The Week That Was (April 12, 2008) brought to you by SEPP

Quotes of the Week:

“In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” -George Orwell


Lawyers draft blueprint for next president to 'bypass' checks and balances to combat global warming [ITEM #1]

The CO2 crusade generates hostility against the West [ITEM #2]

Emissions trading giving power companies huge windfall profits [ITEM #3]

We don’t really need govt-supported exotic technology [ITEM#4]

Still feeding the world: Norman Borlaug just turned 94 [ITEM #5]


Nigel Lawson writes about his new book: An Appeal to Reason: A Cool Look at Global Warming. [ITEM #6]


News from the media:

Greenpeace activist blackmails BBC environment reporter  -- and succeeds


Watch Glenn Beck discuss this on You Tube – very funny

Strong viewer reactions to ABC interview of Fred Singer.  Sample some of the 200+ comments at

You can  make money from GW if you believe Fred Krupp, president of Environmental Defense Fund.  He will also sell you the Brooklyn Bridge – real cheap.  In WSJ, April 8, 2008;


Steve Milloy, the ‘Junkman’ is doing good work.  Read:

and follow his website


Global Warming will lead to an increase in cases of mental illness says WHO (UN World Health Organization).  For  a  complete list of things caused by global warming, see   --  and all on 0.01 deg C per year!




Imagine a group of lawyers at work on guidelines for instituting an imperial presidency. There would be an uproar, and rightly so.  But what if the goal is to blunt global warming?

    Well, then, in that case it's OK to bypass the checks and balances between the branches of the federal government, right?  We can't think of a single proposal on the right side of the political spectrum in which academics could construct a manual to help the president unilaterally fast-track policy because the legislative and judicial gears of government move too slow.  The media and law professors would storm the White House if President Bush decided the executive branch alone would cut taxes or privatize Social Security, bypassing Congress.

    But global warming?  Now that, they believe, is a threat the president should be able to deal with without the constraints of limited power.

    With that in mind, a team of researchers at the University of Colorado Law School spent six months assembling a 213-page handbook that will provide the next president, should he choose to use it, a blueprint for rapidly addressing climate change issues through executive authority.

    "We're defining the playground in which the president can play," Alaine Ginocchio, lead author of "Boundaries of Executive Authority," explained to the Boulder, Colo., Daily Camera.

    Part of the law school's Presidential Climate Action Project, the report suggests that "there exists significant authority, without further action by Congress, for the president to take action by executive order to implement various aspects of climate change policy."

    The researchers are careful to point out that the report was drawn up "in terms of action taken within the appropriate boundaries of the Constitution, respecting the balance of power between the three branches of our government."

    But Ginocchio's use of the word "playground" is telling.  The unspoken intent is to justify the actions of an executive branch governing outside of the system that was thoughtfully designed and has served this nation well for more than two centuries. 

    Don't forget: The authors of this report are lawyers.  Lawyers have a history of misleading and generally turning the law inside out to fit their agenda.  They squeeze through loopholes, torture legal codes and root out technicalities.

    We concede that under some rare — and extreme — conditions, the president should be able to make limited autonomous decisions.  Though the political left and effete international figures have said that global warming is a bigger threat than terrorism, it doesn't fall into that category.  Nor should lawyers be the ones to decide.

    A lot of effort has gone into working the public into a frenzy over man-made climate change.  But the fact remains: It is conjecture, not a proven fact.  Though the alarmists say the debate is over, there's a significant core of authentic scientists who are skeptical.

    There also is doubt born of common sense.  Near-surface temperature data, for instance, are, at best, shaky.  The numbers are hopelessly skewed when gauges are located next to the heat of air conditioning exhausts, near trash burning barrels and heat-retaining asphalt, and the temperatures across vast swaths of the Earth go unrecorded because so much of it has no weather stations.

    Oh, yes, and there's that recent report from the United Nations World Meteorological Organization that says the global temperature will fall this year, meaning that temperatures have not increased since the high of 1998.  That's starkly at odds with theory.

    Finally, who's to say or know what the right global temperature — if there even is such a thing -- is anyway?

