Saturday, December 31, 2005

Europe frozen in its tracks

if hot summers prove global warming, I guess this proves global cooling:

Europe shivered yesterday in the grip of an icy cold snap, with France hit hardest by blizzards that have cut rail and road links and left thousands of motorists stranded in subzero temperatures. Snowstorms caused hundreds of train cancellations in Britain and flight disruptions in Germany, Sweden and Portugal, and brought road chaos to Italy, Austria and the Czech Republic.

Worst hit was northeastern France, where 5,000 to 10,000 people spent a chilly night behind the wheel after traffic ground to a halt on a stretch of road between the towns of Toul and Nancy, regional authorities said. Emergency services were called in to provide them with food and drink for the night, and nearby sports centers and town halls were turned into makeshift shelters. Traffic gradually resumed yesterday, although it was hampered by ice and snow.

Below-freezing conditions have gripped northern Europe for several days, with nighttime temperatures falling as low as 5 degrees in places. Snowfall in the eastern half of England forced hundreds of trains to be canceled, spelling hassle for Britons traveling to work on the first day after the Christmas break. Sports fixtures were disrupted with several soccer matches and horse races called off, and forecasters predicted that up to 10 inches of snow could fall in eastern Scotland and northeastern England overnight.

In Germany, flights were delayed by up to 30 minutes out of the Frankfurt and Stuttgart airports, as the country was blanketed almost entirely in white, with more heavy snowfall expected in the coming days.

Sweden is accustomed to seasonal temperatures well below freezing, but Sturup airport in the southern city of Malmo was closed for several hours because of snow on the runways, forcing flights to be diverted to Copenhagen. More blizzards and strong winds were expected overnight in both Sweden and Denmark.

In the Czech Republic, the highway linking Prague to the country's second-largest city, Brno, was closed for several hours yesterday morning after a collision involving four trucks in thick snow.


Environmentalists wreck small businesses--and do ecological damage while they're at it

My friend Jim Hurst auctioned his sawmill in August. Jim's decision to pack it in after 25 years of beating his head on the wall made big news here in northwest Montana but, alas, not a peep from this newspaper or the New York Times. That's too bad, because the loss of our family-owned mills also signals the loss of technologies and skills vital to our efforts to protect the West's great national forests from the ravages of increasingly fearsome wildfires.

I was in Jim's office a few days before the auction. He told me he was at peace with his decision, but Jim has a good game face, so I suspect the decision to terminate his remaining 70 employees tore his guts out. They were like family to him. Jim's outfit was the economic backbone of tiny Eureka, Mont., a sawmill town since the early 1900s. I have a photo of my schoolteacher great-aunt standing on the front steps of the town's one-room schoolhouse in 1909. Although the town has grown some since then, its rural charm is still very much intact.

Thanks to the nation's housing boom, business has been good for the West's sawmills for the past three years. But Jim faced an insurmountable problem: He couldn't buy enough logs to keep his mill running. This despite the fact that 10 times as many trees as Jim's mill needed die annually on the nearby Kootenai National Forest. From his office window, Jim could see the dead and dying standing on hillsides just west of the mill. They might as well have been standing on the moon, given the senseless environmental litigation that has engulfed the West's federal forests.

Thanks to Jim's resourcefulness, his mill survived its last five years on a steady diet of fire- and bug-killed trees salvaged from Alberta provincial forests. Such salvage work is unthinkable in our national forests, forests that, news reports to the contrary, remain under the thumb of radical environmental groups whose hatred for capitalism seems boundless. Americans are thus invited to believe that salvaging fire-killed timber is "like mugging a burn victim." Never mind that there is no peer-reviewed science that supports this ridiculous claim--or that many of the West's great forests, including Oregon's famed Tillamook Forest, are products of past salvage and reforestation projects.

Jim shared his good fortune with his employees. Each received an average $30,000 in severance and profit sharing: a tip of the hat from him to a crew that set a production record the day after he told them he was throwing in the towel. Such is the professionalism--and talent--found among the West's mill workers. A few Oregon mills tried to recruit them, but most don't want to leave Eureka. I haven't the faintest idea how they'll make a living, but in the 40-odd years I've spent observing forests and people who live in them, I've learned never to underestimate the power of roots.

Although he's still a young man filled with creative energy and enthusiasm, I suspect the government has seen the last of Jim Hurst. Three years ago, I called nearly 100 sawmill owners scattered across the West and asked them if they would invest $40 million in a new small-log sawmill on the government's promise of a timber supply sufficient to amortize the investment. The verdict was a unanimous "No."

The never-reported truth is that the family-owned sawmills that survived the decade-long collapse of the federal timber sale program no longer have much interest in doing business with a government they no longer trust. Most now get their timber from lands they've purchased in recent years, other private lands, tribal forests or state lands. Some even import logs from other countries, including Canada, New Zealand and Chile.

You would think environmentalists who campaigned against harvesting in the West's national forests for 30-some years would be dancing in the streets. And, in fact, some of them are. But many aren't. Railing against giant faceless corporations is easy, but facing the news cameras after small family-owned mills fold has turned out to be very difficult. Everyone loves the underdog, and across much of the West there is a gnawing sense that environmentalists have hurt a lot of underdogs in their lust for power.

Environmentalists also face a problem they never anticipated. Recent polling reveals some 80% percent of Americans approve of the kind of methodical thinning that would have produced small diameter logs in perpetuity for Jim's sawmill. We Americans seem to like thinning in overly dense forests because the end result is visually pleasing, and because it helps reduce the risk of horrific wildfire--a bonus for wildlife and millions of year-round recreation enthusiasts who worship clean air and water.

Many Westerners wonder why the government isn't doing more thinning in at-risk forests that are at the epicenter of our Internet-linked New West lifestyle. I don't. Until the public takes back the enormous power it has given radical environmentalists and their lawyers, the Jim Hursts of the world will continue to exit the stage, taking their hard-earned capital, their well-developed global markets and their technological genius with them.

Fifteen years ago, not long after the release of "Playing God in Yellowstone," his seminal work on environmentalism's philosophical underpinnings, I asked philosopher and environmentalist Alston Chase what he thought about this situation. I leave you to ponder his answer: "Environmentalism increasingly reflects urban perspectives. As people move to cities, they become infatuated with fantasies about land untouched by humans. This demographic shift is revealed through ongoing debates about endangered species, grazing, water rights, private property, mining and logging. And it is partly a healthy trend. But this urbanization of environmental values also signals the loss of a rural way of life and the disappearance of hands-on experience with nature. So the irony: As popular concern for preservation increases, public understanding about how to achieve it declines."



The same environmental groups that lobby and sue the government over protecting air, water and human health also are collecting federal grant money for research and technical work, documents show. More than 2,200 nonprofit groups have received grants from the Environmental Protection Agency over the past decade, including some of the Bush administration's toughest critics on environmental policy. "It may be confusing to the public that with the right hand we're accepting government money and with the left hand sometimes we're beating up the government," said Charles Miller, communications director for Environmental Defense. The group has received more than $1.8 million from the EPA since 1995. "But the government is a complicated beast. Some of the things they're doing we think are wrong. A lot of the things they're doing we think are right. We're using the grant money to further the environmental cause," Miller said.

One recipient, the Natural Resources Defense Council, recently was cited by auditors for failing to properly document more than one-third of the $3.3 million it received in three EPA grants. The group used the money to conduct research and education on storm water pollution, and to develop and encourage energy-efficient technology, according to the EPA's inspector general, the agency's internal watchdog. The council acknowledges record-keeping errors dealing with benefits, timesheets and indirect costs. It cited in part erroneous direction from the EPA about what was required. "We're not running away from that and that's why we've offered to pay back the money," amounting to some $75,000, once the documentation was corrected, said the council's lawyer, Mitch Bernard. He noted there was no criticism of NRDC's research. The case is not finalized.

Groups such as the council, with their stables of scientists and extensive monitoring of environmental policy, often are seen as helping shape opinion on important issues. Asked about potential conflicts between their watchdog role and their financial connections to EPA, the groups say grants for specific technical, research and education projects do not interfere with their advocacy, which they conduct with separate funds.

Others see such grants posing at least an appearance problem. "It raises the specter of a conflict of interest. It's an ethical question," said Roberta Baskin, executive director for the nonprofit Center for Public Integrity, an investigative organization that accepts no government, union or corporate money. "They're supposed to be watchdogs. Does it make you a lap dog if they're funding you? Is your loyalty to - the environment _or is it to the bottom line?" Baskin said.

The grants have drawn fire in recent years from conservatives, including Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee. Last year, he said environmental groups were "simply Democrat political machines."

The EPA does not turn away grantees because of their criticism or lawsuits, spokesman Bob Zachariasiewicz said. A new policy requires competitive bidding for any grant over $15,000 and the money cannot be spent on lobbying, political or litigation work.

NRDC spokesman Jon Coifman said there has been no dilemma for his $65 million a year organization whose government grants were less than 1 percent of its budget. He said that is "far too small to have any effect one way or the other on NRDC's broader policy decisions." The council has sued the EPA 35 times the past two years, he said. "We don't feel that we've given up an inch of our integrity on this," Coifman said.

