February 10, 2007
By Carlos Grande and Fiona Harvey
Published: February 8 2007 02:00
Last updated: February 8 2007 02:00
A series of concerts "bigger than Live Aid" is being planned for July, in a bid to put the subject of climate change before an audience of a global audience of 2bn.
The event, scheduled for July 7, will feature co-ordinated film, music and television events in seven cities including London, Washington DC, Shanghai, Rio de Janeiro, Cape Town and Kyoto, with major broadcasters and media owners aiming to extend the reach of public awareness of global warming.
It is understood that former US vice-president Al Gore, whose movie An Inconvenient Truth brought climate change to cinema audiences last year, will announce the event tomorrow in London.
The organisers hope to involve up to 2.5m people in events and link-ups at the cities involved, as well as other locations.
They are promising a line-up of artists to "dwarf" that of the Live8 and Live Aid concerts, thought to be branded under the name "SOS".
One person close to the event said yesterday: "The talent involved is just exponentially bigger because the issue itself is bigger.
"Live Aid was about asking people to stump up money, this is about effecting systemic change.
"The aim is not just to drive awareness but to get people to take action."
These actions are likely to include personal pledges to reduce emissions, for instance by using energy efficient equipment or flying less.
I was asked yesterday if I had blogged on the death of Anna Nicole Smith.
I said no, frankly it had not occured to me that I should do so.
What can I say, was I surprised to hear she had died? No.
Was I a fan? No.
Will it be interesting watching the lawyers get rich fighting over her estate and the paternity of her child? I guess.
Is she the poster-child for schadenfreude? Yep.
Frankly I think she is a prime example of how not to live your life.
February 9, 2007
Ok, so the Journal Times did a very unscientific online poll in which they determine "JournalTimes.com readers back smoking ban"
Well that is the headline they ran with anyway.
Here is the spin.... Readers of JournalTimes.com overwhelmingly backed a comprehensive ban on smoking, according to a recent online poll.
Did they now?
Here are the results.
207 (46%) Ban smoking everywhere
93 (21%) Exempt bars
68 (15%) No bans, including local laws
15 (3%) Prohibition of all nicotine products
65 (15%) Smoke 'em if you've got 'em
Total Votes: 448
Here is the thing. Let's add up all the have smoking in one form or another folks, shall we?
Pay attention to the math here Journal Times....
Now the anti smoking responses.
The last time I checked 226 was more than 222.
At a minimum the responders are about evenly split on the issue, but if you want to get down to specifics the smokes win with 50.4% of the vote. That is a MAJORITY....
(Disclosure, I do not smoke)
Seriously, this is what they do folks. Come up with a meaningless poll, design questions to split up one side more than the other so they can point to a determination of "fact" that is clearly not true.
The Journal Times clearly favors the ban, and they will run story after story to support it. As to if their stories are true or not, well the math speaks for itself.
February 8, 2007
Posted: February 7, 20073:55 p.m. Eastern
© 2007 WorldNetDaily.com
A Republican congressman is calling for the resignation of Department of Homeland Security officials who he says lied about the case of two Border Patrol agents imprisoned for their actions in the shooting of a drug smuggler.
As WND reported, at a congressional hearing yesterday, Rep. John Culberson of Texas confronted DHS Inspector General Richard Skinner about his agency's claim it had documentary proof of the guilt of former agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean.
"Richard Skinner admitted yesterday under oath that his top deputies gave members of Congress false information painting Border Patrol agents as rogue cops who were not in fear for their lives and who were 'out to shoot Mexicans,'" Culberson said in a statement.
Culberson said he believes false information was given to congressmen to "throw us off the scent and cover up what appears to be an unjust criminal prosecution of two U.S. law enforcement officers whose job was protecting our country's borders from criminals and terrorists."
INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY
Justice: Border Patrol agent Ignacio Ramos is assaulted in jail as the federal case that put him and fellow agent Jose Alonso Compean in prison continues to unravel.
We could have predicted it, and we did. The feds should have seen it coming and taken precautions, but they didn't. Compean and Ramos, convicted of obstruction of justice in the case of shooting an allegedly unarmed drug smuggler, Osvaldo Aldrete-Davila, were each put in a general prison population not particularly fond of law enforcement of any kind.
