|The Week That Was
December 2 , 2006
(Next TWTW on Dec 16, because of Annual AGU meeting in San Francisco)
The Kyoto Protocol sham continues to distort energy decisions (ITEM #1). Chris Horner recounts how Kyoto has been adjusted from COP* to COP to match increasing emissions (ITEM #2). The latest COP festival in Nairobi was no exception (ITEM #3).
*COP = Conference of the Parties – to the Protocol
A revealing analysis of how Big Business makes millions from gaming the Kyoto provisions –A MUST READ (ITEM #4).
Bob Carter comments on the Stern Report (ITEM #5)
No evidence that Climate Warming is manmade: Then why all the fuss? (ITEM #6). And Richard Rahn extols natural climate cycles (ITEM #7). Senator James Inhofe wraps it all up (ITEM #8).
Meanwhile: Global Warmers are becoming desperate and resort to smears (ITEM #9). Unable to respond to skeptical scientists, they now want “war crimes trials for these bastards -- some sort of climate Nuremberg.” http://gristmill.grist.org/story/2006/9/19/11408/1106
The US Supreme Court addresses a supremely vital issue: Is CO2 a “pollutant” requiring regulation? (ITEM #10). Comments on Oral Arguments of Nov 29 in next TWTW.
Read carefully Lord Monckton’s well-researched response to Al Gore: “Gore gored”
Recall Gore’s attempt to discredit skeptics
Though there is evidence both for and against the existence of a detectable anthropogenic signal in the tropical cyclone climate record to date, no firm conclusion can be made on this point. No individual tropical cyclone can be directly attributed to climate change.
--World Meteorological Organization, 30 November 2006
1. WHY RELENTLESS GREEN DRIVE MAY END UP COSTING US THE EARTH
The Scotsman, 9 November 2006
SPRING in Malaysia is even more silent than it was when I reported how the indigenous jungle is being destroyed to provide palm oil for the Soil Association's "environmentally-friendly" pesticide soft soap.
More great swathes of the eco-system are being replaced by oil palms to supply Europe with the biodiesel it must have by next year to comply with Directive 2003/30/EC requiring 5 per cent of road fuel to come from biological sources.
Both outcomes are typical results of green intervention in the market. They have not grasped that, to succeed, intervention must be complete and global - anything less merely creates a distortion used by shrewd businessmen to exploit the public purse, usually with further damage to the environment.
Locally, nationally or internationally, green policies are a dreary saga of intervention, unforeseen consequences and further intervention, with the environmental balance sheet always in the red.
A bit like the Red Queen, in the lexicon of green speak, words mean whatever they want them to mean so the temporary, short-term generation of landfill gas in rubbish dumps is deemed to be "sustainable" and electricity generated by burning it qualifies for Renewables Obligation subsidies, currently standing at about £48 per megawatt hour.
Curiously, nuclear - based on an estimated 4,000 years' supply of uranium - is not sustainable. This encouragement to create landfill sites conflicts with the EU directive requiring less rubbish to go to landfill and more to composting or incineration. But both these operations require extensive transporting of waste to central facilities.
Burning chicken dung to generate subsidised electricity and replacing it with artificial manure with a carbon price of 5.7 tonnes of per tonne of fertiliser is another dismal entry in the environmental ledger, but the ultimate in "double speak" - less is more - is reserved for hydroelectricity.
Prior to 2002, hydroelectric stations of over 20MW capacity were excluded from Renewables Obligation subsidies. However, on 1 April, a date that made many people wonder if it really was a prank, the government quietly announced that stations above that level could be deliberately reduced in capacity to qualify.
Generating companies, among them Scottish & Southern Energy, promptly decommissioned alternator windings by between 18 and 47 per cent to reduce hydro capacity by a total of 59MW, achieving their goal of less renewable electricity but more profits at the expense of the environment.
Overall, I reckon green policies in Scotland have considerably increased emissions and I'm not including the extra given off by peat disturbed during wind power station construction. Nothing convinces me that it is any different.
Taking a global outlook, the recommendation in the Stern report for international carbon trading will simply become another mechanism for taking money from poor Europeans and giving it to a very few, very wealthy Third World dictators who will sell their countries' carbon entitlement to line their own pockets. Carbon dioxide is the same whoever emits it and carbon trading will make no overall difference.
Already, national morale is wilting under the relentless green propaganda message that our lifestyle is "trashing the planet" and creating "climate chaos". It will take more than a few thousands spent on Glasgow's happiness centre to offset that and who in their right mind would choose to have children in a collapsing, chaotic world?
We will never achieve anything in response to climate change until we return to hard science, free-market economics, evidence-based policies and democratic accountability.
Copyright 2006, The Scotsman
2. VIOLATIONS OF KYOTO TREATY
Chris Horner [CHorner@cei.org] letter to Benny Peiser
The violation of Article 9 at Nairobi is small beer given this crowd's track record and the obvious, larger-scale ignorance of Kyoto's requirements. A quick if partial (it does become tedious) recounting of Kyoto provisions they’ve now violated, COP-by-COP, for those playing at home:
The pranks really began at COP-6 in The Hague in 2000, while the Florida recount was underway and the Clinton-Gore administration walked from the table, beginning the end. There, the EU queered the deal by trying to muscle the desperado US team with the insistence on pretending that the Article 3 “sinks” allowance didn’t mean what it said, but only 20% of that which a Party could identify. According to the UNFCCC/EU, to actually read Kyoto as written and allow credit for sinks would "destroy the environmental integrity of the agreement." At least the US knew a deal-breaker when it saw one and walked, a development which was accurately reported at the time and has been revised since.
This was followed up mere months later, at the emergency COP-6 bis in Bonn, by the reactionary, vast expansion of what "sinks" had been agreed to mean: larger allocations were handed out to the suddenly all-powerful, and now-demanding Japanese, Canadian and Russians. So much for "environmental integrity", or frankly, "integrity", of any sort. [The practice of monkeying with sinks continued at Milan COP-9 (GMO trees), and Buenos Aires COP-10 (“mono-cultural” trees; in short, man-made forests)].
At the past two COPs, "supplementarity" is being similarly toyed with -- that is the Article 6 requirement that sinks, purchased credits, and other non-reduction "reductions" be "supplemental to" domestic reductions. Since no one is reducing emissions, well, that's a problem. Time to ignore it.
COP-11 saw numerous stunts, notably the waiving for all of the Article 3 requirement that Parties show “demonstrable progress” toward their promised reductions. Again, with emissions actually increasing that's a tough one to prove. As such, that too was ignored.
Somehow your Guardian correspondent David Adams and other Kyoto lobbyists failed to report on the biggie from COP-11 in Montreal, where the Parties rejected the Saudis' reminder that Article 18 required them to amend the treaty there to make it binding and enforceable. Nope.
Finally, let us not forget the bigger-picture violations: Kyoto champions Europe, the “world leaders in climate change” are not only increasing their emissions 5 years out of 7 since Kyoto was agreed. They also now have been exposed by Roger Helmer MEP (see below) for cheating up their 1990 baselines such that, with the flick of a bureaucratic pen, they claim to be appreciably closer to being able to simply pay Eastern Europe for “credits”, and bang on about their (illusory) leadership in “reducing (sic) emissions”.
