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Archives - December 2004

December 31, 2004

"Environmentalists Surf Tsunami Tragedy" - "Environmental activists are shamelessly trying to exploit last week's earthquake-tsunami catastrophe in hopes of advancing their global warming and anti-development agendas." (Steven Milloy, Foxnews.com)

"Death By Environmentalist" - "The title says it all. An excellent editorial in The Wall Street Journal tells it like it is. Most encouragingly, the WSJ reports that: "Congress might consider looking into exactly how AID spends its allocation and how the agency measures results." Good news indeed. USAID has been spending money badly in malaria control for far too long." (AFM)

"The Lives We Can Still Save" - "You've seen the horrific images of walls of water rushing up beaches, sweeping away everything – and everyone – in its path. You've seen the dead piled up like cordwood, wounded survivors, and persons collapsing upon hearing their entire family has vanished. Alas, you may not have seen the worst.

Dr. David Nabarro, head of crisis operations for the U.N. World Health Organization, warned that disease could take more lives than the waves. "The initial terror associated with the tsunamis and the earthquake itself may be dwarfed by the longer term suffering of the affected communities,'' he said.

The main enemy is pestilence that can come from many different sources and cause a bewildering number of deadly diseases. Many are contracted from contaminated water that, according to Gerald Martone of the International Rescue Committee, can carry more than 50 diseases." (Michael Fumento, Scripps Howard News Service)

"We futilely yearn for someone to blame" - "In this largely godless age, we have a more subtle interpretation of the relation between human excess and natural disaster. Our new high priests are the environmentalists and, when the icebergs calve early or the swallows fly the wrong way, it is they who cry woe and say that it is a judgment on us all, and our wicked ways; and that is why, in the case of a colossal undersea earthquake, you can sense the silent frustration of the told-you-so scientists.

Whatever you say about the slipping of tectonic plates on the sea-bed off Sumatra, it had nothing to do with global warming. It was not caused by decadent use of Right Guard, or George W Bush, or the flouting of the Kyoto Protocol, or inadequate enforcement of the Windows and Doors Regulation of April 2002." (Boris Johnson, Daily Telegraph)

"When visions collide: The Rainforest Action Network’s real target is the Third World’s poor" - "Rainforests are disappearing at a frightening rate, the students were taught, so they raised $523 for an activist group’s “protect an acre” program. At the behest of their teacher and the group, they trekked into Manhattan to ask a major bank to “stop lending money to projects that destroy endangered forests and cause global warming.”

Indoctrination and manipulation are deplorable enough when high school or college students are involved. But these were second graders, and the close cooperation between their teacher and radical environmentalists underscores a widening problem." (Niger Innis and Paul Driessen, MichNews.com)

"Facts not fear needed about environment" - "Too often, environmental teaching takes the form of fearful and gloomy messages, presented to children as early as kindergarten or even preschool. It's a disturbing trend with potentially devastating ramifications." (Jane S. Shaw, Pioneer Press)

Inuit suit now to claim increased danger from bears - caused by global warming? "Polar bear population growing, hunters say" - "...But in Nunavut, where some areas have already seen a four-degree rise in average temperatures since 1950, the bears have never been healthier, said the territory's polar bear specialist, Mitch Taylor. "We're seeing an increase in bears that's really unprecedented and places where we're seeing a decrease, it's from hunting, not climate change," Mr. Taylor said. In the past 10 years, he estimates, the Canadian polar bear population has risen 25%, to nearly 15,000 from 12,000.

In fact, he said, global warming could actually be good for polar bears. The most cautionary forecasts suggest that the Arctic could be ice-free in summer by 2050, and the past 30 years have already brought a 15% reduction in ice coverage and thickness. But with Earth tilted on its axis, northern winters will always be dark, and always cold -- likely always cold enough to form the sea ice that is the bear's habitat. Parts of the Arctic will begin to see less impenetrable pack ice, a benefit for bears that need cracks in the ice through which to hunt seals. Warmer weather could mean fewer ring seals, the main part of the bear's current diet, but more harp seals and walrus." (National Post)

Polar Bear Scare on Thin Ice (Steve Milloy, FoxNews.com)

Oh boy... "Global warning: The heat is on" - "NEW DELHI: Snow has fallen over the United Arab Emirates for the first time ever, leaving a white blanket over the mountains of Ras al-Khaimah as the desert country experienced a cold spell and above-average rainfall. The mountain cluster, 1,737 metres above sea level, had heavy night-time snowfall for the past two days as a result of temperatures dropping to minus five and stunning the emirate's residents.

This is the latest episode of freakish weather. Grass is growing in Antarctica for the first time, 25,000 people have died of heat wave in Europe, while raging fires have destroyed thousands of miles of forests in Indonesia and Borneo. The world, in short, seems to be going topsy-turvy.

Scientists say that global warming - thought to be accelerated by the emission of greenhouse gases - could be responsible, which, some suggest, could also be one of the reasons for Sunday's tsunami.

The World Meteorological Organisation estimates that the number of extreme weather events has doubled in the last ten years." (Times of India)

Letter of the moment: "Gerald Marsh: CO2 No Pollutant" - "Physicist Gerald Marsh, who kindly advises The National Center on science issues, has a letter in the December 29 Financial Times:" (The National Center for Public Policy Research)

"EU puffs launch of greenhouse gas market" - "The European Union is set this week to launch the world's first-ever market to trade quotas of green house gases, a policy aimed at encouraging firms to cut dangerous climate-damaging emissions. Experts say the market, which from January 1 will allow trading in carbon dioxide (CO2) and five other such gases, also promises to be lucrative for a number of financial institutions." (AFP)

"'Pharma Crops' Threaten Food Safety" - "BROOKLIN, Canada, Dec 30 - Medicine and farming are merging as genetically engineered (GE) maize and soy crops promise cheap drugs, but they also threaten to contaminate food and the environment, warn activists and experts." (IPS)

December 30, 2004

Bull spit! "Insurers call for action to fight climate change in the wake of Asian tsunami" - "in Southeast Asia may cause massive losses for insurers. Munich Re, the world’s largest reinsurer, estimates losses to hover around 10 billion euros ($13.6 billion), more of a tentative estimate as the exact numbers are not yet available.

The company called for measures to be taken to counter the climate change that in Munich Re’s opinion was responsible for the disaster." (FinanceGates.com)

Russian says... "Global Climate Change Might Have Been The Reason For Earthquake And Tsunami In Indian Ocean" - "MOSCOW, December 29 - The reason for the earthquake and a gigantic tsunami which killed several tens of thousands of people in South and Southeast Asia was probably a global climate change. This is the opinion voiced Wednesday by State Duma Vice Speaker, co-chairman of the national organizational committee on holding the international polar year Artur Chilingarov." (RIA Novosti)

... because? "Russia may cash in $1 billion to $3 billion selling Kyoto protocol quotas" - "MOSCOW. Dec 27 - Russia may net $1 billion to $3 billion by selling quotas of releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere allowed to it by the Kyoto protocol, Vsevolod Gavrilov, deputy director of the Economic Development Ministry's Material and Land Relations and Nature Use Economics Department, told Interfax on Monday." (Interfax)

Quaint: "2004: The Year Global Warming Got Respect" - "In 2004 global warming made the covers of National Geographic and Business Week magazines, was the subject of a blockbuster movie, and was a theme in a Michael Crichton's best-selling novel State of Fear—all signs that the issue has captured widespread media attention." (National Geographic News)

National Geographic doesn't think warming has had "widespread media attention" for several years?

"A year of huge challenges" - "Two particular tasks face the world's rich nations, argues Britain's prime minister in this article: sorting out Africa, and dealing with climate change." (The Economist)

New from CO2 Science Magazine this week: Please note that co2science.org is now a subscription site with access requiring a modest annual fee.

"The New Climate-Alarmist Wisdom: Both Heat and Cold May Kill Corals in a CO 2 -Warmed World" - "If it seems that climate alarmists are blaming just about every conceivable weather-related disaster on global warming nowadays, you're right.  And in the case of coral bleaching, it's a real eye-opener: not only do global warming-induced high temperatures lead to coral bleaching, in their view, so do global warming-induced low temperatures.  What an enviable position from which to promote one's cause: whatever happens, you win." (co2science.org)

Subject Index Summaries:
"Hurricanes (Pacific Ocean)" - "How much more frequent and powerful have they become, now that the earth has recovered from the global chill of the Little Ice Age?" (co2science.org)

"FACE Experiments (Desert Species)" - "What have we learned by way of Free-Air CO 2 Enrichment (FACE) technology about the likely responses of desert plants to the ongoing rise in the air's CO 2 content?" (co2science.org)

Plant Growth Data:
"This week we add new results (blue background) of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO 2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature for: Kangaroo Grass, Scots Pine, Silver Birch and Strawberry." (co2science.org)

Journal Reviews:
"Yearly and Decadal Moisture Extremes of Northeastern Utah, USA" - "Have they become any greater over the Little Ice Age-to-Modern Warm Period transition?" (co2science.org)

"The Millennial-Scale Oscillation of Climate in Inner Mongolia" - "What does it indicate?  And how is it related to similar observations from other parts of the world?" (co2science.org)

"Impact of Atmospheric CO2 Enrichment on Photosynthesis in a Closed-Canopy Sweetgum Forest" - "Does it decline over time as trees mature, as many people once suggested it would?" (co2science.org)

"How Elevated CO 2 Affects Beetles Feeding on Their Favorite Foliage" - "In a CO 2 -enriched and possibly warmer world of the future, will beetles eat as well as they do now?" (co2science.org)

"Methane Emissions from Peatlands in a Warmer World" - "Will they be increased or decreased?  Or will they be little changed in either direction?  Theory and experiment provide similar answers to this important question." (co2science.org)

"Environmentalists trade barbs over wind power" - "HAGERSTOWN, Md. — Two Maryland environmental leaders who favor wind power development have demanded the ouster of a Sierra Club official who opposes wind turbines in the western Maryland mountains. The Sierra Club's Maryland chapter said Tuesday it saw no reason D. Daniel Boone should step down as the state conservation chairman. The dispute reflects the paradox of a technology that promises cleaner electricity production but which may pose a significant threat to migrating birds and bats in the Appalachian Mountains." (AP)

"Water Suits Flow Like H20" - "Water may be increasingly the staff of life in the West, but it also is the engine of litigation in federal courts with potentially sweeping implications for property rights and the environment." (Law.com)

"Finally, the world's drinking glass is more than half full" - "For the first time, more than half the globe's people have drinking water piped into their homes." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"Forget OPEC. The next cartel may export drinking water." - "Already, companies are locking up resources and selling abroad." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"Dow Chemical is told to curtail pesticide sales" - "The EPA told Dow Chemical Co. it can no longer sell chlorpyrifos, a controversial pesticide used to protect new homes from termites, ending speculation that the administration might extend a phaseout deadline the two parties negotiated four years ago." (Washington Post)

"How Much Is Nature Worth?" - "By figuring the value of ecosystems, biologist Gretchen C. Daily spurs others to see the greater economic impact of conservation" (BusinessWeek Online)

Hmm... Gretchen's valuation of nearby forests for boosting coffee yields may not compare too well with the same service provided by domestic bee hives and harvesting honey as well. The bottom line is that "nature" and conservation for conservation's sake becomes valuable to a society when and only when that society generates sufficient wealth that there is available surplus of both finance and effort that the cost of leaving ornament regions is affordable.

December 29, 2004

"A Look Back at the Great (Unfounded) Health Scares of 2004" - "Perhaps we are a society that relishes bad news. Or maybe by definition bad news is news. Whatever the explanation, 2004 was full of headlines about modern living allegedly making us sick." (Elizabeth M. Whelan, TCS)

"A World of Hurt" - "Washington — As a primary human drive, not even the pursuit of prolonged pleasure can compete with the avoidance of pain. That is why the sudden emergence of the painkiller issue strikes home to so many who are afflicted with pain ranging from splitting headache to crippling arthritis.

In recent weeks, people seeking relief have been afflicted by the overreaction to reports that several new pain alleviators, taken in large doses by especially vulnerable patients, may increase the risk of heart problems." (William Safire, New York Times)

"Farmers Running Out Of Time" - "A ban on methyl bromide has catapulted Florida's agriculture community to the forefront of an international controversy that culminated last week in a lawsuit filed against the US EPA." (Tampa Tribune)

"Pentagon Is Pressing to Bypass Environmental Laws for War Games and Arms Testing" - "WASHINGTON, Dec. 27 - The Defense Department, which controls 28 million acres of land across the nation that it uses for combat exercises and weapons testing, has been moving on a variety of fronts to reduce requirements that it safeguard the environment on that land.

In Congress, the Pentagon has won exemptions in the last two years from parts of the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act. It has sought in recent years to exempt military activities, for three years, from compliance with parts of the Clean Air Act." (New York Times)

Let me guess, the people troubled by this are the same ones who believe that without sophisticated weapons there'd be no violence, right?

"EU Hopeful Turkey Eyes Big Bill for Environment" - "ANKARA - Turkey may need to spend up to 60 billion euros ($80 billion) cleaning up its environment to meet European Union standards, officials said on Friday." (Reuters)

"Global Warming, Pollution Add to Coastal Threats" - "OSLO - A creeping rise in sea levels tied to global warming, pollution and damage to coral reefs may make coastlines even more vulnerable to disasters like tsunamis or storms in future, experts said on Monday." (Reuters) | Media Linking Killer Tsunami to Global Warming (CNSNews.com)

Is there no disaster or human suffering to which Big Warming will not hitch their hopes of fame and fortune?

What is really distressing is that poverty makes people particularly vulnerable to disaster and Big Warming, via their desired energy rationing schemes to 'control' climate, inhibit wealth generation and so keep the impoverished poor and vulnerable.

"Scientist Decries Moral Audacity of Environmentalists Linking Tsunami and Global Warming" - "WASHINGTON, Dec. 28 -- In response to the environmental experts busily creating links between the recent tsunami and global warming, Dr. Pat Michaels (VA state climatologist, author, UVA and Cato scholar) made the following announcement:" (PRNewswire)

"Economic Growth Saves Lives" - "More than 160,000 people will die prematurely in poor countries this week, many of them women and children. Some of these deaths -- more than 40,000 -- were caused by the tsunamis that wrought havoc in the Indian Ocean region. But most of these deaths will go unnoticed. That because rather than being victims of a dramatic natural event, they are caused by the side effects of poverty.

In a few days, media coverage of the tsunami's victims and its aftermath will be replaced with more current news. Yet every week in 2005, more than 120,000 people will continue to die prematurely in poor countries from malaria, dirty water, indoor air pollution, lack of sanitation and malnutrition. Most of these deaths, and indeed many of those caused by the tsunami, could have been prevented but for the anti-growth, anti-technology policies of governments in poor countries." (Kendra Okonski, The Wall Street Journal)

"When Your Mother Kills" - "A tsunami killed more than 40,000 in six Asian countries. Hundreds of thousands are either injured or missing. Cold numbers, however huge, cannot give you an idea of what kind of tragedy occurred. Pictures do. Corpses are lying everywhere, families are destroyed, buildings fall down.

All of this takes our mind away from today's comforts and technologies and gives us a glimpse of the world as it was centuries, if not millennia, ago. Namely, hostile: every single moment of the human adventure on Earth is part of a struggle between man and (mother) nature. Every step forward in our history has moved us toward a more humanized world: cold has been defeated by fire; difficulty to travel has been overcome by the wheel; food scarcity has been tackled by agriculture; the need for energy mitigated by the harnessing of fuel.

Our planet is savage, uncomfortable for men. This is why we still have to struggle against it, in order to make it less harmful. Human ingenuity is a powerful tool against the natural forces' challenge: we may, and should, go on and on, finding a way to innovation and harm reduction." (Carlo Stagnaro, TCS)

"It is man-made failings that allow natural disasters to wreak havoc" - "WHEN I heard the news flash that there had been an earthquake measuring around 9 on the Richter scale with its epicentre in the open ocean near to Sumatra, I felt sick. The basic geological and geopolitical facts had calamity written all over them. What was more galling was that geologists at work around the world would have been fully aware of Sunday’s seismic event hours before the waves struck land. Lamentably, nobody knew whom to warn." (Philip Stott, The Times) | Scientists in USA saw tsunami coming (USA TODAY)

"Mammal's decline tied to global warming" - "Populations of the hamster-like American pika continue to decline in the West, and global warming is partly to blame, a new study says." (USA Today)

Commentary and update.

"Insuring Climate Change -- High Risk Business" - "Alarmism over climate change has created many bandwagons. One is Europe's insurance industry. It is an official "business partner" of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), the UN's official climate change booster. Many businesses seek a Green afterglow as global warming fellow travelers. The insurance companies claim a higher tone. They are in it to contribute. They may be taking a bigger risk than they realize." (Alan Oxley, TCS)

"Australia: Warning on carbon trading" - "FEDERAL Environment Minister Ian Campbell has warned that Australians will pay more for electricity and petrol if state governments join the first global market for trade in greenhouse emissions. "Australians will judge very harshly a scheme that puts up the price of power and the price of petroleum," Senator Campbell told The Australian. "That will affect economic growth, it'll affect people's disposable incomes, it'll affect our trade competitiveness." (The Australian)

"Living in Sunny Times" - "What forces, human or otherwise, are now warming the Earth? Debate over this highly politicized question continues to simmer. And a publication in Nature last October by solar physicist Sami K. Solanki of the Max-Planck-Institut für Sonnensystemforschung and four of his colleagues is bound to intensify the arguments. Solanki and coworkers attempted to estimate "sunspot numbers," a general barometer of solar activity, for times long before the beginning of the observational record, which starts four centuries ago. Their main result is expressed in the title of their paper: "Unusual activity of the Sun during recent decades compared to the previous 11,000 years." (David Schneider, American Scientist Online)

"Antarctic iced over when greenhouse gases - not ocean currents - shifted" - "A longstanding theory that provides much of the basis for our understanding of climate change – that the mile-thick ice sheet covering Antarctica developed because of a shift in ocean currents millions of years ago – has been challenged by Purdue University scientists." (Purdue University)

"EU 'must end love affair with nuclear power'" - "In an article first published in the Parliamentary Monitor magazine, Green Party MEP Jean Lambert calls on the EU to do more to promote renewable sources of energy." (ePolitix.com)

"Argentine scientists learn to make 'green hydrogen' from ethanol" - "Buenos Aires -- Argentine scientists have invented a technique that converts ethyl alcohol into hydrogen, producing a fuel of low carbon content that may spur the development of less-polluting vehicles and industrial processes." (FuelCellWorks.com)

"Fear for Profit" - "Virtually every aspect of our lives today is restricted in some way by the government and it's hard to imagine that such intrusions are based on anything but good science and good sense. But that's not the reality at all." (Sandy Szwarc, TCS)

"UK: Minister to abolish GM scrutiny body" - "The environment secretary, Margaret Beckett, is to scrap an advisory committee after it repeatedly placed obstacles in the way of government plans to introduce genetically modified crops." (The Guardian)

"KYRGYZSTAN: Organic cotton tested in the south" - "BISHKEK, 28 December - Farmers in the south of Kyrgyzstan have organically produced their first 24 mt of cotton fibre. Organic agriculture is predicted to take off by 2006, allowing local farmers the opportunity to increase their standard of living while at the same time safeguarding the environment." (IRIN)

December 28, 2004

Don't pet that hamster! "Animal experiments more stressful than previously recognized: New study shows animals experience severe stress response at slightest contact with researchers" - "WASHINGTON--Mice, rabbits, rats, beagles, geese, and other animals all show measurable physiological stress responses to routine laboratory procedures that have been up until now viewed as relatively benign. The findings come in a new report published in Contemporary Topics in Laboratory Animal Science, based on an extensive review of the scientific literature by ethologist Jonathan Balcombe, Ph.D., of Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM). For example, a mouse who is picked up and briefly held experiences several physiological reactions. As stress-response hormones flood the bloodstream, the mouse exhibits a racing pulse and a spike in blood pressure. These symptoms can persist for up to an hour after each event. Immune response is also affected. In rats and mice, the growth of tumors is strongly influenced by how much the animals are handled." (EurekaAlert)

PCRM, of course, is an animal rights crusade hiding behind its deceptive name. First, 95 percent of its members aren't physicians, according to ActivistCash.com. Next, they can hardly claim to be for "responsible medicine" as many valuable cures and technologies have come from animal experiments. I would be interested to know just how many PCRM members' lives have been saved by technologies derived from animal tests.

Greens imply global warming causes earthquakes: "Man, Nature and Disaster " - "In an interview with the Independent newspaper in Britain, Stephen Tindale, executive director of Greenpeace UK, said: "No one can ignore the relentless increase in extreme weather events and so-called natural disasters, which in reality are no more natural than a plastic Christmas tree." Speaking to the same newspaper, Friends of the Earth Director Tony Juniper pressed the argument home: "Here again are yet more events in the real world that are consistent with climate change predictions." It is perhaps appropriate that the strongest, recent refutation to such feverish assertions may be found in Michael Crichton's new thriller -- also about environmental extremists, a tsunami and the myths of global warming.

People prone to hysteria often become further unhinged in the face of a great disaster, and that may explain these remarkable comments on the tsunami disaster. Still, these comments by the movement's leadership may serve as a case study of how such imaginings work their way into public discussion of the environment. That is all the more reason to come to grips with the real causes of calamities such as this." (Wall Street Journal)

December 27, 2004

Stem cell scam: "Stem-Cell Reality Check " - "California voters approved a stem-cell initiative known as Proposition 71 on November 2. But only recently has anyone gotten around to analyzing the fine print.

The law, which passed with 59% of the vote and vocal support from Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, authorizes $3 billion in bonds to pay for new research and facilities. And even though the interest rate will double the ultimate cost over 10 years, backers of the initiative said that the money raised from the bonds won't cost the state anything for the first five.

Or so most Californians thought before a recent report in the San Francisco Chronicle noting that the Prop. 71 campaign misrepresented the measure in major ways. In fact, says the paper, "Interest payments will begin immediately, paid out of the bond money itself -- meaning that tens to hundreds of millions of 'research' dollars must be used to pay debt service."

Moreover, the law says the research money doesn't even have to be spent on embryonic stem-cell studies. It can go to "other scientific and medical research and technologies" to be determined by the independent governing board. Topping things off is a provision that hamstrings Sacramento with respect to any changes. Prop. 71 can't be modified for three years, and then 70% of both Houses and the Governor must approve any tinkering. " (Wall Street Journal)

None of this is a surprise. Proposition 71's backer have been deceiving the public from the start.

Never-ending nonsense: "MMR parents win legal victory" - "Up to 100 British families who allege that their children were damaged by the MMR vaccine are to receive legal aid to sue the drugs companies behind the controversial inoculation." (London Observer)

Oh dear... "Undeniable Global Warming" - "Many people have the impression that there is significant scientific disagreement about global climate change. It's time to lay that misapprehension to rest. There is a scientific consensus on the fact that Earth's climate is heating up and human activities are part of the reason. We need to stop repeating nonsense about the uncertainty of global warming and start talking seriously about the right approach to address it." (Naomi Oreskes, The Washington Post)

I'm not sure whether Oreskes demonstrates publishing bias or poor search skills but this is becoming a little ridiculous. Perhaps we can help clear some of her confusion:

  1. "Global warming" is a fact - it's definitely warmer now than when it was colder (profound, no?)
  2. The rate of current warming and the identity of the most significant climate forcings are contentious items in the debate.
  3. Land use change and other activities guarantee some human influence on climate - the degree is contentious.
  4. Near-surface temperature reading amalgams indicate rapid warming ongoing.
  5. Near-surface temperature reading amalgams are composites gathered from less than 1% of the Earth's surface.
  6. Near-surface temperature reading amalgams are subject to local influences.
  7. Near-surface temperature reading amalgams have suffered significant urbanization with the closure of rural recording stations.
  8. Near-surface temperature reading amalgams are adjusted for UHIE corruption - the degree and the methodology are contentious.
  9. Near-surface temperature reading amalgams vary widely by region, with better financed and maintained regions showing little warming.
  10. Radiosonde balloon measures test the well-mixed atmosphere.
  11. Radiosonde balloon measures are significantly less subject to local influences and UHIE than near-surface temperature readings.
  12. Radiosonde balloon measures do not indicate atmospheric warming in the 1,000mtr-10,000mtr height where enhanced greenhouse warming should theoretically be readily apparent by now.
  13. Satellite-mounted Microwave Sounding Units test the well-mixed atmosphere.
  14. Satellite-mounted Microwave Sounding Units provide near-global coverage.
  15. Satellite-mounted Microwave Sounding Units are not subject to local influences or UHIE.
  16. Satellite-mounted Microwave Sounding Units suggest a small tropospheric warming trend (about three-fourths of one degree (C) per century).
  17. General Circulation Climate Models are programmed to show warming proportionate to atmospheric carbon dioxide levels.
  18. General Circulation Climate Models do exactly as they are programmed to do.
  19. General Circulation Climate Models cannot yet be programmed with the complexity of the atmosphere.
  20. General Circulation Climate Models have yet to demonstrate greater predictive power than a table of random numbers.

On these points I believe there is fair to good agreement, if not consensus.

"2004: The year of living dangerously" - "This year has seen a succession of ferocious natural disasters, destroying cities and killing tens of thousands of people. Michael McCarthy reports on a trend that is terrifying the insurance industry" (Independent)

Hey lookit! Jonathan Leake figures out we're still emerging from the last great glaciation: "Grass flourishes in warmer Antarctic" - "Grass has become established in Antarctica for the first time, showing the continent is warming to temperatures unseen for 10,000 years." (London Times)

Well, perhaps not since this is occurring only on that tiny fragment of the Antarctic protruding north of the Antarctic Circle, the Antarctic Peninsula, where anomalous warming has been observed in contrast to general cooling for the Antarctic Continent.

"Bush left in the cold by climate allies" - "George Bush's two closest allies in his attempt to sabotage international action to combat global warning-- Saudi Arabia and Australia-- last week dramatically distanced themselves from him." (London Independent)

Really? That's sure news in Australia. What has actually happened is that the Environment Minister (sort of a PR position in the Australian Government) has made a few off the cuff comments about Australia always being willing to talk. Australia's position, however, has never altered from there being zero possibility of Australia ratifying any agreement applied differentially since exempting developing countries simply means relocating energy intensive employment offshore with zero potential benefit whether enhanced greenhouse eventually proves a problem or not.

The Week That Was Dec. 25, 2004 (SEPP)

"Prepare for fines on greenhouse gas" - "While Washington refuses to recognize the threat of global warming, California understands that denial won't be the national policy forever.

So the Public Utilities Commission is planning for the not-so-distant day when fossil fuels will be penalized for the carbon dioxide they add to the atmosphere. The long-term plans it just approved will guide electric utilities away from the use of those fuels.

The PUC is following the lead of the Air Resources Board, which has enacted first-in-the-nation limits on greenhouse gases emitted by vehicles. Sooner or later, the nation will follow." (Mercury News Editorial)

"Emission trading" - "The European Union has led an almost moral crusade on the issue of global warming. Now, however, the Europeans will have to step down from pulpit to trading pit, with the start on Saturday of their EU-wide system to buy and sell carbon-pollution permits.

