|The Week That Was
December 13, 2003
1. New on the Web: OIL SECURITY IS A MUCH-MISUNDERSTOOD ISSUE. SOME COMMON-SENSE ARGUMENTS SHOULD CONVINCE THAT IT IS NOT AS THREATENED AS THE MEDIA - AND THE GOVERNMENT -- MAKE IT OUT TO BE. Read Fred Singer's analysis in the Washington Times.
2. MASSIVE ENERGY LEGISLATION MOVES TO FINAL VOTE IN CONGRESS - IN
4. LETTER ON KYOTO TO RUSSIAN PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN
5. SENATOR TED KENNEDY'S WIND DILEMMA
6. NON-EXISTENT CLIMATE RISKS: BUT AL GORE WON'T QUIT
7. KYOTO 101: A CRASH COURSE FOR WESTERN EUROPE IN MILAN
8. COP-9 MEETS IN MILAN: RON BAILEY AND MYRON EBELL REPORT
9. SUPPORT SEPP!
Issue: The energy bill (H.R.6), as approved by the conference committee, consists of nearly 1000 pages. Both conservative and liberal groups have found parts of the bill to dislike but it contains enough provisions for both Republicans and Democrats that it will probably pass both Houses of Congress. It is estimated to include $72 billion in spending plus $12-23 billion in tax incentives.
Here are just some of the provisions it contains:
It does not contain:
Link: http://thomas.loc.gov and enter
the bill number & read the Public Print version.
3. Arctic Natural Gas Pipeline: Some comments by Forrest Hoglund
4. Letter on Kyoto to Russian president Vladimir Putin
We are collecting signatures (now at 201) on the web page http://www.envirotruth.org/president_putin/.
Take Action: Encourage Russia to stay out of Kyoto!
KYOTO NOT BASED ON SOUND SCIENCE - PLEASE DO NOT RATIFY THE ACCORD
Dear President Putin,
I am writing to support your decision to delay ratification of the Kyoto Protocol. In particular, I encourage your government to carefully examine the climate science upon which the treaty is supposedly based, before making a ratification decision. By doing so, I am convinced that you will agree with the many leading climate scientists who have convincingly revealed that the scientific foundation of the Kyoto Accord is too weak to warrant its implementation at this time.
The funds needed to enable severe greenhouse gas controls would be far better spent on real and better understood environmental problems, not to mention society's other urgent concerns. Contrary to the assertions of alarmists, it is highly improbable that human activity will cause catastrophic global warming. While working to reduce air and water pollution remains important, the Kyoto Accord does not address these phenomena, focusing instead on the erroneous belief that humans can somehow "stop climate change." It is obviously not worth restricting Russia's growth to "solve" such an improbable threat.
Your country now has the opportunity to demonstrate how environmental policy decisions should be made, namely through correct application of the latest environmental science, balanced with a thorough appreciation of the relevant economic and societal factors. The governments of the European Union, Japan and Canada did not base their ratification decisions on a proper assessment of these factors. In Canada, for example, no public hearings were held on the science of Kyoto, and the issue was mostly ignored in the pre-ratification debates.
However, in the United States, extensive, well publicized, science consultations with leading non-governmental climate scientists did take place and, largely as a result of this, the U.S. continues to remain outside of the Kyoto process. I believe the same will happen in Russia as you examine the fundamental science foundation of the Protocol and so, echoing the sentiments of the many scientists who spoke out at the recent climate change conference in Moscow, I urge you to reject the Kyoto Accord.
The senior senator from Massachusetts, Edward Kennedy now finds himself
in something of a political dilemma.
"My family has a long history on Cape Cod. After growing up and
raising my children here, I understand the enormous national treasure
we have in the Cape. We have an obligation to preserve it for future generations,
which requires us to know the impact of our decisions on the landscape,
seascape, and environment."
"I'm concerned that we are rushing to implement the Cape Wind proposal
(for Nantucket Sound) - the world's largest proposed wind farm, 130 turbines,
400 feet tall in the waters between the Cape and the Islands - with little
understanding of its likely impacts."
