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Archives - February 2005

February 28, 2005

"Win over malaria 'achievable'" - "Experts on malaria testifying on Capitol Hill this month found hope in the recent scientific advances against the disease, but they said eradicating it is now a question of money." (Marion Baillot, The Washington Times)

They forgot DDT.

"DDT, Fraud, and Tragedy" - "Fraud in science is a major problem." So begins "DDT: A Case Study in Scientific Fraud" by the late J. Gordon Edwards, Professor Emeritus of Entomology at San Jose State University in San Jose, California." (Gerald and Natalie Sirkin, The American Spectator)

"The Blessed Margot on REACH" - "Yes, she’s back, the blogosphere’s most overpaid leafleter, the Ever Fragrant and Blessed Margot Wallstrom favours us with her thoughts on the REACH Directive!! Stop the Presses and Alert the Media as we look into quite how badly an adult woman can misunderstand economics! Fresh from her stunning success with this comment, (A deregulated market for air travel has created a bigger need for consumer/passenger protection.) our star of stage, screen and politics issues forth to defend her decision as Environment Commissioner to cripple European Industry, stifle innovation and pauperize our grandchildren! Roll Up, Roll Up for the show!" (Tim Worstall on his eponymous blog)

"Pact to curb mercury is rejected" - "World governments have concluded an agreement on reducing production and use of the toxic heavy metal mercury. It came at the biennial meeting of the United Nations Environment Programme (Unep) Governing Council in Nairobi. The agreement stops short of setting up a legally binding global treaty, as the European Union had advocated. Instead, it calls on member countries to establish "voluntary partnerships" to reduce the damaging impacts of mercury pollution. It also mandates Unep to pursue various avenues of further research, including a project to document mercury use in much greater detail than has been done before." (BBC)

"U.S. Urges Judge to Dismiss Suit on Chemical Use in Vietnam War" - "The Justice Department is urging a federal judge in Brooklyn to dismiss a lawsuit aimed at forcing a re-examination of one of the most contentious issues of the Vietnam War, the use of the defoliant Agent Orange. The civil suit, filed last year on behalf of millions of Vietnamese, claimed that American chemical companies committed war crimes by supplying the military with Agent Orange, which contained dioxin, a highly toxic substance." (New York Times)

"More than 50 dangerous pesticides found in British food" - "More than 50 dangerous pesticides contaminate Britain's food, official tests reveal. All have been found to be poisonous or are suspected of causing cancer or having "gender bender" effects by international regulatory bodies." (London Independent)

"How worried should we be?" - "The recall of hundreds of products contaminated with the cancer-causing dye Sudan 1 has caused the biggest food scare since BSE, but how worried should we be about the risks to our health? How do they compare with the risks from other carcinogens in our food, many of which are legally present?" (The Guardian)

"All the ingredients for a panic over food" - "Experts fear the global food market is too big, too complicated and too profitable ever to be policed effectively." (Edinburgh Scotsman)

Rocket science? (Number Watch)

"'Chicken Flu' Is No Big Peril" - "It's been a frightening year for flu. First came the dire predictions out of Southeast Asia, where the explosive spread of H5N1 avian flu among chickens, along with the deaths of about 40 people, has spawned fears that the disease could mutate and cause a worldwide pandemic. Next, there was the flu vaccine shortage. But so far, the flu season has been milder than usual. Gradually, the flu panic has subsided." (Wendy Orent, LA Times)

"Dirty Water, Sanitation Kill Thousands Daily - Experts" - "LONDON - Unsafe drinking water and poor sanitation kill 4,000 children every day, global health experts said on Friday. They described the deaths as a "silent humanitarian crisis" and called for immediate action." (Reuters)

"The CDC's bogus study" - "About a year ago, the Centers for Disease Control issued a highly publicized report stating that obesity-related health problems kill 400,000 Americans every year -- an "epidemic" second only to smoking in causing preventable deaths. The story was big news." (The Washington Times)

New study records the natural variability of climate over very short periods of time... (EnviroSpin Watch)

The Week That Was Feb. 26, 2005 (SEPP)

"Global warming or global cooling" - "Almost as soon as the Kyoto Protocol on global warming came into effect on February 15, Kashmir suffered the highest snowfall in three decades with over 150 killed, and Mumbai recorded the lowest temperature in 40 years. Had temperatures been the highest for decades, newspapers would have declared this was proof of global warming. But whenever temperatures drop, the press keeps quiet. Things were different in 1940-70, when there was global cooling. Every cold winter then was hailed as proof of a coming new Ice Age. But the moment cooling was replaced by warming, a new disaster in the opposite direction was proclaimed." (Times of India)

"Cooling the hot air" - "Given how vociferous the debate over the Kyoto Protocol was over the past few years, it was surprising that its arrival into force two weeks ago came without much triumphalism by its proponents. What should have been a landmark day for those who support the treaty and the assumptions it rests on was instead mutely celebrated. Some argue that the refusal of the United States and Australia, among several other nations, to ratify the treaty has blunted its impact and led many to question how successful it will ultimately be. Others believe that the protocol didn't go far enough and will have a negligible effect on climate change even if all nations had signed on. The real reason, however, may be the rancorous debate occurring behind the scenes between those who reject the science that underpins the treaty and those who have staked their careers on the prevailing orthodoxy. The muted response could be the first indication that we're being inflicted with a treaty much of whose science has now been disproved." (Steven Martinovich, The Tribune-Review)

Uh-huh... "Carbon rush at World Bank" - "As the Kyoto Protocol comes into force this month, a carbon rush is gaining steam in the financial industry. Investors predict that the carbon trade could become one of the largest markets in the world with a trading volume of US$60-$250 billion by 2008 and some unlikely actors are gearing up to profit from this new, invisible market. Foremost among them is the World Bank." (Daphne Wysham, Asia Times)

And just who is going to end up paying this US$60-$250 billion? Actually, the end consumer will foot the bill and it'll be a greatly inflated cost because they'll pay the tax at each energy input (transport tax multiple times as manufacture proceeds form raw material to finished product). It is the worst kind of regressive taxation regime too, as the cost of all goods and services accelerate away from those with little or no disposable income.

The carbon market is no "invisible market," it's the 1,000lb bear being unleashed on the world economy - or will be, if people fall for the scam.

"Editorial: Cooperation in the Air" - "When the Kyoto Protocol took effect in 141 other nations this month, it had no effect whatsoever on the United States, much to the glee of business interests. That frees up the U.S. to go on being the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the world while it sells clean-air technologies to countries that are forced to comply. It's a win-win for the American economy.

Except that, surprisingly, some cities are teaming up to do the right thing even though it's not in their best economic interest. This month, Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels began traveling across the country to get cities to adopt the terms of the Kyoto treaty. Even though it isn't clear how much legal authority cities have to regulate pollution, mayors of 10 cities, including Portland, Minneapolis, Los Angeles and, of course, Santa Monica, have signed up." (LA Times)

The LA Times managed to get this about as wrong as can be. Social insects have an advantage only when the collective group effort is mutually beneficial, something which very obviously does not apply where Kyoto is concerned. Kyoto is all about carbon constraint and the only available means of so doing is to ration energy (mostly by prohibitive pricing of energy through "carbon taxes" or "cap and trade to reduce" schemes). Assuming there are sufficient deluded groups to actually implement such energy rationing on a meaningful scale, how will this affect humanity? Firstly, costs will dramatically increase - you get nothing without energy inputs, transportation, transmission or labor, which must become more expensive as cost of maintaining said labor rises (not merely labor provision costs but people have to eat, heat homes, move to work locations... and their wages need to facilitate this). As consumers' costs rise and so do the costs of goods and services, the market inevitably declines. The "cooperation" the LA Times seeks is a recipe for global recession - hardly advantageous, particularly for the already impoverished denizens of our world.

And what is the "upside" of this self-destructive "cooperation"? A completely inconsequential and unmeasurable potential "reduction of warming" of just seven one-hundredths of one degree centigrade (0.07 °C). The United States and Australia dodging the Kyoto bullet is actually the win-win for world and humanity generally. The LA Times could have stuck with the animal kingdom analogy, they just chose the wrong one. What they should have done is show the US as the strong herd leader standing its ground, refusing to allow marauders to stampede the herd over the cliff.

"Why Does an Important Climate Program Go Unheralded?" - "European greens expressed their displeasure with President Bush on his visit to Europe this week for American unwillingness to support the Kyoto accord, with its greenhouse gas emissions cuts for developed nations. But the Bush administration is taking concrete -- if largely unheralded by Europeans and a hostile American media -- steps on climate change issues." (Duane D. Freese, TCS)

"Emissions Trading Up In Smoke" - "LONDON, Feb 25 - The EU emissions trading scheme is off to a start - - in name, not in the factories producing the emissions. EU (European Union) governments have in effect sabotaged the market they have created by setting quotas for emissions by their industry that are so generous that it is nowhere near feeling the squeeze that would make trading possible." (IPS)

"Oh Canada, Oh Kyoto" - "Canada's past Prime Minister Jean Chretien adopted the Kyoto treaty without adequately considering the science or the costs. Now the costs are coming home -- last week his successor Paul Martin brought in a budget with $6 billion earmarked for Kyoto with no implementation plan." (Tim Ball, TCS)

"Spain Lags in Kyoto Protocol Compliance" - "MADRID, Feb 25 - Spain will have to make quite an effort if it wants to meet its obligations under the Kyoto Protocol on climate change, and even so, the country is likely to fail, say experts. Spain's emissions of so-called greenhouse gases increased 40 percent since 1990 and average temperatures rose 1.5 degrees Celsius over the past 30 years." (Tierramérica)

"Tide turns on the green-mongers" - "On the day the Kyoto Protocol came into force - 11 days ago - Greenpeace protesters tried to paralyse oil trading by storming the International Petroleum Exchange in London. But a sign that irresponsible green antics have outworn their welcome came in a hilariously po-faced article about the protest published in The Times in London." (Miranda Devine, The Sun-Herald)

"The menaced landscape" - "Here is a thought experiment. Imagine that it has been discovered that clean green energy can be provided by burning the great masterpieces of landscape art. Imagine that, to this end, the government has spent £1bn subsidising large companies to evacuate the vaults and hanging spaces of the UK's national galleries. Imagine that canvases by Constable, Ruskin, Turner (these burn especially well) and Stanley Spencer, and the sculptures of Hepworth and Goldsworthy are being lifted from walls and plinths, and tumbled into furnaces.

The consequent energy yield is not huge at present: perhaps 6% of the national annual need. But the government plans to extend its programme drastically over the next 15 years, burning ever greater numbers of masterpieces. What - this thought experiment asks - would be the reaction of the public and the liberal press to such an energy programme?" (The Guardian)

"Bush signs on to help clean air in China, India" - "President Bush, in one of the least-noticed gestures of his European visit, has pledged to help developing nations such as China and India cut back on their fast-growing output of the greenhouse gases linked to global warming. Bush signed a pact with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder on Wednesday to help poorer countries adopt more energy-efficient technologies in power generation, transportation and industry." (SF Chronicle)

"Experts show official wind power claims are hot air" - "Controversial plans to build thousands of wind turbines across Scotland will make almost no difference to greenhouse gas levels, according to new research by leading environmental scientists." (Edinburgh Scotsman)

"You call this environmentally friendly?" - "The Cairngorms National Park in the Highlands will be blighted by giant electricity pylons under proposals aimed at meeting the growing demand for energy from renewable sources such as wind farms." (London Daily Telegraph)

"Report doubts future of wind power" - "Wind farms are an expensive and inefficient way of generating sustainable energy, according to a study from Germany, the world's leading producer of wind energy. The report, which may have ramifications for the UK's rapidly growing wind farm industry, concludes that instead of spending billions on building new wind turbines, the emphasis should be on making houses more energy efficient. Drawn up by the German government's energy agency, it says that wind farms prove a costly form of reducing greenhouse gases. It costs €41-€77 (£28-£53) to avoid emitting a tonne of carbon dioxide by using wind energy, the report says." (The Guardian)

"Anti-wind farm report dismissed" - "A report from the world's biggest wind power producer denouncing wind farms as too expensive and inefficient has been widely dismissed in the UK. Money would be better spent targeting energy efficiency to combat greenhouse gases, the German Energy Agency said. It comes as UK wind power grows at the fastest rate in the world, with the government aiming generate 10% of energy from renewable sources by 2010." (BBC)

"Germany split over green energy" - "Germany's ambitious plan to phase out nuclear power by 2020 while also reducing its reliance on fossil fuels has made it a leader in efforts to fulfil the Kyoto protocol. But critics are now predicting an energy crisis." (BBC)

"Feathers fly over Hebrides wind farm plan" - "In one corner, the developers of the world's biggest onshore wind farm. In the other, the world's biggest bird club. The stage is set for a battle between them on the Scottish island of Lewis, which will be the fiercest clash yet in Britain over the wind farm issue." (London Independent)

"Plans to harness the wind divide the moors" - "DUMFRIES, Scotland Sarah Burchall had always liked the idea of wind energy. "I thought: It's renewable and it's clean, part of the lifestyle I'd chosen to live," said Burchall, an earthy woman who farms here in the blustery hills of southern Scotland. But that idyllic view changed drastically last April, when Scottish Power announced plans to open an industrial-strength wind farm, with more than 100 thrumming 400-foot-high, or 120-foot, wind turbines, in the Ae Forest across from her home. "I could accept this if this was really about clean energy, but it's not," said Burchall, who has organized a local group called Trees Not Turbines. "This is all about business. It's an enormous imposition on the community, and we feel helpless because of the amount of money that's at stake." Ever since the British government offered lucrative subsidies for renewable energy projects to encourage compliance with Kyoto Protocol emissions goals a few years ago, rural Scotland has become something of a Klondike for wind energy." (Elisabeth Rosenthal, International Herald Tribune)

"Clean, green ... and nuclear?" - "Some environmentalists are starting to contemplate the unthinkable: perhaps one answer to global warming lies in turning to nuclear energy. By Liz Minchin." (The Age)

"Nuclear making comeback" - "Nuclear energy is making a comeback and bringing its source mineral, uranium, with it. This turnaround is evident and gaining steam in scientific and political circles. But nowhere is the proliferation of pro-nuclear power forces raising more eyebrows than in the environmental community." (Petroleum News)

"Canada Close to Emissions Deal with Car Makers" - "OTTAWA - Canada said on Friday it was close to signing a voluntary pact with major automobile makers to cut emissions and made it clear it was rejecting calls to impose binding limits." (Reuters)

"Car Industry Challenges California Law" - "NEW YORK, Feb 26 - A battle between car manufacturers and the government of the U.S. state of California, which is trying to sharply cut so-called greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles, could have national and even international repercussions, activists say." (Tierramérica)

"Leaders ask wrong questions about fuels, energy efficiency" - "President George W. Bush appears to have successfully kept global warming off the front burner during his trip to Europe, but that isn't likely to stop critics from complaining that America's refusal to endorse the 1997 Kyoto Protocol remains a unilateralist blot on the U.S. record.

But even Bill Clinton had the good sense not to submit his own vice president's handiwork to a Democratic-controlled Congress, where it would have suffered a humiliating defeat. And Bush is right to remain stubbornly opposed. One reason the Europeans didn't make a bigger public huff over the matter may have been growing recognition there that Kyoto, which requires reduction of industrial carbon dioxide emissions to pre-1990 levels, is both unrealistic and expensive -- in return for, at best, a negligible cut in the man-made warming they claim is happening." (Thomas Bray, The Detroit News)

"Booming China Struggles to Ease Power Shortage" - "BEIJING - China is set for more power shortages this year but the crunch will be less severe than in 2004 as it adds more capacity and pushes ahead with pricing reforms, officials said on Friday." (Reuters)

"Asia Pushes Ahead on Biofuel, Despite Cost" - "SHANGHAI - Faced with too many crops and not enough oil, Asian governments are promoting biofuels as a way to cut costly fuel imports. Ethanol and biodiesel can be more expensive than the oil they replace but this is a price some governments are willing to bear to ensure an outlet for crop surpluses." (Reuters)

"Monsanto is in another dispute" - "The situation has a familiar ring to anyone who remembers the 2003 Monsanto Co. lawsuit against Maine's Oakhurst Dairy. Last Friday, an Oregon creamery decided not to take milk from cows injected with a genetically engineered growth hormone, rBST. Monsanto, the Missouri-based biotechnology giant that sells the hormone, is unhappy. The creamery argues that some consumers have questions and concerns. Monsanto takes action to squelch any suggestion, even an oblique one, that there's something wrong with the milk." (Blethen Maine Newspapers)

"Potential potato cure" - "Each year, about 350 million people worldwide are chronically infected with hepatitis B virus. Spread through blood and other bodily fluids, this virus puts them at high risk for cirrhosis, chronic liver disease and liver cancer -- diseases that kill about 1 million people each year. Yet through the magic of biotechnology, the lowly spud may change that." (Michael Fumento, The Washington Times)

"EU Commission Plans GMOs Debate, End Policy Void" - "BRUSSELS - The European Commission, the EU's executive arm, plans to thrash out soon where it stands on biotech foods in a bid to end the current policy vacuum, the EU's farm chief told Reuters in an interview on Thursday." (Reuters)

Today's meaching: "GM risks outweigh benefits, says Meacher" - "MICHAEL MEACHER has urged people to continue the fight against genetically modified crops, insisting: “They have no benefits to the consumer but they do pose a real risk.” (Oldham Evening Chronicle)

February 25, 2005

"Fair Hearing for Breast Implants?" - "A Food and Drug Administration advisory panel is again preparing to review the science concerning the safety of silicone breast implants." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"Science Goes Tabloid: In scientific journals, if it bleeds, it leads" - "In the United Kingdom, most of the respected broadsheet newspapers have cut costs and increased circulation by adding a tabloid edition. Some argue that this downsizing has led to a dumbing down of the papers' content. But, in both Britain and America, it is not just the news industry that is shifting to a more sensationalistic attitude. Some scientific journals are abandoning scientific neutrality in favor of policy stances and headline-grabbing scare stories, favoring style over substance." (Iain Murray, NRO)

Oh boy... "Salt should be regulated food additive, group says" - "WASHINGTON - A consumer group sued the federal government Thursday, saying that salt is killing tens of thousands of Americans and that regulators have done too little to control salt in food. Despite advisories to take it easy on sodium, Americans are now consuming about 4,000 milligrams a day - nearly double the recommended limit to keep blood pressure under control, the Center for Science in the Public Interest said. So the CSPI renewed a lawsuit first filed in 1983 to ask federal courts to force the Food and Drug Administration to declare sodium a food additive instead of categorizing it as "generally recognized as safe." This would give the agency the authority to set limits for salt in foods." (Reuters)

Feds Press Salt Assault; Don't Hold the Pizza Just Yet

"Expensive Fish Fears" - "Declaring it "another victory for public health," an environmental group announced yet another national restaurant chain had discontinued offering swordfish to all of their customers "as a result of a national campaign calling for its removal due to high levels of mercury." Under Proposition 65, California Attorney General Bill Lockyer sued chain restaurants offering seafood dishes. Restaurants must now post mercury warnings that say "carcinogens or reproductive toxins may be present in food or beverages sold in the restaurant." Of course, that can be said of virtually every food or beverage consumed, but that's beside the point. A portion of the heavy settlement costs are to be used to fund programs to "educate" consumers about the dangers of "mercury in fish."

Restaurateurs and the food industry have become pawns in a political fight that has nothing to do with the safety of fish or health dangers of methylmercury. But by ignoring the sound science and capitulating to political pressures, food professionals actually confirm and accentuate public fears about methylmercuy in fish. And the final victims are consumers." (Sandy Szwarc, TCS)

"Spicy: The biggest food scare since the last one is less frightening than it looks" - "SUDAN 1 is a red dye used to colour polishes, waxes and solvents. It isn't meant to be used in food, and has been banned as an additive in the European Union since 1995. That is because some people think it causes cancer. So when traces of it were found in a batch of Worcester sauce made by Premier Foods, British newspapers were not slow to alert their readers to the dangers of filling up their supermarket trolleys with carcinogens. The source of trouble was a contaminated batch of chilli powder, which went into Premier's Worcester sauce. That in turn was added to over 400 food products, which are now being recalled. It has already been labelled “the biggest food scare since BSE”. But how scary is it?" (The Economist)

Now the 'toons done it! "Childhood obesity fuelled by cartoons" - "The use of cartoon characters to sell unhealthy food is boosting Britain's childhood obesity epidemic, campaigners said yesterday. Which?, the consumers' organisation, described the use of popular characters such as Scooby-Doo, Bagpuss and Winnie the Pooh on some products as "manipulative marketing ploys" which made it more difficult for parents to refuse their children these foods." (The Guardian)

"The World Harm Organization" - "Does the World Health Organization do more harm than good?" (AFM)

"DDT Will Save Many Lives And Money" - "Minister Muhwezi weighs in on DDT use in Uganda and EU threats." (AFM)

"Chloroquine... Not Yet Over With Malaria" - "An interesting report on Nigeria's transition from using choloroquine to ACTs as a first line treatment against malaria." (AFM)

"The thunder dragon exhales its last puff as Bhutan bans smoking" - "The Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan has issued a ban on smoking in all public places. Coming just two months after a ban on the sale of tobacco products, the new law means that Bhutan now has the toughest anti-smoking laws in the world. The irony is that, even as smoking bans are becoming fashionable in the liberal West, it is an absolute monarchy with a reputation for human rights abuses that is leading the way." (London Independent) [em added]

Hmm... pretty much says it all doesn't it.

"A Job or a Cigarette?" - "As health insurance costs continue to climb, companies are urging employees to curb unhealthy behavior like smoking—and sometimes refusing to hire smokers at all. Will Big Mac lovers be next?" (Newsweek)

"Study finds asthma 'stabilising'" - "Research in the UK indicates that the number of primary school children suffering from asthma in the past three years has not increased." (BBC)

"Timely handling of industry data" - "The EPA’s chemical regulation program will soon receive a torrent of physical and environmental data on hundreds of substances. EPA is faced with the task of putting these myriad submissions in some sort of logical order before it begins reviewing them." (Environmental Science & Technology)

"Scientists are baffled as bird numbers plummet" - "It has hardly been noticed, but it is another sinister warning sign of a world going badly wrong. Populations of some of Britain's most attractive woodland birds are plummeting at a rate that threatens them with extinction, and nobody knows why." (London Independent)

Must be listening to Trenberth too much: "2004 natural disasters death toll doubles-insurer" - "FRANKFURT, Feb 24 - Natural catastrophes killed over 180,000 people in 2004, twice as many as in 2003, with an economic cost of $145 billion, German reinsurance giant Munich Re said in its annual review of disasters on Thursday. Of the $145 billion loss last year, insured losses were around $44 billion, of which $40 billion was due to destructive hurricanes in the Caribbean and the United States and typhoons in Japan.

Munich Re said extreme weather events were the main source of destruction and financial loss last year and may be linked to global warming. "These events are further evidence that a correlation between global warming and the considerable rise in the number of extreme weather events is becoming increasingly plausible," Peter Hoeppe, head of Geo Risks Research at Munich Re, said in the statement. "The insurance industry must adjust the scope and price of its insurance covers to the growing risk," he added." (Reuters)

For those who don't get the Trenberth reference above it's all about IPCC representatives, personal opinions and a lack of science to support them, see Chris Landsea Leaves IPCC for more.

Trenberth is an interesting fellow. Writing in "The Human Impact on Climate" (Thomas R. Karl and Kevin E. Trenberth, pp100-105, Scientific American, December 1999) Karl and Trenberth wrote: "If researchers could clarify the extent to which specific activities influence climate, they would be in a much better position to suggest strategies for ameliorating the worst disturbances. Is such quantification possible? We think it is and that it can be achieved by the year 2050—but only if that goal remains an international priority." Uncertainty regarding human influence on climate is so integral to the theme of their article and so great is their conviction that it will take some 50 years to gather sufficient data and develop our understanding that the sub-banner reads: "How much of a disruption do we cause? The much-awaited answer could be ours by 2050, but only if nations of the world commit to long-term climate monitoring now."

Granted, Trenberth has hardly been a reluctant traveller on the global warming gravy train but, in moments of rationality or honesty, he has put his name to admissions that we are probably a half-century from having sufficient data and understanding to even attribute "the human portion" of influences on our ever-changing climate.

"Gambling on global warming" - "INSURANCE Australia Group's Mike Hawker and QBE's Frank O'Halloran have sharply contrasting views on the likely pattern of future weather-related insurance disasters. One of them must be wrong. Hawker believes the increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will cause a substantial increase in the number of weather-related disasters, and his latest half-yearly report confirms he is sacrificing profit to protect IAG shareholders against this. Hawker is one of the few chief executives in the world prepared to forgo profits because of greenhouse fears." (The Australian)

Looks like IAG will be looking for a new CEO or facing takeover while QBE goes from strength to strength by not running from a phantom menace.

"Global warming cleared on ice shelf collapse rap" - "The high-profile collapse of some Antarctica's ice shelves is likely the result of natural current fluctuations, not global warming, says a leading British expert on polar climates. This surprising finding is supported by analysis of data from the European Space Agency's ERS-1 satellite, according to Duncan Wingham, Professor of Climate Physics at University College London. The data, measuring changes in ice thickness across the Antarctic ice sheet using the polar orbiting satellite, show areas of growth from snowfall are as common as areas of decline." (The Register)

Groan... "Climate change already costs 150 000 lives a year, experts say" - "As the Kyoto protocol came into force last week, UK experts on climate change warned in a study published last week in the Canadian Medical Association's journal that if greenhouse gas emissions were not reduced "the health burdens of climate change are likely to approximately double by 2020, mostly because of increased rates of diarrhoeal disease and malnutrition in low-income countries" (BMJ)

"Climate plan still a bit hazy" - "OTTAWA—A vision for a "green economy" peeked out from the federal budget, but much of the government's revised environmental strategy remains hidden, especially how to meet Canada's Kyoto climate change target." (Toronto Star)

"Kyoto shell game" - "It's a true believer's kind of tale. The day after Canada officially ratified the Kyoto Protocol on climate change in December 2002, David Anderson was in New York City to deposit the freshly signed paper with the Treaty Section of the United Nations. It was his shining moment as federal environment minister: an avowed multilateralist and an unabashed tree hugger, Anderson had spent three years battling opponents -- and sometimes cabinet colleagues -- over a deal he firmly held to be a turning point in the war against global warming." (Macleans)

"Businesses that reduce emissions will have access to federal money: Dion" - "MONTREAL - Small-and medium-sized businesses that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve energy efficiency will have access to money announced in the federal budget, Environment Minister Stephane Dion said Thursday. "They will find financial help through this fund that will be like an environmental bank," Dion said a day after Finance Minister Ralph Goodale delivered $3 billion in new environmental spending." (Canadian Press)

"Ottawa to spend billions on Kyoto" - "OTTAWA -- Ottawa unveiled a $5-billion, five-year package for the environment and the Kyoto accord yesterday, including a huge expansion of its home energy retrofit subsidy program. It also signalled that it is considering rewarding or penalizing Canadians depending on whether they drive a gas guzzler or an eco-friendly car." (Globe and Mail)

"Door still open on carbon tax, vehicle 'feebates'" - "Energy and business leaders fear Ottawa is opening the door to penalties or carbon taxes to force big polluters to slash greenhouse-gas emissions, despite a federal budget that offered billions of dollars in clean-energy initiatives." (Edmonton Journal)

"Japan: Emissions goals a mission impossible" - "Already struggling with current targets, businesses say there's no hope of clearing new hoops. Industry leaders say they are doomed to fall short of new government objectives for greenhouse gas emissions slated for introduction in May. In particular, electric utilities and steelmakers, two sectors that consume large amounts of fossil fuel such as oil and coal, say they have no effective means to clear the raised bars. The admission follows the government's announcement Wednesday of new targets for cutting emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases to be included in a program designed to fulfill the obligations set out under the Kyoto Protocol." (Asahi Shimbun)

"Kyoto no boon for African pollution, technology woes" - "DAKAR - Africa will gain little from the clean development mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol, in which technology is traded for emissions credits, without a major commitment to smart growth and renewable energy by industrialized nations." (AFP)

"Colombia Gearing Up to Do Its Bit" - "BOGOTA, Feb 24 - Colombia is set to begin systematically measuring the impact of climate change on its remarkably diverse territory, which ranges from Caribbean and Pacific coastal regions to snow-capped Andes mountains and tropical Amazon rainforest, in compliance with the Kyoto Protocol." (IPS)

"Scientists study sea floor to understand global warming" - "New Zealand researchers are to try to find out whether deep ocean currents around the country slowed in the last ice age in an attempt to better understand global warming. They say that knowing how much of the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere was concentrated at the bottom of the ocean as glaciers advanced and later as the Earth warmed, is considered crucial to that understanding." (NZPA)

Here's that hokey 'hockey stick' again: "Kyoto agreement: Law at last" - "Eight years after it was negotiated, the Kyoto protocol for controlling greenhouse gases and global warming has gone "into force." By 2012, the 141 signatory nations have agreed to reduce their emissions of carbon dioxide, methane and other greenhouse gases to about 95 percent of 1990 levels. At the same time, we see plenty of evidence that the planet is heating up." (University of Wisconsin "The Why Files")

"The Kyoto Protocol, and beyond" - "The first thing to say about the Kyoto Protocol's entry into force on February 16 is that it is a significant victory, won particularly by the Europeans, over social and economic complacency, cash-amplified, flat-Earth pseudo-science, the carbon cartel, and, of course, the administration of US President George W Bush. The second is that, if it's not soon followed by other victories, deeper and even more challenging ones, the Earth's climate will soon - think 2050 or even sooner - be transformed into one that is far more inhospitable, and even hostile, than even most environmentalists imagine." (Tom Athanasiou, Asia Times Online)

Here's a good one - uses moonbat as a reference!

