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"The hypothesis that solar variability and not human activity is warming the oceans goes a long way to explain the puzzling idea that the Earth's surface may be warming while the atmosphere is not. The [greenhouse-gas] hypothesis does not do this.” Atmospheric scientist Hendrik Tennekes, former research director at the Netherlands' Royal National Meteorological Institute
"The media is promoting an unprecedented hyping related to global warming. The media and many scientists are ignoring very important facts that point to a natural variation in the climate system as the cause of the recent global warming." Chief Meteorologist Eugenio Hackbart of the MetSul Meteorologia Weather Center in Sao Leopoldo-Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
"There's no need to be worried. It's very interesting to study [climate change], but there's no need to be worried." Anton Uriarte, a professor of physical geography at the University of the Basque Country in Spain
Wrapping up Bali: “…in the early 1990s,
the IPCC produced the Kyoto Protocol. So
far, it looks like delegates this week will produce the Bali Discord. Bali, in any event, is just a warm-up for the
big meeting, the Copenhagen Climate Summit in 2009. That's where the IPCC plans
to replace Kyoto with the Copenhagen Protocol. [ITEM #1]
“It’s too late to stop climate change — so what do we do now?” Gelbspan’s Epiphany [ITEM #4]
LNG FIGHT: U.S. and Canadian officials are clashing over planned Maine liquefied natural gas terminals opposed by residents of a Canadian town. The dispute highlights growing U.S. LNG consumption and Canada's increasing importance as an energy supplier. [ITEM #5]
2007: Year of global cooling [ITEM #7]
Fred Singer Interview before Pittsburgh debate: http://petesplace-peter.blogspot.com/2007_10_01_archive.html
Terence Corcoran, National Post, December 12, 2007
By the time you read this, Al Gore will already have made his presentation to IPCC delegates, no doubt attracting global coverage from the thousands of media reps combing for nits of news at an event that offers little. By early last night, the Gore petition had accumulated 239,150 names. A box-office disaster, one would think, for a climate event that's the product of a decade of polished political showmanship, billion-dollar marketing campaigns and relentless manufacturing of headline hyperbole.
On the hype front, which one would have thought pretty well exhausted by now, the Secretary-General of the United Nations cranked out a fresh one: "We are at a crossroads," Ban Ki-moon said. "One path leads to a comprehensive climate-change agreement; the other to oblivion." Oblivion! From now on, Mr. Ban is to be known around these parts as Ban Ka-boom!
Silly, to be sure, but what else can one do in the face of meetings such as Bali, where thousands gather to needle 190 governments into some kind of action to reduce the world's output of carbon emissions, the objective being to change the global climate for the next 100 years and preserve some pseudo-scientific idea of what the world's climate should be. Also on the agenda are schemes to redistribute unidentified megatonnes of cash and wealth from one part of the world to another.
The last time it pushed for agreement, in the early 1990s, the IPCC produced the Kyoto Protocol. So far, it looks like delegates this week will produce the Bali Discord. The latest reports say delegates will fail to adopt clear emissions-reduction targets and waffle on other issues. Bali, in any event, is just a warmup for the big meeting, the Copenhagen Climate Summit in 2009. That's where the IPCC plans to replace Kyoto with the Copenhagen Protocol.
While some people might like to get their science and economic inputs from Al Gore and Ka-boom!, there are plenty of sensible experts who see no need for apocalyptic scare tactics and Hollywood sales gimmicks. Watching Al Gore pipe 240,000 or so petitioners over a cliff looks like a fun experiment in mass psychology and a sure media hit. But why would a list of no-name petitioners dragged from the Internet deserve any attention, let alone credibility, especially since they were assembled by a documented faker of science and economics?
