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#119 -- Nurses Demand Precaution, 5-Dec-2007

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Rachel's Precaution Reporter #119

"Foresight and Precaution, in the News and in the World"

Wednesday, December 5, 2007..........Printer-friendly version
www.rachel.org -- To make a secure donation, click here.
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Featured stories in this issue...

Changes Demanded After Nurses Attacked
In Canada, "The nurses' union is calling on the provincial
government to write the 'precautionary principle' into the
Occupational Health and Safety Act, something the late Justice Archie
Campbell recommended in his SARS report earlier this year."
President Shimon Peres: Pollution Is as Dangerous as Terror
"The information on the effects of MTBE [a gasoline additive] is
not complete, the Israel Union for Environmental Defense said.
However, there is no need to wait to find out how much more dangerous
MTBE is than we already know, the report said. We must use the
precautionary principle and not wait until irreversible health and
environmental damage is done, the report concluded."
Letters: Precautionary Approach May Be Prudent with Water
"Where unknowns abound, a more rational approach to public policy
is found in "The Precautionary Principle." It urges the prevention of
problems through the exercise of caution and it would direct us to
impose restrictions on drilling new exempt wells now. When and if it
can be shown such restrictions are no longer needed, they can be
relaxed. Such caution likely will restrict short-term monetary gain
but it almost certainly will minimize the costly, long term water
supply problems that do in fact exist elsewhere."
Australia's Environmental Law Requires Precautionary Decisions
Europeans are not the only people advancing the precautionary
principle. Precaution is embedded in Australia's national
environmental law
Rapid Growth and Global Warming
Some time ago we recommended serious action in mitigation on the
basis of the precautionary principle. "The consequences if we worry
and take action about global warming will be minor if we are wrong. If
we do not take action and we are wrong, the consequences will be
devastating."
Unequivocal Evidence
"The IPCC has provided enough evidence to be past the precautionary
stage, but the White House is saying there's still enough uncertainty
that we have to be very careful on what actions we do take. But urgent
action is warranted," Auer said. "It's the precautionary principle. If
there is a risk of harm to human health or the environment, you don't
have to have fully established cause-and-effect relationships to take
action."
The Other Side of Global Warming Alarmism
"The application of the so-called "precautionary principle,"
advocated by the environmentalists, is -- conceptually -- a wrong
strategy, because human civilization cannot exist in a regime of the
precautionary principle."

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From: The Star (Toronto, Canada), Nov. 29, 2007
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CHANGES DEMANDED AFTER NURSES ATTACKED

By Joanna Smith, Staff Reporter

The Ontario Nurses' Association is calling for a change in workplace
safety legislation after three registered nurses were attacked on duty
at the Toronto Centre for Addiction and Mental Health earlier this
month.

"We've got to make it stop now," union president Linda Haslam-Stroud
told reporters yesterday.

The attacks involved two separate patients and took place over two
days at the CAMH site on Queen St. W.

"It was absolutely horrific for the staff that witnessed this,"
Danielle Latulippe-Larmand, the union representative for registered
nurses at CAMH, said in an interview.

One of the nurses had his shoulder broken when he was attacked in the
nursing station after a patient jumped over a half-door around 2 a.m.
Nov. 13, Latulippe-Larmand said. A nurse who witnessed the attack was
also pulled down and beaten.

Another registered nurse had his jaw broken when he was head-butted
and punched while in a lounge area shortly before 5 a.m. on Nov. 14,
Latulippe-Larmand said.

She said an agency nurse -- who is not represented by the union -- was
attacked next and the first nurse went to help her.

All three ended up in the nursing station and when security personnel
arrived, they could not help out because they needed to be buzzed in.

"He was bleeding, he was dazed, he was confused and he was unable to
press the buzzer to open the door," she said of the nurse with the
broken jaw.

"Hopefully this kind of stuff will never, never happen again," said
Latulippe-Larmand, who recalled suffering a hairline fracture when a
patient punched her in the nose at the outset of her career more than
20 years ago.

"We're actually very lucky that in both incidents we did not end up
with a dead nurse."

The Ministry of Labour is investigating both incidents.

Rani Srivastava, deputy chief of nursing practice at CAMH, said
security is now able to access the units without being buzzed in and
CAMH is also reviewing the issue of patients being able to jump over
half-doors.

The union is calling on the provincial government to write the
"precautionary principle" into the Occupational Health and Safety Act,
something the late Justice Archie Campbell recommended in his SARS
report
earlier this year.

"Until the precautionary principle is fully recognized, mandated and
enforced, our nurses and the health care workers across Ontario are
going to be continued to be injured and be killed on the job," said
Haslam-Stroud.

She said 36 per cent of nurses who responded to a union survey last
year reported being physically abused on the job recently. Sixty-seven
per cent reported verbal abuse and 11 per cent said they were sexually
abused.

"Workplace violence is something that we consider to be unacceptable.
We as a government are committed to doing anything we can to address
the issues that exist in the workplaces," said Ontario Labour Minister
Brad Duguid.

"It is the responsibility of employers under the Occupational Health
and Safety Act to take every precaution to protect the health and
safety of their employees and that applies as well to issues of
violence; however, we'll certainly be happy to sit down and talk to
the nurses about their concerns," he said.

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From: Jerusalem Post (Israel), Dec. 2, 2007
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PRESIDENT SHIMON PERES: POLLUTION IS AS DANGEROUS AS TERROR

By Ehud Zion Waldoks

Environmental pollution in Israel is no less dangerous than the threat
of terrorism, President Shimon Peres said Sunday. Peres received the
annual report on the status of the environment from Tzipi Iser Itzik,
executive director of the Israel Union for Environmental Defense
(IUED), known in Hebrew as Adam, Teva V'Din, during a ceremony at Beit
Hanassi.

The report highlights several specific instances of pollution and
evaluates governmental and industrial responses to pollution threats.
It also evaluates several legal mechanisms that are meant to protect
the environment.

In contrast to terrorism, which is the strategy of an external foe,
Peres said, environmental pollution is something that comes from
within our midst. Even though it is sometimes silent and invisible, he
said, it is nonetheless a grave danger that must be eradicated as
quickly as possible.

Peres called on the government, local authorities, industrialists and
all Israeli citizens to join in the battle against this enemy from
within.

The IUED chose three representative examples of pollution and its
treatment to highlight a larger point; that no one is concerned with
taking precautionary measures to prevent environmental disasters from
occurring.

The IUED gathered all available information on the explosion at the
Machteshim factory at the Ramat Hovav Industrial Park last August 14,
which spewed a white cloud of pollutants into the air. Using what
little information they could garner, after requests for information
on the chemicals being used at the industrial park went unanswered by
the Environmental Protection Ministry, the IUED scientists determined
that the only thing that had prevented that blast from becoming a
major catastrophe was the time of year the accident occurred. If it
had been a cold winter night instead of a warm summer day, the
explosion would have hurled concentrations of lethal chemicals as far
as Beersheba and the area of the IDF training base to be built nearby.

Furthermore, the report said, 38 minor accidents had occurred in 2006,
any one of which could potentially have been catastrophic.

The IUED suggested conducting a thorough threat assessment of Ramat
Hovav's factories. According to the report, no such assessment has
been carried out at the industrial complex.

