By Bill Phillips and the Editors of Men’s Health
Jun 16, 2011
It was a sunny September day in the Pacific Northwest, and Jeff Hale had just closed a $1.5 million deal. To celebrate, he was taking the afternoon off, relaxing on his patio lounge, and playing ball with his dog. That’s when he began feeling compression high in his chest, some pain in his left shoulder, and an unsettling sense of dread. At 44, he was in relatively good shape, although 15 pounds overweight and under a lot of stress from work. At first, he thought it was an asthma attack and took a hit off his inhaler. But when that didn’t help, he remembered an article he’d read in Men’s Health.
“There were two things from that article I recalled,” he recounted to our reporter a few years ago. “One was that every heart attack is unique. My symptoms will be different from your symptoms. The other was, if you suspect you’re having a heart attack, take an aspirin.” Hale took two and drove himself to the hospital. He almost didn’t make it. Doctors found blockages in three arteries and performed a triple bypass the next day. “They told me I’d saved my life,” says Hale. “The aspirin thinned my blood, and the inhaler dilated my arteries.”
Heart disease is the number one killer of men, claiming the lives of nearly 400,000 fathers, friends, brothers, and sons every year. Often, the difference between life and death is razor thin—remembering to pop an aspirin, not delaying your trip to the E.R.
This week is National Men’s Health Week, which was created by Congress in 1994 to raise the awareness of the health threats uniquely facing men. To commemorate, we’ve put together a list of the most popular ways to die as a man in America. Collectively, these diseases kill nearly one million of us annually. And, chances are, your lifestyle or genetic profile puts you at risk for at least one of them.
But, as Jeff Hale learned, our fates are not sealed. If you understand your risks, and learn how to negate them, you can outrun the reaper. Here’s how:
Why you’re at risk: Each year, nearly 50,000 American men die of a stroke, according to the American Heart Association. I know what you’re thinking: But those are really old men. But you’re wrong. In fact, 1 in 14 stroke victims is younger than 45. As a neurologist I interviewed a few years ago told me: “If you did MRI scans on a hundred 40-year-olds, you’d see that a large number have already had a silent stroke.” And that’s scary because small, silent strokes often precede large, debilitating strokes.
What you can do about it: Keep your blood pressure at 120/80 or lower. Every 20-point increase in systolic BP (the top number) or every 10-point rise in diastolic BP doubles your risk of dying of a stroke, says Walter Kernan, M.D., an associate professor of medicine at Yale University. The good news: Simple lifestyle changes can dramatically reduce your risk. Assess your stroke risk right here, and learn how to turn the odds in your favor.
CHRONIC OBSTRUCTIVE PULMONARY DISEASE
Why you’re at risk: Nearly 60,000 men died from COPD—which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema—in 2006, according to the CDC. The chief cause: the Marlboro Man. In fact, smoking causes 80 percent of COPD deaths. Considering that tobacco use has also been directly linked to the other man killers on our Top 5 list—notably, heart disease (#1) and cancer (#2)—you have to ask: Why are people still smoking?
What you can do about it: It’s pretty simple, really. You need to figure out how to kick butts for good. Improve your odds by joining a gym—smokers who are trying to quit often fall off the wagon during stressful moments. Regular exercise lowers levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, in the brain. Warning: Going cold turkey is one of the least successful ways of quitting. Find out how to tilt the odds of success in your favor by checking out Will You Be Able to Quit Smoking?
Why you’re at risk: According to the CDC, 80,000 men die each year in unexpected tragedies, from sports injuries to fires to falls. But the most preventable accidental deaths are the 30,000 that occur on America’s roads every year.
What’s that? You’re a great driver? Not surprising that you think so. According to a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 72 percent of drivers regard themselves as more skilled than everyone else. Researchers trace the bias to a fundamental information imbalance, namely that the poorest performers are also the least able to recognize skill (or lack of skill) in themselves or others.
But fine, let’s say it’s true. Then consider the guys you’re sharing the road with: Surveys indicate there’s a nearly 80 percent chance they speed regularly, and a 53 percent likelihood they talk on the phone while driving. There’s a 4 percent chance they run red lights—on purpose—and a 2 percent chance they have driven after drinking too much. These guys make Evel Knievel look like a defensive driver.
