Junk science?     Junkman?       Feedback      Archives & Links

Archives - February 2007

February 28, 2007

"Nairobi Blues" - "However passionately foreign donors may agonize about whether their contributions to African health ministries meet their constituents’ needs, or how much “leakage” robs the intended beneficiaries of their just desserts, no Western health aid program could ever compensate for the neglected infrastructural duties of the state. When a state fails in these duties, donors are left picking up the bodies, rather than providing a better future for the living." (Roger Bate, American.com)

Oh... "L'Eggo My Lego" - "Some Seattle school children are being told to be skeptical of private property rights. This lesson is being taught by banning Legos.

A ban was initiated at the Hilltop Children's Center in Seattle. According to an article in the winter 2006-07 issue of "Rethinking Schools" magazine, the teachers at the private school wanted their students to learn that private property ownership is evil.

According to the article, the students had been building an elaborate "Legotown," but it was accidentally demolished. The teachers decided its destruction was an opportunity to explore "the inequities of private ownership." According to the teachers, "Our intention was to promote a contrasting set of values: collectivity, collaboration, resource-sharing, and full democratic participation."

The children were allegedly incorporating into Legotown "their assumptions about ownership and the social power it conveys." These assumptions "mirrored those of a class-based, capitalist society -- a society that we teachers believe to be unjust and oppressive."

They claimed as their role shaping the children's "social and political understandings of ownership and economic equity ... from a perspective of social justice." (Maureen Martin, TCS Daily)

"High court and low politics" - "The late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan said you are entitled to your own opinion but not to your own facts. However, many on the political left act as if they are entitled to their own facts -- and especially the "fact" that those who oppose their ideas are either intellectually or morally inferior. In other words, you cannot oppose "diversity," gun control, global warming, or same-sex "marriage" unless there is something wrong with you. No hard evidence is necessary to support this. Indeed, no hard evidence can change this conviction." (Thomas Sowell, Washington Times)

"As Ethics Panels Expand Grip, No Field Is Off Limits" - "Many scholars say the panels are out of control, curtailing academic freedom and interfering with research." (New York Times)

"Right, what have the scientists ever done for us? Well . . ." - "A recent MORI poll found that less than half of people surveyed disagreed with the statement that “the risks of science outweigh the benefits”. This is rather as if less than half of bodies believed that, on balance, the circulation of blood was a good thing. But this dismal statistic is perhaps not as surprising as it should be; for it is increasingly fashionable to assert that science is in trouble and that its troubles spell trouble for the human race. Scientific expertise and science itself are regarded with suspicion, while nonsense about science and nonsense passing itself off as science are given an easy ride." (Raymond Tallis, London Times)

"Reputable science isn’t apparent by looks, popularity or age" - "One of the most common fallacies about scientific research is that the validity of a study can be determined by the date it was done. “Outdated” studies are not to be trusted, we’re often led to believe. It’s sort of the junk scientists’ version of numerology." (Junkfood Science)

"Keeping our wits about us" - "Many dubious scares and claims about our foods, bodies and health continue to appear over and over again — year after year, decade after decade — even though they were long ago laid to rest by science.

When we hear things that leave us feeling anxious or worried, it is helpful to remember that fear is a marketing tactic. True science is impartial and doesn’t use fear to convince us of anything. And one of the most popular marketing tactics is to repeat scares and claims and get them in the news as often as possible. Press releases are issued and get reported, oftentimes when there is really no new science to report. Marketers know that we more easily believe something to be true when we hear it everywhere. And it is so easy for us to become frightened by things that sound “science-y” when, in reality, they really don’t make any scientific sense at all." (Junkfood Science)

"Gifted? Autistic? Or Just Quirky?" - "As more children receive diagnoses, effects of these labels seem mixed." (Maia Szalavitz, Washington Post)

Oh Charlie... "McDonald's ban is 'key' to health" - "PRINCE Charles has said banning McDonald's is the "key" to improving health and fitness, while on a visit to a healthy eating program in the Middle East." (The Australian)

"So why does Charles think McDonald's is the root of all food evil?" - "HE HAS lambasted architects for their designs and criticised governments over their policies on the environment. But the Prince of Wales yesterday declared war on a new and even more powerful enemy - the global superbrand McDonald's. The heir to the throne said banning the fast-food chain was the key to a healthier lifestyle for children.

But has the campaigning royal got it wrong by targeting a High Street restaurant which serves two million Britons every day, despite almost a decade of bad publicity over the effects of its food on its most enthusiastic consumers: children. And if so, how did the brand-name become so synonymous with poor quality and malnutrition that a future head of state should feel able to single it out for public denunciation?" (The Scotsman)

"Supplements ‘raise death rate by 5%’" - "Vitamin pills commonly taken by millions of people are doing them more harm than good, an analysis of the evidence has concluded. Three supplements — vitamins A and E and beta carotene — appear to increase death rates among those taking them. Vitamin C and selenium have no effect. The results, published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, suggest that money spent on vitamin supplements is wasted. In response, the British Heart Foundation said people should not take supplements but should concentrate instead on eating a healthy diet." (London Times)

Island of fear (Number Watch)

"Aboriginal Burnoffs May Help Battle Megafires" - "CANBERRA - Ancient Australian Aborigines may hold the key to battling huge bushfires which have blackened large parts of Europe, the United States and Australia in recent years, fire experts said on Tuesday.

Prehistoric Aboriginal people across Australia methodically burnt land to hunt and stimulate the growth of plants, as well as reduce the fierceness of natural bushfires.

They also understood that forest fuels could not go untended, in an early lesson for modern societies threatened by megafires triggered by climate change and rising world temperatures, an Australian climate scientist said.

"We have to figure out what we are reserving our forests for. If we are reserving them for big fires, then that's working well," Phil Cheney from Australia's top scientific body, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), told a fire conference in Canberra.

Cool! ... "CSIRO imagery shows Outer Great Barrier Reef at risk from river plumes" - "A stunning series of satellite imagery of Australia's Great Barrier Reef released by the CSIRO shows for the first time visual confirmation of the theory that sediment plumes travel to the outer reef, and beyond." (CSIRO Australia)

... we can now get pictures of what has always happened, throughout the GBR's entire multi-millennial history

"Global Hurricane Intensity NOT Increasing" - "Global hurricane intensity not increasing…so concludes a just-published paper by University of Wisconsin atmospheric scientist Jim Kossin and colleagues." (WCR)

Proving the UK Met Office can't predict even well-studied phenomena even a few months in advance: "Chile: El Niño subsides: fishermen celebrate, farmers fear drought" - "By next May the “El Niño” phenomenon, which warms the Pacific Ocean by an average of 1.5 degrees Celsius (3.5 degrees Fahrenheit), will have completely disappeared. While Chile’s fishing industry utters a loud sigh of relief – cooler water means larger catches – the departure of El Niño could cause severe problems for the agricultural sector, which may be facing drought.

As El Niño warms the sea, more water evaporates into cloud matter, allowing farmers to count on a large quantity of rainfall for the coming season. In contrast, El Niño’s “sister” phenomenon, La Niña, has the opposite effect, cooling Pacific waters and making rainfall unpredictable. When El Niño subsides, rainfall drops by an average 33%, a figure that can prove disastrous for crops.

Earlier this year, scientists from Britain’s University of East Anglia predicted that 2007 would be the hottest year on record. El Niño was set to enhance this trend but is living up to its capricious reputation and rapidly receding, provoking a meteorological headache and promising to make 2007 a year of drought, flooding and other “freak” weather conditions." (The Santiago Times)

This is, of course, the El Niño event that was supposed to couple with global warming to make 2007 the hottest ever year on record:

2007 Set to be World's Warmest Year - UK Met Office
Wednesday, 03 January 2007

LONDON - This year is set to be the hottest on record worldwide due to global warming and the El Nino weather phenomenon, Britain's Meteorological Office said on Thursday. (Reuters)

Of more than a dozen models trying to predict the phenomenon a wide spectrum of eventualities are anticipated -- we can't predict a well-observed and moderately well understood phenomenon and yet modelers persist in claiming to "predict" future climate states!

"Urban Ants Handle Heat Better" - "The heat of cities is transforming how urban ants respond to extreme temperatures, providing glimpses of the impacts that changes in global climate might trigger, an international team of scientists now reports. Cities can be 10 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit hotter than surrounding rural zones, with their asphalt roads and other features absorbing and holding more of the sun's energy than natural landscapes. Researchers call this the urban "heat island" effect." (LiveScience)

"Oscar for a panic merchant" - "ANDREW Bolt writes: LET'S check what these past two mad days say about us and global warming.

First, we're terrified of global warming.

How can we not be, when on Monday Al Gore wins an Oscar for a documentary warning it will bring us plagues and famines, and so much melting that the seas could rise 20 feet this century, drowning whole cities?

But second, we're just as terrified of doing anything remotely likely to stop it.

That's clear, given how furiously Labor yesterday denounced the reported plan by Ron Walker and two associates to build our first nuclear power plant, for greenest baseload power we could hope for." (Andrew Bolt, Herald Sun)

"President Bush's Crawford TX Home is Model of Environmentally Friendly Living" - "Former Vice President Al Gore has been criticized for his rather large electric bills ($30,000 a year) at his home in Tennessee. (Link) What you might not have heard about is how environmentally friendly President George Bush's home is in Crawford Texas." (EPW)

Climate expert? They're talking about Stern: "Climate expert urges China, US to talk on warming" - "LONDON, Feb 27 - China and the United States, key to tackling the climate crisis, are both acting on global warming and must start giving each other credit for it, former World Bank chief economist Nicholas Stern said on Tuesday." (Reuters)

"More facts, less evangelism in warming debate" - "A back to basics science lesson would help to counter the hysteria over climate change, writes Janet Albrechtsen." (The Australian)

"Climate Panel Recommends Global Temperature Ceiling, Carbon Tax" - "A panel of scientists has presented the United Nations a detailed plan for combating climate change. VOA's correspondent at the U.N. Peter Heinlein reports the strategy involves reaching a global agreement on a temperature ceiling." (VOA)

"Concern for Kelp Crippled" - "An article has appeared in the recent issue of Global Change Biology entitled “Little evidence for climate effects on local-scale structure and dynamics of California kelp forest communities.” Is this a mistake, a joke, or some kind of hoax? Did the authors, reviewers, and editors of this outstanding journal not get the message that global warming is destroying ocean ecosystems throughout the world? Everything on land and under the sea is enormously and negatively impacted by ongoing climate change related to the buildup of greenhouse gases – right? Think again." (WCR)

"Forecast Skill Of Season-to-Interannual Climate Prediction" - "There is an interesting and informative article in the Fall 2006 issue of U.S. CLIVAR Variations. CLIVAR is the acronym for “U.S. Climate Variability and Predictability” program. The article is “Practices for Seasonal-to-Interannual Climate Prediction” by Lisa Goddard and Martin P. Hoerling. There are several candid quotes in the article that clearly show the current level of prediction skill on the seasonal time scales." (Climate Science)

Lucky them... "Germans Experience Warmest Winter on Record" - "BERLIN - Germany has registered its warmest winter since records began over a century ago, with temperatures more than four degrees above average, the German weather service said on Tuesday. Amid fears of global warming, the average temperature for December, January and February hit 4.3 degrees Celsius (39.7 Fahrenheit) compared with the long-term average of 0.2 degrees. That was far above the previous record of 0.7 degrees in the winters of 1974-75 and 1989-90." (Reuters)

... perhaps the Little Ice Age is really over?

