February 2000

Alternative Fuel Bill Fails to Meet Goals

Replacing gasoline with alternative fuels as a major automobile fuel has been touted as a major component of any plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Indeed, Congress passed the Energy Policy Act in 1992, which requires a 10 percent reduction in the use of petroleum-based fuels by 2000 and a 30 percent reduction by 2010. The Government Accounting Office has just released a report stating that those goals will not be reached.

This is because, “Drivers find alternative fuels such as ethanol and natural gas too costly and difficult to find,” according to Reuters (February 15, 2000). The report states, “The costs for alternative vehicles are often higher because consumer demand for them is not large enough to achieve economies of scale in production.”

Reuters also notes that, “While gasoline prices are at record highs, the GAO said that even if crude oil prices reached $40 a barrel, alternative fuels share of the market for transportation fuels would not increase.”

Replacing gasoline with alternative fuels as a major automobile fuel has been touted as a major component of any plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Indeed, Congress passed the Energy Policy Act in 1992, which requires a 10 percent reduction in the use of petroleum-based fuels by 2000 and a 30 percent reduction by 2010. The Government Accounting Office has just released a report stating that those goals will not be reached.

This is because, “Drivers find alternative fuels such as ethanol and natural gas too costly and difficult to find,” according to Reuters (February 15, 2000). The report states, “The costs for alternative vehicles are often higher because consumer demand for them is not large enough to achieve economies of scale in production.”

Reuters also notes that, “While gasoline prices are at record highs, the GAO said that even if crude oil prices reached $40 a barrel, alternative fuels share of the market for transportation fuels would not increase.”

More Backdoor Implementation

The Clinton-Gore Administration has publicly stated on several occasions that it has no intention of implementing the Kyoto Protocol prior to Senate ratification. Behind closed doors, however, it continues to lay the groundwork for implementation as well as propose policies that would have the effect of implementing the protocol. Such actions are in direct violation of the Knollenberg provision, which the President signed into law.

On February 2-3, several federal agencies participated in a workshop, “Sustainable Climate Protection Policies: Assessing the Costs and Benefits of Completing the Kyoto Protocols,” in Germany. The event was coordinated by a German foreign policy research institute, funded by the German government, and the office of Frank E. Loy, under secretary of state for global affairs. The Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy were also represented at the workshop.

Rep. Joe Knollenbergs (R-Mich.) attempts to find out more about the meeting have been met with silence from the U.S. delegation. The Knollenberg provision, attached to six appropriations bills, states in part, “None of the funds appropriated by this Act shall be used to propose or issue rules, regulations, decrees, or orders for the purpose of implementation, or in preparation for implementation, of the Kyoto Protocol” (emphasis added).

In addition to requesting information about the German meeting, Knollenberg asked the inspectors general of the State Departement, EPA and DOE to provide “a thorough review of any other meetings, conferences, or related department work, where funds have been or are planned to be expended for implementing Kyoto mechanisms in direct violation” of the Knollenberg provision (Electricity Daily, February 22, 2000).

A First Glimpse at the National Assessment

In 1990, the U.S. Congress passed the Global Change Assessment Act that established the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) and instructed Federal agencies to cooperate in developing and coordinating “a comprehensive and integrated United States research program which will assist the Nation and the world to understand, assess, predict, and respond to human-induced and natural process of global change.” The bill also required the USGCRP to submit an assessment to Congress and the President of the “Consequences of Climate Variability and Change for the United States.”

According to Michael C. MacCracken, director of the National Assessment Coordination Office of the USGCRP, that first assessment is near completion. At the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, held in Washington, D.C. on February 17-22, a panel of scientists discussed the assessment preliminary findings. A Knight Ridder (February 21, 2000) story summarized MacCrackens comments thus, “Global warming is so real and hard to stop that America has to learn to cope with a hotter and quite different lifestyle in coming generations.”

“If youre smart,” said MacCracken, “you can try to avoid the worst consequences” of global warming, but “you cant stop climate change given what were doing right now.” Donald Boesch, president of the University of Marylands Center for Environmental Science told the attendees that the assessment is “really intended to be an announcement that things are going to happen or are already beginning to happen and were going to have to deal with them.”

The panelists engaged in a litany of speculations, apparently based on the forthcoming National Assessment, about what global warming may mean to the U.S. Boesch warned that rising sea levels could devastate coastlines. Jonathan Patz, a public health professor at John Hopkins University, said that global warming could cause more heat-related deaths further north and possibly increase diseases spread through mosquitoes, rats, and food and water. He admitted, however, that very little research has been done on the link between global warming and disease.

