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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Happy Earth Day 2008!

It is not always feasible for a blogger to do something timely, but today I think it is appropriate for this blog to celebrate the "Earth Day" appropriately -- to introduce a newly published book entitled "The Really Inconvenient Truths: Seven Environmental Catastrophes Liberals Don't Want You to Know About--Because They Helped Cause Them" by Iain Murray. I don't know the author and I don't have the book yet. But this appears to be a terrific book nevertheless!

Here's an excerpt from the Introduction: Al Gore: Savior of the Planet? The question mark at the end is thr key:
The scientific case for global warming alarmism is based on a series truths that, far from being inconvenient, are actually trivial. First is the basic physical principle that certain gases absorb heat, and so, all things being equal, the more of these"greenhouse" gases like carbon dioxide there are in the atmosphere, the warmer it will be. Second, greenhouse gases, particularly carbon dioxide, have steadily increased in the atmosphere since the industrial revolution. Finally, we have indeed seen a small increase in global average temperatures -- about one degree Fahrenheit -- over the last one hundred years.

Out of this molehill of scientific truth has been built a mountain of the catastrophe theory that Al Gore and the green lobbyuse to advance their case for a complete realignment of the world's economic system.

This mountain building starts with scientists who use the correlations they have identified between greenhouse gases and temperature rises to build computer models of what might happen to global temperatures if greenhouse gas concentrations accelerate as fast as some other economists and scientists estimate they will. These models find different suggested increases, based primarily on what happens to global development this century.

On top of these models, other scientists develop yet more computer models, trying to determine -- if the first models are correct -- what might happen to say, pine trees, sea levels, crops, or tropical storms. In turn economists have developed computer models that assess whether the world will suffer or be better off.

From these computer simulations, Al Gore and his colleagues have advanced the argument that we face catastrophe very soon if we do not drastically curtail our use of the fossil fuels that release greenhouse gases when we burn them. They have suggested national emissions caps, taxes on energy use, and even personal carbon dioxide rations. (Want to drive Junior to his Little League game? Tough luck, you used all your monthly CO2 rations on your flight to grandpa's funeral last week.)

Yet if doesn't take a genius to realize that all those computer models are guesswork based on guesswork. Let's go back to the very first step, the correlation identified between greenhouse gases and temperature rise. While it looks quite strong, there is uncertainty even there . . .

. . .

These sort of uncertainties exist throughout the science. It only take a moment's thought to realize that heaping uncertainties upon uncertainties results in a much greater uncertainty at the end. Even so, these uncertainties are routinely dismissed by Al Gore and his friends. Uncertainty can not be an excuse for inaction, they say. It's a line worthy of Wizard of Oz . . .
Now based on the Table of Contents of the book, here are the seven past, present, and future environmental catastrophes:
1. Malaria: The plague of environmentalists.
2. Ethanol: Save the planet, starve the world.
3. The Pill as Pollutant: And other environmental menaces the left ignores.
4. Yellowstone in Flames: The dangers of liberal dogma.
5. Cuyahoga Burning: How progressives set a river on fire.
6. Endangered Species Act: Shoot, shovel, and shut-up.
7. Communism's Environment Record: The death of Aral Sea.
I can hardly wait to get my hands on this book. Go for it. Happy Earth Day 2008!

Iain Murray, an Oxford graduate, is the Director of Projects and Analysis and Senior Fellow in Energy, Science and Technology of the Competitive Enterprise Institute among other things. At least two of his articles readily available online are: Gorey Truths: 25 inconvenient truths for Al Gore and Hockey Stick Slapped. And, of course, this latest one: The Truths Shall Set You Free tells why he wrote this book. A fabulous one indeed!

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