Archive for the ‘History’ Category
The so called “climate change vulnerability index”, that is likely causing great economic harm to countries like Bangladesh and India by implying that they pose higher risk to investors, is based on the proposition that “there is growing evidence that climate change is increasing the intensity and frequency” of weather related natural disasters. In fact there is no such evidence. This idea was included in the IPCC’s 2007 assessment report based on a peer reviewed research paper but that paper having been shown to be flawed, the IPCC has since made a full retraction of this claim (UN wrongly linked global warming to natural disasters, The Sunday Times, January 24, 2010). However, this orphaned idea has taken on a life of its own and remains in the media and apparently even with the architects of the “climate change vulnerability index”. The perpetrators of this falsehood are likely the real vulnerable parties having exposed themselves to lawsuits by countries suffering economic harm from their flawed prophecies of doom.
It is reported that there are 6.8 billion humans living on our planet but that it is endowed with natural resources and ecosystems that can support only 4.5 billion and that the pressure on the ecosystem thus induced will cause a mass extinction of species comparable with the extinction of dinosaurs (UN urges action to save species, Bangkok Post, October 19, 2010). It is the old and completely discredited overpopulation hype of the 1970s (2001: an overpopulation odyssey, Los Angeles Times, October 22, 1974) recycled in the language of global warming as a way of presenting this rubbish as a new science. The new global warming hype is thus exposed as nothing more than the old overpopulation hype. It is a continuation of the movement against the inhabitation of the planet by human beings with carbon dioxide emissions as a proxy for human activity. Ironically, in the same issue of the paper we read that the Europeans are alarmed that phthalates in toys can damage the sexual development of children (The problem with hazardous phthalates, Bangkok Post, October 19, 2010). Those who really believe in the alleged dangers of overpopulation should be comforted by these findings, not alarmed.
1960s: The over-population theory explores the fear that there are too many people on earth and they are breeding too fast. It is predicted that by 1987 human activity will exceed the planet’s ability to sustain us with food, energy, and raw materials. The scenario, explored in the movie “Soilent Green”, is predicted to includes Biblical famine and death, anarchy, and the devolution of human society possibly including cannibalism. Human activity will have destroyed the earth’s ability to sustain human beings.
1970s: The “limits to growth” theory disseminates the fear that society will collapse by the year 2000 because there is a hard upper limit to the amount of fossil fuels, minerals, and other planetary resources that we can consume and therefore a limit to the level of economic growth that is achievable. Continued economic growth will run into this upper limit and cause a complete collapse of civilization as we know it.
1970s: The first ozone depletion scare campaign is waged against the development of the SST high altitude airliner with the allegedly scientific argument that nitric oxide (NOx) in the jet exhaust will deplete ozone in the ozone layer. The campaign is successful and the SST program is canceled. Their success emboldens environmental extremists and the modern version of planetary environmentalism based on fear takes form. Twenty years later the same scientists, alarmed by falling NOx concentration in the lower atmosphere declared that “NOx is the immune system of the atmosphere” because it prevents chlorine from depleting ozone.
1980s: The second ozone depletion scare campaign is waged against refrigerants that contain CFC chemicals saying that human activity was causing an ozone hole over the Antarctic and causing the establishment of the Montreal Protocol and a comprehensive ban on the most efficient and inexpensive refrigerants used worldwide. The ozone depletion science is proven wrong but the media that helped hype the ozone hole scare are silent on the issue. The ozone hole scare quietly disappears from the media.
1990s to present: The global warming scare campaign rises like a Phoenix from the ashes of the failed ozone hole scare campaign with the theory that carbon dioxide from fossil fuels accumulates in the atmosphere, traps heat, and warms up the planet with catastrophic consequences of Biblical proportions.
It is reported that carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels is causing the Pine Island Glacier in the West Antarctic Ice Shelf to melt and disintegrate (Clues to Antarctica glacier’s thaw, Bangkok Post, June 23, 2010). This item is no longer news. We have been told numerous times since 2001 (The Guardian, 2 February 2001) that the Pine Island Glacier is sliding into the sea and it will raise sea levels inundating low lying areas “from Florida to Bangladesh”.
Each time, critics pointed out that the Pine Island was the fastest glacier in the world and it is indeed sliding into the sea – this is what glaciers do – at 2500 meters per year, as it has been doing for thousands of years.
If global warming were the cause, the effect would be evident all over the Antarctic not in a minute portion of it. Taken as a whole, Antarctica is cooling not warming; and taken as a whole the amount of ice in Antarctica is increasing not decreasing.
It has been 30 years since the sea level rise scare, along with the alleged inundation of low lying areas from Florida to Bangladesh, got started but there has not been any evidence of it so far.
Cha-am Jamal, Thailand
It has likely been some time since your esteemed columnist has taken a trip down under for otherwise he might not have made that unkind reference to Australians as being less well behaved than dogs (Time for a four-legged Woodstock, Bangkok Post, June 20, 2010). If he would take the time to visit this beautiful country he would find that it has been mellowed considerably since the waves of new non-conventional migrants from places like Italy, Greece, China, Vietnam, Lebanon, and India diversified its cultural portfolio. Cultural diversity in and of itself has a civilizing influence. Please give them the credit due for coming up with an entirely new genre of music instead of using this remarkable event to put them down.
Cha-am Jamal, Thailand
It is reported that global warming is melting the glaciers in the Tibetan plateau and that this process will cause 1/3 of these glaciers to disappear in 10 years (Global warming spells doom for Asia’s rivers, Bangkok Post, June 16, 2010). The article claims that declining water flow in the Yellow and Yangtze rivers, and in particular, the severe decline in Mekong waters in Southeast Asia downstream of China, are due to the loss of glacial mass caused by global warming and that these changes have doomed 1.3 billion people in Asia to death by global warming. No explanation is offered for why an increase in the melt rate of source glaciers decreases water flow in the rivers they feed instead of increasing it.
