First, workmen installed a non-operating wind turbine in front of the posh Hotel Maritim. Ironically, wind power is endangered in Germany because electricity deregulation may deprive it of its subsidies (it is five times more costly than burning hydrocarbons).
Next came the security guards to be sure that all the guests had their identification. Then the UN-FCCC staff. And finally 5,000 delegates, media people, and representatives of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs).
COP-5 was mostly a non-event, reports Fred Singer (The Week That Was, www.sepp.org, 11/6/99). Its main purpose was to set the stage for the crucial COP-6 conference in The Hague, Netherlands, next November.
The biggest news each day was the Fossil of the Day award: ``Wer ist der schlimmste Bremser, wer macht die übelsten Vorschläge zur Sabotage eines wirksamen Klimaschutzes?'' [Who is the worst obstructionist, who made the most evil proposal to sabotage effective climate protection?--Ed.]. Nominees were presented with a briquette of coal by Forum Umwelt und Entwicklung and Climate Action Network (see www.oneworldweb.de/forum/issues/climate/events/cop5-fossil.htm representing the ``international NGO community.''
Nominees included Canada (for introducing nukes to the CDM or Clean Development Mechanism); New Zealand (for increasing greenhouse gas emissions by 30% while having promised to halve them); Saudi Arabia (for blocking various articles); Turkey (for trying to sneak out of Annex 1); Iceland (for requesting exemptions); Britain (for blocking the EU from taking a common position against nuclear power in the CDM); Australia (for seeking to stifle international scrutiny of its reported emissions from land clearing); Bolivia (for trying to include sinks in the CDM); Kuwait (for the worst ministerial speech, which did not even mention climate change and highlighted economic losses to the OPEC states); and the United States (for blocking discussion on the alternatives to CFCs and for ``not educating Saudi Arabia to meaningful participation''). The overall winner, ``for making the greatest political contribution to the destruction of the planet,'' was Saudi Arabia. The U.S. was first runner-up.
So far, only 14 nations have ratified the Kyoto Protocol. Before it is legally binding, it must be adopted by 55 nations encompassing at least 55% of the greenhouse gas emissions from industrialized nations. At present, the Treaty has no chance of being ratified by the U.S. Senate. But proponents take a long-term perspective, noting that it took 10 years for Congress to debate the 1972 Clean Air Act. Already, ``Cool Companies'' are scrambling to adopt business practices that would give them a competitive advantage under a Treaty regime, thus diluting industrial opposition (Wall St J 10/10/99).
A coalition of ``environmental'' organizations has announced an $11 million campaign this fall ``to educate the public about global warming.'' The National Environmental Trust (NET), the Union of Concerned Scientists, and Physicians for Social Responsibility will spend $8 million on television advertising and $3 million on grassroots organizing (TWTW 11/13/99), including a web site with a direct link to legislators www.hotearth.net Major churches are also mounting a campaign to support the Kyoto Treaty (NY Times 8/15/99).
The German Meteorological Society issued a sensible position statement entitled ``Viel Wirbel um den anthropogenen Traubhauseffect: Sind wir schuld am Klimacollaps?'' [Much ado (whirlwind) about the anthropogenic greenhouse effect: are we guilty of causing climate collapse?--Ed.]: ``The real, scientifically challenging debate deals with the question [of the extent to which] the different feedback processes strengthen or diminish the warming from radiative forcing'' (trans. by F. Singer, TWTW 11/6/99). In other words, climate models are full of uncertainties www.spectrum.de .
Scientific discussion, however, is not on the agenda. Indeed, Bill Clinton has decreed that science shall not be debated in activities of the President's Council on Sustainable Development. The multi-billion dollar global warming industry is so entrenched, states Henry Lamb, that ``any evidence which suggests that climate change is a natural phenomenon threatens thousands of jobs and jeopardizes future careers (World Concerns, Sept/Oct 1999, P.O. Box 191, Hollow Rock, TN 38342).
No doubts befuddle the enviros. Bob Herbert writes: ``We can do it. We can keep our heads buried in the increasingly hot sand until we are all crisp as french fries'' (NY Times 8/5/99). NET screams: ``Does your child have asthma? Over the past 10 years, the number of kids with asthma has doubled. Nobody knows the reason for this, but scientists know that high smog levels can trigger attacks. That is why you should be concerned about global warming'' enivonet.policy.net/warming
. In addition to heat ``cooking the smog'' (actually solar radiation, not heat, does that, states Dr. Singer), other dire threats include disease-carrying mosquitoes, ozone holes, sea level rises, warmer ocean temperatures that ``could push the entire salmon species out of the Pacific Ocean in 40 or 50 years,'' the death of frogs and butterflies, etc. The fact that 17,800 American scientists have signed a strong petition disagreeing with the catastrophic global warming hypothesis www.oism.org/pproject is, of course, not mentioned. Neither are some other inconvenient facts:
(1) The U.S., while releasing 1.230 Pg C/yr from hydrocarbon fuels, is actually a net sink for 1.7 Pg C/yr. About 10 to 30% is attributed to land use changes, such as reforestation (Science 1999;285:574-578). The rest is probably due to the fertilizing effect of CO2 on plants. The Kyoto Protocol, by the way, ``rules out credit for indirect sink enhancement from increased growth of plants due to increased atmospheric CO2'' (Nature 1999;401:549-555).
