Monday, December 24, 2007

It's not News Unless it's Reported by a Mainstream Journalist

The Leftist "Media Matters" is scandalized because Fox News reported an anti-Greenie story that was originally put on the net via a blog rather than by one of the mainstream news organizations. Fox was reporting -- HORROR -- that a group of 400 scientists have rejected the "consensus" view that the world is warming up. The scientific "consensus" on global warming has unravelled and we can't have that!

How pathetic they are. They couldn't question the truth of the story -- because it is true. The only thing to criticize that they could find was who reported the event. We must bow down to the Leftist media and let them tell us what to think, apparently. We are naughty children from whom some information must be kept hidden. They are in for a lot of disappointment from now on, I would say.

The blog concerned was run by the GOP side of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee -- which makes the squawk from Media Matters all the more absurd. How did putting the info on a blog differ from putting out a press release? I suppose the difference is that the media have the chance to ignore a press release. An important difference to be sure.


The Greenie site called "Grist" is also in mourning. Excerpt:
"One final (depressing) note: How effective is Inhofe's media outreach compared to that of the entire community of climate scientists? Well, according to technorati (PDF), as of today, Dec. 21, the IPCC Synthesis report has had 278 blog reactions since its release November 17, whereas Inhofe's "report," issued just yesterday (Thursday), has already had over 300 blog reactions."

Grist was also sad that the NYT ran the "consensus-shattering" news -- a sort of "betrayed by our own" feeling, apparently.

The only substantial point in the Grist article was what we have come to expect of the Green/Left -- attempts to discredit the personalities concerned. They said that some of the scientists were not "prominent" enough -- even though some of them were very prominent indeed.

That the Grist post was a "watermelon" (Green on the outside, red on the inside) effort was shown by its footnote: This post was created for, a project of the Center for American Progress Action Fund

Another typically abusive Leftist response here

The "Consensus" On Global Warming Inside the IPCC Report

Post below lifted from Flopping Aces. See the original for links

With MSM reports coming out daily like "Walruses Die; Global Warming Blamed", "Global Warming "Tipping Points" Reached, Scientist Says" or my favorite "Small group of US experts insist global warming not man-made" it's little wonder many believe in the hoax known as man-made global warming. Especially in light of the new IPCC research.

Of course if you look hard enough at the IPCC you will find a particular fact thats been overlooked. There is no consensus on the man-made baloney:
An example of rampant misrepresentation of IPCC reports is the frequent assertion that `hundreds of IPCC scientists' are known to support the following statement, arguably the most important of the WG I report, namely "Greenhouse gas forcing has very likely caused most of the observed global warming over the last 50 years."

In total, only 62 scientists reviewed the chapter in which this statement appears, the critical chapter 9, "Understanding and Attributing Climate Change". Of the comments received from the 62 reviewers of this critical chapter, almost 60% of them were rejected by IPCC editors. And of the 62 expert reviewers of this chapter, 55 had serious vested interest, leaving only seven expert reviewers who appear impartial.

Two of these seven were contacted by NRSP for the purposes of this article - Dr. Vincent Gray of New Zealand and Dr. Ross McKitrick of the University of Guelph, Canada. Concerning the "Greenhouse gas forcing ." statement above, Professor McKitrick explained "A categorical summary statement like this is not supported by the evidence in the IPCC WG I report. Evidence shown in the report suggests that other factors play a major role in climate change, and the specific effects expected from greenhouse gases have not been observed."

Dr. Gray labeled the WG I statement as "Typical IPCC doubletalk" asserting "The text of the IPCC report shows that this is decided by a guess from persons with a conflict of interest, not from a tested model."

Determining the level of support expressed by reviewers' comments is subjective but a slightly generous evaluation indicates that just five reviewers endorsed the crucial ninth chapter. Four had vested interests and the other made only a single comment for the entire 11-chapter report. The claim that 2,500 independent scientist reviewers agreed with this, the most important statement of the UN climate reports released this year, or any other statement in the UN climate reports, is nonsense.

So it appears that this "consensus" is really seven impartial scientists, and even one of those called the assertion by the IPCC that greenhouse gases have caused most of the global warming "doubletalk".

Now that is something the environazi's should hang their hat on. Sigh.... And then no one noticed the letter sent to Ban Ki-Moon signed by 100 scientists which said the following:
It is not possible to stop climate change, a natural phenomenon that has affected humanity through the ages. Geological, archaeological, oral and written histories all attest to the dramatic challenges posed to past societies from unanticipated changes in temperature, precipitation, winds and other climatic variables. We therefore need to equip nations to become resilient to the full range of these natural phenomena by promoting economic growth and wealth generation.

