December 31, 2009


Letters to the Editor and other People Speak

FROM- The Philadelphia Inquirer

Letters: Article on sea level drew wrong conclusion

The article on rising sea levels was informative but also disappointing. The information presented on the research and methods was very well done. The reporting on the conclusions from the research was less than forthcoming ("A sinking feeling at Shore?", Tuesday).
First, the rise in sea level pre-1915 clearly supports the opinions of many climate scientists that it is highly unlikely that man's activities and CO2 are the cause of global warming.

Second, the view of a vast majority of climate scientists and others who have studied the data is not whether the Earth is warming and/or cooling but that climate is cyclical and not man-driven.

Third, paleoclimatology, which depends on evaluating sediment and tree rings to establish baselines, is highly speculative (as the recent e-mail scandal revealed) and not as solid an evidence base as the article indicated.

In short, the major conclusion of the article should be that we should prepare for an ever-changing climate and its impact but not destroy our economy by curbing human productivity - which will be needed to deal with the real affects of climate change.

Michael del Rossi

Lower Gwynedd


December 30, 2009

Stupid is as stupid does.....

...the Oregon Way

H/T Helliogenic Climate Change
FROM- The Oregonian

Walmart, others make money on Oregon's energy tax credits

When Oregon started handing out jumbo tax subsidies for renewable energy projects two years ago, one of the biggest beneficiaries was also one of the world's richest corporations -- Walmart.

No, the retail giant hasn't branched to solar panels or wind turbines.

Instead, Walmart took advantage of a provision in Oregon's Business Energy Tax Credit that allows third parties with no ties to the green power industry to buy the credits at a discount and reduce their state income tax bills.

Read The Oregonian's earlier coverage of the Business Energy Tax Credit.State records show Walmart paid $22.6 million in cash last year for the right to claim $33.6 million in energy tax credits. The cash went to seven projects, including two eastern Oregon wind farms and SolarWorld's manufacturing plant in Hillsboro. In return, Walmart profits $11 million on the deal because that's the difference between what it paid for the tax credit and the amount of its tax reduction.

The loser in the transaction is Oregon's general fund -- which pays for public schools, prisons and health care programs -- because the state is out the full $33.6 million in tax revenues.

Walmart isn't alone. An analysis by The Oregonian shows Costco and U.S. Bank, which also rank among the nation's top 200 wealthiest businesses, have made millions by buying up energy tax credits to cut their Oregon tax bills. Dozens of other companies and hundreds of individual Oregon taxpayers also have cut their tax bills by buying up the tax credits.

"It's so convoluted," says Eric Fruits, an adjunct economics professor at Portland State University who has studied Oregon's energy incentives. "You've got all these dollars swirling around. Everyone is trying to grab them as fast as they can."

The pass-through option "turns what would otherwise be an incentive to make energy investments into a windfall that may not have anything to do with energy," Fruits says. More...

Program under fire

For years, Oregon has subsidized renewable energy and energy conservation projects by granting tax credits, which can be used as a dollar-for-dollar reduction on state income tax bills. The pass-through practice was put in place in 2001 as a way to allow government agencies and nonprofit organizations to take advantage of the subsidies. Since those groups don't pay state taxes, the credits are worthless unless they can be sold to a third party.

The ability to sell the credits also allowed start-up companies with no Oregon tax liability to leverage upfront cash for their green energy projects.

The tax credits, known as BETC, or "Betsy," have come under increasing fire this year because the cost to taxpayers skyrocketed. It went from about $10 million in 2007 to an estimated $167 million in the 2009-11 biennium at the same time the economic recession hammered other areas of the state budget.

A previous investigation by the newspaper showed state officials intentionally downplayed the estimated cost of the program before the 2007 Legislature voted for substantial increases to the maximum subsidies. The newspaper's latest analysis also found:

Walmart, Costco and U.S. Bank, which top the list of energy credit buyers, shelled out a combined $67 million to avoid paying $97 million in Oregon income taxes.

Walmart and others are making money on projects that were closed, went belly up or never produced the energy or energy savings they initially claimed.

Out-of-state corporations and others looking for tax breaks are claiming an increasing share of the money that is supposed to pay for clean energy and conservation.


The head-scratching nature of the subsidy program perhaps is best illustrated by a case study of what happened at the former Weyerhaeuser Paper Mill in Albany.

Weyerhaeuser, based in Federal Way, Wash., received $3.3 million in Oregon energy tax credits in 2008 for rejuvenating a biomass plant that burned wood waste for heat and steam, and for capturing much of the heat to dry paper. The company, which apparently didn't need the tax offset, turned around and sold the credits to Walmart for $2.3 million in cash.

Walmart then gets to deduct the full $3.3 million from its Oregon income tax bill over five years for a payback of $1 million. But there's a twist.

Last year, International Paper bought a number of Weyerhaeuser mills, including the one in Albany. And last week, I-P shut down production at the Albany mill as part of a corporate cost-saving plan.

The end result: The mill no longer produces nor saves the energy for which it got the tax credits. Walmart, however, retains the full benefit of the subsidy.

Walmart, which ranked second to Exxon this year on the Fortune 500 list, shouldn't be cast as the bad guy, says Karianne Fallow, a spokeswoman for the Arkansas-based company. Oregon officials asked Walmart to become a "pass-through partner," Fallow says.

"The state approached us with this investment offer and we participated in the opportunity," Fallow says. The tax benefits were clear, she says, but bringing green jobs and companies to Oregon "is very much a goal that we support."

Legislative overhaul

Similar examples abound.

FUSP, a Portland wood recycling company, garnered $2.6 million in tax credits last year and sold them to 17 individual investors for $1.9 million in cash. The money, according to a company official, was used to buy grinding equipment and other machinery that turns old wood into new lumber and pallets.

Shortly after the credits were issued, the housing market crashed. The equipment now sits idle in a lumberyard in Turner, outside Salem. The 17 investors, however, continue to receive the tax break.

"The problem is, we're taking taxpayer money that is supposed to be accomplishing energy efficiency or power generation and instead we're putting it into the financial market," says Jody Wiser, who leads a watchdog group that wants changes to the energy subsidies. A better way, Wiser suggests, would be to give clean energy or energy conservation companies outright grants, thereby saving millions that wind up in the hands of investors.

Corporations doing business in Oregon took a keener interest in the tax credits after the 2007 expansion of the program, which upped the maximum incentives to $20 million for solar facilities and $10 million for wind farms. State records show the amount of tax credits bought by third parties shot up to $152 million -- more than triple the amount of the previous year.

Gov. Ted Kulongoski and state energy officials say they recognize problems with the energy tax credits and are working to overhaul the program when state lawmakers convene for a short session in February. Among the targets of the overhaul is the pass-through option.

"The governor believes there's been a public value to the program," says Anna Richter Taylor, Kulongoski's spokeswoman. "That said, he also is very supportive of efforts to align the rate better with other public investment portfolios."

