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THE FREE-RIDER PROBLEM



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Yes, things are bad here when it comes to the elites trying to stifle dissenting speech. But consider this depressing update from the European front, particularly the leading Spanish classical liberal think tank Instituto Juan de Mariana, which is in the papers, on radio, and the go-to voice in fighting the energy scarcity agenda on TV [they are so effective that their President, Dr. Gabriel Calzada, tells me that during a commercial break his Greenpeace debating partner hissed at him their badge of honor: “you are a very dangerous man, and you must be stopped!” (disclosure, I have a non-paying position as Senior Fellow with IJM)].

It is apparently the pressure groups’ governmental patrons who are being most effective at imposing a speech code: this past week, IJM was universally informed by those Spanish companies who in the past were most likely to support free-market voices that they now fear reprisal from Zapatero’s Socialist government if it is discovered that they continue to do so.

Translated, we appreciate that you are arguing against governmental policies that do harm to us. But we are afraid that if they see us together, they will institute policies that will do harm to us. Sigh.

Great Global Warming Swindle



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Channel 4 in the UK is broadcasting a documentary airing the views of skeptics of catastrophic, human induced global warming, called The Great Global Warming Swindle. The film’s very existence gives me a glimmer of hope that sanity may yet prevail on this issue.

To judge from the trailer, it looks pretty good. The documentary features scientists like Tim Ball, John Christy, Ian Clark, and others. It focuses on the link between the sun and global climate, which despite scientific evidence in its favor and its inherent plausibility, doesn’t get much play.

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Carbon Taxes and the SPP



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Many among our more sovereignty-oriented citizenry are up in arms about the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) and, as I understand it, the non-governmental North American Forum, for reasons completely unrelated to the climate and carbon agendas. (Judicial Watch has helpfully employed the Freedom of Information Act for those of you so interested.)

So, how nice of these groups to hand them more to worry about: see, e.g., the margin notes to the Rapporteur Notes citing “EU as model?” on 4 of 34; there is a focus on liberalization and elimination of monopolies, as well as the delights of “regulatory harmonization” – which would be aimed at things like bringing Mexican trucks up to U.S. safety standards, and presumably other matters – are also a discussion point. At least they avoided adding fuel to the fire by saying things like “Success would not only energize the continent; it would inspire the world.” Oh, wait. No they didn’t (Pastor’s punch line. Always leave ‘em laughing, they say).

Worrisome note for those of us fighting to avoid further encroachment of the Kyoto agenda is that the same document (Rapporteur Notes) that references clean technology and carbon sequestration as preferable to selling carbon credits – which only have value when artificial scarcity is imposed – also calls for an integrated North American approach to climate change citing reference to carbon taxes as an option along with clean tech and sequestration (e.g., page 5 of 34).

See here for the Judicial Watch press release, and here and here for more

Glamming and Spending



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Sterling’s column is kind of silly, and there’s lots to argue with, but I think that, without even knowing it, he stumbles onto an idea worth considering.  Here’s the important passage:

It’s the Net vs. the 20th-century fossil order in a fight that the cybergreens are winning. Why? Because they’re not about spiritual potential, human decency, small is beautiful, peace, justice or anything else unattainable. The cybergreens are about stuff people want, such as health, sex, glamour, hot products, awesome bandwidth, tech innovation and tons of money.

We’re gonna glam, spend and consume our way into planetary survival.

A few paragraphs later, he writes, “In 1998, I had it figured that the dot-com boom would become a dot-green boom.”  So if I understand this correctly, Sterling is saying that climate change will cease to be an issue because of businesses catering to consumer demand.  In other words: markets create solutions, and the free exchange of goods and services—not top-down government planning—is what brings about important changes in the way we live.  Gosh, I’m so glad we have visionary futurists out there who’re kind enough to explain these unheard of, revolutionary ideas.  

Well, bully for him!



