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Archives - December 2006

December 29, 2006

"Polar Bear Meltdown?" - "This week the Bush administration proposed to list the polar bear as "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act. It's a futile gesture that only signals a weakening in the Bush administration's heretofore strong stance against global warming hysteria." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"Agency Proposes to List Polar Bears as Threatened" - "WASHINGTON, Dec. 27 — The Interior Department proposed Wednesday to designate polar bears as a threatened species, saying that the accelerating loss of the Arctic ice that is the bears’ hunting platform has led biologists to believe that bear populations will decline, perhaps sharply, in the coming decades." (New York Times) | Google collation

Polar Bear Worries Unproven, Expert Says (CBC News); When Science Is Used For Political Ends (John Lawrence, Conservative Joe) and a previous feature; The Polar Bears of Hudson Bay (Miceal O'Ronain, Still Waiting For Greenhouse)

"State Chairman of CORE-CA Says: 'Being Green Is Doing Good? Not Always For Our Community'" - "The following is an editorial by Adrian Dove, State Chairman of CORE-CA" (Press Release)

"The fabled links between weight and prostate cancer" - "The media is getting a jump start on the traditional New Year’s kick-off to the dieting season. News reports are telling men that losing weight can lower their risk for prostate cancer. “Here's another reason for men to avoid packing on extra pounds over the holidays,” according to the Associated Press." (Junkfood Science)

"Inflammatory genes linked to salt-sensitive hypertension" - "One key to your high blood pressure might just be your inflammatory genes. It may sound odd but mounting evidence suggests that inflammation, a part of the immune response implicated in diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer's and diabetes, may also help translate stress into high blood pressure." (Medical College of Georgia)

"A toilet-lock mom confronts child-safety fears" - "I don't think the world is more dangerous today. We've just been bombarded with information that tells us it is, and with advertisements for the products claiming to protect us. Knowledge isn't always power." (Brooke Williams, The Christian Science Monitor)

"Living Near Busy Street Ups Breathing Problems" - "NEW YORK - The closer people live to a main road, the more likely they are to suffer from respiratory symptoms such as breathlessness and wheezing, a new study from Switzerland shows." (Reuters)

"Pet owners are sick more often and exercise less than other working-aged people" - "A common perception is that pet owner is a young person who is full of action, exercises a lot, and actively plays with a pet, particularly with a dog. The reality is different, however." (Public Library of Science)

A serious piece, allegedly: "Researchers: Baking impacts Puget Sound" - "SEATTLE - Researchers at the University of Washington say all that holiday baking and eating has an environmental impact — Puget Sound is being flavored by cinnamon and vanilla. "Even something as fun as baking for the holiday season has an environmental effect," said Rick Keil, an associate professor of chemical oceanography. "When we bake and change the way we eat, it has an impact on what the environment sees. To me it shows the connectedness." (Associated Press)

"A Warm and Fuzzy Feeling" - "Yes, the world is getting warmer, but the Earth does this roughly every 1,500 years, and we cannot stop it. The good news is humans and most other species tend to do better during the warm periods." (CGFI)

A New Paper On The Role Of Agriculture Within The Climate System (Climate Science)

"New study links western wildfires to Atlantic Ocean surface temperatures" - "Western U.S. wildfires are likely to increase in the coming decades, according to a new tree-ring study led by the University of Comahue in Argentina and involving the University of Colorado at Boulder that links episodic fire outbreaks in the past five centuries with periods of warming sea surface temperatures in the North Atlantic." (University of Colorado at Boulder)

"A grass-roots push for a 'low carbon diet'" - "David Gershon's book guides readers through a series of behavioral changes to reduce their 'carbon footprint.'" (The Christian Science Monitor)

But to what purpose?

"New global warming wagers have good odds" - "LONDON, Dec. 27 -- The year 2007 looks to be hot for the bookmakers at Totesport, who have come up with a series of "global warming wagers." (UPI)

"German Credibility at Stake on Climate Change" - "BERLIN - Chancellor Angela Merkel has pledged to make fighting climate change a top priority when Germany takes over the European Union's rotating presidency next week." (Reuters)

"Australia's Drought Natural, Researcher Says" - "CANBERRA - Australia's crippling drought, which some lawmakers have called the worst for 1,000 years, is a natural ocurrence and has no link to global warming, the country's top science organisation said on Thursday." (Reuters) | Big dry's natural, not due to climate change (The Australian)

The price of pandering to the Greens: "Tough water rules not enough" - "WATER restrictions have cut consumption by Australian households to 1950s levels, but a chronic failure by state governments to invest in infrastructure will force further crackdowns on use in 2007 unless the nation receives significant rain." (The Australian)

"Drought predicted to break soon" - "THE end of the drought is in sight, with climate experts detecting a weakening in the El Nino effect. The likelihood of more normal rainfall patterns comes as the latest climate estimates suggest Australia has experienced more typical temperatures in the past 12 months. This year is likely to rate 10th on the list of the nation's hottest years, while last year was the hottest on record. Climate change experts, including British researcher David Viner, have been predicting this year is likely to be about the fifth-warmest worldwide. On the drought, National Climate Centre head Michael Coughlan said there were some signs the El Nino had peaked, increasing expectations that national rainfall would shift back towards normal. It would probably take until March for the trend to become fully known." (The Australian)

"Munich Re Sees Natural Catastrophes on the Rise" - "FRANKFURT - Munich Re sees the number of severe weather-related natural catastrophes increasing in coming years because of global warming, among other reasons, the German reinsurer said on Thursday." (Reuters)

Draft Paper for Comment: Decreased Proportion of Tropical Cyclone Landfalls in the United States (Prometheus)

"Dire Warnings From First Chinese Climate Change Report" - "Temperatures in China will rise significantly in coming decades and water shortages will worsen, state media said Wednesday, citing the government's first national assessment of global climate change. "Greenhouse gases released due to human activity are leading to ever more serious problems in terms of climate change," the Ministry of Science and Technology said in a statement." (AFP)

"China Fears Disasters, Grain Cut from Global Warming" - "BEIJING - Global warming threatens to intensify natural disasters and water shortages across China, driving down the country's food output, the Chinese government has warned, even as its seeks to tame energy consumption." (Reuters)

Right... "INTERVIEW - Norway Wants US Politicians to See Warming Arctic" - "OSLO - Norway will invite US politicians to visit a group of fast-thawing Arctic islands in 2007, hoping to win converts for tougher action against global warming, its foreign minister says." (Reuters)

... oil exporting Norway wants the US to use less. If Norway wants to up the price of global carbon they can simply stop supplying -- we all know the consequence of supply squeezes.

"Energy bills to surge with green power" - "THE switch to "clean green" energy sources will cost households up to 40 per cent more on their power bill, Federal Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane has said. Mr Macfarlane said it was inevitable there would be "big jumps" in power bills, but said most people were unaware of the looming increases. "I don't think the consumers fully understand the price tag associated with lower greenhouse gas emissions," he told The Courier-Mail in an exclusive interview." (The Courier-Mail)

Pity the long-suffering taxpayer: "UK to Offset Pollution from Jet-Setting Ministers" - "LONDON - The British government is spending up to 3 million pounds (US$5.9 million) to offset the environmental damage caused by its top politicians jetting around the globe." (Reuters)

"Environmentalists Revive German Speed Limit Debate" - "BERLIN - German environmentalists hope the country's stewardship of the Group of Eight and the European Union in 2007 will help steer the car-crazy nation towards imposing speed limits on its unrestricted autobahns." (Reuters)

"Bulgaria Fumes as EU Demands Nuke Reactor Shutdowns" - "KOZLODUY, Bulgaria - At this sprawling nuclear plant in northern Bulgaria, Kiril Nikolov feels he is about to unwillingly betray his nation. As part of the Balkan state's treaty to join the European Union, he must shut down two of the plant's four functioning reactors on Dec. 31, the day before entry. It will reduce Bulgaria from the region's leading energy exporter to a country that is merely self-sufficient in power and has sparked an outcry among politicians, media and scientists who say Brussels has tricked the Balkan state into destroying a symbol of national pride." (Reuters)

"Dust to gust: Health of Brazilian rainforest depends on dust from one valley in Africa" - "More than half of the dust needed for fertilizing the Brazilian rainforest is supplied by a valley in northern Chad, according to an international research team headed by Dr. Ilan Koren of the Institute's Environmental Sciences and Energy Research Department. In a study published recently in Environmental Research Letters, the scientists have explained how the Bodélé valley's unique features might be responsible for making it such a major dust provider.

It has been known for more than a decade that the existence of the Amazon rainforest depends on a supply of minerals washed off by rain from the soil in the Sahara and blown across the Atlantic by dust. By combining various types of satellite data, Dr. Koren and colleagues from Israel, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Brazil have now for the first time managed to obtain quantitative information about the weight of this dust. Analyses of dust quantities were performed near the Bodélé valley itself, on the shore of the Atlantic and at an additional spot above the ocean." (American Committee for the Weizmann Institute of Science)

"ARGENTINA: Continued Green Light for Destruction of Forests" - "BUENOS AIRES - Despite the continued destruction of Argentina's forests due to the advance of the agricultural frontier, a draft law that would have declared a "state of emergency" for the country's forests was postponed until next year." (IPS)

"FDA plan would OK cloned meat" - "If it's approved, farmers would probably use this expensive method for breeding animals." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"Cloned food 'okay'" - "US government scientists have concluded there is no difference between food from cloned animals and food from conventional livestock, setting the stage for America's top food body to declare that cloned animals are safe for the human food supply. The move is expected to enrage anti-cloning groups that question the safety of genetically modified food." (Sydney Morning Herald)

FDA Makes Right Decision on Cloned Milk and Meat (CEI)

"China breeds 55 profitable new GM cotton varieties" - "BEIJING, Dec. 27 -- Chinese scientists have developed 55 new genetically modified (GM) cotton strains, bringing economic returns of 16.8 billion yuan (2.1 billion U.S. dollars), said Vice Minister of Science and Technology Liu Yanhua." (Xinhua)

December 27, 2006

The Myth that DDT Caused Egg Thinning and Depletion of Eagles - Your Dec. 26 editorial 'The Eagle Is Landing' unfortunately perpetuates a major myth about the insecticide DDT -- that the 1972 ban of DDT saved the eagle from extinction." (Steven Milloy, Letter in the Wall Street Journal, Dec. 28).

Help debunk DDT myths. Get a JunkScience.com DDT T-shirt.

"Environmentalism's Death Toll for 'Nature'" - "Environmentalism has killed tens of millions of people, if not hundreds of millions, and could soon kill many more. Environmentalists’ jihad against DDT sentenced millions to death from malaria in the Third World, their opposition to dams destroyed New Orleans, and their abasement of auto safety has mangled and killed tens of thousands. Even the World Trade Center towers destroyed on 9/11 would have remained standing far longer, enabling more people to escape, if it were not for an environmentalist scare about the most efficient fire retardant known to man for millennia." (Joseph A. D'Agostino, Human Events)

"Targeting freedom" - "Is environmentalism dead? An essay highlighted in the New York Times in 2004 sparked a debate that continues today. The essayists, Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus, lamented that "people in the environmental movement today find themselves politically less powerful than we were one and a half decades ago."

But a new book published by scholar Bonner Cohen, "The Green Wave," sets these ideas on their head. Mr. Cohen shows how environmental activists have had -- and continue to have -- a substantial influence on policy around the world. Their influence is clearly visible through their advocacy of the so-called precautionary principle, which holds that new technologies should be proven safe before they are used. The problem is that you can't prove a negative, so applying this "principle" essentially grants regulators arbitrary power." (Angela Logomasini, Washington Times)

"Chairman Mo, George Soros flunk on Chery" - "2007’s getting off to a gloomy start for partners Maurice Strong and George Soros. The deadly duo, who had big plans to flood the American market with as many as 250,000 cheap Chinese-made Chery cars in 2007 are instead facing Chery worldwide recall. You’d never know it from the mainstream media, but Strong and Soros, who formed the `Partnership from Hell’, are already on thin ice in the auto industry." (Canada Free Press)

"Eat, drink and be merry!" - "It is nearly impossible to find that sentiment in the media today. It’s all about eat, drink and be ... moderate, healthy, watch what you eat and stick to your diet. Humbug! In the Telegraph, Tom Hodgkinson asks ‘what’s stopping us from being merry’?" (Junkfood Science)

"Better to live with risk than limit our choices" - "On Dec. 5, the City of New York banned the use of trans-fats in restaurants and food preparation. Ironically, many of the experts proclaiming the dangers of trans-fats were the ones who urged us to embrace them as "heart-healthy" in the 1980s. William Willett, chairman of the department of nutrition at Harvard University, who was one of the early advocates of trans-fats, admitted this in a 2005 New York Times report. By now it is obvious to most people that "advocacy" or "junk" science infects much of the information reported about the harmful effects of many things we do. Whether it's global warming, silicone breast implants, secondhand smoke, or the types and amounts of fats we ingest, the fact remains that much of the data is inconclusive. But that doesn't stop those with an agenda to micromanage the daily lives of their fellow citizens." (Jeffrey A. Singer, Arizona Daily Star)

There's more to childhood (Junkfood Science)

"HRT 'could prevent heart disease'" - "Hormone therapy might be an effective heart disease treatment, despite a major US study which suggested it caused harm, scientists say. The Women's Health Initiative study was stopped in 2002 amid concerns over raised heart disease and cancer risk. But now other US experts say the WHI may have covered the wrong age group and used the wrong dose of HRT." (BBC)

"Fear is terribly catching, bird flu isn’t" - "Fears of another impending health crisis were accentuated today as news stories threaten “Flu virus could kill 81 million.” (Junkfood Science)

2006: A year of challenges and achievements (WHO)

"US Court Strikes Down 2004 EPA Smog Rules" - "WASHINGTON - Smog-reduction regulations proposed by the Bush administration in 2004 are too weak, a US court ruled Friday, sending the rules back to the Environmental Protection Agency for reworking." (Reuters)

Mythinformation (Junkfood Science)

The sixth annual Numby Awards (Number Watch)

Oh boy... "Climate of fear as science has a bad news year" - "IT STARTED badly, and then it got worse. The year began with the news that a South Korean national hero had faked his apparently astonishing breakthrough in cloning, proceeded to the near death of six volunteers in a clinical trial and ended with news that millions will die unless we tackle global warming. Throw in the arrival of bird flu in the UK and the prospect that any day now the virus could turn into a global pandemic that could decimate the world's population - according to some of the more fevered predictions - and it was a grim year." (The Scotsman)

"Climate of fear" - "BACK IN 1961, Rod Serling set an episode of "The Twilight Zone" in New York City at a time of uncontrolled global warming. Somehow the Earth's orbit had shifted, and the planet was moving inexorably toward the sun. "This is the eve of the end," Serling intoned in his introduction. "Because even at midnight it's high noon, the hottest day in history, and you're about to spend it -- in the Twilight Zone." (Jeff Jacoby, Boston Globe)

Scitizen - New Website For Communicating Science News To The Public (Climate Science)

Further Comments Demonstrating that Climate Prediction Is An Initial Value Problem (Climate Science)

"New study links Western wildfires to Atlantic Ocean surface temperatures" - "Western U.S. wildfires are likely to increase in the coming decades, according to a new tree-ring study led by the University of Comahue in Argentina and involving the University of Colorado at Boulder that links episodic fire outbreaks in the past five centuries with periods of warming sea surface temperatures in the North Atlantic." (University of Colorado at Boulder)

"Ocean temperature predicts spread of marine species" - "CHAPEL HILL -- Scientists can predict how the distance marine larvae travel varies with ocean temperature – a key component in conservation and management of fish, shellfish and other marine species – according to a new study from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill." (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)

"Climate change didn't kill megafauna" - "AUSTRALIA'S giant prehistoric animals were killed off by humans, not climate change, new research indicates. Ninety per cent of Australia's so-called megafauna - prehistoric animals such as giant goannas, three-metre tall kangaroos and rhino-sized marsupials - died out within 20,000 years of human arrival. But the lack of data from the years preceding human arrival has made it difficult to determine whether environmental changes or human hunting and habitat destruction killed off the giant animals. The new research, published in international journal Geology's January 2007 edition, is set to fuel what has become one of palaeontology's longest-running and contentious debates." (The Australian)

"Climate change sceptics issued with challenge" - "Britain's leading climate scientist has challenged those who question the impact of the human population on global warming to defend their claims that car and factory emissions of carbon dioxide are not heating up the planet. Alan Thorpe, chief executive of the Natural Environment Research Council, said yesterday he planned to defeat so-called 'deniers', first on-line and later at a public debate." (The Observer)

Big deal! What about responding to this challenge then?

"Conservatives Are Losing to the Greens" - "I've never seen industry so deathly afraid of the current politics surrounding climate change policy," a Bush administration environmental official told me. With good reason. As Democrats take control of Congress, once firm opposition to the green lobby's campaign of imposing carbon emission controls is weak.

Panicky captains of industry have themselves largely to blame for failing to respond to the environmentalists' well-financed propaganda operation. One government official says "industry appears utterly helpless and utterly clueless as to how to respond." But the Bush administration itself is a house divided, with support for greens and severe carbon regulation inside the Department of Energy rampant, reaching up to the secretary himself." (Robert Novak, Human Events)

"Barroso Says Germany Must Meet Lower CO2 Targets" - "BERLIN - The German government, which has been fighting a European Commission order to lower its future carbon dioxide (CO2) allocations to industry, must obey the ruling, Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said on Sunday." (Reuters)

"German Industry Can Cut Greenhouse Gas, Office Says" - "BERLIN - Germany needs to redouble its efforts to reduce greenhouse gases and must respect its commitments on meeting lower targets, the head of the environmental protection office was quoted as saying on Monday." (Reuters)

Meanwhile: "Indians await the £1,000 family car" - "A quintessential sight on India's roads – a mother, father, two children and a baby all squashed on to the family scooter – is set to vanish into history with the arrival of a new, ultra-low-cost car. Rolling off the production lines next year for just £1,000, the budget runabout will be within the reach of tens of millions of Indians who until now could only afford a motor scooter." (London Telegraph)

"Discovery of Constant, Sun Spot Induced, Harmless 1500 Years Global Warming Cycles" - "Hudson Institute discussion presents significant evidence challenging warming alarmism" (Steve Jalsevac, LifeSite)

Silly media... "Australia ponders climate future" - "Parts of Australia are in the grip of the worst drought in memory. Rainfall in many eastern and southern regions has been at near record lows. On top of that, the weather has been exceptionally warm. The parched conditions have sparked an emotional debate about global warming." (BBC)

... parts of Australia are always in the grip of the worst drought in memory but it's not particularly hot, in fact a lot of regions are cooler than "normal" (note that records are very short over most of this parched and relatively empty country).

"London-on-Sea: the future of a city in decay" - "This map reveals how Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament and Canary Wharf will be among the areas at risk of flooding according to a new estimate of rising sea levels. The need for new defences is underlined by a study that concludes that levels may rise more quickly in the coming decades than previously thought - by as much as an additional metre (39in) over the next century, according to Prof Stefan Rahmstorf, a leading climate expert at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research." (London Telegraph)

"Red face for green tsar who jets to work" - "WE MUST be "conscious of our global contribution". We must "act responsibly". Saving the planet "means making radical changes to how we live our lives". The green message from the Scottish Executive is clear, but practising what you preach is never that easy. Scotland on Sunday can reveal that the head of the Executive's department in charge of lowering the nation's greenhouse gas emissions is commuting to work by jet every week from his home in the south of England." (Scotland on Sunday)

From CO2 Science this week:

Long on Hype, Short on Facts: FACE vs. non-FACE Studies of Plant Growth Responses to CO 2 : A recent high-profile study - which claimed that the crop-yield-enhancing effects of atmospheric CO 2 enrichment measured in non-free-air-CO 2 -enrichment experiments is two times too large - has been discredited by an international team of scientists.

Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week:
This issue's Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week comes from the Czech Republic. To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.

Subject Index Summary:
Greening of the Earth (Observations - Asia): As the air's CO 2 content and temperature "soar" to new heights that climate alarmists claim are unprecedented over who-knows-how-long, what is becoming of Asia's plant life?

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: Buck Brush, Scots Pine, Small Fescue, and Wheat.

Journal Reviews:
Assessing Antarctica's Ice Mass Balance Via Measurements of Time-Variable Gravity from Satellites ... Again: How does the second assessment differ from the first?

The 2003 European Summer Heat Wave: How unusual was it?

Summer Moisture Variability Throughout Europe Over the Course of the 20th Century: Did it vary in ways climate alarmists claim it should vary in response to strong global warming?

Mediterranean Temperatures and Spring Arrival Dates of Migrating Birds in Spain: What do they imply about the uniqueness of late 20th-century and early 21st-century warming?

Climate and CO 2 Effects on Amazonian Vegetation Since the Last Glacial Maximum: What roles were played by each factor as the earth evolved from the depth of ice-age cold to the pinnacle of modern warmth? (co2science.org)

"Incentives on Oil Barely Help U.S., Study Suggests" - "WASHINGTON, Dec. 21 — The United States offers some of the most lucrative incentives in the world to companies that drill for oil in publicly owned coastal waters, but a newly released study suggests that the government is getting very little for its money." (New York Times)

One reason we particularly dislike feeding subsidy farmers, e.g. wind farms, "alternative" energy...

"Analysis: Climate change and Russian gas" - "BERLIN, Dec. 22 -- As much as half of Russia's natural gas reserves are in danger because of climate change, experts say. Russia, the world's largest natural gas exporter with some 30 percent of proven global reserves, handles the majority of imports to Europe; in Germany, more than 30 percent of all gas used stems from fields in Siberia. In 2006, Russia's record as a reliable supplier was questioned after a price row with Ukraine. The row, during which Russia temporarily shut off Ukrainian supplies, has worried politicians in Western Europe about the future of Europe's supplies. But besides politics, a whole other problem could threaten Europe's gas imports -- climate change. Russia's gas fields lie below a several-hundred-feet deep layer of permanently frozen ground -- permafrost. In western Siberia, entire pipeline systems are relying on the solidity of the year-round ice." (UPI)

"Coal power boon" - "The United States will need more electric power in the coming years -- lots more -- and coal will be critical to meeting those power needs." (H. Sterling Burnett, Washington Times)

"EU Commission Open to use of Nuclear Energy - Paper" - "PARIS - The European Commission is open to increasing the use of nuclear energy as a way for member states to cut carbon emissions and avoid volatile energy prices, French newspaper Les Echos reported on Tuesday." (Reuters)

Elite Magazine Says High-Yield Farmers Are Saving Wildlife (CGFI)

"GM food is answer to poverty and hunger" - "PEOPLE ARE being urged by Scotland's new chief scientific adviser to embrace genetically modified (GM) food as an answer to poverty, hunger and toxic pollution. Professor Anne Glover, herself a genetic engineer, is urging consumers to ignore labels like "Frankenstein foods" because they are misleading and damaging. The potential benefits of GM crops are "huge", she says, and the risks "extremely small". But her enthusiasm for GM food has infuriated environmentalists, who fear she could exert an important influence on Scottish ministers. They argue GM crops are "potentially dangerous" and point out that they have been widely rejected by the public and supermarkets." (Sunday Herald)

"Biotech Foods Continue to Produce Mixed Feelings in US" - "Safety is a concern of many, but opinion researchers also find the public not well informed on the subject." (VOA)

"BRAZIL: Transgenic Cotton Ploughs Its Way Thru Congress" - "RIO DE JANEIRO - In Brazil, cotton is following in soy's footsteps. Transgenic cotton varieties, smuggled into the country in recent years, may now be legalised by a draft law already quietly approved by the lower house of Congress." (IPS)

"Scientists get OK for safer engineered peanuts" - "ALBANY, Ga. -- A leading industry group has given scientists the go-ahead to build genetically engineered peanuts that could be safer, more nutritious and easier to grow than their conventional version." (Associated Press)

December 25, 2006

As we put another year behind us we pause briefly to reflect on our impressions of the year. In this case the overriding impression is of climate hysteria. One year ago we began a new global mean temperature monitoring series utilizing Astyanax, son of Hector, as our updated and rather more robust METAR inquisitor.

Recently we have heard claims of 2006 being a record warm year (or sixth warmest, depending on whose series you consult) so we might expect Astyanax to derive a mean temperature from our widely dispersed and carefully representative METAR stations far removed from the calculated and frequently cited 14.0 °C for a global mean temperature.

Granted, Astyanax recorded a null result several times when fewer than 99.5% of station results were obtainable (45 / 8,760), which when multiplied by the anticipated 14.0 °C induces an error of ± 0.07 °C to the result. Given that this is only one-tenth of the error margin for official estimates of global mean temperature we aren't too concerned.

So, what did Astyanax derive for this year of heated angst and hyperventilation?

Astyanax1yr.png (112022 bytes) 14.06 °C -- pretty much as near "normal" as it's possible for a year to be.

So why all the angst and palaver? That's a very good question we only wish we could answer. Part of it we suspect has much to do with poor handling of Urban Heat Island Effect since we largely avoid downtown sampling by using METAR data derived from airports, automated weather stations, ocean buoys and oil rigs (details here) -- places less easily built-in, in other words. While this explains the paltry 0.5 K difference between our estimation and that of others it does not explain the extraordinary anxiety generated by a possible variation too small to distinguish from background noise. For that we can point squarely at the misguided and the deliberately deceptive among the activist tribes. We don't know whether Al Gore is running a deceptive campaign for high office as a savior or whether he as as misguided (deranged?) as the UK's former environment minister, Michael Meacher but the result is the same -- he's running amok frightening a lot of people over nonsense, basically.

Hopefully 2007 will prove a more rational year, certainly we'd like to concentrate of items of actual importance rather than this bizarre obsession with a globally averaged temperature (think about it, unless you live at "globally averaged" it is of no significance to you).

December 22, 2006

"One Flu Over the Cuckoo's Nest" - "Flu fearmongers must be quite depressed these days. Seasonal flu is late. Bird flu - despite all the headlines - hasn’t gained much traction among humans. And we haven't had pandemic flu in 36 years." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

Calling all skeptics! (Junkfood Science)

Fat people burdens on healthcare? Not so fast! (Junkfood Science)

Oh boy... "The year the world woke up" - "Climate change In 2006, the public, politicians and industry have all shown significant signs that tackling global warming is on the agenda after scientific studies showed the pace of change gathering speed. John Vidal reports." (The Guardian)

2006 may well go down as the year of climate hype and hysteria, if not outright fraud. In this year we've seen a glorified slideshow of scene shots and misleading graphs drive absurd hypothetical-case hand-wringing and, much worse, a distinct trend toward confusing model output with real world data. An outstanding example of this confusion comes from GRACE data, butchered by models of no known veracity, actually reversing the sign of measurements of ice mass balance (along with significant regions of open ocean!) being used to claim empirical data showing increasing ice mass is wrong.

This year has also seen announcement of pending downward revision of satellite-derived atmospheric temperatures due to orbital drift of some satellites leading to artificial warming in the record. A rough view of the difference one drifting satellite can make is available in this comparison where UAH have omitted the primary offender while RSS have not. Either way this is not the expected signature of enhanced greenhouse warming -- note particularly (using the "hottest" satellite dataset) that there is some Arctic warming but not Antarctic warming (where most enhanced greenhouse warming should manifest itself), which tells us we are observing changes in the phase of the Arctic Oscillation rather than the dreaded and largely imaginary "global warming."

Also this year we have seen publication of more data from increased ocean monitoring projects showing sudden and unanticipated cooling, bizarrely referred to as a "speed bump" in warming -- have no illusions, a net loss of heat from the oceans is a cooling. Sadly this did not really rate any media attention and there was no retraction of the now-invalidated claim that this same dataset provided empirical support for Hansen's dead-wrong modeling exercise.

On the plus side of the ledger there are serious moves afoot to find out what makes clouds work, what influences their development and destruction and how this influences climate -- a very small start on a critical piece of the puzzle. How the sun fits into the whole dynamic is drawing more attention, this remains a largely neglected field.

Additionally, we are seeing a precious few mentions that estimates of 0.6 K warming since the latter 19th Century are only estimates and we do not know Earth's mean surface temperature with any greater precision than the total extent of estimated warming. Next week we'll post the first year of our global mean temperature data harvested from METAR records. Earth's "correct" temperature (the temperature frequently cited that Earth "should" be) is generally listed as around 14.0 °C, making the "warmed state" (base plus AGW) 14.6 °C and it will be interesting to see what a well-dispersed network or airports, automated weather stations and oil rigs return for a global average -- particularly as some datasets claim '06 to be a record-breaker. Watch this space, as they say.

Slowly, almost imperceptibly, we are seeing moves to investigate what really drives global climate, this will take considerable time but is a worthwhile endeavor, and some recognition that atmospheric carbon dioxide constitutes no emergency. This will also take time to undo the misinformation campaign with which activists and a complicit or simply ignorant media have bombarded a relatively gullible population.

Hopefully 2006 represents the shrieking crescendo of the absurd global warming scare and we can now turn our attention to matters of real importance.

Deliberate Global Climate Modification - Is This A Good Idea? (Climate Science)

JunkScience.com would like to congratulate Professor Pielke, Sr., and his important Climate Science weblog. Quietly and without fanfare the good professor has used this relatively new medium to become one of the English-speaking world's most valuable contributors to the "global warming" debate, such as it is. Well done Professor! We look forward to the 2nd edition of your book, due in the new year, we believe.

"Researchers identify a 'heartbeat' in Earth's climate" - "A few years ago, an international team of researchers went to the middle of the Pacific Ocean and drilled down five kilometers below sea level in an effort to uncover secrets about the earth's climate history. They exceeded their expectations and have published their findings in the Dec. 22 edition of the journal Science.

The researchers' drilling produced pristine samples of marine microfossils, otherwise known as foraminifera. Analysis of the carbonate shells of these microfossils, which are between 23 million to 34 million years-old, has revealed that the Earth's climate and the formation and recession of glaciation events in the Earth's history have corresponded with variations in the earth's natural orbital patterns and carbon cycles." (University of Alberta)

"India and China in warming study" - "India and China have agreed to send an expedition to the Himalayas to study the impact that global warming is having on glaciers there. They fear that melting glaciers could threaten rivers which support the lives of millions of people." (BBC)

Corruption of the WB continues: "Official Details Bank's New Green Focus" - "WASHINGTON - In recent months, the World Bank, the largest public lender, launched a significant overhaul of its organisational structure, merging its infrastructure investment network with the department that oversees compliance with environmental and social standards." (IPS)

"Field trials on for flood resistant rice" - "Flood resistant rice, developed this year with the help of genetic engineering, may reach farmers as soon as 2009, helping them cope with global warming and the extreme weather it is expected to bring. Scientists, led by David Mackill at the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines, announced in August that they had identified a gene that enables rice to survive for up to two weeks in water. It is regarded as one of the top breakthroughs in rice research this year as flooding causes annual losses of over $US1 billion, with south and southeast Asia the hardest hit." (Reuters)

December 21, 2006

Happy 0.08th Birthday Junkfood Science! "Junkfood Science has just turned one month old!" - "Thank you to everyone for your heartwarming letters of appreciation and encouragement. And I sincerely thank all of my old and new blogger friends whose support has helped nearly 13,000 visitors discover this blog and read 22,000 pages in its first month!" (Junkfood Science)

"Getting our goat" - "When overriding fears and unsound beliefs prevent us from benefiting from what the very best, most careful, proven science can offer us and our children, the results can be tragic.

Fears and bogus information spread by soundbytes much faster than the truth. It is so easy to drop fear bombs and in an instant scare people by suggestions, “what-ifs” and frightening anecdotes. But it takes considerably more effort to explain, teach and help people understand the complexities of a science or health issue, and use the scientific method to carefully examine the evidence to uncover its limitations and true efficacy." (Junkfood Science)

"Treating the symptoms" - "The next great globalist scam to steal your money and make you feel good about it has to do with fighting malaria in Africa." (WND)

Mayo Researcher Discovers Target Site for Developing Mosquito Pesticides - Findings Could Lead to Safer, More Effective Method to Control Mosquito-Caused Malaria (PRNewswire-USNewswire)

"Doubts cast on organophosphate poisoning as cause of Gulf War Syndrome depression" - "New research casts doubt on the belief that organophosphate poisoning causes symptoms of depression among Gulf War veterans and farmers, who are exposed regularly to these chemicals." (University of Bristol)

"Child obesity study fails at weigh-in" - "A Government attempt to produce an accurate picture of childhood obesity has failed because less than half the children agreed to be measured or weighed. Only 48 per cent of children in the three age groups — school starters, aged four to five and 10 to 11 — were weighed for the National Childhood Obesity Database. In the first year the plan had been to weigh nearly all children in the age groups to establish a baseline. But the weigh-in is voluntary and higher rates of overweight children decided to opt out than those of normal weight." (London Telegraph)

"Scientists Link Weight to Gut Bacteria" - "WASHINGTON -- Maybe it's germs that are making you fat. Researchers found a strong connection between obesity and the levels of certain types of bacteria in the gut. That could mean that someday there will be novel new ways of treating obesity that go beyond the standard advice of diet and exercise." (AP) | Relative abundance of common microbes living in the gut may contribute to obesity (Washington University School of Medicine)

Imagine that... "Human mating habits may increase obesity gene pool" - "NEW YORK - People's tendency to choose mates with body sizes matching their own could be one factor driving the current obesity epidemic, according to a new study." (Reuters Health)

"Bill seeks to ban trans fats from Massachusetts" - "BOSTON - A lawmaker introduced a bill on Tuesday that would make Massachusetts the first U.S. state to ban artificial trans fats from restaurants, closely following New York City's ban of the artery-clogging oils." (Reuters)

New York City Bans Science; Proposed trans fat ban based on a lot of junk science

"Insurers Come off Cheap as Few Disasters Mar 2006" - "ZURICH - An absence of US hurricanes and other catastrophes made 2006 one of the three least costly years in the last 20 for insurers, Swiss Re said, but storms or floods in Europe could still spoil the party." (Reuters)

"Tides Affect Speed of Antarctic Ice Slide - Report" - "OSLO - Tides affect the speed at which an Antarctic ice sheet bigger than the Netherlands is sliding towards the sea, adding a surprise piece to a puzzle about ocean levels and global warming, a study showed on Wednesday." (Reuters) | Tidal motion influences Antarctic ice sheet (British Antarctic Survey)

"A fiery try to save the Amazon" - "Researchers burn patch of rain forest to study how tree death affects global warming process." (Boston Globe)

WMO Statement On The Status Of The Global Climate in 2006 - A Comment By Climate Science (Climate Science)

Wow! Even the beldam is waking up to some of the scams:  "Big Profits, and Questions, in Effort to Cut Emissions" - "A fast-growing climate plan that pushes foreign companies to clean up third-world factories has revealed hidden problems." (New York Times)

Here's a tip for the old girl (although she seems to be making the same new friends every day now), all "efforts to address global warming" are scams, simply because carbon dioxide is a trivial and declining influence on the world's climate. We don't even know whether the world is really warming -- we think the lower troposphere has warmed a little, the mid-troposphere less so but this is not the anticipated signature of enhanced greenhouse warming since alleged surface warming is racing away (for enhanced greenhouse to warm the surface the mid-troposphere must warm about 30% faster to prevent cooler, more dense upper air displacing warmed near-surface air -- convective adjustment, in the parlance). The current apparent near-surface trend appears to have more to do with urbanization of the record (bias induced by closure of rural and remote location measuring point) than it does a logarithmic response to increases in atmospheric trace gases (the radiative effect of CO2 in the atmosphere is a function of the logarithm of the concentration, thus the radiative effect of going from zero to pre-industrial CO2 concentrations is much greater than going from the pre-industrial level to a doubling of that level). Even if we pretend to believe the implausible case that the total IPCC-estimated change in global mean temperature of 0.6 ± 0.2 °C since the late 19th Century is solely attributable to changes in this essential trace gas then that still represents roughly half the warming potential of doubling pre-industrial levels. Does anyone think the crop failures and revolution of the Little Ice Age suggest a more advantageous climatic period that current? And if that possible 0.5 K warming was a good thing why would perhaps another 0.5 K be an unmitigated disaster?

