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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Chill out over global warming

By David Harsanyi

Denver Post Staff Columnist

12/26/2006

You'll often hear the left lecture about the importance of dissent in a free society.
Why not give it a whirl?

Start by challenging global warming hysteria next time you're at a LoDo cocktail party and see what happens.

Admittedly, I possess virtually no expertise in science. That puts me in exactly the same position as most dogmatic environmentalists who want to craft public policy around global warming fears.

The only inconvenient truth about global warming, contends Colorado State University's Bill Gray, is that a genuine debate has never actually taken place. Hundreds of scientists, many of them prominent in the field, agree.

Gray is perhaps the world's foremost hurricane expert. His Tropical Storm Forecast sets the standard. Yet, his criticism of the global warming "hoax" makes him an outcast.

"They've been brainwashing us for 20 years," Gray says. "Starting with the nuclear winter and now with the global warming. This scare will also run its course. In 15-20 years, we'll look back and see what a hoax this was."

Gray directs me to a 1975 Newsweek article that whipped up a different fear: a coming ice age.
"Climatologists," reads the piece, "are pessimistic that political leaders will take any positive action to compensate for the climatic change. ... The longer the planners delay, the more difficult will they find it to cope with climatic change once the results become grim reality."

Thank God they did nothing. Imagine how warm we'd be?

Another highly respected climatologist, Roger Pielke Sr. at the University of Colorado, is also skeptical.

Pielke contends there isn't enough intellectual diversity in the debate. He claims a few vocal individuals are quoted "over and over" again, when in fact there are a variety of opinions.
I ask him: How do we fix the public perception that the debate is over?

"Quite frankly," says Pielke, who runs the Climate Science Weblog (climatesci.atmos.colostate.edu), "I think the media is in the ideal position to do that. If the media honestly presented the views out there, which they rarely do, things would change. There aren't just two sides here. There are a range of opinions on this issue. A lot of scientists out there that are very capable of presenting other views are not being heard."

Al Gore (not a scientist) has definitely been heard - and heard and heard. His documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth," is so important, in fact, that Gore crisscrosses the nation destroying the atmosphere just to tell us about it.

"Let's just say a crowd of baby boomers and yuppies have hijacked this thing," Gray says. "It's about politics. Very few people have experience with some real data. I think that there is so much general lack of knowledge on this. I've been at this over 50 years down in the trenches working, thinking and teaching."

Gray acknowledges that we've had some warming the past 30 years. "I don't question that," he explains. "And humans might have caused a very slight amount of this warming. Very slight. But this warming trend is not going to keep on going. My belief is that three, four years from now, the globe will start to cool again, as it did from the middle '40s to the middle '70s."

Both Gray and Pielke say there are many younger scientists who voice their concerns about global warming hysteria privately but would never jeopardize their careers by speaking up.
"Plenty of young people tell me they don't believe it," he says. "But they won't touch this at all. If they're smart, they'll say: 'I'm going to let this run its course.' It's a sort of mild McCarthyism.

I just believe in telling the truth the best I can. I was brought up that way."

So next time you're with some progressive friends, dissent. Tell 'em you're not sold on this global warming stuff.

Back away slowly. You'll probably be called a fascist.

Don't worry, you're not. A true fascist is anyone who wants to take away my air conditioning or force me to ride a bike.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

No Link between Human-Induced Climate Change and Intensity/Frequency of Cyclones

December 12, 2006

WMO Press Release on Hurricanes and Climate Change

Posted to Author: Pielke Jr., R. Climate Change Disasters

This press release (.doc) from the World Meteorological Organization yesterday:
A consensus of 125 of the world’s leading tropical cyclone researchers and forecasters says that no firm link can yet be drawn between human-induced climate change and variations in the intensity and frequency of tropical cyclones.

The WMO is of course one of the parent bodies of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Given this pedigree and the importance of this consensus statement, I'm sure that we'll now see this widely discussed on science-related weblogs and in the media. For details on the consensus statement, see our earlier discussion here.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Edmunds Study: Do Hybrids Make Financial Sense Yet?

There are many good reasons to buy a hybrid.

Saving money still isn't one of them.

Date Posted 10-19-2006

With rising gas prices and attractive tax credits, many consumers feel they are making a frugal choice when they buy a hybrid car or SUV. Right? Well, not exactly. Sure, there are a lot of good reasons to buy a hybrid, such as reduced emissions and the conservation of limited oil reserves. However, from a strictly financial point of view it will take years before a hybrid will save a consumer enough money to pay for the added expense of buying one.

Edmunds has crunched the numbers, and has determined just how long it would take for buyers of new hybrids to break even (save enough money on gas to offset the additional expense of buying a hybrid). The results are surprising: Of vehicles that have an equivalent hybrid version, the 2007 Ford Escape Hybrid has the earliest break-even point. However, it still takes 2.9 years to save an Escape Hybrid's owner enough money to break even when compared to the cost of a four-cylinder 2007 Escape XLT.

Other highlights show the Toyota Camry Hybrid takes 8.2 years to break even compared to the powerful six-cylinder Camry LE and 5.8 years with the loaded four-cylinder Camry XLE. The Lexus RX 400h takes a whopping 13.6 years to break even with the Lexus RX 350.

Calculations were based on Edmunds' True Market Value for each vehicle, 15,000 miles per year combined city and highway driving, the average national price of gas ($3 per gallon on August 14), rebates and 2006 federal tax credits. We sought the most equivalent model from within the carmakers' lineups. Where necessary, we added options, such as leather or a sunroof in the 2006 Toyota Highlander Limited, in order to make the hybrid-to-gas model comparison as close as possible.

