Sunday, June 03, 2007


Absorbtion and release of carbon by the oceans is universally recognized as crucial to determining atmospheric levels of CO2 but the paper below reveals fundamental disagreements over what happens in the oceans. Popular language summary of latest paper given below followed by journal abstract:

Competition between degradation and preservation of organic matter in the sea and on the sea floor plays a central role in controlling how much oxygen is in the atmosphere, as well as how carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, and other elements are cycled through the biogeosphere. Because the quantity of carbon in marine sediments is huge, small differences in the balance between these processes can have large impacts, which has made this problem challenging to model. Rothman and Forney (p. 1325; see the Perspective by Middelburg and Meysman) now present a consistent model in which the intrinsic reactivity of organic material is constant and that the rate of decay depends on bacterial abundance. This explanation is fundamentally different from chemical models in which organic-matter degradation rates depend on intrinsic reactivity.

Physical Model for the Decay and Preservation of Marine Organic Carbon

By Daniel H. Rothman and David C. Forney

Degradation of marine organic carbon provides a major source of atmospheric carbon dioxide, whereas preservation in sediments results in accumulation of oxygen. These processes involve the slow decay of chemically recalcitrant compounds and physical protection. To assess the importance of physical protection, we constructed a reaction-diffusion model in which organic matter differs only in its accessibility to microbial degradation but not its intrinsic reactivity. The model predicts that organic matter decays logarithmically with time t and that decay rates decrease approximately as 0.2 x t-1 until burial. Analyses of sediment-core data are consistent with these predictions.


Fireplaces to be banned in California

Throwing a few logs on the fire on a nippy evening, or boosting a home's market appeal by advertising its wood-burning fireplace, could go the way of the coal chute and the ice box for many Southern Californians if newly proposed air quality regulations are adopted. As part of air pollution plans designed to meet federal deadlines, South Coast Air Quality Management District officials have proposed a ban on wood-burning fireplaces in all new homes in Los Angeles, Orange and portions of Riverside and San Bernardino counties. In addition, on winter days when pollution spikes, wood-fueled blazes in all fireplaces would be banned in highly affected areas. That could amount to about 20 days a year, district officials said. Another measure that would require closing off wood fireplaces or installing $3,600 pollution control devices before a home could be sold had been dropped as of late Thursday, an AQMD spokesman said.

Regulators say that with an estimated 5,400 premature deaths attributable to soot each year in the region, no source is too small to target. Numerous studies have shown that the fine particulate matter in soot sinks deep into the lungs, causing serious health problems. But critics, including homebuilders and real estate agents, say the regulations could hurt sales by robbing homes of one of their most enjoyable features. Air district staffers say a daily reduction of 192 tons of nitrogen oxides, an ingredient in harmful particulate pollution, is needed across the region to meet the Clean Air Act requirements, and that 7 tons of that could come from restrictions on fireplaces.

Barbara Burner, a Realtor for 25 years, said that with such a small amount of pollution at issue, she doesn't think the restrictions are merited. "A home is an emotional buy," said Burner, who works for Century 21 in Thousand Oaks and has three wood-burning fireplaces in her own home. "A fireplace - especially a beautiful fireplace, and what people normally mean by that is a wood-burning fireplace - it's the thing people like to have."

The fireplace rules are one piece of a plan also designed to reduce soot from diesel engines and ozone smog that AQMD's board will vote on today. "Our governing board will consider adopting their air quality plan, which includes more than three dozen measures," air district spokesman Sam Atwood said. "One of those measures would be for the first time to have a program that would reduce pollution from residential fireplaces and wood stoves."

The plan also includes truck-only lanes on the 710 and 15 freeways, and electric rail lines from Los Angeles' Westside to Ontario airport and from the ports to Inland Empire warehouses. Reducing paint thinner emissions and gas station and refinery leaks is also part of the host of proposed measures.

