E.U. Parlamentarier Meijer stellte 2007 Chemtrail-Anfrage


By W. Hall
Aigina, Greece
August 30, 2007.

Sub­mis­sion in the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment of writ­ten ques­ti­ons on “chem­trails” by Dutch Socia­list deputy Erik Mei­jer will be seen as a posi­tive deve­lop­ment by some activists. Are we wit­nessing the begin­nings of a new phase in the years-long saga of this aerosol-spraying activity, and of the stig­ma­ti­zed oppo­si­tion to it?. (See the pre­sent writer’s: “Cli­mate Change Jekylls and Hydes”). Meijer’s writ­ten ques­ti­ons, under the hea­ding “Air­craft con­den­sa­tion trails which no lon­ger only con­tain water but cause per­sis­tent milky veils, pos­si­bly due to the pre­sence of barium and alu­mi­nium”, are not the first such sub­mis­sion to have been tabled in a Euro­pean legis­la­ture: in 2005 the Demo­cra­tic Left depu­ties Italo Sandi and Piero Ruz­zante rai­sed simi­lar ques­ti­ons in the Ita­lian Par­lia­ment. More recently their poli­ti­cal asso­cia­tes Asi­mina Xiro­tiri and Fotis Kou­ve­lis did the same in Greece. But faced with the ste­reo­ty­ped and unin­for­ma­tive respon­ses such ques­ti­ons receive from offi­cial spo­kes­per­sons, the reac­tion of par­lia­men­ta­ri­ans is to become dis­cou­ra­ged — or at any rate inac­tive and inac­ces­si­ble — per­haps not per­cei­ving what they should do next and for that rea­son reluc­tant to have too much con­tact with citi­zens still pres­sing them for action and/or ans­wers, whom they are obli­ged to con­front “with empty hands”.Objec­tively Erik Mei­jer has grea­ter margins for action. Working inside the uncom­ple­ted insti­tu­ti­ons of the Euro­pean Union, a citi­zen of one of the two nati­ons that deli­vered the death blow to the first attempt to impose a poli­ti­cally unac­cep­ta­ble “con­sti­tu­tion” on the Euro­pean peo­p­les, lea­ding mem­ber of an ex-Maoist poli­ti­cal grou­ping now able to field twenty-five depu­ties in the Dutch par­lia­ment, with one foot in such would-be insti­tu­tio­nally pionee­ring milieux as the Social Forums, Mei­jer could take advan­tage of the poli­ti­cal abdi­ca­tion of the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion, and the Euro­pean poli­ti­cal class gene­rally, on this ter­ri­ble sub­ject. He could turn it to the bene­fit not only of the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment but also of the citi­zens’ move­ments see­king a voice inside and outs­ide the Social Forums. Not to men­tion of Euro­pean inte­gra­tion gene­rally. He could be a hero.

So let’s look at his ques­ti­ons:
10 May 2007

WRITTEN QUESTION by Erik Mei­jer (GUE/NGL) to the Com­mis­sion
Sub­ject: Air­craft con­den­sa­tion trails which no lon­ger only con­tain water but cause per­sis­tent milky veils, pos­si­bly due to the pre­sence of barium, alu­mi­nium and iron


1. Is the Com­mis­sion aware that, since 1999, mem­bers of the public in Canada and the USA have been com­plai­ning about the gro­wing pre­sence in the air of air­craft con­den­sa­tion trails of a new type, which some­ti­mes per­sist for hours and which spread far more widely than in the past, crea­ting milky veils which are dub­bed ‘aerial obscu­ra­tion’, and that the new type has par­ti­cu­larly come to people’s atten­tion because it is so dif­fe­rent from the short, pencil-thin white con­trails which have been a fami­liar sight ever since jet engi­nes came into use and which remain visi­ble for 20 minu­tes at most and can only be pro­du­ced if steam con­den­ses on dust par­ti­cles due to low tem­pe­ra­tures and high humidity?

2. Is the Com­mis­sion aware that inves­ti­ga­ti­ons by these com­plai­nants, obser­va­tions by pilots and state­ments by govern­ment bodies incre­a­sin­gly sug­gest that what is hap­pe­ning is that air­craft are emit­ting into dry air small par­ti­cles con­sis­ting of barium, alu­mi­nium and iron, a pheno­me­non which in public debate in Ame­rica has come to be known as chemtrails?

3. Unlike con­trails, chem­trails are not an ine­vi­ta­ble by-product of modern avia­tion. Does the Com­mis­sion know, the­re­fore, what is the pur­pose of arti­fi­ci­ally emit­ting these Earth-derived sub­stan­ces into the Earth’s atmo­s­phere? Does it help to cause rain, bene­fit telecom­mu­ni­ca­ti­ons or com­bat cli­mate change?

4. To what extent are aerial obscu­ra­tion and chem­trails now also being employed in the air over Europe, bea­ring in mind that many people here too are now con­vin­ced that the pheno­me­non is beco­m­ing incre­a­sin­gly com­mon and are beco­m­ing con­cer­ned about the fact that little is so far known about it and there is no public infor­ma­tion on the sub­ject? Who initia­tes this spray­ing and how is it funded?

