CHURCHVILLE, VA—The ten coldest winter-spring temperatures out of the last 500 in Stockholm, Sweden, were almost all during the Little Ice Age. No surprise there. The coldest was 1569, followed by 1573. The warmest years: 1863, 1990, 1743, 1525, 1989, 1605, 1822, 1790, 1762, and 2008, in that order. The years since 1976, supposedly with “unprecedented warming,” claim only three slots among the top ten. Apparently, the Modern Warming isn’t all that hot. Nor do we have any temperature readings from the earlier Medieval and Roman Warmings, which the ice cores and seabed sediments tell us were even warmer than today. [...]
CHURCHVILLE, VA—We’re into the second wave of anguish about the 1600 people made ill by salmonella-contaminated eggs, which caused the recall of a billion fresh eggs. “We’re not in favor of government takeovers, but in the case of the egg producers who poisoned as many as 1,600 people with salmonella, we’ll advocate that,” said the Frederick (MD) News-Post on Oct 1st. “No one died, but the symptoms for some continue today—diarrhea, sickness, fever, not to mention the weeks of medical care needed by some victims, and the impact on other more conscientious egg producers in terms of lost sales. . . [...]
CHURCHVILLE, VA—On the 10th birthday of the UN’s Millennium Development Goals, officials are lamenting that the world has made little progress in meeting them. No one should be surprised. Now, Olav Kjorven, the UN’s Assistant Secretary General, is proposing new goals for “The World’s Richest Billion People.” (Read: everyone in the First World.) Should these new goals fare any better?Kjorven’s Goal #1 is “Cut greenhouse emissions by 50 percent.” He says this is clearly within reach if there’s the “political will.” Economic death-wish would be a better term. He and the UN want us to give up 85 percent of our [...]
CHURCHVILLE, VA—When will the public turn its back on the ill-founded “concerns” of the Green movement that misinformed us about DDT, salmon extinction, deformed frogs, man-made global warming, and a host of other fake “calamities”? When will we support more high-yield farming research to meet redoubled world food needs in 2050? Especially since the alternative would be to plow down more wild species’ habitat to plant additional low-yield crops. Researchers at the University of Adelaide just announced a new gene modification that tells rice plants to store salt in their roots. That prevents the salt getting to the plants’ shoots, where [...]
Churchville, VA—The death toll from recent “extreme weather events” has been sharply declining since the 1920s, as my valued colleague Indur Goklany has valorously pointed out. Air conditioning, flood control, earthquake proofing and better weather forecasting have all helped. Despite vast media coverage, extreme weather now causes only a half-percent of global deaths. A large part of the gains came through crop production increases using fossil-fueled industrial fertilizers and irrigation pumps. This meant the world had fossil-fueled food to share with countries suddenly caught by devastating (but short- term) drought or flood. But Indur neglected one aspect of extreme weather events—the [...]
The Obama administration seems deeply committed to policies that can’t work. One of the most glaring dead end policies is the Chesapeake Bay project. Over the past 30 years, we’ve spent billions of federal dollars trying to reduce the nitrogen and other nutrients that get into the Bay, with absolutely no impact on the murky water. The Obama strategy is to double down ...
Churchville, VA—Does the modern warming doom the western U.S. to drought? Two climate experts have just noted that the region now has “the worst drought since measurements began,” and they predict a future of soaring temperatures and declining snow-packs. “The climate changes in western North America, particularly in the Southwest, have outstripped change elsewhere on the continent, save perhaps in the Arctic,” say Jonathon Overpeck of the University of Arizona, and Bradley Udall, of the University of Colorado. “In the past decade, many locations, notably in the headwaters region of the Colorado River, have been more than 1 degree C warmer [...]
