|The Week That Was
Dec. 4, 2004
1. New on the Web: GLOBAL WARMING AND US POLITICS: THE PROBLEM MAY BE UNILATERAL ACTIONS TO IMPOSE KYOTO-LIKE RESTRICTIONS
2. FAIRNESS FOR GW DISSENT GETS COLD SHOULDER FROM MEDIA
3. CALIF AIR BOARD'S GREENHOUSE RULE: RAW DEAL FOR DEALERS
4. KYOTO PROTOCOL TO ENTER INTO FORCE 16 FEBRUARY 2005
5. CANADA GOV'T: WON'T MEET KYOTO TARGETS
6. GLOBAL WARMING CLIMATE MODELING QUESTIONED
7. GREEN ELECTRICITY FROM THE BBC?
HERMAN CAIN & DAN GAINOR
For several years, the news media have been warning us of the impending doom of global warming. Well, they almost got it right.
Forget their reports that blame everything from hot weather to cold weather on global warming. The impending doom lurking just around the corner is the Kyoto Protocol -- and Russia's decision to go along with this nonsense will make it a reality for a good bit of the globe.
The U.S. is already under pressure to join in despite the potential price tag of more than $400 billion each year.
The treaty gives industrialized nations just eight years to cut their emissions of six key greenhouse gases. If the U.S. had gone along, we would have been required to cut emissions 7% below 1990 levels -- nearly 20% below current estimates.
Think about that for just a second: Imagine cutting emissions 20% in just eight years. The U.S. Energy Department estimates that this treaty could cost between $225 billion to more than $400 billion annually -- equal to every penny earned by more than 5.3 million U.S. households. It could also put between 1.1 million to 4.9 million Americans out of work.
Of course, you might not know any of this if you relied on the major media to tell you.
A new study by the Media Research Center's Free Market Project looked at how all five major news-shows -- the three broadcast channels as well Fox News and CNN -- had handled the issues involving climate change. The study tracked the shows from Jan. 21, 2001, the beginning of the Bush presidency, through September 30, 2004.
We found most network news-shows hardly even admit there's a scientific debate on global warming. They only did so in 12 stories, or 9% of the time.
Sad to say, they aren't following the news. Russia's government moved ahead on Kyoto despite objections of its own Academy of Sciences that the treaty is faulty. Network news-shows paid no attention. Instead, they repeated the claim that global warming is a given or that mankind is to blame for this "problem" or both 55% of the time (77 stories). That's roughly six times more often than they even admitted there might be some scientific objection.
NBC was the worst of all five networks studied. It took this pro-Kyoto view in 30 of its stories (64%). It also had the lowest percentage of opposition to this view -- only three stories (6%). That's a ratio of 10 to 1.
Here is a fairly typical network comment -- from CBS Evening News reporter Jerry Bowen on August 29, 2002: "Whatever its cause, there is now abundant evidence that the Earth is having a heat wave."
That claim is open to debate. Satellite and weather balloon data indicate no warming is taking place at all. Since those two different measures disagree with ground temperature results, the data deserve more investigation, not more hot air.
The networks are only seeing one side of the debate because they are only asking the questions of liberal environmental groups. The Natural Resources Defense Council is interviewed often, but they are never described as a strongly anti-Bush organization even though that is exactly what they are. According to their own Web site, the Bush administration "threatens to do more damage to our environmental protections than any other in U.S. history."
No matter who was interviewed, the coverage focused on the impact of global warming. Stories blamed everything from floods to drought on climate change.
ABC blamed warming for "erratic" weather such as a Christmas Eve snowstorm in Buffalo of all places. Reporter Neal Karlinsky explained, "Scientists say there is a pattern here. The weather is becoming more erratic for one main reason, the Earth is getting warmer."
This virtually guarantees the networks are correct on the issue of global warming. If the weather gets warmer, they were right. If it gets colder, they can blame that on warming. And lastly, if the weather simply changes and produces snow in Buffalo on Christmas Eve, then they can say the weather is changeable.
What should be changeable is how the networks handle their global warming
coverage. Only the Fox News Channel made a respectable showing in our
study. The other four networks need to learn to balance their coverage
of this important issue. Until then, network bias is like the weather
-- something we all complain about but the networks seem unable to do
anything to fix.
