The Week That Was
July 13, 2002

1. WE ALL KNOW THAT THE KYOTO PROTOCOL IS "FATALLY FLAWED" (George W. Bush); it is also unnecessary, ineffective, and costly. But it would be much more costly to US citizens than to others. Fred Singer's op-ed explains the economic analysis of Prof. Nordhaus






7. CO2 SEQUESTRATION FOILED. Myron Ebell sent us this classic from Greenwire, 3rd July 2002: "I guess some people just aren't interested in saving Mother Earth."


2. State Measure Seeks To Reduce Gases That Fuel Global Warming.

LA Times Staff Writers

July 2, 2002.

SACRAMENTO -- A measure that would make California the first state to regulate tailpipe emissions of greenhouse gases narrowly cleared the Legislature on Monday, setting up a political quandary for Gov. Gray Davis, who must choose between the environmental groups and business interests on opposing sides of the issue.

The bill by Assemblywoman Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills) has major national repercussions. Its goal is to reduce the release of carbon dioxide and other gases suspected of causing global warming. But its net effect would be tougher fuel efficiency requirements for automobiles and trucks sold in California, because the easiest known way to reduce the emissions is to build cars that burn less fossil fuels.

"We all know that the impacts of global warming are real," Pavley told the Assembly, citing studies that show that the Sierra snowpack, the concentration of snowfall that melts during the summer and feeds the state's streams, is shrinking because of the phenomenon.

Pavley's bill, AB 1493, does not state how emissions should be reduced in automobiles and trucks. Rather, it directs the California Air Resources Board to come up with regulations that "achieve the maximum feasible reduction of greenhouse gases" by 2005. The new standards would apply to vehicles from model year 2009 onward.

The legislation states that the air board must balance the call for maximum reduction with concerns over costs, and cannot ban SUVs or any type of vehicle. Nonetheless, its lack of specificity concerns the auto industry, which asserts that the bill could lead to the outlawing of trucks and minivans and raise costs on all vehicles sold in the state.


3. FISH SLUDGE: Every year, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dumps 200,000 tons of toxic sludge into the Potomac River -- an American Heritage Designated River, by the way -- and the Environmental Protection Agency thinks the sludge is good for the endangered fish in the river. Well of course, just one more example of the Bush administration wantonly destroying our precious environment. Environmentalists are expected to be outraged -- the media expected to be apoplectic. Oops! Turns out that the enviros couldn't care less, and most of the media haven't even bothered to mention it. Why? Because it wasn't the Bush EPA that justified dumping toxic sludge on the poor little fishies. It was the Clinton EPA that decided that toxic sludge is a good thing, in a report issued in 1998! Well, then, it must be OK, right? Perhaps the environmentalists will tell us again about the purity of their motives, tell us again how they are inspired solely to "save the planet", and not at all motivated by left-wing partisan politics.

Excerpted from CONGRESS ACTION: June 30, 2002


4. LET IT BURN: "Environmentally sound strategies such as forest thinning and controlled burns clear away small, dry, and disease-prone trees and underbrush that serve as kindling for fires and prevent healthy growth. …Yet standing in the way of these efforts are radical environmentalists who file litigation and seek to otherwise obstruct forest treatment. They would rather the forests burn than to see sensible forest management. As of last month, there were 5,000 legal challenges pending against the U.S. Forest Service, which devotes nearly 40 percent of its resources to defending against lawsuits and complying with environmental regulations." -- Arizona Senator Jon Kyl.

"…governors from Western states meeting in Phoenix this week launched a broadside against environmentalists, who the governors and others say have opposed controlled burns that would reduce fire-prone undergrowth. 'We've got to clean up these forests', [Arizona Governor Jane] Hull said. 'Mother Nature is telling us to do so.' " -- Arizona Republic (6/24/02).

"The Clinton and Bush administrations have pushed for some logging of dead or dying forests in particularly vulnerable areas, but have been stymied by lawsuits and protests from environmental groups." -- New York Times (6/24/02).

"In thrall to environmental groups, the Clinton-Gore administration cast aside decades of forestry experience in favor of an untested philosophy known as 'ecosystem management'. … Thus did the previous administration decrease logging by 80%, ram through regulations banning roads, and use federal and state species protection acts to declare off-limits large swaths of land. ... Because loggers have not been allowed to come in and aggressively clean up these areas, the forests are choked with deadwood and underbrush. Such 'fuel' buildups were the cause of last year's [2000] fires, the worst the country had seen in 50 years." -- Wall Street Journal (8/23/01).

Interior Secretary Gale Norton, asked if there any room for compromise, replied: "I think the concern that people have had in the past is in taking out those trees that are the forest giants, and there can certainly be disagreement about that. But I hope that there is a lot of room for common ground, on trying to find some ways to thin out the forests, because otherwise those forest giants are killed in these infernos, when they wouldn't have been in the natural fires." -- MSNBC (6/24/02).

Despite Norton's expression of hope for compromise with radical environmentalists, we can already see that the extremists have no intention of facing reality. A New York Times editorial blamed the ferocity of the fires on global warming, and former Interior Secretary Babbitt suggested that the fault lies with inadequate building codes. Several firefighters have already died fighting these fires. Millions of acres of forest and hundreds of homes and structures have been turned to ash. How much more death and destruction will be chalked up to environmental extremism?