6. Climate concern is just a tax ruse
S. Fred Singer in Financial Times (London, England),
As history teaches us, the risks come from a cooling not a warming climate. Robert Mendelsohn, the Yale resource economist, and nearly two dozen co-authors have documented the benefits of warming. Agriculturalists concur that higher levels of carbon dioxide (from the burning of coal, oil and gas) will make crops and forests grow faster (as they did when CO2 levels were some 10 times higher in the geologic past). Even the UN's own science panel admits that a warming climate does not signal more severe storms, hurricanes, floods and droughts, although more evaporation from the oceans means more rain (and therefore more fresh water).
The irony is that there is no convincing evidence that the global climate is actually warming. Most of the temperature records from satellites, from weather balloons, from corrected US weather stations show no appreciable warming trend in the past 25 or 60 years. All observers agree that there was strong warming from about 1920 to 1940, not manmade but most likely caused by the changing sun; so it is certainly warmer now than 100 years ago. We can see the consequences as many glaciers and ice fields slowly adjust to this natural change.
Mr. Gore and company are stirring the pot, trying to create public anxiety in order to impose a form of energy rationing on the economy - like the recently defeated Senate bill of McCain-Lieberman, which would have forced a cap on emissions, equivalent to an energy tax. President George W. Bush has termed such a policy "fatally flawed". President Vladimir Putin of Russia has gone one better, and last September pronounced it "scientifically flawed".
The international global-warming war will heat up next Monday (Dec 1). On that day, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change will hold its ninth Conference of the Parties in Milan, Italy. Although Russia has already opted out of the climate-change controls, western European governments appear determined to go ahead with strict local controls, regardless of what other countries do.
The western European public overwhelmingly believes in global warming, and wants government to do something about it. Asked if "European governments should take the lead against global warming by bringing into force the climate treaty, even if the U.S. doesn't take part at this time," 80 percent of people in the United Kingdom answered "Yes." So did 82 percent in Belgium, 89 percent in Italy, and 88 percent in Spain. Even large majorities in the U.K., Italy, and Spain believed that government "should do more to reduce the country's own emissions of global warming pollution."
For Europe's sclerotic economies, the massive increases in energy prices that would result from strict reductions of "greenhouse gases" would be devastating. According to a 2002 study of the economic effects on the U.K., depression is a possible outcome of such a move. Between 2008 and 2010, the U.K. could lose up to one million jobs a year. Moreover, the productivity of individual jobs would decrease because of the efficiency reduction (greater cost) of all the other production factors.
Dr. Margo Thorning performed a study (http://www.accf.org/ACCF_KyotoEconImp.pdf) about four European countries and estimated that the Kyoto Protocol would have a strong negative impact on the GNP of various nations: a decrease of 5.2 percent for Germany, 5 percent for Spain, 4.5 percent for the U.K., and 3.8 percent for the Netherlands.
If Europeans knew that the Kyoto Treaty would seriously harm their economies and significantly reduce their standard of living, would they still support Kyoto? Would they be willing to suffer the economic damage if they learned that industrial activity was not a cause of global warming?
These are precisely the questions that will be posed by an Italian free-market think tank, the Instituto Bruno Leoni, at a global-warming conference on Nov. 29- two days before the U.N. conference opens in Milan. The IBL is named after the late Italian political philosopher Bruno Leoni. The conference is co-sponsored by the Centro Europeo di Studi su Popolazione (CESPAS) and Sviluppo e Ambiente (an Italian organization that studies the relationship between humanity and environment), and has received the patronage of the Italian ministry of the environment.
The conference will point out that, contrary to the assertions of much of the European media, orthodox science does not really hold a single position on whether global warming is taking place or whether it is anthropogenic. University of Virginia professor S. Fred Singer, journalist Dominic Standish, and Italian Air Force major Fabio Malaspina will discuss this. A panel on this topic will be chaired by Prof. Franco Battaglia of the Third University of Rome.
The International Policy Network (IPN) - a U.K.-based think tank that promotes pro-freedom approaches to issues relating to sustainable development, health, technology, and trade - will also contribute to the conference. IPN's Julian Morris will chair the second panel at the conference, which will focus on the economics of global warming. Speakers will include Antonio Gaspari of CESPAS, Prof. Emilio Gerelli of the University of Pavia, IPN's Kendra Okonski, and Dr. Margo Thorning of the International Council for Capital Formation. The speakers will analyze the costs and benefits of Kyoto-inspired policies. Such policies impose very high costs in the present, while promising benefits in the long term that are exceedingly uncertain. The Kyoto policies are guaranteed to harm people today, and for generations to come.
