in 2005 was 77.7 years and, as of yesterday, its population was 300 million and growing.

In 1969 he was prepared to take an even-money bet that England would not exist in 2000. He regularly said population growth would overtake the world's food supplies and mineral resources. Economic growth is another scourge of humanity. "We already have too much economic growth in the US," he said in the late '80s. "Economic growth in rich countries like ours is the disease, not the cure."

So has Ehrlich changed his tune in his recent New Scientist article? Not much. He is now taking world governments to task for their concern with population ageing and shrinking populations, and their measures to try to slow or reverse these trends. Which is where Costello comes in. Not only has he instigated a baby bonus of "almost 900 pounds sterling" (actually nearly twice that), he has urged young women to have one child for themselves, one for their husband and one for Australia.

Ehrlich doesn't approve of this at all: "If civilisation is to persist on our finite planet, impending resource shortages and the mounting environmental costs of overpopulation make it imperative that we gradually and humanely reduce our numbers." He thinks the planet's optimal human population is about two billion, "an excellent and achievable target to aim for over the long term". As of yesterday, the population of the world was 6.55 billion and, according to the US Census Bureau, will reach nine billion in 2042, although its rate of growth is declining sharply.

Ehrlich sounds his usual warning about the evils of consumption: if the developing countries follow the evil ways of the West we will need at least two more Earths to cope. "Despite the challenges, we see population shrinkage in the industrial nations as a hugely positive trend. It is, after all, the high-consuming rich in these regions who disproportionately damage humanity's life support systems and wield their economic and military power to keep their resource demands satisfied, without regard to the costs for the world's poor and to future generations. The more people there are, the more climate change humanity will face, with a concomitant loss of biodiversity and the crucial ecosystem services it helps provide."

At least Ehrlich is consistent: consistently wrong. One of his most trenchant and effective critics was US economist Julian Simon, who said of Ehrlich and his supporters: "As soon as one predicted disaster doesn't occur, the doomsayers skip to another ... why don't they see that, in the aggregate, things are getting better? Why do they always think we're at a turning point or at the end of the road?"

The point isn't that there are no limits but that there is no reason to believe we are anywhere near them. And there is ample evidence that the economic growth and prosperity Ehrlich rails against are the preconditions for successful environmental action. In his book The Skeptical Environmentalist, Danish statistician Bjorn Lomborg demonstrated, using reputable international data sources, that things are generally getting better over a wide range of environmental indicators. Predictably, Ehrlich was one of the gang of four environmental zealots recruited to launch a vindictive but unsuccessful attack on Lomborg in Scientific American. Instead the magazine seriously damaged its own reputation when it attempted to suppress publication of an annotated reply to the articles by Lomborg on his website.

There is a wider moral to this tale. Ehrlich has jumped on the global warming bandwagon, a fertile field for serial doomsayers. When you see he has been joined by a Washington snake oil salesman such as Al Gore, it seems a pretty good reason to be cautious about accepting uncritically their greenhouse scaremongering. Global warming is taking place, but how fast it will proceed, what its causes and consequences are, and what can, or should, be done to attempt to mitigate it are still matters of legitimate debate, not the subject of a phony scientific consensus.



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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