"Weather: Change we all believe in!" Bumper sticker
Last week we told you about the horrors of the EPA staff’s plan to control CO2 (aka as controlling your life, all the way down to the use of lawnmowers). To view the EPA-ANPR (and read at least the first few pages) go to http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2008/pdf/E8-16432.pdf
This week, the NOAA activists, lacking adult supervision, released for comment the draft of what’s called the Unified Synthesis Product (USP) from a decade or so of federal efforts called the Climate Change Science Program that have so far cost about $20 billion of your tax money. The USP is supposed to provide the scientific underpinnings for the EPA’s proposed rulemaking. To see this shining exemplar of propaganda trumping science, visit http://downloads.climatescience.gov/sap/usp/usp-prd-all.pdf
1. Fake – and not even accurate: A critical view of the CCSP-USP
2. Chamber asks NOAA to withdraw CCSP-USP report (08/04/2008)
3. Pelosi stonewalls drilling in US; wants to save the world
4. Does the “future of civilization” depend on giving up fossil fuels? Do Gore and Obama agree?
5. David King fights coal plants to save penguins
6. Industry sees GW as a moneymaker
7. Climate hysterics v heretics
8. A "geriatric" revolt: “Greenie Watch” explains why seniors tend to be climate skeptics
9. GW blamed for natural disasters
NEWS YOU CAN USE
More on the EPA-ANPR, from Chamber of Commerce site ACCESS http://www.uschamber.com/CO2/default
Most consumers aren’t aware of the extent to which staff members at the Environmental Protection Agency want to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. The Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking released by EPA staff July 11, 2008, lays out a strategy to regulate emissions right down to household items and gardening equipment. These rules don’t simply apply to an amorphous American business sector; they apply to the basic American consumer, us at home. They carry significant implications for how we recreate and even tend to our daily household chores.
Some of EPA’s Suggestions:
In the Weeds. [E]ach application could require a different unit of measure tied to the machine’s mission or output-- such as grams per kilogram of cuttings from a standard lawn for lawnmowers and grams per kilogram-meter of load lift for forklifts. Such application-specific standards would provide the clearest metric for GHG emission reductions. (EPA-ANPR, p. 337)
Adrift: A number of innovative alternatives are under development for providing power on marine vessels. These alternative power sources include fuel cells, solar power, wind power, and even wave power. While none of these technologies are currently able to supply the total power demands of larger, ocean-going vessels, they may prove to be capable of reducing GHG emissions through auxiliary power or power-assist applications. (EPA-ANPR, p. 345)
Jonathan David Carson re-visits the Hockeystick http://www.americanthinker.com/2006/08/fake_but_accurate_science.html
Knappenberger comments on the CCSP-USP in the World Climate Report http://www.worldclimatereport.com/index.php/2008/08/05/ccsp-climate-impacts-report-a-perversion-of-science/
Al Gore’s Carbon Empire: Cashing in on Climate Change. Al Gore says everyone will benefit when new government rules require companies to pay to reduce global warming. But some people will benefit more than others, as will some companies. Benefiting most are those like the ex-vice president who can set up and invest in companies that will profit from the federal regulations imposing heavy costs on others.
Dr. Takeda Kunihiko, vice-chancellor of the Institute of Science and Technology Research at Chubu University. His book “Hypocritical Ecology” has been flying off shelves at the speed of 100,000 a month since being published this June 2008. Kunihiko is one of the world's leading authorities on both uranium enrichment and recycling and is a member of just about every prestigious academic and governmental entity, he has stayed independent and made a career out of challenging the establishment. He was also vice deputy president at the Shibaura Institute of Technology before joining Nagoya University in 2002.
Another top Japanese scientist, Dr. Kiminori Itoh, called warming fears the worst scientific scandal in history (June 27, 2008). Itoh, an award-winning environmental physical chemist who specializes in optical waveguide spectroscopy from the Yokohama National University, also contributed to the 2007 UN IPCC AR4 (fourth assessment report) as an expert reviewer. http://climatesci.org/2008/06/17/guest-weblog-by-dr-kiminori-itoh-of-yokohama-national-university
UNDER THE BOTTOM LINE
The California Attorney General's office is leading a group of state attorneys general and environmental groups that will sue the Environmental Protection Agency for failing to regulate greenhouse gases from ships, planes, and agricultural and industrial equipment. Now that greenhouse gases are considered air pollutants under the Clean Air Act, they maintain, the EPA is obligated to regulate their emissions from such sources. News coverage from Reuters and AP.