Ramos was sent to a medium- to low-security federal facility in Yazoo City, Miss., and Compean is serving his sentence at the Elkton Federal Correctional Institution in Ohio. It must be a very low-security facility indeed for this to happen.
Saturday night, "America's Most Wanted" did a piece on Ramos' story. Later that evening, aware of his identity, five Hispanic inmates wearing steel-toe boots — probably illegal aliens — attacked Ramos while cussing him out in Spanish. They taunted him with the phrase "(expletive) la migra." "Migra" roughly translates as "immigration," and is slang for Border Patrol agent.
Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., a border security advocate and champion of the two agents, found the lack of federal protection for these agents as baffling as their prosecution for doing a job that put their lives at risk on a daily basis.
Commenting on the beating , he said: "Not only did the administration take the side of a foreign dope runner over the agents who stopped him from smuggling a load of drugs into the country . . . now they've failed to protect that agent while his case is on appeal."
Grounds for that appeal certainly exist. One of the charges against Compean and Ramos was that they failed to report the Feb. 17, 2005, incident as part of their efforts to cover it up. But a previously unpublished internal Homeland Security Department memo discloses that seven Border Patrol agents, including Compean and Ramos, as well as two supervisors were at the scene.
The presence of the two supervisors at the scene explains why the two didn't file a report. They didn't feel they had to since their supervisors — Robert Arnold, a supervisory Border Patrol agent, and Jonathan Richards, a field operations supervisor — were there.
Andy Ramirez, who has watched the case unfold as chairman of the group Friends of the Border Patrol, told World Net Daily: "The Border Patrol manual specifies that only a verbal report needs to be made of shooting incidents like this. All the agents in the field were discussing the shooting incident, including the supervisors. What more of a verbal report needed to be made?"
What more indeed. And why, for that matter, weren't all nine charged with obstruction of justice and failing to report the incident? The feds say it was because only the two discharged their weapons. The DHS memo says all were equally culpable and that others tried to "conceal" evidence of the shooting.
Well, three of the other agents were also given immunity, along with Aldrete-Davila, to testify against Ramos and Compean. And it would have been harder to paint the two as rogue agents if five other agents and two supervisors were also in the dock.
Interestingly, DHS Inspector General Richard L. Skinner admitted in testimony before the Homeland Security Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee that the DHS misled Congress when it contended that the agency had investigative reports showing that Ramos and Compean had confessed guilt and declared they "wanted to shoot some Mexicans" that day.
Texas Rep. Jon Culberson was questioning Skinner about a Sept. 26 meeting between Culberson, three other congressmen and DHS officials who made those assertions. Skinner responded, "The person who told you that misinformed you." Deliberately? And when does misinformation become a lie?
Compean and Ramos will win on appeal, we hope. Like the Duke lacrosse players and Scooter Libby, they are the victims of trophy-seeking prosecutors whose motives, like their evidence, are questionable. But we suggest President Bush get his pardon pen ready just in case.
City panel ignored law on candidate, state board says
By GREG J. BOROWSKI
Posted: Feb. 7, 2007
The State Elections Board on Wednesday ordered the Milwaukee Election Commission to "conform its conduct to state law" and not put Jeffrey Norman's name on the Feb. 20 ballot for Municipal Court.
The order from the state board's executive director comes a day after the three-member commission ignored legal advice and voted 2-1 to allow Norman to be on the ballot, even though he had not filed a required ethics form with the state on time and had lost an appeal to the state Ethics Board, which refused to extend the deadline for him.
The city panel made the move knowing that ballots had already been printed and some absentee ballots distributed. It would have cost about $18,500 to reprint the ballots, plus $1,500 to reprogram voting machines. In addition, some absentee ballots had already been cast.
The order to the city Election Commission members from Kevin Kennedy, executive director of the State Elections Board, termed the action by the city panel "a blatant disregard" to its duty.
Noting that ballots have already been printed and election planning is well under way, it said the action was "a gross abuse of a discretion it did not have."
