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Do green targets miss the point?

Richard Black | 10:19 UK time, Thursday, 18 December 2008

Probably the least surprising environmental news of the week was that European Union countries are highly unlikely to meet the international target of curbing biodiversity loss by 2010.

Unsurprising, because no region of the world is likely to meet the target.

bird picture from afpBut worth noting, I would suggest, because of all the regions, Europe, with its stable population, relatively slow economic growth, increasing forest cover and raft of environmental policies is in the best shape to tackle biodiversity loss.

If it can't be stemmed here, what hope for the rest?

Combined with the distinct feeling around the UN climate conference last week that governments are more interested in avoiding damage to their competitiveness than in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, it got me wondering whether setting targets is really the best way to make progress on these issues.

The biodiversity target was agreed at the UN conference that came 10 years after the Rio Earth Summit - the World Summit on Sustainable Development, held in Johannesburg in 2002.

The UN Convention on Biological Diversity gives this rationale:

Clear, long-term outcome-oriented targets that are adopted by the international community can help shape expectations and create the conditions in which all actors, whether governments, the private sector, or civil society, have the confidence to develop solutions to common problems.
By establishing targets and indicators, progress can be assessed and appropriate actions taken.

All true enough. But there has to be political will to achieve the targets.

Take the Kyoto Protocol. Its greenhouse gas targets were not especially onerous. A modern developed nation could easily make the small cuts mandated within a decade and a half - at a cost, of course, but they knew that when they signed up.

powerstationgetty203.jpgSome have done so; but not all. UN data shows that as of two years ago, Spain's emissions were about 40% above its Kyoto target. Austria's were 25% above, while Japan and Ireland were about 12% off course; there are others.

So clearly the mere setting of a relatively easy target does not mean that it will be met.

As economist George von Furstenberg has argued, governments have a habit of promising more than they can, or intend to, deliver. When the target date is further away than the next election, it's not a bad electoral strategy, but there is surely a tendency for the public to assume that if a stringent target has been set, the problem is on the way to being solved.

So are targets worthwhile? Would all the time and energy not be better spent simply developing and implementing policies that deliver firm benefits?

Europe is failing to curb biodiversity loss, not because of anything to do with the target, but because it doesn't yet have the right policies in place to stem all the things that drive biodiversity loss. It's even disappearing inside protected areas.

Over the next year, governments will wrangle long into many nights about another set of targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions. This time around, it will be even more complex, given that curbs for developing countries are also on the horizon.

Then in 2010, they'll meet to discuss why they have collectively failed to meet the 2010 biodiversity target.

Concerned observers will look, shake heads, lament the failure and demand a tougher target next time.

What is right? I don't know. But I think it's worth asking whether the whole notion of target-based environmental treaties is wide of the mark, and whether governments would be better off just taking measures that they know will work.


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  • 1. At 12:17pm on 18 Dec 2008, Lord_Stormshadow wrote:

    The various environmental targets that governments set are completely pointless, and will all be missed by a wide margin. Achieving any kind of significant change would require a dramatic drop in lifestyles, which, as the recent Manchester Congestion Charge vote proves, people are simply not going to vote for.

    The problem will correct itself in a few hundred years, as the ice caps melt, sea levels rise, and the ever expanding human population starts fighting wars, eventually nuclear wars, over access to food and fresh water.

    The planet and its ecosystems will survive and evolve to cope. But human civilisation will be brought crashing down in ruin, and most of the human population will die with it.

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  • 2. At 1:02pm on 18 Dec 2008, ArmchairNo10 wrote:

    Targets ARE useful, if only as reminder of intentions. If we are missing targets, then we should hold our government to account and ensure any alternative govt. promises to do better.

    It is typical of this (and previous) govt. policy to set a target, fail to deliver, blame the target setting process, then reinvent policy to conveniently forget about its failure.

    We should stop letting them get away with it. Doing other things which work are not necessarily an alternative to targets. What's wrong with keeping the targets AND doing other things?

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  • 3. At 1:21pm on 18 Dec 2008, Chad Secksington wrote:

    The biggest problem for the environmental lobby is the constant production of new reports saying that the situation is worse than we thought, there isn't a week goes by without the Guardian trumpeting some report or other claiming that some vital tipping point has passed.

