The Week That Was
Oct. 2, 2004

1. New on the Web: IF RUSSIA RATIFIES KYOTO. FRED SINGER's Editorial Discusses Probabilities and Consequences.









2. Tory leader Michael Howard accuses Tony Blair of squandering the chance to lead efforts against climate change.

The Conservative leader Michael Howard will on 13 September spell out his way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The next day Tony Blair will offer a very different vision of how to fulfill the UK's international commitments. The speeches are likely to be their main interventions on the environment before the UK's next general election.

Mr Howard will be speaking to the Environment Forum, hosted by the Green Alliance and ERM, an environmental consultancy. He described climate change as "one of mankind's greatest challenges" and will call for international leadership to give effect to the Kyoto Protocol, the global treaty on cutting greenhouse emissions. The protocol needs Russia to ratify it before it can enter into force, and Russian intentions remain unclear.

Mr Howard will criticise the prime minister for not doing enough to engage the US in tackling climate change: President George W Bush said soon after entering the White House that the US would never ratify the treaty. The Conservative leader will be critical of Mr Bush himself, and will say he has failed to back the UK's stand on climate despite British support for the US in the war on terror.

He intends also to stress the need for greater efficiency in the use of energy, particularly by domestic consumers, and for a range of renewable energy sources, including wave power. Significantly, Mr Howard will say nothing about nuclear power. There is a growing chorus of voices in the UK urging a nuclear renaissance, despite deep public misgivings and uncertainty over technical questions.

3. Scientists Debunk 'Global Warming' Effect On Hurricanes

By Melanie Hunter Deputy Managing Editor
September 15, 2004

The recent onslaught of hurricanes has prompted some media outlets to mention "global warming" as a possible cause, but a team of climate researchers set the record straight.
Stephen Byers, co-chairman of an Anglo-American-Australian task force on climate, plans to ratchet up the heat on the administration to join in that effort on a trip to Washington by claiming that the hurricanes this season are actually a result of human-made global warming.

A group of climatologists, scientists, professors and other experts in climate change pointed out two "misconceptions" reported in the press about hurricanes and their relation to climate change, in a letter to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who chaired a Commerce Committee hearing examining recent scientific research concerning climate change impacts.

"First is the erroneous claim that hurricane intensity or frequency has risen significantly in recent decades in response to the warming trend seen in surface temperature. Second is the claim that a future surface-warming trend would lead to more frequent and stronger storms. We believe that both of these are demonstrably false," the scientists wrote.

They noted the National Hurricane Center reports in the last century the decade with the largest number of hurricanes to hit the U.S. was the 1940s, and the frequency of hurricanes has gone down since then.. According to the United Nations Environment Programme of the World Meteorological Organization, "Reliable data ... since the 1940s indicate that the peak strength of the strongest hurricanes has not changed, and the mean maximum intensity of all hurricanes has decreased."

"Recent history tells us that hurricanes are not becoming more frequent," the climate researchers wrote in the letter to McCain.

The second claim in news stories about hurricanes and "global warming," they pointed out, involves the question "if surface warming trends continue, are more or fewer severe storms likely?"

"Computer simulations suggest that in a warmer world most of the warming would occur in the Polar Regions. Atmospheric circulation, which crucially affects storms, is driven primarily by the temperature difference, or gradient, between the tropics and the poles," "Warmer polar regions would reduce this gradient and thus lessen the overall intensity or frequency or both of storms - not just tropical storms but mid-latitude winter storms as well (such as blizzards and northeasters)," the climatologists added.

"Again, longer periods of history bear this out. In the past, warmer periods have seen a decline in the number and severity of storms. This is well documented in scientific journals for data extending back centuries or even millennia. If the surface temperature of the planet rises further in the future, it is likely that these declines will continue," they wrote.

The experts noted that the hurricane season has not yet ended and said the frequency of hurricanes varies. "We suggest that natural variability of storminess is the cause of Florida's recent hurricane disasters. In such times there is an emotional tendency to pin blame somewhere. But rather than blaming global warming - for which there is little supporting meteorological evidence - emphasis on emergency preparedness and further storm research would be a constructive response," they added.

The experts include Dr. James O'Brien, professor of meteorology & oceanography at the Center for Ocean-Atmospheric Prediction Studies at Florida State University; Dr. Gary Sharp, scientific director at the Center for Climate/Ocean Resources Study; Dr. Anthony Lupo, professor of atmospheric science at the University of Missouri - Columbia; Dr. David Legates, associate professor of climatology at the University of Delaware; and George Taylor, Oregon State climatologist.