Such trading of emission allowances gets maximum pollution reduction at least cost. We know this from the pioneering US experience in using trading mechanisms to cut other forms of pollution. Although, of course, the Bush administration refuses to join the EU and others in signing up to the Kyoto treaty curbs on the carbon-related gases overheating our planet. But trading pollution permits covering 12,000 installations in 25 countries is far more ambitious than anything the US has done. It will require an unprecedented degree of multinational honesty, exactitude, trust and co-operation. Success would make it the model for all Kyoto signatories. Failure would require a resort to blunter and more expensive ways of cutting pollution." (Financial Times)

But carbon dioxide is not an atmospheric pollutant - it's an essential trace gas.

"'Dirty' firms fight right-to-know" - "Some of Britain's biggest polluters are trying to block new "freedom of information" rules which will force them to release confidential data about radioactive leaks, air pollution and their role in causing global warming." (London Independent)

Firms don't want to provide information of value only to misanthropes and technophobes for the express purpose of damaging said firms via perpetual litigation and adverse consumer campaigns? Go figure...

"'Magic' Fuel-Saving Buses Fall a Bit Short on Wonders" - "The fleet of hybrid buses that General Motors promised would save Seattle more than 750,000 gallons of fuel a year will actually save less than half that amount, according to the fleet operator." (New York Times)

"Combining multiple viewpoints on genetically modified foods" - "Worldwide, the production and consumption of foods derived from genetically modified crops (GM crops) is rising rapidly. However, in Europe only 58.000 hectares are planted with one GM crop (insect-protected maize in Spain).

The public debate in Europe demonstrates that rigorous safety assessment is necessary but not sufficient for gaining societal acceptance of agricultural biotechnology. Many natural scientists agree that currently available GM crops are as safe as conventional food crops. Some critics on the other hand point to possible adverse unintended effects; others hold more fundamental concerns about mankind messing with hereditary material. The challenge is to identify prerequisites for introducing products of agricultural biotechnology in a manner that is broadly accepted in societies with wide ranging viewpoints.

To address this challenge, the European Commission-sponsored research consortium ENTRANSFOOD brought together representatives from academia, regulatory agencies, food manufacturers, retailers and consumer groups from across Europe. The consortium's main conclusions are discussed below." (Medical News Today)

"South Africa: Biowatch loses faith in legal process as it loses GM battle" - "Biowatch-South Africa has lost its appeal against international seed giant Syngenta over the company's growing and selling of genetically modified (GM) maize in South Africa. The environmental lobby group has now written to Agriculture Minister Thoko Didiza calling on her to intervene as a matter of urgency." (The Cape Times)

December 26, 2004

Well, well, well... "NetWatch: WEB LOGS: Sifting for Truth About Global Warming" - "Frustrated by Web sites claiming to debunk global warming, several scientists this month launched their own blog on the evidence that humans are heating up the planet. Realclimate.org is hosted by a public relations firm called Environmental Media Services, but nine academic and government scientists write the content, says co-organizer Gavin Schmidt of NASA (speaking in a personal capacity). They hope to counter industry-supported sites such as www.CO2science.org and www.junkscience.com, where so-called experts "have a habit of seriously misquoting, distorting, and outright manipulating data," says Schmidt.

So far, the site has addressed topics such as why the heat generated by large cities makes only a minuscule contribution to surface warming and the flaws in Michael Crichton's latest novel, State of Fear, which dismisses global warming as hype. Visitors can chime in, but comments are screened before they're posted." (Science)

Environmental Media Services of 1320 18th Street NW 5th Floor, Washington, DC 20036? Funnily enough, that address is familiar because it just happens to be the same address as nonsense scare peddlers, Fenton Communications. Can't quite place them? Think 'Alar,' as just one notorious example. Are EMS just Fenton by another name? I've never bothered to check but they are frequently in cahoots where junk science-fueled enviro scares are concerned and I view them as largely synonymous.

I suspect the Idsos will have something to say about the allegation of distortion, data manipulation etc. on CO2science.org's website (pretty funny coming from the global warming industry), particularly since their site largely comprises reviews of articles published in peer reviewed journals. Nonetheless, I will hold my hand up for manipulating data (mostly converting available tabular data to graphical) and certainly for distorting the global warming industry's message - usually by polluting it with historical perspective and empirical measures. So, without further ado, here's a medley of JunkScience.com's recent climate meddling. -- Barry Hearn (Editor)

December 24, 2004

"Better Arthritis Drugs Needed | Fat But Not Fit?" - "If weak statistical correlations are to raise legitimate concerns about drugs that have been widely used for years without noticeable problems, those correlations should at least be produced by studies specifically designed to examine the precise health endpoints of concern...

“Fat but fit” is a faulty concept, according to a new study published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine.

“There has been some suggestion that if you are particularly active, you don’t have to worry about your body weight, about your diet. That’s very misleading,” study author Frank Hu of the Harvard School of Public Health told the AP.

What’s more likely to be misleading, though, is Hu’s study..." (Steve Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"Phone Makers Ask for More Research into DNA Damage" - "AMSTERDAM - Two of the world's top mobile phone makers said more research is needed into the potential for cell phone radiation to damage DNA, following a laboratory study by 12 European institutes which found harmful effects." (Reuters)

"Environmental Risks To Gulf War Veterans" - "An Institute of Medicine review has concluded that veterans of the 1991 Persian Gulf War may have an increased risk of lung cancer because of war-related exposures to air pollution, vehicle exhaust, and other combustible products." (Environmental Science & Technology)

"Unhealthy Hype: The Myth of Gulf War Syndrome Lives On" - "For a decade now, countless studies in both the U.S. and U.K, along with myriad government-appointed panels that have reviewed them, have found that in no meaningful sense is there a "Gulf War Syndrome." GWS is simply any illness any Gulf vet (or spouse or child of one) has or thinks he has. Since most studies are government-funded, veterans-advocacy groups and antiwar activists have insisted there's been a massive government cover-up. Ironically, now there is." (Michael Fumento, National Review Online)

"Study shows use of antibiotics may be factor in asthma, allergies" - "Asthma and allergies may be an unintended consequence of the antibiotics you took years earlier." (Toledo Blade)

"Cleaning products 'wheezing link'" - "Exposure to cleaning products while in the womb could be linked to persistent wheezing in young children, research suggests." (BBC)

"Antioxidants may not help fight cancer" - "In another blow to the belief that antioxidant supplements improve health, an authoritative analysis has concluded there is no evidence the vitamins ward off common digestive cancers." (Associated Press)

"MICHAEL FUMENTO: The burning problem of ecoterrorism" - "The arson that damaged or destroyed 26 homes under construction near a wetlands area in Maryland appears not to have been ecoterrorism. But no wonder this was the first suspicion, considering the torch remains the primary weapon of America's greatest domestic terror threat - and one the media greatly ignore." (Scripps Howard News Service)

"No silver bullet to replace methyl bromide" - "The Montreal Protocol's ban on methyl bromide will go into effect this January, but the U.S. agricultural community will continue to depend on the chemical for some time. Alternatives to methyl bromide exist, but questions about their effectiveness have left farmers concerned and seeking "critical use exemptions." (Environmental Science & Technology)

Glad we got this cleared up: Santa exists, and he's responsible for global warming (UPI)

"Evidence for sun-climate link reported by UMaine scientists" - "A team led by University of Maine scientists has reported finding a potential link between changes in solar activity and the Earth's climate. In a paper due to be published in an upcoming volume of the Annals of Glaciology, Paul Mayewski, director of UMaine's Climate Change Institute, and 11 colleagues from China, Australia and UMaine describe evidence from ice cores pointing to an association between the waxing and waning of zonal wind strength around Antarctica and a chemical signal of changes in the sun's output." (University of Maine)

"Climate change: The cloud conundrum" - "One of the great uncertainties in projecting global warming is accounting for the effects of small particles in Earth's atmosphere. Progress is nonetheless being made with this fiendishly complex problem." (Nature) [Subscription Required]

"Bjorn Lomborg: Let's first tackle hunger and disease" - "WHEN the Buenos Aires climate change conference finished last weekend, the only point everyone could agree on was that international unity had not advanced. It appeared the European Union wants to do much more to limit global warming, with little regard for the costs, whereas the US seems preoccupied with the costs without much concern for the negative effects of warming. After the meeting, Australia's Environment Minister Ian Campbell indicated he wanted to find middle ground between the two approaches." (The Australian)

"Balance Is Bias When Reporting on Global Warming, Study Claims" - "When it comes to U.S. media coverage of global warming, telling both sides of the story can actually be a form of bias, a recent study says." (CNSNews.com)

"Global Warming? Hot Air" - "In today's segmented America, Michael Crichton's new novel, "State of Fear," might seem to be reading just for red states. Granted, a character resembling Martin Sheen -- Crichton's character is a prototypical Hollywood liberal who plays the president in a television series -- meets an appropriately grisly fate. But blue states, too -- no, especially -- need Crichton's fable about the ecology of public opinion." (George F. Will, The Washington Post)

"Methane - A Greenhouse Gas Becomes Star of the Market" - "MEXICO CITY, Dec 23 - Capturing methane, one of the gases that contributes to global warming, is fast becoming an attractive environmental deal for industrialised countries -- and for Latin America. But the trend is causing tensions between social and environmental activists." (IPS)

"Burning sewage for power ‘breaches EU pollution rules’" - "A judge yesterday ruled that the burning of half the country's sewage was illegal under European rules on pollution." (Glasgow Herald)

"Norway Oil Drilling To More Than Double" - "OSLO - High oil prices will spur the drilling of up to 40 new oil and gas exploration wells offshore Norway in 2005, rising from 16 this year, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate said on Thursday." (Reuters)

"Biotech industry laments 'lack of political coherence' on GM" - "Following a decision by European environment ministers to reject the import to the EU of Monsanto's genetically modified (GM) GT73 oilseed rape, the biotech industry has hit back at what it calls 'a lack of political coherence' in the regulatory framework for GM crops." (EUbusiness)

"Insect Resistant Maize in Africa Moves Forward" - "Highlighting the Insect Resistant Maize in Africa (IRMA) project's mid-December annual meetings in Nairobi, Kenya, was news that an application to conduct the first field planting of transgenic Bt maize in Kenya would be submitted and likely approved before year's end." (CIMMYT)

December 23, 2004

Eco-activist child exploitation story continues: "Children's Efforts for Green Group 'Not A Field Trip'" - "The deputy school superintendent in Fairfield, Conn., said the school system did not sanction a recent "save the rainforests" excursion by second-grade students. He also said media coverage of the event resulted from a "misunderstanding." (Marc Morano, CNSNews.com)

December 22, 2004

Check out the Junkman on Fox News Channel: "Eco-Activists Exploiting Kids?" - "Critics say RAN is "brainwashing" the kids, and that its "activist agenda" has no place in the classroom. Steve Milloy of CSRwatch.com thought it ironic the pint-sized protestors took a bus to the city to be in position to call on corporate bosses to "stop hurting the earth for oil", and made paper signs to protest the harvesting of trees. He also suggests some of the kids might've had a burger for lunch, even though beef is also being battled." (Rick Leventhal, Fox News)

Click on the Fox News video link to see the Junkman's smiling face! Also check out CNSnews.com for more coverage.

"DDT Spray to Start in 2005" - "Good news for Uganda - lets hope it actually happens and that the anti-DDT crowd don't stick their collective oar in." (AFM)

"Mobile phones 'alter human DNA'" - "Radio waves from mobile phones do harm body cells and damage DNA, a laboratory study has shown. But the European Union-funded Reflex research did not prove such changes were a risk to human health." (BBC)

"Radon gas linked to cancer deaths" - "Domestic exposure to radon gas is responsible for a significant number of lung cancer deaths, research has found. The risk appears to be much higher for smokers. The researchers conclude radon in the home causes approximately 20,000 lung cancer deaths in the European Union each year - about 1,000 in the UK." (BBC) | Radon in the home responsible for 9% of lung cancer deaths across Europe (BMJ-British Medical Journal)

"Genetic predisposition can play an important role in development of lung cancer" - "First-degree relatives of lung cancer patients have a 2 to 3.5 times greater risk of developing lung cancer than the general population, and tobacco smoke plays a major role, even among those with a genetic predisposition, according to a study in the December 22/29 issue of JAMA." (JAMA and Archives Journals Website)

"Arsenic ingestion from well water associated with increased risk of lung cancer" - "Residents of Taiwan who consumed drinking water with high levels of arsenic have a higher risk of lung cancer, with cigarette smokers from this group having an even greater risk, according to a study in the December 22/29 issue of JAMA." (JAMA and Archives Journals Website)

"EPA May Lift Ban on Dow's Termite Killer" - "The EPA is considering allowing Dow Chemical Co. to continue selling a controversial pesticide used to protect new homes from termites beyond a deadline that requires it to be phased out for this use at the end of the month." (Washington Post)

"Deadline extended on pesticide phaseout" - "EPA officials Monday backed off private assurances to Dow AgroSciences, the maker of the pesticide Dursban, that the company could have up to three more years before a final decision on whether to ban the use of the pesticide in home construction." (Scripps Howard News Service)

"EU Clamps Down on Heavy Metal Cadmium in Batteries" - "BRUSSELS - EU environment ministers agreed on Monday to clamp down on using cadmium in batteries in a bid to stop the toxic heavy metal from seeping into water supplies and polluting the atmosphere." (Reuters)

"Pawar twist to pesticide tale" - "It is not just the case with soft drinks in India; even coconut water contains pesticides, claimed agriculture, food and consumer affairs minister Sharad Pawar today." (Calcutta Telegraph)

"Gulf vets may face higher cancer risk" - "Veterans of the 1991 Persian Gulf War exposed to pollution from oil-well fires, exhausts and other sources may face an increased risk of lung cancer, a government advisory group reported yesterday." (Associated Press) | National Academies news: Gulf War and Health (The National Academies)

"Travelers who strive to do no harm" - "More tourists today say they want to travel in an ethical fashion. But how many really act in accord with their words?" (The Christian Science Monitor)

"Green with bigotry" - "First they destroyed the gasoline station, so you have to drive miles out of your way to get gas. Then they destroyed a parking lot. Now they want to destroy a dam and a reservoir supplying more than 2 million people with water. No, these are not al Qaeda terrorists. These are our own home-grown fanatics — and the places mentioned are all in Yosemite National Park. They call themselves environmentalists, but a more accurate term would be green bigots. What makes someone a bigot is his wish to deny other people the same rights he has. That is the hallmark of the environmental zealot." (Thomas Sowell, The Washington Times)

"Insurance climate alarm rings false" - "The United Nations' climate control machine sputtered through another mass meeting in Buenos Aires last week. The science is falling apart, the political backing is unraveling and the economics remain as hopeless as ever. But onward march the UN parties, as if they knew where they were going, dragging the Kyoto Protocol like a giant dead albatross to some place where it will ultimately have to be buried." (Terence Corcoran, Financial Post)

Disappointment for the global warming industry: "Hot enough - but not the hottest year" - "Despite a worldwide trend towards global warming, 2004 was only the 10th-hottest year in Australia. Some years in the 1980s and even the 1970s were hotter." (Melbourne Age)

"Snowdon 'to lose its snowcap by 2020', says study" - "It may be one of the last white Christmases on Mount Snowdon, the highest mountain in England and Wales. Scientists have reported that snow is disappearing from the peak as the snowline retreats due to global warming." (Daily Telegraph)

"Bellamy Dismisses Climate Change Fears" - "Television conservationist David Bellamy has dismissed claims that global warming is threatening the future of the world. In a TV interview yesterday, the 71-year-old environmentalist said climate change was not a modern phenomenon and has happened throughout history." (PA News)

"Back to drawing board on Kyoto" - "Thanks to the United Nations' apparently limitless ability to create silly acronyms, last week's conference on climate change in Buenos Aires was called COP10. The initials represented the "International 10th Convention of the Parties," but COP10 more closely resembled a cop-out." (Toronto Star)

"Post-Kyoto climate negotiations look troubled" - "The Kyoto Protocol on climate change is due to come into force on 16 February 2005, but the conclusion of a two-week meeting of governments in Buenos Aires has left nations stymied about what to do next. The meeting began with euphoria that recent Russian ratification will activate the protocol. But it ended on Saturday with many delegates close to despair after both the US and developing countries blocked efforts to start negotiations on future limits for emissions of the gases that cause climate change." (NewScientist.com news service)

From Moonbat Central: "America's war on itself" - "Bush's wrecking tactics over climate change follow an established pattern of self-destruction." (George Monbiot, The Guardian)

"EU Gives Upbeat Assessment on CO2 Emissions Cuts" - "BRUSSELS - The European Union is on track to cut greenhouse gas emissions and meet its Kyoto targets but more needs to be done, an annual report by the EU's executive Commission said on Tuesday." (Reuters)

"Europe 'can reach Kyoto target'" - "The 15 states which were members of the European Union before 2004 can reach their promised greenhouse gas target, the European Environment Agency says. It says the EU should manage emission cuts slightly larger than those which the Kyoto Protocol requires it to make. This depends on states living up to all their promises, and on some countries making bigger cuts than they agreed. Even so, the EEA says, some individual countries will still overshoot their Kyoto targets, some by a large amount." (Alex Kirby, BBC News)

"Saudis to sign up to Kyoto" - "SAUDI Arabia, the world's biggest oil exporter, gave its approval today to the Kyoto protocol which aims to stem global warming, the official Saudi Press Agency said. It said the decision was taken by ministers at a weekly cabinet meeting and a royal decree was being prepared to formally endorse the step. As a developing country, Saudi Arabia would not be subject to emissions cuts under Kyoto, a requirement only binding 30 industrialised nations." (Reuters)

"Kyoto still unloved, but ideas plea as climate policy drifts from US" - "The Government is considering carbon "currencies" and has sought other innovative measures to build climate change policies beyond the Kyoto protocol. The Environment Minister, Ian Campbell, said a conference in Australia in April would discuss new, flexible systems that were the antithesis of Kyoto's "centralised, top-down system of capped targets and taxes". He wanted proposals that could be applied to specific sectors without having a blunt impact across the economy." (The Sydney Morning Herald)

"NZ: Hodgson hits back at Russian's Kyoto stance" - "Energy minister Pete Hodgson has hit back at a Russian economist opposed to the Kyoto protocol, saying his scientific understanding of global warming was 'approximately illiterate'." (Dominion Post)

"Science Fiction: Michael Crichton takes a novel approach to global-warming alarmism " - "M ichael Crichton's new blockbuster novel, State of Fear, begins with sex, violence, and oceanography. It's that sort of book all the way through, mixing the usual adventure novel clichés of beautiful young heroes, indestructible secret agents, and a plot to kill millions alongside hard science, including graphs, footnotes, and words like "aminostratigraphy." As such, the book is half a rip-roaring roller coaster of a read (as Edmund Blackadder would put it) and half didactic tract. It is a testament to Crichton's skill as a novelist that he pulls it off. This is definitely one for the Christmas list." (Iain Murray, NRO)

"The New Global Warming Lawsuit Industry - Eco-activists add more junk litigation to their anti-civilization arsenal" - "The Kyoto climate treaty took a beating in Buenos Aires last week. Angry but undeterred, the ideological environmentalists are taking a new tack – a wave of lawsuits against corporations that they and their acolytes claim are responsible for every observed or imaginable weather anomaly. As is always the case, the litigation is backed by pseudo scientific “analyses” from researchers whose careers and livelihoods depend on conjuring up a never-ending series of hobgoblins and horror movies." (Paul Driessen, WEBCommentary.com [part 1 of 2 parts])

"Editorial: Automaker lawsuit - Bad for business and the planet" - "The California Public Employees' Retirement System board sent letters to the nation's automakers this month asking them to explain how their stockholders benefit from the automakers suing California to invalidate the state's historic measure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. That's a very good question, particularly coming from a board that holds some $838 million in auto industry stock.' (The Sacramento Bee)

"Amazon Gas Heralds Changes in Brazil Rain Forest" - "URUCU, Brazil - A tower of orange flame rises above the Amazon jungle, firing the energy goals of the Brazilian government. It also gives environmentalists nightmares and heralds a dose of culture shock for the people of the rain forest." (Reuters)

"Climate change issues clouded by ozone" - "Air pollutants like ozone are fundamentally changing the way clouds form, by destroying organic compounds that usually coat airborne particles and slow droplet formation. This newly discovered mechanism could be having "large climate effects", according to the researchers who discovered it. The trouble is nobody knows whether the effect will speed up global warming or slow it down." (New Scientist)

"As the Seas Warm, Algae Help Some Coral Stand Up to the Heat" - "KEY LARGO, Fla. - For some time, scientists have predicted that the world's coral reefs will be among the first ecosystems to suffer devastating damage from global warming. Some reefs, however, are proving surprisingly resilient, researchers say, not because of qualities of the corals themselves, but because of heat-tolerant algae that live with them.

It may even be possible that heat-related episodes of coral bleaching, which had been viewed as ominous previews of mass coral death to come, could allow these robust algae to spread, leaving corals better able to survive in a warmer world." (New York Times)

From CO2 Science Magazine this week:

"Impacts of Aerosols on Ecosystem Productivity" - "An important new study has provided massive real-world evidence for the existence and significant magnitude of a long-unrecognized phenomenon whereby earth's woody plants greatly magnify the growth-promoting influence of the aerial fertilization effect of atmospheric CO 2 enrichment." (co2science.org)

Subject Index Summaries:
"Weather Extremes (Temperature)" - "As mean air temperature rises, climate alarmists say we can expect more and greater weather extremes, including extremes of temperature itself.  Are they correct?" (co2science.org)

"FACE Experiments (Agricultural Species: Wheat)" - "What do they tell us about the ability of this vital crop to sustain the expanding human population of the globe in the years and decades ahead?" (co2science.org)

Plant Growth Data:
"This week we add new results (blue background) of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO 2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature for: Japanese Larch, Rice, Sorghum and Themeda triandra." (co2science.org)

Journal Reviews:
"Arctic Ocean Sea-Ice Coverage" - "Is it wasting away as rapidly as climate alarmists say it is?" (co2science.org)

"Glacial Behavior in New Zealand" - "What does it tell us about the Little Ice Age?  And why are climate alarmists loath to acknowledge the facts of this matter?" (co2science.org)

"Holocene Climate Variability" - "What has it been like, and what has been the likely cause of it?" (co2science.org)

"Ozone Destruction by BVOCs" - "New findings suggest that the ozone-destroying power of Biogenically-emitted Volatile Organic Compounds may be much larger than what has been believed in the past, with positive implications for the ongoing rise in the air's CO 2 content and the health of the biosphere." (co2science.org)

"Effect of Elevated CO 2 on Rhizodeposition in a Semiarid Grassland" - "How does it compare with the effects of atmospheric CO 2 enrichment on above- and below-ground biomass production?  And what do the results imply about the prospects for enhanced soil carbon sequestration by such ecosystems in a high-CO 2 world of the future?" (co2science.org)

"GM boom 'could spell economic growth for poor nations'" - "Developing countries are playing an important role in the expansion of genetically modified (GM) crops, and are set to play an increasingly important role both in growing and researching the plants in the next ten years, says a report from the Council for Biotechnology Information." (SciDev.Net)

"EU Ministers to Debate Authorising GMO Rapeseed" - "BRUSSELS - EU environment ministers will discuss allowing imports of a biotech rapeseed next week but the chances of agreement are slim, meaning EU process may well lead to another default authorisation, officials said on Friday." (Reuters)

"Study results: Biotech crops cut pesticide use, boost yields and producer income" - "The widespread adoption of biotech crops last year increased farmer income, boosted yields, reduced pesticides use and spurred greater reliance of environmentally friendly no-till farming. That's according to a recently released study by the national Center for Food and Agricultural Policy in Washington, D.C." (Midwest Messenger)

December 20, 2004

"A Dinner in Ukraine Made for Agatha Christie " - "The day after Mr. Yushchenko's late meal, which a Russian newspaper has called "The Last Supper," he was gravely ill. By the time he had been stabilized and stood in the Ukrainian Parliament on Sept. 21 to accuse the administration of the departing president, Leonid D. Kuchma, of plotting to kill him ("Do not ask who is next," he said. "Every one of us will be the next."), his face was erupting in a grotesque mask of cysts.

He was also racked with pain and weakened by what his doctors in Vienna now call a surreptitious dose of TCDD, the most toxic of the organic compounds known as dioxins, and a contaminant in Agent Orange." (New York Times)

The New York Times apparently can't stop labeling dioxins as ultra-toxic. I suppose the Times would have Yushchenko avoid Ben& Jerry's.

"The Danger of Too Much Caution" - "Congress has a long and ignoble history of exaggerated legislative responses to perceived health crises. They seem to be at it again. In 1938, after a hastily marketed drug containing an untested solvent (diethylene glycol, a potent poison) killed more than a hundred people within a few days, Congress introduced a requirement for the pre-marketing demonstration of safety (but not effectiveness) for new drugs." (Henry Miller, TCS)

"End the 'Mad Cow' Madness" - "On his first official visit to Canada, President Bush promised to end the madness: the United States' ban on Canadian beef. Such a move is long overdue. The ban has hurt producers and consumers in both countries -- for no public health gain." (Iain Murray, TCS)

"Madagascar's poor see no benefit from conservation" - "MANTADIA, Madagascar, Dec 19 - The people of Mahatsara village do not understand why they are forbidden from burning down the wild forests of eastern Madagascar. For centuries, the Mahatsara villagers have followed the traditions of their ancestors, chopping down trees and setting the forests ablaze to clear the land for rice cultivation. But environmentalists say traditional "slash-and-burn" farming -- where forests are cleared for planting subsistence crops -- has decimated the Indian Ocean island's rainforests, endangering around 200,000 plant and animal species, most of which exist nowhere else in the world. "Our ancestors have been farming here for generations," said 55-year-old Dimanche Dimasy, the village's chief elder. "Then one day they come and tell us 'you can't plant there' and 'you can't cut those trees'." (Reuters)

"War and cold have depleted Armenia's only natural resource: trees" - "YEREVAN - It is one of Armenia's most revered sites, but for the poor, the trees around the giant Genocide Memorial outside the capital make more than a pleasant setting for the monument, they are their only source of heat as a bitter winter approaches fast." (AFP)

Gives a small indication of just how environmentally friendly fossil fuels are doesn't it. With adequate gas, oil or coal the Armenians would be more likely to leave the forests to forest-dwelling wildlife. An object lesson in what Kyoto's successors would do globally if the enhanced greenhouse industry got their way.

"Temperature Clouds Danger of Ozone Hole" - "The people of wind-blown Punta Arenas, Chile's southernmost city, are adjusting to the intense radiation that pours each year through the gap in the ozone layer. But many fail to take precautions against the ultraviolet rays." (Associated Press)

What a bunch of hooey! Everywhere south of Toronto and north of Buenos Aires around the world receives more solar radiation on any normal day the does Punta Arenas on the most severely irradiated day or two every few years when a patch of ozone-reduced atmosphere passes between the tip of South America and the sun.