The IUED also highlighted a curious example of an initiative designed
to reduce air pollution but which is polluting our drinking water.
MTBE (Methyl tertiary-butyl ether) is added to gasoline to raise the
octane level. It also reduces the amount of air pollution internal
combustion engines produce. But when it leaks into water it makes the
water undrinkable; it ruins the taste and has been found to be
carcinogenic in animals. (It is suspected of being carcinogenic in
humans as well.)

The information on the effects of MTBE is not complete, the IUED said.
However, there is no need to wait to find out how much more dangerous
MTBE is than we already know, the report said. We must use the
precautionary principle and not wait until irreversible health and
environmental damage is done, the report concluded.

Many states in the United States have already banned MTBE as a
gasoline additive. While the IUED did not call for a ban immediately,
they strongly urged the government to investigate the matter but do so
in the public eye. They called on the Health Ministry to create a
standard for acceptable amounts of MTBE in water.

The IUED also suggested that potential pollution deterrents be
evaluated on a holistic basis rather than focusing on a specific
element, which is why MTBE was introduced into Israeli gasoline.

A particularly worrying example is that of the east Tel Aviv
neighborhood of Nahalat Yitzhak, the report said. There are noxious
vapors pervading many of the basements and first floor apartments
throughout the neighborhood, according to the report. The pollution
has been traced to several factories, including one which operated
nearby for nearly fifty years.

The "Defender" arms factory was erected next to Nahalat Yitzhak in
1949. It used and stored hazardous materials for years until it was
shut down about 10 years ago. In those years no one was really aware
of the danger and did not take proper care of hazardous materials.
Thus, dangerous chemicals and other materials were routinely poured
into the ground near the factory.

After the factory was dismantled, the environmental damage became
apparent. Because of the massive ground pollution, potentially lethal
vapors had built up in the surrounding basements, according to the
report. These vapors were carcinogenic, lethal to many internal organs
and could cause genetic damage as well. Concentrations of more than
three times the "safe" limit have been found.

One place they have built up is in the neighborhood Ayalon school,
where the basement is routinely used by teachers and students. At
present, there is no plan to treat the polluted areas, according to
the IUED. What has been decided, instead, is to use special sealing
materials in all new buildings. But residents in existing buildings
must continue to suffer.

The report also highlighted the effect of public hearings and the
IDF's attitude toward environmental concerns. Following its
introduction last year, the report once again listed the "IUED 25," an
evaluation of the thoroughness of the environmental reports of 25
major public companies.

Palram Industries and El Al headed the list with reports that divulged
much of the environmental hazards the companies could create and were
dealing with. Dan Automobiles ranked last, with no mention of the air
pollution caused by its rental cars and leased cars.

Greer Fay Cashman contributed to this report.

Copyright 1995 -- 2007 The Jerusalem Post

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From: Daily Record (Ellensburg, Wash.), Dec. 1, 2007
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LETTERS: PRECAUTIONARY APPROACH MAY BE PRUDENT WITH WATER

By Duane Skeen

To the Editor:

The Daily Record has kept its readers informed on the continuing issue
of exempt water wells and a request before the County Commissioners to
declare a moratorium on further drilling. Interestingly this issue in
Kittitas County has now gained wider attention. The November 21
Seattle Times contained an article by reporter Jonathan Martin titled
"Big growth, big fight over water" which summarized where the matter
currently stands. Mr. Martin did not overtly side with any of the
parties involved but clearly identified the various factions and
special interests now debating the future of water supplies for
Kittitas County. However, an underlying message emerges from his
report and it agrees with that found in many other published reports
describing what is happening in our county with respect to
development.

That message is clear. An opportunity to make money in the short run
supersedes taking prudent action to protect precious water supplies
over the long run. From all reports various officials at the county
and state level have failed to show any serious interest in protecting
the unknown quantity of water in county aquifers. Indeed they have
stood on the rationale that "... there is no evidence of a water
shortage at this time." Their prevailing attitude seems to be against
taking effective protective measures until there is catastrophic
evidence -- apparently in the form of people's wells drying up.

Where unknowns abound, a more rational approach to public policy is
found in "The Precautionary Principle." It urges the prevention of
problems through the exercise of caution and it would direct us to
impose restrictions on drilling new exempt wells now. When and if it
can be shown such restrictions are no longer needed, they can be
relaxed. Such caution likely will restrict short-term monetary gain
but it almost certainly will minimize the costly, long term water
supply problems that do in fact exist elsewhere. Prudent well drilling
restrictions are not a new concept. Indeed, as Mr. Martin points out
in his article "Restrictions on wells are in place in Walla Walla,
Skagit County and Okanogan's Methow Valley and are being considered in
Wenatchee."

I wonder what the folks in Atlanta, Ga., and other areas of the nation
and world now facing severe water shortages would say about the
officials and others opposing protective measures on water extraction.
I doubt that the words "short sighted" would be judged sufficiently
strong.

Copyright 2007 Kittitas County Publishing

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From: Rachel's Precaution Reporter #119, Dec. 5, 2007
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AUSTRALIA'S ENVIRONMENTAL LAW REQUIRES PRECAUTIONARY DECISIONS

By Peter Montague

In 1999, Australia adopted the Environment Protection and
Biodiversity Conservation Act
, which requires (in Section 391),that

"(1) The Minister must take account of the precautionary principle
in making a decision listed in the table in subsection (3), to the
extent he or she can do so consistently with the other provisions of
this Act."

The Act defines the precautionary principle as,

"(2) The precautionary principle is that lack of full scientific
certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing a measure to
prevent degradation of the environment where there are threats of
serious or irreversible environmental damage."

Subsection (3) of the Act lists 28 kinds of decisions in which the
Minister "must" take into account the precautionary principle.

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From: The Australian (Sydney), Dec. 3, 2007
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RAPID GROWTH AND GLOBAL WARMING

The Platinum Age is an economist's description of recent economic
growth -- stronger than the "Golden Age" of the 50s and 60s.

While strong economic growth is good in many ways -- including
crucially lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty -- the
close relation of economic growth, CO2 emissions and global warming is
a very inconvenient problem.

Growth has been far faster than anticipated, and so CO2 emissions and
global warming is faster than anyone expected.

Some time ago we recommended serious action in mitigation on the
basis of the precautionary principle. "The consequences if we worry
and take action about global warming will be minor if we are wrong. If
we do not take action and we are wrong, the consequences will be
devastating."

Professor Ross Garnaut is providing a thorough evaluation of the risks
of climate change and of policies to mitigate the threat.

In a wide-ranging discussion last week, Garnaut concluded as follows.

"There are several ways in which climate change could end the Platinum
Age.

"Climate change itself could seriously disrupt economic life and
political stability in some major economies, to an extent that
undermined the foundations of sustained, rapid, internationally-
oriented growth.

"On the scenarios defined by the IPCC that have drawn most attention,
the main impacts of inadequately mitigated climate change would come
after the completion of most of the Chinese transition to a developed
economy; but there are large statistical variations above and below
the central expectations, and the business-as-usual rate of growth in
emissions is and is likely to be far more rapid than assumed in the
standard projections. The odds are higher that climate change itself
would disrupt the extension of high living standards to other parts of
the developing world after the substantial completion of the Chinese
transition.

"Major shocks can affect economic activity beyond the immediate and
direct economic impacts.

"The effects of the 1890s depression in eastern Australia, and of the
global depression of the early 1930s, were magnified many times by the
changes in attitudes to economic institutions and policies that
emerged from them. The financial crisis in Indonesia in 1997 and early
1998 was converted into a catastrophic decline in output and incomes
by its interaction with a fragile political system.

