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Great Lakes states to keep water from thirsty Sunbelt

 
Anonymous Coward
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04/08/2007 10:22 AM
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Great Lakes states to keep water from thirsty Sunbelt
Great Lakes states to keep water from thirsty Sunbelt

April 8, 2007

By JOHN FLESHER The Associated Press

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — The governors of the eight Great Lakes states worked for four years to write a plan that would protect their abundant water from being piped south to regions where booming populations face dwindling water supplies.

But the sharpest attacks on the proposed regional compact are coming not from the distant Sun Belt but from within the Great Lakes states themselves as the plan is submitted to legislators for ratification.

Some communities in the eight states say the compact's strict limits on water diversion could leave them high and dry. Critics fear a torrent of lawsuits.

And supporters say the whole deal could unravel over an Ohio lawmaker's concerns about private property rights and insistence on rewriting provisions.

Backers are confident the plan adopted by the governors in 2005 will win needed approval by all eight states and Congress, but acknowledge it probably will take a few more years.

The longer the delay, they say, the greater the risk of losing control over the lakes — which, with their connecting channels and the St. Lawrence River, hold nearly 20 percent of the world's fresh surface water.

"It's OK to take a year or two to sort this out, but then they'd better buckle down and get on the same page," said Noah Hall, an environmental law professor at Wayne State University. "The real attacks are going to come in Congress, from states outside the region who don't want to see the Great Lakes locked up."

Skeptics doubt the supposed threat from the thirsty Sun Belt, saying shipping or piping water over such distances would have staggering costs and engineering challenges.

Still, "the time to put in place good water management is when you don't have a problem," said George Kuper, president of the Council of Great Lakes Industries, which represents companies such as Dow Chemical Co. and U.S. Steel Corp.

Despite the difficulties, grandiose diversion schemes have surfaced, including one entrepreneur's 1998 proposal to send tankers of Lake Superior water to Asia.

That idea quickly evaporated. But it inspired the governors to devise the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact, which treats the lakes and associated groundwater as one shared system.

It outlaws new or increased diversions, with limited exceptions, and also requires each state to adopt a conservation plan and regulate its own water use in keeping with common standards.

The Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec weren't included because U.S. states can't make treaties with foreign nations, but they signed a similar, nonbinding agreement.

In February, Minnesota became first to ratify the compact, which also has cleared the Illinois House and is pending in the state Senate. Bills have been introduced in Michigan and Indiana but aren't close to enactment. The matter is drawing little attention in Pennsylvania, where only the state's northwest corner is inside the Great Lakes drainage basin.

Among the issues facing lawmakers is the status of communities inside a Great Lakes state but outside the lakes' natural watershed.

Waukesha, Wis., a Milwaukee suburb, wants to draw water from Lake Michigan, only 15 miles away, but is just outside the lake's drainage area. The compact might allow the city to get its water because it's within a county that straddles the basin boundary, but that would require unanimous consent of the eight states' governors.

The Waukesha County Chamber of Commerce wants the deal amended so one state can't veto diversions to straddling counties. "Our argument is not to eliminate the compact. Our argument is to make sure it's fair," chamber spokesman Brian Nemoir said.

The pact appeared headed for approval in Ohio last year. But state Sen. Tim Grendell raised enough concerns to stall it. The Cleveland Republican particularly distrusts a declaration that Great Lakes water is held in public trust, saying that provision would void private ownership of farm ponds and even well water.

"The government is being encouraged to take people's property without paying for it. That is flat-out un-American," Grendell said.

Compact supporters say it honors existing rights. The public trust doctrine has been settled law since the late 1800s and balances needs of individuals and society, said Hall, the Wayne State professor.

The New York Senate balked last year at a provision allowing lawsuits against government agencies over failure to enforce the pact's standards. Backers say the compact grants no more access to the courts than other environmental laws, and allows states to handle local concerns under their own water-use rules.

"The governors looked at all these issues and found ways to delicately handle them," said Molly Flanagan, a Great Lakes specialist with the National Wildlife Federation in Ann Arbor. "Now is not the time to renegotiate the deal. Now is the time to get it done."

