Monday, November 05, 2007

The deceit behind global warming

The article below has just appeared in Britain's largest-selling quality newspaper

No one can deny that in recent years the need to "save the planet" from global warming has become one of the most pervasive issues of our time. As Tony Blair's chief scientific adviser, Sir David King, claimed in 2004, it poses "a far greater threat to the world than international terrorism", warning that by the end of this century the only habitable continent left will be Antarctica

Inevitably, many people have been bemused by this somewhat one-sided debate, imagining that if so many experts are agreed, then there must be something in it. But if we set the story of how this fear was promoted in the context of other scares before it, the parallels which emerge might leave any honest believer in global warming feeling uncomfortable.

The story of how the panic over climate change was pushed to the top of the international agenda falls into five main stages. Stage one came in the 1970s when many scientists expressed alarm over what they saw as a disastrous change in the earth's climate. Their fear was not of warming but global cooling, of "a new Ice Age".

For three decades, after a sharp rise in the interwar years up to 1940, global temperatures had been falling. The one thing certain about climate is that it is always changing. Since we began to emerge from the last Ice Age 20,000 years ago, temperatures have been through significant swings several times. The hottest period occurred around 8,000 years ago and was followed by a long cooling. Then came what is known as the "Roman Warming", coinciding with the Roman empire. Three centuries of cooling in the Dark Ages were followed by the "Mediaeval Warming", when the evidence agrees the world was hotter than today.

Around 1300 began "the Little Ice Age", that did not end until 200 years ago, when we entered what is known as the "Modern Warming". But even this has been chequered by colder periods, such as the "Little Cooling" between 1940 and 1975. Then, in the late 1970s, the world began warming again.

A scare is often set off - as we show in our book with other examples - when two things are observed together and scientists suggest one must have been caused by the other. In this case, thanks to readings commissioned by Dr Roger Revelle, a distinguished American oceanographer, it was observed that since the late 1950s levels of carbon dioxide in the earth's atmosphere had been rising. Perhaps it was this increase that was causing the new warming in the 1980s?

Stage two of the story began in 1988 when, with remarkable speed, the global warming story was elevated into a ruling orthodoxy, partly due to hearings in Washington chaired by a youngish senator, Al Gore, who had studied under Dr Revelle in the 1960s.

But more importantly global warming hit centre stage because in 1988 the UN set up its Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (the IPCC). Through a series of reports, the IPCC was to advance its cause in a rather unusual fashion. First it would commission as many as 1,500 experts to produce a huge scientific report, which might include all sorts of doubts and reservations. But this was to be prefaced by a Summary for Policymakers, drafted in consultation with governments and officials - essentially a political document - in which most of the caveats contained in the experts' report would not appear.

This contradiction was obvious in the first report in 1991, which led to the Rio conference on climate change in 1992. The second report in 1996 gave particular prominence to a study by an obscure US government scientist claiming that the evidence for a connection between global warming and rising CO2 levels was now firmly established. This study came under heavy fire from various leading climate experts for the way it manipulated the evidence. But this was not allowed to stand in the way of the claim that there was now complete scientific consensus behind the CO2 thesis, and the Summary for Policy-makers, heavily influenced from behind the scenes by Al Gore, by this time US Vice-President, paved the way in 1997 for the famous Kyoto Protocol.

Kyoto initiated stage three of the story, by formally committing governments to drastic reductions in their CO2 emissions. But the treaty still had to be ratified and this seemed a good way off, not least thanks to its rejection in 1997 by the US Senate, despite the best attempts of Mr Gore.

Not the least of his efforts was his bid to suppress an article co-authored by Dr Revelle just before his death. Gore didn't want it to be known that his guru had urged that the global warming thesis should be viewed with more caution.

One of the greatest problems Gore and his allies faced at this time was the mass of evidence showing that in the past, global temperatures had been higher than in the late 20th century. In 1998 came the answer they were looking for: a new temperature chart, devised by a young American physicist, Michael Mann. This became known as the "hockey stick" because it showed historic temperatures running in an almost flat line over the past 1,000 years, then suddenly flicking up at the end to record levels.

