|The Week That Was
February 10, 2001
Ted Rockwell is an associate scientist of SEPP. Here is an excerpt from a letter he wrote to the new EPA administrator Christie Whitman:
"Decades of research world-wide demonstrate that the low levels of radiation to be regulated - which are far lower than even the variations in the natural radiation background we encounter - are harmless, and can, in fact be beneficial. This is a universal biological principle, stated by Paracelsus in 1540: 'Nothing is poison, but the dose makes it so.' Toxicologists recognize this when they tried to set permissible levels of poisons at ever lower numbers - they ran into the Recommended Daily Allowances set by nutritionists for selenium, boron, manganese, chromium, et al. These deadly poisons are essential, in small quantities, to our health and survival. In addition to biological theory, the harmlessness of low-dose radiation has been demonstrated at the molecular and cellular levels, and in micro-organisms, plants and larger animals, including much clinical and epidemiological data on humans.
Although the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is the historic radiation guardian, EPA has been invading this turf, starting with its 'discovery' that radium and radon present a fear-inspiring public hazard, calling for regulation. The Clinton Administration has encouraged EPA in this, and private industry, as well as regulatory bureaucracies and research organizations, have found that fear of radiation creates much lucrative activity. Therefore, evidence of radiation's benefits is suppressed, distorted, and dismissed without confronting and dealing with the data.
This situation, however, is coming to an end. Scientists not beholden to the radiation-protection community are increasingly concerned with this discrepancy between policy and data. One prominent scientist called it 'The greatest scientific scandal of the century.' The first action to rectify this obvious disconnect will be followed by a chorus of policy-makers anxious to be seen on the side of Truth. Therein lies your opportunity.
When EPA presented this new rule [setting radioactivity goals in water at zero!] in proposed form for public comment, it received detailed documented scientific evidence of its invalidity. EPA chose to dismiss this evidence without refuting it, and will, as a consequence be taken to court for arbitrary and capricious rule-making. EPA has lost several similar cases recently and had its rules vacated. I urge that you have this radiation evidence evaluated by scientists not beholden to previous policy, and if you find it as persuasive as it appears, a new rule consistent with the data can be developed."
The Week That Was February 10, 2001 brought to you by SEPP
A recent op-ed in The Washington Times suggests that new EPA Administrator Christine Whitman "will have her work cut out for herself trying to restore the credibility of an agency whose misuse of science has cost the nation dearly." Bonner Cohen, a senior fellow at the Lexington Institute, points out several instances of the agency's misuse of science and acceptance of inappropriate actions toward its scientific advisors. Cohen pays particular attention to recent actions surrounding meetings of EPA's Science Advisory Board subcommittee for the dioxin reassessment. He describes how EPA allowed activists from the Center for Health, Environment and Justice (CHEJ) to disrupt the meetings and harass individual participants, noting that "the most serious threat to the scientific integrity of the dioxin reassessment process came not from the environmental activists who disrupted the meeting, but from the EPA bureaucrats who allowed it to happen.
KYOTO AND THE PRECAUTIONARY PRINCIPLE
Kyoto is analogous to a ship at sea where there might be icebergs. See if you can identify all the characters in the story:
"Fearing the worst, the navigator suggests that everyone should man the lifeboats. Pondering this, the captain ignores the engineer who is trying to point out that nobody has actually seen an iceberg, the new-fangled radar shows no icebergs on the horizon, and if we got everyone up now, they'd be too tired to respond properly in a real emergency. Meanwhile, the cruise director has been making announcements over the PA system that icebergs are everywhere and that the ship is bound to hit one, and the ship's nurse is warning that exposure to icebergs causes colds."
CLIMATE AND WORLD HISTORY
How would world history have changed if it hadn't rained so hard in the year 1529? The Turks would have conquered Vienna and the US might never have been formed .
Speculative but who can tell ? Read Walter McDougall's essay in ORBIS, the journal of the Foreign Policy Research Institute. Contact is: firstname.lastname@example.org
BACK TO KYOTO
SFS Letter to Washington Post (submitted but not printed), commenting on their Jan 23 front-page story about the IPCC Summary
"Readers are understandably confused when scientists disagree. The UN-sponsored IPCC group (or at least their spokesman in Shanghai) claims that the climate has warmed in the last 50 years and that computer models predict a rise of more than 10 degrees F in the next 100 years with all sorts of dire consequences. Other scientists (including myself) see little or no warming since about 1940 and therefore do not put much faith in these theoretical forecasts. What's going on here?
The explanation is simple. The IPCC is quoting a past temperature rise by averaging data from all surface thermometers, including poorly characterized measurements of the sea surface. The so-called "skeptics" point to the absence of a temperature rise from well-controlled weather stations in the United States, where the local heating from urban effects can be eliminated. More important, the truly global data from weather satellites show no appreciable warming tend since 1979, and these results are independently confirmed by instruments carried in weather balloons.
Finally, we have further temperature data that don't rely on instruments but come from "proxies" like tree rings, ice cores, and ocean sediments. While they all evidence a pre-1940 warming trend (starting in the 19th century when human influences were minor), they do not show a trend since about 1940. (The data from glaciers, sea ice and sea level rise are in good accord with these findings.)
Hence our conclusion: The balance of evidence suggests that climate has not warmed appreciably in the past 60 years. We expect future climate effects from human activities to be barely detectable and certainly inconsequential.
FROM KYOTO TO CALIFORNIA
The power crisis in California is only a prelude to what will come if the Kyoto treaty on global warming is adopted. It is not likely the issue will go away, because too many people have built their careers on it.
The Kyoto accord has not yet been ratified by any industrialized nation.
Cooler heads have prevailed because, if adopted, it would restrict the energy use of industrialized nations by between 30 percent and 40 percent within a decade.
While a United Nations science panel has once again predicted a rise of more than 10 degrees Fahrenheit in global temperatures over the next 100 years, other scientists have detected little or no warming since about 1940 -- and they do not put much faith in the U.N.'s theoretical forecasts.
Moreover, global data from satellites show no appreciable warming trend since such measurements commenced in 1979 -- and those results are independently confirmed by instruments carried in weather balloons.
So contrary to assertions by global warming adherents, the evidence supporting their stand is not a settled scientific issue.
Source: S. Fred Singer (University of Virginia), "Global Warming Rewarmed," Washington Times, February 2, 2001.
SO WHERE DID IPCC GET ITS HIGH TEMPERATURE?
Vincent Gray, our New Zealand correspondent, explains:
"I am forwarding the response by Martin Manning (Vice Chairman of IPCC Working Group II) to my analysis of the reasons for the very high temperature increase claims for 2100 made by the Third Assessment Report (TAR).
He agrees with me that these high figures mainly resulted from the addition of a very high scenario in between the First and Second Drafts of the TAR. He also agrees that they are partly due to the assumption of lower aerosols in 2100 for all the scenarios.
You should also note his statement that this was not done by climate scientists, many of whom think it to be unrealistically high, but by the scenario people "in particular in response to final government review comments". It was a last minute addition to the Report on Emissions Scenarios, appearing after the Second Draft. Martin confirms my contention that it was politically inspired, and not accepted by many scientists.
A DUTCH SAYING
appropriate to the Hague conference and the IPCC:
"Men mag de waarheid niet verwarren met de mening van de meerderheid".
"One Should not Confuse the Truth with the Opinion of the Majority"