March 2005 (vol. 21, #3)
1601 N Tucson Blvd #9, Tucson AZ 85716
c 2001 Physicians for Civil Defense
Instead of making a useful product, a new growth industry profits from trading in “carbon credits,” or the right to emit “pollutants” such as the basic building block of life: CO2.
A pig farm in Chile promised to recycle the animals' emissions of methane, and power companies in Japan and Canada gained the right to emit more CO2.
The European Climate Exchange will broker deals between members of the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), which involves some 12,700 industrial organizations in 25 members of the European Union (EU). The market is expected to be worth about $15 billion per year by 2007.
Russia stands to profit handsomely from its economic depression. If it sells all the emissions credits from its shuttered industry, the effect on worldwide CO2 emissions would be exactly the same as if the old factories started back up.
But never mind the net effect on CO2. If nothing else, “the market could prove a positive exercise in increasing awareness of global warming.” Without the ETS, “the Kyoto Protocol would never have passed,” writes Michael Hopkins (ibid.).
In the U.S., utilities that now rely heavily on old coal plants can profit from simply enacting their business plans, observes a Wall Street Journal editorialist. If they can trade CO2 reductions for cash, companies required to reduce sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions as a consequence of the Bush Administration's Clear Skies program can profit simply by complying with other air-quality rules. Any costs of the trading program can be foisted onto consumers and taxpayers.
The approach is worrisome because “the quickest way to bad policy is a co-opted business community.” While exploiting business opportunities is capitalism, the difference here is that “because CO2 isn't even a pollutant, and because no realistic program will even slow global warming, any market for trading CO2 emissions would be entirely unnecessary.” There's nothing capitalist about lobbying the government for a wealth redistribution program (Wall St J 12/13/04).
Carbon has become the first “anti-resource” in the global economy, writes Holman W. Jenkins, Jr. Billions will be spent trying to get rid of it. It's much easier to measure success by CO2 reductions than by effects on the temperature record, which is “one of the flimsier reeds of global warming theory” (Wall St J 11/3/04).
If the real goal were to mitigate the human costs of global warming (assuming it occurred), approaches that would help societies cope with or reduce vulnerabilities to the anticipated problems would be far more cost-effective. While the costs of emissions reductions must be borne immediately, any benefits will be delayed for decades, writes Indur Goklany of the U.S. Dept. of the Interior (Energy & Environ 2003;14:797-722).
“Many exploit the plight of developing countries to advance their own agendas to the detriment of those countries,” writes Goklany. They argue for greenhouse gas reductions to prevent greater problems with malaria and hunger, when money spent on such reductions could alleviate the problems more rapidly and effectively by other means–such as the use of DDT and genetically modified crops.
The “Precautionary Principle,” he argues, needs to be replaced with risk-risk analysis (nature biotechnology, 11/02).
Kyoto “delivers too little too late and costs too much,” he concludes. Kyoto might deliver a 0.05 C temperature decrease (if the U.S. and Australia ratify), according to Dr. Fred Singer. A program with the goal of stabilizing the climate would cost up to $18 trillion, according to Yuri Izrael, chief climatologist in the Russian Academy of Sciences (TWTW, op cit.). Even with the more modest goals of Kyoto, the world is being asked to place a huge economic bet of up to $150 billion per year on the notion of human-caused climate change (Wall St J 2/18/05).
But the global warmers are intent on making the risk of greenhouse warming dwarf the risk of compliance. While extrapolation of observational results would predict only an insignificant warming of 0.5 to 1.0 C, one can come up with a prediction of an 11.5 C increase by “tweaking” a few parameters–thus demonstrating “the extreme sensitivity of model results to arbitrary assumptions by the modelers,” stated Dr. Singer (TWTW 2/5/05, www.sepp.org).
One worst-case scenario after another was presented at a carefully stage-managed conference on “Dangerous Climate Change,” held in Exeter, England, Feb 1-3. The 2007 IPCC report is expected to have a similar tone.
The world has “already reached the level of dangerous concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere,” and must make immediate, “very deep” cuts in the “pollution” if humanity is to “survive,” stated IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri at a recent international conference in Mauritania.
The IPCC, once recognized as an honest broker on scientific information, has “clearly abandoned any pretense of neutrality,” writes Iain Murray.
As the hysteria level rises, so do pressures on the White House to harmonize the crippling of our industry with that of the EU. There is even rumbling about trade sanctions against the U.S., but the worst threat is domestic.