In the South, according to Steven McNulty, a U.S. Forest Service program manager in North Carolina, higher temperatures would help the trees at first but eventually would kill forests. He also said that southern forest fires would increase by 25 to 50 percent.

Finally, Peter Gleick, president of the Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment and Security, said that in the West, “Were likely to get the worst of all possible worlds.” There will be less snow and more rain in the winter months, leading to winter flooding and more summer droughts. Also, “Western alpine forests can completely disappear by the next century, replaced by southern hardwoods.”

“MacCrackens national assessment which is all peer reviewed by scientists is being attacked by the small but well-funded group of global warming skeptics,” according to the Knight Ridder article.

World Business Leaders Concerned about Global Warming

World business leaders met in January at the World Economic Forums Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland to discuss issues relevant to the global economy. After listening to speeches from “five of the worlds leading thinkers,” the attendees voted on what they believed was the “greatest challenge facing the world at the beginning of the century.”

The winner was global warming. According to a press release from the conference, “Not only did the audience choose climate change as the worlds most pressing problem, they also voted it as the issue where business could most effectively adopt a leadership role.”

NRC Report Clarification

The recent National Research Council report on the discrepancy between the surface-based and satellite-based temperature records received a lot of press attention. Most of it was wrong, according to John M. Wallace, chairman of the panel, and John R. Christy, a member of the panel. “When the report hit the streets, several news outlets across the country cited it as one more piece of definitive evidence that greenhouse gases were causing the Earth to warm,” they said. “Policy makers rushed to announce initiatives to combat the problem.”

Wallace and Christy chastise those who try to turn global warming into a “pro” or “con” issue. “To really understand long-term global climate change, we have to pay attention to what the science tells us,” they said. “And like it or not, the evidence to date is telling us that while were making great strides, we still dont have all the answers.”

Wallace and Christy conclude, “Despite differences in the two sets of temperature data, the Earths surface is in fact warming. Our panel did not address whether greenhouse gases have led to the temperature increases of the past two decades.

Unfortunately, the important distinction between greenhouse warming and global warming was all but ignored by some policy makers and interest groups who seized on our findings to further their own agendas. Many scientists do believe that increasing greenhouse gases or other human-induced changes are responsible for the warming, but some still have reasonable doubts” (HMS Beagle, www.biomednet.com/hmsbeagle, February 18, 2000).

Tropospheric Temperature Change

With the release of the NRC report, there has been a lot of discussion about the discrepancy in temperature trends as measured on the surface and in the layer of the atmosphere known as the troposphere. Two new papers in Science (February 18, 2000) address the issue. Both papers confirm the accuracy of the satellite temperature data.

One is a paper that discusses the use of balloon borne radiosonde temperature measurements as confirmation of the satellite data. The lead author is Dian Gaffen of the Air Resources Laboratory, NOAA, and is co-authored by John Christy of Earth System Science Laboratory, University of Alabama-Huntsville, among others. Gaffen et al. offers possible explanations of the temperature discrepancy, such as “Surface and lower tropospheric temperatures may respond differently to changes in a suite of natural and human-induced climate forcings, including well-mixed greenhouse gases, stratospheric and tropospheric ozone, tropospheric aerosols, and stratospheric volcanic aerosols.”

The discrepancy is largest at the tropical belt and so the paper focuses on the temperature trends for those areas. Balloon measurements of the tropical belt began in 1960 and show that the lower to mid troposphere actually warmed faster than the surface in “a pattern consistent with model projections of the vertical structure of tropospheric warming associated with increasing concentrations of well-mixed atmospheric greenhouse gases. From 1979 to 1997, however, the balloon data “show the same pattern of surface warming and tropospheric cooling since 1979 as the independent surface and MSU (satellite) observations.”

Another confirmation of the satellite data is observed changes in the tropical freezing level, which is closely correlated with tropospheric temperatures. From 1960 to 1997, the freezing level rose by about 30 meters per decade, but during the period of satellite measurements since 1979 the freezing level has fallen. Interestingly, “Tropical glaciers at the 5- to 7-km elevation have retreated during the 1980s and 1990s, while freezing levels have lowered.”