"UK: Winter 2006/7 progress" - "Provisional figures show that winter 2006/7, with a mean temperature of 5.47 °C, is the second warmest on the UK national record dating back to 1914. All three winter months have recorded above average temperatures, with January 2007 also the second warmest on record at 6.0 °C. In England, the warmest winter on the Central England Temperature (CET) series remains 1869, with a mean temperature of 6.77 °C. The provisional figure for this winter is 6.33 °C, which would place it 5th or 6th in the series." (Met Office)

"From Ice Age to Global Warming in 30 years" - "It hit 42.2 degrees [C] in Canberra during the month I was born in 1968, the year that Time magazine once referred to as “The Year that Changed the World”. I don’t think that had anything to do with me. Martin Luther King, Robert Kennedy, the space race and the Paris riots were a world away from the sparse suburbia of a fledgling city, as my Mum did the old sweaty heave-ho at the Royal Canberra Hospital.

Canberra hasn’t experienced a hotter day since, but few people were talking about global warming back then. If anything, the concern at the time was cooling. Average temperatures had fallen by about 0.2 degrees over the preceding 30 years, and many scientists believed the trend would continue.

In 1975, Newsweek ran a feature on the coming Ice Age. Fear of a cold climate seemed natural against the political climate of a Cold War, but never really grabbed hold. Perhaps it was eclipsed by the more immediate fear of a nuclear winter." (Richard Castles, Online Opinion)

"The 'Hockeystick' - Global Warming Scandal of the Decade" - "The basics of science involve a number of simple rules, a healthy skepticism, and a guiding principle of letting the data settle the disputes. Data need to be checked and validated, measurements need to be explained and justified, as well as the calculational techniques described. Replication of the results by others is essential, as are the analyses of measuring errors and uncertainties.

The global warming issues alarmingly have not been sufficiently scrutinized. Errors, misstatements, partial statements, evasions, and lack of cooperation and candor, even ad hominem attacks are used by the proponents instead. Senators Rockefeller (VA) and Snowe (ME) called for the suppression of skeptics. Others suggest that Nuremburg Trials be held for them as well. Science isn’t conducted that way." (Michael R. Fox, Hawaii Reporter)

Rightly so, if for the wrong reasons: "Developing nations hit back on climate change" - "ROME, Feb 27 - Developing countries, including emerging economic giants China and India, are not prepared to take the blame for climate change, the head of the G77 group of developing nations said on Tuesday. Some countries in Europe and North America want developing countries to accept limits on their emissions of greenhouse gases when the first phase of the Kyoto Protocol runs out in 2012, but the G77 looks likely to oppose that." (Reuters)

There is a ridiculous disconnect about the whole "global warming" thing -- despite all the shrieking hysteria we can't twiddle a few knobs and adjust the global thermostat. No amount of "carbon constraint" will make a measurable difference to global mean temperature.

"INTERVIEW-U.S. climate pact no post-Kyoto answer - Britain" - "CANBERRA, Feb 28 - A six-nation alliance of big polluters drawing in China, Japan, the U.S. and India was not the answer to the search for a wider post-Kyoto pact to combat global warming, Britain's top climate diplomat said on Tuesday. The American-led Asia-Pacific Partnership for Clean Development and Climate, which also includes Australia and South Korea, was formed in July 2005 and aims to use technology, rather than binding Kyoto-style caps, to limit greenhouse emissions." (Reuters)

"Europe Is Not Amused" - "In the latest installment of what has become an increasingly sorry drama, the European Union’s Ambassador to the United States, former Irish Prime Minister John Bruton, has written to Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee Chair Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.). His goal in the February 22 letter is “to put the facts before you,” claiming that “incorrect or incomplete information has been presented about the European Union (EU) climate policy. In particular, this concerns the EU’s achievements to date by comparison to achievements in the US, and whether the EU will meet its obligation under the Kyoto Protocol, which is to reduce its emissions by 8% by 2012.” (Chris Horner, Open Market)

"US Steel Slovakia Sues EU Over CO2 Emission Caps" - "BRATISLAVA - A Slovak unit of United States Steel Corp, US Steel Kosice, has sued the European Commission over proposed carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions cap for 2008-2012, its spokesman said." (Reuters)

"Ecosecurities Buys Pioneer US Climate Consultants" - "NEW YORK - EcoSecurities, one of the world's top developers and traders of carbon credits, said on Tuesday it has bought a greenhouse gas risk-management company to boost business in the infant US and global climate markets." (Reuters)

From CO2 Science this week:

Coral Bleaching: Probiotic Hypothesis to the Rescue!: A new concept provides an optimistic view of the status of corals in a rapidly warming environment.

Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week:
This issue's Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week comes from Igaliku Fjord, South Greenland. To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.

Subject Index Summary:
Hurricanes (Indian Ocean): How did their characteristics change from the end of the Little Ice Age to the start of the Current Warm Period? ... and what do the results imply?

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

Journal Reviews:
Two Hundred Years of Forest Fires in Ontario, Canada: Has the supposedly unprecedented warming of the 20th century led to more fire-induced devastation throughout Ontario's forests?

Colorado Streamflow: Its Past and Likely Future: What does the state's past streamflow history suggest about the future?

Soil Moisture Beneath Deciduous Tree Seedlings: How is it affected by atmospheric CO 2 enrichment?

Soil Organic Carbon in Old-Growth Forests: Is it increasing, decreasing or what?

Effects of a Warming, Drying and CO 2 -Accreting Atmosphere on European Forest Productivity: How bad will they become over the course of the 21st century?

Always keen to waste your money: "UN: Nations must invest in clean energy" - "UNITED NATIONS --To head off the worst of climate change, governments must pour tens of billions of dollars more than they are into clean-energy research and enforce sharp rollbacks in fossil-fuel emissions, an expert scientific panel reported to the United Nations on Tuesday. The U.S. government's research spending, for one, should be "probably tripled or more," a panel leader said." (AP)

"Virginia lawmaker wants U.S. to start using liquid fuel from coal" - "ROANOKE, Va. - Rep. Rick Boucher believes liquid fuel derived from coal can help the U.S. break its dependence on foreign oil, and as the new chairman of a House Energy subcommittee he hopes to jump-start the process. Boucher is renewing legislation he first introduced last year that would provide price guarantees to investors to encourage construction of coal-to-liquids conversion plants." (Associated Press)

"Nuclear power 'the logical next step'" - "EMBRACING nuclear power is the logical next step if Australians are serious about tackling global warming, the head of the Government's nuclear taskforce has said." (The Australian)

Nonsense: "Green knight" - "Buyout of TXU by environmentally friendly interests promises cleaner air, more energy for Texans." (Houston Chronicle)

"Private Equity Says 'Like Us!'" - "The TXU deal was hardly a few hours old before it began to smell fishy." (Wall Street Journal)

Hmm... "Panel Finds Flawed Data in a Major Stem Cell Report" - "An inquiry panel has found what it called “significantly flawed” data in a stem cell paper that claimed stem cells isolated from an adult could change into all the major tissue types of the body." (New York Times)

... not really a big issue beyond highlighting the immaturity of stem cell investigations -- the only things stem cells of any variety are known to be unequivocally good at generating are hyperbole and cancers.

From the rubber room: "Monsanto hid GM potato study, campaigners claim" - "ONE of the world's leading biotechnology companies has been accused of suppressing a study of genetically modified potatoes that showed they damaged the internal organs of rats. Campaign group GM Free Cymru said research into Monsanto GM NewLeaf potatoes by the Institute of Nutrition of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences only emerged after a lengthy legal battle." (Western Mail)

"Bill would hold makers of engineered crops liable for damage" - "SACRAMENTO - Stepping into the middle of a growing debate, a freshman assemblyman has introduced legislation that would make companies developing genetically engineered crops liable for damages if their work results in contamination of other fields." (Associated Press)

"DuPont boosts research into genetically modified crops" - "DuPont Co.'s Pioneer Hi-Bred International Inc. unit said Tuesday it will increase research staff by about 20 percent this year as part of a plan to speed development of new genetically modified crops." (Bloomberg News)

February 27, 2007

"A Necessary Vaccine" - "Debate over a new vaccine to prevent cervical cancer and genital warts has reached a high pitch. State legislatures are debating whether to mandate the vaccine or insist that its use be kept voluntary. The manufacturer stopped a vigorous lobbying campaign lest it provoke more opposition than support. And some health professionals who had been championing the vaccine flinched at making it mandatory, at least for now.

Even so, state legislatures should require that all young girls be given this vaccine, which protects against a virus that causes some 10,000 new cases of cervical cancer in the United States each year — and 3,700 cancer deaths." (New York Times)

"Positive results more likely from industry-funded breast cancer trials" - "CHAPEL HILL – Industry-funded studies of breast cancer therapies are more likely to report positive results than non-pharmaceutical funded studies, researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute have found. In addition, significant differences exist in the design and nature of clinical trials supported by the pharmaceutical industry compared to trials without industry involvement." (University of North Carolina School of Medicine) | Drug industry increasingly influences breast cancer research (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.)

"Is most published research really false?" - "In 2005, PLoS Medicine published an essay by John Ioannidis, called "Why most published research findings are false," that has been downloaded over 100,000 times and that was called "an instant cult classic" in a Boston Globe op-ed of July 27 2006 (http://www.boston.com/news/science/articles/2006/07/27/science_and_shams/). This week, PLoS Medicine revisits the essay, publishing two articles by researchers that move the debate in two new directions." (Public Library of Science)

"One year on from schoolboy's fightback, animal rights activists are forced to rethink tactics" - "Behind 12-ft high fences workmen in balaclavas are making swift progress as a vast new animal research laboratory nears completion.

It is a year today since a 16-year-old schoolboy, Laurie Pycroft, formed Pro Test, an organisation to speak out in favour of animal testing at Oxford University, and the pendulum appears to have swung away from those who oppose vivisection, towards the right of scientists to carry out what they say is important research work.

