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Archives - April 2003

April 30, 2003

"Enron, Malaria and the Public Interest" - "Some Enron executives have already gone to jail, and more probably will. They defrauded the public; and, in some cases their own company, with their high-flying stock manipulations. We have the Securities Exchange Commission, anti-trust laws and accounting standards, to ensure good business practices. Enron didn’t live up to them.

A Tulane University scientist, Steven R. Arnold, was banned from working on federal grant projects because he misled the country, and the Congress, by overstating the dangers of pesticides. His fellow scientists blew the whistle, because they couldn’t replicate his supposed findings.

Congressman James Traficante of Ohio was expelled from the Congress in 2002 after a Federal judge ruled he used his office for fraud.

So what do we tell the people of Africa about their malaria epidemic? More than a million Africans per year die from malaria, a scourge that could have been cost-effectively controlled through the indoor use of DDT. America and Europe eradicated the malaria before they renounced DDT and then began pressuring Africa to give it up too." (Dennis Avery, CGFI)

"French chemicals industry worried by new EU policy" - "BRUSSELS - The French economy could suffer to the tune of 50 billion euros if European Commission plans to regulate the chemicals industry are made too tough, the French chemicals industry and a study said. Chemical firms are trying to persuade the European Commission to scale down a bill, due to be published in July, that will force them to register safety data about thousands of products that are not currently regulated." (Reuters)

Extra! Tollgates inhibit spermatozoon motility! "Traffic pollution shown to damage sperm quality" - "LONDON - Traffic pollution can affect male fertility by damaging sperm, Italian scientists said today. After studying 85 attendants at tollgates on Italian motorways, researchers at the University of Naples in southern Italy discovered the men had poorer quality sperm than other young and middle-aged Italian workers in the same area." (Reuters)

Oh puh-lease! "Are we all doomed?" - "Nuclear terrorism, engineered viruses, rogue machines - technology is throwing up all kinds of new apocalyptic threats. So, asks the Astronomer Royal, Sir Martin Rees, can our planet survive?" (Independent)

"The hook hurts - will anglers feel the pain?" - "BYRON described angling as “the cruellest of pretended sports”. Now, two centuries later, research has finally backed him up by declaring that fish can feel pain. If, as the study published yesterday by the Royal Society suggests, the cod in fish and chips, the salmon in sandwiches and the prize trout on the wall suffered to get there, then these islands’ most popular sport and a major industry may be in trouble." (The Times)

"'Just Say No' To Cheeseburgers?" - " We thought we'd seen it all. Apologists for the dubious concept of a global "obesity epidemic" have already gone on the offensive with fast-food lawsuits, demands for complicated labels on restaurant menus, taxpayer-funded campaigns designed to denigrate specific foods and beverages, proposed school-lunch bans of harmless foods like peanut butter and graham crackers, declarations of "statewide emergencies," and laughable claims of heroin-like "food addiction." They've even fudged public-health numbers to make their point. But the nannies in New Zealand have just vaulted themselves over (or should we say down under?) everything we've seen here in the United States." (Center For Consumer Freedom)

"Fever..." - "A Joint Assembly of EGS-AGU-EUG took place in Nice, France, from 7th to 11th April. As usual, our saviours of the planet manage to find themselves an exotic (and expensive) resort in which to play - at the expense of taxpayers. Their performance, as reported in New Scientist, did not disappoint. The delegates fell over themselves trying to outdo each other in predicting dire future catastrophes delivered up by `global warming'." (Still Waiting For Greenhouse)

"Global warming threatens food shortages in developing countries - Researchers predict possible 10% or greater drop in maize production" - "In a report published in Global Environmental Change, researchers forecast potential annual losses of up to 10 million tons of maize due to climate change caused by global warming. The losses could eventually affect 140 million people in developing countries.

Maize, known as corn in the U.S. and Canada, is essential to the diets of hundreds of millions of people around the world. Nearly 50% of the world's maize supply is produced in the developing world, where it serves as both a staple food for people and as livestock feed.

Researchers at two Future Harvest Centers of the CGIAR - the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) in Cali, Colombia, and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Nairobi, Kenya - used a computer-modeling program called MarkSim to make the projection. MarkSim simulates weather conditions at different locations based on data from thousands of weather stations worldwide." (SeedQuest)

"Not So Hot" - "History is written, Herodotus says, "in the hope of preserving from decay the remembrance of what men have done, and of preventing the great and wonderful actions of the Greeks and the barbarians from losing their due meed of glory."

The history of man concerns itself not only with a recitation of events, people and places, but also with what our actions say about the essence of humankind.

But the history of ancient climates - or paleoclimates - is wholly simpler. It is largely the detailing of climate variations, which are gotten from repositories contained in physical components of the environment that have responded to climate change. With modern technology, the tales of the environment can be told from changes in chemical, biological and geological signals that are stored in the ecosystem. From those changes, hypotheses on the causes of climate change - past and future - can be tested." (Sallie Baliunas and Willie Soon, TCS)

"Is a Climate Regime Shift to Cooler Conditions Beginning to Manifest Itself in Certain of the World's Waters?" - "Summary: We review some of the recent evidence that is beginning to point in that direction." (co2science.org)

Subject Index Summaries:
"Arctic Temperature Trends" - "Summary: Climate alarmists say they depict unprecedented warming due to anthropogenic CO2 emissions. Real-world data suggest otherwise." (co2science.org)

"Herbivory (Woody Plants)" - "Summary: How will future increases in the air's CO2 content affect the consumption of woody-plant foliage by herbivores?" (co2science.org)

Current Journal Reviews:
"Climatic Information Derived from Great Barrier Reef Coral Luminescent Lines" - "Summary: What does it tell us about recent strong ENSO events and contemporary coral bleaching? The Holocene 13: 187-199." (co2science.org)

"A 2300-Year History of Climate and Water Quality Changes in Chesapeake Bay" - "Summary: What can it tell us about millennial-scale climate change, droughts and megadroughts, and the sensitivity of corals to global warming? The Holocene 13: 201-214." (co2science.org)

"More Evidence for the Medieval Warm Period in Africa" - "Summary: As the case for a global Medieval Warm Period grow stronger and stronger, the case for CO2-induced global warming grows weaker and weaker. The Holocene 13: 285-292." (co2science.org)

"U.S. lawmakers reject higher fuel standard for SUVs" - "WASHINGTON - A Senate committee rejected a proposal on Tuesday to make trucks and gas-guzzling SUVs meet the same federal gasoline mileage standard as passenger cars.

Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California offered the proposal as an amendment to an energy bill being debated by the Senate Energy Committee. She said the higher fuel standard would have reduced U.S. oil imports by 1 million barrels a day, 10 percent of America's daily foreign crude purchases. U.S. crude oil imports hit a record high last week." (Reuters)

"Siting windmills in parks irks environmentalists" - "Efforts to build environmentally friendly wind power plants in Japan have been causing a stir because the best locations for windmills are often national parks, where they could actually do harm to natural ecosystems." (The Japan Times)

"GM food giant could face disaster, claims Greenpeace report" - "A report on the prospects for the genetic engineering giant Monsanto, which has 91% of the world's market in GM seeds, says the company "could be another financial disaster waiting to happen". Innovest, which specialises in environmental, social, and strategic governance issues and is based in New York, says the company may not be able to obtain insurance against risks of contamination of food and other farm products, which might result in big compensation claims." (The Guardian)

"Zambia Develops Biotechnology Strategy" - "LUSAKA, Zambia, April 29, 2003 - Seven months after Zambia rejected genetically modified foods and banned American transgenic food donations from entering its territory, the Zambian government has developed a National Biosafety and Biotechnology Strategy Plan. The five year plan, from 2003 to 2007, will take care of the unwarranted proliferation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in the country. It also sets the pace for Zambia to develop biosafety regulations to protect the country's unique biodiversity." (ENS)

April 29, 2003

"Scientists Want Ban On DDT Pesticide Lifted" - "Kenya government is considering re-introducing use of DDT-pesticide in controlling malaria and sleeping sickness, putting regional measures on control of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in jeopardy.

Speaking on April 19 in Nairobi, Minister for Environment and Natural Resources, Dr Newton Kulundu, said the ban on DDT may have been out of an exaggeration of its dangers by scientists. He argued that available evidence against DDT was not sufficient for its continued ban." (African Church Information Service)

"DDT takes a bite out of KwaZulu-Natal's malaria rate" - "The tiny settlement, nestled in the scenic Lubombo mountains in eastern KwaZulu-Natal near the borders with Swaziland and Mozambique, lies at the heart of the highest risk malaria area in the country. But prevention strategies, including the use of treated mosquito nets and the controversial insecticide DDT, have seen a drastic reduction in the incidence of malaria." (The Daily News)

"Prince Charles, science and 'grey goo'" - " PRINCE Charles has warned that life on Earth could be wiped out by scientists playing God with potentially lethal new technologies. The Mail on Sunday newspaper has learned that the Prince has summoned experts to a crisis summit over fears that the planet could be engulfed in a so-called grey goo catastrophe caused by experiments going wrong. The campaign reflects his continuing concern over environmental issues following his successful crusade in highlighting the dangers of genetically modified food, and centres on nanotechnology, the cutting-edge new science that involves meddling with the molecules and atoms that make up the universe. His intervention last night set him on a collision course with the Government, which has given its full support to scientists involved in this controversial research, claiming it could be worth a fortune for British industry." (Daily Telegraph) | Brave new world or miniature menace? Why Charles fears grey goo nightmare (The Guardian)

"Prince’s 'goo' fears are nonsense, say experts" - "THE Prince of Wales was ridiculed by Nobel prize-winning scientists yesterday for raising fears that miniature robots could turn the world into “grey goo”.

Leading experts, including two of Britain’s Nobel laureates, accused the Prince of ignorance and scaremongering after he expressed his concerns about nanotechnology.

The emerging science, which involves building tiny machines from atoms and molecules, holds great promise for medicine and electronics, but some environmentalists have suggested it could lead to the creation of uncontrollable, self-replicating “nanobots.” (The Times)

"Statistical Traffic Wreck" - "Last week we heard on every news channel and read in every newspaper the disturbing news that more people had been killed in traffic accidents in 2002 than the previous year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) had announced that 42,850 people had been killed in 38,356 fatal crashes, compared with 42,116 killed in 37,795 fatal accidents in 2001. There was much breast-beating and furrowing of brows at the news and the blame industry went into overdrive. The NHTSA itself provided much ammunition, and two of the blame industry's favorite targets were fingered: SUVs and alcohol. Yet a closer look at the details reveals that these figures are not the disaster they were portrayed as, and that there is one culprit that stands out above all else as the cause of most deaths." (Iain Murray, TCS)

"Fatty acids, the new 2 per cent rule" - "28/04/03 - From the beginning of June this year Denmark will become the first country in the world to introduce restrictions on the use of industrially produced trans fatty acids. The move follows an extensive review of all current knowledge on the impact of trans fatty acids on health.

Over a number of years, the Danish Nutrition Council reviewed all available research on these potentially harmful fatty acids, concluding that to a large extent they are responsible for the development of cardiovascular diseases. Trans fatty acids are also believed to have an impact on the weight of the foetus and the development of geriatric diabetes (Type 2 diabetes), reports the Danish Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries." (FoodNavigator.com)

AP & UCS recycling effort: "Great Lakes Study links emissions to rise in temperature" - "SOUTHFIELD, Mich. - The Big Three automakers and power companies indirectly emerged as leading culprits in the causes behind projected temperature spikes in the Great Lakes region over the coming century, according to a two-year study." (Associated Press)

"Emissions tax will hurt competitiveness" - "The Government ratified the Kyoto Protocol in December 2002. Climate change policy is now developing rapidly and alarm bells are ringing. Policy outlined to date applies up to the end of the first commitment period - 2012. No progress has been made in international forums on the US and Australia joining the protocol and how developing countries will take on obligations for the second commitment period. So New Zealand's longer-term obligations are not at all clear. Some of the technologies needed to reduce emissions to a meaningful extent will take 20-plus years to develop. Climate change policy should recognise this and not rely on such a blunt instrument as an emissions tax." (New Zealand Herald)

"Clinton emissions proposal could help Corning" - "CORNING -- Outside Corning Inc.'s Riverfront Plaza headquarters, Tom Trueblood held a cloth over the exhaust-pipe opening of a diesel powered school bus Monday while the driver revved the engine. Then Trueblood, a representative of International Truck and Engine Corp., passed the still-pristine cloth to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., who sniffed it. "It's like a magic trick," Clinton said. "It's pretty exciting." So exciting, in fact, that Clinton will introduce legislation later this week authorizing "hundreds of millions" of dollars in federal funds for grants to school districts so they can make the exhaust on their school buses clean enough to sniff." (Gannett News Service)

"New report says no need to tighten motor vehicle carbon monoxide emissions standards" - "WASHINGTON (04/28/03) -- The regulation of carbon monoxide has been one of the great success stories in air pollution control, says a new report from the National Academies' National Research Council. Although a few areas that are still susceptible to accumulating high levels of the pollutant need to remain vigilant in controlling emissions and monitoring air quality, there is no need to tighten current federal carbon monoxide emissions standards on motor vehicles, the report adds." (Capitol Reports)

"No guarantee GM crop contamination can be contained" - "WIDESPREAD commercial cultivation of GM crops in the UK would make it "difficult, and in some places impossible to guarantee" that any UK food is GM free, it has been claimed. A background report being prepared for the government’s official GM advisers, the Agriculture and Environment Biotechnology Commission (AEBC), yesterday questioned whether GM and non-GM crops can coexist. The government is expected to make a decision on the future commercialisation of GM crops within the next 12 months." (The Scotsman)

April 28, 2003

"Don't panic: flu, malaria and falling down stairs are bigger killers" - "You are more likely to die from influenza, malaria or even by falling down the stairs at home. But that hasn't stopped the fear of Sars escalating out of all proportion to the risks.

The new virus has killed around 260 people since last November. "In that period of time, tens of thousands could be expected to have died from flu and pneumonia," said Dr Peter Marsh, a social psychologist and director of the social issues research centre at Oxford." (The Guardian)

"Sars is not to be sneezed at, but …" - "It's an ill wind that blows nobody any good, and while the citizens of Beijing don their white masks before nervously venturing out, and travellers on flights out of Hong Kong view the most innocent of sneezes with deep suspicion, they are hanging out the bunting at the Geneva headquarters of the World Health Organisation. The Sars epidemic has arrived in the nick of time to salvage the reputation of - in the words of Richard Horton, the editor of The Lancet - "this heavily-corroded bureaucracy that over the last two decades has variously 'failed', 'neglected' and 'provided no urgent sense of leadership in combating the health problems of the world's poorest people' ".

Dr Horton's caustic comments reflect the common opinion that after four years in office the WHO's outgoing director general, Dr Gro Harlam Brundtland, a former prime minister of Norway, has failed to re-orient her organisation's priorities to combating the downward spiral of ill health that affects the countries of sub-Saharan Africa. Rather, it continues to fritter away its energies on a mind-boggling array of peripheral issues and unrelated tasks. Three-quarters of its resources go to paying its own staff in their expensive offices around the world. Notoriously the WHO spends more on stationery and office supplies than preventing the major cause of childhood deaths in the Third World - diarrhoeal diseases." (Dr James Le Fanu, Daily Telegraph)

"Malaria is killing one African child every 30 seconds" - "Malaria is killing more children in Africa than ever before, it continues to impoverish much of the continent, and drugs to fight it have all but run out. So concludes the first comprehensive report on malaria in Africa, published today, Africa Malaria Day." (NSU)

"Malaria project in funding crisis" - "The World Health Organisation's (WHO) goal to reduce malaria deaths by 75% by 2015 looks set to fail due to lack of international aid, according to Harvard researchers. An article published this month in the online open access Malaria Journal, states that current funding to fight this killer disease is less than 7% of what is needed." (BioMed Central)

"Study suggests DDT-breast cancer link" - "NEW YORK - Women with breast cancer may be more likely to have pesticide residues in their blood, a new study from Belgium suggests. In the study, women with breast cancer were more likely to have residues of the chemicals DDT and HCB in their blood than women who did not have cancer. "These results add to the growing evidence that certain persistent pollutants may occur in higher concentrations in blood samples from breast cancer patients than controls," writes a team led by Dr. Charles Charlier of Sart Tilman Hospital in Liege, Belgium."

Really? What about people with stressors such as cancer breaking down fat deposits, isn't it expected that fat-deposited compounds like DDT would then exhibit increased blood concentration? At least this item continues:

"Nonetheless, the findings do not prove that exposure to the chemicals causes breast cancer. In fact, a 2001 analysis of five studies involving more than 1,400 people with breast cancer and more than 1,600 people without cancer living in New York, Maryland and Connecticut found no association between DDT and chemicals called PCBs and breast cancer." (Reuters Health)

"Family of vegetarian vCJD victim question doctors' late diagnosis" - "THE family of a student who died of a brain disorder linked to BSE despite being bought up a vegetarian is demanding to know why his condition went undiagnosed for nearly 12 months. Jorawar Gill, 20, from Warwickshire, died this month after suffering for two and a half years from vCJD, a variant of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease that has been linked to BSE, or "mad cow disease". Although Mr Gill was brought up as a vegetarian, he ate meat outside the family home." (The Scotsman)

"Heart attacks 'triggered by air pollution'" - "Small rises in urban air pollution can trigger an increased number of potentially fatal heart attacks, an international study has discovered. Doctors have found that even slight daily increases in sulphur dioxide – one of the main culprits for the lethal London smogs of the early 1950s – will lead to an increase in hospital admissions for heart illnesses." (Independent)

"Optimists fail to make electricity bills add up" - "The vision of a Britain in 2010 populated by wind-farms supplying enough electricity to power more than seven Manchesters can be realised, Brian Wilson has insisted. But the energy minister's confidence is not matched by a growing chorus of experts.

