Einar Du Rietz

Author Archives

  • Sunny News?

    by Einar Du Rietz One of the major news of the week has, strangely, been that we are subject to a solar storm. Beautiful to watch the following weather phenomena, but not dangerous, as it’s not strong enough to penetrate the atmosphere. Good so, but an enlightening reminder that the planet’s best friend – and […]

  • You Win Again

    by Einar Du Rietz The most famous bet in the environmental debate is probably the one between the Late Julian Simon and alarmist Paul Erlich in 1980, over predicted shortage in natural resources. As much as the story still amuses me, it also serves as a constant reminder of the optimism we all deserve more of. […]

  • What Good Is Experience If You Learn Nothing

    by Einar Du Rietz Denmark, taking over the rotating EU presidency has outlined its priorities for the next half year. Not surprising, really, but still awkward. Reports Euractiv: “Environment Minister Ida Auken called for making energy efficiency legally binding, dismissing concerns that weak economies and the eurozone debt crisis would trump the environment in EU policy […]

  • Happy New Constructive Year

    Dear Friends of CFACT Europe,

    thank you for following us. The attention around both our site and other activities has indeed grown over the past years. The only regret is that there has not been time to answer all comments properly. Let me take the opportunity however, to compliment on the Durban Poem, submitted by one of our friends.

    At the same time, it’s worth noticing that the hysteria in the climate debate has decreased simultaneusly. Remember December of Copenhagen. What remains now is basically the fancy, regular meetings and the fuzz over quite too much tax money for the delegates to play with.

    But environmental – and political – problems remain. Pollution, starvation and misery prevail, wherever common decency and private property is replaced by reshuffling of tax money, expropriation and hasty legislation.

    CFACT Europe remains devoted to sound science and decency, not only in the climate debate. During the year, we have been represented at joyful events, such as the Annual Liberty Ball in Brussels, and more solemn occasions such as the the funeral of the late Dr Otto von Habsburg, in Vienna.

  • Let’s Just Enjoy

    by Einar Du Rietz Sidewalks are slippery, with the newly arrived and thus unusual European winter. Traffic is as bad as every year and people are frantic to make last minute purchases. Then comes another old tradition, with a new name. It used to be some mumbo jumbo about not exploiting something, now the young […]

  • Have Some Fun In Durban EU

    by Einar Du Rietz Wiser from the Copenhagen hysteria, all sides – except President Zuma, who is forced to show some enthusiasm, and in a way The Holy Father, who wants a “credible” outcome (nothing wrong with credibility) – seem to agree that COP17 in Durban wont accomplish anything. As for me, I’m content with that, but […]

  • Friendly Smokers Hit back

    by Einar Du Rietz

    Hey Lady! Got a Light?

    Don’t you agree? On the anti smoking issue, that is. On the one hand, people in general are just giving up, resigning in the face of oppression and harassment. On the other, some – maybe an increasing amount of people – are beginning to feel that enough is enough. Some even dare to say so in public.

    Let me be one of them, enouraged by a – today non smoking – brother in arms.

    Dr Sean Gabb of the Libertarian Alliance has made a bold effort to reintroduce science into the debate, otherwise carried out either by uninformed legislators or the, often just as uninformed, public.

    The passive smoking, or as it is sometimes referred to, Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS), roughly took off about 30 years ago with a widely quoted EPA report in the US, quickly dismissed as nonsense by a subsequent analysis from the Congressional Research Center, not gaining much attention. Legislators followed. Air traffic came first, then public buildings, airports, trains, restaurants, now even pubs, and the hyenas are out sniffing for balconies, peoples homes, and now even their cars. Oh, yes, forgot the outdoor cafes, already banning smoking in some places, and probably the top thing next European summer. Sure, there has been a load of more or less scientific attempts since then.

    Writes Gabb:

    “The argument from “passive smoking” is based on falsehoods. There is no way of gathering meaningful data, nor even sound epidemiological evidence that passive smoking exists. The alleged figure of 300,000 children harmed every year in the UK by passive smoking is what is called a “junk statistic.” It is in the same league as the claims made in the 1980s about the number of people who would die of aids by 1990, or the claims made in the 1990s about the numbers who would soon be dead from mad cow disease. It is almost as gross a falsehood as the fraudulent global warming claims made by British scientists.”

  • Innovation Saves The World It Makes Go Round

    by Einar Du Rietz

    Driver Still Behind the Wheel

    I love a sunny story and the most recent one I stumbled upon, cherished in the environmental movement, is a recent innovation – still under development – of a new method to turn toxic textile.factory effluent into clean water.

    Go for it, Maria Jonstrup!