5. Apart from the inten­ded bene­fits of emit­ting sub­stan­ces into the air, is the Com­mis­sion aware of any pos­si­ble disad­van­ta­ges it may have for the environ­ment, public health, avia­tion and TV reception?

6. What is being done to prevent indi­vi­dual Euro­pean sta­tes or busi­nes­ses from taking mea­su­res uni­la­te­r­ally whose cross-border impact other Sta­tes or citi­zens’ orga­ni­sa­ti­ons may regard as undesi­ra­ble? Is coor­di­na­tion alre­ady taking place with regard to this? Is the EU play­ing a part in it, or does the Com­mis­sion anti­ci­pate a future role, and what are the Commission’s objec­tives in this connection?

Com­ba­ting Cli­mate Change

To start with the ques­tion of whe­ther the spray­ing helps to com­bat cli­mate change. This sub­ject of cli­mate change is so cen­tral to public dis­cus­sion today that one might ima­gine anything with a bea­ring on it would be given simi­lar high-profile tre­at­ment. Not so with “chem­trails”. Extra­or­di­nary efforts are made to try to per­suade the public, against all the dic­ta­tes of com­mon sense, that what are being seen in the sky all over the world are just the con­den­sa­tion trails we have been fami­liar with since the begin­ning of jet-propelled flight.

It can be demons­tra­ted that they are not but it is also worth poin­ting out that all such demons­tra­ti­ons are coun­tered not only by the offi­cial deni­als but also by the argu­ments of single-minded and often fana­ti­cal inter­net “debun­kers” of vary­ing levels of exper­tise. Though less known to the gene­ral public, these “chem­trails debun­kers” are no less relent­less than their “cli­mate change scep­tic” big bro­thers.. But their con­trails vs chem­trails argu­ment (an argu­ment pro­bably best avo­ided) is con­duc­ted against a back­drop of unde­nia­ble offi­cial pro­po­sals for the use of air­craft to “miti­gate” the effects of cli­mate change, with docu­men­ted cor­re­spon­ding exis­tence of the rele­vant patents. “Geo­en­gi­nee­ring” sche­mes of this kind were pro­po­sed in a major study of the Ame­ri­can Aca­demy of Sci­en­ces in 1992. They are the sub­ject of matter-of-fact refe­ren­ces in reports of the Inter­go­vern­men­tal Panel of Cli­mate Change. The panel’s 2001 report informs us that geo­en­gi­nee­ring: ‘inclu­des the pos­si­bi­lity of engi­nee­ring the earth’s cli­mate sys­tem by large-scale mani­pu­la­tion of the glo­bal energy balance. It has been esti­ma­ted, for example, that the mean effect on the earth sur­face energy balance from a dou­bling of car­bon dioxide could be off­set by an increase of 1.5% to 2% in the earth’s albedo, i.e. by reflec­ting addi­tio­nal inco­m­ing solar radia­tion back into space ….Tel­ler et al. (1997) found that ~10 bil­lion tons of dielec­tric aero­sols of ~100 nm dia­me­ter would be suf­fi­ci­ent to increase the albedo of the earth by ~1%. They showed that the requi­red mass of a sys­tem based on alu­mina par­ti­cles would be simi­lar to that of a sys­tem based on sulphu­ric acid aerosol.…(They) demons­trate that use of metal­lic or opti­cally reso­nant scat­te­rers can, in prin­ciple, greatly reduce the total mass of scat­te­ring par­ti­cles required.”

All this “geo­en­gi­nee­ring” aspect of the cli­mate change pro­blem is sys­te­ma­ti­cally avo­ided by the cli­mate change mass move­ment that has grown up in recent years. The denial extends through every level of the move­ment from for­mer US vice-president Al Gore down to the demons­tra­tors who recently held their Camp for Cli­mate Action at Heathrow Air­port near Lon­don. It appears to be a struc­tu­ral com­po­nent of the move­ment as intrin­sic to it as nuclear wea­pons danger-mongering was to the anti-nuclear move­ment of the Cold War period (which now has the appearance of an eclip­sed predecessor).

There is a pecu­liar coha­bi­ta­tion of poker-faced denial among sci­en­tists and poli­ti­ci­ans with a neu­ro­tic media dis­cus­sion of geo­en­gi­nee­ring in pseudo-light-hearted “sci­ence fic­tion” mode (just look at what these mad sci­en­tists are up to). Vir­tually all rele­vant sci­en­tists go along with the denial. To give just one recent example of the thousands that could be cited: in response to a request for infor­ma­tion on geo­en­gi­nee­ring from Greek jour­na­list Aliki Ste­fa­nou, Ken Caldeira of the Car­ne­gie Insti­tu­tion said: “I used to work in a nuclear wea­pons lab and we were try­ing to get money to do geo­en­gi­nee­ring rese­arch. I think if money was avail­able for this pur­pose, we would have been able to obtain some. The fact was that there was no money avail­able.” When Aliki Ste­fa­nou asked Caldeira whe­ther, if and when pro­po­sed aero­sol spray­ing pro­gram­mes came to be imple­men­ted, he thought they would, and/or should, be imple­men­ted secretly or publi­cly, he said: “I think that nearly all rese­arch should be public and cer­tainly all geo­en­gi­nee­ring rese­arch should be public. Secrets cor­rode democracy.”