The current rules allow third parties to buy the tax credits at about 67 cents on the dollar and take the tax breaks over five years. For most, that means an annualized rate of return of about 10 percent – a rate that far exceeds what most people are getting on short term investments, such as bank CDs. Acting state Energy Department director Mark Long is pushing for a rate that would be more in line with other types of market investments -- about 3.5 percent a year.

"That means more money goes to the actual project," rather than to the investors who buy the tax credits, Long says.

-- Harry Esteve

Economists Warn of a Climate Trade War

In the wake of the failed climate change summit in Copenhagen, countries are talking about imposing carbon tariffs on imports. Bad idea, say trade experts

FROM-Business Week

John Kerry was on a roll. At the Copenhagen climate summit, the former US presidential candidate delivered a fiery speech that was mostly directed at China. If the US has to accept binding targets for reducing their greenhouse gas emissions, then Beijing must do the same, Kerry told his audience. Workers in the US should not "lose their jobs to India and China because those countries are not participating in a way that is measurable, reportable and verifiable," he said.

This was an expression of the old fear in industrialized countries that aggressive action on climate change could lead to local economic disadvantages. Environmentalist politicians and academics have long been calling for the establishment of a global emissions trade. It is a simple and captivating idea for many: Each state gets a certain amount of CO2 allowances. Those who want to emit more must buy emissions rights from other countries that emit less CO2. Ideally, poorer countries would automatically make money, and rich countries would at the same time have a financial incentive to reduce their CO2 emissions.

However, such a system would only work if all states participated—and industrialized countries for years have feared that just won't happen. In particular, large emerging economies like China and India could blow off climate protection and give their businesses competitive advantages in the global market. The failure to reach an international climate change agreement in Copenhagen has done little dampen such worries.

Kerry and Sarkozy Threaten China and India

Now, Western politicians are getting more open with threats to make the most CO2-intensive imports more expensive—with the help of punitive tariffs. If the West protects the environment, Senator Kerry said in Copenhagen, then climate sinners will not "dump high carbon intensity products into our markets." Kerry's thinly veiled threat: In this case, "I speak for the United States." According to a report in the New York Times, the Americans even tried to accommodate the possibility of unilateral penalties in the final document out of Copenhagen, but without success.

Yet such sentiments in Europe are getting louder, particularly in Paris. French President Nicolas Sarkozy has repeatedly called for EU punitive tariffs on products from big emitters, should no agreement come from Copenhagen. Now that this has occurred, the question is how serious Sarkozy is about the issue. He had said that the French were working together with Germany on such plans. A German government spokesperson said Berlin was examining ways in which locational disadvantages for business could be prevented.

The response sound reserved, but was still much more positive than earlier statements made by government officials in Germany. Previously, the Germans had always categorically rejected Sarkozy's punitive tariff idea. Even in July, Matthias Machnig, then a state secretary in the Environment Ministry, described Sarkozy's proposals as "eco-imperialism."

China Will Remain the Workbench of the World

Experts, however, warn strongly against eco-punitive tariffs. Ottmar Edenhofer, environmental economist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), sees them as more of a threat than a realistic option. Measured by the carbon dioxide emissions incurred in the production of goods, China is undisputedly the world's largest emitter of CO2. Punitive duties would hardly change that. "An adjustment of tariffs would likely never be high enough to substantially alter the demand in the West for goods from China," says Edenhofer. "China will remain the workbench of the world."

Punitive tariffs would therefore have almost no environmental impact, but would come with enormous risks. On one hand, the decrease in imports from China would likely weaken the US economy. "In addition, the Chinese could respond with counter-measures, of course," says Edenhofer told SPIEGEL ONLINE. China could—in theory—squander US Treasury securities and make the country's economy vulnerable.

Such a conflict would hardly be in the interests of either of these big global powers, since their economies are so closely intertwined. For example, China is currently financing the US twin deficits of a giant budget hole and a gap in the current accounting—the result of the United States importing far more goods and services than it exports. China, however, has a huge trade surplus. "Cooperation between the US and China is the only way," says Edenhofer. "A trade war is the last thing they need at the moment."

The climate summit in Copenhagen has shown, Edenhofer says, that the world still has to find its new geopolitical balance. "China steered away from the concert of the developing countries and presented itself in Copenhagen as a confident, cool negotiating world power," says the economist. Beijing has proven that it can derail a global agreement on climate protection. According to Edenhofer, "the showdown between the US and China has only just begun."

Legal Obstacles to Climate Tariff

Added to the economic risks of punitive tariffs are the legal problems. Environmentalists often complain that the World Trade Organization (WTO) has disqualified ecological tariffs as unjustified obstacles to trade. This is mainly due to an iron-clad principle of international trade law: equal treatment. "Identical goods must be treated equally," Christian Tietje, international law expert from the University of Halle, told SPIEGEL ONLINE.

It is irrelevant whether a cell phone was produced in an environmentally friendly, but more expensive manner in Germany—or in a less ecological and less expensive manner in China. This also applies to climate protection. The lawyer says that solving the problem with extra taxes is "highly problematic in terms of international trade law."

A classic WTO dispute case from the 1990s shows just how high the barriers to trade tariffs in the name of environmental protection can be. The United States had imposed an import ban on shrimp from countries that were not concerned enough about protecting sea turtles. The basis for this was an American nature conservation law called the Endangered Species Act.

The Americans argued that the animals could be protected only through the use of certain nets with special exits for the turtles. Fishing fleets that did not use these should therefore be subject to the boycott. India, Malaysia, Pakistan and Thailand brought a complaint to the WTO—and initially won.

A WTO court declared that the US measures were not justified—after all, the US had not made enough of an effort to conclude agreements to protect the turtles with the states concerned. The WTO would only have allowed a boycott only after serious and appropriate negotiations had been held and had failed.

Wiggle Room in Trade Law

In the case of climate change, Tietje argues that this situation has not yet been reached—despite the debacle at the Copenhagen summit. "The serious efforts have not yet completely failed," he says. There is, after all, a final document and the timetable for further negotiations. They will begin in 2010 at the ministerial level in Bonn, and later go back to the heads of state and government in Mexico.

Some international lawyers, however, see a window of opportunity with targeted interventions in the world trading system to bring the worst polluters to reason—or at least bring them back to the negotiating table. When it comes to a few particularly environmentally damaging products such as steel, it is possible to imagine punitive tarrifs, says Thomas Cottier, head of the World Trade Institute in Berne. "Legally speaking, this is possible," he says. That would mean tariffs would be reduced, for example, for environmentally-friendly-produced goods.

"We are coming into a phase, where individual countries can try it out, and see how far they can or want to go," Cottier told SPIEGEL ONLINE. Wiggle room in trade law is not as tight as it is often claimed. The use of such measures is "more a political question."