3. NAIROBI: WHERE DID IT ALL GO WRONG?
Ecologist Online, 24 November 2006
By Mark Anslow
Having enjoyed brief media coverage, world attention towards climate change during the last few weeks did not end with a bang. Instead, it fizzled out, bogged down in international policy and technicalities at the UN Climate Change Conference in Nairobi last week. Why?
Who was there?
5,900 participants, including representatives from the G-77 countries and China, the media and members of NGOs.
What was on the agenda?
The conference was called to consult on the details of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol. On the agenda were notably the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and the Joint Implementation (JI) initiative, both schemes through which industrialised countries can pay for emissions-reduction projects in developing countries.
What were the main sticking points?
Shoring up the shores
A major source of disagreement was the emphasis placed on warding off climate-change (mitigation), as opposed to dealing with its effects (adaptation). So whilst investment in wind power would be seen as climate change mitigation, adding a few feet to the sea wall would constitute adaptation. The US and the EU pushed strongly for progress on the mitigation side, whereas developing nations (including China), conscious that in many cases they will be the first the rue the effects of global warming, felt that emphasis on adaptation was equally, if not more, important. In particular, several developing countries argued that a fund for adaptation measures should not be administered by the Global Environmental Facility, a source of climate change finance, which is heavily 'steered' by the G8 nations. One of the successes of the conference was the creation of a new 'Adaptation Fund', to be bankrolled by proceeds from the Clean Development Mechanism, although the question of exactly who was to be writing the cheques was postponed until a later meeting.
A body known as the Expert Group on Technology Transfer (EGTT) has long existed to help disseminate emission-reducing technologies around the globe. Ghana opened the debate on the EGTT by proposing a wholly new body, the Technology Development and Transfer Board (TDTB). This was more than a name change. The body they proposed would include a fund, which would be used to buy intellectual property rights, and it would monitor the progress of technology dissemination. The industrialised nations, clearly seeing the loss of billions of dollars in patent payments, baulked at this idea. They suggested merely 'strengthening' the existing EGTT. The debate rumbled on, until the Chairman warned that unless a decision was reached there would be a gap in the technology transfer system for a year. In the face of this, Ghana and the G-77 had to back down and accept the continuation of the EGTT for another year.
Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) - the system of capturing carbon dioxide from the exhaust of power stations and burying it underground - prompted some interesting global wranglings. The EU, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Canada, Norway and South Africa were keen for CCS to be included in the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), so that carbon capture projects in developing countries could be funded by industrialised nations. But Brazil feared that such projects, which were beyond the scale of the original designs of the CDM, would skew the funding reserves and result in other deserving projects being "crowded out".
With a clear eye on their supertankers, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait tried to have an item on the emissions from maritime and aviation transport fuels removed from the agenda. They were opposed by the EU, Japan and Norway, but China stood cautiously by its Middle Eastern allies and its export interests, suggesting that any measures on such fuels should apply only to Annex I countries (countries that were members of the OECD - Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development - in 1992, plus countries with economies in transition).
But perhaps the oldest and most pervasive disagreement of the conference concerned the amount of responsibility to be shouldered by developed nations. On behalf of the G-77/China group of nations, South Africa argued that developed countries should take steps to 'cap' their emissions of carbon dioxide before expecting the developing world to follow suit. The latter should, South Africa said, be "empowered" to do so. Despite positive murmurings from Germany over hopes for a 30% EU-wide emissions cut by 2020 (and a pledge to reduce its own national emissions by 40%), the US were on hand to warn that climate change objectives should be better linked with "more immediate" socioeconomic goals. The debate was enough to cause India to denounce the calls of Annex I countries for emissions cuts in the developing world as "shrill," "surreal," and a threat to efforts being made to relieve global poverty.
Fly me to the moon...
The Kyoto protocol was, off the record, seen to be utterly inadequate. When asked whether the 5% emissions reduction target required by the protocol for industrialised countries demonstrated leadership, a delegate from a developing nation apparently commented:
"You won't get to the moon in a Matatu," likening the framework to the rickety, infamously arduous Kenyan buses. His words would perhaps ring true of the whole conference process.
Copyright 2006, The Ecologist CCNet
4. THE CLIMATE CHANGE INDUSTRY'S STAKE IN KYOTO
By Bart Mongoven
Strafor, 15 November 2006
Negotiators in Nairobi, Kenya, are preparing to wrap up two weeks of discussions about the future of international cooperation on climate change. The conference -- officially the second meeting of parties to the Kyoto Protocol -- gathered to discuss what comes after Kyoto, which will not be in force after 2012. Central to the discussions have been questions about gaining U.S. participation in the treaty, winning emissions-reductions commitments from major developing countries (such as China and India), and determining the strength of the international community's commitment to drastic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
The talks in Nairobi also have revealed the new role that a diverse group of companies will play in the future of the climate change debate. These companies come from many industries, but they share a common interest in finding ways to profit from global concerns about climate change -- particularly the provisions in the Kyoto treaty intended to better control greenhouse gas emissions. This industry bloc includes the major innovators in the cleantech sector, but it also includes older industries that are finding ways to make small adjustments in their business processes in ways that, due to Kyoto's market mechanisms, now yield significant revenues.
Because of the way the Kyoto enforcement mechanisms are established, the developing countries of Asia -- particularly China and India -- are the key areas of concern for cleantech companies and commercial opportunists. Both India and China have vast energy needs and are dedicated to transforming their power systems. Kyoto rewards companies that help developing countries to build energy infrastructure in more efficient, less polluting ways. As a result, the vast majority of the investment and profit-making in what could be called the "climate change industry" has come from these two countries.
The emergence of the climate change industry has significant implications -- not only for environmental and economic reasons, but also for the future of the climate change debate itself. Many companies -- including a wide range of power generators, chemical companies, high-tech manufacturers and venture capitalists -- spent years battling against constraints on carbon emissions or viewing the climate change issue as a source of business risk. Now, having found ways to make money from the Kyoto system, some industry sectors have a vested interest in the uninterrupted perpetuation of the controls the treaty established. These business opportunists and energy innovators likely will emerge as powerful and increasingly vocal partners for environmental activists, as the clock winds down on Kyoto.
CDM and Emissions Trading
To understand exactly how these businesses profit, and the arguments they are likely to make as the termination for Kyoto approaches, it is necessary to review the terms of the treaty itself.
Though it was signed in 1997, the Kyoto Protocol was not ratified by many countries until its signatories had put mechanisms into place that added flexibility to the treaty's demands. Key mechanisms in this regard include a fund that lends money to new, greenhouse-gas-reducing industrial projects in developing states, a system to reward states for preserving forests and other "carbon sinks," and an emissions trading system that rewards countries that reduce emissions more quickly than the protocol demands. The new "climate change industry" is finding ways to profit from each of these -- the funding mechanism and the emissions trading system in particular.
The emissions trading regime follows the model that the U.S. Clean Air Act established in 1990. In this system, the United States has an established ceiling of annual emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulfur dioxide (SOx). Every major emitter is allotted a certain level of permissible emissions of NOx and SOx, using a complex formula for determining the facility's base level of emissions. Those who emit less than their allotment can sell their extra "credits" on the open market to companies that exceed their allotment. Thus, better environmental performers can build a new revenue stream, while poorer performers have to spend money.