    The reason that the sea change in public opinion / behaviour isn't happening is that all the reports that come out claim we're as good as dead unless we all revert to travelling by ox cart and living in caves (I'm exagerrating to make a point), if you think you're going to be wiped out anyway there's little incentive to spend your final years on the earth making sacrifices.

    What needs to happen is that the various groups need to stop producing scattershot reports claiming that "the situation is worse than we predicted" that just demoralises the people who might take action and fuels the nay sayers who can claim (with some justification) that your modelling is shaky.

    Winning over the already committed is pointless, and you're not going to win over Joe Public by telling him his fuel and energy prices need to be higher to fetch down emissions if somebody else is telling him it's too late anyway.

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  • 4. At 1:26pm on 18 Dec 2008, Shaun Chamberlin wrote:

    This is why we need a Tradable Energy Quotas (TEQs) scheme in place as soon as possible - so that achieving our agreed energy and emissions targets is actually guaranteed. Let's hope the Department for Energy and Climate Change see the light.

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  • 5. At 1:46pm on 18 Dec 2008, Jan wrote:

    We have to forget all about what governments do or don't do and start doing it for ourselves.

    This means all of us who care need to downsize and simplify our lives and lead by example.

    Politicians have proved that ultimately they care only about themselves and kow-tow to all the vested interests for their own ends. Don't they just love running off all over the world for expensive and lavish conferences which ultimately produce nothing? This is the exact opposite of what they should be doing if they really care. If they really care they should be travelling less not more.

    We all need to start taking responsibility for living sustainably within our means with a feeling of reverence for all the earth provides for us instead of treating it with utter disdain by wasting resources and chucking stuff away without a moment's thought.

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  • 6. At 2:11pm on 18 Dec 2008, MartinSykes wrote:

    The targets are not pointless but we need to change how we think about them. We simply don't have a sufficient understanding of how the global climate works to be able to work out what the final target *needs* to be and in a changing world the answer will change too.

    Look at the raw CO2 figures from Mauna Loa. It is blindingly obvious that, despite all efforts to date, CO2 levels are continuing their accelerating rise unchecked.

    So, we are obviously a long way from the point where we can sit back content and breath a huge sigh of relief that we have 'saved the world'. We don't know how much we will need to do but it's enough to know that we're not doing enough now and we know what more we could be doing. Targets are simply blunt instruments to encourage us on our way. In cases like this where we can't determine a definitive scientific value for what final targets need to be reached, there is still a benefit in setting an arbitrary target if its presence makes us move faster and achieve more than we would have without it.

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  • 7. At 2:33pm on 18 Dec 2008, ButterMoose wrote:

    The targets need to be made over a shorter timescale (say two years) and be legally binding so that short-termist governments with an eye on the next election cannot wriggle out of them.

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  • 8. At 3:29pm on 18 Dec 2008, Beejay wrote:

    The Mauna Loa CO2 figures are heavily massaged as were the original CO2 levels from a century ago. Cherry picked low levels were averaged when in actual fact the CO2 levels rise and fall substantially during each year. Guy Callendar established a false pre-industrial level of CO2 at 280 ppm. The level was actually around 335 ppm.
    Only low readings were chosen. Jaworowski notes,
    “The notion of low pre-industrial CO2 atmospheric level, based on such poor knowledge, became a widely accepted Holy Grail of climate warming models. The modelers ignored the evidence from direct measurements of CO2 in atmospheric air indicating that in 19th century its average concentration was 335 ppmv.” Beck recently confirmed Professor Zbigniew Jaworowski's research.

    Greenie climate hysterics once again.

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  • 9. At 4:24pm on 18 Dec 2008, Vineski wrote:

    These long term targets are like New Year's resolutions: they look good, but they don't mean anything. Concentrating on quotas actually takes attention away from solving the individual parts of the problem. We need to turn our attention to specific sets of data: e.g., CO2 levels in the atmosphere, pounds of fish harvested each year, etc.. Post these with all the past data, to see where we stand and where we are going. Then we can direct our attention to specific problems, and take action to alleviate them, one at a time. As a retired scientist/engineer, I know you solve problems one at a time, not by setting up grandiose bureaucratic schemes to solve problems, like all these "quotas".

