The Week That Was
December 25, 1999 NEW ON THE SEPP WEB:

Greenies go bonkers when faced with scinetific facts that make mincemeat of their fondest hopes for an early apocalypse. During 1999, we lost Congressman George Brown (D-CA), a true gentleman and great friend of science. But his partisan staff is something else again and eager for political battles - science be damned. We received a personal letter of regret from Mr. Brown after we sent him a response to the report.

It is with great regret and sadness that we announce the untimely death of Dr. Helmut Metzner, Professor Emeritus of Plant Physiology at the University of Tuebingen, Germany. He was the president of the European Academy for Environmental Affairs (EAU).

Helmut was a great scientist, whose interest spanned many areas. He published books touching on science and philosophy. The most recent one is "Vom Chaos zum Bios" (From chaos to life), where he expresses his thoughts about the phenomenon of Life, based on solid science.

The Academy is an active research organization, lately concerned with biological methods of pollution control, especially of soils. It had many distinguished non-scientist members, including two cardinals and leading European political figures. Metzner organized three international conferences dealing with climate change, including the Leipzig Conference of 1995 that led to the Leipzig Declaration. He also participated with SEPP in a public debate on global warming in 1997 at the Austrian Parliament.

He was an esteemed colleague and dear friend. He will be greatly missed. The Leipzig Declaration is a fitting memorial to his efforts to promote sound science

The Week That Was December 25, 1999 brought to you by SEPP


Eliminating inert and nonflammable CFCs from spray cans has created a slew of other problems. In 1987 the EPA started thinking about warning consumers that aerosol cans charged with propellants such as propane and butane pose fire and explosion hazards to users. For the last 12 years the EPA and aerosol manufactures have been fighting about whether to label the cans as "extremely flammable" (preferred by EPA) or "highly flammable." In the meantime, at least 40 deaths can be blamed on explosions or fires caused by "total-release foggers," what consumers call bug bombs. So far at least no concern has been expressed about the air pollution caused by these propellants.

Talking of CFCs reminds us that the Global Environmental Fund (GEF) of the World Bank plans to spend more than $450 million over the next three years to wean away developing countries from CFCs. You know, of course, where this money comes from and you may remember where I end up. [If you've forgotten, just click here and here]


Canada is still trying hard to meet the Kyoto mandates, but the federal government is meeting strong resistance from Alberta and other provinces. The Federal Environment minister David Anderson is considering an energy tax and other measures (as yet unspecified), warning that voluntary reductions will not be enough. He concedes that some of the measures under discussion may make life in Canada "a little less attractive than it is now." Alberta's treasurer accuses him of destroying peoples' futures by taking away their job. "It sounds like he is coming from the Al Gore school of panic environmentalism."


Now for a little comic relief, courtesy of Congressman John Peterson of Pennsylvania, who commented on climate change in a Dear Colleague letter:

"It has long been known"... I didn't look up the original reference.

"A definite trend is evident"... These data are practically meaningless.

"While it has not been possible to provide definite answers to the questions"... An unsuccessful experiment, but I still hope to get it published.

"Three of the samples were chosen for detailed study"... The other results didn't make any sense.

"Typical results are shown"... This is the prettiest graph.

"These results will be in a subsequent report"...I might get around to this sometime, if pushed/funded.

"In my experience"... once

"In case after case"... twice

"In a series of cases"... thrice

"It is believed that"... I think.

"It is generally believed that"... A couple of others think so, too.

"Correct within an order of magnitude"... Wrong.

"According to statistical analysis"... Rumor has it.

"A statistically oriented projection of the significance of these findings"... A wild guess.

"A careful analysis of obtainable data"... Three pages of notes were obliterated when I knocked over a glass of pop.

"It is clear that much additional work will be required before a complete understanding of this phenomenon occurs"...I don't understand it.

"After additional study by my colleagues"... They don't understand it either.

"Thanks are due to Joe Blotz for assistance with the experiment and to Cindy Adams for valuable discussions"... Mr. Blotz did the work and Ms. Adams explained to me what it meant.

"A highly significant area for exploratory study"... A totally useless topic selected by my committee.
"It is hoped that this study will stimulate further investigation in this field"...I quit.

And so do we. That's all for the 20th century…See you again in the 21st…

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