In Kyoto's emissions trading regime, countries can win credits either by making cuts in emissions domestically or by building facilities overseas that reduce the foreign country's total greenhouse gas emissions. It follows, then, that Western countries have an incentive to help developing countries build relatively cleaner, more efficient industrial bases. The idea is to encourage richer countries to help poorer ones bypass the stages of "dirty" development that they themselves experienced.
It would be tempting for industrialized countries to sponsor development projects in poorer countries, where there is significant demand for new technologies anyway, even without Kyoto incentives. But the creation of a Kyoto funding mechanism has added further to the appeal: Under this system, industrialized countries donate money to a fund, held by the World Bank, that loans to projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This fund, called the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), will lend more than $3 billion to projects this year, up from $2.5 billion in 2005.
While this may appear to be an ideal way of helping poorer countries develop in cleaner, more efficient ways than industrialized nations managed to, the image can be deceptive.
Because China and India are viewed as "developing" countries under Kyoto's definition, clean development loans have piggybacked on the predominant trend in foreign direct investment. China has received 73 percent and 60 percent of the CDM loans in 2005 and 2006, mostly for projects that would have been built anyway. India, another major recipient of corporate direct investments, received 15 percent.
This is a crucial point for the climate change industry. Three-quarters of the money being lent for climate change purposes is going to two of the world's hottest markets for foreign direct investment. Much of the FDI headed to those countries likely would have gone there even without subsidized loans, and to projects that would have incorporated energy efficiency regardless.
The gaming of the system is perhaps most clearly evident in a series of deals involving two Chinese chemical companies, Meilan Jiangsu Chemical and Changshu 3F Zhonghao New Chemicals Material Co. Both companies manufacture the refrigerant HCFC-22, and produce the chemical HFC-23 as a byproduct. HFC-23 is the most potent greenhouse gas regulated under the Kyoto Protocol, and -- all other things being equal -- the plants likely would be headed for the scrap heap as the phase-out deadlines agreed under the Montreal Protocol of 1987 approach. However, under Kyoto's CDM and emissions trading mechanism, a ton of HFC-23 eliminated in a developing country is worth 11,000 times more than a ton of CO2 (approximately $920,000 per ton). Thus, the chemical companies applied for -- and received -- a loan of nearly $1 billion from the CDM to retrofit their facilities, using technologies that capture and destroy the HFCs. The revenues they make from producing a pollutant that is strictly regulated by the Kyoto treaty itself is, ironically, what keeps these plants open and profitable.
According to the World Bank, 64 percent of the emissions traded under the Kyoto system this year are related to the refrigerant industry, and the majority of these come from facilities that are manufacturing products that will soon be phased out. Only 36 percent of the world's emissions credits are being granted because of innovations in power generation or manufacturing efficiency. In other words, the reductions being credited to the developing world frequently do not conform to the "cleaner, more efficient technologies" ideal. Importantly, however, the 64 percent figure actually does represent a reduction from 75 percent measured in developing countries two years ago -- and with the phaseout of HCFCs approaching, the period of hefty profits from trading emissions in refrigerants is coming to a close.
Case Studies: China and India
With most of the low-hanging profits having been claimed already, there is a new surge of investment going to industries that seek profits from emissions reductions and emissions trading. The most obvious candidate for investors is the cleantech industry. The industry is particularly active in India and China, as well as other emerging Asian economies. In both cases, cleantech products are being tailored to the specific political, economic and environmental needs of the country.
China's energy needs are multiplying too rapidly for the electricity-generating industry to keep pace. Beijing has set a goal of reducing the energy-intensiveness of China's economy, pledging in its most recent five-year plan to halve the amount of energy needed per unit of gross domestic product. In keeping with this goal, China's long-term plan relies heavily on nuclear power. Beijing is planning for the construction of 30 new pebble-bed power plants around the country by 2020, using new technologies that allow for safer, less expensive reactors.
For now, however, China's electricity needs are growing far faster than nuclear facilities can be built. Thus, coal-fired power plants will supplement, with more than 300 new ones to be built during the next five years. Many of these facilities are likely to represent the most advanced technologies (especially if -- as Canada, the European Union and others hope -- carbon capture and sequestration are included in the clean development mechanism), but the bulk of them will pollute more, rather than less.
Given all of these factors -- and particularly the goal of reducing energy intensiveness without hurting production -- the opportunities for cleantech companies in China leap into view.
In India, the dynamic is altogether different.
In many ways, India's energy infrastructure is even less suited for rapid industrial growth than China's. The system cannot be called a "grid" so much as a series of isolated power stations, scattered in seemingly haphazard fashion around the country. Due to limited central planning and poor investment and infrastructure, extremely long power lines are needed to distribute electricity through the subcontinent. These lines are often tapped by individuals or communities -- much like cable lines in the United States or gasoline pipelines in Nigeria -- rendering power distribution on the whole both highly inefficient and irregular.
When a technologically advanced manufacturer moves into India, it cannot rely on the local power system; consequently, many build their own systems to meet their needs. Major chemical and high-tech companies -- including Intel Corp. and DuPont -- have built stations to serve primarily as reliable sources of routine, reliable power to their facilities. These plants supply some power to the national "grid" but -- because of the underlying transmission difficulties -- the benefits to the country as a whole are quite limited.
Reflecting this pattern of development, India increasingly is turning to a decentralized power system -- often referred to as "distributed power" -- that relies on low-output generators to serve a small area and put any extra power into the larger "grid." These power systems run on natural gas, gasoline or diesel fuel, or they can be waste-to-energy facilities or solar-powered. Western companies that specialize in smaller power facilities, such as Cummins Inc. and Ingersoll Rand Co., are beginning to notice this trend and are appealing to the CDM to lend money for the creation of distributed power networks.
The Future of Kyoto
Given the market opportunities that emission trading and the CDM open, it is no wonder that major companies like General Electric Co., DuPont and Alcoa Inc. are champions of climate change policy and that investors like Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers are funding cleantech startups.
The debate in Nairobi will conclude Nov. 17, but it likely will not produce an agreement on commitments that will follow after 2012. This is a significant problem for the climate change industry. If Kyoto dissolves before another system is in place, the emissions market would fall apart -- endangering investments that were made with emissions credits as the critical determinant of profitability. Recent moves in California and the northeastern United States to establish greenhouse gas emissions trading systems likely will evolve to provide a small market for the foreign emissions credits, but these efforts probably will not be effective (either as a money-maker or as a greenhouse gas emissions-reduction scheme) unless projects in China and India are tied into the regime.
Ultimately, the role of activists and some business communities will merge in the next two years. Industries that are looking at China and India as engines of revenue growth will lobby strenuously to keep commitments to the emissions-reduction scheme from lapsing.
© Copyright 2006 Strategic Forecasting Inc. All rights reserved.
5. BRITISH REPORT THE LAST HURRAH OF WARMAHOLICS
The Stern warning could join Paul Ehrlich's The Population Bomb and the Club of Rome's Limits to Growth in the pantheon of big banana scares that proved to be unfounded
By Bob Carter
The Australian, November 03, 2006
NICHOLAS Stern is a distinguished economist. Climate change is a complex, uncertain and contentious scientific issue. Have you spotted the problem with the Stern review yet?