A paper by Ben Santer of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Tom Wigley of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, among others (including Gaffen), analyzed three state-of-the-art climate models to see how well they could account for the discrepancy. Gaffen, et al., noted that the analysis, “suggests that simulated global surface temperature trends over 20-year periods never exceed lower tropospheric trends by as much as” that observed during the 1979 to 1998 period. Even when “forced” by changes in atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, sulfate aerosols, stratospheric ozone depletion and the Mount Pinatubo eruption, the models failed to simulate the trend differences. Santer et al. also argues that part of the discrepancy is due to incomplete surface temperature records.

Gaffen et al. concludes that, “Given uncertainties in the observations, in reconstructing the historical climate forcings, and in the climate systems response to those forcings, we may never have a complete understanding of the complex behavior of tropical tropospheric temperatures, lapse rates, and freezing levels during the past few decades.”

What is the implication of these papers? Dr. Christy told MSNBC (February 18, 2000) that, “The behavior of the surface temperatures and the atmosphere over the past 21 years is at odds with the theories that explain how human-induced climate changes should occur. This suggests that what has happened in the past 21 years is not an example of human-induced climate change.”

Climate Model Uncertainties

Computer models are being used with increased frequency to evaluate and solve problems, writes Barry Cipra in an article in Science (February 11, 2000). These models can be useful, but they also have their drawbacks.

“Although the precise numbers and realistic pictures produced by computer simulations give an illusion of accuracy,” says Cipra, “a ravening swarm of assumptions, simplifications, and outright errors lurk beneath.” Better tools are needed, but according to Cipra, “The quest for such tools is itself an uncertain and challenging process.”

Take global warming, for instance. “Much of the global warming debate,” says Cipra, “is fueled by the radically different numbers that different models produce. As the explosive growth of computer power allows researchers to tackle ever-bigger problems with ever-more-complex models, even the experts have a hard time sorting the scientific wheat from the numerical chaff.”

Mac Hyman, a mathematician at Los Alamos National Laboratory, says that the number of variables and size of the system being analyzed is so great that even the fastest computers strain under the computational requirements.

A Five Century Temperature Trend

Nature (February 17, 2000) has published a paper showing that the Earth has warmed gradually over the last 500 years. By measuring the temperature in boreholes (deep holes in the ground) “at 10-m depth intervals to depths as great as 600 m,” the researchers found a long term global warming. They also found that, “Almost 80% of the net temperature increase observed has occurred in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.”

Of course, prior to the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the Earth was in the depths of the Little Ice Age. The end of the Little Ice Age was only 100 to 150 years ago, so these findings are not particularly surprising.

Research Group: Polar Ice Sheets to Remain Stable

The Cooperative Research Center for Antarctica and the Southern Ocean (Antarctic CRC) released a position statement on February 10 entitled “Polar Ice Sheets, Climate and Sea-Level Rise.” The statements findings are part of Antarctic CRCs contribution to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

According to the statement, “There is popular speculation that greenhouse warming of two or three degrees over the next century might trigger a similarly large change in association with melting of the two remaining ice-sheets of Greenland and Antarctica.” A few degrees warming, says the statement, may melt most of the Greenland ice-sheet, raising sea levels by six meters, but that would take 1,000 to 2,000 years.

The Antarctic ice-sheet, if completely melted, would raise sea levels by 55 meters but, “It is not expected that it would melt as a result of a warming of two or three degrees. This is because temperatures in most of the Antarctica are well below the melting point of ice.” At most, increased ice flows from the Antarctic ice-sheet due to warming would increase the sea level by one or two meters over the next 1,000 to 2,000 years.

The statement concludes, “In the shorter term that is, over the next century or two it is expected that there will be relatively little melting of the ice-sheets. Indeed it is expected that the volume of Antarctic ice will increase slightly because greater snowfall caused by higher evaporation from the warmer oceans will outweigh any increase in melting.”

The highest predicted sea level increase is “several tens of centimeters per century,” according to the statement. “This is good news,” said Professor Garth Paltridge, the institutes director. The statement can be found by clicking “News Flash” at www.antcrc.utas.edu.au/antcrc.


According to a press release from the Republican National Committee, Chairman Jim Nicholson has “challenged Democrat Senate Candidate Hillary Clinton to declare whether she supports Gores reckless treaty (Kyoto Protocol) or hard-pressed New York families.” Noting that according to the respected economic forecasting firm, WEFA, Inc., the Kyoto Protocol would raise New York home heating oil prices by 71 percent and cost New York 140,000 jobs, Mr. Nicholson thinks that Mrs. Clinton should reveal “whether she shares Gores enthusiasm for the misguided Kyoto Treaty.”

