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OpenMarket: December 2006

  • The Lohachara Incident

    December 30, 2006
    Geoffrey Lean of The Independent on Sunday adds a new element to the catastrophist case:
    "Rising seas, caused by global warming, have for the first time washed an inhabited island off the face of the Earth. The obliteration of Lohachara island, in India's part of the Sundarbans where the Ganges and the Brahmaputra rivers empty into the Bay of Bengal, marks the moment when one of the most apocalyptic predictions of environmentalists and climate scientists has started coming true."
    One slight problem with this; Lohachara vanished 20  years ago:
    "Lohachara and Bedford islands, with an area of more than six square kilometres between them, 'vanished from the map' two decades ago."
    More at...
  • Bear-baiting

    December 30, 2006
    CEI Adjunct Fellow Steve Milloy has more on the polar bear issue in his weekly must-read FoxNews column:
    "Let's keep in mind that polar bears have survived much warmer times than we are now experiencing — like 1,000 years ago when the Vikings farmed Greenland during the Medieval Climate Optimum and 5,000-9,000 years ago during the period known as the Holocene Climate Optimum. "But even giving the proposal the benefit of the doubt, will it accomplish anything? "When I asked Secretary [of the Interior Dirk] Kempthorne that question — pointing out that even if the polar bear habitat was shrinking because of melting ice there isn't a credible climate scientist in the world that believes anything could be done to stop the ice from melting, and that legalized polar bear harvesting seems to contradict any...
  • Taste and Trans fats

    December 30, 2006
    Nobel laureate Gary Becker has some thoughts on the New York City trans-fats ban (reflecting on comments by his co-blogger, Judge Richard Posner):
    "Posner also gives a kind of lower bound estimate of the benefits as $100 million, and also suggests a much lower cost to restaurants of becoming trans fat-free -- I take this as $30 million. With a small taste benefit from the use of trans fats -- the New England Medicine Journal article I cited earlier does admit positive effect of trans fats on 'palatability' -- the total cost of the ban would equal or exceed total benefits. For example, suppose 1 million persons on average eat 200 meals per year in NYC restaurants with trans fats. If they value the taste of trans fats in their foods only by 35 cents per meal, the taste cost to...
  • Jamaican Malaria: Blame Rachel Carson, not global warming

    December 28, 2006
    Malaria cases in Jamaica have surpassed 160, the Associated Press reports. This is the first outbreak there in more than four decades. One headline says, incorrectly as we will see, "Jamaica Fights Rare Malaria Outbreak." Expect to hear endless arguments about how this is due to global warming and human-induced climate change. How horrific it is that human are changing the natural climate cycles!      One problem with this theory! The disease was never "rare" in Jamaica until man-made DDT, despised by enviros from Rachel Carson onward, wiped it out there in the 1960s. Malaria...
  • Bear-faced Opportunism

    December 28, 2006
    With the bald eagle poised to come off the endangered species list (huzzah!), another species of charismatic megafauna is needed to replace it as the Endangered Species Act's totem.  Step forward, the polar bear:
    The Bush administration has decided to propose listing the polar bear as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, putting the U.S. government on record as saying that global warming could drive one of the world's most recognizable animals out of existence. The proposal--described by an Interior Department official who spoke on condition of anonymity--stems from the fact that rising temperatures in the Arctic are shrinking the sea ice that...
  • EU Honesty

    December 28, 2006
    Some remarkable statements about the EU's greenhouse gas emissions performance in an official EU document by Eija-Riitta Korhola, Vice-Chair of Kokoomus (Finnish National Coalition Party), and EPP (EU center-right party grouping) Rapporteur on Energy Policy and Member of the European Parliament:
    "[T]he EU's political decisions and rhetoric are sound but their implementation is becoming problematic."
    "The truth is that unless something radical is devised the EU will soon have to admit that it cannot achieve its Kyoto goals."
    "Now that the internal emissions trading regime in Europe has been in effect for more than a year and a half, most of the European stakeholders in energy intensive industries are remarkably unanimous about the whole system being a mistake....
  • Awards Season

    December 28, 2006
    From Numberwatch, the Sixth Annual Numby Awards.  Readers will be glad to know every effort was made to preserve the planet's delicate ecosystem:
    Once again the Chairman of the Judges was that paragon of urbanity, Sir Hugh Jerrors, Professor of Modelling Those Little Fluffy Bits Round The Edges Of Clouds at the Metropolitan University of Nether Wallop. There was a murmur of disapproval as he took out an electric torch in order to read his notes, but this turned to rapturous applause when he announced that it had been charged from his own personal wind generator. After all, he might just have saved the planet. He was outdone, however, by the evening's special guest, Sir Hamish McTwaddle, who had arranged for the light on his lectern to be powered by two small boys on an adapted tandem. Before anyone could...
  • Horsepower to the People

    December 28, 2006
    The great boon that is automobility is set to spread to India, with the introduction of a family car that will cost only $2000.  Naturally, the rajahs of the environmental lobby is apoplectic at this keenly-anticipated extension of people power:
    "It will be a total disaster," said Anumita Roychoudhury, an associate director at the Centre for Science and the Environment in New Delhi. "One person dies every hour in Delhi from air pollution-related diseases and most Indian cities have pollution levels that are twice the permissible limits." Sudhir Bisht, a Delhi resident, said: "India doesn't need more cars. It needs better public transport."
    The people of India seem satisfied that the benefits of automobility outweigh the possibility of increased emissions:
    India...
  • Government Has No First Amendment Right to Discriminate

    December 22, 2006
    In November, Michigan voters adopted Proposal 2, a state constitutional amendment that bans racial preferences in state university admissions and in government contracts and employment. State universities like the University of Michigan are now flouting the will of the voters by claiming that they have a First Amendment right to discriminate based on race, no matter what the Michigan Constitution says. They have now challenged Proposal 2 in court, making the audacious claim they have a First Amendment “right” to use race in admissions. They cite Grutter v. Bollinger (2003), a Supreme Court decision which found a compelling interest in using race in college admissions to promote "diversity," for that claim. The Grutter decision was based partly on concepts of academic freedom that are, in turn, rooted partly in the First Amendment. But the Grutter decision...
  • Scenario planning writ large in the UK

    December 22, 2006
    I came across a UK government site that looks into the future across a range of issues. It's part of the UK's Foresight Program. Herewith a description:
    Foresight, and its associated horizon scanning centre aims to provide challenging visions of the future, to ensure effective strategies now. It does this by providing a core of skills in science-based futures projects and unequalled access to leaders in government, business and science.
    Now, it appears that Foresight's Horizon Scanning Centre has two current scans: The Sigma Scan and the Delta Scan. The Sigma Scan is herewith described on its site:
    The Sigma Scan is a quality assured synthesis of some of the world's best Horizon Scanning sources. It...

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