4. Low-Income Groups Need Assistance to Fight Cold

Government and energy experts all "predict that prices will be higher for years to come, and we must do more to support weatherization and other energy-efficiency measures," says Missouri Public Service Commission Chairman Steve Gaw. He is asking federal lawmakers to increase the level of support for the Low Income Housing Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) from its current $2 billion to $3.4 billion a year to "forward fund" that effort until 2006.
According to a report issued recently by the American Gas Association, millions of households that qualified for LIHEAP in the aftermath of rising energy prices in 2001 did not receive assistance. Such funding was the same in 2001 as it had been 20 years earlier, but there were 10 million more eligible households in 2001, AGA says.
AGA's study, The Critical Need for LIHEAP and Its Impact on Utility Customers, says that roughly 5 million households received assistance through LIHEAP and related programs in 2001. But, another 25 million eligible households did not receive such assistance, leaving more than 80 percent of those eligible without LIHEAP benefits.

5. States Try To Set CO2 Rules Unilaterally.

In New Jersey, lame-duck governor defines CO2 as a pollutant. In California, the California Air Resources Board tries to mandate reduced CO2 emission from cars.

N.J. Redefines CO2 As Contaminant, Proposes Air Pollution Rule Changes
From The Record (Bergen County, NJ) of Sept 17

New Jersey Gov. James E. McGreevey on Sept. 16 redefined carbon dioxide as an air contaminant. "As a coastal state, New Jersey is especially vulnerable to the consequences of global warming," McGreevey said.
Under the proposal unveiled by the governor, the state Department of Environmental Protection would revise several air pollution control rules to address carbon dioxide emissions, said the governor.

CEI Letter Challenges CARB
Full document available as a pdf:

To: California Air Resources Board
PO Box 2815
Sacramento, CA 95812
Attention: Chuck Shulock.

Dear Mr. Shulock,

On behalf of the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), a non-profit public policy organization headquartered in Washington, D.C., we are pleased to submit this comment on the Air Resource Board's (ARB) Final Staff Report on AB 1493, a law requiring ARB to adopt regulations achieving "maximum feasible and cost-effective" reductions of greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles.

This comment has five sections:

* Section I challenges the scientific basis of AB 1493 and ARB's regulatory proposal. The balance of evidence lies against the belief in an impending climate catastrophe. Global warming alarmism is based on hyperbole and fear, not science.
* Section II challenges the legal basis of AB 1493 and ARB's regulatory proposal. "Maximum feasible" greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions cannot be achieved without mandatory engineering and design modifications to increase new-car fuel economy. However, the federal Energy and Conservation Act of 1975 prohibits States from adopting laws "related to" fuel economy.
* Section III challenges the economic basis of AB 1493 and ARB's regulatory proposal. AB 1493 fails a reasonable cost-effectiveness test in two ways. First, even if the theory of catastrophic global warming were true, the emissions reductions achieved by AB 1493 would make no detectable difference in global temperature trends over the next 50 years. As environmental policy, AB 1493 is all cost for no benefit. Second, AB 1493 will raise the sticker price of new cars more than it will lower operating expenses for most consumers.
*Section IV sounds a cautionary note. Downsizing and down-weighting of cars is the least-costly means of increasing fuel economy and decreasing GHG emissions per vehicle mile traveled. Lighter, smaller vehicles are less crashworthy. Federal fuel economy mandates killed between 1,300 and 2,600 motorists in 1993, according to the National Research Council. To the extent that AB 1493 constrains vehicle size and weight, it will adversely affect auto safety.
* Section V states our conclusion. ARB cannot achieve "maximum feasible" greenhouse gas reductions from automobiles without poaching on federally preempted policy terrain. It cannot achieve "cost effective" reductions with any set of regulatory tools. ARB should brief Governor Schwarzenegger and the California legislature on the practical and legal impossibility of accomplishing the law's objectives, and about the adverse safety effects of CO2 emission standards.


CARB Mandates Emission Reductions for Automobiles

"California cannot solve this problem of global climate change by itself, but we can certainly do our share."
- ALAN C. LLOYD, chairman of the state's Air Resources Board, which approved a plan to cut motor vehicle emissions.

California Backs Plan for Big Cut in Car Emissions
The New York Times September 25, 2004

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 24 - California regulators approved a plan on Friday aimed at drastically reducing over the next 11 years the vehicle emissions of gases that scientists have linked to global warming. It would be the first such regulation in the nation and one that, if it survives legal challenges, would force automakers to increase sharply the fuel efficiency of millions of vehicles.

