The Week That Was
August 19, 2000


Alan Caruba, a veteran science and business writer, is the founder of The National Anxiety Center, a clearinghouse for information on scare campaigns. With California running short of electric power, his timely commentary is excerpted from the July 28 "Warning Signs", a weekly column posted on the Center's website at

The Week That Was August 19, 2000 brought to you by SEPP


The liberal New Republic, of all journals, has been publishing politically incorrect items about global warming. The July 24 issue has some less than respectful remarks about our frequent opponent and GW promoter Michael Oppenheimer of Environmental Defense (formerly the Environmental Defense Fund), "whom the media, particularly the New York Times, insist on identifying as a "scientist" - even though he has no faculty affiliation and is a full-time employee of an advocacy organization with a fund-raising interest in greenhouse alarm. Now the Times has outdone itself. …not one but two columns by Bob Herbert on GW were sourced to Oppenheimer, not only quoting him extensively but promoting him from "scientist" to "chief scientist" of ED. It inconceivable that the Times or any other large news organization would credulously quote and identify a paid staffer of, say, the American Petroleum Institute as a "scientist." …people on the payrolls of groups like ED and API are advocates."

To which we say: Amen. The double standard practiced by the Times certainly shows.

The Aug 7 issue of TNR goes after environmental lobbies: "Economists sometimes point out that environmental strictures can actually cost lives by requiring that money be spent on conjectural problems rather than confirmed needs. So far, the main example of this "backfire effect" is asbestos removal, which wasted billions of dollars for a marginal or even negative effect on public health. Now consider this: … 29 pilots and crew members have died in crashes of logging helicopters since 1983…done to satisfy environmental rules, because it extracts trees without heavy rigs rumbling over sensitive land. The people dying are blue-collar men and women --- exactly the kind of people for whom the environmental lobbies show keen concern when the question is toxic exposure … Imagine how outraged [they] would be if 29 lives had been claimed by a new clear-cutting machine."

What's happening to the Gore-friendly TNR? Are they reading the SEPP web?



The White House has now decided that half of the US target for emission reductions can be reached by carbon sequestration in agricultural soils and forests. This attempt to make the KP palatable to the Senate and the public has true-blue enviros up in arms - calling Gore nasty names (while the Environmental Defense equivocates). These zealots don't really care about GW; their one goal is to cut energy use and economic growth. That's why they so strenuously oppose nuclear and promote uneconomic "renewables" like wind and photovoltaic.

Meanwhile in Europe: While France is sailing along nicely with 80% nuclear electricity, Royal Dutch Shell's Sir Mark Moody-Stuart is spouting the renewable gospel. Do these people really believe this? Britain is also fiddling with energy economics. To partially offset the new "climate change levy" (read: energy tax), they were forced to enact a $50 million subsidy for small businesses. But adding further distortion, they now require that more than half of this be spent on "renewables." Guess who profits and who pays!

To add injury to injury: The price of natural gas has nearly doubled in Britain because exports to the Continent are so profitable for Big Oil. (Yes, Sir Mark; explain that one.) Actually, the explanation is simple: On the Continent gas prices are not free (as in the UK or US) but are linked to the price of oil. Why? Well, it avoids competition, silly. [Glad you asked.]

Britain's environment minister Michael Meacham wants London to corner the lucrative market for carbon emission trading (potentially, that is; it all depends on whether Kyoto flies -and we wouldn't bet on it). But Meacham is betting $30 million (of taxpayers' money). That's nearly $50 million to hand out to compliant friends. What a way to get support for Kyoto! And it's only 1/10 of 1% of what Clinton/Gore want to spend - if Congress would let them.



A somewhat breathless eyewitness account from the North Pole in the NY Times (Aug 19). Harvard prof John McCarthy reports seeing some open water at the pole: Passengers on a Russian icebreaker cruise were filled with a "sense of alarm. Global warming was real." Hold your horses, John; climate models predict atmospheric warming but the atmosphere is not going along with the predictions.



Go to the Week That Was Index