The Week That Was (Jan 12, 2008)–Brought to you by SEPP

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Quotes of the Week:

"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."

"I prefer rogues to imbeciles, because they sometimes take a rest."  Albert Einstein


We believe that the ‘science is settled’ about climate change – though not in the way Al Gore imagined it: The human contribution is not significant and CO2 is not a pollutant. 

The Vatican climate conference of Dec 20 gave us an opportunity to show that the IPCC conclusion about anthropogenic global warming (AGW) is without basis.  See the critique of the ‘proof’ presented there by IPCC scientist Myles Allen (Oxford University) [ITEM #1] and the subsequent exchange of letters with IPCC scientist Tom Wigley (NCAR) [ITEM #2].


It is frustrating, therefore, to watch the political establishment moving inexorably towards CO2 regulation.  Let’s stop them before it’s too late!  An opportunity may arise: Appealing the 9th Circuit Court decision on CO2 emission to the Supreme Court [See ITEM #3].


The ‘scientific consensus’ so desperately claimed by Al Gore and various hangers-on has long since evaporated.  It never really existed (cf. ‘Statement by Atmospheric Scientists -- 1992; Leipzig Declaration – 1995, etc).  If more proof is needed, see the ‘Letter to the UN by 100 Scientists’ and the recent listing of 400 scientific skeptics [for a masterful defense, see ITEM #4]


Whoever thought we might agree with ‘Moonbat’ Monbiot?  But when he accuses Al Gore of wrecking climate agreements, we must take notice [ITEM #5].

Oil is not peaking: New discoveries abound [ITEM #6]



Just in time for tht Bali Conference, the IPCC Fourth Assessment (AR4) Synthesis Report became available on the IPCC web-site at:  It provides an integrated view based on the scientific findings of the WG Reports issued earlier this year: "The Physical Science Basis" (WGI);  "Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability" (WGII); and "Mitigation of Climate Change" (WGIII).  Compared to these, however, it has been given a more catastrophic slant; see, e.g. its treatment of sea-level rise.



A major new study has just been published (Proceedings of the US National Academy of Sciences) challenging the idea that tropical forests are in retreat.  Prof Philip Stott calls it ‘serious work that deserves the widest attention and reporting.’



Roy Spencer’s book "Climate Confusion: How Global Warming Hysteria Leads to Bad Science, Pandering Politicians, and Misguided Policies that Hurt the Poor” will be released on March 27.   Here's the page for it:




From: "S. Fred Singer" <>
Msg for Prof  Zichichi

Dear Nino

I want to thank you for yr hospitality and also expand my comment on the presentation by Myles Allen (at the Climate Discussion at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences on Dec. 20) of the IPCC result in support of anthropogenic global warming (AGW):

The IPCC has called upon climate models in support of its conclusion about AGW.  In particular, they claim that the global mean surface temperature of the 20th century can be adequately simulated by combining the effects of GH gases, aerosols, and such natural influences as volcanoes and solar radiation [IPCC 2007, p.62].  However, closer examination reveals that this so-called agreement is little more than an exercise in curve fitting with the use of several adjustable parameters.  (The famed mathematician John von Neumann once said: Give me four adjustable parameters and I can simulate an elephant.  Give me one more and I can make his trunk wiggle.

To gain some appreciation of the wide choice of adjustable parameters available to modelers, note that current climate models can give a Climate Sensitivity (CS) of 1.5 to 11.5 C for a doubling of atmospheric CO2 [Stainforth et al. 2005].  The wide variability is derived mainly from choosing different physical parameters that enter into the formation and disappearance of clouds.  For example, the values for CS, as given by Stainforth, involve varying just six parameters out of some 100 listed in a paper by Murphy et al. [2004].  The values of these parameters, many relating to clouds and precipitation, are simply chosen by expert opinion. [In an empirical approach, Schwartz [2007] derives a climate sensitivity well below 1 C, as does Shaviv [2005] by a different empirical method.]

