The Week That Was
Sept. 10, 2005

New on the Web: Columnist Deroy Murdock challenges the popular notion that last week's inadequate response to Hurricane Katrina - - especially in New Orleans - - was because "George Bush doesn't care about black people," as rapper Kanye West put it. While there was plenty of bumbling, there was no bigotry.

It emerges that top Red Cross and Salvation Army officials had food and water ready to distribute to those at New Orleans Superdome and its Convention Center. However, they were forbidden to hand out these supplies because, they were told, doing so would delay the evacuation of survivors to shelters outside New Orleans. And who blocked the Red Cross and the Salvation Army from their mission of mercy? G.W. Bush? Donald Rumsfeld? Halliburton? Nope, it was the Louisiana State Department of Homeland Security under the direction of Governor Kathleen Blanco (D - Louisiana).

Bush and company could have done much better last week, but Katrina's
victims were abused by wind, water, bureaucracy at all levels, and armed
hooligans who delayed rescue operations. They were not abused by racial
hatred. This slanderous claim is the societal equivalent of hydrochloric
acid, and it must stop at once.

In another article, Murdock urges Congress to keep Katrina relief 'pork-free'

Michael Fumento attacks the Green hotheads who exploit hurricane tragedy (Item #1). Tom Randall describes how Sierra Club joined other environmental groups to sink New Orleans (Item #2).

UN group of experts lowers drastically the expected cancer toll of Chernobyl (Item #3). But even their low number is too high because they used the LNT (linear no-threshold) hypothesis instead of considering that near-ambient exposures are safe

Russia plans to build a small floating nuclear power plant, with China supplying the barge (Item #4).

A Plea for Nuclear Power, Letter to the editor by David Rossin (Item #5)

Scientists Take On EPA's Linear Models for Dioxin (Item #6)

WSJ Letter Criticizes Recent Dioxin Ruling: (Item #7)

Editorial Ties Katrina to Chemical Security Worry (Item #8)

As CO2 Emission Rise, Europe Closes Its First Factory Due To Kyoto Treaty (Item #9)

1. Green hotheads who exploit hurricane tragedy
by Michael Fumento
September 8, 2005

"The hurricane that struck Louisiana yesterday was nicknamed Katrina by the National Weather Service. Its real name was global warming." So wrote environmental activist Ross Gelbspan in a Boston Globe op-ed that one commentator aptly described as "almost giddy." The Green group Friends of the Earth linked Katrina to global warming, as did Germany's Green Party Environment Minister.

Bobby Kennedy Jr. blamed Katrina on Miss. Gov. Haley Barbour for "derailing the Kyoto Protocol [on global warming] and kiboshing President Bush's iron-clad promise to regulate carbon dioxide."

Time for an ice-water bath, hotheads. If you'd bothered to consult the scientists (remember them?) you'd find they've extensively studied the issue and found no evidence that global warming - assuming it's actually occurring - is causing either an increase in frequency or intensity of hurricanes.

Thus the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which believes global warming is both real and man-made, stated in its last Assessment (2001) that "Changes in tropical and extra-tropical storm intensity and frequency are dominated by [variations within and between decades], with no significant trends over the twentieth century evident."

So, too, states the Tropical Meteorological Project at Colorado State University. In a paper issued AFTER Katrina hit it noted hurricane activity since 1995 has "been similar" to that "of the mid-1920s to the mid-1960s when many more major hurricanes struck the U.S. East Coast and Florida." These are the people, chiefly professor of atmospheric science William Gray, who issue the annual hurricane forecasts each May.

In fact, according to the National Hurricane Center, the peak for major hurricanes (levels 3, 4, and 5) came between 1930 and 1950.

In the wake of Katrina, Gray explained to the New York Times that what might appear to be a recent onslaught "is very much natural." Until recently we were lucky, said Gray. Then, "The luck just ran out."

Roger Pielke Jr., director of the University of Colorado's Center for Science and Technology Policy Research, agrees. In a forthcoming paper in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society he analyzes the damage caused by hurricanes that have hit the U.S. since 1900. Taking into account tremendous population growth along coastlines he finds no trend of increasing damage from hurricanes.

"I don't think you could find any hurricane scientist that would be willing to make the statement that the hurricanes of last year or Katrina are caused by global warming," he told Denver's Rocky Mountain News.

As you might guess, neither Gelbspan nor RFK Jr. are scientists; they're professional scaremongers. Having authored two books on the forthcoming catastrophe of global warming, Gelbspan's fortunes are as tied to this issue as GM's are to vehicles.

Nevertheless, MIT climatologist Kerry Emanuel IS a scientist and stirred up a Category Five controversy with his recent letter in Nature claiming there's no trend in the frequency of hurricanes but "future warming may lead to an upward trend in tropical cyclone [hurricane] destructive potential."

