October 2004

Dr. Rajendra K. Pachauri, chairman of the U. N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which decided after its First Assessment Report to be policy relevant, but not policy prescriptive, has stated publicly that certain policies are not good enough.

Pachauri told Reuters (Oct. 25), following the Russian Dumas decision to ratify Kyoto, that, My feeling is that we will probably need to do more than most people are talking about to combat global warming.  He went on, This mustnt lull us into thinking the problem is solved.  Kyoto is not enough.  We now have to look at the problem afresh.

The IPCCs chairman even went so far as to recommend a policy: We need a degree of agreement on where to stabilize concentrations, he said, and added, We have to try to come up with an understanding of where we are heading in the next 30-40 years.

Pachauri also saw fit to prejudge the outcome of the Fourth Assessment Report, due in 2007, saying, My hope is that this will be able to fill gaps, reduce uncertainties and produce a much stronger message.

He also contributed a foreword to a report by the New Economics Foundation and the Working Group on Climate and Development that recommends limiting the global temperature increase to 2 C., opposing the use of carbon sinks in meeting Kyoto targets, and removing World Bank support for fossil fuel projects.

PERC, the Property and Environment Research Center in Bozeman, Montana, issued its end-of-term report card on the Bush Administrations environmental policies on October 21.  The organization gave the administration a C+ mark overall, including a B- on the individual subject of climate change.

The climate change mark represented an improvement from the mid-term grade of C, and was broken down with a domestic policy mark of C+ and an international policy mark of B.

The grade was given by Andy H. Barnett for the following reasons:  Given the uncertain state of scientific knowledge and the economic flaws of the Kyoto Protocol, the Bush administration was right to reject the protocol and to keep reductions of carbon emissions on a voluntary basis.  But the administration has not been successful at explaining the reasons for these decisions.  The president has defended his position in part by encouraging economic growth in developing countries, which will lead to greater efficiency in fossil fuel use, but agricultural subsidies and tariff policies discourage these countries economic growth.

The full report card, including grades on subjects such as air quality (where the Administration was awarded an F) that are related to global warming, is available at http://www.perc.org/publications/enviro_report_cards/reportcard_2004/pressrelease_2004.php.

 The Russian State Duma ratified the Kyoto Protocol by a vote of 334 to 73 on October 22.  The upper house of parliament approved the decision on October 27.

The parliament also passed a statement indicating that the decision was purely for political and diplomatic reasons and was not justified on an economic or a scientific basis.  The statement says that Russia‘s obligations under the protocol will have grave consequences for its economic and social development.

According to Novosti, The decision to ratify the protocol was made with due consideration for its importance for the development of international co-operation and because it could not come into effect unless Russia participates in it.  Other sources suggested the European Unions willingness to allow Russians visa-free travel to the enclave of Kalingrad had a major role in securing Duma support.

French President Jacques Chirac telephoned President Putin to hail the decision as a major contribution to the development of multiparty international cooperation andtherefore highly appreciated in Europe and the whole world (www.putin.ru, Oct. 25).

Once President Putin signs the ratification into law, the next step is for the Russian authorities to submit ratification documents to the United Nations.  Once these documents have been received, the protocol will come into force after ninety days.

Commissioner Pascal Lamys announcement on 20 October that lesser developed countries that implement the European agenda of the Kyoto protocol and other international treaties on the environment will be paid off with a lighter tariff burden amounts to the EUs final repudiation of the results of the World Summit on Sustainable Development held in Johnannesburg in 2002.

At the World Summit, the collective voice of the poor countries of the world firmly rejected European attempts to mire them in economic stagnation. Recognizing the importance of cheap, abundant energy to reducing poverty, they rebuffed initiatives aimed at foisting the least efficient, most land-intensive, and most expensive “renewable” energy technologies upon them. They insisted on a multilateral, rather than bilateral, approach to eradicating poverty and moved to ensure “that energy policies are supportive to developing countries efforts to eradicate poverty.”

The new announcement marks a return to the EUs pre-Johannesburg strategy, explicitly rewarding countries for engaging in bilateral agreements with the EU and attempting to ensure that the European agenda wins out over cheaper, more efficient ways of eradicating poverty.