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has issued increasingly alarming conclusions about the climatic influences of human-produced carbon dioxide (CO2), a non-polluting gas that is essential to plant photosynthesis. While we understand the evidence that has led them to view CO2 emissions as harmful, the IPCC's conclusions are quite inadequate as justification for implementing policies that will markedly diminish future prosperity. In particular, it is not established that it is possible to significantly alter global climate through cuts in human greenhouse gas emissions. On top of which, because attempts to cut emissions will slow development, the current UN approach of CO2 reduction is likely to increase human suffering from future climate change rather than to decrease it.

Attempts to prevent global climate change from occurring are ultimately futile, and constitute a tragic misallocation of resources that would be better spent on humanity's real and pressing problems.

No, the MSM missed that one in their zeal to help their compatriots on the left push through agendas that ultimately lead to Socialism::
"The media obsession has been on the efforts of delegates at the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change conference to craft an agreement for a climate treaty that would take effect after the Kyoto Treaty expires in 2011. Though it appeared the meeting would end with no deal, the delegates looked to be near a compromise late Friday. That treaty is likely to be as effective as the useless, symbolic Kyoto protocol with which no nation has yet complied.
A day earlier, however, a panel at the IPCC conference titled "A Global CO2 Tax" took a step that will have a more lasting impact than an empty agreement. It urged the U.N. to adopt taxes on carbon dioxide emissions that would be "legally binding to all nations." And guess who would be hit the hardest? That's right, the tax, if levied, would put an especially high burden on the U.S.
"Finally, someone will pay for these costs" related to global warming, Othmar Schwank, a global warming busybody from Switzerland, told Sen. James Inhofe's office. We imagine Schwank, a panel participant, took great glee in saying the U.S. and other developed nations should "contribute significantly more to this global fund."

And now you see the real agenda by our environazi's......Socialism:
The driving force of the environmental movement is not a cleaner planet - or a world that doesn't get too hot, in the case of the global warming issue - but a leftist, egalitarian urge to redistribute wealth. A CO2 tax does this and more, choking economic growth in the U.S. and punishing Americans for being the voracious consumers that we are.
Eco-activists have been so successful in distracting the public from their real intentions that they're becoming less guarded in discussing their ultimate goal.

"A climate change response must have at its heart a redistribution of wealth and resources," Emma Brindal, a "climate justice campaign coordinator" for Friends of the Earth Australia, wrote Wednesday on the Climate Action Network's blog."

My favorite:
"When the chips are down I think democracy is a less important goal than is the protection of the planet from the death of life, the end of life on it," he says. "This has got to be imposed on people whether they like it or not."

Long live freedom! As long as you're doing and paying what we tell you.

Al Gore: enviro-tyrant

In aspiring to `control the destiny of all generations to come', Gore has unwittingly unveiled his anti-democratic streak

As he flies around the world to tell people that they should fly less, or organises rock-star extravaganzas to tell the masses they should live more meekly, some sceptics have asked: `Who the hell does Al Gore think he is?'

Well, now we know. He seems to think he is the spokesman for the human species, the legitimate representative of every human being who has ever lived or who will ever live in the future. He thinks he and his supporters `control the destiny of all generations to come', a boast that even the worst dictators in history never dared to make. Al Gore is an enviro-tyrant with delusions of global domination.

In his speech at the climate change conference in Bali last week, Gore expressed some deeply anti-democratic views. He told an audience of 1,000, including NGOs, green campaigners and journalists, as well as UN representatives and government officials, that they should `feel a sense of exhilaration that we are the people alive at a moment in history when we can make all the difference'. He suggested the audience should not be worried about being seen as a minority, a tiny brave group that recognises the `planetary emergency' facing Earth and its inhabitants, but rather should consider it a `privilege to be alive at a moment when a relatively small group of people could control the destiny of all generations to come' (1). [Reminscent of the French revolution]

Throughout history, from the feudalistic era through the Stalinist dictatorships of the twentieth century to places like Burma and Nepal today, vast swathes of mankind have considered it a drag to be `alive at a moment' when `small groups of people' controlled theirs and others' destinies. Now we're supposed to see it as a privilege that an apparently right-minded clique, which claims to represent `the human species', would like to shape the human destiny as it sees fit.

