Saturday, July 26, 2008

Green Haze – An Open Letter to the Industry

by Chris Donaghy, President of Residex

Green Cool-Aide: The Taste is Sweet, but the Hangover Could be Deadly
Like a heavy bank of fog rolling off the cold Pacific Ocean into San Francisco, or a dense London fog where it is hard to see where the road begins and ends, the Green Movement is shrouding our industry with a blanket of confusion and potential risk. The anti-pesticide groups are there in the clearing and they can see perfectly through the green mist that we find so alluring yet confusing as an industry. The anti-pesticide movement couldn’t be happier as the manufacturers, pest management companies and support associations pull in so many directions that they can hear the fabric of our once united front tearing away. In order for our industry to reunite and to be known again as the protectors of health and property, we must revisit the archives of our most successful moments in history as well as the anti-pesticide’s most prominent moment in history to understand how we came to this place, and why we need to define “Green”.

Anti-Pesticide Movement’s Greatest Moment in History:
Rachael Carson is the heroine of the “Green/Environmental Movement” because she is considered the savior of the American eagle and our environment through the power of her pen in her legacy publication “Silent Spring”, published in 1962. In fact Rachael saved nothing and she is actually indirectly responsible for the deaths of millions of innocent men, women and children. Her treatise “Silent Spring” was based on speculation and unsupported claims against the most effective and important pesticide of the times, DDT, and led to the banning of DDT in 1972 as well as sparked the beginning of the endless assaults against all synthetic pesticides.

Carson’s only true claim is that she pointed out the irresponsible use and disposal of pesticides by some people, not all, in our society at that time. This discovery should have led to better controls, education and training, and not the outright banning of DDT, the most effective and life-enhancing insecticide of its day. Sound science had no place in the assaults that followed Carson’s “Silent Spring” by her “world-saving” crusaders. Again, they saved nothing, and countless men, women and children died needlessly from malaria and other insect-born disease. “Science along with economics has a role to play (but) the ultimate decision remains political.” William Ruckelshaus, EPA Administrator, 1972 after overruling the EPA science panel to ban DDT.

It can be argued that Rachael Carson and her legions of self-righteous followers are responsible for the Dark Ages that people of the third world still have to endure because disease-vectoring insect populations go unchecked and inflict their deadly and debilitating scourge on the masses, and therefore their economies are anemic or non-existent. The 70’s should be likened to the dark times of the Middle Ages when claims of heresy were commonly levied against science and the likes of Galileo, Da Vinci and many other notable greats because the misinformed and ill-intentioned didn’t want or understand the truth.

Pest Control’s Greatest Moment in History:
If we could travel back in time and erase the discovery of DDT, life as you know it today would be quite different. Many of you would not be here especially our friends of Jewish heritage because the German extermination effort would have continued to completion. Many others would not exist because “one-day” fathers would have been killed in battle or died of an insect-born disease before their offspring were ever born. The world language would either be German or Japanese, and if you were not of pure German or Japanese heritage, then you’d be placed into eternal servitude, tortured or killed.

The facts are that typhus, malaria, dengue and yellow fever were disabling and killing more of the Allied troops than bullets and bombs, and if DDT wasn’t introduced during WWII, the Allied Forces could have easily lost the war because they were incapable of fighting. The invention and broad scale use of DDT was pest control’s greatest moment in history to date. It could be argued that DDT was the greatest modern discovery of the 20th Century because its use allowed for the preservation of lives and civilization as we know it today.

Much of the coastal sections of the USA were virtually uninhabitable because of yellow fever, dengue and malaria. Other parts of the modern world were also uninhabitable for the same reasons. The invention and use of DDT allowed for modern societies to flourish and live life without the fear of contracting deadly and debilitating insect-born diseases.

As Rachael Carson’s fanatical followers worked hard to reverse the benefits of modern science and still to this day their work continues with a high degree of success. Yet one man goes unmentioned, forgotten for his monumental discovery that helped lead to the defeat of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, that led to a better lifestyle for billions of people in many countries around the world, that led to the advancement of commerce, that led to the freedoms we enjoy from deadly and crippling disease-vectoring insects. Who is this great person you ask?

