CIVIL DEFENSE PERSPECTIVES

 

January 1998 (vol. 14, #2) 1601 N Tucson Blvd #9, Tucson AZ 85716 c 1998 Physicians for Civil Defense

 

TEMPERATURE CHARTS: TRUTH AND CONSEQUENCES

 

Did the Earth experience record high temperatures in 1997, as reported in the New York Times on January 1, 1998, lending support to predictions of ``global warming''?

The drive is on to build public support for Senate ratification of the Kyoto Treaty for global energy rationing, accepted by the Clinton Administration in December, 1997, despite a result that departed significantly from stated U.S. goals. Chinese tenacity prevailed; the Treaty lacks any ``meaningful participation'' by developing countries despite the bipartisan warning from the U.S. Senate. Although Clinton had said that any target below a return to 1990 emissions levels was ``unrealistic,'' negotiators agreed to a reduction of 7% below 1990, or 40% below current levels (eco logic Nov/Dec 1997).

The Administration's knight on a white horse and chief environmental consultant is Al Gore. When asked about the uncertainties of global warming, Clinton's advice is: ``Read the vice president's book'' (H. Josef Hebert, AP, 12/7/97).

``The threat of global warming,'' stated Gore in Earth in the Balance (1992), ``is the most serious problem that we have ever faced.'' Thus, ``research in lieu of action is unconscionable.''

The grand goal of saving the Earth from the ravages of humanity is expected to be the centerpiece of Gore's campaign for the presidency. But there's more to it than normal politics: ``I have become very impatient with my own tendency to put a finger to the political winds and proceed cautiously....The integrity of the environment is not just another issue to be used in political games for popularity, votes, or attention. And the time has long since come to take more political risks-and endure much more political criticism-by proposing tougher, more effective solutions and fighting hard for their enactment,'' wrote Gore in his book, with religious fervor.

Part of the political strategy is to wait out the Republican Senate and wage a public campaign. Bringing moral pressure to bear on politicians was the method that worked to pass the chemical weapons treaty this year, several years after it was signed, wrote Paul Gigot (Wall St J 12/12/97).

``Mr. Gore also knows that he'll win eventually if his opponents stick to their current line that the treaty will cost too much. The veep can invoke the cause of children and the planet's future, while his opponents sound like mercenaries.''

The threat to Mr. Gore's Kyoto dreams, concludes Gigot, is that Americans may begin to doubt the reality of the global warming scenarios.

The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) and other activist groups are engaged in an intense media campaign to publicize a wide variety of purely hypothetical catastrophes: landslides, wildfires, loss of fisheries, hurricanes, forest diebacks, desertification, coastal flooding, a massive decrease in the volume of water in the Great Lakes, the sudden freezing of Europe due to an abrupt shutdown of currents in the North Atlantic, etc.

All scenarios are predicated on the assumption that the Earth is warming because of human activities that increase atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and three synthetic ``fully fluorinated compounds'' used in various manufacturing processes. If the Earth is not warming, the entire rationale crumbles-hence, the obvious importance of actually measuring the temperature as well as the parameters that could affect it.

While there is a close correlation between global temperature fluctuations and solar magnetic activity between 1750 and the present (New York Times 9/23/97), most of the warming trend of the past century preceded the increase in atmospheric CO2 (Wall St J 12/4/97) and could not have been caused by it. Moreover, the most accurate measurements of monthly mean global temperatures, those from orbiting satellites, actually show a slight cooling trend between 1979 (when measurements began) and 1997. (An excellent graphical summary is provided in Access to Energy, Nov 1997, PO Box 1250, Cave Junction, OR 97523.) It is crucial for Kyoto Treaty advocates to discredit the satellite data (see DDP Newsletter, Sept 1997).

