Sunday, September 12, 2010

I'm Crying

Here is the song:
And here is the story:

"On 30 August we first noted evidence that walruses were being forced ashore as sea-ice disappeared..."

"Arctic sea ice continued to decline and by Friday 3 September had dropped to the third lowest extent on record...as the USGS reported that thousands of walruses were hauling out on the Alaska shore..."

"As sea ice has receded over the last decade, young walruses are increasingly separated from their mothers, drifting in the open-sea."

"We were on a station for 24 hours, and the calves would be swimming around us crying. We couldn’t rescue them,' said Carin Ashjian, a biologist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and a member of the research team....`If walruses and other ice-associated marine mammals cannot adapt to caring for their young in shallow waters without sea-ice available as a resting platform between dives to the sea floor, a significant population decline of this species could occur,' the research team wrote."
But getting back to trees...click to see in this photograph from a 2003 Park Service report about the impact of ozone on the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, so many of the trees are clearly completely dead.

I can't believe they put this on the cover! Did they choose it on purpose - or are they blind? In it they summarize:

"The decision by the U.S. EPA to transition from an O3 standard based upon a 1-hour average to a standard based upon an 8-hour average was prompted by research indicating that prolonged exposure to O3 at concentrations lower than the 1-hour standard can have significant impacts upon human health. There is also research indicating that prolonged exposure to O3 is particularly harmful to vegetation."


Okay...so here is a link to the EPA's proposed newest National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Ozone, as published in the Federal Register in January, 2010. It is still being debated. It's quite long - I won't even bother to excerpt it right now because instead I have once again become bogged down, reluctantly, in a tally of the indefatigable shenanigans of Allen Lefohn - who apparently has spent a lifetime trying to delay regulation of pollution. He does this by publishing research that casts doubt on the methodology of measuring both the quantity of pollution and its impacts. He comments on EPA proposals, he testifies on behalf of polluters...he is a one-man band gadfly in the erratic and sporadic attempts by compromised government agencies to protect people and the ecosystem from industrial pollution.

Of course, he isn't in the league of the Koch brothers. And believe me, I have plans to go after them! I think of them as the devil incarnate - and Lefohn is merely a pimp. But his activities that directly obfuscate and delay and impinge upon protection to trees from ozone really piss me off!

It's quite difficult to figure out who pays him most of the time - he can't be going all over the place to make public comments on regulations for free. But digging around, a pattern emerges.

Here is a paper he published, "Temporal Processes that Contribute to Nonlinearity in Vegetation Responses to Ozone Exposure and Dose." In it he quibbles with the amount of ozone a plant is exposed to vs. the amount it actually takes up. There's really no point to much of what he does, other than to slow down the process of curbing emissions.

I came across a reference to his paper called "Acid Rain Effects Research" from 1984 in the "Journal of the Air Pollution Control Association." I can't find a link to read it, but I did discover that the "Journal of the Air Polution Control Association" is actually a publication from none other than our old friends at the Air and Waste Management Association - a loathsome cabal of awkward bedfellows, involving unseemly interactions between gigantic corporations and government employees that should be x-rated.

This working draft from Chevron & Ford, "Is Attainment Feasible", (short answer - no, so why bother to set standards?) cites Lefohn - personal correspondence. Does that mean he got paid by Chevron?

He also gets a citation in this paper, a really sketchy "Alternate Theory of Global Warming in the Twentieth Century", which has this choice quote, if that gives you any idea where the author's true feelings lie:
"The entrenched climatology junta continues to employ computer models in a biased effort to attribute recent Arctic warming to putative effects of CO2, while neglecting other important contributors to climate change."

Junta!!!...Computer models...gasp!

On his own website he has this lengthy discussion of how best to determine appropriate levels for regulation...to not regulate!

His work was also cited as corroboration in this booklet pooh-poohing the damage from acid rain, prepared for..gosh...the Edison Electric Institute.

I find it vastly amusing to see he's on this list of select scientists invited to an informative seminar, found in a document labeled "secret" by RJR, as part of their overall political and advertising strategy to roll out a new cigarette. (page b-iii) It has lists of targeted politicians and scientists - it's an absolute not-to-be-missed treasure of corporate malfeasance!
You really have to see the old, manual type-written plot to overwhelm regulators and consumers, all in order to kill them with cigarettes for the sake of shareholder profits. It's so quaint! My favorite part was this:
which reads:

"c. Restaurant Sampling Program

Hire and outfit very elegant cigarette girls, complete with old-fashioned cigarette trays and pill box hat,to offer sample product to smokers in elegant and/or trendy restaurants and clubs where allowed by law."

I read that and I was in deja vu! Oh my god, I remember that!! Getting "free" samples"!!