Not an ine­vi­ta­ble by-product of modern aviation

In his par­lia­men­tary ques­ti­ons Mei­jer makes the good point that that chem­trails “are not an ine­vi­ta­ble by-product of modern avia­tion”. In the mid-90s Dan Bodansky was one of the key wri­ters dis­cus­sing this from the per­spec­tive of inter­na­tio­nal law. Bodansky wrote: “The fact that geo­en­gi­nee­ring is an inten­tio­nal activity with glo­bal effects rai­ses the issue of who should decide whe­ther to pro­ceed. Should all coun­tries be able to par­ti­ci­pate in deci­sion making since all will be affec­ted and there will be both posi­tive and nega­tive impacts? Also, how should lia­bi­lity and com­pen­sa­tion for dama­ges be addres­sed?” Because no easy ans­wers to these ques­ti­ons seem to have been forth­co­m­ing, and because, as Bodansky put it: “exis­ting inter­na­tio­nal legal norms are… unli­kely to be a relia­ble guide to how the inter­na­tio­nal com­mu­nity will react if geo­en­gi­nee­ring sche­mes are seriously pro­po­sed” what seems to have hap­pened is that a deci­sion was made to “play it by ear”, to pro­ceed with imple­men­ta­tion of large-scale aero­sol spray­ing and sort out the lega­lity pro­blem “later”. Until such times as pro­gram­mes can be legal, they “do not exist”.

Any poli­ti­cal sys­tem embar­king on this road is asking for trou­ble because the ques­tion ari­ses of how the tran­si­tion to this “later” legi­ti­ma­tion or nor­ma­liza­tion will be hand­led. “The rule of law” is a power­ful ideo­lo­gi­cal com­po­nent of present-day “advan­ced” socie­ties. Is it pos­si­ble to make a tran­si­tion from govern­ment by deceit to govern­ment through laws?

One method that can be tried, and is evi­dently being tried, is to allow the pas­sage of time, and gene­ra­tio­nal change, to bring about the hoped-for nor­ma­liza­tion. There is much dis­cus­sion on the Inter­net of this aspect of “chem­trails”: NASA enlists child­ren in “Con­trails Count-a-Thon” cam­paigns. Jour­na­listic justi­fi­ca­ti­ons, in “science-fiction” mode, pro­li­fe­rate. Child­ren grow up hab­itua­ted to such dis­cus­sions, and to the pheno­me­non its­elf, in their real-life expe­ri­ence, in films, in adver­ti­sing. Even in school­books, such as the book men­tio­ned by Will Tho­mas — publis­hed by Centre Point Learning Sci­ence and entit­led “Solu­ti­ons for Glo­bal War­ming”, which informs school­child­ren that “Jet engi­nes run­ning on richer fuel would add par­ti­cles to the atmo­s­phere to create a sun­screen”. (“Could we deli­be­ra­tely add par­ti­cles to the atmosphere?”)

There have been serious attempts at lega­liza­tion of one form of geo­en­gi­nee­ring, namely wea­t­her modi­fi­ca­tion, by poli­ti­ci­ans whose moti­ves are anything but oppo­si­tio­nal. In 2005 US Sena­tor Kate Bai­ley Hut­chin­son pro­po­sed a “Wea­t­her Modi­fi­ca­tion Rese­arch and Deve­lop­ment Policy Aut­ho­riza­tion Act”. It did not even­tuate finally because “the legal and lia­bi­lity issues per­tai­ning to wea­t­her modi­fi­ca­tion, and the poten­tial adverse con­se­quen­ces on life, pro­perty, and water resource avai­l­a­bi­lity resul­ting from wea­t­her modi­fi­ca­tion activi­ties, must be con­side­red fully before the U.S. Govern­ment could take responsi­bi­lity” (for admit­ting that it is actually enga­ged in any such activities).

Environ­men­tal Reper­cus­sions of Air­craft Emissions

So yes, chem­trails are not “an ine­vi­ta­ble by-product of modern avia­tion”. If one plans to make use of air­craft emis­si­ons for geo­en­gi­nee­ring pur­po­ses, how then can one secure the sup­port, or at least tole­ra­tion, of the more mili­tant sec­tions of the com­mu­nity, those least likely to be per­sua­da­ble that mas­sive planetary-wide par­ti­cle pollu­tion to increase the “albedo” (reflec­tivity”) of the earth’s atmo­s­phere and reduce levels of inco­m­ing sun­light, is a defen­si­ble option?

One ans­wer might be to start a cam­paign on the environ­men­tal reper­cus­sions of air­craft emis­si­ons. As a par­ti­ci­pant in the mid-90s in an ulti­mately unsuc­cess­ful attempt to esta­blish a branch of Fri­ends of the Earth in Greece, I can con­firm that at more or less the same time that large-scale aero­sol spray­ing ope­ra­ti­ons appear to have got under way around the globe, Fri­ends of the Earth, inter­na­tio­nally, embar­ked on what then looked like an impos­si­ble cam­paign to fight com­mer­cial aviation.