Other recipients made the same point, but acknowledged potential perception problems. "It's a legitimate question," said Ben McNitt, spokesman for the National Wildlife Federation, recipient of $292,620 from the EPA. He said government grants in 2004 accounted for less than 1 percent of the federation's annual revenues, and the group's suits and vigorous criticism of EPA policies on wetlands, mercury emissions and other issues prove it is not co-opted.

The Pesticide Action Network, which advocates for reduced pesticide use, received a $97,000 grant to develop online information on pesticide use and water pollution, co-director Steve Scholl-Buckwald said. "In every case we're asking the question: Is this money allowing us to do something we want to do and it or is it something someone else wants us to do?"

The EPA conducts about half of its work, or $4.3 billion in 2004, through grants, mostly to state, local and tribal governments. Nonprofit groups account for about 7 percent of the total. Besides the environmental groups, many recipients are agriculture and industry allies with keen interest in EPA regulatory policies, along with academic, civic and other groups that advocate on health, the elderly and consumer issues. Overall, the inspector general has cited grant oversight as an EPA weakness. In a September report, it said the EPA has improved but still needs to pursue greater accountability from project managers. Zachariasiewicz said that process is ongoing through new performance measurements.



Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

Comments? Email me here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Friday, December 30, 2005


By its own admission, Russia's electricity monopoly is the world's largest corporate producer of greenhouse gases, accounting - by itself - for nearly as much carbon dioxide as is emitted by Britain. From smokestacks across Russia's 11 time zones, the company, Unified Energy Systems, spews out 2 percent of all human-generated carbon dioxide accumulating in the atmosphere. What will the utility get for being the world's largest greenhouse gas polluter? It is hoping for $1 billion.

It is one of the paradoxes ["paradoxes"? "idiocies" would be a franker term] of the Kyoto Protocol on climate change that companies in Russia and other Eastern European countries, which are among the world's largest producers of greenhouse gases, are poised to earn hundreds of millions of dollars through trading their rights to release carbon dioxide into the air.

The Kyoto treaty, negotiated in 1997 and adopted by 36 industrial nations, established a mechanism aimed at finding the cheapest way to curb emissions of gases that contribute to global warming. The idea was that countries that produced more than their treaty-imposed limits could reach their goals by buying rights from producers in other countries where controlling output is easier and less expensive.

It is not clear how successful that approach will turn out to be. But because Russia's companies operate such outdated and inefficient equipment, they can easily and cheaply upgrade. As a result, the Kyoto process has already emerged as a potential source of earnings for the country's big energy and manufacturing companies, according to company executives and analysts. They have hired consultants, inventoried pollution sources to earn credits, and opened carbon-trading divisions. Unified Energy and Gazprom, Russia's natural gas monopoly, which together release more than 50 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in Russia, both have such trading units. "We're intensely interested in the carbon-trading market," [Something for nothing!] Andrey V. Gorkov, the head of the carbon-trading division at Unified Energy, said earlier this month in Montreal, where he was attending the United Nations climate conference. Member countries formally approved emissions-trading rules at the meeting.

The protocol requires the 36 industrial nations - with varying targets - to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases below their 1990 levels, in the five years from 2008 to 2012. For the European Union, the target is to reduce emissions to 8 percent below 1990 levels. In an indication of how robust the demand for emissions credits may be, this year the European Union is 6 percent above its 1990 levels. The United States, which generates a fifth of greenhouse gases but has not joined the Kyoto Protocol, is 19 percent above its theoretical limits.

Russia, in contrast, suffered an economic collapse in the 1990's, and is 43 percent below its 1990 baseline in the Kyoto agreement. In fact, Russia does not expect to reach 1990's emissions levels until around 2020 - attesting to the severity of the economic setback from which it is still recovering. At the same time, Russian industry is generally wasteful with energy, so that a few cheap upgrades go a long way to reducing emissions. Thus, with both outdated equipment and a surplus of carbon emissions, Russian companies have become attractive to European, Canadian and Japanese companies that need emissions credits.

The pace is increasing at Mr. Gorkov's cluttered office in Unified Energy headquarters, a drab concrete building on the outskirts of Moscow. Analysts give credit to the company's forward-looking chief executive, Anatoly B. Chubais, for recognizing the potential for profits under Kyoto. Mr. Chubais, a former deputy prime minister, had helped negotiate the pact while in government.

Mr. Gorkov's 16 employees at the division, which is called the Energy Carbon Fund, scan the Internet for companies or countries in need of carbon dioxide emissions credits. They also study their own company to identify areas where they can reduce pollution. The company signed its first deal in June, with the environmental protection agency of Denmark. Denmark will pay an undisclosed sum for Unified Energy to replace coal-fired boilers at the Amurskaya power plant in Khabarovsk, near China in eastern Siberia, so that units will burn more efficient natural gas. It will also pay to upgrade an existing natural gas plant in the Orenburg region, in southern Russia near Kazakhstan, with a more efficient model. The conversion to gas at the Amurskaya plant will cut carbon dioxide emissions by a million tons a year, according to Unified Energy. The upgrading of the natural gas generator at the Mednogorskaya power plant in Orenburg will save 210,000 tons.

Under the deal, the Danish government will receive 1.2 million carbon credits (one carbon credit being equal to reducing one ton of carbon dioxide), to be applied toward meeting its emissions goal in 2012.

More here


Exactly the opposite "bomb" to the one the Greenies envisaged

The Russian economy is set to lose over $390 billion in the next two decades if the government, business and society do not take immediate action to reverse the demographic catastrophe already looming, a business lobby group said in a report Wednesday. Businesses are already struggling with a shortage in the work force as the country's falling birth rate and climbing mortality rate make the Russian population one of the world's most rapidly shrinking, Delovaya Rossia, a lobby group for small and medium-sized businesses, said. "Finding workers is getting more and more difficult for business," Boris Titov, chairman of Delovaya Rossia, said at a round table on demographic problems.

The Russian population has dropped by 10.4 million people over the last 14 years to 143.4 million, and the country is set to lose another 21.4 million by 2025. The economically active population will shrink by 3.6 million in the next five years alone if the demographic crisis is not tackled, the report said. The increasing economic and social marginalization of the male population and the widening gap in life expectancy between men and women risks turning Russia into a female-dominated country, the report said.

The lobby group slammed the government for its lack of a demographic policy, warning that the state could lose $390.8 billion in gross domestic product by 2025. Demographic policy "is not even part of the priority programs proclaimed by the state," Titov said.

More here

More guesswork: "Climate change could thaw the top 11 feet of permafrost in most areas of the Northern Hemisphere by 2100, altering ecosystems across Alaska, Canada and Russia, according to a federal study [and pigs might fly]. Using supercomputers in the United States and Japan, the study calculated how frozen soil would interact with air temperatures, snow, sea ice changes and other processes. The most extreme scenario involved the melting of the top 11 feet of permafrost, or earth that remains frozen year-round. 'If that much near-surface permafrost thaws, it could release considerable amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, and that could amplify global warming,' said lead author David Lawrence of the National Center for Atmospheric Research. 'We could be underestimating the rate of global temperature increase.'"


Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

Comments? Email me here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Thursday, December 29, 2005


From "The Times" of December 28th

Traffic chaos is expected today as millions of people struggle back to work in treacherous road conditions after the Christmas break. With many areas of the South East and Eastern England blanketed in up to 15cm (6in) of snow, heavy snowfalls are forecast again today and tomorrow. Motorists were warned by police not to travel “unless absolutely necessary” as strong northeasterly winds continue to bring in snow and icy conditions from Eastern Europe and western Russia....

Heavy snow across the South East closed main roads into Dover last night. The A20 and the A2 were among routes into the town closed after “heavy snow flurries”. The M20 remained open, but was down to one lane in places and a 50mph speed limit was imposed. Eurotunnel travellers who braved the roads to reach the terminal at Folkestone were frustrated when services were suspended at 6.45pm. A spokesman said snow-covered loading ramps had become too dangerous for cars to board the waiting trains. “It is absolute chaos,” said Graham Morse, 65, who was delayed for five hours on his way home to Switzerland. “There is no information and thousands of people are here and just don’t know what to do. There are just a couple of inches of snow outside and everything has ground to a halt, even though everyone knew this snow was on its way.”

Snowploughs were being brought from France through the tunnel to help the clearing effort and services were restored at 8pm, although the backlog of passengers was likely to take all night to clear. Hundreds of gritters and snowploughs were working round the clock to clear motorways and major roads, but drivers were being urged to be cautious in the conditions, which are expected to last until Friday. A Highways Agency spokesman said: “Drivers are advised to keep checking the forecast before they set out and during their journey. If conditions deteriorate, then delay your journey if you can until the weather improves.”

Motorists in the South East face an additional difficulty finding fuel as many petrol stations have run dry because of the fire at Buncefield oil terminal in Hertfordshire, which has disrupted supplies. Across East Anglia and Cambridgeshire, there were no reports of major accidents as many people stayed off the roads and council gritting lorries managed to keep routes passable.


