IER's Bradley calls global warming a red herring, warns of "open-ended journey" paved with cash.
There is an even bigger problem for California than the $3 billion alleged cost of meeting the Kyoto Protocol (see "Knocked out by Kyoto Protocol?" Public Utilities Fortnightly, Oct. 1, 1998). Kyoto does virtually nothing to stabilize climate. Thomas Wigley of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (National Science Foundation) had documented that perfect compliance with the Kyoto Protocol would reduce anthropogenic warming by less than 0.1 degree C by 2050 and less than 0.2 degree C by 2100 under all model warming scenarios. This impact, warns Wigley, means that "the influence of the Protocol will be undetectable for many decades."fn1 Regarding a sea level rise from a model-assumed warmer world, Kyoto would be good for about a one-inch reduction by the year 2100, leaving about 17 inches of alleged man-made increase for future Kyotos to address under an activist agenda.fn2
Jerry Mahlman of Princeton's Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory told Science last December that "30 Kyotos over the next century" would be needed to control man-made global warming.fn3 This is somewhat exaggerated given the precise calculations of Wigley, but the point is clear. The Kyoto Protocol is not "precautionary" or "buying a little insurance." It is an open-ended journey to an ambiguous destination, the first steps of which are paved with good money. This is why the seemingly moderate message for "early action" on the non-ratified Kyoto Protocol is a bait-and-switch strategy.
Recent scientific developments suggest that global warming is a false alarm, economic and political issues aside. The warming estimates of the general circulation models underscoring the 1992 Framework Convention on Climate Change (Rio Treaty, now Kyoto Protocol) have been revised downward. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change "best guess" of year 2100 warming from man-made activities has come down nearly 40 percent in five years.fn4 The range of predicted warming has dropped as well. Further declines in the forthcoming IPCC-1999 report may result from several recent developments. One, the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is one-half the rate of growth predicted a decade ago.fn5 Second, the warming power ("radiative forcing") of CO2 appears to be 15 percent less than thought due to a spectroscopy revision.fn6 These discoveries are not surprising given that the revised models are still overestimating the observed surface warming given a 50-percent buildup of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere to date. Further downward revision is needed to reconcile theory with observation, including that of satellites and balloons that are not picking up the "greenhouse signal" where it should be the strongest (the lower troposphere).
Evidence also continues to mount that what appears to be a small amount of man-made surface warming is benignly distributed with minimum temperatures increasing more than maximum temperatures.fn7 There is also growing evidence that higher CO2 concentrations are "greening" planet Earth through enhanced photosynthesis and increased water efficiency for biomass.fn8 (This is related to less greenhouse gas buildup in the atmosphere since carbon sinks are growing with carbon sources.) A doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere could be a significant contribution to sustainable development for the 21st century, if many agricultural scientists are correct.
The deep split between economists and environmentalists concerning the costs of Kyoto No. 1 is masking an even greater development. The scientific case for climate change alarmism, while never compelling, is steadily weakening. Chances appear good, if not excellent, that the latest environmentalist scare will continue to evaporate and, hallelujah, the substantial resources now spent by both sides on the global warming debate can go toward higher economic and environmental ends.
Robert L. Bradley Jr.
Institute for Energy Research
I am writing with concerns about an article recently published in your Fall-Winter 1998 Public Utilities Fortnightly advertising supplement, Billing Strategies for Utilities. The article, "Bringing Interactivity to the Bill", written by Len Grzanka, contains a number of inaccuracies about TransPoint (formerly MSFDC), that you should be aware of.
Our specific concerns about the article are:
• Mr. Grzanka writes on page 18, "The utility customer logs onto MSFDC with a personal financial package such as Microsoft Money or Intuit's Quicken, and receives billing detail from MSFDC." This is not accurate. In the near term, all consumers will need in order to use TransPoint is a secure Internet browser. They can then access TransPoint either from their bank's website or the TransPoint website. Since the inception of TransPoint, we have consistently stated in our MSFDC literature (the source Mr. Grzanka states he used to write this article) that we believe the most appropriate place for consumers to receive and pay e-bills is at their bank's website. That being said, the TransPoint business model is set up to offer multiple "on-ramps," which will include bank websites, TransPoint, Internet browsers, web TV, and personal financial management software such as Microsoft Money (the latter won't occur until the next version of TransPoint).
• On the same page, Mr. Grzanka states, "Since the customer is using the proprietary MSFDC system, the utility has no direct contact with the customer, and loses the benefits of linking the bill to other business opportunities." This is completely untrue. In fact, we believe one of the strongest benefits to billers who use TransPoint is that they will have immediate access to their customers. They will be able to market additional services and products to their customers on a targeted basis. It gives them an incredible opportunity to develop stronger relationships and build customer loyalty through interactive customer service and special marketing and business offers. It's important to realize that when consumers click on a bill from the bank or the TransPoint website, they are on the utility or biller's real estate. The utility or biller owns this "real estate." In addition, we give consumers the option of linking directly to the biller if they are equipped and would prefer to do so. We believe TransPoint will provide billers with a better link than they've ever had with their customers-not cause them to lose that connection, as Mr. Grzanka suggests.
• Perhaps what bothers us most about this article is that Mr. Grzanka obviously didn't speak to anyone with TransPoint in writing it. He states on page 18, "MSFDC functions similarly to an online bill consolidator, according to Lanza and MSFDC literature." Mike Lanza, president, Just In Time Solutions Inc., is our competitor; yet if you don't read carefully, you would think he is a TransPoint spokesperson! Mr. Lanza is not an authority on our service and certainly isn't inclined to tell your publication the whole truth about us, his competition. If Mr. Grzanka used our literature in writing this article as he claimed, I'd sure like to see what he used.
In our opinion, this article is an example of irresponsible and sloppy reporting. I know this isn't representative of your publication; therefore, I have no doubt that you are as bothered with it as are we.
Barbara L. Hemberger
Editor's Note: Shandwick is TransPoint's public relations agency.
The Author Responds: Many utilities said they "liked the full range of features" in MSFDC (now TransPoint), but other utilities preferred to have their customers access their websites directly for bill payment. The author regrets failing to mention that a secure Internet browser is all a consumer needs to access the TransPoint server. MSFDC did not respond to an e-mail request for information when the article was being prepared.
1 Wigley, T. M. L., "The Kyoto Protocol: CO2, CH4 and Climate Implications." Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 25, July 1998, p. 2287.
2 Ibid., pp. 2287-2288.
3 Malakoff, David, "Thirty Kyotos Needed to Control Warming." Science, Dec. 19, 1997, p. 2048.
4 Michaels, Patrick, "Global Warming Moderates Nail Extremists 8 Ways." World Climate Report, Aug. 10, 1998, p. 1.
5 Hansen, James, et al., "A Common-Sense Climate Index: Is Climate Changing Noticeably?" Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 95, April 1998, pp. 4118-4119.
6 Myhre, Gunnar, et al., "New Estimates of Radiative Forcing Due to Well Mixed Greenhouse Gases." Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 25, July 1998, pp. 2715-2718.
7 Balling, Robert, et al., "Analysis of Winter and Summer Warming in Gridded Temperature Time Series." Climate Research, Vol. 9, February 1998, pp. 175-181.
8 Hansen op cit., Michaels, Patrick, "NASA Scientist: Greening Biosphere Stunts Warming." World Climate Report, May 25, 1998, pp. 1-2.
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