"These jellyfish near shore are a message
the sea is sending us saying, 'Look how badly you are treating me.'" - DR. JOSEP-MARA GILI, one of the world's
leading jellyfish experts.
The explosion of jellyfish populations reflects overfishing, rising sea temperatures and pollution,
scientists say. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/03/science/earth/03jellyfish.html?th&emc=th
Remember “Rathergate” and the iconic NY Times headline “Fake but Accurate” from the presidential campaign of 2004? We now have a government report on global warming that peddles inaccurate climate scares and uses some fakes to support them.
The Unified Synthesis Product (USP) of the US Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) is supposed to be the culmination of a $20 billion program of a decade or so of climate research. The only reason the USP might be important is that it is supposed to provide the scientific underpinnings for an ambitious all-encompassing rulemaking venture of the EPA to control emissions of carbon dioxide.
It is agreed by all that CO2, a greenhouse (GH) gas second in importance only to water vapor, is a nontoxic, natural component of the atmosphere, and that its level has been increasing because of energy generation from fossil fuels. According to a Supreme Court decision of April 2007, EPA must regulate CO2 under the terms of the Clean Air Act or demonstrate that it is not a threat to health and human welfare. The USP, currently in draft form and out for comment, tries to demonstrate such a threat.
The USP Report is labeled as a “first draft.” One wonders, however, if the final product will look any different. More important, what kind of mischief will be created by circulating such a shoddy piece of work, containing mostly propaganda and so little science. The only good thing about it: It may lead to a “Gore-gate” and serve to discredit the rulemaking initiative of the EPA, which has the potential of destroying our economy and damage the United States, perhaps irreparably.
Atmospheric physicist S. Fred Singer is Professor Emeritus of Environmental Sciences at the University of Virginia and former director of the US Weather Satellite Service. His most recent book “Unstoppable Global Warming – Every 1500 Years” (Rowman & Littlefield, 2007) presents the evidence for natural climate cycles of warming and cooling and became a NY Times best-seller. He is the organizer of NIPCC (Non-governmental International Panel on Climate Change) and editor of the NIPCC report "Nature, Not Human Activity, Controls the Climate" , which responds to the claims of the UN-IPCC. http://www.sepp.org/publications/NIPCC_final.pdf He has served as a reviewer of several CCSP reports. As a reviewer for the IPCC, he shares the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore and some 2000 others.
2. INDUSTRY GROUP ASKS NOAA TO WITHDRAW MAJOR CLIMATE REPORT
Lauren Morello, ClimateWire reporter
Five years after complaints about data quality quashed the first federal assessment of climate change in the United States, an industry group is resurrecting the tactic. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce asked the government to withdraw a major Climate Change Science Program report released in May. The group argued that the analysis violates a federal law that requires agencies to employ "sound science" because it relies on unpublished information.
Environmental groups blasted the move, calling it an attempt to cast doubt on climate science. But Chamber officials maintained that the report includes references to unpublished federal climate studies, which leave the public unable to determine whether its conclusions are valid.
"The public cannot presently judge the reliability and objectivity of the synthesis report, because the public cannot access the underlying documents on which the synthesis report is based," the group wrote in official comments it filed Friday with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency, the lead agency that produced the analysis.
The report -- the second national climate assessment -- predicts that the United States will "very likely" experience rising sea levels and increasing droughts, heat waves, intense storms and resulting illness and premature death over the next century as climate change intensifies. The document also concludes it is "likely that there has been a substantial human contribution to surface temperature increases in North America."
Bill Kovacs, the chamber's vice president for environment, technology and regulatory affairs, said the group wants the federal government to withdraw the report until the unpublished studies are completed and publicly available. Some of the studies -- a series of 21 reports planned by the Climate Change Science Program -- are not scheduled for release until November.
"We're asking them to withdraw until such a time as they can put everything out as a comprehensive whole," he said. "They can withdraw it, finish the publication and put it back out. It's not a permanent action."