Mann's hockey stick was just what the IPCC wanted. When its 2001 report came out it was given pride of place at the top of page 1. The Mediaeval Warming, the Little Ice Age, the 20th century Little Cooling, when CO2 had already been rising, all had been wiped away.

But then a growing number of academics began to raise doubts about Mann and his graph. This culminated in 2003 with a devastating study by two Canadians showing how Mann had not only ignored most of the evidence before him but had used an algorithm that would produce a hockey stick graph whatever evidence was fed into the computer. When this was removed, the graph re-emerged just as it had looked before, showing the Middle Ages as hotter than today.

It is hard to recall any scientific thesis ever being so comprehensively discredited as the "hockey stick". Yet the global warming juggernaut rolled on regardless, now led by the European Union. In 2004, thanks to a highly dubious deal between the EU and Putin's Russia, stage four of the story began when the Kyoto treaty was finally ratified.

In the past three years, we have seen the EU announcing every kind of measure geared to fighting climate change, from building ever more highly-subsidised wind turbines, to a commitment that by 2050 it will have reduced carbon emissions by 60 per cent. This is a pledge that could only be met by such a massive reduction in living standards that it is impossible to see the peoples of Europe accepting it.

All this frenzy has rested on the assumption that global temperatures will continue to rise in tandem with CO2 and that, unless mankind takes drastic action, our planet is faced with the apocalypse so vividly described by Al Gore in his Oscar-winning film An Inconvenient Truth.

Yet recently, stage five of the story has seen all sorts of question marks being raised over Gore's alleged consensus. For instance, he claimed that by the end of this century world sea levels will have risen by 20 ft when even the IPCC in its latest report, only predicts a rise of between four and 17 inches. There is also of course the harsh reality that, wholly unaffected by Kyoto, the economies of China and India are now expanding at nearly 10 per cent a year, with China likely to be emitting more CO2 than the US within two years.

More serious, however, has been all the evidence accumulating to show that, despite the continuing rise in CO2 levels, global temperatures in the years since 1998 have no longer been rising and may soon even be falling.

It was a telling moment when, in August, Gore's closest scientific ally, James Hansen of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies, was forced to revise his influential record of US surface temperatures showing that the past decade has seen the hottest years on record. His graph now concedes that the hottest year of the 20th century was not 1998 but 1934, and that four of the 10 warmest years in the past 100 were in the 1930s.

Furthermore, scientists and academics have recently been queuing up to point out that fluctuations in global temperatures correlate more consistently with patterns of radiation from the sun than with any rise in CO2 levels, and that after a century of high solar activity, the sun's effect is now weakening, presaging a likely drop in temperatures.

If global warming does turn out to have been a scare like all the others, it will certainly represent as great a collective flight from reality as history has ever recorded. The evidence of the next 10 years will be very interesting.


Green Self-Fulfilling Prophecies

There is little more annoying for a policy analyst than when two types of wrong-headedness conspire to undermine his case. Such is the case for policies driven by the pursuit of a pesticide free -- or at least pesticide diminished -- future, which will cause an increase in insect-borne disease. When this happens, as it surely will, climate alarmists will claim it's due to your greenhouse gas emissions, not their policies, and will press for more stringent controls.

In mid-October, former Vice President Al Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize for his climate change campaigning. Two weeks later the United Nations Environment Program published its Global Environment Outlook, claiming the world was running headlong toward disaster by ignoring environmental problems, particularly climate change. Both announcements made numerous headlines, prompting myriad politicians to show off their green awareness and commitment.

Indeed, the same week the UN report was causing such hand-wringing, Members of the European Parliament were urged by environmental groups and Green MEPs to mandate lower pesticide use across Europe. The Pesticide Action Network Europe argues that children are most vulnerable to pesticide exposure and -- with laughable specificity given the paucity of data of any harm from such exposure -- claims children are 164 times more at risk from up to 13 organophosphate pesticides than adults.