The IPCC completely ignores the forcing arising from changes in solar activity (solar wind and its magnetic effects) -- likely much more important than the forcing from CO2.  Uncertainties for aerosols, which tend to cool the climate and oppose the GH effect, are even greater [IPCC 2007 p.32]. 

An independent critique of the IPCC by three mainstream scientists points to the arbitrariness of the matching exercise in view of the large uncertainties of some of these forcings particularly for aerosols as admitted by the IPCC itself [Schwartz, Charlson, Rodhe 2007].  In addition, James Hansen [1998], a leading climate modeler, has called attention to our inadequate knowledge of radiative forcing from aerosols and stated that the forcings that drive long-term climate change are not known with an accuracy sufficient to define future climate change.

To sum up:  We don't see any firm evidence in support of AGW.  On the contrary:  Our own analysis, just published in the International Journal of Climatology (of the Royal Meteorological Society) essentially falsifies the AGW hypothesis [see attached].



Letter of 12/29/07
Dear Fred,

At the meeting in Rome, Myles Allen answered your question about the evidence for human influences on the climate where you suggested that this comes solely from the agreement between model simulations and observations of global-mean temperature.  As I explain below, nothing could be further from the truth.  Myles did not have time to give a comprehensive answer to this question, so I am taking this opportunity to fill in some additional details.

The evidence comes from a variety of sources and involves, in many cases, what are referred to as "Detection and Attribution" (D&A) studies.  These studies have considered many different variables, not just near-surface temperature, and all such studies point to the same conclusion -- that one cannot explain the changes that have occurred over the past century unless one invokes a substantial contribution from human influences.  Much of this evidence is described and summarized in the "detection" chapters in the Third and Fourth IPCC WG1 Assessments.  However, these chapters are somewhat technical and not easy to read, so I am attaching a paper by Ben Santer and me that may give you an easier pathway to the arguments and literature.

Essentially, D&A studies are pattern-recognition exercises.  We define a pattern of climate change (a "fingerprint") by running a climate model (or a set of models) with an/ a priori/ defined set of anthropogenic forcings, and then look for the pattern in the observational record (or in a number of records that purport to be measuring the same quantities).  We try to be as comprehensive as possible by considering multiple models and multiple observed data sets in order to avoid any suggestion that we might have been selective in our choice of data sets.

The patterns (fingerprints) we look for may be fixed in time (in which case the pattern should be seen to evolve in time over the 20th century in the observations), or it may be time-dependent, in which case its time dependence should be mimicked in the observational record.

We can then use rigorous statistical techniques to see whether any model/observed agreement could have occurred by chance or could have resulted from other, non-anthropogenic forcings.

Such studies are a very demanding test of models, *much* more demanding than simply looking at global-mean temperature changes.  Different forcing factors have different fingerprints, so one can use these differences to pin down the reasons for past observed changes.  Furthermore, we can apply these methods to different climate variables, not just temperature.  There have been studies using near-surface temperature, tropospheric and stratospheric temperature, tropopause height, mean sea-level pressure, precipitation, and atmospheric moisture content -- involving both horizontal (latitude/longitude) and vertical (latitude/height) patterns.  In *all *cases, as noted above, the conclusion is the same -- that one cannot explain the past unless there has been a substantial human influence.

I hope you enjoy reading the attached paper.  It is still "in press", so it is very unlikely that you have seen it.

There are some references that need to be updated. Pierce et al. (2006) is in Journal of Climate, vol. 19, pp. 1873-1900.  Zhang et al. (2007) is in Nature, vol. 448, pp. 461-465.

I should add that there is additional literature that has come out recently, or which is still in press, that supports all the statements made in the attached paper.  A particularly interesting example that exposes some important observational data set problems is ...

AchutaRao, K.M., Santer, B.D., Gleckler, P.J., Taylor, K.E., Barnett, T.P., Gregory, J.M., Pierce, D.W., Stouffer, R.J. and Wigley, T.M.L., 2007: Ocean temperature and heat content variability in the second half of the 20th century. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 104, 1076810773.