Industry analysis of the government's plans has revealed growing doubts about the feasibility - and likely cost - of its strategy. The high-profile launch of the energy white paper in February masked its lack of detailed proposals, critics claim. Most of the media coverage focused on Tony Blair's impassioned plea to tackle global warming rather than the nitty gritty of the strategy.

"We were lucky to get away with it, to be honest," a government insider told the FT. But such immunity will not last for ever. Industry groups, green lobbyists and politicians appear increasingly doubtful that the government can deliver on its promises." (Financial Times)

"Environmentalists Try Scare Tactics On Shareholders" - "GORDON Gecko would be proud. After all, environmental activists have adopted his style: using annual shareholder meetings to manipulate investors into voting for their agenda. Although these radicals are promoting a different concept than that of Wall Street raiders, their results are nevertheless the same - costing the corporations they target a lot of money just to make them go away." (Hilary Kramer, New York Post)

"Beyond The Village People" - "Fareed Zakaria, the influential writer and author of the important new book The Future of Freedom, provided some useful perspective on globalization and technology in a recent interview with New York magazine. Describing his support for economic liberalization - warts and all - Zakaria said his views were shaped by the fact that after living in India, "You are very quickly inured to the charms of pre-industrial village life." (Nick Schulz, TCS)

"Animal Feeding Studies Confirm Safety of Biotech Crops" - "Birds, animals, and fish were recently fed genetically enhanced crops in more than 40 tests conducted around the world with no evidence of biotech genes being transferred to the creatures that ate the biotech crops.

The tests included pigs, chickens, catfish, dairy cows, beef cows, and sheep. Comprehensive analysis of their blood, tissues, eggs, and milk showed no evidence of any genetically modified gene fragments.

Granted, these tests were done primarily to check the healthfulness of the meat, milk, and eggs. However, this is also some of the most comprehensive testing we can expect from the standpoint of human safety. (After all, we aren’t going to take human tissue samples from people who’ve eaten biotech foods.)" (Dennis Avery, CGFI)

"Green light for GM crops" - "THE first genetically modified commercial food crop could be planted in NSW within months. Australia's GM regulator has signalled it could approve Bayer CropScience's application to plant herbicide-resistant canola. Pro-GM campaigners claim it would result in higher crop yields, flourishing exports, better weed control, increased profits for farmers and competition with other GM-canola producing countries, like Canada. Critics insist the health effects and ecological impact of the planting have been under-researched. The Commonwealth Office of the Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR) is expected to approve the application to plant commercial GM canola crops on May 26." (Australian Daily Telegraph)

"Two new reports from UK farm industry body SCIMAC support prospects for GM crop co-existence" - "Fresh information from UK farm industry body SCIMAC (Supply Chain Initiative on Modified Agricultural Crops) has given a major boost to prospects for managing GM and non-GM crops at the practical farm level. The two new reports were issued as EU stakeholders met at a roundtable forum in Brussels (24 April) to discuss co-existence - how to manage the production of GM and non-GM crops on the same farm or between neighbouring farms." (SeedQuest)

"Wheat groups ask USDA to shun biotech critics" - "WASHINGTON - U.S. wheat industry leaders last week asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture to press ahead with its review of Monsanto Co.'s biotech wheat and deny a bid by opponents of genetically modified wheat to block regulatory approval." (Reuters)

"Brazil seals port silos holding GM Argentine corn" - "SAO PAULO, Brazil - Brazil's environmental protection agency, Ibama, said last week 17,800 tonnes of genetically modified Argentine corn would be sealed in silos at the Port of Recife until its use and transportation were clearly defined." (Reuters)

"India rejects plea for gene cotton variety" - "NEW DELHI - India said last week it had rejected a plea by a Bombay-based company to produce a genetically modified cotton hybrid as it was not resistant to cotton leaf curl virus." (Reuters)

"Blair faces huge resistance to his support for GM crops" - "Opposition to genetically modified crops and food remains formidable, new research reveals, as the Government gears up to take the crucial decision on whether GM crops should be grown commercially in Britain. An official national GM debate and three big reports on GM technology are all due in the next few months to prepare the way for the decision, which after three years' delay will finally be taken later this year by the Secretary of State for Environment in consultation with the Prime Minister." (Independent)

"More genetically modified foods cropping up" - "Once a tiny kink in the food chain, genetically modified foods have become a staple in America's diet. Almost one-third of all corn planted in Wisconsin this spring will come from genetically altered varieties. Among soybeans, nearly 80% of the crop will be genetically modified. Nationwide, some 40 different crops are approved for commercial use, according to the Council for Biotechnology Information. More and more, these crops are becoming ingredients in everything from soups to pizzas to soft drinks. "We eat genetically modified foods every day," said C. Neal Stewart, a plant geneticist at the University of Tennessee. "If you have any romantic notions about natural foods, lose them." (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

"The GM labelling debate" - "Front Lines is a guest viewpoint section offering perspectives on current issues and events from people working on the front lines of Canada’s technology industry. The author is a member of the Biology Department at Malaspina University College in Nanaimo, B.C. He has a science degree in microbiology and a masters of science in biochemistry and molecular biology from the University of British Columbia." (Globe and Mail)

"In-your-face genetically modified wheat" - "If North American farmers aren't asking for it and the global food market says it won't buy it, you'd assume the very idea of genetically modified wheat would have a short, unhappy life, right? Wrong. Monsanto, the company that gave the world Astroturf, hopes to bring GMO spring wheat to you whether you or the marketplace wants it or not. In mid-December, Monsanto petitioned both the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Canadian government to approve its Roundup Ready hard spring wheat for sale." (American News)

April 25, 2003

"World Health Baloney" - "The international lifestyle nannies have struck again. The World Health Organization just issued new dietary guidelines allegedly to "combat the growing burden of chronic disease." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

Lead-beats - Last week's New England Journal of Medicine contained a "study" reporting that blood lead levels below the current standard of 10 micrograms/deciliter are associated with lower IQs in children. Here's what you need to know.

The study is another small, weak study that indicates nothing. The results are weak statistical associations further weakened by inadequate consideration of confounding risk factors and absence of a biological explanation for the results. But don't take my word for it.

The study authors admitted, "it is not possible to draw causal inferences from these findings... it is not possible to control for all potentially confounding variables... we did not explore possible biological mechanisms that could explain this finding" -- of course I didn't see any of these comments reported in the media.

The lead-junk scientist for this study is the notorious Bruce Lanphear.

"Fat Chance " - "Scientists are zeroing in on the culprit behind the over-hyped "epidemic" of obesity, and it's not fast-food. Shocked? Don't be -- the answer is as near as your treadmill." (Center For Consumer Freedom)

"Overexposure to pesticides may have contributed to Gulf War illness, Pentagon says" - "WASHINGTON - Tens of thousands of soldiers in the first Gulf War may have been overexposed to pesticides and that may have contributed to some veterans' unexplained illnesses, the Pentagon says in a report." (Associated Press)

"Gulf troops face tests for cancer" - "Soldiers returning from the Gulf will be offered tests to check levels of depleted uranium in their bodies to assess whether they are in danger of suffering kidney damage and lung cancer as a result of exposure, the Ministry of Defence said last night.

The ministry was responding to a warning earlier in the day from the Royal Society, Britain's premier scientific body, that soldiers and civilians might be exposed to dangerous levels. It challenged earlier reassurances from the defence secretary, Geoff Hoon, that depleted uranium was not a risk." (The Guardian)

Quote of the day [ em ]: "Babies can develop dangerous heart condition: study" - "WASHINGTON - Babies under a year old are especially prone to develop a deadly heart condition called cardiomyopathy, and the condition, while rare, may occur more often than doctors believed, researchers said on Wednesday.

They said pediatricians have been given the wrong advice for years -- that the heart condition was most likely to develop in late childhood.

But Dr. Steven Lipshultz of the University of Rochester, said he and colleagues found the opposite.

"A pediatrician who is concerned about a child potentially having a heart problem may consult some of today's most popular cardiology textbooks, and he or she will read that it is unusual for a young child to get cardiomyopathy," Lipshultz said in a statement.

"This study shows that children are about 10 times more likely to develop cardiomyopathy during their first year of life than ages two to 18 combined," he added. "This study shows that expert opinion from around the world is not a viable substitute for examining the data." (Reuters)

Nature Science Update? "Pollutocrats christened; Contest earns anti-environmentalists new nickname" - "According to environmental webzine Grist, those who trash the environment have earned themselves a new name: pollutocrat. The word scooped first prize in a competition to replace the long-winded moniker, anti-environmentalist." (NSU)

Science? Sounds more like eco-theism to me, which might explain Nature's increasingly bizarre activity of recent years.

"Storm in a coffee cup" - "You can smell it as you come around the corner of Third Avenue, Brooklyn, into 19th Street: the rich, dark, friendly aroma of fresh coffee. But the fragrance is driving Donald Schoenholt, above, America’s oldest coffee roaster, out of business. Gillies Coffee, founded in 1840, has been fined $400 (£250) by New York’s environmental agency after a complaint from a local resident. Mr Schoenholt, owner of Gillies, who has spent $26,000 defending his business, says that as he cannot prevent his coffee from giving off an aroma he has no alternative but to shut up shop, dismiss his 26 employees and relocate to New Jersey." (The Times)

"VIRTUAL CLIMATE ALERT: April 24, 2003 Vol. 4, No.8" - "Ross Gelbspan celebrated Earth Day 2003 with publication of his op-ed in the Boston Globe wherein he opines about the damage global warming will inflict upon earth’s ecosystems. True to form, he proposes fixes that will at the same time cure any number of global problems, not only climate change but Third World poverty, threats to public health, and joblessness. Climate change long has been the keystone locking in place Gelbspan’s belief structure. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that the policies he prescribes include carbon taxes, travel taxes, proliferating wind farms, more solar "assemblies," and beefing up the Kyoto process. But there’s a fundamental flaw in this – there is no over-arching problem." (GES)

"California board votes to weaken emissions regulation" - "SACRAMENTO, Calif. - California's air quality board Thursday abandoned a rule that had called for thousands of nonpolluting vehicles this year, trading it in for a regulation that embraces emerging technologies for cleaner cars.

The old rule, which effectively required automakers to produce battery-powered electric cars, was put on hold last year by a federal court. The rule was regarded as the toughest of its kind in the nation.

The revised rule, approved 8-3 by the California Air Resources Board, calls for hundreds of thousands of cleaner gasoline-burning vehicles, tens of thousands of gas-electric hybrids and 250 hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in the next five years. It is the first regulation in the nation requiring fuel cell vehicles." (Associated Press)

"Iceland turns greener" - "Shell opens the island's first hydrogen filling station and hopes to sell its excess to EU" (The Guardian)

"How PETA Marks Easter and Passover " - "Apparently not satisfied by alienating all of Judaism with its recent high-profile, roving exhibit comparing Holocaust victims to farm animals, the lunatics at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) have moved on to other challenges. Next stop: offend as many Christians as possible." (Center For Consumer Freedom)

"Japanese firms face animal protest violence" - "ANIMAL welfare extremists have intensified their campaign of violence against the employees of Japanese drug companies based in Britain. Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty, which aims to force the closure of Huntingdon Life Sciences, a drug-testing company that uses animals in its experiments, has sent a message to its supporters urging them to “really put the pressure on”. A page on the group’s website says: “Japanese Companies Kill Animals at HLS.” It adds: “Japanese companies are the main focus of the campaign now — their culture is such that any actions taken against them have far more impact.” (The Times)

"EU awaits heated debate on GM crop mix" - "BRUSSELS - Europe's biotech industry is set to clash with farm and environment groups this week in a debate over whether genetically modified (GM) crops can co-exist with traditional varieties." (Reuters)

"Pioneer biotech corn taints Hawaii crops - EPA" - "WASHINGTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said this week it fined Pioneer Hi-Bred International $72,000 after the agency found evidence its experimental biotech corn had contaminated nearby crops in Hawaii." (Reuters)

"Panel On GM Crops Meets Today; NGOs Allege Govt-Ind Nexus" - "New Delhi, April 24: Even as the domestic industry, farmers’ associations and activist organisations continue to be at loggerheads with one another over going ahead with cultivating the genetically modified (GM) crops, it is being feared that reasons other than scientific validity may influence the decisions to be taken by the genetic engineering approval committee (GEAC) meeting on Friday. The committee is slated to consider on Friday the approval of cultivation of Bt cotton in the Northern states and to discuss performance of GM-mustard." (Financial Express)

"GM crop ban defeated" - "Green campaigners in Dorset have failed in their attempt to make the county a genetically modified (GM) crop-free zone. The motion to ban the growing of genetically modified crops was defeated at a county council meeting by 21 votes to 16. Other motions however, including banning GM products from all county council establishments, were passed by the council. Devon and Cornwall County Councils have already passed legislation declaring their regions GM-free." (BBC News Online)

"Look GM food gifthorses in the mouth, Greens urge" - "NAIROBI - Environmentalists from around the world urged African scientists to conduct more research on genetically modified food offered as aid to the continent's hungry. "Local or African scientists need to liaise with concerned authorities and do more research on the genetically modified food to establish whether they are suitable for Africans," Coalition of African Organisations for Food Security and Development (COASAD) co-ordinator Christine Andela told some 300 enviromentalists gathered for a three-day meeting in Nairobi. Andela said that scientists and governments needed to assess the risk and impact of contamination of local food, labour and health before considering the GM food aid." (AFP)

April 24, 2003

Alas, poor England... "Under this asinine rule we’d never have heard of Darwin" - "Reading the obituaries of scholars from the generation before our universities collapsed into the bungling bureaucratic nightmare of today makes me seek out a cask-strength single malt. We have abandoned so much idiosyncratic humanity that it makes one weep into the glass. Two such obituaries appeared this week, one in The Times on a pioneering scholar of African languages, Professor Gordon Innes (whom I knew), the other in The Guardian on an equally renowned linguist, Dr Joseph Cremona, who established the study of Romance languages — those derived from Latin — at Cambridge. Both were seminal in developing their subjects.

But both would also have had singular problems with the biggest nonsense of modern university life — the dreaded RAE, or research assessment exercise." (Philip Stott, The Times)

"Government stops funding for BSE critic" - "MARGARET BECKETT has withdrawn funding from a scientist whose research is threatening to undermine government policy on food safety. Professor Alan Ebringer, of King’s College London, an Australian-born microbiologist, has suggested that there is no link between the cattle disease BSE and new variant CJD, which attacks human beings. He believes the Government has spent millions unnecessarily in slaughtering cattle and banning certain categories of meat." (The Times)

"Obesity behind 90,000 cancer deaths each year" - "NEW YORK - A significant proportion of deaths from cancer may be due to excess body weight and obesity, according to an American Cancer Society report. Based on a study involving almost one million adults, the researchers conclude that 14 percent of deaths from cancer in men and 20 percent of cancer deaths in women may be due to being overweight and obese. The study's authors estimate that more than 90,000 cancer deaths each year could be avoided if every American maintained a healthy weight. "Obesity is related to most cancer sites, not just a select few," study author Dr. Eugenia E. Calle told Reuters Health." (Reuters Health)

"Less fat in diet linked to injury risk in runners" - "NEW YORK - Female recreational runners who eat an average amount of fat in their diets may be less likely than those who opt for a slightly more restrictive cuisine to develop injuries, new study findings suggest. These results contradict a "common attitude" among female runners that a low-fat and low-cal diet may reduce the risk of injury, study author Kristen E. Gerlach, a Ph.D. student at the University at Buffalo in New York told Reuters Health. "The idea is, the lighter you are, the faster you'll run," she said. Moreover, Gerlach noted that some runners believe that a lighter body, which sustains less pounding on the joints, may also protect them from injury. However, Gerlach and her colleagues found that women whose diet consisted of 30 percent of calories from fat -- a healthy amount, according to experts -- were less likely to be injured during a year of running than women whose diet consisted of only 27 percent of calories from fat. "So it wasn't a huge difference, but the trend was definitely there for injured runners to be eating less fat," Gerlach said." (Reuters Health)

"Europe welcomes careful liars" - "Always guaranteed to be there or thereabouts in the league of big liars is Greenpeace. Couple its mendacity with the dictatorial behaviour of the European Union and you have the recipe for greater and greater intrusions on personal or commercial f reedom. Evidence of their latest campaign of destructive disinformation comes from a correspondent, whose name has been removed to protect the maternal: " (John Brignell, NumberWatch)

"Coastal Louisiana gets that sinking feeling" - "Subsidence in Bayou may lead to biggest - and riskiest - wetland restoration in history." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"NASA satellite measures Earth's carbon metabolism" - "In honor of the Earth Day celebration, NASA scientists unveiled the first consistent and continuous global measurements of Earth's "metabolism." Data from the Terra and Aqua satellites are helping scientists frequently update maps of the rate at which plant life on Earth is absorbing carbon out of the atmosphere." (NASA/GSFC)

"The limits of 'green' power" - "'...actions must not be predicated on speculative images of an apocalyptic vision of life by 2100.' (Climate science and policy: making the connection, The European Science and Environment Forum, 2002)" (Philip Stott, sp!ked)

"Rural China Choking on Indoor Air Pollution" - "WASHINGTON, DC, April 23, 2003 - The problem of urban air pollution in China has been widely documented and there is little doubt that many of the nation's major cities have severe air quality issues. But many people in rural China face a serious and less reported indoor air pollution problem and addressing the issue is far from easy.

