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Archive for the ‘Alarmism’ Category

The newspapers and blogosphere are buzzing with the revelation (from hacked emails) that proponents of the sky-is-falling school of climate change have conspired to hide data and smear critics. Here’s a blurb from the Washington Post report:

…newly disclosed private exchanges among climate scientists at Britain’s Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia reveal an intellectual circle that appears to feel very much under attack, and eager to punish its enemies. In one e-mail, the center’s director, Phil Jones, writes Pennsylvania State University’s Michael E. Mann and questions whether the work of academics that question the link between human activities and global warming deserve to make it into the prestigious IPCC report, which represents the global consensus view on climate science. “I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report,” Jones writes. “Kevin and I will keep them out somehow — even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!” In another, Jones and Mann discuss how they can pressure an academic journal not to accept the work of climate skeptics with whom they disagree. “Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues in the climate research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers in, this journal,” Mann writes. “I will be emailing the journal to tell them I’m having nothing more to do with it until they rid themselves of this troublesome editor,” Jones replies. …Christopher Horner, a senior fellow at the libertarian Competitive Enterprise Institute who has questioned whether climate change is human-caused, blogged that the e-mails have “the makings of a very big” scandal. “Imagine this sort of news coming in the field of AIDS research,” he added.

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The UK-based Telegraph reports that some outfit called the Optimal Population Trust is suggesting that people should have fewer babies to fight supposed global warming (or climate change, or whatever they’re calling it now). This is a reflection of the people-are-bad mentality that seems disturbingly common among enviro-statists:

The report, Fewer Emitter, Lower Emissions, Less Cost, concludes that family planning should be seen as one of the primary methods of emissions reduction. The UN estimates that 40 per cent of all pregnancies worldwide are unintended. …Roger Martin, chairman of the Optimum Population Trust at the LSE, said: “It’s always been obviously that total emissions depend on the number of emitters as well as their individual emissions.

Reading this article, though, reminded me of another article from a British paper. As this story from the Daily Mail explains, some radical environmentalists are deliberately choosing to sterlilize themselves to avoid having kids:

Had Toni Vernelli gone ahead with her pregnancy ten years ago, she would know at first hand what it is like to cradle her own baby, to have a pair of innocent eyes gazing up at her with unconditional love, to feel a little hand slipping into hers – and a voice calling her Mummy. But the very thought makes her shudder with horror. Because when Toni terminated her pregnancy, she did so in the firm belief she was helping to save the planet. …Incredibly, so determined was she that the terrible “mistake” of pregnancy should never happen again, that she begged the doctor who performed the abortion to sterilise her at the same time. He refused, but Toni – who works for an environmental charity – “relentlessly hunted down a doctor who would perform the irreversible surgery. …”Having children is selfish. It’s all about maintaining your genetic line at the expense of the planet,” says Toni, 35. “Every person who is born uses more food, more water, more land, more fossil fuels, more trees and produces more rubbish, more pollution, more greenhouse gases, and adds to the problem of over-population.” …Toni is far from alone. When Sarah Irving, 31, was a teenager she sat down and wrote a wish-list for the future. …Most young girls dream of marriage and babies. But Sarah dreamed of helping the environment – and as she agonised over the perils of climate change, the loss of animal species and destruction of wilderness, she came to the extraordinary decision never to have a child. “I realised then that a baby would pollute the planet – and that never having a child was the most environmentally friendly thing I could do.” …Mark adds: “Sarah and I live as green a life a possible. We don’t have a car, cycle everywhere instead, and we never fly. “We recycle, use low-energy light bulbs and eat only organic, locally produced food. “In short, we do everything we can to reduce our carbon footprint. But all this would be undone if we had a child.”

Think about what this means. If the nut-job environmentalists persist in not having kids, that almost surely means the world’s population will gradually become more sensible about these issue since mommy and daddy enviro-statist won’t be raising little interventionists to plague future generations. Sounds like a win-win situation for everyone.

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A report at CBSnews.com highlights the growing interest among politicians and bureaucrats in new taxes on sugary drinks, including sports drinks such as Gatorade. This is a reprehensible example of nanny-state intervention, of course, but it shows the risk of having government involved in health care since politicians then assert the right to tell us how to live:

…one of the proposals put before the committee received a nod of approval from health officials today: taxing soda. The [Senate Finance] committee — the last congressional panel expected to produce its own recommendations for health care reform – listened to arguments earlier this year both for and against imposing a three-cent tax on sodas as well as other sugary drinks, including energy and sports drinks like Gatorade. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that a three-cent tax would generate $24 billion over the next four years, and proponents of the tax argued before the committee that it would lower consumption of sugary drinks and improve Americans’ overall health. …CDC chief Dr. Thomas Freiden said increasing the price of unhealthy foods “would be effective” at combating the nation’s obesity problem… The American Beverage Association, which strongly opposes the tax, told the Wall Street Journal the tax would hit poor Americans the hardest.  

The Los Angeles Times, meanwhile, has a similar report about politicians wanting a tax on foods that supposedly lead to obesity. The reason for their interest, not surprisingly, is that a 10 percent tax on such foods may lead to more than $500 billion, which doubtlessly is leading to lots of salivating on Capitol Hill:

Key among the “interventions” the report weighs is that of imposing an excise or sales tax on fattening foods. That, says the report, could be expected to lower consumption of those foods. But it would also generate revenues that could be used to extend health insurance coverage to the uninsured and under-insured, and perhaps to fund campaigns intended to make healthy foods more widely available to, say, low-income Americans and to encourage exercise and healthy eating habits. …a 2004 report prepared for the Department of Agriculture suggested that, for “sinful-food” taxes to change the way people eat, they may need to equal at least 10% to 30% of the cost of the food. And although 40 U.S. states now impose modest extra sales taxes on soft drinks and a few snack items, the Urban Institute report suggests that a truly forceful “intervention” — one that would drive down the consumption of fattening foods and, presumably, prevent or reverse obesity — would have to target pretty much all the fattening and nutritionally empty stuff we eat: “With a more narrowly targeted tax, consumers could simply substitute one fattening food or beverage for another,” the reports says. …Conservatively estimated, a 10% tax levied on foods that would be defined as “less healthy” by a national standard adopted recently in Great Britain could yield $240 billion in its first five years and $522 billion over 10 years of implementation — if it were to begin in October 2010. If lawmakers instituted a program of tax subsidies to encourage the purchase of fresh and processed fruits and vegetables, the added revenue would still be $356 billion over 10 years.

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