Sunday, April 15, 2007

The media and global warming

In a campaign without peacetime precedent, the media-entertainment-environmental complex is warning about global warming. Never, other than during the two world wars, has there been such a concerted effort by opinion-forming institutions to indoctrinate Americans, 83 percent of whom now call global warming a ``serious problem.'' Indoctrination is supposed to be a predicate for action commensurate with professions of seriousness.

For example, Democrats could demand that the president send the Kyoto Protocol to the Senate so they can embrace it. In 1997, the Senate voted 95-0 in opposition to any agreement which would, like the protocol, require significant reduction of greenhouse-gas emissions in America and some other developed nations but would involve no ``specific scheduled commitments'' for 129 ``developing'' countries, including the second, fourth, 10th, 11th, 13th and 15th largest economies (China, India, Brazil, South Korea, Mexico and Indonesia). Forty-two of the senators serving in 1997 are gone. Let's find out if the new senators disagree with the 1997 vote.

Do they also disagree with Bjorn Lomborg, author of ``The Skeptical Environmentalist''? He says: Compliance with Kyoto would reduce global warming by an amount too small to measure. But the cost of compliance just to the United States would be higher than the cost of providing the entire world with clean drinking water and sanitation, which would prevent 2 million deaths (from diseases like infant diarrhea) a year and prevent half a billion people from becoming seriously ill each year.

Nature designed us as carnivores, but what does nature know about nature? Meat has been designated a menace. Among the 51 exhortations in Time magazine's ``global warming survival guide'' (April 9), No. 22 says a BMW is less responsible than a Big Mac for ``climate change,'' that conveniently imprecise name for our peril. This is because the world meat industry produces 18 percent of the world's greenhouse-gas emissions, more than transportation produces. Nitrous oxide in manure (warming effect: 296 times greater than that of carbon) and methane from animal flatulence (23 times greater) mean that ``a 16 ounce T-bone is like a Hummer on a plate.''

Ben & Jerry's ice cream might be even more sinister: A gallon of it requires electricity guzzling refrigeration, and four gallons of milk produced by cows that simultaneously produce eight gallons of manure and flatulence with eight gallons of methane. The cows do this while consuming lots of grain and hay, which are cultivated by using tractor fuel, chemical fertilizers, herbicides and insecticides, and transported by fuel-consuming trains and trucks. Newsweek says most food travels at least 1,200 miles to get to Americans' plates, so buying local food will save fuel. Do not order halibut in Omaha.

Speaking of Hummers, perhaps it is environmentally responsible to buy one and squash a Prius with it. The Prius hybrid is, of course, fuel-efficient. There are, however, environmental costs to mining and smelting (in Canada) 1,000 tons a year of zinc for the battery-powered second motor, and the shipping of the zinc 10,000 miles -- trailing a cloud of carbon -- to Wales for refining and then to China for turning it into the component that is then sent to a battery factory in Japan.

Opinions differ as to whether acid rain from the Canadian mining and smelting operation is killing vegetation that once absorbed carbon dioxide. But a report from CNW Marketing Research (``Dust to Dust: The Energy Cost of New Vehicles from Concept to Disposal'') concludes that in ``dollars per lifetime mile,'' a Prius (expected life: 109,000 miles) costs $3.25, compared to $1.95 for a Hummer H3 (expected life: 207,000 miles).

The CNW report states that a hybrid makes economic and environmental sense for a purchaser living in the Los Angeles basin, where fuel costs are high and smog is worrisome. But environmental costs of the hybrid are exported from the basin. We are urged to ``think globally and act locally,'' as Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has done with proposals to reduce California's carbon dioxide emissions 25 percent by 2020. If California improbably achieves this, at a cost not yet computed, it will have reduced global greenhouse-gas emissions 0.3 percent. The question is:

Suppose the costs over a decade of trying to achieve a local goal are significant. And suppose the positive impact on the globe's temperature is insignificant -- and much less than, say, the negative impact of one year's increase in the number of vehicles in one country (e.g., India). If so, are people who recommend such things thinking globally but not clearly?


