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Archives - February 2002

February 28, 2002

Slowly catching up with the real world: "Scientists back off on Agent Orange-cancer link" - "WASHINGTON - The U.S. National Academy of Sciences is retracting its conclusion from last year that Agent Orange increases the risk of cancer in children. The Institute of Medicine said Wednesday there is not enough evidence to link exposure to the herbicide with acute myelogenous leukemia (AML). Last April, the institute said the available data led them to conclude children of veterans exposed to Agent Orange had a greater than average change of developing AML. Now, it says an error in one of the original studies "led its authors to incorrectly conclude that these children faced significantly greater risk of AML than the general population." (CBC) | Institute of Medicine backs away from Agent Orange conclusion | Panel: Agent Orange Finding Flawed (AP)

"Pollution fears of animal pyres" - "Long-term pollution may have been caused by the burial and mass burning of slaughtered animals during the foot-and-mouth crisis, the Environment Agency has warned. In a report published on Wednesday the agency said it was concerned about the effect on groundwater." (BBC Online)

From the anti-nuke corner: "France hushed up Chernobyl risks - research centre" - "VALENCE - An independent research centre accused the French government this week of hushing up risks to public health after the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster. France's Independent Commission on Research and Information on Radioactivity (CRIIRAD), which is filing a civil complaint against President Jacques Chirac's government for involuntary physical injury, said there had been a government cover-up. It said the government was aware that radioactive fallout from the world's worst nuclear disaster could harm the public but deliberately failed to warn them. "Why these blatant lies? These obvious errors? This silence from official and even scientific bodies?" CRIIRAD director Corinne Castanier told a news conference." (Reuters)

Perhaps because there was never valid reason for the hysteria to begin with?

"NB Power seeks OK for Pt Lepreau nuke refurbishment" - "NEW YORK - NB Power asked New Brunswick to approve of the proposed C$845 million plan to refurbish the Point Lepreau nuclear power plant, the provincially owned energy company said in a statement. "Point Lepreau is our main base load generator with fuel costs that are a fraction of any thermal power plants," said Ken Little, NB Power vice president of regulatory affairs." (Reuters)

"UPDATE - Brit Energy, BNFL look at replacing nuke reactors" - "LONDON - Britain's two main nuclear power companies agreed to study a new generation of reactors but said building new nuclear plants would be too expensive at current wholesale power prices." (Reuters)

"The Seattle Times: Editorials & Opinion: Restoring credibility to government science" - "Biofraud" is one word being used to describe a recent incident in which federal and state agency wildlife scientists are accused of manipulating Canada lynx field surveys by submitting phony samples for testing. It's a case where scientists who are supposed to be committed to the rules of science are willing to violate them when facts contradict what they want to happen."

"Environmental Skeptic New Danish Green Group Chief" - "COPENHAGEN - A man who believes global warming is a minor affair has been named to head a new Danish independent environmental institute." (Reuters)

Uh-huh... "Arctic meltdown" - "Within a decade, the Arctic could be open to ordinary commercial shipping and open up new fisheries. If the Arctic ice cap melts at the rate predicted, it could open up new routes between Europe and East Asia. But according to a report from the US Navy, these new routes will be extremely difficult to police and could start fishing conflicts." (New Scientist)

"Politics, not the environment, drives Kyoto" - "The only winners in the increasingly heated debate over global warming are the boffins in Ottawa. A couple of weeks ago, the federal government distributed a colourful announcement in newspapers across the land proclaiming that "the Earth is getting warmer" and that implementing the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, on the targeted reduction of so-called greenhouse gases, would fix things." (Barry Cooper and David Bercuson, Calgary Herald)

"Kyoto cost pegged at 450,000 jobs" - "OTTAWA - The Kyoto Protocol would wipe out 450,000 manufacturing jobs in Canada, cost the economy up to $40-billion and force a radical lifestyle change on people, according to a report by the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters. David Anderson, the Environment Minister, acknowledged yesterday the government has still to forecast the economic impact of the treaty. The release of the 20-page report -- Pain Without Gain: Canada and the Kyoto Protocol -- follows Jean Chrétien's affirmation yesterday of his government's intention to ratify the international agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions." (National Post)

"PM rejects claim Kyoto will destroy jobs; Ignoring global warming has costs, he tells Commons" - "OTTAWA - Prime Minister Jean Chretien says he doesn't believe claims by opposition critics that complying with the Kyoto climate treaty will cost 450,000 jobs. "I do not accept these figures," Chretien told acting Canadian Alliance Leader John Reynolds in the Commons today. He said critics are ignoring the cost of doing nothing about global warming. "There is the reality, too, that climate change is causing a lot of problems. The farmers might have to pay a price if we don't do anything about it. So we have to look at both sides of the problem." (CP)

And these would be: reduced heating costs from less-cold winters; longer growing seasons and increased yields; improved road safety, transport reliability... Those the kind of problems you're worried about Jean?

"Our climate change strategy must reflect Canadian realities" - "While manufacturing production has increased by more than 32% since 1990, Canada's manufacturers have reduced their greenhouse gas emissions to 2% below 1990 levels by voluntarily improving energy efficiency and switching to less carbon-intensive fuels. Their efforts represent a 35% reduction in the amount of greenhouse gases emitted for every product they produce.

Nevertheless, the Kyoto Protocol still presents a daunting challenge. Under Kyoto, Canada would have to reduce total emissions to 6% below 1990 levels by 2010. Based on current trends in population growth, economic development, transportation and energy consumption, Canada will overshoot our emissions target by about 240 million metric tons, or 40%." (Perrin Beatty, National Post)

"Klein on cutting smog: Just 'quit breathing'" - "EDMONTON -- Frustrated by suggestions that the Kyoto Protocol should be ratified despite the costs, Alberta Premier Ralph Klein pointed out yesterday that breathing also contributes to global warming. Oil-rich Alberta, which leads the country in emissions of climate-changing greenhouse gases, is demanding that the federal government put the brakes on ratifying the accord because it could cripple the province's economy." (Globe and Mail)

Quick, call 'Ozone Al'! "Chilean Links Ozone Loss to Skin Ailments" - "PUNTA ARENAS, Chile -- Jaime Abarca works alone at the end of the world. He is the only dermatologist in Patagonian Chile, a wind-swept landscape where trees grow sideways and penguins frolic in icy waters." (LA Times)

Still making free with everyone else's money: "Clinton to dedicate life to redistributing world's wealth" - "Former US president Bill Clinton today vowed to dedicate the rest of his life to helping redistribute the world's wealth. At his fourth Australian speaking engagement, Mr Clinton said prosperous nations including Australia and the United States held the key to the world's future. He said it would cost America $US2.5 billion ($A4.87 billion) to meet UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's request for an extra $US10 billion ($A19.47 billion) to fight AIDS and other infections diseases. "For us, you know what that is?" he asked the $1,100-a-head charity dinner in Melbourne for the Microsurgery Foundation. "Two-and-a-half months of the Afghan war, and about one tenth of one per cent of the federal budget. That's it." (AAP)

"New Front on Ecoterror?" - "Feb. 26 — Some congressmen and industry advocates want the federal government to take a hard look at some well-known animal rights and environmental groups, and maybe shut them down as supporters of terrorism." (ABCNews.com)

From the wacky world: "GE Free Market Coalition Announces Launch of National Supermarket Campaign" - "National Days of Action will take place March 12-14" (Organic Consumers Association)

"Biotech regulators should become people-friendly" - "These days one hears cries of "superweeds" and doomsday scenarios about bioengineered crops. Protesters chain themselves to laboratories, or worse, they burn the laboratories. Concerned about the controversy, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, one of three agencies regulating biotechnology, asked the National Academy of Sciences to undertake a critical review of the agency's efforts." (Bruce M. Chassy, Chicago Tribune)

February 27, 2002

?!! "Teens Drink Quarter of All Alcohol Consumed in U.S." - "WASHINGTON - Teen tipplers drink a quarter of all alcohol consumed in the United States, encouraged by television ads and parents who see underage drinking as a rite of passage, researchers said on Tuesday." (Reuters) | Underage Drinking Is on the Rise (AP) | Alcohol is US Teens' Drug of Choice, Findings Show (Reuters Health) | Study: Underage drinkers starting at earlier age (CNN) | Teen drinking a U.S. epidemic, study says; Under-21s account for 25% of alcohol consumption (San Francisco Chronicle)

All that fuss - based on: America's Underage Drinking Epidemic | Full report [PDF format] (CASA) - what a shame CASA's calculations aren't worth a damn.

"CASA STUDY IS BLATANTLY FLAWED ON UNDERAGE DRINKING" - "WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Distilled Spirits Council today challenged a National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) report on teenage drinking, calling CASA’s analysis of government data “flat out wrong.”

“Under CASA’s flawed interpretation, each American teenager and young adult who illegally drinks alcohol would have to consume 120 drinks per month, a massive error in fact and the wrong conclusion,” said DSC senior vice president Frank Coleman." (DSC release) | STATEMENT BY THE SUBSTANCE ABUSE AND MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES ADMINISTRATION ON CASA REPORT ON UNDERAGE DRINKING (SAMHSA release)

"Report fuels teen drinking debate" - "Feb. 26 — A major substance abuse think tank on Tuesday made the alarming claim that youths ages 12 to 20 consume 25 percent of all alcohol in the United States, but a federal agency whose survey was used for the report agreed with the alcohol industry that the calculation was flawed. The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse stood by its report, which also estimated that 31 percent of high school students binge drink.

At MSNBC.com’s request, the federal agency that conducts the annual survey reviewed the claims and said the correct figure for underage consumption is 11.4 percent, not 25 percent." (MSNBC) | Beer Institute Statement: Casa Study Ignores Positive Trends in Reducing Underage Drinking (U.S. Newswire)

"Disturbing Finding on Young Drinkers Proves to Be Wrong" - "After several news organizations reported a finding that under-age drinkers consumed a quarter of the nation's alcohol, the widely respected antidrinking organization that issued the finding acknowledged that it had not applied the usual statistical techniques in deriving that number, which would then have been far smaller." (New York Times)

And another junk 'study' crashes and burns - in probably record short-time, too.

"Antimicrobial/Antibacterial Products: Is Cleaner Really Safer?" - "Nearly a hundred and fifty products making antimicrobial/antibacterial claims had found their way into the consumer market since 1996 (the terms antimicrobial and antibacterial are often used interchangeably, technically antimicrobials fight a variety of organisms while antibacterials target bacteria). Today, there are over seven hundred such products on the market. From toys and food preparation items to health and beauty aids, manufacturers have convinced consumers that the use of products embedded with triclosan (a broad spectrum germicide) or other active antimicrobial/antibacterial ingredients will lower the risk of infection." (HealthFactsAndFears.com)

"The Latest Mammogram Report" - "There was no doubting the sincerity of Tommy Thompson, the health and human services secretary, when he urged all women 40 and older last week to get regular mammograms. His own wife had breast cancer, and Mr. Thompson believes that mammography "may well have saved her life." But in releasing a task force report that endorses regular mammograms and in putting the imprimatur of his office behind it, Mr. Thompson was acting precipitately. He was announcing his verdict before the evidence on which the task force relied is even available for public scrutiny." (New York Times)

"Obesity growing threat to world health" - "KINGSTON, R.I. -- The world is round and so are a growing number of its inhabitants. In fact, obesity is spreading at an alarming rate, not just in industrialized countries but in developing countries, where obesity often sits next to malnutrition." (University of Rhode Island)

Yeah... things were so much better when the world was flat.

On the synthetic crime front: "Govt to investigate CFC12 smuggling" - "The government is considering measures to prevent the import and use of CFC12, a banned ozone-depleting refrigerant, after several smuggling operations were discovered since last summer, sources said Monday. An estimated 500,000 cans, or 150,000 kilograms of dichlorodifluoromethane, known as CFC12, are believed to have been either imported into the country or stopped at customs since last summer, the sources said." (Yomiuri Shimbun)

"Forth coast study could turn the tide for Venice" - "A STUDY of erosion in the Forth estuary could help to prevent Venice from disappearing into the sea. Scientists from St Andrews University have joined an international taskforce to understand better how tides damage coasts. The £1 million project will examine the Forth, Morecambe Bay in Lancashire and the Venice lagoon in an effort to find new ways of protecting threatened sites, such as the historic Italian city. Venice is at risk from rising sea levels caused by global warming, which have increased the flooding of tourist areas such as St Mark’s Square to 80 times a year." (The Scotsman)

And it has nothing to do with increased subsidence rate due to over-extraction of groundwater - it's global warming that threatens Venice, of course.

"Making Biospheric Mountains Out of Laboratory Mole Hills" - "Summary: Climate alarmists are always on the lookout for anything they can twist, unduly amplify or falsely generalize to cast the ongoing rise in the air's CO2 content in an unfavorable light. A paper appearing in the 5 February 2002 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences - the authors of which also engage in a bit of spin-doctoring - gave them a wonderful pretense to do it again." (co2science.org)

"Abrupt Climate Warming: A Characteristic of Glacial Periods" - "Summary: It has been known for some time that glacial periods experience much greater variations in climate than interglacials, including large and abrupt warmings that are foreign to the interglacial in which we currently live. Now comes a climate model that purports to tell us why. Science 295: 1489-1493." (co2science.org)

"More Warmth Means a More Stable Climate" - "Summary: One can learn a lot from an otolith. Science 295: 1508-1511." (co2science.org)

"Earth's Thermohaline Circulation and Abrupt Climate Change" - "Summary: A review of our current understanding of these phenomena, their possible interaction, and how well the climate modeling community can reproduce their past behavior lends credence to our conclusion that we will never experience abrupt global warming of the type climate alarmists often invoke in trying to scare people into taking unwarranted actions aimed at reducing anthropogenic CO2 emissions. Nature 415: 863-869." (co2science.org)

"U.S.-Japan climate talks set for March" - "Japan and the United States will hold a ministerial-level meeting in Tokyo, most likely on March 24, to discuss cooperation on fighting global warming, government sources said Tuesday." (Japan Times)

"Japan to urge Canada to ratify Kyoto Protocol" - "TOKYO, Feb. 26 - Japan will call on Canada to ratify the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on curbing global warming when the Group of Eight (G-8) environment ministers meet in Canada in April, Environment Minister Hiroshi Oki said Tuesday." (Kyodo)

"Provinces will have Kyoto input, Ottawa says" - "VICTORIA - The federal government yesterday agreed to consult the provinces about how to meet its commitment to ratify the Kyoto agreement on climate change. "We don't intend to make a decision on ratification until we have in place a plan which indicates that no region of the country would have an unfair or unreasonable burden," said David Anderson, Minister of the Environment." (John Greenwood and Carla Wilson, National Post; Victoria Times-Colonist)

"Kyoto's real cost" - "While there is little chance the Kyoto Protocol will improve the environment, it will definitely hurt the economy, possibly even triggering another recession." (Ross McKitrick, National Post)

"Australia scientists urge caution on El Nino fears" - "SYDNEY - Australia's inland farmers are looking skywards hoping for rain, but weather scientists say it is too early to confirm a return of the feared El Nino weather pattern, with the odds still 50/50." (Reuters)

Even the LA Times has noted: "El Nino Is Relatively Recent, Fossils Show" - "El Nino, the periodic warming of Pacific Ocean waters that affects the weather worldwide, started about 6,000 years ago, according to a study of ancient fish bones. Georgia researchers reported in the Feb. 22 issue of Science that fish bones from refuse left about 6,000 years ago by ancient peoples in Peru show that ocean catfish lived in water that averaged 6 degrees to 7 degrees warmer than now and that there was little variation in the temperature." (LA Times)

"Forces of faith enter fray over energy policy" - "The biblical declaration about God's lifting of darkness as part of creation is not typically thought of as a political pronouncement. But when a congressional staffer recently expressed surprise that the faith community had anything to say about federal energy policy, Paul Gorman, executive director of the National Religious Partnership for the Environment in New York, replied straight from the Old Testament: "Genesis, first chapter, third verse - 'Let there be light.'"

As the Senate this week takes up major proposals on energy generation and conservation, the leaders of major religious groups around the country are looking over congressional shoulders, hoping to generate a little political heat while spreading some theological light.

Yesterday, in a letter to every member of the US Senate, more than 1,200 religious leaders reminded lawmakers of the "moral obligations" involved in deciding energy policy initiatives. Signers include high-ranking figures in Jewish, Roman Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox denominations." (The Christian Science Monitor)

Hmm... wonder when they'll figure out that 'global warming' and 'conservation' are actually competing theologies.

"UPDATE - GM holds rallies to protest fuel standard proposal" - "PONTIAC - General Motors Corp. and union workers held rallies at plants in three Midwestern states Monday warning that the U.S. automotive industry would lose more than 100,000 jobs if the Senate passed a proposal to raise fuel economy standards." (Reuters)

"New mandates for gas mileage would risk lives" - "ARLINGTON, Va. - Politicians in our nation's capital are taking steps that will almost inevitably increase fatalities on our nation's roads. Their reason is as straightforward as it is frightening: to curry favor with environmental special interest groups in an election year." (Nancy Mitchell Pfotenhauer, The Baltimore Sun)

"Poll Says Americans Choose Auto Safety Over Fuel Economy" - "Capitol Hill - A poll released Monday by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) shows that Americans, once informed about the safety drawbacks of smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles, choose auto safety over fuel economy by a significant margin. The poll is being released as the Senate is set to debate a proposal by Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) to increase the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards." (CNSNews.com)

"Statoil set to develop Arctic's sleeping beauty" - "HAMMERFEST, Norway - Norwegian energy group Statoil is set to pursue its Snoehvit - Snow White - gas field development in the Barents Sea as local support eclipses the green lobby that wants this Arctic sleeping beauty to stay that way." (Reuters)

"Voodoo environmentalism" - "DEKALB, ILL. - When President Bush recently presented his new climate-change policy, he argued that economic growth is the key to environmental progress. Economic growth, he suggested, provides us the means to develop and invest in cleaner technologies. Mr. Bush's father once referred to Ronald Reagan's trickle-down economics as voodoo economics. I would assert that growth-induced conservation is a case of voodoo environmentalism." (says William G. Moseley, in The Christian Science Monitor)

"A Rich U.S. Has Cleaner Air" - "Environmental alarmists fail to appreciate a fundamental truth: richer nations, including the U.S., have the resources to avoid or clean up environmental pollution. Poorer nations such as China or Ghana, which must devote a much larger portion of their resources just to subsistence, don't have that luxury. Imposing expensive environmental mandates like the Kyoto treaty on American industries will only make us poorer -- and reduce our ability to control pollution." (National Center for Policy Analysis)

"Judge Overturns 'Critical Habitat' of 2 Species" - "A new analysis of the economic effects of setting aside more than 500,000 acres to protect the threatened gnatcatcher and fairy shrimp is ordered." (LA Times)

A rational act? What's going on?

"Swedish Greens may fail next election threshold" - "STOCKHOLM - Sweden's Green Party, on which the minority Social Democratic government currently relies for support, risks dropping out of parliament in the next election in September, political analysts said this week." (Reuters)

"Father of Green Revolution Supports Transgenic Crops" - "SAN JOSE, Feb 26 - Genetically modified food crops are a valid option for fighting global hunger, says U.S. scientist Norman Borlaug, winner of the 1970 Nobel Peace Prize and father of the "green revolution", which transformed farming worldwide in the 1950s and 1960s. "Biotechnology is a continuation of the green revolution," Borlaug, 88, told IPS. Some experts credit the elderly scientist with saving the most human lives in world history, thanks to the increase in crop productivity achieved as a result of his research." (IPS)

"U.S. Position on Biotech Labeling" - "The Codex Steering Committees have agreed upon a U.S. position on the Proposed Draft Recommendations for the Labelling of Foods Obtained through Certain Techniques of Genetic Modification/Genetic Engineering (Proposed Draft Amendments to the General Standard for the Labelling of Prepackaged Foods). This position will be put forward by the U.S. Delegate at the Codex Committee on Food Labelling session meeting in Halifax, Canada, May 6-10, 2002." (FSIS Codex Alimentarius Commission release)

"Majority of Aussies would eat GM food - survey" - "A recent survey shows a majority of Australian consumers are willing to eat genetically modified foods although they are still concerned about them. This is one of the findings of a survey into community attitudes towards biotechnology, conducted for the Commonwealth Government Agency Biotechnology Australia, in January this year. The survey, conducted by Quantum Market Research, involved over 500 telephone interviews, and replicated a survey conducted in May 2000, to measure areas of change." (Biotechnology Australia release)

"Australia canola exporters wary of China GM system" - "SYDNEY - China and international canola exporters are locked in a documentation duel which is grinding trade to a halt as a complicated new approval system nears for Chinese imports of genetically modified (GM) foods." (Reuters)

"Brazilian Courts Working on Biotech Regulatory Process" - "Brazil may be getting a small step closer to determining how best to implement a regulatory process for oversight and approval of biotechnology-enhanced crops. On February 25, the Brazilian appellate court reconvened to announce their decision on whether or not they would lift an injunction that, to date, has prevented the Brazilian government from granting commercial approval of agricultural biotechnology crops. To date, the government's executive branch has been supportive of the technology, and appears to be committed to providing Brazilian growers the opportunity to plant biotech crops." (AgWeb.com)

February 26, 2002

"Organic Milk Shakedown: A Recipe with a Bad Aftertaste" - "Start with one large, well-known company which prides and markets itself on a record of corporate responsibility and environmental stewardship. Add a dose of false and misleading health claims, a dash of fear and a healthy serving of threats. Shake (down) vigorously. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat..." (Steven Milloy, JunkScience.com)

"Warning: Starbucks Protestors Spread False Fears About Safe Foods" - "Misleading attacks on milk and safe foods cause unnecessary concerns for parents and consumers." (ACSH) | Letter to Members of the Board of Starbucks Coffee Company (CFIS)

"Health Panel Evaluates Evidence on Risk Factors for Prostate Cancer: Finds None That Can Be Modified" - "New York, NY—February 2002. Despite media reports to the contrary, claims that lifestyle and dietary factors affect a man's chance of developing prostate cancer are scientifically unproven, according to scientists associated with the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH)." (ACSH)

"It's the Treatment, Stupid" - "Not long ago, many biologists could get by on two rules of thumb. On the one hand, it was said, "the first time your experiment works, it's a mistake; the second time, it's an artifact; the third time, it's a finding." On the other hand, "if you need to use statistics to prove something, it's not worth proving." (Dr. Charles Murtaugh, TCS)

"Overweight girls aged five are in diabetes danger" - "A THIRD of five-year-old girls are overweight and showing early signs that they may develop a type of diabetes leading to strokes and heart disease in later life, according to the largest study of its kind. It follows concern that a young generation of “couch potatoes” is showing early warning signs of the illness. The new study of more than 300 primary school children in Plymouth is trying to identify the “fuse” that has caused a big increase in type II diabetes in the industrialised world." (The Times)

"Dubious Data Awards" - "Every year there is a struggle between science and journalism that science normally loses. That's why the Statistical Assessment Service gives out Dubious Data awards to journalists who mangled statistics and subverted science in the way they reported stories." (Iain Murray, TCS)

"Angelos, industry to spar in court" - "WASHINGTON-The wireless industry is set to square off with high-powered lawyer Peter Angelos in Baltimore federal court today for the start of an unprecedented, week-long hearing on scientific evidence in an $800 million lawsuit that alleges cell-phone use caused the brain cancer of 42-year-old neurologist Christopher Newman. The stakes have never been higher for the mobile-phone industry, which already is on shaky financial ground and can ill afford to have health questions factored into the risk equation on Wall Street. "If a judge rules there is evidence of a health risk from mobile phones, there could be an avalanche of lawsuits," said David Freedman, a wireless industry analyst at Bear Stearns." (RCRNews)

"Warmest Winter Record Will Likely Be Set On Thursday" - "If current trends continue for the Northeast through Thursday, then the meteorological winter of 2001-02 will be the region's warmest on record, with an average temperature above freezing for the first time in 107 years of official record-keeping, say Cornell University climatologists. (Winter is defined meteorologically as Dec. 1 through Feb. 28 or Feb. 29.) The Northeast's previous warmest winter was recorded 70 years ago with an average 32 degrees Fahrenheit between Dec. 1, 1931, and Feb. 29, 1932. The region's second-warmest winter, in 1997-98, had an average of 30.8 degrees." (UniSci)

"Science Junk Hits the Washington Fan" - "Back in December 2000, President Clinton and Vice President Gore were busy fellows -- what with dishes to pack, furniture to ship and an election to contest. So busy were they that they neglected to read some of the fine print in a cascade of administration-ending paperwork. One of these was an obscure item called the "Federal Data Quality Act" (FDQA), which was dutifully signed by the president. Put simply, the FDQA prohibits the use of junky science in the promulgation of federal regulations and laws. And, now that the new hats are in town, it shouldn't be much of a surprise that the FDQA is being turned against the "science" of the Clinton-Gore team, particularly concerning the global environment." (Patrick J. Michaels, Cato Institute)

"The growing season is growing as warming trend persists" - "Winter is scheduled to make a guest appearance this week, but if recent years are any barometer, the region's backyard gardeners will be getting down and dirty before they know it. It may or may not be related to a larger pattern, but something quite remarkable has happened around here since 1991: The growing season has grown." (The Philadelphia Inquirer)

"Science Notebook: What catfish tell us about climate change" - "Scientists say El Nino, the Pacific Ocean phenomenon that's again starting to stir weather patterns across the globe, first surfaced in its present form due to a climate change about 5,000 years ago, according to temperature records stored in Peruvian fish bones.

A study published Friday in the journal Science relies on a record of seawater temperatures captured via oxygen molecules in a tiny bone, called an otolith, found in the inner ears of sea catfish that live along Peru's coast.

"This is more evidence that climate change is the norm, and climate stability is the exception in Earth's history, even in relatively recent times," said lead author C. Fred Andrus, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Georgia." (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

"Climate Plan Is Criticized as Optimistic" - "The White House statement on climate change read: "President Bush announced today that the United States has agreed with other industrialized nations that stabilization of carbon dioxide emissions should be achieved as soon as possible. The United States also agreed that it is timely to investigate quantitative targets to limit or reduce carbon dioxide emissions."

That was Nov. 7, 1989, one year after a global heat wave made the environment a top political issue and raised the prospect that people might be affecting the climate by adding carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases to the air, warming the planet as if it were inside a greenhouse.

Twelve years later, under a new President Bush, the urgency has evaporated. On Feb. 14 the president articulated a new approach to what has become a lingering, complicated, politically charged scientific issue. It relies on voluntary efforts to slow, but not halt, the growth in emissions of greenhouse gases. Progress is to be measured by tracking the growth of emissions relative to the growth of the economy." (New York Times)

"Clear Skies, murky benefits" - "President George W. Bush's plan to curb global warming is flawed, but not fatally. At least it takes wobbly steps toward tamping down dangerous gases spewed by industry and vehicles." (The Plain Dealer)

"Global coolness" - "AFTER ENDURING harsh criticism by the rest of the world for summarily rejecting the global warming pact known as the Kyoto Protocol, President Bush finally offered his own plan earlier this month. What a disappointment." (The Bergen Record)

"EDITORIAL: Room for more action" - "Our position: President Bush's greenhouse-gases proposal is a small step in the right direction." (Orlando Sentinel)

"Round Two set to begin in Kyoto squabble" - "OTTAWA - A simmering dispute between Ottawa and the provinces over the Kyoto Agreement on climate change moves to its next level as consultations between the sides begin today in Victoria, B.C. David Anderson, the Environment Minister, has promised Canada won't sign the treaty without consulting the provinces and the private sector. But he has also said Ottawa will ratify the treaty, as early as June, even if a number of provinces remain opposed. "We do not expect to proceed without full consultations with the provinces. That's been promised by the Prime Minister and we're continuing that process [today and tomorrow] at the joint ministerial meeting in Victoria," Mr. Anderson said. He and Herb Dhaliwal, the Natural Resources Minister, will outline the options that Ottawa is considering to implement Kyoto." (Financial Post)

"Anderson signals Canadian consensus on Kyoto treaty needs more work" - "VICTORIA -- The provinces and Ottawa need to do more work before reaching a Canadian consensus on the Kyoto protocol to curb greenhouse gas emissions, federal Environment Minister David Anderson said Monday." (CP)

"Environment ministers meet to talk Kyoto" - "VICTORIA - Environmentalists are pushing for Canada to sign the Kyoto Protocol, but as provincial and federal ministers begin meeting in Victoria, it seems more dithering lies ahead." (CBC)

"FP CEO POLL: Kyoto poses problems to economy; 'Agreement flawed'" - "OTTAWA - Global warming is a serious problem but signing the Kyoto Agreement on climate change will put Canada at a competitive disadvantage with the U.S., the latest Financial Post/COMPAS Inc. poll of business leaders says. "[Business leaders] think something needs to be done but they think the agreement is flawed," said Conrad Winn, president of COMPAS. "They have huge concerns [Kyoto] would do huge harm to the Canadian economy." (Financial Post)

"CHOGM climate anger" - "THE Federal Government has been warned of mounting anger from island nations ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) because of its approach to climate change. Climate experts will gather in Brisbane tomorrow just days before CHOGM begins to discuss the Commonwealth's approach to climate change and Australia's approach to the problem." (AAP)

"Legacy of foot-and-mouth threatens rare species" - "One of Britain's most beautiful beetles is among several wildlife species facing extinction in the wake of foot-and-mouth disease. The problem for the blue ground beetle, Carabus intricatus, and other insects is that they depend on farm livestock to maintain the habitats vital to their existence in south-west England. The crisis that devastated the sheep and cattle industry is threatening to shatter that delicate relationship. Many farmers are considering pulling out of livestock, and conservationists fear that biodiversity action plans (Baps) to safeguard a range of rarities could founder if this essential element is missing or in severe decline." (Independent)

Isn't it fascinating how farming is an 'essential element' - but only when people aren't the beneficiaries.

February 25, 2002

"Milking the public's food fears; Protesting Starbucks -- Coffee, Tea or rbST?" - "Don't expect Starbucks' founder Howard Schultz to show up anytime soon in a "Got Milk?" commercial. His company, accused of spiking lattes with "tainted" milk, faces a nasty spectacle at its coming shareholder meeting. Demonstrations are planned Feb. 26 at more than 400 Starbucks in six countries, with San Francisco and Seattle as major targets. At issue: the company's milk policy.

... Whether fears fueling this controversy are more foam than substance, all sides agree that how Starbucks navigates the genetic engineering debate will have considerable effect on the American dairy and agriculture industries. Let's hope that Schultz and company recognize that acting responsibly means rejecting extortionist threats and, once and for all, rejecting hysteria as the measure of corporate social responsibility." (Jon Entine, San Francisco Chronicle)

Hmm... "BBC News | UK | 'No BSE risk' to newborn calves" - "New research suggests it is highly unlikely BSE is passed down from one generation of cows to the next, a senior scientist has told the BBC. Professor John Wilesmith, one of the government's top advisers on the disease, has led experiments which eliminate the possibility of BSE being passed from an infected cow to her calf. Professor Wilesmith, from the Veterinary Laboratories Agency, told BBC Radio 4's Farming Today programme he was convinced that the only way cows get the disease is through feed contaminated with meat and bone meal." (BBC Online)

It'd be a lot more compelling if anyone could actually demonstrate livestock infection from consumption of said 'contaminated' foodstuffs. As things stand the MBM/BSE link remains hypothetical.