The Stern review has been presented as a rigorous treatment of climate change and its economic effects. In reality, however, the review is a political document whose relation to the truth is about the same as that of the notorious British report on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.
The Stern agenda in Britain is to enable Labour to compete for eco-votes with an increasingly green-oriented Tory party. A wider agenda is the imposition of carbon levies for goods and services provided from outside Europe, thereby penalising more efficient competitors elsewhere. The European Union has form on this, and has previously tried to use DDT and genetic engineering of food as bogies to justify trade barriers.
Among a range of possible carbon morality taxes, Stern considers the application of a food-miles levy on produce subjected to lengthy air transport. Subsequent media coverage has concentrated on earlier estimates that flying 1kg of kiwifruit from New Zealand to Europe generates 5kg of carbon dioxide. With delicious irony, it turns out that virtually all NZ kiwifruit are transported by ship, yet arrive in Britain at a price that undercuts local supplies. No wonder a levy is needed.
6. NO EVIDENCE THAT CLIMATE WARMING IS MANMADE: THEN WHY ALL THE FUSS?
S. Fred Singer in NY Sun, Nov. 14, 2006
My cousin David, successful lawyer-businessman and champion bridge player, has a sharp, analytical mind. He enjoys intellectual combat and loves to argue with me about global warming. How to convince him that Al Gore’s movie is sheer fantasy and that the “Stern Report,” just released in Britain, spells economic ruin. Here is how I plan to meet the challenge: by appealing to logic:
I will pose three fundamental questions to him: 1] Is there evidence for or against an appreciable human contribution to current climate warming? 2] Would a warmer climate be better or worse than the present one? And 3] Realistically speaking, can we do something about climate? Is it possible to influence the climate by policy actions in an effective way?
First, the climate is always changing -- either warming or cooling – on time scales ranging from decades to millions of years. Nearly 20 ice ages have come and gone in the past two million years, controlled by predictable changes in Earth’s orbit and tilt of its axis; our present interglacial warm period is 12,000 years old and may soon end. Geological evidence has also uncovered a 1500-year climate cycle, likely caused by the Sun – and also unstoppable. On top of all this, we have irregular, unpredictable short-term fluctuations. Since 1979, weather satellites show a slight warming trend that is well within historical experience. How can we tell whether this recent warming is due to human influences, such as the rise in atmospheric greenhouse gases (mainly carbon dioxide from the burning of fuels), or whether it is simply another natural fluctuation?
It's no use asking the thermometers; they cannot talk. The melting of glaciers and ice sheets, the rise in sea level, severe storms, floods, droughts -- all of these are interesting, to be sure, but really irrelevant to our question. They may well be connected to a warmer climate -- or maybe not -- but they cannot tell us what causes the warming. Nor can a vote among scientists settle this issue; science is not democratic: History teaches that the majority is quite often wrong. Climate models, run on giant computers, give scary results; but these are simply theoretical exercises -- not to be confused with real evidence. Nor can we argue that the rough correlation of current warming with the rising level of greenhouse gases proves a cause-effect relationship. World climate cooled between 1940 and 1975 while energy use and carbon-dioxide (CO2) levels rose sharply. “Correlation is not causation” – a truth that is often forgotten.
So what’s left? All working scientists agree that one must compare the observed patterns of warming with the patterns calculated from greenhouse models -- and look for agreement of distinctive geographic and altitude distributions of the temperature trends. A May-2006 inter-agency government report by NOAA, using the best available temperature data and climate models, gives a definitive result: The patterns do not agree. [See Figure 5.4G in <http://www.climatescience.gov/Library/sap/sap1-1/finalreport/default.htm>].
Logically, even an agreement could not prove that the warming is due to human causes; it would only makes it plausible. But when we find a significant disagreement between observations and models, then we can argue that the influence of human effects is minor compared to natural climate fluctuations. This discrepancy also shows us that existing models cannot be used in a reliable way to make predictions about future climate warming – and about its consequences.
The second question is clearly in the realm of economics. The ongoing debate assumes, generally without much analysis, that a warmer climate presents a "danger" or a "threat" – implying serious consequences for economy, human health, ecology, etc. On the other hand, a prestigious group of resource economists, headed by Robert Mendelsohn (Yale University), showed positive consequences: The GDP of the United States would increase for assumed modest temperature increases [Cambridge University Press, 1999].
One can also look at historical evidence. We know from voluminous records that human existence was good and more comfortable during the Medieval Warm Period (ca. 1100 AD), when Vikings settled Greenland, than during the following Little Ice Age, when crops failed, people starved, and disease was rampant; life then was nasty, brutish, and short. Another way of tackling this question is to ask if things were better in 1976, when it was colder than today. It soon becomes obvious that climate effects are minor compared to everything else that happened in the last 30 years; but that is exactly the point: Technological progress and the mobilization of capital in a market economy far outweigh any climate factor in promoting prosperity – here and throughout the world. Would a slightly warmer climate, of say one degC in a hundred years, have serious effects on the way we live, on the economy, human health, or anything else? Indeed, since most agree that a colder climate would damage the economy, one might ask: What is the probability that the present climate just happens to be the Panglossian optimum?
The third topic is perhaps easiest to deal with. People often talk about "stabilizing the climate;" what they really mean is stabilizing the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. But even that is a daunting task. We all know what it would take to stabilize the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere: reducing emissions worldwide by between 60 to 80 percent. In practical terms, this calls for reducing energy use by comparable amounts. It is also agreed by all that the Kyoto Protocol is a puny effort; its effect on climate would be minute: a calculated temperature reduction of only one-twentieth of a degree -- unmeasurable by ordinary thermometers. Nevertheless, the United States and Australia have faced heavy criticism from other industrialized nations for not joining them in ratifying Kyoto.
But since it is unlikely that the current warming has much of a human component and since it is unlikely that something substantial can be done about reducing CO2 growth -- what is the point to vast program of costly mitigation, when, most probably, a warmer climate would produce positive benefits instead of damages? This is particularly true when tangible costs must be incurred today to avoid hypothetical damages in the far future.
I’ll try these arguments on cousin David next time I am in New York, and see if he agrees.
Atmospheric physicist S. Fred Singer is professor emeritus of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia. He served as the founding director of the US Weather Satellite Service and as Vice Chairman of the National Advisory Panel on Oceans and Atmosphere. His most recent book is “Unstoppable Global Warming -- Every 1500 Years” (Rowman & Littlefield).
7. A WARM AND FUZZY FEELING
By Richard W. Rahn
Wash Times, November 16, 2006
Yes, the world is getting warmer, but the Earth does this roughly every 1,500 years, and we cannot stop it. The good news is humans and most other species tend to do better during the warm periods.
There is a wonderful new book, "Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1,500 Years," by distinguished climate physicist Fred Singer and award-winning environmental economist Dennis Avery. The conclusion of their book in a nutshell is that, yes, the world is getting a bit warmer, but this is just the natural cycle. They provide overwhelming evidence this warming would occur with or without mankind increasing CO2 emissions or doing anything else. The good news is that if we realize we cannot stop global warming, and concentrate on constructively dealing with the problems it causes -- which are all manageable at reasonable cost -- and then enjoy the benefits, mankind will do just fine.