"These are amongst the effects to be watched from unexpectedly large
climate change impacts. It is worth keeping in mind that carefully
designed adaptation policies can reduce the chances and impacts of
major shocks.

"The Platinum Age could also be disrupted by poorly thought out
approaches to mitigation.

"Stern has presented the results of work that suggests that the global
costs of effective mitigation need not be large. On the basis of the
application of this analysis to the central forward-looking scenarios
of the IPCC, the continuing costs of holding global emissions to
levels that greatly reduced the risks of dangerous climate change
would be about 1 percent of GDP, or a modest fraction of one year's
increase in global output. The costs would be somewhat greater if, as
I think likely, the underlying rates of emissions growth in the
Platinum Age are much greater than presumed in the IPCC scenarios and
the Stern Report.

"But the costs of mitigation in practice would depend on the nature of
the policies applied to it, and the manner of their implementation.
Costs would be minimised within steady policies over long periods that
provided incentives that placed with private parties the full external
costs and benefits of decisions taken by people and businesses
everywhere. Such approaches would allow private decisions within
market contexts efficiently to shape the processes of change.

"Poor design, or tardiness in implementation, would increase the costs
of mitigation immensely, and compromise the mitigation effort.

"Progress that is later judged to be inadequate is likely to be
associated with policy panic, instability and belated concentration of
adjustment into disruptively short periods. And there is the ever-
present danger of mitigation policies, with their potential to have
large effects on the distribution of incomes, being encrusted with the
usual political economy of rent-seeking behaviour by vested interests,
and becoming intertwined with the familiar distortions in public
policies related to trade and investment. For individual countries,
and for the world as a whole, such policy distortions can make the
difference between strong economic growth and stagnation.

"Income distribution effects will need to be taken into account in
design of policies. It is important that there is analytical rigour in
design and discipline in implementation of policies designed to secure
equitable distribution of the effects of mitigation. Inefficient
distribution -- an indiscriminate straying of 'compensation' towards
interests that press strongly for it -- would greatly increase the
ultimate costs of mitigation.

"Climate change and poorly designed responses to it could bring the
Platinum Age to an end. But if they do, it will represent failures in
the design and execution of policies."

Garnaut's work is vitally important. Read the full discussion here.
It will almost certainly lead you to support the Rudd government's
attempt to do something about Australia's contribution to the problem.

Visit Henry Thornton here.

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From: Reporter-Times (Martinsville, Indiana), Nov. 30, 2007
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UNEQUIVOCAL EVIDENCE

World report's conclusions require attention at all levels, including
local, say scientists


By Anne Kibbler akibbler@heraldt.com

Irrefutable. Unequivocal. Overwhelming.

When the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
released its most recent report on global warming, the language -
based on the work of almost 4,000 scientists and other experts from
more than 130 countries -- left little room for argument.

"Today, the time for doubt has passed," said the report, released
earlier this month. "The IPCC has unequivocally affirmed the warming
of our climate system, and linked it directly to human activity."

The panel, which shared the Nobel Peace Prize with former Vice
President Al Gore, helped bring the global warming crisis down to
ground level, said Matt Auer, professor of environmental science at
Indiana University. But much of the work at the intergovernmental
level is far removed from the concerns of ordinary people. The
challenge, Auer said, is to get people to understand they need to
change their own lifestyles.

"I think people perhaps are increasingly persuaded there is a problem,
but that doesn't mean they're prepared to make the changes and
sacrifices required to address the problem," he said. "My own bias is
that we tend to get distracted by intergovernmental negotiations, and
it begins to dominate the story instead of the more decentralized
issues that we should be thinking about with global warming. What does
this mean for Bloomington and Monroe County? What steps is our own
municipality taking, or our university?"

Auer said he's cautiously optimistic about the future of climate
change discussions, starting with an international conference next
month in Bali. During that meeting, government leaders will try to
come up with an action plan for measures to take when the Kyoto
Protocol, an international accord to reduce greenhouse gases, expires
in 2012. There's little agreement so far, however, on what targets or
timetables to follow, and some reluctance on the part of the United
States to consider new measures.

The U.S. was one of few developed countries that did not sign the 1997
Kyoto Protocol. Auer said the White House, which was opposed to the
treaty, now is using stronger language about the need for action on
global warming, but it has called mainly for voluntary action by
industry to reduce pollution.

"The IPCC has provided enough evidence to be past the precautionary
stage, but the White House is saying there's still enough uncertainty
that we have to be very careful on what actions we do take. But urgent
action is warranted," Auer said. "It's the precautionary principle. If
there is a risk of harm to human health or the environment, you don't
have to have fully established cause-and-effect relationships to take
action."

Jeff Riegel, one of the volunteers trained by Al Gore's staff to give
presentations on "An Inconvenient Truth," said climate change has to
start with the individual. But it may be a while before the urgency
for change sinks in with ordinary citizens.

"I am 100 percent sure that this problem can be solved," said Riegel,
the director of Bloomington-based BirdCountry.US. "I am also 99
percent sure that it will not be solved until there occur multiple
catastrophic events. Unfortunately, I think thousands of people are
going to have to die in this country before people wake up. They
haven't felt it personally yet. When that happens, there will be
overwhelming support. We won't be able to get anything done in this
country without taking the environment into consideration. That's the
way it should have been all along."

Riegel said when he shows the Gore movie, he tells people there's a
lot they can do: switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs; don't
drive when they don't have to; pay attention to the companies they
spend money on; and vote for politicians who support climate change
policy.

"Virtually every politician is getting on board," he said. "Even the
ones that aren't are going to be, or they will be booted out of office
in the next 10 years."

Key points from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report:

From 1900 to 2005, precipitation increased significantly in eastern
parts of North and South America, northern Europe and northern and
central Asia, but declined in the African Sahel, the Mediterranean,
southern Africa and parts of southern Asia.

Globally, the area affected by drought has likely increased since the
1970s.

The rate of global average sea level rise, caused by melting ice, has
risen from .07 inches per year to .12 inches per year from 1961 to
1993.

The projected sea level rise at the end of the 21st century is from 7
to 23 inches.

Approximately 20 percent to 30 percent of species assessed so far are
likely to be at increased risk of extinction.

Simon Brassell, chairman of the geological sciences department at
Indiana University, has studied data that track climate change and the
melting of glaciers during the history of the Earth. He says skeptics
are just picking little holes in the global warming theory. He calls
their views "a denial of evidence."

"Criticisms of Al Gore's movie ("An Inconvenient Truth") are minor
details that are easily refuted," Brassell said. "It's a 'throwing-
the-baby-out-with-the-bathwater' scenario. There are some aspects (of
the movie) where there's a slight misinterpretation, and part of that
can be addressed, but it doesn't change the overall message."

Brassell's analysis of studies of drilled ice cores, which indicate
the correlation between increased carbon dioxide pollution and higher
temperatures, makes clear that the recent spike in global temperatures
is related to human use of fossil fuels.

"It's difficult to regard this as a natural variation in the climate
system because of how stable it's been in the last 10,000 years,"
Brassell said. "Putting two and two together, it seems it's not just
an inconvenient truth, but an irrefutable argument."