His name is Paul Hermann Muller. Muller discovered the DDT molecule in 1939, just in time to save the Allied Forces in WWII. Muller was a Swiss born chemist and the winner of the Nobel Prize in 1948 for his lifesaving discovery of DDT. Paul Hermann Muller saved billions of lives since his discovery of DDT. Our industry needs to raise Muller to the highest superhero status, and never forget about the man who created our professional industry and allowed us to hold our heads high as the protectors of health and property.

Ancient History of the Green Movement:
Traveling even further back in time, we find the origins of “Green” pest control. “Green” has been around for a long time, and what is meant by Green is “natural”. The media and special interest groups have done an excellent job of convincing the consumer that “Green” and “Natural” mean safe and effective. In the meantime, I get the sense that many of our industry professionals are buying into that same popular belief of our time, and that is where the real danger exists. Sometimes captive audiences begin to believe the propaganda of their captors as the truth, known as the Stockholm syndrome. But is the truth really being told here, and are the American consumers being misled by the misinformed or worse yet, the ill-intentioned? We need to explore history in order to find the real answers and the truth.

Green isn’t a new concept as many are led to believe, as a matter of fact, it is quite ancient. Ancient populations, the Greeks, the Romans, the Egyptians and the Chinese, all used “green” products and practices to keep themselves, their livestock, their pets, their children and their homes safe from the devastation of the multitude of crop, property and public health pests of their day, the same exact pests that exist today.

The ancients used “green” products and techniques such as herbs, essential oils, fire, crop rotation, cutting weeds, plowing, trapping, crushing, etc. to ward off disease vectoring insects and plant destroyers including mosquitoes, fleas, aphids and weevils. The result was that the ancients died in mass from plague, dengue, malaria, yellow fever, typhus and starvation because their “Green” and natural methods were no match for mosquitoes, rats, fleas and crop pests. Their forests and subsequently, their villages burnt to the ground due to devastating tree pests such as moths and a variety of borers, leaf miners, leaf rollers, and other insects leaving nothing but dried timber in their wake of destruction awaiting the first lightning strike. Even in modern times where third world countries still rely on ancient pest remedies, mechanical and cultural methods to protect home, health, livestock and crop, such as those used in Africa, Asia and South America, people are living in abject poverty and dying in mass from pest-related disease and starvation events related to crop devastation by pests.

The average American and European citizen is so far removed from our ancestral experiences with pest-related disease and devastation events that as a society, some simply can’t be concerned about those things that are not negatively impacting their lifestyles at the moment. Do you really believe that the average American or European citizen realizes that the number one killing disease in the world is a mosquito-born disease called malaria, and that it remains as the number one human killing disease of all time? Do you think that the average American or European citizen realizes that the tiny flea and a bacterium partnered to kill more humans in a single event than any other single event in the history of mankind? Do you believe that the average American or European citizen understands that malaria-carrying mosquitoes continue to kill at a steady rate today (one child every 30 seconds in parts Africa), and that both the malaria-vectoring mosquitoes and the plague-vectoring flea live right in their very own backyards, and from time to time venture inside their homes and bite their children and pets? Do you think they know that Yersinia pestis, the plague bacterium is alive and well in the USA and Europe and just waiting for its opportunity to devastate mankind again?

Scare tactics? NO. Scary? YES because it is reality and backed by hard scientific fact. Futhermore, I’d like to hear CDC’s spin on the fact that our nation’s uncontrolled borders are allowing human carriers of many diseases long forgotten in this country to be reestablished on our soil. Diseases like dengue, filariasis, West Nile, malaria, etc., are crossing the borders and entering through airports across the land, and the pest vectors that are capable of broad scale spread are already endemic to the region.

