Friday, May 18, 2007

Bipartisan WRDA Package Authorizes Vital Water Projects For America

May 16, 2007

Senator Inhofe, along with Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, Senator Max Baucus (D-MT), Chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee and Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Ranking Member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee,  thanked their colleagues on Wednesday for their bipartisan support for the Water Resources Development Act of 2007.  The bill, which passed the Senate today by a vote of 91 to 4, will authorize America’s essential flood control, navigation, and ecosystem restoration projects in a way that is fiscally responsible and technically sound.  The bill authorizes nearly $2 billion for wetlands restoration and flood control projects to put Louisiana on the path to Category V storm protection, and authorizes dozens of other critical water projects nationwide. The passage of a WRDA bill is a top priority for the EPW Committee.

Senator Boxer: “This bill meets our communities’ and our nation’s acute and unmet water infrastructure needs and it does it in a fiscally responsible way.  One of the lessons of Hurricane Katrina is that we ignore our water infrastructure needs at our nation’s peril.  This bill makes a substantial commitment to protecting Louisiana’s coasts and communities.  Some of the communities this bill will protect have waited seven years or more for these projects.  This bill will end that wait, but it will also ensure that we avoid the mistakes of the past by making sure future projects receive the serious analysis and careful implementation they deserve.  The Water Resources Development Act and the projects, policies, and programs it authorizes are essential components of keeping our economy growing.  From trade to transportation, disaster prevention to rural recreation, this bill helps America compete in the world and stay strong and safe at home.”

Senator Inhofe: “In passing WRDA today, the Senate took a significant step forward in improving our nation's water resource needs. The WRDA bill passed by the Senate meets many of the most critical water resource needs facing our nation today. For example, the WRDA bill improves navigation and increases capacity and efficiency of the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers, provides measure to increase hurricane and storm damage protection through wetlands preservation and restoration, and creates an inventory of the nation’s levees with assessments of high risk levees in order to protect people and property.  I am pleased to work with my colleagues on the Committee to get this legislation passed. As the Ranking Member, I will continue to work with my EPW colleagues to expedite this bill back to conference with the House and to the President as soon as possible.”

Senator Baucus: “Today is a great day for our country. From creating jobs on Main streets, to ensuring our nation’s food supply, to protecting us from catastrophes, the WRDA bill is absolutely vital for not only for my state of Montana, but for our entire nation.”

Senator Isakson: “The passage of this bi-partisan, fiscally responsible bill is a tremendous step for our nation. It is an investment in safe drinking water. It is an investment in stormwater management. It is an investment in flood control and water resources of the United States of America.  I commend Chairman Boxer and Ranking Member Inhofe for their tireless efforts in completing this long overdue step forward in the investment to protect our water resources, enhance our environmental restoration and spur economic development.”

The bill that passed the Senate today will:                                                                                                

  • Put Louisiana’s coast on the path to Category 5 storm protection, by authorizing approximately $1 billion for projects to restore Louisiana’s wetlands, including projects that are ready to begin by 2010, and by authorizing the Army Corps of Engineers to spend at least an additional $911 million for structural measures to restore 100-year-level protection for New Orleans and vicinity.  It specifically includes the closure and rehabilitation of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet.  It also requires the Corps to complete its studies and requires swift action on storm protection measures. 

  • Creates a National Levee Safety Program, improves flood protection for Sacramento, California, and dozens of other communities across the country, and modernizes locks and dams on the upper Mississippi River.  

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Inhofe Introduces Small Water Systems Technical Assistance Bill

May 18, 2007

Last night, Thursday, May 17, 2007, Senator Inhofe introduced the Small Water Systems Technical Assistance Bill that would reauthorize the technical assistance provision of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) which expired in 2003.  Senator Jonny Isakson (R-GA), Ranking Member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee, and EPW committee members Larry Craig (R-ID), Craig Thomas (R-WY), John Warner (R-VA), joined in co-sponsoring the bill.

“Small water systems in Oklahoma and across the nation are struggling to comply with several Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) drinking water rules because of unfunded mandates imposed by the federal government,” Senator Inhofe said. “My bill is a small but important bill that simply reauthorizes the technical assistance provision of the Safe Drinking Water Act which expired in 2003. Doing so will provide much needed assistance to community water systems across the country that face several very technical and difficult federal drinking water regulations.”

“As acknowledged by Congress when it enacted the SDWA in 1996, small systems need extra help complying with federal regulations.  The nation’s small water systems provide water to nearly 26 million citizens. Congress owes it to those citizens to ensure they receive safe, reliable and affordable drinking water.  Providing adequate assistance to small water systems is a critical part of this effort.”

In Oklahoma there are only 25 water systems in the entire state serve more than 10,000 people.  The state has a total of 1,717 public water systems, of which there are 1,463 systems that serve less than 3,300 people.  Nationally, of the 52,800 community water systems, 44,000 serve less than 3300 people and an additional 4,700 serve less than 10,000 people.   


Inhofe Statement on Kerry's Climate Amendment to WRDA

Tuesday, May 15, 2007
On Tuesday, Senator Inhofe commented on the failed Floor vote on Senator John Kerry’s (D-Mass.) climate amendment #1094 to Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) which would consider the impact of climate change in designing water resources projects. The amenmdent failed 51-42.