What you can do about it: If you do one thing today, make it this: Stop texting while driving. You’ve probably heard that texting behind the wheel is just as dangerous as drinking and driving. Not true. Texting is way more dangerous. In fact, texting increases your risk of a crash by 23 times (versus 11 times for driving under the influence), according to a Virginia Tech study. Step into the MH Driving Simulator and test how well you multitask behind the wheel.
Why you’re at risk: The Big C killed nearly 300,000 men in 2010, according to the American Cancer Society. Lung cancer tops the list, accounting for 29 percent of all cancer deaths, followed by prostate cancer (11 percent) and colon/rectum cancer (9 percent). We all know that smoking causes lung cancer, but the risk factors for prostate cancer are less well known. Yet, it’s one of the most common—1 in 6 men will get prostate cancer in their lifetimes—and least understood killers of men.
What you can do about it: Take our quiz to determine your risk. If you’re at high risk, put certain staples of the Mediterranean diet on your plate. A study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute shows that men who eat more than 10 grams of garlic or scallions (about three cloves of garlic or 2 tablespoons of scallions) daily have a 50 percent lower risk of prostate cancer than those who eat less than 2 grams. Sound like too much of a good thing? Other studies have linked the lycopene in cooked tomato products to lower prostate cancer risk; aim for at least two servings a week. And if you really like coffee . . . Harvard researchers found that drinking 6 cups a day reduces your risk of developing advanced prostate cancer by 59 percent.
Why you’re at risk: This is the deadliest disease known to man. More than 1 in 3 adult men have some sort of heart disease and more than 390,000 men died of the killer in 2007, according to the American Heart Association.
But you’re a fit, healthy guy, right? Why would you die of heart disease? Believe it or not, not every victim of the disease is overweight or inactive. Men’s Health Editor Peter Moore discovered this eight years ago. He was doing everything right: He was thin, exercised regularly, and ate a healthy diet. But none of that prevented one of the arteries in his heart from becoming 99 percent blocked. Still think you’re risk-free? You can find out your heart disease risk by clicking right here.
What you can do about it: Small lifestyle changes can yield big results when it comes to improving heart health. Here are four simple changes you can make today:
• Exercise for 30 minutes. Middle-aged men who exercise vigorously for two hours a week (aim for 30 minutes, four times a week) have a 60 percent lower risk of a heart attack than inactive men.
• Lose the spare tire. If you’re overweight, dropping 10 to 20 pounds lowers your risk of dying from a heart attack. In fact, a 10-year study found that overweight people had heart attacks 8.2 years earlier than normal-weight victims.
• Drink five glasses of water a day. Men who drink that many 8-ounce glasses are 54 percent less likely to have a fatal heart attack than those who drink two glasses or fewer. Researchers say the water dilutes the blood, making it less likely to clot.
• Count to 10. Keeping your cool under stress may keep you alive. Men who respond with anger are three times more likely to have heart disease and five times more likely to have a heart attack before turning 55.
Yet its recent history has been blighted by civil war.
Between 1989 and 2003, Liberia’s inter-tribal war killed 250,000 people, displaced one million and led to one in five children becoming soldiers.
During the course of the conflict, this corner of West Africa became a nexus for the trade in blood diamonds and cocaine, gunrunning and laundering the funds of terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda.
The instability emanating from this one country posed a danger far beyond Liberia’s border, as far as our shores.
General Butt Naked was one of the leading warlords, fighting guerilla groups including that of Charles Taylor, who later become president of Liberia and is now being tried for war crimes at The Hague.
I meet Blahyi for the first time in the dusty courtyard of Hotel Zeos, 45 minutes’ drive from Monrovia, Liberia’s capital.
He has chosen this deserted spot because, after his confession to the TRC, he became the subject of assassination attempts.
He strides towards me, arms spread, smiling widely. ‘Welcome to Liberia.‘
It had taken months to find Blahyi because he went underground after the last assassination attempt.
In the end, I obtained his number from a Liberian film director living in New York.
I remember calling his mobile for the first time.
The voice that answered was initially wary. But once satisfied of my identity, he became warm, even friendly and would ring my mobile in London at random times for a chat.
Interest in the General has renewed since his evidence to the TRC and, of course, his dramatic conversion to evangelical Christianity.
He is the subject of an American documentary at the Sundance Festival next year.
The filmmakers’ interest was the same as mine: could a man who claimed to have done such evil truly change or is he just a brilliant trickster?