"The global warming scam" - "A chronology of climate change: During most of the last billion years the Earth did not have permanent ice sheets. Nevertheless, at times large areas of the globe were covered with vast sheets of ice. Such times are known as glaciations. In the past 2 million to 3 million years, the temperature of the Earth has changed (warmed or cooled) at least 17 times, some say 33, with glaciations that last about 100,000 years interrupted by warm periods that last about 10,000 years. The last glaciation began 70,000 years ago and ended about 10,000 years ago. The Earth was a lot colder than it is now; snow and ice had accumulated on a lot of the land, glaciers existed on large areas and the sea levels were lower." (Derek Kelly, Asia Times Online)

"The Scarlet Placard" - "As the Kyoto Treaty to limit carbon dioxide emission takes hold, boldly-forwarded new schemes concocted to reduce energy use seem as silly as they are pointless." (Sallie Baliunas, TCS)

"Power shortage looming: Summer blackouts feared" - "PALMDALE -- Much of Southern California could be at risk for rolling blackouts like those in the 2000-2001 energy crisis if August and September are unusually hot, state energy officials warn. Last summer, California's electricity consumption set records seven times despite average temperatures, and peak demand was at a level not expected to occur until 2006, the California Energy Commission said." (Los Angeles Daily News)

"Could a $50bn plan to tame the Congo River bring electricity to all of Africa?" - "One of Africa's biggest electricity companies yesterday unveiled plans to build the world's biggest hydro-electricity plant on a stretch of the Congo River, harnessing enough power for the whole continent." (The Guardian)

"Europe Hydrogen Car Filling Network Feasible-Study" - "FRANKFURT - Europe could build a network of hydrogen filling stations for next-generation cars for just 3.5 billion euros ($4.6 billion) over the next 15 years -- much less than first thought, a study unveiled on Thursday said." (Reuters)

"UN Predicts 9.1 Billion People on Earth by 2050" - "UNITED NATIONS - The human race is expected to swell from the current 6.5 billion to 9.1 billion people by 2050, with populations exploding in hungry developing countries and stagnating in rich nations, the United Nations predicted on Thursday." (Reuters)

"PEI considers ban on modified crops" - "People opposed to genetically modified crops are appealing to Prince Edward Island politicians to make the province a GMO-free zone." (Toronto Globe and Mail)

"Greek experts join forces to make demand for national center on genetically modified products" - "Genetically modified organisms (GMO) have been the subject of legislation in international organizations and the European Union since their use or release into the environment was linked to potential or proven risks to human health and the environment." (Kathimerini)

"SEEDS OF DISPUTE: Crop crusaders: Farmers fight to keep genetically modified plants from wreaking havoc in their fields" - "Farmers adamant about preventing genetically modified plants from infiltrating their fields are declaring GM crop-free zones to bolster public awareness and fight the influx of such wayward crops. There is every indication that their concerns are well-founded. The Environment Ministry disclosed Feb. 14 that GM rapeseed with resistance to herbicides had been detected in 11 locations near ports. These included Kajima and Yokkaichi in Ibaraki and Mie prefectures, respectively, along with Kobe, Chiba and Nagoya. The seeds likely spilled from containers during unloading or transportation." (Asahi Shimbun)

"Cancer Therapy Dropped in U.S. Is Revived in China" - "Chinese biotechnology companies have long copied American drugs for use in their home markets. But one Chinese imitator may now save a novel cancer treatment from oblivion after it was abandoned by its American developer. Shanghai Sunway Biotech, a biotechnology company in Shanghai, has licensed worldwide rights to the therapy from Onyx Pharmaceuticals, based in Emeryville, Calif., people at both companies said. It is a sign that China is plowing ahead in certain areas of medicine that are regarded more cautiously in the United States." (New York Times)

February 24, 2005

"Merck's Costly Withdrawal" - "Now that a Food and Drug Administration advisory panel has rehabilitated Vioxx, Celebrex, and the other arthritis medications known as Cox-2 inhibitors, it's time to consider the wisdom of Merck's panicky withdrawal of Vioxx from the market last September." (Steven Milloy, New York Sun)

"'Green' munitions linked to cancer" - "A tungsten alloy used in "environmentally friendly" munitions caused rapidly growing tumors in laboratory rats, according to a recently published study." (Cape Cod Times)

"Study Blames 20,000 Deaths a Year on Diesel Exhaust" - "WASHINGTON — Emissions from old diesel engines cause more than 20,000 Americans a year to die sooner than they would have otherwise, an environmental group estimated Tuesday." (Associated Press)

Gasp! "International Environmental Groups Unite Against Australian Corporate Assault on Free Speech" - "SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA -- February 23 -- Friends of the Earth International, Greenpeace International, the Rainforest Action Network and the Sierra Club unreservedly condemn the decision by the Australian woodchip company, Gunns, to sue environmentalists and politicians in Australia who have opposed its role in the logging of old growth forests in Tasmania." (Press Release)

What, have to take responsibility for the damage caused by malicious lies? How rude!

"Rotting mangroves may hold climate key" - "Marine researchers believe ancient mangroves found adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef may hold the key to the speed of future sea level rises. Dr Dan Alongi, a bio-geochemist and senior principal research scientist with the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) in Townsville, has unearthed 9,000-year-old mangroves in old river channels. He believes the slowly decomposing trees, which still have leaves and branches, were swamped within a matter of decades when sea levels rose after the last ice age. This was around 20 times faster than already thought." (AAP)

"Antarctic ice shelf retreats happened before" - "A study of George VI Ice Shelf on the Antarctic Peninsula is the first to show that this currently 'healthy' ice shelf experienced an extensive retreat about 9500 years ago, more than anything seen in recent years. The retreat coincided with a shift in ocean currents that occurred after a long period of warmth." (British Antarctic Survey)

Never mind that these things have happened naturally in the past! This time it'll be bad 'cause humans caused it! We know it's human-caused because it's unprecedented and, and - uh...

"Scientists discover why is the North Pole frozen" - "Ice has been building up in the Arctic for 2.7 million years. Until now, no-one has been able to prove what mechanism brought about this accumulation of ice. However, a team of international scientists led by Antoni Rosell, a researcher for the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, and Gerald H. Haug of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (Germany) has discovered the mechanism that set off the accumulation of ice." (Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona)

"Senators warm up to emissions curbs" - "Republican opposition to "greenhouse gas" curbs is slowly easing, as concerns mount over damage from climate change." (Wall Street Journal)

"‘Kyoto debate is over’, Bush tells EU" - "US President George W Bush has put an end to any prospect of Washington signing up to the Kyoto protocol on climate change. During a meeting with EU heads of state and government, Bush said he “brought up global warming”. “I said that the Kyoto debate is beyond us, as far as I’m concerned; now is the time to focus our abilities and research and capacity to develop technologies to make the air cleaner, so that our people can have the standard of living they expect,” he told journalists following the talks." (EUpolitix)

"Steal These Emissions" - "The EU recently launched its latest bureaucratic Leviathan: a so-called market for emissions trading. Using the word "market" might indicate a degree of voluntary participation on behalf of the companies involved. But that is not the case here. The EU system has instead installed a bureaucratic monster enforcing a reduction in energy usage based on the assumption that the world's climate is changing dramatically due to the use of fossil fuels. This theory is at best dubious, but what is even worse is that the prescribed cure might be even less convincing than the diagnosis." (Kim Eskildsen, TCS)

"Kyoto’s Statute of Limitations?" - "Most of the world is celebrating the fact that the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change finally came into force on February 16, 2005. Others are miffed that Kyoto has taken effect. But there’s one question that no one is talking about: Is Kyoto operating under an implicit sunset clause? Annie Petsonk of Environmental Defense explores the issue." (The Globalist)

Weekly Whipple: "Climate: Will Kyoto Leave The U.S. Behind?" - "The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, better known as the Kyoto Protocol, took effect last Wednesday, famously without the participation of the the United States, the world's largest single source of anthropogenic - or human-generated - carbon dioxide, itself otherwise known as the most potent greenhouse gas." (Dan Whipple, UPI)

Small wonder people are generally clueless about CO2 and enhanced greenhouse when "climate writers" present garbage like this. No, CO2 is not the most potent greenhouse gas or anywhere close to. No, it is not the most prolific, it is, in fact, an essential trace gas. While the US is certainly the most prolific user of fossil fuels (for the time being) it is not apparently contributing to rising atmospheric CO2 levels because North America, at least that portion south of the 50th parallel, is a net carbon sink (more carbon dioxide blows onshore with prevailing winds than blows off - see Fan, et al "A large terrestrial carbon sink in North America implied by atmospheric and oceanic carbon dioxide data and models" Science 282: 442-446.). Want to have a word with industrialised nations liberating more carbon than they sequester? Go see the EU.

"No Proof is Sufficient" - "We’ve come across research published in the peer-reviewed journal Geophysical Research Letters, the title of which pushes the limits of scientific acceptability: “Forty-five years of observed moisture in the Ukraine: No summer desiccation (yet).” It appears we have now entered a phase of the global climate change debate wherein scientists feel free to trumpet their personal bias even if it runs contrary to evidence compiled by the scientific entity they represent or, even more astounding, if it runs counter to research results they themselves produce!" (GES)

"Kyotophilia" - "BRUSSELS -- Forgive the late report on last week's entering into force of the Kyoto Protocol, but I thought it might be a good idea to wait for the euphoria to wear off before attempting a coherent analysis of this historic development. Even at this point, it may not be possible to provide." (Craig Winneker, TCS)

"Timetable of doom" - "The Independent, a newspaper published in the United Kingdom, is doing everything it can to position itself as the world’s leading newspaper of environmental doom and gloom. Here’s a sampling of headlines in the past two weeks: “Apocalypse Now: how mankind is sleepwalking to the end of the Earth,” “Greenhouse gas threatens marine life,” “Dramatic change in West Antarctic ice could produce 16ft rise in sea levels,” “Coral reefs may start to dissolve in 30 years,” “Global warming is ‘twice as bad as thought,’” “Countdown to global catastrophe,” and “Global warming approaching point of no return, warns leading climate expert.” (GES)

"Sea salt inhibits global warming" - "Scientists at The University of Manchester are examining a novel idea for delaying the effects of climate change using a combination of clouds and sea salt. Atmospheric experts Professor Tom Choularton and Dr. Keith Bower, who are working with a team of leading scientists around the world on the theory, have developed a computer simulation which shows how adding sea salt to clouds can slow global warming." (University of Manchester)

"For economic growth, tougher environmental laws?" - "When tiny Clipper Windpower builds its first factory, perhaps this year, it will automatically become America's second-largest manufacturer of wind turbines. The Carpinteria, Calif., company even has a hot new technology that should be a sure thing. But it's still hunting for financing because being a wind-turbine builder in the United States is tough, so tough that only one other US manufacturer exists." (Mark Clayton, The Christian Science Monitor)

Any industry totally reliant on public subsidy for mere survival, much less profit-making, is a long way from a "sure thing." Tidal energy will be useful (one day) because tides are and will be predictable as long as the moon remains in orbit. The wind, however, will always be capricious and base-load wind power forever a Green dream.

"Hydroelectric power's dirty secret revealed" - "CONTRARY to popular belief, hydroelectric power can seriously damage the climate. Proposed changes to the way countries' climate budgets are calculated aim to take greenhouse gas emissions from hydropower reservoirs into account, but some experts worry that they will not go far enough. The green image of hydro power as a benign alternative to fossil fuels is false, says Éric Duchemin, a consultant for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). "Everyone thinks hydro is very clean, but this is not the case," he says." (New Scientist)

"United States is Key Provider of Food Aid for World's Poor" - "The United States is the major player in feeding the world's poor through bilateral, private, and especially multilateral food distribution programs around the globe, according to Tony P. Hall, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization." (United States Department of State via AllAfrica.com)

"Americans And GM Food: Knowledge, Opinion And Interest In 2004" (PDF) - "EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: This report presents the results from the third in a series of studies examining public perception of genetically modified (GM) food in the United States. All three studies were based on survey results of separate, nationally representative samples of approximately 1,200 Americans taken in 2001, 2003, and 2004. While the survey instrument on which the current report is based maintained many of the same measures of awareness and attitude as its two predecessors, it also included several new queries that assess the ability of respondents to recall specific news stories related to GM food, their interest in the topic, and where they would go to look for new information. ..." (Food Policy Institute)

"EU-US Rift Remains Over Biotech Food" - "It's been 10 years since the production of genetically modified crops reached commercial status. All the while, an EU-US row has been simmering -- especially over exporting the technology to developing countries." (Deutsche Welle)

February 23, 2005

"Perchlorate found in dairy and breast milk samples from across the country" - "In a new study of breast milk and store-bought milk from across the United States, scientists at Texas Tech University found perchlorate in every sample but one. The results suggest that this thyroid-disrupting chemical may be more widespread than previously believed. The report was published Feb. 22 on the Web site of Environmental Science & Technology." (American Chemical Society)

"In Fish vs. Farmer Cases, the Fish Loses Its Edge" - "In a series of lawsuits, including one to be argued before the United States Supreme Court on Wednesday, farmers and water districts are pushing property-rights claims to the forefront of the debate over how to divvy up water among farms, cities and the environment." (New York Times)

"Noise makers" - "The ocean floor holds secrets that could help predict tsunamis and explain the dinosaur extinction, but environmentalists say the research is too loud for marine life." (Boston Globe)

"UN to debate how best to curb mercury" - "Environmental ministers meeting in Nairobi this week to tackle one of the most widespread pollutants will be asked to choose between strict curbs on mercury proposed by the European Union and a voluntary approach advocated by the United States." (Los Angeles Times)

Hmm... a very significant portion of the world's electricity is generated by coal-fired stations; mercury, while certainly an enormously overstated "problem," is emitted from coal-fired utilities; UN seeks to hamper coal-fired electricity generation. The UN sure has a mania about trying to ration energy, don't they?

Is this the legacy of Maurice Strong?

"Isn't the only hope for the planet that the industrialised civilizations collapse? Isn't it our responsibility to bring that about?" -- Maurice Strong, head of the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro and Executive Officer for Reform in the Office of the Secretary General of the United Nations.

While we vehemently disagree with Maurice, the UN, perhaps, does not.

"EU Energy Prices Threaten Aluminium Smelters" - "LONDON - Soaring EU energy prices could force up to half the economic bloc's aluminium smelters to shut in the next five years, industry officials planned to tell the EU on Monday." (Reuters)

The US and Australia dodged the Kyoto bullet and the EU outsmarted themselves by creating such a hysterical imperative for the anti-industry protocol they shot themselves fair in the ah... boy that probably hurts. Dopey blighters.

"Price of Carbon on the Rise" - "MONTEVIDEO, Feb 22 - The Industrial Revolution in the Western world, responsible for much of the pollution now threatening the planet's very existence, was fuelled by the drive for profit. How ironic, then, that profit motives form part of the Kyoto Protocol, which entered into force last week as a means of obliging the wealthy industrialised countries to curb emissions of the gases that cause global warming and climate change." (IPS)

Here's a rising price they don't like to talk about.

"Owen McShane: Dancing to Kyoto tune turns [NZ] into an Apec dummy" - "Environment Minister Pete Hodgson made a passionate case for [New Zealand's] commitment to the Kyoto Protocol. It would be easy to challenge many of his claims about climate change, but such scientific point-scoring would skirt the real issues." (New Zealand Herald)

Ooh! Dueling blogs: "Sci-Am: Mann and the Hockey Stick" - "Hagiography" according to Wordnet, at Princeton University means "a biography that idealizes or idolizes the person (especially a person who is a saint)". Now that you know this, try reading this Scientific American article written by David Appell about Michael Mann, creator of the Hockey Stick." (Climate Audit)

See also our Feb. 21 comments (well, list of references from prior to Mann's Orwellian memory hole, anyway)

"Mayor Is on a Mission to Warm U.S. Cities to the Kyoto Protocol" - "SEATTLE — One day last month in this normally sun-starved corner of the country, when the temperature reached into the low 60s, residents donned shorts and acted as if summer had come early. That bothered Mayor Greg Nickels — not the shorts, but the warm weather. The temperature hit the 60s again this month, and with mountain snowpacks alarmingly low and scientists already predicting drought this summer, Nickels said he feared "the profound changes" associated with global warming had reached home. Last week, on the day the Kyoto Protocol went into effect, Nickels announced he would lead a campaign to get U.S. cities to adopt its terms, beginning with Seattle. He said his goal was to recruit 140 cities to match the 140 countries that signed the treaty. The mayors of 10 cities, including Los Angeles; Santa Monica; Portland, Ore.; Minneapolis; and Oakland, have signed on." (Los Angeles Times)

"Kyoto and the End of Hot Air" - "The Kyoto Protocols have gone into effect which is, believe it or not, good for everybody." (Irwin M. Stelzer, The Daily Standard)

"Kyoto: mother of intervention" - "One of the more far-fetched claims about the impact of Kyoto, which drops today on to the stable floor of history, is that it will lead to "opportunities" rather than economic destruction. This assertion was made yet again yesterday by Environment Minister Stephane Dion in a speech at Carleton University. "Achieving our climate change goals," he declared, "provides an opportunity to transform our economy."

The notion that Kyoto might be good for business is a variant on the classic "broken window fallacy" hatched by the great French economic satirist Frederic Bastiat. The fallacy is attached to the notion that a brick through a casement window might be a stimulant to economic activity because the glass has to be replaced. Such a view ignores the fact that the glazier's benefit is the window owner's loss. There is no net economic benefit. Moreover, an environment filled with policy brick-throwers would inevitably lead to a collapse of investment." (Peter Foster, Financial Post)

"Hot summer a sign of warming planet" - "For proof of climate change in the Arctic, look no further than Alaska's long, hot summer, according to one of the country's top climate scientists." (Anchorage Daily News)

"Government fears ambitious Kyoto fund will be smeared by 'hot air' label" - "OTTAWA - Wednesday's federal budget will create a clean energy fund operating at arm's length from government, with initial funding of $1 billion over five years, sources say. The fund will initially seek 90 megatonnes of greenhouse gas reductions annually within Canada and abroad, although the government fears the purchase of international credits - vital to meeting targets under the Kyoto agreement - will be dismissed as 'hot air.'" (CP)

Too late...

"Hydro-Québec quits 'dirty' camp" - "MONTREAL -- Hydro-Québec has pulled out of the national electricity industry association in a disagreement over the Kyoto climate change treaty, reflecting the deep divisions and confusion across the industry over how to implement the accord." (Globe and Mail)

"David Suzuki's four-wheel drivel" - "In the movie The Day After Tomorrow, the first time we see the heroic Cassandra-like Dennis Quaid character driving a car, it is a Toyota Prius, hybrid vehicle of choice for conspicuous non-consumers of gasoline. Once the weather hits the fan, however, and he decides he must take off to rescue his son, he appears in the biggest headlights-blazing mother four-wheel-drive you ever saw. It's the American way, both on the screen and on the road." (Peter Foster, Financial Post)

From CO2 Science Magazine this week:

"Coral Bleaching: Is It Physically or Biologically Driven?" - "The answer to this question is key to determining how to deal with the problem." (co2science.org)

Subject Index Summaries:
"Temperature (Trends - Regional: Asia, China)" - "In more ways than one, the temperature history of China fails to support the climate-alarmist view of earth's thermal history, most likely because that view is just plain wrong." (co2science.org)

"Coral Reefs (Bleaching - Responses: Symbiont Shuffling)" - "Climate alarmists typically decry the bleaching of corals that often follows periods of anomalous warmth at various places around the globe. In doing so, however, they malign the very phenomenon that enables corals to "reinvent" themselves and adapt to global warming." (co2science.org)

Plant Growth Data:
"This week we add new results (blue background) of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature for: Cotton, Pencilflower, Semi-natural grassland in central Sweden and Wheat." (co2science.org)

Journal Reviews:
"More - and More Severe - "Hockeystick" Problems" - "The Mann et al.-derived, and IPCC-endorsed, temperature history of the Northern Hemisphere appears to be fatally flawed." (co2science.org)

"The Role of CO2 in Initiating the 100,000-Year Glacial Cycles of the Pleistocene" - "What was it? And what does it tell us about the likelihood of the ongoing rise in the air's CO2 content promoting catastrophic global warming?" (co2science.org)

"The Killing 'Cold' of Sao Paulo, Brazil" - "Deaths due to heart attacks begin to rise as soon as mean daily temperature declines below 18°C." (co2science.org)

"Ozone's Negative Impact on Grain Production in Asia: Can CO2 Help?" - "As the deleterious effects of ozone pollution on crop productivity grow ever larger, it becomes ever more important that atmospheric CO2 concentrations be allowed to rise unimpeded." (co2science.org)

"Peanuts Perform Well in High-CO2 Air" - "Almost everything peanuts do, they do far better with more carbon dioxide in the air." (co2science.org)

"Rising carbon dioxide emission may make grain less nutritious: expert" - "A Chinese soil scientist has warned that rises in global carbon dioxide emission may make grain less nutritious -- the protein level in cereal, for example, may be lowered by 10 percent in the coming four decades." (Xinhua)

February 22, 2005

"Debate over pesticides, exposure growing again" - "Farm groups and farm worker advocates are fighting over the first-year results of a study that found that one in five farm workers handling pesticides had suffered exposure to the chemicals -- and what role those results should play in future decisions about pesticide use." (Associated Press)

"Herbicide's ban unlikely, for now" - "State lawmakers are pushing bills that would restrict use of atrazine next year and ban it by 2008." (St. Paul Pioneer Press)

"Canada Not Planning To Ban Popular Lawn Pesticide" - "OTTAWA - Canada said on Monday it did not plan to restrict the use of the popular garden pesticide 2,4-D and said it had found no evidence to support suggestions that the substance could cause cancer." (Reuters)

"Without meat children are damaged, say scientists" - "Rubbish, reply vegetarians - led by Paul McCartney" (The Guardian)

"Appeals for action resound at global environmental conference in Kenya" - "NAIROBI - Appeals for the world's governments to renew efforts to protect the Earth's ecology resounded here as the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) opened its week-long annual governor's conference. "The environment is not a luxury," said UNEP chief Klaus Toepfer as he welcomed more than 1,000 delegates, including some 70 environment and finance ministers, to the agency's Nairobi headquarters on Monday. "Well-nurtured, nature is a life-saver," he said. "It is an economically important insurance policy whose wisdom we ignore at our peril." (AFP)

How did Tennyson express it, "nature, red in tooth and claw"? Obviously I'll never be a poet laureate but I would not describe "Mother Nature" as any kind of wise nurture figure either. At best "nature" could be described as indifferent - if you are feeling particularly generous - although I would describe the alleged "Mother Nature nurture figure" as a pernicious harridan who must be stopped before she kills again.

I doubt that it's any accident that denizens of the wealthy, developed world, whose life expectancy has virtually doubled over the last century and who are almost completely shielded from "nature" are the ones most deluded about that brutal, competitive realm, viewing it through some romantic lens as one of idyllic peace, balance and harmony. Such naivety in the pampered donor domain is hugely dangerous for those in the third world in desperate need of development and defense from that very same "nature, red in tooth and claw."

"Green movement pales in Bay State" - "Massachusetts was once a favorite of the national environmental movement, passing some of the country's strongest laws to protect its air, water, and land." (Boston Globe)

Gosh! This Green thing, it like, uh, costs money?

"A new environmentalism" - "Almost 35 years after the first Earth Day, U.S. environmentalists are in a fix. Membership and donations are up for many organizations, but broad support for the movement appears to be stagnant, if not retreating. In the last four years, membership in the Sierra Club increased by 22 percent. Revenues and membership in other environmental groups also grew, apparently mobilized in opposition to Bush administration environmental policies. Yet there are not many recent accomplishments environmental organizations can claim for all that influx of money and members." (Chicago Tribune)

Today's recycling: "Ecological destruction fuels emerging diseases" - "The destruction of habitat by human activity and the extinction of species around the world is more than a looming environmental catastrophe, warns a Canadian zoologist. This ecological damage also endangers human health by turning parasites into "evolutionary land mines." (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council)

Humanists disagreed, saying insufficient critters had been stomped - principally pathogens and parasites...

No guarantee of a Kyoto payoff? "Russia WTO talks 'make progress'" - "Talks on Russia's proposed membership of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) have been "making good progress" say those behind the negotiations. But the chairman of the working party, Ambassador Stefan Johannesson of Iceland, warned that there was "still a lot of work has to be done." (BBC)

"Is a symbolic pact just hot air?" - "HOW IMPORTANT to the world's future is the Kyoto global-warming pact that went into effect Wednesday? It can't be that important when Eileen Claussen, president of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, told the Washington Post, "The greatest value is symbolic." (Debra J. Saunders, San Francisco Chronicle)

"Bush disappoints Europe with climate change ideas" - "BRUSSELS - U.S. President George W. Bush has disappointed European environmental activists who had hoped for a wider commitment from the world's largest polluter to fighting global warming." (Reuters)

I thought there was more to "Europe" than "environmental activists." Silly me...

Et tu Chucky, et tu? "Hagel warms to notion U.S. needs lead role in environmental repair" - "NEW YORK - U.S. Sen. Chuck Hagel didn't sound green in speaking to about 200 global warming experts last week, didn't sound green - not in the environmental sense. In recent weeks, the senator who may run for president has spoken out on global warming. While Hagel's proposals for addressing global warming don't go far enough for environmentalists and some global warming experts, they say it's a pleasant change to hear a conservative Republican seeking to do something." (Omaha World-Herald)

"Arctic warming will bring challenges and opportunity" - "Alaska recorded its warmest summer on record last year, and the warming trend is expected to continue, creating challenges and opportunities for businesses statewide, said Bob Corell, chair of the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment." (Alaska Journal of Commerce)

Hmm... Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA) again. ACIA's claims, however, would seem very hard to justify.

"Scientists Looking at Ways to Trap Greenhouse Gases" - "TEMPE, Ariz. -- With its dented metal cylinders, rust-colored tanks and network of silver tubing, the Goldwater Materials Science Laboratory at Arizona State University does not look especially high-tech. But if an ongoing experiment there succeeds, this unassuming basement facility near Phoenix could offer a partial way out of the nation's greenhouse-gas problems." (Washington Post)

"Sod Off, Swampy!" - "Last Wednesday the Kyoto Protocol kicked in and Greenpeace decided to mark the event in Britain by storming London's International Petroleum Exchange, the world's second-largest energy market, with the modest ambition of closing down trading for the day." (Val MacQueen, TCS)

"France's nuclear response to Kyoto" - "As the Kyoto Protocol comes into force, some scientists are suggesting that nuclear power could make an unexpected comeback as a "cleaner" alternative to conventional energy sources. They point to France, which derives some 78% of its energy from its 58 nuclear reactors, which operate with little or no public opposition." (BBC News)

"China approves projects suspended a month ago for failing green criteria" - "China has approved the resumption of 26 out of the 30 large construction projects that were suspended a month ago for failing to get environmental approval before they started, state media said Sunday." (Agence France-Presse)

Cue particulate scares... "Japan: Eco-friendly pellet stoves finding a warm welcome in the home" - "As an environmentally friendly means of heating a home, wood-burning pellet stoves are a hot item. Because the wood comes from waste chips and sawdust that would otherwise be discarded, no trees are cut down to supply the wood pellets used as fuel. Even better, burning the wood pellets does not contribute to global warming. They release no more carbon dioxide than if the wood had been left untouched to break down naturally in a forest." (Asahi Shimbun)

"Oil firms hope ultraclean gas no pipe dream" - "Here in the Persian Gulf, hundreds of workers are piecing together a coiled labyrinth of pipes that they hope will turn natural gas into an ultraclean automotive fuel — and challenge the oil industry." (Wall Street Journal)

"Hydrogen powered buses the start of clean fuel in Florida" - "Gov. Jeb Bush announced a proposal for $15 million in grants and tax incentives for companies who help Florida develop and use clean-burning hydrogen fuel." (Associated Press)

"Breyers sued over 'all-natural' ice cream pledge" - "Ice cream eaters in St. Louis have filed a proposed class action lawsuit against Good Humor-Breyers Ice Cream Co. Inc., claiming the milk used in its "All Natural Ice Cream" gets a boost from growth hormones." (Reuters)

"The Cutting Edge" - "I’ve always been told that California is on the cutting edge of everything. Sometimes I’ve even believed it. But now I’m starting to wonder. While growing numbers of farmers are rushing to adopt agricultural biotechnology all over the world, three counties in California have passed bans on it. Now Sonoma County, in the heart of the Golden State’s wine country, may approve a 10-year moratorium on biotech plantings later this year." (Dean Kleckner, Truth About Trade & Technology)

"Bill aims to require labeling of genetically modified fish" - "Specific labeling and identification of genetically modified fish and fish products would be required in Alaska under legislation under consideration by the Senate and House." (Alaska Journal of Commerce)

"U.S. wheat needs biotech boost, industry groups say" - "RENO, Nevada, Feb 20- The U.S. wheat industry needs a range of biotechnology advancements to stay competitive, industry officials said on Sunday, adding they would urge the launch of some type of biotech wheat before the decade's end." (Reuters)

"Canada gears up for labeling changes: GM and nutrition" - "When nutritional labeling comes into force in Canada later this year, manufacturers may also take advantage of the need to change their labels to stipulate whether their products’ ingredients are genetically engineered." (FoodNavogator-USA)

"Productivity of Biotech Crops in Developing Countries" - "Biotech crop acreage in developing countries like China, India and South Africa continued to increase in 2004 according to the ISAAA (International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications). Chinese acreage, mostly cotton, increased 31.9 percent from 6.9 million acres to 9.1 million acres. India’s acreage increased from 250,000 acres in 2003 to 1.24 million in 2004, a 400 percent increase. South Africa’s biotech acreage increased 25 percent in 2004 to 1.2 million acres. The slow progress of the regulatory process in developing countries has allowed agronomic and economic researchers to accumulate data from farm trials and estimate what may happen to productivity as biotech crops become more widely used." (Ross Korves, Truth About Trade & Technology)

"A bitter harvest" - "Europe's bureaucrats have caved in to American pressure over GM, but the decision can be overturned argue Sue Mayer and Robin Grove-White" (The Guardian)

February 21, 2005

"Oh what a lovely scare!" - "It was a classic – the scare that launched a thousand words." (Number Watch)

Thousand words? Column-inches, more likely.