The combined and costly efforts of the government, the police and the courts to contain the more vociferous animal rights activists who oppose the laboratory have seen extremists put behind bars - the latest, Donald Currie, received 12 years for arson attacks - and forced some in the animal rights movement to reconsider their tactics." (The Guardian)

Oh boy... "Group says US restaurants promote 'extreme eating'" - "WASHINGTON - Many U.S. chain restaurants are promoting "extreme eating" with dishes that pack at least a day's worth of calories and fat, without giving customers facts about their orders, a consumer group said on Monday." (Reuters)

See False Alarm: A Report on the Center for Science in the Public Interest, 1971-2006

"Another fat child custody case" - "News around the world has been following the story of the eight-year old boy in North Tyneside, England who is already nearly the size of an adult man, at 5 feet tall, with size 8 shoes and weighing 89 kg (196 pounds). State officials have threatened to take the child away from his mother and place him in child protective custody because he is too fat, unless his mother improves his diet. A custody hearing was scheduled for today.

The situation has sparked controversy about the role of government in the lives of families and if the panic over childhood obesity is reason or prejudice." (Junkfood Science)

"Recommended reading: Enough is enough" - "Michael Gard is a senior lecturer in physical and health education at Charles Sturt University’s Bathurst campus. He co-authored The Obesity Epidemic: Science, Morality and Ideology with Jan Wright. His Op-Ed in today’s Australia National Forum about the war on childhood obesity offers the scientific views and common sense rarely included in national debates." (Junkfood Science)

"CNN Dishes Up Pro-Regulation Feast" - "'American Morning' promotes 'Extreme' CSPI call for restaurant food labeling." (Julia A. Seymour, Business & Media Institute)

"An Early Environmentalist, Embracing New ‘Heresies’" - "Stewart Brand has become a heretic to environmentalism, a movement he helped found, but he doesn’t plan to be isolated for long. He expects that environmentalists will soon share his affection for nuclear power. They’ll lose their fear of population growth and start appreciating sprawling megacities. They’ll stop worrying about “frankenfoods” and embrace genetic engineering.

He predicts that all this will happen in the next decade, which sounds rather improbable — or at least it would if anyone else had made the prediction. But when it comes to anticipating the zeitgeist, never underestimate Stewart Brand." (New York Times)

"Cars improved the air ... that's no bull" - "The motto of all environmentalists should be "Thank goodness for the internal combustion engine."

The abuse heaped on the internal combustion engine by environmentalists was never justified. But a recent story on cow flatulence in the British newspaper, The Independent, makes the environmental benefits from gasoline-powered engines even more obvious. Based on a recent study by the Food and Agricultural Organization, The Independent reports that "livestock are responsible for 18 percent of the greenhouse gases that cause global warming, more than cars, planes and all other forms of transport put together."

Long before global warming became an environmental concern, however, the move from the power provided by animals to that provided by gasoline had greatly improved the environment. The emissions that came out of the tailpipes of horses were much more lethal pollutants that those now coming out of the tailpipes of cars. Horse emissions did more than make our town and cities stink; they spread fly-borne diseases and polluted water supplies that killed people at a far greater rate than the pollution from cars and trucks ever have.

Photochemical smog is clearly a health risk, but not nearly the health risk of cholera, diphtheria and tetanus that have been largely eliminated with the help of gasoline powered transportation." (Dwight R. Lee, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

"Carnegie Mellon researchers study harmful particulates" - "PITTSBURGH—Reducing barnyard emissions is one way to help reduce the harmful effects of tiny atmospheric air particles that can cause severe asthma in children, and lung cancer and heart attacks in some adults.

Carnegie Mellon University researcher Peter J. Adams argues that improved control of ammonia emissions from farm barnyards is more economical and efficient than trying to control the effects of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide pollution from some industrial plants.

"In most farms, handling of animal manure is a major source of ammonia being released both to air and water," said Adams, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Carnegie Mellon. "Our research shows that increased control of livestock feed, efficient use of nitrogen on farms, low-emission fertilizers and other improvements to manure handling on farms are cost-effective ways to reduce ammonia emissions and airborne particles." (Carnegie Mellon University)

"Opening windows may be the best way of preventing transmission of airborne infection" - "A study of eight hospitals in Peru has shown that opening windows and doors provided ventilation more than double that of mechanically ventilated negative-pressure rooms and 18 times that of rooms with windows and doors closed." (Public Library of Science)

Exactly what you don't get with "energy efficient" (read: poorly ventilated) housing. Not recommended on airplanes, however...

"IPY Launch Press Release" - "26 February, 2007 – International Polar Year (IPY) 2007-2008 officially gets underway on 1 March, 2007. IPY, which is a programme of the International Council for Science (ICSU) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), will be the largest internationally coordinated scientific research effort in 50 years." (Press Release)

"INDONESIA: Jakarta Floods Linked to Illegal Constructions" - "JAKARTA - The worst ever floods to hit the Indonesian capital, which submerged 60 percent of the city and killed 85 people earlier this month, are being attributed to uncontrolled construction rather than unusually heavy rain, by a broad spectrum of analysts here." (IPS)

"Phil Jones and the Great Leap Forward" - "The other key network in the seminal Jones et al 1990 on urbanization (relied upon in AR4) is their Chinese network - recently said in Peterson 2003 to be one of only two “homogeneous” networks in their review." (Steve McIntyre, Climate Audit)

"Extreme Temperatures - Where's the Global Warming?" - "I was looking at our local temperature history and noticed that most of the record high temperatures over the past 70 years were between 1980 and 1990 or between 1950 and 1955, while the record low temperatures were fairly evenly distributed." (Hall of Record)

"Not That Simple -- Global Warming: What We Don't Know" - "February 26, 2007 -- REPORTS on the global-warming debate have now become part of our daily diet of news. Actors, musicians, politicians, columnists and even the occasional climate scientist all weigh in on how soon planetary disaster will strike, who's to blame and what we should do about it. With claims that manmade warming is anywhere from an undeniable fact to a hoax, anyone can be excused for feeling a little bit confused.

The media is, almost by definition, most interested in extreme views on the issue, so reporting seldom reveals that broad scientific uncertainty still exists. In fact, a silent majority of scientists still think that global warming could end up falling anywhere between a real problem and a minor nuisance: They can see reasons for it going either way. Call them the global-warming moderates.

How can different scientists look at the same atmosphere and yet come to such a wide variety of conclusions? It all depends on their level of faith in our understanding of the atmosphere. We put equations into a computer that describe the basics of how we think the atmosphere works, and then we expect the computer to predict how much warming we will get when we turn up the greenhouse gas "knob." (Roy W. Spencer, New York Post)

"Direct and indirect effects of anthropogenic aerosols on regional precipitation over east Asia" - "Another very good article has appeared which documents the very significant role of aerosols on regional climate (and thus through teleconnections on the global climate system) [and thanks for Dev Niyogi for alerting us of it!].The new paper is Huang, Y., W. L. Chameides, and R. E. Dickinson (2007), Direct and indirect effects of anthropogenic aerosols on regional precipitation over east Asia, J. Geophys. Res., 112, D03212, doi:10.1029/2006JD007114." (Climate Science)

"A climate-change amplifying mechanism" - "During the past ninety thousand years there were alternating hot and cold periods lasting several thousand years each which resulted in a modification of global oceanic circulation. With the help of paleoclimatic and paleooceanographic indicators, scientists at CEREGE1 have highlighted a feedback mechanism of ocean circulation on the climate which reinforces this heating or cooling. This mechanism relies on a close link between the circulation of the North Atlantic and the tropical hydrology of Central America. This study, published in the February 22, 2007 edition of the review Nature, should allow us to better understand and therefore better predict the effects of climate change on oceanic circulation." (CNRS)

While at least plausible their claims regarding recent events appear shaky -- as far as we are aware claimed changes in thermohaline circulation have proven to be incorrect.

"Warming a cold fact?" - "Do you think those who have reservations about whether man is creating global warming should lose their jobs and be denied the right to present their views?

Over the last few months, there has been a concerted effort to silence those who have doubts about global warming and man's effect on the climate. The Oregon State climatologist was fired for disagreeing with the "conventional wisdom." A meteorologist with the weather channel demanded that dissenting views not be broadcast. CNN, in particular, has treated skeptics with great disdain." (Richard W. Rahn, Washington Times)

"State Climatologists Redux" - "Let's start by acknowledging that the position of "State Climatologist" is problematic simply because it is federally designated role and not an official state government position. So there is ample room for confusion as to who the person in the position actually speaks for, and NOAA should indeed address this -- which could easily be done by changing the title to "NOAA-designated climate services extension officer" or something inscrutable like that. Even so, a statement like the following should concern anyone, regardless of their views on climate change:" (Prometheus)

"Hypocrisy Update: Al Gore’s Home Uses 20 Times the Energy of Average American’s" - "In another classic example of liberals telling Americans to “Do As I Say, Not As I Do,” Dr. Global Warming Himself, aka Al Gore, has been identified by the Tennessee Center for Policy Research as talking a good game about energy conservation while not walking the walk." (News Busters)

"Stern takes the heat on cost of saving the world" - "The British mandarin behind a gloomy report on climate change has had to run a gauntlet of American economists, reports Dominic Rushe from New York." (Sunday Times)

"The New Greenmail" - "Call it greenmail for a post-Kyoto world. The private-equity firms that just agreed to buy Texas utility TXU have scored something of a PR coup by getting Environmental Defense and other climate-change activists to fall in line with their purchase plans before the deal was announced. The question is what price shareholders are paying for this act of political correctness.

In the old days, a greenmail artist like Carl Icahn would buy up a tranch of some company's stock and threaten to buy the rest unless the target paid him to go away. But 21st-century greenmail works a little differently. Judging by media accounts, the price of Environmental Defense's support was an announcement that the new owners would build only three of the 11 coal-fired power plants that TXU has had on the drawing board.

Last year, Environmental Defense had launched a "Stop TXU" campaign to oppose the new plants. But yesterday it declared "victory" and explained that its agreement had been sought by emissaries of the private-equity investors in return for mothballing the eight coal plants and an agreement to sign on to mandatory emissions caps and an overall reduction in TXU's CO2 emissions by 2020." (Wall Street Journal) | .pdf for those lacking access

Misanthropes thrilled: "Green Groups Laud TXU Move But Want to See More" - "HOUSTON - TXU Corp.'s plans to scrap the construction for several new coal-fired power plants represents a dramatic shift in the battle against global warming but falls short of proving the company had turned over a new, greener leaf, environmentalists said Monday." (Reuters)

"Regulatory Clearance Seen as Slow but Sure" - "HOUSTON, Feb. 26 — The sale of the biggest utility in Texas to private investors faces months of state and federal regulatory hurdles, but experts predict that the broad support for the deal from environmentalists and other important interest groups should help it clear them with ease." (New York Times)

It's industrial sabotage and should be blocked.

