Monday, December 04, 2006

Is it ethical to go Down Under for the Ashes?

Dear Ethan,

I have been a cricket fan for years. I even named my daughters Willow and Maiden. I would dearly love to follow our boys Down Under as they defend the Ashes (or fail to, if early evidence is anything to go by!). However, Australia is an awfully long way away and I'm concerned that my own Ashes tour might turn parts of the planet to ashes.. Is there an ethical way to follow the Tests?

Freddie Shaw-Toulouse

Dear Freddie,

I've never been a big fan of competitive sport. My own experience of cricket was to end up covered in bruises from that horrible, hard red ball they use. Sometimes, I think those bowlers were actually aiming it at me.

But leaving personal feelings aside, as we all must do when the planet is at stake - I'm afraid that flying to Australia simply isn't cricket. You might get to watch your favourite sport but you will also dent the planet's sporting chance for survival. It won't only be the little red ball that is knocked for six (and let's not forget that those balls are made of cork, which is stolen from the beautiful Cork Oak tree, and leather, which is stolen from the hides of peace-loving cows); all our futures will also be knocked for six by your moment of sporting selfishness. Remember the first rule of the ethical life: LBW - Let Biodiversity Win!

Flying to Australia is never acceptable, as I recently told a friend who was thinking of going to Sydney to visit his dying grandfather. (We eventually organised a video link-up powered by solar energy and wind.) So flying to Australia simply to watch 22 men hit a ball around, while 22,000 more men shout, drink and sweat, is nothing short of morally reprehensible. The flight will produce 3.75 tonnes of CO2 for each passenger, meaning you will have metaphorically chopped down 20 trees even before touching down Down Under.

The journey isn't the only problem. By travelling to see the cricket, and helping to sustain the cricketing industry, you are contributing to environmental genocide! Trees are felled to make bats and balls and ticket stubs; food and drink are transported hundreds of miles to keep the portly fans happily stuffed while they watch the game; and think of all the detergent required to get those red stains off Freddie and Co's whitey whites. In this case, cleanliness is not next to Godliness; instead, their bright white outfits help to leave a big dirty skidmark on the planet.

As we know, tourists suck up valuable resources - and sporting tourists are even worse, an environmental double-whammy. Travellers demand taxis, adding to congestion and pollution; hotels with clean beds and fresh towels and air-conditioning (don't get me started on air-conditioning); guide books, tourist offices and bus tours. That's right - buses that just go round in a circle and end up back where they started! And travellers consume large amounts of food and booze. How much of that will be local and seasonal? Will your hotdog in the stands be made from a soya-based meat replacement and locally sourced bread made in a traditional stove? Being Australia - land of men and meat - I very much doubt it.

Sporting tourists also don ridiculous fancy dress outfits and demand junk food and carbonated drinks. That's right - carbon-ated drinks. Think of how those fizzy drinks damage the planet every time you belch out the excess gas. It is not going too far to say that a beer-bellied thug burps in Australia and a flood kills hundreds in Bangladesh - never forget that we are all intimately bound together on this threatened mortal coil.

All the beer and beef consumed at a cricket match also produces pretty nasty smells. This can make the local environment a less pleasant, less breatheasy place - and worse, it might encourage people to spray air freshener, and I don't need to tell you that `air freshener' is a profound contradiction in terms (these noxious sprays actually damage air in the long run). Personally, I can't imagine why you would want to be couped up with so many other sweating men. I suppose you could offer them some homemade deodorant. I have a fabulous recipe for one based on lavender and beeswax; every time I wear it, intrigued people ask: `What is that smell?'

Sport is not only bad for the environment; it is bad for people too. Have you not read the research produced by reputable Abuse Studies departments in British universities, which shows that women are more likely to be victims of domestic violence during a major sporting event? Men get so het up over the game that they end up taking it out on the missus. And how can we be sure that Third World women won't be trafficked to Australia to keep Ashes fans happy, in the same way they were trafficked to Germany during the World Cup? A feminist-environmentalist colleague of mine recently uncovered the shocking, disgusting truth of human trafficking: every woman driven in a truck across borders contributes five tonnes of CO2 to the beleaguered planet! Man, sex slavery sucks.

