The Week That Was
August 12, 2000


An Exchange with Prof. Ray Bradley, Proponent of the "Hockeystick" Temperature Graph ("the last decade is the warmest in 1000 years"):

The Week That Was August 12, 2000 brought to you by SEPP


"At this point in the debate, it is intellectually dishonest and borders on fraudulent to continue to maintain that there is any reasonable basis to fear a coming climate apocalypse. Yet the scientific establishment continues to grind out tortured "studies" to prove black is white. Those involved in this charade are doing lasting damage to science and the reputations of scientists. Hell, you are no different than the worst lawyers - you will say whatever people want you to say so long as you are paid."

[Fred Palmer, president of the Greening Earth Society. 12 Jul 2000]


BBC News (8 June, 2000) reports that the world's largest non-governmental aid organization says the developed countries' polluting lifestyles represent a massive debt owed to the poor. The charge comes in the World Disasters Report 2000, published by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. The report says the developed world's pollution is heating the planet, with potentially drastic consequences for all on Earth. And it argues that everybody, rich and poor, should have an equal right to pollute the atmosphere.

[**That's a new entitlement we should take note of**]

The report says: "Reckless human use of fossil fuels - overwhelmingly by industrialized countries - has helped raise the specter of climate change, which darkens everyone's horizon. "But poor people in poor countries suffer first and worst from extreme weather conditions linked to climate change. Today, 96% of all deaths from natural disasters occur in developing countries.

[**To suggest that natural disasters , like earth quakes, volcanic eruptions, floods and tropical storms are caused by energy use in the US is ludicrous. Not even the IPCC goes that far. Now follows the usual recital of recent disasters and the whining of the re-insurance industry, which would love to raise its premiums by government mandate.]

The report argues that all nations will have to live within "one global environmental budget", which will mean a drastic change from the situation today, when "industrialized countries generate over 62 times more carbon dioxide pollution per person than the least developed countries." The report contrasts the monetary debts owed by developing countries to their wealthy creditors with the rich world's climate debt. It says the poorest states are owed up to three times as much in carbon credits as they owe in dollars. But the world's richest nations have amassed a climate debt totaling $13 trillion, the report says.

The Federation endorses the idea of contraction and convergence, which would mean that citizens of every country, rich or poor, would be entitled to emit the same amounts of climate-changing pollution, an idea pioneered by the London-based Global Commons Institute. Aubrey Meyer of GCI told BBC News Online: "This endorsement by the Federation, which is a fairly cautious group, shows that contraction and convergence is an idea whose time has come."

[**Those of us who have looked at the GCI proposal think it's the goofiest idea to come down the pike.**]

Finally, the report cannot argue against the facts or against what it calls "persistent skeptics." But it describes their arguments correctly: "Some researchers still doubt that human activities are inducing rapid climate change. They highlight the inconsistencies between the temperature records taken at the Earth's surface, which show rapid warming over the last two decades, and the data produced by satellite and balloon studies. These show little if any warming of the low to mid-troposphere - the atmospheric layer extending up to about 8km from the Earth's surface. Climate models generally predict that temperatures should increase in the upper air as well as at the surface if increased concentrations of greenhouse gases are causing the warming seen there."



Energy expert and former White House official Glenn Schleede challenges the "false and misleading information about wind energy" from the US Department of Energy (DOE) and various advocacy groups. He has released two self-financed analyses, now available without charge at:

1. "The US Department of Energy's 'Wind Energy Initiative': A Truly Unrealistic Proposal." It demonstrates that:

a. Windmills are NOT an environmentally benign energy source

b. Finding sites for many thousands of large windmills will be very difficult if not impossible.

c. The spate of windmills that was added in 1998 and 1999 was directly related to federal and state tax benefits, other subsidies, and state mandates that hide a large share of the true costs of wind energy by shifting those costs from windmill owners to taxpayers and electric customers.

2. "Is there a Better Alternative for the People of Wisconsin than the Large 'Wind Farm" Proposed for the Town of Addison, Wisconsin?" It evaluates a 33-windmill "wind farm" project proposed for an area about 40 miles northwest of Milwaukee. The report demonstrates that:

a. The potential benefits are truly insignificant when evaluated in their proper context.

b. Alternatives to the "wind farm" would more effectively achieve electricity supply and environmental objectives


German Diplom-Engineer Peter Dietze, commenting on the new German federal climate protection program [27 Jul 2000] Subsidies for mandatory renewable energy may range up to $0.50 per kW-hr, nearly 10 times present average cost. Photovoltaic roof installations get additional subsidies.

He concludes on a somber note: "Seems hardly possible to stop these people - certainly not with arguments based on science. Our economic decline follows inevitably."

When specialized knowledge of professional people is incomprehensible to the average man, he is apt to flounder between frustrated suspicion and excessive awe, leading him either to interfere unduly with professional independence or to accept naively every claim made by anyone who calls himself a professional. The relationship between the professional and the public is one of the central problems of our day.

Admiral Hyman G. Rickover, USN



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