Copyright 1997-2007 Reporter-Times.com

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From: EUportal.cz (Prague, Czechoslovakia), Dec. 2, 2007
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THE OTHER SIDE OF GLOBAL WARMING ALARMISM

By Vaclav Klaus

[Vaclav Klaus is President of the Czech Republic. This is the text of
a speech delivered November 7 at Chatham House, London, UK.]

Thank you for the invitation and the opportunity to address this
distinguished audience. I would like to start by stressing how glad I
am to be for the first time in the well-known Chatham House which has
been the place of so many important talks and discussions in the whole
87 years of its existence.

My speeches here in London have been in the past years connected with
two topics. The first one was the end of communism and our way of
getting rid of its legacy. The second one was the European
integration.

The transition from communism to a free society is over, and not only
in my country. We may have reservations about developments in some of
the former communist countries but I disagree with the attempts to
look at those countries with a misleading optics of fighting communism
there even now. It is a mistake and I am afraid a slightly snobbish
position as well.

My second topic here used to be Europe and the European Union. Whereas
the first issue is more or less closed because communism is over, the
second issue is here with us. It has not faded away. On the contrary,
with treaty after treaty, with summit after summit, the danger of
creating a brave new world of a post-democratic European
supranationalist entity is getting more and more acute. After almost
half a century of communism the Czech Republic had a strong desire to
be a normal European country again. We understood and accepted that it
requires -- these days -- to become a member of the European Union.
Nevertheless, due to our experience with the suppression of freedom
and democracy in the name of allegedly "higher" goals, we consider the
current European unification project itself -- again an almost holy
and sacred goal which explains, justifies and excuses everything --
not only a blessing.

The recent embracement of the so-called Reform Treaty, which is in all
important aspects identical with the old Constitutional Treaty, is a
defeat for all true European democrats and should be interpreted as
such. The down-playing of its true essence is intellectually
unacceptable and morally inexcusable.

Nevertheless, there is another threat on the horizon. I see this
threat in environmentalism which is becoming a new dominant ideology,
if not a religion. Its main weapon is raising the alarm and predicting
the human life endangering climate change based on man-made global
warming. The recent awarding of Nobel Prize to the main apostle of
this hypothesis was the last straw because by this these ideas were
elevated to the pedestal of "holy and sacred" uncriticisable truths.

It became politically correct to caricature us, who dare to speak
about it, as those who are talking about things they do not understand
and are not experts on. This criticism is inappropriate. People like
me do not have ambitions to enter the field of climatology. They do
not try to better measure global temperature or to present alternative
scenarios of the future global climate fluctuations.

They need not do it because the climate change debate is basically not
about science; it is about ideology. It is not about global
temperature; it is about the concept of human society. It is not about
scientific ecology; it is about environmentalism, which is a new anti-
individualistic, pseudo-collectivistic ideology based on putting
nature and environment and their supposed protection and preservation
before and above freedom. That's one of the reasons why my recently
published book on this topic has a subtitle: "What is Endangered,
Climate or Freedom?".

When we look at it in a proper historical perspective, the issue is -
once again -- freedom and its enemies. Those of us who feel very
strongly about it can never accept

- the irrationality with which the current world has embraced the
climate change (or global warming) as a real danger to the future of
mankind, as well as

- the irrationality of proposed and partly already implemented etatist
and dirigistic measures because they will fatally endanger our freedom
and prosperity, the two goals we consider -- I do believe -- our
priorities.

My position can be summarized in the following way:

1. Contrary to the currently prevailing views -- promoted by global
warming alarmists, by Al Gore's preaching, by the IPCC, or by the
Stern Report -- the increase in global temperatures in the last years,
decades and centuries has been very small and because of its size
practically negligible in its actual impact upon human beings and
their activities. For most of the Earth's history (95% of it), the
globe has been warmer than it has been for the last 200 years. In
addition to it, using history again, it has been proved that the
consequences of modest warming have been mostly positive, not
negative.

2. The arguments of global warming alarmists rely exclusively upon
very speculative forecasts, not upon serious analysis and
extrapolation of past trends or upon undeniable conclusions of natural
sciences. The available empirical evidence is not alarming. The highly
publicized forecasts made by some leading environmentalists are based
on experimental simulations of very complicated forecasting models
that have not been found very reliable when explaining past
developments. They were mostly done by software engineers, not by
scientists themselves.

3. The debate has its important scientific side connected with the
dispute whether the current mild warming is man-made or natural. Let's
listen to the scientists but one thing is and becomes evident more and
more: the scientific dispute about the causes of recent climate
changes continues. The attempts to proclaim a scientific consensus are
self-debilitating. There is none. More and more scientists, on the
contrary, dare to speak out about it.

4. The issue has an important economic aspect which requires the
application of a standard cost-benefit analysis. A rational response
to any danger depends on the size and probability of the eventual risk
and on the magnitude of the costs of its avoidance. I feel obliged to
say that -- based on my knowledge -- I find the risk too small and the
costs of eliminating it too high. The application of the so-called
"precautionary principle," advocated by the environmentalists, is -
conceptually -- a wrong strategy, because human civilization cannot
exist in a regime of the precautionary principle.

5. The deindustrialization and similar restrictive policies will be of
no help. Instead of blocking economic growth, the increase of wealth
all over the world and fast technical progress -- all connected with
freedom and free markets -- we should leave them to proceed
unhampered. They represent the solution to any eventual climate
changes, not their cause. We should trust in the rationality of men.
We should never forget that the government failure is always much
bigger than the market failure. We should not believe more in Al Gore
than in the omnipotence of the Soviet or Czechoslovak central
planners. Fifty- or hundred-year plans of the current
environmentalists will not be any better than the five-year plans
which liquidated the economic freedom (and the economic efficiency
connected with it) in the centrally planned economies of the past.

6. The global warming issue has a very important North-South and West-
East aspect as well. Environmental quality is a luxury good and demand
for it increases with income and wealth. The developed countries had
to go along the path of the environmental Kuznets curve in the past
and do not have any right to prematurely impose their current
overambitious environmental standards upon less developed countries,
because that would lead to an economic disaster there.

The only conclusion is that no radical measures are necessary. Famous
Czech writer of the early 20th century Jaroslav Hauek, whose book "The
Good Soldier Schweik" is known world-wide, made a point with saying:
"To chce klid". The Englishmen would probably say "Take it easy".

I lived most of my life in an oppressive and very unproductive
political, economic and social system called communism. It was
impossible to "take it easy". Now I live in a system based on the
ideology of Europeism which prefers supranational institutions with
their post-democracy to the good old democratic institutions in a
well-defined constitutional sovereign state. It is difficult to "take
it easy" again. And we are moving -- very rapidly -- to the era of
environmentalism in which environment (or perhaps the irrational
claims of environmentalists) is placed ahead of men and their freedom.
We can take the global climate changes easy, but the climate
propaganda and new wave of dangerous indoctrination of the whole world
not.

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Rachel's Precaution Reporter offers news, views and practical
examples of the Precautionary Principle, or Foresight Principle, in
action. The Precautionary Principle is a modern way of making
decisions, to minimize harm. Rachel's Precaution Reporter tries to
answer such questions as, Why do we need the precautionary
principle? Who is using precaution? Who is opposing precaution?

We often include attacks on the precautionary principle because we
believe it is essential for advocates of precaution to know what
their adversaries are saying, just as abolitionists in 1830 needed
to know the arguments used by slaveholders.

Rachel's Precaution Reporter is published as often as necessary to
provide readers with up-to-date coverage of the subject.