Dan Gainor is director of the Free Market Project (freemarketproject.org).
On Sept. 24, California's Air Resources Board (CARB) adopted a plan to
regulate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from new cars and trucks starting
in 2009. To sell cars in California, automakers will have to reduce fleet
average GHG emissions by 22 percent in 2012 and 30 percent in 2016. CARB's
rulemaking is a raw deal for auto dealers in California and any other
state that mimics California's plan.
Unlawful. California Assembly Bill 1493, the enabling legislation,
directs CARB to achieve "maximum feasible" emission reductions.
However, CARB cannot do so without forcing automakers to increase the
average fuel economy of their fleets. Unsurprisingly, CARB's list of recommended
GHG-reducing technologies closely matches the National Research Council's
inventory of fuel economy-enhancing technologies. Yet the federal Energy
Conservation and Policy Act prohibits states from enacting laws or regulations
"related to" fuel economy-a prohibition necessary to ensure
economies of scale and a competitive U.S. auto industry. CARB will surely
be challenged in court.
Bonn, 18 November 2004 - The 90-day countdown to the Kyoto Protocol's entry into force was triggered today by the receipt of the Russian Federation's instrument of ratification by the United Nations Secretary-General. The Protocol will become legally binding on its 128 Parties on 16 February 2005.
"A period of uncertainty has closed. Climate change is ready to take its place again at the top of the global agenda," said Joke Waller-Hunter, Executive Secretary of the Climate Change Secretariat, which services the UN Climate Change Convention and its Kyoto Protocol.
"Next month's ministerial conference in Buenos Aires will provide the next major opportunity for governments, businesses and civil society to promote the innovative new policies and technologies that will create the climate-friendly economy of the future," she said.
The Protocol's entry into force means that from 16 February 2005:
1) Thirty industrialized countries will be legally bound to meet quantitative targets for reducing or limiting their greenhouse gas emissions.
2) The international carbon trading market will become a legal and practical reality. The Protocol's "emissions trading" regime enables industrialized countries to buy and sell emissions credits amongst themselves; this market-based approach will improve the efficiency and cost effectiveness of emissions cuts.
3) The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) will move from an early implementation phase to full operations. The CDM will encourage investments in developing-country projects that limit emissions while promoting sustainable development.
4) The Protocol's Adaptation Fund, established in 2001, will start preparing itself for assisting developing countries to cope with the negative effects of climate change.
Under the Kyoto Protocol, industrialized countries are to reduce their combined emissions of six major greenhouse gases during the five-year period 2008-2012 to below 1990 levels. The European Union, for example, is to cut its combined emissions by eight percent, while Japan should reduce emissions by six percent. For many countries, achieving the Kyoto targets will be a major challenge that will require new policies and new approaches.
Only four industrialized countries have not yet ratified the Kyoto Protocol: they are Australia, Liechtenstein, Monaco and the United States. Australia and the United States have stated that they do not plan to do so; together they account for over one third of the greenhouse gases emitted by the industrialized world. Developing countries, including Brazil, China, India and Indonesia, are also Parties to the Protocol but do not have emission reduction targets.
"Reducing the risks of global warming will require the active engagement
of the entire international community. I urge the US and other major emitters
without Kyoto targets to do their part by accelerating their national
efforts to address climate change," said Ms. Waller-Hunter.
By DENNIS BUECKERT
OTTAWA (CP) - The Natural Resources Department has acknowledged for the
first time that Canada is likely to come up badly short of its targets
under the Kyoto climate treaty.
If true, the study suggests that recent warming might not be as unique as was thought previously, and might partly be due to natural temperature cycles, rather than humans spewing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
According to scientist Hans von Storch and his colleagues:
o Reconstructing climate change through tree rings, corals and ice cores (known as proxies) may underestimate past temperature fluctuations.
o Temperature fluctuations dating back to medieval times may be underestimated by a factor of two or more.
o Underestimating past temperature variation would make the 20th century
warming trend of 0.6 degrees Celsius appear to be far different than any
occurrences over the past 10,000 years.
"As it now seems the policy of the BBC here in the UK to air every
government line on global warming and promote the scare, I thought it
would be a good idea for generating green electricity. I have worked out
that if we attach enough magnets to [former BBC chm] Lord Reith's skeleton,
his current spinning will generate enough voltage to run a small TV studio.
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