Gore openly expressed hostility towards the democratic process. He described certain elected governments as `obstacles' to the environmentalist agenda being drawn up in Bali, and called on the `relatively small group' of eco-enlightened ones to ignore or leap over these obstacles. `My own country, the United States, is principally responsible for obstructing progress here in Bali.' he said. `But if we look realistically at the situation that confronts us, then wisdom would call for moving forward in spite of that obstacle.' (2) Who needs to take into consideration the views of a government elected by tens of millions of Americans when you have `realism' and `wisdom' on your side?

Gore seems to believe that it is precisely the fact that he is unelected, and thus above the grubby process of winning public support and representing public interest, that makes him an honourable and fearless representative of humankind. `I am not an official of the United States and I am not bound by diplomatic niceties', he boasted. `So I am going to speak an inconvenient truth [about the planetary emergency facing humanity].' (3) Here, planetary interests, as represented by a self-styled, unelected spokesman for Mother Earth, trump the public interest, as represented by politicians who worked to win the support of millions of Americans. President George W Bush might represent the desires - yuk! - of a majority of the American people, but Gore represents something far more important: planet Earth itself, and all of the billions of human beings yet to be born. As the numerous newspaper headlines said in celebration of Gore's speech: `The world cannot wait for George Bush.' Or for his 50million supporters, presumably (4).

Gore opened his speech in Bali with the words: `We, the human species.' Nothing better sums up his megalomaniacal delusions than those four words. American governments have claimed to speak for `We, the people' (some with more right and legitimacy than others). Outside of the democratic process, tyrannical leaders have often claimed to represent `the nation' or `the masses': apparently they have some special emotional insight into what the people need and desire. But no one has ever claimed to represent the human species before.

Unlike those who merely represent a people or a nation, the self-described representatives of the human species, that `relatively small group' of privileged warriors for planetkind, have a blank cheque to do and say as they please. Legitimate representatives of the people are dependent on the people's support: they are confined and directed by the electoral process. Representatives of the nation are restricted by borders: their writ extends only to the ends of their sovereign territory. But a wannabe representative of the human species like Al Gore recognises no democratic mandate or territorial border, because he thinks he represents every human being who has ever existed, who exists now, and who will exist in the future: the species itself. Gore's mandate is timeless and borderless, and it most certainly does not require the rubber-stamping of the mass of the population, that relatively large group of people who apparently do not appreciate the urgency of today's `planetary emergency'.

For the past seven years, Gore and his supporters have claimed that he was robbed of presidential victory by the conniving Bush regime. Gore has posed as a sincere democrat whose place in the White House was stolen from him by Dubya. Yet today, Gore claims to speak for future generations (who cannot vote, on account of the fact that they aren't born yet), the planet (which has no vote, on account of the fact that it is not a sentient or rational organism), and the human species itself (a natural/biological category that falls outside of the political process). And he is cheered by the very same people who wept when Bush allegedly stole his election. It seems that when it comes to `saving the planet', you can be as undemocratic and dictatorial as you like.

Gore's off-planet fantasies about being some kind of new Timelord who speaks for the human species expose the anti-democratic strain in the politics of environmentalism. Many green-leaning leaders and spokesmen claim that the threat facing the planet is so dire that normal democratic debate and processes must be suspended in order to deal with it. Dictators of old used to impose states of emergency in order to freeze democracy; today's eco-megalomaniacs use the more PC phrase `planetary emergency' in an attempt to justify allowing small groups of people to override the `obstacle' of individual nations' democratic processes.

Where the modern democratic system has been defined by ideas of sovereign independence and territorial integrity - where a people are, at least on paper, the masters of their nation's fate - today we are told that the threat of climate change makes the institutions of sovereignty obsolete. Because pollution and CO2 emissions are, in Gore's words, `invisible' and `global', climate change activism must override borders and do away with `diplomatic niceties' (5). In the real world, the new green disregard for sovereignty has allowed powerful nations in the West to demonise India and China for daring to develop, on the extremely dodgy basis that India and China's development is poisoning us over here (6).

Modern democratic politics was also traditionally defined by time constraints. In America, presidents can only serve for four years at a time, and never for longer than eight years; in Britain the PM must submit to the electorate's interrogation and judgement every four or five years. But in the name of saving the planet, both elected officials and unelected campaigners now push through far-reaching policies to `protect future generations'. They draw up 50-year plans for tackling climate change, and demand that nations cut their emissions by 60 or 80 per cent by 2020 or 2050, without thinking about what voters in four years' time might consider to be an acceptable level of carbon output or a desirable level of industrial development (7). Democratic politics was also once driven by debate: it involved putting forward proposals, arguing the toss over them, and then deciding whether and how to act on them. Today, green-fingered officials and activists frequently argue that the threat to Gaia and her organisms (that includes us) is so great that we must ditch debate. Instead we should have `action, action, action'. As Gore says, `The debate about global warming is over' (8).

