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America's Environmental Grade:

Researchers at Yale and Columbia released the 2008 Environmental Performance Index this week. Switzerland and three Scandinavian nations topped the list. The United States did not do so well, however, ranking 39th of the 149 nations rated, largely because of the emphasis placed upon global climate change in the Index. As the New York Times reported:

"We are putting more weight on climate change," said Daniel Esty, the report's lead author, who is the director of the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy. "Switzerland is the most greenhouse gas efficient economy in the developed world," he said, in part because of its use of hydroelectric power and its transportation system, which relies more on trains than individual cars or trucks.

The United States, with a score of 81.0, he noted, "is slipping down," both because of low scores on three different analyses of greenhouse gas emissions and a pervasive problem with smog. The country's performance on a new indicator that measures regional smog, he said, "is at the bottom of the world right now."

He added, "The U.S. continues to have a bottom-tier performance in greenhouse gas emissions."

AEI's Joel Schwartz thinks the emphasis on climate was undue and produced quite skewed results.

The U.S. scored 81 on the overall EPI, putting it 39th out of 149 countries. The U.S. scored worse than such environmental edens as Russia, Albania, Croatia, and the Dominican Republic, and barely edged out Cuba, Mexico, and Poland. That alone gives you an idea of the EPI's tenuous relationship to the real environment. But let's dig into the numbers a bit deeper to see how the Yale scientists played their game of let's pretend.

Two words: climate change. Carbon dioxide emissions account for half of the Ecosystem Vitality score and 25 percent of the overall EPI score. The U.S. scored 56 out of 100 on climate change, and that is the main reason for America's low overall EPI. If you look only at the Environmental Health index — in other words, the factors that directly affect people's health — the U.S. scored 98.5 out of 100. In fact, virtually all the world's wealthy countries scored above 95 on this measure.While the Yale researchers style their EPI as a valid measure of a country's overall environmental performance, only one factor — greenhouse gas emissions — accounts for most of the variation in developed countries' EPI scores.

Yale's EPI is misleading in other ways. For example, ozone levels account for 3.75 percent of the overall EPI index score. But according to Yale's report, the score was based on data for 2000 rather than current data. Ozone has dropped considerably in the U.S. since 2000. Fifty-four percent of the nation violated the federal eight-hour ozone standard in 2000. But the violation rate had dropped to 15 percent by the end of 2006. The average number of days per year exceeding the eight-hour standard declined 65 percent over the same period.

In any case, the ozone score isn't even based on measured values, but on the output of a global atmospheric chemistry model whose predictions have little relationship to actual ozone levels across the country. U.S. air quality is among the best in the world. Nevertheless, in a New York Times story, one of the Yale researchers claimed that the U.S. "is at the bottom of the world right now" on regional smog.

The EPI's air quality score also includes sulfur dioxide (SO2). But the score is based on SO2 emissions per unit of populated land (which doesn't appear to be defined in the report), rather than on actual SO2 levels in the air. The U.S. scores poorly here (88 vs. 100 for most countries) even though U.S. SO2 levels are only a fraction of the federal health standard virtually everywhere in the U.S.

Joel Schwartz's colleagues Ken Green and Steve Hayward added their two cents here and here, respectively.

UPDATE: Whether or not the EPI's emphasis on climate change can be justified depends in large part on what the EPI purports to measure. As Tokyo Tom comments, "climate change scores tell us little about the health of a country's domestic environment." So, emphasizing climate change makes the EPI less useful as an indicator of environmental conditions within various countries. This is particularly so because the index does not even attempt to measure adaptation efforts.

If, however, the EPI is not intended to be used as a measure of environmental quality across nations, but as a measure of particular environmental outputs or the stringency of regulatory regimes, then the disproportionate emphasis might be justified. As structured, however, the EPI seems to be something of a hybrid, undermining the usefulness of the results as much more than a cudgel to use against U.S. policymakers for their failure to adopt more aggressive climate measures. Further, the EPI could still be subject to the criticism that its various climate measures are somewhat redundant, and ignore the impact of non-regulatory mitigation efforts.

