Defend George Will and the right to question climate alarmism!

Please help defend nationally syndicated columnist George Will from the greens… you made be defending your own right to question green orthodoxy!

Here’s the story. On Feb. 15, the Washington Post published Will’s column “Dark Green Doomsayers.”

Not surprisingly, green groups (Center for American Progress Action Fund, Media Matters and Friends of the Earth) have gone ballistic). They’re mounting an e-mail campaign to the Post‘s ombudsman alleging that,

  • Will claimed that “according the U.N. World Meteorological Organization, there has been no recorded global warming for more than a decade.” This is false. In fact, the WMO recently stated that “global warming, mostly driven by greenhouse gas emissions, is continuing.”
  • Will misleadingly conflated Arctic and global sea ice levels to leave readers with the false impression that global warming isn’t real. After Will’s column was published, the University of Illinois’ Arctic Climate Research Center took issue with his use of their sea ice data, writing: “It is disturbing that the Washington Post would publish such information without first checking the facts.”
  • Will repeats science deniers’ discredited assertion that a scientific consensus about a global “cooling” crisis existed in the 1970s.

Comically, the greens allege that,

Unfortunately, the Washington Post has a pattern of printing demonstrably false assertions from science deniers. Post editors’ refusal to stand up for the truth strengthens the hand of polluting industries while irreparable harm is caused to our planet and its people.

The greens are demanding that,

the Washington Post correct demonstrably false statements in George Will’s column.

But Will’s statements are not false.

  • Will is correct about there being no warming since 1998 — e.g., check out this graph.
  • Will is correct about sea ice — it is higher today than 30 years ago.
  • As to a “consensus” 30 years ago on a looming ice-age, Will merely cited a number of major media that reported on the disaster-that-never-happened. Nevertheless, the National Academy of Sciences issued a report warning of a coming ice age in 1975, stating “A major climatic change would force economic and social adjustments on a worldwide scale… because the global patterns of food production and population that have evolved are implicitly dependent on the climate of the present century.” [Source: Newsweek – April 28, 1975 “The Cooling World“]. NASA warned of human caused coming ‘ice age’ in 1971. The Washington Post reported on July 9, 1971 that, “The world could be as little as 50 or 60 years away from a disastrous new ice age, a leading atmospheric scientist predicts.” NASA scientist S.I. Rasool, a colleague of James Hansen, made the predictions. The 1971 article continues: “In the next 50 years” — or by 2021 — fossil-fuel dust injected by man into the atmosphere “could screen out so much sunlight that the average temperature could drop by six degrees,” resulting in a buildup of “new glaciers that could eventually cover huge areas.” If sustained over “several years, five to 10,” or so Mr. Rasool est imated, “such a temperature decrease could be sufficient to trigger an ice age.” [Thanks to Marc Morano for the excerpts.]

Moreover, the Washington Post can hardly be considered as giving significant voice to climate skepticism. Other than the odd syndicated columns from Will, Charles Krauthammer, Robert Samuelson and perhaps a few others, the Post is a bastion of strident global warming alarmism.

What you need to do:

E-mail Washington Post ombudsman Andy Alexander at ombudsman@washpost.com and defend George Will’s right to dissent from global warming orthodoxy!

Green IT not so green

From a Feb. 24 University of Calgary media release:

Richard Hawkins, Canada Research Chair in Science, Technology and Innovation Policy, says there is no evidence that information technologies necessarily reduce our environmental footprint…

“It was once assumed that there was little or no material dimension to information technology, thus, it should be clean with minimal environmental impact… However, we are finding that reality is much more complicated.”

Firstly, Hawkins notes that digital technologies require a lot of energy to manufacture and eventually they create a huge pile of ‘electronic junk’, much of it highly toxic. They also use a lot of energy to
run. Some estimates are that they use up roughly the same amount of energy as the world’s air transport system.