Not quite... "Wall Street adds climate change to bottom line" - "The environmentally tinged takeover of TXU Corp. illustrates global warming's increased financial relevance." (The Christian Science Monitor)

... they're adding climate change hysteria to the bottom line -- not the same thing at all.

Meanwhile: "Wall Street Turns Bearish on Global Warming Stocks as Hysterical Bubble Peaks" - "Despite Hollywood and the media’s love affair with Al Gore, it seems that the smart money on Wall Street has turned cold to the concept of global warming." (Noel Sheppard, News Busters)

"Carbon Curbs Gain Backers Energy Groups Shift Stance, Possibly Giving Campaign New Fuel" - "WASHINGTON -- Seeking to shape legislation before Congress, three major energy trade associations have shifted their stances and decided to back mandatory federal curbs on carbon dioxide and other man-made emissions that could accelerate climate change.

Joined by the AFL-CIO, the groups say they now plan to use their lobbying clout to stake out positions that favor modest, economy-wide regulations, in hopes of minimizing anticipated energy-price increases and pre-empting state efforts that could result in a patchwork of differing state and regional regulations.

The shift by the groups, which include the Edison Electric Institute and the American Gas Association, underscores their belief that Congress is in a mood to pass some form of mandatory emissions controls, perhaps before the next election in 2008. "We want to be at the table" during the debate, said Paul Wilkinson, a vice president of the American Gas Association, which represents 200 utilities that distribute natural gas throughout the U.S." (Wall Street Journal)

Seeking safety by preemptively throwing themselves off a cliff...

"Australia: Climate fix costs dearest here" - "A LEADING international economist has warned the costs of measures to combat climate change may be greater in Australia than any other developed economy.

David Henderson, chief economist at the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development from 1984 to 1992, warned Australia to do its own cost benefit analysis before embarking on measures to combat climate change.

Professor Henderson said yesterday the report by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, handed down on February 2, was "alarmist".

He said it had mislead Western governments over rising temperatures, and warned the cost of mitigation measures would be felt severely in Australia, unless it adopted a "balanced" view." (The Australian)

"Always look on the bright side of global disaster" - "Some of the effects of global warming will probably be positive, says Sean Thomas" (First Post)

"California Trying to Ban Sale of Automotive Refrigerant to Consumers" - "SACRAMENTO, Calif.--Californians are at risk of losing their right to work on their own vehicle air conditioner, as a proposed law to ban the sale of 134a refrigerant is moving through the state bureaucracy and may become law soon.

The consumer ban, being proposed by the California Air Resources Board (CARB), targets the very people who can least afford to have this service performed at a repair shop and places an economic burden upwards of $167 million on fixed and lower income Californians. To stop this proposed law, a coalition has formed -- “Stay Cool California” -- to protect Californians' ability to do it themselves and spread the word to consumers who take pride in working on their vehicles.

If enacted, Californians will no longer be permitted to purchase cans of auto refrigerant, and will be forced to pay a repair shop or auto dealership up to $150 or more for something that Californians can do themselves -- at a fraction of the cost." (BUSINESS WIRE)

Jimmie's at it again: "Top Scientist: Stop Building Coal Power Plants" - "This afternoon, geoscientist James Hansen delivered an address to the National Press Club, in Washington, D.C., calling for the United States to end the building of new coal-fueled power plants and begin dismantling those in operation now that do not scrub high levels of carbon dioxide emissions. Hansen is the director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, in New York City, which conducts research on changes in the Earth's surface temperature." (IEEE Spectrum)

Red Ken trying to achieve what the Luftwaffe could not: "Cleaning up the Big Smoke: Livingstone plans to cut carbon emissions by 60%" - "A detailed plan to slash London's carbon emissions by 60% within 20 years and place the city at the forefront of the battle against climate change will be announced today by Ken Livingstone." (The Guardian)

"Philips Lighting CEO says industry at 'tipping point' on energy-saving bulbs" - "AMSTERDAM, Netherlands - European light bulb makers are close to an agreement in principle to work together on phasing out energy-wasting incandescent bulbs for the consumer market, the chief executive of Royal Philips Electronics NV's lighting division said Monday." (AP)

"Surging Transport Threatens EU Kyoto Goals - Report" - "OSLO - A surge in transport in the European Union is jeopardising goals for cutting greenhouse gases blamed for global warming, the European Environment Agency (EEA) said on Monday." (Reuters)

"EU's Dimas on missed CO2 emission targets" - "Greece is veering dangerously away from targets for greenhouse gas emissions and urgently needs to take corrective measures, European Commissioner for the environment Stavros Dimas warned the Greek Parliament's European Affairs and Environment Committees on Friday. "Carbon dioxide emissions, based on the Kyoto Protocol and Community levels, should increase by just 25% in Greece [relative to levels in 1990]. We are at 26% and if we do not take immediate and strict measures we will reach 40%," the Greek Commissioner told MPs." (ANA-MPA)

"EU Limits Spanish Firms' Use of Kyoto CO2 Credits" - "BRUSSELS - Spanish companies must focus on cutting their own emissions in 2008-2012 rather than offsetting their obligations with projects to clean up the environment in other countries, the European Commission said on Monday." (Reuters)

"Practical Fusion, or Just a Bubble?" - "Explosive devices based on fusion have been built for years. The challenge is a reactor that generates more energy than it consumes." (New York Times)

"Honeybees Vanish, Leaving Crops in Peril" - "Bees have been disappearing at an alarming rate in 24 states, threatening the production of numerous crops." (New York Times)

"Nanotech promises big things for poor—but will promises be kept?" - "WASHINGTON, D.C. -- "Nanotechnology has the potential to generate enormous health benefits for the more than five billion people living in the developing world," according to Dr. Peter A. Singer, senior scientist at the McLaughlin-Rotman Centre for Global Health and Professor of Medicine at University of Toronto. "Nanotechnology might provide less-industrialized countries with powerful new tools for diagnosing and treating disease, and might increase the availability of clean water." (Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies)

"Tough GM salmon lose their nerve in the 'wild'" - "Some genetically modified fish appear to undergo a personality change when they leave laboratory conditions for a more natural environment, according to new research. Transgenic fish that behave ferociously in a bare tank, appear meek under more natural conditions, meaning it will not be easy for biologists to predict the ecological consequences of escaped GM animals." (NewScientist.com news service) | Super Salmon Face Their Kryptonite (ScienceNOW Daily News)

"Genetically modified crops add new layer to Indian farming" - "The arrival of genetically modified crops has added another level of complexity to farming in the developing world.

Glenn D. Stone, Ph.D., professor of anthropology and of environmental studies, both in Arts & Sciences, has completed the first detailed anthropological fieldwork on these crops and the way they impact — and are impacted by — local culture.

The study, published in the February issue of Current Anthropology, focuses on cotton production in the Warangal District of Andhra Pradesh, India, one of the nation's key cotton-growing areas. There, Stone found several factors affecting farmers' ability to adjust to new developments by practical methods. Among them are the speed of change, the overwhelming number of choices in the seed market and the desire for novelty — all of which lead to lack of proper seed testing by farmers." (Washington University Record)

"Soyabean oil traders demand bypass for GM food imports" - "MUMBAI: The Centre’s bid to keep a check on the imports of genetically modified (GM) foods into India is posing problems for soyabean oil importers. The government’s rule (dated April7, 2006) that importers of GM soyabean oil will have to obtain prior clearance from the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) constituted under the Environment Protection Act, 1986, was deferred twice in 2006. It is once again up for expiry on March 31.

Importing from the largest producers of soyabean, Argentina and Brazil, requires that the contracts are entered into at least two to three months ahead inclusive of shipping time. Soyabean refiners in India are seeking a one-time approval certificate allowing imports of GM soyabean oil, or extension of the deadline to comply to prior approval of imports." (Economic Times)

February 26, 2007

"DDT safety factor is reasonably good" - "I am impressed by Dr. Sam Kibende’s article in The New Vision of February 13, in which he used facts to analyse the devastating effects of malaria on Uganda’s human life and the economy. He sees the use of DDT to control mosquitoes as the most viable weapon. If DDT is sprayed according to instructions, Ken Lukyamuzi and other doubting Thomases will not die even if they lick the sprayed walls of their houses. Lukyamuzi’s 70kg body will not pick enough DDT to even get him sick. Yet the poor mosquito will not survive when it squats on the wall. But I am not encouraging people to lick walls sprayed with DDT." (John Magara, New Vision)

"What Works in Africa" - "With little fanfare, businesses are trying to fight disease in Africa. ROGER BATE tells who does it right and who does it wrong. The best spur to benevolence: the profit motive." (Roger Bate, American)

"Free the Eagle: The bird will do fine off the endangered list" - "The bald eagle was supposed to be taken off the Endangered Species list in 48 states on February 16, but environmental pressure groups and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) prevented this because they are more interested in land-use control than freeing the eagle. As the Endangered Species Act's (ESA) highest-profile species, the eagle has been consistently, but dishonestly, touted by pressure groups and FWS as a success story. One would think they would jump at the chance to celebrate the eagle's recovery. Not so in ESA Never Never Land." (Brian Seasholes, National Review Online)

"The question of the week: Diet or Exercise?" - "The news recently reported on a carefully-done study which debunked a number of widely-held beliefs about the best ways to lose weight. Not surprisingly, the media missed the full story." (Junkfood Science)

"Childhood weight linked to proximity to green space and food stores" - "INDIANAPOLIS -- Living in greener neighborhoods or in closer proximity to grocery stores is associated with reduced risk of being overweight, according to a study of more than 7,000 children ages 3 to 18 conducted by researchers from the Indiana University School of Medicine; the Department of Geography, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis; and the University of Cincinnati. The study, the largest of its type to date, appears in the March/April issue of the American Journal of Health Promotion." (Indiana University)

"Girl Scouts Want You To Die" - "My local liquor store is selling Girl Scout cookies, and last week I chose Thin Mints over gin, thinking myself quite virtuous. Little did I know…" (Katherine Mangu-Ward, American)

"New Satellite Hunts the Beauties of the Night" - "Scientists have been puzzling over the origins of illuminated night clouds for more than a century. Now a special satellite may be able to determine whether they're a symptom of climate change." (Hilmar Schmundt, Der Spiegel)

"Do temper tantrums cause global warming?" - "David Suzuki became a walking advertisement for global warming proof positive when he angrily stormed out of a radio interview with Toronto AM640's John Oakley one week ago today. Suzuki, a prominent Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) television commentator, who motors around Canada in a bus garishly painted with climate change logos, registered hot air when Oakley suggested that global warming might not be the "totally settled issue" Suzuki is out there shilling." (Canada Free Press)

"The Problem with an Oscar for Al Gore’s 'Inconvenient Truth': Film More Science Fiction Than Documentary" - "Washington, D.C., February 23, 2007—Former Vice President Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth is one of five films nominated for an Oscar Award in the “Best Documentary Feature” category. Given Hollywood’s enthusiasm for environmental activism, Gore’s stature as a political icon, and the film’s success at the box office (the third top grossing documentary ever), it will be astonishing if An Inconvenient Truth does not win the Oscar for best documentary.