Though the plan is being put into place by only one state, automakers see it as the most challenging demand from government since Congress first imposed standards to improve fuel economy in the 1970's. California is by far the nation's largest auto market, accounting for a fifth of national sales.

Industry officials said the plan would lead them to restrict sales of large sport utility vehicles and high- performance sports cars in the state. Regulators, including the state's staff of engineers, sharply disputed that and said the industry already had much of the technology to comply on the shelf or, in the case of gas-electric hybrid cars, on the road.

With seven other states in the East following California's lead on air quality regulations, the plan could potentially affect about 30 percent of the market. That would present automakers with tough choices about whether to build different vehicles for different markets or develop a unified nationwide strategy to meet the demands of California and the other states.

But the plan still faces an expected legal challenge on multiple fronts from automakers and could also be blocked by the Bush administration. For years, the industry has tied up previous state efforts to regulate air quality, but regulators say that they have learned from those battles and that they believe they will prevail in court.

Automakers, in sometimes-combative testimony, strongly opposed the measure, saying it would be far more expensive than the state projected and that regulators are straying far beyond their traditional role of curbing local air pollution. The industry also dismissed as unproved the board staff's presentation of a broad overview of scientific evidence on the health effects of global warming.

The regulation would require the industry to cut roughly 30 percent of the carbon dioxide and other emissions scientists have linked to climate change trends. The standards would phase in from the 2009 to the 2016 model years, with each automaker's annual new car and truck offerings required to meet increasingly stringent limits.

But the industry said critics sharply underestimated the costs of meeting the standard. The board's staff projected that the regulation would add about $1,000 to the initial cost of an average new vehicle but that gasoline savings over time would more than make up for that. The industry said it would cost an extra $3,000, much more than the potential fuel savings.

Even companies that have long been leaders in improving fuel efficiency raised questions about the plan. "We don't know how to do it right now,'' said John German, Honda's manager of environment and energy analysis. "It means using unknown, unproven technology."

Several legal hurdles remain before the plan could take effect. Lawsuits are expected from the industry, which could sue in state court claiming the proposal does not meet mandated feasibility requirements. The industry could also sue in federal court, claiming that the plan is pre-empted by Washington's authority to regulate fuel economy.

The board has emphasized that the plan is aimed at global warming, not fuel economy directly, and environmentalists have pointed out that emissions can also be modestly reduced by making changes to a car's air-conditioning system.

California has unique authority to regulate air pollution, because its air quality regulations predated the federal Clean Air Act. Other states have the option of following California's regulations over Washington's. This year, New Jersey, Rhode Islands and Connecticut have said they intend to start following California's car rules; New York, Massachusetts, Vermont and Maine already do.

Cleaning the Air or Spewing Hot Air?

As California moves toward stricter emissions standards, Kenneth Green, chief scientist at Fraser Institute (Vancouver, Canada) and adjunct scholar at Reason, writes, "First, let's get the climate change excuse out of the way. California cars aren't causing climate change - taking all of the state's cars off the road completely wouldn't make a dent in emissions. According to government data, California motorists produce less than one-quarter of 1 percent of the world's emissions of the gases theoretically linked to global warming - a share that's declining every day as countries like China and India continue to grow. On top of that, the proposed regulation only addresses four of the six major greenhouse gases, and only passenger vehicles, not commercial vehicles. So whether you believe that we face a risk of catastrophic climate change due to man-made gas emissions or not, it is obvious that this new plan will provide little or no climate protection to current or future generations."

Green's op-ed is available at the Orange County Register's website:


6. Is Sequestration The Answer To Capturing Carbon Dioxide?

Fossil fuels are responsible for emitting 6.5 billion tons of carbon into the air annually, which some scientists claim is responsible for climate change. However, researchers are examining two sequestration processes designed to mitigate the effects of carbon dioxide: pumping it underground and enriching the oceans with iron to absorb more CO2.

The process of pumping carbon dioxide into the ground has been used by oil companies since the 1990s to extract more oil from wells. According to researchers:

O Underground storage may hold hundreds of years worth of carbon dioxide.

O In 1999, a Calgary-based oil company launched a 30-year project with researchers to pump 20 million metric tons of CO2 into an old oil reservoir; since then, researchers note that the CO2 has not surfaced.

O Norway launched a sequestration project in 1996 that has successfully injected about 1 million tons of CO2 per year back into a layer of porous sandstone.