Last month, the full state board found the city panel had abused its discretion, but at that time the city panel asked for such a declaration so it could reconsider its decision to allow a recall against Milwaukee Ald. Michael McGee. That will take place Monday.
Norman pleaded his case to the city panel Tuesday, calling for "justice" and saying he had "substantially complied" with the filing requirements. Five other candidates are running for the open seat. They all filed the required paperwork.
The top two finishers Feb. 20 will advance to the April 3 election.
By Charles Hurt and Rowan ScarboroughTHE WASHINGTON TIMES
The Department of Defense yesterday sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that puts limits on the size of the plane she may use to travel across the country and restricts the guests she can bring, The Washington Times has learned.
A congressional source who read the letter signed by Assistant Secretary of Defense Robert Wilkie said it essentially limits her to the commuter plane used by former Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, which requires refueling to travel from Washington to Mrs. Pelosi's San Francisco district. A second source, in the Bush administration, confirmed the contents of the letter.
The Washington Times first reported last week that Mrs. Pelosi's staff was pressing the Department of Defense for an Air Force aircraft large enough to fly nonstop to San Francisco. She also has pressed to be able to include other members of the California congressional delegation, her family members and her staff on the plane.
"It's not a question of size. It's a question of distance," Mrs. Pelosi told reporters yesterday. "We want an aircraft that can reach California."
Feb 7, 10:09 PM (ET)By MICHAEL VIRTANEN
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - Walk, jog or bicycle across a New York street with an iPod plugged in your ears and you could get slapped with a $100 ticket under a new law proposed by a legislator from Brooklyn.
State Sen. Carl Kruger's (D) bill would also outlaw the use of cell phones, Blackberries, video games or other electronic devices when crossing the street.
He cited the death of a 21-year-old man who was listening to music when he stepped off a curb and was hit by a bus in Brooklyn in September, and the death of a 23-year-old iPod listener last month.
"If you're so involved in your electronic device that you can't see or hear a car coming, this is indicative of a larger problem that requires some sort of enforcement beyond the application of common sense," Kruger said.
Jason Koppel, Kruger's chief of staff, said listeners would merely have to pull the earphones out for the few seconds it takes to cross the street.
Kruger said the legislation would be introduced this week.
Charlotte Troisgros, 16, a Manhattan student talking on her cell phone in a crosswalk near City Hall on Wednesday, laughed and said the law may not be such a bad idea.
"You really don't pay attention. You might get hit by a car," she said.
E. Christopher Murray, a civil liberties attorney, said the proposal is excessive.
"With our schools failing, health costs out of control, and crushing property taxes, the legislature would rather play mother by legislating how we cross the street," he said. "What's next? Do you get fined if you don't look both ways?"
February 7, 2007
I don't know what is bigger the size of her ego or the size of her airplane.
Then how come we should not listen to the will of the people on gay marraige?
I'm just curious how you resolve that little point everyone else is afraid to ask.
February 6, 2007
...over the past three years the federal deficit has shrunk by 58%. The Congressional Budget Office--not the White House--is estimating that the current year's deficit (for fiscal 2007) will fall to $172 billion. That's not bad given continuing Katrina relief spending, $30 billion for homeland security, and a couple hundred billion or so to fight the war on terror.
The White House is projecting that its new budget will eliminate the deficit by 2012 assuming Mr. Bush's tax cuts are extended after 2010. We don't put much stock in future budget forecasts because they depend on so many variables. But even CBO predicts the deficit should remain near or below 1% of GDP for the rest of the Bush Presidency. That's well below the 40-year average of 2.4% of GDP.
February 5, 2007
You couldn't pay me enough to host my blog on blogspot. Pete
There's always France to push around. Jib
I tried something similar with a large breasted woman in my office a while back, and no, it didn't go well. Jay
Now you know why I don't gamble. Ed
What's more fun than being around a bunch of people sitting on their laptops blogging about blogging? Dan (a bunch of people sitting in their underwear blogging about blogging)
At this moment I am on the eleventh minute of a "please hold for two minutes, sir" hold. Paul
Jim Sorgi: Super Bowl Champion. York.