Over a decade later the cam­paign has made more pro­gress than see­med likely then. And the anti-aircraft cam­pai­gners have a very radi­cal image. Take this quo­ta­tion from a public speech by Tony Juni­per, direc­tor of Fri­ends of the Earth in Bri­tain: “Avia­tion is a rogue sec­tor and its environ­men­tal impact is out of con­trol. Cli­mate change is the most urgent chal­lenge fac­ing huma­nity and yet avia­tion policy is doing the oppo­site of what is nee­ded.” Or take this quo­ta­tion from Guar­dian jour­na­list George Mon­biot: “The growth in avia­tion and the need to address cli­mate change can­not be recon­ci­led. In com­mon with all other sec­tors, aviation’s con­tri­bu­tion to glo­bal war­ming must be redu­ced in the UK by some 87% if we are to avoid a 2°C rise in glo­bal tem­pe­ra­tures. Given that the likely pos­si­ble effi­ci­en­cies are small and tend to coun­ter­act each other, an 87% cut in emis­si­ons requi­res not only that growth stops, but that most of the aero­pla­nes fly­ing today be grounded…

This means the end of dis­tant for­eign holi­days, unless you are pre­pa­red to take a long time get­ting there. It means that busi­ness mee­tings must take place over the inter­net or by means of video con­fe­ren­ces. It means that trans­con­ti­nen­tal jour­neys must be made by train or coach. It means that jour­neys around the world must be reser­ved for visit­ing the people you love, and that they will require both slow tra­vel and the saving up of car­bon rati­ons. It means the end of shop­ping trips to New York, par­ties in Ibiza, second homes in Tuscany and, most pain­fully for me, poli­ti­cal mee­tings in Porto Ale­gre — unless you believe that these activi­ties are worth the sacri­fice of the bio­s­phere and the lives of the poor.”

The extreme radi­ca­lism of this rhe­to­ric could easily lead one to lose sight of the fact that its sub­ver­sive poten­tial is much infe­rior to that of Erik Meijer’s poli­tely framed ques­ti­ons in the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment. Igno­ring fac­tors of inten­tio­na­lity ver­sus non-intentionality of air­craft emis­si­ons, the mili­tant anti-aviation decla­ra­ti­ons effec­tively deflect atten­tion not only from the ille­ga­lity of what may be sur­mi­sed to be pre­sent govern­men­tal activi­ties, but also from the whole logic of geo­en­gi­nee­ring and thus from its appro­pria­ten­ess or inap­pro­pria­ten­ess as a solu­tion to cli­mate change.

Some­ti­mes the anti-aviation rhe­to­ric can even look sus­pi­ciously like col­lu­sion in the manu­fac­ture of divide-and-rule sce­na­rios, of inci­te­ment and pro­vo­ca­tion of glo­bal war­ming “scep­tics” and con­tra­ri­ans through the arti­cu­la­tion of extre­mely radi­cal con­clu­si­ons and pro­po­sals wit­hout cor­re­spon­din­gly radi­cal and com­pre­hen­sive theo­re­ti­cal justi­fi­ca­tion. One gets the con­tra­ri­ans foa­ming at the mouth, along with a ready-made mass con­sti­tu­ency of fre­quent fly­ers to back them up, wit­hout one­self put­ting for­ward the clin­ching and unans­wer­a­ble argu­ments (which cer­tainly exist) that might silence the bay­ing mob one has hel­ped to create.

In a cha­rac­te­ristic arti­cle by the Aus­tra­lian con­tra­rian jour­na­list And­rew Bolt, Mon­biot is bra­cke­ted toge­ther with the Aus­tra­lian aca­de­mic Tim Flan­nery as exam­ples of “hair­s­hirt war­ming cul­tists” who should, because of their views on cli­mate change, be ban­ned from tra­vel­ling by air. But what does Tim Flan­nery say about avia­tion? “Trans­port accounts for around a third of glo­bal car­bon dioxide emis­si­ons. Trans­port by land and sea can easily be powered in ways that emit less car­bon dioxide and the tech­no­lo­gies to achieve this eit­her alre­ady exist or are on the hori­zon. Air trans­port, howe­ver, is fast gro­wing and not likely to be fuel­led by anything but fos­sil fuels. Thank­fully, jet con­trails con­tri­bute to glo­bal dim­ming, so it may be just as well that the jets keep fly­ing long after wind-powered and solar-powered ships and compressed-air cars mono­po­lize sur­face trans­port” (Tim Flan­nery: The Wea­t­her Makers, pp. 282–283)

Flan­nery, in other words, imp­li­citly if not openly, a sup­por­ter of “chem­trails” and of geo­en­gi­nee­ring. It is not necessary to enter into a dis­cus­sion of which of the two — Flan­nery or Mon­biot — is more or less of a hypo­crite or has more or less ina­de­quate or one-sided views. Both of them pre­sent a power­ful ana­ly­sis of cli­mate change and then sub­vert it by choo­sing to tell less than the whole story. By doing this they leave open a loo­phole for the debun­kers and the “scep­tics” to pre­sent them both as “Chi­cken Litt­les”. Flan­nery is bold or delu­ded enough to sup­port geo­en­gi­nee­ring and/or “chem­trails” as a hypo­the­ti­cal future pro­s­pect. But he will not embrace it as a pre­sent rea­lity to which he gives his infor­med consent.. Mon­biot is in even deeper denial about the evi­dent pre­sent rea­lity of “chem­trails”. Both engage in ste­rile argu­ments with con­tra­ri­ans and debun­kers instead of initia­ting the dia­lo­gue that SHOULD be being heard by the public: their dia­lo­gue with each other about the accep­ta­bi­lity or unac­cep­ta­bi­lity of geo­en­gi­nee­ring, and even more spe­ci­fi­cally about whe­ther air­craft emis­si­ons have a war­ming (Mon­biot) or a coo­ling (Flan­nery) effect. The Euro­par­lia­men­ta­rian Erik Mei­jer could be a cata­lyst for such a dia­lo­gue, but so far no-one gives any sign of kno­wing about his ques­ti­ons, or the Euro­pean Commission’s “ans­wer” to them.