Hiltrud Breyer, a German Green MEP, said that at 260,000 tonnes per year, Europe accounts for 25% of the world's consumption of pesticides. "We should show the red card to dangerous substances such as those which cause cancer", she said. "People in Europe don't want poison on their tables".

Breyer actually prepared the MEP's environment committee's official stance on the subject, in response to the European Commission's proposals to halve pesticide use. Inevitably, MEPs agreed to numerous measures that will make it harder to use pesticides in future. MEPs supported a general ban on aerial spraying of pesticides and heavy restrictions on the use of them near schools, playgrounds, parks, recreation grounds and hospitals.

In their well-meant desire to eliminate potential risks, MEPs have overlooked a stone-cold certainty. Infections carried by insects, especially malaria, are mankind's most successful killers. And unfortunately US officials preceded their European counterparts in ignoring the signals. When West Nile Virus arrived in New York around 1999, probably carried by a bird which had been bitten by a mosquito, widespread insecticide spraying of New York state, Connecticut and New Jersey would probably have controlled the disease.

Instead, officials dithered, as environmental groups protested, arguing spraying was more dangerous than the disease. West Nile virus has now spread to every state in the union (except Hawaii and Alaska). Over 700 people have died from the disease. Meanwhile, the only people who die from pesticides are those who use them recklessly or deliberately drink it to commit suicide; the same as can be said for kitchen cleaner.

Meanwhile, mosquito experts remind us that mosquitoes can survive almost anywhere. Professor Paul Reiter, of the Pasteur Institute in Paris gave written evidence to the British House of Lords of a malaria epidemic in the Soviet Union in the 1920s which had a peak incidence of 13 million cases per year, and 600,000 deaths. Transmission was high in many parts of Siberia, and there were 30,000 cases and 10,000 deaths in Archangel, close to the Arctic circle. Professor Reiter insists that the principal factors involved in the alarming increase in malaria are deforestation, new agricultural practices, population increase, urbanization, poverty, civil conflict, war, AIDS, resistance to anti-malarials, and resistance to insecticides, not climate - worrying about the weather is a tragic distraction.

Donald Roberts, emeritus professor of tropical disease at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Maryland, in evidence to a Senate Committee hearing in October, tried to explain these real risks. But the chairman Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) was only interested in hearing how a warmer world would bring more disease-carrying mosquitoes.

Some MEPs and US legislators are surely old enough to remember that malaria persisted in many parts of Europe and US until the advent of DDT. One of the last malarious countries in Europe was Holland: the WHO finally declared it malaria-free in 1970. Unlike West Nile virus, malaria is easily spread among humans. Outbreaks are occurring with increasing frequency (notably in Virginia) and we may be neutralizing our capacity to protect ourselves.

Green self-fulfilling prophecies are upon us. Unless we expose them today, we will suffer at the hands of more dangerous policies in the future.


Global Warming and Nature's Thermostat: Precipitation Systems

Some excerpts below from a comprehensive article by by Roy W. Spencer, an expert on global temperature monitoring with satellites


Here I present a simplified (but hopefully accurate) explanation of the basics of global warming - call it a global warming primer. First, I will address the issue of how warm we are today, and some possible explanations for that warmth. Next, I'll briefly describe the Earth's natural greenhouse effect and global warming theory. Finally, I will explain the "thermostatic control" mechanism that I believe stabilizes the climate system against substantial global warming from mankind's greenhouse gas emissions. Some of what I will present is an extension of Richard Lindzen's "infrared iris" effect, support for which was published on August 9, 2007 (see August Research Update, above).

The bottom line is this: Precipitation systems ultimately control the magnitude of the Earth's total greenhouse effect -- which is mostly due to water vapor and clouds -- and those systems change in ways that offset the small warming tendency from mankind's greenhouse gas emissions.