The World Bank has designated indoor air pollution one of the four most critical global environmental problems and officials point to a study that estimates as many as 2.8 million deaths per year in developing countries result from breathing elevated levels of indoor smoke from dirty fuels.

The primary source of indoor air pollution within China and the developing world is cook stoves, used for cooking and heating, and fueled by crop residue, woody biomass or coal." (ENS)

"German Agency Dive Bombs Aviation Subsidies" - "BERLIN, Germany, April 23, 2003 - Germany's environment agency, Umweltbundesamt, has detailed subsidies enjoyed by air transport and repeated a call for higher taxes on the aviation industry to internalize its external environmental costs. The intervention comes at a particularly difficult time for the world aviation sector, which has been hit by the war in Iraq and the flu-like SARS epidemic." (ENS)

April 23, 2003

"Gun Maker Found Liable in Shooting Accident" - "An Oakland jury has found a California gun maker, its designer and its main distributor partly liable in an accidental shooting that left a 7-year-old boy a quadriplegic. The jury's verdict, on Monday in Alameda County Superior Court, is considered highly unusual because gun manufacturers have successfully argued for years that guns are legal products and that when they injure or kill someone they are performing exactly as intended." (New York Times)

"New Yorkers are living longer than ever before" - "NEW YORK - Average life expectancy among male and female residents of New York City has shot up over the past decade, rising to the highest level in the city's history, according to a city report released Monday. The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) report shows that life expectancy for women born in New York City in 2000 now exceeds 80 years, an increase of more than three years from the life expectancy for 1990. In men, life expectancy climbed almost seven years since 1990, landing at 75 years in 2000. Health officials attribute residents' increase in longevity to decreases in deaths from HIV and homicide, and a decline in the risk of death in infants. Life expectancy for a New Yorker now exceeds the national average by more than six months, according to DOHMH commissioner Dr. Thomas R. Frieden." (Reuters Health)

"TV watching 'makes you obese'" - "Scientists have come up with proof that watching television can be bad for your health. A team from the Harvard School of Public Health studied 50,000 women over a six year period to determine whether changes in their patterns of television watching or sitting around at work led to an increased likelihood of obesity or type 2 diabetes. The researchers, led by Dr Frank Hu, an expert in nutrition, found that watching television for an extra two hours a day increased the rate of obesity by 25%, and diabetes by 14%.

Dr Hu said he was not surprised that watching television seemed to have such a powerful effect. "Compared with other sedentary behaviours, TV watching is associated with lower resting metabolic rate. Also, people tend to eat junk foods while watching TV, due to constant exposure to food commercials." (BBC News Online)

"USA Today opens debate on animal-rights 'Misanthropes'" - " USA Today has published two letters regarding an op-ed by the Center for Consumer Freedom's Executive Director, Richard Berman." (Center For Consumer Freedom)

"A Matter of Life and Limb" - "These Protesters Put Their Bodies On the Line. But Are Their Heads In the Clouds?" (Washington Post)

"Rare snail holds up work at Irish golf club" - "DUBLIN - Three years after it threatened to halt construction at one of Ireland's most famous golf courses, a tiny, rare snail has struck again.  The discovery of the two-millimetre Vertigo Angustior has forced Lahinch Golf Club in southwest Ireland to suspend plans to carry out vital coastal protection work to prevent erosion of the course." (Reuters)

"Critics Bash Bush on Earth Day" - "WASHINGTON, DC, April 22, 2003 - The Bush administration is orchestrating an unprecedented assault on the nation's environmental laws and is allowing corporate interests to plunder America's natural resources, leaders of a dozen major environmental organizations told reporters today at an Earth Day press conference in Washington, DC." (ENS)

"Environmental Groups Target Bush Record; Advocates Feel President Vulnerable Despite Major Administration Moves" - "Advocates for everything from clean air to wildlife protection said yesterday the environment remains a major political vulnerability for the Bush administration and a ready tool for Democrats to exploit in next year's presidential election." (Washington Post)

"Toxic waste dumped at sea blamed for rise in birth defects" - "A massive surge of birth defects at Italy's worst pollution blackspot, has prompted fears of an environmental disaster. Six per cent of babies born in Augusta, an industrial town on Sicily's east coast, last year were deformed – four times the national average, according to preliminary findings of a judicial inquiry. The figure of malformations is the highest ever and is climbing year on year." (Independent)

World Climate Report Volume 8, Number 16, April 21, 2003 (GES)

"More Studies Rebuff U.S. National Research Council Concerns About Human-Induced Abrupt Climate Change" - "Summary: As science progresses and more is learned about earth's linked atmosphere-ocean system and the forces that define its most basic characteristics, climate-alarmist scare stories of catastrophically large and abrupt climate change becoming more likely as the air's CO2 content rises are being seen for what they really are: errant scenarios." (co2science.org)

"Coping with Heat in a Warming World" - "Summary: As temperatures rise, one would think more heat-related health problems would occur during the warmest part of the year. Is this the case? Environmental Research 91: 1-7." (co2science.org)

"Dome Fuji Speaks" - "Summary: What does it have to tell us about the nature of earth's climate, both past and present? Nature 422: 509-512." (co2science.org)

"Weather, Slow Growth Lower Canada Greenhouse Gases" - "OTTAWA - Canada cut its emissions of greenhouse gases in 2001 for the first time since 1991, partly as the result of warm weather and slower economic growth, the federal government said on Tuesday. Canadian emissions of greenhouse gases fell 1.3 percent, mirroring a 1.2 percent decline in the United States. But Canadian emissions remained 26 percent above the 2012 target level set under the Kyoto Protocol." (Reuters)

"Alberta, Ottawa working on rival emissions-cutting plans" - "OTTAWA -- Alberta and the federal government are working on rival schemes for cutting greenhouse gas emissions and industry fears being caught in a double bind. The parallel efforts could set the stage for a new confrontation like that which preceded ratification of the Kyoto climate accord in December, observers say." (CP)

"New nuclear plants may be coming to Ontario" - "TORONTO - Faced with an energy shortage, the Ontario government is looking at building new nuclear power plants for the first time in 15 years." (CBC News Online)

"Cane and chips a recipe for energy disaster: Greens" - "A $150 million power generation scheme backed by the NSW and federal governments as a big green initiative has been denounced by the environmental movement as a fraud and faces a potentially fatal court challenge. The scheme, unveiled four years ago, involves building three power stations in northern NSW generating electricity by burning bagasse - the trash left behind when cane is crushed to extract its sugar - mixed with woodchips. When the plan was announced in 1999 the then NSW minister for energy and forestry, Kim Yeadon, said it demonstrated the government's commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions." (The Sydney Morning Herald)

"The Heartland Wrestles With Biotechnology" - "MANNING, N.D. -- In a bar in this hamlet on the great American prairie, some wheat farmers gathered one night not long ago. They drove for miles through blowing snow, and more than 50 of them packed the Little Knife Saloon, doubling the regular population of Manning. They came to ask questions about a new kind of wheat, and the more they heard from a panel skeptical of the crop, the more their brows knitted in worry." (Washington Post)

"Monsanto: Innovest reports investors face catastrophic risk" - "A new study by Innovest, the sustainability ratings company, has found that Monsanto poses many risks to investors. The two most important are US market rejection and environmental contamination costs potentially larger than the $1 billion StarLink disaster." (SRI Media)

April 22, 2003

"Hormone Studies: What Went Wrong?" - "How could two large high-quality studies come to diametrically different conclusions about menopause, hormone therapy and heart disease?" (New York Times)

"Scientists debate depleted uranium weapons' possible contamination of Iraq, civilians" - "DENVER — As soon as it's safe, the United Nations and international scientists plan to fan out over Iraq's smoking battlegrounds to investigate whether the leftovers of American firepower pose serious health or environmental threats.

Thousands of rounds containing tons of depleted uranium were fired in Iraq over the past four weeks. Fragments of the armor-piercing munitions now litter the valleys and neighborhoods between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. That's where most of the combat occurred and where most of Iraq's 24 million people live. Wounded fighters and civilians also may carry depleted uranium shrapnel in their bodies." (Associated Press)

"Vietnam urges US aid for Agent Orange victims" - "HANOI - Vietnam called on the United States last week to help victims of the dioxin-containing Agent Orange defoliant used during the Vietnam War after a study found more was used than previously thought." (Reuters)

"Malaria control 'may require use of DDT'" - "JOHANNESBURG - At the recent launch of the "Racing Against Malaria" campaign, Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang called on countries in the region to use the much vilified insecticide DDT to combat malaria.

While her call is sure to outrage the environmentalist lobby in the West, for whom the highly toxic chemical is the poison celebre of the century, in the poverty stricken third world the call is likely to be given very careful consideration.

DDT, phased out in SA in the late 1990s but later reintroduced following a dramatic rise in malaria incidence in its absence, is one of the cheapest and most effective pesticides to control malaria.

The chemical almost single-handedly eradicated malaria in America and Europe after the Second World War, but its use in agriculture was subsequently banned after concerns about long-term environmental contamination.

Since the agricultural ban, international environmental groups such as the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) has campaigned relentlessly for its elimination.

Unfortunately, however, in sub-Saharan Africa where almost a million people die annually from Malaria, the phrase "nobody is safe" attaches itself more readily to the malaria-carrying mosquito than to the ecology of the planet." (SAPA)

"What Evangelical Environmentalists Do Not Know About Economics" - "Recently, evangelicals have been mimicking the secular environmentalists' assault on the market economy. Pollution, deforestation, endangered and extinct species, food shortages, and global warming are all, they say, evidence of our failure to be good stewards over creation. Overconsumption, particularly in the industrialized parts of the world, is responsible, they say. Personal frugality, coupled with government regulation to prod along the unrepentant SUV-driving glutton, is the answer. Late last year, the Evangelical Environmental Network launched its "What Would Jesus Drive" campaign, which associated low gas mileage with immorality and advocated stricter government fuel economy regulations.

There is a great deal of activity on the environmental front, and it is perhaps the most vigorous attack on markets that evangelicals have launched in the last twenty years. This attack is not coming from Gaia worshiping cultists or fringe groups within the churches. Major Protestant denominations, and some groups of Roman Catholics, have issued documents stating that caring for creation is inconsistent with a market economy. Of course, many of these groups have had a statist social policy for the better part of a century, so antimarket environmentalism may be viewed as a variation on the same old theme." (Timothy Terrell, Ludwig von Mises Institute)

"The Citizen-Scientist's Obligation to Stand Up for Standards" - "Confronting misconceptions is probably the single most important factor driving progress in science, and in a broader sense society." (New York Times)

"Rainforests might speed up global warming" - "LA SELVA, Costa Rica, April 21 -- Global warming could force tropical rainforests to release abnormally large amounts of carbon dioxide gas, which could accelerate temperature rises worldwide, scientists reported Monday. "This suggests that further warming will have even stronger effects," lead researcher Deborah Clark, a tropical forest ecologist at the University of Missouri at St. Louis, told United Press International." (UPI)

"Underground sites may store greenhouse gas emissions" - "A geological survey has identified 65 sites where large quantities of carbon dioxide could be injected deep underground as a way of cutting greenhouse gas emissions. But none of the sites is close to Sydney, the area of greatest carbon dioxide pollution in the country. This burial approach to the CO2 problem, known as geosequestration, has the strong support of the Federal Government, but critics say it is unproven and expensive. It involves capturing and separating the CO2 from the emissions of power plants and gasfields, compressing it and storing the liquid in rocks more than 800 metres below the surface. Geoscience Australia researcher Dr John Bradshaw said the sites studied so far could safely store half the annual CO2 emissions from stationary sources of greenhouse gases. "This is extremely exciting." (The Sydney Morning Herald)

"Rice study identifies sources of Houston smog particulates" - "Air quality researchers at Rice University in Houston have completed the first detailed study that attempts to apportion the fine particulates measured in the city's smog to their sources of origin. The researchers found that diesel engines are the primary contributors of fine particles to Houston's air, followed by gasoline-powered vehicles and road dust. Particles from wood burning, meat grilling and industrial fuel oil combustion were also part of the city's unique, air quality signature." (Rice University)

"OECD nations can cut energy use by 1/3 by 2010 - IEA" - "LONDON - The world's rich industrial countries could slash nearly a third of their energy use by 2010 by using more energy-efficient electrical appliances, energy watchdog the International Energy Agency said. Such a move by members of the OECD, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, would cut the emissions of polluting greenhouse gases by the equivalent of removing 100 million cars from their roads." (Reuters)

"EU readies first ideas on hydrogen fuel dream" - "BRUSSELS - The European Union's dream of weaning people off dependency on oil and getting them hooked on hydrogen-fuelled transport may be closer to reality but critics say it disguises an emphasis on coal and nuclear power. European car and energy firms have joined forces in a group founded by the European Commission to keep the EU's hydrogen firms on track with rivals in Japan and the United States." (Reuters)

"Advocates for Farm Laborers Seek a Ban on Hand Weeding" - "The sight of farm workers weeding in the field, bent over rows of strawberries, carrots and lettuce, soon could become a thing of the past if farm labor groups have their way. The California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board is considering a request by worker advocates and labor unions to ban all hand weeding in commercial agriculture. Growers insist that the practice is vital to many of the state's fruit and vegetable crops, especially organic produce, which cannot be farmed with chemical herbicides. If adopted, it would be the first such ban in agriculture." (Los Angeles Times)

Advocates for labor-free agriculture?

"South Africa affirms guarded stance on gene crops" - "JOHANNESBURG - South Africa cannot afford to be left behind over genetically modified crops, but will sign up to a pact restricting their trade, the head of a parliamentary agriculture group said." (Reuters)

April 21, 2003

"Bill to Bar Suits Against Gun Industry Stuns Crime Victims" - "Last week the House of Representatives passed a bill granting the gun industry nationwide immunity from virtually all lawsuits." (New York Times)

"MERRIE SPAETH: Is the press objective?" - "Recently, the Project for Excellence praised the objectivity of reporters covering the Iraq war. Better questions would be, "Is the press fair in the choices it makes in its editing?" And: "Does the press have an interest or mechanism to correct mistakes or unfair portrayals?" Too often, the answer is "No." Here are two very recent examples." (United Press International)

"Study Finds Asthma in 25% of Children in Central Harlem" - "Experts say it is one of the highest asthma rates ever documented for an American neighborhood." (New York Times)

"Why 100,000 asthma sufferers may be wasting their breaths" - "MIKE Simlett was coughing up blood, so his doctor checked his breathing, told him he was asthmatic and prescribed an inhaler. Eighteen months and several inhalers later, Simlett found he did not have asthma at all. He had merely been suffering from a short-term lung infection.

Simlett still worries about the long-term implications of taking medication he did not need. And he would like to know why he needlessly suffered a year and a half of believing he had a potentially life-threatening condition.

Simlett is far from alone: it is feared that as many as 100,000 Scots - including up to 30,000 children - may have been wrongly diagnosed as suffering from the condition." (Scotland on Sunday)

"A matter of fat" - "Anyone who takes more than a passing interest in the role of diet in health will inevitably become aware of inconsistencies and contradictions that crop up from time to time. One famous and oft-quoted nutritional anomaly is the so-called French Paradox: while the French consume more than their fair share of fat and tend to run elevated levels of cholesterol in their blood streams, their propensity to heart disease remains stubbornly low. A few explanations for this phenomenon have been mooted, including a preponderance of red wine in the diet, but it remains a mystery why our European neighbours appear to get away with a diet famously rich in cheese, red meat and foie gras." (The Observer)

"Children's obesity rates may be worse than thought" - "NEW YORK - The prevalence of obesity may be even higher than the 10 percent previously reported among children in the U.S., according to a team of Alabama and Texas researchers.

They found that 15.5 percent of nearly 2,000 black, white and Hispanic boys and girls enrolled in Head Start programs in Alabama and Texas were overweight.

In a second group of 1,585 third-grade students enrolled in a school-based fruit and vegetable promotion program in Alabama, nearly 25 percent were found to be overweight -- a rate nearly double that previously reported among Alabama youth, report Michelle Feese of the University of Alabama at Birmingham and her colleagues.

The higher number of overweight kids in the Head Start study was similar among boys and girls of all races studied -- black, white and Hispanic. And among the third-graders, just as many children from high-income families as from low-income ones were overweight." (Reuters Health)

"White House settles suits, reshapes environmental policy" - "WASHINGTON (April 18, 2003 3:05 p.m. EDT) - The Bush administration is quietly reshaping environmental policy to enhance logging and other development by settling a series of lawsuits, many of them filed by industry groups.