On air quality, Joel Schwartz's critique is relevant for several reasons because the EPI is purporting to measure air quality insofar as it poses a threat to human health. Unless one believes that U.S. ambient air quality standards are grossly underprotective of human health, it is difficult to argue that U.S. air quality poses a significantly greater risk than that in other countries when most of the U.S. is meeting the relevant standards, as is the case with SO2. Further, the EPI's purported focus on human health makes the reliance on emissions and model projections inferior to measurements of actual ambient concentrations to which people are exposed. Further, as he notes, some of the data is quite out-of-date, lessening the EPI's value as an evaluation of current environmental conditions.

I have no idea how the United States would score if some of these concerns were addressed. These problems nonetheless provide ample reason for skepticism about the meaningfulness of the EPI rankings.

Anderson (mail):
IOW, "Dog Bites Man."
1.24.2008 11:24pm
Loophole1998 (mail):
Would that the whole world could be Scandinavia!
1.24.2008 11:54pm
Brian K (mail):
The U.S. scores poorly here (88 vs. 100 for most countries) even though U.S. SO2 levels are only a fraction of the federal health standard virtually everywhere in the U.S.

This sentence seems little out of place. why does it matter if SO2 levels are only a "fraction" of the federal health standard "virtually" everywhere? the report isn't comparing states/counties to the federal standard, its comparing the US to other countries. It is quite possible for the SO2 levels to be below the federal standard and higher than many other countries.

(I put those 2 words in quotes because their presence also makes the criticism meaningless. is it a fraction as in 10% or 95%? what does virtually mean in the context?)
1.25.2008 12:46am
Brian K (mail):
Ozone has dropped considerably in the U.S. since 2000. Fifty-four percent of the nation violated the federal eight-hour ozone standard in 2000. But the violation rate had dropped to 15 percent by the end of 2006. The average number of days per year exceeding the eight-hour standard declined 65 percent over the same period.

this sentence suffers the same problem as the one above. the US has gotten better, but we can still rank poorly if other countries did better than we did in reducing ozone.
1.25.2008 12:51am
Flapple:
Putting aside teh nitpicking over ozone levels, as the only account for 3.75 per cent of the rating, Mt Schwartz main point seesm to be that the non-greenhouse gas measures mostly do not descriminate between developed countries, with the main variation in greehouse gas.

To my mind though, this is reflecting a correct underlying reality, the US is an outlier on greenhouse gas in the developed world. It is the only developed world to not sign Kyoto. It has the biggest collection of greenhouse gas denialists in the world. It has a government hostile to any response that might actually have an impact.
1.25.2008 1:04am
Anderson (mail):
Would that the whole world could be Scandinavia!

I'd settle for the Scandinavian blondes.
1.25.2008 1:08am
Dave N (mail):
To my mind though, this is reflecting a correct underlying reality, the US is an outlier on greenhouse gas in the developed world. It is the only developed world to not sign Kyoto. It has the biggest collection of greenhouse gas denialists in the world. It has a government hostile to any response that might actually have an impact.
Or perhaps this is an agenda driven study (as opposed to one based on say, science) to drive politics and not science.

Nah, couldn't be that. Not in an election year.
1.25.2008 2:44am
The General:
when the governments start subsidizing science that disproves the hoax that is global warming, we'll start to see different results.
1.25.2008 3:15am
fffff:
I think some of the CEI's best work on the environment can be found here. It speaks a lot more plainly and eloquently than that stuff above.
1.25.2008 3:18am
Orson (mail):
I am counting the lies scientists have told us.

First, that DDT killed birds and didn't save humans from Malaria. Tens of millions of people have needlessly died as a result.

Then, take the Myth of Herteosexual AIDS - where politics dictated spreading the lie that everyone was equally at risk! Despite the facts of the blood-borne vector being known. Millions of people needlessly died for politics.

Now comes Global Warming. And I'm supposed to beleive that millions won't die because these folks mean well? No. They want to stall economic development that can save the lives of hundreds of millions from premature death from starvation and disease. Shame on the scientists! Shame!
1.25.2008 4:06am
Jagermeister:

It has the biggest collection of greenhouse gas denialists in the world.

