Thursday, August 06, 2009

CO2 does NOT stay long in the atmosphere; so no accumulation from human activity

Guest Editorial below by Tom V. Segalstad, Associate Professor of Resource and Environmental Geology, The University of Oslo, Norway

In a paper recently published in the international peer-reviewed journal Energy & Fuels, Dr. Robert H. Essenhigh (2009), Professor of Energy Conversion at The Ohio State University, addresses the residence time (RT) of anthropogenic CO2 in the air. He finds that the RT for bulk atmospheric CO2, the molecule 12CO2, is ~5 years, in good agreement with other cited sources (Segalstad, 1998), while the RT for the trace molecule 14CO2 is ~16 years. Both of these residence times are much shorter than what is claimed by the IPCC. The rising concentration of atmospheric CO2 in the last century is not consistent with supply from anthropogenic sources. Such anthropogenic sources account for less than 5% of the present atmosphere, compared to the major input/output from natural sources (~95%). Hence, anthropogenic CO2 is too small to be a significant or relevant factor in the global warming process, particularly when comparing with the far more potent greenhouse gas water vapor. The rising atmospheric CO2 is the outcome of rising temperature rather than vice versa. Correspondingly, Dr. Essenhigh concludes that the politically driven target of capture and sequestration of carbon from combustion sources would be a major and pointless waste of physical and financial resources.

Essenhigh (2009) points out that the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) in their first report (Houghton et al., 1990) gives an atmospheric CO2 residence time (lifetime) of 50-200 years [as a "rough estimate"]. This estimate is confusingly given as an adjustment time for a scenario with a given anthropogenic CO2 input, and ignores natural (sea and vegetation) CO2 flux rates. Such estimates are analytically invalid; and they are in conflict with the more correct explanation given elsewhere in the same IPCC report: "This means that on average it takes only a few years before a CO2 molecule in the atmosphere is taken up by plants or dissolved in the ocean".

Some 99% of the atmospheric CO2 molecules are 12CO2 molecules containing the stable isotope 12C (Segalstad, 1982). To calculate the RT of the bulk atmospheric CO2 molecule 12CO2, Essenhigh (2009) uses the IPCC data of 1990 with a total mass of carbon of 750 gigatons in the atmospheric CO2 and a natural input/output exchange rate of 150 gigatons of carbon per year (Houghton et al., 1990). The characteristic decay time (denoted by the Greek letter tau) is simply the former value divided by the latter value: 750 / 150 = 5 years. This is a similar value to the ~5 years found from 13C/12C carbon isotope mass balance calculations of measured atmospheric CO2 13C/12C carbon isotope data by Segalstad (1992); the ~5 years obtained from CO2 solubility data by Murray (1992); and the ~5 years derived from CO2 chemical kinetic data by Stumm & Morgan (1970).

Revelle & Suess (1957) calculated from data for the trace atmospheric molecule 14CO2, containing the radioactive isotope14C, that the amount of atmospheric "CO2 derived from industrial fuel combustion" would be only 1.2% for an atmospheric CO2 lifetime of 5 years, and 1.73% for a CO2 lifetime of 7 years (Segalstad, 1998). Essenhigh (2009) reviews measurements of 14C from 1963 up to 1995, and finds that the RT of atmospheric 14CO2 is ~16 (16.3) years. He also uses the 14C data to find that the time value (exchange time) for variation of the concentration difference between the northern and southern hemispheres is ~2 (2.2) years for atmospheric 14CO2. This result compares well with the observed hemispheric transport of volcanic debris leading to "the year without a summer" in 1816 in the northern hemisphere after the 1815 Tambora volcano cataclysmic eruption in Indonesia in 1815.

Sundquist (1985) compiled a large number of measured RTs of CO2 found by different methods. The list, containing RTs for both 12CO2 and 14CO2, was expanded by Segalstad (1998), showing a total range for all reported RTs from 1 to 15 years, with most RT values ranging from 5 to 15 years. Essenhigh (2009) emphasizes that this list of measured values of RT compares well with his calculated RT of 5 years (atmospheric bulk 12CO2) and ~16 years (atmospheric trace 14CO2). Furthermore he points out that the annual oscillations in the measured atmospheric CO2 levels would be impossible without a short atmospheric residence time for the CO2 molecules.