Compare the Gore petition and message with an Open Letter to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, to be distributed in Bali Friday and published here in the National Post. Signed by more than 100 specialists from around the world - many are leading figures in their fields, from climate science to economics to biology - the letter begins with the obvious: "It is not possible to stop climate change." The letter was assembled under Robert M. Carter, a professor at the Marine Geophysical Laboratory of James Cook University in Australia. Canadian signatories include IPCC expert reviewers Ross McKitrick of Guelph University and Ian D. Clark of the Department of Earth Sciences, University of Ottawa. Among the Americans is Edward J. Wegman, of George Mason University, Virginia.
The points of agreement in the letter are broad and by now all too familiar. They dispute the IPCC science process, argue against the existence of consensus and reject claims of abnormal climate change. Much new climate science research has also emerged since the last IPCC reports were written, undermining the official science. The IPCC reports, they say, are "materially outdated."
This call to reason is obviously no match
for Al Gore in the global competition for attention over climate change. It
contains no warning of looming Armageddon. It offers no choice between oblivion
and salvation. It simply suggests that Bali and the whole IPCC process is a big
mistake that will ultimately be futile.
2. Open Letter to the Secretary-General of the United Nations
December 12, 2007
His Excellency Ban Ki-Moon
Secretary-General, United Nations
New York, NY
United States of America
Dear Mr. Secretary-General,
Re: UN climate conference taking the World in entirely the wrong direction
It is not possible to stop climate change, a natural phenomenon that has affected humanity through the ages. Archaeological, oral and written histories all attest to the dramatic challenges posed to past societies from unanticipated changes in temperature, precipitation, winds and other climatic variables. We therefore need to equip nations to become resilient to the full range of these natural phenomena by promoting economic growth and wealth generation.
The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has issued increasingly alarming conclusions about the climatic influences of human-produced carbon dioxide (CO2), a non-polluting gas that is essential to plant photosynthesis. While we understand the evidence that has led them to view CO2 emissions as harmful, the IPCC’s conclusions are quite inadequate as justification for implementing policies that will markedly diminish future prosperity. In particular, it is not established that it is possible to significantly alter global climate through cuts in human greenhouse gas emissions. On top of which, because attempts to cut emissions will slow development, the current UN approach of CO2 reduction is likely to increase human suffering from future climate change rather than to decrease it.
The IPCC Summaries for Policy Makers are the most widely read IPCC reports amongst politicians and non-scientists and are the basis for most climate-change policy formulation. Yet these Summaries are prepared by a relatively small core writing team with the final drafts approved line-by-line by government representatives. The great majority of IPCC contributors and reviewers, and the tens of thousands of other scientists who are qualified to comment on these matters, are not involved in the preparation of these documents. The Summaries therefore cannot properly be represented as a consensus view among experts.
Contrary to the impression left by the IPCC
Recent observations of phenomena such as glacial retreats, sea-level rise and the migration of temperature-sensitive species are not evidence for abnormal climate change, for none of these changes has been shown to lie outside the bounds of known natural variability.
The average rate of warming of 0.1 - 0. 2 degrees Celsius per decade recorded by satellites during the late 20th century falls within known natural rates of warming and cooling over the last 10,000 years.
Leading scientists, including some senior IPCC representatives, acknowledge that today’s computer models cannot predict climate. Consistent with this, and despite computer projections of temperature rises, there has been no net global warming since 1998. That the current temperature plateau follows a late 20th century period of warming is consistent with the continuation today of natural multi-decadal or millennial climate cycling.
In stark contrast to the often-repeated assertion that the science of climate change is settled, significant new peer-reviewed research has cast even more doubt on the hypothesis of dangerous human-caused global warming. But because IPCC working groups were generally instructed to consider work published only through May 2005, these important findings are not included in their reports; i.e., the IPCC assessment reports are already materially outdated.