As a result of settlements, the administration has announced plans to remove wilderness protections for millions of acres in Utah, has agreed to review protections for endangered species such as salmon and the northern spotted owl, has reversed a Clinton-era ban on snowmobiles in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks and has softened rules on logging.

None of the decisions were subject to prior public comment or congressional approval.

"I don't know if it's a policy, but it's definitely a pattern," said Kristen Boyles, a lawyer for the environmental group Earthjustice who has frequently battled the Bush administration in court.

"The industry sues and then the current administration does a poor job of defending itself or comes to a sweetheart settlement," Boyles said.

Critics call it "sue and settle," leaving few fingerprints as officials move to roll back environmental protections." (Associated Press)

"The Pied Piper" - "`Station of the Week' this week features an issue which should concern all Canadians.

Their current federal government has for years been under the undue (and unelected) influence of environmentalist guru David Suzuki. The Canadian TV media fawns over him, and his frequent claims of imminent catastrophe are treated as undisputed fact." (Still Waiting For Greenhouse)

"Chernobyl Compensation Demanded" - "KIEV, Ukraine, April 19 -- Thousands of Chernobyl survivors marched in downtown Kiev today to demand that the government increase social services and pay overdue compensation to victims of the world's worst nuclear accident 17 years ago." (Associated Press)

"The woman behind the exhaust-free car" - "A GM engineer is eyeing a hydrogen-fueled car that would replace the internal-combustion engine." (Christian Science Monitor)

"Cloaked in Green, but Guzzling Gas" - "DETROIT, April 18 — As the Ford Motor Company scaled back expectations this week for its first hybrid-powered vehicle and backpedaled on a pledge to improve the fuel economy of its sport utility vehicles, Toyota was introducing its latest Prius, which will get about 55 miles a gallon and be the first midsize vehicle with hybrid technology.

For environmentalists, the contrasting developments reinforced the sense that only foreign carmakers care about curbing America's swelling appetite for oil.

"The Japanese are where you go if you want good technology, and Detroit is where you go if you don't," said Daniel Becker, the top global warming expert at the Sierra Club.

But the picture is also more complicated — and bleak, from the perspective of reducing oil consumption. Toyota, Honda and Nissan are flooding the American market with S.U.V.'s of all sizes; Toyota and Nissan are redoubling efforts to take on the last largely unchallenged stronghold of Detroit, the pickup truck. And sales of new- model S.U.V.'s from Japan far outnumber gas-sipping hybrids, which supplement the internal combustion engine with electric power." (New York Times)

"Clones surprise scientists by being different" - "CLONED animals are not carbon copies of their parent, but differ just as much as young produced by sexual reproduction in appearance, physiology and behaviour, a study reveals.

While litters of cloned pigs are genetically identical both to one another and to the animal from which they were cloned, the similarities end there. Far from sharing physical traits and temperament, as might be expected, each clone develops in its own idiosyncratic fashion, differing significantly from its siblings and parent in looks, behaviour and even blood chemistry.

The degree of variability within a cloned litter, indeed, can even exceed that seen in control litters of natural pure-bred pigs, scientists have discovered." (The Times)

"Chemicals losing out to genetics" - "Scientist Tony Conner hopes that McDonald's and Kentucky Fried Chicken made a big mistake when they decided three years ago to stop buying genetically modified potatoes. As soon as he is allowed to after October, Conner plans to seek approval for farm trials of potatoes containing two new genes taken from the bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) - the same bug that has been sprayed on West Auckland to kill the Australian painted apple moth. He's gambling that, unlike McDonald's and KFC, New Zealand potato farmers will be keen to plant Bt-infected potatoes because they will be resistant to another alien invader, the potato tuber moth." (New Zealand Herald)

"GM v growth study inconclusive" - "A study of the economic risks and opportunities of releasing genetically modified organisms in New Zealand fails to establish whether the technology should be embraced or avoided at all costs. The modelling work, led by economists Business and Economic Research Ltd (BERL), considered the two main drivers of the economic outcomes would be how much the technology boosted agricultural productivity and how much negative consumer reaction there would be." (New Zealand Herald)

"Government 'spin' on GE report outrageous, say Greens" - "The Green Party says it is outraged by the Government's reaction to a report released yesterday on the economic impacts of releasing genetically engineered organisms in New Zealand. "The report actually shows that there are more likely to be negative effects on the economy from GE release than positive effects, under realistic conditions," Green Party Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said. "The Government has chosen to ignore the parts of the report that show that demand for New Zealand products will dramatically decrease if GE is released here." (New Zealand Herald)

"Release of GE crops to be assessed case-by-case" - "Genetically engineered crops can coexist alongside conventional farming, the Government says. Cabinet papers released today show the Government has not followed the recommendation from the Royal Commission on genetic engineering and developed an industry code of practice for buffer zones between GE and unaltered crops. Instead, Agriculture Minister Jim Sutton said today that coexistence was possible by considering each use of GE organism on a case-by-case basis, with different approaches for vaccines, animals and plants." (NZPA)

"Officials reject apiarists' calls for veto on flowering GE crops" - "Government officials have not supported calls by apiarists for the national watchdog on genetically engineered organisms to block the growing of flowering GE crops out of containment. The Government was told in a cabinet paper released today from agriculture and environment officials that beekeepers would prefer either to have no GE flowering plants grown in the open, or that no GE plants were approved which could be important sources of honey or pollen. But the officials have recommended two other way of mitigating the effect of GE crops on honey, pollen and other bee products, a sector worth $24 million a year in honey production, and $21 million a year in exports which include honey." (NZPA)

April 18, 2003

"Iraq War Not Over for Junk Scientists" - "The war in Iraq is pretty much over, except for junk scientists. For them, the war may continue for decades — just like Vietnam." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

More from the faculty of Everyoneisavictim: "New Research Dispels Popular Myth That A Bully's Words Will Never Hurt You" - "Research by Dr. Stephen Joseph a psychologist at the University of Warwick into bullying at Secondary Schools dispels the well-known saying "Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me." (ScienceDaily)

Better late than never: "Lobbying by Form E-Mail Endangered" - "Some civil liberties and environmentalist groups think point-and-click democracy is in peril. The U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service is currently considering a regulation that would let it ignore any public comments on its rule-making process sent to it through Web-based forms. For example, if someone opposes logging in a national forest and sends a comment to the Forest Service through an environmental group's Web site, the agency would ignore it under the proposed policy. In fact, the agency intends to implement technology to sort its e-mail and disregard duplicated messages." (Medill News Service)

"Rejecting the World" - "The Bush administration did the right thing on diesel emissions this week, curbing an important source of air pollution. Yet George Bush has, in general, reneged on the environmental promises of his 2000 campaign. Most notably, he broke his campaign pledge to regulate carbon dioxide emissions, offering instead a purely voluntary — and therefore, one might have thought, meaningless — plan to limit global warming." (New York Times)

Paul Krugman... enough said.

"Shareholder Values" - "As the season for annual meetings begins, activists are presenting shareholders with resolutions seeking social change and better corporate governance. A few of the proposals have merit; most are obnoxious but harmless. And nearly all will be rejected - mainly because shareholders who don't trust management have a more efficient means to register their disapproval: they can sell the stock. The danger, however, is that in their zeal to promote a radical environmental agenda, some activists are pushing resolutions that could severely damage the corporations they're targeting - even if the proposals themselves fail." (James K. Glassman, TCS)

"Ford Won't Meet Efficiency Pledge for Its S.U.V.'s" - "Phillip Martens and other Ford executives backed away from a pledge to increase the fuel economy of their sport utility vehicles 25 percent by 2005." (New York Times)

"Shiva the Destroyer?" - "Postmodernist anti-science thought was once primarily associated with European and North American academics in the humanities. Now not only has its influence become international, but it has become integrally intertwined with a number of other issues such as anti-globalization, anti-transgenic technology in agriculture, and conservation. Nobody can fault the prevailing internationalism of postmodernists and their respect for different cultures and peoples (except for the culture of those who are committed to modern science/technology and its benefits). Nor can we fault their argument that all of us have biases, though they fail to comprehend the vital role that scientific method plays in helping to overcome the limitations which personal and cultural biases impose. Their belief in the worth and dignity of all human beings is unexceptionable. Some of us critics would suspect, however, that in going global, postmodernist thought does not necessarily impact on other political/cultural traditions in a way which upholds the worthy ideas that most postmodernists claim to espouse. To the extent that these postmodernist ideas have become part of the globalization debates, there is a legitimate issue of consistency if in fact what is being forcefully advocated produces adverse outcomes contrary to what its proponents claim for them." (Thomas R. DeGregori, ButterfliesandWheels.com)

Book Promo: The Origins of the Organic by Thomas R. DeGregori - The Origins of the Organic takes an historical look at two contrasting streams of ideas. The first view comprises the flow of ideas in chemistry and biology that have created the conditions for modern medicine, modern food production and the biotechnological revolution. The second view is the "vitalist" reaction to the rise of modern science and the resulting rejection of modern agriculture.

Contemporary proponents of "organic" agriculture and the anti-genetically modified food movement believe that "pure" food confers some special kind of virtue both on those who produce it and those who consume it. They fail to acknowledge that organic chemistry, genetics, and molecular biology have been as essential to twentieth century advances in agriculture such as plant breeding, and are instrumental to ensuring that there is enough food for everyone.

"Organic Food Industry Facing Fear Backlash" - "Blowback” is a policy strategy that ultimately rebounds on its own devisers. The American organic food industry is now learning about it the hard way.

On the whole, organic farming is more expensive and produces less attractive fruits and vegetables than conventional farming. As such, it maintains only a tiny bit of the market. So to stay competitive, the industry devised a strategy of scaring the pants off people over the alleged risks of even trace amounts of synthetic pesticides.

When genetically engineered (biotech) food came along in the mid-1990s, the organic industry should have embraced them. Instead, it made them competitors and broadened its fear campaign to include them. Working with environmentalist allies like Greenpeace, it even convinced some foreign governments to ban or at least delay the growing and import of certain biotech crops.

It worked splendidly – for awhile. But now it’s the organic industry that’s running scared." (Michael Fumento, Scripps Howard News Service)

"Monsanto Investors Face Catastrophic Risk" - "Berlin/New York, April 16th, 2003 The agrochemical giant Monsanto has received the lowest possible environmental and strategic management rating of a triple-C from Innovest Strategic Value Advisors, a global environmental and social investment research firm. Innovest's report, Monsanto and Genetic Engineering: Risks to Investors, commissioned by Greenpeace, was released at a briefing at the Harvard Club in New York City this morning." (Press Release: Greenpeace)

"Report Finds Genetically Engineered Foods A 'Risky Business' For Kraft : Genetically Engineered Foods Pose Unnecessary Financial Risks To Kraft Foods, Inc. And Other Food" - "Kraft Food's continued use of genetically engineered foods pose unnecessary financial risk to the company and its investors, according a new report entitled, Risky Business: Financial Risks that Genetically Engineered Foods Pose to Kraft Foods, Inc. and Shareholders." (Press Release: Genetically Engineered Food Alert)

"Genetic crops get the green light" - "The New Zealand Government has confirmed it would lift a moratorium on the release of genetically modified (GM) crops in October, saying they could co-exist with conventionally grown plants. The Agriculture Minister, Jim Sutton, said on Thursday that cabinet papers confirmed it would be safe to lift the moratorium with a "robust regulatory system" to ensure that only GM foods deemed safe would be allowed to be grown or sold. New Zealand is one of the world's leading exporters of meat and dairy products and a growing organic foods industry has opposed the introduction of GM crops, saying cross contamination was inevitable." (Deutsche Presse-Agentur)

"Potrykus sets out to defend the use of GM produce" - "EVERY political party fighting for seats in the Scottish Parliament is either promising to ban genetically modified crops or to take an extremely cautious approach. Non-political, but on the counter-attack, Professor Ingo Potrykus, the scientist mainly responsible for developing golden rice - genetically modified to enhance its vitamin A content - is in Scotland to say that GM can be a good thing. Professor Tony Trewavas, head of the Institute of Cell and Molecular Biology at Edinburgh University, said yesterday that Potrykus’ work was "an intellectual and technical tour de force in GM technology". It has also created a furore among environmental groups. Trewavas said: "The background to his work is well-known in the third world, but unfamiliar to many in the well-fed West." (The Scotsman)

"Protesters fined for damaging GM oilseed rape" - "FIVE Green campaigners were fined £100 each yesterday for invading a field and damaging a crop of genetically modified oilseed rape. Among them was organic farmer and Scottish Green Party candidate Donnie MacLeod, 54, who was jailed for 21 days last year for contempt of court while giving evidence during a separate GM crop case for refusing to name the people responsible for damaging GM crops." (The Scotsman)

April 17, 2003

"Agent Orange use 'understated'" - "The United States military used much more Agent Orange and other defoliant spray during the Vietnam war than previously thought, scientists say. A new study of US military records also found that the amount of cancer-causing dioxin chemicals in the spray has been seriously underestimated." (BBC News Online) | Vietnam dioxin spray estimate quadruples (NSU)

"Very low lead levels linked with IQ deficits, according to NEJM study" - "A new study suggests that lead may be harmful even at very low blood concentrations." (NIH/National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences)

"Exclusion zone bars animal tests protest" - "Huntingdon Life Sciences, the chemical and pharmaceutical testing company, yesterday won a ground-breaking injunction, preventing animal rights protesters from approaching within 50 yards of employees' homes.

The far-reaching decision follows a campaign of intimidation in which staff have been assaulted, subjected to abusive phone calls and had their cars destroyed by arson. The firm employs more than 1,000 people in East Anglia.

Animal rights activists have attempted to drive the company, which conducts toxicity tests on cats, dogs, rodents and other creatures, out of business. Brian Cass, the chief executive, was beaten by baseball bats and the firm's auditors, Deloitte & Touche, were forced to resign earlier this year." (The Guardian)

"CCF Barbeques PETA In USA Today" - "When the human race confronts its most harrowing experiences, one can reliably count on People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) to think of the chickens," writes Richard Berman, Executive Director and Co-Founder of the Center for Consumer Freedom, in an op-ed published in this morning's USA Today." (Center For Consumer Freedom)

"Canadian polluters worse than in U.S., report says" - "Companies in the United States show far more success in controlling emissions of hazardous pollutants than companies in Canada, the environmental watchdog set up to monitor the North American free-trade agreement says. The Montreal-based Commission for Environmental Co-operation says in its annual assessment of North American companies that air-pollution trends are the main reason for the difference." (Globe and Mail)

"Swamp thing or monster of the deep?" - "A discussion about the end of the last ice age has repercussions for today's climate." (The Economist)

"California, high-tech firm target more wind for grid" - "SAN FRANCISCO - California and a small high-technology company are aiming to harness wind power for the state's electricity market, a move watched closely by federal regulators trying to reshape the nation's grid. U.S. utilities have been buying wind power since the 1980s, but it has proven difficult to reserve space for wind on the transmission grid because no one could accurately forecast when it would be available. But the California Independent System Operator, which must balance energy supplies with demand on the state grid, and TrueWind Solutions, an Albany, New York-based computer modeling firm, are betting they can make wind a more "predictable" power source scheduled for transmission shortly before it's needed. "The wind doesn't blow on our schedule," said Randy Abernathy, vice president of market services for the California grid agency." (Reuters)

"INTERVIEW - Ballard CEO sees hydrogen cars commercial by 2013" - "NEW YORK - Vehicles powered by hydrogen fuel cells could be competitive with conventional combustion engine powered cars within 10 years, the CEO of fuel cell developer Ballard Power Systems Inc. said. At the moment, cars powered by fuel cells are almost entirely crafted by hand and come with sky-high price tags of up to $2 million each." (Reuters)

"More UK power plants look to burn olives, palm nuts" - "LONDON - Two more British power stations have applied to burn olives and palm nuts mixed with coal which will earn green certificates, helping cushion them against low electricity prices, the plants' owners said." (Reuters)

"Switzerland records lower 2002 power output, exports" - "FRANKFURT - Switzerland saw its power export surplus shrink 57 percent last year mainly due to lower output from its hydro power plants, official data showed yesterday." (Reuters)

?!! "Bt cotton farmers suffered losses, says Greenpeace" - "BANGALORE APRIL 16. Farmers who cultivated Bt cotton have suffered huge losses, according to a study conducted by Greenpeace in three districts of the State. The study on `Performance of Bt cotton in Karnataka' was conducted during February and March in Raichur, Dharwad, and Haveri districts. Karnataka was the second largest in the country in terms of area with Bt cotton being cultivated in 16,950 acres." (The Hindu)

"Grain Elevator Operators Resist Transgenic Wheat" - "MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota, April 16, 2003 - North Dakota grain elevator operators who responded to a new poll about the proposed introduction of Monsanto’s genetically engineered Roundup Ready wheat are overwhelmingly concerned that the new wheat will be rejected by consumers in the United States and abroad, causing a failure of confidence in U.S. grain products. Consumers worry that genetically modified crops can cause allergic reactions, contaminate nearby fields, and prevent farmers from saving seeds from year to year." (ENS)

April 16, 2003

"Can Organic Produce Reduce Children’s Pesticide Levels?" - "Can giving your kids organic fruits and vegetables lower their cancer risks? A recent, widely reported study from the University of Washington says parents could lower the level of organophosphate pesticides in their children’s bodies by five-sixths if they fed the kids organic-only fruits and vegetables. Unfortunately, the study report misleads parents. Feeding kids organic produce cannot make any significant difference in their exposure to pesticide dangers." (Dennis Avery, CGFI)

"Lawsuit Fever" - " Overblown fears of mercury have boiled over several times in recent years. In 2001, activists sought a ban on all mercury thermometers. That didn’t work, so now professional scaremongers have turned their attention to fish. Prodded by activists and their ambulance-chasing lawyer buddies, the California Attorney General recently announced that he would sue 20 restaurant chains for failure to warn customers about mercury in the fish they serve. The AG’s office calls the lawsuit “a logical extension” of the equally frivolous case (which we told you about in February) brought against grocery chains." (Center For Consumer Freedom)

Book & Publication Reviews: "Die falschen Propheten, by Josef H. Reichholf" - "Christian Braun reviews Reichholf's controversial book which attacks some of the arguments of modern environmentalists.