The announcement says that the smallest countries with the most vulnerable economies can gain preferential treatment in the form of dutyfree access to EU markets for over 7,200 products, including agricultural goods.

By aiming the new programme at the most vulnerable economies, the EU is driving a wedge between those countries and the more powerful voices of the developing world, such as China, India and Brazil.

Lamy also confirmed that China would lose its preferential access for textile and clothing imports.

Conventions that the countries will be expected to sign up to by the end of 2008 include the Kyoto protocol on global warming (recently judged a “bad investment” of the worlds money by a panel including three Nobel laureate economists), the Cartagena protocol on genetically-modified organisms (which formalizes a precautionary approach to the best available solution toworld hunger), agreements enshrining trade union rights and even conventions on drug trafficking.

Lamy hailed the initiative as an example of the EUs use of “soft power,” an attempt to exert international influence by means of persuasion and incentives rather than by threats and demands.

The EU comes to this move after seeing the success of its approach towards persuading Russia to move towards ratification of the Kyoto protocol,something that senior Russian sources admit was a purely political decision based on the concessions the EU was offering Russia, rather than any belief that the protocol was scientifically or economically justified.

It is possible, however, that the measure will be seen by developing countries as a whole as an attempt to impose European mores on independent countries.

The measure shows similarities to the British Victorian idea of “imperial preference,” whereby those countries that subjugated themselves to British law and custom were granted access to the greatest market of the era.

Missing in action

by William Yeatman on October 21, 2004

in Politics

In a US election campaign that has seen the presidential candidates attack each other with great ferocity over issues as diverse as national security, retirement pensions and their attitudes to gay marriage, one issue has been prominent only by its absence.


The environment was mentioned only in passing in the Presidential debates and has been raised on the campaign trail rarely. What explains the absence of an issue that was so prominent during the last election cycle? First is that, for Americans, the environment is way down their list of priorities. The attacks of 11 September 2001, the subsequent American involvement in wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the associated economic downturn have all pushed the environment away from the forefront of Americas collective mind.


This was confirmed by a Missing In Action poll organized by the Gallup organization for Earth Day, Americas national day of environmental awareness, which celebrated its 34th anniversary this year. It found that Americans placed the environment 11th out of 12 major issues in terms of importance to them.


Only immigration worried Americans less, although given that issues prominence in the presidential debates, it is likely that Gallup might find the environment placed dead last if it re-polled the American people today.


Economy vs environment


Moreover, the poll found that 44 percent of Americans believed that the economy should take precedence over the environment. This probably explains why the Kerry campaign, which should find the environment a natural issue to focus on, has only seemed to mention the issue in certain areas.


The Kerry campaign has made jobs a central issue in the campaign, and so does not want to set itself up for the accusation that its support for environmental policies would cost American workers their jobs.


This can be seen in the Kerry campaigns schizophrenic approach to the global warming issue.


On Friday 19 August, the campaign issued a document aimed at keeping the West Virginian coal industry open. It included the words, John Kerry and John Edwards believe that the Kyoto  Protocol is not the answer.


The near-term emission reductions it would require of the United States are infeasible, while the long-term obligations imposed on all nations are too little to solve the problem.


But on 24 August, The Journal Times of Racine, Wisconsin, published an account of John Edwards visit to the town the day before. According to the paper, Edwards lamented Americas failure to join the Kyoto treaty. It seems the Kerry-Edwards campaign opposes Kyoto when coal miners votes are at stake but supports it in other areas. The context in which John Kerry raised the issue during the Presidential debates was that of foreign relations, not the environment.


The Bush administrations stance on the issue is only marginally more coherent. The President has theoretically opposed American involvement in Kyoto since early 2001, but America continues to send vast armies of bureaucrats to the regular Kyoto conferences and the nations signature remains on the treaty.


There are other considerations. American Enterprise Institute scholar Stephen Hayward points out that, in America at least, environmental spending has followed Greshams Law, which states that bad money drives out good.


He points to a campaign around Earth Day this year that sought to outlaw disposable diapers as a case of the public looking askance at an environmental movement seemingly increasingly divorced from reality.


Barring a major ecological disaster or electricity black-Green lawns, but the focus is on the White House outs, it is unlikely the issue will force its way back on to the electoral agenda by 2 November. When Americans vote, it will be literally true that the environment is the last thing on their minds.

