Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Rich and Famous and Carbon Offsets

Jack Dini
Livermore, CA

(From Hawaii Reporter, January 22, 2009)

It’s OK to have a carbon footprint if you pay enough. You do this by buying carbon offsets. These are used by politicians, environmentalists, movie stars, athletes, and others to claim the impact of their high-consumption lifestyles on the environment can be canceled out by paying someone else to invest in carbon-reducing initiatives, reports Lorrie Goldstein.

Many famous people who are for sustainability and against global warming live in many very big houses, drive many very big cars, and fly in private jets. If you travel frequently by air, even on commercial flights, you can’t escape having a huge carbon footprint. Yet many of the most vocal advocates of cutting emissions—politicians, entertainers, environmentalists, journalists, scientists—are continually jetting off to campaign events and conferences and workshops. Are they going to change the way they operate? If not, how are they going to persuade anyone else to cut back emissions, asks John Tierney.

The World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, was ‘carbon neutral,’ despite all the folks flying to attend, because in large part, people donated money to third world countries to plant trees or build hydroelectric dams for electricity.

The Live Earth concerts held in 2007 created a huge carbon footprint on the globe in the name of climate preservation; an estimated 7,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions. This does not include the private jets of all the celebrities who attended or the thousands of people who drove their cars to each concert. An official volume, The Live Earth Global Warming Survival Handbook, presents 77‘essential skills for stopping climate change.’ Here are some guidelines from the book: “Let’s say that despite your best efforts, you still have to fly to your best friend’s wedding. You’re dumping 3,000 pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, and you’re wracked with guilt about your contribution to global warming. Relax, you can throw money at the problem. Go online, find a company that sells clean energy credits, and buy enough to make up for the greenhouse gases your trip created.” The book goes on to state that you must choose your offsets carefully and points out that trains are the most ecologically low-impact way to cover long distances. How many celebrities take Amtrak? And speaking of celebrities and their eco-friendliness, let’s look at a few.


Al Gore, academy award winner and Nobel Peace Prize recipient, has to be high up on the list. Bruce Nussbaum notes, “Gore deserves a gold statue for hypocrisy. Gore’s mansion, (20-rooms, eight-bathrooms) located in Nashville, consumes more electricity every month than the average American household uses in an entire year, according to the Nashville Electric Service (NES). The average household in American consumes 10,656 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year, according to the Department of Energy. In 2006, Gore devoured nearly 221,000 kWh—more than 20 times the national average. Last August alone, Gore burned through 22,619 kWh—guzzling more than twice the electricity in one month than an average American family uses in an entire year. Gore’s extravagant energy use does not stop at his electric bill. Natural gas bills for Gore’s mansion and guest house averaged $1,080 per month last year. In total, Gore paid nearly $30,000 in combined electricity and natural gas bills for his Nashville estate in 2006.”

Like a good citizen, Gore buys carbon offsets to assuage his high energy lifestyle, and this is good. But here’s the rub. He buys his carbon offsets through Generation Investment Management, a company he co-founded and serves as chairman. Through this company, he and others pay for offsets. The firm invests the money in solar, wind and other projects that reduce energy consumption around the globe. As co-founder and chairman of the firm, Gore presumably draws an income or will make money as its investments prosper. In other words, he ‘buys’ his ‘carbon offsets’ from himself, through a transaction designed to boost his own investments and return a profit to himself.

Madonna, who was the main attraction at the London Live Earth concert owns a collection of fuel-guzzling cars, including a Mercedes Maybach, two Range Rovers, Audi A8s and a Mini Cooper S. She flies everywhere in her private jet and her Confessions tour produced 440 tons of carbon dioxide in four months last year. This was just the flights between the countries, not taking into account the truckloads of equipment needed, the power to stage such a show and the transport of all the thousands of fans getting to the gigs.

John Travolta says, “Everyone can do their bit. Global warming is a very valid issue—we have to think about alternative methods of fuel.” Travolta once starred in a movie about bringing industrial polluters to justice. But in real life he has probably the biggest carbon footprint of any Hollywood star. He parks his personal Boeing 707 on his front lawn—next to his three Gulfstream jets and a Lear jet. Rather appropriately, he has called his home Jumboair.’

The Red Hot Chili Peppers produced 220 tons of carbon dioxide with their private jet alone over six months on their last world tour which was 42 dates.

