|The Week That Was
January 20, 2007
Quote of the week:
In the space of one hundred and seventy-six years the Lower Mississippi has shortened itself two hundred and forty-two miles. This is an average of a trifle over one mile and a third per year. Therefore, any calm person, who is not blind or idiotic, can see that in the Old Oolithic Silurian Period, just a million years ago next November [sic], the Lower Mississippi River was upwards of one million three hundred thousand miles long, and stuck out over the Gulf of Mexico like a fishing rod. And by the same token, any person can see that seven hundred and forty-two years from now the Lower Mississippi will be only a mile and three quarters long, and Cairo and New Orleans will have joined their streets together, and be plodding comfortably along under a single mayor and a mutual board of aldermen. There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.
The Weather Channel’s climate expert Heidi Cullen wants to censor broadcast meteorologists (ITEM #1), raising a storm of protests from listeners. Read some of the many comments (some are precious) at: http://climate.weather.com/blog/9_11592.html
Despite receiving over 1000 comments by the public, most of them harshly critical of her call for suppressing the voices of manmade global warming skeptics [http://climate.weather.com/blog/9_11396.html ] Cullen has refused to retract her call for scientific decertification of such skeptics but instead blamed the whole controversy on spin. The Council of the AMS, meeting in San Antonio this month, has reacted quite negatively to Cullen’s proposal.
Read Richard Lindzen in WSJ, recounting the pressure on climate skeptics:
See also my response on an attack on GW skeptics in the Financial Times-Germany and Myron Ebell’s sober account of the scurrilous UCS charge against the White House (ITEM #2).
A sensible Statement about Climate Change from the German Meteorological Society:
Summary: “It is scientifically proven that radiative effects in the earth/atmosphere system are changing because of the increase of climate-relevant trace gases. In the absence of feedbacks in the complex climate system this would certainly lead to warming of surface and troposphere. The real challenging scientific debate concerns the question how much the different feedback processes strengthen or weaken this radiation-caused warming.” AMEN
Human contribution to GW is minor: Letter by 15 scientists to De Volkskrant (ITEM #3). So-called proofs for AGW are not valid, but evidence against significant AGW is sound.
Climate fears trump terrorism in Europe (ITEM #5).
Gore movie unfit for schools (ITEM #6). And more critiques (ITEM #7).
Losing to the Greens (ITEM #8).
Book review of “Unstoppable Global Warming” (ITEM #9).
Report from Britain by Scientific Alliance (ITEM #10)
What’s wrong with ethanol? Plenty (ITEM #11)
Visit Holland before it drowns(?) (ITEM # 12)
Dioxin, wood smoke, mercury (ITEM #13)
NYT hides facts about stem cells (ITEM #14)
The facts about DDT (ITEM #15)
German U-Turn On Nuclear Energy As Oil Supply Doubts Grow
The Scotsman, 10 Jan 2007 http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/international.cfm?id=46942007
1. AMERICAN WEATHER FORECASTERS DO BATTLE OVER MANKIND'S ROLE IN GLOBAL WARMING
By David Usborne in New York
Published: 19 January 2007
A leading climatologist on the Weather Channel in the United States has caused a squall in the industry by arguing that any weather forecaster who dares publicly to question the notion that global warming is a manmade phenomenon should be stripped of their professional certification.
The call was made by Heidi Cullen, host of a weekly global warming program on the cable network called The Climate Code, and coincides with a stretch of severely off-kilter weather across the US this winter and moves by Democrats to draft strict new legislation to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
Specifically, Ms Cullen is suggesting that the American Meteorological Society (AMS) revokes the "seal of approval" that it normally extends to broadcast forecasters in the US in cases where they have expressed skepticism about man's role in pushing up planetary temperatures.
Ms Cullen is not alone in trying to marginalize doubters, who mostly argue that recent rises in temperatures are caused by normal cyclical weather patterns. They were described as "global warming deniers" by former vice-president Al Gore in his recent film An Inconvenient Truth.
All of this will be political grist to Democrats on Capitol Hill, who are gearing up to take advantage of their new position as the majority party to make climate change a legislative priority.
Nancy Pelosi, the new Speaker of the House, is expected to call for a new select committee purely to devise new laws on combating global warming, probably to be headed by Representative Edward Markey of Massachusetts. "It's an issue that the Speaker thinks is critical to address," her spokeswoman said.
Any new legislation is likely to include mandatory caps on greenhouse gas emissions by American industries, a path that the White House has vigorously refused to follow. Democrats will also explore creating a market in emission caps, similar to the one that already exists in Europe. Under such a system, individual industries would be able to buy exemptions to exceed certain emission limits or acquire them and sell them to other industries.
It is clear that Democrats are intending to seize the issue from under the nose of President George Bush and embarrass him for his refusal to give the issue more credence. However, White House aides have indicated that the President will give climate change an important place in his annual State of the Union address to Congress next Tuesday. But few observers believe he is ready to go as far as some Democrats would like in imposing mandatory emission ceilings.
Comments on Cullen:
Fox News Coverage
AMS Certified Weatherman’s Outrage
Rush Limbaughs Take:
Harvard Theoretical Physicists Views:
For the best response by a climate scientist to Cullen’s chilling call for decertification, see AMS-certified ABC-TV weatherman James Spann’s devastating critique of Cullen. Spann, who has been in the weather business since 1978, noted: “I do not know of a single TV meteorologist who buys into the man-made global warming hype” and he says that climate alarmism is driven by huge research grants that become the motivation for a scientific conclusion. Read Spann’s comments here: [http://epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=PressRoom.Blogs&ContentRecord_id=3a9bc8a4-802a-23ad-4065-7dc37ec39adf ]
2. LETTER TO FINANCIAL TIMES –GERMANY
I read the Zimprich article in the Financial Times-Germany with astonishment and dismay. http://www.ftd.de/politik/international/148773.html
It is filled with inaccuracies, innuendos, and ad hominem attacks on respected scientists and public figures -- as for example, Dr Frederick Seitz, President (em) of Rockefeller University, former President of the US National Academy of Sciences, holder of the National Medal of Science, etc, etc. I would not be surprised if some were to file legal action for libel.
Is there no journalistic ethics in Germany? And don't editors still have the responsibility to ask writers to support their assertions with facts?
The article is a collection of falsehoods too numerous to list --- starting with the ridiculous claim that the Union of Concerned "Scientists" (UCS) has 200,000 scientist-members (anyone can join this ideologically driven group by paying $25) and Rahmstorf's false claim that "scientists around the world all agree" (please read the results of a poll by Bray from Geesthacht, in the attached Letter),
I am somewhat surprised that Zimprich has nothing nasty to say about me. But I am curious to know the names of the four Exxon-supported organizations in which (he claims) I hold a responsible (decision-making?) position. Is this part of his vivid imagination?
A far as the attack on Philip Cooney is concerned, I direct you to the appended 8Statement by Myron Ebell.
If you are sincerely interested in presenting your readers with a balanced account of current climate science, let me suggest that you consider publication of the attached Letter, which has appeared in different form in De Volkskrant. I will be glad to undertake its translation into German -- or else review your translation.
Fred Singer Prof (em), University of Virginia
Union of Concerned Scientists Report is Rubbish
Myron Ebell | 1/3/2007 @ 2:41 pm
The Union of Concerned Scientists has just released a 68-page report that claims that Exxon Mobil has funded a disinformation campaign on global warming based on the strategy and tactics used by the tobacco industry. Nearly everything in the report is recycled uncritically from other sources. It s mostly rubbish. Exxon Mobil can defend themselves, but I will comment on the ridiculous charges and misinformation about CEI.
