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June 29, 2007

Corn Crops on the Rise

Due to the increasing popularity of corn as a base for the fuel ethanol, as well as its continuing demand as food, corn crop plantings are being increased by 19%, according to this AP article.

[It's a] boom has been fueled by sky high corn prices, a result largely attributed to rising production of corn-based ethanol. Corn futures in electronic trading on the Chicago Board of Trade was trending higher, with corn for July delivery up 8 cents to $3.48 a bushel.

Obviously there's a lot of money to be made.

While the popularity of ethanol is in response to concerns about Middle Eastern oil supplies, it's not necessarily all it's cracked up to be. This Business Week article points out the problems with ethanol, including its inefficiency when compared with oil, and its propensity for pollution.

My question to you: when will corn farms start being labeled as "greedy corporate interests" in the same way that oil companies are now?

Amber waves of...fuel?

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Posted by Pam Meister at 11:03 AM | Comments (15) | TrackBack (0) | Environment

June 21, 2007

The Environment has Rights, Too

We've been hearing a lot lately about the rights of animals. A couple of out-there examples include Knut, the polar bear in a German zoo had his rights "abused" because the zoo decided to have a human raise him when his mother rejected him; and since chimpanzees share 97% of our genetic makeup, they therefore deserve the same rights humans enjoy.

Now, a group called Earthjustice has submitted a paper to the UN Human Rights Council that essentially says the environment has rights too.

The 2007 Environmental Rights Report reviews recent developments and case studies demonstrating the connection between the environment and human rights at the international, regional, and domestic levels. The report also provides a comprehensive list of national constitutional provisions protecting environmental rights.

"We are happy to report that 118 national constitutions across the globe now recognize the right to a clean and healthy environment," said Rosaleen O'Gara of Earthjustice. "Unfortunately, violations of environmental rights continue to mount for millions of people. The disruptions caused by global warming are just the latest example of such violations. With this report we hope all international, regional, and national institutions will understand that 'the right to life, liberty and security of person' and other rights established in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights often depend on a healthy environment."

The entire report can be seen here.

Don't get me wrong. I'm all for promoting a clean and healthy environment whenever possible. But I do question the idea of environmental "rights," as that opens up a nasty can of worms just right for the Al Gore crowd. When the rights of a tree become just as, if not more than, important than the rights of a human, where to we go next?

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Posted by Pam Meister at 10:54 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0) | Environment

May 24, 2007

Going Back to the Middle Ages?

Will the green movement ultimately squeeze out the middle class? Steve Janke asks the question:

[C]an a carbon neutral society even have a middle class? And what is a society in which the middle class doesn't exist, or is almost invisible? It was like that in the Middle Ages, wasn't it?

Read more of what Steve has to say about the holier-than-thou "do as I say" crowd.

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Posted by Pam Meister at 01:20 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | Environment

May 17, 2007

Storm Hits My Town -- Who Can I Blame?

Yesterday, my area was dealt a severe thunderstorm. Due to downed trees and power lines and the resulting traffic jam, it took me nearly an hour and a half to drive the eight miles from my office to my home. Our power was out, and we cooked dinner on my husband's camp stove. It's back this morning, but many people in my town and in surrounding towns are still without power.

School was closed, and I had to bring my girls in to work with me this morning because there is a tree that is *this close* to falling on my house, and my husband and I agreed it wasn't a good idea to leave them alone (even though my oldest is nearly 15). The downed tree is being held back by another, but if it goes, it will hit my year-round sun room, which juts off the back of the house (it used to be a deck). I'll be posting photos of the damage in my neighborhood later.

So my big question is: whose fault is this? Whose fault is this? Who can I blame for the fact that I'll have to pay a professional to come and cut that tree down before it comes crashing through my home? Who can my neighbor across the street blame for the damage to her pool from the tree that came crashing down on it? Where can the people in my neighborhood go to complain about the huge trees that are down all over their yards, bringing down power lines and depriving all of us of cable television?

Can it be George W. Bush's fault? It must be, as so many other natural disasters have been attributed to him...

Release the hounds, Smithers!

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Posted by Pam Meister at 08:09 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0) | Environment

October 30, 2006

The Great Warming: Same Old Schlock

UPDATE (8:54 pm): Stephen Macklin over at Hold the Mayo takes a closer look at The Great Warming's website.

Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth seems to have started a trend, as we now have another movie to scare us into going back to the horse and wagon: The Great Warming, narrated by Keanu Reeves. Its website tells us:

We are living at the dawn of a new epoch. Year by year, degree by degree, Earth is growing warmer...a legacy of the Industrial Revolution, population growth, and our addiction to technology, speed and power.