Pendulum finally slowing? "So what happened at AGU last week?" - "With thirteen thousand people at a confab of geophysicists and geophysicists-in-training, a few thousand of whom work on something related to the climate system, you expect to hear about climate change. In perhaps a short decade, climate change has rapidly surpassed seismology as the primary membrane between the public and the geophysics research world. Climate is now what most makes the American Geophysical Union relevant to non-members; climate is now what essentially drives the meeting despite the presence of dozens of other specialties represented." (Vranes, K., Prometheus)

"High-Level Task Force To Seek New Climate Change Framework" - "MADRID, Spain and WASHINGTON, Dec. 20 -- The Club of Madrid and the United Nations Foundation announced today the formation of an independent High-Level Task Force on Climate Change to develop and propose a new framework for a post-Kyoto agreement on climate change through the Gleneagles Dialogue process." (PRNewswire-USNewswire)

Plate tectonics at work: "The last tide could come at any time. Then these islands at the end of the Earth will simply vanish." - "Blame it on global warming or a submerged volcano. Either way, the low-lying atoll seems doomed - and it is not the only one." (London Times)

True, the islands are subsiding. It's also true that they would be subsiding whether there had been an industrial revolution or whether humans had never discovered fire.

"Climate Change vs Mother Nature: Scientists reveal that bears have stopped hibernating" - "Bears have stopped hibernating in the mountains of northern Spain, scientists revealed yesterday, in what may be one of the strongest signals yet of how much climate change is affecting the natural world. In a December in which bumblebees, butterflies and even swallows have been on the wing in Britain, European brown bears have been lumbering through the forests of Spain's Cantabrian mountains, when normally they would already be in their long, annual sleep." (London Independent)

"Some Good News for Christmas–Reptile and Butterflies Flourishing" - "How many times have you seen articles in newspapers about global warming causing the extinction of some frog, toad, lizard, butterfly, or you name it, specie? If today’s newspaper doesn’t contain such an article, Google “Global Warming and Extinction” and enjoy over two million sites. Repeatedly, if you see “Global Warming” and any specie in the title of an article, heaven help members of that specie, right?

What is odd is that literally thousands of professional journal articles show that virtually all plants benefit from elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide levels with or without any increase in temperature. With all the goodness in the world of flora, why do the fauna of the planetary ecosystem seem so vulnerable? The dirty secret is that the literature is full of articles showing the animal kingdom benefiting from changes that are underway." (WCR)

"Climate change no threat to cod" - "RESEARCH published online in a paper today suggests that climate change has had little influence on adult cod movements in the North Sea." (Fish Update)

"What is the environmental cost of flying?" - "Nothing, at least according to official figures. Because jetting between countries is classed as an international activity, the greenhouse-gas pollution of aircraft is missed out when countries tot up their emissions. So the government can claim our carbon dioxide output is about 5% lower than in 1990. But take emissions from flights and shipping into account, as scientists at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research have done, and Britain's carbon footprint has grown since 1990." (The Guardian)

"Airline charge 'big step forward'" - "Moves to set limits for airline carbon emissions are a "big step forward" in fighting pollution despite plans to expand airports, the government says." (BBC)

"Finnair Sees Tens of Million Euros CO2 Costs from 2011" - "HELSINKI - Finnish national carrier Finnair said on Wednesday it may face costs of tens of millions of euros from 2011 onwards, when aviation is included in the European Commission's emissions trading system." (Reuters)

"The price of pollution" - "Like a vapour trail left by a jet plane crossing a crowded sky, yesterday's news that the EU will include aviation in its carbon-trading scheme from 2011 was less substantial than it appeared. The announcement carried a superficial drama, a sense of action being taken against an industry, which, uniquely, pays none of the costs of the pollution it causes. The giveaway was the industry's energetic welcome. If the scheme had amounted to anything, Europe's airlines would have been squealing." (The Guardian)

"EU plan to cut airline emissions 'too weak'" - "Campaigners have dismissed plans to include airlines in a scheme to combat climate change as too weak to curb the impact on global warming of a massive growth in air travel." (London Independent)

"Railroad boom hits environmental, 'not in my backyard' snags" - "As US railroads try to meet demand and reduce reliance on trucks, landowners and environmentalists worry about pollution." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"Global energy hunger means boom for Norwegian outpost" - "HAMMERFEST, NORWAY - The polar night cloaking this wind-swept town in northernmost Norway is pierced by glaring floodlights from a nearby island. Construction machines roar and hum as workers bundled against whipping winds scurry among enormous storage tanks, gleaming towers and rows of red housing barracks. The massive natural gas plant outside Hammerfest, once an Arctic outpost known for fish, reindeer traffic jams and a dubious claim of being "The World's Northernmost Town," is now the base of oil-rich Norway's latest energy drive. It's a pioneering venture to extract natural gas in the fragile Arctic waters of the Barents Sea, which the nation uneasily shares with powerful neighbor Russia, and may contain billions of barrels more of yet-to-be-discovered oil and gas." (Associated Press)

"CHINA: Biofuels Eating Into Food Grain Stocks" - "BEIJING - China's biofuel industry is booming thanks to voracious demand for energy to power the country's high-flying economy. Applying modernised versions of ancient chemical processes to convert crops and oils into energy sources, Chinese entrepreneurs have created a profitable "green business" with plenty of room to grow." (IPS)

December 20, 2006

Obituary: Dr Cen Jones (London Telegraph)

"Junkfood Science Special: Healing water" - "Should the popularity, political expediency or profit potential of a medicine determine our support of it? That’s how a surprising number of our public health guidelines, regulations, health benefits, and even curriculums in medical and nursing schools are decided. Do we want to go to a healthcare provider whose advise and prescriptions for us are based on their popularity and ability to make extra money for them? Or do we want to trust that our provider is giving us honest advice and therapies with proven efficacy?" (Junkfood Science)

"Fat Chance" - "The government that governs least, governs best, said Thomas Jefferson. Mayor Mike Bloomberg begs to differ.

He banned public smoking in America's biggest city. His new target is trans fats, which by unanimous order of the Board of Health will be purged from restaurant fare by July 2008. And since New York is the standard setter of fancy eatin', restaurants with pretensions around the country are, or soon will be, following its lead. With Democrats in charge of Congress, the FDA will undoubtedly be urged to revisit trans fats too. It behooves us to ask what's really going on.

Trans fats became a significant component of human diet as a byproduct of one of history's unsung revolutions, hydrogenization, the century-old process that allowed expensive animal fats to be replaced with cheap vegetable oils in cooking and baking. Lately, trans fats have been linked to elevated levels of bad cholesterol. Trans fats have also been linked (less conclusively) to depressed levels of good cholesterol. No, these studies don't reveal how much trans fats are really to blame, and how much merely reflect a larger pattern determined by lifestyle and eating habits. But never mind." (Homan W Jenkins, Jr., Wall Street Journal)

New York City Bans Science

"Getting people to move -- challenges in promoting physical activity" - "Programs that discourage smoking have been reasonably successful. However, public health programs that encourage physical activity have not. While the benefits of regular physical activity are well documented in the medical literature and the problems associated with a sedentary lifestyle are even more apparent, public health officials struggle for methods to promote increased physical activity that will work in American society. In a study published in the January 2007 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, researchers examine the challenges in promoting physical activity in a society less and less inclined to walk, run or exercise." (Elsevier Health Sciences)

"The future of federally-funded food programs -- Can they also fight obesity?" - "Boston -- The Food Stamp program and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), which are primarily funded through the Food and Nutrition Service of the United States Department of Agriculture, have made significant strides toward eliminating nutrition-related health disparities between low-income and higher-income groups. Despite this success, federally-funded nutrition programs have faced criticism for potentially contributing to the nation's obesity epidemic. To dispel this notion, Eileen Kennedy, DSc, RD, Dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, and Tufts colleagues recently authored a report and accompanying issue brief through the bi-partisan National Governors Association (NGA) Center for Best Practices, and proposed policy changes that would allow the Food Stamp and WIC programs to continue reducing nutrition-related health disparities while simultaneously addressing obesity." (Tufts University)

"Commodity promotion programs -- What's the beef?" - "Boston -- Checkoff programs; even if you don't know what they are, you've probably felt their impact in recent years. Does "Got Milk?" sound familiar? How about "Pork. The other white meat?" These advertising campaigns are the result of government-sanctioned promotion programs, known as checkoff programs. The campaigns aim to increase consumption of commodities such as dairy, beef, and pork. But, according to an opinion piece authored by Parke Wilde, PhD, a food economist at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, the messages sent out by these advertising campaigns are inconsistent with the federal government's Dietary Guidelines for Americans." (Tufts University)

"Reviled in Argentina, paper mills bring life to Finland" - "At the heart of an angry dispute between Argentina and Uruguay, pulp mills, sometimes seen as major polluters, have brought life to parts of Finland where they have often been around longer than the trees themselves. In Finland's southeastern industrial town of Joutseno, where one in two people live off the pulp mills, residents say they can't fathom the Argentinian opposition to the construction of a mill on the Uruguayan side of the river that divides the two South American countries." (AFP)

'Clean' air? "Study finds the air rich with bacteria" - "BERKELEY, CA -- Want biodiversity? Look no further than the air around you. It could be teeming with more than 1,800 types of bacteria, according to a first-of-its-kind census of airborne microbes recently conducted by scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). The team used an innovative DNA test to catalog the bacteria in air samples taken from the Texas cities of San Antonio and Austin. Surprisingly, they found a widely varied bacterial population that rivals the diversity found in soil. They also found naturally occurring relatives of microbes that could be used in bioterrorist attacks -- although many of these relatives are harmless. "Before this study, no one had a sense of the diversity of the microbes in the air," says lead author Gary Andersen of Berkeley Lab's Earth Sciences Division." (DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory)

"Beware the ecosexual" - "I'M not sure whether to blame it on the Stern report on climate change or Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth, but being green has never been more fashionable nor annoying." (Daily Telegraph)

Land Surface Station Density Change Over Time (Climate Science)

The Need For Sustained and Freely Available Access to Real-Time and Archived Climate Data (Climate Science)

"Dark crops a trigger of rain: scientist" - "Scientists studying land on both sides of the rabbit-proof fence have discovered that planting dark native plants or crops such as black wheat could produce more clouds and help solve the State’s record dry spell. The researchers from Murdoch University have studied the vastly different landscapes on either side of the rabbit-proof fence near Lake King, about 460km south-east of Perth. The results back their earlier discovery, that blue skies exist over cleared farms on one side of the fence while on the other, big clouds form over native bush. Native plants and crops that are darker in colour contribute to forming clouds because they absorb more heat and create more turbulence, which means there is enough movement of fluids to lift the moisture high enough to form clouds." (The West Australian)

2006: probably the coldest year in the last five years (Luboš Motl, The Reference Frame)

A Christmas Caribou Story (WCR)

"Warming fears do not add up" - "The high priests of climate change are trampling dissent, writes economics editor Alan Wood" (The Australian)

"Arbitrary Impacts and Unknown Futures: The shortcomings of climate impact models" - "How do we predict the impacts of climate change on ourselves and on our environment? Lost in the controversy and hype of climate change is the reality of an enormous community of scientists working on the incredibly difficult task of predicting the way in which not one, but many different and highly complex systems will behave and interact over the coming decades and centuries. For the most part, these scientists either develop, or contribute to, models. Some of these models project the way the climate may change, while others – the focus of this essay – project impacts, or the ways in which society might be affected and, in turn, react to that change." (Ryan Meyer, Ogmius)

Oh boy... "Drought, pandemic and waste mountains - a future that science may help us avoid" - "Piles of rubbish clutter the streets of the new urban sprawls. In overloaded hospitals, patients lie in corridors, victims of a pandemic. Water prices have rocketed, and temperatures have nosedived with a premature slowing of the Gulf stream. Welcome to dystopian Britain, a thoroughly miserable snapshot of the country's woes come the middle of the 21st century. While the bleak scenario might seem unlikely at present, Sir David King, the government's chief science adviser, is urging policy-makers not to be complacent. A bleak future will only be avoided if they understand the threats and what new technologies might come to the rescue." (The Guardian)

... if King doesn't know that Europe's temperature is largely independent of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning then why is he the government's chief science adviser? Even if it were reliant on tropical warmth transported via the conveyor in accord with the old myth then he's mixing two contraindicated disaster scenarios -- the hot, dry, global warming scenario and the cold, wet, mini-ice age scenario. This is the kind of soapbox pontificating on the apocalypse expected on Hyde Park Corner but it most assuredly is not the sober analysis expected of science advisers.

"No dramatic U-turn seen on U.S. climate change policy" - "LONDON - Washington is likely to stay out of the U.N. Kyoto Protocol for curbing greenhouse gases beyond 2012 even with a shift in power to Democrats from Republicans, a former top U.S. trade and economics official said. Stuart Eizenstat, lead negotiator for former President Bill Clinton on the Kyoto Protocol for curbing greenhouse gas emissions, said changes were afoot at state and business level but the mere mention of Kyoto was a red rag and would remain so. "In the United States there is growing interest and growing concern but no chance of joining Kyoto," he told Reuters by telephone. "The word is radioactive." (Reuters)

Curious revisionism:

Clinton, a Democrat, did not present Kyoto to the Republican dominated Senate in 1998 knowing it would be defeated.

In reality Ozone Al planted a worthless scrawl on a treaty appendage that Byrd-Hagel ensured could never be presented to the Senate for ratification expressly because no caps were proposed for emerging economies. 95-0 is not a Republican thing but a bipartisan "No!". Kyoto has always been a dog that just won't hunt. Wonder why the media persists in saying otherwise?

"Australia's greenhouse levels 'to rise'" - "Australia will slightly overstep its greenhouse emissions target by 2012, but a worrying big rise is predicted within the following decade, a new report has found. Australian Greenhouse Office's annual Tracking to the Kyoto Target report forecast that Australia's greenhouse gas emissions, by the year 2012, will be at 109 per cent of the 1990 emissions level. This is slightly above the 108 per cent Kyoto Protocol target which last year's report found the country was on track to reach." (AAP)

"Climate change has surprising effect on endangered naked carp" - "Forthcoming in the January/February 2007 issue of Physiological and Biochemical Zoology, a groundbreaking study reveals an unanticipated way freshwater fish may respond to water diversion and climate change. Endangered naked carp migrate annually between freshwater rivers, where they spawn, and a lake in Western China, where they feed and grow. However, Lake Qinghai is drying up and becoming increasingly more saline--leading to surprising adjustments to the carps' metabolic rate." (University of Chicago Press Journals)

"Warming seas drive shoreline species north" - "Climate change has forced seashore creatures around Britain to relocate, with warming seas pushing many species of barnacles, snails and limpets north in search of cooler areas of coast, according to a new study." (The Guardian)

"Washington Warming to Southern Plants" - "A warming climate in the Washington area is beginning to affect the area's trees, with cold-loving species finding the weather less welcoming and southern transplants thriving, according to findings released yesterday by the National Arbor Day Foundation. In a revised map of "hardiness zones" -- bands of similar temperatures where similar trees are likely to grow in winter -- the foundation reclassified the entire Washington area in the same zone as parts of North Carolina and Texas. In 1990, the region was on the border of northern and southern growing zones, but a foundation official said that has changed after 15 years of balmy winter weather." (Washington Post)

From CO2 Science this week:

Accelerated Melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet?: Don't bet too much on it.

Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week:
This issue's Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week comes from the Alfonso Basin, Gulf of California, Mexico. To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.

Subject Index Summary:
Drought (North America - United States: Central): Have droughts in the central United States become more frequent, severe or long-lasting in response to what climate alarmists call the "unprecedented" global warming of the 20th century?

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: Big Bluestem, Mungbean, Pitcher Sage, and Tropical Fern.

Journal Reviews:
Storminess in the Netherlands: How has it changed as the climate has warmed to a supposedly "unprecedented" level since the early 1960s?

20th-Century Climate-Model Simulations of ENSO: How realistic are they?

Floods of Northeast Spain Since the Fourteenth Century: What does the record reveal about the response of floods to 20th-century global warming?

The Effect of Elevated CO 2 on Respiration from Soil in Which Pine Trees Are Growing: Is it positive or negative?

The Impact of a Large Increase in Aquatic CO 2 on the Growth of a Common Isoetid: How does the presence of symbiotic fungi influence the effect of a ten-fold increase in aquatic CO 2 concentration on the growth of these submerged plants? (co2science.org)

"Claims by Energy Security Advocates Clash with Consumer Safety Concerns" - "Washington, D.C., December 19, 2006—A new crash study shows, once again, that small cars are less safe than large cars in collisions. That conclusion, however, undercuts last week’s claims by an energy security advocacy group that higher fuel economy standards would not compromise safety." (CEI)

"Human-chimp difference may be bigger" - "BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Approximately 6 percent of human and chimp genes are unique to those species, report scientists from Indiana University Bloomington and three other institutions. The new estimate, reported in the inaugural issue of Public Library of Science ONE (Dec. 2006), takes into account something other measures of genetic difference do not -- the genes that aren't there." (Indiana University)

"Plant biologist seeks molecular differences between rice and its mimic" - "Red rice sounds like a New Orleans dish or a San Francisco treat. But it's a weed, the biggest nuisance to American rice growers, who are the fourth largest exporters of rice in the world. And rice farmers hate the pest, which, if harvested along with domesticated rice, reduces marketability and contaminates seed stocks. Complicating matters is the fact that red rice and cultivated rice are exactly the same species, so an herbicide cannot be developed that seeks out only red rice. It would kill cultivated rice, too." (Washington University in St. Louis)

"ROMANIA: GM Soy to Be Banned" - "BELGRADE - Environmentalists in Romania have secured a victory in getting genetically modified (GM) soy finally banned." (IPS)

December 19, 2006

"Malaria vaccine prompts victims' immune system to eliminate parasite from mosquitoes" - "Researchers at the National Institutes of Health have developed an experimental vaccine that could, theoretically, eliminate malaria from entire geographic regions, by eradicating the malaria parasite from an area's mosquitoes. The vaccine, so far tested only in mice, would prompt the immune system of a person who receives it to eliminate the parasite from the digestive tract of a malaria-carrying mosquito, after the mosquito has fed upon the blood of the vaccinated individual. The vaccine would not prevent or limit malarial disease in the person who received it." (NIH/National Institute of Child Health and Human Development)

"A Weapon Against AIDS: DDT" - "Has a worldwide ban on the use of DDT helped to spread AIDS? And can a resumption of its use help curb two plagues on mankind simultaneously? A new study says yes." (IBD)

"Americans Worried About AIDS, Nutrition in Africa" - "Adults in the United States believe HIV/AIDS is a big concern in Africa, according to a poll by Gallup. 96 per cent of respondents mention the epidemic as a very serious health problem in the continent. Poor nutrition is next on the list with 88 per cent, followed by malaria with 62 per cent, tuberculosis with 53 per cent, and cancer with 30 per cent. According to the United Nations (UN), two million Africans die of AIDS each year, and 1 million more succumb to malaria." (Angus Reid Global Monitor)

“Hype and exaggeration” - "Parents in England are refusing to allow their children to be weighed by school officials, perhaps understanding the harm that results to their children better than officials." (Junkfood Science)

"Australians support mandatory fitness testing to combat childhood obesity" - "Almost four in five Australians (78%) support mandatory fitness testing for school children to combat childhood obesity, according to a new public opinion poll by Research Australia. Support for mandatory fitness testing was almost as high amongst households with dependent children under the age of 16 as those without, with 77% of parents supporting such a measure. Research Australia Chief Executive Officer Rebecca James said such strong support for mandatory fitness testing is surprising given expert opinion on the issue has been divided." (Research Australia)

Australia has had fitness indoctrination campaigns running for decades (notably the 'Life! Be in it!' series) with the net result that Aussies have become significantly heavier and more slothful. We make great armchair athletes but definitely prefer spectator sports to physical exertion.

Poor people are thinner? "Suburban Sprawl May Create Heavier Kids" - "NEW YORK - US children who live in expansive suburbs may start to pay for it with expansive waistlines, new research suggests. Using data from a national health survey, researchers found that teenagers living in sprawling suburbs were more than twice as likely to be overweight as teens in more compact urban areas. The findings echo those of a 2003 study by the same researchers that focused on US adults.

... By contrast, he noted in an interview, people in cities are often forced to be active in their daily lives -- walking to stores and public transportation, carrying groceries up the stairs to their fifth-floor walk-up apartment." (Reuters)

Hmm... "Corps Proposal for Gulf Draws Criticism From Scientists" - "Ambitious federal plans to repair the Gulf Coast and defend it against future hurricanes are coming under fire from many coastal scientists who say they would only perpetuate a costly and wrongheaded approach to storm management." (New York Times)

Has it occurred to anyone that it'd be a lot cheaper and easier just to pay everyone who lives in these regions enough to move to Montana? Whether they do or not is irrelevant -- they've been paid & given an option -- when the inevitable natural disasters strike the Gulf if they're still in the way it's their problem and their cost. Society has an obligation to look after its members but it most assuredly does not have an obligation to maintain and protect them in locations where disasters are inevitable. Get real.

"Misrepresenting Literature on Hurricanes and Climate Change" - "Greg Holland and Peter Webster have a new paper accepted on the statistics of Atlantic hurricanes. While there are many interesting questions that might be raised about the data and statistics in the paper, here I comment on the paper’s treatment of the existing literature, some of which involves work I have contributed to. In this instance I find their characterization of the literature to grossly misrepresent what the existing research actually says. I have shared my comments with Drs. Holland and Webster, to which I received the following reaction from Greg Holland: "We shall not be modifying the paper as a result of your comments." (Pielke Jr., R., Prometheus)

Snowe/Rockefeller Letter and Response (WCR)

"British Lord Stings Senators Rockefeller and Snowe: 'Uphold Free Speech or Resign'" - "WASHINGTON, Dec. 18 -- Lord Monckton, Viscount of Brenchley, has sent an open letter to Senators Rockefeller (D-WV) and Snowe (R-Maine) in response to their recent open letter telling the CEO of ExxonMobil to cease funding climate-skeptic scientists. Lord Monckton, former policy adviser to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, writes: "You defy every tenet of democracy when you invite ExxonMobil to deny itself the right to provide information to 'senior elected and appointed government officials' who disagree with your opinion." (PRNewswire)

"The Climate Change Tipping Point?" - "BROOKLIN, Canada - This was the year that most people in the U.S. and Canada began to take climate change seriously and express hope that their governments would take action to reduce emissions -- but it is unclear if they will take action themselves." (IPS)

"Green laws no slam-dunk in new Congress" - "Environmentalists project success now that Democrats control both chambers. But a push for stronger rules could scramble partisan loyalty." (Sun-Sentinel)

"CO2 and alarmism" - "The U.S. Supreme Court is currently addressing a question of crucial importance to the U.S. economy: Is carbon dioxide, from fossil-fuel burning for energy production a "pollutant" that requires regulation? The petitioners, led by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, demand regulation -- interpreting the Clean Air Act differently than the respondent, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency." (S. Fred Singer, Washington Times)

The Relevance of Nonlinear Effects In the Climate System (Climate Science)

They can say that again: "Hot year on the science beat" - "Global warming stories hogged the national headlines, while O.C. marked big moments in habitat conservation." (Orange County Register)

2006 could well be the year of "global warming" hyperbole. With luck it's a case of the candle burning bright before finally guttering out (we can only hope).

"Comrade Climate-change" - "Global warming is good for Russia." (Economist.com)

While The Economist pays lip service to obligatory "it'll be bad, at least for some" claims of change it does at least acknowledge this is not universally true. In fact we have no means of telling what the net effect of trivial warming will be (and no matter how excited people get over change, 1-3 / 288 K is really trivial warming) and, with the exception of those making a living from otherwise hostile cold, humanity and the biosphere generally will likely be better off with such less colding.

"Carbon dioxide emissions jump despite pledges of reductions" - "New England and Eastern Canada emissions of the major global warming gas carbon dioxide have increased since 2001, though regional leaders promised that year to gradually reduce those emissions, according to a report released Monday. New England governors and Eastern Canadian premieres pledged five years ago to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 10 percent below 1990 levels by 2020. But carbon dioxide emissions -- largely from power plants, cars and trucks -- have continued to increase and are now projected to be as much as 50 percent higher than 1990 levels by 2020." (Boston Globe)

"Coals Of Fire" - "If we scrap all the cars, SUVs, minivans and pickup trucks in America, greenhouse gas emissions could be cut by maybe 2%. What if we could realize a similar reduction without the economic impact? Surely this would be preferable to consumers, businesses and environmentalists alike. So why not try to extinguish the fires that continue to burn unchecked at dozens of coal deposits around the world? This, it is estimated, could cut global emissions of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuel by 2% to 3%." (IBD)

"Global solution to fix climate" - "CUTTING greenhouse gases requires a global strategy that can entice the participation of developing countries by offering them preferential treatment and help with developing ways to measure and report emissions. In a new climate change policy paper released yesterday, the Howard Government's leading economic agency has reinforced its international position, which says a global solution is required to address climate change. Developing countries are projected to emit more than 60 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, with China forecast to be the biggest emitter by 2010 and India the third-largest." (The Australian)

"NZ: Government and NZX talking about carbon trading" - "The Government is talking to the operator of the New Zealand stock exchange about the development of a carbon trading market. Climate Change Minister David Parker announced the move yesterday during the release of a discussion paper on climate change and sustainable land use." (New Zealand Herald)

"NZ: Editorial: Carrot, not stick vital for forests" - "One of the ruder shocks to the public coffers this year sprang from the trend of switching land from forests to pastoral farming when trees are felled. Officials warned deforestation could double the extent to which New Zealand fell short of its target under the Kyoto Protocol, creating a potential liability of hundreds of millions of dollars. The forestry statistics made grim reading. It was estimated that 7000ha of forest felled last year would not be replanted - 18 per cent of the area harvested - while only 6000ha of new forest was planted." (New Zealand Herald)

"NZ: Proposed charge on clearing forests incenses owners" - "Forest owners are up in arms over Government proposals on land use and climate change. Hitting the owners of forests established before 1990 with a cost if they opt to switch to pasture after harvesting their trees is one of the options under consideration in a discussion paper issued yesterday. The Government is also sticking with the policy of retaining the ownership of the credits generated under the Kyoto Protocol for forests planted since 1990 on land not already forested." (New Zealand Herald)

"NZ: Forestry charge plan 'likely to set chainsaws going'" - "The Government risks scoring an own goal in the land-use side of its climate change policy, critics say. Proposals to impose a deforestation liability - either through a flat charge or through a cap-and-trade system - are set to intensify the incentive forest owners already have to get rid of trees before the new regime comes into effect." (Brian Fallow, New Zealand Herald)

"New Zealand: Govt guilty of fraud in statement on climate change" - "The Government is guilty on at least two counts of fraud in its statement today on what it calls climate change, according to the former MetService Chief Meteorologist, Professor Augie Auer, who is chairman of the scientific panel of the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition." (Press Release)

And they think people will vote for governments with a platform of restricting energy and making more it expensive? "UK hooked on 'essential' gadgets" - "British consumers will buy around 30 million electrical and electronic items over the coming six months, according to the Energy Saving Trust (EST)." (BBC)

"EU Environment Chief Seeks 30 Percent Emissions Cut" - "BRUSSELS - The European Union's environment chief said on Monday he will seek a 30 percent cut in EU greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 as the bloc tries to set an example for the world on how to fight global warming. Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas will propose a target for binding cuts in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 for the EU as part of a wide-ranging set of energy and environmental proposals to be unveiled in January." (Reuters)

"EU Won't Haggle With Germany over CO2 Limits - Dimas" - "BRUSSELS - The European Union's environment chief said on Monday there was no room for negotiation with Germany over how much carbon dioxide (CO2) the country's industries would be allowed to emit in 2008-2012." (Reuters)

"Italy Presenting New CO2 Emission Plan to Brussels" - "MILAN - Italy will present its long-awaited plan to cuts carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in 2008-2012 to the European Commission on Monday, a spokesman for the economic development ministry said." (Reuters)

"Concern grows over pollution from jets" - "Aviation and the environment are on a collision course. The number of airline flights worldwide is growing and expected to skyrocket over the coming decades. Aircraft emissions pollute the air and threaten by 2050 to become one of the largest contributors to global warming, British scientists have concluded." (USA TODAY)

Gasp! "Scotland: Executive staff fly despite green pledge" - "Scottish Executive staff racked up more than seven million air miles last year despite promises to become greener. The headline total in 2005 was more than double the previous year, and was equivalent to around 1000 air miles for every worker in the executive. The huge rise was attributed to a new method of calculating the total, which included international as well as domestic flights. A spokesman admitted there had been a "gross underestimate" of the air miles figure in the past." (The Herald)

In fear of global warming zealots? "Execs say carbon trading coming soon" - "More than 50 per cent of business executives think regulated carbon emissions trading will be a reality in Australia in the next two to five years, and most would welcome it, a survey shows. The survey, by PricewaterhouseCoopers of 63 business leaders from 51 organisations, found every single respondent viewed climate change as a strategically significant issue for their organisation in the next five years. And it is the potential for cost savings, not concern about the environment, that is predominately driving their enthusiasm." (AAP)

The scammers have certainly done a good job, making a totally irrelevant and useless mechanism appear essential in dealing with a phantom menace.

"Global Warming Wars: EU Takes On France's Carbon Tax Plan" - "The bloc's trade commissioner argues against a French proposal to tax trade with countries that don't ratify any new global agreement to cut carbon emissions." (EUobserver)

"EU deal will let airlines carry on polluting" - "Air travel will cost more but airlines will be able to go on expanding for decades without reducing the pollution they emit under an EU agreement to be published next week. A leak of the EU carbon trading proposals comes as a report says airlines could make windfall profits of up to £2.7 billion as a result of the way the Government has chosen to deal with the soaring levels of greenhouse gases emitted by the expanding aviation industry." (London Telegraph)

"EU Commission Softens Aviation CO2 Plan - Sources" - "BRUSSELS - The European Commission has softened its proposal on adding aviation to its emissions trading scheme, limiting the first year of the industry's inclusion to intra-EU flights only, EU sources said on Monday." (Reuters)

"EU heads off carbon rift with airlines" - "The inclusion of foreign airlines in the European Union’s carbon emission trading scheme is to be delayed to head off a transatlantic showdown. The US and Asian countries reacted angrily to plans to force all airlines that land and take off in the EU to pay to pollute. Washington had served notice it could take legal action against the EU if it included non-EU airlines in 2011, when the scheme is extended from industry to air travel. On Monday, however, officials in the European Commission, the EU’s Brussels-based executive, thrashed out a compromise confining the scheme to travel within the EU, and therefore to EU airlines, before extending it to all air traffic in 2013. EU officials hope a global aviation carbon trading scheme could be up and running by then, defusing scope for a dispute with big trading partners." (Financial Times)

Moonbat's still flitting about: "Ministers know emissions trading is a red herring and won't work" - "Inter-industry carbon shuffling and optimistic figures mask the true extent of environmental damage caused by flying." (George Monbiot, The Guardian)

George is at least correct in that carbon trades are of no relevance to global mean temperature.

"Gas project cleared after turtles outcry" - "One of the world’s most significant natural gas projects is poised for final approval after Chevron, the leading partner in the A$15 billion (£6 billion) development, won an appeal against environmental objections centred on a rare turtle. But the joint venture partners, which include the Australian subsidiaries of Shell and ExxonMobil, will have to meet stringent environmental conditions and commit to spend more than A$100 million on rehabilitation and protection measures. The decision last week overturned a rejection of the Gorgon development — Australia’s largest resources project — handed down in June by Western Australia’s environmental protection authority. The authority cited risks to the flatback turtle and other endangered species on Barrow Island, off the country’s northwest coast." (London Times)

"Offshore wind farms get go-ahead" - "The green light has been given for two offshore wind farms in the Thames Estuary, one of which will be the world's biggest when it is completed." (BBC)

"World's biggest offshore wind farm approved for Thames estuary site" - "Maritime experts warn that £1.5bn scheme is potential shipping hazard." (The Guardian)

"Village basks in success" - "A VILLAGE in the Italian Alps is finally basking in winter sunlight thanks to a giant mirror installed on a mountain top to reflect the sun's rays into the main square." (Reuters)

"EU Seeks to Revive Tariff-Free "Green" Trade Talks" - "BRUSSELS - Europe's trade chief urged other countries on Monday to resume negotiations on eliminating import duties on industries like clean power generation and renewable energy to help the fight against climate change." (Reuters)

Here's a better idea: switch to real free trade by eliminating all tariffs -- everybody will be better off and the world will be a cleaner, greener place with rising prosperity.

"An Organic Recipe for Development" - "BROOKLIN, Canada - Organic agriculture is a potent tool to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, but also to alleviate poverty and improve food security in developing countries, many experts now believe." (IPS/IFEJ)

People practiced totally "organic" agriculture for thousands of years -- then we learned to do it better, improving people's health and longevity, reducing labor and risk and dramatically reducing competition for wildlife habitat by increasing productivity to an extraordinary extent. It's called modern agriculture while "organic" is a rebranding of "primitive," "ignorant" and "pseudo-religious."