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Yesterday’s Washington Post contained a column by a leading cyberpunk futurist about how right he has been about everything and how he’s so much sexier about it than Al Gore. Just marvel at the man’s foresight and brilliance:

We’re gonna glam, spend and consume our way into planetary survival. My own favorite sci-fi planetary-saving scheme for naming, numbering and linking to the Internet every piece of junk we create so that it can be corralled and briskly recycled, creating a cradle-to-cradle postindustrial order and averting planetary doom, may sound pretty shocking and alien. But I wrote that book while in residency at a famous design school. I received an honorary doctorate there and the book was published by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It gets great reviews, designers love it. It’s not even science fiction — it’s a cybergreen manifesto.

How could anyone fail to listen to him? After all, he saw it all coming:

Back in 1998, the Mexican state of Chiapas caught fire and the smoke from its rainless “rain forests” stretched all the way to Chicago. In Austin, my home town, the sky was the color of a dead television channel. Living under that hideous gout of smoke, I realized that the much-anticipated greenhouse effect was as real as dirt. Most people didn’t grasp that at the time. That’s okay by me: If everybody got it about issues of that sort, I wouldn’t get paid for being a futurist. As it happened, though, five years earlier I’d written a science-fiction novel about climate change. So I was fully briefed.

Such a shame that carbon dioxide is invisible and that the aerosols he saw in the sky do not form part of the greenhouse effect. Still, why let a few facts stand in the way when the man’s brilliance and famous education are so self-evident, eh?

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Morning Round-up: Bumper Fun Edition!



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Lots of global warming-related stories you may have missed:

Phew! Enjoy the reads!

Who Does #2 Work For?



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The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is not only a treaty, but an organization, a subordinate office of the UN with fancy offices in Bonn from which it plans fancy meetings in pursuit of the mission of both the group and the treaty: promoting treaties reducing anthropogenic emissions from the most abundant, affordable and reliable sources of energy known to Man, hydrocarbons (“fossil fuels”), known as “greenhouse gases“. 

The UNFCCC has a website, on which it promotes (select) news items advancing its cause, curiously sidestepping others

Today’s post is amusing, illuminating the cynic as to whom the UNFCCC sees as its actual boss(es): 

“Latest Headlines: ‘Pressured by environmentalists, UN chief decries global warming,’ AFP”

Ve haf vays of making you recycle



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This has got to be the most bizarre story I’ve read in years. A British conservative in local government has been fired from his leadership position for failing to recycle.

Words fail me.

The level of environmental discourse



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My colleague Myron got the following email today:

From: Anonymous via Panta Rhei <[email protected]>

To: Myron Ebell

Sent: Sat Mar 03 11:22:03 2007

You are the perfect moral argument for abortion. If you were black,

you’d be the perfect moral argument for lynching, and if you were

Jewish, you’d be the perfect moral argument for Auschwitz.

Ranta-rhei.eu.org is a service for encrypting and making emails anonymous, which suggests this guy really doesn’t want anyone to know who he is. I wonder why?

NYT Reports on U.S. Climate Action Report



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From the front page this morning

The Bush administration estimates that emissions by the United States of gases that contribute to global warming will grow nearly as fast through the next decade as they did the previous decade, according to a long-delayed report being completed for the United Nations.

The document, the United States Climate Action Report, emphasizes that the projections show progress toward a goal Mr. Bush laid out in a 2002 speech: that emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases grow at a slower rate than the economy. Since that speech, he has repeated his commitment to lessening “greenhouse gas intensity” without imposing formal limits on the gases.

More Gore



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Scott Burgess does some more number crunching on Al Gore’s energy expenditures and finds some interesting things. He also demolishes an attempted defense of Gore by Mark Lynas, the fearsome intellect whose preferred debating style was to stuff a pie in Bjorn Lomborg’s face.

A Disgrace



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While reading this story about how the US has increased its carbon dioxide emissions half as rapidly as has Europe since the Kyoto Protocol was agreed in 1997, a gap which is widening (EU
CO2 emissions have increased three times as fast as the US’s since 2000, for the most recent five years for which we have data).

Ask yourself, have we heard such nastiness about their climatically criminal fellow Europeans, whose absolutely spectacular emission increases are being underwritten by the UK’s one-off of a dash-to-gas in the early 1990′s?

Then ask yourself, what is the real disgrace?

“[Conservative Shadow Environment Secretary] Mr Ainsworth’s outspoken attack goes far beyond any previous criticisms of Mr Bush made by senior party figures and reflects how widespread frustration with the administration’s failure to tackle global warming has become.