    President Bush has been accused of running an imperial presidency by fighting an "illegal" war in Iraq and asking for more authority in the struggle against terrorism.  But nothing in America's post-revolution experience could be more imperial than a White House going beyond its constitutional limits to repel a nonexistent threat.



Benny Peiser, Financial Post, April 08, 2008

Imagine, there is a UN climate conference, and hardly anybody seems to note or care.  This is what appears to have happened with the latest round of post-Kyoto negotiations that ended in Bangkok last Friday.  While delegates from more than 160 nations met at yet another United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change confab in the Thai capital, much of the media seemed indifferent to its deliberations or did not bother to report about it.

    What used to be major environmental gatherings that would trigger global media hype and front-page headlines has turned into routine diplomatic meetings that wrap up, these days, on more or less the same note: Let's meet again.  Eight more such meetings are planned for the next 18 months to negotiate a replacement for the Kyoto Protocol, which runs out in 2012.  Instead of the passionately celebrated "breakthroughs" that used to be the hallmark of international climate conferences, today they often end in deadlock and disappointment.

    At the heart of the solidifying standoff lies a growing realization that the entire Kyoto process has been an abject failure.  Not only did it fail to slow (never mind reduce) carbon-dioxide emissions over the last 15 years or so, climate hysteria is pitting rich and poor nations against each other, dividing the world into opposing camps that embrace incompatible strategies and competing demands.  Developing nations insist that the rich world unilaterally commit to stringent and legally binding CO2 emissions cuts at home.  At the same time, they also demand massive wealth transfers from the West in the form of 'clean' technologies and financial funds for adaptation and energy initiatives.

    The self-inflicted damage as a result of Western climate policies has been ruinous.  Japan alone faces a Kyoto bill of more than US$500-billion -- if the country endeavours to cut CO2 emissions by 11% over the next decade.  No wonder, then, that Japan has officially given up on Kyoto and is now calling for a much softer replacement based on select sectoral, rather than national emission targets.

    In Europe, too, policy-makers and business leaders now realize that the European Union's unilateral actions are threatening to drive energy-intensive industries abroad.  According to recent estimates, European industries are expected to shoulder Eu 50 to 80-billion ($128-billion) per year if the EU's agreed climate targets were to become legally binding.  Unsurprisingly, the European Commission has now warned that it will abandon its own goals if the rest of the world won't agree to a new climate treaty.

    These staggering costs, however, pale in comparison with what China and the developing nations are demanding for their signature under any new climate treaty.  Arguing that Europe, Japan and North America have caused much of the buildup of the world's CO2 emissions in the atmosphere over the last century or so, China has called on Western nations to hand over 0.5% of their GDP per year in form of funds and clean-technology transfer to developing nations to counter global warming.  China's demand amounts to a wealth transfer of around US$200-billion a year from the OECD to the rest of the world, of which US$65-billion annually would come from the United States alone.

    China's exorbitant request, however, has been eclipsed by demands by African campaigners, who are charging a payback that is twice as high.  At the Bangkok meeting, African non-governmental organizations called on rich countries to commit 1% of their GDP each year -- for Africa alone -- for adaptation policies dealing with the effects of climate change, in addition to existing development aid.

    In response to mounting pressure and demands, the West is trying to divide the developing world by treating China and India differently to poorer countries.  It is attempting to draw China and India, now defined as "major emitters," into an international regime of binding emissions cuts.  Despite many years of self-righteous denunciation and disagreement, most industrialized countries have begun to band together around Tony Blair's and President George Bush's long-established strategy, which is beginning to enjoy bipartisan support in most Western capitals.  Even in Washington there is now a solid bipartisan consensus on this red line.  This hardening stance means that any climate treaty that does not include China and India has absolutely no chance of being ratified by the U.S. Senate -- regardless of whom the next U.S. president may be.

    Nevertheless, the West's feeble response to international pressure is a defensive strategy.  It is looked upon with bitterness in many parts of the world where climate campaigners have created a mood of anti-American anger and resentment.  While the Western approach may be able to corner the rising giants of China and India, it will almost certainly fail to compel them to commit to legally binding emissions cuts-- in whatever form.