Over the days spent with him in Liberia, I get to know a man who is many things: genuinely sorry; tortured by the knowledge of his actions; frighteningly honest about his atrocities; and at other times vulnerable and desperate to please. Lucid, compelling, charismatic.
But a damaged man, nonetheless.
The first thing you notice about the General is his bulk.
He left armed combat more than a decade ago, yet his physical presence remains intimidating.
The second thing is his eyes – everything he has done is held therein.
We take a seat in the gloomy bar. Against the buzz of traffic we talk, him sipping a bottle of malt drink.
His shoulders and arm muscles strain against his khaki T-shirt.
When agitated by a particular subject, he gesticulates wildly, his face reliving every moment.
At one such moment, he knocks his bottle off the table.
Without taking his eyes off me, he catches it a split second before it smashes to the ground. The soldier’s reflexes remain as sharp as ever.
I ask him how his life was as a child.
He describes how he was told first by his father, then by his tribal elders that he was born to be a warrior.
On the orders of the elders, he was conceived and taken from his mother minutes after birth.
Aged seven, his father handed him to the elders who tutored him in the rituals of the priesthood.
When he was initiated, he became a powerful figure as every tribesman now bowed to him.
In 1982, as the high priest, aged 11, Blahyi remembers performing black magic rituals at the presidential palace to protect the then Liberian leader, Samuel Doe, from enemies.
Doe had been a member of the Krahn tribe and came to power in a violent coup in 1980.
In 1990, Doe was seized in the presidential palace and murdered by the troops of a rebel leader – an act that led to an escalation in the conflict which raged for another 13 years.
During the whole time, Blahyi was a high priest. One of his most important jobs was the performance of sacrifice rituals and cannibalism.
In Liberia today, 75 per cent of people are Christian, 20 per cent are Muslim and the rest follow the tribal religion that performs these sacrifice rituals.
But during the war, experts claim many more practised the tribal faith.
In his book The Mask Of Anarchy, Professor Stephen Ellis of Free University, Amsterdam, wrote of the rituals practised by various tribes in Liberia and used during the war.
‘Of the countless atrocities carried out by various factions, perhaps the most appalling was the eating of human flesh. This was a practice with a long history . . . after 1991 it became common to encounter traumatised refugees who witnessed such events.’
By 1994 the Catholic Church was so disturbed by such reports it officially condemned the practice. But Blayhi maintains it still goes on in secret in the villages.
As a priest, he says, he would have a vision about a chosen child. He would tell the elders the child’s village, the family name, and certain secrets of that child known only to the family.
The elders would then lead a procession to the child’s house, known as ‘the House of Honour‘.
The child would often remain oblivious until the moment came where he was taken away from the village to the altar, where he would be stripped and covered in a type of mud.
‘As priest, I said the invocation. The child is killed. His body has different, different parts taken off.’
Were you alone during this time? ‘I was the only one with the body.’
Does this still happen in Liberia? ‘It still happens. If you went to my village now and spoke of this, they’d kill you. Since my conversion, I know witchcraft is wrong. I know “eating” is wrong. I must speak out now.’
During his days as a tribal priest, Blahyi says, the rituals were for the good of the tribe.
But once he became leader of the Butt Naked Brigade, Blahyi would sacrifice a child before every battle.
In this case, there was no religious significance for the tribe.
Blayhi has an appallingly clear recollection of how he sacrificed children before battle – and the cannibalism involved.
The belief was that by killing and eating children, the soldiers would be strengthened and purified for the battle.
The worst aspect of all was many of the Butt Naked Brigade were children themselves.
It was not the only guerrilla group to use child soldiers. Aid workers estimated that as many as 20,000 child soldiers were recruited by rebel and government forces during the last war.
The Butt Naked Brigade had a sideline in drug, weapons and diamond dealing. The Liberian coast was used as a drop-off point by Mexican drug cartels. The General’s men would do a trade.
‘I was not giving cocaine for arms, I was giving gold and diamonds for arms and cocaine,’ he explains.
What did you do with the cocaine? ‘Gave it to the boys. Mashed it into their food.’
From the age of nine? ‘Yeah.’
His voice drops as he bends his head into his chest.
The diamonds came from territory captured by the Krahn tribe factions.
The guerrilla groups would use captured civilians to mine the diamonds and then use the gems to finance their war, just as was depicted in the 2006 Leonardo DiCaprio film Blood Diamond, set in Sierra Leone.