"Today’s vote was even more meaningless than Senator Bingaman’s Sense of the Senate vote in 2005 which was supported 53-44. Today’s amendment was nothing more than a free vote to make a political statement that ‘I care’ without having to vote on something substantive that will have any effect. It was a vote for an amendment that was clearly not going to pass and would not have granted the Army Corps of Engineers any additional authorities that is does not already possess," Senator Inhofe said.

Background on Army Corp’s existing authority:

John Woodley, Jr., the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works) testified before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on May 11, 2007 that the Army Corp of Engineers "has the capacity and necessary authorities to comprehensively examine the uncertainties, threats and vulnerabilities on water infrastructure and to implement the necessary adjustments as part of a proactive adaptive management program."

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Opening Statement: Hearing on the State of Mercury Regulation, Science, and Technology

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for holding this subcommittee hearing on mercury perspectives, science and technology. I must say it is a pleasure to attend a hearing on something other than global warming. The issue of clean air is an important one, and is an issue this Committee should be focused on.

There is much work to be done. For instance, there are still some areas that are out of compliance with particulate matter standards and in serious nonattainment with ozone standards. I recommend this Subcommittee examine what can be done to bring these highly polluted areas into compliance with existing law.

But we cannot let the failures of these few counties distract us from the enormous progress we have made in cleaning up pollution in this country. Since 1970, we have had tremendous economic growth, and tripled our energy use and vehicle miles traveled. Despite this, instead of tripling our pollution or doubling or even holding it constant, we have cut our pollution levels by more than half. This is a success story that – hard as it is to believe – few people even realize is true.

This gets to the heart of my greatest concern over the mercury debate. Few understand it, and some have preyed upon that lack of understanding. We are literally scaring ourselves to death over mercury. A few years ago, when EPA and the FDA issued a joint advisory on mercury and environmentalists turned up their alarmist rhetoric, tuna consumption plummeted. People became afraid to eat fish because they believed it was bad for them.

Let’s be clear: all seafood has some level of mercury – always has and always will. It is an element, pervasive in the environment and bioaccumulative. The question is not whether mercury causes birth defects and even kills in high doses – it does. The question is whether it’s harmful in extremely low quantities. According to the biggest, best designed and longest running study ever done, the answer is a resounding “NO.” 

What most people do not realize is that is that the dose makes the poison. Fish is brain food. A diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids reduces colon and lung cancers and numerous other ailments, and aids brain development in the womb. The Seychelles Islands study found that, even though their seafood-rich diet meant they consumed more mercury than Americans, eating the seafood was beneficial. Let me repeat: by discouraging people from eating fish, we are literally scaring them to death.

That isn’t to say we shouldn’t make progress in bringing down mercury levels. We should and we are. But we need to put the issue in perspective.

Like other pollutants, mercury levels have also come down dramatically. Numerous industries that used to emit high levels of mercury, such as the municipal waste incinerators, have been controlled. The power sector industry is merely the latest industry to be regulated. And the regulations are significant – the Clean Air Mercury Rule will reduce power plant mercury emissions by 70 percent. And because the rule acts in coordination with the Clean Air Implementation Rule – which reduces SO2, NOx, and particulate matter – it can be done for $2 billion.

While there are many promising technologies on the horizon, some of which we will hear about today, no technology exists for which vendors will guarantee 90 percent mercury reductions, and some of these technologies are not appropriate for plants that are already controlled. According to the Energy Information Administration, setting a 90% reduction mandate on mercury over three years would cost up to $358 billion. That’s right – cutting 70% will cost $2 billion, but incrementally increasing that amount to beyond what the technologies can reliably do would cost up to $358 billion.

Mr. Chairman, we all agree that reducing pollution levels in this country is important and that more can be done. But we cannot let political preferences let us lose sight of the fact that diverting enormous economic resources to this comparatively smaller problem away from the important mission of bringing ozone and soot levels into compliance with existing law is wrong-headed. And we cannot lose sight of the fact that this scaremongering is doing more harm to the health of our citizens than the very small incremental reductions that tightening the mercury standard further would achieve.

Thank you.


Opening Statement: Hearing on "Green Buildings: Benefits to Health, the Environment, and the Bottom Line"