Towards the end of Josef Reichholf’s “The False Prophets” comes the statement that, “There is hardly anything more difficult than to place oneself in opposition to an opinion that has become dominant.” Yet in this impressive book he manages to do just that, delivering in the process a strong attack on the central tenets of the mainstream ecological movement." (EthicalCorp.com)

"Teamsters, GOP group join forces on environment" - "WASHINGTON — Labor unions that disagree with their traditional environmental allies are banding together with a Republican group to boost their political and lobbying might. The Teamsters union and the Council of Republicans for Environmental Advocacy have formed the Labor Environment Alliance to balance environmental issues with job creation and to support moderate politicians — mostly Republicans." (Associated Press)

More virtual world warming-induced cooling: "Molten ice could block Gulf Stream; Greenhouse effect may save Greenland Ice Sheet" - "Within the next 100 years global warming may melt much of the ice sheet over Greenland, producing some striking regional climate changes, a new model suggests. But the meltwater may eventually insulate the island from further climate change." (NSU)

"Great Lakes Ice Cover" - "Summary: Can there be much left after a full century of "unprecedented global warming"?" (co2science.org)

Subject Index Summaries:
"Health Effects of Temperature (Respiratory)" - "Summary: Do rising temperatures lead to more frequent and severe extreme precipitation events that increase water runoff to streams and rivers and ultimately produce more flooding?" (co2science.org)

"Herbivores (General)" - "Summary: As the air's CO2 content continues to rise, what can we expect of herbivorous insects? Will their appetites and numbers increase? Or will plants become more resistant to them?" (co2science.org)

Current Journal Reviews:
"Solar Activity, Cosmic Rays, Low Cloud Amounts and Surface Temperature Change" - "Summary: How are these factors linked? And what do they tell us about 20th-century warming? Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences 60: 626-636." (co2science.org)

"Precipitation Over Land in Warm ENSO Years" - "Summary: Does it respond as climate models suggest it should in a warming world? Advances in Atmospheric Sciences 19: 993-1003." (co2science.org)

"In Search of the Elusive Solar-Climate Connection" - "Summary: The arduous journey continues, as another study contributes its parcel of knowledge to the mammoth effort to understand how the sun orchestrates climate change on earth. Geophysical Research Letters 30: 10.1029/2002GL016598." (co2science.org)

"Global warming put to Senate floor" - "The Senate energy bill slowly winding through committee has been stripped of its climate-change provisions, moving the debate over global warming to the Senate floor early next month. The bill's climate-change provisions — which environmentalists called too weak and conservatives deemed too onerous — were scrapped last week when Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Pete V. Domenici, New Mexico Republican, saw that no global-warming measure had the support to pass the committee." (Washington Times)

"Reductions in Diesel Engine Pollution Proposed" - "WASHINGTON –– The Bush administration on Tuesday proposed ordering reductions of more than 90 percent in non-highway diesel engine pollution blamed for thousands of premature deaths, heart attacks and respiratory ailments. The proposal would force manufacturers of diesel-powered bulldozers, farm combines, marine engines and other equipment not used on roadways to install modern emission controls between 2008 and 2014. It also would require cleaner burning diesel fuel that contains 99 percent less sulfur." (Associated Press)

"Study: Cut Nitrogen Emissions From Sewage Plants" - "Deep cuts in nitrogen emissions are the best way to bring healthy air and clean waterways back to the Northeast United States, according to a wide-ranging study released by a group of academics Tuesday. The study's release comes at a time when there is growing uncertainty about expensive plans to clean up two key sources of local nitrogen pollution: sewage-treatment plants on the Upper East River and coal-burning power plants hundreds of miles away in the Midwest. New York City, which owns the sewage plants, has complained about the billion-dollar costs and uncertain environmental benefits of removing nitrogen from sewage effluent, and Midwestern power companies have made the same argument about their smokestack emissions." (Newsday)

"On The Road Again With Greenpeace" - " If you’re a Greenpeace activist in eastern Germany, you’re probably packing your bags right now. Less than a week after German authorities approved a test planting of genetically enhanced wheat in the eastern state of Thuringia, Greenpeace sabotaged the site by sowing organic wheat seed there instead." ( Center For Consumer Freedom )

"GMOs, the next step?" - "15/04/03 - Last week the European Commission threatened 12 EU member states with court action if they continue to ignore new EU legislation regulating the release of GMOs into the environment. A new survey released this week backs up the Commission's fears revealing that the number of field trials with genetically modified plants has fallen by about 80 per cent since 1998 in the European Community." (FoodNavigator.com)

April 15, 2003

"Sunlight converts common anti-bacterial agent to dioxin" - "Sunlight can convert triclosan, a common disinfectant used in anti-bacterial soaps, into a form of dioxin, and this process may produce some of the dioxin found in the environment, according to research at the University of Minnesota. The researchers said that although the dioxin was a relatively benign form, treating wastewater with chlorine could possibly lead to the production of a much more toxic species of dioxin." (University of Minnesota)

"E.P.A. Orders Companies to Examine Effects of Chemicals" - "Scientists and regulators are raising concerns about the potential health and environmental effects of an important family of industrial chemicals. Those concerns were highlighted yesterday when the Environment Protection Agency announced it was forcing the chemical industry to do further research on perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA, one member of that family. The broader group of chemicals, known as perfluorinated acids, has been discovered widely in the environment and in almost all Americans. No human health effects have been discovered, but E.P.A. officials' concerns were raised by recent toxicological data in animals." (New York Times)

"Polar ozone depletion slows, researchers say" - "FRANKFURT, Germany — German researchers said today the reduction of the ozone layer over the North Pole was not taking place as rapidly as in previous years, due largely to warmer temperatures.

Researchers at the Johannes Gutenberg University in the western city of Mainz, teamed with the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, said that mild temperatures in the polar atmosphere have prevented the normal conditions for the chemical reactions necessary to eat away at the ozone layer.

Physicist Joachim Curtius said the ozone layer was depleted by about 30 per cent between last winter and this fall, a normal rate at which it can be naturally replaced. Temperatures seldom went below -80 Celsius, he said. Lower temperatures cause an increase in the ozone layer's reduction." (AP)

"Irrigation Blamed for Warming San Joaquin" - "FRESNO, Calif. - Global warming from carbon dioxide emissions may not be to blame for rising nighttime temperatures in the San Joaquin Valley, according to a study funded by the National Science Foundation. John Christy, director of the Earth System Science Center at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, said rising valley temperatures may be caused by an overabundance of irrigated land that increases humidity in the air.

Christy's preliminary data conflicts with global warming theories suggesting carbon dioxide is the cause of rising temperatures. His data suggests increased humidity in the valley is preventing nighttime air from cooling. "The evidence shows that if this were a large scale climate change caused by carbon dioxide, it would affect the valley, the foothills and the mountains. But we have not seen these changes in the higher elevations," Christy said." (Associated Press)

"Climate in Wonderland" - "Suppose you are Minister for the Environment of a cute compact sized country, Wonderland, somewhere in Europe. You are a prominent member of the biggest party in the country, the Christian Democrats, and within that party you are a champion of green causes. Yes, they even call you Mr Green. You regard this to be the logical corollary of your Christian faith. You believe that God is committed to his creation and that he has delegated the care of it to humans. This is how you translate good stewardship, which is one of the basic tenets of your faith, into practice. In this context you believe that the Kyoto Treaty, which addresses the mother of all environmental scares, man-made global warming, is crucial and should be supported by all means. You have an academic background in public administration, which does not augur too well to understand climatological issues. But you are happy to rely on the backing of the experts at your ministry. Also, you recall that, after all, war is too important to leave to the generals. In the same vein, you argue that climate is too important to leave to the climatologists." (Hans Labohm and Dick Thoenes, TCS)

"Water quality in Adirondack lakes responding to acid rain regulations" - "After years of bombardment with acid rain, lakes in the Adirondack region of New York are finally showing signs of recovery. A new study reveals a broad decrease in acidity across the area — a response that researchers attribute to federal regulations that have curbed emissions of sulfur dioxide." (ACS)

"German gene wheat trial dropped after sabotage" - "HAMBURG - Swiss agribusiness group Syngenta AG has abandoned plans to start Germany's first trials of genetically modified (GM) wheat after the site was sabotaged last week, a Syngenta spokesman said yesterday." (Reuters)

"EU sees marked decrease in GM crop field trials" - "The number of field-based trials of genetically modified (GM) crops in the EU has fallen by around 80 per cent since 1998, a new Commission study has shown.

The survey, carried out by researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute in Karlsruhe, the Institute for prospective technological studies in Seville, and Hohenheim University in Stuttgart, concluded that the main cause for the sharp decline was the unclear legal situation surrounding GM products in Europe.

Around 22 per cent of respondents cited legal uncertainties as the main reason for having cancelled GM crop research projects. Much of this uncertainty was due to the EU wide moratorium on new authorisations of GM products that is currently still in place, said the authors of the study." (SeedQuest)

April 14, 2003

"Sins of Omission" - "I was shocked and disgusted by an op-ed piece I read today in the New York Times. No, it wasn't by Paul Krugman. It was far more serious: Eason Jordan, chief news executive at CNN, revealing what the headline called "The News We Kept to Ourselves." (James K. Glassman, TCS)

and selective European history: "Vikings? Such friendly folk, say textbooks" - "Schoolchildren are getting rewritten histories of Europe that are politically correct but cut out the awkward facts." (The Observer)

"Here they lie, the heroes of evasion" - "The Information Minister and Greenpeace share the same mask of deceit, writes Paul Sheehan." (The Sydney Morning Herald)

"Group says comments oppose school lunch irradiation" - "NEW YORK - Unofficially, public opinion appears to be against the US Department of Agriculture's (USDA) proposal to allow irradiation of food for commodity purchase programs, including meat used in public school lunches, according to a consumer advocacy group.

About 75 percent of comments posted on the USDA's Web site appear to oppose using irradiated meat in school lunch programs, explained Patty Lovera, a spokesperson for the Washington-based consumer group Public Citizen, whose group has been monitoring the posted comments.

Saturday, April 12th, is the last day the USDA will accept comments about the 2002 Farm Bill's requirement to allow the use of approved food safety technologies, including irradiation, for commodity purchase programs." (Reuters Health)

"Hit the Deck" - "If you are considering a new deck, act fast. Federal regulators are poised to ban the most popular and affordable decking material — wood treated with the preservative chromated copper arsenate (CCA). Junk science has indicted CCA, despite the fact that consumers and builders have safely used CCA-treated wood for decades because it resists rotting and pests." (Angela Logomasini, TCS)

"Research Shows Hazards in Tiny Particles" - "A new review of research on nanoscale materials suggests that tiny particles are often toxic because of their size and are likely to pose health hazards, especially to workers making them.

Dr. Vyvyan Howard, a pathology specialist at the University of Liverpool who examined results from 27 studies published since 1984, said that the type of material a particle is made of appears to be much less related to how hazardous it is than its size at such small scales.

Dr. Howard's conclusions are to be released today by the ETC Group, an opponent of rapid nanotechnology development that asked him to perform the research review. ETC has been advocating, among other things, that production of nanotechnology products be put on hold until more data is available on potential health impacts. The report is available at www.etcgroup.org." (New York Times)

"Group says DuPont withheld risk of toxic chemical" - "WASHINGTON - DuPont Co., the nation's second-largest chemical company, withheld from the government an internal study linking a toxic chemical in Teflon to birth defects in some children, an advocacy group charged on Friday.

The Environmental Working Group claimed that DuPont violated federal law by failing to turn over a document in 1981 showing the risks of perfluorooctanoic acid, or C8, a chemical used to manufacture Teflon." (Reuters)

"Georgina's fight against toxic peril" - "One woman is taking on the Government to expose the health risks of crop spraying - and she's winning, reports Mark Townsend." (The Observer)

"New test for BSE in sheep could lead to draconian measures" - " The scientist who won a Nobel prize for his work on identifying the cause of BSE-like brain diseases has developed a test that will be used by the Government to see if sheep have been infected by "mad cow" disease." (Independent)

"U.S. Plans to Limit Protected Wilderness to 23 Million Acres" - "WASHINGTON, April 12 — The Interior Department wants to limit Bureau of Land Management lands eligible for wilderness protection to 23 million acres nationwide, a figure environmental groups say leaves millions of acres vulnerable to development. The department told Congress on Friday that it intended to halt all reviews of its Western land holdings for new wilderness protection and to withdraw that protected status from about three million acres in Utah." (Associated Press)

"El Nino? Science takes a raincheck" - "El Nino and La Nina became household words during the 1980s and 1990s as Australians struggled to understand what was happening to the weather. Now scientists studying the effects the Indian and Southern Oceans have on the weather have added another name to the phenomena that play a role in determining whether we have drought or floods - North-West Cloud Bands." (The Age)

"Methane theory gets frosty response" - "A hot theory about how the Ice Age ended has got a frosty response at a meeting of the leading European and American geoscience societies in France." (BBC News Online)

"Leap of Faith" - "COOPER, Maine - Maine's legislature is poised to pass "An Act to Provide Leadership in Addressing the Threat of Climate Change." The bill would implement the New England governors/ Eastern Canadian premiers Climate Change Agreement (CCA). The legislation will put Maine on the path of regulating and controlling carbon dioxide and possibly other greenhouse gas emissions." (Jon Reisman, TCS)

"Greenhouse action urged" - "THE federal and state governments have been urged to develop a national energy efficiency program to help Australia overcome the effects of greater greenhouse gas emissions. And they have been urged to encourage a move to a hydrogen economy in the next 25 years for both transport fuels and electricity generation. The recommendations come from a group of chief executives of Australia's leading companies." (The Australian)

"Rising rivers set to wreck Bangladesh" - "Arguments over the causes of global warming will bring little succour to the people of Bangladesh. Flooding in the country is set to increase by up to 40 per cent this century as global temperatures rise, the latest climate models suggest. Each year, roughly a fifth of Bangladesh is flooded, and climate change is forecast to exacerbate the problem as sea levels rise, monsoons become wetter and more intense cyclones lead to higher tidal surges." (New Scientist)

"Climate change threatens fruit industry" - "GLOBAL warming is threatening the livelihoods of Britain’s fruit growers, and the future of the soft drinks industry that relies on them. Winters are becoming progressively milder, but fruits such as apple, pear, strawberry, raspberry, blackcurrant and rhubarb need a sustained cold period to flower — and fruit — normally. Unless growers can guarantee a substantial yield, many fruits will no longer be commercially viable, making a large dent in the country’s £230 million-a-year fruit industry. Alternatively, growers will have to move production further north to guarantee colder winters." (The Times)

"Using wood to tackle climate change" - "To combate climate change, the EU recognises both the value of replacing fossil fuel intensive materials with sustainably produced wood and the role of wood products which store carbon.

