September 2004 (vol. 20, #6)
1601 N Tucson Blvd #9, Tucson AZ 85716
c 2004 Physicians for Civil Defense
It's all about our “collective future” and the “management of shared resources,” explains Science editor H. Jesse Smith (Science 2003;302:1171). Our “general well-being” is imperiled by what we do in the “headlong rush toward greater prosperity”–and by increased global population. Highlighted in the State of the Planet series is Modern Global Climate Change, “undoubtedly one of the most pressing issues of our time.”
To build grassroots pressure for governmental action on climate change, even scientifically illiterate propaganda will do: “Advocates of responsible behavior must seize every opportunity to get their message across, such as the forthcoming ice-age blockbuster The Day After Tomorrow,” editorializes Nature.
The film's website is supposed to show how to “offset the carbon impact of your climatologically reckless lifestyle” (Nature 2004;429:1). The site www.thedayaftertomorrow.com, at least in the German language version, allows one to click on various global locations for a visual rendition of a catastrophe, such as fish raining from the sky in Britain.
Al Gore stated: “I hope this movie will provide many opportunities for in-depth conversations about what this issue is really all about” (CNSnews.com 5/12/04). No surprise there. The shocking thing is that Nature outdid him:
Nature reported that more than 30 million people have seen the film, the fifth most successful of the year, and summarized two unpublished studies. In Germany, the film was “counterproductive” in that the level of conviction about global warming dropped after people saw the film. “The seemingly unlikely connection between `global warming' and `cold' may have seeded disbelief among the audience.” In the U.S., a study funded by the National Science Foundation showed that half the viewers became “somewhat or much more worried” about global warming–and slightly more likely to vote for Kerry.
“Europeans are light-years ahead in accepting that climate change is a real phenomenon,” possibly accounting for the different responses (Nature 2004;431:4). The perceptions of the U.S. public are “warped” by “something more pervasive than an occasional Hollywood movie”: the journalistic practice of telling both sides of the story. Nearly 53% of U.S. newspaper articles give “roughly equal attention” to the view that climate change results from natural causes rather than human activity.
Might it be “roughly” balanced to concede that “gaps in understanding are enormous” while saying that ice and water in Greenland are “in a profound state of flux”? This could, Andrew Revkin reports, result in widespread coastal flooding, albeit probably not as “rapid or cataclysmic as portrayed in the new movie The Day After Tomorrow” (NY Times 6/8/04).
The September 2004 issue of National Geographic mentions the existence of doubters, but asserts with confidence that human activity is causing the “planet-wide fever.” According to Daniel Fagre of the U.S. Geological Survey Global Change Research Program, “things that normally happen in geologic time are happening during the span of a human lifetime....It's like watching the Statue of Liberty melt.”
The harrowing picture includes melting permafrost and forest fires in Alaska, flooding of coastal areas, drought in former marshes, a bleached coral “necropolis,” loss of sea ice, and displaced species. And a Deep Freeze could someday result from “flipping a global switch” by shutting down the thermo-haline ocean circulation, the world's “conveyor belt.”
It “would take 40 successful Kyotos to stop the change,” said Jerry Mahlman of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, “but we've got to do it.” Simon Tett of the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction stated that the change couldn't be stopped. “We'd need to get to zero emissions to stabilize the CO2 that's already in the atmosphere” (ibid.).
However, “no openly democratic and informed political system can coerce its citizens to reduce energy use...without much better evidence that climate change will be harmful.” Moreover, “no democratic system can hold developing countries back from economic progress and using whatever energy they require.” The fact is that the U.S. produces 0.2 tons of CO2 per $1 billion GDP; China, 0.7 tons; and India, 0.5 tons (AEI Environ Policy Outlook July/Aug 2004).
“No nation will mortgage its growth and prosperity to cut greenhouse emissions,” stated Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham (Business Week 8/16/04). The Bush Administration is calling for voluntary reductions in CO2, the development of a hydrogen economy, technologic innovation, and carbon sequestration (S. Abraham, Science 2004;305:616-617).
Teresa Heinz Kerry promised in a speech at the Democratic National Convention that “global climate change and other threats to the health of our planet will begin to be reversed” under a Kerry regime, which would reject “thoughtless and greedy choices” (TWTW 8/7/04, www.sepp.org).
A market, of sorts, is developing, as big corporations position themselves to profit from trading emissions rights. Complex legal issues are emerging: “If an oak eats CO2 in a forest, who gets emissions rights?” (Wall St J 12/10/03). AEP would have to plant an area the size of Ohio to offset one power plant. Most experts believe that mandatory curbs are required. In a “carbon-constrained world,” one would have to buy the “right to emit carbon.”
The first industry targeted is electric power generation. Kerry wants to increase from 2% to 20% the power from “renewables” (not counting hydroelectric). Then there's transportation, and even computer chip manufacture.
