|The Week That Was
May 5, 2001
The Week That Was May 5, 2001 brought to you by SEPP
EU JUNE SUMMIT TO DISCUSS ANTI-US SANCTIONS
The European Union is to discuss imposing sanctions against the US for refusing to implement the Kyoto climate change treaty. European Commission chairman Romano Prodi says sanctions will be on the agenda at the next summit in Sweden in June, but he doesn't want to harm relations between the US and the EU.
In an interview with the Italian daily Il Corriere della Sera, Mr. Prodi says the treaty is the fruit of years of reflection and the EU will insist on its application. However, he will not allow the US's decision to be dramatized to the point of damaging relations between the two blocks. The decision by President George W Bush to reject Kyoto has been condemned by environmentalists.
Mr. Prodi is ready to listen to US proposals to introduce more efficient measures than those decided at Kyoto. He says that, so far, the US's behaviour has diminished the possibility of finding a global solution to the problem of pollution management.
Copyright 2001, Press Association
GERMAN ENVIRONMENT MINISTER TRITTIN LOBBIES IN WASHINGTON
By Klaus Heiss, global warming correspondent of Tiroler Tages Zeitung
Lobbying for the Gospel according to the IPCC at the birthplace of lobbying at the Willard Hotel on April 23, a self-righteous Mr. Trittin held forth for 30 minutes on the unanimity of nations on the Kyoto Protocol. He claimed support from 40 members (out of 153 plus nations), amongst them China, India, Russia and, mistakenly as it turns out, Japan. He failed to mention that none of these nations had ratified Kyoto.
Trittin also lectured the United States on the diseconomies of nuclear power. As environment minister (and member of the Green party) he single-handedly had shut off German nuclear industry: if only the Americans would discover the market like he did, then they would realize the awful mistake they were about to commit. Mr. Trittin seemed unaware of the 20% growth in nuclear electricity generation in past years as well as the increasing profitability and cash flow contributions of these nuclear facilities. Rather, he claimed, it takes 15 years to build a nuclear plant, by which time energy conservation and natural gas plants will have solved all problems. He saw Germany's future solution in renewable energy: windmills, fuel cells, and conservation.
Asked repeatedly on Ms. Whitman s position on the Kyoto protocol and their discussions this morning, Mr. Trittin finally admitted, after several follow-ups by reporters, that the US considers Kyoto dead and that other forms of working together on global climate issues had to be found. Asked pointedly on whether Germany and the other 40 or so nations would proceed on their own without the United States, he waffled and opined that the nation that produced 25% of greenhouse emissions HAD to be part of any global approach.
Trittin failed to mention that the NET contribution of the United States
was possibly about zero, if one allowed for the re-absorption of CO2 by
trees and other parts of the extensive biosphere of North America. He
was not asked about the IPCC findings or the many qualifications in the
main body of the report. Rather, he seemed to take the summary of the
IPCC report as the new Gospel according to Europe, with the US as the
errant son who may yet see the wisdom of these proclamations and incantations.
REPORTS FROM BRITAIN
1. From Prof. John Brignell <www.numberwatch.co.uk>
Prescott adopts missionary position towards USA
The British Deputy Prime Minister left for the USA on Easter Monday with the purpose of converting the unbelievers there to the true religion of Global Warming. For Americans who notice his presence and are a bit bewildered as to who he actually is, think of him as a British Dan Quayle, without the intellectual grasp but with a similar creative approach to the grammar, syntax and logic of the English language.
Unfortunately for Prescott his mission is clouded by the first signs of a schism in the membership of the true church. According to the BBC, Peter Ewins, chief executive of the Met Office, said there was no doubt that global warming was a reality. But he said ill-informed comments by European politicians were making it easier for President Bush to duck America's responsibilities to help tackle the problem.
He went on "UK Government ministers are remarkably well-informed and measured in what they say. My criticism is reserved for some people in Brussels and elsewhere in Europe who seem to suggest that one-off severe weather events are in themselves proof of global warming. These statements do damage the case, which we think is so strong. It is easy for the Bush administration to rubbish the idea that a one-off severe event, like a flood or a drought, is caused by global warming, and therefore it makes it easier for them to refute the whole European stance."
This is all a bit hard to swallow as Prescott, along with fellow ministers, has been in the forefront of blaming global warming for every little deviation of the weather from the norm.
2. From another of our SEPP correspondents in UK:
Prescott is expected to be 'sidelined' after the elections. Behind him (and Meacher) - I know is a group of very green 'Christian' - senior mandarins to whom the Lord has spoken and who have made a career out of global warming at home, at UN and in EU: Crispin Tickell and John Houghton among them, former DoE permanent secretary and chief scientist.
