The Week That Was
October 23, 1999


We reprint here an article by Jonathan Rauch in the National Journal (Sept. 18, 1999) which supplies some thoughtful answers to our question why the Administration is hyping global warming .


How did climate shape up during the previous interglacial period (Eemian) (from 117,000 to 132,000 years ago)? Except for oscillations in temperature going in and going out of the roughly 15,000 year interval, the Eemian was similar to the present Holocene interglacial in terms of showing a low level of climate variability. The data were obtained from a core drilled in an ancient lake bed in northwest Greece. The resolution was about 100 years. This result supports the idea that warm interglacial periods, which also show a higher level of carbon dioxide, evidence a more stable climate pattern than intervening ice ages. Since the goal of the Climate Treaty translates to more climate stability, shouldn't we be increasing CO2 instead of limiting emissions?

[Ref: Frogley, M.R., P.C. Tzedakis, T.H.E., Heaton, Climate Variability in Northwest Greece During the Last Interglacial. Science 285, 1886-1889, 1999.]


Our associate, Ted Rockwell, wrote this Letter, published in Nuclear News:

"It is tempting to view the challenge to current low-level radiation standards as a contest between the advocates of nuclear energy who want standards as lax as possible versus those who oppose nuclear energy, and all radiation, for whatever reason. This view puts regulators comfortably in the middle, between "on the one side, for instance, Bernie Cohen, Ludwig Feiendegen and Myron Pollycove, and on the other side, John Gofman, Ted Radford and Helen Caldecott," as the President of the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP) recently wrote. And it ignores the scientific evidence.

In this framework, the issue can be viewed as profits versus public safety. Profit is indeed a factor, but not as usually portrayed. The important fact here is that much, if not most, of the money being made today by "the nuclear community" is heavily dependent on maintaining the public fear of low-level radiation and the belief that its health effects are not well understood. This fact applies to the regulators, the scientific researchers, the laboratories, the health physics professionals, and the corporations large and small whose incomes and reputations derive from the current policy of protecting against ever smaller levels of radiation, far below natural backgrounds, far below even the variation of natural background from one place to another. These are the people and the organizations that are fighting tooth and nail against any attempt to expose the fact that hundreds of billions of dollars are being spent for no discernible public benefit.

This situation has been called "the greatest scientific scandal of the century" and "immoral uses of our scientific heritage" by two of our greatest radiation pioneers, Gunnar Walinder, radiobiologist in Sweden, and Lauriston S. Taylor, the first President of NCRP. .

It is simply not true that there is insufficient scientific evidence to declare these low levels of radiation harmless. Hundreds of high quality research studies refute the claims on which current policy is based. Despite efforts to defund, discredit, ignore and misrepresent this evidence, the data have been assembled, analyzed, presented formally to policy-makers and published in the literature. But the evidence is simply not considered seriously by the policy-makers and their carefully selected advisory committees.

That is why it is so important that the next committee to undertake yet another three-year review of the situation (BEIR VII) not be made up of the same clique that has sustained the status quo for so long. These people come from several prestigious institutions, and it is easy to argue that all these institution cannot be tainted. But the institutions are tainted to the extent that they permit their members to substitute ideology for science, and more so when the institution itself engages in cover-ups and manipulation of data. These tactics may serve the short-term goals of individuals, but they will kill the golden goose if not faced up to and repudiated. This situation is now being thoroughly investigated; the truth will eventually out; and people are even now deciding what they want to be seen doing when the spotlight shines on them, as shine it surely will.

And anti-nukes will have to decide: how long will their professed love of the earth and public health continue to be subordinated to a hatred of corporations and technology? The issue is not industry vs. antis; it's science vs. politics, on both sides."


From the reader who sent us the Rauch article "Gore in the Balance":

"Environmentalism, bordering on Wikkan or Hopi reverence for nature, is the left wing's religion. The worst-case scenario is a symptom and a cause of modern civilization's dispiriting alienation from the natural world. 'No wonder we are lost and confused,' says Gore: we have lost our Neanderthal respect for Nature as God. 'Either we move toward the light or we move toward the darkness,' says Earth in the Balance. From now on, 'we must make the rescue of the environment the central organizing principle for civilization.' In other words, we must forsake wealth, health and all the other benefits of science and logic, to subjugate human aspirations to the whims of nature.

Sounds to me like a good argument for NOT providing people ANY assistance from earthquakes, volcanoes and hurricanes! Gore's utopian future is mud huts, wooden spears, and walking the road to human oblivion."

We are not convinced that Gore would really go this far, but his eco-extremist supporters might.


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