"Forecasters face losing key tools" - "Meteorologists fear they are losing one of their essential forecasting tools - microwave frequencies uniquely able to "see" through clouds from satellites. They say commercial applications, for example mobile phones and collision avoidance systems, are ruining them. The use of the bands in this way causes interference and contaminates the data from the satellites, making it useless." (Alex Kirby, BBC News)

"Fretting over krill" - "Professor Lloyd Peck of the British Antarctic Survey is worried about — stop me if you've heard this one before — global warming. For this year's Christmas lecture at the Royal Institution in London, he'll warn that the merest smidgeonette of an increase in temperature in the south polar seabed will lead to loss of a zillion species." (Mark Steyn, The Washington Times)

"Arctic Warming Fiction and Facts" - "EcoTalk interview with Cato Institute's Patrick Michaels and ACIA co-author Susan Hassol" (EV World)

"We agree - er - on more hot air... " - "Well! That's it then. COP 10 at Buenos Aires has ended with an agreement on - yes, you've guessed it - more informal talks in May, 2005. The US, the developing nations, and the Middle Eastern countries have very nicely put the dampers on all that European hype and hubris: 'Little agreed as climate talks end' (CNN , December 18):" (EnviroSpin Watch)

"Climate Change Meeting Ends with Goals to Cut Emissions" - "The tenth Conference of the Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) ended an 11-day session in Buenos Aires, Argentina on December 18, with the Kyoto Protocol's signatory nations looking forward to its implementation in February, 2005. That agreement calls for many of those nations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in an effort to offset global warming." (USINFO)

"U.S. Waters Down Global Commitment to Curb Greenhouse Gases" - "BUENOS AIRES, Dec. 18 - Two weeks of negotiations at a United Nations conference here on climate change ended early Saturday with a weak pledge to start limited, informal talks on ways to slow down global warming, after the United States blocked efforts to begin more substantive discussions." (New York Times)

"Global warming talks fall far short of expectations" - "United Nations talks on climate change ended yesterday with few steps forward as the US, oil producers and developing nations slammed the brakes on the European Union’s drive for deeper emissions cuts to stop global warming." (Sunday Herald)

"Global warming leaves Russian cold" - "Russia will reconsider its membership of the Kyoto club in five or six years, when it threatens to hobble the country’s economic progress, says a visiting adviser to President Vladimir Putin." (New Zealand Herald)

"Future climate talks set for May 2005 in Germany" - "BUENOS AIRES - Participants at a UN climate change conference agreed to open informal international talks on future efforts to fight global warming in Bonn, Germany in May." (AFP)

"UN debate to focus on poor nations' emissions" - "The role of developing nations in tackling global climate change will be highlighted when talks on the United Nations' response to global warming resume in May." (Financial Times)

"Is Kyoto Kaput?" - "Even before it officially takes effect on Feb. 16, the Kyoto agreement to curb greenhouse gases is leaking air." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"The Kyoto Protocol is Dead" - "History will record that the COP-10 Buenos Aires Climate Change Convention is where it was first widely recognized that the Kyoto Protocol is a dead end. And where humanity chose to embark on a high tech path toward confronting whatever challenges any future global warming may present." (Ronald Bailey, Tech Central Station)

"Buenos Aires: Kyoto's Waterloo" - "Kyoto seems to have found its Waterloo in Buenos Aires, the site of this year's 10th annual UN conference on climate change. Its proponents have always argued that first stage of the treaty, Kyoto Mark I, was only the first step towards a far more comprehensive scheme which would ultimately comprise all countries in the world and would aim at greenhouse gas emission cuts of around 60% by 2050. Since the refusal by the G-77, China and India to accept any commitment to reduce emissions as from 2012, when Kyoto Mark I expires, and -- more surprisingly -- the announcement by Italy that it will withdraw from the Kyoto process in the same year, we have entered a totally different ball game." (Hans Labohm, TCS)

The Week That Was Dec. 18, 2004 (SEPP)

"Inuit All Along" - "BUENOS AIRES, Argentina -- On Monday representatives from Iceland held a prime-time event announcing a study on Arctic warming. Featuring computer-predicted melting and pleas about the Arctic Inuit's plight, the report was already a month old and well-spun through the media cycle. It took an event two nights later to bring this rehash into focus." (Christopher Horner, TCS)

"Eskimo Filing Against US Just Tip of Legal Iceberg" - "Buenos Aires, Argentina - The plan by the Inuit people of the Arctic to seek a ruling from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights against the United States "for causing global warming and its devastating impacts" is just the tip of the iceberg of planned legal action by a host of different environmental organizations and state attorneys general." (CNSNews.com)

"Detroit and California feud over air-pollution rules" - "Most Americans have never heard of the California Air Resources Board, which regulates air quality in the Golden State. But a recent rule passed by the board, known as CARB, could become the biggest test of America's dedication to large, powerful vehicles since the oil embargo of the 1970s." (US News & World Report)

"Road to hydrogen cars may not be so clean" - "Auto-industry ads depict hydrogen cars as the vehicular route to clean, blue skies. President Bush and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger are among their biggest champions. The politicians' enthusiasm for the technology -- a leading proposal to solve global warming -- is shared by many scientists. But reality could prove more complex, some critics say. Among the problems detailed at the American Geophysical Union conference in San Francisco last week:" (San Francisco Chronicle)

"US Says China to Lead Way in Nuclear Energy" - "BEIJING - Outgoing US Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham said on Friday China would emerge a leader in nuclear energy and called for further cooperation between the two countries in developing alternative sources of power." (Reuters)

"Taming the deadly wind farm" - "With 5,000 windmills in a 50-square-mile area, the Altamont Pass is the world's largest wind farm, producing enough electricity to power 200,000 households annually. But it is also the worst in the country for slaughtering birds. The towers may be replaced and moved." (San Francisco Chronicle)

"World powers focus on coal’s rising importance" - "Coal, which has long been maligned as an inefficient and environmentally unacceptable energy source may yet prove to be the saving grace for the world’s mounting energy problems." (Palm Springs Desert Sun)

"Report likely to alter little in pharm crops" - "A report critical of pharmaceutical crops likely won't generate major changes in the way such crops are regulated despite arguments made by the Union of Concerned Scientists." (Omaha World-Herald)

"National cotton crop to be 80pc GM" - "AUSTRALIAN cotton farmers have embraced biotechnology, with the national cotton crop to be 80 per cent genetically modified this season. Monsanto Australia said a survey of cotton farmers had found 80 per cent of them had used a GM cotton plant in this year's 300,000 hectare planting. It means around 250,000 hectares of cotton is now GM, up from 115,000 hectares grown for last season's drought affected crop." (AAP)

"Can India lead the GM revolution?" - "As the population multiplies and the area under cultivation shrinks, technology has stepped in to provide the assistance to feed the millions struck by poverty and malnutrition in Asia and Africa. The rapid strides made by bio-technology as a field of study and the developments in the branch of genetics have given birth to Genetically Modified (GM) food." (Economic Times)

December 18, 2004

"Financier to Lead Institute on Stem Cells" - "The real estate developer who helped write and finance a ballot initiative to create a California stem cell institute was elected on Friday to a six-year term as chairman of the committee that oversees it.

The financier, Robert N. Klein, a Palo Alto housing developer with strong ties to the Democratic Party, was unanimously approved here at the first meeting of the state-appointed committee that will dictate policy and oversee the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, the $3 billion research agency created on Nov. 2 when the state's voters approved the initiative, Proposition 71...

"There is obviously a lot of inside dealing going on," said Marcy Darnovsky, associate director of the Center for Genetics and Society in Oakland. "He donated campaign contributions to three of the four people who nominated him."" (New York Times)

Another reason Proposition 71 will likely go down in history as "California's Stem Cell Scam."

"Greens Concede Kyoto Will Not Impact 'Global Warming' " - "After a relentless attack on the United States for opposing the Kyoto Protocol, environmental groups concede the international treaty will have no impact on what they believe to be impending catastrophic global warming." (CNSNews.com)

All the more reason for a global economic suicide pact!

December 17, 2004

"Kyoto Controversy Continues" - "The international global warming worry-wart community is meeting in Buenos Aires this week to figure out how to get the U.S. to participate in the global economic suicide pact known as the Kyoto Protocol." (Steven Milloy, Foxnews.com)

"Who Will Pay the Price?" - "BUENOS AIRES - If the poor, developing countries are not responsible for climate change, then why should they have to pay the price for what the industrialised countries have done?" (IPS)

You have to admit, the natur über alles brigade know exactly how to motivate people to have their bizarre worldview adopted. Recognizing the wisdom of the advice never to stand between a politician (or an NGO) and a pot of money, misanthropes have screamed "culpability" and pointed at convenient deep pockets - instantly developed countries are at fault for being, well... developed. Curiously, no one stops to consider that developed nations are actually environmentally friendly nations by virtue of that same development. Imagine if we did not engage in high-productivity mechanized agriculture but relied on slash and burn agriculture or perhaps still farmed with draught animals which require even more land to grow their support fodder, would any wildlife habitat remain? How much forest would still be standing if we did not have centralized electricity generation but rather relied on wood, coal and/or dung fires for cooking and heating? Developed nations are protecting the "natural" planet and are being faulted for being developed enough to do so - go figure.

"UN Conference Shuts Up Reporter; Calls Global Warming Science Questions 'Silly'" - "Buenos Aires, Argentina - The moderator of a panel discussion at the United Nations climate change conference here shut down questioning by a reporter who asked about disputed scientific claims regarding global warming, calling such questions "silly."

The panel discussion featured representatives of the Inuit people, who were announcing their intention to seek a ruling from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights against the United States "for causing global warming and its devastating impacts."

But when asked by CNSNews.com to defend the science behind the group's legal challenge, the moderator of the event [Donald Goldberg] cut off the reporter's questions and threatened "to put a stop to this." (CNSNews.com)

[Goldberg is the senior attorney for the Center for International Environmental Law, the group that is helping the Inuit people file their complaint against the U.S.]

"No Significant Drop In Greenhouse Gas Emissions From Kyoto Protocol Compliance" - "BUENOS AIRES, December 16 - The mechanisms for compliance with the Kyoto Protocol are not focused on cutting greenhouse gas emissions yet, Alexander Bedritsky, head of the Russian Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environment Monitoring, said. "The mechanisms for compliance with the Kyoto Protocol and UN Framework Convention on Climate Change have not been optimally worked out," he said at an international conference on climate change in Buenos Aries Wednesday, "and have not been focused on realistically reducing greenhouse gas emissions." (RIA Novosti)

"US accused of undermining Kyoto principles" - "The US tried yesterday to ensure that future additions to the Kyoto protocol on climate change should avoid committing nations to reducing their carbon dioxide emissions, a move that other countries see as an attempt to undermine the principles of the environmental treaty." (Financial Times)

"U.S. Rallies China, India Against EU Climate Talks" - "Dec. 16 -- The U.S. rallied the support of China and India to block European Union efforts to start talks on how to reduce greenhouse gases after 2012, when the Kyoto Protocol on climate changes expires." (Bloomberg)

"US and Europe at loggerheads over new campaign against global warming" - "BUENOS AIRES - Europe and the United States clashed at the UN climate change conference on the measures that must be taken to reduce harmful greenhouse gases." (AFP)

"Economic Growth Key to a Better Environment, Envoy Says" - "The United States is committed to international efforts to address climate change, and is engaged in a variety of initiatives to develop new energy technologies and reduce greenhouse gas emissions while preserving economic growth, according to Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs Paula Dobriansky." (USINFO)

"United States on sidelines of climate talks" - "US delegates have chosen to stay clear of some discussions, even while most countries continue to court US support in controlling emissions. And officials have said they reserve the right to close the door on the United States for some sessions on specific matters of the Kyoto Protocol." (Nature)

Speaking of activist journals: "Climate change and risk to health" - "Last century was the warmest for 1800 years. Earth's average surface temperature apparently is now higher than for the previous 100 000 years. Combinations of long cycle variations in orbital and planetary motion cause changes in the world's climate, as do shorter term irregular variations in solar activity and vulcanism. Extraordinarily, the human enterprise is now so large that we are imposing extra "forcing" on the climate system, via emission of greenhouse gases." (BMJ)

"Some States Split With Bush on Emissions" - "BUENOS AIRES, Argentina - Two sets of Americans have come here to talk global warming: the United States, opposed to controls on carbon emissions, and a bloc of united states, from Maine to Delaware, that plan to impose them. "It's not an in-your-face thing," Kenneth Colburn, helping coordinate the nine-state effort, said of the seeming defiance of the Bush administration. "They're doing what they think needs to be done." That may even include linking up with the Europeans in a backdoor trading scheme on emissions — although a key Republican says that would meet a "lot of skepticism" in Congress." (AP)

"Can We Avoid 'Dangerous' Climate Change?" - "No, according to Greenpeace activists." (Ronald Bailey, TCS)

"Who's The Greatest?" - "BUENOS AIRES -- British Prime Minister Tony Blair's Science Advisor Sir David King regularly calls climate change "the greatest threat facing mankind" and "worse than terrorism." A local paper here, the Buenos Aires Herald, echoed this sentiment in an editorial this week. Blair himself more modestly calls climate change "the greatest environmental threat".

If things are so hazardous, one obvious question arises: why, then, is the timid Kyoto proposal all that is on the table for immediate action? After all, even accepting each and every worst-case scenario assumption, Kyoto would only reduce global temperatures by a barely detectable 0.07 degrees by 2100. Is that a serious response to the "greatest threat"?

Kyoto proponents acknowledge it is merely "the first of 30 steps". Kyoto is all that is proposed because it is as large a pill of energy suppression that rich countries would presumably swallow. Restricting energy use as dramatically as Kyoto supporters claim is necessary is patently a non-starter." (Christopher Horner, TCS)

"The EU is No Longer United" - "The European Union is no longer united. Until a few days ago, all of the member states were supposed to share a common position at least on environmental policies. Now, Italy has put it clear that it will not follow Brussels on the path of a perennial struggle to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions." (Carlo Stagnaro, TCS)

"NZ amongst the laggards in international efforts on Kyoto" - "BUENOS AIRES - New Zealand ranks high among the industrialised countries now facing greehouse gas emissions beyond their agreed targets for 2012, Reuters reports. The Kyoto protocol to cut greenhouse gases goes into effect two months from now and Canada leads the laggards with emissions growth at 20 per cent from its levels in 1990 although it has committed to a 6 per cent reduction by 2012. Japan's emissions are up 12 per cent and it has to cut them also by six, while New Zealand must show zero growth and is currently up 21 per cent." (Reuters)

"NASA study finds tiny particles in air may influence carbon sinks" - "A NASA-funded study provides direct measurements confirming aerosols, tiny particles in the atmosphere, may be changing how much carbon plants and ecosystems absorb from or release to the air." (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center--EOS Project Science Office)

"Satellites plus software equal best-ever Mediterranean heat map" - "This ultra high-resolution sea surface temperature map of the Mediterranean could only have been made with satellites. Any equivalent ground-based map would need almost a million and a half thermometers placed into the water simultaneously, one for every two square kilometres of sea." (European Space Agency)

"Greenland ice cores offer glimpse of weather system history" - "The recent analyses of eight ice cores drilled from the massive Greenland Ice Sheet may paint a map researchers can use to uncover the history of a massive weather machine controlling the climate around the North Atlantic basin. The boundary between two major pressure systems - the Icelandic Low and the Azores High -- controls whether storms reaching Europe are strong or weak, and whether the seasons are wetter or dryer." (Ohio State University)

"Catastrophic flooding from ancient lake may have triggered cold period" - "Imagine a lake three times the size of the present-day Lake Ontario breaking through a dam and flooding down the Hudson River Valley past New York City and into the North Atlantic. The results would be catastrophic if it happened today, but it did happen some 13,400 years ago during the retreat of glaciers over North America and may have triggered a brief cooling known as the Intra-Allerod Cold Period." (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

"Iceberg poses no threat to Antarctic personnel" - "National Science Foundation (NSF) officials said today that iceberg B-15A is not blocking access to McMurdo Station, the U. S. logistics hub for much of the nation's research activity in Antarctica, contradicting widely circulated reports to the contrary." (National Science Foundation)

"New desalination technology taps waste heat from power plants" - "University of Florida researchers have developed a technology that can tap waste heat from electrical power plants as its main source of energy, an advance that could significantly reduce the cost of desalination in some parts of the world." (University of Florida)

"China's Latest Health Scandal" - "Is China denying African children a medicine that would save their lives? The evidence is growing that it is, and this policy must stop." (Roger Bate and Richard Tren, Apple Daily (Hong Kong))

"Scientists watching for CWD in humans" - "Colorado scientists will plow through thousands of death records looking for evidence that hunters might be at risk for the same brain-wasting disease that kills deer and elk." (Denver Post)

"'Triple stack' corn clear for '05" - "With final Japanese approvals now in place, Monsanto plans to offer herbicide- and insect-resistant “triple stack” GMO corn varieties to Midwest growers in 2005. The St. Louis-based company received Japanese environmental approval late in November for YieldGard Plus with Roundup Ready 2 corn. The product, which provides Roundup herbicide tolerance and resistance to both Western and Northern rootworm larvae and the European corn borer, is the industry’s first commercial triple-trait offering." (Farm Week)

"Illegal Seed Industry Gains Market Share In Brazil" - "SAO PAULO - Brazilian soybean, cotton and corn seed producers are being swamped by a rapidly growing black market in illegal seeds, the Seed Producers Association (Abrasem) said Tuesday." (Reuters)

"Oversight on Bioengineered Crops Is Poor, Report Says" - "Federal oversight of crops genetically engineered to produce medications in their seeds and leaves is inadequate. As a result, consumers are at risk of inadvertently dosing themselves with prescription drugs while eating a morning bowl of cereal." (Washington Post)

December 16, 2004

From CSRwatch.com: Rainforest Action Network attacks JP Morgan CEO with 2nd Graders - The Rainforest Action Network is using 2nd graders to pressure JP Morgan Chase CEO William B. Harrison into agreeing to stop lending money to development projects that “cause global warming.” (CSRwatch.com)

Is President Bush an empty suit on lawsuit reform? Lawsuit Reform a Priority - President Bush yesterday demanded congressional action on legislation to rein in class-action, asbestos and medical malpractice lawsuits, telling a White House economic conference he would make changing the civil tort system a "priority issue." (Washington Post)

If the President was really serious about lawsuit reform, he'd pull the plug on the largest lawsuit abuse of all time -- the $280 billion Department of Justice lawsuit against the tobacco industry! That's something he could do just by picking up the phone...

Polar Bear Scare: Now I Get It! Last month the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment issued a report predicting the extinction of polar bears and other Arctic-related calamities supposedly caused by the dreaded global warming. At the time, I didn't understand what the big deal was since, among other things, the claims in the report weren't new -- for example, the data underlying the polar bear scare had been published in 1999! But an article in today's New York Times cleared up my confusion.

Inuit leaders announced today at the COP-10 meeting in Buenos Aires that they will seek a ruling from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (an arm of the Organization of American States) that the U.S. is threatening their existence by contributing to global warming. The Inuit plan is to sue either the U.S. in international court or U.S. companies in federal court for damages allegedly due to global warming. The Inuits hope to get from the Commission a declaration that the U.S. has violated the Inuit's rights.

According to the Times, experts say the Inuit petition "could have decent prospects" since recent studies (read last month's Arctic Climate Impact Assessment report) have concluded that greenhouse gas emissions are contributing to "big environmental changes in the Arctic."

The Arctic Climate Impact Assessment report, then, was really all about laying the groundwork for the Inuits to sue the U.S. and U.S. companies! Moreover, U.S. taxpayers paid for the report, which will now be used as a basis to sue us!

Either gullible or keen to bash the US: "A nation demands the right to exist" - "The Inuit peoples of the Arctic have launched a dramatic legal action against America. The charge? That US emissions of greenhouse gases have made their very survival impossible." (Independent)

"Argentine President Heats Up North-South Debate" - "BUENOS AIRES - Argentine President Néstor Kirchner accused the countries of the industrialised North of double standards, noting that they relentlessly pursue repayment from their financial debtors, yet do everything possible to delay or completely avoid meeting their environmental debt to the developing world." (IPS)

"Viktory Over Alarmism" - "It's perhaps fitting that dioxin was used in the attempted political murder of Ukrainian presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko. That's because dioxin is the most politicized chemical in history. It's notorious for its role at New York's Love Canal and Missouri's Times Beach, but primarily as an ingredient in the defoliant Agent Orange. Yet Yushchenko is alive because what's been called "the most deadly chemical known" is essentially a myth." (Michael Fumento, TCS)

"Fishy Advice: The Politics of Methylmercury in Fish and Mercury Emissions" - "With increasing urgency over the past few years, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, and environmental groups have issued alarming consumer warnings about the dangers of eating fish. Allegedly, fish consumption has become dangerous due to the presence of methylmercury, an organic compound produced when certain bacteria in soil or water ingest inorganic mercury. These warnings have been specifically targeted at expectant mothers with scary claims that eating fish could jeopardize the health and neurological development of their babies unless they follow complicated fish-eating advisories to “reduce their exposure to the harmful effects of mercury.”

However, there is no evidence that the levels of methylmercury in the fish that Americans consume are cause for any health concern. In fact, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control found that all American women of childbearing age are many times below exposure levels even theorized as posing a risk of detrimental effects for either themselves or their babies." (Sandy Szwarc, CEI)

"Cancer cases not tied to PCBs in URI's Chafee center" - "A years-long analysis of the Chafee Social Science Center at the University of Rhode Island shows women working there had a slightly higher incidence of breast cancer, but that the cases were not due to chemicals known as PCBs found in the building." (Associated Press)

"Traditional/Alternative Medications Can Be Dangerous" - "Practitioners and adherents of traditional, so-called alternative medical systems often promote their practices as being more natural and safer than Western medicine. They claim that such systems have been used for thousands of years and that therefore they must be safe. But this is not necessarily the case, as reported in the December 14 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)." (Ruth Kava, ACSH)

"Waste Not, Want Not?" - "Sometimes it's government itself which is the problem, not the solution. Not all that surprising a thought for us right-thinking types but it does seem to need explaining again and again to get the message through to the rest. Much of what modern governments do is simply flailing around, trying to undo the distortions and errors they introduced themselves in the previous round of legislation and, what is worse, doing so in the most inefficient manner possible, making that very problem being addressed even worse." (Tim Worstall, TCS)

"All those everGREEN Christmas pantomimes... " - "Here are your top ten Christmas eco-pantos, as reported by Peter Green and James Vital (Geddit!!!!) in the daily Gloomiad (particularly noted, of course, for all its Grimm fairy tales):" (EnviroSpin Watch)

And you can still vote in the EnviroSpin Mini Poll: "Is it time to ditch the Kyoto Protocol on climate change?" (RH column, beneath the "Science Headlines" scroll box - you may need to refresh the page in your browser to access the poll)

"NASA scientists discuss giant atmospheric brown cloud" - "NASA scientists announced a giant, smoggy atmospheric brown cloud, which forms over South Asia and the Indian Ocean, has intercontinental reach. The scientists presented their findings today during the American Geophysical Union Fall meeting in San Francisco." (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center--EOS Project Science Office)

"A weak El Nino pattern has scientists split on what the Northwest will see" - "The Pacific Ocean and the atmosphere above it are conspiring this year to confound long-term forecasts for winter weather. More is at stake than ski conditions." (Portland Oregonian)

How can this be? Better call the Hadley Centre, if they can tell us about 50 years time surely this winter's forecast will be no trouble.

"2004 signals more global warming, extreme weather - U.N." - "GENEVA - Global warming is set to continue, and bring with it an increase in extreme weather such as hurricanes and droughts, scientists from the United Nations' World Meteorological Organisation warned on Wednesday." (Reuters)

"Major climate change occurred 5,200 years ago: Evidence suggests that history could repeat itself" - "Glaciologist Lonnie Thompson worries that he may have found clues that show history repeating itself, and if he is right, the result could have important implications to modern society. Thompson has spent his career trekking to the far corners of the world to find remote ice fields and then bring back cores drilled from their centers. Within those cores are the records of ancient climate from across the globe." (Ohio State University)

"Sea Levels to Rise Faster - NASA" - "BROOKLIN, Canada, Dec 15 - The predicted rise in sea levels caused by the world's changing climate will have to be revised upward after U.S. scientists recorded accelerated melting of ice in the Arctic and Antarctic, one researcher said this week." (IPS)

"The Prophets, False Prophets, and Profiteers of Kyoto" - "Some ten thousand delegates, scientists, activists, politicians and journalists have convened in Argentina for the COP-10 confab on “solutions” to the theoretical problem of “dangerous” and “catastrophic” global climate change. Months of hype and consternation preceded the event, to pressure the United States and Australia into ratifying the Kyoto Protocol." (Paul Driessen, ChronWatch)

Taking points for imaginative theatre: "Countries discuss global warming in Argentina; protesters take tango approach" - "BUENOS AIRES, Argentina - Envoys from 189 nations continued talks Wednesday at a UN conference to finalize details of a global warming treaty going into effect next year. Environmental protesters say the deal doesn't go far enough, and they staged a "last tango for the climate" as a novel way to make their point.

Government policy-makers arriving for the day's deliberations smiled, some sheepishly, as a pair of Argentine dancers wearing rubber boots awkwardly danced the tango, splashing noisily in a plastic wading pool filled with water at the entrance to the summit. The protest was meant to symbolize rising sea levels blamed on global warming." (AP)

"Words vs. Deeds" - "Harlan Watson, the chief climate negotiator for the United States, put it succinctly at a press conference the week before when he was asked why the U.S. was perceived as the "bad boy" in Buenos Aires: "Let me just say that perhaps there's a perception that it is more important to agree to things rather than taking actions. We believe the focus ought to be on the actions." (Duane D. Freese, TCS)

"Is Global Warming Real?" - " My day is always brightened when packages arrive from the libertarian Cato Institute. They often contain books. The latest was a tome from Patrick J. Michaels, a research professor of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia and a senior fellow at Cato. Entitled Meltdown: The Predictable Distortion of Global Warming by Scientists, Politicians and the Media, it purports to set the record straight about climate science. " (Jim Motavalli, E-Magazine)

"Climate change hits bottom line" - "The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) has announced that 2004 is expected to be the fourth warmest year worldwide since records began. And the insurance industry says this year will face unprecedented claims for damage from weather-related disasters. Both sets of figures were released as ministers from 180 countries heard a message from the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan urging an end to doubts and delays on action to combat climate change." (BBC)

"Changing of the Guard" - "The picture was worth a thousand words. When Paula Dobrianksy, the State Department's senior official on climate change, presented Washington's partnership programs on climate change this week during the Buenos Aires conference on climate change, alongside her on the platform were the representatives of China, India and Italy. This is who is now in charge of UN climate change negotiations. No wonder NGOs looked glum. The European Commission, the leading backer of the Kyoto Protocol is isolated and no longer driving the global climate change debate. The Protocol is doomed to be a five year wonder." (Alan Oxley, TCS)

"Our Low Carbon Future?" - "BUENOS AIRES -- "To stop further damage to the climate we need a worldwide 60% reduction in emissions by 2050," declared British Prime Minister Tony Blair in February 2003. Setting aside the question of whether or not catastrophic climate change due to adding extra greenhouse gases (GHG) to the atmosphere is really likely, is Blair's goal feasible?

