The Week That Was
Dec. 4, 2004








2. Fairness Gets Cold Shoulder From Media

Investor's Business Daily, Nov 23, 2004

For several years, the news media have been warning us of the impending doom of global warming. Well, they almost got it right.

Forget their reports that blame everything from hot weather to cold weather on global warming. The impending doom lurking just around the corner is the Kyoto Protocol -- and Russia's decision to go along with this nonsense will make it a reality for a good bit of the globe.

The U.S. is already under pressure to join in despite the potential price tag of more than $400 billion each year.

The treaty gives industrialized nations just eight years to cut their emissions of six key greenhouse gases. If the U.S. had gone along, we would have been required to cut emissions 7% below 1990 levels -- nearly 20% below current estimates.

Think about that for just a second: Imagine cutting emissions 20% in just eight years. The U.S. Energy Department estimates that this treaty could cost between $225 billion to more than $400 billion annually -- equal to every penny earned by more than 5.3 million U.S. households. It could also put between 1.1 million to 4.9 million Americans out of work.

Of course, you might not know any of this if you relied on the major media to tell you.

A new study by the Media Research Center's Free Market Project looked at how all five major news-shows -- the three broadcast channels as well Fox News and CNN -- had handled the issues involving climate change. The study tracked the shows from Jan. 21, 2001, the beginning of the Bush presidency, through September 30, 2004.

We found most network news-shows hardly even admit there's a scientific debate on global warming. They only did so in 12 stories, or 9% of the time.

Sad to say, they aren't following the news. Russia's government moved ahead on Kyoto despite objections of its own Academy of Sciences that the treaty is faulty. Network news-shows paid no attention. Instead, they repeated the claim that global warming is a given or that mankind is to blame for this "problem" or both 55% of the time (77 stories). That's roughly six times more often than they even admitted there might be some scientific objection.

NBC was the worst of all five networks studied. It took this pro-Kyoto view in 30 of its stories (64%). It also had the lowest percentage of opposition to this view -- only three stories (6%). That's a ratio of 10 to 1.

Here is a fairly typical network comment -- from CBS Evening News reporter Jerry Bowen on August 29, 2002: "Whatever its cause, there is now abundant evidence that the Earth is having a heat wave."

That claim is open to debate. Satellite and weather balloon data indicate no warming is taking place at all. Since those two different measures disagree with ground temperature results, the data deserve more investigation, not more hot air.

The networks are only seeing one side of the debate because they are only asking the questions of liberal environmental groups. The Natural Resources Defense Council is interviewed often, but they are never described as a strongly anti-Bush organization even though that is exactly what they are. According to their own Web site, the Bush administration "threatens to do more damage to our environmental protections than any other in U.S. history."

No matter who was interviewed, the coverage focused on the impact of global warming. Stories blamed everything from floods to drought on climate change.

ABC blamed warming for "erratic" weather such as a Christmas Eve snowstorm in Buffalo of all places. Reporter Neal Karlinsky explained, "Scientists say there is a pattern here. The weather is becoming more erratic for one main reason, the Earth is getting warmer."

This virtually guarantees the networks are correct on the issue of global warming. If the weather gets warmer, they were right. If it gets colder, they can blame that on warming. And lastly, if the weather simply changes and produces snow in Buffalo on Christmas Eve, then they can say the weather is changeable.

What should be changeable is how the networks handle their global warming coverage. Only the Fox News Channel made a respectable showing in our study. The other four networks need to learn to balance their coverage of this important issue. Until then, network bias is like the weather -- something we all complain about but the networks seem unable to do anything to fix.
Herman Cain, former president and chairman of Godfather's Pizza, Inc., former Senate candidate in Georgia, and former CEO of the National Restaurant Association, is now national chairman of the Media Research Center's Free Market Project.

Dan Gainor is director of the Free Market Project (


3. Air Board's Greenhouse Rule: Raw Deal for Dealers
by Marlo Lewis, Jr.
in AutoExec Magazine, November 12, 2004

On Sept. 24, California's Air Resources Board (CARB) adopted a plan to regulate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from new cars and trucks starting in 2009. To sell cars in California, automakers will have to reduce fleet average GHG emissions by 22 percent in 2012 and 30 percent in 2016. CARB's rulemaking is a raw deal for auto dealers in California and any other state that mimics California's plan.