In the 1980s, poor rice farmers in Asia and Latin America began digging out shrimp ponds to meet the soaring world demand for seafood. The environmental movement was, perhaps justifiably, aghast. The shrimp farmers had cut down lots of mangrove trees to make room for the ponds. Also, the effluent from the shrimp ponds was substantial, though we have to remember the ocean’s ability to dilute and disarm pollution quickly. Nonetheless, Greenpeace declared, “Shrimp farming has been a relentless destroyer of huge expanses of tropical coastline.”The Global Citizen talked of “super-dense populations of shrimp . . . treated with antibiotics . [...]
I can’t help but praise Michael Specter’s new book: Denialism: How Irrational Thinking Hinders Scientific Progress, Harms the Planet, and Threatens Our Lives. Specter warns that we live in a world where the leaders of African nations prefer to let their citizens starve to death rather than import genetically-modified food grains. Childhood vaccines have proven to be the most effective public health measure in history, yet people march on Washington to protest their use. Fifty years ago pharmaceutical companies were regarded as vital supports for our good health and lengthening life spans; now they are seen as callous corporate enemies of health and the environment.
The sun is currently producing fewer sunspots than it has in more than a century. Florida State researchers tell us this may predict bad U.S. hurricane seasons. They say that when the sunspot numbers peak, within the (roughly) 11-year sunspot cycle, the U.S. has less than a 25 percent chance of being hit with a hurricane. The odds of a hurricane rise to 64 percent in the lowest-sunspot years. Even more important, the probability of three or more hurricanes hitting the U.S. in a season increases dramatically during low-sunspot periods. Years with few sunspots and relatively high ocean temperatures are less [...]
“Global warming is over—at least for a few decades,” geologist Don Easterbrook, professor emeritus from Western Washington University told the Heartland Institute’s Fourth International Conference on Climate Change on May 19. He warned, however, us not to rejoice. Colder winters kill twice as many people as hot weather while crop production suffers from shorter growing seasons and weather-disrupted harvests. Dan Miller, climate expert with the Roda Group and ardent believer in Anthropogenic Global Warming, responded to Easterbrook at Fox News: “It’s absurd to talk about global cooling when global heating is with us and accelerating.” But Miller is referring to [...]
The newly published President’s Cancer Report puts this quote in bold type: “I believe it is time for a new human experiment. The old experiment is that we have sprayed pesticides which are inherent poisons . . . throughout our shared environment. They’re in our amniotic fluid . . .They’re in our mothers’ milk. What is the burden of cancer that we can attribute to these poisons in our agricultural system? We won’t really know the answer until we do the other experiment, which is to take the poisons out of our food chain, embrace a different kind of agriculture, [...]
Biologists are again predicting massive species losses as the world warms. But where are the corpses? There have been few findings of extinctions among continental bird and mammal species over the past 500 years. The species extinctions have been virtually all on islands, as humans have brought such alien predators as rats, cats, and Canadian thistles to places where they had no natural enemies. A new study shows that flying squirrels have been adapting to recent warming since the 1990s by both moving and hybridizing. C.J. Garroway and his research team trapped more than 1600 of the flying squirrels in Ontario [...]
CHURCHVILLE, VA—Trees in the U.S. are growing 2–4 times as fast as their long-term norm. The Smithsonian Environmental Research Center at Edgewood MD says it is because of global warming, according to a recent press release. Don’t bet on that.Smithsonian researchers measured a series of forest plots at different stages of growth from 5 to 225 years of age. They found that more than 90 percent of the trees grew 2-4 times faster over the past 20 years than predicted from baseline growth rates.Helpfully, lead author Geoffrey Parker tells us that there are three main possibilities why the trees might be [...]
Energy Secretary Stephen Chu recently spoke on global warming to the scientists at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory—and told them we don’t understand it. “We don’t understand the downward trend that occurred in 1900 or in 1940. We don’t fully understand the plateau that’s happened in the last decade,” he concluded. Our Nobel-winning Energy Secretary is bravely soldiering forth to spend umpteen-trillion dollars of the public’s money to forestall a global warming he doesn’t understand? That’s impressive honesty, especially as the vote on Obama’s proposed hefty energy taxes is coming before the Senate and he will have to support it. Real [...]