"If there was no dramatic break-up of the Antarctic Ice Sheet "over
     the last few glacial cycles," as the authors say, there's a good
     chance there will also be none before the current interglacial ends.
     And since the data of Petit et al. (1999) indicate that each of the
     last four intergalcials were warmer than the current one - and by an
     average of more than 2C - there's an extremely good chance there
     will be no such break-up this time around."
          --CO2 Science Magazine, 2 January 2002

     "The bottom line of all these studies thus seems to be that we
     really do not know if there are any long-term positive or negative
     mass balance changes occurring on either the Greenland or Antarctic
     ice sheets. Hence, it is important that we continue to collect data
     in these two polar regions, so that someday we will be able to
     unambiguously discern whatever trends or non-trends are
     representative of reality. In the mean time, don't buy into anything
     about these ice sheets that sounds either too good or too bad to be
     true. It likely isn't."
          --CO2 Science Magazine, 2 January 2002

    CO2 Science Magazine, 2 January 2002

    Michael Paine <>

    CO2 Science Magazine, 2 January 2002

    Michael Paine <>

    CO2 Science Magazine, 2 January 202

    Tech Central Station, 13 December 2001

    The Reason Public Policy Institite, October 2001

    CNN, 30 December 2001

    Tech Central Station, 2 January 2001


>From CO2 Science Magazine, 2 January 2002

Cofaigh, C.O., Dowdeswell, J.A. and Pudsey, C.J.  2001.  Late Quaternary
iceberg rafting along the Antarctic Peninsula continental rise in the
Weddell and Scotia Seas.  Quaternary Research 56: 308-321.

What was done

Five sediment cores from the continental rise west of the Antarctic
Peninsula and six from the Weddell and Scotia Seas were investigated for
their ice rafted debris (IRD) content in an attempt to determine if
there are Antarctic analogues of the Heinrich layers of the North
Atlantic Ocean, which testify of the repeated collapse of the eastern
margin of the Laurentide Ice Sheet and the concomitant massive discharge
of icebergs.  If such IRD layers exist around Antarctica, the authors
reasoned, they would be evidence of "periodic, widespread catastrophic
collapse of basins within the Antarctic Ice Sheet," which could
obviously occur again.

What was learned

After carefully analyzing their data, the authors concluded that "the
ice sheet over the Antarctic Peninsula did not undergo widespread
catastrophic collapse along its western margin during the late
Quaternary."  They also say their evidence "argues against pervasive,
rapid ice-sheet collapse around the Weddell embayment over the last few
glacial cycles."

What it means

If there was no dramatic break-up of the Antarctic Ice Sheet "over the
last few glacial cycles," as the authors say, there's a good chance
there will also be none before the current interglacial ends.  And since
the data of Petit et al. (1999) indicate that each of the last four
intergalcials were warmer than the current one - and by an average of
more than 2C - there's an extremely good chance there will be no such
break-up this time around.


Petit, J.R., Jouzel, J., Raynaud, D., Barkov, N.I., Barnola, J.-M.,
Basile, I., Bender, M., Chappellaz, J., Davis, M., Delaygue, G.,
Delmotte, M., Kotlyakov, V.M., Legrand, M., Lipenkov, V.Y., Lorius, C.,
Pepin, L., Ritz, C., Saltzman, E., and Stievenard, M.  1999.  Climate
and atmospheric history of the past 420,000 years from the Vostok ice
core, Antarctica.  Nature 399: 429-436.
Copyright 2002.  Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global


>From Michael Paine <>

Dear Benny (NEO and Climate Change relevance)

Low probability of ice collapse - a one in twenty chance of the West
Antarctic Ice Sheet collapsing in the next 200 years, resulting in sea
levels rising by several metres. Excuse me, but for such a high
consequence event, this does not seem to be a "low probability".

regards and best wishes for 2002
Michael Paine


>From CO2 Science Magazine, 2 January 2002

Studies of the growth and decay of polar ice sheets are of great
importance because of the impacts these phenomena have on sea level. In
this summary we thus review a number of such studies that pertain to the
Greenland Ice Sheet.

Davis et al. (1998) used Seasat and Geosat radar altimeter data to
assess changes in the elevation of the Greenland ice sheet between 1978
and 1988, finding a modest overall thickening.  McConnell et al. (2000)
derived elevation changes for this same time period from a model of firn
densification and records of annual snow accumulation derived from
twelve ice cores obtained at high elevations.  Their results agreed well
with those of Davis et al. and allowed them to further conclude that
"the decadal-scale changes in ice-sheet elevation that occurred during
1978-88 are typical over the last few centuries and well within the
natural variability of accumulation-driven elevation change," suggesting
little to no long-term change in the overall mass balance of the ice

Thomas et al. (2000) compared estimates of ice discharge from higher
elevations of the Greenland ice sheet (derived from ice motions inferred
from Global Positioning System measurements made between 1993 and 1997)
with total snow accumulation estimates to calculate ice thickening rates
over the past few decades.  They too concluded that "the higher
elevation parts of the ice sheet have been almost exactly in balance
when considered as a whole."

Aircraft laser-altimeter measurements made over southern Greenland in
1993 and 1998 served as the basis for the study of Krabill et al.
(1999), who observed a small net thickening of the ice sheet for
elevations above 2000 meters, where they considered their data "most
reliable."  Lower elevations, however, were reported to be thinning; but
they said it was "extremely unlikely" the thinning was due to "an
increase in summer melting."  Overall, the portion of the ice sheet
south of 72 N latitude was determined to be "in negative balance."