Glo­bal Dimming

Ano­ther example of shrie­kin­gly radi­cal cli­mate change dis­cus­sion on bogus foun­da­ti­ons is pro­vi­ded by the 2005 BBC Hori­zon docu­men­tary on Glo­bal Dim­ming.. Focu­sing on the pheno­me­non of decli­ning levels of sun­light reaching the earth’s sur­face in recent years, (bet­ween the 1950s and the early 1990s the level of solar energy reaching the earth’s sur­face drop­ped 9% in Ant­arc­tica, 10% in the USA, almost 30% in Rus­sia, 16% in parts of the Bri­tish Isles) the pro­gramme again stu­diously avo­ids men­tion of geo­en­gi­nee­ring, attri­bu­ting the rise in aero­sol levels in the earth’s atmo­s­phere, with sub­se­quent glo­bal dim­ming, to some unspe­ci­fied “air pollu­tion” from indus­trial activity and the burning of fos­sil fuels, inclu­ding in aviation.

“Per­haps the most alar­ming aspect of glo­bal dim­ming” says the pro­gramme script “is that it may have led sci­en­tists to unde­re­sti­mate the true power of the green­house effect….. it now appears the war­ming from green­house gases has been off­set by a strong coo­ling effect from dim­ming — in effect two of our pollut­ants have been can­cel­ling each other out. This means that the cli­mate may in fact be more sen­si­tive to the green­house effect than thought..”

The stron­gest warning in the pro­gramme on the imp­li­ca­ti­ons of glo­bal dim­ming (inclu­ding per­haps the clea­rest, though still vei­led, hints on the fac­tor of deli­be­rate inter­ven­tion, or “geo­en­gi­nee­ring”) comes from the cli­mate sci­en­tist Peter Cox: “If we carry on pum­ping out par­ti­cles it will have ter­ri­ble impact on human health, I mean par­ti­cles are invol­ved in all sorts of respi­ratory disea­ses…. If you, if you fiddle with the, the balance of the pla­net, the radia­tive balance of the pla­net, you affect all sorts of cir­cu­la­tion pat­terns like mon­s­o­ons….. it will be extre­mely dif­fi­cult, in fact impos­si­ble, to can­cel out the green­house effect just by car­ry­ing on pum­ping out par­ti­cles, even if it wasn’t for the fact that par­ti­cles are dama­ging for human health.”

The pro­gramme relies hea­vily for its effect on the pro­po­si­tion that “dim­ming was behind the droughts in sub-Saharan Africa which clai­med hund­reds of thousands of lives in the 1970s and 1980s. There are dis­tur­bing hints the same thing may be hap­pe­ning today in Asia, home to half the world’s popu­la­tion.” “What came out of our exhaust pipes and power sta­ti­ons con­tri­bu­ted to the deaths of a mil­lion people in Africa, and aff­lic­ted 50 mil­lion more. But this could be just of taste of what Glo­bal Dim­ming has in store.”

The cli­mate model­ler Gavin Schmidt, in no way a cli­mate change “scep­tic”, que­ried the plau­si­bi­lity of this the­sis, say­ing that: “The argu­ment that (glo­bal dim­ming) would lead to huge re-assessments of future glo­bal war­ming, that it was lin­ked very cle­arly to the fami­nes in Ethio­pia, in the 1980s, with the imp­li­ca­tion that worse is to come, is hor­ri­bly pre­ma­ture. The sug­gested ‘dou­bling’ of the rate of war­ming in the future com­pa­red to even the most extreme sce­na­rio deve­l­o­ped by IPCC is highly exag­ge­ra­ted. Sup­po­sed con­se­quen­ces such as the dry­ing up of the Ama­zon Basin, melting of Green­land, and a North Afri­can cli­mate regime com­ing to the UK, are sim­ply extra­po­la­ti­ons built upon these exag­ge­ra­ti­ons. Whe­ther these con­clu­si­ons are actually a fair sum­mary of what the sci­en­tists quo­ted in the pro­gram wan­ted to say is unknown. Howe­ver, while these extreme noti­ons might make good tele­vi­sion, they do a dis­ser­vice to the science.”

