Junk science?     Junkman?       Feedback       E-mail List        Archives & Links

Archives - April 2005

April 29, 2005

"Time to End the Breast Implant Circus" - "Two weeks ago, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration convened an expert advisory panel to review and make recommendations on two silicone breast implants manufacturers’ applications to market two different silicone breast implants" (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"Africa's real killer diseases win little publicity" - "LUANDA - Africa is a notorious incubator of frightening, exotic new diseases like Ebola and Marburg, but the real killers on the world's poorest continent are easily preventable illnesses like malaria and cholera." (Reuters)

"Failure to adopt new drugs fuels rise of malaria" - "LONDON - New drug-resistant strains of malaria could thwart global efforts to halve malaria deaths by 2010 unless major players in the fight against the disease speed up the rollout of vital new drugs, health experts say. Ninety percent of all malaria deaths are in Africa, where experts say the emergence of drug-resistant strains help maintain a staggering death rate, particularly among children. An African child dies from malaria every 30 seconds." (Reuters)

"Lower vaccination rates put children at risk" - "Children treated with complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) have lower vaccination rates than the general population, exposing them to added risk from preventable illnesses such as mumps and measles." (University of Alberta)

"Specific behaviors seen in infants can predict autism, new research shows" - "Canadian researchers have become the first to pinpoint specific behavioral signs in infants as young as 12 months that can predict, with remarkable accuracy, whether a child will develop autism. The preliminary findings, published this month in the International Journal of Developmental Neuroscience, were taken from an ongoing study of 200 Canadian infants, the largest study of its kind in the world." (McMaster University)

"Worldwide cancer rates 'double'" - "Breast and lung cancer rates have doubled around the world over the last 30 years, a report shows. Cancer Research UK said much of the growth was due to more people living longer - as cancer is a disease which usually affects older people." (BBC) | Ageing global population spurs increase in cancer (Reuters)

"Only the Plump Die Young?" - "Some people don't know when to quit. You would think that after the debacle over the grossly inflated estimates of so-called obesity-related deaths from the US Center for Disease Control that the fat police would have the decency to just shut up. But the scary junk science stories about killer fat just keep coming. The latest is an alarmist study in the New England Journal of Medicine titled "Children's Life Expectancy Being Cut Short by Obesity." (John Luik, TCS)

"Still Counting on Calorie Counting" - "There are many groups with an entrenched interest in crusading against fat, making it unlikely that the obesity epidemic will be declared over anytime soon." (Gina Kolata, New York Times)

"Advocacy group reports less air pollution" - "Fewer Americans have had to breathe unhealthy levels of smog or microscopic soot in recent years, but air pollution remained a threat in counties where more than half the nation lives, the American Lung Association said in an annual report Thursday." (Associated Press)

Gasbags America just can't cope with how good air quality has become with development and technology, then again, admitting so rather undermines their raison d'être, no?

"State asthma rates soar with pollution" - "It is widely accepted that air pollution can exacerbate asthma, but whether or not it causes the respiratory condition is still up to debate." (San Francisco Examiner)

"Toxic spritz? EU sniffs at everyday chemicals" - "When a small Dutch laboratory announced in February that it had measured high levels of chemicals potentially harmful to human health in some of the world's most popular perfumes, the results were meant to inflame. And they did." (International Herald Tribune)

"Animal tests raise chemical concern" - "If tiny amounts of hormone disrupting chemicals, applied to animals while in the womb, can alter their brains, what about humans?" (BBC)

"Use of insecticides linked to lasting neurological problems for farmers" - "New research shows that farmers who used agricultural insecticides experienced increased neurological symptoms, even when they were no longer using the products. Data from18,782 North Carolina and Iowa farmers linked use of insecticides, including organophosphates and organochlorines, to reports of reoccurring headaches, fatigue, insomnia, dizziness, nausea, hand tremors, numbness and other neurological symptoms. Some of the insecticides addressed by the study are still on the market, but some, including DDT, have been banned or restricted." (NIH/National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences)

"Lawsuits Over Pesticides, Herbicides Allowed" - "The makers of pesticides and weedkillers can be sued and forced to pay damages if their products cause harm, the Supreme Court ruled Wednesday, rejecting the view of the Bush administration and reversing a series of lower courts." (Los Angeles Times)

"Environmental, labor group ideas rejected" - "DuPont shareholders filing out of Wednesday's annual meeting in Wilmington's DuPont theater confronted a raucous scene: A 10-foot-tall inflatable rat carrying the sign "C-8 Killed Me!" A woman in a skeleton mask with a sign reading "DuPont Move Your Dioxin Pile." (Wilmington News Journal)

"James Hansen Increasingly Insensitive" - "It seems that the longer NASA scientist Jim Hansen studies the climate, the more insensitive he, or should we say, his interpretation of the climate, becomes.

Climate “sensitivity” is the change in surface temperature expected for each additional Watt of energy that is re-radiated onto the earth’s surface and lower atmosphere by slight changes in the greenhouse effect. The main cause of these changes in the greenhouse effect, of course, is the increasing levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide caused by the combustion of fossil fuels.

You would think that it would be big news when Hansen—the guy who started all this mess with his incendiary 1988 congressional testimony—lowers his estimate for the sensitivity to two-thirds of the value he used back then." (World Climate Report)

In the virtual realm: "Global warming 'proof' detected" - "The Earth is absorbing more energy from the Sun than it is giving back into space, according to a new study by climate scientists in the US. They base their findings on computer models of climate, and on measurements of temperature in the oceans." (BBC) | Scientists confirm Earth's energy is out of balance (The Earth Institute at Columbia University)

No one ever accused modellers of reticence but methinks claiming 'proof' that is a fraction of the error margin oversteps the bounds of audacity. Black was wise to quote 'proof' in the headline.

"France, Germany call for more action on climate after Kyoto" - "France and Germany called Thursday on the world to expand on the base of the Kyoto protocol on global warming and bring on board the United States -- the biggest holdout on the landmark environmental treaty." (AFP)

"UK Met Office Admits Uncertainty Over Past Temperatures" - "Steve McIntyre, whose peer-reviewed work has cast severe doubt on the usefulness of the "hockey stick" reconstruction of past temperatures, notes a New Scientist article where a scientist from the UK Meteorological Office admitted, "We cannot make claims as to the 1990s being the warmest decade." (Climateaudit.org)

"Genetically modified rice in China benefits farmers' health, study finds" - "Farmers growing genetically modified rice in field trials in China report higher crop yields, reduced pesticide use and fewer pesticide-related health problems, according to a study by researchers in China and at Rutgers University and the University of California, Davis." (Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey)

"China poised for GM future as rice yields leap 10pc" - "Farmers growing genetically modified rice in field trials have reported crop yields up by 10 per cent, pesticide use down 80 per cent and fewer pesticide-related health problems. The results, published today, place China on the threshold of commercialising GM rice, the world's most important crop." (London Telegraph)

April 28, 2005

"Anti-DDT lobby could slow fight against malaria , minister says" - "The Anti-DDT lobby is costing lives and we hope that the Minister's statements will stop the pseudo-science and scare mongering and help to save lives. The EU has a shameful record in stopping Uganda from using DDT. Their actions are killing Ugandan children and must stop." (AFM)

"More resources needed for malaria" - "So let's get this right... UNICEF, WHO and the other Roll Back Malaria partners have all failed miserably in rolling back malaria and yet they are appealing for more money. How about giving money to programs that are actually working! Giving more money to UNICEF would be irresponsible and immoral - their actions have led to an INCREASE in malaria cases and deaths." (AFM)

"Brown says Interest growing in malaria vaccine" - "Gordon Brown, UK's Chancellor of the Exchequer, should put his energy into funding malaria prevention using tools that we know work - such as indoor residual spraying. That way we could be saving hundreds of thousands of lives right now, rather than having to wait yet another 10 years for a vaccine." (AFM)

"EU Draft Chemicals Law to Pass Hurdles This Year" - "BRUSSELS - The European Union's draft chemicals law will move through its first major hurdles by the end of this year, officials said on Wednesday, even as industry and environmentalists disagreed over its costs." (Reuters)

"'Incredible Shrinking' Europe" - "Chemicals are everywhere," EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas noted ominously in a speech earlier this week. So they are; and the EU wants industry to test them all. In this way, the EU hopes to combat the possible role of chemicals in ailments ranging from "growing numbers of hyperactive children" to "dramatically dropping sperm counts," according to Mr. Dimas. So that's why Europe is in demographic decline." (The Wall Street Journal)

"No vote for US in chemicals treaty" - "An international meeting this week will establish rules for identifying which chemicals are so bad for the environment that they should be severely restricted or banned worldwide. Representatives of the U.S. government will be sitting on the sidelines." (Chemical & Engineering News)

Oh boy... "How the environment could be damaging men's reproductive health" - "Two Scandinavian studies have provided further evidence that environmental factors could be affecting men's reproductive health. The studies, published online in Europe's leading reproductive medicine journal Human Reproduction, suggest that environmental pollutants could be changing the ratio of sperm carrying the X or Y (sex determining) chromosomes and that they could be contributing towards male reproductive disorders." (European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology)

Total number of study subjects: 149, in two groups of fishermen, perhaps 75 in the Baltic group, comparing top 20% with bottom 20%: maybe 15 subjects in each. So, the semen from 15 guys varied from that of 15 other guys by maybe 1.5%...

"Chemophobia Looms Again in California" - "California's legislature is now debating whether to ban a chemical found in plastic consumer products of many types, Bisphenol A, based on the so-called precautionary principle. This principle asserts that if a substance is suspected of being harmful, it must be banned or restricted until it's proven "safe."

But how does anyone go about proving a substance completely safe, and to whose satisfaction must it be proven?" (Gilbert Ross, ACSH)

"Music Hellevision" - "One of the superstitions I picked up in my youth is that things come in threes and along comes a TV show to prove me right. First we had Margot Wallstrom introducing a new blog. Now we have two more ditzy blondes with a new media venture. With no more knowledge of the real world than your average labrador, Drew Barrymore and Cameron Diaz are starring in a new Music Television (MTV) show. The show is called Trippin' and is obviously a victim of the great G shortage of 2005 (well, they must make G strings out of something, eh?)." (Tim Worstall, TCS)

"Benefits of Overweight Still Hush-Hush" - "As the public health community began digesting the much anticipated new food pyramid last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to its credit, released a new study suggesting that previous obesity-related mortality estimations were grossly overstated and that, get this, being slightly overweight actually adds to longevity." (Jeff Stier, ACSH)

"Weather Forecasters: What a shower" - "The Met Office's new £27.5m computer is supposed to reduce forecasting errors. So why did it get last weekend's weather so wrong? Jonathan Brown reports on a history of inaccuracies." (London Independent)

Somewhat harsh... weather, and indeed the atmosphere, an incredibly complex, coupled, non-linear system, is an inherently volatile entity, making prediction part science and part reading of avian entrails. For the most part weather prediction services in the developed world do a pretty good job, especially since conflicting model outputs mean that probably more than half the time predictions are still based on the time-honoured "look out the window" technique. This is another reason we are somewhat exasperated with some people's faith in "climate models" and their output predicting specific outcomes in 50-100 years time.

"Scientists study El Nino impact on snowfall" - "An Australian National University (ANU) alpine ecologist says scientists need more long-term data to be able to predict what impact an El Nino weather pattern may have on snowfall. The National Climate Centre has warned there is an increased chance of Australia falling into El Nino this year. The ANU's Glenn Sanecki says there is a small group of scientists gathering data on the impact various weather events have on snowfall, but the research is in its infancy." (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

"Fear that giant ‘burp’ could trigger global warming" - "As evidence for global warming stacks up, it is the speed of change that is now alarming scientists. As a result, climatologists are turning to our geological record to investigate what may have amplified global warming events in the past and how quickly we might expect things to change in the future." (FelixOnline)

"Climate Political Science" - "Residents in the New York metropolitan region now can consult Climate Change Information Resources. This new web page sews together climate science and public advice through an advisory committee that includes government agencies and environmental organizations. The fabric may be chic; the science woven into it is a minor thread." (Sallie Baliunas, TCS)

"National Trust will lose 10,000 acres to the sea" - "Land will be lost to the sea along 377 of the 702 miles of National Trust coastline within the next century, a report said yesterday. Flooding and erosion caused by rising sea levels is likely to drown around 10,000 acres of 126 coastal properties belonging to the trust, which owns nearly 10 per cent of the coastline of England, Wales and Northern Ireland." (London Telegraph)

"If it's melted, it's ruined" - "Sarah Left talks to Jerry Greenfield, of Ben & Jerry's fame, about a new initiative to increase climate change awareness." (The Guardian)

Uh-huh... "a college that will train 20 or so young people as "ambassadors" for climate change awareness."

"Squeaky clean fossil fuels" - "CAN we continue to burn fossil fuels and still hope to halt global warming? It seems unlikely - and with the cost of generating wind and solar electricity falling, perhaps unnecessary. Despite this, big money and big politics are lining up behind the development of "zero-emission" power plants that burn coal or gas but release no carbon dioxide." (Fred Pearce, NewScientist.com)

"Getting Over Our China Syndrome" - "Jane screws up, yet Jane endures.

That seems to be the lesson of the success of Jane Fonda's new autobiography, "My Life so Far" (Random House). One reason Americans like Miss Fonda is that her challenges are so often their challenges. Young Jane had a bad family (cold Henry as father, the suicidal mother). Many Americans have faced the same obstacle. Adult Jane spent many of her middle years justifying her own stupid behavior in Vietnam. Ditto American baby-boomers -- although their behavior did not usually go as far as posing for photos with North Vietnamese and their anti-aircraft gun.

But there is a final Jane-related challenge still confronting the US. It is a challenge that Congress is reviewing as it moves forward on energy legislation and it is one that George W. Bush, the president, will discuss with Tony Blair, the prime minister, at a forthcoming summit of the Group of Eight in Scotland. It is America's China Syndrome." (Amity Shlaes, TCS)

"New rules under review for GM crops" - "AMES — Increasing the efficiency and maybe decreasing the time it takes to get a permit without compromising safety are the ideas behind modifying some of the rules regulating genetically modified (GM) crops. Michael Wach, environmental protection specialist for the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), said the new rules are being reviewed. They should be ready for public comment in 2006 at the Biosafety Institute for Genetically Modified Agricultural Product (BIGMAP) symposium." (Iowa Farmer Today)

"EU Experts Fail to Agree GMO Maize Approval, Again" - "BRUSSELS - EU food safety experts failed to agree on Wednesday on authorising imports of a genetically modified (GMO) maize, revealing their deadlock over biotech foods for the 10th time in a row, officials said." (Reuters)

April 27, 2005

"Free Enterprise Action Fund requests audit committee review of JP Morgan Chase capitulation to social activist demands" - "Washington DC (April 26, 2005) – Action Fund Management, LLC, the investment adviser to the Free Enterprise Action Fund (www.FreeEnterpriseActionFund.com), called for an Audit Committee review of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.’s decision to adopt lending policies advocated by anti-business activists." (Media Release)

"Group to Warn AEP Has Lost Leadership in Utility Industry on Global Warming and Now Is Behind Cinergy, Duke Energy" - "COLUMBUS, Ohio and TULSA, Okla., April 26 -- As American Electric Power shareholders gather in Tulsa for the company's annual meeting, a group of investors and environmentalists will warn that the giant utility company has now lost its industry leadership status to Cinergy and Duke Energy in dealing with global warming risks to the environment and investor wealth." (PRNewswire)

When it comes to an "Advance to the rear," as headlong retreats are euphemistically known, why would AEP want to lead? The risk to investor wealth comes directly from another euphemism - "carbon constraint" - anti-corporate-, anti-capitalist-speak for energy rationing. For energy companies to fall for energy rationing schemes is simply too bizarre for words.

"NGOs Push For Fulfilment of Anti-Pollution Promises" - "MONTEVIDEO, Apr 25 - Environmental organisations from around the world will be meeting in the Uruguayan capital to demand compliance with the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) and the expansion of its ”black list” of banned chemicals." (IPS)

"Japan cellphone firms find no DNA damage from waves" - "TOKYO - Japan's four mobile operators said on Tuesday a joint study they conducted found no evidence that radio waves from mobile phones harm body cells or damage DNA in contrast to findings from a similar study in Europe. NTT DoCoMo Inc., KDDI Corp., Vodafone K.K., and Tu-Ka Cellular Tokyo Inc. said they had studied the effect of radio waves on human cells for over two years and found no damage even though they used radio waves up to 10 times stronger than normally used. The interim results come after researchers in Europe announced opposite findings in December and could further cloud the debate over the effect of mobile phones on health." (Reuters)

Freddy's still getting someone to promote his hysteria then: "MU researcher warns of threat posed by plastic" - "Biology Professor Fred vom Saal believes hard, clear plastics, the kind many people use daily in such products as food containers, are wreaking havoc on our health." (Columbia Tribune)

"Healthy eating advice 'overload'" - "Half of British adults are fed up with being told what to eat by "do-good" campaigners, a survey suggests. Consumer research company Mintel found the barrage of healthy eating information is also leading to confusion among the public. More than two-thirds of the 988 adults questioned said it is hard to know which foods are healthy as expert advice keeps changing. A similar number said labelling did not help with selecting healthier options." (BBC)

Only half? What a stoic breed the Brits must be. Nonetheless, there's no real need for confusion - Grandma was right when she advised "a little of everything and not too much of anything." Basically a varied diet. If your weight is increasing and you are not growing (kids are expected to gain mass as they grow) then you are consuming too much for your level of physical effort (the "magic" recipe for weight loss is inducing a caloric deficit).

"Only 3 percent in US follow health advice - study" - "Only 3 percent of Americans follow health advice to keep the weight off, exercise regularly, eat five or more servings of fruit and vegetables a day and avoid smoking, according to a report issued on Monday." (Reuters)

"Concern over food child marketing" - "Food manufacturers are merging advertising and entertainment to market their products to children, a campaign group warns. The Food Commission said the industry is using interactive websites, story books, toys and games to promote fatty, salty and sugary foods. The group criticised the technique, arguing children would be unaware it was a marketing ploy." (BBC)

Say what? "Ozone layer most fragile on record" - "Fears over increase in skin cancer as scientists report that climate change continues to destroy the earth's protection." (The Guardian)

Um... Paul? Last we heard, solar flares nuked some of your precious ozone. No worries though, here's ESA's total ozone forecast for today, North Polar view; Global view; South Polar view. Feel free to fossick through the Temis archives or have a quick look at JunkScience.com's quarterly month average series from Earth Probe TOMS, everything looks 'normal' to us. If you're really worried Paul then stay away from the tropics, high Himalayas and don't fly (i.e., don't leave the protection of higher density atmosphere at low altitudes), because these regions get way more UV bombardment than you'll ever see, "hole" or no "hole".

"Climate change poses threat to food supply, scientists say" - "Worldwide production of essential crops such as wheat, rice, maize and soya beans is likely to be hit much harder by global warming than previously predicted, an international conference in London has heard." (London Independent)

"Some fish like it hot" - "Fish living in freezing Antarctic waters can adapt to rising temperatures and may be unfazed by climate change, new research shows." (ABC Science Online)

"Canadian Greenhouse Gas Plan Spares Industry" - "BROOKLIN, Canada, Apr 26 - Canada plans to shift the burden of massive cuts in greenhouse gas emissions onto the public and away from its booming oil and gas sector." (IPS)

"Climate change blamed for rise in hay fever" - "Japan's pollen allergies predicted to jump 40% by 2050." (News @ Nature)

"Japan struggles to meet Kyoto targets" - "KYOTO, JAPAN -- When Japan played host to the signing of the Kyoto accord in 1997, the symbolism seemed apt. The Japanese people saw themselves as global environmental leaders. Eight years later, however, Japan is struggling to comply with the greenhouse-gas limits of the Kyoto Protocol. As the treaty takes effect this year, the hosts find themselves embroiled in the same internal battles that have plagued Canada on the Kyoto issue: disputes over taxes, spending, government rules and corporate behaviour." (Globe and Mail)

From CO2 Science Magazine this week:

"The Adaptive Bleaching of Corals" - "What has long been touted as a catastrophic consequence of global warming is now being recognized for what it really is: a mechanism that enables corals to adapt, and to adapt successfully, to rising temperatures." (co2science.org)

Subject Index Summaries:
"Variability of Climate (Decadal Variability - Oceans: Atlantic)" - "How and why does climate vary?  We review a few things that have been learned about this question from studies conducted in the Atlantic Ocean." (co2science.org)

"Stomatal Density (Proxy for Past CO 2 Levels)" - "How dependable are climatic reconstructions based on fossil leaf stomatal density measurements?  And what do they reveal about the past?" (co2science.org)

Plant Growth Data:
"This week we add new results (blue background) of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO 2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature for: Alfalfa, Garden Bean, and Scots Pine (two separate author studies)." (co2science.org)

Journal Reviews:
"Atmospheric CO 2 Concentrations: AD 800-2000" - "Are they able to tell us anything about the temperature history of the past 1200 years?" (co2science.org)

"The Maldives: Past, Present and Future" - "How did they form?  What is their current status?  And what does the future hold for them?" (co2science.org)

"North Atlantic Storminess" - "How has it varied over the past two hundred to two thousand years?" (co2science.org)

"Off-Site Carbon Sequestration by Forests" - "In addition to storing carbon in their trunks, roots and branches, along with the soil in which they grow, there is another set of places, widely distributed, to which forests can transfer the carbon they remove from the air via photosynthesis." (co2science.org)

"Phytoplankton of the Southern Ocean: 1965-2002" - "How did their populations vary over the period of time that climate alarmists claim was host to the most dramatic and biologically-deleterious warming of the past two millennia?" (co2science.org)

"Protesters arrested over Prescott roof demo" - "LONDON - Protesters from environmental group Greenpeace were arrested by police after they installed solar panels on the roof of Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott's home on Tuesday in a challenge over his commitment to tackling climate change." (Reuters)

Harrumph! Don't think much of the UK's anti-terror units/police. In these days of heightened alert over global terrorism the protesters should think themselves damn fortunate they weren't shot long before they got on the Deputy Prime Minister's roof.

"Analyst fears global oil crisis in three years" - "One of the world's leading energy analysts yesterday called for an independent assessment of global oil reserves because he believed that Middle Eastern countries may have far less than officially stated and that oil prices could double to more than $100 a barrel within three years, triggering economic collapse." (The Guardian)

Oh, well! No worries then! Everyone can ditch Kyoto and other silly restraint schemes 'cause we're gonna run out anyway, no?

"Norway CO2 Injection Said Too Costly To Boost Oil" - "OSLO - Pumping greenhouse gases into oil wells off Norway is too costly as a way to boost oil output while easing global warming, Norway's Petroleum Directorate (NPD) said on Tuesday. "Technology and costs make CO2 (carbon dioxide) injection too expensive and risky for the licensees on the Norwegian shelf," the NPD said in a report to the Norwegian government." (Reuters)

Certain sign of increasing personal wealth in China: "Major new Chinese environmental group launched" - "The All China Environment Federation (ACEF) has been launched in Beijing amid concerns that China's record-breaking economic growth is imposing a massive cost on the environment." (EthicalCorp.com)

"Environmentalism" is an indulgence strictly of those whose personal wealth, health and standard of living permits elevation of non-critical considerations. Soon after people can stop worrying about where their families' food and energy will come from they start looking to make their immediate environment "nice" (and safe from "nature's" more exuberant manifestations).

"Benefits of Biotech Crops" - "As production of biotech crops enters its tenth year and approaches one billion acres planted, the economic and environmental benefits continue to be documented. Large scale, high tech farmers and limited resource farmers in developing countries are benefiting from this new technology with lower costs and increased profits. Per acre use of pesticides has declined, and less soil erosion has occurred due to less soil tillage." (Ross Korves, Truth About Trade and Technology)

"EU on watch for more contamination by illegal GMO" - "LUXEMBOURG - The European Union might extend its conditional ban on imports of U.S. maize if it found more products contaminated by an illegal gene-altered maize, the EU's food safety chief said on Tuesday." (Reuters)

"US corn grower official cites Japan biotech qualms" - "WASHINGTON, April 26 - Japan is seeking further assurance from the United States that an unapproved biotech corn strain accidentally mixed with U.S. grain shipments was not a risk to people, animals or plants, a senior official of a U.S. industry group told Reuters on Tuesday." (Reuters)

"EU asks nations to lift bans on several biotech crops" - "BRUSSELS — The European Union's head office on Tuesday asked five EU governments to lift bans on a range of biotech crops that have been cleared by the bloc's food safety agency. The European Commission called on Austria, Germany, Luxembourg, France and Greece to end their national bans, which altogether affect three types of corn and two varieties of oilseed." (Associated Press)

April 26, 2005

Stupid Celebrity Quote of the Day: In today's Washington Post article about Hollywood celebs spending Earth Day with the Inuit (formerly known as Eskimos), the Post quotes Selma Hayek as saying,

We are committing, in our civilization, suicide. All we have to do is listen to the land, which is sending us messages on how to survive and how to self-destruct... We are going to have to deal with the consequences of our lifestyle. Go talk to the ice, go talk to the wind, go talk to the ocean. There's no negotiation here.
Ms. Hayek was able to join the Inuit on Earth Day courtesy of the Natural Resources Defense Council and Global Green, which flew her there on a Millionaire Airlines Learjet. Selma, go talk to the hand.

"World Bank to expand fight against malaria" - "WASHINGTON - The World Bank announced Sunday it will expand its fight against malaria, one of Africa's biggest killers, because global efforts in the past five years have failed. The global development lender said in a report that the new strategy includes a special task force to ensure that antimalarial efforts are part of its lending programs for poor countries." (Reuters)

Does this mean they'll follow the successful lead of companies such as BHP Billiton with their malarial vector suppression over broad regions? Useful campaigns include domestic spraying, the most effective and cheapest of which utilises DDT. Will the World Bank show leadership and the necessary intestinal fortitude to tell whacky activists to take a hike and finally do what is good for people in developing regions? We certainly hope so but note, with some dismay, that the people killers, otherwise known as "environmental organisations," from around the world will be meeting in the Uruguayan capital this week to demand compliance with the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) and the expansion of its "black list" of banned chemicals. One of the alleged "pollutants" they seek to ban is the compound that has probably saved more human lives than any other - dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane - better known as DDT.