The UN climate conference in Bali has been planned to take the world along a path of severe CO2 restrictions, ignoring the lessons apparent from the failure of the Kyoto Protocol, the chaotic nature of the European CO2 trading market, and the ineffectiveness of other costly initiatives to curb greenhouse gas emissions. Balanced cost/benefit analyses provide no support for the introduction of global measures to cap and reduce energy consumption for the purpose of restricting CO2 emissions. Furthermore, it is irrational to apply the 'precautionary principle' because many scientists recognize that both climatic coolings and warmings are realistic possibilities over the medium-term future.
The current UN focus on "fighting
climate change", as illustrated in the November 27th UN Development
Programme's Human Development Report, is distracting governments from
adapting to the threat of inevitable natural climate changes, whatever forms
they may take. National and international planning for such changes is
needed, with a focus on helping our most vulnerable citizens adapt to
conditions that lie ahead. Attempts to prevent global climate change
from occurring are ultimately futile, and constitute a tragic misallocation of
resources that would be better spent on humanity’s real and pressing problems.
List of Signatories (to be attached)
Copy to: Heads of State of countries of the signatory persons
3. Over 400 Prominent Scientists Disputed Man-Made Global Warming Claims in 2007
Thursday, December 20, 2007 U.S. Senate Report:
Over 400 prominent scientists from more than two dozen countries recently voiced significant objections to major aspects of the so-called "consensus" on man-made global warming. These scientists, many of whom are current and former participants in the UN IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), criticized the climate claims made by the UN IPCC and former Vice President Al Gore.
The new report issued by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee’s office of the GOP Ranking Member details the views of the scientists, the overwhelming majority of whom spoke out in 2007.
Even some in the establishment media now appear to be taking notice of the growing number of skeptical scientists. In October, the Washington Post Staff Writer Juliet Eilperin conceded the obvious, writing that climate skeptics "appear to be expanding rather than shrinking." Many scientists from around the world have dubbed 2007 as the year man-made global warming fears “bite the dust.” In addition, many scientists who are also progressive environmentalists believe climate fear promotion has "co-opted" the green movement.
Climate debate far from over, claim senators
4. Beyond the Point of No Return: It’s too late to stop climate change — so what do we do now?
by Ross Gelbspan, December 11, 2007 in Grist Magazine
As the pace of global warming kicks into overdrive, the hollow optimism of climate activists, along with the desperate responses of some of the world’s most prominent climate scientists, is preventing us from focusing on the survival requirements of the human enterprise.
The environmental establishment continues to peddle the notion that we can solve the climate problem.
We have failed to meet nature’s deadline. In the next few years, this world will experience progressively more ominous and destabilizing changes. These will happen either incrementally -- or in sudden, abrupt jumps.
Under either scenario, it seems inevitable that we will soon be confronted by water shortages, crop failures, increasing damages from extreme weather events, collapsing infrastructures, and, potentially, breakdowns in the democratic process itself.
Terminal Project Stirs Tension Over Politics, Environment, Economics
By JOHN J. FIALKA, WSJ, December 21, 2007; Page A6
ST. ANDREWS, Canada -- When the people of this tiny seaside resort town learned that tankers filled with liquefied natural gas might some day sail near them toward proposed terminals in two Maine towns, they mobilized opposition to the plan from the highest levels of the Canadian government.
That isn't a surprise, given the opposition that has met proposed terminals for liquefied natural gas, or LNG, in many coastal towns in the U.S. Canada's opposition has drawn protests from the U.S. government. In part, U.S. officials complain that Canada seems to have no problem with another proposed LNG terminal on Canadian soil 30 miles to the east of St. Andrews.
That facility, at St. John, New Brunswick, is being built by Irving Oil Ltd., part of a family-owned Canadian company. The destination for most of the gas from this facility, called Canaport, is energy-hungry New England, the same market the Maine terminals would serve.
Canadian opponents said the Maine terminals would put ugly tankers in a region dependent on tourism, would snarl sailing lanes and interfere with whale-watching, and point to a thus-far unprecedented accident or attack on tankers carrying potentially explosive cargo. They dispute assertions that the Canadian government is favoring Canadian terminals, saying the routes to the Irving Oil facility are safer and don't pass through tourist-heavy areas.