Most of the sci­en­tists who appeared on the pro­gramme pro­ved wil­ling to dis­cuss its style and con­tent and most expres­sed simi­lar, though more nuan­ced, objec­tions. Beate Lie­pert said that “during the rese­arch pro­cess for the docu­men­tary I repea­tedly rai­sed my con­cerns about lin­king the indi­rect effect and the Sahel drought.” Gra­ham Far­quar said: “The­pro­gram was not scrip­ted in the way that I would have done. But I guess that you’d have to say that if I scrip­ted it, only my mother would have wat­ched it.” David Tra­vis said: “I believe the Hori­zons show on glo­bal dim­ming was defi­ni­tely over-produced and over-dramatized. Howe­ver, I don’t think this is neces­sa­rily a bad thing. Wit­hout such effects much of the youn­ger audi­ence would likely have lost inte­rest half-way through and the sort of dis­cus­sions that are going on now would pro­bably not be hap­pe­ning. I did howe­ver find mys­elf fee­ling uncom­for­ta­ble in spots where state­ments see­med a bit too bold wit­hout suf­fi­ci­ent evi­dence to back them up (even one of my own!). Leo Rot­stayn said: I agree that some of the words in the Glo­bal Dim­ming docu­men­tary were alar­mist. It scree­ned in Aus­tra­lia a few weeks ago, with some chan­ges to the voice over to make it a little less alar­mist. It seems to have had a strong impact on many people who saw it, and I have mixed fee­lings about whe­ther it is justi­fied to be slightly ‘alar­mist’ in order to get a strong mes­sage across. After all, if I had writ­ten the docu­men­tary, com­plete with caveats and qua­li­fi­ca­ti­ons, it would have put most of the view­ers to sleep! On the other hand, as a pro­fes­sio­nal sci­en­tist, I feel that it is import­ant to be as accu­rate as possible.”

In a mes­sage to Gavin Schmidt, the programme’s pro­du­cer David Sing­ton said: “I want to refute the notion that Peter Cox, or any other sci­en­tist taking part in this or in any other of the films I have made, was »mug­ged« with trick ques­ti­ons and made to seem to say things he does not believe. …. Dr Schmidt’s sug­ges­tion is a serious libel (tanta­mount to accu­sing a sci­en­tist of fal­si­fy­ing his or her data). “The Hori­zon film” he con­clu­ded “was seen by 3.5 mil­lion view­ers (rep­re­sen­ting about 7% of the adult popu­la­tion of the UK) and that copies were reques­ted by the Prime Minister’s office. The issues it dis­cus­sed are being actively deba­ted in Britain.”

From the com­mu­ni­ca­ti­ons of a num­ber of indi­vi­du­als on both sides of the “cli­mate change” debate it is clear that fol­lo­wing the scree­ning of the pro­gramme to such a large audi­ence, David Sing­ton was delu­ged with e-mails from Bri­tish people con­cer­ned about “chem­trails” and/or geo­en­gi­nee­ring. It is equally clear that he was abso­lu­tely deter­mined to keep his dis­tance from the “con­spi­racy theo­rists”, even boas­ting about this to a cli­mate change con­tra­rian who wrote to him to com­plain about the Glo­bal Dim­ming programme’s sen­sa­tio­na­lism and “bias”. Having taken rece­ipt of Sington’s ing­ra­tia­ting reply, the con­tra­rian then lea­ked their pri­vate cor­re­spon­dence onto the Inter­net. Sing­ton could not have been plea­sed about this. Could he have avo­ided all these pro­blems by making a dif­fe­rent docu­men­tary: less sen­sa­tio­na­listic, more truth­ful, more adequate?

Stav­ros Dimas

Erik Meijer’s ques­ti­ons in the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment were ans­we­red on behalf of the Com­mis­sion by Environ­men­tal Com­mis­sio­ner Stav­ros Dimas. A Greek con­ser­va­tive poli­ti­cian with a Wall Street and World Bank back­ground, Dimas has nevert­he­l­ess, in par­ti­cu­lar through his stan­ding feud with Enter­prise and Indus­try Com­mis­sio­ner Guen­ter Ver­heu­gen, acqui­red a repu­ta­tion of being rela­tively sym­pa­the­tic to the objec­tives of the environ­men­tal move­ment. In one of his first spee­ches to the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment as Environ­men­tal Com­mis­sio­ner he iden­ti­fied his policy prio­ri­ties as cli­mate change, bio­di­ver­sity, public health and sus­taina­bi­lity. The Greens and the left-wing GUE/NGL (Erik Meijer’s grou­ping) oppo­sed his appoint­ment, cal­ling him “incom­pe­tent”, but the Greens later chan­ged posi­tion and in recent years they have co-operated with Dimas on environ­men­tal issues.

In Decem­ber 2004 at UN cli­mate change talks in Bue­nos Aires Dimas attemp­ted to nego­tiate a new sys­tem of man­datory emis­si­ons reduc­tions to fol­low the expi­ra­tion of the initial Kyoto tar­gets in 2012. This brought him into head-on con­flict with the U.S. govern­ment. Dimas is on record as say­ing “the fight against cli­mate change is much more than a battle. It is a world war that will last many years.” In 2006 he laun­ched a high-profile cam­paign for inclu­ding avia­tion in the Euro­pean Union emis­si­ons tra­ding scheme.