Once an individual or a campaign group can pose as the mouthpiece for the needs of the planet, there is no limit to their authority. Freed from the shackles of responsibility to an electorate, and from the time and territorial restraints of democratic politics, campaigners can make sweeping declarations about the needs of the human species and about what is good for people now and in time immemorial. `We are one people on one planet with one destiny', said Gore in Bali (9).

That sounds nice and hippyish. But it is actually an attempt to deny and undermine the stuff of politics itself: debate; disagreement; the clash of interests; heated scraps over the destiny of mankind. We don't only have `one destiny'. My desired destiny for mankind is a whole world away from Al Gore's, just as the needs and desires of people in poorer parts of Africa are different to the needs and desires of those 1,000 well-heeled people who packed the conference hall in Bali.

Airing these differences, and arguing over them, is politics itself - or it will be, once we do something about the anti-democratic, debate-phobic Al Gore and his acolytes in the environmentalist lobby.


Return of the Skeptical Environmentalist

In his new book Cool It, Bjorn Lomborg shows how `the science' on global warming - covering everything from polar bear extinction to the disappearance of Greenland - has been distorted and politicised

Climate change has dominated the political agenda throughout 2007, making previous debates about global warming look like mere water-cooler gossip....

In the midst of all this hyped-up consensus and overheated alarmism, the return of the `Skeptical Environmentalist' Bjorn Lomborg, with his new book Cool It, provides some very welcome perspective. Lomborg has little doubt that global warming is occurring, that human activities are a factor, and that all of this presents us with problems and challenges. However, he is adamant that there is no need to panic, that attempts to cut greenhouse emissions now are a costly waste of time, and that adaptation for the medium-term future, coupled with investment in research and development (R&D) for the longer term, would make for a more sensible way forward.

Beginning with the much-proclaimed demise of the polar bear and working his way through other hot topics such as heat-related deaths, sea-level rise, hurricanes and disease, Lomborg examines the specialist literature to show that many of the stories that arise in the media or that are promoted by campaigners and politicians are simply not supported by the facts.

He starts by examining the plight of the polar bear because it `encapsulates the problems with many of the other scares - once you take a look at the supporting data the narrative falls apart'. In contrast to the argument put forward by Al Gore, the World Wildlife Fund, and others - that polar bears may well become extinct due to a loss of habitat - Lomborg examines the key research that such stories rest on, conducted by the Polar Bear Specialist Group of the World Conservation Union in 2001, to uncover a very different story. According to Lomborg, what this group actually found was that of 20 distinct populations of polar bears, `one or possibly two were declining', while `more than half were known to be stable, and two subpopulations were actually increasing'. Apparently, the report also found that, thanks to the regulation of hunting, the global polar bear population has increased from about 5,000 in the 1960s to 25,000 nowadays.

Since Lomborg made this point, he has been criticised for failing to refer to a more recent 2006 report by the same group, `which showed that of 19 populations five were declining, five were stable and two were increasing; and for the remaining six there was not enough data to judge'. Lomborg apparently retorted that the latest research did not detract from his key argument that the `best way to protect polar bears was not to reduce greenhouse gas emissions but to reduce hunting' (6).

Lomborg's second case study in climate change alarmism is our understanding of the 35,000 human lives lost during the European heatwave of 2003, a story that has featured prominently in the arguments of those advocating the need to curb carbon emissions right now. Lomborg agrees that a warmer world will result in an increased frequency of exceptional heat events such as the 2003 heatwave, and that therefore we are likely to see an increase in the number of `heat deaths'. But again his concern is to put this issue into perspective. As he points out, `cold spells will decrease just as much as heatwaves increase', and this is important because `cold deaths' are a bigger killer than `heat deaths'. According to Lomborg, `every year more than 200,000 people die from excess heat in Europe' compared to about 1.5million people who die from excess cold. The data suggests that any increased mortality due to increased temperatures would be outweighed by much larger declines in cold-related mortalities.....