What happens when and if the “Green Movement” is so well-entrenched that regulatory constraints and bans on the use of highly effective synthetic pesticides prevent us from quickly combating insects carrying killer diseases such as malaria, dengue or the plague? Do you really want to face these pests and the devastation they bring with essential oils and glue boards? This is where the industry is heading and we are being led there by the misinformed and ill-intention special interest groups, and even some of our own industry brethren who seek a marketing advantage for their product line or service offering. It is time we listen to reason, review history and take back the destiny of our industry. Our rightful place is as protectors of health and property, and we cannot effectively perform those operations without effective chemistry.

Our industry has a grand opportunity to take a stand and educate the misguided and the misinformed, and not waste our time on trying to convince the eco-activists and the ill-intentioned that our industry is a noble trade and that we understand their point of view. Please take notice that the other side rarely, if ever, spends time or resources on trying to convince the professional industry to stop using traditional pesticide, and they NEVER understand our point of view. Instead, they effectively convince consumers, the general public, the media and the regulatory community to act against our industry, and demand changes without any concern for proven scientific and medical facts.

The time has come for a change in our tactics on how to target the general public with the facts. In reality the time to change our tactics resides a few years back; however it is not too late to take back our rightful place in protecting health and property. Traditionally, we have used hard, cold scientific facts presented by high-powered technically educated individuals to deliver our accurate, truthful yet non-compelling message to the general public. On the other hand, the anti-pesticide movement has used highly sensationalized non-factual, emotional appeals to a much higher degree of success. We must use the emotional appeal backed by scientific and medical facts if our industry is to successfully turn the tide that is against us.

The other side is winning and winning big. The big fear that I share along with other industry professionals is that some within our own industry may be drinking big gulps of the anti-pesticide cool-aide, and are now beginning to believe or at least feel the need to embrace the ideal that the other side might be right and there are plenty of effective “green” options out there.

“A lie told often enough becomes the truth.” Lenin, and the basis behind propaganda.

The truth is that current “Green” technology is nowhere near as effective on serious pests such as stinging insects, disease vectoring and blood sucking ticks, fleas, flies and mosquitoes, bed bugs, disease carrying rodents and cockroaches as are the synthetic modern pesticides. If we allow the other side and some industry opportunity-seekers to tie the use of effective synthetic pesticides into regulatory knots, then I just hope we all realize the potentially deadly and destructive consequences that humankind will face when epidemic and pandemic insect-vectored diseases of third world status are unleashed on us.

Over the past 2 years, I have had the unpleasant opportunity to witness the mass devastation caused by gypsy moths in the NJ Pine Barren communities. Sections of a once pristine mixed forest of hardwoods and pines stands skeletonized and dead just awaiting a lit cigarette or lightning strike to cause additional devastation. Why? NJ restricts the use of effective pesticides needed to safely and properly control the gypsy moth, and NJ, as well as other states, continues their drive to eliminate all effective modern synthetic pesticides from use in the state. Also, I must remind the reader that the gypsy moth is an introduced species.

Also, there are 20,000+ cases of Lyme disease reported annually to the CDC and on a steep rise as physicians become better at the diagnosis of the disease. Many medical experts believe, with a high degree of evidence, that the real number of Lyme cases in America alone exceeds 400,000 annually; however complex symptoms are confused with other misdiagnosed medical conditions. This epidemic, when fully proven, is 10 times larger than the current AIDS epidemic in America. Lyme is a debilitating and deadly disease found in every state in the USA, and it gets very little government and media attention as to its seriousness. Lyme could become our industry’s “poster child” disease to bring America back to its senses.

For some in our industry, the “Green” cool-aide may taste real sweet right now, and the “Greening” of our industry may seem like a great marketing opportunity; however allow common sense, science and history to drive the defining of “Green”. Otherwise “Green” may turn to “Brown” as our pristine landscapes and forests fall victim to insects and disease, and our lives may turn to “Black” as the plagues of insect-born diseases return to USA and European societies as they did when “Green” pest management practices were vogue once before.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Solar power realities

This is from an e-mail to Jon Ray's blog "Greenie Watch".