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  • 10. At 4:50pm on 18 Dec 2008, greenNautilus wrote:

    Richard, without targets, journalists like you would have an immensely difficult time to alert the public of the significance of change. Change is happening very slowly in human timeframes but the decline in biodiversity is scary when the clock is sped up a little. Yes, the failure to meet most targets drives some of us to despair but blissful ignorance of the facts would be even worse.

    In the case of biodiversity, one issue has been the failure to see humans as part of the biosphere. The beautiful nature programmes on the BBC rarely showed real local people and gave the impression that somewhere out there everything had to be alright. But those of us who have the doubtful privilege of seeing it for ourselves in our work know that the human footprint is everywhere and targets have to include people. That was one of the reasons why the Millennium Development Goals were invented. And many of these too will not be achieved; overall we're not even doing well at reducing poverty and protecting our fellow humans. But there must still be hope. For every missed target we can show some examples of someone somewhere who got it right and wave those in the face of our politicians as well.

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  • 11. At 09:21am on 19 Dec 2008, jon112uk wrote:

    All these 'targets' are pretty meaningless without concrete plans of how to achieve them.

    Instead of yet more unenforcable targets on CO2, for example, I'd like to see positive action on realistic alternatives to fossil fuel.

    If you tell me to become unemployed because I can't use my car, I will tell you to get lost. If you give me something carbon neutral to fuel my car I will happily use it.

    Multiply that up by billions of people and millions of businesses and you get to the situation we are now in.

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  • 12. At 12:14pm on 19 Dec 2008, vagueofgodalming wrote:

    How can you tell if a policy works unless you measure the outcome and have a value in mind that counts as success? Particularly for something non-intuitive like biodiversity?

    Emissions trading schemes, of course, require an ageed total level of emissions to work.

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  • 13. At 1:07pm on 19 Dec 2008, Veli Albert Kallio wrote:

    The switch to renewable energies such as off-shore and on-shore wind turbines, concentrated solar power, hydroelectricity, solar cells, tidal turbines, tide barriers, nuclear heat-electricity co-generation plants will all produce huge amounts of energy if we start building them now. We do not need to dig up coal, peat, oil or gas to run our power stations as these cumulatively add combustion products to the atmosphere as the carbon sinks are becoming increasingly saturated by build-up of our emissions.

    The plan to move towards zero-emission buildings in 2016 will reduce need for that heat which then leaks through walls, windows, roofs and floors to outside world. That stone-age thing, rockwool, can still do the job if we put a thicker layer of it, polustyrene under and beside the building keeps the ground warmer. Then there are those hi-tech new materials like aerogel and vacuum window panes that can bring heat losses from exterior surfaces to zero. I repeat, to the big "zero". I discourage people not to ventilate their homes and try to reduce their carbon footprint this foolis way as poor quality air increase asthma and illnesses just as much as cold homes can do if not enough warmed. We do not need to live in igloo, but government must make it priority to get money back on this.

    The public transport must also be expanded and walking and cycling to the work by improving pavements and cycle ways and giving economic initiatives for all of these. Most successful way of getting public to abandon cars may be Work Time Inititatives (WTIs) where time spent in public transport is made as payable working hours on provision of evidence of timetables and travel tickets. The treasury then reimburshes these salaries and travelcosts to the employers and levies cost to drivers.

    The public transport can also be made more "sexy" and "fashionable" by providing on-board games, internet facilities for commuters on trains. Employers penalising against employees coming work on cycle or by walking must face discrimination discipline and in employment decision making car must not be allowed to be consideration in jobs based in fixed offices.

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  • 14. At 10:46pm on 19 Dec 2008, 1mean1 wrote:

    Plain English about targets.
    It's a good thing to remember all the targets that were reached or not.
    Let's compare the environmental targets like anybody's parents or best friends run after by a raging driver.

    Sure I want to remember if the raging driver ran over my parents or my best friend at least I remember if they survive the crashes, their injuries or if they plainly died.

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  • 15. At 11:10pm on 19 Dec 2008, Regalma wrote:

    We know that targets will not be met. That is just reality. The best we can hope for is to strive to do what we can.

    But I have come to the conclusion that all of this is just a holding action at best. The continued growth of the human population is very likely to overwhelm any progress we make in changing our behaviour.

    The accelerating rate of change to the evironment from our far too massive population is more than the earth could ever cope with.