But Kovacs also hinted that the industry group's complaints run deeper, extending to the scientific validity of climate models and peer-reviewed studies cited in the report. In addition to work by the Climate Change Science Program, the report references analyses published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and scientific journals.
"We're viewing this as part of the scientific evidence that is going to be put in the public record" as part of EPA's ongoing rulemaking process that will determine whether the agency regulates carbon dioxide emissions under the Clean Air Act, he said. "It's all the same science that's being relied upon."
Environmentalists who participated in a lawsuit last year that forced the Bush administration to publish the report said they believed the Chamber of Commerce's aim is to suppress findings designed to help policymakers at the federal, state and local levels plan for climate change.
"The Chamber of Commerce is pursuing a last-century, head-in-the-sand strategy to suppress climate information," said Brendan Cummings, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. "They are doing a disservice to all the businesses and communities they purport to represent. Climate models have been the best available science for decades now." Kert Davies, research director of Greenpeace USA, called the request to withdraw the climate report "more of the same."
At the heart of the chamber's withdrawal request is the Data Quality Act. Also known as the Information Quality Act, the law requires federal agencies to ensure the integrity of the information they use and distribute. It also allows outside parties to petition to force the correction of information they believe is wrong.
Between 2000 and 2003, the Competitive Enterprise Institute used the act to successfully challenge the first national climate assessment, released in 2000, which it called "junk science." The group said the report's reliance on uncertain climate computer models rendered its conclusions useless and argued that it was not subject to certain laws governing the convening and conduct of advisory panels.
In the end, the Bush administration settled the group's legal challenges by agreeing to place a disclaimer on the national assessment report Web site stating the document was not subject to Data Quality Act guidelines (Greenwire, Oct. 3, 2006).
Environmentalists said they see echoes of that effort in the challenge to the new report. "They're essentially recycling the same climate denier arguments that CEI used eight years ago," said Cummings of the Center for Biological Diversity. "That strategy worked for the first national assessment. We don't believe it can work here. Global warming has become so severe and so impossible to deny that even under the Data Quality Act, these arguments should go nowhere."
The comment period on the report ends Aug. 14.
3. PELOSI: SAVE THE PLANET, LET SOMEONE ELSE DRILL
By Charles Krauthammer, August 1, 2008
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi opposes lifting the moratorium on drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and on the Outer Continental Shelf. She won't even allow it to come to a vote. With $4 gas having massively shifted public opinion in favor of domestic production, she wants to protect her Democratic members from having to cast an anti-drilling election-year vote. Moreover, given the public mood, she might even lose. This cannot be permitted. Why? Because, as she explained to Politico: "I'm trying to save the planet; I'm trying to save the planet."
A lovely sentiment. But has Pelosi actually thought through the moratorium's effects on the planet?
Consider: 25 years ago, nearly 60 percent of U.S. petroleum was produced domestically. Today it's 25 percent. From its peak in 1970, U.S. production has declined a staggering 47 percent. The world consumes 86 million barrels a day, the United States, roughly 20 million. We need the stuff to run our cars and planes and economy. Where does it come from?
Places such as Nigeria, where chronic corruption, environmental neglect and the resulting unrest and instability lead to pipeline explosions, oil spills and illegal siphoning by the poverty-stricken population -- which leads to more spills and explosions. Just this week, two Royal Dutch Shell pipelines had to be shut down because bombings by local militants were causing leaks into the ground.
Compare the Niger Delta to the Gulf of Mexico, where deep-sea U.S. oil rigs withstood Hurricanes Katrina and Rita without a single undersea well suffering a significant spill. The United States has the highest technology to ensure the safest drilling. Today, directional drilling -- essentially drilling down, then sideways -- allows access to oil that in 1970 would have required a surface footprint more than three times as large. Additionally, the United States has one of the most extensive and least corrupt regulatory systems on the planet.
Does Pelosi imagine that with so much of America declared off-limits, the planet is less injured as drilling shifts to Kazakhstan and Venezuela and Equatorial Guinea? That Russia will be more environmentally scrupulous than we in drilling in the Arctic? The net environmental effect of Pelosi's no-drilling willfulness is negative. Outsourcing U.S. oil production does nothing to lessen worldwide environmental despoliation. It simply exports it to more corrupt, less efficient, more unstable parts of the world -- thereby increasing net planetary damage.
