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Archives - April 2006

April 28, 2006

"'Green' Politicians Add to Gas Price Woes" - "Amid the race between politicians to capitalize on consumer anger at high gas prices, at least one member of Congress, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., expressed a much-needed perspective on the problem -- these same politicians own a share of the blame." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"Congress, states look to tax oil firms' profits" - "As public ire rises over high gas prices, it threatens to trigger a backlash against oil companies and their huge profits.

So politicians - from Washington, D.C., to Pennsylvania, and California - are pulling out a legislative fix from an earlier oil-price spike: a windfall profit tax that would raise tens of billions of dollars annually. There are problems. The tax generated far less revenue than expected and actually trimmed domestic oil production when it tried a quarter-century ago." (Christian Science Monitor)

"Peak Oil Panic" - "Is the planet running out of gas? If it is, what should the Bush administration do about it?" (Ronald Bailey, Reason)

"Ethanol sweetens price prospects for sugar" - "MANILA/NEW YORK - World sugar prices are likely to defy gravity in the next 12 months as key producing countries churn out ethanol as an alternative fuel after oil prices spiked to stratospheric highs." (Reuters)

"How to bring renewable energy to N.M.?" - "FARMINGTON -- The New Mexico Climate Change Advisory Group, charged by Gov. Bill Richardson with developing methods to decrease pollution, asked a consultant Wednesday to weigh the advantages of 67 renewable-energy options." (The Daily Times)

"Could trash power your home?" - "A Collingwood-area township has an ambitious plan to start addressing Ontario's twin shortages — landfill space and electricity. Southgate Township officials announced yesterday they have a deal with a private company to build a gasification facility that cooks garbage, producing a gas, that can be turned into electricity." (Toronto Star)

"Ministers bullish on biomass fuel" - "The UK government says energy from crops, trees and waste can play a key role in meeting targets on renewable power and cutting CO2 emissions." (BBC)

"Gorbachev urges G8 to back solar power, not oil or nuclear" - "Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev on Wednesday urged the world's biggest industrialised nations to set up a 50-billion-dollar (44-billion-euro) fund to support solar power, warning that oil or nuclear energy were not viable energy sources for the future." (AFP)

"Chernobyl anniversary becomes weapon in nuclear lobbying war" - "In Short: Nuclear power lobbyists as well as green NGOs and renewable energy champions are using the 20th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe to strengthen their case for or against a "nuclear renaissance." (EurActiv)

"Gov. Bush makes push for more nuclear power plants in state" - "TALLAHASSEE -- A generation after Chernobyl and Three Mile Island, Gov. Jeb Bush wants Florida to take a second look at nuclear power. In an energy plan being debated in the Legislature, the governor proposes removing barriers to the construction of nuclear plants, partly by allowing utilities to pass some costs on to customers years before a plant goes into operation." (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)

"Finland buries its nuclear past" - "An unprepossessing tunnel entrance set in low forest on the western coast of Finland marks the probable final resting place of the country's most dangerous nuclear waste. While British authorities agonise over what to do with the legacy of half a century of nuclear power, Finland is one of a handful of countries which has embarked on the journey towards a "final" waste solution." (BBC)

"G.E., Betting on the Future, Finances a Solar Farm in Portugal" - "The sheep that have long grazed on 150 acres of farmland in Serpa, Portugal, will soon have to share their space with the world's largest solar energy plant. Next month the PowerLight Corporation, using $75 million of the General Electric Company's money, will begin installing the first of what will be 52,000 solar panels, capable of generating 11 megawatts of electricity — enough to light and heat 8,000 homes." (New York Times)

"World's Biggest Solar Farm Planned for New Mexico" - "LOS ANGELES - Two start-up companies and New Mexico plan a US$1.6 billion solar power farm that would be 30 times the size of the world's biggest one now, with enough power for 240,000 homes." (Reuters)

"Gore picks pals over Cape Wind" - "Given his commitment to the environment, you'd think Al Gore would be a big booster of Cape Wind. Think again. Seems the former VP values his friendship with the Kennedys even more than the megawatts of clean, renewable energy the wind farm would yield. ''Based on what I know, I'm for it, but I also respect the opponents -- Bobby Kennedy Jr. is a friend of mine," Gore said after Tuesday's screening of ''An Inconvenient Truth," Davis Guggenheim's didactic documentary about global warming. Pressed by the invite-only crowd at Loews Boston Common to use his influence to push the project, Gore copped out: ''I didn't come to pick a fight." Bill Clinton's sidekick called himself a ''recovering politician," but he sure sounded like an unrecovered one bashing the media for ignoring important issues. ''Whether Russell Crowe threw a telephone at a concierge is important, apparently," he sniffed. The Tennessean also took a shot at MIT prof Richard Lindzen, who's questioned the science behind global warming. ''His views are wrong," said Gore. ''That's the most charitable I can be." (Boston Globe)

"ScottishPower gets go-ahead for Europe's biggest onshore windfarm" - "Engineers were yesterday granted permission by the Scottish Executive to build the largest onshore windfarm in Europe, after they agreed to erect a new radar tower for Glasgow airport. ScottishPower's new windfarm, at Whitelee, south of Glasgow, will cost £300m to build and its 140 turbines will produce enough electricity to power 200,000 homes. The new facility, the company's second big windfarm in Scotland's central belt, is expected to generate some 322 MW of electricity when it enters full operation in 2009." (The Guardian)

"Sickening Incompetence" - "The World Bank needs to clean up its act when it comes to preventing malaria." (Philip Coticelli & Justin Schwab, NRO)

"Uganda: Indoor spraying of DDT is Ok" - "HEALTH minister Jim Muhwezi has told the Parliamentary Committee on Social Services that government will soon start indoor spraying of DDT. There is no evidence that DDT has injured humans. In fact the use of DDT helped eradicate mosquito borne diseases like malaria in countries like America and Italy." | The NRM govt will eradicate malaria (New Vision)

"Mosquito Isn't a Happy Host for Malaria, Tests Indicate" - "Many mosquitoes seem to kill naturally the malaria parasites they ingest, and it may be possible to exploit that genetic trait to fight malaria, according to a study being published today. Researchers have long dreamed of inserting an antimalaria gene into mosquitoes, but this study suggests for the first time that this may be unnecessary because "most mosquitoes are malaria-resistant and the susceptible ones are the oddballs," said Dr. Kenneth D. Vernick, a microbiologist at the University of Minnesota and the lead author." (New York Times) | Summary | Full Text | PDF (Science)

"Junk food child-ad rules 'a sham'" - "Plans to curb food advertising aimed at children have been dismissed as a "total sham", by consumer group Which?." (BBC)

"Michigan Senate approves bill on genetically modified seeds" - "LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate signed off on legislation Thursday that aims to block local regulation of genetically modified crops. The bill, which heads to Gov. Jennifer Granholm, would pre-empt local governments in Michigan from adopting ordinances that regulate or ban the planting of seeds, including genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. But it includes an exception allowing for local regulation if the bipartisan state Commission of Agriculture agrees the seeds will hurt the environment or public health." (Associated Press)

"Australia: States urged to drop GM bans" - "The Federal Government is calling on the states to lift their bans on genetically modified (GM) crops. A review of the legislation governing GM crops has found state moratoria are detrimental to Australian agriculture. Most states and the ACT have bans on commercial GM crops." (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

"Studies to investigate GM crop issues" - "The Federal Government has placed further pressure on the states to lift their bans on genetically modified crops by announcing eight case studies into the sector's most contentious issues. The studies will be done by the Bureau of Rural Sciences and the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics, and the private sector will contribute." (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

"Cracks start to show in EU GMO policy" - "In Short: EU Commissioner Stavros Dimas has infuriated the biotech industry by admitting to the uncertainties surrounding the long-term safety of genetically modified crops at a conference in Vienna." (EurActiv)

"How green got posh" - "From Julia Roberts to David Cameron, a well-heeled eco-elite are adopting environmental causes wholesale. The problem is - it's at the expense of everyone else, argues Lucy Siegle." (New Statesman)

"Cheer up, Earth Day is over" - "Now that we have survived another Earth Day—the annual attempt to heal the planet by making its human inhabitants feel worse—I have a short quiz to cheer you up:" (John Tierney, New York Times)

"US Air Quality Has Improved in Past Decade: Report" - "WASHINGTON - US residents can breathe a bit easier than they did a decade ago, as the number of days that air quality was deemed unhealthy has fallen, according to a report by the American Lung Association on Thursday." (Reuters)

"UNH scientists help NASA unlock global air quality puzzle" - "DURHAM, N.H. -- The National Aeronautic and Space Administration's (NASA) DC-8 research aircraft is arguably the world's most sophisticated flying laboratory and scientists from the University of New Hampshire have been onboard the jet conducting one-of-a-kind science for the past two decades. UNH research associate professor and atmospheric chemist Jack Dibb and research project engineer Eric Scheuer are currently on the jetliner among a select group of scientists taking part in NASA's Intercontinental Chemical Transport Experiment, or INTEX-B. This two-phase experiment is aimed at understanding the transport and transformation of gases and aerosols on transcontinental and intercontinental scales and assessing their impact on global air quality and climate." (University of New Hampshire)

Hot air trade not so hot: "European carbon market rattled as prices dive" - "LONDON, April 27 - European carbon prices continued a collapse on Thursday that has wiped up to 50 percent off the value of carbon credits over the past week, testing the implementation of the EU's Kyoto strategy. The price slide was poised to continue, traders said, depending on the release of key 2005 emissions data over the next 2 weeks, potentially leaving the market in the doldrums until its second phase from 2008. The scheme embraces a large chunk of the bloc's international Kyoto commitment to tackle climate change. A clutch of countries reported this week that their 2005 carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions were far below expectation, crashing demand for permits to pollute and so taking the floor from underneath the EU's carbon credit market. The degree of surprise at the news partly reflected the immaturity of the market, which was launched January 2005, traders said." (Reuters) | Emissions trade prices drop again | Carbon trade on trial (Financial Times)

We have to wonder what people expected. Did they learn nothing from the dot.bomb debacle? In the same manner that internet real estate produced nothing in and of itself (web sites created hysteria but nothing tangible) we have people expecting to profit from trading exactly nothing. No rational observer expected countries to yield advantage by imposing any genuine restriction on energy use and/or carbon emission (this is, after all, a purely political assault on the strength of the US economy and the US didn't fall for it). Even if countries were silly enough to impose literal caps then manufacturing will simply relocate or purchase tuppeny tickets to exhale from Freddy's Hot Air Exchange, who will have an inexhaustible supply of penny ante "credits" from those who won't cut down valueless scrub or crop infertile land. That people put money into such schemes suggests there might be a shortage of bridges for sale.

"Ten States, DC Sue EPA Over Power Plant Emissions" - "NEW YORK - Ten states plus New York City and Washington, D.C., sued the US Environmental Protection Agency Thursday, claiming newly adopted emissions standards do not do enough to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. The states said that the EPA was refusing to regulate carbon dioxide emissions under the Clean Air Act, despite what they say is clear evidence that such emissions contribute to global warming, thereby harming "public health and welfare." (Reuters)

Sad news guys, there's absolutely no such evidence - zip, nada, not a scrap.

"What Fraction of Global Warming is Due to the Radiative Forcing of Increased Atmospheric Concentrations of CO2?" - "This is a long weblog. The bottom line conclusions are written here to motivate reading the entire weblog. CONCLUSIONS: 1. The primary focus on carbon dioxide inappropriately deemphasizes the first order importance of the other climate system heat system forcings (both cooling and warming forcings), as well as does not address the spatially complex, and incompletely understood, actual pattern of global climate system heat changes. 2. Attempts to significantly influence regional and local-scale climate based on controlling CO2 emissions alone is an inadequate policy for this purpose." (Climate Science)

"Climate change-conscious Aspen gives away gas" - "Aspen produces roughly double the national average of greenhouse gas emissions, and the city is giving away gas for tourists to drive here. Road trippers heading to Aspen this summer will receive a free tank of gas with a stay of two or more nights at a local hotel. They also get passes to the Aspen Recreation Center, two bus rides to the Maroon Bells and two one-day bicycle rentals." (Aspen Times)

"Akasofu: Global warming causes not proven" - "WASHINGTON--When would they yell "fire!" about global warming, Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg asked Bush administration officials at a hearing Wednesday, after the officials repeatedly declined to recommend action. The officials weren't moved by the New Jersey senator's plea, but his metaphor drew a response a few minutes later from Syun-Ichi Akasofu, director of the International Arctic Research Center in Fairbanks. "We're not sure if the house is really on fire, and to put the water there, making water damage, may be more damaging," Akasofu said." (Fairbanks News-Miner)

"Warming Eases Northwest Passage, Author Says" - "Morning Edition, April 27, 2006 · European explorers spent centuries searching for a passage through the ice at the top of the world. The Northwest Passage, a shortcut to Asia, proved elusive until about 100 years ago, when Norway's Roald Amundsen completed a three-year journey. These days, thanks to global warming and a receding ice cover, the voyage is easier to complete, says explorer James Delgado, author of Across the Top of the World." (NPR)

"Climate change: 20th century the wettest in Pakistan for 1,000 years" - "Since the beginning of industrialisation the amount of precipitation in Pakistan has increased considerably. This is shown by what is the first evaluation worldwide of isotopes in the annual rings of juniper trees which are more than 1,000 years old. In the current issue of the journal 'Nature', scientists from the Swiss Research Institute WSL, the Potsdam Geo Research Centre, the Jülich Research Centre and the University of Bonn report that these show that the 20th century was the wettest century in the past millennium in northern Pakistan. The reason could be global warming: when the temperature rises, the atmosphere can store more humidity, which in turn results in more snow and rain falling. The increase in precipitation is unprecedented, at least for the last 1,000 years. The researchers therefore conclude that human influence is not unlikely." (University of Bonn)

More on the 'global warming'-inspired increase in Himalayan snowfalls while, um, Himalayan glaciers are allegedly shrinking due to - you guessed it - 'global warming'-inspired decrease in Himalayan snowfalls. Isn't this a fun game?

April 27, 2006

"Death by ecology" - "Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot. The great mass murderers of the 20th century had one thing in common beyond their predilection for amassing power and their utter disregard for human life: they, and the political 'philosophy' they espoused, was based on a premise of absolute control over the societies they governed. But there is at least one more name that should be added to that list, and while she may not have shared the same meglomanical pursuit of power the others did, the result of her efforts created the unintended consequence of leading to the deaths of millions. Her name was Rachel Carson, the patron saint of Earth Day." (Dan Sernoffsky, Opinion editorials)

"Flu pandemic would peak in UK within four months" - "Within two months of the first pandemic flu case anywhere in the world, it would arrive in the UK. It would peak here two months later with countless thousands likely to have died, but the worst would be over within four months." (The Guardian)

"The Battle of Hamburger Hill" - "Ah, the strange paradox that is the European Commission. Where else would you find owners of four-wheel-drives claiming to fight for the environment? Or people earning astronomical salaries talking about equality as the cornerstone of the European social model? Staunch defenders of justice and fairness who serve as public prosecutor, judge and appeals panel all at the same time in anti-trust cases? (Ok, fair enough, apart from the latter, which is uniquely European, you can find them in every other political capital in the western world. But I'm trying to make a point here, so indulge me for a minute...)" (Joshua Livestro, TCS Daily)

Uh-huh... "Addictions bleed nearly $40B a year from economy: study" - "Addictions to tobacco, alcohol and illegal drugs cost the Canadian economy $39.8 billion a year, according to survey results released Wednesday." (CBC News)

These loss of productivity component costs are always fun. Back in the mists of time I was involved in modelling workplace ergonomics when time and motion analyses were being evaluated. Being somewhat old fashioned it was my wont to actually go to enterprise locations and check the submitted plots and measurements (it's amazing how poor people are at mapping even limited spaces - but that's another anecdote). On one occasion I observed 4 employees, we'll call them Brothers A through D, spend 20 minutes discussing football and how they were doing in the weekly betting pool until their supervisor approached, when the conversation loudly changed to how terrible it was that Brother E wasted 5 minutes having a cigarette. After the supervisor promised to speak to Brother E about his shirking and unfairly leaving his work to Brothers A through D, all dispersed, presumably to actually do something. Obviously the time and motion group sought and got a report from the supervisor on what the idle group was about (noted from time lapse footage, probably) because during the modelling discussions there was a listing "cig break time lost 100 employee minutes" for the period in question. Whether nicotine-craving Brother E actually did more or less work than Brothers A through D I have no idea but I do know one heck of a lot of wasted enterprise time got booked to cigarette breaks that were nothing of the sort.

"When Do The Monkeys Get To Vote?" - "After learning of the Socialist Party’s interest in passing a parliamentary initiative that would equate men with monkeys, the obvious question is: are monkeys going to be allowed to vote in the next general elections? Knowing the socialists, all this interest in caring for simian has to have electoral echo among chimpanzees. It sounds like a joke, but sadly it is not. We have an administration that reduces individual freedom, disdains life and attacks the family. But wait… it has time enough to ensure primates get their due in Parliament." (Ignacio Villa, Spain Herald)

Sigh... "Reverse human evolution plausible, testable, U.S. biologist says" - "A much-derided theory that five people who walk on all fours are products of “backward evolution” is plausible, and testable, said a U.S. biologist who weighed in on the controversy last week." (World Science)

Sadly, many people seem to have enough trouble with the concept of "evolution" without supposedly authoritative sites mislabelling single-generational mutation. Hat tip David D'Haese, who comments briefly here.

"Costly Conscience" - "A recent draft opinion for the European Parliament's Committees on International Trade and Development strongly embraces the principles of so-called "fair trade". Socialist MEP Jörg Leichtfried, calls on the European Commission to "promote educational programmes to raise awareness of the merits of fair trade". It wants the Commission to "undertake a study to examine how Fair Trade could develop into a model for a sustainable trade policy" and to "organise exploratory research to establish clear and widely-applicable criteria against which consumers assurance schemes can be assessed, underpinning consumer confidence in such schemes"." (Nima Sanandaji, TCS Daily)

"Geoinformation from space sharpens population density maps" - "In response to a growing demand for sharpened census data, GeoVille Information Systems has developed 'real-world population' maps based on Earth observation, under a contract named EO-STAT awarded by ESA, which can assist the private and public sector in fields such as geomarketing, market research, business location analysis, risk assessment and transport and urban planning." (European Space Agency)

"How does your city grow? A view of urban sprawl from outer space" - "Recent urban development in Los Angeles is less scattered than recent development in Boston. Miami is America's most compact big city and Pittsburgh its most sprawling. Changing the number or size of municipal governments in a metro area has no impact on whether or not urban development is scattered, but controlling access to groundwater does. These are among the startling findings from a University of Toronto-based team of researchers who used satellite data." (University of Toronto)

"Taking out a killer asteroid – with a tame one" - "It sounds like a Hollywood blockbuster. A potentially deadly asteroid is heading for Earth, and scientists mount a mission to intercept it – using another asteroid. But that is exactly what two French researchers propose in a plan to capture and "park" a small asteroid near the Earth for just such emergencies." (NewScientist.com news service)

"NASA dis-assembles and re-assembles Tropical Storm Gert" - "To figure out how something mechanical works, people take it apart and look at its components, then try and put it back together. That's what NASA researchers are doing with hurricanes, to try to figure out what makes them tick. For Tropical Storm Gert, which formed in the Gulf of Mexico in July 2005, they found that the mountainous areas of Mexico helped the storm to form." (NASA/GSFC)

"Tiny polyps gorge themselves to survive coral bleaching" - "COLUMBUS , Ohio – Certain species of coral have surprised researchers by showing an unexpectedly successful approach towards survival when seriously bleached. Their innovative strategy is gluttony. The discovery, derived from experiments on coral reefs in Hawaii , provides new insights into how these tiny animals face a multitude of environmental threats. The report by Ohio State University researchers is published in the current issue of the British journal Nature." (Ohio State University)

"Global Warming" - "The catch all term "global warming" (GW) has evolved to the point where true believers use the term to mean that not only is the earth rapidly warming, but that the warming is almost entirely due to human industrial activity and the resulting carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, especially in the United States and Europe.

It appears that a majority of climatologists, atmospheric scientists, and meteorologists (we will call them collectively "CAMs") believe this. The term "climate change" is used by those who, while allowing that the earth is warming to some degree or other, do not necessarily believe that CO2 emissions from human power generation has much, if anything, to do with it." (EcoWorld)

"The Toronto Palm Fronds?" - "(Ottawa, Ontario) Canadian environmental groups, upset with the regressive environmental policies of Canada's new conservative government, have started a public awareness campaign to remind Canadians of the threats global warming pose to Canada." (ecoEnquirer:)

"New climate research yields good and bad news" - "PARIS - New studies into climate change hold out contrasting news, confirming that the greenhouse effect has disrupted the global water cycle over the past century but also suggesting some coral species may adapt to the warming threat. Swiss weather researcher Kerstin Treydte and colleagues say they discovered that the last century saw the biggest increase in snowfall in central Asia than at any time over the previous millennium. The precipitation started to surge around 150 years ago, coinciding with the start of the Industrial Revolution powered by coal, gas and oil -- the biggest culprits for greenhouse gases." (AFP)

Uh-huh... snowfall has been increasing over the last century or so and this is causing the alleged retreat of central Asian glaciers... amazing.

Review of A Book on Land Use Change Effects (Climate Science)

"So Now We're Holocaust Deniers" - "As part of the current media frenzy over the imminent demise of the Earth from global warming, it has become fashionable to demonize global warming skeptics through a variety of tactics. This has recently been accomplished by comparing scientists who don't believe in a global climate catastrophe to those who deny the Holocaust, to those who denied cigarettes cause cancer, or to 'flat-Earthers'." (Dr. Roy Spencer, TCS Daily)

Canada cools on Kyoto - why not our Mr. Cameron? (EnviroSpin Watch)

Scare Mongering as Journalism: A Commentary on Time’s “Special Report” on Global Warming - .pdf (Marlo Lewis, CEI)

"Let's put a freeze on global warming hype" - "Exactly 31 years ago tomorrow Newsweek carried a story that predicted a rapidly cooling world that would result in a "drastic decline in food production -- with serious political implications for just about every nation on Earth." Hmmmm? It's the same doom and gloom scenario we hear today except turned on its ear -- now, however, it's not about devastation caused by cooling but rather by global warming." (Licia Corbella, Calgary Sun)

"On climate, state drives feds but could take backseat" - "California's Republican governor and top Democratic lawmakers are talking tough, prompt action to battle climate change, yet unlike its pioneering restrictions on air pollutants, the state is taking more measured steps in regulating greenhouse gases. In fact, Sacramento could end up pushing Washington into action but lagging behind the federal government when it comes to curbing greenhouse emissions." (Oakland Tribune)

"Save the planet, workers tell bosses, but don't ask us to pay" - Nearly six out of 10 British workers believe their employers should donate a higher proportion of their profits to the protection of the environment, new research has suggestions. Yet, hypocritically, nearly eight out of 10 said they would not be prepared to sacrifice their own benefits to help the environment, said the study by travel consultancy Portman Travel." (Management-Issues)

"EU carbon trading scheme may drive prices of raw materials up" - "The UK’s chemical industry has given a cautious welcome to the government’s national allocation plan (NAP) for Phase 2 of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), warning pharma could see a rise in the price of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and intermediates." (in-pharmatechnologist.com)

"Lax EU Emissions Targets Put Carbon Into Freefall" - "LONDON - European carbon prices dived 30 percent on Wednesday to an 11-month low after traders said France had joined a clutch of countries which had undershot 2005 emissions limits set by an EU trading scheme. The drop has ended a carbon bull-run which has helped force power prices up to record levels, inflating energy bills and angering consumers across Europe. Wholesale power prices, which set the benchmark for final bills, fell sharply on Wednesday, tracking carbon. "There's been a sentiment change overnight," said one UK-based trader of carbon markets. "Prices are in freefall." (Reuters)

"Gazprom Prepares to Cut Emissions" - "Gazprom is working with foreign partners on up to four Kyoto Protocol projects, a senior company official said Tuesday, estimating that the gas giant could attract as much as $500 million through emission reductions. The company has the potential to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 86 million tons of carbon equivalent through 2012, mostly through upgrades of its gas transport network, said Alexander Shaikhutdinov, deputy head of Gazprom's department of transport, underground storage and gas use, Interfax reported." (Moscow Times)

"Dems won't confirm Schwarzenegger's top energy adviser" - "SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's top energy adviser will lose his job next month amid disagreement with Democratic senators about several environmental policies, including the governor's proposal to build a interstate electricity transmission line that lawmakers say could increase air pollution in the West. Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata, D-Oakland, has told the governor's office the Senate will not hold confirmation hearings for state Energy Commission Chairman Joe Desmond, which will effectively end Desmond's term. State law requires the chairman be confirmed by the Senate within a year of his appointment by the governor, which in Desmond's case will be May 7. Desmond's ouster is partially a result of division between the governor and senators on how the state will increase energy supply in the coming years." (San Francisco Chronicle)

"Airlines seek to downplay global warming impact of aviation" - "In Short: The International Air Transport Association (IATA) wants to "kill some persistent myths" on the issue. Their arguments are rebutted by environmentalists who claim that the figures are biased." (EurActiv)

"Cars miss pollution target - and makers blame you" - "CARMAKERS will be more than a decade late in meeting their target to produce less polluting vehicles because people are buying bigger, more powerful models, figures suggest. Sales of small cars fell to their lowest level for seven years last year while large vehicles secured their highest share of the market yet. One in eight cars sold last year was a 4x4 or people carrier, compared with one in eighteen a decade ago. Average emissions of carbon dioxide for new cars fell by 1.2 per cent last year, well short of the industry target of a 5 per cent decline. The fall was almost entirely due to the rise in popularity of diesel vehicles." (London Times)

"Ford to help drivers pay off their pollution" - "DETROIT, April 26 - Ford Motor Co. said it will give consumers concerned about harmful greenhouse emissions an opportunity to invest in clean energy projects via a new Web Site that will calculate suggested investments based on the amount of carbon dioxide produced while driving." (Reuters)

"Bulgaria applies Kyoto protocol mechanism to modernise its hydropower plants" - "Two Austrian companies signed agreements with Bulgaria Tuesday to modernise the country's hydropower plants, in a project that will be partly financed under the Kyoto Protocol." (AFP)

"South Africa to benefit from emission mechanism" - "SA STANDS to benefit from the expansion of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) that gives “carbon credits” to projects in developing countries based on clean energy sources. In a presentation to the National Treasury in Pretoria yesterday, economic adviser Sir Nick Stern said a British investigation into the economic effects of climate change, which will report to international ministerial meetings later this year, was to recommend a massive increase in a mechanism to benefit poorer countries." (Business Day)

"CHILE: Environmentalists Demand Changes as Crisis Looms" - "SANTIAGO - Chile's new government is attempting to forestall a possible energy deficit caused by cuts in the supply of natural gas from Argentina, sky-high oil prices and low rainfall forecasts for this year. But environmentalists are critical of the strategy being adopted." (IPS)

"Steady as she goes" - "Why the world is not about to run out of oil." (The Economist)

"Our import and export trade is not a waste of energy" - "The relocation of heavy industry to the developing world is beneficial for everyone, says Mike Garratt." (The Guardian)

"'Safe' burial plan for waste may clear way for new nuclear plants" - "Britain will move a step closer today to building more nuclear power stations, when an influential group of experts reports with the advice that the radioactive waste produced could be safely disposed of underground." (The Guardian)

"ARGENTINA: Open Sewers a Health and Environmental Risk" - "BUENOS AIRES - The gap between the rich North and the impoverished developing South is reproduced in the Argentine capital. Far away from the well-heeled northern districts, the people living on the south side of Buenos Aires are "on the verge of a health and sanitation collapse." (IPS)

"Sludge recycling sends antiseptic soap ingredient to agriculture" - "Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health measured levels of an antibacterial hand soap ingredient, triclocarban, as it passed through a wastewater treatment facility. They determined that approximately 75 percent of the ingredient washed down the drain by consumers persists during wastewater treatment and accumulates in municipal sludge, which later is used as fertilizer for crops. Their findings are presented in a study appearing in the online and print editions of the journal Environmental Science & Technology. More studies are underway to determine if triclocarban, which is toxic when ingested, can migrate from sludge into foods, thereby potentially posing a human health risk." (Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health)

"Looking to build a better tomato" - "How's this for a farming technique of the future: workers harvesting red, ripe tomatoes without ever setting foot in a field. They wait for the crop to come to them, assembly-line style, from energy-efficient, computer-controlled greenhouses. This unusual patented system is being perfected at the Rutgers EcoComplex in Mansfield Township, Burlington County, where scientists hope to provide a source of economical fresh produce year-round. In the home of the world-famous Jersey tomato, hydroponically grown tomatoes are being pampered in a greenhouse powered by methane gas from a nearby landfill." (Philadelphia Inquirer)

"Mouse study reveals human X-SCID gene therapy poses substantial cancer risk" - "La Jolla, CA – New animal studies conducted at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies show that the only human gene therapy treatment to date considered to be largely successful, is, in fact, riskier than realized. The Salk researchers, led by Inder Verma, Ph.D., a professor in the Laboratory of Genetics, discovered that the healthy copy, which replaces the defective gene can itself promote cancer development. Their findings appear in this week's issue of the journal Nature." (Salk Institute)

"House dust mite jab shows promise" - "Significant benefits have been seen from a vaccine against dust mite allergy, its manufacturers say. Cytos, a Swiss vaccine company, carried out a small study of their dust mite vaccine. Patients given the vaccine - which uses DNA - experienced far fewer allergy symptoms such as sneezing, while asthmatics did not have attacks." (BBC)

April 26, 2006

"Medical Malpractice at the World Bank" - "In a new Lancet paper my colleagues and I point out that the World Bank has failed in its anti-malaria program. So what now?" (Roger Bate, TCS Daily) | The WHO, the World Bank, and Mission Creep (Roger Bate, AEI Online)

"UGANDA: New therapy to cut malaria deaths" - "KAMPALA, 25 April - Uganda has launched a new combination therapy in its fight against malaria, a disease that accounts for up to 300 deaths every day and annual losses of US $690 million in the East African nation, health ministry officials said on Tuesday." (IRIN)

"'Deadly Overcaution' Biggest Danger to Public Health, Despite New Study on FDA" - "A government report released today says the Food and Drug Administration is too slow in identifying safety problems once drugs are on the market, but FDA policy experts at the Competitive Enterprise Institute believe the more dangerous problem is FDA’s 'deadly overcaution.'" (CEI)

"Study assesses relationship between conflicts of interest and voting patterns at FDA meetings" - "Disclosures of conflicts of interest at Food and Drug Administration (FDA) drug advisory committee meetings are common, often of considerable financial value, and rarely result in the recusal of advisory committee members, but excluding those with conflicts would not have altered the overall vote outcome at any meeting, according to a study published in the April 26 issue of JAMA." (JAMA and Archives Journals)

"Litigosis" - "The federal government recently signed a deal with respirator manufacturers to stockpile 60 million disposable masks, in case of a terrorist attack or global pandemic. But Americans should know why the feds may not be getting the hundreds of millions of additional masks they need to be fully prepared: the silicosis tort scam." (Wall Street Journal)

"Antioxidant selenium offers no heart-disease protection" - "BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Selenium does not protect against cardiovascular disease, despite its documented antioxidant and chemopreventive properties, analysis of a randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial covering 13 years has shown. The selenium-CVD association was a secondary endpoint in the Nutritional Prevention of Cancer Trial, which was designed primarily to determine if selenium supplementation could prevent the recurrence of non-melanoma skin cancer." (University at Buffalo)

"In utero exposure to urban air pollutants can increase risk" - "Prenatal exposure to air pollutants in New York City can adversely affect child development, according to the results of a study released today by the Columbia Center for Children's Environmental Health (CCCEH) at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. Previous studies have shown that the same air pollutants can reduce fetal growth (both weight and head circumference at birth), but this study, which examined a group of the same children at three years of age, is the first to reveal that those pollutants can also affect cognitive development during childhood." (Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health)

"Experts rule out houses near pylons" - "Homes should not be built near overhead power lines because of possible links with childhood leukaemia, Government-appointed experts are expected to conclude. They are likely to recommend a change in planning guidelines so that new homes cannot be built either within 230ft of power lines or in a location that exposes inhabitants to electromagnetic fields (EMFs) of a certain strength. A report by Dr Gerald Draper, of the Oxford childhood cancer research group, published two years ago, suggested that children under 15 living near high-voltage power cables may have double the risk of getting leukaemia. The seven-year study was commissioned by the Department of Health. However, while the research found a statistical association, it did not establish a causal link and other scientists were sceptical of the findings." (London Telegraph)

"Feds Decide Not to List Rare Salamanders" - "GRANTS PASS, Ore. -- Two rare salamanders that live in rocky patches within old growth forests along the Klamath River don't need Endangered Species Act protection because existing state and federal protections are adequate to maintain their habitat, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Tuesday. But environmentalists who sought listings for the Siskiyou Mountains salamander and Scotts Bar salamander said they would challenge the decision in court. They said moves are under way to remove the protections cited by Fish and Wildlife, and the agency itself is embarking on a study to see just how much harm logging does to the salamanders' habitat." (AP)

"Deadly fungus devastating already weakened populations of frogs" - "CHICAGO - A devastating fungus is sweeping the world, wiping out entire populations of amphibians at such a rate that biologists are helping pull together a massive "Noah's Ark" project to capture frogs, toads and salamanders and put them in safe places." (Chicago Tribune)

"Gender-bending pollutants changing sex of clams, scientists say" - "Scientists working along the south-west coast of Britain have discovered widespread evidence of chemicals disrupting the sexual development of sensitive marine organisms." (The Guardian)

"Experts debate beefing up future hurricane warnings" - "MONTEREY, Calif, April 25 - Weather forecasters need to do a better job of translating their scientific data about threatening hurricanes into better-understood warnings, several experts said at a conference on Tuesday. Ahead of the June 1 start to the Atlantic hurricane season, researchers at the American Meteorological Society's annual Conference on Hurricanes and Tropical Meteorology pondered the lessons of last year's devastating hurricanes. "There is a lack of communication between the scientists and the risk-management folks," said Sytske Kimball, assistant professor of meteorology at the University of South Alabama who chaired a discussion on the issue. "We speak different languages, use different terminologies." (Reuters)

"Study reports rise in malaria infections in Mt Kenya region" - "Mosquitoes that transmit malaria were found breeding in various parts of the highlands in central Kenya, raising fears that transmission of the disease could be going on in the region, says the report. Findings of the study, published in a leading global biomedical research magazine BioMed Central, Malaria Journal, blame the trend on changes in land use occasioned by an increase population, which is at least 25 per cent in past 20 years. As a result, enhanced human activities such as deforestation, farming and livestock rearing, coupled with global warming could create more vector habitats, the findings indicate." (Andnetwork.com)

"Coral Bleaching: What (or Who) Dunnit?" - "Thanks to a Senate hearing on global warming this week, Americans can expect a plateful of charges about dangers to our oceans and, in particular, coral reefs. They should take it all with a pinch of sea salt." (Dr. Gary Sharp, TCS Daily)

"25th Session Of The Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change: 26-28 April 2006" - "The twenty-fifth session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC-25) begins today in Port Louis, Mauritius. Delegates will consider a range of matters concerning the work, budget and organization of the IPCC, including: acceptance and adoption of the 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories (2006 Guidelines); further work on emissions scenarios; election procedures for the IPCC Bureau and any Task Force Bureau; the IPCC communications strategy and outreach activities; a process and policy for admitting observer organizations; and the future work programme of the IPCC Task Force on National Greenhouse Gas Inventories. Delegates will also hear progress reports, including on the activities of the three IPCC Working Groups and the Task Group on Data and Scenario Support for Impact and Climate Analysis." (IISD)

Hysteria Channel? "Around the World, Warmer Temperatures Mean More Infections" - "Malaria, Lyme Disease and Even Rare Shellfish Disease Spreading." (ABC News)

"Canada backs breakaway six-nation climate group" - "OTTAWA - Canada's new Conservative government, which is openly skeptical about the Kyoto climate change protocol, said on Tuesday it backs a breakaway group of six nations that favor a voluntary approach to cutting emissions of greenhouse gases." (Reuters) | Canada to mimic US climate change policies (AFP)

An Earlier Paper on the Role of Regional Land Surface Change and Regional Aerosol Emissions As First-Order Climate Forcings (Climate Science)

From CO2 Science this week:

Medieval Warm Period vs. Current Warm Period: How do their temperatures compare?

Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week:
This issue's Level 1 Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week is from the Northern Hemisphere (20-90°N).  To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.

Subject Index Summary:
Mortality (Tick-Borne Diseases): Will the death and devastation spread by these noxious maladies be greatly expanded in a warmer world? Climate alarmists say yes, ignoring many studies that suggest otherwise.

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: Barley, Hiziki (Brown Seaweed), Italian Ryegrass, and Perennial Ryegrass/White Clover Mix.

