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Archives - August 2006

August 31, 2006

"DDT re-emphasized in malaria fight: Insecticide barred in US is embraced in African nations" - "MAPHUNGWANE, Swaziland -- Men in blue coveralls and white surgical masks began their annual trek into the countryside here last week. Methodically, they sprayed one home after another with a chemical most Americans probably thought long ago disappeared from use: DDT." (Scott Calvert, Baltimore Sun)

"Lest We Forget DDT's Benefits, Bedbugs Remind Us" - "A sidelight to the recent epidemic of bedbugs that appears to be blossoming all over the country is how it calls to mind a fundamental axiom of toxicology, namely, that it is important to weigh "risk vs. benefit." (Harold S. Stein, Jr., ACSH)

"It's not fair! We are programmed to resist weight loss" - "Research confirming the human body is designed to strongly resist attempts to lose weight will be presented at an international gathering of obesity experts hosted by QUT this week. Queensland University of Technology appetite regulation and energy balance researcher Dr Neil King, from the Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation (IHBI), said our bodies have strong mechanisms to defend attempts to lose weight but very weak mechanisms to prevent weight gain. Dr King's weight loss intervention studies demonstrate the "plateau effect", whereby weight loss from exercise and calorie restrictions stops at a certain point." (Research Australia)

"Vitamin D supplements should be given to Asian children for two years from birth" - "Vitamin D supplements should be given to Asian children from birth up to the age of two years, to curb the re-emergence of vitamin D deficiency in the UK , say researchers." (BMJ Specialty Journals)

Yeah, sure... "Atmospheric ozone recovering in mid-latitudes, report shows" - "Concentrations of atmospheric ozone -- which protects Earth from the sun's ultraviolet radiation -- are showing signs of recovery in the most important regions of the stratosphere above the mid-latitudes in both the Northern and Southern hemispheres, a new study shows." (Georgia Institute of Technology Research News)

... except we have no idea why ozone was increasing to ~1970, fell to ~1993 only to rise and fall again.

What's normal? No one knows because the rotten stuff fluctuates all over the place.

So what do these "recoveries" really look like without the imaginative (and colorful) "deviation" graphics? See for yourselves, here's: Bismarck, North Dakota; Boulder, Colorado; Caribou, Maine; Lauder, New Zealand; Nashville, Tennessee; Perth, Western Australia; Wallops, Virginia. A deviation of -6% sounds a lot doesn't it? Until you look at the plot for say Bismarck and see the "normal" range is ~305 ± 65 DU -- if >20% deviation is "normal" then 6% is just noise, no?

"Iron critical to ocean productivity, carbon uptake" - "CORVALLIS, Ore. – A new study has found that large segments of the Pacific Ocean lack sufficient iron to trigger healthy phytoplankton growth and the absence of the mineral stresses these microscopic ocean plants, triggering them to produce additional pigments that make ocean productivity appear more robust than it really is. As a result, past interpretations of satellite chlorophyll data may be inaccurate, the researchers say, and the tropical Pacific Ocean may photosynthesize 1-2 billion tons less atmospheric carbon dioxide than was previously thought. Global ocean carbon uptake is estimated at 50 billion tons, so the reduction in the estimate of the uptake is significant – about 2 to 4 percent." (Oregon State University)

From the eco-Enquirer:) "Global Warming Takes Back Seat at Annual CARE Awards" - "Planetary catastrophes such as asteroid impacts and global warming were no match for the latest threat to humanity revealed during the annual CARE Awards competition." (ecoEnquirer)

"Dutch report extra 1,000 deaths in July heatwave" - "AMSTERDAM - A heatwave in the Netherlands in July caused about 1,000 more deaths than a normal July, the Dutch statistics office said on Wednesday. The statistics office said an average of 2,730 people died each week in July -- the hottest month since Dutch records started in 1706 -- compared to a normal figure of about 2,500." (Reuters)

"Global Warming a Boon for Greenland's Farmers" - "Known for its massive ice sheets, Greenland is feeling the effects of global warming as rising temperatures have expanded the island's growing season and crops are flourishing. For the first time in hundreds of years, it has become possible to raise cattle and start dairy farms." (Der Spiegel)

"For the first time in hundreds of years..." Repeat after the Hockey Team: "There was no Medieval Warm Period. There was no ..."

Mismatch Between Multi-decadal Global Climate Models Predictions And The Global Radiative Imbalance (Climate Science)

If, might, maybe... "Methane potential climate bomb" - "SACRAMENTO - Research on ocean sediments near Santa Barbara suggests that climate change could be accelerated by methane gas stored in oil deposits on the seafloor. The work by Tessa Hill, an assistant professor of geology at the University of California-Davis, documents a new source of methane gas that has not yet been factored into previous analyses of historic climate change.

The findings are potentially troubling because methane is at least 20 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, so it has the potential to make the planet hotter faster if released to the atmosphere. Hill is the lead author of the research, published online Monday by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a peer-reviewed journal.

She cautioned, however, that more study is needed before her findings can be applied globally. For instance, it isn't clear how the methane would be released during climate change, and it is far from certain that similar methane stores worldwide would be freed up as sea temperatures rise." (Sacramento Bee)

... but probably not.

Climate change brings us an uncomplicated choice (Zac Goldsmith, The Guardian)

It certainly does, Zac, the same choice humans have faced throughout their history: adapt or die. It's as simple as that.

?!! "Kyoto 'not off the table' with U.S. legislators" - "David Keith is one of Canada's brightest minds in the emerging field of "geoengineering," or using science to engineer solutions to the planet's environmental problems." (Calgary Herald)

"Re: Heated Climate" - "A correspondent asks a common question:

If cutting greenhouse gases hurts economies, why is it that corporations that have cut their greenhouse gas emissions all show drastic savings on their bottom line?" (The Corner, NRO)

"California Strikes Accord on Global Warming Bill" - "SACRAMENTO - California catapulted to the forefront of US efforts to fight global warming on Wednesday with an accord that will give the state the toughest laws in the nation on cutting greenhouse gas emissions." (Reuters)

"California Focus: Another enviro-scare campaign" - "State global-warming bill addresses problem that isn't" (Orange County Register)

"US Eyes Nuclear Power to Meet Growing Energy Demands" - "As U.S. demand for energy continues to grow, a top American nuclear official says the United States is seriously considering stepping up its reliance on nuclear power. As Nuclear power already accounts for 20 percent of the U.S. electricity supply." (VOA)

Oh dear... "Protesters mass to close 'Drax the Destroyer'" - "The Drax power station produces 20.8m tonnes of CO2 a year, and is Britain's largest single polluter. For green campaigners, it is a symbol of our failure to tackle global warming." (London Independent)

... so, while producing a significant chunk of the UK electricity supply -- about 7% -- Drax, um, exhales almost has much carbon dioxide as the 60 million UK residents do at rest* (no exercising now, it'll increase UK carbon dioxide emissions).

* People (at rest) exhale approximately 11,000 liters @ ~4.5% carbon dioxide per day or roughly 500 liters CO2, which is roughly equivalent to 1Kg of CO2 (@ 1 atmosphere and 0 °C). 365 days x 1Kg = 365Kg/year (or ~100Kg Carbon/year). Assuming they never get excited or energetic, the roughly 60 million residents of the UK emit about 21.9 million metric tons of carbon dioxide each year -- just by breathing.

[For the sticklers, CO2 = 1.977Kg/m3 (cubic meter or 1,000 liters) gas measured at 1 atmosphere and 0 °C and 1.834Kg/m3 at 1 atmosphere and 70 °F but the above is adequate for our rough calculation.]

"Climate change protesters feel the heat" - "Tensions rose yesterday between police and a small but determined camp of climate change protesters who hope to disrupt Britain's biggest power station today." (The Guardian)

"Bio-crops may be created for biofuels: report" - "WASHINGTON - Biotechnology might be used to boost the energy output of crops used in making renewable fuels, a U.S. Agriculture Department advisory committee said on Wednesday, noting the sharp rise in demand for the fuels." (Reuters)

"Avoid the wrong road to fuels of the future" - "With a cheaper product, alternative fuel suppliers could have Big Oil on the run. Instead they get handouts." (Steve Chapman, Chicago Tribune)

Lack of infrastructure: "Drought to Shut Down Canadian Rain Forest Resort" - "OTTAWA - A well-known resort town in a Canadian Pacific rain forest must shutter its hotels and businesses this week because a prolonged drought has slashed water supplies, officials said on Wednesday." (Reuters)

"EU Blamed for Demise of World's Sharks" - "LONDON - Lax European Union policies play a leading role in depleting shark numbers not just in European waters but around the world, a report said on Wednesday." (Reuters)

"Study confirms ammunition as main source of lead poisoning in condors" - "SANTA CRUZ, CA--A study led by environmental toxicologists at the University of California, Santa Cruz, has confirmed what wildlife biologists have long suspected: Bullet fragments and shotgun pellets in the carcasses of animals killed by hunters are the principal sources of lead poisoning in California condors that have been reintroduced to the wild." (University of California - Santa Cruz)

"Is Dishonesty in Our Nature?" - "What magic is there in embryonic stem cells to make some scientists so economical with the truth and some science journals so credulous? Only a few months after the disgraceful Korean stem cell scandal, another scientist has again announced a breakthrough, and has again been denounced as a liar." (Michael Cook, TCS Daily)

"When genetically modified plants go wild" - "Even advocates of these crops were shaken recently when GM plants 'escaped' from test areas." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"India: Farmers cotton on to GM code" - "MUMBAI: Cotton growing areas of Maharashtra, which have reported close to a thousand suicides since June '05, are witnessing a significant phenomenon. A large number of cotton growers have now moved to genetically modified (GM) cotton, popularly known as Bt cotton. Statistics given by the agriculture department of Maharashtra reveal a stunning shift - of the total area under cotton cultivation, almost 85% boasts of Bt cotton cultivation." (Economic Times)

August 30, 2006

"The new nutty professors" - "As state colleges and universities begin the school year, deans and trustees should familiarize themselves with a group called "Scholars for 9/11 Truth." This group, the new locus for September 11 conspiracy theories, believes that the official history of the terrorist attacks is a hoax. But unlike garden-variety conspiracy clubs, this one happens to count nearly two dozen professors, instructors and other affiliates at state college and universities around the country among its members. Insofar as these people allow their nutty political beliefs to infect their teaching, school officials had better be equipped to make some decisions." (Washington Times)

"Does fatness kill?" - "For years, we were told being fat makes us die prematurely. This "fact" suffered a seemingly fatal blow last year when Katherine Flegal of the Centers for Disease Control published the first careful analysis of what the data on obesity really showed. Ms. Flegal's study found there were more premature deaths among the underweight and those of normal weight than among the overweight. Overweight Americans were actually most likely to live the longest. This result is no statistical fluke, as controlling for such things as smoking status or weight loss due to illness did not change the finding." (Patrick Basham and John Luik, Washington Times)

"Appeals court says EPA pesticide rule legal" - "WASHINGTON - Industry and U.S. environmental officials said on Tuesday that a new federal appeals court decision affirms that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) did not break clean air laws when it let chemical companies boost supplies of the contentious pesticide methyl bromide." (Reuters)

"NASA satellites can see how climate change affects forests" - "A NASA-funded study shows that satellites can track the growth and health of forests and detect the impact of a changing climate on them. Although predicting how future climate change will affect forests remains uncertain, new tools, including satellite data, are giving scientists the information they need to better understand the various factors at play and how they may change forest composition and health." (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center)

"Climate change a threat to development: World Bank" - "CAPE TOWN - Climate change may be one of the biggest threats to attempts to cutting poverty in the world's most deprived nations and has forced the World Bank to reassess its development projects, the bank said on Tuesday." (Reuters)

"Katrinas everywhere" - "Barring a rapid change in North America's relationship to fossil fuels, every resident within shouting distance of an ocean will become a de facto New Orleanian" (Mike Tidwell, Ottawa Citizen)

According to NEF at least: "Katrina dwarfed by regional climate impact say top aid and environment groups" - "A new report from unique coalition of development and environment groups says act now on climate change before Latin America goes ‘Up in Smoke’." (media release)

"What Would Jesus Drive?" - "Hurricane Katrina, which destroyed New Orleans and killed hundreds of people, has made US citizens far more aware of the environment. Green has become fashionable even among conservative politicians and the religious right. Four words illustrate where debate about climate change is headed in the United States: "What would Jesus drive?" (Der Spiegel)

"What Would Al Gore Drink?" - "Global warming beer made from melting ice caps." I read the headlines scattered around the Internet. Some Danish guys are making beer in Greenland—from Arctic ice that predates the Industrial Revolution, ergo, pollution—and the buzz is huge. When I first heard about Greenland Brewhouse's new beer, I was ready to give it the Chuck Palahniuk award for achievement in sardonic product. But all the stories seemed to be Frankensteined together from very few facts. Instead of contributing to the game of telephone, I decided to e-mail their brewer, Rasmus Broge, with a few questions. He described the procurement of water more succinctly." (Seattle Weekly)

Stuck on spin cycle: "Global warning: Devastation of an atoll" - "Villagers on the South Pacific island of Tegua are packing up and leaving their homes for good - the first real victims of increasing sea levels caused by climate change. By Peter Boehm." (London Independent)

Oh dear, this is about the fifth re-release of this shameless UN misrepresentation of the 600yd relocation of Lateu on Tegua Island (Vanuatu). Tegua is sinking right enough - due to tectonic activity and volcanism. Last we heard that was not one of the hypothesised effects of enhanced greenhouse.

"Flood-hit India boosts monsoon tracking skills" - "KUALA LUMPUR - India is strengthening its skills to predict annual monsoon rains that spell the difference between riches and ruin for its farmers, but says 2010 is the earliest it will be able to advise them when to grow crops. India's four-month monsoon season plays a crucial role in determining rural incomes and consumer spending for a wide range of goods, because about two-thirds of a population of more than one billion live off the land.

Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal said India was investing $215 million in the first phase of plans to improve weather prediction that includes upgrading weather forecasting equipment across the country. "Our ultimate goal is to provide specific information to our farmers about the possibility of the monsoon hitting them at a given time, because that really determines their sowing and their harvesting times," Sibal said in the Malaysian capital.

Today, it is impossible to accurately predict the path and direction of winds carrying the rain, the main source of water for most farms in India -- and even less so the amount of rain that will pour down." (Reuters)

Bound to disappoint some: "Barmer floods cannot be attributed to climate change" - "New Delhi - Floods in Rajasthan, drought in the northeast! While lay people puzzle over the curious twist of nature, experts attribute the phenomenon to extreme weather events known to occur globally and not necessarily due to global warming and climate change." (India eNews)

Letting the cat out of the bag (Number Watch)

Coupled Ocean-Atmosphere Response to Seasonal Modulation of Ocean Color: Impact on Interannual Climate Simulations in the Tropical Pacific by Raghu Murtugudde (Climate Science)

Really? "Inhale, exhale, pass the bill" - "GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER and California legislators are in down-to-the-wire negotiations over a bill that would make California a leader in reducing one of the main greenhouse gases behind global warming. The governor, at least so far, seems to be standing up to business interests that have called the bill's mandatory cap on carbon dioxide emissions an expensive "job killer." Now the sticking point is whether the bill's sponsor, Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez (D-Los Angeles), will stand up to environmental groups that oppose letting companies meet the new restrictions through a market-based approach, which would enable them to buy and sell pollution credits." (LA Times)

We'd suggest "Hold your nose and flush the bill".

"California needs to get it right on climate change policies" - "California, already a leader in addressing global warming, may soon become the first state to impose mandatory limits on greenhouse gases. State lawmakers are poised to pass Assembly Bill 32 (authored by Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez, D-Los Angeles), which calls for a California-only cap on carbon emissions. The stakes are high: Climate change mitigation won't come cheap, and the economic risks of California going it alone could impact the competitiveness of businesses for years to come." (SF Chronicle)

<chuckle> "Australia: PM's climate change views 'fossilised'" - "Prime Minister John Howard's views on climate change have been dismissed as so fossilised they leave Australia without an adequate response to the problem. Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) president Ian Lowe on Wednesday accused Mr Howard of taking an indefensible path by supporting greenhouse gas - producing coal-fired power stations at the expense of renewable energies." (AAP)

Lowe's a gibbering flake and the ACF a bunch of misanthropic koala-huggers, so who cares? Certainly Prime Minister Howard will not -- Lowe & co. have a stated aversion to voting for him anyway.

From CO2 Science this week:

Anthropogenic Nitrogen Deposition: Too Much or Too Little?: The answer is not as simple as some have portrayed it to be ... at both ends of the spectrum.

Medieval Warm Period Records of the Week:
This issue's Medieval Warm Period Records of the Week come from the Columbia Icefield, Canadian Rockies, Canada and Mongan Bog, Central Ireland. To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.

Subject Index Summary:
Health Effects of Temperature (Hot vs. Cold Weather - South America): Which is by far the most insidious killer ... a little extra heat or a little dip in temperature?

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: Japanese Red Pine, Perennial Ryegrass, Rice, and White Lupine.

Journal Reviews:
More Evidence for Antarctic Ice Sheet Mass Gain: Like the ice itself, the evidence continues to accumulate.

A Precipitation History of the Southwestern United States: How has the available moisture of the region varied over the past few millennia?

Very topical at present: Simulating the Past: A Test of State-of-the Art Climate Models: How well do they recreate the Sahel drought of the 1970s to 90s?

Another Strike Against the Progressive Nitrogen Limitation Hypothesis: In a study not primarily designed to test the PNL hypothesis, it is once again found to be inoperative.

Effects of Elevated CO 2 and O 3 on the Digestibility of Two Clover Species: What do each of the trace gases do individually? ... and what do they do together? (co2science.org)

"'Renewable' Electricity: Creating Jobs and Destroying Wealth" - "All over the world, for several centuries workers have become more productive and their services have risen in value. Renewable power plants as currently constituted are just a high-tech method of throwing that improved productivity away." (Robert Michaels, Human Events)

"Energy protesters blockade nuclear power station" - "Activists yesterday blockaded the front and rear entrances of a nuclear power station in Hartlepool, Teesside, to protest at the government's recently proclaimed support for a new boost for nuclear energy. About 20 arrived at 8am as a shift was starting work, draped a banner reading "No More" on a fence, locked themselves to welded-together tubes, and lay down on access roads." (The Guardian)

"Drax protesters ‘are eco-bullies’" - "CLIMATE campaigners camped in the shadow of Drax Power Station have been branded "eco-bullies" by a leading local councillor. Stephen Penn, chairman of Barlow Parish Council, spoke out as hundreds of green activists descended on a field by Barlow Common nature reserve on Saturday at the start of the ten-day protest. The Camp For Climate Action aims to shut down the plant near Selby to highlight the problem of global warming." (York Press)

"Carmakers fall behind on CO2 commitments" - "Car manufacturers have fallen behind on voluntary undertakings made in 1998 to reduce the amount of CO2 emissions from automobiles. The European Commission is today set to warn car makers that they must "substantially increase their efforts" or face being forced to do so through legislation, according to the European Federation for Transport and Environment. In 1998, the European car association committed its members to reduce the average CO2 emissions from their new car sales in the EU to 140 grams per kilometre by 2008." (EU Observer)

"Bayer faces more lawsuits over GMO rice" - "CHICAGO, Aug 29 - Bayer CropScience has been hit with two more lawsuits claiming its genetically modified rice contaminated the U.S. long grain rice supply, according to court documents and attorneys for the plaintiffs." (Reuters)

August 29, 2006

Malaria Kills Millions -- We Have the Cure (Wall Street Journal Letters)

"Sunscreens can damage skin, researchers find" - "RIVERSIDE, Calif. – Are sunscreens always beneficial, or can they be detrimental to users? A research team led by UC Riverside chemists reports that unless people out in the sun apply sunscreen often, the sunscreen itself can become harmful to the skin." (University of California - Riverside)

"NASA looks back at Hurricane Katrina one year later" - "The 2005 hurricane season will long be remembered both for the record-breaking number of storms and a devastating hurricane named Katrina." (NASA/GSFC)

"Katrina and Her Policy Waves" - "A year on, global warming alarmists are still exploiting Hurricane Katrina and the intense hurricane season of 2005 for political purposes. Contrary to what they say, the science linking global warming with hurricanes remains a field of active inquiry and dispute. Moreover, diverting precious resources into policies designed to reduce global warming rather than strengthen our resiliency in the face of hurricanes actually harms people in hurricane-prone areas. Instead, government policies should concentrate on reducing perverse incentives that encourage development in hurricane-prone areas." (Marlo Lewis, Jr. and Iain Murray, CEI)

"Caribbean 'faces stormier future'" - "Latin America and the Caribbean face a greater risk of more natural disasters because of environmental degradation and climate change, campaigners warn." (BBC)

Information on the Argo Ocean Monitoring Network (Climate Science)

"NZ: Carbon farming a viable option, scientists say" - "The concept of carbon farming could become a viable option for farmers from 2008 onwards, Landcare Research scientist David Whitehead said. Predictions of 2 to 5 °C temperature increases worldwide in the next 50 years were "startling", he said." (Southland Times)

Predictions of 2 to 5 °C temperature increases worldwide in the next 50 years are also confined to the virtual worlds of computer games known as "climate models" and have no known relevance in the real world. Get a grip, people! We think the world might have warmed ~0.6 °C from a period of unfortunate cold. Possibly a quarter of this temperature rise might be from increased atmospheric carbon dioxide. There's potential for perhaps another twentieth part of one degree warming from carbon dioxide rising to double what it was pre-Industrial Revolution. What crisis?

"We can't reverse global warming by triggering another catastrophe" - "Sulphate pollution killed hundreds of thousands of Africans. A plan to use sulphur to fight climate change risks the same." (George Monbiot, The Guardian)

It doesn't happen often but, for once, I'm with Moonbat (kind of). Global cooling is a catastrophe worthy of worry and the last thing we want to do is cause large-scale cooling.

This is a potential problem: "Russian Scientists Issue Global Cooling Warning" - "London - Global cooling could develop on Earth in 50 years and have serious consequences before it is replaced by a period of warming in the early 22nd century, a Russian scientist said Friday." (EUNN)

Another Vidal handwringer: "Cities in peril as Andean glaciers melt" - "Ice sheets expected to last centuries could disappear in 25 years, threatening water supplies." (John Vidal, The Guardian)

"Industry 'safety valve' emerges as key issue in California bill" - "If California becomes the first state to cap greenhouse gas emissions from industry, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger wants to ensure that the government can delay the regulations if an emergency arises." (Associated Press)

By "emergency" we assume they mean an outbreak of reality or common sense maybe.

"No fuming over fuel change: New diesel blend will ease smog, officials say"  -"When fully implemented, in 2010, the new engine standards will prevent an estimate 8,300 soot-related deaths and tens of thousands of smog-related diseases such as bronchitis and asthma, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency." (Sacramento Bee)

For all the "life years" the EPA claims to have saved it's a wonder we aren't armpit deep in 300-year-olds.

"Californians weigh a new tax on oil companies" - "The fight over Proposition 87 is no small matter. Not only will the vote give Congress and other states a first reading of public disgruntlement over gasoline prices, but it might even affect the domestic oil market. California crude, after all, accounts for 12 percent of US production - supplying 37 percent of the state's oil demand, according to the Legislative Analyst's Office." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"Environment Body GEF Secures US$3.13 Billion Funding" - "CAPE TOWN - The Global Environment Facility (GEF) received commitments of more than US$3 billion from donors on Monday to fund environmental projects, securing its funding replenishment for the next four years." (Reuters)

Well... addressing land degradation is good, anyway.

"US Rice Farmers Sue Bayer Cropscience Over GM Rice" - "LOS ANGELES - Rice farmers in Arkansas, Missouri, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas and California have sued Bayer CropScience, alleging its genetically modified rice has contaminated the crop, attorneys for the farmers said on Monday." (Reuters)

"ANALYSIS - US Oversight of Biotech Crops Seen Lacking" - "KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Criticism is mounting over the US government's efforts to control experimental genetically modified crops in the wake of admissions that a discarded biotech rice has contaminated US commercial supplies." (Reuters)

August 28, 2006

Sad but sadly true, too...

"One day we're told that something will help us live to 150, the next that it causes cancer in white mice" - "Is sunshine good for you? For years, scientists have warned us that to lie in the sun all day without sunscreen is more or less fatal. But new research is telling us that we can come out from under our beach umbrellas and sombreros because 95 per cent of our intake of vitamin D comes from sunshine. And vitamin D is essential for absorbing calcium, keeping bones healthy, and protecting against serious diseases such as osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes and multiple sclerosis. And the sun screen? Forget it, chuck it away. Even newer research suggests that, if rubbed in too thoroughly, it gives you cancer. Eat three portions of fish a week instead, which gives protection equivalent to factor six, says yet another lot of researchers." (London Telegraph)

One... "Downgraded Ernesto pelts Haiti with rain" - "LES CAYES, Haiti - Ernesto became the first hurricane of the Atlantic season Sunday then weakened to a tropical storm as it lashed Haiti's southern coast with heavy rain and flooded homes in the impoverished country." (Associated Press)

Doh! "Warming 'more severe' for cities" - "The impact of climate change is likely to be more severe in major cities, with the elderly most at risk, according to a study commissioned for the Greater London Authority and obtained exclusively by the BBC Ten O'Clock News. The predicted rise in temperatures in the coming decades will be exacerbated by what scientists call the "urban heat island effect", in which temperatures during heatwaves can be 6-7C higher in cities than in surrounding areas." (BBC)

BBC Ten O'Clock News exclusive! There's an urban heat island effect! Just wait 'til they figure out UHIE has so contaminated the near-surface temperature record we don't know how much of the estimated 0.6 ± 0.2 °C warming actually exists. What is interesting is that newer efforts estimating global mean temperature (as anomalies from a specified period mean) appear to be converging on the UAH MSU record, leaving the much cited GISTEMP increasingly isolated as the anomalous highball indicating ~50-80% greater anomaly than HadCRUT3, UAH MSU and NCDC records.

"Snow, ice and not so nice" - "LEWISTON, Maine -- Americans shouldn't expect Mother Nature to help with their heating bills this winter, because it's going to be nippy, according to the venerable Farmers' Almanac. After one of the warmest winters on record, this coming winter will be much colder than normal from coast to coast, the almanac predicts. "Shivery is not dead!" declared editor Peter Geiger as the latest edition of the 188-year-old publication hits the newsstands. The almanac, which says its forecasts are accurate 80 percent to 85 percent of the time, correctly predicted a "polar coaster" of dramatic swings for last winter, Mr. Geiger said. For example, New York City collected 40 inches of snow even though it was one of the warmest winters in the city's history." (AP)

Always fun to watch and see -- if they're right 4 years out of 5 (80% of the time) then they are certainly way better than climate models. That they are using basically a solar-driven model at least tells us they are paying attention to major rather than trivial climatic influences (yes, we meant carbon dioxide when we said "trivial").

Research Papers On The Accuracy Of Weather and Climate Modeling Simulation and Prediction Of The Stable Atmospheric Boundary Layer (Climate Science)

"Weather forecast accuracy gets boost with new computer model" - "BOULDER--An advanced forecasting model that predicts several types of extreme weather with substantially improved accuracy has been adopted for day-to-day operational use by civilian and military weather forecasters. The new computer model was created through a partnership that includes the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), and more than 150 other organizations and universities in the United States and abroad." (Air Force Weather Agency Public Affairs)

Significant improvements in 1-3 day forecasts? Cool!

Ooh, Jim! Do you really believe that? "Warming warning came from Iowan" - "NASA scientist James Hansen has for decades warned of a man-made climate crisis that threatens the globe. His views fuel a debate both scientific and political." (Des Moines Register)

Oh boy... "Computer models have proven to be highly accurate on a global scale and stand up to historical records if you test them to see if they could predict past conditions."

Reckon not. Kludge boxes running fudgeware ("fudginators") do not predictions make and require significant brute force adjustments to merely mimic current mean temperatures. Region trend guesstimations are not good, while reproducing cloudiness and precipitation is really poor. Heck, we can't even do a fair to moderately good job of modeling annual events like the Indian Summer Monsoon Rainfall (ISMR) yet, let alone more complex events like the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO).

Surely James must have been misquoted for he is well aware GCMs have zero demonstrated predictive skill. Here's a few quotes from Jim and the organization he directs, among others:

"The forcings that drive long-term climate change are not known with an accuracy sufficient to define future climate change." -- James Hansen, "Climate forcings in the Industrial era", PNAS.

"For the global mean [temperature], the most trusted models produce a value of roughly 14 Celsius, i.e. 57.2 F, but it may easily be anywhere between 56 and 58 F and regionally, let alone locally, the situation is even worse." The Elusive Absolute Surface Air Temperature (SAT) (NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies)

"In sum, a strategy must recognize what is possible. In climate research and modeling, we should recognize that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that the prediction of a specific future climate state is not possible." -- Final chapter, Draft TAR 2000 (Third Assessment Report), IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change).

"Reducing the wide range of uncertainty inherent in current model predictions of global climate change will require major advances in understanding and modeling of both (1) the factors that determine atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases and aerosols, and (2) the so-called “feedbacks” that determine the sensitivity of the climate system to a prescribed increase in greenhouse gases." -- Climate Change Science - An Analysis Of Some Key Questions, p1 (Committee on the Science of Climate Change, National Research Council) ISBN 0-309-07574-2.

"Because there is considerable uncertainty in current understanding of how the climate system varies naturally and reacts to emissions of greenhouse gases and aerosols, current estimates of the magnitude of future warming should be regarded as tentative and subject to future adjustments (either upward or downward)." -- Climate Change Science - An Analysis Of Some Key Questions, p1 (Committee on the Science of Climate Change, National Research Council) ISBN 0-309-07574-2.

"Because climate is uncontrollable . . . the models are the only available experimental laboratory for climate. . . . However, climate models are imperfect. Their simulation skill is limited by uncertainties in their formulation, the limited size of their calculations, and the difficulty of interpreting their answers that exhibit almost as much complexity as in nature." -- Climate Change Science - An Analysis Of Some Key Questions, p15 (Committee on the Science of Climate Change, National Research Council) ISBN 0-309-07574-2.

Climate Audit has a discussion on the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP) Control Runs that may explain much regarding why we attach so little credence to "predicted" future temperatures generated by the global warming industry in their little virtual worlds.

Virtually: "Ice Age Gives Clues to Global Warming - Study" - "OSLO - Ice Age evidence confirms that a doubling of greenhouse gases could drive up world temperatures by about 3 Celsius (5.4 Fahrenheit), causing havoc with the climate, a study showed on Friday." (Reuters)

"Blair's 'broken pledges' on global warming" - "A leading environmental pressure group yesterday accused Tony Blair and Gordon Brown of betraying promises to lead the way in tackling the effects of global warming and climate change." (The Observer)

Gr8 scam: "Offset your carbon emissions with a text" - "Mobile phone users will be able to offset their carbon emissions by sending a text message using a scheme launched by conservation charity the World Land Trust." (The Observer)

"Energy security is greatest worry, not climate change" - "Britons fear global terrorism far more than climate change, a sensible assessment which should be reflected in energy policy. Today’s major terrorist threat – Islamic fascism – is ultimately funded by what many wrongly perceive to be the greatest environmental threat – oil. Only by putting energy security ahead of environmental concerns can we achieve worldwide democracy and the cleaner, cheaper and more bountiful energy that the world demands.

It is an inconvenient truth for Britain’s commentariat that voters don’t agree with Sir David King or Al Gore that Climate Change is the greatest threat to our existence. According to a poll conducted by Populus for the Stockholm Network, it ranked fourth after international terrorism, third world disease and third world debt and poverty. With this July’s heatwave now a distant memory, we find ourselves in the midst of a chilly, dark August and a failed terrorist plot unimaginably sinister in its scope." (Dan Lewis, The Business Online)

Still no shortage of chicken entrails, apparently: "Climate change 'to affect holidays'" - "Climate change could lead to the traditional British package holiday to the Mediterranean being consigned to the "scrapheap of history", a report has revealed. Rising temperatures and higher sea levels might mean holidaymakers going on very different types of break by 2030, the study for Halifax Travel Insurance predicted." (Press Association)

"Appalling British weather blew out early settlers" - "BRITAIN has had one of the most volatile climates on earth with up to 10 ice ages forcing early settlers into exile, leaving the land uninhabited for periods of up to 110,000 years, researchers have found. A study — led by the Natural History Museum — of 700,000 years of human attempts to settle in Britain found that the Gulf Stream, which keeps the British Isles warm, kept collapsing, plunging them into Arctic cold. The lurches from temperate to freezing sometimes took as little as 10 years, says Professor Chris Stringer, head of human origins in the museum’s paleontology department, in a new book, Homo Britannicus, to be published in October." (Jonathan Leake, Sunday Times)

Except that it is not the Gulf Stream that keeps Britain warmer than might be expected by latitude. See: Seager, et al, "Is the Gulf Stream responsible for Europe's mild winters?" [.pdf] Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 128(586): 2563-2586).

"Let's look on the sunny side" - "That round yellow thing in the sky may have more influence on climate change than man’s activities." (Tim Hames, London Times)

"Feinstein unveils Dem plan to cut greenhouse gas" - "Sen. Dianne Feinstein offered a new Democratic outline Thursday night of a plan to attack global warming in the next session of Congress -- and put political opponents on the defensive headed into the fall campaign season." (SF Chronicle)

"Colorado: State gearing up to fight warming" - "A blue-ribbon panel will plan a private initiative, the first such in the U.S., to reduce greenhouse gases." (Denver Post)

"Global warming? Utahns split" - "About half believe in it, but most in the state back less energy use" (The Salt Lake Tribune)

"Gore Sea Levels?" - "Al Gore’s movie An Inconvenient Truth says human-emitted CO2 will boost the earth’s temperatures enough to melt the Arctic ice cap—and suddenly raise sea levels by 20 feet. Phooey." (Dennis T Avery, WEBCommentary)

Bet they're just thrilled: "Former US vice-president Gore praises Scotland for fighting climate change" - "AL GORE, the former US vice-president, last night praised Scotland for leading the fight against climate change. The 58-year-old ex-politician, who is now one of the world's foremost speakers on the environment, congratulated Holyrood ministers for playing their part in combating what he calls the planet's "greatest crisis." (The Scotsman)

"Disaster-prone China takes heed of global warming" - "BEIJING - Storms, floods, heat and drought that have killed more than 2,000 people in China this year are a prelude to weather patterns likely to become more extreme due to global warming, the head of the Beijing Climate Center said." (Reuters)

"South Korea to Offer Firms Incentives to Cut Emissions" - "SEOUL - South Korea plans to offer financial incentives to local companies to encourage them to put more resources into cutting greenhouse gas emissions, the budget and energy ministries said on Sunday." (Reuters)

Obligatory eye-roller: "The fat, the starving, and global warming" - "LONDON -- Being fat is the new normal, but it won't last. The global surge in overweight people is concentrated among lower-income city-dwellers, and some may choose to slim down as they climb further up the income scale. ("You can never be too rich or too slim.") But the real guarantee of a slimmer world, unfortunately, is climate change." (Gwynne Dyer, Japan Times)

"UK: Protesters plan to shut biggest power station" - "More than 500 activists have occupied farmland near Europe's largest power station, aiming to shut it down this week in protest at its greenhouse gas emissions. The Climate Change Camp, powered by sunlight, wind and compost, is targeting Drax power station in Yorkshire, which generates about 7% of all UK electricity. The protesters have declined to say how they plan to shut the station." (The Guardian)

"The anti-4x4 ad that backfired" - "You would expect subscribers to a website called TreeHugger.com to be sympathetic to, even fully supportive of, Greenpeace, wouldn’t you? Yet recently some of the site’s contributors have expressed anger with Greenpeace over its new anti-4x4 advert. ‘What a terrible ad. Cruelty gets you nowhere’, said Nathan. Someone called Dug added: ‘That childish ad made me regret donating money to Greenpeace.’ What so upset Nathan, Dug and others about Greenpeace’s latest media intervention?" (Shirley Dent, sp!ked)

Green and red-faced: When environmental plans backfire (Union Leader)

"FEATURE - Bumper Crop of US Wind Farms Boosts Turbine Makers" - "Wind farms are going up across the country at a rapid pace. This month, the United States passed the 10,000-megawatt mark in installed wind turbine capacity, according to the American Wind Energy Association, which projects that by the end of next year, that number will reach 15,000 megawatts -- enough to power 3.8 million typical American homes." (Reuters)

"US call to strip-mine coal as oil price soars" - "The Governor of Montana is calling for vast tracks of land to be strip-mined for coal as the only way of reducing America's dependence on foreign oil. As high petrol prices, the shutdown of BP's Prudhoe Bay oilfield, and conflict in the Middle East dominate the headlines, Brian Schweitzer is the latest politician to risk the wrath of the environmental lobby by pressing for greater use of coal. The black rock currently accounts for more than half of America's electricity production and the industry has been quietly making a resurgence. With oil prices stubbornly above $70 a barrel, coal is again an economically viable resource." (London Telegraph)

"BRAZIL: Experimenting with Hydrogen Transportation" - "RIO DE JANEIRO, Aug 26 - Brazil has joined the industrialised countries in the race for hydrogen power, announcing the development of public buses running on this source of "clean" energy. But experts say the new vehicles will only be commercially viable at the end of the next decade, or even later." (IPS)

"China Energy Saving Target Hard to Meet - Planner" - "BEIJING - China may fail to meet its goal to reduce the energy intensity of its economy by 4 percent this year, the country's top economic planner said in remarks published on Saturday." (Reuters)

"ANALYSIS - Biofuel Rush Risks Gasoline Hike, Forest Damage" - "LONDON - Biofuels can both bring down high pump prices and help halt climate change, their supporters hope. But the result of the global boom in the green fuel additive may just have precisely the opposite effects in the near-term, according to both oil company executives and green campaigners. The higher cost of the new fuel will end up being passed down to drivers by the oil industry, and the rush to plant more biofuel crops could result in burning swathes of virgin forest cleared for cultivation, speeding up global warming." (Reuters)

"Iowa State researchers explore turning fuel ethanol into beverage alcohol" - "AMES, Iowa – Fuel ethanol could be cheaply and quickly converted into the purer, cleaner alcohol that goes into alcoholic drinks, cough medicines, mouth washes and other products requiring food-grade alcohol, say Iowa State University researchers." (Iowa State University)

So, they're trying to turn fuel ethanol into something useful?