Essenhigh (2009) suggests that the difference in atmospheric CO2 residence times between the gaseous molecules 12CO2 and 14CO2 may be due to differences in the kinetic absorption and/or dissolution rates of the two different gas molecules.

With such short residence times for atmospheric CO2, Essenhigh (2009) correctly points out that it is impossible for the anthropogenic combustion supply of CO2 to cause the given rise in atmospheric CO2. Consequently, a rising atmospheric CO2 concentration must be natural. This conclusion accords with measurements of 13C/12C carbon isotopes in atmospheric CO2, which show a maximum of 4% anthropogenic CO2 in the atmosphere (including any biogenic CO2), with 96% of the atmospheric CO2 being isotopically indistinguishable from "natural" inorganic CO2 exchanged with and degassed from the ocean, and degassed from volcanoes and the Earth's interior (Segalstad, 1992).

Essenhigh (2009) discusses alternative ways of expressing residence time, like fill time, decay time, e-fold time, turnover time, lifetime, and so on, and whether the Earth system carbon cycle is in dynamic equilibrium or non-equilibrium status. He concludes (like Segalstad, 1998) that the residence time is a robust parameter independent of the status of equilibrium, and that alternative expressions of the residence time give corresponding values.

It is important to compare Essenhigh's (2009) results with a recently published paper in PNAS by Solomon et al. (2009), the first author of which (Susan Solomon) co-chairs the IPCC Working Group One, the part of the IPCC that deals with physical climate science. This paper was published after Essenhigh had submitted his manuscript to Energy & Fuels.

The message of Solomon et al. (2009) is that there is an irreversible climate change due to the assimilation of CO2 in the atmosphere, solely due to anthropogenic CO2 emissions. From quantified scenarios of anthropogenic increases in atmospheric CO2, their implication is that the CO2 level flattens out asymptotically towards infinity, giving a residence time of more than 1000 years (without offering a definition or discussion of residence time or isotopic differences): "a quasi-equilibrium amount of CO2 is expected to be retained in the atmosphere by the end of the millennium that is surprisingly large: typically ~40% of the peak concentration enhancement over preindustrial values (~280 ppmv)". The authors' Fig. 1, i.a. shows a peak level at 1200 ppmv atmospheric CO2 in the year 2100, levelling off to an almost steady level of ~800 ppmv in the year 3000. It is not known how their 40% estimate was derived.

Solomon et al. (2009) go on to say that "this can be easily understood on the basis of the observed instantaneous airborne fraction (AFpeak) of ~50% of anthropogenic carbon emissions retained during their build-up in the atmosphere, together with well-established ocean chemistry and physics that require ~20% of the emitted carbon to remain in the atmosphere on thousand-year timescales [quasi-equilibrium airborne fraction (AFequil), determined largely by the Revelle factor governing the long-term partitioning of carbon between the ocean and atmosphere/biosphere system]".

Solomon et al. (2009) have obviously not seriously considered the paper by Segalstad (1998), who addresses the 50% "missing sink" error of the IPCC and shows that the Revelle evasion "buffer" factor is ideologically defined from an assumed model (atmospheric anthropogenic CO2 increase) and an assumed pre-industrial value for the CO2 level, in conflict with the chemical Henry's Law governing the fast ~1:50 equilibrium partitioning of CO2 between gas (air) and fluid (ocean) at the Earth's average surface temperature. This CO2 partitioning factor is strongly dependent on temperature because of the temperature-dependent retrograde aqueous solubility of CO2, which facilitates fast degassing of dissolved CO2 from a heated fluid phase (ocean), similar to what we experience from a heated carbonated drink.

Consequently, the IPCC's and Solomon et al.'s (2009) non-realistic carbon cycle modelling and misconception of the way the geochemistry of CO2 works simply defy reality, and would make it impossible for breweries to make the carbonated beer or soda "pop" that many of us enjoy (Segalstad, 1998).