"WHO: Malaria costs Africa more than $12 bln/year" - "LUSAKA, Zambia - Most of the one million deaths caused by malaria each year occur in Africa, where the disease costs the continent $12 billion a year, the World Health Organization said Monday. WHO southern Africa regional director Antoine Kabore told delegates at African malaria day -- held in Zambia this year -- that the disease is slowing development on the continent because it affects productive workers. "Malaria remains a major contributor to the disease burden in Africa. About 60 percent of the estimated 350-500 million global clinical malaria episodes and over 80 percent of the over one million deaths globally each year occur in Africa," he said." (Reuters)

"Africa must unite against malaria" - "THE cardinals who gathered in Rome to elect Pope Benedict no doubt had a great deal on their minds as they weighed up the different candidates. Fortunately, they did not have to worry a great deal about their health. The unfortunate cardinals who gathered in Rome after the death of Pope Gregory XV in 1623 did. In that 19-day conclave, eight cardinals died of malaria. Today, Africa Malaria Day, we should think about how and why Europe rid itself of malaria, while the disease still claims more than a million lives a year in Africa." (Business Day)

"Malaria Trial Could Set a Model For Financing of Costly Vaccines" - "Next month, hundreds of African infants will get an experimental vaccine against malaria in a medical trial that could foster a multibillion-dollar collaboration of science, philanthropy and market savvy. Under two new funding strategies championed by Microsoft Corp. founder Bill Gates and Britain's finance minister, Gordon Brown, rich nations and their private-sector partners for the first time would jointly guarantee the provision of vaccines against the worst scourges afflicting the developing world." (The Wall Street Journal)

"Punting Globally" - "April 25th marks Africa Malaria Day, a day to ponder the havoc malaria wreaks upon Africa, killing over a million people a year and crippling economies on that continent alone. If this were not sad enough, April 25th has now also become day to consider how Roll Back Malaria (RBM), an organization founded to control malaria, has aided and abetted this destruction through a combination of bad policy and negligible leadership. After five years of failure, RBM needs to put up or shut up. Unfortunately it seems unlikely to do either. Instead it will molder on, drawing in money but failing to help those in need." (Jennifer Zambone, TCS)

"Celebs Ignore Death, Poverty on MTV Enviro Series" - "A new MTV series features Hollywood celebrities praising the developing world's primitive lifestyles as earth-friendly -- despite those poor nations' high infant mortality rates and short life expectancies. The eco-tourism show, called "Trippin'," premiered on March 28 and was heavily promoted in the runup to Earth Day. The show encourages environmental awareness and lauds traditional tribal lifestyles, which lack running water, electricity and other basic infrastructure." (Marc Morano, CNSNews.com)

"EU Chemicals Bill Less Costly Than Feared - Study" - "BRUSSELS - A controversial European Union draft law on chemicals testing will not be as costly as industry has feared, a new study shows, according to a summary of the report and an official familiar with its contents.

But the EU's REACH legislation (Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals) will be more difficult and expensive for small and medium-sized enterprises or businesses (SME) to absorb, the summary of the industry-backed report said." (Reuters)

"They Don't Embarrass Easily" - "A few years ago The New York Times ran a cartoon that showed two Washington DC policy experts having a conversation. "In Washington the search for truth is a creative process. First, you create a premise. Next you create a statistic to back it up. Then you create an audience by repeating it over and over again, until the media pick it up. That's when you know that you've done it."

"Done what?"

"Created a fact!"

Just add Atlanta -- the home of the Centers for Disease Control -- to Washington and you have a pretty good idea of how obesity science and policy are made these days. Despite the fact that the CDC has been caught out creating "statistics" to back up the "fact" of an obesity epidemic, it appears to be neither embarrassed nor remorseful. As the Associated Press reported:

"CDC Director Dr. Julie Gerberding said because of the uncertainty in calculating the health effects of being overweight, the CDC is not going to use the brand-new figure of 25,814 in its public awareness campaigns and is not going to scale back its fight against obesity." (John Luik, TCS)

Oh boy... "Coral reef damage could have global impact -experts" - "VICTORIA, April 25 - The demise of the world's coral reefs could threaten coastal communities as global fish stocks fall, an international conservation group said on Monday. A fifth of the world's reefs have been damaged beyond repair, the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) said. Another 50 percent are under imminent or long-term threat because of rising sea levels most scientists blame on global warming, the group said." (Reuters)

In a way these rising tide hand-wringers are amusing - of all the things which may potentially threaten coral reefs, rising tides are not included. One of the main limiting factors on a reef is tide level - they run out of vertical habitat. Increases in sea level add available prime habitat for coral reef growth over the entire area of the reef while only marginally slowing growth at extreme range of light penetration of seawater for light-requiring corals around the fringe of the reef. Additionally, if "global warming" is a major determinant in coral bleaching, which basically occurs in the upper metre or two of the water column, then adding water depth is protective, so again, rising sea levels do not pose a net threat to corals.

If the above is an official ICRI utterance (we sincerely hope that it is not) then it's time to scrap the initiative because its representatives are either being deceptive or, possibly worse, the silly blighters would appear to know Jack about marine biota, particularly coral reefs.

"Low level of extinction during ice age linked to adaptability" - "A researcher proposes an explanation for the low rates of extinction in marine life during one of the greatest ice ages of all, late in the Paleozoic Era from 330 million to 290 million years ago." (Johns Hopkins University)

"Scientists warn of big breakup" - "FAIRBANKS -- The National Weather Service is warning that conditions are right this spring for a dynamic breakup in Alaska's Interior. Computers are telling meteorologists and hydrologists that breakup this year could involve flooding, ice jams and significant erosion in fire-ravaged areas. Record-setting snow depths and water-content measurements have hydrologists warning of the potential for spring floods along several major Interior rivers." (Associated Press)

Weekly Whipple: "Climate: Is the science for sale?" - "Boulder, CO, Apr. 25 -- The normal function of scientific research is to mine kernels of truth from piles of raw information and hypotheses, thereby advancing humanity's knowledge in the discipline involved. At least that is how things are supposed to work. When it comes to global warming, however, that seldom seems to be the case. Given how politically sensitive the issue has become, any research suggesting warming is caused by human activities and represents a threat to ecosystems can quickly degenerate into a debate about underlying biases." (Dan Whipple, UPI)

Back in the virtual realm: "Biosphere is source, not sink, for carbon dioxide emissions, study shows" - "In its most recent report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found that Earth’s biosphere was acting as a sink for carbon dioxide. By storing carbon dioxide, plant growth – especially that of trees – could help reduce the effects of global warming, and could be part of meeting the targets and timetables of the Kyoto Protocol.

Using a more advanced version of the Integrated Assessment Model, Atul Jain, a professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and graduate student Xiaojuan Yang report that the biosphere might now be acting as a source, not as a sink. Rather than storing carbon dioxide, the biosphere may have recently begun driving atmospheric levels higher." (PhysOrg)

"Blair 'to debate nuclear power'" - "A re-elected Labour government would put nuclear power back on the agenda in an effort to meet targets on climate change, government sources have said." (BBC)

"Tories support nuclear option in fight against climate change" - "THE Conservatives paved the way for a new generation of nuclear reactors yesterday by backing the controversial energy source as a way to tackle climate change. The Tories would launch an urgent review of energy policy within days of coming to power after 5 May, Tim Yeo, the shadow environment secretary, pledged. The party’s stance on nuclear power will also be interpreted as a green light for Labour to put forward proposals for new reactors to parliament, if Tony Blair - who has openly spoken of his support for the nuclear option - wins a third term." (The Scotsman)

"Waste not, want not" - "By harnessing the efforts of billions of bacteria, researchers have engineered a bio-filtration system that produces hydrogen gas while cleaning wastewater – gas that could potentially fuel other machines. Up to 100 percent more efficient at producing hydrogen than similar bio-filtration systems, the new device has the added benefit of being able to digest human or animal waste, plant material or just about any organic matter." (National Science Foundation)

"UK: No cash - no wind, energy groups tell the Government" - "Huge offshore wind farms vital to meeting carbon-reduction targets will not be built without more state aid, energy companies have warned. It is the latest blow to the Government's controversial wind-farm construction programme. Companies including Scottish Power and E.on have told the Department of Trade and Industry that they want capital grants to help pay for the £9.4bn programme, or an offshore national grid company to be set up to link the developments to the existing grid." (London Independent)

Moon-battery - the name calling begins: "An ugly face of ecology" - "We need to be honest. Wind farms are a necessary evil, but they will not overcome the crisis of climate change." (George Monbiot, The Guardian)

Bellamy is not dead George, he is not "the former ecologist..." regardless of whether or not you agree with his views.

"Australia: Labor report takes power out of wind" - "A KEY Labor Party committee has questioned the continued expansion of wind power in Victoria. The powerful Economics, Innovation and Industrial Development Committee has called into question the cost effectiveness and variability of wind power." (Herald Sun)

Some of the conservation penalties from lack of development: "India's shrinking forest cover pits people against animals" - "RAJAJI NATIONAL PARK, India - The reasons for India's shrinking forest cover which endangers wildlife and people's livelihoods can be easily seen at this national park as men cut trees in the gaze of wardens. An army of men from a nomadic tribe who have made the national park home hack at trees with axes within walking distance of the people hired to guard them in a bid to get fuel for cooking and money from selling the timber. "It's very difficult to stop them because they are dependent on the forest and besides we have orders from the National Human Rights Commission to provide them grazing rights until their relocation," park director G.S. Pande says." (AFP)

This is what RAN and their anti-corporate, anti-development campaign seeks to enshrine. The perpetuation of around two billion people being reliant on dung and wood fires for their cooking and energy needs - and the massive death toll of infants and women from respiratory disease precipitated by smoke from indoor cooking fires, coupled with disease from the lack of potable water and sanitation, which the UN recently quantified as some six million deaths per year - this is what RAN's campaign does.

"Green" lending policies are misanthropic lending policies. Where is the corporate or social responsibility in that?

"How Much Land Can Ten Billion People Spare for Nature?" - "Today farmers feed five to six billion people by cultivating about a tenth of the planet's land. The seemingly irresistible doubling of population and the imperative of producing food will take another tenth of the land, much from Nature, if people keep on eating and farmers keep on farming as they do now. So farmers work at the junction where population, the human condition, and sparing land for Nature meet.

The world gives farmers a certain population to feed, and farmers can furnish abundant food or scarcity from either much or little land. By going beyond reporting what has happened or speculating what will happen, agriculturalists can change outcomes. As effective recruits who can make things happen, sparing land rather than merely lamenting loss of Nature, agriculturalists can be drawn into conservation. Agriculture is a participant, not a spectator, sport." (Paul E. Waggoner, Council for Agricultural Science and Technology, February 1994)

"Agricultural Biotechnology: Overregulated and Underappreciated" - "The pursuit of an integrated action plan, including regulatory reform, will help the United States and the world reap enormous benefits that now are thwarted." (Henry I. Miller and Gregory Conko, Issues.org)

"Activists, Cargill Want Brazil Amazon Soy Certified" - "BRASILIA - Environmentalists, US agribusiness giant Cargill Inc and Britain launched a program on Monday to certify that soybean farms, a major cause of Amazon destruction, are environmentally friendly. The program will aim to certify that an estimated 230 farmers in the Santarem area of the Amazon region are 'bio-friendly,' hopefully ensuring an end to environmental destruction by rewarding responsible practices." (Reuters)

"Biotech tree tests rooted in caution" - "Genetic modification can add helpful traits, but effects on a forest's web of life call for extra care." (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

"Gene-Modified Tissue May Slow Alzheimer's - Study" - "WASHINGTON - Alzheimer's disease patients given gene therapy seemed to regrow some damaged brain cells and seemed to experience a slower loss of their ability to think and remember, U.S. scientists reported Sunday." (Reuters)

April 25, 2005

"Anheuser-Busch Trapped In Social-Issue Snare" - "Corporate managers might want to think twice about publicly engaging in environmental and social controversies. Budweiser brewer Anheuser-Busch's managers are the latest to learn this lesson the hard way." (Steven Milloy, New York Sun)

Developing regions and impoverished peoples sold out - again: "J.P. Morgan Adopts 'Green' Lending Policies" - Following pressure by ecological activists and shareholder groups, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. will adopt sweeping guidelines that restrict its lending and underwriting practices for industrial projects that are likely to have an environmental impact.

The New York banking giant -- third largest in assets in the U.S. -- is expected to issue a 10-page environmental policy today that takes an aggressive stance on global warming, including tying carbon-dioxide emissions to its loan-review process for power plants and other large polluters. The bank also plans to calculate in loan reviews the financial cost of greenhouse-gas emissions, such as the risk of a company losing business to a competitor with lower emissions because it has a better public standing." (The Wall Street Journal)

John Pierpont Morgan, Jr. (1837-1913) must be spinning like a top at the betrayal of the world's first billion dollar corporation. This is the corporation that in 1895 supplied the United States government with $62 million in gold to float a bond issue and restore the treasury surplus of $100 million. This is the corporation that once understood that development finance is a social good. This is a corporation apparently controlled by viscerally-challenged executives with Jell-O vertebrae who have taken The Corporation running and hiding from a noisy bunch of anti-corporates out to deny development finance to those who need it desperately. What a tragedy.

On this, Australia's ANZAC Day, the celebration of those who fought and died in the fight against tyranny and oppression, there is usually talk of one notorious betrayal - known as the sell-out. This refers to the surrender of Singapore on February 15, 1942 that saw 130,000 Allied troops enslaved, many to die working on the infamous Burma-Thai Railway. The one-third of the world's global population struggling in underdeveloped regions may have cause to view this surrender as a similar betrayal.

"USAID Fights Malaria Blindfolded" - "Scientists complain that the press often misrepresent their work. Sometimes they have high-profile help--like the head of a federal agency. Fibbing to the public is one thing, but trying to pull the wool over the eyes of a senator can be quite another." (Roger Bate, The Examiner)

"Malaria: DDT use urged" - "Policy makers need to compare the real risks that people face from malaria with the often uncertain and hypothetical risks they may face from using DDT to protect themselves from infection. There is clear evidence that there is a close correlation between the use of DDT and reduced mortality and morbidity and no credible evidence that DDT results in harm to human health and the environment." (AFM)

"Antimalarial drug combo cures 99% of children" - "The effective but expensive treatment could stave off an impending malaria treatment crisis in Africa, a new study indicates." (NewScientist.com news service)

"Environmental issues complicate mosquito control" - "As mosquito season approaches and West Nile virus worries increase, one of the tools Ventura County officials use to control the blood-sucking insects is seen by some as causing more problems than it solves." (Ventura County Star)

"Their mission: Bring clean water to Africa" - "The Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur are determined to bring electricity for powering lights, water purification, and appliances to impoverished African schools, hospitals, and clinics." (Boston Globe)

"Bon Appetit!" - "With tremendous media fanfare last year, Julie Gerberding, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson announced that overweight and obesity had killed 400,000 Americans in 2000. The CDC paper making this claim, led by Gerberding and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, laid the foundation for billions of dollars in government and industry initiatives and an aggressive new national advertising campaign to combat what she called a "tragic and unacceptable" health crisis. But it has finally been exposed for what it is: a grossly exaggerated and fabricated scare campaign." (Sandy Szwarc, TCS)

"Fat and Happy" - "Porkers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your diets! But don't start wearing spandex just yet. For those of us lacking six-pack abs, this week's report that the overweight live longer is the greatest medical news in history. The authors of this study deserve a Nobel, not just for medicine, but for peace, too. They have taken away the favorite cudgel of the scolds who used the "obesity epidemic" as an excuse to attack the flabby. The supposedly deadly consequences of fat provided the scientific rationale for the last politically correct form of prejudice." (John Tierney, New York Times)

"Doubt cast over jab mercury risks" - "A mercury which has been used in vaccines may be less dangerous than widely claimed, researchers suggest. A University of Washington team found thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative, is less toxic than the mercury found in fish and pollution. But the researchers said their study did not prove the mercury was harmless." (BBC)

"Hysteria over cosmetics: Why would California lawmakers yearn for European-style over-regulation?" - "Europe-envy by Californians may be fine for makers of champagne and foie gras, but it's disastrous for legislators in search of sound regulatory policy. The Sages of Sacramento seem to have gotten it backwards: They plan to ban the traditional production of foie gras, and now state Sen. Carole Migden, D-San Francisco, and Assemblywoman Judy Chu, D-Monterey Park, have crafted two Europe-inspired bills to protect us from the trumped-up dangers of cosmetics." (Henry I Miller, Orange County Register)

"Environmental factors, particularly air pollution, increases risk of myocardial infarction" - "Exposure to air pollutants increases the risk of fatal myocardial infarction (MI), particularly pollutants caused by motor traffic. This is the conclusion of a new thesis published by Karolinska Institutet." (Karolinska Institutet)

G'donya Fred! "U.Va. professor noses out 'Flat Earth' competitors" - "MIDDLEBURY — Winning something called the Flat Earth Award is supposed to be a mark of shame. But another rule says there's no such thing as bad publicity. A college professor has happily won the inaugural Flat Earth Award after vying for it. The lead for the award changed twice, during two months of online voting for the chief opponent of global warming theory, but S. Fred Singer, an emeritus professor at the University of Virginia, was declared the winner Friday." (Times Argus)

"'Flat Earth Award' nominee's challenge to Chicken Littles" - "The winner of the 'Flat Earth Award' for global-warming naysayers, Dr. Fred Singer, prepared the following acceptance speech." (The Christian Science Monitor)

This won't get the press it deserves... "Scientists unravel 8,200-year-old climate riddle" - "Palaeoceanographers from the Southampton Oceanography Centre have shed new light on the world’s climate behaviour over 8,200 years ago. In an article published this week in Nature, they demonstrate that a sudden drop in temperature lasting 200 years cannot be used as a template for the modern day threat of rapid climate change." (PhysOrg)

... because it tramples on the hysteria of Gelbspan & his ilk. Gelbspan et al like to do the conspiracy thing and pretend this (915Kb .pdf) GBN flight of fantasy, (also available here, here and sundry other locations), originally touted by David Stipp in Fortune Magazine, actually represents some ultra hush-hush Pentagon analysis. The first box on page one of the document kind of gives it away - it's entitled: "Imagining The Unthinkable."

"900,000-year-old ice may destroy US case on Kyoto" - "An Italian expedition to the Antarctic has taken a sample of ice which is more than 900,000 years old and could give scientists evidence of past climate changes which would discredit global warming doubters." (The Guardian)

Equally at risk are the precious tenets of advocates...

"The Tip of the Iceberg" - "Last week on Earth Day, AP newswire led with a real scare story: "Study Shows Antarctic Glaciers Shrinking." In doing so, the press, yet again, predictably distorted a global warming story. By "Antarctica" they actually meant the Antarctic Peninsula, which comprises about 2% of the continent. It's warming there and has been for decades. But every scientist (or for that matter, everyone who has read Michael Crichton's "State of Fear") knows that the temperature averaged over the entire continent has been declining for decades." (Patrick Michaels, TCS)

"Shortened season means less maple syrup" - "BUFFALO, N.Y. -- First, it was too cold. A mere three weeks later, too warm. After tapping and boiling their way through a weather-shortened season, the state's maple syrup producers say their final numbers will be down. "You're at Mother Nature's mercy," said Greg Zimpfer, president of the Western New York Maple Producers, part of the New York State Maple Producers Association. Sugaring season got a late start when too cold temperatures lingered well past the usual Feb. 20 start and into mid-March. By the first week of April, temperatures were hitting the 60s, coaxing buds on the trees, the signal the season is over." (Associated Press)

"Seabed supplies a cure for global warming crisis" - "Scientists say they have found the solution to the global warming crisis. They want to bury it. They believe millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide could be dumped under the bed of the North Sea to reduce atmospheric warming. And they have selected a key candidate to test the technology: BP's Miller oilfield. 'Production at the Miller coming to an end, so we have a wonderful opportunity to develop techniques that could control global warming,' said Professor Stuart Haszeldine, a geologist at Edinburgh University." (The Observer)

"Crazy on Carbon Dioxide" (.pdf) - "On April 8, 2005, the D.C. circuit court of appeals heard oral arguments in Commonwealth of Massachusetts et al. v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Petitioners, who include the attorneys general (AGs) of 12 states, are suing the EPA for rejecting an October 1999 petition by the International Center for Technology Assessment (ICTA) and several other environmental groups to regulate carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from motor vehicles. In effect, petitioners demand that EPA impose the Kyoto Protocol — a non-ratified treaty — on U.S. automakers. They hope via litigation not only to regulate millions of Americans out of the market for large, safe, high-performance vehicles, but also to substitute their will for that of the people's elected representatives." (Marlo Lewis, National Review Online)

"The great engine of China is low on fuel" - "Service stations across China are starting to run short on diesel this spring, while electricity blackouts here in southeastern China are growing worse as power stations cut back on purchases of fuel oil." (New York Times)

"E-MAIL ALTERCATION: We're Running on Empty! You're Full of It!" - "Do today's high gasoline prices foreshadow a severe energy shortage? If so, what can be done about it? Opinion asked Peter W. Huber, co-author of "The Bottomless Well: The Twilight of Fuel, the Virtue of Waste and Why We Will Never Run Out of Energy," and Paul Roberts, author of "The End of Oil: On the Edge of a Perilous New World," to debate the energy-supply question by e-mail. The editors — with each party's final approval — condensed and edited the exchange." (LA Times)

"Nuclear power? Yes please, says Blair" - "Downing Street is drawing up secret plans to create a new generation of nuclear power stations as the centrepiece of the Government's drive to combat climate change. Tony Blair wants to avoid discussing the issue until after the election and the No 10 review of Britain's energy needs is not mentioned in the manifesto. But a team in the Strategy Unit, led by Lord Birt, the former BBC director general and one of the Prime Minister's closest advisers, is studying whether nuclear power should play a central role in combating global warming." (London Independent)

"Ministers denounced for nuclear waste 'spin'" - "Two of Britain's most senior scientific experts yesterday denounced government ministers for favouring PR spin over serious scientific advice when dealing with nuclear waste disposal." (The Observer)

"In Wisconsin, tilting at windmills is a serious matter" - "Birds, including threatened and endangered species, are at the center of a dispute over a $250 million wind-turbine complex that a Chicago company wants to build in east central Wisconsin. Invenergy Wind LLC hopes to erect 133 turbines, each standing 389 feet tall, across 50 square miles of farmland just east of Horicon Marsh, a federal and state wildlife refuge described by bird experts as one of the largest and most important wetlands in the Midwest." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"Focus: Invasion of the Wind Farms" - "Wind turbines are springing up in their thousands across Britain, industrialising some of Britain's best-loved landscapes. But do they work and do we really need them? Jonathan Leake reports" (The Sunday Times)

"Fury at wind farms finally fuels a review" - "MINISTERS have ordered a review of wind farm guidelines following warnings from senior officials that the "unplanned proliferation" of the controversial power generators could damage Scotland’s landscape. Documents obtained by Scotland on Sunday reveal that leading environment advisers told the Executive that some parts of the countryside were in danger of being over-run by a forest of turbines." (Scotland on Sunday)

"A thick fog descends as British industry is told to clean up its act" - "Environmental measures are bad for the health of economy, claim companies from power generators to road hauliers as they rail against the costs and uncertainties of the new green laws. Clayton Hirst and Tim Webb report." (London Independent)

"Owners charged up over electric cars, but manufacturers have pulled the plug" - "For all intents and purposes, the hugely expensive electric car program - - created in the 1990s by the California Air Resources Board's mandate that the major automakers build a certain number of pollution-free cars -- is just about dead." (San Francisco Chronicle)

"Philip follows eccentric TV prof into battle against the eco-warriors (and his own son)" - "A fight between greens pitches a gun-toting royal father against the heir he thinks is a tree-hugger, writes Severin Carrell." (London Independent)

"A Blueprint for Survival, Revisited" - "So what did you do for Earth Day? Splash on the patchouli oil, drape yourself in tie-dye and dance barefoot in the park? The PJ O'Rourke option? Pour a G&T, lay back on the sofa and watch Flipper? I decided to try and really make a difference, to actually recycle something in the name of Mother Earth. Unfortunately, what I tried to recycle were some old ideas in a second hand book, that being "A Blueprint for Survival" from The Ecologist magazine. This is one of the founding documents of the environmental movement and can be found on line here." (Tim Worstall, TCS)

"Earth Day, 35 Years Later" - "The dawn of our 35th Earth Day will reveal the remnants of an environmental movement born in the 20th century that has lost its way in the 21st. As has been the case in recent years, this Earth Day will include a devout yet fading cadre of celebrants. Predictably, there will be green "group gropes" by those who practice environmentalism as a secular religion. The news media will pay their respects with the obligatory coverage of the green establishment rallies, and, no doubt, some political pageantry. Sadly, these activities will promote the same, tired, capitalist-bashing doomsday rhetoric of a movement that now exists largely as a withering political constituency." (Paul Taylor, SF Chronicle)

The Greenpeas view: "Earth Day: Yes, we are doomed" - "WASHINGTON — Yes, things have gotten worse during the last year, when it comes to the environment. Only a fool — or someone who makes money selling oil, coal, cars and wars — would tell you that things are getting better. We’re fighting for oil in Iraq, stripping trees out of ancient forests around the world for toilet paper and feeding global warming so that glacial meltdown, the spread of disease, supercharged storms and rising seas will affect generations to come." (John Passacantando, York Daily Record)

"Americans seem to turn a deaf ear to environmentalists on 35th Earth Day" - "Although polls show that most Americans want clean air, clean water and wildlife protection, environmental issues rank low on their list of priorities - behind jobs, health care, education and national security." (Associated Press)

"The elitism of open space laws" - "Moralists are pulling up the drawbridge and outsiders - like young adults and families - can't get in." (Thomas Sowell, The Christian Science Monitor)

"The God Effect" - "America's religious conservatives aren't the only ones who object to science on spiritual grounds—so do Europe's Greens. The big winner is Asia" (Lee M. Silver, Newsweek International)

"Retiring, but never the shy type" - "AS THE poet once put it: "And still they gazed, and still the wonder grew/ That one small head could carry all he knew." Not that Professor John Hillman's imposing balding dome is small, but I never spent long in conversation with him or listened to one of his enthusiastic, full-flow, wide-ranging conference or seminar presentations without thinking of Goldsmith's lines.

The same thought occurred whenever the annual report of the Scottish Crop Research Institute, from where Hillman recently retired after 20 years as director, arrived in the post. It always gave a thorough description of the institute's work, successes and future plans, necessary for any research establishment dependent to a large extent on government funding.

But each year there was also up to 100 pages of pure Hillman, a remarkable over-view of almost everything relevant to agricultural, biological and environmental sciences and their associated industries and the political, social and economic issues affecting them." (The Scotsman)

"New research says global food demands threaten to outstrip world water supply" - "While many of today's rivers, lakes and groundwater reservoirs continue to be overexploited, a new report launched today by leading scientists at the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development warns that unless steps are taken to improve the way water is managed, twice the world's current water consumption may be needed by 2050 to feed a global population of some 9 billion." (News-Medical.net)

"Garden-variety vaccines may be edible alternative" - "Genetically altered potatoes boost immunity to hepatitis B in a study. Researchers hope treatment works on other diseases." (LA Times)

"Kraft Nod to Gene-Splicing Provides Food for Thought" (.pdf) - "Biotechnology applied to agriculture and food production has had a tough row to hoe. While agbiotech products have been virtually banished in Europe, testing and Commercialization have progressed in the U.S.—but only at a snail’s pace due to excessive, discriminatory government regulation and fear-mongering by activists." (Henry I. Miller,  Investors Business Daily)

"GM industry puts human gene into rice" - "Scientists have begun putting genes from human beings into food crops in a dramatic extension of genetic modification. The move, which is causing disgust and revulsion among critics, is bound to strengthen accusations that GM technology is creating "Frankenstein foods" and drive the controversy surrounding it to new heights." (London Independent)

"EU may allow first GMO crop for growing since 1998" - "BRUSSELS - EU environment experts may take a watershed vote in June on whether to allow a new genetically modified (GMO) crop to be grown in Europe's fields, the first such attempt since 1998, officials said on Friday. While the EU has now lifted its six-year ban on allowing imports of new GMOs, there have been no approvals since 1998 on any new gene-spliced crop that could be planted in Europe - and the EU's 25 governments are deeply divided on the issue. A handful of GMO crops, mainly maize types, were authorised for growing across the EU shortly before the moratorium began. No new crop has been allowed for planting since then." (Reuters)

April 22, 2005

"California's Bogus Baby Bottle Scare" - "The California State Assembly is about to consider legislation intended to frighten parents about the safety of baby bottles, teethers, pacifiers and other plastic toys." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"Scientists find higher mercury dose in vaccines" - "A mercury-laced preservative once widely added to pediatric vaccines exposes infants' brains to twice the neurotoxin previously suspected, offering evidence that health guidelines may underestimate the risk newborns face, researchers say in a report being published today." (Oakland Tribune)

Vaccine Disease Protections Outweigh Side Effects

"On Earth Day, Teach Our Children" - "The arrival of Earth Day each year provides teachers with the opportunity to help educate students about environmental issues. There is no question that the Earth's inhabitants need to be good stewards of natural resources, and teaching our children about the environment is necessary part of their upbringing.