"Lead in environment causing violent crime - study" - "WASHINGTON - Lead left in paint, water, soil and elsewhere may not only be affecting children's intelligence but may cause a significant proportion of violent crime, a U.S. researcher argued Friday." (Reuters)

Ah, the hazards of hopping aboard PC scares: "McProgress in war on trans fats?" - "Tasty, crunchy, but trans-fat-free at last? Not yet, as McDonald's finds its French-fry goal more elusive than expected. Two years after the fast-food chain's own deadline for reducing trans fats, the McDonald's French fry has thus far snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. The chain had announced with fanfare that the amount of trans fats in its cooking oil would be cut almost in half by February 2003. After that, a more ambitious goal: It planned to eliminate this form of disease-causing grease, right down to the last McNugget. Today, however, an order of fries is as trans-laden as ever." (Dallas Morning News)

"Air pollution takes six months off your life, international experts find" - "Air pollution is shortening the lives of Britons by more than six months, a startling unpublished European Commission report reveals." (London Independent)

"Obesity 'the new tobacco'" - "CHILDHOOD obesity could cause more death and illness than smoking and lead to the first fall in life expectancy of Australians in more than 100 years. 'However, the science on obesity is not nearly as rigorous as the science on tobacco.'" (The Australian)

"Children 'harmed' by vegan diets" - "Putting children on a vegan diet is unethical and could harm their development, a US researcher argues." (BBC)

"The Great Safety and Fuel-Saving Failure" - "Despite nearly two million injury-causing car crashes each year, Congress and environmentalists apparently have made safety a lower priority than their (largely futile) efforts to reduce auto gas prices and carbon dioxide emissions. Despite years of government dictates, based largely on guesswork, the attempts of bureaucrats and politicians to raise auto fuel-economy standards have been a proven failure -- and a dangerous one for the public's safety." (Tait Trussell, ACSH)

"Ecochondriasis..." - "We inhabit a world of 24-hour 'News'. Is this good for us? Every second, of every day, some hack, somewhere, is taking the temperature of the Earth." (EnviroSpin Watch)

Wow! That Kyoto thing works fast! "Snow storms and Arctic conditions sweep across UK" - "Britain remained firmly in the grip of a big chill yesterday with freezing conditions expected across the country for the rest of the week." (London Independent)

If this is what happens to the UK I'm sure glad we didn't sign up to the silly thing. Fancy squandering maybe 1% or more of your GDP to freeze your whatsits off!

"Blair asked to help Bush see the light" - "Tony Blair is being enlisted by a leading US lobby group in an attempt to bring the Bush administration closer to the rest of the world's position on climate change." (London Independent)

He has seen the light guys, you're the silly blighters who signed on to Kyoto.

Not so much fun after all? "Lifting smoke screen on carbon emissions" - "It is becoming the practice for ministers in the Helen Clark government to give sweeping assurances that all is well in their portfolios, then to reluctantly concede later that all is not quite as well as they would have liked, The Dominion Post writes in an editorial. The latest to engage in this unfortunate practice is the convener of the ministerial group on climate change, Pete Hodgson. For years, Mr Hodgson has been dismissing business concerns about the Kyoto Protocol as the maudlin meanderings of professional gloom merchants. Now we learn, on the day the agreement takes effect, that the minister and his officials have over-estimated the economic benefits of the agreement, which requires signatories to reduce net carbon emissions to 5 per cent below 1990 levels between 2008 and 2012." (Dominion Post)

Even Australia has believers: "Sins of omission cast shadow over Kyoto" - "The trouble with the almighty struggle to get the Kyoto Protocol into force is that it's left too many people with the impression Kyoto is the solution to climate change. It's not. Far from it. It's a badly flawed and inadequate agreement. And that would be true even if the United States and Australia had signed up - as they should have. Its first weakness is its pathetically modest objective. The developed country signatories to the agreement have committed themselves to reducing their combined greenhouse gas emissions to 5 per cent less than the level in 1990. This is to be achieved by 2012. But, though estimates of the reduction in emissions we'll need to achieve to prevent catastrophic climate change are still rubbery, it's likely to be nearer 50 or 60 per cent. So, though the ink isn't dry on this agreement, people are already asking themselves, what comes next?" (Ross Gittins, Sydney Morning Herald)

"City drops emissions study" - "Illustrating how tricky it can be to get a local grip on global warming, the city of Sacramento has bowed out of a voluntary effort to account for its greenhouse gas emissions." (Sacramento Bee)

"Global warming led to atmospheric hydrogen sulfide and Permian extinction" - "Volcanic eruptions in Siberia 251 million years ago may have started a cascade of events leading to high hydrogen sulfide levels in the oceans and atmosphere and precipitating the largest mass extinction in Earth's history, according to a Penn State geoscientist." (Penn State)

Oh boy... "Climate change to bring a wave of new health risks" - "As a result, governments and health officials need to begin to think about how to respond to an anticipated increase in the number and scope of climate-related health crises, ranging from killer heat waves and famine, to floods and waves of infectious diseases. That, in a nutshell, was the message delivered to scientists here today (Feb. 20) at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) by Jonathan A. Patz, an authority on the human health effects of global environmental change. As the world's climate warms, and as people make widespread alterations to the global landscape, human populations will become far more vulnerable to heat-related mortality, air pollution-related illnesses, infectious diseases and malnutrition, Patz says." (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

Funny how Patz et al never seem to consider reduction of cold related deaths that would occur (if some of the alleged dramatic warming should ever arrive).

Hmm... "Human prints on warming: Our influence on ocean temps may have catastrophic consequences, scientists say" - "WASHINGTON - Scientists have announced what they say is stunning evidence of ocean warming linked to human activity over the past 40 years." (Newsday)

This "computer model-aided" and as yet unpublished "study" is getting way more attention than it so far deserves. If empirical measures indicate the oceans are warming in an alarming or unusual manner (show us the data!) then why does it have to be modeled at all? Against what baseline data is the alleged warming referenced? (Actually not a fair question since there is a dearth of ocean temperature information. This situation will improve over time, especially as the drifting submersible buoy project continues but that will still only give us a rudimentary snapshot against which future data may be usefully compared.) What rate of warming should be considered "normal" for the oceans post Little Ice Age or are we "doing a Mann" and writing such inconveniences out of history? If definitive proof or even moderately good evidence of anthropogenic warning is in this study then why was it pre-empted in a talking head media conference rather than being broken in the AAAS's own flagship publication Science? Or is peer review now neutered to such pitiful lip service that the pretence is no longer made? Given past experience with science-by-press-release the most stunning thing about this will be if there's any evidence in it at all.

Appell & SciAm rise to Mann's defense - with a puff piece: "Behind the Hockey Stick" - "Seven years ago Michael Mann introduced a graph that became an iconic symbol of humanity's contribution to global warming. He has been defending his science ever since." (David Appell, SciAm)

Hmm again... still trying to claim that the Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age were isolated regional events, I note. It's time to list a few studies suggesting Mann is perhaps a little eccentric on this point. Not a very large nor comprehensive list, co2science.org probably cite many more as they cover the topic (likely where I found at least some of these over the years too).

So, here you go Mike, a few people who beg to differ: (Oh, and Mike? These guys tend to make their data and methodology available for review - just a thought.)

  • Global: Huang and Pollack ("Late Quaternary temperature changes seen in world-wide continental heat flow measurements" Geophysical Research Letters 24: 1947-1950) The authors searched the large database of terrestrial heat flow measurements compiled by the International Heat Flow Commission of the International Association of Seismology and Physics of the Earth's Interior for measurements suitable for reconstructing an average ground surface temperature history of the earth over the last 20,000 years. Based on a total of 6,144 qualifying sets of heat flow measurements obtained from every continent of the globe, they produced a global climate reconstruction, which, they state, is "independent of other proxy interpretations [and] of any preconceptions or biases as to the nature of the actual climate history."

    From their reconstruction of "a global climate history from worldwide observations," the authors found strong evidence that the Medieval Warm Period was indeed warmer than it is now, by perhaps as much as 0.5 °C, which is only 0.1 °C less than the peak warmth of the mid-Holocene Maximum. Their data also suggested that the Little Ice Age was as much as 0.7°C cooler than it is currently.
  • Global: Mayewski et al ("Holocene climate variability" Quaternary Research 62: 243-255) identified six rapid climate changes during the Holocene: 9000-8000, 6000-5000, 4200-3800, 3500-2500, 1200-1000 and 600-150 cal yr BP, the last two of which intervals are, in fact, the "globally distributed" Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age, respectively.
  • Global: Soon and Baliunas ("Proxy climatic and environmental changes of the past 1000 years" Climate Research 23: 89-110) In the words of the authors, "the assemblage of local representations of climate establishes both the Little Ice Age and Medieval Warm Period as climatic anomalies with worldwide imprints, extending earlier results by Bryson et al (1963), Lamb (1965), and numerous intervening research efforts." In addition, they find that "across the world, many records reveal that the 20th century is probably not the warmest nor a uniquely extreme climatic period of the last millennium."
  • Global: Bard et al ("Solar irradiance during the last 1200 years based on cosmogenic nuclides" Tellus 52B: 985-992) The authors' work resulted in an extended Total Solar Irradiance (TSI) record that suggests, in their words, that "solar output was significantly reduced between 1450 and 1850 AD, but slightly higher or similar to the present value during a period centered around 1200 AD." Hence, they say "it could thus be argued that irradiance variations may have contributed to the so-called "little ice age" and "medieval warm period."
  • Global: Perry and Hsu ("Geophysical, archaeological, and historical evidence support a solar-output model for climate change" Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 97: 12433-12438) "Current global warming commonly is attributed to increased CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere," the authors note. "However," they continue, "geophysical, archaeological, and historical evidence is consistent with warming and cooling periods during the Holocene as indicated by the solar-output model."
  • North Atlantic: Bond et al ("Persistent solar influence on North Atlantic climate during the Holocene" Science 294: 2130-2136) The scientists were able to discern and date a number of recurring alternate periods of relative cold and warmth that wended their way through the entire 12,000-year expanse of the Holocene. The mean duration of the several complete climatic cycles thus delineated was 1340 years, the cold and warm nodes of the latter of which oscillations, in the words of Bond et al., were "broadly correlative with the so called 'Little Ice Age' and 'Medieval Warm Period'."
  • Russia: Krenke and Chernavskaya ("Climate changes in the preinstrumental period of the last millennium and their manifestations over the Russian Plain" Isvestiya, Atmospheric and Oceanic Physics 38: S59-S79.) The authors present an impressive review of what is known about the Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age, both throughout the world in general and within Russia in particular. The review is based upon written historical evidence, glaciological evidence, hydrologic evidence, dendrological data, archaeological data and palynological data.
  • Sargasso Sea to South Africa: Loehle ("Climate change: detection and attribution of trends from long-term geologic data" Ecological Modelling 171: 433-450) reports that "a comparison of the Sargasso and South Africa series shows some remarkable similarities of pattern, especially considering the distance separating the two locations," and he says that this fact "suggests that the climate signal reflects some global pattern rather than being a regional signal only." He also notes that a comparison of the mean record with the South Africa and Sargasso series from which it was derived "shows excellent agreement," and that "the patterns match closely," concluding that "this would not be the case if the two series were independent or random."
  • Switzerland to New Zealand: Broecker ("Glaciers That Speak in Tongues and other tales of global warming" Natural History 110 (8): 60-69) Broecker begins by discussing the Little Ice Age, a period he refers to as "a cold episode that ran from about 1300 to 1860." He notes that glacial evidence for this significant climatic excursion can be found all the way from the Swiss Alps in the Northern Hemisphere to the Southern Alps of New Zealand's South Island. Furthermore he proffers the opinion that "the Little Ice Age cooled not just Europe but the world."

Various other references of interest on the topic:

  • Allison and Kruss ("Estimation of recent change in Irian Jaya by numerical modeling of its tropical glaciers" Arctic and Alpine Research 9: 49-60)
  • Begét ("Radiocarbon-dated evidence of worldwide early Holocene climate change" Geology 11: 389-393)
  • Bergthorsson ("An estimate of drift ice and temperature in 1000 years" Jökull 19: 94-101)
  • Bernabo ("Quantitative estimates of temperature changes over the last 2700 years in Michigan based on pollen data" Quaternary Research 15: 143-159)
  • Campbell and McAndrews ("Cluster analysis of late Holocene pollen trends in Ontario" Canadian Journal of Botany 69: 1719-1730)
  • Campbell and McAndrews ("Forest disequilibrium caused by rapid Little Ice Age cooling" Nature 366: 336-338)
  • Dansgaard et al ("Climate changes, Norsemen, and modern man. Nature 255: 24-28)
  • Davis ("The correlation of summer precipitation in the southwestern U.S.A. with isotopic records of solar activity during the medieval warm period" Climatic Change 26: 271-287)
  • De'er ("Evidence for the existence of the medieval warm period in China" Climatic Change 26: 289-297)
  • Dean ("The medieval warm period on the southern Colorado Plateau" Climatic Change 26: 225-241)
  • Druffel ("Banded corals: changes in ocean Carbon-14 during the Little Ice Age" Science 218: 13-19)
  • Grove and Switsur ("Glacial geological evidence for the medieval warm period" Climatic Change 26: 143-169)
  • Keigwin ("The little ice age and the medieval warm period in the Sargasso Sea" Science 274: 1504-1508)
  • Leavitt ("Major wet interval in White Mountains medieval warm period evidenced in d13C of bristlecone pine tree rings" Climatic Change 26: 299-307")
  • Luckman ("Evidence for climatic conditions between ca. 900-1300 A.D. in the southern Canadian Rockies" Climatic Change 26: 171-182)
  • Naftz et al ("Little Ice Age evidence from a south-central North American ice core, U.S.A." Arctic and Alpine Research 28 (1): 35-41)
  • Payette et al ("Secular climate change in old-growth treeline vegetation of northern Quebec" Nature 315: 135-138)
  • Petersen ("A warm and wet little climatic optimum and a cold and dry little ice age in the southern Rocky Mountains, U.S.A." Climatic Change 26: 243-269)
  • Smith and Laroque ("Dendroglaciological dating of a Little Ice Age glacier advance at Moving Glacier, Vancouver Island, British Columbia" Géographie physique et Quaternaire 50 (1): 47-55)
  • Smith et al ("Little Ice Age glacial activity in Peter Lougheed and Elk Lakes provincial parks, Canadian Rocky Mountains" Canadian Journal of Earth Science 32: 579-589)
  • Stahle and Cleaveland ("Tree-ring reconstructed rainfall over the southeastern U.S.A. during the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age) Climatic Change 26: 199-212)
  • Villalba ("Tree-ring and glacial evidence for the medieval warm epoch and the little ice age in southern South America" Climatic Change 26: 183-197.)
  • Zhang and Crowley ("Historical climate records in China and reconstruction of past climates" Journal of Climate 2: 833-849)

Some more of the usual suspects: "Scientists advance in detection and attribution of climate change" - "WASHINGTON, D.C. — Access to the next generation of climate change experiments has helped scientists obtain more comprehensive estimates of the expected “signal” of human influences on climate. Improved knowledge of this signal, and a better understanding of uncertainties in temperature observations, have helped to advance “detection and attribution” (“D&A”) studies, which assist in unraveling the causes of recent climate change.

"The climate system is telling us an internally consistent story,” said Ben Santer, an atmospheric scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. “We’ve observed warming of the Earth’s land surface and oceans, cooling of the stratosphere, an increase in height of the tropopause, retreat of Arctic sea ice, and widespread melting of glaciers. These changes are difficult to reconcile with purely natural causes.” (DOE/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory)

I don't think anyone suggests it's not warmer than when it was cooler Ben, any more than they do that human activity has zero affect on climate, if for no other reason than changing land use and planetary albedo. On the other hand, with Sol having been a trifle hyperactive of late, supposedly the most active for about a millennium, I don't think anyone seriously expected the planet to get too much cooler of late either.

Again with the virtual world: "Pollution may worsen in northern US, report says: Global warming may block winds" - "WASHINGTON -- Global warming could stifle cleansing summer winds across parts of the northern United States in the next 50 years and worsen air pollution, US researchers said yesterday. Further warming of the atmosphere, as is happening now, would block cold fronts bringing cooler, cleaner air from Canada and allow stagnant air and ozone pollution to build up over cities in the Northeast and Midwest, they predicted. ''The air just cooks," said Loretta Mickley of Harvard University's Division of Engineering and Applied Sciences. ''The pollution accumulates, accumulates, accumulates, until a cold front comes in and the winds sweep it away." Mickley and colleagues used a computer model, an approach commonly used by climate scientists to predict weather and climate changes." (Reuters) | Warming world could worsen pollution in Northeast, Midwest (Harvard University)

Could you tell us please, Ms Mickley, whether there are any models capable of accurately predicting the weather a week from next Thursday? How about the El Niño Southern Oscillation phase a year in advance? Not that either eh? So, uh, consider technological change since 1950, what technological advances were guesstimated for 2050 and how did they affect pollution levels? Could you tell us please, Ms Mickley, what is the value of your little computer game?

"El Nino forecasting could aid fisheries management, disease control, marine species protection" - "Although predicting el Nino events months before they begin has become a major success story in climate prediction, a Duke University oceanographer who did early research in the field believes more could be done with the computer and satellite technology underlying these advances." (Duke University)

The Week That Was Feb. 19, 2005 (SEPP)

Back to the old "climate surprise": "Climate threshold may alter economic picture of climate change" - "Typical economic analysis applied to global warming may be biased because they neglect climate thresholds, according to Penn State researchers." (Penn State)

"Melting ice important indicator of global warming" - "Surrounded by winter snow and ice, melting seems like a good thing, but, on a global scale, the melting of ice sheets and glaciers is a sign of global warming, according to a Penn State glaciologist." (Penn State)

"We're here, we're warming, can we get used to it?" - "Climate change-related losses to agriculture in Washington's Yakima Valley will be between $92 million and $163 million a year, according to a study by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Wash., presented Sunday at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting. The study is one of the most detailed to date on global warming and its likely effect on human activity." (DOE/Pacific Northwest National Laboratory)

"It's Too Late to Stop Climate Change" - "Dr. Hermann Ott is the director of the Berlin office of the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy, one of Europe's leading climate policy research organizations. In an interview with SPIEGEL ONLINE, he says that global warming is inevitable and mankind must take steps for the softest landing possible. It will also mean fundamental changes in the way we live." (Der Spiegel)

"CANADA: Kyoto vs. NAFTA?" - "BROOKLIN, Canada - Closing North America's biggest coal-fired power plants is a key part of Canada's plan to meet its Kyoto Protocol obligations, but experts warn that U.S. coal companies could claim such a move violates international trade pacts like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)." (IPS)

"Tough job of saving the world" - "Even in nations that want to take the lead in tackling climate change, such as Britain, the atmosphere was less than euphoric as the Kyoto Protocol came into force. Now there are diverging views on cleaning up energy generation." (London Observer)

"UK to shun 'clean' hydrogen energy" - "The UK government is set to reject investment in a clean energy source identified by the US, Japan and China as a major alternative to fossil fuels and with potentially important spin-off benefits to Scotland." (Glasgow Sunday Herald)

"UK: Why coal can be top of the heap" - "Poor old coal does not get a good press. It is hardly mentioned in debates about future energy policy, while the images that the industry produces are relentlessly negative - as with the recent closure of Ellington colliery due to flooding and the recriminations that accompanied it. Pictures of grim-faced miners walking away from their pit for the last time evoked memories of the Eighties.

Yet coal must have a future, simply because we depend on it for so much of our electricity. One third of Britain's power supply comes from coal and, even more crucially, this figure rises to 45 per cent in periods of peak demand. Half of the coal used in British power stations is still produced domestically and half of that - about 13 million tonnes a year - comes from deep mines." (The Observer)

"Attitudes toward energy a concern" - "The nation's growing appetite for energy means nuclear power needs another chance and renewable energy must be taken more seriously, according to the speakers at Cambridge Energy Research Associates conference in Houston this past week." (Houston Chronicle)

"Enter the Dragon: Nuclear Power's Newest Player" - "What's going on with pebble-bed modular reactors?" (Jeremy L. Shane, TCS)

"UK: Carmakers in drive to push comfort and safety of 4x4s" - "They infuriate the green lobby and rile politicians, but SUV sales are set to keep rising." (London Times)

"Iranian scientists produce GM rice" - "Iran's first genetically modified (GM) rice has been approved by national authorities and is currently being grown commercially for human consumption." (New Kerala)

"GMOs: Africa’s possible solution to perpetual food crises" - "Despite strong resistance and persuasive campaigns against the implementation of the Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) crops in most developing nations, Tanzania finally opened doors on Friday officially allowing, for the first time, confined field experiment on transgenic crops to be conducted on its land." (Guardian)

February 18, 2005

"Kyoto Count-Up" - Feb. 16, 2005, is a day that may well live in scientific and economic infamy. That’s the day that the international global warming treaty known as the Kyoto Protocol went into effect around the world — but, fortunately, not in the U.S. and Australia." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"Bush says will tell Europe 'we care about climate'" - "WASHINGTON, Feb 17 - President George W. Bush said on Thursday he would tell Europe on a fence-mending trip next week the United States cares about climate change and wants to work together to develop technologies to confront it." (Reuters)

"Hagel presents Kyoto alternative to UN" - "The United States has a responsibility to step up and provide leadership in addressing global climate change, Sen. Chuck Hagel told a United Nations audience Thursday. His address outlining an alternative initiative to promote development and shared use of clean-energy technology was delivered a day after the 1997 Kyoto protocol on global warming went into effect. Hagel helped engineer Senate opposition to U.S. participation in the Kyoto accord eight years ago. What is required, he said, is "more realistic and economically based climate policies that include responsibilities for developing countries." (Lincoln Journal Star)

Your taxes at work: "Changing Public Attitudes To Climate Change" - "Defra today announced a £12m package of funding over three years as the first part of a new climate change communications initiative to change public attitudes towards climate change." (Defra release)

"Exxon chief warns of oil 'reality check'" - "Lee Raymond, head of US oil giant Exxon-Mobil and bete-noire of environmentalists, has warned European governments they may need to take a 'reality check' in their efforts to prevent global warming." (London Evening Standard) | Exxon chief calls for Kyoto reality check (London Independent)

"Hockey Stick on Ice" - "On Wednesday National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman canceled the season, and we guess that's a loss. But this week also brought news of something else that's been put on ice. We're talking about the "hockey stick."

Just so we're clear, this hockey stick isn't a sports implement; it's a scientific graph. Back in the late 1990s, American geoscientist Michael Mann published a chart that purported to show average surface temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere over the past 1,000 years. The chart showed relatively minor fluctuations in temperature over the first 900 years, then a sharp and continuous rise over the past century, giving it a hockey-stick shape." (The Wall Street Journal)

"Kyoto enforcement may vary, Dion says" - "Environment Minister Stéphane Dion is signalling a willingness to accommodate provinces clamouring for a say on regulations limiting greenhouse gas emissions." (Toronto Star)

"Price tag for Kyoto rises fast" - "Ottawa — The federal government is expected to pump between $5-billion and $6-billion into next week's budget for environmental measures, fuelled by its commitment to the controversial Kyoto accord." (Globe and Mail)

"Japan unfazed by rise in emissions" - "Japan is confident it can achieve its pledge to cut greenhouse gas emissions to 94 percent of 1990 levels as required by the Kyoto Protocol on global warming, the top government spokesman said Wednesday." (Japan Times)

"China urges developed countries to ratify Kyoto Protocol" - "BEIJING, Feb. 17 -- China calls on developed countries to ratify the Kyoto Protocol as soon as possible, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan said here Thursday." (Xinhuanet)

"Seizing on Kyoto Protocol momentum" - "With the Kyoto Protocol taking effect yesterday, mankind has finally taken a decisive step forward to safeguarding the planet by curbing global warming. It is time for modest celebration." (China Daily)

"Chinese meteorologists: Kyoto Protocol may have little effect" - "BEIJING. Feb. 17 -- Although the Kyoto Protocol's enforcement is a significant step in dealing with the global warming process, its actual effect might not be satisfactory, Chinese meteorological experts said here Thursday." (Xinhuanet)

"India welcomes Kyoto Protocol coming into force" - "The Indian Government welcomed the coming into force of the Kyoto Protocol on Thursday for the control of greenhouse emissions to arrest global warming, saying it was a significant development from an environment point of view." (Keralanext)

"Kyoto Protocol means green energy projects for India" - "The coming into force of the Kyoto Protocol, on Wednesday, entailing the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions by developed nations is expected to lead to greater investments in green energy projects in India." (Garavi Gujarat)

"State bypasses Kyoto, fights global warming - California tries to cut emissions on its own" - "As the Kyoto Protocol went into effect Wednesday, obligating its 141 member nations to cut emissions of the greenhouse gases linked to climate change, the accountants and engineers at PG&E were hard at work on tasks that could become almost as important for Planet Earth." (SF Chronicle)

"Seattle dreams of 'green' team" - "The U.S. government may have turned its back on the Kyoto Protocol, but Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels said yesterday he plans to spearhead a city-by-city effort to implement the climate-protection measures that went into effect in more than 100 other countries yesterday." (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

Oh dear... "Endangered Status Sought for Polar Bears" - "The polar bear, an icon of the great white north, is in peril, its icy home melting beneath its paws, an environmental group argued Wednesday in formally petitioning the Bush administration to grant the animals protection under the Endangered Species Act." (LA Times)

Polar Bear Scare on Thin Ice; Polar bears are thriving

"Scientists discover how climate change causes the simultaneous boom or bust of multiple populations" - "For the first time, scientists have shown precisely how weather conditions cause multiple populations of a species within a large geographical area to have simultaneous increases or decreases in their abundance, a process known as "spatial synchrony." The research reveals that occasional severe weather conditions directly cause the rapid increase or decrease in abundance of a parasite that infects an important game bird, causing them all to either decline or thrive simultaneously in breeding success." (Penn State)

Ahem... models, again: "Scripps researchers find clear evidence of human-produced warming in world's oceans" - "Scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, and their colleagues have produced the first clear evidence of human-produced warming in the world's oceans, a finding they say removes much of the uncertainty associated with debates about global warming. The authors make the case that their results clearly indicate that the warming is produced anthropogenically, or by human activities." (University of California - San Diego)

"Emissions trading could add 20pc to power bills" - "Europe's new emissions trading scheme will force up customers' electricity bills by 15pc to 20pc, according to City analysts trying to assess its impact. The rises will follow a 30pc increase in wholesale electricity prices across Europe by 2013, research from investment bank UBS shows, and will be steeper for commercial customers." (London Daily Telegraph)

"India joins China in stepped-up thirst for oil" - "MUMBAI, India India has joined China in a ravenous thirst for oil that now has the world's two most populous nations bidding up energy prices and racing against each other and against global energy companies in an increasingly urgent grab for oil and natural gas fields around the world. Energy economists in the West admire the industrial success of both China and India. But they worry about the effect on energy supplies as the two countries, with 37 percent of the world's population, rush to catch up with Europe, the United States and Japan. And environmentalists fret about the impact on global warming from burning more fossil fuels." (New York Times)

"OPEC Members Share Responsibility, Say Venezuelan Experts" - "CARACAS, Feb 17 - The petroleum producing countries should make a greater contribution to fighting global warming, even though the obligations established by the Kyoto Protocol fall primarily on the shoulders of the industrialised oil consumer nations, Venezuelan analysts say." (IPS)

"OPEC Raises Forecast for Oil Demand" - "LONDON, 17 February 2005 — The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) yesterday raised its forecast for 2005 global oil demand following upward revisions to world economic growth." (Arab News)

"Oil brokers trade blows with eco-warriors" - "Greenpeace campaigners, not a group of people unaccustomed to flying in the face of danger, were forced into a tactical retreat yesterday after feeling the wrath of angry oil traders." (London Independent)

"Climate fears spark growing support for nuclear energy" - "Two thirds of the Dutch public support the suggestion floated by Cabinet ministers this week that the only operating nuclear power plant in the Netherlands should be kept open." (Expatica)

"Car makers talk green, but build 'em mean" - "Auto makers talked in Toronto about offering more environmentally friendly vehicles and put many on display, even as they kept bragging about horsepower and kept rolling out the muscle cars." (Toronto Globe and Mail)

Exactly! "Careless science costs lives" - "The public is wrong to regard all profit-driven research as suspect" (Dick Taverne, The Guardian)

"Scientists Clash Over DDT Use" - "Scientists in Kampala were on Tuesday embroiled in deep arguments over the government's intention to use DDT in the control of malaria." (Kampala Monitor)

"Folic acid recommendations have had little impact on birth defects" - "Recommendations on use of folic acid consumption have had no detectable impact on the incidence of neural tube defects, according to an international study published on bmj.com today." (BMJ-British Medical Journal)

"A race to fix a 30-year-old 'solution'" - "In a scene repeated in more than a dozen countries from Hungary to Chile to the United States, tens of millions of people are drinking from arsenic-tainted wells. Ironically, these wells were dug from the 1970s to the present to provide clean water. Some have called it the largest mass poisoning in history." (Christian Science Monitor)

"Smoking Bans Bad Science, Bad Policy" - "Perhaps I shouldn't have been surprised at my reception last week at a Lakewood, Ohio hearing on banning smoking in restaurants and bars. Such events tend to bring out the penny-ante dictators. After all, when customers can readily find smoke-free facilities and nobody's forced to take a job, such bans are inherently authoritarian. But these people made Mussolini look like freedom's friend." (Michael Fumento, Scripps Howard News Service)

"Travesties of Regulation: Harmful U.N. policies" - "Former Federal Reserve Board chairman Paul Volcker, who heads the inquiry into corruption in the United Nations' defunct oil-for-food program, has just issued a sobering interim report. He concludes that the program was "tainted, failing to follow the established rules of the organization," and that "political considerations intruded." But the U.N.'s problems don't stop at Oil-for-Food — as if that weren't enough. Those of us who study ongoing U.N. agencies' deliberations on regulatory issues find obvious and egregious flaws in them, even when they do follow established rules.

The U.N.'s systematic sacrifice of science, technology, and sound public policy to its own bureaucratic self-interest obstructs technological innovation that could help the poorest of the poor. In particular, the U.N.'s involvement in the excessive, unscientific regulation of biotechnology — also known as gene-splicing, or genetic modification (GM) — slows agricultural research and development and promotes environmental damage. Ultimately, it could prolong famine and water shortages for millions in less-developed countries." (Henry I. Miller & Gregory Conko, NRO)

"A healthy dose of property rights is good medicine" - "It is widely believed that biotechnology is the next technology growth driver in the global economy. Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia have all laid out national programmes to build strong biotech sectors. But as the week-long conference on the UN Convention on Biological Resources coming to an end today in Bangkok shows, environment officials in a number of countries are considering policies that would block the development of biotechnology." (Alan Oxley, Bangkok Post)

"'Mega Diverse' Countries Against Markets" - "BANGKOK -- The Greens have always disliked free markets. It is one reason they hate the World Trade Organization (WTO). Now they have a have fresh offensive. They are pushing an international convention to weaken intellectual property rights by overriding established trade law.

Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have become very skilled at attacking the WTO. Oxfam continues to gnaw away at the idea that the WTO is an institution for liberalizing trade (arguing only rich countries should reduce trade barriers). For their part environmental groups have adopted old fighting tactics used by American Indians in Hollywood westerns -- the WTO is like a wagon train which they are circling.