A third panel will consider why European politicians are so willing to harm their own people. Speakers will include three representatives from Italian political parties: Franco Debenedetti (Democratic Left), Vittorio Emanuele Falsitta (Forza Italia party), and Benedetto Della Vedova (Radical party). Fred Smith of the (US) Competitive Enterprise Institute will also take part.
Excessive faith in central planning and excessive pessimism about the
ability of humans to innovate have depressed the European standard of
living for decades. The Kyoto Protocol, as well as local analogues, represent
one of the worst trade-offs between freedom and security that Europeans
have ever faced. The benefits are based on dubious science and would,
even in the most optimistic scenario, result in barely perceptible reductions
in temperature. The costs are clear and enormous and will make it nearly
impossible for Western Europe to regain the economic vitality, which once
made it the center of global civilization. That international scholars,
with the blessing of the Italian government, are convening to point out
that the Kyoto emperor has no clothes suggests that there is at least
some hope for Europe.
8. Milan reports on COP-9
a) By Ron Bailey
4000 delegates from 188 countries have been convened since December 1 in Milan at the ninth Conference of the Parties (COP9) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The delegates will be joined later this week by at least 74 environment ministers from around the world.
The delegates and environmental activists had hoped that the COP9 would be the occasion for announcing that the Kyoto Protocol to the UNFCCC had at long last come into force. The Kyoto Protocol has already been ratified by 100 or so countries but is not yet internationally binding. That's because it must be ratified by a set of industrialized countries whose collective emissions add up to 55 percent of their total emissions of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide.
[SEPP Comment: On Dec 12, Alexander Bedritzky, chairman of the Russian delegation to COP-9 and head of Russia's hydro-meteorology service, held out some hope for Russian ratification of Kyoto - provided European nations could make the deal more attractive by increasing their investments in Russia.]
What happens if the Kyoto Protocol fails to come into force? Why then the UNFCCC simply launches another round of negotiations in 2005 searching for a way to control future temperature increases. UN processes and bureaucracies never die.
Numerous Ritual Warnings
The run-up to the COP9 meeting has of course seen the publication of numerous ritual warnings that the global warming is worse than expected and that something must be done about it now. For example, the German Advisory Council on Global Change issued a report that warned that likely increases in global temperatures due to manmade causes over the next century would be "intolerable." Science, as part of a series on global environmental issues, published a review article this week in which a couple of US climate scientists declared that they have "no doubt" that human activity is affecting global climate. The Pew Center on Global Climate Change has also just issued its Beyond Kyoto report that notes there are a huge number of scientific and economic uncertainties about climate change. However, rather than seeing these significant uncertainties as a reason for policy restraint, the Pew Center argues that "a strong message that emerges from the analyses here is that uncertainty should not be allowed to obscure the urgent need for action. To the contrary, uncertainty is itself a reason to act now." What urgent action is needed? Humanity must transform "the ways we generate and consume energy. In material terms, the challenge is to launch a global technological revolution. There is perhaps no historic precedent for so sweeping a technological transformation," declares the Pew Center report.
Under the Kyoto Protocol, rich industrialized nations are supposed to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases by 5 percent below their 1990 levels by 2012. It is now estimated that the emissions from industrialized countries will be 17 percent higher than they were in 1990. Furthermore, even if the industrialized countries could meet Kyoto's emissions reductions goals, it is widely acknowledged the treaty will achieve essentially nothing with regard to reducing whatever future temperature increases are in store for the planet. In order to stabilize the levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, greenhouse gas emissions (chiefly carbon dioxide) would have to be to cut between 40 and 60 percent by 2050. Considering that just meeting the Kyoto goals would reduce U.S. GDP by as much as 3 percent annually, the far deeper post-Kyoto reductions of carbon dioxide emissions would be devastating to the world's economy.
But is the world about to burn up because humanity is heedlessly burning fossil fuels that pour heat trapping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere? The United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued its Third Assessment Report (TAR) in 2001 that suggested that average global temperatures could increase by between 1.4 and 5.8 degrees centigrade (2.5 to 10.4 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2100. Of course, the higher catastrophic increase was the one featured in headlines and cited by activists.