    Unless we make some amazing scientific and culture breakthroughs I dread to think what kind of earth we will be living on in 50 years. The things I most love about the world will be gone.

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  • 16. At 09:50am on 20 Dec 2008, sanity4all wrote:

    Targets are probably meaningless.

    The seeming obsession of governments and pressure groups with CO2, cars, oil, coal is simply mind boggling and the subsequent financial resources spent on Treaties, Conferences, Quangos, the delegates travel, hotels all make a mockery of their real concern for the environment. If they really cared, they wouldn't talk, they would do.

    The battles for cleaner energy resources, nuclear, green wind, solar, wood, carbon capture coal etc is more about the Politics of Power and Wealth than about really saving the planet or Climate Change. Whoever owns the power source, is not only wealthy, but controls the dependants.

    More about dictats by those who have than those that do not and by those that want us to do what they say, not what they do!

    We must remember many nations, governments, individuals and businesses have trashed parts of the Earth's surface as a litter park or dumping ground and ravaged or exhausted natural resources as they see fit.

    Loss of Bio-Diversity and its necessary habitats would be a crime beyond thinking about but we must remember the Earth is evolving too, all the time, slowly but surely.

    After all Darwin found that Mankind evolved on Earth from early life forms and will continue to evolve, as the planet Earth evolves. Who knows what will happen to us or what we may 'develop' into in the future. Does it matter? Not really as it is evolution after all and we shouldn't play God should we?

    Finally, yes CO2 does pollute, but it is a naive scientist or environmentalist that fails to recognise not all the Earth's warming is due just to Co2 or other greenhouse gas polluted atmosphere.

    Our planet's atmosphere may become polluted, causing both warming and cooling (due to blotting out some of the Sun's radiation) but until someone does some ADDITIONAL SERIOUS RESEARCH into things such as:
    the rate of change of the Earth's orbital precession and the change in inclination of the Poles to the Sun and its affect on surface temperatures;
    the number and frequency of ice-breaker journeys in the Arctic seas, disrupting ice sheets;
    the rise in temperature of the ground BENEATH Glaciers, causing glacial melt (apart from air temperature);
    magmaphysics and the changes to the Earth's molten core and the radiated heat to the groundrock layers below the surface of the planet;
    the effect of plate tectonics and sub-sea volcanic activity and the superheating of the deep sea and ocean trench fluid layers that can and will impact on the trans-oceanic 'convection' streams that flow across our planet, bringing temperature changes to our shorelines;
    Solar wind changes (reducing over the last 50 years) and its effect (plus or minus) on Solar radiation warming of the Earth.

    Until such time as we have most of the answers above we will NEVER KNOW COMPLETELY just how much OUR PLANET EARTH IS SIMPLY SUFFERING FROM THE HANGOVER OF man's POLLUTION OR IS EVOLVING and more importantly, at what speed.

    King Canute couldn't stop the waves. We may have to live with the consequences of a dirty environment - SO BE IT, but we will probably never be able to control evolution, nor should we.

    Chuck away the targets. Stop dictating and taxing others. Encourage a better way of living by example and use your spare time to help the poor or impoverished in the rest of the world, rather than lining pockets with the riches from the profits made from taxing energy sources.

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  • 17. At 2:27pm on 20 Dec 2008, Star_Trekker wrote:

    You are quite correct. The commitments should be based upon implementing specific programs, not general catchall targets that no one has any intention of even trying to meet.

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  • 18. At 11:54am on 21 Dec 2008, KingCelticLion wrote:

    It is nearly the 40th Anniversary of one of the most important photographs ever taken, Christmas Eve/Day. An image which encompasses all our targets.

    "In the beginning... God created the Heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep."

    Celtic Lion

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  • 19. At 2:12pm on 21 Dec 2008, Morgaine_VLB wrote:

    I think the bottom line is that no one wants to be the one to make the sacrifice. We're all hoping someone else will, or that the impending disaster will happen to our kids or grandkids, instead of to us. (Yes, I know it sounds terrible, but that's what it boils down to, isn't it?)

    The public is waiting for governments to solve it; government is waiting for the private sector, which is waiting for science to produce a miracle so that there won't be any need... Ultimately, people resist change. We don't like it and we won't do it until the crisis is at our back doorstep... Take for example recent food shortages. Scary reading, yes, but if you're not experiencing a shortage yourself it's easy to just gossip about it and keep living your current lifestyle. Loss of biodiversity? For the person who doesn't see it, it isn't happening. Just another conspiracy of naturalists.