As it happens, Mrs. Clinton said on January 25 that if elected to the Senate she would vote to ratify the Kyoto Protocol.

Kyoto vs. the Net

by William Yeatman on February 11, 2000

in Blog

On February 2 the House Subcommittee on National Economic Growth, Natural Resources and Regulatory Affairs held a hearing to learn more about the impact of the explosion in Internet usage on electricity demand. The hearing featured testimony from Jay Hakes, Administrator of the U.S. Energy Information Agency, Joseph Romm, Executive Director of the Center for Energy and Climate Solutions, and Mark Mills, science advisor for the Greening Earth Society and senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

Chairman David McIntosh (R-IN) set the tone by arguing that coal is used to produce half of the USs electricity needs. “Coal is the fuel source targeted for extinction by the Kyoto Protocol. Is there not a fundamental incompatibility between the energy requirements of the digital economy and the Kyoto Protocol,” he asked. “Can we really wire the world and at the same time restrict US and global access to abundant, affordable, and reliable electric power?”

According to Romm, the Internet will actually make it easier to comply with Kyotos energy restrictions. He claimed that the Internet uses at most 1 percent of the USs total electricity consumption. Mills, on the other hand, argued that it uses 8 percent. Romms testimony was based on a study by his organization that concludes, “The Internet itself is not a major energy user, largely because it draws heavily on existing communications and computing infrastructure.”

Mills responded that, “This observation reflects such a deep misunderstanding of the telecommunications revolution that it is difficult to know how to respond. Just what exactly do the authors think the past half decade of over several trillion dollars in new investment in telecommunications and computing equipment has been for and driven by, if not the Internet?” Copies of the written testimony can be found at www.house.gov/reform/neg/hearings/index.htm.

Clinton Releases Global Warming Budget

The Clinton-Gore Administrations FY2001 budget is laden with global warming pork and flouts the Knollenberg provision that prohibits implementation of the Kyoto Protocol prior to Senate ratification. The budget includes $2.4 billion to combat global warming and an additional $1.7 billion for global warming research.

Included in this sum is $289 million “to develop technologies that convert crops and other biomass into clean fuels and other products,” and over $200 million “to promote the export of clean energy technologies to developing nations.” The budget also contains $1.4 billion “to develop and deploy renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies for the buildings, transportation, industry and utility sectors; and to research coal and natural gas efficiencies and carbon sequestration,” and $85 million for state and local governments to reduce greenhouse gases and air pollutants.

Finally, the budget includes a massive outlay of tax credits of $4 billion over the next 5 years and $9 billion over the next 10 years to “consumers who purchase energy efficient products and for producers of energy from renewable sources.” The program is known as the Climate Change Technology Initiative. A summary of the budget can be found at www.whitehouse.gov.

Automakers Begin to Cut CO2 Emissions in Europe

While it has received little notice in this country, major automakers have begun to reduce CO2 emissions in cars sold in the European Union, under an agreement between the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) and the EU. According to the voluntary agreement, “Compliance with this target translates for the European automobile industry into an average CO2 reduction of 25 percent for newly registered cars, compared to 1995.”

The automakers state that “This target will mainly be achieved by technological developments affecting different car characteristics and market changes linked to these developments. In particular, ACEA will aim at a high share to the point of 90 percent of new cars sold being equipped with CO2 efficient direct injection gasoline and diesel technologies.”

This stated ability to achieve lower CO2 emissions would seem to conflict with the arguments advanced by automakers last fall in asking Congress to continue the freeze on raising Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards (CAFE). The Senate voted to maintain the freeze on a 55-40 vote.

In a December debate on monitoring CO2 emissions, several members of the European Parliament expressed their lack of faith in voluntary agreements. The parliament then voted 460-20 to instruct the European Commission to produce a plan to force compliance if the voluntary agreement fails. ACEAs members include Daimler-Chrysler, Ford of Europe, General Motors-Europe, and other major European automakers.

House Members Lecture Speaker about Global Warming

Inside EPA has acquired a letter to the Speaker of the House signed by about 30 Democratic House members asking for immediate action on global warming and urging the Speaker “to ensure that the House refrain from using the appropriations process to block sensible efforts to address this serious issue.”

The letter claims that, “There is no longer credible scientific debate over whether climate change is, in fact, occurring.” The signers, led by California Democrats George Miller and Henry Waxman, cite the recent National Research Council report to support their claim, even though it says nothing of the sort.