Let us examine Com­mis­sio­ner Dimas’ ans­wers to Erik Meijer:

To Meijer’s first ques­tion of whe­ther the Com­mis­sion is aware of the ques­ti­ons the public is asking, Dimas replied: “The Com­mis­sion is aware of claims that such trends and pheno­mena exist. Howe­ver, the Com­mis­sion is not aware of any evi­dence sub­stan­tia­ting such claims. The extent to which air­craft con­den­sa­tion trails form and the speed at which they disap­pear are in the first instance deter­mined by pres­sure, tem­pe­ra­ture, and the rela­tive humi­dity of a given flight level. Fuel and com­bus­tion pro­per­ties and the over­all pro­pul­sive effi­ci­ency may also have an impact. Any chan­ges or trends in the extent to which con­trails are repor­ted to remain visi­ble and deve­lop into more wides­pread clouds may thus be due to fac­tors such as chan­ges in

- meteo­ro­lo­gi­cal conditions

- traf­fic volumes

- jet-engine efficiency”

To the second ques­tion about the con­tent of what were being cal­led “chem­trails” , Dimas replied: “The Com­mis­sion is aware of such claims but is not aware of any evi­dence that par­ti­cles of barium, alu­mi­nium or iron are being emit­ted, deli­be­ra­tely or not, by aircraft.”

To the third ques­tion of whe­ther the spray­ing helps to cause rain, bene­fit telecom­mu­ni­ca­ti­ons or com­bat cli­mate change, the reply was: “No. It can­not be pre­clu­ded that the release of such par­ti­cles might affect pre­ci­pi­ta­tion and cli­mate change, but as indi­ca­ted above the Com­mis­sion is not aware of any evi­dence that such relea­ses take place.”

To the fourth ques­tion on whe­ther “chem­trails” are now being employed in Europe the reply was: “The Com­mis­sion is not aware of any evi­dence that such methods are being employed in Europe.”

To the fifth ques­tion on pos­si­ble disad­van­ta­ges of the spray­ing, the Com­mis­sio­ner replied: “None of the sub­stan­ces refer­red to are hazar­dous per se, but some effects on environ­ment and public health can not be ruled out if large scale relea­ses to the air occurred.”

To the sixth ques­tion on whe­ther the Euro­pean Union is co-ordinating action to prevent uni­la­te­ral actions with cross-border impact, Stav­ros Dimas said: “The Com­mis­sion is not aware of any evi­dence sug­gesting that there is any rea­son to act.”

Rosa­lind Peterson’s comments

So far the only com­ments avail­able on Dimas’ reply to Erik Mei­jer are those made by the Cali­for­nian farm activist Rosa­lind Peter­son. Argu­ably the most effec­tive “real­po­li­ti­ker” amongst the chem­trails opponents, Peter­son has adop­ted a tac­tic of avo­iding the term “chem­trail” and igno­ring dis­tinc­tions bet­ween “acci­den­tal” air­line emis­si­ons and the “deli­be­rate” use of air­craft emis­si­ons for geo­en­gi­nee­ring pur­po­ses. What this amounts to of course is igno­ring the most likely rea­sons for the stra­tegy of avo­idance and deceit prac­tised by govern­ments. But it is a tac­tic that appears to have paid off, inso­far as Rosa­lind Peter­son has been invi­ted to speak in Sep­tem­ber 2007 to a United Nati­ons mee­ting of Non-Governmental Orga­niza­ti­ons in New York. This makes her the only chem­trails activist to have recei­ved anything approa­ching this degree of recognition.

Peterson’s com­ments on Meijer’s sub­mis­sion and the Dimas response to it on behalf of the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion are instil­led with the same spi­rit of “rea­lism”, rea­lism in this instance mea­ning con­cen­tra­ting on play­ing the game more effec­tively on the terms that Dimas and the Com­mis­sion require.

To Dimas’s expla­na­tion for the for­ma­tion of long-lasting con­den­sa­tion trails, Rosa­lind Peter­son says: “This is the stan­dard ans­wer and lets them off the hook. You have to ask why NASA is making state­ments in their reports and stu­dies which show that per­sis­tent jet con­trails turn into man-made clouds, that exa­cer­bate glo­bal war­ming, increase earth’s clou­di­ness, affect natu­ral resour­ces and change our cli­mate. Face them with real docu­ments, etc. Then they can’t squeeze out with the usual sto­ries and explanations.”

To Dimas’ asser­tion that the Com­mis­sion is “not aware of any evi­dence that par­ti­cles of barium, alu­mi­nium or iron are being emit­ted, deli­be­ra­tely or not, by air­craft”, Peter­son says: “What we can prove are the spikes in drin­king water supplies. And we can also prove that these che­mi­cals are being used by NASA in atmo­s­phe­ric hea­ting and tes­ting experiments.”

To Dimas’ asser­tion that “none of the sub­stan­ces refer­red to are hazar­dous per se, but some effects on environ­ment and public health can not be ruled out if large scale relea­ses to the air occur­red” Peter­son says “incre­a­sing acid rains com­bi­ned with alu­mi­num can kill trees, which can’t absorb the nut­ri­ents and water through the root sys­tems once alu­mi­num is found in the roots. They look as if they are dying of drought.”

Rosa­lind Peter­son argues that Dimas’ posi­ti­ons can be coun­tered “just by the facts on jet fuel emis­si­ons alone, the nitric acid which redu­ces the bene­fi­cial ozone layer, the fact that NASA sta­tes they exa­cer­bate glo­bal war­ming..” But this dis­pla­ce­ment of focus from “geo­en­gi­nee­ring” to the air­craft emis­si­ons debate if anything strengt­hens the creden­ti­als of Com­mis­sio­ner Dimas, who after all ack­now­ledges an air­craft emis­si­ons pro­blem. What he is not pre­pa­red to ack­now­ledge is his own com­pro­mise with sce­na­rios in which air­craft emis­si­ons are seen not as a pro­blem: a con­tri­bu­ting fac­tor to glo­bal war­ming, but as a SOLUTION, a way of miti­ga­ting glo­bal warming..