Journal Reviews:
The History of Global Precipitation from 1979 to 2004: Does it bear any resemblance to what is predicted by the climate models that predict catastrophic CO 2 -induced global warming?

Predicted Effects of Global Warming on the Global Water Cycle: What are they? And is there any evidence for the effects in 20th-century hydrologic data?

Mortality Impact of the August 2003 Heatwave in France: It was huge and immediate, but "the rest of the story" was not revealed until more than a year later.

The Greening of the Earth: 1982-1999: It continues.

Effects of Photosystem II Herbicides on Corals: Are they making corals more susceptible to bleaching on a more regular basis? (co2science.org)

"Oil Price Drives Environmental Agenda for Airlines" - "GENEVA - Soaring oil prices have brought environmental issues to the forefront of airlines' strategies as they seek to use less fuel and find alternative energy sources to trim costs, industry executives said on Tuesday." (Reuters)

"Bush on Gas Prices: Who's He Kidding?" - "With gasoline prices close to $3 a gallon, President Bush this morning gave a disingenuous speech to an alternative fuels association about what he was going to do to stem the rising tide." (James K. Glassman, TCS Daily)

"Bush Should Stop Grandstanding and Get Serious About High Gas Prices" - "The Competitive Enterprise Institute is disappointed that President Bush has decided to make cheap political points about high gas prices instead of promoting policies that will lead to more domestic oil production and lower prices. The following is a statement from Myron Ebell, director of energy policy at CEI." (CEI)

"Stop This 'Addicted to Oil' Nonsense, Mr. President" - "Ronald Reagan once said, “It is no program to say use less energy.” It is also no energy policy to say use bio-fuel or to insist that we drive hydrogen cars." (Jerome R. Corsi, Human Events)

"EXCLUSIVE-Ford to promote green investments to consumers" - "DETROIT, April 26 - Ford Motor Co. said it will give consumers concerned about harmful greenhouse emissions an opportunity to invest in clean energy projects via a new Web Site that will calculate suggested investments based on the amount of carbon dioxide produced while driving." (Reuters)

"US Hybrid Sales Mostly Slack Despite Gasoline Hike" - "DETROIT - US gas prices have risen nearly a third over the past year without touching off a boom in sales of fuel-efficient hybrid vehicles, some of which are sitting on dealer lots for as long as three months." (Reuters)

"FAO Sees Major Shift to Bioenergy: Pressure Building for Switch to Biofuels" - "WASHINGTON and ROME, April 25 -- Under the pressure of soaring oil prices and growing environmental constraints, momentum is gathering for a major international switch from fossil fuels to renewable bioenergy, according to FAO, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. "The gradual move away from oil has begun. Over the next 15 to 20 years we may see biofuels providing a full 25 percent of the world's energy needs," Alexander Muller, the new Assistant Director-General for the Sustainable Development Department of FAO said here." (PRNewswire)

"How far can you drive on a bushel of corn?" - "Crunching the numbers on alternative fuels." (Popular Mechanics)

"Sieves put a lid on greenhouse gas" - "Scientists are about to test microscopic sieves that trap environmentally destructive greenhouse gases before they escape coal-fired power stations and refineries." (UQ News)

"Estuary energy plan makes waves" - "As a feat of engineering it would be remarkable; a barrage stretching for 10 miles across the Severn estuary. As a source of power, it would have few equals - at least the output of two nuclear power stations." (The Guardian)

"INTERVIEW - Spain's Acuamed Taps Sea for Clean Water" - "MADRID - Adrian Baltanas's job is to find 850 cubic hectometres of clean water -- and he has four years to do it." (Reuters)

"The Root of Plenty" - "The bulk of the UN's "Millennium Development Goals" are at least partly within biotech's widening reach." (Miles D. White, TCS Daily)

"Biotech group sees GMO crop use still spreading" - "MANILA - The global area planted with genetically modified crops, nearly four times the size of the United Kingdom last year, is likely to show double-digit growth again this year, the coordinator of a group promoting biotechnology in developing countries said on Tuesday. Randy Hautea, global coordinator of the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA), said the area planted with GMO crops rose 11 percent last year to 90 million hectares, despite fears raised by environmental groups." (Reuters)

"House debates liability of genetically modified seed makers" - "MONTPELIER, Vt. --Manufacturers of genetically engineered seeds could be liable for damages if their products drift into the fields of neighboring farmers who don't want them under a bill that won approval Tuesday in the Vermont House." (Associated Press)

"Fertile Imaginations: The Green Lobby Needs A Trumped-Up Terminator Seed Scare To Survive" - "In the curious world of environmental lobby groups, one has to marvel at their never-ending quest for publicity. If that involves inventing imaginary causes, well, that's OK. It's all part of the business of fundraising." (Will Verboven, Western Standard)

"Michigan House approves bill on genetically modified seeds" - "LANSING, Mich. — The state House passed legislation Tuesday that aims to block local regulation of genetically modified crops but includes an exception if the Michigan Commission of Agriculture signs off on the regulation." (AP)

April 25, 2006

"Malaria treatment still elusive to most" - "GENEVA - Most of the world's millions of malaria sufferers are not getting life-saving drugs nearly five years after the World Health Organisation urged their widespread use, despite a huge boost in aid, health experts said on Monday. The U.N. health agency has since 2001 recommended countries switch to artemisinin-based combination drugs -- known as ACTs -- to treat malaria because the deadly mosquito-borne infection has become resistant to conventional medicines like chloroquine. While 34 African countries have committed to using ACT therapies, the Roll Back Malaria Partnership group said only 17 countries actually use these drugs in their health systems. Of these, just four are distributing the drugs on a national scale, according to the WHO, while most of those who become infected are still treated with cheaper, less effective drugs." (Reuters)

"Catching Malaria" - "Today is Africa Malaria Day, which is intended to raise public awareness of a disease that each year kills more than a million pregnant women and children under five. We suspect many readers are plenty "aware" of this health travesty already. The good news is that private individuals have begun to attack the disease after years of official aid and policy failure." (Wall Street Journal)

"World Bank criticised for efforts to battle malaria" - "LONDON – Public health experts criticised the World Bank on Tuesday for failing to tackle malaria in hard-hit countries while millions of children have died. They said the bank, which has an annual budget of $20 billion, has concealed the amount of money it spends to fight the illness, funded ineffective treatment, reduced its expert staff and published false statistics about its efforts. Professor Amir Attaran of the Institute of Population Health at the University of Ottawa in Canada and his colleagues said the World Bank's programme for controlling malaria in 2005-2010 was inadequate to reverse its history of neglect for malaria." (Reuters)

"World Bank faces malaria claims" - "The World Bank has been accused of publishing false accounts and wasting money on ineffective medicines in its malaria treatment programme." (BBC)

"World Bank intensifies anti-malaria effort in Africa" - "An African child dies of malaria every 30 seconds. Three hundred die each day in the Democratic Republic of Congo alone. In Kenya, malaria is blamed for one out of every four child deaths. In many countries, the mosquito-borne disease is the “leading killer of African children,” says World Bank Public Health Specialist Suprotik Basu. But even though no vaccine as yet exists for malaria, the disease is completely preventable and completely curable if contracted - a “fixable problem,” says Basu." (World Bank)

"Measles warning after MMR decline" - "Nursery school children's vulnerability to measles has risen sharply in Scotland since MMR vaccination scares in the late 1990s, a study has warned." (BBC)

"Fatal Disease From Flavoring Raises Flags" - "BALTIMORE -- A potentially fatal lung disease linked to chemicals used in food flavorings poses a growing health risk, according to government scientists who are questioning the food industry's willingness to protect its workers." (AP)

"Food Industry Groups Fight State Labels" - "WASHINGTON -- Food industry groups that want the same food warning labels to be used nationwide disputed claims Monday that such a requirement would pre-empt some 200 state laws." (AP)

"NASA data combined to improve hurricane landfall forecasts" - "Data gathered from last year's NASA hurricane research mission and a NASA satellite have improved tropical storm landfall and storm strength forecasts in computer models." (NASA/GSFC)

"Global warming behind record 2005 storms-US expert" - "MONTEREY, Calif., April 24 - A leading U.S. government storm researcher said on Monday that the record hurricane season last year can be attributed to global warming. "The hurricanes we are seeing are indeed a direct result of climate change and it's no longer something we'll see in the future, it's happening now," said Greg Holland, a division director at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado. Holland told a packed hall at the American Meteorological Society's 27th Conference on Hurricanes and Tropical Meteorology in Monterey, California that the wind and warmer water conditions that fuel storms that form in the Caribbean are "increasingly due to greenhouse gases. There seems to be no other conclusion you can logically draw." His conclusion will be debated throughout the week-long conference, as other researchers present opposing papers that say changing wind and temperature conditions in the tropics are due to natural events, not the accumulation of carbon dioxide emissions clouding the Earth." (Reuters)

Virtually: "Spanish summers could be 5-7 degrees hotter"- "MADRID - Summer temperatures in Spain already reach 45 Celsius (113 Fahrenheit) in some parts, but they could rise by another 5 to 7 degrees this century as global warming increases, a climate expert said on Monday. Spain and other Mediterranean countries stand to feel the greenhouse effect more than northern Europe. Winter and summer temperatures are likely to rise by at least 0.4 Celsius a decade this century in the best case scenario while rainfall will drop and be more erratic, said Jose Manuel Moreno, ecology professor at the University of Castilla-La Mancha. In the worst case scenarios, where global carbon dioxide emissions rise the most, temperatures are likely to rise by 0.7 Celsius every 10 years." (Reuters)

"SPAIN: Even Further Away From Kyoto" - "MADRID, Apr 24 - The Spanish government has promised a plan to halt the accelerating rise in emissions of greenhouse gases. But activists remain unconvinced and are calling for concrete action to reverse the trend that is increasing the country's distance from the targets set by the Kyoto Protocol." (IPS)

"No climate change: IMD" - "New Delhi, Apr 25: The clamour over climate change the world over notwithstanding, the country's weather agency believes that variation in rain and temperatures over the country being experienced over the years fall within the "natural variability". "We are keeping a watch. We are not denying.... It (the variations) are still under the natural variability," Director General of the India Meteorological Department Dr B Lal told reporters here today. There has been no significant change in terms of temperature and rainfall on year-to-year basis, he said." (India Meteorological Department)

Four downpours of good sense cool climate-change hot heads... (EnviroSpin Watch)

"30-Country Poll Finds Worldwide Consensus: Climate Change a Serious Problem; Concern Growing Sharply" - "WASHINGTON, April 24 -- A 30-country poll finds large majorities in all countries believe climate change is a serious problem. No country has more than one in five saying it is not a serious problem." (U.S. Newswire)

"Climate Change's Gravy Train" - "In an open letter to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, 60 leading scientists called upon him to "re-visit the science on global warming and review the policies inherited from his leftwing predecessor." Referring to Kyoto as "pointless," the letter not only questioned the science of climate change, it also cites as a greater threat the billions of dollars that are to be wasted on associated research and development -- an outgrowth of that self-same science." (Peter C. Glover, TCS Daily)

"Bush Faces Dissent From Republicans on Climate Change" - "April 24 -- Representative Bob Inglis, a South Carolina Republican, says he ``pooh-poohed'' global warming until he trekked to the South Pole in January. ``Now, I think we should be concerned,'' says Inglis, who heads the U.S. House Science Research subcommittee. ``There are more and more Republicans willing to stop laughing at climate change who are ready to get serious about reclaiming their heritage as conservationists.'' (Bloomberg)

"Ex-Environmental Leaders Tout Nuclear Energy" - "WASHINGTON, April 24 — The nuclear industry has hired Christie Whitman, the former administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, and Patrick Moore, a co-founder of Greenpeace, the environmental organization, to lead a public relations campaign for new reactors." (New York Times)

Poor ol' moonbat: "This is embarrassing, but I've become a fossil fuel supporter" - "Cheap hydrogen, the most viable low-carbon heat source, depends neither on nuclear power nor renewables - but on gas." (George Monbiot, The Guardian)

As Cameron completely loses it, 'Our George' starts to get it... (EnviroSpin Watch)

"MPs call on Chancellor for an increase in air passenger duty" - "Gordon Brown was urged yesterday to impose higher taxes on air travellers by a Labour-dominated committee of MPs who said an increase was urgently needed to help Britain meet its climate change targets. The Commons Treasury Select Committee said that the Chancellor's justification for freezing air passenger duty (APD) in last month's Budget for the fifth year running was "incoherent and unconvincing", and called on him to make "the fullest possible use of taxation measures" to achieve the Government's environmental targets." (London Independent)

"Shell urged to abandon $20bn Siberian pipeline that could drive whale species to extinction" - "Spring is being keenly awaited on Sakhalin in Russia's far east after another long winter. But when it finally comes in June it offers little prospect of a thaw in relations between environmentalists and Shell. With the melting of the ice after eight months, the Anglo-Dutch oil giant is set to enter a crucial offshore construction phase in the development of its $20bn [£11.2bn] oil and gas programme. Wildlife campaigners say the price of the pipeline could be the extinction of a species of whale." (London Independent)

April 24, 2006

'Forget tree-hugging and get back to making money' - "In a world in which BP has become the tree-huggers' friend and the party of -Margaret Thatcher campaigns on the slogan "Vote Blue, Go Green", it was only a matter of time before a canny investment manager came up with the selling proposition that companies should put the bottom line above everything else." (London Telegraph)

"Misguided social responsibility at General Electric" - "Companies should always be honest, ethical and devoted to the well-being of our environment and the publics they serve: employees, investors, customers and communities alike. It’s good business. It’s socially responsible. Unfortunately, many companies have succumbed to a siren’s song that takes them far beyond these basic truths – into the dangerous shoals of “corporate social responsibility.” CSR could be a useful guide for businesses. Instead, it’s been perverted into a huge multinational business – but without the laws and mores that help guide the behavior of for-profit companies. More often than not, special interest social and environmental groups employ CSR, disingenuous claims and horror-movie scripts as high-pressure tactics to promote their narrow agendas. CSR activists call themselves stakeholders, and demand a controlling voice in all matters corporate. But they weren’t elected. They have little or no ownership interest in the company. And their only real “stake” is a desire to advance their ideologies." (Paul Driessen, Townhall.com)

"Trial by fire: A radical few test rules of environmental engagement" - "SEATTLE - Tom Hinckley's first clue was where it started. The fire began just after 3 a.m. in the office of his controversial colleague, eventually burning so hot that only two things would survive: a gasoline-tinged dollar bill, and the doorknob." (The Seattle Times)

"Honey, we're scaring the care out of the kids" - "Too much gloom about environmental issues turns kids away from nature, some teachers say." (Chicago Tribune)

"Common sense must top green agenda" - "THE most bizarre sight of last week was that of David Cameron driving a team of huskies across the Norwegian snows. If it is hard to imagine how the ruddy-cheeked Tory leader could more blatantly illustrate his commitment to the environment, it was also difficult to take the scene entirely seriously.

The same cannot be said about the green agenda, however. Concern about the environment is no longer a minority preoccupation: it engages people across the whole spectrum of society, of all political opinions. To that extent, Cameron is right to address the issue. But it is an issue that needs to be examined closely, scientifically and dispassionately, not fuelled by hysteria. Apocalyptic alarmism from green activists has become the secular equivalent of those religious cults that regularly assemble on mountain tops in expectation of the imminent end of the world." (Scotland on Sunday)

"Breathe Easier" - "Today, April 22, is Earth Day, which has been marked each year since 1970 as a day of reflection on the state of the environment. At least that's the idea, so let's begin with some figures. Since 1970, carbon monoxide emissions in the U.S. are down 55%, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Particulate emissions are down nearly 80% and sulfur dioxide emissions have been reduced by half. Lead emissions have declined more than 98%. All of this has been accomplished despite a doubling of the number of cars on the road and a near-tripling of the number of miles driven, according to Steven Hayward of the Pacific Research Institute." (Wall Street Journal)

"500 Ugandans die of malaria daily" - "The Ugandan government has said it would go ahead and spray mosquitoes that spread malaria using the controversial Dichloro-Diphenyl-Trichloroethane insecticide. This is due to an increase in the number of people dying of the disease." (ANDnetwork.com)

"Europe hinders war on malaria" - "ANOTHER year has passed and Africa Malaria Day has come around again. Tomorrow, April 25, marks the day we are supposed to assess our successes and failures and renew the political will to tackle the disease." (Richard Tren, Business Day)

"Vioxx Guilty -- But Maybe 'Guilty' of Preventing Death, Too" - "When consumers read about a South Texas jury finding Merck & Co. liable today for the death of a seventy-one-year-old man who had a fatal heart attack within a month of taking the painkiller Vioxx, they will likely conclude: "this is good -- a big bad company is being held responsible for their evil medicine causing harm." The company was ordered to pay $7 million in compensatory damages and $25 million in punitive damages." (Elizabeth M. Whelan, ACSH)

"A Bird Flu Manhattan Project?" - "Vaccination to prevent viral and bacterial diseases is modern medicine's most cost-effective intervention. Vaccines to prevent the expected avian flu pandemic could save the lives of millions -- if vaccine R&D were not in such a sorry state, as the result of an unfortunate confluence of biology and public policy." (Dr. Henry I. Miller, TCS Daily)

"Flaky science: Fortified foods such as cereals may not be all they are claimed" - "SOMETIMES headlines demolish cherished notions at a stroke. A classic example appeared this week: “Calcium-rich cereals don’t boost bones”. A review of research from the Cochrane Collaboration concluded that giving children foods fortified with calcium to help build up their bones may be a waste of time. Extra calcium neither produces significantly stronger bones nor reduces the chances of a child suffering a fracture, not even for one who doesn’t eat enough calcium in their diet." (London Times)

"America is self-destructing — yawn" - "What would the media do without manufactured crises? From global warming to bird flu to the obesity epidemic, news magazines, cable shows and local television news rush from one hysteria to the next in their attempt to entice readers and viewers." (Linda Chavez , JWR)

"NASA Expert Tells Alarmists to Cool Down Climate Hype" - " NASA scientist James Hansen warned that environmental activists and the media better be more cautious with their rhetoric regarding "global warming." Hansen, who was responding to a question about the increased media coverage of "global warming" in recent months, issued the warning during a teleconference with a top Democratic congressional staff member, liberal environmental groups and journalists." (Marc Morano, CNSNews.com)

Good grief! "Area seeing signs of global warming" - "Global warming is largely caused by the emission of so-called greenhouse gasses from cars and factories, said U.S. Rep. Sherwood Boehlert, R-New Hartford, who chairs the House Science Committee. Those gases eat away at the atmosphere's protection against the sun." (The Observer Dispatch, (Utica, NY))

You may remember that when U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Joe Barton requested information last July from Michael Mann on Mann's "Hockey Stick" study, Boehlert issued two letters calling Barton's request "intimidation of the science community" and  a "misguided and illegitimate investigation." Just who is misguided? -- Hat tip and commentary Bill S.

The Week That Was April 22, 2006 (SEPP)

"Record levels of carbon dioxide" - "Atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide, the gas largely blamed for global warming, have hit record highs and appear to be rising at an accelerating rate, a Boulder scientist said Thursday." (Rocky Mountain News) | US reveals sins of emission (Nature)

Given that we are starting from very low historic levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide and returning some previously sequestered carbon to the atmosphere every year is a measured high record. We know two things about carbon liberation: 1.) it helps the biosphere thrive and; 2.) it has a diminishing effect on global temperature, if any. See our Greenhouse Primer to see why.

New CCSP Committee With the Same Conflict of Interest (Climate Science)

"Nothing to fear but the climate change alarmists" - "Do you worry? You look like you do. Worrying is the way the responsible citizen of an advanced society demonstrates his virtue: He feels good by feeling bad." (Mark Steyn, Sun-Times)

"Polar bears face extinction by 2030" - "Global warming clearly behind other developing crises in fisheries and forests, renowned Australian scientist says." (The Canadian Press)

Get a lot of experience studying polar bears in South Australia do you Tim? If I remember correctly even the Adelaide Zoo hasn't had polar bears in years and the total number of polar bears in hot, arid South Australia is, um, zero. I guess that proves Tim's point in much the same way that Nicky da Mutt's barking keeps polar bears out of my urban Queensland backyard - it must be true because there ain't no bears there.

"Climate change: a model cock-up" - "A climate model program downloaded by thousands of PC users had an internal error that meant it overstated how hot the world might get. Oops." (Rob Lyons, sp!ked)

"Global warming sanity: Emerging reason" - "Just when you think the debate over global warming can't get any nuttier, more nuts fall from the trees. A pair of University of Chicago geophysicists last week said the flatulence of red meat eaters is contributing to greenhouse gasses that cause global warming. That's fast on the heels of a University of Toronto scientist's dire prediction that global warming will cause a full quarter of all plants and animals to become extinct -- in 44 years. Then there's Hollywood producer Davis Guggenheim's forthcoming "documentary" featuring Al Gore. Mr. Gore calls global warming "a planetary emergency." Twins Ozone Al and Chicken Little obviously were separated at birth." (Tribune-Review)

"Yelling 'Fire' on a Hot Planet" - "GLOBAL warming has the feel of breaking news these days. Polar bears are drowning; an American city is underwater; ice sheets are crumbling. Time magazine proclaimed that readers should be worried. Very worried. There are new hot-selling books and a batch of documentaries, including one starring former Vice President Al Gore and his climate-evangelist slide show that is touted as "the most terrifying movie you will ever see." Are humans like frogs in a simmering pot, unaware that temperatures have reached the boiling point? Or has global warming been spun into an "alarmist gale," as Richard S. Lindzen, a climatologist at M.I.T. wrote in a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed article?" (Andrew Revkin, New York Times)

"The Greenhouse delusion" - "Recently, New Zealand has been treated to a flurry of one-sided propaganda to sell the idea that increasing greenhouse gases are harming the climate." (Vincent Gray, Dominion Post)

"Climate change forces plants to search for better places to live" - "Climate change is reshaping the landscape of Britain as rising temperatures allow orchids and ferns to flourish in the north, while other species retreat to cooler conditions on high land and mountainsides. The conclusion, published today in a comprehensive survey of the nation's flora, suggests that the changing climate has already brought about a rapid and dramatic shift in the country's plantlife, a trend researchers say will be exacerbated by future warming." (The Guardian)

"Spectacular orchids double due to global warming" - "It is not only in the icefields and glaciers of the Arctic, visited in a blaze of publicity last week by the Tory leader David Cameron, that the signs of global warming can be found. Here comes a different-looking British countryside; clear evidence of climate change affecting the numbers and range of Britain's wild flowers has been found for the first time. In some cases, the movement has been a positive one. Two of Britain's loveliest wild orchids have shown surprising increases over the past two decades, and leading botanists believe that the warming climate is responsible." (London Independent)

"US Looks to Private Sector to Fix Greenhouse Pollution" - "WASHINGTON - Delegates from six of the world's biggest greenhouse gas polluters -- including the United States -- gathered last week for the first time to figure out how private industry can help curb global warming." (Reuters)

"Climate change fight 'moral duty'" - "The developed world has a moral duty to tackle climate change, Chancellor Gordon Brown has said. But he has resisted calls for higher fuel taxes, saying that high oil prices are enough of a burden for motorists." (BBC)

Now the eco-toff is reminding everyone this twaddle began life as a Tory gimmick: "I'm going to put Britain on a green highway" - "When Margaret Thatcher first put global warming on the Conservative agenda in a landmark speech to the Royal Society in 1988, she described it as "one of the great challenges of the 20th century". Nearly two decades later, the bad news is that the challenge is even greater." (David Cameron, London Telegraph)

See Global Warming: How It All Began by Richard Courtney.

"Cameron pledge on carbon emissions" - "David Cameron will commit the Conservatives to slashing carbon emissions from cars on British roads by almost a third to help the fight against global warming. The Tory leader says a future Conservative Government would offer "significant incentives" to encourage motorists to switch to more environmentally-friendly cars." (Press Association)

Hot air: "Britain urges global carbon trading to spur eco-healthy growth" - "Britain's finance minister Gordon Brown on Thursday made a strong pitch for a global carbon trading market as the best way to protect the endangered environment while spurring economic growth." (AFP)

More 'net scams: "Gas Guzzlers Find Price of Forgiveness" - "To people who take the threat of global warming personally, driving a car that spews heat-trapping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere can be a guilt trip. But to help atone for that environmental sin, some drivers are turning to groups on the Internet that offer pain-free ways to assuage their guilt while promoting clean energy." (New York Times)

"ANALYSIS - EU Emissions Scheme Faces Key Test After First Year" - "BRUSSELS - The European Union's efforts to fight climate change with its landmark emissions trading system will face a crucial test this month when companies must show whether they have exceeded their 2005 pollution limits." (Reuters)

"INTERVIEW - Czechs See No Big Cuts in CO2 Permits" - "PRAGUE - The Czech Republic will not propose any significant cuts in its carbon dioxide emissions under the second phase of a European Union carbon trading scheme from 2008-2012, a senior government official said on Friday." (Reuters)

"Wind energy drops off the perch" - "NEVER mind the orange-bellied parrot. Wind energy, one of the ethical investment sector's great success stories over the past decade, has passed its peak. "It's not only peaked, it's stopped," says Garry Weaven, Australia's biggest wind farmer. Weaven chairs Industry Funds Management, which last year paid a hefty $788 million for the formerly-listed Pacific Hydro energy company. Weaven blames the federal Government, "so clearly operating at the behest of the aluminium and coal lobbies". Wind currently supplies about 2 per cent of our annual electricity generation. That share was growing until late 2004, when the federal Government rejected calls to extend the national mandatory renewable energy (MRET) subsidy scheme beyond 2020." (The Australian)

"ANALYSIS - World May Turn Back Clock for Liquid Coal Future" - "SINGAPORE - Imagine a world where oil is running out and prices are spiralling out of control. Governments are pouring money into potential solutions such as hydrogen fuel cells or new generation nuclear plants to offset the risk for a future energy crisis, but it may be more realistic long-term to turn huge coal reserves into gas and then oil. Industrial giant China is leading the way and others may follow since oil has hit records above US$70 on strained supplies that may last around 40 years, whereas the world may have ample coal for a couple of hundred years if it can be converted to clean fuels cheaply enough." (Reuters)

"Turning Dirty Coal Into Clean Energy" - "Morning Edition, April 24, 2006 · Today's expensive gasoline is making people look for alternatives. That has opened doors of opportunity for entrepreneurs like Andrew Perlman, who is betting that the "clean" fuel of future will be made from one of humanity's oldest -- and dirtiest: coal." (NPR)

"World Bank urges new breed of clean energy funding" - "WASHINGTON, April 23 - The World Bank is urging its steering committee to approve a new breed of loans and grants that would go to developing countries to help them make power generation cleaner and more efficient." (Reuters)

"World Bank will still fund coal despite climate change concerns" - "Coal power plant projects in the developing world will continue to receive significant funding from the World Bank under guidelines to be published next week, in spite of concerns over climate change." (Financial Times)

"Global warming project criticized for affiliation with U.S. oil mapping" - "LONDON - Environmental groups are urging a global warming awareness project to sever its ties with a U.S. government agency's effort to map oil reserves in the Arctic, saying the information the Americans gather could help oil companies seeking to drill in the pristine region." (AP)

"CRed calls for radical rethink of UK energy policy" - "Environmental campaigners at the University of East Anglia have criticised the Government's 2006 energy policy consultation document Our Energy Challenge. In its official response sent to ministers next week, the UEA-based Community Carbon Reduction Programme (CRed) argues that the only way to make significant cuts in greenhouse gas emissions is by embarking on a major drive to cut waste, reduce demand and increase focus on innovation and renewable energy." (University of East Anglia)

We imagine they make a lot of people see red.

"Nuclear power: The way forward" - "It was an op-ed that barely registered on the public-policy radar screen, but it’s still significant. Last Sunday in The Washington Post, a pioneering environmentalist endorsed nuclear power as the leading hope for avoiding what he, like many of his persuasion, believes will be disastrous global warming." (Boston Herald)

"Blair keeps an eye on Finland's nuclear setback" - "The first nuclear plant to be built in the European Union for more than a decade has fallen nine months behind schedule - barely a year since work began on the west coast of Finland. The company at the heart of the €3bn project, Teollisuuden Voima Oy (TVO), said the start-up date to produce electricity was likely to slip from 2009 to 2010 due to safety scares about the quality of concrete and steel forgings for the plant. The problems are not just a setback for the Finns: the British government is watching the scheme and its progress could influence debate in Britain over whether to proceed with a new generation of atomic plants. There have already been fears expressed in Britain about the length of time it would take to build new facilities - even if everything went to plan." (The Guardian)

"CBI sends stark warning over nuclear future" - "Financial support for a new generation of nuclear power stations could be undermined unless the Government clearly sets out a long-term framework for supporting low-carbon sources of energy, the CBI warns today. In its response to the Government's energy review, the business organisation says that ministers must give more detail on how carbon emissions will be restricted in future if low carbon energy sources, including nuclear, are to play a proper role in Britain's future power generation." (London Independent)

Business has good reason to be concerned - it is not at all clear that anyone will sign up to carbon limits in the second round (they must be learning after all).

"Planning delays 'put UK energy supplies at risk'" - "The future of Britain's energy provision is at risk because the UK's cumbersome planning system is blocking the building of vital new gas storage facilities, says the Confederation of British Industry." (The Observer)

"Massive South Korea Sea Wall Finished After Long Battle" - "SEOUL - South Korean workers closed the last remaining gap in a massive sea wall on Friday, completing a map-altering reclamation project after 15 years of work and bitter legal challenges by conservationists." (Reuters)

"Chinese Province Suffers Worst Drought in 55 Years" - "BEIJING - China's northern province of Hebei is suffering its worst drought in 55 years with hundreds of thousands of people lacking drinking water, a newspaper and a government Web site said on Saturday." (Reuters)

"China's Bio-Chem to Harvest Plastics From Corn" - "CHANGCHUN, China - With oil costing more than ever before, Global Bio-Chem Technology Group Co. Ltd., the world's third-largest corn processor, is pinning its hopes on turning the grain into polyester and plastics." (Reuters)

"The First Decade of Genetically Engineered Crops in the United States - USDA Report" (.pdf) - "Ten years after the first generation of genetically engineered (GE) varieties became commercially available, adoption of these varieties by U.S. farmers is widespread for major crops. Driven by farmers’ expectations of higher yields, savings in management time, and lower pesticide costs, the adoption of corn, soybean, and cotton GE varieties has increased rapidly. Despite the benefits, however, environmental and consumer concerns may have limited acceptance of GE crops, particularly in Europe. This report focuses on GE crops and their adoption in the United States over the past 10 years. It examines the three major stakeholders of agricultural biotechnology and finds that: 1. The pace of R&D activity by producers of GE seed (the seed firms and technology providers) has been rapid; 2. Farmers have adopted some GE varieties widely and at a rapid rate and benefited from such adoption, and; 3. The level of consumer concerns about foods that contain GE ingredients varies by country, with European consumers being most concerned." (USDA Economic Information Bulletin)

"Algae genes boost plants' omega-3 levels" - "A new source of omega-3 oils, which are traditionally sourced from fish, is being developed by the CSIRO in Hobart. The global decline in wild fish stocks has prompted the race for an economically viable omega-3 oil alternative. Researchers at the CSIRO are in front, partly thanks to the unique marine algae species which inhabit Australian waters. The scientists have identified five genes in omega-3 producing algae, which can be inserted into oilseed plants like canola and linseed." (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

April 21, 2006

"The Greenhouse Myth" - "Al Gore’s global warming documentary hits theaters on May 28. Entitled, “An Inconvenient Truth,” the film purports to make the case for concern over manmade emissions of greenhouse gases." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"Review the science" - "Two weeks ago on this page 60 scientists, most of them climate specialists who are skeptical of official global-warming theory, signed an open letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper. The Skeptic 60 called on the Prime Minister to launch a review of the science behind Canadian climate policy. This week, 90 scientists from the other side of the issue rallied with a competing letter, arguing that the science is settled and we should move on to action." (Terence Corcoran, Financial Post)

"A load of hot air?" - "Hardly a day goes by without a new dire warning about climate change. But some claims are more extreme than others, giving rise to fears that the problem is being oversold and damaging the issue." (BBC) | Listen to audio

"Media Frenzy Over Global Warming" - "The campaign to convince us all of the coming disasters caused by global warming continues at hurricane force. There have been gloom-and-doom cover stories in Time magazine and Vanity Fair, and one-sided stories on ABC News and CBS's 60 Minutes." (Roger Aronoff, AIM)

"'Too Hot' Not So Hot" - "The latest triumph of the global warming crusade is a one hour HBO special entitled "Too Hot Not Too Handle" that is premiering in several cities this month. The screening in Albuquerque was well-advertised; it was free, and hosted by Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez. At the screening they offered free wine, free cheese and crackers, free fruit, and best of all, free "Stop Global Warming" bracelets. The state's attorney general showed up, but despite the advertising, free stuff and the close proximity to the University of New Mexico and Sandia Labs, the relatively small auditorium at the National Hispanic Cultural Center was half full. Advertise free food and drinks in your typical college town, and most places would fill up to watch me play the spoons!" (Dr. Robert C. Balling Jr., TCS Daily)

"Seeing red over 'green scare'" - "Meet Al Gore, scaremonger. In 2004, Gore denounced President Bush for "playing on our fears." Today, he is at the forefront of a "green scare" about global warming intended to terrify Americans into submitting to his environmental policies." (Jonah Goldberg, Townhall.com)

They might be right... "Scientists fear new attempts to undermine climate action" - "Britain's scientists are drawing up a plan to fight renewed attempts by sceptics and industry-funded lobby groups to derail international action on climate change. According to a confidential internal memo, the Royal Society expects "groups and individuals" to question the science of global warming and the need to cut greenhouse gas emissions. It predicts that lobbyists will try to undermine a report next year from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which is expected to give a new warning on climate change." (The Guardian)

... JunkScience.com, for one, will continue to point out the flaws in plans for precipitous action based on nothing but hot air. Sans hand waving and empty rhetoric what we think we know is that the world might have warmed about 0.5 °C over 125 years but we're not too sure because an unknown portion of that could be corruption of the near-surface record by Urban Heat Island, closure of rural recording points, simple relocation of recording points and we know not what. Additionally, the baseline measure we are using c1880 happens to be when we believe it to have been unfortunately cold - meaning if warming has occurred that's a benefit rather than a problem. What makes the "problem" even more dubious is that there has been more than enough greenhouse gas in the atmosphere to warm the planet to 77 °C since long before the Industrial Revolution but this does not occur due to the dissipation of latent and sensible heat via evapo-transpiration and thermals physically relocating energy higher in the atmosphere where infrared opacity is lower, facilitating radiation to space. Perhaps the Royal Society need to peruse our Greenhouse Primer, they might find it quite enlightening.

Uh-huh... "In new study, ancient and modern evidence suggests limits to future global warming" - "DURHAM, N.C. -- Instrumental readings made during the past century offer ample evidence that carbon dioxide and other "greenhouse gases" in the atmosphere are warming Earth's climate, a team led by Duke University scientists has reported. But by analyzing indirect evidence of temperature fluctuations over six previous centuries, the team also found that the magnitude of future global warming will likely fall well short of current highest predictions. In making their deductions, the researchers ran some 1,000 computer simulations, covering 1,000 years, that took into account a range of modern and ancient climate records. Modern records are based on thermometer readings, while measurements derived from such sources as tree rings and ice cores served as markers of warm and cold spells over prior centuries." (Duke University)

Rarely impressed by virtual-world climate science this appeared to at least have potential by virtue of looking at recent proxy data. Unfortunately, we were unable to discern which proxy data so we thought to try a quick lurk at Climate Audit thinking M&M are pretty well informed about such things and certainly very thorough. Sure enough, there is an entry Hegerl et al in this week’s Nature but, alas, no definitive information on the source of the confidence in imaginary world data.

"The ground we walk on: It's part of global warming" - "Accelerated warming is not inevitable, but changing our course requires mindfulness." (Eric A. Davidson, The Christian Science Monitor)

"Harper hints at possible Canada-US climate change pact" - "MONTREAL - Prime Minister Stephen Harper, under pressure to tackle climate change while hostile to the Kyoto Protocol, hinted that Canada may opt for a Canada-US plan to reduce greenhouse gases." (AFP)

"Spain Widened Gap With Kyoto Goal in 2005 - Report" - "MADRID - Spain's carbon dioxide emissions climbed again in 2005 meaning that the country, already the worst performer among rich nations, moved even further away from meeting its Kyoto goals." (Reuters)

"Former energy watchdog slams French climate policy" - "In Short: Pierre Radanne, the former head of the French environment and energy agency (ADEME), has strongly criticised the lack of cooperation from key ministries on climate change policy." (EurActiv)

A Win-Win Solution to Environmental Problems (Climate Science)

"The insurance industry prepares for climate change" - "With the hurricane season about to start and Americans growing more exasperated with the failed recovery in New Orleans, expect a reenactment of last year’s debate over whether global warming is causing a proliferation in the number of large hurricanes like Katrina. More papers are now working their way through peer review to further solidify the link between climate change and large hurricanes, but insurance executives are one group not interested in joining this spat. They grow more and more nervous as the increased frequency in natural disasters cuts into their profits." (ES&T)

"BP attacked over CO2 emissions" - "BP drew fire yesterday from environmentalists for quietly halving its estimate of the carbon emissions that result from all the oil and gas it produces. The company's annual Sustainability Report, released last week, says that as a result of using a new methodology, its estimate of the carbon dioxide produced by its products was 606m tonnes of CO2 equivalent in 2004." (The Guardian)

"It's possible to be clean, green, and profitable" - "THE CLIMATE is changing; we know that. And the change is caused by global warming from burning fossil fuels. It's time we turned to solutions, and New England can take some bold steps." (Paul R. Epstein and Frank I. Smizik, Boston Globe)

The first sentence went fine, then they lost it - oh well... perhaps they'll do better after they read our Greenhouse Primer.