    Employers aren't going to let us do things differently, and they dictate the nature of for most of our waking lives. But while they may give lip service to the need for change, they still can't trust we're working unless they can see us doing it with their own eyes, even if working from home would keep thousands of cars off the road for most of the week. We have to drive 3 hours daily just for work, and that's likely to increase with the coming financial crisis.

    And ultimately, I am not sure whether it's worse to cut down trees or to use all the power and resources that computers require to operate efficiently. If I knew that, I might be able to make an informed choice about which to do, but in the absence of any clear information I'll tend towards preserving life... which also preserves the machines, ironically.

    We can all boohoo over this or we can take personal responsibility for effecting the change ourselves. In the end, I think that's the only way change is going to happen.

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  • 20. At 2:46pm on 21 Dec 2008, SgtChris1479 wrote:

    Species come and species go. What I personally dislike is the environmentalists' anti-human stance. What good are solar panels or wind turbines to a hospital in Ethiopia?

    The bottom line is that they need electricity, water, industrialisation and the like just as much as we needed it back in 1900 or so. Africa is rich in natural resources and yet the population are being tied up and discouraged from using them. The height of hypocrisy... 'Hospitals, MRI machines, vaccines, Ipods and trains for me... a muddy field and a solar panel for you'.

    The targets are virtually irrelevant for all but the most toxic and harmful chemicals. Let us help our fellow man before condemning millions to an early grave for the sake of a frog in Tanganeeka.


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  • 21. At 4:36pm on 21 Dec 2008, FawltyPowers wrote:

    Read about something about...
    ..unexpected magma find only 2.5km down in Hawaii
    ..Swiss glaciers going end of century and uncovering Roman and ancient settlement finds as they recede (Carbon emissions then??)
    ..scientists saying increasing volcanic (magma?) activity over the years
    All driven from our carbon emissions eh?

    When are we going to drop this politically driven nonsense about man-made global warming giving politicians the chance to divert from the real problems they should be (but are incapable of) solving and let the people of science and knowledge have the screen time to advise!!!!

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  • 22. At 5:12pm on 21 Dec 2008, osymandius wrote:

    Climate change can be looked as an issue of supply and demand. The supply side is the capacity of the earth to absorb our release of climate changing gases and the demand side the world economic expansion. The commitment side has focused on the supply side of the equation. This always faces the problem that we simply dont know what efforts will result in. We dont even know what the extrapolation of present scenarios would result.
    So lets go about this another way. We know what the world consumption was at various population levels and can quite simply model changes in living standards on to these prior demand levels. From this we can interpolate the resultant changes on the earth's capacity to absorb gases.
    The next step is to set a level of population that is commensurate with this.
    The political argument then changes to population control. The sacrifice becomes a psychological one of the denial to reproduce

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  • 23. At 11:16am on 22 Dec 2008, The_Exit wrote:

    Sadly despite everthing that has happened in the financial and business world this year no real lessons have been learnt or enacted.

    Until we are able to find and implement an economic system that is not based on the premise that 'growth is good', then few countries will sign up to real term measures that will change business or indivuduall behaviours to any great degree.

    We have an economics mentality that believes that the only form of success is increasing profits, and we see stories about 'failure' because some organisations profits have fallen to only £xMillion instead of the £x+Milion they made last year.

    We live on a fixed size planet with finite resources. On this basis continual growth is a flawed concept.

    When communism finally failed as an economic construct, it did not mean that capitalism is correct, only that its worked more effectively. It does not make either of them 'right'; neither does it make the perceived winner the only way ahead. We need to challenge this way of thinking - because ulitimately we have a finite world, and a reducing amount of time to get to an economic model that is both sustainable and fairer for the whole of the human race.

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  • 24. At 12:09pm on 22 Dec 2008, bearmarket2_0 wrote:

    What will be very interesting over the next few years is what will happen when the evidence becomes facts-based. And how it will be factored into the targets.

    Soon, a satellite will be launched, that will localise where the CO2 emissions are actually coming from, as opposed to where political correctness tells us it "ought to"

    For example, what happens when we get pictures, in beautiful techno-porn, of the clouds of CO2 ballooning from the cement-works making the bases of windmills.