The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) released a report here in Buenos Aires at the United Nations Conference on Climate Change. It shows that achieving such steep reductions is probably impossible. The report assumed a goal of stabilizing carbon dioxide in the air at 550 parts per million (ppm) by 2050. The current level is 380 ppm. The report further assumed that the poorest people on the planet will want to enjoy the higher levels of prosperity that comes from economic growth fueled by access to energy supplies." (Ronald Bailey, TCS)

"Model Matters" - "A recent report by the UK's Hadley Centre, presented this week at the COP10 meeting in Buenos Aires, outlines one view of the future state of the climate system. It is based upon an August 2004 research paper that describes the result of a climate model experiment involving a large ensemble of model runs. A new claim is that uncertainties in climate models have been quantitatively analyzed, leading to improved predictions of some major climate variables such as temperature and rainfall. The report, entitled "Uncertainty, Risk, and Dangerous Climate Change" (as well as the research paper) predicts warming after a doubling of carbon dioxide that is 90% likely to be within a range of 4.3 to 9.7 degrees F, with a best estimate of 6.3 degrees F. Since these estimates are on the high side of the average of a dozen or so climate models that are run in different countries, they will lead to somewhat more concern among those who are prone to believing in climate models. Can climate prediction uncertainty be quantitatively estimated, as claimed in this report? Are we now closer to a global warming prediction that we can have higher confidence in?" (Roy Spencer, TCS)

"Europe Leads Way in Climate Talks" - "At the Climate Change Conference in Buenos Aires, the EU has focused attention on the post-Kyoto process. Now that Russia has ratified the pact and it goes into force next year, it is time to look beyond 2012." (Deutsche Welle)

"Europe Seeks New Accords With U.S. to Address Global Warming" - "Dec. 15 -- The European Union is seeking new agreements with the U.S. to slow climate change apart from the Kyoto Protocol that President George W. Bush withdrew from." (Bloomberg)

"Germany seeks global warming reductions" - "BUENOS AIRES - Germany's environmental minister is attempting to promote bilateral discussions to wrangle down greenhouse emissions at the 10th United Nations conference on climate and global warming. The minister, Juergen Trittin, said he would pursue "ambitious" goals for reducing emissions." (Expatica)

"A New Model" - "BUENOS AIRES - The big secret at the 10th Conference of the Parties of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change keeps getting let out of the bag. The Kyoto Protocol is a failure. Just ask the top environmental minister of a key European supporter of the pact and its call for cuts of greenhouse gas emissions in hopes of limiting global warming." (Duane D. Freese, TCS)

"Italy calls to end Kyoto limits" - "ROME - Italy has called for an end to the Kyoto Protocol after the environmental treaty's initial period in 2012, preferring voluntary agreements that would entice the United States, China and India to tackle climate change. In stark contrast to the European Union's championing of the legally binding United Nations pact, Environment Minister Altero Matteoli said continuing Kyoto in its current form would be useless without the agreement of some of the world's biggest polluters. "The first phase of the protocol ends in 2012, after that it is unthinkable to go ahead without the United States, China and India," Matteoli told reporters at Kyoto-related talks in Buenos Aires in quotes confirmed by his ministry on Wednesday." (Reuters) | Kyoto format should be ditched if US, China, India remain outside: Italy (AFP)

"Korea Reaffirms Objection to Greenhouse Gas Reduction" - "The Korean government has reconfirmed it cannot consent to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions to below 1990 levels." (The Korea Times)

"Australia 'on track' for Kyoto target" - "Australia's commitments to greenhouse gas reduction were well ahead of major emitters who had signed up to the Kyoto climate change protocol, the Environment Minister said today." (AAP)

"Emission trading gains steam" - "The Kyoto Protocol, an international accord that seeks to prevent global warming by setting targets for the reduction of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere, will go into effect in February. Because Japan faces huge hurdles to meet its reduction target and will find it difficult to reach the target via domestic efforts only, major trading companies are brokering the emission quotas of other countries." (Yomiuri Shimbun)

"The True Cost of Flying" - "PARIS, Dec 15 - Hundreds of flights by subsidised airlines in Europe are endangering the global climate and the ozone layer. For now, they fly free of environmental regulations. The European boom in ''low-cost'' airlines, fuelled by tax incentives, is increasing the level of toxic gases in the atmosphere and displacing less polluting and more efficient means of transportation for shorter distances, like trains." (IPS)

"Scientists debate decline of oil stores: Sooner or later?" - "Scientists meeting at the American Geophysical Union conference in San Francisco debated Tuesday whether the world has plenty of oil for centuries to come -- or if it faces impending shortages that might trigger economic chaos, even war, in coming decades." (San Francisco Chronicle)

"World Watch Magazine - January/February, 2005 GMOs Pose Significant Threat to World Food Supplies" - "WASHINGTON -- December 18 -- Genetically modified organisms are contaminating natural crops around the world and triggering mounting economic costs as farmers lose markets and organic producers lose their certification, writes Claire Hope Cummings in “Trespass: Genetic Engineering as the Final Conquest.” Worse, consumers are eating GMOs whether they like it or not, and even GMOs not approved for human consumption have shown up in food products such as taco shells. Moreover, writes Cummings, patents awarded for the commercial use of genetic engineering technology are giving agrochemical companies ultimate control over the means and methods of food production." (Whacko World Inc. Press Release)

December 15, 2004

"AFM Statement on Malaria and Zimbabwe" - "AFM's Richard Tren recently returned from Zimbabwe where he helped with public relations over the introduction of DDT into the country's malaria control programme. While using DDT is a good move, malaria control is overshadowed by the country's odious politics. Read AFM's statement on malaria control, healthcare and Zimbabwe." (AFM)

"A mouthful of trouble" - "Mercury poisoning from amalgam fillings has been linked to a range of neurological problems, including chronic fatigue, Alzheimer's and multiple sclerosis - as well as symptoms such as nervousness, irritability, lack of concentration, loss of memory and confidence, mood swings, anxiety and insomnia." (London Independent)

Guess The Indy missed: "Little evidence to link mercury fillings to human health problems" - "For more than 150 years dental amalgam has been used as a restorative material for dental cavities. It has stirred controversy due to its mercury content. Some claim that mercury release from dental amalgam leads to a variety of health problems. A new report concludes that the scientific and medical literature published since 1996 shows there is little evidence of a link between dental mercury and health problems, except in rare instances of allergic reactions." (Life Sciences Research Office)

"Particle pollution falls 10% in 4 years" - "WASHINGTON — The average level of a deadly form of air pollution dropped in the USA from 1999 to 2003 as new pollution controls made strides in battling the nation's air quality problem, the Environmental Protection Agency said Tuesday.

The deadliest form of particulate pollution, the soot emitted by tailpipes and smokestacks, fell 10% during the four-year period, the EPA reported. Particulate kills tens of thousands of people each year by triggering heart and lung problems, EPA reports have said." (USA Today)

But not a single body has yet been found by the EPA or anyone else.

"Rich Need To Do More on Environment - World Bank" - "WASHINGTON - The World Bank on Tuesday chastised rich countries for not giving enough to fund global environmental protection and warned that overall progress in meeting global environmental targets was "alarmingly slow." (Reuters)

"Damage litigation" - "We know that human behaviour is leading to global warming, but what if the companies responsible for changes to the weather in specific areas could be identified? Peter Roderick examines the growth of climate change lawsuits." (The Guardian)

"Eskimos Seek to Recast Global Warming as a Rights Issue" - "The Eskimos, or Inuit, about 155,000 seal-hunting peoples scattered around the Arctic, plan to seek a ruling from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights that the United States, by contributing substantially to global warming, is threatening their existence." (New York Times)

"Portable sampling cart monitors emissions from wood-burning cookstoves" - "A new method of measuring emissions from cookstoves could help improve human health and enhance the accuracy of global climate models." (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

"Europe's heatwaves 'soon routine'" - "A stark warning of the probable effects of global warming in Europe has been given by a UK climate research group. Scientists at the Met Office's Hadley Centre say the 2003 European heatwave, the hottest ever recorded, could within just 60 years pass as "unusually cool". They cannot yet reliably estimate the risk of a Gulf Stream collapse, but say it would mean "significant" cooling. The researchers say 2003 was the third warmest year on record, about 0.8C hotter than just over a century ago. The Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research is one of the world's leading scientific groups studying what a warming world will be like." (Alex Kirby, BBC News) | Uncertainty, risk and dangerous climate change [PDF, 2Mb] (Hadley Centre)

HadCRU1861-2003.GIF (30753 bytes) Hmm... The Hadley Centre say "the most likely global average temperature rise for a doubling of the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide is predicted to be 3.5 °C, with a 90% probability that the warming will be between 2.4 °C and 5.4 °C." Leaving aside the likelihood (or otherwise) of atmospheric carbon dioxide reaching 560ppmv in the foreseeable future, have you ever wondered about a 90%CI that is 5 times larger than observed warming over the prior century? Perhaps the adjacent chart and our increasing inability to agree on the measured global temperature may give a clue as to why we have so much difficulty guesstimating what it might be in 50 or 100 years time.

"Shutdown of circulation pattern could be disastrous, researchers say" - "If global warming shuts down the thermohaline circulation in the North Atlantic Ocean, the result could be catastrophic climate change. The environmental effects, models indicate, depend upon whether the shutdown is reversible or irreversible, says a scientist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign." (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

"NASA eyes ice changes around Earth's frozen caps" - "At 32 degrees Fahrenheit, or 0 Celsius, ice changes to water. This simple, unique fact dominates the climate in Earth's polar regions. Using satellites to detect changes over time, NASA researchers and NASA-funded university scientists have found that Earth's ice cover is changing rapidly near its poles. Recent studies point to new evidence of relationships between climate warming, ice changes and sea level rise." (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center--EOS Project Science Office)

"NASA finds trees and insect outbreaks affect carbon dioxide levels" - "Winds and changing climate converted parts of Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado and Texas into a giant 'dust bowl' in the 1930s. In response, the 1937 'Shelterbelt Project' involved the planting of trees to reduce erosion and provide relief from the biting winds that blew soil from farms and drove people west to California. Now, almost 75 years later, NASA scientists have found that planting trees also can significantly reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere." (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center--EOS Project Science Office)

"Researchers improve predictions of cloud formation for better global climate modeling" - "Atmospheric scientists have developed simple, physics-based equations that address some of the limitations of current methods for representing cloud formation in global climate models – important because of increased aerosol pollution that gives clouds more cooling power and affects precipitation." (National Science Foundation)

"The secret life of acid dust" - "Dry dust reacts with gaseous pollutants to form dewy particles whose sunlight-reflecting and cloud-altering properties are unaccounted for in atmospheric climate models, according to a new study from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory." (DOE/Pacific Northwest National Laboratory)

"Climate talks bogged down in detail" - "As climate experts warn of ever more dire consequences from the impact of global warming, negotiators at the UN climate change conference in Buenos Aires are bogged down in arguments over seminar agendas and who gets to sit where in future discussions." (BBC Online)

"Cuts in Carbon Dioxide Emissions Urged" - "BUENOS AIRES, Argentina - The world's chief climate scientist on Tuesday disputed the U.S. government contention that cutbacks in carbon dioxide emissions are not yet warranted to check global warming. Experts readied a report, meanwhile, saying 2004 will be one of the warmest years on record." (AP)

"EU, US at odds on climate change in UN conference" - "The European Union and the United States continued to clash Tuesday on the future of climate change negotiations once the Kyoto protocol expires in 2012, ahead of ministerial-level talks here." (AFP)

"EU should sanction US over climate change policy: campaigners" - "An environmental campaign group called Tuesday on the European Union to slap sanctions on the United States over Washington's refusal to back international efforts against climate change." (AFP)

"Climate Confusion" - "BUENOS AIRES -- The current debate over climate change runs the gamut from C to shining C. It's about climate. It's about catastrophe. It's about consensus. It's about carbon. It's about condemnation. Most of all, though, it's about confusion." (Duane D. Freese, TCS)

"Study Claiming Rapid Arctic Ice Melt Refuted at Climate Summit" - "Buenos Aires, Argentina - A researcher who predicts a rapid melt in the Arctic region presented his findings to participants at the United Nations climate change conference here on Monday, but many conference participants questioned the validity of the science used in the study." (CNSNews.com)

"Warming trend threat to pipeline, forum told" - "SAN FRANCISCO—Frequent landslides triggered by global warming will threaten safe operation of the proposed $7-billion Mackenzie Valley gas pipeline, a Canadian permafrost expert warned here yesterday." (Toronto Star)

Used to be snake oil, now hot air's the go: "E.ON UK Powers Ahead in Carbon Trading Market" - "LONDON - German-owned utility E.ON UK is piling into the carbon dioxide market and positioning itself as Britain's biggest trader of CO2 permits, the firm's director of trading said on Tuesday." (Reuters)

"Adapting to Climate" - "BUENOS AIRES -- December 13 - As the delegates from the European Union and the activist groups are celebrating the advent of the Kyoto Protocol, delegates here are beginning to realize that strategies aimed at mitigating projected global warming have just about run their course. The United States will not agree to binding limitations on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and neither will rapidly industrializing developing countries like China and India. The costs are just way too high in jobs lost and economic growth. If these countries refuse to limit their use of fossil fuels, then there is no point in going forward with new treaties establishing limits on GHG emissions. So those worried about possible catastrophic global warming will have to resign themselves to figuring out how best to live with projected higher temperatures. And in fact this process is already happening." (Ronald Bailey, TCS)

"Is money fighting climate change well spent?" - "The United Nations climate conference underway in Buenos Aires is the last such gathering of its kind before the Kyoto Protocol comes into force. The protocol requires countries that ratify it to make cuts in emissions of the gases that are thought to cause global warming. Although many developed countries are going ahead with this agreement, there is still a debate about whether it makes economic sense to tackle climate change vigorously now." (BBC Online)

"Kyoto Protocol could damage Asia: report" - "The fastest growing economies in the world would be damaged if they adopted Kyoto Protocol targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions, according to a report by the Australian Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Study Centre." (AAP)

"'Ignore Global Warming,' Says Former Greenpeace Member" - "Buenos Aires, Argentina - A former member of Greenpeace who became disillusioned with what he saw as bad eco-science urged a United Nations climate change conference to "save the world" by ignoring global warming." (CNSNews.com)

"Scientists Warn of Global Warming Results" - "BUENOS AIRES, Argentina - Scientists warned Tuesday that a long-term increase in global temperature of 3.5 degrees could threaten Latin American water supplies, reduce food yields in Asia and result in a rise in extreme weather conditions in the Caribbean." (AP)

"Climate change impacts on nature worse than thought" - "Buenos Aires, Argentina - The impacts of climate change on wildlife and nature are worse than scientists had previously feared, according to a new report commissioned by WWF.

The report — Extreme Weather, does nature keep up? — reveals that nature is struggling against the impacts of extreme weather and that many species and ecosystems will die out, as their natural responses to global warming will be inadequate." (WWF) | Download the report (7Mb, PDF)

Full of the usual nonsense: greatest/fastest/unprecedented warming; loss of Antarctic sea ice... also contains some fascinating full page b&w pictures of a dried mud pan, a bear, a flower, some water flowing by some street signage and there's some model projections too.

"Antarctic Penguin Chicks Face Starvation" - "WELLINGTON, New Zealand - A remnant of the largest iceberg ever recorded is blocking Antarctica's McMurdo Sound, threatening tens of thousands of penguin chicks with starvation and cutting off a supply route for three science stations, a New Zealand official said Tuesday." (Associated Press)

From CO2 Science Magazine this week:

"More Problems for the Mann et al. Temperature Record" - "Studies of palaeoclimate records of many sorts from many places bear witness to the falsity of the Mann et al. global temperature record, while at the same time providing evidence for a millennial-scale oscillation of climate that periodically produces multi-century periods of warmth, such as the current Modern Warm Period, independent of whatever the air's CO 2 content may be doing simultaneously.  Here is one such study that is very compelling and has a slightly different twist to it." (co2science.org)

Subject Index Summaries:
"Dust (Climatological Implications)" - "What we don't know about the subject far outweighs what we do know, even after many years of study." (co2science.org)

"Dust (Biological Implications)" - "Air currents are capable of transporting large amounts of dust over great distances, including across seas and from one continent to another.  Hitching a ride upon these inanimate mineral particles, as well as interspersed among them in the fluidic turmoil of the atmosphere, are a wide variety of fungal spores and other biologically significant materials that can - and do! - periodically wreck havoc upon faraway ecosystems." (co2science.org)

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

Journal Reviews:
"The Omnipresent Eleven-Year Solar Cycle in Tropospheric Temperature Data" - "It's evident everywhere!" (co2science.org)

"Effects of Global Warming on Tropical Cyclones: Predicted and Observed" - "How does global warming impact the characteristics of tropical cyclones?  One answer is provided by theoretical predictions, another by real-world observations; and to date, the twain have yet to meet." (co2science.org)

"Elevated CO 2 Pumps Up Water Use Efficiency of Mesquite Seedlings" - "Producing way more biomass per unit of water transpired in CO 2 -enriched air than they do in ambient air, velvet mesquite seedlings of semiarid regions make the soil moisture in their root zones last longer, which phenomenon may help them survive periodic dry spells that could cause their death in ambient air." (co2science.org)

"Soil Microbial Diversity in a CO 2 -Enriched Grassland" - "Is the species richness of the microbial communities of grassland soils in any way threatened by the ongoing rise in the air's CO 2 content?" (co2science.org)

"Temperature Effects on Hospital Admissions for Cardiovascular and Respiratory Problems in Greece" - "Which is more to be feared if one is worried about these particular health problems: warmer temperatures or colder temperatures? ... and is Greece any different from the rest of the world in this regard?" (co2science.org)

"Activists Question World Bank's Commitment to Sustainable Development" - "BUENOS AIRES - While the World Bank says it encourages "environmentally responsible" economic growth in developing countries, activists wonder why it has supported 332 fossil fuel projects in the past 12 years." (IPS)

Maybe the World Bank actually understands it takes energy to sustain development.

"For better or worse, China is stuck on coal" - "The country is already the world’s top producer of coal and is expected to pull 1.9 billion tons from the ground this year, up 10 percent from last year. In 2010, it aims to raise that to 2.2 billion tons." (Reuters)

"UK to keep foreign nuclear waste" - "The government has decided to bury Japanese, German, Italian, Spanish, Swiss and Swedish nuclear waste in Britain as a money-making venture to help pay for the UK's own unresolved nuclear waste problems. The decision, announced in a written Commons statement, has been taken by the trade secretary Patricia Hewitt despite the fact that Britain as yet has no depository for the waste. It overturns a 30-year-old policy that the UK would not become a dumping ground for other countries' nuclear waste." (The Guardian)

"The possibilities of biotechnology" - "Biotechnology can help improve agriculture and the economy of both Karnataka and India." (C S Prakash, Deccan Herald)

"Mexican Lawmakers Approve Controversial GM Law" - "MEXICO CITY - Mexican lawmakers approved a new law on Tuesday to regulate genetically modified crops, but opponents said it catered more to the interests of big business than to the protection of centuries-old biodiversity." (Reuters)

?!! "Steve Abel: Non-consenting subjects of a global experiment" - "If genetically modified crops were so wonderful for the environment, Greenpeace would not be campaigning against them." (Steve Abel, New Zealand Herald)

"Francis Wevers: Time to stand up to anti-GM thugs" - "Call me naive if you like, but I'm really at a loss to work out why Greenpeace has decided to focus its New Zealand anti-GM campaign on genetically modified soybean meal fed to chickens. The Rainbow Warrior sailed into Auckland recently, bedecked in banners proclaiming the guilt of Inghams, the chicken producer that has sourced a shipment of non-GM soy but can't make promises about the future. Also caught in the Northern Hemisphere green raider's sights was burger chain McDonald's." (Francis Wevers, New Zealand Herald)

"Revision of safety rules delays Kenya's GM maize" - "[NAIROBI] The introduction of genetically modified (GM) maize to Kenya is likely to be delayed by two years to 2010 following revisions to safety regulations for the Insect Resistant Maize for Africa (IRMA) project." (SciDev.Net)

December 14, 2004

"Interview: In Praise of Pesticides" - "Dennis Avery, director of the Center for Global Food Issues at Hudson Institute, US, doesn't believe that organic farming can meet the world's food needs. Avery tells Chandrika Mago that the environment movement is feeding off new scares." (Times of India)

"Gates Foundation gives $43 million to fight malaria" - "SAN FRANCISCO - The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is expected on Monday to donate $42.6 million to a novel, nonprofit drug company that hopes to make a cheaper malaria treatment by applying a new biotechnology recipe to an ancient Chinese remedy.

The San Francisco-based Institute of OneWorld Health will work with the University of California, Berkeley and a small Albany-based biotechnology company to turn the genetic engineering work of Berkeley's Jay Keasling into an inexpensive and effective drug to fight malaria in the Third World." (Associated Press)

"Europe Promotes Tragedy in Uganda" - "If Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback is correct, European scaremongering is delaying the re-introduction of DDT into Uganda. And this will have deadly consequences.

Sen. Brownback (R-Ks) has just returned from a Ugandan health fact-finding mission. He told me that EU trade policies "will lead to an increase of deaths among pregnant women and children in Africa. DDT was used to rid Europe and the US of malaria. Now it can't even be sprayed indoors in limited settings to save vulnerable lives in Africa. God help us." (Roger Bate, TCS)

"Zimbabwe: Govt Resorts to Banned DDT to Fight Malaria" - "THE government has re-introduced the once banned DDT for its indoor residual spray (IRS) programme to control malaria countrywide because it cannot access foreign currency to buy other effective drugs, The Standard has learnt." (Zimbabwe Standard (Harare))

"Life expectancy to reach 100 within two generations" - "Life expectancy at birth could reach 100 in the next 60 years on present trends, researchers reported yesterday." (Independent)

"Volunteers tested on phone mast 'dangers'" - "Human volunteers will today undergo a series of tests as part of the first major study into the potential health dangers of mobile phone masts." (London Daily Telegraph)

"Strange ocean wave patterns raise questions about beach erosion" - "Engineers who were studying beach erosion got more than they bargained for recently when they discovered unexpected wave behavior in the water along an east coast shoreline. The finding could cause researchers to re-examine ideas about beach erosion and the repair of beaches that are damaged by tropical storms. "It could just be that the physics of the system is a little different than we thought," said Thomas Lippmann, a research scientist at Ohio State." (Ohio State University)

"Historic Himalayan ice dams created huge lakes, mammoth floods" - "Ice dams across the deepest gorge on Earth created some of the highest-elevation lakes in history. New research shows the most recent of these lakes broke through its ice barrier somewhere between 600 and 900 AD, causing massive torrents of water to pour through the Himalayas into India from Tibet." (University of Washington)

"Permafrost warming a challenge to Tibetian train route, says U. of Colorado researcher" - "Engineers constructing a new railroad across the vast, high-altitude Tibetan Plateau are using a surprisingly simple idea to fortify shifting frozen soils affected by climate warming, according to a University of Colorado at Boulder permafrost expert." (University of Colorado at Boulder)

"Global warming killing coral reefs, right? Wrong, Australian study finds" - "SYDNEY - Coral reefs around the world could expand in size by up to a third because of increased ocean warming, according to a new Australian study which contradicts the long-held belief that global warming is destroying the reefs.

Previous research has predicted a decline of between 20 and 60 percent in the size of coral reefs by 2100 relative to pre-industrial levels because of increasing carbon dioxide (CO2) levels caused by the greenhouse effect in ocean surface waters.

But the newly published research, by a team led by oceanographer Ben McNeil of Sydney's University of New South Wales, suggests that present coral reef calcification rates are not in decline and are equivalent to late 19th century levels." (AFP)

"Let's Stop Scaring Ourselves" - "This year I turned 62, and I find I have acquired—along with aches and pains—a perspective on the world that I lacked as a younger person. I now recognize that for most of my life I have felt burdened by highly publicized fears that decades later did not turn out to be true.

I was reminded of this when I came across this 1972 statement about climate: “We simply cannot afford to gamble…We cannot risk inaction. Those scientists who [disagree] are acting irresponsibly. The indications that our climate can soon change for the worse are too strong to be reasonably ignored.” This author wasn’t concerned about global warming. He was worried about global cooling and the coming ice age." (Michael Crichton, Parade)

"JAMES K. GLASSMAN: Extremists on the run" - "This week, 5,400 delegates from 189 countries have gathered in Buenos Aires for what's called COP 10, the 10th annual conference of the parties to the United Nations' agreement to combat climate change.

I have been attending these extravaganzas for five years now, and they are an exercise, in the grandly self-important style of the world body, in wheel-spinning and America-bashing. But something is changing." (Scripps Howard News Service)

"New Climate Thriller: Scary, but Is It Science?" - "On the surface, Michael Crichton's "State of Fear," can be seen simply as a thriller in which environmentalists happen to be the villains. Mixed with the story, however, are lengthy, annotated attacks on the scientific consensus that the globe is warming, human activity is a cause, and accumulating emissions of greenhouse gases may dangerously disrupt the climate system." (New York Times)

Weekly Whipple: "Climate: Discovering the role of aerosols" - "Boulder, CO, Dec. 12 -- One of the mystery villains in global climate change is the role of aerosols -- dust and small particle emissions -- on climate and temperature." (Dan Whipple, United Press International)

"Dinosaur Tales" - "BUENOS AIRES -- Argentina is a great place for a confab on catastrophic climate change, only Buenos Aires isn't the city for it." (Duane D. Freese, TCS)

"US emissions of greenhouse gases up 0.7 percent in 2003" - "US emissions of greenhouse gases increased 0.7 percent in 2003 from, driven by increased consumption of fossil fuels, the Department of Energy said Monday." (AFP)

"Premature Congratulation" - "Buenos Aires -- "Post-2012"! is the mantra of thousands of bureaucrats and pressure group advocates meeting here this week here, referring to discussions about further climate change emission reduction commitments to follow the Kyoto Protocol's expiry in eight years. But these cries recall what Albert Einstein once said: "The definition of insanity is doing the same things and expecting a different outcome." As such, the stubborn Kyoto negotiators seem in need of help." (Christopher Horner, TCS)

"Developing Giants Under Pressure on Climate Change" - "BUENOS AIRES, Argentina - While developing nations China, Brazil and India grow at break-neck pace with their burgeoning industry and farming, industrialized countries want them to clean up the dirty practices that have made them some of the world's biggest polluters." (Reuters)

"Aid 'should help poor nations handle climate change'" - "The World Bank will today urge governments to take climate change into account when assessing development aid to poor countries. The bank will also tell the signatories to the Kyoto treaty on climate change that they should agree a long-term global target for stabilising carbon dioxide emissions beyond 2012, when most of the provisions of the present protocol run out." (Financial Times)

"China defends economic growth at climate conference" - "China expects to increase energy consumption for up to 50 years and will not join any initiative to reduce global warming that threatens its economic rise, the head of the Chinese delegation to the UN climate change conference here said Monday." (AFP)

"UN Climate Conference Called 'Meeting About Nothing'" - "Buenos Aires, Argentina - The United Nations climate change conference here is being panned as a "conference about nothing" by a free market critic. "The Kyoto Protocol is a treaty about nothing. It's the Seinfeld (TV sitcom) conference," declared Chris Horner, a senior fellow at the free market environmental group Competitive Enterprise Institute. Horner was referring to the former NBC sitcom that billed itself as a show about nothing." (CNSNews.com)

"Climate Experts Confer on Post-Kyoto Steps" - "BUENOS AIRES, Argentina -- International experts, searching for ways to break a deadlock with the United States over climate change, consulted on an array of ideas Monday to lure that No. 1 polluter into a joint effort to control "greenhouse gases," along with such second-rank emitters as China and India." (AP)

"Poor Trade-Off" - "Delegates are gathering in Buenos Aires to congratulate themselves on the forthcoming enactment of the Kyoto Treaty. Notably absent from the list of signatories, however, is the U.S. And rightly so." (IBD)

Ever more hysterical: "Climate forecast soars into the red" - "By 2050 heatwaves like that of 2003, which killed 15,000 in Europe and pushed British temperatures above 38C (100F) for the first time, will seem "unusually cool", the Hadley Centre for Climate Change says. In its report Uncertainty, Risk and Dangerous Climate Change, to be published today at the climate talks in Buenos Aires, it estimates that average temperatures will rise by 3.5C, well above the 2C which the EU says is the limit to avoid catastrophic global warming." (The Guardian)

"Shutdown of circulation pattern could be disastrous, researchers say" - "If global warming shuts down the thermohaline circulation in the North Atlantic Ocean, the result could be catastrophic climate change. The environmental effects, models indicate, depend upon whether the shutdown is reversible or irreversible." (PhysOrg.com)

Have to love this statement: "If the thermohaline shutdown is irreversible, we would have to work much harder to get it to restart,” said Michael Schlesinger. If it's irreversible we'd have to work harder to reverse it. Right...

