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NFC: Thread that won't go away. [Fish briefly mentioned, Josh. Honest!]
- To: Native Fishes Conservancy <nfc at actwin_com>
- Subject: NFC: Thread that won't go away. [Fish briefly mentioned, Josh. Honest!]
- From: Wright Huntley <huntley1 at home_com>
- Date: Fri, 29 Jun 2001 16:17:11 -0700
"Global Warming" is a hot button that gets folks totally worked up. It is
particularly obvious among those of us concerned with conservation and our
native flora and fauna. We care, and are often quite outspoken about it.
I'm no exception to that, and I think I have paid enough dues to be entitled
to a bit of say, now and then. I hardly expect all to agree with me, and I'm
certainly most willing to learn, if I'm wrong. How else should we do serious
When it is a political issue, that has received enormous amounts of (often
quite erroneous) propaganda in the mandatory government schools and in the
more statist-oriented parts of the press and TV, we get deluged with the
emotional backwash that such a condition always generates. "Help! Chicken
Little was right!!! Help, help help! Do something, even if it is wrong!"
When it gets added to the "PC" situation we have allowed to grow in
academia, the garnering of good data, and the application of reasoned
analysis, become hopelessly tainted.
[Today, almost anyone in biology, climatology, or meteorolgy that publishes
information that disagrees with the Sierra Club's statist/racist political
agenda is ostracised, loses his/her grants, and may be fired (if untenured,
as all productive academics tend to be). It takes no time for smart Profs to
get the message. I resigned after 11 fine years at a famous University over
an issue of academic freedom, so I know, personally, just how hard that is
to do for most academics.]
I'd like to toss out a few "facts" that I *think* are true, and suggest that
anyone with good information to refute them please let me know, so I don't
continue to misinform anyone. [My opinions are another matter. They are
subject to review only if you first convince me my facts really are in
I'll start by referring you to the short article at:
I have reviewed some of the background material used for that article, and,
as a scientist/engineer, I find it to be pretty credible, on average.
Here are a few interesting facts:
Long-range weather prediction is not possible, at this time. That's a fact.
Summer's hotter and winter's colder is about the best we can do, right now.
<VBG> El Nino is a predictible press phenomenon, more than a meterological
We don't even get it right on next week's rain, most of the time, and those
satellite-fed models are far more refined, data intensive and polished than
the studies on CO2 and global climate change have ever tended to be.
Major climate change always includes much greater fluctuations than any
recent measurements can cover, and no trend can be confidently predicted
with a model that utterly fails to read through the "noise." We are coming
out of one big and one little ice age, so hopefully the trend *is* to get
warmer for a while. Predicting on a finer scale than that is like trying to
do next week's rain. Pretty iffy, at best.
[Anyone here ever heard of "Chaos Theory." I know more statistics, and
particularly, statistical communication theory, than most "calamitologists,"
so think I'm capable of evaluating their analyses. Their data sampling
appears simply inadequate to make really *confident* predictions of *any*
medium-term trend, at this time. I'm not in the business, so I don't review
all of them, though, by a long shot.]
It *is* getting a little warmer right now, but so what? That trend is *way*
down in the noise. [Yeah! The "little ice-age" of medaeval times is finally
We have 3 times as much forested land in the US at the end of the 20th
century as we had in the early 1900s.
Those forests are such gobblers of CO2 they actually make the modern US a
net *consumer* of CO2 and not a generator of any excess!
The total human contribution to the CO2 in the atmosphere (perhaps primarily
through burning hydrocarbons) is less than 5% of all the CO2 already there.
[That is the *only* part we could actually affect with "Kyoto"-like
restrictions -- that marginal 5%! What is that? 5% of 3 parts per million of
air? I forget the normal concentration.]
The vast bulk of that 5% appeared before 1940, BTW, and before the greatly
expanded world-wide use of hydrocarbon fuels in the *last* half of the
previous century. The mysterious CO2-increase deficit since 1940 hasn't been
"Kyoto" would have reduced that 5% by less than half by nearly destroying
the industrial world with emission restrictions that were far more draconian
than were ever printed in Time magazine.
The most credible predictions of reduction in temperature increase by fully
implementing "Kyoto" was only a bit over 1 degree C in 10 years. BFD!
The effect of that decrease is likelier to be slightly more harmful than
beneficial, BTW. It does nothing to help rainforests recover, for example,
and shortens growing seasons. Certainly it was far, far below the noise
threshold in the limited global measurements available. Recent ocean
water-temperature readings are blowing much of the data used by the NSF
report out of the water, anyway. [Pardon the use of the cliche! ;-) Their
models mostly are 100% atmosphere-readings based and about 1/10th as
credible as the local TV forecaster's ability to predict rain next week.