Unscientific. To justify its rule, CARB cites the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) scary forecast of a 2.5°F to 10.4°F warming over the next 100 years. However, the IPCC forecast is junk science. The IPCC's warming estimates presuppose ridiculous economic growth rates in developing countries (i.e., most of the world). For example, even the IPCC's low-end (2.5°F) forecast assumes that underachievers like North Korea, Libya, and Argentina grow so rapidly their per capita incomes will surpass U.S. per capita income in 2100! CARB's rule has no credible scientific rationale.

Unlawful. California Assembly Bill 1493, the enabling legislation, directs CARB to achieve "maximum feasible" emission reductions. However, CARB cannot do so without forcing automakers to increase the average fuel economy of their fleets. Unsurprisingly, CARB's list of recommended GHG-reducing technologies closely matches the National Research Council's inventory of fuel economy-enhancing technologies. Yet the federal Energy Conservation and Policy Act prohibits states from enacting laws or regulations "related to" fuel economy-a prohibition necessary to ensure economies of scale and a competitive U.S. auto industry. CARB will surely be challenged in court.

Unaffordable. AB 1493 also stipulates that CARB's plan must be "cost effective." CARB claims that fuel savings from the technologies automakers deploy to reduce emissions will substantially exceed the increase in vehicle sticker price. Of course, this is a tacit confession that the rule is a de facto fuel economy program.

Sierra Research, Inc., in a report written for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, finds multiple problems in CARB's cost-effectiveness calculation. CARB inflated vehicle costs in the 2009 baseline (no regulation) case by assuming general adoption of expensive technologies such as 5- and 6-speed automatic transmissions. CARB knocked down by 30 percent its own contract-researcher's cost estimates based on nothing more specific than staff's "experience" and the potential for "unforeseen innovations." CARB assumed that consumers benefit from fuel savings years after most cars are sold or scrapped.

Whereas CARB projects a net lifetime consumer saving of $1,703, Sierra estimates a net loss of $3,357. The rule will reduce vehicle sales and put the brakes on the chief source of air quality improvement-replacement of older vehicles with newer, cleaner models. CARB's rule is bad for the environment!

Raw Deal. If implemented, CARB's plan will hammer California auto dealers. The rule applies to automakers, not auto owners or operators. Unless CARB is prepared to build a wall around California, it cannot stop people from importing less regulated, more affordable cars from out of state.

Dealers elsewhere would be unwise to celebrate, however, because California is a trendsetter. Any state that adopts California's rule (seven Northeast states may do so) will similarly hobble its auto dealerships.
Marlo Lewis
Senior Fellow, Environmental Policy
Competitive Enterprise Institute, Washington, D.C

4. Kyoto Protocol To Enter Into Force 16 February 2005

Bonn, 18 November 2004 - The 90-day countdown to the Kyoto Protocol's entry into force was triggered today by the receipt of the Russian Federation's instrument of ratification by the United Nations Secretary-General. The Protocol will become legally binding on its 128 Parties on 16 February 2005.

"A period of uncertainty has closed. Climate change is ready to take its place again at the top of the global agenda," said Joke Waller-Hunter, Executive Secretary of the Climate Change Secretariat, which services the UN Climate Change Convention and its Kyoto Protocol.

"Next month's ministerial conference in Buenos Aires will provide the next major opportunity for governments, businesses and civil society to promote the innovative new policies and technologies that will create the climate-friendly economy of the future," she said.

The Protocol's entry into force means that from 16 February 2005:

1) Thirty industrialized countries will be legally bound to meet quantitative targets for reducing or limiting their greenhouse gas emissions.

2) The international carbon trading market will become a legal and practical reality. The Protocol's "emissions trading" regime enables industrialized countries to buy and sell emissions credits amongst themselves; this market-based approach will improve the efficiency and cost effectiveness of emissions cuts.

3) The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) will move from an early implementation phase to full operations. The CDM will encourage investments in developing-country projects that limit emissions while promoting sustainable development.

4) The Protocol's Adaptation Fund, established in 2001, will start preparing itself for assisting developing countries to cope with the negative effects of climate change.

Under the Kyoto Protocol, industrialized countries are to reduce their combined emissions of six major greenhouse gases during the five-year period 2008-2012 to below 1990 levels. The European Union, for example, is to cut its combined emissions by eight percent, while Japan should reduce emissions by six percent. For many countries, achieving the Kyoto targets will be a major challenge that will require new policies and new approaches.