So why is the correct estimate of the atmospheric residence time of CO2 so important? The IPCC has constructed an artificial model where they claim that the natural CO2 input/output is in static balance, and that all CO2 additions from anthropogenic carbon combustion being added to the atmospheric pool will stay there almost indefinitely. This means that with an anthropogenic atmospheric CO2 residence time of 50 - 200 years (Houghton, 1990) or near infinite (Solomon et al., 2009), there is still a 50% error (nicknamed the "missing sink") in the IPCC's model, because the measured rise in the atmospheric CO2 level is just half of that expected from the amount of anthropogenic CO2 supplied to the atmosphere; and carbon isotope measurements invalidate the IPCC's model (Segalstad, 1992; Segalstad, 1998).

The correct evaluation of the CO2 residence time -- giving values of about 5 years for the bulk of the atmospheric CO2 molecules, as per Essenhigh's (2009) reasoning and numerous measurements with different methods -- tells us that the real world's CO2 is part of a dynamic (i.e. non-static) system, where about one fifth of the atmospheric CO2 pool is exchanged every year between different sources and sinks, due to relatively fast equilibria and temperature-dependent CO2 partitioning governed by the chemical Henry's Law (Segalstad 1992; Segalstad, 1996; Segalstad, 1998).

Knowledge of the correct timing of the whereabouts of CO2 in the air is essential to a correct understanding of the way nature works and the extent of anthropogenic modulation of, or impact upon, natural processes. Concerning the Earth's carbon cycle, the anthropogenic contribution and its influence are so small and negligible that our resources would be much better spent on other real challenges that are facing mankind.


Humans and the C02 Save the Planet!

By Frank J. Tipler (Tipler is Professor of Mathematical Physics at Tulane University)

As the Senate considers the fate of the cap-and-trade bill, we should consider what it means for more carbon dioxide to be added to the atmosphere, something the bill intends to prevent.

Carbon dioxide is first and foremost a plant food. In fact, plants take carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and use the energy from sunlight to combine the CO2 with water to yield glucose, the simplest sugar molecule. Carbon dioxide is also the source of all organic — this word just means “contains carbon” — molecules synthesized by plants. Without carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, there would be no organic molecules synthesized by plants. The less carbon dioxide there is in the atmosphere, the fewer organic molecules synthesized by plants. All animals depend on plants to synthesize essential organic molecules. Without the organic molecules synthesized by plants, the animal world could not exist. Without plants, there would be no biosphere.

Several million years ago, a disaster struck the terrestrial biosphere: there was a drastic reduction in the percentage of CO2 in the atmosphere.

The flowering plants evolved to be most efficient when the percentage of CO2 in the atmosphere was about 1,000 parts per million. But the percentage had dropped to a mere 200 parts per million. Plants tried to adapt by evolving a new, more efficient way of using the little remaining CO2. The new mechanism, the C4 pathway, appeared in grasses, including corn and wheat, which enabled these plants to expand into the plains. If the carbon dioxide percentage had stayed low — or worse, had decreased further — the entire biosphere would have been endangered.

Fortunately for the plants and the rest of the biosphere depending on them, a wonderful thing happened about 150,000 years ago: a new animal species, Homo sapiens, evolved. This creature was endowed with a huge brain, enabling it to invent a way to help the plants with their CO2 problem. Gigantic amounts of carbon had been deposited deep underground in the form of coal, oil, and natural gas. Not only were these reservoirs of carbon locked away in rock, but they were in forms of carbon that the plants could not use.

These wonderful humans, however, worked hard to help the plants. Not only did the humans dig the coal, oil, and natural gas, bringing it to the surface, but they converted these raw materials into the only form of carbon that plants could use: carbon dioxide. Due to the diligent plant-saving efforts of the humans, the CO2 atmospheric percentage is now at nearly 390 parts per million. Were humans to continue in their biosphere-rescuing efforts at the present rate, the CO2 level will be returned to normal in a mere few hundred years.

