I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.- Thomas Jefferson.

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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Environmental News and Views

Earth Day, 40 years later: Planet's good friend: the free market

By James M. Taylor
Posted: April 17, 2010

This Earth Day, we are reminded of the value of environmental protection. Clean air, clean water, species protection and pristine wilderness are items we all value. The United States, relative to most of the world, is exceptionally blessed with each of these environmental goods. This Earth Day, we all should celebrate the single most important factor in making all these environmental goods possible: the free market.
Only a wealthy society can afford the economic sacrifices necessary to put expensive scrubbers on smokestacks, to build and maintain the infrastructure necessary to sustain clean waterways and to set aside productive lands for conservation and species protection. And the wealthiest nations are those that respect and nurture market freedom.

When the Obama administration earlier this month imposed new fuel economy mandates on automakers that, according to the administration itself, will raise the cost of the average new vehicle by nearly $1,000, it was our national wealth that enabled us to even consider such a financial imposition. By contrast, citizens of nations that have historically stifled economic freedom - China, India, etc. - cannot afford the expensive clean-air technologies that Americans purchase as a matter of course.

How stark is the difference in environmental quality between nations that encourage the market and those that stifle it? A study published in the January issue of the science journal Nature documents that so much pollution from Asia is crossing the Pacific Ocean that U.S. ozone levels are rising even though U.S. ozone precursor emissions are declining. States in the Western United States are having difficulty meeting federal ozone standards because pollution from relatively poor nations in East Asia is offsetting declines in U.S. emissions.
For nations such as China, India, Bangladesh, Laos and Vietnam - each languishing in the bottom third of The Heritage Foundation's Index of Economic Freedom World Rankings - imposing expensive environmental mandates on citizens who cannot afford food, clothing and shelter is not an option. Western-style environmental protections first require western-style wealth. And western-style wealth was made possible, and will remain possible, only through free markets and economic liberty.

This Earth Day, we will hear a great deal of talk about global environmental problems, and many of them are real. Yet we in the United States are benefiting from a great boom in environmental quality. We are in the middle of a Roaring '20s of environmental improvement.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, aggregate U.S. emissions today of the six principal pollutants tracked by EPA total less than half what they were in 1980. This astonishing reduction in pollution occurred even though the U.S. population jumped by 34%, vehicle miles traveled increased by 91% and Gross Domestic Product more than doubled.

If we compare current air quality to 1970 - the year Earth Day was first celebrated - the results are even more striking. Aggregate U.S. emissions have declined by 60%, even as the U.S. population surged by 48%, vehicles miles traveled rose by 163%, and GDP more than tripled

While U.S. politicians debate the extent to which mercury, sulfur and other pollutants should be scrubbed from modern power plant emissions, people in Asia and Africa burn dung to cook their food and heat their homes. Dung patties may be a renewable and "sustainable" fuel source, but you will never find impoverished Third World citizens protesting plans for a new coal-fired power plant.
The extent to which current and future generations of Americans can afford environmental protections that are nonexistent in the rest of the world will depend primarily on the extent to which our government allows free markets to flourish.

More intrusive government regulations, higher taxes and penalties on financial success may be motivated by good intentions, but the real-world impact always has been, and always will be, to stifle economic growth and reduce the amount of societal wealth that can be devoted to environmental protection.

So this Earth Day, let's remember to celebrate the environment's best friend: the free market.

A quick note on the BP environmental disaster. While clear that the current Administration has seriously botched this one, I have few illusions that republicans would have done any better. Stupid regulations, govt inflexibility and slow response (as in the below article), have all combined to delay potentially mitigating actions. I haven't seen the linked missteps covered by the mainstream media.

Thanks to Art for this piece

All of the links at the end of this article are worth reading, esp if you believe in Anthropogenic Global warming, Man made climate change, Ocean acidification, CO2 as a significant greenhouse gas, or that any govt action/regulation (i.e. CAP and TAX, or Kyoto) won't do more harm than good.

Actually, the most persuasive argument I hear is "Because bad things might happen if we don't do something, we should do something." The problem w that logic is that nothing that has been proposed, is likely to have even a miniscule positive effect on temp or CO2 concentrations. And, every proposal is likely to have serious negative economic consequences to the US, if not the Global economy.

Global Warming Alarmism is a Greater threat to the human species than the BP oil spill, Islamic radicalism, and even nuclear and biologic terrorism. If you're sitting this one out, because you're not interested in politics, I hope I can convince you to take a potentially more active role, because you and your children will be harmed, if the "War on Carbon" is allowed to move forward.