Only four industrialized countries have not yet ratified the Kyoto Protocol: they are Australia, Liechtenstein, Monaco and the United States. Australia and the United States have stated that they do not plan to do so; together they account for over one third of the greenhouse gases emitted by the industrialized world. Developing countries, including Brazil, China, India and Indonesia, are also Parties to the Protocol but do not have emission reduction targets.

"Reducing the risks of global warming will require the active engagement of the entire international community. I urge the US and other major emitters without Kyoto targets to do their part by accelerating their national efforts to address climate change," said Ms. Waller-Hunter.

5. Canada Gov't: Won't meet Kyoto targets


OTTAWA (CP) - The Natural Resources Department has acknowledged for the first time that Canada is likely to come up badly short of its targets under the Kyoto climate treaty.
The department, lead agency on the Kyoto file, on Thursday confirmed remarks by its deputy minister George Anderson that it would be "a stretch" for Canada to get even two-thirds of the way to its target. The admission represents the first time the government has conceded it will fail to meet its Kyoto commitments.

Anderson's comments were made almost three months ago, at a conference in Australia, but were not reported in Canada at the time. They were reported in a Washington-based trade publication, The Energy Daily, and recently came to the attention of Canadians who follow the climate issue.
"The measures we have announced were presented as closing about two-thirds of the gap, but that is a stretch," Anderson is quoted as saying during a ministerial roundtable at the 19th World Energy Conference in Sydney, Australia.

"I think it is fair to say, and there is even a question of how we are going to move forward on this plan. There is a significant commitment by the government, but we have set a very, very ambitious target," he said.

Natural Resources spokesman Ghyslain Charron confirmed in an interview Thursday that the quotes were accurate, and made no attempt to distance the department from Anderson's comments.
"Canada, like many other countries, certainly faces a big challenge and what the deputy minister has said is consistent with this," said Charron.

He said the government "will continue to work with the international community, industry, business, other levels of governments, communities and individual Canadians to reduce greenhouse gas emissions."

The admission that Canada is unlikely to meet its Kyoto targets seems to contradict the many pro-Kyoto statements the government has made in recent months. However, these statements have avoided specifics.

Prime Minister Paul Martin campaigned on the Kyoto agreement during this year's election and used the Conservatives' opposition to the targets to score political points. His environment minister, Stephan Dion, now refers to the Kyoto treaty as "a guiding document."

Matthew Bramley of the Pembina Institute, an environmental think tank, said it is clear the government's current approach, relying on voluntary measures and spending, without binding regulations, isn't working. Canada's greenhouse emissions have risen 20 per cent since 1990.
Bramley said he welcomes Anderson's remarks. "It is a refreshingly honest admission that Canada has not been trying hard enough to implement Kyoto." He said the only reason the targets seem like such a challenge to meet is that the government is afraid to introduce binding regulations.


6. Global Warming Climate Modeling Questioned

The Earth's temperature may have fluctuated more wildly during the past 1,000 years than previously thought, according to a new study that challenges how researchers use tree rings and corals to give us a picture of the Earth's past.

If true, the study suggests that recent warming might not be as unique as was thought previously, and might partly be due to natural temperature cycles, rather than humans spewing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

According to scientist Hans von Storch and his colleagues:

o Reconstructing climate change through tree rings, corals and ice cores (known as proxies) may underestimate past temperature fluctuations.

o Temperature fluctuations dating back to medieval times may be underestimated by a factor of two or more.

o Underestimating past temperature variation would make the 20th century warming trend of 0.6 degrees Celsius appear to be far different than any occurrences over the past 10,000 years.
Source: Quirin Schiermeier, "Past Climate Change Questioned,", September 30, 2004; and Hans von Storch, "Models of Global and Regional Climate," GKSS Research Center, September 1, 2004.

7. Green Electricity From The BBC?
from SEPP subscriber Barry Foster in Britain

"As it now seems the policy of the BBC here in the UK to air every government line on global warming and promote the scare, I thought it would be a good idea for generating green electricity. I have worked out that if we attach enough magnets to [former BBC chm] Lord Reith's skeleton, his current spinning will generate enough voltage to run a small TV studio. Brilliant, eh?"

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