That is what they are doing this week at an obscure conference being held in Bangkok, Thailand. It is the Third Meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-Ended Working Group on Access and Benefit Sharing of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity." (Alan Oxley, OpinionEditorials.com)

"Growers hear about new Roundup Ready alfalfa" - "Genetically altered alfalfa seeds are being promoted as one way farmers and ranchers can win their constant battle against weeds." (Mount Shasta Herald)

"China planning large-scale introduction of genetically-engineered rice" - "BEIJING - China is on the verge of introducing genetically-engineered rice on a large scale as it seeks ways to adequately supply the basic staple to its people. "It would boost China's rice output by 30 billion kilograms (66 billion pounds) a year. That's enough to feed 70 million more people," Yuan Longping, head of China's super hybrid rice scheme, told the Changsha Evening News." (AFP)

"Mexico blames north for fewer monarch butterflies" - "MEXICO CITY - The population of Monarch butterflies has suffered a drastic decline, but Mexico — where deforestation has long devastated Monarch wintering grounds — is now blaming the United States and Canada. Mexico’s Environment Department said on Wednesday that 75 percent fewer Monarch butterflies have appeared in 2004 compared to previous years. It blamed cold weather and intensive farming — including genetically modified crops — in areas of the United States and Canada where the butterflies spend the summer and reproduce." (Associated Press)

February 17, 2005

"Warning for CEOs: Global Warming Is in Junk Mail" - "America's CEOs will soon be receiving questionnaires in the mail from something called the Carbon Disclosure Project. While the CDP survey of the companies' greenhouse gas emissions may seem innocuous, responses to those questions may put businesses at risk of financial liabilities that dwarf the tobacco industry's $250 billion settlement with state attorneys general." (Steven Milloy, New York Sun)

"Fact and Comment - Steve Forbes" - "Steve Forbes weighs in on DDT and pulls no punches. Great stuff." (AFM)

"Experts Defend DDT Use" - "Ugandan officials insist that, in order to achieve its millennium development goals, the country must use the pesticide DDT to eliminate malaria." (Kampala Monitor)

"The Attack on Cell Phones, Redialed" - "A recent article in London's Evening Standard claimed that research completed by the Irish Doctors Environmental Association (IDEA) found the first proof that cell phones cause health problems, but is this research we can rely on? The doctors ignore the lessons learned from previous research along these lines. In September of 2004, researchers in Sweden found links between cell phone usage and acoustic neuroma. The studies were flawed but created a scare nonetheless." (Michal Raucher, ACSH)

"Java jolt could be fighting more than the daily blahs" - "That cup of coffee may do more than provide a tasty energy boost. It also may help prevent the most common type of liver cancer." (Associated Press)

"Going in Circles, Precautionary Style" - "Back when Jaws was scaring us on the big screen in the 1970s, Americans were being warned of a more subtle danger. On television and in the papers, we were told that saturated fats, the type found in some meat and dairy products and in some processed foods, were on the verge of causing an epidemic of heart disease." (Jeff Stier, ACSH)

"Child obesity fears 'over-hyped'" - "Levels of childhood obesity have been exaggerated, say researchers who are partly funded by food companies." (BBC)

"Scientists find dramatic changes in Southern Ocean, fear climate link" - "HOBART, Australia - Scientists have discovered dramatic changes in the temperature and salinity of deep waters in the Southern Ocean that they warn could have a major impact on global climate." (AFP)

"World warms to Kyoto, but research will save the day" - "One small step for man, one giant leap backward for mankind. That's how Wednesday's official start of the Kyoto Protocol, an international treaty that aims to limit global warming, should be greeted." (Roy Spencer, USA Today)

"Dire warnings on global warming are just hot air" - "GLOBAL warming has a way of prompting metaphors so bad they destroy a claim to seriousness. This week’s prize goes to Klaus Toepfer, head of the Kenya-based United Nations Environment Programme. Climate change could lead to Earth “spinning out of control”, he warned, neglecting to describe the time when the planet’s climate, or rotation, have been under control." (Bronwen Maddox, The Times)

"Bre-X climate" - "If the United Nations panel on climate change were a mining company, what would it be? How about Bre-X. That's pretty well the conclusion reached by Stephen McIntyre, the Canadian mining analyst and businessman whose statistical research into some of the science behind climate theory has set off a global scientific firestorm." (Terence Corcoran, Financial Post)

"Climate change: Menace or myth?" - "ON 16 FEBRUARY, the Kyoto protocol comes into force. Whether you see this as a triumph of international cooperation or a case of too little, too late, there is no doubt that it was only made possible by decades of dedicated work by climate scientists. Yet as these same researchers celebrate their most notable achievement, their work is being denigrated as never before." (Fred Pearce, NewScientist.com news service)

Denigrated? Hardly. It is, however, finally being exposed to serious examination and robust challenge, as all science must be since science is by nature adversarial and specifically not consensual (you can hear the cries of contention already, thanks fellas, for demonstrating my assertion). It is not the fault of challenging scientists when those making assertions cannot defend them. MaunaLoa_annual.gif (15718 bytes)

Despite sporadic efforts to rise above pop-science rag content, New Scientist has again shown their advocacy. Using graphics like the carbon dioxide representation certainly gives an impression of alarming increase - and a false one. Restoring the zero-base gives a rather different impression.

"Climate warnings as Kyoto takes effect" - "Celebrations to mark the birth of the UN's Kyoto Protocol mingled with warnings about climate change and renewed appeals for the United States, the biggest single source of greenhouse gas, to take action. In a message to ceremonies in Kyoto, the Japanese city where the landmark environmental treaty was agreed in 1997, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan branded global warming "one of the biggest challenges of the 21st century." "By itself, the Protocol will not save humanity from the dangers of climate change," Annan said. "So let us celebrate, but let us not be complacent ... there is no time to lose." (AFP/AP)

"The Kyoto Karnival, or 'Coyote Charivari'..." - "Yesterday proved to be one of wry amusement as all sorts of worthy souls tried to spin their way out of the fact that the 'coming-of-age' of the Kyoto Protocol was no 'Rose Adagio', but much more a Swan Song. Indeed, Kyoto fell off point a long time before its suitors arrived with their single roses." (EnviroSpin Watch)

"EU leads Kyoto 'carbon revolution'" - "The Kyoto protocol, now finally in force, is designed to cut greenhouse gas emissions by making the polluter start paying for climate change." (BBC News)

"Bringing climate change home" - "At last it has come into force - the Kyoto Protocol to slow global warming by cutting greenhouse gases now binds the industrial world. But how much does it apply to ordinary people?" (BBC)

"Giant leaps needed post-Kyoto" - "The flags are flying, the bunting is out, the fireworks are aloft. In 34 countries around the world, environmental groups and environmentally-minded politicians are welcoming in the Kyoto Protocol. Even in Australia and the United States, the two countries whose withdrawal left the Protocol almost fatally wounded, supporters are partying like there is a tomorrow. But how much difference will it make?" (BBC)

Here's the answer.

Be careful what you wish for: "EU Expects Bush to Speak on Global Warming" - "WASHINGTON - European leaders will be looking for President Bush, during his fence-mending trip next week, to speak about global warming even though he opposes the Kyoto climate treaty, the European Union's ambassador to the United States said Wednesday." (AP)

"Canada to Try to Get U.S. to Fight Climate Change" - "OTTAWA - Canada will do its best to ensure that the United States and other major polluting nations currently outside the Kyoto climate change accord join a new global campaign to curb emissions of greenhouse gases, Prime Minister Paul Martin said on Wednesday. But he came under immediate fire from domestic critics who said that rather than telling others what to do, he should explain how Ottawa will meet its own commitments under Kyoto more than a decade after signing the treaty." (Reuters)

"Bush is accused of hot air as Kyoto comes into force" - "The Bush administration was accused yesterday of deception after it claimed it was making a serious commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, despite its non-participation in the Kyoto agreement." (London Independent)

"Kyoto protocol gets degree of support from some US businesses" - "WASHINGTON - US President George W. Bush's refusal to ratify the Kyoto protocol to reduce greenhouse gases, which today took effect, is being countered by some US industries which have adopted measures to staunch global warming." (AFP)

"Kyoto's 'just hot air'" - "THE implementation of the Kyoto Protocol yesterday was a non-event for corporate Australia." (The Australian)

"Kyoto pact is useless and harmful: PM" - "Prime Minister John Howard has labelled the Kyoto Protocol useless and harmful as environmentalists rallied across the country to protest Australia's refusal to sign the landmark pact. Labor attempted a political stunt to force the government to immediately ratify the international treaty on greenhouse gas emissions, but Mr Howard maintained it would cost Australian jobs." (AAP)

"Editorial: Think global, act global on climate change" - "THE Kyoto protocol on climate change came into effect yesterday, but more with a whimper than a bang. The US, China and India are the three giant economic furnaces likely to produce the largest volume of greenhouse emissions during the 21st century, but the US is not a signatory to the treaty, and China and India are not covered by it. Even Kyoto's supporters concede it will have only a marginal effect on global warming. And despite the fact Russia's accession last year tipped the treaty into force, the chances of a new agreement once this one expires in 2012 seem remote." (The Australian)

"Kyoto crunch" - "The disagreements on the science and immediate goals embodied in the Kyoto pact led the U.S. Senate to vote against ratifying Kyoto, and President Bush in 2001 formally backed away from the treaty." (Washington Times)

"Thinking beyond Kyoto" - "The most important thing about the Kyoto protocol - which came into effect yesterday - is that it is there at all. It is the first legally binding environmental treaty making a serious attempt to reduce the greenhouse gases that lead to climate change, the most serious problem facing the planet today." (London Guardian)

"Japan caught napping on emissions curbs" - "With the landmark Kyoto Protocol on global warming finally taking effect today, Japan probably should own up to a major embarrassment: that it may well be unable to meet its obligations under the treaty." (Asahi Shimbun)

"Japanese industries not keen on big anti-global warming efforts" - "TOKYO — Japanese industry is drawing the battle lines against any major anti-global warming moves by the government, saying that companies' individual plans will be enough for Japan to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by 6% as stipulated under the Kyoto Protocol. The powerful Japanese Business Federation, better known as Nippon Keidanren, held a rally at a hotel in Tokyo at the end of last year to oppose the introduction of an environment tax, and the heated atmosphere seemed more like gathering of labor unions." (Kyodo News)

"Greenpeace disrupts oil trading" - "Protesters with foghorns and whistles burst into the International Petroleum Exchange, disrupting oil trading on the day the Kyoto Protocol on global warming came into force. Police said they had arrested ten people for public order offences. The invasion into the trading pit by about 35 demonstrators forced the exchange, which is the world's second largest energy market, to suspend open outcry trading for more than an hour." (Sydney Morning Herald)

"Violence on Day One of Kyoto Protocol" - "The first day of the enactment of the Kyoto Protocol was marred today as environmental activists clashed with oil traders in the UK." (PA News)

Greenpeace disrupts oil industry's annual jamboree (Greenpeace)

"Airline tickets should have environmental warning" - "Airline passengers would be told how much their flight would contribute to global warming under Conservative plans to reduce greenhouse emissions." (London Independent)

"Beckett refuses to rule out a return to nuclear power" - "Margaret Beckett today said that Britain could not rule out a return to nuclear power as global pressure to tackle climate change escalates." (The Times)

"Group says U.N. doling out banned foods" - "GUATEMALA CITY - Environmental groups said Wednesday that they have discovered that banned genetically modified food — including a variety of corn forbidden for humans in the United States — is being handed out in U.N. food aid to Central America and the Caribbean." (Associated Press)

February 16, 2005

Kyoto Count Up -- Happy Hot Air Day! - The Kyoto countdown is over. The Kyoto count-up is beginning.

Today marks the global implementation (except for the U.S. and Australia) of the international global warming treaty known as the Kyoto Protocol.

JunkScience.com is announcing real-time counters that display the costs of the treaty and the changes in temperature allegedly due to its greenhouse gas emission caps.

Now you can check on the treaty's "progress" every time you visit JunkScience.com.

JunkScience.com is also declaring February 16, 2005 to be the first annual Hot Air Day -- a day that will surely live in scientific and economic infamy!

So Happy Hot Air Day!

Save your breath. Save the planet. No exhaling today...

"Congressional Review Finds Conclusive Evidence That No American Is at Risk from Trace Amounts of Mercury in Fish - New Report Concludes That Mercury Issue Concerns Politics, Not Science" (PDF) - "Washington, DC; February 16, 2005 -- The U.S. Tuna Foundation (USTF) today applauded the findings of a comprehensive report released today by Resources Committee Chairman Richard W. Pombo (R-CA) and Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee Chairman Jim Gibbons (R-NV) of the U.S. House of Representatives affirming that the health benefits of consuming seafood far outweigh any risk due to the trace amounts of mercury in some fish.

The report -- Mercury in Perspective: Fact and Fiction About the Debate Over Mercury (.pdf) -- is the product of a lengthy Congressional review of the mercury issue dating back to 1990. Based on all available science, the report concludes that there is no basis for the claim by environmental activists that unborn children can be at risk if their mothers eat fish during pregnancy." (Press Release) | Mercury Risk Overstated, House Panel Says (Associated Press)

"Kyoto Protocol About to Bite, UN Calls it First Step" - "OSLO - Rejected by the United States, the world's plan to combat global warming goes into force on Wednesday amid scant fanfare and UN warnings that it is only a tiny first step." (Reuters)

"United States and Australia Dodge Kyoto Bullet - Climate Treaty Goes into Force for Other Industrial Nations" - "Washington, D.C., February 14, 2004—The Competitive Enterprise Institute congratulates the United States and Australia for their leadership in refusing to ratify the fatally flawed and potentially disastrous Kyoto Protocol climate treaty, which is scheduled to enter into force internationally on Wednesday." (CEI)

"The Kyoto Protocol: put the champagne back in the fridge..." - "This Wednesday the Kyoto Protocol comes into 'force', though 'farce' would be a much more appropriate word. And here is why:" (EnviroSpin Watch)

"Mixed Feelings as Kyoto Pact Takes Effect" - "As the agreement takes effect on Feb. 16, worries about its fairness are mixed with mild resentment. Europeans have set some of the most stringent targets for reducing greenhouse gases, which trap heat in the earth's atmosphere and have been linked by climate experts to global warming.

It is bad enough, in their view, that American and Chinese companies will not bear these extra costs. But worse, the ultimate goal of curbing greenhouse gases will not be realized because carbon dioxide emissions, unlike polluted rivers, are a global rather than a local problem.

"We have already done so much in the past that we feel others should not get a free ride," Mr. Strube said. "We could reach a situation where the leader is a lonely rider going into the sunset, and everyone else sits back and says, O.K., let's wait and see when he will return." (New York Times)

Just because Europeans have talked themselves in throwing themselves over the economic cliff doesn't mean rational people are going to wait around to see if they can walk on hot air. "We'll all hold hands and go together" is neither an economic nor environmental policy - it's a policy of self-harm that most of us view as mental illness.

"Bush Puts Jobs Ahead of Climate Treaty" - "WASHINGTON - The Bush administration contends that the long-term benefit from the Kyoto climate treaty won't be worth the immediate economic cost." (Associated Press)

And they figured this out, already?

"Kyoto's Promise v. Climate Reality" - "The Kyoto Protocol will officially go into effect on February 16th, and negotiators throughout the world will rejoice given their triumph in international diplomacy. The implementation of the Protocol coincides with Michael Crichton's State of Fear emerging as a best seller, a book that strongly suggests that global warming is something of a political hoax. Crichton did his homework on the science of global warming and declared the skeptics the winners; he now is lumped in with the skeptics as misinformed, not interested in saving the planet, and/or some type of puppet from the fossil fuel industries. However, before marginalizing his agreement with the skeptical scientists, consider the following undeniable facts:" (Robert Balling, TCS)

"'Kyoto' era begins" - "The still-controversial Kyoto Protocol, a pact among 35 countries, aims to curb industrial pollution." (Brad Knickerbocker, The Christian Science Monitor)

"Kyoto a pointless exercise" - "TODAY the Kyoto Protocol on greenhouse gas emissions comes into force. If you believe the climate change propagandists, it is the first step in saving the world from the terrible consequences of global warming. The truth is Kyoto is a joke.

It will do next to nothing to lower the rate of global emissions of greenhouse gas and provides no workable framework for future action. By 2012, when ratifying countries' commitments under Kyoto to cut CO2 emissions expire, we will find key countries have failed to comply and global emissions will be rising steadily as the result of world growth.

For this we can all be thankful." (Alan Wood, The Australian)

"Nations wince at Kyoto reality" - "With the Kyoto Protocol set to take effect [today], a disturbing realization is hitting many of the world's biggest global-warming suspects: Trying to meet their obligations to limit global-warming emissions under the treaty is proving a political and economic nightmare." (Wall Street Journal)

"Taking stock as Kyoto takes effect" - "WASHINGTON – Today, after a seven-year Perils-of-Pauline journey to ratification, the famous and infamous Kyoto Protocol on global climate change takes effect. How important an accord is it likely to be?" (Todd Stern, The Christian Science Monitor)

"Momentum Builds for Emissions Bills" - "NEW YORK, Feb 15 - With most of the world about to leave the United States in the dust on climate change policy, the fray is shifting from global summits to Washington's Capitol Hill, where a growing coalition of Democrats and Republicans is lobbying for a national cap on carbon dioxide emissions." (IPS)

"US to Spend $5.8 Billion on Climate Change in 2005" - "WASHINGTON - The United States, which refused to participate in a United Nations-backed global plan to slow global warming, said on Tuesday it will spend nearly $5.8 billion in 2005 on research and programs addressing climate change." (Reuters)

"Kyoto implementation plan not ready, Dion admits" - "OTTAWA -- The federal government admitted yesterday it has no plan in place to meet its commitments under the Kyoto Protocol, which Canada ratified in 2002 and comes into effect internationally today." (Globe and Mail)

Ever more ridiculous: "Kyoto plan dubs gases `toxic'" - "Federal environment officials are hastily drafting a plan to curb carbon dioxide and five other greenhouse gases under the Kyoto accord by declaring them toxic under an existing law, according to government sources involved in the plan." (Toronto Star)

"Kyoto countries may exploit slack targets" - "LONDON - The Kyoto treaty on climate change could be undermined if signatories exploit an emissions trading scheme to buy their way out of taking domestic action." (Reuters)

"Canada Plans to Buy Kyoto Green Credits Abroad" - "OTTAWA - After insisting it would not buy "hot air" from Russia and other countries, the Canadian government said Tuesday it would have go abroad to buy green credits in order to meet its emissions targets under the Kyoto accord." (Reuters)

"EU carbon trading system likely to be pointless, says study" - "The EU’s greenhouse gas emissions trading scheme is unlikely to reduce emissions before 2012 because the high price for oil and gas makes using coal cheaper, according to a study released on Monday (14 February)." (EUobserver)

"Chirac Wants Rich Nations to Exceed Kyoto Targets" - "PARIS - French President Jacques Chirac called on Tuesday for developed countries to cut gas emissions to a quarter of current levels by 2050 -- exceeding targets set by the Kyoto pact to combat global warming." (Reuters)

Well D-U-H! France is largely nuke-powered.

"Tax on greenhouse gases looms" - "As the Kyoto Protocol comes into force, Switzerland is still not sure how to reach its targets for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions. The government is considering different options to encourage or coerce citizens and the economy into cutting carbon-dioxide pollution." (swissinfo)

Klaus Toepfer apparently wants to control the world's rotation: "UN environment chief warns Earth faces even greater threat as Kyoto takes effect" - "NAIROBI - The head of the Kenya-based UN Environment Programme (UNEP) warned today that the effects of climate change may lead to Earth 'spinning out of control', and urged immediate steps to halt global warming." (AFX)

"Climate change talks heat up as clean technology emerges" - "As Kyoto comes into force without the US on board, a breakaway group plans a new global warming strategy based on scientific advances." (David Charter, The Times)

"Paradise (Soon to be) Lost" - "The tiny island nation of the Maldives is in trouble. If global warming continues, say scientists, the country could sink beneath the ocean within 100 years. The government is doing all it can to fight the sea, but the fate of the Maldives is ultimately a global responsibility." (Scott Lamb, Der Spiegel)

Nope, not according to this.

"Spain Could Lose Beaches to Global Warming" - "MADRID - Global warming may cost Spain many of its famous beaches and could push summer temperatures over 50 degrees Celsius by the end of the century, according to research released on Tuesday." (Reuters)

"Inuit to Charge U.S. for Climate Change" - "BROOKLIN, Canada, Feb 15 - The Inuit people of the Arctic regions are preparing to charge the United States with human rights violations, saying that country is the leading culprit behind climate change, which threatens their way of life -- and their very survival." (IPS)

The US is a net carbon sink - better try the EU as the next likely deep pockets.

Ah! The climate circus is booking Barossa wine tours, it seems: "Conference to tackle climate change" - "A JOINT Australian-New Zealand conference and business expo to tackle the looming disaster of climate change will be held in Adelaide next year. More than 400 delegates from around the world are expected to attend the conference next February to focus on how business and industry can exploit the global demand for energy-saving technology." (AAP)

Don't forget the Clare Valley fellows! (Taylor's pinot noir is usually rather more-ish!) McLaren Vale was a nice little day trip from Adelaide too, if you're after a nice tipple or two (and, you can always discuss the weather on the way).

From CO2 Science Magazine this week:

"North American Temperatures of the Past Two Millennia" - "As ever more paleotemperature records become available, reconstructions of earth's temperature history provide ever better approximations of past climate reality." (co2science.org)

Guest Editorial:
"A Concerned Citizen Expresses His Views on the Fossil Fuel Industry and Scientific Research" - "In response to questions that are periodically raised about the impact of funding sources and "affiliation bias" on scientific research, a seasoned petroleum geologist offers his view of the subject as it relates to his chosen profession." (co2science.org)

Subject Index Summaries:
"Streamflow (Recent Trends)" - "Climate alarmists predict more frequent and severe floods and droughts as the air's CO2 content continues to climb? What do streamflow data from around the world reveal about this claim?" (co2science.org)

"Long-Term Studies (Woody Plants - Oak Trees)" - "CO2 has a long residence time in the atmosphere. Therefore, it is important to learn how long-lived plants, such as trees, will respond to the ongoing rise in the air's CO2 content over the course of their lifetimes. We here explore this subject with respect to oak trees." (co2science.org)

Plant Growth Data:
"This week we add new results (blue background) of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature for: Carrot, Cotton, Nutrient-poor semi-natural grassland community and Oak." (co2science.org)

Journal Reviews:
"Global Sea Level Rise" - "Has it accelerated in response to the "unprecedented" global warming of the 20th century?" (co2science.org)

"Snow in Poland" - "How has it varied in depth and duration over the 20th century?" (co2science.org)

"The Late Holocene Millennial-Scale Oscillation of Climate in Western Canada" - "What were its characteristics? And what do they tell us about 20th-century warming?" (co2science.org)

"Central U.S. Agricultural Productivity" - "1972-2001: How has it fared over what climate alarmists describe as a period of unprecedented global warming and atmospheric CO2 increase?" (co2science.org)

"Isoprene Emissions from English Oak Trees" - "How are they affected by atmospheric CO2 enrichment? ... and why do we care?" (co2science.org)

"Blair set to press nuclear button" - "Tony Blair is preparing to commit the country to the biggest nuclear power programme since the 1960s if he wins the forthcoming general election. The Prime Minister is expected to use a third term in office to pave the way for the construction of up to 10 new nuclear stations in an attempt to ensure that Britain plays its full part in tackling global warming by cutting carbon emissions." (London Independent)

Never get between a politician and a bucket of money: States Mull Taxing Drivers By Mile (CBS)

"Wind Power Champ Germany May Miss Offshore Target" - "FRANKFURT - Germany is the world's top wind power producer and wants the clean energy to take a bigger share of future electricity production, but it may struggle to meet targets for building turbines at sea, industry experts say." (Reuters)

McKibben wants to develop wild spaces (but only with his personally-approved brand of development): "Tilting at Windmills" - "FINALLY, American environmentalists have a chance to get it right about wind power. News broke this week of plans for the first big wind energy installation in the Adirondack Park. Ten towering turbines would sprout on the site of an old garnet mine in this tiny town. They'd be visible from the ski slopes at nearby Gore Mountain, and they'd be visible too from the deep wild of the Siamese Ponds Wilderness, one of the loneliest and most beautiful parts of New York's "forever wild" Adirondack Forest Preserve, the model for a century of American conservation. In fact, it would be hard to imagine a place better suited to illustrate the controversy that wind power is causing in this country." (Bill McKibben, New York Times)

Yeah, sure... "Beyond Kyoto - Renewable Energy Comes of Age" - "WASHINGTON -- February 15 -- The Kyoto Protocol will become official on February 16, offering the world a fresh start on an issue marked by international divisiveness for the last 15 years. Attention now turns to the crucial next steps: meeting the Kyoto targets, and forging a new agreement to cover the period beyond 2012." (Reuters)

"Regulating Patents Will Not Stop Biopiracy, Study Says" - "BANGKOK - A drive by developing nations to regulate access to rare plant genes -- used in drugs and perfumes worth billions of dollars -- will not stop "biopiracy" and may deter foreign investment, a trade expert said in a report on Tuesday." (Reuters)

"Transgenic mustard sucks up selenium" - "First field results prove plant can remove soil contaminants." (News @ Nature)

February 15, 2005

"Common foods laced with chemical" - "Everyday foods consumed by Canadians — such as salmon, ground beef, cheese and butter ? are laced with chemical flame retardants, according to research commissioned by The Globe and Mail and CTV News." (Toronto Globe and Mail)

"Endangered Species: Are All Species Created Equal?" - "A petition to the Environmental Protection Agency by a Utah county commissioner is ruffling some feathers among officials charged with enforcing the Endangered Species Act. Commissioner Alan Gardner, joined by officials from several other Western states, has asked that the northern snakehead-widely considered to be a nuisance and threat in the Potomac river basin-be protected under federal law. The petition highlights the severe restrictions that accompany any animal being listed, impacts more widely felt in Western states. Read more CEI background and analysis on endangered species." (CEI)

"New data hint at history’s huge dry spells - Scientists surprised by severity of past droughts" - "Historical droughts in the Columbia River Basin were more severe than anything in recent memory, including the drought of 1992-93, scientists said Monday. A study of tree rings found four droughts between 1750 and 1950 that were "much more severe than anything in recent memory" because they persisted for years." (LiveScience.com) | Tree-ring data reveals multiyear droughts unlike any in recent memory (University of Washington)

Weekly Whipple: "Climate: Heating Up On A Yearly Basis" - "Scientists at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City have compiled data showing 2004 was the fourth warmest year on record. Another data set, calculated by scientists at the University of Alabama at Huntsville, found 2004 to be the ninth warmest since they began keeping track in 1976." (Dan Whipple, UPI)

"Do cows and tennis balls stoke global warming?" - "OSLO, Feb 15 - Cows and sheep grazing in fields, joggers' shoes or even the kitchen fridge could all be targeted under a new U.N. pact meant to rein in global warming." (Reuters)

?!! "At Least the Glass is Not Empty" - "LONDON, Feb 14 - In the morass of statistics on global warming, consider just the broad figures of the story so far, and the story that leading scientists would like to see unfold.

The Kyoto protocol comes into force this week more than seven years after it was agreed. It envisages a reduction of emissions from industrialised countries to 5 percent below 1990 emissions levels by 2012. Not everyone is committed to the goal - the United States stands out as a giant exception. And those who are agreed are nowhere near this modest goal.

But if global warming is to be curbed, principally by curbing the emission of gases such as carbon dioxide and methane (the greenhouse gases) that lead to atmospheric warming, new scientific wisdom suggests that emissions of such gases will need to be cut by 80 percent by 2050 relative to 1990 levels.