What about the 2006 Toyota Prius? This category creator doesn't have an equivalent gas-only version, so we compared it to both the 2006 Toyota Corolla LE and the gas-only Camry LE.
This comparison skews the numbers dramatically: It takes the Prius a shocking 13.6 years to catch up with the Corolla. Comparing the Prius to the Camry LE, though, makes it a scene-stealer: only 2.1 years to break even, the shortest of any of our comparisons.

But beware: The numbers here include the Prius' gigantic $3,150 federal tax credit, which will drop to $1,575 in October, because the number of total Toyota hybrids sold has reached a 60,000-unit-per-manufacturer cap.Commuters who put an average 25,000 miles on their vehicle will find their break-even times dramatically shortened (see chart below); those who drive significantly less than 15,000 miles per year will find it takes even longer to reach the break-even point.

Of course, it's not all about how much gas money your fuel-efficient hybrid will save. The myriad reasons why people buy hybrids include a desire to lower emissions, fascination with whizbang technology, wanting to reduce foreign oil dependency, and prestige, among others. Before choosing, though, it's important to know the real costs of owning a hybrid, including any potential differences in insurance or repairs, by using our True Cost To Own calculator. Below is an at-a-glance chart which summarizes our findings based on vehicle purchases; leases weren't included because they don't qualify for federal tax credits. These specific numbers are good at the time of publication, but will change based on the fluctuating price of gas, sales and incentives.

Click here for more detail, including EPA mpg estimates, pricing and annual gas savings for all vehicles in the study.

Year/Make/Model Years to Break Even

15,000 miles/year
25,000 miles/year

2007 Saturn Vue vs.2007 Saturn Vue Greenline
5.7
3.4

2007 Ford Escape XLT vs. 2007 Ford Escape Hybrid
2.9
1.7

2007 Mercury Mariner vs. 2007 Mercury Mariner Hybrid
7.8
4.7

2006 Honda Civic EX vs. 2006 Honda Civic Hybrid
6.1
3.7

2006 Honda Accord EX V6 vs. 2006 Honda Accord Hybrid
11.3
6.8

2006 Toyota Corolla LE vs. 2006 Toyota Prius
13.6
8.2

2007 Toyota Camry LE vs. 2006 Toyota Prius
2.1
1.2

2007 Toyota Camry XLE vs. 2007 Toyota Camry Hybrid
5.8
3.5

2007 Toyota Camry LE V6 vs. 2007 Toyota Camry Hybrid
8.2
4.9

2006 Toyota Highlander Limited vs. 2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Limited
15.5
9.3

2007 Lexus RX 350 vs .2006 Lexus RX 400h
13.6
8.2

2006 Lexus GS 430 vs .2007 Lexus GS 450h
15.1
9.1

Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Rare Snowfall Across South Africa

Comparable widespread snow across the country had been recorded only twice in the past 20 years, in 1981 and 1988.

by Staff Writers Johannesburg (AFP)

Aug 02, 2006

Snow fell on South Africa's biggest city Johannesburg for the first time in 25 years as icy temperatures gripped vast swathes of the country on Wednesday, the weather office said.

"It (the snow) is by no means freakish but I would certainly classify it as rare," said Kevin Rae, assistant manager of forecasting at the South African Weather Service in Pretoria.

Forecasters said snow was reported in the southern Johannesburg township of Soweto and the posh northern suburb of Sandton, as well as the nearby towns of Carletonville and Westonaria.
Johannesburg last had snow on September 11, 1981.

"Sleet has been recorded occasionally since then, but never snow," added climatologist Tracey Gill.

Bloemfontein, the capital of the central Free State province, got its first snow in 12 years, receiving 13 centimetres (5.2 inches).

Comparable widespread snow across the country had been recorded only twice in the past 20 years, in 1981 and 1988, said Rae.

Some welcomed the colder weather, however.

At the Tiffindell ski resort in the southern Drakensberg mountains of the Eastern Cape province, guests were elated.

"They are very excited," said the resort's chief snow-maker, Johan Smuts. "It is not every day that you get to see snow fall in Africa."

In warmer weather, Smuts oversees the manufacture of snow for the resort through a process involving water and air compression.

Tiffindell usually gets about five snowfalls a year, he said, but rarely 25 centimetres in one day, as on Tuesday.

The weather service posted a warning on its website of very cold temperatures for the southeastern high elevations of the country into Thursday.

It expected snowfalls to continue over areas of the central Free State, the Drakensberg and the Eastern Cape, but to have passed by Friday.

In the northern provinces, the snow was expected to clear by Wednesday afternoon, said Rae.

Source: Agence France-Presse

My Rant

The claim that climate change is direct result of man's energy consumption is simply unproven and politically motivated. While they propound lies that certain lightbulbs or cars will destroy the earth and raise ocean levels as much as 20 feet within the next century, fascists, like Al Gore, fly around in their Gulfstream jets and live in homes that use 22 times the energy of an average American's home! Their propaganda is outrageous and potentially catastrophic for the economies of United States, the developed world and developing world.

The proof of global warming or man's influence on climate change is not settled science. Just consider the source of the big lie: the proselytizing hypocritical high priest of the pagan environmental religion Al Gore or the other Kool-Aid drinking climateers from the left such as Learjet liberals, Hollywood high school drop-outs, billonaire elitists, the left-leaning mainstream media, the United Nations, academia, environmental radicals, socialists, other anti-capitalists and so called "researchers", "experts" and/or "scientists" whose paychecks depend upon the apparent existence of the "issue".

United States energy conservation and independence is a worthy goal that should be supported by Republicans, the Democrat Party, true Democrats, Independents and environmentalists. Energy independence is a major national security concern. However, lying to our people, implementing the cap & trade boondoggle which will crush our economy or doing anything that will cause the United States to transfer an portion of its sovereignty to the United Nations is idiotic. Not in my name!