Way to go, Alex Kirby! "Sceptics denounce climate science 'lie'" - "A group of scientists in the US and the UK says the accepted wisdom on climate change remains unproved. They say rising greenhouse gas emissions may not be the main factor in global warming. They argue that temperature rise projections this century are "unknown and unknowable". They claim it is "a media myth" to suppose that only a few scientists share their scepticism. The scientists, a group convened by the American George C. Marshall Institute, first published their report in the US. It has been republished in the UK by the European Science and Environment Forum (Esef), entitled Climate Science and Policy: Making the Connection." (BBC Online) | Press Release | Climate Change and Policy: Making the Connection [PDF] (ESEF)

New items posted on Still Waiting For Greenhouse

"Kyoto cost will hit us hardest" - "The Kyoto Protocol imposes heavier burdens on New Zealand than on other developed countries, says the Institute of Economic Research. In a report commissioned by the Climate Change Pan Industry Group, a coalition of business groups opposing early ratification, the institute analyses Kyoto's economic impact, focusing on international competitiveness. It argues that there are factors peculiar to the New Zealand economy that would make the costs of adjustment disproportionately high." (New Zealand Herald) | Competitiveness Risks Demand Caution On Kyoto (Press Release: Pan Industry Group On Kyoto)

"Bush Renews Campaign For Arctic Oil" - "WASHINGTON - President Bush on Saturday renewed his campaign to open an Arctic refuge to oil exploration, contending that drilling is essential to national security and job creation. Bush, in his weekly radio address, said that plan is vital to his goal of making the United States less dependent on foreign energy sources. He also wants to promote energy efficiency, develop wind and solar power, build fuel-efficient vehicles and combat pollution." (AP)

"Dems play up their 'green' card" - "WASHINGTON - Most Americans may picture George W. Bush in a Texas-size SUV or a presidential limo. But today, he'll be presenting a decidedly greener image, displaying fuel-cell and hybrid cars on the lawn of the White House. As the Senate returns to a bruising debate on a new US energy policy, the environment is suddenly emerging as a key political issue - and one where Democrats see President Bush as vulnerable." (Christian Science Monitor)

Still trying to get their hands in everyone else's pockets:  "Road tolls could cut congestion and pollution" - "Tolls on Britain's roads could cut congestion by 44 per cent and significantly reduce pollution levels, according to a new report by an influential Government commission. The Commission for Integrated Transport's (CfIT) report, published tomorrow, proposes a shift from general tax paid to the Government towards a direct charge to use the road network – but only during peak traffic times." (Independent)

Ol' Lester - has he ever been right? "World: Environmentalist Predicts Economic Collapse If Trends Continue" - "In order to survive, the global economy must undergo a shift as groundbreaking as the Copernican revolution in astronomy in the 16th century, which recognized that the Earth revolves around the sun, rather than vice versa. This is the message being taken to political and business leaders all over the world by noted U.S. environmentalist Lester Brown, who says they need to recognize that the economy should be considered secondary to ecological concerns. To do the reverse -- treat the environment as of lesser importance than the economy -- spells certain disaster, warns Brown, who last week was in Brussels and spoke to RFE/RL correspondent Ahto Lobjakas." (Radio Free Europe)

"Biotech soybeans help soil quality, industry says" - "NASHVILLE - Genetically modified soybeans are promoting soil conservation by allowing farmers to plow less, a biotechnology industry group said. "Biotech is allowing farmers to practice more conservation tillage," Linda Thrane, executive director of the Council for Biotechnology Information, told reporters at the Commodity Classic, the annual joint convention of the American Soybean Association and the National Corn Growers Association. With conservation tillage, farmers leave the plant residues from harvested crops on the surface of the soil before planting again, rather than plowing them under. The decaying organic matter puts nutrients back in the soil and acts as a sponge for water, reducing runoff from heavy rains and preserving moisture during drought." (Reuters)

Some readers asked for more info on Charlie Benbrook's latest biotech-bashing foray - here you go: Press release: Premium Price for GMO Bt Corn Costs Farmers, Boosts Biotech Firms; New Report Traces Impact of Additional Costs for GMO Bt Corn | Report [PDF] (Genetically Engineered Food Alert)

February 24, 2002

PCBS of the moment: "Obese flyers get extra seat" - "MONTREAL: Obese people may get an extra seat free when they catch a flight in Canada following an unprecedented legal ruling that is rattling the airline industry. The ruling stems from a complaint brought by a woman who had to pay 50 per cent more for a first-class seat to accommodate her girth on an Air Canada flight between Ottawa and Calgary in 1997. Linda McKay-Panos brought a discrimination suit before the Canadian Transportation Agency tribunal, which ruled she had the same rights as a disabled person." (Sydney Daily Telegraph)

And being unable to pack to suit airline luggage weight limits is a disability from which my wife suffers, so she should get a disability allowance for the extra mass she wants transported too, eh? That may not apply since she may be in London while her weight problem is in Cleveland but it would seem the same principle. Since when did gluttony entitle anyone to anything at everyone else's expense? Every traveller will have to pay more for this sort of parasitism. What's next, fatsos suing for disabled parks and/ or disability pensions? Sheesh!

"Restrained and unrestrained eating behaviors affect risk for adult-onset obesity" - "In an article published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Weinsier et al. compared the total energy expenditures of normal weight women who had either maintained or gained weight over the year prior to the study. The most important factor that distinguished those who were successful from those who were unsuccessful at maintaining their weight loss was their level of physical activity." (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition)

"Fat Canadians imperil health care: McLellan" - "OTTAWA - Canada is becoming a nation of fat people and the medicare system could become unaffordable unless citizens take more responsibility for their health, says Anne McLellan.

Nearly half of Canadian adults are overweight. Ms. McLellan said governments must put more emphasis on convincing people to take charge of their health by losing weight, watching their diet and stopping smoking. (Ottawa Citizen)

You want an economy with that? "Arise, Ye Prisoners of Starvation" - "One way to measure Russia's slow recovery from the 70-year coma of Communism is to count lobster tanks and sushi bars. Old Russia hands like me, who remember when a banana was more wondrous than a Fabergé egg, swoon at the profusion of delicacies available these days in the bright showcase cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg. My own crude index of the economic condition, however, is the brazen yellow M that now seems to illuminate every other corner of this winter- gray city." (Bill Keller, New York Times)

"Don't blame it on the Accutane" - "When 15-year-old Charles Bishop crashed a plane into an office building in Florida on 5 January 2002, the media wondered whether he was emulating the 11 September terrorists. A few days later, when the acne drug Accutane was discovered in his room, the question changed: did Accutane make him do it? 'Teen pilot may have been taking acne drug linked to suicide', screamed the front page of USA Today on 10 January." (Howard Fienberg, sp!ked)

"UT Southwestern study links asthma and pneumonia" - "Long-term infection with a bacteria that causes pneumonia could lead to chronic asthma, UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas researchers report in the February issue of Infection and Immunity." (University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas)

Oh, this one's a gem: "Docs often fail to diagnose kids' asthma correctly" - "NEW YORK, Feb 22 - Children with asthma are not likely to be diagnosed accurately and, as a result, may miss out on treatments to help control the condition, according to a new study. Asthma is the most common chronic illness among children in the US, affecting as many as 8.6 million people under the age of 18, according to the American Lung Association.

Government health experts recommend that children with mild to severe persistent asthma use maintenance medications daily to control their illness. But one recent study found 74% of US children with asthma were receiving inadequate maintenance therapy, Dr. Jill S. Halterman of the University of Rochester School of Medicine in New York and colleagues note in the February issue of the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.

To investigate, Halterman's team interviewed 90 children aged 4 to 6 with mild to severe chronic asthma, as defined by their parents. The researchers also interviewed the children's parents and their primary care physician. Only 40% of the children were described accurately by their healthcare provider as having mild persistent to severe persistent asthma, and just half had been prescribed maintenance medications, the report indicates." (Reuters Health)

Parents' diagnosis differs from physicians' diagnosis therefore physicians are misdiagnosing? Makes you wonder why we have physicians at all if parents naturally have superior medical ability and without any of those bothersome years of training.

"Jury still out on estrogen-like chemicals, cancer" - "NEW YORK, Feb 22 - While studies of a link between exposure to chemicals with estrogen-like effects and cancer in women have had murky results, current research methods may simply be too crude to detect any relationship, some experts on the issue believe." (Reuters Health)

Still fishing for 'subtle' (read: 'imaginary') effects that massive data-dredges and elaborate statistical torture has failed to provide. All together now: 'More study required.' (Also known as 'scaring up a lucrative job'.)

"Pesticides, asbestos slated for trade controls - 2 22 2002 - ENN.com" - "GENEVA — Potentially dangerous pesticides and asbestos are set to be subject to trade controls under a treaty that aims to protect workers in poor countries from hazardous exports, the United Nations said Thursday. The U.N. Environment Program (UNEP) said that an experts' committee had recommended three pesticides, including one widely used in Asia for insect control, and five forms of asbestos be added to a list of 31 chemicals whose import can be "legitimately and unilaterally banned."

"Ontario testing fish for PCBs" - "Ontario's Ministry of Environment says it hopes to know by next month whether fish from the Speed River in Guelph have been contaminated by PCBs from a former General Electric transformer manufacturing plant in the city. Fish were taken last fall from a number of sites, both upstream and downstream from the factory. Samples are being analyzed. "These studies that we're doing now are the most detailed studies we can possibly do to determine if anything is going off site," said Alan Hayton, who heads the province's program for detecting contaminants in fish." (Globe and Mail)

"Alabama Jury Says Monsanto Polluted Town" - "ATLANTA, Feb. 22 — A jury decided today that the Monsanto Company, which made toxic chemicals in Anniston, Ala., for 40 years, was responsible for polluting the town. Although the state jury in the nearby city of Gadsden did not determine the amount of damages the company would have to pay, the verdict opens the door for millions of dollars of claims by Anniston residents that they were harmed by the presence of polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCB's, in the soil around the city." (New York Times)

"Monsanto Held Liable For PCB Dumping" - "An Alabama jury yesterday found that Monsanto Co. engaged in "outrageous" behavior by releasing tons of PCBs into the city of Anniston and covering up its actions for decades, handing 3,500 local residents a huge victory in a landmark environmental lawsuit." (Washington Post)

"Bush Proposing to Shift Burden of Toxic Cleanups to Taxpayers" - "The Bush administration has decided to designate fewer Superfund sites and to shift the bulk of cleanup costs from industry to taxpayers." (New York Times)

Hmm... "Web Site Helped Change Farm Policy" - "WASHINGTON, Feb. 23 — Throughout the angry Senate debate about whether to limit subsidies to wealthy farmers, lawmakers kept referring to "the Web site" to make their points.

It is www.ewg.org, operated by the Environmental Working Group, a small nonprofit organization with the simple idea that the taxpayers who underwrite $20 billion a year in farm subsidies have the right to know who gets the money." (New York Times)

So, just how solid is the information being used to 'change farm policy'? Our friendly neighbourhood computer security specialist and valued correspondent notes the following anomalies:

Apparently 827 "farmers" in the program received checks for $0.00 and 35,041 "farmers" actually paid the government money (difficult to believe) under the program up to a debt maximum of $-947,191.20 for Hilltop Dairy in Preston, ID.

Farm 'policy' is a dodgy name for pork barrelling and now seems to be influenced by dodgy databases as well.

Hot on the heels of last week's now obligatory 'warmest whatever' announcements and:

"Guardian Unlimited | The Guardian | The darling buds of February" - "A bitter wind may be blowing across Britain this weekend, but do not be fooled. The evidence of the past five weeks suggests that this has been one of the warmest starts to a year since records began more than 300 years ago." | Telltale signs that spring has sprung

comes, in the very same issue:

"Guardian Unlimited | The Guardian | Storms and snow return to the north" - "After the warmth that has had daffodils blooming early, winter returned with a vengeance yesterday. Gales, hail, sleet, and snow swept across Scotland, Northern Ireland and the north of England."

and, in the same vain:

"Arctic Chill is coming!" - "This winter appears to be yet another exclamation point for global warming, but there have been 3 pronounced cold periods thus far that have penetrated significantly into the Lower 48. The first came just before Christmas and lasted into early January, producing record lake effect snows in Buffalo and snow across the Deep South. The second occurred just past mid January and culminated in a snow event for the Northeast. The third came in late January and the first few days of February, leading to a devastating ice storm and substantial snow storm from the south-central Plains to the Great Lakes. Now, arctic air is once again on the move from western Canada into the United States. Most of the country will have well below average temperatures by Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. The forecast models are indicating a strengthening southern and East Coast storm late in the coming week. Stay tuned!" (James Wilson, Senior Meteorologist, Weather.com)

"Britain back in winter's grip" - "Heavy snowfalls driven by fierce winds are ensuring there is no end of winter in sight for large parts of the UK." | Snow brings chaos to travellers | Drivers warned over dangerous conditions (BBC Online)

The Med. on Liverpool? The Brits could wish!

"NGOs request Bush attend environment summit" - "WASHINGTON, Feb. 22 - Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and research institutions in the United States on Friday issued a request to President George W. Bush to attend the U.N. environment summit in Johannesburg in August and to rejoin the Kyoto Protocol to prevent global warming." (Kyodo)

"Gov't to solicit public opinion on environment summit" - "TOKYO, Feb. 22 - The Japanese government will solicit public opinion on a paper by the chairman of the preparatory talks for an upcoming U.N. environment summit in Johannesburg, said Environment Minister Hiroshi Oki on Friday. At a news conference, Oki said the government is open to people's opinions on the paper which will serve as the basis for an action plan to be adopted by the summit. He said the opinions will be reflected in talks at the third preparatory committee session for the World Summit on Sustainable Development from March 25 in New York." (Kyodo)

"Blame It On Rio" - "It was ten years ago this spring that President George H.W. Bush took a step that began a slide down the long path toward energy rationing. It was barely ten days ago that his son, President George W. Bush, took an equally large stride in that unfortunate direction.

During the heat of the 1992 political campaign, an ambitious Senator from Tennessee traveled to the World Environment Summit in Rio de Janeiro, demanding to know "Where's George?!" There the world had gathered to moralize against the usual suspects, such as too many (other) people using too many resources.

At this conference, numerous feel-good but dangerous agreements emerged, including "Agenda 21", which, despite some humanist rhetoric, was about as anti-people as we're likely to see in the light of day. But possibly the worst such frivolity was the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change -- UNFCCC, or the "Rio treaty." (Chris Horner, TCS)

"The Politics of Electoral Destruction" - "When the President's brilliant Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors, R. Glenn Hubbard, took to the pages of the New York Times to argue for the administration's new proposal on climate change, he wrote of an initiative he felt was "likely to move us, at last, beyond arguments at the extremes and toward real action against climate change." (Nick Schulz, TCS)

"Scientists and journalists with an agenda on global warming" - "'[W]e are not just scientists but human beings as well. And like most people, we'd like to see the world a better place. ... To do that we need to get some broad-based support, to capture the public's imagination. That, of course, entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we have. ... Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest."

Those were the words of Stephen Schneider – environmental scientist, global-warming crusader. They were recently republished by The Economist, having first appeared in Discover magazine (way back in 1989).

I give Schneider credit. The Stanford University professor of biological sciences was honest enough to admit that he and other politically motivated scientists are not above using hyperbole to gin up headlines.

Of course, to scare the bejeebers out of the unsuspecting public – about global warming or any other putative threat to humanity – Schneider and his fellow crusading scientists must enlist the aid of pliant journalists.

Which brings me to Keay Davidson, science writer for the reflexively liberal San Francisco Chronicle." (Joseph Perkins, Union-Tribune)

"New research in Australia disputes the theory of global warming" - "A study by Australian National University student Erica Hendy in collaboration with the Institute of Marine Sciences, has found ocean temperatures in the tropical western Pacific have remained relatively constant over the past 500 years. Using corals growing since 1565 in Australia's Great Barrier Reef, they've produced one of the first records of ocean temperatures in the southern hemisphere during the so-called little ice age." (Radio Australia)

"Lashing out at ungrateful Quebec" - "A nasty spat between Quebec and Alberta over the Kyoto climate change accord grew even nastier Thursday, as Alberta Environment Minister Lorne Taylor accused Quebec of trying to beggar the West to meet Kyoto's terms." (Edmonton Journal)

This is cute: "How all of Canada can embrace Kyoto" - "Alberta Premier Ralph Klein has a stellar reputation as a progressive politician in his home province. He led the country in slimming down government, cutting taxes and expanding the role of the private sector in health care. On climate change, he is putting that reputation at risk. He would rather sell Albertans on fear than forward thinking. Witness the scaremongering approach yesterday by Lorne Taylor, Alberta's Environment Minister. If Canada ratifies the Kyoto Protocol, an international agreement to cut the carbon emissions linked to global warming, the cost to the national economy will be as much as $40-billion each year, he prophesied. That's 2.5 per cent of the country's gross domestic product, a doomsday scenario that surely even Alberta doesn't believe." (Globe Technology)

Positing the cost of yielding to scaremongers makes Klein... a scaremonger? Pot calling Kettle - come in Kettle...

"Provinces can't stop Kyoto, Anderson says" - "OTTAWA - David Anderson, the Minister of the Environment, said yesterday Ottawa is prepared to ratify the Kyoto Agreement over objections by the provinces. "The issue, technically, is that international relations fall within the purview of the federal government. And it can act unilaterally," Anderson said at a conference on global warming in Ottawa." (National Post)

"Anderson pushed to table Kyoto figures" - "Opposition patience is wearing thin for Environment Minister David Anderson to table the implementation plan and the costs of ratifying the Kyoto agreement on greenhouse gasses. During Question Period Friday, opposition MPs repeatedly asked Mr. Anderson to provide Canadians with clear cost estimates of complying with greenhouse gas reductions. But Mr. Anderson remained unmoved, saying more talks need to take place with provinces, industry leaders, and Canadians. "We will have more consultation with all sectors involved and we will do this before making the final decision on ratification. That said, our aim is to ratify and we will ratify." (Globe and Mail)

"Rival Energy Plans Face Senate Debate (washingtonpost.com)" - "Torn by rival strategies for reducing the nation's reliance on foreign oil, the Senate is gearing up for a long battle over energy initiatives affecting nearly all aspects of American life -- from the family car to the kitchen refrigerator to the Alaskan wilderness."

"The Nando Times: Deal continues 'megatons to megawatts' program with Russia" - "WASHINGTON (February 22, 2002 8:31 p.m. EST) - Russia will resume shipping nuclear fuel from old Soviet bombs under an agreement reached this week with an American company that buys the fuel to sell to U.S. utilities."

"Kyoto sparks Alberta-Quebec energy feud" - "OTTAWA - The war of words over greenhouse gas emissions heated up on Parliament Hill yesterday as an Alberta MP accused the federal government of ignoring western concerns over the Kyoto agreement in order to curry favour in Quebec." (Elizabeth Thompson, The Gazette)

"Big utilities champion 'green' power" - "OTTAWA -- Two of Canada's largest hydro companies are pushing to have electricity megaprojects -- which flood thousands of acres of land, but provide virtually air-pollution free energy -- accepted as "green power." (Kate Jaimet, Vancouver Sun)

"Independent News - More spending needed on 'green' energy sources" - "The Government must spend more money to find new "green" sources of energy and non-polluting cars, according to its chief scientist. In a direct criticism of past spending on environment-friendly technology, Professor David King has urged Tony Blair to spend up to £400m more each year on finding new forms of "green" energy and transport to help to tackle climate change. Prof King revealed that a national energy research centre is to be founded to lead Britain's efforts to develop hydrogen-fuelled and electric cars, effective solar, tidal and wave energy technologies, and even ways of pumping CO2 from power stations into disused oil and gas fields. He indicated that economists and sociologists would also be commissioned to study radical plans to replace all petrol and diesel-fuelled vehicles with "green" cars that have been pioneered by California and Lombardy in Italy."

"Sp!ked debate: How will we meet our energy needs in the future?"

  • Split over the atom : Malcolm Grimston, senior research fellow at the Royal Institute of International Affairs
    'Nuclear power has advantages and drawbacks. The only rational approach is to keep as many options open as possible.'
  • Oil for all time? : Tom Kearney, vice president, external affairs at Shell Renewables
    'We appear to be entering a particularly innovative period, with more than one path to a sustainable energy system.'
  • No shortcut to sustainable energy : John Lawton, chief executive, Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
    'Solutions do not lie in tinkering with the system, fiddling while Earth burns. Big issues demand big solutions.'
  • Raise the horizons : Joe Kaplinsky, science writer
    Our aversion to risk limits the development of energy solutions.'

Environment & Climate News, February 2002 (Heartland Institute)

"New York Times Feature Was Fiction" - "A moving, richly detailed New York Times Magazine profile of a boy who became an Ivory Coast laborer turns out to have been a fabrication. The Times acknowledged in an editor's note yesterday that Youssouf Male, the teenager described as living an impoverished existence, hacking weeds on a cocoa plantation for mere pennies, was a composite. The paper said it has fired the author, Michael Finkel, a contributing writer to the magazine." (Washington Post)

"No Evidence of Biotech Danger Prompts Tougher Monitoring" - "There is no evidence that genetically engineered crops have harmed the environment, but the government should do a better job of monitoring crops after they are approved for commercial use, a National Academy of Sciences report concluded yesterday, according to The Washington Post.

The USDA, which requested the study after critics accused it of lax regulation, is supposed to ensure that hardier, gene-altered crops don't develop into superweeds or endanger insects and other animals.

In the Regulation Magazine article, "Food Risks and Labeling Controversies," Henry I. Miller and Peter VanDoren explore market-based alternatives to more government regulation of foods.

In "Taco Terrorism," Steven Milloy dismisses concerns that the genetically engineered corn is dangerous. He argues that some groups have created a scare from the "firm possibility of a definite maybe." The accused protein, CRY9C, "isn't derived from a source containing any known allergens, its protein sequence does not resemble other known allergens and none of the other biotech corn proteins are allergens," he writes.

Steve Milloy is the author of the Cato book "Junk Science Judo: Self-Defense Against Health Scares and Scams." (Cato Institute)

"Wheat may prevent colon cancer" - "Wheat may be a vital weapon in the fight against cancer and other diseases, according to experts. Whole grain wheat contains powerful antioxidants which may help to prevent colon cancer and possibly diabetes and heart disease. Biochemists at Kansas State University, who carried out the research, say the findings may enable them to create modified wheat strains with high levels of cancer-fighting chemicals. Dr Dolores Takemoto, who co-ordinated the study, said: "We hope we will be able to create a genetically modified plant. "We won't be modifying it to adapt to its environment, like most genetically modified plants, but we will be modifying it to produce more of its own cancer-fighting chemicals." (BBC Online)

Hmm... Charlie Benbrook, again: "South Bend, Ind., Farmers Not Sold on Genetically Engineered Corn" - "Feb. 23--Corn farmers in Indiana and Michigan are not sold on seed corn that has been bioengineered to include an insecticide. But they may be paying for research and development costs for those genetically engineered products just the same, according to a report written by Charles Benbrook, a consultant and former director of the National Academy of Science's Board of Agriculture." (Knight Ridder/Tribune)

February 22, 2002

"New Nutrition Book Choking on Bad Science" - "The food industry laughs all the way to the bank as it manipulates the system to make us fat and unhealthy. That’s Marion Nestle’s junk science-fueled message in her new book, Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health." (Steve Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"New Rules Halt Gun Sales" - "Gun sales across the country were hampered this week after the federal authorities failed to provide gun dealers with new forms to run background checks, according to The New York Times.

In "Trust the People: The Case Against Gun Control," David Kopel writes that the gun control debate comes down to the basic question: "Who is more trustworthy, the government or the people?" In "Gun Policy in the Aftermath of Littleton," Cato Fellow Doug Bandow writes that gun control is misguided and that studies show that guns are used five times as often to prevent as to commit crimes." (Cato Institute)

"Town's curb on BB guns becomes a clash of values" - "ALPHARETTA, GA. - Once an icon of Rockwellian America, the lone boy toting a Daisy BB gun as he wanders the woods has a new reputation - that of an outlaw. In the boldest of a growing ledger of laws across the country aimed at gradeschool "gunslingers," a new ordinance here makes it a crime to let children under 16 use a BB gun - or its modern cousin, the paintball gun - without parental supervision." (Christian Science Monitor)

"Eating fish 'cuts early birth risk'" - "WOMEN who eat fish early in their pregnancies can reduce the risk of a premature birth and of their babies being underweight, according to researchers. A study of more than 8,700 women found that premature deliveries fell from 7.1 per cent in women who ate no fish at all to 1.9 per cent in the group who had eaten even small amounts of fish at least once a week." (Telegraph)

Uh-huh... "Study links more frequent fish intake with asthma" - "NEW YORK, Feb 21 - Japanese youth who eat fish once or twice per week or more may be more likely to have asthma than their peers who consume fish less often, new study results show. "The results indicated that frequency of fish intake was positively related to the prevalence of asthma," lead study author Dr. Yousuke Takemura, of Mie University School of Medicine in Japan, and colleagues write. "This result might have important implications for health." (Reuters Health)

"UK patients group hits back at anti-vivisectionists" - "A UK patients’ advocate group has attacked anti-vivisection activists, alleging-in a report published last week-that they mislead the public and fail to invest in research designed to find alternatives to animal research.

The report, Anti-vivisection Unmasked, was published by the UK charity Seriously Ill for Medical Research. Its membership includes patients-many of whom are seriously ill with a range of conditions including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis-and their relatives and carers. The charity’s medical panel comprises several leading researchers including Professor Roy Calne and Professor Robert Winston." (British Medical Journal News Roundup)

"Animal activists target wildlife trust over fox cull" - "A CONSERVATION trust that has banned hunting has become the target of furious protests by animal rights activists for ordering a cull of a booming fox population at one of its reserves. The Essex Wildlife Trust has been under attack from animal groups and even from some of its own members since the decision to bring in a marksman to cull the foxes plaguing the 600-acre Tollesbury Wick reserve." (Telegraph)

"Mexican Butterfly Death Raises Questions on Numbers" - "SIERRA CHINCUA SANCTUARY, Mexico - Millions of dead butterflies crunch underfoot, oozing a rotting smell after a severe cold snap a month ago devastated the monarch butterflies that spend winter in central Mexico.

But while the ground is a cemetery, the air is vibrant with butterflies, millions of them painting the trees orange, the combined force of their wings making a windy sound.

The huge numbers of dead and of survivors have awakened a big question among scientists: Just how many butterflies come each year to the pine-covered mountains of Michoacan, Mexico?" (Reuters)

"Battle looms over a Noah's Ark law" - "ASHLAND, ORE. - Scientists, lawmakers, and advocates are set to wrangle over the most profound and controversial federal environmental law ever passed - the federal Endangered Species Act. Lawsuits have been filed, and a slew of proposals on Capitol Hill could significantly change what plants and animals qualify for protection." (Christian Science Monitor)

First step should be to call it what it is: the Misanthropy Act.

Grief! "Bank pays up for nature" - "One of the world's largest financial services organisations, HSBC, is giving almost $50 million (£35m) to three environment charities. It is funding the global environment campaign WWF, Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI), and Earthwatch." (BBC Online)

"Norton touts 'new environmentalism'" - "Thursday, February 21, 2002 - WASHINGTON - Interior Secretary Gale Norton called Wednesday for a "new environmentalism," saying that today's problems require a more cooperative approach than in the past. In what aides billed as Norton's first major environmental address of the year, Norton said the battles over life-threatening pollution in the air and water in the 1960s and '70s were resolved with intense regulation. The remaining issues are more subtle and complex and require a different approach, she said." (Denver Post)

"Green with Rage" - "Sheer panic. That's the only way to describe the reaction of green activists to a fact-filled 515-page book by a young Danish statistician, published in English late last year by Cambridge University Press. The statistician, a slim, laid-back former Greenpeace member named Bjorn Lomborg, dared to question the conventional wisdom of the alarmists who dominate the fund-raising arm of the environmental movement: that the world is going to hell in a handbasket." (James K. Glassman, TCS)

"The profits of doom" - "Matt Ridley celebrates Bjorn Lomborg, the environmentalist brave enough to tell the truth — that the end is not nigh" (The Spectator)

Gasp! "NOVEMBER 2001 - JANUARY 2002 WARMEST ON RECORD IN U.S.; GLOBAL TEMPERATURES WARMEST ON RECORD IN JANUARY" - "February 21, 2002 — The contiguous United States experienced record warmth during the November 2001 through January 2002 three-month period, scientists at NOAA's National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C., said today. The January global temperature was the warmest in the 123-year surface record. Using the world's largest weather database, NOAA scientists calculated conditions for the past three months." (NOAA News)

The surface temperature amalgam continues to produce 'records,' cluck, cluck!

"The cold snap that civilised the world" - "A SUDDEN drop in temperatures 5,000 years ago ushered in the modern climate and may have encouraged the development of complex civilisations around the world. Researchers studying ancient fish bones off the coast of Peru say the temperature fall heralded El Nino, the periodical warming of the Pacific which brings unusual weather patterns every two to seven years." (Telegraph) | Otolith 18O Record of Mid-Holocene Sea Surface Temperatures in Peru [PDF] (Science)

That noise you hear is the combined howls of anguish coming from those who hitched their wagons to the global warming express and who have belatedly realised its derailment is inevitable.

Observe, with amusement, the attempts by the hand-wringing crowd to either bury or ignore yet further records demonstrating that a warmer world does not equate to more frequent, more severe El Niño events (flooding, disaster, sundry mayhem...), that warming is either unprecedented or undesirable or that warming would severely harm corals - it seems, if the following conclusions are correct, that the Great Barrier reef has seen it all before and quite recently.

"Abrupt Decrease in Tropical Pacific Sea Surface Salinity at End of Little Ice Age" [PDF] - "A 420-year history of strontium/calcium, uranium/calcium, and oxygen isotope ratios in eight coral cores from the Great Barrier Reef, Australia, indicates that sea surface temperature and salinity were higher in the 18th century than in the 20th century. An abrupt freshening after 1870 occurred simultaneously throughout the southwestern Pacific, coinciding with cooling tropical temperatures. Higher salinities between 1565 and 1870 are best explained by a combination of advection and wind-induced evaporation resulting from a strong latitudinal temperature gradient and intensified circulation. The global Little Ice Age glacial expansion may have been driven, in part, by greater poleward transport of water vapor from the tropical Pacific." (Science)

"Kyoto losses forecast at $40B; Ottawa backs off ratification" - "Ratifying the Kyoto accord will cost the Canadian economy as much as $40 billion annually, Alberta Environment Minister Lorne Taylor will argue today at a conference on global climate change." (Calgary Herald)

"Greenhouse office cries for cash" - "Australia's efforts to curb global warming are at risk, with the government agency empowered to lead the charge to cut greenhouse gases strapped for cash. A government-commissioned report publicised by Labor showed the Australian Greenhouse Office (AGO) would be unable to properly work on curbing emissions unless funding was bolstered. The report on output pricing review 2000-01 recommended ministers note that lapsed funding meant AGO outputs would fall by 45 per cent for the current financial year. "Without additional funding, AGO will be unable to deliver on its executive agency charter and will have to significantly contract functions and staff," the report said." (AAP)

Don't forget to turn out the lights when you leave...

"ANALYSIS - Emissions trading systems developing as patchwork" - "AMSTERDAM - Emissions trading systems are popping up around the globe, but without clear international standards companies will have to navigate a maze of different rules designed to cut carbon pollution." (Reuters)

"Herald Sun: Air pollution puts 1000 in hospital [22feb02]" - "BAD air is putting about 1000 people a year in hospital in Melbourne. A three-year EPA study has linked air pollution statistics and hospital admissions. EPA policy manager Dr Lynette Denison said children with asthma, elderly people with respiratory disease and cardio-vascular patients of all ages were the worst hit by air pollution. "They're actually being admitted, these aren't casualty attendances, these are actual admissions into hospital, so they're quite severe health impacts," Dr Denison said. "It's not causing the disease but it is aggravating pre-existing conditions."