Unfortunately, too often the lesson stops short of equipping the student with the reasoning skills that will allow him or her to make informed decisions about environmental issues. "Pollution is bad, planting a tree is good" might seem like a reasonable theme, but unless we explore environmental issues more deeply, we will continue to produce environmentalists whose ideals are stopped cold when they bump up against economic and practical realities." (Roy Spencer, TCS)

"Analysis: Earth Day reactions still mixed" - "Washington, DC, Apr. 21 -- It has been 35 years since Earth Day first was celebrated, yet policymakers and environmentalists alike still disagree whether they should celebrate or commiserate its anniversary this Friday." (UPI)

"One Man's Waste Is Another Man's...?" - "It's Earth Day and the media will again carry several news items related to the terrible state of the environment on our planet. These will likely offer a variety of solutions such as government regulation, more government regulation, or perhaps, some government regulation." (Pierre Desrochers, TCS)

"Fractured movement searches for new focus" - "Thirty-five years after the first Earth Day galvanized environmentalists, the movement is suffering a national identity crisis." (San Diego Union-Tribune)

"People, Progress and Planet – Earth Day 2005" - "This year, let’s remember that billions still face real, life-threatening dangers." (Paul Driessen, OpinionEditorials.com)

"Rescuing environmentalism" - "Market forces could prove the environment's best friend—if only greens could learn to love them" (The Economist)

"Every day is Earth Day" - "Environmentalists are quick to admonish, "Every Day is Earth Day" -- a mild reproach that everyone should daily consider how their actions affect the planet. In fairness, in the United States at least, the evidence suggests that every day is earth day, so environmentalists' sniping is unwarranted." (H. Sterling Burnett, The Washington Times)

"United States Marks 35th Anniversary of Earth Day" - "As the United States marks Earth Day, there is much to celebrate. The environment of the United States is healthier today than it was 35 years ago when America celebrated the first Earth Day. Although complex environmental challenges remain, the United States is committed to confronting them and continuing its longstanding stewardship of the nation’s air, water, and land." (USDS)

"Earth Day at 35: Is it still relevant?" - "We've all heard of Earth Day, and some of us might have actually done volunteer work to commemorate it. But is environmentalism's unofficial holiday, this Friday, still having the same impact it had during its heyday in the 1970s? The short, but not complete, answer is: No." (MSNBC)

The more appropriate question would be: "Was it ever relevant?" While it is certainly not PC to say so, "environmentalism" is not the reason air and water quality is constantly improving in the developed world, nor the reason people's lifespans have virtually doubled over the last century - technology, development and wealth generation underwrites all that and makes "environmentalism" possible. The various "ists" - be they ecologist, conservationist, environmentalist or whatever label they happen to favor - are mostly obstructionists and their obstructionism slows down, makes more costly or completely inhibits the improvements that have been occurring since the industrial revolution.

Are self-serving fear mongers, obstructionists who are literally killing millions of people per year and keeping billions more trapped in poverty without potable water, sanitation and electricity with their no dams, no generators and no improved crops policies, are these people and their pretensions really worthy of celebration? If you have any doubt that poverty and lack of development is environmentally damaging just look at Zimbabwe as a case study, take out the wealth generation and technology and the result is environmental devastation and wildlife slaughter. Now think for a moment about the 5 million annual deaths the UN attributes to smoke from indoor cooking fires and lack of safe water, perhaps add another million lives at least that could be saved just by implementing a sensible campaign of applying DDT to the interior surfaces of dwellings where malaria is endemic. 6 million deaths every year, mainly children under age 5, a significant portion of whom could have had a life and a chance of a decent standard of living but for green obstructionists and anti-chemical hysteria.

Any government with a similar record risks finding the rest of the world declaring war on it and having its leaders eventually hunted down and tried for their crimes against humanity and the environment and yet the media touts these misanthropists as some sort of world savers. Go figure!

"'Little progress' in malaria war" - "Little progress has been made in the war on malaria because the global body set up to fight the disease in 1998 is failing, a medical journal says. Roll Back Malaria, an international partnership of 90 organisations, aimed to co-ordinate the response to malaria. But the Lancet, in a malaria issue, said the number of cases was rising - there are now an estimated 500m cases a year - and a vaccine was 10 years away." (BBC) | The Lancet

Rightly: "Uganda: Govt insists on DDT" - "The Government is to use DDT to eliminate malaria despite stiff challenges from environmentalists, the primary health care state minister, Dr. Alex Kamugisha, has said." (Kampala Monitor)

"Taxed to Death" - "Earlier this week The Global Fund to Fight AIDS Tuberculosis and Malaria claimed that India has replaced South Africa as the most AIDS-diseased country in the world. India's continuing struggle to deal with its AIDS problem is tragic, but some good may come from this story. Now that India has moved to the fore of global efforts to combat AIDS, perhaps the world will begin to notice that the Indian Government has erected extremely onerous tariffs and taxes on the very products that can save its citizens' lives.

Rich countries have largely abandoned taxes and tariffs on medical products since they realize that taxing such products harms the sickest and poorest in their countries. But that is not the case in many poor countries." (Roger Bate, TCS)

Cockeyed worldview of the moment: "Counting the human cost of international trade" - "International trade is creating a global road safety crisis that only serves to inhibit development and perpetuate poverty, argues an expert in this week's BMJ." (BMJ-British Medical Journal)

The thrust of this thesis would seem to be that allowing people to become sufficiently wealthy to afford motorised transport and, indeed, selling them such mechanised conveyances, causes vehicular accidents. This then apparently inhibits development (no benefit from transport?) and perpetuates poverty. To see what all-cost, no benefit examinations do, lets use the CDC's 400K figure for obesity mortality (which apparently they'll continue to use despite knowing it to be total garbage): we could save 400K lives in the US alone just by preventing people from having access to any food, therefore starving the population saves lives and increases wealth generation?

"Strongest proof yet found for prion hypothesis" - "Researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB) have produced the strongest proof yet that the mysterious and devastating brain diseases known as "transmissible spongiform encephalopathies" (TSEs) are transmitted by an infectious agent composed only of a malformed protein, and not a virus. TSEs, which can afflict both human beings and animals, include mad cow disease, new-variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Syndrome, scrapie, kuru and chronic wasting disease." (University of Texas Medical Branch)

Um... that's great guys, it's just that the "Mad Cow" / vnCJD thing doesn't involve injecting anything into people's brains - the allegation is infection by oral ingestion and that has never been demonstrated.

"Some Padding May Be Healthful, According to New Study" - "Obesity has been much touted in some quarters as being a leading cause of preventable death in the United States, second only to smoking. About a year ago, a study published by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated the number of excess deaths attributable to obesity at 400,000, a value later corrected to 365,000. Publication of these figures created quite a stir, and gave impetus to the drive by health professionals and others to encourage Americans to revise their lifestyles -- especially to eat less and move more.

These numbers have now been disputed by results of other CDC research, which substantially ratcheted down the estimate of excess weight-attributable deaths to "only" 25,814. This estimate dropped overweight/obesity from the number 2 to number 7 most-frequent preventable cause of death in the U.S." (Ruth Kava, ACSH)

"You Can Be Too Thin, After All" - "The latest study of obese and overweight Americans upends much of what we thought we knew about the health dangers of excess poundage. After decades of dire warnings to slim down if we want to survive to a ripe old age, it now turns out that a modest amount of "excess" weight may actually be good for you, while being too thin can be dangerous." (New York Times)

"Whoppers and the End of an Epidemic" - "It isn't just that they were fudging the numbers, it is the scope of the fudging that is so breathtaking. For the last few years Americans have been subjected to an incessant barrage of warnings about the risks of dying from being fat. The most dramatic of these came last year in a study from the US Centers for Disease Control that suggested that some 400,000 lives were lost each year due to obesity and that obesity related mortality would soon overtake tobacco as the leading cause of death in the US." (John Luik, TCS)

Now communicating makes you dumb... "It's not clever to send too many texts and e-mails" - "CONSTANT text messaging and e-mailing causes a reduction in mental capability equivalent to the loss of ten IQ points, according to research." (The Scotsman)

"America's vanilla landscapes mean more animals but fewer species" - "WASHINGTON - Wisconsin officials last week toyed with the idea of shooting 2 million stray cats. With white-tailed deer overrunning suburbia, a New Jersey environmental group wants more, not less, hunting. Fort Worth, Texas, may enlist downtown merchants to shoot firecrackers at an estimated 1 million noisy grackles. Battles to curb the spread of Canada geese, beavers, kudzu, raccoons, house sparrows and European starlings are already pretty much lost. Residents of suburban Detroit and other regions are trying to cope with increases in voracious rabbits and stinky skunks. These species - once considered benign if not cuddly - show that there can be way too much of a good thing." (Knight Ridder)

"NASA study finds snow melt causes large ocean plant blooms" - "A NASA funded study has found a decline in winter and spring snow cover over Southwest Asia and the Himalayan mountain range is creating conditions for more widespread blooms of ocean plants in the Arabian Sea." (NASA/GSFC)

"Antarctic glaciers show retreat" - "The glaciers of the Antarctic Peninsula are in rapid retreat. A detailed study reported in Science magazine shows nearly 90% of the ice bodies streaming down from the mountains to the ocean are losing mass. But the authors - a joint team from the British-Antarctic and US-Geological Surveys - say the big melt could have a number of complex causes. Although higher air temperatures are a factor, they say, the full picture may go beyond just simple global warming." (BBC) | Antarctic Peninsula glaciers in widespread retreat (British Antarctic Survey)

Complex indeed, particularly since the peninsula is anomalous in that the bulk of the Antarctic appears to be cooling.

Video Available: "Climate Catastrophe Cancelled: What You're Not Being Told About the Science of Climate Change" (Friends of Science)

"Climate Research Faulted Over Missing Components" - "The Bush administration's program to study climate change lacks a major component required by law, according to Congressional investigators. The program fails to include periodic assessments of how rising temperatures may affect people and the environment." (New York Times)

"Development of Arctic areas to bring trillions dollars of profit to Russia" - "World oil prices are continuing to rise steadily despite recent statements by OPEC regarding production quota increases. The warmer days of spring seem to have no effect on the upward trend of the world oil market. According to certain pessimistic forecasts, Russia's reasonable assured and profitable reserves of strategic natural resources may be exhausted in ten years. However, Russia may gain benefit from the exploration of the Arctic's vast vaults would be unlocked by global warming. The freeze-up period on the Northern Sea Route is expected to shorten significantly in the next 10-15 years and therefore mineral resources of the North will be much easier to carry both to Europe and Asia. The estimated value of the Arctic's minerals totals $1.5-2 trillion. The Russian government has recently started drawing up a law on the Arctic economic development to boost the economy of northern regions." (Pravda.Ru)

Sad commentary on once-great region: "E.U.: Kyoto could spur Europe's growth" - "Washington, DC, Apr. 21 -- European Commissioner for Energy Stravos Dimas this week said the European Union's carbon emissions-trading scheme, intended to combat global climate change and reduce greenhouse gases, could be a catalyst for economic opportunities for the continent's industries." (UPI)

How tragic that Europe, once the realm of intrepid explorers and dynamic trading companies, should decline to such an extent that in its senility pins its hopes on hot air trading.

"EU Lawmakers Want Higher Energy Use Cut in 2006-15" - "BRUSSELS - Europe should cut energy use by 11.5 percent over the period 2006-2015 to save supplies and reduce global warming, an EU lawmaker said on Thursday, increasing the burden on EU states to be energy efficient." (Reuters)

"Ethanol benefits questioned" - "While governors in more than 25 states tout ethanol as a way to make gasoline burn cleaner, there's new evidence ethanol can worsen some types of pollution linked to damaging health effects - namely ozone and fine particles." (Louisville Courier-Journal)

"Washington State's House Clears Car Emissions Bill" - "SAN FRANCISCO - The Washington state House approved on Wednesday an amended version of a bill that would apply most of California's rules to lowering vehicle exhaust emissions in the Pacific Northwest state. A spokesman for Democratic Gov. Christine Gregoire said she is expected to sign the bill early next week. But the Washington law would go into effect, in the 2009 model year, only if neighboring Oregon also adopted emission regulations for vehicles sold there." (Reuters)

"The Yucca Mountain scandal" - "Ronald Reagan may have gotten it wrong. The closest thing to eternal life in Washington is not a government program. It's e-mail." (Joshua Gilder, The Washington Times)

"Some Activist Groups Exibit a 'Pathological Scientific' Stance" - "Pursued Agenda Is Often Not the Protection of Human Health or the Environment" (Henry I. Miller, Genetic Engineering News)

"Study: Organic farmworkers receive little financial benefit" - "Just because something is organically grown doesn’t mean farmworkers have better working conditions than farmworkers on conventional farms." (Santa Cruz Sentinel)

"Researchers make gains in understanding antibiotic resistance" - "Howard Hughes Medical Institute researchers chiseling away at the problem of antibiotic resistance now have a detailed explanation of how the drugs' main cellular target in bacteria evolves to become resistant to some of these medications. The findings are already leading to new experimental antibiotics that are being engineered to circumvent resistance, which is a major worldwide health problem." (Howard Hughes Medical Institute)

"Researchers uncover sequence of major rice pathogen" - "In a genomics milestone, an international consortium of researchers has for the first time lifted the veil from a fungal plant pathogen by sequencing the genome – or set of all genes – of the most destructive enemy of rice: Magnaporthe grisea, the fungus that causes rice blast disease." (North Carolina State University)

"Underground Crops Could Be Future of 'Pharming'" - "WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Corn grows just as well - if not better - underground as in a typical greenhouse setting or in the field, according to a team of Purdue University researchers that is working with a company to develop techniques for tightly controlled production of crops containing pharmaceuticals such as edible vaccines or antibodies.

The scientists, in partnership with Controlled Pharming Ventures LLC of McCordsville, Ind., have designed and built a crop-growth facility inside a 60-acre former limestone mine in Marengo, a small town in southern Indiana. The first test crop, planted in the underground facility late last fall, produced more corn in a shorter time period than plants grown in a greenhouse on the Purdue campus, said Cary Mitchell, a Purdue professor of horticulture." (AgBioWorld)

"Why the world needs GM crops" - "Adelaide has a major role to play in the development of salt-tolerant crops that could potentially feed millions of starving people worldwide. According to statistics, world food grain production must be doubled by the year 2050 to meet the demands of a growing global population. “Even under ideal conditions, it would be difficult to increase crop production much beyond current levels,” said Professor Mark Tester, Australian Research Council (ARC) Federation Fellow at the University of Adelaide." (University of Adelaide)

Biotech "acreage counter": "Counting Up!" - "Remember how McDonalds used to boast beneath the Golden Arches about how many billions of hamburgers it had sold? Well, its time for agricultural biotechnology to update their sign. Sometime during the early days of May 2005, a farmer somewhere in the world will plant the 1 billionth acre of genetically enhanced crops. And sometime this fall – probably early September 2005 – that billionth acre will be harvested!" (Truth About Trade and Technology)

"As drought takes hold, Zambia's door stays shut to GMOs" - "Hunger is a perennial challenge facing African countries, and Zambia is no exception. But while some nations are prepared to boost supplies by importing food containing genetically modified (GM) organisms, Zambia is sticking to its guns and saying no." (SciDev.Net)

"Farmers tout benefits of using biotech crops" - "As spring planting begins, few changes in Midlands corn and soybeans crops are obvious to the naked eye. Farmers will tell you, however, that in the past 10 years, biotechnology has changed everything. More than 85 percent of the soybeans and more than 50 percent of the corn crop this year will have at least one biotech trait. And although critics continue to await a food catastrophe, no one can cite any health problems related to genetically modified foods." (Omaha World-Herald)

April 21, 2005

"Attack on medical research" - "Last week the world celebrated an historic medical research milestone, the 50th anniversary of the polio vaccine. But Hollywood glitterati — including Alec Baldwin, Noah Wyle and Emmylou Harris — dishonored that life-saving moment by celebrating another milestone — the 20th birthday of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM). This is an organization which opposes the very research that made the polio breakthrough possible." (David Martosko, The Washington Times)

"Heavy consumption of processed meats linked to increased risk for pancreatic cancer" - "Heavy consumption of hot dogs, sausages and luncheon meats, along with other forms of processed meat, was associated with the greatest risk of pancreatic cancer in a large multiethnic study reported today at the 96th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research." (American Association for Cancer Research)

"A Pain in the Cheops" - "You and I just spent $2.5 million to turn a pyramid on its side, paint it with a rainbow coalition of colors and build a stairway along its side for a stick figure to climb. The Department of Agriculture outsourced this cartoon revision of the old and incomprehensible 1992 food pyramid to Porter Novelli, the international marketing firm. They call it MyPyramid. I can't help thinking it will soon be renamed McPyramid.

As a mildly overweight retiree, I am as interested in dropping pounds as any other tubby. In fact, I think I know perfectly well already, without a pyramid on my wall, that eating less and exercising more would turn me into an Ashton Kutcher lookalike. How could anyone living in this world not already have been stuffed to the gills with well-meant propaganda about healthy diets, workouts and weight loss?" (The Wall Street Journal)

"The Hotel Industry Begins to Wake Up To a Bedbug Problem" - "John Schulz, Marriott International's director of quality control, had something to discuss last November at one of the hotel industry's biggest conventions -- something that really makes people squirm.

At the International Hotel/Motel and Restaurant trade show in New York, Mr. Schulz spoke at a symposium called "Stop the Spread of Bedbugs." The pamphlet advertising the event, printed by pest-control company Ecolab, promised a discussion of "the reasons behind the resurgence of these unwelcome pests."

Mr. Schulz declined to comment on his presentation, and Marriott said it doesn't have a bedbug problem. But people in the hotel industry are waking up to the fact that they are playing host to some particularly nasty guests. In the past few years, Cimex lectularius -- the common bedbug -- has been making a small but alarming comeback, in part because some of the pesticides that had kept them at bay have been phased out." (The Wall Street Journal)

"Scientists: Northwest forests are growing - Spotted owl population declining" - "PORTLAND, Oregon -- A decade after the Clinton administration reduced logging in national forests in the Northwest, scientists have concluded the forests are growing, but the population of the threatened northern spotted owl has declined." (AP)

Save the owls, log the forests?

New web site: "Please do visit" - "The 'A Parliament of Things' web site is now fully up-and-running, with four big contributions on the first full contents' page, 'Nature and Society'. Many more contents' pages will be added during the next couple of weeks." (EnviroSpin Watch)

"Breakthrough in forecasting US hurricane activity by UCL scientists" - "The strength of hurricane activity striking the United States during the main hurricane season can now be predicted with significant accuracy thanks to a new computer model developed by scientists at University College London (UCL)." (University College London)

"Tropical Climate 'Can Affect Climate Change'" - "Global climate change can be affected by climate changes in the tropics, a study from Bristol University revealed today. This new evidence shows that even small changes in tropical climates may have an impact on overall global changes. The research adds further weight to recent arguments that the tropics may play a more active role in driving and controlling climate change than previously thought." (PA News)

"UK presidency to focus on climate change" - " BRUSSELS - The UK’s EU presidency in the second half of 2005 will have a strong focus on the environment and on arresting climate change, a high ranking Downing Street official told a conference in Brussels on Tuesday (19 April). The UK’s presidency will take place in the middle of its year-long presidency of the G8, an informal grouping of the world’s eight richest countries, where climate change and Africa will be the main topics." (EUobserver)

"New Zealand Govt simplifies carbon tax exemptions" - "The Government is moving to simplify and speed up the process by which larger emitters of greenhouse gases can negotiate an exemption from the carbon tax due to come into effect in 2007. Concern has been mounting that the process is too slow and unwieldy. Only two agreements, with the New Zealand Refining Company and gold miner OceanaGold, have been completed. Firms whose international competitiveness would be at risk if they faced a carbon tax on their emissions of gases blamed for global warming, and by the carbon tax impact on electricity and transport fuel prices, can seek a negotiated greenhouse agreement." (New Zealand Herald)

"Czech Chemical, Metal Firms Seen Losing in CO2 Cut" - "PRAGUE - Czech chemical and steel companies may bear the brunt of a cut in the number of carbon dioxide emission allowances that Prague agreed with the European Union last week, a government proposal showed." (Reuters)

"Oil Companies Lose Effort to End Suits Over Contaminated Water" - "A federal judge ruled that major oil companies must defend dozens of lawsuits accusing them of fouling groundwater by using a gasoline additive." (New York Times)

"Adult stem cells a cancer threat" - "Adult stem cells can pose a cancer risk, warn scientists. Stem cells are immature "master" cells that can be programmed to become many kinds of tissue and have been heralded as future cures for numerous disease. Experts have long known that stem cells harvested from embryos can turn cancerous. They have been linked to leukaemias and breast cancer. Now two research teams have found stem cells from adults can also turn into cancer, reports New Scientist." (BBC)

"Illinois Attorney General Probes Monsanto Pricing" - "KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Monsanto Co.'s role in the US biotech seed business is the subject of scrutiny by the Illinois Attorney General's office, the agrochemical company said Wednesday. Monsanto issued a statement saying it was cooperating with a subpoena seeking information on pricing and licensing of its genetically modified seeds. The company defended its market activities, which have been the subject of rising complaint as its market influence has grown." (Reuters)

"U.S.-EUROPE: Free Zone for Genetically Modified Maize?" - "BROOKLIN, Canada, Apr 20 - The case of a genetically engineered variety of maize that escaped detection by U.S. and European Union authorities for four years illustrates weaknesses in the safety and regulatory systems on both sides of the Atlantic, say critics." (Tierramérica)

April 20, 2005

"CDC: Dangers of being overweight overstated" - "CHICAGO — Being overweight is nowhere near as big a killer as the government thought, ranking No. 7 instead of No. 2 among the nation's leading preventable causes of death, according to a startling new calculation from the CDC.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated today that packing on too many pounds accounts for 25,814 deaths a year in the United States. As recently as January, the CDC came up with an estimate 14 times higher: 365,000 deaths.

The new analysis found that obesity — being extremely overweight — is indisputably lethal. But like several recent smaller studies, it found that people who are modestly overweight actually have a lower risk of death than those of normal weight." (Associated Press)

No surprise here, JunkScience.com readers saw this over a year ago.

"Some Extra Heft May Be Helpful, New Study Says" - "People who are overweight but not obese have a lower risk of death than those of normal weight, federal researchers are reporting." (Gina Kolata, New York Times)

"UN Says Kenyans Have Failed to Curb Malaria" - "The United Nations yesterday described malaria as a national tragedy for Kenya. It cited failure to record "any progress" in the past 10 years in efforts to either reduce infant and under five mortality rates or achieve the Millennium Development Goal of reducing child mortality. United Nations Children's Fund Representative, Kenya Country Office, Mr Heimo Laakkonen said malaria continued to kill more than 90 children daily. "Malaria is the silent and deadly killer that takes the life of one African child every 30 seconds. It continues to kill more than 34,000 Kenyan children under the age of five years every year- that is more than 90 every day," Laakkonen told journalists." (The East African Standard)

We note, with disappointment, that Kenya has not yet returned to domestic DDT spraying to avert this tragedy. A large percentage of these deaths can be attributed to hysterical green chemo-phobia and EU eco-imperialism.

"Carter: rich states "don't give a damn" about poor" - "Carter may be partially right - but more money isn't the solution necessarily. Rich countries ignore the solutions to diseases like malaria that actually work, like DDT spraying. Also, Carter forgets that many poor country governments give less of a 'damn' for their poor than rich country governments. Many poor countries are poor and sick because their elite politicians keep them that way with daft policies that entrench their power and keep the foreign aid rolling into their own pockets." (AFM)

"Public has developed irrational fear of pesticides, industry spokesman says" - "Environmentalists, municipalities and the media have created an irrational fear of pesticides, says Lorne Hepworth, president of CropLife Canada, which represents companies in the pesticide industry." (Ottawa Citizen)

"No strong evidence linking mercury levels with worse neurobehavioral performance in older adults" - "In a study of older adults, researchers did not find a definitive association between blood mercury levels, which can become elevated with fish consumption, and adverse neurobehavioral effects, according to a study in the April 20 issue of JAMA." (JAMA and Archives Journals)

"Professor says study not meant to alarm" - "A Blacksburg researcher is at the center of a trans-Atlantic stink about a new but vague risk at the kitchen sink. Research by Virginia Tech's Peter Vikesland found that the chlorine in tap water and the antibacterial agent found in some hand and dish soaps and other products can react to create chloroform, a probable carcinogen. He did not say or intend for anyone to conclude that the bacteria-busting chemical triclosan is patently unsafe and poses an immediate health concern, notwithstanding what's appeared in the British press." (The Roanoke Times)

"Watchdog rejects salt complaint" - "The advertising watchdog has rejected industry complaints about a public health campaign warning of the dangers of salt." (BBC)

Uh-huh. Sid the Slug wins and Cookie Monster loses - what a silly PC world...

Hmm... rarely, if ever, do I comment on matters of faith. However, when the misapplication of faith strays into the realm of misanthropy then comment seems appropriate. If you are offended by mention of matters religious on a science site then skip this and the following item: "A blessing in disguise" - "Church leaders in the US are urging George Bush to change his ways on the environment. But, for God's sake, don't call them greens. Edward Helmore reports" (The Guardian)

How does tree-hugging rate on the idolatry (idol-a-tree?) scale, I wonder? And isn't eco-theism a competing paradigm?

"New Pope Could Swing Bible Debate on Environment" - "OSLO / JOHANNESBURG – The new pope may have a huge impact on the environment depending upon which side he favours in the centuries-old Biblical debate about whether humans should exploit or safeguard nature, experts say." (Reuters)

Would that be Genesis 9:1-9:3?

  • And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.
  • And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth [upon] the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered.
  • Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.

Taken literally, the above passage would appear to conflict with misanthropist claims of crises due to human population. Perpetrating a slaughter of impoverished peoples by inaction, through denial of access to lifesaving DDT, for example, is hardly obeying an injunction to "Be fruitful, and multiply."

Naturists and bunny-huggers of all stripes would appear in serious conflict with Genesis 9:2 and Genesis 9:3, no?

Faith is surely many things to many people but one thing it should never be is an excuse. Of all the excuses rabid "environmentalists" might proffer for their anti-technology, anti-progress, anti-human activities, Christian piety and Christian evangelism can not be counted among them.

Environmental evangelism seems a bizarre move for Christian Church leaders, as suggested by The Guardian in the previous item. End of theological diversion - Ed.

"US eco-arsonist jailed for eight years for SUV attacks" - "LOS ANGELES - A US environmental activist who fire-bombed and defaced 125 sports utility vehicles was sentenced to more than eight years in jail and ordered to pay 3.5 million dollars in restitution." (AFP)

Oh boy... "Russian Astrologist Plans to Crash NASA’s Independence Day" - "Remember Deep Impact — that global disaster movie from the 1990’s when the world’s finest astronauts embarked on a suicide mission to save mankind from a comet heading straight for Earth? Now, imagine if the producers introduced a new twist to the plot: besides the comet, NASA is pitted against a Russian astrologist who sues the space agency because destroying a comet would irrevocably harm her “system of spiritual values”.