This story first surfaced in mid 2004 with a warning of “ecological catastrophe” from Tibet’s glaciers that have been melting for the last 40 years as a consequence of climate change and that would continue to melt at a rate of 7% per year and reduce water flow in the rivers fed by the glaciers. As to why an increase in the melt rate does not increase the flow rate in the rivers, it was proposed that global warming was again to blame because it was causing all that excess melt water to evaporate.
All of these conclusions were derived from the discovery of a number of ice islands that were assumed to have separated from their glaciers. It was predicted that without human intervention in the form of emission reductions 64% of the Tibetan glaciers would be gone by the year 2050 and all of it would vanish by the year 2100. The year 2100 plays a magical role in global warming theory as some kind of end time when the full wrath of every aspect of climate change doom will be realized.
Later the same year in 2004, a different story was floated. It said that a visit to the Zepu glacier in Tibet at an elevation of 11,500 feet showed a torrent of melt water gushing out at an alarming rate and all that excess water was forming the headwaters of a river downstream at a much higher elevation due to global warming. Their data showed that 30 years prior to that date, Zepu was 100 yards thicker. They concluded that what is happening to Zepu is happening to all the glaciers in Tibet and what is happening in Tibet is happening globally. Glaciers are melting all over the world due to global warming with the possible exception of Scandinavia.
The story changed again in 2006 when it was announced with a great sense of alarm that global warming was causing sandstorms in Beijing by way of melting glaciers and drought. This version of the story came in the aftermath of the unusually large sandstorm event in Beijing in April 2006 that captivated TV audiences and made headlines around the world; but the effort to sell global warming on the back of this tragedy was ineffective as the expansion of the Gobi desert is historical and a well understood phenomenon linked to over-grazing and other land use issues and not due to melting glaciers.
However, the story that the Tibetan glaciers were melting and threatening water supplies to a billion people continued to re-appear in 2007 and 2008 but went on a hiatus in 2009 when excessive amounts of black soot deposits were found in core samples of Tibetan glaciers implying that accelerated melting if any was more likely due to soot than to global warming.
Yet another deterrent to hyping global warming with Tibetan glaciers came in early 2010 when it was found that the Tibetan glaciers were unique in that they never got very big but varied in size within a range that was not very large with their temperature sensitivity not very significant even going as far back as the last ice age.
Also of note is that there is no evidence that water flow in the Yellow, the Yangtze, or the Mekong is declining in the river as a whole. The only evidence presented is that water flow in the Mekong in Laos and Thailand – downstream of China – has declined. In fact it has, but that could not have been caused by a decline in the flow of its headwaters for that would have affected flow in the entire length of the river and not just in a section thousands of miles downstream.
The loss of water in the lower Mekong has received a lot of attention in Southeast Asia and it has been a contentious water sharing issue with China which has built a number of dams upstream but it is not a glacial headwaters issue, nor a global warming issue. No one here would take it seriously that the water problem in the Southeast Asian section of the Mekong would be alleviated by lowering carbon dioxide emissions.
Consider also that the Mekong is fed mostly by monsoon rains with a water flow that is highly seasonal. Its flow during the monsoon is 30 times its flow during the dry season. Therefore if there were a climate related decrease in the total amount of water it carries it would have to do with the monsoons and not with glaciers. Coincidentally, climate scientists had made the same error in 2007 when they had said that the Ganges river – which receives less than 10% of its water from glacial melt – would dry up because of melting glaciers.
So it is curious to find them attempting to revive the Tibetan glacier story yet again in the light of these data and in the heels of their humiliating retraction of similar false alarms about Himalayan glaciers. It is likely that real evidence of global warming catastrophe is hard to come by these days and there is a certain degree of desperation in the global warming camp to keep the issue alive in the media.
Cha-am Jamal, Thailand
Did we grow up in the best of times and have we subsequently squandered the nation’s resources and stolen our children’s future (Cry beloved country, Bangkok Post, June 10, 2010)?
Postwar Thailand (Siam) began with the humiliation of defeat and being forced to return territory to the colonial powers. King Mahidol was killed in a mystery assassination that shook the nation, embroiled the prime minister, and created chaos in government; and amid the chaos the army seized power and brought back a corrupt former prime minister to head a new government.
Political opposition was ruthlessly suppressed. Extra judicial killings were rampant and unchecked. Successive counter-coup attempts split the armed forces with the navy at war with the army. All of the counter coup attempts were brutally suppressed and the winners went on a vindictive rampage against the navy. Thereafter there was a musical chair of constitutions. Protests by civil society was savagely crushed.
When their puppet government stopped taking orders the army took over in a bloodless coup and ran the country with an iron hand. In spite of it a communist insurgency and a peasant uprising took hold and the country descended into anarchy. with student activists taking to the streets to support the peasants and to protest against corruption in government.
The army responded with yet another army-managed constitution and elected government but opposition to government corruption was by now unyielding; and once again the army was forced to carry out a coup against itself and abrogate its own constitution and dissolve its own government.
During this period the citizens lived in constant fear of its government, the insurgents, of war with Vietnam, and of annihilation by nuclear war.
Those were not the best of times and even the horror of the war with the red shirts and the burning of department stores in Bangkok would not make any Thai wish for a return to those times, one hopes.
Since those days, the Vietnam war and American aid and investment in Thailand created a modern transportation and industrial infrastructure, diversified the economy, and brought Thailand out from a third world Asian backwater into a modern global economy. What we leave for our children today is a glorious future compared with what our parents left for us back then.
Cha-am Jamal, Thailand