"Finnish media slams minister for nuke disloyalty" - "HELSINKI - Finnish newspapers this week lashed out at Environment Minister Satu Hassi, labelling her disloyal to the cabinet after earlier this week she went against the government's stance in favour of more nuclear power." (Reuters)

"Delayed World Food Summit booked for June" - "The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) will soon host a global meeting to review progress towards ending hunger. The meeting, the ‘World Food Summit: five years later’ aims to track progress achieved since the 1996 World Food Summit and consider ways to accelerate the process. The summit was originally scheduled for 5-9 November but has been delayed in the aftermath of the 11 September attacks in the United States." (FoodNavigator)

"ICAR submits report on BT cotton" - "NEW DELHI: The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has sent its report on trials on the genetically modified BT cotton to the environment ministry, which is to take a final decision on its large scale introduction in the country. (The Times of India)

February 21, 2002

"Nation's future lard fannies can't blame school vending machines" - "ARLINGTON--A General Assembly panel has shelved Sen. Madison Marye's bill to force all Virginia schools to banish vending machines that dispense soft drinks and snacks. However, the issue appears to have plenty of shelf-life.

Armed with reports like the Surgeon General's recent finding that obesity is a major health threat, the Food Police are demanding across the nation that schools ban such vending machines. They seek laws declaring schools to be commercial-free zones, an action that would negate profit-sharing partnerships between public schools and private companies." (Robert Holland, Free Lance-Star)

"Feeling poorly? Go out and mow that lawn" - "Pottering in the garden has long been regarded as good for the soul. As far back as the Middle Ages, gardening was recognised for its therapeutic effects. Now researchers have won £322,526 from the National Lottery Community Fund to assess whether gardening is so beneficial it should be prescribed by doctors." (Independent)

This'll be good!

Dateline: London - Medical malpractice insurance rates soar as the number of suits, brought by couch potatoes prescribed gardening and who claim they suffered muscle strains, bad backs and a host of other injuries as a result of their therapy, literally explode.

"Obese adolescent children hit by 'adult' diabetes" - "The first cases of adult diabetes, a disease linked with obesity, have been found in white children, providing fresh evidence that Britain is facing an epidemic of the condition. Experts say a "diabetes time bomb" is ticking, with the 1.4 million cases diagnosed expected to double in the next decade. Diabetics have to follow a strict diet, take medication and may suffer complications including eye, kidney and circulatory diseases." (Independent)

According to Kellogg's "New research reveals that fibre can improve mood" - "Professor Andrew Smith of Cardiff University's School of Psychology, tested a group of volunteers over a four week period. Measures taken at baseline showed that those that regularly consumed a high-fibre diet were less emotionally distressed; had fewer cognitive difficulties; had a more positive mood; had less difficulty falling asleep and had lower depression scores than those people who ate a low-fibre diet." (Cardiff University)

Gasp! "Cellphone shields are useless: U.S. federal agency" - "WASHINGTON - American authorities say cellphone shields that claim to protect consumers against radiation don't work and some actually cause the phone to emit more energy than usual. The Federal Trade Commission says it has filed charges against two companies promoting the shields. The companies claim they prevent "electromagnetic waves from penetrating the brain" and block "up to 99 per cent of the radiation." "There is no scientific evidence that their products work as they claim," said Howard Beales, the FTC's director of consumer protection. "These companies are using a shield of misrepresentation to block consumers from the facts." (CBC)

"Common chemical affects growth of frogs: Canadian research" - "OTTAWA - Byproducts of a chemical used in household cleaners and shaving cream could be affecting the growth of turtles and frogs, Canadian researchers say. The chemical mimics the hormone estrogen and can disrupt the growth of leopard frog tadpoles and snapping turtle hatchlings, says Vance Trudeau of the University of Ottawa." (CBC)

The moral being: don't give your pollywogs shaving cream if you're going to zap them with UV lights for 10 days.

The chemical assault continues: "EU proposes curbs on toxic chemicals by 2003" - "BRUSSELS, Feb 20 - The European Commission approved plans on Wednesday to restrict by 2003 the public use of 43 chemicals that are believed to cause cancer, damage reproduction or pose a danger to human genes. The substances in question are used in special paints, printing inks, varnishes and adhesives, the EU's executive Commission said in a statement." (Reuters)

"Bush administration asks judge to dismiss GE suit challenging Superfund law" - "The Bush administration asked a federal judge this week to dismiss a lawsuit by General Electric Co. and uphold the Superfund toxic waste cleanup law." (AP)

"Grizzly dilemma -- The Washington Times" - "Forest managers are finding themselves in grizzly dilemmas thanks to forest fire management and the Endangered Species Act (ESA)."

"No tree-free paper in green group ad -- The Washington Times" - "An environmental group's fund-raising letter to protect the rain forests claimed to use tree-free paper but was actually made from tree products, laboratory tests show. The Rainforest Action Network asked recipients of the letter to dig into their pockets and "help compensate for the extra cost of using tree-free paper." California resident John Campbell questioned the claim's validity and paid an independent laboratory $100 to conduct the fiber analysis. Yesterday, Mr. Campbell asked the U.S. Postal Inspector to investigate the group's fund-raising activities.

"These pulp fibers appear to be from North American tree species," said the report authored by Walter J. Rantanen, supervisor of the fiber science group. Integrated Paper Services Inc. is an independent testing and research lab in Wisconsin that performs quality control testing for the pulp and paper industry, said Mr. Rantanen, who confirmed that his company produced the report. Each page of RAN's fund-raising letter was labeled at the bottom: "Printed on 100 percent tree-free paper with soy-based ink."

"Parliament 'misled in fridge row'" - "THE Tories yesterday demanded the resignation of Michael Meacher, the environment secretary, after documents suggested that he misled the House of Commons by blaming Brussels for the thousands of refrigerators piling up across Britain." (Telegraph)

"Canada edges further away from Kyoto ratification" - "The Canadian government, under pressure from energy producers worried about the costs of the Kyoto climate change protocol, gave its clearest sign yet Wednesday that it might not ratify the treaty designed to cut emissions of the greenhouse gases blamed for global warming." (Reuters)

"Make Alberta pay for Kyoto, Bloc urges" - "OTTAWA -- Oil-rich Alberta, Canada's No. 1 emitter of climate-changing greenhouse gases, should bear the lion's share of costs for complying with the Kyoto accord, the Bloc Québécois said yesterday. "That is the principle of polluter pay, and a principle the federal government refuses to apply in Canada," Bloc leader Gilles Duceppe said in the House of Commons. Mr. Duceppe brandished an unpublished Environment Canada paper that shows, using the government's latest available numbers, that Alberta leads the pack with 29 per cent of national emissions. It's not fair that all provinces must equally bear the costs of Kyoto, Bloc MPs said." (Globe and Mail)

Ah, so voices of moderation are scaremongers - at least, according to The Star: "Ralph Klein is part of a scare campaign" - "ALBERTA PREMIER Ralph Klein may have thought he was being quite the clever fellow when he publicly insulted Prime Minister Jean Chrétien while on a Team Canada mission in Moscow. With a smirk on his face, Klein interrupted a news conference to read a letter to Chrétien, allegedly from nine provincial premiers, arguing that Canada should not ratify the Kyoto treaty on climate change unless the United States did so. Since U.S. President George W. Bush has already thumbed his nose at the global community by saying he will never sign, Klein was actually demanding that Canada not sign either." | Why is Harris against Kyoto now? (The Toronto Star)

"U.S. Needs Firm Curbs on Carbon Dioxide Emissions" - "President George W. Bush was right when he rejected the Kyoto Protocol's stiff limits on carbon dioxide emissions last year as too damaging to the U.S. economy. But the alternative he has come up with goes in the opposite direction: It gives too much weight to economic concerns and not enough to environmental ones." (Newsday)

"Three-conjecture strategy on global warming" - "The Bush administration is doing its best to address the so-called global warming "problem" without creating unnecessarily harmful side effects. The president should be applauded for rejecting the Kyoto Treaty, which would have disrupted the world's economy and cost hundreds of billions of dollars in lost output and millions of lost jobs, particularly in the Third World. By proposing a voluntary, market-based trading system for greenhouse-gas-emissions-reduction credits, the administration, to its own credit, is striving to "address" global warming without falling into the trap set by the eco-opportunists who seek more to cool economic activity than the Earth's atmosphere.

Which brings us to the heart of the matter. Global warming is not about sound science or saving the planet from overheating so much as it obstructs the spread of entrepreneurial capitalism and will radically stunt global economic growth. The politics of global warming are clear: Well-intentioned voters, frightened by some not-so-well intentioned agitators, have convinced elected officials to "address" the global-warming "problem." (Jack Kemp, Copley News Service)

"London's burning (2100)" - "IT is the year 2100 and Britain is sweltering under a scorching sun. Sharks and dolphins bask in our seas and exotic birds fly overhead. Margate and Bognor Regis have the holiday temperatures we now expect from Malaga and Barcelona. Vineyards and lemon groves make the South Downs resemble the rolling hills of Tuscany in Italy. Palm trees line the streets of London and camels wander past Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament." (The Sun)

The Sun's been in the sun much too long - pretty graphics though

While we're covering rubber-room fantasies: "Federal report sees huge increase in deaths because of climate change" - "OTTAWA -- A federal report projects a 15-fold increase in heat-related deaths in Toronto by 2010 if current global warming continues. The toll could rise from the current level of 19 deaths a year to 289 deaths a year in 2010, and to 563 by 2050, says the Third National Report on Climate Change, released quietly this week. The report, required under the Kyoto climate treaty, predicts flooding on all three coasts, especially in central and northern Prince Edward Island, where sea levels are already rising "with demonstrable impacts." It says the impact of global warming could lead to forced migrations within Canada." (CP)

"Global warming sinking us too, Tuvalu" - "TO PARAPHRASE Abraham Lincoln, the world will little note nor long remember the inhabitants of the Pacific Island nation of Tuvalu. But these 11,000 people, who live on nine coral atolls a few hundred miles northwest of American Samoa, have earned a distinction, however dubious. They inhabit perhaps the first country to pay the ultimate price for a changing climate: national extinction. Rising sea levels are gradually inundating Tuvalu." (Joshua S. Reichert, Boston Globe)

This is fast going from silly fallacy to blatant lie. Last November, Simon Houpt produced a nicely balanced piece gathering together some pertinent facts in the Globe and Mail. Here's some extracts from that piece:

"From 1978 to 1999, the [Tuvalu-] relative sea-level rise was 0.07 millimetres a year [about one-quarter of one inch per century] -- "minuscule," [Dr. Wolfgang Scherer, director of the National Tidal Facility at the Flinders University of South Australia in Adelaide] says. Since his facility has been gathering data, in the past eight years, the average increase in relative sea level is 0.0 millimetres."

"Some Tuvaluans wish that the environmentalists would stop trying to do them any favours. Elisala Pita, the assistant cabinet secretary at the Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Environment, says his country isn't sinking. Reached this week at his office on the main island of Funafuti, he lashes out at those who say they are trying to help Tuvalu in the name of environmentalism. "Things are getting out of hand," he fumes. "Tuvalu is being used for the issue of climate change. There is a lot of misleading information. People are writing books or articles saying Farewell to Tuvalu, saying Tuvalu is sinking, telling all these lies, just using Tuvalu to prove their point. As a Tuvaluan, I am extremely disappointed and deeply hurt because those are not facts. No island is sinking. Tuvalu is not sinking. It is still floating."

Pita continues, "Climate change is important to us, but it's not an issue we would use to justify our policies on migration or foreign aid. That's totally not right, it's unjustified and scientifically not based on findings. There is vulnerability to climate change everywhere. In India, the problem is on a much bigger scale. There are coastal erosions on Tuvalu, of course, but that doesn't mean the island is sinking. This erosion is caused by man-made infrastructure." Beachhead erosion has been increasing for years because the Tuvaluans use sand -- one of the only natural resources they have -- for construction materials. Pita pleads for the truth to be heard around the world. "I'm sorry, my friend, I can't help you," he says. "We do not entertain people doing news based on rumours."

"Greenhouse quotas at risk: report" - "AUSTRALIA'S efforts to curb global warming are at risk, with the government agency empowered to lead the charge to cut greenhouse gases strapped for cash. A government-commissioned report publicised by Labor today showed the Australian Greenhouse Office (AGO) would be unable to properly work on curbing emissions unless funding was bolstered." (Herald Sun)

The Office of Hot air is going bust? Everyone say "Oh..." - then scrap the foolish damn thing.

"English echoes call for caution on Kyoto Protocol" - "The National Party is lining up alongside business over the issue of ratifying the Kyoto Protocol on climate change. Leader Bill English said yesterday that the party opposed ratification ahead of trading partners such as Australia and Japan and before anyone knew the impact of the protocol on New Zealand's interests. His caution on Kyoto was reflected by a diverse grouping of Maori, union, farm and business representatives at the Employers and Manufacturers Association's conference on the issue in Auckland." (New Zealand Herald)

"Africa's malaria resurgence isn't down to global warming" - "Climate change cannot explain the growth of malaria in the highlands of East Africa, say researchers. Drawing simplistic links between global warming and local disease patterns could lead to mistaken policy decisions, they warn. Drug resistance, or the failure of the health-care system to keep pace with population growth, are more likely culprits for malaria's rise, say Simon Hay, of the University of Oxford, and his colleagues. These should be the focus of public-health efforts, they urge. Malaria kills between one million and two million Africans each year." (NSU)

"A current controversy: Is Europe about to freeze?" - "One of the odd possibilities that could emerge from global warming is that much of Europe, robbed of the ocean current patterns that help keep it warm, could rather abruptly enter a deep freeze and have a climate that more closely resembles Alaska than the modest temperatures it now enjoys. Scientists at Oregon State University say even the possibility that climatic changes of this magnitude and speed may come to pass are a cause for serious concern." (OSU)

"Increased water vapor in stratosphere possibly caused by tropical biomass burning" - "The doubling of the moisture content in the stratosphere over the last 50 years was caused, at least in part, by tropical biomass burning, a Yale researcher has concluded from examining satellite weather data." (Yale)

"Exhausts can slow global warming" - "COMPUTER climate models could be overestimating the likely effects of global warming because they do not take sufficient account of cooling caused by tiny pollutant particles in the atmosphere, researchers said yesterday.

Particles known as aerosols, which measure several thousandths of millimetres across, are causing a cooling effect in many parts of the world and may be helping to offset warming caused by greenhouse gases, the conference was told.

Aerosol emissions, which come from car exhausts and industry, and from natural processes such as volcanic eruptions and forest fires, have increased by about a third over the past two decades, according to Ran Ramanathan, of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, in La Jolla, California." (The Times)

"Hawaiian Ridge HOME to efforts to understand deep-ocean mixing" - "With waves – some 300 to 1,000 feet tall – traveling beneath the surface, internal tides at the Hawaiian Ridge and other such spots around the world may help scientists discover what causes 90 percent of the mixing in the world’s ocean. University of Washington researchers have made the first-ever direct measurements of the energy flux of the "internal" tide along the ridge." (UW)

"In polar waters, a surge in temperatures takes scientists by surprise" - "A new study using seven decades of temperature data shows that mid-depth water around Antarctica has warmed nearly twice as much as the world ocean as a whole. That wasn't supposed to happen." (Christian Science Monitor)

Mmmaybe... see Still Waiting For Greenhouse commentary

"Green Alert; February 19, 2002 Vol. 1, No. 19" - "Tidal marshes typically exhibit high rates of productivity. By way of example, in the southern coastal region of North America the net primary production of tidal marsh ecosystems annually averages approximately 8000 grams per square meter (gm-2 yr-1), according to Mitsch and Gosselink in 1993. These tidal marshes also exhibit low rates of organic matter decomposition because the anaerobic decomposers in that sort of oxygen-depleted environment operate at slower rates than do their aerobic counterparts in terrestrial environments (Humphrey and Pluth, 1996; Amador and Jones, 1997). As sea level rises and salt water encroaches upon the land, the rates of carbon sequestration in coastal marsh soils rise in tandem with sea level. How significant is this phenomenon?" (GES)

"Cold blow" - "For some, they are blights on a glorious landscape; for others, they mean clean energy and economic lifelines for rural communities. John Vidal looks at the battle over windfarms in mid-Wales." (Guardian)

"Conservationists fight £6m plan to dam trout lochs" - "PLANS for an "environmentally friendly" hydro scheme on a remote estate have divided a community over fears that the project will tarnish one of Britain's most scenic areas. The scheme - which would contribute to the Government's targets for renewable energy - would involve dams being built on four Highland trout lochs previously untouched by industrial development." (Telegraph)

"BBC News | WALES | Lord Haskins on world food debate" - "For centuries the prophets of doom have had a field day - forgive the pun - about the future of food and agriculture. The 18th Century British political economist Malthus forecast that the world would not be able to feed its growing population. In those days the world's population was probably no more than 500m, yet today we have the capacity to feed 6bn people, showing that food shortages and starvation are driven by political not agricultural failure.

The doomsters now worry that, with the world's population set to rise by 50% to 9bn in the next 30-40 years, Malthus will come back into his own. I beg to differ because I believe that Man's ingenuity, which has resulted in perhaps a 40-fold increase in food production over the past two centuries, will solve the problem of having to double existing food production in the next 30 years."

"Greenpeace's Black Heart" - "Greenpeace, which has been involved in activist vandalizing of grocery store products with the slapping-on of "biohazard" stickers on genetically improved foods, now calls for rejecting traditional agriculture altogether, favorably noting that "the organic movement is growing." The group says biotech supporters are trying to "brainwash the public" by pointing out that genetic improvement technology saves lives.

Once again, it takes Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore, who has called Greenpeace "a band of scientific illiterates who use Gestapo tactics," to tell the truth about Greenpeace's biotech-bashing: "About half a million children, mainly in Asia and Africa, go blind each year due to Vitamin A deficiency because conventional rice has no carotene… Golden Rice, now in development at the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines, promises to help solve this problem.

"So what is Greenpeace's response? They have done everything to discredit both the scientists and the science because they have a policy of 'zero-tolerance' for GM crops. More like 'zero-humanity'… Greenpeace has painted themselves in an untenable corner on the subject of GM crops. Their problem is that if they agree that there is even one beneficial GM crop they would have to admit there might be others. Then they would be reduced to a rational discussion of the subject like the rest of us." (Center For Consumer Freedom)

"Science council dismisses GMO concerns" - "An advisory body on science has dismissed as unwarranted concerns about foods and drugs produced by genetic engineering. It argues however for a "comprehensive information centre" for the public and a "fully independent biotechnology ethics committee." The independent Government advisers, the Irish Council for Science, Technology and Innovation, released its report on biotechnology yesterday. It described it as a key area "to sustain Ireland's economic growth and to enhance Ireland's capacity to become a knowledge based economy." (Irish Times)

"The new Silk Road starts with goat udders" - "Forget the catwalk. To see this season's most impressive silks, head for the barnyard. Last month, silk fans got their best news in a couple of millennia when the journal Science published findings indicating that goats may soon be producing spider silk. The discovery, a joint venture of Montreal-based Nexia Biotechnologies and a US Army research lab in Natick, Mass., has for years been described as a "holy grail" of materials science." (Christian Science Monitor)

"Farmers sued for 'stealing' GM seeds" - "MONSANTO, the company that sponsored experiments into genetically modified crops in Britain, is suing dozens of American and Canadian farmers for infringement of copyright." (The Times)

"U.S. Soy Sales to China Stop" - "WASHINGTON - U.S. soybean shipments to China, a $1 billion-a-year market for American growers, have come to a standstill because of Chinese biotechnology regulations that take effect next month. The rules, announced last year, require that U.S. shippers certify the safety of genetically engineered soybeans. Industry officials believe they can meet the standards but say it's unclear how the certification process will work. Exporters canceled contracts for shipments that wouldn't reach China before March 20, when the rules take effect." (AP)

February 20, 2002

"'Summer of the Shark’ in 2001 more hype than fact, new numbers show" - "Despite Time magazine labeling it the “Summer of the Shark” and the prevailing perception that 2001 was a banner year for shark attacks, actual numbers were slightly down, a new University of Florida study shows." (UF)

"Sheep and deer eat meat in wild to boost diet" - "Zoologists have shattered the belief that sheep and deer are exclusively vegetarian. Grass may satisfy them most of the time but in places where their normal diet is low in essential minerals they have been seen eating grouse and seabird chicks. Dr Niall Burton recorded the carnivorous activity on Muggleswick Common in Co Durham and included it in a report by the British Trust for Ornithology in the journal British Birds." (Independent)

PCBS: "Cod, haddock, halibut, sea bass, monkfish: the new deadly sins for ethical consumers" - "Being an environmentally conscious gourmet is going to become an awful lot harder. Just as fish is becoming ever more popular, so eating it seems to be a matter of making responsible choices." (Independent)

"Radiation charges against Vatican Radio dropped" - "FLORENCE, Italy, Feb 19 - On Tuesday an Italian court dismissed charges that the antennas of Vatican Radio, which transmit the Pope's voice around the world, emit harmful electromagnetic radiation possibly linked to cancer. Three Vatican Radio chiefs went on trial on Tuesday, but the hearing ended after a few minutes as the judge Andrea Calabria ruled not to proceed because the case was out of the court's jurisdiction, local news agencies report." (Reuters Health)

?!! "E.P.A. and Energy Department War Over Clean Air Rules" - "WASHINGTON, Feb. 18 — The Environmental Protection Agency has strenuously objected to the Energy Department's recommendations to the White House to revise air pollution regulations, saying the proposals would "vitiate" the nation's clean air policy. The dispute, detailed in recent internal E.P.A. documents, is indicative of a fierce battle between the two agencies as the Bush administration prepares to announce final plans for revisions to a program that requires factories to modernize their pollution controls when they upgrade their plants." (New York Times)

"Whitman Rejects Clean Air Plan [criticism]" - "WASHINGTON -- A Bush administration proposal to clean up dirty power plants represents either a dramatic step toward cleaner air or a step backward from gains already scheduled. People on both sides present numbers they say prove their case. Since President Bush revealed his ``Clean Skies'' initiative last week, the market-based pollution reduction plan has been under intense attack from environmentalists who see it as a rollback from goals set by Clean Air Act regulations already on the books. On Tuesday, EPA Administrator Christie Whitman rejected such criticism and called the president's proposal, which needs congressional approval, ``the most aggressive initiative to cut air pollution in a generation.'' (AP)

"Tiny air pollutants may get into the blood" - "NEW YORK, Feb 18 - With the aid of an imaging technique that uses a radioactive isotope, researchers in Belgium have shown that small particles, similar in size to those found in air pollution, can enter a person's bloodstream from the lungs. According to the investigators, the findings could help explain the "poorly understood" relationship between air pollution and cardiovascular disease--such as the recent evidence tying pollution exposure to heart attack risk." (Reuters Health)

"Report Links Virus, Tumors to Kids" - "WASHINGTON -- A virus that infects about 65 percent of all children by the age of 14 may play a role in the development of the most common type of malignant brain tumor found in the young, researchers report. In a study appearing in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, researchers say that proteins from the JC virus were found in 20 specimens of brain tumors taken from children. Kamel Khalili, senior author of the research, said that ``the presence of the virus ... is suggestive of a biological role for this virus in the development of these tumors.'' (AP)

"Mr. Bush, Trust the Science"- "Otherwise, mini-Kyoto is based on ouija board speculation or superstition." (Sallie Baliunas, TCS)

"Insurers press for climate-change controls" - "LONDON - Having extracted government action on exposure to terrorist attacks, the insurance industry must now press politicians for climate-change controls, one of its leaders said this week." (Reuters)

"Voluntary = Mandatory" - "he administration's climate change proposal would make George Orwell blush." (Ryan H. Sager, TCS)

"Greenhouse gas treaty has economic benefits" - "Not content with merely pulling out of the Kyoto agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the U.S. government has now decided not to reduce emissions at all and is apparently trying to convince other countries to do the same. It is a slap in the face of the scientific community and shows the lobbying power of big industry groups.

In spite of pressure from the United States and high-pollution industries, Canada is still planning to ratify the Kyoto Protocol later this year. We must hope that other countries will do the same and don't succumb to the bleating cries of an increasingly isolationist administration." (David Suzuki)

Uh... maybe not Dave. Not everyone wishes to commit economic suicide on the strength of doomsaying and blatant nonsense - not even on your side of the border:

"Canada in no rush to ratify Kyoto deal, Anderson says" - "OTTAWA and BERLIN -- Environment Minister David Anderson announced yesterday that Canada is in no rush to ratify the four-year-old Kyoto Accord, a marked shift from his earlier suggestion that Ottawa might endorse the deal to cut greenhouse-gas emissions by June. "We have no deadline, we have no deadline at all," Mr. Anderson told reporters in Ottawa. "We want to have full consultation with the provinces, and with territories and interest groups and with ordinary Canadians before taking a decision." (Globe and Mail)

"Producers back premiers on Kyoto" - "A key business lobby group yesterday applauded the premiers' position on the Kyoto Accord, saying the federal government has failed to provide enough information on the effects of the climate change treaty to warrant its ratification." (Financial Post)

"Voluntary Energy Tax" - "In June 2001, the Congressional Budget Office reported to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus on cap-and-trade programs for carbon dioxide (energy use emissions inherent to fossil fuel combustion). That is, CBO assessed the key component of what the Kyoto treaty would look like if implemented domestically. The theme was presented right up front in the introduction: "The economic incentives created by such programs are similar to those created by a tax on emissions." That's economist-speak for, "if it quacks like an energy tax." (Chris Horner, CEI)

"Britain Says Bush Climate Change Plan Too Little" - "LONDON - The British government Tuesday criticized President Bush's plan to tackle global warming and said it remained committed to the Kyoto Protocol. Several developed nations have slammed the U.S. leader's rejection of Kyoto -- and his alternative -- but from Britain, often America's staunchest ally, criticism is rare." (Reuters)

"Seoul welcomes Kyoto alternative" - "Foreign Minister Choi Sung-hong yesterday said he "appreciated" that the United States adopted a new climate change policy last week, urging Washington to further elaborate the "levels of greenhouse gas intensity" put forth in its new measures. "The new U.S. initiative adopts a flexible and gradual approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and takes into consideration the concerns of developing countries," Choi said in a statement." (Korea Herald)

"Industry opposes emissions cuts" - "Japan's bid to bring its emissions of greenhouses gases into compliance with the 1997 Kyoto Protocol is meeting resistance from firms opposed to a proposal that would require them to produce 7 percent less carbon dioxide in 2010 than they did in 1990, sources said. According to the sources, Keidanren (Japan Federation of Economic Organizations) is leading the business community's challenge to the proposal, which is a central part of the government's plan to help combat global warming." (The Asahi Shimbun)

World Climate Report Volume 7, Number 12, February 25, 2002

"The Hockey Stick, the Little Ice Age and the Medieval Warm Period" - "Summary: Guest Editor Gerald T. Westbrook, chemical engineer and energy economist, takes a critical look at the climate history of the last millennium." (co2science.org)

"Millennial-Scale Climatic Oscillations in Central Chile" - "Summary: Not only do they correspond with European records of the Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age, they also correspond with European records of the earlier Roman Warm Period and Dark Ages Cold Period. Quaternary International 87: 3-18." (co2science.org)

"Windier Winters Over the North Sea" - "Summary: Brrrr! The very thought of it makes us shiver. Is this global warming or what? Climate Research 18: 39-45." (co2science.org)

"Effects of Elevated CO2 and Temperature on Saltmarsh Plants" - "Summary: Increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations and rising air temperatures will likely lead to a poleward expansion of saltmarshes and a greater amount of carbon being sequestered within them. Climate Research 18: 105-112." (co2science.org)

"Shade Tolerance in Woody Species: Does It Enhance or Hinder Growth Response to Elevated CO2?" - "Summary: An analysis of 74 individual experimental results reveals the answer. Acta Oecologica 22: 61-69." (co2science.org)

"Elevated CO2 Enhances Flower Power of USA Plant" - "Summary: Enriching the air with CO2 induced earlier flowering and increased flower biomass in Heterotheca subaxillaris, a common annual plant that is native to the southeastern United States. Global Change Biology 6: 767-778." (co2science.org)

"Signs that GM anxiety easing in UK" - "Public anxiety over GM foods may be waning, according to the latest survey into attitudes towards food commissioned by the UK Food Standards Agency.

A recent story in The Grocer magazine said that of 3,120 people interviewed in autumn 2001, only 5 per cent spontaneously mentioned GM as a concern. The percentage of respondents who expressed concern only after being prompted dropped from 43 per cent in 2000 to 38 per cent in 2001. The results will be welcomed by the Agricultural Biotechnology Council set up recently to present the friendly face of GM to industry and consumers.

However, FSA chairman Sir John Krebs cautioned against reading too much into the figures: "All the surveys over the past year and a half suggest public concerns over GM have diminished. But this may be because there is not much GM labelled food on the shelves any more. What people are really waiting for is the result of the field scale trials next year," Krebs commented." (FoodNavigator)

"Canadian Transgenic Pigs End Up as Chicken Feed" - "WINNIPEG, Manitoba - As three Canadian federal agencies investigate how genetically modified piglets ended up in poultry feed, experts stressed on Tuesday that consumers should not be concerned. ``There's no food recall because there's just not any reason,'' Louise Laferriere, a biologist in the biotechnology office the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, told Reuters in a telephone interview from CFIA headquarters in Ottawa." (Reuters)

February 19, 2002

"BBC News | WALES | Fibre diet 'aids mental health'" - "A dietary study has claimed that people who enjoy a high fibre diet are happier, more energetic and think more quickly. The study by Professor Andrew Smith at Cardiff University revealed that a diet which includes wholemeal cereals has a marked effect on mental health. The research set out to examine the effect of breakfast cereals on human fatigue and the results of Prof Smith's studies showed that cereal eaters were less stressed and enjoyed quicker thought processes."

Hmm... maybe the fibre-replete need alacrity of thought and, um, motion in order to remain in appropriate range of the next outhouse?

Another kind of atomic medicine: "Canadian researcher helping lead campaign to eradicate tsetse fly in Africa" - "REGINA - A Canadian entomologist is part of a team leading a campaign to eradicate the dreaded tsetse fly, which spreads sleeping sickness to people and animals throughout central Africa. Arnold Dyck of Swift Current, Sask., led a pilot program on the Tanzanian island of Zanzibar in which male flies were sterilized by a burst of radiation. The result was the announcement in 1997 that the island was free of the pest. With the help of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Organization of African Unity is now looking to expand the program to other parts of Africa." (CP)

"MMR doctor told to submit evidence" - "The doctor who first raised concerns about the MMR vaccine has been asked by the government to submit his research for independent analysis." (BBC Online)

Now it's the fruit & veggies that's gonna getcha: "Vegetable nitrates may be linked to cancer, new research" - "New research claims that the use of nitrate fertilisers in growing vegetables could be the cause of the fastest growing cancer in the UK, reports BBC Online. Researchers have studied the link between nitrate-rich fruit and vegetables and gullet cancer, which kills more than 3,000 people in the UK every year. The study is being led by Professor Kenneth McColl at Glasgow University. He says the cancer affects three times as many men as women, and cases have trebled in the last 20 years." (FoodNavigator)

"Indoor pollution can affect health" - "Many people are unaware that indoor air pollution can be just as bad as — or even worse than — outdoor air pollution to an individual's health." (AP)

"Administration seeks to invalidate endangered species protection" - "Officials of the Bush administration have asked a federal judge to invalidate protection of several hundred thousand acres of land deemed essential for the survival of two Southern California endangered species. In addition, the officials at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service say they are considering whether to re-evaluate as many as 10 such "critical habitat" designations involving millions of acres of land, primarily in California." (LA Times)

"Sunshine 'prevents cancer'" - "A small amount of sunshine can help reduce the risk of breast, colon and prostate cancers, according to US scientists. Sunlight is a key source of vitamin D, and scientists told the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting in Boston the vitamin plays a crucial role in regulating the production of cells, a mechanism which is absent in cancer. The suggestion that we should get out in the sun may at first seem at odds with the advice on guarding against the risk of skin, but Professor Michael Holick, an endocrinologist from the Boston University School of Medicine, stressed that he was advocating moderation, and not denying the harmful effects of sunburn." (BBC Online)

"Weak on Warming (washingtonpost.com)" - "In recent years, the U.S. debate on global warming policy has been stymied by the unachievable goals of the Kyoto Protocol. Cutting U.S. emissions by one-quarter in barely a decade, as agreed at Kyoto, was never politically feasible."