"IEA backs nuclear power study" - "An expansion of civil nuclear power offers the best hope of tackling global energy insecurity, the west's energy watchdog is expected to show in a study that will strengthen the hand of governments looking to build new reactors." (Financial Times)

"Sweden goes for green as Nordics mull energy future" - "STOCKHOLM - Twenty years after Sweden alerted the world to the meltdown at Chernobyl, it aims to phase out nuclear power and end dependency on fossil fuels, putting the country in the vanguard of green energy policy. With soaring oil prices, rising demand, uncertain supply and the need to cut greenhouse gas emissions, energy is in focus and the European Union is calling for coordinated policy. But the Nordic region -- united by history, a shared concern for the environment and a harsh climate which puts heavy demand on power -- is divided on energy, not least nuclear power." (Reuters)

"Russia’s Gazprom Enters Booming LNG Markets with Giant Arctic Gas Field" - "Giant Russian gas firm Gazprom will kick-start a late entry in the booming liquefied natural gas market within days, launching a huge Arctic project that it hopes will one day make it the dominant U.S. supplier. After 15 years of delays, Gazprom - a former Soviet ministry now worth over $240 billion - is poised to start down the road to LNG by naming foreign partners whose know-how and capital is key to unlocking the vast Shtokman project." (Reuters)

"ARGENTINA: The Environmental Costs of Biofuel" - "BUENOS AIRES - The passage of a law on biofuels in Argentina is both good and bad news for sustainable development. While the new law will foment the production and use of alternative sources of fuel, it will also give a boost to soybean production, which has come in for harsh criticism from environmentalists." (IPS)

"Every second bus in Helsinki may soon run on second-generation biodiesel" - "Half of the Finnish capital's buses may well run on a second-generation biodiesel next year. If the planned three-year experiment materialises, the particle emissions of buses could drop by up to a third from their present level." (Helsingin Sanaomat)

"Malawi's forests go up in smoke, thanks to smokers" - "Malawi's forests are vanishing, victims of the world's taste for cigarettes and the eternal search by local people for wood for cooking and heating. The small country holds Southern Africa's melancholy record for deforestation: 2,8% of the forest cover vanishes each year, experts say." (Mail&Guardian)

"Geologists: Opening of passage may be tied to Antarctic cooling" - "GAINESVILLE, Fla. --- Ancient fish teeth are yielding clues about when Antarctica became the icy continent it is today, highlighting how ocean currents affect climate change. University of Florida geologists have used a rare element found in tiny fish teeth gathered from miles below the ocean surface to date the opening of a passage at the bottom of the globe between the Atlantic and Pacific. The opening, which occurred millions of years ago in a much warmer era, allowed the formation of an ocean current around the pole. That event preceded – and may even have brought about -- Antarctica's transformation from a forested continent to an icy moonscape. "We're saying we now have a date for the opening of the Drake Passage that looks like it's early enough that it may have contributed to the cooling," said Ellen Eckels Martin, a UF associate professor of geology." (University of Florida)

"Impact of rainfall reaches to roots of mountains" - "The erosion caused by rainfall directly affects the movement of continental plates beneath mountain ranges, says a University of Toronto geophysicist -- the first time science has raised the possibility that human-induced climate change could affect the deep workings of the planet." (University of Toronto)

But if people had cheap and plentiful energy...

"China Says Will Never Totally Tame Sandstorms" - "BEIJING - China, a third of whose landmass is desert, will never completely tame the sandstorms that plague the country every spring due to the sheer size of its sandy regions, officials said on Thursday." (Reuters)

"Scientists penetrate fossil magma chamber beneath intact ocean crust -- achieving scientific 'first'" - "PACIFIC OCEAN, approximately 800 km west of Costa Rica¡ªAn international team of scientists aboard the research drilling ship JOIDES Resolution has¡--for the first time¡--recovered black rocks known as gabbros from intact ocean crust. Supported by the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP), the scientists drilled through the volcanic rock that forms the Earth's crust to reach a fossil magma chamber lying 1.4 kilometers beneath the seafloor." (Integrated Ocean Drilling Program Management International)

"Is there anywhere safe to live?" - "There was almost a 20% increase in natural disasters worldwide in 2005, according to the United Nations and Belgium's Louvain research center. Damage reached $159 billion, up 71% from 2004, almost entirely because of destruction from Hurricane Katrina. As images of devastation flashed onto TV screens, those far from the tempests may have felt some satisfaction that they had chosen homes in safe havens. But not so fast. From East to West, the USA is a patchwork of danger zones." (Elizabeth Weise, USA TODAY)

"Americans See Environment as Getting Worse" - "But no more likely to sacrifice energy production or economic growth." (Gallup News Service)

"On Earth Day, hope for the environment" - "As the US celebrates Earth Day this Saturday, there is good news to report on the environment for a change." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"Kenya: Foreign Experts Killing the African Dream" - "This continent never had a joint dream. This, however, licenses NGOs from developed countries, think tanks and governments to mess up the great opportunity presented by modernism for Africans to create an African dream." (The Nation (Nairobi))

"Where Are The Greens On Malaria?" - "Every single day I get e-mail from various environmental groups warning about global warming. Matt Drudge posts on his Web site the latest exhortations about this issue from scientists, politicians, Hollywood celebs, and, of course, Al Gore. A coalition of environmentalists and institutional investors recently laid out for AOL customers a listing of which companies will be best prepared for climate change. Greens may be concerned for their wallets, but when it comes to the lives of Africans, these environmentalists are nothing but a bunch of hypocrites." (Alicia Colon, New York Sun)

"Massive marsh planting to begin in coastal Alabama and Mississippi" - "An unprecedented marsh gardening project, spanning two states and utilizing the talents of many agencies, is ready to begin this spring. Headed by Dr. Just Cebrian, Senior Marine Scientist at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab, this ambitious "greening of the estuaries" seeks to establish new, or rehabilitate existing, marsh sites." (Dauphin Island Sea Lab)

"Laos – a lost world for frogs" - "NEW YORK (APRIL 20, 2006) – Frogs and lots of them are being discovered in the Southeast Asia nation of Lao PDR, according to the Bronx Zoo-based Wildlife Conservation Society, which says that six new frog species have been found by scientists over a two-year period." (Wildlife Conservation Society)

"Courts muzzling animal-rights growlers" - "The legal concept of the Public Nuisance has for long been recognized throughout all the civilized countries of the world. Basically, and unadorned by the tortured language of the legal profession, a public nuisance is one who uses property to annoy or damage an individual or the general public. Occasionally the annoyance or damage is sufficiently grievous for the public nuisance to suffer some sort of penalty." (R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr., Washington Times)

"Misplaced Sympathies" - "Darwin isn't the enemy. Conservatives do no service to their cause by treating him as one." (Kevin Shapiro, Opinion Journal)

"Vive la Revolution" - "After 25 years, conservative papers have stirred campus debate." (Opinion Journal)

"SA: Government moots introduction of ’green tax’ to clean up environment" - "GOVERNMENT is considering introducing a “green tax” aimed at a cleaner and healthier environment and which, according to some, may make for better foreign policy. Currently, SA’s tax laws not only miss huge opportunities to clean up the environment, they also sometimes lead to a more polluted environment. Government recently released a discussion paper outlining a number of options to reform SA’s tax laws including the possibility of introducing an environmental tax." (Business Day)

"Media Rest from Pessimism Briefly to Note Higher Life Expectancy" - "The media now interrupt their regularly scheduled fear-mongering to report good news: life expectancy is up." (Ken Shepherd, Human Events)

"Fighting superbugs with milk" - "A NEWBORN wallaby is a tiny, bean-shaped creature, barely more than a fetus. It lacks a developed immune system, relying on compounds in its mother's milk to protect it against pathogens. Now a unique antimicrobial has been discovered in wallaby milk that could be used in hospitals to fight deadly antibiotic-resistant bacteria." (New Scientist)

"Smoking ban credited for dip in heart attacks in Saskatoon area" - "Public health authorities are crediting Saskatoon's smoking ban with a reduction in the number of heart attacks." (The StarPhoenix)

"Genetically engineered foods not a new idea" - "Worried that genetically engineered food will unwittingly make its way onto your dinner table? You’re too late. By about 7,000 years." (Gazette-Times)

"House, Senate reach compromise on genetic seeds" - "MONTPELIER, Vt. --Manufacturers of genetically modified seeds could be sued in state court for damages if their product drifts into the fields of organic farmers under a compromise that was reached Thursday between House and Senate negotiators. But two of the six-members on the conference committee that worked out the deal said they couldn't support it, a possible preview of the chances the legislation faces before the full Legislature and when it reaches a skeptical Gov. Jim Douglas." (Associated Press)

"Polish Senate Approves National Ban on GMO Seeds" - "WARSAW - Poland's upper house of parliament banned trade and plantings of genetically modified (GMO) seeds on Thursday, increasing the risk of a conflict with Brussels for adopting legislation that breaks EU rules." (Reuters)

April 20, 2006

"Animal Rights, Human Wrongs" - "Animal rights extremism -- which the FBI has labeled the biggest domestic terrorism threat -- has encountered a number of serious reverses recently. These reverses are a great victory for science, free inquiry and public health. In particular, Americans could learn from a popular movement in the UK that is standing up to the threats and intimidation of the animal "liberation" movement and asserting the moral arguments for animal testing." (Iain Murray, TCS Daily)

"Animal research petition launched" - "An online petition has been launched allowing the UK public to back medical research using animals." (BBC)

"The urban evolution lab" - "Cities are becoming an ideal laboratory for ecologists to watch evolution happening before their eyes, as animals adapt to challenging urban environments. But urban animals could fall into an evolutionary trap. For example, although birds-feeders keep urban birds well fed, an artificial abundance of food could give birds the wrong signal." (New Scientist)

"Bird flu's 'risk to biodiversity'" - "The spread of bird flu poses serious risks to biodiversity, say scientists who have detailed an outbreak of the virus in Owston's civets." (BBC)

"Settlement reached in lawsuit tied to LI Sound lobster deaths" - "FARMINGDALE, N.Y. -- A group of Long Island Sound lobstermen announced Tuesday they have settled a lawsuit that claimed a pesticide used in 1999 to prevent an outbreak of West Nile virus may have contributed to a devastating die-off of the popular crustaceans in the waters that separate Long Island and Connecticut." (Associated Press)

"The diabetes epidemic – obesity a major factor" - "More and more Americans are being diagnosed with diabetes. Is this rise in cases due to better testing, a change in diagnostic criteria, a true rise in incidence, or some combination of these and other factors? In a study in the May issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention examine some of the reasons for this increase. They conclude that obesity is a major factor in this recent increase of newly diagnosed diabetes. Lifestyle interventions that reduce or prevent the prevalence of obesity among persons at risk for diabetes are needed to halt the increasing incidence of this disease." (American Journal of Preventive Medicine)

"Secret rivers found in Antarctic" - "Antarctica's buried lakes are connected by a network of rivers moving water far beneath the surface, say UK scientists. It was thought the sub-glacial lakes had been completely sealed for millions of years, enabling unique species to evolve in them." (BBC)

"More Satellites to Explore Clouds' Most Intimate Secrets" - "WASHINGTON, April 19 — The practice of staring at clouds will take on new dimensions with the impending launching of two satellites designed to make the first global survey of cloud properties that affect weather and climate, scientists said Wednesday." (New York Times)

The Crimson? "Requiem for Environmentalism" - "Environmentalism is dead; long live the environment! This pronouncement might seem a touch premature, especially to the 500 million people who will celebrate the 37th Earth Day this weekend—a collective “not dead yet” wheeze. However, these numbers mask the growing irrelevance of the environmentalist movement. Having lost its credibility with alarmist rhetoric and obsolete ideological ballast, the movement must develop a moderate discourse while challenging its previous assumptions and outdated theories." (The Harvard Crimson)

"Brown urges global green solution" - "Protecting the environment can boost rather than hinder economic growth, Chancellor Gordon Brown is saying. In a speech to the United Nations in New York on Thursday, Mr Brown will call for a global response to the problem of climate change." (BBC)

Ever the showman: "Climate change cause for concern, disclaimer" - "ALBANY -- In the midst of a gripping presentation at Albany Law School about the implications of a rapidly warming planet, James Hansen, NASA's chief climate change scientist stopped, and muttered "Oh." "Everything that I'm saying today is my personal opinion," said Hansen, who created a major stir in December when he revealed that White House officials were trying to keep him from talking frankly about global warming. "If there are policy implications to what I say," Hansen continued, as many of the nearly 200 people in the audience laughed, "I'll let those speak for themselves." (Times Union)

"Global Warming Alarmists Seek 'Circle of Death,' Group Says" - "With Earth Day approaching on Saturday, a coalition of religious leaders and policy experts held a news briefing on Capitol Hill Wednesday to promote the use of "right reason" when dealing with climate issues and to accuse global warming alarmists of promoting a "circle of death" around the world." (CNSNews.com)

Anyone know if this is supposed to be a joke? "Global warming hits Canada's remotest Arctic lands" - "RESOLUTE BAY, Nunavut - Even in one of the remotest, coldest and most inhospitable parts of Canada's High Arctic, you cannot escape the signs of global warming. Polar bears hang around on land longer than they used to, waiting for ice to freeze. The eternal night which blankets the region for three months is less dark, thanks to warmer air reflecting more sunlight from the south." (Reuters)

Inaccurate Climate Science Reporting (Climate Science)

This says it all about climate models... (EnviroSpin Watch) | Error strikes 'BBC climate model' (BBC) | Computer glitch hits climate prediction project (Nature)

Michael Hopkin suggests this was a "computer glitch" - not so, there's no suggestion a single computer malfunctioned, this is crappy quality control on the data files, pure and simple. Imagine if such garbage was permitted rather than being rigorously screened and excluded from engineering modelling projects for aircraft, bridges, nuclear facilities... Curiously, despite forming the sole foundation for hugely expensive public policy and society-wide social engineering, there would seem to be zero quality assurance measures for either software code or data files in the climate modelling clique. Are these models even calculating what the code authors intended? Who knows - there doesn't appear to be a single test and verify cycle. If this really is "one of the world's most sophisticated climate simulations" then it'd be as effective, not to mention cheaper, to send all the modellers on an all expenses paid course of future divination by reading of chicken entrails and tea leaves.

and more: "Climate Less Sensitive to Greenhouse Gases Than Predicted, Study Says" - "How sensitive is Earth's climate? Sufficient to warm by at least several degrees in response to greenhouse gas pollution but perhaps not as sensitive as some scientists have feared, according to a new study." (National Geographic News)

"Hatch says climate change is unproven" - "Skeptical senator: The issue needs to be stripped of politics first, he says." (The Salt Lake Tribune)

Letter of the moment: Glaciers advance as well as shrink (London Telegraph)

"Act now on climate change, scientists urge Canada" - "OTTAWA - Unless Canada's new government moves quickly to tackle global warming the country's economy and quality of life will increasingly suffer in decades to come, 90 top environmental experts told Prime Minister Stephen Harper in an open letter. Harper, whose Conservatives won the January 23 election, is openly unenthusiastic about the Kyoto accord on climate change and says there is no way Canada can meet its targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions." (Reuters)

So, 60 scientists want Canada to look at the science and now this lot... don't?

Appeasement never works: "Udall global warming bill irks enviros, his usual allies" - "WASHINGTON - U.S. Rep. Tom Udall offered a plan last month that he hoped would be moderate enough to move Congress to act on greenhouse gases. But his proposal hit a roadblock - the environmentalists who usually are among his biggest fans." (Associated Press)

"A greenhouse guessing game" - "AFTER TALKING up path-breaking policies on global warming, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has discovered -- surprise, surprise -- that tough rules make for hot politics." (SF Chronicle)

"Ukraine yet to cash in on Kyoto" - "Taras Bebeshko, head of the department on climate change at Ukraine’s Environmental Ministry, said the government is starting to take its first steps to enable the country’s industry to trade in so-called Kyoto credits. Ukraine can earn billions of dollars as a signatory to the international Kyoto Protocol by selling its so-called ‘surplus carbon emissions to developed countries, but the country still lags behind its neighbors in making this happen." (Kyiv Post)

"Car Industry Failing on Climate Pledge" - "BRUSSELS, April 19 -- Carmakers are defaulting on their pledge to tackle climate change, new figures show. Last year, car industry efforts to improve fuel efficiency achieved a third of the rate needed to meet a commitment they made to the EU in 1998. Improving fuel efficiency is a key factor in tackling climate change because the more fuel a car uses, the more CO2 is emitted into the atmosphere. European manufacturers sold cars that produce on average 160 grams of CO2 per kilometre last year, down only 1 per cent on the previous year, according to sales figures analysed by Transport and Environment (T&E). The European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) promised the European Commission in 1998 to reach average emissions of 140 grams of CO2 per kilometre for new cars by 2008." (PRNewswire)

"Role of U.N. Nuke Agency Called 'Schizophrenic'" - "UNITED NATIONS, Apr 19 - Concerned about the enormous risks that nuclear technology poses to the environment and the questionable role it has played in heightening political conflicts, some leading European politicians are suggesting that the time has come for the United Nations to stop promoting nuclear technology as an effective tool to meet the world's growing energy demands." (IPS)

"Scottish 'wind rush' whips up enthusiasm and anger" - "MOFFAT - Driving from England into Scotland, one of the first sights to catch the eye amid the green hills and pine trees could one day be a series of giant wind turbines, each higher than London landmark Big Ben. The planned project would be an apt welcome sign from a region in the grip of a "wind rush". Dozens of wind farms are up and running with hundreds more planned as developers scramble to take advantage of Scotland's blustery climate and lucrative subsidies for renewable energy." (Reuters)

"Growing demand for non-food crops" - "In the 19th Century, the only "biofuel" that powered farm machinery was the hay and grain that fed the horses that pulled the plough to turn the soil. But the arrival of the industrial revolution, the advances in our knowledge of chemistry, and the utilisation of oil, revolutionised our lives. Since then, societies around the globe have not looked back. Coal and oil have fuelled economic growth for more than 200 years. But today, political leaders of all persuasions are having to think the unthinkable and look beyond the age of oil." (BBC)

"Kenya Advances On GM Cotton" - "Kenya's move towards the introduction of a genetically modified (GM) cotton variety is reportedly moving at a fast rate as the country takes steps to revive the once vibrant cotton sub-sector. Currently, research on the transgenic or Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) cotton is at the stage of contained field trials (CFT). The Bt subspecies being used in the trials, kurstaki, is active in controlling a number of chewing insects (Lepidoteran) pests in field plantations." (East African Business Week)

April 19, 2006

"Dental amalgam not linked to ill effects in kids" - "NEW YORK - Mercury-containing amalgam used to fill cavities in kids' teeth appears to have no adverse intellectual, neurological, or behavioral effects, according to two reports in this week's Journal of the American Medical Association." (Reuters Health) | Neuropsychological function of kids with cavities filled with mercury-containing amalgam (JAMA and Archives Journals)

"Breast implants not associated with cancer risk, study reports" - "Having breast implants is not associated with an increased risk of cancer overall, a new study reports in the April 19 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Implants were associated with a decrease in breast cancer risk and an increased lung cancer risk, but these results likely reflect the lifestyles and smoking habits of the women in the study rather than an effect of the implants themselves, the authors conclude." (Journal of the National Cancer Institute)

"Earth Day 2006 - An Accounting" - "April 22nd marks the 36 anniversary of Earth Day 1970. The first Earth Day had been years in the making being lead by Sen. Gaylord Nelson Democratic Senator from Wisconsin. Major unifying factors for the millions involved were the many environmental abuses taking place as the U.S. population and industry grew. The United States had been largely an agrarian nation up until World War 2. Manual labor was historically a major source of energy needed on the farms, construction, and steel manufacture. Henry Ford had devised the production line for the mass production of automobiles and that principle was widely deployed in the production of war planes, vehicles, tanks, and warships for WW2. In decline were the local metal shops, forges, and hand manufacturing of individual items. A large nation was emerging." (Michael R. Fox, Hawaii Reporter)

"Cat fight over SA's Robben Island" - "The feral cats that inhabit South Africa's famous Robben Island have prompted a row between animal welfare officials and conservationists." (BBC)

"First they disappeared from Britain. Now Europe's house sparrows have vanished" - "The sparrow, once the exemplar of a commonplace bird, is becoming increasingly rare in France and other European countries." (London Independent)

Oh well, if wannabe energy rationers get their way the city streets will soon be knee deep in grain-rich horse manure and insects to nurture another population explosion of the pesky critters. Meanwhile, Australia has a surfeit of feral sparrows and starlings we'd just love to repatriate.

"Deadly astronomical event not likely to happen in our galaxy, study finds" - "COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Are you losing sleep at night because you're afraid that all life on Earth will suddenly be annihilated by a massive dose of gamma radiation from the cosmos? Well, now you can rest easy." (Ohio State University)

Scooped again:) "New Environmental Fear: Earth 'Spinning Out of Control'" - "(New Brunswick, New Jersey) With the recent onslaught of hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, droughts, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and even tsunamis, some prominent environmentalists are expressing fears that the Earth itself has reached a "tipping point". "One only need look at pictures of the Earth from outer space to realize that our home planet is very vulnerable. Like a wobbling, spinning top we are just hurtling through space, uncontrolled, dangling out there in the cold, unforgiving void", said Ward F. Kennedy II, professor of Environmental Destruction at Rutgers University." (ecoEnquirer)

"Japan scientists unveil world's oldest ice block" - "TOKYO, April 18 - A million-year-old ice sample drilled from 3 kilometres under the Antarctic and unveiled in Tokyo on Tuesday could yield vital clues on climate change, Japanese scientists said." (Reuters)

"Carbon cycle was already disrupted millions of years ago" - "Dutch researcher Yvonne van Breugel analysed rocks from seabeds millions of years old. Carbon occurs naturally in two stable forms; atomic mass 12 (99 percent) and atomic mass 13 (1 percent). Episodes in the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods were characterised by a relatively strong increase in 12C. The analyses have shown that this was caused by a sudden large-scale release of carbon from stocks stored in the ocean floor or peats and bogs." (Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research)

Sometimes, Red Tops express it most eloquently: "BBC climate change experiment cocked - Garbage in, garbage out" - "THE BBC'S CLIMATE CHANGE EXPERIMENT started in February and almost 200,000 users around the World have signed up. With supercharged computers winding down after two months of number crunching, now is perhaps not the best time for the boffins at Oxford University to discover that the data they built into the model is flawed.

With around 200,000 PCs running the experiment non-stop for two months, it looks very much as if the BBC experiment is making more of a contribution to global warming than scientific knowledge." (The Inquirer) | Error discovered in the BBC Climate Change Experiment (ClimatePrediction.net)

Uh-huh... "Gore Revs Up Campaign - on Global Warming" - "WASHINGTON -- Al Gore has a major campaign under way -- to change policies on global warming. The 2000 Democratic presidential nominee has hired longtime political associate Roy Neel to aid in his effort to raise awareness about global warming, a problem Gore calls "a planetary emergency." (Associated Press)

Clock's still ticking above the news column here Al, still don't want to discuss the science, huh?

"Pop! goes the planet" - "HEAR the latest about how Canadians are feeling about global warming?" (Chronicle Herald)

Told ya the economy was booming: "Scientists condemn US as emissions of greenhouse gases hit record level" - "The United States emitted more greenhouse gases in 2004 than at any time in history, confirming its status as the world's biggest polluter. Latest figures on the US contribution to global warming show that its carbon emissions have risen sharply despite international concerns over climate change." (London Independent)

"U.S. to host Asia-Pacific Partnership talks this week" - "The United States will host talks starting tomorrow in Berkeley, Calif., with five Asia-Pacific nations intent on developing and sharing technologies to curb greenhouse gas emissions." (Greenwire)

New Study on the Importance of Regional Climate Studies (Climate Science)

From CO2 Science this week:

The World's Water Problems: What are they? And what can be done about them?

Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week:
This issue's Level 3 Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week is from Saki Lake, Crimean Peninsula, Ukraine.  To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.

Subject Index Summary:
Little Ice Age (Solar Influence - Temperature): How does understanding the cause of the cold temperatures of the Little Ice Age help us identify the cause of the higher temperatures of the Current Warm Period?

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: Barley, Perennial Ryegrass, Wheat, and White Clover.

Journal Reviews:
CO 2 Effects on Carbon and Nitrogen in a Sweetgum Forest: Are there any signs that insufficient nitrogen availability will ultimately curtail the carbon sequestering effects of atmospheric CO 2 enrichment in this intensively studied ecosystem?

CO 2 Effects on Carbon and Nitrogen in a Loblolly Pine Forest: Are there any signs that insufficient nitrogen availability will ultimately curtail the carbon sequestering effects of atmospheric CO 2 enrichment in this intensively studied ecosystem?

CO 2 Effects on Carbon and Nitrogen in a Scrub Oak Forest: Are there any signs that insufficient nitrogen availability will ultimately curtail the carbon sequestering effects of atmospheric CO 2 enrichment in this intensively studied ecosystem?

CO 2 Effects on Carbon and Nitrogen in Numerous Ecosystems: Are there any signs that insufficient nitrogen availability will ultimately curtail the carbon sequestering effects of atmospheric CO 2 enrichment in earth's terrestrial ecosystems?

A Meta-Analysis that Claims to Support the PNL Hypothesis: The data are what they are, and the analysis is what it is; but there are other analyses of some of the same data, including additional data, that tell a much different story. (co2science.com)

"A Self-Inflicted Energy Mess" - "Energy: As gasoline prices creep beyond $3 a gallon, everyone wonders who deserves the blame. OPEC? Sure. The unstable Mideast? Absolutely. Here's one you might not have considered: the U.S. government. It's always tempting to blame soaring energy costs on some nefarious foreign plot and be done with it. And no question, troubles in the Mideast and OPEC's inability (or unwillingness) to get a grip on prices play a big role. The showdown with Iran over its burgeoning nuclear program affects prices too. But, as we've written before, those aren't the only things to blame. The federal government, with its balkanized gasoline requirements, its taxes and its myriad regulations, deserves a large measure of responsibility for the soaring cost of gasoline. Every year at this time the same thing happens: Gasoline prices spike in anticipation of the dreaded summer "driving season." (IBD)

"King Coal makes a return as dirty man of Europe goes green" - "Coal is being lauded suddenly as the commodity that can wean us off a dependency on energy supplies from the volatile Middle East and even save the earth from global warming." (London Independent)

"Coal dominates plans despite greenhouse angst" - "INTERNATIONAL power companies are increasingly worried about energy security and greenhouse emission, but still plan to build much of their future on coal, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers' Utilities Global Survey 2006." (The Age)

"Well-Informed Citizens Consider CO2 Storage to be Acceptable" - "According to Dutch researchers, if you want to know what the average citizen thinks about new energy options then make sure you inform them properly first. Respondents who are not well informed, only give 'pseudo opinions' which are too fickle to base policy on. This emerges from psychological research into what the Dutch think about various forms of energy generation from fossil fuels in combination with CO2 storage." (Azom)

"Chemical Companies Look to Coal as an Oil Substitute" - "Coal for fuel? Pretty common. But coal as the main ingredient in wall paints, fertilizers, even grocery bags? With oil and natural gas prices showing no signs of plummeting, and with incentives to use coal built into the Energy Policy Act of 2005, it just might happen. And chemical companies, which use oil and gas as feedstocks — industry jargon for raw materials — are hoping it will happen soon." (New York Times)

"Should oldest US nuke plant stay on line?" - "New Jersey says the plant is too vulnerable to terrorist attack to have its license renewed." (The Christian Science Monitor)

The latest in eco-toffery: "Cameron considers abandoning Tory support for nuclear power" - "The Tories may drop their long-standing support for nuclear power despite claims by some experts that it could help to combat climate change." (London Independent)

"The Chernobyl Body Count Controversy" - "Greenpeace on Tuesday released a report claiming the death toll from Chernobyl is many times higher than a 2005 UN estimate. But is the report based on "bad science" as critics claim?" (Der Spiegel)

Someone still listens to what Greenpeas say? Go figure!

"Scientists look for genetic key to milk production" - "Agricultural scientists are spending $4 million on feeding trials to find dairy cows which most efficiently convert feed to milk, and to identify the genetic markers for that capability." (NZPA)

April 18, 2006

"Africa Malaria Day – action or bombast?" - "Parents and children will continue dying from malaria, until Europe rejects its colonialist past. Every year, over 400 million African mothers, fathers and children are stricken by acute malaria. That’s as many victims as there are people in the United States and Mexico combined." (Roy Innis, American Daily)

The unsustainability of 'sustainability'... (EnviroSpin Watch)

"Environmentalism and the apocalypse" - "THE MOST contentious recent battle between creationists and evolutionary biologists is not the debate about the newly discovered ''missing link" between fish and land animals. Rather, it is a bizarre incident that involves predictions of doomsday and charges of encouraging terrorism. At bottom, this conflict is not about religion versus science but about the clash of two religions." (Cathy Young, Boston Globe)

"Fat Kids: Fears, Fictions and Facts Part II" - "A new study by Youfa Wang of John Hopkins University and Tim Lobstein of the International Obesity Task Force published in the International Journal of Pediatric Obesity, claims that half the children in North and South America and 38 percent of the children in Europe will be overweight or obese by 2010 if trends continue. (John Luik, TCS Daily) Editor's note: This article is the second of two parts. You can read Part I here.

"Warning: campaigns to promote health are a waste of money" - "Multimillion-pound health promotion campaigns by the Government are a waste of money and do not change people's behaviour, according to nurses. Funds would be better spent on treating patients and targeting the most at-risk groups rather than running high-profile advertising pushes, they say. The Royal College of Nursing is to debate the issue at its annual conference next week." (London Independent)

"Of Mice and Men" - "By far the most serious health claim about air pollution is that it kills tens of thousands of Americans each year, mainly due to exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5). However, an embarrassment for proponents of today's historically low air pollution levels as a cause of death is that the evidence is almost solely circumstantial, being based on statistical studies reporting small correlations between air pollution levels and risk of premature death." (Joel Schwartz, TCS Daily)

"Less antibiotic use in food animals leads to less drug resistance in people, study shows" - "Australia's policy of restricting antibiotic use in food-producing animals may be linked with lower levels of drug-resistant bacteria found in its citizens, according to an article in the May 15 issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases, now available online. Campylobacter jejuni is a leading bacterial cause of foodborne illness in industrialized countries. Drug resistance can make Campylobacter infections difficult for physicians to treat, and can result in longer bouts of diarrhea and a higher risk of serious or even fatal illness. Bacterial resistance to drugs is generally attributed to inappropriate prescribing or overuse of antibiotics." (Infectious Diseases Society of America)

"Scripps-led project achieves milestone in analyzing pollutants dimming the atmosphere" - "A scientific research consortium led by Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, has reached an important milestone in the tracking of pollutants responsible for dimming Earth's atmosphere.

Scripps Oceanography scientist Veerabhadran Ramanathan reported that instrument-bearing autonomous unmanned aerial vehicles (AUAVs) completed 18 successful data-gathering missions in pollution-filled skies over the Maldives, an island chain nation south of India. During the Maldives AUAV Campaign (MAC), groupings of three aircraft flew in synchronous vertical formation, which allowed onboard instruments to observe conditions below, inside and above clouds simultaneously. Researchers hope the data produced during the flights will reveal in unprecedented detail how pollution particles contribute to the formation of clouds and the resulting dimming from the polluted clouds." (University of California - San Diego)

"Office of Naval Research supports joint US-Taiwan COSMIC satellites" - "At 6:40 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time, Friday, April 14, 2006, a constellation of six satellites launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., with the mission of improving weather forecasts, monitoring climate change, and enhancing space weather research and operations." (Office of Naval Research)

"Media Darling on 'Global Warming' Assailed by Colleagues" - "NASA scientist James Hansen, profiled by the New York Times, "60 Minutes" and other media titans as a renowned scientist with unassailable credibility on the issue of "global warming" and a victim of White House censorship, is actually a loose cannon at NASA who lied about the alleged censorship, according to one of Hansen's former colleagues as well as a current co-worker." (CNSNews.com)

"Climate change adds to Alaska woes" - "ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- The internal time clock for Alaska's boreal forest calls for a good, healthy forest fire every 150 years or so. The trouble is, fires in the forest that covers Alaska from below the Brooks Range to above the Panhandle have been coming fast and frequently. Climate warming has accelerated conditions ideal for conflagration, contributing to record fire seasons in America's largest state and starting a trend that forest managers fear has changed the forest into the next century." (Associated Press)

According to The Bee: "Governor lands on correct side of climate issue" - "Credible scientists tell us that global warming, left unchecked, will upend the world's fragile balances. It already is upsetting the fragile balance Gov. Schwarzenegger is trying to strike between the need to save the planet and not to kill jobs." (Modesto Bee)

"California tackles greenhouse emissions" - "Companies could reap huge financial rewards, some say. Others see a net loss of jobs." (The Christian Science Monitor)

New Paper on Land Use/Land Cover Change as a First-Order Regional Climate Forcing (Climate Science)

"UW Scientists Coax Carbon into Reclaimed Mine Lands, Forests" - "April 17, 2006 -- Three University of Wyoming researchers are attempting to determine best-management practices to harness the Earth's primal forces and turn landscapes into sponges for carbon. Or, at least through the efforts of Pete Stahl, Daniel Tinker, and George Vance, find more efficient ways to coax carbon out of the atmosphere and stick it in the ground. Stahl, associate professor in the College of Agriculture's Department of Renewable Resources, is peering into ways reclaimed mining land can be best managed to absorb carbon in the atmosphere." (University of Wyoming)

"Climate change no-shows" - "SINCE NEITHER Congress nor the Bush administration has shown any stomach for requiring automakers to make more efficient cars that produce less greenhouse gas, leadership has passed to the state of California. Since 1990, it has had the right to set higher auto emission standards, which other states can then adopt. California is proposing to mandate reductions of carbon dioxide, which 10 other states, including Massachusetts and New York, want to impose, too." (Boston Globe)

"Gil Spencer: Global warming is scary in more ways than one" - "Something creepy is happening outside. You may have noticed. The Clean Air Council of Philadelphia and researchers at Penn State certainly have. It’s called "Season Creep." Lilacs and honeysuckle are blooming six days early. Frogs are starting their mating season 12 days early. Canadian geese, robins and whip-poor-wills are arriving earlier." (Delco Times)

"DOE Strengthens Public Registry to Track Greenhouse Gas Emissions" - "WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Secretary of Energy Samuel W. Bodman today announced revised guidelines for the department’s Voluntary Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program, known as “1605 (b)” that encourage broader reporting of emissions and sequestration by utilities, and industries, as well as small businesses and institutions. The revised guidelines strengthen the existing public registry for emissions and sequestration data and introduce new methods for U.S. businesses and institutions to calculate entity-wide emission reductions that contribute to the President’s goal of substantially reducing U.S. emissions intensity." (DOE)

"Spain's CO2 emissions rose 48 pct from 1990 to 2004" - "MADRID - Spain's carbon dioxide emissions rose 47.87 percent between 1990 and 2004, over two percentage points higher than an earlier calculation, the Environment Ministry said on Monday. The higher figure consolidated Spain's position as the worst performer among rich nations in greenhouse gas controls." (Reuters)

"The Oil Rush" - "How high-tech prospectors are trying to squeeze fuel--and fat profits--out of the earth while transforming the petroleum market" (US News & World Report)

"UK scientists attack oil firms' role in huge Arctic project" - "Sixty-country survey to search for fossil fuels in pristine environment " (The Guardian) | Global warming sparks a scramble for black gold under retreating ice (The Guardian)

"Costly oil sparks interest in alternatives" - "PARIS As energy prices soar, investors are taking a closer look at the makers of alternative power sources like ethanol and windmills." (Bloomberg News)

"One Billion Cars" - "It won't be long before the world hits that number. Here's what it means for the consumer, the industry -- and the planet." (Joseph B White, Wall Street Journal)

"EU body challenged over GM report" - "Two environmental groups say they have documents which show a double standard on the safety of genetically-modified organisms in the European Commission." (BBC)

April 17, 2006

"Think the worst - then prepare for it" - "The chief of the world's largest insurance broker tells Andrew Cave about his fears of an infodemic." (London Telegraph)

"Britain now 'eating the planet'" - "The UK is about to run out of its own natural resources and become dependent on supplies from abroad, a report says. A study by the New Economics Foundation (Nef) and the Open University says 16 April is the day when the nation goes into "ecological debt" this year. It warns if annual global consumption levels matched the UK's, it would take 3.1 Earths to meet the demand. But bio-geography professor Philip Stott criticised the "doomsday report", arguing it would hit poorer nations." (BBC)

"Build a million green belt homes, urges think tank" - "Farm and green belt land should be used to create a million new homes and a hundred thousand hectares of fresh woodland, according to a report that today proposes a radical shake-up in land use." (London Telegraph)

"Slow death of Africa's Lake Chad" - "One of the world's great lakes is disappearing. Lake Chad - shared by Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, and Niger - has receded to less than 20% of its former volume. Global warming is being blamed, as well as water extraction." (BBC)

"Shades of green" - "Which is true?