Another important paper that you should look for is by Carl Mears and co-authors that looks in more detail at atmospheric moisture content, and which provides strong and independent support for the reality of an amplification in temperature trends in the tropical troposphere relative to the surface (an amplification that is in strict accordance with the most elementary thermodynamics).  These amplification results and the background physics and data supporting them are shown in the CCSP1.1 report and in Santer et al. (2005) ...

Santer, B.D., Wigley, T.M.L., Mears, C., Wentz, F.J., Klein, S.A., Seidel, D.J., Taylor, K.E., Thorne, P.W., Wehner, M.F., Gleckler, P.J., Boyle, J.S., Collins, W.J., Dixon, K.W., Doutriaux, C., Free, M., Fu, Q., Hansen, J.E., Jones, G.S., Ruedy, R., Karl, T.R., Lanzante, J.R., Meehl, G.A., Ramaswamy, V., Russell, G., and Schmidt, G.A., 2005: Amplification of surface temperature trends and variability in the tropical troposphere, Science 309,11511156.

This new work on atmospheric moisture changes supports the conclusion that is in Santer
et al., namely, that the apparent discrepancy between models and observations in the
amplification effect is due largely to observed data deficiencies.  Improved observational
records, many of which are soon to be published, also support this conclusion.

Best wishes,


And response to Wigley Letter


Dear Tom


I much appreciate your taking the time to send me a detailed letter and your attached paper with Santer, in reply to my brief oral comments on Myles Allen's talk at the Vatican on Dec 20.


I am sharing this letter with him, Antonino Zichichi (through Claude Manoli) -- and also with my co-authors Christy and Douglass.


1.  First, yr letter to me deals with Detection & Attribution using the Fingerprint method and claims a dominant human influence in the temperature rise observed since 1976-77.  However, Myles discussed a quite different approach to D&A, namely a model simulation of the Global Mean Surface Temperature (GMST) of the 20th century (1900 to 2000).  This approach is shown in IPCC report #4 (2007) and also in #3 (2001).  I believe it is based on the papers of Peter Stott et al.


2.  I responded to Myles, as I have written repeatedly elsewhere, that I consider the Stott-IPCC method a 'curve-fitting' exercise, since agreement with the GMST data depends entirely on the arbitrary choice of climate sensitivity for GH forcing, and on corresponding choices of sensitivity parameters for (uncertain) aerosol and solar forcing.  I also noted that the IPCC considers only forcing based on changes in solar irradiance and ignores the (likely much larger) effects of solar activity (solar wind and magnetic fields) that are known to modulate the flux of Galactic Cosmic Rays striking the Earth's atmosphere.  [I may be biased here since I published some early papers (1958, 1960, 1962) on this topic, which was a very contentious one at that time]


3.  Now in response to yr letter of Dec 29: We fully agree that the 'fingerprint' method, esp when applied in the tropics, is the most sensitive way to establish the presence or absence of appreciable (anthropogenic) GH forcing.  However, we disagree on the result -- after applying this method (see attached IJC paper by Douglass et al, 2007).  We claim the GH models disagree with the observed patterns; you claim they agree.  Why this difference?


4.  You speculate that the reason for the difference is that there is something wrong with the observations.  But then you must become more specific and explain exactly what is wrong with the balloon and satellite data used in the 2006 CCSP-1.1 report (of which you are a coauthor).  You must also respond in detail to the careful analysis of the observations in our IJC paper (which agrees with the CCSP).


5.  You state in yr letter that there are many other ways (aside from tropospheric temperatures) to test for a human contribution to recent climate change.  You may well be correct but temperature is the most widely used climate parameter.  I remind you also that (according to Popper) when testing a scientific hypothesis (like anthropogenic global warming --AGW), it takes only a single experiment (or observation) to falsify the hypothesis.  We believe that our IJC paper falsifies the AGW hypothesis.


Best wishes for 2008!                                Fred




By S. Fred Singer*


In mid-November, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration must consider the “risks of global warming” when setting gas-mileage standards for light trucks, including minivans and SUVs.  Central to its ruling was the court’s claim that NHTSA, in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act, had “arbitrarily and capriciously” ignored the benefits of reducing emissions of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2).


