Friday, June 15, 2007


It's bad science to use Africa's Mount Kilimanjaro as a poster child for global warming's nefarious effects, two researchers say, pointing to other mechanisms causing the melt of the tropical glacier at the mountain's summit.

Kilimanjaro's ice has been melting away for more than a century, and most of that melt occurred before 1953, prior to the period where science begins to be conclusive about atmospheric warming in that region, according to Philip Mote of the University of Washington and Georg Kaser of the University of Innsbruck in Austria.

Also, as a tropical glacier, the processes governing ice melt on Kilimanjaro (located in Tanzania) are different than those on other mid-latitude glaciers located closer to the Earth's poles. These other mid-latitude glaciers become warmed and melted by surrounding air in the summer, while the air around Kilimanjaro's 19,340-foot peak (the tallest in Africa) is generally well below freezing. Instead, melt on Kilimanjaro is caused by sublimation, which turns ice directly into water vapor at below-freezing temperatures-essentially the glacier gets a giant case of moisture-sapping freezer burn.

In an article in the July-August edition of American Scientist, Mote and Kaser also cited decreased snowfall in the area as a driver of melt because bright, white snow reflects sunlight back into the atmosphere; if there's not new snow, sunlight gets absorbed and melts the ice.

The scientists say that other declining glaciers, like the South Cascade Glacier in Washington, would be a better poster child for the plight of glaciers in a warming world, which are indeed diminishing overall as a result of climate change. It's just that Kilimanjaro is one exception to the trend. Government photographs taken from 1928 to 2000 have shown that the South Cascade Glacier lost half its mass in that time. "There are dozens, if not hundreds, of photos of mid-latitude glaciers you could show where there is absolutely no question that they are declining in response to the warming atmosphere," Mote said.


Mote's exaggerations about American glaciers are discussed here

Activists to Demand Explanations from Caterpillar at Stockholder Meeting Wednesday

Deneen Borelli of the African-American group Project 21 will confront Caterpillar Inc. management at the corporation's shareholder's meeting Wednesday, demanding it explain why it joined the U.S. Climate Action Partnership (USCAP), which lobbies for energy restrictions on the U.S. economy that would hurt both low income individuals and Caterpillar customers.

The Congressional Budget Office found that the restrictions USCAP seeks would hurt the poorest fifth of the population more than other income groups. As a percentage of wages, the poorest quintile would pay nearly double the costs borne by the richest quintile. The "cap-and-trade" system for which Caterpillar is lobbying also would target major Caterpillar customers.

"Caterpillar's participation in the United States Climate Action Partnership is an example of both corporate financial and social irresponsibility," said Project 21 Fellow Deneen Borelli. "Financially, cap-and-trade regulations will harm the mining industry -- a key customer of Caterpillar's products -- thereby hurting future profits and shareholders' interests. In addition, cap-and-trade will have a negative economic impact on consumers, especially lower-income households. According to the Congressional Budget Office, 'most of the cost of meeting a cap on CO2 emissions would be borne by consumers,' disproportionably harming fixed- and lower-income households. What kind of CEO would intentionally cause financial hardship to his company and millions of consumers?"

Caterpillar's stance has already cost it money: Robert E. Murray of Murray Energy Corporation has stopped doing business with Caterpillar: "Caterpillar has joined with some of the most radical environmentalists who have been enemies of mining, including coal, for decades... As a result of this, I sent [Caterpillar CEO Jim Owens] a letter a couple of months ago telling him that Murray Energy Corporation will no longer do business with Caterpillar. This will result in the loss of millions of dollars in business to Caterpillar."

Farmer Joyce Morrison says, "Where Caterpillar used to think first about American agriculture, they have now joined with groups that have been consistently opposed to the growing of America's food, and opposed to the use of Caterpillar machinery. It is difficult to understand why Caterpillar would work with groups who are unfriendly to agriculture when agriculture has been a source of Caterpillar's success."

70+ public policy organizations and affected companies sent a letter Tuesday to Caterpillar CEO Jim Owens urging him to immediately withdraw Caterpillar from USCAP. The letter is available at


Farmers in global warming alarmists' crosshairs

When politicking in farm belt states, global warming alarmists frequently assert that restrictive global warming legislation will benefit farmers. Farmers are told measures taken to address global warming will encourage more ethanol production and induce industry to purchase carbon sequestration credits from farmers engaging in no-till agriculture. Once out of the farmers' earshot, however, alarmists are making it all too clear that farmers are seen as more of a problem that needs correction than a friend who deserves reward.

Stephan Singer, the World Wildlife Fund's European Head of Climate and Energy Policy, told Reuters on April 30 that beef consumption is a major contributor to global warming, because the methane emitted from cattle is a key greenhouse gas. "The diet of the West has a big impact on the atmosphere," Singer said. San Jose State University sociology professor Dan Brook told attendees at an April 16 public lecture that giving up meat is "even more important than switching from an SUV to a Camry" because agriculture is "the number one cause of greenhouse gases."