If by "denialists" you mean people who actually know something about the physics of IR absorption and black body radiation, the unreliability of climate modeling that requires substantial positive feedback to achieve predetermined results, the lack of validation between climate models and observations, and remain skeptical of alarmist scenarios based upon unsupported assumptions and impossible developments, then all I can say is, "Thank You".
1.25.2008 4:07am
pireader (mail):
Professor Adler --

You say that Joel Schwartz "thinks the emphasis on climate was undue and produced quite skewed results". But he gives absolutely no reasons for that view; so you'd do better to say that he "feels".

If one accepts that greenhouse-gas-driven climate change is a real and significant problem [which I believe you do ... maybe Mr Schwartz doesn't] then giving it a 25% weight in a environmental index seems fairly reasonable. And of course the US gets a bad score there, since it emits a grossly disproportionate amount of the world's greenhouse gases.

The rest of Scharwtz' complaints are window-dressing nit-picks ... fixing them all wouldn't materially affect the final scores. So apparently he was out to attack the EPI index with whatever tools came to hand, presumably because he doesn't like the answer.

Unfortunately for Mr Schwartz, feeling bad whenever somebody points out a problem doesn't make the problem go away.
1.25.2008 6:23am
TokyoTom (mail):
Since climate change scores tell us little about the health of a country's domestic environment, the index would be more useful if it were bifurcated. Blending that score in might (inadvertently?) provide pressure on the US to change climate policy, but it also serves to shift attention from many countries with serious environmental problems.
1.25.2008 8:02am
rbj:
"Switzerland is the most greenhouse gas efficient economy in the developed world," he said, in part because of its use of hydroelectric power

To take just this part, any attempt at building more hydroelectric dams here in the US will be opposed by environmentalists, wind turbines will be opposed by those concerned about birds being pureed (not to mention Ted Kennedy's concern about his view), and I'm sure covering the desert Southwest with solar panels will have adverse effects on the desert ecology. In short, any attempt at "greener" power generation will have vociferous opposition, which leads to the alternative of us going back to the Middle Ages and serfdom.
1.25.2008 8:06am
Ralph Phelan (mail):
I do not pay tuition to either Yale or Columbia and therefore have no interest in being graded by them.

I'm reminded of lots of the "social science" that gets reported here, but this is even more transparent: Create a set of criteria that will produce the result you want, and then report the result. So?
1.25.2008 8:25am
rlb:
This reminds me of the WHO Health rankings that the socialists love to throw around. The rankings that only considered the quality of health care provided to be 1/8th of the ranking...
1.25.2008 8:47am
MDJD2B (mail):
Sparsely populated countries with lots of mountain streams can satisfy their needs with hydroelectric power. Here in the US, the hydroelectirc potential of the Mississippi, Platte, and Hudson rivers (for example) leave much to be desired.

We also have the disadvantage of having a lot of new cities that were built for the automobile. Europe has older, more compact cities. Reduction of greenhouse emissions would seem to require a reallocation of population and employment that would reduce the need for travel in automobiles. This, in turn, would require replacement of much of our housing stock of single family houses on large lots with more concentrated development. It also would require moving businesses from the sides of freeways to configurations that could be efficiently served by mass transit. We ultimately may have to rebuild our cities to adapt to the scarcity and expense of fuel, regardlyess of the nagnitude of the global warning threat.

But even if we wanted to, it would take decades to approximate the Swiss energy efficiency.
1.25.2008 9:09am
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
Keep in mind something else about the countries at the top of the ratings, like Switzerland, Scandinavia, etc., that they have static, if not declining populations. That means that they can live off of their hydro, etc. that was built before people started worrying about the effects on fish, sediment, etc. The U.S. has a growing population, and as a result, a growing need for energy.

