Thursday, August 04, 2005

If it makes you feel better

On my way out of Shaw’s the other day, I happened to notice the Bellows Falls Town Crier. I had never seen it before, so I took a moment for a closer look. I was in for a rare treat. In very small print beneath the banner line is printed “PRINTED ON RECYCLED PAPER USING SOYBASED COLORED INKS.” I couldn’t help myself from almost falling over in laughter. Very few statements could be more indicative of the blindness inherent in the environmentalist mentality.

I guess that the producers and readers of the Town Crier feel better about their paper for being so environmentally aware and concerned. I wonder if they realize that they are contributing to the destruction of the Amazon Rain Forest. While it is true that loggers rip into the Rain Forest, it is a false assumption that they strip it away. Loggers ‘cherry-pick’ only the precious hardwoods while leaving the vast majority of valueless trees standing. Far more destructive are the farmers who clear cut and burn down the forests for their ranches and farms. The fires they caused in 2004 alone sent into the atmosphere some 200 million tons of carbon emissions, which is more than twice the total emissions of Brazil itself. How this relates back to the Town Crier, and environmentalists in general, is that the largest export of Brazil, the crop consuming the greatest acreage of Rain Forest, is soy. So when I see all the environmentally-friendly and health-conscious soy-based products, I just have to laugh myself silly.

The level of junk-science in the environmental movement is another thing I can always count on to bring a smile and make me shake my head. Recently, ‘scientists’ like Ruth Curry from Woods Hole and Cecilie Mauritzen from the Norwegian Meteorological Institute have used modeling and analysis to project glacial melt and climate change into a fresh water conversion of the oceans. They “calculated that an extra 19,000 cubic kilometers of water flowed into and diluted the northern seas between 1965 and 1995.” By comparison, it is pointed out that the Mississippi dumps 500 cubic kilometers and the Amazon 5,000 cubic kilometers per year. So let’s compare: 19,000 cubic kilometers versus 165,000 cubic kilometers. Rational people might call that a drop in the bucket. In fact, they have to admit that “no significant change...has yet been observed,” but Curry warns that “given the projected 21st Century rise in greenhouse gas concentrations and increased fresh water input to the high-latitude ocean, we cannot rule out a significant slowing of the Atlantic conveyor in the next 100 years.” Of course, they predict, that this global warming trend could “plunge the planet into a global cooling event.”

How about the study from the University of Maryland Baltimore County by Dylan Powell? “Most people have heard of climate change and how rising air temperatures are melting glaciers and sea ice in the Arctic. However, findings from our simulations suggests a counterintuitive phenomenon. Some of the melt in the Arctic may be balanced by increases in sea ice volume in the Antarctic...We used computer-generated simulations to get this research result.” Of course, this study contradicts other global warming studies that suggests glaciers in Antarctica are melting faster than ever before. Powell’s study and the one’s he contradicts are all contradicted by the study done by Greg Holloway and Tessa Sou for the Institute of Ocean Studies, Sidney BC, Canada. Holloway and Sou did not rely on computer-generated data rather they used information collected by actual people on actual submarines performing actual studies on real Arctic Sea ice. Of course, the actual data does not support global warming, so that data is ignored for computer-generated data that does.

One recent solution for global warming reminded me of those wonderfully campy 60s sci-fi movies. Star Technology and Research, Inc president Jerome Pearson suggests a Saturn-like ring of debris, satellites, or space craft around the Earth to reflect some sunlight back into space, shading “the tropics primarily, providing maximum effectiveness in cooling the warmest parts of our planet.” One wonders if they’ve considered the consequence of changing the amount of sunlight reaching those areas where our largest forests exist and how that shade would alter the growth of those forests and further altering the role of those forests in creating breathable air. It also occurs, with common sense, that such a ring would reflect sunlight, much like the moon, providing a greater source of solar radiation throughout the night where one didn’t exist before. Which brings us to the next ‘great brain’ observation from the New Scientist. “Three top climate researchers,” the report says, “claim that greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere should have warmed the world more than they have. The reason they have not, they say, is that the warming is being masked by sun-blocking smoke, dust and other polluting particles put into the air by human activity.” In simple, clear language, the report tells us that global warming will be increase as we clean up air pollution. But wait, we’ve been told for decades now that global warming is being caused by air pollution. Of course, that’s over-simplifying, clear skies aren’t healthy, no, they’re the quickest route to global warming. And to make it even better, Meinrat Andreae, Peter Cox, and Chris Jones from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change of the UN, suggest with straight faces that as the skies clear and global warming proceeds, “soils and forests will stop absorbing carbon dioxide and start releasing it instead.” That would be quite a trick and I’d like to see it. What the Terrible Trio didn’t say was that humans and other animals will start breathing carbon dioxide instead of exhaling it! I mean, it’s just as likely as plants completely reversing their breathing cycle, isn’t it? Such credibility could only come from the United Nations.

We just can’t win. In the late 1800s the scare was global cooling and an approaching Ice Age. That was followed by a world so polluted as to be unable to sustain human life ‘as we know it!’ Then there was Nuclear Winter. That was replaced with global warming. Now we’ve got splinter groups running the whole gamut of destruction including a global warming trend that leads to global cooling. It isn’t as if there’s a consensus among scientists. Despite the environmentalist movement’s claims that “most scientists agree,” the simple truth is that most scientists do not agree, most are silent on the topic, many out of a fear of reprisals from the ideologically dedicated. Robert Roy Britt, reporting on the “Space Ring” mentioned above, noted that “those who are often called experts admit to glaring gaps in their knowledge of how all this works. A study [from May 2005] revealed that scientists can’t pin down one of the most critical keys: how much sunlight our planet absorbs versus how much is reflected back into space.” Now, you’d think that would be an important piece of information you’d want to “pin down” before you run off like Chicken Little.

That “Space Ring” is estimated to cost between $500 billion and $200 trillion. In comparison, Kyoto was projected to cost $150 billion world-wide. Consider how much is spent in research and conferences, not to mention political action and news reporting, on global warming and similar controversial environmental issues. Using the simple rubric of “follow the money,” it becomes easier to see the environmental movement for what it truly is: a vast effort to create credibility for people who would otherwise be laughed into obscurity and provide income and job security for people who would otherwise have nothing to do.

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