A comment by someone who knows from professional experience -- received via a reader. The report focuses on Tasmania, which is in roughly the equivalent latitude to Italy. So what is bad in Tasmania will be worse in Britain (for instance). As for Sweden or Canada, stop laughing! Jon Ray

I am one of those people who supply and maintain solar and wind power installations to power electronic systems at remote (unpowered) sites -- e.g. two way radios up on mountain tops.

Twenty plus years ago, a couple of us had a good look at the possibility of making a dollar or two out of flogging this emerging technology to the great unwashed. We didn't bother because it didn't stack up energy wise or financially. I admit the efficiency of the solar panels us mere mortals can afford has improved a bit since then (at least 8%) but the figures are still similar.

A loose look at the energy required to make the things verses the energy output of them during their average lifetime was not really surprising. The panel would return enough energy in the first year to smelt the aluminum in its frame and its mounting and transport the manufactured panel to us. We could not get energy figures for melting the silicon so the wafers could be grown and then cut up to make the semiconductors but overall it will be high so we guessed that it would take at least 100Kwh . This equates to 3 years output from the panel used up by the time it is delivered on site.

But it doesn't end there. Over the life of a set of panels the owner will probably need 3 or 4 sets of batteries. These are full of nice things like lead and acid and plastic and are very heavy. Then there is the magic box called the inverter. This is the box that converts the panel power up to the 230 volts mains power that we use. These are full of electronic things that take a lot of energy to make and have a reasonably short life span - say 10 years. You must include the energy costs for making and transporting these items to site in the overall energy that the solar panels must return during their lifetime. A battery pack of say 13kw h weighs in at approximately 500kg. So during the life of a set of panels you are going to have to transport 2 tons of them from (say) Sydney to Hobart and back again. Do the energy calculations on that one considering that the energy output per annum from each panel equates to about 4.5 litres of petrol.

I must qualify the above by saying that in our lovely clean green (work in the tourism industry or starve) state we don't get a lot of sun for large chunks of the year. When we are working out the energy budget for a solar site we allow an average of 3.5 hrs a day full output from the panels and have battery backup to allow for 14 - 28 days (site dependant) with no output. When the batteries are fully charged you can store no more so you effectively get no output from the panels. Therefore the extra output in summer is not usable unless you seriously upscale the battery capacity. Up in Queensland you can get away with less than half the number of panels for the same load. In drier climates panels seem to last a bit longer as well.

There are some interesting practical considerations that must be considered when using these things. It never ceases to amaze me how many people seem surprised to discover that a solar panel needs to get actual direct sunlight on it to give a worthwhile output. This can be a simple task of (wait for it - shock horror - sit down Rev. Bob in case you have a nasty turn) cutting down the trees to the height of the panels because the sun gets pretty close to the horizon down here in winter. Or if you have built your house on the southern side of a hill or taller building it is even simpler - you need to move the house or increase the number of panels to compensate. An extra $10k - $40k will usually suffice.

In Tasmania more than 50% of houses don't have a clear enough view north to make solar panels worthwhile and if you elevate them you begin to shadow the house to the south of you. This means you can never optimize the energy return from the panels. And what about our nice green leafy suburbs? When your northern neighbour's trees get high enough to shade your panels you lose output. Or if a leaf blows onto one of your panels the output goes down. (if you cover approximately 5% of the face of the panel the output will drop to almost zero.) The government will have to bring in draconian chain saw laws and you will have to have a photo license and a chainsaw safe to own one. Panels need to be cleaned regularly. Feathered airfoil excrement is especially effective in stopping them working.

Every time you need to have the system serviced the serviceman will use petrol in his van to get there. This will probably average using the equivalent energy output of one panel for a year for each trip and that does not count the energy required to make the van in the first place.

There is little doubt that in Tassie a solar installation as a collective item over its life is a net energy sink not a source. It is no different financially. My last electricity account for my workshop lists the cost as 18.5c per kwh or 21.4c including supply charge and for this my installation costs can be amortized over a 50 year life span. Over a 20 year life an $800 panel will return me 900kwh or $166.50 worth of electricity. Don't forget that out of the massive savings you have made there you must buy batteries, inverter, have it installed, pay the interest on the money you borrowed to buy the system and maintain it.

