August 2000

The Kyoto Protocol and global warming are not, or at least not yet, shaping up as major issues in the presidential campaign. Republican nominee George W. Bush didnt mention them in his acceptance speech. Democratic nominee Albert A. Gore, Jr. said this: “On the issue of the environment, Ive never given up, Ive never backed down, and I never will. And I say it again tonight: we must reverse the silent, rising tide of global warming.”

The 2000 Republican Party Platform contains a long section on the environment, natural resources, property rights, federal lands, energy, agriculture, and transportation. Included is one paragraph on Kyoto: “As environmental issues become increasingly international, progress will increasingly depend on strong and credible presidential leadership. Complex and contentious issues like global warming call for a far more realistic approach than that of the Kyoto Conference. Its deliberations were not based on the best science; its proposed agreements would be ineffective and unfair inasmuch as they do not apply to the developing world; and the current administration is still trying to implement it, without authority of law. More research is needed to understand both the cause and the impact of global warming. That is why the Kyoto treaty was repudiated in a lopsided, bipartisan Senate vote. A Republican president will work with businesses and with other nations to reduce harmful emissions through new technologies without compromising America’s sovereignty or competitiveness – and without forcing Americans to walk to work.”

The 2000 Democratic Party platform gets a little more purple rhetorically: “And we must dramatically reduce climate-disrupting and health-threatening pollution in this country, while making sure that all nations of the world participate in this effort. Environmental standards should be raised throughout the world in order to preserve the Earth and to prevent a destructive race to the bottom wherein countries compete for production and jobs based on who can do the least to protect the environment. There will be no new bureaucracies, no new agencies, no new organizations. But there will be action and there will be progress. The Earth truly is in the balance – and we are the guardians of that harmony.

“Eight of the ten hottest years ever recorded have occurred during the past ten years. Scientists predict a daunting range of likely effects from global warming. Much of Florida and Louisiana submerged underwater. More record floods, droughts, heat waves, and wildfires. Diseases and pests spreading to new areas. Crop failures and famines. Melting glaciers, stronger storms, and rising seas. These are not Biblical plagues. They are the predicted result of human actions. They can be prevented only with a new set of human actions – big choices and new thinking.”

Hansen Cooks Up New Scenario

NASAs Dr. James E. Hansen has stirred the global warming pot once again. In an article published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Hansen and his four NASA co-authors estimate that most of the global warming observed in recent decades has been caused, not by carbon dioxide emissions (!), but by increasing levels of other greenhouse gases. These include methane, chloro-fluorocarbons, and various soots.

Based on this new finding, the authors propose an “alternative, more optimistic scenario” to the conventional wisdom that “30 Kyotos may be needed to reduce warming to an acceptable level.” They suggest focusing efforts on reducing these other greenhouse gas emissions in the short term. This would slow the rate of global warming more quickly and cheaply than by reducing carbon dioxide emissions alone.

Hansens pronouncements carry a great deal of weight. A respected scientist, he directs NASAs Goddard Institute for Space Studies. His dramatic testimony before a Senate committee began the global warming scare in 1988. Last year, he confessed openly and honestlyto the chagrin of many global warming propagandiststhat, “The science is not converging.” The article may be found at

Journalistic Meltdown Hits NY Times

Top of the page. Two columns. Left side. In a box. With a color photo. Headline: “Ages Old Icecap at North Pole Is Now Liquid, Scientists Find.”

The New York Times scooped the National Enquirer on August 19 with news that the Arctic ice cap has melted at the North Pole. The story by John Noble Wilford began, “The North Pole is melting.” The second paragraph claimed that, “The last time scientists can be certain the pole was awash in water was more than 50 million years ago.”

The shocking story, which will undoubtedly be repeated as gospel for years by environmental cranks, was apparently based on a press release put out by James J. McCarthy, director of the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University. McCarthy is also co-author of one chapter of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Changes forthcoming Third Assessment Report.