"Climate change threatens China food production" - "Climate change could cut China's food production 10 percent by 2050, said an official report at a major UN conference here Monday. Given current conditions, the damage would hit China between 2030 and 2050." (AFP)

"International Effort Under Way on Emissions-Reducing Technology" - "Washington -- The United States is leading 14 other countries and the European Commission in an international effort to make the capture and underground storage of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions commercially competitive and safe. The effort is aimed at controlling greenhouse gas emissions and slowing global warming." (Washington File)

"Only 21 EU countries to start pollution trading" - "Only 21 of the 25 European Union nations will join the start of a carbon dioxide emissions trading market aimed at reducing gases which cause global warming, the European Commission announced here Monday." (AFP)

"Nuclear Plants in New England Say They Deserve Credit for 'Green' Energy" - "Dec. 13—As the nuclear power industry stages a nationwide comeback, New England is emerging as a major battleground in the industry's campaign to be recognized as a "green" energy source.

Last year, the Seabrook reactor in New Hampshire became the first nuclear plant in the country to win credits for not polluting the air. Emboldened by that success, nuclear plant owners are now pressing to receive similar credits under a nine-state plan to reduce greenhouse gases.

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative may include clean-air credits for low-polluting power plants, and nuclear lobbyists have been pushing to be included." (The Boston Globe)

"Coal Is The New Gold" - "A report in the United States has found that coal is becoming ever more important as a global energy source with much of the increase being attributable to China." (Iain Murray, EU Reporter Online)

"Rice genome is decoded; now expect new varieties to crop up" - "An international team of scientists has completed the sequencing of the rice genome, an accomplishment that should lead to the development of new varieties of rice to meet different needs, including resistance to disease." (Japan Times)

"GE Crops and Poverty Alleviation" - "Europe needs to take an urgent look at two recent World Bank reports on genetically engineered (GE) crops and food technologies in developing countries. The first focuses on GE rice (mainly harvested in Asia), and the second looks at crops in Sub-Saharan Africa." (Al Rio and Peter Turner, TCS)

"Lift the burden on biotech foods" - "The European Commission has recently asked five member states to lift their bans on genetically modified (GM) crops and foods.

Nevertheless, the future of agricultural biotechnology in Europe looks bleak. Supermarkets do not stock GM food. Regulatory obstacles make commercial production of GM crops uneconomical, except in Spain. In the US, by contrast, three-quarters of food in supermarkets contains ingredients from GM plants and Americans have been eating food with a GM content for more than seven years without harm and even, significantly, without a single lawsuit alleging harm.

More than 80 per cent of the soya bean crop grown in America, 70 per cent of cotton and 38 per cent of maize is now genetically modified. But in an important book Henry Miller and Gregory Conko show that in the US, too, biotechnology is threatened*. An unholy alliance of big companies and green pressure groups has created a burden of over-regulation that stifles innovation and hamstrings research." (Dick Taverne, Financial Times)

"THE LEADER ARTICLE: Bitter Harvest: Green Revolution Crops Better Than GM Varieties" - "Agbiotechnology, which is almost synonymous with GM (genetically modified) crops, is presented in many forms, the most common being that it will solve world hunger. To reinforce this claim, there is an interesting word play at work. Agbiotechnology is referred to as the 'gene revolution' or the 'evergreen revolution'; both terms are an attempt to link agbiotech with the Green Revolution. In the view of most policy-makers, farmers and citizens, the Green Revolution was a positive happening. It did, in fact, increase food production, principally cereal production. It made India independent of food exports and firmed up its political spine." (Times of India)

December 13, 2004

Environmentalists save Ukranian presidential candidate? Someone apparently tried to poison Ukranian presidential candiate Viktor Yushchenko with dioxin. But why would anyone use dioxin as a poison? A heavy dose of dioxin may gradually cause a very bad case of chloracne, a condition which is transient. If it's true that someone tried to poison Yushchenko with dioxin, then it must be assumed that the miscreant had been duped by environmentalist propaganda, which claims either that dioxin is "the most toxic manmade substance" or "one of most toxic substances known to man." Either way, such propaganda is demonstrably wrong. Dioxin, in fact, is not terribly toxic to humans -- remember the lesson that JunkScience.com taught Ben & Jerry's! Environmentalists have always been lousy scientists -- Yushchenko is living proof.

Sen. Lout-enberg? New Jersey Senator Urges Media to Censor Critics of Global Warming Hysteria - Sen. Frank Lautenberg clumsily chastised the Washington Post for giving space to Myron Ebell's (Competitive Enterprise Institute) views on global warming. Read the letter, my comments and send your thoughts to Sen. Lout-enberg!

Thickheads versus Thickburgers Hardee's Thickburger, the New York Times and Public Health - The New York Times editorializes that Hardee's new Thickburger is a threat to public health. I say the Times is a much greater public health threat. You decide.

Oh dear! "Study Links Children's Asthma to Hog Farms" - "DES MOINES, Iowa - A University of Iowa study released Thursday said children living on hog farms are more likely to have asthma. The prevalence of asthma is even more dramatic among children living on hog farms where antibiotics are added to feed, said the study's author Dr. James A. Merchant, dean of the College of Public Health and an environmental health professor." (Associated Press)

Big deal: "The study indicated that 42.9 percent of children on farms with less than 500 pigs had signs of asthma while 46 percent on farms with more than 500 pigs had asthma indicators." But there were a total of 224 kids on 109 farms, only 89 of which gave complete details of farming characteristics. Only 43 of these farms raise swine at all and only 24 of those add antibiotics to the feed. Doesn't take many kids having "one or more asthma indicators" to swing the percentages in numbers as small as these does it.

"Increased suicide rate is possibly linked to chemicals released from nearby asphalt plants" - "Exposure to low levels of hydrogen sulfide and possibly other airborne chemicals from nearby asphalt plants may have contributed to an increased suicide rate in a North Carolina community, a study suggests for the first time." (University of North Carolina School of Medicine)

"Child cancers steadily increasing" - "The rate of childhood cancer has slowly increased over the last three decades, research has found. The International Agency for Research on Cancer, based in France, examined data from 19 European countries. It found cancer rates increased by around 1% a year for children, and 1.5% a year for adolescents between the 1970s and 1990s.

The research, which stresses cancer before age 20 is still rare, is published in The Lancet. The scientists say no single factor can be held responsible for the rise, and the underlying causes are likely to be highly complex." (BBC)

"Making Vaccines Good Business" - "Left to their own devices, major drug companies are unlikely to pay much attention to malaria, tuberculosis and other illnesses that afflict poor countries but spare the prosperous West. As a result, the prevention of such diseases has typically been put in the hands of the World Health Organization and other nonprofit entities. But that approach has serious limits, according to an increasingly influential group of market-oriented scholars. Effective treatments and vaccines could be invented and disseminated much more quickly, these scholars say, if private pharmaceutical companies were brought into the game. And for that to happen -- so the argument runs -- Big Pharma needs to be reassured of making a profit." (New York Times)

"Eco-terrorism's futile rabidity" - "The nation obviously has been focused very heavily on terrorism for the last three years. Unfortunately, the overwhelming attention paid to foreign terrorist threats has tended to make people complacent about homegrown, domestic terrorism." (Bruce Bartlett, The Washington Times)

"Rethinking the Global Environment" - "The Western industrial model has taken its toll on the environment. That same model would be devastating if adopted by all current developing countries. Peter Goldmark — director of the Climate and Air Program at Environmental Defense — argues that an urgent course correction must come from the policies of both the public and private sectors." (Peter Goldmark, The Globalist)

"Australia's Shark Nets Snagged by Controversy" - "Bathers have become ensnared in an environmental tangle — the nets that protect them from sharks pose a threat to a growing whale population. Save the whales, cry some wildlife campaigners. Save the humans, the government counters." (Associated Press)

"In the boreal forest, a developing storm" - "The boreal forest, nicknamed by scientists as one of the Earth's "lungs", is coveted by those who want to cut trees, build hydropower dams, mine and develop it, seeking gas and oil." (Washington Post)

"Recycling targets slashed" - "The green credentials of the government have been weakened by the revelation that it has slashed local councils' recycling targets to save money." (The Observer)

"New Zealand gets exemption from ozone protection agreement" - "New Zealanders slurping down their strawberries and cream this Christmas should know that part of the price they will pay for the treat next year may be a bigger hole in the ozone layer, the Green Party says. Developed countries -- including New Zealand - promised in a 1987 treaty to stop using the chemical methyl bromide to sterilise soil by the end of December 2004. But New Zealand last month sought -- and was granted -- an exemption to its agreement, along with 10 other countries, led by the United States." (NZPA)

"Let's make it cool to question media and government ecohype over 'global warming'... " - "I was fascinated to watch another interview with Michael Crichton about State of Fear on the BBC's leading television art's show, 'Newsnight Review' (BBC 2, Friday, December 10), and especially by the thoughtful responses of the participants in the ensuing discussion, particularly those of one my own heroines, Deborah Bull, the ballet dancer. Deborah's comments made me understand what an important role Michael Crichton, and his latest blockbuster, will play in beginning to make it cool (no pun intended) in the UK to question the increasingly-nonsensical media and government hype on this topic. Indeed, I wonder if the best way to redress the balance in Britain is to make it newly-fashionable to debunk 'global warming'. Even the media types might be swung a tad by such a ploy." (EnviroSpin Watch)

Woe from Lowe: "Environmental losses cannot be paid back" - "Failure to make rapid and radical changes on global warming would put our civilisation at stake, writes Ian Lowe." (Sydney Morning Herald)

Wonder if he's going to front for Midnight Oil too?

"The heat is off" - "Michael Crichton says why he pours cold water on global warming in his new novel." (New York Daily News)

"Crichton Plunges Into Environment Debate" - "NEW YORK - Michael Crichton is a big man with big ideas, a storyteller of nearly 7 feet who turns popular science into popular fiction." (Associated Press)

"Jurassic Park author pours cold water on global warming" - "He is most famous for his far-fetched tale of how dinosaurs could be brought to life with DNA from mosquitoes trapped in amber. Now the bestselling author Michael Crichton has written a thriller about ecoterrorism which the critics say is equally fantastic in its refusal to accept that global warming is a clear and present danger. With 2m copies of State of Fear hitting bookshops across the world, Crichton's thesis that the "interminable yammering of fearmongers" about climate change is being used to keep ordinary people perpetually anxious will reach a huge audience." (The Guardian)

Beware! Tree-Huggers Plot Evil to Save World (New York Times)

"Kyoto's 'Capitalists'" - As the world gathers in Argentina this week for its latest group hug over the Kyoto Protocol, joining in the merriment are a few new faces: U.S. energy companies. We thought readers might want to know what's behind this budding corporate enthusiasm for mandatory reductions in greenhouse gases.

The Kyoto idea is 10 years old now, and no better for its age. The U.S. wisely chose to forgo the pact, as the long- term costs add up to hundreds of billions a year across the world economy, not to mention untold lost economic opportunities. The energy industry has heretofore backed this U.S. decision, noting that even Kyoto's defenders have admitted the pact wouldn't slow climate change.

Yet suddenly business pooh-bahs are claiming they've seen the eco-light. Cinergy, the big Ohio utility, issued a report this month fretting that human activity is "likely contributing" to global warming and endorsing a national CO2 program." (The Wall Street Journal)

"How to reduce future climate risk" - "Human society is performing a remarkable and uncontrolled experiment on the Earth. Because of the combustion of coal, oil and gas, carbon dioxide (CO2) levels are already higher than they have been for at least 430,000 years. If such activities continue, CO2 will rise to levels not seen on the Earth for 30 million years or more." (Daniel P Schrag, BBC Online)

It's that Mann again: "Top Scientists Launch RealClimate.org" - "Today, top climate scientists will launch a unique website to provide commentary on the emerging new results from climate science. The site is designed as a tool for journalists and members of the public, and will provide a quick response to developing stories and provide the context sometimes missing in mainstream commentary. The discussion is restricted solely to scientific topics and will not address political issues." (Media Release) | RealClimate.org

"Gelbspan's Global Warming Warpath" - "EcoTalk's Betsy Rosenberg interviews global warming warrior Ross Gelbspan" (EV World)

The Week That Was Dec. 11, 2004 (SEPP)

"Researchers improve predictions of cloud formation for better global climate modeling" - "Atmospheric scientists have developed simple, physics-based equations that address some of the limitations of current methods for representing cloud formation in global climate models – important because of increased aerosol pollution that gives clouds more cooling power and affects precipitation. These researchers – led by the Georgia Institute of Technology -- have also developed a new instrument for measuring the conditions and time needed for a particle to become a cloud droplet." (Georgia Institute of Technology Research News)

"Women more at risk from climate change: Canadian at UN conference" - "BUENOS AIRES, Argentina - Severe weather caused by global warming can pose greater physical danger to women than men, a Canadian attending a UN conference on climate change said Friday." (Canadian Press)

"'Climate Witnesses' Testify About Warming" - "As scientists debate whether global warming is affecting Earth, "climate witnesses" told a U.N. environmental conference Friday they are already feeling the heat of the changing weather patterns they say are drastically affecting the way of life from the Himalayas to the South Pacific." (Associated Press)

"CLIMATE CHANGE: Optimism Reigns in Talks" - "BUENOS AIRES, Dec 10 - At the end of the first week of climate change talks in the Argentine capital, government delegates were upbeat about the progress made so far -- an attitude that had not been seen in the past few annual conferences." (IPS)

"Global Warming Negotiations Heat Up" - "The Kyoto Protocol climate treaty comes into effect on February 16, 2005. Russia finally approved the treaty in October which needed to be ratified by developed nations that account for at least 55% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in order to become legally binding on the world's 39 richest countries. Last week, 5,400 delegates from 189 countries convened in Buenos Aires for further climate change treaty negotiations at the United Nation's Framework Convention on Climate Change's Tenth Conference of the Parties (COP10). Environment ministers from 90 countries are expected to attend the final three days of negotiations beginning on Wednesday. The COP10 of negotiations will conclude on Friday, December 17." (Ronald Bailey, TCS)

"Cheers, and Concern, for New Climate Pact" - "BUENOS AIRES, Dec. 12 - With the United States keeping to the sidelines, delegates from more than 190 countries have gathered here both to celebrate the enactment of the Kyoto Protocol, the first treaty requiring cuts in greenhouse gases linked to global warming, and to look beyond 2012, when its terms expire.

Many delegates and experts concede that the pact, negotiated in 1997, is deeply flawed and that years of delays in finishing its rulebook mean that many adherents may have trouble meeting their targets for emissions cuts." (New York Times)

"Domestic disturbances" - "The Kyoto Protocol will be costly and do nothing to prevent global warming — even if it is caused by humans. Proposed domestic actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will cost only slightly less than Kyoto, but would do even less to prevent global warming, and therefore merit even less consideration." (H. Sterling Burnett, The Washington Times)

"U.S. Seen as Laggard at U.N. Climate Change Meeting" - "As signatories to the Kyoto pact adopt ways to cut gas emissions, America is increasingly shut out, having balked at ratifying the accord." (LA Times)

"Save the world, ignore global warming" - "Global warming has become the obsession of our time. From governments and campaigners meeting for the climate summit in Buenos Aires right now we hear the incessant admonition: making global warming our first priority is the moral test of our age. Yet they are wrong. Global warming is real and caused by CO2. The trouble is that the climate models show we can do very little about the warming. Even if everyone (including the United States) did Kyoto and stuck to it throughout the century, the change would be almost immeasurable, postponing warming by just six years in 2100." (Bjorn Lomborg, Telegraph)

Must admit I don't have Lomborg's faith in GCCMs but he's right that energy rationing ("carbon restraint") will do zip as far as knowingly influencing climate goes.

"Antarctic 'on the edge of disaster'" - "Even a small increase in sea temperature could dramatically affect penguins, whales and a host of other marine creatures, warns scientist." (The Guardian)

"Warming world evident in our own backyards" - "Those who seek evidence of global warming need look no further than their backyards. The great British winter is melting away. Fourteen of the last 16 winters have been abnormally mild. Only 1995-96 was really cold, and the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit says the chances of another great freeze, as in 1963, are "vanishingly small." (Independent)

"Why the birds and bees think spring is here" - "Our flora and fauna are defying the calendar like never before. David Randall reports on unseasonal developments across the UK Warming world evident in our own backyards." (Independent)

"Summit Addresses Greenhouses Gases' Impact" - "BUENOS AIRES, Argentina -- A new report on ecological damage from greenhouse gases dominated the sidelines of a U.N. conference on global warming Saturday as delegates from nearly 200 nations assembled to prepare for the launch next year of the Kyoto Protocol." (Associated Press)

"UN wants climate cooperation" - "PLANS for international cooperation to fight global warming beyond the end of the Kyoto Protocol dominated the United Nations conference on climate change. The top European Union negotiator said support was building for a proposal to hold a pair of international seminars next year to discuss additional measures to reduce climate change after 2012, when the landmark agreement ends. "We're quite encouraged with the response we've received from a number of negotiating partners", including Australia, Mexico and Switzerland, chief EU negotiator Yvo de Boer said today. The gatherings would serve as informal forums to begin discussing possible future emissions cuts and other steps beyond the timeframe of the Kyoto Protocol." (Associated Press)

"Compost breaks fresh ground on emissions" - "Compost heaps may be unsightly and a little smelly but they could enable Britain and the rest of the European Union to meet their targets to reduce carbon emissions and counter climate change.

Research from the Composting Association has found that applying organic material to farm land could absorb enough carbon to make up 8.6 per cent of the EU's carbon emissions reduction target.

This could be done by applying compost to a fifth of the agricultural land of the EU, allowing it to act as a "carbon sink", which would use compost to lock carbon in its solid form into the soil instead of allowing the carbon to be released as a greenhouse gas." (Financial Times)

"AUSTRALIA: Using 'Spin' to Flip the Kyoto Debate" - "CANBERRA, Dec 10 - The Australian government's delegation to next week's ministerial meeting at the on- going conference of parties to the Kyoto climate change agreement could get a frosty reception, after making misleading claims that the country is set to achieve substantial cuts in greenhouse gas emissions over the longer term.

Non-government organisations that met ahead of 10th negotiating session of the parties to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which began on Dec. 6 in Buenos Aires, have awarded Australia the first 'Fossil of the Day' prize for exaggerating its claims of substantial progress in curbing carbon emissions." (IPS)

Sad but true, Australia has severely curtailed farmers from improving their land (removing scrub and planting improved pastures, crops, whatever...) - a massive taking at the behest of the "enhanced-greenhouse" industry, henceforth known as Big Noise.

Sad to see Tim Radford simply regurgitating 'peas propaganda: "Sea level rise 'will hit poor most'" - "Rich nations are prepared to spend up to $32bn to protect the European coastline from sea level rise - but have promised only $0.41bn to help poor nations confront climate change, according to a new report launched yesterday." (The Guardian)

"China, Brazil reveal climate plan" - "China and Brazil have presented details of their greenhouse gas emissions to an international summit on climate change." (BBC News)

"Leader: Nuclear options" - "The last week has been no longer than the usual span, but in that time there was more than a week's worth of news on climate change. Perhaps this is a sign of global warming to come: start the week with a warning on low fish stocks, follow up with a greenhouse gas emission target failure, trail a new "Kyoto-lite" carbon treaty with the US mid-week, and get something for the weekend with a House of Lords report telling the government to crack on with a decision on nuclear waste management. All of these events were important in their own right, but the sum of their parts is more significant." (The Guardian)

"A Bigger, 'Renewable' Boondoggle" - "In Washington, sometimes all you need to do to find out lobbyists' latest schemes to bilk the unwary taxpayer is attend a public meeting. What brings this to mind is Greenwire reporter Ben Geman's December 7 story recounting a recent Capitol Hill conference for journalists and congressional staff, sponsored by the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE)." (Marlo Lewis, TCS)

"Greenpeace Declares Victory Against Wheat Patent" - "Except it wasn't really a patent. And Greenpeace didn't really have anything to do with it." (Ronald Bailey, Reason)

"Philippines: Groups claims BT corn has bad effects on health" - "The genetically produced Bacillus Theuraigensis (BT) corn, which is widely used by farmers, poses adverse health effects to consumers and planters, according to a science group. “Considering that BT is a toxin injected to the corn seed to fight certain pests and anything toxic is harmful to our health, it’s just like having pesticide inside us,” said Shen Maglinte, deputy director of Sibol ng Agham at Teknolohiya.  Sibol, along with other non-government organizations, are documenting cases of diarrhea, headache, influenza and chest pains possibly brought by the corn pollens from Mindanao." (The Freeman)

December 10, 2004

"A Few Beefs With Anti-Meatheads" - "British media went wild last week reporting that eating lots of meat might increase the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"New vaccines are not the only answer to malaria" - "In response to recent statements by the UK chancellor of the exchequer, Gordon Brown, Bob Snow and Nick White argue that researchers must not become fixated on high-tech approaches to controlling malaria when effective low-cost approaches already exist." (Bob Snow and Nick White, SciDev.Net)

Partly right - but they forgot to mention DDT.

Another @#$%^& scare not ready for public consumption and which should not have been released to media before the facts are known: "Folic acid linked to breast health risk" - "Women who take folic acid during pregnancy may increase their risk of breast cancer in later life, a new study suggests. The unexpected findings cast doubt on the safety of one of the most widely used and longest established supplements in pregnancy. But the researchers say women should not stop taking the supplements, and that the most likely explanation for the findings is chance." (Independent)

"Cancer link to folic acid played down" - "'No evidence' of supplements' risk to health." (The Guardian)

"Chloramine fears still bubbling" - "On Tuesday, those residents and others like them lobbied the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors to support a resolution asking the state's association of county health officers to take a long, hard look at the potential health effects of chloramine, which has been accused of causing everything from skin rashes to cancer." (San Francisco Examiner)

"Little evidence to link mercury fillings to human health problems" - "For more than 150 years dental amalgam has been used as a restorative material for dental cavities. It has stirred controversy due to its mercury content. Some claim that mercury release from dental amalgam leads to a variety of health problems. A new report concludes that the scientific and medical literature published since 1996 shows there is little evidence of a link between dental mercury and health problems, except in rare instances of allergic reactions." (Life Sciences Research Office)

"HENRY I. MILLER: How lawsuits can kill" - "This year's flu-vaccine shortfall is just one of many dangerous shortages of essential vaccines - and it need not have happened. Congress has been holding hearings to try to affix blame but seems determined to ignore the broader questions:
- Why are there only two companies in the world that produce flu vaccine for the U.S. market?
- How did we get to the point where the entire nation's health is jeopardized by a single vaccine manufacturer's inability to meet the demand during one flu season?
- Why are other essential vaccines in short supply?
A large part of the answer is litigation. Lawsuits are killing us." (Scripps Howard News Service)

"A Chilling Tale" - "We know that nature can kill. What most people don't know is that stupid ideas about nature can kill, too.

In "State of Fear" (HarperCollins, 603 pages, $27.95), Michael Crichton delivers a lightning-paced technopolitical thriller that turns on a controversial notion: All that talk we've been hearing about global warming -- you know, polar ice caps melting, weather systems sent into calamitous confusion, beach weather lingering well into January -- might be at best misguided, at worst dead wrong. Think "The Da Vinci Code" with real facts, violent storms and a different kind of faith altogether." (Ronald Bailey, The Wall Street Journal)

"The Admirable Crichton... " - "At last, 'global warming' is really taken as fiction in Michael Crichton's new blockbuster, State of Fear (out November, 2004). We should all send a copy to Tony B. for his Christmas stocking.

Here is the great Homo jurassicus himself talking about his doubts over 'global warming' theory and about his new thriller on yesterday evening's BBC flagship arts programme: 'Front Row' (BBC Radio 4, December 9) [N.B. today, click on 'Listen to this programme', where it is the first main item; after this evening, however, it will be under 'Previously on Front Row']." (EnviroSpin Watch)

"Confusion, Consensus and Robust Policy Options" - "Consensus science can provide only an illusion of certainty (.pdf). When consensus is substituted for a diversity of perspectives, it may in fact unnecessarily constrain decision-makers' options." (Prometheus)

"Living at the mercy of the Sun" - "Twenty years ago scientists from the British Antarctic Survey made one of the most significant environmental discoveries of recent times." (BBC News)

Actually not - the so-called "hole" (seasonal anomaly) was observed from the very first time a Dobson photospectrometer was deployed at Halley Bay for the international geophysical year (1955) and confirmed the following year. Of course, of interest then was the massive increase in Antarctic ozone levels in late spring/early summer and not the reduced levels as circumpolar winds excluded ozone-rich atmosphere mixing with the super-cold region where ozone-destructive reactions occur with the reappearance of solar irradiation after the long night of south polar winter.

"Natural Oscillation" - "There’s new research that casts doubt on recent claims ozone depletion and global warming have combined to alter atmospheric circulation patterns around the South Pole, patterns that tend to decrease Antarctica’s temperature. It now appears there were similar fluctuations before the widespread release of greenhouse gases and ozone-destroying chemicals." (co2andclimate.org)

"How far off is the next ice age?" - "With global warming taking centre stage in the climate change debate, the idea that Earth might be heading towards an ice age seems outdated. Yet scientists studying microfossils from deep-sea cores have discovered that we may still have much to learn about the cycles of ice advance and retreat that have affected Earth for a million years." (BBC)

"Global warming good news for coral reefs: research" - "Coral reefs globally could expand in size by up to a third in response to increased ocean warming and the greenhouse effect, says research by Australian scientists. Their analysis suggests that ocean warming will foster much faster future rates of coral reef growth that will eventually exceed pre-industrial rates by as much as 35 per cent by 2100. The finding contradicts previous predictions that coral reef growth will suffer large, potentially catastrophic, decreases in future." (University of New South Wales)

Robin "We're all gonna" Cook: "Only collective action can overcome the climate crisis" - "Neither markets nor personal choices can deal with the biggest threat of all." (Robin Cook, The Guardian)

"Climate treaty 'puts US growth at risk'" - "The gulf between the US and Europe on climate change yawned as wide as ever on Thursday after Washington told an international conference that limiting carbon emissions in line with the Kyoto protocol on climate change would damage growth." (Financial Times)

"Blair's Bushcraft" - "Tony Blair has declared that global warming will be one of his top priorities during Britain's presidency of the Group of Eight industrialised nations next year. His global leadership ambitions took a knock this week when the government admitted it would miss its manifesto target for cutting carbon emissions. But the prime minister is right to press US President George W. Bush to do more to reduce emissions - even if it falls short of the Kyoto protocol.