It is clear, however, that the possible environmental penalties would be directed mainly against developing countries. This is not unproblematic. The industrialized world must now ask itself the fundamental question of what products they want to continue to produce abroad—where the price of labor may be low, but the price the environment pays is often too high.

"Vive la France", "Vive la revolution",


French Revolution! Carbon tax ruled unconstitutional just two days before taking effect


Something not quite PC.....

....about this headline
FROM- Bloomberg

Oil Trades Near $79 as Heating Oil Climbs on Forecast for Cold


December 29, 2009

B.O.B. Presents

Best Of the Blogs

LA Public Policy Examiner: Climate Change 101: Is the globe warming?

Stormy Times For Global Warmists

Hurricanes, it turns out, are not caused by climate change.

FROM- Forbes

Michael Fumento

The cover of Al Gore's new book, Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis, features a satellite image of the globe showing four major hurricanes--results, we're meant to believe, of man-made global warming. All four were photoshopped. Which is nice symbolism, because in a sense the whole hurricane aspect of warming has been photoshopped.

True, both greenhouse gas emissions and levels in the atmosphere are at their highest, but this year had the fewest hurricanes since 1997, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. For the first time since 2006 no hurricanes even made landfall in the U.S.; indeed hurricane activity is at a 30-year low.

None of which is really all that remarkable. What's remarkable is that the hurricane hysteria essentially reflects a "trend line" comprising a grand total of two data points in one year, 2005. Those data points were named Katrina and Rita.

In a 2005 column, I gave what now proves an interesting retrospective.

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

The most celebrated of these commentaries was Chris Mooney's 2007 book Storm World:Hurricanes, Politics and the Battle Over Global Warming. Mooney, for the record, is also author of the best-selling book The Republican War on Science.

Yet there were top scientists in 2005 such as Roger Pielke Jr., a professor of environmental studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder, publishing data showing the Rita-Katrina blowhards had no business building a case around two anomalies.

Pielke published a report in the prestigious Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (written before Katrina but published shortly afterward) that analyzed U.S. hurricane damage since 1900. Taking into account tremendous population growth along coastlines, he found no increase. His paper was dutifully ignored by the powers that be.

But the so-called Climategate scandal, which illuminated efforts by climate change scientists to squelch opposition viewpoints, has now caught up to one scientist, Kevin Trenberth, who vociferously and influentially demanded that Pielke's paper be shunned.

Trenberth works in the same town as Pielke and is one of the top researchers on the strongly warmist Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). In a leaked e-mail from two months ago, he admitted to colleagues what he had hidden from the outside world: that there's been no measurable warming over the past decade.

Yet two years earlier he told Congress that evidence for man-made warming was "unequivocal" and things were "apt to get much worse." And in 2005 he told the local newspaper that Pielke's Bulletin article was "shameful" and should be "withdrawn."

"Our paper shouldn't have been controversial," notes Pielke today, "and since then our conclusions have been reinforced by the IPPC." The panel's latest report, from 2007, concluded that whether warming is causing increased hurricane activity is "pretty much a toss of a coin."

Yet Pielke's paper was excluded from that report. Why? Says Pielke, "a scientist at a high level of the IPCC saw fit to disparage a paper in his domain, said it should be ignored by the panel, and subsequently it was." He added, "After seeing [leaked] e-mail discussions in which the scientists talked about keeping literature out of the report ... well, you can connect the dots."

But it wasn't just Trenberth. In one of the hacked e-mails, Phil Jones, director of the British climate center from which the e-mails were stolen (and who has since resigned) wrote to colleagues about Pielke's complaints of not being published, "Maybe you'll be able to ignore them?"

For many millions of American homeowners, the 2005 tempest tirade was hardly just academic. Half a year later, a company called Risk Management Solutions (RMS) issued a five-year forecast of hurricane activity predicting U.S. insured hurricane losses would be 40% higher than the historical average. RMS is the world leader in "catastrophe modeling," and insurance companies use those models to set premium rates charged to homeowners as well as by reinsurance companies and others.

With four years of data in, losses are actually running far below historical levels and at less than half the rate that RMS predicted. A lot of individuals and a lot of companies have grossly overpaid.

This hardly supports rushes to judgment on global warming consequences. "If you overestimate or underestimate risks there will be costs," says Pielke. "It's honesty and accuracy that count."

Michael Fumento is director of the nonprofit Independent Journalism Project, where he specializes in science and health issues



Letters to the Editor and other People Speak

FROM-Austin Statesman

Edwards: Global warming isn't about science

As the president and other world leaders packed their coats and waited for planes to be de-iced en route to the climate change conference in Copenhagen to "make progress" on global warming, I couldn't help but wonder if they could appreciate the irony of the situation. What "progress" was in fact made at the conference remains to be seen, but it is clear that global warming has been accepted as gospel truth in this country. Or, at least, it has become the cause of the day for every policymaker from Washington, D.C., on down.

In fact, every level of policy making, local, state, and national, has already used its political sway to openly encourage private industries to all but ignore reliable sources of energy in favor of unproven, unreliable, and expensive sources. After all, as the recent flap over tampered emails from cause-driven scientists at the University of East Anglia have revealed, the cause must be promoted even at the expense of truth. The truth is, global warming is the latest vehicle used by liberals to promote their agenda. And is it just me or do you remember the chants about the coming ice age from 25 years ago?

Here in Austin, we are seeing the costly effects of an energy plan based upon unproven results. The city boasts of the GreenChoice program. Run by Austin Energy, Austin residents can subscribe to the GreenChoice program for electricity produced from renewable sources. The program is costly, so it doesn't have enough subscribers to sustain itself. The solution? Most might think it wise to scale the program back, revise it, or scrap it altogether. Instead, Austin Energy general manager Roger Duncan proposes a rate increase on businesses and residents in order to fund the program.

Across the nation we're seeing a new crop of majors and minors in "green studies" at colleges and universities. Why? Because the students are requesting it and businesses want students who have been trained in it. There is a demand and higher education institutions are responding.

Here in Austin, we have no shortage of environmental supporters. Yet when it comes to forking over more of your paycheck for the cause of the day, the demand dwindles.

Green studies are growing because there is a demand for environmental science in the free market. There is a demand for better and more reliable energy sources. When engaged, the free market works and produces sustainable, profitable results. It isn't beholden to a philosophy or agenda based upon faulty science or emotion-driven causes.

Global warming has never been about science. Rather, it has always been about raising taxes and constricting liberties. It has always been about supporting a philosophy which causes you and me to spend exorbitant sums of money on ineffective products rather than products which actually work, on power that actually keeps the lights on.

