Wednesday, February 16

The Day of the Useless Treaty

Today is the day the Kyoto Treaty goes into effect.

Or, to be totally accurate -- this is the day the rest of the world goes under the knife of political hackism and pseudo-science. Now don't misunderstand, there is such a thing as global warming. It's been happening (although not consistently) since the end of the last ice age. If the premise of the Kyoto Treaty is correct, dinosaurs must have run on heavy-emission fuels.

And the earth needs a good house cleaning, too. Rivers polluted by industry, air quality in all our major cities and most of our minor ones destroyed by our narcissistic need for poison-emitting vehicles, roadsides, parks and seashores strewn with trash. We are a nasty species; we need to learn to clean up after ourselves.

But not because of hysterical politicians and poor science. Truth would do just fine, thank you.

The Kyoto Treaty is more of the somewhat questionable
work of the United Nations.
The Kyoto Protocol is an amendment to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), an international treaty on global warming. It also reaffirms sections of the UNFCCC. Countries which ratify this protocol commit to reduce their emissions of carbon dioxide and five other greenhouse gases, or engage in emissions trading if they maintain or increase emissions of these gases, which have been linked to global warming.
If the Kyoto Protocol is fully implemented and successful, it is predicted to reduce the average global temperature by, given the widest range of estimates, between 0.02 degrees C and 0.28 degrees C by the year 2050.

That's all very well and good, except that the science referred to there is politically biased and irresponsible.

An example of the futility of this approach can be seen in the mathematics of the 1990s IPCC-recommended lowering of the US "contributed share"' of atmospheric CO2 by reducing its emissions to 30% below the 1990 levels. Given that the global atmosphere contains about 5% CO2, and the US is considered as having contributed about 20% of that amount, a 30% reduction would amount to a grand total of three tenths of one percent, a miniscule, totally meaningless reduction that would be accompanied by extreme dislocation of our domestic economy. And all the while Mount Erebus in the Antaractic would continue spouting tons of CO2, along with China, India and other large populations exempt from the Kyoto requirements.

The scientists of the Science & Environmental Policy Project -- and others -- don't agree. Dr. Fred Singer of SEPP has testified before The Senate Committee on Commerce, Transportation and Science, saying:
The post-1980 global warming trend from surface thermometers is not credible. The absence of such warming would do away with the widely touted "hockey stick" graph (with its "unusual" temperature rise in the past 100 years) [see figure]; it was shown here on May 17 as purported proof that the 20th century is the warmest in 1000 years...regional forecasts from climate models are beyond the state of the art and are even less reliable than those for the global average. Since the NACC scenarios are based on such forecasts, the NACC projections are not credible.
. . . Currently available scientific evidence does not support any of the results of the NACC, which should therefore be viewed merely as a "what if" exercise, similar to the one conducted by the Office of Technology Assessment in 1993 [5]. Such exercises deserve only a modest amount of effort and money; one should not shortchange the serious research required for atmospheric and ocean observations, and for developing better climate models.

The NACC should definitely NOT be used to justify irrational and unscientific energy and environmental policies, including the economically damaging Kyoto Protocol. These policy recommendations are especially appropriate during the coming presidential campaigns and debates.

Fortunately for American workers, President Bush has been listening to real science rather than the politically correct pseudo-science. He is also conscious of the pollution problems of the nation and is willing to work toward control.

"We'll be working with our allies to reduce greenhouse gases," (President)Bush told reporters ahead of (a recent) meeting with German Chancellor Hermann Schroeder. "But I will not accept a plan that will harm our economy and hurt American workers."

The gobal-warming-by-emissions myth was perpetuated by the Clinton administration, who didn't bother to send scientists to Kyoto, but sent Al Gore (who made huge political hay out by promoting environmental hysteria) instead. Meanwhile, back in the halls of science, caution was being urged.

However, at the same time, serious cientists were talking about the benefits of global warming. In National Policy Analysis #165 "Cure to Global Warming Could Be Worse Than the Disease," David Ridenour writes,
While the scientific community is divided over many aspects of the global warming theory, the effect of global warming on precipitation levels is not one of them: Global warming would mean more condensation and more evaporation, producing more and/or heavier rains. Global warming, therefore, could offer the answer to the water scarcity problem that the Worldwatch Institute has been seeking.

If history is any indication, greater precipitation may be only one of many benefits of global warming. For example, between the 10th and 12th Centuries, when the temperature of the planet was roughly 0.5 degrees Celsius warmer than it is today, agriculture in North America and Europe flourished and the southern regions of Greenland were free of ice, allowing cultivation by Norse settlers. Evidence of this was found in 1993 when scientists from the National Science Foundation-sponsored Greenland Ice Sheet Project II extracted an ice core from Greenland's ice sheet that spanned more than 100,000 years of climate history. Samplings from the core suggest that a Little Ice Age began between 1400 and 1420, blanketing the Vikings' farms in ice and forcing them to abandon their farms in search of more hospitable climates. Prior to the onset of this Little Ice Age, temperatures were comparable to the temperatures general circulation models used by the U.N.-sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change ((IPCC) have projected for 2030-2050. Yet, the world's leaders stand poised to take dramatic steps to curb the risks of this kind of climate change.

Global warming could also mean greater agricultural productivity and greater water conservation. CO2 acts as a fertilizer on plant life while reducing plant transpiration (the passage of water from the roots through the plant's vascular system to the atmosphere). Thus, with global warming, agricultural output could be expected to increase while making less demands on the water supply.

And there's more...much, much more.

Stay tuned for more posts on the subject.

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