They persuaded Thatcher and John Gummer, and as there is very little scientific knowledge among our politicians, they came to believe a handful of people. Gummer still sells his venom (especially directed at the US) to anybody who will listen and pay him, I suspect. Here global warming did not become so far at least, a party-political issue - everybody followed Maggie and Gummer.
But there are now different voices in government, and there is likely to be a careful shift, and we will go forward only as long as there is no costs to government. The 'combatting'-of -climate- change centre is now probably in the EU Commission, Brussels trying to get either an EU energy tax and hence competence over a new policy area, or more public support for a nuclear revival.
Here they cannot think of any other justification for such a revival;
as you may have noticed, our greens if pushed are more anti-nuclear than
3. Letter to the Editor, The Times
Your front page " Cabinet rebels urge Blair to confront Bush" 13 April 2001 raises doubt about the quality of scientific advice received by our leading politicians on global climate. Recent experience with BSE and FMD adds to this doubt.
Presumably President Bush is aware of the following facts, published widely on US web sites, which influenced the decision on Kyoto. Sea level is separable from global temperature and has been following a rising trend for 10 and probably 18 thousand years since the peak of the last ice age. The rise has been about 7 inches in the last century. The impact has not yet been assessed, with some countries losing and some benefitting.
Atmospheric temperature measured by balloons and satellites show little if any warming for the last 20 years. Models predict more atmosphere than surface warming. US and UK records on surface temperature show no appreciable warming after 1940 and some cooling to 1975. This is supported by tree-ring and ice-core data, and some say there is no discernable rising trend over the last 50 years. Projections of rising atmospheric temperature yield stylised facts based on models in which assumptions are more obscure and critical than the choice of baseline in statistical trends.
If you dare to publish this you are more courageous than some of your competitors and your readers may be able to refute my perception of facts if not forecasts
Dr Alister McFarquhar
NOX REDUCTIONS COULD LEAD TO WARMING
Efforts to improve urban air quality could increase global warming if they focus only on reducing emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx), according to a new study.
In the short term, a decrease in NOx emissions leads to cooling because NOx plays a key role in the formation of tropospheric ozone, a greenhouse gas. But over the course of a decade, a decrease in NOx leads to a buildup of methane and ozone in the atmosphere. The long-term increases in methane and ozone counteract the effects of the short-term decrease in ozone, and the overall result is a slight warming.
The authors, Oliver Wild and Hajime Akimoto of the Frontier Research
System for Global Change and Michael Prather of the University of California,
Irvine, found that while reducing NOx alone leads to long-term warming,
reducing both NOx and carbon monoxide leads to cooling. Their findings
imply that governments wishing to address both urban air quality and climate
change should use a multi-pollutant approach that reduces both NOx and
carbon monoxide. A paper on the study is published in the May 1, 2001,
issue of Geophysical Research Letters (vol. 28, no. 9, pp. 1,719-1,722).
CRITICS CHALLENGE TIER 2 STANDARDS
In December 1999, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued tighter Tier 2 standards for emissions from passenger cars and light trucks, including the heavier Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs), and limiting the sulfur content of gasoline. The regulations are designed to reduce ozone levels over the next decade sufficiently to meet higher National Ambient Air Quality Standards required by the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments.
But regulatory analysts critical of the standards say evidence from the EPA's own analysis shows they will not significantly improve air quality or public health nationwide, and that they may actually cause air quality to deteriorate in some parts of the nation.
Without the EPA's new initiatives, ozone concentrations have declined by at least 30 percent since 1978.
Most of the country is now able to attain the standards for ozone, and by 2010, when the Tier 2 regulations would begin to affect air quality, the EPA predicts that only a handful of areas would be out of compliance without the rules.
The EPA has offered no evidence that implementing the Tier 2 rules will bring about compliance in the remaining nonattainment areas, but its modeling does suggest that air quality in some areas of the country will actually deteriorate because of the new restrictions.
For instance, EPA modeling predicts the process of removing sulfur from gasoline will increase carbon dioxide emissions by 6.9 million tons per year.
The EPA's own analysis shows the regulations will be costly -- roughly $3.5 billion per year -- with the western states being hit hardest by the fuel sulfur requirements.
Source: Susan E. Dudley (Mercatus Center, George Mason University), "A
Fuel and Your Money: EPA's New Tier 2 Standards," Regulation, Number
3, 2000, Cato Institute.
ANOTHER DEFENSE OF BUSH' ENVIRONMENTAL RECORD
It refers to an attack by 2004 presidential hopeful John Kerry (D-MA)
as "complete blather." Kerry had announced that one in every
100 Americans would get cancer from arsenic in drinking water. But 25%
develop cancer "whether they drink tap water or Evian." Actually,
the strict arsenic standards might save 10 lives per year -- but only
if you believe in the discredited linear hypothesis (i.e., no threshold).
Whether sickly or healthy and hale,