Warming Over the Last Century

There is little doubt that globally averaged temperatures are unusually warm today (at this writing, 2007). While a majority of climate researchers believe that this warmth is mostly (or completely) due to the activities of mankind, this is as much a statement of faith as it is science. For in order to come to such a conclusion, we would need to know how much of the temperature increase we've seen since the 1800's is natural. So, let's examine current temperatures in their historical context. Over the last 100 years or so (see Fig.1) globally-averaged surface temperature trends have exhibited three distinct phases.

The warming up until 1940 represents the end of the multi-century cool period known as the "Little Ice Age" which was, historically, a particularly harsh period for humanity. This warming must have been natural because mankind had not yet emitted substantial amounts of greenhouse gases. Then, the slight cooling between 1940 and the 1970's occurred in spite of rapid increases in manmade greenhouse gases. One theory is that this cooling is manmade -- from particulate pollution. Finally, fairly steady warming has occurred since the 1970's. It should be noted that there is still some controversy over whether the upward temperature trend seen in Fig. 1 still contains some spurious warming from the urban heat island effect, which is due to a replacement of natural vegetation with manmade structures (buildings, parking lots, etc.) around thermometer sites.

Warming Over the Last Millenium

At least in the context of the last century or more, today's global temperatures are unusually warm. But when was the last time that the Earth was this warm?. You might have heard claims in the news that we are warmer now than anytime in the last 1,000 years. This claim is based upon the "Hockey Stick" temperature curve (Fig. 2) which used temperature 'proxies', mostly tree rings, to reconstruct a multi-century temperature record. That "warmest in 1,000 years" claim lost much of its support, however, when a National Acadamy of Science review panel concluded in 2006 that the most that can be said with any confidence is that the Earth is warmer now than anytime in the last 400 years. Note that this is a good thing, since most of those 400 years occurred during the Little ice Age.

But it turns out we don't need to use "proxies" for temperature like tree ring measurements -- there are actual temperature 'measurements' that go back over 1,000 years. Borehole temperatures are taken deep in the ground, where the seasonal cycle in surface temperature sends an annual temperature pulse down into the Earth. Dating of these underground temperature pulses from Greenland (Fig. 3) reveals much warmer temperatures 1,000 years ago than today.

Note that such methods for dating temperatures cause a smoothing of the signal in time; any enhanced warmth of individual decades would be smeared out. This is a fundamental problem with any comparisons of today's warmth with reconstructions of past climates. Those reconstructions can not resolve individual warm periods of 10 or 20 years duration. If we could see those past temperature spikes, which undoubtedly occurred during the MWP, our current warmth would seem even less significant.

Of course, there are also historical records of the Vikings farming in Greenland, as well as of the gradual cooling that led to the abandonment of those farms, and the appearance of icebergs that started posing a hazard to the Viking's travel by boat.

Thus, we see that substantial natural variations in temperature can, and do, occur -- which should be no surprise. So, is it possible that much of the warming we have seen since the 1970's is due to natural processes that we do not yet fully understand? I believe so. To believe that all of today's warmth can be blamed on manmade pollution is a statement of faith that assumes the role of natural variations in the climate system is small or nonexistent......

Precipitation Systems: Nature's Air Conditioner?

It is well known that precipitation is an important process in the atmosphere. Besides being necessary for life on Earth, all of the rain and snow that falls to the ground represents excess heat that has been removed from the Earth's surface during the evaporation of water. That heat is deposited in the middle and upper tropopshere when the water vapor condenses into clouds, some of which then produce precipitation that falls to the surface. After it reaches the surface, that water is once again available to remove more heat from evaporation, starting the cycle all over again.

I believe it can be demonstrated that precipitation systems ultimately control most of the Earth's natural greenhouse effect. Most of the atmosphere (the lower 80%, called the troposphere) is continuously being recycled through precipitation systems (see Fig. 7), on a time scale of weeks. Winds in the troposphere's 'boundary layer' pick up water vapor that has been evaporated from the surface, and then transport this vapor to precipitation systems, where an equal amount of vapor (on average) is removed as rain or snow.