Of course, the flip side of a country with a stable or declining population is that it grays quickly, esp. with modern medicine. The modern medicine doesn't help the Russians as much as these other countries, due to their other problems. Nevertheless, these mostly European countries with nice economies and no population growth are rapidly and very smugly moving to the place where their populations are top heavy with non-workers, many retired, and a smaller many not working yet. Many are probably unsustainable now, and more seem ready to go smugly into oblivion, as Sharia law is imposed on them by those who haven't figured out yet that not having children is the easiest way to stabilize CO2 emissions.
1.25.2008 9:29am
rarango (mail):
"Would that the whole world could be Scandinavia!" In which case we would be mostly Lutheran, driving Saabs or Volvos, and freezing our butts off.
1.25.2008 9:37am
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
Sparsely populated countries with lots of mountain streams can satisfy their needs with hydroelectric power. Here in the US, the hydroelectirc potential of the Mississippi, Platte, and Hudson rivers (for example) leave much to be desired.
Not quite sure if the Platte fits in as well here, having spent much of my life near the headwaters of the S. Platte. In Colorado, east of the Continental Divide, rising in places above 14k, drains mostly into the Platte from roughly Colo. Springs north where the rivers come out of the mountains (i.e. the AK drainage extends well north of C. Springs, but drains out south of there).

Part of the problem is that it is comparatively small river, and partly that it drains the prime CO front range playground of a huge number of outdoorsy type environmental activists who really don't want to contemplate any more dams when they are hiking and skiing on the weekends.
1.25.2008 9:42am
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
The EPI's air quality score also includes sulfur dioxide (SO2). But the score is based on SO2 emissions per unit of populated land (which doesn't appear to be defined in the report), rather than on actual SO2 levels in the air. The U.S. scores poorly here (88 vs. 100 for most countries) even though U.S. SO2 levels are only a fraction of the federal health standard virtually everywhere in the U.S.
Why do I get the feeling here that the statistics were slanted in order to come to a preordained conclusion? One of the big differences between the U.S. and many of the top countries here is that they have much higher population densities, esp. as compared to here out in the west. So, while the average SO2 levels throughout the country are likely far lower than in "Old" Europe, they are likely a bit higher if all attributed to the portions of this country with European type population densities.
1.25.2008 9:51am
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
"Would that the whole world could be Scandinavia!" In which case we would be mostly Lutheran, driving Saabs or Volvos, and freezing our butts off.
And, interestingly, neither of those brands of cars is esp. well known for fuel economy.
1.25.2008 9:53am
Adam J:
Bruce Hayden- "Part of the problem is that it is comparatively small river, and partly that it drains the prime CO front range playground of a huge number of outdoorsy type environmental activists who really don't want to contemplate any more dams when they are hiking and skiing on the weekends." Guess the government is damned if they do dam, and damned if they don't dam.
1.25.2008 10:20am
Tracy Johnson (www):
So, what's the fourth Scandavavian nation that the U.S. is ahead of?
1.25.2008 10:20am
Ben P (mail):

So, what's the fourth Scandavavian nation that the U.S. is ahead of?


I always thought of the four Scandanavian nations as Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland.
1.25.2008 10:33am
Ben P (mail):
Now that I think about it, Iceland could count too.
1.25.2008 10:38am
A.C.:
How about economic mix? I think the US would do a lot better on carbon emissions, even allowing for our lower population density, if we gave up on industry and agriculture entirely and instead all made our livings selling insurance to each other. But I think England already has that niche -- the whole world can't do it. Same as how I don't think there's a market for another country to do what Switzerland does. Banking as a source of wealth is always going to have lower emissions than drilling and refining oil.
1.25.2008 10:49am
MDJD2B (mail):

Not quite sure if the Platte fits in as well here, having spent much of my life near the headwaters of the S. Platte.

Bruce Hayden,

Your point is well taken. I lived in Omaha for three years, and that is at the other end of the Platte. A flatter place than the lower Platte valley cannot be found, nor a shallower, slower-flowing river.
1.25.2008 11:20am
r78:

AEI's Joel Schwartz thinks the emphasis on climate was undue and produced quite skewed results.