A. Philadelphia’s modern environmental activist is young, idealistic, vegan, rides a bicycle to work at a nonprofit agency, came to the movement through an epiphany during Outward Bound, and uses organic deodorant that may not be effective but was developed without inflicting cruelty on animals.

B. Philadelphia’s modern environmental activist is young, ambitious, buys his suits at Brooks Brothers, dines at Pat’s King of Steaks and Buddakan, came to the movement when he was working as a corporate lawyer on Wall Street, and is negotiating multimillion-dollar contracts with city officials.

Answer: Both of these extremes and everything in between, as evidenced by up-and-coming members of Philadelphia’s green vanguard." (Philadelphia Inquirer)

"Pollution has no boundaries: US official" - "SHANGHAI: China and the United States are working together to improve the world's environment, according to a top US environmental official. Stephen Johnson, administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency, summarized his meeting with his Chinese counterparts, from the State Environmental Protection Administration and Ministry of Water Resources, as "very productive." "We agreed that we live in a global economy and a global environment. We also agreed that the US and China are vital to the health of our environment. And pollution has no political or geographical boundaries," said Johnson, who was on his last leg of his week-long China trip, which also took him to Beijing and Lijiang, Yunnan Province. He described a Financial Times report two days ago as misquoting him and taking things out of context. In the Financial Times story, Johnson was quoted as accusing China of spreading air pollutants, such as mercury, to as far away as the United States." (People's Daily)

"Green goals off target amid boom" - "Rapid economic growth has prevented China from meeting nearly half of its goals for environmental protection, with the level of sulfur dioxide emissions rising by 27 percent over the past five years, the government says." (The Standard)

"Greener than thou" - "Earth Day 2006 arrives with some evangelicals making a controversial push for radical environmental legislation." (Mark Bergin, World Magazine)

"Temperatures, not hotels, likely alter Niagara Falls' mist" - "When the Niagara Parks Commission posed that question back in 2004, the concern was that high-rise hotels on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls were contributing to the creation of more mist, obscuring the very view that millions of tourists flock there every year to see. The suspicion was that new high-rise buildings were altering airflow patterns, contributing to a higher, thicker mist plume. Consultants conducted wind tunnel experiments that seemed to confirm that mist levels were enhanced by the tall buildings around the falls, a report that circulated in the Canadian news media. Now University at Buffalo geologists have determined that the high-rise hotels are probably not to blame." (University at Buffalo)

"Floods worst in 450 years" - "FLOODS in Katherine in 1998 and this year were the worst and second-worst in an estimated 450 years, it has been revealed.
Scientists conducted research which found two similar events 400 to 450 years ago, both within a few years of each other." (Northern Territory News)

"Here's Dr. Doom" - "A founding father of environmentalism has embraced fatalism—and the public loves it." (Newsweek International)

"Public doesn't warm to gloom and doom" - "Despite nearly two decades of panicky reports about a planet melting down, only 35 percent of Americans say global warming "will pose a serious threat to you or your way of life in your lifetime," according to a recent Gallup Poll. Environmental pessimists, including doomsters in the media, have reacted not by rethinking their position but by redoubling their scare tactics." (Thomas Bray, Detroit News)

"Vanity Scare" - "The headline was certainly eye-grabbing. "Scientist Who Spearheaded Attacks on Global Warming Also Directed $45M Tobacco Industry Effort to Hide Health Impacts of Smoking." So read an email to reporters and journalists from an environmental group trumpeting a report in the May issue of Vanity Fair by the writer Mark Hertsgaard. What made the accusation even juicier is that the scientist is Frederick Seitz, the former president of the prestigious National Academy of Sciences and the former President of Rockefeller University, the highly regarded New York-based research institute. Seitz is emeritus professor at Rockefeller and still lives in a Rockefeller University apartment. He is 94 years old." (Nick Schulz, TCS Daily)

"Global warming may be to blame for rise in hurricane activity" - "ORLANDO · Is global warming to blame for the past two horrific hurricane seasons? Yes, says Judith Curry, a professor of atmospheric sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Her argument: Worldwide sea surface temperatures have increased by about 1 degree since 1970, resulting in about 50 percent more tropical storm activity than normal. No, counters Jim O'Brien, a professor of meteorology and oceanography at Florida State University. His point: Since 1850, the Earth has undergone numerous warming and cooling cycles and there has been no distinct trend in the overall intensity of hurricane seasons." (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)

Are Multi-Decadal Climate Forecasts For the Rocky Mountains Skillful? (Climate Science)

Virtually: "Parts of the Caribbean and Central America are likely to have less summer rain" - "Parts of the Caribbean and Central America are likely to experience a significant summer drying trend by the middle of this century, UCLA atmospheric scientists will report in the April 18 issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Their research is based on an analysis of 10 global climate computer simulations, from the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, and from Australia, Britain, France, Germany and Japan. (The study is published this week in the PNAS online edition.)" (University of California - Los Angeles)

Hey, Arnold! "State's carbon emissions and immigration" - "WHILE environmentalists like to blame SUVs for the increasing carbon dioxide emissions, the data show quite clearly the real problem is population growth, not SUVs. Between 1990 and 2002 per-capita energy consumption in California actually declined slightly from 253 million BTUs to 227 million BTUs. However, between 1990 and 2005, the state's population increased 6.3 million -- an average of 421,400 people each year. Recent studies have shown that virtually all of this increase (98 percent) is due to foreign immigration. If California continues to add 421,400 new residents each year, in 2020, the state's population will be 42.5 million -- an increase of 12.6 million above the population in 1990. If per-capita energy consumption and the carbon intensity of California's energy supply remain the same, these 12.6 million additional people will increase the state's carbon dioxide emissions by 95 million metric tons or about 28 percent above the 1990 level." (Donald F. Anthrop, Contra Costa Times)

"Museums Take Different Views on Climate Change" - "All Things Considered, April 16, 2006 · Global warming is a hot-button issue in the nation's capital. Two museums in Washington, D.C. -- the Smithsonian and the National Academy of Sciences -- are tackling the phenomenon in very different ways. One links it to natural warming cycles in the Arctic, the other to harmful interference by humans." (NPR)

Hmm... "Japan hot and cold on warming" - "As the Japanese act more American -- choosing bigger houses and bigger cars, shopping in bigger malls, turning the heat up and blasting the air conditioning -- Japan could become one of the treaty's most notable failures. While Japan's industries are hyperefficient, cutting their emissions by 1.7 percent since 1990, emissions from the residential sector have grown 29 percent, according to government estimates. Emissions from the commercial sector are up 37 percent, and those from transportation 20 percent." (SF Chronicle)

Japan's industrial emissions declined due more to persistent recessive economy than "hyper efficiency" but the bottom line is the same - The Protocol is a bust.

"Harper denies cuts to green programs planned" - "WAINWRIGHT, ALTA. -- Prime Minister Stephen Harper has denied an allegation that his new Conservative minority government is planning to slash Environment Canada programs designed to combat global warming. "That's not true. The government has terminated a small number of programs that were set to expire," he told reporters, in response to a Globe and Mail report that cited confidential cabinet documents. However, he said his government's hand has been forced on this issue because the previous Liberal federal government spent "billions of dollars on so-called climate-change programs and we have the worst results in the world. "Obviously, we are going to wind up programs that don't get results and move things toward a program that is focused not just on spending money, but also on achieving some objectives," he said." (Globe and Mail)

"Too late on global warming?" - "Has climate change pushed the world past its tipping point — the stage at which melting of the Greenland ice cap becomes irreversible and oceans eventually rise 6.5 metres?" (Toronto Star)

"Who's afraid of a little heat?" - "Maybe a PR makeover would make global warming a little scarier." (Toronto Star)

"Some 25 per cent of Canadians think global warming will kill the planet: poll" - "MONTREAL - About one-quarter of Canadians believe global warming will lead to the destruction of the planet, a new opinion poll suggests. The Leger Marketing survey found that 62 per cent of respondents believed global warming can be curbed, while 23 per cent said it will trigger a disaster that will destroy Earth." (CP)

"Is This Humanity's First Planetary Emergency?" - "April 14, 2006 — The reports of a number of leading scientists show a new level of concern about the possibility of global warming producing planetwide upheaval in the lifetimes of today's children. Please don't shoot the messenger. Those of us who cover global warming already have enough to think about as we consider some of the latest assessments coming from established scientists." (ABC News)

?!! "Awash in oil, dying of thirst" - "Alberta's riches in oil are offset by a looming shortage of water. The problem is so acute a leading water expert is suggesting the number of industries and residents allowed to locate in the western Prairies be limited. A study released this month, co-authored by University of Alberta ecology professor David Schindler, warns the region will be subjected to droughts far worse than those of the 1930s. It attributes this to the fact the 20th century was an anomaly -- the wettest the region has been in 2,000 years -- and to global warming." (London Free Press)

So, the warming 20th Century was anomalously (and advantageously) wet in the western Prairies, something that will be harmed by... global warming? Right...

"Are the dangers of global warming overhyped?" - "No: Media coverage has improved but still bows to corporate masters." (Knight Ridder Newspapers)

"Are the dangers of global warming overhyped?" - "Yes: Media demonstrates a liberal bias once again." (Knight Ridder Newspapers)

This: "3 degrees: Chief scientist warns bigger rise in world's temperature will put 400 million at risk" - "The world's temperature is on course to rise by more than three degrees Centigrade despite efforts to combat global warming, Britain's chief scientist has warned. Sir David King issued a stark wake-up call that climate change could cause devastating consequences such as famine and drought for hundreds of millions of people unless the world's politicians take more urgent action." (London Independent)

+ "Death, famine, drought: cost of 3C global rise in temperature" - "Global temperatures will rise by an average of 3C due to climate change and cause catastrophic damage around the world unless governments take urgent action, according to the UK government's chief scientist." (The Guardian)

+ "Climate change: the weakest links" - "Climate change scenarios are tough to predict because the Earth is such a complex system. But scientists can point to several weak links in parts of the planet where climate change could bring about the sudden, catastrophic collapse of important ecosystems, even at a rise of 3C." (The Guardian)

Because? "Government close to approving nuclear stations" - "The Government has hinted that it will approve a new generation of nuclear power stations on the ground that the move would combat climate change." (London Independent)

"Blair dealt nuclear power blow by parliament body" - "LONDON - A parliamentary committee on Sunday rejected any government dash for nuclear power to meet looming energy needs, delivering an apparent blow to Prime Minister Tony Blair. Blair is widely believed to favour replacing the country's ageing nuclear plants with new ones, but the all-party environment audit committee's report was the second time a leading body has opposed a new generation of nuclear stations. The report, entitled "Keeping the lights on", said the answer lay in building many more gas-powered electricity plants and boosting production from sources of renewable energy like wind and waves." (Reuters)

"Blair hints at go-ahead for new nuclear power plants" - "Tony Blair has given his strongest indication yet that he will press ahead with a new generation of nuclear power stations despite a highly critical report from MPs yesterday claiming that Britain's coming energy gap can best be filled by new carbon efficient gas stations. Mr Blair, speaking ahead of the government's energy review in June, said Britain will need both new nuclear and renewable energy to fill the energy gap. Asked in a video interview, before the parliamentary recess, if Britain should rely on nuclear or on renewables, Mr Blair replied: "I have a feeling it is possible we may need both." (The Guardian)

"Keeping Britain warm with gas turned down" - "We need to end our reliance on gas. The energy review will decide how it is to be done, writes Tracey Boles." (Sunday Times)

"Power shortage risks 'overplayed'" - "Energy Minister Malcolm Wicks has accused a group of MPs of "over-egging" the risk of electricity shortages. The Commons Environmental Audit Committee said the UK could not wait for a new generation of nuclear power stations and needed gas-fired stations. A government energy review this year is expected to request more nuclear power. Mr Wicks, who leads the review, said no decision had been taken but the extra cost of cleaner energy like nuclear was a price to pay for saving the planet." (BBC)

"Going Nuclear: A Green Makes the Case" - "In the early 1970s when I helped found Greenpeace, I believed that nuclear energy was synonymous with nuclear holocaust, as did most of my compatriots. That's the conviction that inspired Greenpeace's first voyage up the spectacular rocky northwest coast to protest the testing of U.S. hydrogen bombs in Alaska's Aleutian Islands. Thirty years on, my views have changed, and the rest of the environmental movement needs to update its views, too, because nuclear energy may just be the energy source that can save our planet from another possible disaster: catastrophic climate change." (Patrick Moore, Washington Post )

"Scientist urges switch to thorium" - "Supporters of an alternative energy source say it has the potential to revolutionise the nuclear power industry and is a safer alternative to uranium. Thorium oxide, which is three times more abundant than uranium, is also a radioactive material. But senior research scientist Dr Hashemi-Nezhad, from Sydney University, says it is safe to hold in your hand." (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

"Burning ambitions" - "The future of Texas electricity is so retro: Coal. After a decade of building natural-gas fired power plants in Texas and watching prices soar, generation companies are returning to an older fuel. Six coal plants are at various stages of the permitting process. "It may be an old fuel, but it's developing a new face," said Michael Williams, a Texas Railroad Commissioner and a member of the National Coal Council. Coal is cheap and plentiful in Texas, the fifth-largest coal-producing state in the country. And new coal-fired generators can be built quickly enough to meet growing demand, thanks in part to a directive from the governor to speed up permitting." (Dallas Morning News)

"Seawater intake spurs outcry" - "Power plants' toll on marine life has state panels set to consider legislation." (Union-Tribune)

"A Future Without Oil?" - "Proponents of alternative fuels are seeing a rare convergence of technology, money, political will and motivated motorists." (LA Times)

"Industry reaps GM bonanza, but we will pay" - "We need to question our expectations and assess all the costs before we release GM crops, writes Mairi Anne Mackenzie." (The Age)

April 14, 2006

"Twenty Years After Chernobyl" - "April 26 marks the 20th anniversary of the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Anti-nuclear activists are still trying to turn Chernobyl into a bigger disaster than it really was." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"Common genetic change linked to obesity" - "The first common genetic variant that substantially increases a person’s risk of obesity has been identified, researchers claim. They hope that their discovery will open doors to new treatments for the condition." (NewScientist.com news service)

In the virtual world: "Stark warning over climate change" - "The world is likely to suffer a temperature rise of more than 3C, says the government's chief scientist. In a report based on computer predictions, Professor David King said that increase would cause drought and famine and threaten millions of lives." (BBC)

Well done The Guardian: "Fragrance of pine forests helps to slow climate change" - "The fresh fragrance released by trees in northern pine forests is a significant component in slowing climate change, according to research. The particles that carry the forests' olfactory assault also help to cool the planet by bouncing energy from the sun back into space. Now researchers have worked out that the forests produce enough microscopic particles to load the atmosphere around them with 1,000-2,000 particles per cubic centimetre of air. The discovery will help plug a big hole in climate change models and so help scientists to make more accurate predictions of global warming from greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane. Hans-Christen Hansson of the Air Pollution Laboratory in Stockholm, Sweden, said airborne particles are a big unknown factor for climate scientists. "We are afraid we have totally misjudged the trend of climate change because the particles are not in the models in a comprehensive way." The particles, called monoterpenes, give pine and spruce forests their characteristic aroma. They either affect climate directly by bouncing sunlight back into space or by seeding clouds, which do the same thing. "That gives us a very big uncertainty for projection of the effects of greenhouse gases," he added." (The Guardian)

Credit where credit is due, The Guardian rightly exposes major problems with climate models in that they do a really lousy job of handling aerosols and clouds, if at all. In general the press has done an appalling job of reporting uncertainties, preferring to trumpet quite ridiculous top of range 'guess-timations' as 'predictions' and thus it is immensely pleasing (if a trifle surprising) to see The Guardian publishing this item.

"Greenpeace Arctic mission to spotlight polar bears" - "LOS ANGELES - Two U.S. explorers plan to start a four-month summer expedition to the North Pole next month to gather information on the habitat of an animal they believe could be the first victim of global warming -- the polar bear. Lonnie Dupre and Eric Larsen plan to travel 1,100 miles by foot and canoe over the Arctic Ocean to test the depth and density of the ice in summer in a mission sponsored by Greenpeace, the environmental group said on Thursday.

Unusually heavy snow and ice last year forced Dupre and Larsen to call off a similar mission, but they now plan to launch Project Thin Ice 2006 -- Saving the Polar Bear on May 1 from Canada, traveling to the North Pole and then back to Greenland." (Reuters)

"Will Cooler Heads Prevail?" - "Climate Change: As experts predict a milder hurricane season unrelated to global warming, 60 top scientists tell Canada's new leader that the Kyoto treaty is pointless. And where's that ice age we were promised?" (IBD)

"View on emission measures revisited: Governor says he backs capping greenhouse gas output by 2012" - "Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Wednesday sought to dispel the notion that he has backtracked from tough measures to combat global warming, saying he "can live" with capping greenhouse gas emissions by 2012." (Sacramento Bee)

"Ottawa plans cuts to green programs: documents" - "The Conservative government will be making deep spending cuts to programs designed to fight global warming in order to fund tax cuts, according to cabinet documents obtained by CTV and The Globe and Mail. The documents show that the government will slash spending on Environment Canada programs designed to fight global warming by 80 per cent -- and the savings will help fund a Tory campaign promise of tax breaks for people who buy transit passes." (CTV.ca)

"Harper government eliminates 15 programs dedicated to Kyoto research" - "OTTAWA -- A scientist with Environment Canada was ordered not to launch his global warming-themed novel Thursday at the same time the Conservative government was quietly axing a number of Kyoto programs. The bizarre sequence of events on the eve of the Easter long weekend provided an ironic end-note to the week in which Prime Minister Stephen Harper introduced his first piece of legislation -- aimed at improving accountability and transparency in government. The day began with what was supposed to be the low-key launch of an aptly titled novel, Hotter than Hell." (Canadian Press)

"Climate Change: Rich Nations Off the Hook in World Bank Plan" - "WASHINGTON, Apr. 12, 2006 - The World Bank is promoting large-scale projects such as dams and nuclear power plants to help reduce climate change, poverty and fossil fuel dependence, according to an internal World Bank document. The bank also is pushing more funding for renewable energy and market liberalization by poor nations, according to the document, "Investment Framework for Clean Energy and Development," leaked by a non-governmental organization and obtained by IPS. It focuses more on what developing countries need to do to help stop the phenomenon of climate change than the steps that should be taken by major polluters in industrialized countries." (IPS/GIN)

"Tough questions on future power" - "LONDON - Public consultation on Britain's future energy needs ends on Friday with divided camps leaving the government with tough choices on power supplies. Bound by pledges to slash greenhouse gas emissions, the government must decide the shape of the country's electricity supply network for coming decades as demand booms and North Sea oil and gas run out. On one side of the debate is the so-called "big power" lobby promoting coal and nuclear generation. On the other, the green alternative advocating a wider mix of power sources including those coming from individuals' own efforts." (Reuters)

"Caught between global warming and an energy crisis, Blair looks north for answers" - "It is an unlikely spot for a nuclear power station. In the bay, sea eagles patrol the sky. There is even the odd moose. But this rugged west coast of Finland, surrounded by forests and lichen-encrusted boulders, is to be home to Europe's biggest and newest nuclear reactor." (The Guardian)

"Nuclear power is not energy solution, say MPs" - "A new generation of nuclear power stations cannot solve energy supply problems in the short term and crucial questions of security, cost and effectiveness remain unanswered, MPs will warn in a report to be published this weekend." (The Guardian)

"Korea poised to emerge as nuclear energy powerhouse" - "Korea is fast becoming a new nuclear powerhouse, re-exporting nuclear technologies to advanced countries such as the United States and France, the Ministry of Science and Technology said yesterday. According to the ministry's review on its 10-year-long nuclear energy development project, the country has invested around 1.27 trillion won between 1997 and 2006. This investment helped put the nation on a par with nuclear powerhouses in terms of nuclear technologies." (Korea Herald)

"Action urged over desertification and poverty" - "A two-day meeting on desertification in Geneva has issued a call for governments in affected countries to take more action. The conference, organised by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the United Nations, ended on Wednesday evening and focused on the human side of desertification: hunger, poverty and forced migration." (SwissInfo)

"A New Kind of SWAT Team" - "A genetically modified mosquito is a good mosquito. But there are cavemen among us who seem to live to thwart technological advances, and they may prefer the old disease-spreading pests that have plagued mankind since the beginning." (Merrill Matthews, Human Events)

"Gene alterers try to weed out mistrust" - "Despite notable successes, wider acceptance of biotechnology continues to be hampered by its struggle to gain credibility with many ordinary people, several speakers at the world's largest life sciences meeting said Wednesday." (Chicago Tribune)

April 13, 2006

"Engineered yeast may cut cost of malaria drug" - "NEW YORK - US researchers have created a modified form of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae that is capable of producing large amounts of artemisinic acid, which is needed to make the anti-malaria drug artemisinin." (Reuters Health)

"Drive to cut fraudulent research" - "An office has been established to try to tackle medical research malpractice. The UK Research Integrity Office will develop a code of practice for staff working in the NHS, universities and the health industry. It will also offer support to whistleblowers, and provide experts to boost the quality of future research. However, it will remain the responsibility of employers or sponsors to investigate individual allegations of fraud or unethical working. The move will help to bring the UK into line with other similar initiatives in the US and parts of Europe, including Scandinavia." (BBC)

"Disease-impact models may rely on incorrect assumptions" - "Even when we know how a disease affects individual animals, it is challenging to predict what impact it will have on the whole population, and yet predicting how disease affects a population is a primary concern for wildlife conservation and even public health. In a new study from the May issue of American Naturalist, Anna E. Jolles (Princeton University and University of Groningen), Rampal S. Etienne (University of Groningen), and Han Olff (University of Groningen), contest two assumptions commonly present in models that try to predict how individual disease will impact populations." (University of Chicago Press Journals)

"Help! We need a new scare" - "SO, THE DEAD swan turned out to be a damp squib. Scientists have concluded that the whooper killed by avian flu didn’t die in Britain after all; its body was merely washed up here after contracting the virus elsewhere. For now we can put our particulate respirator face masks away. What a relief, eh?" (Carol Midgley, London Times)

"Fat Kids: Fact, Fiction and Fear" - "A large number of press reports lately have claimed that almost half of the children in North and South America will be overweight by 2010. Based on a recently published study in the International Journal of Pediatric Obesity (Wang and Lobstein, "Worldwide trends in childhood overweight and obesity 2006"), news reports, such as that in USA Today, claim that these high numbers of overweight and obese children will have "profound impacts on everything from public health care to economies." (John Luik, TCS Daily)

"Researchers trawl the origins of sea fishing in Northern Europe" - "For decades the study of fish bones was considered one of the most esoteric branches of archaeology, but now it is helping to reveal the massive significance of the fishing trade in the Middle Ages. New research co-ordinated by archaeologists at the University of York will spotlight the earliest development of Europe's sea fisheries and, given the continuous expansion of sea fishing since the Middle Ages, the ultimate origin of today's fishing crisis. The three-year project, financed by the Leverhulme Trust and also supported by HMAP, the historical branch of the Census of Marine Life, will involve researchers across Northern Europe. It builds on earlier research by the project team which discovered that extensive sea fishing began in Europe 1,000 years ago. A major shift from freshwater to sea fishing was due to a combination of climate, population growth and religion." (University of York)

"New Report Sees Positive Environmental Trends Across the U.S." - "SAN FRANCISCO, April 12 -- Though 2005 offered a full plate of environmental episodes that riveted the world's attention, including environmental calamities in China, Hurricane Katrina, and the U.N. conference on climate change, the march of environmental progress continues, according to the 2006 Index of Leading Environmental Indicators, released today by the Pacific Research Institute (PRI) and the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). "With over a decade of compiled research in the Index, the facts speak for themselves -- it's impossible to deny the environmental improvements we've made and the certain progress we'll continue to make over time," said Dr. Steven Hayward, author of the Index, senior fellow at PRI, and F.K. Weyerhaeuser Fellow at AEI." (PRNewswire)

"Red China Earns Green Marks on Earth Day: New Report Finds Increased Environmentalism in China" - "SAN FRANCISCO, April 12 -- While China has formidable environmental problems, there are unacknowledged signs of improvement, according to the 2006 Index of Leading Environmental Indicators, released today by the Pacific Research Institute (PRI) and the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). The Index (available at pacificresearch.com), for more than a decade has provided an annual review of the positive trends occurring in key areas of the environment including climate change, air quality, water quality, toxic chemicals, and biodiversity." (PRNewswire)

"Pacific Northwest tectonic plates are moving" - "Newport, Ore. – The three major tectonic plates off the Pacific Northwest coast are undergoing a gradual shift, and the area in which they converge – popularly known as the "Triple Junction" – appears to be migrating in a southeasterly direction. The change isn't a cause for alarm, researchers say; in fact, it has been slowly taking place over millions of years. But advances in technology, and data provided in part by formerly classified U.S. Navy hydrophones, are giving scientists a new perspective on the underlying geology of the region – an understanding that may change previous accepted models of seafloor spreading, undersea volcanism and, ultimately, seismic hazards." (Oregon State University)

"New Satellite System Will Use GPS Signals To Track Hurricanes" - "Description: A six-satellite array, designed by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, will be the first to provide atmospheric data in real time for both climate research and operational weather forecasting by measuring the bending of GPS radio signals. The system is scheduled for launch Friday from Vandenberg Air Force Base." (Newswise)

New Paper on the Importance of Regional Climate Forcing (Climate Science)

Tropical Deforestation as a First-Order Climate Forcing (Climate Science)

No better, we see: "Talk confronts global warming" - "Thirty six cubic miles of Antarctic ice are melting into the oceans each year, 27 tropical storms formed over the Atlantic last year and 5,802 tons of carbon dioxide are released by the United States annually. The United States is responsible for 20 percent of all global carbon dioxide emissions, while only accounting for five percent of the world’s population. Such were some of the startling statistics presented by Carol Browner, former administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as she delivered a lecture about the extent of global warming yesterday evening. The event took place at the Graduate School of Business." (Stanford Daily)

Carol Browner still has a problem with numbers. In total humans emit about 3.5% of global carbon dioxide emissions and the US might be considered 'responsible' for one-fifth of that (ignoring that the US is a major carbon sink while Europe, for example, is not). 0.7% is about one-thirtieth of Browner's nonsense statistics - no wonder they were reported as 'startling'.

"Princely predators in peril" - "Global warming could wipe out the great white bears of the Arctic" (The Hamilton Spectator)

Just feel it coming, can't you? "Lion mane linked to climate" - "CHICAGO--If you were a male lion and could read the latest scientific research, you would want to move to a warmer climate, where your mane would be more impressive. That is, until it started getting smaller, to fit you to your new warmer climate! It's long been known that lions with long, full manes get the girls. Now, an innovative study based on zoo animals all across America shows for the first time that cold temperatures help the king of the beast grow his mane long and thick – and more appealing to potential mates. In fact, up to one-half of the length and density of a zoo lion's mane can be attributed to temperature, rather than nutrition, social factors, individual history, or genes, according to a study that will be the cover story of the April issue of the Journal of Mammalogy. That journal will be published on April 13, 2006." (Field Museum)

"Save the lion's mane - stop climate change!" With associated kiddie extortion: "The lion's losing his mane because your mommy drives an armoured personnel carrier!"

"Governor: Go slow in fight on warming - He wants to protect industries while addressing global problem" - "Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger called Tuesday for California to become a national leader in combatting global warming but cautioned that the state should move slowly in imposing controls on industries that emit greenhouse gases, a step environmentalists argue is a priority. "We could really scare the business community,'' Schwarzenegger warned during a summit at San Francisco City Hall at which he called for programs to help companies cut the amount of carbon dioxide and other gases that scientists say cause global warming." (SF Chronicle)

"Feeling warmer?" - "As the weather heats this spring, you are sure to hear more from Al Gore and the global-warming zealots. It's inevitable. It's predictable. It's like clockwork." (WorldNetDaily.com)

"Hold your breath; Plants may absorb less carbon dioxide than we thought" - "Minneapolis/St. Paul --The world's land plants will probably not be able to absorb as great a share of the rising atmospheric carbon dioxide as some models have predicted, according to a new study led by Peter B. Reich, professor in the department of forest resources at the University of Minnesota. The work showed that limitations on the availability of nitrogen, a necessary nutrient, will likely translate to limitations on the ability of plants to absorb extra carbon dioxide (CO2). Given that a large proportion of the world's soils are nitrogen-limited, the study implies that the rate of increase in atmospheric CO2 levels could turn sharply upward as nitrogen-limited plants lose their ability to take advantage of the extra CO2 "food." Since rising atmospheric CO2 levels are the largest cause of global "greenhouse" warming, this raises the possibility of accelerated global climate change. The work will be published in the April 13, 2006, issue of Nature." (University of Minnesota)

New scam on the block: "On Earth Day 2006 Two Enormous Wrongs Await A Small Green Mr. Right--Plankton Power can Cool our CO2 Fevered Skies and Heal our Poisoned Seas" - "An Earth Day present to the world: Ocean restoration firm Planktos, Inc. announces a powerful green antidote to global warming and ocean collapse. We can solve half our climate change problems and many worse crises in the sea simply by restoring the ocean plankton that human activities have killed off in the last 25 years. Returning plankton to 1980 levels of health and photosynthesis will sequester 3 billion tons of CO2, lessen ocean acidity, increase oxygen production, recharge the marine food chain, and generate enough valuable "carbon credits" to fund the whole enterprise. The technology safely mimics Mother Nature's fertilization of plankton life with the vital micronutrients in inexpensive iron dust." (Press Release)

"Developing nations may save the tropical forest" - "In an article this Friday (April 14) in the international magazine New Scientist, a leading rainforest biologist from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama argues that a new initiative by developing nations offers great promise to help reduce the rampant rate of tropical forest destruction. William Laurance, a Smithsonian scientist who is also president of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation, says the proposal "basically involves selling or renting rainforests to help protect the billions of tons of carbon they store, thereby slowing the rapid buildup of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere." (Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute)

"Iceland set to capture carbon in its rocks" - "U.S. scientists helping launch project to remove gas tied to global warming." (AP)

That which we call an Energy Tax, by any other name... "EU CO2 Emission Prices Hit New Record High" - "LONDON - European carbon dioxide emission prices briefly jumped to new record highs on Wednesday, boosted by surging oil prices and strong German power markets. Carbon quotas for December 2007 delivery climbed to 31 euros a tonne, although they eased to 30.25 euros at the close, down 10 cents from Wednesday's finish but still around historic highs. The gains are feeding through into higher wholesale power prices and are set to be passed on to consumers via further increases in industrial and residential electricity bills, which have already risen sharply over the last year." (Reuters)

Why? "Singapore Accedes To The Kyoto Protocol" - "SINGAPORE, April 13 -- Singapore has acceded to the Kyoto Protocol of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources said. The country deposited the instruments of accession with the Secretary-General of the United Nations in New York today and will enter into force for Singapore on the 90th day after the date of deposit of the instruments, the ministry said in a statement." (Bernama)

Politically incorrect... "Environmental cost of flights tiny, claims new BA chief" - "THE chief executive of British Airways has hit back at his environmentalist critics, claiming the impact of aviation on global warming is "minuscule". Willie Walsh said that while action on aircraft emissions was crucial, "the notion that flying is a selfish, anti-social activity that single-handedly threatens planetary catastrophe bears no relation to the evidence". His comments prompted an angry response from environmentalists, who said downplaying fast-growing aviation's contribution to climate change was "totally irresponsible." (The Scotsman)

... but, as far as CO2 goes, probably quite accurate.

"Easyjet call for end to anti-aviation hysteria" - "Easyjet has called for an end to what it calls the “hysterical persecution of aviation” by green campaigners. Bosses at the no-frills airline have also said they want a balanced debate on the environmental impact of flying. Easyjet have gone on the offensive following the release of a report into European emissions trading by one the Continent’s top economic consultancy firms. Frontier Economics’ report for the European Low Fares Airline Association, which was published on March 20, states aviation accounts for only 4% of CO2 emissions in the European Union and will only increase by 1% by 2030." (FlightMapping.com))

"In coastal states, a revival of offshore drilling debate" - "Some governors and lawmakers are fighting the Bush administration's push to expand drilling." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"Turkey Picks Spot Near Black Sea for Nuclear Plants" - "ANKARA - Turkey has made a final decision to build its first nuclear power plants in the Black Sea province of Sinop, the head of the Turkish state atomic power body TAEK said on Wednesday." (Reuters)

"Most Swedes favour nuclear power" - "Most Swedes want the country to keep using nuclear power. One in seven wants to see more nuclear reactors built. A survey into attitudes to nuclear power conducted annually by the SOM Institute and published by Svenska Dagbladet shows that 50 percent of Swedes want to keep atomic energy in the long term. According to the report, 33 percent of people questioned wanted to keep using the country’s ten remaining reactors or to extend their active life." (The Local)

"GM crops, drugs critical for India's development: minister" - "CHICAGO - Biologically engineered crops and pharmaceuticals are critical to the long-term economic and agricultural security of India, the science and technology minister said. While some nations like France may be wary of genetically modified food, India cannot afford not to invest in technologies that will boost production and can also serve to address the nutritional deficiencies of India's largely vegetarian population, Kapil Sibal said." (AFP)

"EU Vows Clarity on GMOs, Eyes End to Deadlock" - "BRUSSELS - European Union regulators vowed on Wednesday to make biotech policy more transparent, hoping to break Europe's years of deadlock on GMOs and make countries and consumers less sceptical about the technology." (Reuters)

"No clean Bill of health for ailing planet" - "FORMER US president Bill Clinton is painting a bleak picture of a world where fertile lands become dust bowls, the Maldives cease to exist and tens of millions of "food refugees" roam the earth. In a wide-ranging speech on threats to the globe and the people of the developing world due to the unequal distribution of basic resources and services, Mr Clinton said the solution to feeding the poor lay in genetically engineered food." (The Age)

"INTERVIEW - Rice Institute Gears for Gene Revolution" - "LOS BANOS, Philippines - From the green revolution of the 1960s, the buzzword these days among rice scientists in Asia has shifted to the gene revolution. With this in mind, the Philippine-based International Rice Research Institute is building a US$1.7-million facility for more research on rice genes and genetically-modified rice and also to train Asian scientists in biosafety measures." (Reuters)

"Stricter Review Urged for Biotech Food" - "BRUSSELS -- Biotech companies could face a harder time selling genetically modified food and crops in the European Union, after regulators pushed the E.U.'s food safety agency to make its evaluation process tougher." (Wall Street Journal)

"Commission proposes practical improvements to the way the European GMO legislative framework is implemented" - "Today the European Commission gave its support to an approach proposed by Health and Consumer Protection Commissioner Markos Kyprianou and Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas on further steps to improve the scientific consistency and transparency for Decisions on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). The measures proposed aim to bring about practical improvements which will reassure Member States, stakeholders and the general public that Community decisions are based on high quality scientific assessments which deliver a high level of protection of human health and the environment. These improvements will be made within the existing legal framework, in compliance with EC and WTO law, and avoiding any undue delays in authorisation procedures." (Europa)

April 12, 2006

"Malaria parasite impairs key immune system cells" - "Plasmodium, the parasite responsible for malaria, impairs the ability of key cells of the immune system to trigger an efficient immune response. This might explain why patients with malaria are susceptible to a wide range of other infections and fail to respond to several vaccines." (BioMed Central)

"Scaring for money" - "If you're a scientist working for private industry, it helps to invent something useful. But if you're a scientist trying to get funding from the government, you're better off telling the world how horrible things are. And once people are scared, they pay attention. They may even demand the government give you more money to solve the problem. Usually the horrible disaster never happens. Chaos from Y2K. An epidemic of deaths from SARS or mad cow disease. Cancer from Three Mile Island. We quickly forget. We move on to the next warnings." (John Stossel, Townhall)

"Parents Sue Soft Drink Cos. Over Benzene" - "WASHINGTON -- Two soft-drink companies were sued Tuesday by parents complaining that there might be cancer-causing benzene in kids' drinks. Attorneys filed class-action lawsuits against the companies in Suffolk Superior Court in Boston and Leon County Circuit Court in Tallahassee, Fla. They accused Polar Beverages Inc. and In Zone Brands Inc. of not taking steps to keep benzene from forming in their beverages." (AP)

"Editorial: Keep cell phone towers away from schools" - "WASHINGTON - A just-released study by researchers at the Swedish National Institute for Working Life found that long-term exposure to the radiation emitted by cell phones raises the odds of developing cancer. The largest such study to date compared 2,200 cancer patients with an equal number of healthy individuals and found that heavy users, defined as logging more than 2,000 hours, and those who started using the devices before age 20 had a higher risk of developing a malignant brain tumor, particularly on one side of their head." (Examiner)

Funny how so many with hysterical fears over, well, next to nothing, will actually pay money to fly to particularly irradiated destinations to, um, soak up some rays... Not their fault I guess, about the only thing these shake-n-bake meta analyses are good for is generating silly scares and 'further study required' grant applications but that is not how the media present them.