Greenie light-bulb madness: Mercury phobia versus CO2 phobia

There's lots of mercury in the environment naturally. Only prolonged high exposure is dangerous. I am in good health at 63 and I have had mercury amalgam fillings in my teeth since childhood. You can guess how panicked I am

On March 13, Brandy Bridges was installing some of the two dozen CFL (compact fluorescent lamp) bulbs she had purchased in an attempt to save money on her energy bill. One month later, though, Bridges is paying much more than she had ever expected to. On that Tuesday, Bridges was installing one of the spiral-shaped light bulbs in her 7-year-old daughter's bedroom. Suddenly, the bulb plummeted to the floor, breaking on the shag carpet.

Bridges, who was wary of the dangers of cleaning up a fluorescent bulb, called The Home Depot where she purchased them. She was told that the bulbs had mercury in them and that she should not vacuum the area where the bulb had broken. Bridges was directed to call the Poison Control hotline. Poison Control directed her to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Environmental Protection. Upon reaching the DEP the next day, the agency offered to send a specialist out to Bridges' house to test the air levels. The specialist arrived soon after the phone conversation and began testing the downstairs, where he found safe levels of mercury - below the state's limit of 300 ng/m3 (nanograms per cubic meter). In the daughter's bedroom, the levels remained well below the 300 mark, except for near the carpet where the bulb broke. There the mercury levels spiked to 1,939 ng/m3. On a bag of toys that bulb fragments had landed on, the levels of mercury were 556 ng/m3.

Bridges was told by the specialist not to clean up the bulb and mercury powder by herself. He recommended the Clean Harbors Environmental Services branch in Hampden. Clean Harbors gave Bridges a low-ball estimate of $2,000, based on what she described, to clean up the room properly. The work entailed removing anything with levels greater than 300 ng/m3, including the carpeting. One month later, Bridges' daughter's bedroom remains sealed off with plastic "to avoid any dust blowing around" and to keep the family's pets from going in and out of the room. Her daughter, Shayley, has to sleep downstairs in a full house that already consists of Bridges' fianc‚, her 71-year-old mother and her handicapped brother.

Today, Bridges is "gathering finances" to pay the $2,000 for the cleaning herself. That won't cover the cost for new carpeting and other items that will have to be replaced. Her insurance company said it wouldn't cover the costs because mercury is considered a pollutant, like oil.

One month later, Bridges is still searching for answers. She has contacted staff members from the offices of U.S. Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) to tell them about her situation but has received no response. She has talked with representatives from the CDC and DEP and spent roughly two to three hours a day over the past several weeks, talking on the phone and in person and contacting local papers to get the word out on what she believes are dangerous light bulbs.

And, she said, she is wondering why the DEP "publicly recanted the statement" it made to an area newspaper, in which DEP officials said it was safe to clean up the CFL bulbs using household materials. "I'm really upset. They should not change their story just because it does not fit into a good plan for these light bulbs," said Bridges. "I'm trying my best to keep my family safe and the state just keeps trying to cover it up."

Officials have said that Bridges has little to worry about and she could easily clean up the bulbs by hand. State Toxicologist Andrew Smith said it would be unlikely that a person could contract mercury poisoning from the levels of mercury found in Bridges' daughter's room. "In this situation, my understanding, was this 1,900 was the sign reading right at the spot of the floor where the bulb broke," said Smith. "While 1,900 was certainly considered an elevated reading of mercury vapor, it was a very localized level that I would not expect to result in any sign of mercury exposure." Smith said mercury is only dangerous with long-term exposure and in this case the person would have to stay right at the spot of the 1,900 reading or there would have to be elevated levels of mercury vapor in the breathing zone - about 3 feet - above the spill. Mercury also dissipates over time. The air in the bedroom at the 3-foot level measured between 31 to 49 ng/m3 of mercury, depending on the location.

Smith said a CFL light bulb breaking is not in the same category as when a mercury thermometer breaks. A typical fluorescent bulb has between 1 and 25 milligrams of mercury with the majority of smaller ones - the size of the bulb that Bridges broke - having about 5 milligrams of mercury. This is about the amount of ink on the tip of a pen. A typical mercury thermometer has between 500 and 3,000 milligrams of mercury, depending on its size. A mercury thermostat has even more. "Often you will get high levels in the breathing zone area," said Smith about a broken thermometer. "High hundreds, if not thousands."