What a joke. The AEI is funded, by among others, the oil industry.
1.25.2008 11:56am
rarango (mail):
"What a joke. The AEI is funded, by among others, the oil industry" And according to the National Journal, George Soros provided some of the funding for the Burnham Lancet Study of excessive Iraqi deaths. Is that study invalidated because of who funded it?
1.25.2008 12:17pm
davod (mail):
Jagmeister: "black body radiation" The NAACP will be calling.
1.25.2008 1:23pm
K Parker (mail):
rarango,

Wouldn't that be "mostly post-Lutheran"?
1.25.2008 1:44pm
Smokey:
Yale's Daniel Esty, the report's lead author, appears to be an outright liar. Check out these facts regarding worldwide carbon emissions:

• Worldwide emissions increased 18.0%.
• Emissions from countries that signed Kyoto increased 21.1%.
• Emissions from non-signers increased 10.0%.
• Emissions from the U.S. increased only 6.6%.

The fact is that emissions from the U.S. grew much less than those of over three-quarters of the countries that signed Kyoto.

Below are the actual growth rates of carbon dioxide emissions, from 1997 to 2004 - and they are all Kyoto signers. [Keep in mind that the actual number for the U.S. is 6.6%]:

• Maldives, 252%.
• Sudan, 142%.
• China, 55%.
• Luxembourg, 43%
• Iran, 39%.
• Iceland, 29%.
• Norway, 24%.
• Russia, 16%.
• Italy, 16%.
• Finland, 15%.
• Mexico, 11%.
• Japan, 11%.
• Canada, 8.8%.

[source: census.gov]
1.25.2008 2:08pm
JOe:
"What a joke. The AEI is funded, by among others, the oil industry" And according to the National Journal, George Soros provided some of the funding for the Burnham Lancet Study of excessive Iraqi deaths. Is that study invalidated because of who funded it?

The Lancet study was invalidated because of the serious errors in the report, not because of who funded the report.
1.25.2008 2:33pm
rarango (mail):
JOe: that was my point, although I didnt make it explicitly. Claiming any study is invalid because of who funded it is basically an ad hom attack. It permits a critic to avoid any evidence that might be in the study.
1.25.2008 2:37pm
r78:
rarango

Three things

First, you don't know what "ad hom" means. Pointing out a reason for bias is (at least among lawyers and other moderately intelligent people) an appropriate tool for evaluating credibility

Second, the oil industry has a very serious interest in keeping oil flowing regardless of the environmental effects. Soros livelihood does not depend on what the public believes about the number of people killed in Iraq. So, while you can assert that Soros is a liberal nogoodnik, he does not have nearly the interest the Iraq issue that the oil industry has in global warming issues

Third, the Lancet study was a scientific study that is subject to criticism re methodology. The article by the AEI mouthpiece is just an opinion not subject to the same criticism. So your analogy fails again. If George Soros funded the bla bla bla institute and one of its functionaries spouted off opinions about something that is near and dear to Soros, then your analogy might hold up. But comparing a fluffy opinion piece with the Lancet study is just silly silly silly.
1.25.2008 2:50pm
Smokey:
r78:
What a joke. The AEI is funded, by among others, the oil industry.
Hey, rarango was just turning the tables on you, if you'll notice:
George Soros provided some of the funding for the Burnham Lancet Study of excessive Iraqi deaths. Is that study invalidated because of who funded it?
You didn't even notice??
1.25.2008 3:04pm
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
r78:

The problem here is that almost all the players have some bias, whether it be that they are funded by the oil companies, The Sierra Club, or just are jumping onto the fashionable bandwagon of man caused global warming in order to facilitate funding. The vast bulk of funding is going towards proving man caused global warming, and so complaining that the little counter research and reporting is being funded by oil companies seems a bit biased itself.

And the Lancet study was apparently rushed into print for apparently political reasons, avoiding the peer review that is supposed to be verifying the methodology and the actual data collected.

Personally, I distrust almost everyone in this area, on both sides of the issue of the environment, and, indeed, in any number of other politicized areas. No shining knights for me. Almost everyone involved has an axe to grind, and the idea that one side is lily white and the other pure black is laughable on its face. (I am not suggesting that you fall into this category, but rather speaking in generalities here).
1.25.2008 3:41pm
M. Simon (mail) (www):
Unfortunately for you, feeling bad whenever somebody points out a non-problem doesn't make the non-problem go away.