In case the “market” doesn't work, 11 northeastern states are considering the Climate Change Action Plan (CCAP). The first stage would cap emissions at 1990 levels by 2010. The result: a 61 cent per gallon increase in gasoline prices; a 35% increase in electricity cost; a decrease of $2,634 per household in consumption spending; and a loss of nearly 200,000 jobs (NCPA brief analysis #494, 11/18/04).
To the direct costs must be added the costs of monitoring and inspection, not to mention enforcement. One might expect punishment of “fossil fuel” purveyors, although Tony Blair, in the run-up to May elections, is planning more subsidies to big energy producers. But cheating on a massive scale is permitted: it's called emissions trading (TWTW, 2/5/05 and 2/19/05).
There's tens of billions of dollars at stake for research scientists, U.N. bureaucrats, corporations, and other proponents of man-made global warming (Vancouver Sun 1/29/05).
“Polar Bears Increasing.” During the past decade, the Canadian polar bear population has increased from 12,000 to 15,000. In areas where the species is in decline, hunting is blamed, not climate change (Scotsman, 2/7/05).
“Antarctic Icing Up.” According to U.S. government reports, icebreakers had to break up 80 nautical miles instead of the usual 10 to get to McMurdo Station (TWTW 2/12/05).
“Spanish Skyscraper Burns, Doesn't Collapse.” A 31-story skyscraper in Madrid, which lacked firefighting equipment, was gutted as temperatures reached 1,000 C in the worst blaze in the city's history. Spain has resisted the ban on asbestos– which is Greek for “indestructible” (Financial Post 7/5/96).
Students weren't interested. “The point of the award wasn't to say, `Here's the other side, and they're wrong.' It's not even a question any more.”
Read comments by voters at www.flatearthaward.org – unless they have been censored for being on the other side.
Spending 2 years and $5,000 of his own money, McIntyre showed that the method used by climatologist Michael Mann and colleagues generates hockey sticks even from random data.
As pointed out at past DDP meetings by Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas, the graph misses major events like the Little Ice Age and the Medieval Warm Period–which “clearly needed to be erased from history” (Deming, J Sci Explor, June 2005).
Mann published a partial correction and now refuses to release his computer algorithm for further checking.
While admitting that one of the three legs supporting the scientific “consensus” on global warming is “getting a workover,” the AAAS republished the graphs and concluded that the “Millennium's Hottest Decade Retains Its Title, for Now” (Science 2005;307:828).
Diehards such as Mann et al. continue to defend the climate icon on their blog Realclimate.org, which censors all comments before posting them. (Also see McIntyre's blog at ClimateAudit.org). But others are “moving on,” and beginning to downplay the graph: “[I]t is somewhat irrelevant what happened in medieval times” (Nature 2005;4 33:562).
It is no coincidence, writes Michael Crichton, that so many critics of global warming are retired professors with no grants or chairs to worry about.
The IPCC process is “being motivated by preconceived agendas” and is “scientifically unsound,” wrote Chris Landsea of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, as he resigned because of IPCC misstatements on hurricanes. The IPCC leadership had simply dismissed his concerns.
Another past IPCC author, Richard Lindzen of MIT, concluded that there was an “almost insoluble interaction of an iron triangle with an iron rice bowl.” Activists exploit science to get the attention of the news media and politicians, and scientists exploit activists' alarm to get funding.
The American Enterprise Institute concludes that it's time to question the IPCC's near-monopoly status as the source of information for governments. It suggests the competitive approach used by George H.W. Bush as director of the CIA. Team B got the CIA's raw information and came up with a completely independent assessment (AEI Environmental Policy Outlook, January-February 2005).
Instead of instructing them or subsidizing them, he bought a farm and began growing the same crops as they did using the same tools. When his yields were better, the people began to adopt his methods. Then he proceeded more boldly, building a Gober gas plant. This is a like a deep septic tank made of stone, shaped like a cylindrical well. Two large pipes, 1.25 to 1.5 ft in diameter, run to the base of the cylinder at a 60-degree angle. Water buffalo dung is shoveled into the input pipe. As it ferments, methane rises to the top and is trapped by a sealed metal lid with a hole in the center. A rubber hose delivers gas to homes for clean indoor cooking. No more cooking outdoors among the flies with dried dung patties! Out of the exit pipe comes clean compost, free of flies, which helps improve crop yields. A little industry is built around the gas plants, as farmers get credit for bringing dung, and households pay for the gas they use.