In the minutes of this meeting in 2005:

Dr. Allen Lefohn, A.S.L. & Associates

Dr. Lefohn presented integrated comments from himself and Professor Paul Switzer from the Department of Statistics, Stanford University. Dr. Lefohn made several short points in his presentation. He commented that there are inconsistencies in chapter 8 regarding evidence for thresholds in ozone-related health effects. Key assumptions in chapters 7 and 8 of the AQCD regarding the spatial homogeneity of ozone monitors within an area may be invalid. Dr. Lefohn stated that flux models to estimate effects of ozone on plants do not take into account immune responses of the plant to ozone; therefore, the document overestimates vegetation effects. Finally, he commented that the criteria document underestimates the importance of stratospheric ozone in contributing to surface ozone concentrations which leads to the underestimation of policy relevant background ozone and inflated human health risks and estimates.


Here are his written comments in 2007 to the EPA proposed regulations.


He's listed as a "reviewer and contributor" to this report, "Catching our Breath", about reducing urban ozone, the result of a workshop for "Industry and Government" from the US Congress Office of Technology Assessment, to recommend policy in 1989 in advance of a reconsideration of the Clean Air Act. So it has a nice history and review of the facts that were known at the time. Who paid Lefron to go to this workshop? Despite his presence the report had the following statements:

"Clear evidence shows that ozone damages economically, ecologically, and aesthetically important plants. When exposed to ozone, major annual crops produce reduced yields. Some tree species suffer injury to needles or leaves, lowered productivity, and in severe cases, INDIVIDUAL TREES CAN DIE. Important tree species are seriously affected in large areas of the country. In the most heavily affected forested areas, such as the San Bernardino National Forest in California, ozone has begun altering the natural ecological balance of species."

"Excessive ozone and precursor pollutant transport affect more than just cities and suburbs. Both crops and trees in rural areas are sensitive to zone concentrations well below the human health-based standard.

"Light flecks, dark stipples, yellow spots, premature aging, and leaf loss mark annual crops injured by ozone; reduced growth rates and yields may occur even without visible injury. Crop losses increase as ozone concentrations rise. At concentrations found in rural areas throughout much of the United Sates, ozone depresses yields of economically important crops such as soybeans and cotton by between a few and 20 percent..."

"Ozone-induced injury in trees shows up primarily as foliar injury, including leaf or needle discoloration and premature loss. In advanced cases, needles or leaves and then branches die back...Reduced growth rates may precede or follow foliar injury. Increased susceptibility to diseases and other stresses may result from reduced photosynthesis and decreased allocation of carbohydrates to tree roots. Ultimately trees may die prematurely."

There's a whole section titled "Lack of Leadership and Political Will to Solve the Problem." duh!

There is another very stupid article on yahoo about the best places to DRIVE to see beautiful fall foliage. Go kill it while you're at it! We won't be seeing anything like this stock photo again:
What follows is some highly entertaining testimony from Lefohn's deposition for this client, the Florida Sugar Cane Growers Cooperative, which gives some clue as to who pays him to do the nasty:

"...The Electric Power Research Institution of Palo Alto, California, asked me to review the various models that were being used in the acid rain area...."

"In 1983 I was asked by the American Petroleum Institute to review the major accomplishments and some of the weaknesses associated with the EPA's National Crop Loss Assessment Network...."

...testimony as expert witness: "Coal-fired plant permit hearing in the state of Washington hired by Washington Water Power Company, to evaluate the sulfur dioxide exposures that were occurring, that might occur as a result of the power plant and its possible impact on wheat in the immediate vicinity of the hypothetical plant...That based on the engineering statements and design and their control strategy and such plus the modeling that had to do with the hourly concentrations that they predicted, that the levels of exposure would be too low from which to see damage to wheat."

"The second occasion was a hearing in Minnesota for the Northern States Power Company, Minneapolis. The issue was that the state of Minnesota desired to control sulfur dioxide and sulfate and therefore sulfate in rain, to limit the acidification, the concern being that acid rain may have been impacting lakes in Minnesota. ..my conclusion was that if you attempt to control sulfate in rain as your standard that you probably will have very little impact on controlling the hydrogen ion in rainfall..."

direct questioning:

Q: If the current trends in acid rain continue, what biological effects would you expect to see in the United States in general?

A: It is a global statement. The current trends in the United States is that SO2 is presently being reduced, sulfur dioxide concentrations are presently being reduced in the United States. And in 1995 phase one goes into effect where there is a required reduction of SO2 from major power plants in the United States. The concern is how sensitive your tools are to see response to the ecosystem as a result of emissions and if in fact the, a lot of the observations that were attributed to acid rain were really caused by acid rain.

So there is a factor in there of cause and effects that is fairly unclear and these are conclusions reached by the National Acid Precipitation Assessment Program. This is in fact the major part of any future research efforts, is to essentially gear up and look for those responses as 1995 phase one effort kicks in.