The RAC advises motorists to stick to major routes and to inform someone of departure time, route, destination and estimated time of arrival

An ice scraper, de-icer, a torch, a first-aid kit, jump leads, a tow rope, a spade and a fully charged mobile phone are also essential

Take some high energy food, such as chocolate or boiled sweets, and a flask of soup

Take a blanket, waterproof clothing and sensible footwear

Do as I say, not as I do: Europe sets poor example on Kyoto

After repeatedly posing as global exemplars in the fight against global warming, the European Union's member-states need to take a long, hard look at the cold figures. According to a new study, 10 of the EU's 15 signatories to the Kyoto agreement are on course to miss their target to reduce greenhouse gases by five per cent of their 1990 figure by 2008-2012. Indeed, the Institute of Public Policy Research says that Britain is almost alone in Europe in making progress towards fulfilling its Kyoto commitments.

Indeed, looking at the wider world, Britain's performance – achieved largely through the contraction of the coal industry – stands out even more. Canada, for example, which played host to a major international climate-change conference in Montreal earlier this month, says it remains fully committed to its Kyoto obligations. However, by the end of 2003, its emissions were up 24.2 per cent on 1990 levels.

Meanwhile, since 2001, a period in which greenhouse-gas emissions across the EU have increased, those from the United States have fallen by almost one per cent. America may still be one of the world's worst polluters, but it is increasingly clear that those who seek to demonise Washington as the saboteur of Kyoto are hardly leading by example. Yet there has been as much hot air emitted by these countries' politicians, in their exhortations to the world to take action, as by their pollution-belching industries.

Kyoto was never meant to be an excuse for the self-righteous among nations to preen themselves on the global stage while doing nothing concrete to meet their own grandiose pledges. Yet, as the date nears by which action is supposed to have been taken, it is increasingly clear that this is the case. If Europe and Canada cannot back up their fine words with deeds, how can they ever hope to persuade the US of the worthiness of Kyoto? More to the point, how can they have any impact on China and the rapidly industrialising nations of Asia, whose projected emissions levels are likely to make the sacrifices made by countries such as Britain completely irrelevant?


Ditch Kyoto

Do you think manmade global warming threatens the planet? Or it's little more than an environmentalist sham? Either way it's time to realize the celebrated Kyoto Protocol -- long touted by the greens as essential to preventing ecological disaster -- isn't just dying, it's decomposing. It's time for something new.

The Kyoto Protocol was a 1997 pact to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, or otherwise reduce these gases in the atmosphere. Environmentalists and many scientists say gas-induced warming is already causing a cornucopia of ills including -- most recently -- polar bears drowning because of melting Arctic ice. More than 150 nations have now ratified the treaty, but the United States became a pariah for refusing to do so as did President Bush by abandoning it altogether.

Turns out, though, there's little distinction between those who ratified and those who didn't. Of the original 15 European Union ratifiers of Kyoto, at best four are on course to meet the treaty's target of an 8 percent reduction in greenhouse emissions by 2008-2012 from the 1990 base-year level. "The truth is, no country is going to cut its growth or consumption substantially in the light of a long-term environmental problem," British Prime Minister Tony Blair admitted in September.

But this becomes less disappointing once you learn Kyoto's dirty little secret. Even supporters concede that if all countries complied the warming prevented by 2100 would be at most 0.2 degrees Fahrenheit, except that 0.2 degrees is unmeasurable. Certainly it won't save a single polar bear. Kyoto's real purpose was to lead to stricter standards later, such as at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Montreal this month. But conferees were forced to go home with little more than an agreement to negotiate some more, for essentially the reason Mr. Blair gave. It's silly to plan a Mars landing when your rocket can't get off the launching pad.

Of course, Europe could continue setting goals and failing to meet them; but the European Union is becoming irrelevant anyway. "By 2010, the net reduction in global emissions from Europe meeting the Kyoto Protocol will be only 0.1 percent," said Margo Thorning, senior vice president for the free-market American Council for Capital Formation, in recent congressional testimony. That's "because all the growth is coming in places like India, China and Brazil."

And bizarrely, while these countries have ratified the treaty they are exempt from its requirements because until fairly recently they weren't major greenhouse gas producers. "We need to focus on things like the [Asia Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate], which are driven by long-term strategies to reduce emissions and boost growth," says Ms. Thorning. This is a U.S.-signed pact allowing participants to set goals for reducing emissions individually, but with no enforcement mechanism.

Eileen Claussen, president of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change and a Clinton administration climate negotiator, says it can't work. "If you really want results, you have to do something that's mandatory," she told reporters. Right. That's why those 11 EU nations are falling out of compliance. That's also why Kyoto signatory Canada produces 24 percent more carbon dioxide than in 1990 while the U.S. produces only 13 percent more. None of this prevented Canada's Prime Minister Paul Martin from emitting a noxious gaseous emission accusing his southern neighbor of lacking "a global conscience." Ultimately Kyoto has no more "teeth" than any voluntary agreement -- yet another explanation for why it's violated willy-nilly. "It is not that we should take these targets too literally,"as Italy's economic minister put it.

So if nations refuse to agree to real sanctions, we must offer them constructive approaches that emphasize maximum gain with minimum pain. That's the purpose of the first meeting of the Asia Pacific Partnership in January, at which innovation and technology will take center stage rather than top-down governmental controls. The conference should call for ramped-up production of nuclear power plants that produce no air emissions except steam. It will also probably advocate carbon sequestration, various artificial and natural processes for removing carbon from the biosphere.

But Kyoto? Ah, we hardly knew ye. Not that the effort's been a total waste. It's taught us massive international undertakings require just a bit more than making sanctimonious speeches and signing a sheet of paper.



Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

Comments? Email me here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Wednesday, December 28, 2005

God and Man in the Environmental Debate

I recently received a letter from a leading botanist at a prominent scientific institution. The letter was mostly agreeable and even complimentary. But near the end, when humanity became the subject, its tone darkened. The scientist said he disagreed with me that human beings were part of the plan, as it were. On the contrary, he complained about "the devastation humans are currently imposing upon our planet":

Still, adding over seventy million new humans to the planet each year, the future looks pretty bleak to me. Surely, the Black Death was one of the best things that ever happened to Europe: elevating the worth of human labor, reducing environmental degradation, and, rather promptly, producing the Renaissance. From where I sit, Planet Earth could use another major human pandemic, and pronto!

Based on his public writings, I would expect this scientist to be personable and humane. Nevertheless, in his private correspondence, he casually wishes for the deaths of many millions of his fellow human beings. If he were merely offering an eccentric, private opinion, I wouldn't be writing about it. Unfortunately, his desire is all too common among some self-described "environmentalists." Our wellbeing, on this view, doesn't really enter into the calculation. We are, at best, an accident of cosmic history, and at worst, despoilers and destroyers. Adding more humans to the planet, then, is as bad as adding more parasites to an already ailing host.

Again, this would be merely academic, except that such ideas have real world consequences. Every environmental policy implemented by government authority, for instance, stems from someone's views about the nature of man and man's place in nature. If those views are anti-human, the policy probably will be anti-human as well. Consider the ban on DDT in the 1970s. The ban, which in hindsight we know was misguided, has resulted in the deaths of more than a million people a year. The vast majority of these deaths have been among the poor in developing countries.

Because environmental policies perpetuate certain notions about the human person, and because these notions have real world consequences, Christians have little choice but to engage the debate over the environment. In particular, we should strongly challenge the misanthropic strain in the modern environmental movement. Human beings aren't an accident. We are an intended part of God's good creation. And while God called everything he created "good," he only called human beings, whom He created in his own image, "very good."

That doesn't mean God has given us a free pass to do whatever we want. On the contrary, the Bible tells us that the Earth is the Lord's, and we are its stewards. We have a delegated responsibility over the Earth, for which we will be held accountable. And Scripture is hardly Pollyannaish about fallen humanity's destructive tendencies. So we should not be surprised to find that we sometimes abuse our stewardship over nature.

These truths provide a solid theological foundation for addressing environmental concerns while avoiding an anti-human bias. Unfortunately, these truths do not figure prominently in the contemporary debate. In fact, it's more fashionable to argue-incorrectly-that the Judeo-Christian tradition is the problem, not the solution. Even some Christians who have entered the fray have not been careful to separate the empirical evidence from the doubtful assumptions.

An organization called the Interfaith Stewardship Alliance has been launched to help Jews and Christians develop a positive environmental ethic that avoids such pitfalls. Announced this fall at a press conference at the Ugandan embassy in Washington D.C., the ISA is a coalition of individuals and institutions-including the Acton Institute-who share an interest in environmental stewardship. The ISA will focus on issues such as global warming, population, poverty, food, energy, clean water, endangered species, and habitats.

The ISA draws its inspiration from the Cornwall Declaration, published by the Acton Institute in 2000. As theologian Calvin Beisner explains, the Cornwall Declaration describes human beings not merely as consumers and polluters but also as producers and stewards. It challenges the popular assumption that "nature knows best," or that "the earth, untouched by human hands is the ideal." And it calls for thoughtful people to distinguish environmental concerns that "are well founded and serious," from others that "are without foundation or greatly exaggerated." In other words, it calls for a reasoned, humane environmental ethic. At a time when mistaken policies based on anti-human assumptions can lead to the deaths of millions of people, such an ethic cannot come soon enough.