    As a result of promoting environmental alarmism, Western governments find themselves trapped in a perilous, yet largely self-constructed catch.  As long as climate change is elevated as the principal liability of industrial countries, as long as Western CO2 emissions are blamed for exacerbating natural disasters, death and destruction around the globe, green pressure groups and officials from the developing world will continue to insist that the West is liable to recompense its exorbitant carbon debt by way of wealth transfer and financial compensation.

    Yet this is highly unlikely to happen.  Attempts to punish developing countries by introducing carbon tariffs [as suggested by France], on the other hand, would only create more fury and resentment.  Ultimately, there is now a growing risk that the whole global-warming scare is creating more anti-Western hostility and further loss of influence on the international stage.

   Unless the industrial nations are prepared to sacrifice a substantial fraction of their wealth and economic stability, it is extremely unlikely that a new climate treaty will be agreed upon in the foreseeable future.  While rich countries will put the blame squarely at the door of their Asian competitors, much of the rest of the world is likely to point the finger at Western greediness and intransigence.  In this way, the global warming scare is creating a lose-lose situation for the West, which is causing lasting damage to its standing, influence and economic strength.


-Professor (Liverpool University) Benny Peiser is the editor of CCNet, an international science-policy network.



Power companies in five EU member states could realise windfall profits over the next four years of up to 71 billion as a result of the handing out of emissions allowances for free, according to a new report.  German utilities would gain the highest profits per mega watt-hour as a result of, among other reasons, the high carbon-intensity of power generation in the country – a sector that is dominated by coal.

Shell warns Europe on CO2 permits
By Roland Gribben, April 11

    Shell has threatened to halt investment in Europe if the EU pushes ahead with contentious plans to charge for carbon emission permits as part of a climate change programme.  Christian Baime, a Shell France director, delivered the warning at a debate organised by the European Parliament.  He expressed concern that any move to auction permits would be costly and added: "It's impossible.  So there will be no more investments by Shell in Europe."  He indicated that the $250m in profit being made from refining and other operations covered by permits could be wiped out by a charging regime, making Europe unattractive for further investment.
    A spokesman said: "Shell does not favour auctioning of allowances in the first phase of a system because the impacts on the industries and firms covered by the system are highly uncertain.


SEPP says:  For free?  Really?  Can you guess who pays.  But look at the bright side: “the higher power price should reduce demand for power and also boost energy efficiency measures”   Yes, explain all this to households trying  desperately to survive with rising  costs of food - and everything else.   Nice to know that Sheel, though ‘Green,’ still looks to profit from GW.


Cost of Food rises:  Dennis Avery, Hudson Institute's Center for Global Food Issues, at the Heartland Climate Conference:  the higher corn prices that result from biofuels mandates mean that farmers are shifting from producing wheat and soybeans to producing corn. Less wheat and soybeans means higher prices for those grains. In the face of higher prices for wheat, corn and soybeans, consumers try to shift to rice, which in turns raises that grain's price. In addition, higher grain prices encourage farmers in developing countries to chop down and plow up forests. It also hasn't helped that some traditionally strong grain exporters such as Australia have experienced extreme weather.



From my Letter to an ‘Oil Peaker

… there are at least three parallel universes:

1.  Your group -- concerned mainly with an imminent peaking of fossil fuel resources

2.  A thoroughly befuddled group -- unaware of resource depletion and mainly concerned with carbon emission reduction.  I quote from influential NY Times writer Andrew Revkin (April 6):
But now, with recent data showing an unexpected rise in global emissions and a decline in energy efficiency, a growing chorus of economists, scientists and students of energy policy are saying that whatever benefits the cap approach yields, it will be too little and come too late.

    The economist Jeffrey D. Sachs, head of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, stated the case bluntly in a recent article in Scientific American: "Even with a cutback in wasteful energy spending, our current technologies cannot support both a decline in carbon dioxide emissions and an expanding global economy.  If we try to restrain emissions without a fundamentally new set of technologies, we will end up stifling economic growth, including the development prospects for billions of people."

    What is needed, Mr. Sachs and others say, is the development of radically advanced low-carbon technologies, which they say will only come about with greatly increased spending by determined governments on what has so far been an anemic commitment to research and development.  A Manhattan-like Project, so to speak.

