Sunday, February 11, 2007

Memories of DDT

Today Lorrie Goldstein likens the global warming hysteria to the knee-jerk reaction against DDT, which ended up causing millions of deaths in malaria-plagued third world countries.

His column Greens Aren't Always Good, Lorrie makes some pithy observations:

Global warming and the Kyoto accord are the crack cocaine of trendy causes for opportunistic politicians and chic environmentalists.

Since fighting man-made global warming involves "saving the planet," or so they tell us, it is the King Kong of all environmental crusades.

Of course, the fact we have been warned in the past by this crowd that life as we know it was about to end over everything from "the population bomb" to "global cooling," and that we survived, is now ignored.

Too many environmentalists know only one way of talking about these issues -- hysterically -- which has led to disaster in the past.

In this context, the history of the pesticide DDT is instructive...

Lorrie goes on to draw similarities to the two events and how even some respected environmentalists caution against jumping on the hysteria bandwagon.

The subject of DDT came up during a somewhat heated discussion in comments a while back in my post The Question Refuser Witch-hunt, so this column may be of particular interest to those involved.

* * * *

Update: Check out Charles Adler - "Canadians Driving Away from Kyoto"; H/T National Newswatch.

In a recent interview I did with the boss at Decima research, I asked the question,
What percentage of voters really think of the environment as their number one issue. The answer was nineteen percent. That means fewer than one in five. How does that small ratio get turned into the story that it is the country's most important issue.


Also, another Kyoto reality-check from Peter Worthington here.

Brilliant solution to the Kyoto problem here!

And if you were ever in doubt as to how much the PPG manipulates the message, check this out!

Tom Brodbeck weighs in - Give Global Warming Skeptics Their Say. Great rant against MSM. Quite refreshing!

Brodbeck again - Hysteria Blocks Debate.


Roy Eappen said...

Yes Joanne. Rachel carson and her friends are directly responsible for the deaths of millions of children. Bad science and "consensus " rule the day.
Steve Milroy at junkscience .com has been writing about these things for a long time. If climate change science is so solid why are all nay sayers attacked.
Science works best when open debate happens. We once again have envirnomenttalist witch hunts.

Anonymous said...

Or the little mentioned (surprise surprise) Sierra Club's legal interevention to stop reinforcing the dike system around New Orleans, to stop the destruction of "animal habitat".

I guess it was OK the human animal's habitat was destroyed (along with a lot of humans).

Roy Eappen said...

Steve Milroy's background in science was attacked previously. I didn't actually see that until today. He has a lot more credibility than many of the so called environmentalists. Read Mr Goldstein's article. I gues Cherniak and his friends will attack Goldstein too.

A New York Times article of January of this year, titled It’s Time to Spray DDT proclaimed what long ago became the obvious, that “the evidence is overwhelming: DDT saves lives.”2 The American Council on Science and Health printed an article in 2002 entitled The DDT ban turns 30 – millions dead of malaria because of ban, more deaths likely.3 In 2003 Front Page Magazine ran an article entitled Rachel Carsons’ Ecological Genocide, similarly concerned with the DDT ban, and employing that loaded word “genocide”.4 And in his popular novel, State of Fear, Michael Crichton also espoused this view, describing the DDT ban as “arguably the greatest tragedy of the 20th century.” He continues, “since the ban, two million people a year have died unnecessarily from malaria, mostly children. The ban has caused more than fifty million needless deaths. Banning DDT killed more people than Hitler.”

Cherniak_WTF said...

No Roy, I'll attack bunk for what it is.
You know better than what you are doing.
The is honest debate, based on facts and then there is misleading by pushing a political agenda. You have fallen into the later.

I have little time for green warriors that would have us eating tofu, wearing sandals and smelling of patchouli - but I have less for those that hide behind science and spoke garbage in it's name.

There is a difference between pest-control and disease-control. I'd advocate disease-control.
Dr Roy, is aware that indiscriminate use of DDT led to it's ban. Yes there is a call for more use of DDT but under stricter control (something that was not done before). The difference is using DDT for public health (instead of industrial production - agriculture).

In other words, we are talking about small scale use of DDT instead of large spaying. Dr Roy should frame the debate in its proper context instead of these big general lines...

At the same time, you should also talk about other methods of prevention such as nets, cheap Prophylactic drugs and continuing research into immunizing...

Nor will Dr. Roy tell you that DDT has lost most of it's effectiveness in certain areas and actually promotes malaria. Studies in Salvador show an increase in Malaria with it’s use (100 new cases per kilo of insecticide).

Dr. Roy, is being lazy and dishonest in not stating that DDT is largely ineffective in all but very limited use.