[link to www.rutlandherald.com]
Shadow

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04/08/2007 10:35 AM
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Re: Great Lakes states to keep water from thirsty Sunbelt
I can see this getting nasty. Water is a very very touchy subject (especially if you're a farmer/rancher).
Over the side and damn the barracuda
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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04/08/2007 10:37 AM
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Re: Great Lakes states to keep water from thirsty Sunbelt
I'd fight to, especially if it's water on my own property.
malu

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04/08/2007 10:40 AM
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hey shadow, happy easter!

yep, this one is my personal pet peeve, i live on the great lakes, i will campaign to the end to leave it be, even if it means water restrictions for us that live right next to it

if you are going to live in the desert, don't expect to grow anything, if you want to farm, move to the farming belt,, idiots!
"By way of deception, thou shalt do war."

Israel's Mossad

"The truth shall set you free."

U.S. Central Intelligence Agency Motto
Shadow

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04/08/2007 10:45 AM
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I'd fight to, especially if it's water on my own property.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 220367


Point proven. Water is a volatile subject.

Hey malu!! I know precisely how you feel. Water wars are heating up.

And Happy Easter Sweetie.
Over the side and damn the barracuda
malu

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04/08/2007 10:49 AM
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the only thing they should be farming in the "sunbelt" is solar panels!
"By way of deception, thou shalt do war."

Israel's Mossad

"The truth shall set you free."

U.S. Central Intelligence Agency Motto
Indian Elder
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04/08/2007 11:10 AM
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the two other sources of water are L. Bakail in russia and the encapsulated pristine lake at the south pole.
Ive lived in Chgo, Milw and of course up here by L. Superior. Years ago, an underground pipeline out in the west blew up at a campsite because it was a former natural gasline, quite large, and the fumes collected and when they lit the campfire, kaboom! It mentioned the pipeline ran from Chgo to Nevada and was not used anymore and being emptied...ff to a couple of years later, Las Vegas begins building the pirate ship and venice, all using tons of fresh water...does the level of water in the nearest dam fall? no. It falls in the great lakes. the Mafia was surely piping our water down to vegas.
In the 1020's the record Lake trout caught was 150 pounds. In 1950 I could see down 50 feet to the bottem of a crystal clear Lake. in 56 they let ocean going ships in and they began dumping salt water balast and god-knows-what diseases are in-there sewage right out in the lake. Our beautiful lake is cloudy and the fish are going.
People fight over land and oil but they kill for water. You cant have california sun and the water too, thats just how it is. Imagine Tahiti with 2oo year old pines instead of palm trees and thousands of miles of white sand beaches and goreous blue-green water...and Few tourists. Thats the upper peninsula of Mich. But 40 ft fresh water icebergs pile up in winter and the Marquette area gets 6 to 7 feet of snow average in a year, the Keewanaw gets 26 feet. Thats what makes the water. So if you want to drink it, come live through a winter...
Indian elder
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04/08/2007 11:12 AM
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The record lake trout was 1920's, sorry.
SC Granny
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04/08/2007 11:25 AM
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Elder, I enjoyed readying your post about the gas pipeline. I've wondered where Vegas got their water for the fancy fountains and high-flying casinos.

Do you have any ideas about where I could look, or Google to find some sort of documentation about the former gas line?

In SC, we have lots of fresh water and have started battling to keep it available for the users in the basin. Atlanta GA and Charlotte NC need the water to keep their economies growing and major battles are heating up.
malu

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04/08/2007 11:35 AM
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hey elder, great post, i have done lots of exploring in the UP, backpacked Isle Royale, bicycled the keewanaw pennisula, i love it up there, but the winters are a bit too long for me! it is God's country though

this is a subject where i can stop talking real quick and pick up a gun, because there is not much to talk about, this is the third largest source of freshwater in the world, and to think those freighters can come in here and pollute it makes me go beserko
now we have zebra mussels , lampreys, and all other kinds of non native species in the lakes, which we will never correct

i suggest that the states that need water pony up and build desalinization plants along the ocean,, great lakes is not to be touched!
"By way of deception, thou shalt do war."

Israel's Mossad

"The truth shall set you free."

U.S. Central Intelligence Agency Motto
Anonymous Coward
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04/08/2007 11:55 AM
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Re: Great Lakes states to keep water from thirsty Sunbelt
A cubic meter of water = 264 gallons. Israel is bragging that it has the cost of desalination down to 53 cents per cubic meter, where the usual cost runs about 80 cents.

In South Carolina upstate, wholesale water rates run about $1.10 per thousand gallons. The media article on the Israeli desalination plant does not mention wholesale prices to water companies, but its cost is running about $2.12 per thousand gallons, or almost twice our local wholesale rate.