The truth is that Kyoto will never be endorsed by the US - even though enough nations have now signed up for it to come into force in the spring. Americans fear meeting its target for cutting emissions by 2012 would add to business costs and lead to loss of jobs.

Worse, the beneficiaries would include developing countries such as India and China that are not subject to the Kyoto target. If work moved from the US to less energy-efficient plants in such countries, greenhouse gas emissions could increase." (Financial Times)

Not so profound: "Bush on board for war on warming" - "The news that Tony Blair is seeking to bring America back into the fold on global warming is welcome, even if one feels a weary air of recognition at Downing Street leaking plans for international agreements some way short of their actually being struck.

Aware that neither the president nor Congress will sign up to the Kyoto protocols, Mr Blair has drawn up a "Kyoto-lite" so tapered to America it even adopts the US spelling of "light".

The challenge for Downing Street is to devise a package that makes the US appear to be going green without actually requiring any meaningful measures that might have an impact on tangential sticking points such as reducing CO2 emissions or reducing American growth or jobs. The Financial Times has had access to senior British policy-makers and can offer an exclusive peek at the plan." (Financial Times)

"A Disappointing Start for the Clean Development Mechanism" - "BUENOS AIRES, Dec 9 - In 1997, when the developing South agreed to a market incentive for industrialised nations that would allow them to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through development projects in poor countries, the expected result was investment in clean technologies. So far, however, the results have fallen far short of expectations." (IPS)

"OPEC Thwarts Climate Aid For Poor Nations - WWF" - "BUENOS AIRES - OPEC nations and Saudi Arabia in particular are standing in the way of getting financial help to developing countries to cope with global warming, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) said on Thursday." (Reuters)

"Bury nuclear waste, says report" - "The government's inability to deal with nuclear waste should not delay a decision on a new generation of power stations, a House of Lords committee will argue today. The "small uncertainties" associated with burying waste in the ground were nothing compared with a world ravaged by global warming, the science and technology committee says in a report." (The Guardian)

"Oil Chemical Cleared Of Damaging North Sea Fish" - 'OSLO - Water spilled into the North Sea from offshore oil and gas drilling is less of a threat to fish than previously thought, a Norwegian study showed on Thursday. It concluded that alkylphenols, one of the chemicals that come up in water along with oil and gas from subsea wells, did not affect fish populations despite earlier research indicating that small concentrations could damage reproduction." (Reuters)

"US Petroleum Demand to Grow 37 Percent by 2025 - EIA" - "WASHINGTON - US petroleum demand is expected to grow by a projected 37 percent by 2025, forcing the nation to rely even more on foreign suppliers to meet its growing oil thirst, the government said on Thursday." (Reuters)

"Fill 'er up with... coal? Coal-to-diesel plant closer to reality" - "GILBERTON, Pa. -- Cars running on coal? It could happen in this country -- someday.

John Rich Jr., whose family has worked the anthracite coal seams of eastern Pennsylvania for a century, plans to turn a $100 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy into the nation's first commercial plant converting waste coal, or culm, into low-emissions diesel fuel.

Updating a technology developed by German scientists in the 1920s, the $612 million plant would produce 5,000 barrels of diesel a day, eliminate hundreds of unsightly culm banks, and provide jobs in a region that sorely needs them. If it succeeds, plants could spring up in West Virginia, Illinois and Kentucky." (Associated Press)

"Fusion: Stepping closer to reality" - "Scientists now say 100 million degrees C is not too hot to handle in this powerful energy-generating process." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"At risk: 1,000,000,000 of the world's children" - "One billion children are at risk today from war, poverty and hunger, failed by the world's governments." (Independent)

"New Rules Issued on GM Foods" - "OMAHA (DTN) -- Despite declarations of safety by the European Food Safety Authority and new legislation on traceability and labeling, members of the European Union continue to balk at approval of genetically modified foods, according to a report from the USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service." (Farm Page)

"Boom in growing soybeans endangers South American environment" - "DOLORES, Uruguay - A soybean boom is sweeping South America like a gold rush. Farmers with soy fever are plowing by moonlight, speculating in jungles and dreaming of digging new canals to carry their soybeans from the continent's vast and fertile interior to Atlantic and Pacific ports.

The boom, fueled largely by China's growing appetite, is transforming global agriculture, largely at America's expense, and hastening the demise of the hemisphere's last virgin savannahs and tropical rainforests." (Knight Ridder Newspapers)

"Mexican PAN party approves transgenics" - "Mexico City, Mexico, Dec. 9 -- Lawmakers of Mexico's ruling National Action Party have given their approval of a law regulating genetically modified organisms, El Universal reported Thursday." (UPI)

December 9, 2004

"Malaria Rates Underscore Need to Set Aside Costly Taboos" - "An estimated 2 million people die from malaria worldwide every year. Africa, where 90 percent of those fatalities occur, bears most of the human and economic costs of the disease. Most of those who die are children under the age of five. Survivors often suffer from impaired cognitive development and face a blighted future.

That malaria is both easily preventable and cheaply curable means that such human suffering and economic cost are all the more intolerable and outrageous. In recent years the Southern Africa Development Community, led in large part by South Africa and Swaziland, has started promoting public health interventions that have been shown to reduce malaria’s impact dramatically. But where these countries are getting it right, various UN agencies and donor institutions stubbornly insist on promoting measures that are at best ineffectual and at worst severely damaging." (Roger Bate, Richard Tren, Journal of the South African Institute of International Affairs)

"Deadly Medicine" - "The World Health Organization and Doctors Without Borders, both headquartered in Geneva, have saved many lives. But they have endangered almost as many with their strategy of using unproven and outmoded drugs in developing nations to combat AIDS and malaria.

These AIDS drugs are cheaper and, like European generic drugs, are supposed to be just as effective. But they are not. Laboratory tests cannot confirm that these drugs -- which have not been approved by European or U.S. health authorities -- dissolve properly into the bloodstream to lower virus levels.

So why are the poor receiving second-class medicine?" (Carol Adelman, The Wall Street Journal)

"New vaccine may halt asthma and reverse effects on lungs" - "A vaccine made with synthetic pieces of bacterial DNA has been shown in animal studies not only to stop asthma in its tracks but also to reverse the lung damage caused by the disease, according to California scientists." (Chicago Tribune)

Sigh... Here they come again: "Public health group warns about impending plastic problem" - "The United States faces a looming waste crisis, with an estimated 70 billion pounds of vinyl plastic facing the end of its useful life and no safe means for disposal available, according to a report released Tuesday by public health advocates." (Scripps Howard News Service)

"Challenges remain in effort to test high production volume chemicals" - "An initiative involving industry, the EPA and an environmental group to generate toxicity data is a qualified success. 330 chemicals remain orphaned, with no company willing to produce needed data." (Chemical & Engineering News)

"Florida E-Vote Study Debunked" - "A study (.pdf) by Berkeley grad students and a professor showing anomalies with electronic-voting machines in Florida has been debunked by numerous academics who say the students used a faulty equation to reach their results and should never have released the study before getting it peer-reviewed.

The study, released three weeks ago by seven graduate students from the University of California, Berkeley's Quantitative Methods Research Team and sociology professor Michael Hout, presented analysis showing a discrepancy in the number of votes Bush received in counties that used touch-screen voting machines versus counties that used other types of voting equipment.

But Bruce McCullough, a decisions science professor at Drexel University in Philadelphia, and Binghamton University economics professor Florenz Plassmann released an analysis (.pdf) of the Berkeley report criticizing the results." (Wired)

"Environmentalists Becoming Less and Less Relevant" - "Environmental activists wanted two things to happen on Election Day—they wanted President Bush to lose and their cause to be a big reason why. They got neither, and that may bode well for the future of environmental policy reform.

Surveys taken before the elections showed that the environment was far down on the list of voters' concerns. For example, a Gallup poll taken earlier in 2004 ranked it 11th in importance among 12 issues. The election-day results bore this out, as the environment was barely on the radar compared to security, the economy, health care, and other issues. Overall, it is safe to say that environmental issues played no role in the outcome, and that probably would have been the case even if Bush had narrowly lost." (Ben Lieberman, Human Events Online)

"Ocean tides once spread massive icebergs: Study" - "Labrador Sea ocean tides dislodged huge Arctic icebergs thousands of years ago, carrying gigantic ice-rafted debris across the ocean and contributing to the ice age's deep freeze, say an international team of university researchers." (University of Toronto)

"Columbia team shows how stratospheric conditions affect weather" - "Three members of Columbia's Department of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics have used a simple climate model to demonstrate how the weather systems and storms we experience may be influenced by disturbances in the earth's stratosphere, the upper layer of atmosphere between 10 and 30 miles high." (The Earth Institute at Columbia University)

"Carbon sink or carbon source? Aerosols play role in shifts" - "Researchers at North Carolina State University have shown that the amount of aerosols – dust particles, soot from automobile emissions and factories, and other airborne particles – in the atmosphere has a significant impact on whether the surface area below either absorbs or emits more carbon dioxide (CO2)." (North Carolina State University)

"Massive air pollution casts Asian haze over global climate" - "AGRA, India - A cloud of pollution which has been identified in the skies across Asia travels long distances across the Indian ocean and is now threatening to make the entire planet a drier place, experts warned." (AFP)

"Global warming 'helps coral reefs grow'" - "CORAL reefs could be growing 35 per cent faster by the next century because of global warming, it was claimed yesterday. A new study suggests the effects of warmer waters might offset damage caused by greenhouse gases as higher amounts of dissolved carbon dioxide reduce the levels of calcium and carbonate in seawater needed to make corals." (The Scotsman)

NatStat.gif (2713 bytes) Oh for crying out loud! "Temperatures Rising: 4 of 5 record years in England after 1990" - "Both local (central England) and global average temperatures rose during the 20th century." (UK National Statistics)

Linked at right is the UK's National Statistics idea of chartsmanship. Their listed data source is Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research - no problem there, that's the repository for the Central England Temperature record (newly updated to February of this year). At this point, however, NatStat seem to have run into trouble.

CET1659-2003.GIF (49357 bytes) Rather than charting the available data series they have produced the above-linked pathetic little cripple - somehow shorn of all perspective and leaving the less well informed with the impression of dramatic, even unprecedented warming occurring in Central England. As can easily be seen in the chart linked at right, virtually identical warming occurred at the beginning of the 18th Century - identical with the obvious exceptions that it occurred much more rapidly then and there had been negligible change in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. What the record appears to indicate is a slow and ponderous 20th Century recovery from the Little Ice Age. Somehow, we suspect that is not quite the impression NatStat intended to leave viewers of their deceptive little chart.

"Nature Lays An(other) Egg" - "We’ll grant the editorial staff at Nature this: They never are shy about printing really loosey-goosey stuff whenever the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) needs a boost or on the eve of another glitzy UN confab to discuss global climate change. Who can forget Nature’s 1996 gaffe timed in conjunction with the meeting in Geneva, Switzerland that gave rise to the Kyoto Protocol? Nature published a paper by various federal climatologists intended to demonstrate how upper-air data from 1963 through 1987 was in synch with gloom-and-doom generated by various climate models." (co2andclimate.org)

"Kyoto kills growth, says Putin chief economist" - "Implementation of the Kyoto Protocol will dramatically cut economic growth, Andrei Illarionov, the chief economic adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin, said in Melbourne yesterday. Dr Illarionov said the overwhelming opinion among Russian scientists was that global warming was nonsense, but political considerations had impelled Russia to sign Kyoto." (The Age)

"Andrei Illarionov: Protocol is just lots of hot air" - "ACCORDING to the Kyoto protocol proponents, Australia and the US are the rogue nations. But in the eyes of the absolute majority of the world, they are reasonable and smart. After all, Australia and the US -- along with nine developed countries and 167 other nations -- are refusing to undertake legal obligations in restricting their greenhouse gas emissions. The fact is the Kyoto protocol that will be a global treaty within months is based on fraudulent science. Assertions that global temperatures are higher today than any time in the past are completely false. Fluctuations in climate patterns have existed for millions of years -- for all earth history." (The Australian)

"US rebuked over climate claims" - "Environmentalists have attacked US claims that America is doing as much to curb global warming as any other nation that signed the Kyoto deal." (BBC News)

"Kyoto: tightening the screws" - "The long-awaited meeting of the 10th Conference of the Parties to the Climate Change Treaty is now underway in Buenos Aires, Argentina. More than 5,000 delegates and non-government organization representatives are there to participate in the festivities. The overwhelming sentiment among the participants is to find a way to force the United States to "get on board." French Ecology Minister Serge Lepeltier said, "I am convinced that we are going to bring the United States into Kyoto, even if it doesn't want to."

Speech after speech lambasted the "cold-hearted" Bush administration for not "joining the Kyoto Club." U.S. Representative, Harlan Watson, was ridiculed by the Climate Action Network when he tried to modify the agenda to reflect "climate variability," rather than "climate change." (Henry Lamb, Canada Free press)

"Climatic chutzpah..." - "European chutzpah over climate change and 'global warming' knows no bounds. On the very day that Mr. Blair had to admit that the UK is falling lamentably behind in its own efforts to curb so-called 'greenhouse-gas' emissions." (EnviroSpin Watch)

"Britain's secret plan for new global climate pact" - "TONY BLAIR is seeking to secure George Bush’s backing for a new international treaty that would end America’s isolation on global warming, The Times has learnt. Downing Street last night confirmed that the Prime Minister had held “lengthy discussions” with Mr Bush about a fresh initiative that would bypass Washington’s steadfast opposition to the Kyoto Protocol." (The Times) | Leading Article: Shades of green (The Times) | Blair's new climate deal is little more than Cloud Nine (The Times)

Uh-huh... "Plea for 'extreme weather' tales" - "A conservation charity is hoping to use real-life examples of extreme weather to pressure the UK Government on the issue of climate change." (BBC)

"Amazon Burning Makes Brazil a Leading Polluter" - "BRASILIA, Brazil - Burning of the Amazon and other forests accounts for three quarters of Brazil's greenhouse gas emissions and has made the country one of the world's leading polluters, a long-delayed government report showed on Wednesday." (Reuters)

"The heat is turned on Third World air polluters" - "One of the most important items to be addressed in the climate change talks that opened in Buenos Aires is how Brazil, China and India can be persuaded to tackle global warming." (Mail & Guardian)

"UK: Chief Scientist Warns of Climate Change Catastrophe" - "Even the most ambitious of the Government’s targets for reducing greenhouse gases may not be enough to prevent the worst effects of global warming, Tony Blair’s chief scientific adviser warned today." (PA News)

Oh boy... "Kyoto will not work, warns climate expert" - "The West's approach to fighting global warming, enshrined in the Kyoto protocol, will not work, a leading climate scientist said yesterday. The struggle by developed countries to cut back their emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), the principal greenhouse gas, will always be overtaken by the rising new emissions of the developing nations, led by China and India, who are not parties to the Kyoto treaty, said Professor Wallace Broecker of Columbia University, New York. Only radical new technologies for extracting carbon dioxide directly from the air would halt global warming, said the professor, who is regarded as one of the fathers of climate change studies." (Independent)

That Kyoto will not work is true, we cannot knowingly influence climate and tinkering with a few minor variables can fortunately do little harm (except to the economy, at least). Stripping carbon dioxide from the atmosphere is plain silly - why not at least go for a ghg that could make a difference and put in big air driers (not a serious suggestion although certainly would cool the planet far more than messing about with trivial trace gases like CO2).

"UK: Beckett admits defeat on climate change target" - "Britain will miss greenhouse gas reductions goal by big margin but is still on course to meet Kyoto requirement, says government." (The Guardian) | Leader: Too much hot air (The Guardian)

"Growth in travel means Britain will miss its own greenhouse gas targets" - "Admission of defeat will embarrass Blair as he tries to make climate change a G8 priority." (The Times)

"JAY AMBROSE: Zoo of proposals" - "Throw some Democrats and Republicans on a commission, mix in some business CEOs and environmentalists and what do you get? Wisdom?

Maybe. But maybe you also get a mix of some of the worst and best ideas of all these groups, a kind of zoo of proposals, interesting to look at but not necessarily a collection you would want to let loose in legislative chambers.

That's one way to view the recommendations of the National Commission on Energy Policy, which wants the federal government to spend billions on what some might call corporate welfare while seeking further regulations complicating free market efforts to achieve the ultimate goal - a robust energy future." (Scripps Howard News Service)

Hmm... "UK: Five Year Strategy - Promoting Energy Efficiency" - "Defra's five year strategy confirms the Government's commitment to energy efficiency and sets out a number of new initiatives and additional funding to achieve it. This builds on the firm foundation laid by the Government's Energy Efficiency Action Plan published in April 2004. Energy efficiency is the most sustainable way to meet all four of our energy policy goals - reducing carbon; security of supply; competitiveness and ensuring that every home is adequately and affordably heated." (DEFRA)

Any business looking to remain in business strives for optimal efficiency, so improving energy efficiency is a stock requirement in all plant replacement/upgrade specs. Household "energy poverty" is largely a product of energy taxes and would virtually disappear if disadvantaged users were exempted from these taxes. "Reducing carbon" is simply another way of saying "energy rationing." Looks like the government is to devote finance and resources at an increased rate over the next five years to doing absolutely nothing beyond promoting the enhanced greenhouse scare campaign with more propaganda.

"Scotland: Green power will be hit by rates system, claims electricity industry" - "PROPOSED rate changes for electricity-generating companies to be announced by the Executive today amount to a "stealth tax" on householders’ domestic bills, and will unfairly penalise the growing renewables industry north of the Border, according to industry representatives." (The Scotsman)

"Schwarzenegger Vows to Defend Emissions Law" - "DETROIT, Dec. 7- Toyota, General Motors and seven other automakers filed suit on Tuesday to block California's new greenhouse gas regulation, which was approved by the state in its final form in September.

The suit sets up a battle between automakers and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican. Although Mr. Schwarzenegger is a fan of the Hummer, an S.U.V. with prodigious greenhouse gas emissions, he has promised nonetheless to defend the regulation, which was signed by his Democratic predecessor, Gray Davis." (New York Times)

"Researchers discover direct link between agricultural runoff and massive algal blooms in the sea" - "Scientists have found the first direct evidence linking large-scale coastal farming to massive blooms of marine algae that are potentially harmful to ocean life and fisheries." (Stanford University)

"'No drop' in world hunger deaths" - "A child still dies of hunger every five seconds, eight years on from a pledge to halve the world's hungry by 2015, a United Nations agency has said." (BBC News)

"Scientists Crack Chicken's Genetic Code" - "LONDON- Scientists have cracked the genetic code of the chicken, showing it shares about 60 percent of its genes with humans and has a common ancestor that lived about 310 million years ago." (Reuters)

"Approval sought for GM salmon" - "ST. JOHN'S — A company based in the United States and Newfoundland is seeking approval to supply Canadian diners with genetically modified salmon that grow twice as fast as normal fish. Aqua Bounty Technologies has spent four years navigating the regulatory process in the U.S., but is still waiting to hear from that country's Food and Drug Administration. Now Canada will be the second country where Aqua Bounty will ask for permission to sell GM salmon for humans to eat." (CBC)

"Biotech Crops Said on Rise Around World" - "WASHINGTON - Biotech crops are flourishing in the United States, but they're also taking root across the globe, accounting for about $44 billion in crops in five leading countries, according to a report Wednesday by an industry group." (Associated Press)

"Philippines: Govt developing high-yield rice variety with Vitamin A" - "The government is now developing a special variety of high-yielding rice that would not be susceptible to microorganisms, insects and parasites that commonly afflict local crops. The Department of Agriculture-Biotechnology Advisory Team (DA-BAT) said local scientists are now extensively researching on a genetically modified variety of rice, which may be called “Vitamin A” and which may be launched in three years." (TODAY @ ABS-CBNnews.com)

"Half of China Crops May Be Biotech By 2014" - "WASHINGTON- Half of China's farm fields may be growing genetically modified crops in 10 years, as Beijing invests hundreds of millions of dollars in the new technology, a biotech industry-sponsored report said on Wednesday." (Reuters)

December 8, 2004

CSRwatch.com Announces the 'Top Ten Worst Moments in Free Enterprise for 2004'

'Public Citizen' Story: Being Way Wrong, Way Early Means Never Having to Say You're Sorry - When the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced on November 23, 2004 at about 6pm ET that the test in the most recent mad cow scare was negative, the agency had already been pre-empted (not really, read on please) by the anti-meat activist group Public Citizen, which had issued a media release on Nov. 23 at 9:37 am on Progressive Newswire.

Public Citizen's release said, however, "Today's announcement by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that the United States has confirmed its second case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), known as mad cow disease, reinforces the need for federal regulators to close the loopholes that remain in our BSE prevention policies."

Not only was Public Citizen's media release wrong, but they were wrong about eight hours ahead of the USDA's announcement of the actual result.

Don't bother going to Progressive Newswire to look for the Public Citizen release -- the web site apparently was scrubbed long ago. But the media release does yet live on the web -- this copy was posted on some MSN group more than five hours ahead of the USDA's announcement.

Not only did Public Citizen jump the gun, but I think they were standing in front of the gun when it went off.

"US Study Links Lead Exposure To Cataracts" - "CHICAGO - Lifetime exposure to lead from paint in older houses, drinking water pipes and other sources appears to increase men's risk of cataract development, researchers reported on Tuesday." (Reuters) | Accumulated Lead Exposure and Risk of Age-Related Cataract in Men (JAMA)

"Don't blame fast food, television or the car - fat is a technological issue" - "We've long blamed television for turning us into a nation of couch potatoes but now the dismal science is weighing in with the idea that it is technology, rather than a change in tastes or the growth of fast food restaurants, that is the cause of obesity." (The Guardian)

"Trimming Waistlines by Trimming Government" - "The Journal of the American Medical Association recently published a study purporting to link increased soda consumption with weight gain. This comes on the heels of studies linking obesity to urban sprawl, longer commutes to work, time in front of the television, time on the Internet, not enough physical education in schools, vending machines in schools, marketing and advertising of junk food to children, and countless other trends, foods, habits, and (in)activities." (Michael Cannon and Radley Balko, TCS)

"Escalation of ecoterrorism seen in recent years" - "Violent rhetoric and tactics by extremist groups have escalated nationally during the past two years, particularly among those associated with animal rights and the environment, federal law-enforcement authorities say." (Guy Taylor, The Washington Times)

"Arson Destroys 12 New Maryland Homes" - "A dozen empty houses in a new Maryland subdivision that is the focus of a long-running environmental dispute were destroyed and numerous others were damaged yesterday in what officials said were more than 20 coordinated, methodically planned arsons." (Washington Post)

"Quebec Group Damages Tower Carrying Power to US" - "MONTREAL - A group that says it opposes the exploitation of Quebec natural resources has claimed responsibility for a blast that damaged a transmission tower channeling electricity from the Canadian province to the United States, police said Tuesday." (Reuters)

"New Report Undermines Climate Change Claims - Key scientific questions remain unanswered" (PDF) - "7th December 2004: As the 10th Conference of the Parties (COP) begins in Buenos Aires this week - the first COP since the ratification of the Kyoto protocol - scientists have published new research that calls into question many of the scientific assumptions driving global climate change policy.

The report, produced by the George C. Marshall Institute in Washington DC and the Scientific Alliance in London, suggests that calls for global action on climate change are often based on poor or uncertain science. In particular, the report sets out nineteen key questions and assumptions underpinning the climate change debate and global climate policy, highlighting a number of important areas where scientific uncertainty remains, as well as those where sound scientific evidence throws the Kyoto process into doubt." (George C. Marshall Institute)

"Essay Claiming 'Scientific Consensus' for Global Warming is Ridiculed" - "A Science Magazine essay claiming there is a "scientific consensus" about human-caused "global warming" was ridiculed Monday by a British scientist, who compared such a "consensus" to the near-unanimous elections that existed in the old Soviet Union. On Monday, Benny Peiser, a United Kingdom social anthropologist, called the Dec. 3 essay, "The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change," a "disturbing" study." (CNSNews.com)

Actually, the only thing Oreskes' "study" demonstrates is publishing bias - negative studies are rarely published while such wonderful positive correlations as disease risk by birthday and moon phase hit the press - go figure. Unfortunately for Oreskes and everyone else, had she demonstrated (correctly) that the entire global warming scare is predicated on post hoc, ergo propter hoc (atmospheric CO2 levels began rising before recovery from the Little Ice Age became obvious) then the good professor would still be under pressure to publish.

"Let's Be Honest About the Real Consensus" - "The arguments for anthropogenic climate change often take the form of "we know it is happening, therefore we need to do something about it now". While appealing to the uncritical thinker, it implies two important but unstated assumptions: 1) human induced climate change of any amount is very bad, and 2) public policy should be changed to fix it, regardless of the cost." (Roy Spencer, TCS)

"The 'Great Global Warming' Scam..." - "Over 6,000 delegates have just polluted our skies by flying to Buenos Aires for the latest climate-change jamboree so poetically entitled COP 10. The vested interests in the 'Great Global Warming' Scam are now legion. The most eager neophytes are the carbon emission traders, a bunch of Jabba the Huts - parasitic capitalist slugs - who would trade their grandmothers if they could. For them, carbon dioxide is the new gas, the new metal exchange, the new tin. After all, they have been trading sulphur dioxide for years. Unfortunately, virtual carbon trading is likely to increase real world emissions of carbon dioxide, especially at the lowly prices predicted. Still, it’s all good fun for the barrow boys. Isn't there pub somewhere called 'The Slug and the Barrow Boy'?

But we must call 'Time!' on these shenanigans. It is vital that no politician or pundit, most especially a grinning Mr. Blair, is allowed to get away with the Alice-in-Wonderland nonsense that the Kyoto Protocol and carbon emission trading will help to manage climate change in a nice, friendly, predictable manner. They won’t. And that is a fact which should be shouted from every smoke stack." (EnviroSpin Watch)

Have your say in the EnviroSpin Mini Poll: "Is it time to ditch the Kyoto Protocol on climate change?"

"Environmentalists Hit US Mutual Funds' Green Votes" - "NEW YORK - US mutual funds have mostly supported management or abstained on shareholder resolutions that would have required disclosure of financial risks due to global warming, advocates of emission controls said Tuesday." (Reuters) | Press Release

Perhaps the funds have worked out that the only global warming risk comes from activists.