Additionally the letter pointed out that several companies have left the Global Climate Coalition. Why this is important is not clear. The congressmen request that appropriations bills be free of “anti-environmental” riders, such as the Knollenberg provision.

BP-Amocos Troubles

Environmental pressure groups have lavished praise on BP-Amoco for taking what they claimed was a principled stand on global warming. When BP CEO, Sir John Browne, announced that he believed that mans industrial activities were heating up the planet and that his company was leaving the Global Climate Coalition the Greens claimed a major victory.

But BPs capitulation has not freed it from criticism. It seems their so-called Green friends are attacking them with more zeal than ever. First, BP (now BP Amoco) is being harassed at its own shareholders meetings. A resolution was filed by a group of investors that calls for the company to cancel its Northstar project as well as to cease all lobbying to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling.

The group argued that these activities must be stopped to protect the environment and to prevent global warming. The group of investors, which calls itself Sane BP, is made up of Greenpeace, the US Public Interest Research Group (USPIRG), and “socially responsible” investors in the United States and Britain. Trillium Asset Management Corporation, an investment firm that specializes in “socially responsible” investing, joined the effort.

Greenpeace senior analyst Iain MacGill said that, “Despite these public pronouncements [in support of taking action on global warming] BP Amoco continues to pursue risky oil exploration in the pristine and vulnerable Arctic Ocean and Wildlife Refuge. It doesnt add up so we are giving investors a voice and a choice” (Environment News Service, January 26, 2000).

Greenpeace has also applauded the U.S. Federal Trade Commissions decision to oppose the merger of BP Amoco and Atlantic Richfield Corp (ARCO). “The FTC has the obligation and the authority to examine environmental threats presented by mergers,” said MacGill, “As for BP Amoco, we ask why a company whose stated goal is to provide energy without damaging the environment is pursuing more Arctic oil and fueling global warming” (U.S. Newswire, February 2, 2000).

In other BP-related news, the corporation has been handed a maximum criminal penalty of $500,000 by U.S. District Judge James Singleton for failing to report the illegal disposal of hazardous waste on Alaskas North Slope

The company has also been ordered to pay $15 million over the next five years to “establish a nationwide environmental management system designed to prevent future violations.” This is in addition to the $6.5 million that BP Amoco agreed to pay in civil penalties (Environment News Service, February 2, 2000).

IPCC Rumblings

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Changes Working Group I has made available a draft of its third assessment on climate change to expert reviewers through the Internet. The address was leaked and although the IPCC has since removed the draft from its website, there was sufficient time for many of the experts skeptical of global warming theory to critique the report extensively.

Some of those criticisms can be found on a debate forum at www.vision.net.au/~daly. Chapter 1 of the draft report states, “The fact that global mean temperature has increased since the late nineteenth century and that other trends have been observed does not mean that we have identified an anthropogenic effect on the climate system.” The report also says in Chapter 5 that, “The net forcing of the climate over the last 100 years (and since pre-industrial times) may be close to zero or even negative.”

These are not the types of statements made by scientists who are convinced that man is definitely causing global warming. Of course, several statements in the draft of the Second Assessment were equally damning, but many were purged prior to publication, causing a major scandal. No wonder that the IPCC doesnt want the drafts to be open to the public.

One reviewer in New Zealand, Dr. Vincent Gray, pointed out that the new report has 40 different scenarios and all are treated as equally likely, that is, there is no longer any predicted range of warming. This makes it difficult to convince governments that there is a pressing need for drastic energy cuts. So, Tom Wigley, with the National Center for Atmospheric Research, has come up with an “indicative scenario” in a paper he wrote for the Pew Center on Climate Change that was based in part on the IPCC draft report. Wigleys paper was widely touted in the press last summer as definitive.

Dr. Gray also notes that the IPCC ignores the fact that CO2 emissions have been falling and overestimates other parameters such as world population, economic development, fuel usage, etc. They set their parameters in the computer models, for example, based on the “latest most accurate climate and physical quantity measurements.” Then they multiply each by a “precautionary principle factor, which is currently 250 percent.”

“For example,” commented Gray, “the measured rate of increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere for the past 35 years, is 0.4 percent a year. So the figure incorporated in the model is 250 percent times 0.4, [or] one percent a year.” According to Gray, the rate of methane emission rise in the atmosphere has been falling for the last 15 years. “But the modellist cannot tolerate this,” said Gray. “The trend must be instantly reversed. A similar adjustment awaits all the other parameters.” Other extensive reviews are also available at the website.