McCarthy saw blue water at the North Pole while serving as a lecturer on a Russian cruise ship in early August. He said that the Russian captain told him that he had never seen open water at the pole in ten previous voyages. (Presumably these go back 50 million years.)

A fellow cruise lecturer, Malcolm C. McKenna, a paleontologist at the American Museum of Natural History, told the Times that, “I dont know if anybody in history ever got to 90 degrees north to be greeted by water, not ice.” McKenna provided the photo that the Times ran.

Apparently the Times published the story without first checking with any polar experts or even with anyone with common sense. Experts were uniformly dismissive and scoffing in their comments. Dr. Peter Wadhams, director of the Scott Polar Institute at Cambridge University, told the Times of London that, “Claims that the North Pole is now ice-free for the first time in 50 million years is complete rubbish, absolute nonsense.”

Ian Allison, a glaciologist with the Australian Antarctic Division, told the Australian that open water at the North Pole was highly unusual, but that global warming was not involved. Instead, he explained that ocean currents pack and break apart huge ice sheets with vast force.

S. Fred Singer, president of the Science and Environmental Policy Project, wrote, “I am a veteran of two Arctic expeditions with the US Navy, and I can testify that icebreakers always search for leads to make their way through the ice. After a long summer of 24-hour days it is not unusual to find open leads all over the place, especially after strong winds break up the winter ice.”

Patrick Michaels, climatologist at the University of Virginia, told National Review Online that temperature records show no Arctic summer warming for the past 70 years.

Although ABC News picked up the story hook, line, and sinker, even National Public Radio expressed doubt. It noted that the ice sheet often breaks apart and open water appears.

Airlines Become Top Kyoto Target

The British government has promised to push for action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions produced by air travel, according to an August 6 article in the Observer of London. The pledge comes in response to a report released to the public on August 15 by the Institute for Public Policy Research (, which describes itself as “Britains leading centre-left think tank.”

The IPPR report, “Plane Trading,” says that commercial air travel produces 15 times more carbon dioxide emissions per passenger mile than bus travel and twice more than passenger trains. This makes airlines the “most environmentally damaging method of transport in the world,” according to the Observer.

Chris Hewlett, co-author of the report, was quoted in an August 15 Reuters story as saying that, “Incorporating aviation emissions into emissions trading is the most feasible solution to the problem and would probably deliver the best environmental result.” (Short of banning air travel for the unprivileged, of course.)

The IPPR recommends that airlines should be given a fixed and declining number of emissions allowances. Thus airline passengers would indirectly pay for offsetting emissions reductions made in other industries.

Dairy Cows Under Threat

Reports have begun to trickle out of Australia about another serious economic threat posed by potential global warming. According to a study conducted by Dr. Robert Jones of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organizations Atmospheric Research Centre in Victoria, hot dairy cows produce less milk than cooler cows.

The study of high-yield dairy herds in the Hunter Valley in New South Wales shows that dairy cows left out in the sun produced approximately 230 liters (or 3%) less milk per year than cows kept under shelter. These losses could mount up to 310 litres per year by 2030 as global warming gets a grip on the island-continent down under.

Dr. Jones told the Australian Associated Press (August 18) that using shade sheds and sprinklers could reduce these losses to 50 to 90 litres per cow per year. Such measures will become increasingly cost effective as temperatures soar.

U.S. Proposes Carbon Sinks for Kyoto

The U.S. filed a proposal on August 1 to the United Nations office overseeing the Kyoto negotiations that would allow countries to get credit towards their Kyoto targets by using forests and crops to absorb carbon dioxide. The Clinton-Gore Administration estimates that the U.S. could receive credit for 300 million metric tons per year for carbon dioxide being stored in trees, crops and soil, accounting for nearly half of the reductions required by the Kyoto Protocol.

The administration said that “Given the growth in the economy and fuel use since 1990the only way to come anywhere near that target [7 percent below 1990 levels] is by adopting every possible strategy, including the agricultural approach,” according to the New York Times (August 2, 2000). It also noted that “In additionbringing farmers and foresters into the battle is likely to be crucial if the Senate, which has so far firmly opposed ratifying any international climate treaty, is to change its view.”

