The Week That Was March 23-29, 1998

An e-mail update from The Science & Environmental Policy Project

More heavy breathing and foaming at the mouth over the Petition Drive, which opposes the Kyoto Protocol. Now it's the turn of the Sierra Club, as they put out an "Action Alert" railing against the Petition. Sorry fellows, you are too late! We're told that more than 10,000 scientists have now signed. And for those few who have not yet seen it -- we received lots of inquiries since last week -- here it is:

"We urge the United States government to reject the global warming agreement that was written in Kyoto, Japan in December, 1997, and any other similar proposals. The proposed limits on greenhouse gases would harm the environment, hinder the advance of science and technology, and damage the health and welfare of mankind.

"There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth."

Just sign, list your highest academic degree (and field), and mail it to Petition Project, P.O. Box 1925, La Jolla, CA 92038-1925. And don't forget to let the Sierra Club and the Union of 'Confused' Scientists know that you signed. Here are their e-mail addresses: , In fact, the Sierra Club Alert has thoughtfully provided e-mail addresses and phone numbers for all the important Washington contacts. So feel free to let them know too, and, please copy us through .

> Sierra Club Legislative Hotline - 202-675-2394 > Sierra Club National Headquarters - 415-977-5500 > Sierra Club World Wide Web - > > White House Comment Line - 202-456-1111 > White House Fax Line - 202-456-2461 > Clinton's e-mail - > Gore's e-mail - > White House Address - 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, Washington, DC 20500 > > US Capitol Switchboard - 202-224-3121 > To contact your senators - > To contact your representative -

The Sierra Club Alert doesn't come up with any good science arguments, but it does a terrific job of name-calling. It seems that everyone who supports the Petition must "industry funded." (We invite the gentle reader to look at our web page to see how environmental organizations are funded by industry.) We are told on good authority that the Marshall Institute does not take money from industry, and certainly, Dr. Frederick Seitz, past president of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences is not industry-funded.

So where does this leave the Sierra Club? Trying to deny that CO2 makes plants grow faster. We heard a rumor that they'll be coming out with buttons and bumper stickers saying "I did not exhale -- honestly." Just think how we could reduce CO2 emissions -- and population too -- if people just stopped exhaling.

The Sierra Club refers to Kyoto-dictated cuts as "modest." Sure, 7 percent sounds like a small number, but by the year 2010 that would represent a cut of more than 40 percent compared to the 1990 level (according to testimony to Congress by the director of the Energy Information Agency of the US Department of Energy). And we all know that the Kyoto cuts are just the beginning.

Talking about cutting CO2 emissions, the EPA just lost a big one, trying to sneak Kyoto policies into current legislation -- without waiting for the Senate to ratify the Protocol. The Clinton proposal to deregulate the retail market for electric power was supposed to have included a provision to limit the emissions of CO2. Much to the dismay of the greenies, this ploy had to be abandoned, although the proposal still includes requirements for power companies to disclose the level of emissions and the kind of fuels used to produce electricity -- a first step to eventual control. (The EPA will never give up its drive to label CO2 as a "pollutant" -- unless Congress stops this by legislation.)

When it comes to cutting CO2 emissions,or at least talking about it-- no one can beat the Europeans. The European Community, in signing the Kyoto Protocol last week, announced it grandiosely as "a major step forward in the fight against climate change." Good luck, chaps! King Canute tried to stop the tides; let's see you stop climate change. We'll be anxiously watching also to see how you control methane and nitrogen oxide -- particularly since there are no established methods of measuring the 1990 emissions of these gases. And we'll all be cheering for you as you dictate to European car manufacturers mandatory efficiency targets -- a further 30 percent increase. Added to all the social welfare programs, that's bound to end the "Wirtschaftswunder" in Germany and the rest of Europe. The European Community evidently wants to provide "international leadership" (one of those great phrases!) in showing the world how easy it is to commit economic suicide.

To quote the Sierra Club again, all this is being done to protect "the health of our children and the fate of the Earth." Lots of programs are sold with these magic words. The EPA has been trying to scare the American public for years about the health effects of radon, a naturally occurring gas that emanates from the ground and is slightly radioactive. To do this requires some scientific distortion and ignoring scientific evidence. It's been done before. More about radon next week...

TWTW is compiled by SEPP staff.

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