As you come across stories that illustrate the precautionary
principle -- or the need for the precautionary principle --
please Email them to us at rpr@rachel.org.

Editors:
Peter Montague - peter@rachel.org
Tim Montague - tim@rachel.org

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To start your own free Email subscription to Rachel's Precaution
Reporter
send any Email to one of these addresses:

Full HTML edition: rpr-subscribe@pplist.net
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In response, you will receive an Email asking you to confirm that
you want to subscribe.

To unsubscribe, send any email to rpr-unsubscribe@pplist.net
or to rpr-toc-unsubscribe@pplist.net, as appropriate.

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Environmental Research Foundation
P.O. Box 160, New Brunswick, N.J. 08903
rpr@rachel.org
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:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: Rachel's Precaution Reporter #119 "Foresight and Precaution, in the News and in the World" Wednesday, December 5, 2007..........Printer-friendly version www.rachel.org -- To make a secure donation, click here. ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Featured stories in this issue...

Changes Demanded After Nurses Attacked
In Canada, "The nurses' union is calling on the provincial
government to write the 'precautionary principle' into the
Occupational Health and Safety Act, something the late Justice Archie
Campbell recommended in his SARS report earlier this year."
President Shimon Peres: Pollution Is as Dangerous as Terror
"The information on the effects of MTBE [a gasoline additive] is
not complete, the Israel Union for Environmental Defense said.
However, there is no need to wait to find out how much more dangerous
MTBE is than we already know, the report said. We must use the
precautionary principle and not wait until irreversible health and
environmental damage is done, the report concluded."
Letters: Precautionary Approach May Be Prudent with Water
"Where unknowns abound, a more rational approach to public policy
is found in "The Precautionary Principle." It urges the prevention of
problems through the exercise of caution and it would direct us to
impose restrictions on drilling new exempt wells now. When and if it
can be shown such restrictions are no longer needed, they can be
relaxed. Such caution likely will restrict short-term monetary gain
but it almost certainly will minimize the costly, long term water
supply problems that do in fact exist elsewhere."
Australia's Environmental Law Requires Precautionary Decisions
Europeans are not the only people advancing the precautionary
principle. Precaution is embedded in Australia's national
environmental law
Rapid Growth and Global Warming
Some time ago we recommended serious action in mitigation on the
basis of the precautionary principle. "The consequences if we worry
and take action about global warming will be minor if we are wrong. If
we do not take action and we are wrong, the consequences will be
devastating."
Unequivocal Evidence
"The IPCC has provided enough evidence to be past the precautionary
stage, but the White House is saying there's still enough uncertainty
that we have to be very careful on what actions we do take. But urgent
action is warranted," Auer said. "It's the precautionary principle. If
there is a risk of harm to human health or the environment, you don't
have to have fully established cause-and-effect relationships to take
action."
The Other Side of Global Warming Alarmism
"The application of the so-called "precautionary principle,"
advocated by the environmentalists, is -- conceptually -- a wrong
strategy, because human civilization cannot exist in a regime of the
precautionary principle."

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From: The Star (Toronto, Canada), Nov. 29, 2007
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CHANGES DEMANDED AFTER NURSES ATTACKED

By Joanna Smith, Staff Reporter

The Ontario Nurses' Association is calling for a change in workplace
safety legislation after three registered nurses were attacked on duty
at the Toronto Centre for Addiction and Mental Health earlier this
month.

"We've got to make it stop now," union president Linda Haslam-Stroud
told reporters yesterday.

The attacks involved two separate patients and took place over two
days at the CAMH site on Queen St. W.

"It was absolutely horrific for the staff that witnessed this,"
Danielle Latulippe-Larmand, the union representative for registered
nurses at CAMH, said in an interview.

One of the nurses had his shoulder broken when he was attacked in the
nursing station after a patient jumped over a half-door around 2 a.m.
Nov. 13, Latulippe-Larmand said. A nurse who witnessed the attack was
also pulled down and beaten.

Another registered nurse had his jaw broken when he was head-butted
and punched while in a lounge area shortly before 5 a.m. on Nov. 14,
Latulippe-Larmand said.

She said an agency nurse -- who is not represented by the union -- was
attacked next and the first nurse went to help her.

All three ended up in the nursing station and when security personnel
arrived, they could not help out because they needed to be buzzed in.

"He was bleeding, he was dazed, he was confused and he was unable to
press the buzzer to open the door," she said of the nurse with the
broken jaw.

"Hopefully this kind of stuff will never, never happen again," said
Latulippe-Larmand, who recalled suffering a hairline fracture when a
patient punched her in the nose at the outset of her career more than
20 years ago.

"We're actually very lucky that in both incidents we did not end up
with a dead nurse."

The Ministry of Labour is investigating both incidents.

Rani Srivastava, deputy chief of nursing practice at CAMH, said
security is now able to access the units without being buzzed in and
CAMH is also reviewing the issue of patients being able to jump over
half-doors.

The union is calling on the provincial government to write the
"precautionary principle" into the Occupational Health and Safety Act,
something the late Justice Archie Campbell recommended in his SARS
report
earlier this year.

"Until the precautionary principle is fully recognized, mandated and
enforced, our nurses and the health care workers across Ontario are
going to be continued to be injured and be killed on the job," said
Haslam-Stroud.

She said 36 per cent of nurses who responded to a union survey last
year reported being physically abused on the job recently. Sixty-seven
per cent reported verbal abuse and 11 per cent said they were sexually
abused.

"Workplace violence is something that we consider to be unacceptable.
We as a government are committed to doing anything we can to address
the issues that exist in the workplaces," said Ontario Labour Minister
Brad Duguid.

"It is the responsibility of employers under the Occupational Health
and Safety Act to take every precaution to protect the health and
safety of their employees and that applies as well to issues of
violence; however, we'll certainly be happy to sit down and talk to
the nurses about their concerns," he said.

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From: Jerusalem Post (Israel), Dec. 2, 2007
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PRESIDENT SHIMON PERES: POLLUTION IS AS DANGEROUS AS TERROR

By Ehud Zion Waldoks

Environmental pollution in Israel is no less dangerous than the threat
of terrorism, President Shimon Peres said Sunday. Peres received the
annual report on the status of the environment from Tzipi Iser Itzik,
executive director of the Israel Union for Environmental Defense
(IUED), known in Hebrew as Adam, Teva V'Din, during a ceremony at Beit
Hanassi.

The report highlights several specific instances of pollution and
evaluates governmental and industrial responses to pollution threats.
It also evaluates several legal mechanisms that are meant to protect
the environment.

In contrast to terrorism, which is the strategy of an external foe,
Peres said, environmental pollution is something that comes from
within our midst. Even though it is sometimes silent and invisible, he
said, it is nonetheless a grave danger that must be eradicated as
quickly as possible.

Peres called on the government, local authorities, industrialists and
all Israeli citizens to join in the battle against this enemy from
within.

The IUED chose three representative examples of pollution and its
treatment to highlight a larger point; that no one is concerned with
taking precautionary measures to prevent environmental disasters from
occurring.

The IUED gathered all available information on the explosion at the
Machteshim factory at the Ramat Hovav Industrial Park last August 14,
which spewed a white cloud of pollutants into the air. Using what
little information they could garner, after requests for information
on the chemicals being used at the industrial park went unanswered by
the Environmental Protection Ministry, the IUED scientists determined
that the only thing that had prevented that blast from becoming a
major catastrophe was the time of year the accident occurred. If it
had been a cold winter night instead of a warm summer day, the
explosion would have hurled concentrations of lethal chemicals as far
as Beersheba and the area of the IDF training base to be built nearby.