Note that this energy consumption would require 136 panels ($110,000.00), 14 day battery backup $13,500.00 (weight 1.6 tons, life 10 years), three phase inverter $15,000.00 (expected life 5 - 10 years). Interest alone would exceed $1,675.00 for the same period I paid the electricity authority $334.95. (Don't forget that if the batteries went flat and I had no electricity to run the workshop I would still have to pay my employees so a system failure could wipe me out. I would have to have a generating plant and/or duplicate equipment to allow for that. Even if you quadrupled the energy output from the panels the figures don't add up.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Weasel Words and Phrases

By Rich Kozlovich

When you start to look at these “studies” touted by the activists you find that there is one common thread. They are full of weasel words and phrases. This gives them a great deal of wiggle room because they never come out and definitively state that things are factual….they are always ‘maybes’, and always scary ‘maybes’. Did it ever occur to anyone that these “Weasel-words and Phrases” are perhaps just somebody’s unfounded printed accusation, or perhaps some professional’s words for guessing? When this stuff makes it into print, they never give the impression that this may be not only a minority opinion, but may be viewed as …..well……whacky……by the rest of the scientific community.

Anthropogenic Global Warming was one such idea that was considered laughable; at least until the government started feeding huge amounts of grant money into studying it and then it became “science”. Especially since only those who promoted it got the money. All the “science” has turned out to be wrong or fraudulent; but what has that to do with grant money? After all, truth is no longer the Holy Grail of science…..The Holy Grail of science is now grant money.

I have been keeping an updated running list of Weasel-Words and Phrases. You might find them amusing…..You will also notice that these phrases appear in all these “studies” that make outrageous claims against chemicals.

1. Might cause
2. Studies suggest
3. Could cause
4. The long term effects are unknown
5. Linked
6. Voiced concerns about
7. Expressed some concern
8. Experts fear
9. Warning that the chemical could be causing neurological and behavior effects in unborn babies and young children
10. Negligible concern is still expressed
11. Minimal concerns
12. Still leaves doubts
13. Warning of a great cause for concern
14. Some scientists were critical
15. Researchers hypothesize
16. Suspected hormonal imbalance
17. Many scientists say
18. Still, some environmental substances remain suspicious
19. Data is yet inadequate to make a judgment, however the weight of the evidence says we have a problem
20. But government scientists cautioned that their finding is highly preliminary because of the small number of women and children involved and lack of evidence from other studies.
21. May make women more likely to
22. We've used a new research technology to generate hypotheses and possible associations
23. Probably to blame
24. Ecologists are worried that
25. It has been found through laboratory analysis that (X) substance is present in
26. While further study is needed to understand the impact, it is unlikely (or likely) that
27. While voicing caution on the link to (X), concerns were echoed widespread that, if left unregulated, (X) could hurt the environment.
28. Have the potential to significantly promote

This one is my favorite

29. The simple truth is that the way we allow chemicals to be used in society today means we are performing a vast experiment, not in the lab, but in the real world, not just on wildlife but on people
30. Factors suggest
31. In sum, however, the weight of the evidence says we have a problem. Human impacts beyond isolated cases are already demonstrable. They involve
impairments to reproduction, alterations in behavior, diminishment of intellectual capacity, and erosion in the ability to resist disease. [emphasis in the original -- viewed 5/16/06] (This turned out to be a lie)
32. Mounting evidence" that these chemicals "may trigger hormonal changes."
33. There is a serious connection to….

I guess that 100 to 300 million dollars spent by the chemical companies to meet the required testing by EPA in order to introduce a pesticide into the environment was meaningless.

Perhaps I am being too concerned about that which is factual and what can actually be proven….I just dawned on me……perhaps I can get on the “grant money express”. Let’s give this a try…….

There is something in the environment that might cause something because scientists state that studies suggest something could cause long term effects which are unknown due to links that some have expressed or voiced some concerns over. Experts are issuing this warning for fear that this something could be causing some effects in unborn babies and young children. Although negligible or minimal concern is still expressed, studies still leave doubts; therefore questions remain.