'Cause the Bears still Suck
The Bears still suck, the Bears still suck
The Bears still suck, the Bears still suck
They really really really really really really suck
Yes the Bears Still Suck Marcus.
these are not the rubber duckies you're looking for. Elliot.
Get back to me when you still have an 8 inch floppy like I do. Nick.
Fred has pictures of Nick picking his nose. Owen
It's official. This morning Al Gore appeared from his hole and did not see his shadow. He's predicting an early apocalypse. Aaron.
Brewers Pitchers and Catchers report in 12 days Chris.
Dried lizards are not for nursing or pregnant women Tom.
I would have gotten out today Clint.
My Superbowl prediction, we will hear the letters CBS, 7 trillion times in the next three hours. Fred.Behold, the power of boobies. Matt
MPS To Ban Fighting at All Schools. Phel
Ok critters, keep warm. In whatever form warm wants to be :)
If you were planning on building a commuter rail line from Kenosha to Milwaukee, why would you leave out a stop at the airport? Logic dictates that a so-called transit "improvement" that ignores such a large transit hub in the area should be characterized as................................................... stupid.
It would seem to me that would be a great reason for people to ride a commuter train.
Ok, one more question.
What costs more, leasing a car or paying the taxes on a rented car?
See Clint for the answer... (he's not such an ID10T)
February 4, 2007
* Bears win the coin toss! Oh wait, that don't mean diddly. 10 straight NFC wins on the coin toss, thanks for that bit of worthless statistical genius.
* My Superbowl prediction, we will hear the letters CBS, 7 trillion times in the next three hours.
* Devin Hester MVP SuperBowl XLI?
* One Bud Light in the tub... I threw a rock..... Mean.
* Doritos - Car accidents are supposedly funny, I don't get this.
* Blockbuster, just a click away, Don't even think about it! Now that was a good ad.
* Katie Kouric ad.... how many million people watching, that still will not help.
* Gee the Bear's offense looks... hmm. Adjective search..... Yucky.
* Beard combover Sierra Mist... Goofy.
* Salesgenie.com, silly. Free leads.. maybe I'll look 'em up.
* Sierra Mist Dojo. I feel thirsty for Sprite.
* Peyton looks rather focused. Does that guy ever smile?
* I wish they would let Frank Caliendo call the game.
* Touchdown, Colts 53 yards Manning to Wayne. A blown extra point? I wonder if they will kick to Hestert again?
* Moon Office, Don't sweat it, FedEx delivers to the moon. Cool.
* Auctioneer Wedding. Away we go the Bud Light, cute.
* Gee is Prince doing half-time I had not heard....
* First turnover Da' Bears. Second turnover Da' Colts. That was quick.
* Wow 52 yards Thomas Jones.
* I wonder who is doing half-time?
* Touchdown Bears... Mohammed got booed again.
* Snickers accidental man kiss.... Quick do something manly... GROSS
* CBS CBS CBS CBS CBS CBS CBS CBS CBS.... Just in case you forgot what network this thing was on.
* I wonder how the people who took the "under" in Vegas feel right about now?
* Buy you a chevrolet.... why do they put people on singing who can not sign? Horrible commercial.
* English lessons, Bud Light - In Milwaukee you say I don't drink that Bud stuff.
* Oprah & Letterman? Did someone tell Stedman?
* Fumblerama (4 turnovers in the 1st quarter)
* Rex Grossman is really quite good at throwing the ball out of bounds.
* $2,000 a ticket to sit in the rain.
* Go Daddy... Queue the sensors. American Chopper guys, champaign eexplosions, wet T's... normal for them.
* Coke - give a little love, nice to see a feel good ad.
* CBS - We rock, honest we do, watch all our shows. Please.
* Budweiser dirty dog.... cute.
* Map Monster - Garmin. I have no idea what that was.
* Jungle Office. Career Builder, very nice. I've worked there.
* Chevy HHR, what that the heck was that, stripping men dancing in front of the HHR? Turns out that was the ad Jessica McBride's student Katie wrote. Good for her, but I still don't get it. I wonder what Jessica is teaching?
* Wipe off your camera lens.