William Gray, however, told the Boston Globe "It's a terrible paper, one of the worst I've ever looked at." According to the Globe, "He was appalled that Emanuel would take such shaky data on wind speeds, then feed them into a formula that puts such heavy weight on those numbers." Such a method, he said, can produce any result you want.

Yet even Emanuel stops short of blaming Katrina or other recent hurricane strikes on global warming. "What we see in the Atlantic is mostly the natural swing," he told the Times. That hardly supports the overheated rhetoric of those exploiting his Nature letter.

Bear in mind, too, that the effects of global warming are supposed to be, well, global. If cyclones are more intense or frequent off U.S. shores, they should also be so elsewhere as in the east Pacific, west Pacific, and Indian Ocean. "This has not occurred," a June 2005 report from the Tropical Meteorological Project stated flatly. "When tropical cyclones worldwide are summed, there has actually been a slight decrease since 1995."

This isn't to say alleged warming is actually moderating these awesome storms. But certainly it's having no moderating effect on the blowhard buzzards ripping chunks off the Katrina disaster to promote their own dubious agendas.

Michael Fumento (mfumento[at] is a senior fellow at Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C. and a science and health columnist for Scripps Howard News Service.

2. Sierra Club joined other environmental groups to sink New Orleans
By Tom Randall
Issue Alert from Winningreen September 9, 2005

In 1996 the Sierra Club and other environmental groups sued the Army Corps of Engineers to block a project to raise and fortify levees around New Orleans so that they could withstand a storm surge such as the one that flooded the city during Hurricane Katrina. (Fox News)

Also, as the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported, a coalition of environmentalists called "Save Our Wetlands" sued the Corps three decades ago to prevent the construction of floodgates that would have prevented to Gulf of Mexico storm surge from entering Lake Pontchatrain.

Comment 1: Environmentalists, once again have jeopardized human life while causing harm to the environment -- not preserving it.

Comment 2: As toxic waste spills into Lake Pontchatrain and the Gulf of Mexico, there can no longer be any doubt that the leadership of the so-called environmental movement cares little about the environment but, instead, is focused on their own political agenda.

Comment 3: The determined men and women of the U.S. military and private industry, in shoring up the breached levees, have done more for the environment and humanity than the Sierra Club and its fellow travelers will ever accomplish.

Background and links: See the Fox News story on this subject at:,3566,168846,00.html

3. Experts Find Reduced Effects of Chernobyl
International Herald Tribune September 6, 2005

ROME, Sept. 5 - Nearly 20 years after the huge accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine, a new scientific report has found that its aftereffects on health and the environment have not proved as dire as scientists had predicted.

The report was prepared by a panel of more than 100 experts convened by United Nations agencies. It says huge compensation programs for people in the Chernobyl region have become "a major barrier to the region's recovery," both by creating a culture of dependency and by soaking up a high percentage of the region's resources. It recommends that the compensation programs be cut back.

The report, "Chernobyl's Legacy: Health, Environmental and Socio-Economic Impacts," says 4,000 deaths will probably be attributable to the accident ultimately - compared with the tens of thousands predicted at the time of the accident.

Only 50 deaths - all among the reactor staff and emergency workers - can be directly attributed to acute radiation exposure after Chernobyl's Reactor No. 4 exploded in April 1986, the panel found. The rest will be from cancer at a higher rate than would otherwise be expected in people exposed to radiation near Chernobyl in the wake of the accident.

4. Russia to build floating nuclear plant

Recently, Russia's Federal Nuclear Energy Agency has made a decision to build a low-capacity floating nuclear power plant (FNPP). The plant will be small and will produce roughly 1/150th of the power produced by a standard Russian nuclear power plant. Construction could begin in 2006 if the project finds financing, Mosnews reported.

The mini-station will be located in the White Sea, off the coast of Severodvinsk. It will be moored near the Sevmash plant, which is the main facility of the State Nuclear Shipbuilding Center. The FNPP will be equipped with two power units using KLT-40S reactors. The plant will meet all of Sevmash's energy requirements for just 5 or 6 cents per kilowatt-hr. If necessary, the plant will also be able to supply heat and desalinate seawater. The reactors will be loaded with nuclear fuel once every three years and will have a lifespan of 40 years.
A deputy chief of the Russian Federal Nuclear Agency Vladimir Uryvsky said this in an interview to the newspaper Trud in July 2005:-
China will produce the barge while Russia will take care of the reactor equipment. The first nuclear power plant should be finally assembled at the Sevmash plant in Severodvinsk (in the Arkhangelsk region in northern Russia). China offered the best conditions for the barge production and in addition it will issue Russia a long-term credit covering the price of the barge. The price tag of the contract with China is $86.5m.

5. A Plea for Nuclear Power
Letter to the editor to the Boston Globe
by David Rossin, sent on Thursday, August 25.

Eight Northeastern states are launching the Greenhouse Regional Initiative.
93% of all power plants now on order or under construction will burn natural gas. Gas power plants still emit CO2, about half as much per kilowatt-hour as a coal plant, maybe more, depending on the design. How are we going to cap-and-trade without just burning more costly gas?