"Studies Challenge Traditional Breast Cancer Treatments" - "Two new studies challenge conventional thinking about treating breast cancer with chemotherapy and the risks of taking estrogen." (Gina Kolata, New York Times)

"Watchdog warns over apricot seeds" - "Apricot stones sold for health benefits could be fatal in high doses, the food safety watchdog has warned. Apricot kernels are thought to contain high levels of vitamin B17, which is described as an immune system booster and even sold as a cancer treatment. But the Food Standards Agency said they also produce cyanide and can be poisonous in high doses." (BBC)

"In changing health behaviors, some ask, 'How easy?' Others ask, 'How effective?'" - "You know slathering on the SPF helps prevent skin cancer. So why don't you do it? A new study from the June issue of the Journal of Consumer Research explains why many people don't end up trying a new health regimen – like regularly wearing sunscreen or eliminating transfat– even if they believe the product or behavior is effective." (University of Chicago Press Journals)

"Stronger evidence found linking Epstein-Barr virus and risk of multiple sclerosis" - "Boston, MA – Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health, Kaiser Permanente, and a team of collaborators have found further evidence implicating the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) as a possible contributory cause to multiple sclerosis (MS). The study appears in the advance online edition of the June 2006 issue of Archives of Neurology." (Harvard School of Public Health)

"Royal Society attacks teaching of creationism as science" - "The Royal Society yesterday issued a strongly worded attack on the teaching of creationism as a leading scientist compared it to the theory that babies are brought by storks. The warning from Britain's leading scientific academy comes amid increasing concern over the attempts by religious fundamentalists to challenge the theory of evolution in schools and colleges by teaching the idea that a god created the world, as if that were a scientific theory." (The Guardian)

"Technology that measures sea level, helps predict EL Nino events, improved by new modeling" - "DURHAM, N.H. -- A paper published today in the American Geophysical Union's Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans shows a method to recover valuable data from the primary tool used for measuring global sea level -- satellite radar altimetry. Altimeter data are used, among other benefits, to monitor and predict the occurrence of events such as El Nino and La Nina -- a coupled ocean-atmosphere phenomena that can alter global weather patterns." (University of New Hampshire"

Canada faces up to the reality the UK media doesn't want to hear (EnviroSpin Watch)

No? Duh! "EU to fine Spain for not fulfilling Kyoto protocol" - "The European Commission has opened the process necessary to fine Spain for not fulfilling two of the commitments it acquired when it signed the Kyoto protocol.

In a report filed with the United Nations, the Spanish environmental ministry predicted that in 2010, Spain's carbon dioxide emissions would have increased by 49% over 1990. The Kyoto protocol is supposedly to go into effect between 2008 and 2012, and Spain will be unable to meet its commitments. Doing so would cost at least €20 billion, at least 600,000 jobs, and two percentage points of inflation, not counting the companies that would move to countries where environmental restrictions are less costly." (Spain Herald)

That's worth repeating: Doing so would cost at least €20 billion, at least 600,000 jobs, and two percentage points of inflation, not counting the companies that would move to countries where environmental restrictions are less costly. And the effect on Earth's mean temperature? Nothing humans can measure.

"Climate of Fear" - "There have been repeated claims that this past year's hurricane activity was another sign of human-induced climate change. Everything from the heat wave in Paris to heavy snows in Buffalo has been blamed on people burning gasoline to fuel their cars, and coal and natural gas to heat, cool and electrify their homes. Yet how can a barely discernible, one-degree increase in the recorded global mean temperature since the late 19th century possibly gain public acceptance as the source of recent weather catastrophes? And how can it translate into unlikely claims about future catastrophes?" (Richard Lindzen, Wall Street Journal) | Free access in the Opinion Journal | .pdf for the access-challenged.

"Americans Still Cool On Warming" - "The most recent Gallup poll (March, 2006) of Americans' attitudes on various environmental issues has revealed that there has been virtually no change in the last 17 years in the fraction of people worried about global warming. Only 36 percent of 1,000 adults polled in mid-March said that they worried a "great deal" about global warming. That increased to 62 percent when worrying by at least "a fair amount" was included. While this percentage is significantly higher than it was only two years ago (51 percent), it is lower than it has been in some previous years, with the peak number of worriers being 72 percent in 2000." (Dr. Roy Spencer, TCS Daily)

"Climate: Americans Do It Better" (.pdf) - "While assessing trends and projections of greenhouse gas emissions, the European Environmental Agency (EEA) warns that the 15 “core” EU countries will be unable to meet their commitments under the Kyoto Protocol. Against a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 8 per cent below 1990’s levels, “Existing domestic policies and measures will reduce total EU-15 greenhouse gas emissions by only 1.6 % from base-year levels by 2010.” (Mario Sechi & Carlo Stagnaro, Istituto Bruno Leoni)

"A little warming, a lot of hysteria" - "Al Gore has been looking for work for five years now, and he's still steamed about the warm weather. Somebody has even made a movie about it, though it won't necessarily be opening soon at a theater anywhere near you. The movie is an "indie," short for movies made independently of one of the big studios. Indies usually show up on cable at 3 in the morning. The movie about Al is called "An Inconvenient Truth," and The Washington Post describes it as "a movie about global warming. Starring Al Gore. Doing a slide show. About 'soil evaporation.'?" Which gives you an idea." (Wesley Pruden, Washington Times)

"Hot Air and Glacial Change: A Case Study" - "Is there any controversy about climate change? Not at the Smithsonian! The National Museum of Natural History has found a way to open two new climate change exhibits, starting Friday, without a single smithereen of contentiousness. We get just the facts: Planet's getting warmer, arctic ice is melting, Inuit are out of sorts, Siberia is thawing. The future? "Models predict different outcomes," a sign says." (Joel Achenbach, Washington Post)

"Don't Follow Kyoto Path, Economist Warns California Climate Change Panel" - "SAN FRANCISCO, April 11 -- Californians could expect higher energy costs, millions of dollars in lost gross state product and widespread job loss under the Climate Action Team Report to reduce greenhouse gases. Dr. Margo Thorning, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist for the American Council for Capital Formation, provided a wide body of economic forecasts to a California Environmental Protection Agency panel on the impact of various emission trading system (ETS) proposals for regional and national curbs on greenhouse gases." (PRNewswire)

"Editorial: Gaseous emissions from Sacramento" - "A Schwarzenegger administration 'Climate Action Team' would raise taxes, increase regulations." (Orange County Register)

"Schwarzenegger wants market-based system to combat global warming" - "SAN FRANCISCO - Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Tuesday called for a market-based approach to reducing industrial emissions of "greenhouse" gases, endorsing a plan to combat global warming that faces opposition from business and Republican leaders. Schwarzenegger said he supported requiring companies to report their carbon emissions and creating financial incentives to limit the release of greenhouse gases." (Associated Press)

"Schwarzenegger hints at delay on greenhouse gas limits" - "SAN FRANCISCO - Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger cast some cold water Tuesday on a proposal to set firm limits on greenhouse gas emissions, but endorsed other major recommendations of a new report and left open the possibility that a cap on emissions could be put in place later. Speaking to a summit on how California should address climate change, Schwarzenegger said setting a firm cap on greenhouse gas emissions could drive businesses away and hurt the state's economy. "We won't rush into anything and cause any disruptions," Schwarzenegger told several hundred people at San Francisco City Hall. "But make no mistake: We must take strong actions and we will take strong actions." (Contra Costa Times)

"Global warming swells Tibetan lakes" - "It's actually caused by global warming," said Bendo, a senior engineer with Remote Sensing Application Research Center of the Tibet Autonomous Region. Bendo and his colleagues have been studying the floods in Nagqusince Aug. 2005. They conducted site surveys to five lakes in the prefecture and analyzed changes in the sizes of the lakes over the past two decades with remote sensing mapping. "We found rises in rainfall as well as in air and ground temperatures in lake areas but declines in water evaporation, exposure to sunlight, and thickness of snow and frozen earth," he said. "We therefore decided global warming caused the lakes to swell." (Xinhua)

Back in the virtual world(s): "Caribbean & Central America may get drier summers" - "Central America and the Caribbean will see a major decrease in summer rainfall by the end of the century because of climate change, say researchers. They made their prediction, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences today (11 April), by comparing ten computer simulations of climate change in the region." (SciDev.Net)

From CO2 Science this week:

Hydrological and Agricultural Responses of China's Loess Plateau to Predicted Climate Change: What will they be: good, bad or indifferent?

Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week:
This issue's Level 3 Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week is from Cold Air Cave, Makapansgat Valley of South Africa.  To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.

Subject Index Summary:
Mortality (Hot vs. Cold Weather - South America): Which is the greater threat to human life: relatively warm temperatures or relatively cool temperatures?

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: Filamentous Algae, Paper Birch, Soybean, and Spruce.

Journal Reviews:
Solar-Climate Links Discerned From Tree-Ring Periodicities in Brazil and Chile: We've said it before, and we'll say it again: it's the sun that is the primary force for climate change on earth ... always has been, always will be.

A 250-Year Ice-Edge History of the Nordic Seas: What does it suggest about CO 2 and Arctic warming?

Late Holocene Climate Fluctuations in the Eastern Mediterranean: Searching for evidence of the Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age in the Mediterranean region ... we find it!

CO 2 Enrichment "Levels Playing Field" in Ragweed Study: The competitive world of nature has long been viewed as a place where the strong get stronger and the weak get weaker. However, the ongoing rise in the air's CO 2 content may be changing the rules of the game.

Four Decades of Russian Forest Growth: How have Russia's vast tracts of trees responded to the "twin evils" of 20th-century global warming and atmospheric CO 2 increase? (co2science.org)

"The effects of climate change on the physiology of alfalfa" - "The biologist Gorka Erice Soreasu, a researcher in the Department of Plant Biology of the University of Navarra, has studied the effects of climate change on the physiology of alfalfa. This study, which forms part of his doctoral thesis, demonstrates that this plant, frequently used as feed for farm animals, adapts to increases in carbon dioxide (CO2), temperature and dryness, protecting itself in this way from the effects of climate change." (Universidad de Navarra)

"Closing coal plants to cost jobs: Study" - "Electricity rates will soar and hundreds of thousands of jobs will be lost over the next two decades unless the Ontario government backs off its pledge to close the province's coal-fired power plants, says a lobby group for Ontario's biggest energy users. The Association of Major Power Consumers of Ontario released a study Monday that suggests Ontario would have 100,000 more jobs every year from 2010 to 2025 if coal plants that produce relatively cheap power were kept open. The report also suggests that under current government policies, Ontario's real gross domestic product would drop by about $16 billion a year and electricity rates would increase 25 per cent annually." (CP)

"Minister pursues green brief as queen of the Royal Flight" - "MARGARET BECKETT, the Cabinet minister responsible for the environment, is one of the most enthusiastic users of the Queen’s Flight, regularly summoning its aircraft to collect her from her local airport. Mrs Beckett, whose department is responsible for reducing carbon emissions and air travel across government, has cost the taxpayer more than £100,000 on 110 flights in three years. Her department has not offset the carbon emissions from the flights." (London Times)

"Technical Research Centre of Finland VTT and industry develop emission-free energy technology" - "Emissions under control in coal combustion with new technology. VTT is developing technology that will allow fuels including coal to be utilised more efficiently in energy production; even without emitting any carbon dioxide. In the new technology fossil fuels are combusted with pure oxygen separated from the air. Combustion gas consists mostly of carbon dioxide and water vapour. Carbon dioxide can be liquefied after cooling and stored in geological formations." (Technical Research Centre of Finland)

"The New England Council and the New England Energy Alliance Outline Support for Nuclear Power in New England" - "BOSTON--April 11, 2006--The New England Council and the New England Energy Alliance are urging energy policymakers to support the continued operation of the region's nuclear power plants. A report released today by the Council and the Alliance calls on policymakers to recognize the vital role of New England's nuclear power plants as low cost providers of efficient, reliable and clean electricity." (BUSINESS WIRE)

"Aging Work Force Poses Nuclear-Power Challenge" - "Plans around the globe to increase reliance on nuclear power face a potential stumbling block: a coming lack of know-how in running and regulating new plants. In the U.S., the Washington-based Nuclear Energy Institute, an industry group, estimates that half of nuclear-industry employees are more than 47 years old and expects as many as 23,000 retirements and other departures during the next five years -- in an industry that anticipates building 15 new reactors during the next decade." (Wall Street Journal)

"Rhodri faces anger over Severn energy plan" - "ENVIRONMENTAL groups have reacted angrily to news that Rhodri Morgan has reignited the Severn Estuary barrage debate. The First Minister has admitted he supports a massive tidal barrage stretching across the estuary. His support stands in marked contrast to his initial stance on the non-energy-producing Cardiff Bay Barrage, of which he was a leading opponent because of fears it would waterlog his constituency. Now he has told a conference that building a barrage to generate electricity from the tide in the Severn Estuary could help in the battle against climate change." (Western Mail)

"INTERVIEW - Scientists Breed Rice to Defy Climate Change" - "LOS BANOS, Philippines - Scientists are developing new flood and drought-prone rice varieties to combat the threat of global warming to Asia's food staple but more work is needed, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) said." (Reuters)

"Researchers discover way to transport environmental arsenic to plant leaves in new clean-up strategy" - "Environmental arsenic pollution is a serious and growing environmental problem, especially on the Indian subcontinent. Researchers at the University of Georgia had, several years ago, used genetic techniques to create "arsenic-eating" plants that could be planted on polluted sites. There was a problem, however. The arsenic sequestered from soil remained largely in the roots of the plant, making it difficult to harvest for safe disposal. Now, the research team, led by geneticist Richard Meagher, has discovered a way to move the arsenic from roots to shoots. The payoff could be a new and effective tool in cleaning up thousands of sites where arsenic presents serious dangers to human health." (University of Georgia)

"Indigestible Organic Propaganda" - "Consumer Reports recently released its semi-annual organic foods promotional edition, which claims that consumers would benefit from eating certain organic foods to "reduce exposure" to supposedly harmful pesticide residues. While the promotional is long on comparative residue numbers, it's woefully short on perspective." (Alex Avery, TCS Daily)

"UN Luddites are failing the poor" - "As self-appointed regulator of much of what goes on in the world, the United Nations has become a profoundly negative influence. While its attempts to attain and maintain international peace and are often slow and ineffective, the UN's ventures into public health and environmental protection frequently are wrong-headed, self-serving and counterproductive." (Dr. Henry I. Miller, CFD)

"Companies aim to sell consumers on benefits" - "Chicago, Ill. — You have milk but you don't have this: clear milk. It's milk that has been rendered as clear as water through the use of enzymes that keep it from coagulating. It won't be found in supermarkets anytime soon. The liquid is being developed in Europe to blend with juices to make a high-protein fruit drink. It's an example of the way that biotech companies are looking to alter crops and food products in ways that will be appealing to consumers. To date, the biotechnology industry has struggled in many parts of the world because of resistance to genetically modified foods." (Des Moines Register)

"Brazil Supreme Court rejects Parana GMO soy appeal" - "SAO PAULO, Brazil, April 11 - Brazil's top court has rejected an appeal by Parana state government and ordered it to allow the shipment of genetically modified (GMO) soy from Brazil's main grains port of Paranagua. The decision, announced by the Supreme Federal Court's (STF) President Ellen Gracie late on Monday, should allow an estimated 3 million tonnes of GMO soybeans in Parana to be shipped from Paranagua, as well as GMO soy from other states and Paraguay." (Reuters)

"BASF Planning Biotech Potato, Drought-Tolerant Corn" - "April 11 -- BASF AG, the world's biggest chemical maker, said it will begin challenging producers of genetically modified crops including Monsanto Co. and DuPont Co. by introducing high-starch potatoes next year." (Bloomberg)

April 11, 2006

"AFM writes to EU to demand explanation on DDT & Uganda issue" - "Richard Tren & Roger Bate have written to Javier Solana, Secretary General of the Council of the European Union, demanding an explanation of the fear mongering anti-DDT statements made by EU officials in Uganda. Currently it seems that the EU is going against the WHO, Global Fund and USAID in blocking the use of DDT and thereby harming malaria control, health & development in Uganda." (AFM)

"A Doctor and Documentarian Against the DDT Ban" - "Besides being a film producer, I have a preventive medicine practice in Los Angeles. As it happens, California is currently leading the nation in West Nile virus, and I was being asked about it more frequently by my patients. Meaning only to get up to speed on vector-borne diseases, I found myself reading volume upon volume of studies on malaria and vector-borne diseases. I was feeling like a budding Albert Schweitzer M.D., wondering what I could do to actually make a difference. Well, like Schweitzer, I could go abroad and work on one patient at a time, but from what I was finding, this would hardly be efficacious." (Dr. D. Rutledge Taylor, ACSH)

From the rubber room: "FOWL! Bird Flu: It’s Not What You Think" - "Thoroughly researched, and bound to be controversial, FOWL! will change forever perceptions of environmental policy, the pharmaceutical industry and the government’s role in the dissemination of public health information. Dioxins and other environmental chemicals are contributing to the toxic load in chickens, migratory birds, and humans, leading to massive death when combined with "bird flu" and other influenza viruses. However, this is far more than a book about the environment… FOWL! examines the specter of mandatory vaccination and exposes how pharmaceutical companies, chemical companies, and agribusinesses are not separate industries but function more as "sister enterprises," working together for mutual benefit, profit, and power." (PRWEB)

"The corporate sponsored creation of disease - Press Release from PLoS Medicine" - "The corporate sponsored creation of disease--"disease mongering"--turns healthy people into patients, wastes precious resources, and causes iatrogenic harm, say the guest editors of a special issue of PLoS Medicine devoted to how drug companies sell sickness." (Public Library of Science)

"Europe slow to add infant pneumococcal vaccine to national programmes despite strong US results" - "Up to 90 per cent of cases of invasive pneumococcal diseases (IPD) - which includes serious infections like meningitis - occur in otherwise healthy young children, according to a study published in the April issue of IJCP, the International Journal of Clinical Practice. Yet a number of European countries still only vaccinate selected at-risk groups against IPD, despite growing evidence that universal vaccination of infants and young children reduces their risk and also provides added indirect "herd" protection for other unvaccinated members of the community." (Blackwell Publishing Ltd.)

"Research provides clues to obesity's cause and hints of new approach for curbing appetite" - "Pittsburgh – Hot fudge sundaes and french fries aside, new research suggests obesity is due at least in part to an attraction between leptin, the hormone that signals the brain when to stop eating, and a protein more recently associated with heart disease. Reporting in Nature Medicine, University of Pittsburgh researchers provide evidence that C-reactive protein (CRP) not only binds to leptin but its hold impairs leptin's role in controlling appetite. The results may help explain why obese people have so much trouble losing weight as well as point to a different target for the pharmaceutical treatment of obesity." (University of Pittsburgh Medical Center)

"Big hips, big belly? It's in your genes, Joslin-led study shows" - "Boston -- Do you have big hips or a "beer" belly? Are you "apple-shaped" or "pear-shaped"? It makes a difference, since we know that abdominal obesity is linked to diabetes and many other metabolic conditions, i.e., the metabolic syndrome. What's new is that, according to a new study led by researchers at Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston, both obesity and body shape seem to be controlled by important genes that are part of the mechanisms regulating normal development." (Joslin Diabetes Center)

"Free-radical busting antioxidants might not promote healthy hearts" - "Antioxidants, such as beta-carotene and Vitamin E, have been touted for their ability to protect against heart disease. This protective effect is attributed to their ability to prevent the oxidation of bad cholesterol by free radicals—a process thought to contribute to the build-up of disease-causing fatty deposits on artery walls. But a new study, published online on April 10 in The Journal of Experimental Medicine, suggests that the heart-healthy effect of one antioxidant has little to do with cholesterol oxidation." (Journal of Experimental Medicine)

"Senate Panel Dives Into Fish Farm Debate" - "WASHINGTON, DC, April 10, 2006 - The Bush administration's desire to expand aquaculture in federal waters drew support from the Senate Commerce Committee Thursday, but senators outlined concerns that the specific plan fails to safeguard the environment and lacks protection for state fishing interests. The hearing was the first look by the committee at the administration's proposal to increase fish farming five-fold over the next decade." (ENS)

"Satellite instrument helps tackle mysteries of ozone-eating clouds" - "Polar stratospheric clouds have become the focus of many research projects in recent years due to the discovery of their role in ozone depletion, but essential aspects of these clouds remain a mystery. MIPAS, an instrument onboard ESA's Envisat, is allowing scientists to gain information about these clouds necessary for modelling ozone loss." (European Space Agency)

"Restoring seagrass beds: Is it for the birds?" - "Although most people consider bird droppings a nuisance, scientists at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab see them as a rich source of phosphorus, a natural fertilizer for grassbeds which have been destroyed by boat propellers. Over the next couple of months, Sea Lab scientists Dr. Ken Heck and Dr. John Dindo will be setting out bird stakes in an effort to revive scarred grassbeds around the popular recreational spot of Robinson Island in Orange Beach, Alabama." (Dauphin Island Sea Lab)

"Time to think about droughts, says Niwa" - "A meeting to address the potentially catastrophic increase in droughts predicted to hit New Zealand this century was held in Christchurch yesterday. The number of severe droughts to affect the country is predicted to increase by two to four times, according to research by the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research." (New Zealand Herald)

"Katrina bolsters Dutch devotion to new strategy on flood threat" - "AALSMEER, Netherlands -- When you land at Amsterdam's sprawling Schiphol Airport, one of the busiest in Europe, it is easy to forget that the runways are 15 feet below sea level. But the Dutch never forget. They know that a third of their country's land mass lies below sea level and that another third is so low it would be regularly inundated without the extensive network of dikes and dams that tame the floodwaters. The sense of living on borrowed land is deeply embedded in the Dutch character." (Chicago Tribune)

Comments on the Jim Hansen “super-El Niño Prediction” (Climate Science)

"Long-term cooling driven by Antarctica, not glaciers in Northern Hemisphere" - "Brown research argues Pacific temperature change caused by icy current." (mongabay.com)

"Arctic ice pack losing ground" - "The Arctic Ocean ice pack has not rebounded from record minimums recorded last summer, causing scientists to worry that the planet's global warming "canary in the coal mine" is in a tightening spiral of decline. Abnormally high temperatures across the Arctic basin most of this winter have slowed the production of new ice, according to Mark Serreze of the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado. The ice pack lost an area the size of Alaska in 2005 and has thinned dramatically in the last four years. Serreze said conditions are now right for another record-breaking minimum following this summer's melt, provided there isn't a cold snap." (News-Miner)

Wonder why they published this? "Sleigh bells in the snow? But it is Easter this weekend" - "They were disgusted in Tunbridge Wells when, a fortnight after the start of spring, they awoke to a 5 in carpet of snow. As bookmakers halved the odds of there being a white Easter, much of Kent, East and West Sussex and the fringes of south London received a blanketing overnight, causing delays for commuters but delighting thousands of children enjoying the school holidays." (London Telegraph)

Not one mention of global warming-induced weird weather in the whole piece...

"Slower winds at SRS may be sign of global warming" - "A consequence of global warming may have turned up in the unlikeliest of places: a former bomb-making plant. Scientists say average wind speeds at Savannah River Site have fallen by about 1 mph over the past 50 years, a change that would be consistent with a warmer atmosphere. The researchers recently published their findings, adding to the mounting evidence that shows the climate is changing." (Greenville News)

Shhh! Doesn't mesh with the increased storm violence thing...

"Climate Concerns" - "The National Association of Insurance Commissioners was scheduled to hold a symposium on climate change in September in New Orleans. Hurricane Katrina postponed the meeting while dramatically reinforcing the fact commissioners were focusing on an issue with major implications for the insurance industry, and the rest of the world.

Meeting recently in Florida, the association voted to establish a task force to examine the impact of climate change on the insurance industry and its U.S. consumers. The association has a narrow focus on overseeing the solvency of insurance companies and ensuring they provide affordable policies to consumers. They won't debate whether human activities such as driving and power generation are contributing to climate change, stressed President Alessandro Iuppa, Maine's insurance superintendent." (Bangor Daily News)

"The End Is Not Near" - "There's good news, more good news and then, unfortunately, some bad news, on the subject of climate change. What would you like first? Right, the good news it is then." (Tim Worstall, TCS Daily)

"Climate change ahead? N.C. global warming panel right to take long-term view" - "Too often, government agencies are way late to the planning table to cope with emerging problems. Maybe not this time. The N.C. Legislative Commission on Global Climate Change is hearing from a broad variety of viewpoints to determine what, if anything, the state should do. Good. If rising temperatures portend dramatic climate change, as many scientists predict, it's best for this state, its economy and the health of its people to be prepared for possible consequences -- and opportunities." (Charlotte Observer)

"Juneau starts local study of global warming" - "JUNEAU -- The mayor of Juneau has appointed a panel of scientists to study the effects global warming will have on the future of the city. Alaska's capital, like the rest of the state, has seen a steady rise in annual average temperatures over the past several decades." (Associated Press)

"Scientists count climate change costs" - "Scientists here on Monday painted a gloomy picture of the effects of global warming on the Arctic, warning of melting ocean ice, rising oceans, thawed permafrost, and forests susceptible to bugs and fire." (Associated Press)

"Migrant Birds Put The Clock Forward" - "This year, spring is so late that the global climate warming is hardly believable. Is it applicable to Russia? Probably the fact is that weather cataclysms and anomalies are now occuring more and more frequently, and warm autumn gets balanced by frosts and cold spring? Phenologists from the Institute of Global Climate and Ecology of Rosgidromet (Hydrometeorological Committee), Russian Academy of Sciences, decided to find out what was happening in reality in European part of Russia, and analyzed observational data for the last 30 years." (Innovations Report)

Obligatory hysterics: "Diversity of species faces 'catastrophe' from climate change" - "Tens of thousands of animals and plants could become extinct within the coming decades as a direct result of global warming. This is the main conclusion of a study into how climate change will affect the diversity of species in the most precious wildlife havens of the world. Scientists believe that if atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide double from pre-industrial times - which is expected by the end of the century - then biodiversity will be devastated." (London Independent)

"Dialing in your own climate" - "This week an interesting paper was published in Geophysical Research Letters by climate modelers at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. They estimated future temperature changes if the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) were held constant at current levels (well, actually 2000 levels)." (World Climate Report)

"Governor to focus on global warming - Critics question his resolve on an issue dear to green voters" - "Sacramento -- With his plan to build new schools and roads stalled, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is turning his focus to combatting global warming -- a burgeoning political issue that aides and pollsters say could be election-year gold for a governor in need of a major accomplishment. But as Schwarzenegger hopes this year to woo moderate Democrats and independents by touting his green credentials, Democratic lawmakers and environmentalists are preparing to force Schwarzenegger to back up his tough rhetoric on greenhouse gases by sending him first-of-its-kind legislation that goes further than anything the governor has so far called for." (SF Chronicle)

"Studies fuel Kyoto hope for Tories: Greenhouse gas targets within reach, reports say" - "OTTAWA—Two new scientific reports have thrown the Harper government lifelines to possibly meet Canada's greenhouse gas target under the Kyoto Protocol and also to negotiate a better deal in any follow-up treaty. Environment Minister Rona Ambrose has already announced she intends to challenge the international focus on setting emissions targets and said Canada has no hope of living up to its Kyoto commitments. Yet a just-published study by researchers at Queen's University concludes the country could achieve major greenhouse gas reductions by switching to green energy — burning or converting trees, plants and manure to electricity, natural gas and ethanol. Canada has the potential to meet nearly all its energy requirements from such "biomass," says the study from the research group BIOCAP Canada Foundation. But annual forest and agricultural harvest would have to at least triple." (Toronto Star)

"Nature can help reduce greenhouse gas, but only to a point" - "FLAGSTAFF, Ariz.--Plants apparently do much less than previously thought to counteract global warming, according to a paper to be published in next week's online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The authors, including Bruce Hungate of Northern Arizona University and lead author Kees-Jan van Groenigen of UC Davis, discovered that plants are limited in their impact on global warming because of their dependence on nitrogen and other trace elements. These elements are essential to photosynthesis, whereby plants remove carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, from the air and transfer carbon back into the soil.

"What our paper shows is that in order for soils to lock away more carbon as carbon dioxide rises, there has to be quite a bit of extra nitrogen available--far more than what is normally available in most ecosystems," said Hungate of NAU's Merriam-Powell Center for Environmental Research." (Northern Arizona University)

"Climate Change Shattering Marine Food Chain" - "BROOKLIN, Canada, Apr 10 - Vast swaths of coral reefs in the Caribbean sea and South Pacific Ocean are dying, while the recently-discovered cold-water corals in northern waters will not survive the century -- all due to climate change." (IPS)

"Japanese, Chinese Firms Agree on Carbon Emission Reduction" - "A Japanese firm and a Chinese chemical plant have agreed on the world's largest ever greenhouse gas discharge reduction and emission credit purchase deal. Under the agreement, Japan's JMD Greenhouse Gases Reduction Co., Ltd and the Juhua Co., Ltd based in East China's Zhejiang Province, will establish a Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) project under the Kyoto Protocol to help the state-owned Chinese firm reduce by nearly 40 million tons of its carbon dioxide discharges over seven years." (Xinhua)

"Should we use net energy to measure global energy reserves?" - "Net energy is a simple concept really. Once you understand that it takes energy to get energy, the basic math is clear. To calculate the net energy available from an energy resource, you add up the energy used to find, extract, process and deliver that resource and then subtract that amount from the amount of energy the resource contains. But global reserves for finite energy resources such as coal, oil, natural gas and uranium are estimated using measures such as tons, barrels, cubic feet and pounds. These measures tell us little about the ultimate usable energy content of each type of resource." (Energy Bulletin)

"Fears grow of power price hike" - "Fears were raised today that Northern Ireland Electricity customers could face yet more tariff increases when new environmental controls take effect at Kilroot." (Belfast Telegraph)

"Frost damage could soon be another part of the past" - "SYDNEY - Australian scientists have discovered an "anti-freeze gene" that allows Antarctic grass to survive at -30C, saying it could prevent multi-million-dollar crop losses from frost. "It's a gene from the saltgrass that managed to colonise the Antarctic peninsula called Antarctic hairgrass," said Professor German Spangenberg from La Trobe University in Victoria." (Reuters)

"Canada won't allow field testing of suicide seeds until risks examined" - "OTTAWA - Suicide seeds, which are genetically altered to produce sterile plants, won't be planted in Canadian fields any time soon. Giuliano Tolusso, senior policy analyst at Agriculture Canada, says Canada will respect a moratorium on field testing of Genetic Use Restriction Technology (GURT), which was reaffirmed at a conference in Curitiba, Brazil last month. Canada will allow research on the seeds but only in a laboratory setting, Tolusso said in an interview Monday. "We won't go to field testing until we gather the scientific and socio-economic information necessary to make an informed decision." (Canadian Press)

"African MPs welcome use of biotechnology to improve agriculture" - "African Members of Parliament have given a nod to the use of biotechnology to improve agriculture, food security but called for intensive public education on the issue, Ghana News Agency reported on Monday. After a four-day field visit to South African Genetically Modified (GM) crop farms, Dr. Mathew Antwi, Chairman of Ghana's Parliamentary Select Committee on Food, Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs, said the GM technology would raise production efficiency in combination with the conventional technologies though it was not a complete solution to all the problems in food production and security." (Xinhua)

April 10, 2006

"Official Suspects Good Roads Spread Malaria" - "Botswana's Minister of Health claims that roads are spreading malaria. Increased movement of people may introduce parasites to new areas, but the roads also mean that medicines can be delivered better and that the country can prosper and grow, which ultimately will help it to eliminate malaria and other diseases." (AFM)

"A large step forward in the fight against African sleeping sickness" - "Each year, over 300,000 people die of African sleeping sickness (trypanosomiasis). Researchers from the Flanders Interuniversity Institute for Biotechnology (VIB) connected to the Free University of Brussels are making strides in the battle against this disease. They have coupled the human protein ApoL-1 with a nanobody in order to very specifically eliminate the infection caused by the pathogenic parasites, against which our defense mechanism is powerless. Tests on mice are already promising. The recently published research results offer new possibilities for people who have contracted this disease." (VIB, Flanders Interuniversity Institute of Biotechnology)

"Tsunami theory challenged" - "THE notion that mangroves offered some protection from the deadly force of tsunamis was wrong, and such a mistaken belief could lead to a greater loss of life in coastal villages, researchers say. The results of a study published in this month's journal disputes claim the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami's toll was lower in villages surrounded by mangroves when the earthquake-spawned waves struck. The study re-analysed data from Indian research and said it was the height and distance of a village from the shore which protected it, rather than its surrounding vegetation. It found that mangroves offered little or no protection from a tsunami." (Courier-Mail)

"Foxhunting shadow over 'fish feel pain' debate" - "The question of whether fish can feel pain is to be considered by Government advisers in a move that will reopen the debate about whether angling is cruel. Hostilities have raged for decades between anglers and animal rights activists about the inner life of fish and how much they suffer." (London Telegraph)

"Bird numbers appear stable, DNR says, despite bay counts" - "Despite a survey finding 30 percent fewer waterfowl on the Chesapeake Bay this winter than a year earlier, state Department of Natural Resources officials say Maryland's bird populations appear to be fairly stable and that warmer-than-usual weather allowed geese and ducks to remain out of the view of counters." (Baltimore Sun)

"100,000 children in bird flu risk" - "THE government has made plans for the mass closure of schools, amid warnings that 100,000 children might die if the bird flu virus mutates into a human pandemic. The chief medical officer for England and Wales, Sir Liam Donaldson, has advised the government that shutting schools could halve the number of pupils who would be killed if the bird flu virus mutates into a form that is transferable between humans. There is no firm evidence that the H5N1 strain of bird flu can pass between people. But there are fears it might mutate or mix with human flu viruses to create a new virus." (Scotland on Sunday)

"One dead swan doesn't make a summer of panic" - "To ward off fears of a bird flu pandemic in a borderless world, our first rule should be: follow the science." (Jackie Ashley, The Guardian)

"Risk of human flu outbreak 'low'" - "The chances of bird flu virus mutating into a form that spreads between humans are "very low", the government's chief scientific adviser has said." (BBC)

"Extent of MTBE health threat still unclear" - "Studies continue as federal government reviews upgrading possible links to cancer." (Times Union)

"Warming Sound has lobsters in a pinch" - "BRIDGEPORT -- Rising water temperatures could be to blame for the steep decline in lobsters and other cold-water species once found in abundance in Long Island Sound. According to researchers gathered yesterday in Bridgeport for the 16th annual Long Island Sound Summit, the Sound is experiencing a dramatic change in the types of wildlife that reside there." (Stamford Advocate)

"Earth from Space: Iceberg knocks the block off Drygalski Ice Tongue" - "An enormous iceberg, C-16, rammed into the well-known Drygalski Ice Tongue, a large sheet of glacial ice and snow in the Central Ross Sea in Antarctica, on 30 March 2006, breaking off the tongue's easternmost tip and forming a new iceberg.

The floating Drygalski Ice Tongue, which protrudes 80 kilometres into the ocean, is connected to the David Glacier. If it were to break loose, scientists fear it could alter ocean currents and change the region's climate." (European Space Agency)

"A Satellite for Solving the Polar Ice Mysteries" - "PARIS - The European satellite Cryosat 2, slated for launch in March 2009, will determine for the first time the rate of polar ice melt, which is a vital piece for understanding the changes the planet's climate is undergoing, mission director Volker Liebig told Tierramérica." (Tierramérica)

"Craft Nears Venus to Seek Global Warming Clues" - "WASHINGTON, April 9 — After getting little attention for more than a decade, Venus is about to receive a visiting spacecraft from Earth designed to investigate its dense, hot atmosphere for clues about runaway global warming that may shed light on potential changes here." (New York Times)

"Open Kyoto to debate" - "Sixty scientists call on Harper to revisit the science of global warming" (Financial Post) | Kyoto is pointless, say 60 leading scientists (London Telegraph)

"Tories will neither kill nor live up to Kyoto" - "Ottawa 'working within' environmental pact despite belief its targets are 'unrealistic'." (Globe and Mail)

"Tories call for more realistic Kyoto targets, set stage for new negotiations" - "OTTAWA - Environment Minister Rona Ambrose says Canada must set more realistic targets for cutting greenhouse gases under the Kyoto Protocol, but she didn't explain how that could be done without renegotiating the agreement. Experts say it is impossible to reopen the existing deal, worked out in 1997, but it would be possible for Ambrose to press the new Conservative government's concerns when she presides over the next round of Kyoto talks which open in Bonn on April 15." (CP)

"EDITORIAL: Tories right to review climate-control plans" - "Awareness. As in, “raising awareness.” That’s the all-encompassing catchphrase amongst special interest groups and political parties that have no real justification for whatever taxpayers’ money they’re wasting for whatever self-righteous program, event or promotion they’ve dreamed up." (The Brandon Sun)

Interesting Quotes on the State of Our Understanding of Climate Science (Climate Science)

"There IS a problem with global warming... it stopped in 1998" - "For many years now, human-caused climate change has been viewed as a large and urgent problem. In truth, however, the biggest part of the problem is neither environmental nor scientific, but a self-created political fiasco. Consider the simple fact, drawn from the official temperature records of the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, that for the years 1998-2005 global average temperature did not increase (there was actually a slight decrease, though not at a rate that differs significantly from zero).