In 1986, Gale Norton was 32 and working for the secretary of the interior on matters pertaining to the proposal to open a small portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge -- area 1002 -- to drilling for oil and natural gas, a proposal that then had already been a bone of contention for several years. Today Norton is the secretary of the interior and is working on opening ANWR. But this interminable argument actually could end soon with Congress authorizing drilling. That would be good for energy policy and excellent for the nation's governance.

Area 1002 is 1.5 million of ANWR's 19 million acres. In 1980, a Democratic-controlled Congress at the behest of President Carter set area 1002 aside for possible energy exploration. Since then, although there are active oil and gas wells in at least 36 U.S. wildlife refuges, stopping drilling in ANWR has become sacramental for environmentalists who speak about it the way Wordsworth wrote about the Lake Country.

Few opponents of energy development in what they call ``pristine'' ANWR have visited it. Those who have and think it is ``pristine'' must have visited during the 56 days a year when it is without sunlight. They missed the roads, stores, houses, military installations, airstrip and school. They did not miss seeing the trees in area 1002. There are no trees.

Opponents worry that the caribou will be disconsolate about, and their reproduction disrupted by, this intrusion by man. The same was said 30 years ago by opponents of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline that brings heated oil south from Prudhoe Bay. Since the oil began flowing, the caribou have increased from 5,000 to 31,000. Perhaps the pipeline's heat makes them amorous.

Ice roads and helicopter pads, which will melt each spring, will minimize man's footprint, which will be on a 2,000-acre plot about one-fifth the size of Washington's Dulles Airport. Nevertheless, opponents say the environmental cost is too high for what the ineffable John Kerry calls ``a few drops of oil.'' Some drops. The estimated 10.4 billion barrels of recoverable oil -- such estimates frequently underestimate actual yields -- could supply all the oil needs of Kerry's Massachusetts for 75 years.

Flowing at 1 million barrels a day -- equal to 20 percent of today's domestic oil production -- ANWR oil would almost equal America's daily imports from Saudi Arabia. And it would equal the supply loss that Katrina temporarily caused, and that caused so much histrionic distress among consumers. Lee Raymond, chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil, says that if the major oil companies decided that 10 billion barrels were an amount too small to justify exploration and development projects, many current and future projects around the world would be abandoned.

But for many opponents of drilling in ANWR, the debate is only secondarily about energy and the environment. Rather, it is a disguised debate about elemental political matters. For some people, environmentalism is collectivism in drag. Such people use environmental causes and rhetoric not to change the political climate for the purpose of environmental improvement. Rather, for them, changing the society's politics is the end, and environmental policies are mere means to that end.

The unending argument in political philosophy concerns constantly adjusting society's balance between freedom and equality. The primary goal of collectivism -- of socialism in Europe and contemporary liberalism in America -- is to enlarge governmental supervision of individuals' lives. This is done in the name of equality. People are to be conscripted into one large cohort, everyone equal (although not equal in status or power to the governing class) in their status as wards of a self-aggrandizing government. Government says the constant enlargement of its supervising power is necessary for the equitable or efficient allocation of scarce resources.

Therefore, one of the collectivists' tactics is to produce scarcities, particularly of what makes modern society modern -- the energy requisite for social dynamism and individual autonomy. Hence collectivists use environmentalism to advance a collectivizing energy policy. Focusing on one energy source at a time, they stress the environmental hazards of finding, developing, transporting, manufacturing or using oil, natural gas, coal or nuclear power.

A quarter of a century of this tactic applied to ANWR is about 24 years too many. If geologists were to decide that there were only three thimbles of oil beneath area 1002, there would still be something to be said for going down to get them, just to prove that this nation cannot be forever paralyzed by people wielding environmentalism as a cover for collectivism.


Global Warming Lies

Another demonstration that "Nature" has become a propaganda rag

The best way to garner headlines in the global warming game is to generate scary scenarios. While many people view climate change as some esoteric concern of environmentalists, they still raise their eyebrows when they hear a phrase like "global warming deaths." It's little surprise then that a recent article in Nature magazine has caught so much attention. Written by Jonathan Patz, an associate professor of environmental studies and population health sciences at the University of Wisconsin, and three of his colleagues, it is a selective culling of the scientific literature -- some recent, some not -- on climate change and possible health impacts across the planet. The article's claim: global warming kills 150,000 people each year.

Patz begins with the 2003 heat wave in Europe. First, it is not possible that any heat wave was caused by global warming, despite some climate modeling efforts that, according to Patz, demonstrates "a causal link." It is impossible, and in fact is irresponsible, for any climatologist to claim that any given weather event could not have happened if not for increasing atmospheric greenhouse gases. Yes, 2003 was a very warm summer in Europe, but the fact that similar conditions occurred there in the very distant past pretty much debunks the "global warming" hypothesis.

The more relevant question is why so many Europeans died in August 2003. Here culture conspires with climate. The month-long August vacation is a cherished European tradition. It's not unusual then for many countries to effectively shut down while the epicenter of the population shifts southward to Mediterranean beaches. This includes a reduction in medical staffing, less oversight of one's elderly parents, etc. The French government caught flak for the high death toll, and rightly so. Undoubtedly the same weather conditions in July would have produced substantially fewer deaths. But the cultural factor is never mentioned in Patz's global warming hook.

The "theory" that leads to such sloppy thinking about heat waves is that climate will be more variable with global warming. While the jury is still out on this, there is plenty of evidence in the United States that the opposite is true. In an extensive series of studies by Indiana University's Scott Robeson, he found that in U.S. cities where warming had taken place, most of the cities exhibited less temperature variability, not more. Regrettably, these and other key papers were not part of Patz' review.

Patz continues by talking about impacts that urban "heat islands" -- the heat trapping effects of buildings and paved surfaces combined with less vegetation -- result in most large cities being significantly warmer than the surrounding countryside. He is correct. In fact, the urbanization effect exceeds the background rate of global warming significantly, in some cases by an order of magnitude or more. If this is a problem, however, we should expect people living in cities to be dying in droves from heat exposure.

The graph below shows the aggregate heat-related death rate toll for 28 of the largest U.S. cities from 1964-1998. There is a statistically significant decline in heat-related mortality over the period. During the same time, temperature increased by an average of almost 1øC, partly and probably mostly, due to heat island effects. So why aren't more people, instead of less people, dying from heat exposure, as postulated by Patz?

It's simple. People, by and large, are not stupid. If it's too hot, they go into air conditioning. If it's too cold, they turn up the heat, go into the sun, put on a jacket, etc. The fact that Phoenix has a thriving population in a valley that is essentially inhospitable to human life speaks volumes for the adaptability of humans to overcome the limitation imposed by nature. In fact, most elderly people move to Phoenix or Miami thinking they might prolong their lives by living away from harsh winter weather -- not so they could die sooner. But global warming scaremongers depend upon the "stupid people" hypothesis to generate high mortality figures.

Later in the review, the authors discuss the potential health impacts of El Nino across the globe: epidemics of malaria and Rift Valley fever, Dengue hemorrhagic fever in Thailand, Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome in the Desert Southwest, waterborne diseases in Peru, cholera in Bangladesh, etc. One teensy problem: El Nino is not related to global warming. The author admits this (sort of). He writes, "Although it is not clear whether and how [El Ni¤o] dynamics will change in a warmer world, regions that are currently strongly affected by ENSO [another name for El Nino].could experience heightened risks if ENSO variability, or the strength of events intensifies." Sure. An equally likely scenario is that the impact of all of these diseases will be reduced if global warming generates fewer and weaker El Ninos. But this was not discussed. It is not scientifically rigorous to write a paper about global warming impacts and to spend pages talking about impacts from something that is unrelated to global warming.

Finally, Patz refers to a three-year old World Health Organization study, suggesting that climate changes that have occurred in the last 30 years could have caused 150,000 deaths per year worldwide. However, rough calculations using current global population and mortality rate estimates show that "global warming" is responsible for 0.2 percent of all deaths. This is a remarkably small number based upon WHO estimates that are undoubtedly an exaggeration in the first place. Another way to look at this is that during the last century, primarily as a result of technologies developed in a world powered by fossil fuels (the emissions from burning them are the presumed culprit behind the 150,000 annual deaths), average human expectancy in the developed democracies roughly doubled. Posit that two billion people lived in these areas in the 20th century, doubling their life expectancy is the equivalent of saving a billion lives. While one could quibble about the specifics, it is clear that fossil fuels have been responsible for longer lives, not shorter ones.

The most interesting aspect of the Nature article is that Patz, whose primary expertise is in vector-borne diseases like malaria, has the least confidence about the global warming-malaria link. His discussions and review of the vector-borne disease literature is fairly balanced and contains many of the key caveats. Unfortunately, this balanced tone does not permeate most of the report.

There is no doubt that climate change will have some impacts, both positive and negative, on global health. One could just as easily write a review about how a warming planet is producing myriad health benefits. It would not be published in Nature magazine, however, and rightly so, because it would not represent a fair, accurate, and thorough overview of the scientific literature. But, after reading the Patz review, it's clear that this standard of objectivity is selectively applied.



Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

Comments? Email me here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Tuesday, December 27, 2005


A comment from Sydney, Australia by Michael Duffy. Greenies love to criticise others for the indirect negative effects on the environment from car pollution etc., but don't bikes in high traffic areas also have an indirect effect in terms of congestion and indeed smog?

It's time to get bikes off our roads. As a mainstream form of transport, the bicycle has proved itself the equivalent of communism: a lovely idea that failed dismally in practice. Bikes are dangerous to ride and slow traffic, which creates more pollution. For the good of all of us, we need to ban the bike.

When Government started to encourage bike riding a few decades ago, it was like the balmy days after the Russian Revolution: the future looked golden. It was hoped that a significant proportion of all trips made in Sydney would soon be by bike. Where it all went wrong was that almost no one showed any enthusiasm to get on their bikes. Today, fewer than 1 per cent of all trips in Sydney are made by bike. The bike activists blame this on the paucity of bike lanes and tracks, but this is like Marxists excusing the failure of communism in the Soviet Union by blaming the nature of its regime. The sad truth is that in both cases a vanguard tried to impose a new form of behaviour on the populace and was rejected. The only difference is that the bike lobby hasn't accepted this.

Every week I travel 10 kilometres down a crowded, four-lane, inner-city road. Whenever it contains bikes, the traffic is frequently forced to slow to a crawl as drivers wait for a chance to pass them. This increases the pollution given off by the cars, as well as raising tempers all round. Many bike riders hog the centre of their lane, legally and perhaps wisely, but also slip between traffic when it stops. Where there are traffic lights, this means you can find yourself grinding along behind the same bike several times in the space of a journey. So thousands of cars are inconvenienced by two or three bikes, and the amount of greenhouse gas produced increases.

Bike riders tend to be unhappy and resentful people. They relish telling stories of narrow escapes from death at the hands of stupid car drivers. While glad the individuals involved survived, one has to wonder why they persist. We all know that significant proportions of the population are depressed, tense, on a vast range of attention-limiting prescription and non-prescription drugs, or like using their mobile phones while driving. For bike riders to launch into city traffic expecting everyone else to respond instantaneously to their unexpected appearance in the same lane, or when they flash through red lights at intersections, suggests a desire for self-harm. As does their preparedness to engage in sustained exercise where they breathe in large quantities of monoxide, with health consequences that can only be guessed at.

Possibly their thinking has been adversely affected by the smog. Consider some of the proposals the lobby group Bicycle NSW made at the last state election. These included "affirmative action" such as forcing people to stop driving by introducing parking restrictions and imposing a general urban speed limit of 50kmh for all of Sydney. Considering the tiny number of cyclists who would benefit from such a change, you wonder if the bike lobby is suffering from delusions of grandeur.

Given the threat bike riders pose to themselves and others, the big question is whether it is right to encourage them. Unfortunately, bike riding is one of those activities that has acquired an aura of virtue. Supporting it (with other people's money) is an easy way of demonstrating your moral stature. The new Westlink M7 has a 40-kilometre cycleway stretching from Prestons to Baulkham Hills. This was recommended in the tollway's environmental impact statement on the sole grounds (here quoting from the one-volume summary) that it "would improve cycling opportunities in the region". Now, almost no one rides bikes on roads in the western suburbs. According to a Westlink spokesman, there are not even any estimated usage figures for the new bike path. Very wise, that - but it makes you wonder just why building an unwanted 40-kilometre strip of concrete to be lit at night by coal-powered electricity should be considered environmentally beneficial. The Westlink spokesman refused to disclose how much the cycleway had added to the cost of the project - or to the toll that will be charged to road users.

Fortunately the State Government is less enthusiastic about spending its money on bike infrastructure and has recently halved such expenditure. But more needs to be done. A public campaign encouraging people not to ride bikes in traffic would be a responsible start.

More here


Sir Peter Crane, director of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, London, said the urban view of the natural world was often at odds with the issues facing people living in rural areas. Sir Peter made his comments in a speech to delegates at the International Media and Environment Summit (Imes) in Kuching, Malaysia. "Forests in and around cities are disproportionately important," he said. "They colour the view that city dwellers have on the natural world as more people live in cities, they set the agenda."

This was particularly evident in the US, he said, where states in the mid-West are currently suffering from what he termed a "plague of deer". Culling the deer was unpalatable to urban voters so the animals had been allowed to expand beyond their natural populations, Sir Peter argued. "Many of the ecological processes that sustained forests in the past... no longer function at all." He gave one example as being forest fires in North America that are routinely extinguished, despite being natural events that are needed to create new growth.

Vijay Vaitheeswaran, environment correspondent for the Economist magazine, suggested it may be possible that people moving to cities could help the situation by taking pressure off important rural ecosystems.

However, Philip Milne, a New Zealand lawyer specialising in the environment, vigorously attacked urban-based people having a say in the management of the environment and rural life. He said an important opportunity to study a model of how sustainable logging could work had been lost due to "one of the rare examples where the green point of view was more sexy than the scientists' view." A timber firm had proposed selective logging of beech trees on the west coast of New Zealand. But the plan was stopped by Prime Minister Helen Clark in 1998 after her centre-left coalition - which included the Green Party - came to power. Mr Milne said this was partially because people who had no knowledge of the west coast forests had become "emotionally attached to old trees." "Ten years of research into sustainable logging went down the river," he said.

The plan had included proposals to "pour millions" into fighting the invasive pest of Australian possums, which he described as "one of the huge threats" to the country's forests. Because the plan had failed, the beech forests were now controlled by the New Zealand Forestry Commission, which Mr Milne argued could only afford to control possums in the popular eco-tourism areas.

This view was backed by Alan Bernstein, the co-founder of the Sustainable Forestry Management company, who said that sometimes environmentalists "who have never seen the forests push things too far." However, the claim that scientists were in opposition to the green point of view was contradicted by Helen Clark herself, who has gone on record as saying scientific opinion was very divided at the time.


A reader comments: "City people love nature, they just don't want to live there. ...I remember hearing an interview with botanist David Bellamy who pointed out that the green agenda was essentially to depopulate the bush and turn it into national parks but this would not do the actual ecosystem much good. In order to protect Australia's vast land area from complete takeover by feral plants and animals, he said you really needed to have people on the land with economically viable businesses who cared about their landscape, which he believed most bushies did (otherwise they would adopt an easier life in the city). No society could ever afford to pay an army of rangers large enough to protect the 'pure' ecosystem of greenie myth"


"Environmental effectiveness and minimum cost are two core building blocks for any long term modern climate policy," declared Olivia Hartridge, a representative from the Environmental Directorate of the European Commission. She was speaking on a panel on the European Union's Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) at the United Nations' Climate Change conference in Montreal. The problem is that it is not at all clear the EU ETS fulfills either goal.

The EU launched its new carbon dioxide trading scheme this past January as a way to begin to meet its commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 8 percent below what the EU emitted in 1990. The idea is to keep the earth's climate cool by cutting fossil fuel emissions that tend to warm the atmosphere. The EU ETS applies to 11,500 facilities that produce or use 20 megawatts of power, including electric power generation plants, refineries, metal foundries, and cement manufacturers. These facilities emit about 45 percent of the CO2 produced in Europe.

First, let's consider environmental effectiveness. The ETS has allocated 2.2 billion allowances to emit CO2 among the 11,500 facilities it covers. Speaking on the same panel, Abyd Karmali, an energy consultant with ICF Consulting, estimated that the allocations have lowered emissions by perhaps 50 million tons compared with what they would otherwise have been in a business-as-usual scenario. Even if all the cuts mandated by the Kyoto Protocol were achieved -- which Karmali estimates to be equal to a cut of 700 million tons of CO2 emitted per year -- they would spare the earth a negligible 0.02 to 0.28 degrees of warming by 2050. Reducing CO2 emissions by a mere 50 million tons clearly has no discernible impact whatsoever on the earth's climate.

And what about the core building block of minimum costs? Before CO2 trading began, models devised by consultants projected that the price of a ton of carbon would be under 10 Euros. Last January, the price for a metric ton of CO2 opened at around 5 to 7 Euros. However, the price rose steeply to nearly 30 Euros by September before settling back at around 22 Euros currently. Meanwhile European wholesale electricity prices have soared, rising from about 28 Euros per megawatt hour (mwh) to over 40 Euros per mwh during the past year.

Admittedly, a good bit of the increase is the result of the recent run up in natural gas and oil prices. But the high prices for CO2 allowances are also responsible for some of the increase. In order to meet their Kyoto Protocol commitments, Karmali estimates that European Union member states will have to cut their carbon emissions by 250 million metric tons per year between 2008 and 2012. This would clearly add even more upward pressure on the price of CO2 emissions allowances. Ultimately, Europe's experience with a CO2 market is sending the world a signal about just how hard and costly it will be to cut greenhouse gas emissions.



Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

Comments? Email me here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Monday, December 26, 2005

Capitalism and Environmentalism

Political outlooks rarely get put into practice completely, without many compromises made in their principles. Even Soviet style socialism had a lot of free market elements interspersed with it when nearly 40% of farming was done on the black market. And there is no such thing as capitalism in America or anywhere else, not full blown, no-holds-barred laissez-faire capitalism.