The following year, Krabill et al. (2000) used aircraft laser-altimeter
data obtained over northern Greenland in 1994 and 1999, together with
their previous data from southern Greenland, to evaluate the mass
balance of the entire ice sheet.  At elevations above 2000 meters, they
found a small net thickening; but after accounting for bedrock uplift,
the balance was determined to be essentially "zero."  Thinning again
predominated along about 70% of the coast; but these results were
obtained from estimates of interpolations based on calculations of a
hypothetical thinning rate.  Perhaps this far removal of their final
low-elevation result from any primary data is why the authors say they
could find no satisfactory explanation for it, i.e., the thinning may
not have been real.  Even if it were, however, the thinning of the
coastal portions of the ice sheet is unlikely to have been caused by
global or regional warming; for the authors report that "Greenland
temperature records from 1900-95 show highest summer temperatures in the
1930s" and that "the 1980s and early 1990s were about half a degree
cooler than the 96-year mean."

Although the Krabill et al. (2000) study was thus rife with many
uncertainties, the media sunk their teeth into it with great relish [see
our Editorial of 26 July 2000: Media Mania Over Purported Greenland
Meltdown: Fueled by Fear of Frying].  As one news story put it, "a
warming climate is melting more than 50 billion tons of water a year
from the Greenland ice sheet, adding to a 9-inch global rise in sea
level over the last century and increasing the risk of coastal flooding
around the world."  If its author had done a few simple calculations,
however, he or she would have found that to raise global sea level as
much as all other natural processes raised it over the last century, the
purported thinning of the ice sheet along Greenland's coast (which
equates to a sea level rise of 0.005 inch per year) would have to
continue for nigh unto two millennia.  And as the senior author of the
study stated explicitly in a NASA press release, "this amount of sea
level rise does not threaten coastal regions."

If the studies reviewed above teach us anything, it is that we have a
great need for high-quality, long-term, ice-sheet mass balance data; and
in a study of the mass balances of all of earth's glaciers for which
such data exist, Braithwaite and Zhang (2000) present even more evidence
of this need.  Extrapolating what they learned from smaller glaciers to
the Greenland ice sheet, for example, they conclude that "the ice sheet
can thicken or thin by several meters over 20-30 years without giving
statistically significant evidence of non-zero balance under present
climate."  Hence, they say the Greenland ice sheet might "have to be
monitored over many decades to detect unambiguous evidence of either
thinning, due to increased melting, or thickening, due to increased

Reeh (1999) reached much the same conclusion, stating "we do not know" -
with respect to the ice covers of both Greenland and Antarctica -
"whether the ice sheets are currently in balance; neither do we know if
their volume or mass has increased or decreased during the last 100
years."  Climate model predictions are of little help either.  Working
with the two most recent incarnations of the GCM developed by the Max
Plank Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg, Germany, for example, Wild
and Ohmura (2000) concluded that the sea level change resulting from the
combined changes in the ice sheets of both Greenland and Antarctica at
the time of a doubled atmospheric CO2 concentration would be either
"close to zero" or indicative of a sea level fall rate of 0.6 mm per

>From a recalibration of oxygen isotope-derived temperatures based on
data obtained from central Greenland ice cores, however, Cuffey and
Marshall (2000) have tentatively determined that the Greenland ice sheet
may have been much smaller during the last interglacial than previously
thought.  If such is true, it implies the potential for further major
shrinkage of the Greenland ice sheet ... but only if the planet were to
warm substantially more than it did during the past century, i.e., by a
several-fold factor [see our Journal Review of Petit et al. (1999)].
Furthermore, this conclusion implies, in Cuffey and Marshall's words,
that "high sea levels during the last interglacial should not be
interpreted as evidence for extensive melting of the West Antarctic Ice
Sheet, and so challenges the hypothesis that the West Antarctic is
particularly sensitive to climate change."  Therefore, since the
Antarctic is by far the most important repository of potential
melt-water on the planet, this slight unease about the potential for
additional shrinkage of the Greenland ice sheet is more than compensated
by the greater confidence it gives us that we do not have to worry about
the analogous phenomenon occurring in Antarctica.

The bottom line of all these studies thus seems to be that we really do
not know if there are any long-term positive or negative mass balance
changes occurring on either the Greenland or Antarctic ice sheets.
Hence, it is important that we continue to collect data in these two
polar regions, so that someday we will be able to unambiguously discern
whatever trends or non-trends are representative of reality.

In the mean time, don't buy into anything about these ice sheets that
sounds either too good or too bad to be true. It likely isn't.

Braithwaite, R.J. and Zhang, Y.  2000.  Relationships between
interannual variability of glacier mass balance and climate.  Journal of
Glaciology 45: 456-462.

Cuffey, K.M. and Marshall, S.J.  2000.  Substantial contribution to
sea-level rise during the last interglacial from the Greenland ice
sheet.  Nature 404: 591-594.

Davis, C.H., Kluever, C.A. and Haines, B.J.  1998.  Elevation change of
the southern Greenland ice sheet.  Science 279: 2086-2088.

Krabill, W., Frederick, E., Manizade, S., Martin, C., Sonntag, J.,
Swift, R., Thomas, R., Wright, W. and Yungel, J.  1999.  Rapid thinning
of parts of the southern Greenland ice sheet.  Science 283: 1522-1524.

Krabill, W., Abdalati, W., Frederick, E., Manizade, S., Martin, C.,
Sonntag, J., Swift, R., Thomas, R., Wright, W. and Yungel, J.  2000.
Greenland ice sheet: High-elevation balance and peripheral thinning.
Science 289: 428-430.