Yes, you did read that right. And also, yes, this eight-year period of temperature stasis did coincide with society's continued power station and SUV-inspired pumping of yet more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

In response to these facts, a global warming devotee will chuckle and say "how silly to judge climate change over such a short period". Yet in the next breath, the same person will assure you that the 28-year-long period of warming which occurred between 1970 and 1998 constitutes a dangerous (and man-made) warming. Tosh. Our devotee will also pass by the curious additional facts that a period of similar warming occurred between 1918 and 1940, well prior to the greatest phase of world industrialisation, and that cooling occurred between 1940 and 1965, at precisely the time that human emissions were increasing at their greatest rate.

Does something not strike you as odd here?" (Bob Carter, London Telegraph)

"Carbon Dioxide is Killing Cold-Water Reefs" - "The greenhouse gas carbon dioxide is acidifying the oceans. The first victims could be cold-water coral, which are believed to populate the edges of all continental shelves. Another endangered species is the plankton in the open oceans -- the basic building block of the marine food chain." (Der Speigel)

"Reef survives all that hot air" (only available as image - sorry) - "How many times must the scientific experts be wrong about Barrier Reef devastation before the public can disbelieve their scares?" (Andrew Bolt, Herald Sun) | Also available here as an image.

Right... "Air trends 'amplifying' warming" - "Reduced air pollution and increased water evaporation appear to be adding to man-made global warming. Research presented at a major European science meeting adds to other evidence that cleaner air is letting more solar energy through to the Earth's surface. Other studies show that increased water vapour in the atmosphere is reinforcing the impact of man-made greenhouse gas emissions. Scientists suggest both trends may push temperatures higher than believed. But they say there is an urgent need for further research, particularly at sea." (BBC)

... the magical feedback thing. Climate models have a great time making output 'interesting' (scary) by adding layer upon layer of positive feedback mechanisms (multipliers) but there's a teensy problem with this: the moist tropics, where the Earth tends to emit most radiation in wavelengths absorbed by water vapour, are already pretty well saturated - there's already more than enough water molecules in the atmosphere to absorb the available radiation and the absorption band overlap with carbon dioxide already means that CO2 is only absorbing about one-third the energy it theoretically could do in a dry atmosphere ("Solar Radiation Absorption by Carbon Dioxide, Overlap with Water, and a Parameterization for General Circulation Models", Freidenreich and Ramaswamy, Journal of Geophysical Research 98 (1993):7255-7264).

According to "Earth’s Annual Global Mean Energy Budget" (Kiehl and Trenberth, Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 78:2 (February, 1997): 197-208) less than 9% of the energy leaving the Earth's surface is radiated directly to space while the vast majority is involved in various interactions with the atmosphere first (the greenhouse effect). How is this ~9% 'escaping'? Mostly through the radiative window of 8µm-13µm where only ozone absorbs part of a narrow slice of this spectrum. Note that clouds (water droplets, not water vapour) can close this window. Here's a really simplified absorption graphic from the University of Leeds.

Only a relatively small proportion of additional greenhouse gas actually absorbs additional surface-emitted longwave radiation because it requires a molecule with the appropriate absorption characteristics to actually be in the right position to intercept that particular radiative frequency. That's the reason published guesstimates of x warming in n years are habitually way too large because there's already plenty of greenhouse gases to do the job - it's just that someone (Gaia?) keeps forgetting to add more energy - in the right wavebands - to the system.

If the radiation band for a particular wavelength of surface-radiated energy is already saturated then adding additional greenhouse gases with the same characteristics does exactly nothing. Similarly, if there is no greenhouse gas absorbing a particular bandwidth then that radiation is headed for space at light speed.

Some people apparently have difficulties with the absorption/window concept so, if you're one of them, try a little experiment: place a flashlight on your desk or table so the light shines upward. Cover it with something opaque to simulate saturating the waveband (bands in this case - the visible light spectrum), black cardboard would be great. So, you've saturated the radiation window and no light is shining from the flashlight, right? (If not, find something else to cover it with - we'll wait right here.) Now place another cover over the flashlight with the original still in place. How much of the flashlight's emissions are being absorbed by the additional cover? If you said 'none' you are right (everyone turn their flashlights off now to conserve the batteries). A 'window', where there is little or no absorption can be simulated with a hole or slot in your cover.

To simulate the approach to saturation you could try cloth of various weaves, just place more folds of the same weave over the flashlight and you'll see what we mean about diminishing response as the radiation window (through which some light or glow from the flashlight is being emitted) becomes saturated - at some point you'll find it doesn't matter if you place one more or ten more folds over the flashlight because there's no visible emission. Now you know why adding greenhouse gases to the atmosphere has progressively less effect and will eventually become completely unresponsive.

Snazzy graphic: "In the balance" - "Is balanced journalism to blame for the lack of action on global warming?" (Christopher Shea, Boston Globe)

When I first saw this I thought, oh, they've misplaced the balance point - then it struck me just how well the graphic represented the hot-air, overblown hysteria of 'global warming' versus the science-heavy case of populist 'global warming' being a crock. Doubt they meant it that way though...

Regardless, the 'issue' of 'global warming' can fairly be blamed on journalists and the hysterical nonsense sloshing around the media. Balanced reports would tell you that the world is thought to have warmed +0.6 °C ±0.2 °C relative to a time we think was quite a bit cooler than the Holocene (current interglacial) average. Balanced reporting would also tell you that, should it cool to similar levels anytime soon, we're going to have a dreadful time trying to feed the current population and will likely have to sacrifice a lot more wildlife habitat and wildlife in the attempt. Change is inevitable and when it cools significantly we, and the natural world, are in for a much tougher time of it.

"Gore urges moral crusade against global warming" - "OAKLAND — Al Gore brought corporate executives and environmentally minded investors roaring to their feet Thursday with multimedia images of an overheating planet and a call for Americans to reclaim their "moral authority" by tackling global warming. "This is really not a political issue, it is disguised as a political issue," Gore said. "It is a moral issue, it is an ethical issue — If we allow this to happen, we will destroy the habitability of the planet. We can't do that, and I am confident we won't do that." (The Argus)

Guess what Al? We're confident we won't do that too and our confidence has Jack to do with trying to monkey with some imaginary planetary thermostat. We can also see the moral case for devoting effort and finance to most anything but your pet planetary superstition.

"Old-Time Religion" - "Environment: From high on his Olympian perch, Al Gore no longer sees global warming as the subject of mere political debate. It is now a moral issue of its own. The step is a natural one for Gore, who appears with Julia Roberts, George Clooney and Robert Kennedy Jr. on a celebrity-salad cover of Vanity Fair's May "Green Issue." There hasn't lived a tent-revival preacher who could surpass the former vice president's talent for sermonizing. But those preachers were concerned with the eternal. Gore's concerns and those of his pals in Annie Leibovitz's cover shot are most certainly ephemeral. In fact, they border on plain silliness." (IBD)

Here's an interesting one: "Scientist Forecasts 'super El Niño'" - "One of the country's leading climate scientists says there is "a good chance" for a "super El Niño" next winter, a powerful warming in the Pacific Ocean linked to wet winters in the Southwest. In a draft paper circulated to colleagues, NASA climate researcher James Hansen blames global warming for increasing the chance of extreme El Niños." (Albuquerque Journal)

Without comment on Big Jim's qualifications for El Niño forecasting this raises quite interesting points - if 'global warming' enhances ENSO events and specifically 'super El Niños, as Jim suggests, then this conflicts directly with claims of 'global warming' enhancing hurricane seasons since we know from experience and past studies that El Niño suppresses hurricane activity.

We don't have all that long to wait to see how Big Jim goes with his ENSO forecasting but, in the meantime, Jim might just want to add something to his reading list, say: A major Holocene ENSO anomaly during the Medieval period (Rein B., Luckge, A. and Sirocko, F. 2004. Geophysical Research Letters 31: 10.1029/2004GL020161).

"For scientist, theory hurricanes will slow doesn't hold water" - "One researcher breaks from his peers with his idea that storm activity isn't cyclical." (Houston Chronicle)

Obligatory sinking island feature: "Living low: the climate change view from Tuvalu" - "Tuvalu — a remote island nation in the Pacific — may seem an unlikely scientific battleground. But this tiny developing nation is on the front line of climate change. If sea levels rise as much as many climate change researchers predict, Tuvalu could one day disappear." (SciDev.net)

"EU: Less Fluorinated-gases in European atmosphere" - "Fluorinated gases are not the solution! Used since the 1990s to replace ozone-depleting CFCs they are found mostly in refrigeration and air-conditioning systems, but also in windows, fire extinguishers, insulating foam or even sport shoes. But they have now also been incriminated in global warming. The European Parliament adopted today two new laws to reduce, or prohibit, their use. This should help Member States to meet their commitments under the Kyoto Protocol." (noticias.info)

Another loser: "BP Becomes Climate Action Leader: First in Its Industry to Report GHG Emissions to California Registry" - "LOS ANGELES, April 7 -- BP has successfully certified its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions inventory with the California Climate Action Registry (Registry), becoming the first in the global energy industry to earn the distinction of Climate Action Leader(TM). BP is publicly and voluntarily reporting its GHG emissions from the refining, distribution and sales of gasoline in California under this rigorous registry program." (PRNewswire-FirstCall)

BP like to say it stands for 'beyond petroleum' while whackos say it's 'burning the planet' (so much for appeasement - never works anyway) and now we're starting to wonder if it means 'bad plan'.

"BP: Beyond pathetic" - "What’s your “carbon footprint”? That’s the question asked by the latest version of BP’s high profile advertisements saturating both newspapers and TV. I don’t know mine, but part of BP’s current carbon footprint is about 200,000 gallons of crude oil – resulting from a leak in a corroded pipeline causing the largest oil accident ever in the North Slope of Alaska.

But that’s only a start – let’s not forget about the tragic explosion last year at the BP refinery in Texas City, Texas that claimed 15 lives and injured 170 people. With that disastrous track record measured in terms in human and environmental damage you would imagine BP would rethink its empty-headed advertising strategy before it ends up putting its own “footprint” in its mouth. Don’t bet on it though.

BP’s record is a classic business case study of the real world consequences of a corporate social responsibility-driven public relations campaign. BP is proving that a company can’t serve two masters at once." (Thomas Borelli, Townhall.com)

"Global climate analysis of growth rings in woods, and its implications for deep-time paleoclimate studies" - "Quantitative analysis of growth rings in pre-Quaternary fossil woods is commonly used as a paleoclimatic indicator. In this paper, a global analysis of the relationship between climate and growth ring parameters in modern trees is presented that, in part, invalidates the use of fossil woods in this way. Data reprocessed from the International Tree-Ring Data Bank are used to analyze three parameters, mean ring width, mean sensitivity, and percentage latewood, from 727 sites across a global climatic range. Results allow the complex relationship between climate and growth ring parameters to be quantified at the global scale for the first time. They reveal the enormous variability in tree response to climate-forcing, which is influenced by disparate factors such as taxonomy, ontogeny, ecology, and environment. Quantitative analysis of fossil growth ring data in light of the modern results indicates that even the largest and most detailed fossil studies conducted to date are probably inadequate in distinguishing a paleoclimate signal from the background noise of variability. The validity of using quantitative growth ring parameters as indicators of Pre-Quaternary climates is therefore questionable. Only in well-constrained studies where paleoclimatic, ontogenetic, and taxonomic sources of variability can be controlled, and data sets are very large, may fossil growth ring analysis provide useful paleoecological data. The findings of this paper do not invalidate in any way the use of growth rings in fossil woods as qualitative paleoclimatic indicators." (Paleobiology)

"Committee Acts to Doom New England Wind Farm" - "A Senate-House conference committee has approved a measure that would effectively kill a proposal for the first large offshore wind farm in the United States, in Nantucket Sound south of Cape Cod, Mass. The measure, an amendment to a Coast Guard budget bill, gives the governor of "the adjacent state," Massachusetts, veto power over any wind farm in the sound. Gov. Mitt Romney, a Republican, opposes the wind farm, and most of the candidates running to replace him in the election for governor this fall have also come out against it, as have most of the state's prominent politicians." (New York Times)

"Plea for barrage that could stop Severn bore" - "The threat of climate change is so serious that a tidal energy barrage across the Severn estuary must be considered despite the cost to wildlife, the Welsh Assembly has said. Rhodri Morgan, the assembly's first minister, told a conference in Cardiff that building the eight-mile barrier would help in the fight against carbon dioxide emissions." (London Telegraph)

"Leading scientists attack Blair over nuclear power" - "TONY Blair’s plan to resurrect nuclear power is going to be dealt a damaging blow by 40 of Britain’s leading energy and climate scientists, the Sunday Herald can reveal. Engineers, experts and academics from Glasgow, Edinburgh, London, Oxford and Cambridge will forcibly tell the Prime Minister this week that building more nuclear reactors is not the solution to global warming." (Sunday Herald)

"Big 3 can turn junk vehicles into gas" - "Research group unveils green technology that converts some of landfill's trash into oil, fuel, carbon." (Detroit News)

"Oslo's Sewage Heats its Homes" - "OSLO - In an extreme energy project tapping heat from raw sewage, Oslo's citizens are helping to warm their homes and offices simply by flushing the toilet. Large blue machines at the end of a 300-metre long tunnel in a hillside in central Oslo use fridge technology to suck heat from the sewer and transfer it to a network of hot water pipes feeding thousands of radiators and taps around the city." (Reuters)

Obviously impressed, apparently not favourably: "Grizzly Man: The Death of an Idiot" - "If the bell tolls for the demise of the evil or the stupid, it is the voice of God's Law, evolution. Forms which are fit, survive. The others are -- we'll call it -- recycled." (Oregon Magazine)

"Corn, Cloning, and Clinton" - "Some aspects of this year's BIO conference are sure to draw protests, but the biotech industry has plenty to celebrate." (Business Week)

"Cracks start to show in EU GMO policy" - "In Short: EU Commissioner Stavros Dimas has infuriated the biotech industry by admitting to the uncertainties surrounding the long-term safety of genetically modified crops at a conference in Vienna." (EurActiv)

April 7, 2006

JunkScience.com Celebrates 10th Anniversary! Letter to Friends of JunkScience.com - "April 1, 2006 is the 10th anniversary of JunkScience.com. We’ve accomplished a lot through the web site over the last decade, but much more needs to be done -– and we need your help..."

Stay tuned for more special features during JunkScience.com's Tenth Anniversary celebration!

"Top Ten Junk Science Stories of the Past Decade" - "JunkScience.com celebrated its 10th anniversary on April 1, 2006. To mark the event, this column spotlights 10 big junk science stories of the last 10 years." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"Americans love competition, but is it pushing our scientists too far?" - "ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Serious scientific misconduct that calls the integrity of science into question is only uncovered and reported perhaps a dozen times a year in the United States. This suggests that there isn't much misbehaving taking place in the research arena. Right? Maybe not. A new study suggests that the competitive nature of research fosters an environment where scientific misbehavior takes place far more often than the misconduct that makes headline news. And because scientific misbehavior involves more mundane decisions and actions, it may be easier for researchers to look the other way." (University of Michigan Health System)

"Goldman Chief Is Too Green for Treasury" - "Rumors are swirling that Treasury Secretary John Snow is on his way out and one of the names mentioned as a replacement is Henry Paulson, chairman and CEO of the Goldman Sachs Group. However as Goldman's head, Paulson has demonstrated a disturbing pattern of sacrificing the best interests of the company for the sake of his personal commitment to environmental activism, prompting the question of whose interests he would represent as Treasury Secretary." (John Carlisle, Human Events)

"New report: Counterfeit medicines in less developed countries" (.pdf) - "Every year, thousands of people in lower-income countries die due to taking counterfeit drugs. The problem appears to be getting worse. The boom in counterfeit drugs in less-developed countries is also threatening the integrity of western pharmaceutical markets. This new report from the CFD shows what steps need to be taken to undermine the supply of fake drugs. Most of all, lower-income countries need to limit the counterfeiters' room to operate - and this requires strengthening and properly enforcing the rule of law." (IPN/CFD)

"The UN vs. Technology" - "With diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis, and AIDS ravaging the world's poor -- and perhaps a flu pandemic in the offing -- the United Nations' celebration today of World Health Day might seem grimly appropriate. But the UN's record on health during its six decades has been a profound disappointment. Among its most egregious failures are some relatively obscure policy disasters of its own making. Much like its attempts to attain (and maintain) international peace and comity, the UN's forays into public health and environmental protection have frequently been wrong-headed and self-serving. While occasional rays of rationality shine through, these are too often eclipsed by countless other UN programs that work at cross purposes." (Dr. Henry I. Miller and Gregory Conko, TCS Daily) | World health miscues (Henry I. Miller, The Washington Times)

"This Money Won't Buy Happiness" - "Rock star Bono brought international attention to the movement to eliminate or substantially reduce the debts of impoverished countries in Africa. He is continuing to advocate massive increases in foreign aid there, as well as elsewhere. Last year British Prime Minister Tony Blair made aid to Africa an agenda item at July's G-8 meeting, calling for enormous increases. Alas, this emphasis on giving more money to benighted countries is misbegotten." (Forbes)

"Algae protein may aid eye health" - "Scientists have been able to make eye nerve cells respond to light by adding a protein from green algae." (BBC)

"MEPs clash with commission on environment rules" - "EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - The European Parliament postponed a vote on an EU law on fluorinated gases on Wednesday (5 April) due to a dispute between MEPs and the European Commission on the possibility for member states to have stricter environment rules." (EUobserver)

"Eco-terrorists are indulging in class warfare" - "Tom Utley suspects that the Somerset golf course vandals had a special motive for targeting golf clubs, rather than public swimming pools, car-wash companies or any other heavy users of water - and that motive is class resentment." (London Telegraph)

"Commission proposes measures in aquaculture to ensure greater protection for biodiversity" - "The European Commission has proposed measures to regulate the introduction of non-native species in aquaculture so as to prevent their possible negative impact on the surrounding environment. Non-native or alien species, such as rainbow trout or Pacific oyster, have played a crucial role in the rapid growth of the European aquaculture industry. However, in some cases, the introduction of non-native species can have an adverse impact on ecosystems and cause significant loss of biodiversity. These measures would therefore regulate the introduction of such species through the setting up of a permit system. The Commission proposal, which was subject to wide consultation with stakeholders, would not only enhance the protection of ecosystems but would also contribute to the continued development of the aquaculture industry." (Europa)

"The future of tropical forests" - "Deforestation and habitat loss are expected to lead to an extinction crisis among tropical forest species. Humans in rural settings contribute most to deforestation of extant tropical forests. However, "Trends such as slowing population growth and intense urbanization give reason to hope that deforestation will slow, regeneration will accelerate, and mass extinction of tropical forest species will be avoided," report S.J. Wright, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and H.C. Muller-Landau, University of Minnesota, in Biotropica online." (Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute)

"New pictures of 'living fossil'" - "A rodent that "came back from the dead" after supposedly going extinct millions of years ago appears to be more common than previously thought." (BBC)

"Pesticides help blue algae" - "Reports from all over the world suggest that freshwater areas are being taken over by the poisonous blue algae. Biologists regard global warming and increasingly high concentrations of fertilisers in water as the cause. According to Dr Miquel Lurling, however, they are forgetting another important factor: pesticides." (Weekblad voor Wageningen UR, Netherlands)

"Plants used to detect gas leaks, from outer space!" - "Gas leaks can be potentially life threatening in the home, but the presence of gas stresses out plants too. Professor Mike Steven and colleagues from the University of Nottingham have found that changes in the physical properties of plants can act as an early warning of leaks in natural gas pipelines." (Society for Experimental Biology)

"Extreme London flood investigated" - "Scientists have been investigating the effects of a 7m-high wave travelling up the Thames, using computer simulations." (BBC)

"Brown University geologists create 5-million-year climate record" - "PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Using chemical clues mined from ocean mud, Brown University researchers have generated the longest continuous record of ocean temperatures on Earth.

The 5-million-year record is a history of temperatures in the eastern equatorial Pacific, or EEP, located off the coast of South America. The area is an anomaly – a huge swath of cool water in the tropics – that plays an important role in global climate. In the EEP, trade winds pull nutrient-rich cold water to the surface, which makes for fertile fisheries off the coasts of Peru, Chile and Ecuador. The interplay of wind and water can also fuel El Niño events, a large-scale warming in the EEP that slows the upwelling of cold water and forces changes in weather, such as droughts or floods, far from the tropical Pacific.

In the EEP, the Brown geology team found that surface temperatures were 27° C 5 million years ago. Surface temperatures are 23° C today. In between, they found a pattern of steady cooling – roughly one degree Celsius every million years." (Brown University)

ecoEnquirer scoop:) "'Warmer is Better': Canada Reverses Global Warming Stand" - "(Ottawa, Ontario) Canada's new conservative leadership has decided to not only ignore its carbon dioxide emission limits imposed by the Kyoto treaty it agreed to, but is now advocating greatly increased emissions.

"Let's be honest", said Natural Resources Minister Larry Gunn, "Canadians are tired of freezing to death eleven months out of the year and having to drive to Florida just to thaw out. We use a huge amount of energy for heating, and the warmer we can make the climate, the better off Canada will be. Just look where we all live…98 percent of us are on the border of our country, where it is warmer. It is time to face the truth - warmer is better." (ecoEnquirer)

Hotter/colder/wetter/dryer and maybe even icky... "Insurers' climate nightmare" - "INSURERS have warned that the seachange drift to the nation's tropical north will exacerbate the financial losses caused by global warming. Climate change was likely to bring more Cyclone Larrys, more severe storms, more frequent flooding and longer droughts to the north of the country, which was becoming home to more and more Australians, IAG chief executive Michael Hawker said. Mr Hawker, who heads up Australia's largest insurance company, was among a group of six chief executives who released a report yesterday calling on governments to take more action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions." (The Australian)

"New Media Hysteria on Global Warming" - "ABC, CNN, CBS and Newsweek are all talking about a climate disaster that would end the world as we know it -- raising sea levels, swamping cities and killing people by the tens of thousands. This latest catastrophe -- not to be confused with media hype on Y2K, SARS, Avian Flu, obesity or the coming ice age -- is really nothing new.

Lately, the major media have been promoting what they called a "tipping point" or point of no return. But they've already reached it … in their own climate coverage. Since the media gave up their concern for global cooling in the 1970s, they've attacked global warming and the whole foundation of unbiased journalism at the same time. They don't even make any pretense about it, with the April 3 issue of Time declaring, "The debate is over. Global warming is upon us -- with a vengeance." (Dan Gainor, Human Events)

"Phoenix Rises (Again) on Global Warming" - "April 6, 2006 — Like the mythical phoenix rising out of the ashes of its own flames, the global warming story has risen out of the pile of clichés and denials into which it has collapsed or perhaps been pushed." (ABCNEWS.com)

Phoenix? Hydra, more like.

"The Church of Global Warming" - "Preachers used to warn of divine judgment if sinners did not repent and turn to God. Now, increasingly, preachers of the Left are instead warning of cataclysmic climate change if polluters (especially of the American variety) do not abandon economic growth and yield to the most apocalyptic scenarios of the environmental movement." (Mark Tooley, FrontPageMagazine.com)

Another paper on the Important Role of Land Surface Processes Within the Climate System (Climate Science)

"Arctic water flow speeding up" - "Measures of rain, snow and runoff in Siberia show hefty changes." (Nature)

While this carries some of the usual spin there are some very interesting items embedded:

The team, including two Russian scientists, found that the average winter snow depth there has doubled to 44 centimetres from 22 centimetres in 1940. Although summers in the region have become significantly dryer, and also slightly cooler, total runoff from the Lena has increased by around 10%, they reported at the European Geosciences Union annual meeting in Vienna, Austria, on 5 April.

Cherry's unpublished analysis, which is based on daily observations from seven Russian meteorological stations and 40 stations recording snow depth, is one of few studies that climate researchers can use to validate their models of hydrological changes.

"It is always fairly useful to know what the real world does, and the Arctic freshwater budget is indeed very important," says Michael Vellinga, a climate modeller at the UK Met office in Exeter. "Solid data about one large river system are therefore very welcome; having that kind of information Arctic-wide would be incredibly valuable."

"Speakers debate limits on carbon" - "The panel wants to recommend to the General Assembly by November whether North Carolina should create policies to lower emissions." (Associated Press)

"Pollution Pact Gets Maryland as 8th Member" - "Maryland is joining a regional consortium of Northeast states committed to reducing smokestack emissions that cause pollution and contribute to global climate change. Legislation signed into law yesterday by Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. calls for severely reducing pollution from Maryland power plants that produces smog, acid rain and harmful ozone, while also capping those plants' emissions of carbon dioxide, the chief greenhouse gas." (New York Times)

"Brazil seals biggest carbon credit deal with KfW" - "RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil, April 6 - A Brazilian firm on Thursday sealed the world's biggest carbon credit contract registered so far for an existing pro-environment project. Econergy International, the New York-based clean energy investment, management and consulting group which is responsible for the deal, said local company Biogas's project to generate electricity from garbage sold carbon credits worth 1 million tonnes in reduced gas emissions to German state development bank KfW." (Reuters)

"EU executive gets tough on environmental violations" - "BRUSSELS - European Union regulators said on Thursday they were taking legal action against several EU member states for failing to apply four of the 25-nation bloc's climate change laws. The European Commission sent first warnings to Cyprus, Greece, Luxembourg, Malta and Poland for their failure to link national registration of emission allowances with an EU-wide registration system, it said in a statement." (Reuters)

"Tokyo Embraces Renewable Energy" - "TOKYO, Japan, April 6, 2006 - Renewable energy has a bright future in Japan's largest city. On Monday, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government issued its Renewable Energy Strategy in an attempt to go beyond the level of pilot projects and increase renewable energy use in the city to 20 percent of all energy supplies by the year 2020." (ENS)

"Embrace nuclear power and stop tilting at windmills" - "Nuclear power still inspires nameless terrors and, until recently, few western politicians dared to discuss it. They preferred to tilt at windmills or peddle visions of backyard power stations running on refuse. Useful as alternative energy systems - and conservation - may be at the margin, they cannot replace the need for big new power stations. As Sir David King, the UK government's chief scientific adviser, insists, that must include nuclear." (Max Wilkinson, Financial Times)

"Lowly fly is selling point in a bio-high-tech world" - "Presenters here for a conference promoting Arizona's biotechnology industry this week said the state has many things to offer the emerging industry — including state-of-the art flies for research. For nearly 100 years, Drosophila, known as fruit flies to most of us, have done much of the heavy lifting in genetic studies, said Therese Ann Markow of the Arizona Research Lab. Markow is a Regent's Professor in the University of Arizona department of ecology and evolutionary biology." (Arizona Daily Star)

"Virginia Bioinformatics Institute to develop Tomato Metabolite Database" - "Blacksburg, Va. – A researcher at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute (VBI) at Virginia Tech is developing a database and computational tools to help scientists learn more about how certain genes in tomatoes affect the crop's flavor and nutritional value." (Virginia Tech)

"India gets its own GM cotton" - "New Delhi, April 5: Cotton plants genetically modified by scientists at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, and an Indian company are set to become India’s first homegrown GM crops approved for commercial release." (Calcutta Telegraph)

"Biotech companies lobby EU to keep GM crop rules" - "VIENNA, Austria - Europe's biotechnology lobby on Thursday pleaded for the European Union to stick to the current way it approves genetically modified crops for use in the 25-nation bloc, a day after the EU's environment chief said the rules might need to be toughened." (AP)

"Seeds of Discontent" - "If you can't beat 'em, handcuff 'em with legalities. That appears to be the new strategy of the anti-biotech lobby in Europe's long-running debate over genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.

GM crops have been slowly growing in popularity among European farmers, if not consumers, in recent years. More importantly, the World Trade Organization issued a preliminary ruling earlier this year ordering the EU to evaluate new GM products on the basis of sound science rather than fear mongering. So the question is no longer whether Europe will allow GMOs, but how they will be handled.

At least, that was the idea behind an EU conference in Vienna this week on the "coexistence" of GM and non-GM crops. Predictably, the anti-GMO crowd -- chiefly a mixture of enviro-radicals and organic farmers afraid they'll lose market share if biotech food products ever catch on with European consumers -- is still fighting quixotically for a ban on GMOs. But the next best thing in their mind would be an EU regulation that would make it prohibitively difficult and expensive for farmers to grow GM crops." (Wall Street Journal)

April 6, 2006

"Modeling the Impact of Intermittent Preventative Treatment on the Spread of Drug-Resistant Malaria" - "The researchers stress that their model provides a qualitative, not a quantitative, assessment of how partial and fully resistant malaria parasites will spread in different communities under different drug use strategies." (RxPG News)

"Kenya: Expert wants DDT ban lifted" - "The Government has been urged to lift the ban on DDT to help in the war against malaria. The Head of the malaria control division, Dr Willis Akhwale, on Thursday said many insecticides available in the country were not as effective as DDT. Akhwale said the Ministry of Health and the National Environment Management Authority should reintroduce the pesticide, which he said was not a danger to the environment if used indoors." (The Standard)

"Donate Your Unused Computing Power to Aid Medical Research" - "Just because you don’t know much about biology or medicine won’t stop you from helping to someday cure diseases like malaria, HIV, or cancer. All you need is a computer and an Internet connection and you can help search for treatments and cures for some of the world’s biggest killers." (Newswise)

"MMR urged after epidemic" - "Doctors in Germany are urging parents to immunise their children quickly with the MMR vaccine to counter a measles epidemic that has struck down more than 420 teenagers and children." (London Times)

"Air pollution cuts eight months off life span" - "Air pollution from cars, factories and homes shortens the lives of everyone in Britain by an average of eight months, according to an official study. Ministers warned that chemicals from car exhausts, ships and industrial sites were still having "a marked effect on health" despite efforts to cut pollution. They insisted that air in Britain was cleaner than at any time since the 19th century but expected to miss targets to reduce the levels of nitrogen dioxide, ozone and particles." (London Independent)

Nice self-promo guys but... "NASA helps researchers diagnose recent coral bleaching at Great Barrier reef" - "An international team of scientists are working at a rapid pace to study environmental conditions behind the fast-acting and widespread coral bleaching currently plaguing Australia's Great Barrier Reef. NASA's satellite data supply scientists with near-real-time sea surface temperature and ocean color data to give them faster than ever insight into the impact coral bleaching can have on global ecology." (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center--EOS Project Science Office)

... the GBR is not "in trouble" - in fact it's proving extraordinarily robust and resilient, as even Greenpeace's pet "the reef is doomed" merchant announced just last week:

"Fears fade on Barrier Reef bleaching disaster" - "THE Great Barrier Reef is far more resilient to rising water temperatures than scientists feared, with less than 1 per cent of its coral affected by bleaching after the hot summer. Scientists had predicted that as much as 60 per cent of the reef's coral might suffer bleaching, which occurs when warm temperatures rob the living coral of nutrition. But professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, from the University of Queensland's Centre for Marine Studies, said yesterday that samples he had collected from the various parts of the reef showed the fears were unfounded." (The Australian)

A Global/Mesoscale Modeling Breakthrough (Climate Science)

"NOAA / NSF Cruise Reveals Impacts Of Ocean Acidification On Chemistry, Biology Of North Pacific Ocean" - "April 5, 2006 — Data collected from ocean sampling in the Pacific Ocean from the southern to northern hemispheres confirms that the oceans are becoming more acidic. A recently completed field study from Tahiti to Alaska collecting data about the effects of ocean acidification on the water chemistry and marine organisms found evidence that verifies earlier computer model projections. These findings are consistent with data from previous field studies conducted in other oceans." (NOAA News)

Eek! "Park glaciers healthy, CU study shows" - "ESTES PARK — Two Rocky Mountain National Park glaciers appear to be bucking a global trend, remaining stable and healthy due to an unusual combination of environmental factors that helps preserve them." (Rocky Mountain News)

No! It can't be true! They're melting, I tell you, melting! And if they're not - that's global warming!

Politically incorrect but true enough: "Scientists in dispute over carbon curbs - magazine" - "LONDON - A row has broken out between scientists seeking a way to bring more nations into the carbon curbing fold after the first phase of the Kyoto Treaty expires in 2012, New Scientist magazine said on Wednesday. On one side is a plan that would in effect set a global target for each nation's per capita carbon output, on the other is one that rates a country's carbon output against its biocapacity or geophysical ability to absorb it. The latter, by Geoff Hammond at the University of Bath, would remove the United States from pole position as the world's worst polluter but bring up Bangladesh with a very small carbon footprint but equally little absorption capacity for the gases, including carbon dioxide and methane. The United States, which has rejected Kyoto as economic suicide, only produces slightly more carbon than it can absorb. Japan, by contrast, has a per capita carbon footprint half that of the United States but overshoots its absorption capacity by seven times." (Reuters)

This is bound to create a fuss but, as we've been pointing out for years, Europeans have been residing in glass domiciles while launching trans-Atlantic boulders at the US over carbon emissions. At most, if carbon emissions really are a problem, Europeans can complain that America is not cleaning up Europe's mess by utilising just about their whole absorption capacity with local emission rather than killing their economy for the express purpose of allowing Europe to emit far beyond its own absorption capability. Kyoto is basically an anti-American political construct with no prospect of measurably affecting planetary temperature and it has backfired spectacularly. Hopefully Hammond's kit includes metaphorical body armour for experience shows airing of non-PC facts elicits an extraordinary response from America bashers, people haters and the PC media - he could be in for a rough ride.

"Global warning" - "The media agrees with the majority of scientists: Global warming is here. Now, what to do about it?" (Marc Gunther, FORTUNE Magazine)

Wrong question Marc, the one that needs to be asked and answered first is "Could we knowingly and predictably adjust the planet's temperature or even its temperature trend?" The answer is sadly a resounding "No!"

Parenthetically, just what difference does it make to anything whether the media do or do not agree with advocates of anthropogenic global warming - do journalists major in atmospheric physics and chemistry now?

"Scientist: Let cows be cows" - "Meteorologist Augie Auer says farmers needn't beat themselves up about the possibility their animals are contributing to global warming. The former professor of atmospheric science at the University of Wyoming told an audience of dairy farmers at the Waimate West Demonstration Farm last week that the contribution cows make to the greenhouse gas layer with their emissions of methane is infinitesimal and that New Zealand's support for the Kyoto Protocol is misguided. In an absorbing address delivered in a manner he described as "kitchen physics", he advanced a plausible case for sunspots – explosions on the sun's surface – being a more likely contributor to global warming than greenhouse gases." (Taranaki Daily News)

Uh-huh... "Climate Researchers Feeling Heat From White House" - "Scientists doing climate research for the federal government say the Bush administration has made it hard for them to speak forthrightly to the public about global warming. The result, the researchers say, is a danger that Americans are not getting the full story on how the climate is changing." (Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post)

... well if they're suppressing the message they're doing a crappy job of it, eh? This climate scare would have to figure as the most excessively reported yet poorly understood 'story' in human history.