There is a simple test to find out if a person is really concerned about Greenhouse warming: Is that person - that Governor, that legislator, that regulator - actively calling for more nuclear power plants?

Nuclear power now supplies almost 20% of our nations electric energy with hardly any CO2 emissions. No plant ordered after 1973 was ever completed. Some of those plants were built so that we would not burn more gas. Gas was an expensive premium fuel back in the 1970s when it cost much less than it does today.

It's going to take a decade to get new nuclear plants built if we get commitments soon. That would be about when we might see a payoff from the cap-and-trade plan. And whether one is concerned about greenhouse gases or not, we'll need all the energy options we can find.

A. David Rossin
[Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy, US-DOE 1986-87, Director of the Nuclear Safety Analysis Center at EPRI 1981-86, and President of the American Nuclear Society 1992-93. Now working on a book on US policy dating back to President Jimmy Carter to oppose reprocessing of civilian reactor spent fuel, and on its implications on energy and national security.]


6. Scientists Take On EPA's Linear Models for Dioxin: Scientists recently challenged the way EPA has been modeling the health risk of dioxin, an argument that could call into further question the accuracy of the agency's draft dioxin risk assessment. The assessment is currently under review by the National Academy of Sciences. A revised EPA model could affect national cleanup standards for dioxin, as well as regulations for dioxin air and water emissions. The scientists from academia and consulting firms raised their concerns at the American Chemical Society National Meeting held recently in Washington. They say dioxin risk assessment models should be based on a threshold rather than the linear approach now used by EPA. According to a linear model, any level of dioxin exposure could cause cancer, says Risk Policy Report. However, in a threshold model, a small level of dioxin exposure would be considered safe. Virtually all public health agencies support the threshold approach.

7. WSJ Letter Criticizes Recent Dioxin Ruling: A recent court ruling in Mississippi against DuPont over dioxin exposure is a prime example of how justice is not being served in medical cases, says Jeff Stier, associate director of the American Council on Science and Health, in a recent Wall Street Journal Letter to the Editor. Stier was responding to an op-ed from Betsy McCaughey that focused on the persistence of junk science in cases involving medical complaints against products. McCaughey is a former Lt. Governor of New York and current chairman of the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths, a non-profit organization devoted to reducing hospital infection rates. Despite evidence to the contrary, the plaintiff in the DuPont case argued that dioxin caused his multiple myeloma, says Stier. The state judge, not bound by federal guidelines for allowing scientific experts, prevented most of DuPont's scientists from testifying, he says. Better science in the courtroom serves the interests of all, except for certain unscrupulous plaintiff's attorneys.

8. Editorial Ties Katrina to Chemical Security Worry: The people who matter most are not listening to the warnings about the nightmare threat of a terrorist attack on a chemical plant in New Jersey, just as warnings about the levees breaking in New Orleans a once nightmare scenario came and went, says Star-Ledger columnist Tom Moran. Retired Admiral James Loy even compares a chemical attack to the atomic bombs of World War II. Think about Nagasaki or Hiroshima," says Loy, who was deputy director of the Department of Homeland Security from 2003 to 2005. "Many would say the chemical scenario could be the worst of all of them, if the plume went in the right direction over a populated area." Says Moran: According to the EPA, 12 million people live within range of the chlorine plume [from the Kuehne facility in New Jersey] and would be vulnerable, depending on which way the wind blew. Those caught in the plume could face a particularly hideous death.

9. As CO2 Emission Rise, Europe Closes Its First Factory Due To Kyoto Treaty
The International News Agency, 8 September 2005

Valencia closes glass factory for not complying with environmental treaty
El Pais Spain |by SARA VELERT

The Valencian regional government ordered the temporary closure of a glass factory on Tuesday, alleging that it failed to comply with the regulations set by the Kyoto Treaty, which came into effect in February. It is the first time that the Spanish government has taken such a stringent action against an alleged environmental violation.

According to Valencian authorities, Vidrios Benigmin did not apply for permission to emit carbon dioxide gas prior to the January 1 deadline. It ordered the company to shut down temporarily, and pay a fine of EUR100,000. The Kyoto Treaty stipulates that all firms emitting greenhouse gases must be registered.

Teresa Vao, who runs the glass maker, nevertheless said that the company had applied for permission in July 2004, but that the regional government never notified the company of a pending sanction. Sources at the Valencian government insisted that Benigmin had not applied for permission, and that it received a warning in September 2004.

At present, Spain is the worst offender of the international environmental treaty. In May, reports from WorldWatch showed that emissions last year were about 46 percent above levels in 1990. According to the Kyoto Treaty, Spanish levels should increase by only 15 percent over the 1990 figure by between 2008 and 2012.



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