Democrats want no oil from the American OCS or ANWR. But of course they do want more oil. From OPEC. From where Americans don't vote. From places Democratic legislators can't see. On May 13 Sen. Chuck Schumer -- deeply committed to saving just those pieces of the planet that might have huge reserves of American oil -- demanded that the Saudis increase production by a million barrels a day. It doesn't occur to him that by eschewing the slightest disturbance of the mating habits of the Arctic caribou, he is calling for the further exploitation of the pristine deserts of Arabia. In the name of the planet, mind you.
The other panacea, yesterday's rage, is biofuels: We can't drill our way out of the crisis, it seems, but we can greenly grow our way out. By now, however, it is blindingly obvious even to Democrats that biofuels are a devastating force for environmental degradation. It has led to the rape of "lungs of the world" rain forests in Indonesia and Brazil as huge tracts have been destroyed to make room for palm oil and sugar plantations.
Here in the United States, one out of every three ears of corn is stuffed into a gas tank (by way of ethanol), causing not just food shortages abroad and high prices at home but intensive increases in farming, with all of the attendant environmental problems (soil erosion, insecticide pollution, water consumption, etc.). This to prevent drilling on an area in the Arctic one-sixth the size of Dulles Airport that leaves undisturbed a refuge one-third the size of Britain.
There are a dizzying number of economic and national security arguments for drilling at home: a $700 billion oil balance-of-payments deficit, a gas tax (equivalent) levied on the paychecks of American workers and poured into the treasuries of enemy and terror-supporting regimes, growing dependence on unstable states of the Persian Gulf and Caspian basin. Pelosi and the Democrats stand athwart, shouting: We don't care. We come to save the planet! They seem blissfully unaware that the argument for their drill-there-not-here policy collapses on its own environmental terms
PELOSI'S ENERGY STONEWALL
WSJ, August 1, 2008
Hell -- otherwise known as Congress -- has officially frozen over. For the first time since the 1950s, Members will skip town today for the August recess without either chamber having passed a single appropriations bill. Then again, Democrats appear ready to sacrifice their whole agenda, even spending, rather than allow new domestic energy production.
Or even a mere debate about energy. The Democratic leadership is stonewalling any measure that might possibly relax the Congressional ban on offshore drilling. Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid know that they would lose if a vote ever came to the floor, and they're desperate to suppress an insurrection among those Democrats who are pragmatic about one of the top economic issues. Behind this whatever-it-takes obstructionism is an ideological commitment to high energy prices. The rulers of the Democratic Party want prices to keep rising.
A good gauge of the radicalism of their energy blockade is the lowest common denominator of this energy fight: The effort to blame "speculators" for $4 gas was promoted by both Barack Obama and John McCain, as well as nearly everybody else in Washington. Sure enough, the House voted 276-151 on Wednesday for a bill that would have driven oil futures trading overseas.
But the legislation actually failed to become law -- by design. It needed a two-thirds majority because Speaker Pelosi suspended the rules to prevent Republicans from offering amendments, drilling among them. Ms. Pelosi had decreed that she would not permit a roll-call vote under any circumstances, even if it stopped her own goal of wrecking the U.S. futures market.
Meanwhile, the Senate is locked down over its own antispeculation bill. Majority Leader Reid briefly agreed to allow four amendments on GOP policy alternatives, but he withdrew the offer after he was subjected to the fury of the environmental lobby and Ms. Pelosi. To prevent a vote on offshore drilling this week, Senate Democrats also let fail a bill providing home heating assistance for the poor. Same thing for tax subsidies for wind and solar energy.
Other liberal inspirations, including suing OPEC and a windfall profits tax on the oil industry, also ended up in the Congressional dumpster. And of course, Democrats long ago shut down the normal budget process in both the Senate and the House to avoid any vote. Normally, the spending hiatus would be a useful byproduct of Congressional bickering. But in this case the shutdown is malign neglect. Surging energy prices act like a huge tax increase on the economy, since energy demand is relatively fixed over the short term. The price spike is imposing genuine hardships on middle-income and working-class voters across the country.