    And time is critical, they say, as China, India and other developing nations march headlong into the modern world of cars and electric consumption on their way to becoming the dominant producer of greenhouse gases for decades to come.  Indeed, China is building, on average, one large coal-burning power plant a week.

    In an article in the journal Nature last week, researchers concerned with the economics, politics, and science of climate also argued that technology policy, not emissions policy, must dominate.  "There is no question about whether technological innovation is necessary - it is," said the authors, Roger A. Pielke Jr., a political scientist at the University of Colorado; Tom Wigley, a climatologist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research; and Christopher Green, an economist at McGill University. "The question is, to what degree should policy focus directly on motivating such innovation?"

    Proponents of treaties and legislation that would cap emissions don't disagree with this call to arms for new, low-carbon technologies.  But they say the cap approach should not be ignored, either.

    One of them is Joseph Romm, a blogger on climate and a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, a nonprofit group pushing for federal legislation to restrict greenhouse gases.  "Of course we need aggressive investments in R. and D. - I for one have been arguing that for two decades," Mr. Romm wrote in a post to his blog,  "But if we don't start aggressively deploying the technologies we have now for the next quarter century, then all the new technologies in the world won't avert catastrophe."

    But Professor Pielke and his co-authors say that a recent rise in emissions - particularly in fast-growing emerging powers - points to the need for government to push aggressively for technological advances instead of waiting for the market to force reductions in emissions.

    Mr. Sachs pointed to several promising technologies - capturing and burying carbon dioxide, plug-in hybrid cars and solar-thermal electric plants.  "Each will require a combination of factors to succeed: more applied scientific research, important regulatory changes, appropriate infrastructure, public acceptance and early high-cost investments," he said.  "A failure on one or more of these points could kill the technologies."  In short, what is needed, he said, is a "major overhaul of energy technology" financed by "large-scale public funding of research, development and demonstration projects."
3.  Finally, my group of climate skeptics takes no particular position on 'peaking.'  We argue that nuclear energy -- available right now, and capable of  great improvement through recycling, use of thorium, etc -- is the most likely replacement for scarce fossil fuels.  Of course, we  support hybrid cars and  plug-ins, but -- unlike Jeffrey Sachs  -- we regard carbon sequestration as an almost criminal waste of resources, and solar-thermal-electric as just another uneconomic dead-end. 

Best                                   Fred

SEPP Comment:  Much ado about  nothing:  All based on the rather simple discovery by Pielke, Wigley and  Green that improvements in energy efficiency are already included in ‘business-as-usual’ scenarios.  But they miss the main point: CO2 levels are largely irrelevant to climate change.  It’s their science that must  be challenged.


By Paul Driessen

This Iowa farm boy and University of Minnesota agriculture graduate lived Thomas Edison’s maxim to the fullest. Invention, Edison once remarked, is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.

     Dr. Borlaug did most of his 99% in the sweltering fields of Africa, India, Mexico and Pakistan.
At 94, and despite having cancer, the Father of the Green Revolution is still an Energizer Bunny, his daughter Jeanie says. He serves as a consultant, attends occasional conferences, and graciously let my daughter interview him for a high school paper.

Decades ago, while neo-Malthusians were predicting mass famine, Borlaug used Rockefeller Foundation grants to unlock hidden (recessive) genes and crossbreed different wheat strains, to create new dwarf varieties that were resistant to destructive rust fungi. The shorter plants were also sturdier, put less energy into growing leaves and stalks, and thus had higher yields.
He also taught modern farming methods to Third World farmers and persuaded governments to lift price controls and permit the use of chemical fertilizers, thereby generating unprecedented harvests. Mexico became self-sufficient in wheat by 1960, India and Pakistan soon did likewise, and Borlaug next helped China, Indonesia, the Philippines and other countries achieve great success with wheat, corn and rice.

When the Nobel committee awarded him the 1970 Peace Prize, it said his work had saved a billion lives. Borlaug simply observed that you can’t build a peaceful world on empty stomachs and human misery. He later won the Presidential Medal of Freedom and Congressional Gold Medal.
In 1985, he began working with former President Jimmy Carter to bring a Green Revolution to Sub-Saharan Africa, emphasizing intensive modern farming methods with new hybrid and biotech seeds on existing fields, to reduce the need to slash and burn wildlife habitat, as soil nutrients are exhausted.