May 15, 2007
Thank you, Madam Chairman.  I appreciate you holding this hearing today to discuss some of the issues relating to green buildings. 
Today we will hear from our panel of five green building experts about some of the benefits that can be realized through following the principles of so-called “green building.”  Two of the goals of green building that are of particular merit are increased energy efficiency and improved water management.
Increased energy efficiency – along with developing new domestic sources of energy and ensuring a diverse energy supply – is a key component of improving our nation’s energy security.  Just a few weeks ago, Madam Chairman, we unanimously passed a bill out of this committee – the Public Buildings Cost Reduction Act – that is a sensible, effective step toward improving energy efficiency in public buildings at both the Federal and local levels. 
Effective use of green building design can also be used by communities across the country struggling to comply with the federal stormwater management program.  These communities within metropolitan districts must take measures to reduce rainwater from coming into contact with pollutants.  Green roofs filter, absorb and detain rainwater, reducing the amount being discharged into the municipal stormwater system and thus reducing the burden on the local community.
I look forward to hearing more about these topics from our witnesses today. 
I am also interested, Madam Chairman, in learning more about some of the concerns with current green building practices and what we can do to address those concerns in any legislation we may consider in this committee.
One concern I have heard expressed repeatedly by a number of groups and industries is that of establishing a mandate or endorsement for any one particular green building rating system.  To date, numerous state and local governments have put in place various mandatory measures that call for the adoption of LEED standards and there is legislation before this committee that specifically refers to LEED.  The LEED system, however, was intended to be a voluntary program; additionally, there are other green buildings rating systems on the market.  Promoting one system over others in legislation essentially amounts to brand endorsement by law.
At this point, I would like to submit for the record letters from the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and the North American Coalition on Green Building stating their concern with referencing only the LEED system in green building legislation.
I am pleased to welcome Mr. Ray Tonjes from the National Association of Home Builders today.  I look forward to hearing your perspective on this matter, in addition to learning about your involvement in green building programs.  I also look forward to hearing from Mr. Ward Hubbell, president of the Green Building Initiative, about the Green Globes rating system and what your organization is doing.
We should pursue the goals of energy and resource conservation.  During our consideration of green building legislation, however, we need to bear certain questions in mind. 
It’s my understanding that buildings built “green” don’t always perform as intended – what research still needs to be done on the actual benefits of green buildings?  What standards and benchmarks are currently being used for various aspects of building design and certification?  What mandates might we be creating, and what would be the consequences of those mandates?  While many of the goals of green building are worthwhile, I am concerned about the possibility of legislating mandates – intended or otherwise – that would be costly and burdensome to our taxpayers and communities.
I look forward to our panel addressing these issues today.  Thank you, Madam Chairman.

Inhofe Statement on President's Executive Order on CAFE and Alternative Fuels

May 14, 2007

Senator Inhofe commented Monday on President Bush’s Executive Order to begin the process of implementing new CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards and increasing the use of alternative fuels in response to the recent Supreme Court decision.

"This action taken today by President Bush is premature. As I made clear during an April 24th EPW hearing on the Supreme Court’s Massachusetts v. EPA case, the next step is for the EPA to make an endangerment determination, not rush to regulate. The Administration is putting the cart before the horse and should have waited for the EPA’s findings before deciding if any action was even necessary," Senator Inhofe said.

 "I have additional concerns about the regulation’s effect on livestock. Recently the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) opposed all new mandates on corn based ethanol. The NCBA said increasing feed-grains based ethanol mandates could deliver ‘a serious blow to cattle producers.’ The agricultural community is already suffering the unintended consequences of federal policies.

"We should be aware of how environmental regulations influence our fuel choices. Regulations that have promoted natural gas as the environmentally preferable fuel source have increased the price of natural gas, hurt domestic agriculture, sent chemical and manufacturing jobs overseas and practically killed our domestic fertilizer production," Senator Inhofe added.

Bob Drake, the vice president of the Oklahoma Farm Bureau testified at a March 25, 2004 EPW hearing about the devastating impact of high natural gas prices on the agricultural community.

"Our domestic fertilizer production capacity has already experienced a permanent loss of 25 percent over the past four years and an additional 20 percent is currently shutdown due to high natural gas prices. The current price volatility threatens the existence of what remains of our domestic fertilizer industry and will exacerbate America’s dependence on foreign sources of energy and fertilizer," Drake testified. ( Link )

Senator Inhofe concluded: "New mandates and regulations do not happen in a vacuum. I look forward to the Administration’s public comment period for implementing the rules and encourage affected industries and the public at large to weigh in on these new proposals."

On April 19th, Senator Inhofe introduced President Bush’s "Alternative Fuel Standard Act of 2007." The President’s proposal seeks to replace the current Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) by requiring 10 billion gallons of alternative fuel to be used in 2010 and increasing to 35 billion gallons by 2018.  The bill similarly builds upon the current RFS by requiring Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to incorporate the newer qualifying fuels into the credit trading system. ( Link )

EPW FACT OF THE DAY: Democrats Support Destructive Limits on America's Energy Sector

May 16, 2007

At today's EPW Committee hearing today, Senate Democrats expressed support for reducing mercury emissions from every power plant by 90 percent. Proponents of this approach generally claim that each power plant should be able to reduce mercury emissions by at least 90 percent, even though this level of reduction is not currently achievable and control technology vendors refuse to guarantee the performance of mercury removal technologies at these stringent levels.

FACT: According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), setting a 90% reduction mandate on mercury would cost up to $358 billion. A 90 percent reduction would result in fuel switching away from coal, which is our most abundant and least costly energy source, to natural gas. Increased reliance on natural gas for electricity generation will further increase prices, seriously impacting the ability of businesses to compete in the global marketplace and of families to pay their utility bills.

Further, like many other pollutants, mercury levels have also come down dramatically. Numerous industries that used to emit high levels of mercury, such as the municipal waste incinerators, have been controlled. The power sector industry is merely the latest industry to be regulated. And the regulations are significant – President Bush’s Clean Air Mercury Rule (CAMR) will reduce power plant mercury emissions by 70 percent. And because the rule acts in coordination with CAMR– which reduces SO2, NOx, and particulate matter – it can be done for $2 billion.

That’s right – cutting 70% will cost $2 billion, but incrementally increasing that amount to beyond what the technologies can reliably do would cost up to $358 billion.