Here’s an example. A Freedom of Information Act request several years ago revealed an e-mail that I had sent to Phil Cooney, then-chief-of-staff to the Chairman of the President s Council on Environmental Quality, in 2002. Andrew Revkin of the New York Times published a front-page story that the Bush Administration had conceded that global warming was a big problem by quietly sending a report to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Climate Action Report 2002, as it was called, contained major portions of the 2000 National Assessment on the Impacts of Climate Change, a junk science report produced by the Clinton Administration that the Bush Administration had disavowed as a result of a lawsuit filed by CEI. The concession to global warming alarmism reported by Revkin is the fact that Climate Action Report 2002 used a big chunk of the National Assessment.
As soon as this story broke, CEI sent out a press release attacking the EPA and its administrator, Christie Todd Whitman. The reason we did this is because Revkin reported that the report had been produced by EPA. At that point Phil Cooney left a message on my answering machine asking me to ring him and saying that he needed my help. Soon after I left a message on his answering machine. After not hearing back from Phil for several hours, I sent him an e-mail saying that we would be glad to help. This e-mail is described in the UCS report as a conspiratorial communication . If anyone from UCS had bothered to ask me, they could have gotten the facts straight.
When Phil Cooney called me back, he explained that the help he wanted was for us to stop attacking EPA and not to call for President Bush to fire Christie Todd Whitman because Whitman had nothing to do with the report to the UN and EPA was not ultimately responsible for the report. As an interagency document on an environmental issue, CEQ was in charge of conducting the interagency review and on producing the final version of the report. As chief of staff at CEQ, he Phil Cooney had directed the interagency review and final edits. Thus the help Phil Cooney wanted to ask me for was to blame him and ask for him to be fired rather than Christie Todd Whitman. I replied that we would stop attacking Whitman, but wouldn't attack him personally because he was not an appointee nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate.
Not much of a conspiracy. The Union of Concerned Scientists (you too can become a Concerned Scientist by sending them $25) could have discovered these simple facts by contacting me. But of course it suits their purposes better to twist snippets of information to discredit their targets.
The story doesn’t end with my e-mail to Phil Cooney. CEI pursued Climate Action Report 2002 through an initial petition to the President to have its submission to the UN rescinded, which was rejected. CEI later filed a second lawsuit in federal court against the National Assessment on the grounds that it did not meet the minimal requirements of the Federal Data Quality Act. We dropped that suit when the Office of Science and Technology Policy agreed to put a disclaimer on the National Assessment web site that the document had not been subjected to the Federal Data Quality guidelines. That caused some of the authors of this junk science report to write a nasty letter to the White House and to start claiming that the Bush Administration was suppressing scientific research. If they are, they aren t doing a very good job. The junk science National Assessment is still available on more than one federal web site.
It also produced another front page story in the New York Times for reporter Andrew Revkin. The first story claimed that Climate Action Report 2002 was an admission by the Bush Administration that global warming is real and serious. The second story claimed that in producing Climate Action Report 2002 the White House had doctored the science. This goofy claim is based on the fact that in using a big chunk of the National Assessment in Climate Action Report 2002, Phil Cooney had edited the text. Since Climate Action Report 2002 is not a scientific report but an official U. S. government policy document, editing the text to reflect accurately administration policy should be obligatory. Rather than doing anything wrong, Phil Cooney was doing his job. Moreover, in editing the text what he was trying to do (as an examination of the edits he made will show) was to correct the National Assessment text by replacing the most obvious junk science claims with information and conclusions taken from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Third Assessment Report.
Rather than suppressing science, Phil Cooney was trying to get the science right in the document he was editing.
But that is not the kind of effort that holds any interest for the Union of Concerned Scientists.
3. MAN IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR GLOBAL WARMING
Letter in De Volkskrant (Holland).
Published Jan 11, 2007
It is often claimed that global warming is man-made. But there is no evidence to support this proposition.
A commonly-cited "proof" is that there is a "scientific consensus." But there has not been any comprehensive poll of scientists who work in the field of climatology and related disciplines. However, in 2003 prof. Dennis Bray of the "Forschungszentrum Geesthacht", conducted a more restricted poll among 530 climatologists in 27 countries. Only 34.7 % of the interviewees endorsed the man-made global-warming hypothesis, while 20,5 % rejected it. The rest was undecided. By no stretch of the imagination could this result be construed as a "consensus."
But even if indeed a majority of scientists had voted for man-made global warming, that's not how science operates. Unlike in politics, the majority does not rule. In fact, every advance in science has come from a minority which discovered that observed facts contradicted the commonly-accepted hypothesis or theory. Sometimes it took only a minority of one scientist; think of Galileo or Einstein.
Another so-called "proof" is that glaciers are melting and that Arctic sea ice is disappearing. But this is a consequence of warming and says nothing about its cause. Any warming - whether man-made or natural -- will melt ice. Confusing cause and effect is just wrong logic, not proof.
Some cite the fact that the climate is currently warming and that the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is increasing. True - but correlation is never proof of causation. Besides, the climate cooled for much of the 20th century, from 1940 to 1975 -- even while CO2 was increasing rapidly.
Well, what about the greenhouse climate models that predict a warming? There are nearly two dozen large models -- each giving a different result, depending on the assumptions fed into the computer. Published temperature increases for a doubling of atmospheric CO2 range from as low as 1.4 C all the way to 11.5 C. Besides, the models cannot explain why the climate cooled from 1940 to 1975 -- without using special ad-hoc assumptions. In any case, model results are never evidence; only actual observations and data count.
What we do know is that none of the greenhouse models can explain the observed PATTERNS of the current warming -- the temperature trends at different latitudes and at different altitudes as measured from balloon-borne radiosondes. These findings, first revealed at a climate conference held in Stockholm last September, lead us to conclude that the human contribution is not significant and that most of the warming stems from natural causes, likely from small solar variations. The current warming may well be part of the natural 1500-year cycle that has been measured in ice cores, ocean sediments, stalagmites, etc., going back nearly a million years.
If indeed most of current warming is natural and not caused by human emission of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, then there is little point in reducing CO2 emission from fossil-fuel burning. It makes the Kyoto Protocol -- generally agreed to be quite ineffective in controlling the rise in atmospheric CO2 -- even less effective in slowing the rate of warming. Programs and policies associated with Kyoto should therefore be scrapped -- including uneconomic alternative energy sources, carbon-sequestration efforts, and costly emission-trading schemes. All of these waste money and squander scarce resources, without in any way impacting on the atmosphere or climate.
S. Fred Singer, atmospheric physicist, prof. (em.) University of Virginia, former director of the US Weather Satellite Service. His latest book is: "Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1500 Years"
plus Hans Labohm and 13 other Dutch signers
4. CLIMATE TRUMPS TERROR IN EUROPE
By Gareth Harding
THE WASHINGTON TIMES Published January 14, 2007
BRUSSELS -- A European Commission proposal to slash greenhouse-gas emissions by the end of the next decade has highlighted a growing trans-Atlantic split over global warming that is further stressed by a recent poll that shows Europeans are more concerned about climate change than terrorism.
In a major package of measures aimed at combatting global warming last week, the European Union's executive arm urged the bloc's 27 member states to unilaterally cut emissions of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, by one-fifth by 2020 compared with 1990 figures. It also called on the United States -- which has rejected mandatory curbs on emissions -- and developing countries such as China and India to join it in signing up to a 30 percent reduction in greenhouse gases by the same date.
