|The Week That Was
October 19-25, 1998
A Washington Times report has it that President Bill Clinton will sign the Global Climate Treaty, possibly as early as next week, but will not submit the Treaty to the U.S. Senate for ratification before the next presidential election in 2000. This leaves it to Albert Gore to ride this hobby horse in his campaign for the presidency, and to Republican candidates to fall all over themselves to establish their Green bona fides. No one should forget that some of the worst Green regulation was set in place under the presidency of Republican George Bush.
Clinton, of course, has his reasons for not submitting the Treaty. The U.S. Senate has already signaled thumbs down, though the Republican-controlled Congress, hedging its bets in an election year, was happy to pony up $193 million to let Clinton/Gore see if they can seduce developing countries into mumbling something that sounds like a commitment. The Asian financial crisis has put something of a crimp in that project, but government zealots are still hopeful of getting China, India, Mexico and Brazil to agree to binding emissions targets. (Meanwhile, here in the United States, the number of large corporations, i.e. assets over $200 million, filing bankruptcy is up 57 percent, the highest figure since 1993. An omen?)
Scientific evidence is getting harder to pin down. Last year the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide was just 40 percent of that projected by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Increases in methane have virtually stopped. The European Space Agency, measuring the thickness and extent of Antarctic ice, found no change. ESA researchers concluded that the Antarctic ice cap is stable, and will remain stable for the foreseeable future. The October 16 issue of the journal Science, carried a research paper that concluded that vegetation in North America may be absorbing the entire annual carbon dioxide emissions of the United States and Canada.
Is a natural stabilization of the atmosphere in the works? And does this let the U.S. and Canada out of the climate treaty so that the bureaucrats can focus all of their attention on those too frequently exhaling folk in developing countries? Well, there's a monkeywrench there too. Columnist Ben Wattenberg reports that the United Nations has again scaled back its projections of world population growth, and that forecasts for the year 2050 will likely be 2 billion less than the UN forecast in 1994--8 billion worldwide, rather than 10 billion.
Wattenberg warns, however, not to expect the headlines to reflect the new numbers. "A single line of statistics can change the perception of the nature of the world," he says. "Data showing lower population growth than expected are often regarded as subversive for agenda-driven interests. For example, the root of the 'global warming' case is hinged in some large measure to ever-higher population numbers."
Still, the U.S. news media now has another two years to help the Greens link every weather-related phenomenon to global warming, and to then blame their distribution of such misinformation on "deadline pressure." On October 16, Curt Suplee of the Washington Post reported that an iceberg the size of the state of Delaware (92 miles long and 30 miles wide) had broken free from Antarctica, an event attributed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as "a possible indicator of global warming" (see European Space Agency report, above).
Paul Jensen, a fan of Steve Milloy's Junk Science Home Page, immediately consulted the 1996 edition of The American Navigator, a prestigious naval text updated annual since 1799. On page 748, Jensen found this: "In 1854 and 1855, several ships in the South Atlantic reported a crescent-shaped iceberg with one horn 40 miles long, the other 60 miles long, and with an embayment 40 miles wide between the tips. In 1927 a berg 100 miles long, 100 miles wide, and 130 feet high above the water was reported. The largest iceberg ever reported was sighted in 1956 by the USS Glacier, a U.S. Navy icebreaker, about 150 miles west of Scott Island. This berg was 60 miles wide and 208 miles long, more than twice the size of Connecticut. Icebergs ten miles or more in length have been seen on many occasions in the Antarctic."
Former U.S. government scientist Robert Stevenson reported to SEPP that "there have been at least five space shuttle missions since 1981 from which photographs have been taken of sub-Antarctic icebergs that rival the area, extent, lengths, and widths of most states in New England. One, about the size of Rhode Island, was seen by the astronauts in 1982 just south of the Falkland Islands."
In 1987, the Los Angeles Times reported that an iceberg 98 miles long and 25 miles wide had broken off in the Antarctic. Being that this was before the government decided to promote global warming hysteria, the event was regarded merely as a curiosity. Scientists attributed it to the usual causes of iceberg "calving" in the Antarctic--waves and tides
(If anyone would like to clue in Washington Post reporter Curt Suplee, his e-mail address is email@example.com. He no longer accepts e-mails from The Science & Environmental Policy Project. Pity.)
Although the Greens can still bank on the cooperation of a news media wallowing in self-imposed ignorance, the failure of science to support their agenda is making activists nervous. How long can they count on the vague and embarrassed allusions of government scientists to create the fearmongering necessary to sustain their movement? More and more we are seeing calls, like that from Britain's Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution, to base environmental policy less on science than on "public values" and "public opinion"--opinion warped by the kind of reporting noted above.
What it comes down to is what no one with any political ambitions has the courage to say: The Green movement is a poison spreading over the globe. It is not about clean air, clean water, and a love for nature. It is socialism without the pretense of concern for working class men and women. It is a movement driven by a wealthy, self-appointed elite hell-bent on micromanaging every aspect of personal behavior--but with the understanding that the regulations forced upon "the masses" will never apply to themselves. The Greens have infiltrated our corporate boardrooms and invaded our churches. They are strangling national governments. They are "leaders" for whom the most hated pollutant is a human being, and the most terrifying catastrophe, the greatest threat to the planet, is the birth of another child.
Earlier this year, physicist S. Fred Singer gave the keynote address at the annual meeting of the Philadelphia Society in Chicago. After laying out the non-case for human-induced global warming, he responded to the Green agenda with a quote from the Declaration of Independence: that defense of liberty is a cause to which "we pledge nothing less than our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor."
Next week, another costly UN global warming summit, this time in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Clinton/Gore point man, Undersecretary of State Stuart Eizenstat, warns us not to expect the same "spectacular diplomatic breakthroughs" they achieved in Kyoto.
The people of the world should be so lucky...
TW2 is compiled by SEPP Research Associate Candace Crandall