The cap-and-trade bill is designed to stop this effort to save the biosphere. This is a profoundly evil act. In the words of the Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman, anyone who supports the bill, or any measure aimed at reducing the increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, is “guilty of treason against the planet”!

Those who want to reduce the use of fossil fuels are the mortal enemies of the biosphere. They must be stopped at all costs! Write your senator at once!

The astute reader will have noted that Krugman actually accused those who opposed the cap-and-trade bill of “treason against the planet.” What I have done is use well-known science to show that, from the biosphere’s point of view, it is the cap-and-trade bill that is “treasonable.” Remarkably, Krugman assumes that the climatic conditions of a mere century or so ago are the “natural” ones that must not be changed. A very anthropomorphic point of view is being used to denounce humanity. An ultraconservative reactionary political position is being called “progressive.”


Global Warming: Is It for Real?

(Great article in a Catholic paper)‏

Last spring, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy issued an alarming report. “Global warming,” it said, “is unequivocal and primarily human-induced.” On June 26, the U.S. House agreed, passing the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, a cap and trade system that would regulate everything from auto emissions to the insulation in new homes. The measure is expected to have an uphill battle in the Senate.

A coalition of U.S. Catholic organizations, including the U.S. bishops, also agreed, urging the faithful to “pray, learn, assess, act and advocate” against climate change. The coalition placed a large ad in The New York Times urging Catholics to “tread lightly and act boldly” to combat global warming. So, should Catholics pressure politicians to take action before humans destroy the planet? Cardinal George Pell of Sydney, Australia, says, “Not so fast.”

“A considerable amount of scientific evidence has been produced to counter the still predominant view that human activity, especially through industry, has polluted the atmosphere with carbon dioxide, which will produce disastrous climate changes, including a rise in temperature, a melting of the ice caps and rising sea levels,” Cardinal Pell wrote in a May 24 editorial. He urged people to ignore computer models that extrapolate with small samples of information that discard most weather history and reliable scientific data.

One American scientist, whose research appears in the White House report, concurs with Cardinal Pell. He told the Register the report distorts and misuses his research to create an appearance that global warming causes more frequent and more severe catastrophic weather events. Robert Pielke Jr., a professor in the University of Colorado’s Environmental Studies Program and former director of the university’s Center for Science and Technology Policy Research, researches catastrophic weather events. In dozens of studies, published in peer-reviewed science journals, Pielke has found that the costs of severe storms are escalating. He has disproved a link between those soaring costs and global warming. “Climate varies and changes over time, and so do humans,” Pielke said. “We build more things. We put up more beach houses and beach condos.”

Hoping to prove global warming contributes to escalating costs of catastrophic storms, Pielke corrected for increasing populations and wealth in coastal regions and other areas most vulnerable to catastrophic weather. “In dozens of studies, we have found that when we adjust for monetary inflation and greater populations and wealth, there is no upward change in the cost of catastrophic weather events,” Pielke said. “There is no room left for the effect of greenhouse gases and climate change.”

Pielke said the government report, however, used his findings to argue that global warming causes the upward trend. “It cited my research to support statements that are completely opposite of what I have found. It’s deeply disturbing,” Pielke said. Pielke said his complaints to the president’s Office of Science and Technology Policy have been ignored.

However, White House science adviser John Holdren, who released the report Pielke complains about, went on record refuting all global warming skeptics with an article for The Boston Globe in 2008.

Holdren, a former Harvard planetary sciences professor, wrote: “Members of the public who are tempted to be swayed by the denier fringe should ask themselves how it’s possible, if human-caused climate change is just a hoax, that the leadership of the national academies of sciences of the United States, United Kingdom, France, Italy, Germany, Japan, Russia, China and India, among others, are on record saying that global climate change is real. Holdren added that Nobel Prize winners and most university science professors believe humans cause catastrophic “climate change” or “climate disruption.”