Still these political visions can be test by way of thought experiments and some careful history, to see which would be best to try to achieve in practice. And one of the major challenges put before champions of a fully free, capitalist political economy comes from those worried about environmental degradation.

Often the worry is put in terms of "What about all the negative externalities that capitalism would create?" Which means, what about such things as pollution of the air mass, water ways, and so forth. The idea that's put forth in criticism of capitalism is that if we had full scale private property rights respected and protected, people could do whatever they wanted with what belongs to them and this would involve dumping all kinds of harmful stuff around their property-thus, negative externalities.

But the picture is utterly misconceived. Precisely because private property rights would have to be respected and would gain full, uncompromising legal protection, negative or harmful externalities would be prohibited. (Of course, if I dump a bunch of dollar bills on your property, you probably will not protest a lot, so positive externalities would probably not be widely criticized.) The widespread respect for private property implies that what is mine is under my jurisdiction but
beyond my borders it is those who are in charge of those realms who get to call the shots. And no one at all gets to have the authority to invade other people's property.

Bringing this off in practice has its challenges of course-exactly where does one's property end, say, looking upward or on a beach front? Does property include ideas, such as a novel or computer software or musical arrangement? And what about images, such as photographs and paintings? These and similar issues would need to be hashed out in theory, as they arise, and sometimes even in the courts-where they would, supposedly, be debated in a civilized, orderly fashion and a sensible resolution-or as close to it as humanly possible-reached and then implemented.

Still, the idea of a system of political economy in which the institution of private property is of primary significance would by no means encourage environmental degradation, waste, lack of conservation and so forth, quite the opposite. As Aristotle already knew, when people need to heed their own stuff, they are more careful than when they deal with commonly owned resources. As he put the point, "That all persons call the same thing mine in the sense in which each does so may be a fine thing, but it is impracticable; or if the words are taken in the other sense, such a unity in no way conduces to harmony. And there is another objection to the proposal. For that which is common to the greatest number has the least care bestowed upon it. Every one thinks chiefly of his own, hardly at all of the common interest; and only when he is himself concerned as an individual. For besides other considerations, everybody is more inclined to neglect the duty which he expects another to fulfill; as in families many attendants are often less useful than a few." (Politics, 1262a30-37). The ancient historian Thucydides also observed that "[People] devote a very small fraction of the time to the consideration of any public object, most of it to the prosecution of their own objects. Meanwhile, each fancies that no harm will come to his neglect, that it is the business of somebody else to look after this or that for him; and so, by the same notion being entertained by all separately, the common cause imperceptibly decays." (The History of the Peloponnesian War, bk. I, sec. 141).

And, of course, history bears out these reflections-near-enough-to-capitalist societies are cleaner, preserve and conserve resources more vigilantly than do near-enough-to-socialist ones where-like in the old USSR and even contemporary China-pollution and waste have been immense. So both on the basis of history and careful reflection, it makes much better sense of trust a free market, private property rights based political economy when it comes to environmental values than those that let the state manage it all


Why I Am Not an Environmentalist

A bit of insight from the Left:

Growing up in East Los Angeles as the son of Guatemalan immigrants, the everyday challenges faced by the people of my neighborhood seemed far removed from the American dream: the lack of good housing and jobs, money for groceries, failing schools and all-too-common police brutality. If you had asked us, we would have told you we were concerned about the days when the air pollution was especially thick, or when the smells coming from the incinerator directly south of our housing complex were particularly bad.

We would have told you we were concerned, but that these were not the greatest challenges facing us. That's not to say they were not important problems, but any agenda that did not speak to our economic and social needs seemed irrelevant.

For communities like mine, environmentalism has seemed to be about preserving places most of us will never see. Even when environmentalism has focused on problems that affect urban communities, such as air pollution or lead poisoning, it has pointedly avoided addressing our desperate need for economic development. Environmentalists do not talk about the importance of a living wage or affordable housing because, we are told, those are not environmental problems. Foundations feed this problem by failing to recognize minorities and urban city residents as prominent stakeholders in the environmental arena.

While many leaders of the environmental movement have a deep and abiding interest in social and economic equity, that concern is largely absent from their work because it is "not their job." The same mistake is made by every other progressive movement, including the civil-rights movement. We have become trapped in narrow categorical definitions of ourselves rather than a comprehensive understanding of what values we stand for in the world.

I experienced firsthand these narrow definitions when, in the late 1990s, my organization tried to pass legislation to make it easier to revitalize "brownfields" -- the thousands of idle and polluted lots in inner cities. Our legislation would have encouraged the development of brownfields by clarifying clean-up standards so that developers would know what was required of them, and then limiting liability for current owners when environmental pollution had occurred under previous owners. It also would have given cities and counties more power to go after owners of abandoned and potentially polluted inner-city sites.

Our legislation should have been an important priority for environmentalists because developing brownfields would take pressure off expanding construction to California's rapidly dwindling green spaces, farmlands and wilderness. And yet the Sierra Club opposed the bill, claiming that the legislation's flexibility could be abused by unscrupulous developers. We felt there were adequate safeguards, and that together, civil-rights and environmental groups would be able to protect inner-city residents from new risks while accelerating economic development.

We eventually compromised on a watered-down version of the bill that was signed into law. But because the new standards remained so inflexible, we haven't seen the kind of economic redevelopment of urban brownfields that low- income and mostly communities of color desperately need. Contaminated urban sites remain contaminated, economic development and affordable housing in the inner city hasn't occurred, and California's green spaces continue to be developed. The brownfields bill failed because we have failed to construct a vision for community and economic development that speaks to our shared aspirations -- from having more urban parks for kids to play in to having jobs that pay a livable wage to protecting California's natural beauty. Civil- rights groups, economic development advocates and environmentalists today find themselves divided by technical policy when we should be united by a common vision.

After last November's election, an essay called "The Death of Environmentalism" ignited a wide-ranging debate within the entire nonprofit community. Its East Bay authors, Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus, accused the environmental movement of failing to offer a compelling vision for America. Instead, they said, environmentalists give "I Have a Nightmare" speeches and offer technical proposals far removed from the lives of ordinary Americans.

Their essay was important not only for those of us who care about the environment, but also for those who care about any social progress. Consider this quote: "The environmental movement's incuriosity about the interests of potential allies depends on it never challenging the most basic assumptions about what does and does not get counted as environmental. Because we define environmental problems so narrowly, environmental leaders come up with very narrow solutions."

Remove the word "environmental" from the sentence and replace it with "civil rights," "women's rights," "environmental justice" or "social justice" and it makes just as much sense. For too long, progressives have created their identities according to the very specific problems we hope to solve. While I don't consider myself an environmentalist, I do care about many of the things that environmentalists work to protect and preserve. I care more deeply, however, about creating good jobs and affordable housing for my community. This means that the environmental or post-environmental movement that will speak to my community must first and foremost promise economic development and better quality of life.

While many feel sadness and anger that environmentalism is dead, I am optimistic that in dying, environmentalism might give birth to a new politics that offers a better future. Those environmentalists who are ready to be reborn will find many new allies like me ready to join them in building a new and more expansive movement on the other side.


Editorial from The Calgary Sun

Heads I win, tails you lose. That was a line a childhood friend of mine used on me a couple of times when I was about six or seven years old before I clued in to how it was a no-win scenario for me and a win-win for her.

I tried it on one of my eight-year-old twin boys more than a year ago and he figured it out within about 10 seconds. Somehow, much of the adult world has fallen for the ruse being used by so-called environmentalists with regard to the global warming debate.

During the 10-day United Nations Climate Change Conference that wrapped up on Friday in Montreal, a Greenpeace staffer said something so idiotic and implausible that not one of the 10,000 delegates called him on.

"Global warming can mean colder, it can mean drier, it can mean wetter, that's what we're dealing with," said Steven Guilbeault, the director of the Greenpeace movement for Quebec.

So now that colder means warmer basically, anything goes. These folks can't lose their argument because they've covered all scenarios. If an ice age cometh -- blame global warming. If a glaciers melt, global warming is the cause. If droughts akin to the ones mentioned in the Bible happen, blame global warming.

The Dec. 3 Canadian Press story that quoted Guilbeault started with this ironic lead: "Tens of thousands of people ignored frigid temperatures ... to lead a worldwide day of protest against global warming" while chanting "it's hot in here," to the beat of drummers.

The quote by the Greenpeace director reminded me of a quote I read that was sent to me by Benny Peiser, a British university researcher and the editor of CCNet, a scholarly electronic newsletter on the pseudo-science behind global warming.

"By invoking the possibility of 'global warming causing an ice age,' the industry are now in the position of being able to point to each and every weather event, whether hot or cold, as being evidence of global warming," wrote John Daly, a renowned global warming skeptic, in the summer of 2004 just months before he died.

"Heads we win, tails you lose. It has become a closed logical system where the theory is now impervious to any external evidence that may contradict it."