``You can take the temperature in the mouth or the armpit,'' stated Robert Quayle, chief of the global climate laboratory at Ashville, NC. The ``Government scientists'' who stated that the 1997 average surface temperature was the highest ever reported possibly consider satellite temperatures to be the equivalent of the highly inaccurate axillary temperature, for the 1997 satellite temperature was the eighth coolest in 19 years (William K. Stevens, NY Times 1/9/98).

The 1990s may have been ``the world's warmest decade since people began measuring temperatures with thermometers in the mid-19th century.'' However, though the Earth has been experiencing a 300-year warming trend from the Little Ice Age, present temperatures are below the 3,000-year mean as determined by isotope ratios in marine organism remains from sediments in the Sargasso Sea.

The surface temperature trend plotted by the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) at NASA probably represents the equivalent of taking an oral temperature after the patient has drunk a cup of hot tea. Monitoring stations near population centers are subject to the urban heat island effect; the selection of stations by NASA GISS for a global compilation was biased toward such centers (SF Singer, Hot Talk, Cold Science, 1997). Satellite measurements give uniform and better sampling and are thus the most reliable.

Wide publication of the NASA GISS graph, together with statements of scientists from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) (``I believe we are seeing evidence of global warming at least some of which is attributable to human activities'') could help to ``heat up the air to sell the new climate treaty.'' Columnist Tom Teepen of Cox Newspapers noted that ``a public honestly sold on the treaty can at least neutralize a Senate pre-sold against it [by oil, coal, and manufacturing interests]. Before he can start cooling down the atmosphere, Clinton will have to heat up the air a bit.''

The global experiment of wide use of hydrocarbon fuel, in progress now for 50 years with no demonstrable adverse effect on climate, has been likened to ``playing with an angry beast-a climate system that has been shown to be very sensitive'' (Wallace S. Bruecker, quoted by AP, 11/27/97). It is proposed to mollify the beast with human sacrifices, which will have devastating effects (see p. 2). Truth-telling, both about the temperature and the consequences, is essential.

Key Treaty Provisions and Consequences

Key Treaty Provisions and Consequences 

 

The most severe impact of the Kyoto Treaty will clearly fall on the United States, and the biggest beneficiaries will be the biggest polluters-including China, which is expected to move from the world's #2 polluter to become #1, and which will not be bound by the Protocol.

As the Protocol puts it, the Annex I parties identified as being ``in transition to market economies [from Communist command economies]'' (such as Russia and Ukraine) are to be granted a ``certain degree of flexibility'' in meeting commitments. Moreover, the target level for Russia and Ukraine was set at 1990 levels. According to the Energy Information Agency of the U.S. Department of Energy, emissions in these countries are already about 30% below 1990 levels. Although this is due to ``economic restructuring,'' rather than ``climate-relevant policies'' such as ``decarbonizing the economy,'' the Treaty's big ``loophole'' allows the pollution credits granted for exceeding the target to be sold. The U.S. is expected to transfer about $40 billion to Russia in payment for the right to emit the 800 million metric tons of CO2 not being produced by industries shut down in Russia's economic collapse. (Rep. Benjamin Gilman, Washington Times 1/9/98).

The Treaty's burdens on the more vibrant industry of the U.S. will result in a competitive advantage (or lesser disadvantage) to the European Union, which extracted a number of concessions from U.S. negotiators eager to close some kind of deal. The EU gets to take credit for the shutdown of industry in pollution-shrouded former Communist East Germany. Emissions from U.S. military equipment based in Europe to protect European security will count against the U.S. economy, not Europe's.

The only military activities that are exempted from emissions restrictions will be those that are approved by the United Nations-a point that might turn out to be important in enforcing compliance.

 

Surveillance. To monitor whether targets are being met, Parties shall have to establish ``a national system for the estimation of anthropogenic emissions'' using methodologies accepted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Methods of calculating ``global warming potentials'' shall be accepted by the IPCC. Net changes from direct human-induced land use changes in afforestation, reforestation, and deforestation ``shall be used'' to meet commitments.