Unfortunately, their progress may be undermined by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and his misleadingly named Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa. Annan says biotech crops are unsafe, untested, and likely to enslave poor farmers to mega-corporations and expensive seeds. He wants to battle Africa’s chronic poverty and malnutrition with traditional seeds and methods.

Dr. Borlaug fears that would be a devastating failure. As he said during a 2005 biotechnology conference, sponsored by the Congress of Racial Equality at the United Nations, he sees no way the world can feed its hungry population without genetically engineered (GE) crops, especially if it relies more on biofuels.

He has little patience for well-fed utopians who live on Cloud Nine but come into the Third World to cause all kinds of negative impacts, by scaring people and blocking the use of biotechnology. These callous activists even persuaded Zambia to let people starve, rather than let them eat biotech corn donated by the USA. They also oppose insecticides to combat malaria and fossil fuels, hydroelectric dams and nuclear power to generate abundant, reliable, affordable electricity for poor nations.

Our planet has 6.5 billion people, says Borlaug. By all means, use manure. You can’t let it sit around. But if we use only organic fertilizers and methods on existing farmland, we can only feed 4 billion. I don’t see 2.5 billion people volunteering to disappear. To feed everyone with organic and traditional farming, we would have to plow millions of acres of forests and other wildlife habitat, he calculates. If, instead, we continue to use commercial fertilizer and hybrids, and have strong public support for both biotech and traditional research, the Earth can provide sufficient food for 10 billion people.

Producing 7 billion gallons of ethanol in 2007 required corn grown on an area the size of Indiana plus vast amounts of water, insecticides, fertilizers and petroleum. Its a primary reason World Food Program operating costs rose 40% since June 2007, forcing the WFP to ration food aid, and millions to go to bed hungry. That is unsustainable morally, economically and ecologically.

Biotech crops have higher yields; provide enhanced nutrition; are more resistant to insects, fungi and disease; and require less water and insecticides. New varieties are being developed that grow better in drought and flood conditions, and even supply vaccines and anti-diarrhea nutrients (as in Ventria Biosciences GE-rice-based oral rehydration solution). Ongoing research will ensure that genes that once protected crop plants will be replaced by new ones, as plant pathogens continue mutating.

Genetically engineered crops are more stringently regulated and tested than any others unnecessarily so, say many scientists. Americans have eaten well over a trillion servings of food containing genetically engineered ingredients, without a single instance of harm to people or habitats, notes former FDA biotech director Henry Miller whereas organic spinach sickened and killed a number of people in 2007.

Biotechnology actually frees poor farmers from the shackles of Natures destructive forces. They pay more for seeds, but less for insecticides and water, get higher yields and make more money. South African farmers who’ve switched to GE crops attest to this.

Elizabeth Ajele: The old plants would be destroyed by insects, but not the new biotech plants. With the profits I get from the new Bt maize (corn), I can grow onions, spinach and tomatoes, and sell them for extra money to buy fertilizer. We were struggling to keep hunger out of our house. Now the future looks good. If someone came and said we should stop using the new maize, I would cry.

Richard Sithole: With the old maize, I got 100 bags from my 15 hectares. With Bt maize I get 1,000.

Thandi Myeni: The new Bt cotton means I only spray two times, instead of six. At the end of the day, we know the crop won't be destroyed and we will have a harvest and money.
Bethuel Gumede: By planting the new Bt cotton on my six hectares [15 acres], I was able to build a house and give it a solar panel. I also bought a TV and fridge. My wife can buy healthy food and we can afford to send the kids to school.

Farmers in Brazil, China, India, the Philippines and other countries share similar stories.

His accomplishments have made Norman Borlaug a household name in parts of Africa, though not in America. That’s partly because he did most of his work overseas. But it also reflects the fact that his favorable views on chemical fertilizers and biotechnology put him at odds with environmentalists and journalists who don’t share his perspectives on these issues.