A coalition of environmental activists called this week for rich countries to do more to control global warming and to help poor nations cope with the alleged effects of climate change.

The irony, of course, is their activism, not global warming, is the real threat. The activist groups, including Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, Oxfam and ActionAid, issued a report calling for cuts in greenhouse gas emissions far more stringent than those called for by the international global warming treaty known as the Kyoto protocol.

They also want industrialized countries to subsidize poor countries adaptation to global warming to the tune of $73 billion per year, a sum on par with what industrialized countries now pay in subsidies to their domestic fossil fuel industries, according to the report.

Keep in mind that the Kyoto protocol, rejected by the U.S. Senate, President Bush and even Sen. John Kerry, only called for cuts in greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. of about 7 percent below 1990 levels cuts that the Clinton-administration Department of Energy estimated could raise electricity prices 86 percent and gasoline prices 53 percent.

Greenpeace and company now want greenhouse gas emissions to be cut by 60-80 percent from 1990 levels cuts that would probably be economically devastating to the developed world.

The activists recipe for solving global warming thus appears to be, first, to kill off economic development in the developed world and, then, to have the developed world send what money it has left over to the developing world. Its not clear, though, that an economically crippled developed world would be able or willing to subsidize poor countries, leaving those countries forever impoverished.

While no one knows whether or to what extent humans may or may not be affecting global climate, climate change is a known and natural fact. The advantage that humans have over other species is that we can use our intelligence and wealth to adapt to changes in climate. Air conditioning, irrigation, desalinization are examples of human ingenuity overcoming otherwise inhospitable or uncomfortable climactic conditions. But harnessing technology to overcome climate challenges requires money something that is often in short supply in poor countries.

And, sadly, the environmental activists seem to be doing their best to make sure that poor countries stay poor.

For example, in a Jan. 22 media release, the activist Rainforest Action Network (RAN) declared victory in its campaign to transform the environmental practices of the worlds largest financial institution, Citigroup.

Now Citigroup doesnt have the sort of environmental practices typically associated with manufacturing and chemical industries. But Citigroup does make loans for economic and industrial development. After a four-year-long campaign, the RAN pressured Citigroup to restrict its lending practices in the developing world, including: not lending to projects that might adversely impact natural habitats; banning logging in tropical forests; avoiding investment in fossil fuel energy projects; and reporting greenhouse gas emissions from power projects in its lending portfolio.

Its an extremely regressive lending policy that, in effect, gives environmental activist groups a veto on Citigroup loans for development in poor countries and we all know how much environmental activists approve of development.

The Rainforest Action Network is not stopping with Citigroup. Last summer, RAN kicked off a campaign called Barbecue the Banks with a sidewalk barbecue in front of the San Francisco headquarters of Wells Fargo. Using Citigroup as the precedent, RAN hopes to intimidate Wells Fargo and other banks into agreeing to restrict their lending practices in poor countries.

Should the activists succeed in dictating restrictive bank lending practices in poor countries and I would bet that RAN is not yet done telling Citigroup how it may make loans dont expect too much economic development to occur there. As a result, poor countries will remain poor and will not be able to adapt as easily as wealthy countries to changes in climate.

Global warming may or may not be occurring. Humans may or may not be playing a role in any ongoing climate change. What is certain is that poor countries need economic development and environmental activists are blocking their way. The developing world doesnt need the Kyoto protocol. But it could use some sort of protection from global warming activists.

Steven Milloy is the publisher of JunkScience.com, an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute and the author ofJunk Science Judo: Self-Defense Against Health Scares and Scams(Cato Institute, 2001).

 Thursday, October 21, 2004; Page A28

The Sept. 27 editorial “The Choice on the Environment” said that the Bush administration “has rewritten an extraordinary number of rules, for example . . . to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating carbon dioxide emissions . . . to loosen the regulation of mercury emissions; to limit the amount of land that can be formally declared ‘wilderness.’ ”

Congress has never given the executive branch the authority in the Clean Air Act or anywhere else to regulate carbon dioxide emissions.

Mercury emissions have not been regulated under the Clean Air Act, so the administration cannot loosen its regulation.