Could the Ol' Gray Lady finally be catching on? "Backward on Global Warming" - "The obvious conclusion to be drawn from President Bush's latest global warming strategy, unveiled this week, is that he does not regard warming as a problem. There seems no other way to interpret a policy that would actually increase the gases responsible for heating the earth's atmosphere. That the policy demands little from the American people, while insulting allies who have agreed to take tough steps to deal with the problem, only adds to one's sense of dismay." (New York Times)

Didn't think so...

"UPDATE - Japan not satisfied with Bush climate proposal" - "TOKYO - Japan's environment minister said he wasn't entirely happy with U.S. President George W. Bush's plan to combat global warming, adding that Japan would go ahead and ratify the Kyoto treaty rejected by Washington." (Reuters)

"Italian cabinet approves Kyoto climate accord" - "ROME - Italy's cabinet last week passed a draft law to ratify the Kyoto climate change agreement." (Reuters)

"ANALYSIS - Kyoto coalition seen safe from Bush's climate plan" - "BRUSSELS - A new U.S. strategy to slow the rise in its greenhouse gas emissions will not deter the rest of the world from pushing ahead with the Kyoto global warming pact that Washington has rejected, European analysts said last week." (Reuters)

"UPDATE - EU welcomes Bush climate concern, defends Kyoto" - "BRUSSELS - The European Union has tentatively welcomed U.S. President George W. Bush's new plan to tackle climate change but said the Kyoto treaty he has rejected was still the best response to global warming." (Reuters)

"China offers lukewarm response to Bush on climate" - "BEIJING - China, one of the world's biggest polluters, gave a tepid response last week to George W. Bush's plan to combat climate change, instead voicing support for the Kyoto treaty that has been rejected by the U.S. president." (Reuters)

"Canada environment minister says Bush plan not enough" - "VANCOUVER - Canada's environment minister said last week President Bush's plan to curb greenhouse gases did not go far enough but it at least signaled the United States was not ignoring the global debate over climate change." (Reuters)

"Canada leaves door open on whether to ratify Kyoto" - "The Canadian government, though insisting it still wants to ratify the Kyoto climate change protocol, left wiggle room Monday by emphasizing the need to consult the governments of its provinces on the issue." (Reuters)

"Bush sinks Kyoto" - "New U.S. carbon targets can be met without mandatory controls. Japan and Australia are wavering. Where does that leave Canada?" (Ross McKitrick, National Post)

"Koizumi says climate fight need not harm economy" - "TOKYO - Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi yesterday called President George W. Bush's alternative to the Kyoto global warming treaty a "positive proposal," but told Bush that environmental policies need not harm the economy." (Reuters)

"Seoul welcomes Kyoto alternative" - "Foreign Minister Choi Sung-hong yesterday said he "appreciated" that the United States adopted a new climate change policy last week, urging Washington to further elaborate the "levels of greenhouse gas intensity" put forth in its new measures."

Gasp! "WRI Warns Global Warming Endangers Future Winter Olympics" (World Resources Institute)

"Global climate shift linked to greenhouse" - "New evidence is emerging that greenhouse gases may have tipped the world into a changed climate pattern, say CSIRO researchers. The scientists are exploring links between a global climate change that began around 1970 and rising greenhouse gas concentrations. Since the mid-1970s, surface waters in the eastern Pacific Ocean, off the USA and Central America, have been warmer than in the past. Temperatures of the ocean surface in this region have been up to 0.8°C greater than they were in the first half of the 20th century." (CSIRO)

"The Australian: Crazy weather increases [ 19feb02 ]" - "IF YOU think the weather has been a bit crazy this summer, get used to it, because extreme heat and heavy rain will likely become more frequent, thanks to the greenhouse effect. The CSIRO yesterday released new evidence that showed greenhouse gases might have tipped the world into a changed climate pattern. What's more, the Bureau of Meteorology also announced a possible El Nino event would take place this winter."

"Herald Sun: Dry times ahead for Victoria [ 19feb02 ]" - "VICTORIA may be headed for a dry future and even drought. Scientists are predicting a high chance of El Nino conditions hitting the state this winter -- a weather pattern that brings low rainfall and possible drought conditions to eastern Australia. And in the long term, a new CSIRO study has predicted increasing greenhouse gases could bring even stronger El Nino patterns. Research released by the weather bureau yesterday showed the chances of an El Nino this year were 50-50 -- double the normal risk. The bureau's climate meteorologist, Harvey Stern, said many, but not all, droughts in eastern Australia accompanied El Nino. "Autumn is the usual transition period for El Nino events and changes can occur quickly," Dr Stern said."

Meanwhile: "Snows threaten Siberia's big cats" - "Fears are growing for the survival of endangered leopards and tigers in Russia's Far East, as freak weather conditions threaten them with starvation. Heavy snowfalls in the Primorski region could all but wipe-out the deer and boar which the Amur tiger and Far Eastern leopard feed on." (BBC Online)

"Big hydro producers could miss out in U.S." - "Many of Canada's largest power companies risk being frozen out of lucrative new electricity markets because power from large hydro dams doesn't qualify as green under new rules being considered in many parts of the United States. The pollution watchdog for the North American free-trade agreement says at least one state totally rejects hydro electric power as environmentally friendly, while others consider it green power only if it comes from small-scale stations. Nearly half the states either have or plan regulations requiring a minimum level of green electricity to be sold in their jurisdictions. Almost none consider power from large dams environmentally benign, says watchdog agency the Commission for Environmental Co-operation." (Globe and Mail)

"GM calls suppliers to fuel-economy fight - WSJ" - "NEW YORK - In a sign of the intensifying battle over fuel-economy requirements, General Motors Corp. is urging its suppliers to ask their senators to oppose any tightening in the rules, the Wall Street Journal reported. In a Feb. 4 letter to suppliers, GM asks them to register opposition to tougher corporate average fuel-economy rules with their senators and includes a suggested form letter and a request for copies, the Journal said." (Reuters)

"The Senate's Turn on Cars (washingtonpost.com)" - "WHEN THE HOUSE passed its version of energy legislation last summer, lawmakers missed a chance to reduce American consumption of foreign oil. They rejected an effort to significantly toughen federal auto fuel efficiency standards. Now it's the Senate's turn: Its energy bill is scheduled for debate after members return from the President's Day recess. Stronger standards are long overdue: It's up to the Senate to insist on them."

"China, Brazil, India, 9 other nations form alliance against biopiracy - 2 19 2002 - ENN.com" - "MEXICO CITY — China, Brazil, India, and nine other of the world's most biodiverse countries signed an alliance Monday to fight biopiracy and press for rules protecting their people's rights to genetic resources found on their land." (AP)

"Trials show some GM crops benefit wildlife" - "LEAKED results from the trials of genetically modified crops being conducted throughout Britain will further polarise opinion on the controversial technology, with some varieties found to damage the environment and others found to improve it. The results are preliminary — based on data from the first two years of crop trials, which have another year to run — but are seen by the researchers as a strong indication of what is to come. They show that while modified maize has cut the use of herbicides and encouraged the growth of grasses, weeds and seeds that prevent soil erosion and provide food for wildlife, GM oilseed rape and beet have done the opposite and are damaging the environment." (Sunday Times)

"Premier says he's not sold on safety of GM wheat" - "REGINA -- Premier Lorne Calvert has added his voice to the chorus of those with concerns about genetically modified wheat. "We need to proceed with great caution when it comes to the introduction of GM wheat," Calvert said." (Saskatoon StarPhoenix)

February 18, 2002

Very slow news day at the Indy: "Revealed: car fumes give children asthma" - "Pollution from car exhausts causes asthma, dramatic new official research shows. A massive study, backed by the Californian and US governments, has demonstrated for the first time that ozone, the main component of smog, can cause healthy children to develop the life-threatening condition. Top British scientists believe it has provided the "smoking gun" that finally links pollution to the disease." (Independent)

"Researchers reveal massive reduction in productivity of the North Atlantic" - "Using innovative techniques for mapping fisheries, scientists released the results of the first ocean-wide synthesis of the status of fisheries in the North Atlantic, showing the cumulative extraction of fishes from the sea. These pioneering techniques and results, presented here in Boston at a session of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Annual Meeting entitled, "Fisheries-induced Changes in Marine Ecosystems," included policy experts, marine researchers and scientists." (AAAS)

Still trying to convince you that everything's 'running out': "Ecologist Gretchen Daily advocates saving the planet by making conservation profitable" - "To the casual observer, corporations and conservationists seem to be in a constant state of war. But if big business and the conservation movement continue down the path of confrontation, all of humanity will be put in peril as our ever-shrinking natural resources vanish from the Earth, argues Stanford ecologist Gretchen C. Daily. “It’s time to begin figuring out how to assign economic value to ecosystems and the services they provide," she says." (Stanford University)

Meanwhile: "AAAS speakers report worldwide 'epidemic' of obesity" - "Obesity, considered until recently to be an exclusively "Western" disease, now poses a serious threat to the health of developing nations, particularly children, say scientists studying this emerging "global epidemic of fat." (AAAS)

Kyoto Circus time again already? Either that or it's non-rating period and 'global warming' handwringers have nothing better to do. Here's a Federal Holiday- sized issue of commentary from both sides and a super-serving of woe-is-us enhanced greenhouse handwringing:

"Carbon starvation diet -- The Washington Times" - "Japan's Diet may become even more appropriately named if it ever passes legislation submitted by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi earlier this year realizing the Kyoto Protocol on global warming. Mr. Koizumi's environmental minister, Hiroshi Oki, is reportedly hoping to jaw with President Bush about tightening U.S. compliance with Kyoto's strictures during the president's three-day stay in Japan. However, Kyoto compliance is simply indigestible - for both countries. Compliance would force Japan to cut its emissions of greenhouse gasses to 6 percent below 1990 levels by 2012. Considering that, even with its moribund economy, Japan had already exceeded the 1990 limits by almost 7 percent as of fiscal 1999, some sort of draconian belt-tightening would seem appropriate."

"Boston Globe Online Editorial: Tepid on global warming" - "WHEN PRESIDENT BUSH last year rejected the Kyoto Protocol of 1997 as a way to curb global warming, he promised to come up with an alternative. The result was the package of toothless proposals he unveiled Thursday, a Valentine's Day gift to the polluting industries that want no part of Kyoto's mandatory reductions in emissions."

Oh Alex... and you'd been doing so well! "BBC News | SCI TECH | UK heads towards greener future" - "The energy review published by the UK Government spells out the way to a much cleaner, more efficient economy. It is a radical vision of the sort that comes once in a generation. Implementing it would require huge changes not only by industry but by individuals as well. Whether or not it does become a reality will depend on the resolve of politicians. In calling for a 40% increase in domestic energy efficiency, the review offers the prospect of ending "fuel poverty" - the inability of many people to heat their homes properly. Some pensioners have had to choose between buying food and fuel, and campaigners say 30,000 people die annually from cold-related diseases." (Alex Kirby, BBC Online)

How will this 'efficiency' be delivered (coerced) Alex? Through taxation and levies eh? And this offers the prospect of ending people's inability to afford adequate energy you say? Check...

"Irish Newspapers - Ireland could break Kyoto air limits by 12pc" - "IRELAND risks breaking the air pollution limits in the Kyoto international agreement by 12pc, a new report from the Economic and Social Research Institute claimed yesterday. The report came on the day when US President George W Bush, who has rejected the Kyoto accord, proposed an array of tax incentives to encourage businesses, farmers and individuals to reduce pollution as an alternative. The ESRI report, which was launched by European Parliament President Pat Cox, favours taxes and charges as a way of reducing pollution, especially "greenhouse gases", which contribute to global warming."

"The Nando Times: Bush's anti-pollution proposal draws mixed response" - "TOKYO - Japan, the host of talks in Kyoto that yielded the world's first global warming agreement, praised President Bush's anti-pollution alternative but said it hopes the United States will return to the treaty. Germany, meanwhile, criticized President Bush's proposal, saying it was unlikely to help lower emissions of greenhouse gases and allowed the United States "to escape responsibility" for environmental protection." (AP)

"The Age: Canberra to reassess Kyoto plan" - "The Federal Government will review its climate-change strategy after the United States' voluntary plan to slow the rate of growth in its greenhouse gas emissions. US President George Bush released his "Clear Skies and Global Climate Change Initiative" in a bid to show that the world's largest polluter took the global warming threat seriously, despite pulling out of the multilateral Kyoto Protocol last year. A spokeswoman for Australia's Environment Minister, David Kemp, said the government was still committed to meeting its Kyoto target. But the government had not yet decided whether to ratify the protocol so that the target was legally binding. The protocol commits Australia to holding emissions at 8 per cent above 1990 levels over the next decade. Emissions are now 17.4 per cent higher than in 1990."

"ABC Sci-Tech - 18 02 02 : Environmentalists slam Bush's alternative emission policy" - "Environmentalists have sharply criticised US President George W Bush's alternative to the Kyoto climate change treaty he spurned last year. Environmental group the Sierra Club says it is a gift to corporate America."

"smh.com.au - A climate of co-operation as PM hails US gas plan" - "The Prime Minister, John Howard, said yesterday that a new plan announced by the United States to slow greenhouse gas emissions growth was a positive step, despite its refusal to ratify the Kyoto protocol. Mr Howard said Australia remained firmly against signing the climate-control treaty without the US - which is responsible for one quarter of global man-made greenhouse gas emissions."

"Bush Global Warming Plan Misguided" - "WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Competitive Enterprise Institute expressed concern today over key elements of President Bush’s strategy for confronting global climate change announced today. “While the President’s commitment to sound science is a welcome change from the Clinton-Gore Administration, the substance of the proposal is a misguided concession to environmental alarmism,” said Myron Ebell, CEI’s director of global warming and international environmental policy." (Competitive Enterprise Institute)

No doubts about The Post's position on the matter: "Hot Air" - "THERE WAS more air than substance in the global warming policy President Bush outlined last week, a disappointing program that aims too low, asks too little and waits too long to assess the need for tougher action. The president spoke of America's commitment "to stabilize atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations at a level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate," but set a goal to slow, not stop, the growth in U.S. emissions during the next 10 years. In fact, the goal he set isn't far from what the economy would be likely to achieve without any government intervention. Having cashiered Kyoto, an ambitious but flawed international protocol aimed at controlling climate change, Mr. Bush has replaced it with . . . not much at all." (Washington Post)

"Industry lobbying takes teeth out of emissions plan" - "Environmentalists will be disappointed with the outline of a government program to control greenhouse gas emissions announced Wednesday. Betraying the heavy hand of industry lobbying, the document balances environmental objectives with economic considerations. There is no mention of forcing numerical reduction targets on industry and few signs that industry would be willing to accept them." (The Asahi Shimbun)

"Minister Criticizes Bush's Proposals For Emissions" - "German Environment Minister Jürgen Trittin on Friday expressed disappointment with U.S. President George W. Bush's latest proposal to fight global warming. "I welcome the fact that President Bush's program recognizes the need for taking action against climatic changes. After my first reading of it, however, I find the contents of the program disappointing," said Mr. Trittin, a member of Alliance 90/The Greens." (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung)

"Premiers gang up on PM over Kyoto; Klein surprises Chretien with united stance" - "Premier Ralph Klein blind-sided Prime Minister Jean Chretien over the Kyoto protocol on reducing greenhouse gas emissions Friday, shattering the image of unity the Team Canada trade mission has been showing Russian business and political leaders this week. After Chretien had reiterated his government's qualified support for the accord at a joint news conference, Klein stepped from the line of premiers, holding a letter the premiers had sent to Chretien Wednesday in which they outlined their opposition to the Kyoto agreement." (Calgary Herald)

"Fossil fuel producers main foes of treaty" - "Most of Canada's premiers have never hidden their antipathy for the Kyoto agreement, and the reason becomes clear when provinces are ranked according to their greenhouse-gas pollution." (Globe and Mail)

Letter du jour: "Garbage in, garbage out" - "Ingersoll, Ont. -- So Toronto has achieved a historic reduction in greenhouse gases by treating methane from garbage dumps (Toronto Emissions Decrease By 67 Per Cent -- Feb. 13).Meanwhile, 200 garbage trucks daily make a 480-kilometre round trip to carry Toronto's garbage to Michigan." (John Brittin, Globe and Mail)

"Cinergy gets kudos, criticism for tree plan" - "A power company and a land preservation group, normally on opposite sides of the environmental fence, have found common ground in two of Indiana's oldest state forests. In an agreement finalized this month, Cinergy Corp. will buy tens of thousands of trees for the Nature Conservancy to plant on clear-cut land in Big Walnut Creek Forest Preserve in Putnam County and the Harrison-Crawford State Forest in south-central Indiana." (The Indianapolis Star)

The ever-growing circus: "Officials call for tougher action to clean environment" - "CARTAGENA, Colombia — Wrapping up a three-day meeting, global environmentalists Friday called for action to counter unkept pledges by world governments to reduce global warming and protect the environment. Environmental ministers and other officials from more than 120 countries met in this Caribbean port city to prepare for this summer's U.N. World Summit on Sustainable Development, said to be the biggest U.N. gathering ever planned." (AP)

On the 'it's not the same and somebody musta done it' front:

"BBC News | BOSTON 2002 | Forest fires cool Amazonia" - "Scientists have shown for the first time how fires in the Amazon are making temperatures fall across vast areas of the forest. The fires put masses of tiny particles into the atmosphere which reflect incoming sunlight back out into space. The loss of heating at ground level is leading to an average three Celsius drop in temperatures during the burning season that runs from August to October."

"Pinatubo volcano research boosts case for human-caused global warming" - "Rutgers environmental scientist Alan Robock reports that research into the worldwide climatic impact of the 1991 Mount Pinatubo volcanic eruption during the 10 years since the eruption has strengthened the case for human causes of global warming." (Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey)

"Global warming will persist at least a century even if emissions curbed now" - "Though significant uncertainty remains regarding the amount of global warming that will occur over the next century or two, scientists agree that the trend will continue for the next hundred years even if fossil fuel consumption is dramatically reduced. Professor Robert Dickinson of Georgia Tech will present the evidence for this assessment at the AAAS meeting on Feb. 17 in Boston." (GIT)

"Sea levels likely to rise higher than IPCC predictions" - "From melting glaciers, to earlier spring seasons, to the collapsing fringes of the Antarctic ice sheet: climatic change is underway at the Earth's poles and high latitudes, according to research presented at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Annual Meeting today." (AAAS)

"Global sea levels likely to rise higher in 21st century than previous predictions" - "New calculations by a University of Colorado at Boulder researcher indicate global sea levels likely will rise more by the end of this century than predictions made by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2001." (UC-B)

"Rutgers scientist links ice and snow shifts to global climate change at Boston AAAS Meeting" - "The symposium, "Deciphering the Complex Changes in Global Ice and Snow," on Feb. 16 at the AAAS Annual Meeting, will bring together experts in various dimensions of climatology to assess the state of the earth's cryosphere in relation to global climate change. It was co-organized by David Robinson of Rutgers, who will open the symposium with his paper on snow cover trends and global climate change." (Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey)

"Alaskan waters growing hospitable to sharks while seals and sea lions decline" - "More sharks – and fewer sea lions, seals and other pinnipeds – in Alaska's sub-arctic waters are the result of the decades-long swing in climate caused by the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, and possibly global warming. Instead of orcas, pinnipeds and a few sharks as top predators, the new "steady-state" is orcas, increasing numbers of sharks and declining numbers of pinnipeds, reports a University of Washington researcher, who speaks Feb. 16 at the AAAS meeting in Boston." (UW)

"The Age: Global warming ruining the reef" - "A leading scientist said yesterday it was too late to save the Great Barrier Reef from a slow death as a result of global warming. Senior principal researcher at the Australian Institute of Marine Science, John Veron, said the reef would be severely degraded in 50 years. "My grandchildren won't see a Great Barrier Reef like I did, that's for sure ... it will be mostly dead," Dr Veron said."

But wait - there's more! "ABC Sci-Tech - 16 02 02 : Researcher may have fix for coral bleaching" - "A Central Queensland University coral researcher may have the solution to the Great Barrier Reef's worst dilemma - coral bleaching."

"The Nando Times: Tobacco likely next bioengineered crop to enter marketplace" - "WASHINGTON - From cereal to corn chips, Americans consume a variety of products made from genetically engineered crops. They can soon add cigarettes to the list - new smokes are due this spring made from tobacco genetically altered to be very low in nicotine. A new Agriculture Department study confirmed the low levels of nicotine, the chemical that gets smokers hooked, in the biotech tobacco and found that the crop poses little risk to the environment. Tobacco from crops grown on department-supervised test plots last summer is going into the cigarettes made by Vector Group, parent company of Durham, N.C.-based cigarette maker Vector Tobacco." (AP)

February 15, 2002

"Make Sure Drugs Work" - "Should drug therapies be proven effective before being accepted for general use? Or should they be marketed based on the same sort of unproven claims as herbal remedies, homeopathy, therapeutic touch and the myriad of other health cons?" (Steve Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"DDT Saves Lives" - "Mozambique is one of the poorest countries in the world. It is reliant on aid and desperate to attract foreign investment - a forlorn hope since 17 years of war and periodic flooding have left the country with a terrible infrastructure.

Recent floods have also brought a new peril: Malarial mosquitoes are breeding out of control in the dissipated floodwaters, spreading this potentially fatal disease to tens of thousands. It is tacitly assumed by the world's media that malaria was the inevitable result of flooding and that the gallant and under-funded Mozambican government is doing all it can to alleviate the problem. But the truth is that certain officials are blocking the use of the chemical -- the pesticide DDT -- that can best help prevent the spread of this deadly killer disease. They are blocking it for several reasons, but chiefly out of an absurd sense of pride and possibly personal financial gain, which is a shame." (Roger Bate, TCS)

Uh-oh... "Too much sleep 'is bad for you'" - "Eight hours' sleep a night has long been touted as the ideal length of time to spend under the duvet but new research suggests it could shorten your life." (BBC Online)

"Independent experts say MMR vaccine is safe" - "LONDON, Feb 14 - An independent scientific advisory committee that has reviewed the latest research on the MMR vaccine said on Thursday there is no evidence of a causal link between the controversial jab and autism or bowel disease. The Committee on Safety of Medicines (CSM), which advises the government on medicines, said the vaccine is safe and effective in preventing measles, mumps and rubella and any adverse effects are far outweighed by its benefits." (Reuters)

"Jail threat for MMR refusniks" - "A US city has introduced an initiative to force parents to vaccinate their children with the controversial MMR vaccine or go to jail. Children in Washington DC who have not been vaccinated are barred from attending school, while their parents face a fine or a short jail sentence. The get-tough policy has led to very high uptake levels of the vaccine, which protects against measles, mumps and rubella." (BBC Online)

Hmm... what about the terrorists who have so confused and frightened parents that some believe hypothetical risk outweighs real world disease? Surely that is where responsibility lies and where the consequences should fall.

"Asia keen on Bush-backed emissions credits trade" - "SINGAPORE - Power companies in Asia are hoping a new anti-global warming plan due yesterday from U.S. President George Bush will include support for emissions credit trading that could help fund cleaner energy across the region. Small regional power companies now are counting on Bush to support emissions credit trade so they can secure financing for clean power plants in Thailand, Malaysia, and the Philippines. Without the United States as a customer, earning money from what amounts to selling clean air may remain a dream." (Reuters)

"Read My Lips: No Mini-Kyoto" - "Speaking as a European, I am deeply concerned that Mr. Bush's newly announced alternative to the Kyoto Protocol smacks of European appeasement.

Unless Mr. Bush rejoins the Kyoto Protocol precisely on European terms and bows to European blackmail and bluster on this issue, Europe will never be appeased. It is crucial to remember that, for many Europeans, Kyoto is only a means to an end, to an ultimate 60% cut in so-called "greenhouse gas" emissions and, effectively, to the de-industrialization of the world. They see Kyoto as one of their major weapons in the fight, paradoxically not for, but against globalization and free trade.

In contrast, America should be confident and unrepentantly design a policy for energy that suits America and the wider world, one which will help to maintain strong and growing economies that can adapt to climate change, whatever its ultimate direction." (Philip Stott, TCS)

"Global Climate Change Policy Book" - Addressing global climate change will require a sustained effort, over many generations. My approach recognizes that sustained economic growth is the solution, not the problem – because a nation that grows its economy is a nation that can afford investments in efficiency, new technologies, and a cleaner environment. -- President George W. Bush (The White House) | The Clear Skies Initiative

"Cold reaction to Bush plan" - "A FRIGID welcome from environmentalists and Democrats today greeted President George W Bush's alternative to an international global warming treaty he spurned last year. "At least the Bush administration finally admitted today that global warming is a problem," said House Democratic Leader Dick Gephardt in a statement." (AFP)

Well gorsh Dick, if the Democrats are so convinced that less-colding is a problem and that it can be influenced by tinkering with a few insignificant variables, why didn't Slick Willy & his faithful sidekick, Ozone Al, even bother to submit the Kyoto Protocol for ratification in the years 1997 through 2000? Surely the Democrats are not so craven that they refuse to engage on their president's behalf to carry a measure they claim to be dear to their hearts and critical to the health and welfare of their citizens and the very planet?

On the other hand, we could admit that this is all political posturing but that would be admitting to actively seeking to harm the best interests of your countrymen and your country for personal/political gain wouldn't it? This definition seems to fit.

Hello? "Ersatz Climate Policy" - "Alert shoppers know that an extra word in a product's description can make a big difference, and rarely for the better. Apologies to connoisseurs of Velveeta, but most of us don't regard "cheese food" as a good substitute for plain ordinary cheese.

To the unwary, yesterday's pledge by the Bush administration to reduce "greenhouse gas intensity" by 18 percent may have sounded like a pledge to reduce greenhouse gases, the emissions (mainly carbon dioxide, released by burning fossil fuels) that cause global warming. In fact, that's the way it was reported in some news articles. But the extra word makes all the difference. In fact, the administration proposed to achieve almost nothing; consistent with that goal, it also announced specific policies that are trivial in scope and will have virtually no effect." (New York Times)

Paul! Where were you? It wouldn't matter if humanity stopped using fossil fuels completely and did so today, from a climate perspective it most certainly 'will have virtually no effect' and never would have.

"Australia Backs U.S. Climate Plan, Doubts on Kyoto" - "CANBERRA - Australia gave its backing on Friday to President Bush's new voluntary plan to combat climate change, renewing doubts that Canberra would ratify the Kyoto treaty rejected by Washington." (Reuters)

"Japan Not Satisfied with Bush Climate Proposal" - "TOKYO - Japan's environment minister said on Friday he wasn't entirely happy about President Bush's plan to combat global warming, adding that Japan would go ahead and ratify the Kyoto treaty rejected by Washington." (Reuters)

"Realism in Cutting Emissions" - "The climate policy President Bush announced yesterday sets out a better and far more workable approach for measuring progress against global warming than the one in the Kyoto framework he rejected last spring. The president set the goal of an 18 percent reduction over the next 10 years in greenhouse gas intensity — the ratio of emissions to economic activity — not an arbitrary goal for curbs on total emissions. And he announced steps to get there." (Glenn Hubbard, New York Times)

"Bush Proposes Own Emissions Plan" - "Cato Institute scholars have long opposed the Kyoto treaty and have written extensively about it and global warming. In testimony before Congress, Patrick Michaels explained why the Kyoto Protocol is "a useless appendage to an irrelevant treaty." In "Kyoto's Chilling Effects," Michaels writes that the protocol has poor chances of being ratified by the United States as "both Democrats and Republicans can agree that Kyoto will wreck our economy, according to just about every credible study that uses realistic policy assumptions." Director of Natural Resource Studies Jerry Taylor agrees in "Hot Air in Kyoto," stating that "impoverishing society today to avoid a very uncertain problem tomorrow would harm, not help, future generations." (Cato Institute)

"Bush opts for incentive-based CO2 cuts" - "WASHINGTON - By taking a largely voluntary approach to global warming, President Bush is walking a fine line between acceptance and skepticism regarding what scientists consider one of the world's most profound environmental challenges." (The Christian Science Monitor)

As an aside, Reuters still hasn't figured out that Philadelphia and New Orleans aren't located at the same North latitude, as evidenced by the graphics accompanying Bush Offers Alternative Plan on 'Greenhouse Gases' (Reuters). Their confusion between 40°N and 30°N is the equivalent of going to Austin (TX) rather than Salt Lake City (UT) - OK as long as you don't have Games Venue tickets you're trying to use. Of course, properly drawn, the graphic is of little use to bolster the greening/warming allusion it accompanies since the America's differ from Eurasia in that the greening mostly occurs in the latitude 30s and primarily in the Eastern US, where there has been a cooling over the period. To claim that enhanced plant growth in a cooling, low-latitude region is indicative of high-latitude warming is stretching things somewhat, even for a news service.