Cue the Monkees' "I'm a believer".
1.25.2008 3:56pm
r78:
Bruce - you are right that bias exists is just about all such things and skepticism is the only rational approach to take.

That said, the AEI reason for existence is to pump out propagandainformation consistent with the viewpoints of its corporate and "conservative foundations" funders. There's nothing wrong with that - everyone has a right to be heard.

But anything an AEI appratchick says has to viewed through that lens.

Its really no different than the way one has to view the "historical" writings of a holocaust denier, Hillary Clinton's statements re Obama, etc.. At the outset you pretty much have to assume that it is pure unadulterated b.s..
1.25.2008 4:08pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
r78
Soros does have an interest in the numbers in the Lancet study, and a good many other things calculated to discredit Bush &Co. The "lies" report is another example.
So we have the funding and we have the interest.

I recall that mentioning "Scaife" in any report of Clinton's goings-on was supposed to discredit the report beyond possibility of resurrection.

I don't know if the right made up that tactic, but the left can hardly claim it's illegitimate now.
1.25.2008 4:08pm
M. Simon (mail) (www):
We have a temperature monitoring system that is accurate (at best) to +/- 1 deg F. It is compromised by cities growing up around monitoring stations. It has thousands of reporting stations. And out of all this mess we are supposed to be able to discern changes of .1 deg C per decade for 3 decades or so? Maybe.

The rest of the world is worse. All of South America has 7 stations with continuous records. One of them is on an island several hundred miles from the continental land mass.

Continuous records from Russia? China? Give me a break.

Then there is the "divergence" problem. The satellite record shows much less warming than the ground stations.

One other little inconvenient Truth. "Global" temps have been stalled for the last 8 or 9 years despite a continuous increase in atmospheric CO2.

Of course our computer models show that CO2 is the cause of our misery - i.e. warmer winters. Despite the fact that (the modelers admit) the GHG with the largest affect on climate - water vapor - is not well modeled.

So yeah. I'm a denialist all the way. I deny anything useful (except to Enron which was going to cover it losses by selling carbon credits) can come out of this mess.
1.25.2008 4:13pm
r78:
Aubrey - of you are correct than that only means that Soros is as disreputable and untrustworthy as the AEI.
1.25.2008 6:06pm
r78:
should be "if" you are correct . . .
1.25.2008 6:07pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
Normally, I wouldn't even have read this post, since in my experience, all such lists are bogus.

However, it happens a friend sent me a list making the rounds of 'Things I Didn't Know.' Among those things (which I did, in fact, not know) is that Paraguay ranks ninth in the world in number of airports, with 899.

A little -- and I do mean a little -- further checking revealed that only 12 of them are blessed with a paved runway.

GIGO
1.25.2008 6:11pm
Smokey:
M. Simon is right. Human-caused global warming [AGW] is an outright scam promoted by the UN/EU imperial bureaucrats, for the specific purpose of getting the UN's hands much deeper into the pockets of American taxpayers. Their bogus threats have gradually morphed from "global cooling," into "global warming," and now into "climate change," but their motive is always the same: taxing the air you breathe.

It doesn't seem to matter how many peer-reviewed studies prove that any human causes of temperature increases [if AGW exists at all], are so tiny that they are unmeasurable. The real purpose of the wild-eyed "climate change" doomsayers is to extract hundreds of $billions per year from the taxpayers of the world's wealthiest country: the U.S.

UN Sec-Gen Kofi Annan proposed a "World Tax" amounting to .7% of GDP -- over $300 billion every year -- to be paid into the opaque and unaccountable UN. That .7% tax on the atmosphere is only the UN's initial proposal. [It didn't fly at the time because it was too obvious that it was a huge tax.] Kofi Annan's successor, Ban Kai Moon, has changed the name of the tax to "Millenium Development Goals," which sounds less threatening. But the purpose is the same, and American taxpayers are still the UN theftocrats' primary target.