When Erik Mei­jer men­ti­ons “inten­ded bene­fits of emit­ting sub­stan­ces into the air” (in a con­text of also men­tio­ning “disad­van­ta­ges”), he is appa­r­ently try­ing to offer a “swee­te­ner” to Com­mis­sio­ner Dimas, to assist him in “com­ing clean” about some hypo­the­ti­cal “real atti­tu­des” the Com­mis­sio­ner might have. (“We are not going to be overly cen­so­rious,” Mei­jer seems to be imply­ing, “just tell us what you are try­ing to do.”)

Rosa­lind Peter­son will have none of this non­sense. “What bene­fits are we tal­king about, and for what?” she says: “Let them prove any bene­fits.” She then lists some disad­van­ta­ges: “How about bee health: wit­hout them no flowers, tree crops, agri­cul­ture crop pro­duc­tion will be cut. How about lack of pho­to­syn­the­sis? We can talk about what impacts the lack of sun­light is crea­ting for human health, such as rickets. Depres­sion can be cau­sed (SAD) by a lack of sunlight.«

Rosa­lind Peterson’s stance of ‘let them prove any bene­fits’ may seem more tough-minded, but there is an alter­na­tive and not neces­sa­rily less tough-minded view which would see the atti­tude of Stav­ros Dimas and the Com­mis­sion as amoun­ting to poli­ti­cal abdi­ca­tion. Faced by the task of poli­ti­cal manage­ment of a pro­gramme that has cho­sen to go ahead wit­hout first acqui­ring legal cover they can see no solu­tion for them­sel­ves other than to con­ti­nue fore­ver to lie about it.

Even gene­ra­tio­nal tur­no­ver, and the com­ing to matu­rity of young people accu­st­o­med to the sight of chem­trails, in the sky and on the media, will not solve their pro­blem, which at some point must be tack­led at the level of words, ideas, con­cepts, not just images. Europe?s lea­ders, like their Ame­ri­can mas­ters, have pain­ted them­sel­ves into a cor­ner. The poli­ti­cal igno­miny of their stance on chemtrails/geoengineering/weather modi­fi­ca­tion in a way makes them unwor­thy of being sub­ject to fur­ther peti­tio­ning. Should one waste more time asking the Com­mis­sion to ‘prove any bene­fits’ of chem­trails? Should not one instead seek to find ways of repla­c­ing such anti-democratic insti­tu­ti­ons as the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion (not to men­tion the backward-looking Euro­pean Coun­cil) with new insti­tu­ti­ons: a Euro­pean Par­lia­ment with real powers, Social Forums that can be given real con­sti­tu­tio­nal func­tions. In the con­text of such a stra­tegy Euro­par­lia­men­ta­rian Erik Meijer’s wil­ling­ness to con­sider the pos­si­bi­lity of the spray­ing pro­gramme having ‘bene­fits’ could well faci­li­tate the task of sub­jec­ting the geoengineering/weather modi­fi­ca­tion pro­gram­mes to the demo­cra­tic social con­trol that the Commission?s policy of denial makes impos­si­ble. Rather than pla­c­ing bur­dens of ‘proof of bene­fits’ on dis­credi­ted people and insti­tu­ti­ons one sta­kes the claim to be see­king to assume one­self the responsi­bi­lity that pre­sent office-holders shirk. One beco­mes an uphol­der of the prin­ci­ples of the rule of law in place of the pre­vai­ling habit of rule by deceit.

Erik Meijer’s view of the Commission’s reply to his questions:

While wri­t­ing this arti­cle we recei­ved media­ted news from Erik Mei­jer that ‘chem­trails are not his prio­rity’ and that he ‘can­not say anything serious about the ans­wer of the Com­mis­sion, because he has no serious infor­ma­tion.’ What this amounts to is fur­ther con­fir­ma­tion of the ten­dency alre­ady noted with other par­lia­men­tary poli­ti­ci­ans to drop the chem­trails issue when con­fron­ted by offi­cial sto­ne­wal­ling, eit­her at natio­nal govern­men­tal level, or as now, from the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion. The fact is that so far no poli­ti­ci­ans have been elec­ted to office on the strength of their stance on chem­trails, a fact which could well raise in any politician’s mind the ques­tion: ‘How many votes are there in this for me?’ It is pro­bably worthwhile try­ing to get some chem­trails poli­ti­ci­ans elec­ted. But at the same time there should, in Europe, be move­ment on the insti­tu­tio­nal front, lin­king the abdi­ca­tion of the poli­ti­cal sys­tem on the chemtrails/weather modi­fi­ca­tion front with a wider cri­sis of legi­ti­ma­tion. Per­haps it is time to bring out an inter­na­tio­nal (US/Canadian/European) ver­sion of a peti­tion alre­ady cir­cu­la­ting in the United Sta­tes, with thousands of signa­tures HERE