* Had to reboot, commerciall catch-up.... Bud, slap in, fist bump out, ridiculous..... GM, depressed robot... Interesting concept really, nice spot. Coke, black history... what no mention of the coaches? That's all I can remember.
* Hey did you hear Prince... never mind.
* The Bears will need a bunch of HUGE plays to win this, they are being completely outclassed.
* 2 minute warning.
* Sprint, Connectile Disfunction - Very clever....
* Motorolla Krazr.... Eh.
* Speaking of huge plays... FUMBLE... Wait, FUMBLE again, Colts get it back. Didn't we do that once already?
* I will be taking half time off of live blogging, I hear Prince is on.
* You know the media has told us 4 million times about 2 black coaches, when is the first time for this game the sports media gave us two black announcers to call the game? Never?!? Seems to me those making a big deal out of this should maybe look in the mirror.
* Coke. I never had one of those before. How 'bout bungee jumping.
* History made, Vinatieri misses a field-goal in the SuperBowl.
* Happy half-time folks. I wonder what else is on?
* Patrick is live blogging this year again.
* So is Pete.
* Yes they called that a nifty return...
* Meet the Robinsons... Looks like Disney has done it again.
* E*Trade - Easy, stupid.
* Coke Machine.... Kinda like mousetrap but a while lot more...... animated.
* So who is the MVP so far? I'd vote for... I don't have any idea....
* Bud Light Gorillas - Make the leap. not their best effort.
* Revlon - Mark Yelling liked this one.
* Chris chimed in telling us they we're moooshing not booing. Thanks Chris.
* Grossman fall down go boom.
* Grossman fall down go boom again.
* Last one standing gets the promotion. Career Builder. Fight
* Taco Bell - talking lions... Yo quero lions? Sorry that was a cheap immitation.
* Van Heusen.... $2.6 Million for that?
* Does anyone know when Survivor starts?
* Lovie looks..................... wet.
* Around 3 pm Robert Goulet' appears and messes with your stuff. Great ad from Emerald Nuts.
* Duane Wade makes big mouth Barkley look bad, love it. Good for you Sprint.
* 22-14, I think the Bears are starting to feel out classed.
* Fed Ex ground. You can not judge things by their name Mr Turkey neck.
* KFed is an idiot.
* Axe murderer, Bud Light. Nice.
* Did anyone check Tank Johnson for weapons?
* Marvin Harrison is a gifted man.
* 3rd quarter gun!
* Katie again.
* After further review CBS 58 News still dumped their van in a lake.
* Budweiser crabs stealing cooler to build an altar, silly.
* A rock can do lots of stuff, thanks Prudential!
* Elvis!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thanks Honda.
* 13:38 to go... nachos or popcorn?
* Nice run, holding... woops.
* Marvin Harrison is Ok... good, he is a class act.
* 73rd Pro Bowl spot and nobody cares.
* Moooooooosh... I got it Chris.
* Interception, Touchdown, game. MVP Kelvin Hayden?
* Paul Sr., for HP. too nice... Yell at somebody Sr.
* Budweiser high tech football game, I want one.
* Think Rex will throw it away again?
* Absolutely he will, that was prophetic.
* Decision made, popcorn for 24, nachos now.
* Flomax ad, pass, I gotta go, be right back.
* Break time, nachos. Game is over anyway.
* Mmmmmmmm that wuz goooooooood.
* 2 minutes...
* Season over ad... Surprise Favre appearance.. Great ad!
* I think the MVP has to be Peyton Manning. Great job managing the game in very difficult circumstances.
* CBS 58 did not just do an add warning of the dangers of being on thin ice did they????? That was the funniest ad of this whole thing! After this weekend I'm sure most the lakes are very frozen!
By the way, ain't it hot out?
The hurricane expert who stood up to UN junk science
Lawrence Solomon, Financial PostPublished: Friday, February 02, 2007
December 8, 2006
You're a respected scientist, one of the best in your field. So respected, in fact, that when the United Nations decided to study the relationship between hurricanes and global warming for the largest scientific endeavour in its history -- its International Panel on Climate Change -- it called upon you and your expertise.