It was the diamond-funded drugs – sold to finance conflicts and bankroll warlords and diamond companies across the world – that helped push many of the younger rebel soldiers across the boundaries of humanity.
The naked dress code proved to be a terrifyingly effective military tactic.
‘The fear principle was behind it. The first thing you want to impose on the enemy is that you’re an animal, not a guerrilla.’
For years Blayhi was priest and warrior for his tribe. He coerced his brigade of 80 boys to kill without pity.
Although his figure of 20,000 deaths has been accepted by Liberia’s TRC, others accuse him of wild exaggeration, saying the total is impossible to verify.
‘How can he know?’ Liberia’s Information Minister, Norris Tweah, asks me. ‘Two hundred and fifty thousand people were killed in the 14-year war. He is using this to make himself sound like a great warlord.’
But sitting with Blayhi and listening to him describe his personal depravity in forensic detail, it seems clear that he, at least, believes every word.
Yet the turning point came. It was the summer of 1996 and his clansmen were caught up in a ferocious battle.
It was decided that a sacrifice was needed. As the rockets rained down, a mother brought her three-year-old daughter to him.
Something about the child struck the pitiless General and for the first time in his life he hesitated.
As he relives the moment with me, his face becomes contorted.
‘The child was very unusually beautiful and kind. Most of the children are brought to me by the elders, they’re crying, they’re fighting. This child was peaceful,’ he recalls. ‘I thought, “This child must not die.” I struggled.
‘Of all of the thousands that I killed, I wish I did not kill that little girl . . . ‘ his voice trails off.
He is close to tears for the first and only time. ‘Right after killing her, I had my epiphany.’
He claims he saw a white light in the shape of a man. A voice told him, ‘repent and live or refuse and die’. He believes it was Christ.
The impact was immediate. From that day the killing, the sacrifices and cannibalism ended and Blahyi entered a period of turmoil that led his men to believe he had gone mad.
Within months he had left the Butt Naked Brigade and by the end of September 1996 he was baptised in the sea near Monrovia.
By now the sun has set. Blayhi looks wasted from describing the encounter with the little girl and its impact. The confession has left him consumed by guilt.
The next day he is due to preach to a congregation at a church 15 minutes away. We arrange to take him there.
As we leave, the hotel manager checks that Blahyi is going for good.
In the eyes of others Blahyi is not just a pastor: he is still seen as the murderous General and cannibal.
His reputation and name still strikes terror into Liberian hearts.
We cannot talk in public places, we cannot sit in busy hotels, we cannot be seen eating together.
As we drive to the church, Blahyi sits in the front. I sit behind, watching him.
He’s wearing a red suit and black shirt and his shoulders loom either side of the seat. He is singing hymns.
‘Did you sleep well?’ he asks. ‘Yes,’ I lie. ‘You?’ ‘Very well.’ ‘You seemed upset at the end of our interview,’
‘I was. But I always sleep well. No matter what.’
He jumps out of the car and greets the local pastor, who is wearing white winkle-picker shoes.
His battered old, red Mercedes with a numberplate reading ‘Be Holy’ is parked outside.
A band is playing and the 300-strong congregation is clapping, singing and dancing.
The church is at the site of a former Liberian army barracks and Blahyi has been invited to address the ‘deliverance service’.
As the drums and synthesiser grow louder, the crowd chant ‘Jesus, Jesus’ as if at a rock concert.
When Blayhi takes the microphone, the place erupts. He is electrifying and sinister at the same time.
His sermon ranges from the dangers of fast food to the devil’s ways and to the inappropriate dress sense of singer Beyonce.
An hour later, sweating in his red suit, he leaves the building to sit alone in the shade, praying.
Preaching is now his mission and part of that is saving former child soldiers.
Later in the week, Blayhi takes us to a rehabilitation centre he runs for ex-combatants in the bush outside Monrovia.
The photographer and I realise Blahyi is our only guarantor of safety.
As we turn up it is clear all is not well. There is a split in the camp as half the boys complain of getting too little to eat – one cup of rice a day.
They live in two or three brick rooms with no running water or electricity. Blahyi remains the adored father figure. But the reunion turns sour.
Nana Gbolor is the most angry. He is 26 and had been a soldier since 18.