Singer and Brook are not out of the mainstream of global warming alarmists. A December 2006 report from the Livestock, Environment and Development (LEAD) Initiative--which is supported by the World Bank, European Union, United States Agency for International Development, and United Nations--claims farmers are doing more damage to the Earth's climate than all the SUVs in the world combined.

The report, "Livestock's Long Shadow," asserts that the "livestock sector emerges as one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global."

The LEAD report does not acknowledge agriculture as a good-guy mitigator of greenhouse gases. Nor does it envision enriching farmers as a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. To the contrary, claims the report, "The livestock sector is a major player, responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions measured in CO2 equivalent. This is a higher share than transport."

Farmers unsure of whether they are seen as friends or foes of global warming alarmists need only consider the following statement in the LEAD report: "At virtually each step of the livestock production process, substances contributing to climate change or air pollution are emitted into the atmosphere, or their sequestration in other reservoirs is hampered. Such changes are either the direct effect of livestock rearing, or indirect contributions from other steps on the long road that ends with the marketed animal product."

Indeed, despite promises to the contrary, U.S. farmers are unlikely to be paid for sequestering carbon dioxide. In any cap-and-trade carbon legislation, sequestration would be rewarded only if it exceeds today's sequestration baseline. Status quo sequestration will receive no reward; only additional sequestration will be rewarded.

Moreover, in any carbon trading scheme, farmers would be net purchasers rather than net sellers of carbon sequestration credits. According to EPA, agricultural soils in the U.S. in 2001 sequestered 15.2 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, compared to total agricultural emissions of 526 mmtCO2e. Emissions were 35 times as great as sequestration.

Furthermore, to the extent non-farmers may be required to purchase carbon sequestration credits, they will get far more bang for their buck paying for the preservation or planting of forests than they will by giving money to farmers. According to EPA, forests in the U.S. sequestered 50 times as much carbon dioxide equivalent in 2001 than did agricultural soils. Also, the Environmental Defense publication "What Business Can Do about Global Warming" tells businesses that "forests can sequester more carbon more quickly than agricultural lands."

What about ethanol? Will ethanol revenue compensate for the sacrifices that will be demanded of farmers? The answer is not for long. Corn is already obsolete as an ethanol feedstock. According to the Houston-based CLEAN Energy group, Brazilian-grown sugarcane is more than five times more efficient at making ethanol than U.S.-grown corn. Any serious ethanol market will funnel money to Brazil rather than to U.S. farmers.

Even in the short term, farmers' higher corn income will be mitigated by higher costs associated with greenhouse gas restrictions. Agriculture is an energy-intensive industry, and higher fertilizer and fuel prices will militate against higher corn income. Additionally, corn farmers' gain will be livestock farmers' loss, as livestock farmers will be forced to pay higher prices for animal feed. Farmers beware: Greenhouse gas restrictions are nowhere near as farmer-friendly as global warming alarmists would lead you to believe.


Rescuing Australia's blacks from the Greens

By Noel Pearson

THE aspirations of indigenous people in remote Australia to re-establish a real economy underpinning the sustainability of their society are at odds with the vision of urban-based conservation organisations such as the Wilderness Society. The confrontation that has emerged between the advocates of land rights in Cape York and those who advocate for so-called wilderness may be the start of a sharpening clash of values.

Traditional land owners and communities in northern Australia are caught in a dilemma: the preservation of the natural and cultural heritage is foremost among their concerns about the future of their land and culture, while they also understand economic development is essential for the future of their people. Without economic development, indigenous people are dying on welfare dependency. The only other solution to a real economy is wholesale migration to urban areas and the abandonment of their culture: to die in a miserable urban underclass. So which is it to be: no development and continuing the downward spiral of social breakdown, or seeking development that can sustain people on their traditional lands?

In the wider society, attitudes towards the environment and development range between two extremes. The extreme of one side argues that environmental and development policy must serve the needs of the human species and nature must yield. Few tears are shed when another species becomes extinct. The extremity of the other side argues that policy must serve the needs of preserving and enhancing ecological diversity and humans must yield. Few tears are shed when thousands die and billions suffer in poverty. It may be that the underlying psychology of extreme Western environmentalism is that mass depopulation from disease and starvation would be an ecological benefit.

The rest of us, positioned somewhere between these two extremes, want something called sustainable development. The achievement of sustainable development depends on working out this conflict between the two camps, which seem interested only in their own side of the argument. Somehow, compromises are fashioned out of this conflict, because if either side had its way, development would either stop completely or it would be completely unrestrained.

But does the vast middle determine the terms of the policy debate, or is the concept of sustainable development just a veneer for what is really a crude struggle between two extreme (whitefella) ideologies? When indigenous groups I know of are confronted by the opportunities and challenges of economic development, and they are faced by a wider society that is generally divided into two opposing camps, they have to come to terms with both sides of the argument. They hear the precaution and prudence of those who advocate for the environment, and this precaution and prudence resonates for them, because it is part of their tradition. But they also can see that the world beyond their own is underpinned by development, and they too need development. So they seek to balance the need for development with the imperatives of environment and culture. They seek sustainability.