Q: In any of the research or studies you have conducted have you ever concluded that acid rain has caused a biological effect in whatever particular ecosystems are being looked at?

A: I have concluded that acid rain certainly does contribute to the loading of an area concerning things like sulfate in deposition, dryfall or wetfall. In my own research the conclusions concerning that we had found a definitive ecosystem that had been impacted only by acid rain in terms of why a lake were acid, et cetera, in my own research I have not made a spcecific conclusion concerning a specific lake was acid because of acid rain. What we found were confounding influences, anthropogenic perturbations plus natural processes. It was a combination of both.

Q: Did you state earlier that you recently published a paper in Norway?

A: I recently published a paper dealing with Norway ozone data. It has been accepted for publication.

Q: Have you done research in the Scandinavian countries?

A: I have visited the Scandinavian countries pertaining to ozone research . I have looked at the ozone data in Scandinavian countries.

Q: Do you know what effects acid rain has had on the Scandinavian countries?

A: Like others, I have read.

Q: I am sorry?

A: Like others, I have read about them.

Q: Can you tell me what those are?

A: A lot of the early literature had indicated that acid rain, there was a cause and effect relationship between the deposition of acid, acids or sulfate in some of the lakes and some of the forests. However, that also was thought of in terms of acid rain for the forests in Germany. However, some of the latest reports or publications around 1990, 1991 for the death of a forest in Germany, in the end they basically said they were not sure. They backed off the acid rain hypothesis.

Q. In any of your research or studies have you ever concluded that acid rain was a causative effect to any biological changes?

A: I thought I answered that.

Q: I am not sure I heard the answer.

A: I said that in my research what we found it was the anthropogenic component mixed with the natural component were attributable to the observation, but not in my own research we did not specifically say there is a definitive proof that acid rain has caused damage. In fact, what we found in most cases that when man-made activities occurred it was something like mining or something, strip mining or some sort of mining that resulted in a particular water body becoming acid.

Q: Is the answer no, then?

A: In my own research, that's correct.

These comments from the National Association of Manufacturers will give you some idea of the extreme virulence of the opposition to stricter standards, which cites Lefohn's testimony on p. 31-32, and again on p.42

Here's what some other scientists have to say about Lefohn's contention that EPA underestimates naturally occurring background ozone:
"The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) presently uses a 40 ppbv background 03 level as a baseline in its 03 risk assessments. This background is def'med as those concentrations that would exist in the absence of North American emissions. Lefohn et al. [2001] have argued that frequent occurrences of 03 concentrations above 50-60 ppbv at remote northern U.S. sites in spring are of stratospheric origin, challenging the EPA background estimate and implying that the current 03 standard (84 ppbv, 8-hour average) may be unattainable. We show that a 3-D global model of tropospheric chemistry reproduces much of the observed variability in U.S. surface 03 concentrations, including the springtime high-O3 events, with only a minor stratospheric contribution (always <> 2 km). It declines from spring to summer and further decreases during 03 pollution episodes. The 40 ppbv background assumed by EPA thus actually underestimates the risk associated with 03 during polluted conditions. A better definition would represent background as a function of season, altitude, and total surface 03 concentration. Natural 03 levels are typically 10-25 ppbv and never exceed 40 ppbv. International controls to reduce the hemispheric pollution background would facilitate compliance with an AOT40-type standard."

And lastly, here is another new blog that I love and added to the blogroll, Freedom Guerrilla! Highly recommended are the pages at the top as well as the archives.

4 comments:

  1. Thanks for the 42 year old Beatles video. It gives me a chance to mention still another effect of ozone: the understory. Look at the evergreens behind the band and at the mixed woods beyond the tall grass. There's no gap between the ground layer and the first branches, it's all green.

    It used to be that way here in NE Georgia until about 15 years ago. Now there is a 2-4 foot gap of gray brown. Almost everywhere. But it's ozone causing this until someone can prove otherwise. Here is an effect as real as a melting ice flow with many casualties as well. Extinction is hell. It's ex-speciation the opposite of bio-diversity and it's here, now.

    catman

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes, the understory. If you read up in those links, you'll find the understory is being destroyed as well.

    I didn't put up this link, because it's so English silly! But you might appreciate it -

    check out out all the leaves ON THE GROUND in the clip with the antique electric cars...

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/video/2010/sep/10/prince-charles-garden-party

    ReplyDelete
  3. I stole this: http://www.desdemonadespair.net/2010/09/tens-of-thousands-of-walruses.html

    ReplyDelete
  4. meh. I am still crying. Steal away.

    ReplyDelete

Blog Archive

My Blog List

Search This Blog

Loading...

Followers

counter