Finally, draconian mercury mandates fail to address the mercury emissions from outside of the United States. According to the EPA, Asia is responsible for 53 percent of mercury emissions worldwide, and that U.S. power plants contribute only about 1 percent of the mercury in the oceans.  In fact, according to EPA, U.S. emissions of mercury were reduced by nearly half, from 1990 to 1999.  While we have made great progress in reducing these emissions, they have been offset by increases in emissions from Asia, particularly China.


From the Blog: Climate Momentum Shifting: Prominent Scientists Reverse Belief in Man-made Global Warming - Now Skeptics

May 16, 2007

Growing Number of Scientists Convert to Skeptics After Reviewing New Research

Following the U.S. Senate's vote today on a global warming measure (see today's AP article: Senate Defeats Climate Change Measure,) it is an opportune time to examine the recent and quite remarkable momentum shift taking place in climate science. Many former believers in catastrophic man-made global warming have recently reversed themselves and are now climate skeptics.  The names included below are just a sampling of the prominent scientists who have spoken out recently to oppose former Vice President Al Gore, the United Nations, and the media driven “consensus” on man-made global warming. 

The list below is just the tip of the iceberg.  A more detailed and comprehensive sampling of scientists who have only recently spoken out against climate hysteria will be forthcoming in a soon to be released U.S. Senate report. Please stay tuned to this website, as this new government report is set to redefine the current climate debate.

In the meantime, please review the list of scientists below and ask yourself why the media is missing one of the biggest stories in climate of 2007.  Feel free to distribute the partial list of scientists who recently converted to skeptics to your local schools and universities. The voices of rank and file scientists opposing climate doomsayers can serve as a counter to the alarmism that children are being exposed to on a daily basis. (See Washington Post April 16, 2007 article about kids fearing of a “climactic Armageddon” )

The media's climate fear factor seemingly grows louder even as the latest science grows less and less alarming by the day. (See Der Spiegel May 7, 2007 article: Not the End of the World as We Know It ) It is also worth noting that the proponents of climate fears are increasingly attempting to suppress dissent by skeptics. (See UPI May 10, 2007 article: U.N. official says it's 'completely immoral' to doubt global warming fears )

Once Believers, Now Skeptics ( Link to pdf version 

Geophysicist Dr. Claude Allegre, a top geophysicist and French Socialist who has authored more than 100 scientific articles and written 11 books and received numerous scientific awards including the Goldschmidt Medal from the Geochemical Society of the United States, converted from climate alarmist to skeptic in 2006. Allegre, who was one of the first scientists to sound global warming fears 20 years ago, now says the cause of climate change is "unknown" and accused the “prophets of doom of global warming” of being motivated by money, noting that "the ecology of helpless protesting has become a very lucrative business for some people!" “Glaciers’ chronicles or historical archives point to the fact that climate is a capricious phenomena. This fact is confirmed by mathematical meteorological theories. So, let us be cautious,” Allegre explained in a September 21, 2006 article in the French newspaper L'EXPRESS. The National Post in Canada also profiled Allegre on March 2, 2007, noting “Allegre has the highest environmental credentials. The author of early environmental books, he fought successful battles to protect the ozone layer from CFCs and public health from lead pollution.” Allegre now calls fears of a climate disaster "simplistic and obscuring the true dangers” mocks "the greenhouse-gas fanatics whose proclamations consist in denouncing man's role on the climate without doing anything about it except organizing conferences and preparing protocols that become dead letters." Allegre, a member of both the French and U.S. Academy of Sciences, had previously expressed concern about manmade global warming. "By burning fossil fuels, man enhanced the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere which has raised the global mean temperature by half a degree in the last century," Allegre wrote 20 years ago. In addition, Allegre was one of 1500 scientists who signed a November 18, 1992 letter titled “World Scientists' Warning to Humanity” in which the scientists warned that global warming’s “potential risks are very great.”

Geologist Bruno Wiskel of the University of Alberta recently reversed his view of man-made climate change and instead became a global warming skeptic. Wiskel was once such a big believer in man-made global warming that he set out to build a “Kyoto house” in honor of the UN sanctioned Kyoto Protocol which was signed in 1997.  Wiskel wanted to prove that the Kyoto Protocol’s goals were achievable by people making small changes in their lives. But after further examining the science behind Kyoto, Wiskel reversed his scientific views completely and became such a strong skeptic, that he recently wrote a book titled “The Emperor's New Climate: Debunking the Myth of Global Warming.”  A November 15, 2006 Edmonton Sun article explains Wiskel’s conversion while building his “Kyoto house”: “Instead, he said he realized global warming theory was full of holes and ‘red flags,’ and became convinced that humans are not responsible for rising temperatures.” Wiskel now says “the truth has to start somewhere.”  Noting that the Earth has been warming for 18,000 years, Wiskel told the Canadian newspaper, “If this happened once and we were the cause of it, that would be cause for concern. But glaciers have been coming and going for billions of years."  Wiskel also said that global warming has gone "from a science to a religion” and noted that research money is being funneled into promoting climate alarmism instead of funding areas he considers more worthy. "If you funnel money into things that can't be changed, the money is not going into the places that it is needed,” he said.