Does that mean that Reeves should do penance for his movie Speed? I wonder how much gas was sucked up during those speeding bus scenes? Will Hollywood stop filming movies with endless car chases? (Don't bet on it...what's good for us is not good for them.)

As Mark D. Tooley on Front Page Magazine points out:

When some evangelicals flocked to movies about the Great End Times prophesied in Scripture, the Left mocked their harmless fascination. Now, Hollywood and the Green Left applauds as ostensibly more hip evangelicals, anxious to show the world how different they are, latch onto Global Warming as their more politically correct Apocalypse. Hollywood glitterati, Ted Turner, and the New York Times are not likely to lavish praise on another installment of the Left Behind series. But apocalyptic warnings about a planet that will burn up unless the United States repents of its carbon sins are sure to attract the Beautiful People.

Indeed, on the movie's website, you'll see a link for churches who are involved in saving us from our industrial folly. It seems that Hollywood has found a use for religion after all.

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Posted by Pam Meister at 02:40 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Environment

Global Warming Not Welcome Here!

Al Gore just lost a mouthpiece in Maine:

The general manager of two TV stations in Maine has ordered his news department to stop covering global warming until "Bar Harbor is underwater."

Michael Palmer told the joint news staff of WVII and WFVX in an e-mail that global warming stories are like "'the killer African bee scare' from the 1970s or, more recently, the Y2K scare when everyone's computer was going to self-destruct."

Perhaps if most of the stories we see or hear told differing sides to the controversy, Mr. Palmer wouldn't have put a moratorium on them.

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Posted by Pam Meister at 09:33 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | Environment

June 14, 2006

Kyoto: It's Not About the Environment...

Wise words from Joe at geosciblog regarding global warming, Kyoto and the UN:

Kyoto is about "ham-stringing" the American economy by restricting fuel use, by way of rationing and/or taxes. Rather than find ways of honestly competing with the American economy, foreign nations would rather engage in dragging the United States down.

Why aren't China, India, Mexico, Brazil, et al, included in the proposed Kyoto regulations? And who would be enforcing those regulations? Who elected the UN as the world-governing body? Unelected means unaccountable. Our fuel prices and other aspects of life would be regulated by unelected/unaccountable bureaucrats, many of which are from socialist nations that are jealous of our standard of living and our freedom. Considered to be the model for what the UN wants to be, the EU parliament does not have the power to propose legislation based on the wishes of citizens, rather they have to act on orders passed down from bureaucrats in Brussels.

Kyoto is a power grab.

Read the whole thing...click here.

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Posted by Pam Meister at 12:02 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | Environment

June 07, 2006

Al Gore: A Knight in Shining Armor...

Chicken Little would be proud.

Al Gore...former senator, former vice president, president who-would-have-been, has been transformed into our savior...riding his white horse and brandishing his sword in hope of wiping out what has become his cause celebre: global warming.

While at the Cannes Film Festival for his, er, documentary "An Inconvenient Truth," he was treated like a real movie star, red carpet and all. Arianna Huffington has become Gore's unofficial publicist with glowing commentary like this.

He is also being hailed by the media and other like-minded folks about how brave he is for coming out against the evil corporate forces that be to spread his message of gloom, doom, and disappearing shorelines. Out of all the movie reviews I scanned, I only saw two negative ones, including this one by Kyle Smith at the New York Post. Roger Ebert practically wets his pants in urging us to see this important film, saying "there is no other view that can be defended." Al Gore is, in fact, the left's next poster boy for Truth.

But how hard is it to be brave when you know those who will be reporting on your cause are all on your side?

Meet William M. Gray. One of the country's most prominent hurricane researchers, he is one of many to come out and say that hurricane activity as a side effect of global warming (according to the film), is a load of bunk.

Like many hurricane forecasters, Gray rejects the theory that the recent uptick in storms is due to climate change. He points out that the U.S. had an unusually low number of storms from the 1970s to the end of the century and says the law of averages is simply catching up. But he goes further and dismisses the view — accepted as fact by most scientists — that recent warmer temperatures are caused by man-made greenhouse gases.

"It's one of the greatest hoaxes ever," Gray says of global warming, theorizing that it's an alarmist hypothesis made to snare research dollars. Gray believes that climbing temperatures are caused by cyclical warming in the oceans, and that the globe will cool down again in the next 10 to 15 years.

Right. We know the later dinosaurs lived during a very humid and tropical time on Earth. Were they to blame for it? Is that why they went extinct?