‘When the war ended, I moved to a ghetto called Solale. I slept in a cemetery among the bodies. Then one day the pastor came for me, he wore a T-shirt that said “God Bless Liberia”. He didn’t give up on me. Now all is want is more than one cup of rice a day and to learn construction.’
Unless boys like this are saved, many fear the past could return.
Liberia is a country with 80 per cent unemployment.
Eighty-five per cent of its 3.9 million population live on less than 78p per day, according to UN figures. Inter-tribal warfare brought Liberia to its knees.
The TRC report on Blahyi is just one part of the clean-up.
It also called for 49 individuals to be banned from political office for 30 years, including the current president, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, a former World Bank economist who has been dubbed Africa’s Iron Lady.
The TRC states she was a former supporter of Charles Taylor.
But she has been widely credited with helping turn around the troubled nation – by securing the cancellation of £3.7 billion of debt to the World Bank.
Her government looks in no hurry to implement the TRC’s demands on prosecutions.
Could victims really go back to living alongside their persecutors? I ask Information Minister Norris Tweah.
‘Everyone’s a victim here,’ he says. ‘Everybody lost somebody. In a country where everyone was complicit, everyone has blood on their hands, where does the blame end?’
Blahyi is in no doubt that saying sorry is not enough. Talking to him inside the shade of an empty church, he says he feels forgiven by God. But forgiveness on Earth is another matter.
‘I believe the Bible strongly and it says God has forgiven me.’
Would you be willing to be tried for war crimes at The Hague?
‘Yes. I would say I am guilty and if the law says I should be jailed for war crimes, then jail me. If the law says I should be hanged, then hang me.’
Blayhi tells me he still struggles to cope with the enormity of his savagery. At times it threatens to break him.
Did you think of suicide?
Before we leave him, he goes to a second – hand shoe shop and spends £6 on trainers for his boys and his children.
Carrying them in a black binliner, he says his goodbyes and for that moment he seems alone.
He heads for the bus that will take him home.
Home is not where his family is; they live in hiding in Ghana. His greatest fear now is not death, but losing his own children – an irony not lost on him.
For me, our week together has been like being with a split personality.
Describing his past life is a painful and violent catharsis, leaving him and those around him drained and traumatised.
Then there’s the other side: the reformed pastor dispensing a bag of doughnuts to local schoolchildren, telling the story of Jesus and the loaves and fishes with great warmth and humour.
We all get caught up in the laughter, until I suddenly find myself recoiling with the memory of all he has told me.
This is his fate from now on: for as long as he lives, no matter how much he reforms, he will never be able to escape the horror of his past.
The story of Joshua Milton Blahyi is more than a story of Africa’s bloodshed and savagery. It is also a story of a man struggling for redemption and change.
His victims cannot forgive him. He is more likely to face a bullet in the head than the day in court he says he wants.
But his story is evocative of his country as it struggles to leave the demons behind and look to a future of prosperity and peace.
HERE are the 100 reasons, released in a dossier issued by the European Foundation, why climate change is natural and not man-made:
1) There is “no real scientific proof” that the current warming is caused by the rise of greenhouse gases from man’s activity.
2) Man-made carbon dioxide emissions throughout human history constitute less than 0.00022 percent of the total naturally emitted from the mantle of the earth during geological history.
3) Warmer periods of the Earth’s history came around 800 years before rises in CO2 levels.
4) After World War II, there was a huge surge in recorded CO2 emissions but global temperatures fell for four decades after 1940.
5) Throughout the Earth’s history, temperatures have often been warmer than now and CO2 levels have often been higher – more than ten times as high.
6) Significant changes in climate have continually occurred throughout geologic time.
7) The 0.7C increase in the average global temperature over the last hundred years is entirely consistent with well-established, long-term, natural climate trends.
8) The IPCC theory is driven by just 60 scientists and favourable reviewers not the 4,000 usually cited.
9) Leaked e-mails from British climate scientists – in a scandal known as “Climate-gate” – suggest that that has been manipulated to exaggerate global warming
10) A large body of scientific research suggests that the sun is responsible for the greater share of climate change during the past hundred years.
11) Politicians and activists claim rising sea levels are a direct cause of global warming but sea levels rates have been increasing steadily since the last ice age 10,000 ago
12) Philip Stott, Emeritus Professor of Biogeography at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London says climate change is too complicated to be caused by just one factor, whether CO2 or clouds
13) Peter Lilley MP said last month that “fewer people in Britain than in any other country believe in the importance of global warming. That is despite the fact that our Government and our political class—predominantly—are more committed to it than their counterparts in any other country in the world”.