America is doing much better at limiting emissions than the countries that signed on to Kyoto [note the information upthread at 2:08pm, 1.25.2008]. If Kyoto weren't an anti-U.S. scam, the UN/EU would be going after the countries that are reneging on their emissions agreements. Instead, they constantly complain that the U.S. hasn't bought into their scam. We are accused of polluting, as the rest of the world increases their emissions while we decrease ours.

Only last year the globaloney arm-waving was over diminishing sea ice. You don't hear that any more, because sea ice extends as far as it ever has since records have been kept.

CO2 has risen, but temperatures have not; therefore it is hard to see how CO2 causes temps to increase. In fact, 2007 was the coldest year in the past century.

Furthermore, past temperatures have routinely exceeded 20th century highs, with records going back hundreds of thousands of years.

Going back even farther -- 4.5 billion years -- you can see that CO2 has no correlation with temperature, and in fact has been much higher at times [up to 7,000 ppm, versus today's very low 385 ppm] without causing Al Gore's runaway greenhouse effect.

Any time people see the prospect of scamming hundreds of $billions a year out of someone else, their motives and methods must be closely scrutinized. But neither Al Gore, nor any of the proponents of AGW/global warming will agree to debate their position in a neutral, moderated forum. Why? Because their 'science' is fraudulent. They debated once, and they lost the debate very publicly. As a result, they run from any real debate, and instead make their bogus case exclusively through the media.

If the science is there, make them prove it! So far, they have proven nothing.

/rant
1.25.2008 6:12pm
Jmaie (mail):
To my mind though, this is reflecting a correct underlying reality, the US is an outlier on greenhouse gas in the developed world. It is the only developed world to not sign Kyoto. It has the biggest collection of greenhouse gas denialists in the world. It has a government hostile to any response that might actually have an impact.

And it has the lowest emissions increases around.

Queue sleep sounds...snore...snore....mmmmphhhhh...United States...mmmmphhhh... evil...evilll...EVILLLLL.....snore.....................
1.25.2008 6:34pm
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
Uh oh, we have a couple of AGW denialists here.

In the mention of Russian measurements, it should be pointed out that there is some correlation between the bump in global temperatures awhile back and the fall of the USSR, when about half of whose temperature recording stations were shut down. I am sure that it is not relevant that those stations tended, due to their location in, for example, Siberia, to record cooler temperatures than much of the rest of the world. Actually, "cooler" may not be as accurate as "significantly colder".
1.25.2008 6:36pm
Crimso:

Of course our computer models show that CO2 is the cause of our misery - i.e. warmer winters. Despite the fact that (the modelers admit) the GHG with the largest affect on climate - water vapor - is not well modeled.

And when CO2 is produced by combustion of hydrocarbons, so is H2O.


that only means that Soros is as disreputable and untrustworthy as the AEI.

But Soros is a convicted criminal, the AEI is not. I'd consider him to be demonstrably more disreputable.
1.25.2008 6:51pm
r78:
Smokey - have you seen any black helicopters lately?

Crimso - I don't know anything about Soros being convicted of anything but I'll take your word for it. But I don't know how a "think tank" could be convicted of anything. Anyway, you do know that Ken Lay - of Enron fame - was on the board of trustees of the AEI, don't you?
1.25.2008 7:33pm
rarango (mail):
r78--reading closely isnt your strong suit is it?

(1) I do know what ad hominim means and used it correctly;
(2) you are quite wrong about the methodology of the Burnham study: the problem was wasn't its methodology: they used cluster sampling which is a very valid method for estimating deaths--That method was developed by the WHO and has proven effective. The problem had to do with the number of sample points and the selection of data used to run the numbers.
(3) the basic problem with the Burnham study was that it is not replicable which is the gold standard for science. When they release their coding, which they have steadfastly refused to do citing anonymnity concerns, then we can determine if their study has merit
(4) and for the record, R78 I am an epidemiologist. You are? a lawyer?

And Ken Lay as an AEI director affects which study they have done and how?
1.25.2008 8:03pm
Smokey:
If r78 is a lawyer, I would love to be opposing counsel! The contest would be fun & too easy... and I'm not even a lawyer.

r78 was the one who started whining about ad hominems... and then he comes out with his own:
Smokey - have you seen any black helicopters lately?
That's his argument??