Robert Tracinski, writing for Real Clear Politics, wants to know how this affects Gore's status as soothsayer:

So if the splashy movie-poster claim of An Inconvenient Truth turns out to be dubious and hotly contested--very far from an established "truth"--where does that leave Al Gore's status as the brave truth-teller? A fawning New York Times profile on Gore admits that he avoids "making direct causal links that most scientists say are impossible to substantiate" but instead "uses imagery and implication" to make his case. That's about the most tasteful description of the methods of a flim-flam artist I have ever read.

Roger Pielke, another climatologist, is concerned about the lack of debate on the subject. From David Harsanyi's column in the Denver Post:

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 was in Bill Clinton's shadow in the 1990s. He failed to clinch the presidency in 2000. Global warming has become his ticket to fame, fortune and popularity (not to mention his fortune in Google stock).

Why would he let a little intellectual debate and honesty get in his way?

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Posted by Pam Meister at 09:25 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0) | Environment

April 13, 2006

Al Gore Should Read Geosciblog

Before he gives another speech about the threat of global warming, Al Gore should read Joe's discussions of the subject on geosciblog.

Here's his latest post about how much man and technology really contribute to the changes of the Earth's climate.

His extensive background in geology (he lists his credentials at the top of his blog) give his views much more credibility than your average blogger. Why don't you head on over and see for yourself?

And be sure to tell Al.

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Posted by Pam Meister at 08:17 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | Environment

January 31, 2006

SF Quake: The Upcoming Anniversary

Joe at Geosciblog points out that April 18th will mark the 100th anniversary of the great San Francisco earthquake.

He also ponders what would happen if a major quake were to strike Frisco while George W. Bush is still in office:

Al Gore would take to his pulpit and bellow that President Bush's refusal to sign the Kyoto Treaty for causing rising sea level that put more pressure on geologic plates.

John Kerry would seek information on the possibility of impeachable offenses by President Bush for not evacuating people before the earthquake.

Louis Farrakhan and Spike Lee would claim that the government had planted explosives along the San Andreas Fault Zone, to trigger an earthquake that would target blacks and minorities in San Francisco. And Michael Moore would make a movie about it.

Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell would blame the San Francisco gay culture and other assorted sinners for drawing God's wrath.

Harry Reid and Nightline, et al, would claim that too much money was being spent in Iraq.

Hillary would pillory the US Geological Survey for "sitting on" seismograms that might have warned the public. Except that I noticed the acting USGS director's name is P. Patrick Leahy. Is he related to "Leaky Leahy"? If so, that might protect him from direct criticism.

The mayor and city council of San Francisco would claim that too many National Guardsmen were in Iraq, while passing resolutions that would ban military personnel from wearing their uniforms and carrying firearms while conducting rescue and recovery operations.

The ACLU and GLAAD would complain and file lawsuits over the wearing of latex gloves and protective masks during rescue and recovery operations.

Hollywood would put together a telethon and Kanye West would say that President Bush sent troops to San Francisco to shoot black people and gays, while ignoring the looting.

And FEMA would be blamed for not being ready for the earthquake.

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Posted by Pam Meister at 07:40 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | Environment

December 29, 2005

Global Warming Hits Europe; U.S. to Blame

Snow in Great Chart, Kent

Yet another example of global warming is hitting Britain and other parts of Europe. The Kyoto crowd must be having a field day.

(Isn't -10C {negative 10 degrees Celsius} somewhere in the 20s Fahrenheit? I'm never sure.)


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Posted by Pam Meister at 05:50 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | Environment

December 27, 2005

Latest Kyoto Snafu

Some like to believe that last year's record hurricane season is America's fault because President Bush wouldn't sign the Kyoto treaty and is polluting the environment faster than Michael Moore goes through a KFC 15-piece bucket. However, it seems that those who have signed it aren't keeping the promises they made when they did.

Britain and Sweden are the only European countries honouring their Kyoto commitments to cut greenhouse gasses, according to a think-tank report.

Although the US is portrayed as the ecological villain for refusing to sign up to the agreement, 10 out of the 15 European Union signatories - including Ireland, Italy and Spain - will miss their targets without urgent action, the Institute for Public Policy Research found.

France, Greece and Germany are given "amber warnings" and will only achieve the objectives if planned policies are successfully carried out.

Never fear, however. As long as there is a United States to be made out as the heavy--and especially while George W. Bush is in the White House--these other countries will not risk being demonized in the press. Perhaps they're looking for a way to blame us now for their not being able to cut down on their pollution...

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Posted by Pam Meister at 08:50 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0) | Environment

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