All this prompts Ginny Buckley and Max Flint to ask, “Is the hot air emitted by celebrities when they spout ecological platitudes a greenhouse gas?”

Enron and Lehman Brothers

There’s big money to be made in the carbon business. Enron and Lehman Brothers are two examples. Ken Lay became a celebrated corporate executive praised for his ‘21st century’ business visions. But Enron’s internal memos, leaked to reporters during its bankruptcy scandal, revealed other motivations. Christine MacDonald in her book, Green, Inc., notes that Lay had two meetings with President Bill Clinton and Vice-President Al Gore on a treaty capping carbon emissions. An internal Enron memo predicted this would ‘do more to promote Enron’s business than almost any other regulatory initiative outside of restructuring the energy and natural gas industries in Europe and the United States.’ MacDonald adds, “Enron also had plans for using its support among environmentalists, who cooed over Lay.”

Lehman Brothers was at the forefront of the vast trade created by the new worldwide regulatory system to ‘fight climate change’ by curbing emissions of carbon dioxide. Jane Orient notes, “In 2007 they released a long and highly publicized report about climate change in which they preached about decarbonization, trying to make their investors keep getting high profits from the Kyoto carbon trade scheme and the support of huge public subventions. They recommended to their investors what they considered a central value of the carbon ton 50 years into the future. All of this of course, with the applause of the usual choir of politicians, the entire media, and the Greens.”

Thousands of green militants have been using the Lehman report as a proof of global warming and impending chaos. The report is the basis for policies on climate change in Spain, Argentina, and several other countries, it is used by economy professors playing climatologists, and by newspaper editorialists. Yet in spite of their ability to predict the climate 50-100 years ahead, they couldn’t predict their own bankruptcy.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Regulations- Polar Bears, Solar Power, Lawnmowers, and Fast-Food Restaurants- What Next?

Jack Dini
Livermore, CA

(From, January 2009)

Polar Bears

“The Interior Department, bound by the Endangered Species Act, has declared polar bears a ‘threatened’ species because they might be endangered ‘in the foreseeable future,’ meaning 45 years. (Note: 45 years ago, the now long-forgotten global cooling menace of 35 years ago was not yet foreseen). The bears will be threatened if the current episode of warming, if there really is one, is, unlike all the previous episodes, irreversible, and if it intensifies, and if it continues to melt sea ice vital to the bears, and if the bears, unlike in many previous warming episodes, cannot adopt,” says George Will. (1)

Never mind that the overall polar bear population has increased from about 5,000 in the 1960s to 25,000 today, and that the only two populations in decline come from areas where it has actually been getting colder over the past fifty years. Also, ignore the fact that polar bears wee around 100,000 years ago, long before at least one interglacial period (Eeemian) when it was much warmer than our present Holocene. Clearly, they survived long periods of time when the climate of the Arctic was much warmer than at present. (2) But obviously, they aren’t expected to survive this present warming without help from the regulators.

George Will adds, “Now that polar bears are wards of the government, and now that it is a legal doctrine that humans are responsible for global warming, the Endangered Species Act has acquired unlimited application. Anything that can be said to increase global warming can—must—be said to threaten bears already designated as threatened. Want to build a power plant in Arizona? A building in Florida? Do you want to drive an SUV? Or leave your cell phone charger plugged in overnight? Some judge might construe federal policy as proscribing these activities.” (1)

The state of Alaska sued Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne, seeking to reverse his decision to list polar bears as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. Governor Sarah Palin (now Vice-Presidential candidate) and other state officials fear a listing will cripple offshore and gas development in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas in Alaska’s northern waters, which provide prime habitat for the only polar bears under US jurisdictions. (3)

And they are right on the money. Roy Innis observes, “Federal land management agencies report that about 40 percent of their annual budget goes just to pay for lawsuits filed by environmentalists to stop development of your lands, your resources and your energy.” (4) Unfortunately, with new regulations coming along, this percentage will increase in future years rather than go down.

Solar Power

Are you in favor of alternate energy? How about solar power? Well, if this is your preference, do you realize that Washington has placed a moratorium on solar power projects on federal land? Yep. The Bureau of Land Management quietly decided in May that the development of solar plants in 119 million sun-soaked federally owned acres in the western states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah would have to wait at least two years while bureaucrats sorted out their environmental impact. (5)

Investor’s Business Daily reports, “The environmental groups are the reason the BLM made its decision. Had they not spent the past 30 years rabidly crusading against development, reflexively defending wildlife habitats from minor and imaginary threats, and demonizing economic progress, the solar projects would not have been interrupted.