The problem facing indigenous people in Cape York is that in recent years land-use policy has been most influenced by the relatively extreme end of the green spectrum. Single-issue environmental organisations, which see conservation in a particular way, are in a unique position to determine policy affecting remote parts of Australia because of the value they provide to political parties in delivering green votes in marginal seats in urban centres. They are able to trade environmental lock-up in remote and regional areas for organised green electoral support. But the capacity to deliver 2 per cent to 3 per cent of the vote in marginal seats hardly represents a basis for a mandate to determine crucial environmental and social sustainability questions.

This week Queensland Premier Peter Beattie tabled the Cape York Peninsula Heritage Bill, which represents our best opportunity to strike a balance between conservation and development for the future of this region. This law has the potential to ease Cape York people’s struggle to reconcile conservation and development. The tabling of this bill represents the culmination of decades of conflict between pastoralist, mining, Aboriginal and conservationist interests. In 1996, at the height of the controversy over native title in pastoral leases, Rick Farley succeeded in bringing together the conflicting parties, who signed the Cape York heads of agreement on land use. The former head of the National Farmers Federation and member of the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation was a conservationist (he was a founder of Landcare), a cattleman and a supporter of Aboriginal people. It was he who guided the parties to the view that we needed to find a balanced solution.

Farley succeeded in bringing the parties together because the conservation lobby was led by Greg Sargent, a campaigner from the Wilderness Society who understood that conservation needed to respect the land rights of indigenous people as well as the economic development needs of the pastoralists and people who lived in the region. The third person responsible for bringing these parties together was Goombra Jacko, an elder from the Junjuwarra clan.

Beattie has finally delivered on the hopes of these men. The new law provides for joint management of Cape York’s national parks between the state Government and the traditional owners. The original wild rivers legislation that threatened to frustrate indigenous economic development will be amended to protect native title rights and interests and to provide for mandatory water allocations for indigenous communities in each of the catchments affected by a wild river declaration. Indigenous communities will be able to make applications for vegetation clearing on Aboriginal land for sustainable agriculture, aquaculture and animal husbandry.

This new legislative framework is a step in the right direction. It provides indigenous communities with the key to the door when it comes to finding real jobs and pursuing enterprise. The new legislation needs to allow indigenous communities to take advantage of development opportunities that are supported by science and economics.

Australia, and indeed the world, has entered a phase where the environment looms large on domestic and international agendas. The environment has not been so pressing an electoral issue since the 1990 election won by Bob Hawke.

In crisis conditions it is important for nations to make rational decisions. The recessionary effects of wild decision-making based on electoral impulses is a risk the Australian people face in the lead-up to this year’s poll. The consignment of indigenous people in remote Australia to perpetual welfare dependency on the grounds of environmental lock-up is another risk. The problem with the latter is that the potential indigenous victims of these policies do not have electoral power and their needs are likely to be overrun.

The search for sustainable development will continue as legitimate concerns for the future of the environment grow. I hope Western environmentalism does not turn out to have a fundamentally misanthropic (nature before humans) and genocidal (just keep the indigenes on welfare) ethical foundation.



THE price of uranium - already up 85 per cent since January - could reach $US200 a pound within two years, Australia's biggest securities firm, Macquarie, says. Analysts have revised forecasts for the nuclear fuel upwards following its dramatic run this year, driven by dwindling supplies and limited expansion opportunities. The spot price of uranium rose to $US138 a pound last week. It began the year at $US72 a pound.

Macquarie analysts Max Layton and John Moorhead believe the price will average about $US125 a pound this year, but have tipped a peak of about $US150 a pound by year's end. "We would not be surprised to see prices move up to around $US200 a pound over the next two years," they said, citing supply deficits and growing interest in speculative trading.

The world uranium market is expected to remain in deficit for at least the next two years as secondary supplies of ex-military uranium are depleted and miners race to catch up with demand. In March, Paladin Resources shipped the first uranium from its Langer Heinrich project in Namibia - the world's first new uranium mine in more than a decade.

Canada's Cameco was due to bring on the giant Cigar Lake mine soon but a flood last October will delay production until at least 2010. At the same time, concern about climate change has prompted a rush towards nuclear power, with 30 nuclear reactors under construction and 74 more planned.

Macquarie has forecast a 14.4 per cent rise in reactor requirements, but demand could be much higher with a further 182 reactors proposed, mostly in Asia. Resource Capital Research recently raised its uranium price forecast to $US125 a pound this year, and $US140 a pound next year. The value of Australian uranium explorers was up 23 per cent in the first three months of the year

Macquarie said reports suggested almost 20 per cent of mine supply, or about 8000 tonnes of uranium, was being held off the market by traders - and tipped increased speculative activity could quickly drive prices lower. Mr Layton and Mr Moorhead said traders, speculators and hedge funds could "very quickly become drivers of the down leg to this cycle".

The New York Mercantile Exchange launched a uranium futures market last month, which Macquarie has described as a "potentially bullish wild card". The June contract closed yesterday at $US137 a pound, while the December contract was at $US148.



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 INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL 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.


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