"Food fears most hurt the poor" - "A nonprofit organization for low-income citizens has called on the FDA to intervene against the deceptive marketing of certain food processors. They are concerned it is needlessly frightening poor people away from healthful and affordable foods." (Junkfood Science)

"EU Rejects Appeal on Biotech Crops" - "BRUSSELS, Belgium - European Union environment ministers rejected an appeal Monday to force Austria to lift a ban on two biotech crop products, which the European Commission says violates international trade rules. Austria, keen to prevent genetically modified crops from being grown on its territory, had ignored 1999 and 2000 EU decisions approving two biotech maize products made by Bayer CropScience AG and Monsanto Co. Austria invoked a so-called safeguard clause to prevent the crops from being used." (Associated Press)

"New potato variety boasts less acrylamide, better aroma" - "Scientists at the University of Idaho have produced a genetically modified potato variety of Ranger Russet with enhanced French fry aroma, and reduced amounts of processing-induced acrylamide." (Food Navigator)

December 18, 2006

Top 10 Junk Science Moments of 2006

"Bush expands US malaria programme" - "President George W Bush has said eight more African countries have joined a $1.2bn US programme to fight malaria. At a malaria summit in Washington, Mr Bush said 23 countries were now involved in the five-year programme he launched last year." (BBC)

"In Raising the World’s I.Q., the Secret’s in the Salt" - "ASTANA, Kazakhstan — Valentina Sivryukova knew her public service messages were hitting the mark when she heard how one Kazakh schoolboy called another stupid. “What are you,” he sneered, “iodine-deficient or something?” (New York Times)

"The Chicken Littles Were Wrong: The Bird Flu Threat Flew the Coop" - "It's that time of year again – avian flu panic season. As the weather turns colder in the northern hemisphere and the flu starts making its annual rounds, the media and their anointed health experts are chirping and squawking once again about how we could be blindsided by a pandemic that some have estimated could kill a billion persons worldwide. New books like The Coming Avian Flu Pandemic join last year's The Monster at Our Door: The Global Threat of Avian Flu." (Michael Fumento, The Weekly Standard)

"E. Coli's Enablers" - "The recent E. coli outbreaks are playing as a familiar morality tale of too little regulation. The real story is a much bigger scandal: How special interests have blocked approval of a technology that could sanitize fruits and vegetables and reduce food poisoning in America.

The technology is known as food "irradiation," a process that propels gamma rays into meat, poultry and produce in order to kill most insects and bacteria. It is similar to milk pasteurization, and it's a shame some food marketer didn't call it that from the beginning because its safety and health benefits are well established. The American Medical Association, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration and the World Health Organization have all certified that a big reduction in disease could result from irradiating foods." (Wall Street Journal)

"Weekend Special Feature: The hidden faces of eating disorders" - "Two recent studies in the news offer an invaluable opportunity for all of us to better understand disordered eating." (Junkfood Science)

"FDA puts Acomplia on slow track" - "As reviewed here at Junkfood Science, the full story on Acomplia, the new “miracle weight loss pill” being promoted by Sanofi-Aventis, is considerably different from that presented in the media. Perhaps the FDA reads this blog. :)" (Junkfood Science)

"Australia: Lab tests squeezed out of science" - "SCIENCE experiments are being squeezed out of school classrooms by tight budgets and health and safety laws that in some states require risk assessments for all laboratory work. Leading science educators say many schools no longer have specialised science laboratories, and teachers with insufficient class hours are often forced to drop experiments to ensure they finish the large amount of content they are required to teach." (The Australian)

"Air pollution killer in Asian cities: report" - "Air pollution is killing more than half a million people in Asian cities each year and shows no sign of improving as urban centers expand, studies by the Asian Development Bank show. A recent ADB conference in Indonesia, was told that air pollution had reached "serious" levels in several Asian cities, with the problem worsening due to increased urbanization and motor vehicle use. World Health Organization (WHO) expert Michal Krzyzanowski said that the estimate of premature deaths caused by urban air pollution has been revised upwards to over 750,000 globally, including more than 530,000 in Asia." (AFP)

"Droughts may set off exodus: West told to prepare for influx of people escaping environmental catastrophes" - "Canada and other wealthy nations should prepare for a flood of environmental refugees, and treat them the same as those who flee political danger, international experts say." (Toronto Star)

"UK: Landmark ruling over polytunnels" - "Countryside campaigners have said they are delighted with a High Court ruling that farmers need planning permission to put up plastic polytunnels. The test case was brought by the owner of Tuesley Farm, near Godalming, Surrey, after Waverley Borough Council ordered its polytunnels to be removed. The farm had argued the polytunnels were an "agricultural use of land" and therefore exempt from planning rules. Soft fruit growers said the ruling put at risk Britain's £200m industry." (BBC)

I suppose the countryside campaigners think "global warming" will protect soft fruits from frost...

Interesting aside about polytunnels and greenhouse -- some people still wrongly believe greenhouses work because glass is to some extent infrared opaque, meaning that solar shortwave radiation enters the greenhouse through the glass but Earth-emitted longwave emissions cannot exit via the glass. The polyethylene cladding on the structures under discussion here, however, is virtually infrared transparent and neatly demonstrates that it is in fact convective disruption that is important to the function of physical greenhouses.

This should (but strangely doesn't) dispel the myth of greenhouse gases working "like the glass in a greenhouse" since greenhouse gases facilitate rather than interrupt convective activity. The greater significance of this is that convective adjustment keeps the Earth considerably cooler than would otherwise be the case -- long before human emissions entered the equation there has been more than enough naturally-sourced greenhouse gases in the atmosphere to warm the planet an extra 60-odd °C.

To prevent thermal adjustment it is necessary to heat the mid and upper troposphere more than the lower troposphere so that cooler, more dense upper air does not displace warmer, less dense lower air (the old "hot air rises" thing), which is why the enhanced greenhouse hypothesis relies on upper-tropospheric warming at about 1.3 times the rate of near-surface air (this is also why there is such effort to discredit satellite measures since they show no such disproportionate warming).

Since the only notable warming found in the records is occurring at the surface (although the rate is so trivial the 125-year net change is still within the error bars of our ability to measure Earth's mean near-surface temperature) we can be reasonably assured this is not enhanced greenhouse at work and that the most likely explanation is urbanization of the record.

Silly game, innit guv'nor?

Uh-huh... "Penguins Offer Evidence of Global Warming - Scientist" - "MCMURDO STATION, Antarctica - The first Adelie penguin chicks of the season -- black fluffballs small enough to hold in the hand -- started hatching this month, and the simple fact that there are more of them in the south and fewer of them further north is a sign of global warming, scientists say." (Reuters)

... "Adelie penguins have moved around depending on the temperature at least since the so-called Little Ice Age that occurred around the year 1200, Ainley said." Most records would suggest AD1200 to be during the Medieval Warm Period but it certainly began cooling from about then.

This might upset the "Medieval Warmth was a strictly localized North Atlantic event" crowd because penguins are strictly southern hemisphere birds: ""As the Earth cooled slightly, Adelie colonies began to appear further north during the Little Ice Age," he said. "But since then, Adelies have been retreating, and in the past 30 years this process has been accelerating."" As far as can be determined the Larsen Ice Shelves formed during the Little Ice Age, providing habitat features of use to penguins exploiting sea ice. The recent collapse of some of these new features is oft claimed as a demonstration of anthropogenic warming even though we know them to be an exceptional response to a recent cold period rather a "normal" feature of the Holocene.

And then we come to the non sequitur of the moment: "When asked whether there is any doubt that this is a consequence of human-fueled global warming, Ainley offered a flat "No" in reply." If these critters moved northwards following the end of the Medieval Warm Period and are now returning southwards following the end of the Little Ice Age then these critters are following normal range shifting behavior in response to previously observed changes, no? Regardless, despite Antarctic sea ice extent being extremely sensitive to temperature (it expands massively each southern winter and retreats in the southern summer), mean Antarctic sea ice extent is [drum roll please]... growing.

It should be noted that McMurdo Station is built on the bare volcanic rock of Hut Point Peninsula on Ross Island, the farthest south solid ground that is accessible by ship, adjacent to the Ross Ice Shelf, which in recent years has broken off, reducing its extent back to that first mapped by Scott's team in 1911, coincidentally opening water to sea ice available to penguins at a more southerly extent (wonder if that's why studied penguin populations have extended their southerly range?). It's really sad how AGW colors every report and piece of otherwise interesting research.

"Scientists Drill Back in Time in Antarctica" - "ROSS ICE SHELF, Antarctica - From a distance, the ANDRILL operation appears out of nowhere like a mirage: a white-draped tower amid giant blue boxcars laid out on a frozen sea." (Reuters)

"Getting a better picture on the Arctic" - "Integrated research gives new insights into environment, health of natives." (Toronto Star)

Integrating research is generally a good idea -- always provided people don't overreach with conclusions simply because they have access to mass data (not the same as access to good information).

Misrepresentation Of Climate Science To Canadian Policymakers -Part II (Climate Science)

"The Gore Who Stole Christmas" - "Rob Bradley is an adjunct scholar of the Cato Institute, president of the Institute for Energy Research in Houston, and author of Climate Alarmism Reconsidered (Institute of Economic Affairs). As billions of little light bulbs brighten America this holiday season, Al Gore is calling for thousands across the nation to interrupt their regularly scheduled activities and hold house parties showing his environmental cri de coeur." (Robert L. Bradley Jr., Cato)

Reactions to Report on Al Gore at AGU (Prometheus)

"Convenient Fiction? Documentary Plans to Challenge Gore" - "A critic of "global warming alarmism" began filming a documentary Thursday that seeks to rebut some of the claims former Vice President Al Gore made in his popular movie, "An Inconvenient Truth."

Steven Hayward, editor of the "Index of Leading Environmental Indicators," began filming "An Inconvenient Truth ... Or Convenient Fiction?" with presentations at the Washington, D.C., headquarters of the conservative Heritage Foundation.

Hayward, who is a fellow at the Pacific Research Institute and the American Enterprise Institute, said he hopes to counter some of the "alarmist" claims that supporters of global warming catastrophe theories make." (CNSNews.com)

Useable Information for Policy (Prometheus)

"Do Economists Agree on Climate Change? Yes" - "What long-term impact is global climate change likely to have on the economy? To answer this question (and a slew of others), I polled Ph.D. economists, randomly selected from the ranks of the American Economic Association." (Robert Whaples, TCS Daily)

"'Larva hunters' track malaria's climb into African highlands, seeking climate link" - "KARATINA, Kenya – The soft cries of children broke the morning stillness as parents brought them in to the hillside hospital one by one – feverish, racked by chills, drained by a disease once unknown in the high country of Kenya. Just outside town later this day, scientist James Mutunga scooped water from an irrigation ditch, poured it into a plastic basin, and leaned down with a practiced eye. “See, here, there's a larva. This one's about a day old,” he said, scanning the murk for tiny, newly hatched “anopheles arabiensis,” a malaria-bearing mosquito rarely found in Kenya's uplands." (AP)

"Overconfidence Leads To Bias In Climate Change Estimations" - "Just as overconfidence in a teenager may lead to unwise acts, overconfidence in projections of climate change may lead to inappropriate actions on the parts of governments, industries and individuals, according to an international team of climate researchers. "Climate researchers often use a scenario approach," says Dr. Klaus Keller, assistant professor of geosciences, Penn State. "Nevertheless, scenarios are typically silent on the question of probabilities." (SPX)

"Is the Sea Level Rise Doubling Its Speed?" - "Trumping all previous estimates, one German climatologist believes global sea levels could rise as much as 140 centimeters by the end of the century. That could mean catastrophic hurricanes and floods. But other experts discount the significance of the new model." (Der Spiegel)

"Deborah Coddington: Against the tide of chic climate change gloom" - "Here's a bit of Christmas cheer. Planet Earth is not, contrary to Nicholas Stern, Al Gore and acolytes, ending in a boil-up. According to a book about to be published in Europe later this month, the world is richer, healthier and environmentally better off than ever before." (New Zealand Herald)

"NASA’s data on atmosphere can be viewed via Google Earth from April" - "NASA's climatologists have now hit on a simple way to make statistical data on atmosphere accessible, a software that superimposes data on the global 3D maps provided by Google Earth. Called iEarth, the NASA software scours EOS databanks for information and converts it into a file that can be viewed via Google Earth. Choosing a spot on the planet's surface will prompt iEarth to display ground-based measurements for that location, as well as data relating to the atmosphere and space above it, said Brian Wilson on NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California." (Zee News)

"Charles urges action on climate" - "Climate change is the "biggest threat to mankind", the Prince of Wales has said in an article." (BBC)

Long may she reign...

"Two More Global Warming False Alarms" - "The global warming debate has developed a pattern: In part A, a scientist makes a scary claim and gets headlines for himself, and his funding source, across the known world. In part B, a few months later new evidence blows the scary claim away--but with no press coverage of its demise." (Dennis Avery, ChronWatch)

Chuckle: "INTERVIEW - Scientist Says New Data Backs Sulphur Climate Plan" - "TEL AVIV - Nobel Prize laureate Paul Crutzen says he has new data supporting his controversial theory that injecting the common pollutant sulphur into the atmosphere would cancel out the greenhouse effect." (Reuters)

This must be causing considerable dyspepsia in Green circles. Rumor has it that wannabe energy rationers really thought people would give up development and technology for a hill o' lima beans rather than attempting a technological fix to a perceived problem. Now a somewhat bilious Green lobby must either admit enhanced greenhouse is not the huge problem advertised or actively abet the deliberate 'pollution' of the atmosphere (against which they have also pontificated). What delightful irony.

But wait! It's clean air laws doing it! "Europe's Air Getting Cleaner, UN Agency Says" - "GENEVA - European emissions of acid rain-causing sulphur dioxide have declined by 65 percent since 1990, contributing to a decline in air pollution across Europe, a United Nations agency said on Friday." (Reuters)

"U.S. environment group urges Canadian lenders to limit cash for 'dirty' energy" - "Canada's big banks are coming under increasing pressure by a U.S. group that wants them to limit the amount of financing they give to projects that harm the environment. The Rainforest Action Network likes to brag it has been dubbed "the most savvy environmental agitators in the business" by The Wall Street Journal." (Toronto Star)

Really? We'd probably give 'em a title for kiddie exploitation, harassment, propagandizing... it likely wouldn't be fair to include willfully deceptive since they might really be that ignorant and/or simply misguided. "Miscreants," yes, "savvy," no.

"EU emissions trading failing in current climate" - "Despite the fanfare at its launch, it seems the EU emissions trading scheme will ultimately fail to deliver in its current form. An over-allocation of emissions credits in the first phase continues to subdue the price of carbon below levels necessary to promote genuine investment in carbon abatement. Moreover, a lack of policy cohesion is undermining attempts to get phase two back on track." (EBR)

"Mandelson to reject "green" tariff: report" - "The EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson will on Monday reject proposals for a "green" tariff that would impose a levy on goods from countries that have not ratified the Kyoto Protocol, the Financial Times reported.

He will say that the proposals are not just probably in breach of international trade rules, but also "not good politics", according to the business daily.

The levy, which aims to cancel the competitive advantage gained by countries that are not lowering their carbon emission, would be "highly problematic under World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules and almost impossible to implement in practice," Mandelson will say.

"Not participating in the Kyoto process is not illegal," Mandelson will say in a podcast later Monday for about 50,000 subscribers.

"Nor is it a subsidy under WTO rules ... How would we choose what goods to target? China has ratified Kyoto but has no Kyoto targets because of its developing country status." (AFP)

"Global warming leaves Guardian readers cold, study finds" - "Oh dear - we've been caught out. All that talk of climate change and we still haven't got round to insulating the loft. A damning study from Cambridge University today exposes Guardian readers as being worse than readers of the tabloids or the Telegraph when it comes to insulating their homes. Asked about the most important issues facing the UK, Guardian (and Independent) readers put the environment at the top of their concerns, followed by energy. These responses are a stark contrast to those from readers of the Sun and the Star and the more conservative broadsheets, who are much more worried by asylum seekers, crime, healthcare and terrorism. But when it comes to actually doing something about it, well ..." (EducationGuardian.co.uk)

"Apocalypse Cow" - "Climate Change: A U.N. report indicates that a major contributor to global warming may be the barnyard animals your kids see at the petting zoo, not the SUV you used to drive them there. Just when conventional wisdom had settled on your SUV and the Industrial Revolution as the culprits in imminent and disastrous global warming, a 400-page report by the U.N.'s Food and Agricultural Organization identifies emissions from livestock and the world's rapidly growing cattle herds as the greatest contributors to climate change." (IBD)

"NZ: Forestry climate change options outlined" - "The Government today outlined proposals to stem deforestation and get farmers to change practices to better protect the environment. Forestry Minister Jim Anderton and Climate Change Policy Minister David Parker released Sustainable Land Management and Climate Change on options for the agriculture and forestry sectors. The Government needs to increase the number of trees planted in order to offset carbon emissions if it is to come close to meeting its obligations under the international Kyoto Protocol treaty on climate change." (New Zealand Herald)

"ANALYSIS - China Seeks Leap with Power Super-Highway" - "BEIJING - China's US$25 billion plan to build an ultra-high voltage electricity network by 2020 should enable the world's second largest power market to meet soaring demand and steal a march on Western nations slower to upgrade ailing grids. China, anxious to fix a grid that is rickety and fragmented after years of under-investment, has fast-tracked a scheme to build ultra high voltage (UHV) lines using technology developed decades ago, but applied only in Japan and the former Soviet Union." (Reuters)

"UK: Severn Barrage nearer reality" - "The Severn Barrage is a step closer to reality today after Euro-MPs backed moves to reconsider EU laws that had threatened to scupper the scheme. Wales Euro-MP Eluned Morgan led the European Parliament in yesterday's vote in Strasbourg which, in the face of climate change, called on the European Commission to look again at laws that prevent large-scale tidal energy schemes. The Severn Barrage would cost an estimated £15bn. The 10-mile project would create as much energy as three nuclear power stations." (Western Mail)

Sydney-siders must use a lot of lights on particular occasions... "Sydney to go dark for greenhouse push" - "SYDNEY will turn off its lights next year in a world-first initiative aimed at reducing greenhouse gas pollution. Chief executive officer of the World Wildlife Fund Greg Bourne said Sydney residents would be asked to turn off all their lights for one hour on Saturday March 31 in an attempt to cut Sydney's emissions by 5 per cent in 2007." (The Australian)

... turning lights off for one hour on one particular day (1 of 365 x 24 = 8,760 hours in year) in an attempt to cut 5% (5/100) of emissions. We'll ignore the fact that domestic lighting is a trivial component of society's energy consumption anyway. Reducing a trivial component 0.01% of the time will not reduce emissions by any measurable amount and is a farcical piece of tokenism. Still, it's about as sensible as any of the "enhanced greenhouse" hysteria.

What a wonderful, Utopian vision... "Look to the Sun to cultivate our energy" - "FROM climate change to volatile oil prices, all the signs point to a looming global energy crisis. Confronting the growing challenge means that humanity can no longer afford to ignore the inexhaustible resource found in the organic material that the Sun provides each day through photosynthesis. Solar energy enables plants to absorb carbon gas and produce not only oxygen but matter that the animal kingdom uses for food - and that machines can use for energy." (The Scotsman)

... and what a shame it's nonsense. The fact is there is no "inexhaustible resource found in the organic material that the Sun provides each day through photosynthesis" but rather an inexhaustible list of competing uses for such a limited resource. Major competitors are, of course, conflicting needs for the agro-space (feed people or machines but we can't really do both yet) and the wild critters that would happily exploit the resource with or without people's presence.

This is another angle on the "carbon free" thing that is so fashionable (and completely stupid). Face it, we mine carbon (coal, oil, gas...) specifically because oxidizing carbon is a terrific way of liberating the energy we need to support our population and society. There is no possibility of our not doing so for the foreseeable future. Get over it.

"Panel Urges US 'Carbon Price' to Fight Warming" - "SAN FRANCISCO - The United States needs to urgently set a "carbon price" as the first step in cutting emissions of carbon dioxide contributing to global warming, a panel of environmental and energy experts said Thursday. Whether in the form of a tax on carbon dioxide emissions or a system of caps as under the Kyoto Protocol, putting a firm monetary value on the greenhouse gas would spur businesses to implement new technologies and energy-saving techniques, the panel said." (Reuters)

We already have a purchase/harvest price on carbon. What we desperately need is a return to reality rather this bizarre panic over fractions of a degree change over a century. Get real guys! Extra-tropical regions change diurnal mean temperature more than 20 °C through each and every year, high latitude regions much more and everyone's content with this normal variation. In fact, there is much angst when there is less variation (witness the current fuss over a 'late' snow season in Europe). Sheesh!

"For Skiers, Too Soon to Panic?" - "BURLINGTON, Vt., is usually a snow-covered city in December. But the weather has been so mild in the last month that snowfall is being measured by the meager inch, not by the traditional foot, and Brook Tabor, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service office there, has become an unofficial concierge for the Burlington area." (New York Times)

"Along the Pacific Coast this year, El Nino has been a non-event" - "WASHINGTON - After weeks of relentless, record rain, hurricane-force winds, floods and heavy mountain snows, scientists are starting to wonder when El Nino will show up and provide a break in the ugly weather that's been pummeling the Pacific Northwest. A week ago, the National Weather Service said that this winter's El Nino was intensifying, and it predicted that it would last longer than expected next spring. So far, however, there's been no sign of the weather phenomenon, which usually brings milder and drier conditions to the Northwest, wetter and cooler ones to the Southwest and warmer and drier winter weather to the nation's northern tier. It may still be a little early for El Nino to arrive, but the nasty weather in the Pacific Northwest has left climate experts such as Nate Mantua at the University of Washington hesitant to predict that the worst is over and quietly speculating that some other meteorological force may be at work. "It could be something we haven't picked up on is happening," said Mantua, the assistant director of the university's Climate Impacts Group in Seattle. Other scientists counsel patience." (McClatchy Newspapers)

"Kansas coal power plant brings far-flung protest" - "LOS ANGELES, Dec 15 - The top lawmen of eight states from California to Maine warned on Friday that if a coal-fired power plant in rural Kansas is allowed to become one of the biggest in the United States, it will negate their efforts to cut greenhouse gases." (Reuters)

Here's some sad news for you, guys, your efforts to cut greenhouse gases add up to nothing (no advantage, no value to man nor planet - a big fat and very expensive nothing) and it's very hard to negate a "nothing."

"FEATURE - Liquid Coal: A Cheaper, Cleaner 21st Century Fuel?" - "NEW YORK - When railroads ruled, it was the sweating firemen shoveling coal into the furnace who kept the engines running. Now, nearly two centuries after Stephenson's "Rocket" steam locomotive helped usher in the Industrial Revolution, that same coal could be the fuel that keeps the jet age aloft. But with a twist: The planes of the future could be flown with liquid fuel made from coal or natural gas." (Reuters)

"Abundant energy supplies off-limits" - "Good news: The more we look for oil and natural gas in the United States, the more we find. That might even be great news -- if so much of the energy wasn't out of reach. According to a new Interior Department report, there are substantial onshore energy deposits on federal lands. A companion study of offshore energy reserves released earlier this year reached the same conclusion.

But both reports found much of this energy is either explicitly off-limits or hampered by regulatory constraints that effectively make it so. At least part of the solution to high oil and natural gas prices lies right under our feet, but Congress has failed to change the laws and regulations that keep this domestic energy locked up.

Federal lands are critical because most of America's onshore energy is in the West and Alaska, where more than half the land is under federal control." (Ben Lieberman, Washington Times)

"Wood Boilers Cut Heating Bills. The Rub? Secondhand Smoke." - "Their owners proudly proclaim that they reduce dependence on foreign oil — and save thousands of dollars on heating bills each year. Neighbors say that they create smoke so thick that children cannot play outside, and that it seeps into homes, irritating eyes and throats and leaving a foul stench. They have spawned a rash of lawsuits and local ordinances across the country. A report last year by the New York attorney general’s office found that they produce as much particle pollution in an hour as 45 cars or 2 heavy-duty diesel trucks." (New York Times)

"UK: Protests grow over Blair's plans for national road pricing" - "More than 40,000 people have joined a growing internet protest against government plans to introduce a national system of road pricing to cut congestion. By Friday 44,000 opponents had signed a petition posted by a campaigner on the Prime Minister's official website, dwarfing others logged on it." (The Guardian)

"African-American Organization Urges FDA to Stop Deceptive Marketing of ‘No rBST Milk’" - "WASHINGTON, DC – The National Organization for African Americans in Housing (NOAAH), a non-profit advocate for low-income citizens, has called on the U.S. Food & Drug Administration to stop dairy processors from deceptively marketing “no rBST” milk, which is identical to other milk but costs more." (African-American Times)

"Genetic disorder" - "Michael Crichton’s new novel is a satire on the science and laws surrounding genetics. The subject matter is too absurd to treat any other way, he says." (Sunday Times)

"UK: Farmer quits GM trial after phone threats" - "A Derbyshire farmer has pulled out of a GM crop trial due in the new year, citing fears for his personal safety. The German plant science company BASF confirmed it was looking for a new site to conduct a trial of GM potatoes after the unnamed farmer in Draycott, Derbyshire, withdrew yesterday. He is believed to have received anonymous phone calls about his involvement in the trials." (The Guardian)

December 15, 2006

"Top Ten Junk Science Moments for 2006" - "It's time again for JunkScience.com's review of the most notable junk science events of the year – a "top 10" list that may sometimes make you think that the year 1007, rather than 2007, is just around the corner." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"Global fund steps up efforts to curb malaria" - "WASHINGTON - An international fund said on Wednesday it had greatly expanded malaria prevention and treatment efforts this year that have helped beat back the disease in pockets of Africa, but much more needs to be done." (Reuters)

"Bush says ending malaria 'possible'" - "Malaria, a disease that kills two African children every minute, can be eliminated if governments, private business and religious organizations have the will to make it happen, President Bush said yesterday. "It is possible to eliminate malaria," Mr. Bush said at the White House Summit on Malaria. "We know exactly what it will take to prevent and treat the disease ... It is not going to require a miracle. It requires smart, sustained effort." (Tom Carter, Washington Times)

"A new idea: find out what works" - "A link between Malaria and HIV has made ignorance too costly to tolerate." (Michela Wrong, New Statesman)

"US talks aim to reverse malaria failure" - "The world's leading malaria specialists gather in Washington on Thursday against the backdrop of an uncomfortable truth: their continued failure to tackle one of the most lethal diseases." (Financial Times)

"Can genetic engineering fight mosquito-borne diseases?" - "Without mosquitoes, epidemics of dengue fever and malaria could not plague this planet. The skin-piercing insects infect one person after another while dining on a favorite meal: human blood. Eliminating the pests appears impossible. But scientists are attempting to re-engineer them so they cannot carry disease. If they manage that, they must create enough mutants to mate with wild insects and one day to outnumber them." (Scripps Howard)

"Japan Chemical Industry Concerned over New EU Rules" - "TOKYO - Japan's chemical industry on Thursday said it was concerned about the effects of a new European landmark law designed to regulate toxic chemicals, saying the rules could hurt Japanese chemical firms and their user industries." (Reuters)

"ABC's Push for Stark Regulation" - "Hyping recent E. coli cases, reporter Lisa Stark pushed liberal calls for new government agency to regulate food industry from 'farm to fork.'" (Ken Shepherd, Business & Media Institute)

"Reversing Trend, Big Drop Is Seen in Breast Cancer" - "Rates of the most common form of breast cancer dropped from August 2002 to December 2003, researchers reported." (Gina Kolata, New York Times)

Possibly, but attributing a fall from August 2002 to December 2003 to women's change in behavior following release of a study in July 2002 assumes we can detect breast cancers at most a matter of weeks or months from inception and that HRT is hugely causal -- something not indicated by rates between women taking HRT and those who never do (or did). Did a lot more women frightened by claims of increased risk present for testing, with a much larger pool of negative results suppressing the relative proportion of positive results? Sounds like a pretty big stretch to suggest causality.

"Larger-size clothes should come with warning to lose weight, say experts" - "Clothes made in larger sizes should carry a tag with an obesity helpline number, health specialists have suggested. Sweets and snacks should not be permitted near checkouts, new roads should not be built unless they include cycle lanes and food likely to make people fat should be taxed, they say in a checklist of what we might “reasonably do” to deal with obesity." (London Times)

Still spinning! "Global warming link to hurricanes likely but unproven" - "Global warming is likely to affect cyclones and hurricanes, concludes a new statement from 125 experts, but they say the evidence for this to date is inconclusive. "There could be an effect but it's impossible to say for sure," says Julian Heming of the UK Met Office. The statement was issued at the end of a workshop organised by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO)." (NewScientist.com news service)

Our paper “Was the 2003 European summer heat wave unusual in a global context” Has Been Published (Climate Science)

"2006 Set to be Third Warmest on Record in US - NOAA" - "WASHINGTON - This year is poised to be the third warmest in the contiguous United States since records began 111 years ago, US government weather forecasters said on Thursday." (Reuters)

"2006 set to be sixth warmest on record: UN weather agency" - "2006 is set to be the sixth warmest year on record, continuing the trend of global warming and extreme weather conditions worldwide, the UN's weather agency said Thursday. The global mean surface temperature increased by 0.42 degrees Celsius above the 1961 to 1990 mean of 14 degrees which is used as a reference, the World Meteorological Organisation announced." (AFP)

"Global Warming Trend Continues in 2006, Climate Agencies Say" - "A decades-long global warming trend that most climate experts say is linked to rising levels of heat-trapping smokestack and tailpipe gases continued apace this year, according to summaries issued yesterday by several national and international climate agencies. Figures differed slightly, with British weather officials and the World Meteorological Organization, based in Geneva, estimating that 2006 would end up the sixth warmest year since modern records began and NASA scientists putting it fifth. But all of the reports noted that temperatures greatly above normal were recorded in places as varied as Australia and Scandinavia’s Arctic islands, shattering a variety of longstanding records." (New York Times)

Disaster gazumping? "Oceans May Rise up to 140 cms by 2100 Due to Warming" - "OSLO - The world's oceans may rise up to 140 cms (4 ft 7 in) by 2100 due to global warming, a faster than expected increase that could threaten low-lying coasts from Florida to Bangladesh, a researcher said on Thursday." (Reuters)

So the oceans are estimated to be likely to rise more than, um... estimated. At this stage, do we have any evidence of acceleration in the roughly 20 cm (8") per century rate estimated for recent centuries? Short answer: "no." Longer answer: "nope."

"Antarctic Glaciers Won’t Melt" - 'Atmospheric temperature should be much higher to make continental glaciers melt, said the head of Science and Research Institute of Arctic and Antarctic Regions Ivan Frolov.

"Many hundred years or 20-30 degree temperature rise would have made glaciers melt", says the scientist. Today Greenland's and Antarctic glaciers have the tendency to grow.

Scientists have two opposite points of view concerning Earth's climate – global warming and global cooling. Mr. Frolov says cooling and warming periods are common for our planet – temperature fluctuations amounted to 10-12 degrees. However, such fluctuations haven't caused glaciers to melt. Thus, we shouldn't be afraid they melt today." (IC Russia)

Misrepresentation Of Climate Science To Canadian Policymakers -Part I (Climate Science)

"Asia's greenhouse gas 'to treble'" - "Asia's greenhouse gas emissions will treble over the next 25 years, according to a report commissioned by the Asian Development Bank (ADB)." (BBC)

"India Says Its Carbon Emissions Not Harming World" - "NEW DELHI -- India, considered to be one of the world's top polluters, said on Thursday that it was not doing any harm to the world's atmosphere despite increasing emissions of greenhouse gases." (Reuters) | TABLE - Industrialised Nations' Output of Greenhouse Gases (Reuters)

In realistic terms, neither is anyone else.

"Sea creatures' global warming fix" - "A simple sea creature could help to address the problem of global warming, a scientist claims." (BBC)

Uh-huh... "Burp vaccine cuts greenhouse gas emissions" - "You cannot stop a sheep belching or farting, but you can make sure its eructations are less damaging to the environment. Belches and, to a far lesser degree, farts from sheep, cows and other farm animals account for around 20% of global methane emissions. The gas is a potent source of global warming because, volume for volume, it traps 23 times as much heat as the more plentiful carbon dioxide." (New Scientist)

... actually this is valuable research -- on more efficient ruminant feed utilization and more profitable animal husbandry. What a shame it has to masquerade as "climate change" research in order to attract funding and official support. Such a sad comment on science and society.

"A Review of Early Criticisms of the British Government's 'Stern Report' on Climate Change" - "WASHINGTON, Dec. 14 -- The Center for Science and Public Policy (CSPP), a Washington, D. C. based non-profit has released a review compilation of criticisms of the British government's "Stern Report." Says Executive Director, Robert Ferguson, "This compilation for policy makers represents but a small sampling of the virtual flood of critical responses continuing to pore forth. Truly telling is that the Stern Report itself acknowledges there is no "empirical support" for its claims." (U.S. Newswire)

Featured scam of the moment: "PG&E to let customers pay to offset global warming emissions" - "SAN FRANCISCO - Pacific Gas & Electric Co. will soon start offering its customers a chance to fight global warming by offsetting the greenhouse gas emissions generated by their home energy use." (Associated Press)

"It's enough to turn your neighbors green" - "Developed countries’ motivation to invest in greenhouse gas emission-reduction projects in developing countries is based on their desire to reduce air pollution they receive from abroad and keep transaction costs down, rather than to achieve global-scale pollution reductions. This analysis1 by Nives Dolsak and Maureen Dunn, from the University of Washington-Bothell, in the US, has been published in Springer’s journal Policy Sciences." (Springer)

"UK: Towards a zero carbon future" - "A challenging package of measures for planners and housebuilders, which will help to reduce carbon emissions and bring innovation to the building industry, was published by Communities Secretary Ruth Kelly. The aim is to put tackling climate change at the heart of the planning system and the way we build new homes." (Department for Communities and Local Government)

"The People Have Spoken - For Higher Energy Costs?" - "Will the incoming Congressional majority misread their mandate from the American people? Well, on energy policy they are off to an incredibly fast start." (Ben Lieberman, TCS Daily)

"NZ: Brian Fallow: Energy prices - facing up to facts" - "The Government's energy strategy is a step towards having energy prices that tell the environmental truth, and that is a step in the right direction. The prospect of higher energy costs will not be greeted with joy. But Energy Minister David Parker has a point when he argues that in a carbon-constrained world an electricity system, or even a transport system, relying mainly on renewable sources of energy would be a national competitive advantage. That assumes, of course, that the world is going that way." (New Zealand Herald)

"Exxon Mobil issues bullish outlook: Predicts modest future for ethanol" - "OTTAWA — Global oil and gas reserves are abundant, and even at lower prices companies could extract them profitably, Exxon Mobil Corp. said yesterday in its latest 25-year outlook. On a conference call yesterday, Exxon Mobil's Jamie Spellings said energy demand growth will slow as a result of increased efficiency and concerns about global warming, but the company still forecasts total energy consumption will climb by 60 per cent between 2000 and 2030. Coal, crude oil and natural gas will continue to serve as the inexpensive fuels of choice while alternative sources such as ethanol, wind and solar -- while growing rapidly -- will have only a modest share on the total energy market, according to the company's outlook. "We expect fossil fuels will remain roughly 80 per cent of total energy demand in 2030," said Mr. Spellings, Exxon's general manager for corporate planning." (Globe and Mail)

"Coal is still king" - "Zero-emission fossil fuels will remain cost competitive for at least a century." (Mark Jaccard, sp!ked)

"Harper defends oil sands tax breaks" - "OTTAWA - Prime Minister Stephen Harper was at odds with opposition parties on Thursday over whether to restrict tax benefits for the burgeoning oil sands industry in order to curb greenhouse gas emissions." (Reuters)

"E.ON Says Needs Benign CO2 Regime to Build Plants" - "FRANKFURT - Utility E.ON needs favourable EU rulings on carbon dioxide (CO2) quotas if it is to proceed with billions of euros in planned power station investments in Germany over coming years, it said on Thursday." (Reuters)

"A cleaner, greener future for EU energy policy?" - "The European Parliament says there should be binding targets for reducing carbon dioxide emissions and on increasing the use of renewable energy sources. These views are set out in a wide ranging report on the Commission's energy strategy proposals, adopted by a large majority on Thursday." (European Parliament)

"Energy survey reveals gap between attitudes and action" - "A new survey of public attitudes towards energy and the environment has shown a clear divergence between people’s views as citizens and their actions as consumers." (PhysOrg)

"Is thorium the answer to our energy crisis?" - "It could power the planet for thousands of years, the reactors would never blow up and the waste is relatively clean. So is thorium the nuclear fuel of the future?" (London Independent)

"This electric radicalism marries green politics with social justice" - "David Miliband's plan for carbon allowances raises a red/green standard that the blue/green Tories can never match." (Polly Toynbee, The Guardian)

And nor should they, Polly, nor should they.