Well, we’re not in the direct trajectory of a comet (not yet anyway), but a Deep Impact mission is underway, with a NASA spacecraft loaded with explosives scheduled to collide with the Tempel-1 comet on July 4 and blast it to smithereens. That’s right, it’s Independence Day.

Now, the last thing NASA expected was a lawsuit from Russia." (MosNews)

Red Ken rides again: "Mayor blocks salt water proposal" - "Plans to build the UK's first plant to turn salt water into drinking water have been blocked by London's mayor. Ken Livingstone said the proposed £200m desalination plant by the River Thames in Beckton, east London, would consume too much energy." (BBC)

"Why Diamonds are Like Greenhouse Gases" - "Energy study finds greenhouse gas limits affordable" according to an Associated Press story on a new Energy Information Administration report. The EIA analysis, performed at the request of Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), assessed several greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction scenarios based on recommendations of the National Commission on Energy Policy. William K. Reilly, an NCEP co-chair and former EPA Administrator, lauded the EIA findings calling them "a reassuring set of conclusions." But by any reasonable measure the EIA report implies just the opposite. EIA's analysis shows that even attempting to slow the growth rate of GHG emissions would cost Americans hundreds of billions of dollars over the next 20 years. Attempting to freeze GHG emissions at current levels would likely cost trillions." (Joel Schwartz, TCS)

Stop exhaling - or you'll bring down a satellite? "Rising carbon dioxide levels increase risks to satellites" - "Climate change is widely attributed to the build-up of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, in the Earth’s atmosphere. However, scientists from the School of Engineering Sciences at the University of Southampton have shown that the impact of carbon dioxide is being felt in space too." (University of Southampton)

"Ireland: Radical changes in weather forecast" - "SUMMER temperatures soaring to close to Mediterranean levels in the Midlands, a drop in rainfall by up to 40% in parts of the country and the colder north experiencing similar weather to the present day sunnier south - radical climate change like that will happen in the lifetime of people living today, climate experts say.

While some might joke, the Midlands, with the summer temperature typically touching 24.5, will then be worth visiting, it’s no laughing matter to scientists. Expect rising sea levels and extreme weather events, such as storms, flooding and even prolonged droughts." (Irish Examiner)

From CO2 Science Magazine this week:

"Forest Growth Rates" - "How have they responded to the historical increase in the air's CO 2 content, particularly over the last half of the 20th century, when CO 2 increases have been truly unprecedented?" (co2science.org)

Subject Index Summaries:
"Temperature (Urbanization Effects - North America)" - "What have we learned about the urban heat island effect from data obtained in North America?  We've learned that it is large and growing in large-and-growing cities, and that in tiny towns it can exceed the warming of the globe experienced since the end of the Little Ice Age." (co2science.org)

"Stomatal Density (Response to CO 2 - Woody Plants)" - "How does the stomatal density of the leaves of woody plants respond to changes in atmospheric CO 2 concentration?" (co2science.org)

Plant Growth Data:
"This week we add new results (blue background) of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO 2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature for: Absinth Sagewort, Meadow Fescue, Quaking Aspen and Soybean." (co2science.org)

Journal Reviews:
"Global Sea Level: 1950-2000" - "Has it been rising at an ever accelerating rate as man has pumped ever greater quantities of CO 2 into the atmosphere?" (co2science.org)

"Sand Drift Episodes of Europe" - "What can they tell us about the history of storminess there over the past two millennia?" (co2science.org)

"Unusually Cold Days in Madrid" - "How bad can a day with a maximum temperature just under 6°C be for one's health?" (co2science.org)

"Whole-Canopy Transpiration in CO 2 -Enriched and Warmed Pine Trees" - "How does evaporative water loss from whole pine trees vary in response to increases in atmospheric temperature and CO 2 concentration?" (co2science.org)

"Changes in the Southern Range Boundaries of Gastropods and Chitons Along the Chilean Coast of South America" - "How have the southern endpoints of the ranges of rocky intertidal marine species that inhabit the Pacific coast of Chile changed over the last half-century?" (co2science.org)

"Energetic Ignorance" - "There's no public-policy topic more prone to intellectual abuse than energy. Take conservation. Refrigerators, automobiles, houses, factories… They're more than twice as efficient in using energy than they were 50 years ago. Fine. But, despite the conventional political wisdom, conservation has not cut our energy use. To the contrary. "The more efficient our technology, the more energy we consume," write Peter Huber and Mark Mills in their brilliant new book, "The Bottomless Well." Energy becomes more desirable if it works faster and better. "To curb energy consumption, you have to lower efficiency, not raise it." Anyway, why on earth would we want to curb energy consumption? Energy abounds, and the leverage is incredible. It's a tiny proportion of the economy, yet without it, we'd grind to a halt." (James K. Glassman, TCS)

"Cumbrian wind-farm plan generates heat among divided environmentalists" - "It's the most divisive issue in the environment movement for a generation, setting green campaigner against green campaigner - and yesterday a key battle over it began. It's the question of wind farms. Should giant wind turbines sprout across the uplands of Britain, in the fight against climate change? Half of the British green movement resolutely says "Yes", while the other half says "No" with equal determination, and the views of both will clash head-on in the public inquiry which has opened into the proposed wind farm development at Whinash, near Kendal in Cumbria." (London Independent)

Now they done it! "Whinash: I was not angry until now" - "The proposed wind farm at Whinash in Cumbria, on the very borders of the iconic Lake District National Park, is an environmentalist's folly too far. By supporting it, Friends of the Earth (FoE) and Greenpeace lose any credibility to be taken seriously as organisations defending our British landscape and environments. Indeed, I now see such organisations as intrinsically dangerous to the true aims of conservation and landscape care." (EviroSpin Watch)

"Jeremy Warner's Outlook: BAA's solution to aviation emissions that might just satisfy the regulators" - "Mike Clasper's response is perhaps surprising. He wants the industry to ensure an emissions trading scheme is imposed as early as possible" (London Independent)

"Turning viruses into allies against cancer" - "Through genetic engineering, viruses are being re-programmed to take advantage of their natural abilities to infiltrate, commandeer, replicate and destroy, but only in tumor cells and not surrounding healthy tissue." (American Association for Cancer Research)

 "Are rice and wheat behind China's population boom?" - "The rapid growth of the earliest cities in northern China starting as far back as 2400 to 2000 BC is the result of successful rice farming combined with other crops, says University of Toronto anthropologist Gary Crawford." (University of Toronto)

"Greenpeace breeds hypocrisy" - "Many people often assume my undying hatred toward hippies stems from their designer sandals or ceaseless desire to listen to bands like the Dave Matthews Band, the Grateful Dead or Phish. Although listening to this type of music is a fairly good reason to dislike someone, my reasons are actually slightly more complex (and sadly, less hilarious).

Consider the forefront of the environmentalist movement: Greenpeace. Even with noble intentions, Greenpeace lowers themselves to the same method of control their enemies (i.e., major corporations and "big, scary government") use with fear and propaganda.

Oftentimes, even without scientific data, Greenpeace warns of "disastrous" consequences and "devastating famines" from the result of anything they don't happen to endorse.

Members of Greenpeace resort to scare tactics and catchy slogans, such as referring to genetically-modified food as "Frankenfoods" (as if comparing a reanimated corpose to genetically altered crops for higher yields was a valid method of argument) or screaming "Save the Rainforests!"

However, we must remember who Greenpeace is ultimately composed of, with its predominantly white, middle class members from affluent capitalist countries who have never wondered where their next meal is coming from." (Josh Levinson, AgBioView)

"Campaign to educate public about GMOs" - "FARGO ­ A North Dakota Farm Bureau-commissioned survey about genetically modified organisms has revealed a couple of surprises that will drive an information and education campaign starting this summer. Jeffrey Missling, executive vice president of NDFB, said the nearly year-long study revealed that only 4 percent of people surveyed across North Dakota could positively identify GMOs, yet 78 percent said they would purchase items such as pasta that were genetically modified if vitamins and minerals were added." (Minot Daily News)

April 19, 2005

"Sanofi-aventis Affirms Its Commitment to Access to Medicines in the 'Southern Countries', with a Policy of Tiered Drug Prices Geared to Populations Incomes" - "Sanofi-aventis has a new and effective malaria drug and it is selling it on a no-profit basis. Sounds great, but in fact profit is good and vital to ensure ongoing research. Companies should seek out profit in Africa - profit builds economies and attracts investment; without it Africa will only ever be worthy of charity." (AFM)

"Report: Almost 11 million kids die by 5 in developing nations" - "Almost 11 million children in developing countries die before the age of five, most of them from causes that are preventable in wealthier countries, the World Bank said in a report released Sunday." (Associated Press)

"Information on Trial" - "The UIPP (French Crop Protection Association) recently launched an advertising campaign outlining the benefits of pesticides. Accused by environmental groups of spreading misinformation, this grouping of French pesticide manufacturers was summoned to court in Rennes on 9 March 2005. Now it will have to prove its innocence. Why is the information in its campaign considered to be untrue? Because, simply, it contradicts what environmental protection groups have been shouting from the rooftops." (Cécile Philippe, TCS)

"The Sky Isn't Falling" - "Despite decades of dire predictions by “environmentalists,” Earth’s future is greener than ever, reports the Competitive Enterprise Institute" (CEI)

"Environmentalism's Nervous Breakdown" - "The Death of Environmentalism" is an Internet essay published last October that is making huge waves in the rather confined world of non-profit environmental organizations." (William Tucker, TAE)

"Food-borne illnesses decline dramatically" - "After increasing throughout the 1990s, rates of food-borne illnesses in the USA declined dramatically last year." (USA Today)

"California's Extreme Makeover" - "If California truly is the bellwether for the rest of the country, get ready for more government intrusiveness in your life. The legislative Sages of Sacramento are emulating European-style over-regulation: They plan to ban the traditional production of foie gras, and now a state senator and an assemblyman, both Democrats, have crafted two Europe-inspired bills to protect us from the trumped-up dangers of cosmetics." (Henry I. Miller, TCS)

"Compounds in plastic packaging act as environmental estrogens altering breast genes" - "Compounds found in plastic products used to wrap or contain food and beverages have aroused concerns as possible cancer-causing agents because they can sometimes leach out of the plastic and migrate into the food. Researchers have demonstrated that two plasticizer compounds, BPA and BBP, are environmental estrogens capable of affecting gene expression in the mammary glands of young female laboratory rats exposed to the compounds through their mothers' milk." (Fox Chase Cancer Center)

"We're Watching What You Eat!" - "In an extremely arrogant move, the EU has decided that Europeans are too simple-minded to be able to determine independently which foods are good for them and which foods are not. Forget the instinctual knowledge of good and bad foods and parents' instructions on how to keep a balanced diet; the EU is going to decide for you." (Martin Callanan, TCS)

"Piste pressure on alpine plants" - "The impacts of ski piste preparation on alpine plants are long-lasting and greatest at higher altitudes, Swiss researchers report. The effects are likely to worsen as global warming forces ski operators to use more artificial snow and open higher runs, the scientists say." (BBC)

"B-15A collides with Antarctic ice tongue" - "Maps of Antarctica need to be amended. The long-awaited collision between the vast B-15A iceberg and the landfast Drygalski ice tongue has taken place. This Envisat radar image shows the ice tongue – large and permanent enough to feature in Antarctic atlases - has come off worst." (European Space Agency)

"Ice-covered Baltic Sea proves ideal setting for final pre-launch CryoSat validation" - "The northernmost part of the Baltic Sea, between Finland and Sweden, recently provided an ideal location for scientists to successfully address critical issues relating to sea ice validation before CryoSat is launched in September." (European Space Agency)

"Oceanographers collect 1.5 million year record of climate change in Africa" - "KINGSTON, R.I. – April 18, 2005 – Four University of Rhode Island oceanographers and colleagues from four other universities recently probed the ancient sediments beneath Lake Malawi in East Africa and recovered sediment samples that provide up to 1.5 million years of information about how climate in Africa has changed – the longest continuous record of such data ever collected from that continent." (University of Rhode Island)

"Elephant seal pups suffer from ocean warming" - "Ocean warming has a negative impact on the condition of elephant seals, reveals a study published in the Open Access journal BMC Biology. High ocean temperatures observed from 1975 to the late 1990s are correlated with a 28% decrease in the weight of elephant seal pups. Elephant seals are shown to be sensitive to ocean temperature changes associated with both long-term 25-year cycles and short-term 3-4 year cycles such as those caused by El Niño." (BioMed Central)

Weekly Whipple: "The sea level-climate connection" - "Sea level shifts in the world's oceans are occurring more frequently and more rapidly than previously thought, strongly suggesting a direct link to climate change." (United Press International)

"Where the Waters Are Rising" - "A close-up look at the low-lying Maldives, where global warming hits the seawall." (Time)

Nope, not according to this.

"The Emperor's New Climate: Is Global Warming Real? Part 1" - "This article, in 3 parts, written by Duncan Maxwell Anderson, is being reprinted with permission from CRISIS magazine." (SouthernOregonNews.com) | Part 2 | Part 3

"Analysis: India stands to gain from Kyoto" - "CALCUTTA, India, April 18 -- India could become one of the biggest beneficiaries of the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change in coming years due to the emergence of alternative energy projects either underway or in the planning stages.

India is a signatory to the Kyoto Protocol to reduce greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, but as a developing nation technically it is not required to contribute to the effort, as are the industrialized nations.

Where India stands to gain from the agreement is by exploiting its carbon-trading mechanism, under which carbon has become a commodity. Nations can sell the rights to emit carbon dioxide if they can achieve reductions via certified clean development mechanisms, or CDMs, such as using biomass to power electricity generation, bagasse electricity cogeneration from sugar cane processing, or converting municipal solid waste to energy." (UPI)

"EU seizes on report to press US on climate change" - "European officials made another attempt to put the US under pressure on climate change on Monday, as a delegation from the European Union met senior officials in Washington to discuss co-operation on environmental issues. The meeting came as a report from the US Energy Department found that action to curb greenhouse gas emissions would have only a very small effect on the US economy." (Financial Times)

"Japan researchers look to seaweed in fight against global warming" - "A group of private and academic research institutes is studying the viability of tackling the gargantuan project of building a seaweed plantation in the Pacific Ocean to absorb carbon dioxide and produce biofuel. The group, which includes Mitsubishi Research Institute, Tokyo University and Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology, is studying the viability of the plantation, which they hope could be vital in the fight against global warming." (Yomiuri Shimbun)

"Rich countries to ignore green protests and back big dams" - "Construction of large dams in developing countries would be subsidised under European commission proposals, despite protests from environmental groups and institutions such as the World Bank. The large-dam subsidy is part of a package of proposals to give better treatment to renewable energy projects, including solar, wind, tidal, wave and small hydro projects provided to developing countries. It will be presented at a meeting in Paris today of the export credit agencies of the world's 29 richest countries." (The Guardian)

"UK: Putting energy into the election" - "As I wrote in my 'Comment' published in The Times on Tuesday (April 12), one of the biggest elephants in UK Election Room 2005 is unquestionably the unwillingness of all the parties to be honest with the public about Britain's looming energy crisis." (EnviroSpin Watch)

"UK: Parties will not lead on nuclear" - "None of the UK's three main parties will take the lead in the debate on building new nuclear power stations. Many energy experts say the issue must be raised soon if Britain is to start construction of new plants to meet its power production and climate targets. But the parties do not believe the next government will have a responsibility to promote the nuclear argument. Labour and the Tories say that it is down to industry to make a case - which the Lib Dems think is unwinnable." (BBC)

"UK: Wind farm public inquiry begins" - "A public inquiry into proposals to site one of the country's largest wind farms in Cumbria begins on Tuesday. Renewable Development Company and West Coast Energy want to erect 27 turbines at Whinash in the Lake District, each almost 400ft high." (UK)

"Britain may pay price for botched GM debate, says Reith lecturer" - "Britain may have "thrown the baby out with the bath water" because of its poor handling of the debate about GM crops, according to Lord Broers, the BBC Reith lecturer. Lord Broers, who will discuss risk and responsibility when he gives his final lecture next month, spoke out yesterday as experts warned that the country is falling far behind in plant science. This, they say, is a direct result of public hostility to GM food. The agrobiotech industry is now pulling out of Britain." (London Daily Telegraph)

"Denied tenure, critic of research deal plans legal action against University of California" - "A former professor at the University of California at Berkeley who contends that he was denied tenure because of his persistent criticism of the university's research deal with a biotechnology company says he will announce today that he is taking legal action against the university." (Chronicle of Higher Education)

"A dark side of the golden harvest?" - "As weekend gardeners gear up for the planting season, they're choosing between Brandywine and Green Zebra tomatoes, dahlias and zinnias. And some home gardeners will use a popular and potent herbicide made by Monsanto Co., the Missouri chemical giant, to rid their tomato patches and flower beds of weeds. But Monsanto's weed killer, Roundup, is also used by many commercial farmers and is at the heart of a controversy over the safety of so-called "Frankenfoods" - genetically altered grains and produce." (Newsday)

April 18, 2005

"'Best Corporate Citizen' Is a Dubious Distinction" - "Engine manufacturer Cummins Incorporated is Business Ethics magazine's "best corporate citizen" for 2005. At first glance, it's tempting to ask, What is Cummins doing that's so right?" (Steven Milloy, New York Sun)

"The unregulated offensive" - "Throughout the 90's, a small but energetic set of lower-court judges, sympathetic to libertarian arguments, tried to strike down aspects of the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act and other laws, challenging powers of the federal government that had come to be widely accepted during the second half of the 20th century." (New York Times)

Defending property rights and the constitution... whatever next?

"EU pollution deaths cost billions" - "The European Union could save up to 161 billion euros a year by reducing deaths caused by air pollution, the World Health Organization has said. Air pollution reduces the life of the average European by 8.6 months. The toxic particles in pollution increase deaths from cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, and the price of treating these ailments is costly. However, EU plans to cut pollution by 2010 should on average save 2.3 months of life for each European, WHO says." (BBC)

Is that a fact? Guess what? The EU could save 'onehellofalot' more life years than the amount suggested above without spending anything - it's just that they are unwilling to save millions of African lives by dropping absurd demands regarding DDT. Instead, however, they will likely cost business and consumers trillions in their effort to 'save' the above imaginary 'life-months.'

"Agency Aids Uganda" - "The Global Fund has allocated $66million to Uganda to improve malaria treatment. This is good news, however it would be better if the global funders and donors provided support and funding to prevent malaria cases from occuring in the first place. The Ugandan government has wanted to spray DDT for several years now but has been stopped from doing so by donors and by threats from the EU that it would ban all agricultural exports." (AFM)

"Ace of space" - "Mankind has only a 50-50 chance of surviving the 21st century, says the Royal Society's next president. It's a dire prospect, but one the astronomer has the right credentials to deal with" (The Observer)

"Hollywood Enviros Strike Back" - "A coterie of A-list stars are spearheading planet-positive media projects just in time for the big green holiday -- Earth Day." (Grist Magazine)

"Wanted: CEOs with courage and true ethics" - "The litany of alleged offenses follows a script: fragile ecosystems, environmental devastation, irresponsible investment, huge profits, human rights violations, indigenous people imperiled. So do the demands: transparency, accountability, ethics, social responsibility.

The tactics are equally familiar. Launch website, issue denunciations. Enlist grade school teachers whose students can write letters to the CEO. Harass the CEO at home. Stage protests at corporate offices. Claim to be stakeholders who must be given a role in all decisions, so that company policies henceforth reflect activist demands.

Confrontational? Disingenuous? Of course. Effective? Absolutely." (Niger Innis and Paul Driessen, ESR)

The Week That Was April 16, 2005 (SEPP)

"Safety in danger at WTO" - "Crucial health and environmental safeguards, established over many years, could be scrapped at world trade negotiations next week. More than 70 countries are trying to use World Trade Organisation talks to dismantle legislation that encourages, among other things, fuel efficiency in cars and home appliances. Countries including the US, Japan, Korea and Bulgaria have challenged the rules as part of the current WTO round." (The Observer)

"Rowan Williams: A planet on the brink" - "The Archbishop of Canterbury warns that the price of our continued failure to protect the earth will be violence and social collapse." (London Independent)

"PORTUGAL: Experts Predict Worst Drought in 300 Years" - "LISBON, Apr 15 - April showers bring May flowers, according to the old proverb. But this year in Portugal, April showers are desperately needed to prevent what could develop into the country's worst drought in 300 years. Portugal is in the grip of a drought so severe that if the current lack of rain continues, the country will be facing a catastrophic phenomenon repeated every 300 years in its northern region and every 135 years in the south. And even if precipitation returns to normal levels between April and September, the country will still be plagued by a less severe drought, a pattern that tends to run on a 40-year cycle." (IPS)

"SOUTHERN AFRICA: Recurrent dry spells "cause for concern" - "JOHANNESBURG, 15 April - The rising temperatures and recurrent dry spells in Southern Africa points to the impact of climate change and are "cause for concern", a senior scientist told IRIN." (IRIN)

"Growing changes in gardening due to warmer conditions" - "Gardening isn't like it used to be. Changes are mostly subtle, but thanks to global warming, blooming and leafing dates are getting earlier and the range of some plants and trees is changing. In most places in the Northern Hemisphere, the average time for the first blooming and budding starts seven days earlier, said Mark D. Schwartz, a geography professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. "However, you're still getting a tremendous amount of variation from one year to the next," Schwartz said. "It's a bit premature to say you can rely on being able to put seeds in earlier." (Scripps Howard News Service)

"Sea-level records reveal surprising choppiness" - "A new reconstruction of past changes shows that the level of the oceans varied more dramatically during between ice ages than was previously thought, implying that the global climate during these intervals was not as stable as most scientists think." (News @ Nature)

"Yukon forecast for next 100 years: warmer" - "WHITEHORSE – Temperatures were warmer than normal over the winter in the Yukon. Climatologists said the trend could continue for the next century, reinforcing the territory's reputation as an international focus for climate change." (CBC News)

"Soot Reduces Sunshine Over China, Study Finds" - "WASHINGTON - It is not as sunny as it used to be over China and pollution is probably to blame, Chinese researchers reported on Friday. They found a significant decrease in daily surface solar radiation and less sunshine per month compared with 1961 -- especially over the eastern part of the country where most people live and most factories are located." (Reuters)

Here's a good one: "Economy would not be hurt by emission limits, study says" - "WASHINGTON - Mandatory limits on all U.S. emissions of carbon dioxide and other "greenhouse" gases would not significantly affect average economic growth rates across the country through 2025, the government says. That finding by the Energy Information Administration, an independent arm of the Energy Department, runs counter to President Bush's repeated pronouncements that limits on carbon dioxide and other gases would seriously harm the U.S. economy." (Associated Press)

Rationing energy would not harm the economy? Right...

"World blackouts may grow as investment stalls" - "LONDON - Blackouts could get more frequent as utilities fail to attract investment needed to secure future power supplies, according to a global survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers." (Reuters)

"Biotech food for health" - "It's the 10th anniversary of the commercialization of biotech crops. More are planted, grown and eaten each year. Yet somehow despite the warnings of environmentalist and organic groups, we have managed to survive -- and thrive. Indeed, evidence keeps building that gene-spliced food can be considerably healthier than so-called health food." (Michael Fumento, The Washington Times)

"Anheuser-Busch drops threat of boycott" - "WASHINGTON - Anheuser-Busch Cos. has canceled its threat to boycott Missouri's rice crop after a biotechnology firm agreed to grow its genetically engineered rice farther away from commercial rice farms in the state." (Daily Bulletin)

"USA sent banned corn to Europe for four years" - "All imports of United States corn have been stopped at British ports following the discovery that the US has been illegally exporting a banned GM maize to Europe for the past four years." (London Independent)

"US says EU safeguard measure on US corn is 'over-reaction'" - "BRUSSELS - The US considers that a decision by the European Commission to require US exporters to screen corn products used in animal feed for an unauthorised strain of genetically modified corn is an 'over-reaction', a spokesman for the US mission to the EU said. The commission today adopted a safety measure that requires exports of corn gluten feed and brewers grain from the US to be accompanied by certification that they do not contain an unauthorised strain of corn known as Bt10." (AFX)

"China's Problem With 'Anti-Pest' Rice" - "WUHAN, China, April 14 - The farmer reaches down into a sack he keeps stored on the second floor of his house in a small farming village south of here and pulls up a fistful of rice that he says has no equal. "This is really remarkable rice," he says, forcing it into the hands of his guests. "All you do is plant it and it grows. You don't need to use all those chemicals any more." The farmer and other crop growers in this area call this unique variety "anti-pest rice" because it acts as its own insect repellent in the rice paddies. But some Chinese growers and foreign specialists say they suspect much of this region's rice has been genetically modified." (New York Times)

April 15, 2005

"Vaccine Disease Protections Outweigh Side Effects" - "It’s quite unusual for me to write follow-up columns, but I had such an overwhelming response to my recent column regarding the disputed link between childhood vaccines and autism that I felt this was one of those rare occasions that merits immediate further comment." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"Misunderstanding 'Market Failure'" - "A noble effort is underway to improve research and development into diseases that kill the poorest people in the poorest countries by offering guaranteed sales to pharmaceutical research companies that make breakthroughs. Healthcare spending is pitifully low in many developing countries, so efforts by the industrialized world to make up for lack of demand by creating markets for drugs and vaccines are to be praised. And last week the Center for Global Development (CGD), an influential non-governmental organization, launched its "making markets" initiative in Washington DC.

But it's important to keep in mind that the lack of medicines for poor countries is not a result of market failure, but of disastrous economic policy choices made by leaders in those poor countries themselves. Development professionals are getting themselves embroiled in pseudo-economics to try to induce guilt among donors. This is not necessary: the case is plain enough at first glance and, importantly and rarely, a workable solution is at hand." (Roger Bate, TCS)

"Debate over a leaching chemical heats up" - "Is it possible that a chemical's effect is in the eye of the beholder? That's the implication of a paper published this week in a prominent environmental health journal. It concerns a debate over the safety of low doses of a chemical used to make hard, clear plastics such as those found in baby bottles, food-storage containers and the lining of soda cans. When the plastic industry examines the health impact of a ubiquitous chemical called bisphenol A, everything's fine. If the government or a university funds the study, there are big problems." (Elizabeth Weise, USA TODAY)

Not quite right, Ms. Weise. I would probably have worded it along the lines: "When scientists assess bisphenol A, everything's fine. When Freddy vom Saal is added to the mix, ridiculous scare headlines are generated."

"Proposal would ban trio of toxins" - "A proposed law would make Washington the first state in the nation to ban a trio of long-lived industrial chemicals commonly added to televisions, computers and other electronics." (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

"Sierra gravel roads may bite the dust" - "Many dusty byways of California's countryside could be headed for the past with mounting evidence that common road gravel made of the state rock can create invisible clouds of cancer-causing asbestos." (Oakland Tribune)

"Bioaccumulation assessments point to pressing data gaps" - "Legislation in some countries and the fear of enforcement in others are forcing industry to evaluate the environmental effects of thousands of commercial chemicals already on the market. The sudden need for detailed information, especially on bioaccumulation, has sent scientists scrambling to fill large data gaps." (Environmental Science & Technology)

"MIT students pull prank on conference: Computer-generated gibberish submitted, accepted" - "CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts -- In a victory for pranksters at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a bunch of computer-generated gibberish masquerading as an academic paper has been accepted at a scientific conference." (Reuters)

Not sure why people seem surprised by this - it's been going on in the modelling realm of climate science for decades.