As for Rachel Carson, some of her findings were disputed in the 70s and 80s but have lately been vindicated. She herself never called for a complete ban but asked for moderation in pesticide use – something that seems beyond the grasp of Dr. Roy. (Where you a fan of Linus Pauling and mega doses of Vitamin C per chance?)

Cherniak_WTF said...

As for quoted Lifesite - those are not articles so much as opinion pieces....

Lorrie correctly states:
DDT was rightly banned in the developed world a generation ago, specifically because of its misuse by modern agri-business in order to increase crop yields.

But it was then wrongly denied to the third world, despite the fact that properly-used, DDT was a life-saver.

Dr. Roy prefers to go into preaching instead of staying to the facts....

“Banning DDT killed more people than Hitler”
I’m really tired of seeing that platitude posted ad nauseum.
It’s a pathetically false lie. There are no bans on DDT when it comes to fighting Malaria – the bans exist for large scale using in agriculture. Those fighting malaria have often praised the ban because it gives responsible use of DDT an edge once again…

In fact, according to Agricultural production and malaria resurgence in Central America and India, Chapin, Georgeanne & Robert Wasserstrom, Nature, Vol. 293, 1981, page 183), the lives actually saved due to banning agricultural use of DDT can be estimated:
"Correlating the use of DDT in El Salvador with renewed malaria transmission, it can be estimated that at current rates each kilo of insecticide added to the environment will generate 105 new cases of malaria."

Anonymous said...

Utopian programs generally end up, not in the wonderous world implicit in the promises, but in the deaths of millions.

That wacky notion of state controlled economy, killed how many Ukranians again? And Chinese?

The one saving grace about kyoto is that its all posturing. No one's actually going to implement it, including Dion.

It's just that Dion, like his liberal forefathers in signing on, just want the benefit of its utopic vision, without any intent on carrying it out.

Lying. Through their teeth.

Anonymous said...

Steve Milroy's background in science was attacked previously.
He was not attacked, he was exposed... playing the victim card again... poor little connies...

Roy Eappen said...

There are still environmentalist calling for the ban of all pesticides today. I encourage all othe methods of mosquito and malaria control., but DDT was basically eliminated malaria in North America and Europe. It is true DDT is ineffective in some areas, but there are newer alternatives which will still be needed. I don't usually debate with anonymous posters. I guess you didn't read what your friends at the NEw york times said;
A New York Times article of January of this year, titled It’s Time to Spray DDT proclaimed what long ago became the obvious, that “the evidence is overwhelming: DDT saves lives.”2 The American Council on Science and Health printed an article in 2002 entitled The DDT ban turns 30 – millions dead of malaria because of ban, more deaths likely.3 In 2003 Front Page Magazine ran an article entitled Rachel Carsons’ Ecological Genocide, .

How about look at the BMJ
And what about the third tool, insecticides? Here we need a re-think. The Persistent Organic Pollutants Treaty aims to completely phase out global use of dicophane (DDT), while many donor agencies will not fund any malaria control programmes that use this insecticide. But dicophane is effective,9 with a remarkable safety record when used in small quantities for indoor spraying in endemic regions.10 Malaria cases soared in the KwaZulu Natal province of South Africa after it stopped using dicophane in 1996. Its reintroduction together with artemisinin based combination therapy for treating malaria brought the disease back under control.11 Dicophane, a "dirty word" in the malaria world, must surely be reintroduced into the conversation on rolling back malaria.

Cherniak_WTF said...

Roy, you are using FUD instead of debate.

Hypocrisy is too good a word for you.

I'm going to put it bluntly: You are wrong in your arguments, you have gone from the ream of science to one of political demonizing. Something you accuse other of doing....

Again, the overuse of DDT is what is harmful.....

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Hypocrisy is too good a word for you.

Can we please keep this a debate, and not a personal-attack forum? Thanks.

BTW, you guys are way outta my league on all this!

Anonymous said...

Joanne, a great post. I have tried numerous times to leave a post here and at my own blog and can't so there must be problems this afternoon at blogger.

Will try again.

Cherniak_WTF said...

Joanne, I'll do my best....

Bottom line is that Dr Roy seems to be changing his tune and agreeing with what I have posted if one goes by his last "copy/paste".....

Anonymous said...

'Environmentalists' knew exactly what they were doing when they had DDT banned - overpopulation was the buzzword of the day, so they found a way to implement a population cull.

liberal supporter said...

Lorrie's article seems misleading to me. The subtitle says:
"A founding father of the global environmental movement warns they could lead us into disaster -- again"

Later in the article, he explains this by discussing Dr. Lovelock, who simply asserts that nuclear power should not be abandoned as an emission free energy source. Lovelock is completely with the science that says humans are causing climate change. No mention of his view on Kyoto, but looking elsewhere, Lovelock calls Kyoto "appeasement". He believes the Earth is a giant organism which is now fighting humanity. He believes it will rebalance itself, probably destroying 90% of us in the process. So he calls Kyoto "appeasement" of the Earth! he thinks Kyoto does not go nearly far enough.