Does the U.S. State Department Listen to Skeptical Scientists?

On June 1, following a public comment period of roughly one month, the U.S. State Department released its Fifth Climate Action Report to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

As Heartland Senior Fellow James M. Taylor reported when the draft report was released April 8, the State Department had concluded, “Global warming is unequivocal and primarily human-induced ... Global temperature has increased over the past 50 years. This observed increase is due primarily to human-induced emissions of heat-trapping gases.”

Those sentences remain in the final report, leading one to question whether State Department editors bothered to read and consider comments that did not agree with their pre-conceived notions.

The news release announcing publication of the final report asserts, “The report incorporates comments received during a public comment period that began on April 8, 2010 and ended on May 6, 2010.” But there are few footnotes and no appendix presenting the public comments received. Fully half of the references in the bibliography are to government reports, and The Heartland Institute was unable to find a single reference to a scientist we know to be skeptical of anthropogenic global warming theory.

We know for a fact, however, that at least six skeptics submitted public comments to the State Department – they copied The Heartland Institute on their submissions. You can find those comments here:

Global Warming Alarm Based on Faulty Forecasting Procedures – J. Scott Armstrong, Kesten C. Green, and Willie Soon

Best Policy on Climate Change? Have the Courage to Do Nothing – Howard Hayden, Professor Emeritus of Physics, University of Connecticut

Carbon Dioxide: The new WMD (Weapon of Mass Deception) – Art Horn, meteorologist

Climate Action Report: Two Major Flaws – Anthony R. Lupo, Department of Soil, Environmental, and Atmospheric Science, University of Missouri


For those of you who don't open links, a few highlight of the Scientific Publications are listed below.

Before jumping on this bandwagon, we should be certain that we understand the science. U.S.

Climate Action Report 2010, 5th ed. might be understood by some Americans to be the definitive

word; however nary a word in the report even pretends to

* establish a link between CO2 and putative global warming

* show that the increase in CO2 concentration is due to human activity instead of natural causes

(such as natural warming of the oceans)

* show that either an increase in CO2 concentration or an increase in temperature is, on balance,

bad (or worse than laws restricting CO2 emissions) or

* do any science whatsoever.

Despite screams to the contrary, a vast number of scientists dispute the findings of the

IPCC. Perhaps the Department of State believes that “the science is settled.” If so, please let us

know which of the two dozen models—see Fig. 1 showing a slight disagreement by a factor of

3000 among the models—settled the science so that all of the others can be thrown into the

dustbin of failed science and de-funded.

Like an ant crawling out an anthill and concluding that the world is made of 1-millimeter rocks,

global-warming activists have looked at the last three-millionths of one percent of the earth’s

climate history and made brash conclusions about climate, and especially their understanding of

it. They wax eloquent about results from computer models. In the longer view---see Fig. 2—we

see that the last million years or so are rather anomalous. The highest CO2 concentrations during

the last many ice ages and interglacials are lower than at any other time for the last 300 million

years. The dinosaurs lived when CO2 concentrations were 5 to 20 times as high as now. Indeed,

such large creatures could not survive


Based on scientific research on forecasting, the most appropriate method for forecasting

climate over the 21st Century would be a naïve no-trend extrapolation. Due to the substantial

uncertainty about climate, it is not possible to forecast even the direction of change and one

should not, therefore, forecast changes. As with many conclusions from scientific research on

forecasting, this conclusion derives from a finding that is not intuitive: in complex situations

with high uncertainty, one should use methods that are conservative and simple (Armstrong

1985; Armstrong 2001).

While much has been made of the climate models used to support forecasts of

dangerous manmade global warming, these were used in effect only as tools to present

forecasts. The actual forecasts were made by unaided judgment; that is, by judgment unaided

by forecasting principles. A substantial body of research has shown that unaided judgment

cannot provide useful forecasts in complex situations with high uncertainty (Armstrong 1980;

Tetlock 2005), such as is the case with climate.

In other words, if one were to recruit the cleverest climate scientists in the world and

give them access to all of the available facts about climate, and ensured that all facts were true

and all data were valid and accurate, the experts could do no better at forecasting climate than

people with only minimal expertise. And their forecasts would even be less accurate than those

from a simple heuristic. This finding is astonishing to those who are not familiar with the eight

decades of evidence in the peer-reviewed research literature, and nearly all who learn of it

believe that while the finding might apply to others, it does not apply to them.