"Climate change: Water cycle shifts gear" - "Various studies indicate that the hydrological cycle is speeding up at high northern latitudes. The resulting increase in freshwater flow into the Arctic Ocean is predicted to have long-range effects." (Nature)

"Climate science: The dustiest place on Earth" - "Dust clouds can cool the Earth and halt hurricanes. But the world's biggest dust source was until recently a war zone. Researchers are beginning to work in the area." (Nature)

"Evidence of short-term changes in sea level found in coral record" - "Study using new method of dating corals reveals that sea level is more variable over shorter periods of time than previously thought, according to a study published by Science." (The Earth Institute at Columbia University)

"Climate change wreaking havoc with seasons" - "Climate change is playing havoc with the timing of the seasons and could drastically alter the landscape, according to one of the most comprehensive studies of its kind." (London Independent)

"Arctic lakes track warming since 1850" - "For the first time, scientists have documented pervasive reorganizations of aquatic food webs in response to climate warming. A team of 26 researchers found that the biological communities in 46 Arctic lakes began changing as early as 1850 in concert with declining ice cover and longer growing seasons." (Environmental Science & Technology)

"Kyoto madness" - "There's nothing new in the Liberal Kyoto Plan released yesterday, but it's still a startling eye-opener. We all knew there would be a $1-billion Climate Fund and a Partnership Fund and a $200-million Wind Power Production Incentive and a slew of other programs, initiatives and regulations. What we couldn't appreciate, until it was all assembled yesterday in a single monster document, is the mind-blowing madness behind Kyoto. Only by looking at the whole plan, half-baked though it is, does this mass exercise in collective insanity become clear.

What other words can be used to describe this work? We have bureaucrats and politicians who plan to control the weather for the next 100 years, crazy enough in itself. The weather will be held in check by agencies that count and limit the carbon molecules in the atmosphere. And the carbon molecules will be manipulated by controlling all economic activity in the country, creating a "carbon economy" that will replace the money economy.

It's the kind of freaky scientific world view alchemists might have concocted back in the 14th century, if they hadn't been so busy looking for a Philosopher's Stone that would turn everything into gold. The alchemists gave up when they were hit in the face with the scientific method, which suggested that maybe they should base their conclusions on science and observation rather than magic and quackery. The New Alchemists aim to hold the weather constant by juggling carbon emissions." (Terence Corcoran, Financial Post)

"Questions abound as feds unveil $10-billion Kyoto plan" - "The federal government's long-awaited Kyoto plan will see $10 billion spent to reduce greenhouse gases over the next seven years, relying heavily on provincial support to reach its targets." (CanWest News Service)

"Opposition tears into Liberals' Kyoto plan - Anti-global-warming program could die with June election, Industry Minister says" - "OTTAWA -- The Liberal government's long-awaited $10-billion Kyoto climate-change plan was met with a barrage of criticism yesterday from opposition parties and environmental groups for being too vague and too late." (Globe and Mail)

"Russia's gas pipeline gets global-warming OK" - "Worries that Russia's natural gas pipelines may be haemorrhaging methane, thus worsening the problem of global warming, have been put to rest by a study that says the system's leakage is far smaller than thought." (Agence France-Presse)

"Burning sludge as a fuel could help cut pollution" - "A plan to fuel a kiln at a Carroll County cement factory with Baltimore sewage sludge would be the nation's first use of so-called "biosolids" as an energy source - a technology that experts say holds great promise." (Baltimore Sun)

"Bioenergy, Key to the Fight Against Hunger" - "ROME, April 14 -- Agriculture and forestry could become leading sources of bioenergy, a key element in achieving two of the UN Millennium Development Goals: eradicating extreme poverty and hunger and ensuring environmental sustainability, according to FAO. In a paper presented to the nineteenth session of its Committee on Agriculture meeting here (13-16 April), FAO recalls that around two billion people, mostly living in rural areas of developing countries, are still without electricity or other modern energy services." (PRNewswire)

"'Amaizing' setback for GM imports" - "Environmental groups scored a resounding victory when European governments agreed to consider a ban on maize-based animal feeds from the United States." (Inter Press Service)

"Non-GM, IP Production Knowledge Lacking Among U.S. Food Producers" - "BRIDGEWATER, N.J., April 14 -- About half of U.S. food producers that specify non-genetically modified ingredients in their products could not accurately describe the specialized production techniques or estimate the high costs involved in producing non-GM, Identity-Preserved corn, according to a recent survey of U.S. food processors.

Conducted by the market research firm Penn and Associates in the fall of 2004, the survey revealed that nearly half (44 percent) of the respondents think that there are no additional labor costs associated with producing non-GM/IP corn; only one-third indicated they would pay more for non-GM/IP corn; and 60 percent would switch to GM corn if the cost was less than non-GM-IP." (PRNewswire)

"France Should Test GMOs, But Pause Needed - Report" - "PARIS - France should continue to test genetically modified GMO crops carefully, but with a pause on authorising new tests this year to assess progress so far, a parliamentary report said on Thursday." (Reuters)

"EU's GMO Feed Measures Not Likely Until Next Week" - "BRUSSELS - The European Union is likely to decide next week to ban imports of genetically modified (GMO) animal feed unless there is proof the feed is free of an illegal strain, a spokesman for the EU executive said on Thursday." (Reuters)

April 14, 2005

"The Science Haters Target Johnson" - "Stephen L. Johnson, President Bush's nominee as EPA Administrator, is the first career scientist considered for this key position. All agree that the EPA could do with a good dose of science -- or do they?" (Gilbert Ross, TCS)

"MoD attacked over Gulf war syndrome" - "Lord Lloyd, whose independent inquiry concluded that there was such a thing as Gulf war syndrome, accused the Ministry of Defence yesterday of being "worse than negative" in response to his report." (London Guardian)

"Being too clean could be hazardous to your health and the environment" - "Researchers at Virginia Tech have discovered that the use of antimicrobial soaps and other products may unnecessarily be directly exposing consumers to significant quantities of chloroform." (Virginia Tech)

"EU Chemical Rules to Hike Metal Cost, UK Group Says" - "LONDON - Proposed EU rules governing the use of chemicals in industry will add unnecessarily to the cost of metals products, a British industry group said on Wednesday." (Reuters)

Here's a good one: "CBI accused of scaremongering" - "The CBI employers' body came under attack from MPs yesterday for "scaremongering" on environmental regulation. The Commons environmental audit committee found "considerable evidence that industry and trade organisations regularly exaggerate the likely costs of implementing environmental regulations." (Financial Times)

Earth to enviro-bureaucrats: a single penny spent on stupid/pointless regulation makes it way too expensive and economic suicide pacts a la Kyoto, based purely on ridiculous scaremongering, have obviously not been resisted vigorously enough.

"At least part of climate change is man-made - Bonn study shows: Since 1880 climate gases have caused just under half of global warming" - "In the last 120 years the average global temperature has risen by 0.7 degrees. Over the same period the carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere increased from 0.28 to 0.37 per cent. Carbon dioxide is one of the so-called 'greenhouse gases'; methane, which is produced as part of the process of cattle-rearing, for example, is also a greenhouse gas. Its concentration in the atmosphere has risen since 1750 two and a half times. Climatologists regard it as likely that man-made greenhouse gases have contributed to global warming. However, other factors are also 'in the dock': solar activity, for example, fluctuates in an 11-year rhythm, and volcanic eruptions can also have a profound effect on the climate. Man-made sulphurous particulate matter can even reduce the temperature-raising effect of greenhouse gases." (University of Bonn)

Aha! Proof that climate models reproduce reality? Um... no. While this is probably an honest modelling attempt it suffers from the same basic flaw as all GCCMs do - they are programmed to produce warming in response to increases in greenhouse gases, no matter what. Consequently, for the period when Earth's temperature has measurably risen (i.e., post LIA) and atmospheric GHGs, notably CO2 and CH4, have also risen post Industrial Revolution, models can be tweaked to have similar start- and end-points as Earth's recent period of rising mean temperature. Wake us when models can reproduce the Medieval Climate Optimum, the Little Ice Age and the rising and falling temperatures of the 20th Century - then we might be getting somewhere. Sadly, at present, our most sophisticated models are really, really dumb when compared with the complexity of the planet's climate system. Worse, scientists who should really know better seem to be confusing computer games with actual data, essentially the same as doing a literature search and declaring a population census of fairies at the bottom of the garden on the basis that they've been written about. Surely it is possible to generate a wealth of spreadsheets, tables and really pretty graphics representing said fairy population but empirical data just doesn't support the census any more than atmospheric measures do where alleged catastrophic enhanced greenhouse warming is concerned.

"The Oracle at EI: Climate change computer models aren’t much better than ancient oracles" - "In ancient times, priestesses at the Oracle at Delphi often answered important political questions with enigmatic predictions derived from dreams, signs, casting lots or reading animal entrails. Today, in the realm of climate change, that function is served by scientific priests and priestesses who offer forecasts of dubious value, derived from computer models.

Investing in the stock market, like planning next summer’s vacation, is a dicey proposition. But if someone offered to eliminate the uncertainty – by using computer models to pick surefire investments and perfect weather windows at idyllic resorts – few would jump at the chance.

Most people know complex markets and weather defy such predictions. Computers certainly help understand and analyze these systems; they can even forecast trends, if they’ve been tested against actual data. However, even predicting tomorrow’s IBM closing price or hurricane path is iffy, and attempts to do so months or years in advance are meaningless.

Thus the rapt attention that certain academics, journalists and policymakers give to climate models is truly astounding." (Paul Driessen, MichNews.com)

"Climate Science: In Need of Due Diligence" - "At their Summit of 22 and 23 March, European leaders decided to cancel the initial target to reduce CO2 emissions in 2050 by 60% - 80%. But they have upheld the target of a 15%- 30% reduction in 2020. Should this decision be considered as the beginning of 'salami tactics' (one thin slice at a time) to get rid of Kyoto in view of the sobering scientific critique which has been leveled against the man-made global warming hypothesis? Or have the European leaders got second thoughts because of the staggering costs of Kyoto? Probably the latter." (Hans Labohm, TCS)

"Melting Iceland" (.pdf) - "Global warming is good. Or at least pretty good. If you live in Iceland, and Arctic warming will open shipping lanes, expand fisheries and, almost magically, bring tuna to the south shores, then you should be happy about global warming. This is the news that Icelandic Ambassador Gunnar Pálsson, Director of the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs, has for the world. And Pálsson isn’t just an average diplomat. As the Chairman of the Senior Arctic Council Committee, Pálsson played a key role in putting together one of the most important documents on climate change of the last decade. In other words, if anyone should know about Arctic warming, Gunnar Pálsson should. And in an hour-long interview with me, and in at least one speech given in Washington DC, Pálsson wants us to look at the positive side." (Bart Cameron, Iceland Nature Conservation Association)

"Climate Experts Speak Out in New Video - Science underlying Kyoto Protocol seriously flawed" - "OTTAWA, April 13 - Today, the University of Calgary, in cooperation with the Friends of Science Society, released a video entitled: "Climate Catastrophe Cancelled: What you're not being told about the science of climate change" At a news conference held in Ottawa, some of North America's foremost climate experts provided evidence demonstrating that the science underlying the Kyoto Protocol is seriously flawed; a problem that continues to be ignored by the Canadian government. Scientists called on the Canadian government to delay implementation of the Kyoto Protocol until a thorough, public review of the current state of climate science has been conducted by climate experts. Such an analysis has never been organized in Canada despite repeated requests from independent, non-governmental climate scientists." (CNW Telbec)

"Canada may need to buy Kyoto credits, Emerson concedes" - "Canada probably will have to spend money overseas to meet its own commitments under the Kyoto Protocol on climate change because incentives to Canadian enterprises may not get the job done, Industry Minister David Emerson says." (Toronto Globe and Mail)

"Chamber flags cost of climate change plan and competitiveness concerns" - "OTTAWA, April 13 - Canada's climate change plan released today by the federal government has more than doubled in cost since Budget 2005, and the costs will continue to grow, and in addition, the plan will create significant competitive challenges for business in Canada, stated the Canadian Chamber of Commerce." (CNW Telbec)

"Britain launches legal challenge over CO2 limits" - "LONDON - Britain has launched a legal challenge against a European Commission ruling on carbon dioxide limits on UK industry, a government spokesman said on Wednesday." (Reuters)

"UK: Surge in four-wheel drive sales threatens air pollution targets" - "They are adored by off-road rally drivers and Chelsea mums alike. But the popularity of four-wheel drive "sports utility vehicles" is hampering efforts to cut air pollution on Britain's roads. Emissions of carbon dioxide from new cars fell significantly for six successive years up to 2003. But the improvement ground to a near-standstill last year, in a slowdown which could jeopardise Britain's chances of meeting Europe-wide exhaust targets." (The Guardian)

"EU assembly says yes to green household appliances" - "STRASBOURG, France, April 13 - The European Parliament on Wednesday endorsed rules to make household appliances more energy efficient, as part of its fight against global warming. Under a voluntary agreement with industry, computers, stereo systems, washing machines, lights, air conditioning and boilers will all have to be designed with a focus on conserving energy." (Reuters)

"Scaremongers screaming ‘BOO!’ even louder after column challenges their ‘facts’" - " I've been getting lots of e-mail about my column on the environmental crisis of the moment, global warming.

"John, we already have Geraldo to make an ass of himself — that job is already taken. You (and your ilk) are adding to global warming by spewing this hot air from your pucker brush." Then came: "Boy when you sell out, you really sell out don't you ... What a sh-t bag you've turned into." And another writes: "All of the cow flatulence in the world can't equal the effect of the odiferous steam rising from the pile of bull—— that you lay down." Thank you, Mr. Thompson." (John Stossel, JewishWorldReview.com)

"'Termite guts can save the planet,' says Nobel laureate" - "The way termite guts process food could teach scientists how to produce pollution-free energy and help solve the world's imminent energy crisis. Speaking at the Institute of Physics conference Physics 2005 in Warwick today, Nobel laureate Steven Chu urged scientists to turn their attention to finding an environmentally friendly form of fuel. In an impassioned plea to some of the world's brightest minds, he explained how he's leading by example, and encouraged others to join the effort which "may already be too late." (Institute of Physics)

Eye of the beholder: "The beauty of wind farms" - "OFF the coast of British Columbia in Canada is an island called Quadra, where I have a cabin that is as close to my heart as you can imagine. From my porch on a good day you can see clear across the waters of Georgia Strait to the snowy peaks of the rugged Coast Mountains. It is one of the most beautiful views I have seen. And I would gladly share it with a wind farm." (David Suzuki, New Scientist)

"The Price of Wealth" - "In the remote and barren highlands of eastern Iceland, the herds of reindeer and flocks of pink-footed geese suddenly have some company. Hundreds of workmen have moved into the unspoiled valleys northeast of the Vatnajökull icecap, where glacial rivers flow through magnificent canyons in a starkly beautiful volcanic landscape. The men are working on the Kárahnjúkar Hydroelectric Project: a vast network of dams, reservoirs, tunnels, power stations and high-tension lines to support a new aluminum-smelting plant for the U.S. multinational Alcoa on a fjord some 70 km to the east. At a total projected cost of $2.2 billion for the smelter and its hydropower system, it's the biggest construction project in Iceland's history — and it's taking shape in one of Europe's last remaining large wilderness areas. Little wonder that it has sparked a furious debate over whether economic growth can co-exist with environmental care in this place that few people ever visit." (Time Europe)

"State drops organic certification program" - "ST. LOUIS - The Missouri Department of Agriculture's elimination of its organic certification program is "kicking organic farmers in the teeth," an advocate of the program said. The program, begun in August 2003, was dropped as part of a $1.9 million reduction in the agency's budget for fiscal 2005-06." (Associated Press)

"Lupin Flour Anaphylaxis" - "Recently The Lancet posted a correspondence titled, "Lupin flour anaphylaxis (http://www.thelancet.com/journal/vol365/iss9467/abs/llan.365.9467.review_and_opinion.32938.1)." It was followed the next day with a BBC posting titled, "Lupin flour 'poses allergy risk'" (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/4419709.stm). Since then, there has been a deathly media silence." (Thomas R. DeGregori, ACSH)

"Greenpeace warns of GM rice crops in China" - "The environmental group Greenpeace issued a warning in Beijing Wednesday about untested genetically modified rice being grown in China." (Washington Times)

"Unlicensed GM rice may be in UK food chain" - "Unlicensed GM rice sold illegally on the internet to Chinese farmers has been sold for human consumption and may have been imported undetected into the UK, even though it could cause allergic reactions. The Chinese authorities are investigating after 11 samples of rice in Hubei province were found to contain BT rice, a transgenic strain that has not been approved for commercial growing and should not be in human food." (The Guardian)

"Greenpeace report on China's GM rice questioned" - "Agricultural experts and Chinese authorities denied Greenpeace accusations of "out of control" genetically modified (GM) rice and cast doubt on its testing procedures." (People's Daily)

"GM rice case to be reviewed" - "BEIJING, April 14 -- Following Greenpeace's allegation of its discovery of genetically modified (GM) rice on the Chinese market, the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) said it would "judge and deal with" the matter in a domestic investigation." (Xinhuanet)

"India delays licenses for Monsanto seeds" - "BANGALORE, India - The Indian government on Wednesday deferred a decision on renewing marketing licenses for three Monsanto seeds and fresh approval for nine others, jeopardizing sales of the transgenic seeds for the sowing season beginning June, a Monsanto official said.

The Genetic Engineering Approval Committee, a federal regulator, met Wednesday to discuss applications from Indian partners of the U.S. agribusiness Monsanto Co., seeking renewal of licenses for three existing varieties of seeds and new approval for 11 more.

A Monsanto official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the committee only approved two varieties of genetically modified cotton seeds, but deferred a decision on others." (Associated Press)

April 13, 2005

"Time for the Environment's Annual Checkup" - "AEI's annual Earth Day checkup will celebrate the 10th edition of the PRI/AEI Index of Leading Environmental Indicators and feature analysis of recent trends and developments in the environment by AEI's entire "green team" of scholars and fellows who work in the field. The Index examines government data on numerous environmental conditions in the United States, most of which show consistent improvement. This year's edition devotes special attention to the growing interest in corporate environmental reporting, and will also offer comparisons of U.S. environmental trends with trends in European Union nations.

Mr. Hayward, the principal author of the Index, will be joined by AEI resident fellow, Karlyn H. Bowman, who will present findings from her ongoing work on public opinion on the environment; Roger Bate, an expert of environmental issues in the developing world; Samuel Thernstrom, who writes for AEI on climate change and other issues; and AEI's Ted Gayer, an expert on environmental policy and government regulation of health and safety risks." (AEI Events)

"U.N. meeting tackles 'silent humanitarian crisis' – dirty water, poor sanitation and slums" - "UNITED NATIONS – A high-level U.N. meeting is trying to tackle what a senior U.N. official called the world's "silent humanitarian crisis" – dirty water, poor sanitation and slums.

Jose Antonio Ocampo, undersecretary-general for economic and social affairs, told the 53-member Commission on Sustainable Development at the opening of a two-week meeting on Monday that providing safe drinking water and basic sanitation to the world's slum dwellers is an achievable goal.

"These three issues encapsulate the silent humanitarian crisis in the world today, where roughly 4,000 children die each day of diarrheal diseases caused by poor sanitation and contaminated drinking water, and where the living conditions in crowded slums are exacerbating public health issues such as communicable diseases," he said." (Associated Press)

"Revised asteroid scale aids understanding of impact risk" - "Astronomers led by an MIT professor have revised the scale used to assess the threat of asteroids and comets colliding with Earth to better communicate those risks with the public." (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

"Chemical present in clear plastics can impair learning and cause disease" - "Low doses of the environmental contaminant bisphenol–A (BPA), widely used to make many plastics found in food storage containers, including feeding bottles for infants, can impair brain function, leading to learning disabilities and age–related neurodegenerative diseases, according to Yale researchers and colleagues." (Yale University)

Woeful: "End of the Wild" - "The extinction crisis is over. We lost." (Stephen M. Meyer, Boston Review)

II: "Currents could disrupt ocean food chain" - "If increased precipitation and sea surface heating from global warming disrupts the Atlantic Conveyer current – as some scientists predict – the effect on the ocean food chain in the Atlantic and other oceans could be severe, according to a new study just published in Nature. In a worst case scenario, global productivity of phytoplankton could decrease by as much as 20 percent and in some areas, such as the North Atlantic, the loss could hit 50 percent." (Oregon State University)

"States take clean-air measures into their own hands" - "Although the Bush administration has backed off carbon dioxide regulations, others are pushing the issue." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"Scientists urged to spread word on global warming" - "Global warming is real, dangerous and ignored at great risk to the planet, a leading environmentalist told an audience of about 250 at last week's inaugural MIT Environmental Fellows Invitational Lecture. Professor James Gustave Speth, Dean of Yale University's School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, urged the scientific community to make its case to the public, which remains unconvinced of the crisis despite decades of first-rate science and policy analysis, he said." (PhysOrg)

Pshaw! This won't do, won't do at all! "Mystery Climate Mechanism May Counteract Global Warming" - "A new study by two physicists at the University of Rochester suggests there is a mechanism at work in the Earth’s atmosphere that may blunt the influence of global warming, and that this mechanism is not accounted for in the computer models scientists currently use to predict the future of the world’s temperature. The researchers, David H. Douglass and Robert S. Knox, professors of physics, plotted data from satellite measurements of the Earth’s atmosphere in the months and years following the volcanic eruption of Mount Pinatubo in 1991. The results, published in an upcoming issue of Geophysical Research Letters (and now online), show that global temperatures dropped more and rebounded to normal significantly faster than conventional climate models could have predicted." (PhysOrg)

Fancy anyone still using, like, actual measurements? Oh dear, can't be even close, can it, disagreeing with models like that. Editors will have to resign for a botch like this and reviewers, well...

"Media Advisory - Video Launch/News Conference - "Climate Catastrophe Cancelled: What you're not being told about the science of climate change" - "OTTAWA, April 11 - On Wednesday, April 13th at 9:30 a.m., the University of Calgary in cooperation with the Friends of Science Society and a group of North America's foremost climate science experts will host a news conference to launch the video - "Climate Catastrophe Cancelled: What you're not being told about the science of climate change". (CNW Telbec)

"Media Advisory - Announcement of the Government of Canada's new climate change plan" - "VANCOUVER, April 12 - Media representatives are advised that the Honourable Stéphane Dion, Minister of the Environment, the Honourable R. John Efford, Minister of Natural Resources, and the Honourable David L. Emerson, Minister of Industry, will announce the Government of Canada's first phase of Project Green: Moving Forward on Climate Change: A Plan for Honouring our Kyoto Commitment on Wednesday, April 13, 2005." (CNW)

"Papers available from the Australian APEC Study Centre Conference, April 4 'Managing Climate Change: Practicalities and Realities in a post-Kyoto future'" (ClimateChangeIssues.com)

"India and Kyoto" - "Among environmentalism's most fundamental flaws are the beliefs that commerce is the enemy of conservation and that energy conservation will automatically lead to a cleaner environment. The Kyoto Protocol is the epitome of this flawed thinking. It seeks to promote energy efficiency and alternatives to fossil fuels by insisting on reductions in the emission of greenhouse gases in the industrialized world. The hope is that this will help stabilize climate." (Barun Mitra, TCS)

"Poland's Day After the Day After Tomorrow" - "WARSAW -- The European Union works very hard at exporting its impotence. Its bureaucrats have created the greatest central plan in human history: the post-Kyoto strategy. They want to decrease carbon-dioxide emissions by 80 percent by the year 2050." (Tomasz Teluk, TCS)

"Climate change: Commission starts legal action against three Member States for not reporting emissions" - "The European Commission has decided to start infringement proceedings against three Member States for failing to provide data on their emissions of greenhouse gases in 2003. Without this data the Commission cannot complete its report covering the European Union’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2003 and meet its obligation to publish and submit these to the secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in time. The Commission has sent a first written warning to Luxembourg, Malta and Poland for failing to report their 2003 emissions. The deadline for doing so was 15 January this year. This case marks the Commission’s first infringement action over incorrect application of EU environmental law by Member States that joined the EU last year." (Press Release)

"Global warming's toll on Northwest forests debated" - "SPOKANE — Some experts say global warming is changing wooded regions across the nation, and Northwest timber-industry workers are among those following the phenomenon amid concern it could eventually affect their livelihoods. Glacier National Park is expected to be devoid of its namesake ice formations by 2040, according to U.S. Geological Survey scientists. What's more, the Earth's Northern Hemisphere has been growing greener in the past two decades as temperatures rise, according to NASA satellite images." (Associated Press)

"Analysis: Greenhouse-gas dispute continues" - "Washington, DC, Apr. 12 -- The dispute between environmental groups and the Bush administration over policies to deal with global warming continues and, experts said, is likely to do so without quick resolution." (UPI)

"EU Denies British Bid to Raise CO2 Emissions Limit" - "BRUSSELS - The European Commission on Tuesday denied Britain's request to increase the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) its companies may emit in the period 2005-2007." (Reuters)

From CO2 Science Magazine this week:

"Will Farming Destroy Wild Nature?" - "Is there enough room on the planet for humanity and nature to peacefully coexist?  Will things get tougher in the future?  How does energy policy impact the issue?" (co2science.org)

Subject Index Summaries:
"Temperature (Urbanization Effects - Asia)" - "Is there any substantial real-world evidence that the global surface air temperature record of the past few decades is heavily biased towards warming due to an intensification of the urban heat island effect?  Data from Asia provide an affirmative answer." (co2science.org)

"Stomatal Density (Response to CO 2 - Herbaceous Plants)" - "How does the stomatal density of the leaves of herbaceous plants respond to changes in atmospheric CO 2 concentration?" (co2science.org)

Plant Growth Data:
"This week we add new results (blue background) of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO 2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature for: Kentucky Bluegrass, Paper Birch, Stiff Goldenrod and Sugar Maple." (co2science.org)

Journal Reviews:
"The Little Ice Age and Medieval Warm Period in Inner Mongolia" - "Yes, they really occurred there; and the Medieval Warm Period was judged to have been warmer than the Modern Warm Period." (co2science.org)

"Coastal Storms of the North Atlantic Basin" - "How have they varied over the past century or so?" (co2science.org)

"Carbon Sequestration by Coastal Marshes" - "How do rates of carbon sequestration by coastal ecosystems compare to those of forests and crop lands?  What do the results imply about potential global warming?" (co2science.org)

"CO 2 Effects on Fine Roots of Ponderosa Pine Trees" - "What are they?  And what do they imply about the future wellbeing of these trees?" (co2science.org)

"Coral Disease and the Presence of Macroalgae" - "Which comes first?" (co2science.org)

"Head to head: Wind farms" - "A rally is being held on Saddleworth Moors, near Greater Manchester, to protest against plans to site seven 350ft wind turbines there. The spread of wind farms across the UK has divided public opinion. A supporter of and a campaigner against wind turbines set out their cases." (BBC)

"ANALYSIS - UK Offshore Wind Plans Blown Off Course" - "LONDON - Plans to build dozens of wind farms off the UK coast face delays which threaten to derail the government's goal for a big increase in renewable energy. Offshore wind farms have come up against a series of obstacles from the discovery of flocks of seabirds at sites in the Irish Sea to uncertainty about funding costs of new grid connections and difficulties getting finance." (Reuters)

"Nanotech promise for global poor" - "Nanotechnology's biggest impact on millions in the developing world could be in better energy production and storage methods, according to a report. A panel of 63 specialists worldwide was asked by the Canadian Joint Centre for Bioethics (JCB) to identify the most promising areas of nanotech. The panel said nanosciences could also significantly improve agriculture. The nanotech impact study is reported in PLoS Medicine, the US-based Public Library of Science journal." (BBC)

"CBD's `giving tree'" - "About six months ago movie-goers were offered "The Day After Tomorrow," which portrays environmental damage building up and snowballing, and leading to an ecological catastrophe that suddenly returns planet earth to the Ice Age. Although this was "only a movie," the greenhouse effect, for example, is gaining momentum at an alarming rate. Every month the newspapers are full of reports on the hole in the ozone above Australia, the melting polar ice caps, vicious hurricanes in the United States and the giant tsunamis in Asia; all these and more attest to Nature losing her patience." (Haaretz)

"Biotechnology and GM crops" - "In many countries, the debate surrounding the use of biotechnology in agriculture is often associated with genetically modified (GM) crops. Hence there is a wide misconception that the only application of biotechnology is in the development of such transgenic crops. However the scope of biotechnology is widespread: in Industrial Biotechnology (microbial fermentation, metabolite production etc.); in Environmental Biotechnology (to reduce contaminations, to alleviate pollution, to recover habitats from oil spillage etc.); in Medical Biotechnology (pharmaceutical industries, gene therapies, etc.); and finally in Agricultural Biotechnology (conventional breeding, tissue culture, micropro-pagation, molecular breeding or marker assisted selection, GM crops, plant disease diagnostics, etc)." (The Daily Star)

"EU Eyes Certification of US GMO Feed - Source" - "BRUSSELS - The EU is considering requiring the United States to certify exports to Europe of genetically modified (GMO) animal feed are free of an illegal strain, an EU source said on Tuesday." (Reuters)

"MONSANTO: Paying bribes" - "INDONESIA, it is said, is a place so corrupt that would-be police officers have to bribe their way into the police academy. Bribery is so common that it even has an informal price list - so much for a drivers license, so much for a deed, etc. At the average business, 10 percent of costs go to buying off government officials, according to a 2002 survey by the University of Indonesia." (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

"Anheuser-Busch Threatens Mo. Rice Boycott" - "The St. Louis-based beer giant, which says it is concerned about possible contamination, is the latest company to express concern over plans by Ventria Biosciences to grow 200 acres of rice engineered to produce human proteins that can make drugs." (AP)

April 12, 2005

JunkScience.com Bulletin: Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) to Protest Rainforest Action Network at JP Morgan Chase! - The Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), a leading civil rights group, will stage a counter-protest to the Rainforest Action Network today at 12:30pm in front of JP Morgan Chase's headquarters in New York City.