“Without a world solution to climate change, there won’t be any solution at all. We have been having discussions with both Senator McCain and others in terms of building an international agenda on this,” he said.

“The sooner the current administration in America goes, the safer the world will be.

“It has been a deplorable drag on international efforts to get a resolution; the leading polluter of the world hasn’t been playing a full part.

“I’m confident a future American administration will shoulder its responsibilities,” he added

Organic Spin



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If you remember the e.coli spinach outbreak last year that killed three people, you might now be interested to discover that the outbreak has been traced to an organic farm. Greg Conko has more:

The organic industry poo-pooed the suggestion that the contamination arose on an organic farm, insisting that such a thing could only have happened on a big, conventional, “factory farm”. The fact of the matter is, however, that, while microbial contamination will likely always be with us, so-called factory farms tend to be cleaner, not dirtier, than anachronistic organic farms. Having been on lots of farms, organic and conventional, on all six inhabited continents, I am much more willing to trust my family’s health to the products of a typical factory farm than a typical organic one.

Indeed. There’s something of Rousseau in the romanticization of dirty, outdated farming methods.

Re: David Ignatius’ Doomsaying



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I see David’s Peter Schwarz and raise him an Indur Goklany. Things aren’t as bad as he suggests.

Yet even if they were, as a colleague noted, “Interesting that he makes the point that the poorest people of the world are most vulnerable to climate change but still seems to conclude that the usual tax & regulate plans will help these people more than wealth-building (ie less gov’t corruption, more focus on reliable justice system, free markets, etc).”

Precisely – the most vulnerable people on the planet are vulnerable not because of climate but because they have either rejected or haven’t been allowed to put in place the institutions that build resiliency. It’s no surprise that Katrina had more of a lasting effect in poor Louisiana than in poor Mississippi, because Louisiana is more corrupt.

The best solution to reducing these vulnerabilities is to build resiliency through the institutions of liberty, rather than trying to work out how to change the weather in a hundred years’ time.

And Indur Goklany’s meticulous data provides strong support for that hypothesis.

Morning Round-up



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Apologies for no round-up yesterday – computer problems.

Anyway, some global warming-related stories you may have missed:

Finally, a conservative Cardinal has warned the Pope that the antichrist will be an ecologist. The devil is in the details, of course.

Claiming the Branson/Gore Prize



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As all know, Richard Branson teamed up with Al Gore to offer a $25 million prize for the first person to come up with a way to remove significant amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Two British scientists have already claimed the prize, one report on it and their self-published journal where the results appeared .

Now researchers at the University of Bristol have put forward their suggestion: stop breathing.

This idea, while drastic, has the advantage of not costing anything, and requiring no significant investment in developing new technologies. The side effects are pretty messy, though, so the researchers offer a second suggestion: stop breathing so much.

Dr Mark Steer (in the background of the photograph above, in which he is accompanied by his colleague Dr. Andrew Impey) explains: “If we merely cut out one breath in three, we could decrease the amount of CO2 entering the atmosphere each year by a staggering 0.63 gigatonnes. That’s the same effect as saving five million acres of land (an area the size of Wales) from deforestation.”

A quite excellent suggestion I hope you’ll agree and one that should definitely be awarded the prize immediately. While Drs. Steer and Impey are to be congratulated on their paper it is of course myself who should collect the cash as I made (with some very variable mathematics) the same suggestion back in July last year .

Lear jets and eight bedroom mansion here I come and I promise faithfully not to buy any carbon offsets from myself.

An inconvenient Mars



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Oops.  Warming on Mars continues to be detected, such that even National Geographic is compelled to report it: “Simultaneous warming on Earth and Mars suggests that our planet’s recent climate changes have a natural—and not a human- induced—cause, according to one scientist’s controversial theory.”

But note that the NatGeo story goes to excruciating lengths to say that such a view is “outside the mainstream.”

David Ignatius Today



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Ode to Algoreia



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C. MacLeod Fuller offers a worthy poetic ode to Al Goreia over at The American Thinker.

Gore’s Carbon Offsets



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Bill Hobbs says they’re kind of fishy

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