If the overall plan is approved, another vote is scheduled for September to finalize the fireplace regulation. "There aren't any easy rules left in terms of substantially reducing" fine particulate air pollution, said Jane Carney, a Riverside attorney and an AQMD board member. Riverside and other Inland Empire communities would likely be targeted by fire bans during cold winter months. Carney said there are "pretty obvious adverse impacts of wood smoke on pollution. If you stand close to a wood fire and breathe, you can feel it in your throat and in your lungs." Carney said that while she would listen to comments from the public and the building industry, attractive alternatives to wood fireplaces are available. "Let me tell you, the natural gas logs are wonderful," she said.

Carney also said she would consider even tougher measures to clean up fireplace pollution, such as a complete regional wintertime ban on wood fires. Air pollution regulations on fireplaces have been adopted in an estimated 50 counties, air districts or cities across the West, particularly in colder areas, said John Crouch of the Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Assn.

Numerous trade groups oppose the fireplace measures. Mark Grey, environmental director for the Building Industry Assn. of Southern California, said the group would especially oppose any ban on wood-burning fireplaces in new homes.

A fireplace is "a popular feature. People want to be able to have a wood fire at certain times of year, and the AQMD did not bring to us any data that would demonstrate that wood smoke emissions are significant," Grey said. "From the statistics that we can see, most . homes burn wood in their fireplaces twice a year - on Christmas Eve and during the Super Bowl." There are an estimated 1.9 million homes with fireplaces in Southern California out of about 5 million total housing units, regulators said.

Environmentalist Tim Carmichael, who heads the Coalition for Clean Air, said that while it was important to take every step possible to clean the region's air - still the most polluted in the nation - it would be difficult if not impossible to enforce any sort of ban on wintertime fires. "At some level we believe these sorts of controls need to be looked at, but . the big question is, is it enforceable?" Carmichael said. "Could you really get people to stop doing this?"

Atwood, the air district spokesman, said that with about 100 inspectors responsible for pollution sources ranging from oil refineries to gas stations, enforcement would be tough. But Crouch, of the hearth and patio association, said, "Given how far out of attainment the South Coast is for fine particulates, and the fact that wood burning is not as significant in Southern California as it is in, for instance, in Seattle or Denver or someplace colder, I think they've charted a reasonable regional path here."



It always was a crock to try to get around the fact that warmer seas give off more evaporation

There will be more flooding and less drought than has been forecast in widely used projections of global warming, according to a new study. The study using measurements taken by NASA weather satellites compared ocean rainfall from 1987 to 2006 to earlier climate model projections of what that precipitation would be. The models, based on physics equations, were found to be off the mark, according to the study released Thursday by the journal Science.

"The increase in global rainfall associated with global warming may be three times greater than currently predicted," says study lead author Frank Wentz of Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) in Santa Rosa, Calif. In the last century, temperature records indicate average surface temperatures have risen roughly 1 degree, with a bigger increase, perhaps 3 to 7 degrees, projected by 2100. Global warming has become a hot scientific and political issue, focusing attention on the release of greenhouse gases, which retain heat in the atmosphere. Such gases include carbon dioxide, released when coal, oil and natural gas burn.

Projections have suggested that rainfall will rise in coming decades, but not as fast as temperature, leading to drier days and droughts worldwide. In February, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) cited studies showing "extreme drought increasing from 1% of present-day land area to 30% by the end of the century."

The new study suggests models are flawed, underestimating how increased humidity in a warmer climate produces more rain clouds, Wentz said by e-mail. The February IPCC report said global warming makes it "very likely" that storms bringing heavy rains will occur more often in coming decades. The satellite study shows rainfall falling in patterns that mirror IPCC projections, but in greater amounts.


Earth-Friendly Greens Camouflaging the Poor's Plight

"People are pollution" anyway, according to the Greens. Let the poor die!

Many people are aware that the world's poor desperately need economic development. Few realize, however, that a major obstacle to overcoming global poverty is the anti-development and anti-human environmental movement that camouflages itself under ubiquitous "Earth-friendly" shades of green. This lack of awareness is no accident. It's come about through a "See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil" syndrome, where "evil" refers to the many ills of the modern environmental movement.