The EU actively supports an accounting approach, such as stock-change, in which wood products, analysed throughout their whole lifecycle, constitute an additional carbon sink alongside forest sinks, and stresses the need for incentives to increase the use of wood products." (welcomeurope.com)

"Industry’s success in cutting emissions – but is it all just hot air?" - "British industry cut carbon dioxide emissions by 13.5 million tonnes last year, almost three times above target, according to government figures. But the five-year emissions trading scheme (UKETS) set up by the government is little more than hot air, according to an environmental news service." (EDIE.net)

"Senate panel approves US nuclear plant incentives" - "WASHINGTON - The Republican-led Senate Energy Committee approved an estimated $30 billion in federal loan guarantees for private firms to build new U.S. nuclear power plants, defeating a Democratic attempt to strike the measure from a wide-ranging energy bill." (Reuters)

"Cloned gene may help crops and livestock meet future needs" - "Improved digestibility of livestock feed, hardier crops and higher yield of biofuels may result from information that Purdue University researchers are learning about the sorghum gene that controls plant cell wall hardness. The scientists have cloned the gene and also developed markers that allow molecular identification of three mutations of the gene." (Purdue University)

"Commit to non-GM food, councils told" - "Environmental groups have urged councils to commit to non-genetically modified food in the run-up to the elections on May 1. Friends of the Earth has asked councils to pledge not to use GM foods in schools and to call on the government to prevent GM crops being grown in their areas. The group said councils needed to act before the government and European Commission decide later this year whether to allow the widespread growing of GM crops in Europe. If given the go-ahead, GM crops risk contaminating local food, farmland and wildlife and threaten the viability of organic food, Friends of the Earth claims." (BBC News Online)

"Blair adviser attacks Labour GM crops 'fix'" - "A key scientific adviser to Tony Blair has launched the most damaging attack yet on the Prime Minister's attempts to persuade the public to accept genetically modified crops. Sir Tom Blundell, a Labour supporter appointed by Blair to chair the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution in 1998, has effectively accused ministers of a fix. In a three-page letter leaked to the Observer, Blundell condemns ministerial efforts to have an independent scientific review of GM technology as 'artificial'. He warns that this will be completed before a public debate has even started." (The Observer)

"INTERVIEW - Brazil tests GM orange tree against 'sudden death'" - "SAO PAULO, Brazil - A Brazilian genome scientist says his firm is close to marketing genetically modified orange trees that could save the world's largest orange crop from destruction by "sudden death" disease." (Reuters)

April 11, 2003

"Physician-Activists Socially Irresponsible on War" - "Physicians for Social Responsibility this week took its anti-war shrieking to a new level of irrationality. The swift progress of Operation Iraqi Freedom has driven PSR to proclaiming America’s success a disaster." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"No More Gulf War Syndromes" - "The war is winding down, with remarkably few coalition casualties. Yet soon somebody will try to start another casualty list, that of a second Gulf War Syndrome (GWS). The only way to stop it is to finally acknowledge that, in any meaningful sense, no such thing as GWS exists." (Michael Fumento, Scripps Howard News Service)

"Manto hails DDT against malaria" - "Durban - Health minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang urged countries in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to use the insecticide DDT to combat malaria, saying it had reduced the number of malaria cases in South Africa by 42%, SABC radio news reported.

DDT was banned in the early 1990s in South Africa, but it was later re-listed for restricted use against malaria sectors after it was found that the substitute chemical was not as effective." (SAPA)

"Should the DDT Ban be Lifted?" - "By most measures, Uganda is one of the success stories of African development. Under President Yoweri Museveni, a former guerrilla and darling of the international donor community, Uganda has achieved GDP growth of 6 percent per year, gradually expanding political freedoms, and a measure of peace. In a continent beset by poverty and political disorder, Uganda has slowly become a model for how to get things right. Even the AIDS epidemic, which infected an estimated 20 percent of Uganda's population a decade ago, seems to be under control.

But a more old-fashioned plague has come back to haunt Uganda: malaria. The mosquito-borne illness costs Uganda more than $347 million a year. Today, up to 40 percent of the country's outpatient care goes to people thus. infected. Total infections are so numerous. that the government doesn't even try to track them, but last year, 80,000 people died of the disease, half of them children under the age of five." (Alexander Gourevitch, Washington Monthly)

"Animal rights groups sue US over elephant imports" - "LOS ANGELES - Animal rights groups this week sued the U.S. Department of the Interior to block the importation of 11 Indian elephants for two zoo conservation programs, saying that programs that promote breeding in captivity are shams, doomed to fail." (Reuters)

"FBI warns of crimes by animal rights activists" - "WASHINGTON - The FBI cautioned law enforcers this week to look out for possible criminal activity by "animal rights extremists" during nationwide protests in April against animal testing in laboratories." (Reuters)

"Creeping Activism" - "Once again debt-relief demanding activist groups, such as Britain's Jubilee Debt Campaign, have demonstrated they know nothing about how the institutions of a free society work. These groups, which have demanded for the past decade that governments and multilateral institutions such as the World Bank write-off debt to impoverished nations, are now demanding that corporations should forgive past wrongs, including outright theft." (Roger Bate, TCS)

"Climate Change consensus document is made accessible to non-specialists" - "Brussels, April 9, 2003. GreenFacts Foundation has published a document entitled Scientific Facts on Climate Change and Global Warming on its www.greenfacts.org website. This document provides non-specialists with easy access to the scientific consensus found in the Third Assessment Report published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The GreenFacts summaries present the issues in a series of questions and answers in three levels of increasing detail. They also provide validated links to other major science-based information sources." (GreenFacts Foundation)

"Bangladesh flooding could rise by 40 pct-scientists" - "LONDON - Flooding in Bangladesh could increase by 40 percent if global warming pushes temperatures higher. Flooding already affects about a fifth of the country, which lies in the delta of three rivers. But heavier rainfall triggered by global warming could swamp riverbanks with terrible consequences, according to researchers." (Reuters)

"VIRTUAL CLIMATE ALERT April 10, 2003 Vol. 4, No.7" - "Many will recall how heavy, persistent rains swept across Europe, last summer causing major river systems to flood within an extensive area from southern France northward to the Czech Republic, and eastward to Romania and the Black Sea coast of Russia. At the time, press reports characterized the flooding as the "largest floods on record," suggesting they were evidence of how human activities had altered Europe’s climate. However, a recent study published in the March 25th edition of EOS, Transactions of the American Geophysical Union concludes that, for at least one of these rivers (and probably many of the others), the flooding was not of historic proportion. In fact, it has been exceeded on several occasions in the not-so-distant past." (GES)

"ANALYSIS - Japan nuclear scandals stymie Kyoto pact goals" - "TOKYO - Japan's plans to meet its obligations under the Kyoto accord on global warming could be in jeopardy as public safety concerns hinder the construction of new nuclear reactors low in greenhouse gas emissions." (Reuters)

"Seeking comfort from the cold" - "Scientists at the University of Arizona have discovered a critical cold-tolerance gene in Arabidopsis. As published in the April 15th issue of Genes & Development, the identification of ICE1 by Dr. Jian-Kang Zhu and colleagues holds promising implications for the improvement of cold tolerance in agriculturally important crops." (Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory)

"German GM wheat trials approved but site sabotaged" - "HAMBURG - German authorities said this week they have approved an application from Swiss agribusiness group Syngenta AG to start Germany's first trials of genetically-modified wheat. But on Tuesday some 25 Greenpeace activists sowed organic wheat seed on the test site, aimed at ruining trials as it will be impossible to tell the difference between GMO and conventional wheat, said Greenpeace spokesman Henning Strodthoff." (Reuters)

"INTERVIEW - Syngenta says GM wheat at least five years away" - "LYON, France - Swiss crop giant Syngenta AG said this week it did not expect to market genetically modified wheat for at least five years." (Reuters)

"Brussels warns 12 countries on modified food" - "Twelve European Union countries have been warned by the European Commission over their failure to apply rules for genetically modified organisms at the centre of a trade dispute. The Commission has formally asked countries including France, Germany, Austria and Italy to pass legislation on the release of GMOs into the environment, or face legal action in the European Court of Justice. The countries failed to meet a deadline of October 17 last year. "We have no other option," said a Commission spokeswoman. "This is the framework member states wanted to have... it should be adopted as soon as possible." (Financial Times)

April 10, 2003

"House Votes to Limit Lawsuits Against Gun Manufacturers" - "WASHINGTON, April 9 — After a day of speeches denouncing gun violence and praising the constitutional right to bear arms, the House of Representatives easily passed a bill today limiting lawsuits against the firearms industry. The measure now goes to the Senate, where it already has enough sponsors to win a majority vote. But neither side is sure it has the 60 votes to prevail against a filibuster promised by Democrats." (New York Times)

Meanwhile, NS is very interested in worms I: "Sex life of worms reveals Chernobyl effect" - "Worms contaminated by radioactivity from the Chernobyl nuclear accident have started having sex with each other instead of on their own." (New Scientist)

II: "Worm brings death to coral" - "Half the world's coral reefs are threatened by coral bleaching which, most marine biologists agree, is caused by a rise in sea temperature. But Israeli scientists have found a type of coral whose bleaching is caused by a bacterium - carried by a coral-feeding worm. If the same is true for other corals, scientists may be able to prevent the disease by targeting the worm vector." (New Scientist)

"`Hockey Stick' Debacle" - "Ever since the IPCC came out with their `Hockey Stick' three years ago, they have been fighting a rearguard action to defend it ever since. Here is the infamous graph they produced - the `Hockey Stick' - 1,000 years of benign climate until Man came along in the 20th century and warmed everything up, 1998 being touted as the `warmest year of the millennium'. Yet it was just a clumsy splicing together of limited tree ring data and 20th century surface temperature data (mostly from warming cities)." (John L Daly, Still Waiting For Greenhouse)

"U.S. Left Out of Emissions Trading" - "LONDON — During negotiations over the Kyoto Protocol, the United States preached the importance of market solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Few countries listened. Now, with the Americans no longer at the table, the former free-market opposition has taken over the pulpit. Canada ratified the treaty in December, meaning the plan to reduce greenhouse gases is just one nation shy of becoming law in more than 100 countries. And the heart of the treaty is an emissions-trading plan that closely resembles what the United States originally proposed." (New York Times)

"Europe Moves Closer to Energy Demand Law" - "BRUSSELS, Belgium, April 9, 2003 - Managing the demand for energy is emerging as a European strategy for meeting the targets set by the Kyoto Protocol for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. These emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases occur when fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas are burned to produce energy.

The European Commission will propose an EU law on energy demand management by the summer, according to sources. The long promised measure is intended to boost energy efficiency and help meet the EU's Kyoto Protocol commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions." (ENS)

"Greens furious at petrol tax freeze" - "Environmentalists reacted with fury to the Treasury's surprise show of leniency towards motorists and air passengers as the chancellor froze tax at petrol pumps and check-in desks. Gordon Brown said he had decided to delay a planned 1.38p-a-litre rise in fuel duty for at least six months because of "high and volatile" oil prices during the war in Iraq. He also revealed there would be no rise in air-passenger duty, rewarding intensive lobbying from airlines which are suffering from a global downturn in travel." (The Guardian)

"US Senate panel adopts Bush's hydrogen car program" - "WASHINGTON - The Senate Energy Committee this week agreed to authorize funding for the Bush administration's hydrogen car program, rejecting Democratic attempts to set specific goals for automakers in getting the alternative-fuel vehicles on the highway." (Reuters)

"GM and BMW to jointly support hydrogen cars" - "DETROIT - General Motors Corp. and BMW AG have agreed to work jointly on developing refueling devices for liquid hydrogen vehicles, which could replace gasoline or diesel-burning cars and trucks in the future, a GM official said." (Reuters)

"Coal, nuclear power take aim at expensive natgas" - "HOUSTON - High natural gas prices may have taken the glow off a fleet of efficient new power plants, but major hurdles are limiting a return to coal and nuclear sources, industry sources said." (Reuters)

"The Organic Food Lobby" - "Whatever else organic food is, it's big business. Grocery stores, distributors, seed companies, compliance officers, manure providers, and a host of other enterprises large and small (not to mention the farmers themselves) are all part of the growing economy that is the organic food industry. Stronger than ever before, some in the organic lobby are now piggybacking on activist-driven legislation that seemingly has no relationship with organic food -- all in an effort to increase its market share." (Center For Consumer Freedom)

"Endangered-species clone inspires hope, concern" - "Birth of rare banteng calves from a cloned cell is a landmark, but its future role in conservation is uncertain." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"UK OKs Syngenta application for new GM wheat trial" - "LONDON - Britain has approved a new field trial of genetically modified (GM) wheat, as hundreds of U.S. farm groups press for a moratorium on its full-scale introduction amid trans-crop contamination worries about one of the world's most important foods." (Reuters)

"Need for thorough survey of farmers' attitudes to GM crops - A Biotechnology Australia backgrounder" - "Not enough is yet known about the view of Australian farmers to make definitive statements about their future acceptance or rejection of genetically modified crops will be, according to Mr Craig Cormick, the Manager of Public Awareness for the Commonwealth Government agency Biotechnology Australia. Speaking today at the Australian Biotechnology Summit in Sydney about community attitudes and ethical concerns about biotechnology, he said that it was dangerous for policy makers to be making decisions based on incomplete data." (SeedQuest)

April 9, 2003

Scare du jour: "Mercury levels in baby food 'too high'" - "Babies are consuming too much mercury, with levels that may prompt new warnings over the eating of fish. Breastfeeding mothers and pregnant women have already been advised to limit their intake of species such as shark, swordfish and tuna because of the risk of damaging the nervous systems of their offspring. But new estimates of mercury levels indicate that babies between four and 12 months old are, in some cases, consuming twice the amount that the US environmental protection agency and British advisers deem safe for adults." (The Guardian)

"The Green Menace" - "Back in the dark Cold War days of 1984 a seed was brought to American soil. Fallen from the vine of the Green Party in Germany, planted in the dark socialist earth of the American Left, and watered with rampant anti-Americanism, the Green Committees of Correspondence took root in 1990 and adopted their first national Platform. By 1996 the Green Party was formed and the twelve years of growth had created a succulent fruit for the far-left movement: the watermelon. Green on the outside and red on the inside, the watermelon became the perfect metaphor for the Green Party with its deeply Marxist philosophy hidden underneath a thin environmentalist façade. If only the Greens had a sense of humor they might actually adopt the melon as their official symbol." (FrontPageMagazine.com)

From Big Anti-tobacco to the Global Warming Industry, see the numbers on NumberWatch

"Climate change could dry Great Lakes" - "CHICAGO, April 8 -- The Great Lakes states will look more like parts of the South and Southwest by the end of the century as a result of global warming, a report released Tuesday concludes. The changes will lead to hot, dry summers and severe flooding in the winter and spring, the report, by the Union of Concerned Scientists and the Ecological Society of America, predicts." (UPI)

"Climate change will have dramatic impact on Ontario, study concludes" - "TORONTO -- Climate change will likely have a dramatic impact on the economy of Ontario and the health of its residents in the coming decades, a new study released Tuesday concludes. The study by 13 Canadian and American scientists for the David Suzuki Foundation predicts an increasing incidence of droughts, floods, forest fires and other extreme weather events in the region." (CP)

"Regional warming-induced species shift in NW Mediterranean marine caves" - "Chevaldonné and Lejeusne found the first convincing illustration that climate change is directly affecting marine organisms. They monitored two species of endemic cave mysids and demonstrated they have different tolerances to temperature. During recent episodes of warm weather, populations of the cold-loving species were replaced by congeners of warmer affinities. However, the geographical context of the Mediterranean makes it impossible for such "cold-water" species already trapped in the northernmost parts to migrate northward." (Blackwell Publishing Ltd.)

World Climate Report Volume 8, Number 15, April 7, 2003 (GES)

"50 Arctic lakes show dramatic effects of climate warming" - "Dramatic clues to North American climate change have been discovered by a team of Queen's University scientists in the bottom of 50 Arctic lakes." (Queen's University)

"Greenhouse gases not culprit, study suggests; Global warmth variable" - "The global warming trend of the 20th century is less extreme than the pre-industrial climate change of the Middle Ages, says a new analysis that challenges the common wisdom that greenhouse gases drive up temperatures." (National Post)

"Atmospheric CO2 Enrichment: Just What the Food Doctor Ordered!" - "Summary: A new study that evaluates the effectiveness of increasing agricultural sustainability in developing countries unknowingly makes a strong case for allowing the air's CO2 content to continue to rise unimpeded." (co2science.org)

Subject Index Summaries:
"Runoff" - "Summary: Do rising temperatures lead to more frequent and severe extreme precipitation events that increase water runoff to streams and rivers and ultimately produce more flooding?" (co2science.org)

"Trees (Range Expansions)" - "Summary: A review of some of the recent scientific literature suggests that the historical rise in the air's CO2 content has played a prominent role in promoting the range expansion of woody plants." (co2science.org)

Current Journal Reviews:
"The Urban Heat Island of Houston, Texas" - "Summary: Its increase in magnitude over the twelve-year period between 1987 and 1999 exceeds that of the world over the entire past century, although the temperature of the surrounding rural area changed not a bit. Remote Sensing of Environment 85: 282-289." (co2science.org)

"Question: When Is a Record Flood Not a Record Flood?" - "Summary: Answer: When a much longer time period than a mere century or two is considered. EOS: Transactions, American Geophysical Union 84: 109." (co2science.org)

"Declare war on global warming" - "PRINCETON, New Jersey With his rejection of the Kyoto Protocol on climate change in 2001, President George W. Bush inadvertently caused an upheaval in international relations. Environmental issues had been long regarded as the poor stepchild of the foreign policy arena. But as recent remarks by Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain and the United Nations arms inspector Hans Blix made clear, the global warming issue, and particularly America's handling of it, has become a central geopolitical concern." (Michael Oppenheimer, IHT)

"Reforestation project offers bit of fresh air; 162,000 trees to help remove carbon dioxide" - "LINDALE -- When Curtis Baker sold a chunk of his East Texas ranch to a conservation group earlier this year, he knew it would take generations for the pasture to convert back to its natural bottomland forest. What he hadn't counted on was the trees being used to help clean air pollution warming the Earth's atmosphere." (Houston Chronicle)

"Beyond El Niño: understanding Australia's weather" - "Improved climate and drought predictability will be the result of a growing understanding of the major southern hemisphere weather patterns say CSIRO scientists. They believe that the Pacific Ocean's El Niño and La Niña effects have counterparts in the Indian and Southern Oceans and that these three major weather systems interact with each other." (CSIRO)

"California's retreat on emissions upsets 'car of the future' buyers" - "SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The celebrated ride of the car that spawned the nation's toughest emissions regulation ends at a parking lot in Southern California, where a growing fleet of General Motors electric cars awaits an uncertain fate." (AP)