[link to www.uswaternews.com]
Indian Elder
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04/08/2007 12:07 PM
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SC Granny: I read it on the net, it was about 7 people camping out in a SW state and the explosion killed two. thats all I recall. that under-ice encapsulated fresh water lake in the S. pole is veeery interesting, the pure water in it is 500,000 years old and untouched and it is kinda in Russian hands.
malu

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04/08/2007 12:47 PM
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$2.12 per thousand gallons


ok, i will gladly trade fresh water for gas at that conversion, seems more than fair to me

just got to wait till you get real thirsty, meanwhile i will ride my horse
"By way of deception, thou shalt do war."

Israel's Mossad

"The truth shall set you free."

U.S. Central Intelligence Agency Motto
Redheaded Stepchild

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04/08/2007 01:00 PM
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Elder, I enjoyed readying your post about the gas pipeline. I've wondered where Vegas got their water for the fancy fountains and high-flying casinos.

Do you have any ideas about where I could look, or Google to find some sort of documentation about the former gas line?

In SC, we have lots of fresh water and have started battling to keep it available for the users in the basin. Atlanta GA and Charlotte NC need the water to keep their economies growing and major battles are heating up.
 Quoting: SC Granny 18338


There was a pipeline explosion near Carlsbad, NM, back in August of 2000. It killed 12 campers. That pipeline was operated by El Paso Natural Gas company. The pipeline transported natural gas from Texas and New Mexico over to Arizona and California. EPNG got into a lot of trouble over that whole mess. It was an awful explosion.
"Until you are willing to organize your friends and neighbors and literally shut down cities - drive at 5mph through the streets of major cities on the freeway and stop commerce, refuse to show up for work, refuse to borrow and spend more than you make, show up in Washington DC with a million of your neighbors and literally shut down The Capitol you WILL be bent over the table on a daily basis." Karl Denninger

Don't blame me; I voted for Ron Paul.


Silence is consent.
Anonymous Coward
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04/08/2007 01:59 PM
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Its a matter of economics. The Great Lakes states are under orders to clean up pollution and non-treated discharges while the rest of the country enjoys economic successes and fails to work to a solution for cheap desalinization.
Many of these regions have failed to raise water rates in an effort to do research, while the Great Lakes has spent billions to refine supply and demand and live up to Federal Mandates.


Let them drink bottled water or reprocessed sewage
Indian Elder
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04/08/2007 02:03 PM
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Good find stepchild, that timing is about right, but this one was 7 campers and 2 died...perhaps this was going on in 2000 as the lines were emptied.
Indian elder redux
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04/08/2007 02:05 PM
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Just remembered that fresh water lake in s. poles name, it was lake Vostock, i think
malu

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04/08/2007 02:13 PM
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i have an idea, we have all this fresh water that is frozen, called snow, how about ya'll come and take as much as you want, trade you even up for sunshine
"By way of deception, thou shalt do war."

Israel's Mossad

"The truth shall set you free."

U.S. Central Intelligence Agency Motto
Anonymous Coward
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04/08/2007 02:19 PM
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I am not well versed on this subject, however, global warming will see the north east getting more rain. Why not consider the water as an asset and commoditise it for sale to the needy states? Instead of letting it out of the St. Lawrence Seaway, why not send it our through metered pipes? Thus giving new meaning to the term, "revenue stream."

Before that happens, I think all golf courses in the south west should be converted to artificial turf. Green grass does not belong in a desert climate. ( I bet that will strike a raw nerve from some though.)

On a world scale, water will be the resource to be fought over.

One of John Peterson's slides said..

"If you keep doing what you are doing you will get the same results."
Indian Elder
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04/08/2007 02:30 PM
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Global warming???? snow in april, the coldest easter on record...Just in 1995 we almost had snow here in august.And off and on its gotten colder. I pray to God daily for global warming, probably with several siberian towns but it exsists only in the minds of politicians who want the 62 billion up for grabs if they can convince enough of the sheeple it exsists.
Anonymous Coward
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04/08/2007 07:12 PM
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have to agree that you don't plant in your area what doesn't grow naturally and you'll save much of natures resources.

don't think dow chemical co. and u.s. steel corp. has much more than their own growth in mind.

and happy easter to all.
Anonymous Coward
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04/08/2007 07:17 PM
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I hope the Great Lakes states stick to their guns and keep their water. It's abnormal for places like Las Vegas, Tucson and the other big cities in the arid areas to exist ...