At best, it is time to order the propagators of climate change science to start over. Responsible environmental policies are reasonable goals, and when such policies put the free market to work, we will all benefit. When government provides incentives and science supports it, environmental successes will be seen. Unfortunately, we continue to see GreenChoice programs and worse being pushed upon us that are not based upon science. The sad fact is, most of the environmental policies being considered are based upon a fictional crisis aimed at justifying centralized control over men and women's ability worldwide to live freely and prosper themselves.

Policy leaders the world over should take a good hard look at their local policies and determine whether laws and policies were enacted under the pretense that they would save the planet. Austin's GreenChoice program is a fine example. If the answer is yes, then our governments, our own City Council even, have new reason to question the necessity of such programs that require confiscatory rate hikes on energy consumers and restrict their freedom of choice.

It's time to move on from climate change.

Edwards is chairwoman of the Travis County Republican Party


"Notable Quotes"

" ..beware of the hyperbole about windpower being the next great thing. It is a very old thing that could not, and still cannot, compete with the manifold advantages of hydrocarbon energies. "


Robert Bradley Jr.


December 28, 2009

B.O.B. Presents

Best Of the Blogs

Climate Skeptic: Assuming Your Conclusion

Global warming activists ignore the science they claim to support

FROM-Kitsap Peninsula Business Journal

Todd Myers

When discussing global warming, one phrase recurs: “scientific consensus.” Environmental activists often cite “science” when arguing for far-reaching and costly responses to global warming. Ironically, those activists ignore the findings of that same science. The potential impacts they cite are based not on science but on speculation which contradicts the actual science.

One activist claimed that, “In the lifetime of a child born today, sea levels could rise three to six feet.” The scientific consensus says this is nonsense. Using the science from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), University of Washington scientists found the most likely sea level rise for the next century is about 13 inches, with the high of 50 inches called “very unlikely.” Understand also, sea levels rose about one foot during the last 150 years.

When it comes to sea level science, environmental activists ignore the findings they pretend to support. The same is true with recent storms. Many people, from environmental activists to the Governor, claim that recent storms, like those that caused floods in Centralia, are evidence of global warming. Top local climatologists, however, disagree.

University of Washington atmospheric scientist Cliff Mass says the link between climate change and recent storms is false. He notes that “there is no strong evidence for these claims,” and that “initial simulations of future Northwest climate do not suggest heavier rain events.”

Activists seize upon weather headlines in the hope that the public will believe they are linked to climate change, even when they are not. Recent wildfires are also cited as evidence of climate change. The National Wildlife Federation claimed that “Warmer temperatures are also to blame for the invasion of mountain pine beetles, which have already decimated over 32 million acres of forest in Washington and British Columbia.”

Forestry scientists say the primary cause of insect infestations is that too many trees are fighting for too few nutrients and water. In many Washington forests there are many more trees per acre than hundreds of years ago. Stressed trees cannot fight off natural infestations that were manageable for centuries. While working at the State Department of Natural Resources, I spoke with many foresters and entomologists who demonstrated this very process.

Until recently, the environmental community made this very argument. Arguing for a “natural” policy of letting forest fires burn, the Northwest Ecosystem Alliance said in 2001 that “Because we have vigorously enforced a no-burn policy in these forests, many have become clogged with thick clusters of trees that could easily explode into the monstrous conflagrations…” They have since changed their tune, not based on the science, but on politics.

Warmer temperatures can increase infestation, but ignoring the role of overstocked forests, and opposing the thinning necessary to help those forests recover, demonstrates a commitment to science only when it is convenient.

The threat to polar bears is another claim trotted out in a fact-free way. I spent a week in Barrow, Alaska one November, braving 30 degree below zero temperatures to see these truly magnificent creatures. I have a strong affinity for them. But we must not ignore the facts. Polar bear populations are higher today than during the last forty years. Many more bears are killed by hunters each year than by climate change. The belief that polar bears are drowning is based more on the cartoon segment of Al Gore’s movie than on the reality of these notoriously strong-swimming animals.

One final claim is that climate change will have a dramatic impact on our mountain snowpack. Scientists have repeatedly rebutted the claims made by climate alarmists. Snowpack has actually increased since 1980, a period when temperatures were increasing.

U.W. scientist Mark Stoelinga argues that increasing temperatures may impact snowpack, but that many other factors are involved. He notes that in recent decades, “We can’t see the global-warming signature in terms of a decline in snowpack.” Claims that, in the words of one environmental activist, “nearly 60 percent of the Cascade snowpack could be lost,” are political, not scientific.

There is a real risk from the increase in carbon-dioxide in the atmosphere. But a crisis mentality that relies more on fear than science is the surest path to costly solutions that fail to solve the real problem.

Todd Myers is environmental director at Washington Policy Center, a non-partisan independent policy research organization in Seattle and Olympia


Most Albertans snub climate change threat

Only 41% believe in global warming

H/T Tom Nelson

FROM- Calgary Herald
By Tony Seskus

A new poll showing nearly a third of Albertans believe global warming is merely a theory could mean more federalist sparring lies ahead for the province, a Calgary political scientist suggests.

An Angus Reid Public Opinion survey released last week found that 31 per cent of Albertans think global warming is a theory that has not yet been proven.

Nationally, according to a separate poll, 17 per cent of Canadians share that opinion.

Furthermore, only 41 per cent of Albertans polled believe climate change is a fact and that it is mostly caused by emissions from vehicles and industrial facilities. In the national survey, more than half of respondents -- 56 per cent -- hold that belief.

Duane Bratt, a political scientist at Mount Royal University, says poll numbers like that suggest a gulf in opinion between Alberta and some other parts of the country that won't help Canadian federalism.

"It bodes very poorly and it's because the issue of climate change cuts into the common narrative of Alberta in the federal system," Bratt said.

"When you hear Albertans getting upset about the response of particularly (Quebec Premier) Jean Charest, it gets thrown into equalization payments, it gets into Quebec special status and Confederation.

"It gets framed as an issue of consumers versus producers, that instead of putting the burden on consumers -- which the majority live in Ontario and Quebec -- they are putting the onus on carbon producers, which singles out Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland."

Some of those divisions were on display at the Copenhagen climate change conference.

Quebec and Ontario both served notice during the climate talks they don't want their greenhouse gas cuts contributing the lion's share of national reductions simply to offset rising emissions from the carbon-intensive oilsands.

Premier Ed Stelmach, who did not attend the climate talks, fired back at the criticism with a media blitz that assailed other premiers and trumpeted Alberta's green credentials.

However, the provincial government is not engaging in a political debate on the legitimacy of climate change theory. On the government's website, it calls climate change a "serious and worldwide challenge."

Federally, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said last week in Copenhagen that the "preponderance of scientific evidence and opinion is that climate change is a very real challenge."

However, Harper added the science continues to evolve and that the science is not uniform.

Poll numbers indicating a continued skepticism among a third of Albertans did not surprise observers.

"Actually, I would have thought it would be higher," said Chaldeans Mensah, a political scientist at Grant MacEwan University. "People are very skeptical about the man-made, global warming theory."