"Britain Backs Airport Growth Despite Global Warming" - "LONDON - The British government gave the green light on Thursday to a major expansion of the country's booming airports, winning praise from operators but outraging environmentalists over the impact on global warming." (Reuters)

"UK: Government backs third Heathrow runway" - "The government put the economy in front of the environment in its air transport report this morning as it reaffirmed support for a third runway at Heathrow." (Guardian Unlimited) | 'Greenwash' claim as runway expansion plans confirmed (The Guardian)

"Aviation climate costs to be measured" - "The government has announced plans for a new mechanism aimed at taking environmental issues into account when making decisions on increases in aviation capacity." (ePolitix)

"CSU study links ag issues to warming" - "Changes to agricultural practices could offset up to one-seventh of the country's greenhouse gas emissions, according to a Colorado State University study. "When most people think of greenhouse gas emissions, they think fossil fuels and cars," said Keith Paustian, a CSU professor and one of the authors of the report. "The other key components of greenhouse gas emissions is from agricultural land issues." (Denver Post)

December 14, 2006

"Proposed trans fat ban based on a lot of junk science" - "Dear Chicago Restaurantgoer: Ald. Ed Burke (14th) proposed last July that the Chicago City Council ban restaurants from serving foods made with vegetable oils containing trans fats. The proposal follows New York City's new ban on trans fats. The alarm is directly traceable to "research" by Harvard University's Alberto Ascherio and Walter Willett, the promoters-in-chief of trans fat fear..." (Steven Milloy, Chicago Sun-Times)

"Malaria initiative progresses" - "Today the White House will host its first-ever summit on malaria. It will celebrate a major change in U.S. malaria control policy and should provide the president some much needed good publicity. It is too early to conclusively prove the efficacy of enacted policy changes. But there is no doubt the Global Health Bureau of the U.S. Agency for International Development, which is making the changes, is moving foreign assistance in the right direction." (Roger Bate, Washington Times)

"The branding of malaria: A big opportunity for business-minded philanthropists" - "THIS Thursday George and Laura Bush are due to host a most unusual product launch. The new brand to be unveiled with much fanfare at a White House summit is malaria―or, more precisely, the eradication of malaria. The brains behind the summit, a group of business leaders and philanthropists operating under the auspices of a non-governmental organisation called Malaria No More, are convinced that the time is right to launch what they hope will be the next big thing in the giving business." (Economist.com)

"NZ scientists make malaria advance" - "New Zealand researchers are working on a novel weapon to combat malaria parasites that kill about two million people a year, mostly in the tropics. A team of chemists at Crown research institute Industrial Research in Lower Hutt is working with Albert Einstein Medical College in the US to exploit the fact that malaria parasites cannot make compounds called purines needed for reproduction." (New Zealand Herald)

"Scientists Explore New Approaches to Fight Malaria" - "Experts and scientists around the world agree that the fight against malaria will only be won through a combination of approaches ranging from new medications and the final discovery of a vaccine, to the use of mosquito bed nets and residential spraying of insecticide. The John Hopkins Malaria Research Institute in (the eastern city of) Baltimore, Maryland is working in many of the fronts. VOA's Melinda Smith narrates for producer Zulima Palicio." (VOA)

"The Global Poor Are Getting Richer, Faster" - "In a report out today, The World Bank looks both at current economic growth rates and projections for the next 25 years. The report, Global Economics Prospects 2007 says "developing economies are projected to grow by 7.0 percent in 2006, more than twice as fast as high-income countries (3.1 percent), with all developing regions growing by about 5 percent or more." While these nations have only 22 percent of global GDP they accounted for 38 percent of the increase in global output. And they are expected to increase their share of global output by about 50 percent by 2030." (James Peron, TCS Daily)

"U.S. Businesses, Consumers to Feel Effects of Massive European Chemical Regulations" - "Washington, D.C., December 13, 2006—Today the European Parliament passed a bill to vastly expand the European Union’s regulation of chemicals. “The new program will have negative economic impacts around the world and likely serve as a trade barrier to U.S. businesses,” said Angela Logomasini, director of risk and environmental policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute." (CEI)

"Time’s Toy Reporting Scares Parents" - "But is it ethical to publish a one-source tip sheet for parents when the source can’t prove a risk?" (Trevor Butterworth, STATS)

Junkfood Science Exclusive: “What if you could pop a pill and lose weight?” - CBS Evening News publicized just such a “magic pill” that’s already available in Europe and coming here. Viewers were told that this “remarkable new obesity drug shows promise as an entirely new class of drugs” and works by turning off the same part of the brain that’s turn on by marijuana and gives people those classic munchies. The drug is rimonabant, also known as Acomplia. The dieter interviewed in the story called it “my miracle pill.”

"If it sounds to good to be true..." - "Healthcare professionals have long sought to change the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA). The pharmaceutical and weight loss industries have realized it is in their best interests to do so, too. While they educate the public on the ineffectiveness and possible dangers of these unregulated (and competing) products, some valuable information is coming out of the debates." (Junkfood Science)

"Frequent weighing linked to teen eating problems" - "NEW YORK - Teenage girls who keep close tabs on their weight may be more likely to take up unhealthy weight-control habits, a new study shows." (Reuters Health)

"The battle over our children" - "A recent post discussed the unsound “healthy” school lunches being proposed by special interest groups here in America. Similar recommendations are popping up in England, where parents are speaking out and fighting back:" (Junkfood Science)

"Commercial marketing in schools may discourage healthy nutrition environment for students" - "Commercial activity permitted in schools, such as soft drink ads; the use of Channel One broadcasts in classrooms; sales incentives from soft drink bottlers; and exclusive beverage contracts may discourage a "nutrition-friendly" environment for students, says researchers." (Penn State)

"Antioxidants fail again" - "The results of the Women’s Health Study continue to come in. The latest, examining the effects of long-term vitamin E supplementation on memory and cognitive function, was just published in the Archives of Internal Medicine." (Junkfood Science)

"Dirty chicken or foul fears?" - "It seems we can’t turn on the news without hearing some scary story about the deadliness of our food. Regrettably, most of us don’t realize that the level of media-reported crisis is more reflective of politics than the safety of our food supply. Special interest consumer groups, led by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), are working for legislation to create a new agency for food-safety, with increased authority to enforce new regulations and penalties. It’s part of their global initiatives begun two years ago to organize consumer groups around the world to regulate multi-national food companies." (Junkfood Science)

"Study reveals clean air challenge for major Asian cities" - "Hundreds of millions of city dwellers breathe air so polluted with chemicals, smoke and particles that it dramatically exceeds World Health Organization limits with major impacts on health and the environment. A major study on the state of air pollution in 20 of Asia’s key cities shows that while there have been improvements in achieving better air quality, air pollution still poses a threat to health and quality of life of many people." (University of York)

"US regions paying for foreign pollution: business group" - "The US government should stop punishing localities that breach air-quality standards because of pollution from places like China and India, the biggest business lobby group said Wednesday. The Chamber of Commerce said that in many instances, states and counties across the United States are violating the Clean Air Act through no fault of their own. But when found by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to be in breach of the act, the localities face costly requirements to clean up their air and see corporate investment dry up." (AFP)

"New Publishing Rules Restrict Scientists" - "The Bush administration is clamping down on scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey, the latest agency subjected to controls on research that might go against official policy. New rules require screening of all facts and interpretations by agency scientists who study everything from caribou mating to global warming. The rules apply to all scientific papers and other public documents, even minor reports or prepared talks, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press. Top officials at the Interior Department's scientific arm say the rules only standardize what scientists must do to ensure the quality of their work and give a heads-up to the agency's public relations staff." (AP)

"Study finds oysters can take heat and heavy metals, but not both" - "Pollution is bad for the sea life and so is global warming, but aquatic organisms can be resilient. However, even organisms tough enough to survive one major onslaught may find that a double whammy is more than their molecular biology can take." (PhysOrg)

"State sets record for tornadoes in 2006" - "BLOOMINGTON -- Illinois has seen a record 126 tornadoes so far this year, according to the National Weather Service. That number is slightly more than the previous record of 120 set just three years ago. Don’t blame the rise on global warming. Weather experts put a less ominous spin on the news, citing better detection rather than climate change as the cause." (Pantagraph)

Yes... and no: "Methane ices pose climate puzzle" - "Scientists drilling ocean sediments off Canada have discovered methane ices at much shallower depths than expected. The finding has important implications for climate studies, they believe. The melting of hydrates, as they are known, is a suspected contributor to past and present increases in atmospheric methane, a greenhouse gas. If shallow ices are destabilised in a warming world, it could have a positive feedback effect and drive temperatures even higher, the researchers warned. "The rate of increase in the Earth's atmosphere for methane is much faster than that for carbon dioxide," said Timothy Collett, the co-chief scientist of the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP). "Methane is 20 times more effective as a greenhouse gas than CO2. The source of this methane is uncertain, but there are a number of scientists who have looked at gas hydrates as contributing to this recent change."

Granted, methane is a more effective greenhouse gas, there's nothing outrageous about the "20 times" claim and it did rise proportionately more rapidly (for a while, anyway, although it appears in equilibrium at present). Does this make it a more important GHG than carbon dioxide? Does it even rate compared with water vapor? Actually not -- methane's presence in the atmosphere is measured in parts per billion, carbon dioxide in parts per million and water in parts per hundred (0-4%). Although water vapor is treated as a feedback in climate models (because it does respond to temperature to some extent) there is no contention about it being the most important greenhouse gas.

Do we expect runaway greenhouse warming due to water vapor feedback? Of course not (if that was going to happen it would have occurred with the very 'first' summer and ice age states would never be achievable) because all water vapor entering the atmosphere must eventually leave it via precipitation and precipitation efficiency determines much of our global temperature (high precipitation efficiency leading to cool, dry climates and low efficiency yielding warm, most climes).

Not well modeled (or understood) is how increases in greenhouse forcing might effect convective adjustment (convective towers carrying latent and sensible heat upwards and large scale circulation carrying it both upwards and polewards), if at all. Given that convective adjustment already circumvents the equivalent of more than 450 Wm-2 downwelling radiation it is obvious that even a tiny increase in convective adjustment is sufficient to completely compensate for the slight increase in greenhouse activity estimated from human contribution.

"Soil nutrition affects carbon sequestration in forests" - "On December 11, USDA Forest Service (FS) scientists from the FS Southern Research Station (SRS) unit in Research Triangle Park, NC, along with colleagues from Duke University, published two papers in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS) that provide a more precise understanding of how forests respond to increasing atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2), the major greenhouse gas driving climate change." (Southern Research Station - USDA Forest Service)

Oh boy... "Can Dr. Evil Save The World?" - "Forget about a future filled with wind farms and hydrogen cars. The Pentagon's top weaponeer says he has a radical solution that would stop global warming now -- no matter how much oil we burn." (Rolling Stone)

... now here's some of the problems with beating up the mildly interesting intellectual exercise of enhanced greenhouse into a panic-ridden global catastrophe. All would-be world savers should sit on their hands and touch nothing -- when the inevitable cooling occurs just look wise and say "We knew that...".

"Recalculating the Costs of Global Climate Change" - "The Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change was released Oct. 30 and became front-page news because of its striking conclusion that we should immediately invest 1 percent of world economic activity (referred to as global gross domestic product in the report) to reduce the impact of global warming. The British report warned that failing to do so could risk future economic damages equivalent to a reduction of up to 20 percent in global G.D.P.

These figures are substantially higher than earlier estimates of the costs of global warming, and environmental economists have studied the 700-page report to try to figure out why the numbers are so large.

Recently two noted economists, William D. Nordhaus of Yale and Sir Partha Dasgupta of the University of Cambridge, have written critiques of the Stern report that try to solve this puzzle. The reports are available at http://nordhaus.econ.yale.edu/SternReviewD2.pdf and http://www.econ.cam.ac.uk/faculty/dasgupta/Stern.pdf." (New York Times)

"Kyoto Canard" - "Climate-change activists and Democrats on Capitol Hill are gearing up to push the U.S. to limit so-called greenhouse gases. In their telling, America must save mankind from an eco-Apocalypse by adopting the arbitrary targets popular with Europe and other Kyoto Protocol signatories.

Well, let's look at results in the real world, as opposed to this Kyoto spin. Recent data show that placing artificial limits on emissions not only fails to make the world cleaner, it is also counterproductive, even on the environmentalists' own grounds. Contrary to caricature, the American approach offers more promise than the European one." (Wall Street Journal)

"Archive of history in stalagmite" - "An Oregon Caves' spike tells of ice ages and warming periods with climate data for 14,000 years." (The Oregonian)

Obligatory eye-roller: "The hottest year since 1659 spells global doom" - "Central England sweltered in temperatures that are likely to make this year the hottest since records began in 1659, according to a report published by meteorologists." (London Telegraph)

"This year will be Britain's warmest since records began, say scientists" - "Britain is on course for the warmest year since records began, according to figures from the Met Office and the University of East Anglia yesterday. Temperatures logged by weather stations across England reveal 2006 to have been unusually mild, with a mean temperature of 10.84C. The record beats the previous two joint hottest years of 1999 and 1990 by 0.21C." (The Guardian)

"Scientists not sure about global warming in Ga.; Georgia actually cooled down slightly over years" - "What does global warming mean to you? State climatologist and University of Georgia atmospheric sciences professor David Stooksbury answers questions on climate change in Georgia." (University of Georgia)

Climate Effects of Regional Nuclear War - Another Example Of Why Climate Change Assessments Need to Move Beyond The Narrow Focus on the Radiative Effects of CO2 (Climate Science)

"Climate McCarthyism and Eco-Inquisitions" - "Censoring news and views to advance ideologies and legislation" (Paul Driessen, Townhall)

"The Global Warming Inquisition and the Suppression of 'Skeptic' Heresy" - "Imagine living in a world where no one is allowed to think independent thoughts or take independent actions. Only pre-approved human response would be acceptable. To break the rule and engage in forbidden thought would result in terrible retribution, perhaps leading literally to ones destruction." (Tom DeWeese, ChronWatch)

"Happy Holidays, Thanks to CO2" - "Like many of you, we have a Christmas tree here decorated with candy canes with a cute little coal train running around the base. The smell of pine is terrific and we are looking forward to eating the candy canes after the holidays. We are all planning a great holiday season and we are looking forward to a bright future. We hope you and your family share our optimism during this fun time of the year." (WCR)

"Britain and its new four seasons" - "Sir David Attenborough, the elder statesman of the natural world, called yesterday for a return to wartime values to save the planet from global warming. He hit out at 4x4s, electrical standby facilities and lights that are left on unnecessarily as he demanded a change in moral and intellectual attitudes towards climate change. He said that even tiny amounts of wasted electricity were immoral because they put “our grandchildren’s lives in danger”." (London Times) | Attenborough in 'waste not, want not' call to tackle global warming (London Independent)

For a man who has spent his life observing and commenting natural change and adaptation Sir David has an odd disconnect between past and contemporary change. Odd.

"Senate ahead of the House on emissions" - "WASHINGTON, Dec. 13 The Senate is leading the House in climate change legislation, according to a presentation by the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. Three bills are expected to be reintroduced at the start of the 2007 and more hearings on climate change are expected." (UPI)

"UK: Miliband tells Brown to go green or lose next election" - "Labour could lose the next general election unless it raises its game on green issues, the Environment Secretary, David Miliband, will warn today. He will predict that credibility on the environment will be a "threshold issue" to rank alongside national security, the economy and public services. "Flunk on any of these and you are unelectable," he will say." (London Independent)

As opposed to being unelectable signing on to this nonsense?

"Banks Raise 165 Million Euro Fund from Kyoto Laggards" - "LONDON - Countries and companies lagging their climate change targets under the Kyoto Protocol on global warming have invested 165 million euros (US$218.5 million) in a clean energy fund run by the EBRD and EIB, the banks said." (Reuters)

"Key Role for UK Farms Seen in Meeting Carbon Goals" - "LONDON - Farming can play a key role in helping Britain meet its targets for reducing carbon emissions by strengthening its ability to soak up carbon dioxide given off by other industries, the National Farmers Union said." (Reuters)

"Russia could top World Bank '05 list for gas waste" - "PARIS, Dec 13 - Russia, the world's top natural gas exporter, was likely the world's biggest producer in 2005 of natural gas flaring -- which wastes energy and contributes to global warming -- the World Bank's global gas flaring reduction partnership (GGFR) said on Wednesday. "Russia in 2004 reported some 15 billion cubic metres of flaring but we know that the real figure is much higher and estimate Russia could top the list for 2005," GGFR spokesman Mauricio Rios said on the sidelines of the GGFR conference in Paris. Nigeria was the biggest gas-flaring offender in 2004." (Reuters)

"INTERVIEW - Energy Bill Savings from Biofuels Overrated - Wbank" - "WASHINGTON - Biofuels like ethanol might not be the panacea to soaring energy bills and demand for farm-grown supply could bring even more volatility to global crop prices, a World Bank official said Wednesday." (Reuters)

"Animal cloning no barnyard bijou" - "There was a time when you would be labeled a right-wing extremist for demanding the Food and Drug Administration base decisions on morality and ethics rather than science. No more. The political left regained a congressional majority in part by co-opting moral values voters. Now, they plan to use the same strategy to win supporters for their regulatory agenda. Take the FDA policy on animal cloning. The agency is set to release a comprehensive study this week concluding that meat and milk from cloned cows, pigs, and goats are safe for consumers. Thousands of cloned animals have been born since the world met Dolly the sheep in 1996, but critics still claim the process will create monstrous new hybrids in some kind of barnyard "Boys from Brazil." Nothing could be further from the truth." (Gregory Conko, Washington Times)

"CHILE: Time for Straight Talk about Transgenics?"  -"SANTIAGO, Dec 12 - In Chile, transgenic seeds may only be planted to produce crops for export. However, imported transgenic foods can be eaten here. Both those in favour of and against transgenics, or genetically modified organisms (GMOs), agree on the need to regulate an area described as "confusing," "contradictory" and "inconsistent." (IPS)

December 13, 2006

"Obesity 'worse than drinking or smoking'" - "Obesity is more damaging to health than smoking, heavy drinking or poverty, a Government agency said yesterday as it launched guidance on how an increasingly fat nation can get back into shape." (London Telegraph)

"UK experts back primate research" - "There is a "strong scientific and moral case" for using primates in some research, a report has concluded. It said in certain circumstances, using non-human primates remained the only way of answering important scientific and medical questions." (BBC)

"Germany: Merkel Wants to Loosen EU Wildlife Protection" - "The German government wants to relax European wildlife conservation laws to allow businesses to grow more easily. That's a bad idea, says the WWF. The field hamsters need our help." (Der Spiegel)

"A ton of Canadians will agree with this crackdown on toxic chemicals" - "Canadian executives polled for their views on the environment have given a thumbs-down to the Kyoto accord, but say Ottawa should make it a priority to cut the poisons in our air, water and food." (Alan Ferguson, The Province)

With the improvements since the '50s cutting the "poisons in our air, water and food" is an effort of rapidly diminishing return -- this is not usually indicative of the need for priority effort. Granted, Kyoto never was and never will be worthy of any consideration but that does not mean you have to waste effort on other trivialities -- it doesn't mean you have to waste effort at all. How about doing something useful, instead?

"Andrew Bolt: Greenies with envy" - "NOT enough that a ban on new dams has your gardens and your sports grounds dying?" (Herald Sun)

"Australia: Empty forests blamed for crisis" - "SAVE the trees campaigners have been so successful they have been accused by two former fire chiefs of contributing to the Victorian bushfire crisis by stripping the forests of workers. Athol Hodgson - chief fire officer with the Victorian Department of Conservation, Forests and Lands from 1984 to 1986 - warned that the state was at risk from feral fires due to flawed policies and blinkered politics." (The Australian)

Not if the AGW brigade have their way... "World Bank Says Global GDP May Double by 2030, Easing Poverty" - "Dec. 13 -- The global economy may double in 25 years as trade expands, with most of the benefits going to developing countries, the Washington-based World Bank said in a report released today. The global economy may expand to $72 trillion in 2030 from $35 trillion last year. The lender warned that some regions may be unable to capitalize on growth, which may also contribute to global warming, and it renewed calls for reduced trade barriers that would help spur development." (Bloomberg)

Struggling to find a downside? "Drop in acid rain altering Appalachian stream water" - "Appalachian hardwood forests may be getting a respite from acid rain but data from a long-term ecological study of stream chemistry suggests that the drop in acid rain may be changing biological activity in the ecosystem and hiking dissolved carbon dioxide in forest streams." (Penn State)

"Case Western Reserve University biologists suspect lightning fires help preserve oak forests" - "Oak forests may be approaching extinction, but lightning fires may play a vital role in their regeneration, according to Case Western Reserve University biologists. Paul Drewa, assistant professor in Case's biology department, and graduate student Sheryl Petersen, suspect that these kinds of fires may provide a natural mechanism to deter encroachment of shade tolerant hardwoods, especially red maples that are crowding out oaks and other plants on the ground floors of numerous forests throughout the eastern United States." (Case Western Reserve University)

"'Asian haze' impacts on Australian rainfall -- Suggested link between rising levels of atmospheric aerosol pollution and increased rainfall in Australia" - "Elevated particle emissions resulting from increased economic activity in Asia may have increased Australia’s tropical rainfall, according to new research on the way pollution influences our climate. "Until now, there has been ample evidence that these particles have important effects on climate in the Northern Hemisphere but little such evidence in the Southern Hemisphere," says CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research scientist, Dr Leon Rotstayn." (CSIRO Australia)

WMO Press Release on Hurricanes and Climate Change (Prometheus)

"NASA ice images aid study of Pacific walrus arctic habitats" - "The Arctic ice pack is home to thousands of Pacific walrus. Their preferred habitat is an ice floe that has enough density and surface area to support a herd of 12-foot-long, 3,000 pound mammals. In the spring, walrus ‘haul out’ on this floating ice to rest, mate and rear their young. Recently, NASA collaborated with the Department of Interior’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) in Alaska to determine the usefulness of satellite imagery for studying the effect of climate change on the Pacific walrus ice habitat in the Bering and Chukchi seas." (NASA/GSFC)

Looking for quick answers? Sorry:

"This study is by no means exhaustive. Our data suggest the possibility that sea ice features may be critical factors for the walrus when choosing a habitat. Using techniques developed during this project, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service may be able to determine, over time, if climate change is affecting Pacific walrus populations," said Skiles.

Don't worry though... "Scientists Grapple Over Sunspot Cycle" - "SAN FRANCISCO -- Scientists are deadlocked over the severity of the next sunspot cycle, which could produce powerful solar storms that can disrupt communication systems on Earth.

A panel of space weather forecasters has been sifting through about three dozen predictions from 15 nations that differ widely in how intense the next solar cycle will be. The group, run by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and funded by NASA, aims to make an official prediction in spring 2007.

While scientists have observed sunspots -- dark, cool blemishes -- on the sun's surface since the days of Galileo, they've been unable to accurately forecast the severity of the eruptions associated with the spots. Sunspots are best known for triggering solar flares.

The debate over the next cycle, known as solar cycle 24, has been ''passionate,'' said Douglas Biesecker, a physicist at NOAA's Space Environment Center who heads the panel.

No clear prediction has emerged yet from the various computer models that simulate the sun's activity, Biesecker said Tuesday during a meeting of the American Geophysical Union." (AP)

... they reckon they can tell you the planet's temperature in a hundred years or so.

Apocalypse Cow (Quantum Limit)

Isn't gas warfare against the law? (Washington Times)

"INTERVIEW - 2006 Warmest Year in Netherlands in 300 Years" - "DE BILT, Netherlands - This year is on track to be the warmest in the Netherlands since temperatures were first measured in 1706, the Dutch meteorological institute KNMI said on Tuesday, linking the record with global warming." (Reuters)

Big deal, European thermometric records are all founded in the Little Ice Age. It's warmer now? Thank goodness for that!

New Evidence Of Temperature Observing Sites Which Are Poorly Sited With Respect To The Construction Of Global Average Land Surface Temperature Trends (Climate Science)

"Experts says U.S. barrier islands could disappear" - "SAN FRANCISCO, Dec 12 - A dramatic rise of sea levels by the end of the century could wipe out some of America's barrier islands off its eastern and southern coasts, researchers said on Tuesday." (Reuters)

Yes, we think sea levels are still rising post the last great glaciation. No, there's no evidence of any acceleration in the rate of sea level rise. Yes, islands could disappear. No, that's nothing new -- it has always been the case.

Global Warming Good for Mediterranean Tits? (WCR)

"China Wants to Slow Growth in Carbon Emissions" - "SYDNEY - China wants to slow its growth in carbon emissions, a top energy policy maker said on Tuesday, as the world's number two producer of greenhouse gases threatens to overtake the United States by 2009. China's breakneck economic growth largely comes from burning high-carbon coal, which releases the heat-trapping carbon dioxide widely blamed for contributing to global warming." (Reuters)

"FEATURE-Climate change catching voter attention around world" - 'BERLIN, Dec 13 - "It's the environment, stupid!" Just as Bill Clinton used the battle cry "It's the economy, stupid!" to keep his 1992 presidential campaign focused, political leaders worldwide are chanting a new mantra based on growing alarm about global warming. Mainstream parties in Germany, Britain, France, Canada, the United States and Austria believe tackling climate change is a vote winner while established Green parties in Germany and Austria are experiencing a renaissance." (Reuters)

Actually it's more people being stupid about climate. Developed worlders must not have enough to worry about.

Global Warming and The Emergent Ignorant Class (Quantum Limit)

Additional Evidence of the Complex Role of Vegetation in Climate Change (Climate Science)

"EU Warns Four Countries over Missing CO2 Plans" - "BRUSSELS - The European Commission issued final warnings to Austria, Denmark, Hungary and Italy on Tuesday for failing to submit plans that allocate how much carbon dioxide (CO2) their industries may emit in 2008-2012." (Reuters)

"U.S. Official Tells Platts Energy Podium: Emissions Caps Costly" - "WASHINGTON, Dec. 12 -- Platts -- A top Bush administration official warned Tuesday that the incoming Democratic-controlled Congress would raise energy prices if it makes good on its promise to pass legislation curbing industrial greenhouse gas emissions that are blamed for global warming." (PRNewswire)

"Kyoto's a dog that just won't hunt" - "Much is made of the fact that new Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion cares so much about the Kyoto protocol that he named his dog after the treaty. He needs to appreciate that committing Canada to implementing the protocol will effectively sentence Canadians to a dog’s life, yet have essentially no impact on global climate." (Tim Ball and Tom Harris, Chronicle Herald)

"FEATURE-Wall Street eyes heart of darkness: global warming" - "CHICAGO, Dec 13 - The topic of the conference was climate change and the rhetoric was sobering, haunted by scientific projections of a roasted world for our children and a looming environmental disaster of Biblical proportions. But this was no talk shop of environmental activists. It was a meeting of Wall Street investors, insurance executives, state treasurers and pension fund managers, who between them manage about $3.7 trillion in assets. "The insurance industry has historically taken on social issues. I know of no social issue that is bigger than this one," said Tim Wagner, director of insurance for the state of Nebraska. The consensus of Wagner and others addressing the conference of the Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR) was that institutional investors are still too near-sighted to factor climate change into their investment decisions." (Reuters)

Despite all the hand waving and predictions of doom, no one yet knows whether a warmer world will be a net benefit or cost. At present the only clearly identifiable hazards are global warming doomsters attempting to force precipitous and largely detrimental actions for the sake of "doing something."

"The Dupes Of Hazard" - "Climate Change: Can you fight global warming by paying more for a plane ticket and still drive your Lexus to the airport? It seems that environmentalists and their money are soon parted.

King Canute is said to be the poster child for futility, sitting on the seashore, as the legend goes, commanding that the waves retreat. Actually, he's the epitome of common sense, for, as Clint Eastwood would say, the man knew his limitations.

He knew he had no power over the waves and, being a religious man, was trying to prove a point: that the power of the mightiest kings pales in comparison to the power of nature and the God that rules over it.

But there are modern-day Canutes who don't know their limitations and who overestimate their ability to affect what many scientists, contrary to news reports, consider a natural cycle — the historical warming and cooling of Earth." (IBD)

"European Carmakers Urge EU not to Impose CO2 Limits" - "FRANKFURT - The European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) appealed to the European Union on Tuesday not to impose limits for carbon dioxide emissions on carmakers struggling to meet voluntary CO2 reduction goals." (Reuters)

"NY Times: Everybody Loves Energy Regulation" - "Paper presents taxes, government regulation as only options, necessary curbs on global warming." (Ken Shepherd, Business & Media Institute)

"Switzerland: Senate plan could lead to CO2 tax meltdown" - "Parliament is again due to debate a controversial tax on CO2 emissions - hot on the heels of the Nairobi climate conference and fresh warnings over global warming. The House of Representatives has already opted for a more moderate levy than the government's proposal. The Senate, which will discuss the tax this week, is considering a third option." (Swissinfo)

Eye-roller: "Australia: Govt 'must adopt Kyoto to save reef'" - "The Australian government must act quickly to address global warming in order to protect the Great Barrier Reef, a leading coral scientist says. Associate Professor John Pandolfi, from the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and the University of Queensland, says large-scale coral die-offs around the world are occurring more frequently than at any time in the past 11,000 years. Prof Pandolfi and a team of scientists travelled to Papua New Guinea and studied fossilised reefs to determine how often they were hit by major disasters. The team found that over the 6,000 years recorded in the fossil strata, the reef had been devastated only four times - once every 1,500 years." (AAP)

Kyoto will do precisely nothing even if there is a problem. The 1500 year cycle sounds familiar though, someone should write a book...

From CO2 Science this week:

Ocean Productivity in a Warming World: Does it increase or decrease when temperatures rise?

Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week:
This issue's Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week comes from the Great Bahama Bank, Straits of Florida. To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.

Subject Index Summary:
Greening of the Earth (Observations - Africa): The easiest place to look for greening in Africa is over its arid and semi-arid lands. So what do we see when we look there?

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: Common Wheat, Indian Goosegrass, Paper Birch, and Yellow Bristle Grass.

Journal Reviews:
The Break-Up of Antarctica's Larsen-B Ice Shelf: Was it truly as unique an event as climate alarmists have made it out to be?

Temperature Trends of the Upper Layers of the Global Ocean: What's happened recently? ... and what does it mean?

The Effect of Anthropogenic Aerosol Pollution on the Arctic's Surface Energy Balance: How great is the effect compared to that of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions?

Ice-Storm Damage to Forests in a CO 2 -Enriched World: How might it compare with the damage produced by ice storms now-a-days?

Effects of Elevated CO 2 on N 2 -Fixing Acacia Seedlings Starved for Phosphorus: Are they strong enough to overcome the limits to growth imposed by a major soil nutrient deficiency? (co2science.org)

"Discovery could lead to mining of solid gas for fuel" - "The discovery of a mysterious solid form of natural gas off the east coast of Canada could bring one of Earth's biggest untapped sources of energy a step closer to commercial use, according to scientists. Gas hydrates - a mixture of methane and water ice - are normally only found buried deep under the world's oceans or in permafrost. The discovery, at relatively shallow depths, raises hopes that the substance could one day be mined for fuel." (The Guardian)

Horse spit! "The answer, my Hebridean friend, is blowing in the wind" - "The objection was heartfelt — authentic, obdurate, plangent in its complaint. It came from a Hebridean islander, speaking up for his land and his heritage. His is a remote community, confronting industrial development on a massive scale, fighting for its right to peace, tranquillity and the undisturbed beauty of an ancient landscape. Finlay MacLeod was adamant that a plan to erect 180 giant turbines on the island of Lewis, making it the largest wind farm in Europe, should be stopped — in the name of civilisation itself. “If this goes ahead,” he said, “in ten years, people will be saying: how did we allow this horror to happen?”

He chose a bad day to protest. Even as he spoke, environmentalists were digesting the latest doomsday prediction on global warming. The Arctic, they said, is melting so fast that within the next 30 years the North Pole will have lost its icecap; during the summer months, ships will be able to sail across the top of the world; worse, deprived of its reflecting surface, the oceans will start absorbing more sunlight, accelerating the warming process at a rate that threatens ecological disaster on a scale almost impossible to contemplate." (Magnus Linklater, London Times)

My goodness you do waffle with some rubbish, Magnus! The polar meltdown referred to exists only in the fevered imaginations of computer programmers with such tiny potential of becoming reality it is not even worth considering. Even if the Earth should return to the balmy state of eons gone by it would not necessarily be of net detriment (geological evidence is that the tropics remain largely the same temperature with the tropical and temperate zones extending toward the poles in a most life-friendly manner). Will shipping with standard hulls eventually be able to sail across the Arctic sea in summer? Maybe, and a good thing it'll be, but don't hold your breath and certainly don't plan your retirement portfolio on the strength of silly computer games.

Goodness me, man! We don't even know how to calculate the Earth's current temperature with any certainty.

