New Old News
In recent months, an iceberg nearly as
large as Rhode Island broke off an Antarctic ice shelf, apparently because of rising
temperatures there... R. Monatsersky, Science
News, June 10, 1995.
speculation will no doubt be bolstered by a report in the Geophysical Research Letters. British researcher
Phil Jones demonstrates that theres been a statistically significant warming of
Antarctica since widespread records began in 1957. However,
he goes on to state that all of this warming occurred before the early 1970s.
Indeed. We ran trend analyses of his data backwards, beginning in 1993. Is there a
statistically significant warming trend, say, between 1970 and 1993? No. How about 1965-93? No. In fact, only data that begins prior to 1961
induces the trend that Jones describes. Inasmuch
as the record begins in 1957, this means almost all of the warming occurred over 30 years
Figure 1. Temperature readings averaged over Antarctica
between 1957 and the end of 1993. All of the
warming ended, statistically speaking, three decades ago.
interesting that this paper talks about warming trends at certain stations, but then
states that few of the trends are significant. This means that they cannot be
mathematically distinguished from a flat line with no trend. So why say that theres any warming in these
records? Under general scientific guidelines,
there is none.
Note that our
analysis of the overall record does not include the very cold year of 1994. Thats
because most of the data was available only from ocean stations surrounding Antarctica,
rather than from stations on the continent. One
is left, though, to speculate how to associate the calving of a Rhode Island-sized berg
with warming, when it occurred following two of the coldest years in the entire record?
note: Over a decade ago, a berg broke
off that was described as Delaware sized.
Jones. P.D., 1995. Recent variations in mean temperature and the
diurnal temperature range in the Antarctic. Geophysical
Research Letters 20, 1345-1348.
An irregular feature describing
actions pertaining to the Framework Convention on Climate Change, signed at the Rio Earth
Summit in 1992.
The Clinton/Gore Climate Plan
In October 1993, President Clinton
announced a voluntary program that would bring the U.S. into compliance with the goal of
the Rio Treaty, which is to reduce net carbon dioxide emissions to 1990 levels by the year
Critics scoffed and were called
cynics. Eight months later, the Natural
Resources Defense Council said that we were exceeding our emission goals because the price
of oil was too low and there was too much economic growth.
Even so, U.S. negotiators agreed last
April in Berlin to commit the nation to a course of mandatory emission reductions beyond
the 1990 level which will be announced over the next 18 months.
By 1994, net carbon emissions from
the U.S. reached an annual level of 1,400 million metric tons (mmt), or a 4.1% increase
over the 1990 base. As Skip Laitner of the
Northern Virginia-based Economic Research Associates told this Report about the Clinton/Gore plan, Its
not going to be done.
In fact, Laitner told us, the actual
rise in net carbon emissions is closer to 5% because the original administration
calculations of the 1990 base were a little too high.
As noted by Laitners group, the jump in carbon emissions largely
results from a 9.1% increase in economic activity since 1990.
The BIG Rumor
Washington policy wonks, both
elephantine and asinine, all agree that the flat income tax is going to be a big issue in
the 1996 campaign. Will the administration
respond by keeping the graduated tax, but proposing a lower median tax rate than the
Republicans, while making up the revenue shortfall with a tax on energy or carbon? How
else to comply with the Rio Treaty, which has force of law?
to sell, too: revenue neutral, progressive,
and it helps us all live better and more ecologically sound lives! And the more efficient we are, the less tax we