"DDT makes a comeback in effort to halt malaria" - "MAPHUNGWANE, Swaziland // Men in blue coveralls and white surgical masks began their annual trek into the countryside here last week. Methodically, they sprayed one home after another with a chemical most Americans probably thought disappeared from use long ago: DDT." (Baltimore Sun)

"Federal Judge Wrongly Overturns Pesticide Regulation" - "Washington, DC, August 25, 2006—The Competitive Enterprise Institute expressed disappointment over a federal judge’s decision to overturn an Environmental Protection Agency policy that could have helped in the battle against diseases like the deadly West Nile virus." (CEI)

"Suspicion lingers over bisphenol A and breast cancer" - "BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Bisphenol A, a common industrial chemical claimed to speed the growth of human breast and ovarian cancers, retains its carcinogenic properties even after being modified by body processes, report Indiana University and University of California at Berkeley scientists in the Aug. 28th issue of Chemistry & Biology, a Cell Press journal. Defenders of bisphenol A's use have argued that its natural modification inside the human body renders the estrogen-like chemical harmless." (Indiana University)

Gummint's nose becoming more intrusive: "UK: Wheelie bin microchips could alert councils to big polluters" - "A string of local councils have distributed bins that can transmit information to a central database about the disposal practices of individual families." (The Guardian)

"UK: Another fine mess" - "Recycling began as a feel-good voluntary affair but is fast becoming an absurdly overcomplicated, onerous chore." (London Telegraph)

False economy: "Hong Kong: Business ideas going to waste" - "In 1999, riding on a wave of favorable publicity for their environmental campaigns, Philip Stride and Peter Bolt formed Sustainable Solutions, hoping to capitalize on their enthusiasm by selling recycling bins. Before long, a subsidiary of one of Hong Kong's biggest property developers, Sun Hung Kai Properties, expressed an interest, and in 2000, Sustainable Solutions installed recycling bins in more than 400 floors in residential estates around Hung Hom. In the first week the recycling containers were put in place, they collected 790 kilograms of paper, 11kg of cans and 27kg of plastic bottles. At the time, Stride thought he had struck gold and that it was inevitable office and residential blocks would have to buy his product. Not only that, the government would surely support Stride's business as a way of solving its waste disposal problem. But despite a promising start, his company history never turned into the success story Stride had hoped for." (The Standard)

It ain't a business if the product has no value and its production serves no useful purpose. What it is is an attempt at subsidy harvesting and that only works where people are prepared to give their tax dollars to other people's personal enrichment schemes.

"'Water Wars' a Myth, Say Experts" - "STOCKHOLM, Aug 25 - The world's future wars will be fought not over oil but water: an ominous prediction made by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the British ministry of defence and even by some officials of the World Bank. But experts and academics meeting at an international conference on water management in the Swedish capital are dismissing this prediction as unrealistic, far-fetched and nonsensical." (IPS)

"CALIFORNIA: A vote for state control over engineered crops" - "(08-25) 04:00 PDT Sacramento -- California Republicans and moderate Democrats joined forces Thursday to approve a bill that would prevent local governments from banning genetically modified crops." (SF Chronicle)

"Editorial: Biotech foods: A cat that won't stay bagged" - "Another unapproved product finds its way into marketplace." (Star Tribune)

"Diving into the gene pool" - "A new generation of genetically engineered plants and animals is moving from laboratories to fields and farms. Scientists are enhancing the nutrition and heartiness of some crops. Pharmaceutical companies are increasingly looking to mass-produce drugs in plants and animals. And scientific advances may soon allow herds across the U.S. to grow faster and feature novel traits." (Jeffrey Sparshott, Washington Times)

August 25, 2006

"Boomers Targeted in New Waistline Scare" - "'Just a few extra pounds could mean fewer years, study finds,' headlined a front-page, above-the-fold story in the Washington Post this week. The study, however, is another pointless exercise in the statistical torture of data that have nothing to confess." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"Taxation As A Deadly Event" - "In the United States, opponents of the estate tax have dubbed it the "Death Tax" and argue that "death should not be a taxable event." Whatever the merits of a repeal of the estate tax, there is another, more pernicious kind of death tax--one that turns taxation itself into a deadly event." (Nick Schulz, Forbes)

"Waterborne infectious diseases could soon be consigned to history, says expert" - "Waterborne infectious diseases, which bring death and illness to millions of people around the world, could largely be consigned to history by 2015 if global health partnerships integrate their programmes, according to Alan Fenwick writing in today's Science." (Imperial College London)

"Global Response to Ozone Hole Is 'Unprecedented' Success" - "Antarctic ozone hole could close sometime after 2060, scientists say." (Washington File)

"Irrelevant" more like -- see commentary and graphics August 23.

Non-PC glaciers: "Scientists unravel mystery of growing glaciers" - "New research published today into climate change in Asia could explain why many glaciers there are growing and not melting. The investigation into the western Himalaya and the surrounding Karakoram and Hindu Kush mountains shows that this area could be reacting differently to global warming, the phenomenon blamed for causing glaciers to melt and shrink. Researchers at Newcastle University looked at temperature trends in the Upper Indus Basin over the past century. They found that a recent rise in winter temperatures and a cooling of summer temperatures, combined with an increase in snow and rainfall, could be causing glaciers to grow, at least in the higher mountain regions. These findings are particularly significant because temperature and rain and snow trends in the Upper Indus Basin also impact on the water availability for more than 50 million Pakistanis." (Press Association) | Mountain climate change trends could predict water resources (University of Newcastle upon Tyne)

"Global Hydrological Cycles and World Water Resources" - "Water is a naturally circulating resource that is constantly recharged. Therefore, even though the stocks of water in natural and artificial reservoirs are helpful to increase the available water resources for human society, the flow of water should be the main focus in water resources assessments. The climate system puts an upper limit on the circulation rate of available renewable freshwater resources (RFWR). Although current global withdrawals are well below the upper limit, more than two billion people live in highly water-stressed areas because of the uneven distribution of RFWR in time and space. Climate change is expected to accelerate water cycles and thereby increase the available RFWR. This would slow down the increase of people living under water stress; however, changes in seasonal patterns and increasing probability of extreme events may offset this effect. Reducing current vulnerability will be the first step to prepare for such anticipated changes." (Science)

"Drainage of Subglacial Lakes Created Canyons of Antarctica 12-14 Million Years Ago" - "Researchers at Syracuse University and Boston University have discovered evidence for a warming climate change that occurred more than 14 million years ago. The result -- catastrophic drainage of subglacial lakes caused flooding that formed a 50-kilometer maze of canyons (called the Labyrinth) in Antarctica’s southern Victoria Land. Could this happen again?" (Newswise)

We are all chartpersons now (Number Watch)

"Galloping phenology, Batman!" (as I'm sure Robin would have said) "Climate blamed for early springs" - "A Europe-wide study has provided "conclusive proof" that climate change is responsible for spring arriving earlier each year, researchers say. Scientists from 17 nations examined 125,000 studies involving 561 species. The season was beginning on average six to eight days earlier than it did 30 years ago, researchers said." (BBC)

Imagine that, seasons might be influenced by climate... go figure! So how much has allegedly dramatic "climate change" over the latter half of the 20th Century affected the seasons?

Spring is springing 6-8 days earlier than it was around the mid-1970s -- presumably growing seasons are longer at both ends of the season -- thus about two weeks longer now than then, seem reasonable?

Does anyone remember this:

In England, farmers have seen their growing season decline by about two weeks since 1950, with a resultant over-all loss in grain production estimated at up to 100,000 tons annually.

Know where that's from? The Cooling World (Newsweek, April 28, 1975, page 64). So, by rough guesstimation, growing seasons are currently similar to those of the mid-20th Century and for this we should blame "climate change." Right...

December 2006 American Geophysical Union meeting "Aerosol Cloud-Precipitation Interaction: Facts and Fiction" (Climate Science)

"Study provides first-ever look at combined causes of North Atlantic and Arctic Ocean freshening" - "WOODS HOLE, MA -- A new analysis of 50 years of changes in freshwater inputs to the Arctic Ocean and North Atlantic may help shed light on what's behind the recently observed freshening of the North Atlantic Ocean. In a report, published in the August 25, 2006 issue of the journal, Science, MBL (Marine Biological Laboratory) senior scientist Bruce J. Peterson and his colleagues describe a first-of-its-kind effort to create a big-picture view of hydrologic trends in the Arctic. Their analysis reveals that freshwater increases from Arctic Ocean sources appear to be highly linked to a fresher North Atlantic." (Marine Biological Laboratory)

Hmm... "Study rules out ancient 'bursts' of methane from seafloor deposits" - "CORVALLIS, Ore. – A dramatic increase about 12,000 years ago in levels of atmospheric methane, a potent greenhouse gas, was most likely caused by higher emissions from tropical wetlands or from plant production, rather than a release from seafloor methane deposits, a new study concludes." (Oregon State University)

... another cherished fright-feature bites the dust? Could well be, and that'll upset the "people must be bad and cause disasters" fraternity by taking another imaginary catastrophic feedback off the table.

Of greater concern perhaps is that Oregon State's release writers are woefully ignorant about current methane trends and importance:

For climate researchers, an understanding of methane behavior is of some significance because it is the second most important "greenhouse gas" after carbon dioxide. Its atmospheric concentration has increased about 250 percent in the last 250 years, and it continues to rise about 1 percent a year.

Um... no. Methane levels stopped rising, as predicted, near the end of the 20th Century and have been stable for almost a decade. This is the sort of thing modelers plug into their models -- ridiculous future emission guesstimates and flawed current ones -- and then, shock, surprise, models produce warming as they are hard-programmed to do under massive emission scenarios. Moreover, methane most assuredly is not the second most important absorber of infrared radiation in our atmosphere with top rankings (in descending order) of water vapor, clouds, carbon dioxide and ozone. Methane is not even a unique absorber, sharing its absorption bands of 3.0 - 4.0µm with H2O, 7.0 - 8.0µm with N2O and 13.7 - 14.7µm with both CO2 and O3. Not very impressive as study promos go.

"A Sea Change in Global Warming?" - "For years now, we have been deluged with the news that the earth’s oceans are heating up as a result of changes in atmospheric composition resulting from the combustion of fossil fuels." (World Climate Report)

That's interesting... "Facing the prospect of rapid warming" - "DURHAM - Fossil trees in Antarctica show us that climate has changed greatly in the past. Suppose the current warming is just part of a longer trend that we can't do anything about? It is worth looking at what we know about global climate and atmospheric carbon dioxide levels for the past 10,000 years -- the Holocene. That period includes the entire history of organized human society -- culture, trade, language, money, agriculture and cities. If we care about what happens to humans, we should care about changes that are unusual to our history." (William H. Schlesinger, The News & Observer)

... Bill seems rather concerned about atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, mostly as a possible driver of dramatic warming. Of particular note, however, are points of reference.

"Independent studies of tree rings and ice cores show that despite some unusual periods, such as the Little Ice Age, 1550 to 1850 A.D., the Earth's mean temperature does not appear to have been more than about 1 degree Fahrenheit warmer or cooler than its long-term average of about 59 degrees."

About 59 °F... that's 15 °C or 288.15 K. The National Climatic Data Center assesses the Global Mean Surface Temperature Estimate for the Base Period 1880 to 2004 (Combined Mean Surface Temp.) as 57.0 °F,  that's ~13.9 °C or 287.05 K (14 °C or 287.15 K seems to be rather more common as the mean from which anomalies are estimated). With estimates of Earth's global mean anomaly for 2005 ranging from +0.4 to +0.8 °C (57.9 - 58.6 °F or 287.55 - 287.95 K) the Earth would appear rather cooler than it's recent long-term average as cited by Schlesinger. If it's still below average, despite measurable increase in carbon dioxide, what's all the excitement about?

"Why air con is ruining our environment" - "Our love of air con is making the world even hotter." (London Independent)

"Scientist Blasts Calif. Anti-Global Warming Plan" - "SACRAMENTO There is a plan to make California the first state ever to cap greenhouse gas emissions. But one leading scientist suggests the plan is a waste of time." (CBS 5)

Indoctrination tool du jour: "Climate Change and Education: New TrainCLIM Software Provides Hands-On Experience" - "A new software package called TrainCLIM has just been released on the World Wide Web. The software enables a wide range of potential users from school teachers and students to environmentalists and local governments to gain a broader understanding of the real world implications of climate change to local areas and societies." (PRWEB)

Actually, it looks like this one might be hybrid propaganda/scam since it appears suckers are expected to purchase their own indoctrination ware.

"Things Worth Investigating" - "When it comes to fossil fuels, the political class (mostly, but not entirely, on the left) has developed a case of "investigitis." We're seeing this dynamic reappear along with the latest energy problem -- the BP oil pipeline shutdown. Calling for congressional hearings into the situation, Democratic Representative John Dingell, top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, observed that "It is appalling that BP let this critical pipeline deteriorate to the point that a major production shutdown was necessary."

This particular outbreak of investigitis is both ironic, and misdirected. It's ironic because the target of Democratic fury -- BP CEO John Browne -- has been a poster boy for the left's most-ardently sought regulation of greenhouse gas emissions. Vanity Fair lauded his "environmental conscience" only a few issues ago and Bill Clinton praised him for his responsible commitments to environmental goals in 1999. The call for an investigation is misdirected because the best target for investigations into irrational energy policy would be...Congress." (Kenneth Green, TCS Daily)

"INTERVIEW - BP Needs UK Nod for Clean Power Project by Year-End" - "STAVANGER, Norway - BP may not go ahead with a US$1 billion clean energy project in Scotland if it fails to get the government incentives it needs by the end of the year, a senior executive told Reuters. The project is to produce carbon-free power, but is not economically viable at market prices for electricity." (Reuters)

"One way to get rid of insect pests may be to build a better bug" - "More than 80 percent of all known animal species in the world are insects. One million species have been named; there may be as many as 30 million species in all. Insects abound virtually everywhere, even in parts of Antarctica. In the United States, the average acre of land contains 400 pounds of insects, but just 14 pounds of people.

For the most part, we ignore these bugs. They go unseen and unnoticed until they become pests, sometimes serious pests. Billions of dollars in agricultural production worldwide are lost each year to various voracious aphids, mites, flies, beetles and worms. At the same time, millions of people die annually from insect-borne diseases. Malaria alone accounts for 300 million to 500 million clinical cases each year, with 1.5 million to 2.7 million proving fatal.

But what if the Anopheles mosquito, which carries the protozoan responsible for malaria, could be genetically altered so that it no longer transmitted the disease? What if science could go even further and convert the mosquito into a kind of free-flying syringe biologically engineered to broadly if randomly inject beneficial vaccines, one tiny dose at a time?

The latter idea is wildly speculative, more science fiction than fact at the moment. But the idea of rendering mosquitoes incapable of transmitting harmful diseases to humans is quite real and is, in fact, at the forefront of a young and still-metamorphosing effort to create a whole menagerie of genetically modified, or GM, insects." (Scott LaFee, Paramus Post)

"INTERVIEW - Bumpy Road Ahead as Asia Pushes Transgenic Rice" - "SINGAPORE - Consumer fears may force China and India to delay transgenic rice by another two years, but these countries will have to eventually embrace the technology to meet growing demand, a senior industry official said." (Reuters)

August 24, 2006

"Low vitamin D linked to seniors' risk of falling" - "NEW YORK - Older men and women with vitamin D deficiency are more likely to fall multiple times in the course of a year than their peers with adequate vitamin D levels, researchers in The Netherlands have found. Vitamin D may be best known for its role, along with calcium, in maintaining bone health. However, vitamin D is also important for muscle mass and strength, and compromised muscle function may explain the fall risk seen in this study, according to the researchers." (Reuters Health)

Possibly... then again, it's also possible that vitamin D levels are higher in active seniors who get out in the sun and who are less prone to falls.

"Britain faces weight crisis with one in three men likely to be obese by 2010" - "Britain is facing an obesity crisis with one in three men predicted to be dangerously overweight by 2010, a government report will warn tomorrow." (The Guardian)

"Viruses can jump between primates and humans, researchers warn" - "Viruses that jump the species barrier between monkeys and humans can harm both people and animals, and we should take steps to reduce the risk of virus transmission. That's the message running through the September issue of the American Journal of Primatology, a special issue on disease risk analysis edited by a primate expert at the University of Washington." (University of Washington)

"Study: Rain forest insects eat no more tree species than temperate counterparts" - "A study initiated by University of Minnesota plant biologist George Weiblen has confirmed what biologists since Darwin have suspected - that the vast number of tree species in rain forests accounts for the equally vast number of plant-eating species of insects. "This is a big step forward in the quest to understand why there is so much biodiversity in the tropics," said Weiblen, principal investigator and senior author for the National Science Foundation-funded research. The study is published in the Aug. 25 issue of the journal Science. The research showed that insect species in tropical and temperate forests dine on about the same number of tree species, despite the more diverse menu in the tropics." (University of Minnesota)

Oh boy... "Kangaroos Put on the Pill to Curb Population" - "CANBERRA - Kangaroos around Australia's national capital will soon be fed a contraceptive pill by authorities trying to control their booming population." (Reuters)

... this would almost be acceptable -- if we had fixed all human problems, had no use for the resource and nothing better to spend money on.

"Sulfur signature changes thoughts on atmospheric oxygen" - "Ancient sediments that once resided on a lake bed and the ocean floor show sulfur isotope ratios unlike those found in other samples from the same time, calling into question accepted ideas about when the Earth's atmosphere began to contain oxygen, according to researchers from the U.S., Canada and Japan." (Penn State)

"FEATURE - Worst Is Yet to Come, US Hurricane Chief Says" - "MIAMI - If you thought the sight of the great American jazz city New Orleans flooded to the eaves -- its people trapped in attics or on rooftops -- was the nightmare hurricane scenario, think again." (Reuters)

"UPDATE - Tropical Storm Debby Weakens Over Open Water" - "MIAMI - Debby, the fourth tropical storm of the 2006 Atlantic hurricane season, weakened a bit on Wednesday as it moved over slightly cooler waters and posed no threat to land, the US National Hurricane Center said." (Reuters)

"Hockey sticks and hatchets: Inside the Globe's 4,200-word hatchet job on climate skeptics" - "It's tough dealing with facts as a journalist, but not that much of a problem if you can also lard your work with smears, innuendo, fabrications, distortions, errors, untruths and omissions gross and minor. Armed with the above, a writer named Charles Montgomery managed to get The Globe and Mail to run a piece that attempted to demolish the ideas and reputations of Canada's climate-change skeptics. It was a masterful effort." (Terence Corcoran, National Post)

NASA Press Release: “There’s a change in rain around desert cities” (Climate Science)

Oh goody... "McCain heads overseas to observe global warming effects" - "Arizona Sen. John McCain will visit Greenland, Turkey, Georgia, Montenegro and Italy as part of a Senate delegation headed overseas during Congress' summer break. McCain and the other Republican senators want to observe the effects of global warming while in Greenland. They also will attend an A-list economic and political conference at a swanky northern Italian resort." (The Business Journal of Phoenix)

"Beware False Profits" - "The Evangelical Climate Initiative has issued “An Evangelical Call to Action” on global warming. Signed by 86 evangelical leaders, it calls for Evangelical Christians to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels. Sadly, these good men and women have been taken in by fables based on half-truths and unsound logic." (Iain Murray, CEI)

Caveat emptor: "Eco-Charity" - "Through activities like driving and flipping on a light switch, the average American helps generate around a dozen tons of carbon dioxide each year. Now, new and revamped Web sites are offering to help individuals offset that pollution by donating to sustainable energy projects. But consumers may have to take some sites on their word about how dollars are helping to curb climate change; the donations are tricky to trace." (Wall Street Journal)

How will you know whether you getting value for money without first checking what your sacrifice might achieve? Calculate that here.

"Influx of Northwest Passage shipping unlikely"  -"TUKTOYAKTUK, N.W.T. — The Northwest Passage isn’t likely ever to become a northern version of the Panama Canal, suggests the latest research on climate change and the northern ice pack. While some types of shipping are likely to increase, fears of regular commercial traffic through Canada’s Arctic waters are probably overblown, said Ross MacDonald, a scientist at Transport Canada." (Chronicle Herald)

Eye-roller: "Too Late for European Global Warming Target - IEA" - "STAVANGER, Norway - It may be too late to keep within a European Union threshold to avoid dangerous climate change, said the Head of the International Energy Agency Claude Mandil." (Reuters)

If human activity had not increased atmospheric carbon dioxide levels from pre-Industrial Revolution levels the global mean temperature might be as much as 0.17 K less than now. Even then that extravagant estimate represents three-fourths of the total enhanced CO2-forced warming possible from a doubling of pre-IR atmospheric carbon dioxide. If failure to emit any carbon dioxide could only have accounted for one-sixth of one degree warming "saved", how much would Europeans have to avoid emitting to "save" two degrees warming?

"EU CO2 Plans For 2008-12 'Ambitious Enough' - Piebalgs" - "STAVANGER, Norway - EU member states' proposed plans for phase 2 of the bloc's carbon trading scheme show enough ambition to avoid a carbon price collapse, EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs told Reuters on Wednesday." (Reuters)

"Hot Talking over Democrats' Global Warming Bill" - "SACRAMENTO - A week away from their deadline, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and legislative Democrats remain apart over key elements of a landmark global warming bill that would make California the first state to cap greenhouse gas emissions from industries." (Associated Press)

"US to Lease 8 Million Acres in Alaska for Drilling" - "WASHINGTON - Despite strong opposition from environmental groups, the Bush administration Wednesday said it would offer energy companies next month the opportunity to search for crude oil and natural gas on 8 million acres in Alaska's western Arctic region." (Reuters)

"Energy Sector Unhappy with Dutch Subsidy Decision" - "AMSTERDAM - A surprise Dutch government decision to freeze subsidies for renewable energy projects sends a bad signal to investors and would slow down the sector's expansion, industry officials said on Wednesday." (Reuters)

"Burning questions" - "BP is keen to accentuate its eco-friendly ambitions. But critics doubt how seriously the company is committed to cleaning up its act." (The Guardian)

"Energy firm considers palm oil power" - "Energy firm npower today said it was considering running one of its oil-fired plants on palm oil. The group, which is owned by Germany's RWE, said it had tested the biofuel at its Littlebrook plant, in Dartford, and was currently weighing up its commercial and technical viability. A spokesman for npower stressed that no decision had yet been made and environmental factors would be of paramount importance." (Press Association)

"Burning palm oil fuels climate change" - "Proposals by RWE npower to run the Littlebrook power station in Kent on palm oil have been criticised by Friends of the Earth. The group warned that use of palm oil as a biofuel threatens to exacerbate climate change, because it would lead to a major increase in demand for palm oil leading to even more rainforest destruction." (FoE)

"Biofuels may strain U.N. goals of ending hunger" - "STOCKHOLM - Rising production of biofuels from crops might complicate U.N. goals of ending hunger in developing countries, where 850 million people do not have enough to eat, a senior U.N. official said on Wednesday. "There's a huge potential for biofuels but we have to look at ... competition with food production," said Alexander Mueller, assistant Director General of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)." (Reuters)

"Australia's Water Works" - "As much of Asia struggles with water shortages, Australia’s agricultural sector is thriving, despite its worst drought in decades. The secret of the success down under: a free-market system of water trading rights." (Roger Bate, Wall Street Journal Asia)

"Water filtration technique removes dangerous freshwater algae toxins" - "COLUMBUS , Ohio -- A water filtration technique that normally cleans up agricultural chemicals is also effective at removing a toxin secreted by algae found in lakes and rivers, an Ohio State University study has found. Engineers here determined that the technique greatly outperformed other methods by removing at least 95 percent of a toxin secreted by Microcystis, a blue-green algae." (Ohio State University)

"No, Rice Krispies Aren't Bio-Toxic" - "If you listen to environmental activists these days, you might think that snap, crackle, and pop coming from your Rice Krispies is the sound of impending doom. This week they're trying to scare consumers about bioengineered, or genetically modified, rice. But when it comes to scare stories about biotech food, consumers should take these warnings with a grain of salt." (Gregory Conko, TCS Daily)

"Flavonoid-rich GM tomatoes could boost heart health" - "Tomatoes genetically modified to have high flavonoid content could reduce the levels of a protein in a mouse that is associated with inflammation, diabetes and heart disease in humans, says a study by BASF, TNO and two universities in Holland and Germany." (NutraIngredients)

August 23, 2006

"AFM's letter to Greenpeace" - "Greenpeace recently came out against WHO's policies on using DDT in malaria control. AFM has written to Greenpeace asking for an explanation of their position, which not only goes against the scientific evidence and the world's leading malaria scientists, but also against more responsible environmentalist organisations." (AFM)

"Sen. Tom Coburn's Letter to Paul Wolfowitz" - "Sen Tom Coburn (R, OK) writes to World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz asking him to enact much needed reforms to the Bank's malaria control activities." (FFM)

"Forget the World Bank, Try Wal-Mart" - "Between 1990 and 2002 more than 174 million people escaped poverty in China, about 1.2 million per month. With an estimated $23 billion in Chinese exports in 2005 (out of a total of $713 billion in manufacturing exports), Wal-Mart might well be single-handedly responsible for bringing about 38,000 people out of poverty in China each month, about 460,000 per year." (Michael Strong, TCS Daily)

"2 Studies Find High Weights Shorten Lives" - "The finding runs counter to another study that found the lightly overweight had a somewhat lower risk of death." (New York Times)

"Exposure to PCBs may reduce the effectiveness of vaccines in children" - "Boston, MA -- New epidemiological evidence suggests that exposure to environmental pollutants may have an adverse impact on immune responses to childhood vaccinations. The research appears in the Aug. 22, 2006, online edition of Public Library of Science Medicine." (Harvard School of Public Health)

"Fishing boats blockade Marseilles port to halt Greenpeace's tuna campaign" - "The Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior II was heading for a confrontation with French fishing boats outside the port of Marseilles last night as part of a campaign to draw attention to the collapse of tuna stocks in the Mediterranean." (London Independent)

"UK: Fishermen are firmly in the sights of hunt saboteurs: will Labour decide to protect them?" - "On the face of it, the vicious extremists who attacked a party of peaceful anglers last week have scored a spectacular own goal. Throughout the tortuous, 10-year debate that preceded the Hunting Act, passed last year, the weasly ministers, backbench humbugs and animal rights zealots promoting a hunt ban were careful to insist that other field sports would not be affected.

In particular, Labour politicians did not wish to frighten those shy creatures of the riverbank, who dream their weekends away under golfing umbrellas in the hope of landing a giant perch. There are said to be 3.5 million anglers in Britain. Most of them are coarse fishermen (meaning that their quarry is coarse, the sort of fish that swims around the muddy bottoms of lakes). A significant number vote Labour.

The unexpected appearance of 35 balaclava-wearing, baseball bat-wielding thugs at a fly-fishing centre in Lancashire on August 12 has given the lie to all those cosy ministerial assurances that fishing, let alone shooting, is safe." (London Telegraph)

"Ozone hole stable, say scientists" - "Leading scientists in the United States say the hole in the ozone layer of the Earth's atmosphere above the Antarctic appears to have stopped widening." (BBC)

plot9552.gif (46668 bytes) What's "normal" for the region? No one knows.

How long has this seasonal cycle been going on? Same answer -- might have been doing so long before people figured out agriculture.

Look at the Climate Monitoring & Diagnostics Laboratory South Polar total ozone graphic at right and note the interesting steps in apparent mean values.

Now look at the South Polar temperature track below and note the step cooling at the same time as the sudden drop in apparent mean ozone.

amundsen_scot.gif (321465 bytes) Do these represent some sort of phase shift in Antarctica? We don't know. Nor do we know if one event caused the other but a step shift in apparent mean stratospheric ozone is a very peculiar result from a gradual accumulation of CFCs, no?

Atmospheric ozone is measured in Dobson Units, named for the Oxford academic Gordon Miller Bourne Dobson (1889-1976), one of the pioneers of atmospheric ozone research and inventor of the Dobson Spectrophotometer, used to measure atmospheric ozone from the ground. During the International Geophysical Year of 1956 there was a significant increase in the number of these devices in use around the globe and the Halley Bay (Antarctica) anomaly was discovered. Yes, that's 1956, three decades prior to the allegedly alarming "discovery." There was a significantly different perspective then because interest was focused on the November increase  - now called a "recovery" - in stratospheric ozone levels over Antarctica with the collapse of the South Polar Vortex.

In a paper titled "Forty Years' Research on Atmospheric Ozone at Oxford: A History" (Applied Optics, March 1968), Dobson described an ozone monitoring program that began at Halley Bay in 1956.

When the data began to arrive, "the values in September and October 1956 were about 150 [Dobson] units lower than expected. ... In November the ozone values suddenly jumped up to those expected. ... It was not until a year later, when the same type of annual variation was repeated, that we realized that the early results were indeed correct and that Halley Bay showed a most interesting difference from other parts of the world." [em added]

Although South Polar temperatures do not appear to have been quite as low in 1957-58 as they have in recent years (a critical factor in ozone destruction) Rigaud and Leroy [Annales Geophysicae (November, 1990)] reported atmospheric ozone levels as low as 110DU observed at the French Antarctic Observatory at Dumont d'Urville [opposite side of the South Pole from Halley Bay] in the spring of '58. The South Polar Vortex, where ozone destruction is greatest, was reportedly centred over Dumont d'Urville that year, which suggests any observed differences may be well within the bounds of normal variability.

plot35910.gif (21348 bytes) Is stratospheric ozone "disappearing" around the world? No. The adjacent plot is from Mauna Loa Observatory and changes, if any, are trivial compared with variability throughout the year.

Returning to "the hole", is the resultant surface UV irradiation high compared with the rest of the world? Nope, the tropics are much more heavily irradiated every single day (it's part of the "tropical paradise" thing). In fact, the bulk of the temperate zones are more heavily irradiated than the region "under the hole" every clear day of the year.

Is "the hole" of any real significance to people or the planet? Not so far as anyone can tell.

Should we worry about it? Unless you're a scientist earning a living from it, it's probably not worth a second thought.

"UK 'could suffer Katrina-style flooding'" - "Experts today accused ministers of ignoring the lessons of Hurricane Katrina, warning that the kind of deluge that overwhelmed New Orleans a year ago could not be ruled out in Britain." (Press Association)

Indoctrination must work: "Poll Shows Public Linking Hurricanes and Heat Waves to Global Warming" - "As first anniversary of Hurricane Katrina nears, a just-released Zogby poll shows that not only are Americans more convinced global warming is happening, they are also linking recent intense weather events like Hurricane Katrina and this summer's heat wave and droughts to global warming." (Newswise)

"‘Dead Zone’ Off Oregon Creates Alarm, and Skepticism" - "The debate centers not on if the large area of ocean water with very low oxygen levels exists, but if it is normal occurrence or a troubling sign of global warming." (New York Times)

"Climate linked to plague increase" - "Climatic changes could lead to more outbreaks of bubonic plague among human populations, a study suggests." (BBC) | Warming World Brings Disease (ScienceNOW Daily News)

Oddly enough, their modeled "disaster" revolves around chilled, arid Central Asia becoming warmer and wetter (read: "more life friendly").

Comment on the Real Climate Post on “Short and Simple Arguments For Why Climate Can Be Predicted”. Climate Science Disagrees With Their Statement (Climate Science)

"Kyoto, California" - "Climate Change: If you live in any state but California, this might be a good time to prepare for the arrival of new businesses. The Golden State's politicians think they're going to lead the world again. All they think they need to do from Sacramento is command the planet's climate to cease that infernal warming we've heard so much about. What they'll end up doing is command people to live in much more primitive ways. Unless these politicians actually want to expel entrepreneurs, most businesses are expected to stay home and perform obediently under a new regulatory regime. Some even expect that, under new legislation known as Assembly Bill 32, now destined for passage in the state Senate, a new generation of small, green businesses will multiply. Why, they might even bring Big Oil to its knees." (IBD)

Hansen gets tippy: "Top climatologist warns global warming will hit Vermont hard" - "MONTPELIER – A federal scientist whose statements on global warming have put him at odds with the Bush administration is backing the state of Vermont and environmental groups in a lawsuit over the regulation of car emissions." (Times Argus)

"Global warming theory melts under light of close scrutiny"  -"It is said that the one constant in life is change. The same can be said about the Earth's climate. For millions of years, our planet has undergone colossal climatic upheavals that would make recent storms and heat waves pale in comparison. And while we know these events were not the result of humans burning fossil fuels, some claim that recent minuscule warming portends a coming, manmade catastrophe." (Kevin Williams, Democrat and Chronicle)

"Asia-Pacific action plan on climate change by October" - "New Delhi, Aug 22 The Asia Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate (APP), a multilateral partnership, will come out with its action plan in October for investment initiatives in clean energy projects, a US energy expert said here Tuesday." (IANS)

"BP turns to web for carbon neutral project" - "LONDON - BP is using the web to drive its targetneutral initiative, a programme to cancel out the CO2 emissions caused by cars. The initiative enables motorists to take action and reduce their individual impact on climate change by funding CO2 reductions from environmental projects." (Brand Republic)

Yeah -- and when you've done that try The Real Carbon Footprint Calculator to see what a farce this carbon delusion really is.

"Canada: Carbon tax attacked" - "A controversial new strategy to combat climate change - including boosting taxes on gasoline - is proving difficult to swallow for some." (Michelle Mark, Edmonton Sun)

"Canada: Devil in the details" - "It's an idea that won't die: reducing greenhouse gases with a carbon tax that punishes Albertans for producing energy and all Canadians for using the stuff. The latest advocate of saving the planet through increased taxes is Liberal leadership candidate Michael Ignatieff. In Vancouver yesterday he insisted that Canadians are "ready to take serious action" to defeat climate change." (Paul Stanway, Edmonton Sun)

"Dozens of New Insurance Products Emerging to Tackle Climate Change and Rising Weather Losses" - "BOSTON, Aug. 22 -- Dozens of new insurance activities, such as 'green' building credits and incentives for investing in renewable energy, are emerging to tackle the causes of climate change and rising weather-related losses in the U.S. and globally, according to a major new report issued today by the Ceres investor coalition. But the report also states that more insurance companies need to be offering similar services to minimize losses and make the most of business opportunities related to climate change." (PRNewswire)

From CO2 Science this week:

A Brief History of North American Drought: Comparing the 20th Century with the Prior Millennium: What can the exercise tell us about the temperature of the Medieval Warm Period?