“There’s just one small problem,” said Competitive Enterprise Institute Senior Fellow Marlo Lewis. “Gore’s film isn’t really a documentary, it’s a Scare-You-Mentary.” As Lewis documents in a detailed commentary available on CEI’s Web site, nearly every statement the Vice President makes in AIT about climate science and climate policy is either one-sided, misleading, exaggerated, speculative, or just plain wrong." (CEI)

Pretty much says it all: "Gore Climate Change Oscar Entry Has Cuba's Vote" - "HAVANA - Former US Vice President Al Gore doesn't know if his climate change documentary will win an Oscar on Sunday night -- but he has Cuba's vote." (Reuters)

Crockumentary scores: "Inconvenient Truth" wins documentary Oscar" - "LOS ANGELES - "An Inconvenient Truth," the big-screen adaptation of former U.S. Vice President Al Gore's slide-show lecture about the perils of global warming, won the Academy Award on Sunday for documentary feature. The award went to director Davis Guggenheim and producers Lawrence Bender ("Pulp Fiction") and Laurie David, the environmentalist wife of "Seinfeld" co-creator Larry David." (Reuters)

"Really?" - "I hate to rain on the Oscar parade, but I’m pretty sure that while Melissa Ethridge was singing her Inconvenient Truth song during the Oscar telecast just now, the words, “In fact, you can even reduce your carbon emissions to zero,” flashed across the backdrop screen. Perhaps I’m being too literal, but when you emit zero carbon, doesn’t that make you, um, dead? I guess “…offset your carbon emissions by paying someone else to plant on a tree on your behalf every time you breathe or drive your car” didn’t fit on the screen." (Brooke Oberwetter, OpenMarket.org)

"Inconvenient Truths" - "Novel science fiction on global warming." (Patrick J. Michaels, NRO)

"Reincarnation Of The Reds" - "Primitive man worshipped nature and imbued inanimate things with human qualities. So do environmentalists. James Lovelock, one of the movement's godheads, and the godfather of the Gaia hypothesis, imbued the earth with mystical powers. The Lovelock-inspired concept of "planetary consciousness" is really a philosophical excrescence of Animism, "the belief that natural objects, natural phenomena, and the universe itself possess souls."

Nature worship is a form of this Fetishism. Primitives worshipped idols and amulets, but also conferred divine honor on the sun, moon, mountains, rivers, trees, and animals; air, fire, and water. Environmental animists à la Lovelock believe that to tamper with one aspect of the interlocking system of "organisms, surface rocks, oceans and atmosphere" is to tempt fate. To quote Lovelock's adoring acolytes at the New York Review of Books, this balance is now being disrupted by "our brief binge of fossil fuel consumption." Reduce ocean levels of algae and "teeming billions will perish," or so they say.

Most of Lovelock's earlier gloomy predictions have not panned out, but this has done nothing to cool the reverence he receives from media. They, like Lovelock and his ilk, aim not to "save" man, but to subjugate him to Mother Earth. Indeed, major media have had a good reason for pushing apocalyptic climate-change theories for over a century. "A global central planning authority is implicit in all potential international efforts to combat alleged global problems," explains economist George Reisman. Environmentalism is socialism revived; the Greens are the Reds incarnated." (Ilana Mercer, Free-Market News Network)

Oh puh-lease! "Male turtle populations crashing in the heat" - "Male loggerhead turtles could entirely disappear from the beaches of Florida – one of the most important nesting grounds in the US – if the temperatures there rise by 2°C, according to a new study." (New Scientist)

Hmm... sounds like real trouble for turtles, no? But wait, there's more:

Brendan Godley at the University of Exeter, UK, and colleagues, analysed 26 years of data to see if fluctuations in temperatures had an influence on sex ratios of turtles in North Carolina. They found no significant trends, but when they put the data into computer models and simulated a rise in temperature – as predicted through global warming – the results were striking.

Surprise! No real turtles were harmed in the fabrication of this absurd global warming blackmail feature -- only virtual critters under assumed stressors derived from ridiculous "storylines".

Click here to purchase your copy of Useless Arithmetic to see why "climate models" are of no prognostic value (and support JunkScience.com at the same time).

"A New Approach To Weather and Climate Modeling" - "A new parameterization concept has been published in the February 20, 2007 edition of EOS [the significance of this concept was also discussed on Climate Science on November 1, 2006]." (Climate Science)

"More Ripples in the Sea Level Debate" - "The debate over future sea level rise from melting ice in a changing climate has raged for years. It is widely believed that the expression of climate change is amplified across the polar regions of Earth, and there exists some supportive evidence in historical climate records. However, much of the worry about rapid polar climate change stems from model predictions of inordinate warming in the high latitudes during the 21st century. The chain of events, then, is warming, glacial melt, and sea level rise, which is a logical sequence that makes doomsday scenarios of sea level rise easy to sell. The dogged pounding of this drum by the global warming crusaders is enough to raise suspicion that they are actively purchasing all of the high-elevation real estate on the face of the Earth!" (WCR)

"As Went the Dodo so Will Kyoto" - "February has been a tough month for Global Warming doomsayers. First, their cataclysmic worst-case scenarios were debunked by the IPCC, which cut its own 2001 projections for temperature increase by a third and sea level rise completely in half. Then, just five days later, they learned that the environmentally irresponsible U.S was actually doing a better job of cutting CO2 emissions than their Kyoto-signing European Union heroes. And to top it off, attendees of a February 16th DC meeting of GLOBE nations agreed to abandon their adored Kyoto's economy-killing, energy-rationing, short-range, mandatory CO2 targets in favor of more realistic long-term goals." (Marc Sheppard, American Thinker)

"Meteorologist Launches Website to Counter Media’s Global Warming Hysteria" - "A Trenton, New Jersey, meteorologist has just launched a new website to counter the constant stream of disinformation about anthropogenic global warming coming from a hysterical media." (Noel Sheppard, News Busters)

"End of conversation?" - "I'm always suspicious of anyone who wants to shut down debate. If global warming is a man-made phenomenon, show me the evidence." (Mike Hashimoto, The Dallas Morning News

"African trade fears carbon footprint backlash" - "What is global warming?", asks Samuel Mauthike, a small scale vegetable farmer in Kirinyaga, Kenya's central province, as he crouches down compressing the moist soil around his green bean plants. "Is it something caused by us in Africa?"

Mr Mauthike, 32, like so many of the two million Kenyans who rely on the western world to import their flowers, fruit and vegetables for their livelihoods, has never heard of a carbon footprint either. He points to the simple gravitational water irrigation system that flows through his smallholding, admitting he has never been in a plane, rarely travels by bus and uses nothing but his hands to grow, fertilise and harvest his top quality green beans, which then appear on a supermarket shelf in Europe.

Yet he and his fellow Kenyan farmers, whose lifelong carbon emissions are negligible compared with their counterparts in the West, are fast becoming the victims of a green campaign that could threaten their livelihoods." (BBC)

Scammers' delight: "Global roundtable calls for mid-century carbon targets" - "New York, 22 February: The Global Roundtable on Climate Change (GROCC), involving 80 companies and institutions, has called on governments to put a price on carbon and set mid-century reduction targets." (Environmental Finance) | Full statement can be accessed here (.pdf)

"INTERVIEW - Tokyo Committed to Post-Kyoto but Avoids Targets" - "TOKYO - Japan is committed to a post-Kyoto Protocol framework, but will not specify targets for emissions reductions beyond the pact's 2012 expiry as European nations have done, its chief climate negotiator said on Thursday." (Reuters)

"Barroso Urges Less Talk, More EU Action on Climate" - "BERLIN - The European Union has done enough talking about tackling climate change and needs to get on with doing something about it, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso was quoted on Sunday as saying." (Reuters)

Utter rubbish: "Exotic Animals Seen Where Antarctic Ice Used to Be" - "WASHINGTON - Spindly orange sea stars, fan-finned ice fish and herds of roving sea cucumbers are among the exotic creatures spied off the Antarctic coast in an area formerly covered by ice, scientists reported on Sunday. This is the first time explorers have been able to catalog wildlife where two mammoth ice shelves used to extend for some 3,900 square miles (10,000 square km) over the Weddell Sea. At least 5,000 years old, the ice shelves collapsed in two stages over the last dozen years. One crumbled 12 years ago and the other followed in 2002." (Reuters)

They're actually talking about the Larsen Ice Shelves, not actually in the Antarctic but on the peninsula protruding north and forming the southern side of Drakes Passage. These shelves were thought about 400 years old, forming only during the Little Ice Age and collapsing again as the area recovers from a period unusually cold for the Holocene.

"Scientists Ready Big Study of North and South Poles" - "Scientists from more than 60 countries are preparing to fan out to the North and South Poles in an ambitious two-year effort to understand the vital, shifting dynamics of ice, oceans and life at the ends of the earth." (New York Times)

"Phil Jones and the Dutiful Comrades" - "Beneath the seemingly placid world of U.S. weather co-operatives, recent analysts have found a turbulent world of changing observation times, with regime change after regime change. Hansen and Karl have been forced - unwillingly, I’m sure - to adjust past temperatures downwards. In contrast to the seemingly almost Iraqian chaos of the U.S. weather observation network, Jones et al 1990 reported that islands of homogeneous measurement could be found in Russia and China, where dutiful comrades seemingly set aside minor worldly concerns, like revolutions and famines, and homogeneously attended to their max-min thermometers creating, in the process, what Peterson 2003 described as two of the few studies that used “homogeneous data”." (Steve McIntyre, Climate Audit)

"Hansen Then and Now" - "We’ve observed the changes in GISS over the past 7 years. Jean S draws our attention to the changes in GISS temperature history since Hansen et al 1981." (Steve McIntyre, Climate Audit)

"Caroline Overington: Greenies, want to save the world? Stay home" - "IF we are to believe the opinion polls - and I suppose we must - then we in the West have descended into a state of near total panic about the impact our lives have on the planet. We know that we are using an incredible amount of the world's resources and we feel quite guilty about it. But what to do? None of us really wants to give up our luxurious lives (by which I mean having a car instead of a horse, a house instead of a cave, a mobile telephone that is not an empty can on the end of some string). On the other hand, we do want to protect the environment." (Caroline Overington, The Australian)

"Green Theft Auto" - "IN California, hybrid vehicles can use the carpool lane even if there’s only one person in the car. All you have to do is send in a form and $8 to the Department of Motor Vehicles, and it sends you the proper stickers for your car. It’s the same way I got my Cap’n Crunch decals as a kid, except you can’t send box tops to Sacramento. Problem is, the program is cut off at 85,000 cars — a limit that must have been reached, if what happened to my Prius is any indication.