We may get part of an answer as a result of legislation passed by the House this week. Congressman Doc Hastings [R-WA] sponsored H.R. 3971, ("To provide for an independent investigation of Forest Service firefighter deaths that are caused by wildfire entrapment or burnover"), because of the deaths of four firefighters in Washington state last July, and a Forest Service probe that ended with sanctions ranging from a "letter of reprimand to removal from federal service." Hastings wrote: "Senator Maria Cantwell and I have introduced legislation in each of our respective chambers that will ensure an independent government inspector will investigate future fire-related deaths of Forest Service employees. We hope such a tragedy never occurs again, but a change in standard operating procedure must be made so after-action investigations do not rest solely in the control of the Forest Service itself."

At the time of last year's fires, the Rocky Mountain News wrote, "Four firefighters might have lost their lives…because of red tape and the Endangered Species Act…". Congressman Scott McInnis (R-CO) said, "After aerial water drops were requested earlier in the day, dispatchers reportedly told crew bosses…that they could not scoop water out of the Chewach River because that could affect endangered species of fish…". Two former Forest Service firefighters said "getting permission to dip into the Chewach caused the delays that led to the death of their colleagues." H.R. 3971 passed the House, 377 to 0. The companion bill (S. 2471) is now languishing in Tom Daschle's do-nothing Senate.

Excerpted from CONGRESS ACTION: June 30, 2002 available at:


5. Holy Smoke!

We've been waiting, and it hasn't been long, for someone to say that our recent wildfire outbreak is caused by global warming and its attendant climate changes. And doggone it if Bob Herbert of the New York Times didn't oblige us on June 24:

...Enormous wildfires have been raging in bone-dry regions of the West and Southwest...In Colorado, which is enduring its worst drought in decades....the long drought and continued hot weather provided the conditions that enabled this [fire] to explode into an unprecedented conflagration... "Can you say global warming?"

Sure. We'll even help Bob along with a little quantitative analysis, something that appeared to be missing from his column. is the link to the rest of the story.

As loyal readers realize, the manifestation of global warming so far appears to be in the coldest months of the year in the coldest places on the planet. So how about this headline…

Economic Depression Stopped By Global Warming

That kind of effect-and-cause headline is precisely the kind of headline we read whenever climate change is purportedly found to be responsible for some calamity or other. So why not be just as blatant when some beneficial effect can be linked to human-induced global warming?

Last winter, the U.S. economy was heading for an all-out depression, but it didn't happen. Because of global warming.

In a new analysis conducted by Stanley Changnon, the dean of American climatologists, and his son David, a professor at Northern Illinois University, the warm and relatively snow-free winter of 2001-2002 saved U.S. consumers about $21 billion. Reduced heating costs alone generated an extra $7 billion in disposable income. Natural gas prices fell, owing to the reduced demand. Nearly $1 billion was saved in snow removal costs. Housing starts were up, and in some traditionally snow-bound locales, construction continued throughout the winter, netting an extra $2 billion for that industry. Transportation also benefited from fewer weather-related delays, and there was only one major weather-related catastrophe (a large ice storm) the entire winter.

To read more, click Scroll further down the page and you'll see…

This Just In: Rain Helps Plants Grow

Yep. That's the major finding of a new NASA-supported study just published by Ramakrishna Nemani and six colleagues.

Actually, there's a bit more to it than that. The United States has been getting wetter, particularly in the latter half of the 20th century. It's also been getting somewhat warmer as atmospheric carbon dioxide levels increase. So the environment for plant growth is more favorable than it's been since the Cretaceous.

The "problem," to the extent that you can use that term for something that is exactly the opposite, is that those growing plants are absorbing more atmospheric carbon than expected and are doing so at an increasing rate.

Globally averaged temperatures in month of May were nearly 0.2° warmer. But huge swathes of the planet's surface also were cooler. Check it out for yourself in this month's Earth Track at


6. Happy and Healthy in a Chemical World: Learn about Food, the Environment and your Safety. A new book by Dr. W. Alan Sweeney, available though, Amazon, or bookstores. A guide to chemicals, and common misconceptions relating to food, toxicity, pesticides, cancer, pollution, biodegradability, and risks from natural products. The scientific facts that will ease overblown fears about harmful effects of chemicals


7. Consortium Nixes Proposed CO2 Experiment Off Kauai

An international consortium has abandoned its plan to pump 22 tons of pressurized carbon dioxide into the waters off Kauai, Hawaii, officials said yesterday.

Officials moved the carbon sequestration experiment to Kauai after the consortium failed to obtain approval off the Big Island of Hawaii, but U.S. EPA officials confirmed that the consortium had withdrawn its permit requests for the project. Organizers of the experiment, who had been frustrated by bureaucratic delays, plan to move the project to Norway, where Greenpeace organizers are already gearing up to oppose it. The experiment would pump 5,000 gallons of liquefied CO2 into water 3,000 feet deep to measure how it dispersed and affected ocean chemistry, a possible building block to reducing the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere (Jan TenBruggencate, Honolulu Advertiser <>, July 2).

The Sierra Club of Hawaii and the Pacific Whale Foundation had lobbied the EPA to deny the permit, saying it would harm the marine environment and lead to large-scale ocean dumping off Hawaii. "We are encouraged that carbon dioxide dumping did not find a warm reception among Hawaii residents," said Jeff Mikulina, director of the Sierra Club's Hawaii chapter. "This experiment was hatched by the fossil-fuel industry to allow them to continue their polluting ways" (B.J. Reyes, AP/ San Francisco Chronicle online, July 2).




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