Carbon Dioxide: The new WMD (Weapon of Mass Deception)

1. Surface temperature records from the climate research unit of the University of East Anglia

show that global temperature fell from 1875 to 1910. Temperature rose from 1911 to 1943.

Temperature fell again from 1944 to 1976. Temperature rose from 1977 to 1998. There has been

no warming since 1998. We are now in the 10th year of cooling. While all these changes were

happening carbon dioxide levels did nothing but go up.

2. There are 5 major centers that collect global temperature data, The Climate Research Unit at

the University of East Anglia, Remote sensing systems, The University of Alabama Huntsville,

The Goddard Institute for Space Studies and the Nation Oceanic and Atmospheric

Administration. All of these centers show no warming since 1998 and 4 of 5 show a slight

cooling to varying degree for the last 10 years. Phil Jones from the University of East Anglia

says “There has been no statistically significant global warming since 1995”.

3. Using surface temperature records to track global temperature change has numerous problems.

The number of worldwide climate measuring sites has dropped from 6,000 in 1970 to under

around 1,500 today. Two thirds of the weather stations that were closed in this period were in the

country or were at higher elevation or higher latitude. Those locations had the colder night time

temperatures. They are gone. What we are left with is a higher percentage of urban weather

stations with warmer night time readings due to pavement, buildings and general urban sprawl.

This fact alone biases the temperature record warmer as the urban areas have grown around the

climate measuring stations in the last 50 years. Several studies indicate that perhaps half the

warming in the data base in the last 50 years is due to these land use changes. So while there has

been warming, the magnitude of it has been artificially magnified. That in itself is the real man

made (made up) global warming.

4. NOAA said that in the summer of 2009 the oceans were warmer than ever before. This was

accomplished by subtracting the satellite measured ocean temperatures from the ocean

temperature data base. The satellites showed an inconvenient cooling of the oceans. The news

media is either unaware of this, can’t comprehend what it means or won’t report it. NASA also

does not use the 3307 ARGO buoys deployed around the world in their analysis. These buoys

show global ocean heat content has been falling since they were deployed in 2003.

5. There is no statistical relationship between carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere and

temperature during the last 150 years. There is a strong statistical relationship between the cyclic

Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) and global temperature. The PDO is a 60 year cycle of

warming and cooling of the Pacific Ocean. In every instance over the last 100 years when the

PDO was in the cool phase the global temperature went down. When the PDO was in the warm

phase the temperature went up. The PDO has shifted back to cool and the air temperature is

falling again. Not surprising since the oceans contain more than 1,000 times more heat than the

atmosphere. Relatively small ocean temperature changes cause relatively large atmospheric


6. The total carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is 3.8 one hundredth of a percent. The total

increase by volume of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere in the last 150 years is one hundredth of

a percent. The increase by volume was from 2.8 one hundredth to 3.8 one hundredth of a percent.

This increase has benefited agriculture, trees, flowers and other plants. They grow faster with

more carbon dioxide and are more resistant to drought. If you own a real greenhouse you already

know this.

7. Carbon dioxide is not pollution. A majority of The Supreme Court and many liberals in

congress don’t know this. This ignorance is why our country is a mess. Everything that grows on

earth needs it, the source is irrelevant. Remove all the carbon dioxide from the air and the earth

dies. The Supreme Court has ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency may regulate

carbon dioxide as a dangerous pollutant because it causes global warming. Water vapor is 95%

of the greenhouse effect. If water vapor in the atmosphere is the major greenhouse gas the EPA

should regulate water vapor as a dangerous pollutant as well. As you can see our so called

“leaders” are clueless.

8. There are many large organizations including but not limited to governments, wall street

brokerage houses, environmental groups, corporations, universities, media outlets and political

parties that have a strong financial interest in having you believe carbon dioxide is pollution. The

saying “follow the money” was made for global warming. A vast carbon trading market is being

generated around the world that Al Gore is deeply involved in. Once again the news media will

not report this. The goal is to capitalize financially on the fear of global warming using the

regulation of carbon emissions as the basis for establishing an enormous market for carbon

financial products. The idea is that if carbon dioxide is dangerous it must be regulated. If

something must be regulated is must mean that this entity (carbon dioxide) has value. That entity

can then be priced and in turn converted into a product that can be bought and sold. This is

literally pulling money from thin air. Some estimates are that carbon based financial products

could be the largest commodity to ever hit the markets.

9. Ice cores show that increases in carbon dioxide in the past were the result of warmer

temperature, not the cause of it.

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