McConnell, J.R., Arthern, R.J., Mosley-Thompson, E., Davis, C.H., Bales,
R.C., Thomas, R., Burkhart, J.F. and Kyne, J.D.  2000.  Changes in
Greenland ice sheet elevation attributed primarily to snow accumulation
variability.  Nature 406: 877-879.

Petit, J.R., Jouzel, J., Raynaud, D., Barkov, N.I., Barnola, J.-M.,
Basile, I., Bender, M., Chappellaz, J., Davis, M., Delaygue, G.,
Delmotte, M., Kotlyakov, V.M., Legrand, M., Lipenkov, V.Y., Lorius, C.,
Pepin, L., Ritz, C., Saltzman, E., and Stievenard, M.  1999.  Climate
and atmospheric history of the past 420,000 years from the Vostok ice
core, Antarctica.  Nature 399: 429-436.

Reeh, N.  1999.  Mass balance of the Greenland ice sheet: Can modern
observation methods reduce the uncertainty?  Geografiska Annaler 81A:

Thomas, R., Akins, T., Csatho, B., Fahnestock, M., Gogineni, P., Kim, C.
and Sonntag, J.  2000.  Mass balance of the Greenland ice sheet at high
elevations.  Science 289: 426-428.

Wild, M. and Ohmura, A.  2000.  Change in mass balance of polar ice
sheets and sea level from high-resolution GCM simulations of greenhouse
warming.  Annals of Glaciology 30: 197-203.
Copyright 2002.  Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global


>From Michael Paine <>

Dear Benny

Here is an article from the latest Scientific American that criticises
the climate change chapter of the book 'The Skeptical Environmentalist'
by Bjorn Lomborg.

Michael Paine

by Stephen Schneider
Scientific American, January 2002

For three decades, I have been debating alternative solutions for
sustainable development with thousands of fellow scientists and policy
analysts-exchanges carried out in myriad articles and formal meetings.
Despite all that, I readily confess a lingering frustration:
uncertainties so infuse the issue of climate change that it is still
impossible to rule out either mild or catastrophic outcomes, let alone
provide confident probabilities for all the claims and counterclaims
made about environmental problems.

Even the most credible international assessment body, the
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), has refused to attempt
subjective probabilistic estimates of future temperatures. This has
forced politicians to make their own guesses about the likelihood of
various degrees of global warming. Will temperatures in 2100 increase by
1.4 degrees Celsius or by 5.8? The difference means relatively adaptable
changes or very damaging ones.

Against this background of frustration, I began increasingly to hear
that a young Danish statistician in a political science department,
Bjorn Lomborg, had applied his skills in statistics to better determine
how serious environmental problems are. Of course, I was anxious to see
this highly publicized contribution -- The Skeptical Environmentalist:
Measuring the Real State of the World. A "skeptical environmentalist" is
certainly the best kind, I mused, because uncertainties are so endemic
in these complex problems that suffer from missing data, incomplete
theory and nonlinear interactions. But the "real state of the
world"-that is a high bar to set, given the large range of plausible

And who is Lomborg, I wondered, and why haven't I come across him at any
of the meetings where the usual suspects debate costs, benefits,
extinction rates, carrying capacity or cloud feedback? I couldn't recall
reading any scientific or policy contributions from him either. But
there was this massive 515page tome with a whopping 2,930 endnotes to
wade through. On page xx of his preface, Lomborg admits, "I am not
myself an expert as regards environmental problems"-truer words are not
found in the rest of the book, as I'II soon illustrate. I will report
primarily on the thick global warming chapter and its 600-plus endnotes.
That kind of deadweight of detail alone conjures at least the trappings
of comprehensive and careful scholarship. So how does the reality of the
text hold up to the pretense? I'm sure you can already guess, but let me
give some examples to make clear what I learned by reading.

The climate chapter makes four basic arguments:

Climate Science is very uncertain but nonetheless the real state of the
science is that the sensitivity of the climate to carbon dioxide will
turn out to be at the low end of the IPCC uncertainty range-which is for
a warming of 1.5 to 4.5 degrees C if carbon dioxide were to double and
be held fixed over time.

Emissions scenarios, according to the IPCC, fall into six "equally
sound" alternative paths. These paths span a doubling in carbon dioxide
concentrations ill 2100 up to more than tripling and well beyond
tripling in the 22nd century. Lomborg, however, dismisses all but the
lowest of the scenarios: "Temperatures will increase much less than the
maximum estimates from IPCC-it is likely that the temperature will be at
or below the B1 estimate [the lowest emissions scenario] (less than 2 C
in 2100) and the temperature will certainly pot increase even further
into the twenty-second century."

Cost-benefit calculations show that although the benefits of avoiding
climate change could be substantial ($5 trillion is the single figure
Lomborg cites), this is not worth the cost to the economy of trying to
constrain fossilfuel emissions (a $3-trillion to $33-trillion range he
pulls from the economics literature). Asymmetrically, no range is given
for the climate damages.

The Kyoto Protocol, which caps industrialized countries' output of
greenhouse gases, is too expensive. It would reduce warming in 2100 by
only a few tenths of a degree-"putting off the temperature increase just
six years." This number, though, is based on a strawman policy that
nobody has seriously proposed: Lomborg extrapolates the Kyoto Protocol,
which is applicable only up to 2012, as the world's sole climate policy
for another nine decades.

Before providing specifices of why I believe each of these assertions is
fatally flawed, I should say something about Lomborg's methods. First,
most of his nearly 3,000 citations are to secondary literature and media
articles. Moreover, even when cited, the peer-reviewed articles come
elliptically from those studies that support his rosy view that only the
low end of the uncertainty ranges will be plausible. IPCC authors, in
contrast, were subjected to three rounds of review by hundreds of
outside experts. They didn't have the luxury of reporting primarily from
the part of the community that agrees with their individual views.