"Tories plan cuts to climate change programs" - "Forty per cent of this year's budget for climate change programs has been slashed from the departments of Natural Resources and Environment , CBC News has learned. The cuts include the much-advertised One Tonne Challenge, 40 public information offices across the country and several scientific and research programs on climate change. "If it's not in the taxpayers' interest to fund programs that are not effective, then we are not going to," said Natural Resources Minister Gary Lunn. Lunn would only confirm funding has been cut to some environmental groups, but did not provide details." (Yahoo! Canada)

"Gas, technology 'key to climate change'" - "Oil and gas giant ExxonMobil says it recognises the risks of climate change but gas fired power and technological advances hold the answer, not renewable resources or carbon trading schemes. ExxonMobil Australia chairman Mark Nolan says the company does not believe climate change has been conclusively scientifically proven, but it is still taking the risk seriously. "Our position is that the science is uncertain but given that it is uncertain there is a risk," he says "We treat the climate change issue very seriously and I would say that we certainly do a lot to address it." (AAP)

"US utilities' CO2 emissions up since 1990: report" - "NEW YORK - U.S. electric utilities' emissions of pollutants that cause acid rain and smog have fallen sharply since the federal government adopted stricter standards in 1990, but greenhouse gas emissions have risen in that time, according to a report released on Wednesday." (Reuters)

"E.ON looks at storing coal emissions under the sea" - "Energy utility E.ON UK is considering building a £500m clean coal power station in Lincolnshire which would store the carbon dioxide emitted under the North Sea. It is also carrying out "preliminary work" on the investment case for nuclear power. The initiatives were part of its submission to the government's energy review. E.ON has advocated a balanced energy portfolio including gas, clean coal with carbon capture, nuclear, biomass and renewables. E.ON UK chief executive, Paul Golby, said the review was "the most important work to shape the power and gas industry for the next 50 years". (The Guardian)

"Wind farm rejection baffles wind energy industry" - "The wind energy industry is bewildered by the Federal Government's decision not to approve a wind farm in Victoria's South Gippsland. The developer, Wind Power, is considering legal action. Despite state approval two years ago, an application to build 52 turbines at Bald Hills near Tarwin Lower in south-east Victoria has been knocked back because of threats to the orange bellied parrot." (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

This'll be fun. The 'gummint' is gonna get clobbered by greenies for protecting wildlife.

According to Greenpeas: "The 7,000km journey that links Amazon destruction to fast food" - "A handful of the world's largest food companies and commodity traders, including McDonald's in the UK, are driving illegal and rapid destruction of the Amazon rainforest, according to a six-year investigation of the Brazilian soya bean industry. The report, published today, follows a 7,000km chain that starts with the clearing of virgin forest by farmers and leads directly to Chicken McNuggets being sold in British and European fast food restaurants. It also alleges that much of the soya animal feed arriving in the UK from Brazil is a product of "forest crime" and that McDonald's and British supermarkets have turned a blind eye to the destruction of the forest." (The Guardian)

"New crop of technology reveals plant health" - "The scientists, working together in a project called PLANTS, sought to develop a unique system that linked plants, technology and people to continuously assess the state of crop health. Using sensors, transmitters and specialist software, the system monitors the state of the crop on a plant-by-plant basis, in near real-time." (IST Results)

"Safety checks on GMOs flawed: EU environment chief" - "VIENNA - Europe's environment chief attacked the EU's top food safety agency on Wednesday for flawed risk assessments of genetically modified (GMO) crops and foods, saying it relied too much on data given by the biotech industry." (Reuters)

"EU conference focuses on freedom of choice regarding GM crops" - "VIENNA - An EU ministerial conference on genetically-modified organisms began with politicians emphasizing the right of farmers to choose whether or not to produce GM crops. Around 2,000 protesters also gathered outside the meeting, entitled "Freedom of Choice," which focused on the issue of co-existence, referring to the problems involved in growing both GM and non-GM crops in Europe." (AFP)

"Greenpeace and Nestle clash over GM coffee" - "GENEVA - The environmental campaign group Greenpeace called on food group Nestle to withdraw a patent for a genetically-modified coffee plant and other GM foodstuffs, saying the risks were "unacceptable." (AFP)

Unacceptable to what - Greenpeace's business plan?

April 5, 2006

How eco-chondriac Europeans kill Africans: "Uganda to use DDT despite EU concerns" - "Uganda will proceed with the use of the pesticide DDT to control malaria, despite threats by the European Union that it could lead to its agricultural exports being locked out. The head of the Economic, Trade and Social sectors desk at the EU delegation to Uganda, Tom Vens told The EastAfrican that the EU had warned the government against the use of DDT, which scientists claim, can cause cancer among humans if ingested. "We have advised the government that they are taking a risk if they go ahead with this DDT use, he said. "We, however, leave it to the government, of course, to decide. But nothing will happen, at least on the official side, if they decide to use DDT in strict compliance with the Stockholm Convention," he said." (The EastAfrican)

"EPA air-toxics plan sparks internal rift" - "A draft rule would weaken clean-air standards, officials say. Their memo could figure in Senate hearings Wednesday." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"How Toxic Was My Valley" - "If Manhattan has the most cancer-causing air in the country, we're in pretty good shape." (Joel Schwartz, TCS Daily)

"Who is responsible for our diets?" - "A study claims many of the world's top food companies are not trying hard enough to improve our diet, but where does the company's responsibility end and ours begin?" (BBC)

"Chicken With Arsenic? Is That O.K.?" - "ARSENIC may be called the king of poisons, but it is everywhere: in the environment, in the water we drink and sometimes in the food we eat. The amount is not enough to kill anyone in one fell swoop, but arsenic is a recognized cancer-causing agent and many experts say that no level should be considered safe. Arsenic may also contribute to other life-threatening illnesses, including heart disease and diabetes, and to a decline in mental functioning. Yet it is deliberately being added to chicken in this country, with many scientists saying it is unnecessary. Until recently there was a very high chance that if you ate chicken some arsenic would be present because it has been a government-approved additive in poultry feed for decades. It is used to kill parasites and to promote growth." (Marian Burros, New York Times)

Arsenic has been used medicinally by people for hundreds, if not thousands of years, it is all-singing, all-dancing, all-natural and the traces in your table chooks are of no consequence, as Ms Burros well knows.

"Science examines animal suffering" - "Scientists are carrying out a study to see if it is possible to report actual levels of suffering experienced by animals during scientific procedures." (BBC)

Sigh... "Shore signs to warn public of radioactive contamination risk" - "SIGNS are to be put up on a Scottish foreshore to warn the public of potential hazards posed by radioactive contamination. Dalgety Bay, on the north shore of the Firth of Forth, is home to Scotland's largest sailing club, and is an expanding commuter community. The contamination of the shore area is believed to have been caused by radium from the dumped luminous dials of RAF aircraft from nearby Donibristle air base at the end of the Second World War." (The Scotsman)

Better not call solar energy 'radiation' then...

"Regulators Consider Salmon Fishing Limits" - "SAN FRANCISCO -- Federal regulators are set to decide whether to impose severe restrictions on salmon fishing off the coasts of Oregon and Northern California this season, a move that could lead to higher prices for consumers and economic hardship for hundreds of fisherman." (AP)

"Researchers Link Chinook, Orca Populations" - "SEATTLE -- The killer whales that chase salmon in this region's inland waters feed almost exclusively on chinook, to the extent that the orca population ebbs and flows right along with that of the West Coast's largest and longest-lived salmon, researchers said Tuesday. The whales settle for chum salmon for six to eight weeks in the fall, when most of the chinook are gone, John Ford of Canada's Department of Fisheries and Oceans said at the 2006 Symposium on Southern Resident Killer Whales, a joint effort of his agency and the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service." (AP)

"US Team Sees Busy Hurricane Season, No Record" - "MIAMI - The 2006 hurricane season will not be as ferocious as last year when Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and other storms slammed Florida and Texas, but will still be unusually busy, a noted US forecasting team said on Tuesday." (Reuters)

"The global-warming debate: delusion vs. symbolism" - "Global warming is a puzzle. Begin by recognizing the stink of politics. Support for the idea of human-caused warming correlates with political ideology. One side wants it and the other side doesn't. Conservatives, who fear a problem that can't be solved by the market or, perhaps, by any of the political institutions we now have, reach for the saving idea of faulty measurement, a hotting sun, anything other than human agency. Progressives embrace the theory of global warming and propose to deal with it symbolically. I am no scientist. I don't like the political implications of human-caused warming, but the Earth does not care what I like. The melting of glaciers and the rise in global carbon dioxide do make a case for the theory." (Bruce Ramsey, Seattle Times)

Ramsey is partly right although I don't subscribe to the neat divide hypothesis (Democrat/Republican, Left/Right, Advocate/Sceptic...). For a start the globe doesn't respond neatly to simple increment in greenhouse gases - don't misunderstand, greenhouse gases have increased and have been doing so since the industrial revolution but the world has been rather taciturn where response is concerned. Since the 1976 PDO positive phase shift, for example, the globally averaged mean temperature has been rising (trend 0.17 °C/decade, that is, if the trend were to continue for a hundred years the world would warm 1.7 °C). The preceding three-decade period, however, has been re-evaluated to 0.02 °C/decade (0.2 °C over 100 years). The trend throughout the available series (since 1880) is a much more conservative 0.04 °C/decade (0.4 °C over 100 years). The net result, according to the GHCN-ERSST Data Set at least, has been 0.5 °C rise over the entire period of record while the GHCN Land Surface Data Set suggests almost 0.9 °C since 1880. Whether such a warming is to be considered unusual is difficult to determine since we have so little data over longer periods. The Central England Temperature record dates from 1659 and appears to be reasonable proxy for northern hemisphere temperature and it contains warmings of greater amplitude and more aggressive trend in both the early 18th and early 19th Centuries than that which we believe occurred during the 20th despite minimal disturbance in atmospheric greenhouse gas levels at those times.

So, we are moderately sure that the world has been warming although our precision for measuring same is not high. We are not sure about baseline temperatures and we have no way of telling what should be considered the 'correct' temperature. In addition to this we have some discrepancy between where we expect to find warming in accord with the enhanced greenhouse warming hypothesis and what we can actually observe. Then there is still a wide disparity between atmosphere-derived temperatures and near-surface ones so we are not yet convinced about being able to remove the effect of irrigation schemes, for example, and their regional temperature and humidity perturbations and so derive the effect of emissions from fossil fuel combustion. Nor are we assured of having adequately dealt with the urbanisation of temperature recording points so it is possible, even likely that some of the estimated temperature increment of recent decades is due to urban heat island - this remains contentious, to say the least.

On top of all this we have to contend with the misuse of process models attempting to divine the future and producing somewhat extraordinary 'projections' that are paraded as though they constitute data. Worse, these "projections" rely on "positive feedbacks" (multiplier fudges) whose very existence is uncertain and the net sign of the combined feedback mechanisms is unknown. These fudges are necessary because the climate forcing of a small rise in a trace gas like carbon dioxide is known to be quite small on its own.

I communicate with many people and a surprising number of e-mails begin along the lines of "I'm an academic and I usually vote [whatever country of origin left-leaning party] but I can't agree with the certainty expressed regarding catastrophic warming..." so it appears the expectation of political divide exists, whether there really is one or not. Regardless, the science still has rather a long way to go to catch up to the expressed certainty on enhanced greenhouse, which seems completely unwarranted.

A final thought, it appears from this week's poll (left-hand column of this page, see results so far) that a primer on carbon dioxide and greenhouse effect may be required - bear with me, I'll see what I can run up over the next weekend or two.

"Time to World: Run!" - "Whatever you do, don't tell the editors at Time magazine there's this giant volcano sitting under Yellowstone National Park and that, one of these days, it could erupt, causing massive destruction to the North American continent.

True, some scientists say nothing indicates trouble in the next several hundred years or so, but some highly persuasive scientific analysis also says global warming is likely no large or immediate danger. That fact did not keep Time from warning readers on its cover to "BE WORRIED. BE VERY WORRIED," and any reassurances about Yellowstone likely would not keep them from a headline saying: "RUN FOR YOUR LIVES, AMERICANS. YELLOWSTONE IS GOING TO BLOW!" (Jay Ambrose, Scripps Howard News Service)

"Foes in 'Global Warming' Debate Fuss Over Witness List" - "Neither side in the "global warming" debate is happy over the witness list compiled by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee as the panel plans to convene a one-day climate conference Tuesday. Liberal environmental groups are concerned about what they see as a "roster of speakers heavily weighted toward economic interests over the environment." Meanwhile, a free market environmental think tank skeptical of predictions that human-caused climate change will produce a catastrophe, also accuses the Senate committee of stacking the deck. "This doesn't look like a public spirited discussion. It looks like the pirates all gathered around the table figuring out how to split up the booty," said Myron Ebell, director of Energy and Global Warming at the free market based Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI)." (CNSNews.com)

"US Senate Panel Takes Baby Steps on Climate Change" - "WASHINGTON - A US Senate panel on Tuesday heard diverging views from electric utilities on whether Congress should slap mandatory caps on US greenhouse gas emissions, and who should foot the bill. Some utilities told the Senate Energy Committee they are eager for Congress to pass mandatory caps on emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses so they can plan how to meet those goals. Others, especially those that rely heavily on coal, oppose mandatory caps on greenhouse gas emissions. Lawmakers also are divided. Committee chairman Pete Domenici has warned it would be "impossible" to pass legislation to cut heat-trapping gas emissions in 2006 because of election-year gridlock. But he said the all-day panel conference on climate change options was a "starting point" for discussions." (Reuters)

"U.S. Utilities Urge Congress to Establish CO2 Limits" - "April 4 -- U.S. utilities, breaking with their own trade association, urged Congress to impose mandatory restrictions on emissions of carbon dioxide, a gas that contributes to global warming. Exelon Corp. and Duke Energy Corp., the two largest U.S. utility owners, joined PNM Resources Inc. and Sempra Energy at a Senate hearing today to express support for creation of a federal program to set limits for U.S. greenhouse gas emissions." (Bloomberg)

"State Democrats Get Tough on Emissions" - "SACRAMENTO — Democratic lawmakers unveiled legislation Monday aimed at controlling industrial emissions of greenhouse gas, setting up a possible showdown with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger — and the federal government — over how far the state should go in trying to combat global warming." (LA Times)

Desperately trying to market hot air: "Chicago climate mart to try CO2 link with EU" - "NEW YORK - A voluntary Chicago emissions market said on Tuesday it is trying to arrange a deal in which its members can use carbon dioxide emissions allowances from the European Union in "demonstration transfers" to meet commitments in its bourse. If such transfers take place, they could be the first trading link between greenhouse gas emitters in the United States and the European Union's Emissions Trading Scheme, the world's first to trade heat-trapping gases that scientists believe are warming the earth. Multinational companies and some governments have been eager to form links between developing emissions markets in Europe and the United States to increase liquidity and set clearer standards on capital-intensive facilities such as power plants and refineries." (Reuters)

Funny: "Car plant plan: 25 trees per vehicle" - "Local car maker Mitsubishi will plant 25 native trees for every locally made 380 sedan it sells to the South Australian Government in a scheme to make the cars carbon neutral. The company today said it would plant the trees at its test facility near Tailem Bend, east of Adelaide, where they would offset the carbon dioxide emissions of the government vehicles." (Sydney Morning Herald)

For those not in on the joke I used to roam the barren limestone, sand and saltbush desert plains around Tailem Bend (southeast from Murray Bridge in South Australia, for those trying to locate it) and can assure readers that the only way to grow trees in that region is with water pumped from a severely overtaxed Murray River. So, to remove carbon dioxide from the air, which makes most plants grow better and more water efficient at the same time, they're going to grow trees in a region with marginal rainfall by extracting yet more water from a river that frequently fails to reach the sea due to over-extraction - and they're doing this to, um... help the environment, yeah?

Another gas scam: "It's A Little Easier Being Green" - "Consumers and companies are giving alternative energy a boost with "green tags" (Business Week)

"Canada's New Government Cold Shoulders Climate Change Action" - "OTTAWA, Ontario, Canada, April 4, 2006 - In office just two months, the Conservative government led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper has begun disassembling Canada’s Climate Change Program, according to the Sierra Club of Canada. All climate change programs announced in Action Plan 2000 have not been renewed and Natural Resources Canada has begun laying off staff, the conservation group points out. “Apparently, the federal government has launched a stealth campaign against action on climate change,” said John Bennett, senior policy advisor for energy with the Sierra Club of Canada." (ENS)

Hysteria, Eilperin style: "The Cold, Hard Facts" - "For centuries people saw the North and South poles as frigid and alien lands beyond human reach. While the poles remain at the ends of the Earth, researchers now make regular journeys to the Arctic and Antarctic to meet the people who live there and monitor the extreme temperatures. What they have observed: The poles are melting." (Washington Post)

"Tiff over Northwest Passage heats up as ice melts" - "TORONTO — Melting ice is opening up the Northwest Passage and reviving a dispute between the United States and Canada over who controls the potentially lucrative shipping route. The United States calls the passage an international strait, open to all. Canada claims control because it considers the passage an internal waterway, like the Mississippi River. Until recently, the decades-long dispute has been mostly academic; thick sea ice blocks the passage for about 11 months of the year. But as global temperatures rise and polar ice caps melt, the ice-free season may lengthen, making the Northwest Passage a viable shipping route within decades or, the U.S. Navy says, even a few years." (USA Today)

"Ankara's Kyoto doubts make for tough environment chapter" - "Turkey's reservations about signing the Kyoto Protocol will possibly toughen the negotiations in the environment chapter with the European Union, as introductory screening of the chapter began yesterday. Although the EU has stressed the importance of Turkey's signing the protocol to successfully proceed in the environment chapter, Turkey needs at least 30 to 35 billion euros of investment to sign it." (Journal of Turkish Weekly)

"OECD ministers give verbal push for help on climate impact" - "PARIS - Environment and development ministers from the OECD club of rich countries agreed to give greater priority to helping poorer countries cope with the impact of looming climate change. Climate change adaption will be "integrated" in the spending and planning of development aid, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said in a statement. The 30-nation organisation, using language previously agreed in the Group of Eight (G8) and other fora, declared climate change to be "a serious and long-term challenge that has the potential to affect every part of the globe." (AFP)

Oh boy... "What Scotland must do to help save planet in peril" - "SCOTS' current way of life is "deeply, deeply unsustainable" and has to change dramatically as part of global efforts to reduce greenhouse gases, according to the head of the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA). In an interview with The Scotsman, Dr Campbell Gemmell, the chief executive of SEPA, called for a revolution in building standards and micro-renewable sources of energy, such as mini-windmills for houses and the development of "clean-burn" waste incinerators to provide power and heat for local communities." (The Scotsman)

Inspired or insipid? "Combatting Climate Change In Urban Areas" - "Climate Change Minister Elliot Morley today (Mon) spelt out the Government's action on tackling climate change in urban areas at two major conferences. With 80 per cent of the British population living in an urban environment - far higher than the global average - major changes have to be made in the way towns and cities are planned, built and occupied if carbon dioxide emissions are to fall. Speaking at the opening of the Climate Change and Urban Areas conference at University College London, Mr Morley said the capital was particularly at risk from climate change. The 2003 heatwave, which saw a record UK temperature of 101F in Kent, led to 600 premature deaths in the capital." (Defra)

Somehow, we don't think this is what Sir Winston had in mind for defence of that green land: We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills...

"'Major melt' for Alpine glaciers" - "Europe's Alps could lose three-quarters of their glaciers to climate change during the coming century. That is the conclusion of new research from the World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS) in Zurich. Scientists base their conclusion on forecasts of temperature and precipitation changes in a new computer model of Alpine glaciation." (BBC)

Well, that proves it then:) "Global Warming Getting Worse As Tahoe Gets Record Snowfall" - "LAKE TAHOE, Nevada -- Scientists were alarmed by a report that Lake Tahoe had record snowfall this week. The news is yet further proof that global warming is upon us and that George Bush is likely behind it." (Jeremy Robb, ChronWatch)

Important New Meeting on Climate Change is Scheduled (Climate Science)

From CO2 Science this week:

Elevated CO 2 Mediates Fungal Pathogen Attacks on Red Maple Trees: The beneficial impacts are brought about by CO 2 -induced changes in leaf physiology and chemistry, which phenomena likely also operate in many other plant pathosystems.

Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week:
This issue's Level 3 Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week is from the Lake Nautajärvi, Finland.  To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.

Subject Index Summary:
Agriculture (Species - Maize): Atmospheric CO 2 enrichment impacts a variety of physiological processes of corn in ways that enhance its productivity and water use efficiency, while past and predicted climate changes will likely increase the area of the earth that can be planted to the crop.

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: Quaking Aspen, Quaking Aspen and Paper Birch Community, Quaking Aspen and Sugar Maple Community, and Spruce.

Journal Reviews:
Winter Warming of the Antarctic Troposphere: The new finding raises many more questions than it answers.

North Atlantic Regime Shift: Is It Déjà Vu All Over Again?: The North Atlantic region, just now, is on a path to getting back to the peak warmth and biological activity it experienced in the 1930s and 40s.

Carbon Sequestration in a Legume/Grass Community: How is it affected by soil nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations?

Nectar Production in Flowers of a Perennial Temperate Clonal Herb: How is it affected by enriching the air with carbon dioxide?

CO 2 Effects on a Seaweed of Economic, Health and Environmental Importance: What are the effects, and how important are they? (co2science.org)

"Experiments examine hydrogen-production benefits of clean coal burning" - "Livermore, Calif. -- Sandia National Laboratories researchers here are studying the burning characteristics of coal to prepare the way for the coming of a hydrogen economy. That's because while there are many long-term options for providing hydrogen as a fuel of the future, coal is the leading contender to provide a hydrogen source in the near term." (DOE/Sandia National Laboratories)

Don't care what it is! They're agin it! "Waste facility worries environmentalists" - "A proposal to burn tires at an eastern Ontario cement plant to create fuel is a safe one, company executives say, but environmentalists call it a hazardous idea that would poison the air over both Canada and the United States. The Sierra Legal Defence Fund is accusing the provincial government of refusing to launch a full environmental assessment of the proposal by Lafarge Canada, a subsidiary of the world’s biggest cement producer, to burn waste at its cement plant in Bath, Ont., near Kingston. The Lafarge proposal involves burning trash — tires in particular — to produce an alternative fuel that could help power its cement operations at the site." (CP)

"Offshore wind farms losing race" - "Investment in offshore wind power is stalling while contentious onshore wind farms are growing at twice the rate expected, a report said yesterday. Research for the wind energy industry, which will be submitted to the Government's energy review, shows that only half the expected number of offshore wind farms will be built by 2010. Early claims suggested farms off East Anglia could provide 25 per cent of electricity needs. The industry now says offshore wind could provide six per cent by 2015, but only with more financial support." (London Telegraph)

Still trying to get their hands in our pockets: "UK offshore wind 'at crossroads'" - "Offshore wind energy in the UK is unlikely to reach its full potential unless there is additional support from the government, a report shows. The study says the fledgling industry is at a "critical stage" and economic and environmental opportunities could be lost without further assistance. The research was commissioned by the British Wind Energy Association (BWEA)." (BBC)

"Editorial: Brussels turns the heat up on energy sector" - "Brussels on Tuesday trained its legal artillery on European Union member states in one of the biggest judicial barrages ever mounted by the EU executive to chase up recalcitrant governments. The legal proceedings launched by the Commission cover not only energy, but also telecommunications, gambling and tobacco advertising in order to combat spreading economic nationalism in the EU’s single market. But the Commission’s core concern is energy, where no fewer than 17 governments have been served with formal letters of complaint at their failure to follow existing EU legislation to open up their gas and electricity markets." (Financial Times)

"ANALYSIS - German Energy Summit Pleases Big Utilities" - "FRANKFURT - Germany's energy summit has left smiling faces all round, analysts say, balancing the demands of factions across the sector, from green to nuclear." (Reuters)

Yet more tax: "UK: Road charging 'vital to reduce pollution'" - "The government will today say a national road charging programme will be a vital tool in cutting pollution levels that reduce life expectancy by eight months and threaten the environment." (The Guardian)

"House products liver link probe" - "The effect on the liver of tiny particles found in household goods such as toothpaste and sunscreen is being studied by scientists. The research by Edinburgh scientists, the first of its kind in the UK, is to examine fears nanoparticles can cause damage to liver cells." (BBC)

"US$3m for global survey of how science helps farming" - "A global effort to assess how science can improve agriculture has received a US$3 million boost thanks to a grant made by the World Bank last week (29 March). The International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development will evaluate the relevance and effectiveness of different agricultural technologies, from traditional irrigation techniques to genetically modified crops." (SciDev.Net)

"Let Them Eat Precaution:  What the WTO Decision on GMOs Really Means" - "Call it “the spin wars”. In a leaked interim report in February, the World Trade Organisation sided with Canada, Argentina, and the US, ruling that the European-wide ban on bio engineered crops has more to do with protectionism than precaution. But that’s not what you’d believe if you relied on the hysteria-grams flooding the internet.

Greenpeace blasted the WTO as “unqualified to deal with complex scientific and environmental issues”. Friends of the Earth scowled “European safeguards” were being “sacrificed to benefit biotech corporations”. The Consumers Union lambasted the “pre-emptive effort to chill the development of new policies for regulating GM crops”. The WTO, they chorused, is a puppet of nefarious biotechnology corporations aligned with bully nations force-feeding Europe with “Frankenfoods”.

Let’s separate the chaff from the wheat. If this 1,045-page report is upheld, Europe will not have to alter a single regulation or label. Consumers will not be forced to buy and eat food that they do not want. The WTO will demand the EU observe its own regulations--using sound science to evaluate new products. That has not been happening. European countries have been exploiting the controversy to protect their farmers and keep prices high.

Anti-GMO campaigners have been on the attack since the first generation of biotech crops--soybeans, wheat, cotton, and canola that generate natural insecticides, making them more resistant to pests and drought and reducing reliance on environmentally harmful chemicals--were introduced more than a decade ago. Why? Primarily because corporations brought them to market." (Jon Entine, Ethical Corporation)

"Experts gather in Vienna to discuss co-existence of genetically-modified crops with conventional and organic farming" - "European politicians, senior civil servants and leading experts from the worlds of academia, commerce and NGOs will gather in Vienna on 4, 5 and 6 April to discuss future policies on the co-existence of GM crops with conventional and organic agriculture. The conference forms part of the Commission’s consultations with interested parties on the development of efficient and cost-effective strategies to ensure co-existence. It follows the adoption on 9 March of a report on the progress EU Member States have made so far in implementing national rules. The report concluded that the development of EU-wide legislation on co-existence is not justified at this time, in view of the EU’s limited experience with the cultivation of GM crops and the need to conclude the process of introducing national measures. However, the Commission is keen to hear the views of all stakeholders before drawing any final conclusions. Speakers will include Mariann Fischer Boel, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Stavros Dimas, Commissioner for the Environment and Josef Pröll, Austrian Minister for Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management. Three workshops will discuss different national and regional approaches to co-existence, technical and economic aspects of segregation and consumer attitudes and market responses to GMOs." (Europa)

"Biotech industry accuses GM event of lacking balance" - "The Vienna conference on genetically modified (GM) crops will lack meaningful debate because key experts have not been invited, according to Europe's leading biotech industry body. The event, entitled 'Co-existence of genetically modified, conventional and organic crops - Freedom of choice' opens today in Vienna but already it appears that the context of the debate has been called into question." (Food Navigator)

"EU says quizzes Syngenta over biotech maize" - "Apr 4, 2006 — BRUSSELS - The European Commission said on Tuesday it had asked Swiss agrochemicals company Syngenta to confirm the reliability of detection methods for its Bt10 genetically modified maize." (Reuters)

April 4, 2006

Green-Nosing Exposed... Free Enterprisers hijack Goldman Sachs annual meeting - "It was a good thing Free Enterprisers Tom Borelli, Peter Flaherty and Steve Milloy showed up at the Goldman Sachs shareholder meeting last Friday (March 31) -- otherwise the meeting would have been over in the blink of an eye..."

Don't miss today's Wall Street Journal editorial "Green-Nosing" about our efforts at Goldman!

"Loathing, lies and liberation theology: Multinational corporations duke it out in the Andes" - "LA OROYA, Peru--Pitched battles over ideology and public policy certainly are not confined to classrooms or legislative chambers. They are also fought in poor communities of Africa, Asia and Latin America, often pitting multinational corporations against multinational activist groups.

The corporations seek to extract energy and minerals, provide much-needed jobs and capital, and serve investors and consumers--without harming human health or the environment. They often collide with well-connected global activists who loathe foreign investment, free enterprise, and especially extractive industries--and want to influence elections and policies in these regions." (Paul Driessen, Canada Free Press)

"Corporate Social Restriction" - "In recent years Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has become a mantra. A complex movement has been campaigning throughout Europe for high labor, environmental, and human rights standards, even though it is not quite clear what 'is meant by "high". The movement comprises Western trade unions, environmental non-governmental organizations (ENGOs), and human rights activists who have little faith in the ability of private companies and free markets to generate wealth and improve living conditions for all workers. In fact, these groups believe that there exists a threshold beyond which a company's profits become too high, inequitable, and even immoral." (Carlo Stagnaro and Lawrence A. Kogan, TCS Daily)

Mad Scientists - Recently citizen scientist Forrest Mims told me about a speech he heard at the Texas Academy of Science during which the speaker, a world-renowned ecologist, advocated for the extermination of 90 percent of the human species in a most horrible and painful manner. Apparently at the speaker's direction, the speech was not video taped by the Academy and so Forrest's may be the only record of what was said. Forrest's account of what he witnessed chilled my soul. Astonishingly, Forrest reports that many of the Academy members present gave the speaker a standing ovation. To date, the Academy has not moved to sanction the speaker or distance itself from the speaker's remarks. (Society for Amateur Scientists) -- Hat tip Greenie Watch

"Governments make us sick!" - "Yet another boring report on a boring topic sounds pretty boring. But the World Health Organisation's study of drug patents distracts from the real health problems of the poor and will lead to yet more pointless rules and initiatives. For the poor, the real barriers to medicines and treatment are tariffs, bad infrastructure, government meddling and poverty.

The WHO, however, has a culprit for poor healthcare: the drug companies that invent new cures and that protect those discoveries with patents to cover their (gigantic) costs. The forthcoming report by its Commission on Intellectual Property Rights, Innovation and Health (CIPIH) hopes to alter that with some vague notion of government intervention.

This meddling is not just irrelevant, it is damaging to medical research and therefore damaging to the poor. Worse, it gives incompetent and corrupt governments an excuse to point the finger elsewhere." (Franklin Cudjoe, Accra Daily Mail)

"Malaria, mosquitoes and man - breaking a deadly cycle" - "Malaria kills a child every thirty seconds in Sub-Saharan Africa, according to recent estimates. It is a huge problem currently threatening over 40% of the world’s population and still on the increase. The infection causes more than 300 million acute illnesses and at least a million deaths annually, and is recognised as a major factor impeding the development of some of the poorest nations." (Innovations Report)

"Economists of Scale" - "Just how right wing are economists? A serious question, not a joke. If you look around at some of the favorite liberal or left wing ideas, or policy proposals, you see that most economists start sucking their teeth, muttering under their breath and generally, well, at best, not supporting the ideas. Even those who share the goals of a more egalitarian society, even economists known to be left wing politically, tend not to support some policies on their economic arguments. Why is this? Why is it that economists, to liberal viewers at least, all seem to be right wing?" (Tim Worstall, TCS Daily)

"The preschool 'spin'" - "Claims that Prop. 82 could lift enrollments and help all children don't hold up." (Bruce Fuller, LATimes)

"The Threat of an Avian Flu Pandemic is Over-Hyped" - “It is only a matter of time before an avian flu virus—most likely H5N1—acquires the ability to be transmitted from human to human, sparking the outbreak of human pandemic influenza.” So declared Dr Lee Jong-wook, director-general of the World Health Organization last November. Fortunately, the assertion is as mistaken as it is terrifying." (Michael Fumento, Virtual Mentor. 2006; 8:265-270)

"Food firms 'lukewarm on health'" - "Many of the world's 25 biggest food firms only pay lip service to their duty to help fight the global diet crisis, a report on the issue says. It found that the response of most companies to World Health Organisation guidelines on fighting obesity, cancer and heart disease was "lukewarm." (BBC)

Ever see 'food firm' goons chasing people down the high street, forcing food down the throats of those they catch? Us neither. In fact, we were rather under the impression that 'food firms' had a responsibility to produce things we wanted to buy, the consumption of which then being an end user thing - you eat an amount of any given product that you think is suitable.

They figured this out, all by themselves? "Watch not, want not? Packard/Stanford study links kids' TV time and consumerism" - "STANFORD, Calif. - Peace at any price? More than one parent has forked over cash in a desperate bid to stop their kids' badgering for the hottest toy or the latest snack. Now researchers at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital and Stanford's School of Medicine have found that the more time California third-graders spent in front of the tube or playing video games, the more often they asked an adult to buy them items they saw on the screen." (Stanford University Medical Center)

Health warning - male rats should avoid charred meats at cookouts: "Barbecue meats linked with prostate cancer" - "WASHINGTON - A compound formed when meat is charred at high temperatures -- as in barbecue -- encourages the growth of prostate cancer in rats, researchers reported on Sunday. Their study, presented at a meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, may help explain the link between eating meat and a higher risk of prostate cancer." (Reuters)

Why you shouldn't let cancer-prone mice get tanked... "Equivalent of 2-4 drinks daily fuels blood vessel growth, encourages cancer tumors in mice" - "SAN FRANCISCO – University of Mississippi researchers say they have created the first-ever mammalian model of how alcohol consumption spurs tumor growth, showing that even moderate drinking resulted in larger and more robust tumors." (American Physiological Society)

... and should not take rats on tropical holidays: "Sunscreen chemicals disrupt thyroid in rats" - "Chemicals found in many sunscreens can disrupt the production of thyroid hormone in rats, researchers report. Their study raises concerns that chemicals that absorb ultraviolet light could damage the thyroid in people. The thyroid gland is located in the neck and secretes hormones that affect growth and metabolism." (NewScientist.com news service)

"A Weed, a Fly, a Mouse and a Chain of Unintended Consequences" - "MISSOULA, Mont. — First came the knapweed. Then came the gall fly. And now the mice population is exploding — the mice that carry hantavirus. In a classic case of unintended ecological consequences, an attempt to control an unwanted plant has exacerbated a human health problem.

... Since the 1970's, the importation of an exotic plant's natural enemies from its country of origin, something known as biological control, has been considered a safe and effective alternative to pesticides. Hundreds of enemy species have been released." (New York Times)

Another cost of the irrational fear of pesticides.

"High good cholesterol trumps low bad cholesterol for heart protection" - "INDIANAPOLIS – Having a high level of HDL cholesterol – the good cholesterol – is more important than having a low level of LDL – the bad cholesterol – in protecting individuals from heart attack, according to a study published in the March issue of American Heart Journal by researchers from the Indiana University School of Medicine and pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline, Inc." (Indiana University)

"WiFi False Fears" - "Remember when microwave ovens caused cancer? Maybe that’s before your time; but what about when power lines and electric blankets caused cancer and computer terminals caused miscarriages and birth defects? Then, of course, cell phones caused brain tumors. And now, predictably enough, WiFi signals that allow laptop computers to wirelessly connect to a single outlet have also become suspect. But all of these scares have two things in common. First, they involve invisible electromagnetic frequency (EMF) transmissions, something many of us find to be spooky – like invisible creatures in movies. Second, they’re all bogus. These fright fests have caused tremendous needless angst and economic loss." (Michael Fumento, Townhall)

"Study suggests rise in autism cases may not be real" - "CHICAGO - A rise in autism cases is not evidence of a feared epidemic but reflects that schools are diagnosing autism more frequently, a study said on Monday. Children classified by U.S. school special education programs as mentally retarded or learning disabled have declined in tandem with the rise in autism cases between 1994 and 2003, the author of the study said, suggesting a switch of diagnoses. Government health authorities have been trying to allay widely publicized concerns that vaccines containing the mercury-containing preservative thimerosal, which is no longer used, were behind an autism epidemic. There may be as yet unknown environmental triggers behind autism, study author Paul Shattuck of the University of Wisconsin at Madison said, but his research suggested the past decade's rise in autism cases was more of a labeling issue." (Reuters)

"Salmon go veggie to save wild fish stocks" - "Salmon, like humans, require omega-3 fatty acids in their diet to function healthily. But as the fish farming industry expands, feeding salmon and other aquatic species with pellets containing fishmeal and oil derived from processing wild-caught marine fish is unsustainable in the long term. This is due to rising demands for these commodities for aquafeeds and other purposes in the face of finite or declining annual global fish catches. To provide a solution with respect to fish oil, a team of scientists from the University of British Columbia and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Canada, have been studying the effects of replacing anchovy oil with canola oil (also known as rapeseed oil) in the diets of salmon." (Society for Experimental Biology)

"Asteroids: Treasures of the past and a threat to the future" - "If a large asteroid such as the recently identified 2004 VD17 – about 500 m in diameter with a mass of nearly 1000 million tonnes - collides with the Earth it could spell disaster for much of our planet. As part of ESA's Near-Earth Object deflecting mission Don Quijote, three teams of European industries are now carrying out studies on how to prevent this." (European Space Agency)

"Global Warming Hysteria Has Arrived" - "On April 4, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing to discuss a white paper that Senators Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and Pete Domenici (R-NM) released on a mandatory cap and trade program for carbon dioxide emissions. The majority of panelists that will provide testimony in the hearing are for a cap-and-trade program, suggesting the Committee views global warming to be a serious problem and that a cap-and-trade approach is the preferred mechanism for fighting it." (Dr. Roy Spencer, TCS Daily)

See also: Senate Sets Up Lopsided Global Warming ‘Debate’

"Senate Climate Conference Offers One-Sided View - Other viable policy options and perspectives excluded" (.pdf) - "WASHINGTON – The Domenici-Bingaman White Paper and scheduled “conference” appears to raise a number of important questions to stimulate discussion leading to the development of legislation, but it is clear that the objective is not a search for the right path; it is a justification for a regulatory program based on a mandatory “cap and trade” system." (Marshall Institute)

Ah, when Canada used to be a warm and pleasant land... "Interglacial and Holocene temperature reconstructions based on midge remains in sediments of two lakes from Baffin Island, Nunavut, Arctic Canada" - "Abstract: Midge remains (Insecta: Diptera: Chironomidae and Chaoboridae) from two upland lake basins on the Cumberland Peninsula of Baffin Island were analyzed and the results used in a transfer function to reconstruct paleotemperatures. This upland region remained ice-free throughout the last glacial cycle and the two lake basins retain sediments deposited during the previous interglacial period as well as during the Holocene period, but they did not accumulate sediment during most of the glacial period. Midge remains are abundant and well preserved at both sites. Midge-inferred summer surface water temperatures and mean July air temperatures were estimated using an inference model built on modern samples spanning a geographic range extending from Devon Island, Canada to Maine, USA. Data from twenty-nine new surface samples from Baffin Island were added to an existing inference model. The new weighted averaging (WA) model for summer surface water temperature yields r2jack = 0.88 and RMSEP = 2.22 °C for summer water temperatures, and r2jack = 0.88 and RMSEP = 1.53 °C for mean July air temperatures. Reconstructions at both sites indicate that summer temperatures during the last interglacial were higher than at any time in the Holocene, and 5 to 10 °C higher than present. Peak Holocene temperatures occurred in the first half of the period, and have decreased since about the mid-Holocene." (Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology)

Oh dear... "P-p-p-pick up a penguin: Standard's prank gets readers in a flap" - "The April Fool joke is alive and well in the regional press, with the Skegness Standard managing to fool the local TV news - and attract an imitation in The Sun. The paper told how a group of penguins had come ashore at the resort, pulled off course by freak weather linked to global warming." (HoldtheFrontPage)

Wild penguins - in the northern hemisphere?