Some scientists were critical and felt a warning of a great cause for concern should be issued because researchers hypothesize that something may cause a suspected something. Many other scientists are quoted as saying that; “Still, some environmental substances remain suspicious although the data is yet inadequate to make a judgment, however the weight of the evidence says we have a problem with something.”

Although government scientists cautioned that their finding is highly preliminary because of the small number of women and children involved, and lack of evidence from other studies. It is possible that this should make women more likely to be concerned because we've used a new research technology to generate hypotheses and possible associations which suggest something is probably to blame.

Other scientists say that ecologists are worried that it has been found through laboratory analysis that some substance is present in something and while further study is needed to understand the impact, it is unlikely (or likely) that something could have the potential to significantly promote something. While voicing caution on the link to something, concerns were echoed widespread that, if left unregulated, something could hurt the environment.

The simple truth is that the factors suggest that if we allow something to be used in society today, it means we are performing a vast experiment, not in the lab, but in the real world, not just on wildlife but on people; in sum, however, the weight of the evidence says we have a problem. Furthermore, due to the growing body of assertions; there is mounting evidence that something may trigger something.

What do you think? Do you think I could ask for a grant of $150,000,000 to get started studying “something”?

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Halting The Human Enterprise

By Wendell Krossa

The great environmental narrative beaten into public consciousness across the world today is that the human enterprise (economic growth and development) is destroying nature. Environmentalists claim that, in particular, our use of energy is producing pollution and this is leading to catastrophic global warming. Hence on every side we are being told to lessen our footprint, to be more green, to use less energy and fewer chemicals. And like any myth there is an element of truth buried in this narrative- that we should always strive to be more efficient in using resources and not wasteful and that we should lessen any pollutants that we put into the environment. Agreed. But the downside to this narrative is devastatingly harmful in that it is slowing economic growth and development and this is hurting many poor people.

The use of energy is the life blood of human economies. To restrain energy use (by taxing and prohibiting emissions) will lead to further loss of competitiveness, loss of jobs, lowered living standards, along with a general hindering of economic growth and development (note reports on the problems in Europe from all the tax and cap schemes and the public revolt now brewing).

This environmental claim that human activity is destroying nature is simply not true. The planet is not in peril from our engagement of nature. Certainly we use land and other resources to improve our living conditions and to make further progress on varied fronts. But this is natural and humane. It is the right thing to do. We have the right to use and change the natural environment in our search for better living conditions. Human beings have always done so. And while we do this, many of us also value the preservation of some wilderness for recreational and other purposes.

The conflict arises over how much of nature should be preserved as wilderness. Many environmentalists believe that much more of nature should be preserved in wilderness conditions with little left for human use (Ecological footprint activists argue that humans should use only one quarter of the Earth). Should the rest of us then be limited in our pursuit of improved standards of living (our use of nature) according to these extreme green visions? Many of us do not believe that nature is supreme and that most of nature should be preserved as wilderness.

We believe that humanity has priority rights to nature. And again, this does not mean that we would want to transform all of it into built environment (“paving paradise, put up a parking lot”). Despite environmental exaggeration and distortion, the fact is that at this time in world history in our advanced societies we have actually built up very little of our land area. In the US the built up areas are only 3.6 percent of the total land area and in Europe the built up areas are only 8 percent. This is a small fraction of the entire land area. And remember, agricultural land is still natural and reverts quickly to wilderness when no longer used. But even our built up areas should be considered natural in the sense that we are as valid a part of nature as any other species and what we do is as natural as what any other species does (e.g. termites or bees building their housing and work areas).

Other good sources also disprove the environmental claims that we are destroying nature. For instance, the FAO (Food and Agricultural Organization- UN) shows that net deforestation has declined significantly and there is no forest holocaust occurring. Also, see the IUCN information at the end of this essay on the great environmental lie regarding species holocaust. And what about the DDT alarm that has resulted in the unnecessary deaths of as many as 50 million people (see DDT FAQs at All of these environmental alarms (add here the great ozone layer scare and the acid rain scare) have come to nothing. Nothing.