The dispute highlights tensions around LNG technology, which allows liquefied gas to be shipped in tankers from abroad to meet increasing gas needs in North America. Demand could go still higher if federal regulations are imposed on carbon-dioxide emissions from power plants. Last week, Exxon Mobil Corp. proposed building an LNG terminal 20 miles off the New Jersey coast -- a proposal immediately opposed by some environmental groups.
It also highlights Canada's increasing role in meeting U.S. energy needs. It is the biggest source of U.S. imported crude. LNG terminals and other projects being proposed in the eastern half of the country are in part meant to meet growing energy demand in the U.S. Northeast.
The U.S. currently gets 3% of its gas from imported LNG, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. By 2020, the agency predicts demand for LNG will rise to 14% of total natural gas consumption. New England, which already pays among the highest prices for natural gas in the world, would gain if LNG replaced more expensive gas from pipelines.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government said it will block LNG ships from reaching the proposed terminals in Maine by enforcing sovereignty over a sea passage from the Atlantic that has been used by ships of both nations for over two centuries.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and other U.S. officials have told Ottawa that Canada's position violates the Law of the Sea Treaty, which gives such commercial shipments an irrevocable right of passage. The State Department said Canada shouldn't have the right to pick and choose which ships sail through those waters.
Gregory Francis Thompson, Canadian minister of Veterans Affairs and Canada's point man in this fight, said moves by Irving Oil and other companies to build LNG terminals in Canada are unrelated to Canada's opposition to the U.S. terminals. "These are waters that are just too dangerous for this type of movement. We're just going to say no," said Mr. Thompson, who lives on the outskirts of St. Andrews.
Before tankers can get to U.S. terminals, they have to sail through Head Harbor Passage, a narrow strait between two Canadian islands in Passamaquoddy Bay. That could mean U.S. ships, escorted by armed guards to counter a possible terrorist threat, would interfere with Canadian boat traffic.
"They're carrying guns and they're telling us to leave. And we're in Canadian waters!" said David Welch, a St. Andrews city council member who runs a whale-watching business.
Mr. Harper, when campaigning as leader of the Conservative Party, promised New Brunswick that as prime minister he would bar LNG tankers from using Head Harbor Passage. After Mr. Harper became prime minister, the St. John Telegraph-Journal, one of the largest newspapers in the region, called for him to oppose the Maine terminals. "Where is the PM on LNG issue?" it asked in March 2006.
The St. John newspaper is owned by the Irving family, which also controls Irving Oil, the company behind the St. John LNG terminal. Jennifer Parker, spokeswoman for Irving Oil, says her company has never taken a position on the proposed U.S. LNG terminals and said that the Irving family's newspapers are held by a family-controlled entity that is separate from the oil company.
James C. Irving, the publisher of the St. John Telegraph-Journal, says his newspaper is simply following the news. "The issue the politicians see is sovereignty over Canadian waters. It's a big political issue," he said.
The U.S. developers backing the LNG terminals in Maine worry that the Canadian-inspired delay could destroy them. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission normally would rely on Canada's help to review navigation and safety issues before granting permits for the facilities. According to a State Department official, Canadian cooperation on issues related to the tankers stopped in fall 2006.
"Gas suppliers won't give assurance that we'll get supplies until we get permits. Until then every dollar we put in is at risk," said Brian Smith, project manager for the terminal being proposed by Quoddy Bay LNG LLC at Pleasant Point, Maine, which is just outside Eastport. Quoddy Bay is owned by closely held Smith Cogeneration Inc., of Oklahoma City.
The Quoddy Bay project, originally intended to be operational by 2010 will have the capacity to deliver as much as two billion cubic feet per day of natural gas. The second terminal is being built by closely held Downeast LNG Inc., which is being financed by New York equity-investment firm Kestrel Energy Partners LLC, and is expected to deliver 500,000 cubic feet per day.