Smith said Bridges' call was the first of its kind he's ever received. He's received plenty of calls about broken mercury thermometers, old barometers that had broken, even a very old antique Civil War mirror that had a mercury coating on the back. Many of these situations have had enough mercury to result in "fairly elevated levels in the home" and more care was needed for each situation. But Bridges' problem "is a whole different ballpark," said Smith.

Scott Cowger, director of outreach and communications for the DEP, said the DEP's Web site ( has guidelines for cleaning up a broken fluorescent bulb. Cowger said it is important to ventilate the area by opening windows and not to vacuum the area of the broken bulb, which may spread the mercury. While wearing appropriate safety gloves, glasses, coveralls or old clothing and a dust mask, a person can remove the glass pieces and put them in a closed container. The dust can be cleaned up using either two pieces of stiff paper, a disposal broom and dustpan or a commercial mercury spill kit. Afterward, the area should be patted with the sticky side of tape, according to the DEP Web site.

Cowger said all the items used in cleaning up the spill should be treated as "universal waste" or a household hazardous waste that can be disposed of without hiring professionals. He said that almost every town has a program for recycling or removing universal waste, which includes computers, electronic devices and fluorescent bulbs, at the transfer station. "We encourage people not to panic if they break a lightbulb," said Cowger. Cowger said the instructions on the Web site are the same for if a mercury thermometer breaks. If a person breaks anything bigger than a thermometer, for example a thermostat, Cowger recommends calling a professional to clean up the spill.

The DEP spokesman said, though, it "isn't necessary to hire professionals at all" for a light bulb. The specialist who responded to Bridges' broken bulb was trained to respond to chemical spills and to clean up such spills to "appropriate standards."

As for the dangers of CFL bulbs, Cowger said they are more help than hindrance. For every CFL bulb a person uses, he or she is preventing mercury emissions and using less energy, said Cowger, but it is still important to educate people that these bulbs do contain a small amount of mercury. "We're doing our part and I think using fluorescent bulbs helps reduce that overall mercury burden on the environment, so people shouldn't be afraid of them, by any means," he said. "They should be proud to burn those bulbs as a way of lowering our entire mercury burden."

To Bridges, the DEP's suggestions for cleaning her rug seem "ridiculous." "I don't think it's possible to safely clean mercury out of a shag rug with duct tape and paper . I believe their first notion to have it cleaned professionally was correct. They told me to do it this way. Why would they change their stories when the papers got a hold of them?"

Maine's Public Utilities Commission is rigorously promoting the use of CFL bulbs, as a replacement to incandescent bulbs, through government incentives for both businesses and household consumers....


Dangerous Greenie crap

Croc allowed to roam popular Australian picnic spot

A 2m crocodile that has stalked a man is being allowed to roam a popular Cairns picnic spot as authorities continue their months-long debate over whether to remove it. A croc expert has warned children's lives are at risk while the crocodile continues to live at Centenary Lakes in the heart of Cairns, which is also a popular tourist attraction. Authorities have known about the croc for months but yesterday said they were still assessing whether it posed enough of a threat to be removed.

Johnstone River Crocodile Farm owner Mick Tabone said they should act immediately to trap the beast and warned it was big enough to attack a child. "Control it now. If a kid stands in the water or close to the water it could take it," Mr Tabone said. "The smaller ones (crocs) are like teenagers, they`ll have a go at anything. It's going to come to a day when someone gets killed and then they'll start talking about having a big shoot-out."

Cairns Infosite Visitor Centre owner Vince O'Flaherty told The Cairns Post he was "stalked" by the croc last Sunday after he took photos of it at the water's edge. He said the croc turned and started swimming towards him as he walked off as excited tourists rushed over.

Queensland Park and Wildlife crocodile scientist Mark Read said yesterday his team was "assessing" the croc's behaviour and size to determine whether removal was necessary. If it was deemed a risk to public safety it would be harpooned or trapped using chicken bait before being taken from the area. The Cairns Post reported in February that rangers were considering trapping the croc but were forced to wait until the weather cleared. There have been repeated sightings of crocodiles in the lake during the past two years however it is unknown whether there is more than one reptile. Mr Read said it was possible but he could not guarantee the croc was the same beast regularly spotted at Centenary Lakes since late 2004.