The Pitfalls of Forecasting

The recent major snowstorm along the East Coast caught weather forecasters by complete surprise. They had predicted 2 to 4 inches of snowfall; 8 to 12 inches fell instead. Roger Pielke, of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, and Daniel Sarewitz, of Columbia Universitys Center for Science, Policy, and Outcomes, argue that such misses are not uncommon and indeed are to be expected. “The idea that fast computers and sophisticated science can give us perfect weather predictions is nonsense,” the authors wrote. “Weather systems are complex phenomena whose behavior can only be approximated, even by the most advanced technologies.”

Problems with forecasting carry over into the realm of climate science, say the authors. “Predictions of global warming have focused international environmental efforts on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. But future economic trends, geopolitical events, and technological advances three variables that defy predictive accuracy will have a much greater impact on emissions than any conceivable international agreements.”

They also warn that, “Predictions of the future can be more dangerous than ignorance, if they induce us to behave in ways that reduce our resilience in the face of inevitable uncertainties and contingencies” (Washington Times, February 2, 2000).

Malaria During the Little Ice Age

Green activists continue to claim that global warming will shift diseases such as malaria from the tropics to the temperate zones. These predictions are wrong, according to Paul Reiter, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In an article appearing in Emerging Infectious Diseases (March-April 2000) he writes, “Until the second half of the 20th century, malaria was endemic and widespread in many temperate regions, with major epidemics as far north as the Arctic Circle.” He further notes that, “From 1564 to the 1730s the coldest period of the Little Ice Age malaria was an important cause of illness and death in several parts of England.” The article can be found at www.cdc.gov/ncidod/eid/vol6no1/reiter.htm.

Megadroughts Common to Africa

With increased study of evidence from the distant past, scientists are becoming increasingly aware that climate change, indeed catastrophic climate change, is the norm. The New York Times (February 8, 2000) reports that recent research has found that East Africa experienced “decades-long droughts far longer and more severe than any in recorded weather history [that] alternated with periods when rainfall was heavier than today.” The article also notes that, “The droughts dwarfed any experienced by humans in the 20th century, including the American Dust Bowl of the 1930s and the African Sahel drought of the 1970s.”

According to Dr. Dirk Verschuren, who headed the research that appeared in the January 27 issue of Nature, “We have to anticipate that a major catastrophic drought will happen sooner or later, and we must prepare for such an event.” The New York Times reports a “broader lesson” noted by Verschuren: “That irrespective of any human impact on the worlds climate, there is great natural variability in rainfall, and this variability may swamp the effects of any global warming produced by industrial emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide.”


  • The February 6 Baltimore Sun reported on a 300 percent increase in the population of Adelie penguins around Cape Royds, Antarctica over the past two decades. Biologist David Ainley “blames” global warming, arguing that reduced ice cover has now placed these penguins closer to their oceanic food sources, thus boosting survival rates.

Before global warming advocates add penguin overpopulation to their list of woes, they may want to sit down with their ozone depletion counterparts and try to get their stories straight. As you recall, these are the very same Adelie penguins many claimed are threatened by the Antarctic ozone hole. Increased solar radiation through the ozone hole was supposed to decimate phytoplankton populations, which form the base of the food chain upon which the penguins and other Antarctic animals rely.

  • Green activists and press and politicians with views sympathetic to the Green agenda take every opportunity to highlight temperature events that can be linked to warmer temperatures. They never seem to take notice, however, when the weather turns cold and nasty. In the interest of balance, we would like to review the other side of the climate ledger.
  • Australias National Climate Center reported that it has just experienced its coldest summer in 50 years. It blames the cold snap on La Nia, but as pointed out at www.vision.net.au/~daly/, “this is neither the longest nor the biggest such La Nia in recent decades.”
  • The opening of the Alaska snow crab fishery is being delayed by an unusual buildup of ice in the Bering Sea. According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, the scheduled opening of January 15 may be postponed until late April or May if the ice pushes much further south. These are the worst ice conditions in the area since 1975.
  • The “city of eternal spring” Kunming in China just had its worst snowfall in 17 years and Beijing just finished its coldest January in 23 years.
  • Moving further west, Israel experienced its heaviest snowfall in 50 years. The country came to a complete standstill, though children enjoyed snowball fights and building snowmen.
  • Still further west, snowfalls for much of the U.S. have been the heaviest in 25 years.

Of course we know that these events do not disprove the theory of manmade global warming, nor do they portend a coming ice age, but neither do the events that Green activists cite “prove” that manmade global warming is real.