(2) The sun's magnetic flux has more than doubled this century, and its brightness has increased by about 0.1%. Solar activity may be totally responsible for warmer temperatures during this century (see p. 2). The new Axis cannot, of course, control the sun. Like its predecessors, it merely wants to control mankind. Let us remember that those who sow the wind will reap the whirlwind.
The Sun and Global Warming
In 1801, astronomer William Herschel, discoverer of the planet Uranus, hypothesized that times of many sunspots ``may lead us to expect a copious emission of heat and therefore mild seasons,'' while periods of few spots would signal ``spare emission of heat'' and ``severe seasons,'' writes Sallie Baliunas (Wall St J 8/5/99). As Herschel lacked temperature measurements, he suggested the price of wheat as a proxy. Indeed, five prolonged periods of few sunspots were associated with costly wheat. Herschel was ridiculed in his day.
Today's global warming alarmists also may scoff at the idea of the sun's predominant role, but ``the timing of the sun's changes agrees especially well with the timing of the global warming early in the century,'' concludes Dr. Baliunas.
Evidence for an increasingly energetic sun comes from a new analysis of the magnetic field between planets, carried out by scientists at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory near Oxford. A resultant rise in sea water temperatures may account for the increase in atmospheric CO2, which began before the widespread burning of hydrocarbon fuels. (CO2 is less soluble in warmer water.)
``It is essential to check to what extent the facts support [conclusions about the role of the sun] before embarking on drastic, perilous and perhaps misguided plans for global action,'' stated Eugene Parker of the Laboratory for Astrophysics and Space Research, University of Chicago (BBC News, 6/3/99). See: Parker EN, Nature 1999;399:416-417 and Lockwood M et al., Nature 1999;399:437-439.
Chicken or Egg?
The global carbon budget is crucial to an understanding of the role of CO2 in global temperature. Climate modelers generally assume that CO2 is the independent variable from which temperature, the dependent variable, is calculated: in other words, that CO2 drives climate change. In fact, the situation may be the reverse. One piece of evidence is that current year-to-year changes in mean atmospheric CO2 concentration lags behind changes in tropical sea surface temperature by six to eight months (Baliunas S, Soon W, World Climate Report 1999;4(15):6-7).
Although people who die in a heat wave are likely to make the national news, colder winters kill more people than warmer summers, as two recent studies have shown. It is estimated that a 2.5 ?C rise in mean temperature would cut U.S. deaths by about 40,000 per year. Analysis of the death rate following heat spells or periods of unusual cold did not find a drop in the death rate as might have occurred had the severe weather simply accelerated the demise of those who were close to death anyway (Moore TG, World Climate Report 1999;4(14):1- 2).
The slight increase in global temperatures over the past century has been accompanied by (but did not cause) a dramatic fall in mortality rates. For children ages 1 through 14, death rates fell from 870 per 100,000 in 1900 to 38 in 1981. Between between 1960 and 1981, however, the percentage of children under the age of 17 reported to have an activity-limiting chronic condition doubled, increasing from 1.8 to 3.8% [and the percentage continues to rise]. Major increases occurred in asthma, learning disabilities, and other mental and neurologic conditions. Improved survival of children with severe conditions cannot account for the increase. Neither can smog (because air quality improved), nor global warming (because no significant temperature increase occurred). Authors attributed the reported increase to ``shifting perceptions'' (Newacheck PW, et al., AJPH 1986;76:178-184). Some physicians think the increase after two more decades is real, alarming, and unexplained.
As schools present more ``environmental education,'' the students' ability to assess the subject is abysmal. Nine out of 10 Arizona high school students failed the mathematics portion of the AIMS test (Arizona's Instrument for Measuring Standards). About 70% failed the writing test and 40% the reading test (Arizona Daily Star 11/16/99).
``The greatest threat to sustainable energy for the 21st century is the global warming scare,'' writes Robert L. Bradley, Jr., of the Institute for Energy Research in Houston.
Environmentalist assertions to the contrary, the term ``depletable'' is ``not an operative concept for the world oil market.'' Hydrocarbons are increasingly available, despite record consumption, and technology for their use is increasingly clean and efficient. In contrast, Bradley states, ``The 20th century has revealed most alternative and unconventional energy technologies to be `primitive' and `uneconomical'.'' See: Policy Analysis No. 341, 4/22/99, Cato Institute, 1000 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20001.
Global energy rationing proponents stress efficiency as the silver bullet for global warming. Undeterred by the Senate's failure to ratify the Kyoto Treaty, the Clinton Administration has plunged ahead with a $1 billion-per-year program to reduce industrial emissions. The Climate Change Technology Initiative (CCTI) employs an amalgam of tax credits, research and development funds, product labeling and public awareness programs, demonstration projects, subsidies, and regulatory programs. For a detailed analysis, see Taylor J, Policy Analysis No. 356, 10/16/99, Cato Institute. For example, Taylor concludes that CCTI tax credits would reduce energy consumption by only 0.09% and carbon emissions by only 0.17%.
``Treaties are ignored or voided which serve to bind people permanently to conditions which they find
abhorrent, the result of which they could not have foreseen when they affixed their signatures; neither the acts of
others of a dead past, or the agreements of discredited leaders will ever bind a people free to choose when disaster
is the alternative. Further, no agreement imposed by force can be perpetually effective-unless the relative strength
of the adversaries remains unchanged throughout the succeeding years. The conclusion can safely be defended that
no international agreement will remain in effect, except by force or the threat to use force, unless the terms of the
agreement remain mutually beneficial to its signatories.''