"Climate conference delegates wrestle with strategies" - "BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — New strategies to confront global warming took center stage in Buenos Aires on Monday, where thousands of environmentalists and government policy-makers gathered for an international conference on climate change." (AP)

"US will return to Kyoto Protocol, says France" - "PARIS, Dec 7 - The United States will sooner or later rejoin the Kyoto Protocol, even though the Bush administration still shuns the United Nations' global warming pact, French Ecology Minister Serge Lepeltier said Tuesday." (AFP)

"U.S. Defends Global Warming Strategy" - "BUENOS AIRES, Argentina - The United States, facing international criticism for its rejection of the Kyoto Protocol, argued Tuesday it spends billions of dollars seeking new technologies to cut emissions of the greenhouse gases blamed for global warming." (Associated Press) | U.S. Taking "Substantial Actions" to Address Climate (USINFO) | US rejects climate policy attacks (BBC)

"Bipartisan Panel Seeks Greenhouse Gas Limits" - "A bipartisan commission that includes energy industry executives, environmentalists and academics will issue a report today that calls on the nation to adopt mandatory limits on greenhouse gas emissions linked to global warming, set stricter fuel economy standards and promote nuclear power, renewable energy and oil exploration.

The two-year effort, funded by the Palo Alto, Calif.-based William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, seeks to break a national impasse on energy policy. The commission said its recommendations seek a balance between environmental progress and economic growth." (Washington Post)

We warned you to stand by for Kyoto-Lite Lite...

"UK: Climate change policy review reflects failure on emissions" - "The government will announce today a fundamental review of its climate change programme in an implicit admission that it is not cutting carbon emissions as fast as it had originally hoped." (The Guardian) | 'UK failing on greenhouse gases' (BBC)

"UK: Beckett fears missing global warming target" - "Labour will miss its main manifesto target on global warming unless the government takes more radical action, the environment secretary has admitted, in apparent contradiction of a recent assertion by Tony Blair." (Financial Times)

"Europe Cools Off" - "Whatever you think about President Bush, you have to admit that, at least, he's not going to cheat the voters on environmental issues. Since his first election in 2001, he has been very clear about what the US is doing with regard to climate change. He is pursuing the goal of reducing the American economy's greenhouse gas intensity by 18% by 2012 -- especially through voluntary actions by industries, as opposed to imposing emissions caps.

The science is uncertain on global warming, economics is not: we do know that the Kyoto Protocol, as well as other possible "climate control" actions, would have an actual, high cost now vis-a-vis a negligible benefit, if any, decades from now." (Carlo Stagnaro, TCS)

"Environmentalists sad US, China don't join Kyoto protocol" - "Advertising Participants at a UN-sponsored environmental meeting here Monday lamented the failure by the US, China and other key countries to sign the Kyoto Protocol to reduce greenhouse gases. The delegates at the meeting said the groundbreaking global treaty will be diminished without their support." (AFP)

"Crichton Architects a Conspiracy in 'State of Fear'" - "All Things Considered, December 7, 2004· In his new novel about a global-warming information conspiracy, Michael Crichton gives us a 600-page "page-burner" bolstered by footnotes, charts and graphs. Reviewer Alan Cheuse reviews State of Fear." (NPR)

From CO2 Science Magazine this week:

"A 2000-Year History of Climate Change in Alaska" - "What can it tell us about the climate-alarmist claim that 20th-century warming within the state is without precedent over the past two millennia and must therefore be due to CO 2 emissions caused by the burning of fossil fuels?" (co2science.org)

Subject Index Summaries:
"Greenland (Temperature History)" - "Located in high northern latitudes, Greenland should be the ultimate "poster child" of the canary family, providing a clear "early warning" of the CO 2 -induced increase in temperature that climate alarmists claim is a greater threat to the planet than either nuclear warfare or global terrorism.  Is it doing its job?" (co2science.org)

"Growth Response to CO 2 with Other Variables (Disease)" - "Can the ongoing rise in the atmosphere's CO 2 concentration do anything to ameliorate the negative consequences of the various diseases that afflict the world's plants, including those maladies that weaken and kill the crops upon which we depend for our sustenance?" (co2science.org)

Plant Growth Data:
"This week we add new results (blue background) of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO 2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature for: Corn, Paper Birch, Perennial Ryegrass and Spring Wheat." (co2science.org)

Journal Reviews:
"Eight Centuries of Moisture Extremes in the Eastern USA" - "Have moisture conditions, i.e., droughts and floods, been getting more extreme in this part of the world in response to the warming of the globe that produced the Little Ice Age to Modern Warm Period transition?" (co2science.org)

"Precipitation History of the USA's Bighorn Basin" - "Climate alarmists claim that global warming leads to increases in all sorts of extreme weather, including precipitation and resulting droughts and floods.  Is this true of the USA's Bighorn Basin?" (co2science.org)

"A 1500-Year Climate History of the Carpathian Basin" - "The fruits of nearly half a century spent sleuthing about libraries, archives and heritage collections of Europe by a dedicated Hungarian meteorologist throw new light on the climate of the past millennium." (co2science.org)

"Old Aspen Forest Not Feeling Its Age" - "Are trees, like people (see Human Life Span in our Subject Index), exhibiting greater vitality in their old age than they did in the past, much to the surprise of those who have studied them over multiple decades?" (co2science.org)

"CO 2 vs. O 3 : Their Competing Effects on Aphid Defensive Behavior" - "How do increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide and ozone impact the ability of these little sap-suckers to evade pernicious predators?" (co2science.org)

"Hydro-Québec and the Université du Québec à Montréal publish a monograph on greenhouse gases and hydroelectricity" - "Hydro-Québec and the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) are pleased to launch “Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Fluxes and Processes,” a monograph that provides a comprehensive review of current knowledge of the greenhouse gases (GHGs) associated with hydroelectric reservoirs and natural environments in northern, semi-arid and tropical regions. The work is the product of a collaboration between 13 universities, six agencies and research centres, and six companies in North America, Europe and South America." (Hydro-Québec)

"US Automakers Challenge California Emission Rules" - "SAN FRANCISCO - US automakers Tuesday challenged California's new air quality regulations to reduce exhaust pipe emissions from cars and trucks." (Reuters)

"Spilling the beans" - "Millions of us eat soya to help lower cholesterol, ease menopausal symptoms and protect against cancers. But not all doctors are convinced of its benefits - or its safety, says Jane Feinmann." (Independent)

"Ignorance: An Anti-Biotech Crusader's Best Friend " - "It's been a difficult month for science-phobic activists opposed to the widespread acceptance of genetically engineered (GE) food, but Americans have been fed enough misinformation by activists that anti-biotech campaigns will keep moving forward with vigor. First, the good news: last month California voters defeated a majority of local ballot measures that would have banned the cultivation of GE crops. A landmark British study found that biotech crops are just as environmentally benign as conventional plant varieties. And newly-minted U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns has promoted the importance of crop technology in the past. Unfortunately, when the Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology polled Americans in the fall, we were still split down the middle on the question of whether GE foods were "basically safe" to eat. Commenting on Pew's findings, Des Moines Register columnist Phil Brasher wrote on Sunday: "It could be ignorance, not familiarity, that breeds contempt." (Center for Consumer Freedom)

December 7, 2004

"Brown criticised on malaria cash" - "Nick White and Bob Snow, among the world's most respected malaria scientists criticise Chancellor of the Exchequer Brown's promoise to purchase 300m doses of a potential GSK vaccine. They rightly point out that you can save lives right now by buying drugs and bed nets. White and Snow are dead right, though they forgot to mention that the most spectacular declines in malaira cases have been achieved through indoor residual spraying with insecticides." (AFM)

"Genetically modified Plasmodium proposed as malaria vaccine" - "NEW YORK - A genetically attenuated Plasmodium parasite is unable to establish blood-stage infections but does generate complete sterile protection within host organisms, offering new hope for an effective malaria vaccine, scientists in Germany and the U.S. report in the November 29th issue of Nature." (Reuters Health)

Funnier by the moment: The Death of Environmentalism - Global Warming Politics in a Post-Environmental World [PDF] (Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus)

Carl Pope Responds to Death of Environmentalism (The Breakthrough Institute)

"Does shampoo pose risk to pregnant women?" - "A preservative commonly found in cosmetics such as shampoo and moisturizers harms developing nerve cells, according to a controversial study. But claims that the compound may therefore pose a risk to unborn babies have provoked concern from other scientists, who are worried that such assertions may create unnecessary panic." (News @ Nature)

CTFA Response Statement: Shampoos Are Safe (The Cosmetic, Toiletry, and Fragrance Association)

"Month of birth linked to risk of MS" - "In the northern hemisphere, being born in May is linked to an increased risk of developing multiple sclerosis later in life, while being born in November carries the lowest risk, finds a new study published on bmj.com today." (BMJ-British Medical Journal)

"Does the lack of sleep make you fat?" - "The recent rise in obesity may be partly due to the reduced amount of time we spend asleep, according to new research from the University of Bristol, UK. Dr Shahrad Taheri from Bristol University, and colleagues in the United States, examined the role of two key hormones that are involved in regulating appetite – ghrelin and leptin. They found that changes in these hormones due to a lack of sleep may cause increased feelings of hunger." (University of Bristol)

'Crime' - courtesy of the Montreal Protocol and the hysteria that spawned it: "Japan: Yakuza smuggling CFCs" - "A member of the Yamaguchi-gumi affiliated crime organization has told police that smuggling chlorofluorocarbons is creating huge profits and is a major source of revenue for the crime syndicate, Fukuoka prefectural police said Monday." (Yomiuri Shimbun)

"Climate change 'is the norm'" - "Even as climate experts and politicians meet in Buenos Aires to mark the entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol, many sceptical scientists will still be arguing that the international consensus on "global warming" has got it wrong. Those of us who study the pre-human history of the Earth find the current debate over global warming difficult to fathom. Climate changes - this is what it does. To expect permanent stability in climate patterns displays a fundamental lack of understanding of the complexity and instability of weather. If the global climate were not getting warmer, it would be getting cooler; stasis is not an option." (Dr Martin Keeley, BBC Online)

"Kyoto Revitalizes U.S. Climate Bill - Lieberman" - "NEW YORK - A U.S. Senate bill that would attempt to slow global climate change by limiting greenhouse gas emissions has a better chance of becoming law now that the Kyoto protocol has been ratified by Russia, one of bill's authors said on Monday." (Reuters)

Blast from the past: "The Consequences of Kyoto" - "Executive Summary: Last December the United States agreed at a United Nations meeting in Kyoto, Japan, to reduce its emissions of greenhouse gases by 7 percent below 1990 levels. That reduction, to be achieved mainly by cutting the combustion of fossil fuels, will lower emission levels 41 percent below where they will likely be in the year 2010 if the trend observed since 1990 continues.

The Kyoto agreement--if fully complied with--would likely reduce the gross domestic product of the United States by 2.3 percent per year. However, according to a climate model of the National Center for Atmospheric Research recently featured in Science, the Kyoto emission-control commitments would reduce mean planetary warming by a mere 0.19 degree Celsius over the next 50 years. If the costs of preventing additional warming were to remain constant, the Kyoto Protocol would cost a remarkable 12 percent of GDP per degree of warming prevented annually over a 50-year period.

The Kyoto Protocol will have no discernible effect on global climate--in fact, it is doubtful that the current network of surface thermometers could distinguish a change on the order of .19 degree from normal year-to-year variations. The Kyoto Protocol will result in no demonstrable climate change but easily demonstrable economic damage." (Patrick J. Michaels, Cato, May 7, 1998)

"Blair urged to influence US on climate change" - "Tony Blair needs to persuade George W. Bush, the US president, to work in a "concerted partnership" with him on climate change by exploiting growing US domestic pressure for action rather than through moral condemnation, Stephen Byers has said. Mr Byers, the former transport secretary who now co-chairs an international taskforce on climate change, is one of the prime minister's closest aides. His call to try to end US isolation over global warming reflects a growing focus within Downing Street on the issue." (Financial Times)

"U.S. Official Addresses First Plenary Climate Change Meeting" - "State's Watson says U.S. taking a "different path" to address issue." (WashFile)

"Thousands gather for global warming conference" - "BUENOS AIRES, Argentina - New strategies to confront global warming took centre stage in Buenos Aires on Monday, where thousands of environmentalists and government policy-makers gathered for an international conference on climate change." (CP)

"Where next after Kyoto?" - "One of the most important items to be addressed in climate change talks that open in Buenos Aires this week is how Brazil, China and India can be persuaded to participate actively in international efforts to tackle global warming." (David Dickson, SciDev.net)

"Folklore's portents warn of cold times" - "The arrival of waxwings - exotic crested birds from Siberia - is traditionally the harbinger of an icy winter. This year enormous flocks, thousands strong, have spread across Scotland and East Anglia. The influx has coincided with predictions from several weather forecasting services that Britain will soon be gripped by a big freeze, reminiscent of 1963. Holly and rowan trees laden with red berries - another portent in folklore of sub-zero conditions - have been widely remarked upon. Bookmakers have shortened the odds on a white Christmas." (The Guardian)

Note the Met's accuracy claims - a whole 70% for as much as 3-4 days in advance. "Further ahead, the changes become less and less predictable." Quite. Now, about forecasts for 50-100 years hence...

"Argentina warns of climate crisis" - "Poor countries should be given extra help to avoid the worsening effects of climate change, a UN conference on global warming has been told." (BBC)

"Climate Alarmism and the Poor" - "Today (6th) the Tenth Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change meet in Buenos Aires. Concern about the devastating consequences for humanity from impending change to our climate will be interspersed with attacks on the United States for being the only major industrialized country not to have ratified the Kyoto Protocol." (Roger Bate, TCS)

"CLIMATE CHANGE: Poor and Vulnerable Countries Demand Compensation" - "BUENOS AIRES - ”For our countries, climate change is more catastrophic than terrorism.” This was how the delegate from Tanzania summed up the stance of the world's 48 least developed countries at the 10th Conference of Parties of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP-10), which opened Monday here in the Argentine capital." (IPS)

"Low-carb economy" - "The Kyoto Protocol has spawned a new commodities market that could generate $14 billion over the next three years while cutting pollution dramatically. Environmentalists say it's just a cop-out." (Red Herring)

And what, exactly, does this hot air market produce? What value adding does it do? Isn't it actually a taking from energy users?

Weakly Whipple: "Climate: The tropospheric data do conform" - "BOULDER, Colo., Dec. 6 -- Global warming skeptics for some time have been using as a scientific linchpin data that suggest temperatures in the lower atmosphere are rising more slowly than those at the surface.

The argument is fairly technical and not the sort of thing that gets the average person as worked up as, say, the emerging steroid scandal in professional baseball.

For warming skeptics, however, the tropospheric data are the climate science World Series. They meet every challenge to the data with a furious counterassault, but the latest such challenge puts the skeptics down three games to one." (Dan Whipple, UPI)

Hey Dan, lookit! Radiosonde balloon data suggests the satellite-mounted MSUs are reading too much warming - not too little.

"Natural allies clash over wind turbines" - "Environmentalists and local preservationists seem natural allies in debates over clean energy, but they're split when it comes to bringing new wind turbines to Kansas' scenic Flint Hills." (The Associated Press)

December 6, 2004

From CSRwatch.com: "Eat Up! Why genetically modified 'Frankenfood' is gaining ground" (Barron's via CSRwatch.com)

"Politics of DDT in the Era of Multi-Drug Resistant Malaria" - "Dr Kibende writes "The science is unequivocal about the cost effectiveness of DDT in malarial control. The banning of DDT was purely for political reasons. Therefore the resumption of its use can only be politically decided." (AFM)

"A Sorry World -- Busted and Broke: Triage for global misery" - "COPENHAGEN — If President Bush and his new team plan to recalibrate foreign aid, they might imagine themselves as ER doctors at a large and chronically overburdened urban hospital. What if they refused to distinguish between patients with stab wounds and those with stubbed toes? If they fast-tracked families who made the most fuss? The approach would waste resources and cost lives. Yet this often seems to be the American way of helping the world's poor." (Bjørn Lomborg, Los Angeles Times)

"False Prophets, Bad Economics" - "The question is whether we spend money to do a little good in a rich nation far into the future, or great good in a poor Bangladesh now?" (Bjorn Lomborg, Newsweek International)

"Death of the environmental movement?" - "Environmentalism is a dead movement walking. So goes the theme of a controversial essay circulating among environmentalists and their funding organizations. Entitled "The Death of Environmentalism," the epistle was produced by longtime environmental activist Michael Shellenberger of the Breakthrough Institute in El Cerrito and Ted Nordhaus, vice president of Evans/McDonough, an opinion research firm. Its content was based on interviews with more than 25 of the environmental community's top leaders and thinkers." (Union-Tribune)

Given the human misery wrought by this massive, affluent, parasitic and completely irrational industry we could wish it was terminal. All that we can hope is that it expires before killing its host.

"Governors Seek Easing of Endangered Species Act" - "LA JOLLA — Western governors gathered here Friday to plan with the Bush administration and members of Congress how to change the Endangered Species Act, the 31-year-old law they say has imposed costly hardships on the energy industry, developers, loggers and property owners." (LA Times)

"Could Virus Make People Fat?" - "You can catch a cold or the flu, so why not obesity? It's all around us -- friends, spouses, co-workers and children. Is it fast food? Too much time watching television? Playing computer games? All of the above? What if fat could be caused by an easily spread virus? Some doctors now believe that obesity is viral. In a laboratory in Richmond, Va., Dr. Richard Atkinson believes he's found the link." (TheOmahaChannel.com)

"Oliver under fire for farmed salmon ads" - "A television commercial featuring Jamie Oliver, the celebrity chef, has been reported to advertising watchdogs for claiming that Scottish farmed salmon is "healthy." (London Times)

"Weathering the French Revolution" - "Many political agendas seethed in France in 1788. But the poor, who had no interest in politics, had one primary concern — bread. The weather of 1788 was not, of course, the primary cause of the French Revolution. But as Brian Fagan explains in "The Little Ice Age," the shortage of grain and bread — and the resulting social upheaval — contributed in large measure to its timing." (Brian Fagan, The Globalist)

The Week That Was Dec. 4, 2004 (SEPP)

"How Global Warming Can Lead to a Big Chill" - "WASHINGTON - Global warming could lead to a big chill in the North Atlantic, at least if history is anything to go by, researchers reported on Friday. They published evidence to support a popular theory that rising temperatures caused a big melt of polar ice 8,200 years ago, causing a freshwater flood into the salty North Atlantic." (Reuters)

However, lack of massive Canadian ice cap makes this impossible now, no?

"UN Talks To Review Where "Dangerous" Warming Starts" - "OSLO - A decade after the world pledged to prevent "dangerous" global warming, 194 nations meet next week to review whether rare heatwaves and a fast Arctic thaw may signal that the planet is nearing the brink." (Reuters)

An interesting question - is it on the hard drives, where GCCMs are stored or in the fevered imaginations of those who dream up the "storylines"? Just where does "dangerous" warming start?

"Blair relaunches climate strategy" - "Tony Blair will this week urge the British public to take green issues seriously in an attempt to relaunch the Government's ailing strategies on tackling climate change. The Prime Minister is hosting a "power breakfast" of business leaders, politicians and environmentalists at Downing Street on Wednesday, where he will unveil a new five-year strategy to combat global warming." (Independent on Sunday)

"United States plans active role in Buenos Aires climate conference" - "U.S. State Department and Department of Energy (DOE) officials gave international reporters an overview of U.S. global climate change policy December 2, in advance of the December 6-17 10th Conference of the Parties (COP-10) to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change in Buenos Aires, Argentina." (WashFile)

"Australia: No go on Kyoto: Minister" - "'AUSTRALIA was on track to meet targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but Environment Minister Ian Campbell today confirmed the Government would not sign the Kyoto agreement. He said an Australian Greenhouse Office report released today revealed the country was on track to double the size of the economy yet only have greenhouse emissions increase by 8 per cent." (AAP)

"Climate change: Uncharted waters?" - "As part of Planet Under Pressure, a BBC News series looking at some of the biggest environmental problems facing humanity, Alex Kirby explores the implications of climate change." (Alex Kirby, BBC News Online)

"Most coral reefs under threat, some resilient" - "OSLO, Dec 6 - About 70 percent of the world's coral reefs have been wrecked or are at risk from human activities but some are showing surprising resilience to global warming, a report said on Monday." (Reuters)

"Int'l approval of Japanese projects for emission trading postponed" - "International approval of two Japanese projects for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in developing countries was postponed for further review due to concern they may increase emissions of a different greenhouse gas, climate change secretariat sources said Monday." (Kyodo)

"Bipartisan Commission to Release Strategy to Address Long-Term U.S. Energy Challenges" – "An independent, bipartisan Commission of 16 top energy experts from industry, government, labor, academia, environmental and consumer groups will release a consensus strategy, more than two years in the making, to address major long-term U.S. energy challenges, on Wednesday, December 8, 2004 at 10:00 am at the Columbus Club in Union Station, Washington, DC." (The National Commission on Energy Policy)

Hmm... NCEP is funded by the Hewlett, Pew, MacArthur, Packard, and Energy Foundations. Stand by for Kyoto-Lite Lite.

"Are we really at the beginning of the end of the oil age" - "This year's sharp increases in oil and gasoline prices have coincided with the publication of many books and articles arguing the imminent peak in world oil production, the end of the oil age, and the coming energy crisis. Do the current high oil prices validate these arguments and scenarios?" (Rasoul Sorkhabi, The Salt Lake Tribune)

"Tundra Study Backs Longer Oil-Search Season" - "ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Snow is more important than ice in protecting the delicate tundra from disturbances, a finding that holds promise for a longer oil-exploration season in Alaska's rapidly warming Arctic, state officials said on Friday." (Reuters)

"Seeing Green" - "Being an 'environmental industrialist' wasn't as easy as Bill Ford thought. But now that his car company's back in the black, he wants to get back to the garden." (Newsweek)

It's not easy, appeasing greens...

"Reborn: nuclear energy prepares for a second chance" - "The CBI wants it. The unions want it. Even some environmentalists want it. But is this power source still too radioactive to be economic? Tim Webb investigate" (Independent on Sunday)

"The Supermarket's Unnatural Selections" - "Agricultural practices have been "unnatural" for 10,000 years. With the exception of wild berries and wild mushrooms, virtually all the grains, fruits and vegetables in our diets have been genetically modified by one technique or another. Many of our foods (including potatoes, tomatoes, oats, rice and corn) come from plants created by "wide cross" hybridizations that transcend "natural breeding boundaries." More than 80 percent of processed foods on supermarket shelves -- soft drinks, preserves, mayonnaise, salad dressings -- contain ingredients from gene-spliced plants, and Americans have consumed more than a trillion servings of these foods." (Henry I. Miller, TCS)

"The future of GM food" - "The transatlantic brawl between the USA and Europe over genetically modified food is attracting much media interest. Billions of dollars in sales, the genetic fate of food crops, and the future safety of human beings hinge on this debate between sceptical Europeans and American technophiles. But it is in Asia that the new techno-food will live or die." (The Statesman)

"Brasher: In the case of biotech crops, ignorance breeds contempt" - "Washington, D.C. - When it comes to science, or at least science and agriculture, there is plenty of ignorance to go around these days. And that ought to cause concern among people who make their living producing food for all of us. The Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology recently convened a series of focus groups in Des Moines and Philadelphia to see how much people know about agricultural biotechnology and to see what they think about it." (The Des Moines Register)

"European roadblock to biotech crops starts to crumble" - "When farmers rev up their tractors next spring, they'll be planting the world's 10th commercial crop of genetically modified foods. And they'll be planting it on more acres than ever, totaling 10 percent of the planet's farmland. Even Europe, where opposition has been stiffest, is gradually warming to the idea of genetically modified crops." (Post-Dispatch)

"For Biotech, the Action Is in Washington as Much as in the Lab" - "The biotechnology industry will be different in at least one way in 2005: it will be without its longtime voice in Washington." (New York Times)

December 3, 2004

"EPA to Allow Pesticide Testing on Humans" - "The Environmental Protection Agency is drafting a policy to once again allow the consideration of experimental tests on humans in the setting of chemical exposure limits.
It’s the right thing to do -- as long as the Bush administration is prepared to defend the policy from the savage attacks that should be expected from environmental activists." (Steve Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"Obesity's Toll Is Even Murkier Than Reported" - "Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention admitted it had overestimated the number in a study of obesity-related deaths in the U.S. in 2000. Now comes the hard part: getting scientists to agree on how to calculate the right number.

The CDC's faulty estimate was contained in a study published in March in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Critics of the study say the estimate was inflated not just by the statistical mistakes the CDC acknowledged last week, but also by the authors' scientific approach. The number of obesity-related deaths could be less than half of the 400,000 estimated in the flawed CDC study, according to some scientists familiar with the debate.

New, unpublished research conducted by scientists at the CDC and the National Cancer Institute is likely to further undercut claims of a recent surge in obesity-related deaths and splash cold water on a topic that increasingly has occupied the public-health spotlight in the U.S. Among the earlier study's four authors is CDC director Julie Gerberding. " (Wall Street Journal)

Check out last week's column for the I-told-you-so.

"Industry 'denies chemical risks'" - "Clear scientific evidence linking some substances with childhood illnesses is being rejected by the European chemical industry, a senior WHO official says. Dr Roberto Bertollini heads the special health and environment programme at the World Health Organisation's Europe HQ. He told BBC News the industry in some cases denied there were links even when they were scientifically well proven." (Alex Kirby, BBC News)

and it must be true - a WHO bureaucrat says so...

How wealthy developed world fear mongers kill people: "DDT may kill Uganda's European Union market" - "Ugandan farmers could lose millions of dollars in fruits and vegetable exports into the European Union market when the government imports DDT for the prevention of malaria." (BuaNews)

"Poor May Lose Out on Malaria Breakthroughs" - "Ordinarily, Kenyans should be very happy with recent research successes in the fight against malaria. A new malaria vaccine that could save a million lives annually has been discovered; a new highly effective drug component - artemisinin - has been put in the market and; long lasting insecticide treated nets are now being manufactured in Tanzania.

Consequently this means there are several effective tools to control malaria and nobody need die of the disease in Africa. But medical experts beg to differ. "Although the technology is there it is not affordable by majority of our people," says a paediatrician in a research institute in Nairobi." (The Nation (Nairobi))

"Malaria Keeps Family in Poverty Cycle" - "Soon after finishing the onerous task of dining her family, Mama Abiba Ali has to embark on another querulous task, settling who among her five children gets to sleep under a mosquito net. "We sometimes reach a compromise of sorts, with those who had the pleasure of sleeping under one of our three nets foregoing the delight tonight. The ideal situation would be for every body to sleep under a net," the expectant mother says." (The Nation (Nairobi))

"NEMA Consultants Back DDT for Malaria" - "TWO National environmental Management Authority (NEMA) consultants have backed the use of DDT for malaria prevention. Appearing before the parliamentary committee on agriculture, animal industry and fisheries yesterday, the consultants, Dr. John Bahane and Dr. Jasomu Nikiweya, said the chance of poisoning was minimal." (New Vision (Kampala))

"Politics of DDT in the Era of Multi-Drug Resistant Malaria" - "Pesticides are substances intended to prevent, destroy, or repel pests. Although most are synthetic chemicals, some are plant derivatives, inorganic dusts, or biological agents/products such as bacteria or their toxins. The term "pesticide" is usually further subdivided into more specific terms such as: fungicide (kills fungus), herbicide (kills plants), acaricide (kills mites and ticks), avicide (kills birds), insecticide (kills insects), etc.