Besides the fact that a growing number of the world's top climatologists disagree with the premise that human activity is the primary cause -- or even a significant cause -- of global warming, the science was not debated at all at the 11th annual UN gab fest that contributes enormous amounts of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to the atmosphere owing to all of the jetting about done by the delegates.

Many of them remained warm in four-star hotels for the duration of the conference, thanks exclusively to fossil fuels.

Speaking of fossil fuels -- you know the stuff Alberta has plenty of and that came from the corpses of dinosaurs -- well, consider this.

Dinosaurs are cold blooded, oversized reptiles. Back in the time of the dinosaurs, Alberta had a tropical climate. Who knew SUVs existed so long ago?

The international treaty -- the Kyoto protocol -- which former Prime Minister Jean Chretien committed Canada to in 1997 and which came into effect in February 2005, requires Canada to reduce GHG emissions to six percent below 1990 levels by 2008-12.

Last Wednesday, Prime Minister Paul Martin lambasted the United States for not having a "global conscience" by not signing onto the Kyoto protocol, which ticked off the Americans, but undoubtedly helped Martin in the polls by pandering to Canadians' inferiority complex with our biggest trading partner.

The only problem is, according to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change report titled: Key GHG Data, Canada's GHG emissions have gone up 24% over 1990 levels -- a whopping 30% above target. At the same time, U.S. emissions have increased at half the rate -- by just 13%, by using their made in the U.S. program to reduce emissions.

According to the feds' so-called plan to reduce emissions, called Moving Forward on Climate Change, our emissions in 1990 were 596 megatonnes. (A megatonne is one million tonnes.) That means we have to reduce our emissions to 560 megatonnes.

The feds claim that their plan could reduce emissions by 270 megatonnes annually by 2012. Martin claimed last Wednesday that "we're going to hit our Kyoto targets." But consider these numbers from Environment Canada. In 2002, Canada's entire manufacturing sector spewed out 62.9 megatonnes.

Then comes the transportation sector, which includes all those planes, trains and automobiles, pipelines and Paul Martin's tax-exempt Canada Steamship Lines freighters. Ground, park and dock them all and we would remove 190 mt of GHGs.

Combine those two sectors -- manufacturing and transportation -- and that adds up to 252.9 megatonnes, leaving us short by 17.1 megatonnes.

The only way Canada can meet its Kyoto target is by either shutting down our economy or buying carbon credits from places like Russia, that only met its targets because they weren't very ambitious to begin with.

Then, with the fall of the iron curtain and the dismantling of the former Soviet Union, all of those highly polluting and inefficient factories and plants were shut down. In other words, the corrupt Liberal government plans to send billions of your hard-earned money to a government even more corrupt than our own.

With this plan Canada's commitment to Kyoto is heads I lose, tails I lose. It will, of course, be spun the other way around.


Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

Comments? Email me here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Sunday, December 25, 2005

Greens Stump for a Treeless Christmas

Some environmentalists are expressing angst during the Christmas season instead of joy, worried about what they view as the negative environmental impact of both real and artificial Christmas trees. The Sierra Club, in its publication Sierra Magazine, recommends that people look for "a storm-felled branch, or a piece of driftwood" to decorate in their homes, instead of the traditional Christmas tree. Eric Antebi, the Sierra Club's national secretary, also suggested that people consider celebrating Hanukah instead of Christmas because Hanukah is a more earth-friendly celebration.

Environmental activists also appear to be struggling over which type of Christmas tree to condemn the most. "The choice between real and not real is especially painful for some environmentalists. Either they desecrate the Earth and chop down a tree or buy a fake one that's full of landfill-clogging polyvinyl chloride, which is kryptonite to greenies," stated an article in the San Francisco Chronicle on Dec. 15, titled "Choosing a Christmas tree can be an ethical quagmire for environmentalists."

But critics of the environmental movement ridiculed what they saw as an unwarranted attack on Christmas trees. "Having tried to shame us for our 4th of July barbecues and fireworks because of air pollution, and our Thanksgiving turkeys because of hunting and farm issues, it's no surprise that some of our more egg-nogged environmentalist friends have now come a-carolin' over the outrage of Christmas trees," said David Rothbard, president of the Washington-based Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) in an interview with Cybercast News Service. "As for the Sierra Club's idea that we make our own trees out of storm-downed branches or driftwood, I think someone's been standing alone under the mistletoe for too long. I can't imagine what waking up to presents under that kind of tree would look like, but I think I'd rather try the mangy, forlorn tree from Charlie Brown's Christmas first." Rothbard said.

Rothbard's sarcasm notwithstanding, some environmentalists see a genuine ethical dilemma involving Christmas trees. San Francisco forest activist Kristi Chester Vance summed up her environmental concerns when she described how she had to warn her eco-friendly friends that there would be a "dead tree" at her Christmas party. "I'm a forest activist and there's a dead tree in the middle of my house," Vance told the San Francisco Chronicle earlier this month. "Geez, if I have a tree, why not nail the last snow leopard to the wall, too?" she said, referring to her concern for endangered species. Vance complained that there was a lack of earth friendly farming methods to grow Christmas trees. "It's kind of like corn," she told the Chronicle. "It would be best to get an organic one, of course."

To counter these negative consequences, the Sierra Club's Antebi recommended the celebration of Hanukkah as an alternative to Christmas. "You've got to love a holiday that's all about energy efficiency and eating potato pancakes," Antebi said, "with only the finest organic potatoes, of course."

While drawing attention to the environmental impact of Christmas trees, the Sierra Club, however, risks alienating even some of its own supporters, like Pamela Janas of Pennsylvania, who wrote a letter to the editor of Sierra Magazine. In the letter, Janas noted that the Sierra Club's "negativity about having a Christmas tree seems unrealistic and insensitive." She also scolded the organization for recommending that holiday revelers opt for "a storm-felled branch, or a piece of driftwood" instead of a Christmas tree. That suggestion, Janas wrote, is "ridiculous and insulting."

The city of San Francisco, attempting to show its sensitivity about the environment, is offering potted trees to homes in lieu of the traditional pine trees. Alternatives such as primrose, Brisbane box or fruitless olive trees are being offered for $90. After the holidays, the trees would be planted in cityscapes. The program was deemed a success after 100 alternative trees were scooped up by eco-conscious city residents, according to the Chronicle.

Rothbard of CFACT disagrees that Christmas trees, real or artificial, pose an ecological threat. Instead, he sees the whole debate as part of the environmental left's desire to make Americans feel guilty about their high standard of living. "Since environmentalists believe that artificial plastic trees are verboten because of their petrochemical roots, maybe the best way for us to celebrate a truly earth-friendly Yuletide would be to gather in the chilly corners of our solar-powered huts, feast on a meal of soy figgy pudding, and exchange nothing but resolutions about how we'll do more environmental penance in the year to come," Rothbard said. "Maybe it's no surprise the Grinch was colored green," he added, referring to the villain in children's Christmas classic "How the Grinch Stole Christmas."

Noting that an estimated 18 people can live off the amount of oxygen produced by one acre of Christmas trees, Rothbard touted the ecological benefits of the evergreens. "Christmas tree farmers, like virtually all other professional farmers, use agricultural chemicals in a careful and prudent manner and Christmas tree recycling has become the norm in virtually all American communities," Rothbard said. "Even the environmental publications like the San Diego Earth Times have pointed out that mulch from an abundance of recycled Christmas trees 'provide an aromatic ground cover that reduces soil erosion and deters weed growth,'" he added.

It is estimated that about 60 percent of U.S. homes displaying Christmas trees use the artificial variety. About 23 million real trees were sold in 2004, according to the National Christmas Tree Association.


In his new book, Jonathon Porritt dresses up a demand for austerity in the language of environmentalism

Review of Jonathon Porritt: "Capitalism: As If The World Matters", Earthscan, 2005

Porritt argues that humanity faces two conflicting imperatives: a biological imperative to limit consumption growth and a political imperative to raise living standards. But he does not see the two as equally valid. On the contrary, biology is a first order imperative, which is determined by laws of nature and non-negotiable. In contrast, the political imperative is only a 'second order aspiration'. For Porritt the protection of nature is more important than raising human living standards.

Yet as the book draws towards a conclusion it becomes clear why Porritt doesn't explicitly call for lower consumption. From a pragmatic perspective it is far easier to sell his approach, which is essentially austerity-lite, than to explicitly demand lower living standards. 'Rather than "consume less", the thrust of any new debate here is likely to be "consume wisely" for the foreseeable future. That may not be sufficient, but it's all that would appear to be manageable right now in terms of mainstream political responses to capitalist economies.' So he poses the argument in terms of the need for a better quality of growth that, at least implicitly, can mean reducing consumption for all but the poorest.

But is Porritt's initial premise, that there are natural limits on human activity, correct? He proudly proclaims that 'it's the science of sustainability that provides the rock-solid foundations upon which the structures of sustainable development are now being raised' (original emphasis). But the scientific arguments he marshals are far too skimpy to justify such a grandiose claim. They boil down to little more than that the Earth is a relatively small place. As a result, he argues, humans need to limit their activity to avoid using up resources or overloading it with waste.