Freddie, you won't like what I'm about to say: you should even avoid watching the Ashes on TV. That uses electricity, and there's the whole domestic violence thing. Instead, we should deny sport the oxygen of publicity by banning it from TV screens, just as sport seeks literally to deny us actual oxygen with its great balls of carbon. Why not watch local sports instead? Get yourself down to the park and watch the kids working off their junk food. Some might say the cricket is not as `good'. But good is exactly how it will make you feel.


The above is satire, of course. But the England cricket team is in fact playing in Australia at the moment. "The Ashes" is the international cricket trophy. "Tests" are the highest form of cricket and are played between national sides only. A single match can continue for up to five days. Did you get the meaning of the enquirer's name? It encapsulates the usual experience of the English when playing Australia


On the eve of our annual holiday season, Warner Bros. released the lavish animated extravaganza Happy Feet, featuring the voices of Robin Williams, Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman and Elijah Wood in a PG-rated story about a tap-dancing penguin. The studio promoted the picture as a feel-good frolic for the whole family, featuring an endorsement quote that promised, "Adults and kids alike will be dancing in the aisles."

Unfortunately, the marketing never acknowledged the movie's unmistakably alarming, discomfiting and politically potent elements - enraging no small number of unprepared parents. The endearing creatures on screen face the deadly menace of leopard seals, killer whales and, most of all, human pollution, overconsumption and exploitation. In the advance screening I attended, one worried mother of a 5-year-old took her anxious, fretful, anguished little boy from the theater during the film's relentless scenes of cute and cuddly penguins in intense pain and deadly peril. The next week, a correspondent who called himself "MikeP29p" wrote on my website: "Unfortunately I read Michael's movie review a day too late. We took our kids ages 6 and 4 last night because they wanted to go because they saw the commercials. I thought an animated movie about penguins would be OK. One of the darkest most disturbing movies I have ever seen. Needless to say, my 4-year-old was terrified."

Even some of the premier critical advocates for Happy Feet acknowledged its nightmarish aspects, but praised them as appropriate because of the film's powerful pro-environmental messages. In The New York Times, film critic Manohla Dargis described this animated offering as "a piercingly sad story about the devastation being visited on the natural world." She allows that director George Miller "plunges his hapless hero into a nightmare worthy of Samuel Fuller's Shock Corridor. As politically pointed as it is disturbing, it is a view of hell as seen through the eyes and ears of creatures we foolishly, tragically call dumb." .....

Regardless of the aesthetic virtues (or shortcomings) of either Happy Feet or And Tango Makes Three, it's easy to see why even non-partisan parents would object to their targeting of very young children. In school and elsewhere, it makes sense to introduce preteens to ongoing debates about global warming, environmental degradation or the redefinition of marriage and family, but most mothers and fathers would prefer to spare preschoolers from such grown-up arguments.

Some adults may choose to expose the youngsters in their lives to Al Gore's powerful and skillfully crafted documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, but they will know before they go that they're taking the kids to an occasionally frightening message movie. In Happy Feet, on the other hand, you'd have no reason to expect so much unhappy and worrisome content ....

As children grow and develop, their natural curiosity and ongoing media exposure will lead them inevitably into divisive issues, which all conscientious parents should prepare to help explain. In the earliest stages of life, however, it makes sense to keep them protected from such conflicts and to avoid using preschoolers - and penguins - as the pawns of propaganda.


Massachusetts v. EPA

Post lifted from Lubos Motl -- who points to the perversity of the idea that a gas we all breathe out should be regulated as a "pollutant". It certainly reminds one of the old ZPG slogan: "People are pollution"

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court had one of the strangest hearings in many years. The environmental NGOs decided that no act is too ridiculous for them. So they have simply sued EPA, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, for causing global warming.

Here is the transcript - thanks to YS!

