The Week That Was
February 3, 2001


Marlo Lewis, now with Reason Foundation, deals in a masterful way with the "precautionary principle" and its misapplication to global warming and the Kyoto Protocol.

The Week That Was February 3, 2001 brought to you by SEPP


The article linked below describes an event scheduled for 9:30 am, February 8, 2001, at the National Press Club, Washington, DC - a debate between the Rt. Hon. John Gummer, MP and Dr. Alan Keyes - on the Future of the Kyoto Protocol.

Please help us contact the appropriate members of Congress and Congressional staff, as well as appropriate agency staff, and others in the DC area who will benefit from hearing the views of these two gentlemen.

Questions about this event may be directed to Henry Lamb, 901-986-0099.


Within 90 minutes of taking office, President Bush issued orders to block President Clinton's flurry of last-minute executive orders and rules. The Government Printing Office was instructed to halt publication of new rules in the Federal Register to afford the new administration time to review "any new or pending regulations." A 60-day stay on published, but unimplemented, regulations was imposed as well. Democrats warned they would be watching carefully for any signs the administration intended to do anything "conservative" that would cast doubts Bush was really trying to mend "political wounds from the election." Senate Minority Leader, Daschle, (D-SD) added, "there would be very serious repercussions were they [Clinton's orders] to be terminated this quickly."

Like what??


From the NY Times (Feb 2)

Power Politics by GAIL COLLINS

"California, as everybody now knows, screwed up its electric utility deregulation."

Perhaps also, should we be referring to the Cal "brown-outs" as "Green-outs"?

Latest news: California will buy power on long-term contracts and permit consumer rates to rise. But much of the California legislature opposed Gov Gray's plan to put the state into the energy business. It is denounced as a bailout of the utility companies facing bankruptcy.

Items of interest here:

Southern California Edison's CEO, John E. Bryson's salary for 1999 was $999,000.00. His bonus for 1999 was $1,260,000.00.

Robert D. Glen, CEO of Pacific Gas & Electric, earned well over $2,000,000.00 in salary and bonuses for 1999.

SEPP comment: We (not being shareholders) are delighted to see their "astuteness" thus rewarded. Just for the record, S. David Freeman, head of the municipal utility LA Department of Water and Power (and former head of TVA), managed to stay out of this mess.

Here are some interesting snippets from our readers:

"Governor Davis is going out for bids on electric power: The 6.9-cent number was a *weighted * average of the bids, with no explanation of the weighting or the terms of the actual bids -- which have been sealed.

I suspect the regulators advising Davis mutilated the bids to make it appear that they might be somewhere near the 5.5-cents the Governor wanted. E.g.:

30 bids for 6 months in off-peak time for 12-cents/KwH
8 bids for 1 year at 15-cents/KwH
1 bid for 10 years at spot minus 1-cent, translating to an average bid of 4-cents using the previous 10 years average.

Result? A "weighted average" of 6.9-cents/KwH!"

"Everyone also seems to overlook the fact that state brokerage of resources is the same as any other. Every KwH purchased is deducted from the available supply for other brokers. As a result, the price from those broker's increases -- particularly at peak times when the state's contracts are inadequate. The result is an increase in peak electric spot prices, which has been the cause of the huge price differential all along. Result: Rolling "Gray-outs" for the next decade!

NOW WHAT? We are sure that the governor would like to have yr ideas. His email address is: GRAYDAVIS@GOVERNOR.CA.GOV

The wind advocates -- particularly FPLEnergy -- are getting favorable press. (The Wall Street Journal had another puff piece late last week.) But they haven't reckoned with Glenn Schleede who plans to do another paper on wind energy soon. It probably will be titled "The False Promises of Wind Energy." It will deal with the Oregon project and some others.

[As you may know, the 1.7 cent production tax credit is available only to projects that come on line by December 31, 2001. Thus, all the wind PR efforts will be focused on getting that extended. Senator Grassley (R-IA) now chairs Senate Finance and Iowa loves wind energy. The business community loves tax shelters so there will be a lot of sympathy.]