The water should stay where it is ...
Anonymous Coward
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04/08/2007 07:26 PM
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I am not well versed on this subject, however, global warming will see the north east getting more rain. Why not consider the water as an asset and commoditise it for sale to the needy states? Instead of letting it out of the St. Lawrence Seaway, why not send it our through metered pipes? Thus giving new meaning to the term, "revenue stream."

Before that happens, I think all golf courses in the south west should be converted to artificial turf. Green grass does not belong in a desert climate. ( I bet that will strike a raw nerve from some though.)

On a world scale, water will be the resource to be fought over.

One of John Peterson's slides said..

"If you keep doing what you are doing you will get the same results."
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 220447


Why not let the idiots who think the desert is a great place to build communities learn about aridity the hard way?
malu

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04/08/2007 08:00 PM
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this kind of logic would keep people from building cities below sea level..
"By way of deception, thou shalt do war."

Israel's Mossad

"The truth shall set you free."

U.S. Central Intelligence Agency Motto
SC Granny
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04/08/2007 09:52 PM
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"$2.12 per thousand gallons ok, i will gladly trade fresh water for gas at that conversion"

Malu, of course the $2.12 is production cost and does not include distribution costs and bottom line profit. What we are seeing here is the potential for an escalation in water prices since local wholesale prices of treating and distributing water are about half the best production costs from seawater.
malu

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04/08/2007 09:58 PM
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"$2.12 per thousand gallons ok, i will gladly trade fresh water for gas at that conversion"

Malu, of course the $2.12 is production cost and does not include distribution costs and bottom line profit. What we are seeing here is the potential for an escalation in water prices since local wholesale prices of treating and distributing water are about half the best production costs from seawater.
 Quoting: SC Granny 86127



oh i understand all of that, however that is still a great price since we pay a dollar for a bottle of water
"By way of deception, thou shalt do war."

Israel's Mossad

"The truth shall set you free."

U.S. Central Intelligence Agency Motto
Anonymous Coward
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04/08/2007 09:58 PM
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Send all the freeloading illegals back to MEXICO, and there'd be plenty of water for citizens.
Anonymous Coward
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04/08/2007 09:58 PM
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this kind of logic would keep people from building cities below sea level..
 Quoting: malu



what harm could come of that?
SC Granny
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04/08/2007 10:16 PM
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Elder, Wolf Vishniac, creator of the “Wolf Trap”, who developed a means of testing for life on Mars without contaminating the environment, did die unexpectedly. The NASA history on Vishniac does not have him “falling to his death” at Lake Vostok, but I thought I read that he had taken his invention to the Lake Vostok area to get exobiology samples. That location for his death may not be true if he had no chance of access to the waters of that Lake. Was there any drilling, or exploration of Lake Vostok in the early 70’s?


Lake Vostok's waters

“Its waters have been hermetically sealed from air and light for perhaps 35 million years

Overlying ice layers reveal a 400,000-year environmental record with microbes present throughout the core

Many scientists consider Vostok to be a good model for the ecosystems that might exist on Jupiter's frozen moons”

[link to news.bbc.co.uk]



“Not to mention the scheduled experiment designed by Wolf
Vishniac, which didn't make it into Viking because of a sudden "budget cut" (3 out of 4 biological experiments were sent to Mars). Vishniac, though dissapointed, decided to test his experiment (the Wolf Trap) in Antartica, but he vanished only a month after. Makes you go... hmmmm...”

[link to www.virtuallystrange.net]


The NASA story of Vishniac’s “Wof Trap” is here:

[link to history.nasa.gov]
Indian Elder
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04/09/2007 11:11 AM
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Excellent find on Vishniak...I think hes with the 300 other scientist, immunologists etc who may be in the bio sphere on mars or God knows where. My inner vision always rings when I "go" to that lake in the south Pole. It deserves a thread of its own
Anonymous Coward
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04/09/2007 11:23 AM
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LOL--You people are so fucking stupid...MIT Scientist: 'Alarm over climate change is based on ignorance of what is normal for weather and climate'...