Furthermore, the report said, 38 minor accidents had occurred in 2006,
any one of which could potentially have been catastrophic.

The IUED suggested conducting a thorough threat assessment of Ramat
Hovav's factories. According to the report, no such assessment has
been carried out at the industrial complex.

The IUED also highlighted a curious example of an initiative designed
to reduce air pollution but which is polluting our drinking water.
MTBE (Methyl tertiary-butyl ether) is added to gasoline to raise the
octane level. It also reduces the amount of air pollution internal
combustion engines produce. But when it leaks into water it makes the
water undrinkable; it ruins the taste and has been found to be
carcinogenic in animals. (It is suspected of being carcinogenic in
humans as well.)

The information on the effects of MTBE is not complete, the IUED said.
However, there is no need to wait to find out how much more dangerous
MTBE is than we already know, the report said. We must use the
precautionary principle and not wait until irreversible health and
environmental damage is done, the report concluded.

Many states in the United States have already banned MTBE as a
gasoline additive. While the IUED did not call for a ban immediately,
they strongly urged the government to investigate the matter but do so
in the public eye. They called on the Health Ministry to create a
standard for acceptable amounts of MTBE in water.

The IUED also suggested that potential pollution deterrents be
evaluated on a holistic basis rather than focusing on a specific
element, which is why MTBE was introduced into Israeli gasoline.

A particularly worrying example is that of the east Tel Aviv
neighborhood of Nahalat Yitzhak, the report said. There are noxious
vapors pervading many of the basements and first floor apartments
throughout the neighborhood, according to the report. The pollution
has been traced to several factories, including one which operated
nearby for nearly fifty years.

The "Defender" arms factory was erected next to Nahalat Yitzhak in
1949. It used and stored hazardous materials for years until it was
shut down about 10 years ago. In those years no one was really aware
of the danger and did not take proper care of hazardous materials.
Thus, dangerous chemicals and other materials were routinely poured
into the ground near the factory.

After the factory was dismantled, the environmental damage became
apparent. Because of the massive ground pollution, potentially lethal
vapors had built up in the surrounding basements, according to the
report. These vapors were carcinogenic, lethal to many internal organs
and could cause genetic damage as well. Concentrations of more than
three times the "safe" limit have been found.

One place they have built up is in the neighborhood Ayalon school,
where the basement is routinely used by teachers and students. At
present, there is no plan to treat the polluted areas, according to
the IUED. What has been decided, instead, is to use special sealing
materials in all new buildings. But residents in existing buildings
must continue to suffer.

The report also highlighted the effect of public hearings and the
IDF's attitude toward environmental concerns. Following its
introduction last year, the report once again listed the "IUED 25," an
evaluation of the thoroughness of the environmental reports of 25
major public companies.

Palram Industries and El Al headed the list with reports that divulged
much of the environmental hazards the companies could create and were
dealing with. Dan Automobiles ranked last, with no mention of the air
pollution caused by its rental cars and leased cars.

Greer Fay Cashman contributed to this report.

Copyright 1995 -- 2007 The Jerusalem Post

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From: Daily Record (Ellensburg, Wash.), Dec. 1, 2007
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LETTERS: PRECAUTIONARY APPROACH MAY BE PRUDENT WITH WATER

By Duane Skeen

To the Editor:

The Daily Record has kept its readers informed on the continuing issue
of exempt water wells and a request before the County Commissioners to
declare a moratorium on further drilling. Interestingly this issue in
Kittitas County has now gained wider attention. The November 21
Seattle Times contained an article by reporter Jonathan Martin titled
"Big growth, big fight over water" which summarized where the matter
currently stands. Mr. Martin did not overtly side with any of the
parties involved but clearly identified the various factions and
special interests now debating the future of water supplies for
Kittitas County. However, an underlying message emerges from his
report and it agrees with that found in many other published reports
describing what is happening in our county with respect to
development.

That message is clear. An opportunity to make money in the short run
supersedes taking prudent action to protect precious water supplies
over the long run. From all reports various officials at the county
and state level have failed to show any serious interest in protecting
the unknown quantity of water in county aquifers. Indeed they have
stood on the rationale that "... there is no evidence of a water
shortage at this time." Their prevailing attitude seems to be against
taking effective protective measures until there is catastrophic
evidence -- apparently in the form of people's wells drying up.

Where unknowns abound, a more rational approach to public policy is
found in "The Precautionary Principle." It urges the prevention of
problems through the exercise of caution and it would direct us to
impose restrictions on drilling new exempt wells now. When and if it
can be shown such restrictions are no longer needed, they can be
relaxed. Such caution likely will restrict short-term monetary gain
but it almost certainly will minimize the costly, long term water
supply problems that do in fact exist elsewhere. Prudent well drilling
restrictions are not a new concept. Indeed, as Mr. Martin points out
in his article "Restrictions on wells are in place in Walla Walla,
Skagit County and Okanogan's Methow Valley and are being considered in
Wenatchee."

I wonder what the folks in Atlanta, Ga., and other areas of the nation
and world now facing severe water shortages would say about the
officials and others opposing protective measures on water extraction.
I doubt that the words "short sighted" would be judged sufficiently
strong.

Copyright 2007 Kittitas County Publishing

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From: Rachel's Precaution Reporter #119, Dec. 5, 2007
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AUSTRALIA'S ENVIRONMENTAL LAW REQUIRES PRECAUTIONARY DECISIONS

By Peter Montague

In 1999, Australia adopted the Environment Protection and
Biodiversity Conservation Act
, which requires (in Section 391),that

"(1) The Minister must take account of the precautionary principle
in making a decision listed in the table in subsection (3), to the
extent he or she can do so consistently with the other provisions of
this Act."

The Act defines the precautionary principle as,

"(2) The precautionary principle is that lack of full scientific
certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing a measure to
prevent degradation of the environment where there are threats of
serious or irreversible environmental damage."

Subsection (3) of the Act lists 28 kinds of decisions in which the
Minister "must" take into account the precautionary principle.

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From: The Australian (Sydney), Dec. 3, 2007
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RAPID GROWTH AND GLOBAL WARMING

The Platinum Age is an economist's description of recent economic
growth -- stronger than the "Golden Age" of the 50s and 60s.

While strong economic growth is good in many ways -- including
crucially lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty -- the
close relation of economic growth, CO2 emissions and global warming is
a very inconvenient problem.

Growth has been far faster than anticipated, and so CO2 emissions and
global warming is faster than anyone expected.

Some time ago we recommended serious action in mitigation on the
basis of the precautionary principle. "The consequences if we worry
and take action about global warming will be minor if we are wrong. If
we do not take action and we are wrong, the consequences will be
devastating."

Professor Ross Garnaut is providing a thorough evaluation of the risks
of climate change and of policies to mitigate the threat.

In a wide-ranging discussion last week, Garnaut concluded as follows.

"There are several ways in which climate change could end the Platinum
Age.

"Climate change itself could seriously disrupt economic life and
political stability in some major economies, to an extent that
undermined the foundations of sustained, rapid, internationally-
oriented growth.