Lomborg devotes several pages to a discussion of the role played by potential ice sheet collapse in order to demonstrate why the 20 feet of sea level rise posited by Al Gore in his influential film/book/roadshow combo An Inconvenient Truth is so out of kilter with most other people's thinking. Lomborg points out that `IPCC estimates that the very worst additional increase to be expected from Greenland could be 20cm over the century', and that to achieve the scale or sea level rise discussed by Gore would require figures `40 times higher than the absolutely highest model estimate and an astounding 174 times higher that [sic] the average'.

Lomborg also notes that the IPCC expects that with sufficient warming, `a rather, but not unrealistically, high temperature increase globally of 3.1 degrees Celsius', Greenland's ice will disappear. However, given that this temperature increase would not be reached until around 2100, and that it would need to be sustained for `many, many centuries' for Greenland's ice to start disappearing, Lomborg argues that this seems unrealistic because we will by then already be in the twenty-second century and will therefore have developed CO2 alternatives.

Given the heaps of headlines that we have been treated to about major cities being submerged in floods of biblical proportions, with scant if any mention of the huge timescales in question even for this theoretical possibility to occur, I know who I think provides a fairer overview of `the science'.

Essentially, Lomborg's argument is that, on the basis of our current understanding of climate systems and the role played by CO2, we will eventually have to cut CO2 emissions significantly. Right now, however, is a bad time to be worrying about it because the harmful effects of climate change in the medium-term future are manageable, and can be managed far more cheaply than can the massive cuts in CO2 that would be required to avoid those effects.

So according to Lomborg, we could get all the world's current energy from solar cells taking up space equivalent to 2.6 per cent of the area of the Sahara - the reason we don't is because `it would be horrendously costly'. Based on the fact that solar energy has come down in price by about 50 per cent per decade over the past 30 years, Lomborg estimates: `Even at a much slower pace, it will probably become competitive before mid-century for many uses, and before the end of the century for most uses.' He points out that this is only one such opportunity, and proposes that all nations should commit themselves to spending 0.05 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) in R&D on non-carbon emitting energy technologies as a long-term approach to tackling global warming.

In Cool It's penultimate chapter, `The Politics of Global Warming', Lomborg discusses how the science of climate change is becoming politicised. He argues that when the chairman of the IPCC, Rajendra Pachauri, argues for dramatic CO2 cuts, the IPCC scientists `effectively become agenda-driven advocates', who misuse `their standing as scientists to pursue a political agenda' which will eventually undermine the credibility of the scientific discipline....

Lomborg notes that some climate scientists have become concerned about this process. Most notably he cites Mike Hulme, the founding director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research in the UK, who spoke out against the use of the language of catastrophe, tipping points and points of no return. Writing for the BBC in November 2006, Hulme asked: `Why is it not just campaigners, but politicians and scientists too, who are openly confusing the language of fear, terror and disaster with the observable physical reality of climate change, actively ignoring the careful hedging which surrounds science's predictions?'

Hulme also argued that `the discourse of catastrophe is a political and rhetorical device to change the frame of reference for the emerging negotiations around what happens when the Kyoto Protocol runs out after 2012'. He remarked that the UK government-sponsored conference of February 2005, titled `Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change', `served the government's purposes of softening-up the G8 Gleneagles summit through a frenzied week of "climate change is worse than we thought" news reporting and group-think.' (9)

In 2007 alone, we have witnessed a concerted effort to employ a mix of one-sided presentations of the science of global warming, combined with heavy rhetoric and emotionalism, designed to force a consensus view on climate policy on to the world's nations. This has had a chilling effect not only on the debate about global warming in the policy and media world, but also on scientists themselves, working to discover the true facts about what is going on.

As Chris Rapley, the former director of the British Antarctic Survey, commented at the Battle of Ideas conference in London in October 2007: `There are an awful lot of scientists who feel extremely uncomfortable in this debate. the heat and light that are in the subject now I believe is causing many scientists, many working scientists, to say I don't want to be part of this, it is all too dangerous, all too difficult; I am going to retreat into my shell. And so areas of science which are as yet unresolved are not being debated in public in the way that I believe they should be.' (10)

It is fortunate that critics such as Bjorn Lomborg and Mike Hulme are brave enough to venture into this terrain, attempting to transform the `heat and light' of climate change politics into a more cool-headed debate about what the science actually is, and how we can best use its findings now and in the future. Whether or not one agrees with Lomborg's cost-benefit approach to managing global warming, one thing is certain: the price of crushing skeptical voices about Al Gore's `inconvenient truths' is far too high for any civilised society to consider paying.