    One of the most disturbing ingredients of the environmental debate, is the tendency to find a conflict between a decent environment and scientific and industrial innovations. While some, and indeed Dr Jonstrup’s, are admittedly labelled Green, others are seen as the enemy. What’s really the historical perspective, if we agree that environment means the living conditions for humans?

    To make a travesty of Howard Roark’s court speech in The Fountainhead: Once upon a time, one man found out how to tame fire. He was probably burned at the stake by the local environmental organization.

  • No Honey

    by Einar Du Rietz

    “Honey has always been considered an entirely pure product for the purposes of food labelling laws. But Europe’s highest court has now decreed that pollen is an ingredient of honey rather than an intrinsic, natural component.”

    writes the Telegraph

    watch?v=qeGtaSWzFRA for more honey.

    It just so happens that I’m quite allergic. Not as severe as some younger friends, as the hassle tends to diminish with age, but still enough to remain careful. The so called allergy family (all allergies belong to groups, for example sea food, which I have no problems with) is nuts. Along with this comes mould – also penicillin in it’s original form – almonds and certain fruits and berries. And pets. The only thing really lethal is normally nuts. A younger friend never enters a Thai restaurant or leave her home without cortisone in her pocket. I’ve outgrown pet allergy, and can try different kinds of food, but I will never in my life test one singe nut again. It’s really not worth it.

    Sometimes, however, I get the feeling that the worst threat, at least to my mental well-being, is not the sneezing during springtime, but busy body government. When chocolate bars simply had to list ingredients – and you also could find some safe brands – it was easy to pick something suitable. Since some years back, manufacturers are required to point out that virtually every product “may contain traces of nuts”. My younger friend naturally does not even look at candy, but for me, it would be nice to be able to make an informed choice. “May contain” means that the product is manufactured in an environment where other products, containing nuts, have been produced.

    And now they are out to hit on the honey. The European Court that is, eager to put another burden on a struggling line of business.

  • Crowded? Not really

    by Einar Du Rietz

    Just found out that (according to BBC):

    “When you were born, you were the:3,453,632,094th person alive on Earth and 77,442,249,607thperson to have lived since history began”

    Go on, take the test. Don’t know what it’s really good for, but it’s a bit of fun, at least if you are easily amused. And please help me figure out how the exact numbers were calculated.

    It’s apparently the magic in the numbers that now has awaken the Neo Malthusians, as we are supposed to reach seven billion any day now (Monday, according to the UN). Why not 6, 123 or 7,456? No, it’s the magic number. Over population is the scare of the day.

    Well, walk outside and check if it’s really that crowded. Every time this scare appears, the doomsayers ignore some basic observations.

  • Just Politics as Usual

    by Einar Du Rietz

    All the players are gearing up for the Durban festivities in a month. Though only accounting for about 11 percent of the worlds carbon emissions, the European Union, not surprisingly wants to play a major role.

    Euractiv gives an update:

    “Environment ministers of the European Union – responsible for only 11% of global carbon emissions – said they would commit to a new phase of the Kyoto climate change pact, on the condition that nations blamed for the rest join up too.

    The environment council conclusions, agreed in Luxembourg on 10 October, outline the bloc’s negotiating position ahead of the next global climate conference in Durban, South Africa, which starts at the end of November.

    However.

  • The Continent Isolated

    by Einar Du Rietz Climate predictions, weather forcasts and a decent overcoat is what makes the world go round. Here comes the new ice age. Writes the Daily Express: “BRITAIN is set to suffer a mini ice age that could last for decades and bring with it a series of bitterly cold winters. And it […]

  • No More Butter on the Fish

    by Einar Du Rietz Yesterday, I watched that widely acclaimed movie by Nora Ephron about Julia Childs and her later follower. Marvelous. And somehow, all about butter. I seldom use butter, as I prefere olive oil, but for certain dishes it’s the best option. All sorts of fish, for example. How interesting then that there is […]

  • Immobility Week

    by Einar Du Rietz The Mobility Week is on again. The sort of expansion of the Green Week/In Town Without my Car Week, sponsored by the EU and participating cities, in other words tax money to make life harder for people. This has been a yearly event for ten years now, making lives more difficult. I […]

  • The New Antidote – Garlic

    by Einar Du Rietz That it was fairly good for preventing colds I knew, but now apparently garlic is the way to prevent global warming. Reports euractiv: “Reducing farm animals’ wind by adding garlic to feed could substantially reduce greenhouse emissions, according to research by West Wales’ scientists featured by Euronews. An organosulphur compound obtained […]