But wait. Cal is not yet finished doing themselves in.

In the midst of an electric power shortage, the California Air Resources Board voted to require manufacturers to provide 22,000 electric cars for sale to Californians in 2003 ... never mind that their effective range is about 75 miles (less if they get stuck) in a freeway jam, and they cost by CARB's own admission $22,000 more than a comparable gasoline powered car ... is this madness or what?

"Zero-emission vehicles have such potential to address so many problems: public health concerns, global climate change, energy diversity," said Alan C. Lloyd, chairman of the air board. "Clean vehicle technology is advancing on a number of fronts. The program is designed to take advantage of those advances."

In its vote, the CARB rejected the recommendation of its own staff to ease its requirements. [We suppose that the staff was trying to tell its bosses in a nice way that they are all wet.]

The worst part: This decision triggers similar requirements in the states of New York, Massachusetts and Vermont. It will also increase the cost of cars to ALL consumers as the companies spread the inevitable losses. These are all Al Gore states. Why are we not surprised


Headline in Science (Jan 26, 2001): "It's Official: Humans are behind global warming"

Hard to fathom, but the sophisticated Science writer Richard Kerr seems to have swallowed the IPCC line that "most of the observed warming of the last 50 years is likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations." This ignores the fact that the overwhelming evidence from various data sources shows NO warming in the past 50 years.

One of the stalwarts is quoted as being most impressed with the proxy record as showing an unusual warming in the 20th century. And how do we know that the rise is "unusual?" The IPCC is said to base its conclusion on such "advances" as computer models that calculate "how much of the past warming might be due to natural climate fluctuation." Unbelievable!

Here is our OPEN LETTER we sent to the author, senior writer Richard Kerr:


I am disappointed by the lack of balance in yr story in Science (Jan 26); it's not like you:

1. There is no mention of the satellite data that show NO recent warming, or of the recent NRC report that validates the satellite data.

2. The proxy evidence is not as clear-cut as Mann (and IPCC) make it out to be. For example, Briffa and others, using similar data, get a contrary result about the Medieval Climate Optimum and Little Ice Age: The 20th century is not the warmest in the last 1000 years. (And why is 1000 years so special?)

3. The claim that models can get a believable value for NATURAL climate variability is simply not credible.

4. This is supported also by the graph shown in the Science story; it must use (flexible and likely arbitrary) adjustments from solar and volcanic forcing to reproduce a recent climate record (which I consider suspect since it is contradicted by all other observations). No mention in the graph caption of the uncertain effects of various aerosols.

5. The farfetched possibility that by 2100 the climate "could warm 10 times as much" [as it did since 1900] was slipped into the IPCC Summary during the governmental review phase. This upper limit has little to do with climate science but is based on unlikely population and energy consumption scenarios. Anyway, it was not present when I reviewed the earlier draft version that was sent to scientific experts. I wonder how many other reviewers noticed this change?

6. Finally: Does the panel report ("approved by 100 participating governments in Shanghai") and press release -- the basis for your story -- really represent "the consensus of hundreds of participating scientists," as claimed? The only evidence cited is quotes by Albritton and Oppenheimer, two acknowledged cheerleaders for manmade global warming. What about IPCC chapter authors Richard Lindzen and John Christy, and official reviewers like me?

I am surprised that you went along with the IPCC propaganda exercise. Unfortunately, your endorsement will be widely cited and cause great harm.

Regards, Fred

PS Attached is my presentation of Jan 16 at the AMS meeting in Albuquerque.