Washington has become so overly sensitive to the possibility of vocal opposition on anything that has an environmental impact that it feels it must inoculate itself from the radicals—even when the project is one they should support without reservation.” (5)

Though a great deal of land has been set aside, it would take only 1% of the total area now off-limits to generate through solar plants enough energy to power more than 20 million homes, and this at a time when the price of a barrel of oil is going through the roof. No way is alternate energy going to help in the near future.

Carbon Credits

It gets worse. In a huge document released in July, the EPA lays out the thousands of carbon controls with which they’d like to shackle the whole economy. None of it is law yet, but watch out.

The Wall Street Journal reports, “The mess began in 2007 when the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in Mass. V. EPA that greenhouse gases are ‘air pollutants’ under current environmental laws, despite the fact that the laws were written decades before the climate-change panic. The EPA was ordered to regulate if it decides that carbon emissions are a danger to the public. The 588-page ‘advance notice of proposed rulemaking’ lays out how the EPA would like it to work in practice. Justice Antonin Scalia noted in his dissent that under the Court’s ‘pollutant’ standard, ‘everything airborne, from Frisbees to flatulence, qualifies,’ which the EPA appears to have taken literally. It is alarmed by ‘enteric fermentation in domestic livestock’—that is, er, their ‘emissions.’ A farm with over 25 cows would exceed the EPA’ proposed carbon limits. So would 500 acres of crops, due to harvesting and processing machinery.” (6) If this becomes law, the increase in food costs because of ethanol will seem puny by comparison to those covered by this proposed regulation.

Just about everything with an engine would be regulated; farm tractors, autos, dirt bikes, snowmobiles, planes and trains, and even your lawn and garden equipment.

Eliminate Obesity—No Fast-Food Restaurants

A proposal that would place at least a one year moratorium on new fast-food restaurants in a broad swath of neighborhoods has been approved by a Los Angeles City Council committee. If approved by the full council and signed by the mayor, the law would prevent fast-food chains from opening new restaurants in a 32 square mile area in South Los Angeles. This is designed to help prevent obesity. (7) Will supermarkets and green grocers come in to replace the fast-food chains? I doubt it. And as Gilbert Ross points out, “banning so-called fast-food restaurants from specific zones will not ameliorate the problem. People will walk a few extra blocks to get the products they crave.”(8) Certainly people need to eat properly and have adequate exercise, but being told what to eat by the City Council will not empower anyone to make wise choices or change their preferences.

Lastly, California this year became the first state to ban artery-clogging trans fats in restaurants and in 2003 it banned the sale of soft drinks in middle and elementary schools. (9)

The Cato Institute sums it up well, “One of the most disturbing trends in government expansion over the last 35 years has been the collection of laws, regulations, and binding court decisions that make up the ‘nanny state.’” (10) Looks like things are continually getting worse in this aspect, rather than better.


1.George F. Will, “March of the Polar Bears,”, May 22, 2008
2.Bjorn Lomborg, Cool It, (New York, Alfred A. Knopf, 2007), 4
3.Dan Joling, “Alaska sues over listing polar bear as threatened,”, August 4, 2008
4.Roy Innis, Energy Keepers, Energy Killers, (Chicago, Illinois, The Heartland Institute, 2008), 73
5.“No Sun Intended,” Investor’s Business Daily, June 30, 2008
6.“The Lawnmower Men,” The Wall Street Journal, July 19-20, 2008, Page A8
7.Molly Hennessy-Fiske, “Panel OKs one year ban on new fast-food restaurants in South L.A.,” Los Angeles Times, July 28, 2008
8.Gilbert Ross, “No Quick Fast-Food Fixes,” Los Angeles Times, July 28, 2008
9.Lisa Baertlein and Dan Whitcomb, “LA’s fast-food ban draws skepticism,” Reuters Health Information, September 3, 2008
10.“The Nanny State,” The Cato Institute, December 4, 2004

Polonium- More Toxic Than Cyanide- Smokers Beware

Jack Dini
Livermore, California

(From, January 209)