DDT was developed as the first of the modern insecticides early in World War II. It was initially used with great effect to combat malaria, typhus, yellow fever and dengue fever plus other insect-borne human diseases among both military and civilian populations." (DR Samson Kibende, The Monitor (Kampala))

"Taiwan funds anti-malaria drive in Sao Tome and Principe" - "SAO TOME - Sao Tome and Principe has launched a campaign, funded by Taiwan, to eradicate mosquitoes that carry malaria, which causes four in 10 deaths in the archipelago state, officials said. The drive involves spraying mosquitoes and larvae with insecticide and is backed both financially and logistically by Taiwan, where malaria was wiped out in the 1960s." (AFP)

"Abusive Behavior" - "Science journals losing objectivity by publishing stories aimed at advancing popular political agendas." (Iain Murray, TCS)

"The need to increase public engagement in science" - "There are inevitable limitations on the extent to which the public can become usefully involved in determining how science should be carried out. But that doesn't mean that demands for greater public involvement should be rejected." (David Dickson, SciDev.Net)

"400,000 Big Fat Reasons for Skepticism" - "The CDC's announcement represents a tidy anecdote for what's wrong with the obesity debate." (Radley Balko, TCS)

"NASA study links wind, current changes to Indian Ocean warming" - "A NASA study suggests changing winds and currents in the Indian Ocean during the 1990s contributed to the observed warming of the ocean during that period. The findings, published in a recent issue of Geophysical Research Letters, have potential implications for long- term regional climate variability." (NASA)

"UNH scientist co-authors report in Nature showing movement of glacier has doubled speed" - "The world's fastest glacier, Greenland's Jakobshavn Isbrae, doubled its speed between 1997 and 2003. The rapid movement of ice from land into the sea provides key evidence of newly discovered relationships between ice sheets, sea level rise and climate warming. The findings were reported in the journal Nature on December 2, 2004." (University of New Hampshire)

"Global Warming: The Satellite Saga Continues" - "The results of two research studies announced this week address the infamous discrepancy between satellite and surface thermometer trends over the last 25 years. The original satellite dataset produced by the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) now has a warming trend of 0.08 deg. C/decade since 1979, while the surface thermometer trend is two to three times this value. Climate models, in contrast, claim that any surface warming as a result of global warming should be amplified with height, not reduced. This has led to varying levels of concern in the climate community that the theory contained in the climate models might be in error." (Roy Spencer, TCS)

"Scotland; Public have say on climate change" - "The Scottish Executive is launching a consultation on whether new measures are needed to tackle climate change. Environment Minister Ross Finnie said he wants to hear the public's views on whether more needs to be done to reduce greenhouse gases in Scotland." (BBC)

"The blame game" - "Who will pay for the damaging consequences of climate change?" (Nature)

Answer: anyone silly enough to believe humans can knowingly alter the climate.

"Meteorologist Likens Fear of Global Warming to 'Religious Belief'" - "Washington - An MIT meteorologist Wednesday dismissed alarmist fears about human induced global warming as nothing more than 'religious beliefs.'" (CNSNews.com) | Climate alarm: Where does it come from? [PDF] (Richard S. Lindzen)

"US Says No Plans to Sign New Climate Change Pacts" - "BRUSSELS - The United States, considered an environmental laggard by its critics, is unlikely to sign any new pacts on climate change at a key environmental meeting this month, a senior U.S. official said on Thursday." (Reuters)

"On Creeping Collectivization" - "When lecturing about Kyoto, I sometimes provoke my audiences with the proposition that the Kyoto Treaty, which aims at reducing the emission of man-made greenhouse gasses, equals communism via the backdoor. The reactions are mixed. Some people take it humorously and laugh. Others, however, look at me with glazy eyes. Both kinds of reactions warrant clarification on my part." (Hans Labohm, TCS)

"Mars cools warming theory" - "News item: “A barren world only now being investigated from afar could at one time have supported life. The evidence is that water once roared through canyons there and might once have sustained life, maybe even intelligent life. Yet even now, with no life, this stark landscape is seeing vast change as the globe itself is heating up.”

A dispatch from the Martian Chronicle far off in the future, about its planetary neighbor, Earth?" (Gary Harmon, The Daily Sentinel)

"There Is NO Man-Made Global Warming" - "There is no scientific evidence to back claims of man-made global warming. Period." (Tom DeWeese, CNSNews.com)

"Tighter vehicle emission standards proposed for state" - "Washington state would follow California's lead in establishing tough new automotive standards to slash emissions of greenhouse gases under a proposed new bill." (Seattle Times)

"Canada: Liberals hedging on promise to shut coal-fired power plants" - "The Ontario government says it is considering keeping some of its coal-fired generating plants in reserve and ready to be fired up despite its pledge to shut them down by the end of 2007." (Toronto Globe and Mail)

"First greenhouse emissions deal inked" - "China has signed its first agreement to sell greenhouse emission reductions to developed countries under a quota-trading mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol.

The World Bank and the Jincheng Anthracite Coal Group Co Ltd, in North China's Shanxi Province signed the agreement on Wednesday, said the bank's representative office in Beijing Thursday.

The bank signed it on the behalf of the Prototype Carbon Fund (PCF), a group made up of six governments and 17 private companies.

No details were released on how much money was involved in the deal." (China Daily) | China to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Coalmine Methane Through ‘First of’ Initiative (World Bank)

"Finland adds another nuclear reactor, this time to cut greenhouse gases" - "Construction of the world’s largest nuclear reactor got under way in Finland in November. The move is in stark contrast to the energy policies in other European countries: Officials in Germany and Sweden, for example, have opted to phase out their existing nuclear power stations." (Environmental Science & Technology)

"UK; Cracked reactors may force closure of nuclear plants" - "British Energy could be forced to close some of its ageing nuclear generators due to cracking inside the core reactors, throwing the UK's energy supply into disarray." (London Guardian)

"UK: Airports expansion may be grounded to reduce pollution" - "AIRPORTS cannot be allowed unlimited expansion if Scotland is to meet its commitments to cut carbon emissions, Ross Finnie, the environment minister, said yesterday. Mr Finnie admitted expansion of air services may have to be slowed, but said it would be a difficult balance to strike with the growing economic need for strong access to global markets." (Herald & Times)

"UK: Brown ditches rises in fuel duty to woo motorists" - "GORDON Brown yesterday set out to woo motorists battered by soaring oil prices as he scrapped this year’s planned rises in fuel duty." (The Scotsman)

"UK Puts Off Switch To Ultra Clean Motor Fuels" - "LONDON - The UK will not join a growing band of European countries using ultra clean motor fuels at the start of next year, Chancellor Gordon Brown said on Thursday. In a pre-budget report Brown said he would not introduce a tax incentive for fuels with a lower sulphur limit, of 10 parts per million (ppm) or 0.001 percent, which would trigger a switch from the current 50ppm standard." (Reuters)

"Low-Sulphur Auto Fuels Standard May Isolate Japan" - "TOKYO - Japanese refiners will supply the cleanest auto fuel in Asia next year at the risk of lowering output and limiting trade with regional markets that have yet to match its high environmental standards, industry officials said." (Reuters)

"The Coming Atomic Age" - "A kind of nanotech network-in-exile is making plans to fight back in the war for the public's hearts and minds." (Howard Lovy, TCS)

"Farming 'must embrace the new'" - "UK farming must embrace new ideas and scientific developments if it is to survive over the next few decades. That is the claim of the British Crop Production Council (BCPC) which has published a report examining ways of making farming more "eco-efficient." (BBC)

"Biotechnology's benefits for biodiversity" - "Although critics of Genetically Engineered Food (GE food) claim that the products of biotechnology threaten biodiversity, almost 10 years of commercial growing experience says something different. It is becoming very clear that growing GE crops helps reduce the impact of agriculture around the world." (Robert Wager, Globe and Mail)

?!! "Buying 'cat in bag'" - "MANY, perhaps most, Trinidadians would have been surprised by Legal Affairs Minister Danny Montano's revelation that all the rice imported by National Flour Mills from the United States had been genetically modified (GM), meaning that it has been tampered with by scientists and is not the naturally grown rice that has been the local staple for generations." (Trinidad and Tobago Express)

We're sure everyone else is surprised too, given that GM rice isn't even on the market yet. China is apparently considering becoming the world's first grower of such an entity.

"Modified rice at least a year away" - "It will be at least a couple of years, and possibly more, before any genetically modified rice is consumed in China. Agricultural authorities are currently examining several strains but, as of yesterday, no safety certificates had been granted." (China Daily)

"Germany: New law on gene crops a ‘de-facto ban'" - "Opposition and farmers say green biotechnology regulations make agricultural genetic engineering impossible." (FAZ)

December 2, 2004

"Warning over 'cost' of free science publishing" - "Open access publishing could cost UK universities and the government dearly, the science minister, Lord Sainsbury, warned MPs today." (The Guardian)

"Temporary weight gain over the winter holidays... might be a good thing" - "We are admonished not to gain weight during winter's two big eating holidays -- but might a little temporary fat actually strengthen our immune systems?" (Indiana University)

"U.S. Rules Out Dam Removal to Aid Salmon" - "WASHINGTON, Nov. 30 - The Bush administration on Tuesday ruled out the possibility of removing federal dams on the Columbia and Snake Rivers to protect 11 endangered species of salmon and steelhead, even as a last resort." (New York Times)

"VA Stacks the Deck on GWS Panel" - "Countless studies in the U.S. and U.K, along with myriad government-appointed panels that have reviewed them, have found that so-called "Gulf War Syndrome" is nothing more than any illness any Gulf vet (or spouse or child of one) has or thinks he has. Since most studies are federally-funded, veterans advocacy groups and anti-war activists have insisted there's been a government conspiracy. Finally they're right." (Michael Fumento, Scripps Howard News Service)

"It's an ill wind" - "The dust clouds drifting from Africa to the Caribbean have a dangerous secret - bacteria and microbes that leave a trail of disease in their wake. Ian Sample reports." (The Guardian)

"Mount St. Helens the state's No. 1 air polluter" - "Environmentalists hooted when Ronald Reagan claimed — wrongly — that trees produce more pollution than cars. But right now, the biggest single source of air pollution in Washington isn't a power plant, pulp mill or anything else created by man." (Seattle Times)

Um... Sandi? There's maybe a few things you should look up before making sweeping assertions: Changes in forestry and agriculture affecting ozone pollution; New trees cancel out air pollution cuts; Here We Go Again!; Reagan was right; Trees - cause of air pollution? Trees actually do emit significant quantities of VOCs.

"NASA satellites witnessed El Nino creep in from the Indian Ocean" - "A new index was created using satellite rain and wind data to see the development of El Nino events by looking at the Indian Ocean." (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center--EOS Project Science Office)

"Hurricane season's end may be the calm before the storm" - "The 2004 Atlantic hurricane season was the most costly on record, with insured loss estimates ranging from $20bn to $42bn. The bad news, both for residents and insurers, is that the rest of the decade is likely to be a lot like 2004." (Financial Times)

"Global warming seen as ending long winter night in Canadian North" - "Climate change creates thermal inversions that carry southern light to Arctic regions." (Globe and Mail)

"Say goodbye to Rudolph and other reindeer if global warming continues" - "With increasing global warming Rudolph and the rest of Santa Claus' reindeer will disappear from large portions of their current range and be under severe environmental stress by the end of the century." (University of Washington)

Another malicious rumor spread by the Easter Bunny...

"Sea-level clue to climate change" - "A team of UIC scientists has discovered and dated a deeply buried core sample of peat from the Mississippi Delta that suggests a rise in sea level around the time of dramatic earth cooling 8,200 years ago. The finding is the first sea level measurement to directly correspond to the cooling, suggesting a catastrophic flood of freshwater, formed by retreating ice sheets, changed the density of North Atlantic water and altered the temperature-moderating Gulf Stream current." (University of Illinois at Chicago)

"Ozone Layer Destruction Overstated" - "We continue our series of analyses of the recently released Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA). This time our subject is the effect of greenhouse gases on the ozone layer. According to ACIA, “Elevated ultraviolet radiation levels will affect people, plants, and animals.” (GES)

"Geology’s Long-term Perspective" - "This response to the contents of the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA) concerns alarmist and highly questionable conclusions about Arctic climate and its variability." (GES)

"Melting Arctic Bogs May Hasten Warming, Study Says" - "The Arctic is warming at least twice as fast as the rest of the planet, according to a recent assessment by the Arctic Council, an intergovernmental agency of polar nations and native groups. And within the Arctic, there are regions that are warming more intensely than others. Scientists refer to them as hot spots." (National Geographic News)

"NU researcher finds missing atmospheric carbon dioxide" - "A Northeastern University researcher today announced that he has found that the soil below oak trees exposed to elevated levels of carbon dioxide had significantly higher carbon levels than those exposed to ambient carbon levels. The findings are consistent with the hypothesis that elevated carbon dioxide levels are increasing carbon storage in terrestrial ecosystems and slowing the build-up of carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is thought to cause global warming by trapping heat radiated by the Earth." (Northeastern University)

From the virtual realm: "Emissions double heatwave risk" - "Emissions of greenhouse gases have more than doubled the risk of European heatwaves similar to last year's, according to a study by UK scientists." (BBC) | Human activity implicated in Europe's 2003 heat wave (Nature) | Heat wave risk rising with emissions (The Christian Science Monitor)

To see what's happening in the real world (well, Central England anyway) click here.

Yeah, sure... "Climate change culprits could face court" - "Countries and individual companies could end up being sued for their contribution to climate change, suggest scientists who have quantified how global warming increases the risk of freak weather events." (NewScientist.com news service)

... that on or about the 5th day of September, 1994, you did exhale a molecule of carbon dioxide that absorbed the infrared radiation, leading to molecular excitation that ultimately resulted in the damaging hurricane known as...

"Anti-Kyoto case stands" - "A month ago, Andrew Simms allegedly showed us how global warming threatens to reverse the major improvements in human progress, and how Kyoto should be our first priority (Report, October 21). A week later, I pointed out how his claims of reversal were fallacious on at least three accounts and how his report made no prioritisation argument for putting Kyoto first. This was understandable, since the Copenhagen Consensus showed that communicable diseases and malnutrition came in first on the global priority list, with Kyoto last." (Bjorn Lomborg, The Guardian)

"All Earth wants for Christmas? A sock for its coal" - "Concerns about greenhouse gases and global warming are getting scientists to think in unconventional ways about how to stem the carbon dioxide tide. Indiana University Bloomington geologist Chen Zhu is trying to determine if -- and how -- a new strategy known as "carbon sequestration" can work." (Indiana University)

"CLIMATE CHANGE: Conference Expected to Make Strides" - "BUENOS AIRES - Unlike its lacklustre predecessors, the conference of the parties to the Climate Change Convention, to be held this month in Argentina, is expected to produce heated debates and significant advances, largely because of Russia's recent ratification of the Kyoto Protocol, but also due to a new format." (IPS)

Yeah, they should take large strides & plenty of 'em! Don't walk away from the silly thing - RUN!

"Cinergy Supports Greenhouse Gas Cap Law" - "NEW YORK — Cinergy Corp., a major owner of coal-fired power plants, Wednesday voiced support for laws to limit greenhouse gas production, saying the move is economically feasible and would end uncertainty over the issue." (Associated Press)

Let's see, the last energy group making noises like this was, um... Enron, wasn't it?

"City of London Set to Become Carbon Market World Centre: Elliot Morley" - "City of London is well-placed to become one of the world centres for the emerging carbon market, Environment Minister Elliot Morley said today. Attending the launch of the UK’s first climate change group specifically for service providers, Mr Morley said the London had been given a head start by the UK Emissions Trading Scheme, which started in 2002. The London Climate Change Service Providers Group has been set up to promote the shared interests of its member service providers in the climate change and emissions trading sectors." (News Release)

London - hot air capital of the world... Red Ken should be proud.

"Brazil Garbage Dump Could Be Climate Trailblazer" - "OSLO - A Brazilian garbage dump could be a trailblazer for thousands of projects in developing nations under a UN plan to battle global warming, a Norwegian company said on Wednesday." (Reuters)

"Trash tax increase to fight global warming" - "BOULDER - If America won't fight global warming, this city will. The City Council on Tuesday voted to nearly triple the tax on trash collection for homeowners, mostly to fund programs aimed at reducing greenhouse-gas emissions." (Rocky Mountain News)

"Australia: Scientist replaces Garrett" - "ONE of Australia's leading environmental scientists, Professor Ian Lowe, has been named as Peter Garrett's successor as president of the Australian Conservation Foundation." (AAP)

Sadly they'll be no less whacky than when they had Midnight Oil front man Garrett in the chair.

"The age of cheap oil is over" - "It may be wildly premature to talk of recession, or even the real nightmare from the 1970s - stagflation - but high oil prices are here to stay, although the OECD believes it is unlikely stay at last night's high of nearly $50 a barrel in New York." (London Guardian)

"Study suggests nutrient decline in garden crops over past 50 years" - "A study of 43 garden crops led by a University of Texas at Austin biochemist suggests that modern agricultural methods have contributed to declines in nutrient values as farmers plant crops designed to improve other traits. Comparing data from 1950 and 1999, six of 13 nutrients, including protein, calcium and iron, showed apparent declines. The study suggests the need for additional research into the impact of agricultural methods on other foods and nutrients." (University of Texas at Austin)

"Alan Oxley: Biosafety pact threatens future of food exports" - "It's dangerous in the Antipodes. We are so far from anywhere that we face the risk of dropping out of the global mainstream and, even worse, deluding ourselves to think that it is a plus to do so. Wellington has just reminded us of this hazard by announcing it will ratify the Cartegena Biosafety Protocol." (New Zealand Herald)

"Biotech firms fined for seed gaffes" - "SAN FRANCISCO - Federal regulators recently fined two biotech companies, including one based in Ohio, for improperly handling genetically modified crops. However, regulators said they aren't investigating the University of California, Davis for its role in unknowingly shipping engineered tomato seeds to researchers around the world." (Associated Press)

"China Likely to Decide on GMO Rice in January" - "BEIJING - China is likely to decide within weeks whether to become the world's first country to allow commercial growing of genetically modified (GMO) rice, government officials and activists said on Wednesday." (Reuters)

December 1, 2004

JunkScience.com Awards for 2004 - The "Top Ten" most embarrassing events in health and environmental science for 2004!

"The deadly rise of urban malaria" - "Urban malaria is emerging as a potential but “avertable” crisis in Africa, scientists are warning.

Malaria kills millions around the globe and until recently was believed to be a disease of rural areas, since the Anopheles mosquito - which transmits the deadly parasite between people - breeds in stagnant waters.

But now, scientists at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM) in the UK are issuing a global alert that “urban malaria is a new, emerging tropical disease”." (NewScientist.com news service)

"EPA Considers Human Testing to Assess Pesticide Safety" - "WASHINGTON − In setting limits on chemicals in food and water, the Environmental Protection Agency may rely on industry tests that expose people to poisons and raise ethical questions. The new policy, which the EPA is still developing, would allow Bush administration political appointees to referee any ethical disputes. Agency officials are putting the finishing touches on a plan to take a case-by-case approach." (Associated Press)

"The New York Times Whiffs on Air Pollution" - "Despite vast improvements in air quality throughout the 20th Century, most Americans believe we've made no progress on air pollution or even that air pollution has been getting worse. Media reports on the environment are almost uniformly gloomy and go a long way toward explaining why people's perceptions depart so decisively from reality." (Joel Schwartz, TCS)

"When Earth turned bad: New evidence supports terrestrial cause of end-Permian mass extinction" - "Two hundred and fifty million years ago, ninety percent of marine species disappeared and life on land suffered greatly during the world's largest mass extinction. The cause of this great dying has baffled scientists for decades, and recent speculations invoke asteroid impacts as a kill mechanism. Yet a new study published in the December issue of Geology provides strong indications that the extinction cause did not come from the heavens but from Earth itself." (Geological Society of America)

"Secrets of the forest" - "What will happen to the Amazon when global warming gathers pace? An island off the Canadian coast may hold the answer. Kate Ravilious reports." (Independent)

"2004 U.S. Hurricane Season Among Worst on Record" - "Meteorologist William Gray of Colorado State University in Fort Collins is a pioneer in long-range hurricane forecasting. He said the number of hurricanes striking land is what makes the 2004 season unusual.

The landfalls were caused by the unusual positions of high-and low-pressure systems over the Atlantic Ocean. These systems created steering currents that drove the hurricanes farther westward than usual, Gray said.

"We probably won't see another season like this for a hundred years," the meteorologist said. "The southeastern United States has been extremely lucky for the last 40 years or so, particularly Florida. In the period since 1966, the Florida peninsula was hit by only one major hurricane, Andrew, in 1992. This year, they had three. This is a rare statistical event." (National Geographic News)

"Kyoto -- Mission Accomplished?" - "At long last, Russia has ratified the Kyoto Protocol and by mid-February 2005 the agreement will enter into force. But when President Putin signed Russia’s ratification documents he was not marking the beginning of a new era in government responses to man-made climate disruption, but rather the end of the Protocol’s influence over those actions. Simply stated, the Protocol has already served its purpose." (John Weiss, GreenBiz.com)

"Analysis: Kyoto a mixed bag for Russia" - "Several Russian scientists have contested statements, made by one of President Vladimir Putin's advisers, that the country will suffer a big loss in its gross domestic product within the next eight years because of its ratification of the Kyoto Protocol on climate change. To the contrary, the scientists claim, Russia could even benefit from ratification.

Andrey Illarionov, Putin's economic adviser, was quoted last September by the Russian Interfax news agency as saying Kyoto ratification could mean the country's GDP could lose a total of $1 trillion by 2012.

Illarionov also said, in addressing the Social Forum on Climate Change last year, the goal of doubling the country's GDP over 10 years would require raising the nation's emissions of greenhouse gases to 104 percent of 1990 levels, putting it in breach of the treaty." (UPI)

Illarionov is wrong and we know this because Environmental Defense and WWF say so.

"‘Development, not global regulation, the solution to climate change’, says author of new report" - "London -- In advance of the COP-10 meeting on climate change in Argentina (6-17 December), the Sustainable Development Network has issued a blueprint on the relationship between climate change and sustainable development. The blueprint emphasises the role of economic development and technological progress in eliminating poverty and enabling people to cope with adverse effects of climate change and other problems." (International Policy Network) | Climate Change and Sustainable Development: A Blueprint from the Sustainable Development Network (PDF)

From CO2 Science Magazine this week:

"Of Grapes and Hockeysticks" - "Normally, a hockeystick could smash a grape to smithereens. But when they represent different views of earth's temperature history, six centuries of grape harvests can bury a hockeystick." (co2science.org)

Subject Index Summaries:
"ENSO -- Relationship to Global Warming" - "Will global warming increase the frequency and intensity of ENSO events?  Climate alarmists say yes.  Real-world data say no." (co2science.org)

"Greening of the Earth" - "As the air's CO 2 content rises, earth's plants assimilate ever more of that magnificent molecule and respond in a host of marvelous ways that promote vegetative productivity, which is the fundamental activity that makes possible the existence of nearly all forms of life on the planet." (co2science.org)

Plant Growth Data:
"This week we add new results (blue background) of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO 2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature for: Corn, Cotton, Silver Birch and Winter Wheat." (co2science.org)

Journal Reviews:
"Urban Heat Islands of South Korea" - "Their magnitudes have grown substantially in recent decades in response to similarly substantial increases in urban population." (co2science.org)

"Twenty-Nine Years of Warming in South Korea" - "Over the past three decades, Korea has warmed considerably, but much of that warming is more reflective of local urban influences than it is of regional background warming." (co2science.org)

"Photosynthetic Acclimation After Six Years of Free-Air CO 2 Enrichment of a Loblolly Pine Forest" - "Has the degree of CO 2 -induced photosynthetic enhancement declined with time in this still-ongoing long-term study, as so many people once declared would prove to be the case for all long-lived woody species?" (co2science.org)

"Atmospheric CO 2 Enrichment Effects on Soil Physical Properties in No-Till Agriculture" - "Are they beneficial or detrimental to soil in its role as the medium in which crops are rooted and from which they extract water and nutrients?" (co2science.org)

"Stroke and Heart Attack in Young Women Worldwide: The Effects of Temperature" - "Does monthly mean temperature play a role in the rates of hospital admissions for these two important health problems?" (co2science.org)

"Japan to set emission targets for greenhouse gases" - "TOKYO, Nov. 30 --The Japanese government has decided to set specific emissions targets for six greenhouse gases as the Kyoto Protocol on climate change will take effect in February, the Environment Ministry said Tuesday. It has decided to review current emission targets, which are roughly divided into several groups, and create specific targets for carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, methane and three types of alternatives for cholofluorocarbon the ministry said." (Xinhuanet)

"World's Power Firms 'Failing over Clean Energy Plans'" - "Power companies are failing to tackle the crisis of climate change, according to a report out today. The document, Ranking Power, by WWF, reveals that the world’s leading power companies are not investing enough in renewable and efficient energy in order to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. The report gives two thirds of the world’s leading power companies a score of less than one out of 10 for their response to global warming and more than 90% rank less than three." (PA News)

The worldwide font of nonsense seem a little miffed power companies have not capitulated en masse before WWF's favored fright feature. They seem shocked that some people still pay attention to such irrelevancies as "empirical data" and "direct observation" as opposed fantastic "storylines" and maybe the Tooth Fairy.

"Booming China Awash in 'Out of Control' Acid Rain" - "BEIJING − China's explosive economic growth is outpacing environmental protection efforts, leaving the country awash in "out of control" acid rain, the China Daily said Tuesday. Acid rain fell on more than 250 cities nationwide and caused direct annual economic losses of 110 billion yuan ($13.3 billion), equal to nearly three percent of the country's gross domestic product, the state-run newspaper said." (Reuters)

"No Hope for GM Mosquito" - "UGANDA has lost hope of using a genetically modified (GM) mosquito in the fight against malaria, Tom Byembabazi, a vector control officer with the Ministry of Health has said. He said it is 'practically impossible' to use a GM mosquito because the malaria-causing mosquitoes are spread throughout the country. "Such an option would be feasible in a country where mosquitoes are not all over the place," he said.

Byembabazi said researchers at the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) have been working on the project together with their international counterparts. "There is no immediate hope to use the GM mosquito. Maybe in the future. We do not know when," he said. Using GM mosquitoes is one of the ways being advanced against fighting malaria. The GM mosquitoes, which are unable to transmit malaria, are released into the wild to outcompete the natural ones." (New Vision (Kampala)) [Complete]

"Borlaug says biotech proponents have some explaining to do" - "DES MOINES, Iowa — One of the world’s leading scientists says biotechnology could be the key to feeding a rapidly growing world population. But only if stakeholders do a better job of explaining the benefits of transgenic crops." (Delta Farm Press)

"Kenya: Call for GM Cotton to Replace Tobacco" - "An MP wants the Government to allow imports of genetically modified seed to spur cotton growing to replace tobacco. Alego-Usonga's Sammy Weya says farmers in Nyanza will suffer if proposed anti-tobacco legislation is passed in Parliament. "The Bill will definitely affect them, so the Government should find a way to compensate these farmers by allowing them to import the GM cotton seed," said Mr Weya, who chairs a parliamentary committee on tobacco. He added: "There must be another source for tobacco farmers to earn a living as most of them are located in the poverty-stricken areas of Nyanza Province." (The Nation (Nairobi))