Second, it is ironic that in a popular book by a statistician one can't
find a clear discussion of the distinction among different types of
probabilities, such as frequentist and Bayesian (that is, "objective"
and "subjective"). He uses the word "plausible" often, but, curiously
for a statistician, he never attaches any probability to what is
"plausible." The Third Assessment Report of the IPCC, on the other hand,
explicitly confronted the need to quantify all confidence terms. Working
Group I, for example, gave the term "likely" a 66 to 90 percent chance
of occurring. Although the IPCC gives a wide range for most of its
projections, Lomborg generally dismisses these ranges, focusing on the
least serious outcomes. Not so much as one probability is offered for
the chance of a dangerous outcome, yet he makes a firm assertion that
climate "will certainly" not go beyond 2 degrees C warming in the 22nd
century - a conclusion at variance with the IPCC, other national climate
assessments and most recent studies in the field of climate science.

Now let us look in more detail at the four major arguments he makes in
this chapter.

Climate science. A typical example of Lomborg's method is his paraphrase
of a secondary source in reporting a 1989 Hadley Center paper in the
journal Nature in which the researchers make modifications to their
climate model: "The programmers then improved the cloud
parameterizations in two places, and the model reacted by reducing its
temperature estimate from 5.2 C to 1.9 C." Had this been first-rate
scholarship, Lomborg would have consulted the original article, in which
the concluding sentence of the first paragraph presents the authors'
caveat: "Note that although the revised cloud scheme is more detailed it
is not necessarily more accurate than the less sophisticated scheme. "

In a similar vein, he cites Richard S. Lindzen's controversial
stabilizing feedback, or "iris effect," as evidence that the IPCC
climate sensitivity range should be reduced by a factor of almost three.
He fails either to understand this mechanism or to tell us that it is
based on only a few years of data in a small part of one ocean.
Extrapolating this small sample of data to the entire globe is like
extrapolating the strong destablizing feedback over midcontinental
landmasses as snow melts during the spring - such an inappropriate
projection would likely increase estimates of climate sensitivity by a
factor of several.

As a final example, he quotes a controversial hypothesis from Danish
cloud physicists that solar magnetic events modulate cosmic rays and
produce "a clear connection between global lowlevel cloud cover and
incoming cosmic radiation." The Danish researchers use this hypothesis
to support an alternative to carbon dioxide for explaining recent
climate change. Lomborg fails to discuss-and I haven't seen it treated
by the authors of that speculative theory either-what such purported
changes to this cloud cover have done to the radiative balance of the
earth. Increasing clouds, it has been well known since papers by Syukuro
Manabe and Richard T. Wetherald in 1967 and myself in 1972, can warm or
cool the atmosphere depending on the height of the cloud tops, the
reflectivity of the underlying surface, the season and the latitude. The
reason the IPCC discounts this theory is that its advocates have not
demonstrated any radiative forcing sufficient to match that of much more
parsimonious theories, such as anthropogenic forcing.

Emissions scenarios. Lomborg asserts that over the next several decades
new, improved solar machines and other renewable technologies will crowd
fossil fuels off the market. This will be done so efficiently that the
IPCC scenarios vastly overestaimte the chance for major increases in
carbon dioxide. How I wish this would turn out to be true!

But wishes aren't analysis. One study is cited; ignored is the huge body
of economics work he later accepts to estimate a range of costs if we
were to implement emissions controls: In fact, most of these economists
strongly believe high emissionsare quite likely: they usually project
carbon dioxide doubling to tripling (or more) as "optimal" economic
policy. I have attacked this literature for failing to point out that
climate policies that raise the price of conventional fuels spur
investments in alternative energy systems. But such incentives need
policies first-and Lomborg opposes those very policies. No credible
analyst can just assert that a fossil-fuel-intensive scenario is not
plausible-and, typically, he gives no probability that it might occur.
Cost-benefit calculations. Lomborg's most egregious distortions and
poorest analyses are his citations of cost-benefit calculations. First,
he chides the governments that modified the penultimate draft of the
report from IPCC's Working Group II. These modifications downgraded the
significance of economic studies that aggregate climate change damages.
Lomborg says" "A political decision stopped IPCC from looking at the
total cost-benefit of global warming." (As an aside, I should mention
that it is strange he chose to cite the penultimate and preapproval
draft report in this case but didn't mention the very first item in the
approved summary-that recent temperature trends have caused a
discernible effect on plants and animals. Even more puzzling is his
failure to discuss ecological impacts in general, focusing instead on
health and agriculture, sectors he thinks won't be much harmed by
climate change of the minuscule amount he predicts.)
The government representatives downgraded aggregate cost-benefit studies
for a reason: these studies fail to consider so many categories of
damages held to be important by political leaders as to render them just
a guideline on market-sector transactions, not the "total cost-benefit"
analysis Lomborg wants. A total analysis would have to include the value
of species lost, crucial ecosystem services degraded, inequity created
by the poor being hurt more than the rich (which Lomborg does
acknowledge), quality of life reduced (for example, a rise in sea level
driving small-island inhabitants from traditional homelands), and likely
changes to climatic extremes and variability .Then again, Lomborg cites
only one value for climate damages-$5 trillion-even though the same
economics papers he refers to for costs of climate policy generally
acknowledge that climate damages can vary from benefits up to
catastrophic losses.