We have already had two cycles in recorded history; the Roman warming (200 B.C. to 600 A.D.), which was a very prosperous period, and the medieval warming (900 to 1300) during which farms were created in Greenland and Iceland. The modern warming period began about 1850, well before mankind was producing massive amounts of CO2.
As an economist, I have been a bit of skeptic about the various doomsday scenarios associated with global warming. It has been well known for decades that the Earth's temperature is in a constant flux, and there have been many periods with both lower and higher temperatures. Despite the general warming trend since 1850, we have had cooler periods, notably from 1940 to 1978, when many leading scientists were warning us we were rapidly heading for a new ice age. I can still remember those doomsday scenarios being played out on TV specials at the time.
The reason for skepticism is the very selective use of data presented by the end-of-the world crowd, such as Al Gore and this month by former World Bank economist Nicholas Stern. The common solutions that always come from the crisis-of-the-day gang are for more government spending, higher taxes and more government control, with little or no discussion of the downside of bigger government and higher taxes.
U.S. taxpayers now pay about $4 billion per year to global change scientists and government bureaucrats associated with global warming. If global warming were found to be not much of a problem, what do you think would happen to the budgets, employment and advancement opportunities of those with a vested interest in global warming? (We have even had calls for the forcible silencing and imprisonment of global warming skeptics by some global warming doomsayers. Such calls and intimidation of those seeking honest answers can only lead to biased research or worse.)
Mr. Gore causes the emission of several hundred times the CO2 -- by flying around the world in private jets, riding in limos, etc. -- than the typical person does. Hence you would think if he really believed his scaremongering he would just stay home and give his speeches, etc., through teleconferencing and other electronic media. This would show greater commitment, but it would not be as much fun.
Responsible critics of the global warming scaremongers, such as Patrick Michaels (professor at the University of Virginia and Cato senior fellow), Bjorn Lomborg (director of the Copenhagen Consensus Center) and, of course, Messrs. Singer and Avery and many others, do not deny that global warming is occurring but only advocate that all current and historical data be examined and that there be a review as objective as possible of the costs and benefits of any expenditures to deal with climate change.
The Singer-Avery book is meticulously researched and footnoted (unlike many of the presentations from the scaremongers), and, as they note: "The 1,500-year cycle is not an unproven theory like the model-based predictions for the Greenhouse Theory. The 1,500 year climate cycle is real, based on a wide variety of physical evidence from around the globe." (It comes from ice cores, sediment layers, isotopes, etc.)
The sun has far greater influence on climate than most people understand. The sun does not shine with a constant intensity, the Earth does not rotate around the sun in a constant orbit -- during some periods it is more elliptical than others, and the Earth wobbles about its axis, all of which cause solar heating to vary. These effects swamp anything humans are likely to do to the climate.
During periods of global warming, some areas will become drier and less hospitable for agricultural, but just as many, or more, areas are likely to become wetter and more hospitable for food production (and living), such as Canada and Siberia. There is no evidence of species extinction during previous periods of global warming. Sea levels have slowly risen for hundreds of years, and the evidence is they will continue rising at the same slow and highly manageable rate. And, finally, the evidence is that severe storms are less frequent and intense during the warm than during the colder periods.
So relax and enjoy the few extra days of summer and the milder winters -- like our Roman and Viking ancestors did.
Richard W. Rahn is director general of the Center for Global Economic Growth, a project of the FreedomWorks Foundation.
8. SENATOR INHOFE'S FULL SPEECH:
Each year the UN hosts a lavish event to encourage countries around the world to believe that man is responsible for climate change. At the same time, a UN employee group called Step-by-Step claims that the UN's employees not even counting the thousands of attendees to its events fly enough miles to make 77 trips to the moon and back every year.
The United Nations annual climate conference this week exposed what I have known for a long time that the real focus has little to do with the fate of the planet and much to do about money who has it, and who wants it.
Not surprisingly, many of the proposals at the UN conference involved transfers of wealth from the United States to the rest of the world. For instance, one non-governmental organization (NGO) proposal was to distribute carbon rations according to population, so poor countries like China and India would get the bulk of carbon credits which would then be purchased by Americans it is hard to imagine a more insidious and effective plan to ensure America surrenders its economy.
This year has been an unprecedented attempt by climate alarmists to convince people that they should fear the so-called impending doom of cataclysmic global warming. As we speak, the United Nations Environment Program is selling its self-published children's book at the climate conference in Kenya. ( http://epw.senate.gov/fact.cfm?party=rep&id=265811 ) The disturbing aspect of this is not that the book contains numerous errors, but that it is simply an attempt to instill fear in young impressionable minds.
Of course, the recurring theme is that we can avert this catastrophe if we simply ration our energy and redirect massive amounts of our economy toward fighting this supposed threat.
The hysteria has reached such a fever pitch that the British government signed up a former Vice President of the United States, Al Gore, to lobby the U.S. in a desperate attempt to bail Europe out the failed Kyoto Protocol. Kyoto is the program, you will recall, in which 13 of the EU-15 will miss their targets. And almost every participating nation has been increasing its emissions in recent years, not decreasing. I am a U.S. Senator, and a former mayor and businessman and I don't claim to be a climate scientist or to have invented the internet like some other politicians you may know. But I do understand politics, and can tell you that the science of climate change is being politicized. As you have just heard, it is simply untrue that there is consensus on this issue and endless repetition of this propaganda by environmentalists won't make it true.
Unfortunately, too many scientists have put aside their objectivity to embrace political activism in the guise of science. As prominent German researchers Dr. Hans von Storch and Nico Stehr who are not climate skeptics, incidentally, wrote in Der Spiegel:
"Other scientists are succumbing to a form of fanaticism almost reminiscent of the McCarthy era..."
But for all their efforts to quash dissent, the alarmists have failed to shut down the debate, as new science and data are increasingly leading to skepticism. A recent LA Times/Bloomberg poll found the number of Americans that believe warming is due to natural variability has increased more than 50 percent in the last 5 years.
Prominent international figures are beginning to question the science as well. Recently, for instance, Czech President Vaclav Klaus reportedly said that fears of manmade global warming were "a fatal mistake of the present time." We have also recently seen the conversion of Britain's famed environmental campaigner, David Bellamy, to a climate skeptic. Bellamy now calls fears of manmade catastrophic global warming, "poppycock."
In addition, renowned French geophysicist Claude Allegre recently reversed himself on global warming. ( http://epw.senate.gov/pressitem.cfm?party=rep&id=264777 ) Allegre is a former French Socialist Party leader and a member of both the French and U.S. Academy of Sciences. More than a decade ago he signed a letter warning of the dangers of global warming but in September published an article criticizing claims of man-made global warming, saying the cause of warming was unknown. He cited the alarmists' incorrect use of Mount Kilimanjaro's receding ice caps as proof of manmade global warming. Allegre pointed out that local factors were the cause of the disappearing ice, not global warming.
Allegre also accused proponents of manmade catastrophic global warming of being motivated by money, noting that "the ecology of helpless protesting has become a very lucrative business for some people!"
I find it ironic that a free market capitalist in the U.S. Senate and a French Socialist scientist both apparently believe that sound science is not what is driving this debate, but greed by those who would use this issue to line their own pockets.