14) In pursuit of the global warming rhetoric, wind farms will do very little to nothing to reduce CO2 emissions
15) Professor Plimer, Professor of Geology and Earth Sciences at the University of Adelaide, stated that the idea of taking a single trace gas in the atmosphere, accusing it and finding it guilty of total responsibility for climate change, is an “absurdity”
16) A Harvard University astrophysicist and geophysicist, Willie Soon, said he is “embarrassed and puzzled” by the shallow science in papers that support the proposition that the earth faces a climate crisis caused by global warming.
17) The science of what determines the earth’s temperature is in fact far from settled or understood.
18) Despite activist concerns over CO2 levels, CO2 is a minor greenhouse gas, unlike water vapour which is tied to climate concerns, and which we can’t even pretend to control
19) A petition by scientists trying to tell the world that the political and media portrayal of global warming is false was put forward in the Heidelberg Appeal in 1992. Today, more than 4,000 signatories, including 72 Nobel Prize winners, from 106 countries have signed it.
20) It is claimed the average global temperature increased at a dangerously fast rate in the 20th century but the recent rate of average global temperature rise has been between 1 and 2 degrees C per century – within natural rates
21) Professor Zbigniew Jaworowski, Chairman of the Scientific Council of the Central Laboratory for Radiological Protection in Warsaw, Poland says the earth’s temperature has more to do with cloud cover and water vapor than CO2 concentration in the atmosphere.
22) There is strong evidence from solar studies which suggests that the Earth’s current temperature stasis will be followed by climatic cooling over the next few decades
23) It is myth that receding glaciers are proof of global warming as glaciers have been receding and growing cyclically for many centuries
24) It is a falsehood that the earth’s poles are warming because that is natural variation and while the western Arctic may be getting somewhat warmer we also see that the Eastern Arctic and Greenland are getting colder
25) The IPCC claims climate driven “impacts on biodiversity are significant and of key relevance” but those claims are simply not supported by scientific research
26) The IPCC threat of climate change to the world’s species does not make sense as wild species are at least one million years old, which means they have all been through hundreds of climate cycles
27) Research goes strongly against claims that CO2-induced global warming would cause catastrophic disintegration of the Greenland and Antarctic Ice Sheets.
28) Despite activist concerns over CO2 levels, rising CO2 levels are our best hope of raising crop yields to feed an ever-growing population
29) The biggest climate change ever experienced on earth took place around 700 million years ago
30) The slight increase in temperature which has been observed since 1900 is entirely consistent with well-established, long-term natural climate cycles
31) Despite activist concerns over CO2 levels, rising CO2 levels of some so-called “greenhouse gases” may be contributing to higher oxygen levels and global cooling, not warming
32) Accurate satellite, balloon and mountain top observations made over the last three decades have not shown any significant change in the long term rate of increase in global temperatures
33) Today’s CO2 concentration of around 385 ppm is very low compared to most of the earth’s history – we actually live in a carbon-deficient atmosphere
34) It is a myth that CO2 is the most common greenhouse gas because greenhouse gases form about 3% of the atmosphere by volume, and CO2 constitutes about 0.037% of the atmosphere
35) It is a myth that computer models verify that CO2 increases will cause significant global warming because computer models can be made to “verify” anything
36) There is no scientific or statistical evidence whatsoever that global warming will cause more storms and other weather extremes
37) One statement deleted from a UN report in 1996 stated that “none of the studies cited above has shown clear evidence that we can attribute the observed climate changes to increases in greenhouse gases”
38) The world “warmed” by 0.07 +/- 0.07 degrees C from 1999 to 2008, not the 0.20 degrees C expected by the IPCC
39) The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says “it is likely that future tropical cyclones (typhoons and hurricanes) will become more intense” but there has been no increase in the intensity or frequency of tropical cyclones globally
40) Rising CO2 levels in the atmosphere can be shown not only to have a negligible effect on the Earth’s many ecosystems, but in some cases to be a positive help to many organisms
41) Researchers who compare and contrast climate change impact on civilizations found warm periods are beneficial to mankind and cold periods harmful
42) The Met Office asserts we are in the hottest decade since records began but this is precisely what the world should expect if the climate is cyclical
43) Rising CO2 levels increase plant growth and make plants more resistant to drought and pests
44) The historical increase in the air’s CO2 content has improved human nutrition by raising crop yields during the past 150 years
45) The increase of the air’s CO2 content has probably helped lengthen human lifespans since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution
46) The IPCC alleges that “climate change currently contributes to the global burden of disease and premature deaths” but the evidence shows that higher temperatures and rising CO2 levels has helped global populations
47) In May of 2004, the Russian Academy of Sciences published a report concluding that the Kyoto Protocol has no scientific grounding at all.