"The Postmodern Disconnect: Food Fetishism and Agricultural Reality" - "There seems to be some disconnect from reality when one hears strident voices dogmatically proclaiming that our food system has "failed" and must be entirely transformed, or that the "Green Revolution" (which boosted crop yields through improved fertilizer use) is a failure. People who say that must think, as Tertullian (and later St. Augustine) would say, Credo Quia Absurdum Est — "I believe it because it is absurd." That it is absurd can quickly be seen if one simply glances at the produce section of a modern supermarket and the cornucopia it offers to an increasing number of the world's population. It is absurd because though world population has doubled in the last forty years the absolute number of people in poverty and hunger has been falling steadily. Such absurd statements are made possibly because being absurd is the only way that some people can find to be different. One could legitimately argue that the number of those experiencing poverty and hunger is too large and should be declining faster, but to do so requires improving upon the agronomy that has taken us this far, not destroying it." (Thomas R. DeGregori, ACSH)

"Ingrid Newkirk Unplugged" - " The most recent issue of the New Yorker magazine includes a 14-page essay on People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) President and co-founder, Ingrid Newkirk. It is entitled "The Extremist: The Woman Behind the Most Successful Radical Group in America." Perhaps the article should instead have been titled "The Nutcase." It reveals Newkirk as simply, incredibly bizarre. " (Center For Consumer Freedom)

"Scientists clone endangered Asian banteng" - "WASHINGTON - A pair of banteng calves born last week were cloned from an animal that died more than 20 years ago, researchers said yesterday - adding they hoped to rescue more endangered animals using cloning." (Reuters)

"Cloned endangered species euthanized" - "SIOUX CITY, Iowa, April 8 -- One of the two offspring cloned from an endangered species last week developed health problems and had to be euthanized, scientists reported Tuesday." (UPI)

April 8, 2003

"Congress's Pet Arsenal" - "Under cover of war, the domestic gun industry is prodding Congress to anoint it as the "Arsenal of Democracy" by enacting a disastrous bill to give gun makers and dealers unprecedented protection from liability suits by state and local governments and victims of gun violence. The "Arsenal" argument is being pressed by lobbyists who want to enshrine the industry as the safeguard of freedom "here at home and around the world," as the National Shooting Sports Foundation puts it." (New York Times editorial)

"Arsenic in drinking water may be linked to cancer Dartmouth study finds" - "Exposure to small amounts of arsenic in drinking water may inhibit expression of genes involved in a critical housekeeping function that enables cells to repair damaged DNA, Dartmouth Medical School researchers find. The process, known as DNA repair, is considered a major biological defense in the body's ability to fight cancer." (Dartmouth Medical School)

"WHO wants action to stop millions of child deaths" - "GENEVA - The World Health Organisation (WHO) called yesterday for urgent international action to remove environmental hazards which kill five million children every year, mainly in poor countries. Simple measures to improve habitats where children live, learn and play could prevent the acute respiratory infections, malaria and diarrhoea which are major killers of children worldwide, the WHO said yesterday." (Reuters)

"Chronic obesity linked to behavior problems in kids" - "NEW YORK - Children who are chronically obese may be more likely to develop certain mental health problems than their peers, according to a new report released Monday." (Reuters Health)

Book Review: "The Killer Fog: When green politics masquerades as environmental science" - "When Smoke Ran Like Water: Tales of Environmental Deception and the Battle Against Pollution, by Devra Lee Davis, New York: Basic Books, 336 pages, $26

Facts must come before philosophy. The question of whether air pollution quietly kills millions of people has to be decided by examining the evidence, not by checking that claim against one’s political principles, be they environmentalist, pro-market, or something else.

In the first half of When Smoke Ran Like Water, Devra Lee Davis, an epidemiologist and public policy professor at Carnegie Mellon University, goes to great lengths to demonstrate her credibility by examining data, describing clear-cut environmental catastrophes, and giving readers useful lessons in epidemiology along the way. Somewhere around the middle of the book, though, a strange thing happens, and even a sympathetic reader must begin to doubt Davis’ scientific objectivity. As is all too often the case with the environmental movement Davis represents, the data quietly fade into the background, their dire implications often taken for granted, while moving anecdotes and denunciations of political foes take center stage." (Todd Seavey, Reason)

Aha! Global warming! "Spring Snow" - "Never mind the records or the averages. What matters isn't what happened years ago or what usually happens — just what happened yesterday. A mass of warm air sliding up from the south collided with a dome of unseasonably cold air, and snow fell in New York City and across the mid-Atlantic states. It came down in demoralizing fistfuls, like scraps of winter's calendar flung into spring. Everything was put on hold: the rose leaves in Bryant Park, the first blush on the buds in the botanical gardens, even the Yankees' home opener. Winter has never seemed quite so reluctant to retreat for good." (New York Times editorial)

"2002's warmth could deepen climate-change concerns" - "NICE, France — Last year rang in as the second-warmest on record, weather experts reported Monday, making 2002 the continuation of a trend of warmer years. The "State of the Climate" report also described 2002 as a year that marked the worst flooding in Europe in 100 years and a record drought for parts of North America. In fact, scientists found that 2002 drought patterns in the southwestern USA match Dust Bowl records from the 1930s." (USA Today)

"Sun fuels global warming debate" - "A US scientist has cast doubt on the controversial idea that the Sun has been the main contributor to climate change over the past 20 years. The Sun is known to brighten and fade from time to time, influencing temperatures on Earth. Scientists are divided over how significant a factor this is compared with what people are doing to the planet." (BBC News Online)

"UK beats greenhouse gas targets" - "British industry has performed far better than expected in cutting emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), ministers say. Thousands of companies achieved cuts in 2002 totalling nearly three times above the agreed targets. Most of the reduction was in the steel industry, which has cut output because of severe problems. But the government says the UK should manage to reduce its overall emissions by almost twice its international obligations." (BBC News Online) | Steel crisis helps Britain beat target on greenhouse gas (Independent)

"Rewrite of Emissions Rule May Roll Out More Hybrids" - "California motorists are likely to see hundreds of thousands of hybrid cars, powered by gas and electric motors, on the road by the end of this decade under new zero-emission vehicle rules expected to be imposed by the state Air Resources Board later this month.

That's a big change from the state's original ZEV mandate in 1990, which called for California's six biggest automakers to make 10% of their cars sold here emissions-free.

But over the years the ZEV mandate has been rewritten four times to keep up with changing technologies and automaker objections. Now, with the auto industry successfully fighting the board in court, there's about to be a fifth rewrite." (Los Angeles Times)

"New Fusion Method Offers Hope of New Energy Source" - "PHILADELPHIA, April 7 — With a blast of X-rays compressing a capsule of hydrogen to conditions approaching those at the center of the Sun, scientists from Sandia National Laboratories reported today that they had achieved thermonuclear fusion, in essence detonating a tiny hydrogen bomb.

Such controlled explosions would not be large enough to be dangerous and might offer an alternative way of generating electricity by harnessing fusion, the process that powers the Sun. Fusion combines hydrogen atoms into helium, producing bountiful energy as a byproduct." (New York Times)

"People's Congress Urges Land, Food Without Poisons" - "MANILA, Philippines, April 7, 2003 - Agricultural workers and their families are being poisoned, rural lands, forests, oceans and waters are devastated, biodiversity is being destroyed, and food is unfit for human consumption. With these words, 140 participants from 17 countries at the First Pesticide Action Network Asia and the Pacific Congress in Manila last week warned the world that industrial agriculture as conducted by transnational corporations is undermining the resources needed to sustain food production." (ENS)

"Australia invents new mousetrap with herpes virus" - "SYDNEY - Australia, regularly hit by the worst mouse plagues in the world, is claiming an international first with a genetically modified herpes virus to knock out population explosions of the small rodent." (Reuters)

"Politically Opportunistic, Pseudo-scientists" - "Extremists in the environmental movement, largely from rich nations and/or the privileged strata of society in poor nations, seem to be doing everything they can to stop scientific progress in its tracks. It is sad that some scientists have also jumped on the extremist environmental bandwagon in search of research funds. When scientists align themselves with anti-science political movements, or lend their name to unscientific propositions, what are we to think? Is it any wonder that science is losing its constituency? We must be on guard against politically opportunistic, pseudo-scientists."

Those are the words of Nobel Peace Prize winner Norman Borlaug, whose advances in agricultural science are credited with saving tens of millions from starvation. Borlaug captures perfectly the story of Ignacio Chapela, a disgraced professor at Berkeley University, whose career now hangs in the balance as he battles for tenure." (Center For Consumer Freedom)

April 7, 2003

"Pediatric drug testing may be unhealthy" - "Even by Capitol Hill’s standards, last Tuesday’s press conference was an exceptionally self-congratulatory event. The occasion was the unveiling of the Pediatric Research Equity bill (S. 650) by a bipartisan group of senators.

Accompanying them were representatives from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, with a supporting handout bearing the signatures of 20 other medical associations.

Last fall a federal court had ruled that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lacked the authority to mandate that pharmaceutical manufacturers test on what are known as “off-label” uses in children. This group intended to give FDA that authority. What could conceivably be wrong with that?

There’s quite a bit, for anyone concerned about the already-slow pace of new drug development." (Sam Kazman, The Hill)

"F.D.A. Sharply Lowers 'Safe' Mercury Level" - "The Food and Drug Administration has begun using the Environmental Protection Agency's much lower safe level as a standard for mercury in the human body." (AP)

Figures: "Marin County breast cancer rates not as high as once thought" - "Studies that found skyrocketing breast cancer rates in Marin County relied on faulty population data, federal researchers say." (AP)

"Minority Groups Mobilize on Pollution; Alabama Town's Battle for PCB Cleanup Reflects Fight Against 'Environmental Racism'" - "MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- David Baker remembers the upheaval in his home town of Anniston in the 1990s when many residents realized their health and property had been contaminated by toxic PCBs from a nearby chemical plant. The experience spurred Baker and others in predominantly poor, black west Anniston to form Community Against Pollution to fight for damages and clean up the contamination. Today, most of the group's members have been involved in lawsuits against the chemical company." (Associated Press)

"Fishes Sleep With the Fishes, but the Cause Appears Natural" - "Life was returning to Morningside Park, near West 113th Street and Manhattan Avenue. Sparrows were flirting, roots were thawing and the ice on the kidney-shaped pond had finally melted. Turtles poked out of their shells, well rested and hungry. But it was a different story with the fish. By the time spring arrived a few weeks ago, a horrific scene greeted visitors. The surface was covered with hundreds of dead carp, bass, perch and catfish, some as large as 18 inches." (New York Times)

"Thousands of cod may have frozen to death" - "SMITH SOUND, NFLD. - Thousands of dead northern cod washed ashore in Smith Sound, Newfoundland on the weekend. Fishermen noticed small numbers of dead cod earlier in the week and by Saturday the bay was full. Fishermen estimate there's about a quarter-million pounds of fish." (CBC News Online)

"Ice pellets, snowstorms batter winter-weary Canada" - "TORONTO - Mother Nature played a cruel trick last week, dumping snow and freezing rain on Canadians desperate for spring after the coldest winter in a decade." (Reuters)

Just think, in a few months, the global warming industry is going to be trying to convince us that this was the nth warmest winter since, oh, the invention of waffle irons or something.

"Middle Ages were warmer than today, say scientists" - "Claims that man-made pollution is causing "unprecedented" global warming have been seriously undermined by new research which shows that the Earth was warmer during the Middle Ages.

From the outset of the global warming debate in the late 1980s, environmentalists have said that temperatures are rising higher and faster than ever before, leading some scientists to conclude that greenhouse gases from cars and power stations are causing these "record-breaking" global temperatures.

Such claims have now been sharply contradicted by the most comprehensive study yet of global temperature over the past 1,000 years. A review of more than 240 scientific studies has shown that today's temperatures are neither the warmest over the past millennium, nor are they producing the most extreme weather - in stark contrast to the claims of the environmentalists." (Sunday Telegraph)

"Drilling to cast light on climate change" - "Some 30 scientists from a dozen nations are preparing to bore two holes, each a kilometre deep and 6 centimetres wide, in the bed of West Africa's Lake Bosumtwi. Late next year, they hope to pull up sediments that bear witness to the region's alternating rainy and dry seasons over the past 1 million years." (NSU)

"EU carbon trade market seen worth billions of euros" - "LONDON - The European Union carbon emissions trading market could be worth as much as 1.8 billion euros a year by 2012 as countries drive to cut their greenhouse gas emissions, a report said. The EU will launch the world's first international greenhouse gas trading scheme in 2005 as part of efforts to fight global warming. The scheme will cap the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) that big factories and power stations can emit from 2005 and allow them to trade emissions rights with other firms in the 15-nation bloc." (Reuters)

"Energy policy will not cut gas emissions" - "EMISSIONS of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2), believed to be the chief cause of global warming, will remain exactly the same by the year 2020, despite a government commitment to producing 40 per cent of Scotland’s energy from renewable sources. Just days after Ross Finnie, the environment minister, said Scotland would meet the ambitious target for renewable energy production, The Scotsman has learned that such action will make no contribution to reducing the amount of CO2 pumped into the atmosphere in Scotland - the prime motivation for setting the target in the first place." (The Scotsman)

"Illinois Approves $1 Billion Clean Coal Power Plant" - "SPRINGFIELD, Illinois, April 4, 2003 - Illinois will be burning more of its locally mined high sulfur coal, but burning it more cleanly than in the past under a statewide coal revival program that got a billion dollar boost today. Governor Rod Blagojevich announced plans for a $1 billion high tech coal fired power plant to be built in Will County on the grounds of the former Joliet Arsenal." (ENS)

"California solar energy units exempted from exit fee" - "SAN FRANCISCO - Solar energy advocates won a victory last week when California regulators voted to exempt utility customers running their own small solar electric systems from paying an "exit fee" to leave the state grid." (Reuters)

"REVOLUTIONARY CROP YIELDS TOP LIST OF KEY AGRICULTURAL EVENTS DURING LAST 50 YEARS" - "WASHINGTON, D.C. – The most important change in agriculture in the past 50 years, say members of North American Agricultural Journalists, was the hybridization and improvement of many crops.

A list of 40 important events and changes in agriculture was prepared for NAAJ by three leading agricultural historians: R. Douglas Hurt of Iowa State University, C. Fred Williams of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, and David Vaught of Texas A&M University. NAAJ members then voted on the top 10 developments in agriculture during the past 50 years.

The results were released Sunday at the 50th anniversary meeting of NAAJ in Washington, D.C." (AgNews)

Bizarrely, Carson's wildly erroneous polemic, Silent Spring, rates highly with ag journalists.

"World Creating Food Bubble Economy Based On Unsustainable Use Of Water" - "In mid March, while participants in the third World Water Forum officially focused on water scarcity, they were indirectly focusing on food scarcity because 70 percent of the water we divert from rivers or pump from underground is used for irrigation.

As world water demand has tripled over the last half-century, it has exceeded the sustainable yield of aquifers in scores of countries, leading to falling water tables. In effect, governments are satisfying the growing demand for food by overpumping groundwater, a measure that virtually assures a drop in food production when the aquifer is depleted. Knowingly or not, governments are creating a "food bubble" economy." (Earth Policy Institute)

"Organic practices slightly affect corn and soybean yields" - "Scientists from the University of Minnesota demonstrated yields of corn and soybeans were only minimally reduced when organic production practices were utilized as compared with conventional production practices. After factoring in production costs, net returns between the two production strategies were equivalent." (American Society of Agronomy)

"People need GM crops: Nobel prize winner" - "The world's people and the environment needed scientists to embrace genetically modified crops, a former Nobel prize winner said. Norman Borlaug, whose research into wheat helped lead to the green revolution of the 1960s, said scientists should not be afraid to use biotechnology to create new crops. And he attacked the environmental movement, arguing its criticism of new agricultural technologies was actually hurting its goals of ecosystem and forest protection." (AAP)

"FoE's attack on validity of farm scale evaluations totally spurious says CropGen" - "3 April 2003 - The Friends of the Earth's (FoE) report into the Farm Scale Evaluations (Science as a Smokescreen) is a spurious, naïve and cynical attempt at a pre-emptive strike.

The claim that the trials – the result of which are due to be published in September - will be of limited value because critical components of the arable ecosystem are not included is inaccurate. The data set collected in these trials is 300% bigger than anything collected in ecological experiments in the past.

Information from 272 fields is being included in the analyses. As explained by Firbank et al this colossal data set embraces an extensive range of plant and invertebrate genera and species, covering all key groups.