Whatever their legal acumen, Justice Betty Fletcher and her colleagues on the bench have no expertise in climate issues.  They should have realized that tighter restrictions on CO2 emissions cannot produce the imagined benefits.  First, their mandate will not measurably dampen CO2 levels or global warming: Greenhouse gases are a global issue  -- no question about that.


Second, the court seemed to assume that global warming is an unmitigated disaster.  It isn’t.  A group of 23 economists, led by Yale resource economist Robert Mendelsohn, has demonstrated that higher CO2 levels and modest warming would produce positive benefits (especially for agriculture and forestry) and raise U.S. GDP (and average income).  Factor in the additional rain and fresh water from anticipated increases in ocean evaporation, and the benefits become even larger.


Third, the claim that human activity is the main cause of current warming has yet to be established by hard evidence.  The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) points to glacial melting, the shrinking of sea ice and other consequences of global warming.  But this cannot tell us whether the causes are natural or manmade.  Other “evidence,” such as a claimed correlation between temperature and CO2, is contrived; during much of the past century climate was cooling while CO2 levels rose.


A forthcoming report by the Non-governmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) may provide needed balance.  An independent organization, not sponsored by the United Nations, national governments or industry, NIPCC—which includes IPCC authors and expert reviewers in its ranks—was created to provide a “second look” at the IPCC’s official findings, just as a physician’s diagnosis may warrant a second opinion when she proposes an especially risky treatment.


Drawing on peer-reviewed publications in major scientific journals, NIPCC has examined the climate data considered in IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report, published last May, as well as research ignored by IPCC or published more recently.  The NIPCC report -- of which I am the editor -- concludes that “evidence” to support public hysteria about human-caused greenhouse warming does not hold up to scrutiny.  Among the findings:


·         The human contribution to warming is minor.  If observed temperatures were consistent with greenhouse models, this would lend support to the argument that CO2 drives warming.  But key temperature data contradict the calculations from computer models: Whereas all greenhouse models show temperature trends rising with altitude in the tropical troposphere, data from weather balloons show the opposite: a cooling trend.  Therefore, human activity could not have been a significant cause of the observed global warming.


·         Climate models vastly overestimate greenhouse warming.  The models exaggerate the warming effect of greenhouse gases by ignoring likely “negative feedbacks” from clouds and water vapor.  The net warming might amount to no more than 0.5 degrees Celsius by 2100, well within the “noise level” of natural climate variability.


·      The leading cause of observed climate warming appears to be variability of solar emissions and solar magnetic fields.  The IPCC ignores the substantial research of the past few years on the effects of solar activity on climate change.  But naturally caused climate changes are essentially unstoppable and certainly cannot be influenced by controlling CO2 emissions.


·         In light of the above, all efforts at CO2 mitigation, such as emission controls by “cap-and-trade” (energy rationing), carbon taxes, or carbon sequestration, are not only useless but also costly and damaging to economic welfare.  The 1997 Kyoto Protocol and the 2007 Bali Climate Declaration cannot influence the natural factors controlling the climate.  Similarly, massive government efforts to replace fossil fuels with ethanol, bio-diesel, wind and solar power are also pointless, wasteful, and ineffective.


In view of these findings, the Department of Justice should appeal the 9th Circuit Court’s ruling of “arbitrary and capricious” to the Supreme Court.  Doing so would also provide the high court an opportunity to revisit its decision of April 2007 in Massachusetts v. EPA—that the Environmental Protection Agency has the authority to regulate CO2 as a pollutant.  This time around, the White House lawyers should be better prepared to argue their case.  The science is on their side.


*S. Fred Singer is Research Fellow at the Independent Institute in Oakland, Calif., Professor Emeritus of Environmental Sciences at the University of Virginia, and author of Hot Talk, Cold Science: Global Warming’s Unfinished Debate.