Medieval Warm Period Records of the Week:
This issue's Medieval Warm Period Records of the Week come from the Nebraska Sand Hills of Western North America and Moon Lake, North Dakota, USA. To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.

Subject Index Summary:
Ice Sheets (Greenland): Is the Greenland Ice Sheet growing or shrinking?

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: Japanese Red Pine, Littleleaf Ratany, Rice, and White Burrobush.

Journal Reviews:
A Fifty-Year Reconstruction of Antarctic Snowfall: How real is the record?

Last Interglacial Warmth on Canada's Baffin Island: Part 2: More evidence indicates that last interglacial temperatures were much higher than peak Holocene temperatures, which were much higher than current temperatures.

The Little Ice Age in Tibet: What defined it?

CO 2 Effects on Ponderosa Pine Fine Roots: What are they? And what are some of their implications?

Elevated CO 2 Enhances the Effectiveness of a Bio-Energy Tree Plantation: But can the productivity stimulation be sustained over time? (co2science.org)

"UK: Government warns of another winter of gas shortages" - "The government gave a warning yesterday that Britain was heading into another winter of potential power shortages as one household gas supplier announced a record 30% increase in prices. The energy minister, Malcolm Wicks, said rising demand and plunging output from North Sea fields cancelled out the benefits of new gas pipelines from Norway and the Netherlands." (The Guardian)

"Debt Free Thanks to Oil Sands" - "The Canadian province of Alberta contains massive amounts of oil sands. But extracting the petroleum contained in them is costly and harmful to the environment. Still, the sands are a temptation oil companies can't resist. They're investing billions in order to secure the abundant source of energy." (Der Spiegel)

"MIT: Regional storage facilities could handle nuclear waste" - "CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--The Bush administration is eagerly pushing nuclear power as a way to help solve the U.S. energy crisis. But in its new plan for nuclear waste management, the administration is taking the wrong approach, says an MIT professor who studies the nuclear energy industry." (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

"Environment Impact to Rule Demand for Commodities" - "LONDON - Future demand for commodities may be driven by environmental impact, with precious metal platinum seen benefiting but coal potentially a loser, Citigroup said. Future demand for some commodities could rise due to recycling and pollution abatement regulations, but could drop for others due to health and safety concerns or pollution risk. As a result, demand for platinum, used to clean exhaust fumes, could increase, but regulations could kill coal demand." (Reuters)

"INTERVIEW - 'Water Labels' on Food Could Ease Shortages - Expert" - "STOCKHOLM - Labelling foods ranging from spaghetti to meat to show how much water is used in their production could help combat mounting pressure on the world's water supplies, a leading expert said on Tuesday." (Reuters)

"US Seeks to Control Air Pollution at Factory Farms" - "WASHINGTON - The Environmental Protection Agency said on Tuesday it will begin a nationwide survey this winter on air pollutants spewed by US livestock feeding operations to ensure they comply with clean air laws." (Reuters)

"Nature's Toxic Tools: The Organic Myth of Pesticide-Free Farming" - "Organic pesticides are the most heavily used agricultural pesticides in the U.S., according to the most recent data on U.S. pesticide use." | Marketing & The Organic Food Industry: A history of food fears, market manipulation and misleading consumers (CGFI)

"Researchers develop flood-tolerant California rice" - "RIVERSIDE, Calif. – Rice grown anywhere in the world soon could be made completely flood-tolerant because of new research by UC Riverside geneticists, done in collaboration with scientists at UC Davis and the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines. By gradually introducing into California rice "submergence tolerance," a property that enables rice to survive extreme flood conditions, the researchers show how potentially any variety of rice could be made to survive short-term floods that completely submerge the rice plant – a result benefiting rice farmers worldwide." (University of California - Riverside)

"EU to act Wednesday on tainted US biotech rice" - "BRUSSELS - EU authorities plan to act this week to ensure that an unauthorized biotech rice detected in the United States does not enter the bloc's food chain, an official at the European Commission said on Tuesday. "We are hoping to adopt tomorrow measures that will ensure that this GM (genetically modified) rice will not reach consumers," the official told Reuters, declining to elaborate." (Reuters)

"US rushes test for GMO rice amid skittish market" - "KANSAS CITY, Missouri - U.S. government scientists are rushing to certify a test that would identify an unapproved genetically modified rice that has slipped into commercial supplies, an inspection official said on Tuesday. Work is being done quickly in an effort to ease fears of U.S. rice customers who don't want the experimental strain mixed into their supplies." (Reuters)

"BASF requests trial of GM potatoes" - "UK field trials of genetically modified potatoes could begin as early as April, a move that is bound to spark controversy among environmental groups. German chemicals group BASF will on Wednesday announce that it has applied to the secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs to conduct what will be the first wide-scale field trials of GM potatoes. If the government gives it approval, two trials of one hectare each in Cambridgeshire and Derbyshire will mark the first production of GM foods in more than three years in the UK, following cultivation of oilseed rape in 2003." (Financial Times)

"California: Supervisors decide to leave food guidelines to farmers" - "Board challenges community to find a way to allow engineered crops while protecting organic growers." (Tribune News)

August 22, 2006

"Marathon Fights Malaria" - "Why an oil-and-gas giant is especially well suited to tackling a mosquito-borne disease." (Time Magazine)

"Mind their own business" - "Global energy giant BP has been a leader of the so-called "corporate social responsibility" (CSR) movement. That's the concept pushed by nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and environmental activists who want corporations to buy into -- and pay for -- solving every imagined problem on the planet that can claim to be caused by business activity." (Terrence Scanlon, Washington Times)

"New approach assesses risk of water-borne pathogen disease" - "Researchers at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine, along with colleagues at the University Peruana Cayetano Heredia in Lima, Peru, have developed a novel approach for assessing the risk to humans of acquiring leptospirosis – a severe, water-borne disease that is the common cause of severe jaundice, renal failure and lung hemorrhage in urban areas throughout the developing world – from environmental water exposure. The approach, which uses advanced molecular methods to measure risk for infection, may also be applicable to other water-borne bacterial diseases. The findings will be published on line August 21 in advance of the September issue of the journal Public Library of Science (PLoS) Medicine." (University of California - San Diego)

"Venous thrombosis after travel" - "Traveling for more than 4 hours by air, car, bus or train is associated with an increased risk of venous thrombosis. In a large study (the MEGA study) of nearly 2000 people with a first thrombosis in the Netherlands, Dr Suzanne Cannegieter and colleagues from the Leiden University Medical Center looked at the risk factors for thrombosis compared with their partners, who did not have thrombosis. The results, published in the international open-access medical journal PLoS Medicine, showed that 233 of the people with thrombosis had traveled for more than 4 h in the 8 weeks preceding the event. Although the overall risk of developing thrombosis is still low, traveling in general was found to increase the risk of venous thrombosis 2-fold. The risk was highest in the first week after traveling, and the overall risk of flying was largely similar to the risks of traveling by car, bus, or train." (Public Library of Science)

"The Fried Logic of Food Police" - "Remember Caesar Barber, the New York maintenance worker who blamed McDonald’s for making him fat? “They said, ‘100 percent beef.’ I thought that meant it was good for you,” he claimed in July 2002.

Barber's story was harder to swallow than a super-sized Big Mac meal. So what are we to make of Arthur Hoyte, a retired physician from Rockville, Maryland, who is suing KFC because he thought fried chicken was a health food? In a lawsuit sponsored by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, Hoyte claims he had no idea the restaurant chain fries its food in partially hydrogenated vegetable oil. “If I had known that KFC uses an unnatural frying oil, and that the food was so high in trans fat, I would have reconsidered my choices," he says.

Aren’t doctors supposed to be smart, at least when it comes to health-related issues? If Hoyte has no way of knowing about all the trans fat in KFC’s dishes, what chance do the rest of us have?" (Jacob Sullum, Reason)

Pirate and misanthropic nitwit gets space in NZ Herald: "Paul Watson: Toxic roulette and the revenge of the fish" - "It looks like the fish are turning the tables on humanity. Not by choice but because ecological realities have boomeranged back upon humankind." (New Zealand Herald)

"Grey Squirrel Virus Wiping Out Reds" - "LONDON - Britain's native red squirrels, already in headlong retreat, are being wiped out not just by competition for resources with non-indigenous grey squirrels but from a virus the greys carry, research showed on Monday." (Reuters) | Virus has 'catastrophic' affect on red squirrels, research shows (University of Newcastle upon Tyne)

"Sydney harbor's seaweed a deadly diet for sea creatures" - "Sydney Harbour's seaweeds may be having a deadly effect on the small animals that eat them because they "bio-accumulate" the toxic heavy metals that pollute the harbour's waters, a new study has found." (University of New South Wales)

"It's Time for Government Accountability" - "Liberals constantly declare that money corrupts, but have you ever heard one acknowledge that government money corrupts even more? After all, at least private entities must answer to shareholders, the public, board members, owners, accountants, customers, numerous government agencies, or other authorities. Moreover, private companies must publish detailed and accurate financial statements, under penalty of government prosecution, as well as frivolous class-action lawsuits. In contrast, how can we monitor government waste? How can citizens hold it accountable?" (Timothy Lee, Human Events)

"'Dubious' flood fear blocks homes" - "FUTURE housing developments in many parts of Wales could be blocked because of unfounded fears that land could be at risk of flooding, it has been claimed. Plaid Cymru's deputy leader Rhodri Glyn Thomas says he is very concerned that since the Assembly Government introduced new planning guidance on the issue two years ago, legitimate development schemes have been blocked on dubious grounds." (Western Mail)

"Mapping new ways to save the planet" - "Next week, hundreds of IT specialists, programmers, scientists and environmentalists from around the world will gather in Auckland to discuss saving the planet. More than 340 professionals with areas of expertise including remote sensing, digital mapping and geo-informatics will be attending the Digital Earth Summit on Sustainability at the Aotea Centre from Monday. The Digital Earth movement grew out of a Nasa programme established in the 1990s. Put simply, its aim is to use advances in digital mapping technologies to help solve global issues." (New Zealand Herald)

"What a Difference a Page Makes for Global Warming, Hurricanes" - "[Washington] Post's news section admits scientists debate hurricane link, but Outlook author predicts Katrina-like storms in D.C." (Dan Gainor, Business & Media Institute)

"2006 Tropical Storm Season Now Below Normal" - "(21 August 2006) What a difference a year makes. After the record-breaking 2005 Atlantic hurricane season, the 2006 season is now below normal." (Weather Street)

"Greenland's glaciers have been shrinking for 100 years: study" - "Greenland's glaciers have been shrinking for the past century, according to a Danish study published on Monday, suggesting that the ice melt is not a recent phenomenon caused by global warming. Danish researchers from Aarhus University studied glaciers on Disko island, in western Greenland in the Atlantic, from the end of the 19th century until the present day.

Using maps from the 19th century and current satellite observations, the scientists were able to conclude that "70 percent of the glaciers have been shrinking regularly since the end of the 1880s at a rate of around eight meters per year," Yde said. "We studied 95 percent of the area covered by glaciers in Disko and everything indicates that our results are also valid for the glaciers along the coasts of the rest of Greenland," he said. The biggest reduction was observed between 1964 and 1985." (AFP)

Hmm... according to HadCRUT2v, Greenland experienced a significant warming through the 1920s and 1930s. If the mid-60s through mid-80s increased melt rate is the delayed response to that warming then we can expect a response to "the hottest decade of the hottest century of the millennium" by 2020 or even a little earlier.

It is curious that these surveys do not concur with this:

Hmm... "Greenland's ice loss accelerating rapidly, gravity-measuring satellites reveal" - "A new analysis of data from twin satellites has revealed that the melting of Greenland's ice sheet has increased dramatically in the past few years, with much of the loss occurring primarily along one shoreline potentially affecting weather in Western Europe. The loss of ice has been occurring about five times faster from Greenland's southeastern region in the past two years than in the previous year and a half. The dramatic changes were documented during a University of Texas at Austin study of Greenland's mass between 2002 and 2005." (University of Texas at Austin)

... more hyper-short-term claims from GRACE. Are their PGR models any good? Don't know but we do note with raised eyebrow that a patch of open sea in the North Atlantic also "got shorter" with an anomaly of -90Km3/year in the region around 52N, 40W (areas in the Davis Strait & the Norwegian Sea also showed "losses" of -40Km3/year and -50Km3/year, respectively) while the North Sea south of Reykjavik actually got taller (+40Km3/year). Some mighty funny goings on in the North Atlantic -- or not.

At present it looks like GRACE is none for 2 in the polar ice stakes.

Can Multi-decadal Temperature Trends from Poorly Sited Locations Be Corrected? (Climate Science)

51st Staters... "Greening the machine" - "Toronto multimillionaire Ron Dembo is among a growing cast of technology entrepreneurs, investors who have discovered that you can save the world and make money at the same time." (Toronto Star)

"Save the world" from what -- Al Gore and his multimedia presentation? Increased atmospheric carbon dioxide is calculated to have increased the global mean temperature between 0.1 and 0.15 °C. This represents at least half the total physical limit of CO2-driven enhanced greenhouse as bandwidths where CO2 is active approach saturation. During the course of a "normal" year the land surface mean temperature variation is more than 100 times greater than the alleged CO2-driven warming over a century or two. While temperatures are fairly stable near the equator the same is not true at higher latitudes and annual variation of 30 °C between summer and winter is not comment-worthy. What European would find a range of 0-30 °C throughout the year at all unusual? In absolute terms that's 273-303 K or Earth's estimated mean ± 15 K. Expressed another way, that moderate range is Earth's mean ± 5.2%. The entire alleged "global warming" from all sources (solar brightness, urban heat island, enhanced greenhouse...) is 0.6 K. That represents a variation of 0.2%. Since we've already noted that 5% change through the course of every year is "moderate" then we are left to wonder why so many people have their shorts in a tangle over 0.2% change over a century, only a quarter of which could possibly be from carbon dioxide. Is this 0.05% variation really something from which we need to be "saved"?

Back to the future (Number Watch)

"Americans Link Katrina, Global Warming" - "As Americans recover from this summer's heat wave and mark the first anniversary next week of Hurricane Katrina, an overwhelming majority say they are more convinced that global warming is happening than they were two years ago, and they are also connecting intense weather events like hurricane Katrina and heat waves to global warming, according to a new Zogby America telephone poll." (NewsMax)

Yes and no... "Beyond science and economics: conference to examine the ethical dimensions of climate change" - "Most of the discussion and debate about climate change centers on scientific scenarios, such as struggling eco-systems, violent storms and melting glaciers, or economic factors which range from the cost of alternative fuels to impact on gross domestic product. Largely missing, however, are explorations of the ethical implications of the actions or inactions of individuals and the world community as they consider solutions to a crisis of unparalleled proportions." (Penn State)

... the most publicized such attempt would have to be the Copenhagen Consensus (2004) and weren't those guys vilified by the Global Warming Industry for coming to the "wrong" conclusions (.pdf, 74.1Kb, 4pp).

"Buffett, Gore and the Copenhagen Consensus" - "Money, inconvenient truths and how -- or whether -- to match them up in solving pressing world problems." (The Oregonian)

Bad advice: "Insurers must heed global warming: Lloyd's" - "The insurance industry must face up to the growing threat of climate change or risk being swept away, according to Lloyd's of London. A new report, 'Climate Change, Adapt or Bust,' published by Lloyd's, warns that insurers must act now to understand and actively manage risks from emerging threats such as greenhouse gases and rising sea levels." (Canadian Underwriter)

"A Skeptic’s Guide to An Inconvenient Truth" - "An Inconvenient Truth (AIT), Vice President Al Gore’s book on “The planetary emergency of global warming and what can be done about it,” is not the non-partisan, non-ideological exposition of climate science and moral common-sense that it purports to be. Rather, AIT is a colorfully illustrated lawyer’s brief for global warming alarmism and energy rationing." ( Marlo Lewis, Jr., CEI) Draft Report (.pdf, 4.71Mb, 110pp)

"Environment: Troubled Time for Trees" - "Aug. 21-28, 2006 issue - Their lush stands provide refuge for wildlife and their golden autumn foliage illuminates mountains. But the West's aspens are dying—and scientists don't know why. Aspens, however, aren't the only native tree threatened by a host of problems from climate change to invasive pests. Says Deborah Gangloff, executive director of the nonprofit American Forests, "A lot of species are under siege right now." (Newsweek)

"'Frozen' natural gas discovered at unexpectedly shallow depths below seafloor" - "An international team of research scientists has reported greater knowledge of how gas hydrate deposits form in nature, subsequent to a scientific ocean-drilling expedition off Canada's western coast. A natural geologic hazard, gas hydrate is largely natural gas, and thus, may significantly impact global climate change. The research team, supported by the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP), published their peer-reviewed findings, "Gas Hydrate Transect Across Northern Cascadia Margin," in the Aug. 15, 2006, edition of EOS, published by the American Geophysical Union.

Contrary to established expectations of how gas hydrate deposits form, IODP expedition co-chief Michael Riedel, of McGill University, Montreal, confirms, "We found anomalous occurrences of high concentrations of gas hydrate at relatively shallow depths, 50-120 meters below the seafloor." (Integrated Ocean Drilling Program Management International)

"Burning wetlands unleash sequestered mercury in wake of climate change" - "Climate change appears to be contributing to the waking of a dangerous sleeping giant in the most northern wetlands of North America – mercury. Released into the atmosphere most prodigiously with the launching of the industrial age, the toxic element falls back onto Earth, and accumulates particularly in North American wetlands. A Michigan State University researcher working closely with the U.S. Geological Survey finds wildfires, growing more frequent and intense, are unleashing this sequestered mercury at levels up to 15 times greater than originally calculated. The report, "Wildfires threaten mercury stocks in northern soils," appears this week in the online edition of Geophysical Research Letters." (Michigan State University)

"Canada: Ignatieff calls for 'carbon tax' to aid climate" - "Liberal leadership candidate also eyes cuts to taxes on cleaner fuels to create incentives" (Vancouver Sun)

"Slow Start for Revival of Nuclear Reactors" - "BALTIMORE — Nobody in the United States has started building a nuclear power plant in more than three decades. Mayo A. Shattuck III could be the first. As the chief executive of Constellation Energy, a utility holding company in Baltimore that already operates five nuclear reactors, Mr. Shattuck is convinced that nuclear power is on the verge of a renaissance, ready to provide reliable electricity at a competitive price. He has already taken the first steps toward achieving that, moving recently to order critical parts for a new reactor. But Constellation’s neighboring utility, the PPL Corporation, takes a different view. Even though PPL has successfully operated two reactors since 1983, its chairman, William F. Hecht, said that he had no plans for new nuclear plants." (New York Times)

Should U.S. increase its use of nuclear power? (McClatchy-Tribune News Service)

YES: If the U.S. wants abundant electricity, it needs this power source (LLEWELLYN KING)
NO: Nuclear power plants offer one-stop shopping for terrorists (MATTHEW R. AUER)

"Calif. woman's gas survey a bellwether" - "CAMARILLO, Calif. - Trilby Lundberg, the nation's guru of gasoline prices, has no idea how many miles her new Mercedes-Benz gets per gallon. When she has to fill the tank, she's more concerned with convenience than price. Yet for decades, the nation has turned to the assertive, 57-year-old cat lover and her twice-monthly Lundberg Survey of gas stations to keep track of the fluctuating price of gasoline." (Associated Press)

"UCI scientists first to predict air quality impact of small-scale power sources" - "As California searches for more sources of power, researchers at UC Irvine have created the first scientific method for predicting the impact of small-scale generators on air quality -- a tool that could help the state develop environmentally sound policies to regulate and promote their use." (University of California - Irvine)

"For ultra-green Vermont, wind power question hangs in breeze" - "SHEFFIELD — When farmer Greg Bryant first heard about plans for windmills along a swath of mountain ridges in this northeastern Vermont hamlet, he was all for it. The idea of tapping a plentiful natural resource for power was appealing. Now he's dead set against it, one of many people here who fear the prospect of 400-foot tall windmills sprouting from the tops of picturesque mountains." (Associated Press)

"New methods for screening nanoparticles" - "UPTON, NY - Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory have developed a screening method to examine how newly made nanoparticles -- particles with dimensions on the order of billionths of a meter -- interact with human cells following exposure for various times and doses. This has led to the visualization of how human cells interact with some specific types of carbon nanoparticles. The method is described in a review article on carbon nanoparticle toxicity in a special section of the August 23, 2006, issue of the Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter devoted to developments in nanoscience and nanotechnology, now available online." (DOE/Brookhaven National Laboratory)

"Everyday beliefs about food refuse to give way to scientific evidence" - "Marieke Saher's recent doctoral dissertation for the Department of Psychology at the University of Helsinki analyses everyday beliefs about food and health. By these beliefs she refers to people's ideas about whether certain foods are healthy, what might have caused a stomach upset, or whether a medicine really works. "People can sometimes be so convinced of their ideas that it is impossible to disprove them even if rational expert evidence exists to do so," says Saher." (University of Helsinki)

"Fruitcakes Hope To Spoil Biotech Foods" - "Activism can be a good thing. Libertarians and civil rights advocates lobby for constraints on undue government intrusion into our lives, and professional associations further the interests of members. We all benefit from getting to shop in the marketplace of ideas. However, all is not good-faith, constructive activism. A good example is the intractable hostility of radical groups toward biotechnology applied to agriculture, to the production of innovative new drugs and to gene therapy for life-threatening diseases." (Henry Miller, IBD)

"Secrets in Your Food: Genetically Modified Food: Is It Safe?" - "Aug. 21, 2006 — The Battle over genetically altered food continues, even while it's use is increasing. Advocates say genetically modified biotech food is perfectly safe. Critics say it's food that's been fooled around with. Whether you find biotech food appetizing or appalling, one thing is for sure: Americans are eating more and more of it. Seventy-five percent of all processed food in the United States now contains ingredients from genetically modified crops." (ABCNEWS.com)

"Editorial: Escaped bentgrass sounds a warning -- Genetically modified for golf courses, it won't stay put." - "You don't have to be a grass-seed producer in central Oregon to be alarmed by last week's news that genetically modified bentgrass has escaped its test area and taken root among wild plants miles away." (Star Tribune)

"GM contamination warning triggers call for ban on US rice" - "Environment groups yesterday urged the European commission to follow Japan and restrict imports of American rice after the US government admitted that an illegal and untested genetically modified strain had contaminated the food chain." (John Vidal, The Guardian)

August 21, 2006

"Hurricanes: are they or aren't they?" - "It's peak North Atlantic hurricane season again and, perhaps inevitably given the noise generated by Al Gore and his multimedia presentation doing the rounds of theatres and town halls as the infomercial "Inconvenient Truth", much is being made of increased hurricane threat as a result of human-induced (anthropogenic) global warming (AGW). This is a contentious issue, to say the least, with a great deal of "he said, she said" making the situation as clear as mud. Let's see if we can't slice through a little of the heated rhetoric and try to find any cold facts that may be available." (JunkScience.com)

"Scientists Disagree On Link Between Storms, Warming: Same Data, Different Conclusions" - "A year after Hurricane Katrina and other major storms battered the U.S. coast, the question of whether hurricanes are becoming more destructive because of global warming has become perhaps the most hotly contested question in the scientific debate over climate change." (Washington Post)

"Atlantic Hurricanes Could Rev Up Any Time Now" - "MIAMI - There has been little action in the 2006 Atlantic hurricane season so far, but that may be about to change. Max Mayfield, director of the US National Hurricane Center in Miami, said there are signs of increased activity near the west coast of Africa, source of the troublesome "Cape Verde" hurricanes that grow powerful on their long trip across the Atlantic. "The bell's going to start ringing here before long," he said in an interview last week. "There's absolutely nothing that I know of that is unfavorable (to hurricane development) in the eastern Atlantic." (Reuters)

"UK: Storms, floods and record tides on way" - "Storms and floods are forecast in the coming weeks as the hot summer comes to an end. Experts said last night that heavy rainfall was expected to affect many central and eastern regions during the next two days as areas of low pressure sweep in from the Atlantic. Further torrential downpours are forecast for Thursday and Friday. But of most concern is a record spring tide, which could flood many areas next month. Seaside towns have been placed on alert for the highest tides for 20 years - which could be as much as 3ft higher than normal - from Sept 9. Towns and villages along the Bristol Channel and in Norfolk and Suffolk were said to be particularly vulnerable." (London Telegraph)

Uh-oh! Sounds like a job for... OZONE MAN! "Skin cancer fear grows as ozone layer gets thinner" - "THE ozone layer above Scotland is thinner than at any point in the last ten years, according to new research which has prompted fresh concerns over skin cancer rates. Levels of ozone, which play a crucial role in helping to filter out harmful ultraviolet rays from the sun, were thought to be rising after the systematic banning of the CFC chemicals which were damaging it. But now experts believe global warming is changing conditions in the upper atmosphere and leading to a reduction in levels again." (The Scotsman)

"Ozone-Friendly Chemicals Lead to Warming" - "Cool your home, warm the planet. When more than two dozen countries undertook in 1989 to fix the ozone hole over Antarctica, they began replacing chloroflourocarbons in refrigerators, air conditioners and hair spray. But they had little idea that using other gases that contain chlorine or fluorine instead also would contribute greatly to global warming." (Associated Press)

"What do Al Gore and Godzilla have in common?" - "Environmental preachers aren't necessarily earthly saints, says JOHN TIERNEY" (Dallas News)

Article entitled “Climatology Between Science and Politics” (Climate Science)

"Some inconvenient truths about urban climates" - "Summer brings heat waves - after all these are the "dog days" - and they are welcomed by TV specials and news articles headlining the scorching temperatures and presaging a global warming cataclysm. But the press has taken the wrong suspect into custody this time." (William D Balgord, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

"Urban Heat and Urban Legends" - "According to news reports, the recent heat wave in California resulted in about 150 deaths. The United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts that global warming will exacerbate the problem dramatically, doubling or tripling the number of heat-related fatalities in North American cities in the next decade. The UN is dead wrong, because it assumes what climate researchers call the "Stupid People Hypothesis": that people will simply sit around and fry to death without doing anything to beat the heat.

Global warming or not, our cities are warming, and will continue to do so. Sprawling masonry and blacktop retain heat, and the density of urban construction prevents wind from cooling it off. (Here in DC, there's an additional warming effect: waste heat from all the money changing hands.)" (Patrick J. Michaels, Cato Institute)

What do emission caps mean for California? (Associated Press)

A lot of pain for no gain.

"Invasion of the warm water aliens" - "Previously rare species follow plankton and fish they feed on" (The Guardian)

"FEATURE-'Red Devil' squid, jellyfish point to ocean upsets" - "OSLO, Aug 21 - South American "Red Devil" squid found off Alaska and jellyfish plaguing the Mediterranean may point to vast disruptions in the seas linked to global warming, pollution or over-fishing, experts say." (Reuters)

Ceres still trying to spook the horses: "Report Identifies More Than 180 Products to Handle Climate Change" - "Dozens of new insurance products are quietly emerging to tackle climate change and fast-rising weather losses – but insurance companies need to do more of the same to minimize losses and make the most of opportunities related to climate change – according to a report from the Ceres investor coalition." (Insurance Journal)

"UK: Insurers threaten to withdraw flood cover" - "Britain's biggest insurers are threatening to stop cover to thousands of homes in flood-prone parts of the country unless the Government abandons proposals to cut its spending on flood defences. Recent leaks from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) reveal that, this year, the Government will cut £15m from its annual spending on flood defences." (London Telegraph)

"Levee suit cites global warming" - "Environmental groups plan to file a lawsuit in Sacramento Superior Court today claiming that flood-control officials violated state law by allowing major levee modifications in San Joaquin County without considering the effect of global warming. The groups, led by the Natural Resources Defense Council, assert that the sea level rise associated with climate change could eventually overtop those levees, putting thousands of people at risk." (Sacramento Bee)

"A Climate Repair Manual" - "Global warming is a reality. Innovation in energy technology and policy are sorely needed if we are to cope." (SciAm)

"Endangered tamarin enlisted in battle to stop climate change" - "Environmental groups have enlisted one of the world's most distinctive and rare mammals, the golden lion tamarin, in their campaign to prevent irreversible climate change damaging the planet." (London Independent)

At least the pictures will be prettier than previously-obligatory smokestacks.

"Experts say Chongqing drought not caused by Three Gorges Project" - "Experts dismissed a rumor spreading on the Internet that the drought in Chongqing was related to the Three Gorges Project as a "story without any scientific basis."

Sichuan's Bureau of Meteorology and Geophysics (BMG) reported on Thursday that the high temperatures and drought in Sichuan Province are the most severe since the BMG began keeping meteorological records in 1951.

The Sichuan BMG believes the high temperatures and drought partially reflect global climate change, which is leading to more frequent and extreme weather, a trend exemplified by the series of coastal typhoons that have hit China. These recent coastal typhoons are a major cause of the region's heat wave. Kept down by the typhoon, the subtropical high cannot move forward. As a result, it has been controlling most parts of Sichuan for some time." (People's Daily)

Hmm... "Natural Resources are Fuelling a New Cold War" - "Oil and gas supplies are becoming scarcer and more expensive. The hunt for the world's remaining resources is creating new alliances and the danger of fresh conflicts. China is moving aggressively to sate its growing appetite for energy, potentially setting up a confrontation with the United States for the dwindling resources of the Middle East and Africa." (Erich Follath, Der Spiegel)

"Norway Authority Demands CO2 Capture at Gas Plant" - "OSLO - Norway's environmental authority recommended on Friday that a gas-fired power plant planned for Statoil's Mongstad refinery should be allowed only if it is equipped to capture carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Energy group Statoil said the requirement could make the entire US$635 million project unfeasible." (Reuters)

"US Court Hands EPA a Win in Utility Emission Case" - "WASHINGTON - A federal court has ruled that a big US utility must install costly pollution-reduction equipment at its aging coal-powered electric plants if it expands them, handing a victory to the US government in a case that could shape an upcoming Supreme Court ruling." (Reuters)

"World Bank Plan Still Favours 'Clean' Fossil Fuels" - "WASHINGTON - A global energy plan to be released by the World Bank next month risks squandering scarce resources on so-called clean coal technologies and misses bigger investments in renewable energy, but does address gaps in the energy needs of the poor, according to a new analysis by an environmental group." (IPS)

"Bruce Power wants new nukes" - "Privately owned Bruce Power has asked the country's nuclear safety watchdog for approval to plan for potential construction of new nuclear reactors, triggering a regulatory process and environmental assessment that's never been applied to new projects in Canada." (Toronto Star)

"Canada turns to Niagara Falls for energy" - "Ontario wants to extract more hydroelectric power from Niagara Falls and close coal-burning plants." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"Wind Power's Gusty Forecast" - "The U.S. is seeing a big rise in cleaner wind energy as companies work with communities on issues ranging from noise to bird migration." (Business Week)

"Chelsea choked by its tractors" - "Yummy mummies watch out: your gas-guzzlers are polluting your own streets and a ban may not be too far away." (The Observer)

"Malaria's Toll" - "Each year, malaria afflicts a half-billion people (roughly the population of North America) and kills a million of them (roughly the population of San Jose). And the latter is a low-end estimate. The actual number of fatalities is hard to pin down, since a body initially weakened by malaria becomes predisposed to other maladies. But we do know that malarial mosquitoes are attracted to the tropical climes of sub-Saharan Africa, where they prey on impoverished populations that lack the sprays, screens and bed nets necessary to keep the insects at bay. Hence, some 75% of malaria victims are African pregnant women and children under five." (Jason L Riley, Wall Street Journal)

"No scientific proof that use of DDT is dangerous" - "After years of suppression, Tanzania's Ministry of Health is finally bringing DDT back for malaria control. It has concluded that indoor residual spraying (IRS) of DDT is not only safe for humans and the environment, but essential to the fight against malaria. An Environmental Impact Assessment prepared by the Ugandan Ministry of Health last month concluded the same." (Philip Coticelli, Africa Fighting Malaria)

"The Aid Curse: More of a bad thing is nothing to celebrate." - "As the world’s AIDS activists debate policy at the 16th International AIDS conference in Toronto, the vast majority will be pleased at their lobbying efforts for more aid funding to combat this deadly scourge. But like the Indian government, which has recently entered the aid business by giving over $650 million to Afghanistan to help stabilize this breeding ground for fanaticism, it is as well that they consider an increasingly alarming phenomenon — the curse of aid. A combination of the urge to combat both AIDS and terrorism has driven the resurgence of aid in the past five years, but aid seekers seem to be ignorant of the long-run harm they may be causing." (Roger Bate, NRO)

"The AIDS Boomerang" - "TORONTO -- Remember the 60s song, "I fought the law and the law won"? Forty years after the tune came out, people are still humming it, at least I am -- although I've changed the lyrics a bit to sum up the political consequences of this AIDS conference. I'm not sure that the 24,000 delegates would like the new lyric I've thought up for them, but here goes, anyway: I fought AIDS and the Right won." (James Pinkerton, TCS Daily)

On the left coast: "Bill targets state food label warnings" - "WASHINGTON - California importer Frank Lettieri is being sued for not warning his customers that his balsamic vinegar contains lead. True enough, he says. But you would have to drink more than a pint of the vinegar every day to reach the government limit for safe exposure to lead. Most people just sprinkle a few drops onto salads or bread. Regardless, a voter-passed law in California says consumers have a right to know about lead and other harmful chemicals. "The ironic part is, it will kill you in California, but it won't kill you in Nevada," Lettieri says. "It won't kill you anywhere else in the country." Rather than wrestle with labeling laws that vary from state to state, the food industry wants Congress to prohibit states from requiring food warnings that are tougher than federal law." (AP)

"Aus: Tax fast food like tobacco and ban it in schools, doctors say" - "FAST foods, processed snacks and sugary drinks can cause as much ill health as cigarettes, and should be taxed like tobacco and banned from schools and public institutions, obesity experts say." (Sydney Morning Herald)

"Ocean noise has increased considerably since 1960s, according to new Scripps analysis" - "With populations increasing around the globe in recent decades, no one would be surprised by an increase in the amount of noise produced in terrestrial environments. Now, a unique study involving researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, has shown that the underwater world also is becoming a noisier place, with unknown effects on marine life." (University of California - San Diego)

"New brain claim divides Dolphin experts" - "CONTROVERSIAL research claiming dolphins are marine dimwits rather than among the most intelligent of animals has split Australian scientists. The scientific and marine conservation communities were divided yesterday in response to a South African academic's research showing dolphins are less intelligent than lab rats or goldfish." (Daily Telegraph)

"Scientist fears disease outbreaks in northern whales" - "A researcher with the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans is concerned that climate change may introduce new diseases that could decimate the North's narwhal and beluga whale populations. Diseases such as distemper and brucellosis could trigger dramatic die-offs among northern whale groups, said Ole Nielson, who presented his findings at the Coastal Zone Canada Conference in Tuktoyaktuk on Thursday." (CBC News)

"The Fish and the Forest" - "Salmon-catching bears fertilize forests with the partially eaten carcasses of their favorite food." (SciAm)

"Loss of just one species makes big difference in freshwater ecosystem, study finds" - "HANOVER, NH -– Researchers at Dartmouth, Cornell University, and the University of Wyoming have learned that the removal of just one important species in a freshwater ecosystem can seriously disrupt how that environment functions. This finding contradicts earlier notions that other species can jump in and compensate for the loss." (Dartmouth College)

"Frogs facing global extinction" - "THANKS to our living habits, we may soon live in a world devoid of frogs and their amphibious friends." (Daily Telegraph)

"Food, Biofuels Could Worsen Water Shortages - Report" - "STOCKHOLM - Surging demand for irrigation to produce food and biofuels is likely to aggravate scarcities of water but the world's supply is not running out, an international report said on Monday." (Reuters)