"Europe must lead the world into a new -- or maybe, one should say, post-industrial -- revolution: the development of a low-carbon economy," Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said while announcing the plan in Brussels on Wednesday. "We have already left behind our coal-based industrial past. It is time to embrace our low-carbon future," he said.
The European Union is currently committed to cutting a basket of six greenhouse gases by 8 percent by 2010, compared with 1990 figures. However, recent data from the European Environment Agency shows this target is unlikely to be reached without additional measures. The commission says its new goal can be reached if member states improve energy efficiency, accept competition between national energy suppliers, agree to produce 20 percent of their energy from renewable sources such as wind and solar power by 2020, and ensure that 10 percent of gasoline consumed is made from biofuels by the same date.
The commission's plan, which was slammed as "unambitious" by green groups and members of the European Parliament, underlines the radically different approaches to tackling climate change in Europe and the United States. A poll released by the France 24 TV channel on Jan. 5 showed global warming to be a greater planetary challenge than terrorism in four of the five European countries where the survey was conducted. In France, for example, 54 percent said the greatest challenge to the planet was global warming, compared with 26 percent who cited terrorism. By contrast, 49 percent of Americans cited terrorism as the biggest threat, while 30 percent mentioned climate change.
Simon Tilford, an analyst at the London-based think tank Center for European Reform, said Americans and Europeans differed over climate change because "in Europe, global warming is accepted as a fact, whereas for a lot of people in the United States, the jury is still out." However, Mr. Tilford said, attitudes toward global warming were changing in the United States and "whoever wins the next presidential election will take a very different line to the current administration."
In similar polls, such as the German Marshall Fund's annual Trans-Atlantic Trends survey, terrorism has been the No. 1 concern of both Europeans and Americans since the September 11, 2001, attacks in the United States. But global warming has shot to the top of the political agenda in recent months, owing in part to former Vice President Al Gore's film "An Inconvenient Truth," stern warnings from scientific advisory bodies, and hard-to-ignore evidence that climate change is already happening. The 10 hottest years since record-keeping began in Europe have occurred in the past 11 years and the commission's report paints a grim picture of a continent battered by floods in the north and drought in the south if temperatures rise by 3 degrees, as some scientists predict.
Nathalie Labile, an analyst at the Paris office of the German Marshall Fund of the United States, said concern about terrorism was less on the "old Continent" because Europeans have lived with it longer than Americans. "Because of that, Europeans believe you cannot win the war on terrorism, you can only contain it." However, the France 24 poll, which was conducted in early December among 12,570 persons in France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Britain and the United States, revealed that Europeans are more worried about the challenge of religious fanaticism than Americans. In Italy, Spain and Germany, it was cited as the No. 1 threat to the planet.
Copyright © 2007 News World Communications, Inc.
5. HAVE YOU BEEN BULLED BY A GORE RECENTLY?
Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one. Charles Mackay, 1841.
Al Gore’s film “An Inconvenient Truth” is going the rounds, even showing up on pay-per-vu. Like his book, it is proving to be popular and well received by many politicians and those who know little to nothing of science, climate change, or even of weather, it seems. Both are mostly a load of old Codswollop. It is verging on criminality that we seem to be so scientifically illiterate as to buy into his politically-inspired disinformation about the effects of carbon dioxide to such a degree that we seem hell bent on destroying our economies, our societies, and our lifestyles. Almost any response that any politician foolishly tries to make to meet any half-baked Kyoto target, will achieve almost nothing already well known but at a monetary cost of trillions of dollars, and at a horrendous social cost that few seem to have recognized just yet.
So exactly what level of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere should we aim for if the present almost 400 parts per million is too much? No-one dares to say for some reason, or more likely, can’t. But until we can answer that question, and justify our answer with believable science (unlikely), we are treading on dangerous ground. We don’t even know what the global average temperature is, or what we foolishly think that should be either, so we tinker in our ignorance.
The best, safest and most sensible response would be to ignore the Gore flim-flam and continue technological and scientific progress; encourage GM to develop electric plug-in cars; electrify the railways; and build nuclear power plants and hydro projects just as fast as we can. Encourage tele-commuting to work. Within 20 to 30 years we could meet the economy-killing illusory Kyoto targets anyway, worthless as they are, and have mostly disconnected ourselves from OPEC tyrants -- and at the least cost, and with maximum benefit. A real win-win situation.
The biggest environmental destruction always comes from ignorance, and believing and responding wrongly to junk science a la Gore. Actions have consequences, so we had better know what we are doing and with what effect. It seems that some of us don’t know. And for those who bleat about Kyoto and the need for precautionary action, it is nothing of the kind. Responding in the way that Gore seems to want is social suicide, as most of Europe is just beginning to discover, and highly destructive of the environment. However, the worst part of it is that doing what Gore would like us to do will achieve absolutely nothing in terms of slowing or stopping climate change which is happening all of the time anyway, and has little or nothing to do with what man is doing.
It is activist propaganda of the kind that Hitler’s propaganda minister Goebbels would have been proud of, and that George Orwell paid tribute to in his 1984 slogan, ignorance is strength. Of course, Mr. Gore’s standard response to those who don’t buy into his slick, but flawed science as he pounds the entirely mistaken consensus-of-scientists’ smokescreen, is to attack them as being in the pay of big oil, or big coal. He can’t answer their arguments with science, so he does the standard thing of such propagandists - attack the messenger.
Lest the same argumentum ad hominem accusation be leveled at me, I will provide direction to a few resources that easily and convincingly demonstrate how Gore has mendaciously tortured the science, and will continue to do so. There are many reputable publications, and reputable scientists that put the lie to most, if not all, of what Gore either says or implies in book and film. One of the more thorough is by Marlo Lewis of the Competitive Enterprises Institute, and can be found at this web address:
Lewis writes his response as a running commentary to go along with An Inconvenient Truth. He found that nearly every significant statement Gore made regarding climate science and climate policy in his book, and film, is either one sided, misleading, exaggerated, speculative, or outright wrong, as with his statements about diseases, polar bears, Antarctic melting, sea level rises, hurricanes, and many others. Diseases, such as malaria and other insect borne diseases are a function of poverty and ignorance, not of warmth alone, as Africa and the history of diseases clearly demonstrate throughout the world. Lewis details almost one hundred such errors in Gore’s spiel, all of which are easily verified by anyone who can read, is intelligent, and has a computer. Such truly inconvenient truths are not exactly a ringing endorsement of the Gore effort.
Other responses are by Christopher Monckton, in a recent masterful series in the Sunday Telegraph of Britain, as well as by many others. One can see how valuable their commentaries are by the ferociously defensive hostility of the personal attacks against them by true believers, but without the attempt to respond to the scientific corrections of these critics.
Gore gave his warming presentation in Boston and New York just when both of those cities were in the grip of the worst winter storms they had seen in decades, so his message went over like a lead balloon, and was a bit of a joke. To get around such inconvenient circumstances, he and other social extremists riding this new wave of public hysteria, have now subtly covered their bets either way, by calling it Global Climate Change, rather than warming as they used to. Now they stand a chance of being believed by the proles no matter which way the weather does not co-operate.
Weather is weather. Climate change is the summation of weather taken over many decades to hundreds or thousands of years. Present swings in weather cold and hot events, globally, are a normal result of El Nino in the Pacific, the sun, and sunspot activity, as they have been since long before human history, but enviro-wackos latch onto them like a Piranha onto a floating carcass. Human memory is short. Over the last forty years, the same caliber of climatologists started with fear of the next ice age, then migrated to fear of global warming, then swung back to the ice age, and now are pounding warming again. When El Nino (the real reason we are having a mild winter now) fades, as it is already doing, we will soon get back to the typical deep-freeze of winter. I, for one, will not welcome it with open arms. Cold kills far more people than does warmth, and it is a lot more expensive. Wake up folks! Gore is just another snake oil salesman with a slicker message. Never forget that this guy is an accomplished, if failed, politician, and most of them are very flexible about the truth in their quest for power and influence. If he leaves his presidential ambitions to 2012, he will find that by then, most of the public will have smartened up to his scam, and he will be about as welcome as a skunk at a garden party, but he’s leaving it a little late for 2008.