  • Don’t Overdo It

    by Einar Du Rietz

    Photo: http://www.freeimages.co.uk/

    Last time I had to visit the hospital, the first thing I noticed, apart from the hilarious waiting line, was the rather outdated, but proudly displayed ISO14001 certification. This seemed to be the great pride of the place and apparently, the certification had nothing to do with the – just reported in media – lack of proper daily cleaning for the past five years, all the nurses quitting because they could not stand the working environment, some doctors who never should have been admitted to medical school, a new – thus crashed – medical record system, numerous – sometimes fatal – cases of maltreatment, and an epidemic flu spreading in some departments. The facility is considered one of the top university hospitals in Europe, and – rightly – renowned for it’s infant and cancer care, but the rest was in real crisis. Don’t know how they established their EMS, or was it a matter of cutting down on cutlery for the food no one dared to touch.

    Guess most patients would have been more comforted by a certificate for quality.

  • Cause and Effect – and Positive Signs

    by Einar Du Rietz

    Not yet a Tornado

    Please tell me that we are beginning to see signs that otherwise alarmist journalists are beginning to both listen to science and to make the distinction between cause and effect. Even the crusader Susanna Baltscheffsky manages to write an interesting article (in Google translation) on weather phenomena. She points to why Tornadoes are more powerful in the US, than in Europe, because of geographic factors, and even acknowledges that solar activity is a major force in our sometimes irregular climate and weather. Some commentators still point out that she babbles a bit over CO2, but I’m more positive. Honor as due.

    Because as all media outlets constantly need to comment on the climate debate, in most of the cases – everywhere – the reports are sloppy and filled with standard assertions, presented as facts. That Global Warming is increasing (on the contrary, if you look at current statistics). That the sole force behind this is human activity (simply a myth, as you probably know), that extreme weather has increased enormously (it has not, rather tornadoes, tsunamis and more tend to be cyclical and dependent on the geography), all polar bears are dying (the population has increased) and that we are running of oil (supplies are likely to increase if only people are alloud to drill for it, even if some middle east dictator decides to set fire to the fields in his country).

  • If it Aint Broken – Don’t Fix it

    by Einar Du Rietz

    A screwdriver often comes in handy. But not as a soup ingredient. Black pepper is essential in any cooking. But don’t try repairing your bike with it.

    Calculation of GDP is, not only among laymen like myself, but also among skilled economists, regarded as a tricky tool indeed. Still, it’ very useful, also for the general public, in trying to grasp all sorts of economic facts and development.

    Since the mid 90’s, scientists, but predominantly politicians, have been playing with the concept of a Green GDP, expanding the data to include environmental costs. This process is now gaining speed, e.g., in the World Bank.

    This is a questionable path. Even as, naturally, growth and hardship can be linked to environmental factors, it’s not the same thing as to say that environmental factors should be regarded as exclusive data in their own right. Further, changing the calculation methods is difficult for several reasons. You need an international consensus, otherwise comparisons will be meaningless. GDP figures are used to calculate changes over time. If you mess with it, you will have to – somehow – compensate against historical figures.

  • The Next Generation

    by Einar Du Rietz

    In one of the – I admit funny – Naked Gun movies, the plot (if you could call it that) is the conflict between the good alternative energy guys and a peculiar conspiracy consisting of the guys in oil, coal and nuclear energy. Regardless of the stupidity in the entire plot, I remember being quite intrigued by finding nuclear on that side of the fence. Normally, nuclear power has been considered “alternative”, for those who despise fossil fuels, or don’t have access to rivers to exploit.

    There has, however, been quite a lot of water under the bridges since the technology was taken into use. The following debate, first enthusiastic, the increasingly sceptical, has also changed. First into a leveling out, then into plain hysteria following the tragic accident in Japan, prompting the German government to take the hasty decision to discontinue all nuclear power generation.

  • Do You Still Recall Your Last Summer

    by Einar Du Rietz

    Soon Enough

    Reading weather forecasts this season has been like reading horoscopes in tabloids; you can be certain that it will be the reverse.

    The only time so far, when the prediction really was correct was when CFACT Europe President Holger Thuss and I visited the Imperial Funeral in Vienna. The papers said it should be 30 plus Celsius. It was. The event became memorable in more than one way, considering the funeral attires we were wearing.

    Now, in the high season, apart from the obvious focus on the tragedy in Norway and the US economy, the occasional, but usual comment surfaces in the media, pointing out that it’s – aha – global warming.

    Meteorology is apparently not a science to be trusted for what to wear tomorrow, and we all know that. But for the general discussion, this also shows that the long term historic perspective is essential if we want to grasp the climate change debate.