48) The “Climate-gate” scandal pointed to a expensive public campaign of disinformation and the denigration of scientists who opposed the belief that CO2 emissions were causing climate change
49) The head of Britain’s climate change watchdog has predicted households will need to spend up to £15,000 on a full energy efficiency makeover if the Government is to meet its ambitious targets for cutting carbon emissions.
50) Wind power is unlikely to be the answer to our energy needs. The wind power industry argues that there are “no direct subsidies” but it involves a total subsidy of as much as £60 per MWh which falls directly on electricity consumers. This burden will grow in line with attempts to achieve Wind power targets, according to a recent OFGEM report.
51) Wind farms are not an efficient way to produce energy. The British Wind Energy Association (BWEA) accepts a figure of 75 per cent back-up power is required.
52) Global temperatures are below the low end of IPCC predictions not at “at the top end of IPCC estimates”
53) Climate alarmists have raised the concern over acidification of the oceans but Tom Segalstad from Oslo University in Norway , and others, have noted that the composition of ocean water – including CO2, calcium, and water – can act as a buffering agent in the acidification of the oceans.
54) The UN’s IPCC computer models of human-caused global warming predict the emergence of a “hotspot” in the upper troposphere over the tropics. Former researcher in the Australian Department of Climate Change, David Evans, said there is no evidence of such a hotspot
55) The argument that climate change is a of result of global warming caused by human activity is the argument of flat Earthers.
56) The manner in which US President Barack Obama sidestepped Congress to order emission cuts shows how undemocratic and irrational the entire international decision-making process has become with regards to emission-target setting.
57) William Kininmonth, a former head of the National Climate Centre and a consultant to the World Meteorological Organisation, wrote “the likely extent of global temperature rise from a doubling of CO2 is less than 1C. Such warming is well within the envelope of variation experienced during the past 10,000 years and insignificant in the context of glacial cycles during the past million years, when Earth has been predominantly very cold and covered by extensive ice sheets.”
58) Canada has shown the world targets derived from the existing Kyoto commitments were always unrealistic and did not work for the country.
59) In the lead up to the Copenhagen summit, David Davis MP said of previous climate summits, at Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and Kyoto in 1997 that many had promised greater cuts, but “neither happened”, but we are continuing along the same lines.
60) The UK ’s environmental policy has a long-term price tag of about £55 billion, before taking into account the impact on its economic growth.
61) The UN’s panel on climate change warned that Himalayan glaciers could melt to a fifth of current levels by 2035. J. Graham Cogley a professor at Ontario Trent University, claims this inaccurate stating the UN authors got the date from an earlier report wrong by more than 300 years.
62) Under existing Kyoto obligations the EU has attempted to claim success, while actually increasing emissions by 13 per cent, according to Lord Lawson. In addition the EU has pursued this scheme by purchasing “offsets” from countries such as China paying them billions of dollars to destroy atmospheric pollutants, such as CFC-23, which were manufactured purely in order to be destroyed.
63) It is claimed that the average global temperature was relatively unchanging in pre-industrial times but sky-rocketed since 1900, and will increase by several degrees more over the next 100 years according to Penn State University researcher Michael Mann. There is no convincing empirical evidence that past climate was unchanging, nor that 20th century changes in average global temperature were unusual or unnatural.
64) Michael Mann of Penn State University has actually shown that the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age did in fact exist, which contrasts with his earlier work which produced the “hockey stick graph” which showed a constant temperature over the past thousand years or so followed by a recent dramatic upturn.
65) The globe’s current approach to climate change in which major industrialised countries agree to nonsensical targets for their CO2 emissions by a given date, as it has been under the Kyoto system, is very expensive.
66) The “Climate-gate” scandal revealed that a scientific team had emailed one another about using a “trick” for the sake of concealing a “decline” in temperatures when looking at the history of the Earth’s temperature.