When I posted the peer-reviewed studies above, published by reputable climatologists who decisively refute Al Gore's globaloney scam, all that r78 is capable of coming up with is his own lame ad hominem.

That's too bad, because I have lots more peer-reviewed studies, and I'd love to go head to head in an intelligent discussion about this subject. But like they say, it's not fair matching wits with an unarmed guy.

This is exactly the point I made above: the Leftists who've mindlessly jumped on the AGW/globaloney bandwagon can not competently support their position. That's why folks like r78 put their tails between their legs and run from any rational debate on the subject.

So the gauntlet is down, r78, old boy. Put up or shut up.
1.25.2008 10:42pm
r78:

(1) I do know what ad hominim means and used it correctly;

Nope, an ad hominim attack would be to say that you engage in cat juggling so you are untrustworthy.

(4) and for the record, R78 I am an epidemiologist.

Jolly for you. But its even more surprising that you confuse a study with an opinion article which is what the AEI fluff was.

Smokey - I notice that you don't deny seeing black helicopters.

And, by the way, "throwing down the gauntlet" in anonymous internet forums is not a substitute for viagra.
1.26.2008 12:01am
Crimso:

I don't know anything about Soros being convicted of anything

It was insider trading in France (and he's not well-loved in Asia either). I'd wager that most people who've even heard of him don't know about his criminal past, though the info is certainly out there. Wonder why CNN and their ilk don't seem to think it newsworthy. If there was a comparable person backing the Repubs, you can damn well bet that 95% of the adult population of this country would be made aware of it.
1.26.2008 10:12am
Smokey:
Yes, George Soros was convicted of using insider knowledge to fleece the public. That's how he makes his money - not by honest trading, but by buying information. He appealed his criminal conviction, using the best lawyers a billionaire could buy. Personally, I'm a little surprised that with all his $billions to spread around the EU, that his conviction was upheld on appeal. But it was.

There was a time not long ago when someone convicted of a felony that resulted in millions of taxpayers losing money would hide in shame [like a certain Ken Lay mentioned by a troll a little upthread]. But not our boy Soros - who is absolutely filled with hatred for anything that stands in the way of his brand of world socialism. Soros has poured huge sums of his own money into subverting democracy. I'm actually very surprised that someone would not be aware of his illegal behavior and his felony conviction. But maybe not everyone reads the daily news.

As for the inept and hopelessly lame r78, I have a question: are you one and the same as J.F. Thomas? Because "Nyah, nyah, you need viagra," and "black helicopters" do not take the place of either refuting internationally recognized climatologists - or of basic intelligence, for that matter. The only conclusion: r78 is a troll. Refute that.

heh.
1.26.2008 11:39am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Google up Soros.

There is one quote where he says he can't afford a conscience in his business.

The point is not whether Soros is a billionaire radical funding leftwing causes which generally lie like rugs. That's a given.

The point is that, if suggesting that funding sources tell us if some "study" is reputable or not, it started AFAIK, with dissing reports on Clinton as being funded by "Richard Mellon Scaife" and thus--for some reason--completely illegitimate.

I do not believe the conservatives started it, but whoever did obviously thought it could be controlled. Wrong.
1.26.2008 11:41am
Barbara:
I always assumed climate change was caused by human beings, but after I read the links from Smokey I'm starting to believe what he (or she) is saying.

I wish the people like r78 would give us some real science to back up what they believe because only making an attack on someone who did a lot of research on the subject isn't convincing, at least not to me.

BTW I liked the carbon credit link too. Thanks for the laugh!
1.27.2008 12:09pm
rosignol (mail):
<i>[the US] is the only developed world to not sign Kyoto. It has the biggest collection of greenhouse gas denialists in the world. It has a government hostile to any response that might actually have an impact.</i>

So what this study measures is paper and political opinions, not the state of the atmosphere?

Righto, file this one under 'politically motivated junk science'. It's the round one in the corner.
1.28.2008 2:04am