|The Week That Was
May 6, 2000
What drives some environmental extremists? Paganism, that's what. We bring you this remarkable expose, e-mailed by the American Land Rights Association
The Week That Was May 6, 2000 brought to you by SEPP
Eco-activists have blamed the disappearance of amphibians on supposed increases of solar ultraviolet radiation (as a result of stratosphere ozone depletion) [ See TWTW March 4, 2000] But UV-B has not increased (as far as data show) and the depletion amounts to only 4 % between 1979 and 1991 (acc to the official UN assessment), with none being measured since the eruption of the volcano Pinatubo in 1992..
So it's comforting to learn [Jeff Houlahan in Nature, April 13, 2000] that frogs and salamanders have been disappearing for more than 40 years. This won't stop the irrepressible Prof. Andrew Blaustein and assorted ecologists at Oregon State University, who just KNOW that humans, and, of course, ozone depletion and global warming, are doing in our web-footed friends.
But when we clicked the internet address <www.amphibiaweb.org>, we found some two dozen causes listed, with fungus, parasites and pathogens somewhere near the top, and UV and GW at the bottom. And when we checked "Ask a Scientist" on the Argonne National Lab (DOE) web, we learned that Aliens may be one of the causes of frogs disappearing. Where are they taking them? Check out the "Frogwatch USA" and "Westward Frog" sites
A report (March 2000) of the World Health Organization states that yearly costs of malaria exceed all foreign aid combined. "Africa's GNP would be up to $100 billion greater this year if malaria had been eliminated years ago" says Harvard economist Jeffrey Sachs, a principal author of the report. [That's 30 % of Africa's present GNP of $300 billion a year and nearly 5 times the development aid provided to Africa last year.]
Health experts plan to fight the disease by expanding the use of insecticide-impregnated mosquito netting, a distinctly low-tech approach. A heavy responsibility indeed for EPA officials who decided, against scientific advice, to ban DDT, the most effective insecticide. To read about some of the misinformation that led to EPA's decision , contact Prof. Gordon Edwards at < firstname.lastname@example.org>
Europe must build 85 nuclear plants to met Kyoto targets. Nuclear now supplies 23 % of Europe's electricity [a little more than the US fraction]. But by 2025, the fraction will only be 9 % and - if Germany and Sweden shut down nuclear reactors as currently planned - the fraction will be only 1%. Good luck, fellows!
Meanwhile, wind energy is making great strides - by being force-fed. Germany now has 4.4 gigawatts of installed capacity, but must go offshore for additional locations. German power producers end up paying 80% more for eco-power; a new law forces them to pay between 7 and 50 cents versus less than 5 cents per kWh for conventional power. As a result, industrial users may decide to opt out altogether and generate their own electricity
It appears to us that the reported shrinking of Arctic ice is merely the result of an earlier temperature rise (between 1880 and 1940, and not due to human actions). Now, let's look at the benefits of a warmer climate. As reported on the BBC, the North-East Passage has opened up. As a result, shipping from London to Japan now takes 22 days (7000 nm) as compared to the former 35 days (11,000 nm). Hey, not only cost savings but also less greenhouse emissions!