Additionally, researchers have experimented with iron enrichment, which involves adding iron to ocean water to enhance the growth of phytoplankton (algae), which absorb carbon dioxide. While such areas show measurable increases in the absorption of carbon dioxide, ocean waters with high-silicate concentrations (a salt from silica) fared better than those with low-silicate concentrations.

However, both procedures have drawbacks. Pumping carbon dioxide into the ground is costly, adding about 2 to 3 cents per kilowatt-hour to consumer electricity delivered, or the equivalent of about one-third of the average residential electric bill.

Furthermore, iron enrichment, while producing measurable results, may not be sufficient enough to reduce current carbon dioxide emissions.

Source: Robert F. Service, "The Carbon Conundrum," Science, Vol. 305, Issue 5686, 962-963, August 13, 2004; Kenneth H. Coale et al., "Southern Ocean Iron Enrichment Experiment: Carbon Cycling in High-and Low-Si Waters," Science, Vol.304, Issue 5669, 408-414 , April 16, 2004; and Ken O. Buesseler et al., "The Effects of Iron Fertilization on Carbon Sequestration in the Southern Ocean," Science, Vol. 304, Issue 5669, 414-417, April 16, 2004.

7. U.S. Plans to Offer Guidance for a Dirty-Bomb Aftermath
The New York Times, September 27, 2004

WASHINGTON, Sept. 26 - The federal government is preparing to publish advice for state and local governments on how to react if terrorists set off a "dirty bomb," including how much radiation exposure from such an attack is acceptable for the public. The document is intended for officials who would oversee public health and safety after such an attack, to help them decide when activity could return to normal.

"There's a lot of consternation over what the cleanup levels should be," Brooke Buddemeier, a radiation specialist for the Department of Homeland Security, told a group of nuclear specialists during a presentation last week. "We had a pretty good idea what they should be for Superfund sites or a Nuclear Regulatory Commission power plant release." But an attack using conventional explosives to spread radioactive materials - a dirty bomb - would probably occur in a far more prominent location than a toxic-waste site or a power plant, and the need to resume using the site would be higher, said Mr. Buddemeier, in his presentation to a National Academy of Sciences group.

When balancing the risk of radiation exposure against the benefit of returning to normal activity, the government safety recommendations will weigh the importance of the contaminated location to economic or political life, said a radiation scientist who works for one of seven federal agencies drafting the document.

Thus a major train station, cargo port or building in Lower Manhattan might be reoccupied sooner than a suburban shopping mall, said the scientist, who asked not to be identified because the document had not yet been published.

The federal government already has guides for use by local officials in case of accidental release of radioactive material from a nuclear power plant or fuel fabrication plant. One reason for drafting advice on radiological bombs now, participants say, is to reinforce the idea that a dirty bomb is primarily a psychological weapon that distributes radiation in quantities too small to make any measurable difference to health.

The exposures contemplated for the public would be small relative to the average dose received from natural sources, perhaps 10 times as large, experts say. The biggest health risk of a dirty bomb would most likely be from the blast itself, and outside the blast area doses would be quite small.

But people involved in drafting the document say that public fear of radiation may make it hard to communicate that idea. The radiation scientist said, "Do you really want to shut down the port of Seattle because you don't want to get 5 or 10 million millirem of dose? Do you want to economically cripple an entire country because of that, an infinitesimally small risk, if it is any risk at all?"

The document is part of a much larger effort to prepare for all kinds of attacks and accidents. It is to be published as a draft, for public comment, and when completed would still be only advisory. Don Jacks, a spokesman for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said that the document was now in the hands of the director of the agency and would go from there to the secretary of homeland security, Tom Ridge, and then to the White House's Office of Management and Budget before publication. Mr. Jacks said he hoped it would be published by the end of this year.


8. Germany Sets Unrealistic Radon Exposure Standards

Environment minister Trittin sets limit at 100 Becquerel per cubic meter. This corresponds to 2.7 picocuries per liter, compared to the EPA limit of 4.0 pCi/liter

Other countries use 5-20 pCi/L, depending on whether it is new construction or existing construction, and on whether the government or the homeowner pays for the remediation. Where the government pays, the limit is set higher.

All of these numbers are political decisions, not based on true health risks. If one were to accept LNT, as EPA does, 4 pCi/L corresponds to about a 1% lifetime mortality risk; in other regulations, EPA uses 1/100,000 or 1/1-million lifetime risk as the maximum acceptable.

[One Bq = 1 radioactive disintegration per second; 1 Curie = 3.7x10^10 Bq]


9. Who Exactly Are The Doomsters?
as supplied by CCNet

CONSPIRACISTS -;read=15753



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