The EU opposes carbon sinks due to its relative scarcity of land for tree planting which would give the U.S. a distinct advantage. Japan, another country with limited space, wishes to meet its target by investing in forestry projects in the developing countries and possibly Australia.

Many environmental groups are also opposed to the proposal arguing that the U.S. should not rely on carbon sinks but rather should cut its use of oil and coal. It would seem that environmental activists are more concerned with preventing energy use than preventing global warming.

Cooler Heads Comments on National Assessment

Christopher C. Horner, on behalf of several members of the Cooler Heads Coalition, is filing official comments on the draft National Assessment on Climate Change before the August 11 deadline. The comments charge that several violations of Federal Advisory Committees Act, such as the absence of the required Designated Federal Officer from several meetings, the closing of meetings to the public, and the failure to certify meeting minutes by the chairman of the advisory committee, were committed in the preparation of the report.

The Cooler Heads members are requesting that the final report not be released until it complies with FACA. The comments will be posted in the next few days at and at

Frontiers of Freedom and the Science and Environmental Policy Project are also filing joint comments on the NACCs scientific shortcomings. These should also be available on the web at and

Administration Touts Kyoto Benefits for Lawyers

On July 20, Frank E. Loy, the under secretary for global affairs at the U.S. State Department and chief global warming negotiator for the U.S., spoke at the Annual Conference of the American Bar Association about the status of the negotiations surrounding the Kyoto Protocol.

Loy prefaced his remarks by asking the audience of lawyers “Do you, the members of the bar, need to understand the Protocol and will you be able to bill your clients? (Because I know the suspense is killing you, let me just say that the answer to these last questions is an emphatic yes.)” While said jokingly, it is nonetheless true that lawyers love big, complex regulatory structures that require their services and fatten their wallets.

Loy was quite optimistic about the chances of getting an agreement that would be acceptable to the U.S. Senate. He even pointed out that we are closer than before since Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) a former skeptic on global warming, according to Loy, recently “acknowledged that the science has hardened considerably in the past decade and pledged to develop a domestic plan to deal with the problem.” He also pointed out that “Democrats and Republicans alike are proposing legislation to deal with climate change.”

One of the two major obstacles to getting an agreement is the desire of the EU that the U.S. “change our lifestyle as quickly and radically as possible,” he said. “Many in the EU believe that producing significant short-term pain and suffering is actually desirable, rather than something to be avoided.” The crux of the matter, according to Loy is that the EU is concerned that U.S. businesses “will enjoy a competitive advantage over European businesses that have been subjected to carbon taxes and extensive regulation.”

The other obstacle is developing country participation. Loy argues that since the developing countries are least able to adapt to climate change it is in their interest to come to an agreement. Loy also claimed that many of the key developing nations are already taking steps to reduce emissions and that those countries that “may lack the capacity to assume and implement legally binding targets” should “explore opportunities under the Clean Development Mechanism.”

And what is the role for lawyers in all this? “Like any sophisticated business transaction, each of these decisions [that companies must make about what to do about meeting climate change targets] will require legal advice about how to navigate a variety of domestic and international regulatory frameworks. Each transaction has the potential to involve litigation or administrative action.” Music to lawyers ears.

Oops! Sea Levels are Falling

The island state of Tuvalu in the Pacific Ocean has been one of the most vociferous players in the global warming debate. It has been trotted out by the global warming establishment as an example of the horrific effects of global-warming-induced sea level rise. The country is comprised of nine islands, which are only 12 feet above sea level at their highest point.

New research has shown, however, that sea level has fallen by about 2.5 inches in the last 2 or 3 years, an apparently dramatic reversal from the 1.5 inch per year rise experienced throughout the earlier 1990s. Hilia Vavae, director of Tuvalus Meteorological Service, said, “This is certainly a bit of a shock for us because we have been experiencing the effect of rising oceans for a long time.”