Far from denying these environmental implications, Hawkins points out that many IT producers are gearing up to produce ‘greener IT’, using the environmental footprint as a marketing tool. “But probably most of the negative environmental impacts occur in the form of completely unintended, second and third order effects,” he says. “These ‘rebound’ effects may not be mitigated by inventing ‘greener’ IT products and, indeed, may be intensified by such changes.”

Rebounds occur when the use of IT contributes to or reinforces an increase in other activities that already have environmental effects.

“For example, technologies such as cell phones actually help us to become hyper-mobile,” he says. “We didn’t adopt the mobile phone so we could drive and talk on the phone, we adopted it because we were already driving so much. Creating a greener cell phone won’t reduce the impact of increased mobility. The real question is what amount of mobility is sustainable?”

Lefties recommend insulating poor from climate costs

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a left-leaning think-tank, has issued a new report concluding that global warming policies

…will significantly raise the price of fossil-fuel energy products — from home energy and gasoline to food and other goods and services with significant energy inputs… They will… cut into consumers’ budgets…

For the 60 million Americans in the bottom quintile of income (about $15,000 annually for a family of three), the CBPP says that

even a modest 15 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions would cost them an average of $750 a year in higher energy-related prices that result from the emissions cap.

The CBPP recommends that these families receive tax rebates to compensate them for the effects of higher energy prices.

Read the full CBPP report…

Canadian PM says energy realities trump greens on tar sands!

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said the following to Larry Kudlow on CNBC’s Kudlow Report tonight:

First of all, let me be clear about the importation [by the U.S.] of oil sands oil. Regardless of what any legislature does, the United States will be importing this oil because there is absolutely no doubt that if you look at the supply-and-demand pattern into the future, the United States is going to need Canadian oil. It is the one secure, growing market-based source of energy that the United States has. There will be no choice but to import this oil…

… any policy [to stop the importation of oil sands oil] is completely unrealistic if you look at American needs for energy and where Americans can get the supply at a reasonable price… we will do what we can to reduce the carbon footprint. But there should be no illusion that economic reality will hit those environmental policies pretty hard when one goes to implement them…

BTW, Larry Kudlow is an endorser of Steve Milloy’s upcoming book, Green Hell: How Environmentalists Plan to Control Your Life and What You Can Do to Stop Them.

Among many topics, Green Hell discusses how tar sands oil is a key means of providing affordable and secure energy and avoiding an environmentalist-induced oil/gasoline crunch.

Canadian PM Stephen Harper on tar sands oil (CNBC, Kudlow Report, at about 5:51 into clip)

Pickens says no one opposes his ‘Plan’

T. Boone Pickens said in an interview this morning on CNBC that,

… but know this… we’ve never had a person that stands up and says your plan is not good. Nobody has said that… I don’t know… there’s not many op-ed pieces or any thing…

But Steve Milloy has written six FoxNews.com columns critical of the Pickens Plan — one of which Pickens’ team responded to on FoxNews.com.

The Cato Institute’s Jerry Taylor has been critical of the Pickens Plan here and here.

Reece Epstein and David Ridenour of the National Center for Public Policy Research have a lengthy critique here.

Here’s a Wall Street Journal article about Pickens’ critics, who include FedEX CEO Fred Smith and former Kansas governor Bill Graves, who now heads the American Trucking Association.

There are plenty more who have stood up against the Pickens Plan. Yet Pickens denies their existence in his effort to “swiftboat” America into his make-Boone-richer-scheme.

And you thought global warming drove you crazy…

The Washington Post reported this morning of a Montgomery County, MD man who packed up his wife and twin 6-year-old girls and moved them to New Zealand — because of global warming.

The man told the Post,

I am not going to predict how the climate might change and how it might affect New Zealand… But quite honestly, I feel in 100 years, one of my daughters is still going to be alive and this planet is going to be a mess. If I didn’t have two daughters, I would not be doing this.