You are Christopher Landsea of the Atlantic Oceanographic & Meteorological Laboratory. You were a contributing author for the UN's second International Panel on Climate Change in 1995, writing the sections on observed changes in tropical cyclones around the world. Then the IPCC called on you as a contributing author once more, for its "Third Assessment Report" in 2001. And you were invited to participate yet again, when the IPCC called on you to be an author in the "Fourth Assessment Report." This report would specifically focus on Atlantic hurricanes, your specialty, and be published by the IPCC in 2007.
Then something went horribly wrong. Within days of this last invitation, in October, 2004, you discovered that the IPCC's Kevin Trenberth -- the very person who had invited you -- was participating in a press conference. The title of the press conference perplexed you: "Experts to warn global warming likely to continue spurring more outbreaks of intense hurricane activity." This was some kind of mistake, you were certain. You had not done any work that substantiated this claim. Nobody had.
As perplexing, none of the participants in that press conference were known for their hurricane expertise. In fact, to your knowledge, none had performed any research at all on hurricane variability, the subject of the press conference. Neither were they reporting on any new work in the field. All previous and current research in the area of hurricane variability, you knew, showed no reliable upward trend in the frequency or intensity of hurricanes. Not in the Atlantic basin. Not in any other basin.
To add to the utter incomprehensibility of the press conference, the IPCC itself, in both 1995 and 2001, had found no global warming signal in the hurricane record. And until your new work would come out, in 2007, the IPCC would not have a new analysis on which to base a change of findings.
To stop the press conference, or at least stop any misunderstandings that might come out of it, you contacted Dr. Trenberth prior to the media event. You prepared a synopsis for him that brought him up to date on the state of knowledge about hurricane formation. To your amazement, he simply dismissed your concerns. The press conference proceeded.
And what a press conference it was! Hurricanes had been all over the news that summer. Global warming was the obvious culprit -- only a fool or an oil-industry lobbyist, the press made clear, could ignore the link between what seemed to be ever increasing hurricane activity and ever increasing global warming. The press conference didn't disappoint them. The climate change experts at hand all confirmed the news that the public had been primed to hear: Global warming was causing hurricanes. This judgement from the scientists made headlines around the world, just as it was intended to do. What better way to cast global warming as catastrophic than to make hurricanes its poster child?
You wanted to right this outrageous wrong, this mockery that was made of your scientific field. You wrote top IPCC officials, imploring: "Where is the science, the refereed publications, that substantiate these pronouncements? What studies are being alluded to that have shown a connection between observed warming trends on the earth and long-term trends in tropical cyclone activity? As far as I know, there are none." But no one in the IPCC leadership showed the slightest concern for the science. The IPCC's overriding preoccupation, it soon sunk in, lay in capitalizing on the publicity opportunity that the hurricane season presented.
You then asked the IPCC leadership for assurances that your work for the IPCC's 2007 report would be true to science: "[Dr. Trenberth] seems to have already come to the conclusion that global warming has altered hurricane activity and has publicly stated so. This does not reflect the consensus within the hurricane research community. ... Thus I would like assurance that what will be included in the IPCC report will reflect the best available information and the consensus within the scientific community most expert on the specific topic."
The assurance didn't come. What did come was the realization that the IPCC was corrupting science. This you could not be a party to. You then resigned, in an open letter to the scientific community laying out your reasons.
Next year, the IPCC will come out with its "Fourth Assessment Report," and for the first time in a decade, you will not be writing its section on hurricanes. That task will be left to the successor that Dr. Trenberth chose. As part of his responsibility, he will need to explain why -- despite all expectations -- the 2006 hurricane year was so unexpectedly light, and at the historical average for the past 150 years.
- Lawrence Solomon is executive director of Urban Renaissance Institute and Consumer Policy Institute, divisions of Energy Probe Research Foundation.
Christopher Landsea received his doctoral degree in atmospheric science from Colorado State University. A research meteorologist at the Atlantic Oceanic and Meteorological Laboratory of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, he was chair of the American Meteorological Society's committee on tropical meteorology and tropical cyclones and a recipient of the American Meteorological Society's Banner I. Miller Award for the "best contribution to the science of hurricane and tropical weather forecasting." He is a frequent contributor to leading journals, including Science, Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, Journal of Climate, and Nature.