John K. Sutherland.
6. GORE'S 'TRUTH' RESTRICTED AT SCHOOLS
The Associated Press January 12, 2007
FEDERAL WAY - The school board in this suburb south of Seattle has restricted showings of Al Gore's movie on global warming, including requiring that it be balanced with an adequate opposing viewpoint. The board also required Superintendent Tom Murphy to approve when the former vice president's film, "An Inconvenient Truth," can be presented.
The decision was sparked by complaints from parents who said their child was taking the film as fact after viewing it at school. "Condoms don't belong in school, and neither does Al Gore. He's not a schoolteacher," said Frosty Hardison, a parent of seven who doesn't want the film shown at all. "The information that's being presented is a very cockeyed view of what the truth is," Hardison told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. "The Bible says that in the end times everything will burn up, but that perspective isn't in the DVD."
Board President Ed Barney told The News Tribune of Tacoma on Wednesday that he'd received about a half-dozen complaints from parents. "We have to ensure that our schools are not being used to politically indoctrinate anyone," said board member Dave Larson, who with Barney and board member Charlie Hoff voted Tuesday for the requirements. None has seen the movie. District policy, however, requires that an opposing view be aired whenever a controversial issue is examined in school.
"I am shocked that a school district would come to this decision," the movie's co-producer, Laurie David, said in a prepared statement. "There is no opposing view to science, which is fact, and the facts are clear that global warming is here, now." Gore's documentary has received approval from some of the nation's top climate scientists for its accuracy. In it, he presents scientists' findings on the catastrophic dangers of climate change. Federal researchers with the National Academy of Sciences have said the planet's temperature has climbed to levels not seen in thousands of years, and has begun to affect plants and animals.
But Larson offered two opposing articles, including one by author John Stossel that said many scientists discredit global warming predictions. He also cited NASA and NOAA Web sites referring to debate and disagreement over climate change.
The film also has been denied a showing at Tacoma's Remann Hall, a high school for juvenile offenders, where Principal Rue Palmer denied a teacher's request. The film hasn't been approved by the Tacoma district's curriculum committee. The school also focuses on core subjects and doesn't generally show films, explained Patti Holmgren, Tacoma School District spokeswoman.
The National Science Teachers Association turned down an offer from the film's producers for 50,000 free DVDs for classroom use. The association said it didn't want to be seen as politically endorsing the film or open itself to requests from other special interests.
7. THE REAL INCONVENIENT TRUTH ABOUT GLOBAL WARMING:
SKEPTICS HAVE VALID ARGUMENTS
by Tom DeWeese (December 19, 2006)
Summary: The only certainty is that billions of dollars are being spent to fool every person on the earth to accept catastrophic global warming as a fact.
Imagine living in a world where no one is allowed to think or act independently--only state-approved human responses are acceptable. To break the rule and engage in forbidden thought would result in terrible retribution, perhaps leading literally to one’s destruction.
That’s the kind of world apparently desired by the global warming Chicken Littles. It seems they are prepared to do anything to achieve it. Case in point is an outrageous letter to ExxonMobil Chairman Rex Tillerson on October 27, 2006. The letter was sent by two United States Senators, Olympia Snowe (R-MA), and Jay Rockefeller (D-WV).
The letter derides Exxon for helping to fund global warming deniers, (a term the global warming crowd is using more and more these days to try to draw a parallel with those who deny the Holocaust):
We are convinced that ExxonMobil's long-standing support of a small cadre of global climate change skeptics, and those skeptics access to and influence on government policymakers, have made it increasingly difficult for the United States to demonstrate the moral clarity it needs across all facets of its diplomacy.
The letter goes on to say, ExxonMobil and its partners in denial have manufactured controversy, sown doubt, and impeded progress with strategies all-too reminiscent of those used by the tobacco industry for so many years.
The mention of the tobacco industry is not just a randomly chosen analogy. It’s a threat that Exxon could face the same government attack on its very existence if it doesn’t play ball. Threats of a windfall profits tax and increased regulation being just a couple of the weapons in the government’s arsenal.
The letter concludes, saying, We would recommend that ExxonMobil publicly acknowledge both the reality of climate change and the role of humans in causing or exacerbating it. Second, ExxonMobil should repudiate its climate change denial campaign.
As incredible as the letter may seem, one must pause to understand the new think being foisted on our society. In the August, 2006 issue of The DeWeese Report, (Vol.12, Issue 7), I reported on the root of the new edicts on thinking, called globally acceptable truth. This is not just an Ivory Tower intellectual exercise. Those who practice it believe the only way we can have a well-ordered society is for everyone to think and act in unison. Those who break the rules and think for themselves or take action contrary to the consensus are evil.
This idea is not just the silly ranting of a few lunatics. It is being accepted as the proper focus for major policy matters from Congress and the news media.
The main source of such thinking seems to come from the Eden Institute, operating out of New York and with close ties to the UN. The official use of globally acceptable truth is best described in a letter to the Eden Institute from Robert Muller, Assistant Secretary General of the UN. He wrote, I am referring to the need to establish a body of objective, globally acceptable information to serve as a foundation for global education Its (Eden Project) formula for identifying universally acceptable objective data is truly unique. It achieves this distinction by establishing a global standard for inquiry.
Translation: We will decide what is truth and all new information or scientific discovery will be judged on whether it matches this globally acceptable truth.
The last time human kind was strapped into such a mental straightjacket was during the Inquisition of the Dark Ages. The period was called the Dark Ages because it was an era of ignorance, superstition and social chaos and repression. Anyone caught questioning the doctrine or power of the church was labeled a heretic and found his or her way to the rack or into the middle of a fire while tied to a stake. The church, of course, was practicing its own brand of globally acceptable truth.
Today, the new heretics to the religion of global warming are those who question whether scientific facts support the dire warnings that are screaming from the newspaper headlines and from environmental groups’ press releases.
The letter to ExxonMobil from Rockefeller and Snowe is but one example of the dire tactics being used to stifle any debate on the subject. Just recently, the Attorney General of California filed suit against the world’s three biggest car manufacturers for their complicity in creating CO2 emissions. As part of the discovery for the suit, the Attorney General demanded copies of any correspondence between the automakers and so-called skeptics of climate change. Message: you can’t even talk to these people! 2006 has seen the church of global warming go into near panic at any sign of heretical behavior.
It’s absolutely incredible to see such panic, considering the global warming mantra is near universal. There are over 12,000 environmental groups in the country controlling over $20 billion in assets, all unified in spreading the climate change gospel. On top of their vast holdings, many of those same groups receive federal grants for studies and reports on their climate change findings.
Added to that substantial fire power is a willing news media which offers magazine cover photos of melting ice caps; and the efforts of the movie and television industry which lets no opportunity get by without some reference to global warming. Al Gore’s own documentary has been in theaters around the nation for months. He is the guest on talk shows nearly every week.
The catastrophic global warming message is literally everywhere. It indoctrinates our children in the classroom. It flows from the advertising messages of corporations, in their corporate social responsible ad to sell their environmentally-responsible products (for which research and development was probably paid for with federal tax dollars). Huge numbers of Hollywood stars and international political leaders have endorsed the mantra of the church of global warming. Billions and billions of dollars are being spent to influence literally every corner of the earth to accept global warming as a fact.