The environmental organizations have not been regulated at all so they have literally spread like mosquitos which is why I can't enumerate all of them. But you can guess who is the main eco-activist group in this list. Yes: the main dissatisfied environmental organization is called the
  • Commonwealth of Massachusetts

which is why the case is called Massachusetts v. EPA. That's a very painful name for all people in Massachusetts with some traces of common sense left. What is the sin of the EPA and how did this environmental agency become the main target of the eco-attacks? Well, according to these environmental groups which includes the elected officials of 12 states of the union, EPA should have protected the atmosphere against carbon dioxide according to the 1990 Clean Air Act. You don't exactly have to be a physics PhD to see that it is a complete absurdity.

The Clean Air Act is a law that protects the air against pollutants such as pesticides and smog. Of course that the people who were writing this law were not quite silly so they wrote it in such a way that it can't be misinterpreted by the first vicious organization that would intend to misuse the law. So if you look at the explanation what the pollutants are, you will see that they must cause at least one of the following things:

  1. injure health
  2. cause environmental damage
  3. cause property damage

Does CO2 injure health?

Well, if the concentration exceeds thousands of ppm, it could. In the atmosphere, CO2 represents about 380 ppm (parts per million of volume) and this number increases roughly by 2 ppm every year and is expected to reach 560 ppm around 2100 which will mean that the pre-industrial CO2 concentrations will have been doubled; see climate sensitivity.

Does 380 ppm of carbon dioxide injure health? Given the fact that we live for many years longer than the people 100 years ago who were breathing a 300 ppm air, you could guess that 380 ppm of carbon dioxide doesn't injure health. Moreover, you could also notice that the typical office concentration of CO2 is between 600 and 800 ppm. Many people keep on spending hours in their offices whose CO2 concentration mimicks the atmosphere in 2200, assuming that we will continue to use fossil fuels for 200 more years.

If you read the actual Clean Air Act, you will see that by health problems, they really meant things like cancer in the context of pesticides etc. CO2 can't come anywhere close to what they meant - and wrote. The only reasonable summary is that the existing emissions of this natural gas don't injure health.

Does CO2 cause environmental damage?

The notion of environmental damage is not defined rigorously but it is not completely ill-defined either. By environment, all these lawmakers clearly meant the fauna and the flora, together with the soil, rivers, oceans, and rocks where the organisms live. Are these things harmed by carbon dioxide? Animals generally live in these conditions as happily as the humans, and the previous paragraphs about the human health apply to these animals, too.

The plants, on the other hand, really love higher concentrations of CO2. They're thriving because carbon dioxide is what they eat. Because the oceans don't disappear and the stones don't break up, the conclusion is that I can't imagine any stretch of imagination that would allow someone to argue, under the pledge of honesty, that the carbon dioxide emissions are causing environmental damage.

Property damage

The question is equally clear if we look at the property damage. The people have invented many fantasies how the carbon dioxide could start to damage the civilization and as far as I know, none of them was able to survive a few couple of observations or more detailed checks. For example, some people have argued that the rising sea levels could destroy cities. Despite the huge CO2 emissions, the sea levels currently rise by 1-2 millimeters per year or so and it is pretty clear that this trend is not going to destroy any cities or houses in any foreseeable future even if it accelerates, because of some unknown reason, by a hypothetical factor of five or more.

Other people have argued that the CO2 emissions measurably increase the number or intensity of hurricanes. After the most quiet Atlantic hurricane season in 10 years, these speculators prefer not to speak about their hypothesis and try to wait for "better" years that would provide them with some evidence. There has never been any scientific evidence for this hypothetical link and the available recent data strongly disfavor it and perhaps rule it out. I could go on and on and on but the conclusion is clear: the carbon dioxide emissions don't cause any property damage.

In the legal context, it is very clear that the causal relationships must be very sharp and a pseudoscientific speculation about carbon dioxide emissions in New Jersey that may contribute to a collapsing cottage in Indonesia 30 years later just can't be good enough evidence for the lawyers.