What do polonium and cyanide have in common? Answer- both are toxic and both are inhaled by cigarette smokers. However, polonium makes cyanide look like a lightweight since it is 250 billion times as toxic as hydrogen cyanide. (1)

Yet, even non-smokers can’t get away from polonium. John Emsley reports, “We cannot escape having some polonium in our body because it is formed from radioactive radon gas. This gas may be chemically inert, but if breathing it in coincides with its decay to polonium, as can happen because of radon’s short life, the polonium may lodge in the lungs and from there move into the blood stream. Polonium targets no particular organ of the body but, because it is an alpha emitter, wherever it ends up has the potential to damage DNA and that can lead to cancer” (2)

Polonium had its fifteen minutes of fame in November 2006 in connection with its use as a poison to kill Alexander Litvinenko, an outspoken critic of the Putin regime. The odds of this happening to any of us are infinitesimally small. But here’s the rub—if you’re a smoker you get a dose of polonium every time you light up.

For a two-pack-a-day smoker the radiation dose to bronchial epithelium from Po-210 inhaled in cigarette smoke is probably at least seven times that from background sources, and in localized areas may be up to 1,000 rem or more in 25 years. Radiation from this source may, therefore, be significant in the genesis of bronchial cancer in smokers, note Edward Radford and Vilma Hunt. (3) So what’s a rem? It’s the amount of energy deposited in the human body by ionizing radiation. For ease of understanding, Mark Hart of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory equates 1 rem to 1 dollar, so 1 millirem is 0.1 cent or 1/10th of a cent. The yearly limit for safe exposure is 5 rem, or 5 dollars. (4)

Another way to look at this is in terms of X-rays. Conservative estimates put the level of radiation absorbed by a pack-and-a-half-day smoker at the equivalent of 300 chest X-rays every year. (5) Others report the equivalent of 800 X-rays and the National Institute of Health published a radiation exposure chart which shows that smoking 30 cigarettes per day is the equivalent of 2,000 chest X-rays per year. (6)

In spite of this you can’t lay all the health issues with smoking on polonium since no one is certain what causes the high death rate in smokers. The major culprits are probably dioxins, nicotine and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) contained in pitchy substances, and radioactive substances, mainly polonium-210, potassium-40, and lead-210. (7) But here’s an important point: polonium-210 is the only component of cigarette smoke that has produced cancers by itself in laboratory animals by inhalation. Tumors appear at a level five times lower than the dose to a heavy smoker. (8)

So, how does polonium get into tobacco? It’s not entirely understood, but uranium ‘daughter products’ naturally present in soils seem to be selectively absorbed by the tobacco plant, where they decay into radioactive polonium. High-phosphate fertilizers may worsen the problem since uranium tends to associate with phosphates, reports Robert Proctor. (5)

So, what’s the mechanism? When you light up a cigarette the polonium is volatilized, you inhale it, and it is quickly deposited in the living tissue of the respiratory system. The intense localized heat in the burning of a cigarette volatilizes the radioactive metals. While cigarette filters can trap chemical carcinogens, they are ineffective against radioactive vapors. (8)

The lungs of a heavy smoker (which may mean only 15 cigarettes per day) become coated with a radioactive lining which irradiates the sensitive lung tissue. Smoking two packs (40 cigarettes a day) gives an alpha particle radiation dose of around 1,300 millirems per year, over six-times the dose received by the average American from breathing radon (200 millirems). Furthermore, polonium-210 is soluble in body fluids and is this percolated through every tissue and cell giving levels of radiation much higher than that received from radon. (1) The proof is that it can be found in the blood and urine of smokers. The circulating polonium-201 causes genetic damage and early death from diseases reminiscent of early radiological pioneers: liver and bladder cancer, stomach ulcers, leukemia, cirrhosis of the liver, and cardiovascular diseases. (8) Concentrations of polonium-210 and lead-210 in rib bones taken form smokers were about twice those in nonsmokers. (9)

Some Final Words

There’s a fear of radiation that comes from the many doomsayers that have used the media and public to their advantage for decades. I’ve written about radiation on a number of occasions, trying to put it in good light (smoking pun intended).