"South Africa: Biofuels Industry 'Could Drive Up Staple Food Price'" - "The government's decision to establish a biofuels industry -- producing fuel from agricultural crops - has been taken without proper consultation and could drive up the cost of maize, a staple food. This is the warning from "dismayed" NGOs, Citizens United for Renewable Energy and Sustainability (CURES) and Earthlife Africa Johannesburg, following last week's cabinet announcement that it had approved a biofuels plan." (Cape Argus)

"Feedstuffs Food Link Interview with Alex Avery" - "Trent Luce interview with Alex Avery about his new book, The Truth About Organic Foods. Alex Avery explains that the book is designed to be used as a tool to help consumers distinguish fact from fiction about organic foods by cutting through the marketing hype." (CGFI)

"More for Less?" - "Egypt is already one of the world’s top (and most efficient) rice producers. Are new, locally developed hybrid strains likely to turn the industry into an export powerhouse?" (Business Today)

"EU Court Asked to Fine France over National GMO Law"  -"BRUSSELS - France may face a fine of more than 38 million euros (US$50.3 million) from Europe's top court for its failure to update national laws on genetically modified (GMO) crops and foods, the European Commission said on Tuesday." (Reuters)

"Genetic modification turns plant virus into delivery vehicle for green-friendly insecticide, say UF researchers" - "GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A plant-destroying virus farmers call one of their worst enemies may soon be an ally in the fight against crop pests and mosquitoes, say University of Florida researchers.

Scientists genetically modified tobacco mosaic virus so that it produces a natural, environmentally friendly insecticide, turning the pathogen into a microscopic chemical factory, said Dov Borovsky, an entomologist with UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. The modified virus is almost completely harmless to plants and simply produces the insecticide.

Plants inoculated with the virus quickly accumulate enough of the insecticide to kill insect pests that consume their leaves, said Borovsky, who works at the Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory in Vero Beach and is affiliated with UF’s Genetics Institute. Once harvested, the plants can be processed to make mosquito control products." (UF News)

"CHILE: Time for Straight Talk about Transgenics?" - "SANTIAGO, Dec 12 - In Chile, transgenic seeds may only be planted to produce crops for export. However, imported transgenic foods can be eaten here. Both those in favour of and against transgenics, or genetically modified organisms (GMOs), agree on the need to regulate an area described as "confusing," "contradictory" and "inconsistent." Environmental organisations have been on red alert since a bill was introduced in Congress to promote cultivation of GMOs in order to develop the biofuels industry." (IPS)

December 12, 2006

"Even with treatment, malaria takes its toll" - "BANGKOK - I'd always been under the impression that malaria, if treated quickly, was no worse than a bad bout of `flu - a bit of a temperature and some aches and pains but nothing too severe.

After a week in hospital hooked up to quinine and saline drips, followed by two weeks off work, followed by a bout of a different form of the parasite, followed by another two weeks off work, that view has changed.

I suppose I should have expected as much from a disease that kills an African child every 30 seconds, one which the United Nations estimates puts a "growth penalty" on some sub-Saharan countries of up to 1.3 percent of gross domestic product a year.

A healthy 33-year-old, I lost 7 kg (15 lb) - nearly 10 percent of my bodyweight - in a week, and was out of action for the best part of six weeks despite being lucky enough to receive treatment in a First-World Thai hospital.

Most of the 300-500 million people who get malaria each year - from Africa to South America to Asia - have scant access to medical resources, resulting in hit-and-miss diagnosis and less effective treatment." (Ed Crople, Reuters)

"Saving millions of lives" - "Can a disease that needlessly kills a million Africans and makes another 300 million worldwide sick every year awaken the national and global consciousness? We are about to find out." (Raymond G. Chambers and John M. Bridgeland, Washington Times)

"Gates malaria pledges near $1 billion" - "The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation today pledged $US83.5 million ($106.5 million) to fight malaria by paying for better controls, vaccine research and prevention of a disease that kills more than a million people a year. The Gates Foundation, the world's largest charity, said the new grants would also help pay for better malaria tests and for advocacy to get more attention for the killer disease." (Reuters)

"AIDS: more money, less impact" - "Pressure by the UN and the WHO to treat 10 million AIDS patients by 2010, without considering the financial, economic and healthcare consequences, will damage fragile governments and hurt the poor. Jeremiah Norris criticises the creation of the new International AIDS bureaucracy, UNITAID, as an expensive irrelevance." (CFD)

"Find me free research and I'll find you Santa Claus" - "It has been “revealed” that the late Sir Richard Doll, the research pioneer who helped to establish the link between smoking and lung cancer, “failed to disclose” fees that he received from chemical companies. Some suggest that these payments undermine Doll’s work on environmental causes of cancer. But if money always corrupts science, then most research would be worthless.

It seems that small children are not the only ones who want to believe in Santa Claus. There are educated grown-ups who also believe in a kindly saint who will hand out research grants and expect nothing more than a smile in return. They have divided researchers into two imaginary camps: the bad ones who take corporate money, and good ones who don’t.

In the real world, however, all researchers have to get money from somewhere — and public funding can be hard to get. No doubt the corporations look out for their own interests while funding research that can benefit public health. And we all know the story of Big Tobacco’s misuse of science. Yet it is just as distorted to suggest that what the critics call “paid-for science” (what other kind is there?) must be unsound. Too often today, debates about scientific issues from climate change to GM crops seem to be less about “what evidence did you find?” than “who paid you to say that?” (Mick Hume, London Times)

Fooled by Probability - In a brilliant video presentation, statistician Peter Donnelly shows how easily we are fooled by questions of probability - and how the outcomes can be disastrous (via TEDTalks). (STATS)

"“Obesity Paradox” #2— How can it be a disease if it has health benefits?" - "“Obesity paradox” is a funny term when you think about it. It’s only a paradox — that fat people generally live longer than thin people — because it runs contrary to what a lot of people have come to believe. All we hear nowadays is that being fat is a disease and virtually every health problem experienced by fat people is somehow uniquely horrific." (Junkfood Science)

"Weight loss through calorie restriction, but not exercise, may lead to bone loss" - "Men and women who lose weight by cutting calories also may be losing bone density, but weight loss through exercise does not seem to produce the same effect, according to a report in the December 11/25 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals." (JAMA and Archives Journals)

"EU to Usher in New Chemicals Era with Landmark Law" - "STRASBOURG, France - A new era of tighter controls on the global chemicals industry is set to open on Wednesday with a new European Union law regulating thousands of substances deemed harmful to health and the environment." (Reuters)

"Satellite radar gauges water levels in Louisiana wetlands" - "SAN FRANCISCO -- Ohio State University researchers have demonstrated that a satellite radar system can be used to gauge water levels in vegetated wetlands. C.K. Shum, professor of earth sciences at Ohio State, and his colleagues hope to develop the technique to aid studies of wetland hydrology -- including the role that wetlands play in quelling storm surges caused by large hurricanes." (Ohio State University)

"NASA diagnoses Tropical Storm Gert's growth spurt" - "Scientists want to know how a tropical cyclone develops from a weak tropical depression into a tropical storm. To answer that question, NASA and other scientists flew over and through storms in 2005 and obtained and combined data that let them see the storm in four dimensions." (NASA/GSFC)

"NASA aircraft captures windy details in hurricane's ups and downs" - "Researchers employing some of the world's most sophisticated weather research equipment recently captured details on winds and other conditions in a rapidly intensifying hurricane. This data will help to advance the understanding of these complex storms." (NASA/GSFC)

"Disquiet on the Hurricane Front" - "This op-ed by Dan Sarewitz and Roger Pielke, Jr. on the 2006 hurricane season was not published by a number of major newspapers. So we are happy to share it here." (Prometheus)

"New instrumentation helps scientists better predict space weather" - "CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- New instrumentation and observing techniques, being developed by researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, are helping scientists better understand and predict space weather." (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

"Researchers identify driver for near-Earth space weather" - "New findings indicate that the aurora and other near-Earth space weather are driven by the rate at which the Earth’s and sun’s magnetic fields connect, or merge, and not by the solar wind’s electric field as was previously assumed. The merging occurs at a spot between the Earth and Sun, roughly 40,000 miles above the planet’s surface, and appears fundamental to the circulation of particles and magnetic fields throughout near-Earth space." (Johns Hopkins University)

"You Just Can’t Say Such Things" - "Larry Summers learned the hard way that there are some things that you just don’t do in a university setting. Nancy Greene Raine, Chancellor of Thompson River University in Canada who also was a gold medalist skier in the 1960s, is learning the same lessons." (Prometheus)

"You Just Can't Say Such Things Redux" - "From today's Rocky Mountain News still more evidence that the climate debate is spiraling out of control:" (Prometheus)

Gasp! It really is a problem! "Gingerbread houses latest victim of global warming" - "Sweet-toothed Swedes who have spent hours constructing edible Christmas gingerbread houses are seeing their creations collapse in the Scandinavian country's unusually damp winter, suppliers said on Monday.

"The damp weather spells immediate devastation for gingerbread houses. The problem is the mild winter," spokesman at Sweden's leading gingerbread wholesaler Anna's, Aake Mattsson, told Swedish news agency TT.

Gingerbread houses are a popular Christmas tradition in Sweden and across the Nordic countries, with many people buying slabs of pre-baked gingerbread from stores which they decorate and stick together using icing sugar and brightly coloured confectionery." (AFP)

"Global Warming Prolongs Life of Space Debris" - "SAN FRANCISCO - Human increases in carbon dioxide emissions are thinning the Earth's outer atmosphere, making it easier to keep the space station aloft but prolonging the life of dangerous space debris, scientists said on Monday." (Reuters) | Climate change affecting Earth's outermost atmosphere (NCAR/UCAR) | Carbon dioxide emissions predicted to reduce density of Earth's outermost atmosphere by 2017 (National Science Foundation)

Rather than pointing out that, if true, this will increase the longevity of very valuable satellites, most of the media reports we've seen faithfully parrot the disaster mantra that satellites are "endangered" because space junk, too, would remain in orbit longer. Slight increase in collision damage risk to a few satellites as opposed to all desirable satellites remaining in orbit longer... what a disaster.

Comment By Franco Einaudi President of the American Meteorological Society With Respect To The Guest Weblog of Ross McKitrick (Climate Science)

"Forests can raise earth's temperature: US study" - "The key to using trees to offset global warming is to expand tropical rainforests south of the equator, according to research released in the United States on Monday. "Our study shows that tropical forests are very beneficial to the climate because they take up carbon and increase cloudiness, which in turn helps cool the planet," said Govindasamy Bala, lead author of the research. Planting forests north of the equator appeared to either "zero-out" or be counterproductive in regard to global warming, according to researchers." (AFP)

"Fishbone deforestation pattern affecting environment, research shows" - "CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are studying the environmental impact that unique patterns of deforestation in Rondonia, Brazil, have on the land and climate.

Rondonia is a state in the Amazonian region where the establishment of rural development projects has resulted in the construction of orthogonal road networks. Deforestation along the rapidly expanding network of highways and local roads has created a unique fishbone pattern.

Somnath Baidya Roy, a professor of atmospheric sciences at Illinois, is studying the atmosphere dynamics of fishbone deforestation, and will present his findings at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco, Dec. 11-15.

"People often relate tropical deforestation to clear-cuts," Roy said. "Climate models show that clear-cuts, if they happen on a basin-wide scale, will result in decreased rainfall and bring about a drier, more arid landscape. In the case of fishbone patterns, the deforestation is in isolated segments of the landscape, and our models indicate that it results in increased precipitation over these deforested regions."

Whether there has been a change in the overall amount of precipitation has not been established, but there is definitely evidence for the redistribution of precipitation. Roy attributes this redistribution to "vegetation breezes" that are similar to lake and sea breezes." (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

"Midges send undeniable message -- Planet is warming" - "COLUMBUS , Ohio -- Small insects that inhabit some of the most remote parts of the United States are sending a strong message about climate change. New research suggests that changes in midge communities in some of these areas provide additional evidence that the globe is indeed getting warmer." (Ohio State University)

Wishful thinking of the moment: "Arctic May Be Ice-Free by Summer 2040 - Study"  -"TORONTO - Global warming could leave the the Arctic without ice during the summer as early as 2040, a study by a team of US and Canadian scientists shows." (Reuters) | Abrupt ice retreat could produce ice-free arctic summers by 2040 (NCAR/UCAR)

"Radar reveals view of land beneath polar ice" - "SAN FRANCISCO -- In the first test of a new radar instrument, scientists have seen through more than a mile of Greenland ice to reveal an image of land that has been hidden for millions of years. Ohio State University scientists and their colleagues will use what they learn from the instrument, dubbed GISMO (for Global Ice Sheet Mapping Orbiter), to determine how global climate change will affect the ice." (Ohio State University)

"Glaciers adding more to global sea rise than ice sheets, says University of Colorado study" - "Despite growing public alarm over the shrinking Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, it is small glaciers and ice caps that have been contributing the most to rising sea levels in recent years, according to a new University of Colorado at Boulder study." (University of Colorado at Boulder)

Hmm... this is likely to come as quite a surprise to IPCC AR4 reviewers, since figures under review are "The total contribution of glaciers and ice sheets to sea level rise is estimated as 1.2 ± 0.6 mm per year" and "Glacial melt has contributed 0.51 ± 0.32 mm per year to sea level rise between 1961 and 2003". Total glacier and ice sheet contribution under review then is 0.6 - 1.8 mm per year (~2.5 - 7 inches per century) including glacial melt estimated in the range 0.2 - 0.8 mm per year (~1 - 3 inches per century).

"NASA provides new perspectives on the earth's changing ice sheets" - "It's widely documented that climate change is causing the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets to shrink. Air temperatures in many parts of the polar regions have increased and waters that surround parts of the ice sheets have warmed up. What most do not know is that until just six years ago, we had no real way of measuring whether the ice sheets were shrinking or growing, or at what rate." (NASA/GSFC)

And there's still significant disagreement. Even "state of the art" GRACE results depend on what guesstimation model they are plugged into (original results show mass increase while heavily massaged and model-influenced results show mass decrease, even in patches of open ocean -- take your pick).

Seal’s Hair Skins Hockey Stick? (WCR)

"Climate experts search for answers in the oceans" - "By absorbing half of the carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere, the oceans have a profound influence on climate. However, their ability to take up this carbon dioxide might be impaired as a result of climate change. To determine their response to global warming, ESA has backed two projects that provide systematic data on key oceanic variables – color and temperature." (European Space Agency)

"The Cost of an Overheated Planet" - "It is increasingly clear that there is a considerable cost to carbon dioxide emissions, especially to future generations." (New York Times)

"Rights focus sought over climate" - "Attention to human rights is needed in tackling climate change, according to former UN human rights chief and former Irish President Mary Robinson." (BBC)

Everyone (and their "rights") will be best served by development rather than climate hysteria. How about a right not to be harassed with ridiculous fears based on -- wait for it -- perhaps 0.15 °C warming over the last century and a half driven by fossil fuel emissions. That's the net result of adding about 100ppmv carbon dioxide plus other greenhouse gases. The response is logarithmic, meaning that increasing the temperature another 0.15 °C will take an addition of a lot more greenhouse gas than we've managed to do since the Industrial Revolution and then a huge amount beyond that for the next 0.15 °C -- carbon dioxide-driven warming has almost run its course.

"The de-carboning of American lifestyles" - "In the '60s and '70s, America woke up to widespread pollution and took serious steps to curb it. Again, the nation is rubbing its eyes - this time over the specific issues of climate change and dependence on fossil fuels. But will it hit the snooze alarm, or jump out of bed? For the past year or so, awareness in the US of global warming has been going mainstream. It's the same with a renewed concern about foreign oil. It's not just the liberal, close-knit environmental community that's on the alert, but many businesses and investors, mayors and governors, Republicans and evangelicals. Though their solutions differ, there's at least uniformity in their growing concern - and an opportunity for US innovation and leadership in these related issues." (The Christian Science Monitor)

Unfortunately, all good intentions aside, no amount of carbon restraint and sacrifice will appease the Green gods and there will be no discernable difference in global mean temperature.

So now he's Stephen 'Nuclear Winter' Schneider? "Climate scientists to discuss the chilling consequences of nuclear war" - "Beyond the immediate devastation of a large-scale nuclear war, a growing number of scientists are concerned about the aftermath of "nuclear winter," which could result in famine for billions of people across the globe. On Monday, Dec. 11, at 4 p.m. PT, climate experts will discuss the long-term effects of atomic warfare at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) in San Francisco.

While the threat of mutual annihilation by the superpowers has diminished, the risk of nuclear combat has increased, said AGU panelist Stephen Schneider, the Melvin and Joan Lane Professor in Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies at Stanford University and senior fellow at Stanford’s Woods Institute for the Environment." (Stanford University) | Regional nuclear war would trigger mass death, devastating climate change (University of Colorado at Boulder)

"Emissions controls not expected to cruise" - "WASHINGTON - Imagine the scene next month: Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger brings his California message of fighting global warming to the U.S. Senate, helping launch Sen. Barbara Boxer's campaign for national controls on greenhouse-gas emissions.

Expect the media-savvy governor to extol California-style bipartisanship -- in contrast to Washington-style gridlock -- as the key to achieving results. Schwarzenegger and Boxer, who will chair the Environment Committee, have touted the state's emissions controls as a model for national action.

Then, the TV lights will go dark and the legislative grind begins.

Even as public consciousness grows about the threat of climate change, the new Democratic majority in Congress will encounter many obstacles to strong emissions controls: industry resistance, budget constraints, disagreements among party leaders and the problem's daunting complexity and global scope." (San Jose Mercury News)

They forgot to mention the  key problem -- that "emissions constraint" can not do as advertised.

"Fossil fuels best for China, India: MP" - "China and India should continue relying on fossil fuels to power their energy-hungry economies despite growing concerns about their impact on global warming, Australia's Resources Minister Ian Macfarlane says. In a speech to the International Energy Agency's (IEA) governing board meeting in Sydney, Mr Macfarlane said while there were growing calls for countries to find cleaner energy sources, fossil fuels still had a major role to play. "Despite what some commentators, and sadly, some politicians, may think, development is the best friend the earth has," he said. "That said, the reality we can't ignore - and must plan for - is that fossil fuels will continue to dominate the global energy mix. This is especially true in China and India." (AAP)

"US Toughens Fuel Economy Estimates for New Cars" - "WASHINGTON - The US government toughened its method Monday for calculating how far new cars and trucks go on a gallon of gasoline, a change that is expected to drive down estimates and give consumers a more accurate assessment of fuel savings." (Reuters)

"Weather will rule gas prices in '07" - "The U.S. natural gas market is well supplied at the start of 2007, but the outlook is for continued high prices, analysts said, especially if temperatures are below normal this winter. "Weather is everything," said Ron Denhardt, an analyst at Strategic Energy and Economic Research Inc. in Winchester, Mass. As more natural gas gets burned to heat homes during winter, supplies available to produce electricity are diminished for the remainder of the year, especially during the peak summer demand. This can drive up prices for natural gas and electricity." (Business Week)

"$20bn gas project seized by Russia" - "Shell is being forced by the Russian government to hand over its controlling stake in the world's biggest liquefied gas project, provoking fresh fears about the Kremlin's willingness to use the country's growing strength in natural resources as a political weapon. After months of relentless pressure from Moscow, the Anglo-Dutch company has to cut its stake in the $20bn Sakhalin-2 scheme in the far east of Russia in favour of the state-owned energy group Gazprom. The Russian authorities are also threatening BP over alleged environmental violations on a Siberian field in what is seen as a wider attempt to seize back assets handed over to foreign companies when energy prices were low." (The Guardian)

England spend $2.5 Billion on Cars - Millions Starve (Gust of Hot Air)

"UK: Environmentalists hit at government over Heathrow expansion" - "Opponents of the proposed Heathrow expansion accused the government of undermining the fight against climate change yesterday as environmental campaigners warned of a massive increase in pollution if a third runway gets the go-ahead.

The government is expected to reaffirm plans on Thursday to expand one of the world's busiest airports. Airline executives have described the anticipated move as a "quid pro quo" for the increase in air passenger duty in last week's pre-budget report, triggering accusations of a government U-turn on environment policy from the green lobby yesterday." (The Guardian)

"SOUTH AFRICA: Concerns Over Nuclear Plans Unheeded" - "CAPE TOWN - Despite recent controversies over the Koeberg nuclear power plant near Cape Town, locals in the coastal city have shown little resistance to the South African government's plan to build another nuclear reactor on their doorstep." (IPS)

I suspect the translation here is that activists are upset they haven't managed to terrorize the locals regarding nuclear power.

"Sustainable nuclear energy moves a step closer" - "In future a new generation of nuclear reactors will create energy, while producing virtually no long-lasting nuclear waste, according to research conducted by Wilfred van Rooijen, who will receive his Delft University of Technology PhD degree based on this research subject on Tuesday, 12 December.

Wilfred van Rooijen's research, conducted at the Reactor Institute Delft, focused on the nuclear fuel cycle and safety features of a Gas-cooled Fast Reactor (GFR), one of the so-called 'fourth generation' nuclear reactor designs. These designs have a sustainable character: they are economical in their use of nuclear fuel and are capable of rendering a great deal of their own nuclear waste harmless. The ability to actually build such reactors is however still in the very distant future." (Delft University of Technology)

"Electric breakthrough goes commercial" - "Utilities and even the Navy are snapping up new and highly efficient superconductors." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"New Zealand: Govt wants to tap a different current - the one in the ocean" - "The Government is backing new technology that harnesses the energy of sea currents and waves to produce electricity - but it is likely to be 15 to 20 years before any significant amount of power is generated." (New Zealand Herald)

"New Zealand: Govt strategy may lift power prices 20pc" - "Electricity prices would be 10 to 20 per cent higher under the Government's new environmentally sensitive energy strategy, an energy consultant says." (NZPA)

"Pollution knows no borders" - "Plumes of ozone-producing pollution routinely cross political boundaries, influence local regulatory efforts and impact health and the environment, according to a team of atmospheric chemists trying to trace ozone in the lower atmosphere. "There is a connection between pollution in Mexico City and in Houston, Texas," says Dr. Anne M. Thompson, professor of meteorology, Penn State. "The spring, which is the end of the dry season, is the beginning of field burning. That is when the winds move toward the U.S. so that Houston gets an added boost of ozone into their cycle." (Penn State)

"Volcanic blast likely killed and preserved juvenile fossil plesiosaur found in Antarctica" - "Amid 70-mile-an-hour winds and freezing Antarctic conditions, an American-Argentine research team has recovered the well-preserved fossil skeleton of a juvenile plesiosaur--a marine reptile that swam the waters of the Southern Ocean roughly 70 million years ago. The fossil remains represent one of the most-complete plesiosaur skeletons ever found and is thought to be the best-articulated fossil skeleton ever recovered from Antarctica. The creature would have inhabited Antarctic waters during a period when the Earth and oceans were far warmer than they are today." (National Science Foundation)

"Project to intensify agricultural production in Great Lakes -- Africa's most impoverished region" - "The Netherlands Government is launching a project to promote peace and environmental stability by improving soil health, intensifying farm production, and increasing trade in one of the world's poorest areas: the Great Lakes Region of Central Africa." (IFDC)

"Africa in the middle of U.S.-European biotech trade war" - "The story is the stuff of legend. Drought leads to famine across southern Africa. The U.S. ships aid across the Atlantic: millions of tons of corn, some of it genetically modified. European environmental groups warn about the dire effects of allowing the corn in. The Zambian president calls the corn "poison." Food is locked in warehouses while people go hungry." (St Louis Post-Dispatch)

"Biotech cotton won't ease hunger but may ease poverty" - "Mwea, Kenya — The fenced-in field is a checkerboard of cotton. Healthy and scraggly patches alternate in the red volcanic soil of the field-test site here, 50 miles northeast of Nairobi near the base of Mount Kenya. This pleases Monsanto Africa spokesman Kinyua Mbijjewe very much. That's because the scraggly patches, infested with bollworms, grew from conventional seeds; the tall, healthy plants were genetically modified. Mbijjewe says farmers, a shrewd bunch, will be concerned less with the biotech controversy and more with the bottom line." (St Louis Post-Dispatch)

December 11, 2006

"Fighting malaria" - "On Thursday, the White House hosts an event that has the potential to impact millions of lives. This event is not about global trade policy or international security, but rather about malaria, a disease that kills a child every thirty seconds and keeps an entire continent locked in a cycle of poverty." (Joe Cohe, Washington Times)

"Science versus Superstition" - "The Policy Exchange, a think tank in England, just released Science vs Superstition: The Case for a New Scientific Enlightenment (2006). It’s a collection of opinion essays about scientific inquiry and the rise of “superstition over science.” Not light reading, but it offers a brain work-out for those interested in exploring topics, albeit controversial, in today’s public debates." (Junkfood Science)

"Jay Ambrose : Cell-phone study is good news, but not to all lawyers" - "Cell phones can ring annoyingly during speeches and cause people to drive like drunks, and there's more bad news on top of that for trial lawyers planning to siphon off some of the wireless industry's billions through liability lawsuits. The fresh and persuasive evidence is that phones don't cause brain cancer." (Scripps Howard)

Richard Doll - Number Watch has had much to say about the work of Sir Richard Doll, virtually none of it complimentary but, as the Castellan notes, the latest posthumous attack on him smacks more than a little of the sort of ad hominem attack to which sceptical scientists have been subjected with increasing frequency over recent years. A lawyer or cab driver can take on a serial murdering rapist as a client without damage to their reputation but interested parties have created such an atmosphere of suspicion that scientists can be condemned just for doing paid work for a client who has subsequently earned the ire of the lefty-greeny establishment." (Number Watch)

"When fear spreads" - "Just yesterday, after watching a human biology film, an entire class of school children in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, one after another, became faint and nauseated. Thirty-two children and their teacher were taken by ambulance to the hospital and the entire school was evacuated as a precaution, while environmental and public health officials combed the building to determine the cause. Meanwhile, doctors did careful examinations and tests on the children. They could find nothing physically wrong with the kids and the building checked out okay, too. It turned out to be another case of mass hysteria." (Junkfood Science)

"Do low-fat foods make us fat?" - "Mindless eating leads us to eat 28-45 percent more calories when foods are 'low-fat'" (Cornell Food & Brand Lab)

"Fatty diet the cause of asthma" - "FOR years researchers have been confounded as to why asthma rates have continued to rise astronomically - but Australian doctors may have at last discovered the answer. Scientists at Sydney's Garvan Institute have found fatty acids have a role to play in inflammatory disease, suggesting the Western diet may be behind the asthma epidemic." (The Australian)

"Many docs oppose trans fat ban: survey" - "NEW YORK - There seems to be little support among U.S. doctors for laws banning artificial trans fats in public restaurants." (Reuters Health)

"UK: Shoppers are refusing to break junk food habit" - "Shoppers are continuing to pile their trolleys and baskets with unhealthy food, despite the Government’s focus on tackling Britain’s obesity crisis. A survey of food-buying patterns of 12 million consumers has found that, in the past four years, 44 per cent of people have made no change to their eating habits. Only 8 per cent of shoppers have moved towards a healthier diet, while almost as many are deliberately shunning a good diet and eating more junk food." (London Times)

"Get in touch with your inner fat" - "It used to be said that inside every fat person was a thin person trying to get out. Now it seems it could be other way around. A scanning technique pioneered by British doctors has discovered that many outwardly slim people are storing up dangerous levels of fat in their bodies. The new scan reveals internal fat deposits in the body Images from MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scanners suggest that up to four out of 10 people could be a "Tofi" — thin outside, fat inside." (London Telegraph)

"A 'very toxic environment:' No, not that one!" - "Yet another children’s hospital reports escalating numbers of children requiring hospitalization for eating disorders resulting from trying to be thin and their growing fears of food." (Junkfood Science)

Junkfood Science Weekend Special: Why are we surprised?

Feeding our children well (Junkfood Science)

"US Tweaks Pollution Rule Review; Green Groups Balk" - "NEW YORK - The US government has streamlined the way it reviews and sets air pollution standards, officials said on Thursday, but environmental and health advocates warned the change may increase the influence of political appointees at the expense of scientists." (Reuters)

"Graduate students study links between African and US weather systems" - "When their DC-8 flew into a tropical storm off the coast of West Africa, Aaron Pratt and Tamara Battle realized their lifelong dream--to study storms and weather systems at their source. During that flight, lightning struck their plane. The resulting storm turned into a tropical depression and ultimately became known as Hurricane Helene, one of the strongest Atlantic hurricanes in 2006." (NSF)

"Active Atlantic Hurricane Season Forecast for 2007" - "FORT COLLINS, Colorado, December 8, 2006 - No hurricane touched the U.S. coastline in 2006, but that unusual respite is not likely to be repeated next year, according to the early season forecast issued today by Colorado State University's forecasting team." (ENS)

Hurricane Trends, Frequency, Prediction (Prometheus)

"The hurricane expert who stood up to UN junk science" - "You're a respected scientist, one of the best in your field. So respected, in fact, that when the United Nations decided to study the relationship between hurricanes and global warming for the largest scientific endeavour in its history -- its International Panel on Climate Change -- it called upon you and your expertise." (Lawrence Solomon, Financial Post)

"INTERVIEW - Munich Re Sees Big Price Rise in Hurricane Business" - "FRANKFURT - Germany's Munich Re expects reinsurance prices for US hurricane and natural catastrophe business to rise by around 30 percent when new contracts are hammered out in January, it said on Friday. The prices reinsurers charge for backing primary insurers' storm policies rose sharply in January in reaction to last year's deadly hurricanes in the United States and jumped by about 30 percent for contracts that were renewed in July." (Reuters)

"New instrument reveals raindrop formation in warm clouds" - "SAN FRANCISCO, CA -- How do raindrops form? It's a simple question, but the answer is far from elementary. Tiny water droplets somehow merge to become full-sized raindrops, but the details remain a mystery." (University of California - Santa Cruz)

"UN downgrades man's impact on the climate" - "Mankind has had less effect on global warming than previously supposed, a United Nations report on climate change will claim next year. The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says there can be little doubt that humans are responsible for warming the planet, but the organisation has reduced its overall estimate of this effect by 25 per cent." (London Sunday Telegraph)

These are hardly new figures or calculations -- a lot of us have been pointing this out for some time -- and their publication will make little difference. To take into account the few comparatively warm years since the new millennium (perhaps the only unequivocal warming) the IPCC AR4 will claim a revised warming estimate of 0.65 ± 0.2 °C since the late 19th Century (up five one-hundredths of a degree since IPCC TAR). The correlation between atmospheric carbon dioxide and mid-tropospheric temperature is even less impressive than that for the lower troposphere. As near as anyone can figure at least half of the estimated anthropogenic effect comes from changes in land use and so emission from fossil fuel usage has had a maximum impact of about 0.33 ± 0.1 °C over roughly one and one-quarter centuries (this figure is simply the gross change of 0.65 x 0.5 to remove that attributed to land use changes and completely ignores natural contributions to climate change). Since temperature increase is a logarithmic function of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration this is the most impressive response we are likely to see. Stopping all fossil fuel usage today will have significant detrimental impact on people but a trivial effect on climate. Climate panic is a tribute to activists and their ability to stampede politicians and the media -- it is also a really stupid game.

Inhofe Says New UN Global Warming Assessment Proves Fears Of Manmade Catastrophic Climate Change Are ‘Unsustainable’ (E&PW)

"The GOP's Global Warming Divide" - "Conservatives are worried by Virginia Sen. John Warner’s (R) expressed desire to displace former Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman James Inhofe (R-Okla.) as ranking Republican on the panel. Warner believes seniority gives him an uncontestable claim on the senior slot, but many of his colleagues dispute his interpretation of existing GOP rules.

Warner was so sure of his “right” to claim the slot that just after the election his office actually first issued and later “withdrew” a press release announcing that he will be the ranking GOP member of the committee when Congress convenes in January. A number of GOP committee members, however, are poised to go to the mat on Inhofe’s behalf because they believe the Oklahoman has a better understanding of the incredibly important and divisive issues likely to dominate the committee’s agenda next year." (David A. Keene, FrontPageMagazine.com)

Another Paper That Documents Why Land Use/Land Cover Change Must Be Part of Global Climate Assessments (Climate Science)

"Statistics needed: Prominent statistician Edward Wegman says climate scientists have done an inadequate job of incorporating statistical know-how" - "In the global warming debate, there are essentially two broad camps. One believes that the science is settled, that global warming is serious and man-made, and that urgent action must be taken to mitigate or prevent a future calamity. The other believes that the science is far from settled, that precious little is known about global warming or its likely effects, and that prudence dictates more research and caution before intervening massively in the economy.

The "science is settled" camp, much the larger of the two, includes many eminent scientists with impressive credentials. But just who are the global warming skeptics who question the studies from the great majority of climate scientists and what are their motives?" (Lawrence Solomon, Financial Post)

"Global warming killing the planet? It’s not fact – just hot air" - "Not since wholesale calamity was predicted as a result of the so-called millennium bug has so much coverage been given to a topic. Miles' worth of column inches are now dedicated to global warming. The predictions by media commentators are becoming more numerous and more strident as each new piece of evidence appears to support their case. They have progressed from possibilities to probabilities and are now becoming certainties. Global warming is a hypothesis, not fact. And even if temperatures are increasing, that does not necessarily mean it is a result of human activities, nor does it mean that the outcomes will necessarily be overwhelmingly detrimental." (Professor Mike Jackson, The Herald)

Back to nuclear winter... "Regional nuclear war could devastate global climate" - "NEW BRUNSWICK/PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Even a small-scale, regional nuclear war could produce as many direct fatalities as all of World War II and disrupt the global climate for a decade or more, with environmental effects that could be devastating for everyone on Earth, university researchers have found." (Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey)

"Your carbon footprint revealed: Climate change report finds we each produce 11 tons of carbon a year - and breaks down how we do it " - "The first piece of research to calculate a carbon footprint for the average British citizen has detailed the precise environmental damage each of us causes." (London Independent)

Click here for your real carbon footprint.

"Carbon dioxide isn't the villain it's made out to be" - "Carbon dioxide has been given a bad rap.

The 1997 Kyoto Protocol identified carbon dioxide emissions and their effect on global climate as the main environmental threat to tackle. Environmental activists, such as Greenpeace, are also putting most of their energy into defeating the same beast. From a geologist's perspective, however, this could be seen as an interesting paradox.

