As our nation marks the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 collapse of the World Trade Towers, I again ask the question: How long will Americans allow misguided environmentalism and bureaucratic complacency to endanger the lives of our citizens?
Americans are gold medalists at the art of public grieving. No souls voice a stronger resolve to fight back at the enemy terrorists who, we vow, shall not break our spirit. How about the courage to examine our own faulty science causing unnecessary deaths?
If we Americans are ever to learn from our mistakes, we must face the very real possibility environmental extremists had as much to do with the rapid collapse of the World Trade Towers as the suicide bombers did. That’s a strong statement our government, abetted by the major media, is prepared to ignore. But we were warned decades ago, and I again put forth the case for investigation.
The late Herbert Levine invented spray fireproofing with wet asbestos, combining it with mineral wool, in the late 1940s. His formula, which replaced concrete insulation, led to the proliferation of huge steel-framed buildings. Then in 1971, due to exaggerated claims of danger to workers from asbestos fibers, New York City banned its use. Asbestos had been sprayed only up to the 64th floor of the World Trade Towers at that point. “If a fire breaks out above the 64th floor, that building will fall down,” Levine repeatedly warned.
Luck was with the Towers until the hijacked airliners crashed into floors 96 to 103 of One World Trade Center and floors 87 to 93 of Two World Trade Center.
Three days after the Twin Towers’ disaster, Steve Milloy – publisher of JunkScience.com, senior legal fellow at the Energy and Environment Legal Institute, and author of Junk Science Judo: Self-defense against Health Scares and Scams – wrote in his weekly FoxNews.com column about the lives that might have been saved had New York not halted the use of asbestos.
“The insulation was intended to delay the steel from melting in the case of fire by up to four hours,” Milloy wrote. “The steel frames of One World Trade Center lasted only one hour and forty minutes, while the steel frames of Two World Trade Center lasted just fifty-six minutes before collapsing.”
What happened next is mind boggling. Instead of his explosive report making the front pages of The New York Times, Milloy was beset with angry e-mails from readers who felt he shouldn’t have written about the subject so soon. The media never covered the story. When I tried to get a major TV network to expose how zealotry resulted in “death by environmentalism,” producers responded with concerns of “offending the families.”
Think of the number of occupants and response workers who needlessly died because the buildings prematurely melted to the ground. As you listen to musical tributes and empty talk about “the lessons we have learned about our American character,” think of the waste.
The documentary by French filmmakers Gedeon and Jules Naudet, who accidentally caught the attack of the North Tower on film, opened with the plaintive suggestion “there was nothing anyone could have done.” This is not true. But no one wanted to buck the rabid, politically correct environmentalists to heed the warnings of inventor Levine.
People died because of junk science hysteria. When will anyone listen?
Editor’s note: This week’s lead essay is a guest essay from Becky Fenger ([email protected]), a long-time grassroots activist in Arizona. Fenger has worked to keep sound science in public policy formation since the 1990s. The views expressed are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Heartland Institute or its scholars.
SOURCE: Fox News
IN THIS ISSUE …
Trucks can pay fines to avoid costly emission limits … Studies show storm trends due to natural variability … On emissions, biofuels worse than gasoline … Humans fare better under warm conditions than cold … Climate debate banned in University of Colorado class
On August 16, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration finalized new engine efficiency standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles as called for by President Barack Obama’s Climate Action Plan. Proponents say the standards will lower carbon dioxide emissions by approximately 1.1 billion metric tons over the lifetime of the vehicles sold under the program, an amount too small to have a measurable effect on temperature or climate change.
The rule imposes new engine performance standards for semi-trucks, large pickup trucks, vans, and all types and sizes of buses and work trucks with model years between 2018 and 2027. The standards could add as much as $15,100 to the price of a large truck within the next decade.