Partly because precipitation systems cover only several percent of the Earth's surface at any given time, even most climate researchers do not appreciate the controlling influence these systems have on the climate system. All of the humid air flowing into precipitation systems in the lower troposphere ends up flowing out of those same systems, mostly in the middle and upper troposphere. (The only exception is thunderstorm downdrafts, which you have likely experienced before). That air flowing out has moisture (water vapor and cloud) amounts that are controlled by precipitation processes within the systems. This constitutes the direct effect that precipitation systems have on the Earth's natural greenhouse effect.

For instance, the cloud-free, dry air that is slowly sinking over the world's deserts got its dryness from air flowing out the top of precipitation systems. Eventually, that air will leave the desert, pick up moisture evaporated from the land or ocean, and be cycled once again through a rain or snow system.

Similarly, the cold air masses that form over continental areas in the wintertime are extremely dry because the air within them came from the upper troposphere after it had been exhausted out of a rain or snow system. If this were not the case, wintertime high pressure systems would not be clear and dry as is observed. They would instead become saturated with water vapor as they cooled, and would become filled with clouds.

Thus, we begin to see that much of the Earth's natural greenhouse effect is under the control of these systems. It doesn't matter whether they are tropical thunderstorms, or high latitude snowstorms, it is still the air flowing out of them in the upper troposphere that determines the humidity characteristics of the cloud-free regions everywhere else.

I want to make it clear that this average picture of how precipitation systems behave is indeed contained in today's computerized climate models. What I beleieve isn't contained in those models is what we are interested in with global warming: How do precipitation systems change the Earth's greenhouse effect in response to mankind's small addition of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere? This is where I believe the models are wrong...they amplify the water-vapor-plus-clouds greenhouse effect; whereas I believe that precipitation systems in reality do just the opposite...they slightly reduce the greenhouse effect to keep it in line with the amount of available sunlight.

...But There's More....

Precipitation systems' influence on the Earth's natural greenhouse effect doesn't end with their direct control over the atmosphere's humidity distribution. They also indirectly control cloud amounts in regions thousands of miles away. The heat trasported upward in precipitation systems largely determines the vertical temperature profile of the global troposphere. That temperature profile, in turn, exerts a strong influence on cloud systems. For instance, there are vast areas of marine stratus clouds in the lower troposphere that form over the eastern ends of the subtropical oceans where cold water wells up from below (see Fig. 8). Those clouds form because the moist air from ocean evaporation gets trapped below a temperature inversion (warm air layer).

But guess what causes that warm air layer? Precipitation systems! The air is unusually warm because it is being forced to sink in response to the air beeing forced to rise in precipitation systems by condensing water vapor.

[NOTE: Some scientists will claim that the sinking air forming the warm inversion is "caused" by radiative cooling, but this is incorrect. The only way for a deep layer of tropospheric air to sink in a statically stable environment is for it to be forced to sink -- which only happens in response to warm, moist rising air in precipitation systems. Radiative cooling no more "causes air to sink" that the cooling of a car's engine causes the engine to run.]

It should now be increasingly clear to you that we can not know how sensitive the climate system is to mankind's small enhancement of the Earth's natural greenhouse effect without understanding how the greenhouse effect is controlled by precipitation systems. Unfortunately, precipitation is probably the least understood of all atmospheric processes.

In a little-appreciated research publication, Renno, Emanuel, and Stone (1994, "Radiative-convective model with an explicit hydrologic cycle, 1: Formulation and sensitivity to model parameters", J. Geophys. Res., 99, 14429-14441) demonstrated that if precipitation systems were to become more efficient at converting atmospheric water vapor into precipitation, the result would be a cooler climate with less precipitation. Thus, precipitation systems have the potential to be, in effect, the Earth's 'air conditioner', switching on when things get too warm. The big question is, do they behave this way or not?