In April, Michael Wilson, newly designated ambassador to Washington by Mr. Harper, wrote to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission saying a new Canadian study concluded that the LNG proposals posed safety and environmental risks that his government "cannot accept." Canada, he warned, would "use domestic legal means" to prevent tankers from passing through Head Harbor Passage.
The study, done by Senes Consultants Ltd., an Ottawa consulting firm, said tougher measures are needed to keep tankers from interfering with other traffic or running aground. But it also said Head Harbor Passage is "more than adequate" to handle LNG tanker traffic and that "it is possible to adopt an approach" that will minimize risks. Mr. Wilson said officials still see serious safety issues and will block shipments to U.S. facilities, even if FERC grants permits.
Write to John J. Fialka at email@example.com
"Our future depends on us taking action against global warming right now," Arnold Schwarzenegger said at a press conference last Thursday. And so California has sued the Environmental Protection Agency to force the EPA's hand on local laws that regulate carbon emissions from California automobiles. "We sue again, and sue again, and sue again, until we get it," the Governor promised.
His vision of endless litigation is really an attempt to pull off an elaborate bait-and-switch. Experimentation in the states is good -- as long as a state makes its own taxpayers the guinea pigs. But Mr. Schwarzenegger and the environmental lobby want to impose the costs of their climate-change gestures on everybody else: both on citizens in the rest of the country, who never voted for Californian politicians, and especially on Detroit auto makers. Call it California as a laboratory of imperialism.
In 2002 California passed legislation to limit the tailpipe emissions of greenhouse gases -- mainly carbon dioxide -- for all cars and trucks sold in the state. By the end of 2005, the state got around to asking the EPA for permission. Over the years California has been granted about 40 waivers to the Clean Air Act, which allow air-quality laws more stringent than national standards.
All the waivers addressed pollutants like NOX and SOX to combat smog, say, over Los Angeles. Carbon is different. The EPA has always considered CO2 the natural and unavoidable byproduct of fuel combustion -- or, for that matter, human breathing. The greens took the Bush Administration to their favorite policy venue, the courts, to reverse this longstanding position.
The Supreme Court obliged. April's Massachusetts v. EPA broadly interpreted carbon as a "pollutant" under the Clean Air Act, basically because it goes into the air. Yet the Court narrowly held that the EPA "has significant latitude as to the manner, timing, content, and coordination of its regulations." Now California is demanding that the EPA use this judicially invented power to give the state its way on CO2 emissions.
There's a hitch, though. Although the carbon content for gasoline can be modified with additives like ethanol, once you pump a given blend into your car, the carbon emitted per gallon is constant. There's no viable technology that can capture or limit CO2 as that gallon is burned. When California says that it wants to "reduce" CO2 emissions from cars, then, it actually means that it wants cars that get more miles to the gallon.
Ring a bell? That clanging noise is coming from Congress, which may ratchet up national fuel-efficiency standards to 35 miles per gallon. Such an indirect tax is pointless for reducing oil consumption or affecting climate change. But at least Congress's new auto mandates would be reached through a deliberative legislative process -- and applied consistently nationwide. The so-called "Cafe standards" specifically pre-empt state regulation.
Mr. Schwarzenegger knows he's intruding on federal prerogatives, so he is trying to jimmy the lock on the EPA backdoor. For the purposes of its lawsuit, California claims that it's not regulating fuel economy per se, only CO2 emissions. That's a meaningless distinction: Because of fixed per-gallon carbon content, both measure the same thing. And anyway, what does supposedly worldwide warming have to do with "clean air" in California?
The reasons for a uniform fuel economy standard are obvious. The national auto market can't be sliced up into 50 scraps, each with multiple sets of rules. It would be impossible to police, and the automakers would be compelled to adopt the most stringent mandate. The federal government can't cede de facto control of environmental policy, car design and pricing, and interstate commerce to the latest whim out of Sacramento.