Congress recognized trucking companies may be unable to meet EPA’s increasingly stringent standards, adding provisions to the law to protect so-called “laggards,” allowing the companies to pay fines rather than have their vehicles disallowed from sale, which would force the companies out of business. Dan Simmons, vice president for policy at the Institute Energy Research, noted, “The Ford F-150 is the most popular vehicle on the market to date. Ford has spent more than $1 billion to get the truck into compliance, yet it is still not in full compliance. So it’s ridiculous to believe that car companies not named Ford will be able to meet new, more stringent standards.”
Two new papers, one in Theoretical and Applied Climatology and the second in The Journal of Climate, find no evidence humans are affecting precipitation amounts or frequency in the United States.
One paper found the number of annual heavy rainfall and snowfall events increased from 1948 through 2012 across much of the United States, but “the stronger storms are not getting stronger” and there has been no change in the seasonality of heavy rainfall events. The researchers found the strength, seasonality, and even the increase in the number of heavy rainfall events are explained largely by natural variability of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, stating, “[o]ur findings indicate that the climate variability of both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans can exert a large control on the precipitation frequency and magnitude over the contiguous USA.”
The Journal of Climate paper, by researchers affiliated with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, compared climate model projections to observed trends in heavy precipitation events, concluding, “In part because of large intrinsic variability, no evidence was found for changes in extreme precipitation attributable to climate change in the available observed record.”
A new study undermines one of the prime justifications for the federal government’s billions of dollars in subsidies for and mandated use of biofuels. The study, published in the journal Climate Change, finds transportation fuel made from crops such as corn, sugar beets, and soybeans actually emit more carbon dioxide than gasoline.
Biofuels were sold to the public as being inherently carbon-neutral, with the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere when biofuel is burned offset by the amount of carbon the crops removed from the atmosphere during their growth. John M. DeCicco of the University of Michigan Energy Institute, the lead author of the study, noted, “Carbon neutrality has really just been an assumption. To verify the extent to which that assumption is true, you really need to analyze what’s going on on the farmland, where the biofuels are being grown.”
Under that sort of scrutiny, the belief biofuels are carbon neutral falls apart. DeCicco’s team found as the consumption of corn ethanol and biodiesel more than tripled in the United States due to laws mandating their use, during growth the crops used for biofuels offset only 37 percent of carbon dioxide emissions produced when they are burned for fuel. “When it comes to the emissions that cause global warming, it turns out that biofuels are worse than gasoline,” DeCicco said.
In a study published in the journal Epidemiology, 22 researchers around the world set out to determine the effects of daily high and low temperatures on human mortality. They concluded people generally adapt to their local climates, and regardless of the country, cold temperatures were associated with significantly higher premature mortality than high temperatures.
The team examined daily temperature and mortality data from 306 communities in 12 countries representing a range of climate conditions – Australia, Brazil, Thailand, China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Canada – between 1972 and 2011. They found, essentially everywhere in the world, typical cold temperatures are more likely to lead to premature human deaths than are typical warm temperatures.
SOURCE: CO2 Science.org
Three professors co-teaching an online course titled “Medical Humanities in the Digital Age” at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs informed students via email that man-made climate change and the harmful effects of fracking are not open for debate, and those who think otherwise should drop the course.
“The point of departure for this course is … the … premise that human induced climate change is … occurring. We will not, at any time, debate the science of climate change, nor will the ‘other side’ of the climate change debate be taught or discussed in this course,” states the email.
The teachers recommended, “If you believe this premise [humans are unequivocally causing dangerous climate change] to be an issue for you, we respectfully ask that you do not take this course.” The professors extended the ban on debate to discussion among students in the online forums. Moreover, students who choose to use outside sources for research for the course may use only materials peer-reviewed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
In addition to teaching man-made climate change, the course also examines the “health effects of fracking,” with all reading assignments focusing only on fracking’s purported negative impacts, failing to examine any possible benefits of fracking.
In response to a growing uproar among parents, John Carson, a member of the University of Colorado Board of Regents, told The Washington Times, “We should be encouraging debate and dialogue at the university, not discouraging or forbidding it. Students deserve more respect than this. They come to the university to be educated, not indoctrinated.”
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