"Space network to track rainfall" - "The US and Japanese space agencies (Nasa and Jaxa) are to launch a satellite network to measure rainfall around the world. The Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) project will provide three-hourly reports on rainfall." (BBC)

Global Precipitation Trends (Climate Science)

"Western prairies face impending water crisis" - "The Canadian prairies are facing an unprecedented water crisis due to a combination of climate warming, increase in human activity and historic drought, says new research by the University of Alberta's Dr. David Schindler, one of the world's leading environmental scientists. "The western prairies are worse than other areas of Canada," said Schindler, co-author of a paper published in the journal "Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences," early online edition. "One of the referees on this paper said, 'wow, this is like looking out the window of a locomotive 10 seconds before the train crashes.' It is a very dire situation." (University of Alberta)

"This has got to be the wettest drought yet" - "Not being native to these isles, I used to have trouble understanding what people meant by the word drought. "It's terribly worrying, isn't it, the drought?" they would say. Perhaps, I thought to myself, they're talking about some obscure livestock ailment, or maybe they just pronounce "draft" funny. But I know they can't be talking about that other thing, the not having enough water thing, because it's raining frigging sideways." (Tim Dowling, The Guardian)

"Climate likely not driving tornadoes" - "While some government climate scientists are complaining that their research showing a link between greenhouse gases and climate change is being suppressed, meteorologists say there's probably no connection between last month's unusual number of killer tornadoes across the Midwest and global warming." (The Commercial Appeal)

"Global warming's California impact studied" - "SACRAMENTO, April 3 -- California has issued a report on the threat of global warming, detailing scientific findings and policy recommendations for reducing state emissions. State officials say the report, mandated by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, was researched by more than 30 scientists who looked at the potential affect of global warming on California's water, health, agriculture, coasts and fires." (UPI)

"California Considers Bill to Limit Greenhouse Gas Emissions" - "California may become the first state to impose limits on the emissions of all greenhouse gases, under legislation introduced today in the State Assembly. The bill would require that emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases linked to global warming be reduced by 145 million tons, or 25 percent less than the current forecast, by 2020. That would bring the emissions back to the 1990 level." (New York Times)

"Speaker, governor's team propose limits on greenhouse gases" - "SACRAMENTO - Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez introduced legislation Monday to limit greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, oil refineries and other industrial sources, a step he said would lead the nation in combating global warming while spurring the state's economy. "(The bill) sends a loud and clear message to ... innovators and entrepreneurs here and abroad to develop and bring clean technologies into the California marketplace," the Los Angeles Democrat said. Nunez announced the legislation on the same day Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's administration released a report calling for development of economic incentives that could include emission caps to cut greenhouse gases, chiefly carbon dioxide. The two developments triggered praise from environmental groups but warnings from business leaders that limits could drive businesses out of the state." (Associated Press)

"Greenhouse gas plan could impact Central Valley oil fields" - "The oil and natural gas fields of the Central Valley could come under further emissions regulations as part of a state effort to control and ultimately reduce so-called greenhouse gases.” California is the twelfth largest source of climate change emissions in the world, exceeding most nations, notes a report Monday by the California Climate Action Team (CAT)." (Central Valley Business Times)

"Hot under the collar" - "Britain will miss its much-trumpeted carbon-emissions target, for all the government's proposed new measures." (The Economist)

Uh-oh! Nature gets it wrong? "Mating March of the Penguin Slows Down" - "Penguins and other Antarctic seabirds are nesting and laying their eggs later than they did 50 years ago, a response, scientists say, to global climate change. While the effects of climate change on animal behavior have been well documented in the Northern Hemisphere, the effects are less well known south of the equator. In North America and Europe, cold-weather animals are generally shifting northward as the Arctic warms and the ice cap shrinks. A new study by two scientists at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in France compiled data for Antarctic seabird nesting from 1950 to 2004. It reveals that nine species of birds are, on average, arriving nine days later to nest. The birds are also laying their eggs two days later." (LiveScience)

What is the matter with those southern hemisphere critters? Talk about being upside down - don't they know the planet is rapidly warming and seasons are supposed to be earlier? Greenpeace needs to hightail it down there & enlighten those stupid down-under birds on their expected behaviour.

Note, however, that the birds' retarded behaviour is still attributed to 'global warming'.

"Climate Change on the Flip Side" - "Global warming makes the headlines, but at least part of the world has been getting cooler over the last half-century, and migratory birds are noticing. Way down south, in eastern Antarctica, seabirds have begun arriving at their colonies and laying their eggs later on average than in the 1950s, potentially preventing new parents from finding enough food to keep their chicks alive and healthy." (ScienceNOW Daily News)

"TIME Misled Readers on Climate Science, Says CSPP; New Papers Help Readers Sort Facts from Alarmism" - "WASHINGTON, April 3 -- The Center for Science and Public Policy (CSPP), a Washington, D.C. based think tank, announces the release of three new papers dealing with energy and climate change issues." (U.S. Newswire)

"Losing Bet on Climate Change: Temperatures are rising—what now?" - "Patrick Michaels, a University of Virginia climatologist, Cato Institute scholar, and long-time climate change skeptic, offered a bet back in 1998 that the globe's average temperatures would decline over the next decade. In 1998, an unusually powerful El Niño off the coast of South America had boosted the globe's average temperatures by half of a degree Celsius above seasonal norms." (Ronald Bailey, Reason)

"Government to offset carbon emissions for ministers' flights" - "Every flight by a minister or civil servant on government business will be offset by payments into funds that help developing countries cut their carbon emissions, under a new scheme. The announcement yesterday is designed to end criticism that ministers have been preaching the importance of tackling climate change while adding to the problem with their frequent flights abroad." (London Independent)

"Tackle climate change - earn cash" - "Farmers could earn extra income by helping to tackle climate change under government plans unveiled this week. Spelled out in the government's Climate Change Programme, which sets out policies for minimising the impact of global warming, is a pledge to introduce a "market-based mechanism", to facilitate the trading of greenhouse gases from agriculture, forestry and other land management sectors. "We are trying to think ahead about the role land managers can play in solving the problem of climate change and creating (for them) an additional income stream," said junior DEFRA minister Elliot Morley." (Farmers Weekly)

"Russia to Have Key Kyoto Trade Rules Ready by July" - "MOSCOW - Russia will have key rules ready by July that will allow foreign firms to invest in the country under the terms of the Kyoto Protocol, a top Russian official promised on Monday, reassuring potential investors." (Reuters)

"Finns give nuclear plant a positive reaction" - "Eurajoki has much to offer its visitors: an attractive coastline, an elegant manor house and a medieval castle. But in its tourism brochures the town in western Finland prefers to boast most of all about its electricity. "Welcome to the most electric municipality in Finland", a typical greeting reads. The town's biggest tourist attractions are the two colossal nuclear power plants of Russian design that dominate the nearby island of Olkiluoto in the Baltic and meet a fifth of Finland's electricity needs. A third super reactor, Olkiluoto 3, is being fashioned out of the same Nordic red clay, gneiss and granite. Huge lifting cranes hover above a field of iron braces fastened into concrete foundations, as 500 workers scuttle around the 50-acre construction site in thick snow and temperatures that are below freezing." (London Telegraph)

"Finns blaze nuclear trail" - "In its patient, pragmatic approach to the generation of electricity by nuclear power, Finland has much to teach the rest of Europe. In this country, the review headed by Malcolm Wicks, the energy minister, and the government-appointed Committee on Radioactive Waste Management are due to publish their recommendations later this year. Sweden, which decided in 1980 to phase out nuclear power generation, has decided to upgrade some reactors to compensate for the closure of others. A debate along similar lines is under way in Germany." (London Telegraph)

"Wind power solution to energy needs" -"WIND power could be used to generate over one-third of the energy needs of the entire island of Ireland by 2020, a new study has revealed." (Irish Examiner)

They don't say whether this includes down-time for repairs due to impacts with flying pigs or the cost of same...

"Solar cell manufacturing process examined with a view to increasing cell efficiency" - "As the world becomes increasingly aware of global warming and climate change, the need for alternative energy sources is generating greater demand. Electricity generated from solar cells is often quoted as being the solution to our climate problems. Unfortunately, this method of energy generation is quite inefficient. Overcoming this inefficiency is key to the widespread commercial acceptance of solar energy." (AZoNetwork)

"INTERVIEW - Food Industry Calls for Biodiesel Alternatives" - "AMSTERDAM - European policy makers must stimulate alternatives to fuels derived from edible oils to resolve a growing conflict between the food sector and biodiesel producers, an industry association said on Monday. Big European food makers such as Anglo-Dutch Unilever face fierce competition for rapeseed oil supplies from biodiesel makers as tax incentives and high crude oil prices stimulate fuel production." (Reuters)

"Greens, industry clash again on EU biotech policy" - "BRUSSELS - Environmental group Friends of the Earth on Monday accused the European Commission of favoring the biotech industry in its vision of how GMO crops could be grown alongside organic and traditional types. In a report issued on the eve of an EU conference on the subject in Vienna, FoE said the Commission's approach, far from avoiding contamination and protecting health and the environment, was to ensure that GMO trade went unimpeded." (Reuters)

"Africa's Biggest Cotton Producer Struggles for Consensus on GM Technology" - "Africa's biggest cotton producer, Mali, is struggling to renovate its labor-intensive cotton sector and keep growers out of poverty." (VOA)

"The $6 billion (hu)man is becoming reality, as bionics restores or expands humans' abilities" - "In the mid-1970s, when scientists in a popular TV series rebuilt a wounded, barely-living test pilot into the world's first bionic man, making him "better, stronger, faster," the field of medical bionics was the stuff of science fiction. No longer. On April 3, at Experimental Biology 2006, some of the leading scientists in the rapidly expanding field of bionics explain how much of what was once fiction is today at least partial reality – including electronically-powered legs, arms, and eyes like those given TV's Six Million Dollar Man 30-plus years ago." (Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology)

"Battle over GM produce moves to new grounds" - "Farmers and consumers should be given the opportunity to make their own decisions as to whether they want to grow or consume food that has been produced from genetically modified crops." (The Herald)

April 3, 2006

"Just say no to NGOs" - "For years, the world's leading corporations have been caving in to the CSR movement, warping policy to fit the anti-corporate ideology that's at the heart of Corporate Social Responsibility. Now taught as the official state religion in business schools, CSR has turned some of the world's leading corporations into blithering fonts of social policy cant and profit-denial. We are all here for the good of society and sustainable development, not to make as much money as possible for shareholders." (Terence Corcoran, National Post)

"Senate Sets Up Lopsided Global Warming ‘Debate’" - "The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will kick off a legislative effort to address global warming next week. Considering the agenda and witnesses scheduled to testify at the committee’s so-called “Bipartisan Climate Conference,” it appears that “the fix is in” for greenhouse gas regulation." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

Clarification: The National Mining Association requested the following clarification concerning the column: "NMA clearly stated its opposition to mandatory greenhouse gas regulations in its response to the Senate Energy Committee’s white paper, which is posted on the Committee’s website for the public to see. NMA will continue to do so when it appears at tomorrow’s conference. NMA opposes mandatory regulations of any kind. NMA supports a pro-technology, voluntary, and international approach that necessarily addresses greenhouse gases in the context of energy security, technology development, and U.S. economic competitiveness.

From the 'here we go again' files: "Prolonged mobile phone use raises brain tumour risk" - "STOCKHOLM - The use of mobile phones over a long period of time can raise the risk of brain tumours, according to a Swedish study released on Friday, contradicting the conclusions of other researchers. Last year, the Dutch Health Council, in an overview of research from around the world, found no evidence that radiation from mobile phones or TV towers was harmful. A four-year British survey in January also showed no link between regular, long-term use of cell phones and the most common type of tumour." (Reuters)

"The Nuisance That May Cost Billions" - "When a jury in Rhode Island held three companies liable for the state's lead paint problem, the paint industry found itself in the same boat as cigarette makers." (New York Times)

"Allergies reach epidemic levels in Europe: experts" - "BERLIN - Allergies such as hay fever are reaching epidemic proportions in Europe and a failure to treat them properly is creating a mounting bill for society and the healthcare system, experts said on Friday. Around one third of the European population has some kind of allergy, while one in two children in Britain will have allergies by 2015, costing millions of euros in medical bills, lost work days and even impaired concentration in school pupils. Experts say various factors such as air pollution, animal fur and dust mites could act as triggers for allergies but that the levels of allergic reaction vary from country to country." (Reuters)

Presumably those who persist in hawking their baseless fears are proud: "Decline in MMR uptake blamed for measles death" - "A FALL in the number of parents allowing their children to have the combined measles, mumps and rubella vaccine has been blamed for a resurgence of measles that has claimed the life of a 13-year-old boy. More people have been infected in the first three months of this year than the whole of 2005, and at least 30 children have caught measles in a single outbreak in South Yorkshire. The teenager is Britain’s first fatality in 14 years." (London Times)

"Special education data provide misleading trends of changing autism prevalence" - "MADISON - If statistics compiled by the U.S. Department of Education are to be believed, in 1992 the state of Illinois had only 322 diagnosed cases of autism among school children. In 2003, according to the same statistical source, Illinois had more than 6,000 children diagnosed as autistic.

National special education statistics, which showed a 657 percent increase in autism over the decade from 1993 to 2003, are routinely used to suggest the country is experiencing an epidemic of autism, a developmental disorder of children characterized by impaired social and communication skills as well as repetitive behaviors and obsessive interests.

But inconsistencies in how the condition is diagnosed throughout the nation's schools, and the fact that the increasing trend for autism coincides with a corresponding slump in the reporting of mental retardation and learning disabilities, challenges the use of special education data to portray a national epidemic of autism, according to a new study published in the current issue of a leading medical journal (April 3, 2006)." (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

Public deceived by media? "Americans pessimistic about future health of environment" - "Most Americans are pessimistic about the state of the environment and want action taken to improve its health, according to a new national survey conducted by Stanford University's Woods Institute for the Environment. Fifty-five percent of Americans surveyed said they expect the world's natural environment to be in worse shape in 10 years than it is now, and an additional 5 percent said the environment is currently in "poor" or "very poor" shape and will not improve, according to the survey." (Stanford Report)

By just about any empirical measure you can produce America's environment has been improving for decades - air, water, farmland returning to forest, prevention of resource extraction to save the critters, people's aesthetics or whatever, it's all getting 'better' (kept or returned to 'wild' state anyway). Why then are poll respondents so pessimistic?

"The Curse of Approval" - "If UNESCO designates it, they will come. Does identifying world heritage sites do more harm than good?" (Barbie Nadeau, Newsweek International)

We'd probably be rather more sweeping, as far as we are concerned involving the UN in anything is generally a disaster.

"Public pays to let stars' forests rot" - "THEY were planted with the help of taxpayers' money to make profits for private owners and wealthy celebrities. Superstars who cashed in on the 1980s forestry boom in the north of Scotland included singer Sir Cliff Richard, Genesis frontman Phil Collins, BBC presenter Terry Wogan and snooker players Steve Davis and Alex Higgins. But the same trees that, by common consent, ruined thousands of acres of Scottish landscape are being cut down and left to rot - paid for once again with public funds." (Scotland on Sunday)

Gee, I wonder if the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds had to get carbon credits for clear-felling forests?

"Poisoned atmosphere: Scientists on both sides of issues have paid political price" - "A scientist at NASA recently had to deal with public relations officials who wanted to review his stuff prior to dissemination, and the left went bananas, as if this were the greatest political misuse of science in the history of America. It wasn't even close. A respect for context should have led reporters and commentators to emphasize that the problems of James Hansen at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration were as nothing compared with the problems of William Happer. He's the scientist fired as director of energy research at the U.S. Department of Energy in the Clinton administration because he disagreed publicly with that great arbiter of scientific knowledge, Al Gore." (Jay Ambrose, Scripps Howard)

"The Unmuzzled Scientist" - "WASHINGTON -- Basketball junkies watching March Madness on CBS late Sunday afternoon March 19 may have been enticed by promotions for "60 Minutes" to stay tuned for a tale of impending global doom that the Bush administration was suppressing. A senior government scientist apparently risked his job to at long last reveal that only 10 years remained before global warming would ruin planet Earth. But the impression given on the broadcast did not square with reality." (Robert D. Novak, Lincoln Tribune)

"Time & global warming" - "Six years of drought in Africa. Killer floods in Japan. Crop failures in Canada and Russia. Average temperatures out of whack. Dramatic changes in polar ice caps. Animals populations threatened with extinction. Top scientists warning of a coming global catastrophe. Our whole fragile blue planet in certain peril because of the junk being pumped into the atmosphere by evil humans. These horrors sound like they were ripped from the pages of "Be Worried. Be Very Worried," the special report on global warming served up last week by Time magazine. Good guess, but not quite. The above list comes from Time, all right. But it's the issue of June 24, 1974 -- the one that included a big article on the new ice age that "a growing number of scientists" were sure was already happening and would soon have serious if not devastating global consequences." (Bill Steigerwald, Tribune-Review)

"The regime shift of the 1920s and 1930s in the North Atlantic" - "Abstract: During the 1920s and 1930s, there was a dramatic warming of the northern North Atlantic Ocean. Warmer-than-normal sea temperatures, reduced sea ice conditions and enhanced Atlantic inflow in northern regions continued through to the 1950s and 1960s, with the timing of the decline to colder temperatures varying with location. Ecosystem changes associated with the warm period included a general northward movement of fish. Boreal species of fish such as cod, haddock and herring expanded farther north while colder-water species such as capelin and polar cod retreated northward. The maximum recorded movement involved cod, which spread approximately 1200 km northward along West Greenland. Migration patterns of “warmer water” species also changed with earlier arrivals and later departures. New spawning sites were observed farther north for several species or stocks while for others the relative contribution from northern spawning sites increased. Some southern species of fish that were unknown in northern areas prior to the warming event became occasional, and in some cases, frequent visitors. Higher recruitment and growth led to increased biomass of important commercial species such as cod and herring in many regions of the northern North Atlantic. Benthos associated with Atlantic waters spread northward off Western Svalbard and eastward into the eastern Barents Sea. Based on increased phytoplankton and zooplankton production in several areas, it is argued that bottom-up processes were the primary cause of these changes. The warming in the 1920s and 1930s is considered to constitute the most significant regime shift experienced in the North Atlantic in the 20th century." (Kenneth F. Drinkwater, Progress In Oceanography)

"Cod in a sweat: Some like it hot!" - "Scientists at CEFAS (UK) have found that the migration pattern of wild cod is much less restricted by environmental temperature than laboratory studies suggest. Previously, research in the lab indicated that the preferred temperature range of cod was between 11-15ºC. However scientists following movements of wild cod equipped with electronic tags that record depth and temperature have found that whilst some fish prefer deeper cooler waters, others tagged at the same time prefer to swim in shallower habitats in the Southern North Sea where summer temperatures are consistently above 17ºC. Dr Julian Metcalfe will be presenting the latest results of the EU-funded CODYSSEY project at the Annual Meeting for the Society for Experimental Biology on Monday 3rd April [session A3]." (Society for Experimental Biology)

Record compression? "China crucial to climate debate" - "They could be the names of the family next door: Katrina, Larry, Rita, Jolina and Glenda. But as the call-signs of some of the most devastating hurricanes, typhoons and cyclones the world has seen in the past 12 months, they are just one manifestation of a global weather system that seems in destructive disarray." (Geoff Hiscock, CNN)

... the most devastating hurricanes, typhoons and cyclones the world has seen in the past 12 months...

"Global warming hard to avoid, scientists say" - "WASHINGTON — Ten leading climate scientists interviewed by The Associated Press agree that the effects of global warming may be difficult to avoid." (Associated Press)

"Let Cooler Heads Prevail - The Media Heat Up Over Global Warming" - "... About the mystery that vexes ABC -- Why have Americans been slow to get in lock step concerning global warming? -- perhaps the "problem" is not big oil or big coal, both of which have discovered there is big money to be made from tax breaks and other subsidies justified in the name of combating carbon. Perhaps the problem is big crusading journalism." (George F. Will, Washington Post)

A New Paper on the Importance of Regional Climate Forcings and Response (Climate Science)

Impacts of Land Use Change on Climate - Special Issue of the Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology Planned (Climate Science)

Response to CCSP Comment on the Pielke and Matsui GRL paper (Climate Science)

"Climate theology and its exponents" - ""There are ominous signs that the Earth's weather patterns have begun to change dramatically," begins the April 28, 1975, Newsweek article reprinted today on the opposite page [and here as .pdf]. But this wasn't a prediction of global warming. A new Ice Age worried Newsweek and its reporter, Peter Gwynne.
We reprint this false alarm not to suggest that the current arguments about global warming are wrong. We don't know them to be right or wrong; there is too much scientific uncertainty clouding the issue. Rather, we simply wish to point out that scientists and the journalists and government agencies who cite them have been wrong on the subject of climate change before, quite recently in fact." (Washington Times)

"Global fooling" - "Regarding Dimitri Vassilaros' column about the Ad Council's public-service campaign to combat global warming ("Ad Council needs to be counseled," March 26 and TribLIVE.com), global warming is both true and bad -- and I can prove it. In fact, I carry that proof with me in my pocket in case the subject comes up in conversation." (Craig B. Clemmens, Tribune-Review)

Probably all bound for disappointment: "Climate Change Sparks Scrap for Arctic Resources" - "While scientists and conservationists worry about the potentially dire consequences of global warming, politicians and businessmen are already battling over how to reap the economic benefits from the Arctic thaw." (Der Speigel)

"Celebrating Global Warming?" - "One of the most interesting aspects on the debate over global warming are the themes. If one steps back and listens carefully to the emotional energy that actually drives the arguments, there are real psychological perspectives to listen for." (Quantum Limit)

Oh boy... "Clinton urges entrepreneurs to fight global warming" - "Former President Clinton urged a convention crowd of entrepreneurs Friday to help fight America's "stubborn refusal" to face up to the threat of global climate change. "The only existing threat to the entire future of our country and our planet is not terrorism," Clinton said. "But the one thing that could take us out is our stubborn refusal to deal with the problems of global warming." (Associated Press)

Busy weekend at EnviroSpin Watch - Apocalyptic climate change? We've heard it all before; That Sunday Colour Supplement lifestyle; Comment of the week: more, indeed Moore, on religion and 'global warming'

Well, this was published April 1... "Preparing for Nature's Attack" - 'ENVIRONMENTALISTS and their opponents have spent far too much time debating whether global warming is caused by humans, and whether the transition to cleaner energy sources will be good or bad for the economy. Whatever the causes, warming is a genuine risk. If the earth's temperatures continue to rise, we can expect to face melting glaciers and rising sea levels, warmer ocean temperatures and more intense hurricanes, more frequent droughts and other extreme weather. Is the government ready? No. Which is why we need a Global Warming Preparedness Act." (Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger, New York Times)

"What you get when you mix Red and Green - a bad political climate" - "If I am right, the politics of climate change are bad. They attract the self-righteous and the self-flagellating, the controlling, the life-denying, the people who don't like people, the people who, like Private Fraser in Dad's Army, think we're "all DOOMED". And when I listen to many of the scientists who join in the argument, I often hear in what they say not the voice of science itself, but of the bad politics, thinly disguised by a white coat." (Charles Moore, London Telegraph)

Shock! PM declines to bankrupt country! "Blair blocked plan to cut emissions" - "Tony Blair personally frustrated measures to cut Britain's emissions of the pollution that causes global warming, despite repeatedly calling for action, The Independent on Sunday can reveal. The Prime Minister did not back proposals from his Environment Secretary, Margaret Beckett, that aimed to get the Government's strategy to fight climate change back on track." (London Independent)

"Kyoto and a climate of moralism" - "The debate about global warming has become a moral crusade against our allegedly 'excessive' lifestyles." (Rob Lyons, sp!ked)

"Ocean acidification threatens cold-water coral ecosystems" - "Corals don't only occur in warm, sun-drenched, tropical seas; some species are found at depths of three miles or more in cold, dark waters throughout the world's oceans. Some cold-water coral reefs are home to more than 1,300 species of animals, a diversity rivaling some better known tropical coral reefs. Until now, scientists believed bottom trawling – a commercial fishing method in which vessels drag large, heavily weighted nets across the bottom – to be the greatest threat to cold-water corals. Now, however, a new study published in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment suggests that human activities could be threatening cold water reefs in another way." (Ecological Society of America)

"Recycle your Dijon or the planet's toast" - "What can we, as individuals, do about climate change? I am assuming that most of us now do the obvious things like washing up in the shower, but here are some other suggestions. They involve sacrifice, but it's worth it to save the planet for future generations." (Oliver Pritchett, London Telegraph)

"Punish, O Lord, those of us who, through our own fault, are ungreen" - "Friends of the Earth are Elijah’s new recruits. Eco-apocalypticism is the new religion." (Matthew Parris, London Times)

"Church denounces global warming but invests in oil" - "THE Archbishop of Canterbury has been accused of hypocrisy for lecturing politicians on global warming while the Church of England reaps millions of pounds from shares in oil firms." (London Times)

"California Bill Puts Broad Cap On Emissions" - "California would become the first state in the U.S. to mandate a broad cap on global-warming emissions, under legislation expected to be introduced today. The bill, which is likely to face intense industry opposition, would force California to cut its emissions of global-warming gases to 1990 levels by 2020." (Wall Street Journal)

"Tories leave climate programs in limbo" - "OTTAWA - One group of environmentalists called it Black Friday. The Tory government's failure to reconfirm funding for a handful of climate-change programs by the end of the federal fiscal year on Friday has triggered some consternation. Dozens of groups relying on federal cash might have to start firing staff unless they hear from the government soon, some warned." (CP)

"Ottawa stops funding One Tonne Challenge" - "The new Conservative government in Ottawa has abruptly stopped funding groups across the country that have been promoting the One Tonne Challenge, the quirky program to persuade Canadians to do their bit to help the environment by cutting their greenhouse gas emissions. The Conservatives are also reviewing about 100 other climate-change programs set up by the previous Liberal government." (Globe and Mail)

"FORUM - Irish Government Says to Share Emissions Costs" - "DUBLIN - The Irish government will share some of the costs of exceeding carbon emissions targets set under the Kyoto Protocol on climate change, Finance Minister Brian Cowen said." (Reuters)

Since when do governments have money to 'share the cost' with taxpayers? It's not government money, it's taxpayers' money - the same taxpayers who'll be meeting the rest of the cost too.

Dopey blighters... "ANALYSIS - Australian States' Carbon Trading Faces Battle" - "SYDNEY - Australia's states hope to do what their national government won't -- cut greenhouse gases by developing a carbon credits market -- but disagreements over emissions limits are already threatening to dampen the plan." (Reuters)

Wail, hand wring... "Pollution threat as flights hit 500m a year" - "Environmental campaigners say that plans to expand airports show that the government's forecasts underplay the rise in passengers." (The Observer)

They misunderstand: "The Prince of Emissions: Charles fails to offset environmental damage caused by 9,000-mile tour" - "Prince Charles arrived home from a two-week foreign tour last night to criticism over his failure to take action to offset the environmental damage done by his private jet during his 9,000-mile odyssey to the Middle East and India." (London Independent)

Look, Charlie doesn't just like to talk to plants you know, he's into feeding them too. He doesn't discriminate either, being perfectly willing to feed plants anywhere and even accelerating mixing of carbon dioxide (essential plant food) into the atmosphere via his jet aircraft. Charlie's greening the planet, so get off his case, alright?

"Easing the natural gas crunch" - "High gasoline prices have grabbed headlines over the past year, but the bigger story is natural gas. The rise in natural gas prices has been considerably greater and imposes serious burdens on consumers and industries that use natural gas. Yet domestic gas production has been flat, largely due to legal and political constraints on drilling.

Throughout the 1990s, natural gas was cheap and plentiful, and policymakers became complacent about its future. Yielding to opposition from environmentalists as well as legislators from Florida and a few other coastal states, the federal government placed strict limits on new exploration and drilling, especially in offshore areas.

At the same time, tough Clean Air Act regulations raised the cost of generating coal-fired electricity, making natural gas an attractive alternative for utilities. As a result, most power plants built since 1990 have been natural gas-fired, further straining supplies. Plus, consumer demand for natural gas was rising, as were the needs of gas-dependent industries such as chemical and fertilizer production.

With supplies limited and demand growing, price hikes were inevitable." (Ben Lieberman, Washington Times)

Uh-oh... "Hybrids Consume More Energy in Lifetime Than Chevrolet's Tahoe SUV" - "BANDON, Ore., March 31 -- As Americans become increasingly interested in fuel economy and global warming, they are beginning to make choices about the vehicles they drive based on fuel economy and to a lesser degree emissions. But many of those choices aren't actually the best in terms of vehicle lifetime energy usage and the cost to society over the full lifetime of a car or truck." (PRNewswire)

"A futile break on taxes for hybrids" - "Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty has doubled the tax credit for hybrid automobiles from $1,000 to $2,000. Can you say "shameless pandering," boys and girls? I thought you could. Other than maybe keeping Susan Sarandon happy, this measure is futile and patently unfair." (Jim Kenzie, Toronto Star)

Entertainers... "Thandie quits her 4x4 to be a green goddess" - "THANDIE NEWTON, the British star of Crash, the Hollywood hit film, has become a crusader against gas-guzzling cars after a Greenpeace activist slapped stickers on her 4x4 accusing her of adding to global warming. This week, Newton, 33, will make her support for the anti-emissions campaign public by writing to fellow Hollywood stars and other celebrities who drive such vehicles, asking them to join her in switching to greener forms of transport." (London Times)

"Ten years down the road: car giant foresees the non-polluting, accident-proof saloon" - "Toyota has set out its vision for the future of motoring. It envisages accident-proof eco-cars, powered by a non-polluting engine that can clean the air around it, running on open roads free of congestion." (The Guardian)

Uh-huh... and there'll be a micro-fusion reactor in every basement.

"B.C.'s power is 'running short'" - "BC Hydro threw open the doors Wednesday to public debate about a radical reshaping of the province's electricity mix by acknowledging that a coal-fired generation plant could be on the horizon." (Vancouver Sun)

"Green energy battle over base" - "The old airfield at Winkleigh in Devon was a former World War II base for Spitfires and Lancaster bombers. But for the past three years it has been the scene of a new battleground, over plans for a "green" energy plant. Peninsula Power wants to build a £43m biomass power station fuelled by crops, but opponents say it will ruin this rural area of the county." (BBC)

Living off the public purse: "Households lose incentives to install solar power" - "The solar power industry has warned that it is on the brink of crisis as a result of Government "incompetence" in the awarding of grants for householders buying renewable energy. A scheme paying thousands of pounds towards the cost of installing green energy in people's homes ended last week without a working replacement." (London Independent)

"Germany to invest millions in new fuel research" - "LEIPZIG, Germany - The German government plans to invest around 500 million euros ($605.8 million) in alternative fuel technology research over the next 10 years, Transport Minister Wolfgang Tiefensee said on Saturday. "This technology needs to get a boost in Europe. We need new incentives that lead away from oil," Tiefensee said on Saturday at the Leipzig car show. He said that by 2020, hydrogen and fuel-cell technology would likely be ready for mass production. In the meantime Germany would need to try to get a headstart in developing new fuel technology." (Reuters)

"Market for wind power picks up speed" - "AUSTIN, Texas - It's just half a percent of total energy consumption in the U.S., but wind power is the fastest growing renewable energy source out there -- in terms of usage and capacity." (CNBC)

"Trump threat to ditch £300m Scottish golfing resort" - "MULTI-BILLIONAIRE tycoon Donald Trump was last night heading for a showdown with environmental campaigners over £300 million plans for a world-class golf resort near Aberdeen. The businessman, whose mother was born on Lewis, warned his championship course, five-star hotel, golf academy and 500 holiday homes would be scrapped unless proposals for a nearby offshore wind farm were abandoned." (The Scotsman)

"A Forced Abrupt End to Food Dependency: Implications of High Oil Prices" - "One need not be an economist to realize the rapid changes being wrought on agriculture due to the high fuel prices, it only requires a quick insight into what is happening in the US corn belt. A whole new economy is kicking in, with huge public and private investment, with promises of rapid profits, now that the pundits are promising that oil prices will never again drop below $50 a barrel, and it is presently well above $60. Fifty dollars is the magic threshold number that renders the technologies of turning quality grain into ethanol, and food oils to biodiesel profitable in the USA, where they only pay half for fuel at the pump than most of the developed world. Some of us have ranted for years that we must genetically engineer the 2 billion tons of straws and stovers to contain less and/or modified lignin. So far more polysaccharides could become available for cellulase degradation that would support such technologies1. The biofuel industry has not targeted this waste substrate; at $50 a barrel they are happy to use quality grain – taking the food out of peoples’ mouths. This is not just excess grain – this is whatever the market will bear in competition with petroleum, and will lead to higher grain prices around the world." (Jonathan Gressel, AfricanCrops.net)

Well, that explains it: "BIODIVERSITY: Progress at a ‘Multilateral Pace'" - "CURITIBA, Brazil - "That is the multilateral pace," remarked a Brazilian diplomat in response to complaints that the decisions reached at the global biodiversity conference basically postponed concrete actions that environmentalists see as urgently needed in order to save life on earth." (IPS)

"BIODIVERSITY: Billions Needed to Win Race Against Species Loss" - "CURITIBA, Brazil - A two-week international conference on biodiversity here came to an end Friday on a mixed note of hope and despair, with some delegates describing the outcome as a moment to celebrate, but others expressing disappointment with the slow pace of progress in talks on how to implement decisions made some 14 years ago." (IPS)

"BIODIVERSITY: Environmentalists, Indigenous People Disappointed by COP8" - "CURITIBA, Brazil - Environmental and indigenous activists are leaving the eighth Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP8), which ended Friday in this southern Brazilian city, with a sense of disappointment, because of the absence both of practical decisions and of their participation in key negotiations." (IPS)

Yeah, well we're disappointed to see them participating there too.

"Deals Turn Swaths of Timber Company Land Into Development-Free Areas" - "BRITTONS NECK, S.C., March 28 — Timber companies and conservation organizations have been working to arrange and announce a cascade of deals transferring large, unbroken swaths of forestland into the hands of government, nonprofit — or even commercial — groups that are committed to keeping them free from development." (New York Times)


"A battle for hearts and mouths" - "BANGKOK There won't be any news conferences or popping flash bulbs when U.S. officials meet with their Southeast Asian counterparts here this week to discuss biotechnology. The meeting, sponsored by the United States, is intended to be a low-key discussion where participants "share and analyze their major concerns" about genetically modified crops, according to the invitation.

But the larger context of the seminar is more important than the quiet preparations would suggest. Asia is caught in the middle of a high-stakes debate over biotechnology, the outcome of which could determine whether genetically modified food is adopted worldwide or remains primarily grown and consumed in the Americas.

Sandwiched between skeptical Europe and gung-ho America, the world is watching to see which way Asia will tilt." (Thomas Fuller, International Herald Tribune)

"Turf Warrior" - "Jim Hagedorn wants to sell you the pest-proof, no-mow, genetically engineered lawn of the future. But first he has to head off a grassroots rebellion." (David Wolman, Wired)