Countering this massive onslaught of globally acceptable climate change truth is a tiny, dedicated band of scientists, political leaders and non-profits that are seeking the truth. Their assets are literally in the low millions of dollars -- simply a drop in the bucket when compared to the war chest of the climate change church. They don’t have the media’s attention. They don’t have the ability to issue massive grants. Hollywood certainly isn’t making movies to promote the skeptics’ point of view. And the federal government isn’t allowing the contrary opinions in many classrooms.
So, with so much incredible fire power covering every possible exit, one must ask the logical question: why is the climate change crowd so scared of a few renegade groups and their measly few million dollars? The fact is, the skeptics are having such an impact on the debate because they are telling the truth. The Church of Global Warming is wrong!
As George Orwell once wrote: In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act. There is no greater hero in the revolution for climate change truth than Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. He has truly demonstrated the power one honest individual can wield.
Earlier this year (2006) Sen. Inhofe gave two explosive speeches on the floor of the Senate in which he attacked and exposed the unfounded claims and scare tactics being employed by the Global Warming crowd. The speeches were literally unprecedented in the decades-long climate change debate. And their effect was like a lightning bolt. Almost immediately some scientists began coming out of hiding to side with the Senator.
On December 6th, just as the Rockefeller/Snowe letter was being exposed across the Internet, Inhofe held a hearing on Capitol Hill exposing the alarmist media. Said Inhofe, Rather than focus on the hard science of global warming, the media has instead become advocates for hyping scientifically unfounded climate alarmism. His attacks have already forced 60 Minutes, CNN and other major media to at least give lip service to the skeptics’ point of view. More importantly, the Senator’s efforts are putting the Global Warming crowd into near cardiac arrest.
It is important to note that the so-called Skeptics include Dr. Daniel Schrag of Harvard; Claude Allegre, one of the most decorated French geophysicists; Dr. Richard Lindzen, professor of Atmospheric Sciences, MIT; Dr. Patrick Michaels, University of Virginia: Dr. Fred Singer; Professor Bob Carter, geologist at James Cook University, Australia; 85 scientists and climate experts who signed the 1995 Leipzig Declaration which called drastic climate controls ill-advised, lacking credible support from the underlying science; 17,000 scientists and leaders involved in climate study who signed a petition issued by the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine saying there is no evidence greenhouse gases cause global warming; and the 4,000 scientists and leaders from around the world, including 70 Nobel Prize winners, who signed the Heidelberg Appeal calling greenhouse global warming theories highly uncertainly scientific theories.
These are but a few of the highly qualified skeptics derided by Jay Rockefeller, Olympia Snowe and Al Gore -- who, they say, should not be given a voice on the issue.
There are lots of lies surrounding the Global Warming mantra. The biggest one claims there is consensus among scientists that human-caused global warming is a fact. There is no such consensus. Human survival demands that we listen to the Skeptics before they are burned at the stake by Jay Rockefeller and Olympia Snowe.
Courtesy: Center for Science and Public Policy
8. LOSING TO THE GREENS
By Robert D. Novak
December 26, 2006
"I've never seen industry so deathly afraid of the current politics surrounding climate change policy," a Bush administration environmental official told me. With good reason. As Democrats take control of Congress, once-firm opposition to the green lobby's campaign of imposing carbon emission controls is weak.
Panicky captains of industry have themselves largely to blame for failing to respond to the environmentalists' well-financed propaganda operation. One government official says "industry appears utterly helpless and utterly clueless on how to respond." But the Bush administration itself is a house divided, with support for Greens and severe carbon regulation inside the Department of Energy rampant, reaching up to the secretary himself.
None of this necessarily means climate change will become law during the next two years, with President Bush wielding his veto pen if any bill escapes the Senate's gridlock. Rep. John Dingell of Detroit, reassuming chairmanship of the Energy and Commerce Committee after a dozen years' absence, will try to protect the automotive industry from Draconian regulation. But over the long term, industry is losing to the Greens.
The stakes are immense, as shown by the impact of the bill to implement the Kyoto proposal, co-sponsored by Sen. John McCain, front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, and Sen. Joe Lieberman, the favorite Democrat of many Republicans.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates this measure would reduce gross domestic product by $776 billion, raise gasoline prices 40 cents a gallon, raise natural gas prices 46 percent and cut coal production by nearly 60 percent. Charles River Associates, business consultants, predicts it would kill 600,000 jobs.
Yet, Jonathan Lash of the World Resources Institute last week said McCain-Lieberman does not go far enough in reducing carbon emissions. Green extremists would prefer the severe legislation proposed by Sen. Barbara Boxer, the new chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee.
According to industry sources, Dingell has privately advised auto industry lobbyists to prepare for the worst. House Speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi is making carbon emission legislation a priority, and Dingell has warned Detroit that she expects him to move a bill through his committee. He will do his best to modify legislation, but he is obliged to follow Pelosi's wishes and cannot play Horatio at the Bridge.
The same dilemma faces Rep. Rick Boucher, a staunch ally of the coal industry who will become chairman of the Energy and Commerce subcommittee on energy and air quality. He must balance Pelosi's desires with the interests of the coal counties in his Southwest Virginia district.
Staunch foes of carbon regulation remain in the administration, headed by Chairman James L. Connaughton of the Council on Environmental Quality. But the Energy Department's top executive strata have gone green.
Since moving from deputy treasury secretary to energy secretary nearly two years ago, business executive and financier Samuel W. Bodman has kept a low profile. In a rare public utterance on global warning Oct. 5, 2005, he said an "increasing level of certainty" about global warming fueled by carbon dioxide "is real" and "a matter we take seriously."
In private meetings, he has expressed dissatisfaction with administration policy. Bodman's undersecretary, former Senate staffer David K. Garman, has shocked industry lobbyists with his criticism of the president's views.
In the background is a pending Supreme Court decision on what the Clean Air Act requires or permits the Environmental Protection Agency to do about greenhouse gas emissions. Even if the court says the authority is merely discretionary, McCain or any Democratic president would then crack down on industry if nothing is passed before the 2008 election.
Ultimate salvation from U.S. self-destructive behavior may come from the real world. Most European Union countries, suffering higher energy costs and constraints on growth imposed by the Kyoto pact, cannot meet that treaty's emission level requirements.
Furthermore, China is on pace to exceed U.S. emissions by 2010, meaning that unilateral U.S. carbon controls will have little impact on global emissions while driving American jobs to China.
This downside of Speaker Pelosi's green determination ought to resonate in union halls and coalfields of Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia. However, American industrialists, while wringing their hands, are not making their case.
(To find out more about Robert D. Novak and read his past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate web page.)
9. UNSTOPPABLE GLOBAL WARMING: EVERY 1,500 YEARS
By S. Fred Singer and Dennis T. Avery, Rowman & Littlefield, $24.95, 260 pages
Book review by LARRY THORNBERRY
Washington Times, Jan 14, 2007
"Unstoppable Global Warming" is a valuable and sane contribution to the more-than-a-little-loopy public conversation about global warming. It deserves a warm reception from readers. Currently, the day is being carried by doom-and-gloom hysterics, including a chubby former vice president (who if he can't invent the Internet can at least save the world from CO2).
These folks promise all manner of horrors -- including but not limited to inundation by a rising sea caused by melting ice caps, epidemics of disease, mass extinction of species, a spike in major storms, arable land turned to desert, and on and on -- unless advanced countries immediately dismantle their energy-based economies.