Recently, somebody stole our stickers. And, since the stickers are useful only to hybrid owners, it could mean only one thing: we were the victims of liberal-on-liberal crime. That the act most likely occurred in the parking lot at Whole Foods just strengthens this thesis. Our sticker-pincher thinks globally, steals locally." (New York Times)

"New Cars in Germany Barely Cut CO2 Emissions-Data" - "FRANKFURT - The average carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of newly registered cars in German dropped by 0.5 percent to 172.5 grams per kilometre last year due to cleaner burning petrol engines, official data showed on Friday." (Reuters)

"The big-car problem" - "Germany produces some of the fastest and most luxurious cars in the world, but is that yesterday's game?" (The Economist)

"Eco-label for food considered by Miliband" - "An eco-label for food that shows the amount of greenhouse gases involved in growing and transporting it is being considered by David Miliband, the Environment Secretary." (London Telegraph)

No... "The Truth About Coal" - "Last Wednesday, members of the Rainforest Action Network, a scrappy little advocacy group, assembled in New York outside the Citigroup Center, where Merrill Lynch has a branch office. Dressed in top hats, carrying bags of coal and calling themselves “Billionaires for Coal,” the group was protesting what it felt was the hypocrisy of a giant investment bank that proclaims a devout commitment to “environmental excellence” even as it provides financing for dirty power plants.

Merrill is a lead underwriter for TXU, a Dallas-based utility that plans to build a dozen coal-fired power plants in Texas that will add significantly to atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, the main global warming gas. Though Merrill was the protesters’ target, Citigroup must have been feeling queasy. It has also trumpeted its environmental virtues and is among TXU’s lead underwriters." (New York Times)

... actually coal-fired stations are returning to the atmosphere and biosphere carbon lost to it through biological action over time. This is very good for the rainforests that RAN claims to be concerned about.

"In Big Buyout, Utility to Limit New Coal Plants" - "Under a proposed $45 billion buyout by a team of private equity firms, the TXU Corporation, a Texas utility that has long been the bane of environmental groups, will abandon plans to build 8 of 11 coal plants and commit to a broad menu of environmental measures, according to people involved in the negotiations.

The roster of commitments came through an unusual process in which the equity firms asked two prominent environmental groups what measures could be taken to win their support. The result is an about-face from the company’s earlier approach to climate-change issues, and includes a goal of returning the carbon-dioxide emissions by TXU to 1990 levels by 2020." (New York Times)

"Hybrids Lose Fuel Economy with New Testing" - "USA Today reports hybrid cars get fewer mpg than previously thought." (Julia A. Seymour, Business & Media Institute)

"Each oil crisis spells a new energy future" - "The US government should follow Europe and Japan's lead in taxing energy to stave off oil addiction." (John K. Cooley, The Christian Science Monitor)

"Peak Performance?" - "Peter Odell, one of the most astute, life-long observers of global oil scene, calls them "peak-oilers." Some of them were quite unhappy when I pointed out (in Energy at the Crossroads, in these pages, and in Worldwatch in January 2006) their propensity for wholesaling catastrophic scenarios of the world once the global oil production peaks and begins to decline. But how else can one label such writings as Richard C. Duncan's "Olduvai theory" according to which the declining oil extraction will plunge humanity into life comparable to that experienced by some of the first primitive hominids who inhabited that famous Kenyan gorge some 2.5 million years ago?

And no one else can be blamed for the repeated failure of their forecasts but the prominent peak-oilers themselves. According to Colin Campbell the global oil extraction was to peak in 1989; Ivanhoe's peak was in 2000; Deffeyes set it first in 2003 and then, with ridiculous accuracy, on the Thanksgiving of 2005." (Vaclav Smil, TCS Daily)

"A Well-Oiled Defense" - "I usually devote this space to columns on how to invest your time and money. But occasionally, I like to write about big economic issues that don't exactly fall within the realm of personal finance.

Please bear that in mind as you read the following thoughts. And remember that I'm a tiny stockholder of two oil companies. Tiny -- if my oil stocks quadrupled tomorrow, I couldn't buy a decent pre-owned Nissan with the proceeds.

I'm also not paid by the oil companies to write this, although I'll happily repeat it if someone gives money to the families of American men and women killed in the defense of this country in Iraq and Afghanistan." (Ben Stein, Yahoo! Finance)

"Russia’s Oil Woes" - "Moscow’s attachment to statist economic policy is undermining its bid for global energy dominance, writes LEON ARON. By re-nationalizing its energy sector, Putin’s regime is slaying its largest golden goose." (Leon Aron, American)

"NZ: Foresters united in opposition to proposed deforestation tax" - "The Government has detailed how its preferred option for dealing with the climate change consequences of deforestation might work. But the document, Design Options for a Tradeable Deforestation Permits Regime doesn't give forest owners an indication of what costs they would likely face." (New Zealand Herald) | Growing Govt resentment among foresters (Sunday Star Times)

Grasping at any straw to ban hunting: "Global Warming Endangers Harp Seal Pups - Report" - "WASHINGTON - Global warming is making it harder for newborn harp seals to survive in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and off Newfoundland in Canada, the International Fund for Animal Welfare reported on Friday." (Reuters)

Finally joining the real world? "South Africa Should Consider Elephant Cull - WWF" - "JOHANNESBURG - South Africa needs to consider restarting elephant culls because growing numbers of the mammal now threaten local habitats, the WWF conservation group has said." (Reuters)

"Is love affair with organic milk curdling?" - "The middle class's love affair with organic milk might be starting to sour, according to the latest industry data. After years of paying a premium for supposedly healthier milk, shoppers are no longer buying organic milk in ever increasing numbers. According to market research company TNS, which closely monitors the market, sales of organic milk grew from 73.8 million litres in 2004 to 158 million last year. Though that represents rapid growth, it has slowed down considerably in recent months. Growth in the last 12 weeks has faltered to zero." (London Telegraph)

"Non-GMO solution to seafood allergies" - "Seafood allergy sufferers may soon be able to eat prawns without the fear of an adverse reaction. Chinese scientists have taken a promising step towards removing from prawns the proteins that cause an allergic response without resorting to genetic manipulation, reports Lisa Richards in Chemistry & Industry, the magazine of the SCI." (Society of Chemical Industry)

"Dawn of the GM babies?" - "Scientists will be able to carry out genetic experiments on human embryos for the first time under controversial Government plans. Ministers have given the green light to research that some doctors warn raises the disturbing prospect of "genetically modified babies". Proposed legislation says researchers would be allowed to alter the genetic blueprint of an embryo up to two weeks old. Ethical campaigners fear this could herald an era of eugenics in which couples would engineer their children to be as perfect as possible." (Evening Standard)

"Biotech Goes to the Garden" - "Genetically modified ornamental plants are in the works. The challenge now: avoiding the 'Frankenflowers' label." (Bart Ziegler, Wall Street Journal)

"China shelves commercial production of GM rice again" - "A Chinese national committee for safety of genetically modified (GM) food has shelved the commercial production of GM rice in November 2006, at least the fourth time since 2004, the Beijing Times reported Saturday." (Xinhua)

February 23, 2007

"Uganda: EU Chief Backs Indoor DDT Spray" - "THE European Union will support the government of Uganda in its fight against malaria through indoor residue spraying, the head of the European Delegation to Uganda Vincent De Visscher has said.

A press release from Jane Kyomuhendo the information and communication officer in Mr De Visscher's office on wednesday said the ambassador made the pledge while meeting Health Minister Stephen Mallinga on Monday.

The development seems to put to rest fears that the Ugandan agricultural products would not be allowed in the EU market when the country starts using DDT to control malaria." (The Monitor)

"Climate Alarmists Abuse 'Children'" - “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel,” said famed 18th century British lexicographer Samuel Johnson. To update the quote for our current era you might substitute “children” for “patriotism” and “climate alarmist” for “scoundrel.” (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

Like this: "Children losing sleep over global warming" - "HALF of children between the ages of seven and 11 are anxious about the effects of global warming and often lose sleep over it, according to a new report. A survey of 1,150 youngsters found that one in four blamed politicians for the problems of climate change, while one in seven said their own parents were not doing enough to improve the environment." (The Scotsman)

Ecochondria... ecohysteria... oh good grief! "Green jitters grow on blue planet" - "Al Gore bad for your mental health? Think about it.

The message of environmental destruction being delivered by Gore – and a host of others in recent months – is proving too much to handle for some who feel helpless controlling the forces of nature.

Tears. Sleepless nights. Rage. They're all part of a thought-provoking anxiety over the environment that's being likened to the feeling many had a half-century ago when nuclear war appeared imminent." | Recycled Gore a green icon (Toronto Star)

“Heed the Goracle” - "Gore swept into Toronto yesterday using an environmentally controversially airline on Toronto Island - a service that is opposed by friends of Toronto’s waterfront (including myself.) The departing headlines read: Heed the Goracle." (Steve McIntyre, Climate Audit)

"Gore's Film an Oscar Favorite but Violates Academy Standards, Critics Say" - "Al Gore's movie on climate change is likely to win an Oscar for best documentary on Sunday even though it arguably violates the Academy's own criteria and should be disqualified, critics say. But, they argue, the way in which the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences has handled the issue in the past shows a clear political bias." (CNSNews.com)

"Delaware: State distances itself from climatologist" - "WILMINGTON, Del. — Gov. Ruth Ann Minner has directed Delaware's state climatologist to stop using his title in public statements on climate change, citing a clash of views on global warming and confusion over the position's ties to the administration. Minner, who made the directive in a letter, described the move as a way to "clarify" the role of David R. Legates, a prominent skeptic of views that human activities are warming the planet and triggering climate shifts." (News Journal)

Doh! "Heating planet 'makes children sick'" - "GLOBAL warming will take a toll on children's health, according to a new report showing hospital admissions for fever soar as days get hotter. The new study found that temperature rises had a significant impact on the number of pre-schoolers presenting to emergency departments for fever and gastroenteritis. The two-year study at a major children's hospital showed that for every five-degree rise in temperature two more children under six years old were admitted with fever to that hospital. The University of Sydney research is the first to make a solid link between climate changes and childhood illness." (AAP)

When it's cold parents of preschoolers worry less about reducing kid's fevers (not hard to take a layer of clothing off) but when it's hot parents of grizzly fevered kids tend to make for air conditioned hospitals (duh!). Not many more, admittedly, since that's 5 K temperature increase they are talking for only two additional admissions (i.e., more than the IPCC's inflated guesstimate for 'likely' warming from 2xCO2).