The Post further reported,

But he argued that people who do nothing in the face of risk are the ones who are being irrational: If even a fraction of the consequences of global climate change that scientists are forecasting come true, disasters such as Hurricane Katrina might become the norm, not the exception. In a world afflicted by overpopulation and environmental degradation, he asked, is the irrational person the one who acts or the one who says the future will look after itself?

The Post calls this “ecomigration.” Is that because “eco-insanity” is already taken?

Why doesn’t Al Gore get this question?

In its Feb. 22 interview of Dambisa Moyo, an African activist (the Anti-Bono) who condemns Western aid to Africa as perpetuating poverty, New York Times Magazine reporter Deborah Solomon asked Moyo whether she had a financial interest in a microfinance company mentioned in the interview.

Why is Al Gore never asked about his financial interests? He is, after all, a partner in UK-based Generation Investment Management and in the U.S.-based venture capital outfit, Kleiner Perkins. When Al Gore testified in the Senate in January, he never mentioned, and no Senator asked about the billions of dollars his firms stand to make off global warming regulations.

Are only politically incorrect activists suspected of profiteering?

Will Planet Earth sign a mercury emissions treaty?

The Washington Post reports that the Obama administration has embraced the idea of an international treaty to limit mercury emissions.

According to the EPA, the U.S. is only responsible for 3% of manmade mercury emissions — and U.S. emissions are on the decline. Let’s not forget that Mother Nature’s mercury emissions are thought to be on the same order as anthropogenic emissions.

Should we just let the world’s other emitters knock themselves out and leave us and our sovereignty alone?

Welcome to Green Hell….

… the blog, that is, as opposed to where we’ll be living if we let the environmentalists take over our lives.

Steve Milloy’s latest book Green Hell: How Environmentalists Plan to Control Your Life and What You Can Do to Stop Them is being published by Regnery Publishing in March 2009.

This blog will keep you current on Green Hell-related news and doings, and recommend actions you can take to combat Big Green Brother. You’ll also be able to share your own tales of green woe and to comment on posts!

If we are going to avoid living in a green hell, we will need to save ourselves!

The Futility of Hybrid Cars

By Steven Milloy
February 05, 2009, FoxNews.com

By Steven Milloy

Could plug-in hybrid cars actually increase greenhouse gas emissions? Is energy efficiency being oversold as a greenhouse gas reduction measure? A new report from the research arm of Congress raises troubling questions about the direction in which President Obama is taking us.

Produced by the Congressional Research Service (CRS), Carbon Control in the U.S. Electricity Sector: Key Implementation Uncertainties provides the lowdown on a variety of carbon control options for the electric power sector, including energy efficiency, renewable energy, nuclear power, advanced coal technology, carbon capture and sequestration, plug-in hybrid vehicles and small-scale power generation technologies.

President Obama has proposed that we reduce our CO2 emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. For the electric power sector, this goal translates to reducing what is projected to be 2.6 billion metric tons of CO2 emitted in 2020 to approximately the 1.8 billion metric tons of CO2 that were emitted in 1990 — a more than 30 percent reduction in emissions over a period of about 10 years.

Could this goal be achieved through gains in energy efficiency? Numerous private and government sources have claimed, after all, that 25- to 30-percent gains in efficiency are possible over a 5- to 15-year time horizon. But according to the CRS, “the diffuse nature of efficiency opportunity and the economic complexity of decision making” has historically made moving beyond the 5 percent to 7 percent electricity savings range “a persistent challenge to conservation proponents.” Although more aggressive policies could be attempted, the CRS says, there is “little track record upon which to base projections of future effectiveness.”

The CRS considered wind power and biomass as renewable energy sources. The main problem with wind, according to the report, is that while proponents assert wind could provide 20 percent of U.S. electricity needs, the U.S. electricity transmission network is already much constrained, with wind power producing only 1 percent of those needs. As much as 19,000 miles of new transmission lines would be needed to make wind work. The price tag — a net present value of $26 billion — isn’t the showstopper so much as public challenges to transmission line projects, which the CRS describes as “among the most serious and intractable challenges in the U.S. energy sector.”