Leon Hesser's fascinating and inspiring account of Dr. Borlaug's life and successes may finally bring him the fame he deserves. The Man Who Fed the World does what I’ve always loved about biographies: it shows how one person can change the world. Now out in paperback, the book will ensure that Norman Borlaug’s incredible legacy will live on as will the billion-plus people whose lives he saved.
Paul Driessen is senior policy advisor for the Congress of Racial Equality and Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow, and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power Black death.



Nigel Lawson, Financial Times, April 6 2008

Over the past five years I have become increasingly concerned at the scaremongering of the climate alarmists, which has led the governments of Europe to commit themselves to a drastic reduction in carbon emissions, regardless of the economic cost of doing so. The subject is such a complex one, involving science, economics and politics in almost equal measure, that to do it justice I have written a book, albeit a short one, thoroughly referenced and sourced. But the bare bones are clear.

    First, given the so-called greenhouse effect, the marked and largely man-made increase in carbon dioxide concentrations in the earths atmosphere has no doubt contributed to the modest 20th century warming of the planet. But what remains a matter of unresolved dispute among climate scientists is how great a contribution it has made, compared with the natural factors affecting the earth’s climate.

    The majority view among climate scientists, as set out in the most recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, is that most of the slight (0.5C) warming in the last quarter of the 20th century was very likely caused by man-made carbon dioxide emissions. On that basis, and relying on computer models, its best guess of the likely rise in mean global temperature over the next 100 years is between 1.8C and 4C.

    These projections were made, incidentally, before the recent acknowledgement that so far this century there has been no further global warming at all in spite of a continuing rapid rise in carbon emissions.

    Be that as it may, the IPCC goes on to estimate what the impact of the projected warming would be. It does so on the explicit basis of two assumptions. The first is that, while the developed world can adapt to warming, the developing world lacks the capacity to do so. The second is that, even in the developed world, adaptive capacity is constrained by the limits of existing technology that is to say, there will be no further technological development over the next 100 years.

    The first, distinctly patronising, assumption is almost certainly false. But even it were true it would mean only that, should the need arise, overseas aid programmes would be tailored to ensure that the developing world did acquire the necessary adaptive capacity. The second is self-evidently absurd, not least in the case of food production, given the ongoing developments in bio-engineering and genetic modification.

    It is, however, on this flawed basis that the IPCC reckons that, if the rise in global temperature over the next 100 years is as much as 4C, it would be likely to cost anything between 1 per cent and 5 per cent of global gross domestic product, albeit much more than this in the developing world and less in the developed world.

    Even if that were so, what would it mean? Suppose the loss to the developing world were as much as 10 per cent of GDP, then given the IPCC’s economic growth assumptions, on which its emissions assumptions, and hence its warming assumptions, are based it would imply that, by 2100 or thereabouts, people in the developing world, instead of being some 9.5 times as well off as they are today, would be only some 8.5 times as well off which would still leave them better off than people in the developed world today. This, then, is the scale of the alleged threat to the planet based, to repeat, on the IPCC’s grossly inflated estimate of the likely damage from further warming, arising from its absurdly gloomy view of mankind’s ability to adapt.

    Indeed, given that warming produces benefits as well as costs, it is far from clear that for the people of the world as a whole, the currently projected warming, even if it occurs, would cause any net harm at all. By contrast, slowing down world economic growth, by shifting to much more expensive non-carbon sources of energy, would be massively costly, as Dieter Helm, Britain’s foremost energy economist, has recently spelt out.

    That is one good reason why the sought-after global agreement to cut back drastically on carbon dioxide emissions, embracing China, India and the other major developing countries, is not going to happen. But two very real dangers remain.

    The first is that the European Union, which already has the bit between its teeth on this issue, will severely damage its own economy by deciding to set an example to the world. And the second is that it will seek to limit that damage, as President Nicolas Sarkozy of France and others are already urging, by imposing trade barriers against those countries that are not prepared to accept mandatory cuts in their emissions.

    A lurch into protectionism, and the rolling back of globalisation, would do far more damage to the world economy in general and to the developing countries in particular than could conceivably result from the projected resumption of global warming.

    It is high time this folly ended.

Lord Lawson was the UK’s chancellor of the exchequer, 1983-89. His book, An Appeal to Reason: A Cool Look at Global Warming, will be published by George Duckworth on Thursday