He said the poll numbers could have been enhanced by the so-called "climategate" scandal, in which thousands of e-mails were hacked, leaked or stolen from the University of East Anglia's climatic research unit in Britain, leading to allegations researchers manipulated the evidence to support man-made global warming.

Dan Woynillowicz of the Pembina Institute, an environmental think-tank, also believes media coverage of the e-mail controversy-- as well as recent advertising questioning climate change theory -- may have raised questions in some Albertans' minds about the science.

Economic concerns about the impact new environmental legislation could have on the oilsands may also be a contributing factor, he said.

However, Woynillowicz added that there isn't "another issue of this magnitude to which there is this level of agreement within the scientific community."


Immelt melt solution ?

FROM- Business and Media Institute

'Nightly News' Proposes 'Geo-Engineering' Atmosphere as Solution to Climate Change

Segment suggests tinkering with the clouds and posting other elements in space to prevent so-called manmade climate change.

read article here


Clearing the Air on the Clean Air Act and Climate Change

FROM-American Thinker

By Harvey M. Sheldon

Green believers give no indication of slowing their quest for carbon dioxide control. On December 7, 2009, coincident with the convening of the since-failed Climate Conference in Copenhagen, the USEPA made final the "finding" that greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, threaten human health and the environment.

According to alarmists and the Obama administration, there is a scientific "consensus" that man's activities threaten our planet with detrimental global warming, dangerous sea-level rise, disease, and more destructive storms. Even though the North Pole had open water in the 1940s, and temperatures were higher both in the middle ages and 7,000 years ago, we are said to be in danger. An atmospheric trace gas (CO2) is the supposed culprit, even though plants depend on it to live and there used to be much more of it in the atmosphere.

On December 9, news reports said "the Obama administration is warning Congress that if it doesn't move to regulate greenhouse gases, the Environmental Protection Agency will take a 'command-and-control' role over the process in a way that could hurt business." The threat is to use the Clean Air Act.

This ploy is basically extortion. As an experienced lawyer, I bristle at this brutish tactic to induce business to plead for the mercy of the regulatory guillotine instead of being drawn and quartered.

I think too many law firms and consultants are playing the politically correct game of being silent and just giving their clients notice of new rules. They stay mum on policy out of fear of criticism or loss of client loyalty. This is short-sighted and not really in the best interest of their clients. Counselors and consultants should give meaningful advice, even if it is sometimes unpopular. Given the evidence of data manipulation and falsification by alarmist "scientists" and many of the assumptions or assertions of the IPCC and the alarmists, this "go along" attitude is looking less like prudent caution and more like disbelieving "good Germans" afraid to confront reality.

Most Americans do not understand the chokehold carbon dioxide control would give government over almost everything we do. Giving government the power to allot carbon dioxide gives it essential control over most means of production. This is "the road to serfdom" that the great F.A. Hayek warned about.

Whether global warming is occurring at a significantly increased and dangerous pace over normal variations because of mankind is the issue. Very credible data show and numerous scientists contend that there is little effect on climate from carbon dioxide emissions, and that mankind's contribution of carbon dioxide to the alleged problem is not predominant to boot. I recommend to all the report "Climate Change Reconsidered" on the web at NIPCC.

Public companies must account to their stockholders for material risks from regulations and proposed laws. At this point, the red tape and cost in the laws proposed to deal with global warming pose a higher risk to the health of most American businesses than the changes that may or may not occur in climate. (Indeed, if you want to discuss real climate risk, perhaps you should be discussing the risk of global cooling, which has serious basis in science.)

American businesses now face the prospect of government regulating how they buy and use energy and produce products, falsely pitched as a way to protect the Earth's climate. They need to challenge such regulation. They need to consider saying that carbon dioxide regulation poses a systemic risk to free enterprise and the health of the economy. The "science" demonstrating that global warming is man's fault lacks credible proofs. The very capacity of the so-called general circulation models relied on by the United Nations' IPCC to predict the future has been disproved in several ways. Other important IPCC assumptions are wrong, too. Now that evidence of conscious manipulation of fundamental historic data has been revealed, perhaps the "skeptic" side will get a hearing. If it doesn't, we will be shooting ourselves in the gut.

If Waxman-Markey passes, the federal government will supervise all forms of industrial, residential, and commercial energy use. That bill will charge for carbon, impose a "cap-and-trade" system, and mandate renewable energy standards and energy efficiency requirements for American business and industry. There will be a tight nationwide system of federal supervision and regulation of energy use and climate control efforts reaching down to local building codes and housing inspectors. The 1,427 pages of the bill are a monument to the ambition of some to have rules for everything.

Indeed, even some of the most ardent alarmists say that the bill will do little to change the future climate. However, it will cost staggering sums and countless wasted man-hours. Furthermore, the emphasis on "green energy" in the bill is an engineering pipe dream because the "green" sources relied on and subsidized are inherently inadequate for the task on a national scale, and emphasis on them also would cause hardship in the third world.

The threat to use the Clean Air Act to control carbon dioxide has a somewhat hollow ring to me. I would call the administration's bluff. Let me explain.

The two principal programs that affect business under the Clean Air Act are the Stationary Source programs of Title I and the Motor Vehicle programs in Title II. (Also, there is a separate "acid rain" program that affects utilities primarily and does not include greenhouse gases.) Under Title I, the basic starting point for the development of regulations is the establishment of "air quality criteria." Once those criteria are in place, the states or federal government plan for an emission-control regime that will achieve a healthy or safe level of the pollutant -- i.e. one that will meet the air quality criteria.

The "finding" of the administrator was not made under Title I. In fact, its legality is highly questionable even under Title II. I seriously doubt the EPA can escape a duty to develop national air quality standards under Section 108(b) of the Act based on statutory history and the case law. Promulgating such standards requires consideration of "all relevant science" before it can occur. In short, if this is made into a fight over genuine science, with rules in play about the competence of evidence and witnesses, I have little doubt that the skeptic view will win.

People need to see the wolves in green clothing for what they are: charlatans. Honest environmentalists need to stop their unquestioning clamor, revisit the science, and recognize the truth, lest the very good cause they serve be seriously harmed.

Americans and American business should not knuckle under to this cynical and corrupt power grab. Before new policy and rules are made, we must demand a thorough airing of the climate science with a fair and honest process by a reliable investigating team. It will not be that hard to root out the fudging and falsification of data.

This is the fight that will define the twenty-first century as either a time when mankind advances due to honest enterprise, quality science, and technical achievement...or we are subjugated by government micro-regulation from manipulative control freaks based on false and slanted data from grant recipients with no scruples.

Mr. Sheldon is a Chicago attorney specializing in environmental law. He is a graduate of Amherst College and Harvard Law School. The views expressed are personal and do not reflect any firm or client.