It is precisely because the responsible scientific community cannot rule
out such catastrophic outcomes at a high level of confidence that
climate mitigation polices are seriously proposed. And to give one
number-rather than a broad range-for avoided climate damages defies
explanation, especially when he does give a range for climate policy
costs. This range, however, is based on the economics literature but
ignores the findings of engineers. Engineers dispute the economists'
typical estimates because the economists fail to take into account
preexisting market imperfections such as energy-inefficient machines,
houses and processes. These engineering studies, including a famous one
by five u.s. Department of Energy laboratorieshardly
environmentalradicals-suggest that climate policies that provide
incentives to replace inefficient equipment with more efficient
state-of-the-art products could actually reduce some emissions at
below-zero costs.

The Kyoto Protocol. Lomborg's creation of a 100-year regime for a
decade-Iong protocol is a distortion of the climate policy process.
Every IPCC report has noted that carbon dioxide emissions need to be cut
by more than 50 percent below most baseline projections to avoid large
increases in concentration in the late 21st and 22nd centuries. Most
analysts know "Kyoto extended" can't make such large cuts and that both
developed and developing nations
will have to fashion cooperative and cost-effective solutions over time.
This will take a great deal of learning-bydoing: international
cooperation is not a common experience. Kyoto is a starting point. And
yet Lomborg, with his creation of a straw-man 100-year projection, would
squash even this first step.

So what then is "the real state of the world"? Clearly, it isn't
knowable in traditional statistical terms, even though subjective
estimates can be responsibly offered. The ranges presented by the IPCC
in its peer-reviewed reports give the best snapshot of the real state of
climate change: we could be lucky and see a mild effect or unlucky and
get the catastrophic outcomes. The IPCC frames the issue as a
risk-management decision about hedging. It is not the
everythingwill-turn-out-fine affair that Lomborg would have us believe.

For such an interdisciplinary topic, the publisher would have been wise
to ask natural scientists as well as social scientists to review the
manuscript, which was published by the social science side of the house.
It's not surprising that the reviewers failed to spot Lomborg's
unbalanced presentation of the natural science, given the complexity of
the many intertwining fields. But that the natural scientists weren't
asked is a serious omission for a respectable publisher such as
Cambridge University Press.

Unfortunately, angry reviews such as this one will be the result. Worse
still, many laypeople and policymakers won't see the reviews and could
well be tricked into thinking thousands of citations and hundreds of
pages constitute balanced scholarship. A better rule of thumb is to see
who talks in ranges and subjective probabilities and to beware of the
myth busters and "truth tellers."

Stephen Schneider, professor in the department of biological sciences
and senior fellow at the Institute for International Studies at Stanford
University, is editor of Climatic Change and the Encyclopedia of Climate
and Weather and lead author of several IPCC chapters and the IPCC
guidance paper on uncertainties.

copyright 2002 Scientific American


>From CO2 Science Magazine, 2 January 202

Gemmell, I.  2001.  Indoor heating, house conditions, and health.
Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 55: 928-929.

What was done
The author conducted a detailed analysis of the answers of 858
respondents to pertinent health and housing questions put to them in the
second sweep of the "West of Scotland Twenty-07 Study," which was
conducted in 1991.  The response rate to this survey was 82%, while the
average age of respondents was 59 years.

What was learned
Gemmell's analysis showed that "over and above socioeconomic factors and
house conditions, inadequate home heating is associated with poor health
in those aged 55-60."  He says, for example, that "respondents who
reported feeling cold in winter 'most of the time' were over three times
more likely to suffer from a limiting condition and almost five times as
likely to report 'fair' or 'poor' self assessed health."  Also noted was
the fact that "living in a cold house will almost certainly exacerbate
existing conditions and may lead to early mortality."

What it means
In the words of the author, "affordable efficient methods of home
heating could help reduce the number of people living in homes that are
detrimental to their health."  So also would increases in minimum air
temperatures help in this regard; while anything that tended to make
methods of home heating more expensive would be counterproductive.

On this basis, therefore, the Kyoto Protocol and other such regulatory
schemes clearly have three strikes against them: (1) their stated
objective of combating global warming, which appears to be most robust
at the low end of the temperature scale, (2) their inclination to make
fossil fuel use more costly, and (3) the fact that this policy will hurt
most those who can least afford to heat their homes, i.e., the world's

So it has ever been; and so, it seems, it ever shall be: the poor are
always the ones to suffer most.  And unless enough good people step
forward to do something about it, the cycle will not be broken.
Copyright 2002. Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global


>From Tech Central Station, 13 December 2001

By Philip Stott, Emeritus Professor of Biogeography in the University of

I think it's time to re-examine the concept of "global warming" more

Weather and climate change every second, of every minute, of every day,
of every week, of every year, of every decade, of every century, of
every millennium, of every eon. There is no such thing as a stable, or
"sustainable," climate. Temperature is accordingly never static; it is
always either rising or falling.

Thus, to say that we are now experiencing "global warming" is little
more than a half-truism, assuming that rising and falling temperatures
approximately equal out through time. Around 50% of the time we must be
"warming." Therefore, as long as our scientific instruments are
sufficiently capable of measuring the rising or the falling, global
warming and global cooling are, in a certain sense, matters of fact.

This is global warming seen as an empirical entity. Yet at this level,
we still don't know whether we are currently warming or cooling on a
longer, meaningful time scale. Some temperature curves continue to hint
at a slight recent cooling overall from the 1930s and 1940s, as do
certain corrected satellite and balloon measurements, while there are
even climate models that indicate future cooling. In addition, there
remain grave doubts about the reliability of our temperature
measurements over the oceans as well as on the land because of the
so-called urban "heat-island" effect.