The lakes are thought to be provide the reptile with an abundance of food including prawns, fish and turtles. Mr Read said the man-made outdoor drains and creekbeds in Cairns provided an ideal pathway for crocs to move about the city, most probably at night when they were at their most active. Mr Read said he had "no idea" how many crocs were crawling through Cairns but thought numbers were probably low.


The temperature also rises

A bit of satire from "Intellectual Conservative"

With the issuing of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report on February 2, waxing climactic about the climatic is the order of the day. The esteemed, government-funded scientists with no agenda who rendered the study inform us that man is almost certainly responsible for rising temperatures and, furthermore, that dramatic climate change is unstoppable. But, after seeing various luminaries sound the alarm, I think I can confidently say that, hell's bells, we're darn well gonna try anyway.

And it's about time. We've long known we were going to die unless we stopped spewing that plant-sustaining CO2 into the air. The thing is, though, my botanical sources tell me the plants are fearful that they'll die if they don't stop spewing that human-sustaining oxygen into the air. So our task is clear. We must beat the plants.

I'm tired of the lies. I remember when I was a wee lad in grammar school and they warned us of an upcoming ice age. That wasn't as scary as the talk about the killer bees, but why, teach, oh, why did you hide the truth about melting glaciers, rising oceans and vicious hurricanes? I suppose the ice age fiction was less unsettling to young minds. At least we could look forward to extra snow days. This is why I won't sit idly by and watch today's prevarications fobbed off on the next generation.

Can you believe I actually heard some craven, callous individuals try to rationalize away our destruction of the planet with the fancy that weather is cyclical (1500-year cycles of warming and cooling)? So thick is the propaganda that now an elaborate fiction has been woven to convince us that Al Gore, inventor of the Internet, could actually be wrong about global warming. Why, it just makes you hot under the collar. Now I'll share what I've uncovered about the machinations of malevolent manufacturers' minions.

In a tale worthy of Hollywood, some "scientists" are peddling a story about a geological interval occurring between 750 and 600 million years ago, which they fancifully call the "Cryogenian Period." They tell us that during this time the Earth was completely covered by ice and snow. Moreover, they'd have us believe there have been numerous ice ages since then, with the last major one ending about 12,000 years ago and causing glaciers to extend as far south as Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Outrageously, their fiction involves the notion that these alleged events were followed by warming trends that sometimes initiated intervals in which glaciers were completely absent from our planet, all without industrialization, as if we'd believe this beautiful blue orb could experience such wrenching changes without man's meddlesome hands.

This is an insult to our intelligence. We all know that before the curse of humanity - and especially prior to industrialization - the Earth was a pacific place, where birds sang and fish swam and there was love and liberty, serenity and solidarity, and the lion lay down with the lamb.

Continuing with this weather cycle con, we're also told that between 1550 and 1920 there was a "Little Ice Age," a time that saw increased glaciation in the Alps. We can easily put the lie to this, however, for during part of this period CO2 levels were rising, yet, we are to believe that temperatures were dropping? Conversely, it's also said that there were times when CO2 levels dropped but temperature increased. It is to laugh.

Even the government is in on this charade. We know that anthropogenic glacial melt-off will cause rising sea levels that will inundate Florida and other low-lying regions, such as the Netherlands (don't you realize our inaction could result in the destruction of the prostitution and drug capital of the world?). So, right on cue, the National Park Service claims that during glacial periods Florida's sea level was as much as three-hundred feet lower than today, and during the peak of interglacial ones it was one-hundred feet higher. This, all without man's influence? Poppycock! I bet these are probably the same people who tell us 98 percent of Renaissance painters were white males and that the US wasn't founded by anti-Christian, ACLU lawyers.

Then, I found pro-plant propaganda being disgorged by the odious Center for Global Food Issues. These miscreants actually sing the praises of higher CO2 levels and say,

. . . a warmer planet has beneficial effects on food production. It results in longer growing seasons - more sunshine and rainfall - while summertime high temperatures change little. And a warmer planet means milder winters and fewer crop-killing frosts . . . Infrared satellite readings show that the Earth has been getting greener since 1982, thanks apparently to increased rainfall and CO2. Worldwide, vegetative activity generally increased by 6.17 percent between 1982 and 1999 - despite extended cloudiness due to the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo and other well-publicized environmental stresses . . . When dinosaurs walked the earth (about 70 to 130 million years ago), there was from five to ten times more CO2 in the atmosphere than today. The resulting abundant plant life allowed the huge creatures to thrive. . . . Based on nearly 800 scientific observations around the world, a doubling of CO2 from present levels would improve plant productivity on average by 32 percent across species.