The Democratic leadership isn't oblivious to this man-at-the-pump reality. But Al Gore's vision of the apocalyptic tides of climate change perfectly expresses their mentality: Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Reid see soaring prices as a public good -- the mechanism that will force energy enlightenment on the U.S. If anything, they think the price of gas is too low. As recently as June, the Senate debated a multi-trillion-dollar carbon tax-and-regulation scheme that was designed to boost energy costs. A new version will be a priority in the next Administration.
If nothing else, this summer's oil drilling stonewall is giving voters an insight into this ideology, which recoils at any oil, natural gas or coal production -- oh, and nuclear besides. That puts 93% of all U.S. energy off limits for expansion. Back in the real world, and barring a cold fusion or other miracle, the U.S. will remain dependent on fossil fuels for decades. A fresh round of domestic oil-and-gas exploration would ease the long-term pressures that supply and demand are exerting on prices, plus bolster energy security.
And those not bound by anticarbon theology are coming around. Broad margins of the American public -- now even a slim majority of Californians -- favor increasing domestic production. Many Congressional Democrats are working below the radar to craft a compromise that couples drilling with conservation and programs to prop up renewable alternatives. But the leadership won't bend even a bit, and so Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Reid have spent the summer using every parliamentary deception to evade debating the issue that the American public cares most about. Short of cutting off the air conditioning on Capitol Hill, Democrats won't get the message until voters make them -- perhaps in November.
Al Gore said the other day that "the future of human civilization" depends on giving up fossil fuels within a decade -- and was acclaimed as a prophet by the political class. Obviously boring reality doesn't count for much these days. Even so, when Barack Obama wheels out an energy agenda nearly as grandiose as Mr. Gore's, shouldn't it receive at least some media scrutiny?
On Monday, Mr. Obama said that the U.S. must "end the age of oil in our time," with "real results by the end of my first term in office." This, he said, will "take nothing less than a complete transformation of our economy." Mark that one down as the understatement of the year. Maybe Mr. Obama really is the Green Hornet, or some other superhero of his current political myth.
The Senator calls for $150 billion over 10 years to achieve "energy independence," with elevated subsidies for renewable alternatives and efficiency programs. He also says he'll "leverage billions more in private capital to build a new energy economy," euphemistically referring to his climate plan to tax and regulate greenhouse gases. Every President since Nixon has declared "energy independence," as Mr. Obama noted. But this time, he says, things will change.
They won't. And not because of "the old politics," or whatever. Currently, alternative sources -- wind, solar, biomass, hydroelectric and geothermal -- provide less than 7% of yearly domestic consumption. Throw out hydro and geothermal, and it's only 4%. For the foreseeable future, renewables simply cannot provide the scale and volume of energy needed to meet growing U.S. demand, which is expected to increase by 20% over the next two decades. Even with colossal taxpayer subsidies, renewables probably can't even slow the rate of growth of carbon-based fuel consumption, much less replace it.
Take wind power, which has grown rapidly though still only provides about two-thirds of 1% of all U.S. electricity. The Energy Department optimistically calculates that ramping up merely to 20% by 2030 would require more than $2 trillion and turbines across the Midwest "wind corridor," plus multiple offshore installations. And we'll need a new "transmission superhighway system" of more than 12,000 miles of electric lines to connect the wind system to population centers. A mere $150 billion won't cut it. Mr. Obama also didn't mention that this wind power will be more expensive than traditional sources like coal.
Wind, too, is intermittent: It isn't always blowing and can't be accessed on demand when people need electricity. Since there's no cost-effective way to store large amounts of electricity, wind requires "spinning reserve," or non-alternative base-load power to avoid blackouts. That base-load power is now provided largely by coal, nuclear and natural gas, and wind can't displace much. The same problem afflicts solar energy -- now one-hundredth of 1% of net U.S. electric generation. One of the top uses of solar panels is to heat residential swimming pools.
Mr. Obama also says he wants to mandate that all new cars and trucks are "flexible fuel" vehicles, meaning that they can run on higher concentrations of corn ethanol mixed with gasoline, or second-generation biofuels if those ever come onto the market. Like wind and solar, this would present major land use problems: According to credible estimates, land areas larger than the size of Texas would need to be planted with fuel feedstocks to displace just half the oil America imports every day. Meanwhile, the economic distortions caused by corn ethanol -- such as higher food prices -- have been bad enough.