The prospects for biofuels are worse. The CRS report cites sources that say a significant increase in biofuel production “would require harvesting various energy crops at a scale that vastly exceeds current practice.” A 2007 study from MIT estimated that as much as 500 million acres of land would be required, which would displace so much cropland that the U.S. would have to become a “substantial agricultural importer.”

Heavy use of biofuels, it seems, would simply move us from depending on foreign oil to depending on foreign food.

Nuclear power? Given the facts of green opposition to nuclear power and the decline in U.S. nuclear infrastructure over the last 30 years, the optimistic view for nuclear power is that we could perhaps build as many as 30 new U.S. reactors by 2030 — fewer than half the number constructed during the 1963-1985 heyday of nuclear construction. The pessimistic view, as cited by the CRS, is that we aren’t likely to see a serious ramp up of nuclear power for 15 to 20 years.

Although advanced coal technology can reduce CO2 emissions, the plants “still burn coal and — absent carbon capture technology — still release large volumes of CO2 to the atmosphere,” observes the CRS. So what about carbon capture and sequestration (CCS)? Should we hold our breath waiting for it? Not according to the CRS. Hardly anyone expects the first CCS projects to be constructed before 2020. Then again, there are so many hurdles for CCS to overcome, “one just has to put a big question mark on it,” the CRS cited a Department of Energy official as saying.

What about plug-in hybrid vehicles? When he was running for president, Obama pledged to put 1 million of the vehicles on the road by 2015. Aside from the question of how popular they’ll be with a projected retail price of $40,000 (as compared to $23,000 for a conventional vehicle), will they actually reduce carbon emissions? Only if the power plants they get electricity from produce little if any carbon. But since most U.S. electricity production is not carbon-free, the CRS observes that the “widespread adoption of plug-in hybrid vehicles through 2030 may have only a small effect on, and might actually increase, net CO2 emissions.”

The final carbon control options addressed by the CRS are the so-called “distributed energy resources” like rooftop solar panels, fuel cells, natural gas microturbines, small scale wind turbines, and combined heat and power systems (CHP), which makes productive use of “waste” heat from electricity generation. Of these resources, only CHP is economical, accounting for nearly 9 percent of U.S. electricity generating capacity in 2007. But according to the CRS, even CHP often faces technical and utility infrastructure barriers to implementation.

Combined with the dubious reasoning behind calls to reduce CO2 emissions — check out this YouTube video produced by JunkScience.com — and repeated avowals by China and India to not make any special efforts to reduce their CO2 emissions, the CRS report makes clear that significant U.S. carbon reduction could very well be little more than an expensive and painful exercise in futility.

Steven Milloy publishes JunkScience.com and manages the Free Enterprise Action Fund. He is a junk science expert, and an adjunct scholar at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

Al Gore and Venus Envy

By Steven Milloy
January 29, 2009, FoxNews.com

Al Gore has a new argument for why carbon dioxide is the global warming boogeyman — and it’s simply out of this world.

Testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday with yet another one of his infamous slide shows, Gore observed that the carbon dioxide (CO2) in Venus’ atmosphere supercharges the second-planet-from-the-sun’s greenhouse effect, resulting in surface temperatures of about 870 degrees Fahrenheit. Gore added that it’s not Venus’ proximity to the Sun that makes the planet much warmer than the Earth, because Mercury, which is even closer to the Sun, is cooler than Venus. Based on this rationale, then, Gore warned that we need to stop emitting CO2 into our own atmosphere.

Incredibly, not a Senator on the Committee questioned — much less burst into outright laughter at — Gore’s absurd point. In fact, each Senator who spoke at the hearing, including Republicans, offered little but fawning praise for Gore. It’s hard to know whether the hearing’s lovefest was simply an example of the Senate’s exaggerated sense of collegiality, appalling ignorance and gullibility about environmental science, or fear of appearing to be less green than Gore.