    Or the high-greenhouse methane from the green-waste mountains. Which previously decayed nicely in the low-density partially aerobic landfills, but is now going nicely anaerobic.

    And the rivers becoming depleted of water, with peope washing (!) their recycling, exposing the peat bogs, with massive CO2 release.

    I guess it will be "business as usual", and it will all be dismissed as an "anomaly". Or a conspiracy by "the Americans". Right on, bro!

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  • 25. At 8:20pm on 22 Dec 2008, Asterionella wrote:

    Just a thought. While we are all discussing "heatedly" about CO2 emissions: at this year's CeBIT -the world's largest trade fair showcasing digital IT and telecommunications- the "Green IT" was a hot topic and it was estimated, that todays use of internet produces two percent of all CO2 emissions ... as much as the whole air traffic ...
    unfortunately I have my source only in German

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  • 26. At 8:35pm on 22 Dec 2008, KingCelticLion wrote:

    #25 Asterionella

    There's some more info at the Newsnight blog, but no source references.

    Celtic Lion

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  • 27. At 06:35am on 23 Dec 2008, amergirl76 wrote:

    I'm a member of the green party, register this year just so I could vote, for the first time and I'm forty years old But I felt it was that important. They are on the right road for going green, they need to think more out of the box. They have the right people in place now for the job... I have a few ideas but i'm trying to get a book published just for this purpose if it gets published or not I'm going to get my and others ideas out there cause we in american needs
    CHANGE for that matter the world ....


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  • 28. At 5:38pm on 23 Dec 2008, stewing wrote:

    iF WE GATHER ALL YOU, SO CALLED EXPERTS INTO A PILE AND SET FIRE TO YOU , wOULD THAT INCREASE THE CHANCES OF GLOBAL WARMING OR NOT. THESE SCARES GO ON AND ON . AMONG MANY WE HAD AIDS, AVIAN FLU, THE MILLENIUM BUG, CJD, GLOBAL WARMING. All were going to wipe us out to the last man. N ow the next is a "kind of a CJD" that infects us through eating pork, so I expect we,ll go through every animal in our food chain before we exhaust that scare.I,ts an industry," the scare industry" hijacked and made more sophisticated by the likes of Al Gore who the D....heads gave a nobel prize to. We later found he cared so much about the planet and global warming his house consumed FiFTY times the electricity of normal one. Get wise and start asking whats in it for the people making these assumptions, and the evidence. The head of the North Americen meteorological office said Gore should have been prosecuted for fraud over his warning about "truth", He also stated there was no conclusive proof that global warming was a man made phenomenon.

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  • 29. At 03:51am on 28 Dec 2008, dennisjunior1 wrote:

    Missing the point in the green field; is often the issue around the world...

    ~Dennis Junior~

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  • 30. At 01:31am on 04 Jan 2009, Daviid_Dublin wrote:

    Scientists abandon global warming 'lie'

    650 to dissent at U.N. climate change conference

    WASHINGTON - A United Nations climate change conference in Poland is about to get a surprise from 650 leading scientists who scoff at doomsday reports of man-made global warming - labeling them variously a lie, a hoax and part of a new religion.

    Later today, their voices will be heard in a U.S. Senate minority report quoting the scientists, many of whom are current and former members of the U.N.'s own Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

    About 250 of the scientists quoted in the report have joined the dissenting scientists in the last year alone.

    In fact, the total number of scientists represented in the report is 12 times the number of U.N. scientists who authored the official IPCC 2007 report.

    Here are some choice excerpts from the report:

    * "I am a skeptic ... . Global warming has become a new religion." -- Nobel Prize Winner for Physics, Ivar Giaever.

    * "Since I am no longer affiliated with any organization nor receiving any funding, I can speak quite frankly ... . As a scientist I remain skeptical." -- Atmospheric Scientist Dr. Joanne Simpson, the first woman in the world to receive a Ph.D. in meteorology and formerly of NASA who has authored more than 190 studies and has been called "among the most pre-eminent scientists of the last 100 years."

    * Warming fears are the "worst scientific scandal in the history ... . When people come to know what the truth is, they will feel deceived by science and scientists." -- U.N. IPCC Japanese Scientist Dr. Kiminori Itoh, an award-winning Ph.D. environmental physical chemist.