After a patchy and uncertain advance of at best 5 percent until 2012, the new target sets another 75 percent cut in emissions by industrialised countries over the 38 years following 2012. The global target for 2050 is a 50 percent cut in emissions relative to 1990 levels." (Sanjay Suri, IPS)

Sigh... "Global warming: While scientists quibble, species vanish" - "WASHINGTON Scientists met in Britain recently to discuss what level of greenhouse gas concentrations constitutes "dangerous interference" with the global climate. Instead we should be focusing on what are safe levels. Without such guidance, global climate efforts are tantamount to walking blindfolded toward the edge of a cliff." (Thomas E. Lovejoy and Lee Hannah International Herald Tribune)

"Kyoto's Walls Are Crumbling Down" - "The Kyoto Protocol goes into effect Wednesday, and yet its walls are crumbling down." (Hans Labohm, TCS)

The moonbat squeeks: "Mocking our dreams" - "The reality of climate change is that the engines of progress have merely accelerated our rush to the brink." (George Monbiot, The Guardian)

"Let's follow Protocol" - "There's one in every neighborhood: the petulant, uncooperative homeowner who refuses to cut the grass in his front yard, drives faster than the speed limit and is content letting others pick up trash he thoughtlessly dumped at the curb. You know the type. As the larger community of developed countries has banded together to combat global warming, the intransigence of our government has cast the United States in that unflattering role. In this case, however, the consequences of our irresponsible behavior are far graver than those of your typically boorish neighbor." (Editorial, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

"Kyoto Protocol simply wrong, wrong, wrong" - "The Kyoto Protocol on climate change, which comes into force this week, represents a massive act of folly by many of the world's industrialized nations. It sets the world on a course to economic disaster while doing nothing to alleviate global warming. It is the wrong solution to the wrong problem at the wrong time." (Iain Murray, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

It's a crowded field - poor old gadfly had to go to Korea to get a run: "A Somber Beginning" - "At long last, the bitterly fought over Kyoto Protocol to stem global warming is due to go into effect on February 16th. Unfortunately, the much ballyhooed treaty has been so watered down by years of political chicanery, that it is likely to have little effect on the worsening climactic conditions on Earth." (Jeremy Rifkin, Chosun Ilbo)

"Editorial: Ottawa must act on Kyoto target" - "The clock on climate change starts ticking Wednesday when the Kyoto agreement goes into effect. That means Ottawa must stop talking about meeting Canada's target for reducing emissions of greenhouse gases that cause of global warming — and finally get on with the job. Although it has had a few years to map out a plan, the government has produced nothing concrete so far. As a result, our emissions have kept growing, which will make our target that much harder to achieve." (Toronto Star)

"Kyoto Protocol comes into force, but no changes yet" - "The Kyoto Protocol comes into force Wednesday, but Canadians will have to wait an extra week to find out how Ottawa is proposing to meet the goals of the international pact to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by 2012." (Toronto Globe and Mail)

"Canada to host U.N. forum on climate change in fall" - "Canada will play host to a mammoth U.N. meeting of climate experts and government officials from around the world to look at how well the Kyoto protocol is being implemented, the Star has learned." (Toronto Star)

"Kyoto has arrived, but Ontario is still way behind" - "As governments at all levels pump hundreds of millions of dollars — billions, even — into programs aimed at commercializing cleaner energy and auto technologies, there appears to be little interest in developing a skilled workplace that can advance and support this crucial "cleantech" future." (Toronto Star)

"Last gasp on Kyoto: Business says treaty 'will threaten economy today and in the future'" - "OTTAWA - Canada's ability to compete against the United States and the emerging powers of China and India will be in peril if the Liberal government insists on honouring targets in the Kyoto protocol, the business community has warned the Prime Minister. A letter sent by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, which represents more than 170,000 businesses across the country, is a last-ditch warning just before the Kyoto protocol comes into force on Wednesday. The treaty calls on Canada to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 6% from 1990 levels -- a goal that government documents and protocol critics suggest is unachievable." (Paul Vieira, Financial Post)

"EU legal threat over emissions" - "BRITAIN’s embarrassing showdown with Europe over climate change targets worsened yesterday when the Government was threatened with legal action by Brussels. The row, which has dogged Tony Blair’s aim of leading G8 nations to tackle global warming, descended into farce after the Government refused to change a demand for an increase to its carbon dioxide emissions allowance." (The Times) | Illegal for UK to change emission trade plan -EU (Reuters) | Blair angers the green lobby by defying Brussels on emissions (The Scotsman) | Government threatened with court for 'soft' targets on greenhouse gas reduction (Independent) | Legal threat over UK retreat on greenhouse gases (The Guardian) | Pollution crusade backfires on firms (London Daily Telegraph) | Commission likely to fight UK emissions move (Financial Times) | UK stands by global warming action plan (ePolitix.com) | Power firms pay price of carbon row (London Independent)

"The end is nigh - but Kyoto will cost us dear" - "THE globe will not notice Kyoto — but we will notice, because it will cost us a bomb. What is the collective noun for environmental modellers? Try a catastrophe." (Rosemary Righter, The Times)

"A big blowup over hurricanes" - "Ordinarily, the tropical Atlantic is a quiet place in the dead of winter, but this year it has become a hot spot in a political storm over global warming." (Anthony R. Wood, Philadelphia Inquirer)

"New Organs Could Come From Pig Embryos - Study" - "WASHINGTON - Pig embryos could provide sources of new organ and tissue transplants for people, and they may pose fewer risks than using material from adult animals, Israeli researchers reported on Monday. They found that if cells were taken from pig embryos at precisely the right time, they grew into liver, pancreas and lung tissues in mice." (Reuters)

"'Mega Diverse' Countries Against Markets" - "BANGKOK -- The Greens have always disliked free markets. It is one reason they hate the World Trade Organization (WTO). Now they have a fresh offensive. They are pushing an international convention to weaken intellectual property rights by overriding established trade law. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have become very skilled at attacking the WTO. Oxfam continues to gnaw away at the idea that the WTO is an institution for liberalizing trade (arguing only rich countries should reduce trade barriers). For their part environmental groups have adopted old fighting tactics used by American Indians in Hollywood westerns -- the WTO is like a wagon train which they are circling." (Alan Oxley, TCS)

"Potato Vaccine Offers Hope Against Hepatitis" - "WASHINGTON - A hepatitis vaccine grown in genetically engineered potatoes seemed to protect most people who ate them, researchers reported on Monday." (Reuters)

"Out of Africa: What thoughtless activists want to do with biotechnology" - "Like Dr. Martin Luther King, Dr. Ruth Oniango has a dream. A member of Kenya’s parliament, she dreams of the day when the people of her poor country “can feed themselves.” Congress of Racial Equality national chairman Roy Innis shares that vision. But he also knows the obstacles. “Over 70% of Africans are employed in farming full time,” he points out. “Yet, half of those countries rely on emergency food aid. Within ten years, Africa will be home to three-fourths of the world’s hungry people.” Many of the continent’s farmers are women who labor sunup to sundown on 3 to 5 acre plats. They rarely have enough crops to feed their own families, much less sell for extra money. Millions live on less than a dollar a day." (Paul Driessen and Cyril Boynes, Jr., MichNews.com)

"Fighting poverty by adopting GM crops" - "EVEN as Wales warns the world of the risks of genetically modified food production a Welshman is touring the world warning of the risks of not growing GM crops. Carmarthenshire-born Dr Clive James chairs the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications, an organisation he founded 14 years ago with the backing of charitable foundations and the biotech industry. He now lives in Canada and the Caribbean, but spends nine months of the year travelling the world trying to persuade developing countries to fight poverty by adopting GM crops. And in a week when Wales was one of 20 European regions that signed a new charter warning of the threats posed by GM to organic and conventional crops, Mr James was in Wales at the start of a European tour talking of the benefits to subsistence farmers and the need for choice." (Steve Dube, Western Mail)

February 14, 2005

Harvard Researcher Admits Bad Dietary Advice Sent Patients to Early Graves - The New York Times quoted Harvard University researcher Walter Willett as admitting that dietary advice he dispensed to patients in the 1980s caused their premature deaths. (JunkScience.com)

"McDonald's to Pay $8.5 Million in Trans Fat Lawsuit" - "SAN FRANCISCO - McDonald's has agreed to pay $8.5 million to settle a lawsuit over artery-clogging trans fats in its cooking oils, the company said on Friday. McDonald's said it will donate $7 million to the American Heart Association and spend another $1.5 million to inform the public of its trans fat plans." (Reuters)

"Parents to blame for obese children" - "Parents are among the major culprits when children pack on the pounds, a Sydney study has found. The University of Sydney research revealed bullying and low self-esteem were also to blame, causing many young children to "comfort eat." (Sydney Morning Herald)

Update: EPA Smog Litigation - Those looking forward to court arguments slated for Feb. 14 in the case of National Alternative Fuels Association v. EPA will be disappointed -- but not surprised -- to hear that the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals swept more EPA malfeasance under the rug by dismissing NAFA's lawsuit on procedural grounds. So it looks like we'll continue to pay more for gasoline that may create more smog.

"Antibiotic overuse linked to high resistance rates" - "NEW YORK - Overprescribing antibiotics to patients is associated with high rates of antibiotic resistance in southern and eastern Europe, according to a report from the Netherlands. If the situation is not corrected, "we will lose the miracle drugs of the 20th century," the investigators write in this week's issue of The Lancet." (Reuters Health)

You mean it wasn't livestock feed additives, as the EU insisted (and banned)?

"In Climate Debate, The 'Hockey Stick' Leads to a Face-Off" - "One of the pillars of the case for man-made global warming is a graph nicknamed the hockey stick. It's a reconstruction of temperatures over the past 1,000 years based on records captured in tree rings, corals and other markers. The stick's shaft shows temperatures oscillating slightly over the ages. Then comes the blade: The mercury swings sharply upward in the 20th century.

The eye-catching image has had a big impact. Since it was published four years ago in a United Nations report, hundreds of environmentalists, scientists and policy makers have used the hockey stick in presentations and brochures to make the case that human activity in the industrial era is causing dangerous global warming.

But is the hockey stick true?" (The Wall Street Journal)

"Bush holds the line on Kyoto as debate grows in US public" - "WASHINGTON, Feb 13 - With the Kyoto Protocol on climate change set to take effect, President George W. Bush's administration still rejects it as too costly for the US economy and based on questionable scientific hypotheses. But criticism of the White House stance is growing, even from the ranks of the Republican majority in Congress, and in a handful of states where critics say US environmental policies are too often shaped by economic concerns. "There is no serious initiative that the administration has proposed that will come anywhere close to dealing with the soaring US emissions," said Alden Meyer of the Union of Concerned Scientists, an influential professional association." (AFP)

UCS, an "influential professional association"? Heck, you can sign up your dog for membership if you're prepared to spring 'em $20! How desperate can Kyoto bunnies get?

"The Kyoto Protocol comes into farce..." (EnviroSpin Watch)

Right... "Canadians keen on Kyoto, Dion says" - "Ottawa — Canadians want to change their lifestyles to fight pollution and to help Canada meet its goals under the Kyoto accord on climate change, Environment Minister Stéphane Dion says. The government's pending Kyoto plan "will appeal to Canadians; that will, I think, mobilize the population for a great cause," Mr. Dion said yesterday." (Globe and Mail)

"Climate fears prompt energy U-turn in China" - "China has abruptly slowed and halted work on building 22 major dams and power stations in a dramatic greening of the policies of the world's most populous nation. The surprise move - one of the most dramatic ever undertaken by any government - arises from rapidly growing environmental concern in China. It calls the bluff of President George Bush, who has cited growing pollution in China as justification for refusing to join the Kyoto Protocol, which enters into force on Wednesday." (Geoffrey Lean, Independent)

Geoffrey doesn't pay much attention, does he? "China Using Environment Rules To Help Cool Economy" - "BEIJING - China has begun using environmental regulations to put the brakes on some projects and help cool its overheating economy, an environmental protection official was quoted as saying on Tuesday." (Reuters, Jan. 27)

Global yawning: "Australia: Heat on Government to sign Kyoto" - "THE heat was turned up on the Howard Government ahead of the official start to the Kyoto Protocol on Wednesday, with protests in London and political pressure at home. Australia and the US are the only major industrialised countries to have resisted signing the protocol, which will limit greenhouse emissions and introduce an international carbon trading scheme. Several hundred protesters marched in London at the weekend, demanding Australia and the US sign up. Both countries have rejected the agreement on the ground it would disadvantage their industries against those in the developing world. More than 350 protesters marched through central London, carrying flags of the 136 countries that have ratified the protocol and signs calling for the US and Australia to join the agreement." (Herald Sun)

A global cast of hundreds... well there's heat for you.

"The rain in Spain..." (EnviroSpin Watch)

"Global warming: 'Tragedy of the Commons' revisited" - "Way back in 1968, US ecologist Garrett Hardin sketched the dilemma that today besets the Kyoto Protocol." (Agence France-Presse)

Usual misinformation: "Impact of environmental treaty unclear" - "WASHINGTON - A controversial world treaty designed to curb emissions of global warming gases goes into effect Wednesday, but even ardent supporters say it isn't enough to stop a runaway environmental problem. That's because some big polluting nations - including the United States, which produces about one-quarter of the world's greenhouse gases - aren't part of the deal." (Knight Ridder Newspapers)

Actually, humanity collectively causes the emission of a paltry few percent of total global greenhouse emissions (they're mostly all-singing, all-dancing, all natural) and the US is a net carbon sink (absorbs more carbon than it liberates). If the US can be accused of greed where atmospheric carbon dioxide is concerned it can only be that the US is capturing more than it's share of this marvelous plant food from the global commons we call the atmosphere.

"Shifting alliance on climate" - "Two years ago, I wrote that, as a compensation for joining the U.S. effort in the Middle East, Tony Blair would exert considerable pressure on President Bush to sign on to the absurd Kyoto Protocol on global warming. Kyoto is absurd because it does absolutely nothing measurable within the foreseeable future about planetary temperature, while one nation — the United States — bears almost all the cost. Kyoto is an economic weapon, not a climatic instrument, pointed at America. Europeans, allies or not, know this full well. That is why, for several years, not only did the French and Germans demand the U.S. implement it but do so in the way that would do us the most financial harm." (Patrick J. Michaels, The Washington Times)

"Emission Impossible?" - "The Kyoto accord takes effect this week, with new obligations to reduce greenhouse gases. For the plan to work, here's what Europe must do." (Time Magazine)

"Trading carbon claptrap..." - "A prime example of the farcical outcome of the nonsense that is the Kyoto Protocol is unquestionably the European Emissions Trading Scheme. The idea that this will have a predictable impact on climate change is just carbon claptrap, a political sleight of hand that must be exposed at all costs." (EnviroSpin Watch)

"Emissions policy in disarray as Brussels rejects Blair's 'bungle'" - "Britain's plans for combating global warming have been rejected by the European Commission for being too lenient to industry, throwing them into disarray. The rejection - which comes just days before the Kyoto Protocol, tackling climate change, comes into force on Wednesday - is a personal humiliation for the Prime Minister, who insisted on watering down the plans in response to industry pressure. It further undermines his credibility as he seeks to use Britain's presidency of the European Union and the G8 group of wealthy countries to push the issue up the international agenda this year." (Independent)

"Ministers to set out UK emissions policy" - "The government will set out its emissions policy on Monday following European Commission opposition to plans to raise the UK's ceiling on carbon emissions under the European Union's greenhouse gas trading scheme which it believes to be too generous to industry. The government must choose between an embarrassing climbdown or proceeding with an earlier threat of legal action against the Commission." (Financial Times)

"UK challenges Brussels over carbon trading" - "MARGARET BECKETT is expected to challenge Brussels today by announcing a plan for dealing with emissions from power generators and manufacturers that the European Commission has already rejected. The Environment Secretary will publish new carbon allowances that are more generous to intensive energy users and power generators even though the Commission is insisting that Britain should go back to its first, far tougher, plan for dealing with greenhouse gases." (The Times)

"US Senate Bills Take Opposing Tactics on Warming" - "NEW YORK - A Senate bill reintroduced this week and three expected to be introduced next week take opposing views on reducing the gases most scientists believe cause global warming. The bills are among the US attempts to cut greenhouse emissions after President George W. Bush early in his first term pulled out of the UN's Kyoto Protocol on global warming." (Reuters)

The Week That Was Feb. 12, 2005 (SEPP)

"India May Be Under Pressure to Cut Emissions Post-Kyoto" - "NEW DELHI - A horse-driven cart loaded with a mountain of vegetables lumbers down a highway in northern India while a factory spews out thick clouds of smoke in the distance. It's a common sight in India, the world's second-most populous nation, whose economy has been growing at a frenetic pace, creating a huge middle class, and spiralling demand for electricity and factories to feed export growth. As fuel imports grow and demand for cars surges, analysts say the country is likely to face pressure to join rich nations in their efforts to lower greenhouse gas emissions as part of the Kyoto climate change protocol that comes into force on Feb. 16." (Reuters)

"Kyoto Protocol's birthplace Japan yet to reconcile economy and ecology" - "TOKYO: The Kyoto Protocol takes effect this week with fanfare but Japan, where the landmark environment treaty was sealed, is not fully prepared itself, with industry scared that a push to cut pollution will set back economic recovery." (AFP)

Predictable media hand wringing: "Sinking islands cling to Kyoto lifebuoy" - "SYDNEY, Feb 13 - Islanders on tiny Tuvalu in the South Pacific last week saw the future of global warming and rising sea levels, as extreme high tides caused waves to crash over crumbling sea-walls and flood their homes. "Our island is sinking together with our hearts," wrote Silafaga Lalua in Tuvalu News (www.tuvaluislands.com). Tuvalu is a remote island nation consisting of a fringe of atolls covering just 25.9 sq km (10 sq miles), with the highest point no more than 5 metres (17 ft) above sea level, but most a mere 2 metres (6.5 ft). Global warming from greenhouse gas pollution is regarded as the main reason for higher sea levels, now rising about 2mm (0.08 in) a year, which could swamp low-lying nations such as Tuvalu and the Maldives in the Indian Ocean if temperatures keep rising." (Reuters)

Not sure whether the media laps this stuff up or just plain makes it up. There is no empirical evidence of contemporary sea level rise at Tuvalu and due to the way El Niño events distort the Pacific Ocean surface current sea level around Tuvalu is slightly lower than "normal."

See also: "Estimating future sea level changes from past records" - "Abstract: In the last 5000 years, global mean sea level has been dominated by the redistribution of water masses over the globe. In the last 300 years, sea level has been oscillation close to the present with peak rates in the period 1890–1930. Between 1930 and 1950, sea fell. The late 20th century lack any sign of acceleration. Satellite altimetry indicates virtually no changes in the last decade. Therefore, observationally based predictions of future sea level in the year 2100 will give a value of +10±10 cm (or +5±15 cm), by this discarding model outputs by IPCC as well as global loading models. This implies that there is no fear of any massive future flooding as claimed in most global warming scenarios." (Nils-Axel Mörner, Global and Planetary Change, Volume 40, Issues 1-2, January 2004, Pages 49-54)

Oh dear... "Rise in sea level threatens leading bird reserve" - "It is Britain's most spectacular bird reserve, with more breeding species than any other. Its 2,400 acres make up the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds' flagship site. And now it may have to be moved. Minsmere, at the edge of the sea in Suffolk, is so threatened by the consequences of global warming that RSPB staff are starting to think what would once have seemed the unthinkable: to recreate it further inland." (Independent)

See the Tuvalu comments above. It seems these birds are more at risk from the misguided ministrations of the RSPB than they are from sea level changes.

"Too late to save the reef" - "The Great Barrier Reef's coral could disappear in as little as 20 years as sea temperatures rise faster than expected, a world expert on coral and climate change has warned. Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, director of the Centre for Marine Studies at the University of Queensland, says bleaching will occur and coral will die regardless of what happens in the battle against global warming. "It is shocking to wake up and realise we really are in a desperate time," he said. "We may see a complete devastation of coral communities on the reef and a major change to the pristine values, which at the moment are our pride and joy." (The Age)

Hmm... ever since Greenpeace paid Hoegh-Guldberg to drum up a "reef's gonna die" report a few years back the media has been happy to trot him out from time to time for a reprise. That report was basically his lap-top run model of the IPCC's most ridiculous warming storyline mapping regions where he estimates water temperatures too high for corals. Readers should be aware that serious Australian reef research is conducted at the Australian Institute of Marine Studies (AIMS) and the somewhat eco-theistic James Cook University (JCU) - both establishments located in the tropics and adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef at Townsville, far removed from Hoegh-Guldberg and UQ, languishing in the temperate zone.

Hysterical book pitch du jour: "It's much too late to sweat global warming" - "At the core of the global warming dilemma is a fact neither side of the debate likes to talk about: It is already too late to prevent global warming and the climate change it sets off. Environmentalists won't say this for fear of sounding alarmist or defeatist. Politicians won't say it because then they'd have to do something about it. The world's top climate scientists have been sending this message, however, with increasing urgency for many years." (Mark Hertsgaard, SF Chronicle)

"Rich Polluters Need to Show Better Example - UN's Joke" - "BERLIN - Rich nations are setting a bad example to the developing world by failing to cut emissions of heat-trapping gases under a landmark UN plan to curb global warning, the United Nations climate change chief said." (Reuters)

"Only $70 Oil, Subsidies Will Spur Renewables" - "LONDON - Biofuels and wind power are the best bets for alternative energy sources as oil and natural gas prices rise even though the economics of green fuels are still far from viable, analysts say." (Reuters)

"Cities Eye Ocean Waves for Power Supplies" - "SAN FRANCISCO/NEW YORK - Since ancient times poets have revered the power of the seas. Now energy companies and coastal cities like New York and San Francisco are aiming to tap ocean waves and tidal currents as abundant sources of electricity." (Reuters)

"Wind Power Is Becoming a Better Bargain" - "The rising price of natural gas has made wind look like a bargain. In some cases, it is cheaper to build a wind turbine and let existing natural gas generators stand idle. Giant, modern wind farms may become more common if prices continue to rise." (New York Times)

"Wind farm threatens to 'devastate' Botany Bay beauty spot" - "Botany Bay, the wild and beautiful spot where Captain James Cook first set foot in Australia in 1770, is under threat from a wind farm with dozens of 200ft turbines." (London Daily Telegraph)

"Sustainable gas from 'roasted' wood is a feasible option" - "'Roast' hardwood at relatively low temperatures and then gasify it. Dutch chemical engineer Mark Prins has shown that this is an efficient means of producing sustainable energy. The gas produced can be used for the production of electricity, fuels and/or chemicals." (Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research)

"Whether Gold or Grain" - "Whether gold or grain, humans don't give it away. Globally, a thousand people die of hunger every hour. Over 800 million of us are chronically malnourished. Yet studies consistently conclude that the world actually produces enough food for everyone; if only it were more evenly distributed we could eradicate hunger. This is a major plank in the argument against using modern farming methods to increase food production: there's already enough food, so we don't need modern technology. All we need do, according to this simple argument, is to redistribute the surplus grain from those who have it to those who don't. But humans have been starving for eons, even as the world has been producing grain and other food surpluses all along. Clearly, if redistribution were as simple a solution as some suggest, hunger would have been eradicated long ago." (Dr. Alan McHughen, ACSH)

"Greenpeace demands Poland ban imports of GM foods" - "WARSAW - Around 30 activists from environmental group Greenpeace blocked the entrance to the office of Polish Prime Minister Marek Belka for nearly two hours to demand that Poland ban imports of genetically modified produce." (AFP)

"Resistance to biotech wheat still prompting legislative debate" - "Months after samples of a promising biotech wheat variety were uprooted from research plots and destroyed, some farm-country lawmakers are trying to raise the financial stakes for bringing the wheat back." (Associated Press)

"Biotechnology to improve farm output of country" - "Agriculture Minister MK Anwar yesterday said biotechnology is an instrument to help improve agricultural productivity to match with additional food and nutrition demands of the country." (bangladesh-web.com)

February 11, 2005

"The U.N.'s Neo-Prohibitionists" - "The United Nations is coming for your booze and it’s starting to fabricate the kind of factoids that the international health nannies will no doubt try to spin into "conventional wisdom."  (Steve Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"Blocking Activists' Trojan Horse" - "The Securities and Exchange Commission dealt a blow this week to a stealth bid by self-proclaimed "socially responsible investors" to gain control of corporate boards. It's a small but necessary victory in the battle to protect the free-enterprise system." (Steven Milloy, New York Sun)

"Britons 'too worried over health'" - "People in the UK are becoming "morbidly" obsessed with their health, researchers are warning. A conference at the Institute of Ideas in London will hear that a poor perception of the health risks people actually face has increased anxiety." (BBC)

"Disputed Obesity Study Slipped Through CDC Filters" - "A controversial government study that may have sharply overstated America's death toll from obesity was inappropriately released as a result of miscommunication, bureaucratic snafus and acquiescence from dissenting scientists, according to a newly released report." (Los Angeles Times)

"Proof of mobile health risk" - "Doctors today claim to have found the first proof of health problems caused by mobile phones. Up to five per cent of the population could be suffering headaches, mood swings and hearing problems caused by radiation from handsets." (London Evening Standard)

"U.S. forest growth spotty, not likely to last" - "WASHINGTON - Despite a booming population and urban sprawl, the United States has gained 10 million acres of forests since 1990. That's enough trees to cover all the land in New Jersey twice. The increase, however, is spotty and probably temporary. Growth is concentrated in the Northeast and Rocky Mountain states, while wooded acres dwindled in the South, Midwest and Pacific Coast. "We're continually growing more than we're cutting," said Brad Smith, an authority on the nation's estimated 3 billion trees at Forest Service headquarters in Arlington, Va. "People think urban sprawl is eating all the forest - we can't say that." (Knight Ridder Newspapers)

"Environment group raises stink over perfumes" - "BRUSSELS - The Greenpeace environment group said that several perfumes and toilet waters are health-threatening because of persistent chemicals used in their manufacture. It said virtually all of the 36 well-known brands it tested contained phthalate esters and synthetic musk, two chemicals that "can enter the body and may cause unwanted health impacts" such as hormonal malfunctions." (AFP)

Hmm... entertainers have "wardrobe malfunctions," Greenpeace comes up with "hormonal malfunctions" and the media apparently has mass "skeptical malfunctions."

"UK: Coming to a bin near you, the spy that tells how much rubbish you create" - "Though he foresaw many ways in which Big Brother might watch us, even George Orwell never imagined that the authorities would keep a keen eye on your bin. Residents of Croydon, south London, have been told that the microchips being inserted into their new wheely bins may well be adapted so that the council can judge whether they are producing too much rubbish." (The Guardian)

"Study launched on air pollution" - "Scientists are seeking 100 volunteers for a major study on the health effects of personal exposure to air pollution, such as traffic emissions and smoking." (BBC)

"Mouse allergen in inner city linked to asthma" - "NEW YORK - Levels of airborne mouse allergen in inner-city homes are often comparable to those seen in animal facilities, new research shows. "We were somewhat surprised at how many homes had detectable levels of airborne mouse allergen," lead author Dr. Elizabeth C. Matsui noted. In many cases, the allergen had reached levels that would likely trigger asthma symptoms in sensitized individuals." (Reuters Health)

"Common arsenical pesticide under scrutiny" - "Experts are questioning whether a arsenic-containing pesticide called MSMA is safe for the environment and human health. About 4M pounds of the compound--banned in India and Indonesia-- are applied every year to golf courses and cotton fields in the US." (Environmental Science & Technology)

'Natural' chemicals? Couldn't be... "Chemical compounds found in whale blubber are from natural sources, not industrial contamination" - "Whale blubber provides definitive clues to the source of chemical compounds found in humans and marine mammals, produced for industrial use but also naturally by plants and animals." (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

"New system can measure productivity of oceans" - "CORVALLIS, Ore. – Researchers at Oregon State University, NASA and other institutions announced today the discovery of a method to determine from outer space the productivity of marine phytoplankton – a breakthrough that may provide a new understanding of life in the world's oceans. Phytoplankton are the incredibly abundant microscopic plant forms that provide the basis for most of the marine food chain, half the oxygen in our atmosphere and ultimately much of the life on Earth. They have rapid growth rates and are constantly being produced and consumed in huge amounts – but until now, it was impossible to determine their rate of growth on any broad, useful scale." (Oregon State University)

"Pollution can convert airborne iron into soluble form required for phytoplankton growth" - "A surprising link may exist between ocean fertility and air pollution over land, according to Georgia Institute of Technology research reported in the Feb. 16 issue of the Journal of Geophysical Research — Atmospheres. The work provides new insight into the role that ocean fertility plays in the complex cycle involving carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in global warming." (Georgia Institute of Technology Research News)

"Can't be!" they cry, "Humans only do bad things. See, it's even called 'pollution!' Bad! Very, very bad."

"Geologist studies climate's effects" - "While some areas of Antarctica have undergone extensive warming, a study released in 2002 shows an overall net cooling." (Oakland Press)

"Yellow sand blowing in on the breeze curbs global warming" - "Scientific research shows tiny particles from the Chinese and Mongolian deserts reflect the sun's heat, keeping the Earth cool. As haru-ichiban, the first wind gusts of the year, are considered a harbinger of spring, so too, is the arrival of windblown sand from deserts in China and Mongolia. Every year, tons of the stuff blanket western Japan, adding to respiratory problems and other health woes, not to mention the tedious job of wiping surfaces clean. In a word, the annual phenomenon is annoying. But now, a joint Japan-China research team says there is a beneficial spin-off: These fine particles of sand, more like dust really, might actually help cool the atmosphere." (The Asahi Shimbun)

"Jolly hockey sticks..." (EnviroSpin Watch)

Oh boy... "2005 Could Be Warmest Year Recorded -- NASA" - "NEW YORK - A weak El Nino and human-made greenhouse gases could make 2005 the warmest year since records started being kept in the late 1800s, NASA scientists said this week." (Reuters)

"Business botches Kyoto strategy" - "In a recent commentary in The Globe and Mail, Jayson Myers of the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters pretty well dismissed Kyoto as a non-issue. Canada's manufacturing sector, he said, has already cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 7% below 1990 levels. "The industry is on track to lower emissions by even more by 2012," which is the Kyoto deadline for Canada to cut emissions to 6% below 1990 levels.

So, there you have it. Kyoto is no problem. All we need is a little more co-operation, some voluntary action by industry stimulated by a couple of tax incentives and -- presto -- Kyoto is done. What's the problem? As Mr. Myers put it, "there's a lot of hot air being generated about the Kyoto Protocol these days."

All of which takes us to the role of business in Canada's stumbling lurch into the Kyoto Protocol fiasco. For public relations reasons, business refuses to challenge the science and murky Marxist politics behind global warming. No CEO these days dares to take on public opinion on anything, especially climate change. Fear of the public has also led business to adopt Kyoto strategies that, over time, can only prove destructive of their companies and the economy." (Terence Corcoran, Financial Post)

"Committee told Kyoto based on outdated science" - "OTTAWA - Scientists who oppose the prevailing views on climate change have been shut out of debate on the Kyoto protocol, the Commons environment committee was told Thursday. The result is that Canada may be wasting billions of dollars trying to curb emissions of carbon dioxide which is not a pollutant, said Charles Simpson, president of a Calgary-based group called Friends of Science." (Canadian Press)

"Clouds gather over Kyoto climate pact" - "ROME - Defying repeated premature reports of its death, the Kyoto Protocol will come into force in a few days. But doubts are already growing over the long-term future of the world's most ambitious environmental agreement." (Reuters)

"EU's Post-Kyoto Proposals 'Cheap', Say Green Groups" - "BRUSSELS, Feb 10 - Environmental groups are criticising European Commission proposals for the bloc's policy on climate change post-2012, saying they fail to establish legally binding targets for curbing greenhouse gas emissions." (IPS)

"EU's future climate change policy to focus on major world emitters" - "The Commission has outlined the EU's climate change policy for the post-2012 period. The idea of a 'G7' forum of large emitters comprising the EU, US, Canada, Russia, Japan, China and India is being floated." (EurActiv)

"Italy faces struggle to meet Kyoto goals" - "ROME, Feb 10 - Italy is going to struggle to cut its greenhouse gases in line with the Kyoto Protocol, Economy Minister Domenico Siniscalco said on Thursday, hinting that the climate change pact might yet be renegotiated." (Reuters)

"Venezuela's Chavez blames rich nations as rains leave 14 dead" - "CARACAS - President Hugo Chavez called for calm and blamed global warming for a fourth day of torrential rains that have left 14 people dead in Venezuela. The rain is caused by "world problems, global warming, which the powerful nations do not want to discuss," Chavez told state-owned VTV television, alluding to US rejection of the Kyoto treaty to reduce greenhouse gases responsible for climate change." (AFP)

"UK: Renewable generation of energy 'will raise bills 5%'" - "TONY BLAIR’S ambitious green energy targets will drive up electricity bills by about 5 per cent by the end of the decade, according to a public spending watchdog. The generation of 10 per cent of the country’s energy from renewable sources, a central part of the Prime Minister’s plan to put Britain at the forefront of international efforts to tackle climate change, are set to cost the consumer more than £1 billion a year by 2010." (The Times)

"GM plant field-tested for enhanced soil remediation" - "For many years, scientists have used plants along with bulldozers and earthmovers to clean up toxic waste sites. New research reports the first field trial of a genetically modified (GM) plant used to remediate contaminated soils." (Environmental Science & Technology)

"They Want Transgenic Crops, Whether They Are Good or Bad" - "MEXICO CITY, Feb 10 - Ignacio Chapela, a Mexican biologist who rose to fame in 2001 when he discovered that native Mexican maize had been contaminated by transgenic corn varieties, announced in a Tierramérica interview that he is going on the offensive in a war that he says biotechnology transnational corporations have been waging against him." (Tierramérica)

"Now You Know: GMO [labels] not deterrent" - "What was learned: Labeling food that contains ingredients from genetically modified organisms will not deter European consumers from buying the products. This is contrary to the popular belief that spurred several large grocery chains to ban these modified ingredients in their store-brand products in 1998 and the European Union to mandate such labeling in 1997.