But Mr. Schwarzenegger is unbowed. "The fact of the matter is, what I'm saying is, Arnold to Michigan: Get off your butt," he said at a speech at Georgetown earlier this year. The economic costs, of course, wouldn't be borne by Arnold's blue-state constituents but by the Big Three and their blue-collar workers.
There is, however, one policy experiment that the Governor could conduct that wouldn't require federal permission or hurt other states. Why doesn't he raise excise taxes so that gas costs $5 a gallon in his state? A direct tax on consumer consumption would definitely cut down CO2 emissions. Then again, California's gas tax is already the highest in the nation and voters don't like paying $3 for gas now, so we'll see if Arnold gets off his butt for that one.
There's also a more dangerous regulatory snare hidden in his demands. The EPA, pursuant to the Supreme Court's instructions, is in the process of crafting a carbon policy. But California can't get a waiver -- an exception to some rule -- if that rule doesn't exist. The Schwarzenegger lawsuit is partly a confidence trick to trap the EPA into making an "endangerment finding" on CO2.
If the Administration used its discretion to rule carbon hazardous, it would be a major step toward a new and onerous global warming bureaucracy. An agency under different political auspices could run wild. The last thing the Bush EPA should be doing is paving this road for the next Administration.
Official Statement of the Governor:
On the EPA's Decision Denying States the Ability to Implement Tough
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
very disappointed by the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) decision to
deny the waiver necessary to allow California, Vermont and more than a dozen
other states to set their own standards in regulating greenhouse gas emissions
from cars and trucks.
Although President Bush made the right decision today in signing into law the higher federal standards for vehicle fuel efficiency, this EPA decision effectively stalls the real and immediate action states are taking to address CO2 emissions from vehicles.
My administration is reviewing its options for pursuing an appeal or lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency to let Vermont, and other states, set our own standards.
The EPA ruling is out of touch with the reality of climate change and the innovative state policies that are emerging to address it. It's unfortunate that this federal agency -- charged with protecting the environment -- opted not to act with the environmental stewardship American's expect of it.
7. Year of global cooling
By David Deming, December 19, 2007
Gore says global warming is a planetary emergency. It is difficult to see how
this can be so when record low temperatures are being set all over the world.
In 2007, hundreds of people died, not from global warming, but from cold
Since the mid-19th century, the mean global temperature has increased by 0.7 degrees Celsius. This slight warming is not unusual, and lies well within the range of natural variation. Carbon dioxide continues to build in the atmosphere, but the mean planetary temperature hasn't increased significantly for nearly nine years. Antarctica is getting colder. Neither the intensity nor the frequency of hurricanes has increased. The 2007 season was the third-quietest since 1966. In 2006 not a single hurricane made landfall in the U.S.
South America this year experienced one of its coldest winters in decades. In Buenos Aires, snow fell for the first time since the year 1918. Dozens of homeless people died from exposure. In Peru, 200 people died from the cold and thousands more became infected with respiratory diseases. Crops failed, livestock perished, and the Peruvian government declared a state of emergency.
Unexpected bitter cold swept the entire Southern Hemisphere in 2007. Johannesburg, South Africa, had the first significant snowfall in 26 years. Australia experienced the coldest June ever. In northeastern Australia, the city of Townsville underwent the longest period of continuously cold weather since 1941. In New Zealand, the weather turned so cold that vineyards were endangered.
Last January, $1.42 billion worth of California produce was lost to a devastating five-day freeze. Thousands of agricultural employees were thrown out of work. At the supermarket, citrus prices soared. In the wake of the freeze, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger asked President Bush to issue a disaster declaration for affected counties. A few months earlier, Mr. Schwarzenegger had enthusiastically signed the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, a law designed to cool the climate. California Sen. Barbara Boxer continues to push for similar legislation in the U.S. Senate.