It is true that atmospheric CO2 warms both Venus and the Earth, but that’s about where the CO2 commonality between the two planets ends. While the Venusian atmosphere is 97 percent CO2 (970,000 parts per million), the Earth’s atmosphere is only 0.038 percent CO2 (380 parts per million). So the Venusian atmosphere’s CO2 level is more than 2,557 times greater than the Earth’s. And since the CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere is increasing by only about 2 parts per million annually, our planet is hardly being Venus-ized.

Gore’s incorporation of Mercury in his argument is equally specious because Mercury doesn’t really have any greenhouse gases in its atmosphere that would capture the radiation it gets from the Sun. As a result, the daily temperature on Mercury varies from about 840 degrees Fahrenheit during the day to about -275 degrees Fahrenheit at night. Mercury’s daily temperature swing actually belies Gore’s unqualified demonization of greenhouse gases, whose heat trapping characteristics tend to stabilize climate and prevent wild temperature fluctuations.

The significance of Gore’s testimony is that the Venus scenario seems to be his new basis for claiming that CO2 drives the Earth’s climate and, hence, his call that we must stop emitting CO2 into the atmosphere. At no time did he refer to his two An Inconvenient Truth-era arguments concerning the relationship between CO2 and global temperature — that is, the Antarctic ice core record that goes back 650,000 years and the 20th century temperature/CO2 record. There’s good reason for his apparent abandonment of these arguments — presented fairly, both actually debunk global warming alarmism. (Note: This YouTube video that I produced explains this point.)

Gore seemed to “wow” the Senate Committee with images and projections of environmental and even political upheaval allegedly already caused and to be caused in the future by climate change, such as melting glaciers and the 2007 fires in Greece that, Gore says, almost brought down the government. Gore repeatedly said that global warming threatens the “future of human civilization” and could bring it to a “screeching halt” in this century. Gore said that we are on a fossil fuel “rollercoaster” that is headed for a “crash.” We are near a “tipping point,” he said, beyond which human civilization isn’t possible on this planet.

Such melodrama, of course, is necessary to conceal and distract from the fact that there is no scientific evidence indicating that manmade emissions of CO2 are having any detectable impact, much less any harm, on the Earth’s climate or its population.

During his testimony, Gore invoked the specter of James Hansen, NASA’s global warming alarmist-in-chief, to bolster his climate claims. But like the ice core and 20th century temperature records, Hansen may soon have to be dropped from Gore’s presentations.

Hansen’s former NASA supervisor — atmospheric scientist Dr. John S. Theon, who recently announced that he is skeptical of global warming alarmism — recently wrote to Senate Environment and Public Works Committee staffer Marc Morano that, “Hansen… violated NASA’s official agency position on climate forecasting (i.e., we did not know enough to forecast climate change or mankind’s effect on it) … [and] thus embarrassed NASA by coming out with his claims of global warming in 1988 in his testimony before Congress.”

Commenting on another key deficiency in the manmade catastrophic global warming hypothesis, Theon also observed that “[climate] models do not realistically simulate the climate system… some scientists have manipulated the observed data to justify their model results… This is clearly contrary to how science should be done… Thus there is no rational justification for using climate model forecasts to determine public policy.”

The same could be said for Gore and his slide shows.

Venus envy? Yeah, why not? There’s no Al Gore there.

Steven Milloy publishes JunkScience.com and manages the Free Enterprise Action Fund. He is a junk science expert, and an adjunct scholar at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

Zero-Calorie Sin?

By Steven Milloy
January 22, 2009, FoxNews.com

If you thought the food nannies’ appetite for dictating what beverages you may enjoy would be satisfied by their crusade against regular, sugar-sweetened soda, think again. Their new battle cry is shaping up to be, “None of the calories but all of the sin.”