CORE says, "The Rainforest Action Network’s narrow political agenda tramples on the human rights of the world’s most destitute people, keeps them impoverished, and sends many to early graves, the Congress of Racial Equality charged today. CORE is challenging environmental extremism on the streets of New York, at the JP Morgan Chase Bank’s Manhattan headquarters, where RAN is staging a 'day of action' against banks and poor people."

Lest anyone underestimate would-be social engineering activists: "When desperate times meet desperate measures" - "The Norwegian government has moved to champion gender equality in business. Companies have been threatened with dire consequences if they fail to take notice. Comply or face liquidation – that’s the message the Norwegian Minister for Children and Family Affairs sent out to the country’s private sector last week. Laila Dåvøy told businesses that if they fail to create enough diversity so that 40% of company boards are made up of women by 2007, publicly listed private sector companies could be shut down." (EthicalCorp.com)

"Incentivising research & development for the diseases of poverty" - "The proportion of people who have access to medicines remains deplorably low in most poor countries. This problem, which is largely the result of inadequate healthcare infrastructure and government interventions of various kinds, is clearly one that must be addressed as a matter of priority. Nevertheless, even as this problem is tackled, there is a continuing need for new medicines for the diseases of poverty. Drug resistance is a problem for most of these diseases (in part because of poor oversight of treatment) and especially for tuberculosis, malaria and AIDS. Meanwhile, a small cluster of tropical diseases lack any medicines at all.

The comparative lack of research and development (R&D) activity in this area is not evidence of market failure, as is often claimed by activists. In fact, it would be more accurate to describe it as government failure. Taxation, price controls, a lack of respect for intellectual property and other more general institutional failures constrain both the demand for and supply of new drugs, making R&D into the diseases of poverty commercially nonviable in most cases." (IPN)

"Disasters and Development" - "Disasters and development was released before the World Conference on Disaster Reduction in January. The study shows that the UN strategy for disaster reduction is an unmitigated failure. The study concludes that the UN strategy has done nothing to reduce the impact of natural disasters. Indeed, the UN seems so far removed from reality that it claims that an increase in discussion of natural disasters is a sign of success! Yet talk-fests such as the WCDR are probably making things worse by diverting attention away from the real causes." (Sustainable Development Network)

"Popper, Hayek, & Environmental Regulation" (.pdf) - "Though many have heard of the works of Karl Popper (one of the great philosophers of science) and Friedrich Hayek (founder of the Austrian School of Economics), little has been written about the importance of their insights as they relate to environmental regulation. An exhaustive review of their work would require volumes, so I will focus instead on six basic rules pertaining to environmental policy that derive from their work with examples from contemporary environmental debate." (Julian Morris, IPN)

"Pesticide battles on the rise in USA" - "SAN FRANCISCO — Americans are finding themselves in the path of airborne pesticides drifting from farm spraying as rapidly growing suburbs expand into cropland." (John Ritter, USA TODAY)

"Indoor air quality is a top health risk" - "The Environmental Protection Agency has declared the air two to five times as polluted indoors than out, and placed it among the top five environmental risks to public health. The problem: Homes populated by mites, molds, bacteria, dander and volatile organic compounds, creating a hostile environment for the sensitive." (Washington Post)

"What makes kids sick" - "U.S. health officials are launching an unprecedented national study to assess how children's surroundings - from the air they breathe and the water they drink to the homes and communities they live in - influence development and long-term health." (New York Newsday)

"Location of body fat associated with cardiovascular risk even at normal body weight" - "The distribution of body fat in older men and women is associated with metabolic syndrome, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and diabetes, even in normal weight individuals, according to the April 11 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals." (JAMA and Archives Journals)

"Study finds no link between cell phone use and brain tumors" - "A new study has found no link between use of cell phones and the risk of developing a brain tumor. The study will publish in the April 12 issue of Neurology, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology. The Danish study questioned 427 people with brain tumors and 822 people without brain tumors about their cell phone use." (American Academy of Neurology)

"Research shows overfishing of sharks key factor in coral reef decline" - "Scientists have developed an unprecedented model of a Caribbean marine ecosystem and details of its intricate predator-prey interactions. One of the most striking products of the study is a stark picture of human impacts on marine ecosystems and the consequences of targeted fishing. In the Caribbean, overfishing of sharks triggers a domino effect of changes in abundance that carries down to several fish species and contributes to the overall degradation of the reef ecosystem." (University of California - San Diego)

"UN panel calls for cuts in ozone-friendly chemicals amid pollution fears" - "GENEVA - International scientists have called for more cuts in the chemicals used in refrigerators, air conditioning units and plastic foams, and better recycling in an attempt to reduce their harmful impact on climate. The recommendation by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on Monday came in a report which aims to address conflicting efforts to restore the ozone layer agreed 18 years ago and more recent measures to cut pollution by greenhouse gas emissions." (AFP) | New Report on How to Save the Ozone Layer while Combating Climate Change (UNEP)

"Carbon dioxide role in past climate revealed" - "Researchers at the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) and the University of California, Santa Cruz have discovered that Earth’s last great global warming period, 3 million years ago, may have been caused by levels of CO2 in the atmosphere similar to today’s. Reporting this week in a leading Earth Science journal, Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems, the scientists describe how they tested two widely held ideas that attempted to explain the balmy conditions on Earth at that time. Their findings clearly demonstrate that studying past climates can help us to understand the likely impact of greenhouse gas emissions and global warming." (BAS)

Hmm... "CO2 reading taken on Mauna Loa up sharply" - "The Mauna Loa Observatory measured a dramatic spike in the amount of carbon dioxide entering the global atmosphere in 2002 and 2003 — the reasons for which aren't entirely clear although scientists have some suspects in the form of El Niño events and massive wildfires." (Honolulu Advertiser)

Interesting graphic - here's what it looks like with zero restored.

MSM seems to be ignoring NOAA at present, so we'll help them get their message out: "After Two Large Annual Gains, Rate Of Atmospheric Co2 Increase Returns To Average, NOAA Reports" - "March 31, 2005 — A spike in the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere between 2001 and 2003 appears to be a temporary phenomenon and apparently does not indicate a quickening build-up of the gas in the atmosphere, according to an analysis by NOAA climate experts. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is released into the atmosphere by the burning of wood, coal, oil and gas. Increases in the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere are of special interest to scientists because carbon dioxide is a significant heat-trapping greenhouse gas." (NOAA News)

You can still vote for Fred! "How students in one class tackled global warming" - "It's getting hot in here - on the planet, that is. And anyone who doesn't believe global warming is a serious problem might just as well argue that Earth ends at the horizon line.

That's the message from a group of students at Vermont's Middlebury College, who set up the first annual Flat Earth Award during their recent winter-term class on climate change and activism. Visitors to the website (www.flatearthaward.org) can vote to give the mock award to one of three nominees targeted as global-warming naysayers: radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh, scientist Fred Singer, and novelist Michael Crichton. The "winner" will be announced April 18 by the Green House Network in Oregon, the nonprofit group that oversaw the student project." (The Christian Science Monitor)

... or maybe not. My wife tried to lodge a vote for Fred and received a message that she wasn't permitted to vote. Since she has her own machine and hadn't voted in the poll before (or even been to the site) this can't be just that some little "has voted" cookie prevents it - could it be that the Flat Earthers are trying to suppress Fred's vote?

Weekly Whipple: "Climate: The oceanic CO2 puzzle" - "Boulder, CO, Apr. 11 -- For years, climate scientists and oceanographers have been struggling to figure out the relationship of carbon dioxide in the oceans to the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. There is a definite connection, but to date no one has been able to discover what it is." (Dan Whipple, UPI)

"University Gets $19M to Study Polar Ice" - "LAWRENCE, Kan. -- The University of Kansas will be home to a center studying the melting of polar ice caps, financed by the largest federal grant a Kansas university has ever received, officials said Monday.

The National Science Foundation has awarded the university almost $19 million to finance operations at the Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets over the next five years. Its research will involve NASA and more than 40 scientists from 10 universities.

The center hopes to help scientists better understand climate change, how melting ice caps affect sea levels and how changing sea levels will affect nations' populations and economies." (Associated Press)

He's back! "It's this simple: wind farms the size of London, or safe, clean nuclear plants" - "ELECTION ROOM 2005 is filled with elephants hidden behind the flimsiest of political camouflage. For me, the bull elephant is the need for a practical energy policy for Britain. On this issue, I am disenfranchised because all three main parties, despite differing degrees of enthusiasm and rhetoric, share the same outlook: an unconvincing belief that “renewable energy” — wave, wind and solar power — is a credible way to solve Britain’s energy problems." (Philip Stott, The Times)

"High-Octane Amnesia" - "Ever since the 9/11 attacks, a steady drumbeat has grown to reduce U.S. reliance on foreign oil out of fear that imports from the Middle East leave America dangerously vulnerable to the dread oil weapon. That cause has received a shot in the arm with a recent letter to the president signed by four formerly prominent national security officials (James Woolsey, Robert McFarlane, Frank Gaffney and William Crowe), a number of retired senior military officers, Republican majordomo C. Boyden Gray, Democratic party strategist John Podesta, and a host of "outs" from both parties to, well, reprise Jimmy Carter's energy strategy of the 1970s.

Two words come to mind: Spare us.

The Energy Future Coalition -- the operation overseeing this campaign -- is really an "Energy Past Coalition" that suffers from a severe case of amnesia. The stated policies that this crowd promotes -- sharply increased subsidies for domestic alternative-fuels industries and aggressive government-mandated conservation -- were textbook economic fiascos when adopted 30 years ago and will fare no better were we to enthusiastically re-embrace them again." (Jerry Taylor and Peter Van Doren, The Wall Street Journal)

"Canada deal stirs state debate on emissions" - "As automakers fight an effort by lawmakers in Olympia to cut greenhouse-gas emissions from cars, the industry last week signed a pact with the Canadian government to reduce those same gases. The deal has become a factor in the debate in Washington's Legislature, where the Senate is expected to take a decisive vote this week on a bill forcing the auto industry to sell cleaner, more fuel-efficient cars." (Seattle Times)

Gasp! "BP fails to reduce greenhouse gases" - "BP was forced to defend its environmental policy yesterday after it admitted its own production of greenhouse gases increased last year. The world's second biggest quoted oil producer, and Britain's biggest company, produced more than 85m tonnes of greenhouse gases in 2004 up from 83.4m tonnes in the previous year, according to the company's green report published yesterday. Its output was roughly twice that of Argentina." (The Guardian)

Don't companies emit [whatever] for and on behalf of all consumers of their products, be they direct (eg fuel burners) or indirect (users of plastics, consumers of food grown with fertilizers/transported to retailers...)? So "Beyond Petroleum" is not actually any such thing and, due to consumer demand, pumped more product and was "responsible" for more emissions - well whoopee!

"Cloned Cows Yummy and Safe" - "Cattle-cloning scientists at the University of Connecticut say milk and meat from cloned animals are safe for human consumption. The FDA has been waiting for additional evidence on the safety of meat and milk from cloned cows since a National Academy of Sciences report said last year that while the food would not likely make anyone sick, more research should be performed. The Connecticut researchers published their results in a scientific journal on Monday." (Wired News)

"Concern over US modified corn imports" - "The European Commission will decide today whether to impose a temporary ban on some US corn imports amid growing concerns about the presence of unauthorised genetically modified maize on some European markets." (Financial Times)

The word according to Joe Bloviator: "‘Food Should Be Left Off the Free Trade Table’ - José Bové" - "French activist explains why his organization opposes WTO and genetically modified food." (YaleGlobal)

April 11, 2005

"Investment Consulting Firm Pushes Activists' Agenda" - "A small group of Swiss social activist-investors called the Ethos Fund is pressuring Swiss food giant Nestle to weaken management in favor of increasing activist influence over the company. The real force behind Ethos's ploy, however, is the activist Trojan horse known as Institutional Shareholder Services." (Steven Milloy, New York Sun)

"Water-damaged buildings tied to workers' asthma" - "NEW YORK - A water-damaged workplace may trigger asthma and other breathing problems in employees, and be a substantial source of sick days, new research suggests. In a study of workers at one leaky, mold-contaminated office building, U.S. government researchers found that the rate of adult-onset asthma among employees was more than three times the norm for the general population. Two-thirds of these cases were diagnosed after the employees had started working in the building. The researchers estimate that up to 12 percent of employee sick days in a year could be attributed to the health effects of the building." (Reuters Health)

"Data do not support ban on silicone breast implants" - "Ever since women began enlarging their breasts with implants, feminists have been upset. So, predictably, when a Food and Drug Administration advisory panel begins hearings today to consider approval of silicone-gel-filled breast implants, feminist health activists will urge them to reject the devices as unsafe. But the data emphatically do not justify their concern." (Sally Satel, USA Today)

Food police bust children's favorite: "Obesity worries curb Cookie Monster's diet" - "This message is brought to you by the letters F, A and T and by the numbers one in three.

Alarmed at the rates of obesity among young people, the children's programme Sesame Street is embarking on a drive to educate its audience about the benefits of healthy eating. As part of the project, some of the show's favourite characters are getting nothing less than a makeover - Cookie Monster is going on a diet while Elmo has started professing a love for exercise." (London Independent)

"Westerners see poetic justice in saving snakehead" - "DENVER — For years, Alan Gardner has watched Easterners tie up land and scuttle development in the West by asking federal bureaucrats to put various rodents, predators and pests on the nation's endangered-species list. Now it's time for a little payback. Mr. Gardner is leading a band of 13 commissioners from Western counties who have filed to seek protection for a rare new species: the northern snakehead fish, also known as the "Frankenfish." (The Washington Times)

"Butterfly migration could be largest known" - "Millions of painted lady butterflies that fluttered into California's Central Valley in the last week of March could be just the advance guard of one of the largest migrations of the species on record, said Arthur Shapiro, a professor and an expert on butterflies at UC Davis." (University of California - Davis)

"How the West Was Wet" - "One of the problems in communicating climate science concerns peoples' perceptions versus climate reality. For example, most middle-to-slightly-older-agers who grew up in the Mid-Atlantic region will tell you that it just doesn't snow like it did in their youth (and usually they will blame global warming). Indeed, the 1960s were a very snowy decade. But somehow, we tend to view what we grew up with as "normal," while everything different in our adult lives is "abnormal." [Caution: this applies to more than weather and climate.]" (Pat Michaels, TCS)

"What is the ‘Hockey Stick’ Debate About?" (.pdf) - "Abstract: The hockey stick debate is about two things. At a technical level it concerns a well-known study that characterized the state of the Earth’s climate over the past thousand years and seemed to prove a recent and unprecedented global warming. I will explain how the study got the results it did, examine some key flaws in the methodology and explain why the conclusions are unsupported by the data. At the political level the emerging debate is about whether the enormous international trust that has been placed in the IPCC was betrayed. The hockey stick story reveals that the IPCC allowed a deeply flawed study to dominate the Third Assessment Report, which suggests the possibility of bias in the Report-writing process. In view of the massive global influence of IPCC Reports, there is an urgent need to bias-proof future assessments in order to put climate policy onto a new foundation that will better serve the public interest." (Ross McKitrick, ClimateChangeIssues.com)

The Week That Was April 9, 2005 (SEPP)

"A cold, hard look at a hot topic" - "Although heavily outnumbered, global-warming sceptics believe the stakes are so high they must step up their fight, as Michael Duffy reports.

Members of a species widely believed extinct - scientists sceptical of human-produced global warming - met at a conference in Canberra on Monday.

One of them, Professor Bob Carter, an environmental scientist at James Cook University in north Queensland, puts their view plainly: "Attempting to stop climate change is an expensive act of utter futility." According to Carter, more than $50 billion has been spent on climate research since 1990, yet there is still no unambiguous evidence of human-caused global warming.

The conference organiser was Monash University's APEC Study Centre, concerned about the economic consequences for Australia of responses, such as the Kyoto Protocol, to global warming." (The Sydney Morning Herald)

"Debate Down Under" - "Last week the post-Kyoto future was debated in Australia during three conferences. The British Government and the US-based Pew Centre supported conferences urging extension of the Kyoto model to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. Energy companies backed the third conference which contrasted the strategy of development of low emission technologies favored by the Bush Administration and the Howard Government in Australia with the Kyoto-style model.

Science featured prominently in the discussions. For the first time in Australia, Australia's leading advocates of the Kyoto model were required to publicly defend the "official" UN science supporting Kyoto to their peers. They were not successful. Doubts about the UN science are increasing in Australia." (Alan Oxley, TCS)

"2 Sides Do Battle in Court on Whether E.P.A. Should Regulate Carbon Dioxide" - "WASHINGTON, April 8 - A federal appeals court heard arguments on Friday in a five-year battle over whether the Environmental Protection Agency has the authority to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from motor vehicles. In arguments on a suit that consolidates a number of legal actions, opposing lawyers cited the same words of the Clean Air Act and drew entirely different conclusions." (New York Times)

"A truly global problem: Costs, stakes, uncertainties high in climate change debate" - "While the recent implementation of the Kyoto Protocol marked a key milestone, international accord on how best to address climate change remains elusive, as doomsday scientific forecasts clash with thorny political realities." (CNN)

"Clues to climate's future may lay in past" - "Climate change could have drastic consequences." (CNN)

"Greenhouse gas market to slow global warming - Hot air is now for sale" - "Greenhouse gases are being bought and sold on the open market by countries concerned about climate change. The Kyoto Protocol, an international treaty to curb global warming, created the market in greenhouse gases to reduce emissions of methane, carbon dioxide and other gasses heating up the planet. The trade has gained steam since the Kyoto treaty entered into effect this February." (CNN)

"The science debate behind climate change" - "Is global warming really a threat? Absolutely, respond most scientists, but they have only recently been able to approach a basic agreement about our changing climate." (CNN)

"Rising water puts Irish homes at risk" - "HOMES along the east coast of Ireland need to be at least four metres (12ft) above sea level to protect them from flooding caused by global warming, according to climate experts. Buildings along river estuaries in the four main cities should also be constructed above this elevation to reduce their vulnerability to the forecast rises in sea level." (The Sunday Times)

"ANWR is a start" - "Sometimes we have to hand it to our greener friends, especially those in the Green Party. To express their horror about the recent Senate vote to open a teeny section of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil drilling, they raise the global warming specter. Specifically, the March 22 press release says, "Green Party members noted that new drilling not only threatened local lands and wildlife in Alaska, but also risked accelerating the advance of catastrophic global warming." (Patrick J. Michaels, The Washington Times)

"Nukes Are Green" - "If there was one thing that used to be crystal clear to any environmentalist, it was that nuclear energy was the deadliest threat this planet faced. That's why Dick Gregory pledged at a huge anti-nuke demonstration in 1979 that he would eat no solid food until all nuclear plants in the U.S. were shut down. Mr. Gregory may be getting hungry. But it's time for the rest of us to drop that hostility to nuclear power. It's increasingly clear that the biggest environmental threat we face is actually global warming, and that leads to a corollary: nuclear energy is green." (New York Times)

"Glenn Milne: Climate changes on Labor's nuclear reaction" - "AS the environmental cycle moves into its post-Kyoto phase, both sides of politics in Australia have agreed for the first time that the issue of nuclear power must be debated as part of possible solutions to global warming.

The first potential crack in Labor's anti-nuclear stand came last week from Peter Garrett, of all people. Garrett, former head of the Australian Conservation Foundation and now an ALP backbencher, addressed the Sydney Institute, declaring there should be a debate about the pros and cons of nuclear energy. To be sure, he said he remained sceptical because there was still no safe way of storing nuclear waste. But he added: "The advent of climate change and the likelihood of increasing global warming means this issue is one of the most critical we face." (The Australian)

"Canada: Cost of Kyoto plan pegged at $10-billion - But program's final price tag may reach up to $12-billion, federal sources say" - "OTTAWA -- The Liberal government will roll out its Kyoto implementation plan next Wednesday and acknowledge that it will cost at least $10-billion, twice the amount set aside for it in the budget." (Globe and Mail)

"Aussies sidestep Kyoto ban" - "AUSTRALIAN companies hoping to invest in clean energy projects in developing nations are being forced to find backdoor channels to get around the ban on countries that have not ratified the Kyoto Protocol. The federal Government has continuously denied suggestions business would be disadvantaged by its refusal to join the international agreement on greenhouse gas reductions." (The Australian)

"Kyoto on its deathbed: minister" - "The international effort to stop global warming using the Kyoto Protocol will be dead within a few years, the federal Environment Minister believes, because many of the participating countries are finding enforced reduction targets unworkable." (The Sydney Morning Herald)

"Bragg tilts at Britain's biggest wind farm" - "Led by pillars of the Lake District establishment, including Melvyn Bragg and the mountaineer Chris Bonington, an army of Cumbrians is gathering to fight off the plans for the largest wind farm ever on mainland Britain." (London Independent)

"In California, grape-growers grapple with possibility of biotech" - "SANTA ROSA, Calif. - In the heart of California wine country, Sonoma County vintner George Davis claims that his "biodynamic" growing method summons cosmic forces to enliven grapes for his zinfandels and chardonnays.

His Porter Creek Vineyard, situated on prime soils valued at $100,000 an acre, eschews chemicals in favor of manure, composting and ultra-organic farming that aims to enhance the spirituality of consumers, as well as their wine.

So it's no surprise that Davis stands foursquare against tinkering with crops through genetic engineering, which would be banned in Sonoma County for 10 years under an initiative cleared recently for the November ballot." (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

"U.S. Fines Swiss Company Over Sale of Altered Seed" - "LAUSANNE, Switzerland, April 8 - Syngenta, the Swiss agrochemicals company, was fined $375,000 by the United States Department of Agriculture for inadvertently selling unapproved genetically altered corn seed, the company said Friday. The Department of Agriculture also required Syngenta to develop a training program to keep the mix-up in seeds from happening again, the company said. "We welcome the settlement with the U.S.D.A. and the government's conclusion that Syngenta's misidentification of Bt 10 corn, while a regrettable mistake, does not pose any risks to consumers, public health or the environment," said Mike Mack, chief operating officer of Syngenta Seeds, a unit of Syngenta in Golden Valley, Minn." (New York Times)

"German State to Sue Government Over GM Laws as Industry Meets" - "April 11 -- Sachsen-Anhalt, one of Germany's poorest states, plans to sue Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's government, alleging that new laws stop companies such as Syngenta AG from doing local research into genetically-modified crops. The federal government last year passed legislation letting farmers claim damages if their non-GM crop is cross-pollinated by GM crops grown nearby. Opponents say the law is vague, making the risk of liability so high that companies can't carry out trials." (Bloomberg)

"EU Mulls US Trade Ban in Illegal GMO Import Row" - "BRUSSELS - The EU executive Commission considered halting imports of genetically modified animal feed from the United States on Friday in a row with a major Swiss agrochemicals group over illegal shipments to Europe." (Reuters)

April 8, 2005

"New Mutual Fund Aiming To Beat Back Social Activism" - "NEW YORK -- One mutual fund is mad as hell, and it's not going to take it any more.

The Free Enterprise Action Fund, a new fund with a stock portfolio of about $4 million, says it is the first with the main goal of promoting "the American system of free enterprise."

Founded by Steven Milloy, a columnist for FoxNews.com and The New York Sun, the fund aims to get good returns for investors while - in his words - evening the score with leftist forces that are chipping away at business. Culprits include corporate management, mutual funds and other groups that promote so-called corporate social responsibility.

"Businesses are being pressured by radical politicized left-wing activists to do things not in the best interest of the whole free-enterprise system," said Milloy, also an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute and publisher of JunkScience.com, a commentary site that bears the motto: "All the junk that's fit to debunk." "We want to be a counterforce to the activists," Milloy added." (Dow Jones)

"Global Warming Tax" - "Duke Energy, a leading U.S. electricity and gas utility, announced this week its support for a global warming tax (search) — essentially a consumption tax on consumers of gasoline, oil, natural gas and coal. The tax is intended to reduce energy use and resulting emissions of greenhouse gases.

Duke calls it a “carbon tax,” but we might call it the “Greenpeace tax” in honor of the various radical environmental groups, like Greenpeace (search), pushing global warming hysteria and supporting such a tax. But we could also call it the “corporate appeasement tax” in honor of businesses like Duke Energy that are stumbling over themselves to curry favor with the Greens." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

Paul Anderson, Chairman and CEO, Duke Energy, address to the Charlotte Business Journal's 10th Annual Power Breakfast (.pdf)

Paul Anderson would seem better suited to social work or tree hugging rather than running a major energy company. You would think he'd notice that even China is switching to a capitalist economic model because socialism simply does not work but no, here he is, blathering about usurping private enterprise to the socialist cause - essentially destroying the engines of wealth that make 'environmentalism' affordable.