"Bush offers plan to curb emissions" - "US President George W Bush has outlined his own plan to combat global warming - instead of the Kyoto treaty which he rejected last year. Mr Bush said his plan focused on giving companies tax incentives to reduce emissions of heat-trapping "greenhouse" gases voluntarily and gradually without hindering US economic growth." (BBC Online)

"Clear skies for US, gloom for Kyoto" - "President Bush unveiled an environmental policy yesterday which sharply differed from the international Kyoto agreement on global warming, advocating voluntary instead of mandatory targets for greenhouse gas emissions and setting less ambitious goals. Under the president's "clear skies and global climate change initiative", the US aims to cut "greenhouse gas intensity" by 18% over the next decade, a reduction in the rate of growth of emissions relative to the growth of the national economy. It does not mean a cut in greenhouse gas emissions, as required by the Kyoto protocol. Corporations will not be obliged to meet the targets set in the Bush plan, nor will they have to disclose what progress they make to a central emissions registry, in which participation will also be voluntary." (The Guardian)

"Bush puts US on 'new path' after no to Kyoto" - "PRESIDENT BUSH announced last night a "new environmental path for America", his alternative to the Kyoto protocol he summarily rejected last year, to the dismay and anger of European nations and other allies. Mr Bush outlined a voluntary scheme for reducing the rate of growth in America's greenhouse gas emissions that "will benefit the entire world." (Telegraph)

"Dialogue: NZ rushing headlong into worst global-warming deal of all" - "Displaying messianic zeal, the Government is determined to ratify the Kyoto Protocol this year. It's a futile gesture as long as the two largest producers of greenhouse gases, the United States and China, refuse to sign the convention. New Zealand's signing will have an insignificant effect on global warming, but will seriously damage our economy and living standards. We seem to have got the worst deal of all. The agreement will cost the US nothing because it didn't sign. It costs Europe little because of the credit it gets for dismantling East Germany's coal-powered industries. But New Zealand gets hammered." (New Zealand Herald)

"UK energy review warns of fuel poverty" - "Recommendations to produce a fifth of Britain's power by renewable energy sources by 2020 could push up to half a million more people into fuel poverty. The new target, which extends the existing aim of producing 10 per cent of power by renewable means by 2010, was one of a series of recommendations proposed in the Cabinet Office's long-awaited review of energy policy on Thursday. If adopted by the government it would mean the construction of about two large wind turbines a day over the next two decades in a move that would change the landscape of the UK." (Financial Times)

"Terra Measures Sea Surface Temperature with Unprecedented Detail" - "A new sensor orbiting the Earth aboard NASA’s Terra satellite is now collecting the most detailed measurements ever made of the sea’s surface temperature every day all over the globe. Like a sophisticated thermometer in space, the Moderate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) is helping Earth scientists advance studies of how our world’s oceans and atmosphere interact in ways that drive weather patterns and, over the long term, define our climate." (NASA News)

"Ten richest coral areas pinpointed" - "Scientists have listed the world's 10 most important coral reef areas for the first time. Each is home to a wide range of endemic species (those with a restricted range). The scientists say their work should help to target conservation work more successfully. But they say 25% of the world's reefs have already been destroyed or badly damaged by problems arising from climate change." (BBC Online)

"Scripps scientist discovers warming trend in southern ocean over the last 50 years" - "An armada of autonomous marine "robots" deployed in the 1990s has helped produce new evidence that the Southern Ocean is warming faster than the rest of the world’s oceans. Sarah Gille of Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, has uncovered a warming trend over the last 50 years through a comprehensive comparison of temperature points throughout the Antarctic Ocean." (University of California - San Diego)

"Scientists delve into North Pacific mystery of changing oxygen" - "Oxygen in the upper waters of the North Pacific, an area that accounts for 40 percent of the world's oceans, decreased as much as 15 percent in a little under two decades between the early 1980s and late 1990s. The change could be the result of climate shifts occurring at decade-long intervals or it could be caused by global warming, said University of Washington's Steven Emerson this morning at the Ocean Sciences meeting in Honolulu." (University of Washington)

"Eco-terrorists, too, may soon be on the run" - "ASHLAND, ORE. - It may be the wartime mood, but lawmakers and law-enforcement agencies around the country are hot on the trail of terrorists. Not the kind who attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon last September, but those who - in the name of animal rights and environmental protection - attack logging trucks, slaughterhouses, fur farms, and university research facilities." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"UPDATE - Starbucks braces for another round with eco-protests" - "SEATTLE - Facing mounting pressure from protest groups, Starbucks Corp. this week affirmed its commitment to environmentally friendly products and fair wages for coffee farmers. Protesters will hand out fliers at Starbucks stores in six countries, including the United States, late this month and amass outside Starbucks' February 26 annual meeting for a second straight year to demand hormone-free milk and a stronger commitment to farmers." (Reuters)

Will Starbucks learn that appeasement does not work? Yielding to extortion merely confirms that you are a suitable target for further extortion (breast implants, chemical companies, asbestos, tobacco, lead paint... anywhere deep pockets exist really).

"Striking At Starbucks" - "The Organic Consumers Association. (OCA) will "stage protests" outside Starbucks establishments in 300 U.S. cities February 23 through March 2, harassing customers with demands that the coffee vendor remove genetically improved ingredients from its products.

This isn't the first such OCA action. In fact, with a startling lack of perspective, they held protests all across America less than a week after September 11 -- including a demonstration at a New York site two miles from WTC Ground Zero.

It's all part of the percolating "politically correct" java movement that demands coffee sellers use only organic, "fair trade" beans -- which means buying only from growers and distributors who meet the activists' arbitrary standards. One such "approved" distributor is Peace Coffee, a company run by the heads of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. They sell "fair trade, organic, shade-grown coffees" -- for profit, at $9.50 per pound. That's about twice the retail price consumers pay today.

To learn more about the Organic Consumers Association and the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, visit ActivistCash.com." (Center For Consumer Freedom)

"Putting fear before facts" - "The Royal Society, the UK's premier scientific body, last week launched a report pointing out the total lack of evidence that genetically modified (GM) crops cause harm to humans. But you'd never have guessed that from the media coverage.

My investigation into the report, and how it was released to the media, found that the Royal Society gave great prominence to 'new' hypothetical concerns, not because it had changed its opinion about the safety of GM, but in an attempt to improve its standing in the eyes of the public.

Launched on 4 February 2002, the report generated some startling headlines: 'Fears for babies from GM milk' in the Daily Telegraph, 'British scientists turn on GM food' in the Guardian, and 'Call for more curbs and improved safety tests for eating genetically modified foods' in the Financial Times.

Some of the media noted the report's finding that 'there is no reason to doubt the safety of foods made from GM ingredients that are currently available'." (Tony Gilland, sp!ked)

February 14, 2002

"FIREFIGHTERS' HONOR AT RISK" - "NEW York City firefighters are world famous for their valor displayed after the Sept. 11 attacks. Ubiquitous "FDNY" hats and shirts symbolize this veneration. But their "hero" status is at risk, thanks to a whiny few goaded on by unscrupulous personal injury lawyers." (Steve Milloy, New York Post)

"Diet can ease problem behaviours" - "Fatty acids found in many common foods may help to treat children with dyslexia and behavioural problems, say scientists. The behaviour of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) was found to improve significantly after they were given a dietary supplement containing the fatty acids." (BBC Online)

Hmm... LCP claims are getting more extravagant by the month. The question now: is LCP the new snake oil?

"Between the dentist and the dietician: a rock and a hard place" - "Amidst all of the politically correct advice on diet and health which occupies so many column inches of our newspapers, an article by Angela Dowden in the Evening Standard catches our attention: Now Apples are bad for you!. At first this seems like a candidate for our Scares and Miracles column. But no. It is in fact a nicely worked piece which challenges many of the 'myths' of what passes for dietary guidance these days.

The problem with apples, according to the Standard and the British Dental Association, is that they may encourage tooth decay. Given that we are now almost force-feeding them to children in the new National School Fruit Scheme, so eloquently revealed recently as nonsense by Professor Tom Sanders in these pages, dentists around the country may be looking forward to fuller waiting rooms." (Social Issues Research Centre)

Oops... "Butterfly die-off confounds scientists" - "Mexico City — A massive die-off of monarch butterflies in their winter nesting grounds has deepened the mystery surrounding their numbers, after researchers suggested a death toll twice as high as the previous estimate of the entire population." (AP)

"smh.com.au - How a council fell for junk science" - "Greenpeace's propaganda against PVC is dishonest and irrational - and successful. As if it isn't hard enough to renovate or build a new house in Sydney, now at least one council is expecting you to pay thousands of dollars more for the privilege of using inferior products in order to promote a dishonest scare campaign by Greenpeace against PVC.

PVC, a plastic used most commonly in homes for sewage and water pipes, but also for telephone, electric and cable TV wiring, is called "poison plastic" by Greenpeace, which has been agitating for years to ban it. Willoughby Council has fallen for the trap, despite the fact that no less an authority than the CSIRO has stated in two studies that PVC has no more effect on the environment than its alternatives." (Miranda Devine)

"Fish Wars" - "The collapse of the once-great salmon runs of the Pacific Northwest ranks high among the ecological blunders committed in the name of progress. Lately there has been more bad news for these threatened fish. A National Academy of Sciences panel declared that efforts to protect fish species in Oregon's Klamath Basin by diverting irrigation water had been based on insufficient scientific evidence. And Western property rights groups have accelerated what has the makings of a river-by-river assault on endangered species protections for two dozen salmon populations in Northern California and the Pacific Northwest." (New York Times)

Fish wars? Misanthropy wars more like - aided and abetted by Old Gray Lady editorial writers.

"The Mercury: One wrong move and reefs die, say experts [ 14feb02 ]" - "JUST one trip by one cruise ship into the West Coast's Bathurst Channel could devastate the area's unique-in-the-world underwater ecosystem, Tasmania's leading marine biologists have warned. Peter Last and Karen Gowlett-Holmes were on the team which discovered the area's internationally-important colonies of previously unknown and extremely rare marine animals. They are gravely concerned about a permit issued to Bahamas-registered cruise ship Clipper Odyssey which they say could allow it to enter Bathurst Channel if it strikes bad weather. Clipper Odyssey is scheduled to leave Hobart tonight, bound for ports around Tasmania on an ecotourism voyage."

"Warm and getting warmer..." - "Over the past century, the extent of the winter pack ice in the Nordic Seas has decreased by about 25%. Last winter the Bering Sea was effectively ice-free, which is unprecedented, and if this big melt continues, some say the formerly ice-locked Arctic will have open sea lanes as soon as 2015. By 2050, the summertime ice cap could disappear entirely. The report of Arctic subject matter experts has just been released." (Office of Naval Research)

"Global Warming Said Devastating Aquatic Ecosystems" - "Global warming is projected to have immense effects on freshwater and wetland ecosystems, according to a report by a team of scientists led by a biologist from Colorado State University." (UniSci)

"UPDATE - Bush to announce Kyoto alternative today" - "WASHINGTON - President George W. Bush will announce a new global warming proposal today, the White House said, in an attempt to answer critics of his decision to shelve the U.N.-backed Kyoto treaty." (Reuters)

Letter du jour: "Kyoto's shortcomings" - "Although I am no supporter of George W. Bush, I must agree with him concerning the uncertain science of climate change (Kyoto Or No Kyoto -- Feb. 12). If all 180 countries were to ratify the Kyoto Protocol and meet their emission targets, we still might only affect temperature by between 0.07 and 0.2 degrees by 2100. Even this small change is not guaranteed, because of the millions of other factors that control climate. The simple truth is that the Kyoto Protocol will not halt climate change; in a chaotic system such as climate, we can no more predict the outcome of emitting gases than of stopping emitting gases. Yet the cost of implementing the Kyoto Protocol has been conservatively estimated at between $100-billion (U.S.) and $1-trillion, with a mean average of around $350-billion. This is enough money to pay off the public debt of the 49 poorest countries and provide clean drinking water for all. Kyoto is bad science, but even worse economics. It must not be ratified. -- Philip Stott, emeritus professor of biogeography, University of London" (Globe and Mail)

"Bush Plan Expected to Slow, Not Halt, Gas Emission Rise" - "President Bush is set to announce a plan today calling for voluntary measures to slow but not halt the growth in emissions of heat-trapping gases linked to global warming, White House officials said last night." (New York Times)

"Don't Go Wobbly" - "Staunch in his stance against terrorism, President Bush now faces strong pressure to cave on another principled position he has taken. Before departing for Asia this weekend, he will be hammered to "go the extra mile" on global climate change. He should resist such pressure. Succumbing carries scant political upside. For nothing short of embracing the economically pricey though scientifically dubious Kyoto accord will bring Bush much credit. And doing anything more than sticking to current Administration policy - continuing research on whether man-made global warming is indeed a big problem - risks high cost." (Ken Adelman, TCS)

"New minister holds out hope of U.S. return to Kyoto Protocol" - "It is important for Japan to push ahead with ratification of the Kyoto climate pact during the current Diet session and hope that any alternative proposal from the United States will be compatible with the accord, new Environment Minister Hiroshi Oki said." (Japan Times)

"Government moves with caution on Kyoto" - "The Government has signalled that policies to implement the Kyoto Protocol will recognise concerns about competitiveness and be brought in gradually. What the Government will do, to whom and how quickly will not be known until it releases its preferred policy package for consultation in April." (New Zealand Herald)

"Concession Kyoto may cost jobs" - "The Government is vowing to push on with ratifying the Kyoto Protocol on global warming this year, despite conceding the treaty may cost jobs, erode New Zealand's competitiveness and divert investment overseas. But, in a significant acknowledgment of business and farming concerns, it pledged yesterday to introduce flexible and low-cost policies managing New Zealand's obligations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions." (stuff.co.nz)

"Danes Cut Back on Hot Air" - "We think of Denmark as a peaceable land, with lots of windmills dotting the horizon, and greens everywhere. But as far as environmental groups are concerned, there is now something rotten in the kingdom." (Herbert Inhaber, TCS)

"Ontario to revive six nuclear reactors by 2004" - "NEW YORK - While U.S. critics of nuclear power cite heightened security risks following Sept. 11 as yet another reason to shut reactors, Canadian energy companies are rushing to revive their own aging reactors. The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission in November ordered heightened security measures at Canadian plants. While Canadians are also concerned about nuclear waste and safety, they believe nuclear power's benefits outweigh its drawbacks. Nuclear plants are seen as relatively inexpensive and cleaner than coal or gas-fired plants, whose emissions are blamed for acid rain and global warming." (Reuters)

"UK faces hard energy choice" - "A decision is close on the future of the UK's energy supplies for the next half century. A report the government is expected to publish on 14 February advocates a big expansion of renewables like wind and solar power. But it also suggests that only nuclear energy will let Britain fulfil its international commitments. The government is already split on which option to follow." (BBC Online)

"EU green group urges tax breaks for organic foods" - "BRUSSELS - Organic products should be given tax breaks throughout the European Union to help them compete with conventionally grown goods, a green lobby group proposed this week. A study commissioned by the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) - a federation of green groups in all EU member states - said some 2.6 billion euros ($2.28 billion) would be needed to ensure that 10 percent of EU farmland is devoted to organic production by 2006." (Reuters)

"Co-operative looks to Cerne Abbas to give organic milk a giant boost" - "ORGANIC dairy farmers took the risky step yesterday of claiming that some conventional dairy farmers are relying too heavily on synthetic chemicals at the risk of milk quality. To generate publicity they provided the 180 ft-high chalk man at Cerne Abbas in Dorset with a glass of organic milk. The serious message from Dr Vyvyan Howard, leader of the Development Toxic-Pathology Research Group at the University of Liverpool, was that there should be concern about the widespread use of agri-chemicals since the Second World War." (The Scotsman)

"Councils ban GM trials" - "A GROWING number of local councils are forging ahead with moves to outlaw genetically modified crop trials despite the industry ridiculing the bans as unenforceable. Rosalie Shire Council, in Queensland's Darling Downs food cradle, is the latest of about 30 local governments across the nation to pass a resolution declaring itself a GM-free zone. While these councils have moved to ban trials, this cannot be enforced because they have no legislative backing from state governments." (The Australian)

February 13, 2002

The Ol' Gray Lady's quite the activist: "Antibiotics in the Poultry Industry" - "It was a pleasant surprise to learn this week that three large poultry companies had greatly reduced their use of antibiotics in healthy chickens, a move that could help slow the emergence of antibiotic resistance in bacteria that cause diseases in humans. Other companies ought to follow the lead of these pioneers, and Congress ought to ban the use of medically important antibiotics in animal husbandry except to cure sick animals." (New York Times)

it's a lot better when they get the facts rather than 'making' the news but, we can't have everything.

?!! "Under fours suffer depression" - "Doctors in Scotland are treating dozens of children under the age of four for clinical depression, new statistics have revealed. The Scottish Executive confirmed that more than 150 pre-school youngsters have been diagnosed and are being treated for the mental illness." (BBC Online)

'New' research? "Charity Alarmed over Breast Cancer Risk to Older Mothers" - "A leading cancer charity has described as “extremely worrying” new research which found women who put off having children until they reach their 30s are at increased risk of breast cancer." (The Scotsman) | Putting off babies can raise breast cancer risk (The Times)

Might be 'new' research but it sure doesn't come to any new conclusions.

"More than $2 billion given in EPA grants to nonprofits, often without competitive bidding" - "WASHINGTON — The Environmental Protection Agency has given more than $2 billion to nonprofit groups since 1993, often without competitive bidding, an Associated Press computer analysis found. The agency's internal watchdog says some groups may have received favored treatment. The grants went to a wide variety of groups, including environmental lobbies that sue the agency and senior citizen centers that function like temporary worker agencies." (AP)

"The Seattle Times: Editorials & Opinion: Choking on buses" - "It was inevitable that Washington would tie California in some category, but better that it have been for wine production than the dubious distinction of having the oldest, most-polluting fleets of school buses in the nation."

The Union of Cranks and pSychotics should be very happy with the publicity they're getting anyway.

"FBI: Most domestic terror is from ELF" - "WASHINGTON — A radical environmental group blamed for $43 million in damage in 600 attacks since 1996 has become the largest and most active U.S.-based terrorist group, the FBI's top domestic terrorist officer said Tuesday.

But a House committee's efforts to shed light on the secretive Earth Liberation Front were frustrated when former ELF spokesman Craig Rosebraugh refused to answer inquiries from frustrated members of Congress.

Rosebraugh invoked the Fifth Amendment more than 50 times to questions ranging from whether he helped produce an ELF training film to who was paying for his attorney." (AP)

"25 Pacific Salmon Populations May Lose Protection" - "WASHINGTON, DC, February 12, 2002 - The National Marine Fisheries Service is reviewing petitions to remove federal protection for 14 groups of Pacific salmon and steelhead which are now protected under the Endangered Species Act. The agency's move angered environmentalists and delighted property rights advocates who have been battling water and land use restrictions aimed at protecting the fish." (ENS)

Hmm... looks like PCBS to me - I: "Manufacturers to Transition to New Generation of Wood Preservatives; Will Continue to Produce CCA for Industrial Uses" - "FAIRFAX, Va., Feb. 12 -- The Treated Wood Council confirmed today that the wood preservative manufacturers -- Arch Wood Protection, Inc., Chemical Specialties, Inc. and Osmose, Inc. -- have each decided to seek to amend their respective registrations with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for Chromated Copper Arsenate (CCA) to complete a transition to the manufacture of a new generation of wood preservatives for use in non-industrial treated wood products by December 31, 2003." (U.S. Newswire)

II: "Manufacturers Plan to Stop Arsenic-Treated Wood Sales Will Stop Most Common Source of Childhood Arsenic Exposure" - "A decision by the treated wood industry to discontinue the sale of arsenic treated wood at the retail level is a "victory for consumers and families, that will prevent most arsenic exposure to kids" the Healthy Building Network said today. However, the group called EPA's failure to address the billions of board feet still in use "a missed opportunity to solve the equally serious problem of arsenic leaching from existing playgrounds, decks, and landfills." (U.S. Newswire)

III: "Whitman Announces Transition From Consumer Use Of Treated Wood Containing Arsenic" - "WASHINGTON, Feb. 12 -- EPA Administrator Christie Whitman today announced a voluntary decision by industry to move consumer use of treated lumber products away from a variety of pressure-treated wood that contains arsenic by Dec. 31, 2003, in favor of new alternative wood preservatives. This transition affects virtually all residential uses of wood treated with chromated copper arsenate, also known as CCA, including wood used in play-structures, decks, picnic tables, landscaping timbers, residential fencing, patios and walkways/boardwalks. By Jan. 2004, EPA will not allow CCA products for any of these residential uses." (U.S. Newswire)

"Seagoing Smog Machines" - "Angelenos probably don't spend a lot of time thinking about the Port of Los Angeles unless they work there or live next door. Many are surprised to learn how much this hidden giant adds to the region's and the nation's economy: $220 billion in computers, toys, furniture and other goods pass through the Los Angeles and Long Beach port complex each year. It's the biggest port in the country, topping even New York.

But as staff writer Gary Polakovic made clear in a story in Sunday's Times, trade and jobs are not the port's only influence on Southern California's quality of life. The complex is also the region's worst air polluter. The giant container ships that visit during a typical day release more smog-forming gases than 1 million cars, more than twice as much as all the power plants in the Los Angeles Basin." (LA Times)

You may not live any longer but, at least you'll get older (slightly) slower: "Warming world 'means longer days'" - "Belgian scientists have identified a hitherto unsuspected benefit of global warming - more time for all of us. They say increasing levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere will slow the Earth's rotation. This will make every day a little longer than it is already." (BBC Online) | Global warming lengthens day (AGU)

"Senators keep an eye out for climate change" - "A White House announcement later this week on measures to counter global climate change will be closely watched by two of the oldest and most influential senators on Capitol Hill. In an improbable alliance that illustrates how the climate change issue is cutting across party lines, Robert Byrd, the 84-year-old Democratic chairman of the Senate appropriations committee, has joined forces with Ted Stevens, the 78-year-old senior Republican on the committee. The two have jointly launched an ambitious research and development initiative to help stabilise greenhouse gas emissions. Most of their ideas have been melded into omnibus energy legislation that is scheduled to come to the Senate floor this week." (Financial Times)

"Kyoto or no Kyoto" - "Go it alone, and go slow. That is the essence of the U.S. position on global warming, as set out by President George W. Bush last week. And that is bad news -- for the planet, and for Canada, which has been planning to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, an international agreement on cutting carbon emissions linked to planetary warming." (Globe and Mail)

"Earth's "ThermoSolarstat": Does It Protect Coral Reefs During Periods of High Temperature and Solar Radiation?" - "Summary: With so many corals living - and often thriving - so close to water temperatures that can prove lethal to them under conditions of intense solar radiation, it is logical to presume that earth's atmosphere must have a built-in mechanism for limiting both the intensity and duration of such stressful conditions for a large portion of the planet's coral reefs. It is also logical to presume that this same mechanism would kick into gear more often in the face of any increased impetus for global warming. We here discuss the findings of several studies that provide substantial evidence for the validity of these presumptions, providing thereby an essentially new perspective on the issue." (co2science.org)

"Carbon Sequestration Commentary" - "Woody Plants Expand Their Ranges, Pumping More Carbon Into the Soils Beneath Them, as the Air's CO2 Content Rises Summary: Scientists have long sought the "missing carbon" that seems to be exiting the atmosphere at an ever-increasing rate as the air's CO2 content continues to climb. Could it be it's right under their noses?" (co2science.org)

"A New Test for Climate Models" - "Summary: Tests. They're what we use to evaluate nearly everything. It would seem only logical, therefore, that climate model performance should be periodically compared with reality, as our knowledge of earth's climate system continues to grow and we gain ever greater insight into various ways in which it operates, especially over periods of time such as those for which models are currently predicting significant CO2-induced global warming. Physica A 302: 255-267." (co2science.org)

"The Case for Solar Forcing of Climate" - "Summary: Day by day, it grows ever stronger, as we learn ever more about the past. Geology 29: 1107-1110." (co2science.org)

"Antarctic Ice: Is It Growing or Shrinking?" - "Summary: We hear it almost every day: climate alarmists telling us that Antarctic ice is disappearing so rapidly that vast amounts of low-lying coastal areas and islands around the globe are soon to experience a watery death, due to an ungodly rise in sea level. No matter how often the lie is repeated, however, the real world will just not cooperate. Science 295: 476-480." (co2science.org)

"Kyoto pact will harm economy, says Anderson; $5B in lost growth" - "OTTAWA - Ratifying the Kyoto agreement will result in lost potential for the Canadian economy, says David Anderson, the Minister of the Environment. Mr. Anderson, who is committed to seeing the agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions signed, said the lost economic growth would be a maximum of $500-million each year for a 10-year period, or about $5-billion cumulatively. But he said the loss is slight in relation to our annual trillion-dollar economy." (Alan Toulin, Financial Post)

"Forest fire frequency on the rise, study says" - "Fires are taking a growing toll on one of Canada's most important natural resources -- its forests, suggests a new study. The number of fires and area of forest ravaged annually have increased significantly in recent years, conclude researchers at the University of Toronto. Scientists are unsure why it is happening, but the impact of global warming is one possibility, said David Martell, one of the authors." (Tom Blackwell, National Post)

"Environmentalist Biofraud?; A new report challenges research published in the respected journal, Nature" - "DNA Contamination Feared," declared the Washington Post last fall. "Gene-altered DNA may be 'polluting' corn," warned USA Today. Both papers—as well as many other media outlets around the world--were reporting the results of a scientific study published in the prestigious journal Nature. Anti-biotech activists at Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, and the Union of Concerned Scientists immediately seized on the results to press for a ban on planting and exporting genetically enhanced crops. It now appears that that study's conclusions are completely bogus." (Ronald Bailey, Reason)

"Monitoring effects of GM foods difficult: doctors" - "OTTAWA - Health Canada will be monitoring Canadians to see if they get sick from eating GM foods, but the research will be difficult because no one knows who's eating what. Health Canada's Centre for Surveillance Coordination started monitoring the health effects of bioengineered products, including GM food, pesticides and vaccines, in 2000. But because there are no labels on genetically modified food, it's difficult to tell whether a person has been eating GM products or not." (CBC)

And this is different from determining what 'non-GM' food people have been eating how, exactly?

February 12, 2002

"X-Ray Vision in Hindsight: Science, Politics and the Mammogram" - "For decades, it was an article of medical faith: Get a mammogram; it could save your life.

Now, seemingly overnight, that faith has been shaken. The mammogram — that yearly ritual for millions of American women — has become the focus of a bitter and unusually public scientific dispute that is being fought in the pages of medical journals and the columns of daily newspapers. Scientists, policy makers and politicians have scheduled meetings and Congressional hearings.

In the end, though, there is not likely to be a quick answer to the central question of whether researchers were right when they said that screening healthy women reduces death from breast cancer or, to put it another way, whether women should still get that annual mammogram." (New York Times)

See also: Women Confused By Conflicting Mammogram Data (Steve Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"The Nando Times: Government investigates popular herbal supplement" - "WASHINGTON - The 45-year-old woman became jaundiced and then, in just months, became so sick she needed a liver transplant. Her doctor suspects kava, a popular herbal supplement. European health officials report 25 similar cases of liver toxicity, and some countries are barring kava sales. Now the Food and Drug Administration is investigating whether the herbal sedative - promoted to relieve anxiety, stress and insomnia - poses a danger."

When will people learn? 'Natural' does NOT mean 'safe.' 'Natural' products with active ingredients (anything which has alleged effect) should be viewed with far greater caution than 'synthetics' since they are largely untested and always of unknown strength and quality. Bizarrely, otherwise sane people will refuse quality-controlled and well-tested medications while swallowing the mumbo-jumbo prescribed by their tealeaf reader - go figure!

"Guardian Unlimited | The Guardian | French soldiers free of Gulf war illnesses" - "French forces who served in the Gulf war were not given the vaccines and anti-biological warfare measures administered to UK and US veterans and are free from the illnesses that beset their allies, the US Congress has been told. Evidence to the subcommittee on national security shows the effort made to protect service personnel from biological and chemical weapons is most likely to have damaged their health. The French were issued with protective suits and not given the cocktail of drugs that British and US servicemen took. Only 140 of the 25,000 French Gulf veterans have reported illnesses related to Gulf war service, compared with more than 5,000 of the 52,000 British troops deployed, and 137,862 of the 697,000 US service personnel."

von Danniken rides again? "In Ohio School Hearing, a New Theory Will Seek a Place Alongside Evolution" - "COLUMBUS, Ohio, Feb. 4 — The latest challenge to evolution's primacy in the nation's classrooms — the theory of intelligent design, not the old foe creationism — will get a full- scale hearing next month before Ohio Board of Education members, who are in a heated debate over whether established science censors other views about the origins of life. "It's a stacked deck," said Deborah Owens-Fink, a state school board member and an outspoken supporter of the intelligent design movement." (New York Times)

"Gun Control’s New Language; How anti-terror rhetoric is being used against the Second Amendment" - "As the new congressional session gets into gear, a freshly invigorated gun control movement is preparing to act. Armed with a few questionable studies, some acid-tongued rhetoric, and vague allusions to the War on Terrorism, the anti-gun lobby is expected to hammer away relentlessly at the capital’s most prominent Second Amendment stalwart, Attorney General John Ashcroft. The former Missouri senator should find their tactics familiar: He developed a similar strategy in his own quest for expanded powers against terrorism last fall, and it appears that his very success in that campaign will serve as a road map for gun control." (Sam MacDonald, Reason)

Cue (? queue) lawsuits: "The Nando Times: Air at ground zero may pose health risk" - "An independent analysis of air around ground zero shows the collapse of the World Trade Center towers spewed lung-penetrating pollutants in the greatest quantities ever measured - tiny particles whose danger was overlooked by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in its air monitoring, the study's authors said Monday."

"Consumer Update: Dental Amalgams" - "FDA and other organizations of the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) continue to investigate the safety of amalgams used in dental restorations (fillings). However, no valid scientific evidence has ever shown that amalgams cause harm to patients with dental restorations. FDA is aware that some manufacturers have advised in their labeling against using amalgams in very young children and pregnant or nursing women.

The safety of dental amalgams has been reviewed extensively over the past ten years, both nationally and internationally. In 1994, an international conference of health officials concluded there is no scientific evidence that dental amalgam presents a significant health hazard to the general population, although a small number of patients had mild, temporary allergic reactions. The World Health Organization (WHO), in March 1997, reached a similar conclusion." (FDA News)

"MMR adverts are a waste" - "AUTISM organisations in Britain and America criticise the Government today for wasting money on television advertising to promote the MMR vaccination." (Telegraph)

"MMR chief blames the media for jab 'errors'" - "The doctor behind the nation's childhood immunisation campaign launched a scathing attack yesterday on those who continue to question the safety of the triple MMR vaccine. His intervention came as the Government was forced to admit it was losing the public relations battle to shore up public support for the measles, mumps and rubella triple vaccine." (Independent)

"No Pasteurization Problems" - "The benefits of pasteurization of milk and other beverages has been around for so long that some people now campaigning against it don't realize what a major public health effect it has had. This is a short heat treatment that kills tuberculosis bacteria, listeria, salmonella and other harmful microbes. Pasteurization was developed to keep wine from spoiling by killing the microbes that naturally live on grapes, allowing the right kind of yeast to ferment the juice.

There are different combinations of temperature and time that fluid is heated. In addition to pasteurization, there is ultrapasteurization and ultra high temperature (UHT) sterilization. The nutrient profile of milk is not affected by any form of pasteurization. Fruit juices containing vitamin C lose some by this treatment, but the vitamin also degrades when the juice sits in your refrigerator for several weeks.

UHT sterilization allows milk to be handled without refrigeration. This is a real bonus because it saves money and the consumer can always have fresh milk available in the cupboard. Once this type of milk is opened it must be refrigerated. Most of the noise against pasteurization is simply anti-corporate sentiment. Since 98 percent of us do not live on farms but depend on them for food, basic safety precautions like pasteurization are needed." (Nutrition News Focus)

then again, i f you make accusations long enough... "Vietnam, US to jointly study Agent Orange" - "HANOI - Former foes Vietnam and the United States will begin joint research on the use during their war in the 1960s and 1970s of defoliant Agent Orange and its cancer-causing component dioxin by co-organising a conference." (Reuters) | Project 1: International Conference on Health and Environmental Effects (USVCRP)

"Antibiotics give Belgium new food scare" - "BRUSSELS - Belgian health authorities said they had found allergy-causing antibiotics in animal feed, the third food scare this year for a country still recovering from a major contamination in 1999. The Belgian Food Safety Authority (AFSCA) said it had found traces of sulphonimide - an antibiotic that can contaminate eggs and cause skin allergy to humans - in chicken feed originating from a firm at Ooigem, in western Belgium." (Reuters)

"Rise in food poisoning cases" - "MORE than half of all customers are worried about hygiene standards in Britain's restaurants, cafes and takeaways, according to a survey." (Telegraph)

"Diet and exercise to cut diabetes risk, more evidence" - "Millions of overweight Americans at high risk for type 2 diabetes can delay and possibly prevent the disease with moderate diet and exercise, a major clinical trial has found. The same study found that the oral diabetes drug metformin (Glucophage) also reduces type 2 diabetes risk, although not as effectively as lifestyle changes. Researchers announced results of the trial, called the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP), last August after ending the study a year early. The study results are reported in the February 7 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine." (FoodNavigator)

"The Nando Times: Treating stress with comfort foods may damage arteries" - "Turning to fatty snacks as comfort food during stressful times may wind up doing worse damage to your arteries than usual, according to a new study. Researchers at Ohio State University found that short periods of psychological stress cause the body to take longer to clear fats from the bloodstream, offering one physical reason why stress has been linked to heart disease."