More here

Eco-imperialism at the Bali summit?

Are Western powers offsetting their industrial growth by blackmailing poorer countries to foreswear development?

More than most scientific questions, the state of the environment has been deeply mixed up with international rivalries. In fact, some nations seem to have politicised environmental claims as a weapon in their economic competition. CO2 emissions mirror industrial output. The agreement in Bali to limit CO2 emissions looks to me like an attempt by the Great Powers to regulate industrial competition.

British diplomat Sir Crispin Tickell was one of the first people to identify the realpolitik possibilities of ecological concern. His book Climate Change in World Affairs attempted to justify Western intervention into the internal domestic policies of newly-independent Third World states. Those governments, said Tickell, ‘can often make things as bad for their neighbours as for themselves… but they lack the knowledge and still more the means to cope’. Climate Change in World Affairs was published in 1977, long before scientists identified global warming as a problem.

In 1988 Sir Crispin persuaded then UK prime minister Margaret Thatcher to make a major speech on global warming as the ‘new danger’ that would replace the Soviet threat as a motivation for Western policy (1). Finding a new principle around which to organise international diplomacy was pressing in the late Eighties and early Nineties. For 40 years, the leading Western powers had organised themselves, and the rest of the world, around a campaign against communism. But when Russia abandoned Communism, a new motivation had to be found for Western leadership on the world stage.

While most of today’s anti-capitalist protesters were still at school, the global elite put climate change on the agenda of the Rio Earth Summit in June 1992, and agreed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change at Kyoto in December 1997. Greenhouse gas emissions, which the convention limits, roughly correspond to heavy industrial output, especially at a lower technological level. For that reason, different nations adopted differing stances on Kyoto, according to its differential impact. As a mature region, with declining growth rates, but a high technical level, Europe was pointedly in favour of the measure that set limits on its more dynamic competitors. Developing countries like Russia, India and China were pointedly more sceptical, as was the heavily producing United States.

Indeed, China and India could only be persuaded to sign on the basis that they would not be subject to greenhouse gas limits under the principle of ‘common but differentiated responsibilities’. Russia only agreed to sign up in exchange for membership of the World Trade Organisation. But despite negotiating opt-outs, the Kyoto framework makes their growth open to constant attack (2). ‘Developing nations whose emissions are surging are under no pressure to cut back’, worries The Sunday Times, reporting that ‘bringing India and China into a new emissions regime is a major part of what the EU and America want to achieve [at the December 2007 climate change talks] at Bali’ (3).

The new climate deal struck at Bali seems to be about letting First World countries offset their industrial growth by persuading less developed countries to forego growth, and enlarge their forest reserves instead. In effect the West will use its financial leverage to keep the natives sitting in darkness and its own monopoly on technology intact. Even Tony Juniper of Friends of the Earth was moved to denounce this deal as ‘ecological imperialism foisted on the developing world’ (4).

The debate over Kyoto made it clear that what was at issue was economic rivalry, masked as climate control. During the initial negotiations, then US president Bill Clinton was preoccupied with China and India, because ‘within 30 years they would surpass the United States as emitters of greenhouse gases’ (5). Openly expressed, hostility to Chinese and Indian industrial expansion would sound like self-serving hypocrisy. Dressed up as environmental concern it looked like altruism. When the US Congress balked at reining in US industry and refused to sign Kyoto, it was America’s turn to be attacked. Incoming president George W Bush was widely denounced by European protesters as the ‘Toxic Texan’. At Bali this month, the US negotiators were booed. Climate control seems to make national chauvinism acceptable.

For some radicals it seemed straightforward that the opponents of the Kyoto accord were industry spokesmen, and its defenders critics of big business. But that was to forget that capitalism is a competitive system. Setting limits to output was indeed a successful capitalist strategy, especially for those businesses with a lower carbon footprint, like banks and other financial speculators. Translated to competition at the international level, nations’ interests differ according to the proportion of CO2-emitting industries in their domestic economies. For those nations that are experiencing slower growth, penalising more dynamic competitors made sense. What is more, even for companies with higher emissions, raising the bar of entry could prove to be a successful business strategy. Of course, big greenhouse gas emitters were among the business lobby that opposed Kyoto, and the United States, being home to many of those, was among the most reluctant to sign up to the treaty. Was the Kyoto Convention, then, a blow against business? Hardly. Not unless Enron or the European Union or Al Gore are to be counted among the enemies of big business.



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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