To help explain, here are a few common misconceptions about carbon dioxide and global warming." (Pierre Jutras, Globe and Mail)

Antarctic research promo: "Antarctica works as living global warming laboratory" - "MCMURDO STATION, Antarctica - For scientists at this ice-encircled outpost, global warming is not a matter of debate. It is a simple fact and crucial research questions center on what its consequences will be. Antarctica is a prime place for this research because it serves as an early warning system for climate change and is a major influence on global weather." (Reuters)

II: "Antarctic biologists fish for climate change clues" - "SEA ICE OFF CAPE EVANS, Antarctica - Scientists are literally fishing for clues to global warming's impact on earthly life by drilling holes in the Antarctic ice. In these frigid waters under the ice at the bottom of the world, fish and water-dwelling invertebrates have lived with very little change in their environment for perhaps 11 million years, according to marine biologist Gretchen Hofmann. That is likely to change as global warming raises water temperatures, at the same time that greenhouse gas emissions, especially carbon dioxide, alter the water's acidity, Hofmann said outside her team's mobile laboratory on the sea ice near McMurdo Station, the biggest U.S. science base in Antarctica." (Reuters)

"Birds Bask in Warmest French Autumn Since 1950" - "PARIS - Birds are delaying their annual winter migration to Africa from France because of the unseasonally warm weather, a French bird protection group said on Thursday. The autumn was the warmest in France since 1950, with temperatures 2.9 degrees Celsius (5.2 F) above seasonal norms, the national weather agency has said." (Reuters)

Least cold since 1950 we believe -- hottest in 1,000 years (a common media claim lately) is a completely unsupportable statement.

Watch out! There's a daff about! "Climate worry over December daffs" - "Daffodils have caused a stir at a tourist attraction by making an unseasonably early appearance." (BBC)

"Balmy temperatures, lack of snow threatens to cancel winter in Europe" - "GENEVA - Spring blossoms are popping up all over the Austrian Alps. Geneva's official chestnut tree has already sprouted leaves and flowers. And Swedes are still picking mushrooms. The same question is on everyone's minds: Is winter in Europe going to be cancelled this year? Green fields, not white slopes, have greeted visitors to some of Europe's most popular ski resorts as December began with remarkably little snow. The ski industry is sweating it out, desperately trying to entice tourists with spa weekends and Christmas markets, and encouraging visitors to bring hiking shoes and enjoy "the extension of autumn." (AP)

"Global warming threatens Scotland's last wilderness" - "As snow disappears from the Cairngorms, rare birds and flowers - as well as the skiing industry - are at risk, reports science editor Robin McKie." (The Observer)

"Storms, floods, tornados, heat waves. So, what's new? There's nothing freaky about our 'freak' weather" - "So, why all the fuss about the weather? The media were aghast that a tornado could rip through quiet residential streets of London last week, leaving 100 houses damaged and several people injured. “Freak” was the favourite description — after all, this is the sort of thing that happens in Oklahoma City, not London NW10.

But tornados have been ripping through Britain for centuries. London was hit by an even worse one almost exactly to the day 52 years ago, which left a scene of devastation reminiscent of the Blitz and ended up in Willesden, next door to Kensal Rise. And the deadliest tornado in British history struck in October 1913, when six people were killed at Edwardsville, Glamorgan.

There is nothing freakish about tornados in this country, though they usually get the headlines only when big urban areas are hit. Only two weeks ago a village near Aberystwyth was badly hit when a tornado turned over caravans, sent chimneys crashing and left debris scattered up to 20 miles away. It was barely mentioned in the national media.

The trouble is that we seem to think British weather is a bit of a pussycat — soft and mild most of the time, with the occasional outburst when it gets temperamental. But in reality our “freak” weather is not so freakish after all." (Paul Simons, London Times)

A Stickier Handle on the “Hockey Stick” (WCR)

"Warming is real - and has benefits" - "One month ago, the world heard that global warming could lead to a global catastrophe "on a scale similar to those associated with the great wars and the economic depression of the first half of the 20th century." This assessment, from Sir Nicholas Stern, former chief economist of the World Bank, made banner headlines and led prominent leaders such as British Prime Minister Tony Blair to urge immediate action to stem global warming." (Lawrence Solomon, Financial Post)

"Love Global Warming: What's wrong with mild winters, anyway?" - "When talk turns to global warming, there are only three socially acceptable opinions that may be expressed. It's going to be bad, terrible or catastrophic. As our leading alarmist, former Vice President Al Gore, makes clear in his book and movie, An Inconvenient Truth, "the negative impact of climate change vastly outweighs any local benefits." (Myron Ebell, Forbes)

"Global warming: Another natural process" - "A warning about global warming has come out from a section of the scientific community, concerned about its projected implications -- melting of the polar ice caps and a consequent rise of the sea level, among other things. Opposed to this catastrophic prediction are those who view the so-called warming as nothing more than just another natural process in the cyclic climatic trends that our planet has experienced in its very long history spanning at least 4.5 billion years. Interestingly, the debate on this subject is getting hotter than the planet itself." (Times of India)

"Blowing cold air on global warming" - "Does hot air about climate change spewed in the U.S. Senate contribute to global warming? No one really knows for sure, since Al Gore didn't address that question in "An Inconvenient Truth." But we'll probably find out in January, when, thanks to the Democrats' capture of Congress, Sen. Barbara Boxer takes the wheel of the Environment and Public Works Committee from Republican Sen. James Inhofe and makes a liberal U-turn." (Bill Steigerwald, Tribune-Review)

"Global warming efforts: California group wants to be active nationally" - "The coalition of environmental entrepreneurs and venture capitalists who lobbied hard for California's global warming law now wants to take its efforts nationwide. It just hasn't decided which policies to push." (SF Chronicle)

"Global warming, local initiatives" - "BOULDER, COLO. — Frustrated with the federal response to global warming, hundreds of cities, suburbs and rural communities across the nation have taken bold steps to slash their energy consumption and reduce emissions of the pollutants that cause climate change." (LA Times)

"Kyoto Gets a Slap in the Face from Canada" - "TORONTO - Much to the surprise of most Canadians and the world community, Canada is reneging on its international commitments under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which could weaken an international agreement to fight climate change after Kyoto expires in 2012." (Tierramérica)

"Canada faces Kyoto repercussions: UN" - "Canada's repudiation of its commitments under the Kyoto protocol could harm its economy in coming years, warns the head of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). Achim Steiner says Canadian business could be left out of major profit opportunities created by an international emissions trading system that he predicts will be worth $100 billion in 10 years. Steiner, a German who took over as UNEP executive director earlier this year, said there was disappointment with Ottawa's stance at the UN Climate Conference that has just ended in Nairobi." (Canadian Press)

"Beyond words" - "As words echo, they can start to ring hollow. It is only weeks since the Stern report on climate change was lauded by the prime minister as "a wake-up call to every country in the world". Gordon Brown, too, agreed with the call for "prompt and strong action". With David Cameron also scrambling to lead the unison choir singing out for something to be done, it appeared, for a moment, as if the political climate might be changing so that the real climate would not have to." (The Guardian)

"It's official: global warming is guff" - "AT LAST, evidence that global warming is a load of hot air. Cow flatulence has attracted the attention of ministers after emerging as an environmental menace to rival factory chimneys, Chelsea tractors and cheap air travel. Bovine emissions account for around one million tonnes of methane a year in the UK and now the government wants farmers to change what they feed the animals to cut down greenhouse gases." (The Scotsman)

"UK: Business meets PM for climate talks" - "Some of the UK's biggest businesses are meeting at Downing Street to discuss ways of persuading the public to join the battle against climate change." (Press Association)

"UK: Builders told to make all new homes 'carbon-zero'" - "One of Gordon Brown's closest cabinet allies will this week hit back at scathing green criticism of his latest Budget proposals by unveiling plans to force British builders to make all new homes 'carbon-zero' within a decade, with a star rating for the best-built 'green homes'." (The Observer)

MaunaLoaCO2.png (22204 bytes) "INTERVIEW - Carbon Emissions up one-Quarter Since 1990 - Study" - "LONDON - Global carbon emissions rose nearly 3 percent in 2005, up more than a quarter from 1990 levels despite many governments' pledges of cuts to fight global warming, a scientist who provides data for the US Department of Energy said." (Reuters)

Object lesson in how small is the human contribution when emissions "up more than a quarter from 1990 levels" result in a barely perceptible change in trend. Undoubtedly the level of this most wonderful trace gas is increasing (aren't we nifty, we can detect and measure it!) but whether this will have a net detrimental effect (or any discernable effect) remains to be seen. There are plenty of guesses being bandied about, most of them pretty wild, but there are no compelling indicators as yet.

"U.S. must lead in reducing CO2" - "For more than a decade other nations of the world have been waiting for the United States to step forward and galvanize a global strategy to slow and stabilize the dangerous warming of Earth's atmosphere and hasten the development of renewable sources of energy. They have been waiting because our nation is the economic superpower and we have been pre-eminent in scientific research. They wait impatiently because our country - all by itself - is burning fossil fuels (coal, oil and natural gas) that emit 25 percent of the heat-trapping carbon that is altering the climate on every continent." (Stewart L. Udall, Salt Lake Tribune)

This says Udall "studies energy issues" -- he must be a lousy student. The above statement implies US fossil fuel use contributes more than 5 times total anthropogenic emissions from all sources (cement manufacture, land use...). The actual figure is about 1% since humans collectively are small contributors to the global carbon cycle. Given that the US is reforesting and retiring agricultural lands it is unclear whether it is a net contributor at all.

"Carbon credit program offered to Minnesota farmers" - "MINNEAPOLIS - The National Farmers Union has expanded its carbon credit program to Minnesota, letting farmers here earn money for no-till farming practices and long-term grass plantings." (Agri News)

Not explicitly stated is that consumers are footing the bill for these "credits," farmers are getting some of the money you are being indirectly taxed and scammers are raking in profits at your and the planet's expense.

Uh-huh... "Gore in bid to 'freeze' carbon emissions" - "Former US Vice President Al Gore says he will start a grassroots political movement next month to seek a "freeze" on carbon emissions that scientists say are to blame for global warming. Modelled after the nuclear freeze movement of the 1980s, Gore said he planned to enlist groups ranging from entrepreneurs and activists to political leaders to push for stronger policies to limit the growth of greenhouse gases." (Reuters)

... you mean like the nuclear freeze that increased carbon emissions Al?

Can't say you weren't warned: "Don't crank the heating up, darling - we need the carbon for our holiday" - "Picture the scene: you've been so good about sticking to your carbon budget, but little Johnny has gashed his head open, and you can't take him by bus to A&E. You pile the kids into the car and, since you're running on empty, stop at a petrol station for fuel. You hand over two pieces of plastic: a credit card and a carbon card. When the attendant swipes the latter, he sees that you don't have enough carbon units to cover the petrol. The computerised till multiplies the missing units by the prevailing carbon price, and a charge is added to your Visa bill.

A Utopian concoction from the loonier fringes of the green movement? Not quite. Mandatory schemes to ration carbon emissions of UK residents - and to charge those who exceed their limit - are in the advanced stages of planning, and could be in force as early as 2013, according to Matt Prescott of the Royal Society of Arts. Schemes to reward consumers for buying carbon-saving products could be on offer as early as next year." (The Observer)

The wannabe energy-rationers must think you're frightened enough now: "UK: Miliband plans carbon trading 'credit cards' for everyone" - "Every citizen would be issued with a carbon "credit card" - to be swiped every time they bought petrol, paid an energy utility bill or booked an airline ticket - under a nationwide carbon rationing scheme that could come into operation within five years, according to a feasibility study commissioned by the environment secretary, David Miliband, and published today. In an interview with the Guardian Mr Miliband said the idea of individual carbon allowances had "a simplicity and beauty that would reward carbon thrift." (The Guardian)

"Australian PM asks industry experts to examine carbon trading scheme" - "Australian Prime Minister John Howard on Sunday asked a panel of industry experts to examine how to set up an international carbon emissions trading scheme to help address global warming. Howard said he had established a panel of public servants and business leaders to examine the issue, including Qantas chairwoman Margaret Jackson, BHP Billiton executive director Chris Lynch and National Australia Bank chief John Steward. Howard, who has faced international criticism for his refusal to sign the Kyoto Protocol on greenhouse gas emissions, said he wanted the panel to devise a system that would not harm the Australian economy." (AFP)

Heck John, we've got the only useful system now -- none at all.

It might be alright though... "Australia: Industry dominates emissions taskforce" - "THE Prime Minister, John Howard, has chosen miners, bankers and power industry representatives to advise him on a possible carbon emissions trading system amid claims he has broken a nine-year-old promise to curb greenhouse gas emissions." (Sydney Morning Herald)

"Australia: PM sure to put price on climate change" - "WE are witnessing the end of the beginning of the debate on climate change in Australia. Next year, bringing a federal election, will be one of action. By polling day, John Howard will almost certainly signal or put a price such as a tax on greenhouse gas emissions, or at least have a plan to do so. The only question is what form it will take. Globally and locally, climate change is now a struggle between symbolism and solutions. For the Prime Minister, it will be about finding a position that has real political clout, at least some substance, does not train-wreck the economy and establishes enough flexibility for future reform." (The Australian)

"UK: Business View: Brown knocks airlines off their 'green' course" - "So Calamity Brown strikes again. Not content with ruining the pension system in the UK through swingeing taxes, he is now doing his best to sabotage the efforts of his Cabinet colleagues at Defra to talk airlines into helping in the fight against climate change." (London Independent)

"US lawmakers exit with a last nod to oil drilling" - "As one of its final acts, the 109th Congress Friday approved opening to oil and gas development 8.3 million previously protected acres off the Gulf Coast - a last bid to influence energy and environmental policy before the Democrats assume control. Industry officials are pleased; environmentalists much less so." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"New energy leader unsure on oil tax cuts" - "WASHINGTON - House Speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi's plan to repeal tax breaks for oil companies in the first 100 hours of the new Congress could face roadblocks in the Senate. Trying to do it in the first couple of weeks would be rushing things, Sen. Jeff Bingaman, the upcoming chairman of the Senate's Energy and Natural Resources Committee, told The Associated Press in an interview Friday. Bingaman, D-N.M., who has been the committee's ranking Democrat and will become its chairman under a Democratic majority, expressed reservations about rolling back tax breaks enacted as part of the 2005 energy act that are aimed at encouraging domestic oil and gas production. He said hearings should be held before any such incentives are killed." (Associated Press)

"New Zealand: Government throws its weight behind wind farms" - "The Government is set to unveil measures making it easier to build wind farms and less attractive to build new fossil-fuelled electricity plants in its draft national energy strategy today. In the first big tranche of Government moves on climate change, the draft energy strategy will also outline a potential greenhouse gas emissions trading regime for the electricity sector - a price-based measure the Beehive appears to favour over a carbon tax." (New Zealand Herald)

"Wind farms 'are failing to generate the predicted amount of electricity'" - "The claimed benefits of wind energy are called into question today by a study that finds few wind farms in England and Wales produce as much electricity as the Government has forecast." (London Telegraph)

"We may yearn to be green, but we can't afford to be gullible" - "As wind farms show, we must be more sceptical about quack remedies peddled in the name of environmentalism." (The Guardian)

"Swiss Halt Geothermal Experiment after Tremor" - "ZURICH - Swiss engineers halted an experiment to extract geothermal heat from deep below ground after it set off a small earthquake in the nearby city of Basel, the Swiss news agency SDA said on Saturday." (Reuters)

"Solar energy's day is dawning: State to embark on its biggest-ever photovoltaic project" - "When the sun rises on New Year's Day, it will signal the start of California's most ambitious effort yet to generate electricity from sunlight. The California Solar Initiative commits the state to spending more than $3.4 billion over the next 10 years to subsidize the installation of 1 million solar roofs, or about 3,000 megawatts of electricity capacity, enough at peak output to match six modern natural-gas-fired power plants. Even more important, the initiative is aimed at driving down the cost of solar-generated power to the point that it's comparable to producing power from burning coal and natural gas." (Union-Tribune)

"Fueling Our Cars, and a Growing Debate" - "The simple ear of corn: a pleasing yellow, delicious with salt and melted butter. Also fine in corn bread, cornflakes and grits. But corn is also a prime source for ethanol, one of the most viable substitutes for gasoline. That alternative -- human sustenance vs. sport-ute -- is prompting a most unusual debate among environmentalists. Is it better to use corn to make fritters or fuel?" (Washington Post)

"Put A Termite In Your Tank" - "Bio breakthroughs are promising much better ways to make ethanol." (Business Week)

"U.S. Finds Electric Power Grid Can Fuel Fleets of Plug-In Cars" - "WASHINGTON -- The nation's existing electric power grid could fuel as many as 180 million electric cars, a Department of Energy study estimates. The study, being released today by the department's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, is the federal government's first look at the grid's capacity to handle the demands of so-called plug-in hybrids, which can be operated as an all-electric car for most daily commutes. Until now, there have been few detailed studies of the effect of plug-ins, which are championed by environmental groups and the utility industry." (Wall Street Journal)

"Finding an answer to Darwin's Dilemma" - "KINGSTON, Ont. -- The sudden appearance of large animal fossils more than 500 million years ago – a problem that perplexed even Charles Darwin and is commonly known as "Darwin’s Dilemma" – may be due to a huge increase of oxygen in the world’s oceans, says Queen’s paleontologist Guy Narbonne, an expert in the early evolution of animals and their ecosystems." (Queen's University)

"E. Coli Fears Inspire a Call for Oversight" - "Facing a loss of consumer confidence in fresh fruits and vegetables because of repeated outbreaks of food-borne illness, three major produce industry groups have for the first time called for government regulation in an industry that until now has had none." (Marian Burros, New York Times)

"Americans fuzzy on biotech foods: Consumers question the safety of so-called frankenfoods -- but most have eaten plenty." - "Ten years after genetically engineered crops were first planted commercially in the United States, Americans remain ill-informed about and uncomfortable with biotech food, according to the fifth annual survey on the topic, released Wednesday. People vastly underestimate how much gene-altered food they are already consuming; lean toward wanting greater regulation of such crops; and have less faith than ever that the Food and Drug Administration will provide accurate information, the survey found." (Washington Post)

"Scientists say biotech safe to eat, but worries linger" - "Many people fear biotech foods, and scientists say they have a hard time convincing the public that genetically modified crops are no more dangerous to eat than hybrids that have existed for more than a century. "There's just a lack of knowledge," said Patrick Rubaihayo, a plant scientist at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. "It's a subject, a monster they can't understand."" (St Louis Post-Dispatch)

"Breast-milk compounds could be a tonic for adult ills" - "Catharina Svanborg thought that she already knew how remarkable breast milk is. The immunologist had logged hundreds of lab hours documenting ways in which human milk helps babies fight infections. But when the group decided to use cancerous lung cells to avoid the variability shown by normal cells in laboratory tests, Svanborg and her team at Lund University in Sweden were in for a surprise. They applied breast milk to the cancerous lung cells, and all the cells died. Breast milk killed cancer cells. "From that moment on, we've been working with it," Svanborg says." (Science News)

"O Frankentree" - "Genetically engineered spruce and poplars could save Canada's forests from over-harvesting and vicious pests such as the pine beetle. So why aren't environmentalists hugging these trees?" (Globe and Mail)

"The big threat to a tiny science" - "Physicists worry that fear could turn people off nanotechnology." (Toronto Star)

December 8, 2006

"New York City Bans Science" - "The New York City Board of Health this week banned the use of trans fats by restaurants. The decision is directly traceable back to the 'research' of Harvard University's Alberto Ascherio and Walter Willett, the promoters-in-chief of trans fats hysteria." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"Mass hysteria forces evacuation of school" - "A specialist science college was evacuated yesterday after a film on human biology apparently sparked mass hysteria." (London Times)

We have to wonder anyone is surprised, after all, we teach children to be constantly fearful -- of food, life-saving compounds, strangers, a less-cold (and consequently less hostile) Earth, playgrounds, life, competition, effort, learning, responsibility and virtually everything else besides. Our kids are learning well the lessons that we are teaching.

"Finally clearing the air" - "An American-led drive against one of the world's most dreadful diseases could learn from past mistakes." (The Economist)

"Scientists say malaria fuels AIDS spread in Africa" - "WASHINGTON - Malaria may be helping spread the AIDS virus across Africa, the continent hardest hit by the incurable disease, scientists said on Thursday. The way the two diseases interact greatly expands the prevalence of both among people in sub-Saharan Africa, a team of scientists said in a study in the journal Science. Malaria, a mosquito-borne disease caused by a parasite, greatly boosts viral load - the amount of human immunodeficiency virus in the blood of infected people - making them more likely to infect a sex partner with HIV, they stated." (Reuters) | Malaria may fuel spread of HIV in sub-Saharan Africa (Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center)

How nice of them: "EU okays DDT use against malaria" - "THE European Union (EU) has given Uganda the green light to use DDT in the fight against malaria." (New Vision)

"Guide to promoting integrity in scientific journals published by the Council of Science Editors" - "Reston, VA -- A guide to promoting integrity in scientific journal publications has been published by the Council of Science Editors (CSE) Editorial Policy Committee." (Council of Science Editors)

"Renowned cancer scientist was paid by chemical firm for 20 years" - "A world-famous British scientist failed to disclose that he held a paid consultancy with a chemical company for more than 20 years while investigating cancer risks in the industry, the Guardian can reveal." (The Guardian)

"Plastics 'poisoning world's seas'" - "Microscopic particles of plastic could be poisoning the oceans, according to a British team of researchers." (BBC)

Funny how they didn't report the real news -- plastic granules are equally likely to be cleaning up hydrophobic compounds, such as PCBs, in the manner of selective sponges and removing potential contaminants from the food chain. What a bizarrely negative-focused beast the media is.

"Iraq Marshlands Rebound to Go on Despite Turmoil" - "TOKYO - Ancient marshlands in southeastern Iraq drained by Saddam Hussein have rebounded to nearly half their former area, and progress should continue despite turmoil currently rocking the nation, UN officials said on Thursday." (Reuters)

Environmental good springing from the "rogue actions of the coalition of the willing"? Quick, bury this story!

"US Mulls Removing Lead from List of Pollutants" - "NEW YORK - US environmental regulators are considering removing lead, a heavy metal linked to learning problems in children, from a list of regulated pollutants because past rules have greatly reduced levels of the toxin." (Reuters)

"New Environment Nobel Award Needed, Norwegian Says" - "OSLO - A new Nobel prize should be created to reward work to protect the environment and combat climate change, a former Norwegian environment minister said on Thursday. But the head of the Norwegian Nobel Institute said the idea had already been considered and rejected by Sweden's Nobel Foundation." (Reuters)

"Animal Liberation Front bomber jailed for 12 years" - "An extremist described as the Animal Liberation Front's leading bomber was jailed for 12 years and placed on licence for life yesterday after a bombing campaign against people he believed were associated with animal research." (The Guardian)

Here we go again: "Ancient climate change may portend toasty future" - "Stanford, CA -- Scientists, including Ken Caldeira of the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Global Ecology, have found that the Earth’s global warming, 55 million years ago, may have resulted from the climate’s high sensitivity to a long-term release of carbon. This finding contradicts the position held by many climate-change skeptics that the Earth system is resilient to such emissions. The work, led by Mark Pagani of Yale University, is published in the December 8, 2006, issue of Science magazine." (Carnegie Institution) | Global warming of the future is projected by ancient carbon emissions (Yale University)

Ignoring, for a moment, that we have no way of telling which of these chickens and eggs may have been causal, if any (the hypothesis persists because no one has come up with a good explanation of why the Earth apparently warmed c.55mya and what might have caused apparent increases in atmospheric carbon at about the same time) this still constitutes no cause for alarm. Professor Roger Pielke, Sr., has an interesting preview of Human impacts on weather and climate, 2nd Edition, here. Note the logarithmic effect of changing levels of atmospheric CO2 on downwelling radiation (given in Watts per meter squared [Wm-2]). For the tropics the change in forcing from 0-360 ppmv is ~0.4 Wm-2 and from 360-560 ppmv (roughly current to double pre-Industrial Revolution levels) the change is <0.1 Wm2. Summer values for the subarctic (60° Latitude) are 0-360: ~2.9 and 360-560: ~0.5 and winter values ~14.4 and ~1.1Wm2 respectively, with cold dry winter air displaying the greatest sensitivity.

So, assuming the whole world responded with the vigor displayed by the subarctic in winter (not possible but never mind) then we are looking at an average of ~1.1Wm2 and further assuming the world responds with the ridiculous climate sensitivity used in climate models, that would equate to a potential warming of ~1 °C with the doubling of pre-IR atmospheric carbon dioxide. Using the Earth's measured climate sensitivity the realistic figure is approximately 0.1 °C.

If the alarmist hypothesis in the lead article is correct it destroys rather than supports all the nonsense about anthropogenic emissions causing 10 °C warming by Thursday next, or whatever the latest hysteria may be, since large increases in atmospheric carbon loads are estimated to have occurred with a net warming rate of 0.05 °C per century (5 °C/10,000 years) some 55mya, when atmospheric carbon dioxide levels were 2-3 times higher than they are today but only about one-half to one-third what they were when the Earth was cooler.

The atmospheric carbon dioxide-driven catastrophic warming scenario is a dog that just won't hunt and yet people are obsessed with it -- extraordinary!

Climate Forcings As Viewed From Space (Climate Science)

"Global-warming laws: What may be ahead" - "The Democrats will likely push for some type of carbon-emissions controls when they take control of Congress." (CNNMoney.com)

If only they'd tackle a real problem... "Heating up: Local front in war on global warming" - "Tucked away in a Dearborn office, Kathryn Savoie is preparing her arsenal to fight a global war on Michigan battlefields.

She follows a leader who says he'll do battle until the world changes. She's had intensive training to help her take on the powerful forces that have plentiful economic and political resources — forces that have quashed her allies for years. She has a stash of carefully crafted weapons that she hopes will lure more people into action.

Savoie is a foot soldier in former Vice President Al Gore's battle against global warming that was documented in the film An Inconvenient Truth, released earlier this year and now available on DVD. Savoie's tactics: speaking at schools, universities and community groups to share statistics and evidence of the problem and explain what each person can do to help solve it." (Metro Times, Detroit)

"Global warming: a few skeptics still ask why it's happening" - "Scientists who seek alternative to fossil-fuel theory got a hearing." (The Christian Science Monitor)

True... "Global-warming factions agree: Let data flow -- Senate panel hears plea against censorship" - "WASHINGTON -- A panel of experts from both sides of the debate over global warming told the Senate yesterday that government scientists and their research should neither be suppressed nor edited to reflect the administration's position on the issue. The remarks came during a hearing of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee that was examining the media's role in molding public opinion on whether changes in the Earth's climate can be attributed to man-made factors." (The Star-Ledger)

... and climate model output should be provided with an explanation of the propagation of error and how it pertains to climate science in general and climate models in particular (unlikely, since we would never hear of climate scares again).

"UK: Climate change author quits Treasury after Brown freezes him out" - "The author of the Government’s report on climate change is to quit the Treasury after friends said that he was frozen out of Gordon Brown’s inner circle. With embarrassing timing, Sir Nicholas Stern’s departure was announced a day after the Chancellor confounded expectations of a big shift towards a new environmental agenda in his Pre-Budget Report. Mr Brown’s move to raise taxes on flights and motorists’ fuel were seen as minimum concessions to calls for tougher environmental action and disappointed green campaigners. One well-placed government source told The Times that Mr Brown had to be persuaded within the Treasury even to take the steps he did, such was his lack of enthusiasm for green taxes." (London Times)

Poor Gordon -- no fun when you actually have to produce budgets for the real world rather than nonsense scares. Still, dissociating himself from Stern (and his absurd "Report") will help Gordon's credibility no end.

Predictably: "Extreme weather: When a tornado struck London" - "Assurances that the tornado was unconnected to climate change were greeted with scepticism by some. Dawn Butler, the Labour MP for Brent South, said: "This is a sign we have to take it seriously and we have to look at how we live. It is devastating."

Frank Hewetson, a Greenpeace official, who was buffeted by the tornado near his home, said: "I was lucky not to be hit. There are so many examples of strange weather events now that we can't write it off. Some people will say it's not climate change, but I don't think we've had too many twisters in Kensal Rise." (London Independent)

Some, however, do their homework: Violent and dangerous, but don't blame global warming (Paul Simons, London Times weatherman)

Bear in mind that the UK reports an average of 33 tornadoes each year, although they don't have Doppler radar as a standard meteorological tool and consequently little idea of the actual frequency.

"Duke expects pollution rules: CEO foresees more national regulation to take effect after 2008 elections" - "NEW YORK - Duke Energy's chief executive Jim Rogers said Wednesday he expects the new Democratic Congress to regulate carbon dioxide emissions, but not until after the 2008 elections. Speaking to industry analysts, Rogers said he spent the past week in Washington meeting with the staff of Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., a longtime supporter of environmental legislation. She will be integral in crafting regulations as incoming chairwoman of the Senate's Environment and Public Works Committee." (Christopher D. Kirkpatrick, The Charlotte Observer)

"UK: Zero carbon home is little more than hot air" - "Britain's first and only community experiment in "zero-carbon" living raises serious questions about Gordon Brown's ambition that all new homes should be carbon-free. BedZed, an award-winning development of 99 apartments in south London, was supposed to be exactly that: zero-carbon and entirely sustainable. More than four years after opening its doors, however, the landmark eco-village is neither." (London Telegraph)

Unremarkably, no really cares.

"India Ahead of Many in Adapting to Global Warming" - "NEW DELHI - India, likely to be one of the countries worst-hit by global warming, is already ahead of most developing nations in putting in place measures to help it adapt to climate change, the World Bank said on Thursday." (Reuters)

On and on goes the relentless drumbeat of looming heating catastrophe while the reality is that the world has an equal chance of cooling (more likely to be disastrous but don't tell the doomsters).

"India 'disappointed' by foreign help with climate change" - "Rich countries have not transferred technology to combat global warming to India as promised under the Kyoto Protocol on climate change, a top environment official said Thursday. The Kyoto deal, reached in 1997, asked 35 industrialised nations to step up investment in projects to cut greenhouse gas emission in developing countries under a Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). "We had hoped for much larger foreign direct investment. We are disappointed by the scale of foreign technology under CDM," said Prodipto Ghosh, the top official in the ministry of forests and environment." (AFP)

"EU Eyes Binding Targets for Renewable Energy - Draft" - "BRUSSELS - The European Commission will propose a mandatory target next month for energy consumption from renewable sources by 2020 in an overhaul of EU policy on environmentally friendly fuels, a draft showed on Thursday." (Reuters)

"In the dark ages" - "The Big Switch Off is caveman stuff that can really hurt. This is a green dream that is a pointless sacrifice." (Andrew Bolt, Herald Sun)

"The origins of peak oil doomerism" - "People in the Peak Oil movement chafe at the label of doomer, but many of us do have an apocalyptic bent. Although plenty of Peak Oil commentary is sober analysis, a survey of the major websites and books quickly brings up apocalyptic titles like dieoff.org, oilcrash.com, The Death of the Oil Economy, The End of Suburbia, and The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight. Peak Oil writings are sprinkled with predictions that billions will die, civil order will collapse, and even that civilization will end. Scientists, too, aren’t immune. During geologist Ken Deffeyes’s Peak Oil presentations, he displays the words “war,” “famine,” “pestilence,” and “death”—the four horsemen of the apocalypse. The Right, the saying goes, has the Left Behind books, and the Left has Peak Oil. Both predict that the end is near." (Toby Hemenway, Energy Bulletin)

"Mixed prairie grasses are better biofuel source, U of M study says" - "MINNEAPOLIS-ST.PAUL (12/04/2006)—Highly diverse mixtures of native prairie plant species have emerged as a leader in the quest to identify the best source of biomass for producing sustainable, bio-based fuel to replace petroleum." (University of Minnesota)

"ANALYSIS - 'Clean' Coal Seen in 5-10 Years, but Costs High" - "OSLO - 'Clean' coal-fired power plants that bury greenhouse gases will be up and running in 5-10 years but will be money-losers unless governments impose tougher policies for fighting global warming, experts said on Thursday." (Reuters)

"Amazon Dam Project Draws Heated Opposition in Brazil" - "RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil - Rubber tappers, fishermen and Indians in western Brazil have joined environmental groups in battling a planned US$9 billion hydroelectric project that will flood one of the Amazon's main tributaries." (Reuters)

"Baker's Yeast Mutant Can Boost Ethanol Output - MIT" - "NEW YORK - Scientists have engineered baker's yeast to produce ethanol faster and more efficiently, according to a Massachusetts Institute of Technology research paper published on Thursday." (Reuters)

"Ancient ape ruled out of man's ancestral line" - "Ancient remains, once thought to be a key link in the evolution of mankind, have now been shown to be 400,000 years too young to be a part of man’s family tree.

The remains of the apeman, dubbed Little Foot, were discovered in a cave complex at Sterkfontein by a local South African team in 1997. Its bones preserved in sediment layers, it is the most complete hominid fossil skeleton ever found.

Little Foot is of the genus Australopithecus, thought by some to be part of the ancestral line which led directly to man. But research by Dr Jo Walker and Dr Bob Cliff of the University of Leeds School of Earth and Environment, with Dr Alf Latham of Liverpool University's School of Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology, shows the remains are more than a million years younger than earlier estimates.

The team used uranium lead chronology to date the remains. Working on extracts of stalagmite deposits from immediately above and below the body, they dated the skeleton at around 2.2 million years old.

Their findings, published in the American journal Science, are controversial. Earlier estimates had put the age of Little Foot at three to four million years old placing it potentially on a direct line to humans.

The first recognisable stone tools appeared in Africa around 2.6 million years ago, but they were not made by Australopiths. Rather it is thought the first tool maker was Homo habilis, whose evolution is believed to have led directly to man. Rather than being older than Homo habilis – and a possible direct ancestor – Little Foot is more likely a distant cousin." (University of Leeds)

December 7, 2006

Uh-huh... "Californian Construction Pollution Killed 1,100 in '05" - "LOS ANGELES - Pollution from the construction industry led to the deaths of more than 1,100 people in California in 2005, a report released Tuesday by the Union of Concerned Scientists said." (Reuters)

... 3 people a day, eh? What were their names?