And yet there's more miracle work to do. Mr. Obama promises to put at least one million plug-in electric vehicles on the road by 2015. That's fine if consumers want to buy them. But even if technical battery problems are overcome, this would only lead to "fuel switching" -- if cars don't use gasoline, the energy still has to come from somewhere. And the cap-and-trade program also favored by Mr. Obama would effectively bar new coal plants, while new nuclear plants are only now being planned after a 30-year hiatus thanks to punishing regulations and lawsuits.
Problems like these are the reality of "alternative" energy, and they explain why every "energy independence" plan has faltered since the 1970s. But just because Mr. Obama's plan is wildly unrealistic doesn't mean that a program of vast new taxes, subsidies and mandates wouldn't be destructive. The U.S. has a great deal invested in fossil fuels not because of a political conspiracy or because anyone worships carbon but because other sources of energy are, right now, inferior.
Consumption isn't rising because of wastefulness. The U.S. produces more than twice as much GDP today per unit of energy as it did in the 1950s, yet energy use has risen threefold. That's because energy use is tethered to growth, and the economy continues to innovate and expand. Mr. Obama seems to have other ideas.
5. FORMER CHIEF SCIENTIST, SIR DAVID KING, ATTACKS NEW COAL POWER STATION PLANS
By Rosa Prince, Political Correspondent , Telegraph (UK) 01/08/2008
The former Government chief scientist has launched a stinging attack on plans for Britain's first new coal-fired power station in 20 years - as thousands of climate change activists gather for a week of protests at the site. Professor Sir David King, who stood down at the end of last year, warned that a return to coal-fired power risked returning the planet to the pre-ice age era, when "the Antarctic was a tropical forest".
A week-long protest called "Climate Camp" begins on Sunday at the site of the plant, at Kingsnorth in Kent, where the energy firm E.on plans to set up two new units at a cost of £1.5 billion.
In an interview with the Ecologist's Film Unit, Sir David warned that it made little sense for the private sector to invest in coal-fired power, given plans to increase taxes on carbon emissions. He said "There's little doubt that if we burn all of the coal that sits below the earth's surface, we can return the planet to the condition it was in 50 million years ago when the Antarctic was a tropical forest and much of the rest of the planet would be pretty difficult for human beings to live on. …We've got to see that coal is not a useful resource to burn unless we can recapture the carbon that is produced by burning it.
"We therefore need to work positively towards carbon capture and storage. If we can manage that, then of course we can continue to use coal to drive our economies - but frankly, I haven't seen the proof that that can be done. This is still unproven technology and I think until it's proven, it's dangerous to assume that we can continue to use coal.
"I think those power stations are going to be priced out of the market as carbon dioxide pricing goes up. So I quite simply don't think it's a good private sector decision to invest in coal-fired power stations."
But Macolm Wicks, the Energy Minister, described opponents of the scheme as "naive". In an interview with the Financial Times, he said that the "lay person" might think that energy policy was "about windmills," but: "The rather boring fact is that the world is going to be burning lots of coal. "Whatever people might wish, whatever people singing in the sunshine at summer camps might idealise, the world is going to be using lots of coals in future."
Greenpeace has released its own study in conjunction with WWF that concludes that energy needs created as old power stations closed down could be met by the expansion of renewables, primarily through wind power.
6. CEOs TELL G-8 DIPLOMATS TO GET GREEN SUBSIDIES FLOWING
If politicians can’t come up with a global climate-change strategy, world business leaders are ready to goose them into action, because they stand to gain from it. CEOs from 99 of the world’s biggest companiesrepresenting about 10% of global market capitalizationurged G-8 countries to take ambitious action to fight climate change, including curbing global greenhouse-gas emissions by 50% mid 2050.
That’s the first time that many high-profile international business leaders have called for concrete action on climate change. In the U.S., about 30 big corporations in the U.S. Climate Action Partnership have been clamoring for the government to fight global warming. That’s partly so they’ll have a hand in designing regulations many already see as inevitable, and partly to juice their own businesses, like clean-technology.