Lawrence Solomon, National PostPublished: Friday, February 02, 2007
Astrophysicist Nir Shariv, one of Israel's top young scientists, describes the logic that led him -- and most everyone else -- to conclude that SUVs, coal plants and other things man-made cause global warming.
Step One Scientists for decades have postulated that increases in carbon dioxide and other gases could lead to a greenhouse effect.
Step Two As if on cue, the temperature rose over the course of the 20th century while greenhouse gases proliferated due to human activities.
Step Three No other mechanism explains the warming. Without another candidate, greenhouses gases necessarily became the cause.
Dr. Shariv, a prolific researcher who has made a name for himself assessing the movements of two-billion-year-old meteorites, no longer accepts this logic, or subscribes to these views. He has recanted: "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."
Dr. Shariv's digging led him to the surprising discovery that there is no concrete evidence -- only speculation -- that man-made greenhouse gases cause global warming. Even research from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change-- the United Nations agency that heads the worldwide effort to combat global warming -- is bereft of anything here inspiring confidence. In fact, according to the IPCC's own findings, man's role is so uncertain that there is a strong possibility that we have been cooling, not warming, the Earth. Unfortunately, our tools are too crude to reveal what man's effect has been in the past, let alone predict how much warming or cooling we might cause in the future.
All we have on which to pin the blame on greenhouse gases, says Dr. Shaviv, is "incriminating circumstantial evidence," which explains why climate scientists speak in terms of finding "evidence of fingerprints." Circumstantial evidence might be a fine basis on which to justify reducing greenhouse gases, he adds, "without other 'suspects.' " However, Dr. Shaviv not only believes there are credible "other suspects," he believes that at least one provides a superior explanation for the 20th century's warming.
"Solar activity can explain a large part of the 20th-century global warming," he states, particularly because of the evidence that has been accumulating over the past decade of the strong relationship that cosmic- ray flux has on our atmosphere. So much evidence has by now been amassed, in fact, that "it is unlikely that [the solar climate link] does not exist."
The sun's strong role indicates that greenhouse gases can't have much of an influence on the climate -- that C02 et al. don't dominate through some kind of leveraging effect that makes them especially potent drivers of climate change. The upshot of the Earth not being unduly sensitive to greenhouse gases is that neither increases nor cutbacks in future C02 emissions will matter much in terms of the climate.
Even doubling the amount of CO2 by 2100, for example, "will not dramatically increase the global temperature," Dr. Shaviv states. Put another way: "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."
The evidence from astrophysicists and cosmologists in laboratories around the world, on the other hand, could well be significant. In his study of meteorites, published in the prestigious journal, Physical Review Letters, Dr. Shaviv found that the meteorites that Earth collected during its passage through the arms of the Milky Way sustained up to 10% more cosmic ray damage than others. That kind of cosmic ray variation, Dr. Shaviv believes, could alter global temperatures by as much as 15% --sufficient to turn the ice ages on or off and evidence of the extent to which cosmic forces influence Earth's climate.
In another study, directly relevant to today's climate controversy, Dr. Shaviv reconstructed the temperature on Earth over the past 550 million years to find that cosmic ray flux variations explain more than two-thirds of Earth's temperature variance, making it the most dominant climate driver over geological time scales. The study also found that an upper limit can be placed on the relative role of CO2 as a climate driver, meaning that a large fraction of the global warming witnessed over the past century could not be due to CO2 -- instead it is attributable to the increased solar activity.
CO2 does play a role in climate, Dr. Shaviv believes, but a secondary role, one too small to preoccupy policymakers. Yet Dr. Shaviv also believes fossil fuels should be controlled, not because of their adverse affects on climate but to curb pollution.
"I am therefore in favour of developing cheap alternatives such as solar power, wind, and of course fusion reactors (converting Deuterium into Helium), which we should have in a few decades, but this is an altogether different issue." His conclusion: "I am quite sure Kyoto is not the right way to go."