Have you heard?
-Low levels of radiation are beneficial to humans.
-Mice exposed to low levels of radiation lived longer than mice that were not.
-Fish exposed to low levels of radiation grew faster than fish that weren’t.
-Low levels of radiation increase fertility and embryo viability, and decrease sterility and mutations.(10)

It’s more likely you’ve heard about Chernobyl and Three Mile Island. When radioactivity from the Chernobyl accident reached our West Coast, the press warned residents about the dangers of possible fallout; speaking of the number of picocuries of radioactivity detected in high clouds without ever explaining that a picocurie is one part per trillion. Nor did the press mention that you would have to drink 63,000 gallons of that radioactive rain water to ingest one picocurie of radioactivity. (10) With Three Mile Island, the most serious damage was from the psychological trauma and over-exaggeration from mishandling of the incident by politicians and the media. (11)

Yet, with polonium and cigarettes I have a different feeling. The facts that polonium can get into the blood stream of smokers and that polonium is the only component of cigarette smoke that has produced cancer by itself in laboratory animals make me thankful that I am not a smoker.

1.Chris Rhodes, “Polonium-210, Russian Spies and Safe Tobacco,” Energy Balance, December 1, 2006
2.John Emsley, Nature’s Building Blocks, (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2001), 332
3.Edward P. Radford, Jr. and Vilma Hunt, “Polonium-210: A Volatile Radioelement in Cigarettes,” Science 143, 247, January 17, 1964
4.Mark. M. Hart, “Disabling the Terror of Radiological Dispersal,: Nuclear News, 46, 40, July 2003
5.Robert N. Proctor, “Puffing on Polonium,” New York Times, December 1, 2006
6.“Radioactive Polonium in Tobacco,”; July 26, 2005
7.Bogdan Skwarzec, et al., “Polonium 210Po in Cigarettes Produced in Poland,” J. Environ. Sci. Health, A36, 465, 2001
8.“Health effects of polonium,”, July 26, 2005
9.Richard B. Holtzman and Frank H. Ilcewicz, “Led-210 and Polonium-210 in Tissues of Cigarette Smokers.” Science 153, 1259, September 9, 1966
10.Dixy Lee Ray, “Radiation Around Us,” in Rational Readings on Environmental Concerns, Jay H. Lehr, Editor, (New York, Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1992), 589
11.Edward G. Remmers, “Nuclear Power: Putting the Risks Into Perspective,” Issues on the Environment, (New York, American Council on Science and Health, 1992), 68

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Planting Trees May Not Cancel Out Your Carbon Footprint

Jack Dini
Livermore, CA

(From Hawaii Reporter January 5, 2009)

Carbon credits or offsets are a theoretical way for you to assuage your guilt for all those awful greenhouse gases you’re releasing into the air whenever you heat your house, drive your car, or even breathe.

Carbon offsets are used by politicians, environmentalists, movie stars, athletes and others to claim the impact of their high-consumption lifestyles on the environment can be canceled out by paying someone else to invest in carbon-reducing initiatives. Some folks have reported that they plant 500 trees to offset one of their private jet trips. What they didn’t say is that it may take 20 years for the infant trees to make up for their 2-hour Lear Jet outing.

Lorrie Goldstein likens carbon offsets to the equivalent of a fat person claiming he’s losing weight by paying a thin person to go on a diet. Or, it’s like paying someone to agree to not commit adultery so you can sin at will.

The planting of trees is one of the more highly touted offsets. Some folks claim that carbon offsets from this activity are nonsense because the emissions are instant, whereas the tree’s absorption is over many years. You can’t offset carbon emissions. Burning fossil fuels adds carbon dioxide to the carbon cycle. Trees merely store some of it for a while before releasing it once they rot or burn. They’re not an offset, merely a delaying device. Plus, the Earth would eventually have to be nothing but trees to even theoretically counter the impact of all man-made emissions.

There are other problems. It’s impossible to say how much carbon a tree will store, so you can’t know how many to plant for your emissions. Beyond that, you can’t tell what your emissions are; figures on offset websites for miles driven don’t take into account your miles per gallon or how many passengers to divide it among. Figures for a train journey would surely be different if it’s a packed rush hour train compared to a late afternoon one with only half a dozen passengers on board.