"On the scenarios defined by the IPCC that have drawn most attention,
the main impacts of inadequately mitigated climate change would come
after the completion of most of the Chinese transition to a developed
economy; but there are large statistical variations above and below
the central expectations, and the business-as-usual rate of growth in
emissions is and is likely to be far more rapid than assumed in the
standard projections. The odds are higher that climate change itself
would disrupt the extension of high living standards to other parts of
the developing world after the substantial completion of the Chinese
transition.

"Major shocks can affect economic activity beyond the immediate and
direct economic impacts.

"The effects of the 1890s depression in eastern Australia, and of the
global depression of the early 1930s, were magnified many times by the
changes in attitudes to economic institutions and policies that
emerged from them. The financial crisis in Indonesia in 1997 and early
1998 was converted into a catastrophic decline in output and incomes
by its interaction with a fragile political system.

"These are amongst the effects to be watched from unexpectedly large
climate change impacts. It is worth keeping in mind that carefully
designed adaptation policies can reduce the chances and impacts of
major shocks.

"The Platinum Age could also be disrupted by poorly thought out
approaches to mitigation.

"Stern has presented the results of work that suggests that the global
costs of effective mitigation need not be large. On the basis of the
application of this analysis to the central forward-looking scenarios
of the IPCC, the continuing costs of holding global emissions to
levels that greatly reduced the risks of dangerous climate change
would be about 1 percent of GDP, or a modest fraction of one year's
increase in global output. The costs would be somewhat greater if, as
I think likely, the underlying rates of emissions growth in the
Platinum Age are much greater than presumed in the IPCC scenarios and
the Stern Report.

"But the costs of mitigation in practice would depend on the nature of
the policies applied to it, and the manner of their implementation.
Costs would be minimised within steady policies over long periods that
provided incentives that placed with private parties the full external
costs and benefits of decisions taken by people and businesses
everywhere. Such approaches would allow private decisions within
market contexts efficiently to shape the processes of change.

"Poor design, or tardiness in implementation, would increase the costs
of mitigation immensely, and compromise the mitigation effort.

"Progress that is later judged to be inadequate is likely to be
associated with policy panic, instability and belated concentration of
adjustment into disruptively short periods. And there is the ever-
present danger of mitigation policies, with their potential to have
large effects on the distribution of incomes, being encrusted with the
usual political economy of rent-seeking behaviour by vested interests,
and becoming intertwined with the familiar distortions in public
policies related to trade and investment. For individual countries,
and for the world as a whole, such policy distortions can make the
difference between strong economic growth and stagnation.

"Income distribution effects will need to be taken into account in
design of policies. It is important that there is analytical rigour in
design and discipline in implementation of policies designed to secure
equitable distribution of the effects of mitigation. Inefficient
distribution -- an indiscriminate straying of 'compensation' towards
interests that press strongly for it -- would greatly increase the
ultimate costs of mitigation.

"Climate change and poorly designed responses to it could bring the
Platinum Age to an end. But if they do, it will represent failures in
the design and execution of policies."

Garnaut's work is vitally important. Read the full discussion here.
It will almost certainly lead you to support the Rudd government's
attempt to do something about Australia's contribution to the problem.

Visit Henry Thornton here.

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From: Reporter-Times (Martinsville, Indiana), Nov. 30, 2007
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UNEQUIVOCAL EVIDENCE

World report's conclusions require attention at all levels, including
local, say scientists


By Anne Kibbler akibbler@heraldt.com

Irrefutable. Unequivocal. Overwhelming.

When the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
released its most recent report on global warming, the language -
based on the work of almost 4,000 scientists and other experts from
more than 130 countries -- left little room for argument.

"Today, the time for doubt has passed," said the report, released
earlier this month. "The IPCC has unequivocally affirmed the warming
of our climate system, and linked it directly to human activity."

The panel, which shared the Nobel Peace Prize with former Vice
President Al Gore, helped bring the global warming crisis down to
ground level, said Matt Auer, professor of environmental science at
Indiana University. But much of the work at the intergovernmental
level is far removed from the concerns of ordinary people. The
challenge, Auer said, is to get people to understand they need to
change their own lifestyles.

"I think people perhaps are increasingly persuaded there is a problem,
but that doesn't mean they're prepared to make the changes and
sacrifices required to address the problem," he said. "My own bias is
that we tend to get distracted by intergovernmental negotiations, and
it begins to dominate the story instead of the more decentralized
issues that we should be thinking about with global warming. What does
this mean for Bloomington and Monroe County? What steps is our own
municipality taking, or our university?"

Auer said he's cautiously optimistic about the future of climate
change discussions, starting with an international conference next
month in Bali. During that meeting, government leaders will try to
come up with an action plan for measures to take when the Kyoto
Protocol, an international accord to reduce greenhouse gases, expires
in 2012. There's little agreement so far, however, on what targets or
timetables to follow, and some reluctance on the part of the United
States to consider new measures.

The U.S. was one of few developed countries that did not sign the 1997
Kyoto Protocol. Auer said the White House, which was opposed to the
treaty, now is using stronger language about the need for action on
global warming, but it has called mainly for voluntary action by
industry to reduce pollution.

"The IPCC has provided enough evidence to be past the precautionary
stage, but the White House is saying there's still enough uncertainty
that we have to be very careful on what actions we do take. But urgent
action is warranted," Auer said. "It's the precautionary principle. If
there is a risk of harm to human health or the environment, you don't
have to have fully established cause-and-effect relationships to take
action."

Jeff Riegel, one of the volunteers trained by Al Gore's staff to give
presentations on "An Inconvenient Truth," said climate change has to
start with the individual. But it may be a while before the urgency
for change sinks in with ordinary citizens.

"I am 100 percent sure that this problem can be solved," said Riegel,
the director of Bloomington-based BirdCountry.US. "I am also 99
percent sure that it will not be solved until there occur multiple
catastrophic events. Unfortunately, I think thousands of people are
going to have to die in this country before people wake up. They
haven't felt it personally yet. When that happens, there will be
overwhelming support. We won't be able to get anything done in this
country without taking the environment into consideration. That's the
way it should have been all along."

Riegel said when he shows the Gore movie, he tells people there's a
lot they can do: switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs; don't
drive when they don't have to; pay attention to the companies they
spend money on; and vote for politicians who support climate change
policy.

"Virtually every politician is getting on board," he said. "Even the
ones that aren't are going to be, or they will be booted out of office
in the next 10 years."

Key points from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report:

From 1900 to 2005, precipitation increased significantly in eastern
parts of North and South America, northern Europe and northern and
central Asia, but declined in the African Sahel, the Mediterranean,
southern Africa and parts of southern Asia.

Globally, the area affected by drought has likely increased since the
1970s.

The rate of global average sea level rise, caused by melting ice, has
risen from .07 inches per year to .12 inches per year from 1961 to
1993.

The projected sea level rise at the end of the 21st century is from 7
to 23 inches.

Approximately 20 percent to 30 percent of species assessed so far are
likely to be at increased risk of extinction.

Simon Brassell, chairman of the geological sciences department at
Indiana University, has studied data that track climate change and the
melting of glaciers during the history of the Earth. He says skeptics
are just picking little holes in the global warming theory. He calls
their views "a denial of evidence."

"Criticisms of Al Gore's movie ("An Inconvenient Truth") are minor
details that are easily refuted," Brassell said. "It's a 'throwing-
the-baby-out-with-the-bathwater' scenario. There are some aspects (of
the movie) where there's a slight misinterpretation, and part of that
can be addressed, but it doesn't change the overall message."