"EU Chemical Rules Spark Legal Doubt - Industry Groups" - "BRUSSELS - The latest version of a draft European Union law governing the use of toxic chemicals will create legal uncertainty and higher costs for industry, business groups said on Wednesday before a vote on the bill next week." (Reuters)

"Fat, healthy moms" - "This week, “skinny or underweight women” were being frightened by headlines that they’re at heightened risk of miscarriage. Except, the study being reported couldn’t reliably conclude that. A more accurate statement of the study’s findings also happens to be a much more positive and reassuring one." (Junkfood Science)

"One the media ignored: Please don’t weigh the children" - "The panic surrounding childhood obesity has led public schools administrators, politicians and consumer groups to get behind “prevention” approaches which encourage weighing and screening children for “obesity.” Without regard to the evidence." (Junkfood Science)

"Pour salt on it" - "A recent Australian article headline caught attention with its “Deadly sprinkles in lunches” and claims that a favorite “cheese stick could be killing your children.” (Junkfood Science)

That Didn't Take Long -- Misrepresenting Hurricane Science (Prometheus)

"Inhofe Says Global Warming Media Hearing Exposed Alarmist Media" - "WASHINGTON, DC – Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Chairman of the Environment & Public Works Committee, said today’s hearing about the media and climate change revealed that “Scare tactics should not drive public policy.” The hearing’s purpose was to examine the media’s presentation of climate science and featured scientists and media experts." (E&PW)

Andy Revkin on Media on Climate Change (Prometheus)

Senate Debates Global Warming, CNN Anchor Snoozes (NewsBusters) | Media Bias on Global Warming Called 'Inconvenient Truth' (CNSNews.com)

"Boxer plans a global warming focus" - "She predicts a new direction for Senate environmental panel when she's its boss." (Sacramento Bee)

Lot of propagandists in the field: "India will suffer most due to climate change-Stern" - "NEW DELHI - India is likely to suffer more than most countries as a result of climate change, with poor agricultural output, more natural disasters and increased deaths due to higher occurrence of diseases, the author of an acclaimed report on global warning said on Wednesday. Former World Bank chief economist Nicholas Stern's report on the economic impact of climate change said unchecked greenhouse gas emissions would see global temperatures rise by 2-3 degrees centigrade in the next 50 years." (Reuters)

Spinning in overdrive: "Global Warming Will Stifle Oceans - Scientists" - "LONDON - Global warming will stifle life-giving microscopic plants that live in the surface layer of the oceans, cutting marine food production and accelerating climate change, according to a study published on Wednesday." (Reuters) | Global warming will reduce ocean productivity, marine life (Oregon State University) | NASA research reveals climate warming reduces ocean food supply (NASA/GSFC) | Global warming is reducing ocean life, increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide, say scientists (University of California - Santa Barbara)

In particular, see Global Warming Blues (Phil Berardelli, ScienceNOW Daily News). As I recall, and this seems to concur with my recollection, 1998 was actually an El Niño year, a big one which, in the absence of masking explosive volcanic eruptions, delivered record annual mean temperatures. The subsequent La Niña was from 1999-2001 although it was not particularly potent. Nonetheless, the story has changed significantly:

Flashback to December 2000: (it's unlikely these 6-yo links still function but...)

... A common theme has been the 'decimation' of fisheries due to purported warming. Well, in August, with the reported warming of the North Atlantic, came Large increase in Scottish salmon numbers reported while New cool-water cycle in Pacific sends marine populations soaring. These harvestable (adult) fish in the Pacific north-east didn't suddenly materialize out of cool water so, where did they come from? Could it be that breeding success and survival was enhanced by warmer conditions? No one would deny the El Niño-induced warming of the central Pacific 1997-98 and yet fisheries boomed in the Pacific north-east and now:

"Poor world prices for tuna force some fishing fleets back to harbour" - "Poor world prices for tuna have forced some pacific island fishing fleets back to harbour. Sean Dorney reports that the problem is world oversupply: The Pacific newsagency, PacNews, is carrying a report out of American Samoa saying the oil dock at Utulei and the docks at both fishing canneries in Pago Pago are crowded with fishing boats which have been tied up for several weeks. It says it's a depressing period for Samoan fishermen with locally based purse seiner and long liner crews taking unscheduled leave without pay. The news service quotes the Star Kist Manager in American Samoa, Phil Thirkell, as saying tuna prices have fallen to an all-time low with the price of skipjack taking the biggest drop. It's a similar scene elsewhere in the Pacific. The Forum Fisheries Agency says prices have been falling since last year due to big catches in all fisheries especially in the Eastern Pacific. In its latest annual report the Agency says prices are likely to remain low while markets are oversupplied." (Radio Australia)

Following the warmer conditions there is an oversupply of fish. Could the two events be related? Of course, see El Niño's Dramatic Impact on Ocean Biology* for some idea on the enormous surge in phytoplankton that took place with the El Niño rebound - that's a lot of fish food. Incidentally, that bloom consumed an extraordinary amount of carbon and the majority of that bloom (that which didn't end up as part of the food chain at least) is now on the bottom of the Pacific - sequestered, in other words.

It is entirely possible that warmer conditions enhance fish breeding success, just as it seems likely that infusions of nutrient-rich cold currents enhance fish growth. It is simply not true to say that warm = bad. Nor is it true that there is any advantage for life on Earth in limiting the availability of the essential trace gas, carbon dioxide (CO2). End flashback.

* The revised link for El Niño's Dramatic Impact on Ocean Biology is available here. Note particularly: "According to new results published in the Dec. 10 issue of the journal Science, El Niño also dramatically reduced the amount of carbon dioxide normally released into the atmosphere by the equatorial Pacific Ocean."

So, the measures available, from which new paper is drawn, actually show a reduction in CO2 emissions associated with the warmer Pacific exhibited by the El Niño phase (meaning that if atmospheric CO2 really is a significant contributor to global mean temperature El Niño and the associated warmer Pacific actually reduces warming emissions) and demonstrate abnormally large phytoplankton blooms subsequent to the positive ENSO phase. Moreover, temperature does not appear to be a key determinant since that is the product of reduced trade winds, as is the reduced oceanic upwelling and reduced nutrient availability.

The observations of the time simply do not support the current frantic spinning. What a load of PC rubbish we are being subjected to.

New Paper On North Atlantic Ocean Heat Content Changes (Climate Science)

Oceans “Warming or Cooling”? (WCR)

"Climate change: Frisson-laden year lies ahead" - "PARIS - Nothing beats a whiff of Apocalypse for focussing minds and, next year, climate change will be the big issue that will send an icy shiver down spines followed by a clamour for action. On February 1, the world's top scientists will issue their first instalment of a massive three-part update on global warming. It will be the first knowledge review by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) since 2001 -- and the phone-book-sized report will convey an unvarnished message that will be bleak and quite possibly terrifying. Those close to the IPCC say it will not only confirm the grim warnings of the past but also amplify them." (AFP)

Scott Saleska on Tuning the Climate (Prometheus)

"Study Links Leisure to 20 Percent UK Carbon Emissions" - "LONDON - Guilty consumers are used to regretting the climate change impacts of pleasures ranging from imported food to their own trips abroad, but they may not have known about the carbon emissions of watching football." (Reuters)

"Germany Vows Climate Still Priority Despite CO2 Row" - "BERLIN - Climate change remains a top priority for Germany despite a row with the European Commission over its planned emissions targets, a German government official said on Wednesday." (Reuters)

"UK: 'Green' tax plans fail to impress" - "Environmental taxes announced by Chancellor Gordon Brown have failed to impress opposition parties, businesses and green campaigners." (BBC)

Check out how much the UK (and Europe, for that matter) already clobbers their populace with energy taxes -- and then whines about "energy poverty." -- Hat tip Dennis A.

"UK Airlines Slam Plans to Double Passenger Tax" - "LONDON - Britain's airlines slammed government plans on Wednesday to double taxes on air travel, saying the flat rate would remove the incentive to fly greener aircraft." (Reuters) | Air Travel Duty: Passenger tax hike raises revenues and hackles (London Independent)

"Environmentalists Deride UK Brown's Budget" - "LONDON - Britain's finance minister Gordon Brown provoked derision on Wednesday among environmentalists who expected him to deliver a more green-hearted budget." (Reuters) | Global Warming: Green lobby says Brown is 'tinkering at margins' in fight against climate change (London Independent)

Poor Gordon, painted into a ridiculous PC Green corner and charged with actually maintaining a functioning economy -- can't win.

"Pilot plant will prove carbon capture technology" - "Britain’s first carbon-capture and storage plant will be built next year — but only if costs are kept down. Gordon Brown announced the public-funded demonstration plant yesterday as an indication of how seriously the Government is taking the challenges of climate change. As a means of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the possibility of capturing carbon — as fossil fuels are burnt at power plants — and storing it in oilfields is being explored. Before a decision is taken on building the demonstration plant, however, a feasibility study will establish if it is a cost-effective means of reducing carbon emissions." (London Times)

Silly blighters: "Four States Set to Join EU Carbon Market - UK" - "LONDON - Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland have agreed in principle to join the European Union's carbon trading scheme, Britain's Finance Minister Gordon Brown said in his pre-budget report on Wednesday." (Reuters)

More stealth taxes from Brussels: "UK: Mars fined for breaching rules on carbon trading" - "The food giant Mars was fined yesterday by the Environment Agency for breaches of European carbon trading rules, introduced to combat global warming. Mars (UK) was one of four companies handed penalties totalling more than €1m (£750,000) after it failed to submit permits for the amount of carbon it emitted in 2005, the first year of the scheme. The Peterborough-based company, Britain's biggest food manufacturer with sales of more than £2bn a year, was fined €78,000 for failing to obtain allowances for some 2,000 tonnes of carbon it produced." (London Independent)

"Fair carbon trade 'way off in future'" - "A FAIR and workable carbon trading system that spread the costs of addressing climate change was "some way off", federal Environment Minister Ian Campbell said yesterday. In contrast to his parliamentary secretary, Greg Hunt, who is urging a rapid embrace of a trading system that would raise the cost of electricity, Senator Campbell warned that the complexity of the arrangements was still significant." (The Australian)

Actually there's already a robust and competitive multifaceted carbon trade -- oil, coal and gas spring to mind as the major carbon trade commodities -- and the trading seems reasonably fair and workable. Unlike hot air trading real carbon trades appear quite useful.

Another Buncombe article: "Exxon spends millions to cast doubt on warming" - "The world's largest energy company is still spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to fund European organisations that seek to cast doubt on the scientific consensus on global warming and undermine support for legislation to curb emission of greenhouse gases." (London Independent)

Funny, that's not in the brochure... "Organic chicken is fattier than battery birds" - "ORGANIC chicken is less nutritious, contains more fat and tastes worse than free range or battery-farmed meat, scientists have discovered. Tests on supermarket chicken breasts found organic varieties contained fewer omega-3 fatty acids and lower levels of antioxidants, giving the meat an inferior taste. Some were found to contain twice as much cholesterol. The study, by food scientists at Strathclyde University, contradicts the common view that the premium paid for organic meat guarantees a healthier and tastier product." (Sunday Times)

"Elusive rust resistance genes located" - "The discovery of a DNA marker for two key rust resistance genes is enabling plant breeders around the world to breed more effective rust resistant wheat varieties." (CSIRO Australia)

"China Delays GMO Rice but Raises Biotech Budget" - "HONG KONG - China, the world's top rice producer and consumer, has again put off a plan to allow farmers to grow transgenic rice even as it raises its biotechnology budget for the next five years." (Reuters)

"Australia: Greenpeace fail to block GM canola" - "AUSTRALIA'S first shipment of genetically modified (GM) canola is on its way to the nation's grocery baskets after protesters held it up for three hours at a Newcastle dock. Three Greenpeace activists were arrested today for chaining themselves to their cars as a dozen protesters blockaded exits from the floating dock at Kooragang Island, part of the Port of Newcastle." (The Australian)

"Queensland could trial GM cane" - "Queensland localities could be used by sugar industry research arm BSES to trial a genetically modified (GM) cane variety. The Gene Technology Regulator needs to approve the trial before plantings can begin." (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

December 6, 2006

"Fears about DDT spraying are baseless" - "MALARIA imposes enormous human suffering and economic costs on many poor countries including Uganda. Globally, malaria infects between 300 million and 500 million people and kills more than two million every year." (Chris Baryomunsi, New Vision)

Cell phone use not linked to cancer risk - Long or short-term cell phone use is not associated with increased cancer risk, according to a study in the December 6 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

"Mass Hysteria About “Toxic” Toys is Spreading" - "The Huffington Post’s “Fearless Voices” just don't want to listen to science or reason." (Trevor Butterworth, STATS)

"Carbs and calories, confusion and chaos" - "We are overwhelmed with nutritional advice. Diet books are best sellers. Nutritional gurus eat up television time, and the Internet is full of free advice for anyone who can Google "weight loss." (Dr. Arthur Frank, Washington Times)

"Survey Says IP and M&A Are Still Hot Areas" - "Intellectual property as well as mergers and acquisitions are still red-hot practice areas, while insurance coverage and environmental law are cooling off, according to legal consultant Robert Denney's 18th annual "What's Hot and What's Not in the Legal Profession" report." (The Legal Intelligencer)

"Parting The Clouds" - "A week after the Supreme Court entered the global warming fray, the Senate will look at media hyping of climate change. Such examinations could help balance out the debate, but whether they do remains to be seen." (IBD)

Full Committee hearing on Climate Change and the media. 9:30 am Wednesday, December 6, 2006. (Environment & Public Works)

Dear Richard Black (Number Watch)

International reporters don't get Australia: "Australia Fears Super Fires as Temperatures Soar" - "CANBERRA - Australian firefighters fear dozens of bushfires in remote mountains in the southeast could join up to form major fire-fronts, driven by hot weather in the drought-plagued region." (Reuters)

Fellas, the situation down-under is really quite simple. We have heightened concerns about bushfires when fuel loads are high, that is, following "good" years -- those roughly one-in-seven years when the bulk of rain arrives (most of Australia has less than 10" [~250mm] average annual rainfall but it arrives over 1-3 years and is followed by 4-6 "dry" years -- the sort of years that would have northerners screaming apocalypse / world-ending drought when there is negligible plant growth and hence little fuel load for catastrophic bushfires). Australia always burns off vegetation as it dries and this has been so for so long that various indigenous plants require fire to open seed pods that may have lain dormant for decades. Eucalypts have tightly packed buds beneath external bark just waiting to burst forth to exploit nutrients made available to these poor ancient soils by fire cleaning out the desiccated brush. Fire and drought cycles, broken by flooding rains, are the norm here. Urbanization and hubris are not helping -- when it burns the correct response is: get out of the way.

"How to value a grandchild" - "ONE month after Sir Nicholas Stern published his review of the economics of climate change, his peers have had time to say what they think of his work. And the answer, it seems, is: not a lot." (The Economist)

"Alps Warmest in 1,300 Years as 'Winter' Sets in" - "VIENNA - It is warmer in Europe's Alpine region now than at any time in the past 1,300 years, the head of a wide-ranging climatic survey said on Tuesday." (Reuters)

Not by next week? "Arctic ice field could melt by 2080: European research" - "The Arctic Ocean's ice field could melt entirely by 2080 due to global warming, a group of European scientists meeting in the northern Germany city of Bremen announced on Tuesday." (AFP)

Misquote By Judy Curry in the Newspaper? (Climate Science)

Sea Level Rise? - Not From Antarctic Melting (WCR)

It's alright -- it's still bad! "Southern Ocean could slow global warming" - "The Southern Ocean may slow the rate of global warming by absorbing significantly more heat and carbon dioxide than previously thought, according to new research." (University of Arizona)

Can British Wine Grapes Resolve A Global Warming Question? (CGFI)

The Future of Climate Policy Debates (Prometheus)

"Gore Hawks Global Warming Theory, DVD on 'Oprah'" - "Al Gore warned Tuesday of the consequences America faces if something is not done today to stop "global warming," while a critic said the former vice president wanted "to scare us green." (CNSNews.com)

How appropriate for Democrats to wrap themselves in green scares, given that green is a mixture of blue and yellow.

From CO2 Science this week:

The Monsoon Rainforests of Northern Australia: How have they responded to the supposedly unprecedented global warming of the last four decades?

Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week:
This issue's Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week comes from North-Central China. To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.

Subject Index Summary:
Droughts (Africa): Have African droughts gotten any worse as mean global air temperature has risen to a level that NASA's James Hansen claims is within less than a degree of the all-time record high of the past million years?

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: Barnyardgrass, Cudweed, Gray Field Speedwell, and Virginia Plantain.

Journal Reviews:
Different Ways of Characterizing Global Temperature Change: How temperature series are characterized can alter the degree of warming or cooling associated with them, as well as one's interpretation of what may have caused the temperature changes.

Climate Regime Shifts of the Past Four Centuries: What do they tell us about the nature of global warming over the last half of the 20th century?

Tree-Line Evidence for the Medieval Warm Period in the Polar Ural Mountains: How does it compare with evidence for the Current Warm Period there?

Experimentally Observed Effects of Elevated CO 2 on Leaf Spot Disease in a Common Grassland Herb: What are they? ... and how significant are they?

Effect of Elevated CO 2 on Phytoalexin Production in Soybeans: Does atmospheric CO 2 enrichment alter the production of anti-microbial compounds produced by soybeans and thereby impact their resistance to such botanical afflictions as stem canker disease? (co2science.org)

"A chilling solution -- Measuring below-ground carbon without destroying trees" - "USDA Forest Service (FS) researchers have provided the first proof of concept for a method that allows scientists to study below-ground carbon allocation in trees without destroying them. In the latest issue of the journal Plant, Cell & Environment, Kurt Johnsen and fellow researchers at the FS Southern Research Station unit in Research Triangle Park, NC, describe a reversible, non-destructive chilling method that stops the movement of carbon into root systems." (Southern Research Station - USDA Forest Service)

"Don’t sacrifice workers on altar of climate change" - "According to a recent Climate Institute survey, 54 per cent of rural Australians believe the government should do more to reduce climate change. Let’s accept the earth is warming. The institute and its survey respondents are still grappling with an illusion - in reality the Australian Government is impotent to “reduce” climate change. Even if climate trends are influenced by human activity, Australia’s carbon emissions amount to less than one per cent of the world’s total. What Australia does has little impact one way or the other." (Jeremy Gilling, John Muscat and Rolly Smallacombe, Online Opinion)

"UK: Firms face compulsory carbon quotas" - "Plans for emission trading scheme as chancellor doubles flight duty." (The Guardian)

"Hot Air" - "Sometime soon, the smart money says, one European government or another will propose taxing air travel to "compensate" for the industry's alleged contribution to global warming. After all, the EU Parliament endorsed just such a measure this summer in a nonbinding vote. British politicians have mulled an aviation-carbon tax in light of the Stern report on climate change in October. French President Jacques Chirac has already created an aviation tax to fund foreign aid and his Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin has mooted a tax on products from countries that don't sign up to the treaty that succeeds the Kyoto Protocol; it may be just a matter of time before the two policies converge.

In the meantime, however, the British, French, German and Spanish governments may grant up to €3.75 billion ($5 billion) in subsidies for the development of Airbus's new midsize jetliner, the A350-XWB. That's right. Governments that are happy to blame air travel for the world's environmental problems are bankrolling new planes. Just imagine if Europe were to subsidize domestic agriculture and then give aid to poor countries whose farmers lose out as a result. Oh, wait -- they do that, too." (Wall Street Journal)

"Americans try to shift into 'carbon neutral'" - "To combat global warming, many try to remove as much carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as they add to it." (The Christian Science Monitor)

What was that about "most of the people some of the time and some of the people most of the time"?

Hot air fire sale: "NY Plans to Auction 100 Percent of CO2 Permits - Source" - "NEW YORK - New York state plans to auction all of its permits to emit greenhouse gas emissions under a developing regional market in order to avoid the European Union's mistake of giving away carbon permits, according to a source familiar with the market." (Reuters)

"Germany Aims to Cap Airline's CO2 Emissions" - "FRANKFURT - Germany wants to cap carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from airlines flying into its territory and to make them join the EU emissions trading scheme, a minister was quoted as saying on Tuesday." (Reuters)

"RAND to review renewable energy study and will issue corrected version" - "The RAND Corporation today announced that it is revising a study on renewable energy expenditures issued Nov. 13 after learning there were some inadvertent errors in the computer model and numerical assumptions on which the study findings were based. The study withdrawn for revision is titled "Impacts on U.S. Energy Expenditures of Increasing Renewable Energy Use." It examined total energy expenditures if a requirement was imposed that 25 percent of electricity and motor vehicle fuels used in the United States by 2025 would come from renewable resources." (RAND Corporation)

"ICELAND: Aluminium Worries Environmentalists" - "REYKJAVIK - Nature conservationists are becoming increasingly more concerned that Iceland will soon have more aluminium plants than it can handle because it has an abundant supply of cheap, renewable energy." (IPS)

"Rising Interest in Nuclear Power Brings New Life to Uranium Mining" - "ARANDIS, Namibia -- This sandy little company town, with its tree-lined streets and concrete homes set amid a vast, forbidding desert, had all the signs of terminal decline just a few years back. Both banks closed. The only gas station shut off its pumps. And employable young men, realizing the bleak future of the giant uranium mine that gave Arandis life, began drifting away.

But something unexpected happened on the way to the funeral for Arandis: The nuclear industry, stagnant for two decades, reversed its fortunes at a time of rising oil prices and growing realization that burning fossil fuel caused global climate change. Nuclear went from being seen as a dirty source of energy to a comparatively clean, efficient one." (Washington Post)

"Australia: Have they got cloth ears?" - "MAYBE lentils make you deaf, because guess which fashionable suburb hasn't heard there's a drought on?" (Andrew Bolt, Herald Sun)

"Former White House science advisor warns that nanotechnology's potential threatened" - "WASHINGTON, D.C. -- "Nanoscale science and engineering promise to be as important as the steam engine, the transistor, and the Internet, and have the potential to revolutionize all other technologies" according to Neal Lane, former science advisor to U.S. President Bill Clinton. "But that outcome is not guaranteed."

Dr. Lane made his remarks today at a Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies event at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. The program marked the release of a new article in the December 2006 issue of the journal Nature Nanotechnology, "What drives public acceptance of nanotechnology" (Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies)

"Study probes public's willingness to use specific nanoproducts" - "HOUSTON, Dec. 5, 2006 -- The largest and most comprehensive survey of public perceptions of nanotechnology products finds that U.S. consumers are willing to use specific nano-containing products – even if there are health and safety risks – when the potential benefits are high. The study also finds that U.S. consumers rate nanotechnology as less risky than everyday technologies like herbicides, chemical disinfectants, handguns and food preservatives." (Rice University)

December 5, 2006

"Global malaria map key weapon in fight against malaria, scientists say" - "Information on the global burden of malaria remains the subject of "best guesses," and as a result resource allocation for malaria control remains "driven by perceptions and politics, rather than an objective assessment of need," say two prominent malaria researchers in PLoS Medicine. Simon Hay and Robert Snow (Kenya Medical Research Institute and University of Oxford), say that it has been almost 40 years since the last global map of malaria endemicity was constructed, and that "there have been no recent efforts to construct a credible evidence-based global malaria map." (Public Library of Science) | Global malaria map key weapon in fight against malaria, scientists say (Wellcome Trust)

"WHO launches new drive for malaria vaccine by 2015" - "BANGKOK - The World Health Organization launched a new global effort on Monday to find a vaccine against malaria, which infects up to 500 million people each year, and the donors to pay for it." (Reuters)

"Trusts Busted" - "The seamy underside of asbestos litigation." (Kimberley A Strassel, Opinion Journal)

"Exposures to the insecticide chlorpyrifos in pregnancy adversely affect child development" - "Children who were exposed prenatally to the insecticide chlorpyrifos had significantly poorer mental and motor development by three years of age and increased risk for behavior problems, according to a peer-reviewed study published today by the American Academy of Pediatrics in its journal, Pediatrics. Chlorpyrifos, which was banned for residential use in 2001, is still widely applied to agricultural crops in the U.S. and abroad, including many fruits and vegetables." (Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health)

Hmm... "Study: Fast food in kids' hospitals sends mixed message" - "CHICAGO, Illinois -- Having fast-food restaurants in children's hospitals influences patients' families to eat fast food and to think that it's relatively healthy, new research suggests." (AP)

... as most parents have experienced, getting nutrients into sick kids can be something of a challenge. If that means a visit to the golden arches or similar, then that's health food du jour.

"Food Addiction, Redux" - "Arguments over food “addiction” miss the point: You can’t sue evolution." (Maia Szalavitz, STATS)

"A Soda Maker, Touting Health, Moves to Sugar" - "Jones Soda plans to switch to cane sugar in its drinks in an effort to capitalize on the bad publicity surrounding high-fructose corn syrup, which some scientists have linked to rising U.S. obesity rates." (Wall Street Journal)

"Obesity epidemic may trigger 12,000 cancer cases a year" - "Britain's soaring rates of obesity are likely to trigger a new wave of cancer, with as many as 12,000 weight-related cases now expected every year by 2010, researchers warned yesterday. Obesity plays a role in nearly 4% of cancers, including breast and womb tumours, and is believed to be linked to others, such as bowel and kidney cancer. In most cases, hormones released from fat are responsible for raising the cancer risk." (The Guardian)

Uh-huh... "The Threat is Out There" - "More than 100,000 asteroids hurtle past our planet. But only one—that we know of—may hit us in the next 30 years." (Popular Mechanics)

... well, it's a far more credible threat than "global warming," at least.

"When Questions of Science Come to a Courtroom, Truth Has Many Faces" - "Idealistic lawyers and idealistic scientists often describe themselves as engaging in a search for truth. The scientists follow the scientific method. They state their hypotheses, describe the ways they test them, present their findings — and wait for another researcher to prove them wrong. Lawyers’ practice is built on the idea that the best way to shake the truth out of a complex dispute is for advocates on each side to argue it, as vigorously as they can, in front of an impartial judge or jury. These approaches work more or less well on their own. But when a legal issue hinges on questions of science, they can clash. And the collision can resound all the way up to the Supreme Court." (Cornelia Dean, New York Times)

"2006 unusually warm, but not hottest year: experts" - "OSLO/NEW YORK - The average temperature in 2006 is likely to be amongst the hottest since records began nearly 150 years ago, giving what seems another example of global warming, experts said on Monday. Autumn and early winter temperature records have been set from the Alps to Moscow this year, hurting ski resorts but extending growing seasons. Arctic sea ice shrank to near record lows in the summer. "This year is likely to be in the top five, probably about the fifth warmest worldwide," said David Viner, senior climate scientist at the British University of East Anglia. But some earlier parts of the year were cooler and experts say that 2006 will not beat all-time global records -- 1998 or 2005 -- since reliable records began in the 1860s." (Reuters)

surface_temp.gif (110951 bytes) Oddly enough, our surface sampling through the METAR system (mainly airport weather reports) indicates Earth's mean surface temperature to be pretty "normal." In fact, with the few weeks left to round out the year now dominated by falling northern hemisphere readings it looks like the year mean will come in around 14 °C (287 K), exactly the estimated low mean surface temperature for the planet (variously estimated as 287 or 288 K).

This is interesting for a couple of reasons: 1) our METAR sampling, besides sampling where people happen to be, derives a mean value almost exactly in accord with expectation and 2) our thousand-station sampling is apparently less afflicted by UHIE than "official" records since we do not show the listed anomaly of 0.5 K or greater as suggested by GISTEMP, NCDC and HadCRU datasets.

So, is our "tuppenny global thermometer" any better or worse than "official" efforts? That's a good question. We've used the best-dispersed selection we can manage, in as balanced latitude bands as can be achieved from available reporting stations and found the world's temperature to be rather ordinary. If there was some means of independently verifying the accuracy of "official" datasets or examining how UHIE is dealt with then we might be tempted to suggest we are in error -- but there isn't -- our derivation has just as much chance of being correct as urbanized met station records. Is the world warming alarmingly? That's another good question.

Increased Hurricanes And Increased Winter Snowfall – How They Are Related by Joe Daleo (Climate Science)

Decelerating the Sea Level Rise Scare (WCR)

"Eco-Censorship: The Effort to Thwart the Climate Change Debate"  -"Eppur si muove—“and yet it moves”—was supposedly Galileo’s final statement after being forced by the Church to retract his revolutionary cosmological theories. He had run up against the overwhelming consensus of his time—that the Earth was the center of the universe and that saying otherwise was detrimental to the public good, not to mention Galileo’s health. For centuries, the scientific method has been an antidote to such persecution. Right or wrong, scientists should be free to advance their theories without the threat of extra-scientific censure, except perhaps when national security is at stake. Science alone should judge scientific validity." (Iain Murray, The New Atlantis)

Moonbattery: "I'm all for putting more vehicles on our roads. As long as they're coaches" - "There was one proposal in Sir Rod Eddington's report to the Treasury with which, when I first read it, I wholeheartedly agreed. He insists that "the transport sector, including aviation, should meet its full environmental costs". Quite right too: every time someone dies as a result of floods in Bangladesh, an airline executive should be dragged out of his office and drowned." (George Monbiot, The Guardian)

Obligatory eye-roller... "CDC: Climate change a health threat" - "ATLANTA, Dec. 4 -- The "rising scientific certainty" of climate change should mobilize environmental health professionals to take aggressive action, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director said at a meeting here Monday. "Climate change is perhaps the largest looming public health challenge we face, certainly in the environmental health field," Dr. Howard Frumkin, director of the CDC's National Center for Environmental Health, told United Press International in an interview." (UPI)

... given that people happily cope with temperature ranges exceeding 50 °C in higher latitudes (and altitudes). Meanwhile the IPCC estimates net global warming at 0.6 ± 0.2 °C.

Yet another circus event: "Global meet on climate change begins Thursday" - "New Delhi, Dec 4 Amid growing fears about global warming, a two-day international conference on climate change and its adverse consequences on the development of countries like India will be held here beginning Thursday." (IANS)

"Won't commit on emission: Delhi to climate change author" - "India understands the gravity of the climate change story but feels it's not ready to take on any commitments to cut carbon emissions for now. This was communicated to Nicholas Stern, whose review on the economic impact of climate change added a new and alarming dimension to the debate after it was released in October. He is in India to share findings of his research with key stakeholders in the Government." (Indian Express)

"Air Pollution Hurts India's Rice Crop - Study" - "WASHINGTON - Air pollution caused by the burning of fossil fuels like coal and diesel has contributed to a worrisome slowdown in rice harvest growth in India in the past two decades, scientists said on Monday." (Reuters) | Reducing air pollution could increase rice harvests in India (Scripps Institution of Oceanography)

"Experts worry warmer Earth will slash farm yields" - "WASHINGTON - Urgent action is needed to make sure a warming climate doesn't slash crop yields, heighten the risk of famine and deepen poverty for the world's most vulnerable, international experts said on Monday. "Climate change is not just in the future. It's happening now," said Cynthia Rosenzweig, a NASA scientist and co-chair of an international panel on climate change, told a meeting of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Researchers held in Washington." (Reuters) | Rise in California temperatures likely to affect crops (DOE/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory)

All these committees and "experts" operating under the assumption that estimates of future warming are reliable should be made aware that climate models are complete rubbish as prognostic tools. The bottom line is that cooling becomes an increasing likelihood with the passage of time and must be included in risk management.

"Intensified research effort yields climate-resilient agriculture to blunt impact of global warming" - "WASHINGTON, D.C. (4 December 2006) -- In reporting new forecasts of the devastating impact of climate change on food production in some of the globe’s poorest regions, the world’s largest alliance of international agricultural research centers today announced it is embarking on a new effort to intensify and streamline research to reduce developing countries’ vulnerability to climate change caused by global warming." | CGIAR climate change research (Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research)

"Shell CEO criticizes U.S. for Kyoto stance" - "DUBAI, United Arab Emirates—The CEO of Royal Dutch Shell PLC berated the United States yesterday for spurning the United Nations Kyoto Protocol on global warming, saying U.S. backing for a global regulatory framework would create incentives for oil companies to reduce carbon dioxide emissions." (AP)

"Nuclear Power Revival Could Encounter Hurdles" - "WASHINGTON -- The Bush administration's plan for a "renaissance" in nuclear power may be crimped by tightening world-wide supplies of uranium and a lack of enrichment facilities to turn the uranium into fuel for power plants. In a recent setback, an accident in October flooded the world's largest uranium mine, which was set to open in Canada next year. That nudged prices for processed uranium ore, already up more than 800% since 2001, even higher. Meanwhile, enrichment facilities, which turn uranium into fuel for nuclear power plants, have already pledged their services because of growing interest in nuclear fuel by other countries. The result is that the U.S. is relying more than before on Russia, which provides about half the enriched nuclear fuel used in this country." (Wall Street Journal)

"As Alternative Energy Heats Up, Environmental Concerns Grow" - "PONTIANAK, Indonesia -- Investors are pouring billions of dollars into "renewable" energy sources such as ethanol, biodiesel and solar power that promise to reduce the world's reliance on petroleum. But exploiting these alternatives may produce unintended environmental and economic consequences that offset the expected benefits." (Wall Street Journal)

"UK: Don't listen to air industry doom-mongers, ministers told" - "The government must not perform a U-turn on aviation policy and shelve plans for a third runway at Heathrow, the head of the airport group BAA has warned. Stephen Nelson, BAA chief executive, was speaking ahead of the publication of an update on the government's aviation industry white paper later this month. The previous white paper, published three years ago, sanctioned the building of a third runway at Heathrow by 2015 and a second at Stansted airport by 2020." (The Guardian)

"Invention could solve 'bottleneck' in developing pollution-free cars" - "Hydrogen-powered cars that do not pollute the environment are a step closer thanks to a new discovery which promises to solve the main problem holding back the technology. Whilst hydrogen is thought to be an ideal fuel for vehicles, producing only water on combustion, its widespread use has been limited by the lack of a safe, efficient system for onboard storage." (University of Bath)

Oh, and the energy efficient source of such hydrogen, of course.

"Danish Study Shows Virtually No Harm To Birds, Fish Or Seals At World's Two Biggest Offshore Wind Farms" - "BOSTON, MA, December 4, 2006 -- Danish energy and environment government agencies have released their findings at the conclusion of an eight-year study on the impacts of the world’s two largest offshore wind farms, Horns Rev and Nysted, on the aquatic ecosystem including birds, fish, seals and benthic life." (WORLD-WIRE)

"EU Ducks Decision on Growing GMO Potato" - "BRUSSELS - Europe revealed its deep-seated differences over genetically modified (GMO) foods on Monday, failing to agree on whether to let farmers grow a GMO potato -- the EU's first attempt in eight years to approve a biotech crop for cultivation." (Reuters)

"US food sector wary of GMO wheat - Gen Mills exec" - "KANSAS CITY, Mo., Dec 4 - The U.S. food industry is still not ready to embrace biotech wheat because of consumer wariness of genetic tinkering -- even though wheat acres are declining, a General Mills Inc. executive said on Monday." (Reuters)

December 4, 2006

"DDT against malaria: Rotarians from Luxembourg and France join the fight" - "Every year 3 million children die of malaria; hundreds of million others fall seriously sick. The impact on their schooling is dreadful and the economy in several countries of the South is paralysed by this plague." (Pierre Lutgen)

About time people started to wise up: "Greenpeace Downsizes in Germany" - "Greenpeace is in dire financial straits: The largest German environmental organization is bringing in too little money, and Greenpeace International needs more and more support. Now, the group is cutting 20 of the 160 jobs in Germany. Morale has hit a low point." (Der Spiegel)

Misguided nitwits like these are probably responsibly for more misery, poverty, morbidity and mortality than the World Wars -- not that we'll ever be able to hold them responsible for it. Eco-theism may well be the only religion more dangerous than radical Islam. Best we just let the whole unfortunate episode fade into history.