"An apple a day keeps the dentist busy?" - "New figures issued by the US Department of Agriculture have raised temperatures amongst nutritionists worldwide; it seems that apples are not the healthy snack they once were anymore, as each apple often contains as much as four teaspoons of sugar. The British Dental Association (BDA) yesterday blacklisted the fruit, placing it in the same league as fizzy drinks and sweets in terms of sugar risk to teeth. The Association explained that consumers should only eat or drink apple products at meal times and make sure to wash their mouth out with water afterwards." (just-food.com)

Gasp! "Brown 'blocks green policies'" - "GORDON BROWN was accused by an all-party committee of MPs yesterday of allowing the "dead hand of the Treasury" to block further progress on environmental issues." (Telegraph)

"Fools Rush In" - "The Council of Economic Advisors (CEA) just issued its annual "Economic Report of the President," including a chapter on environmental policy. The report's language sent mixed signals on how the Bush administration plans to address questions of economic growth and environmental regulations." (Chris Horner, Tech Central Station)

"Bush's plan for charter forests worries environmentalists" - "WASHINGTON - Though it's only one paragraph in a massive budget proposal, the Bush administration's plan to carve out "charter forests" from federal lands and turn them over to local trusts has set off alarm bells among environmentalists. Even though the White House has provided few details, environmentalists suspect the proposal is an end run around federal laws that govern timber sales on public lands, would eliminate the right to appeal timber sales and could open the national forests to increased logging." (Scripps McClatchy Western Service)

Works for me.

"Radical environmentalists protest member's subpoena -- The Washington Times" - "Extremist environmentalists are planning a Capitol Hill protest today to coincide with a House hearing on ecoterrorism in national forests. Craig Rosebraugh, former North American spokesman for the Earth Liberation Front (ELF), has been subpoenaed to testify today before the Resources Committee's subcommittee on forests and forest health. ELF and its sister group, Animal Liberation Front (ALF), are calling for a "national day of action against state repression" to protest Mr. Rosebraugh's forced appearance and the "rotten imperialist U.S. system."

"Bjorn's Long March" - "In politics, there are no final victories. But there are gradual defeats. Almost a year ago, the Bush Administration kiboshed the Kyoto Treaty, calling it "fatally flawed." But now, the issue is back. The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal report the Bush Administration is eyeing a "gradualist" strategy toward the limitation of CO2 emissions." (James Pinkerton, Tech Central Station)

"Global warming or cooling?" - "Reports are circulating that the Bush administration will release a plan to address global warming issues before the president heads off to Asia this week. Some will complain that the plan, whatever it does, is too little and too late - that the only way to deal with global warming is to sign on to the Kyoto Protocols, which just last week received overwhelming support in the European Parliament." (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)

This global warming thing is getting serious: "CANADA: Ice wine dries up in hot weather" - "Canada's ice-wine industry has suffered a serious blow because of unseasonably mild winter weather. Most wineries in the Niagara on the Lake region in Ontario will see a decline of 50% or more in their ice-wine grape yields.

This December and January have been record-breaking months for heat in
Ontario, with temperatures reaching 14 degrees celcius, not the minus-eight temperatures needed to sufficiently freeze water content in grapes and produce ice-wine.

Paul Speck, chairman of Ontario's Henry of Pelham winery: "It looks brutal. We think we we're down 40 or 50% at least. This time last year we had four times the amount of grapes. Because we have to leave them on the vines for so long, many of the grapes either fall off, rot or get eaten by animals."

However, ice-wine prices will not soar, he predicted. "Freak weather is part of the wine business," said Speck. "I'm being positive about it; it shows people just how rare ice-wine really is." (just-drinks.com)

Not enough warming for some though: "Storm in Mexico Devastates Monarch Butterfly Colonies" - "After a severe winter storm in mid-January, in the mountains of central Mexico, dead monarch butterflies lay in piles on the ground, in some places more than a foot high. Between 220 and 270 million frozen butterflies had rained down from roosts where they normally festooned towering trees, researchers estimated." (New York Times)

A few hundreds of millions of the enviro-flakes' poster bugs froze, which will probably mean that so-called endangered weeds will now boom to pest proportion with reduced predation, leading, in turn, to yet another boom in said poster bugs and the natural boom-bust cycle of predator-prey interaction will play out as per, well, normal really.

"Thanks, But No Thanks" - "Jim Rogers, CEO of electric and gas supplier Cinergy, is a hell of a guy. He cares about the environment - so much so, in fact, that he's willing to help environmentalists take your money and his competitors' money and give it to him. The scam is called carbon trading, and Rogers and other energy CEOs have jumped on board the increasingly fat-cat laden ship lobbying to make it law." (Ryan H. Sager, Tech Central Station)

"The Nando Times: Sport utility vehicles drive Senate debate over energy" - "WASHINGTON - The TV ads all show the big sport utility vehicles rumbling through the rugged wilderness and hauling hulking cargo to mountain peaks with their powerful engines. But those popular gas-swigging giants also might have enough oomph to drag the Senate's energy bill into the muck of stalemate."

World Climate Report Volume 7, Number 11, February 11, 2002 is now live

"International Group Searches For Missing Carbon Sink" - "A multinational research group led by atmospheric scientists at Colorado State University has uncovered new information regarding the Earth's carbon dioxide sources and sinks. Among other results, the researchers conclude that North America may not be absorbing as much carbon dioxide as previously reported, according to a report in the current issue of Nature. Sixteen leading research teams in carbon transport modeling from the United States, Germany, France, United Kingdom, Japan and Australia are participating in the TransCom 3 project. The group is completing a three-year study aimed at helping to resolve a controversy concerning the mysterious removal of a large amount of carbon dioxide from the Earth's atmosphere known as the missing sink." (Unisci)

"Rainy Daze" - "Mark Twain once said, "It's not the things you don't know that fool you. It's the things you do know that ain't so." Nowhere is that sagebrush aphorism more appropriate than in the realm of climate science." (Willie Soon, Tech Central Station)

See also: ' Deep Convection' Vindicated  (Still Waiting For Greenhouse)

"VIRTUAL CLIMATE ALERT: February 8, 2002 Vol. 3, No. 6" - "Computer-generated global climate models (general circulation models or GCMs) suffer from an inability to correctly capture the observed behavior of the lower atmosphere and its relationship to the surface. When run with an increase in greenhouse gases, practically every GCM projects how the lower atmosphere can be expected to warm at about the same – or at an even slightly greater – rate than does the surface. However, observations reveal just the opposite has happened for at least the last twenty-three years. That’s the time of the greatest greenhouse gas buildup and is the time during which satellites have measured lower atmosphere temperatures." (GES)

"Bureaucratic battle raises hurdle for emission control" - "The much-needed progress toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions is being stymied by widely divergent views held by two government ministries over domestic measures to be taken to that end. An effort is under way to reconcile the differences between the Environment Ministry and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, but it has proved to be an arduous task." (Asahi Shimbun)

Hmm... "How to Clean Air - timesdispatch.com" - "The Bush administration has an opportunity to hit a double home run by fixing a provision of the Clean Air Act in a way that should please both industry and environmentalists. Please grab a cup of coffee, for the issue - while important - concerns some regulatory inside baseball."

"Metro Debuts Clean-Air Buses (washingtonpost.com)" - "Metro's new natural gas buses hit the streets yesterday, the first wave in a flood of improvements to the Metrobus fleet designed to propel the nation's fifth-largest bus system from decrepit to modern. "This is the year of the bus," Metro General Manager Richard A. White told members of Congress, environmental activists and local and federal officials who gathered in a Metro bus garage to celebrate the rollout of the natural gas-powered buses."

"BBC News | UK | Any royalties on your ©hips?" - "Next time you pop down to the local takeaway, spare a thought for the innovation that is the chip. Why? The development charity ActionAid is trying to patent a new ready salted chip in the hopes that it may not only own the rights to its invention but over any chip which has salt added to it. The charity even claims that it could charge chip shops for a licence to salt chips or risk infringement of the patent. Sound ridiculous? That's the point - it's a stunt to show that patent rules currently allow companies to get exclusive rights over basic foods if they modify it in some way. The move to patent chips is part of ActionAid's campaign against what it calls "bio-piracy" - multinationals taking out patents on crops that grow in poor countries." (BBC Online)

"ANZFA approval of non-labelled GM corn, canola prompts outcry" - "The Australia New Zealand Food Authority (ANZFA) and biotechnology ethics advocates are at blows over plans to launch new genetically modified foods in supermarkets without warning labels. ANZFA has approved genetically modified corn and canola oil, for use in breakfast cereals, bread, pastries and snack foods. The food undergoes distilling in the production, which destroys the DNA and releases the manufacturer and retailer from the obligation to label the end product as genetically modified." (just-food.com)

"GeneEthics resorts to mistruths about GM" - "The Australian public should be more fearful about the mistruths and distortions from the GeneEthics Network than the safety or labelling of GM food, the Chairman of the Life Sciences Network, Dr William Rolleston, said today.

“Had the GeneEthics Network examined the issues in as much detail as the Royal Commission it would not have made its flawed assumptions about the safety of GM food. There is no factual or scientific basis for the assertion by the GeneEthics Network that the GM foods approved by ANZFA are unsafe or that the labelling requirements in Australia are anything other than rigorous and stringent – to say otherwise is to distort the facts and therefore mislead the public,” concluded Dr Rolleston." (The Life Sciences Network)

"GM pollen 'harmless to butterflies'" - "US scientists say monarch butterflies suffer no significant harm from pollen from genetically-modified (GM) maize plants. A two-year study led by the US Agricultural Research Service (ARS) has concluded that the risk of harm is negligible. A group of federal, university and biotechnology industry scientists was involved in the study. The ARS says it shows definitively that the pollen poses no "immediate significant risk". The research was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS)." (BBC Online)

"GM concern could mar US wheat sales to Egypt" - "SHARM EL-SHEIKH - U.S. wheat sales to Egypt could face pressure from concerns over genetically-modified (GM) wheat and the high price of the dollar, industry experts said at a conference to promote U.S. wheat. "It's definitely become an issue in the Middle East. People just don't want it (GM wheat)," said David Payne, director of Louis Dreyfus Negoce." (Reuters)

February 11, 2002

"Street crime soaring by 26 per cent, Home Office figures reveal" - "STREET crime is "running out of control" with the number of muggings rising by more than 26% over the past nine months, according to internal Home Office figures. The increase, which has been accompanied by a sharp rise in the use of guns, has so alarmed Tony Blair that he has ordered one of his top Downing Street officials into the Home Office and Scotland Yard to try to sort out the crisis." (Times on Sunday)

Apparently, 'safe as London' is to take lessons from 'violent' New York. Perhaps London would have less crime if Britons had a constitutionally-protected right to bear arms?

"Irish Independent - $7bn in claims against New York follow terror attacks" - "THOUSANDS of New Yorkers are threatening to sue the city authorities for alleged negligence in the way the rescue operation was organised after the September 11 attacks. Claims totalling $7.18bn have been lodged against New York City by 1,300 people. The largest group are firefighters and other uniformed emergency service staff who claim that the city did not adequately protect them from the toxic fumes given off by the wreckage of the twin towers. Dust and gases from the collapsed buildings contained mercury, lead, asbestos, benzine, dioxins, fibreglass, other heavy metals and poisonous matter. Many emergency workers inhaled the fumes because the city authorities had not equipped them adequately with masks."

"The Nando Times: Study suggests Gulf War illnesses not unique syndrome" - "LONDON - Veterans of most modern wars have suffered many unexplained physical and psychological symptoms, researchers reported Friday in a study implying that the unexplained ailments experienced by some Gulf War veterans is not unique. The study reviewed the records of British soldiers who fought in late 19th century imperial campaigns, the Boer War in South Africa, both world wars, the Korean War and the Gulf War. All reported problems that varied based on their combat experiences but had much in common, said the paper published Friday in the British Medical Journal." | Post-combat syndromes from the Boer war to the Gulf war: a cluster analysis of their nature and attribution (BMJ)

"Poultry Industry Quietly Cuts Back on Antibiotic Use" - "The poultry industry has quietly begun to bow to the demands of public health and consumer groups by greatly reducing the antibiotics that are fed to healthy chickens.

Long a mainstay of poultry farming, antibiotics have been justified as a means of preventing infection in chickens as well as enhancing growth. Opponents have bitterly criticized the industry for a strategy that they say contributes to a much larger public health problem: the growing resistance to antibiotics of disease-causing bacteria in humans.

Now it appears that with little fanfare, the industry has begun to acquiesce. Three companies — Tyson Foods, Perdue Farms and Foster Farms, which produce a third of the chicken consumed by Americans each year — say they have voluntarily taken most or all of the antibiotics out of what they feed healthy chickens. (New York Times)

"MMR media campaign planned" - "A publicity blitz aimed at convincing every parent in Britain of the safety of the MMR vaccine is to be launched by the government." (BBC Online)

Forlorn hope: "Research clears MMR" - "The expert whose research shows no link between MMR and autism says he hopes his findings will put an end to the controversy over the vaccine." (BBC Online)

Hysteria merchants have much to answer for: "Nappy valley: the affluent parents who prefer childhood illness to a jab" - "The organic apples at Kelly's store come in brown paper bags printed with the slogan "Food You Can Trust." And trust is the issue in the place they call Nappy Valley, the affluent area around Wandsworth Common, south-west London, where you cannot walk the street without bumping into a buggy, usually pushed by a nanny.

Parents who live here don't trust farmers not to poison their children with pesticides, so they go organic. They don't trust the state to educate their little ones properly, so they go private. Now trust and choice are in danger of becoming a matter of life and death around here, because measles has arrived on the doorstep of this community at a time when more and more of its parents refuse to immunise their children.

They don't trust the word of politicians on MMR vaccine any more than they did on BSE, so they go solo and pay for single jabs from private clinics. Or they did, until the latest outbreak caused a rush and supplies ran out. Others have chosen not to give their child any protection at all.

"I will not let Giles be injected with diseases," insists Sara, a new mum drinking coffee in the Boiled Egg and Soldiers on the Northcote Road."

"Guardian Unlimited | The Guardian | Reburial of cattle ashes sparks fear of BSE pollution in water" - "Scores of foot and mouth disposal sites around England, where animals were burned and buried in an attempt to control the disease, are being dug up after almost a year amid fears that water supplies could be contaminated."

From the 'Bring back dental caries' corner: "Irish Independent - Green Party bill to end flouridation is non-negotiable, says Gormley" - "A BILL to end the controversial practice of adding fluoride to public drinking water was published yesterday by the Green Party. The fluoride ban will be a "non-negotiable" demand in Coalition negotiations after the general election, according to the party. Green Party health spokesperson, John Gormley TD, blasted the Forum On Fluoridation set up by the Minister for Health as a "disgraceful waste of tax payers' money", alleging that the forum report due shortly would be a "white wash". Launching its private members bill to repeal "mandatory mass medication of the Irish population", the Greens said many reports had linked fluoridation to health problems."

"ABC Sci-Tech - 11 02 02 : Test-tube babies face triple risk of cerebral palsy: study" - "Children conceived through in-vitro fertilisation have a three-times higher risk of being born with cerebral palsy than infants conceived naturally, according to a Swedish study published in The Lancet on Saturday."

"Biologists on Defensive in Klamath Water Fight" - "A pointed critique of the government's handling of the Klamath water crisis has become Exhibit A in a tug of war over the federal Endangered Species Act. The National Academy of Sciences document questioned the scientific basis for federal regulators' dramatic decision last summer to slash water to farmers in the broad, flat Klamath Basin in an effort to protect endangered fish." (LA Times)

"BBC News | UK | Floods see rat population explosion" - "A dramatic rise in the number of people reporting rats in their homes has been put down to the rodents fleeing wintry weather outside. Recent cold weather and flooding is believed to have led the disease-carrying rodents to shelter indoors. And the situation is only going to get worse because of the increase in the rat population thanks to a succession of milder winters, according to pest controllers."

Ol' Lester's still at it: "We are losing the war to save the planet" - "New Delhi, February 8: THE Washington Post has termed him "one of the most influential thinkers" of this century. Lester Brown, president of Washington-based Earth Policy Institute, is not happy about the way the world is moving in its quest for development. "We are losing the war to save the planet," he says pointing at a graph which shows a sharp rise in global temperatures in the past decade. He then points at another graph showing a rise in the amount of atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and adds: "This is not a coincidence." (Indian Express)

"Guardian Unlimited | The Guardian | Peter Hain: Embrace global action" - "We must shape an agenda of progressive internationalism around which the left can unite."


"The Guardian - Global Warming Challenged" - "Your report (US will not set target for cut in emissions, February 7) includes the throw-away comment that this policy adds "insult to injury by again casting doubt on the validity of the science of global warming".

The science of "global warming" is now increasingly under serious academic challenge. The authors of Climate Science and Policy, to be published in the UK this month, conclude that "when all of the available information is considered, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change simulation of surface temperature appears to be more a fortuitous case of curve fitting than a demonstration of human influence on the global climate". Disagreeing with Mr Bush politically is one thing; being open to the challenge of critical science is another." (Letter from Phillip Stott, Emeritus professor of biogeography, London University)

Hmm... "Environment pays the price for convenient lifestyles" - "The harmless-looking convenience stores that are increasingly serving society's basic needs have apparently become a relentless killer of the environment. The brightly lit stores eat up electricity to refrigerate food and drinks. New services available, such as banking and color copying, are adding to the power consumption. But producing all this electricity requires growing emissions of carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas largely blamed for global warming. However, having the stores curb their use of power would pose an enormous task.

But the amount of CO2 emissions have continued to rise. In fiscal 1999, the amount stood at 1.225 billion tons, up by 9 percent from the level in fiscal 1990, the main cause being the growing emissions from homes and automobiles. In April, the Environment Ministry will start a global warming-check system under which experts will advise shops and facilities how to reduce their CO2 emissions. Convenience stores will be subjected to the checks." (The Asahi Shimbun)

and this with a stagnant, almost paralysed economy - how will Japan recover and meet it's PC Kyoto commitments?

"Energy policy bill coming up in Senate" - "WASHINGTON Politicians and scientists have long hyped electricity brewed every day by the omnipresent wind or free sunlight. Clean, quiet cars, they say, are right around the corner. And it has been promised that every light bulb and appliance will churn with only a fraction of the power they use now. It all feeds into a vision of a clean, cheap, stable life. And while everyone agrees the future looks bright, no one — particularly Congress — can agree on just how to get there." (Scripps Howard News Service)

"The Age: The power behind a great divide" - "Bickering over the siting and benefits of wind farms is splitting Victorian coastal communities and pitting environmentalists against each other over what forms of "green" energy are most efficient. A growing number of objectors to the giant turbines are now questioning the efficiency and reliability of wind power, once seen as one of the most viable alternatives to fossil-fuel-powered electricity."

"Citizens Fear Pristine Hiking Area Will Soon Be Gone With the Wind" - "SCHMALLENBERG. The wind is blowing across the Ellenberg as if trying to prove that this is just the right place for a wind farm. The odd collection of more than 60 people on the dirt track huddles closer together, turning their backs against the cold air blowing in. Most of them do not want any wind-driven generators up here on the 430-meter- (1,410-foot-) high plateau. The four proposed generators would be each 140 meters tall." (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung)

"EU energy chief says supply system unsustainable" - "OSLO - The European Union aims to develop more renewable energy at home to break free from its dependence on outside suppliers and reduce pollution, European Energy Commissioner Loyola de Palacio said last week." (Reuters)

"INTERVIEW - Denmark to scrap subsidies for wind power by 2004" - "COPENHAGEN - Denmark's new centre-right government will concentrate on competitiveness, instead of a green image and not subsidise installation of new wind turbines from 2004, Economy Minister Bendt Bendtsen said last week." (Reuters)

"Tropical air thins European ozone layer by 30 pct" - "LONDON - Ozone over Europe was around a third thinner than normal during the first week of February, with regular depletion in the layer that protects people from harmful radiation becoming more frequent, scientists said last week." (Reuters)

"Ally of France's Bove gets jail for GM crop attack" - "PARIS - A French court jailed a close ally of farmer and anti-globalisation leader Jose Bove for six months last week for destroying genetically modified maize crops in southern France last year." (Reuters)

"Chewing over GM food" - "The UK seems beset by fear: many people want absolute safety before they will move a muscle or make a choice. Except, of course, when it comes to patently dangerous activities like smoking or bungee-jumping, in which more and more individuals are indulging." (Professor Vivian Moses, sp!ked)

"Food science" - "There is a popular belief that modern food production techniques are responsible for many of the ills of society, particularly among the Green movement, and that we should return to some Tolkienesque rural idyll where food is produced locally using organic farming methods and buy food from farmer's markets and corner shops. I wish to challenge this view." (Tom Sanders, sp!ked) [Professor Tom Sanders is director of the Nutrition, Food & Health Research Centre at Kings College, London]

"UPDATE - US says no evidence to support China GMO import rules" - "WASHINGTON - The United States said last week that China failed to provide scientific evidence to support Beijing's new rules on bioengineered foods that could threaten to bring billions of dollars worth of annual U.S. farm exports to a standstill." (Reuters)

February 8, 2002

"Bioterror Boondoggle" - "President Bush proposes to spend $5.9 billion on bioterrorism preparedness in the fiscal year 2003 federal budget. It's an important line item, given the anthrax attacks and the CIA's congressional testimony this week that Al Qaeda is regrouping and "was pursuing a sophisticated biological weapons research program." (Steve Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"Facts at odds with `It's the food, fatty'" - The Junkman responds to this off-base column in the Charlotte Observer blaming obesity solely on diet.

"Behind the Environmental Working Group " - "AMONG the political chattering classes, there's a big buzz over a tiny activist organization called the Environmental Working Group." (Michelle Malkin, Jewish World Review)

"Science or Junkscience at Science; New Editor Steers Prestigious Journal Toward Junkscience" - "What is going on at Science, the world’s preeminent scientific journal? Why is the new editor, Donald Kennedy, giving editorial space (disguised as a book review) to a discredited researcher who still hasn’t retracted or corrected false data he published in Science?" (Alex Avery, Center for Global Food Issues)

"DEROY MURDOCK: War on pesticides threatens inner city health" - "NEW YORK (February 7, 2002 4:02 p.m. EST) - The American Journal of Public Health last month cited roaches and rodents as "environmental triggers" that cause or intensify asthma attacks among low-income black and minority children.

Asthma cases roughly have doubled since 1980, with poor, urban kids suffering the most. A 2000 Department of Health and Human Services study found that blacks were four times likelier than whites to visit emergency rooms due to asthma. Researchers believe cockroach droppings and body parts as well as rat and mouse dander exacerbate this health menace. Roaches also transmit salmonella while rodents can contaminate food and cause "rat bite fever."

Public policy has intensified this horror show. The human prey of these vermin also are at the mercy of twin neuroses popular among the powerful far from America's ghettoes. Chemophobia grips bureaucrats and many environmentalists while pestophilia motivates eco-extremists who wish to tread lightly on pests, if at all." (Scripps Howard News Service)

"Food Taliban Want To Dictate Your Diet" - "CHURCHVILLE, VA Some money-hungry lawyers appear to be salivating over a new scheme to get rich quick at the expense of American families—by taking away our freedom to choose what we eat and drink. The Taliban sought to impose a radical vision of religious morality and political enslavement on the people of Afghanistan; by the same tactics, Americans may find themselves tangled in a web of activists and lawyers seeking to impose their radical vision of behavior control through class-action lawsuits." (Dennis T. Avery, Center for Global Food Issues)

"Junk food and cola will stay in public schools" - "RICHMOND -- Relax, kids. Those grown-ups who make the state's laws won't be taking away The Joy of Cola anytime soon. The Senate Education and Health Committee today postponed until next year legislation to ban soft drink and junk food vending machines from public elementary schools. The bill originally covered all public schools. The committee amended it at the request of the bill's sponsor, Sen. Madison Marye, to apply only to elementary schools." (The Virginian-Pilot)

"Panel: Drug maker not at fault for OxyContin abuse" - "WASHINGTON, Feb 07 - Panelists convened here Thursday by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), a conservative think tank, mostly concurred that drug maker Purdue Pharma should not be held solely responsible for abuse of its long-acting pain killer OxyContin. Only one panelist, a journalist from a West Virginia newspaper, said the company should do more to keep the drug out of the hands of abusers." (Reuters Health)

"'Ghostwritten' research claims" - "There are fears that research is being twisted because doctors allow pharmaceutical firms to write biased academic papers in their names. The problem may even affect scientific papers submitted to prestigious international journals. It is suspected that some doctors are being paid many thousands of pounds to lend their reputation to articles with which they have had little involvement." (BBC Online)

"Internal probe cites EPA for lack of research, reaction to concerns about recycled sewage - 2 7 2002 - ENN.com" - "WASHINGTON — Four millions tons of recycled sewage are being spread on suburban and rural fields across America each year, and the government has done too little research to ensure that humans are safe from the viruses, bacteria, and toxins in the sludge, an internal review concludes. The investigation by the inspector general of the Environmental Protection Agency cites "gaps in the science" used to approve sludge recycling in the 1990s and says the agency has cut money, staff, and oversight since then despite growing safety worries. "The agency can neither investigate nor keep track of all of the complaints of adverse health affects that are reported," the internal watchdog wrote in a draft report obtained by The Associated Press."

"Lobby group wants insulin inquiry" - "OTTAWA - A national lobby group is calling for an inquiry into the use of synthetic insulin, now used by most Canadians with diabetes. It's reproduced genetically from a hormone in the human pancreas." (CBC)

"Irradiation: The latest in food preservation - The Times of India" - "MUMBAI: Irradiation of agro products, is slowly overcoming the initial resistance by farmers and consumers as infrastructural facilities by BARC are coming up in good numbers. Offers of private participation in the erection of irradiation plants for processing different agro products would add further momentum in this direction, BARC scientists believe. The seasonal nature of production, long distances between production and consumption centres and the cyclical gap between demand and supply have made food preservation even more urgent today. A successful food preservation strategy is one key to fight hunger and poverty in countries like India where climatic conditions cause massive destruction and spoilage of food stuff every year. Though the country has had various methods of food preservation such as sun drying, pickling, fermentaion, refrigeration, canning etc, irradiation is the latest and most efficient technology on hand."

"Radiation from atom bomb testing caused mutations in 'junk DNA'" - "WASHINGTON - Radiation from Soviet nuclear bomb testing in the 1950s caused genetic mutations in the "junk DNA" of people living nearby, according to a new study. The research on 68 Kazak families suggests that chronic exposure to low levels of radiation from atomic bomb fallout caused mutations that were passed from one generation to the next. The study, appearing in Friday's issue of the journal Science, did not show that the mutations had any effects on the health of those exposed. All the mutations found were in parts of the genetic code with no known function, or "junk DNA." "These are mutations, but not in critical genes and these is not anything that we can correlate with a health effect," said William Morgan, an oncologist from the University of Maryland, Baltimore, who reviewed the study for Science." (CBC) | Nuclear Weapons Tests and Human Germline Mutation Rate [PDF] | DNA Mutations Linked to Soviet Bomb Tests [PDF] (Science)

NSU chooses to write it up a little differently:

"Sperm and eggs fall foul of fallout" - "People in the remote former Soviet republic of Kazakhstan who were exposed to fallout from nuclear-weapon tests have more genetic mutations in their eggs and sperm than normal, researchers have found. Their children could inherit health defects caused by such mutations." (NSU)

"UPDATE - UN sees Chernobyl area as eco-tourism hot-spot" - "UNITED NATIONS - The area around Chernobyl, site of the world's worst nuclear accident nearly 16 years ago, should be promoted as an eco-tourism destination, a U.N. report suggested this week." (Reuters)

"Ozone layer thins over Europe" - "The ozone layer was up to 30 per cent thinner over Europe during the first week of February and periodic depletions like this are becoming more frequent, say scientists at the European Space Agency (ESA).

The Global Ozone Monitoring Experiment (GOME) is mounted on ESA's ERS-2 satellite and has a spectrometer that measures UV radiation in the 240 to 790 nanometre region. Ozone has a signature peak at 325 to 335 nm.

"Over the last five years we have seen more of these ozone thinning episodes," says Diego Loyola from DLR, the German aerospace centre. "But we have only been monitoring since 1995 and we would need at least 20 years' worth of data to draw a firm conclusion." (New Scientist)

"Indoor air pollution taking its toll in India - The Times of India" - "NEW DELHI: Indoor air pollution caused by burning of traditional fuels like dung-cakes, wood and crop residues is causing considerable damage to the health of country's rural and semi-urban population with nearly half-a-million women and children dying each year.

India was among the countries which had the largest burden of disease due to the use of dirty household fuels and accounted for 28 per cent of all deaths due to indoor air pollution in developing countries, Dr H N Saiyed, Dr T S Patel and Dr V N Gokani, all from the National Institute of Occupational Health, Ahemedabad, said."

"UPDATE - Canada wants US greenhouse gas goals to be vigorous" - "TORONTO - Canada wants to be involved in the development of the new U.S. program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and expects the program will be vigorous, Environment Minister David Anderson said this week." (Reuters)

"European Parliament urges quick passage of Kyoto" - "STRASBOURG - The European Parliament urged the European Union this week to quickly ratify a landmark pact to curb global warming that has been spurned by Washington." (Reuters)

Getting sillier by the day I: "Climate Change Threatens Global Biodiversity" - "WASHINGTON, DC, February 7, 2002 - Two new reports by U.S. and international conservation groups detail the extensive threats to wildlife and biodiversity hotspots posed by global warming. Saying the studies provide further evidence that quick action is needed to combat climate change, the groups are calling on U.S. lawmakers to help cut greenhouse gas emissions by enacting higher fuel efficiency standards for cars and light trucks." (ENS)

II: "Olympic rain forest doomed by global warming, report fears" - "The rain forest of the Olympic Peninsula appears doomed by global warming, according to a report released yesterday by an environmental group and academic researchers. With the Bush administration about to do little about the world's changing climate, officials representing local governments from across the nation kicked off a meeting in Seattle where they are planning how to take on the issue at the local level. They pointed to Seattle as a model because the city has pledged to reduce its emissions of heat-trapping gases by one-fifth over the next eight years, and Seattle City Light aims to make its operations completely climate-friendly by next year." (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

III: "Winterless Olympics? (washingtonpost.com)" - "SALT LAKE CITY -- When the Winter Olympics opens tonight, both of us will be standing on the sidelines and cheering -- one as mayor of the host city, the other as merely a rabid fan of Nordic skiing. But for all the hoopla and speed and elegance, we also are both aware that the future of the Winter Games is in danger, because winter itself is in danger. The world's scientists have issued strong warnings about climate change in the past few years, and their computer models show clearly that, of all seasons, winter may change the most. Across the West, snow levels are expected to climb hundreds of feet up the mountains. In the East, according to a recent assessment by scientific researchers, the cross-country skiing and snowmobile industries "may become nonexistent by 2100."