Wilfred Beckerman, among others, has challenged this environmental belief that the human enterprise is destroying the Earth and must be slowed or even halted. He argues well that the environmental endeavor to stop human growth and development is based on a personal aesthetic vision that cannot be pushed on others. The interests and needs of all people must be taken into account and these take priority over nature preservation. Some people want more wilderness but many others want improved standards of living and this is a basic right. What right do some have to deny them this basic right and need?

And what about the fact that lifting people out of poverty (by using natural resources) is essential to saving the environment? Poverty is the main destroyer of the environment. “Economic growth is still a necessary condition for remedying most of the serious environmental problems facing the world…in the (developing world) environmental problems persist largely because of poverty…the only route by which these countries can overcome their appalling environmental problems is to become richer…the resulting rise in incomes leads to a shift in people’s priorities from the satisfaction of basic needs to concern with their environment and a greater willingness to devote resources to environmental protection” (Wilfred Beckerman, Green Colored Glasses, p.4-6). Indur Goklany calls this the “Environmental transition” (with increasing wealth, and after meeting basic needs, people naturally turn to protecting their environments- The Improving State of the World).

The environmentalists continue to argue against further economic growth and development by claiming that we are using more of such resources as photosynthetic capacity and when we do so we deny this capacity to other species of plants and animals. Beckerman responds- So what? Before, that capacity was simply wasted. And if some species are lost when we take more resources, then we need to publicly debate such questions as how many members of any given species (or entire species themselves) deserve to be preserved before human needs are met? Here we get to differing valuations of nature and humanity. These are personal aesthetic and philosophical differences. While it is unfortunate that any species should go extinct, it is simply not feasible or reasonable or humane to preserve every species no matter what the cost to humanity. And despite the wildly exaggerated claims of environmentalists that there is a species holocaust occurring due to human activity, there is absolutely no evidence of species loss above historical rates which run at about 1 or 2 species a year (again, see IUCN report at the end of this essay).

In trying to sort out these differing beliefs and information we must not be cowed by the alarmism and manipulation of data by environmental extremists as they try to force their apocalyptic hysteria on the rest of our populations.

I would add here that the novel Pan’s Labyrinth has an interesting chapter on animals in nature and in zoos. Even animals are not wild about wilderness living. In the wild they are subject to insecure food supplies, violent predation, and disease. They, like us, may actually prefer the security of a domesticated situation such as a zoo where they are free from the stresses of life in the wild. Nature is a wicked old witch or Dark Nature according to Lyall Watson.

The great tragedy now arising from all this environmental alarmism and extremism is that humanity is being made poorer. Human progress is being seriously hindered. And the poorest people are suffering the most. Too much public and private money is being wasted in response to green hysteria. Environmental regulation is hindering companies from exploring and accessing more energy sources. Money is being diverted from other research to green causes. Much funding is being diverted to alternative energy sources that are more costly to develop and use than hydrocarbons. And taxes on energy are distorting free market processes.

Milton Friedman warned about the growth of government after the Second World War and how this hindered economic growth. David Boaz estimates that postwar growth in government has made us all 40 percent poorer. Indur Goklany has presented research that shows that for every 10 percent growth in government there is a correlated 1 percent drop in economic growth rates. And this excessive government growth is continuing in response to the hysteria of the environmental movement.

In light of this I would argue that the only safe use of the precautionary principle should be to encourage economic growth and development as much as possible in order for humanity to be able to adapt to whatever natural variations nature throws at us, which is most likely to be a cooling spell over the next few decades and possibly longer.
And especially, we need to quit worrying about our use of fossil fuel energy and consequent CO2 levels in the atmosphere. Lawrence Solomon has summarized the research which shows that CO2 is not a pollutant but is a beneficial nutrient on which all life depends.