67) Global temperatures have not risen in any statistically-significant sense for 15 years and have actually been falling for nine years. The “Climate-gate” scandal revealed a scientific team had expressed dismay at the fact global warming was contrary to their predictions and admitted their inability to explain it was “a travesty”.
68) The IPCC predicts that a warmer planet will lead to more extreme weather, including drought, flooding, storms, snow, and wildfires. But over the last century, during which the IPCC claims the world experienced more rapid warming than any time in the past two millennia, the world did not experience significantly greater trends in any of these extreme weather events.
69) In explaining the average temperature standstill we are currently experiencing, the Met Office Hadley Centre ran a series of computer climate predictions and found in many of the computer runs there were decade-long standstills but none for 15 years – so it expects global warming to resume swiftly.
70) Richard Lindzen, Professor of Atmospheric Sciences at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, wrote: “The notion of a static, unchanging climate is foreign to the history of the Earth or any other planet with a fluid envelope. Such hysteria (over global warming) simply represents the scientific illiteracy of much of the public, the susceptibility of the public to the substitution of repetition for truth.”
71) Despite the 1997 Kyoto Protocol’s status as the flagship of the fight against climate change it has been a failure.
72) The first phase of the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), which ran from 2005 to 2007 was a failure. Huge over-allocation of permits to pollute led to a collapse in the price of carbon from €33 to just €0.20 per tonne meaning the system did not reduce emissions at all.
73) The EU trading scheme, to manage carbon emissions has completely failed and actually allows European businesses to duck out of making their emissions reductions at home by offsetting, which means paying for cuts to be made overseas instead.
74) To date “cap and trade” carbon markets have done almost nothing to reduce emissions.
75) In the United States , the cap-and-trade is an approach designed to control carbon emissions and will impose huge costs upon American citizens via a carbon tax on all goods and services produced in the United States. The average family of four can expect to pay an additional $1700, or £1,043, more each year. It is predicted that the United States will lose more than 2 million jobs as the result of cap-and-trade schemes.
76) Dr Roy Spencer, a principal research scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, has indicated that out of the 21 climate models tracked by the IPCC the differences in warming exhibited by those models is mostly the result of different strengths of positive cloud feedback – and that increasing CO2 is insufficient to explain global-average warming in the last 50 to 100 years.
77) Why should politicians devote our scarce resources in a globally competitive world to a false and ill-defined problem, while ignoring the real problems the entire planet faces, such as: poverty, hunger, disease or terrorism.
94) The European Union has already agreed to cut emissions by 20 percent to 2020, compared with 1990 levels, and is willing to increase the target to 30 percent. However, these are unachievable and the EU has already massively failed with its Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), as EU emissions actually rose by 0.8 percent from 2005 to 2006 and are known to be well above the Kyoto goal.
95) Australia has stated it wants to slash greenhouse emissions by up to 25 percent below 2000 levels by 2020, but the pledges were so unpopular that the country’s Senate has voted against the carbon trading Bill, and the Opposition’s Party leader has now been ousted by a climate change sceptic.
96) Canada plans to reduce emissions by 20 percent compared with 2006 levels by 2020, representing approximately a 3 percent cut from 1990 levels but it simultaneously defends its Alberta tar sands emissions and its record as one of the world’s highest per-capita emissions setters.
97) India plans to reduce the ratio of emissions to production by 20-25 percent compared with 2005 levels by 2020, but all Government officials insist that since India has to grow for its development and poverty alleviation, it has to emit, because the economy is driven by carbon.
98) The Leipzig Declaration in 1996, was signed by 110 scientists who said: “We – along with many of our fellow citizens – are apprehensive about the climate treaty conference scheduled for Kyoto, Japan, in December 1997” and “based on all the evidence available to us, we cannot subscribe to the politically inspired world view that envisages climate catastrophes and calls for hasty actions.”
99) A US Oregon Petition Project stated “We urge the United States government to reject the global warming agreement that was written in Kyoto, Japan in December, 1997, and any other similar proposals. The proposed limits on greenhouse gases would harm the environment, hinder the advance of science and technology, and damage the health and welfare of mankind. There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of CO2, methane, or other greenhouse gasses is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate.”
100) A report by the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change concluded “We find no support for the IPCC’s claim that climate observations during the twentieth century are either unprecedented or provide evidence of an anthropogenic effect on climate.”