    * "The IPCC has actually become a closed circuit; it doesn't listen to others. It doesn't have open minds ... . I am really amazed that the Nobel Peace Prize has been given on scientifically incorrect conclusions by people who are not geologists." -- Indian geologist Dr. Arun D. Ahluwalia at Punjab University and a board member of the U.N.-supported International Year of the Planet.

    * "The models and forecasts of the U.N. IPCC "are incorrect because they only are based on mathematical models and presented results at scenarios that do not include, for example, solar activity." -- Victor Manuel Velasco Herrera, a researcher at the Institute of Geophysics of the National Autonomous University of Mexico.

    * "It is a blatant lie put forth in the media that makes it seem there is only a fringe of scientists who don't buy into anthropogenic global warming." -- U.S. Government Atmospheric Scientist Stanley B. Goldenberg of the Hurricane Research Division of NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

    * "Even doubling or tripling the amount of carbon dioxide will virtually have little impact, as water vapor and water condensed on particles as clouds dominate the worldwide scene and always will." -- Geoffrey G. Duffy, a professor in the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering of the University of Auckland, New Zealand.

    * "After reading [U.N. IPCC chairman] Pachauri's asinine comment [comparing skeptics to] Flat Earthers, it's hard to remain quiet." -- Climate statistician Dr. William M. Briggs, who specializes in the statistics of forecast evaluation, serves on the American Meteorological Society's Probability and Statistics Committee and is an associate editor of Monthly Weather Review.

    * "For how many years must the planet cool before we begin to understand that the planet is not warming? For how many years must cooling go on?" -- Geologist Dr. David Gee, the chairman of the science committee of the 2008 International Geological Congress who has authored 130 plus peer-reviewed papers, and is currently at Uppsala University in Sweden.

    * "Gore prompted me to start delving into the science again and I quickly found myself solidly in the skeptic camp ... . Climate models can at best be useful for explaining climate changes after the fact." -- Meteorologist Hajo Smit of Holland, who reversed his belief in man-made warming to become a skeptic, is a former member of the Dutch U.N. IPCC committee.

    * "Many [scientists] are now searching for a way to back out quietly (from promoting warming fears), without having their professional careers ruined." -- Atmospheric physicist James A. Peden, formerly of the Space Research and Coordination Center in Pittsburgh, Pa.

    * "Creating an ideology pegged to carbon dioxide is a dangerous nonsense ... . The present alarm on climate change is an instrument of social control, a pretext for major businesses and political battle. It became an ideology, which is concerning." -- Environmental Scientist Professor Delgado Domingos of Portugal, the founder of the Numerical Weather Forecast group, has more than 150 published articles.

    * "CO2 emissions make absolutely no difference one way or another ... . Every scientist knows this, but it doesn't pay to say so ... . Global warming, as a political vehicle, keeps Europeans in the driver's seat and developing nations walking barefoot." -- Dr. Takeda Kunihiko, vice-chancellor of the Institute of Science and Technology Research at Chubu University in Japan.

    * "The [global warming] scaremongering has its justification in the fact that it is something that generates funds." -- Award-winning Paleontologist Dr. Eduardo Tonni, of the Committee for Scientific Research in Buenos Aires and head of the Paleontology Department at the University of La Plata.

    The report also includes new peer-reviewed scientific studies and analyses refuting man-made warming fears and a climate developments that contradict the theory.

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  • 31. At 10:18pm on 17 Jan 2009, Vineski wrote:

    Let me elaborate on my previous comment. We can monitor what progress we're making without having actual tatgets. One of my goals is to live as long and healthy a life as I can, but i don't say my goal is to live 80 years or 100 years. The danger of targets is, if you meet them, you tend to congratulate yourself and lessen your efforts, and if you don't meet them, you tend to say they were too strict, and lower your goals. Better to insist on slow and steady progress, and spend your time on solving problems rather than arguing about what you are (maybe) going to do (sometime).

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  • 32. At 12:03pm on 20 Jan 2009, corriedog69 wrote:

    On one hand we need targets so that action can really take place. However sometimes I think Governments are more concerned about the targets than they are about saving the environment. Bio-diesel is just one example of something that is supposed to be good for the environment but at the end of the day, all it's doing is causing deforestation and food shortages.

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