The 32,000 scientists who signed the protest petition against global warming alarmism have included statements affirming the value of CO2. “This treaty (Kyoto) is, in our opinion, based on flawed ideas. Research data on climate change do not show that human use of hydrocarbons is harmful. To the contrary, there is good evidence that increased atmospheric carbon dioxide is environmentally helpful” (http://www.oismorg/pproject/s33p36.htm). Increased CO2 has produced a greener world over the past few decades and this has benefited animal life with increased numbers supported by increased plant life. And humanity has also benefited with increased crop growth. In the past there were periods with much higher levels of atmospheric CO2 and geologists have argued that our current atmosphere is “CO2 impoverished” (

Why then such fear of CO2? Some have suggested that CO2 has become a proxy for socialist hatred of capitalism. They attack CO2 which comes from the use of energy to fuel our economic growth. People who hate development, humanity, free markets, and progress will focus on stopping such by hindering energy use because it is the life blood of our economies and success. These opponents of human progress have been effective in publicly demonizing CO2 as a pollutant and poison, which it is not.

Much more could be said about CO2 such as the fact that there is no scientifically confirmed link of CO2 emissions with climate warming trends. For instance, Earth cooled from 1940 to 1975 while CO2 levels increased significantly. And Earth is now cooling since 1998 while CO2 levels continue to increase. So there is no clear linkage between CO2 levels in the atmosphere and global warming. While it is theorized that CO2 may have a miniscule effect at the margins of natural warming trends (as much as a fart in a hurricane, according to one scientist) there is no clear scientific evidence that more CO2 will cause catastrophic warming as in the alarmist models.

Unfortunately, many governments are cowing to pressure from Green extremists and alarmists who are making it harder for people to use energy. These politicians are proposing policy responses that are making energy use more expensive and this in a time of cooling when we need more and cheaper energy to adapt to such cooling. The International Energy Agency predicts that all the effort to slow energy emissions will add some $45 trillion to global energy bills over the next 40 years. This is money that could be better spent in increasing economic growth and development in order for humanity, and especially the poor, to adapt to whatever natural variation climate throws at us in the future.

Environmental extremists are hampering freedom to explore and use cheap energy to fuel economic growth and development. They are creating unnecessary guilt and distortion over the falsely imagined damaging impact of CO2. They are trying to halt the human enterprise and our use of resources. This is anti-human and anti-progress. It is becoming the greatest assault on human freedom since Communism. Vaclav Klaus, the president of the Czech Republic, has said, “I feel obligated to say that I see the biggest threat to freedom, democracy, the market economy, and prosperity now in ambitious environmentalism, not in communism. This ideology wants to replace the free and spontaneous evolution of mankind by a sort of central (now global) planning” (quoted in Ray Evans essay The Chilling Cost of Climate Catastrophism).

In the midst of the current hysteria and pressure to “go green” we need to ask some basic questions: Why? Why are we trying to reduce CO2 emissions? Why are we trying to stop climate change? (the natural variation of climate that has always been the norm for Earth and cannot be stopped by human action) Why are people so hysterical about all this natural climate variation at this time in human history?

One answer to the last question- why is the public going along with environmental hysteria over natural variation- is that climate alarmists have vented their hysteria in the public realm and the media with typical knee-jerk irresponsibility have further exaggerated even more this green alarmism. This has panicked the public and then surveys have reported such panic which has then pressured mindless politicians to react with fear-based policy responses which have increased government regulation and control over citizens. It is a self-reinforcing cycle of insanity.

Future generations will look back on this time of hysteria over nothing and how it hindered human progress and development and will shake their heads just as we shake ours over the witch hunts and crusades and other movements of mass hysteria of the past.

In conclusion let me state clearly that the planet is not stressed or in peril from our economic growth and development. Evidence on every important indicator- species, forest, land use, climate- shows no reason for alarm. In fact, it is the very growth and development of our economies that will lessen any destruction of nature. The human enterprise will save nature. And yes, increased energy efficiency is a smart thing to engage unless the cost to do so competes with other important needs. But too much pursuit of such things is driven by a baseless concern to decrease CO2. And for what good scientific reason?

Lets come back to our senses and refuse to be cowed any further by all this insane alarmism over such things as natural variations in climate. It is not due to our economic activity and use of energy. There is absolutely no sound reason for slowing or halting the human enterprise.