"Green Alert, February 7, 2002 Vol. 1, No. 18" - "From time-to-time, the idea of managing forests to maximize their ability to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and sequester carbon in soil organic matter comes under fire as little more than a stopgap measure in the effort to mitigate global warming. Pearce (1999) refers to the concept as a dangerous delusion and says, "Planned new forests, called ‘carbon sinks,’ will swiftly become saturated with carbon and begin returning most of their carbon to the atmosphere." Pearce’s rationale is that rising temperatures will dramatically increase rates of soil respiration, thereby causing forest ecosystems to return CO2 to the atmosphere at a rate faster than they remove it via photosynthesis. Such thinking is not supported by real-world observations." (GES)

"Big study - no risk of Bt corn to monarchs" - "A consortium of federal, university and industry scientists led by the Agricultural Research Service has completed two years of research costing over US$200,000 to answer the question: Does Bt corn pose a threat to monarch butterflies? The answer, supported by science, is that there is no significant risk." (CheckBioTech)

"McCallum plans statewide push to land biotech research center" - "Gov. Scott McCallum plans to call Thursday for a statewide push to bring a federally funded biotechnology research center to Wisconsin and ask top University of Wisconsin officials to lead the effort." (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

"NZ Green Party challenges claim by food safety watchdog" - "New Zealand's Green Party has challenged a claim by a food safety watchdog that two new genetically modified foods are safe for human consumption. The Australia New Zealand Food Authority has called for public comment on its recommendations to approve Aventis GM canola and Monsanto GM corn, which have been modified to make them resistant to a specific herbicide. It says both varieties, which are grown overseas and used in processed food, are safe and free of allergens. But Greens' spokeswoman Sue Kedgley says both the French and the British have questioned whether existing safety tests on G-M foods are adequate and have called for research into the long-term impact of humans eating them." (ABC Radio Australia News)

February 7, 2002

Hmm... "UPDATE - US anti-biotech group targets Kraft Foods" - "CHICAGO - No. 1 U.S. food maker Kraft Foods Inc., whose brands include Oscar Mayer meats and Philadelphia cream cheese, is once again the target of a green group leading the charge against the use of genetically altered ingredients in commercial foods." (Reuters)

Reuters' Deborah Cohen provides extraordinarily sympathetic coverage for these flakes - portraying them as heroically leading the charge against the evil corporate empire. In reality they are simply extortionists looking for a deep pocket and trying to create hysteria as a weapon of convenience. Media with any integrity will simply tell these urban terrorists to go to hell.

After much searching, one item on this 'magnificent campaign' did surface: Dozens protest outside Safeway (Boulder Daily Camera)

While on the topic of wacky campaigns, here's the current For The Children® flight of fantasy from UCS (Union of Cranks and pSychotics ?):

"Going to School May be Hazardous to Our Children's Health" - "You pack their lunch and help them with their homework making sure your kids are healthy and happy. But did you know the school buses in your community might be hazardous to your children's health?"

Getting hit by a bus is a health hazard - riding one to school is not and this is pathetic even by For The Children® standards - but wait, there's more!

"Ads Take On Arsenic-Treated Wood" - "CLEARWATER - The children are smiling, but the words are bleak: Arsenic is poison. Beginning this weekend, motorists will see this simple but disturbing message as they whiz past a new billboard on U.S. 19 in Tarpon Springs. It is the first shot fired in a statewide campaign to stop the use of wood treated with an arsenic-laced preservative in the construction of playground equipment." (Tampa Tribune)

And here's the obligatory animal libbers piece:

"Guardian Unlimited | The Guardian | Protest fears halt animal research plan" - "Animal rights activists were jubilant last night after fear of mass protests caused a local council to throw out Cambridge University's plan to build a new primate experimentation laboratory. In a decision which will send tremors through life sciences departments and biotech labs up and down the country, South Cambridgeshire district council rejected the university's application to build the facility at Girton. The lab was intended to conduct research into brain diseases. This would have involved experiments on macacques and marmosets." | BBC News | ENGLAND | Lab rejected over protest fears

"UK's Blair slams 'media hysteria' on measles shot" - "LONDON, Feb 06 - The government has denied it is reviewing its policy on a triple measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine amid fears a drop in the number of children having the jab might spark a measles epidemic. Prime Minister Tony Blair's official spokesman on Wednesday insisted MMR--which some parents fear may be linked to autism and bowel disorders--was entirely safe and said it was used in more than 90 countries around the world." (Reuters)

"New warning of health risk from waste disposal sites" - "CLAIMS over serious health effects including cancer and birth defects from landfills and incinerators are highlighted in the first ever cross-border study into Ireland's waste management crisis. The report carried out by NUI Maynooth and Queen's University warns that leaks from landfills can release toxic chemicals, heavy metals, and bacteria into soil and water courses. This results "in long-term environmental contamination and human health problems," it says. But until new recycling technologies are found it will remain the best option for some wastes, it concludes." (Irish Independent)

"73 Senate Workers Report Illness (washingtonpost.com)" - "Seventy-three employees of the U.S. Senate have reported health problems including headaches, eye irritation and skin rash after handling irradiated mail, and the government has issued a cautionary advisory to 180,000 federal workers in the District."

"Mobile phone emissions increase worm fertility" - "The safety of mobile phones is under fresh scrutiny following the discovery that their emissions have an unexpected effect on living creatures. The finding throws out the strongest challenge yet to the widely held belief that heating from mobile phone signals is their only potential threat to brain cells. In lab tests, British scientists have found that microwave emissions typical of mobile phones make a type of worm more fertile." (New Scientist)

So, if you use a mobile phone, you may need deworming more frequently.

"Drug-resistant bacteria in pigs spread to people" - "NEW YORK, Feb 06 - Researchers in Taiwan are reporting that people are being infected with a strain of Salmonella enterica that is resistant to a family of potent antibiotics known as fluoroquinolones. "Our data strongly suggest that the inappropriate use of fluoroquinolones in animal feeds is the cause of the emergence in Taiwan of the resistance in Salmonella (enterica) serotype choleraesuis," said Dr. Cheng-Hsun Chiu of Chang Gung Children's Hospital in Taoyuan." (Reuters Health)

"UK coal power stations must go greener - minister" - "LONDON - Britain's energy minister this week said the future of coal-fired power stations in the UK rested on their ability to reduce pollution. "Coal still has a key role to play in generating electricity in the UK. But the way we extract power from coal must become kinder to the environment if we are to meet our commitments on reducing greenhouse gases and other polluting emissions," Brian Wilson said in a statement." (Reuters)

"Equatorial water belt slackens" - "A recent slowing in the circulation of Pacific Ocean waters could have raised Pacific sea surface temperatures. It may even mean that less carbon has reached the atmosphere from the ocean surface over the past two decades." (NSU)

"Signals mount that a new El Niño is gathering steam" - "The central tropical Pacific is in hot water. That means El Niño is knocking. Five years after the onset of the most intense El Niño on record, forecasters at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climate Prediction Center (CPC) are once again tracking conditions that herald another event. Yet for all the improvements in detecting its signals, the phenomenon remains a forecasting challenge, researchers say. "The El Niño-Southern Oscillation is probably the most predictable large-scale climate fluctuation on the planet, but our crystal ball is still blurry," acknowledges Michael McPhaden, a research meteorologist at NOAA's Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle." (Christian Science Monitor)

"Junk science is the last source of leverage Enron is counting on" - "By now, it is common knowledge Enron Corp. was lobbying the Bush administration for highly profitable policies relating to the Kyoto Protocol on global warming. In fact, the tatters of Enron still want the administration to place a cap on carbon dioxide emissions so the company can broker the trading of "permits" to emit carbon dioxide under that cap." (Patrick J. Michaels, National Post)

Gasp! "Research station finds 14% lift in carbon dioxide levels" - "A remote weather station in Australia has detected a dramatic increase in levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The Cape Grim Air Pollution Station, in the north-west of the island state of Tasmania, has recorded a 14 per cent rise in carbon dioxide levels over the last 25 years. Dr Paul Steele ... from Australia's peak science organisation, CSIRO ... says the increased concentration of carbon dioxide is due to both natural and man made causes. "The uncertainties come in being able to predict what will be the consequences of those changes on the climate ... how will plants respond to an atmosphere that's got double the amount of carbon dioxide that currently exists?" (ABC Radio Australia News)

Couldn't resist this one: "Groundbreaking Research Shows Global Warming Broadly Affecting U.S. Wildlife" - "WASHINGTON, Feb. 6 -- Global warming resulting from human activities will likely mean growing threats to our nation's wildlife, more trouble with invasive species, and significant environmental changes that jeopardize our quality of life in the near future, according to landmark research released by the National Wildlife Federation (NWF). This new science is particularly timely as the Bush administration prepares to release a global warming plan that may allow an increase in the nation's greenhouse gas emissions. "Global warming has come down to Earth for the wildlife right in our backyards," said Mark Van Putten, president of the National Wildlife Federation." (U.S. Newswire)

Yeah... you can tell by the blind rabbits in the backyard and the blind Patagonian sheep 'n stuff, eh?

"Global Warming Plan Due; White House Seeks Flexibility on Emissions Limits" - "The Bush administration is readying a proposal on global warming to issue before President Bush leaves for Asia next week, hoping to ease concerns by allies and environmentalists following the administration's rejection of the Kyoto accord restricting emissions." (Washington Post)

"U.S. Planning Gradual Curb on Emissions, Taking Years" - "After months of internal debate, the Bush administration has outlined a climate policy that calls for a far more gradual approach to global warming than the one in a 1997 treaty endorsed by most nations." (New York Times)

"US will not set target for cut in emissions" - "In a challenge to the rest of the world's increasing fears about the effect of climate change, the United States has decided not to set any targets for reducing its own massive emissions and to adopt "a gradual approach" instead." (The Guardian)

"Bush may push new Kyoto pact" - "When he visits Tokyo next week, President Bush may bring along a U.S. alternative to the Kyoto climate change treaty he spurned last year, The Washington Post said Wednesday." (Agence France-Presse)

"U.S. proposes 'Kyoto-lite' environmental program" - "WASHINGTON — The White House is preparing a go-slow alternative to the Kyoto treaty on global warming, administration officials said today. U.S. President George W. Bush, who leaves next Saturday for a five-day tour through Japan, Korea and China, is waiting for a recommendation from a cabinet-level working group, which was asked to find an alternative approach after he rejected the Kyoto accord last spring." (AP)

"Dhaliwal working on Kyoto credits" - "OTTAWA -- Newly appointed Natural Resources Minister Herb Dhaliwal says he's working to ensure that Canada gets environmental credits in global greenhouse gas reduction talks for exporting so-called clean energy, such as natural gas. "That's extremely important," he said in an interview, adding that credits will allow Canada "flexibility in terms of solutions" to meeting its Kyoto Protocol commitments. Alberta and Canadian oil and gas companies have been asking countries that have pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions under the Kyoto deal to let Canada offset its reduction obligations with credits for exports of natural gas, which is considered a cleaner energy." (Globe and Mail)

"Kyoto ratification crucial" - "Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi pledged in his policy speech Monday that he would push for the ratification of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which will launch a framework of international cooperation to curb global warming, during the current Diet session." (Yomiuri Shimbun)

"Higher taxes may be needed to meet Kyoto's reduced emissions targets" - "The Government may have to introduce fresh taxes on energy use if Britain is to have any hope of meeting its targets under the Kyoto Protocol for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, a think-tank warns today." (Independent)

"Wet winters will return" - "This year's mild and wet January will likely serve as a warning for the future. Climate researchers believe that Norway will be seeing far more precipitation in winters for the next 50-100 years." (Aftenposten)

Sea level rise? "Restoring a Sustainable Countryside" - "Abstract: Economists, politicians, farmers, consumers, and conservationists are all calling for drastic changes in agricultural policies. The current emphasis is on promoting agri-environment schemes, and recent work shows that, although some schemes can be beneficial, others generate negligible gains. An alternative is to combine carefully targeted agri-environment schemes with large-scale habitat restoration. Restoration provides the opportunity to deal with several problems simultaneously, such as sea-level rise, water-catchment protection, and flood defense. Pioneering schemes are showing that such restoration is possible, and there is now the opportunity to carry such restoration out more widely." (HMS Beagle)

"Organic farming tries to take root in Kenya" - "Mr. Wakane is one of a small but growing number of African farmers trying to tap into the $20 billion annual world market in premium organic foods. Africa trails world production - and Kenya, a major food exporter, trails the continent - in organics. It's something Wakane and others are trying to change. "The Ministry of Agriculture has not come up with a policy that really puts an emphasis on organic farming. It's the NGOs and farmers who are taking the initiative to go organic," says Kithinji Gitaari Boore, field manager for the Association for Better Land Husbandry (ABLH), a nonprofit group that works with farmers here. According to official statistics gathered by Germany's Foundation for Ecology and Agriculture, organic farms account for 2 percent of Europe's farmland, 0.22 percent in the US, and less than 3/1000ths of 1 percent in Africa." (Christian Science Monitor)

It may be true that 0.003% of African farmland is "registered organic" but it sure doesn't mean that 99.997% is mechanised, chemical-using, modern agriculture. The majority, that is, the subsistence-farming impoverished, are stuck with organic farming until they get assistance to modernise.

"Brazil may fine farmers for illegal GM soy" - "SAO PAULO - Nine farmers in Brazil's South may face prosecution by the public prosecutor's office for the illegal planting and sale of genetically modified soybeans, the Agriculture Minister said this week." (Reuters)

"Seeds of Doubt - Farmers embrace genetics, despite fears" - "Lured by the promise of bigger yields and cheaper weed control in 1996, U.S. farmers were the first to start growing genetically enhanced corn, soybeans, cotton and canola. Since then, the global area of modified crops has jumped more than 30-fold, to 115.7 million acres in 2001, according to the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications, an industry advocate." (Jeff Wilson, The Wall Street Journal)

"Rise of GM superweed 'a disaster for wildlife'" - "The spread of highly resistant "superweeds" in one of the world's most important bread baskets is being blamed on genetically modified crops. British scientists have documented more than a dozen cases of weeds in the heartland of the Canadian prairies that are immune to three leading brands of weedkiller. They believe that if similar GM crops were introduced in the UK, farmers might resort to old herbicides that are highly damaging to wildlife." (Independent)

February 6, 2002

"Skewed News; Fair and balanced coverage requires diversity of opinion" - "The hottest-selling book in America right now, "Bias: A CBS Insider Explains How the Media Distort the News" by Bernard Goldberg, is making a splash in the very media that are its target. Goldberg's claim that liberal bias is rife in television news and in major newspapers is hardly original; to most conservatives, it's about as surprising as the revelation that the pope is Catholic. But this charge is given extra weight and spice by Goldberg's background as a veteran CBS News correspondent." (Cathy Young, Reason) | Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News, By Bernard Goldberg

"Misclassification of death may influence perceived value of cancer screening" - "A statistical analysis of past randomized trials of cancer screening tests suggests that misclassifications in the cause of death may have biased the trial results in favor of screening. The findings appear in the Feb. 6 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute." (Journal of the National Cancer Institute)

"Utilities Are Ruled Liable for Pollution" - "SAN FRANCISCO -- Victims of contaminated water can sue utilities regulated by the state for violating safe drinking water standards, the California Supreme Court ruled unanimously Monday. The decision clears the way for victims of ground-water pollution across the state to seek financial compensation from private companies and public agencies that provide contaminated water." (LA Times)

"Study Discounts Halting Irrigation to Protect Fish" - "Government efforts to save rare fish in the Klamath River basin last year by stopping irrigation, which enraged farmers along the Oregon- California border, are not supported by science, according to a National Academy of Sciences study requested by the Bush administration." (New York Times)

"Report will affect Klamath water allocations, Norton says" - "GRANTS PASS, Ore. -- Future decisions on sharing water between Klamath Basin farmers and endangered fish will take into account criticism by the National Academy of Sciences of last year's irrigation cutbacks, Interior Secretary Gale Norton said yesterday." (AP)

"Lawsuit filed to remove Klamath Basin salmon from endangered list - 2 6 2002 - ENN.com" - "PORTLAND, Ore. — A law firm that successfully sued to remove Oregon coastal coho salmon from the endangered species list filed a lawsuit Tuesday to remove the same protection for Klamath Basin coho salmon. The Pacific Legal Foundation filed the federal lawsuit in Eugene and asked for a review by Judge Michael J. Hogan, who ruled in favor of the firm in the coastal coho case." (AP)

"Bush Would Cut EPA Budget to $7.7 Billion in 2003" - "WASHINGTON - The Bush administration on Monday proposed reducing the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) budget by about 4% to $7.7 billion in fiscal 2003, but pledged no cuts in enforcement of controversial Clean Air Act provisions. President George W. Bush, who has been criticized by green groups for rolling back some environmental programs during the past year, asked Congress to approve an EPA budget that is $300 million less than what lawmakers set for fiscal 2002." (Reuters)

"Measles study published" - "Controversial research which suggests that the measles virus may be linked to bowel disease in children with developmental disorders has been published in full. The journal Molecular Pathology is due to publish the work led by British scientist Dr Andrew Wakefield and Ireland-based expert Professor John O'Leary in April. However, it published full details on its website on Tuesday after details were trailed in the BBC television programme Panorama." (BBC Online)

"Pill helps obese lose weight" - "Scientists say they have developed a pill that can help obese people lose weight by speeding up their metabolism. The drug, which has been developed by a team of researchers at Monash University in Australia, is to be tested throughout the rest of the year." (BBC Online)

"CNN Party-Line News" - "In just the past week or so, ABC News, Fox News, and radio's Marketplace have run high-profile stories on the so-called obesity "epidemic," and The Providence Journal called for a stepped-up government war on fat. John Banzhaf of Action on Smoking and Health found venues to threaten lawsuits against restaurants, and Margo Wootan of the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) publicly linked food to tobacco. People magazine even let the violent extremist-linked animal rights front group Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, funded by PETA, spread vegan dogma in its pages.

Now, CNN Headline News has joined the anti-fat crusade. In a Twinkie-tax two-step, CNN HN has promoted the CSPI party line twice this week already. Monday the network blasted portion size, talking about the "super-sizing" of meals "two to five times" as large now as in the past. No restaurant industry viewpoint was presented.

And this morning, Ted Turner's CNN HN ran a piece on "food porn" -- that's "foods so fatty they're nasty." The story consisted entirely of a recitation of CSPI's statistics on the fat and sodium content of various foods -- though CSPI's motives and goals were never questioned. The story even borrowed the term "food porn" from a regular feature in CSPI's Nutrition Action Health newsletter -- which CNN HN urged viewers to read, even giving out CSPI's web address.

What about the other side of the story? When one vendor told CNN HN that the snack platter CSPI slammed was meant to be shared, not eaten by a lone individual, CNN's "objective" reporter mocked the response." (Center For Consumer Freedom)

"Tanning lamps may increase risks of skin cancers" - "Users of tanning lamps may have an increased incidence of skin cancers and younger users may be at greatest risk, report Dartmouth Medical School (DMS) researchers. "The growing popularity of artificial tanning (for non medical reasons) among adolescents and young adults is cause for concern," says first author Margaret R. Karagas, PhD, a DMS epidemiologist who is associate professor of community and family medicine and associate director of the Center for Environmental Health Sciences at Dartmouth." (Journal of the National Cancer Institute)

"El Nino Taking Baby Steps" - "The disruptive El Nino weather system seems increasingly likely to develop anew, weather experts said Tuesday. Scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said they have observed a slow trend toward El Nino, as below-normal sea surface temperatures in the central equatorial Pacific have given way to above-normal readings." (AP)

"BBC News | WALES | New ideas needed to prevent floods" - "The Welsh Assembly's environment minister has blamed climate change for the serious flooding which has hit the country, saying long term planning is needed to prevent the worst effects."

Doh! It just gets worse and worse! "New Study Projects Declining U.S. Carbon Sink" - "DURHAM, N.H. — In a new study, scientists suggest that atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide could increase over the next century at an even faster rate than previously projected, due to a diminishing U.S. carbon sink.

The study, which appears in the Feb. 5 issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, estimates that the U.S. carbon sink will decrease to one-third its current size over the next century, under an optimistic scenario, and could actually become a source of atmospheric carbon dioxide, in the worst case." (University of New Hampshire)

"Clouds in the Climate Models; Do the tropics hold the secret to a cooler world?" - "Is there a natural heat vent in the clouds over the tropics that may substantially cool down projected man-made global warming? Possibly yes, according to a study published last spring in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (BAMS) by Massachusetts Institute of Technology climatologist Richard Lindzen and his colleagues at NASA’s Goddard Spaceflight Center." (Ronald Bailey, Reason)

"Where Did the Plants and Animals of the Verdant Mid-Holocene Sahara Go?" - "Summary: Their more recalcitrant constituents went down the river to be buried in the mud at the bottom of the sea, while the carbon dioxide given off by their decomposition, according to the authors of a provocative new study, was wafted into the atmosphere, there to create an enhanced potential for its future return to the animated portion of the biosphere via the CO2 that makes possible the existence of almost all life on earth." (co2science.org)

Book Review: "Geological Perspectives of Global Climate Change" - "Scientific Advisor Dr. M. Mihkel Mathiesen reviews Geological Perspectives of Global Climate Change, No. 47 in the Studies in Geology series of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, which was produced in collaboration with the Kansas Geological Survey and the AAPG Division of Environmental Geosciences with contributions from the U.S. Geological Survey. And guess what? He liked it!" (co2science.org)

"Tropical Storm and Hurricane Strikes of the Southeast U.S. Coast" - "Summary: Climate alarmists tell us that a warmer globe will bring more storms. Real-world data tell us something vastly different. Journal of Coastal Research 17: 949-956." (co2science.org)

"Do Urban CO2 Domes Contribute to Urban Heat Islands?" - "Summary: Urban heat islands can be huge, with some large cities exhibiting near-surface air temperatures more than 10°C greater than those observed over surrounding rural areas. Surely some of that mammoth amount of extra heat must come from the greenhouse effect of the elevated CO2 concentrations regularly observed over cities ... right? Well, we have to admit, some of it does. Geophysical Research Letters 28: 4599-4601." (co2science.org)

"Coring Sediments From 7-Million-Year-Old Lake Malawi" - "Scientists from four U.S. universities next year will core deep into arguably the longest and richest archive of Earth's climate -- an untapped year-by-year continuous record going back millions of years in a part of the world that may drive global climate. This is the same part of the world where humans first evolved. Enabled by a newly developed and affordable deep-lake drilling system called GLAD800, they will for the first time core sediments from the bottom of one of the African Great Lakes, 7-million-year-old Lake Malawi." (UniSci)

"SATELLITES TRACKING CLIMATE CHANGES AND LINKS TO DISEASE OUTBREAKS IN AFRICA" - "By observing climate variability from space with satellites, scientists are working to determine where disease epidemics are likely to occur on Earth.

In a pair of recent reports, NASA earth scientists have studied weather changes and subsequent outbreaks of two viral hemorrhagic fevers prevalent in Africa: Rift Valley Fever (RVF) and Ebola. The diseases are dissimilar -Ebola only afflicts people in tropical forest areas, while RVF is deadly to livestock and occasionally to people in semi-arid regions. But both are more likely to spread when the right climatic conditions exist-conditions which can be observed by satellite months in advance." | SATELLITES VS. MOSQUITOES: TRACKING WEST NILE VIRUS IN THE U.S. (NASA/GSFC)

"Dialogue: Signing the Kyoto Protocol blind not the way to go" - "For New Zealand, the key Kyoto question is the timing and quality of policy work that must precede the decision to ratify. What is in the best interests of this country and how do we best fit these interests into the international response to global warming? So far the Government has largely been flying blind - determined to reach the end point (ie, ratify) but not aware of the costs. It may make good politics, but it is not sound economic strategy or risk management." (New Zealand Herald)

"Bush Administration Has Modest Goals for Greenhouse Gas" - "WASHINGTON - The United States, which last year rejected a global climate treaty, said on Tuesday it wants to set a "reasonable, gradual" goal to slow its emissions of greenhouse gases and link them to economic output. "We need to recognize that it makes sense to discuss slowing emission growth before trying to stop and eventually reverse it," the White House Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) said in a report analyzing the overall U.S. economy." (Reuters)

"Rise in Anglo-German CO2 Emissions Accelerates" - "LONDON, UK, February 4, 2002 (ENS) - German and British carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions rose in 2001 for the second year running, and in both countries by more than in 2000, according to independent forecasters." (ENS)

"UK sets utilities new targets on saving energy" - "LONDON - British households could save over 100 pounds ($141.7) a year on their heating bills after the government this week set new efficiency targets for energy companies. The government's Energy Efficiency Commitment (EEC) programme, which starts in April, is expected to cost utilities 500 million pounds ($708.7 million) as they take measures to meet efficiency targets between 2002 and 2005, energy regulator Ofgem said in a statement. The EEC forms part of the government's programme to reduce pollution and to benefit people on low incomes." (Reuters)

"Plan to cut emissions violations at Thermal requires $1.2M - Tuesday, 02 05 02" - "The Nashville Thermal Transfer Plant management will deliver a plan to the Metro Health director today that will cost more than $1 million to bring the garbage-burning plant into compliance with environmental emissions regulations. General Manager Floyd Mitchell said the plan will include work to make the plant more reliable. Mitchell said he will deliver the plan to Metro Health Director Dr. Stephanie Bailey today, meeting the deadline she set." (The Tennessean)

"Officials defend science behind lower speed limit" - "As some motorists strive to change old habits and others vow civil disobedience, the new 55-mph speed limit -- intended to help cure Houston's notorious smog problem -- is under attack as nothing more than junk science." (Houston Chronicle)

"DOE begins international effort to sequence tree genome" - "OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Feb. 4, 2002 -- Cottonwoods, hybrid poplars and aspens could play a role in improving the environment, displacing imported oil and creating domestic jobs, but first scientists from the Department of Energy, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and around the world have to sequence the Populus genome." (Oak Ridge National Laboratory)

"Survey: 87% of Bt Corn Growers Meet EPA Guidelines" - "A survey to measure if U.S. corn growers understand Bt-corn management guidelines established by the U.S. EPA, reveals that 87% of growers who planted Bt corn in 2001 meet the guidelines. The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) says the results show corn growers understand the need to following good management practices.

The survey also found that 89% - up from 82% in 2000 – of those surveyed met the requirement that all their Bt cornfields be within one-half mile of a non-Bt field. The EPA requires growers of Bt corn to plant at least 20% of their acreage with non-Bt hybrids in the Corn Belt. In the Cotton Belt, the requirement is 50% because Bt cotton can also be planted nearby. In each area, growers are also required to plant their refuge within a half-mile of the Bt field, preferably within a quarter mile of the field." (AgWeb.com)

"Biotech firms in UK pledge more openness on crops" - "LONDON, Feb 5 - More than 67 percent of British people feel they do not know enough about genetically modified foods, said a report released on Tuesday by six biotechology companies who took some of the blame for poor information. The Agricultural Biotechnology Council (abc), a new group formed by Monsanto, Aventis , BASF AG , Dow AgroSciences, Dupont Co. and Syngenta AG, admitted to unclear communication with the public. They offered to act on the government's calls for a public debate on the technology. Most of the companies have been waiting for years to know whether their new strains of modified crops such as maize, soy and cotton can be sold in the European Union." (Reuters)

"Gov't blasted for lack of action on GMO foods" - "OTTAWA - Several groups are criticizing the federal government for its stand on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in food. Greenpeace and other health groups say the government has a "cosy" relationship with the biotechnology industry, while others complain it's not doing enough to regulate the industry. Greenpeace Canada and the Canadian Health Coalition say Agriculture Canada has spent at least $3.3 million promoting modified foods, telling consumers that they are safe to eat." (CBC)

February 5, 2002

Health Facts and Fears is now live - click on in.

Uh-huh... "Displaced and dismayed; Mold shuts Brownsville schools, costs millions" - "BROWNSVILLE -- Schools should be bustling this time of year, but in the Rio Grande Valley many sit quietly. The discovery of mold has forced more than 3,200 students into temporary classrooms for months at a time and prompted millions of dollars worth of cleanups.

The mold infestations also have prompted a spate of lawsuits, including a $20 million settlement at a high school where 1,600 students and staff say they were harmed by mold.

School districts are suing the companies that built the schools and installed the air conditioning units, accusing them of negligence. Parents, students, teachers and staff are suing, too, contending the mold has made them sick." (Houston Chronicle)

So when are they going after the psychotics who promote and enforce "energy efficient/green" (read: "lacking adequate ventilation") building codes?

"Onward Vegan Soldiers" - "Round up the usual suspects.

We've told you about the involvement of John Banzhaf of Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) in the new war against obesity. Saying "people are wondering if tactics used against the tobacco industry very successfully… could be used against the problem of obesity," Banzhaf and his George Washington University law students are now suing McDonald's. (Banzhaf paid himself over $175,000 from ASH funds in 2000. Now that tobacco has been squeezed, he's looking for a new industry to bleed dry.)

But another of the groups we monitor at ActivistCash.com is now getting in on the anti-fat game. Brie Turner-McGrievy, the 26-year-old "staff dietician" for the Physicians Committee on Responsible Medicine (PCRM) -- who is not a doctor -- is blaming September 11 for obesity, telling People magazine that "comfort foods" are the culprit. The vegan mouthpiece then goes on to promote a buffet of non-meat, non-dairy options to readers under the guise of health advice. (The mag even shows a photo of a stern Turner-McGrievy "at home with her husband and banned foods.") No surprise there: PCRM is an animal rights front group funded by a PETA-linked foundation, and with ties to animal rights terrorists.

Looks like the only things PCRM is doctoring are the facts." (Center For Consumer Freedom)

"Cave men diets offer insights to today's health problems, study shows" - "WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Eat meat. That's the dietary advice given by a team of scientists who examined the dietary role of fat in a study that combined nutritional analysis with anthropologic research about the diets of ancient hunter-gatherer societies. But there's a catch: To be as healthy as a cave man you have to eat certain kinds of fish, wild game such as venison, or grass-fed meat such as beef." (Purdue News) | Experts offer the skinny on search for healthy fat

"Eat your veggies: Indirect anti-oxidants provide long-term protection" - "A cancer-preventing compound in broccoli, first isolated a decade ago at Hopkins, may prove to protect against a much broader spectrum of diseases. A new study shows that the compound, sulforaphane, helps cells defend themselves for days against highly reactive and toxic molecules called oxidants." (JHMI)

"The Seattle Times: Local News: Insecticide on sale as EPA ban nears" - "Federal officials are phasing out the insecticide diazinon because of risks to people and the environment, but at The Home Depot recently, homeowners could buy it at bargain-basement prices. During a clearance sale a few weeks ago, The Home Depot in South Seattle featured liquid diazinon for 10 cents a half-gallon and granulated diazinon marked down from $12.99 to 6 cents a sack."

"New Flood Control Rules Muddy the Local Waters" - "Neither good science nor good technology exists today to test for or remove all the possible contaminants flowing into the county-operated flood control system from lawn watering and cars driving on city streets. Yet cities throughout Los Angeles County are about to be hit with a "storm water tax" of up to $53 billion over the next 10 years to attempt what may be impossible--to make the waters of the Los Angeles River fishable, swimmable and potentially drinkable. But should they be? What if the cost means less money for parks, police, housing and community services?" (LA Times)

"Endangered Fish May Not Need More Water-Panel" - "EUGENE, Ore. - A decision to protect endangered Oregon fish by holding back irrigation water from farmers last summer was not justified by scientific evidence, a panel of experts who advise the U.S. government said on Monday." (Reuters)

"Scientific Report Roils a Salmon War" - "The National Academy of Sciences has concluded that federal biologists had no scientific justification for their efforts to protect endangered fish by withholding water from farmers in the drought-ravaged Klamath Basin of the Pacific Northwest last year, a potentially explosive development in the nation's most intense environmental battle." (Washington Post)

"Experts Say Farms, Not Fish, Should Get Disputed Water" - "SACRAMENTO -- The National Academy of Sciences has determined that federal regulators erred by sharply limiting water to the Klamath Basin's drought-stricken farmers last summer to save endangered fish." (LA Times)

"Senate Democrats discuss plan to increase fuel efficiency" - "WASHINGTON - Some Senate Democrats have been discussing a plan that would require automakers to increase fuel efficiency by up to 56 percent for some vehicles. Cars and light trucks would have to average 37 miles per gallon by the 2014 model year under the plan, outlined in a memo for Democrats on the Senate Commerce Committee. A copy was obtained Monday by The Associated Press." (AP)

"Freeze CAFE" - "Signs are increasing that the recession has bottomed. Home sales are surging, new unemployment claims are dropping, consumer confidence is rising. The typical recession lasts about a year, and the worst one since World War II lasted 16 months. So, if history is a guide, this recession — which officially started last March — should be over by spring or, at latest, summer.