Besides this, a number of investigations have revealed tree planting to be largely if not entirely, a scam notes Nigel Lawson in his book An Appeal to Reason. He says, “The trees that have allegedly been planted may not have been; if they have been, they may well have been planted in any event, and either way their carbon absorption is notional, unverified, and at best, some way into the future.” Some tree-planting projects in Guatemala, Ecuador and Uganda have been accused of disrupting water supplies; evicting thousands of villagers from their land; seizing grazing rights from farmers, and cheating local people of promised income, reports Nick Davies. In some cases the trees may not live. One example; many of the 10,000 mango trees planted to offset the carbon produced by the music group Coldplay died.

You can even plant the wrong kind of tree in the wrong place. Trees affect the reflectivity of the Earth and its ability to bounce some of the sun’s heat back into space. Covering large swatches of light ground with dark trees could lead to more heat being absorbed, boosting temperatures. Researchers Gregory Asner and his colleagues report that only trees planted in equatorial regions are likely to produce a net benefit. Those planted further away—especially in high latitudes where snow is common—are likely to lead to increased global warming. Also, non-native trees invading a rainforest can change its basic ecological structure, rendering it less hospitable to the myriad plant and animal species that depend on its resources.

Alan Zarembo, in a Los Angeles Times article, sums this up well, “Beneath feel-good simplicity of buying your way to carbon neutrality is a growing concern that the idea is more hype than solution.” And, from Nigel Lawson, “In many ways , it resembles nothing so much as the sale of indulgences by a medieval church. This is nowadays regarded as a reprehensible practice; but perhaps bearing in mind its 21st century equivalent, that is too harsh a verdict.”

Friday, January 2, 2009

Unstoppable Global Warming

Jack Dini
Livermore, CA

(From, December 2008)

A very powerful case that the climate trend we’re currently seeing is part of a product of a solar-linked cycle that creates harmless naturally warmer conditions approximately every 1500 years is made in a recent book, Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1500 Years, by S. Fred Singer and Dennis T. Avery. It has 459 references, a glossary and an index. This well written book is one of the best books to date on the politics and science of global warming. In addition to presenting evidence for the 1,500 year solar cycle, first proposed by European researchers in the mid 1990s, the authors address both the Greenhouse and Solar/Cosmic Ray theories of climate change. (1) Singer and Avery maintain that there are natural cycles of cooling and warming going back at least a million years. These are small excursions of global temperature, much smaller than the ice ages, which is why they haven’t been noticed until the last 25 years or so.

This was reported in 1984 with the first analysis from the Greenland ice cores. Willi Dansgaard and Hans Oescher published their analysis of the oxygen isotopes in the ice cores extracted from Greenland. These cores provided 250,000 years of the Earth’s climate history in one set of ‘documents.’ The scientists compared the ratio of ‘heavy’ oxygen-18 isotopes to the ‘lighter’ oxygen-16 isotopes, which indicated the temperature at the time the snow had fallen. (2) As Singer and Avery report, “They expected to find evidence of the known 90,000 year Ice Ages and the mild interglacial periods recorded in the ice, and they did. However, they did not expect to find anything in between. To their surprise, they found a clear cycle—moderate, albeit abrupt—occurring about every 2,550 years running persistently through both. (This period would soon be reassessed at 1,500 years plus or minus 500 years.)” (3)

Since this early discovery, its fingerprints have been found all over the world, both in ice cores and sediments. (4)
- An ice core from the Antarctic’s Vostok Glacier, at the other end of the world from Greenland, was brought up in 1987 and showed the same 1,500 year climate cycle throughout its 400,000 year length.

- The 1,500 year cycle has been revealed in seabed sediment cores brought up from the floors of such far-flung waters as the North Atlantic Ocean and the Arabian Sea, the Western Pacific, and the Sargasso Sea.

- One seabed core near Iceland goes back a million years, and the 1,500 year cycle runs through the whole million years, roughly 600 of these moderate, natural cycles.

Over the last 1,200 years there has been a “Medieval Warming” (900-1300), when Greenland was green; a “Little Ice Age” (1300-1850), when New York harbor froze and people could walk from Manhattan across the ice to Staten Island a mile away (in 1780); and the current global warming (1850-??). Rather than ‘global warming,’ a better term for this phase of the solar cycle is “Modern Warming.” Since 1850, temperatures have risen 0.8 degrees C, most rapidly in 1850-1870 and 1920-1940. Temperatures in the 1,500 year solar cycle fluctuate within a 4 degree C range—two degrees above and two degrees below the norm. An added important point is that three-fourths of the present warming occurred before 1940, which was before most of the human emitted carbon dioxide we hear so much about these days.