Despite all this, since the late-1980s, "global warming" has been turned
into much more than the subject of empirical scientific inquiry. It has
been re-constructed as a semi-empirical entity, an incomplete symbol,
which cannot be easily verified or falsified. In this sense, it has
become what Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) called in his Critique of Judgment
a matter of opinion. It has become an "object of empirical knowledge
which is at least in principle possible, but is impossible for us
because the degree to which we are capable of empirical cognition is not
sufficiently high."

It is thus in the same category as the example recalled by Stephan
Krner, namely, the assumption that other planets are inhabited by
rational beings. While such semi-empirical entities are possible, they
are ultimately neither verifiable nor falsifiable because of the
continuing technical limitations involved.

The technical limitations of our current climate models and knowledge
are, to put it bluntly, horrendous. Even the Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change (IPCC) admits openly that we know next-to-nothing about
75% of the main factors implicated. We therefore cannot allow the global
warming alarmists' key antinomy to pass unchallenged: namely, that while
climate is an exceedingly complex non-linear chaotic system, we can
control climate by adjusting just one set of factors.

While the phenomenon of global warming is an empty worry, fundamentally
unverifiable and unfalsifiable in a strict scientific sense, it is one
that has been empowered with a greater meaning by those who have the
motive to do so. Accordingly, and perhaps unsurprisingly, since the
early 1990s its intrinsic linguistic emptiness has been filled by a
mighty myth, especially in Europe. This myth asserts that current global
warming is both faster and worse than at any previous time, that it is
not natural, but must be caused by human hubris, and that the main
culprit has to be the United States.

The concept has been translated into a matter of faith, transcending
"the theoretical use of reason." For the good folk involved, following
Kant, global warming has become neither a matter of knowledge nor of
opinion, but wholly a matter of morality.

The threat of global warming has, as a result, morphed into the world's
public enemy #1, al-Qaeda notwithstanding. It is the ultimate product of
the Mordor of the present age, George W. Bush starring as Sauron, "Lord
of the Rings," with his genetically modified orcs and spouting
smokestack industries. It is the inevitable outcome of a Faustian pact
with the devils of capitalism, industrial growth, and profit. It is
Christ tempted down from the High Places to the ruin of the modern
world. It is the "Shire" of Europe against all the metal, mills and
putrid production of an Erin Brockovich America. It is Harry Potter
versus the Quirrells of greed and gas guzzling.

Dangerously, we have allowed all of this myth-making to lead to the
Kyoto Protocol, to the foolish assumption that we can actually create a
"sustainable," unchanging climate (an oxymoron if ever there was one).
The Kyoto Protocol is a scientific and economic nonsense that will cost
the world dear in economic terms while doing absolutely nothing the stop
our ever-changing climate. And the idea that climate change is bad for
all is thoroughly challenged in a new book, "Global Warming and the
American Economy" (Edward Elgar Publishing), edited by the economist,
Robert O. Mendelsohn, of Yale University School of Forestry and
Environmental Studies.

So, please, let's get more philosophical about global warming. And
instead of throwing yet more good money after bad by trying to halt the
inexorable and the inevitable, let's use that money more wisely to help
lesser developed countries (LDCs) to grow stronger economies that will
enable them to cope better with change -- whether hot, wet, cold, or

Philip Stott is Emeritus Professor of Biogeography in the University of
London. His latest book, with Dr. Sian Sullivan, is "Political Ecology:
Science, Myth and Power" (Arnold and OUP, 2000). Philip also hosts the
'AntiEcohype' web site.

Copyright 2001, Tech Central Station


>From The Reason Public Policy Institite, October 2001

By Kenneth Green, D.Env.
Deputy Director, Chief Scientist
Reason Public Policy Institute

Environmental science is a highly complex field that draws on the core
sciences of biology, physics, and chemistry to gain holistic
understanding of natural systems. Environmental policy adds another
layer of complexity, drawing on engineering, decision theory, law, and
the study of public policy in general.

For environmental policy to achieve the practical goal of a more
healthful environment, policies must be based on accurate information
that faithfully reflects the complexity of environmental, health, and
safety problems.

Claims of bias have long been a problem in landmark environmental
reports put forward by groups such as the Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change (IPCC), the United States Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA), and other governmental entities (1). Similar charges have also been
lodged against environmental science textbooks (2).

Recently, the subject of bias came to a head in the state of Texas, when
Texas Public Policy Foundation and Texas Citizens for a Sound Economy
challenged proposed science textbooks for grades six through eight (3).

Some might claim that bias is in the eye of the beholder, or that there
is no good way to evaluate long documents or textbooks for bias in any
rigorous, objective way. But this is clearly not true. Thinkers from
Aristotle onward have developed well-defined systems for identification
of bias and fallacy.

Ostensibly unbiased environmental publications, whether landmark
government reports, or environmental textbooks intended to educate the
next generation of possible public policy makers and influencers, should
be thoroughly and quantitatively evaluated for the degree of bias and
fallacy in their content. Such an analysis of biases and fallacies
should include the identification and quantification of the classical
fallacies and biases that undermine "critical thinking," such as:
Certainty Bias:- Over- or under-representation of the true state of
certainty regarding a given claim, as determined from the weight of
available evidence;

Selectivity Bias: - Selective use of data or, time-frame, or inclusion
of available policy options or ramifications, to support a point that
would not be supportable using the full spectrum of available data;

Order Bias:- Using the order in which claims are presented to emphasize
their positivity or negativity;

Qualifier Bias: - Selective use of qualifiers ("may be," "might be,"
"will definitely," etc.) to push the reader in one direction or another;

Imagery Bias:- Selective use of imagery to influence the readers'
emotional associations with the data;