How we found out: European attitude surveys, such as the Eurobarometer, have consistently shown a widespread skepticism to GMO among Europeans.

Nicholas Kalaitzandonakes, director of MU’s Economics and Management of Agrobiotechnology Center, said his team tested Dutch consumers’ response to GMO labeling on their preferred brand label products, such as canned soup and fish sticks. The trials lasted five years." (Columbia Missourian)

Stupid response number... "Australia: Poultry giants quail at gene food protests" - "A consumer backlash against genetically engineered food has prompted the three largest poultry companies, which produce 80 per cent of chicken sold in Australia, to stop using GE feed. Inghams, Bartter Steggles and Baiada are expected to announce today that they will phase out the use of imported genetically engineered soy. The decision has been described by Greenpeace as "a major win for consumer power", and follows thousands of phone calls, faxes and letters to the poultry companies." (Sydney Morning Herald)

"Vermont: Lawmakers again turn their attention to GMOs" - "MONTPELIER — The Legislature is again taking up the regulation of genetically modified crops, one of the most controversial issues debated during last year's lawmaking session." (Times Argus)

February 10, 2005

"Review finds not enough evidence to say gun laws reduce violence" - "Despite a proliferation of gun registration requirements, bans on specific firearms and "zero tolerance" policies for guns in schools over the past three decades, the jury is still out on whether these laws help prevent gun violence, according to a new review of studies in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine." (Center for the Advancement of Health)

"Eco-terror sparks anxiety" - "Already beset by thieves and vandals who target construction sites, builders across the state are now working with the FBI to defend against eco-terrorism." (Sacramento Bee)

"Strawberry farmers face methyl bromide showdown" - "Strawberry fields across California -- the nation's leading strawberry producer -- have become an agricultural ground zero this year in an international showdown over the most controversial farm chemical since DDT was banned 33 years ago." (San Jose Mercury News)

Uh-oh! Big Warming isn't going to like this: "Natural climate change may be larger than commonly thought" - "A new study of climate in the Northern Hemisphere for the past 2000 years shows that natural climate change may be larger than generally thought. This is displayed in results from scientists at the Stockholm University, made in cooperation with Russian scientists, which are published in Nature on 10 Feb 2005." (Swedish Research Council)

oh, wait... this'll make 'em feel better: "NASA finds 2004 fourth warmest in over a century" - "Last year was the fourth warmest year on average for our planet since the late 1800s, according to NASA scientists." (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center--EOS Project Science Office)

"Bear study sparks climate fears" - "A pioneering study by Scottish experts has highlighted the dangers posed to polar bears from global warming. Scientists at St Andrews University have carried out what they believe to be the largest ever polar bear count in Arctic Europe. They believe 3,000 are living in the Barents Sea region, in contrast to earlier estimates of up to 5,000. A spokesman for the researchers said the risk from global warming puts bears in a "vulnerable position." (BBC)

No problem - the bears aren't missing, they're holidaying in Canada.

"The Bill That Wouldn't Die" - "You may hear the creak of a coffin-lid today as the alarmists' favorite domestic energy suppression measure rises from the grave. This particularly pungent revenant is the McCain-Lieberman Climate Stewardship Act 2003, 2004, 2005, an attempt to establish the principle that caps on energy use are the way to combat the threat of global warming. In fact, the CSA would do absolutely nothing to reduce temperatures, its only effect being to put a few hundred thousand Americans out of a job. But, hey, it's in a good cause." (Iain Murray, TCS)

"Canada will buy credits to meet Kyoto target" - "Canada will almost certainly pay poor countries to be greener so the federal government can meet its domestic emission targets under the Kyoto Protocol, Finance Minister Ralph Goodale indicated yesterday." (Toronto Star)

"Goodale ponders 'green' tax breaks" - "Finance Minister Ralph Goodale says he is ready to use the tax system to promote a clean environment, suggesting yesterday that the coming budget could have tax breaks to encourage commuters to use public transit." (Toronto Globe and Mail)

"Dimas: EU will ‘lead by example’ on climate change" - "Europe is to lead by example in the fight against climate change ahead of new international negotiations to combat global warming, Stavros Dimas has vowed. The European Environment Commissioner has unveiled new proposals to develop the EU’s future negotiating position after the first commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol ends in 2012. “Fighting climate change is not a matter of choice, but a matter of necessity,” said Dimas." (EUPolitix)

"EU won't set post-2012 emissions goal now - document" - "BRUSSELS - The European Union will not set itself targets for lowering emissions of greenhouse gases after 2012 now as it focuses instead on bringing the United States and other nations into the climate change battle, a document showed." (Reuters)

"EU attacked over new post-Kyoto strategy" - "BRUSSELS - The European Union executive came under fire for unveiling a new strategy against climate change for the post-Kyoto era that failed to spell out targets to cut greenhouse gases." (AFP)

"Brussels quits lead role in CO2 cuts" - "The European Union yesterday abandoned its leading role in fighting climate change by refusing to set targets for reductions in greenhouse gases after the first stage of the Kyoto protocol in 2012. The decision by the European commission, designed to put pressure on President Bush to sign up the US to Kyoto during his visit to Brussels on February 22, is a blow to Tony Blair's strategy of making climate change a priority of the UK's presidency of the G8 industrialised countries - and the EU in the second half of this year. The issue was not discussed during yesterday's talks between senior EU members and US secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice - with Stavros Dimas, the environment commissioner, being accused by green campaigners of dropping the EU's pace-setter role." (The Guardian)

"Kremlin aide blasts UK role in 'totalitarian' Kyoto 'sect'" - "Russian presidential [economic] advisor Andrey Illarionov today called the statement by British scientists on global warming "a falsification." (ITAR-TASS news agency)

"Greenwashing Putin" - "Historians will remember Russian President Vladimir Putin for a lot of reasons, but one of the main ones might be that he has found a politically correct way to be politically incorrect. He understands that political correctness is only a matter of style. The substance of what you do is virtually irrelevant. How else to explain the otherwise inexplicable attitude of the European Union towards him and the Russian Federation." (Carlo Stagnaro, TCS)

"U.S. Firms Said Lagging in Global Warming Fight" - "HOUSTON - Financial and insurance firms elsewhere have awakened to the dangers posed by global warming, but U.S. companies have shown little interest so far, a British insurance expert said on Wednesday. Former insurance executive David Crichton said U.S. firms may be holding back because of ties to U.S. energy companies who do not acknowledge that global warming is a problem. "The insurance industry really is starting to take action" against global warming and its effects, he said at a conference on global warming at Rice University." (Reuters)

That's one way of putting it. Another way might be that, having profited from premiums, insurance firms elsewhere are attempting to offload insured risk onto the public purse.

For the latest in wild guesses and fevered imaginings: "Climate change may force crop swap" - It is mostly bad news for Britain - except that the Champagne region of France will be moving to the South Downs. That is the verdict of a government conference on agriculture and climate change, which seeks to change farming practices in the UK to suit changing weather patterns." (The Guardian)

"Climate change claims another peer" - "Recently, a story appeared in Britain's Sunday Times with the headline: "Shell oil chief defects to green lobby." The gentleman in question is Lord Oxburgh, an eminent academic geologist, university administrator, former government scientific advisor and chairman of the House of Lord's committee on science and technology. For most of the past year, he has been non-executive chairman of oil giant Shell Transport & Trading, taking over that post when the company was roiled by a scandal surrounding overstated reserves. When he retires in April, Lord Oxburgh plans to take up a position with a "climate change charity." (Peter Foster, Financial Post)

"Associated Press & Global Warming: Never Let Facts Get in the Way of a Good Theory" - "BACKGROUND: The Associated Press has recently run two global warming stories by AP Special Correspondent Charles P. Hanley that misrepresent objective facts about climate, apparently for the purpose of leading readers to believe that human activities are causing the planet to warm significantly." (National Center for Public Policy Research)

"Clouds could clear way to saving planet" - "By bouncing more incoming sunlight back into space we could buy time to sort out global warming, writes Kate Ravilious" (The Guardian)

"Jet pollution: drawing a line in the sky" - "Although cars generate more greenhouse gases, airliner exhaust has an exaggerated effect, scientists say. Is it time to take action?" (The Christian Science Monitor)

"Taking the wind out of fossil dependence" - "Wind turbines arouse fierce passions in the UK, where campaigns against the tall, futuristic structures have now become commonplace. This week the Renewable Energy Foundation - an anti-wind lobbying group, contrary to what its name might suggest - will set out plans for combating what it sees as the disfigurement of the countryside by wind power." (Financial Times)

"UK: Ratings show how green cars are" - "A new scheme is being launched to tell drivers and car buyers how environmentally-friendly vehicles are. Cars will be rated on a scale from A to F, based on their carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions - the same system already used for fridges. Only electric vehicles get an A grade. Smaller cars score a C while 4x4 vehicles, such as Land Rovers and Range Rovers, score an F grade." (BBC)

"Open-Source Practices for Biotechnology" - "The open-source movement, which has encouraged legions of programmers around the world to improve continually upon software like the Linux operating system, may be spreading to biotechnology. Researchers from Australia will report in a scientific journal today that they have devised a method of creating genetically modified crops that does not infringe on patents held by big biotechnology companies. They said the technique, and a related one already used in crop biotechnology, would be made available free to others to use and improve, as long as any improvements are also available free. As with open-source software, the idea is to spur innovation through a sort of communal barn-raising effort." (New York Times)

"Genetically modified crops are good for Africa" - "Africa needs GMOs to survive the impending continental famine." (C. S. Prakash, Vanguard)

"GM papaya available soon: advocate" - "ALABEL, Sarangani — After the controversial Bacillus Thuringiensis (Bt) corn, genetically-modified (GM) papaya will be available for mass production within the next two years, an advocate for the use of of GM foods said. Dr. Bienvenido Pecson, Biotechnology Coalition of the Philippines (BCP) president, said Filipino scientists are perfecting the papaya variety that can resist the ring spot diseases." (Mindanao Times)

February 9, 2005

"Focus narrows in search for autism's cause" - "There comes a point in every great mystery when a confusing set of clues begins to narrow. For scientists who study autism, that moment may be near, thanks to a combination of new tools for examining brain anatomy and of old-fashioned keen observation." (New York Times)

"Salt Institute's Case Shakes Up Preliminary Rulemaking" - "The group that represents 36 domestic and foreign salt producers is appealing its loss of a lawsuit that challenged the science a National Institutes of Health agency used in 2003 to recommend that lower sodium consumption would improve people's health." (Washington Post)

"'91 memo warned of mercury in shots" - "A memo from Merck and Co. shows that, nearly a decade before the first public disclosure, senior executives were concerned that infants were getting an elevated dose of mercury in vaccinations containing a widely used sterilizing agent." (Los Angeles Times)

S'pose this is due to global warming too: "Blue tit boom 'may cause crisis'" - "A baby boom among Britain's blue tits could cause an avian housing crisis in 2005, according to wildlife experts." (BBC)

Today's meaching: "An end to infinity" - "The Kyoto climate change treaty, which comes into force next week, is a start to realising Earth's limits, says Michael Meacher" (The Guardian)

"A Climate of Staged Angst" - "The following essay by Hans Von Storch and Nico Stehr was originally published in Der Spiegel, a German newspaper, on 24 January 2005. We are providing an English translation with the permission of the authors and Der Speigel." (Prometheus)

"Blair demands action to cut pollution" - "Action should be taken to curb pollution even if it is not causing global warming, Prime Minister Tony Blair said today." (Edinburgh Scotsman)

"Blair's climate-change policy becoming clearer by the day..." - "Yesterday, as ever, Mr. Blair gave a consummate political performance before the liaison committee, which comprises a group of senior MPs who are themselves all committee chairs. Two of his replies, in particular, throw intriguing light on his thinking about the politics of climate change." (EnviroSpin Watch)

"A Climate of Disdain" - "Next week will mark an unlikely milestone in modern history: The Kyoto Protocol on global climate change will take effect a week from today, without U.S. participation. A global policy train will be leaving the station, in other words, without the United States even being on board, let alone serving as conductor." (David Ignatius, Washington Post)

"Blair Hopeful of U.S. Backing on Climate Change" - "LONDON - Washington wants to start discussing measures to combat climate change and may sign up to an agreement during Britain's presidency of the Group of Eight rich nations, Prime Minister Tony Blair said on Tuesday." (Reuters)

"Blair told to listen to climate change sceptics" - "MOSCOW - Prime Minister Tony Blair must listen to sceptics in the climate change debate to stop the Kyoto Protocol harming the world economy, a top Russian official has said. "Have there been any international agreements to limit economic growth and development before Kyoto? There were two: Communism and Nazism," Andrei Illarionov, an aide to President Vladimir Putin, told a Moscow news conference on Tuesday. Illarionov urged Blair to reject the arguments being put forward by ecological fundamentalists who he said were seeking to hijack the agenda of this year's Group of Eight (G8) summit in Britain. "For a country which gave the world freedom of speech, it is crucial that its leaders find the strength to free themselves from ... a very dangerous totalitarian sect," Illarionov said." (Reuters)

"Canada: Oil industry wants Kyoto relief" - "The Canadian oil industry is pushing for any Kyoto-related costs to be written off against royalties and taxes as it aims to cushion the competitive blow of the greenhouse-gas pact." (Toronto Globe and Mail)

"The scapegoat gas" - "CO2 isn't toxic, nor a pollutant. Naming it such as an indirect approach to effect climate change policy would be scientifically groundless." (Financial Post)

Well, mostly correct. CO2 isn't human-toxic at any anticipated (or imaginable) atmospheric concentration but, as always, the dose makes the poison. The lowest published human-toxic concentration is 2,500 ppm (caused dyspnea) while the lowest published lethal concentration - mammal (species not specified) is 90,000 ppm/5 minute (human: 110,000 ppm). Many countries have Occupational Exposure Limits (OELs) of a time-weighted average 5,000 ppm (9,000 mg/m3) and a short term exposure limit of 30,000 ppm.

That it is not an atmospheric pollutant is true unless you believe an essential biosphere-enabling trace gas qualifies for such a label.

From CO2 Science Magazine this week:

"Responses of Marine Phytoplankton to Elevated Atmospheric CO2" - "Ulf Riebesell of the Leibniz Institut fur Meereswissenschaften in Kiel, Germany, reviews what is known about the growth and calcification responses of various types of marine phytoplankton to atmospheric CO2 enrichment." (co2science.org)

Subject Index Summaries:
"Temperature (Trends - Regional: Europe, Northern)" - "Climate alarmists claim CO2-induced global warming should be most evident in high northern latitudes. Do temperature data from northern Europe support this contention?" (co2science.org)

"Water Status of Soil (Field Studies)" - "How does atmospheric CO2 enrichment affect the water status of the soils upon which plants grow?" (co2science.org)

Plant Growth Data:
"This week we add new results (blue background) of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature for: Holly Oak, Lantana, Timothy and Wheat." (co2science.org)

Journal Reviews:
"Sixty Years of Temperature Change in Egypt" - "How much support do they provide for the climate-alarmist vision of catastrophic CO2-induced global warming?" (co2science.org)

"Palaeofloods and Policy Prescriptions" - "It would appear that the past provides a much clearer picture of the future than do today's climate models when it comes to the subject of future flood behavior." (co2science.org)

"The Impact of Rising Temperature on Coral Calcification" - "Is it positive or negative? ... large or small? And how does it compare with the impact of rising CO2 concentrations on coral calcification?" (co2science.org)

"Reducing Methane Emissions from Cows" - "Let us count the ways by which it can be done, and comment on their effectiveness as well." (co2science.org)

"The Nutritive Value of Herbage Grown in High-CO2 Air" - "Is it increased or decreased? The answer is more complex than what is suggested by the simplicity of the question." (co2science.org)

Oh boy... "Bush's global-warming death sentence" - "ON FEB. 16, the international Kyoto Protocol to curb global warming will take effect with no support from the Bush administration. This should be an embarrassment to all Americans. Environmental lawyer and activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has described George W. Bush as the worst environmental president in U.S. history. During Bush's first term, his administration initiated more than 200 rollbacks of environmental laws. These moves serve to benefit big corporations, which are no longer inconvenienced by having to comply with strict pollution standards. This kind of environmental irresponsibility is contributing to global warming that, if allowed to continue unchecked, could pose a serious threat to human life around the world. Despite the assertions of diehard naysayers, hard data now confirms that climate change is dramatic, real and driven by fossil fuels. Weather patterns are increasingly unstable, deep oceans warming, glaciers melting, drought and famine proliferating, sea levels rising and the timing of the seasons themselves is altered." (Mary Shaw, Philadelphia Inquirer)

"New regs will generate savings for consumers, regulators say" - "California's new greenhouse gas emission standards can be met largely by using existing auto technologies and will generate consumer savings by improving gas mileage, according to a state regulator." (Associated Press)

Top down control freaks just love to tell you how good their impositions will be for you - and never mind that about the only thing achieved would be making vehicles lighter and ever more flimsy (just don't be involved in any accidents and you'll survive just fine).

Zealots are the most dangerous things on the planet.

"It's a long and winding road for the car that runs on hydrogen alone" - "Drawbacks to fuel cell technology are harder to overcome than the industry used to believe." (Financial Times)

"Research into better batteries has gone flat" - "Efficient energy storage systems are essential for the widespread adoption not only of clean cars but of renewable power sources that are only intermittently available." (Financial Times)

"EU Takes Pollution Fight to Aircraft To Limit Greenhouse Gases" - "BRUSSELS -- The European Union's executive arm today is expected to propose reducing emissions from aircraft for the first time, possibly by ending their tax exemptions for fuel. The proposal is part of a raft of ideas Brussels is studying on how to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions beyond what is required in the Kyoto Protocol, which takes effect next week. Ending the fuel-tax exemption would be difficult, as countries around the world would have to agree to reverse a policy in place since 1944. The U.S. opposes airline-fuel taxes, and last year the International Civil Aviation Organization, a United Nations organization with 188 member states, agreed that no taxes or charges related to climate change could come into effect until after the organization's next assembly in 2007." (Dow Jones)

"Blair pours cold water on aviation tax idea" - "LONDON - British Prime Minister Tony Blair on Tuesday virtually dismissed calls for taxes on aviation fuel to help prevent global warming. "I do not think you are going to have any political consensus saying we are going to slap some huge tax on people for cheap air travel," Blair told a parliamentary committee. He was responding to questions about an aviation fuel tax to help combat climate change and was not quizzed about a similar proposal to tax aviation fuel to fund development aid." (Reuters)

"China under pressure on emissions as Kyoto looms" - "BEIJING - China is the world's second-largest source of greenhouse gases but when the Kyoto Protocol on climate change comes into force next week it will be under no obligation to cut emissions." (Reuters)

Should read: "world's second-largest [anthropogenic] source of [some] greenhouse gases" but few seem to notice that "natural" emissions dwarf those of humanity by a factor of about two-dozen to one. Certainly it rarely gets a mention anymore.

"Row with Europe delays launch of carbon scheme" - "The Government will announce the level of carbon dioxide emissions industry is to be permitted to pump into the atmosphere 'later this week' after a row with the European Commission forced ministers to delay yesterday's deadline." (London Daily Telegraph)

"How to guzzle gas with a clear conscience" - "Keen to do your bit for global warming but can't bear to part with your four-wheel-drive? Now you can be both a greenie and a gas guzzler by investing in projects slowing climate change. People keen to compensate for the environmental impact of their cars and air travel are tipped to become big buyers of carbon credits, a greenhouse gas conference heard yesterday." (Sydney Morning Herald)

Guess the above indicates it's true: "There's a sucker born every minute"

"Fears of global warming boost comeback hopes for reactors" - "China's announcement this week that it will construct what is likely to be the world's first operational pebble-bed nuclear reactor, ahead of the US and Europe, marks a resurgence for the nuclear industry." (Financial Times)

"Syncrude chief extols oil sands to U.S. market" - "New York — Syncrude Canada Ltd. chief executive officer Charles Ruigrok Tuesday swatted away concerns about Chinese incursions, high costs or the impact of climate change policies as he extolled Alberta's oil sands as a safe and secure supply for an energy-hungry U.S. market." (Globe and Mail)

"Report addresses safety problem in preharvest stage of food production" - "Food in the preharvest stage is more vulnerable to contamination than food in the processing and packaging stages of production, because of environmental variability and our inability to control it, according to a new report released by the American Academy of Microbiology." (American Society for Microbiology)

"NZ farmers want to clone giant sheep" - "NZ agriculture officials have drafted a health standard for the import of tissue for cloning the world's biggest wild sheep species." (Sydney Morning Herald)

"Rice growing proposal upsets area rice growers" - "The prospect of a California company setting up rice farming and processing operations in Missouri has some area rice farmers concerned. Seven counties in Southeast Missouri accounted for more than 99 percent of the state's rice crop just two years ago, including Dunklin County, Butler County, New Madrid County, Pemiscot County, Ripley County, Scott County, and Stoddard County." (Dunklin Democrat)

"Tanzania to grow GM cotton for trial this year" - "DAR ES SALAAM, February 08 -- Tanzania is to become the sixth country in Africa to grow genetically modified (GM) crops for trial when it starts to grow GM cotton in its south, local press reported on Tuesday. Newspaper Daily News quoted a government official as saying that the planned GM trials would be carried out in the country`s Southern Highland regions where cotton farming was stopped in 1968 in a move to halt the spread of the red ball worm disease that had affected cotton yields." (africast.com)

"Experts focus on 'terminator gene'" - "The use of controversial ''terminator technology'' in genetically modified crops will be discussed today at the United Nations interim meeting on the Convention on Biological Diversity in Bangkok. The meeting, which continues until Feb 18, is expected to pave the way for an international agreement of the use of the technology. Terminator technology involves including a gene in genetically modified (GM) seeds so that when crops are harvested all new seeds from these crops are sterile. This forces farmers to buy new seeds every year from the GMO producer if they want to grow a fresh crop, instead of using seed grain from their own plants, as had been practised traditionally for thousands of years." (Bangkok Post)

"Canada backs terminator seeds" - "An international moratorium on the use of one of the world's most controversial GM food technologies may be broken today if the Canadian government gets seed sterilisation backed at a UN meeting." (The Guardian)

February 8, 2005

Bad Headline for Preschool Obesity Study - “Sweet Drinks Not Linked to Preschool Obesity”… I’m sure that’s the headline the Associated Press meant to run instead of it’s “Sweet Drinks Linked to Preschool Obesity” -- because there’s no way that the new study (Pediatrics, February 2005) spotlighted in the AP article links sweet drinks with childhood obesity. (Steve Milloy, JunkScience.com)

"Health agencies must stop demonising DDT – it saves lives" - "Headache, high temperature, the shakes, an enlarged spleen and two billion parasites in my liver – that's the price of travelling to Sri Lanka to cover the aftermath of the tsunami.

It was all so different last time: England had just played a great cricket match against the Sri Lankans, the local economy was bustling, and the great threat – from the Tamil Tiger rebels – was waning. Today, the cricket pitch lacks a single blade of grass, the economy is in tatters, and there are more than 31,000 dead from the tidal wave. The only things that remain the same are the heat and humidity.

As I found out the hard way, malaria is back and poised to strike down still more of the children, many orphaned, of this wretched place. It can be stopped, but only if ill-informed prejudice against DDT, the insecticide, is dropped." (Roger Bate, London Daily Telegraph)

"DDT could eradicate post-tsunami malaria - Editorial" - "DDT could curb malaria around the world, if only world policy makers would let it be used." (The Free Lance-Star)

"Drought may be factor in leukemia" - "As Sierra Vista residents continue to wait for tests that may show why their children are developing leukemia, scientists are looking into a somewhat surprising suspect - drought." (Arizona Daily Star)

"Vector CEO says views changed on tobacco effects" - "WASHINGTON, Feb 7 - The chief executive of tobacco holding company Vector Group Ltd. backed away from past admissions that smoking is a proven cause of disease during testimony on Monday in the government's racketeering trial against the industry.

Bennett LeBow, who controls cigarette maker Liggett Group through his stake in Vector, told a federal judge that his views had changed since 1997, when he broke ranks with the rest of the tobacco industry and conceded that smoking was a proven cause of lung cancer and other ills.

"I've changed my opinion pretty much in the last four or five years," LeBow said in the first day of testimony since an appeals court on Friday barred the government from seeking $280 billion in past industry profits in the case." (Reuters)

"Pub trade: Smoking ban may save lives but could cost the NHS" - "THE pub trade will today claim that the Scottish Executive has failed to research an aspect of its public smoking ban: that there is a financial downside to its customers living longer. The Scottish Licensed Trade Association, which fears a slump in bar takings if the ban takes effect as planned in 2006, believes the Scottish Executive has failed to consider the effect on the public purse of smokers dying prematurely, and the costs of having them live longer." (The Herald)

"'Leather-Free' Mercedes Thrills Rights Group" - "BERLIN - Mercedes-Benz has agreed to offer "leather-free" versions of all its luxury cars to pacify an animal rights group that says thousands of cows are slaughtered each year for leather car seats and interiors. After complaints from the German chapter of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, DaimlerChrysler said its Mercedes subsidiary will offer fabric or synthetic leather as options. Daimler spokeswoman Ursula Mertzig-Stein said that far from wanting leather-free cars, "our customers ... are more likely to want even more leather at the premium end. But we'll make cars without leather on demand." (Reuters)

"It's Fur Without Fear on New York Fashion Runways" - "NEW YORK - Fur is back and prominently displayed by top designers this week on New York's fashion runways, with nary a peep of protest. Not so long ago, a woman in fur might fear a hail of insults and a pail of paint getting lobbed her way, while the designer would face a pelting of tomatoes. But clever marketing, hip-hop culture and the perpetual lure of luxury are bringing fur out of the closet, experts say." (Reuters)

"Worms on a Hook Don't Suffer, Norway Experts Find" - "OSLO - Worms squirming on a fishhook feel no pain -- nor do lobsters and crabs cooked in boiling water, a scientific study funded by the Norwegian government has found." (Reuters)

"Spare a thought for the poor old environmental correspondent..." - "I think we should feel just a smidgen sorry for Geoffrey Lean of the lachrymose Indy and Paul Brown and John Vidal of The Gloomiad. Despite all their unremitting hype on the dire perils of 'Media World Global Warming', the British public remain (thank goodness) resolutely unphased, possessing far too much common sense to fall for the tear-stained angst of the environmental correspondent's 'World of Daily Disasters'." (EnviroSpin Watch)

Institutional misanthropy? "Unsustainable developments" - "The first circular of the year has arrived from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (Hefce). Ominously entitled Sustainable Development in Higher Education, it proudly but primly announces that it is printed on chlorine-free paper made from sustainable forests. Several sustainable forests, I should think, given the volume of self-righteous waffle that arrives from Hefce. We got nearly one circular a week last year, which probably requires the felling of enough forests to cover Luxembourg. But never mind, Hefce now wants us to save the planet.

A circular on sustainable development might, at first glance, seem to be one of the more innocuous documents to emanate from the dark recesses of the funding council. Trust me; it is not harmless. It is one of the most pernicious and dangerous circulars ever to be issued. It represents the final assault on the last remaining freedom of universities." (Peter Knight, The Guardian)

Reformulate the curriculum around eco-theism? Alas, poor England!