"Nanotech's tiny revolution raises caution" - "In a Woodland warehouse cluttered with particle detectors and chambers where mice inhale smoke, UC Davis researchers are trying to learn if a swirl of carbon with tantalizing promise could turn lethal. Will it lodge in the lungs, causing scars that hinder breathing? Will its cousins climb up nerves in the nose to reach the brain? Or will some of the weirdest little stuff ever created by humans stream into medicine, electronics, oil refining and food packaging with little or no effect on human health? Those questions, which have captured global attention, remain largely unanswered as the products of nanotechnology emerge in the marketplace." (Sacramento Bee)

"Agency Approves First Use of Viruses as a Food Additive" - "WASHINGTON, Aug. 18 — A mix of bacteria-killing viruses may be sprayed on cold cuts, wieners and sausages to combat common microbes that kill hundreds of people a year, federal health officials ruled Friday. The ruling, by the Food and Drug Administration, is the first approval of viruses as a food additive, said Andrew Zajac of the Office of Food Additive Safety at the agency. Treatments that use bacteriophages to attack harmful bacteria have been a part of folk medicine for hundreds of years in India and for decades in the former Soviet Union. The approved mix of six viruses is intended to be sprayed onto ready-to-eat meat and poultry products, including sliced ham and turkey, said John Vazzana, the president and chief executive of Intralytix, which developed the additive." (AP)

"How biotech is driving computing" - "The most super of supercomputers are folding proteins, not crunching numbers. That's because the life sciences have overtaken physics as the source of the most challenging computing problems." (Business 2.0 Magazine)

"GM maize protects chickens from deadly virus" - "Mexican researchers have genetically modified maize to create an edible vaccine against Newcastle disease, a major killer of poultry in developing countries. The scientists, who published their findings online in Transgenic Research on 12 August, hope their approach can help small-scale poultry farmers protect their flocks. Vaccines against the disease that can be given to poultry on food already exist, but are not usually available in the small quantities required by single families or villages." (SciDev.net)

"Old MacDonald's Pharm" - "First drug from transgenic goats nears approval." (SciAm)

"Genetically modified crops back on the table" - "Two years after voters countywide rejected a ballot measure to ban genetically modified crops, the Board of Supervisors is expected to reopen the issue with a report by the county agriculture commissioner. That report — from a committee offering the growers’ perspective — would be the fourth report sent to county supervisors on the controversy." (San Louis Obispo Tribune News)

"Accord sought on biotech-crop protection" - "Negotiations are heating up over legislation that would prevent local governments from banning genetically modified seeds. One of the most closely watched agriculture bills of the year, the legislation pits large-scale growers against environmentalists and organic farmers." (Sacramento Bee)

"Rice samples found containing engineered protein" - "WASHINGTON - Long-grain rice samples from the United States have tested positive for trace amounts of a genetically modified strain not approved for consumption, but it doesn't pose a threat to humans or the environment, federal officials said Friday. The genetically engineered rice was detected by Bayer CropScience AG. The German company then notified U.S. officials. The strain is not approved for sale in the United States, but two other strains of rice with the same genetically engineered protein are. U.S. officials said they have contacted foreign trade partners to assure them of the product's safety. They said the United States would provide those partners with any necessary information to alleviate concerns. The rice was developed to resist a specific type of herbicide. "There are no human health, food safety or environmental concerns associated with this (genetically engineered) rice," said Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns." (Associated Press) | Transcript Of Remarks By Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns and Dr. Robert Brackett, Director of the Food and Drug Administration's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (USDA)

"Andean farmers ready for GM potato, paper finds" - "Potato production in Peru is affected by a high number of pests and diseases, all of which result in low yields or extensive use of pesticides." (Checkbiotech)

"India: Field trial of Bt brinjal hangs in balance" - "NEW DELHI, AUG 18: The fate of proposed largescale field trials of Bt brinjal hangs in balance as the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) is yet to resolve the issue of the reported cases of sheep mortality on account of grazing over Bt cotton fields in Warangal district in Andhra Pradesh. The GEAC met on Thursday and a senior official said, “We could not resolve the issue as factual reports and post-mortem studies from the state government are awaited. We have also asked the department of biotechnology to conduct animal toxicity study for Bt cotton leaves and seeds.” (Financial Express)

August 18, 2006

"Politicized Science Produces Bad Public Policy" - "A new study about post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among Vietnam veterans once again spotlights the need to separate the process of establishing veterans’ benefits from scientific research." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"More questions than answers as global AIDS conference wraps up" - "As the XVI International AIDS Conference draws to a close, it’s a good opportunity to take stock of events here over the last week and see where we are in the fight against AIDS. Here are our thoughts after a week spent mingling with delegates here in Toronto." (CFD)

"A Preference for Ignorance" - "In the fields of health care, education, and assistance to poor countries, we rarely measure value properly. It seems as though we prefer to be ignorant about what succeeds and what fails. We know shockingly little about the cost-effectiveness of very expensive programs." (Arnold Kling, TCS Daily)

"Animal Liberation Front bomber faces jail after admitting arson bids" - "A man described as the Animal Liberation Front's top bomber is facing jail after admitting he carried out explosive attacks on the homes of a number of people with connections to a pharmaceutical research laboratory." (The Guardian)

"Bird flu study highlights need to vaccinate flocks effectively" - "Incomplete vaccination of poultry flocks could make the spread of deadly strains of avian flu such as H5N1 worse, scientists at the Universities of Edinburgh and Warwick have found. The research shows that even though the available vaccines are effective on individual birds, the disease is likely to spread unless almost all of a flock has been protected. The study, published in Nature journal, is the first to quantify how incomplete vaccination of flocks can contribute to the undetected spread of the disease." (University of Edinburgh)

"Science first" - "Governments of both stripes have for decades paid lip service to the need to boost the teaching of sciences, but the results remain disappointing." (London Telegraph)

"The Problem of Accuracy of Economic Data" - "In his classic book On the Accuracy of Economic Observation Oskar Morgenstern deals with a common, yet widely neglected problem with which economic historians are faced, namely the quality of economic data. For the economic historian in the Austrian tradition, the quality of economic data is of utmost importance, since false data or belief in inaccurate data can lead the economic historian to faulty interpretations of the past." (Philipp Bagus, Mises.org)

"Fake But Accurate" Science? (American Thinker)

"'Cane Mutiny" - "What a difference one year makes. With the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina's landfall (August 29, 2005) rapidly approaching, who would have predicted that we would now be in the middle of a near-normal Atlantic hurricane season? Weren't the global warming pundits' predictions for this hurricane season that it would be just as bad -- maybe even worse! -- than last year?" (Roy Spencer, TCS Daily)

Interestingly, "Hurricane Alley" does seem to be warming up a little lately. Perhaps more significantly. note the tongue of cool water extending from the coast of Peru and Ecuador, past the Galapagos Islands and into the equatorial Pacific -- possible La Niña brewing. This would not be a good sign for Gulf states since El Niño conditions tend to suppress Atlantic basin hurricanes while La Niña tends to enhance the season. We wait and watch.

Aha! The Tyndall Indoctrination Center, again: "EU lagging climate goal, action needed" - "LONDON - The European Union is doing too little to achieve its goal of limiting global warming although it portrays itself as a world leader, some academics say. They want upcoming studies of the environment to add new urgency to international action to axe use of fossil fuels. The EU says to avoid dangerous interference with the climate global average temperatures should not exceed 2 degrees Celsius (3.6F) above pre-industrial levels. To that end it wants developed countries to cut emissions up to 30 percent by 2020. "Everyone talks about 2 degrees as if we were on target," said Kevin Anderson, climate scientist at Britain's Tyndall Center. "EU and UK rhetoric is relatively strong but the policy is completely inadequate, and they're the best there is." (Reuters)

"Is IPCC AR4 an Advocacy Document?" - "The IPCC claims that it is "policy relevant, but policy neutral." What this phrase actually means is clear as mud. According to various statements by its chairman Rajendra Pachauri over the past few years (e.g., link), one might be excused for thinking that the IPCC is really an advocacy document clothed in the language of science. Mr. Pachauri’s most recent comments about the report in a Reuters news report today do nothing to dispel that view:" (Prometheus)

"Limiting Climate Change: The Neglected Obstacle" - "Sensible people now agree that climate change creates major risks and that the world should be taking significant steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But there is a neglected obstacle to achieving such reductions, and it is the biggest source of the stalemate in international negotiations." (Cass R. Sunstein, Washington Post)

Whether or not otherwise sensible people agree is irrelevant, no one even knows if the Earth will continue to warm as we think it has recently, far less what the effects might be. What we do know is that carbon dioxide is a small and diminishing driver of global mean temperature, which is why sensible people are more than a little reluctant to decimate the global economy for no purpose other than being seen to be doing "something" about a "problem" only alleged to exist.

Plant diversity - Another Climate Metric (Climate Science)

"Scientists hail microbe clue to global warming gas production" - "A MICROSCOPIC organism being studied by scientists in Scotland is threatening to turn current thinking about the production of greenhouse gases on its head. Until now the scientific community has believed that only one form of micro-organism, bacteria, has been responsible for converting decomposing plants and animal waste into nitrate - a key part of the nitrogen cycle, which sustains all living things on earth. But researchers at Aberdeen University have uncovered evidence that another group of micro-organisms, identified just 14 years ago, plays an even more important role." (The Scotsman)

"Rain or drought, all's normal for Met" - "NEW DELHI: Come rain, come shine, it's all 'normal' for India Meteorological Department. You may be forced to mull climate change at the visuals of floods and dry areas but IMD is, in fact, trying to pat itself on the back for being fairly accurate in its monsoon forecast so far. For the country's weather forecaster, the heavy rain in Gujarat and other states is par for the course. So is the dry spell in the North-East and, for that matter, in the north. "There are no abnormalities," IMD chief Bhukan Lal told TOI on Thursday, dismissing the talks of global warming gradually affecting monsoon patterns. Lal, heading an organisation often accused of burying its head in the sand, maintains that "as far as the Indian sub-continent is concerned, no appreciable changes can be seen"." (Times of India)

"Greenhouse gas plan has some detractors: Groups see flaws in proposal to reduce emissions in New York" - "ALBANY -- Proposed regulations that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by power plants in New York state are receiving mixed reviews from environmental, consumer and business groups. On Tuesday, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a collaboration among seven northeastern states, issued a so-called model rule that each of the states will make into its own regulations." (Albany Times-Union)

Breakdown, more like: "California on Brink of Global Warming Breakthrough" - "SACRAMENTO, California - California is forging ahead with the most aggressive US program to reduce global warming -- a plan that pits Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger against fellow Republican George W. Bush. Both the governor and his state's Democratic-led legislature want to make California -- the world's eighth largest economy -- a model to follow with caps in greenhouse gas emissions that the US president rejects." (Reuters)

"Rising Profile for Global Warming" - "Global warming is heating up the philanthropic world. When Christie Brinkley was photographed stepping out in Sag Harbor, N.Y., earlier this month, she gave the paparazzi a box of popsicles. Also inside were two leather bracelets stamped with the name Stopglobalwarming.org, a group funded by environmental activist Laurie David. And when former President Clinton announced this month that the latest initiative of his charity would be climate change, political polar opposites Rupert Murdoch and Barbra Streisand made big donations: $1 million from Ms. Streisand and $500,000 from Mr. Murdoch's News Corp. "I have never seen such a confluence of widely divergent political interests come together on an issue like global warming," says Fred Krupp, president of the nonprofit Environmental Defense group." (Wall Street Journal)

Hmm... looks more like "Raising funds through global warming scares", no?

"Corporate environmentalism - Stop seeing green as a burden" - "Despite the fact that Europe’s Emissions Trading Scheme is in a mess, over time the price of carbon will inevitably rise. So says Robert Napier, chief executive of WWF UK, who recently told Ethical Corporation’s annual Europe conference in June: “Large emitters are going to find life very uncomfortable.” Customers and potential employees, he said, would soon boycott any company that is a “carbon dinosaur … regulation, tax, the market, public opinion will kill [it] off”. (EthicalCorp.com)

Naïve or deceitful? Napier is in the cutthroat business of fundraising and wrecking private enterprise so it is difficult to believe this is simple naivety. That suggests then that he is aware the enhanced greenhouse forcing from additional atmospheric carbon dioxide currently is at most, a paltry 0.17 °C, probably only 0.1 °C. In The effect of the Kyoto Protocol on global warming Tom M.L. Wigley, Senior Scientist, NCAR, concluded that the impact on projected temperature increases, with all countries doing only what is required under Kyoto and then continuing with business as usual, would be a scant 0.06 to 0.11 °C (0.11 to 0.20 °F) shaved off the total warming. A "constant compliance" scenario would shave 0.11 to 0.21 degrees Celsius (0.20–0.38 degrees Fahrenheit) off global average temperatures by 2100. 0.21 °C represents 95% of the total anticipated CO2-driven warming from a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide relative to pre-Industrial Revolution levels as calculated by Senior MIT Professor Richard Lindzen. It is also far too small for us to measure, as Dr James Hansen (the so-called "father of global warming") points out, there is no agreement even on precisely what we are trying to measure in determining The Elusive Absolute Surface Air Temperature (SAT) and "For the global mean, the most trusted models produce a value of roughly 14 Celsius, i.e. 57.2 F, but it may easily be anywhere between 56 and 58 °F (14 ± 0.7 °C) and regionally, let alone locally, the situation is even worse."

Eco-toffs... sheesh! "Higher taxes on flights and cars in Tory plan" - "Big rises in car taxes and petrol duty are being considered by the Tories in a review of transport policy that threatens the party's reputation as the "motorist's friend". The Conservatives are also considering an increased levy on short-haul flights to curb stag weekend travel to Europe, as they move to establish the "polluter pays" principle over the environmental cost of transport." (The Guardian)

"New Queen's study offers environmentally friendly solution to oil industry needs" - "KINGSTON, Ont. -- Queen's University researchers have devised a "green chemistry" solution to one of the oil industry's biggest problems – in a cost-effective way. Their findings will be published in the international journal Science on Friday August 18. The study addresses the recurring problem of separating oil and water mixtures, and targets diverse applications including cleaning up oil spills, and extracting oil deposits from tar sands and reservoirs. Other potential beneficiaries are plastics manufacturers, chemical and pharmaceutical companies, mining companies and makers of cleaning products." (Queen's University)

"Pew identifies biotech regulation snag" - "Regulation of genetically modified crops can be impeded by the legal requirement to protect confidential business information, while Hawaii law in this area is being litigated and may change. The Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology issued these findings in a Wednesday report stemming from a two-day workshop in Dallas co-sponsored by Pew and the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture. "State and federal regulatory authorities sometimes are not able to share important information with each other about the field trials they regulate due to the need to protect confidential business information," Pew said." (Pacific Business News (Honolulu))

August 17, 2006

"DDT ban was scientific fraud" - "In the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons (Vol 9, No 3, 2004), Prof J. Gordon Edwards dismisses the much-acclaimed Silent Spring by Rachel Carson as a scientific fraud. It is on the strength of this book alone that DDT was banned by order of one man — the head of the US Environmental Protection Agency. In his paper, “DDT: A case study in scientific fraud” Edward observes that fraud in science is a major problem. He came to this conclusion after reading a 2002 report published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

After reading it, he published a list of frauds published in US scientific journals and sent it to the Editor of Science. One of the most glaring examples of scientific frauds is Carson’s Silent Spring." (Adyeri Kanyaihe, New Vision)

Good grief! "Canadian Customs Seize Mosquito Nets and Condoms Intended for AIDS Conference" - "Toronto – Canadian customs officials have seized and detained 1000 separate packages of insecticide-treated mosquito nets and condoms en route to the 16th International AIDS Conference in Toronto this week on the grounds that the nets contain pesticides that should not be imported into the country. The packages are being held in customs in spite of the fact that the World Health Organization (WHO) has certified that the insecticide-treated mosquito nets are perfectly safe, and that the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) sends the very same mosquito nets to African countries." (AFM)

The nature of statistics (Number Watch)

Health is associated with wealth? Go figure... "New study links higher income with lower disability rates" - "Berkeley -- Numerous studies have already established the link between extreme poverty and poor health, but a new study led by a public health researcher at the University of California, Berkeley, has found that health disparities exist even between those with higher incomes." (University of California - Berkeley)

"Strokes will cost US $2.2 trillion by 2050 if prevention & treatment don't improve" - "Ann Arbor, Mich. -- Unless Americans do more to lower their risk of stroke and improve stroke care, the nation will pay $2.2 trillion over the next 45 years to care for people who suffer the most common form of stroke, a new University of Michigan study predicts." (University of Michigan Health System)

So what? "Information Cleansing, Canadian Style" - "OAKLAND, California, Aug 16 - If you're a teacher, student, journalist or just a plain concerned citizen interested in finding well-researched documentation about climate change, you can no longer depend on the Canadian government to supply that information. According to Canada's Liberal Party, since early July, the country's government -- under conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper -- has been systematically scrubbing its websites of information regarding global warming and the Kyoto Protocol treaty to curb greenhouse gas emissions. (As of Wednesday, Aug. 16, when you visit the government of Canada's Climate Change website, http://www.climatechange.gc.ca/, you find the following message: "The Government of Canada Climate Change site is currently unavailable. / Le site Web sur les changements climatiques du gouvernement du Canada est actuellement non disponsible.") (IPS)

It was full of propaganda and horse spit anyway. For all the ink expended on "global warming" and "climate change" the amount actually known may be summed as "not much".

Pots and kettles: "Public Doesn't Understand Global Warming" - "Have you ever been to a focus group? They're very odd. Often used in marketing research, these small selections of randomly chosen people are brought together as a sampling of public opinion to gauge how folks feel about a particular product or issue. Recently, my foundation conducted a focus group about global warming to see where people are at in their understanding of this complex and challenging problem. The results? Let's just say they were disconcerting, to say the least." (David Suzuki, David Suzuki Foundation)

What Suzuki claims to be surprised about is the very confusion sown by groups like DSF. Let's face it, the enhanced greenhouse hypothesis is not ready to emerge from academic coffee table discussion and may not be for decades to come (while we establish some decent baseline data and figure out exactly what it is we are trying to figure out). At this stage there's no standard for what we mean by absolute global mean temperature or how to establish it. We don't know whether a global mean temperature is even a useful metric and it is certainly only a part of the climate story.

Our predictive ability is rather poor simply because we do not understand the system very well. Last year, to about this time, the North Atlantic storm season looked like this (Katrina included) and it seemed a fair bet this year would be similar (but not so far -- see also: Hurricane betting: Where do we stand heading into peak season? (gambling911.com)). A few years ago warming upper ocean waters were "proof" of global warming but now the trend has reversed in sign and upper ocean waters have apparently been cooling. Why? No one really knows because we don't really understand the system.

Of course the public is confused -- year after year eco-flakes and various well-intentioned and very motivated people preach apocalypse, clinging to every weather event and natural disaster as "proof" while pointing to the enablers of modern society (energy, industry, transport, commerce...) as despoilers and destroyers of the "natural" world -- year after year the world ignores them, forcing them to become increasingly shrill to maintain attention and focus. The problem for all of us is that we don't recognize our level of uncertainty in the guesses made and wrongly labeled "predictions" (the fault partly of media, partly misanthropic "greens" and partly attention- and grant-seeking researchers).

What do we think we know?

  1. The world might have warmed between 0.4 and 0.8 °C.
  2. The "correct" temperature for the planet is unknown.
  3. Increased downwelling radiation from increased atmospheric carbon dioxide might be responsible for between 0.1 and 0.17 °C increase.
  4. Local effects from other anthropogenic influences are vastly more important than trivial CO2 downwelling radiation enhancement.
  5. It is not clear that the net effect of increased atmospheric carbon dioxide is detrimental.

That's about it really.

"Wall Street Prepares For Hurricane Season" - "Most of us prepare for hurricane season by stocking up on extra flashlight batteries. Hedge fund traders have a different approach. Some are setting up complex trades designed to profit from the seasonal blight. One approach is to balance purchases of catastrophe bonds, which are a bet on a benign storm season, against holdings of energy futures, which will almost certainly rally if the Gulf Coast energy infrastructure looks threatened." (New York Sun)

Another Peer-Reviewed Paper on Problems With Using Multi-Decadal Surface Temperature Trends As a Robust Climate Change Metric (Climate Science)

MSUtrends.gif (27076 bytes) On the subject of temperature trends: We sometimes have correspondents making claims about MSU anomalies and about the Earth not having warmed (actually cooled) since 1998. While technically true this represents cherry picking data as shamelessly as do AGW hysterics and JunkScience.com most assuredly does not concur. The El Niño of 1997-98 was an anomalous event and obviously neither the beginning nor the end of a trend. Look at the anomaly track linked from the adjacent thumbnail and note the means depicted by the dashed lines -- there has been some warming over the period 2000-01 for all to see.

There was a step warming with PDO phase shift of 1976 and we might be observing something similar now. The oscillations observed in the MSU and radiosonde anomaly tracks offer no joy for "carbon dioxide trend = global temperature trend" believers but both do indicate some warming with the new millennium and it is simply wrong to claim otherwise. The world has enough trouble with global warmers ignoring what the data actually shows, please don't allow them to goad you into doing the same.

"Hidden variables part of global warming issue: Frederic JUENEMAN" - "THE chemistry of global warming has been much ado about debate. It is not about consensus. Consensus is not science. Debate itself is about arguing a point while backing it with evidence, which might be fragmented and incomplete, and which makes the debate rather beguiling. This is what I came away with after seeing Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth." Something was missing. But what? A hidden variable?" (The Argus)

<chuckle> Getting to be a crowded claim, isn't it? "US first nation to witness climate change exodus: study" - "WASHINGTON - The first mass exodus of people fleeing the effects of climate change is not happening in low-lying Pacific islands but in the world's most powerful country, a US study said. "The first massive movement of climate refugees has been that of people away from the Gulf Coast of the United States," said the Washington-based Earth Policy Institute, which campaigns for environmentally sustainable policies." (AFP)

Let's see, we've had specious claims regarding Tuvalu (Polynesia), Tegua (Vanuatu), Carteret Islands (Melanesia), Maldives, various African and South Asian disasters -- all precipitating "the first global warming refugees" and now Lester is claiming the title for US Gulf Coast residents displaced by hurricane damage. What are the odds the next tragedy will cause the new "first climate refugees"?

Eye roller: "Report: Global warming cap would be profitable" - "Global warming limits envisioned in pending global-warming legislation could boost the gross state product by $60 billion and create 17,000 jobs, according to a new UC-Berkeley report presented to legislators Wednesday. The report, ""Economic Growth and Greenhouse Gas Mitigation in California," looks at possible economic benefits of Assembly Bill 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act, which would set a limit on greenhouse emissions with the aim of reducing emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2020." (East Bay Business Times)

"Aus: Queensland Premier rules out emissions trade" - "QUEENSLAND Premier Peter Beattie has effectively ruled out a state-based carbon trading scheme until at least 2015, avoiding the political fallout of household electricity price increases of up to $100 a year during the election campaign. He was supported by his growth-state counterpart, West Australian Premier Alan Carpenter, who yesterday flatly opposed the scheme within hours of its launch, wanting more evidence that his state would not be adversely affected." (The Australian)

Massive taxation with no benefit: "Carbon cards: lifeline for planet or Big Brother?" - "OSLO - Filling up the car at the petrol station could take a few seconds longer in future -- to deduct points from your personal "greenhouse gas" ration card. Issuing every citizen with an electronic card to encourage them to reduce energy use is one of the most radical ideas for curbing reliance on fossil fuels, widely blamed for global warming. But critics say a rationing system, linked to personal financial rewards and penalties for millions of people, could be a costly slide toward Big Brother-style surveillance." (Reuters)

The latest in "me too" claims: "Global warming 'threatens' wine regions" - "Australian wine regions won't be able to grow the grapes they're famous for because of global warming, wine lawyers say. Lawyers from Adelaide-based Finlaysons rate climate change as the biggest long-term challenge facing Australia's wine industry." (AAP)

"Global-Warming Foes Fight Global-Warming Cures" - "If Albert Gore, Jr. is right and global warming is genuine, grave, and the fault of mankind, why do he and so many environmentalists oppose measures that would reduce those pesky carbon-dioxide emissions? Power sources that could cut atmospheric CO2 rarely seem good enough to satisfy the greens." (Deroy Murdock, Human Events)

"That Eerie Green Glow" - "NOW THAT greenhouse gases are the pollutants to fear, nuclear power may be making a comeback; British Petroleum's failings in Prudhoe Bay, revealed last week, only enhance the attractiveness of alternatives to oil. But as the nation rushes back to the future by embracing atomic energy, the industry and government have to solve one little problem left over from the past: how to deal with nuclear waste." (Washington Post)

Neatly encapsulating some of the problems with irrational fear of greenhouse gases. I am not anti-nuclear power but fear of an essential trace gas is not a valid reason to embrace nukes by any stretch of the imagination.

"Australia May Allow Chinese Investment in Uranium Exploration" - "Aug. 17 -- Australia will consider allowing Chinese companies to invest in uranium exploration, and plans to become a ``major exporter'' of the nuclear fuel, Treasurer Peter Costello said. ``I wouldn't rule it out,'' Costello said in an interview yesterday when asked about Chinese investment in exploration. ``If we thought it was a new investment, which would add to Australia and we were confident that all the nuclear safeguards would be met, and that it was in the national interest, we would allow it.'' (Bloomberg)

Browne's BS bombs: "U.S. disasters dull BP's image" - "NEW YORK - BP PLC's reputation as an oil company with a conscience has offered investors concerned about the environment the chance to grab a relatively "green" slice of the industry's enormous profits generated by record oil prices. But a string of operational catastrophes over the past year - most recently the discovery of severe corrosion in its Alaska pipelines - has scuffed this well-crafted image, prompting a reappraisal by these investors that could have a significant impact on BP's market valuation. Since BP shut down part of the Prudhoe Bay field on Aug. 6, the stock has fallen 5.5 percent to close Wednesday at $68.53 on the New York Stock Exchange, a sizable move for a company of BP's scale. Analysts say that the broader market is beginning to take away the premium it gave BP for one of its intangible assets: management excellence." (Associated Press)

"Access to off-limits oil critical, says Shell boss" - "ORLANDO -- In the second stop of a planned 50-city tour, the president of Shell Oil said Tuesday the nation must develop a "culture of conservation" while at the same time giving oil companies access to the country's heretofore off-limits reserves of oil and natural gas in the Gulf of Mexico, Alaska and elsewhere." (Sarasota Herald-Tribune)

Hmm... "Cost of water shortage: civil unrest, mass migration and economic collapse" - "Analysts see widespread conflicts by 2015 but pin hopes on technology and better management." (John Vidal, The Guardian)

... it isn't that there isn't enough water -- we're just not keeping supply where people want it. Take, for example, the fuss over lack of water in Southeast Queensland (I live in an area on restricted water use). Just up coast and just over the state border (thus north and south of the 'dry zone' of high demand) there's water to spare, with storages virtually full. The only problem is that infrastructure long-planned has not kept up with development and there is currently no means of transferring abundant supplies where they are needed. It's a relatively trivial engineering problem -- we just have to shoulder the misanthropic antidevelopment dipsticks out of the way and get on with it  -- "problem" solved. Even if that wasn't the case the oceans contain abundant water and we merely need to pay the cost of desalination -- economically painful but far from unsolvable as "problems" go.

"Diving for Dinner" - "Meadows was caught dumpster diving, though he is neither homeless nor destitute. He considers himself a "freegan" -- a melding of the words "free" and "vegan" -- meaning he tries not to contribute to what he sees as the exploitation of land, resources and animals wrought by commercial production." (Washington Post)

Oh great, a generation of, um, social non-contributors.

"Organic Milk Health Claims Not Supported By Science" - "Demand for organic milk, which can sell for up to double the cost of other milk, is booming. Deciding whether to spend the extra money is not as clear-cut a decision as some suggest. People may turn to organic milk for health benefits, or environmental and animal rights’ issues. When evaluating the health claims, thus far, research does not support a health advantage of organic over conventional milk for any segment of the population." (Karen Collins, Calorie Lab Calorie Counter News)

"Completed genome set to transform the cow" - "The ability of scientists to improve health and disease management of cattle and enhance the nutritional value of beef and dairy products has received a major boost with the release this week of the most complete sequence of the cow genome ever assembled." (CSIRO Australia)

August 16, 2006

"Blame your size on your DNA? Fat chance..." - "As obese people outnumber the world's hungry for the first time, Prof Steve Jones examines the real reasons behind a spreading epidemic." (London Telegraph)

"Adverse effects of chemotherapy may be under-reported" - "Young breast cancer patients who receive chemotherapy may have a higher number of serious side effects than reported in clinical trials. According to a new study in the August 18 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, they may have higher health care expenditures than previously estimated." (Journal of the National Cancer Institute)

"Polio outbreak from oral vaccine identified -- and controlled -- in China" - "A 2004 outbreak of polio in China traced back to live attenuated oral polio vaccine (OPV), which is widely used in global eradication efforts, highlights the small but significant risk to eradication posed by the use of OPV at suboptimal rates of coverage. The study, reported in the Sept. 1 issue of The Journal of Infectious Diseases, and now available online, describes the first outbreak of poliomyelitis in China in more than a decade and the first in that country caused by vaccine-derived virus." (Infectious Diseases Society of America)

"Establishing a connection between global warming and hurricane intensity" - "Washington -- Climate change is affecting the intensity of Atlantic hurricanes, and hurricane damage will likely continue to increase because of greenhouse warming, according to a new study. It provides for the first time a direct relationship between climate change and hurricane intensity, unlike other studies that have linked warmer oceans to a likely increase in the number of hurricanes." (American Geophysical Union)

Granted I only got a brief look at this but it appears Elsner claims SSTs are a lousy predictor.

"More carbon dioxide may help some trees weather ice storms" - "Durham, N.C. -- The increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere predicted for later this century may reduce the damage that future ice storms will cause to commercially important loblolly pine trees, according to a new study. Researchers working at a Duke University outdoor test facility found that loblolly pines growing under carbon-dioxide levels mimicking those predicted for the year 2050 -- roughly one and a half times today's levels -- fared somewhat better during and after a major ice storm that hit the area than did loblollies growing under current concentrations of the gas. The results came as a surprise, the researchers said." (Duke University)

Surprisingly, this piece contains the old "glass in a greenhouse" myth. Let's get one thing straight, polyethylene sheeting is virtually infrared transparent and yet it works just fine as the cladding on a greenhouse. It is the interruption of convective processes and not the infrared opacity of the cladding material that makes a greenhouse work and so-called greenhouse gasses absolutely do not function "much as the glass in a greenhouse traps heat". It is rather troubling that "greenhouse researchers" do not understand how a real greenhouse works.

"Climate change was major factor in erosion of Alps 6 million years ago" - "The Alps, the iconic rugged mountains that cover parts of seven European nations, might have reached their zenith millions of years ago, some scientists believe, and now are a mere shadow of their former selves. New research offers an explanation. A team led by Sean Willett, a University of Washington geologist, has found that the culprit is likely massive erosion, triggered by a sudden drop in the level of the Mediterranean Sea 6 million years ago and then prolonged by a warmer, wetter climate." (University of Washington)

"Prehistoric Australian giants starved: study" - "SYDNEY - Giant prehistoric kangaroos and wombat-like creatures the size of hippopotamuses were not killed off by human hunters but by climate change and starvation, an Australian study has found. The study, based on the re-excavation of a site at Lake Menindee in western New South Wales state, found strong evidence that the cold climates of the last Ice Age were followed by a drought which caused the mammals to starve to death." (Reuters)

"Global warming fund could succeed where Kyoto failed" - "Al Gore has been busy returning global warming to centre stage with terrifying warnings of disaster with his bestselling book, An Inconvenient Truth, and the popular companion documentary. Tony Blair, the UK prime minister, has joined – even led – the renewed focus on global warming, charging Sir Nicholas Stern, the economist, with solving the problem. Alongside his successful initiative on Africa, this is to be his sure-fire international legacy as he ends his last term in office.

Getting global warming on the radar screen is only half the game, however. The other half has to be the design of policies to address it effectively. The centrepiece of world action has been the 1997 Kyoto Protocol to the Framework Convention on Climate Change. But while it embodied national obligations on carbon dioxide emission reductions and has now been ratified and approved by more than 160 countries, the US has not done so. So, the Kyoto protocol is dead in the water: you cannot stage Hamlet without the Prince." (Jagdish Bhagwati, Financial Times)

Weird, isn't it? We all know that complete cessation of fossil fuel use will do absolutely nothing concerning global mean temperature and yet everyone with a drum to beat proposes "cures" for a problem we don't know we have.

Hey lookit! Pay money and become a 'climate expert' to the masses... in one weekend! "The Climate Project Training Program" - "Beginning in the fall of 2006, Al Gore and a team of renowned climate change scientists and educators will train more than 1,000 individuals to give a version of his presentation on the effects of – and solutions for - global warming, to community groups throughout the U.S. The presentation and training program are based on the message Mr. Gore has been giving for more than two decades, which inspired the extraordinary documentary film and book, An Inconvenient Truth." (The Climate Project)

You, too, could learn to, um... "reframe the issue" like this and promote this -- as long as you ignore this and believe this.

Number Watch lost for words (Number Watch)

"Saying No to 'Climate Porn'?" - "In the movie Goodbye Lenin, a son works hard to protect his ailing mother from the fact that Communist East Germany disappeared after 1989. In an analogy with sinister undertones, global-warming pessimists advocating "climate-friendly behaviour" (CFB) are now being encouraged to make-believe their own reality, building for all of us an almost certainly gloomy future. Armed with propaganda rather than rational persuasion, they are advocating an orthodoxy reminiscent of some past Communist States." (Maurizio Morabito, TCS Daily)

"How Green Is Your Church?" - "The tension over what constitutes environmental "stewardship" has led to a wide range of opinions within the Christian church on the subject. Some churches have been actively involved in the environmental movement since the 1970's. The concern has been expressed in ways as small as recycling waste, to what can only be called "Earth worship", elevating the value of the creation to a position above that of mankind." (Roy Spencer, TCS Daily)

The Next Generation of Climate Models - Too Narrow A Perspective Presented by Cray Inc. (Climate Science)

"Global warming good for alpine tourism" - "The head of tourism in the jet set resort of Gstaad says the Swiss tourist industry should do more to capitalise on rising temperatures. Roger Seifritz is leading a working group investigating the potential benefits changing weather patterns can have for alpine destinations. "There are always reports in the press about the negative aspects [of global warming], such as less snow in winter and landslides and flooding in summer," Seifritz told swissinfo. "But there are positive aspects : higher temperatures, fewer wet summers. That brings more people to the Alps." (Swissinfo)

We've all heard about the heat waves and how records have been tumbling, right? So, presumably, the lower atmosphere shows symptoms of significant warming, or so we would expect. Check out the following brief excerpt from the Hadley Centre's new radiosonde temperature product, HadAT (anomalies shown in units of Kelvin):

Mon   Yr   850hPa  700hPa  500hPa  300hPa
Apr  2005     0.9     0.7     0.8     0.8
May  2005     0.6     0.5     0.4     0.3
Jun  2005     0.7     0.5     0.5     0.5
Jul  2005     0.6     0.6     0.7     0.6
Aug  2005     0.5     0.6     0.6     0.4
Sep  2005     0.8     0.7     0.7     0.5
Oct  2005     0.8     0.8     0.8     0.6
Nov  2005     0.7     0.6     0.5     0.5
Dec  2005     0.7     0.6     0.6     0.4
Jan  2006     0.4     0.6     0.6     0.7
Feb  2006     0.4     0.4     0.5     0.4
Mar  2006     0.4     0.3     0.3     0.6
Apr  2006     0.6     0.6     0.6     0.4
May  2006     0.3     0.2     0.2    -0.0
Jun  2006     0.4     0.3     0.4     0.3

Listed above are the 850-300hPa numbers, basically the first 30,000 feet of the atmosphere -- the space shared by people and weather. The period April-May-June 2006 would appear somewhat unremarkable compared with a year earlier, no? From past experience we know the atmosphere reacts very quickly to surface temperature events, witness the obvious 1997-98 spike associated with that notable El Niño event in the plot. So, with press releases and media reports flying regarding the general (northern hemisphere) heatwaves we would have expected some indication in the lower troposphere, especially as surface reports were high for three-fourths of June (according to our merged temperature track, at least). Well have to wait for the next quarterly update from Hadley (due mid-November) to see what the atmosphere says about a supposedly record-setting July but the reduced June on June figures above suggest it might be strictly a surface phenomenon -- we wonder why?