The syndrome is borne out by recent events related to the eye-opening documentary, "Mine Your Own Business: The Dark Side of Environmentalism," a film about environmentalist efforts to stop economic development in poverty-stricken regions around the world. The syndrome's "see no evil" aspect is exemplified by the efforts of Greenpeace and 80 other environmental organizations to block the movie from being shown in Romania (where much of the film was shot) and Washington, D.C. A Greenpeace official was invited to be a special guest at the film's Washington, D.C., premiere at the National Geographic Society headquarters. Instead of accepting the invitation, which included the opportunity to participate in a post-screening discussion panel, Greenpeace sent a letter to the Society expressing outrage at the decision to permit the film's screening. A Greenpeace-friendly newsletter demonstrated absurdly warped logic by asking a National Geographic spokesman whether the organization would rent out its facilities for the showing of a pro-Nazi propaganda film or a pornographic movie.

"I'm appalled by their demand to shut down the film," said Frayda Levy, president of the screening's co-sponsor, the Moving Picture Institute. "We invited [Greenpeace], but instead of joining us for a discussion, they display breathtaking narrow-mindedness. Regardless of whether you love or hate 'Mine Your Own Business,' it deserves to be seen. What makes them so afraid of this film?" Levy wondered in a media release.

The "hear no evil" aspect of the syndrome is demonstrated by the recent experiences of "MYOB" filmmakers at the International Finance Corp., the private finance arm of the World Bank. Though filmmakers Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney declined comment, the IFC apparently had contacted them about hosting a screening of "MYOB" in the bank. The IFC finances a lot of large infrastructure projects and has had to wrestle with anti-development environmental groups that try to block those development efforts. Not only did the IFC invite the filmmakers to screen the documentary, it also offered as a form of payment to do what it did with Al Gore's documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth," that is, purchase 200 DVDs and distribute them to local schools. McAleer and McElhinney jumped at the offer.

But a rather sheepish IFC official subsequently contacted the filmmakers and said that the bank had rethought its offer. The bank could only find the funds to buy 10 copies of "MYOB" and it had decided it would not distribute them to local schools. Instead, the bank would lend them internally to bank employees. A final condition was that the filmmakers were not allowed to tell anyone or announce to anyone that the IFC showed the film. After the screening, World Bank employees, on a one-by-one basis, reportedly commented to McAleer and McElhinney about how true "MYOB" was, but that they were not allowed to say so within the bank.

The syndrome's "speak no evil" aspect is exemplified by my recent personal experience with consumer products giant Procter & Gamble, which touts its support for "sustainable development" on its Web site. Concerned that the company was promoting a concept that has become an Orwellian eco-activist term for blocking all development opportunities no matter what the humanitarian costs, a shareholder group with which I am affiliated filed a related shareholder proposal with the company. In negotiations concerning the proposal, we asked Procter & Gamble to consider distributing copies of "MYOB" to its employees as a way of providing them an alternative viewpoint on "sustainable development" and to make a public statement to the effect that the company thought it was important to hear alternative viewpoints on environmental topics.

But while the company agreed to distribute copies of "MYOB" to its employees, it refused to make the public statement. Procter & Gamble's position was that it didn't want to be seen as endorsing a particular organization's point-of-view - an ostensibly reasonable position except that the company has previously publicly endorsed the viewpoints and mission of the Rainforest Alliance, an anti-development environmental group. Without the public acknowledgment, we doubted that the company was serious about the need for balanced views on sustainable development. Since negotiations collapsed, we'll be raising the issue with Procter & Gamble's CEO, Alan G. Lafley, at its annual shareholder meeting this fall.

The combination of intimidating environmentalists and intimidated organizations has resulted in a tragic absence of debate about the environmental monkey on the backs of the world's poor. Until we can at least talk about what environmental policies may be doing to developing nations - let alone debate these policies - we will have little hope of changing the lamentable state of affairs that has blocked life-saving economic development.



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

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