“Extended abstract” of a paper that was part of the poster session at the Stabilisation2005 conference organized by the UK government: "Reducing Climate-Sensitive Risks in the Medium Term: Stabilisation or Adaptation?" (PDF) - "Abstract An evaluation of analyses sponsored by the predecessor to the U.K. Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) of the global impacts of climate change under various mitigation scenarios (including CO2 stabilisation at 550 and 750 ppm) coupled with an examination of the relative costs associated with different schemes to either mitigate climate change or reduce vulnerability to various climate-sensitive hazards (namely, malaria, hunger, water shortage, coastal flooding, and losses of global forests and coastal wetlands) indicates that, at least for the next few decades, risks and/or threats associated with these hazards would, by and large, be lowered more effectively and economically by reducing current and future vulnerability to those hazards rather than through stabilisation." (Indur M. Goklany, U.S. Department of the Interior Washington, DC)

"2 ºC or Bust?" - "Take a simple test. Look out your window and describe all the changes that appear to have been caused by the long-term rise in global temperature." (GES)

"It's a Warmer World, But Does That Mean Armageddon?" - "OSLO - When bears wake early from hibernation, Australia suffers its worst drought in 100 years and multiple hurricanes hammer Florida should we believe The End is nigh?" (Reuters)

"Disaster averted" - "Human activities may have averted the next ice age. This conclusion from recent research is sure to make global warming alarmists cringe. Ongoing human activities during the past 8,000 years likely have served to prevent us from falling into an ice age, says William Ruddiman, former chairman of the University of Virginia environmental sciences department and his research team in Quaternary Research Reviews. “Without any anthropogenic warming,” they write, “earth’s climate would no longer be in a full-interglacial state [warm period] but be well on its way toward the colder temperatures typical of glaciations.” (GES)

Weekly Whipple: "Climate: The sensitivity question" - "BOULDER, Colorado -- One of the things scientists and policymakers need to know about the climate is how much it will warm in response to increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide. The measurement, called climate sensitivity, indicates how surface temperatures respond depending on how much greenhouse gas is pumped into the atmosphere by humans. The usual measurement baseline is a doubling of CO2. In other words, scientists ask the question: If we double carbon dioxide in the atmosphere from pre-industrial levels, how much will the global average temperature warm?" (Dan Whipple, UPI)

"The forecast for Scotland: wet, wet, wet" - "SCOTLAND'S climate is becoming progressively wetter, with periods of heavy rain in the east becoming four times more frequent than 30 years ago, according to new research. The study, carried out by a team from Newcastle University, also shows that the country as a whole will experience a fourfold increase in autumn rainfall, putting some communities at greater risk of floods. The study compared rainfall in Scotland from the late 1960s to the end of the 1990s." (The Scotsman)

"Kyoto So Close...Yet So Far Away" - "BROOKLIN, Canada, Feb 7 - Canada will be hard-pressed to meet its Kyoto targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, even as scientists warn that the risks of climate change are more serious than previously thought." (IPS)

"Business fears new Kyoto rules" - "The head of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce says Ottawa's handling of the Kyoto protocol is "vague government policy" that threatens to cool foreign investment." (Chris Sorensen, Financial Post)

"On thin ice" - "Canada's efforts to honour the Kyoto accord on global warming are looking increasingly inadequate, writes Anne McIlroy" (The Guardian)

"California Mulls New Rules For Power Plant Emissions" - "SAN FRANCISCO - California is studying power plant emissions in what could be one of the first attempts by a state to regulate heat-trapping gases like carbon dioxide linked to global warming." (Reuters)

"Coal recouped" - "A state-of-the-art power plant is reclaiming the waste heaps that pollute Pennsylvania streams. As an "alternative" energy, it is controversial." (Philadelphia Inquirer)

"Dung power to be debated by MSPs" - "Millions of tonnes of manure from Scotland's farm animals could help in the battle against global warming." (BBC)

"Coming soon to a sea near you: biggest wind farm in the world" - "PLANS are being drawn up to build the world’s biggest wind farm in the North Sea at a cost of £1.2 billion. Irish firm Airtricity, which aims to become one of the leaders in renewable energy production in the UK, wants to put up about 5,000 turbines that would produce more than 10,000 megawatts of electricity." (The Scotsman)

"Asthma gene clusters identified" - "Children who suffer from acute asthma attacks share a genetic profile that appears to be unique to these children, according to a new study by researchers at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. The discovery opens the door to the possibility of designing treatments specifically tailored to children who suffer from the severest forms of asthma." (Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center)

"Feature: Genetically modifying trees" - "MADISON, Wisconsin -- At an abandoned hat factory in Danbury, Conn., scientists are testing genetically engineered trees to see if they can be used to remove toxic mercury from the ground. In a laboratory in Raleigh, N.C., another group is working to modify trees to make paper production less polluting and more energy efficient. At Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., still more scientists are working on ways to engineer trees so they can store more carbon in their roots as a way of fighting global warming. Genetically modifying trees has become an "extremely active" field said, Richard Meilan, leader of the Purdue group." (UPI)

"NZ: Email blast puts heat on GM beans" - "A can of chilli beans containing genetically modified corn may be withdrawn from New Zealand supermarkets after opponents swamped the importer with protest emails." (New Zealand Herald)

February 7, 2005

"WHO's to Blame?" - "Galle, Sri Lanka--The last time I was here in Galle, England had just played a great cricket match against the Sri Lankans, the local economy was bustling, and the great threat--from the Tamil Tiger rebels--was losing its force. But today, the cricket pitch lacks a single blade of grass, the economy is in tatters, and there are over 31,000 dead from the tsunami. The only things that remain the same in this southern port--75 miles southeast of Colombo--are the heat and humidity. One alarming new difference is that malaria is back, and is poised to strike down still more of the children, many orphaned, of this wretched place. It can be stopped, but only if ill-informed prejudice against DDT, the insecticide, is dropped." (Roger Bate, American Enterprise Institute)

"U.N. follies" - "... Then there is the World Heath Organization, a United Nations “special agency.” WHO's Director General has just awarded its prize for “best anti-smoking and nutrition” programs to al Manar – the television station owned and operated by Hezbollah, among the world's most lethal terrorist organizations.

In fact, Hezbollah has killed more Americans than any other terrorist organization other than al Qaeda. Al Manar routinely broadcasts programs to millions in the Middle East inciting suicide bombings against Americans in Iraq and against Israelis wherever they may be found.

But in the view of the World Health Organization, al Manar is doing important work by warning viewers that smoking is bad for the health – and, incidentally, instructing them that massacring infidels in good for the soul." (Clifford D. May, Scripps Howard News Service)

"Happy Birthday IP" - "Intellectual property in Australia has just celebrated an important birthday: the centenary of "IP Australia". IP Australia was first established in 1904 as the Australian Patent Office, to administer Australia's patent law. Few countries have formally defended the principles of intellectual property for as long. Among these countries is the United States: property rights were enshrined in the US Constitution through the Bill of Rights in 1791. There is no doubt that IP Australia is one of the leading patent offices in the world. As such, the celebrations that marked its centenary are well deserved." (Steve Haynes, TCS)

"Children's taste sensitivity and food choices influenced by taste gene" - "Variation in a taste receptor gene influences taste sensitivity of children and adults, accounting for individual differences in taste preferences and food selection, report a team of researchers from the Monell Chemical Senses Center. In addition to genes, age and culture also contribute to taste preferences, at times overriding the influence of genetics. The findings may help to explain why some children are more attracted to sweet-tasting foods, as well as why taste and food preferences appear to change with age." (Monell Chemical Senses Center)

"Milk is Milk Blog Addresses Harmful Demands From Grocers, Food Companies and Activist Groups" - "CHURCHVILLE, VA--Feb 4, 2005 -- This week "Milk is Milk" Blog author Alex Avery addresses unquantifiable "consumer demand" often cited by food companies and activists seeking to force production restrictions on farmers from whom they buy milk and cheese. A disturbing trend among such groups finds dairy farmers face to face with mandates to abandon safe, scientifically tested animal health and productivity practices like antibiotics used to treat mastitis or supplemental somatotropin (rbST) to help boost productivity." (MARKET WIRE)

"Health U-turn over breastmilk" - "Millions of mothers around the world have been wrongly advised to stop breastfeeding and use formula milk instead, triggering a startling rise in obesity, health experts warned yesterday." (Edinburgh Scotsman)

"Breast cancer mystery frustrates scientists" - "The literature on breast cancer is littered with discredited theories about environmental and lifestyle factors that may contribute to the onset of the disease." (Hartford Courant)

"Traffic pollution revs up allergens" - "Exhaust fumes from traffic could be turning airborne proteins into more powerful allergens, explaining why asthma and other allergies are on the rise in urban areas. Researchers have found that the mixture of nitrogen dioxide and ozone produced by vehicles can add the chemical group nitrate to the protein molecules that account for up to 5% of the particles in our air." (News @ Nature)

"Charles attacked over 'hair-raising' and 'dangerous' alternative therapies" - "A new book issued by the Prince of Wales's foundation to promote alternative health therapies has been condemned as unscientific and potentially dangerous by the country's leading authority on complementary medicine." (London Independent)

"CEI Releases Study on Electronic Waste Disposal Options" (PDF) - "In Mandated Recycling of Computers: A Lose-Lose-Lose Proposition, CEI Analyst Dana Joel Gattuso corrects common misconceptions about electronic waste, arguing that e-waste is not "growing out of control" and threatening to fill up the nation's landfills; and that electronic components are not leaking heavy metals into the ground soil or water table." (CEI)

"Paper Sets Off a Debate on Environmentalism's Future" - "The leaders of the environmental movement were livid last fall when Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus, two little-known, earnest environmentalists in their 30's, presented a 12,000-word thesis arguing that environmentalism was dead." (New York Times)

"Body's reaction to cold can pose blood pressure hazard" - "Cold temperatures raise blood pressure even in people who aren't normally hypertensive or out shoveling snow, and the risk is even greater in those with high blood pressure or pre-hypertension, experts say." (New York Times)

"Next ozone hole only waiting to be found, says Nobel laureate" - "PROF Sherwood Rowland, recipient of the 1995 Nobel prize for his role in making the world aware of the danger of ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), says he is waiting for the discovery of the next ozone hole.

‘‘Way back in 1984, people were getting warmed up to the idea of ozone-depletion in the upper atmosphere, but it was more talk and less action. Today, we face the same situation with global warming. We are waiting for the discovery of something to scare us, like the ozone hole scared us in 1985. And something will soon turn up,’’ says the 78-year-old Research Professor of Chemistry and Earth System Science at the University of California." (Indian Express)

"Coral reefs create clouds to control the climate" - "When the temperature soars, coral reefs might cool off by creating their own clouds. Research from the Great Barrier Reef off the Australian coast shows that corals are packed full of the chemical dimethyl sulphide, or DMS. When released into the atmosphere, DMS helps clouds to form, which could have a large impact on the local climate." (New Scientist)

Beyond parody: "Apocalypse now: how mankind is sleepwalking to the end of the Earth" - "Floods, storms and droughts. Melting Arctic ice, shrinking glaciers, oceans turning to acid. The world's top scientists warned last week that dangerous climate change is taking place today, not the day after tomorrow. You don't believe it? Then, says Geoffrey Lean, read this..." (London Independent)

"Rainfall in the South could drop by half" - "Drought menaces Britain's breadbasket in the east of England, a special global warming summit of ministers and farmers' leaders will learn tomorrow." (London Independent)

But... "climate models" only manage their alarming results by including enormous feedback mechanisms - basically warmer world leads to greater evaporation, thus increasing main greenhouse gas (water vapor) in atmosphere, leading to more warming, more evaporation and so on... In the old days (pre ghg hysteria), increased atmospheric water content tended to suggest increased rainfall rather than drought.

"Alarm bells ring louder over climate change" - "The risks of global warming are "more serious than previously thought", concluded a major international climate conference on Thursday." (NewScientist.com news service)

Meanwhile, in the real world: "Polar bears defy extinction threat" - "THE world’s polar bear population is on the increase despite global warming, which scientists had believed was pushing the animal towards extinction. According to new research, the numbers of the giant predator have grown by between 15 and 25 per cent over the last decade. Some authorities on Arctic wildlife even claim that hunting, and not global warming, has been the real cause of the decrease in polar bear numbers in areas where the species is in decline. A leading Canadian authority on polar bears, Mitch Taylor, said: "We’re seeing an increase in bears that’s really unprecedented, and in places where we’re seeing a decrease in the population it’s from hunting, not from climate change." Mr Taylor estimates that during the past decade, the Canadian polar bear population has increased by 25 per cent - from 12,000 to 15,000 bears. He even suggests that global warming could actually be good for the bears, and warns that the ever-increasing proximity of the animals to local communities could mean that a cull will be required sooner rather that later if bear numbers are to be kept under control." (The Scotsman)

"Climate change verdict: it's here, it's real" - "EXETER, ENGLAND—They didn't quite carry two tablets down from a mountain but many of the world's top climate experts here this week were prepared to chisel some statements in stone." (Toronto Star)

"Climate change may dramatically alter Indian monsoon" - "Climate change is a major threat to India and may lead to potentially dangerous problems," warned Sir David King, Chief Scientific Advisor to the UK government. "The rise in sea levels due to global warming may endanger the coastline and dramatically alter the monsoon, which is crucial for the country's economy," said the scientist. Sir David is here to participate in the Delhi Sustainable Development Summit organised by The Energy Resources Institute (TERI), accompanied by Britain's Minister for Environment and Agri-Environment Elliot Morley." (HindustanTimes.com)

"Emerging Risk Symposium Will Focus on Global Warming" - "The Insurance Leadership Institute is pleased to host "Hurricanes, A New Path," an Emerging Risk Symposium on hurricanes and global warming. The February 23, 2005, symposium will feature expert presenters and participants from the worlds of academia, government and catastrophe modeling." (i-newswire.com)

The Week That Was Feb. 5, 2005 (SEPP)

"At last some critical climate-change reporting in a serious British magazine..." (EnviroSpin Watch)

Polite response of the moment: "No cold comfort" - "Your report on climate change misrepresents the views of both Professor Bjorn Lomborg and myself.

Lomborg has never doubted the existence of human-induced climate change, although he has questioned brilliantly the economics of our response to such change.

I have likewise always recognised multifactorial human influences on climate, although I remain unconvinced that, by manipulating one selected factor at the margins, we will achieve any predictable outcome. Climate is the most complex, coupled, non-linear, chaotic system known; in such a system, not doing something at the margins is as unpredictable as doing something.

I must also point out that, because of the current pattern of the so-called Milankovitch Cycles, it is unlikely that we should currently be cooling down towards another Ice Age. Finally, the reason why the British public refuse to be spooked by the 'global warming' ecohype is simple: they possess too much down-to-earth common sense." (Philip Stott, The Observer)

Very restrained, given McKie's fatuous piece. And no, The Observer's web editors haven't fixed the link for "the sceptics' riposte to the [TAR] by UK-based Scientific Alliance in collaboration with US-based Georghe (sic) C Marshall Institute," so here it is in working form: http://www.scienceforum.net/pdfs/climate.pdf.

"Climate Glacier Politics" - "What started out as a glacier hiking holiday in the fabulous Southern Alps of New Zealand descended into something quite different. Is the Franz Josef glacier, the most famous in New Zealand, receding and an example of man-made climate change or is it in fact increasing? And if the latter, does this explain why it has not been in the news in the past year, while it dominated local media over the millennium? In other words, are environmentalists only interested in receding glaciers, since they provide the bad news they need to scare us into action on fossil fuels?" (Roger Bate, TCS)

"Byers must listen to the global warming experts, not his master's voice" - "... The committee has consulted widely. Yet it seems to have ignored those who believe that the Kyoto accord, that beacon of international co-operation in a naughty world, is based on bad science. In this, Mr Byers was also following His Master's Voice. Amid the bitter cold of Davos last month, there was much talk of global warming. Curiously, though, no room could be found for Andrei Illarionov.

A year ago, the organisers of the World Economic Forum, as the Davos boondoggle is formally called, had invited Mr Illarionov, President Putin's economics adviser, to play a key role in a discussion on climate change. As recently as December, discussions seemed to be progressing well.

Suddenly, the Davos organisers decided that they didn't need a debate on the science, and certainly not with him. He was out in the cold. He sees the baleful hand of the British government, not for the first time, and is spitting tacks.

He's not alone in being shut out from the discussions on global warming. Almost anyone who dares challenge the received wisdom that we're all doomed unless we turn off the lights and leave the car in the garage is ostracised - after all, it's a global industry nowadays, and the last thing its proponents want is evidence that they're wrong. Careers are at stake." (Neil Collins, London Daily Telegraph)

Q and A (Number Watch)

"Ottawa, car makers stalled on Kyoto deal" - "OTTAWA -- A showdown is looming between a federal government that says it is determined to meet Kyoto targets for cutting greenhouse gases and an auto industry that is fighting the idea of having vehicle fuel-efficiency standards imposed by regulation. A summit meeting between federal cabinet ministers and top executives of Canadian car makers yesterday failed to reach voluntary agreement on how the industry will cut greenhouse-gas emissions to meet targets under the Kyoto accord on climate change. Both sides agreed to talk again soon." (Globe and Mail)

"UK at odds with Brussels over greenhouse gas limits" - "The UK government's row with the European Commission over carbon dioxide emissions escalated on Friday as it was forced to delay its allocation of emissions allowances to industry." (Financial Times)

"Unmask the scaremongers and look at the benefits of controlling pollution" - "It is a hard fact of life that it is cheaper to spend money lobbying against climate change policies and environmental protection than it is to invest in pollution control techniques. And the most used lobbying tactic, in the words of a chemical industry association - currently spending $50m (£27m) to weaken the EU's Reach directive on chemicals controls - is to "conduct and publicise an economic impact study to dramatise the potentially devastating impacts to industry and consumers". Scaremongering, in short." (The Guardian)

It probably won't surprise many that Adrian Wilkes is from the Environmental Industries Commission (who favor massive regulation requiring diversion of public monies to make their fantasy "industries" viable). Their big money hope is that they can get an essential trace gas declared a pollutant and can charge you for both causing its emission and again for capturing so dreadful a product as plant food before plants can photosynthesize water and carbon dioxide to a simple hydrocarbon (sugar) and free oxygen (6CO2 + 6H2O + Photosynthetically Active Radiation ['PAR' wavelengths are about  400-700nm or a close approximation of human-visible spectra] -> C6H12O6 + 6O2).

We can hardly wait for a coalition between wannabe energy rationers and the ever-painful food police to begin lobbying to constrain the carbon economy on the grounds carbon emissions facilitate sugar production and are simply a ploy of Big Food in their evil plot to spread the obesity epidemic (no doubt in cahoots with Big Textile to force you to purchase ever larger clothes).

"Brown: tax on air travel could fund Africa aid" - "Gordon Brown last night opened the door to a multi-billion pound new tax on tourist air travel to raise fresh cash to fund his ambitious goal to provide debt relief for the world's poorest nations." (The Observer)

"Airlines warn of fuel tax meltdown" - "Airlines reacted furiously yesterday to moves by European governments to slap a tax on aviation fuel, with some in the industry warning that a third of European airlines would be forced out of business within a year. Environmentalists, however, said a tax on jet fuel - which is unique among major fuels not to carry any duty - was long overdue and the only way that Europe could have any hope of meeting its carbon emissions targets." (The Guardian)

"Trade Group Joins Car Suit" - "A group representing Honda Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Co. joined a lawsuit meant to halt California's plan to curb car and truck emissions of gases linked to global warming, uniting every major automaker in opposition to the program." (Bloomberg News)

"Red card for gas guzzling cars in pollution clampdown" - "Cars will carry colour-coded labels warning potential buyers of their impact on climate change under measures to be launched by the government this week. Four-wheel drives will suffer the ignominy of having to display red stickers, while small, fuel-efficient models will sport labels in shades of green. Car manufacturers and retailers spent last year obstructing progress on the scheme - to be unveiled by the Transport Secretary Alistair Darling - amid industry concern that it could precipitate stricter restrictions on exhaust emissions and undermine the viability of the profitable 4x4 sector." (The Observer)

"Wind farms will inflate electricity bills, power expert warns" - "ELECTRICITY bills for average families will soar by £200 a year because of plans to introduce hundreds of wind farms across the country, according to the former chief of ScottishPower. In a fierce attack on ministers who are backing moves to introduce more wind farms to Scotland, Sir Donald Miller, who chaired the energy company between 1982 and 1992, described their plans as "alarming". He added: "It is difficult to believe that they are fully aware of the damage they are doing." (Scotland on Sunday)

"Are wind farms the answer to Scotland's energy needs?" - "AGAINST: DAVID BELLAMY - 'Their electricity is next to useless - and they hurt rather than help the environment.' FOR: DUNCAN McLAREN - 'We can build a secure energy supply as well as protecting the futures of our children.'" (The Scotsman)

"The Business Of Nanotech" - "Pity the poor alchemists. They spent the Middle Ages in candle-lit laboratories, laboring to brew universal elixirs and to turn base metals into gold or silver. They failed utterly. By the dawn of the Scientific Revolution, researchers equipped with microscopes founded modern chemistry -- and dismissed alchemy as hocus-pocus." (BusinessWeek Online)

"Firm stumbles upon virus killer" - "ANN ARBOR -- NanoBio Corp. didn't set out to develop a substance so powerful it can kill viruses and bacteria -- some potentially lethal -- on contact. "We found this technology by serendipity," said NanoBio founder Dr. James Baker, director of the University of Michigan's Center for Biologic Nanotechnology." (The Detroit News)

"Food fight: Sides argue whether genetically engineered crops harm human health and the environment" - "Corn, soybeans, yellow squash, pasta and cottonseed oil: The number of foods made with genetic engineering keeps growing. They are found in supermarkets across the country. But the everyday coupon-clipper would be hard-pressed to identify which are the genetically engineered, or GE, foods ---- or what benefits they give.

Early forecasts of a new biotechnology-led "Green Revolution," with healthier food and a more plentiful supply for the world's poor, have so far not materialized. Instead, ag-biotech companies have been put on the defensive, fighting charges that the foods may harm human health and the environment.

Those who support genetically engineered food say protestors are unscientific or harbor a political agenda. Wacky protestor antics reinforce that message. The "Reclaim the Commons" convention protest against the 2004 Biotechnology Industry Organization convention in San Francisco featured puppet-wielding street theater activists, a "Radical Family Collective Kid Zone" and other offbeat activities." (North County Times)

"California wine country biotech ban?" - "Measure to ban genetically modified crops is now eligible for a local ballot, officials say." (Reuters)

February 4, 2005

Breaking News: Feds Lose $280 Billion Disgorgement Bid in Tobacco Racketeering Case! Read the decision... - The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia today rejected the U.S. Department of Justice's bid to force cigarette makers to pay billions of dollars in past profits as part of its racketeering case against the industry. The Court ruled that federal law does not provide for the $280 billion penalty the government sought.

This is a blow to the most egregious trial lawyer operation of all time -- the U.S. Department of Justice!

In the EU, green lies trump third world lives: "EU warns Uganda over plans to use DDT to fight malaria" - "The European Union on Wednesday warned Uganda that its exports to Europe may suffer if it goes ahead with plans to use the controversial pesticide DDT to fight malaria." (EU Business)

"EPA Makes Public Pay for More Smog" - "After more than four years of stalling tactics by the Environmental Protection Agency, a federal appellate court just might finally consider the matter of whether the agency used junk science to force both gas prices and smog levels higher.

I say “just might” because it looks like the court is about to sweep the matter under the rug in favor of the EPA.

On Feb. 14, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia is scheduled to hear arguments in National Alternative Fuels Association (NAFA) vs. EPA. The lawsuit centers around EPA regulations issued in 2000 mandating lower levels of ground-level ozone in urban areas by reducing the amount of sulfur in gasoline, called the “Tier 2 standards." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"Atmospheric processes may create perchlorate" - "Traces of perchlorate are found in rain and snow and can be created in lab experiments simulating tropospheric processes, according to new research. These observations suggest that there is a natural flux of atmospheric perchlorate to the earth and a natural perchlorate background level." (Environmental Science & Technology)

"Experiments show how polluted air may cause allergies" - "An innovative molecular explanation of how air pollution may trigger allergies suggests that a combination of NOx and ozone create an amino acid that triggers an allergic response." (Environmental Science & Technology)

"What if Einstein had taken Ritalin?" - "ADHD's Impact on Creativity. ADHD support groups offer long lists of out-of-the-box thinkers who had classic ADHD traits such as impulsivity, a penchant for day-dreaming, and disorganized lives: Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, Salvador Dali, Winston Churchill, among others. The question is whether the Ritalin Revolution will sap tomorrow's work force of some of its potential genius." (Wall Street Journal)

"Bacterial spread all down to chance: Some strains 'just the lucky ones'" - "Scientists have discovered that factors such as human immunity and drug resistance are less important to the success of bacterial spread than previously thought." (Imperial College London)

"Expert sees obesity hitting U.S. life expectancy" - "LONDON - Life expectancy in the United States is set to drop within the next 50 years due to obesity, one of the world's top experts on the subject said on Wednesday. "My colleagues and I believe that within the next 50 years, life expectancy at birth will decline, and it will decline as a result of the obesity epidemic that will creep through all ages like a human tsunami," Professor Jay Olshansky of the University of Illinois said in London." (Reuters)

"Scientists' grim climate report" - "The risks from global warming are more serious than previously thought, a major climate conference has concluded. In its final report, the committee which organised the UK Met Office meeting said the impacts of climate change were already being felt. The communiqué held back from declaring precisely what was meant by a "dangerous" level of warming. But, "it has given us a clearer picture of what is expected," said Environment Secretary Margaret Beckett." (BBC)

Blair's political sleight of hand... (Philip Stott, EnviroSpin Watch)

"A tale of two conferences" - "One was a modest affair organised by scientists for scientists. Most participants were there under their own financial steam. The speakers were distinguished real scientists (as opposed to "climate" scientists), who presented evidence - numbers, charts and photographs. The other was a lavish three-day politically-inspired festival. Such evidence as was presented was highly selective, though most of the claims arose from computer models.

The ultimate irony is that the real scientists were subjected to a pre-emptive strike by the man who is supposed to be the nation's leading scientist, in the form of the crude and mendacious ad hominem attack that they were all in the pay of the US oil industry. The scaremongers, on the other hand, all really do make their living out of Global Warming. Global Warming pays the mortgage and feeds the kids. Without it they are on the streets and unemployable. The money is wrested (willy-nilly) from the taxpayer and handed over to them in lavish quantities. Benny Peiser gives us an account up to the point where he withdrew under the pressure of the depression that the proceedings induced. He showed more stamina than some of us by actually taking on the task.

Another irony is that the junkfest was organised by the people who cannot tell us what the weather is going to do to tomorrow. It so happens that in this particular week the forecasts have been even more of a joke than ever. The promised dry bright periods turned out to be uniformly dull with intermittent drizzle.

Alas poor science!" (John Brignell, Number Watch)

Putting a 'Block' on 'Hysteria' at the Exeter climate-change conference (EnviroSpin Watch)

"Very political forecasts" - "This week's conference on "Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change" at the U.K. Meteorological Office in Exeter was meant to be all about bolstering the alleged science behind the interventionist horrors of Kyoto, which is due to come into effect in less than two weeks. Ever eager to brush up on how science is actually done, your correspondent turned up bright and early one morning for a pre-session tour of one of the world's greatest and most venerable weather forecasting institutions. The program had declared that journalists would be escorted around the facility in groups of 20. I was the only one there." (Peter Foster, National Post)

"Russia Should Denounce Kyoto Protocol Immediately" - "LONDON, February 4 - The denunciation of the Kyoto protocol would have been the right decision for Russia, believes Russian President's aide Andrei Illarionov, who participated in the UK conference on climate change. "This conference clearly showed that the threat facing Russia is much more serious than we could discern several months ago. Therefore, the immediate denunciation and the abandonment of the Kyoto Treaty would have been the most correct decision for Russia," Mr. Illarionov, who originally opposed the idea of Russia signing the treaty, emphasized during an interview with RIA Novosti. "It is a very dangerous, harmful and destructive document for Russia," the Russian President's aide said, adding that people underestimate the danger of both the Kyoto protocol and actions aimed at its implementation." (RIA Novosti)

"Global warming hotheads would burn sceptics at the stake" - "NEVER MIND the posters of Michael Howard as a flying pig, or the advertisements that expose our children to the stunted genitals of that Crazy Frog from the mobile ringtone. The most shocking advert today is the one about the apocalyptic dangers of climate change from the government-funded Carbon Trust. Unlike the other two ads it has not provoked public controversy, but to my mind its message is as crude as a Tory pig or an amphibian flasher.

The Carbon Trust advert on television begins with an actor playing Robert Oppenheimer, “father of the A-bomb”. The portentous voiceover tells us: “One man has been where we all are today. When he saw what he had done, he said, ‘I am become the destroyer of worlds’ (cue shot of atomic explosion). Now we all have to face up to what we’ve done. Our climate is changing ... ” (Mick Hume, The Times)

"Scientists warn growing acidity of oceans will kill reefs" - "Scientists have given warning of a newly discovered threat to mankind, which will wipe out coral and many species of fish and other sea life. Extra carbon dioxide in the air, caused by the burning of fossil fuels, is not only spurring climate change, but is making the oceans more acidic - endangering the marine life that helps to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere." (The Guardian) | Greenhouse gas 'threatens marine life' (London Independent) | Acid seas 'will kill off coral within 70 years' (London Daily Telegraph)

"Climactic threats loom over Arctic" - "Warming air temperatures and shifts in ocean currents could trigger "dangerous climate change" in the Arctic over the next couple decades -- consuming more summer sea ice, stressing polar bears and altering the lives of Native people across Alaska, Canada, Russia and Greenland, according to new reports released this week at a climate conference in the United Kingdom." (Anchorage Daily News)

"Africa, South Asia head climate change's hit-list" - "Africa and South Asia are likely to be the regions worst-hit by climate change a few decades from now, according to projections unveiled here Wednesday at an international conference on global change." (Agence France-Presse)

Lester... "Food Scarcity Predicted With Rising Temps" - "WASHINGTON - A global warming trend will reduce farm yields and make food supplies scarcer over the next century, an environmental group said Thursday, citing data from the United Nations and the National Academy of Sciences and trends in the world rice market." (Associated Press)

"Crops face extinction in global warming" - "Australia faces an ever-shrinking water supply, the extinction of plant and animal species and the loss of billions of dollars from a less productive agriculture sector, says a submission to an international global warming conference." (Sydney Morning Herald)

Yeah, sure... actually, Australia has been on a slight increasing rainfall trend over the last century but who's counting. Come to think of it, Warwick Hughes would seem a likely candidate.

Ironically, while the Jeremiads tell us how hot and dry becomes the land down under: "Summer goes AWOL" - "FOR two long days in Australia's southeast, it has been summer in name only. Snow, hail, lightning, dust storms, raging winds, plummeting temperatures, rain and more rain - the full furies of winter have been unleashed on much of Victoria, South Australia and the eastern seaboard in the past 48 hours." (The Australian)

Naturally, our resident whackos claimed: "Storms a 'warning' of future climate change" - "THE storms that have created chaos across Australia's eastern states were an ominous glimpse of a future wrecked by greenhouse gas emissions, a peak environment body said today." (AAP)

"Refugees, disease, water and food shortages to result from global warming" - "Global warming will boost outbreaks of infectious disease, worsen shortages of water and food in vulnerable countries and create an army of climate refugees fleeing uninhabitable regions, a conference here was told Wednesday." (Agence France-Presse)

"Evidence suggests that global warming enhances destruction of ozone layer" - "OTTAWA - Two major environmental problems once thought to be unrelated - climate change and ozone depletion - appear to be closely linked in ways that will delay recovery of the ozone layer, scientists say." (Canadian Press)

Uh-huh... "global warming" does this by cooling the stratosphere. Slight problem: the stratosphere is not cooling.

"Worldwide collaboration to answer big questions on climate" - "An international network of scientists collaborating through groundbreaking technology is aiming to shed new light on climate change. Their work will inject much more certainty into the global-warming debate and provide further evidence that is intended to encourage governments to respond to one of the world's major challenges before it is too late." (University of Bristol)

Very selective fellows, this lot. Click here to see what's happening in the Arctic.