Carbon dioxide clearly can't become a subject of the 1990 Clean Air Act. The lawmakers wanted be very certain so they have essentially enumerated the compounds that should be regulated. The priority air pollutants are ozone, sulfur dioxide, respirable particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, and lead. They gave a similar explanation of the hazardous air pollutants such as methyl isocyanate. These things have clearly nothing to do with compounds like CO2.

Old gas, new ideology, and precedences

One of the characteristic features of the environmental activists is their megalomanic messianism. They believe that they have just learned about the most important holy spirit - or gas, if you wish - that decides about the life on the Earth and these new religious sentiments - or "scientific findings", as they call them - supersede and exceed all previous knowledge of the mankind.

Is carbon dioxide a new player in the town?

Such a feeling couldn't be further from reality. The truth is that carbon dioxide was one of the first gases that was distinguished from air. In the 17th century, Jan Baptist van Helmont burned charcoal and saw that the ash was much lighter than the original charcoal. He figured out that what happened was a transmutation of his charcoal into an invisible substance that he called "spiritus sylvestre" (wild spirit) or "gas".

Some of the chemical properties of this spirit were understood very quickly and the following 3+ centuries expanded our knowledge about CO2 tremendously. CO2 is an extremely important gas in the cycle of life and biologists, together with some of us, have learned very many things about it.

"But the authors of the 1990 Clean Air Act didn't know about the greenhouse effect," many of the activists will say. Well, that won't be the brightest ones among the activists. The greenhouse effect was discovered by Joseph Fourier in 1824 and quantitatively described by Svante Arrhenius in 1896. Even James Hansen's testimony - with all the predictions that were falsified in the next decade - about the importance of the anthropogenic greenhouse effect came 2 years before the Clean Air Act was written down. No really new important insight for this lawsuit occured since 1990. The only insight about CO2 that has really changed since 1990 is that some people became really mad.

The authors of the Clean Air Act have known not only the carbon dioxide but also all of its effects and hypothetical effects that we know today and they intentionally excluded it from the list of pollutants, for a very good reason. Identifying CO2 as another pollutant is just another way to defend "phasing out" of the human civilization and the animal life in general.

Anton Scalia may sometimes confuse the troposphere and the stratosphere, and frankly speaking, I sometimes confuse them as well, but I can't imagine that he doesn't realize that his agreement with the environmental activists would mean to start a decay of the whole American legal system and the U.S. society in general. If CO2 is legally identified as a pollutant because it is a greenhouse gas, what about water vapors? CO2 is the second most important greenhouse gas but water is the number one. With the precedence of a monstrous anti-CO2 decision, people could start to sue others for cooking, sweating, breathing, and emitting CO2 or H2O or any other of the new "pollutants" that could, in principle, contribute to an unexpected change of the weather on the opposite side of the planet 50 years later.

I can't imagine that a responsible lawyer would allow EPA to lose and the profoundly unreasonable environmental activists to win. And according to everything I know, any scientist who claims in front of the Supreme Court that CO2 is a pollutant according to the Clean Air Act definitions should be arrested for false testimony.

And that's the memo.


Journal abstract below:

Phytoplankton and Cloudiness in the Southern Ocean

By: Nicholas Meskhidze and Athanasios Nenes

The effect of ocean biological productivity on marine clouds is explored over a large phytoplankton bloom in the Southern Ocean with the use of remotely sensed data. Cloud droplet number concentration over the bloom was twice what it was away from the bloom, and cloud effective radius was reduced by 30%. The resulting change in the short-wave radiative flux at the top of the atmosphere was -15 watts per square meter, comparable to the aerosol indirect effect over highly polluted regions. This observed impact of phytoplankton on clouds is attributed to changes in the size distribution and chemical composition of cloud condensation nuclei. We propose that secondary organic aerosol, formed from the oxidation of phytoplankton-produced isoprene, can affect chemical composition of marine cloud condensation nuclei and influence cloud droplet number. Model simulations support this hypothesis, indicating that 100% of the observed changes in cloud properties can be attributed to the isoprene secondary organic aerosol.



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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1 comment:

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