So Paul, which shining example of the benevolent State would you recommend? The USSR? (Oops, that's broken, read: 'now-defunct USSR') the Great Leader's North Korea perhaps (starvation would cure the obesity epidemic) or newly capitalist China (busily playing catch-up with standards of living and environmentalism)?

Despite the efforts of so-called environmentalists, air and water quality is constantly improving in the developed world, we are nurturing more green space and wildlife areas simply because we can afford to do so. The environmental bus is powered by the capitalist engine of wealth generation and that engine is fuelled by abundant, affordable energy. Rationing that energy, which is what 'carbon constraint' and hysterical 'global warming' scares are all about, will stall the environmental bus and let it roll back down the hill.

We have an unfortunate number of examples of what non-capitalist systems do to their environment, when will watermelons learn from them?

"Carbon Tax Plan Would Raise Prices on Consumers" - "By calling for a carbon tax, Duke Energy Corp. has finally shown the true colors of the energy rationing advocates." (Marlo Lewis, CEI)

"Does The EPA Have The Authority To Regulate Carbon Dioxide Emissions?" (.pdf) - "This week, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia will hear a case brought by several state attorneys general and non-profit groups, arguing that the Environmental Protection Agency should restrict emissions of carbon dioxide in the name of counteracting global warming. As CEI Senior Fellow Marlo Lewis, Jr. has demonstrated, however, the EPA clearly lacks the authority to regulate CO2. The case has been widely considered a backdoor attempt to implement the same controls on domestic energy use that would have resulted from adopting the Kyoto Protocol global warming treaty, which the Bush administration has rejected." (CEI)

"Polluted Climate" - "Climate change is one environmental issue that hasn't had much traction at the federal level. Congress has refused to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, while the Bush administration has opposed explicit carbon dioxide reduction requirements. Thus, it should come as no surprise that activists have tried to stir up political support for legislated carbon dioxide (CO2) reductions by trying to tie climate change to matters of more immediate public concern, such as air pollution." (Joel Schwartz, TCS)

"New plan for global warming" - "AUSTRALIA hopes to play a key role in bringing non-Kyoto nations into a new-generation greenhouse reduction plan by helping to broker deals with some of the world's most fossil fuel-hungry nations. The push to draw the US and the world's fastest-growing economies - including China and India - into a new greenhouse reduction scheme is understood to be a crucial element of an alternative to the Kyoto protocol being developed by some influential industry players and policymakers." (The Australian)

"Industrial giants join climate talks" - "Australia is backing a new international effort outside the Kyoto protocol that would concentrate on reducing greenhouse gas emissions by industries rather than countries. The US-based Pew Centre on Global Climate Change, which has organised today's meeting in Sydney, has been negotiating with 15 countries and some of the world's biggest companies to develop an alternative way to deal with global warming after 2012." (The Sydney Morning Herald)

"California eyes cap-and-trade plan to trim greenhouse gases" - "Even as four western states agreed this week to help string electric transmission lines to power-starved Southern California from the coal fields of Wyoming, California energy regulators began considering new ways to force the state's utilities to switch to cleaner energy." (Associated Press)

"Automakers sign greenhouse gas pact which could inflate vehicle prices" - "Canadians may pay more for new cars after the automotive industry signed a promise Tuesday to cut greenhouse gas emissions from future vehicles and boost research and development." (CBC)

"China: 40 nuclear plants to be built by 2020" - "China plans to build 40 nuclear power plants over the next 15 years, making them the main power source for its booming east coast, a government official said Wednesday." (Chicago Tribune)

"Christmas week snowstorm in Ohio River valley broke all records" - "Even though spring and warm-weather thoughts are here, a chilling, soon-to-be published report says that December's immense Midwest snowstorm was one to remember. The Dec. 22-23 storm broke all records for storm intensity, size, and damages, garnered national attention, and dumped record snowfall." (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

"Ice Age Ocean Circulation Reacted to, did not cause, Climate Change at Glacial Boundaries" - "Scientists from the Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO) have provided new evidence that ocean circulation changes lagged behind, and were not the cause of, major climate changes at the beginning and end of the last ice age (short intervals known as glacial boundaries), according to a study published in the March 2005 issue of Science magazine." (The Earth Institute at Columbia University)

Another step on an unfortunately long road: "Scientists find key to beating malaria" - "AN Australian research team has made a breakthrough discovery about the malaria parasite that could help save millions of lives." (Daily Telegraph)

Oh my! Brand goes nuclear: "Environmental Heresies" - "Over the next ten years, I predict, the mainstream of the environmental movement will reverse its opinion and activism in four major areas: population growth, urbani­zation, genetically engineered organisms, and nuclear power." (Stewart Brand, Technology Review.com)

"Nation Descends into Mercury Madness" - "Despite recent, high-profile news reports, mercury poisoning is not a serious problem in the United States." (Iain Murray, The Washington, D.C. Examiner)

"When chlorine + antimicrobials = unintended consequences" - "Found in toothpastes, acne creams, deodorants, lotions, handsoaps and a wide range of consumer groups, the antimicrobial agent Triclosan plus chlorinated water produces chloroform and may also be making highly chlorinated dioxins." (Environmental Science & Technology)

"Heinz Kerry challenges scientists to find links between pollution, cancer" - "Teresa Heinz Kerry challenged a crowd of about 250 doctors and scientists gathered at UPMC Shadyside last night to help Americans "connect the dots" between environmental pollution and rising cancer rates. Her remarks in an opening address for the Health and Environment conference at the hospital's Herberman Conference Center included a barbed reference to "the belligerent indifference of our leaders in Washington toward environmental health issues." She urged the group to continue studying the causes of drastically increased rates of breast and prostate cancer and childhood leukemia." (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

But it is natural: "Swedish 'health drink' could cause Alzheimers" - "A Swedish juice manufacturer has withdrawn one of its products after scientists in Stockholm discovered that its key ingredient could cause Alzheimers and Parkinsons. The drink, made by Brämhults, contains spirulina algae, which scientists have now discovered produces the poisonous substance BMAA." (The Local, Sweden)

"City OKs herbicides, irks activists" - "Activists against the use of herbicides in the city said Wednesday they are disappointed with the City Council's vote to relax the eight-year ban on herbicide use in the fire-prone Oakland hills." (Alameda Times-Star)

"The Other Sudan Crisis" - "Although the media coverage here in the United States has been non-existent, much of the world has been experiencing one of the great food scares -- and food recalls -- of modern times." (Elizabeth M. Whelan, TCS)

"Whatever Happened to AIDS? Pharmaceuticals" - "Rock Hudson, Arthur Ashe, Ryan White, Liberace, Alvin Ailey, Freddie Mercury, Anthony Perkins, Rudolf Nureyev. Remember when you could hardly go a month without hearing about someone famous dying of AIDS? And the New York Times obituary page was filled with thirtyish men, often in the arts, who had died "after a short illness." When is the last time you heard this? Probably about eight years ago. So what happened?

The pharmaceutical industry is what happened." (Josh Bloom, ACSH)

Just don't know how they do it... "Vigorously active adolescents are leaner, fitter" - "Adolescents who get daily vigorous physical activity tend to be leaner and fitter than their less active peers, researchers have shown." (Medical College of Georgia)

"Fatty acid breakthrough may ease demand for fish" - "The CSIRO is hoping gene technology that turns plants into a source of healthy omega-3 fatty acids will reduce the pressure on fish stocks." (ABC News, Australia)

"Biotech Food is the Healthy Choice" - "It's the tenth anniversary of the commercialization of biotech crops. More are planted, grown, and eaten each year. Yet somehow despite the warnings of environmentalist and organic groups we've managed to survive – and thrive. Indeed, evidence keeps building that gene-spliced food can be considerably healthier than so-called "health food." (Michael Fumento, Scripps Howard News Service)

April 7, 2005

JunkScience.com Bulletin: Duke Energy to announce support for 'carbon tax' - Duke Energy, a leading U.S. electricity and gas utility, reportedly will officially announce on April 7 its support for a "carbon tax" -- basically a value-added or consumption tax on gasoline, oil, natural gas and coal.

Junk science-fueled global warming hysteria has spawned rival bad ideas among U.S. energy producers: an economy-harming carbon tax on everyone versus the utility-specific shell game of cap-and-trade of greenhouse gas emissions. What will they think of next? Five-year economic plans a la Joe Stalin?

How disappointing for wannabe social engineers: "Public 'Largely Ignorant' of Climate Change Threat" - "The public remains “largely ignorant” of the threat of climate change and the extent to which their own actions contribute to it, a Labour MP warned today.

Joan Walley, chairman of the Commons Environmental Audit Sub-Committee on Environmental Education, also criticised the performance of the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Department for Education and Science in this area, but said Prime Minister Tony Blair had “shown leadership” on climate change." (PA News)

What a wonderfully Orwellian title for a propaganda ministry: the "Commons Environmental Audit Sub-Committee on Environmental Education" and what a sad comment on the competence of their indoctrination campaign - the public still have not adopted a suitably fearful attitude regarding the global climate. Just as Twain said, everyone's always talking about the weather but nobody ever does anything about it.

Uh-huh... "Kyoto Sceptics Try to Debunk Global Warming Facts" - "CANBERRA, Apr 6 - A major oil producer ExxonMobil has sponsored a seminar featuring leading Australian and global sceptics disputing the science behind the Kyoto Treaty, ahead of two important international conferences this week backing the need for substantial reductions in greenhouse emissions." (IPS)

If we understand this correctly, billions from the public purse, plus multimillions from Leftist front groups (not to mention the millions extorted as 'donations' from the public) pumped annually into generating the great climate scare equals altruism while (thousands, perhaps tens of thousands?) sponsoring any debate and/or counterview equals 'Evil Empire'. Right...

Earth to Bob Burton: the only real 'fact' regarding 'global warming' is that it is the state Earth is in when it is not cooling and it is always doing one or the other. As for the global mean surface air temperature, we don't know what it is or even have any standard for what it defines nor how to measure it. Don't take my word for it though, I'm probably in the pay of the oil majors (I could wish) - here's the link to NASA GISS's FAQ on The Elusive Absolute Surface Air Temperature (SAT) (he probably thinks Hansen et al are industry shills too).

Here we go again: "IPCC To Adopt Major New Report On Safeguarding Ozone Layer, Global Climate System" - "The World Meteorological Organization (WMO)/United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will meet in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 6 to 8 April 2005 to finalize a special report on “Safeguarding the ozone layer and the global climate system: issues related to hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and perfluorocarbons (PFCs)”. (Press Release)

"Govt to start preparing public for climate change" - "Government is poised to start preparing the public and business sector to deal with climate change, which is expected to have a major impact on South Africa's economy over the next few decades." (Mail & Guardian)

"Japan: CO2 emissions spur conservation blitz" - "As carbon dioxide emissions from households continue to increase, many businesses have begun putting up Internet Web sites that advise consumers how to save energy for free. According to the Environment Ministry, household carbon dioxide emissions in fiscal 2003, which ended on March 31, 2004, were about 30 percent higher than the level for fiscal 1990." (Kyodo News)

"Automakers Agree to Cut Emissions In Canada" - "Major automakers signed an agreement yesterday with the government of Canada to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from new cars and trucks, a move hailed by environmentalists as a breakthrough that could force the industry to sell cleaner, more fuel-efficient vehicles in the United States as well." (Washington Post)

"Coal producers told to fire up their clean publicity machine" - "THE coal industry has been urged to correct the public perception it is an unrepentant greenhouse polluter and explain to consumers the grim realities of the life they would face without a dependable coal-fired power source. Resources Minister Ian Macfarlane berated the industry at its annual conference yesterday for allowing the debate over the nation's future energy supply to be hijacked by a "green media machine." (The Australian)

"Greenpeace opposes wind farm plan" - "The environmental campaign group, Greenpeace, is opposing a giant wind farm planned for the Western Isles. It is concerned about the size of the scheme which will see 234 turbines sited across 30 miles of Lewis." (BBC)

"Pipe dreams" - "In hydrogen, scientists say they have found the Holy Grail: a replacement for oil. The concept is as seductive as it is simple, but it won't be easy to obtain the volume of hydrogen required." (London Independent)

"Scientists discover better way to generate power from thermal sources" - "Up until now, the cost of capturing energy from thermal sources has been prohibitive. But a new approach developed by scientists at the University of Wollongong and the University of Oregon promises to break that barrier through innovative use of extremely small nanowires (10 to 20 nanometers in diameter). They say nanomaterials soon may be used to make refrigerators which can last a lifetime, efficiently generate electricity from waste heat, and realize geothermal potential." (University of Oregon)

"Nanobacteria in clouds could spread disease, scientists claim" - "Micro-organisms in clouds could play a crucial role in the spread of disease and in the formation of rain drops, scientists have claimed." (Cardiff University)

"Is the World Using Up Its Resources?" - "There was a recent story in The Guardian about a new United Nations study, with the misleading headline, Two-Thirds of World's Resources "Used Up". It's not the first time we've seen such hysteria, and it certainly won't be the last. But relax -- the sky isn't falling. The headline is nonsensical, because it falsely implies that "resources" are a static quantity, and non-renewable. As an example, they often cite Easter Island, whose civilization supposedly failed due to running out of them." (Rand Simberg, TCS)

"China Announces Plan to Move 400,000 People for Giant Water-Diversion Project" - "BEIJING — China announced plans Tuesday to relocate 400,000 people to make way for a US$60 billion (euro50 billion) network of canals to supply its dry north with water from the wetter south. It will be China's second major forced relocation of residents, coming after 1.3 million people were moved to make way for the vast Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River in the southwest. The canals are to move water hundreds of miles (kilometers) from the Yangtze to Beijing and other parts of the north. The government says building the South-North Water Diversion Project could take up to 50 years and cost more than 500 billion yuan (US$60 billion; euro50 billion)." (Associated Press)

"Reigning In The Abuses Of The Endangered Species Act" - "Property rights advocates are hoping that the U.S. Supreme Court this week agrees to hear the case of Texas developer Fred Purcell, who is suing for the right to develop a parcel of land outside of Austin, Texas. The discovery of an obscure cave-dwelling bug and other insects underneath his land triggered provisions of the Endangered Species Act that have deprived him of the use of most of his land without compensation." (CEI)

"WHO Wants You in the Dark Ages" - "Paul Volcker's report last week on the oil-for-food scandal uncovered shocking incompetence and venality at the United Nations. But if Congress really wants to reform the agency, the place to start is the World Health Organization (WHO), which, in the latest absurdity, has embarked on a campaign to drive baby formula underground -- and, eventually, off the face of the earth. The big losers if the WHO is successful will, of course, be the world's poor -- the same victims of WHO blunders in fighting HIV/AIDS and malaria." (James K. Glassman, TCS)

Poisson d'Avril (Number Watch)

"Obesity Is Costly to State, Report Says" - "The rapidly growing overweight and unfit population in California could cost the state $28.7 billion this year in healthcare expenses, injuries and lost productivity, 32% more than five years ago, according to a study released Tuesday." (Los Angeles Times)

"Nanotech Vs. The Green Gang" - "NEW YORK - There could be trouble brewing on the horizon for nanotech.

The trouble I am talking about has nothing to do with nanotech's great scientific or commercial promise. It has to do with politics and the media. The "Green Gang" is starting to focus on nanotech research, and governments around the world are listening. There are rumblings that regulations are needed. They say they want to guarantee the safety of the technology and instill confidence in the general public." (Josh Wolfe, Forbes)

"Vermont Senate passes GMO liability bill" - "The Vermont Senate on Tuesday gave nearly unanimous approval to a bill designed to make seed manufacturers liable for the impacts of genetically modified crops." (Barre-Montpelier Times Argus)

"GM bans costing farmer: report" - "Australian consumers, farmers and the scientific community would be left behind if state governments maintained their bans on genetically modified food crops, a new report has found. Compiled by two academic experts for the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation, the report found Australia risked being an agricultural backwater if it resisted the wider scale introduction of GM crops. And it found that non-GM crops would ultimately become a niche market similar to organic produce today and fail to deliver major financial benefits to the country." (The Age)

"GMO Cotton Boosts Yields in India - Monsanto" - "NEW DELHI - Yields from genetically modified (GMO) cotton hybrids were 58 percent higher than conventional seeds in India last year, a survey commissioned by a Monsanto joint venture said on Wednesday." (Reuters)

April 6, 2005

"The Science Haters" - "Republicans are too anti-science to become good professors. That's the essence of Paul Krugman's recent New York Times column explaining why there are so few Republican college professors." (James D. Miller, TCS)

"Extremists 'are driving drugs firms out of UK'" - "EVIDENCE that animal rights extremists are driving drug companies out of Britain emerged yesterday, with figures revealing a collapse in investment in new laboratories and the first fall in research spending in the UK for 15 years." (The Times)

"Self Interest in the Public Interest" - "The Indian government just approved patent legislation that will provide protection for innovators that, to date, has been largely lacking. The legislation, which will grant product patents for medicines as well as other novel technologies, has been heavily criticised by activists such as Medicines Sans Frontiers and Oxfam as well as the Indian communist party who worry that the legislation will deny poor people cheap drugs. Their concerns are largely misplaced; although they have been watered down, the patent rules will probably greatly benefit the Indian economy and its people. The passage of this legislation highlights some important lessons on industry lobbying from which South Africa's pharmaceutical industry could learn." (Richard Tren, TCS)

"For sardine and anchovy, El Niño events do not always have the same effects" - "The warm El Niño episodes are generally accepted to be harmful to the development of cold-water anchovy populations, but favourable for abundant populations of sardine, adapted to warmer waters. IRD researchers and their Peruvian partners (1) have been studying fluctuations in pelagic fish populations in the world's richest oceanic ecosystems for fish, the Peru-Humboldt Current system, off Peru. They showed that the traditional explanation does not always hold true." (Institut de Recherche Pour le Développement)

"Not So Cool Britania" - "As usual, Tony Blair finds himself on the horns of a political dilemma: the whim of public opinion leads him one way, and reality struggles to pull him in another.

Bruised and battered in the polls from his support for the US-led invasion of Iraq and for a European constitution, the UK prime minister has latched onto climate change as a way to boost his standing with the electorate. Blair now promises to make reduction of greenhouse gases -- a euphemistic phrase that really means "make people use less energy" -- the number-one issue on the international diplomatic stage. That there are other more pressing issues -- global terrorism, killer diseases, poverty reduction, to name just a few -- seems not to matter to him." (Craig Winneker, TCS)

"Japan: Business leader raps environment tax" - "A senior Japanese business leader urged the government Tuesday to drop an idea to levy a new tax on fossil fuels like oil, warning it could adversely affect people's livelihood."  (Japan Times)

"Apocalypse now?" - "Last week's report of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment provides a timely reminder of the plight facing the global environment. But its scare tactics could alienate those whose support is needed to reverse current trends." (scidev.net)

"Storm Watch" - "In late January, Christopher W. Landsea, a hurricane specialist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Miami, publicly announced that he would end his participation in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a group that comes together periodically under the auspices of the United Nations to report the latest advances in scientific understanding. Landsea's withdrawal was sparked by a press briefing that followed the busy 2004 hurricane season in Florida. That event was promoted by a Harvard University press release headlined "Experts to warn global warming likely to continue spurring more outbreaks of intense hurricane activity." One of these experts was Kevin E. Trenberth of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder—the person who had invited Landsea to contribute to the IPCC's upcoming fourth assessment report." (David Schneider, American Scientist)

"Warming may bring Oregon monsoons" - "If you think a little bit of global warming might be just the thing to dry out the perpetually soggy Pacific Northwest, don't put your galoshes on eBay just yet. New research by a University of Oregon professor suggests a warmer world could mean wetter winters for many of us. Wet, as in monsoons." (The Register-Guard)

"Climate change could sour US maple sugaring" - "In a hundred years, Vermont maple syrup could be a rarity." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"German researchers warn of European sea level rise due to ocean circulation changes" - "One of the most immediate consequences of a reduction in ocean circulation, such as the Atlantic overturning circulation, would be marked changes in local sea levels, according to scientists in Germany.

Deep-ocean circulation is driven by the density differences between water masses - the result of differences in their temperature and salinity. This constant circulation means that the ocean's surface is not flat, but rather has hills and valleys associated with the currents.

Anders Levermann and his colleagues from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research investigated the effects of a possible shutdown of the Atlantic overturning circulation. They found that this would cause a sea level rise of up to one metre in the northern Atlantic, and a corresponding drop in sea level in the southern Atlantic, as the ocean's hills and valleys level themselves out." (Cordis)

From CO2 Science Magazine this week:

"The Dark Ages Cold Period in China" - "Just how cold was it?  And what drastic measures might the cold of that period have prompted the government of the Beiwei Dynasty to take a millennium and a half ago?" (co2science.org)

Subject Index Summaries:
"Temperature (Urbanization Effects - General)" - "How widespread is the urban heat island-induced contamination of earth's surface air temperature record?  Data from various parts of the world suggest it is nearly universal, even affecting tiny towns." (co2science.org)

"Weeds (Parasitic)" - "How does the "balance of power" between parasitic weeds and their host plants shift as the air's CO 2 content rises?" (co2science.org)

Plant Growth Data:
"This week we add new results (blue background) of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO 2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature for: Candle Anemone, Couch Grass, Smooth Brome and Sundial Lupine." (co2science.org)

Journal Reviews:
"Arctic Sea Ice Behavior" - "Arctic sea ice extent decreased significantly from 1988 to 2001, encouraging climate alarmists to claim the decline was caused by CO 2 -induced global warming.  However ..." (co2science.org)

"Glacier Fluctuations in Tropical Peru" - "What do they tell us about 20th-century warming?" (co2science.org)

"Winter Temperatures and Mortality in England" - "How are the two related?  And how does the strength of the relationship compare with the strength of the relationship that prevails in summer?" (co2science.org)

"Salinity, CO 2 and Citrus Trees" - "How does atmospheric CO 2 enrichment impact the deleterious consequences of salinity stress in citrus trees?" (co2science.org)

"Atmospheric DMS in Relation to Local Coral Cover" - "Concomitant measurements of dissolved DMS, water-to-air DMS fluxes, and atmospheric DMS concentrations confirm corals as a significant source of this climatically-important trace gas." (co2science.org)

"Radar tracking reveals that butterflies follow decisive flight paths" - "The charming meanderings of butterflies are not as random as they appear, according to new research. Scientists at Rothamsted Research in the UK have found that their seemingly irresolute flutterings are in fact decisive flight paths and have opened a new window on the flight behaviour of these important pollinating species." (Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council)

"The World's First Biotechnology-driven 'Blue Roses' -synonym for the impossible - have been successfully developed" - "SUNTORY LIMITED, jointly with Florigene Ltd., has successfully developed the world's first biotechnology-driven "blue rose." (Press Release)

"Contaminated Corn Can Create Risks For The Unborn" - "URBANA -- Miscarriages and infants born with neural tube defects are just two of the possible risks for pregnant women who consume corn that has been contaminated by the mycotoxin fumonisin produced by species of Fusarium which cause Fusarium ear and kernel rot of corn. Women who take vitamins containing folic acid when they are pregnant are more protected from the effects, but women in many countries may not be." (Science Daily)

"Egypt develops GM, others fight" - "In May of 2002, a number of southern African nations faced the worst food shortages in more than a decade when crop yields already weakened by poor management, political turmoil and the devastation wrought by AIDS were further aggravated by a summer of severe flooding, followed by an equally severe drought. Aid groups estimated that nearly 15 million people faced starvation. The international community acted quickly, with the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) promising a substantial amount of emergency food aid in the form of surplus crops, primarily from the United States, the WFPs chief donor. Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Mozambique politely declined." (Truth About Trade)

April 5, 2005

Something to trouble all thinking people: " Environment Put Center Stage at Corporations' Annual Meetings" - "WASHINGTON, D.C., Apr 4 - Investors concerned about environmental degradation and its long-term impact on corporate profits have launched a raft of proposals seeking to improve the "green" performance of some of America's top brand names.

Investors have asked the cosmetics company Avon to reformulate all its products to meet new European Union toxics regulations designed to phase out chemicals linked to cancer and birth defects.

Shareholders of oil majors ChevronTexaco, ConocoPhillips, and ExxonMobil have asked those firms to improve and account for their efforts to protect key natural and cultural sites.

As the 2005 season of corporate annual shareholder meetings gets under way, Friends of the Earth and four other environmental groups have endorsed some 49 pro-environment shareholder resolutions. For the groups, working with shareholder activists has become an important new front in a decades-long struggle once dominated by consumer boycotts and bad-publicity campaigns designed to shame companies for what critics saw as their environmental sins." (OneWorld)

When a misanthropist group begins endorsing shareholder resolutions there's probably something to worry about. When five Natur über alles groups do so, there's definitely plenty to worry about. The first thing is that such resolutions can seem quite innocuous but are not. What's the problem with a 'better safe than sorry' approach? Actually, just about everything. Let's just glance briefly at the EU's 'toxics' regulations rammed through by Green coalition-dependent minority governments. Their 'precautionary approach' is designed to weed out only egregious synthetic chemicals that pose unnecessary consumer risk, you think? Wrong. Even pure water has toxic, mutagenic and teratogenic effects in sufficient dosage, therefore H2O is a 'chemical of concern'? (For a delightfully tongue-in-cheek presentation on the 'hazards' of this prolific chemical, see http://www.dhmo.org/ [the acronym for di(2)-hydrogen (H2) monoxide (O) or H2O]) The so-called 'precautionary principle' which guides the formulation of these regulations errs in infinitely weighting the possibility of harm, no matter how miniscule, and infinitely depreciating the cost of such risk avoidance, leading to such ridiculous conflicts as avoiding lifesaving medication now because it may marginally elevate the risk of cancer in several decades time (always providing the patient should survive that long). There are ample consumer and liability laws to protect consumers from bad products. What we need now are shareholders responsible enough to protect corporates from bad resolutions.

Weekly Whipple: "Climate Skeptics Split Into Two Factions" - "UPI's Climate was reminded the other day there is a broad spectrum of interpretations of the science behind global climate change. Roger Pielke Jr., a professor of environmental studies at the University of Colorado in Boulder and the author of an excellent science Web log called Prometheus, took to task a recent column on adapting to warming, saying, "You equate 'climate skeptics' with those who support adaptation. Most climate skeptics do not support adaptation because it would mean admitting that there is a problem needing to be adapted to in the first place." Pielke added many who support adaptation are not skeptical of climate science at all. "Perhaps (they should be) more accurately described as 'climate realists," he said." (Dan Whipple, UPI)

Hmm... I suspect people have all sorts of secular positions (and reasons for holding them) that fall outside the eco-theistic 'toasted Earth' vision of climate hysterics. Whether you can determine factions of those who understand that climate change is both normal and expected (biosphere survivors have always had to adapt or die) and those who simply roll their eyes at the antics of the hysterics and have better things to do than get excited over unlikely hypotheses would seem moot and largely irrelevant.