Government-funded researchers led by the University of Texas’ Jennifer Nettleton analyzed diet and health data collected from 6,814 adults and reported in the journal Diabetes Care (Jan. 16) that daily consumption of diet soda was associated with “significantly greater” risks of type 2 diabetes and “metabolic syndrome.”

Although the researchers perfunctorily acknowledged that their study doesn’t prove a causal connection between diet soda and health problems, they nevertheless spent a great deal of space suggesting why their results might be plausible.

They hypothesized that artificial sweeteners may: “increase hedonistic desires for sweetness and more energy dense foods”; reduce dietary guilt and facilitate the overconsumption of other foods; and affect biological processes related to insulin resistance, glucose regulation and weight gain.

Though they acknowledged that “empirical data have not universally supported” the first two hypotheses and that studies are “lacking” concerning the last hypothesis, none of this seemed to dissuade them from proclaiming that their results were consistent with “accumulating evidence of the existence of these associations.”

But rather than hypothesizing — or fantasizing — about why their results might be plausible and consistent, they should have taken a harder, more objective look at their data and statistics.

First, their reported statistical correlations between daily diet soda consumption and diabetes and metabolic syndrome — 67 percent and 36 percent increases in “relative risk,” respectively — are too small to be considered as reliable indicators of any sort of real-life associations. As the National Cancer Institute once went to pains to point out in a press release, “In epidemiologic research, [increases in risk of less than 100 percent] are considered small and usually difficult to interpret. Such increases may be due to chance, statistical bias or effects of confounding factors that are sometimes not evident.”

That suite of deficiencies is precisely the problem with the study and, for that matter, the several prior studies the researchers generously referred to as “accumulating evidence.”

Diabetes and metabolic syndrome are common conditions that are multifactorial in origin and, therefore, difficult to study through epidemiologic analysis. The researchers admitted that not all risk factors were considered. Overlooked, for example, was the confounding factor of genetics, a key risk factor for both type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Data on the study subjects’ genetics, such as family medical history, wasn’t collected and factored into the statistical analysis. Could this omission be important?

It is clear from the study analysis that the more confounding factors the researchers considered, the weaker their statistical correlations became. Had a more complete and thorough data collection and analysis been undertaken, it’s quite possible that even their weak correlations would have entirely evaporated.

Another glaring problem is that the researchers don’t really know how much diet soda any study subject consumed during the 8-year-long study. Instead, they relied only on study subject guesstimates of consumption made at the beginning of the study period.

While the study doesn’t appear to add anything meaningful to what we know about diet and health, it will no doubt add grist to the growing campaign against diet soda that was launched by a 2005 report, also from University of Texas researchers.

That study reported that diet soda drinkers were at greater risk of obesity than sugar-sweetened soda drinkers and concluded that artificial sweeteners “might be fueling — rather than fighting — our escalating obesity epidemic.” It was an awfully big conclusion to be drawn from a study where, among other deficiencies, the study subjects’ consumption of diet beverages was once again guesstimated, rather than verified or validated by the researchers.

But if a study has been published, it must be true, right?

In its January 2009 issue, the self-proclaimed “healthy lifestyle” magazine, Prevention, labeled diet soda a “health food impostor” and stated that, “Drinking just one can or bottle a day increases your risk of metabolic syndrome, which packs on heart-unhealthy belly fat. Sip flavored seltzer water instead. Steer clear of those sparkling waters that contain artificial sweeteners: they’re just diet soda in disguise.”

The Idaho-Statesman (Jan. 13) ran a column from the “YOU Docs”– Mike Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. — that warned readers, “See those people in the soda aisle? They all have something in common: a higher risk of heart disease. And you may be one of them, even if you drink only one 12-ounce soft drink daily — be it regular or diet.”

New York Governor David Paterson recently proposed to tax non-diet sodas based on dubious claims about their role in weight gain. It’s not too hard to figure out where the junk science railroad may be headed next.

Steven Milloy publishes JunkScience.com and manages the Free Enterprise Action Fund. He is a junk science expert, and an adjunct scholar at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.