Comment #72. January 10th, 2008 4:52 pm


Dear New York Times and Mr. Pierrehumbert (Comment # 51)


There is no time for resting when such easily debunked critiques of the Senate report on over 400 scientists are floating about. I am responding to your critique here of the Senate Report of over 400 scientists disputing man-made global warming claims.


First off, the well over 400-plus names (and still growing) scientists are not “all” of the skeptical scientists in the world; they are merely a sampling of scientists who spoke out recently. The report is also weighted to English speaking scientists; it does not pretend to capture all of the large amounts of skepticism growing around the world to the hyped “climate crisis.” (See Full Senate Report here:


Second, you claim that there are a few scientists “who are flatly unqualified to make any pronouncements on climate science” because they do not meet your criteria or because the report has a few economists in it. Such charges are simply unsustainable.


Do you hold the UN IPCC scientists to that same standard? Please take the time to read this excellent research by Climate Resistance revealing that the so-called “thousands” of scientists from the UN are made up of significant numbers of economists and engineers as well. l-thyself.html


After all, you could argue that half the climate change debate is premised on economics that falls under Stern Review-inspired “it’s cheaper to act now” than wait category.


Also, the head of UN IPCC, Rajendra K. Pachauri, is an economist and engineer. It appears Nobel winner Pachauri would not meet your standards to comment on climate change.


Pachauri’s training as an economist has not stopped the New York Times from erroneously referring to him as a “climatologist” (see: or the AP from referring to Pachauri as the “chief climate scientist” for the UN. See:


Are you going to chastise the NY Times and AP for referring to the “thousands” of UN experts as “scientists” as well? (Note: Many current and former members of the UN IPCC are featured in the Senate report of over 400.) Or do you only selectively “disqualify” scientists if they do not share your views?


Third, your citation of Prof. Andrew Dessler’s articles at Grist is amusing. Dessler has monumentally embarrassed himself by recently claiming there were only two dozen scientists skeptical of man-made climate fears. Dessler is now trying desperately to salvage his unsupportable assertions over at Grist with increasingly shrill and comical posts.


It is made clear you have not read the Senate report when you parrot Dessler’s claims that Dr. Christopher Castro “unabashedly and explicitly endorses the IPCC consensus.” If you took the time to read Castro’s entry in the Senate report you would find that even though he accepts the idea that mankind is responsible for most of the recent warming, he has serious doubts about future dire predictions of warming. Excerpt from report: Castro, who studied under skeptical climatologist Dr. Roger Pielke, Sr. “agrees that other possible forcings to the climate system besides CO2 (like land-use change, aerosols, etc.) are not accounted for well, if at all” and “models are highly sensitive to parameterized processes, like clouds, convection, and radiation, and these processes can have significant impacts on their results.” End excerpt.


Remember, many skeptical scientists believe the Earth has already seen most of the warming impact of rising CO2, so agreeing that a 20th century CO2 rise has caused some warming is not the same as believing future catastrophic climate projections.


Also, Dessler mocks a meteorologist for citing God as part of his belief that mankind is not causing a “climate crisis,” but Dessler completely ignores the scientific reasons the meteorologist presents. Be wary of critiques that do not publish the Senate Report’s full excerpt on the scientist being analyzed.


Fourth, your cut and paste attack from Real Climate on award-winning physicist Claude Allegre and his colleague Vincent Courtillot is without merit. The propaganda team at routinely ridicule scientists who dissent from their view of climate orthodoxy. An interesting note on Allegre is he recently converted from a believer in catastrophic climate change to a skeptic as new scientific studies debunked fears. See full report here: (includes many other scientist who reversed themselves on global warming as well)


The Senate report of dissenting scientists has gained a giant foothold in the climate debate. For a sampling of the impact the report is having in redefining the climate debate, see here:


Also note that this report goes way beyond scientists’ dissenting but includes numerous recent peer-reviewed studies debunking rising CO2 fears and Arctic and Greenland melting fears.


2008 is ushering in a truly new era in the climate debate. No longer will activists be able to claim that the “debate is over” or, as Naomi Oreskes once claimed, no peer-reviewed studies cast doubt on the “consensus.”