"What Will it Cost to Fight Global Warming?" - "Talk of the Nation, February 22, 2007 · Many scientists say immediate action it needed to stop global warming. But some economists argue that the benefits of any realistic solution aren't worth the cost. Can we afford to stop global warming?" (NPR)

Ah yes, wonderful cold: "Sudden cold snap linked to Neanderthals' demise" - "They once inhabited a zone stretching from Asia to western Europe and eked out an existence until some 24,000 years ago. But in the end it was a familiar foe - climate change - that did for our evolutionary cousins the Neanderthals, new research suggests.

The ancient population found their last refuge in the Gibraltar area, where the diverse plant life, animals, sandy plains, woodlands, wetlands and coastline enabled them to maintain their lifestyle. But then came a sharp downturn in temperatures which, scientists say, may have dealt the Neanderthals a killer blow in southern Iberia." (London Independent)

"Climate changes, Cod collapse have altered North Atlantic ecosystems" - "Ecosystems along the continental shelf waters of the Northwest Atlantic Ocean, from the Labrador Sea south of Greenland all the way to North Carolina, are experiencing large, rapid changes, reports a Cornell oceanographer in the Feb. 23 issue of Science.

While some scientists have pointed to the decline of cod from overfishing as the main reason for the shifting ecosystems, the article emphasizes that climate changes are also playing a big role.

"It is becoming increasingly clear that Northwest Atlantic shelf ecosystems are being tested by climate forcing from the bottom up and overfishing from the top down," said Charles Greene, director of the Ocean Resources and Ecosystems Program in Cornell's Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. "Predicting the fate of these ecosystems will be one of oceanography's grand challenges for the 21st century." (Cornell University News Service)

"South Pacific More Vulnerable Than Thought" - "SUVA - The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)'s climate coordinator in the South Pacific says that a recent United Nations report on climate change has "underestimated" the threat to millions of people in the region from sea-level rise." (IPS)

Actually there's negligible evidence sea level rise constitutes a problem (although islands do sink through volcanic and tectonic activity, giving the local impression of rising seas). The world wide font of nonsense is upset the UN couldn't spin more of a fundraising "emergency" from nothing... sad.

"Proof that warming in Western Australia is all about the sun" - "I promised you some good analysis on Southern Pilbara (central-west Western Australia) yesterday when I analysed the temperatures and I keep to my promise so here it is:" (Gust of Hot Air)

"Former adviser admits Chretien government was not ready to implement Kyoto" - "OTTAWA — The previous Liberal government ratified the Kyoto Protocol knowing Canada wasn’t ready to take the tough measures needed to address climate change and would likely miss the deadlines for reducing emissions, says a top adviser to former prime minister Jean Chretien." (Canadian Press)

Meacher-in-chief... what an horrific prospect: "Meacher puts climate at heart of left-wing challenge to Brown" - "The former environment minister Michael Meacher has launched a challenge to Gordon Brown for the Labour leadership and called on the Chancellor to take tougher action on climate change." (London Independent)

"Viewpoint: Eyes on the green prize" - "Governments in rich nations are spending billions of dollars to buy a clearer conscience over climate change. Are they getting their money's worth? Enlightened individuals, those who stay awake at nights wondering what they can do to prevent the polar caps from melting, at least have a growing menu of choices.

The Sydney-based Easy Being Green says it will mitigate your cat's flatulent contribution to global warming for 8 Australian dollars, or $6. The same company could also make your granny "carbon-neutral" at 10 dollars a year, according to a report in the Australian newspaper last weekend." (Bloomberg News)

"Emission trading suffers as carbon prices plummet" - "A leading economist this week warned that the world's two leading carbon trading schemes are failing to deliver the expected benefits due to a collapse in the price of carbon credits - and the situation is likely to get far worse before it gets better." (Green Business News)

"Carbon indulgences: below one euro" - "In April 2006, the price of carbon indulgences in the European Union Emission Trading Scheme (EU ETS), the largest emission market in the world, was 30 euro per ton of CO2 emissions: see this graph. However, in May 2006, the price decreased a little bit, more precisely by a factor of pi - below 10 euro per ton of CO2.

In November 2006, when the price was still around 9 euro per ton, we predicted its fall to 2 euro per ton. This seemingly bold prediction was realized at the beginning of February 2007. However, the price continued to approach the actual market value, namely zero." (Luboš Motl, The Reference Frame)

"Greens attack delay in climate change law" - "The Government's green credentials were called into question after it emerged that its Climate Change Bill would not become law in the current parliamentary session.

Ministers trumpeted the decision to include the Bill in the Queen's Speech last November as a sign that the environment was at the top of Labour's agenda. But they confirmed yesterday that when it is published next month, it will appear only in draft form. This means there will not be time for it to complete its passage in the current parliamentary session and that it is unlikely to be passed until next year.

Green campaigners attacked the delay, but the Government denied it had watered down its plans, saying it had never promised a full Bill and had always been committed to a consultation process on the measure." (London Independent)

"As Asia Keeps Cool, Scientists Worry About the Earth Overheating" - "An explosion in demand for air conditioners that rely on ozone-depleting refrigerants in India and China is becoming a fast-growing threat to efforts to combat global warming." (New York Times)

"Incandescent vs fluorescent light bulbs" - "Two years ago, Fidel Castro switched his communist island from classical incandescent light bulbs to more efficient fluorescent light bulbs. The reason is simply that electrical blackouts are common on this island plagued by the criminals and the leader has the power to dictate similar things to the whole nation. Needless to say, Hugo Chavez, the most active communist rock star of the present world and a Stalin who returned from a fattening station, is planning something similar in Venezuela.

But would you expect that the government of a decent and wealthy country such as Australia would promote a similar policy as the losers above? It's kind of surprising but it's true." (Luboš Motl, The Reference Frame)

"Bush Makes a Pitch for Amber Waves of Homegrown Fuel" - "FRANKLINTON, N.C., Feb. 22 — President Bush put on a white coat and visited a laboratory here Thursday to promote his goals for making alternative fuels from switch grass, woodchips and other plant waste. After touring the laboratory, which is developing enzymes to make cellulosic ethanol, fuel distilled from plant byproducts, Mr. Bush spoke buoyantly about new technologies that may reduce the nation’s thirst for foreign oil." (New York Times)

Imagine that: "Lufthansa threatens to move hub operations to Zurich to evade EU green plan" - "Germany's Lufthansa is threatening to shift operations wholesale out of the European Union to Zurich should the European Commission go ahead with plans to reduce aviation's greenhouse gas emissions through a carbon trading regime. Lufthansa chief executive Wolfgang Mayrhuber last week talked publicly about the possibility of relocating hub operations to Switzerland, which is currently outside the scheme remit, saying: "Should the European Union go ahead with its plan we would have to think about relocating." (Flight)

"Duke Energy faces conflicting demands" - "CHARLOTTE - Jim Rogers says he wants to do something about global warming. But the chief executive of Duke Energy Corp. also has a growing customer base that needs power now, and he says that means building more coal-fired plants." (Associated Press)

"INDIA: Converting Waste to Energy - Not So Green" - "BANGALORE - A stream of protests has hit India’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) for sanctioning municipal waste-to-energy (MWTE) projects that are collapsing under an avalanche of incombustible wastes." (IPS)

"ABC's Stossel: Nothing to Fear But Fear Itself " - "Are you worrying needlessly about the wrong stuff? One of the country's leading consumer reporters thinks so, and wants to set the record straight. John F. Stossel, consumer reporter, author and co-anchor for the ABC News show "20/20," scored a ratings hit 12 years ago with his very first TV special, "Are We Scaring You to Death?" Now he's back with perhaps a long overdue second installment entitled: "Scared Stiff: Worried in America." (NewsMax)

"A study the media overlooked: being fat lowers mortality for women" - "Many have come to believe that by living well, eating right and having “good” health indices, they will live longer. A long life is viewed as the reward of exemplary living. Conversely, of course, those who don’t meet what is believed to be healthy are accused of risking an early grave. These mythologies have become popular in our culture, except most are unsupported by decades of the most conscientious evidence." (Junkfood Science)

"Medicalize me: Experts look at how our perceptions of illness are shaped" - "ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Do prescription drug ads make people think they’re sick when they’re not, or create “disease” out of thin air? Does the “empowered patient” movement mean that doctors have lost some of their professional clout when it comes to making diagnoses and prescribing treatment?

These questions and more are the focus of a set of probing essays in a special section of the Feb. 24 issue of the journal The Lancet, all addressing the topic of “medicalization” and what it means in modern society." (University of Michigan Health System)

"Market approach recasts often-hungry Ethiopia as potential bread basket" - "The African nation produces more maize than neighbors Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania combined." (The Christian Science Monitor)

Oh boy... wonder if they've ever eaten a banana? "No. 1 Milk Company Says 'No' to Clones" - "WASHINGTON -- The nation's biggest milk company, Dean Foods, said Thursday it will refuse milk from cloned cows.

The Food and Drug Administration gave preliminary approval to meat and milk from cloned animals and could grant final approval by the end of the year. Federal scientists say there is virtually no difference between clones and conventional cows, pigs or goats.

Smaller companies such as Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream and Organic Valley previously have said they oppose milk from clones. Dallas-based Dean Foods is a $10 billion company that owns Land OLakes and Horizon Organic, among dozens of other brands. In a statement issued Thursday, the company said its customers and consumers don't want milk from cloned animals." (AP)

Well guess what? Bananas are the fruit of clones and they form a huge part of the world's staple diet -- got a problem with that?

"EU States Affirm GMO Ban" - "Hungary's decision comes as a blow to the European Commission, which says the action is against international trade rules." (EUobserver)

"Food watchdog did not fail in its duty over GM rice" - "The Food Standards Agency has been cleared of allegations that it failed in its duty to protect consumers from products contaminated by illegally imported genetically modified rice. Rejecting a claim by environmental campaigners Friends of the Earth, a judge in the High Court accepted the agency's defence that, although it failed to act promptly when the GM rice came to light, it then took immediate steps to remedy the situation." (London Independent)

February 22, 2007

"Rejecting DDT is like signing death warrants" - "I refer to John Ken Lukyamuzi’s article in The New Vision of February 15 titled, “Malaria genocide can be curbed without DDT.” As a former Member of Parliament, and therefore an opinion leader, it is wrong for Lukyamuzi to hand out death certificates to more Ugandans by undermining a realistic weapon against malaria.

