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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?

Morning Round-up: Bumper Fun Edition!



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

Phew! Enjoy the reads!

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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?

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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

Failing to Learn History -- And Repeating It



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In a piece out yesterday, former Vice President Al Gore repeats the bizarro-world claim that, by providing balance in their global warming coverage, the media show bias. His specific argument in support of this effort to censor disagreeable speech is a chestnut that has been thoroughly discredited – before the film was released, mind you – that “A 10-year University of California study found that essentially zero percent of peer-reviewed scientific journal articles disagreed that global warming exists, whereas, another study found that 53 percent of mainstream newspaper articles disagreed the global warming premise.”

 

In truth, when one doesn’t skew one’s search terms as did the history professor who Gore relies upon, the relevant scientific literature at the time of her study included not “over 928” (a mystical count Gore serially offers, in his movie, on Oprah, in subsequent lectures, and so on) articles mentioning “global climate change”, as Gore says, but nearly 12,000 citing “climate change”.

 

Although this is level ground to students of the issue, since Gore continues to peddle what is by now a knowing falsehood, let us review it one more time.  This is indeed all the universe of articles did – mention “global climate change”, not man-made climate change by any means, and sometimes as an inexplicable throw-away line (there is actually academic pressure to do so in order to receive grant funding, according to researchers).  Nor were these articles in support of anthropogenic warming theory (it ought to go without saying).

 

In addition to all of the “over 928” (or the nearly 12,000) articles not supporting catastrophic or even anthropogenic warming theory as the professor flatly alleges, it is further untrue that none of them “disagreed with” or “refuted” (two wildly different standards which she oddly interchanges).  Most of the (let’s just call it) 928 do not even mention anthropogenic climate change.

 

Her claims, Gore’s retailing of them and the mythology that sprung up to defend this canard are further deconstructed and updated here.  And, of course, here.

More Hollysmog



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Gore’s e-pocrisy (I think we should promote this term) is just the beginning.  Here’s a preview from my next edition of the Index of Leading Environmental Indicators, due out in April:

Another interesting smog-related story from last year came out of Los Angeles where, having imposed stringent regulations on industry for 30 years now, one of the leading remaining sources of ozone and particulates is (drum roll, please) the Hollywood movie and TV industry.  A study from UCLA’s Institute of the Environment found that Hollywood productions emit a substantial 140,000 tons a year of ozone precursors and particulates, which is a larger amount than any other LA-area industry except oil refining.   (The study also finds the entertainment industry is the third largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the LA area.)  Hollywood celebrities may be giving up their limos for hybrid cars, but will they give up their on-location star trailers, which are typically powered by dirty diesel generators?

Global Warming Models: Predictions vs. Evidence



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Although it’s not yet updated to the new IPPC report (which hasn’t actually come out yet), Doug Hoyt has developed a scorecard to compare the major predictions of global warming models with actual observations. He gives each prediction a “yes-no-undetermined score.” So if the major models’ prediction is confirmed, the score at the beginning would be 1-0-0. So how do the models score when compared with the evidence? The final score is 1-27-4. That’s one confirmed prediction, 27 disconfirmed, and 4 undetermined.

Hoyt isn’t a newcomer to the debate. He’s published important work on sunspot observations over the past 4 centuries. He also coauthored a book called The Role of the Sun in Climate Change , published by some fringe outfit called “Oxford University Press.”

More on Gore’s Energy Consumption.



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Some interesting comments around the blogs. John Chilton on buying green power :

Buying “green power” is just rearranging the deck chairs, buying power that would have been in the energy mix anyway. It’s like buying the green M&M’s when no one else cares what the color of their M&M’s are.

The Economist blog on why offsets don’t in fact offset as much as you might think :

MANY readers profess puzzlement as to how carbon offsets could fail to reduce one’s carbon footprint. The answer is that they probably do reduce one’s carbon footprint, but by nowhere near the one-for-one ration that seems to be implied by the extraordinarily low price of carbon offsets.

And Glenn Whitman on a larger philosophic question :

It seems to me that global warming alarmists like Al Gore are playing both sides of the fence. On global warming’s existence, they emphasize the importance of scientific consensus and characterize the skeptical minority as equivalent to Holocaust deniers. But when it comes to global warming’s severity, they suddenly reject the scientific consensus and embrace a minority opinion.

Quite, which is it? Does the IPCC process show that climate change is a reality? If so, how can anyone then turn around and say that the IPCC report must be dismissed as not showing us the reality of climate change? One or the other, surely? If we rely upon that IPCC statement that sea level will rise by 17cm (or 40 cm, there’s several numbers to choose from) then how can we then insist that it will be 12 meters?

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