From CO2 Science this week:

Carbon Dioxide and Global Change: The Role of Religion: What is, or should be, the relationship between science and religion in the great debate over what to do, or not do, about the ongoing rise in the air's CO 2 content?

Medieval Warm Period Records of the Week:
This issue's Medieval Warm Period Records of the Week come from Marennes-Oléron Bay, France and the Swedish Scandes, Sweden. To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.

Subject Index Summary:
Respiration (Response to CO 2 - Herbaceous Plants: Crops): How do the respiration rates of herbaceous crop plants respond to atmospheric CO 2 enrichment?

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: Creosote Bush, Littleleaf Ratany, Perennial Ryegrass, and White Burrobush.

Journal Reviews:
How Sound Are Climate Model Simulations?: The answer to this question is of almost inestimable importance to the future of mankind.

Last Interglacial Warmth on Canada's Baffin Island: How does it compare with the region's current "unprecedented" warmth?

Global Warming and the RSV Season in England and Wales: How has the former affected the latter over the last quarter-century?

Global Warming and the Silver-Spotted Skipper Butterfly: How has the species' presence in Britain been affected by the rising temperatures of the past two decades?

Loblolly Pine Trees: Coming of Age in CO 2 -Enriched Air: How does it differ from maturing in ambient air? (co2science.org)

Sigh... "Northeast states to act on CO2 where Bush won't" - "NEW YORK - Seven northeastern U.S. states said on Tuesday they had agreed on a model rule that would create the country's first market for heat-trapping carbon dioxide by curbing emissions at power plants. The agreement, called the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, is relatively weak compared to the European Trading Scheme, the emissions trading program set up by the European Union to meet its obligations under the Kyoto Protocol on global warming." (Reuters)

"Canadians are urged to help build a climate crisis plan" - "Canadians are being asked to help build a climate crisis plan in response to the federal government’s cut to climate programs. Climate Action Network is going on a cross-Canada tour to find out what Canadians want in a Kyoto plan to address the issue of climate change. It will present a series of workshops for Canadians to help design a climate action plan." (Airdrie Echo)

"Electricity generation and carbon emissions – Are we ready for the financial impact?" - "Climate change policy uncertainty is a barrier to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the electricity industry argue Rory Sullivan and William Blyth." (EthicalCorp.com)

Why should we tolerate any increased cost for something we know can not alter global temperature?

"Power bills to rise under greenhouse scheme" - "AUSTRALIAN households could pay up to 14 per cent more for their electricity by 2030 under a proposed greenhouse gas emissions trading scheme launched today. The plan outlined in a discussion paper by the National Emissions Trading Taskforce has met with the ringing support of environment groups but has been dismissed by the federal Government as being too expensive." (The Australian)

"Greenhouse blueprint comes at a cost" - "A PLAN by the states and territories to tackle rising greenhouse gas emissions and drive a switch to cleaner power will be released today, but it could add as much as $2.34 to the average weekly power bill in NSW. All states and territories have tentatively approved a "cap and trade" scheme to limit emissions, although Queensland and Western Australia are wary about its effect on their mining industries. The states would prefer the Federal Government to develop a national scheme, but given its opposition they have drafted a proposal they hope to agree by next year and have operating by 2010." (Sydney Morning Herald)

Wishful thinking? "Drop in sales signals end of the road for the Chelsea tractor" - "Critics have denounced them as vulgar, obese, thirsty and flatulent. And now Britain's love affair with gas-guzzling 4x4 cars may be finally evaporating in a cloud of fumes. For the first time since the so-called "Chelsea tractors" emerged as the vehicle of choice for footballers' wives and parents anxious to cut a dash on the school run, sales have dipped." (London Independent)

"South Africa Has a Way to Get More Oil: Make It From Coal" - "SECUNDA, South Africa -- Every day, conveyor belts haul about 120,000 metric tons of coal into an industrial complex here two hours east of Johannesburg. The facility -- resembling a nuclear power plant, with concrete silos looming over nearby potato farms -- superheats the coal to more than 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. It adds steam and oxygen, cranks up the pressure, and pushes the coal through a series of chemical reactions. Then it spits out something extraordinary: 160,000 barrels of oil a day.

For decades, scientists have known how to convert coal into a liquid that can be refined into gasoline or diesel fuel. But everyone thought the process was too expensive to be practical. The lone exception was South Africa, a one-time pariah state that had huge reserves of coal and, thanks to anti-apartheid sanctions, limited access to foreign oil. Sasol Ltd., a partly state-owned company, built several coal-to-liquids plants, including the ones at Secunda, and became the world's leading purveyor of coal-to-liquids technology.

Now, oil prices are above $70 a barrel, and Sasol has emerged as the key player at the center of the world's latest alternative-energy boom. China is building a coal-to-oil plant costing several billion dollars in Inner Mongolia and may add as many as 27 facilities -- including some with Sasol's help -- over the next several years, according to a recent tally by Credit Suisse." (Wall Street Journal) | Alternate source

Oh boy... "Thirst for water a national crisis" - "AUSTRALIANS need to change the way they think about water, as the days of free or cheap supplies dry up, the conservation organisation WWF has said. A WWF report released today warns that water crises - long seen as a problem of only the poorest nations - are increasingly affecting wealthy economies like that of Australia." (AAP)

... anti-development groups like WWF are the reason developed nations have not kept up with their infrastructure needs, making them part of the problem, not the solution.

"Health panel OKs study of modified food" - "County commissioners want new reports and a task force addressing the pros and cons of genetically altered crops." (San Louis Obispo Tribune)

"Red wine with a DNA chaser? Biotech yeast banishes migraines, but industry fears a bigger headache." - "The U.S. wine industry has entered the world of genetic engineering as some vintners experiment with a strain of yeast designed to eliminate chemicals in red wine that are believed to trigger headaches, including migraines, in some people. Scientific research, much of it conducted at the University of California, Davis, has long played an important role in improving the quality of grapes and wines produced in California and around the world. But genetic modification -- in this case inserting two genes into the DNA of a yeast species -- marks a new threshold for the industry." (Sacramento Bee)

August 15, 2006

"False Alarm: A Report on the Center for Science in the Public Interest, 1971-2006" - "False Alarm: A Report on the Center for Science in the Public Interest, 1971-2006 is the most comprehensive report ever about the food and beverage scares launched and/or promoted by the advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest." (Steven Milloy, Free Enterprise Education Institute)

"How to Make Sure Children Are Scientifically Illiterate" - "Perhaps more worrisome than a political movement against science is plain old ignorance." (New York Times)

"Diets of rodents may have tainted decades of research" - "For decades, in thousands of laboratories across the country, biomedical researchers have relied on laboratory rats and mice to devise treatments for cancer, heart disease, inflammation and a host of other human afflictions. But what if, despite all the rigorous procedures to ensure valuable test results, many of those studies have been skewed by the most seemingly mundane of factors: what the animals are routinely fed? The concern is that researchers have unwittingly administered hormones present in some rodent chow." (The Dallas Morning News, August 1, 2006) -- Hat tip Louis N.

"Bacteria can help predict ocean change: Marine bacteria groups vary predictably with ocean conditions" - "Every creature has its place and role in the oceans – even the smallest microbe, according to a new study that may lead to more accurate models of ocean change." (University of Southern California)

"ANALYSIS - Uncertainty Over Typhoons' Link to Climate Change" - "TAIPEI - Three typhoons churn through Asia in a week, a heatwave bakes the northern hemisphere and a drought slash grain crop estimates in Australia. Signs that scientists' worst fears about global warming are unfolding before our eyes or is it just too early to tell? While scientists say there is evidence a build-up of gases such as carbon dioxide will likely bring more frequent and severe typhoons, heatwaves and drought in the future, there is uncertainty about whether the effects have already started to appear. Lack of detailed historical data about the intensity of storms makes it difficult for scientists to judge just how quickly weather patterns are changing." (Reuters)

Actually, lack of detailed historical data makes it really difficult to tell if weather patterns are changing.

"Cycles of Cutaneous leishmaniasis are linked to climate" - "Cutaneous leishmaniasis occurs in cycles that are related to temperature and the El Niño Southern Oscillation. Luis Chaves and Mercedes Pascual from the University of Michigan studied monthly data, between 1991 and 2001, of the incidence of cutaneous leishmaniasis in Costa Rica." (Public Library of Science)

Unusually honest: "Climate change doesn't warrant new water policy, local report says" - "The climate may be warming, but too little is known about the phenomenon to warrant immediate changes in management of the water supply serving the greater Truckee Meadows." (Reno Journal-Gazette)

Tedious: "'More disasters' for warmer world" - "Rising temperatures will increase the risk of forest fires, droughts and flooding over the next two centuries, UK climate scientists have warned." (BBC) | More fires, droughts and floods predicted (University of Bristol) | Forecast puts Earth's future under a cloud (The Guardian) | Global warming 'will cause more forest fires, droughts and floods' (London Independent)

We aren't sure how much the world might have warmed, we cannot predict if it will continue to do so in the near future, much less the long term and, even if it did, we have no clear picture of whether that would involve a net positive or negative for humanity and the biosphere generally. This disaster prognostication thing is becoming rather tiresome.

More Information on the Geophysical Research Letters Article “Recent Cooling of the Upper Ocean” (Climate Science)

True: "ESA works to protect data" - "PARIS, Aug. 14 -- The European Space Agency says it's helping develop a EU-backed project designed to preserve digital information for future generations. The ESA says increasing amounts of digital data are being produced but its preservation is endangered by rapidly changing data storage technologies.

Of particular interest to the ESA is protection of data acquired by satellites. For instance, the ESA says scientists accessing current climate change data in 50 years will be able to better understand and detect trends in global warming and apply that knowledge to their era's natural phenomena." (UPI)

Projects currently being initiated will eventually provide useful baseline data, to the extent that the question of whether global warming is genuinely occurring may be answerable in 50 years or so.

"World Bank Revamp Needs Close Scrutiny, Groups Say" - "WASHINGTON, Aug 14 - A World Bank plan to merge its environmental and social development units with the department that oversees large infrastructure investment could end up leaving the "wolf guarding the henhouse", a watchdog group says." (IPS)

And who should care what anti-development nut jobs say?

"Farmers till with a drill in the eroded fields of Flanders" - "The European Union was formed to help war-ravaged countries beat swords into ploughshares. So successful has it been in that enterprise that it is urging its farmers to swap their ploughs for drills, to preserve the Continent's near-exhausted topsoil. Fifty years of intensive agriculture have taken their toll. Europe's 25 member states lose 250m tonnes of soil a year to erosion, half a tonne per head of population." (Financial Times)

"GM foods OK as long as they taste good: survey" - "Anything that makes food taste better is fine, according to 62 percent of South Africans familiar with genetically modified foods. This was a finding by global market research company Synovate. Genetically modified foods have been the subject of controversy amongst scientists, politicians and the media in some countries, but what do ordinary people think? To find out, Synovate surveyed 3,127 respondents in South Africa, Greece, Indonesia, Poland and Singapore. While 84 percent of Greeks are extremely or somewhat familiar with these products, 92 percent of Indonesians have not heard of that term. A majority of respondents in South Africa and Poland are also familiar with genetically modified foods, while 65 percent of Singaporeans profess ignorance. Among consumers who are aware of genetically modified foods, a majority in Greece (89 percent), Poland (68 percent), Indonesia (66 percent) and Singapore (59 percent) believe it may be harmful – whereas only one-third of South Africans agree." (Marketing Web)

August 14, 2006

"Medicine tariffs: how they cost lives" - "HARRY Lime, the odious character played by Orson Welles in the 1949 film The Third Man, is a man most people would happily hate. This seedy racketeer sold adulterated penicillin to the poverty-stricken population of postwar Vienna, something which must rank as one of the more objectionable crimes. It is particularly heinous when one considers that many poor people will save up and sacrifice other goods in order to buy “medicines”. Yet in many countries, governments sink as low as Harry Lime by creating barriers to obtaining medicines, passing rules and regulations that delay delivery, imposing tariffs to hike prices, and creating perfect conditions for officials to extort bribes." (Richard Tren, Business Day)

"Indian postmen deliver mail, also fight malaria" - "KOLKATA, India - Hundreds of postmen in India's Jharkhand state are delivering anti-malaria medicine along with letters to combat a spike in malarial deaths in the east part of the country, a senior official said on Friday. "The postmen travels everyday to otherwise inaccessible territories and knows almost everybody and they seem to be our best bet to beat malaria," Shivendu, the health secretary of Jharkhand, who uses one name, told Reuters. "We have trained them to carry bottles of chloroquine and other medicines like pills and distribute them to hundreds of villagers and report back to us," he said by telephone from Ranchi, Jharkhand's capital." (Reuters)

"WHO to Recommend DDT to Combat Malaria" - "Global efforts to eradicate malaria have long relied heavily on DDT, short for dichloro-diphenyl-trichloro ethane. But this powerful chemical was banned decades ago in the United States and many other countries in response to concerns about its overuse in agriculture, and its potential toxic effects on humans and wildlife. Renewed support from global health agencies is helping to put DDT back in the battle against malaria. Most experts agree: DDT is the most effective weapon in the war against malaria. It is cheap, it repels and kills mosquitoes quickly, and it is long lasting." (VOA News)

"What 'studies prove' is what government wants" - "If high government officials were serious about wanting to know the facts, they could set up an independent statistical agency, along the lines of the General Accounting Office, to do studies of the effects of the policies of the operating agencies. That would mean that the fox would no longer be in charge of the hen house, whether the fox was the Labor Department, the Commerce Department, or any of the other departments and agencies. It would also mean that various bright ideas originating in Congress or the White House would now be exposed to the risk of being shown to be costly failures or even counterproductive. Whole careers could be ruined among both elected officials and bureaucrats. Don't hold your breath waiting for it to happen. But do keep that in mind when someone says 'studies prove.'" (Thomas Sowell, Detroit News)

"Long-term threat to economy as UK runs out of scientists, CBI warns" - "Britain is in danger of running out of scientists because of flaws in its secondary education system, business leaders warn today. Thousands of potential physicians, biologists and chemists are being lost because of a "stripped-down" science curriculum, a lack of specialist teachers and uninspiring careers advice, the Confederation of British Industry claims." (The Guardian)

"DEVELOPMENT: Netherlands Leads World in 'Quality' Aid" - "WASHINGTON, Aug 13 - For the second time in three years, the Netherlands topped the world's wealthiest 21 donor nations for its policies to promote development in poorer countries, according to the 2006 edition of the "Commitment to Development Index" released here Sunday." (IPS)

Hmm... while actively supporting and encouraging development and development assistance we tend to wonder about these rating attempts. Granted, it's no easy thing to quantify and this is probably a fair attempt but planting the US firmly in the bottom half of rated donors is the result of focusing purely on "official" assistance and precludes the massive financial and technical support rendered by private Americans and their various social organizations. In pure cash terms the US is far and away number one in development aid and there's no need to include your Gates Foundation and Warren Buffett to do it.

"Mercury pollution threatens health worldwide, scientists say" - "Madison -- Mercury pollution can threaten the health of people, fish, and wildlife everywhere, from industrial sites to remote corners of the planet, but reducing mercury use and emissions would lessen those threats, according to a declaration ratified today at an international conference on mercury pollution." (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

"Auto Industry and E.P.A. Agree on Program to Recycle Mercury" - "The new program would help capture up to seven tons of mercury emissions a year from old and out-of-use vehicles, the Environmental Protection Agency said." (New York Times)

"Childhood obesity caused by 'toxic environment' of Western diets, study says" - "A UCSF researcher has determined that a key reason for the epidemic of pediatric obesity, now the most commonly diagnosed childhood ailment, is that high-calorie, low-fiber Western diets promote hormonal imbalances that encourage children to overeat. In a comprehensive review of obesity research published in the August edition of the journal Nature Clinical Practice Endocrinology & Metabolism, Robert Lustig, MD, professor of clinical pediatrics at UCSF Children's Hospital, says that food manufacturing practices have created a "toxic environment" that dooms children to being overweight." (University of California - San Francisco)

"Fat Factors" - "It’s clear that diet and genes contribute to how fat you are. But a new wave of scientific research suggests that, for some people, there might be a third factor — microorganisms." (New York Times)

"Being obese and a couch potato may have a biological basis in the brain" - "Bethesda, MD (August 14, 2006) -- Some brains may be wired to encourage fidgeting and other restless behaviors that consume calories and help control weight, according to new research published by The American Physiological Society." (American Physiological Society)

"NZ: Yoghurt and muesli bars on schools' health hitlist" - "Children as young as five have been told off for bringing yoghurt, muesli bars, salad rolls and juice to school as over-zealous teachers try to enforce healthy eating rules. Some schools have a policy of confiscating anything deemed junk food - despite parents pleading to be allowed to give their children the occasional treat. Now, parents have reacted furiously to the lunchbox raids at schools and early childhood centres, saying it is political correctness gone mad." (New Zealand Herald)

"Invasion of the jellyfish: The secret life of stingers" - "They're one of Earth's simplest and most primitive life forms, but the mauve stinger and its friends are taking over our waters. As the Mediterranean is inundated, Paul Vallely reports." (London Independent)

Decline and fall (Number Watch)

From the ecoEnquirer:) "Near-Normal 2006 Hurricane Season Blamed on Global Warming" - "(Cambridge, MA) As the surprisingly quiet 2006 Atlantic hurricane season continues on its near-normal track, some global warming watchers are wondering, where is the near-record hurricane season that was predicted as recently as only a few months ago? With sea surface temperatures at about normal levels, and only 3 named tropical systems compared to 9 at this time last year, one might begin to question global warming theory. Don't even go there." (ecoEnquirer)

"Ancient Arctic water cycles are red flags to future global warming" - "New Haven, Conn. -- Ancient plant life recovered in recent Arctic Ocean sampling cores shows that at the time of the last major global warming, humidity, precipitation levels and salinity of the ocean water altered drastically, along with the elevated temperatures and levels of greenhouse gases, according to a report in the August 10 issue of Nature." (Yale University)

Climate Model Sensitivities with Known “Unknowns” and “Unknown Unknowns” by Dev Niyogi (Climate Science)

Seth's at it again! "Fight global warming with lifestyle change" - "Whether or not you blame global warming for this hot summer, you can do something about it -- just a bit. How much you do depends on your effort and the amount of sacrifice you are willing to make." (Seth Borenstein, AP)

What utter rubbish! Even if humans collectively ceased emitting carbon dioxide (even by breathing) it would have absolutely no measurable effect on global temperature. The great carbon farce is simply too silly for words.

Are you, or do you know someone who finds explanations of greenhouse and global warming a bit too hard? Someone who doesn't have time for complicated explanations and verbose commentaries? Then here's the source to suit: The pub trivia guide to global warming.

"The case for neglecting global warming" - "Capitalism produces so much food that we are never malnourished; it produces ample clothing and sturdy homes to protect us from the elements; it produces the soaps, shampoos, toothpastes and detergents that we use every day to cleanse our bodies and living spaces of bacteria and other dirt. And by continually substituting machines for human labor, capitalism progressively makes our work less backbreaking and less perilous.

These gains are significant and real. And they are continuing; no one knows where, or even if, they will stop.

Those of us who recognize these important benefits of capitalism -- those of us who understand that capitalism's true greatness lies not (as many critics insinuate) in producing oceans of pointless trinkets and baubles but in making the lives of ordinary people richer and fuller and longer -- are reluctant to yield power to governments to tackle global warming. We worry that this power will kill the goose that's laying this golden egg.

If you think that such a worry is exaggerated, recall the language Al Gore used in his book "Earth in the Balance." The former Vice President asserted that we are suffering an "environmental crisis" that can be avoided only if we "drastically change our civilization and our way of thinking." (Donald J. Boudreaux, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

We agree, the greatest risk faced by humanity today would appear to be none other than global warming hysterics. For example, see below, we have a marriage of inconvenience between The Governator and The Bloviator, with The Ozonator buzzing around the globe attempting to infect others with his peculiar brand of madness (which definitely seems contagious as exemplified by the coupling between Governator and Bloviator). The silliest part of the whole contrived "emergency" is that we know we cannot adjust the planet's thermostat by tweaking inconsequential trace gas emission.

"State's weatherman draws lots of heat" - "Every couple of years, reporters discover that Virginia has a state climatologist, that he also works for coal and gas companies, and that he doesn't believe that global warming will be so bad. His name is Patrick Michaels, he's a University of Virginia professor, and some of his opinions drive scientists and environmentalists absolutely nuts. To the list of the frustrated add the governor of Virginia." (The Virginian-Pilot)

The la-la-land of fruits and nuts: "Negotiators fine-tune plan on greenhouse gas emissions" - "Negotiations are intensifying between the Legislature and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger over an ambitious plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in California. Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez said he expects to introduce amendments next week on Assembly Bill 32 -- which would make California the first state to impose pollution caps on industries to combat global warming." (Sacramento Bee)

"Inconvenient Science" - "Climate Change: Politicians in California have closed debate on global warming. The time to act was yesterday. If you dissent, even if you're a well-credentialed climatologist, look out. The political climate is so heated that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger feels obliged to appease environmentalists, not to mention one-upping his Democrat challenger, Phil Angelides, even if it means abandoning his history of championing limited government. The nation's greenest Republican, bypassing his president (and maybe even the Constitution), just days ago signed an agreement with British Prime Minister Tony Blair to ward off the greenhouse monster." (IBD)

"Dutch Diplomat Appointed Head of UN Climate Change Convention" - "Secretary-General Kofi Annan today announced the appointment of a Dutch climate expert to lead the United Nations body responsible for monitoring an international climate change treaty. Yvo de Boer will become the new Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which is responsible for gathering and sharing information on greenhouse gas emissions, national policies and best practices, and launching national strategies for addressing the issue, among other measures." (Press Release)

The UN, redistributing your money: "Worlds apart, but the future is balanced between them" - "Suddenly, UK companies want to finance environmentally friendly initiatives in developing countries. Either business leaders have turned green campaigners, or we are seeing the rise of the next major global commodity - carbon." (London Independent)

And so is Defra: "Defra seeks carbon 'offsetter'" - "The Government is looking for a company to manage its "carbon offsetting" programme after a pledge to make its presidency of last year's G8 summit "carbon free" floundered." (London Independent)

"Climate change follows eternal laws" - "MOSCOW - Whenever a disaster strikes on land or at sea, people ask whether it should be attributed to dangerous climatic changes, usually referred to as global warming. Everyone has heard of it, but few have a clear idea of what it is all about." (Georgy Gruza for RIA Novosti)

"This weather is a liability" - "FOR sun-worshippers, soaring temperatures and sunny skies make it easier to accept the impact of global warming on the British climate. But for homeowners, the legacy of extreme weather could be more damaging than a bit of sunburn. Households face an increasing risk of damage to their properties caused by subsidence, storm damage and flooding because of climate change, according to the Association of British Insurers (ABI)." (London Times)

"Global warming behind disastrous typhoon season in China" - "BEIJING - Global warming is contributing to an unusually harsh typhoon season in China that started around a month early and has left thousands dead or missing, government officials and experts say. "The natural disasters caused by typhoons in our country have been many this year," the head of the China Meteorological Administration, Qin Dahe, said in recent comments on his organization's website. "Against the backdrop of global warming, more and more strong and unusual climatic and atmospheric events are taking place." (AFP)

One thing that must be said about "global warming" as a driver of tropical cyclones -- it sure isn't very global. While the Western Pacific has been quite lively this season's Atlantic Basin hurricane count is, um, zero so far, isn't it?

Eye-roller: "Report: Global warming real threat to California" - "Increasing temperatures will transform California, threatening some of its most valuable resources in coming decades. That's the primary message of a new state publication that summarizes 17 scientific studies examining how global warming is expected to play out in California. “The potential impacts of global warming are unmistakable, adding more days of deadly heat, more intense and frequent wildfires, shorter supplies of drinking water and serious public-health risks,” Linda Adams, the state's secretary for environmental protection, said yesterday during a news conference at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla." (Union-Tribune) | Report Warns of More Frequent Coastal Flooding and Rising Sea Levels (Newswise)

The value of global climate models for making "predictions" is virtually nil, their value at local scale is worse than useless. For those that are interested Roger Pielke Sr. has a few items on climate models here.

"UH to study how global warming affects isles" - "University of Hawaii researchers are planning some of the first studies of how global warming could change Hawaii's weather. Small changes in ocean and air temperatures could produce dramatic changes in storms, rainfall and wind. Scientists using computer models have been able to project the impact of global warming on large zones of the Earth. But until now they have been limited to 186-square-mile grids, said Kevin Hamilton, chairman of the department of meteorology. Hamilton plans use information from the Japanese Meteorological Research Institute to analyze areas as small as 12 square miles." (Star Bulletin)

"NZ: Time to tip hat in Asia-Pacific direction" - "The old saying that, if the cap fits, wear it, begs an important question – what if the cap doesn't fit? In the contentious field of climate change, some new pragmatism is apparent as the Government rises to the challenge of wearing the Kyoto cap and meeting the Kyoto protocol's targets for greenhouse gas emissions." (Dominion Post)

"Alarmist Tsunami" - "Across Asia Pacific his week, there was a surge of global warming hype. The novelty for new alarmism goes to the English-language Viet Nam News which prominently carried a feature by a Reuters writer in Oslo about Sheila Watt-Cloutier, a Canadian Inuit campaigner, who has claimed that air conditioners are being installed in the tiny Inuit town of Kuujjuaq in Quebec's icy North because of global warming." (Alan Oxley, TCS Daily)

"Swiss alarmed by threat of lake tsunamis" - "SWITZERLAND is drawing up emergency plans to cope with tsunamis after scientists warned that rocks from crumbling mountains could tumble into the country’s lakes and cause devastating tidal waves. The risk of a giant wave like the one that devastated southeast Asia at the end of 2004 may seem unlikely in a landlocked country, most of which is hundreds of feet above sea level, but experts insist it could happen and have drawn up a map highlighting the areas that are under the greatest threat. Rising temperatures are causing the permafrost that binds the high peaks of the Alps to melt, making the mountains increasingly unstable. Some of the best known tourist resorts, including St Moritz, Saas Fee and Zermatt, have been warned they are vulnerable." (Sunday Times)

"In Heat Waves, Generators Double as Saviors and Polluters" - "As searing heat stretched the New York metropolitan region’s electric grid to its limits last week, utilities and elected officials appealed for less power use, and it seemed to work. Industry officials reported that residents and businesses had curbed demand substantially, helping the system avoid major problems. But it was not all about raised thermostats, doused lights and workers sent home early. Part of the apparent drop in power use was, in fact, no drop at all — just a shift to another, much dirtier source of electricity." (New York Times)

With consummate ill-timing... "Tories plan tax rise on air travel" - "David Cameron's transport policy review team will propose a radical programme for steep tax rises on air travel and gas-guzzling cars offset by cuts in council tax, VAT and national insurance, it was revealed last night." (The Observer)

... the eco-toffs want to radically increase the cost of air travel precisely when airlines are under increased pressure from terrorist plots and the associated difficulties and inconveniences imposed on passengers. Something even the old Groaniad noticed (although they apparently approve, which underlines how bad the idea really must be):

"Guardian leader: Green thinking" - "As travellers endured queues and confusion at Britain's airports, the two main opposition parties chose the weekend to suggest putting air travel at the centre of a new generation of environmental taxes." (The Guardian)

What would the Tories do when such stupid acts cause the inevitable demise of airlines, nationalize them, bail them out with taxpayers' funds or simply watch the escalating unemployment? And they would do this in the name of a me-too "fight" against the phantom menace of carbon dioxide emission-driven "global warming". What an incredibly stupid game this has become.

"Oil refinery gives greenhouses a boost with CO2 pipeline" - "A project to reduce the carbon dioxide emissions from oil refineries by using the gas as "fertiliser" in commercial greenhouses has been so successful it is being extended. The project, which adds new meaning to the term "greenhouse gas", is the first in the world. It distributes CO2 from Shell's Pernis refinery outside Rotterdam to 400 greenhouses, saving a large amount of natural gas each year, which is equivalent to 170,000 tonnes of CO2." (The Guardian)

Sheesh! "Beyond Propaganda" - "FOR some men, it’s cars, a sports team or watching “The Godfather” over and over. For me, it’s oil companies. They fascinate me. Their size, their power, their reach. So I was particularly interested in the recent news about BP shutting down the nation’s largest oil field, in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska." (John Kenney, New York Times)

Hard to tell whether Kenney is naïve, stupid or just a clueless ad man with an inherently wrong worldview. Whatever the case, British Petroleum was and remains an oil company, a mixture of extractive industry and value-added processor, selling a product we all need -- although Browne with an "e" doesn't appear to have done the company any long-term favors by pandering to the delusions of the "fossil fuel use has added about one-sixth of a degree to global temperature and we're all gonna die" crowd. Perhaps Browne et al need to check out The pub trivia guide to global warming.

"Plasma screens threaten eco-crisis" - "Our insatiable appetite for the big picture is threatening the planet. A scientist has warned that if half of British homes buy a plasma-screen TV, two nuclear power stations would have to be built to meet the extra energy demand." (The Observer)

"Six-in-Ten Americans Back Nuclear Power" - "Many adults in the United States believe more nuclear reactors would be beneficial for their country, according to a poll by Bloomberg and the Los Angeles Times. 61 per cent of respondents support the increased use of nuclear power as a source of energy in order to prevent global warming." (Angus Reid Global Scan)

Doh! "Power loss a blow to wind farm" - "ONE of the UK's biggest offshore wind farms is producing less than a third of the electricity it should be, a new report has found." (Scotland on Sunday)

"March of the Martian turbines will reap the whirlwind" - "LAST week this newspaper reported the welcome news that the John Muir Trust, a charity prominent in conservation work, has joined the growing crusade against the proliferation of wind farms across the Scottish landscape." (Scotland on Sunday)

"Ethanol, Corn Users May Deplete US Supplies By 2008" - "WASHINGTON - US ethanol manufacturers, foodmakers and livestock feeders are consuming so much corn (maize) that stockpiles could be depleted by 2008, unless plantings expand sharply, analysts said on Friday." (Reuters)

"Midwest Drought Does Little Harm To Corn, Soybeans" - "The hottest July since the 1936 Dust Bowl did little harm to the nation's two biggest crops -- Midwest-grown corn and soybeans -- but that is doing little to cool food inflation. The drought, which engulfs the Great Plains from Texas to North Dakota, as well as parts of the Deep South, is continuing to shrink the harvest potential there of durum wheat, cotton, peanuts and sorghum. Yet major farm states such as Illinois, Indiana and Ohio are largely unscathed. Based on the government's first field surveys of the growing season, which were conducted around Aug. 1, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said corn farmers have the potential to produce 10.98 billion bushels, which would be the third-largest on record and up 2.2% from the government's month-old forecast. The earlier forecast was based on interviews with farmers." (Wall Street Journal)

"Americans less likely to accept evolution than Europeans" - "East Lansing, Mich. -- Surveys by a Michigan State University researcher find that about one-third of the American population does not believe in evolution, a figure which is much higher than those found in similar surveys in European nations and Japan." (Michigan State University)

"GM attitudes depend on food type" - "A recent study into public attitudes towards genetically modified foods has confirmed that attitudes change significantly depending on the type of food being considered." (Food Navigator)

August 11, 2006

"The Other Side of the Soda Fat Scare Story" - "“Americans have sipped and slurped their way to fatness by drinking far more soda and other sugary drinks over the last four decades, a new scientific review concludes,” reported the Associated Press this week. It’s too bad that the AP didn’t report the full story as told -- and yet, not told -- in the review itself, rather than apparently just regurgitating the researchers’ media release." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"Study finds parental time to be key in fight against childhood obesity" - "COLLEGE STATION – The fight against obesity in children just got a new weapon, thanks to a multi-year study by researchers from Texas A&M University. The study found that the amounts and quality of time parents spent with their children has a direct effect on children's rates of obesity, said Dr. Alex McIntosh, lead researcher. McIntosh is professor of sociology with a research appointment from Texas Agricultural Experiment Station." (Texas A&M University - Agricultural Communications)

"Forest fire smoke costs millions in human health" - "EDMONTON - A computer simulation of forest fires shows the cost to human health from smoke can be a huge expense when timber is alight. "The overall health impacts were significant, when compared to other related costs such as firefighting," said Vic Adamowicz, a professor of rural economy at the University of Alberta who co-authored the study, Economic Analysis of Health Effects From Forest Fires. One-third of particulate matter emissions in Canada come from forest fires." (CanWest News Service) | Forest fires a huge cost to health (University of Alberta)

"Heat Avoidance Advice Insufficient During Heat Waves" - "The passive dissemination of advice on heat avoidance is insufficient for health protection during a heat wave, and vulnerable people need to be actively identified and cared for, argues a public health expert in this week’s BMJ." (Newswise)

"For Californians, Deadly Heat Cut a Broad Swath" - "A death toll in last month’s heat wave of roughly 140, the highest since 1955, has shocked and unnerved officials." (New York Times)


The Uncertainties in Black Carbon Impacts on Climate - A 2006 AGU Conference (Climate Science)

Hmm... "Greenland's ice loss accelerating rapidly, gravity-measuring satellites reveal" - "A new analysis of data from twin satellites has revealed that the melting of Greenland's ice sheet has increased dramatically in the past few years, with much of the loss occurring primarily along one shoreline potentially affecting weather in Western Europe. The loss of ice has been occurring about five times faster from Greenland's southeastern region in the past two years than in the previous year and a half. The dramatic changes were documented during a University of Texas at Austin study of Greenland's mass between 2002 and 2005." (University of Texas at Austin)

... more hyper-short-term claims from GRACE. Are their PGR models any good? Don't know but we do note with raised eyebrow that a patch of open sea in the North Atlantic also "got shorter" with an anomaly of -90Km3/year in the region around 52N, 40W (areas in the Davis Strait & the Norwegian Sea also showed "losses" of -40Km3/year and -50Km3/year, respectively) while the North Sea south of Reykjavik actually got taller (+40Km3/year). Some mighty funny goings on in the North Atlantic -- or not.

Meanwhile: "Study shows snowfall hasn't increased over Antarctica in last 50 years: Findings dispute assumptions in some climate change models" - "COLUMBUS , Ohio – An international effort to determine the variability of recent snowfall over Antarctica shows that there has been no real increase in precipitation over the southernmost continent in the last half-century. The results are important since most accepted computer models assessing global climate change call for an increase in Antarctic precipitation as atmospheric temperatures rise. The findings also suggest that the slow-but-steady rise in global sea levels isn't being slowed by a thickening of Antarctica 's massive ice sheets, as some climate-change critics have argued." (Ohio State University) | Overall Antarctic snowfall hasn't changed in 50 years: Large variations make establishing trends difficult (National Science Foundation) | Predictably: Antarctic snow may hide climate shock (ABC Science Online)

The more we study, the more we realize we just don't know. Funny that the Australian Broadcasting Corp. had to dig up the conclusion there might be catastrophe looming due to "Antarctic lag". The simpler scenario and obvious conclusion is that there has been little genuine warming for the world and specifically Antarctica to respond to over the past 50 years, firstly because the period 1940s through 1970s suggested cooling on a global scale and secondly because the allegedly alarming near-surface warming since being concurrent with the closure of rural recording sites and actually an artifact of that same urbanization of the record -- i.e., we are confusing urban heat island with global trends. Whichever way you look at it, the lack of apparent change in a key indicator like Antarctic snowfall provides far greater support for the "situation normal" scenario than it does of radical and catastrophic change.