Astrophysicist Dr. Nir Shaviv, one of Israel's top young award winning scientists, recanted his belief that manmade emissions were driving climate change. ""Like many others, I was personally sure that CO2 is the bad culprit in the story of global warming. But after carefully digging into the evidence, I realized that things are far more complicated than the story sold to us by many climate scientists or the stories regurgitated by the media. In fact, there is much more than meets the eye,” Shaviv said in February 2, 2007 Canadian National Post article. According to Shaviv, the C02 temperature link is only “incriminating circumstantial evidence.” "Solar activity can explain a large part of the 20th-century global warming" and "it is unlikely that [the solar climate link] does not exist,” Shaviv noted pointing to the impact cosmic- rays have on the atmosphere. According to the National Post, Shaviv believes that even a doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere by 2100 "will not dramatically increase the global temperature." “Even if we halved the CO2 output, and the CO2 increase by 2100 would be, say, a 50% increase relative to today instead of a doubled amount, the expected reduction in the rise of global temperature would be less than 0.5C. This is not significant,” Shaviv explained. Shaviv also wrote on August 18, 2006 that a colleague of his believed that “CO2 should have a large effect on climate” so “he set out to reconstruct the phanerozoic temperature. He wanted to find the CO2 signature in the data, but since there was none, he slowly had to change his views.”  Shaviv believes there will be more scientists converting to man-made global warming skepticism as they discover the dearth of evidence. “I think this is common to many of the scientists who think like us (that is, that CO2 is a secondary climate driver). Each one of us was working in his or her own niche. While working there, each one of us realized that things just don't add up to support the AGW (Anthropogenic Global Warming) picture. So many had to change their views,” he wrote.

Mathematician & engineer Dr. David Evans, who did carbon accounting for the Australian Government, recently detailed his conversion to a skeptic. “I devoted six years to carbon accounting, building models for the Australian government to estimate carbon emissions from land use change and forestry. When I started that job in 1999 the evidence that carbon emissions caused global warming seemed pretty conclusive, but since then new evidence has weakened the case that carbon emissions are the main cause. I am now skeptical,” Evans wrote in an April 30, 2007 blog. “But after 2000 the evidence for carbon emissions gradually got weaker -- better temperature data for the last century, more detailed ice core data, then laboratory evidence that cosmic rays precipitate low clouds,” Evans wrote.  “As Lord Keynes famously said, ‘When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?’” he added. Evans noted how he benefited from climate fears as a scientist. “And the political realm in turn fed money back into the scientific community. By the late 1990's, lots of jobs depended on the idea that carbon emissions caused global warming. Many of them were bureaucratic, but there were a lot of science jobs created too. I was on that gravy train, making a high wage in a science job that would not have existed if we didn't believe carbon emissions caused global warming. And so were lots of people around me; and there were international conferences full of such people. And we had political support, the ear of government, big budgets, and we felt fairly important and useful (well, I did anyway). It was great. We were working to save the planet!  But starting in about 2000, the last three of the four pieces of evidence outlined above fell away or reversed,” Evans wrote. “The pre-2000 ice core data was the central evidence for believing that atmospheric carbon caused temperature increases. The new ice core data shows that past warmings were *not* initially caused by rises in atmospheric carbon, and says nothing about the strength of any amplification. This piece of evidence casts reasonable doubt that atmospheric carbon had any role in past warmings, while still allowing the possibility that it had a supporting role,” he added. “Unfortunately politics and science have become even more entangled. The science of global warming has become a partisan political issue, so positions become more entrenched. Politicians and the public prefer simple and less-nuanced messages. At the moment the political climate strongly supports carbon emissions as the cause of global warming, to the point of sometimes rubbishing or silencing critics,” he concluded. (Evans bio link )  

Climate researcher Dr. Tad Murty, former Senior Research Scientist for Fisheries and Oceans in Canada, also reversed himself from believer in man-made climate change to a skeptic.  “I stated with a firm belief about global warming, until I started working on it myself,” Murty explained on August 17, 2006.  “I switched to the other side in the early 1990's when Fisheries and Oceans Canada asked me to prepare a position paper and I started to look into the problem seriously,” Murty explained. Murty was one of the 60 scientists who wrote an April 6, 2006 letter urging withdrawal of Kyoto to Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper which stated in part, "If, back in the mid-1990s, we knew what we know today about climate, Kyoto would almost certainly not exist, because we would have concluded it was not necessary.”  

Botanist Dr. David Bellamy, a famed UK environmental campaigner, former lecturer at Durham University and host of a popular UK TV series on wildlife, recently converted into a skeptic after reviewing the science and now calls global warming fears "poppycock." According to a May 15, 2005 article in the UK Sunday Times, Bellamy said “global warming is largely a natural phenomenon.  The world is wasting stupendous amounts of money on trying to fix something that can’t be fixed.” “The climate-change people have no proof for their claims. They have computer models which do not prove anything,” Bellamy added. Bellamy’s conversion on global warming did not come without a sacrifice as several environmental groups have ended their association with him because of his views on climate change. The severing of relations came despite Bellamy’s long activism for green campaigns. The UK Times reported Bellamy “won respect from hardline environmentalists with his campaigns to save Britain’s peat bogs and other endangered habitats. In Tasmania he was arrested when he tried to prevent loggers cutting down a rainforest.” 