As Science recognizes, both prosperity and population add CO2 to the atmosphere. The right to emit carbon is the right to use “shared resources”–and even to live. Constraining carbon requires a totalitarian global bureaucracy to minutely regulate “greedy choices.” Is that the ultimate radical agenda?
Revkin warns in The New York Times that a “big outflow of water from Greenland could take the system to a tipping point.” Professor Carl Wunsch of MIT assures European readers of Nature that the only way to stop the Gulf Stream is to turn off the wind system or stop the rotation of the globe. But are the world's coastal areas threatened by an irreversible melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet? Willie Soon notes that the Ice Sheet has been stable for a very long time, under conditions much more severe than the UN global warming scenarios (TechCentralStation 6/10/2004). Reviewing a number of recent studies of the polar ice sheets, the Idsos conclude that we do not know whether the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets are currently in balance, or whether their volume has increased or decreased over the past 100 years. Wild and Ohmura of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology concluded that the sea level change from a doubling of atmospheric CO2 would be close to zero or represent a fall of 0.6 mm per year. Much more data is needed (www.co2science.org).
As stated by global warmers, the latter part of the 20th century featured “some of the warmest summers in the 200-year interval.” And the same could be said for two periods in the mid 1800s. Studies of permafrost degradation, by aerial photography, radioisotope studies, and tree-ring analyses, show that nearly all has occurred since 1750, and 83% prior to 1949 (www.co2science.org). According to the Alaskan Climate Research Center, the mean temperature rose about 2.4 F (about 0.4 C per decade) between 1971 and 2000, with the entire increase occurring in one jump in 1976-77, probably owing to a circulation realignment in the Pacific Ocean (Ross McKitrick, Financial Post Canada 4/16/03).
It is true that coral bleaching and death can be triggered by anomalously high water temperatures (as during El Niño). It can also occur from low temperature, rapid temperature change in either direction, or temperature-solar irradiation stress synergism. Long drill cores have established that the Great Barrier Reef in Australia has reconstituted itself repeatedly, even after transitions from interglacial periods to ice ages and back, in spite of long periods of global temperatures more than 2 C warmer than at present (www.co2science.org).
As soon as one climate scare blows over, another is sure to take its place. The best internet sources for scientific reviews include: Craig, Keith, and Sherwood Idso (www.co2science.org); Steve Milloy (www.junkscience.com); S. Fred Singer (www.sepp.org); and techcentralstation.com.
Professor James Lovelock, celebrated author of the Gaia hypothesis, has shocked fellow radicals by saying that only a massive expansion of nuclear power can save civilization from global warming (Independent 5/24/04). Greenpeace UK executive director Stephen Tindale, however, denied that nuclear energy was any part of the answer.
The French, writes Zachariah Allen, “pushed Kyoto thinking that the only real way to reduce CO2 emissions, globally, was a massive shift to nuclear power.” They thought they could corner the field because the U.S. and U.K. have removed themselves from the business of designing and building nuclear power plants. To harvest huge emissions credits for France, they bought up inefficient coal-fired plants in Eastern Europe (TWTW 3/20/04, www.sepp.org).
Prince Charles, calling windmills a “horrendous blot on the landscape,” says they must be stopped before they irreparably ruin Britain's most beautiful countryside. But all but one of the U.K.'s nuclear generating stations are slated to close in the next 20 years, and wind is the only renewable energy source with even the theoretical capability of meeting government targets.
Der Spiegel says that Germany's aim to be the “Wind Power World Power” means the “highly subsidized destruction of the landscape.” Rich Germans get huge tax breaks for investing in wind farms. Electricity suppliers are forced to buy wind power in what represents a return of the planned economy in the form of “Green Stalinism.” And for every megawatt of wind power, the system needs 800-900 kilowatts of reserve power.
West Virginian Reps. Mollohan and Rahall are asking the GAO to examine the effect of federally subsidized windmills on their state's environment. Thousands of the “monstrosities” on every ridge destroy the scenery and threaten hundreds of species of migratory birds that fly over this major avian highway (Environ Climate News 9/04).
Physicians for Civil Defense has distributed more than 100 NukAlerts to citizens who are monitoring their communities for radiation hazards. We are told that the Tucson Police Department has now ordered 300 of the devices.
Steve Jones writes: “The thrill of having a NukAlert on my keychain has not worn off. It is reassuring to hear it ticking, and the occasional chirp during a temperature change lets me know it's always working.” He wants citizens not only to carry the devices but to evangelize for them. All policemen, truckers, firemen, and essential workers should have one.
Shane Connor's community program makes it possible to buy NukAlerts in quantity at an affordable price. His website www.NukAlert.com also offers other instruments, from refurbished civil defense meters to free plans for Kearny Fallout Meters.
PCD will continue to distribute meters as we can afford to acquire more.
“...The BBC has moved into...the `hysterical subjunctive'....But ...the crescendo of howls should perhaps give...hope rather than plunge us into despair....The volume of the hype has always increased markedly when the `global warming' faithful feel that they are losing control....” (Philip Stott, EnviroSpin Watch 8/2/04).