The international group, which includes Alcoa, Shell, British Airways, Deutsche Bank, Duke Energy, BP, and Citibank, is no different. It calls on the G-8, meeting this weekend in Japan to map out some global climate-change targets for rich countries, to design an “environmentally effective and economically efficient” scheme that will avert catastrophic climate change.
Among the key proposals? Any global plan has to include all big economies - that means the U.S. as well as China and India, though developing countries will get a leg-up at first. It also has to include all sectors of the economyprevious plans, like one in Europe, that left out big chunks of the economy like transportation. The group also wants near-term emissions-cutting targets to make sure all the plans aren’t just hot air, and it wants a global, liquid carbon market to make it all work.
It’s anything but a case of corporate altruism - just the chance to get in on the ground floor of what it calls a “green revolution.” Or, as the group says: “Business cannot fully capitalize on these new opportunities in an international policy vacuum.” “We see enormous opportunities for the financial industry, beyond the challenge we face as global citizens,” said Caio Koch-Weser, vice chairman of Deutsche Bank. “If leadership is there to create a Kyoto successor that is based on cap and trade, then it creates a global carbon market - and then we are in business.”
But a market for carbon is “necessary but not sufficient” to launch a clean-technology revolution, the group says. That’s why it also calls on governments to mandate greater use of the kind of things many those companies sell, from wind turbines to clean-coal facilities.
How about in the meantime? The group says it is has products and services to help the world adapt to climate change taking place now, and could do even more - if only governments will create “an economic case” for the private sector to dream up more stuff.
What will be interesting to watch is what happens when the fight moves beyond grand G-8 rhetoric to the gory details. Expect today’s corporate comity to fracture fast, as each company starts fighting against the other for the policy details that benefit it.
7. CLIMATE HYSTERICS V HERETICS IN AN AGE OF UNREASON
Arthur Herman | August 04, 2008
IT has been a tough year for the high priests of global warming in the US. First, NASA had to correct its earlier claim that the hottest year on record in the contiguous US had been 1998, which seemed to prove that global warming was on the march. It was actually 1934. Then it turned out the world's oceans have been growing steadily cooler, not hotter, since 2003. Meanwhile, the winter of 2007 was the coldest in the US in decades, after Al Gore warned us that we were about to see the end of winter as we know it.
In a May issue of Nature, evidence about falling global temperatures forced German climatologists to conclude that the transformation of our planet into a permanent sauna is taking a decade-long hiatus, at least. Then this month came former greenhouse gas alarmist David Evans's article in The Australian, stating that since 1999 evidence has been accumulating that man-made carbon emissions can't be the cause of global warming. By now that evidence, Evans said, has become pretty conclusive.
Yet believers in man-made global warming demand more and more money to combat climate change and still more drastic changes in our economic output and lifestyle.
The reason is that precisely that they are believers, not scientists. No amount of empirical evidence will overturn what has become not a scientific theory but a form of religion.
But what kind of religion? More than 200 years ago, Scottish Enlightenment philosopher David Hume put his finger on the process. His essay, Of Superstition and Enthusiasm, describes how even in civilized societies the mind of man is subject to certain unaccountable terrors and apprehensions when real worries are missing. As these enemies are entirely invisible and unknown, like today's greenhouse gases, people try to propitiate them by ceremonies, observations, mortifications, sacrifices such as Earth Day and banning plastic bags and petrol-driven lawnmowers.
Fear and ignorance, Hume concludes, are the true source of superstition. They lead a blind and terrified public to embrace any practice, however absurd or frivolous, which either folly or knavery recommends. The knaves today, of course, are the would-be high priests of the global warming orthodoxy, with former US vice-president Gore as their supreme pontiff.
As Hume points out, the stronger mixture there is of superstition, with its ambience of ignorance and fear, the higher is the authority of the priesthood. As with the Church in the Dark Ages or the Inquisition during the Reformation, they denounce all doubters, such as Evans or Britain's Gilbert Monckton as dangerous heretics, outliers in Gore's phrase: or as willing tools of the evil enemy of a healthy planet, Big Oil.
This is not the first time, of course, that superstition has paraded itself as science, or created a priesthood masquerading as the exponents of reason. At the beginning of the previous century we had the fascination with eugenics, when the Gores of the age such as E.A. Ross and Ernst Haeckel warned that modern industrial society was headed for race suicide. The list of otherwise sensible people who endorsed this hokum, from Winston Churchill to Oliver Wendell Holmes, is embarrassing to read today.