Precipitation in Climate Models

Climate model representations of precipitation processes are very crude. In fact, for warm air masses, the models don't actually grow precipitation systems. They instead use simple 'parameterizations' that are meant to represent the net effects of precipitation on the atmosphere in some statistical sense. There is nothing inherently wrong with using parameterizations to replace more complex physical processes- as long as they accurately represent those processes.

What we really need to know is how the efficiency of precipitation systems changes with temperature. Unfortunately, this critical understanding is still lacking. Most of the emphasis has been on getting the models to behave realistically in how they reproduce average rainfall amounts and their geographic distribution -- not in how the model handles changes in rainfall efficiency with warming.

But we now have new satellite evidence which sheds light on this question. Our recently published research shows that when the middle and upper tropical troposphere temporarily warms from enhanced rainfall activity, the precipitation systems there produce less high-altitude ice clouds. This, in turn, reduces the natural greenhouse effect of the atmosphere, allowing enhanced infrared cooling to outer space, which in turn causes falling temperatures.

This is a natural, negative feedback process that is counter-intuitive for climate scientists, most of whom believe that more tropical rainfall activity would cause more high-level cloudiness, not less. Whether this process also operates on the long time scale involved with global warming is not yet known for sure. Nevertheless, climate models are supposedly built based upon observed atmospheric behavior, and I challenge the modelers to include this natural cooling process in their models, and then see how much global waming those models produce.

A Summary, and the Future

Climate modelers and researchers generally believe that an increase in the greenhouse effect from manmade greenhouse gases causes a warming effect that is similar to that from an increase in sunlight. I believe that this is incorrect.

It is now reasonably certain that changes in solar radiation cause temperature changes on Earth. For instance, the 1991 eruption of Mt. Pinatubo caused a 2% to 4% reduction in sunlight, resulting in two years of below normal temperatures, especially over Northern Hemisphere land areas.

But the Earth's natural greenhouse effect (again, mostly from water vapor and clouds) is under the control of weather systems -- especially precipitation systems -- which are generated in response to solar heating. Either directly or indirectly, those precipitation systems determine the moisture (water vapor and cloud) characteristics for most of the rest of the atmosphere.

Precipitation systems could, theoretically, cause a much warmer climate on Earth than is currently observed. They could allow more water vapor to build up in the atmosphere, but they don't. Why not?

I believe that precipitation systems act as a thermostat, causing cooling when temperatures get too high, and warming when temperatures get too low. It is amazing to think that the ways in which tiny water droplets and ice particles combine in clouds to form rain and snow could determine the course of global warming, but this might well be the case.

I believe that it is the inadequate handling of precipitation systems -- specifically, how they adjust atmospheric moisture contents during changes in temperature -- that is the reason for climate model predictions of excessive warming from increasing greenhouse gas emissions. To believe otherwise is to have faith that climate models are sufficiently advanced to contain all of the important processes that control the Earth's natural greenhouse effect.

I predict that further research will reveal some other cause for the warming we have experienced since the 1970's -- for instance, a change in some feature of the sun's activity; or, a small change in cloudiness resulting from a small change in the general circulation of the atmosphere (such as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, 'PDO'). In the meantime, a high priority research effort should be the study of changes in precipitation systems with changes in temperature -- especially how they control global water vapor and cloud amounts.

Fortunately, we now have several NASA satellites in Earth orbit that are gathering information that will be immensely valuable for determining how the Earth's climate system adjusts during natural temperature fluctuations. It is through these satellite measurements of temperature, solar and infrared radiation, clouds, and precipitation that we will be able to test and improve the climate models, which will then hopefully lead to more confident predictions of global warming.

Much more here

The End of Global Warming Alarmism?

The BBC has recently reported that a UN expert has condemned the growing use of crops to produce biofuels as a replacement for petrol as a "crime against humanity."