"Gore isn't quite as green as he's led the world to believe" - "Al Gore has spoken: The world must embrace a "carbon-neutral lifestyle." To do otherwise, he says, will result in a cataclysmic catastrophe. "Humanity is sitting on a ticking time bomb," warns the website for his film, An Inconvenient Truth. "We have just 10 years to avert a major catastrophe that could send our entire planet into a tailspin." (Peter Schweizer, USA Today)

"Cities, States Aren't Waiting For U.S. Action on Climate" - "With Washington lawmakers deadlocked on how best to curb global warming, state and local officials across the country are adopting ambitious policies and forming international alliances aimed at reducing greenhouse gases." (Washington Post)

Funny: "Family albums highlight climate change" - "Experts turn to old notebooks and photos to press home global warming message." (Nature)

If it "proves" global warming then phenological and literary evidence is good but the mountains of literature, art and historical accounts of the Roman and Medieval warm periods and the Dark Ages and Little Ice Age cold periods are so suspect they must be discounted, right? Right...

"Help call over climate-change fires" - "Growing pressure on fire and rescue services caused by climate change is being ignored by the Government, a leading trade union has warned. The Fire Brigades Union has called for an immediate end to cuts in personnel and for an immediate cash injection of £60 million to be distributed fairly between fire authorities, in recognition of the additional pressures and substantial costs increases they are now facing." (Press Association)

"Global Warming: Business could feel effects of change" - "In the global warming debate, resistance in the business world to curbing greenhouse gas emissions often derives from one powerful barrier: cost. President Bush and others have said that regulating carbon dioxide emissions could cripple the U.S. economy, forcing utilities to switch to expensive technologies and alternative energy supplies, while raising consumer prices. Yet many business owners are saying they can't afford not to address global warming as rising energy costs and temperatures hit the bottom line." (Salt Lake Tribune)

Optimizing efficiency, including energy, is great, who could have a problem with it? Just don't confuse it with "addressing global warming" because it will and can do no such thing.

"Japan: Geothermal power generation starts slowing down" - "MORIOKA, Iwate Pref. Geothermal power, touted as an alternative energy after the 1973 oil crisis, is being jeopardized by higher costs and difficulties to secure sites for plants. The problems are severe enough that the technology could die out, despite the growing need for Japan to diversify its sources of energy as the price of crude oil skyrockets." (Kyodo)

"Water waste 'threatens wildlife'" - "Water wastage needs to be tackled to prevent the "devastating effects" shortages can have on the environment and wildlife, campaigners have warned." (BBC)

"Blow to plan for polar conservation zone as India joins the cold rush" - "New research base would add to human pressure on isolated area, environmentalists fear." (The Guardian)

"Mussels evolve quickly to defend against invasive crabs" - "DURHAM, N.H. – Scientists at the University of New Hampshire (UNH) have found that invasive crab species may precipitate evolutionary change in blue mussels in as little as 15 years. The study, by UNH graduate student Aaren Freeman with associate professor of zoology James Byers and published in the Aug. 11 issue of the journal Science, indicates that such a response can evolve in an evolutionary nanosecond compared to the thousands of years previously assumed. The paper is called "Divergent induced responses to an invasive predator in marine mussel populations." (University of New Hampshire)

"This isn't farming, it's madness" - "ON A broiling afternoon recently when anyone with a reasonable excuse was lying in the shade with a cold drink, I watched a performance in a Perthshire field that made me as angry as I have been in my life.

The apparatus involved wasn't much to look at, consisting of ten stretchers of the sort used by the medical corps, but covered in webbing instead of canvas and mounted side by side on a steel frame with wheels at each end. The whole thing was surmounted by a light steel frame supporting a canvas awning and hitched to a tractor.

I watched, at first incredulously, then with mounting fury, as ten workers face down on the stretchers, heads supported by a small webbing strap, were pulled slowly up the rows of an organic vegetable field to pull weeds by hand.

This, I thought, is not so much exploitation as degradation and a disgrace to Scottish agriculture. To use human beings to do by hand something that horse-drawn scufflers did a century and a half ago, or spring tine weeders were invented to do 60 years ago, is the antithesis of everything I consider worthwhile." (John Stewart, The Scotsman)

"Saving California From Californians" - "Enlightened legislators are sparing the minority from being tyrannized by the majority. Agriculture in California will be the better for it." (Dr. Henry I. Miller, TCS Daily)

"Tasmanian scientists uncover omega-three secret for salmon" - "The work of Tasmanian scientists could significantly ease pressure on fish stocks around the world while getting rid of a major problem for Australian farmers. Researchers from the University of Tasmania and CSIRO have discovered that salmon fed oil extracted from the noxious weed patterson's curse (Echium plantagineum) can produce their own omega-three. It is the first time in the world salmon have been shown to make omega-three themselves, as usually they accumulate it from other marine sources. The discovery could ease pressure on fish stocks because fish farms would not rely as heavily on marine sources for feed." (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

"South Africa: Demonstration over GM-food labelling turns nasty" - "It was meant to be a demonstration about food labelling - but it turned into the most unconventional food fight ever to hit a quiet Randburg mall. Instead of entertaining shoppers with a skit about how to shop for non-GM (genetically modified) foods yesterday, American re-searchers and members of anti-GM group, the SA Freeze Alliance on Genetic Engineering (Safeage) became embroiled in an angry confrontation with pro-GM student demonstrators." (Star & Independent Online)

August 10, 2006

"Sticking it to the Mosquitoes" - "Every 30 seconds an African child dies of Malaria. The new chief of the World Health Organization's malaria program, Arata Kochi, set out to deal with deadly mosquitoes -- but he's also is having to battle angry environmentalists and the prickly pharmaceutics industry." (Der Spiegel)

"Today's babies are fatter babies" - "Boston -- By examining more than 120,000 children under age 6 in Massachusetts over 22 years, a newly published study shows that young children--especially infants--are now more likely to be overweight. This study was based at the Department of Ambulatory Care and Prevention of Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and appears in the July issue of Obesity." (Harvard Medical School)

"Invasive species alter habitat to their benefit" - "Ann Arbor, Mich. -- When scientists study habitats that alien species have invaded, they usually find predictable patterns. The diversity of native species declines, and changes occur in natural processes such as nutrient cycling, wildfire frequency and the movement of water through the system. But simply observing such changes doesn't prove that the invaders are responsible." (University of Michigan)

"FEATURE - Louisiana Builds New Land With River Mud" - "PILOTTOWN, Louisiana - Louisiana is mining a new type of black gold: Mississippi River mud.
A pilot project at the river mouth shows how the hurricane-ravaged state may be able to rebuild its vanishing coast with fertile river bottom soil now dumped by dredges into the ocean. Louisiana continuously clears the bottom of the Mississippi River to aid navigation, then dumps far offshore sediment that the river carries from tributaries in more than 30 states. But recently a dredge clearing a few miles of the river moved the mud into nearby shallow water, rather than dumping it off the continental shelf in the Gulf of Mexico. The result: New terra, though not quite firma." (Reuters)

"Study Credits Vehicles, but Not Drivers, for Better Road Safety" - "WASHINGTON, Aug. 9 — Cars are becoming safer, but the people who drive them are not, a study by an insurance industry research group has found. In fact, without design changes that have made vehicles safer, including the growing prevalence of air bags, the death toll on the nation’s roads would be higher by about 5,000 people annually, more than 11 percent of last year’s total, according to the study." (New York Times)

"Studies Prove: Part II" - "My late mentor, Nobel Prize-winning economist George Stigler, used to say that it could be very instructive to spend a few hours in a library checking up on studies that had been cited. When I began doing that, I found it not only instructive but disillusioning." (Thomas Sowell, Creators Syndicate)

"Hurricanes: Tempests in a greenhouse" - "Greenhouse gases make Earth's surface hotter than it would be if the planet were simply a blackbody radiator. That additional warming is an important driver of hurricanes." (Kerry Emanuel, Physics Today)

Unless I've misread this, the calculated difference in max wind speed from a 1 K increase in ocean surface temperature will be less than our ability to detect and measure it, suggesting this is a tempest in a teacup.

"Stronger hurricanes spawn bigger storm surges" - "WASHINGTON, Aug 9 - Stronger hurricanes forecast for the next few decades could flood major cities including Miami and New Orleans, environmental scientists said on Wednesday." (Reuters)

A sense of proportion (Number Watch)

?!! "Arctic thawed in prehistoric global warming" - "The last time massive amounts of greenhouse gases were released into the atmosphere, the North Pole was an ice-free expanse of open ocean that was teeming with tropical organisms, a study has found." (London Independent) | Study breaks ice on ancient Arctic thaw (Rice University) | Arctic coring expedition continues to yield new clues (Integrated Ocean Drilling Program Management International)

Not exactly, there was no Arctic Ice Cap to thaw. The region is believed to have transitioned from temperate to sub-tropical with the PETM, there was no frigid zone in the period prior to the hypothesized "prehistoric global warming".

"It's the end as he knows it" - "Al Gore's rant on the environment would be funny if it wasn't so alarmist, writes Miranda Devine." (Sydney Morning Herald)

"An Inconvenient Truth" - "It’s the rare bestseller that commits factual suicide in its first pages, but Al Gore has managed this feat in a big way in An Inconvenient Truth." (World Climate Report)

"Coalition of evangelicals presents alternate environmental policies" - "WASHINGTON—A coalition of more than 110 evangelical Christians from various fields has issued a rebuttal to the arguments of evangelical leaders urging mandates to restrict human-induced global warming, calling instead for environmental policies it believes will more greatly benefit the poor." (BP)

"Grouse shooting, global warming link" - "THE British grouse shooting season, which begins this weekend, is contributing to global warming, an ecology specialist told the latest edition of New Scientist magazine today." (Agence France-Presse)

"Greening of Chicago Starts at the Top Floor" - "CHICAGO -- Atop the scalding eighth-floor roof of the Chicago Cultural Center, workers dripped sweat as they planted row upon tidy row of hardy plants, the latest signal of one big-city government's determination to be green." (Washington Post)

"Can Arnold Terminate Emissions?" - "In a move many Europeans have hailed as a snub of Bush's environmental policy, British Prime Minister Tony Blair last week signed a deal with California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to move towards a transatlantic emissions trading market. But would such a market be feasible?" Part II | Part III (Der Spiegel)

"ANALYSIS - EU Drought Unlikely to Halt Carbon Price Slide" - "LONDON - A continuing European dry spell is likely to push up carbon emissions, prompting differences among analysts over the demand for and future price of pollution-permitting carbon credits in the EU carbon market." (Reuters)

"Prayer Conditioning" - "How appropriate that the ailing Fidel Castro managed to intrude upon a fairly heavy news cycle, since the numerous power outages and rolling blackouts caused by the current heat wave have left so many American cities resembling Havana." (Max Schulz, TCS Daily)

"Nuclear power's green promise dulled by rising temps" - "Problems with Europe's nuclear plants have raised worries just as the energy was gaining support." (The Christian Science Monitor)

Actually this makes a fine demonstration of inadequate water infrastructure.

Another dot.bomb bubble: "ANALYSIS - Biofuels Drive Fund Investments Into Crops" - "PARIS - Agricultural markets are joining other commodities in attracting huge money flows from investment funds that see strong potential returns from wheat, corn and sugar on growing demand for biofuel, analysts said on Wednesday." (Reuters)

"Ethanol Proponents Cheer Momentum, Eye Challenges" - "KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Ethanol is gaining rapid momentum in its battle with Big Oil over how to fuel America's future, but several key skirmishes lie ahead, ethanol proponents said Wednesday." (Reuters)

"Stick to food or switch to fuel: farmers must decide" - "WITH the world facing an oil crisis, farmers will have to decide whether they are in the food or the fuel business, the Agriculture Australia Conference in Sydney heard yesterday." (Sydney Morning Herald)

"UK: Ex-minister's fury as tough pesticide controls rejected" - "The former Labour minister Lord Melchett led furious protests last night to David Miliband, the Environment Secretary, over the Government's rejection of tougher controls on pesticides, which have been linked to Parkinson's disease. Lord Melchett, policy director of the Soil Association, wrote to Mr Miliband to protest at the rejection of a range of safety measures, including buffer zones around sprayed fields, as recommended by the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution." (London Independent)

"Can You Trust The USDA Organic Label?" - "Consumers across the country are paying higher prices for fruits, vegetables, milk and bread that carry the USDA Organic label. What does the label mean? Apparently, not much. There’s almost no testing of organic produce for pesticide residues, though all farmers use pesticides of some sort." (CGFI)

"Genetic snooze button governs timing of spring flowers" - "Boston -- In the long, dark days of winter, gardeners are known to count the days until spring. Now, scientists have learned, some plants do exactly the same thing." (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

"Waterproof rice gene identified" - "Scientists say they have identified a gene that will allow rice plants to survive being completely submerged in water for up to two weeks. Most rice plants die within a week of being underwater, but the researchers hope the new gene will offer greater protection to the world's rice harvest. Farmers in south-east Asia lose an estimated £524m ($1bn) each year from rice crops being destroyed by flooding." (BBC) | New flood-tolerant rice offers relief for world's poorest farmers (University of California - Davis)

"INTERVIEW - India's use of GM cotton seen doubling in 2007" - "MUMBAI - India's cultivation of genetically modified cotton is expected to double over the next year as farmers opt for more disease-resistant seeds amid a rise in the country's total cotton production." (Reuters)

"Escaped golf-course grass frees gene genie in the US" - "A nondescript grass discovered in the Oregon countryside is hardly an alien invasion. Yet the plant - a genetically modified form of a grass commonly grown on golf courses - is worrying the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) enough that it is running its first full environmental impact assessment of a GM plant." (New Scientist)

August 9, 2006

"Malaria Battlers Enlist Power of Your PC" - "Thousands of volunteers are lending their PC power to help fight the scourge of malaria. Researchers behind a new project called MalariaControl.net are harnessing the number-crunching power of idle computers to model the effects of the disease and possible treatments." (National Geographic News)

"The Measles Vaccine Follies" - "Irrational fears of vaccination seem to have been responsible for an outbreak of measles in Indiana last year. It was a sad example of how parents who think they are protecting their children by shunning a vaccine can end up doing them harm." (New York Times)

Not smoking kills (someone else)? "Lawyers in Murder Appeal Use Cigarette-Break Defense" - "Lawyers for an Ohio man argued that their client should be spared the death penalty, partly because jurors were not allowed to smoke while deliberating." (New York Times)

"Report says sugary drinks pile on pounds" - "Americans have sipped and slurped their way to fatness by drinking far more soda and other sugary drinks over the last four decades, a new scientific review concludes. An extra can of soda a day can pile on 15 pounds in a single year, and the "weight of evidence" strongly suggests that this sort of increased consumption is a key reason that more people have gained weight, the researchers say." (Associated Press)

"Outsourcing obesity" - "The world is fast becoming fat and rotund. Is the industrially produced food the new killer?" (Devinder Sharma, Planeta Porto Alegre)

"We are more than what we eat" - "What does the middle-class obsession with their children's food actually mask? Andrew O'Hagan thinks it expresses a fear that we aren't spending enough time with our children." (London Telegraph)

"Monet's view of London casts light on pollution" - "The precise spot where Claude Monet produced his atmospheric paintings of the Houses of Parliament has been traced by two scientists who say that his art might help reveal the composition of the polluted skies of Victorian London." (London Telegraph)

"NOAA Curtails Hurricane Forecast" - "MIAMI, Aug. 8 -- The 2006 hurricane season -- so far quiet -- has fallen far behind last year's record for tropical storm activity, but scientists on Tuesday issued a prediction that this year will nonetheless be above average, with seven to nine hurricanes forming in the Atlantic basin." (Washington Post)

Big Time Gambling With Multi-Decadal Global Climate Model Predictions by Roger A. Pielke Sr. and Roger A. Pielke Jr. (Climate Science)

Certainly worth highlighting again: Interview of Professor Craig Bohren of Pennsylvania State University in USAToday.com (Climate Science)

Playing fair on warming debate (Climate Science)

"Embracing Our Ever-Changing Earth" - "Not long ago, the New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman took a break from his analysis of world affairs and went to Machu Picchu in Peru to have a look at the Andes Mountains. According to his column filed that day, Mr. Friedman was troubled by what he saw. The mighty peaks surrounding Machu Picchu, once described in guide books as "snow capped," are now merely "snow frosted," he tells us. Not only is the snow disappearing from the mountains, but a whole cascade of calamities is now about to descend on this vulnerable mountain community. The giant white corn is getting smaller because "the water level is going down, and the temperature is going up." Precious and unique species of plants and animals are threatened with extinction because the boundaries between mountain climate zones are beginning to change. The very fabric of this community is unraveling and the culprit is global warming, the great ecological disaster that has now replaced the Population Explosion in the fevered imagination of the eco left." (Peter Pettus, New York Sun)

"A Hot Urban Legend" - "According to news reports, the recent heat wave in California was responsible for about 150 fatalities. Many people including the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change believe this can only get worse with global warming, predicting a doubling or a tripling of heat-related deaths in North American cities in the next decade.

Global warming or not, our cities have been warming, and will continue to do so. Sprawling masonry and blacktop retain heat and impede the flow of ventilating winds. (Here in DC, there’s an additional warming: waste heat from all the money changing hands). So, this makes the notion of increasing heat-related deaths, as cities warm, a very testable hypothesis.

The United Nations is dead wrong." (World Climate Report)

Speaking of organized corruption: "Global Carbon Exchange to Launch on Time - UN" - "LONDON - The United Nations Climate Change Secretariat will launch a global carbon exchange on time in April 2007, it told Reuters on Tuesday, reassuring traders and investors awaiting the award of a related software contract." (Reuters)

"Hooray for Global Warming" - "Every time we have a summer heatwave invariably the media go crazy with talk of global warming. You would think they would be used to the phenomenon of seasons by now. But it is great fodder for the features producers, and since the weather is on everybody’s mind you might as well go with a segment on climate change. It’s a nice respite from the real problems in the world. Personally, I don’t know what all the shouting is about. Global warming is great. Granted, maybe it isn’t really happening, and if it is there are strong reasons to doubt that humans have anything to do with it. But if the world is warming, I say “bravo.” People in most parts of the globe should have no objection to a warmer, wetter climate. If the aliens were watching they’d conclude we were making our planet more habitable on purpose." (James S. Robbins, NRO)

Dopey buggers: "New Mexico Forced to Buy on Chicago Climate Mart" - "NEW YORK - New Mexico, the only US state member of a voluntary US climate exchange, must buy credits for the right to emit gases linked to global warming because it hasn't cut emissions of them as much as it had agreed." (Reuters)

"Free market advocate says fight effects, not global warming" - "A debate among climate change experts has some researchers now suggesting that we focus on limiting the damage done by climate change, rather than on passing laws intended to prevent global warming, RAW STORY has learned." (Raw Story)

Episode MMVI, the fantasy continues... "Med to lose pull as Earth heats up" - "As the climate heats up, fewer of us will be flying south to the Mediterranean and beyond to find holiday sunshine, according to a computer model predicting the effects of global warming on tourism. Instead the south coasts of England, Wales and Ireland will see an influx of tourists put off by the Med's searing temperatures." (The Guardian)

Climate models are of little or no value for predicting future climate globally, none whatsoever at regional scales.

"NZ: Expect more extreme rain in future - scientist" - "A climate change scientist has predicted by 2080 New Zealand will be on average up to two degrees warmer and generally drier in eastern areas, including Hawke's Bay and Marlborough – but will experience more days of extreme heavy rainfall." (Dominion Post)

"Climate Change Threatens Pollination Timing" - "One of the most insidious impacts of global warming will be changes in the timing of ecological events which can disrupt natural communities. At a special session on this subject at the ESA annual meeting, University of Maryland’s Dr. David Inouye presents three decades of data suggesting climate change impacts on pollination ecology in mountain environments." (Newswise)

From CO2 Science this week:

Has the Historical Rise in the Air's CO 2 Content Stimulated Tree Growth Over the Past Century?: An intriguing new study of white spruce trees in Canada provides compelling evidence that it has.

Medieval Warm Period Records of the Week:
This issue's Medieval Warm Period Records of the Week come from Lake Redon, Central Pyrenees, Northeast Spain and Pickerel Lake, South Dakota, USA.  To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.

Subject Index Summary:
Climate Oscillations (Millennial Variability - Europe): What do we learn about 20th-century global warming from studies of the much-longer climatic history of Europe?

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: American Shoreweed, Climbing Nightshade, Creosote Bush, and a Wild Radish.

Journal Reviews:
The Real Cause for Concern About Sea Level: What is it?

Effects of Global Warming on El Niños: Some climate models are beginning to better represent reality in this regard.

The Medieval Warm Period in Western North America: Was it warmer or cooler than it is today?

Global Warming and Carbon Sequestration by Boreal Ecosystems: How does the former affect the latter?

Recovery from Bleaching in Corals: A new study reveals a mechanism that greatly boosts success rates. (co2science.com)

"There Is No Ethanol Revolution in Brazil" - "Most ethanol apologists like to use the example of Brazil. Unfortunately, I live in Brazil and I see no ethanol revolution here. In fact, the heavily subsidized ethanol program (Pro-Alcool) used to be an ecological and social disaster." (Andre Kenji de Sousa, Lew Rockwell)

"Few in Hong Kong Turn Off Lights Against Pollution" - "HONG KONG - Hong Kong responded without much enthusiasm on Tuesday to a call by environmentalists to turn off lights for a few minutes to highlight air pollution in the city. Few turned off their lights at the scheduled 8 p.m. (1200 GMT), and much of the city's high rise towers and busy harbourfronts remained lit up as they usually are. "There was a bit of a dim," said organiser Alastair Robins, who watched the scene from Victoria Peak - Hong Kong island's highest point. "It wasn't great, it wasn't what we were hoping for." (Reuters)

"Environmental Bounty-Hunting: How Earthjustice and other green groups abuse the legal system." - "Private prosecution of crimes has a long and sordid history, and that history isn't over. Bounty hunters no longer hound innocent people to death as some did in England in the mid-18th century, but environmental groups such as the Natural Resources Defense Council have modified the tactic. They use "citizen suits" to reap rich rewards for themselves with little positive impact on the environment." (Bruce L. Benson, Opinion Journal)

"Radical Ambitions" - "Have you noticed that the leaders of the global NGO movement, such as WWF and Oxfam, no longer demonize the World Bank as a tool of the free market? They reckon they have brought it to heel. Given how James Wolfenson indulged them while he ran the Bank, they are entitled to think so. Their current goal is to compromise the WTO in similar fashion. While Greenpeace has been direct about this, Oxfam and WWF have played a slyer game. However their response to the suspension of the negotiations in the Doha shows their true anti-development hand." (Alan Oxley, TCS Daily)

Greenies are agin it: "Trading trees: now developers bank bushland" - "PROPERTY developers will be able to build on environmentally sensitive land under State Government laws that will allow them to offset the damage by protecting plants and animals elsewhere. At least one developer, Hardie Holdings, a regular donor to the Labor Party, is already moving to capitalise on the scheme by buying 7000 high-conservation hectares that could be traded for precious land that it and other developers want to build on.

Many in the property industry argue the "biobank" scheme will do more to protect threatened species than current laws, while ensuring a good flow of desperately needed housing land in Sydney and NSW. But green groups describe it as a "pay to kill" policy that will give the go-ahead to developments that otherwise would be rejected because of the environmental damage they would do. Biobanking will enable developers to buy credits created through land conservation elsewhere - either by the developer or another landowner - to offset a housing project on sensitive land." (Sydney Morning Herald)

"The rush to control blue gold" - "LONDON - When Ted Turner bought his first parcel of land in Patagonia in 1996, his ostensible motivation was getting away from it all - not to mention the fabulous fly-fishing. A self-proclaimed ecologist, the media mogul has bought huge tracts of wilderness with the idea of managing it in a sustainable way. In the United States, he has nearly 800,000ha, compared with the 647,500ha owned by the Nature Conservancy, the largest land-conservation organisation in the US. Of course there's a business angle - Turner's land in Patagonia happens to contain some of the most important sources of fresh water in the region. When, as a young man, he was asked what single investment he would make, he answered: "Water." (London Independent)

Rethinking or not thinking? "Agriculture and tropical conservation: rethinking old ideas" - "Ann Arbor, Mich. -- It's a long-held view in conservation circles that rural peasant activities are at odds with efforts to preserve biodiversity in the tropics. In fact, the opposite is often true, argue University of Michigan researchers John Vandermeer and Ivette Perfecto.

Combining case studies with ecological theory, Vandermeer and Perfecto found that the peasant farming practices encouraged by grassroots movements such as Brazil's Landless Workers Movement, Mexico's Zapatistas or the international Via Campesina actually support conservation, while the practices of extremely wealthy landowners often undermine it. The researchers will present their findings Aug. 8 in two symposia at the Ecological Society of America meeting in Memphis, Tenn.

"When you talk to peasant producers in tropical areas, they're usually surprised when they hear that conservationists think that they're the enemies of conservation," said Vandermeer, who is the Margaret Davis Collegiate Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. "They love their farms and all the plants and animals in the area, and they see that it's the big, rich landowners who come in and cut all the trees down and turn the land into cattle pastures. So the standard litany doesn't ring true to them." (University of Michigan)

Not sure whether they are romanticizing poverty or quite where they are going with this. Didn't see any evaluation of net productivity and total land/biodiversity disturbance either and without calculating the effect of all consumers of modern agriculture's output needing to be supported by slash and burn subsistence farming it would appear rather naïve nonsense.

"Sheep and goat farming at the service of medicine" - "Goat milk may be used in the production of various medications. In the aim of researchers are immune deficiencies, like Aids or those acquired through radiotherapy or chemotherapy, and the lesions caused by a myocardial infarction." (ANBA)

"Drought Tolerant Wheat and Allergy-Free Grasses Among Biotechnology Advances Highlighted at Global Conference" - "SAN FRANCISCO, CA and MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA -- August 08, 2006 -- More than 1,000 researchers from 40 different countries attending an agricultural biotechnology conference in Australia this week will learn about a series of innovations that promise to impact food production around the world. In a series of announcements at the conference, officials of the State of Victoria and scientists in the region will describe work to develop drought resistant wheat and allergy-free ryegrass, more productive dairy cows, and healing proteins derived from milk." (MARKET WIRE)

"Scientists battle destructive bollworm" - "Australian scientists spearheading the fight against the world's worst agricultural pest say the first step is to get to know their enemy - intimately. So intimately, in fact, that the key to beating the helicoverpa amigera moth - or cotton bollworm - could lie in the moth's genome sequence, say experts from the Melbourne-based Bio 21 Institute." (AAP)

"Opinions divided on GM foods" - "A lot of Australians say they do not want genetically modified (GM) food, but when it comes down to it, they will still eat it. Craig Cormick, from the federal government agency Biotechnology Australia, said research indicated that only half of surveyed Australians would accept GM food. However, focus groups showed 80 to 90 per cent would willingly eat it in processed food. Research also showed those in favour or against GM food were becoming less fixed in their views, and public opinion could go either way, he said." (AAP)

August 8, 2006

"Ross Gelbspan: Still Lying About the Pulitzer Prize" - "Global warming hysteric Ross Gelbspan continues to have difficulty dealing with the fact that he has never won a Pulitzer Prize." (Steven Milloy, JunkScience.com)

"How to get to the bottom of the global warming debate" - "Q: There seems to be a lot of political debate about if global warming is true or not. How can a non-scientific person sort out what the facts are and what is just an agenda? (Washington, DC)

A: Global warming is often defined as "the observed increase in the mean (average) temperature of the Earth's atmosphere and oceans in recent decades," which, unfortunately, leads to difficulties.

I am indebted to physicist and meteorologist Craig Bohren, distinguished professor emeritus at the Pennsylvania State University for sorting out problems, biases, and what objective answers that exist. Bohren has no horse in the climate change debate: As a retired professor, he is not worried about losing or gaining funding based on his opinions. This is his answer:" (April Holloday, USA Today)

Global Cooling From Aerosol Climate Forcings (Climate Science)

"NASA looks to uncover complexities of clouds" - "Despite thousands of years of cloud-gazing, the wispy, sometimes mountainous puffballs continue to baffle scientists who study Earth's energy-balancing act. Clouds cover more than half of Earth at any given time. During the day, they block out the sun's energy and cool us off. At night, they keep us warm. The largest uncertainty in predicting climate change is how to fully account for clouds' effects at trapping or reflecting the sun's energy. Yet their significance in Earth's climate got scant attention in the much-talked-about recent movie on global warming, "An Inconvenient Truth." That may be because the inner lives of clouds, the mix of water vapor, ice and airborne particles called aerosols, are complicated, says atmospheric scientist Chip Trepte of NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton." (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

"Tourists Flock to Eiger to Watch Rumble in the Alps" - "GRINDELWALD, Switzerland - Sometimes, global warming can help put money in your pocket. Hansruedi Burgener has welcomed up to 800 people a day -- twice the average number of visitors -- to his remote mountain hostel in the Alps this summer. They all hope to watch a rock the size of two Empire State Buildings collapse onto the canyon floor up to 200 m (656 feet) below, as retreating glacier ice robs a cliff face on the eastern edge of the Eiger mountain of its main support." (Reuters)

"Sweltering July Was 2nd Hottest on Record" - "WASHINGTON -- Folks who sweated through last month's blistering heat wave may be surprised to know it was only the second hottest July on record for the United States. More than 2,300 daily temperature records were broken from coast to coast, and the average temperature for the 48 contiguous states was 77.2 degrees Fahrenheit, the National Climatic Data Center reported Monday. July 1936 still holds the record at 77.5, while July 1934 fell to third place at 77.1, the agency said." (Associated Press)

<chuckle> "Britain can still lead the world - on climate change" - "Having been sidelined over the Middle East crisis, Tony Blair should focus on an area where he can make a difference." (Polly Toynbee, The Guardian)

I reckon if I had to put up with English weather I'd be trying to lead the world in changing the climate, too :)

There's been a lot of media talk about unusually hot summers of late and indefatigable correspondent Dennis A. contributes:

The BBC Panorama series last night had a program on water supply and water leakage rates from the utilities, but as part of the intro, the usual mantra was repeated: "With hot summers increasing because of global warming..."
As usual a look at the facts gives a different answer. Whilst I could probably cherry pick even better ones I went back from 2005 on 30 year cycles:
CET Summer record 
30 year
+/- previous
 period end co2
The CO2 effect.......
CET summer record
summer temp
co2 ppm
CO 2 ppm
50 year
 period end co2
overall change
1751-1800 v 1951-2000 is quite interesting.

That it took to the latter half of the 20th Century to recover to the summer temperatures of the 18th? We agree with Dennis, quite interesting indeed.

"Ancient bison teeth provide window on past Great Plains climate, vegetation" - "A University of Washington researcher has devised a way to use the fossil teeth of ancient bison as a tool to reconstruct historic climate and vegetation changes in America's breadbasket, the Great Plains." (University of Washington)

Uh-oh... "Most Americans Worried About Global Warming" - "Many adults in the United States express concerns over climate change, according to a poll by Bloomberg and the Los Angeles Times. 74 per cent of respondents describe global warming as a very or somewhat serious problem." (Angus Reed Global Scan)

... looks like a lot of people are being misled on this non-issue. Perhaps your friends need you to send them a link to Greenhouse, global warming - and some facts.

"Concerns about climate change reach boiling point" - "Here's a piece of news to put your mind at ease: The Terminator and Phony Tony are teaming up to save the planet. That was the upshot of a California summit between governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and British Prime Minister Tony Blair the other day. These two politicians may be down in the polls in their respective jurisdictions, but they still have a nose for what's hot with the voters. And what's hot this summer is global warming. A confluence of events has brought public concern about global warming, or climate change if you prefer, to the boiling point. Not the least of these developments - at least for Schwarzenegger and Blair - is that Californians and Britons have been suffering through some of the hottest temperatures on record this summer. Of course, heat waves don't prove a thing about climate change, no more than a devastating hurricane season does." (The Gazette)

"Bjorn Lomborg: The real priorities" - "Policymakers charged with solving the world's pressing problems - HIV/AIDS, malnutrition, trade barriers (but not climate change) - should get their agendas in order,." (The Australian)

"Global warming may be killing palms" - "GAINESVILLE, Fla., Aug. 7 -- Some palm trees along Florida's gulf coast appear to be dying more rapidly than during previous years and that might be due to global warming." (UPI)

"Jellyfish plague blamed on climate change" - "A plague of jellyfish along Europe's beaches has become the latest environmental hazard to be blamed on global warming." (London Independent)

"Deep-sea sediments could safely store man-made carbon dioxide" - "Cambridge, Mass. -- An innovative solution for the man-made carbon dioxide fouling our skies could rest far beneath the surface of the ocean, say scientists at Harvard University. They've found that deep-sea sediments could provide a virtually unlimited and permanent reservoir for this gas that has been a primary driver of global climate change in recent decades, and estimate that seafloor sediments within U.S. territory are vast enough to store the nation's carbon dioxide emissions for thousands of years to come." (Harvard University)

"Manure, Buses Seen Helping Curb Global Warming" - "OSLO - Manure and buses are among promising areas for investment under a UN project in the Third World aimed at combating global warming, a senior UN official said on Monday." (Reuters)

"Air tax hike 'would hit poorest'" - "Raising air travel taxes would only hit poorer people, said ministers as MPs accused them of failing to stop transport that fuels global warming." (BBC)

"Oil hits high after BP closure" - "The price of oil in London hit a new record after BP said it would have to close one of the largest oilfields in the US because of a pipeline leak." (BBC)

Beyond Petroleum or Beyond Pathetic? BP spends $100 million advertising its alleged "green" credentials and fails to carry out essential maintenance on its refineries, wells and pipelines? Paying lip service to green dogma doesn't seem to be doing much for people or the planet, does it?

Apparently we aren't the only ones to notice: Alaska Woes Threaten BP's "Better Petroleum" Image (Reuters) | From beyond petroleum to beyond the pale (The Herald)

"The Prudhoe Principle" - "Opponents of opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to oil drilling have long argued that the supply wouldn't make a difference to prices. Well, that claim took a spill yesterday with BP's announcement that it is shutting down its operations at Prudhoe Bay due to a damaged pipeline that could take months to patch.

U.S. crude soared $2.25 on the news, taking oil to nearly $77 a barrel, with experts predicting another five- or 10-cent a gallon price increase at the retail gasoline pump -- possibly to a new high. This market reaction came as some surprise to various newspaper scribes and politicians, given that Prudhoe Bay "only" supplies about 400,000 barrels a day, or less than 2% of daily U.S. oil consumption.