The simple fact is that there is a lot of money at stake in this debate the U. S. alone will spend $6.5 billion this next year.
Certain companies stand to profit by forcing the rest of us to pay. And there is much to be gained by developing countries if the United States agrees to subsidize the world. Given this, it's not surprising that the UN's International Panel on Climate Change has been taken over by bureaucrats attempting to abuse the report in order to sway American public opinion.
Late last year I wrote Chairman of the IPCC, Dr. R. K. Pachauri, expressing my concern with his statements in Montreal in regard to a public opinion survey of Americans' attitudes about climate change. He stated:
"In the fourth assessment, we will conduct an extensive outreach effort. If facts are highlighted, not exaggerated... then it will help in changing public perception."
In other words, he is not trying to educate on science, but rather to persuade and thus influence policy.
Such thinking is not new. In a speech a year ago, I spelled out the irregularities of the last two IPCC assessment reports, citing illicit additions to the text after it was approved, the highlighting of faulty irreproducible studies and of scientists who, despite preeminence in their field, felt excluded from contributing to the fourth assessment because they refused to play off the alarmists handbook.
Unfortunately, this political mindset remains alive and well at the IPCC. Perhaps Lord Nigel Lawson, former Chancellor of the Exchequer and a Member of the Committee, was right when he stated:
"I believe the IPCC process is so flawed, and the institution, it has to be said, so closed to reason, that it would be far better to thank it for the work it has done, close it down, and transfer all future international collaboration on the issue of climate change..."
Let me end with this thought I realize that the lack of reporting on Kenya is because little is being accomplished there and there is talk of legislation here next Congress. I will be glad to take your questions on this, but let me be absolutely clear: our government is not going to embrace economy-killing carbon caps next Congress.
The McCain-Lieberman climate bill that was overwhelmingly voted down last year would still be defeated by a majority of the Senate despite election losses and even if Senators like Barbara Boxer who voted against it were willing to embrace nuclear power as some other Democrats do.
Since it only takes 41 Senators to defeat legislation, it is hard to imagine any scenario where the McCain-Lieberman bill would pass even two Congresses from now. Oddly, it is the Bingaman Sense of the Senate passed last year that exposes the fundamental problem of every climate bill proposed in this body they all fail its test that any legislation: 1) must not harm the U.S. economy; and, 2) should encourage action from developing countries such as China and India.
9. WHO IS JAMES HOGGAN?
Financial Post, November 16, 2006
To viewers of last night's edition of CBC-TV's The Fifth Estate, a "documentary" titled The Denial Machine, the name James Hoggan will be familiar. Mr. Hoggan is the talking head who loomed late in the program to issue lofty pronouncements on the science of climate change. His main role, though, was to provide a Canadian link in the program's grand conspiracy theory about scientists who are skeptical of global warming. For non-viewers of last night's presentation, here's a hint of the show's theme: Exxon did it.
Not much was said about Mr. Hoggan. He's mostly just allowed to run on with his story, which by no coincidence is exactly the story The Fifth Estate told. For a first-rate demonstration of dishonest manipulation masquerading as investigative journalism, it's hard to beat The Denial Machine. Using smear-a-minute techniques, host Bob McKeown, under executive producer David Studer, advances the idea that one or two U.S. global warming science skeptics -- particularly Fred Singer and Pat Michaels -- have single-handedly turned the media, plus the Bush and Harper governments, into climate change deniers.
Now, there isn't space here to snip away at all the anti-corporate threads woven through Bob McKeown's warped tale. In brief: Exxon has paid money to groups and organizations connected in some way with S. Fred Singer, a distinguished environmental scientist and atmospheric physicist. In 1990, he founded the Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP), dedicated to exposing junk science. SEPP has produced science reports on second-hand smoke, CFCs and ozone depletion, ultraviolet radiation and cancer, plus much work on climate change. In each case, Mr. Singer has taken contrary positions. His latest is a book, Global Warming: An Unstoppable 1,500-Year Cycle, just published by the Hudson Institute, also a likely recipient of Exxon Foundation funds, as are the Brookings Institution and hundreds of other U.S. organizations.
As a recipient of corporate funds, directly or indirectly, Mr. Singer is painted by The Fifth Estate to be a hack scientist for hire, a man without credentials or expertise or integrity who should be ashamed of himself for fronting for the likes of Exxon. Mr. McKeown confronts Mr. Singer with the CBC's high moral rectitude: "Isn't that misleading the public? Isn't that letting us think that it's coming from an objective source, but it's not?"
The smear here is the implication that Mr. Singer is not an objective scientist because some corporate money supports his work, even though the money may be only remotely linked. This is standard anti-corporate fare, deployed to discredit ideas and people one doesn't like. The main theme is that no corporation should be allowed to support any activity anywhere that might coincide with a corporation's agenda.
As an aside, the fact that BP, Shell, the nuclear industry, giant ethanol firms and others all support climate theory for their own self-interested purposes seems not to bother environmental activists. Confusingly, although not mentioned last night, Fred Singer is also a big proponent of nuclear power, which he thinks is safe and economical and would benefit from a major plan to put Exxon and coal out of business. How does all that work in the conflict arena?
This brings us back to Mr. Hoggan. The Fifth Estate follows the currently hot green story line -- science skeptics are funded by corporations, therefore science skeptics are dishonest fronts who cannot be trusted. Scores of reports from green groups and leftist media in Canada and abroad have pushed the idea. Earlier this year, The Globe and Mail ran a lengthy piece by Charles Montgomery, featuring Mr. Hoggan, claiming that the oil industry was behind Canadian climate skeptic Tim Ball. Essentially the same story, also featuring Mr. Hoggan, appeared in This Magazine, home of Canada's left. Headline: "Playing dirty: Coming clean on climate change spin -- how the PR industry sold the 'made in Canada' solution to global warming."
Mr. Hoggan told This Magazine writer Zoe Cormier and the Globe's Charles Montgomery (who rents space in Mr. Hoggan's office) the same message. Essentially, "ethical" public relations firms and corporations should not be engaged in "manipulating public opinion" in important matters of public policy. If corporations do try to fight policy, they run a risk. "If you don't want to end up looking like those cigarette executives standing in front of Congress a few years ago ... don't fight something that you are inevitably going to lose." It is no surprise that the cigarette executive image is a visual tipping point in The Denial Machine's nasty little piece.
The essence of Mr. Hoggan's message is that PR agencies and corporations should not be able to support and fund climate science that runs contrary to the official global government science. "I don't think that the people who are involved in this should be able to get away with it."
So who is James Hoggan? He's a public relations man, based in Vancouver. His firm, James Hoggan and Associates, is positioned as a feel-good local operation with clients in all the "right" public and private sectors. He also sits on the board of the David Suzuki Foundation.
One of his side efforts is a blog operated out of Hoggan and Associates. Funded by retired Internet bubble king John Lefebvre, the blog has one full-time and three part-time staff. They spend their time tracking down and maliciously attacking all who have doubts about climate change and painting them as corporate pawns.
There has been no mention on the blog, nor on The Fifth Estate, of James Hoggan's client list. They include or have included the National Hydrogen Association, Fuel Cells Canada, hydrogen producer QuestAir, Naikun Wind Energy and Ballard Fuel Cells. Mr. Hoggan, in other words, benefits from regulatory policy based on climate change science.