Christopher Monckton of Brenchley, former Policy Adviser to Lady Thatcher whilst she was Prime Minister, has just published "35 Inconvenient Truths" on major errors in Al Gore's film, together with other follow-up papers. See here

Last Friday in the US Senate, Senator James Inhofe gave a two hour speech on "Global warming alarmism reaches a tipping point", as we are "witnessing an international awakening of scientists who are speaking out in opposition to Al Gore, The United Nations, Hollywood elitists and media-driven 'consensus' on man-made global warming". See here

IPCC reviewer and climate researcher Dr. Vincent Gray, has ridiculed the IPCC process as "dangerous nonsense." In the past few months we have seen an unstoppable wave of scientists and experts who are now questioning and becoming sceptical of anthropogenic global warming.

But how soon will we see even a small percentage of the vast budgets being currently wasted on climate research, which could be used to provide safe drinking water and adequate sanitation, food and shelter, and HIV/AIDS reduction to save milions of lives now and in the immediate future?


Environmentalists don't like Halloween either

There's not much that people do that Greenies do like

The most frightening part of Halloween is what it is doing to our planet, according to some environmental experts. When you think of Halloween, the environment may not be the first thing that comes to mind. However, the Nature Conservancy is out to make Halloween eco-friendly by publishing a segment on their Web site called "Green Your Halloween." "Green Your Halloween" warns against buying "chocolate that's unsustainably harvested, prepackaged costumes made of non-recyclable materials, lighted decorations that suck energy like a vampire and pumpkins trucked in from thousands of miles away."

Melanie Lenart, research associate for the Institute for the Study of Planet Earth, said too much waste is generated on Halloween, and people should take the time to reduce their purchasing of disposable items. "When you start packaging things individually, that just creates more waste, which goes in landfills, and that's a problem," she said.

The Web site encourages readers to buy pumpkins at local farmer's markets instead of ones shipped from far away because the environmental costs of food transportation are often overlooked. "Anything that uses gas or oil is increasing our greenhouse gases, which is increasing the problem of global warming that we're facing," Lenart said. "It's scary how much food is contributing to our greenhouse gas problem, when it doesn't necessarily have to," she said.

People can help the environment if they dispose of leftover pumpkins themselves by burying them in their yards, instead of throwing them in the garbage to be taken to a landfill. "About 25 percent of the nation's waste that goes into landfills is actually food products that could be composted." Lenart said. "Landfills create methane, which is a major greenhouse gas and about 23 times more potent than carbon dioxide."

The site also suggests an alternative to the traditional pumpkin carving: faces carved in peeled apples and soaked in one cup of lemon juice mixed with one tablespoon of salt. If the apples are aired for a week, they'll shrivel into deformed "shrunken heads," according to the Nature Conservancy Web site.

The Web site also warns against chocolate made from the mass-production of cacao beans, often grown with synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. "Most conventional agriculture uses fertilizers and pesticides, which can be problematic," Lenart said. As an alternative, the Web site suggests homemade treats and provides links to other environment-friendly Halloween treats, such as National Geographic's "The Green Guide's healthy Halloween" (, and Endangered Species Chocolate (, which sells pesticide-free chocolate and donates 10 percent of its profits to help endangered species.

Because Halloween is all about the costumes, the site encouraged homemade costumes available at used clothing stores rather than the store-bought costumes that are non-recyclable and covered in packaging.

And if you want to take the extra step to raise awareness about environmental issues with your costume this year, suggests "10 eco-friendly costume ideas," such as dressing up like a compact fluorescent light bulb or even "global warming." "Green Halloween" also encourages people to limit the amount of lighted Halloween decorations they use, and encourages trick-or-treaters to carry a reusable tote bag for candy, instead of paper or plastic, which kill marine animals, pollute the environment, and kill more than 14 million trees annually.



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.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I don't get it. Spencer seems to be saying precipitation systems directly control water vapor levels and temperature. But ultimately it's temperature that determines how much water vapor remains dissolved in the atmosphere. A seemingly modest but long-term forcing like CO2 accumulation influences water vapor levels. So I'm not sure how he can use precip systems as a basis for calling into question (again) the view that the ongoing human amplification of the greenhouse effect is primary.