And they're not alone in this subterfuge. The National Center for Policy Analysis carries water for the flora as well, echoing these sentiments and making the bold claim that a desire for greater plant yield is why botanists pump CO2 into greenhouses. Even more astoundingly, this organization states that until just recently plants might have been suffering from CO2 deprivation.

Don't you see what's going on? Those innocuous looking organisms you so lovingly nurture in their pots, as you provide water, sunlight and fertilizer, have designs on our civilization. Haven't you ever watched the Day of the Triffids? I tell you, we're locked in a battle for survival itself with the plants.

Let not your heart be troubled, though, my friends. The great teacher, the man who in a way exemplifies vegetative activity, Al Gore, is on the case with his keen intellect and sage stewardship. Why, I hear he's going to make a sequel to An Inconvenient Truth titled Presidential Aspirations in the Balance, in which he will illustrate the direness of our predicament by demonstrating how he can fry an organic egg on his head in Bangor, Maine, at sunrise. Here, too, though, crafty climatologists muddy the waters, as they claim their research shows that Earth's temperature rises an average of half a degree every time Gore gives a speech.

Of course, these ardent apologists for industrialization try to put a happy face on the CO2 molecule, but even they can't deny that the gas levels are rising. So, lo and behold, they try to sell us the line that it's the result of natural processes.

For instance, a vile propagandist named Phillip V. Brennan wrote a piece in which he mentions there is now much more geothermal activity beneath the ocean floor than scientists had suspected. Ostensibly, this process heats up the seas, causing them to release more CO2 into the atmosphere. Brennan even tries to explain away our more mercurial weather, quoting a colleague who maintains that,

. . . it is not global warming that's causing the oceans to heat, it's heated oceans that are warming the globe and setting up a scenario that includes among its consequences more and increasingly violent hurricanes, tornadoes and blizzards.

Yeah, sure, next he'll tell us tsunamis are caused by underwater earthquakes. Anyway, this Brennan character has no credibility. Despite the fact we know that every scientist agrees with the anthropogenic global warming thesis, he claims that a petition was signed by,

. . . over 18,000 scientists who are totally opposed to the Kyoto Protocol, which committed the world's leading industrial nations to cut their production of greenhouse gases from fossil fuels.

Next, we hear the Earth destroyers' answer to why our polar ice caps are melting. They point out that the ice caps on Mars are probably melting as well, which is supposed to vindicate the idea that natural cycles are the cause.

But there's something they won't tell you, information I risk my life by divulging. There's actually a civilization of greedy little green industrialists on the red planet, who drive SUVs, heat their saucers with mahogany and teak, smoke fine cigars and are mean to children and old people. And the only reason this is kept secret is that free traders want our shores inundated with their cheap goods, which are brought in through Area 51.

I now ask you to compare the dubious claims of the industrial apologists with the aforementioned facts. I think it will be clear where the true sanity lies. The truth is, as Mr. Gore would say, inconvenient. We just don't want to accept that we'll have to radically alter our lifestyles; why, it's ridiculous to think we can maintain our love affair with the combustion engine. As Gore told us in Earth in the Balance, the automobile poses a most grave threat to mankind. And, no, wise guys, he didn't say that because he spent time in a car with Ted Kennedy at the wheel.

So I advise you all to follow the lead of French President Jacques Chirac, who found time between mistresses to warn us that, "We are on the historic threshold of the irreversible," as he called for a "revolution" to save mankind. Besides, there is grave concern that Hillary Clinton's personality may melt. As for me, I'm going to go out and kill a plant. Now, what will I wear? Dang, the weatherman got the forecast wrong again. . ..



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 generally 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

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Today, Bridges is "gathering finances" to pay the $2,000 for the cleaning herself.
. . . .
One month later, Bridges is still searching for answers."

I am a bit naive about this sort of thing, but my gut reaction is that a little litigation might be in order.

Oh, yeah, and what the heck am I going to do with that 6-pack of those things I just bought? Be very very careful, I guess.