So Lovelock is concerned some environmentalists will lead us astray by trying to shut down the entire economy over too short a time, though he believes we have to stop emitting CO2 and stop destroying wilderness. Glad to see Lorrie in such good company.

In my view Kyoto is the first step to international cooperation. As Lovelock believes, the only way we will get out of this is through technology. As he says, nuclear power, despite its drawbacks, is one of the short term ways to get off the carbon. I believe Kyoto will spur huge amounts of effort in emission reduction. Who wants to pay $5 billion a year to projects elsewhere? Why not invest in the technologies and people here? Kyoto lets us do that, and puts numbers to it.

Recall the income trusts situation. Outside of the partisan barbs we can trade, income trusts is a prime example of how a taxation regulation causes huge shifts of activity by companies. So having tax breaks, funded by the carbon fund ($5 billion a year - i.e. the amount from 1% GST) will spur huge investments in solving the technical problems.

biff said...

Stay Real Dion

Go forth Dion, as fast as you can back to the left. Back home. Let the marxist winds that so enveloped you during your years of studying, fill your political sails! Go forth and stand on your principles. Though those principles have proven wrongheaded, ney dangerous (millions dead at the hands of government controlled economies), stand your ground man.

Always having to answer to others, you've had to bury your ideological instincts. But no more, for now you are the LEADER.

Lead on, fair Dion, in the way that you have trained for and studied your whole life.

Where others have failed (see Soviet Union, North Korea) you will succeed. Be firm and strong.

If there are too many men, why wait for sociopolitical reality to adjust - simply ban men.

If we are behind on kyoto, why wait for economic realities/technologies to adjust - simply make it a law that we must comply, consequences be damned.

If a region, an oil producing region, is a GHG producer, why fear the regional hostilities, and utter economic chaos - simply create "consequences".

If you believe in yourself (and it appears that you do), then godspeed.

liberal supporter said...

biff, I don't think Dion wants to embrace your radical views. You'll have to look elsewhere for totalitarianism.

Where's Dark Blue Tory when you need him?

He would certainly chew out biff for comparing any of our party leaders to past mass murderers.

Wouldn't he?

Anonymous said...

This is all about moderation and toning down the rhetoric guys. I'm not an expert on the science so won't even try on that front. But, we have to get back to reality. To do what's doable. It would be nice if we could take a nonpartisan approach to the environment (and that Liberal security law that needs to be renewed). I live in hope!

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Well said, Sandy! (Love your avatar, BTW!)

I was wanting to do a post on that security bill as well, but no time today! Officially Screwed has done a great job though.

wayward son said...

"Steve Milroy's background in science was attacked previously."

That is impossible, you can not criticize something that doesn't exist.

Frankly, it is shameful to state that Milloy (not milroy) has any credibility when it comes to anything. This is a man who fought against the dangers of second hand smoke while maintaining that he was independent and hiding the fact that he was a paid lobbyist of tobacco companies. (so you can be sure that when Milloy mourns the deaths of people from the DDT ban that what he is concerned about is only his wallet)

This is a man who immediately after the 9/11 declared that the removal of asbestos and the replacement by a non-asbestos substance was responsible for the thousands of wtc deaths, again while claiming to be independent, despite being a lobbyist (of course, the idea that the WTC would have withstood if it was lined with asbestos is so ridiculous to begin with).

And this is a man who continues to claim his junkscience site is independent despite the fact that it was set up entirely with funds from Exxon and continues to be funded by the oil companies.

Good to see who you consider credible Roy, but I guess as long as they believe the same things as you, right?

As for DDT, that discussion has no place in discussions of global warming. Although I should mention that many of the prominent supporters of DDT, such as Ronald Bailey (who is a professional skeptic and has fought the environmental movement at every step including writing books in the past denying human caused global warming: Global Warming and Other Eco Myths, Ecoscam, The True State of the Planet, I have read all three by the way.) now says that anyone who is still denying global warming should "hang it up." (But at least Bailey, like most skeptics made his money before accepting reality).

As for your claims Roy that all the nay sayers are attacked, well maybe they might be listened to if they could produce one, just one, peer reviewed article skeptical of climate change, but they won't, because they know that the crap they have produced so far will be torn to shreds by peer review. If skeptics continue to look for the needle in the hay stack, and then not finding it, say that a piece of hay most resembling a needle is proof that the hay stack is made up of needles, then they will continue to be exposed for the frauds that they are. That won't matter to them much as Milloy, Singer and Michaels, etc will continue to spread the same B.S. and they will continue to make a ton of money.

