|The Week That Was
October 18, 2003
1. New on the Web: MEDICAL ENTOMOLOGIST PAUL REITER TAKES ON THE MOSQUITO-GLOBAL-WARMING HYPE.
2. RUSSIANS GET IT RIGHT ON KYOTO
3. Meanwhile "MCLIEBERMAN" BILL TO BE DEBATED IN SENATE
4. For a contrary view .KYOTO DOWN THE DRAIN? WHAT NEXT?
5. Not withstanding all this EU REACHES EMISSION TRADING AGREEMENT
6. EU BLACKMAILING RUSSIA?
7. MORE IMPRESSIONS FROM MOSCOW CLIMATE CONFERENCE
8. BRADLEY FOUNDATION AWARDS PRIZES
9. WHAT WILL KEEP THE KYOTO PROCESS GOING?
by Tom Randall
While Russia prepares to kill the Kyoto Protocol, Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Joseph (D-CT) are preparing to bring to the Senate floor their Climate Stewardship Act (S. 139) which is nothing more than a unilateral move to cripple the U.S. economy with restrictions on emissions of carbon dioxide.
Comment 1: It is ironic that Russia would opt for free-market growth while two U.S. senators push for old Soviet-style control of the means of production.
Comment 2: The McCain-Lieberman bill is virtually a twin of the Kyoto Protocol, which the Energy Information Administration found would raise electricity prices 20 to 86 percent and add 14 to 66 cents per gallon to already soaring gasoline prices.
Comment 3: Studies show the economic impact of measures such as proposed in the McCain-Lieberman bill would fall most heavily on minorities. As many as 864,000 black Americans and 511,000 Hispanics would lose their jobs.
Comment 4: The Senate rejected the Kyoto Protocol 95-0 in 1997 because of the economic damage it would cause in America. McCain-Lieberman deserves zero votes as well.
At 0930 on 1 Oct 2003, the Honorable John McCain of Arizona opened a committee hearing of the U.S. Senate on The Case for Climate Change Action. He began by stating "(1) there is broad scientific consensus that global warming is occurring, (2) that human activity is causing it [via greenhouse gas emissions], and (3) that its consequences are extremely serious." Declaring that "no excuse for inaction on this issue is acceptable," he went on to say that he and Senator Joseph Lieberman "believe that a market-based approach, combined with mandatory caps and federal oversight, offers the best way for the nation to respond to a growing global environmental threat." Hence, he reported, they were calling for "a mandatory carbon dioxide reduction program."
SEPP Comment: All three claims are off-base (See below)
Momentous happenings at the World Climate Conference in Moscow last week. World-shaking, one might say. After haggling about the minutiae of the Kyoto Protocol for the past six years, just how to control emissions of carbon dioxide from energy generation, it may all go down the drain in one big swoosh.
Of course, they won't let the Kyoto process itself die. Not if the UN bureaucracy can help it, plus the delegates from 180 nations who were so looking forward to carefree, taxpayer-supported careers attending continuous climate conferences in fancy locations. Expect to see the launch of a successor, the "son of Kyoto." - tough-sounding but equally ineffective.
But it will be a "new ballgame." What I regard as most significant about the Moscow meeting is the choice of words by Russian politicians. They refer to Kyoto as "scientifically flawed" - not just "fatally flawed" as George Bush called it. It is a real breakthrough because it makes skepticism about the underlying science respectable - and indeed encourages scientists to speak out and question many of the assertions that have long been taken for granted by the press and the public. The hype started with the first of the science assessments by the UN-IPCC in 1990 that claimed observations and greenhouse theory to be "broadly consistent." It morphed into the enigmatic (and ultimately meaningless) claim that the "balance of evidence" supports a human influence on climate warming and to the most recent assertion of the 2001 Third Assessment that "new evidence" now affirms this.
Careful reviewers (of which I am one) of these three IPCC reports have noticed that the "evidence" has changed from report to report but never the conclusions. Pretty suspicious. So we can now ask out loud: What new evidence? And is it really supported by actual observations? From the very first, the IPCC report summaries (the only part read by outsiders) have carefully ignored all evidence contrary to their perennial conclusions. The litany has been constant: That the climate is currently warming; that the cause is human-emitted greenhouse gases; and that a major warming (implied to be catastrophic) will soon be upon us.
All this will now be subjected to critical scrutiny. We had a preview of what might happen in Moscow when we exchanged information at a meeting with Russian climate scientists a few weeks earlier in St. Petersburg. But we did not anticipate the strong negative reactions to Kyoto by President Vladimir Putin and his ministers at a conference whose program seemed to be controlled by global warming supporters and their UN friends.