Then as now, money was poured into foundations, institutes, and university chairs for the study of eugenics and racial hygiene. Then as now, it was claimed that there was a scientific consensus that modern man was degenerating himself into extinction. Doubters such as German anthropologist Rudolf Virchow were dismissed as reactionaries or even as tools of the principal contaminators of racial purity, the Jews. And then as now, proponents of eugenics turned to the all-powerful state to avert catastrophe.
A credulous and submissive public allowed politicians to pass laws permitting forced sterilisation of the feeble-minded, racial screening for immigration quotas, minimum wage laws (which Sidney and Beatrice Webb saw as a way to force the mentally unfit out of the labor market) and other legislation which, in retrospect, set the stage for the humanitarian catastrophe to come. In fact, when the Nazis took power in 1933, they found that the Weimar Republic had passed all the euthanasia legislation they needed to eliminate Germany's useless mouths. The next target on their racial hygiene list would be the Jews.
Real science rests on a solid bedrock of scepticism, a scepticism not only about certain religious or cultural assumptions, for example about race, but also about itself. It constantly re-examines what it regards as evidence, and the connections it draws between cause and effect. It never rushes to judgment, as race science did in Germany in the 1930s and as the high priests of climate change are doing today.
Politicians everywhere should be forced to take an oath similar to the Hippocratic oath taken by doctors: Above all else, do no harm. The debate in Australia on this issue is rapidly building to a climax. Before they make decisions that could trim Australia's gross domestic product by several percentage points a year and impose heavy penalties on Australians' lifestyle, Labour and Liberal alike need to re-examine the superstition of global warming. Otherwise, the only thing it will melt away is everyone's civil liberty.
Arthur Herman is a historian and author, his most recent book is Gandhi and Churchill: The Epic Rivalry That Destroyed an Empire and Forged Our Age.
8. A "GERIATRIC" REVOLT
Dr John Ray (Australia)’s Greenie Watch (http://antigreen.blogspot.com/
A "geriatric" revolt: The scientists who reject Warmism tend to be OLD! Your present blogger is one of those. There are tremendous pressures to conformity in academe and the generally Leftist orientation of academe tends to pressure everyone within it to agree to ideas that suit the Left. And Warmism is certainly one of those ideas. So old guys are the only ones who can AFFORD to declare the Warmists to be unclothed. They either have their careers well-established (with tenure) or have reached financial independence (retirement) and so can afford to call it like they see it. In general, seniors in society today are not remotely as helpful to younger people as they once were. But their opposition to the Warmist hysteria will one day show that seniors are not completely irrelevant after all. Experience does count (we have seen many such hysterias in the past and we have a broader base of knowledge to call on) and our independence is certainly an enormous strength. Some of us are already dead. (Reid Bryson and John Daly are particularly mourned) and some of us are very senior indeed (e.g. Bill Gray) but the revolt we have fostered is ever growing so we have not labored in vain.
9. GLOBAL WARMING AND NATURAL DISASTERS:
Joel Achenbach, Wash Post, Aug 3, 2008.
Somewhere along the line, global warming became the explanation for everything. Right-thinking people are not supposed to discuss any meteorological or geophysical event — a hurricane, a wildfire, a heat wave, a drought, a flood, a blizzard, a tornado, a lightning strike, an unfamiliar breeze, a strange tingling on the neck — without immediately invoking the climate crisis. It causes earthquakes, plagues and backyard gardening disappointments. Weird fungus on your tomato plants? Classic sign of global warming.
Some people are impatient with even a token amount of equivocation. A science writer for Newsweek recently flat-out declared that this year's floods in the Midwest were the result of climate change, and in the process, she derided the wishy-washy climatologists who couldn't quite bring themselves to reach that conclusion (they "trip over themselves to absolve global warming").
Last week, we saw reports of more wildfires in California. Sure as night follows day, people will lay some of the blame on climate change. But there's also the minor matter of people building homes in wildfire-susceptible forests, overgrown with vegetation due to decades of fire suppression. That's like pitching a tent on the railroad tracks.
The message that needs to be communicated to these people is: "Your problem is not global warming. Your problem is that you're nuts."