Cherniak_WTF said...

As for DDT, that discussion has no place in discussions of global warming.
Of course it does not. This is just part of the intellectual dishonesty put forth by some.

Not only did he have to rebuffed on the DDT analogy, he had to be explained why it was false.

The skeptics are not deniers - and this is muddled some more by the connies.

I was listening to Adler today (the best of- for what that's worth). A line struck me, basically when confronted by the truth, it was said that it easy to just deny....

A lesson I'm sure that connies know too well...

biff said...

OK here's stark reality:

Implementing kyoto will mean economic havoc. Real people, raising real families out of work.

For what? For no discernable difference in GHG's (even assuming there's a direct and proportional causal link between GHG's and global warming).

For a theory. That's it.

That's not scary?

And Dion is advocating this, maybe even forcing binding legislation.

That's not "rhetoric" that's simple fact.

Just because it's almost unimaginable, doesn't mean its not happening.

liberal supporter said...

"Implementing kyoto will mean economic havoc. Real people, raising real families out of work."

How does spending the money that would otherwise become a 1% GST cut create all this havoc?

How many new jobs will be created with the $5 Billion a year we would spend on emission reduction?

Now I've known people who don't like to wash dishes. How do you get out of it? Do it badly. So you can offer bad ways to meet Kyoto to try and get out of it too, such as shutting down much of the economy. Or offer foolish looking solutions, like buying carbon credits forever.

Yes you could simply buy credits from elsewhere, but then you're not trying. Instead, the tax breaks will be used to work on the technologies we need for emission reduction.

And yes, you agree with James Lovelock (quoted by Lorrie Goldstein) that meeting Kyoto will not be enough. And your plan is to do nothing? Kyoto may delay warming in 100 years by 6 years. Your great great grandkids might be happy of those extra years.

But I'm more confident of Canadian ingenuity that you seem to be. The technologies we develop to meet Kyoto may very well work beyond all prediction, and we can achieve the much more dramatic reductions that Lorrie Goldstein appears to agree we need.

Anonymous said...

making jobs?

That's scary that there's even a single canadian who believes that. What's sadder is that there are likely more.

the kyoto religion is strong.

liberal supporter said...

Still flogging "kyoto as religion"?

And not bothering to indicate which anon you are, you must think the Kyoto Inquisition is coming.

Yes, keep trying to milk Kyoto as religion, and keep at the persecution complex.

Could you provide some more rebuttal than "That's scary" and "What's sadder" type stuff. You're not the anon that always needs to take a shower after reading things you don't agree with, are you?

wayward son said...

"For a theory. That's it."

Biff, I have posted this before on Joanne's Journey, but I will post it again.

"In science, a theory is a proposed description, explanation, or model of the manner of interaction of a set of natural phenomena, capable of predicting future occurrences or observations of the same kind, and capable of being tested through experiment or otherwise falsified through empirical observation. It follows from this that for scientists "theory" and "fact" do not necessarily stand in opposition. For example, it is a fact that an apple dropped on earth has been observed to fall towards the center of the planet, and the theory which explains why the apple behaves so is the current theory of gravitation."

When you use "theory" in the context you do you show that you do not even have the vaguest clue how science in general works. Climate change will continue to be called a theory just as gravity is.

liberal supporter said...

When you access this comment page, you will note the lock icon indicating this page has secured items.

That security is based on the theory that factoring large numbers takes an amount of time that grows exponentially as the number of digits grows. For example, to find the two numbers (factors) that multiply to give 143, you would have to try each number up to the approximate square root of 143. That is, you would try 1 through 12, and discover 11 as one factor, the other being 13. Note that fractional results aren't useful in encryption cracking, you need the exact integer factors.

So if I add one digit to the big number (143), it takes just over three times as much work to "brute force" the result. Add another digit, another 3 times or a total of 9 times (actually 10 times). This page is protected based on a number hundreds of digits long. It would take a "long time" to find the factors.

Anyway, as long as the theory holds that factoring large numbers is computationally intractable (grows exponentially while number of digits grows arithmetically), then all your data security stuff will be secure from brute force cracking.

But that theory has not been proven, nor can it be proven. A consensus of mathematicians (including those employed by every security agency in the world) thinks so, mainly because they haven't figured out any other way to factor large numbers.

But it's just a theory.

Mac said...

Does anyone seriously believe using our taxdollars to purchase "carbon credits" will do anything whatsoever for the environment? Kyoto is a wealth redistribution scheme, nothing more.

WC Macdonell said...

In my capitalistic way, I have solved the Kyoto dilemma...

Cherniak_WTF said...

Ahh mac you are so cute blowing smoke out your....