But it is as a climate commentator that Mr. Hoggan gets carried away. On The Denial Machine, Mr. Hoggan is allowed to go on at some length about how climate skeptics are not true scientists, are not qualified, or have no expertise.
That takes some gall. Here's a totally unqualified small-town PR guy making disparaging comments about scientists he says are unqualified while he lectures the rest of us on the science. "If you look in the scientific literature, there is no debate," he tells Mr. McKeown. It doesn't seem to bother Mr. McKeown that Mr. Hoggan has no expertise. It is also a little rich to have a member of the Suzuki Foundation board pronounce other scientists unfit and unqualified for climate assessments, while geneticist David Suzuki roams the world issuing barrages of climate change warnings at every opportunity.
When I called Mr. Hoggan yesterday and asked, among other things, whether he thought David Suzuki is qualified to comment on climate issues, Mr. Hoggan said, "I'm not interested in doing an interview with you. Thanks very much for your call."
At the end of The Denial Machine, Mr. Hoggan confidently declares that most of the 60 scientists who signed a letter earlier this year asking Prime Minister Stephen Harper to reopen the climate science issue are science hacks. The letter was first published on this page last April 6. "We looked into the folks who were on that, and all but 19 were Americans and most of them are kind of infamous characters from the states who worked for the tobacco industry."
In fact, only 12 are Americans and at most two, counting Mr. Singer, have done past science work on tobacco. About 20 are Canadians, while others are from about a dozen other countries, from France to Norway to Australia and the Netherlands. Readers can check the names on the letter, which we've reposted today as an Online Extra at www.nationalpost.com.
Through the whole episode, The Fifth Estate did not do one bit of science verification. No mention, for example, of Mr. Singer's role as one the first to notice that the United Nations' claim that we are living through the hottest period in 1,000 years had to be statistically wrong. Without spending one second looking at the science, the CBC crew smeared and discredited the skeptical scientists with corporate associations. Exxon did it. James Hoggan, however, is the real villain.
© National Post 2006
S. Fred Singer
22 November 2006 National Post
Global warmers are becoming desperate. As the science evidence turns against them, they increasingly resort to smear campaigns and personal attacks on global warming (GW) skeptics -- those of us whom Al Gore labels "climate deniers." The latest example is the CBC's The Fifth Estate broadcast of The Denial Machine. Clearly, GW alarmists are using this tactic to distract the public from noticing how the science underpinnings of the GW scare are collapsing.
As the flaws in climate science begin to sink in and affect public opinion, the spin doctors have started to take over. Pre-eminent among these has been the PR firm of James Hoggan of Vancouver. Mr. Hoggan has unleashed press releases and bloggers, and now appears on the CBC in an attempt to discredit scientists --including me -- who do not share his or his clients' views on climate change.
All this may have started with Naomi Oreskes' review, in Science (October, 2005), of the book The Republican War on Science. Even though the book deals mainly with other topics, she turns her review into a personal attack on four GW skeptics, two of whom are not even mentioned in the book. For example, she manages to misrepresent my scientific work on ozone depletion, complains that I do not publish "regularly" in peer-reviewed journals, and -- amazingly -- tries to link me to "intelligent design" and the tobacco industry.
Next, someone sends me a screed by Canadian blogger Kevin Grandia, a Hoggan employee, who accuses me of being in the "pay of the tobacco lobby." Although tobacco has nothing to do with the global warming debate, Mr. Grandia suggests that I sell my science to special interests. And since he cannot show that I am "in the pay of the oil lobby," tobacco will have to do.
Now, I am a very patient fellow, so I carefully explain to Mr. Grandia that I hate tobacco smoke and sit on the board of the anti-smoking American Council on Science and Health. But I don't tolerate the misuse of science, even by anti-smokers. So I gladly assented when, more than a decade ago, the Alexis de Tocqueville Institute asked me to serve as a consultant for a couple of months to review and contribute to a report on misuse of science in environmental policies.
I soon discovered that in their anti-smoking zeal the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had cooked the data on second-hand tobacco smoke, claiming 3,000 lung cancer deaths a year. Specifically, I uncovered a report to the US Congress by the Congressional Research Service (CRS-95-1115) that documents how the EPA had "cherry-picked" the available evidence. My contribution in all of this was simply to use the CRS analysis.
But Mr. Grandia won't budge. So I am forced to hire a lawyer to get Mr. Grandia to retract his slurs and apologize. After many letters back and forth, between my lawyer and his, I am now faced with a choice: Do I sue for defamation? The costs can be considerable, both financial and in terms of precious time. Mr. Grandia seems especially keen to engage in legal battles with climate scientists. Who pays his lawyers?
Grandia, Hoggan, Oreskes, The Fifth Estate, Fenton Communications, a Washington environmental PR firm of which Mr. Hoggan appears to be a clone -- all have the same agenda. They aim to undermine crucial scientific debate on what some have termed the most important problem facing mankind in this century. Certainly, drastic policy actions based on wrong science would waste massive resources and hit the pocketbook of every citizen.
S. Fred Singer, professor emeritus, University of Virginia, and former director of the U.S. Weather Satellite Service.
HOGGAN 'MISSPOKE' HIMSELF; CBC SHOULD ISSUE CORRECTION
22 November 2006 National Post
Tonight on the fifth estate, CBC Television, 9 p.m. ET: Forget the show, look for the answer to this question: Will the CBC run a correction of a major error?
Readers will recall last week's episode, a special titled The Denial Machine, starring Vancouver PR man James Hoggan. Mr. Hoggan made a number of disparaging remarks about a group of 60 scientists who signed a letter to Prime Minister Steven Harper urging him to review the science of climate change. According to Mr. Hoggan, the scientists who signed are not to be trusted. "We looked into the folks who were on that, and all but 19 were Americans and most of them are kind of infamous characters from the States who worked for the tobacco industry."
In fact, only 12 are Americans and at most two have done past science work on tobacco. About 20 are Canadians, while others are from about a dozen other countries, including France, Norway, Australia and the Netherlands. So Mr. Hoggan's statements on the scientists are dead wrong.
This is no small matter of incidental fact. Mr. Hoggan's statement, along with a few others, formed the basis for The Denial Machine's major theme, which was a claim that scientists who are skeptical of official global warming theory are part of an oil industry front that is made up of the same hack scientists who acted in the tobacco industry debacle a decade earlier. The Hoggan comments were a clinching anchor in the report. It even included a mock-up of the Financial Post, where the scientists' letter first appeared last April.
Mr. Hoggan has yet to personally correct his mistakes. However, on the climate blog run through his office ( http://www.desmogblog.com/national-posts-corcoran-pops-his-cork ) there's a dismissive acknowledgement of the error. "Yes," says a posting, "Jim misspoke himself."
"Misspoke himself" seems a touch too innocent. How about: Mangled the facts? Got it all wrong? Warped the truth? Invented information to suit his message?
One can see where Mr. Hoggan might not want to publicly confess to having seriously misled the fifth estate's audience, and to having misrepresented the reputations of the scientists who signed the letter. But what about the CBC's much-heralded journalistic standards? The network and the fifth estate, one assumes, will want to uphold the highest standards of accuracy by running a correction at the earliest opportunity.