These are the same folks who've delighted in informing Americans in recent years that opening up nearby ANWR to drilling would "only" result in an extra one million barrels a day. This argument -- that ANWR isn't worth the effort -- might have some currency if oil were plentiful and gas prices were still "only" $1.50 a gallon. But with the margin between global oil supply and demand so thin, any supply counts. ANWR is exactly the sort of home-grown oil cushion that would help smooth out supply disruptions from the likes of Katrina or the BP leak, if "only" Congress could get a clue." (Wall Street Journal)

"Big Oil reinvests big profits to tap costlier reserves" - "Big Oil's record profits attract attention and outrage, but an independent study has found that oil companies do exactly what economic textbooks say they should do with all that money: They invest it in oil exploration and development efforts that eventually should relieve pressure on prices." (Patrice Hill, Washington Times)

"Passions Rise as Flagship India Dam Fills" - "SARDAR SAROVAR DAM, India - It is held up as a flagship for the development of modern India, and reviled as a symbol of how the rights of the poor are trampled upon. As neighbouring China puts the finishing touches to the Three Gorges Dam just nine years after first breaking ground, work on western India's Sardar Sarovar dam has taken more than three times as long. Even today it remains the subject of a fierce, seemingly interminable Supreme Court battle and still inflames enough passion to prompt hunger strikes, protests, riots and suicide by self-immolation. And all the time the costs have risen." (Reuters)

"Engineer designs system to put wastewater to work" - "In the midst of the worldwide energy crisis, researchers at Washington University in St. Louis have been continuing their work on a microbial fuel cell that generates electricity from wastewater. Advances in the design of this fuel cell in the last year have increased the power output by a factor of 10 and future designs, already in the minds of the researchers, hope to multiple that power output by 10 times again. If that goal can be achieved, the fuel cell could be scaled up for use in food and agricultural industries to generate electrical power – all with the wastewater that today goes right down the drain." (Washington University in St. Louis)

R i g h t ... "Scientists See Cooling Pumps as Way to Tame Hurricanes" - "Two New Jersey scientists believe they may have found a way to tame hurricanes. Their concept would take some of the punch out of hurricanes by cooling a vast area of the ocean ahead of a storm, depriving it of fuel and sparing lives and property along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. Their idea, using millions of pumps, stems from the knowledge that only a few degrees can spell the difference between a tropical storm that dumps a lot of rain, and a killer hurricane with downpours, punishing winds and damaging surf. The warmer the ocean below a gathering storm, the more power it will pack." (Insurance Journal)

"BRING BACK D.D.T." - "Overspraying Made Pesticide Look Worse Than It Deserved" (Edward Wheeler, EcoWorld)

"Now Tanzania says it will use DDT against malaria" - "Tanzania has restored the use of the controversial DDT in the control of malaria. The Minister for Health and Social Welfare, Prof David Mwakyusa said in parliament last week that the once banned chemical would be cleared for use only for indoor residual spraying to control malaria. "The implementation of this measure will be in phases starting with areas where the malaria epidemic is prevalent," said the minister." (The East African)

"Majority of Americans Back HPV Vaccine, Poll Shows" - "A majority of Americans are in favor of the widespread use of a new vaccine to prevent HPV, or human papillomavirus, according to a Wall Street Journal Online/Harris Interactive health-care poll." (Wall Street Journal)

"The influence of money on medical science" - "Because of the importance of the issue of the influence of money in science and in light of recent incidents involving authors failure to disclose all of their potential conflicts of interest to JAMA, Dr. DeAngelis has written an editorial on the subject which will be posted online at www.JAMA.com Monday, August 7, 2006." (JAMA and Archives Journals)

"Mayo Clinic links allergies to Parkinson's disease" - "Rochester, Minn. -- Researchers from Mayo Clinic have discovered that allergic rhinitis is associated with the development of Parkinson's disease later in life. Findings will be published in the Aug. 8 issue of the journal Neurology. "The association with Parkinson's disease is increased to almost three times that of someone who does not have allergic rhinitis," says James Bower, M.D., Mayo Clinic neurologist and lead study investigator. "That's actually a pretty high elevation." (Mayo Clinic)

"Alzheimer's medication shows promise in treating nerve agent and pesticide poisoning" - "A medication used to treat mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease can be used to protect people against the toxic effects of nerve agents and certain insecticides, according to a study led by researchers from the University of Maryland School of Medicine. The findings, published this week in the online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, provide the basis for further development of a safe and effective treatment to protect people exposed to organophosphorus compounds, including nerve agents that have been used in chemical warfare and terrorist attacks, as well as pesticides used in households and on farms worldwide." (University of Maryland Medical Center)

"Exercise important in reducing size of abdominal fat cells" - "WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Reducing the size of abdominal fat cells – which are a risk factor for diabetes and heart disease – takes more than cutting calories, according to new research from Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. Early results from a five-year study show that exercise should be added to the equation." (Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center)

"Evolution reversed in mice" - "US researchers have taken a mouse back in time some 500 million years by reversing the process of evolution." (BBC)

"The Bounty of Biotech" - "Activists are promoting a big lie about better foods." (Henry I. Miller, LA Times)

"South Africa: Blissful Ignorance of Gene-Food Hysteria" - "SOUTH Africans are unmoved by the furore surrounding genetically modified foods and their possible side affects, according to a survey by international company Synovate. This will no doubt horrify environmental and food security groups that have been lobbying government to ban certain types of genetically modified foods." (Business Day)

"Wal-Mart and Environmental Defense: Strange Bedfellows--UPDATED: CSPI vs. Biotech?" - "Environmental Defense, Inc. announced that they are opening an office near Wal-Mart headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas so they can better "advise" the leading retailer. Under a multi-front attack from unions and other anti-business groups, Wal-Mart is in this case happy to accept guidance from Environmental Defense on matters such as how to lower energy consumption, especially because Environmental Defense portrays itself as a "business-cooperative" environmental group. Perhaps in the same way the IRS is cooperative with tax-payers." (Jeff Stier, ACSH)

August 7, 2006

Where's the DDT? "Bedbug Infestations on Rise Across U.S." - "Before World War II, bedbug infestations were common in the U.S., but they were virtually eradicated through improvements in hygiene and the widespread use of DDT in the 1940s and 1950s." (AP)

"PanAfrica: Malaria Killing Business in Africa - Economic Report" - "According to a recent report titled, 'Business and Malaria: A Neglected Threat,' over 70 percent of African businesses are adversely affected by malaria, with nearly 40 percent reporting serious consequences." (AFM)

"20 Countries Expected For Malaria Conference" - "Delegations from almost 20 African countries are expected to converge in Zimbabwe for the annual East and Southern Africa malaria conference later this month." (AFM)

"Movie spies on malaria parasite's sneaky behavior" - "Malaria has been outsmarting the human immune system for centuries. Now, using real-time imaging to track malaria infections in live mice, researchers have discovered one of the parasite's sneakiest tricks--using dead liver cells to cloak and transport itself back into the bloodstream after leaving the liver." (Howard Hughes Medical Institute)

They don't say... "After 10 years, few believe life on Mars" - "It was a science fiction fantasy come true: Ten years ago this summer, NASA announced the discovery of life on Mars." (AP)

... not to say "we told you so" but: Life on Mars Means Life on Earth (for NASA anyway)

"New hope in cancer vaccines emerges as novel therapies are developed and tested" - "Medicine can now prevent a host of diseases with a mere shot of vaccine. Polio and smallpox are almost non-existent, and mumps and chicken pox are rarely seen nowadays. And for the first time, the prospect of eradicating a specific cancer through vaccination is possible. The newly approved human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine is designed to curb the 230,000 worldwide deaths due to cervical cancer, which is caused solely by HPV. And the hepatitis B virus, responsible for 70 percent of all liver cancer deaths, is also preventable with a vaccine." (University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center)

"No 'Alternative'" - "Some 60 million Americans use supplements, megavitamins, herbs and other so-called "alternative" treatments. Their out-of-pocket costs approach $40 billion a year. Their therapies are promoted by a vast number of self-help books, Web sites and talk shows that feature thrilling testimonials of benefits for maladies that mainstream medicine cannot remedy. But we are now learning what happens when the testimonials are subjected to objective testing. In February, the results of a large clinical trial of the supplements glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate for osteoarthritis were released. These data came on the heels of a rigorous assessment of the herb saw palmetto for symptoms of an enlarged prostate gland. Both studies failed to show clinical efficacy. All this should mark a sea change in how the public views such treatments." (Wall Street Journal)

Hmm... "New Zealand: Smoke ban deters gamblers" - "The smoking ban in pubs and clubs has dramatically affected gambling, slashing spending on "pokies" by 12 per cent and cutting new calls to the Gambling Helpline by a third." (New Zealand Herald)

We hear a lot about the social ills of gambling but somehow we don't expect to see any favorable commentary about tobacco use "saving" families and addicts from the evils of their gambling addiction. Interesting juxtaposition of "greater evils" though.

"Court's Eminent-Domain Edict Is a Flashpoint on State Ballots" - "Last year's Supreme Court ruling validating a Connecticut city's authority to seize private property for economic development has sparked a backlash. In several states, conservative groups are pushing ballot initiatives to curb local governments' abilities to exercise not only eminent domain, but also land use and environmental controls." (Wall Street Journal)

"Enviros in green lawsuits" - "In recent years, the environmental activist community in the U.S. has developed and perfected a very productive tactic of suing the federal government and settling their claims for substantial attorneys' fees and litigation costs." (Douglas T. Nelson, Washington Times)

Symptom of 'fear the sun' propaganda? "Vitamin D often low in seemingly healthy girls" - "NEW YORK - In a study of healthy adolescent girls, researchers found that insufficient vitamin D levels were a relatively common finding, with non-white girls more severely affected. According to the UK-based study team, "reduced sunshine exposure rather than diet explained the difference in vitamin D status of white and non-white girls" in the study, reported in the Archives of Disease in Childhood." (Reuters Health)

"In the hurricane's path" - "Abnormally high" ocean temperatures off the Maritimes have put Atlantic Canada in the path of a potentially devastating hurricane, say meteorologists." (Toronto Star)

"Research Team Seeking Clues to a Hurricane's Birth" - "Although many hurricanes that reach the United States are born as tropical depressions in the waters off Africa, little is known about why some peter out and others become monster hurricanes on the other side of the ocean. This is increasingly important information to have, and so a team of researchers from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will spend the next two months off the African coast trying to find the answer." (Washington Post)

"Ecological effects of Gulf Coast hurricanes" - "Hurricane Katrina made landfall August 29, 2005 becoming the costliest ($75 billion) and one of the deadliest (nearly 2,000 human lives lost) hurricanes in U.S. history. With the nation still reeling from Katrina, Hurricane Rita hit on September 24, 2005, causing $10 billion in damage but taking a far less direct toll on human lives. The duo's ecological consequences were also considerable: storm surges flooded coastal areas. Powerful winds felled forests in south Louisiana and Mississippi, havens for wildlife and migratory birds. Saltwater and polluted floodwaters from New Orleans surged into Lake Pontchartrain. Taking stock nearly a year later, experts from the Gulf Coast region will address the storms' ecological consequences and will offer insights on how ecological knowledge can help mitigate damage from future hurricanes." (Ecological Society of America)

At least they aren't ridiculously fixated on the warming boogeyman: "Researchers appeal for new regulations to save coral reefs from live fish trade" - "Researchers are calling for tighter controls on the live reef fish trade, a growing threat to coral reefs, in letters to the international journal Science. Twenty of the world's leading marine scientists, including a team from the Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, have called for action by governments to halt the unsustainable plunder of the world's ocean resources. For decades tropical coral reefs have battled for survival against a complex array of threats including pollution, coral bleaching triggered by rising sea temperatures and over-fishing." (University of Cambridge)

"Okay Coral" - "Weeks after the National Science Foundation released a report about the connection between increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide and the acidity of the oceans, doomsayers continue to prophesy that global warming will kill the coral reefs off our picturesque Florida coast." (Patrick J. Michaels, Cato Institute)

Another ecoEnquirer scoop:) "I Was A Global Warming Porn Addict" - "Increasingly explicit and graphic global warming predictions have led to the danger of addiction: This is the story of one young man whose interest in global warming became a dangerous obsession." (ecoEnquirer)

"California Leads on Warming" - "Tony Blair, the British prime minister, who worries about global warming more than any other world leader, has finally found an important American ally: Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California. This week, the two agreed to collaborate on cleaner-burning technologies and to explore an emissions-reduction program that would combine mandatory controls on greenhouse gases with market incentives to reduce the costs of compliance." (New York Times)

Hmm... The Orange County Register put it like this: Hot air on global warming ... The agreement has little substance, so it is likely to do little harm. But if many of the implications of the agreement become public policy, California's economy could be in a lot of trouble.

The LA Times said: Welcome Hot Air from Arnold and Blair and so it seems just about everyone (except, perhaps, Old Gray), realizes California can't agree international anythings (something to do with not being a nation) while Tony Blair uses "global warming" in much the same manner as Australia's one-time Prime Minister, Paul Keating, used to trot out plans to change the national flag with monotonous regularity -- i.e., no plans to actually do anything, just something to distract the chattering classes when things weren't going to well politically.

Crap: "Expert View: Global warming: 100 years of living dangerously" - "The expected cost to the human race is measured in trillions." (Bill Robinson, London Independent)

"Hottest July since 1950 claims 112 lives in France" - "PARIS - The French government said on Thursday 112 people had died due to the heat in the hottest July since 1950. The toll was far lower than a killer heatwave three summers ago when thousands died. Most of the people who died this year were over the age of 75 and many of those were already ill, the Institute of Health Surveillance said." (Reuters)

Washington Post Article on Heat Waves - Balanced or Biased? (Climate Science)

"New York Times Op-Ed Heat Wave Hype Melts Under Scrutiny" - "The August 3 New York Times op-ed by Bob Herbert titled “Hot Enough Yet,” makes several dubious global warming claims. See: http://select.nytimes.com/2006/08/03/opinion/03herbert.html Herbert promotes the idea that the recent heat wave that has swept across the United States is another example of human caused catastrophic global warming. But the facts do not support this latest example of climate hysteria." (Fact of the Day: Friday, August 4, 2006)

Key of the Castle (Number Watch)

Global Warming Data (Quantum Limit)

“Most of What a Climatologist Should Know About Correlations” by Robert Livezey and Marina Timofeyeva (Climate Science)

Andrew Sullivan's tipping over: "Wanted: a practical guide to saving the warming planet" - "Another summer as hot as this one and Al Gore will become the next president of the United States. Yes, of course, one broiled July and sautéed August do not a global warming make. But it does concentrate the mind wonderfully on the claims that a hotter climate is already here, that it is closely related to fast-rising carbon dioxide levels and that this should not be a political but an empirical question." (Andrew Sullivan, The Sunday Times)

"Canada: Tories axe website in Kyoto assault: Liberals" - "The Conservative government is trying to push global climate change off the federal map, shutting down the main federal website on the topic and removing mention of it from speeches and postings, opposition MPs and environmentalists say." (Toronto Star)

Oh boy... "Cheers to global warming?" - "Global warming may threaten the world with environmental disaster, but it could be a boon for German wine-makers, claim economists at Princeton University in the US. If temperatures rise by 3C, vineyards in the Mosel Valley will double in value, as the sunshine improves the quality of their wine, says a study by Professor Orley Ashenfelter. A 1C warming would push up land prices by 20 per cent." (The Observer)

The near-surface temperature effect of increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide is logarithmic, not exponential. The practical consequence of this is that the bulk of Earth's temperature response to increased carbon dioxide has already occurred. Ignoring all other potential contributors, the net response of +0.6 ± 0.2 °C the IPCC cites as having been detected is most of what can be expected whatever we do or don't do about carbon dioxide. I wouldn't be speculating on Mosel Valley land values.

... meanwhile: "Temperature difference shows climate science not settled" - "A major difference in measurement between NIWA and the international body IPCC, concerning New Zealand temperature trends contradicts the assertion of the Minister for Climate Change, David Parker, that climate science is "settled." This claim has been made by an expatriate New Zealand earth scientist, Warwick Hughes, now living in Perth. "It is obvious that the science cannot be settled when two important authorities cannot agree more closely on such a basic measurement as the recent New Zealand temperature trend, in a region where data must be among the best in the world," said Mr Hughes." (Press Release: New Zealand Climate Science Coalition)

We should probably highlight more items like this because the media trumpets the IPCC's alleged +0.6 ± 0.2 °C warming, usually claimed for the 20th Century. What the media either don't know, or simply ignore, is that guesstimations of Earth's global mean near-surface temperature are ± 0.7 °C anyway and we have no standard nor agreement on what exactly we are attempting to measure. Is the world currently warming? Could be. Is there a chance a significant portion of what we believe to be 'global warming' is merely urban heat island corrupting the record? Not just a chance but more a strong likelihood.

"Taller mountains a result of global warming" - "Earth's crust, flexed inward from heavy glaciers, moves out when ice melts." (LiveScience)

"Homeowners may feel heat of global warming: Insurers studying impact on rates" - "Global warming could soon hit homeowners in the pocketbook. An influential but little known segment of the insurance industry is considering whether climate change might be partly to blame for more intense hurricanes in the North Atlantic. The result of this examination, which comes as scientists debate the same question, could be skyrocketing insurance rates in coastal regions from Maine to Texas." (Boston Globe)

"Winners and losers among British wildlife as summer heatwave transforms the landscape" - "Wilting trees, shrinking rivers, burning heathlands; but insect life abundant, with foreign species flocking in - that's a snapshot of Britain's landscape and wildlife in the middle of one of the hottest summers on record." (London Independent)

Personally, I blame global warming: "Butterfly returns to Cotswolds" - "A BUTTERFLY thought to have become extinct in the Cotswolds 40 years ago has returned to the area." (London Times)

"Bill to curb greenhouse gases poses dilemma for Schwarzenegger" - "SACRAMENTO ---- Over the past year, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has sought to position himself as a leader on climate change issues. He outlined a broad program to reduce air pollution during a speech at a United Nations summit a year ago and last week reached a publicity-generating agreement with British Prime Minister Tony Blair. The Republican governor now faces a dilemma that threatens to undermine his environmental credentials at the same time he is trying appeal to moderate voters as he seeks re-election." (Associated Press)

"Top scientist makes climate plea" - "World leaders have been urged to put more money into developing new energy technologies to tackle global warming." (BBC)

"Astronomical effort needed to save planet, says scientist" - " warming, one of Britain's leading scientists said yesterday. The president of the Royal Society, Lord Rees of Ludlow, insisted a publicly-funded international research programme into alternative energy sources is crucial to avert potentially dangerous climate change. He suggested it could be paid for through a carbon tax, levied initially on the countries with the highest greenhouse gas emissions." (The Scotsman)

"Venture to take heat out of climate change" - "A BID to combat climate change by developing low carbon business ventures has been launched. The Carbon Trust has announced the creation of a commercial subsidiary, Carbon Trust Enterprises, to help accelerate the transition to a low carbon economy." (Western Mail)

"Climate Change Threatens Europe's Power Sector" - "LONDON- Climate change could reshape Europe's energy sector as hotter and drier summers boost electricity demand and place new strains on its power stations." (Reuters)

"Give up cheap flights, holidaymakers told" - "It's the peak holiday season, but it still takes just a few minutes online and a few pounds to book a flight to Glasgow, Manchester, Dublin ... even Prague, Rome or Barcelona. Not for much longer, though, if an influential group of MPs gets its way. Alarmed at what it sees as the government's wilful disregard of the effects of cheap air travel on global warming, the cross-party environmental audit committee will tomorrow lay out a range of proposals to get people to pay for some of the damage they do." (The Observer) | MPs call for VAT on flights as greenhouse gas emissions soar (London Times) | Raise air travel tax, report says (BBC)

Unfortunately for the enviro-luvvies, some politicians remain aware (and will remind others) that voters do have a say and they will vote out every dipstick seen as endangering voters' standard of living -- especially if that threat comes from a quixotic crusade to "address" the tenth of a degree or so that might really be attributable to increased atmospheric carbon dioxide.

"Britain failing on transport emissions" - "LONDON - Britain's Department for Transport is not taking climate change seriously enough, with aviation especially threatening long-term goals, Parliament's Environmental Audit Committee said on Monday. Transport was the only British sector where emissions of heat-trapping carbon dioxide (CO2) rose between 1990 and 2004, by 10 percent, while plans for cuts by 2010 would miss earlier forecasts, the Committee said. "This betrays a dismal failure of purpose from the Department for Transport. The DfT needs urgently to accelerate its efforts." (Reuters) | Gas-guzzling cars should pay £1,800 road tax, say MPs (London Independent) | Labour risks pricing people off the roads (London Telegraph)

Funny, I always thought the "Department of Transport" was supposed to, like, facilitate transport or something? Parliament's Environmental Audit Committee seems to think their function is to regulate transport out of existence.

"Blair promotes energy audits for households" - "British households may be given state-subsidised individual carbon audits on their homes to encourage them to cut their own contribution to global warming, Tony Blair will say today. Nearly 30% of the UK's carbon emissions come from households, and the government has been looking at ways by which residents can be encouraged to have energy checks. The government is calling the drive One Planet Living." (The Guardian)

"Thou shalt not drive a Hummer" - "Churches are starting to tie the state of our souls to how much we choose to pollute." (Toronto Star)

"SPAIN: Plankton to Provide Clean New Oil" - "MADRID, Aug 4 - A system for producing energy from marine algae, to replace fossil fuels and reduce pollution, has been developed by Spanish researchers and will be operational in late 2007, according to its backers." (IPS)

"NIGERIA: 'Solar Power Brings Relief to Villagers'" - "LAGOS, Aug 5 - Bishop Kodji, a small fishing and canoe carving island in the Atlantic Ocean off Nigeria's sprawling commercial hub of Lagos, has become the first village to be electrified under the Lagos State government's pilot solar energy project." (IPS)

Remote locations where it is simply too expensive or impractical to hook up to the national baseload grid are the sort of niches where solar is a good idea -- sometimes the best or only means of providing electrical power. Not to be confused with developed region applications or serious solar generators such as the proposed solar tower.

"Asian Hopes for Hydropower May Add to Oil Reliance" - "VIENTIANE- Asian plans for a multitude of hydroelectric projects will lead some nations to a greater reliance on dams to meet power demand, potentially triggering costly bouts of extra oil imports in times of drought." (Reuters)

But they will reduce it when not in drought, no?

"Turkey begins controversial dam" - "Turkey has begun building a major dam, despite criticism that the project will ruin an ancient archaeological site and displace thousands of people." (BBC)

"Debating the Course of Chile’s Rivers" - "Chile’s government has embraced a plan to build a series of dams in Patagonia, but environmental groups say it would threaten ranching and tourism." (New York Times)

"NZ: Greenpeace appeals High Court ruling on power station" - "Greenpeace has lodged a High Court appeal against a ruling that it cannot challenge plans for a coal-fired power station, on grounds of its impact on climate change." (Radio New Zealand)

"Wood-burning plants gain power" - "RUSSELL -- With electricity usage breaking records in New England, an old fuel is making a comeback as a relatively clean way to generate power -- wood. At least five wood-burning power plants are being proposed or built in New England, encouraged by government incentives and environmentalists who tout wood as an ecofriendly substitute for fossil fuels. But like wind farms proposed in Nantucket Sound and atop a Vermont ridge, the wood-burning plants are sparking fierce local opposition in places such as Russell, where a developer wants to locate a plant on the site of an abandoned paper mill." (Boston Globe)

Now enviros want you to burn trees... funny ol' world, innit?

"Despite opposition, greens push for Hetch Hetchy's restoration" - "YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK – With its soaring granite walls and spouting waterfalls, Yosemite's Hetch Hetchy Valley was described by conservationist John Muir as “a grand landscape garden, one of Nature's rarest and most precious mountain temples.” Much of the glacially carved valley now lies under 300 feet of water. It was dammed and flooded more than 80 years ago to supply drinking water and hydropower to the San Francisco Bay area. For years, environmentalists have advocated draining the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir and returning the valley to its original splendor, while opponents say that would cost a bundle at a time when California needs all the water and electricity it can get." (Associated Press)

"UK: Food prices would soar in biofuels switch, says Unilever" - "BRITAIN faces soaring food prices, a shortage of staple foods and declining public health if the Government pushes ahead with plans to promote the use of biofuels, the UK’s biggest food producer has given warning. Unilever fears that Europe-wide plans for a huge increase in use of vegetable oils, such as rapeseed and palm oil, in the manufacture of road fuels will have dramatic consequences, driving up the cost of foods such as margarine and leading consumers to switch to less healthy animal fats." (London Times)

"India: Will food safety bill improve standards?" - "This Bill, which convolutes the very definitions of safe and unsafe food, gives the liberty to identify these toxins as either contaminant or extraneous matter. Extraneous matter, it defines, will not render food unsafe. The consumer has to prove the pesticide found is a contaminant and unsafe or that it is extraneous matter, which companies will say is safe. Ironically the definition of unsafe food includes ones which may contain extraneous matter." (Economic Times)

India's economic nuisances, calling themselves the Centre for Science and Environment, continue to confuse and frighten consumers by pretending detection equates to significance. This is not without consequence, as indicated in this Times of India article: Cola ban gaining ground across states. Unfortunately, this is precisely what the anticorporate CES wants.

"Metal homeostasis research in plants will lead to nutrient-rich food and higher yielding crops" - "Deficiencies of micronutrients such as Iron and Zinc commonly limit plant growth and crop yields. Dartmouth Professor Mary Lou Guerinot is conducting research to better understand the mechanisms of micronutrient uptake, distribution and regulation. Guerinot's findings are making it feasible to engineer nutrient-rich plants better able to grow in soils now considered marginal and to increase crop biomass in soils now in cultivation." (American Society of Plant Biologists)

"Cutting the grass may never cause tears again" - "HAY fever sufferers may soon be breathing a whole lot easier, thanks to a biotechnology breakthrough: a strain of low-allergen ryegrass. About 1.8 million Australians suffer from hay fever, most affected by perennial rye-grass, and it is estimated the condition costs well over $100 million a year in health costs and lost work days." (Sydney Morning Herald)

"Transgenic goat's milk offers hope for tackling children's intestinal disease" - "It's hard to improve on milk, but animal scientists at the University of California, Davis, have found that milk produced by transgenic goats, which carry the gene for an antibacterial enzyme found in human breast milk, altered the intestinal bacteria in young goats and pigs that were fed the milk.

The researchers hope these findings will one day lead to milk that protects infants and children against diarrheal illnesses, which each year kill more than 2 million children worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. The results of their study will be reported in the August issue of the international journal Transgenic Research." (University of California - Davis)

"Sri Lanka Government to introduce GMO regulations from next year" - "Colombo, 05 August: The Government of Sri Lanka will impose strict regulation on GMO [Genetically Modified Organism] food imports from first of January , 2007. Food and Drugs Inspector of Food Advisory Committee, Ministry of Health H.Thilakaratne said, all food imports must obtain GM certification under this regulation. According to Mr.Thilakaratne, GM food products must be labeled under these regulations." (Asiantribune.com)

"South Africa may reconsider GM sorghum permit if proper containment is assured" - "The South African government has announced that it may reconsider its stance to deny a permit to the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) to conduct laboratory and greenhouse experiments if the Council demonstrates that the sorghum is suitably contained." (TAT&T)

"Jennifer Thomson: Use biotechnology to feed the poor" - "Europe's opposition to GM food hurts the world's impoverished." (The Australian)

"Scientist set for GM push into Africa" - "ONE of Africa's leading scientists will call on Europe to allow developing countries access to genetically modified crops when the Agricultural Biotechnology International Conference opens in Melbourne today, insisting that drought-resistant, insect-repellent GM crops are key to solving the continent's devastating food problems. Jennifer Thomson, chair of the board of the African Agricultural Technology Foundation in Kenya, says she aims to use this week's gathering to "raise awareness that this is a technology that can really help food security in the developing world, and particularly in Africa." (The Age)

"Food Regulators Deny Health Risk From Corn" - "Food regulators deny public health will be put at risk if genetically modified corn, used in the production of ethanol, is approved for human consumption. A United States company, Syngenta, wants an acknowledgement that the corn is safe to eat in case it is accidentally mixed with corn intended for food, which is then exported." (Newsroom)

"Farmers weighing up benefits of GM cotton" - "Farmer Wang Fengtong found herself in a difficult situation when choosing what kind of cotton to plant in the spring. The 40-year-old from Mazhuang village of Xinjin city, in North China's Hebei Province, eventually decided to keep planting the genetically modified (GM) cotton, although its anti-insect effect "seems to have been decreasing." Speaking to China Daily in a phone interview yesterday, she said: "After all, its benefits are still higher than those of conventional types of cotton, and labour is saved." Mainstream agricultural experts say a more effective way of managing GM crops is needed if farmers are to keep enjoying the seeds' benefits in the future." (China Daily)

"GM ice cream 'a time bomb'" - "A North scientist is spearheading a campaign against genetically modified ice cream with warnings that it could be a health "time bomb". Prof Malcolm Hooper, from Sunderland University, is at the head of a campaign by the anti-GM group the Independent Science Panel over a protein being used in ice cream by the food giant Unilever." (Graeme Whitfield, The Journal)

August 4, 2006

"Ground Zero Sickness Study Uses Old Data" - "“Not Getting Better: A new study finds serious lung problems among thousands of 9/11 responders,” headlined a worrisome Newsweek story this week. But it’s a great example of researchers and media cooperating to produce ominous, rather than accurate, headlines." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"Simply Disclosing Funds Behind Studies May Not Erase Bias" - "Think you can't be bought for the price of a pen? Neither do most people. But we can be notoriously poor at judging ourselves, and our honesty, psychologists say. For example, biomedical researchers reprimanded for failing to disclose financial ties to companies whose drugs or medical devices they study seem baffled over what they did wrong. In the past few weeks, several top journals have published corrections noting that authors of papers failed to reveal they had served as paid consultants or speakers for companies whose products they studied, often receiving thousands of dollars. Such conflicts of interest are emerging as a major concern in research." (Wall Street Journal)

"Father's heat exposure tied to childhood tumors" - "NEW YORK - Findings from a new study suggest that a father's exposure to heat -- saunas, for example -- just before his partner becomes pregnant may increase the risk of brain tumors occurring in their offspring. "The most important thing about the findings is that they are very preliminary," Dr. Greta R. Bunin from Children's Hospital of Philadelphia told Reuters Health." (Reuters Health)

Pregnant mice shouldn't use shampoo? "UNC study shows ingredient commonly found in shampoos may inhibit brain development" - "Chapel Hill -- An ingredient found in many shampoos and other personal care products appears to interfere with normal brain development in baby mice when applied to the skin of pregnant mice, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill researchers have discovered." (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)

"E.P.A. Recommends Limits on Thousands of Uses of Pesticides" - "An agency study focused on more than 230 chemicals known as organophosphates and carbamates that have adverse effects on public health." (New York Times)

"Compound in dairy products targets diabetes" - "Fatty acids commonly found in dairy products have successfully treated diabetes in mice, according to a researcher at Penn State. The compounds, known as conjugated linoleic acids (CLA), have also shown promising results in human trials, signaling a new way of potentially treating the disease without synthetic drugs." (Penn State)

Hmm... "NASA assists search for woodpecker thought to be extinct" - "Unlike its more famous cartoon cousin Woody the Woodpecker, the ivory-billed woodpecker is thought to be extinct, or so most experts have believed for over half a century. But last month scientists from NASA and the University of Maryland, College Park, Md., launched a project to identify possible areas where the woodpecker might be living. Finding these habitat areas will guide future searches for the bird and help determine if it is really extinct or has survived an elusive existence." (NASA/GSFC)

"Washington, DC getting a summertime air quality exam" - "Summer in the city can often mean sweltering "bad air days" that threaten the health of the elderly, children and those with respiratory problems. This summer the nation's capitol has been no stranger to such severe air-quality alerts.

But since early July Washington area skies have been put under a unique microscope as scientists from NASA and around the country assembled a powerful array of scientific instruments -- in space and on the ground -- to dissect the region's atmosphere. The result will be not only a better understanding of intense urban air pollution episodes but also a better toolkit to track and probe air pollution worldwide from space." (NASA/GSFC)

"Satellite data reveals gravity change from Sumatran earthquake" - "Columbus , Ohio -- For the first time, scientists have been able to use satellite data to detect the changes in the earth's surface caused by a massive earthquake. The discovery, reported in the latest issue of the journal Science, signifies a new use for the data from NASA's two GRACE satellites and offers a possible new approach to understanding how earthquakes work." (Ohio State University)

"Atlantic Storm Forecast Lowered to 7 Hurricanes" - "MIAMI - A noted US hurricane research team reduced its Atlantic storm forecast Thursday from nine to seven hurricanes, citing a cooler tropical Atlantic Ocean and a warming eastern Pacific." (Reuters)

"Performing high-altitude research on global warming" - "Stately corpses of bristlecone pine trees, some dead for 2,000 years but still refusing to lie down, stood watch as botanist Ann Dennis and a crew of naturalists stepped off plots on the shoulders of 14,246-foot White Mountain Peak near the Nevada-California border. Working more than 10,000 feet above the sunbaked floor of the Owens Valley, the scientists were transforming one of California's highest mountaintops into a living laboratory of climate change. Dennis and her colleagues are part of a global network of mountain-climbing researchers, all using precisely the same methods to observe the impact of global warming at high altitudes on five continents simultaneously." (Scripps News)

An Op-Ed Masquerading As A Climate Science Article in the Economist (Climate Science)

"'Climate porn' blamed for global warming 'despair'" - "Government and media organisations were today accused of undermining efforts to tackle global warming by using alarmist language that amounts to "climate porn." (The Guardian)

Sorry Al, it's still not working: "Movie does little for Gore's ratings" - "PRINCETON, N.J., Aug. 3 -- A Gallup Poll shows that former U.S. Vice President Al Gore's documentary on global warming has had little effect on his popularity with voters." (UPI) | Gore's U.S. popularity not as hot as warning to globe (Jennifer Harper, Washington Times)

“Rare snowfall across South Africa” (Climate Science) | Floods, Snow Cause Havoc in South African Cities (Reuters)

"More Frequent Heat Waves Linked to Global Warming" - "Heat waves like those that have scorched Europe and the United States in recent weeks are becoming more frequent because of global warming, say scientists who have studied decades of weather records and computer models of past, present and future climate." (Washington Post)

"When warming's 'hockey stick' breaks" - "When is a story on global warming not worth reporting accurately, or maybe not worth covering at all? Evidently, when it undermines the near universal belief in the popular press that the scientific debate is over: "Humans are causing catastrophic global warming and we have to do something about it." (H. Sterling Burnett, Washington Times)

"State to study global warming's link to heat-related ailments" - "Expecting more heat-related deaths and health problems as global warming increases, California public health officials Wednesday announced a new plan to track heat-related fatalities and hospital visits over the next five years. The $4.5 million study, funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, also will project how increased temperatures from global warming are expected to boosts deaths and illnesses in decades ahead, including asthma emergencies, heat stroke and heart attacks." (Mercury News)

Wonder if it will include lack-of-heat-related deaths and health problems too -- there tend to be rather more of those.

Ah! A 'global warming' feel-good piece!  "'Global Warming Beer' Taps Melted Arctic Ice" - "August 3, 2006—From rising sea levels to stifling heat waves, the effects of global warming are shaping up to be a worldwide buzz kill. But brewers in Greenland appear to be going with the flow by harnessing one of their homeland's fastest growing—but least celebrated—natural resources: melted Arctic ice." (National Geographic News)

"Australia: States go cool on carbon trading" - "THE states have downgraded plans for a multi-billion-dollar nationwide carbon trading system as they concede it threatens to increase electricity prices for families already hit by petrol and interest rate hikes. The concerns have forced the states' emissions trading taskforce to propose subsidies for poor families facing higher power bills, while also looking at complicated exemptions for greenhouse gas emitters such as aluminium producers and petroleum refiners. Former NSW premier Bob Carr began the process because the Howard Government refused to join the emissions trading scheme set up under the Kyoto Protocol to fight climate change. But last night John Howard said the state scheme was "doomed to fail" because it would suffer the same fate as the wildly fluctuating European system." (The Australian)

Actually, carbon schemes will fail because they're a stupid exercise of absolutely no value to the world.