It is true that some soil organisms are not included in the trials but this was not because there were 'insufficient resources' as claimed by FoE. Rather, as Firbank explains, it is because variations are unlikely to be detectable." (CropGen)

"Brazil measure ignites congressional GM soy debate" - "BRASILIA, Brazil - A draft measure proposed last week by the new government to rein in Brazil's rampant illegal transgenic soy trade unleashed a storm of 70 proposals to alter the measure in Congress. Statesmen drew sides in debate on the lower house floor, some pushing for stricter enforcement of Brazil's ban on genetically modified crops, to which the former government had turned a blind eye for years. By unofficial estimates, transgenic soy seeds, smuggled from Argentina where they are legal, are responsible for as much as 30 percent of Brazil's record 50-million-tonne crop - the world's second largest after the United States, according to the Association of Brazilian Seed Producers (Abrasem)." (Reuters)

"UK food watchdog calls people's jury on GM crops" - "LONDON - A people's jury is being called to consider whether genetically modified foods should be widely available in shops, but environmentalists said money spent on the initiative should be used on debating the issue nationally. The citizens' jury process, which [started] last week, will include sixteen people from Slough in southern England. Their verdict is due on Monday, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) said." (Reuters)

April 4, 2003

"PETA: No Porpoise in War" - "Animal rights activists say the military use of animals in Iraq amounts to animal cruelty." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"A New Push to Grant Gun Industry Immunity From Suits" - "WASHINGTON, April 3 — Last fall, when Americans were fixated by the serial sniper killings in the suburbs here, Congress postponed voting on legislation protecting the gun industry against lawsuits. Now that most of the guns in the news are being fired by soldiers, not criminals, the industry's defenders seem more ready to be counted." (New York Times)

"We've never had it so good - and it's all thanks to science" - "Acclaimed author Matt Ridley on why it's high time we cheered up about the new technologies." (The Guardian)

"Cancer cases 'to soar'" - "Global cancer cases could soar by 50% to 15m by 2020, experts predict - but a third could be prevented by healthy lifestyles. The growth in cancer cases will largely be explained by the fact the population is steadily ageing. But smoking is highlighted as a major cause of cancers, along with poor diets and lack of exercise, according to the World Cancer Report, published by the World Health Organisation." (BBC News Online)

"NY sues Dow unit over pesticide advertising" - "NEW YORK - New York's state attorney this week said he plans to sue a unit of of Dow Chemical Co. for allegedly breaching a 1994 agreement against false advertising of a pesticide. The action against Dow AgroSciences LLC, a subsidiary of the largest U.S. chemical maker, involves Dow's widely used pesticide, Dursban, used around homes to poison termites. As part of the 1994 agreement, the company was supposed to stop making claims that the product was "safe," State Attorney Eliot Spitzer said in a statement.

The lawsuit, to be filed in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan, seeks a court order directing the company to cease what Spitzer calls deceptive advertising. It also seeks monetary penalties that could total in the "tens of millions," according to Spitzer spokesman Marc Violette.

Dow AgroSciences called the charges unwarranted and said it plans a "vigorous defense." "There is not a shred of credible scientific evidence supporting these allegations." It said more than 3,600 scientific studies have established the safety and effectiveness of the product." (Reuters)

"CDC: Mosquito Foggers Don't Up Pesticides" - "ATLANTA -- A mosquito spraying method that health officials say is central to fighting West Nile virus does not increase pesticide levels in humans, federal officials said. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention examined the potential health dangers of exposure to mosquito spray from fogger trucks after a request by Mississippi state health officials in September." (AP)

"NASA ties El Nino induced drought to record air pollution" - "Scientists using NASA satellite data have found the most intense global pollution from fires occurred during droughts caused by El Nino. The most intense fires took place in 1997-1998 in association with the strongest El Nino event of the 20th century." (NASA/GSFC)

"Suing over climate change. The debate over global warming is gaining a new dimension: litigation" - "The vast numbers affected by the effects of climate change, such as flooding, drought and forest fires, mean that potentially people, organisations and even countries could be seeking compensation for the damage caused. "It's not a question we could stand up and survive in a court of law at the moment, but it's the sort of question we should be working towards scientifically," Myles Allen, a physicist at Oxford University, UK, told the BBC World Service's Discovery programme." (BBC News Online)

"Unilateral and Right" - "When the war in Iraq ends, a renewed clamor for the United States to back harsh restrictions on carbon-dioxide emissions will begin." (James K. Glassman, TCS)

"Green groups shun climate strategy with government" - "Key green groups have pulled out of negotiations with the Federal Government on climate change policy, accusing it of misleading the public and bringing Australia to a "crisis point" on an urgent environmental issue. In a letter to the Environment Minister, David Kemp, three weeks ago, 21 environmental groups said it would be betraying their membership to continue discussions on the Government's Climate Change Forward Strategy." (The Sydney Morning Herald)

"Easy cash but quiet first year in UK emissions trade" - "LONDON - Britain's emissions trading scheme failed to balloon into a busy market in its first year although some companies made easy money from cutting greenhouse gases, dealers said yesterday. "In terms of being a liquid and efficient market it was far from being a success, but companies set up trading mechanisms and as a precursor to wider schemes there were lessons to be learned," said Atle Christiansen of analysts Point Carbon." (Reuters)

"Biotechnology versus Bioterror" - "When spring comes, a young man's fancy turns lightly to thoughts of love," wrote Tennyson. But with Iraq's brutal dictatorship caught in a death grip and seeking any way to strike back, this spring has brought thoughts of bioterrorism.

The best way to deal with terrorists is at the root: hunt them down and kill them. Nevertheless, we must also build a multi-layered defense against deadly microbial attacks. Biotech companies across the country are doing just that: developing an incredible array of vaccines, drugs, and detection devices." (Michael Fumento, Scripps Howard News Service)

"Biotech regulations impede crop domestication" - "Government regulations that lump all types of genetic engineering together, instead of making reasonable distinctions between differing technologies, is stifling research, favors large and wealthy corporations, and does little to protect the public safety. Changes need to be made, especially in gene research in crop agriculture." (Oregon State University)

"Agribusiness urged to reassure consumers on GM soy" - "RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil - Agribusiness must make a greater effort to convince consumers that genetically modified (GM) soy presents no health or environmental risk, Brazilian and European food experts said yesterday. But a U.S. oilseed industry leader noted that GM soy was already widely accepted and traded in the world market." (Reuters)

April 3, 2003

"Challenge to Superfund law dismissed" - "WASHINGTON — A federal judge removed a potential obstacle to the dredging of PCBs from New York's Hudson River when he dismissed a lawsuit by General Electric Co. challenging the 1980 Superfund toxic waste cleanup law. U.S. District Judge John D. Bates said in a ruling issued late Monday that it was premature for GE to attack the constitutionality of the law before the $500 million dredging project was completed." (Associated Press)

"Fears grow over 'mad elk disease'" - "The death of three hunters in North American from Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) is likely to raise fears that people are contracting the fatal brain disorder from deer. Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a prion disease spreading among elk and deer, and is similar to mad cow disease. The fear is that people eating venison contaminated with CWD could develop a form of CJD." (New Scientist)

"Fruit consumption related to increased risk of Parkinson's?" - "Researchers in Honolulu have found a correlation between high fruit and fruit drink consumption and risk of Parkinson's disease. Findings of their study are being presented at the American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting in Honolulu, March 29-April 5, 2003. Researchers in Honolulu have found a correlation between high fruit and fruit drink consumption and risk of Parkinson's disease. Findings of their study are being presented at the American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting in Honolulu, March 29-April 5, 2003." (American Academy of Neurology)

"Another Coalition Enemy" - "The war in Iraq is no cakewalk. The Coalition of the Willing faces tenacious opposition, systematic violations of the rules of war, and a harsh environment. Less obvious is that they are also hampered by a decade of destructive, radical environmental rules, policies and lawsuits that have compromised military training and readiness. This is an important cause of non-combat deaths in both Afghanistan and Iraq." (Henry I. Miller, TCS)

"Wildlife boss jailed for duping animal lovers" - "MUNICH, Germany - The former head of one of Germany's biggest animal welfare groups was sentenced to 12 years in jail in Munich this week after being found guilty of embezzling 26 million euros ($28 million) from animal lovers." (Reuters)

"Global warming to reduce glaciers, frozen soil, snow in China" - "BEIJING, April 2 -- Global warming will lead to the significant deterioration of glaciers, frozen soil and snow in China which will have a serious negative impact on the local ecological environment. During the International Symposium on Climate Change, which ended here on Wednesday, Prof. Ding Yihui, special advisor on climatic change with the China Meteorological Administration, said the alpine ecology was very sensitive to climatic changes, as illustrated by the shrinkage of glaciers due to rising temperatures." (Xinhuanet)

"CLIMATE CHANGE: U.N. Scientists Rebut Emissions Projection Criticisms" - "Ten U.N. scientists writing in the next issue of Energy and Environment rebut criticisms published in The Economist of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's method for forecasting the economic development that drives industrial production and, consequently, emissions of the greenhouse gases scientists believe are behind global warming." (UN Wire)

"MPs attack ministers over green 'failings'" - "Ministers are too "yellow" to meet their own pledges on renewable energy and cutting greenhouse gases, a Commons inquiry has found. In a strikingly tough report published today, the science and technology committee, dominated by Labour's own MPs, lambasts government energy policy, concluding that it has no realistic commitment to combating climate change. Ian Gibson, the committee chairman, accuses the government of cowardice in its handling of the recent energy white paper. "The government has ducked some tough decisions and while the white paper is green enough, it has a thick yellow streak running right through it." (Financial Times)

"Green groups say keep EU constitution nuclear-free" - "BRUSSELS - Environmentalists are urging the European Union to drop its special treatment of nuclear energy when the bloc writes its constitution later this year. Anti-nuclear campaigners say the creation of an EU constitution, being drafted by former French President Valery Giscard d'Estaing, is the right time to drop the 1957 Euratom Treaty which underpins the bloc's support for nuclear energy." (Reuters)

"INTERVIEW - German wind power growth slows on planning, finance" - "FRANKFURT - Growth in Germany's wind power sector will slow in 2003 because of tougher planning laws and growing reluctance from banks to back projects, the industry's association said yesterday." (Reuters)

"The Latest Anti-Science 'Smokescreen'" - " The largest scientific test of genetically improved food crops the world has ever seen is over. The results aren't due until the fall, but that hasn't stopped anti-biotech activists at Friends of the Earth (FoE) from staging a preemptive attack. FoE issued a 48-page research paper last week arguing that governments simply must demonstrate biotech food safety to activists' satisfaction. Apparently the satisfaction of the world's best scientific minds isn't enough." (Center For Consumer Freedom)

"GM crop wreckers convicted" - "A west Wales woman - described as a "respectable housewife" - has been convicted of criminal damage after taking part in sabotage on a field of genetically-modified crops. Yvonne Davies, 45, from Carmarthen, was among a group of 30 people who trampled through the GM maize experiment at Sealand in Flintshire, pulling up plants. She said she was defending the environment and acting in the public interest. But on Wednesday, a judge fined the group a total £1,150, suggesting they were serial agitators and said they had undermined genuine environmentalists' cause." (BBC News Online)

April 2, 2003

"New Poll Shows Americans are Eager to Pay More Taxes to Walk? Get out! April Fool’s Prank Gives Policy World a Much-Needed Laugh" - "Washington, D.C., March 31, 2003. April Fool’s Day always brings out the best in policy pranks, and 2003 is no exception. Tomorrow the Surface Transportation Policy Project (STPP) will unveil a study that addresses the pressing public crisis over–walking. The STPP will release a poll that supposedly shows that Americans want to walk more, and that they also want to be taxed more so that they can walk even more." (CEI)

"Nuclear Genocide? Piercing through the depleted uranium myths" - "The United States has conducted two nuclear wars. The first is against Japan in 1945, the second in Kuwait and Iraq in 1991." So declares activist Helen Caldicott in a half-page ad placed by a Japanese anti-nuclear group in the March 24 New York Times. If you didn't hear about the Persian Gulf Hiroshima, it's because she's actually referring to depleted uranium (DU) munitions." (Ronald Bailey, Reason)

"Accident in animal lab raises questions about a chemical used in some plastics" - "A sudden increase in chromosome abnormalities in a mouse colony has raised questions about the safe level of exposure for bisphenol A, a chemical used to make some common plastics and resins." (NIH/National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences)

"Component in plastic bottles found to cause abnormal pregnancies in mice" - "New evidence suggests environmental exposure to BPA, a compound used in the manufacture of plastic bottles, may cause chromosomally abnormal pregnancies. Low levels of BPA interfere with cell division in the eggs of female mice. The study provides first direct evidence that environmental exposure to BPA acts to disrupt maturation of eggs and demonstrates a dose-related increase in abnormalities. Although scientists can't say anything about the effects of BPA on humans, cell division for eggs is extraordinarily similar in mice and humans." (Case Western Reserve University)

"Toxin threat to Inuit food" - "Researchers have for the first time documented "unacceptable levels" of man-made environmental toxins in the Inuit population of Greenland. There is little doubt the toxins originate from the traditional local diet of polar bears, seals and whales, a diet which so far has been considered one of the healthiest on the planet." (BBC News Online)

"Europe's New Chemicals Plan Requires Market Authorization" - "BRUSSELS, Belgium, April 1, 2003 - European Commission proposals for the central feature of a revised EU chemicals policy - a strict market authorization procedure for chemicals of very high concern - will include persistent and bioaccumulative substances, Environment Commissioner Margot Wallstrom said Monday." (ENS)

"The Straw that Broke the Sow's Back" - " Florida politicians, weary of the sort of election-day fiascos that made their state a laughingstock, have decided to clean up their act. We're not talking about pregnant chads. It's the pregnant pigs that are getting all the attention. A massive 2002 animal-rights petition drive, which created a niche for gestating sows in the Florida Constitution, is apparently still a sore spot in the Sunshine State. Now lawmakers want to make it tougher for petitions to qualify for the ballot." (Center For Consumer Freedom)

"Vegetation essential to balancing climate models" - "Scientists at MIT trying to create accurate models of climate change in the southern portion of the Sahara desert found that including a realistic component of vegetation growth and decay was absolutely essential. Without including the vegetation as a variable (rather than a fixed parameter), the models were not able to show the region's transformation from a fertile expanse of vegetation 6,000 years ago to an arid stretch of mostly sand and mountains today." (MIT)

"Abrupt Climate Change: Not on the Human-Induced Agenda" - "Summary: Climate alarmists put forth a lot of unrealistic scenarios to frighten people into doing what they want them to do. The idea that global warming may cause catastrophically abrupt climate change is but another example that flies in the face of both reason and data." (co2science.org)

"Subject Index Summary: Storms (Europe)" - "Summary: Are storm trends in Europe doing what climate models say they should?" (co2science.org)

"Are Winters as White, or as Wet, as They Used to Be?" - "Summary: A study of snow water equivalent trends in the western United States provides the answer for part of the world. Journal of Agricultural, Biological, and Environmental Statistics 7: 536-557." (co2science.org)

"More Evidence for the Global Extent of Solar-Induced Millennial-Scale Oscillations of Climate" - "Summary: How much more will be needed for climate alarmists to see the light? Variations in solar activity, not atmospheric CO2 concentration, have been responsible for nearly all major variations in Holocene climate, including the establishment of the Modern Warm Period. Chinese Science Bulletin 47: 1422-1427." (co2science.org)

"TAR vs SAR: The Triumph of Storyline over Science" - "Summary: When science failed to produce what politics required, the IPCC brought in doctors who could spin a mighty good yarn. Journal of Climate 15: 2945-2952." (co2science.org)

"UK 'off-course' on greenhouse gases" - "UK efforts to cut greenhouse gas pollution are "seriously off-course", an influential MPs' committee has said. Attempts to use taxes to shift people away from damaging the environment are at risk of stalling, according to the Commons environmental audit committee. The Treasury denies the claims - pointing to what it says are "factual inaccuracies" about the amount of carbon dioxide emissions." (BBC News Online)

"Regulators Hike Mileage Rules for Big Vehicles" - "DETROIT - U.S. regulators on Tuesday raised future fuel economy standards for pickups, vans and sport utility vehicles by 1.5 miles per gallon, the largest increase in two decades. The decision, confirmed an increase the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) proposed in December. Regulators called it a step toward reducing American dependence on imported oil and improving the environment." (Reuters)

"Fuel tax strategy a 'complete mess'" - "The government's entire strategy on fuel taxes was branded a "complete mess" today by the chair of the Commons environmental audit committee. John Horam hit out at lack of action by the Treasury to tackle the huge growth in air travel and the resulting damage to the atmosphere caused by aircraft exhaust fumes. The department of transport is currently preparing to announce a review of Britain's airport capacity which could see enormous growth in air travel over the next 30 years." (The Guardian)

"Cold boosts French Feb energy demand 10.5 pct yr/yr" - "PARIS - France's energy consumption in February rose 10.5 percent year-on-year on colder weather and higher industrial demand for electricity, fuel oil, and gas, the energy ministry said yesterday." (Reuters)

"April 1 Special" - "AGBIOVIEW: Scientists Develop 'Mickey Mouse' Potato; Food Addiction Gene Identified... " (AgBioView)

"Transgenic trees hold promise for pulp and paper industries" - "By genetically modifying aspen trees, Dr. Vincent L. Chiang, professor of forest biotechnology, and his colleagues have reduced the trees' lignin content by 45 to 50 percent – and accomplished the first successful dual-gene alteration in forestry science. According to Chiang, the NC State research shows not only a decrease in lignin but also an increase in cellulose in the transgenic aspens. And their work demonstrates another benefit: the trees grow faster." (North Carolina State University)

"Australia approves GM canola subject to inquiry" - "CANBERRA - Australia gave the long-awaited clearance yesterday to the use of genetically modified (GM) canola, paving the way for the planting of the country's first GM food crop after an eight-week period of public consultation." (Reuters)