"German Greens refocus on environment to win voters" - "COLOGNE, Germany, Dec 2 - Germany's Greens party, hoping a global wave of anxiety about climate change will sweep it back into power, is setting aside its liberal-left campaigns to return to its original cause -- the environment." (Reuters)

"German Greens Turn Grey as Party Leaders Hold On" - "COLOGNE - Germany's Greens are turning grey and a widening generation gap looms over the party heavily reliant on young voters just as they are counting on a revival of political fortunes amid growing climate change fears. But the ageing founder members of the world's biggest ecology party, now wearing suits rather than sandals, have turned a deaf ear to complaints from young Greens members that the greybeards are hogging all the power and the spotlight." (Reuters)

"Deepak Lal: Welfare fails to save the world -- Western aid to the Third World does not alleviate poverty" - "THE humanitarian case for aid has been based on an analogy with the Western welfare state. The idea was that many people favour welfare to transfer wealth from the relatively rich to the relatively poor within a country, so they will favour welfare to transfer wealth from relatively rich countries to relatively poor ones." (The Australian)

"Of Politics and Pills" - "Eli Lilly's CEO warns that bad policies may imperil pharmaceutical research." (Opinion Journal)

"Junk medicine: radiation scare: Ignorance is the real danger" - "The strange death of Alexander Litvinenko has never lacked the necessary elements to keep the media entranced. The revelation that the former Russian spy was poisoned with polonium-210, however, took the story to another level. The radioactive isotope is thought never to have been used before as a murder weapon, and the difficulty of obtaining it added fresh intrigue to conspiracy theories.

Its discovery also opened an entirely new angle: there was now an opportunity to talk up a public health scare. The Health Protection Agency (HPA) was appropriately cautious when announcing that it was tracing Litvinenko’s contacts to assess their risk, insisting that it was low. But that was not always reflected in the headlines. The idea that an assassin had been roaming London carrying radioactive poison was too seductive to resist." (Mark Henderson, London Times)

"Southern California wildfires pose health risks to children" - "Los Angeles, Dec. 1, 2006– In October of 2003, multiple wildfires raged throughout Southern California. Now, researchers at the University of Southern California (USC) report that residents without asthma in wildfire-endangered regions suffered as much as those with asthma." (University of Southern California)

"Saving the rainforest: At last, action on the Amazon" - "A new generation of state politicians in Brazil is tackling the destruction of the rainforest by creating a conservation area 10,000 square miles bigger than England. Steve Connor reports." (London Independent)

"Renovated EU Commission HQ in New Row Over Timber" - "BRUSSELS - The trouble-prone home of the European Commission ran into more difficulties on Friday as it emerged its renovation used uncertified timber green activists said had been ripped illegally from Indonesian rainforests." (Reuters)

"Treating obesity vital for public health, physicians say" - "ROCHESTER, Minn. -- Physicians who once treated mainly elderly patients for health problems such as diabetes, heart disease and stroke are seeing increasingly younger patients who have the same ailments." (Mayo Clinic)

"Should we care what works and what doesn’t?" - "Weight loss diets, convictions about “good” foods and fears of “bad”foods, and alternative medicines all share surprising similarities." (Junkfood Science)

"Silencing the cause of mad cow disease" - "BSE (more commonly known as mad cow disease) and CJD, which is a related disease in humans that can occur spontaneously, be inherited, or be acquired (in some cases probably from cows with BSE), are fatal neurodegenerative diseases. It is thought that these diseases are caused by accumulation in the brain of an abnormally folded version (PrPsc) of a natural protein (PrPc). There are currently no therapies for the treatment of these diseases, making this an area of active investigation." (Journal of Clinical Investigation)

"New approach to BSE successful in lab" - "A new method of treatment can appreciably slow down the progress of the fatal brain disease scrapie in mice. This has been established by researchers from the Universities of Munich and Bonn together with their colleagues at the Max Planck Institute in Martinsried. To do this they used an effect discovered by the US researchers Craig Mello and Andrew Fire, for which they were awarded this year’s Nobel Prize for Medicine. Scrapie is a variant of the cattle disease BSE and the human equivalent Creutzfeld-Jakob disease. However, it will take years for the method to be introduced to medicine, the researchers warn. Their findings are published in the next issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation (Vol. 116, No. 12, December 2006)." (University of Bonn)

Right... "Firm offers to pay for pupils to see Gore film" - "EVERY schoolchild in Scotland is to be offered the chance to see former US vice-president Al Gore's film about the dangers of global warming under a scheme by energy company ScottishPower. The firm, a major windfarm developer which also runs the coal-fired Longannet power station, is prepared to commit "tens of thousands of pounds" to the project and is currently in negotiations with the Scottish Executive to secure its backing." (The Scotsman)

... can't give away the DVDs -- now they gotta pay kids to watch it. And of course ScottishPower, as a key farmer of wind power subsidies, is a totally altruistic and disinterested party...

Not so gullible? "Youth poll offers contradictions" - "The poll figures on migration indicate that most 15-17 year olds have a global view of the planet, with almost 80% believing they should be able to move anywhere they want. But this global view is shaken a little by their perspective on climate change - a mere 5% see it as the most pressing problem facing the Earth right now." (BBC)

Guaranteed not to be popular with the AGW crowd: Are Humans Involved in Global Warming? (WCR)

"On global forces of nature driving the Earth’s climate. Are humans involved?" - "Abstract: The authors identify and describe the following global forces of nature driving the Earth’s climate: solar radiation as a dominant external energy supplier to the Earth, outgassing as a major supplier of gases to the World Ocean and the atmosphere, and, possibly, microbial activities generating and consuming atmospheric gases at the interface of lithosphere and atmosphere. The writers provide quantitative estimates of the scope and extent of their corresponding effects on the Earth’s climate. Quantitative comparison of the scope and extent of the forces of nature and anthropogenic influences on the Earth’s climate is especially important at the time of broad-scale public debates on current global warming. The writers show that the human-induced climatic changes are negligible." (Journal Environmental Geology)

"The Supreme Court Oral Argument in the Global Warming Case Reveals What's Wrong with the Standing Doctrine" - "Last week, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Massachusetts v. EPA, which presents the question of whether the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) violated the Clean Air Act by failing to regulate emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases by motor vehicles in the United States." (Michael C Dorf, FindLaw)

Yup -- it's way too easy for no-hopers to bring frivolous lawsuits. Not what Dorf had in mind, we know, but this whole case is predicated on massive harm from an essential trace gas, ridiculous in the extreme but brought to you nitwits with an agenda nonetheless. Obviously it's far too easy to waste everyone's time and effort with such rubbish.

Hmm... "Wildlife Could Get Relief From US Supreme Court In Global Warming Case" - "Today, the U.S. Supreme Court heard a compelling case from the states that the Environmental Protection Agency has a duty to regulate the pollution causing global warming, and scientific consensus is clear that global warming pollution from tailpipes is threatening wildlife and people.

"I can't think of a more important role for the federal agency responsible for protecting the environment than to regulate the pollution contributing to the biggest environmental threat of the 21st Century.

"The science is very clear on the link between tailpipe emissions of greenhouse gases and global warming. And the science is overwhelming on the consequences to people and wildlife if we don't act now to stop it." (SPX)

Commentary by Luboš: "Massachusetts v. EPA" - "Today, the U.S. Supreme Court had one of the strangest hearings in many years. The environmental NGOs decided that no act is too ridiculous for them. So they have simply sued EPA, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, for causing global warming." (Luboš Motl, The Reference Frame)

"Sceptics: Cards on the table please!" - "Climate sceptics" would do society a favour, argues our environment correspondent Richard Black, if they would open their claims to scrutiny that science is biased against them." (Richard Black, BBC)

"Global Warming Gag Order -- Senators to Exxon: Shut up, and pay up." - "Washington has no shortage of bullies, but even we can't quite believe an October 27 letter that Senators Jay Rockefeller and Olympia Snowe sent to ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson. Its message: Start toeing the Senators' line on climate change, or else." (Wall Street Journal)

Impacts of regional land use and land cover on rainfall: An overview (Climate Science)

"Old-growth forest dirt might help cool planet" - "New science - A Chinese study finds soils capture carbon, which contradicts other old-growth research." (Sunday Oregonian)

"How Global Warming Threatens U.S. Businesses" - "One of the greatest threats to suburban America, and potentially to thousands of American companies, is global warming — or at least the potential governmental reaction to it." (Harold Furchtgott-Roth, New York Sun)

"California: Meeting greenhouse gas limit might be tricky" - "The state must reduce emissions to a 1990 level that's uncertain." (Sacramento Bee)

"Australia: Greenhouse cuts to hit lucrative sectors" - "AUSTRALIA'S farm sector and multi-billion-dollar metals processing industry risk decimation if deep cuts in domestic greenhouse gas emissions are put in place by 2050. The grave warning is the result of modelling by the CSIRO and ABARE to be released this week." (The Australian)

"UK: It's hot - but climate research is being cut" - "As Britain heads for its hottest year for two centuries, the Met Office global warming centre is having its budget slashed." (The Observer)

With almost three and one-half centuries of data, being the warmest for only about half that time is not too special, eh?

"Blair hits back over climate change" - "Tony Blair today denied claims from environmentalists that the Government is not doing enough domestically to help tackle climate change. Mr Blair says Britain is a leader in cutting greenhouse gases. At the end of a week-long debate between Mr Blair, green campaigners and members of the public, the Prime Minister claimed the UK was a world leader in cutting greenhouse gases." (London Telegraph)

"Report Slams EU Travelling Circus for CO2 Emissions" - "BRUSSELS - The European Union's "travelling circus", whereby the European Parliament sits in both Brussels and Strasbourg, produces at least 190,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions every year, a report said on Friday." (Reuters)

"Environmentalists get an unexpected boost" - "Global warming alarmists pounced on last year's killer hurricanes as evidence of the dangers of climate change. But the 2006 hurricane season hasn't produced a devastating storm and now they're cautioning us against jumping to conclusions based on the evidence of one year." (Steve Huntley, Chicago Sun-Times)

"Charles comes clean on his carbon realm" - "THE Prince of Wales plans to label his Duchy Originals range with details of the greenhouse gases emitted in making the products, which range from sausages to shampoos. Under the scheme, to be announced by Prince Charles this week, every stage will be analysed to quantify how much climate-changing gas is released in producing each of the 200 items." (London Times)

Tell it to the roses Charlie.

"'Strong signal' pushes CR to set CO2 allowances" - "The government is expected to decide this week how many emission allowances the Czech Republic will request for its industries in the National Allocation Plan (NAP). A further delay in submitting the plan, already five months overdue, could result in serious consequences from the European Commission (EC). Infringement proceedings by the EC against the Czech Republic and seven other European Union members including Spain and Slovenia, who also failed to submit their NAPs to the EC for approval by the June 30 deadline, started Nov. 29. The move “sends a strong signal that Europe is fully committed to achieving the Kyoto targets, making the EU Emissions Trading Scheme [ETS] a success,” said Stavros Dimas, the EC environment commissioner." (Czech Business Weekly)

"Italy Cuts Free CO2 Emissions Limit Under New NAP" - "MILAN - Italy will cut free limits of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions to 197 million tonnes from previously targeted 200 million tonnes under the 2008-2012 national allocation plan (NAP), a ministry spokesman said on Friday." (Reuters)

"Germany to Defy EU Rejection of its CO2 Plan" - "FRANKFURT - Germany will ignore a ruling by the European Commission on Wednesday that rejected Berlin's climate change targets for 2008-12, the economics ministry said on Friday." (Reuters)

"Burned By The Costs" - "Energy: Nine of 10 Europeans believe that man is causing the planet to heat up. Will a report that tells them they face sharply higher power costs if they try to do something about it cause some to question their faith?

Not only do 90% of Europeans believe that man is behind a warming trend, a Financial Times poll found that 68% would either "strongly" or "somewhat" support lifestyle and purchase restrictions that would help resist warming.

Nice of them to be so selfless when dealing in dreamy hypotheticals. Let's see what they do when reality hits their wallets. Global Energy Decision has issued a report that says electricity prices could at least double if European nations are to meet emission-reduction goals set forth by the Kyoto Protocol." (IBD)

"Canada Liberal leader says won't kill oil industry" - "MONTREAL - The new leader of Canada's opposition Liberal party, who wants to cut emissions of greenhouse gases blamed for global warming, said his plans to improve the environment would not kill the booming oil industry." (Reuters)

"UK: Cameron in new plea to Tory critics" - "Tory leader David Cameron has warned his party that they must continue with his modernisation drive or face a fourth consecutive general election defeat." (Press Association)

Given the direction the nitwit wants to take it's fortunate the Tories are on a hiding to nothing.

Number of the Month December 2006 (Number Watch)

"UK: Pay £24.57 a day for right to drive to work" - "Millions of urban motorists could find themselves paying up to £24.57 a day just to go to work under recommendations from the Government's transport adviser." (London Telegraph)

"UK: MPs urge 'climate change' budget" - "MPs are urging Gordon Brown to put climate change at the heart of his pre-Budget report next week." (BBC)

"UK: Brown to raise tax on air travellers" - "Air travellers will be hit by fresh tax rises next week as Gordon Brown tries to underline his green credentials in his pre-Budget report. The Chancellor is preparing to unveil plans on Wednesday to raise the air passenger duty that millions of holidaymakers have to pay on top of the price of their ticket." (London Telegraph)

"Virgin Atlantic move to save fuel" - "Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Atlantic is to conduct a trial using 13 of its planes which could cut aviation fuel use and slash carbon dioxide emissions. By towing its Boeing 747-400 aircraft to take-off areas at London airports during December it said it could save up to two tonnes of fuel per flight. Aircraft will be towed to Heathrow and Gatwick runways to cut fuel burning." (BBC)

They haven't recycled this one for a while... "Water power puts climate in peril" - "Hydroelectric power plants - hailed as providers of clean energy - could be dangerous contributors to climate change. This is the startling claim of scientists who say that the dams the plants use produce large amounts of methane, one of the most potent causes of global warming." (The Observer)

... nor have they noticed that methane now seems to have achieved atmospheric equilibrium, as was predicted long ago.

"MPs in 'green' N-power push" - "NUCLEAR power is the "only means" of cutting greenhouse gas emissions and Australia has a "moral responsibility" to increase its supply of uranium globally, a high-powered parliamentary inquiry has found. To ensure Australia remains world-competitive, mining companies should also be given a tax offset to encourage a new wave of uranium exploration, the cross-party committee has found. In another boost for Australia's potential nuclear future, the House of Representatives committee on industry and resources will today declare that nuclear power offers "at least three economic advantages" over coal and other energy sources." (The Australian)

"Greener, cleaner ... and competitive?" - "Renewables could supply one-quarter of US energy by 2025, with no harm to economy, a study says." (The Christian Science Monitor)

Ah, wind 'power'... "As heat sizzles, growing wind power fizzles" - "SAN FRANCISCO -- On Aug. 21, when afternoon temperatures in Washington state soared, Avista Corp.'s (AVA) utility division asked customers to cut their electricity use while it scoured the region for power supplies. Utility operators were frustrated, in part, because the company's supply of wind power was producing nothing, thanks to a lack of wind. Avista wasn't alone. Throughout the West during that August heat wave, a growing fleet of windmills met triple-digit temperatures with impotence. California's grid operator was serving up a record amount of power that afternoon, too, while its 2,850 MW of wind turbines were churning out just 112 MW. "Typically in the Northwest, very hot weather means high pressure, and high pressure means no wind," said Steve Silkworth, who is in charge of buying renewable energy for Avista Utilities. As investment in wind power grows and the nation increases its dependence on wind as a power resource, utilities and grid operators are trying to figure out how to manage its volatility." (MarketWatch)

"Spain to cut subsidies to wind-power plants" - "PALMA DE MALLORCA, Spain: Spain will cut subsidies to wind-power plants following an overhaul of the way it calculates aid for renewable power sources, hurting earnings at utilities including Iberdrola, the world's largest producer of wind power. Electricity generated from wind will be paid between €67 and €84, or $89 and $112, per megawatt hour starting next year, down from about €97 this year, Spain's secretary of state for energy, Ignasi Nieto, said on the sidelines of a conference in Palma de Mallorca. Rates will rise for solar and biomass plants as well as for sources that co- generate power and heat." (Bloomberg)

"Achtung, Killertomaten!" - "AUGSBURG, Germany -- Germans love speed and risk, but only in one place: on the Autobahn. It's the inalienable right of every citizen in this country to take the family outing at a speed only slightly below that of the Indy 500. While racing down the highway, their only safety concern is whether the radio waves of their cell phones could maybe cause cancer. We are the world's fastest scaredy cats.

We're afraid of the atom, so the government has agreed to shut down its nuclear power plants. At the same time, we're afraid of global warming, so coal-fired plants are also unpopular. That's why we've built nearly 20,000 windmills. They provide electricity when the wind blows, but not necessarily when it's needed. And they are, logically, located in places where it storms, but not generally where industry and consumers live. For both reasons, new high-tension power lines are urgently needed to transport the energy. In northern Germany, every fifth windmill is now turned off when the wind is strong because the electricity grid can't deal with the sudden power surge." (Dirk Maxeiner, Wall Street Journal)

"Bush Mulls Resumed Energy Drilling Off Alaska" - "President Bush is considering lifting bans that would open Alaskan waters to energy drilling, much to the consternation of environmentalists." (New York Times)

"German high-tech sky sail may cut costs, emissions" - "BREMEN, Germany, Dec 4 - Putting a harness on ocean winds, a German shipping company plans to unfurl a giant high-tech kite over a cargo ship next year to boost the vessel's propulsion and to conserve fuel. The "SkySail", a 160 square-metre (191 square-yard) kite tethered to a mast, has successfully undergone years of trial runs and Bremen shipowner Beluga Shipping believes it will help its vessels cut fuel use by 15 to 20 percent." (Reuters)

"Biofuel plant 'could be anti-green'" - "A BIOFUEL production plant to be built in Scotland with £9 million of taxpayers' money is in danger of becoming a "major green con" and could increase rainforest destruction, environmentalists warned yesterday." (The Scotsman)

"Genetically engineered blood protein can be used to split water into oxygen and hydrogen" - "Scientists have combined two molecules that occur naturally in blood to engineer a molecular complex that uses solar energy to split water into hydrogen and oxygen, says research published today in the Journal of the American Chemical Society." (Imperial College London)

"Saving Lives And Limbs With a Weed" - "On scrubby flatland outside copenhagen Airport, Jarne Elleholm and Carsten Meier are watching green foliage turn red. This is no autumn leaf-peeping exercise. Rather, they're keeping an eye on a swath of weeds they're growing that should turn red in the proximity of land mines. If the weeds change hues as designed, Elleholm and Meier could save thousands of lives and limbs." (Time)

"New crops needed to avoid famines" - "The global network of agricultural research centres warns that famines lie ahead unless new crop strains adapted to a warmer future are developed. The Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) says yields of existing varieties will fall. New forecasts say warming will shrink South Asia's wheat area by half. CGIAR is announcing plans to accelerate efforts aimed at developing new strains of staple crops including maize, wheat, rice and sorghum." (BBC)

Always, but that doesn't mean we have to worry about a warmer world (in fact, we fervently hope for warmer rather than cooler but eventually we'll be disappointed). Devoting effort exclusively to model- guesstimated warmer conditions is very foolish.

"The U.N. Menu" - "CHIBA, Japan -- The U.N. task force that wrapped up here on Friday deliberated on the regulation of foods obtained with recombinant DNA (or gene-splicing) technology. They ignored the rule of holes: When you're in a hole, stop digging. The more this ongoing project progresses, the worse for science and technology -- and consumers everywhere." (Henry I Miller, Wall Street Journal)

"Genetically modified potatoes to be grown in British trials" - "Fields of genetically modified potatoes will be grown in Britain next spring under plans approved by the government yesterday." (The Guardian)

"Hungary: Tough GMO amendment makes planting crops impractical" - "Genetically-modified crop producers last Wednesday berated an amendment to Hungarian law that renders growing GMOs almost impossible. Parliament last Monday backed an amendment that restricts the conditions under which GMOs can be planted. Under the new law, a 400-metre buffer zone will have to be established between GMO crops and adjacent fields to prevent cross-pollination. All landowners within the buffer zone will also have to give written permission to plant the crops." (Budapest Times)

December 1, 2006

"What Hurricane Season?" - "During this past Wednesday's oral argument in the Supreme Court global warming case of Massachusetts v. EPA, a seemingly perplexed Justice Antonin Scalia pointedly asked the Massachusetts assistant attorney general, "When is the predicted cataclysm?" That's a question with more than a little irony this week -- the end of the much dreaded hurricane (non-)season." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"Alarmist Hurricane Predictions Take a Beating" - "Washington, D.C., November 30, 2006—With the end of the 2006 hurricane season today, residents in storm-prone areas can breathe a sigh of relief. Not a single hurricane made landfall in the U.S. this year – confounding alarmist predictions of more frequent and more destructive hurricanes due to global warming." (CEI)

"Thank El Nino For Mild Atlantic Hurricane Season" - "MIAMI - The surprisingly mild 2006 Atlantic hurricane season ended with a whimper on Thursday and forecasters said it was too early to know if El Nino will last long enough to flatten next year's hurricanes too." (Reuters)

Hmm... according to NOAA but ENSO conditions do not appear much different from 2004 and 2005 was just barely positive, indicating the mildest of La Niña conditions.

WMO Consensus Statement on Tropical Cyclones and Climate Change (Prometheus)

"Amlin boosted by low hurricane season" - "Amlin, the Lloyd's of London insurer, surprised investors with a reverse profits warning yesterday, claiming that its full-year earnings were on track to come in much higher than forecasts after an unexpectedly calm hurricane season in the US and Caribbean." (London Independent)

"Less than A Quarter Inch by 2100" - "Following up on earlier discussions on the Mass. vs. EPA Supreme Court oral arguments and specifically on the issue of standing and redressibility, here are some numbers on the effects of the emissions reductions being discussed in the oral arguments and their effects on future sea level rise." (Pielke Jr., R., Prometheus)

Trying to buy jobs for members -- with your money: "EPA staffers go to Hill over global warming" - "Dissatisfied with the agency's greenhouse-gas emissions program, labor leaders are pleading for congressional intervention." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"Eyes on Kennedy as Supreme Court Debates Global Warming Case" - "Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy appears to hold the key to the outcome of the Court's first case assessing the environmental impact of global warming. During oral arguments Wednesday in the closely watched case Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency, justices seemed deeply divided on two questions: whether the EPA can be compelled to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from cars when the agency has chosen not to, and whether Massachusetts and 11 other states even have standing to challenge the EPA's actions." (Tony Mauro, Legal Times)

"India monsoons worsen as climate changes: study" - "WASHINGTON - India's monsoon rains have intensified over the last half-century as average temperatures have risen, and more severe weather could be in store if global warming continues, scientists reported on Thursday." (Reuters)

We've got a little sad news fellas -- the world was actually cooling slightly for the first half of the period of interest (pre-1976). Of course, even the warming trend since is really trivial and heavily dependent on the influence of the 1997/98 El Niño and a possible step warming since the new millennium.

All this fuss because the planet's mean surface temperature may or may not have risen from about 287 K to around 287.5 K while we have been comparing it with thermometric records founded in a period of European cold and hardship. Pretty silly thing to get excited about, isn't it?

"Scientists want to solve puzzle of excess water vapor near cirrus clouds" - "A number of researchers in recent years have reported perplexing findings of water vapor at concentrations as much as twice what they should be in and around cirrus clouds high in the atmosphere, a finding that could alter some conclusions about climate change.

Now a group of European and U.S. scientists is advocating a broad research effort to solve the puzzle and understand just what is occurring in cirrus clouds, wispy sheets of ice crystals 6 to 10 miles above the Earth's surface.

"Based on our current knowledge, it shouldn't exist," said Marcia Baker, a University of Washington professor of Earth and space sciences. She is one of six climate researchers who authored a Perspectives article in the Nov. 30 edition of the journal Science promoting an extensive effort to investigate the dilemma." (University of Washington)

Number of the month – 50,000 (Number Watch)

Irrelevance of the moment: "Increase in carbon dioxide emissions accelerating" - "New research shows the rate of increase in carbon dioxide emissions more than doubled since the 1990s. According to the co-Chair of the Global Carbon Project, CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research scientist Dr Mike Raupach, 7.9 billion tonnes of carbon were emitted into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide in 2005 and the rate of increase is accelerating." (CSIRO Australia)

MaunaLoaCO2.png (22204 bytes) It is obvious that "doubling the rate of emissions" is of relatively little significance with a barely perceptible increase in rate of accumulation.

We've had some correspondents wanting to know which is wrong, measures of atmospheric carbon dioxide or human emissions data. The answer is neither -- what's wrong is the illusion that human emissions are a large component in the global carbon cycle. A tiny contribution or two times a tiny contribution have no immediate nor obvious impact on a ponderous increment in trace gas levels.

It is a fact that humans are contributing to the increase in this trace gas. It is also true that efforts to reduce these emissions have little effect -- in fact they'll have no perceptible effect on global temperature whatsoever. This is of no significance to the planet.

EOS Paper On The Hottest Spots on Earth Illustrates The Major Role of Landscape on Surface Temperatures (Climate Science)

"More gas-tax follies" - "Time for another red alert on carbon taxes. It's one thing to have academic economists and Al Gore pushing high energy and gas taxes as good policy, but now comes the big-business-backed American Enterprise Institute with a paper that calls for a "sizeable increase in the gasoline tax." (Terence Corcoran, National Post)

"China sees tackling climate change as urgent-Stern" - "BEIJING, Dec 1 - China's leaders recognise the urgency of tackling climate change and that reducing greenhouse gases does not mean slamming the brakes on growth, the author of an acclaimed report on global warming said on Friday." (Reuters)

Of course they do, as long as that means having gullible Westerners pay for Chinese energy infrastructure they'll be active members of the choir.

"There’s not much future in predictions" - "Is it possible to make useful economic predictions spanning 100 years? World climate change forecasts require it." (Tom Quirk, Online Opinion)

"Green fundamentalism" - "In a recent essay, Peter Berger, Director of the Institute on Culture, Religion and World Affairs at Boston University, argues that contemporary culture appears to be in the grip of two seemingly contradictory forces: one towards relativism, where there are no absolute truths whatsoever; the other towards fundamentalism, where an alleged absolute truth is militantly and uncompromisingly affirmed. The idiomatic formulas for these opposing forces he describes are, respectively, “Let us agree to disagree” versus “You just don’t get it.” (Richard Castles, Online Opinion)

"David Miliband: We cannot curb global warming without EU action" - "Climate change is a global issue. We need international co-operation backed by rules." (London Independent)

"INTERVIEW - New Crops Needed to Meet Climate Crisis" - "LONDON - A group of leading agricultural research institutes will on Monday launch a major drive to prepare the most vulnerable people in the world for the devastating effects of global warming." (Reuters)

What crisis?

The wacky fringe could wish: "Australia: Laws will only get greener, warns judge" - "DEVELOPERS take note: environmental law has much further to evolve in NSW, according to the Chief Judge of the Land and Environment Court." | Appeal on green ruling likely (Sydney Morning Herald)

"Airlines: ‘EU targeting us unfairly’" - "Airlines say that excessive EU legislation on security and environment is unbalanced and unfair towards the aviation sector compared with other transport sectors." (EurActiv)

"Bush against airline emissions cuts" - "WASHINGTON - The White House opposes plans by European nations to require airlines to curb greenhouse gases, saying it would unfairly disadvantage U.S. carriers. "We are strongly opposed to the imposition of a tax. We think this will violate trade rules," James Connaughton, chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, told a group of international reporters Thursday." (AP)

"UK: Stansted expansion halted" - "Plans for the expansion of Stansted Airport near London have been rejected over concerns about climate change and pollution. BAA, owned by Spanish group Ferrovial, now plans to appeal against the decision, insisting that expansion would be economically beneficial." (Environmental Transport Association)

"Carbon Trading Catch-Up" - "The European Union's newly announced carbon emissions limits, under the second phase of its carbon trading scheme, have immediately run into the criticism that it is the U.S. and the fast-growing economies of China, India and other emerging countries that are the big nuts to crack, not Europe." (Forbes)

The U.S. and the emerging countries have big nuts and Europe has cracked... who can argue?

"Banks Buy Over 200 Million Euro Chinese Carbon Credits" - "LONDON - Banks including Lehman, Fortis and BNP Paribas have bought carbon credits from a Chinese mining company in a deal that a buyer source said was worth over 200 million euros ($263 million). Western banks are piling into the carbon market, eyeing big profits because rich countries are increasingly expected to shoulder tough climate change targets -- fuelling demand for permits to emit greenhouse gases." (Reuters)

"Hell No, We Won't Glow!" - "Energy Policy: In declaring the nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain dead, incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid may also have killed a clean source of domestic energy that doesn't emit greenhouse gases. Yucca Mountain may be the only piece of real estate in Nevada that Reid, his family and campaign contributors haven't profited from. But on his Senate Web site, that's not the reason he gives for his determined opposition to the site intended to house the nation's nuclear waste." (IBD)

"United States Advances $1 Billion for Clean Coal Projects" - "Environmentally sound use of resources at stake, Energy Department says" (Washington File)

"Exxon's chief urges allowing more drilling" - "Exxon Mobil Corp.'s chief executive, making a Boston appearance yesterday, said the best hope for lowering gasoline prices is for federal officials to allow more oil exploration off US coasts and under federal lands and national parks." (Boston Globe)

"Europeans face fuel 'price surge'" - "Electricity prices could double in Europe if power firms are to meet emissions reduction targets under the Kyoto protocol, says a report." (BBC)

"Europe to see 14 per cent price increase in Russian gas in 2007" - "Moscow - Europe is to pay Russia's Gazprom 293 US dollars per 1,000 cubic metres of natural gas in 2007, a 14 per cent increase over current prices, the daily Vedomosti reported Monday." (DPA)

"Chinese health experts back DDT" - "Uganda and Chinese health experts have advised Ugandans to accept the spraying of DDT to kill mosquitoes. Prof. Wang Shanqing, a Chinese expert on Wednesday said Ugandans must accept the spraying of DDT given the low rate of insecticide-treated nets (ITN). Wang, who was the main facilitator of a course on malaria treatment and prevention for health professionals, said since anopheles gambiae mosquitoes that cause malaria hide in houses, insecticide residual spraying (IRS) with DDT was the best option." (New Vision)

"The world is richer and healthier" - "For billions of people around the world, these are the best of times to be alive. From Beijing to Bratislava, more of us are living longer, healthier and more comfortable lives than at any time in history; fewer of us are suffering from poverty, hunger or illiteracy. Pestilence, famine, death and even war, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, are in retreat, thanks to the liberating forces of capitalism and technology.

If you believe that such apparently outlandish claims cannot possibly be true, think again. In a book which will trigger intense controversy when it is published later this month, the acclaimed American economist Indur Goklany, former US delegate to the United Nations’ intergovernmental panel on climate change, demonstrates that on every objective measure of the human condition — be it life expectancy, food availability, access to clean water, infant mortality, literacy rates or child labour — well-being and quality of life are improving around the world." (Allister Heath, The Spectator)

"How Many Kids Have Autism?" - "Several skeptical Numbers Guy readers have suggested I look into an alarming claim: that one in 166 U.S. children has autism.

That stat has received a lot of attention recently in advocacy materials, television ads and newspapers, including reports in the Dallas Morning News, the Chicago Tribune and the Savannah Morning News.

How important is it to accurately count the number of children with autism? Does the one-in-166 number seem too high, or too low, or accurate? Do you generally believe statistics on the number of people suffering from conditions? Do such numbers affect your opinions? Join a discussion with Carl Bialik.

Autism experts told me that research broadly supports the estimate -- with two major caveats. Those caveats help explain why the stat, while alarming, doesn't support related claims by some advocates: that autism cases have been mushrooming with "epidemic speed," and that more than one million Americans have autism.

First, the stat comes from figures published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, based on a review of several studies that came up with estimates. But the CDC was careful to point out that the studies produced a wide range of results. Indeed, the headline-grabbing number focuses on the worst-case scenario: The CDC said the number of children with autism was somewhere between one in 500 and one in 166.

Second, the numbers take into account a relatively modern definition of autism that includes a full range of disorders. The changing definition of autism has played a major role in influencing statistics." (Wall Street Journal)

"Spoilsport trial lawyers" - "Many Americans must have thought it was a bad joke -- or a least a headline from the satirical online publication, the Onion. In Attleboro, Mass., an elementary school has banned tag, touch football, and "any other unsupervised chase game" that kids enjoyed at recess for generations." (Steve Hantler, Washington Times)

Uh-huh... "Science chief says mavericks warp debate" - "Britain risks "sleepwalking into a future shaped by extremists" unless academics make their voices more clearly heard, the country's most senior scientist warned today. Lord Rees, the president of the Royal Society, said that "mavericks" were grabbing too large a share of media attention in public debates on issues like climate change, stem cell research and nuclear power." (Guardian Unlimited)

... this would be somewhat more encouraging if the Royal Society were not guilty of being the very "extremists" we should worry about "shaping the future". It is not important who says what in science, what is important is whether or not they can support their own position or falsify opposing ones. "Groupthink" does not establish veracity.

Good idea... "Green light for EU science plan" - "The European Parliament has approved a 54bn euro (£36bn) plan to boost science research in Europe." (BBC)

... then maybe they'll undo mistakes like this: "EU Lawmakers, Governments Strike Deal on Chemicals Bill" - "BRUSSELS - European Union lawmakers and governments struck a deal on Thursday over a wide-ranging draft law on toxic chemicals, putting it on track to enter force in the first part of 2007. A negotiator for Finland, holder of the EU presidency, told Reuters the deal would have to be approved by member states and parliamentarians, but those steps were seen as a formality after weeks of talks that almost broke down on Monday." (Reuters)

"Special ES&T issue examines effects of emerging contaminants on people, planet" - "Not so long ago, the notion that particles 80,000 times thinner than a human hair could somehow self-assemble and cause harmful effects in the water, air and perhaps even cells seemed far-fetched. But today the quest to understand nanoparticles and other emerging contaminants and discover ways to cope with them is one of the hottest and most critical areas in chemistry research." (American Chemical Society)

"Lobbyists Work To Stop, or Stall, A Trans-Fat Ban" - "In a decision with implications for restaurants and food companies nationwide, New York City is poised next week to essentially ban trans fats in restaurants. But the wrangling in the nation's largest city over one of the industry's most vexing problems may have only just begun, thanks to some quiet lobbying by McDonald's Corp. and other restaurants." (Wall Street Journal)

"GM potato trials to receive UK go-ahead" - "Plans for the first British trials of genetically modified crops since 2003 will be approved on Friday when the government gives the go-ahead for production of GM potatoes." (Financial Times)

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