His most sophisticated attempt to argue the point is based on the work of Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen, a Romanian-American twentieth-century economist. Georgescu-Roegen argued that, based on the laws of thermodynamics, the amount of energy in a closed system such as the Earth is finite. Therefore there must be limits on energy use in particular and economic growth in general. But as Porritt later concedes, the Earth is not a closed system since it receives energy from the Sun. In fact, about 10,000 times as much solar energy flows into the Earth every year as the total amount of energy used by the whole of humankind.

What is true of energy is also true of other resources. Humans have barely started to extract resources besides what is easily available in the Earth's crust. Other sources of resources - such as under the seabed or in Antarctica - are hardly touched. Yet Porritt cursorily dismisses the possibility of harnessing such resources as cornucopian optimism.

At root, the problem with Porritt's work is the conception of humanity it embodies. For him human beings are simply part of the natural world. The attempt to control nature is precisely why, in his view, human beings are so destructive. Yet human striving to master nature is a central element of progress. By taking control of the planet it is possible for human beings to reshape the environment in a way that best suits their needs.

Porritt starts with the assumption that there must be natural limits to human development, and then sets out to prove it - dismissing any contrary evidence or arguments as 'denial'. He assumes from the start that there are five types of capital - natural, human, social, manufactured and financial - and that natural capital is somehow primary. He then goes on to develop a theory to prove his premise. So he asserts that: 'The Five Capitals Framework unhesitatingly asserts the primacy (or "preconditionality") of natural capital: after nearly 4 billion years of life on Earth, of which we've been around for just a few tens of thousands of years, that has to be the right way of looking at things.'

But why does it have to be the case that the natural world should be considered primary? It makes no sense to assume that nature must take precedence over human beings just because it has been around for longer. Surely the rise of humanity changes everything. Before humans existed the Earth was essentially a lump of rock with plants and animals living on it. The rise of civilisation means that the environment can be reshaped to benefit humanity. In contrast, living in harmony with nature means in effect making peace with scarcity, disease, hunger and natural disasters.

Porritt pitches the case against the attempt to control nature in a way designed to appeal to as many people as possible. However, the fact that it appears so moderate, with its misanthropic message disguised as much as possible, makes it particularly pernicious.

More here


Post lifted from Philip Stott

Tony Blair, the Prime Minister, seems to be exhausted, and he is currently fighting for his 'legacy' on many fronts, with both Old Europe and New Europe; with the anti-Iraq War brigade, who will never forgive him, whatever else he achieves; with the rumbling Left of his own Labour Party; with his Chancellor, Gordon Brown (whose vaulting ambition may well o'er leap itself); and with the great intractables and bottomless pits of education and the National Health Service (NHS). With respect to climate change, Blair has learned painfully the stark realities of international politics, a politics in which the US, Australia, and a group of fast-developing countries all take a different view from that of his ever-sanctimonious, but largely failing, EU partners. Despite the genial efforts of Margaret Beckett, his Secretary of State, Blair increasingly exhibits declining energy for this issue, and he is delaying, yet again, the vital (and urgent) decision on nuclear power, following a disastrously pusillanimous energy white paper issued during his last administration. Blair's leadership of the G8 and of the EU finish this year, and both are looking bedraggled, although Blair undoubtedly deserves credit for focusing the world's attention on the plight of Africa.

And the longer-term prognosis? I should expect little further of any real significance on climate change. The economics are, at last, receiving serious scrutiny. More importantly, the New Year will be absorbed (and absorbing) with bruising domestic encounters, especially on education, the NHS, civil rights, and a range of other proposals, many bitterly contended by his own Party - and not just by the usual suspects. In addition, Cabinet unity will be strained, John Prescott, his once loyal Deputy, having, only this morning, broken ranks over education policy. As 'President' Blair nears the end, intriguing and manoeuvering with respect to the next 'Court of 10 Downing Street' will become endemic among ministers, Brownites versus Blairites.

Secondly, David Cameron has risen to power in the Conservative Party largely by avoiding spelling-out any detailed policies. He has devolved the initial stages of policy-making to various policy groupings, the environment ('Quality of Life' issues) having been allotted (most short-sightedly many think) to the Kyoto-loving and burger-touting John Selwyn Gummer and to the nuclear-power-loathing 'eye candy', Zac Goldsmith. Superficially, this is depressing, but the party and press are already hinting at dissent. I do not see a Conservative Party opposing a return to nuclear power, and, if they support wind farms, for example, they will enrage much of their rural hinterland. I also think that the harsh truths of international climate-change politics will soon begin to constrain any 'Little Britain' tendencies that might be tempted to surface. Moreover, business, in the past a natural Conservative supporter, will take kindly neither to further carbon taxes, curbs, and red tape nor to a Conservative leader, however young and dynamic, who starts to espouse authoritarian, socialistic, 'command-and-control' measures.

Moreover, Cameron has already been caught out on air over the shallowness of his climate-change politics, and by Today's big beast, John Humphrys, too. When asked what kind of action he would support, Cameron limply came up with biofuels. Humphrys was swift to make a jibe about this, noting, quite correctly, that many environmentalists [including, I might add, souls at the Environment Agency] believe biofuels to be extremely bad for the environment (and for biodiversity). It was not a good start on the details, and Cameron lamely replied that this was why he was setting up a policy group. All this leads one to question Cameron's experience, not to mention the wisdom of basing 'policies' on liberal-elite, metropolitan dinner-table chat and on a rather crass attempt to win over the wetter, 'beards-and-sandals' supporters of the Liberal Democrats (Lib-Dems).

And then, thirdly, we have Charles Kennedy, the leader of the Lib-Dems, a man who appears increasingly to be a lame duck, one badly wounded politically. Inevitably, Kennedy is the burgeoning subject of media speculation and risible commentary and excoriating cartoons. This is not entirely his fault. Kennedy is, somewhat wearisomely one guesses, trying to hold together a 'party' which is visibly splitting between the authoritarian 'Green' lefties, mentioned above, and true Gladstonian liberals. The sense in Westminster is that Kennedy will not remain leader for much longer, and that, for him, it is very much the Season of "Look behind you!" On the environment, the Lib-Dems inhabit Toytown. They are charmingly utopian in their approach to climate change and to energy, but they can't be taken as a serious contender for government. Until the Lib-Dems learn to face up to harsh political facts (like nuclear power), they will make little serious progress. They are even split over issues like wind farms, glibly supporting them nationally, while often opposing them locally. The thought of the Lib-Dems in power is terrifying.

All other parties require no comment, as they mainly add to the gaity of the nation, but little else. The Green Party is rather like the Lib-Dems, but with even more Green wellies and flowers in the hair.

Many people to whom I talk thus feel disenfranchised. The wishy-washy political consensus over climate change is sapping adult, serious debate in the UK, especially with regard to the economics of the issue and to energy. The last thing we want is a cross-party agreement on the subject. We are crying out for some hard-headed politicians to take a tough, realistic look at climate change and energy. Kyoto isn't working, and, in truth, the Protocol has presided over a massive increase in carbon dioxide emissions worldwide. The Montreal conference will make no change to this. There is even evidence that carbon trading is resulting in an increase in emissions. Yet, UK politicians feel bound to continue to mouth the rhetoric of Kyoto. Accordingly, the political gap between fact and rhetoric grows ever wider - a chasm of carbon claptrap. And this is a chasm eagerly exploited by all the big energy companies, who will happily play 'global warming' every which way, chasing the money wherever it politically pops up.

By contrast, in the real world, it is increasingly obvious to any objective observer that the focus of debate has already shifted to adaptation to inevitable climate change, to technological innovation and transfer, and to the countries of the Pacific Rim, from India and Indonesia, through China, to Brazil and Mexico.

Tony Blair knows this, but, perhaps unsurprisingly, he now lacks drive, being hog-tied by domestic battles and EU squabbles. The 'Little Britain Green' stance taken by David Cameron is potentially a disaster, and it does make one wonder about his inexperience and to question whether he is too enmeshed in thirties-year old, Notting Hill agenda-setting. Moreover, how does this stance square with his comments about needing more roads, about making the UK more competitive, and about cutting red tape for business? Meanwhile, back in Toytown, the Lib-Dems are plunging into pantomime, and, if they are not careful, they could well be blown away, along with with their utopian wind farms.

Thus, beyond a world-weary, but still driven, Mr. Blair, climate-change politics in the UK has something of the nursery about it. We are crying out for a brave, senior politician who can openly declare that the Kyoto Protocol is a disaster and that we must put our efforts into maintaining a viable and flexible economy, one that can support technological innovation and transfer, which can sustain economic growth, and which can adapt to climate change, whatever it throws at us [see: the following comment and economic critique, December 19]. We need a politician who can ignore the daily dose of doom served up by 'newspapers' like The Independent, with Britain, at one-and-the-same-time, one might add, turning into an Arctic tundra, a Mediterranean olive grove, a land of flood, a land of drought,and one with more species - er - or fewer species. We need a politician who truly cares for the environment sensu lato (including the urban environment), not one who is blown off course by every environmentalist whim, stunt, and shock-horror.

And the bottom line? We need a politician who will provide us, urgently, with an energy policy that will work and who will energise Britain for the future.


Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

Comments? Email me here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.