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Rants, Raves, Interesting Science & Awful Puns
October 21, 2001

Sanity & Environmentalism

Newspaper Brings A Level-Headed View

Environment & Climate News is a monthly newspaper put out by the Heartland Institute that brings a welcome note of balance compared to the typical media scares, paying more attention to the science and less to what politics and ideology would want the answers to be. Some items from this year's issues:

June 2001
  • U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) stated by lead author of its recently released report as having become politicized to the point of uselessness. Advised U.S. policymakers simply to ignore it. (See also earlier posting on NAS Report)
  • Demolishing the myth that wind farms can make a difference. To energy needs, that is. But tax breaks, direct subsidies, price protection make a big difference to owners' and developers' profits, with costs shifted to customers and taxpayers.
  • Interview with Dr. Bernard Cohen, professor emeritus of radiation physics and environmental health at University of Pittsburgh, also the author of some good books setting the record straight and giving the facts on all aspects of nuclear energy. On the terrors of plutonium toxicity: 20 eventual deaths per pound of Pu dispersed in the most effective way. Radiation: low levels actually protect against cancer. Nuclear risks in perspective: If all U.S. electricity came from nuclear, average health risk would be equivalent to a regular smoker having one extra cigarette every 10 years, or increasing the speed limit by 0.02 m.p.h. The risks eliminated would be thousands of times higher, e.g. from disposal of coal wastes. (For earlier postings on Nuclear and other energy issues, see Energy).
August 2001
  • Meddling through vehicle mileage laws makes matters worse.
  • Reminder of the early 70s global cooling scare, with the solution again, of course, in more government regulation. The fear then was of shorter growing seasons resulting in world food shortages. One proposal called for melting the polar ice caps by spreading soot on them to retain solar heat.
September 2001
  • International praise for genetically improved foods.
  • "Smart-growth" lunacy in Oregon, where planners aim is to contain 90% of the population within urban boundaries covering 1.25% of the land, and within which everything is regulated. (Any guesses where the planners see themselves as living?) How long before a resident commissar is installed on each block?
Available from The Heartland Institute, 19 South LaSalle, Suite 903, Chicago, IL 60603. Tel: Voice312-377-4000; Fax 312-377-5000 E-mail think@heartland.org Online at www.heartland.org. Free to U.S. residents.
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