catastrophism English Environment Science Skepticism

Lester R Brown’s Plan B’s Shaky Foundations

The Earth Policy Institute has published an excerpt from the first chapter of Lester R Brown’s book “Plan B 2.0: Rescuing a Planet Under Stress and a Civilization in Trouble“.

Why did they do that, one wonders? It is truly quite amazing to see how the egregiously flawed the whole thing is.

Among the citations that should be reconsidered: Paul MacCready’s computations need be replicated and carefully contextualized. The St. Matthew Island’s reindeer population collapse-by-overgrazing story has been seriously questioned by scientists and may be more relevant to indicate the dangers of a cooling climate instead (and the peculiarities of ungulate wild population sizes).

The same can be said for Easter Island, where population is unlikely to have reached 15,000 (let alone 20,000 as quoted by Brown), and the decimation was more likely caused by European germs and slave traders than anything else.

Finally, Brown advocates a yearly expenditure of $190 billion dollars just for global warming. I am sure you and me and everyone elase could do a lot more good with a lot less than that money.


Is the planet under stress? Is civilization in trouble? Do we need a Plan B 2.0 to rescue either or both? Perhaps. Or perhaps not, based on how weak the foundations of Brown’s reasoning are.

catastrophism Humor Omniclimate

NOAA sees dangers, only dangers

A cheerful welcome at NOAA for the possible first sign of Solar Cycle 24: “Sunspot is Harbinger of New Solar Cycle, INCREASING RISK FOR ELECTRICAL SYSTEMS” (my emphasis).

Is there any particular reason why they feel themselves forced into emphasizing risks in everything they write?

One wonders what the contents are in the NOAA employees’ newsletter? “Salaries are going to increase, and with them the danger of overindulging in one’s life’s pleasures” and/or “New, powerful instruments delivered, increasing risk of malfunction due to operator’s inexperience” ?


America Diritti Umani Etica International Herald Tribune Italiano Lettere Morale Politica USA

Il Modo Sbagliato di Discutere di Pena di Morte negli USA

(una versione ridotta del testo sotto e’ pubblicata nella sezione Lettere sull’International Herald Tribune del 10 Gennaio 2008)

Alla Corte Suprema americana si discute in questi giorni se la procedura di esecuzione dei condannati a morte in Kentucky, basata su tre iniezioni, puo’ essere definita “punizione crudele e inusuale” e quindi incostituzionale (in base all’Ottavo Emendamento).

In realta’, e molto curiosamente, quanto sopra non e’ strettamente vero. Quello che si chiede alla Corte e’ di accettare o rigettare la proposta di due condannati a morte in Kentucky, che vorrebbero morire dopo un’iniezione singola.

In una situazione supremamente ridicola, l’avvocato dei condannati sta cercando di dimostrare la bonta’ del morire dopo la somministrazione di un singolo composto chimico…

Alcuni dei membri della Corte hanno problemi con quel modo di ragionare…e a ragione! Cosa impedirebbe per esempio un condannato in futuro dal chiedere di cambiare ancora, dopo aver detto che anche l’iniezione singola e’ incostituzionale?

E perche’ non continuare a usare qualcosa di ben noto (le tre iniezioni) visto che non c’e’ (ancora) prova che quella singola sia meno crudele o meno inusuale?


In realta’ il problema di fondo e’ che l’intera questione e’ veramente mal posta.

La Costituzione dice “[…] punizioni crudeli e inusuali [non saranno] inflitte“.  Non suggerisce di usare il metodo “meno crudele” e/o “meno inusuale”.

Se la procedura a tre iniezioni e’ crudele/inusuale, allora ipso facto non va usata: anche se e’ il metodo meno crudele e meno inusuale che sia stato escogitato al momento.

E l’onere di trovare un modo per applicare la pena di morte in maniera costituzionale deve naturalmente pesare su chi vuole che la pena di morte venga applicata (e non con l’avvocato di due condannati). Il resto, e’ proprio insensato.

Humor Omniclimate

Yikes! I Have Received Money From Exxon!!!

I have a confession to make.

I got paid for my TCS article whose title I cannot quote for fear of being marked as spam.

Now, as TCS got (gets?) funds from Exxon, that obviously means I have received money from Exxon myself!

The article was of my initiative (not commissioned in advance) but surely that is too feeble an excuse. Also, the amount we are talking about is enough to provide me a few months of access to the internet from home, but that is not an excuse either.

All of the above means anything and everything I have and will ever say about Climate Change is forever tainted and can just be disregarded in advance.

(chorus) Amen!

p.s. If somebody knows how many trees I should plant to redeem my soul, please let me know ASAP.