Mr. Singer and Mr. Avery contend that while what the hysterics want to do may be inconvenient in the extreme, there is no truth to their claims. The thesis of this book, backed up by extensive research, is that the slight warming our Earth is undergoing now is part of a long-established cycle associated with activity on our sun, is not dangerous, and is not something we could do anything about even if there were any need to, which there isn't.
If man-made greenhouse gases are contributing to warming to anything more than the most trifling degree, the global warming activists have not come even close to demonstrating this. "The Earth continually warms and cools. The cycle is undeniable, ancient, often abrupt, and global. It is also unstoppable. Isotopes in the ice and sediment cores, ancient tree rings, and stalagmites tell us it is linked to small changes in the irradiance of the sun," write the authors.
The activist, or carbon-dioxide-is-killing-us, side of this argument -- catered to by ignorant and lazy journalists looking for something sensational for page one -- is based on wild suppositions derived from computer modeling and on cherry-picking of temperature data. The evidence that man-made greenhouse gases are well along to destroying the planet has to be believed to be seen.
Climate physicist S. Fred Singer is professor emeritus of environmental science at the University of Virginia and serves as distinguished research professor at George Mason University. He was the founding dean of the School of Environmental and Planetary Sciences as the University of Miami, first director of the U.S. National Weather Satellite Service and served five years as vice-chairman of the U.S. National Advisory Committee on Oceans and Atmospheres. He is widely published, including previous books on global climate.
Dennis T. Avery is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and a former senior analyst at the U.S. State Department. He's written extensively on environmental matters. In writing this book, the authors reviewed extensive and readily-available research and historical data showing that for at least the past million years our Earth has continually gone through warming and cooling phases that have lasted about 1,500 years and are in no way correlated with CO2 levels.
Some of the warmest periods of the Earth's history -- including during the period of the Roman Empire and during the Middle Ages -- took place when pre-industrial man was not putting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Even in the 20th century, when the temperature of the Earth did rise for the entire period, global temperature did not track with the levels of man-made greenhouse gases. Much of the 20th century's warming came before 1940. From about that year until about 1975, the period of the most rapid and intense industrialization on the planet, temperatures on Earth actually went down, before starting back up again.
All of this data flies in the face of the doomsday scenarios being pushed by the greenhouse gas-bags. "Theory says that more greenhouse gases in the atmosphere will trap more heat, but no one knows whether the amounts of heat trapped by CO2 increases are significant. Nothing in the Earth's climate history confirms CO2 as a strong driver of climate warming," write the authors.
During temperature swings in the past, including periods when the Earth was warmer than it is now, the horribles the greenhouse crowd is predicting didn't happen. The sea didn't swamp the land because of melted ice caps. Species didn't die out. The Earth didn't become a desert. No reason to suppose these things will occur now. Mr. Singer and Mr. Avery demonstrate through the historical record that the Earth's warmer periods were not bad for the human race. Au contraire, cold is a lot tougher on plants and animals than heat, and the warmer periods have been some of man's and the planet's most prosperous. More diseases are caused by cold than by heat. And the longer growing seasons and larger growing ranges of the warm periods have been a benefit for humans (higher CO2 levels are actually good for plants). The Earth is now in one of the warm periods, and will likely be in it for at least a few centuries. Not to worry.
Mr. Singer and Mr. Avery present the extensive science that supports their position in a complete but accessible way. Readers without science backgrounds -- which include most of us -- will have no trouble following the arguments, counter-arguments and the evidence. The authors' extensive documentation of study after study that flies in the face of the greenhouse horrors hypothesis also inconveniences the often-heard but false assertion that the scientific community is in agreement that man-made greenhouse gases are causing climate catastrophe. Greenhouse gasbaggery may be the orthodoxy among most environmentalists and most mainstream journalists, but there is no such consensus among scientists.
A careful reading of Mr. Singer's and Mr. Avery's analysis will made it difficult for readers not to conclude, as the authors have, that the current danger is not from rising sea levels caused by greenhouse gases, but from stupid actions on the part of government officials goaded by ideology, bad information, and a frightened but badly misled public. The hyperventilating over global warming is a political not a scientific phenomenon, whooped up by modern Luddites and by a political Left ever alert for excuses for more taxation and regulation. "We are being humbugged by activists with no credentials, of whom we should automatically be wary. We are also being humbugged by the journalists we pay to provide us with reliable information, healthy skepticism, and differing perspectives. Now we are even being humbugged by highly trained professional scientists, many of them working on government research grants," write the authors. Just so.
Larry Thornberry is a writer living in Tampa, Fla.
Copyright © 2007 News World Communications, Inc.
10. EUROPE'S NEW ENERGY POLICY
This week saw the publication of the European Union's latest energy policy proposals. They cover a range of issues, including opening up the market to more competition, setting binding targets for the use of biofuels and, perhaps most importantly, assuring energy security. Many of the proposals are very sensible, in particular the encouragement of new nuclear generating capacity as an important part of the mix, and the move to dismantle the vertically integrated electricity generation and supply industry. However the topic of carbon reduction targets has inevitably received the greatest media attention.
The Commission has proposed that Europe set a target of 30% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2020 (from the 1990 baseline). By doing this, it aims to lead the world in a renewed push for decarbonisation. However, the 30% target only applies if the developed world agrees to abide by the same target. In the meantime, the EU would commit to a 20% unilateral reduction. This is a very significant step, particularly in light of the fact that the far less ambitious targets for 2012 seem unlikely to be met by any but a few member states.
So, how should this bold move be interpreted? Is it a realistic attempt to reinforce the role of the EU as the leader in effective climate change mitigation, or a last-ditch attempt to match words with action, doomed to failure? Only time will tell, but it remains highly unlikely that the rest of the developed world - even if the Americans elect a Democrat to the White House next time round - will commit to a 30% cut in emissions. And even achieving a 20% cut in the EU looks very doubtful. Already, major member states are complaining about Commission pressure on them to reduce their emission targets.
This renewed initiative highlights the divide between rhetoric and action. Politicians, officials, environmental groups and the scientific establishment have been talking up the dangers of a warming climate and the necessity of making swingeing cuts in emissions if the worst is to be avoided. On the other hand, despite the talk and a bit of tinkering round the edges (increased air passenger tax and a move to paying carbon offset charges for official travel in the UK, for example) there is little sign of politicians doing what they say has to be done. To an extent, this is because of the reality that any effective action has to take place on a global basis. Any country taking significant unilateral action will be cheered on by environmentalists as its competitiveness and economic growth take a nose-dive.
At some stage, this conflict will be resolved. Either there will be a general acceptance by society that Mankind's actions are a major driver of warming and that appropriate action can mitigate this, or there will be a recognition that we cannot realistically control the climate, and we can move on to tackle other issues. What will we be saying about this in ten years' time?
The business response to climate change
In the meantime, there have been two significant developments in the way business is responding to climate change policy. The first is the announcement by the CBI of a new task force. Director General Richard Lambert was interviewed on the Today programme on 11th January about his organisation's setting up of a group of leading companies to 'have a constructive and serious debate in addressing the big challenges'. The second is the participation by Exxon Mobil in talks with other US companies on the form future emissions reduction policies might take. At the same time, they have stopped funding the Competitive Enterprise Institute and a handful of other groups which have taken a prominent part in criticising the mainstream view on climate change.
At first sight, all this may seem surprising. Big business, after all, is held by many activists to be part of the problem, and not part of the solution. Exxon Mobil has become the epitome of this, mainly because it has stubbornly refused to indulge in the same greenwashing practised by others in the sector. So, does this represent a change of heart? Almost certainly not, but there has clearly been the realisation that a bad public image can also be bad for business. Questioning the received wisdom on climate change may be intellectually honest, but it does nothing for profits. The sensible thing, therefore, is to take a lower profile and let others take the flak.