Climate scientist Dr. Chris de Freitas of The University of Auckland, N.Z., also converted from a believer in man-made global warming to a skeptic. “At first I accepted that increases in human caused additions of carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere would trigger changes in water vapor etc. and lead to dangerous ‘global warming,’ But with time and with the results of research, I formed the view that, although it makes for a good story, it is unlikely that the man-made changes are drivers of significant climate variation.” de Freitas wrote on August 17, 2006. “I accept there may be small changes. But I see the risk of anything serious to be minute,” he added. “One could reasonably argue that lack of evidence is not a good reason for complacency. But I believe the billions of dollars committed to GW research and lobbying for GW and for Kyoto treaties etc could be better spent on uncontroversial and very real environmental problems (such as air pollution, poor sanitation, provision of clean water and improved health services) that we know affect tens of millions of people,” de Freitas concluded. de Freitas was one of the 60 scientists who wrote an April 6, 2006 letter urging withdrawal of Kyoto to Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper which stated in part, “Significant [scientific] advances have been made since the [Kyoto] protocol was created, many of which are taking us away from a concern about increasing greenhouse gases.”

Meteorologist Dr. Reid Bryson, the founding chairman of the Department of Meteorology at University of Wisconsin (now the Department of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences, was pivotal in promoting the coming ice age scare of the 1970’s ( See Time Magazine’s 1974 article “Another Ice Age” citing Bryson: & see Newsweek’s 1975 article “The Cooling World” citing Bryson) has now converted into a leading global warming skeptic. In February 8, 2007 Bryson dismissed what he terms "sky is falling" man-made global warming fears. Bryson, was on the United Nations Global 500 Roll of Honor and was identified by the British Institute of Geographers as the most frequently cited climatologist in the world. “Before there were enough people to make any difference at all, two million years ago, nobody was changing the climate, yet the climate was changing, okay?” Bryson told the May 2007 issue of Energy Cooperative News. “All this argument is the temperature going up or not, it’s absurd. Of course it’s going up. It has gone up since the early 1800s, before the Industrial Revolution, because we’re coming out of the Little Ice Age, not because we’re putting more carbon dioxide into the air,” Bryson said. “You can go outside and spit and have the same effect as doubling carbon dioxide,” he added. “We cannot say what part of that warming was due to mankind's addition of ‘greenhouse gases’ until we consider the other possible factors, such as aerosols. The aerosol content of the atmosphere was measured during the past century, but to my knowledge this data was never used. We can say that the question of anthropogenic modification of the climate is an important question -- too important to ignore. However, it has now become a media free-for-all and a political issue more than a scientific problem,” Bryson explained in 2005.

Global warming author and economist Hans H.J. Labohm started out as a man-made global warming believer but he later switched his view after conducting climate research.  Labohm wrote on August 19, 2006, “I started as a anthropogenic global warming believer, then I read the [UN’s IPCC] Summary for Policymakers and the research of prominent skeptics.”  “After that, I changed my mind,” Labohn explained. Labohn co-authored the 2004 book “Man-Made Global Warming: Unraveling a Dogma,” with chemical engineer Dick Thoenes who was the former chairman of the Royal Netherlands Chemical Society. Labohm was one of the 60 scientists who wrote an April 6, 2006 letter urging withdrawal of Kyoto to Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper which stated in part, “’Climate change is real’ is a meaningless phrase used repeatedly by activists to convince the public that a climate catastrophe is looming and humanity is the cause. Neither of these fears is justified. Global climate changes all the time due to natural causes and the human impact still remains impossible to distinguish from this natural ‘noise.’”

Paleoclimatologist Tim Patterson, of Carlton University in Ottawa converted from believer in C02 driving the climate change to a skeptic. “I taught my students that CO2 was the prime driver of climate change,” Patterson  wrote on April 30, 2007. Patterson said his “conversion” happened following his research on “the nature of paleo-commercial fish populations in the NE Pacific.” “[My conversion from believer to climate skeptic] came about approximately 5-6 years ago when results began to come in from a major NSERC (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada) Strategic Project Grant where I was PI (principle investigator),” Patterson explained. “Over the course of about a year, I switched allegiances,” he wrote. “As the proxy results began to come in, we were astounded to find that paleoclimatic and paleoproductivity records were full of cycles that corresponded to various sun-spot cycles.  About that time, [geochemist] Jan Veizer and others began to publish reasonable hypotheses as to how solar signals could be amplified and control climate,” Patterson noted. Patterson says his conversion “probably cost me a lot of grant money. However, as a scientist I go where the science takes me and not were activists want me to go.” Patterson now asserts that more and more scientists are converting to climate skeptics.  "When I go to a scientific meeting, there's lots of opinion out there, there's lots of discussion (about climate change). I was at the Geological Society of America meeting in Philadelphia in the fall and I would say that people with my opinion were probably in the majority,” Patterson told the Winnipeg Sun on February 13, 2007. Patterson, who believes the sun is responsible for the recent warm up of the Earth, ridiculed the environmentalists and the media for not reporting the truth. "But if you listen to [Canadian environmental activist David] Suzuki and the media, it's like a tiger chasing its tail. They try to outdo each other and all the while proclaiming that the debate is over but it isn't -- come out to a scientific meeting sometime,” Patterson said. In a separate interview on April 26, 2007 with a Canadian newspaper, Patterson explained that the scientific proof favors skeptics. “I think the proof in the pudding, based on what (media and governments) are saying, (is) we're about three quarters of the way (to disaster) with the doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere," he said. “The world should be heating up like crazy by now, and it's not. The temperatures match very closely with the solar cycles."   