News release for AMS mtng Paper of Jan 16 (PM), 2001


S. Fred Singer
Science and Environmental Policy Project, Arlington, VA, USA <>

The balance of evidence suggests that the climate is not warming appreciably, contrary to expectations. A U.S. National Research Council report [1] has highlighted but not explained the disparity between different data sets: While a variety of surface thermometers report a substantial warming trend, microwave sensing units (MSU) on weather satellites, and also radiosondes carried in weather balloons, show little if any warming of the atmosphere in the last twenty years. As is well understood, however, climate models predict the exact opposite, namely a stronger warming trend for the atmosphere than for the surface.

After further investigating this puzzling discrepancy involving different observing methods as well as theoretical models, we hypothesize that the recent surface warming trend may not be credible. We note that while there is general agreement that the global climate warmed BEFORE 1940, and then cooled slightly until about 1975, the well-controlled surface temperature data for the United States and for Europe do not show any appreciable post-1940 warming, after correction for local urban warming ("heat islands"). This lack of warming throws further doubt on the reported global surface trend [2].

Further, proxy temperature data from tree rings, ice cores, etc. show no post-1940 warming trends either; many even show a cooling trend after 1940. The observations of Arctic sea-ice shrinking, deep-ocean warming, and glacier-length changes can be readily explained as a delayed consequence of pre-1940 climate warming; they are all in good accord with the hypothesis that the Earth's climate has not warmed appreciably in the past 60 years.

In particular, we can show that the rise in sea level during the 20th century, about 18 cm (7 inches), is simply part of the ongoing trend that has raised the level by 120 meters (400 feet) since the peak of the last ice age some 18,000 years ago. Unless a new ice age intervenes, we expect this same trend to continue for the next 5000 years or so as a result of the slow melting of Antarctic ice sheets, irrespective of any human activities.
1. National Research Council. "Reconciling Observations of Global Temperature Change." National Academy Press. Washington, DC., Jan. 2000.

2. IPCC. "Climate Change 1995." Cambridge University Press, Cambridge,

S. Fred Singer, an atmospheric physicist, is professor emeritus of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia, and the president of the Arlington, VA-based Science & Environmental Policy Project, a non-profit policy institute. [SEPP is an association of working scientists concerned with providing a sound scientific base for environmental policies.] He has held several academic and governmental positions, including as the first director of the US Weather Satellite Service (now part of NOAA), deputy assistant administrator for policy of the Environmental Protection Agency, and most recently, chief scientist of the U.S. Department of Transportation. He devised the instrument used to measure stratospheric ozone from satellites and was first to point to and calculate the human-based production of atmospheric methane, an important greenhouse gas and source of stratospheric water vapor. He is author and editor of a number of books, including Global Effects of Environmental Pollution (Reidel Publishing Company 1970), Global Climate Change (Paragon House 1989), and Hot Talk, Cold Science: Global Warming's Unfinished Debate (Independent Institute 1997 and 1999).


A letter from Prof. Alan Robock to a fellow faculty member at Rutgers University who questioned the propriety of using state funds to conduct a propagandizing workshop:

"If you will read the just released IPCC report you will find that the global scientific community agrees that most of the warming of the past century was anthropogenic, and that, if humans do not drastically change our ways, there will be considerable warming and sea level rise in the next century. Opposition to this view is political and not scientific. I know of no credible scientific opposition that deserves attention. If you can be more specific about your allegations, I will look at them, but I am afraid you are not well informed."

[Alan Robock is the editor of the Journal of Geophysical Research (Atmospheres)]

Comment: I know Robock well and have debated him in the past. He has a completely closed mind and I have given up on him. The worst part is that he has become editor of the flagship journal of the AGU, my major professional society. How will he deal with papers that he disagrees with philosophically? And how will he choose referees?

This is becoming a widespread problem. I am glad therefore that he displays his bias so openly. It may help to sensitize the scientific community to the issue of editor bias. I hope we don't have move to a "litmus test" before we appoint editors.


Monday January 29 5:35 PM ET
Global Warming May Cause Tempers to Flare
By Keith Mulvihill
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - If predictions of global warming hold true, increases in violent crime and bloodshed may accompany rising temperatures, a US researcher said Monday.



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