In the case of UK companies, the calculation will have been similar. Seizing the initiative and being seen to take action on climate change will polish their public image and may well provide profitable business opportunities. But not everyone appears to have done the same calculation. Chrysler’s chief economist has apparently talked of 'quasi-hysterical Europeans' (whatever that means) with a 'Chicken Little' approach to climate change. He may have a legitimate point, but this is unlikely to do much for the business.
Admitting the truth about organic food
The environment minister, David Milliband, told the Sunday Times that buying organic food was a 'lifestyle choice' and that there was no evidence it was better for you. In this he is fully in line with the Food Standards Agency. He rightly says that promotion of the 4% of produce which is organic as in some way superior to the 96% of 'conventional' crops tends to downgrade the latter in the eyes of many consumers. This is unfortunate, as no-one wants to feel they are forced to eat something which is second-best because they cannot afford the organic premium.
Of course, there has been predictable outrage from the organic lobby, who firmly believe in the superiority of their system and produce. But lifestyle choice is a pretty fair description. Eating organic makes a statement, both about your attitude to food and to the environment. There's nothing wrong with that, and no-one (well, very few) would suggest there is any problem with organic produce per se. However, it is possible to produce good food by a whole range of management methods. It would be more honest of the Soil Association and others to admit this, while sticking to their particular beliefs, rather than implicitly downgrading the vast majority of non-organic fruit, vegetables, meat, milk and eggs which we all enjoy.
Shooting the messenger
Sense About Science, an organisation which shares our own desire to put factual evidence into the public domain and challenge some of the unsubstantiated factoids we see in the media, recently launched an initiative to encourage celebrities to check their facts with scientists before voicing opinions on topics of which they may have little understanding. Very sensible, you may think, as we are sure would most of the population.
But not Zac Goldsmith, at present the green guru of the Tory party. In a piece in the Mail on Sunday, he attacks Sense About Science not primarily for what they are saying (although their lack of concern about trace environmental chemicals clearly does not chime with his own beliefs) but because of the backgrounds of some of the key figures in the organisation. Unfortunately, for those with a weak case, trying to discredit the source often forms the mode of attack. This is precisely the sort of thing we object to most strongly. No-one is 100% right or wrong, and truth can be found anywhere if we have open minds. Whatever our beliefs, we should debate on the basis of facts, and accept that we may need to change our minds. We can only hope that David Cameron and his team base their policies on something more substantial than aspersions cast on peoples integrity.
The Scientific Alliance
St John's Innovation Centre, Cowley Road, Cambridge CB4 0WS
Tel: +44 1223 421242
11. EDITORIAL: GREEN PLANTS, FOSSIL FUELS, AND NOW BIOFUELS
BioScience Volume 56: 875. November 2006
For 700 million years, green plants contributed to the formation of soil, oil, natural gas, and coal. As the human population increases, so too does the consumption of soil and fossil energy. If this trend continues unabated, humans will consume most of these precious resources within the next few hundred years.
By 1850, when wood accounted for 91 percent of US energy consumption and the US population was less than 10 percent of the current 300 million, serious wood shortages already existed. Now, with only about 4.5 percent of the world population, the United States accounts for a quarter of total fossil fuel use, the largest per capita consumption of any country. Between 1850 and 2000, 90 percent of the US oil endowment was mined.
Converting grain or other biomass into ethanol is currently a popular idea, but it is not a new one. It requires fertile soil, large quantities of water, and sunlight for green plant production. Green plants in the United States collect about 53 exajoules of energy per year from sunlight. Americans consume slightly more than twice that amount, however. Enthusiasts suggest that ethanol produced from corn and cellulosic biomass could replace much of the oil used in the United States. Yet the 18 percent of the US corn crop that is now converted into 4.5 billion gallons of ethanol replaces only 1 percent of US petroleum consumption. If the entire corn crop were used, it would replace only 6 percent. And because the country has lost over a third of its agricultural topsoil, no large increase in the corn crop is possible.
Our up-to-date analysis of the 14 energy inputs that typically go into corn production and the 9 invested in fermentation and distillation operations confirms that 29 percent more energy (derived from fossil fuels) is required to produce a gallon of corn ethanol than is contained in the ethanol. Ethanol from cellulosic biomass is worse: With current technology, 50 percent more energy is required to produce a gallon than the product can deliver. Investigators differ over the energy value of the by-products of making corn ethanol, but the credits range only from 10 percent to 60 percent. In any event, biomass ethanol is a bad choice from an energy standpoint.
Moreover, the environmental impacts of corn ethanol are enormous. They include severe soil erosion, heavy use of nitrogen fertilizer and pesticides, and a significant contribution to global warming. In addition, each gallon of ethanol requires 1700 gallons of water (mostly to grow the corn) and produces 6 to 12 gallons of noxious organic effluent.
Using food crops, such as corn grain, to produce ethanol also raises major ethical concerns. More than 3.7 billion humans in the world are currently malnourished, so the need for grains and other foods is critical. Growing crops to provide fuel squanders resources; better options to reduce our dependence on oil are available. Energy conservation and development of renewable energy sources, such as solar cells and solar-based methanol synthesis, should be given priority.
College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Cornell University
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering,
University of California–Berkeley
12. BETTER BE QUICK IF YOU WANT TO VISIT HOLLAND
From the desk of Jos Verhulst on Mon, 2007-01-08 21:09
If any of our readers is considering a visit to the Netherlands in the near future, they had better be quick. Very quick, because the country is going to be flooded over in the coming months. Three years ago, on February 22, 2004, The Observer (the Sunday edition of al-Guardian) published an article Now the Pentagon tells Bush: Climate Change Will Destroy Us, warning that in 2007 violent storms caused by global warming will smash the Dutch coastal barriers. The paper announced that in 2007 large parts of the Netherlands will become uninhabitable and that cities like The Hague, which contains the residences of the Dutch Queen, Parliament and Government, will be abandoned. Those of you who wish to visit the Mauritshuis Museum and see Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring, hurry.
The Observer claimed to have read about the impending submergence of The Hague in a secret report which the Pentagon wrote for U.S. President George Bush. According to the report, global warming was a threat greater than terrorism.
The findings will prove humiliating to the Bush administration, The Observer wrote, and will also make unsettling reading for a President who has insisted national defence is a priority.
The article from The Observer was republished in a number of like-minded European papers, including the Brussels paper De Morgen, the Belgian equivalent of al-Guardian, in its issue of February 23, 2004. De Morgen even headlined on its front page that the evil Bush had ordered to hush up the report.
The Pentagon report allegedly also stated that by 2010 Europe will begin to witness a temperature drop, which will turn Britain into Siberia. Access to water will become a major battleground in the Danube area while European countries will become virtual fortresses to prevent millions of migrants and boatpeople from entering after being forced off land drowned by sea-level rise. In other words: the migrants will be Dutch.
Next month (presumably to warn children in nearby Belgium about the impending catastrophe in the neighbouring Netherlands later this year) the Belgian Ministry of Education is giving a DVD of Al Gore’s movie An Inconvenient Truth to every high school in the country.