It should be noted that IPCC methodologies for projecting future emissions and atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, as well as economic and population trends, have proven consistently to be unreliable (Vincent Gray, Climate Change 95: An Appraisal, Heartland Institute Policy Study #84, 9/10/97, see http://www.heartland.org/gray-sum.htm).

What kinds of intrusive monitoring by international bureaucracies will be required? Will it be capable of inspecting American factories, farms, and forests? According to Wall Street Journal reporters Amy Dockser Marcus and Marcus Brauchli, U.S. satellites once trained on Soviet missile silos are now taking pictures of several hundred environmentally sensitive sites, in the name of the new environmental security agenda. Intelligence resources are being committed to regional environmental hubs. ``It's no longer enough to count a country's tanks and missiles, the new thinking goes. It's also critical to know a country's water-table levels, the state of soil erosion, the rates at which its deserts are spreading'' (Wall St J 11/20/97).

Enforcement. And what will be done with the information?

At the close of the Kyoto conference ``few could bear to ask the most fundamental question of what to do if nations fail to comply'' (Yvonne Chang, ``Global Warming Deal Done, Carbon Cop Sought,'' Reuters, 12/11/97).

The Treaty provides that a body called the MOP (Meeting of the Protocol) shall ``approve appropriate and effective procedures and mechanisms to determine and to address cases of non-compliance with the provisions of the Protocol.''

The specific procedures for addressing noncompliance will require amending the protocol, and hence separate ratification.

``This is far less than the defined, strong non-compliance punishment clause that was hoped for,'' according to the UCS.

Strong enforcement provisions will be required. If U.S. compliance requires reducing energy use by 30%, the impact will be three times as severe as the 1970s oil shock (National Center for Public Policy Research, 12/19/97). Restrictions on private automobile use may be anticipated. Al Gore states in his book Earth in the Balance that the environmental impact of automobiles ``is posing a mortal threat to the security of every nation that is more deadly than that of any military enemy we are ever again likely to confront.''

And this would be just the initial shock, if environmental activists have their way. The Kyoto Protocol is ``a small but important down payment to limit global warming,'' according to the UCS (see http://www.ucsusa.org).

Previously, political opposition defeated a proposed carbon tax. But the actual implementation of Kyoto targets, whether through taxes or other means, would not need to pass through Congress, but rather through an international agency in which, according to Treaty, ``Each Party shall have one vote''-including those Parties who declare that U.S. Senators' concerns about national sovereignty are ``just rubbish.'' (``I'm not having you telling me that I've got no say in what you do. You are changing my climate'' -- John Gummer, representing the EU, quoted in eco logic Nov/Dec 1997.)

Furthermore, Article 25 states: ``No reservations may be made to this Protocol.'' (This provision has been included in all treaties since 1992. The Chemical Weapons Ban Treaty was ratified by the Senate only after extensive ``reservations'' were included in the ratification legislation.)

And who has made the Protocol that the Senate may not amend? The answer includes businesses, international organizations, and citizens groups known as nongovernmental organizations or NGOs. Such NGOs have ``transnational interests and identities that frequently have more in common with counterparts in other countries, whether industrialized or developing, than with countrymen.'' Increasingly, ``NGOs are able to push around even the largest governments'' (Terence P. Jeffrey, ``The Road to Serfdom Runs Through Kyoto,'' Human Events 12/12/97). The next step: a Global Environmental Authority with independent regulatory powers, possibly financed by fees on international activities, independent of state appropriations: Taxation without representation, says Mr. Jeffrey (ibid.)

And the step after that? As Jeremy Rabkin, Cornell University political scientist, asks: ``If the world can have global governance to ration energy-the lifeblood of modern economies -what might global governance not attempt?'' (Ronald Bailey, ``Shanghaied in Kyoto,'' Wall St J 12/15/97).

 

The entire Protocol can be downloaded in pdf format from www.unfccc.de/index.html (Adobe Acrobat Reader required) or http://www.bigeye.com/kyoto.htm.