Lists of scientists who question human-caused global warming mostly contain the names of scientists who are “emeritus” or “retired,” Pielke said, because they’re less concerned about peer pressure than their younger colleagues. “The minute you question any of the conventional wisdom, you get labeled a ‘denier.’ To speak out has a high overhead cost,” Pielke said. Global warming promoters have asked University of Colorado officials to fire Pielke and to stop hosting his blog on its computers.

Pielke’s father, Robert Pielke Sr. — past president of the American Association of State Climatologists — was asked by the United Nations International Panel on Climate Control to review several chapters of its global warming reports in 1992 and 1995. He says his comments criticizing the report were ignored. “Their conclusions were predetermined,” Pielke said. “They were only interested in confirmation.”

He initiated a study, published in June by the Heartland Institute, in which 860 of the 1,221 U.S. ground stations that monitor temperature were inspected. The stations provide data for the U.N. computer models Cardinal Pell urges people to ignore. The senior Pielke’s team found 89% of the stations “fail to meet the National Weather Service’s own siting requirements” that stations be at least 100 feet from artificial heat sources. Scientists found stations next to air-conditioning exhaust fans, too close to asphalt parking lots and runways, and even on hot black rooftops.

Just after the report was published, England’s Science & Public Policy Institute released its monthly CO2 report for May. The report compiles raw satellite and scientific data. “Temperatures have now been declining quite rapidly for nearly eight years. And none of the U.N.’s models predicted that,” said Lord Christopher Monckton, a devout Catholic who edits the CO2 report.

Meanwhile, despite talk of global warming, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the United States found that snow cover in January was the most extensive ever recorded in Eurasia. NOAA also found that temperatures in the tropical troposphere dipped to their lowest levels in 30 years in March; the Bering Strait ice cover in March was higher than ever recorded, while Antarctic sea ice cover was 30% above normal.

Though the Environmental Protection Agency has never disclaimed the global warming theory, the agency’s website urges people to use the phrase “climate change” instead of “global warming,” saying humans cause “other changes” besides warming.

On the same day the House passed its clean energy bill, the Washington-based Competitive Enterprise Institute claimed the EPA suppressed an internal study critical of global warming. The report’s executive summary lists seven facts that cast doubt upon the government’s global warming theory and states: “Any one of these failings should be enough to invalidate the hypothesis; the breadth of these failings leaves no other possible conclusion based on current data.” The EPA’s press secretary, Adora Andy, countered claims the author’s work was suppressed: “The claims that his opinions were not considered or studied are entirely false.”

Holdren wrote that “the extent of unfounded skepticism about the disruption of global climate by human-produced greenhouse gases is not just regrettable; it is dangerous.” But Kiminori Itoh, an environmental physical chemist, joined 650 scientists in questioning the global warming theory in 2008. He was quoted in a U.S. Senate minority report. Itoh, who served in the U.N.’s International Panel on Climate Control, which is the source for most congressional global warming concerns, said, “When people come to know what the truth is, they will feel deceived by science and scientists.”


Government report: Climate bill spells gloom for jobs

Spikes seen in energy costs

Despite President Obama's prediction that it would create new jobs, the climate change bill passed by the House will mean fewer jobs by 2030 than if Congress did nothing at all, according to the first comprehensive study of the measure by the federal government. The report by the Energy Information Administration said the bill would lead to small increases in electricity costs for consumers -- what Democrats said was an affordable sacrifice for the environmental benefits of lowering greenhouse gas emissions.

"We can move to a clean energy future at a cost of less than a postage stamp per family per day," Energy Secretary Steven Chu said. The report said the average cost to a household by 2020 would be $114, though those costs would more than double to $288 by 2030 as the rules on polluters tighten.

The Democrat-controlled House narrowly passed its climate change bill on a 219-212 vote June 26. A week later, Mr. Obama told chief executives that the legislation "holds the promise of millions of new jobs -- jobs, by the way, that can't be outsourced."

Mr. Chu repeated the assertion Tuesday. But a chart in the EIA report showed the employment rate -- just like the economy as a whole -- worsening for the first several years, improving slightly in the midterm, peaking in 2024 and then declining steadily. It showed 0.25 percent fewer jobs in 2030 under the Democrats' bill, with the manufacturing sector suffering a 2.5 percent lag.