For an insight into why there is a growing number of skeptical scientists worldwide, please read this article just up today by one of the Senate 400 plus scientists. It is written by Climate statistician Dr. William M. Briggs, who specializes in the statistics of forecast evaluation, serves on the American Meteorological Society’s Probability and Statistics Committee and is an Associate Editor of Monthly Weather Review. See:


(I hope you consider him “qualified” to speak on this issue)


I urge everyone on this board to actually read the full Senate report (well over 80,000 words) and then re-evaluate your views. Full report available here:




Marc Morano U.S. Senate Environment & Public Works Committee



George Monbiot, The Guardian, 17 December 2007,,2228609,00.html
”After 11 days of negotiations, governments have come up with a compromise deal that could even lead to emission increases. The highly compromised political deal is largely attributable to the position of the United States, which was heavily influenced by fossil fuel and automobile industry interests. The failure to reach agreement led to the talks spilling over into an all-night session."

These are extracts from a press release by Friends of the Earth. So what? Well it was published on December 11 - I mean to say, December 11 1997. The US had just put a wrecking ball through the Kyoto Protocol. George Bush was innocent; he was busy executing prisoners in Texas. Its climate negotiators were led by Albert Arnold Gore.

The European Union had asked for greenhouse gas cuts of 15% by 2010. Gore's team drove them down to 5.2% by 2012. Then the Americans did something worse: they destroyed the whole agreement.

Most of the other governments insisted that the cuts be made at home. But Gore demanded a series of loopholes big enough to drive a Hummer through. The rich nations, he said, should be allowed to buy their cuts from other countries. When he won, the protocol created an exuberant global market in fake emissions cuts. The western nations could buy "hot air" from the former Soviet Union. Because the cuts were made against emissions in 1990, and because industry in that bloc had subsequently collapsed, the former Soviet Union countries would pass well below the bar. Gore's scam allowed them to sell the gases they weren't producing to other nations. He also insisted that rich nations could buy nominal cuts from poor ones. Entrepreneurs in India and China have made billions by building factories whose primary purpose is to produce greenhouse gases, so that carbon traders in the rich world will pay to clean them up.

The result of this sabotage is that the market for low-carbon technologies has remained moribund. Without an assured high value for carbon cuts, without any certainty that government policies will be sustained, companies have continued to invest in the safe commercial prospects offered by fossil fuels rather than gamble on a market without an obvious floor.

By ensuring that the rich nations would not make real cuts, Gore also guaranteed that the poor ones scoffed when we asked them to do as we don't. When George Bush announced, in 2001, that he would not ratify the Kyoto protocol, the world cursed and stamped its foot. But his intransigence affected only the US. Gore's team ruined it for everyone.

The destructive power of the American delegation is not the only thing that hasn't changed. After the Kyoto protocol was agreed, the then British environment secretary, John Prescott, announced: "This is a truly historic deal which will help curb the problems of climate change. For the first time it commits developed countries to make legally binding cuts in their emissions." Ten years later, the current environment secretary, Hilary Benn, told us that "this is an historic breakthrough and a huge step forward. For the first time ever, all the world's nations have agreed to negotiate on a deal to tackle dangerous climate change." Do these people have a chip inserted?

In both cases, the US demanded terms that appeared impossible for the other nations to accept. Before Kyoto, the other negotiators flatly rejected Gore's proposals for emissions trading. So his team threatened to sink the talks. The other nations capitulated, but the US still held out on technicalities until the very last moment, when it suddenly appeared to concede. In 1997 and in 2007 it got the best of both worlds: it wrecked the treaty and was praised for saving it.

Hilary Benn is an idiot. Our diplomats are suckers. American negotiators have pulled the same trick twice, and for the second time our governments have fallen for it.

There are still two years to go, but so far the new agreement is even worse than the Kyoto Protocol. It contains no targets and no dates. A new set of guidelines also agreed at Bali extend and strengthen the worst of Gore's trading scams, the Clean Development Mechanism. Benn and the other dupes are cheering and waving their hats as the train leaves the station at last, having failed to notice that it is traveling in the wrong direction.