Perspective Bias:- Selecting perspectives (timeframes, arbitrary
geographic areas, etc.) for interpreting or presenting information that
make something seem different than it would be in larger or longer

Unjustified Conclusions: - Conclusions drawn improperly from available
data, or conclusions drawn from non-existent data;

Static Perspective:- Presenting certain situations as static (when they
are dynamic), or vice versa;

False Cause:- Attributing an effect to a certain cause without

Personal Attack: - Assigning labels to people in order to discredit
their point of view, i.e., "climate skeptics," "pro-industry groups,"
"radical environmentalists," etc.;

Appeal to the Masses: - The invocation of large numbers of people to
lend authority to a concept the validity of which is not determined by
consensus (i.e., "the majority of scientists think that..."); and

Appeal to Authority:- The citing of a high- profile expert (whether in
the same field, or another field) as the validation of a concept, rather
than the citation of the underlying evidence for that concept.
Such biases and fallacies can be identified clearly by the practiced
eye, and can be handled quantitatively, can be validated objectively,
and can be used to establish "cut-points" for acceptability.

There are many ways that such biases could be quantified, and the best
method will depend on the nature of the documents involved. In the
simplest case, bias levels could be expressed as a percentage of
declarative statements that are biased, paired with the direction of
that bias, and indicating whether the work favors or opposes certain
conclusions. Using this approach, one might summarize one's findings
this way: "Of all declarative statements made in this work, X percent
were found to suffer from one or another type of bias or fallacy,
creating an overall bias in the direction of the Y point of view."

But not all statements are of equal import. Statements that are based on
implicit or explicit assumptions, that draw conclusions, or make
recommendations, are arguably more important for use in identifying bias
than are simple statements of fact or scientific principles. Thus, an
alternate approach to quantifying bias might focus in on those
particular types of sentences, producing a conclusion in this form: "Of
all conclusive statements made in this work, X percent were found to
embody one or another type of bias or fallacy, creating an overall bias
in the direction of the Y point of view."

For long documents, or environmental textbooks, summaries alone might be
evaluated, or random sampling could be done through the document to
establish rougher, but still valid estimations of bias or fallacy. In
these cases, the nature of the sampling should be clearly explained
along with the findings.

While this or a related approach can produce an objective, verifiable
measure of bias, what constitutes an acceptable level of bias is not an
objective decision. That decision must ultimately be determined and
defended by those who intend to use the document, or those who produced

The bias evaluation approach described here might prove particularly
useful for those pursuing the elimination of bias from environmental
reports and textbooks, particularly those documents expected to be
unbiased presentations of the scientific state of knowledge.

Eliminating bias in environmental textbooks and official summary reports
by government agencies has garnered increased attention in recent years,
at both federal and state levels. This is a positive trend, since
minimizing bias and fallacy in documents that will ultimately guide
environmental policy can only improve understanding of the issues that
will ultimately guide environmental policy development.

About the Author

Kenneth Green is Chief Scientist at Reason Public Policy Institute, and
has served as an expert reviewer on several prominent reports of the
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. He has reviewed environmental
textbooks for an independent publisher of science textbooks for
middle-school students, and is under contract to write a textbook on
global warming for the same audience.


1. Richard A. Kerr, "Rising Global Temperature, Rising Uncertainty,"
News Focus, Science, vol. 292, April 13, 2001; Richard S. Lindzen,
"Testimony of Richard S. Lindzen before the Senate Environment and
Public Works Committee," Washington, D.C., May 2, 2001; Brent Bozell,
"Flat Earth Environmental Reporting," Creators Syndicate, July 10, 1997.

2. Michael Sanera, "Environmental Education, Promise and Performance,"
Canadian Journal of Environmental Education, vol. 3, Spring 1998 pp.

3. R.A. Dyer, "State Told Proposed Textbooks Biased, Flawed,"
Star-Telegram, September 7, 2001; Duggan Flanakin," Texas Environmental
Science Middle School Textbook Review," (San Antonio: Texas Public
Policy Foundation, 2001).

4. Where "bias" refers to an objectively verifiable frequency of
one-sided presentation, and fallacy refers to objectively verifiable
violation of one or another tenet of logic or critical thinking. This
list does not represent every known form of bias or fallacious reasoning
and is not intended to be a definitive treatment of these issues. The
biases and fallacies listed here are, however, those that the author has
seen to predominate in environmental publications. For more on logical
fallacies, see Don Lindsay, "A List of Fallacious Arguments,, October 19, 2001.

The Reason Foundation. All rights reserved.

>From CNN, 30 December 2001
TOKYO, Japan -- Japan has effectively abandoned the Kyoto Protocol
limiting greenhouse gas emissions, according to a report released

Japanese industry groups have forced the government to drop mandatory
restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions under the Kyoto agreement,
making it unlikely Tokyo will be able to meet its reduction targets, the
Yomiuri newspaper said.

The decision by an Environment Ministry policy board, under pressure
from corporate lobbies, to impose only voluntary limits on carbon
dioxide emissions would spell doom for Japan's six percent reduction

The newspaper quoted an unidentified member of the panel, which is
drafting Japan's strategy to fight global warming, as saying there is
nothing in its upcoming report that directly commits companies to cut
back on polluting.

Economic slump blamed

Reducing emissions by 6 percent from the benchmark year of 1990 will be
all the more formidable for Japan because the nation's carbon dioxide
levels have risen about 17 percent over the past decade.

The nation's deep economic slump is also likely to make corporate Japan
fight harder against any measures that increase the costs of production.

Japan plans to ratify the international treaty on global warming in
June, 2002 during its regular session of Parliament.