Why So Gloomy?
By Richard S. Lindzen
Newsweek International

April 16, 2007 issue - Judging from the media in recent months, the debate over global warming is now over. There has been a net warming of the earth over the last century and a half, and our greenhouse gas emissions are contributing at some level. Both of these statements are almost certainly true. What of it? Recently many people have said that the earth is facing a crisis requiring urgent action. This statement has nothing to do with science. There is no compelling evidence that the warming trend we've seen will amount to anything close to catastrophe. What most commentators—and many scientists—seem to miss is that the only thing we can say with certainly about climate is that it changes. The earth is always warming or cooling by as much as a few tenths of a degree a year; periods of constant average temperatures are rare. Looking back on the earth's climate history, it's apparent that there's no such thing as an optimal temperature—a climate at which everything is just right. The current alarm rests on the false assumption not only that we live in a perfect world, temperaturewise, but also that our warming forecasts for the year 2040 are somehow more reliable than the weatherman's forecast for next week.
Story continues below ↓advertisement

A warmer climate could prove to be more beneficial than the one we have now. Much of the alarm over climate change is based on ignorance of what is normal for weather and climate. There is no evidence, for instance, that extreme weather events are increasing in any systematic way, according to scientists at the U.S. National Hurricane Center, the World Meteorological Organization and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (which released the second part of this year's report earlier this month). Indeed, meteorological theory holds that, outside the tropics, weather in a warming world should be less variable, which might be a good thing.

In many other respects, the ill effects of warming are overblown. Sea levels, for example, have been increasing since the end of the last ice age. When you look at recent centuries in perspective, ignoring short-term fluctuations, the rate of sea-level rise has been relatively uniform (less than a couple of millimeters a year). There's even some evidence that the rate was higher in the first half of the twentieth century than in the second half. Overall, the risk of sea-level rise from global warming is less at almost any given location than that from other causes, such as tectonic motions of the earth's surface.

Many of the most alarming studies rely on long-range predictions using inherently untrustworthy climate models, similar to those that cannot accurately forecast the weather a week from now. Interpretations of these studies rarely consider that the impact of carbon on temperature goes down—not up—the more carbon accumulates in the atmosphere. Even if emissions were the sole cause of the recent temperature rise—a dubious proposition—future increases wouldn't be as steep as the climb in emissions.

Indeed, one overlooked mystery is why temperatures are not already higher. Various models predict that a doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere will raise the world's average temperature by as little as 1.5 degrees Celsius or as much as 4.5 degrees. The important thing about doubled CO2 (or any other greenhouse gas) is its "forcing"—its contribution to warming. At present, the greenhouse forcing is already about three-quarters of what one would get from a doubling of CO2. But average temperatures rose only about 0.6 degrees since the beginning of the industrial era, and the change hasn't been uniform—warming has largely occurred during the periods from 1919 to 1940 and from 1976 to 1998, with cooling in between. Researchers have been unable to explain this discrepancy.

Modelers claim to have simulated the warming and cooling that occurred before 1976 by choosing among various guesses as to what effect poorly observed volcanoes and unmeasured output from the sun have had. These factors, they claim, don't explain the warming of about 0.4 degrees C between 1976 and 1998. Climate modelers assume the cause must be greenhouse-gas emissions because they have no other explanation. This is a poor substitute for evidence, and simulation hardly constitutes explanation. Ten years ago climate modelers also couldn't account for the warming that occurred from about 1050 to 1300. They tried to expunge the medieval warm period from the observational record—an effort that is now generally discredited. The models have also severely underestimated short-term variability El Niño and the Intraseasonal Oscillation. Such phenomena illustrate the ability of the complex and turbulent climate system to vary significantly with no external cause whatever, and to do so over many years, even centuries.

Is there any point in pretending that CO2 increases will be catastrophic? Or could they be modest and on balance beneficial? India has warmed during the second half of the 20th century, and agricultural output has increased greatly. Infectious diseases like malaria are a matter not so much of temperature as poverty and public-health policies (like eliminating DDT). Exposure to cold is generally found to be both more dangerous and less comfortable.

Moreover, actions taken thus far to reduce emissions have already had negative consequences without improving our ability to adapt to climate change. An emphasis on ethanol, for instance, has led to angry protests against corn-price increases in Mexico, and forest clearing and habitat destruction in Southeast Asia. Carbon caps are likely to lead to increased prices, as well as corruption associated with permit trading. (Enron was a leading lobbyist for Kyoto because it had hoped to capitalize on emissions trading.) The alleged solutions have more potential for catastrophe than the putative problem. The conclusion of the late climate scientist Roger Revelle—Al Gore's supposed mentor—is worth pondering: the evidence for global warming thus far doesn't warrant any action unless it is justifiable on grounds that have nothing to do with climate.

Lindzen is the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His research has always been funded exclusively by the U.S. government. He receives no funding from any energy companies.
© 2007 Newsweek, Inc.