That would be tonight at 9 p.m. ET.
25 November 2006 National Post
I must respond to a series of attacks by Financial Post Editor Terence Corcoran on me personally and on a weblog (DeSmogBlog.com) that I run, independent of my business (James Hoggan & Associates).
I acknowledge, without reservation, that I made an error in a Fifth Estate television interview broadcast on Nov. 15, 2006. In discussing an anti-climate-change petition submitted in April to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, I overstated how many of the 60 signatories were also involved in the tobacco industry's well-documented campaign to deny the harmful effects of second-hand smoke.
I recognize that this error may have given offence to the legitimate experts who signed that petition. I would like to apologize to those individuals unreservedly.
James Hoggan, www.DeSmogBlog.com
10. GLOBAL WARMING GOES TO COURT
NYT Editorial, November 28, 2006
The Bush administration has been on a six-year campaign to expand its powers, often beyond what the Constitution allows. So it is odd to hear it claim that it lacks the power to slow global warming by limiting the emission of harmful gases. But that is just what it will argue to the Supreme Court tomorrow, in what may be the most important environmental case in many years.
A group of 12 states, including New York and Massachusetts, is suing the Environmental Protection Agency for failing to properly do its job. These states, backed by environmental groups and scientists, say that the Clean Air Act requires the E.P.A. to impose limits on carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases emitted by new cars. These gases are a major contributor to the “greenhouse effect” that is dangerously heating up the planet.
The Bush administration insists that the E.P.A. does not have the power to limit these gases. It argues that they are not “air pollutants” under the Clean Air Act. Alternatively, it contends that the court should dismiss the case because the states do not have “standing,” since they cannot show that they will be specifically harmed by the agency’s failure to regulate greenhouse gases.
A plain reading of the Clean Air Act shows that the states are right. The act says that the E.P.A. “shall” set standards for “any air pollutant” that in its judgment causes or contributes to air pollution that “may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare.” The word “welfare,” the law says, includes “climate” and “weather.” The E.P.A. makes an array of specious arguments about why the act does not mean what it expressly says. But it has no right to refuse to do what Congress said it “shall” do.
Beneath the statutory and standing questions, this is a case about how seriously the government takes global warming. The EPA’s decision was based in part on its poorly reasoned conclusion that there was too much “scientific uncertainty” about global warming to worry about it. The government’s claim that the states lack standing also scoffs at global warming, by failing to acknowledge that the states have a strong interest in protecting their land and citizens against coastal flooding and the other kinds of damage that are being projected.
In a friend-of-the-court brief, climate scientists from the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, Stanford University and other respected institutions warn that “the scientific evidence of the risks, long time lags and irreversibility of climate change argue persuasively for prompt regulatory action.” The Supreme Court can strike an important blow in defense of the planet simply by ruling that the E.P.A. must start following the law.
THE SUPREMES TACKLE GLOBAL WARMING
Editorial, Wash Times, Nov 27, 2006
Will the Supreme Court declare carbon dioxide a pollutant? With oral arguments scheduled for November 29 and a decision likely by early 2007, such a determination could put a huge damper on the US economy by raising energy costs or even restricting its use.
After a split decision by a three-judge panel of the Circuit Court of DC, the Supreme Court announced its readiness to deal with the lawsuit against the EPA brought by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (and other parties) that want EPA to regulate CO2 under the terms of the Clean Air Act. The case has both scientific and political aspects -- and of course, any decision carries far-reaching implications for US economic growth. If the Court finds against the-plaintiffs and supports the EPA and White House, it will also lay to rest the multitude of scares that have been hyped by promoters of anthropogenic global warming (AGW). It may even dampen down the worldwide fears raised by the “Stern Report,” just issued by the British government and calling for draconian measures to cut CO2 emissions. Limiting the use of energy fuels by raising their price would be both costly and ineffective in influencing climate – a thoroughly bad deal.
The scientific issues are subtle and were never resolved by the Circuit Court; but they are essential to any sound decision. Scientists have now filed briefs with the Supreme Court, both pro and con. All agree that CO2 levels are increasing -- and that there has been an upward trend in temperature since 1976. But casual correlation is not proof for AGW. Temperatures were rising before 1940 -- almost certainly because of natural climate factors. And there was cooling until 1975 while CO2 levels rose rapidly. Further, a just-published inter-agency government report, directed by NOAA and based on best available data, cannot identify a significant human component in current warming.
Next: Is climate warming good or bad? Would a colder climate be better? Not likely. Competent economists argue that a modest warming would improve economic growth and raise average incomes. And finally, can emissions be reduced sufficiently to stabilize CO2 levels? Realistically, the answer must be: No. It would require a roughly 70 percent reduction from 1990 emission levels by all nations, including China and India.
The political issues are also subtle. What was Congressional legislative intent when writing the Clean Air Act? Carbon dioxide is not one of the legally specified “criteria pollutants.” For CO2 to be considered a pollutant one must demonstrate adverse health effects – a daunting task. After all, we constantly exhale it from our lungs; indoor air typically has higher levels than ambient. Should EPA abolish indoor assemblies -- schools, churches, offices etc? In the earlier suit, the Circuit Court ruled 2:1 that the EPA Administrator had properly exercised his discretion in not regulating CO2. But a future EPA Administrator might decide otherwise. It may be a matter of his or her “policy judgment.”
In any case, it is vital that the Supremes come out with an unambiguous ruling. Uncertainty about future EPA actions would have severe impacts on many current economic decisions, for example, by electric utilities planning to build coal-fired power plants. Even worse, a future EPA could really damage the economy by limiting energy from fossil fuels, by demanding carbon sequestration, or by mandating impossible efficiency standards for vehicles (and for everything else). Truly, the future of US energy policy and economic prosperity hang on this case before the Supreme Court.
IT'S NOT UP TO THE EPA
If global warming requires regulation, that is a decision for our elected representatives to make, says Jonathan Adler, a professor of environmental and constitutional law at Case Western Reserve University School of Law. Yet several states and environmentalist groups are asking the Supreme Court to force the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to impose nationwide regulations on greenhouse gases, the most ubiquitous byproducts of modern industrial society.
But the EPA only has the authority it has been delegated by Congress, and -- as of yet -- Congress has never given the EPA regulatory authority over greenhouse gases, says Adler. Congress has not been silent on the matter of global warming, however:
o Since 1978, it has repeatedly addressed global climate concerns without once giving any indication that it sought to authorize federal regulation.
o To the contrary Congress has rejected specific regulatory proposals, endorsing non-regulatory measures in their stead.
o The Bush administration has also been reticent, but it should not be criticized for failing to exert regulatory authority it does not have.
If current climate policies are inadequate and unwise, the place to seek redress is back in Congress, not the courts, says Adler:
o The petitioners argue that the Clean Air Act requires the EPA to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from new-vehicle tailpipes -- and a superficial reading of the statutory text could suggest as much.
o Yet it is clear to all involved that the relevant statutory provisions were enacted to address local and regional pollution problems -- such as soot, smog and acid rain -- not global concerns such as climate change.
Source: Jonathan Adler, "It's not up to the EPA; If global warming requires regulation, that is a decision for Congress to make," USA Today, November 29, 2006.