For the economy as a whole, immediate energy price spikes would be followed by relative calm as the economy adjusted. But when stricter rules go into effect in 2025 "the rapid increase in energy prices causes the economy to contract," EIA said.

The House bill imposes a limit on overall U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and tightens that cap over time, requiring polluters to either reduce their emissions or offset their pollutants by paying others to reduce their emissions. The system is known as "cap-and-trade." The Senate is still drafting its version of the climate bill.

Mr. Obama has called for Congress to pass a bill that would reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, and last month he and leaders of other major world economies committed to achieving specific goals. But developing economies such as Brazil, India and China have balked at an agreement, arguing that they shouldn't be shackled. The nations will try to forge an agreement at a December meeting in Copenhagen.

The EIA report, requested by the two Democrats who wrote the House bill, is the first comprehensive look at the measure's effects on the economy. EIA is an independent statistical agency of the Energy Department that provides policy-neutral data and analyses and does not advocate or formulate any policy conclusions. The analysis said that the Democrats' decision to give away credits for emissions, rather than auction them as Mr. Obama proposed, would protect vulnerable industries.

"The Energy Information Agency estimates that the American Clean Energy and Security Act approved by the House will dramatically reduce our dangerous dependence on foreign oil, increase clean renewable electricity generation in America by 28 percent, while also keeping electricity costs affordable for all Americans," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat.

The report said renewable electricity and nuclear power would have to increase and oil consumption would be reduced to meet the bill's goals, but it did not say less foreign oil would be used.

Republican energy lobbyist Michael McKenna said it's as likely the bill would increase dependence on unreliable sources. The report is "completely silent on the bill's effect on how much we import, and it's silent for good reason," Mr. McKenna said. "The legislation will either A, have no effect, or B, increase our dependence on places like Saudi Arabia whose crude has relatively lower carbon content than places like Canada, whose crude has a relatively higher carbon content."

The study also did not say how effective the bill would be in reducing global temperatures -- another primary goal of Democrats.

EIA analysts said there is a lot of uncertainty about how the program would play out, and looked at six scenarios for how quickly technological advances might bring reductions in greenhouse gas levels, and how easily U.S. companies would be able to pay those overseas to offset U.S. emissions.

According to the worst-case scenario, if technology doesn't materialize and other countries refuse to cooperate on offsets, consumer prices could be 14 percent higher in 2030 than they would otherwise be without the climate change bill.


Taxpayers Face Bill For British Govt's Green Failures

Taxpayers are facing paying a hefty bill to private sector firms if Government departments do not slash carbon emissions, MPs have warned. Skip related content. The Government has entered a scheme for reducing greenhouse gases which rates performance in a league table. But the Environmental Audit Committee has warned Government departments are "backsliding" before they have even begun.

The proportion of renewable energy used by departments slumped to 22% last year from 28.3% in the previous year. This means taxpayers could be forking out large lumps of cash to private businesses once the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) scheme begins next year.

The CRC will require around 5,000 organisations to buy "allowances" costing £12 a tonne for all the CO2 they emit each year, and be judged on how much they are doing to cut their emissions. Under the scheme, the money for purchasing allowances will go into a central pot. Those cutting their emissions the most will get their original payment back plus a bonus, while those doing worst will be penalised by getting less back than they paid in.

The committee is concerned that if the Government does not cut emissions enough, the taxpayer will end up contributing "large sums" to companies who have done more.

The challenge could be tougher for the Government than businesses, as departments may already have taken the easiest and cheapest steps to cut their emissions. Environmental Audit Committee chairman Tim Yeo said: "Unless the Government gets its house in order, taxpayers could end up paying a heavy price to buy carbon credits from the private sector. "In too many areas, like emissions of carbon dioxide from offices, it has made little or no progress and in others it is backsliding."

The MPs urged the Government to invest now in insulation, solar panels and energy efficient combined heat and power boilers in its offices to save money in the long run.