December 27, 2009

B.O.B. Presents

Best Of the Blogs

EDITORIAL: Biased reporting on Climategate

FROM-Washington Times

Associated Press coverage raises eyebrows

With trillions of dollars at stake in the battle over global warming, now would be the time for the press to closely scrutinize the claims of those who would reorganize the world's economy from farm to factory and laboratory to living room. And the Climategate scandal - where leaked e-mails and dodgy computer programs from the University of East Anglia raise powerful new questions about the role of politics in climate science - would be the perfect opportunity to explore what is going on behind the scenes.

That's not happening. To judge by recent coverage from Associated Press, the Fourth Estate watchdog has acted like a third-rate pocket pet. Case in point is an 1,800-word AP missive that appeared in hundreds of publications, many carrying it on the front page of their Sunday, Dec. 13 issue with the headline, "Science not faked, but not pretty." AP gave three scientists copies of the controversial e-mails and then asked them about their conclusions. The wire service portrayed the trio of scientists as dismissing or minimizing allegations of scientific fraud when, in fact, the scientists believe no such thing.

The first scientist quoted in the article, Mark Frankel, is director of scientific freedom, responsibility and law at the American Association for the Advancement of Science. AP quotes him as concluding that there is, "no evidence of falsification or fabrication of data, although concerns could be raised about some instances of very 'generous interpretations.'" While the article mentions that former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and some Republican lawmakers are calling for independent investigations, AP doesn't note the views of the scientists they interviewed.

When The Washington Times talked to Mr. Frankel, the scientist gave a quite different impression. The e-mails, he said, are not sufficient to reach any judgment at all on whether the data or science was faked or misleading. "You can't do that on the e-mails alone, you can't do it on the e-mails or the program," he concluded. For that reason, Mr. Frankel supports investigation of East Anglia and related allegations of fraud at Pennsylvania State University.

There's a big difference between saying that there isn't sufficient evidence to determine if falsification of data occurred - and that there should be an investigation - and saying, as AP did: "Science not faked."

Mr. Frankel also believes outsiders to the two schools should be asked to take part. "You should be willing and open to going to outside people to be part of your inquiry," he advised. "If I were Penn State, I would certainly be advising them to be very open to the possibility of bringing in one or two people who have impeccable credentials, well-respected, to join in ...."

Arizona State University professor Dan Sarewitz is quoted by AP as saying, "This is normal science politics, but on the extreme end, though still within bounds." However, Mr. Sarewitz wasn't speaking about the validity of the climate science; he was discussing his belief that politics infects how most scientific research is conducted. While AP used the quote to suggest that there was nothing terribly wrong that had been revealed in Climategate, Mr. Sarewitz was trying to issue a warning that politics infects too much science and that reporters, politicians and the public are naive about that reality.

As he told The Washington Times, "When the human underside (of science) gets revealed, then suddenly people are disillusioned and they say, 'Oh, how shocking!' But it's not particularly shocking." Indeed, Mr. Sarewitz suggests that reporters ask scientists about their political views. (For the record, he is a liberal Democrat.) He also is skeptical of the university investigations, particularly if they don't include outsiders. "I think they should have external people [involved in the investigations]. Certainly. ... The challenge here might be, can you find people who are independent but also understand the science well enough to really tell (if there was wrongdoing)?"

The third scientist interviewed by AP, professor Gerald North at Texas A&M University, joined Mr. Frankel and Mr. Sarewitz in hoping that climate data would be more readily shared in the future. He told us he also thinks it is important that investigations proceed at the two universities.

The Washington Times tried to raise these issues with the reporters and editors involved, but Jack Stokes, AP's manager of media relations, said that none of the five reporters who worked on the article nor their editors had time to answer questions.

If AP refuses to explain how it could have given readers across the planet such a distorted view of Climategate, maybe an explanation can be found buried in the article itself. One of the reporters, Seth Borenstein, the AP science reporter who writes on global warming and who is the lead author on the piece, is part of the Climategate story himself. In the last sentence of the article, the authors note that the archive of disputed Climategate e-mails "includes a request from an AP reporter, one of the writers of this story, for reaction to a study, a standard step for journalists seeking quotes for their stories."

But Mr. Borenstein's e-mail was hardly standard and far from neutral. In it, the reporter disparages Marc Morano, a critic of man-made global-warming claims, as "hyping wildly" the study that Mr. Borenstein asked scientists to comment on. The e-mail almost makes it appear as if Mr. Borenstein were asking those involved in Climategate to help him discredit critics of man-made global warming.

East Anglia and Penn State are not the only two institutions that need to answer questions about what is going on behind the scenes.


"Notable Quotes"

"The Environmental Protection Agency, now under President Obama’s control, has massive powers previously granted by Congress and can do just about anything in the environmental arena that President Obama wants. We should have caught on to this mess ages ago, but apparently we didn’t. Administrative and executive agencies have tremendous quasi-legislative power and discretion, so long as they act within the expansive parameters established by Congress. That’s a fact of administrative law, and has been since numerous “independent” and “executive” agencies were given sweeping quasi-legislative powers back during FDR’s New Deal. Congress has, to put it blandly, been overly generous. "


Dan Miller


Letters to the Editor and other People Speak

Colder weather weakens claims of global warming

FROM-Delaware On Line

How cool and refreshing to hear a politically incorrect weather forecast, reporting temperatures 10 to 18 degrees below average, and then having it validated by a blizzard blanketing the East Coast from the Carolinas to Maine with 20 to 25 inches of snow, marking the start of a new 11-year sun spot cycle.

During the period from 1645 to 1715, the number of sun spots was unusually low. This episode corresponds to a portion of the Little Ice Age, a time of relatively cool conditions, which will never be reported, being politically incorrect.

We’ve been given snow jobs about global warming for a long time from pseudo-scientists who have given a new meaning to the term political science.

J. Gordon Morrow, Newark


December 26, 2009

Climate Change: The Religion of Copenhagen

FROM-Big Government

by Caroline May

During the recent COP-15 Conference in Copenhagen, the United Nations claimed it wanted to maintain religious neutrality. It was a lie. Global Warming is the established religion at these international events.

This was made especially clear when, days before the event’s commencement, the Denmark Foreign Ministry rejected a donated delivery of Christmas fir trees. “We have to remember that this is a U.N. conference and, as the [Bella] center then becomes U.N. territory, there can be no Christmas trees in the decor, because the U.N. wishes to maintain neutrality,” explained Ministry official Svend Olling.

Religious objectivity, however, is impossible at a conference explicitly engaged in blind adherence to an unproven premise- a faith in the veracity of global warming. For though the science is not settled, participants convened to devise strategies for what they believe will be the world’s environmental salvation, the capping of carbon dioxide emissions.

Global Warming devotees’ religious fervor commands action, even if their deliverance comes at the expense of economic devastation. American disciples such as Al Gore and President Barack Obama are more than willing to sacrifice economic stability at the alter of Global Warming.