And it is up to Congress to designate what federal lands are wilderness areas.



Global Warming and

International Environmental Policy

Competitive Enterprise Institute


In July 1997, the Senate voted 95-0 for a resolution opposing any international treaty that would damage the economy by restricting energy usage, raising the cost of fuels for transportation, heating and electricity.

This unanimous vote included Sen. John Kerry, and Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., who are currently advocating just such restrictions. But the resolution was right. A treaty obligating developed nations but not China, India, Brazil and Mexico would produce huge U.S. job losses as industries moved overseas.

However, because of the initiative of then-vice president Al Gore, the U.S. signed just such a treaty, the protocol negotiated in Kyoto, Japan, in December 1997. But President Clinton never submitted it for Senate ratification. And President Bush has consistently declared Kyoto “fatally flawed.”

Neither Bush nor the Senate has pointed out, however, that Kyoto is not only costly and unfair to the U.S., but it is also ineffective in averting a feared global warming. Scientists all agree that at best it would reduce the calculated temperature rise in 2050 by an insignificant one-tenth of a degree.

Russia has been more outspoken. The Russian Academy of Sciences, in a May 2004 report, questioned the reality of substantial future warming, concluding that Kyoto lacks any scientific base. President Vladimir Putin declared Kyoto “scientifically flawed” and intimated that Russia would not ratify it.

Yet, ironically, Russia’s parliament will likely ratify it before the year’s end, making Kyoto binding on all ratifiers. Why? The reason may be short-term economic gain, as the protocol permits selling Russia’s unused emission rights to Europeans anxious to ease the economic penalties of Kyoto’s restrictions.

Russia’s economic collapse after 1990 nearly halved its emissions and the base year chosen for Kyoto is 1990. This arbitrary choice also favors Germany, which took over a faltering East German economy, and Great Britain, which switched its electric generation from coal to natural gas at about that time. We would lose out, and maybe that’s why our economic competitors are so anxious to get us to ratify Kyoto.

S. Fred Singer is professor emeritus of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia and the author of Hot Talk Cold Science: Global Warming’s Unfinished Debate (Independent Institute, Oakland, 1999).

As determined by NOAA Satellite-mounted MSUs
Information from Global Hydrology and Climate Center,
University of Alabama – Huntsville, USA
The data from which the graph is derived can be downloaded here
Global Mean Temperature Variance From Average,
Lower Troposphere,
September 2004: +0.118C

(Northern Hemisphere: +0.191C , Southern Hemisphere: +0.046C )
Peak recorded: +0.746C April 1998.
Current change relative to peak recorded: -0.


GISTEMP Anomaly September 2004 +0.49C .
Peak recorded: +0.97C February 1998.
Current change relative to peak recorded: -0.48C

Discrepancy between GHCC MSU & GISTEMP September 2004: 0.372C

Best estimate for absolute global mean for 1951-1980 is 14C (57.2F)
Estimated absolute global mean September 2004 14.49C (58.08F)


On the same day Vice President Cheney reminded us of the jobs saved by the Administration’s brave stance in rejecting artificial restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions, another administration official yesterday pulled the rug from under his feet by suggesting such restrictions are inevitable.  Those remarks by Jeff Holmstead are a slap in the face for coal miners and auto workers across the nation.  Greenhouse gas restrictions will mean seniors pay more for their heat in the winter, families pay more for transportation and business owners pay more in energy costs.  Not only that, but they will do virtually nothing to abate a rise in temperature which may prove beneficial anyway.

Rather than waving a white flag to the energy suppression lobby (whose former standard bearer was Enron, we should not forget), Holmstead should have focused on ways to strengthen the world economy.  That way, if global warming does prove to be a problem, we will have little to worry about.  We’ve seen how resilient America has been to four hurricanes this year.  We should be trying to make the rest of the world as strong as America rather than weakening America by engaging in futile attempts to change the weather.

Holmstead’s remarks are simply incompatible with the correct approach the current Administration has taken on this issue.  The American economy doesn’t need the poison pill he’s prescribed.  For the sake of American jobs, human wealth and global prosperity, Holmstead should be fired.  He can no doubt look forward to a high-paying job with one of the companies that hopes to profit from impoverishing Americans through energy rationing.