The committee's Greening Government report also said it was "unconvinced" the Government would exceed its own targets to cut emissions by 12.5% on 1999 levels by 2010/11, after a review showed reductions of just half that (6.3%) by 2007/08.


Australia: Rivers hijacked by 'green fascists'

Greenies shafting blacks

THE misanthropic attitude of conservationists was revealed last week when a group of Aboriginal protesters from Cape York gatecrashed a Wilderness Society and green fundraiser in Sydney. Dressed in chains and in two giant koala suits, the Cape York Aborigines crashed the party to protest against Queensland's Wild Rivers legislation, which bans development within 2km of the Lockhart, Stewart and Archer rivers.

The protesters blame the Wilderness Society for instigating the legislation, which they argue denies them the ability to build businesses and enterprises on their traditional land, so that more of their people can move out of welfare into the real economy. Tania Major, the spokeswoman for the Cape York Aborigines, said they weren't against conservation but they were protesting because the Wilderness Society had not consulted with them or given them a choice on how to manage their land.

These arguments left the Wilderness Society members unmoved, with spokeswoman Anna Christie saying on ABC Radio that environmental sustainability should come before people.

Only those comfortably off are able to so quickly disregard the importance of economic development. They forget that the only reason they can afford to buy organic food is because they live in an industrialised society. Try living in the outback and getting an organic soy latte.

The fact that the greenies and the Aborigines have fallen out over this issue is a first. Historically, the green movement has tended to support what it thinks are Aboriginal "causes". Protesting against the intervention and the Howard government was a trendy pastime for many greenies. In fact, the Wilderness Society and Noel Pearson from Cape York were once allies. They, and other key stakeholders from the area, formed a partnership in 1996 (called the Cape York Heads of Agreement). This partnership aimed to achieve a balance between competing interests in the Cape York region. Not only were they committed to carrying out conservation protection, but one of the principles of the agreement was to set aside land for Aboriginal development.

Pearson admits that there was some "consultation" with Aboriginal people in the region, but that their concerns were not listened to, and that they in no way consented to a total ban on development alongside the rivers. In an interview on ABC TV's Lateline, Pearson pointed out the double standards of the Wild Rivers legislation. While Aboriginal development (such as small-scale horticulture) is banned beside the rivers, the new Chinalco bauxite mine is exempt from the whole Wild Rivers legislation.

Not only is this hypocritical of the Queensland government, but the decision to ban Aboriginal development also goes against a UN Convention for Biological Diversity, which Australia signed in 1992. The convention recognises that biological diversity is about more than just plants and animals: it is also about people. Two articles of the convention refer specifically to the protection of indigenous knowledge and use of resources.

Yet it appears that many greenies care more about the environment than people. American author Jonah Goldberg describes this phenomenon as "green fascism". He argues that modern environmentalists view humans as a disease and mankind as "inauthentic, corrupting, and unnatural". According to Goldberg, environmentalists cast themselves in the role of nurturing caregivers of the planet. The world has a "fever" and when your baby has a fever, you "take action". "You do whatever your doctor says. No time to debate, no room for argument."

Like all fanatics who believe that their way is the only right way of doing something, the Wilderness Society is convinced it has all the answers to environmental sustainability. Its members have forgotten the terms of the agreement which they originally had with the Cape York Aborigines, and ignore the fact that the rivers near Cape York are pristine because they've been part of Aboriginal reserves for nearly a hundred years.

In its haste to preserve the environment the green movement has sidelined human progress. Today, advocating for growth or new developments is seen as a social faux pas. So strong is their anti-human agenda that some environmentalists are opting for voluntary sterilisation to reduce their carbon footprint.

The green way of looking at sustainable development is typical of the affluent world that sees sustainability as being environmentally friendly: recycling, living in eco houses, and driving fuel-efficient cars. But for the poor and disadvantaged, sustainability is about having essential services such as housing, water, sewerage, and transport.

It is deeply hypocritical for the green movement to deny Aboriginal development on the premise that this will preserve the environment when they owe their own comfortable existence to Australia's developed economy.



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


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