But don't get too comfortable. A major threat to the economy remains — from a movement that calls itself conservationist and environmentalist but that, at its core, is both authoritarian and reactionary. It wants to run your life, and it wants to return to a romanticized state of nature that would leave billions of people with no hope that economic growth can pull them out of poverty. And what this movement has in mind is not a biological or geological environment, but a political one — inimical to human freedom." (James K. Glassman, Washington Times)

"Small Is Brutal" - "The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently said that it would not act to generate stricter fuel standards for automobiles and light trucks. This stirred dismay in some environmental circles, but joy for those who want to make up their own mind how to get from Pont A to Point B." (Herbert Inhaber, Tech Central Station)

"Wrong at the Core" - "Ice core records drilled from Antarctica and Greenland hold a treasure of information on the vicissitudes of ancient climate and the interaction between the air's carbon dioxide and its temperature. But contrary to popular belief, those records reaching back 400,000 years cannot support the hypothesis that the air's recent carbon dioxide increases will cause a cataclysmic global warming.

For the last several million years, the climate has been in an ice age that exhibits a discernible pattern. There are roughly 100,000-year glacial periods relieved by brief 10,000-year-long respites of warmth. During the glacial periods, the average global temperature is lower by approximately 8 degrees C than in the interglacials. The recent warm interglacial period -- called the Holocene -- is ending." (Sallie Baliunas, Tech Central Station)

Well, even SciAm's heard: "Studies Raise Questions about Climate Change" - "Climate prediction just got trickier, according to two new studies appearing in the current issue of the journal Science. Analysis of more than two decades of satellite data shows that more sunlight entered the tropics and more heat escaped to space in the 1990s than a decade earlier. Moreover, current climate models fail to account for the new findings, suggesting that they may contain more uncertainty than previously thought." (SciAm)

but, wackier by the day: "Report forecasts koala extinction" - "Koalas and gum trees will be extinct within decades unless greenhouse gas emissions were immediately reduced, a new report has found. Warnings from the Bush, released by the Climate Action Network Australia (CANA), contains dire predictions for the future of 90 of Australia's best loved plants and animals, including the state emblems of Victoria (Leadbeater's possum), South Australia (hairy-nosed wombat) and Queensland (koala). The report, a collation of the past 10 years of scientific research on Australia's environment, said unchecked global warming would wreak havoc on the World Heritage-listed Kakadu, the Wet Tropics, the Great Barrier Reef and the Blue Mountains. Hotter temperatures would also wipe out many species of gum trees, allow the rampant spread of native and feral weeds and increase the likelihood of bushfires similar to those experienced in NSW over Christmas." (AAP)

"A bright spot in the battle against climate change" - "Despite the bickering over the Kyoto Protocol, environmental experts say progress has been made in one area – reducing ozone depletion" (swissinfo.org)

We don't know if there's really any 'missing' stratospheric ozone but the good news is: if it is, it'll be back within ~5 decades, give or take a few millennia.

Latest issue of Environment & Climate News is now online (Heartland Institute)

"UK unlikely to meet targets on cutting CO2 - report" - "LONDON - Britain is likely to miss its targets for reducing CO2 emissions because power generators are switching to burning cheaper but more polluting coal instead of cleaner natural gas, a report said yesterday." (Reuters)

"UK appoints former oil boss to push emissions trade" - "LONDON - Britain yesterday appointed a former oil company boss to promote the government's soon-to-be-launched pollution trading scheme to business. Britain wants greenhouse gas emissions, blamed by many scientists for contributing to global warming, to fall by 23 percent from 1990 levels by 2010." (Reuters)

"How to get clean air at less cost" - "Congress is preparing new legislation to limit power plant emissions as if it were writing a recipe for a cake. Sen. James Jeffords, Vermont independent and chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, has enough support from other Northeastern senators to move out of committee a bill specifying identical 75 percent emissions cuts for two pollutants that cause similar environmental problems —nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulfur dioxide (SO2). The Bush administration soon will announce its support for a similar approach to these pollutants. These proposals are likely to raise emission control costs unnecessarily because they prescribe identical proportional cuts in different types of emissions.

Congress should instead adopt a more economically sensible approach that allows the mix of emissions to change but keeps air quality constant at the new level." (Randall Lutter, Washington Times)

"The Age: The cloning business begins to build a market" - "Animal cloning has become big business. Last month, two dairy bulls cloned from an Albury animal were reportedly offered for sale at $400,000 each. The copies were for export with more clones to be produced in the next few months. The company also plans to clone racehorses. But cloning - the replication of a living organism - remains in its infancy with a great deal still unknown."

"The Age: Monash program may become endangered species" - "A program that saves the genetic material of threatened animal species faces a bleak future because of a lack of money. The Gene Bank at Monash Institute of Reproduction and Development has material from thousands of animals in storage, mostly Australian natives facing extinction. But work on storing new animal specimens and developing cloning techniques that could mean the survival of some species has been slowed because there is no direct funding and little interest from corporate or private sponsors."

"First transgenic mouse from India gets US patent" - "NEW DELHI: Scientists here have engineered and tested a new mouse model that develops liver cancer in just 12 to 20 weeks much faster than any of the existing mouse models. It is the first transgenic animal from India for medical research ever to get a US patent (No 6274788). The arrival of this new transgenic mouse should speed up drug development for liver cancer induced by the hepatitis-B virus (HBV) and hopefully help development of gene therapy for liver cancer, its developers claim." (Times of India)

"Call for GM food safety tests" - "Safety checks for GM foods should be improved, says the UK's leading body of scientists. GM foods pose "negligible" risk to human health but there should be tighter regulations to reassure consumers, says a Royal Society report." (BBC Online)

Regulations don't reassure consumers. The perceived need for regulation destroys consumer confidence, which is exactly why the organic food industry and their various front groups constantly howl for regulation of biotech-enhanced foodstuffs (because biotech "out-organics" organics while being vastly more productive and thus saving vast areas of wildlife habitat).

"GMO labelling might decrease global food safety" - "Kim Nill, the biotechnology and technical director of the American Soybean Association (ASA), fears that mandatory GMO labelling would have adverse impacts on global food safety.

Nill's analysis of the Codex standard calling for special labelling of GMO products shows that this would reduce the use of biotechnology crops and thereby decrease the safety of food supply. Food manufacturers and consumers will be driven to less safety options as a result of a mandatory GMO labelling thus, undermining Codex's goals to improve food safety." An examination of current agricultural production practices reveals however, that foods produced prior to the advent of the new biotechnology had significant risk inherent in their creation and production." (Crop Biotech Update)

"GM crops inevitable" - "SCOTLAND must face up to the growing importance of genetically modified crops, the president of the Royal Society of Edinburgh warned on the eve of a major report on the issue being published. Sir William Stewart said: "GM crops are hugely important for Scotland and will become more so. We have got to get it right, but there is no use in being ostrich-like, because they are not going to go away." (The Scotsman)

"Right direction on GM foods" - "ARE we getting any clarity in the great GM foods debate? Yes, thanks to yesterday’s report from the highly respected Royal Society, the first real independent "think tank" on matters scientific. The society says that current GM crops pose "negligible" risk to health but that there should still be tighter regulations to reassure consumers.

Professor Jim Smith, who chaired the working group, said: "We have looked at all of the available research, and found nothing to suggest that the process of genetic modification makes potential foodstuffs inherently unsafe." But he went on to note: "We fully support the public’s right to know that all new foods are subjected to rigorous safety and nutritional checks." (The Scotsman)

"Scientists signal GM food setback" - "SUPPORTERS of genetically modified foods were dealt a damaging blow yesterday as the UK’s leading body of scientists produced an unexpectedly critical report on the contentious issue. The Royal Society acknowledged public concerns over GM foods, calling for tougher regulations before they were passed as safe to eat. It also recognised the potential dangers to the health of babies, who are particularly vulnerable to changes in the nutritional content of their food. It recommended re-examining UK and European Union law to ensure rigorous testing of any GM ingredients considered for use in infant formula. Environmentalists, who had expected a more pro-GM stance, said the report represented a major U-turn by the scientific community." (The Scotsman)

"Rogue GM plant warning" - "GM crops in Canada are in danger of creating nuisance weeds, says a UK conservation body. New research shows that herbicide-resistant oilseed rape crops are cross-breeding at the edge of fields. The plants are accumulating extra genes and are rapidly becoming resistant to agrochemical sprays, says English Nature." (BBC Online)

"French report sees little risk from GM sugar beet" - "PARIS, Feb 4 - Genetically modified sugar beet poses very little risk of contaminating other crops and so can be considered safe to grow on a wider basis, a French government advisory panel said in a report. The report said the same was not true for GM rapeseed, however, and it recommended at least two more years of field trials to assess the risks of genetically modified (GM) rapeseed pollen spreading to other plants. The report came after France's food safety agency last year discovered traces of GM material in several conventional crops. French opponents of GMs destroyed more than 10 experimental fields last year." (Reuters)

"Brazil GMO ban may be in place till 2003" - "Big money is at stake for bioscience-seed companies like Monsanto Co, the only company so far to seek approval to sell its trademark Roundup Ready soy in the vast GMO-free country, the world's No. 2 soy grower and exporter. Lack of consensus among the three branches of government, legal red tape on food labeling, the upcoming presidential election and the resistance to GMOs by nongovernmental groups will be difficult obstacles to overcome." (Reuters)

"UPDATE - China, US officials hold GMO talks in Beijing" - "BEIJING - Chinese Minister of Agriculture Du Qinglin said yesterday he hoped China and the United States would reach an agreement on the issue of bio-engineered foods in talks this week in Beijing." (Reuters)

"Activists block US soybean shipment in Philippines" - "MANILA - Environmental group Greenpeace said on the weekend their campaigners blocked the unloading of 17,000 tonnes of soybeans from the United States, saying the product was genetically engineered." (Reuters)

February 4, 2002

"BBC smallpox terror drama 'is alarmist'" - "THE BBC has been accused of scaremongering about the dangers of biological terrorism in a new drama-documentary to be shown next week." (The Times)

At least The Times' Mark Henderson had the good sense to consult Junkman et al for a reality check.

"Talks begin on removing wood with arsenic-based pesticides from market - 2 1 2002 - ENN.com" - "WASHINGTON – Wood decks, playground equipment and picnic tables treated with a preservative containing arsenic could be taken off the market soon. Talks under way between federal regulators and lumber industry officials focus on chromated copper arsenate, or CCA, a powerful pesticide used to protect lumber from decay and insect damage. The Environmental Protection Agency implemented a rule last fall that required labeling of all pieces of CCA-treated wood, which also is commonly found in railings, fences, posts and docks." (AP)

"More chemicals feared at Trade Center site - 2 1 2002 - ENN.com" - "NEW YORK – When the World Trade Center crumbled, the spotlight was on its two majestic towers, not on 7 World Trade Center – a building that stood and collapsed in their shadows.

But 7 WTC was toxic.

It housed two electrical substations owned by Con Edison. And they contained 109,000 gallons (413,000 liters) of oil and hundreds of pounds (kilograms) of potentially dangerous chemicals set loose when the building fell.

Trace amounts of PCBs, a carcinogen, and larger quantities of sulfuric acid, a possible carcinogen and respiratory irritant, were among the hazards." (AP)

"The Seattle Times: Editorials & Opinion: Wheat growers need herbicide to fight noxious weeds" - "This is a critical time for those of us who work to control "noxious" weeds across the state. State regulators are moving to make decisions and potentially place restrictions on a tool that is essential for us to successfully battle these harmful weeds.

Most people learned of this situation from recent news reports about a few gardeners' tomato plants that have been stunted because the compost they used contained traces of a herbicide. Immediately, some people wanted to get rid of the herbicide, and now regulators are working to respond."

"Concern as MMR report is delayed" - "The publication of a report looking at concerns surrounding the triple vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella is to be delayed. The findings of the group of Scottish experts should have been made public at the end of this month." (BBC Online)

"New research fuels MMR debate" - "The doctor who publicly voiced concerns about the safety of MMR has produced new research to back up his theory that the vaccine is linked to autism. However, scientists - including the editor of the journal in which the new research is to be published - are adamant that it does not prove the triple jab causes autism and bowel disease in some children." (BBC Online)

Today's twaddle: "Is human evolution finally over?" - "For those who dream of a better life, science has bad news: this is the best it is going to get. Our species has reached its biological pinnacle and is no longer capable of changing." (The Observer)

"BBC News | ENGLAND | Waste hitch threatens Trident refit" - "The European Commission (EC) has questioned the legality of increasing radioactive discharges from Devonport naval dockyard in Plymouth. The challenge could delay the yard's first Trident submarine refit, due to begin within days. It is also understood the UK government has yet to approve a decision to allow a 500% increase in radioactive tritium into the River Tamar - the boundary between Devon and Cornwall. The tritium builds up in the nuclear reactors of submarines and is purged during overhauls."

Enviro-whine du jour: "Greenest Games Ever? Not!" - "SAN FRANCISCO -- It will cost nearly $2 billion to stage the Salt Lake City Olympics--almost $800,000 per athlete--with U.S. taxpayers picking up about a quarter of the tab. Partly due to increased security, the Utah Games, which start on Feb. 8 and continue for 17 days, will be the most expensive Winter Olympics ever. "These are not wasted funds," says International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Jacques Rogge. Such an investment, he says, leaves a "great legacy" to Olympic cities." (LA Times)

"Farmers turned park-keepers" - "UK farmers are struggling to survive the impact of the foot-and-mouth epidemic, and the underlying problem of falling prices; the exchequer is burdened with farm subsidies; consumers are distrustful of mass-produced food; and the public wants access to a well-kept countryside." (James Heartfield, sp!ked)

"EPA says more fines collected under Bush than Clinton" - "WASHINGTON - The Bush administration, criticized by green groups for its business-friendly approach to environmental regulation, said Thursday it collected more money in pollution fines in fiscal 2001 than the Clinton administration did in the previous year." (Reuters)

"Interior chief wants to encourage private conservation - 2 1 2002 - ENN.com" - "WASHINGTON Interior Secretary Gale Norton announced plans Thursday for a new $100 million program aimed at encouraging private landowners to take up conservation projects with public land managers and local communities."

"'Saving' Wild Salmon's Bucket-Born Cousins" - "ALSEA, Ore., Jan. 30 — There are wild salmon in rivers across the Pacific Northwest, fish that spawn in gravel beds and grow in the rushing fresh water. Then they head deep into the Pacific Ocean before journeying back to spawn — and die — in the streams where they were born.

There are also salmon that complete a similar voyage, though they are born in and return to a different place, a government-run hatchery. Spawned in plastic pails, raised in concrete pools, they are the majority in many Northwestern rivers now, as their wild cousins battle extinction.

But because the wild and hatchery salmon are of the same species, they are at the heart of a legal battle over the issue of extinction, and of just how much should be done to protect and restore the habitat that wild salmon need to spawn. The question is this: What is the difference between wild fish and hatchery ones?" (New York Times)

"NASA extinguishes global-warming fire -- The Washington Times" - "It really happened. The NASA scientist who lit the bonfire of the global warming vanities with his flamboyant congressional testimony 14 years ago, has turned the hose on its dying embers." (Patrick Michaels)

For crying out loud! "Antarctica becomes too hot for the penguins" - "Penguins are starting to desert parts of Antarctica because the icy wastes are getting too hot. The numbers of adelie penguins on the Antarctic peninsula – the most northerly part of the frozen continent – are falling as global warming takes hold. And experts predict that, as the climate change continues, they may abandon much of the 900-mile-long promontory altogether." (The Independent)

The Antarctic Peninsula (about 2% of the Antarctic Continent) may be enjoying some localised warming (likely due to changes in ocean currents) but Antarctica is actually cooling and more penguins are suffering from cold and excessive ice conditions than not. Global warmers are really scraping the bottom of the globe now.

Desperate days for the global warming industry: "Man turns up heat on rainforest" - "QUEENSLAND stands to lose half its Wet Tropics highland rainforest and many of its rarest animals because of global warming, a major report has found. Even the state's emblem, the koala, was at risk because of rising carbon dioxide levels, which could strip the gum leaf of its nutritional value for many vulnerable species. The report, to be launched today by Climate Action Network Australia, represents one of the most comprehensive pictures yet of the local ecological effects of global warming – the phenomenon driven by burning fossil fuels." (Courier-Mail)

"Cellucci responds" - "Ottawa -- Whether Canada will ratify the Kyoto Convention or choose another route to address climate change is a Canadian decision for Canadians to make. The headline Canada Shouldn't Ratify Kyoto, U.S. Envoy Says (Jan. 26) was a fanciful interpretation of my responses to questions from a Globe and Mail reporter. The point I actually made was that the best way to solve climate-change problems is to work together." (Paul Celluci, Globe and Mail)

"smh.com.au - Editorial: Risky energy move" - "It passed with little fanfare, but the State Government has taken a major step into the unknown in its bid to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the power industry. It is to be commended for taking a lead but the move is fraught with risk - not the least because NSW is now at odds with the Federal Government. Canberra's plans are in disarray because of its opposition to the Kyoto protocol to reduce greenhouse gases. All the major parties to the protocol have now agreed on an international regime to cut emissions. Meetings late last year saw agreement on areas of interest to Australia, such as using carbon sinks to "clean" the air. Even though Australia won a number of concessions, it was still not willing to ratify the protocol."

"Japan CO2 emissions up 1.1 pct yr/yr in 2000/01" - "TOKYO - Japan's emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) due to energy consumption in the fiscal year ended March 2001 rose by 1.1 percent from a year earlier to about 1.16 billion tonnes, the Trade Ministry said." (Reuters)

"German CO2 emissions up 1.5 pct in 2001-Germanwatch" - "FRANKFURT - Germany's carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions rose by 1.5 percent in 2001 due to the operation of new brown coal plants in the former East German states and the increased use of heating oil by homeowners, an environmental lobby group said last week. Bonn-based Germanwatch said the decision to build the new coal plants by the previous government, as part of its policy to restructure the region after the country's reunification in 1989, was now impacting on the climate protection goals of the present government." (Reuters)

"Renewable energy to drive French power investments" - "PARIS - France said last week it would boost investment in renewable energy including wind power and curb energy demand to prevent electricity shortfalls over the next nine years." (Reuters)

"Renewable Energy shares feel investor wrath" - "MELBOURNE - Australian Renewable Energy Corp Ltd shares plunged to a three-year share price low last week as investors showed their willingness to punish green energy stocks that fail to live up to expectations." (Reuters)

"Farmers' organic dreams turn sour" - "DAIRY farmers are being forced to sell organic milk as cheaper "ordinary" milk because demand is so low. Hundreds of milk producers who followed the Government's advice to "go organic" are now selling at a loss and could face financial ruin because of oversupply. Some organic lamb and beef farmers are also facing a similar lack of demand for their products. The problems facing chemical-free farmers have emerged just days after the Government's policy commission into the future of farming, headed by Sir Don Curry, advocated a widescale move to organic farming to safeguard the industry." (Telegraph, UK)

"Activists swoon for leftist heroes at Brazil forum" - "PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil - They may be rumpled intellectuals or gruff idealists, but to many of the left-of-center activists gathered in Brazil they are the heroes of a movement that hopes to change the world. Last year, Jose Bove, a tough French farmer and anti-globalization activist, stole the show in Porto Alegre, Brazil, by uprooting genetically-modified crops at a nearby farm." (Reuters)

"Activists: Rules threaten farming" - "PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil — Ask Wilson Campos about intellectual property rights and the Costa Rican will tell you they are designed by multinational companies to make farmers like him dependent on expensive, patented seeds. Campos and other activists at the World Social Forum, a gathering intended to counter the business elite's World Economic Forum in New York, argued Saturday that the whole international system of patent, copyright and trademark protection favors rich, industrialized nations and their corporations over the globe's poor." (AP)

"Is Biologist Barry Commoner a Mutant?; Apparently old radicals never die--nor do they fade away" - "Longtime radical activist and biologist Barry Commoner has just published a preposterous article in the February issue of Harper’s that purports to call into question the "foundation of genetic engineering." Commoner claims to have uncovered a scandal at the heart of biology and biotechnology that the leading researchers and greedy corporations are keeping hidden from an unwitting public." (Ronald Bailey, Reason)

Fagan - again: "Food for Tort" - "Are genetically modified organisms 'frankenstein food' or a 'panacea for the world's hungry'? Transparency is vital, says John Fagan, microbiologist, and founder and chief scientific officer of Genetic ID NA, which licenses GMO testing methods and certification. He tells Narayani Ganesh that equitable distribution of existing agricultural produce needs more urgent attention than hasty implementation of new and unproven methods of production:" (Times of India)

"Ecoterrorists set fire at Minnesota school lab" - "ST. PAUL, Minn - A shadowy environmental group that has sabotaged a ski resort, luxury homes and logging companies claimed responsibility for a weekend fire that damaged a University of Minnesota research facility, school officials said. The group, the Earth Liberation Front, sent an e-mail to the school saying its members set the early Saturday blaze that damaged heavy equipment and a trailer being used to build a plant genetics laboratory, Associate Dean Judson Sheridan said. "We're obviously very, very concerned about what's happened. It's domestic terrorism," Sheridan said." (Reuters)

"UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA: U plans security upgrade (2 02 2002)" - "University of Minnesota President Mark Yudof said Friday he soon plans to approve a new multi-million dollar security initiative at the school. University officials said parts of the effort started before Sept. 11, but the terrorist attacks of that day prompted them to expand their efforts. Most recently, the University's St. Paul campus was the site of an arson fire near the Crop Research Building on Saturday that a radical environmental group has taken credit for." (Pioneer Press)

"Public should see ELF as terrorists (2 03 2002)" - "Something called the Earth Liberation Front, which develops the improbably cute acronym ELF, torched a couple of buildings at the University of Minnesota campus in St. Paul last weekend. These thugs, who claim to act on behalf of the environment, put more pollutants into the air than an automobile manufacturing plant." (Joe Soucheray, Pioneer Press)

"Consumers Evenly Divided Over Environmental Risks and Benefits of Genetically Modified Food and Biotechnology; Risks Seen As Greater Initially, But Benefits Ranked Higher Once Information Is Given" - "San Francisco (February 4, 2002) -- The American public is evenly divided over whether genetically modified food and other agricultural biotechnology products hurt or help the environment when given basic information on risks and benefits, according to a poll released today by the Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology. The poll, conducted by Zogby International, was released as part of a panel discussion hosted by the Initiative titled "Environmental Savior or Saboteur? Debating the Impacts of Genetic Engineering."

"Despite a long and often fractious debate about the environmental risks and benefits of biotechnology between critics and supporters, a majority of the American public agrees with neither position," said Michael Rodemeyer, executive director of the Initiative. "Initially, people tend to feel slightly more strongly about the risks of the technology, but react more positively when additional information is presented to them. Simply put, it looks like the jury is still out." (Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology)

Webcast Reminder: 'Environmental Savior or Saboteur? Debating the Impacts of Genetic Engineering' National Policy Forum to be Held in San Francisco; Environmental Activists, Policymakers and Academics to Debate Ecological Effects of Genetic Engineering. The dialogue will be presented via a live Internet webcast on February 4, 2002 from 10 -11.30 am PST. To watch: http://www.pewagbiotech.org or http://www.ConnectLive.com/events/pewagbiotech"

"Italian, French farmers spurn US gene crops" - "ROME - Leading Italian and French farm groups called last week for an EU plan to boost oilseeds production in Europe and reduce dependence on genetically modified (GM) vegetable proteins from the United States." (Reuters)

"INTERVIEW - EU needs venture capital market for biotechs" - "S'AGARO - Creating a pan-European venture capital market is crucial to helping the continent's nascent biotechnology sector catch up with its better financed U.S. counterpart, a European commissioner says." (Reuters)

"USTR Zoellick questions China's food import intent" - "WASHINGTON - The top U.S. trade negotiator last week questioned China's willingness to live up to its obligations on agriculture trade, particularly noting problems with Beijing's new regulations on biotech product imports." (Reuters)

February 1, 2002

"Women Confused By Conflicting Mammogram Data" - "If you’ve ever wondered whether to take medical advice from the federal government, the renewed controversy over mammograms might help resolve that dilemma." (Steve Milloy. FoxNews.com) | Independent US panel fans debate on mammography (Lancet) | US panel finds insufficient evidence to support mammography (BMJ)

"Vibrating games health warning" - "Vibrating computer game controllers should come with health warnings to protect children, doctors suggest." (BBC Online)

"Record fall in heart disease mortality rates despite Britons becoming more unhealthy" - "Britain has seen the largest ever fall in deaths from heart disease over the past two years, but the decrease is due to better treatment rather than a genuine decline in the illness." (Independent)

"Green light for DVT compensation bid" - "Air travellers clear first hurdle in fight for compensation after claiming they suffered deep vein thrombosis on long-haul flights." (BBC Online)

"Ozone link to asthma" - "Children playing outdoor team sports in areas of high ozone concentration could be at increased risk of developing asthma." (BBC Online) | Asthma risk greater if children play outside (Telegraph) | Lancet 2002; 359: 386-91

"Flame Retardant Chemical Found in Fish, Humans" - "NEW YORK, New York, January 31, 2002 (ENS) - Freshwater fish in Virginia have been found to contain the highest reported levels in the world of a common but controversial flame retardant, penta bromo diphenyl ether. The chemical, which is showing up in animals and humans around the globe, has been linked in laboratory animal studies to behavioral problems, but little is known about its effects on humans." (ENS)

Politically correct hot air: "World Economic Forum Offsets Climate Impact of Annual Meeting" - "NEW YORK, New York, January 31, 2002 (ENS) - The World Economic Forum said today that it has purchased reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from a geothermal project in Indonesia to offset the global warming impact of its five day annual meeting opening today in New York City. Representatives of the 1007 member corporations are meeting here for the first time rather than at the forum's headquarters in Davos, Switzerland." (ENS)

"California Assembly Passes Bill to Limit a Greenhouse Gas" - "The California Assembly passed a bill on Wednesday that would set the first standards in the nation for regulating automotive emissions of a greenhouse gas. Environmentalists viewed the action as a major victory, but automakers, which are expected to challenge regulation in court if the bill becomes law, criticized it." (New York Times)

"Anti-global warming bill in line with Kyoto pact: paper" - "TOKYO, Feb. 1 - A bill on stepping up measures to combat global warming clearly stipulates greenhouse gas reduction targets for Japan in line with the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, a Japanese daily reported Friday. It will be the first time for Japan to draw up legislation binding it to cut carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases by 6% from 1990 levels in 2008-2012 as called for by the international pact, the Tokyo Shimbun said." (Kyodo)

"Commons committee delivers message on climate change to Washington" - "OTTAWA -- Canada will ratify the Kyoto climate treaty regardless of what Washington does, members of the Commons environment committee have told U.S. legislators. Liberal MP Charles Caccia, committee chairman, said he and his colleagues explained the Canadian position during a flurry of meetings with U.S. legislators and think tanks in Washington this week." (CP)

"FEWER CLOUDS FOUND IN TROPICS: NASA scientists discover new evidence of climate change" - "After examining 22 years of satellite measurements, NASA researchers find that more sunlight entered the tropics and more heat escaped to space in the 1990s than in the 1980s. Their findings indicate less cloud cover blocked incoming radiation and trapped outgoing heat." (NASA News)

"Australia criticised over stance on environment issues" - "Australia has come in for criticism at a meeting in New York as one of three countries most resistant to sustainable development. Environmentalists are making preparations for the World Summit on Sustainable Development in South Africa later this year. Australia, the United States and Canada have been condemned for not supporting agreements such as the Kyoto Protocol on Climate change and for undermining the treaty on Persistent Organic Pollutants." (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

Australia stands alongside the US and Canada to defend particularly the impoverished peoples from misanthropic nonsense disguised as "climate" and "pop" treaties? Now that really makes make me proud to be an Aussie!

"Britons more worried about waste than climate" - "LONDON - Hazardous waste disposal is the most important environmental concern among the British public according to an official survey published yesterday which comes as the government ponders the future of the nuclear industry." (Reuters)

Letter du jour: "The future of farming" - "The government's latest report on the future of farming perpetuates the myth that organic farming is good for the environment and good for wildlife (Weeding out subsidies to let food production turn green, January 30). This is often most definitely not the case. Organic farming can be very intensive with high stocking levels and species-rich grasslands often "improved" to a ryegrass monoculture. A study in Denmark found fewer skylarks on organic farms than on conventional ones. Organic farming per se is certainly not the answer to Britain's dwindling farmland birds. There is a need for a whole farm scheme which takes individual farms' agricultural and natural assets into account and produces an individually tailored farm plan. A start has been made in Wales with Tir Gofal, but there are fundamental problems. A UK-wide scheme, or even an EU-wide one to replace the common agricultural policy, is the answer." (Peter Jennings, Chairman, Radnorshire Agriculture and Nature Conservation Group -- The Guardian)

"UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA: Group says it set weekend fire" - "The radical Earth Liberation Front, which tried two years ago to "free the seed" at a University of Minnesota greenhouse, has now taken responsibility for setting a weekend blaze near the university's Crops Research Building." (Pioneer Press)

"The Bombing of Biotech" - "The Earth Liberation Front (ELF), called "a true domestic-terrorism group" by FBI Special Agent David Szady (now the U.S. National Counterintelligence Executive), "has taken credit for the setting of incendiary devices" at the University of Minnesota, a communiqué from ELF announced. The "action against biotechnology research… caused extensive damage" to a crop research facility. ELF said it is "fed up" with "technologies which seek to exploit and control nature to the fullest extent."

ELF guerillas have taken such actions before. On New Year's Eve 1999, ELF set fire to the office of Michigan State University researcher Catherine Ives, who was developing disease-resistant crops to help feed people in Africa. "I lost basically my entire professional life,'' Ives told 60 Minutes of the attack, which caused $1 million in damages.

It's just another day in ELF's war "for the end of capitalism and the mechanization of our lives." (Center For Consumer Freedom)

"Peers laud GE blowfly maker" - "A New Zealand scientist has been awarded a molecular biology medal for his research into genetically engineering Australian blowflies. The work is aimed at the release of millions of sterile male blowflies, which will mate in the wild but produce no offspring and potentially eradicate the pest." (New Zealand Herald)

"Government 'lacking credibility' on GM food, admits minister" - "Michael Meacher, the Environment Minister, admitted yesterday that the Government "does not have high credibility" on genetically modified food as he confirmed plans to launch a nationwide public debate on the technology." (Independent)

"One loaf in seven has GM soya, says food agency" - "ONE in seven loaves, cakes, pies or pastries - including some labelled as organic - contains genetically modified soya, according to a Government investigation. Food campaigners said the study meant it was becoming increasingly difficult not to eat GM contaminated food, even if consumers took care to avoid it. Using technology capable of detecting tiny traces of GM material, the Food Standards Agency found 31 bakery foods out of a sample of 203 were contaminated with GM soya." (Telegraph)

"Marking Time: Australian rules on genetically modified food labels aren't as tough as they're made out to be" - "TO THE AVERAGE supermarket shopper in Australia, the idea that the country has the toughest labelling laws in the world governing genetically modified foods is a joke. "What labels?" was the universal answer from shoppers in Sydney this week." (Far Eastern Economic Review)