What's really going on? Since the beginning of the industrial revolution, the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, chiefly carbon dioxide, has increased from 280 parts per million (ppm) to about 370 ppm today. It is generally agreed that that doubling carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would by itself increase average temperatures by only about 1 degree centigrade. The higher temperatures cited by global warming proponents arise from climate computer models that suggest that higher CO2 levels will lead to slightly warmer temperatures which will then increase the amount of water vapor in the air. Water vapor is by far the chief greenhouse gas, so more water vapor would mean higher temperatures. It is this positive feedback loop that leads some computer models to predict dramatically higher temperatures from the burning of fossil fuels.
Send in the Clouds
Clouds are a big problem for the climate computer models relied upon by those who worry about damaging increases in global average temperatures. The models are just terrible at handling clouds. This is unfortunate because clouds could make all the difference. One of the surprising aspects of the Science article is that although the researchers claim that they have "no doubt" that humanity activities are increasing global temperatures, they admit that scientists "have yet to determine the temperature impacts of increased cloud cover." Given the crucial importance of clouds to the regulation of climate, it's hard to see how they could have "no doubt" about future global warming will cause significant harm.
Look Back to the Future
Besides the climate computer models, are there other ways to peer into Earth's climate future? Yes -- by extrapolating what we know has occurred in the past to the future. Just consider the trends implied by three temperature records: the satellite temperature records by University of Alabama at Huntsville climatologist John Christy; those same satellite records as recently reanalyzed by Remote Sensing Systems scientist Frank Wentz; and the surface temperature record compiled by the IPCC. What do they reveal?
According the somewhat spotty surface temperature record, average temperatures are increasing by about 0.17 degrees centigrade per decade. The Wentz satellite data suggests an increase of 0.097 degrees per decade and Christy's data find temperatures increasing at about 0.074 degrees centigrade per decade. Christy insists that his data have been independently confirmed by comparison with highly accurate weather balloon data. What he has done is compare his satellite measurements with measurements made by weather balloons at the same time and place. Christy finds that his satellite measurements and the balloon measurements match very closely.
Extrapolating the surface temperatures yields an increase of 1.7 degrees centigrade by 2100. Christy's would be 0.74 degrees -- all at the bottom of the range of increases identified by the IPCC. "We might see a degree of warming over the next century. None of those temperature increases is going to cause much of a catastrophe," says Christy. Even the alarmist report from the German Advisory Council on Global Change concluded that the world can tolerate a rise of up to 2 degrees centigrade over pre-industrial levels.
So perhaps the delegates in Milan can just relax. Since they most likely
won't, I'll be sending daily dispatches about the goings on in Milan.
b) By Myron Ebell
A fresh breeze blew into Milan today, but it didn't reach the COP-9 meeting
at the Fiera Milano or Milan Trade Fair. At a seminar organized by Francesco
Ramella and held downtown near the great cathedral or Duomo, Fred Singer
and other climate scientists made a strong case for anti-alarmism. Dr.
Singer showed why there is little reliable evidence that the climate has
warmed since 1940 and much better evidence that it has not warmed appreciably.
Dr. Willie Soon explained why climate models are still no better than
palmistry for predicting future climate. Dr. Gerd Weber from Germany compared
the inputs into the climate models used by the IPCC with the actual recent
data. If the models use phony inputs, it should not be surprising that
they produce phony outputs. It is a sad comment on the official establishment
that they dismiss such analyses, when anyone with minimal scientific understanding
can see they are true. In addition, Francesco Ramella and Carlo Stagnaro
of the Bruno Leoni Institute made a compelling economic case against the
Kyoto Protocol. The costs simply outweigh the benefits many times over.
Professor Gerelli gave an excellent analysis of the psychology and sociology
of the alarmist community and why these fantasies arise and persist in
9. SUPPORT SEPP!
We need your financial support to carry on our work - at COP-9 and similar venues, through technical and popular publications, and through our web site.
TWTW has been running since 1997 and now serves nearly 2000 subscribers.
SEPP has no employees and pays no salaries. Our scientists, officers, and board members contribute their efforts on a pro-bono basis. To demonstrate its independence, SEPP does not solicit support from either government or industry. With minimal overhead expenses, funding goes into effective programs.
Please consider a tax-deductible donation of any magnitude, by check or credit card. If you send us $100 or more, we will mail you an autographed copy of one of our books. So be sure to include your mailing address (and e-mail and phone information).
SEPP, 1600 S. Eads St, Suite 712-S, Arlington, VA 22202-2907
Or to send your contribution using your credit card through PayPal, click on the icon
SEASON'S GREETINGS to all from