Physicist Dr. Zbigniew Jaworowski, chairman of the Central Laboratory for the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Radiological Protection in Warsaw, took a scientific journey from a believer of man-made climate change in the form of global cooling in the 1970’s all the way to converting to a skeptic of current predictions of catastrophic man-made global warming. “At the beginning of the 1970s I believed in man-made climate cooling, and therefore I started a study on the effects of industrial pollution on the global atmosphere, using glaciers as a history book on this pollution,” Dr. Jaworowski, wrote on August 17, 2006. “With the advent of man-made warming political correctness in the beginning of 1980s, I already had a lot of experience with polar and high altitude ice, and I have serious problems in accepting the reliability of ice core CO2 studies,” Jaworowski added. Jaworowski, who has published many papers on climate with a focus on CO2 measurements in ice cores, also dismissed the UN IPCC summary and questioned what the actual level of C02 was in the atmosphere in a March 16, 2007 report in EIR science entitled “CO2: The Greatest Scientific Scandal of Our Time.” “We thus find ourselves in the situation that the entire theory of man-made global warming—with its repercussions in science, and its important consequences for politics and the global economy—is based on ice core studies that provided a false picture of the atmospheric CO2 levels,” Jaworowski wrote. “For the past three decades, these well-known direct CO2 measurements, recently compiled and analyzed by Ernst-Georg Beck (Beck 2006a, Beck 2006b, Beck 2007), were completely ignored by climatologists—and not because they were wrong. Indeed, these measurements were made by several Nobel Prize winners, using the techniques that are standard textbook procedures in chemistry, biochemistry, botany, hygiene, medicine, nutrition, and ecology. The only reason for rejection was that these measurements did not fit the hypothesis of anthropogenic climatic warming. I regard this as perhaps the greatest scientific scandal of our time,” Jaworowski wrote. “The hypothesis, in vogue in the 1970s, stating that emissions of industrial dust will soon induce the new Ice Age, seem now to be a conceited anthropocentric exaggeration, bringing into discredit the science of that time. The same fate awaits the present,” he added. Jaworowski believes that cosmic rays and solar activity are major drivers of the Earth’s climate. Jaworowski was one of the 60 scientists who wrote an April 6, 2006 letter urging withdrawal of Kyoto to Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper which stated in part: "It may be many years yet before we properly understand the Earth's climate system. Nevertheless, significant advances have been made since the protocol was created, many of which are taking us away from a concern about increasing greenhouse gases."

Paleoclimatologist Dr. Ian D. Clark, professor of the Department of Earth Sciences at University of Ottawa, reversed his views on man-made climate change after further examining the evidence. “I used to agree with these dramatic warnings of climate disaster. I taught my students that most of the increase in temperature of the past century was due to human contribution of C02. The association seemed so clear and simple. Increases of greenhouse gases were driving us towards a climate catastrophe,” Clark said in a 2005 documentary "Climate Catastrophe Cancelled: What You're Not Being Told About the Science of Climate Change.” “However, a few years ago, I decided to look more closely at the science and it astonished me. In fact there is no evidence of humans being the cause. There is, however, overwhelming evidence of natural causes such as changes in the output of the sun. This has completely reversed my views on the Kyoto protocol,” Clark explained. “Actually, many other leading climate researchers also have serious concerns about the science underlying the [Kyoto] Protocol,” he added. 

Environmental geochemist Dr. Jan Veizer, professor emeritus of University of Ottawa, converted from believer to skeptic after conducting scientific studies of climate history. “I simply accepted the (global warming) theory as given,” Veizer wrote on April 30, 2007 about predictions that increasing C02 in the atmosphere was leading to a climate catastrophe. “The final conversion came when I realized that the solar/cosmic ray connection gave far more consistent picture with climate, over many time scales, than did the CO2 scenario,” Veizer wrote. “It was the results of my work on past records, on geological time scales, that led me to realize the discrepancies with empirical observations. Trying to understand the background issues of modeling led to realization of the assumptions and uncertainties involved,” Veizer explained. “The past record strongly favors the solar/cosmic alternative as the principal climate driver,” he added. Veizer acknowledgez the Earth has been warming and he believes in the scientific value of climate modeling. “The major point where I diverge from the IPCC scenario is my belief that it underestimates the role of natural variability by proclaiming CO2 to be the only reasonable source of additional energy in the planetary balance. Such additional energy is needed to drive the climate. The point is that most of the temperature, in both nature and models, arises from the greenhouse of water vapor (model language ‘positive water vapor feedback’,) Veizer wrote. “Thus to get more temperature, more water vapor is needed. This is achieved by speeding up the water cycle by inputting more energy into the system,” he continued. “Note that it is not CO2 that is in the models but its presumed energy equivalent (model language ‘prescribed CO2’). Yet, the models (and climate) would generate a more or less similar outcome regardless where this additional energy is coming from. This is why the solar/cosmic connection is so strongly opposed, because it can influence the global energy budget which, in turn, diminishes the need for an energy input from the CO2 greenhouse,” he wrote. 

More to follow...