13. DIOXINS AND MALE REPRODUCTIVE EFFECTS:
A study of U.S. Air Force veterans who served in Vietnam is reported as suggesting that exposure to the dioxin, TCDD - found in Agent Orange - limits prostate gland growth and lowers testosterone levels (Environmental Health Perspectives, November issue, see abstract; see also EurekAlert! article). The 971 veterans exposed to dioxin during operation Ranch Hand had a lower incidence of benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH) or enlarged-prostate disease than the 1,266 veterans who did not spray herbicides. The study authors reported that not only is TCDD exposure at general population levels associated with decreasing risk of BPH, but also that "TCDD exposure is negatively associated with serum testosterone levels." "Now we know that there is a link between dioxins and the human prostate, leading us to speculate that dioxins might be decreasing the growth of the prostate in humans like they do in animals," said lead author Dr. Amit Gupta of University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.
EU Reports Falling Dioxin Emissions:
ENDS Europe Daily (November 24) recently reported news on EU dioxin emissions, POPs limits in wastes, and monitoring of dioxins in foods:
- European Pollutant Emission Register data show a 30 percent fall in EU dioxin emissions in 2001-04, led by Spanish firms with a reduction of 81 percent and Italian companies, with 58 percent. Czech dioxin emissions are the highest in the EU, at one-quarter of the total.
- EU ministers have been asked to set limits for 14 POPs above which contaminated wastes must be destroyed or permanently stored. For PCBs, the Commission has proposed a mandatory destruction threshold of 50 mg/kg, and for dioxins, 5 mg/kg (Note: this figure is quoted in the Proposal but seems unlikely to be correct). For most of the other POPs, the proposed threshold is 5,000 mg/kg (see Council of the European Union Proposal for a Council Regulation).
- Rules on monitoring levels of dioxins and PCBs in foods have been published in the EU Official Journal. Legal limits were passed earlier this year and will be reviewed at the end of 2008.
Indoor Wood Smoke Poses Health Hazards:
Wood smoke from indoor fireplaces poses health hazards due to fine particles and "toxic and carcinogenic substances that include benzene, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and dioxin," claims an op-ed in the Contra Costa Times by Jenny Bard, director of clean air programs at the American Lung Association of California. "According to the Bay Area Air Quality Management Agency, one-third of the total amount of dioxin in the area comes from wood burning... EPA researchers estimate that the cancer risk from wood smoke may be 12 times greater than from an equal amount of tobacco smoke."
Mercury coming from the forests
Shame on Nature for doing that.
14. THE NY TIMES STEM CELL COVERUP
By Michael Fumento
A reader wrote in to the "Public Editor," an online ombudsman at the The New York Times, asking why a study of the potential of amniotic stem cells (and their potential to make embryonic stem cell research obsolete) didn't appear in newspaper, notwithstanding write-ups on the front pages of The Washington Post and The Los Angeles Times.
In fact, virtually everybody who was anybody wrote about it. The Times responded that its "genetics reporter, Nicholas Wade,
. . . looked at the Atala paper last week and deemed it a minor development. Nicholas noted: "It reports finding 'multipotent' stem cells in amniotic fluid. Multipotent means they can't do as much as bona fide embryonic stem cells (which are called 'pluripotent'). So the cells really belong in the adult stem cell category, even though the authors claim an 'intermediate' status for them." Nicholas further noted that there had been previous reports of multipotent stem cells, which were much heralded at the time but then seemed to go nowhere."
I posted the following response:
Wade is flat-out wrong. Although I have read the full paper, you need go no further than the online abstract at PubMed to read that the amniotic stem cells were differentiated "into cell types representing each embryonic germ layer, including cells of adipogenic, osteogenic, myogenic, endothelial, neuronal and hepatic lineages."
Translation: The amniotic cells carry the same potential as embryonic stem cells to become each of the 220 cell types in the human body. As to "similar cells," Wade is right but not in the way he'd have you believe. Amniotic stem cells are the same as those from placenta. Almost six years ago, scientists at Anthrogenesis Corporation announced they'd discovered stem cells that were readily harvestable in great numbers from placenta and convertible into all germ layers. PubMed now lists over 500 articles concerning "placenta" and "stem cells," indicating that a tremendous number of scientists find amniotic/placenta cells to be of tremendous interest even if Nicholas Wade and The New York Times do not.
I could also have added that this was the same newspaper that in 2004, in a Gina Kolata article, declared of adult stem cells "The problem is in putting them to work to treat diseases. So far, no one has succeeded." In fact there were about 70 ASC cures or treatments at the time, dating back to the late 1950s. The bottom line is the Grey Lady supports increased federal funding for ESC research - research that has yet to even be tested on a human being - to the point of outright lying over advances in alternative stem cell therapy. They don't call it "The Slimes" for nothing, folks.
15. THE MYTH THAT DDT CAUSED EGG THINNING AND DEPLETION OF EAGLES
WSJ, December 28, 2006; Page A15
Your Dec. 26 editorial " The Eagle Is Landing1" unfortunately perpetuates a major myth about the insecticide DDT -- that the 1972 ban of DDT saved the eagle from extinction.
As early as 1921, the journal Ecology reported that bald eagles were threatened with extinction -- 22 years before DDT production even began. According to a report in the National Museum Bulletin, the bald eagle reportedly had vanished from New England by 1937 -- 10 years before widespread use of the pesticide.
But by 1960, 20 years after the Bald Eagle Protection Act and at the peak of DDT use, the Audubon Society reported counting 25% more eagles than in its pre-1941 census. U.S. Forest Service studies reported an increase in nesting bald eagle productivity from 51 in 1964 to 107 in 1970, according to the 1970 Annual Report on Bald Eagle Status.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service attributed bald eagle population reductions to a "widespread loss of suitable habitat," but noted that "illegal shooting continues to be the leading cause of direct mortality in both adult and immature bald eagles," according to a 1978 report in the Endangered Species Tech Bulletin.
A 1984 National Wildlife Federation publication listed hunting, power line electrocution, collisions in flight and poisoning from eating ducks containing lead shot as the leading causes of eagle deaths.
In addition to these reports, numerous scientific studies and experiments vindicate DDT.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists fed large doses of DDT to captive bald eagles for 112 days and concluded that "DDT residues encountered by eagles in the environment would not adversely affect eagles or their eggs," according to a 1966 report published in the "Transcripts of 31st North America Wildlife Conference."
The Fish and Wildlife Service examined every bald eagle found dead in the U.S. between 1961-1977 (266 birds) and reported no adverse effects caused by DDT or its residues.
One of the most notorious DDT "factoids" is that it thinned bird egg shells. But a 1970 study published in Pesticides Monitoring Journal reported that DDT residues in bird egg shells were not correlated with thinning. Numerous other feeding studies on caged birds indicate that DDT isn't associated with egg shell thinning.
In the few studies claiming to implicate DDT as the cause of thinning, the birds were fed diets that were either low in calcium, included other known egg shell-thinning substances, or that contained levels of DDT far in excess of levels that would be found in the environment -- and even then, the massive doses produced much less thinning than what had been found in egg shells in the wild.
So what causes thin bird egg shells? The potential culprits are many. Some that have been reported in the scientific literature include: oil, lead, mercury, stress from noise, fear, excitement or disease, age, bird size (larger birds produce thicker shells), dehydration, temperature, decreased light, human and predator intrusion, restraint and nutrient deficiencies.
Most of this evidence was available to the Environmental Protection Agency administrative judge who presided over the 1971-1972 hearings about whether DDT should be banned. No doubt it's why he ruled that, "The use of DDT under the regulations involved here does not have a deleterious effect on freshwater fish, estuarine organisms, wild birds or other wildlife."
Yet it's the myths, not the facts, that endure. Why? The answer is endless repetition. If we want, as you have editorialized in the past, for the malarial regions nations to embrace DDT use, the repetition of this myth must end.