"World must race to develop green energy, urges Rees" - "An urgent project on the scale of the Apollo moon landings is needed to boost research into green energy sources and save the planet from environmental disaster, according to Britain's top scientist." (The Guardian)

"SNH warning over new wind farms" - "WIND-FARM developers are mainly avoiding sites that would have a significant impact on fragile landscapes and wildlife, according to a report by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH). But the environmental agency yesterday warned that the aim of avoiding potential conflicts between renewable-energy developments and heritage-sensitive sites will become more difficult to achieve in the drive to reach the Scottish Executive's target of producing 40 per cent of the country's energy needs from renewable sources by 2020." (The Scotsman)

"Australia: Residents kill $50m wind farm plan" - "THE company behind the wind farm blocked by Environment Minister Ian Campbell because of the orange-bellied parrot has abandoned a $50 million wind project near the Victorian regional centre of Ballarat. The move came as bird experts yesterday called for the scaling back of new wind farms in Tasmania after it was revealed that three wedge-tailed eagles had been killed after hitting turbines in recent months. In a new setback for the company, Wind Power Pty Ltd said the proposed 14-turbine Bo Peep wind farm had been dropped after the company realised residential growth would limit the size of the project. But wind industry critics and residents claimed the company acted only after a community backlash against the project, which is in a Labor-held marginal seat." (The Australian)

"CHILE: Inquiry Targets Hydropower Firm in Relation to Flood Deaths" - "SANTIAGO, Aug 3 - The Chilean Congress is demanding that the government take measures to regulate the operations of hydroelectric dams, while it prepares to investigate whether or not the Spanish firm Endesa was to blame for the flooding seen several weeks ago in central and southern Chile, which left 25 dead." (IPS)

"Brownfields may turn green with help from Michigan State research" - "East Lansing, Mich. -- Growing crops for biofuels summons images of fuel alternatives springing from the rural heartland. But a Michigan State University partnership with DaimlerChrysler is looking at turning industrial brownfields green. Thelen, MSU professor of crop and soil sciences, is leading the investigation to examine the possibility that some oilseed crops like soybeans, sunflower and canola, and other crops such as corn and switchgrass, can be grown on abandoned industrial sites for use in ethanol or biodiesel fuel production. Another partner is NextEnergy, a nonprofit organization that supports energy technology development. The results of the work conducted here might sprout similar sites across the state and nation in areas that aren't desirable for commercial or residential uses. The results also will contribute crops for biofuel production and may help clean up contaminated soils." (Michigan State University)

"Brazil Could Double Ethanol Output By 2014 - Unica" - "RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil - Brazil could nearly double sugar cane-based ethanol production to 31 billion liters in 2014 by planting more cane and using new technology, the President of Sao Paulo's Cane Agroindustry Union said on Thursday." (Reuters)

August 3, 2006

"Uganda: ‘DDT study still going on’" - "THE Government has not taken a final decision yet on whether to use DDT or not in the fight against malaria, the Minister of Health, Dr. Stephen Malinga, said yesterday." (New Vision)

"Roger Bate: Bill Gates must set priorities" - "WITH Warren Buffett's largesse added to his own, Bill Gates has about $60 billion to spend on health and development. How should he spend it? The Copenhagen Consensus, a group and process put together by Danish academic and world renowned sceptical environmentalist Bjorn Lomborg, answered this question last year. Experts on the best life-saving interventions in various fields reached a consensus on what provided the best bang for the buck if they were spending $50 billion. Their conclusions could be of use to Gates." (The Australian)

"More regulations make Web sites less trustworthy, study shows" - "Placing strict controls and regulations on website operators does not make the Internet more secure and private for users, a new study shows. In fact, stringent policies seem to make the matter worse, says Dr. Karim Jamal, a professor in the University of Alberta School of Business." (University of Alberta)

We'd be tempted to broaden and simplify this to "excessive regulation is generally a bad idea".

"Continental not liable for passenger blot clot, court says" - "SAN FRANCISCO - Continental Airlines is not liable for not warning passengers about the risk of blood clots during an international flight, a U.S. federal appeals court ruled on Wednesday. Guy Caman sued Continental after he was diagnosed with deep vein thrombosis (DVT) following a flight from Los Angeles to Paris in 2002. A lower court ruled in favor of Continental, and on Wednesday the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the ruling." (Reuters)

"RMIT 'cancer' building all-clear" - "THE city office building at the centre of a cancer scare has received a clean bill of health after medical experts declared a spate of tumours a "simple statistical variation". Staff from RMIT University were encouraged to return to the top two floors of the Bourke Street office yesterday after an epidemiology study showed suspicions over a cluster of cancer in workers was unfounded. "The results show that there is no malignant tumour cluster on (floors) 16 and 17 and there appears to be no factors in the building leading to the health outcomes that we've seen," said RMIT vice-chancellor Margaret Gardner after a briefing by medical experts yesterday." (The Australian)

I'm struggling to think of a single useful "cancer cluster" investigation -- food poisoning cases, infectious diseases yes, but cancer?

"Key fat and cholesterol cell regulator identified, promising target" - "Boston, MA -- Researchers at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital have identified how a molecular switch regulates fat and cholesterol production, a step that may help advance treatments for metabolic syndrome, the constellation of diseases that includes high cholesterol, obesity, type II diabetes, and high blood pressure. The study is now published in the online version of the scientific journal Nature and will appear in the August 10th print edition." (Harvard Medical School)

"Columbia U receives $16.9M award to study origin and health effects of arsenic in ground water" - "Researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and Center for International Earth Science Information Network announced that they have been awarded a five-year, $16.9 million grant renewal from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) Superfund Basic Research Program (SBRP). The grant will fund ongoing investigations into the health effects and geochemistry of arsenic and manganese exposure, particularly in groundwater of New England and South Asia." (Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health)

"Petrochemicals linked to leukemia in young adults" - "NEW YORK - Residential exposure to petrochemicals is associated with an elevated risk of leukemia among adults in their 20s, according to a new report. Previous studies have linked workplace exposure to petrochemicals with an increased risk of leukemia. By contrast, relatively few studies have looked at the impact on leukemia risk of petrochemical exposure in places where people reside, and the studies that have done so included only crude measures of exposure." (Reuters Health)

"Evolution Fight Shifts Direction in Kansas Vote" - "State Board of Education election results were seen as a significant defeat for the movement of intelligent design." (New York Times)

"Save money, not red squirrels" - "Attempts to save the red squirrel on the UK mainland are a waste of money, a scientist has said." (BBC)

"Hurricane Hype?" - "This year's season so far has been a welcome change from the tropical fury of 2005. Maybe global warming isn't so bad — or maybe global warming has nothing to do with it. Last year at this time, seven named storms had erupted in the North Atlantic. Three were hurricanes, with two reaching Category 4 and one (Emily) briefly reaching Category 5. Much more, including Katrina, was to come. This time, the region has seen just three storms. The newest one, Chris, is the strongest, but it is still a bit short of hurricane strength at this writing. There's no telling what the peak months of August and September will bring, but this season hasn't been a good one for those in the business of predicting catastrophic climate change." (IBD)

Indeed, the Atlantic hurricane "spawning grounds" appear to have cooled over the last couple of months.

"Media attacked for 'climate porn'" - "The apocalyptic vision of climate change used by newspapers, environmental groups and the UK government amounts to "climate porn". That is the conclusion of a report from Labour-leaning think-tank the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR)." (BBC)

To a limited extent we agree with them. Media and activists attempting to titillate the masses with portrayals of weather, warming and the apocalypse? Yes they do. Is the pornographic presentation of the populist misunderstanding of climate variability to the point of parody and farce necessarily a bad thing? Probably not, since most people happily ignore the bulk of the nonsense, either because they realize it to be nonsense or because it's all just too hard. Would it be preferable if the media and activists honestly told the general public that the enhanced greenhouse hypothesis is poorly developed, unsupported by empirical data and won't be ready to emerge from academic tea break chatter for decades to come? Certainly, but that ship has sailed, hasn't it?

Alaska Weather Monthly Summaries (Climate Science)

An Essay Entitled “Climate Change In My View” by Carl Wunsch (Climate Science)

"Trees appear to respond slower to climate change than previously thought" - "Champaign, Ill. -- Genetic analysis of living spruce trees provides strong evidence for the presence of a tree refuge in Alaska during the height of the last glacial period (17,000 to 25,000 years ago), and suggests that trees cannot migrate in response to climate change as quickly as some scientists thought." (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

Seth sure has a bee in his bonnet: "Summer Nights Heating Up, Scientists Say" - "WASHINGTON -- America in recent years has been sweltering through three times more than its normal share of extra-hot summer nights, government weather records show. And that is a particularly dangerous trend. During heat waves, like the one that now has a grip on much of the East, one of the major causes of heat deaths is the lack of night cooling that would normally allow a stressed body to recover, scientists say. Some scientists say the trend is a sign of manmade global warming." (Associated Press)

Lack of night cooling is a symptom of Urban Heat Island and "global warming" sure ain't global. Regarding the dramatic heating alleged for the last three decades or thereabouts, the US has arguably the best financed and best maintained meteorological network in the world. If the planet is warming so much recently why have just 12 of the 50 states managed to equal or better previous highest temperature benchmarks in the 30 years 1974-2003 (to end of available comparison) despite increased population and development? In the same period 16 states equaled or bettered their lowest temperature benchmarks. Rather odd symptoms of an allegedly warming world, no?

Transgressing the boundaries (Number Watch)

"Heat waves kill in areas without businesses to draw older citizens" - "Columbus , Ohio -- Severe heat waves kill more people in neighborhoods where there are few inviting businesses to draw older people out of their apartments, new research suggests." (Ohio State University)

"EU Unlikely to Sue States Over CO2 Plans - Official" - "BRUSSELS - The European Commission does not expect to start legal action against European Union member states for late submission of their emissions allocation plans, an official said on Wednesday." (Reuters)

"Bring back the acid rain" - "A scientist who worked out the ozone problem says pollution could save us from global warming" (Tim Radford, The Guardian)

Yeah well, the ozone "problem" isn't that compelling either.

"New system provides power, water and refrigeration from one source" - "Gainesville, Fla. -- When hurricanes, wars or other emergencies force authorities to respond, three essentials top their list of must-haves: water, electricity and refrigeration. Now, in a project funded by the U.S. Army, two University of Florida engineers have designed, built and successfully tested a combined power-refrigeration system that can provide all three – and, with further development, be made compact enough to fit inside a military jet or large truck." (University of Florida)

"US to Invest US$250 Million in Biofuel Research" - "AURORA, Ill. - The US Energy Department on Wednesday unveiled a plan to invest up to US$250 million over five years to spur US private industry and universities to find new ways of creating motor fuel from renewable sources like soybeans, wood chips and agricultural cast-offs." (Reuters)

"Frankenstein fuels" - "Pioneered by bearded hippies running clapped-out vans on recycled chip fat, biofuels now mean big business, sold to us as a solution to global warming. We must not be fooled, argues Mark Lynas" (New Statesman)

"Tribes Call for Removal of Dams That Block Journey of Salmon" - "Indian tribes along the Klamath River said they intended to pressure the governors of Oregon and California to help push for removing four hydroelectric dams." (New York Times)

"These windfarms would destroy our precious peatlands for ever" - "The 500 turbines proposed for the Isle of Lewis will be an environmental disaster, says Catriona Campbell" (The Guardian)

"Colorado Resort to Invest Heavily in Wind Power" - "Vail Resorts will become the nation’s second-largest corporate buyer of wind energy." (New York Times)

"Energy From the Restless Sea" - "NEWCASTLE, England — There is more riding the waves here than surfers, thanks to a growing number of scientists, engineers and investors. A group of entrepreneurs is harnessing the perpetual motion of the ocean and turning it into a commodity in high demand: energy. Right now, machines of various shapes and sizes are being tested off shores from the North Sea to the Pacific — one may even be coming to the East River in New York State this fall — to see how they capture waves and tides and create marine energy." (New York Times)

"Guangdong, Hong Kong Mull Emissions Trading Scheme" - "HONG KONG/BEIJING - Hong Kong and the neighbouring manufacturing hub of Guangdong plan to launch an emissions trading scheme this year as part of a drive to clear their smoggy skies, a top official said on Wednesday." (Reuters)

"Tiny inhaled particles take easy route from nose to brain" - "In a continuing effort to find out if the tiniest airborne particles pose a health risk, University of Rochester Medical Center scientists showed that when rats breathe in nano-sized materials they follow a rapid and efficient pathway from the nasal cavity to several regions of the brain, according to a study in the August issue of Environmental Health Perspectives. Researchers also saw changes in gene expression that could signal inflammation and a cellular stress response, but they do not know yet if a buildup of ultrafine particles causes brain damage, said lead author Alison Elder, Ph.D., research assistant professor of Environmental Medicine." (University of Rochester Medical Center)

"Water, Water Everywhere, But..." - "As Summer temperatures are set to be some of the hottest on record, and much hyperbole is written about whether this is influenced by man's activities, Skeptical Environmentalist, Bjorn Lomberg, is about to set off to Australia to promote his new book, How to Spend $50 billion - a book on how to get the best bang for the buck on interventions in the developing world. One of his simple conclusions is that trying to correct human-induced climate change is not a cost-effective intervention, whereas improving water supply is a far better initiative. And in the heat, ready access to water, whether in California or the Sahel, or the most arid [inhabited] continent on earth (Australia), is vital." (Roger Bate, TCS Daily)

"Cautiously sowing the seeds of change" - "THE decision to turn down an application by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) to perform greenhouse experiments on genetically modified sorghum reinforces government’s commitment to public safety. This commitment is supported by ongoing efforts to enhance SA’s capacity to harness the potential of biotechnology to benefit the poor. Since 1997, SA has been involved in modern biotechnology. This involvement has yielded a range of commercially available genetically modified organism products, including pest-resistant or herbicide- tolerant maize, cotton and soya. To date this has benefited the country, and its producers, by improving crop yields and reducing costs. At the same time, however, government recognises the need to produce not only more food but better quality food." (Derek Hanekom, Business Day)

"Redesigned 'Conversations about Plant Biotechnology' Web Site Improves Speed and Ease of Viewing Videos Online" - "St. Louis, MO August 2, 2006 -- This week, Conversations about Plant Biotechnology launched its redesigned Web site, utilizing an architecture and cutting-edge tools that simplify online video viewing and improve visitor access to the more than 40 videos currently available on the site. The new design showcases two- to three-minute, straightforward, compelling video segments with the people who know genetically modified (GM) crops best – the farmers and families who grow GM crops and the experts who research and study the technology." (PRWEB via PR Web Direct)

August 2, 2006

"DDT to Return as Weapon Against Malaria, Experts Say" - "DDT, a notorious symbol of environmental degradation, is poised to make a comeback." (National Geographic News)

"World Trade Center dust cuts lung function capability in rescue workers" - "New York City firemen and emergency personnel exposed to dust from the collapse of the World Trade Center buildings experienced a decrease in lung function capability equal to 12 years of age-related decline during the year following the 9/11 disaster." (American Thoracic Society)

"Study Links Military Duty in Iraq to Lapse in Some Mental Ability" - "Soldiers recently returned from Iraq were found to have subtle lapses in memory and in ability to focus, but they also demonstrated significantly faster reaction times." (New York Times)

"Unions Say E.P.A. Bends to Political Pressure" - "WASHINGTON, Aug. 1 — Unions representing thousands of staff scientists at the Environmental Protection Agency say the agency is bending to political pressure and ignoring sound science in allowing a group of toxic chemicals to be used in agricultural pesticides." (New York Times)

"Australia: Bottled water a dental disaster" - "PARENTS who buy bottled water are wrong to believe they are doing the right thing by their children, after a South Australian study found a 71 per cent rise in tooth decay. The report by the branch of the Australian Dental Association has found the lack of enamel-strengthening fluoride in bottled water is a major factor in the high level of tooth decay in children." (The Australian)

"Big kids are getting too big" - "The epidemic of obesity in young children has been far worse in the tallest, fastest growing young children, according to new research published in The International Journal of Obesity today (1 August 2006). Researchers led by The University of Manchester say that faster-growing children might be especially vulnerable to the fattening effects of the 'obesogenic environment,' that is causing society to get fatter." (University of Manchester)

"Focus on weight undermines motivation for healthy lifestyle changes among people of all sizes" - "A newly published UCLA study suggests our media and cultural obsession with achieving a certain weight does little to convince couch potatoes of any size to abandon their favorite sofa cushions and get active. In fact, those messages may actually undermine motivation to adopt exercise and other healthy lifestyle habits." (University of California - Los Angeles)

"How Google Earth Is Changing Science" - "Biologists, epidemiologists and disaster control experts are discovering Google Earth as a powerful tool in their work. The success of the digital globe has reawakened interest in computer mapping models." (Der Spiegel)

Dynamic Nature of Tropical Atlantic Sea Surface Temperatures (Climate Science)

"UCSD's supercomputers cast light on cloudy puzzle of global weather" - "Record heat waves, exceptionally powerful hurricanes, destructive tsunamis, and melting icecaps have many discussing the weather, but can anybody do anything about it? The first step towards any solution is understanding the problem, and that's where the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) – in separate collaborations with the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Colorado State University – applies its heavy-duty number-crunching expertise. With both Livermore Lab and Colorado State – recent recipient of a $19 million National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to establish a Science and Technology Center – SDSC is working to thoroughly describe and model the role of clouds and other atmospheric phenomena, with the eventual goal of accurate worldwide forecasts." (University of California - San Diego)

"Forecast: Showers and thunderstorms: Scientists add measure of low-level moisture to the prediction toolbox" - "People planning baseball games, picnics, and other outdoor events may have more precise short-term forecasts of rainfall in the next few years, thanks to an observing strategy now being tested by atmospheric scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colo." (National Science Foundation)

"Weather records tumble" - "July 2006 was the warmest month on record across the UK, the Met Office has declared today. With the final figures now available, the UK mean daily temperature for the month was 17.8 °C, breaking the previous record of 17.3 °C set jointly in July 1983 and August 1995. The UK series dates back to 1914." (Press release)

"IF YOU THOUGHT LAST WEEK WAS HOT ... Higher temperatures, rising ocean, loss of snowpack forecast for state" - "California will become significantly hotter and drier by the end of the century, causing severe air pollution, a drop in the water supply, the melting of 90 percent of the Sierra snowpack and up to six times more heat-related deaths in major urban centers, according to a sweeping study compiled with help from respected scientists around the country." (SF Chronicle)

"Major world cities team up to fight global warming" - "LOS ANGELES - Los Angeles, London, New York, Seoul and 18 other cities have joined forces in a global warming project aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Launched by former President Bill Clinton's foundation, the initiative will allow cities to pool their purchasing power and lower the price of energy-saving products and provide technical assistance to help them become more energy efficient." (Reuters)

"Welcome Hot Air from Arnold and Blair" - "Global-warming pact between the California governor and British prime minister may not amount to much, but it's a welcome sign." (LA Times)

"EU Presses 14 States Over Late CO2 Emissions Plans" - "BRUSSELS - The European Commission is sending letters to 14 European Union states that have not turned in their new carbon dioxide emissions (CO2) plans, pressing them to submit details within a month or face legal action." (Reuters)

The Big Question: What is carbon trading, and can it save the world from global warming? (London Independent)

Simple answer: it's a scam and no, carbon caps will make negligible difference to the planet while causing misery for humans.

From CO2 Science this week:

Does Earth's Geomagnetic Field Strength Modulate Surface Air Temperature?: Although the evidence is strong that variability in solar activity is the primary driver of surface air temperature change, there is evidence that longer-term variations in the planet's geomagnetic field strength play a secondary role in this phenomenon.

Medieval Warm Period Records of the Week:
This issue's Medieval Warm Period Records of the Week come from Daihai Lake, Inner Mongolia and Petaluma Marsh, Northern California, USA.  To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.

Subject Index Summary:
Respiration (Woody Plants: Multiple Tree Studies): What do the bulk of available data suggest about the ability of the ongoing rise in the air's CO 2 content to impact the respiration rates of earth's woody plants?

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: Canary Grass, Peruvian Groundcherry, Rice, and a Wild Radish.

Journal Reviews:
Holocene Sea-Level History of the Eastern Brazilian Coast: What does it reveal, and what does it imply about anthropogenic CO 2 emissions and sea level?

Twenty-Two Years of Remotely-Sensed Eurasian Spring Phenology Data: What do they indicate about the progression of modern global warming?

Carbon Sequestration in the Soil of a Short-Rotation Poplar Plantation Exposed to Elevated Atmospheric CO 2 : Does it increase with time, decrease with time, or stay about the same, relative to carbon sequestration in the soil of a similar ecosystem exposed to ambient air?

Response of Sugar Cane to Atmospheric CO 2 Enrichment: Is this important C 4 crop significantly impacted by a doubling of the air's CO 2 content?

Vegetative Productivity of the Qinghai-Xizang Plateau, China: How did it vary between 1982 and 1999? And why? (co2science.org)

"How California Failed in Efforts To Curb Its Addiction to Oil" - "OAKLAND, Calif. -- In a government parking lot by the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, California is about to launch its latest attempt to get cars to run on something other than oil.

Chevron Corp., the California-based oil giant, plans to install a small tank here soon with enough corn-based ethanol to power about 35 General Motors Corp. cars capable of burning both ethanol and gasoline. California, the nation's biggest auto market, has about 10,000 gas stations. This will be its fifth ethanol pump.

For a quarter century, California has pursued petroleum-free transportation more doggedly than any other place in the U.S. It has tried to jump-start alternative fuels ranging from methanol to natural gas to electricity to hydrogen. None has hit the road in any significant way. Today, the state that is the world's sixth-largest economy finds itself in the same spot as most of the planet: With $75-a-barrel oil, and increasing concern about the role fossil fuels are playing in global warming, 99% of its cars and trucks still run on petroleum products." (Wall Street Journal) | How green is California? (Dan Glaister, The Guardian)

"Farmers urge corn for coal plants" - "It may sound like a corny idea, but the association representing farmers in Ontario wants the province to burn corn instead of dirty coal as a way of lowering emissions from generating stations such as Nanticoke." (Toronto Star)

"Manure Mountains to Power US Ethanol Plant" - "NEW YORK - One company's drive to locate domestic sources of energy is taking a turn into the barnyard." (Reuters)

"UK: Environmental schemes suffer as £200m Defra cuts ordered" - "The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs was in financial crisis last night after being told to cut its budget by nearly £200m over the next six months. The Guardian has learned that the 7% savings are expected to bite deeply into flood defence work, nature conservation and canal repair schemes as well as a host of scientific bodies and research groups." (The Guardian)

"New report says human tampering threatens planet's life-sustaining surface" - "In a report released today, scientists call for a new systematic study of the Earth's "critical zone"--the life-sustaining outermost surface of the planet, from the vegetation canopy to groundwater and everything in between. Understanding and predicting responses to global and regional change is necessary, they say, to mitigate the impacts of humans on complex ecosystems and ultimately sustain food production." (National Science Foundation)

"At an underwater volcano, evidence of man’s environmental impact" - "Gainesville, Fla. -- Scientists studying hydrothermal vents, those underwater geysers that are home to bizarre geological structures and unique marine species, have discovered something all too familiar: pollution. A University of Florida geologist is among a team of geologists that is the first to observe "anthropogenic influence" in hydrothermal deposits, according to an article in the June issue of the journal Marine Geology. Examining deposits retrieved from the site of an underwater volcano near Italy, they discovered lead that did not come from the underlying rocks or from any possible natural source in the nearby region or anywhere in Europe. Instead, they traced the lead to an Australian lead mine thousands of miles away. "I guess we can speculate that this is yet another piece of evidence of how widespread our disturbance in the environment is: the fact that we can influence natural hydrothermal systems," said George Kamenov, a faculty member at the UF geological sciences department." (University of Florida)

"China to Divert Tibet's Waters to Parched West" - "BEIJING - China's quest to master its future through vast engineering feats could test new limits as Beijing prepares a controversial scheme to channel water from Tibet to the parched Yellow River in the country's west." (Reuters)

"French Farmers Protest Against GMO Maize Destruction" - "PARIS - Around 300 maize growers protested on Tuesday in southwest France in defence of a local farmer whose field of genetically modified (GMO) maize was destroyed at the weekend by activists linked to Jose Bove." (Reuters)

"Back to the past?" - "Pakistan is one of the largest agrarian economies in the region, but unfortunately its agricultural output has declined in the last few decades. Last year its major crops — cotton, sugarcane, wheat, rice and maize — recorded a growth rate of -3.6 per cent as compared to +17.8 per cent the previous year.

The dramatic ups and downs are due to various reasons like diseases, pests and weeds, nature of farming, unprecedented climatic conditions, limited water, poor land conditions, drought, heat, and saline soil conditions. However, other factors such as poor quality of seeds, inefficient pesticides, high costs of fertilisers and energy, poor access to advanced technologies and shabby marketing structures have also harmed the sector’s output, besides affecting adversely the living standards of farmers.

Many scientists believe that crop biotechnology can provide the needed spark and can become the engine for sustainable growth. However, it must go through proper and transparent safety assessment, improving not just the output but also reducing poverty and promoting rural development." (Dawn)

"EC guilty of hiding 'GM safety' documents" - "THE European Commission has been found guilty of maladministration for hiding documents revealing scientific concern about the safety of genetically modified food." (Western Mail)

August 1, 2006

"California AG Puts Climate Skeptics on Trial" - "California Attorney General Bill Lockyer is apparently trying to position California as a leader in the movement to silence scientific debate.

The State of California has filed a request in federal court to force auto makers to disclose all documents and communications between the companies and the so-called “climate skeptics.” California accuses the climate skeptics of playing a “major role in spreading disinformation about global warming.” (Steven Milloy, JunkScience.com)

"von Storch and Zorita on U.S. Climate Politics" - "Hans von Storch and Eduardo Zorita have prepared a report of their perceptions of the climate debate in the U.S. Congress following their visit and testimony a few weeks ago. Here is the report from von Storch and Zorita:" (Prometheus)

"Bush briefed on global warming's impact on storms" - "Jul 31, 2006 — MIAMI - Officials tracking the approach of the peak hurricane season told President Bush on Monday that data linking a series of devastating storms to global warming was inconclusive." (Reuters)

Is the Tropical Cyclone Data Adequate to Assess Multi-decadal Trends in Intensity? (Climate Science)

temp060801.gif (52390 bytes) "July was hottest month on record" - "July has been the hottest month since records began in 1914, according to Met Office figures. Provisional statistics show the average night and day temperature during the month was 17.8C (64.04F). The previous record for a whole month was 17.3C (63.14F), which was set in July 1983 and August 1995." (BBC)

According to Astyanax, our faithful near-real-time global temperature taker, the northern hemisphere got lucky with summer weather this year, warmer than last year from the 2nd week in June through the end of July, although the last few days might be signaling an end to summer holidaymakers' good fortune. Then again, it might just be a temporary blip in a hot summer, who knows? After all, it is as unpredictable as, well... the weather.

"Heat waves expose divide in U.K. and U.S. stances on global warming" - "Searing heat broiling most of the United States and melting summer temperature records in Europe has exposed a subtle but significant divide in how American and British meteorological agencies discuss global warming." (CICERO)

So, do they think NOAA too agnostic, UK Met. too zealous or what?

Note on published temperature plots:

We have had two people write telling us that we are incorrectly plotting UAH Lower Troposphere Temperature Anomalies on our "Global Warming" at a glance page, the 'authority' being Wikipedia [!] Um... no. The UAH data is here, which is the source file our scripts use to generate the plot you see and which you are welcome to check (and plot) for yourselves.

"Extreme weather makes rare cloud" - "Extreme weather conditions have produced a rare cloud formation over Australia's Mawson station in Antarctica." (AAP)

Actually they're talking about Polar Stratospheric Clouds (PSCs), probably not commonly photographed but hardly rare in the Antarctic Winter/Spring season. There are right about "extreme weather" though -- the south has been as cold as a witch's thorax this past winter.

"Britain and California to study carbon market links" - "Great Britain and California, one the largest polluting states in the US, have agreed to evaluate the use of market-based systems to reduce greenhouse gases, said to be responsible for global warming, a spokesman for the British government said." (Reuters) | Blair signs climate pact with Schwarzenegger (The Guardian)

"ANALYSIS - Population Boom Pushes Spain Further From Kyoto Goal" - "MADRID - Spain's population explosion, mostly because of immigration, is fuelling worries about whether it has enough amenities to cope, but also makes it more difficult for the country to meet its emissions reduction goal." (Reuters)

The Week That Was July 29, 2006 (SEPP)

"Polluted Thinking" - "It’s a rather striking irony that, as our air grows cleaner, environmentalists’ complaints grow louder. Since 2001, they’ve been screaming that President Bush is “rolling back the Clean Air Act,” and that the resulting increase in air pollution will kill people by the thousands. Instead, every category of air pollution has fallen during the Bush years, with 2003, 2004, and 2005 showing the lowest levels of harmful ozone and particulates in the air since the monitoring of air pollution began in the 1960s. What exactly is going on?" (NRO via Greenie Watch)

"Laying the foundations for a green industry" - "Australian university researchers have developed a strong, lightweight building material that they believe could generate a thriving new "green" industry for countries such as China and India." (University of New South Wales)

"UK: Nuclear panel suggests contest for waste burial" - "The burial site for Britain's stockpile of nuclear waste should be decided by a country-wide contest in which regions bid to become home to the hole, a government advisory panel said yesterday." (The Guardian)

Oh boy... "Solo living is a potential environmental time bomb" - "One-person households are the biggest consumers of land, energy and household appliances in England and Wales, with men between the ages of 35 and 45 being the worst offenders, according to UCL (University College London) research. The report, published today in the journal 'Environment, Development and Sustainability', concludes that the current rise in solo living, combined with the group's increasing affluence and consumption, is likely to cause a consumption crisis. This must be countered by providing environmentally-friendly lifestyle choices for this emerging group, such as collective housing, relocation schemes and ecological homes, according to the report." (University College London)

"Land rationing" - "Wendell Cox is the world's best known critic of urban consolidation. He's looked at housing prices relative to income in six countries, and says Australia has some of the highest there are. In fact there's a strong link between high house prices and land rationing, which forms the basis of urban consolidation. And if that isn't radical enough, Cox also says public transport almost never lives up to the claims made for it, and we should be building more freeways." (ABC Counterpoint)

"DDT returns to battle malaria in Africa" - "NEW YORK - Controlled indoor spraying of the infamous pesticide DDT is poised to make a comeback in countries that have tried and failed to do without it in the battle against malaria, according to a special news feature in the journal Nature Medicine." (Reuters Health)

"Wal-Mart and Environmental Defense: Strange Bedfellows" - "Environmental Defense, Inc. announced that they are opening an office near Wal-Mart headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas so they can better "advise" the leading retailer. Under a multi-front attack from unions and other anti-business groups, Wal-Mart is in this case happy to accept guidance from Environmental Defense on matters such as how to lower energy consumption, especially because Environmental Defense portrays itself as a "business-cooperative" environmental group. Perhaps in the same way the IRS is cooperative with tax-payers.

But does Wal-Mart really need advice on how to lower costs? We're all for saving gas, but if history is any guide, Environmental Defense will go a lot farther than efficiency suggestions. We are talking about a group that still takes "credit" for the DDT ban, a move which cost millions of African lives by depriving that continent of the malaria-combating pesticide. Environmental Defense is not an environmental group -- they are anti-industry, anti-consumer environmental extremists funded by far-left, ideologically-motivated foundations with ties to the plaintiffs' bar.

Wal-Mart should stand up to the onslaught of junk science-driven scares hyped by left-wing activist groups." (Jeff Stier, ACSH)

"In Philadelphia 30 Years Ago, an Eruption of Illness and Fear" - "It took six months and an investigation with a number of twists and turns to determine what made many American Legionnaires sick in 1976." (New York Times)

"Don't stress about chronic diseases in developing countries" - "The burden of chronic disease is rising in the rapidly developing economies of China and India. Should we be worried about this, or is it part of the natural process of economic development?" (CFD)

"Nuclear link to cancer incidence in Polynesia" - "Researchers have established a link between France's nuclear tests over the Pacific ocean in the late 1960s and the high incidence of thyroid cancer in Polynesia." (AFP)

10? Of 239 cases? We can define causation at RR 1.04 now?

"Scientists take step toward obesity vaccine" - "NEW YORK - In what could become a new weapon in the battle of the bulge, scientists on Monday reported initial success with an experimental vaccine for obesity. The researchers found that when they gave rats a vaccine against a "hunger hormone" called ghrelin, the animals were able to live the dream of eating what they wanted without packing on body fat. The findings, published online by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggest a whole new approach to weight loss. It's a long way, however, from success in rats to similar results in people." (Reuters Health) | Scripps research scientists test anti-obesity vaccine (Scripps Research Institute)

"Different genes may cause autism in boys and girls" - "Like detectives trying to solve a murder case, researchers searching for the biological cause of autism have come up with some surprising suspects. They've found that different genes may be responsible for causing autism in boys than in girls." (University of Washington)

"Thousands of microbes in one gulp" - "One litre of seawater can contain more than 20,000 different types of bacteria, scientists have found. The extraordinary number has been established by an international project attempting to catalogue all ocean life." (BBC) | Ocean microbe census discovers diverse world of rare bacteria (Census of Marine Life)

"Evolution’s Backers in Kansas Mount a Counterattack" - "Moderates hope to gain seats on the State Board of Education and reverse teaching standards that challenge evolution." (New York Times)

"Debate continues on post-wildfire logging, forest regeneration" - "Corvallis, Ore. -- In separate comments to be published Friday in the journal Science, two groups of researchers from Oregon State University and the USDA Forest Service will exchange perspectives on the issue of post-wildfire salvage logging, forest regeneration and fire risk that were the source of considerable controversy earlier this year." (Oregon State University)

"Small-scale logging leads to clear-cutting in Brazilian Amazon" - "Stanford, CA-A team of scientists, led by Greg Asner of the Carnegie Institution's Department of Global Ecology, has discovered an important indicator of rain forest vulnerability to clear-cutting in Brazil. Their five-year study is the first to quantify the relationship between selective logging, where loggers extract individual trees from the rain forest, and complete deforestation, or clear-cutting. They found that 16% of rain forests, which had been selectively logged, were completely clear-cut within one year and 32% of logged areas were completely cleared within four years. Virtually all of this double damage occurs within 15 miles (25 km) miles of major roads. Practically no selective logging takes place at distances greater than 15 miles from the roads." (Carnegie Institution)

"Transforming the Alchemists" - "Many were cranks, frauds or just plain mad. But today, four centuries later, they may have something to teach scientists." (New York Times)

"CHILE: Salmon Farming under Scrutiny" - "SANTIAGO - Years of criticism of the environmental and labour impacts of the salmon industry in Chile prompted several local non-governmental organisations and trade unions to set up a new body to monitor the industry, on the southern island of Chiloé." (IPS)

"Industry races to get green, GM omega-3 from plants" - "Industry giants are locked in a “fish oil arms race” to develop genetically modified crops that could challenge the supremacy of fish as the best source of omega-3 fatty acid, with both BASF and DuPont reporting progress in the field." (Food Navigator)

"Mayo Clinic researchers enhance safety and effectiveness of therapeutic virus that fights cancer" - "Rochester, Minn. -- Mayo Clinic researchers working with colleagues in Germany have devised a much-needed multilevel safety feature for viruses used to treat cancer. In the process of making cancer-killing viruses more specific to cancer tumor cells, they report having improved the therapeutic effectiveness of viruses. They did this by engineering a modified measles virus that turns on only in the presence of secretions specific to malignant cancer cells." (Mayo Clinic)

"Efforts on for production of golden rice: experts" - "Intense efforts are underway for commercial production of golden rice, a genetically modified rice rich in Vitamin-A, to meet nutrition needs of the people in the country, reports BSS. Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI) is conducting the research that is now in "advance level" to develop the variety of golden rice through transferring gene of beta-carotene from daffodil flowers into BRRI Dhan-29, the highest yielding rice variety, said Dr. Mosharraf Hossain, chief scientific officer of BRRI." (Bangladesh Observer)

"Pollen-free corn is objective of researchers at Iowa State" - "DES MOINES, Iowa – Researchers at Iowa State University say they are developing biopharmaceutical corn that doesn’t produce pollen, preventing the plants from contaminating other crops. The team of researchers is using traditional breeding techniques to cross a male-fertile corn line with a biopharmaceutical line to produce a hybrid containing a therapeutic protein. That protein is then crossed with a sterile corn that hampers pollination, preventing nearby traditional corn and other crops from being contaminated by the genetically modified corn." (Associated Press)

"France moves towards GM - opposition remains" - "Anti-GM pressure groups are targeting France just as the country appears to be growing receptive to the technology." (Food Navigator)

"French Agricultural 'Vandalism' Condemned" - "TOULOUSE, France -- France's agriculture minister on Monday condemned the destruction of two fields of genetically modified corn by activists in southwestern France. Agriculture Minister Dominique Bussereau called Sunday's slashing of the crops "vandalism contrary to the rule of law and the respect of private property," a statement from his office said. More than 200 activists tore up 7.3 hectares (18 acres) of the corn in two fields near the southern city of Toulouse. Five suspects were detained by police and held for questioning on Monday." (Associated Press)

"Brazilian Farmers Talk About Benefits Of GM Crops" - "Conversations about Plant Biotechnology is now offering video conversations and podcasts with Brazilian farmers – bringing the total number of video segments with growers to more than 35 and representing nine of the 21 countries that grew biotech crops in 2005. The addition of Brazilian farmers is significant because they grew more than 23 million acres (4.4 million hectares) of genetically modified (GM) soybeans in 2005, which represents nearly a 90 percent increase in acreage over 2004 and the largest increase of any country in 2005." (Stackyard News)