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT...Ethanol's Bitter Taste (Kimberley Strassel, Wall Street Journal, May 18, 2007)

The Wall Street Journal

Ethanol's Bitter Taste


May 18, 2007; Page A16

Web link

It was a scant two years ago that Georgia's Saxby Chambliss voted with 73 other giddy senators for an energy bill that required the nation to use 7.5 billion gallons of ethanol. Georgia's farmers loved corn-based ethanol; Georgia's agri-businesses loved corn-based ethanol; and all that meant that then-Agriculture Committee Chairman Chambliss loved corn-based ethanol, too.

Earlier this year, Mr. Chambliss introduced a bill calling for even greater ethanol use, though with one striking difference: The bill caps the amount of that fuel that can come from corn. Turns out Georgia's chicken farmers hate corn-based ethanol; Georgia's pork producers hate corn-based ethanol; Georgia's dairy industry hates corn-based ethanol; Georgia's food producers hate corn-based ethanol; Georgia's hunters hate corn-based ethanol. And all that means Mr. Chambliss has had to find a new biofuels religion.

The shine is off corn ethanol, and oh, what a comedown it has been. It was only in January that President Bush was calling for a yet a bijillion more gallons of the wonder-stuff in his State of the Union address, and Iowa's Chuck Grassley was practically doing the Macarena in his seat. And why shouldn't Mr. Grassley and fellow ethanol handmaidens have boogied? They'd forced their first mandate through Congress, corn farmers were rolling in dough, billions in taxpayer dollars were spurring dozens of new ethanol plants -- and here was the commander-in-chief calling for yet more yellow dollars. All in the name of national security, too!

Corn ethanol seemed unstoppable, but a remarkable thing happened on the road from Des Moines. Just as the smart people warned, the government's decision to play energy market God and forcibly divert huge amounts of corn stocks into ethanol has played havoc with key sectors of the economy. Corn prices have nearly doubled, which means livestock owners can't afford to feed their animals, and food and drink manufacturers are struggling to buy corn and corn syrup. Environmentalists are sour over new stresses on farmland; international aid groups are moaning that the U.S. is cutting back its charitable food giving, and many of these folks are taking out their anger on Congress.

Call it a case study in how a powerful lobby can overplay its hand. While many members are still publicly touting corn ethanol, privately they are quietly backing away from another round of corn-mania. The most extraordinary sign was the Senate Energy Committee's recent ethanol bill, hailed by Sens. Jeff Bingaman and Pete Domenici as "bipartisan" legislation for more "homegrown fuels." What the committee didn't mention in its press release was that it had built the legislation around Mr. Chambliss's cap on corn ethanol (at 15 billion gallons), and that the rest of the 32 billion-gallon-a-year mandate would have to come from other (still imaginary) sources, say switchgrass. The bill passed 20-3.

It's taken politicians a while to catch on to these anti-ethanol vibes, but they've now got the picture. At an agriculture conference in Indianapolis last fall, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns and EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson spoke, delivering their usual fare about how ethanol was the greatest thing since sliced corn bread. They expected warm applause; in the past the entire ag community united around helping their brother corn farmers make a buck. But now that ethanol is literally taking food from their beasts' mouths, much of that community has grown less friendly. According to one attendee, Messrs. Daniels, Johanns and Johnson were later slammed with snippy ethanol questions from angry livestock owners, much to their dazed surprise. Word is that even the presidential candidates -- who usually can say no wrong about ethanol while touring the Midwest -- are having to be more selective about where they make their remarks.

Things are even hotter in Washington, where lobbying groups are firming up their positions against corn ethanol. The hugely influential National Cattlemen's Beef Association has gone so far as to outline a series of public demands, including an end to any government tax credits (subsidies) for ethanol and an axe to the import tariff on foreign ethanol. Put another way, the cattlemen are so angry that they are demanding free markets and free trade -- a first. Maybe ethanol really is a miracle fuel. In any event, expect the ethanol call to get harder for Plains state senators such as Max Baucus, Ben Nelson and Byron Dorgan.

The National Turkey Federation estimates its feed costs have gone up nearly $600 million annually and is surely letting loose on members from turkey states such as Minnesota and Missouri. The National Chicken Council, which represents companies that produce, process and market chickens, has been hitting the southern political caucus, putting pressure on senators from big poultry states such as Georgia, Arkansas and Alabama. Chicken giant Tyson's, the second largest employer in Arkansas (after Wal-Mart), even felt the need to warn about the effect of rising corn prices on its business in its first quarter earnings statement. Food and drink manufacturers, which rely heavily on corn and corn syrup for their products, are also making the Washington rounds. The Grocery Manufacturers Association this week called for Congress to undertake a study before it imposed a bigger ethanol mandate. Soft-drink companies such as Coca-Cola (of Mr. Chambliss's Georgia) are also up in arms.

From the other side, green groups are grousing about the environmental consequences of intensive corn farming. International aid organizations are complaining that ethanol is raising the overall cost of food and diverting grain from poor countries. Ducks Unlimited, part of Washington's "hooks and bullets" conservation lobby, sported a recent article in its magazine complaining that farmers are taking idle land out of conservation programs -- land currently home to ducks -- and using it for corn farming again.

All this pressure is beginning to hit home. Ethanol isn't going away anytime soon; you can't unring a bill. But senators are said to be readying amendments to offer to the new ethanol bill that would use triggers or waivers to further water down the corn element. Turns out there are huge economic consequences to Congress micromanaging energy policy, and all to aid its campaign donors in agribusiness. A lesson the U.S. is now learning the hard way.