The world community is very fortunate that rational science has emerged in Russia on the question of climate change and the Kyoto Protocol. There has never been a more anti-human proposition than that government should regulate all energy production and consumption in the name of some distant, vague fear of a climate disaster from the use of fossil fuels. Yet that is where we were headed under Al Gore until President Bush and now the Russians intervened.
The official skepticism voiced last week, both scientific and economic, should have some impacts also on other nations. The Nordic countries may well ponder whether a warming - if indeed it were to happen- -- is so bad. Canadians may ask the same; the incoming premier Paul Martin has already questioned Kyoto and the haste with which it was adopted by Ottawa last year. The US Senate may take an even more skeptical look at the upcoming McCain-Lieberman bill that would commit the US to follow the energy-rationing strictures of Kyoto -- unilaterally. Even if Kyoto dies, the bill would still cause Americans to suffer economically and lose jobs.
So maybe what happened in Moscow last week will start a giant exodus
from Kyoto. Then the world community can finally move on to pay attention
to real problems - like terrorism.
S. Fred Singer is Professor Emeritus of Environmental Sciences at
the University of Virginia and President of the Science & Environmental
Policy Project. He authored "Climate Policy - From Rio to Kyoto"
(Hoover Institution Press, Stanford, CA, 2000)
STRASBOURG June 25, 2003 (ENS): Governments and Members of the European Parliament have clinched a deal to create a climate emissions trading system for the European Union.
The law setting up the system is now set to enter into force at the end
of 2003. First national emission allowance allocation plans will be due
from EU member states by March 2004.
Signals from Russia that ratification of the Kyoto Protocol on climate change may be further delayed have been greeted with dismay by the European Union's top environmental official.
Words of regret came just days after the international climate change conference ended in the Russian capital. And alongside the disappointment came a statement warning that higher temperatures could bring massive damage across Russia as permafrost melts.
European Environment Commissioner Margot Wallstrom said: "I regret that Russia missed this excellent opportunity to announce that it would ratify the Kyoto Protocol in the near future. Russia would lose out politically and economically by not ratifying this agreement.
"Every day that passes, the risk that investments go to other countries rather than Russia rises," Wallstrom said. "I am convinced that Russia will ratify also because this is a matter of political credibility. After all, Russia promised to ratify more than a year ago."
Kyoto was negotiated under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC) and has been ratified by 119 countries, including the European Union. At a world summit on sustainable development in Johannesburg last year, Russian premier Mikhail Kasyanov committed to the Protocol's early ratification.
The accord is based on work by an inter-governmental panel of leading world experts. This underlined the dramatic global consequences from climate change, threatening higher sea levels, more frequent extreme weather events such as storms and floods, and the spread of tropical diseases. Higher temperatures could melt permafrost, with enormous cost to infrastructure in large parts of Russia, scientists predict.
European Union (EU) officials say once the Protocol comes into force, Russia will benefit from "emissions trading." This will allow Russia to sell emission credits to other parties. Combined work will allow partners from various industrialised countries to invest in projects in Russia and earn credits from the emission reductions achieved.
"This will provide an additional incentive for investments in Russia," an EU statement said. Several community member states plan to set aside public funds to promote joint implementation projects, Brussels officials say. How many emission credits the EU buys from Russia and the number of joint projects would be decided by market demand.
They would also reflect "framework conditions for joint implementation
in Russia," officials say, warning that Russia's delay in ratifying
the protocol risked weakening interest among EU business in joint projects.
The World Climate Change Conference in Moscow attained worldwide media coverage for the Russian refusal to immediately ratify the Kyoto Protocol. No media reports of the sceptical scientific points presented, although those views were victors in the scientific debates.
For example, professor Kirill Ya. Kondratyev, Academician, Counsellor
of Russian Academy of Sciences, states in his presentation "Uncertainties
of Global Climate Change Observations and Simulation Modelling"
"It is possible to assert that year 2002 was the end of the Era
when the alleged human-caused global warming hypothesis dominated ideas
about the causes of recent climate change. However, the hypothesis still
governs much scientific discussion, and it rules in media and politics
concerning the environment
The conservative Bradley Foundation warded four $250,000 prizes to Harvard law professor Mary Ann Glendon, bioethicist Leon Kass, Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer, and Hoover Institution fellow Thomas Sowell. The Bradley prizes are a conservative alternative to the MacArthur Foundation "genius awards" that have gone to liberals, like biologist and population-control advocate Paul Ehrlich.
SEPP's first grant came from the Bradley Foundation and helped to get
it started. It was for the purpose of preparing a book on climate change
and global warming.
Prof. Kirill Kondratyev in the Wash Times of Oct 12, quoted along with Pope John Paul II:
"The only people who would be hurt by abandoning the Kyoto Protocol
would be several thousand people who make a living attending conferences
on global warming."