The faith dictates absolute advocacy for draconian carbon dioxide regulations such as the cap and trade scheme detailed in the House-passed “American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009.” To Warming enthusiasts the $9.4 trillion reduction in aggregate GDP, the loss of another 2.5 million jobs, and increase in inflation-adjusted electricity prices by 90 percent, gasoline prices by 58 percent, and residential natural gas prices by 55 percent, all estimated to occur within the first 24 years under such a cap and trade scheme, are merely an afterthought.

Though economists have highlighted the dire financial implications of energy restriction ad nauseam and questions remain about the actual science, the Global Warming theory adherents are steadfast in their beliefs. Ironically, it seems that most of these Warmers -many of whom are often quick to proclaim religious believers as backward- stick to their faith with the unbending will of St. Paul.

Even in the wake of Climategate and new peer-reviewed studies -which give lie to consensus driven apocalyptic climate forecasts- by such renowned scientists as Brookhaven National Laboratory’s Dr. Stephen E. Schwartz, MIT’s Dr. Richard Lindzen, and University of Auckland’s Dr. Chris de Freitas, Warming adherents remain loyally convinced that man and his evil energy usage is destroying Mother Earth.

Faith is belief without verifiable evidence. This unquestioned adherence to the theory of Global Warming bears all the markings of what traditionally would be recognized as a religion. Complete with sin (the emitting of carbon dioxide), scriptures (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assessment reports), commandments (drive a Prius, use Compact Florescent Light bulbs, do not eat meat etc.), indulgences (carbon offsets), proselytism, prophets (Al Gore), priests (scientists), prophecy and apocalypse (floods, hurricanes, dead polar bears), infidels (Warming skeptics), and salvation (the halting of carbon emitting industrial progress) the religion of Global Warming fits the mold.

Great Britain has already recognized belief in anthropogenic Global Warming as a religion. In November, in a landmark case brought before the UK Employment Appeal Tribunal, the court found that under the “2003 Religion and Belief Regulations” “belief in man-made climate change, and the alleged resulting moral imperatives” qualified for the same employment discrimination protections as a traditional religion.

Though we have yet to see Al Gore or James Hansen walk on water, COP-15 was far from religiously-neutral. Instead, participants were expected to adhere to their one true faith: Global Warming. There was no room at this conference for religious or even ideological competition.

Consequently, it makes sense that Christmas tress were not welcome at the church of Global Warming. After all, when was the last time you saw a menorah in a Cathedral?


The questions Dr Pachauri still has to answer

At the least, Dr Rajendra Pachauri's IPCC position as the world's "top climate official" has been earning a substantial income for Teri, the institute he runs.
FROM-UK Telegraph

by Christopher Booker

It was not just in Britain last week that we all shivered through pre-Christmas snow, ice and cold. Blizzards sweeping across Europe, from the Channel Tunnel to Moscow, killed more than 100 people. Even the beaches of Nice and the gondolas of Venice lay under a blanket of white.

Across the Atlantic, as the northern hemisphere was plunged into its third freezing winter in succession, violent snowstorms left more than two thirds of the US and almost the whole of Canada under December snow for the first time in decades. In the wake of that acrimonious shambles in Copenhagen, ever more questions are now being asked not only over the validity of the science behind the belief that man-made CO2 is causing runaway global warming but about the methods being used to meet that supposed threat.

In last week's Sunday Telegraph Richard North and I wrote an article revealing the worldwide business interests of Dr Rajendra Pachauri who, as chairman since 2002 of the UN's Inter­governmental Panel on Climate Change, is the world's "top climate official". Our report was picked up by newspapers and blogs across the world, and was even the basis for a question put to Ban Ki-moon, the UN's Secretary General, at a New York press conference. But nowhere did it provoke a greater storm than in India, where Dr Pachauri is director-general of The Energy and Resources Institute (Teri), based in New Delhi, the country's most influential private body involved in climate-change issues and renewable energy. In addition, as we reported, Dr Pachauri also holds more than a score of positions with banks, universities and other institutions that benefit from the vast worldwide industry now based on measures to halt climate change.

In a series of press and television interviews, Dr Pachauri described our report as "a pack of lies". He accused us of being part of that same "powerful vested interest" responsible for "Climategate", the emails and other documents leaked from the East Anglia Climatic Research Unit, which revealed the methods used by the small group of scientists at the heart of the IPCC to manipulate temperature data to show that the earth has been warming further than is justified by the evidence.

When asked whether he intended to take legal action over our article, Dr Pachauri replied that he hadn't yet made up his mind. But Teri issued a press release listing its main complaints against the article.

A first point to emerge from these responses is how much of what we wrote they do not contradict. Dr Pachauri does not deny that he holds all the positions referred to in our article, such as giving advice on climate change to bodies ranging from major banks such as Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank to the Chicago Climate Change, the worlds's largest dealer in buying and selling the right to emit CO2.

He and Teri insist, however, that all the money he receives for his services, such as 100,000 euros from Deutsche Bank and $80,000 from Toyota Motors are paid not to him personally but to his institute (and that he receives
no fee from the Chicago Climate Exchange). Teri denies that it
does not publish its accounts simply by stating that its accounts are supplied to the relevant tax authorities.

Dr Pachauri repeatedly denied that Teri still has any links with the Tata Group, India's largest privately-owned business empire, with interests ranging from coal and steel to renewable energy, and which set up Teri as the Tata Energy Research Institute in 1974. He now claims that Teri has had no "direct links" with Tata since 1999 (or, in another interview, 2001). But it was not until 2003 that the name changed to The Energy and Resources Institute, and then a Teri spokesman explained that "we have not severed our links with the Tatas" and that the change of name was "only for convenience".

Indeed one of the Tata group of companies is still listed among Teri's corporate sponsors, several directors of Tata serve on Teri's Business Council for Sustainable Development, and one senior director serves on Teri's Advisory Board. Other links include the fact that Dr Pachauri and Ratan Tata, the head of the group, both serve on the Indian Prime Minister's Council on Climate Change, advising on all aspects of national climate policy.

In short, these initial responses to our article leave many questions unanswered. At the least it seems that Dr Pachauri's position as the world's "top climate official" has been earning a very substantial income for the institute of which he is director-general; and the only way to avoid further questioning must now be for both Dr Pachauri and Teri to come out into the open over all those issues that remain obscure.

For a start, we should be allowed to know what Dr Pachauri is paid by us all as chairman of the IPCC, a figure that remains confidential. Teri should make public its accounts, including details of all payments it has received from Dr Pachauri's work for other organisations – particularly those that stand to benefit from policies arising directly or indirectly from the recommendations of the IPCC.

Nor is it clear why, on various occasions, the IPCC has listed trips made by Dr Pachauri as part of his "Outreach" as chairman, stating that the UN has paid for the "offsetting" of their carbon footprint, when the purpose of these meetings was to further the interests of Teri itself.