Seeing the protocol to fruition is a matter of national pride for Japan,
which basked in the international attention of brokering the deal in

However, after the United States pulled out of the pact in March, Japan
questioned whether there was any meaning in ratifying it without the
world's biggest industrial power -- and polluter -- on board.

Japan's decision to ratify the protocol came in November, months after
European nations had collectively announced they would approve the
treaty even without Washington's participation.

Copyright 2002, CNN


>From Tech Central Station, 2 January 2001

By: Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas, Co-Host, Tech Central Station and
Associate of the Harvard College Observatory

The Kyoto Protocol's chickens are coming home to roost all over the
globe - and it's not a pretty sight. As government ministers begin to
get a better understanding of the true economic impact of the carbon
dioxide emission restrictions called for in the Protocol, political
fissures are emerging that threaten to sink the treaty faster than
carbon dioxide in a lush New Zealand forest.

Japan just joined the United States in rejecting Kyoto's mandated carbon
dioxide cuts. The country where the Protocol was drafted ranks third
worldwide in carbon dioxide emission and is mired by a slumped economy.
The carbon dioxide cuts would be economically punishing to nearly all
developed countries, and that economic disaster would cascade
disastrously to developing economies of the world.

Japan will still focus on voluntary cuts as a hedge against fears of
"consumer boycotting [in Europe and other areas that support the Kyoto
treaty]," according to one Japanese government source.

Oh, Canada!

To our north, the Canadian Minister of Industry recently said "there is
a very strong consensus around the Cabinet table and in caucus that
Canada must do nothing in competitive terms that would handcuff our
capacity to compete around the world and with United States."

Rick Hyndman, senior policy advisor of climate change for the Canadian
Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP), added "The position of CAPP,
and most industry I think, is not opposition to the protocol, per se,
but opposition to ratification before it's evaluated. Most people in
industry think it's very difficult to do a serious analysis of policy
options and a serious consultation with shareholders by mid-2002."

But David Anderson, the Minister of Environment, quickly stressed to the
Canadian public that Prime Minister Jean Chretien will make the final
decision on ratification by mid-2002 - less than the time Canadian
businesses feel necessary to evaluate the consequences.

'EU'thanasia for the Treaty

Across the Atlantic, the European Union (EU) has an umbrella plan to cap
carbon dioxide emission averaged over EU countries. The scheme punishes
the worst polluters by imposing financial penalties. This EU move is
unsurprising for the EU has been trumpeting itself as the "climate
savior" of the Kyoto Protocol.

But then came stunning comments from the German Economic Minister,
Werner Mueller. Discussing the Green Party's ambitious goal of cutting
carbon dioxide emissions 40% by 2020, Mueller said that such cuts would
have "considerable costs for the economy, which would also hit private
consumers." Mueller is naturally concerned about the long-term economic
competitiveness of Germany.

A spokesman from the German Environmental Ministry hastily contradicted
Mueller's comment by asserting that "the 40 percent target is
achievable, and will also create jobs." The Ministry provided no details
on how Germany can both cut its emissions by 40% and create sustained
economic growth and hence more jobs. Without a Green Party endorsement
of new nuclear power plants - a political impossibility -- the energy
demands of a vibrant economy such as Germany's cannot be met.

Common Sense Kiwis

And how about the green pastures of the South Pacific? New Zealand has
about 50 million sheep and cattle whose combined effects from belching
and flatulence produces about 44% of New Zealand's inventory of total
greenhouse gas emission. One proposal to limit greenhouse gas emissions
from its sheep and cattle industries was to impose a flatulence tax of
$6.40 per sheep and $25.60 per head of cattle. After farmers protested,
the flatulence tax was abandoned.

New Zealand's prime minister has called incorporating carbon sinks into
the total emissions calculus a political non-starter, despite the
country's vast forests and green spaces. But without factoring those in,
the economic impact of Kyoto will be devastating to the Kiwis. An
economic assessment produced by the New Zealand's Institute of Economic
Research in December found that, in 15 years, New Zealand's GDP would be
18% lower than it would have been without the Kyoto emission cuts. This
new report also cautioned that "New Zealand should be extremely cautious
about enforcing any emission abatement on its domestic economy in the
absence of a global regime."

According to the latest global emissions report from the United Nation's
Environmental Programme, 21 out of 35 industrialized countries will not
reach their Kyoto targets if no drastic measures to cut emissions are
taken. To date, the average cut for the those 35 industrialized nations
will have to be about 14% from current levels during the deadline of
Kyoto Protocol, 2008-2012.

Moreover, the U.S. would have to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by
about 25% from present-day values. Similarly, Canada would have to cut
20%, Australia by 16%, Japan and Norway both by 21%.

Under this new world order of international climate diplomacy, powerful
emitters like China -- which will be out-emitting the United States in a
few years -- and India are exempt from the current responsibility of
emission cuts. Meanwhile, Russia is ramping up its petroleum recovery,
possibly doubling it to 12 million barrels per day, while it ranks third
in carbon dioxide emissions. Yet Kyoto requires that Russia need not cut
below its 1990 emission levels. The impact of the protocol's
sophisticated equation of country-by-country limitations and
permissiveness in emissions means that the air's concentration of carbon
dioxide will not meaningfully change. In other words, the claimed
climate catastrophes - unfounded by the most reliable scientific
evidence - remain unaddressed by the protocol's complexities.

It has taken several years of research and debate, but as a more
complete picture of the costs of Kyoto emerges, government officials
around the globe are wrestling with the consequences and are having
second thoughts. That's understandable. And it's a welcome development
for the new year.

Copyright 2002, Tech Central Station

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