"All about the world's ice" - "At the beginning of the 20th century, the world's attention turned to the polar regions as explorers raced to be first to reach the North Pole and then the South Pole." (Jack Williams, USATODAY.com)

"Climate change has bright side - Impact modest, Russian scientist says" - "EXETER, ENGLAND—Yuri Izrael, the black sheep of the climate science family, says burning all the world's fossil fuel right away would still not produce catastrophic global warming. But it would certainly save Canadians money on their heating bills by modestly boosting winter temperatures, Izrael says. As well, his calculations show that the world would harvest enough food for an extra billion mouths because of longer growing seasons, and greater plant productivity from the higher levels of carbon dioxide generated by such a bonfire. "People always talk about the negatives of climate change. We should also talk about the positives," says Izrael, the most influential science adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin." (Toronto Star)

"Climate Warming Spells Species Wipeout, Experts Say" - "EXETER, England — Whole species of animals from frogs to leopards, living in vulnerable areas and with nowhere else to go, face extinction due to global warming, scientists said on Wednesday." (Reuters)

"Only huge emissions cuts will curb climate change" - "To have half a chance of curbing global warming to within safe levels, the world's greenhouse gas emissions need to fall dramatically to between 30% and 50% of 1990 levels by 2050, a new study suggests. This is needed to achieve the European Union's ambition of trying to limit global warming to below 2°C over this period - a crucial goal which now appears wildly optimistic." (NewScientist.com news service)

Actually, it's the 2 °C temperature increment that is wildly optimistic. Sadly, temperatures will inevitably fall and bioproductivity along with them - that's when we'll see crop losses and possible species loss.

"Climate strategy bogged down in bureaucracy" - "With the Kyoto Accord on Climate Change scheduled to come into effect on Feb. 16, that would be the appropriate time for Prime Minister Paul Martin to tell Canadians exactly how Canada will meet its climate change obligations. Both the Chrétien and Martin governments have wasted a great deal of time in failing to put together a climate change strategy. But the longer we delay taking clear steps, the more difficult it will be to achieve the commitments we have made." (Toronto Star)

"BP Tries to Put Dent in Global Warming" - "BP and partners are attempting to combat global warming by taking carbon dioxide that otherwise would be sent into the air and returning it where it came from: a mile underground." (The Wall Street Journal)

"Ill wind blowing in Scotland over power generation" - "A number of prominent ecologists in Scotland are fighting what they see as the latest predator to the region's fragile ecosystem, the wind-turbine generator. Their enemy? Other environmentalists." (Toronto Globe and Mail)

"Swedish Centre Party Makes Nuclear U-Turn" - "STOCKHOLM - Sweden's opposition Centre Party has changed its long-standing opposition to nuclear power, a Swedish business daily reported on Thursday." (Reuters)

"It's time to grow energy: Expert" - "EXETER, England—Vast plantations of trees, sugar cane and other fast-growing plants could generate all the world's electricity and replace all fossil fuel with ethanol and biodiesel, an international climate science summit was told here yesterday. "The message is stop digging for energy and start growing it," said New Zealand economist Peter Read." (Toronto Star)

"The Business Of Nanotech" - "There's still plenty of hype, but nanotechnology is finally moving from the lab to the marketplace. Get ready for cars, chips, and golf balls made with new materials engineered down to the level of individual atoms." (Business week)

"Column: Sonoma County next up for anti-biotech crowd" - "Losing three out of four in last November’s general election has done nothing to deter the anti-biotechnology radicals in California. No one really expected resounding defeats of anti-biotech initiatives in Butte, San Luis Obispo and Humboldt would dissuade this crowd. At least a dozen California counties are being targeted now with for either anti-biotech initiatives or ordinances. Most of the counties targeted are in the Bay Area. The first one to rise to the surface after last fall’s defeats is in Sonoma County where GE-Free Sonoma is trying both ordinance and initiative routes at the same time." (Harry Cline, Western Farm Press)

"Japan says GM rice could help combat hay fever" - "TOKYO, Feb 4 - Bad case of hay fever? Eat more rice. Japanese scientists have developed a genetically modified strain of rice they say will help alleviate the symptoms of an affliction that causes misery each year for some 10 percent of Japan's population." (Reuters)

"Biotechnology appears to be withering as a food source" - "After years of significant growth, the number of biotech crops in the regulatory pipeline has plummeted, says a report out today from the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a group that supports a cautious approach to biotechnology." (USA Today)

"EU to Consider Allowing Imports of More GMO Maize" - "BRUSSELS - EU environment experts will discuss whether to allow imports of a gene maize next month, potentially the fourth such food to win approval after the bloc lifted its biotech ban last year, officials said on Thursday." (Reuters)

"European Shelves Are Mostly GMO-Free - Greenpeace" - "BRUSSELS - Europe's supermarket shelves remain free of almost all biotech produce as top retailers shun genetically modified (GMO) foods, environment group Greenpeace said on Thursday, claiming this was due to consumer opposition." (Reuters)

February 3, 2005

"Introducing the Chief Appeasement Officer" - "You won't find the "chief appeasement officer" on any company's organizational chart. But it's a new position - or at least mindset - spreading like wildfire these days through corporate management." (Steven Milloy, New York Sun)

"Critics charge animal farms are feeding pollution into air" - "Air pollution from large, indoor animal-feeding operations are at the center of a national debate over whether the federal government should treat some farms like factories by demanding exhaust-filtration systems." (Baltimore Sun)

"The green 'State of Fear'" - "Environmentalism — a false 'religion'" (Suzanne Fields, The Washington Times)

"Human Development at the Service of Wildlife" - "PARIS, Feb 2 - Human development in the countries of Africa, Latin America and Asia is essential for protecting the diversity of plant and animal species, says biologist Edward O. Wilson, professor emeritus of Harvard University and one of the ''fathers'' of the concept of biodiversity. ''Eighty percent of the human population lives in the countries of the developing South, where most of the species, especially in the tropic jungles of Africa, Latin America and Asia, are also concentrated,'' he said in a conversation with Tierramérica. ''The problem lies in that the human populations in those regions destroy the natural resources around them, and with them the species, because they have no other means of subsistence. This is why improved living conditions in developing countries is indispensable for saving biodiversity,'' said the eminent biologist." (Tierramérica)

"EU Shifts Focus On Environment To Growth Plans" - "When European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso today announces his plans for reinvigorating Europe's struggling economies, he will adopt a more business-friendly tone on environmental policy." (Dow Jones)

Uh-huh... "Climate conference hears degree of danger" - "A grim assessment of the global cost for each degree rise in temperature was released yesterday showing how species would become extinct and cherished habitats destroyed." (The Guardian) | Global warming: scientists reveal timetable (London Independent)

Um... what's the 'correct' temperature of the planet? Come to that, what's the absolute surface temperature now? No one? Funny, isn't it? We don't know what the current temperature is, we don't know what it 'should' be and yet it's going to be just so bad if we don't somehow prevent it changing. What a stupid game this is.

"Yesteryear’s Climate Catastrophe" - "We’ve been waiting for this one. Back when acid rain was all the rage, it was acid rain that was blamed for the greatest extinction in earth’s history. A few years later, along came concern about the ozone hole and it, purportedly, caused a different huge extinction. Now, it’s Global Warming: Mass Murderer.

Before you get too worked up about recent headlines linking global warming and mass extinctions we want to, in the not-quite inimitable words of Richard Nixon, make one thing perfectly clear (well two, actually). First, earth was a very different place 250 million years ago when the last mass extinction took place. Second, global warming then is not comparable to global warming now." (GES)

"Illarionov Criticizes Censorship Bias At Climatic Conference" - "LONDON, February 2 - Presidential economic aide Andrei Illarionov criticizes the policy of censorship practiced at the British Climate Change Conference. The scientific conference of G8 experts is held in Exeter in the south of Britain on February 1 through 3. "Its organizers have not accepted reports from many participants whose views are different from that of the organizers'", Mr.Illarionov told RIA Novosti in the interview. Asked by the RIA Novosti correspondent why his name is not in the list of speakers, Mr.Illarionov said: "Making a report here is impossible because organizers practice a policy of censorship against people having different points of view." (RIA Novosti)

"Antarctic thaw threat to London" - "Lowland areas of Britain, including London, will need to build new sea defences or they will be swamped in the not-too-distant future by sea levels 15ft higher than they are today, according to new research." (London Times)

When it was really hot (Number Watch)

"Antarctic's ice 'melting faster'" - "A team of UK researchers claims to have new evidence that global warming is melting the ice in Antarctica faster than had previously been thought." (BBC)

"2,500 Minus One" - "Dr. Christopher Landsea of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s Hurricane Research Division at NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory, has withdrawn as an author of the Fourth Assessment Report under preparation by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for release in 2007." (GES)

"Guilt-free sins of emission" - "John Vidal on the damaging effects of a loophole in the carbon trading rules." (The Guardian)

Actually, there is one way America could legitimately be accused of greed regarding greenhouse gas emissions. As a net carbon sink America captures more of that wonderful plant food, CO2, than it returns to atmosphere (greedy Americans!). See Fan, et al, Science 282: 442-446.

"Capturing carbon may be answer to global warming" - "A new generation of safe nuclear power plants and coal-fired stations that capture their carbon emissions could solve the problem of global warming, Prof Sir David King, the Government's chief scientist said yesterday." (London Daily Telegraph)

Not as silly as it sounds: "CO2 gases may be buried at sea" - "The government is considering giving tax concessions to oil companies to pump carbon dioxide from coal-fired power stations into nearly exhausted oil and gas wells in the North Sea to help solve global warming." (The Guardian)

Granted, this will do nothing to "solve global warming" but extending the economic extraction life of these oilfields could be a good move. Big Warming will really hate it (another plus) because it doesn't ration energy, seriously inflate costs or significantly inhibit humanity at all.

"Japan struggles with CO2 targets, survey shows" - "More than a third of major industries in Japan, host of the Kyoto meeting on global warming, could fail to meet targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by a 2010 deadline, a trade ministry survey showed on Wednesday." (Reuters)

"Car makers seek Kyoto concessions" - "Canada's auto makers -- which already won exemptions from obligations to cut factory emissions under the Kyoto accord -- are now asking Ottawa for more concessions on the contribution they were supposed to make to fight global warming." (Toronto Globe and Mail)

An error-prone Sample: "There's profit in saving the Earth" - "With Europe's emissions trading scheme a month old, Ian Sample looks at whether it will succeed in cutting greenhouse gases - and inquires about making a purchase." (The Guardian)

A trivial point, perhaps, but CO2 is not the "world's most abundant greenhouse gas," H2O (yes, water) is by far the most abundant and most important. Then there's the little problem of the hot air trading price tanking because EU countries are already running from rash promises made in the heady days when everyone expected the US to foot the bill. Just about everyone is upset with the way things are working out - activists don't like it because countries are not committing economic suicide by setting caps that will hamper industry (they are right that it will not effectively cool the Earth but that was never a possibility anyway), EU countries are upset that the US is not going to wreck its manufacturing advantage just because the EU won't compete in the real world and traders are upset that people aren't lining up to pay them vast amounts for hot air.

"Salt water and waste heat - presto! - drinking supply" - "HOUSTON – Every day, some 10,350 plants around the world create more than 8.3 billion gallons of drinking water for a growing thirsty population. They do it by turning salt water into fresh, using steadily cheaper techniques. Now, two engineering professors at the University of Florida have taken that technology a step further with a novel idea." (The Christian Science Monitor)

Oh dear... "Archbishop tells Church to help save the planet with green policies" - "The Church of England is embarking on a green revolution, rolling out an eco-friendly policy under which organic bread and wine will be served for Holy Communion, clergy will recycle waste products and fair trade products will be sold at fêtes." (London Independent)

Has Dr. Williams considered how wildlife unfriendly "organic" actually is? Is "organic" agriculture actually sustainable? What is sustainability?

"Mayo Clinic researchers create 'obedient virus'; First step to use measles virus against cancer" - "An international team of Mayo Clinic-led researchers is first to devise a system that consistently converts the measles virus into a therapeutic killer that hunts down and destroys cancer cells -- and cancer cells only. Their research findings appear in the current issue of Nature Biotechnology http://www.nature.com/nbt/." (Mayo Clinic)

"Biotech Firms Fail to Deliver on Promises of Healthier, Drought-Resistant Plants, Group Says" - "SAN FRANCISCO Feb 2, 2005 — The biotechnology industry has failed to deliver on promises to revolutionize agriculture with plants genetically engineered to be healthier, drought resistant and tastier, a consumer interest group said Wednesday. The Washington D.C.-based Center for Science in the Public Interest reached the conclusion after analyzing publicly available data provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration. "Despite glowing pronouncements from the agricultural biotechnology industry, the regulatory data suggests that the industry is stagnating, not thriving," report author Greg Jaffe said." (Associated Press)

February 2, 2005

"Companies Get Weapon in Injury Suits" - "Companies battling lawsuits brought by people claiming injuries caused by asbestos or silica have long contended that they are the victims of fraud, and those companies may finally have evidence." (New York Times)

"GE urges judge to scrap part of superfund environmental law" - "General Electric Co. urged a federal judge Monday to toss out a part of the landmark Superfund environmental law, arguing the government doesn't give companies a fair chance to defend themselves from giant financial penalties for suspected pollution." (Associated Press)

"Assessment of recent rapid land-cover change yields portraits of global human impact" - "The February 2005 issue of BioScience, the monthly journal of the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS), includes a new assessment of rapid land-cover change around the world over the period from 1981 to 2000. Asia has the greatest concentration of areas of rapid land-cover change, but existing data do not support the claim that the African Sahel is a desertification hotspot. The Amazon Basin remains a hotspot of tropical deforestation, and rapid cropland increase is prominent in Southeast Asia." (American Institute of Biological Sciences)

"Two studies find evidence that sunlight may have beneficial influence on cancer" - "Two new studies in the February 2 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute have found that sun exposure may have a beneficial influence on some types of cancer. One study found an association between sun exposure and increased survival from melanoma, a potentially deadly form of skin cancer for which sun exposure is a risk factor, while the other found an association between sun exposure and a reduced risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma." (Journal of the National Cancer Institute)

"Sunlight reduces risk of lymph gland cancer" - "A new study from Karolinska Institutet and Uppsala University shows that, contrary to previous belief, sunlight reduces the chances of developing tumours in the lymphatic glands (malignant lymphoma). The study is to be published in the next number of The Journal of the National Cancer Institute." (Swedish Research Council)

"Oiled birds prompt study by UCSB experts" - "Oil-coated birds turning up on southern California beaches recently have raised concern about potential oil sources. The Coal Oil Point seep field, located offshore and adjacent to the University of California, Santa Barbara, is one of the biggest natural marine oil and gas seeps in the world and is the predominant source of oil to southern California waters. Extensive oil slicks have been observed near Coal Oil Point since the recent severe storms in January." (University of California - Santa Barbara)

Maybe they should tap the resource - to save wildlife.

The Kyoto Protocol and Beyond: Roundtable discussion on the future of climate policy
Cooler Heads Coalition & George Marshall Institute, Feb 10 2005
The Kyoto Protocol will enter into force internationally on February 16th without the participation of the United States or Australia. Senator James M. Inhofe, State Department Senior Climate Negotiator Harlan L. Watson, and other experts will discuss the prospects for implementing the Kyoto Protocol, what new international agreements and efforts may follow Kyoto, what this means for future U. S. climate policies and international involvement, and where we should be going on climate policies. (GlobalWarming.org)

Another climate talkfest is in progress and boy, do they have a disaster for you! (Doesn't matter where you are, whatever might be bad there is predicted):

"British Minister Opens International Conference on Climate Change" - "LONDON — The British government opened a three-day international conference on climate change Tuesday, insisting that countries can cut carbon emissions without affecting economic growth." (Associated Press) | Goals of the Exeter Climate Conference (Reuters)

"Scientists debate climate dangers" - "Two hundred scientists from around the world are meeting for a UK conference on climate change, in which they will try to agree on the definitions of danger levels. This, they hope, will lead to a better understanding of methods the world can employ to avoid catastrophic warming." (BBC)

"Illarionov, Izrael Represent Russia At G-8 Conference On Climate Change" - "LONDON, February 1 - Andrei Illarionov, the Russian president's economic adviser, and prominent Russian scholar Yury Izrael will take part in the Scientific Conference on Climate Change, due in Exeter, UK, on February 1-3." (RIA Novosti)

Somewhat more honest report than most: "Climatologists pursue greenhouse gas danger levels" - "An international conference entitled "Avoiding dangerous climate change" began on Tuesday with a warning that coming up with a global definition of dangerous climate change may be "mission impossible." (New Scientist)

"Climate change already here, conference told" - "Evidence is growing that global warming is already starting to disrupt the world's delicately-balanced climate system, and the damage will reverberate for generations, a top science conference was told." (AFP)

"Triggers to climate catastrophe still poorly understood" - "EXETER, England : Scientists at a global warming conference say they see potential triggers for runaway climate change but admit that when and how these notional doomsdays may be unleashed are debatable or quite unknown." (AFP)

"Hotter world may freeze Britain" - "The chance of the Gulf Stream, which brings warm waters around the British Isles, being halted, sending temperatures plummeting by more than 5C, is now more than 50%, a scientific conference on climate change was told yesterday." (The Guardian)

"African poor to bear brunt of global warming crisis" - "EXETER, Feb 2 - Africa's poor millions, already suffering grinding poverty and rampant disease, risk bearing the brunt of the global warming crisis unless urgent action is taken now, a leading Nigerian scientist said on Wednesday." (Reuters)

"Polar bears 'already doomed' by pollution" - "The polar bear, the ptarmigan and Inuit culture are probably already doomed by the amount of pollution in the atmosphere, a leading scientist said yesterday. Prof Stephen Schneider, a climatologist from Stanford University, who first made his name in the 1970s by predicting a new ice age, was referring to the latest predictions by the Nasa space agency that the world faces an extra 0.6 degrees Celsius of warming as a result of fossil fuel emissions already in the atmosphere." (London Daily Telegraph)

What polar warming?

"Dramatic change in West Antarctic ice could produce 16ft rise in sea levels" - "British scientists have discovered a new threat to the world which may be a result of global warming. Researchers from the Cambridge-based British Antarctic Survey (BAS) have discovered that a massive Antarctic ice sheet previously assumed to be stable may be starting to disintegrate, a conference on climate change heard yesterday. Its collapse would raise sea levels around the earth by more than 16 feet." (London Independent)

"Beckett calls for climate action" - "It is inevitable global warming will have a major impact on our planet, the UK's Environment Secretary says." (BBC)

"Britain: U.S. Must Help Avert Climate Catastrophe" - "EXETER, England - Britain, arguing that climate change is now unstoppable, urged the United States on Tuesday to sign up to life-saving cuts in greenhouse gas emissions as environmentalists warned of approaching Armageddon." (Reuters)

"CO2 levels 'have not fallen under labour'" - "Tony Blair must do more to cut the UK's greenhouse gas emissions if he wants to show world leadership in tackling the problem, a leading environmental campaign group urged today." (London Independent)

"Ottawa eyes pricey Kyoto credits" - "The federal government is eyeing the purchase of $1.4-billion in credits from foreign countries to make up for a shortfall in the reductions of greenhouse-gas emissions Canada agreed to in the Kyoto accord." (Toronto Globe and Mail)

"CO2 emissions put corals at risk" - "Israeli scientists predict the world's coral reefs could begin to collapse in as little as 30 years from now." (Roger Harrabin, BBC)

"Climate Cartoon: Simplify and Exaggerate" - "A new study published in the prestigious scientific journal Nature late last week, made headlines with the claim that the climate of our world may be more sensitive than we previously thought." (Anthony Lupo, TCS)

"Crichton best-seller stokes fire over global warming" - "WASHINGTON - Michael Crichton, author of "Jurassic Park," and his newest book cast doubt the danger of global warming, an issue dividing scientists and politicians around the world." (AFP)

From CO2 Science Magazine this week:

"Climate Model Malady: Inability to Recreate Cretaceous Warmth" - "There's still a whole lot of things that climate models fail to do well ... or even remotely adequately." (co2science.org)

Subject Index Summaries:
"Hurricanes (Global)" - "What is the relationship between hurricanes and global warming on a planet-wide scale?" (co2science.org)

"Air Pollution (Non-Ozone - Effects on Plants)" - "Air pollution takes a great toll on both natural and managed ecosystems each year; but rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations help to hold the destroyer at bay by fortifying earth's terrestrial vegetation against its ubiquitous onslaughts. Yet climate alarmists call CO2 a pollutant!" (co2science.org)

Plant Growth Data:
"This week we add new results (blue background) of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature for: Creosote Bush, Douglas-fir, Native C3-C4 Shortgrass Steppe Ecosystem of Northeastern Colorado, USA and Sweetgum." (co2science.org)

Journal Reviews:
"Western North Pacific Typhoon Activity: Model Predictions vs. Real-World Observations" - "How has tropical cyclone activity in the western North Pacific responded to what climate alarmists call the unprecedented warming of the last decades of the 20th century?" (co2science.org)

"Floods of the Namib Desert of Africa" - "Have they increased in frequency and intensity in response to 20th-century warming, consistent with the claims of climate alarmists who predict increasing floods in response to rising temperatures?" (co2science.org)

"The Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age off North Iceland" - "Both are clearly evident in a wealth of palaeoclimate data, but the Modern Warm Period is nowhere to be seen, even in instrumental records." (co2science.org)

"Leaf Fluctuating Asymmetry of Two Species of Oak Tree and Its Relationship to Herbivory" - "What is leaf fluctuating asymmetry? What are its consequences? What causes it? And how is it related to the air's CO2 content?" (co2science.org)

"The Significance of Size and Age in the Bleaching of Coral Colonies" - "Does the physical size of a coral colony have anything to do with the frequency and severity of bleaching it experiences? Or is there something about the chemical makeup of different size or age corals that helps or hinders them in some way? Most important of all, what do the answers to these questions suggest about the future?" (co2science.org)

"Closing coal plants 'ill advised,' study warns" - "Ontario's plan to phase out its five coal-fired power plants by 2007 is an "ill-advised decision" that will hurt the province's economy, says a report released Monday." (Toronto Star)

"Nuclear power given glowing approval to help curb global warming" - "Nuclear energy should be considered as part of the solution to global warming, one of Australia's most senior scientists says. But Graeme Pearman, the former CSIRO chief scientist for atmospheric research and now a government consultant, doubts it can be discussed as a potential solution because of the emotion surrounding the issue. "It is a great pity that because of the way environmental issues have evolved, [nuclear energy] cannot be logically put into the debate," Dr Pearman said yesterday." (Sydney Morning Herald)

"Ban on Federal Scientists' Consulting Nears" - "The National Institutes of Health and the Office of Government Ethics are expected to announce a ban today on private consulting arrangements between scientists at the institutes and pharmaceutical and biotech companies." (New York Times)

February 1, 2005

"US government list of cancer-causing agents grows" - "The Department of Health and Human Services released the Report on Carcinogens today, adding seventeen substances to the growing list of cancer-causing agents. For the first time ever, viruses are listed in the report: hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and viruses that cause common sexually transmitted diseases. Other listings include lead, X-rays, and a host of substances in dyes, paints and inks." (NIH/National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences)

"Cancer, Chemicals and History" - "Twenty of the biggest chemical companies in the United States have launched a campaign to discredit two historians who have studied the industry's efforts to conceal links between their products and cancer. In an unprecedented move, attorneys for Dow, Monsanto, Goodrich, Goodyear, Union Carbide and others have subpoenaed and deposed five academics who recommended that the University of California Press publish the book Deceit and Denial: The Deadly Politics of Industrial Pollution, by Gerald Markowitz and David Rosner." (Jon Wiener, The Nation)

"How Cancer Rose to the Top of the Charts" - "An amazing statistic has gotten lost in the news: Heart disease is no longer the leading killer of Americans under age 85. Cancer is." (New York Times)

"UK: Animal rights militants face five years in jail" - "Oxford University is being given a financial lifeline by the government to build its controversial £18m primate research laboratory, Lord Sainsbury said yesterday, as he announced five-year jail terms for activists who try to drive animal testing centres out of business." (The Guardian)

Letter of the moment: "Decline in death rates of disasters" - "Sir, Fiona Harvey's article on natural disasters and climate change ("Fear of calamity in a changing climate", January 28) misses the single most important fact about weather-related natural disasters: namely, both deaths and death rates have, on average, declined globally since the 1930s. Death rates from the 1930s to the early 2000s for such disasters have declined a remarkable 98.5 per cent, while fatalities have declined a more modest 95.8 per cent! So from the point of view of human life, what does it matter whether or not the number of weather-related natural disasters has increased sixfold, eightfold, or not at all? Notably, the basic data on numbers of deaths used in this figure come from exactly the same source used to construct the maps that accompanied Ms Harvey's otherwise excellent piece.

The story, however, is somewhat different from the point of view of property losses due to such disasters. Analyses for the US, for instance, indicate that property losses have indeed increased, but apparently only because a larger and wealthier population insists on building structures in more hazardous locations (for example on the beach or in flood plains, often aided by misguided government policies and/or insurance companies, which spread the risk of such behaviour to other parties). Once growth in the assets at risk is factored out, we see no trends (up or down) in losses." (Indur Goklany, Financial Times)

Today's eye roller: "Climate change kills 160,000: activists" - "More than 160,000 people died worldwide in 2004 as a result of climate change and it was time the federal government addressed the issue with a national summit, a peak environment group has said. The Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change conference begins on Tuesday night in the UK just two weeks before the Kyoto Protocol comes into effect on February 16. Australia and the United States are the only two developed nations that have refused to ratify the international agreement which commits signatory countries to reducing greenhouse gas emissions." (AAP)

"The 'hockey-stick' face-off" - "McIntyre and McKitrick's research exposing fundamental flaws in the work of climate change guru Michael Mann (and his assorted colleagues) is to be applauded . Their work however, is only the latest in a series of peer reviewed articles that have exposed a variety of flaws in the work of the IPCC's lead climate reconstruction expert. Indeed, at least five other independent groups of researchers have published critiques of Mann's work peer reviewed climate journals. Sadly the press has largely ignored these other efforts." (H. Sterling Burnett, Financial Post)

"Deciding How Much Global Warming Is Too Much" - "After a decade of cautious circling, some scientists and policy makers are now trying to agree on how much warming is too much. One possible step toward clarity comes today, as 200 experts from around the world meet at the invitation of Prime Minister Tony Blair in Exeter for three days of talks on defining "dangerous climate change" and how to avoid it." (New York Times)

Weekly Whipple: "Climate: Low-carbing the atmosphere" - "Boulder, CO, Jan. 31 -- Carbon sequestration has become the leading weapon in the U.S. government's arsenal against climate change."  (Dan Whipple, UPI)

"Ottawa to revamp Kyoto strategy" - "Ottawa — Ottawa is considering a five-year package of more than $2.4-billion in carrot-like tax incentives and subsidies as a means of convincing business and consumers to curb Canada's output of greenhouse gases under the Kyoto accord, documents obtained by The Globe and Mail indicate." (Globe and Mail)

"CBI 'plays up' CO2 job threat" - "Britain's green businesses accused the CBI last night of exaggerating the threat to jobs from tougher action on greenhouse gas emissions - putting in jeopardy the prime minister's aim of tackling climate change. The Environmental Industries Commission, which represents more than 240 companies producing anti-pollution goods and services, said "scaremongering" by the employers' organisation would eventually be bad both for jobs and the future of the planet." (The Guardian)

Naturally, having a vested interest in relabeling CO2 "pollution" and selling goods and services to then "control" said "pollution" has no bearing on the EIC's position at all - they're just trying to protect us all from the rapacious Evil Empire, right? That energy rationing will be bad for industry and society is simply malicious "scaremongering" by said rapacious EE, no? It is surprising though, that EIC did not highlight EE's error by pointing to the wealth and bounty enjoyed by England's citizens during the energy-rationed years of WWII and beyond. Surely everyone wishes to restore that utopian period, how could they not?

Uh-oh! Not what they want in the brochure: "Germany shelves report on high cost of wind farm-produced energy" - "A damning report warning that wind-farm programmes will greatly increase energy costs and that "greenhouse gases" can be reduced easily by conventional methods has been shelved." (Daily Telegraph)

"Nissan Chief Says Hybrid Cars Make No Sense" - "NEW ORLEANS - The head of Nissan Motor Co., breaking ranks with some of his leading rivals, said on Saturday that building fuel-sipping hybrid vehicles makes little sense in today's world because of their high costs. "They make a nice story, but they're not a a good business story yet because the value is lower than their costs," said Nissan Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn." (Reuters)

"Nuclear Now!" - "How clean, green atomic energy can stop global warming" (Peter Schwartz and Spencer Reiss, Wired)

"Canada should consider new nuclear plants, expanded oil exploration: IEA" - "CALGARY - New nuclear power plants, better automotive fuel efficiency and an end to oil and gas exploration moratoriums in areas such as the British Columbia coast are among suggestions in a report on Canada's energy policies by the International Energy Agency." (Canadian Press)

"Investment in Water Needed to Reduce Hunger – UN FAO" - "THE HAGUE - Poor countries urgently need investment to improve water usage in agriculture and ecosystems to reduce hunger, the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said on Monday." (Reuters)

"National survey shows Americans are in the dark regarding genetically modified foods" - "Americans pay little attention to genetically modified foods, have difficulty separating fact from fiction when it comes to the science behind them and are willing to believe unsubstantiated rumors about them. According to a national study of 1,200 Americans commissioned by the Food Policy Institute (FPI) at Rutgers–Cook College, while most Americans say they are interested in the technology and have opinions about it, most lack the tools and background needed for an informed assessment." (Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey)

"Brussels considers hygiene “protectionism” rules" - "The EU may launch a review of stringent hygiene rules designed to protect European consumers from contaminants and pests that could accompany food imports from abroad. Developing countries claim they are a form of protectionism." (Financial Times)

"Monsanto & Genetic Engineering: Risks for Investors" (PDF) - "Analysis of company performance on intangible investment risk factors and value drivers

Key Issues for Strategic Investors:

Significant risks to financial performance remain un-examined in Monsanto’s business plan and are not properly reflected in current stock market valuations:

  • Potential costs of “adventitious presence”, or contamination of conventional seed with biotechnology traits, are not delineated properly for investors by management.
  • Lack of regulatory oversight is not acknowledged as a business risk since liability remains with Monsanto once GE crops are commercialized.
  • Regular appearance of “Extraordinary Charges” on the balance sheet as a result of environmental litigation costs and restructuring charges imply that such costs will likely continue to be burdensome.
  • Ambitious profit targets do not reflect political and economic realities facing GE crops with respect to consumer acceptance and commercialization.
  • Reliance on litigation to “capture value” and fend off competitors is not fully acknowledged in the business plan, or accounted for in SEC filings.
  • Traditional chemical company risks remain a burden despite the shift to Ag biotech." (Innovest)

According to the Polaris Institute; As You Sow Foundation and; The Center For Food Safety, anyway. Anyone imagine Andy Kimbrell and his ilk finding anything acceptable about biotech and its promoters? Us neither.