Brassell's analysis of studies of drilled ice cores, which indicate
the correlation between increased carbon dioxide pollution and higher
temperatures, makes clear that the recent spike in global temperatures
is related to human use of fossil fuels.

"It's difficult to regard this as a natural variation in the climate
system because of how stable it's been in the last 10,000 years,"
Brassell said. "Putting two and two together, it seems it's not just
an inconvenient truth, but an irrefutable argument."

Copyright 1997-2007 Reporter-Times.com

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From: EUportal.cz (Prague, Czechoslovakia), Dec. 2, 2007
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THE OTHER SIDE OF GLOBAL WARMING ALARMISM

By Vaclav Klaus

[Vaclav Klaus is President of the Czech Republic. This is the text of
a speech delivered November 7 at Chatham House, London, UK.]

Thank you for the invitation and the opportunity to address this
distinguished audience. I would like to start by stressing how glad I
am to be for the first time in the well-known Chatham House which has
been the place of so many important talks and discussions in the whole
87 years of its existence.

My speeches here in London have been in the past years connected with
two topics. The first one was the end of communism and our way of
getting rid of its legacy. The second one was the European
integration.

The transition from communism to a free society is over, and not only
in my country. We may have reservations about developments in some of
the former communist countries but I disagree with the attempts to
look at those countries with a misleading optics of fighting communism
there even now. It is a mistake and I am afraid a slightly snobbish
position as well.

My second topic here used to be Europe and the European Union. Whereas
the first issue is more or less closed because communism is over, the
second issue is here with us. It has not faded away. On the contrary,
with treaty after treaty, with summit after summit, the danger of
creating a brave new world of a post-democratic European
supranationalist entity is getting more and more acute. After almost
half a century of communism the Czech Republic had a strong desire to
be a normal European country again. We understood and accepted that it
requires -- these days -- to become a member of the European Union.
Nevertheless, due to our experience with the suppression of freedom
and democracy in the name of allegedly "higher" goals, we consider the
current European unification project itself -- again an almost holy
and sacred goal which explains, justifies and excuses everything --
not only a blessing.

The recent embracement of the so-called Reform Treaty, which is in all
important aspects identical with the old Constitutional Treaty, is a
defeat for all true European democrats and should be interpreted as
such. The down-playing of its true essence is intellectually
unacceptable and morally inexcusable.

Nevertheless, there is another threat on the horizon. I see this
threat in environmentalism which is becoming a new dominant ideology,
if not a religion. Its main weapon is raising the alarm and predicting
the human life endangering climate change based on man-made global
warming. The recent awarding of Nobel Prize to the main apostle of
this hypothesis was the last straw because by this these ideas were
elevated to the pedestal of "holy and sacred" uncriticisable truths.

It became politically correct to caricature us, who dare to speak
about it, as those who are talking about things they do not understand
and are not experts on. This criticism is inappropriate. People like
me do not have ambitions to enter the field of climatology. They do
not try to better measure global temperature or to present alternative
scenarios of the future global climate fluctuations.

They need not do it because the climate change debate is basically not
about science; it is about ideology. It is not about global
temperature; it is about the concept of human society. It is not about
scientific ecology; it is about environmentalism, which is a new anti-
individualistic, pseudo-collectivistic ideology based on putting
nature and environment and their supposed protection and preservation
before and above freedom. That's one of the reasons why my recently
published book on this topic has a subtitle: "What is Endangered,
Climate or Freedom?".

When we look at it in a proper historical perspective, the issue is -
once again -- freedom and its enemies. Those of us who feel very
strongly about it can never accept

- the irrationality with which the current world has embraced the
climate change (or global warming) as a real danger to the future of
mankind, as well as

- the irrationality of proposed and partly already implemented etatist
and dirigistic measures because they will fatally endanger our freedom
and prosperity, the two goals we consider -- I do believe -- our
priorities.

My position can be summarized in the following way:

1. Contrary to the currently prevailing views -- promoted by global
warming alarmists, by Al Gore's preaching, by the IPCC, or by the
Stern Report -- the increase in global temperatures in the last years,
decades and centuries has been very small and because of its size
practically negligible in its actual impact upon human beings and
their activities. For most of the Earth's history (95% of it), the
globe has been warmer than it has been for the last 200 years. In
addition to it, using history again, it has been proved that the
consequences of modest warming have been mostly positive, not
negative.

2. The arguments of global warming alarmists rely exclusively upon
very speculative forecasts, not upon serious analysis and
extrapolation of past trends or upon undeniable conclusions of natural
sciences. The available empirical evidence is not alarming. The highly
publicized forecasts made by some leading environmentalists are based
on experimental simulations of very complicated forecasting models
that have not been found very reliable when explaining past
developments. They were mostly done by software engineers, not by
scientists themselves.

3. The debate has its important scientific side connected with the
dispute whether the current mild warming is man-made or natural. Let's
listen to the scientists but one thing is and becomes evident more and
more: the scientific dispute about the causes of recent climate
changes continues. The attempts to proclaim a scientific consensus are
self-debilitating. There is none. More and more scientists, on the
contrary, dare to speak out about it.

4. The issue has an important economic aspect which requires the
application of a standard cost-benefit analysis. A rational response
to any danger depends on the size and probability of the eventual risk
and on the magnitude of the costs of its avoidance. I feel obliged to
say that -- based on my knowledge -- I find the risk too small and the
costs of eliminating it too high. The application of the so-called
"precautionary principle," advocated by the environmentalists, is -
conceptually -- a wrong strategy, because human civilization cannot
exist in a regime of the precautionary principle.

5. The deindustrialization and similar restrictive policies will be of
no help. Instead of blocking economic growth, the increase of wealth
all over the world and fast technical progress -- all connected with
freedom and free markets -- we should leave them to proceed
unhampered. They represent the solution to any eventual climate
changes, not their cause. We should trust in the rationality of men.
We should never forget that the government failure is always much
bigger than the market failure. We should not believe more in Al Gore
than in the omnipotence of the Soviet or Czechoslovak central
planners. Fifty- or hundred-year plans of the current
environmentalists will not be any better than the five-year plans
which liquidated the economic freedom (and the economic efficiency
connected with it) in the centrally planned economies of the past.

6. The global warming issue has a very important North-South and West-
East aspect as well. Environmental quality is a luxury good and demand
for it increases with income and wealth. The developed countries had
to go along the path of the environmental Kuznets curve in the past
and do not have any right to prematurely impose their current
overambitious environmental standards upon less developed countries,
because that would lead to an economic disaster there.

The only conclusion is that no radical measures are necessary. Famous
Czech writer of the early 20th century Jaroslav Hauek, whose book "The
Good Soldier Schweik" is known world-wide, made a point with saying:
"To chce klid". The Englishmen would probably say "Take it easy".

I lived most of my life in an oppressive and very unproductive
political, economic and social system called communism. It was
impossible to "take it easy". Now I live in a system based on the
ideology of Europeism which prefers supranational institutions with
their post-democracy to the good old democratic institutions in a
well-defined constitutional sovereign state. It is difficult to "take
it easy" again. And we are moving -- very rapidly -- to the era of
environmentalism in which environment (or perhaps the irrational
claims of environmentalists) is placed ahead of men and their freedom.
We can take the global climate changes easy, but the climate
propaganda and new wave of dangerous indoctrination of the whole world
not.

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