There is no question that Teri, an organisation employing 700 people, based in lavish offices near the exclusive residential enclave where Dr Pachauri lives, in one of the most expensive homes in Delhi, has become a very successful enterprise, with connections in the profitable field of "sustainable energy" all over the world.

It has, for instance, carried out two research contracts for Bill Clinton's Global Initiative, which is helping to build the world's largest "solar park" near the Indo-Pakistani border. Promoted under the Indian government's drive for renewable energy, and partly-financed by "carbon credits" under the UN's Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), this project is due to return an estimated $2 billion a year on an initial $10 billion investment.

Just how surreal the business of "carbon trading" has become is illustrated by another project, which has no direct connection with Dr Pachauri but which involves the plan by a Tata subsidiary to build one of the world's largest coal-fired power stations in the state of Gujarat. Nearly $1 billion needed to build the 4 gigawatt Mundra plant is being supplied in cheap "green loans" by the World Bank and the Asia Development Bank (to both of which Dr Pachauri acts as an adviser), because the plant will emit CO2 at a "lower intensity" than older power stations in India. For the same reason, the plant will also qualify for a potential $560 million in "carbon credits" under the UN's CDM scheme, which can then be sold on the world market.

If our own Government allows E.on to build a similar but much smaller coal-fired power station at Kingsnorth in Kent, however, we shall have to pay out millions of pounds through our electricity bills to buy those same "credits" which in India the UN hands out free – to help Tata build a plant which will be responsible for emitting 26 million tonnes a year of CO2, well over twice as much as Kingsnorth.

Similarly it is Tata which next month is to close down its Corus steel works at Redcar, to make a potential £600 million in "credits" from the carbon emissions this will save, while in India it will earn a similar amount in UN CDM "credits" by building a plant of similar capacity in Orissa. It will thus make a potential gain of £1.2 billion, at the expense of 1,700 jobs on Teesside, for no overall reduction in the amount of CO2 emitted to the atmosphere.

Truly, as the snow falls, does the business of saving the planet from global warming become more convoluted and more lucrative by the day.


Letters to the Editor and other People Speak

VIEWPOINTS: Capping wine making is next global warming step

FROM-Panama City News Herald

Many days when my chores are done I sit out on the porch and watch the birds at their feeder and occasionally have a glass of my favorite wine. Sometimes I thumb through my encyclopedia of useless knowledge. (I also have a dictionary of useless knowledge in case I run into some difficult words.)

Recently I was astonished to find an informative article on wines and wine making. It seems that wine has been around for about 4,500 years. Most wines today come from one species of grape and some 4,000 variations of it. Some, but not too many, are made from such things as fruits, melons and dandelions.

To my horror, the article stated that all grape wines are made from carbon dioxide. The plants breathe in CO2, the grape forms because of that and then is crushed, stomped or otherwise pulverized and caused to ferment. Then out comes the wine. Wow!

The thing that scares me about this is the fact that the fermentation process also produces more CO2. Big bad word, that CO2.

I fear that Mr. Gore and some of his fellow anti-CO2 followers might find out about this and run over to the United Nations and have it put a cap on wine making and start a panic that could stretch from Skid Row to all the fine restaurants, homes and bars in the world. Perish the thought! Just think, it might be true that some good come about because of CO2.





Sanity in the Main Stream Media

Global warming debate stumbles over shady tactics

By Elizabeth Hovde,
Oregonian columnist

FROM-The Oregonian

A lot of people haven't taken the time to study mountains of data or sift through a sea of theories about climate change and temperature trends over the course of human history. Some of us who have dared to scrape the tip of the iceberg when it comes to climate study feel at least two degrees more stupid with every piece of research we open.

I don't mind reading legislation. I get excited when I see a government budget pie chart. And I actually enjoy diving into opinions written by Supreme Court justices. But when I met with a group of climate skeptics last week for a presentation titled "Anthropogenic Global Warming or Natural Climate Fluctuations?" I felt myself fading each time I heard "anthropogenic" and "tree ring proxy." It is a wonder I made it through to our discussion of Michael Mann's famous "hockey stick" graph.

Feeling lost in science and overwhelmed by the available, but sometimes contradictory, information regarding climate change is a common experience for me. (Some of you are nodding your heads in agreement. Others stopped reading after "anthropogenic" and "tree ring proxy.")

In any case, when people feel outmatched by an issue, they often choose to trust the experts. And when it came to climate change, that worked OK for a lot of folks until the publicly blessed and government-anointed experts proved untrustworthy.

I'm referring to Climategate, of course, which involves thousands of leaked e-mails and documents from the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, one of the world's leading institutions concerned with the study of climate change.

The scientists at the center of the leaked e-mails hold the current consensus view of climate change and have been working for more than a decade to advance it.

While their work has enjoyed the respect of various governments and politicians, it turns out that some of the respected and trusted scientists of our day have employed shady tactics to defend the mainstream thought that the globe is warming unsustainably and that humans are to blame. The e-mails and files generated at East Anglia reveal that "trusted experts" seem willing to doctor their data to promote their positions and that they've worked to influence what gets published in science journals.

Pat Michaels, a climate scientist at the Cato Institute, told The Wall Street Journal: "This is what everyone feared. Over the years, it has become increasingly difficult for anyone who does not view global warming as an end-of-the-world issue to publish papers."

Along with trying to shut out scientists with information that questions the human role in temperature changes, the scientists in the hot seat show contempt for detractors that is unbecoming to people of science. Science, as one dictionary defines it, is "knowledge attained through study or practice." Science certainly is not the shutting out of knowledge attained through study or practice by someone other than you who might come to different conclusions. Just ask Galileo.

World leaders just met and tried to pound out a policy for radically changing the way we use energy. They'll continue to do so for months and years to come. And any changes made will have huge economic impacts. We need all the information about climate change we can get.

While most people rightly agree the environment is worth protecting, that alternative energy sources need exploring and that reducing energy consumption is a worthwhile goal, whether the Earth is dangerously warming or not, the public deserves to hear all sides of the discussion. We need scientists who are more committed to figuring out how the Earth's climate is changing and why than to having the most Al Gore-friendly theories.

A recent Washington Post-ABC News poll shows scientists have suffered a major hit to their reputations. A Dec. 18 story in the Post said that four in 10 Americans now say "they place little or no trust in what scientists have to say about the environment. That's up significantly in recent years."

While scientists at the Climate Research Unit and elsewhere work to regain trust, what the rest of us can take from the East Anglia e-mail scandal is this: We must trust science, not scientists. And our government leaders, academics and the media need to seek out alternative, but scientifically regarded, research more often than they do.

Today's go-to climate change scientists aren't the only ones with the kind of graphs, data and research to share that can make Supreme Court opinions feel like beach reading.