Friday, January 30, 2004


Turmoil at the Sierra Club?

The Sierra Club is one of America's wealthiest tax-exempt organizations. In fiscal 2002, the Club reported $23,619,830 in revenues, and disclosed $107,733,974 worth of assets to the IRS. It claims a national membership of 700,000 people. As Sierra's website proclaims, "the Club is America's oldest, largest, and most influential grassroots environmental organization."

An old Chinese curse goes, "may you live in interesting times.” Well, these happen to be interesting times for the Sierra Club. A small chunk of its membership is worried about what it calls "impact of mass immigration on the environment and quality of life for future generations" of Americans. These dissidents want the Club to promote public policy that will restrict America's future population growth. In particular, they would like the Club to endorse a reduction in the number of immigrants the U.S. accepts each year. These dissidents have formed their own pressure group. They call it Sierrans for US Population Stabilization (SUSPS).

SUSPS may look small, but it is becoming a force to be reckoned with within the Club. It now controls 20 percent of the 15 seats on Sierra's board of directors. It hopes to expand that control after this spring's board elections. To get a feel for the tension raging inside the Club, it may help to read an email purportedly sent by Paul Watson, a pro-SUSPS Sierra Club board member, to Carl Pope, the Sierra Club's executive director, last March. The email documents SUSPS' central arguments about why the Sierra Club's position on immigration (currently neutral) must change....

Battle for Biotech Progress

Not all my former colleagues saw things that way, however. Many environmentalists rejected consensus politics and sustainable development in favor of continued confrontation, ever-increasing extremism, and left-wing politics. At the beginning of the modern environmental movement, Ayn Rand published Return of the Primitive, which contained an essay by Peter Schwartz titled "The Anti- Industrial Revolution." In it, he warned that the new movement's agenda was anti-science, anti-technology, and anti-human. At the time, he didn't get a lot of attention from the mainstream media or the public. Environmentalists were often able to produce arguments that sounded reasonable, while doing good deeds like saving whales and making the air and water cleaner.

But now the chickens have come home to roost. The environmentalists' campaign against biotechnology in general, and genetic engineering in particular, has clearly exposed their intellectual and moral bankruptcy. By adopting a zero tolerance policy toward a technology with so many potential benefits for humankind and the environment, they have lived up to Schwartz's predictions. They have alienated themselves from scientists, intellectuals, and internationalists. It seems inevitable that the media and the public will, in time, see the insanity of their position. As my friend Klaus Ammann likes to hope, "maybe biotech will be the Waterloo for Greenpeace and their allies." Then again, maybe that's just wishful thinking....

PETA And Terrorism: The Real Deal

The Center for Consumer Freedom butted heads with a People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) spokesman yesterday on the Fox News Channel's "Your World with Neil Cavuto." Combining obfuscation, denial, and half-truths, PETA desperately tried to defend its record of supporting terrorism and terrorists. Read on for some of the highlights -- and once you're through, sign our petition to yank PETA's tax exempt status....

Kerry: Gorier than Gore on Global Warming

When it comes to disinformation about climate change, Al's got competition in the principal beneficiary of Howard Dean's rhetorical largesse, John Kerry, who looks to me like a cinch for the Democratic nomination. On May 17, 2000, Kerry said:

"In Massachusetts, we always looked forward to fall because the ponds froze over and we could play hockey. Today, you are lucky if the ponds freeze in northern New Hampshire. Up there ... I do not wear a coat until after November now."

So should Kerry beware. There's lots of data on the Internet, including a study by the U.S. Geological Survey of "ice-out" dates on lakes in northern New Hampshire. That's the day of the year when you can no longer play hockey.

John Kerry is 60 years old, so it's safe to say he was playing hockey in northern New Hampshire, his home, from the ages of 7 to 17, or 1950 through 1959, near First Connecticut Lake. The average date of ice-out for that period was May 1. From 1991-2000, when, according to Kerry, "you are lucky if the ponds freeze," the average ice-out date is later, on May 5.

A year later, on May 1, 2001, Kerry said, "This summer the North Pole was water for the first time in recorded history," a story that was originally carried by the New York Times in September 2000. It was retracted three weeks later as a barrage of scientists protested that open water is common at or near the pole at the end of summer. Further, it's common knowledge in the scientific community that there has been no net change in Arctic temperatures in the last 70 years....

Tuning Out Environmental Gore

Washington is besieged with snow and ice again this week, which means it is time for another meditation on—wait for it—global warming! Of course, I have a tough act to follow, given the perfect comic timing of former Vice President Al Gore, who recently chose the coldest day in the northeast in the last 15 years to make a speech about global warming. Big Al was funnier still: he made the speech to If ever there was one subject about which the left won’t ever “move on,” it is global warming.

Earth to Gore: No one is listening.

To the amazement of environmentalists and the media, President Bush’s approval ratings on his handling of the environment have stayed near or even above 50 percent throughout his presidency, despite the mountain of adverse headlines in the media, the nonstop fury of the political environmental groups, and the huge generic party advantage Democrats have over Republicans as the party best able to protect the environment. At no point in Bush’s presidency have his “disapprove” ratings on his handling of the environment trailed his approval ratings....

Driving Away Pollution

Your next new car or truck will be the cleanest-burning one you've ever owned. And it means the end to the already-diminishing problem of air pollution.

This week Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Mike Leavitt unveiled seventeen model year 2004 vehicles meeting tough new emissions requirements. These provisions, which begin now and will be fully phased in by the end of the decade, demand 77-95 percent reductions in exhaust emissions for cars, SUVs, minivans, pickups, and all sizes of trucks. EPA is also requiring sharp reductions in sulfur content in both gasoline and diesel fuel, thereby allowing a new generation of pollution control devices to be used.

"It's a simple formula," said Leavitt. "Cleaner vehicles plus cleaner fuel equals cleaner air....

U.S. Rebuffs Europe at Climate Conference

Early last month, several Republican senators, House members and aides traveled to Milan, Italy, for the ninth round of international global climate negotiations.

Despite heavy criticism from European officials and radical environmentalists, the Republican delegation declared Kyoto, and similar energy suppression policies being advanced in the Senate, absolutely dead in the United States, while staunchly defending American prosperity and growth.

Sen. James Inhofe (R.-Okla.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, led the congressional delegation, and was the principal target of green extremists and bureaucrats from the European Union. During the conference, staffers from the National Environmental Trust (NET) displayed what amounted to "wanted" posters of the senator throughout the conference center....

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