Although Gore does a better job of governing now he is out of office, he was no George Bush. He wanted a strong, binding and meaningful protocol, but American politics had made it impossible. In July 1997, the Senate had voted 95-0 to sink any treaty which failed to treat developing countries in the same way as it treated the rich ones. Though they knew this was impossible for developing countries to accept, all the Democrats lined up with all the Republicans. The Clinton administration had proposed a compromise: instead of binding commitments for the developing nations, Gore would demand emissions trading. But even when he succeeded, he announced that "we will not submit this agreement for ratification [in the Senate] until key developing nations participate". Clinton could thus avoid an unwinnable war.

So why, regardless of the character of its leaders, does the US act this way? Because, like several other modern democracies, it is subject to two great corrupting forces. I have written before about the role of the corporate media - particularly in the US - in downplaying the threat of climate change and demonising anyone who tries to address it. I won't bore you with it again, except to remark that at 3pm eastern standard time on Saturday, there were 20 news items on the front page of the Fox News website. The climate deal came 20th, after "Bikini-wearing stewardesses sell calendar for charity" and "Florida store sells 'Santa Hates You' T-shirt".

Let us consider instead the other great source of corruption: campaign finance. The Senate rejects effective action on climate change because its members are bought and bound by the companies that stand to lose. When you study the tables showing who gives what to whom, you are struck by two things.

One is the quantity. Since 1990, the energy and natural resources sector - mostly coal, oil, gas, logging and agribusiness - has given $418m to federal politicians in the US. Transport companies have given $355m. The other is the width: the undiscriminating nature of this munificence. The big polluters favour the Republicans, but most of them also fund Democrats. During the 2000 presidential campaign, oil and gas companies lavished money on Bush, but they also gave Gore $142,000, while transport companies gave him $347,000. The whole US political system is in hock to people who put their profits ahead of the biosphere.

So don't believe all this nonsense about waiting for the next president to sort it out. This is a much bigger problem than George Bush. Yes, he is viscerally opposed to tackling climate change. But viscera don't have much to do with it. Until the American people confront their political funding system, their politicians will keep speaking from the pocket, not the gut.

Copyright 2007, The Guardian




Peak oil advocates claim that the world is running out of oil unless the West gives up its energy-consuming lifestyle.  Like global warming and population-bomb Malthusianism, it's essentially junk science because it operates on a static model.  Crucially, it leaves out the politics of whether oil companies are allowed to discover or not, says Investor's Business Daily (IBD).


Unlike bans on offshore drilling, as in the United States, many developing countries are finding a windfall, says IBD:


o   Recent news suggests that Brazil may be sitting on even bigger oil deposits than the recently discovered (and huge) Tupi field; Tupi alone almost doubled Brazil's oil reserves and may raise Brazil to the rank of 10th biggest oil producer from 17th currently.


o   Besides Brazil, China has made 10 major new discoveries this year alone; its Bohai Bay discovery last May, its largest in four decades, added 7.35 billion barrels of reserves.


o   India, once viewed as an energy no-hoper, is also finding energy offshore, and Russia already is a major producer.




o   Last year Mexico made a huge offshore discovery it has yet to tap.


o   In the tiny area where U.S. energy companies are permitted to drill offshore in the Gulf of Mexico, Chevron, Statoil and Devon Energy made the biggest discovery since the Alaska Prudhoe find decades ago.


o   It's so big it could add 50 percent to the U.S.' 29 billion barrels of domestic energy reserves.


Daniel Yergin, head of Cambridge Energy Research Associates, notes that technological breakthroughs also are enabling the production of more energy.  Not only can new technologies recover resources from old wells previously thought tapped out, it can create oil from formerly useless resources, like tar sands.  It also can recover oil and natural gas from previously impossible geography, like the deep blue sea miles beneath the surface.


Source: Editorial, "Brazil's Not Peaking," Investor's Business Daily, December 14, 2007. Courtesy: NCPA