"Scratching Your Head Over Climate Change" - "No day goes by without another story regarding global warming, and the latest news has scientists throughout the world scratching their heads about climate change. A team of scientists reports in the prestigious journal Science that dandruff levels in the atmosphere are surprisingly high, and the load of biological aerosols from flaking skin, fur, and pollen can make up between 25% and 80% of the aerosols in the atmosphere. These aerosols are important building blocks for clouds, and clouds remain the greatest mystery in the global warming debate. If our future has more high clouds, any greenhouse warming will be amplified, but if our future has more low clouds, their ability to reflect away solar radiation will dampen any warming caused by elevated concentrations of greenhouse gases. Clouds are widely recognized to be the wild cards in the greenhouse debate, and at present, clouds are notoriously poorly represented in numerical models of climate. The latest news about dandruff has implications for future clouds, and the results from the German team mean more uncertainty in predicting the future climate." (Robert Balling, TCS)

Something else to 'blame' 'global warming' for? "Snowpack Surveys Bode Well for L.A. Water Supply LADWP Reports Highest Snow Levels in a Decade" - "LOS ANGELES--April 4, 2005--The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) announced today that this season's persistent storms dropped the highest snowpack in a decade in the Eastern Sierra watershed, guaranteeing an ample supply of less expensive, high-quality water for the coming year.

LADWP officials said the final snow surveys of the winter season, which ended April 1, indicate that the Eastern Sierra has water content equal to 167 percent of normal -- marking the first above-normal snowpack since 1999 and the highest snowpack since 1995." (BUSINESS WIRE)

"AFRICA: Climate change becoming a matter of life and death" - "JOHANNEBURG, 4 Apr 2005 - Mount Kilimanjaro is drying up. Climate change, coupled with widespread deforestation of the slopes, is melting the ice and snow that has crowned Africa's highest peak for more than 11,000 years, dramatically altering the surrounding ecosystem. Scientists warn most of the glaciers may be gone by 2020." (IRIN)

"Adaptation the key to surviving climate change, scientists say" - "A climate change conference in Canberra has been told Australia needs to consider focussing on ways of adapting to our changing environment, rather than pouring money into trying to stop global warming.

The conference was organised by the Australian APEC Study Centre to consider the approach to climate change, in the wake of the failure of countries such as the United States and Australia to ratify the Kyoto protocol.

Several other key parties such as China, India and Italy have announced they will not accept greenhouse gas emission targets in a second commitment period for the protocol, effectively ending Kyoto in 2012.

Garth Paltridge, an emeritus Professor at the University of Tasmania, says he does not accept the doomsday scenario painted by many in the climate change debate.

"One hundred years ago when greenhouse warming was first mooted, the people at that time thought a bit of greenhouse warming of the world would be good for everybody. The only thing that's changed in the interim is that society seems to have become very fearful of any change whatsoever." (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

"Alan Oxley: Change the climate on emissions" - "THIS week experts on climate change descend on Australia for three international conferences. The Kyoto Protocol is moribund. All focus on the one question: What climate change strategies should we adopt in the future?

Two options have emerged: replace the fractured Kyoto model with another model using regulations to reduce greenhouse gases; or change tack and foster technologies that reduce emissions.

It was made crystal clear at the UN climate change conference in Argentina last November that the international community won't support global systems to regulate greenhouse gases. The US, China and developing countries decided Kyoto would not extend beyond 2012. Overtures by the European Union to extend it were rejected.

Most greens pretend this did not occur. They also ignore the fact that most governments are not persuaded by claims that global warming presents a cataclysmic threat. It they were, they would not have walked away from Kyoto." (The Australian)

"Court To Hear CO2 Emissions Case This Week" - "In 2003, the EPA threw out a petition that called on the agency to regulate green house gas emissions from new automobiles. In response, 12 states, 14 environmental groups, and three cities filed suits that have been rolled into one case that a three-judge panel of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia will hear this Friday.

Plaintiffs claim the Clean Air Act requires EPA to control emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from motor vehicles. But, CEI Senior Fellow Marlo Lewis disagrees with this assertion: "Far from EPA having a duty to restrict CO2 emissions, the agency has no authority to establish regulatory climate policies, period."

To read more by Lewis on this issue, please read "Junk Law: the CO2 Litigation of the State Attorneys General," in which Lewis notes that Congress has consistently either declined to adopt or specifically rejected regulatory approaches." (CEI)

"Behind the ANWR scare tactics" - "Despite failure of hard-core environmentalist organizations to diminish George W. Bush's convincing re-election victory, their renewed attacks on the president are clear: to obstruct his second-term environmental agenda." (M. David Stirling, The Washington Times)

"Carbon-credit price cap costly, Conservatives say" - "OTTAWA — The Liberal government's most recent plan for reducing greenhouse gas emissions would cap the costs of carbon credits at a price far below their current trading value -- a promise the Conservatives say will cost Canadians billions of dollars annually." (Globe and Mail)

"Anger over school wind turbines" - "Schools across England are erecting wind turbines to cut fuel bills and sell electricity to the national grid. Five schools in Co Durham, North Yorkshire, Leicestershire and Lincolnshire have installed the structures, which cost between £10,000 and £95,000 and can be more than 90ft high. Campaigners have condemned the spread of wind turbines and fear that thousands of rural schools will install them. They claim that the vast structures ruin the skyline, are heavily subsidised by taxpayers and generate small amounts of expensive electricity. Some worry about the noise." (London Telegraph)

"Arsenic rooted from water" - "One of the most problematic weeds in the world could prove useful for cleaning up water supplies contaminated with arsenic." (Chemical & Engineering News)

"Air pollution influences crop disease" - "An investigation spanning some 160 years of data has shown how air pollution is linked to plant diseases. The study reveals that industrial emissions directly affect which microbes attack wheat." (News @ Nature)

"Researchers pioneer new gene therapy technique using natural repair process" - "Harnessing the strength of a natural process that repairs damage to the human genome, a researcher from UT Southwestern Medical Center has helped establish a method of gene therapy that can accurately and permanently correct mutations in disease-causing genes. The findings are available online in Nature." (University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas)

"EU plans no move against Syngenta over illegal GMO" - "BRUSSELS, March 4 - EU authorities plan no action against the manufacturer of an unauthorised genetically modified (GMO) maize that found its way into Europe, and will leave the matter to the United States, the EU executive said on Monday." (Reuters)

"EU confident in biotech safeguards" - "BRUSSELS — The European Union's head office said Monday it had faith in its regulation of genetically altered products, despite the discovery of unauthorized imports from the United States of a biotech corn made by Switzerland-based Syngenta. EU spokesman Philip Tod said the EU "still had every confidence" in its contentious tracing and labeling rules on the use of genetically modified organisms, which critics have faulted for allowing the unapproved product be used in Europe." (Associated Press)

April 4, 2005

"Activists Push Kyoto Protocol Company by Company" - "It's shareholder resolution season and global warming is again a hot issue. Environmental activists and their partners in the investment community are turning up the heat on corporate managements to implement the activists' agenda. Some managers are resisting, but a disturbing number of others appear to be hoping appeasement works. Worst of all, most investors seem oblivious to the struggle and its significance." (Steve Milloy, New York Sun)

Will the real Flat Earth-ers please stand up? - The global warming believers at FlatEarthAward.org prominently ask visitors to their site,

Remember when scientists were attacked for believing that the earth was round? That same denial of scientific fact is now plaguing the world’s understanding of global warming.

The Flat Earth-ers, however, are as wrong about people being attacked for believing the Earth was round as they are about global warming." (JunkScience.com)

"The Big Business of Climate Change Research" - "In the climate change debate, or more generally for any environmental issue, there exists a widespread assumption that funds provided by "big business" are used to promote falsehoods, while funds going to environmental organizations represent the grassroots will of the people. The people are like David going up against an industrial Goliath, hoping to spread truth in the face of insurmountable odds. There is little doubt that the vast majority of the citizens who donate to environmental causes view the situation in this way." (Roy Spencer, TCS)

The Week That Was April 2, 2005 (SEPP)

"CNN's Predictable Distortion" - "Last November, my book on the distortion of the science of global warming hit the streets. If I had not finished it by then, I would have devoted a chapter to CNN's handling of the subject in its global warming documentary that aired on March 27 and is set to re-air three times on April 2. The thesis of my book is simple: All scientific issues, including global warming, compete with each other for a finite amount of taxpayer largesse. So, logically, in order to gain advantage in that competition, scientists tend to pitch dire and drastic scenarios whenever they can." (Patrick J. Michaels, Cato Institute)

"Green activists to challenge ExxonMobil on Kyoto stance" - "Exxonmobil, the world's biggest oil company, is facing a new showdown with environmental activists at its forthcoming annual general meeting. The company stands alone among the oil majors in actively and publicly questioning the mainstream science on global warming, opposing the Kyoto Protocol on climate change and insisting that only fossil fuels can meet the world's future energy needs." (London Independent)

"Climatologists discover deep-sea secret" - "Climate changes in the northern and southern hemispheres are linked by a phenomenon by which the oceans react to changes on either side of the planet." (Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona)

"Indian Ocean climate watch network grows" - "The US, Japan, India, China and Australia are banding together to strengthen a climate change newtork in the Indian Ocean." (CSIRO Australia)

"Canada: Kyoto supporters back off criticisms" - "Ottawa — Environmental groups that criticized Ottawa this week for introducing amendments to environmental-protection legislation as part of a budget bill now say they didn't intend to derail the minority government's plans to control greenhouse gases.

Greenpeace, the David Suzuki Foundation, Pollution Probe and five other groups in the environmental coalition said yesterday they are "united in our support for the use of [the Canadian Environmental Protection Act] by the federal government" to regulate emissions of greenhouse gases, which are blamed for global warming." (Globe and Mail)

Ah, unintended consequences... "Alarm bells over plantations" - "WHEN the world became worried about carbon dioxide and the greenhouse effect, not everyone was unhappy. With crisis comes opportunity." (Sunday Tasmanian)

"Greenhouse plan only 1st step" - "The draft plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions between 2008 and 2010 approved by the government's Global Warming Prevention Headquarters on Tuesday is the first step toward meeting Kyoto Protocol targets. According to the plan, the government will strengthen existing emissions-reduction measures including reducing carbon dioxide produced by incineration of waste and promoting the use of alternative gases as coolants to replace chloroflurocarbon." (Yomiuri Shimbun)

"New evidence: farming is huge source of greenhouse gases" - "AS much as a third of the pollution that is wrecking the climate in Scotland could be blamed on farmers and landowners, according to evidence submitted to ministers. Environmental groups claim that the vast volumes of greenhouse gases emitted by artificial fertilisers, farm machinery, crops and livestock have been seriously under-estimated." (Sunday Herald)

"Home fires in India help to melt arctic icecap half a world away" - "Poor women cooking family meals in India are helping to melt the Arctic icecap, startling new studies show. Soot from their fires gets wafted into the atmosphere to fall out on the ice thousands of miles away, hastening its disappearance." (London Independent)

"Burning wood for fuel could kill 10 million Africans" - "[NAIROBI] Widespread use of wood as a household fuel in sub-Saharan Africa will cause ten million premature deaths by 2030 and make a significant contribution to climate change, says a study published in Science today (1 April). The study predicts that unless African households adopt cleaner, more efficient fuels, the equivalent of 6.7 billion tonnes of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide will be released into the atmosphere by 2050." (SciDev.Net)

"US in race to unlock new energy source" - "Locked in mysterious crystals, the sediment beneath the Gulf of Mexico's seabed holds enough natural gas to fuel America's energy-guzzling society for decades, or to bring about sufficient climate change to melt the planet's glaciers and cause catastrophic flooding, depending on whom you talk to." (London Guardian)

"Windmills blow ill for birds" - "As Illinois pushes for clean energy from the wind, questions remain about the environmental effects of the giant wind turbines now emerging on the state's farmlands." (Chicago Tribune)

"Storms Mean Good Year For California Hydropower" - "LOS ANGELES - California will have more hydropower than usual this year as the storms which normally feed the Pacific Northwest's massive dams took a more southerly route, state utilities said Friday." (Reuters)

"Montenegro Abandons Plans to Flood Tara Gorge" - "PODGORICA, Serbia and Montenegro - Montenegro has abandoned plans to build a dam that would flood parts of its cherished Tara gorge, yielding to public pressure and warnings from the United Nations, officials said on Friday." (Reuters)

"World Bank Approves Loan For Laos Dam" - "WASHINGTON - The World Bank on Thursday approved the $1.2 billion Nam Theun 2 hydroelectric dam in Laos, capping a decade of debate on a controversial project in one of the world's poorest countries." (Reuters)

"WWF Assails World Bank Dam Project in Laos" - "GENEVA - The World Wide Fund (WWF) on Friday slammed the World Bank's backing of a $1.2 billion hydroelectric dam in Laos, saying the controversial project would disrupt farming and fishing." (Reuters)

"The Regulatory Roach Motel" - "Imagine that our country had a strange law under which foreign citizens were entitled to rent homes here at bargain prices. For a while, our housing market operates relatively well despite this law. While foreign citizens take advantage of it, their numbers are small compared to the masses of Americans who continue to pay market rates, and those rates are high enough to encourage the construction of needed new housing." (Sam Kazman, TCS)

"Nuclear Medicine" - "Users of the popular eczema medications Elidel and Protopic will have been stunned by the recent announcement that the Food and Drug Administration is to require the medicines to carry "a strong advisory about a cancer risk" (Reuters, March 11). An FDA panel recommended a "black box" warning be included on the ointments' packaging. A "black box" is the strongest warning carried on medicines. Yet the reasoning for the warning is hotly disputed by not only the manufacturers, but also by independent bodies like the American Academy of Dermatology and the National Eczema Association for Science and Education. In fact, there is no real clinical evidence for any association with cancer. The FDA appears to have deployed its "nuclear option" for other reasons." (Iain Murray, TCS)

"Global study reveals algae in world’s water is causing Alzheimer’s disease" - "A HIGHLY toxic acid that could cause degenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s has been discovered in the algal blooms that plague waters in Scotland and around the world. Scientists fear that the spread of “blue-green” algae across lochs and seas, caused by pollution, is now putting human health at risk. There is “a potential for widespread human exposure” to the toxin in the algae, they warn. Algal blooms in Scotland are known to be fed by discharges from sewers, and some of them have proved toxic to fish, shellfish and pets. But until now they have never been linked to the occurrence of brain disease in humans." (Sunday Herald)

"Forest service, environmentalists at odds over Smokey's message" - "Environmentalists and the Forest Service disagree over the benefits of a controlled burn." (Associated Press)

"Amphibians in jeopardy" - "Frogs and salamanders are among the most vulnerable living things to environmental changes. They are often thought of as ''canaries in the coal mine'' because loss of amphibians can signal other species and entire ecosystems are at risk.

For five years, a group of researchers in the Ecology and Management of Invasive Plants Program at Cornell University in Ithaca has focused research on the role foreign plants, worms and insects play in changing the habitat of local amphibians when amphibians are known to be in sharp decline worldwide. Foreign plants have fundamentally changed the ecosystems of several New York amphibians, and in many cases made it harder for them to survive -- often in complex and inconspicuous ways." (Poughkeepsie Journal)

"Roundup® highly lethal to amphibians, finds University of Pittsburgh researcher" - "In a study published today in the journal Ecological Applications, University of Pittsburgh assistant professor of biology Rick Relyea found that Roundup®, the second most commonly applied herbicide in the United States, is "extremely lethal" to amphibians. This field experiment is one of the most extensive studies on the effects of pesticides on nontarget organisms in a natural setting, and the results may provide a key link to global amphibian declines." (University of Pittsburgh Medical Center)

"Mystery of salmon who don’t return" - "THE number of wild salmon returning to Ireland has halved in the past decade, prompting an international investigation into why so many are dying. Irish rivers are famous for producing some of the best wild salmon in the world, but scientists say a strange phenomenon is wiping out migrating fish in the Atlantic. Just a decade ago, a million salmon returned to Irish shores every year to spawn but now the number is less than 500,000. It is thought the dramatic loss of fish at sea could be linked to global warming and its effect on the salmon’s ocean habitat. Irish scientists have joined an international probe into the decline, using high-tech tags and DNA technology." (The Sunday Times)

"Oil platforms considered for tapping into fish farms in the Gulf" - "Thousands of oil and natural gas platforms in the Gulf of Mexico could be converted into deep-sea fish farms raising red snapper, mahi mahi, yellow fin tuna and flounder, under a plan backed by the Bush administration." (Associated Press)

New Site 'GoldenRice.org': Biofortification, a contribution to the alleviation of life-threatening micronutrient deficiencies in developing countries

"Transgenic cows have udder success: Dairy herds with bacterial gene could cream mastitis" - "Each year, the dairy industry loses billions of dollars to mastitis, an infection of cows' milk glands. Now researchers have succeeded in genetically engineering cows to resist this disease. The bacterial infection causes inflammation and swelling, and a loss in milk production. Combined with the cost of treating the disease, this adds up to a loss of about $2 billion a year in the United States, and $200 million in Britain." (News @ Nature)

"Philippines at forefront of using biotechnology in agriculture" - "The Philippines is at the forefront of using biotechnology as an alternative means to ensure food security and alleviate poverty, and women are playing a bigger role in its propagation. Dr. Clive James, visiting chairman of the board of directors of the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Application (ISAAA), 8.1 million farmers worldwide who benefited from biotechnology were subsistence farmers in developing countries. In the Philippines, some 50,000 subsistence farmers plant Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) corn which is resistant to the dreaded Asiatic corn borer." (BusinessWorld Online)

"South American Ministers Reject Monsanto Soy Royalty Plan" - "BUENOS AIRES - Farm ministers from Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay -- the world's top soybean exporters behind the United States -- on Friday shunned a bid by US biotech pioneer Monsanto to charge royalties on genetically modified soybeans when they are harvested." (Reuters)

"Angry Over Imports of Unauthorised GMO Maize" - "BRUSSELS - Unauthorised genetically modified (GMO) maize has found its way into Europe in food and animal feed, angering EU authorities and highlighting European sensitivity over the issue, the EU executive said on Friday." (Reuters)

"Genetic colonialism: Mexico and the corn law --and degrees of caution" - "The Law of Biosecurity for Genetically Modified Organisms, signed recently by President Vicente Fox, is the latest flash point of contention over the idea of lab-altered food, crops and medicine." (Chicago Tribune)

April 1, 2005

"Vaccination-Autism Link Unproven" - "Radio shock jock Don Imus is on a rampage about the vaccine preservative thimerosal (search) allegedly causing autism. A closer look at the facts, however, reveals that while thimerosal is safe, Imus unfortunately appears to be suffering from a case of Charlie McCarthy Syndrome, with his eco-crusader wife as the ventriloquist." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

Transcript: Kudlow & Company - Steven Milloy of the Free Enterprise Action Fund discusses his organization's work against so-called "corporate social responsibility." (CNBC News Transcripts)

"Free Enterprise Mutual Fund Seeks to Counter Leftist Influence" - "Motivated by what it sees as a politically motivated left wing attack on big business, a new investment group has launched the Free Enterprise Action Fund. The mutual fund, which took nearly two years to prepare and officially opened for investment on March 1, was specifically designed to "promote ... our system of free enterprise," according to the fund's website.

Steve Milloy, advisor to the Free Enterprise Action Fund, told Cybercast News Service that the organization was formed out of "dismay at how corporations were attacked and doing a lousy job of defending themselves." (CNSNews.com)

In the land of fruits and nuts: "Legislature considers bill to ban chemical from kids' products" - "Bisphenol A, a chemical found in hard plastic baby bottles, liners inside canned food and some water containers, lies at the center of controversy as the California Legislature considers a bill to ban it in children's products. If passed, California would be the first state to limit its use." (San Francisco Chronicle)

II: "Cosmetics' dangerous wrinkle" - "Assemblywoman Judy Chu believes some shampoos, deodorants and other everyday cosmetics are hazardous to your health because they contain phthaltes, chemicals linked to cancer, infertility and birth defects. Yesterday she submitted legislation that would ban their use in cosmetics." (Sacramento Bee)

"Let's Talk About Real Carcinogens, Like This Fungus" - "There's a lot of media coverage of this carcinogen and that. Almost exclusively, however, the reports deal with synthetic chemicals that supposedly present intolerable risks to the most vulnerable populations -- infants and children. But in many cases, if not most, the evidence of risk is not substantiated by sound science. There are, however, naturally-occurring chemicals that are known to be carcinogenic. One might say, "Well, if they occur naturally, there's nothing to be done about them." But that's not true -- one case in point is that of fumonisins, chemicals that are toxic and carcinogenic to animals and humans, produced by fungi that grow on corn. And what can be done is to grow gene-spliced corn that lessens the possibility that the fungi can attack the corn." (Ruth Kava, ACSH)

"Another study finds no cell phone-brain cancer link" - "NEW YORK - Another study that investigated the potential link between mobile phone use and brain cancer adds to the growing body of evidence against any such association, even among long-time users of mobile phones." (Reuters Health)

"Diet controls methylmercury in fish eggs" - "A fish’s diet before she spawns—not, as previously assumed, the amount of methylmercury stored in her body—controls the amount of methylmercury in her eggs. This finding means that the concentration of methylmercury in fish eggs is highly sensitive to seasonal changes in dietary methylmercury." (Environmental Science & Technology)

"Malthusian Alarmism Is Back In The News" - "The United Nations Environment Program is claiming humanity has already used up two-thirds of the world's resources-yet again underestimating available natural resources and the role of human ingenuity in solving such problems. Senior Fellow Iain Murray commented, "They're at it again. The public has grown tired of these Malthusian malcontents constantly crying wolf, which is probably why the public no longer ranks the environment in the top ten issues it is concerned about." CEI adjunct and former Warren Brookes fellow Ron Bailey testified on the problems with Malthusian analysis to Congress last year. Examples of the sort of "no regrets" policies that will protect the environment while contributing to human prosperity can be found in this paper." (CEI)

Sadly, not an April Fools: "Govt to Ban Ozone-Damaging Asthma Inhalers in 2009" - "WASHINGTON - Some asthma inhalers made with ozone-damaging chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) propellants will be banned in the United States starting in 2009, U.S. regulators said on Thursday. Adequate supplies of alternative inhalers will be available by that time, the Food and Drug Administration said. The ban applies to albuterol metered-dose inhalers, which asthma patients use to help open air passages and ease breathing, that contain CFCs." (Reuters)

"Himalayan snow job" - "Recently, a World Wildlife Fund press release was picked up by Reuters. "Himalayan glaciers are among the fastest-retreating glaciers globally due to the effects of global warming," the advocacy group announced. WWF timed its press release for a two-day Energy and Environmental Ministerial conference in London, where the United States was (predictably) criticized because it won't commit economic suicide by adopting the Kyoto Protocol on global warming." (Patrick J. Michaels, The Washington Times)

Ford's appeasement at work - 'Fossil Fools': " International Day of Intervention at Ford Motor Company Dealers!" - "How much more greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate chaos can the earth tolerate? How many more US soldiers will have to die in wars for oil? How many more rainforests will we allow to be converted into oil fields? How many more oil spills?" (jumpstartford.com)

Blah, blah, blah... coupled with RAN's kid front group, "Energy Action" - "On Friday, April 1, thousands of people across the U.S., Canada and the U.K. will come together as part of the Second Annual Fossil Fools Day. Last year, some 130 actions were organized to demand clean and renewable energy. This year, we hope you can help us reach the goal of 360 events by organizing a Fossil Fools Day event on your campus." No real surprise since RAN seem to specialise in kiddie protest.

Bloomberg's April Fool? "Blair Should Appoint `Minister for Climate Change,' Panel Says" - "April 1 -- Prime Minister Tony Blair should appoint a minister for climate change to see that the U.K. meets targets for cutting ``greenhouse'' gases, a panel of Members of Parliament recommended in a report. ``What is needed is someone with sufficient ministerial clout to be able to knock heads together,'' Michael Jack, chairman of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, said in a statement for release today. ``A climate change czar won't do, it must be a minister.'' (Bloomberg)

and we thought it was people not covering their mouths when they sneeze... "Do dandruff and climate change go together?" - WASHINGTON - Many types of emissions have been tied to climate change and air pollution, but a new study has come up with a novel suspect: dandruff." (MSNBC)

"CO2 rise forces energy rethink" - "Carbon dioxide emissions are rising rapidly in the UK, forcing the government to consider a range of new measures to keep its pledge to combat climate change. Figures from the Department of Trade and Industry yesterday show that rather than falling as planned, carbon dioxide emissions have risen rapidly - by 2.2% in 2003 and 1.5% in 2004. With the last Labour manifesto pledging to cut emissions on 1990 levels by 20% by 2010, the government has realised that drastic action is required to tackle the problem." (The Guardian)

We understand hairnets will be made mandatory in order to slow the flow of global warming dandruff.

"Charcoal and forest management could reduce greenhouse gas levels & save lives in Africa" - "A study by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, and the Harvard School of Public Health, finds that promoting cleaner, more efficient technologies for producing charcoal in Africa can save millions of lives." (Harvard School of Public Health)

"Emissions amendment no problem for mining industry" - "Ottawa — The mining industry says it has no problem with a proposal to regulate greenhouse-gas emissions, a key provision in the minority Liberal government's environmental policy and one that threatens a political crisis when Parliament begins its spring session. Pierre Gratton, spokesman for the Mining Association of Canada, said yesterday that the industry wants politicians from all parties to get on with the business of implementing a program to cut greenhouse gases rather than prolonging uncertainty about what will be required to meet Canada's commitments under the Kyoto protocol on climate change. Canadian mining operations are responsible for about 1.5 per cent of the country's emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases." (Globe and Mail)

"An unlikely meeting of the minds" - "Environmentalists aren't the only ones applauding the sales stumble of big SUVs and pickups in the face of high gas prices." (Washington Post)

Smoking? "Grass makes environmentally friendly biofuel" - "Jerry Cherney, the E.V. Baker Professor of Agriculture at Cornell University, says that burning grass pellets for fuel is economical, energy-efficient, environmentally friendly and easy to produce. It is a very promising sustainable alternative energy source but has no government support to move the industry forward." (Cornell University News Service)

"New fuel cell drives around hydrogen economy roadblocks" - "As gasoline prices climb ever higher, the possibility of a hydrogen economy gleams more brightly. But two Northwestern University engineers argue the importance of getting more out of the fuel we are already using. They have developed a new solid oxide fuel cell that converts a liquid transportation fuel into hydrogen which is then used by the fuel cell to produce energy. The cells could lead to cost-effective, clean and efficient electrical-power sources." (Northwestern University)

"Drought Takes Toll on Transgenic Soy" - "RIO DE JANEIRO, Mar 31 - Drought in southern Brazil has reduced this year's soybean harvest dramatically in Rio Grande do Sul state -- and added fuel to the heated national debate about transgenic crops. Genetically modified (GM) soy, which accounts for the majority of soybean production in the southern state, suffered greater losses than conventional soy varieties, according to reports by local growers. That is to be expected, says Narciso Barison, president of APASSUL, a state association of seed producers, because transgenic seeds are smuggled into Brazil from Argentina and are not intended for the local climate, so proved less resistant to the water shortage." (IPS)

I can never figure out whether items like those below come from people avoiding their medication or those excessively self-medicating...

"Biotech is devil's friend, says film 'Future of Food'" - "Deborah Koons Garcia has never shied away from a food fight. In her 20s, she would berate friends who ate meat. At 55, she has calmed down a little, but not much. "I'm almost like a food fanatic, but I'm not so evangelical now," she says during a phone interview from her home in Marin County." (Sacramento Bee)

"Joint US-UK cover-up alleged over GM maize" - "The whereabouts of 170,000 tonnes of contaminated GM maize and its possible import into the UK has caused an international investigation and claims of a cover-up on both sides of the Atlantic." (The Guardian)