The evidence does not sway Ms. Vavae, however. “We are still facing the daunting prospect of being one of the first countries to be submerged by sea-level rises related to climate change.” As noted by the Sunday Telegraph (London, August 6, 2000), “The Tuvalu government, a vocal critic of the industrialized world at environmental conferences in Tokyo and Rio de Janeiro, has said that the result of its research is a blip and it is expected to make climate change a major issue when it joins the United Nations next month.”

Patrick Nunn, head of geography at the University of the South Pacific of Fiji attacked the data saying, “It is nonsense to try to make predictions about climate change from a data base of only seven years.” Nunn should have looked at the long-term data before making this statement. Sea level data from Tuvalu since 1977 shows no trend. Indeed, sea level remains stable with three punctuated drops in 1983, 1992 and 1998 during El Nio years. The current drop is occurring in the absence of El Nio (

Any potential global warming will actually cause sea levels to drop in the short term, according to S. Fred Singer, president of the Science and Environment Policy Project. Singers paper, which he presented at a Cooler Heads briefing, is available at the SEPP website,

More Problems with Tree Ring Data

One of the major pieces of evidence upon which global warming theory rests is the long-term temperature record derived from analysis of tree rings. According to this research, these long-term chronologies show a dramatic late 20th century warming. However, an article in Quaternary Research (September 1999) questions the two critical assumptions upon which these findings rest, namely, “plant-climate relationships remain the same through time” and that “temperature-plant interactions are independent of changes in atmospheric CO2.” These assumptions are “not supported by physiological data,” according to the article.

If these assumptions arent true, then any temperature records derived from tree rings which do not take into account the effect of CO2 are wrong. Indeed, the article finds that CO2 concentrations have an effect on tree growth in three different ways. First, “Processes that determine growth optima in plantsare all highly CO2-dependent.” Second, water-use efficiency “is sensitive to changes in atmospheric CO2.” Third, “leaf-gas exchange experiments indicate that the response of plants to carbon-depleting environmental stresses are strengthened under low CO2 relative to today.”

Nearly all studies of tree ring chronologies have interpreted tree growth in terms of changes in temperature and/or precipitation, not in terms of atmospheric CO2 content. An article posted by the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change at notes that “the flawed studies of Mann et al. are fast becoming the centerpiece of the IPCCs misguided, but seemingly intentional, effort to rewrite earths climatic history in an attempt to prod national governments to adopt Kyoto-type measures to combat imaginary global warming.”


An August 6 Washington Post story on the top of the front page reported that the past month was the coldest July in Washington, D.C. since 1918. Neither global warming or global cooling was mentioned as a possible explanation for this continuing pattern of extreme weather (even though record cool temperatures are just the sort of thing that global warming theorists predict will happen).

Vice President Al Gore held a press conference in the summer of 1998 to call attention to record high temperatures in many areas of the country and to blame them on global warming. Gore also chastised the American people for using energy produced by fossil fuels, which was causing global warming. Apparently the demands of the election campaign do not allow him the time to hold a press conference to call attention to the current temperature extremes.

Other places in the U.S. experiencing unusually cold weather include Chicago, which has yet to have a day with temperatures over 90 degrees this summer. This hasnt happened since Ulysses S. Grant was president. “By and largeChicagos heat island has been swamped by a tidal wave of [cool] temperatures,” noted the Chicago Tribune (August 3, 2000).

Maine has also been suffering through “Cool, wet, foggy weather,” says the Portland Press Herald (August 6, 2000), which has been hurting tourism in the state. And both Boston and New York City have been unseasonably cold with New York City experiencing its coolest July since 1914.

Finally, England has been having such cold miserable weather that one frustrated lady wrote a letter to the editor saying, “Sir: We were promised global warming and I want it now,” (The Independent, July 28, 2000).

Of course, other parts of the U.S., such as the West and South, have been suffering through very warm temperatures. So what does all this tell us about global warming? Absolutely nothing. For more stories about the cold weather visit