So today’s global warming is part of a natural 1,500-year plus or minus 500-year cycle operating for at least a million years. The Earth’s climate has warmed and cooled nine times in the past 12,000 years in lock step with the waxing and waning of the sun’s magnetic activity. (5) The linkage with the sun has been verified by correlation between the Carbon 14 and Beryllium 10 isotopes in the ice with sunspot numbers.

The modern warming is not confined to this planet. Mars ice caps are melting and Jupiter is developing a second giant red spot, an enormous hurricane-like storm. Jupiter’s original Great Red Spot is 300 years old and twice the size of Earth. The new storm-Red Spot Jr. -is thought to be the result of a sudden warming on our solar system’s largest planet. Some parts of Jupiter are now as much as 6 C warmer than just a few years ago. (6) Neptune’s moon, Triton has heated up significantly since 1989. Parts of its frozen nitrogen surface have begun melting and turning to gas. (7) Even Pluto has warmed slightly in recent years, if you can call -230 C warmer than
-233 C.

All of this prompts Lorne Gunter to ask, “Is there something all these heavenly bodies have in common? Some one thing they all share that could be causing them to warm in unison? Hmmmm, is there some, giant, self-luminous ball of burning gas with a mass more than 300,000 times that of Earth and a core temperature of more than 20 million degrees C, that for the past century or more has been unusually active and powerful? Is there something like that around which they can all revolve that could be causing global warming?” (6)

Singer and Avery also cover a number of other issues:

- A particularly interesting chapter focuses on common sense regarding the extinction of species. The authors explain that most of the world’s animal species evolved 600 million years ago, so we know most of today’s species have successfully dealt with ice ages and global warming periods that have sent temperatures much higher and much lower than today’s temperatures. (8)

- The authors look at history and confirm that the frequency and severity of hurricanes, droughts, thunderstorms, hail and tornadoes have not increased in recent years. (9) John Christy of the University of Alabama at Huntsville, in testimony before Congress noted, ‘that the most significant droughts in the Southwestern United States occurred more than four hundred years ago, before 1600.’ He stated that before 1850, American’s Great Plains were called the ‘Great American Desert,’ and experts at the time said the region couldn’t be farmed. Weather just seems unusual and dangerous these days, said Christy, because of the increased media coverage of major storms.


Jay Lehr sums it up quite well, “Singer and Avery shatter the greenhouse gas theory, making it clear humanity’s modest addition to the atmosphere’s small amount of carbon dioxide does not hold up to a significant alteration in temperature. Obviously, all of this does not square with efforts to get us to reduce our use of cars, air conditioners, and fertilizer in order to reduce carbon in our atmosphere.” (10) So, regardless of what you do to reduce your carbon footprint, Mother Nature really doesn’t care.


1. S. Fred Singer and Dennis T. Avery, Unstoppable Global Warming, (New York, Rowman & Littlefield publishers, 2008), 24

2. W. Dansgaard et al., “North Atlantic Climatic Oscillations Revealed by Deep Greenland Ice Cores,” in Climate Processes and Climate Sensitivity, J. E. Hansen and T. Takahashi, Editors, (Washington, DC, American Geophysical Union, 1984) Geophysical Monograph 29, 288-90

3. S. Fred Singer and Dennis T. Avery, Unstoppable Global Warming, 2

4. S. Fred Singer and Dennis T. Avery, Unstoppable Global Warming, 3

5. Gerard Bond et al., “Persistent Solar Influence on North Atlantic Climate During the Holocene,” Science, 294, 2130, December 10, 2001

6. Lorne Gunter, “Breaking: Warming on Jupiter, Mars, Pluto, Neptune’s Moon & Earth Linked to Increased Solar Activity, Scientists Say,” National Post, March 13, 2007

7. J. L. Elliot, et al., “Global Warming on Triton,” Nature, 393, 765, June 25, 1998

8. S. Fred Singer and Dennis T. Avery, Unstoppable Global Warming, 163

9. S. Fred Singer and Dennis T. Avery, Unstoppable Global Warming, 201

10. Jay Lehr, “Careful Review of Science Refutes Global Warming Myths,” Environment & Climate News, 10, 12, March 2007