Water has a *lot* more thermal mass than air. Ocean temperatures have
received relatively little study, though, until too recently to be even
included in the reports.]
Recent studies have also shown that the oceanic algae are restricted in
growth primarily by shortage of iron, and that a small spreading of
micronized iron compounds over the central Pacific could have a huge effect
on reducing CO2, as compared to "Kyoto," at an utterly insignificant cost.
That is *most* unpopular with those convinced that "industrialization" is
the enemy, though. [Note that "Kyoto" exempts the big socialist countries,
like China, and focuses on controlling/hindering capitalism -- the greatest
force for environmental protection we now have. Read the article!]
What does this all have to do with native fish?
Well, we who keep fish are more likely to be sensitive to the enormous
impact of tiny things like iron (or other micronutrients) on our plants
(read that "our algae"), and their ability to suck up CO2. :-) I can
understand the significance of a tiny change, as well as the presence of a
still-not-understood "flywheel" that moderates climate change. I see the
effects in my tanks.
I moved to the SF Bay Area in 1956. The south bay was just recovering from
being a dead stinking cesspool that had too little rain/tide flushing to get
rid of the sewage stench that covered it.
By 1900, mining, logging, agriculture and untreated sewage had totally
sterilized the bay south of about San Mateo. It was classic 3rd-world
conditions. It smelled a lot like Bulgaria or Romania (those socialist
paradises run by those folks that "care," but have no vested ownership
In the early '60s, the last serious raw sewage was dumped in the bay by a
city engineer, who was bypassing the overloaded Milpitas treatment plant
late at night. He was arrested, as I recall.
This was all long before any federal "Clean Whatever" Acts, BTW. Local
action cleaned up the bay. Period. Similar to the Michigan experience, I
By 1958, I found 3-spine sticklebacks had returned to San Francisquito and
Matadero creeks in Palo Alto. *Lucania parva* (aka the "Three Tenors" Killy)
are common in south-bay tributaries, now. [Introduced exotics from FL, like
In the early 60s, grass shrimp were again becoming common, clear down to
Alviso. They were quickly followed by Stripers, Sturgeon and Starry
My son and I caught safe, edible sturgeon and stripers in the south bay in
the 70s, often with locally-caught grass shrimp.
An accidental spill from the San Jose sewage plant (in the 80s as I
remember) found a bay so healthy it just bloomed algae and increased shrimp
and fish production for a while. No permanent harm was ever reported
(despite newspaper predictions of the end of the world as we know it, etc.).
It will get even better as the salt-evaporation ponds are returned to
grasslands and salt marsh.
In the early 90s, I watched steelhead spawning in the creek near my house in
Santa Clara. Salmon ran there that year, too. One guy poached a 30 pounder,
right behind my office, I was told.
These improvements were not made by shutting down industry, they were made
by prosperity and the affluence to do our housekeeping without starving.
Silicon Valley was invented and grew over that same exact period.
The gas-guzzling SUV is a prime current target of the green bigot brigade.
In the article cited above, Dr. Hayward mentions that:
"The average horse annually consumed about five tons of feed and produced
pounds of manure and 400 gallons of urine, much of which fell on city
What he did not mention was the 20,000 annual deaths from cholera, etc. in
New York City alone, because they couldn't get all that stuff off the island
If you want to feed dollars to a gas guzzler, that's your business. I won't
try to take your free choice away, as the Sierra Club would (mandated
federal mileage standards). Better a Jeep than a horse in my neighborhood!
I hope you can remember these little tidbits, the next time some new-world
fascist wants to take your personal choices away to feed his do-gooder
impulse and use government force to "protect the environment" or to "do it
for the children."
Meanwhile, let's do what we can for our neat little finny friends.
Thankfully, we are prosperous enough to actually do some of it.
PS. As a point in proof, Prof. Paul Erlich was at the Univ. at the same time
I was, and a leading pioneer in the "calamitology" business. Go back and
examine the statistics of his 60s "Zero Population Growth" models and look
at how he has had to revise them every 10 years or so to correct for their
hopelessly-failed predictions. We, who knew some math and had some social
insight, laughed at him at the time. AFAIK, the leftist press *still* loves
him and ignores his failures to *ever* be even close to right. He has always
had an endearing way of saying "The sky is falling!"
PPS. Another "calamitologist," the late Rachel Carson, and the fanatic
followers that her book _Silent Spring_ produced, ended up killing more
humans than any famous mass muderer by bringing malaria, sleeping sickness,
et al, back, full bore, from the brink of extinction.
Their intentions were always *so* good, though. Weren't they?
Wright Huntley, Fremont CA, USA, 510 494-8679 huntley1 at home_com
"Let us, for a moment, take the sex-education pushers at their word:
If you teach a child how to use a condom, you're promoting safety -- not
...Why, then, doesn't the same logic apply to guns?"