DDT can be effective in the case of indoor residual spraying. It is one “bed net” for the whole family, and it must be part of our arsenal for fighting the disease. Professor Amir Attaran from the University of Ottawa points out that by combining DDT with Artemisinin-based medicines, South Africa managed to cut malaria cases by 89 percent in one year and reduced malaria deaths by 97 percent in four years.

However, for reasons only he can comprehend, Lukyamuzi detests DDT and demands new environmental studies, public hearings and, in extremes, a complete rejection of DDT. He talks constantly about supposed risks of using DDT, but never says a word about the horrible risks of not using it — the dangers that it would prevent." (Fiona Kobusingye, New Vision)

"Counterfeit Capsules and Phony Pills" - "Counterfeight medications, drugs that have been "deliberately and fraudulently mislabeled with respect to identity, composition and/or source," are on the rise around the world, with Asia leading the way in counterfeit drug production. People looking for convenience or lower prices on prescription medication have driven the rapid growth of Internet medication sales, and counterfeiters have taken advantage of the anonymity provided by the Internet to pump huge volumes of counterfeit drugs into the market. In addition, the demand for large quantities of life-saving medications in developing countries has spurred the production of counterfeit drugs worldwide." (Julianne Chickering, ACSH)

"Drug safety recommendations lack scientific evidence" - "During the past several years, there has been a perceived drug safety crisis in the United States. The Institute of Medicine (IOM), recently released it final recommendations for reforming the U.S. drug safety system, but an editorial published today in Health Economics by Tomas Philipson and colleagues at the University of Chicago finds little evidence of a drug safety crisis and no scientific evidence to back up the IOM’s recommendations." (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.)

"The alternative energy bunny....just keeps going and going" - "Studies reaching positive findings generate snazzy headlines. They get attention and bring funding for more research. It is popularly believed that the strength of science comes in proving something. In actuality, it is the exact opposite." (Junkfood Science)

"No need to diet and exercise to lose weight" - "NEW YORK - A new study debunks the widely held belief that diet plus exercise is the most effective way to lose weight. Researchers report that dieting alone is just as effective as dieting plus exercise." (Reuters Health)

"Lead-Pipe Rip-Off" - "California recently lifted its silly and expensive state ban on residential use of vinyl plumbing pipes. New York City should follow suit. Tools

In 2004, then-Governor George Pataki vetoed a bill that would have extended a similar ban, liberating homeowners in New York State from this ridiculous policy.

Well, except in New York City—whose building code still restricts plastic piping. Yes, new code revisions will soon permit the piping, which costs about a third of the alternatives, in buildings of five stories or less. But everyone else must pay much higher prices for bathroom and kitchen remodels/construction—as well as more costly routine plumbing repairs.

Plastic pipe is used widely in the rest of America and around the world. Why not New York?" (Angela Logomasini, New York Post)

"Lakes beneath Antarctic ice sheets found to initiate and sustain flow of ice to ocean" - "The Earth Institute at Columbia University—One of the planet's most remote and little-understood features may play a crucial role in transporting ice from the remote interior of Antarctica towards the surrounding ocean according to a new research." (The Earth Institute at Columbia University)

"Climatologist says hurricane activity likely on upswing" - "[Louisiana] State Climatologist Barry Kiem told the Amite River Basin Commission on Wednesday he thinks hurricane activity may pick back up again this summer and the Gulf Coast could experience a period of high storm activity for the next 10 to 20 or more years.

Kiem said an El Niño, or warming of the mid-Pacific Ocean, helped hold down hurricane activity last summer, slowing storm formation in 2006 after 2005’s hurricanes.

The El Niño is also causing winter to be wetter and cooler here this year, Kiem said.

“I hope the El Niño hangs in there,” Kiem said, keeping storm activity low but forecasts say “it is likely to disappear” before the summer.

However, he pointed out that forecasters missed the formation of the weather phenomena in last year’s prediction." (The Advocate)

"Hearing to probe climate change and Inuit rights" - "TORONTO - The Inuit of Arctic Canada and Alaska are bearing the brunt of global warming and their way of life is in peril, an international human rights body will be told next month. Inuit activists hope a hearing on Arctic climate change by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights will lead to reduced emissions and will help to protect the culture of the northern native people." (Reuters)

"As earth warms, lawsuits mount" - "But problems arise when it comes time to pin down those responsible for climate change." (The Christian Science Monitor)

And what about those who benefit from alleged AGW? Should they pay for the privilege?

"How fast must we act on global warming?" - "Despite broad agreement on climate change, economists are divided over how quickly to implement solutions." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"Climate change laps at Bangladesh's shores" - "Rising oceans are already a reality there, and thousands of people could be displaced." (LA Times)

The whole country is basically the Ganges flood delta -- water levels are always problematic and there is zero evidence of any real trend in long-term sea level rise, ongoing since the end of the last great glaciation.

RINO convention? "McCain signs on to Schwarzenegger global warming agenda" - "Republican presidential candidate John McCain, applauding Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger for taking on the "compelling issue of global climate challenge," pledged Wednesday to make California's global warming fight the model for a national effort to curb greenhouse gases." (Sacramento Bee)

"That ‘Drought’ in Southwest May Be Normal, Report Says" - "The severe droughts the Colorado River Basin suffered in the 1990s and early 2000s would not stand out in the record of the last few centuries, a panel said." (New York Times)

Wonder what kept 'em? We've been pointing to evidence this is "situation normal" for years.

"Canada `can be green and grow'" - "British climate change economist Nicholas Stern rejects Ottawa's excuses on Kyoto targets." (Toronto Star)

Hmm... if the world genuinely warms a bit the Canada can be green and grow for longer each year. When did Stern become a "climate change economist", I wonder?

"Utilities surcharge to underwrite B.C.'s clean energy fund" - "British Columbia consumers will soon feel the first financial sting from the provincial government's green plan. Energy Minister Richard Neufeld confirmed Wednesday that the B.C. government plans to slap a surcharge on all public utilities to build its "Innovative Clean Energy Fund," promised as part of an ambitious plan to cut greenhouse gases laid out in last week's throne speech." (Canadian Press)

Dimmers work well with fluoros, do they? "Yahoo, Wal-Mart join light bulb campaign to fight global warming" - "SAN FRANCISCO - A coalition of private companies and government agencies is launching a grass-roots marketing campaign to persuade more Americans to help combat global warming by using energy-efficient light bulbs." (Associated Press)

"The Globe will be cooler" - "First it was naughty screensavers that were bad, and now it is the ordinary light globe. Australia is planning on banning the light globe in favour of the energy saving counterpart." (Gust of Hot Air)

"The inconvenient truth" - "There's nothing like a celebrity sing-a-long to get the global warming juices boiling. Al Gore, the vice president who became a midway barker, has the greatest show on earth, maybe even the universe. He's offering a day of "Live Earth" concerts during the summer that will include musical artists and "thought leaders" such as Cameron Diaz, Snoop Dogg and Enrique Iglesias. Hea-veee, as the kids used to say." (Suzanne Fields, Washington Times)

"INTERVIEW - Dutch Employers Fear Cost of New Government's Green Drive" - "AMSTERDAM - The new Dutch cabinet's green proposals, including higher taxes on fuel and air tickets, will hurt business and are best dealt with on a European level, the head of the country's main employers' group said on Wednesday." (Reuters)

"Road pricing is not a stealth tax, says Blair" - "Tony Blair today denied road charging was about 'stealth taxes' or 'Big Brother' surveillance as he began responding to the 1.8 million people who signed a Downing Street petition." (The Guardian) | Full text of the prime minister's reply to the nearly 1.8 million people who signed the online road charging petition.

"FEATURE - Milk Thirst Threatens Mexico's Rare Desert Oasis" - "CUATRO CIENEGAS, Mexico - Mexican dairy farming is endangering an ancient oasis in the Great Chihuahuan Desert that scientists say can help them understand earth's beginnings, global warming and the chances of life on Mars." (Reuters)

"A dietary supplement protects the lives of farm shrimp" - "The lives of shrimp have been saved by a dietary supplement which prevents infection by pathogenic (disease-causing) bacteria. Could this put a stop to the use of antibiotics? Brine shrimp which were fed a compound called poly-â-hydroxybutyrate (PHB) were prevented from becoming infected with pathogenic bacteria. Professor Willy Verstraete and colleagues at Ghent University in Belgium reported these findings in the February issue of ‘Environmental Microbiology’. The bacteria Vibrio campbellii are antibiotic resistant and cause significant loss in the fish farming industry (aquaculture) as an outbreak cannot be treated with antibiotics. Adding PHB to the culture water significantly decreased the number of brine shrimp which were killed by Vibrio campbellii. The shrimp had ‘eaten’ the PHB and become protected from infection." (Blackwell Publishing Ltd.)

"Bacteria could steady buildings against earthquakes" - "Soil bacteria could be used to help steady buildings against earthquakes, according to researchers at UC Davis. The microbes can literally convert loose, sandy soil into rock." (University of California - Davis)

"Monsanto offers free access to pest fighting technology" - "Monsanto Co. said Tuesday that it will provide academic researchers and public institutions free access to its state-of-the-art cyst nematode marker technology.

The company said in a release that scientists and soybean breeders are expected to use the technology to develop new soybean varieties aimed at resisting the the pest. The soybean cyst nematode cuts crop yields by up to 75 percent and reduces returns to soybean producers by $500 million annually, according to government figures quoted by Monsanto. The company has been investigating ways to identify traits resistant to the pests by using genetic markers.

"By sharing what we know, researchers around the world will be able to more accurately identify resistant soybeans and breed for them," Bob Reiter, vice president of breeding technology for Monsanto, said in a statement." (St. Louis Business Journal)

"Group wants to halt herbicide-resistant alfalfa seed" - "A coalition of farmers, environmentalists and food safety organizations plans to ask a federal judge in California to halt the sale of Roundup Ready alfalfa seed, the group's lawyer said Tuesday. The request follows a decision released two weeks ago in which U.S. District Judge Charles R. Breyer in San Francisco ruled that the U.S. Department of Agriculture failed to follow environmental law before approving the genetically modified forage." (Billings Gazette)

February 21, 2007

"Safety rules sending children off the rails" - "A generation of children are going off the rails as they seek increasingly dangerous thrills beyond the "stifling" safety of the school gates, experts warn today. The construction of ultra-safe playgrounds, coupled with bans on snowball fights, conkers and tag in the school yard may be exposing children to extra harm or even a life of crime, it is claimed." (London Telegraph)

"Another tragic ending" - "One of the most heart wrenching things you’ll ever read is the anguish, frustration and anger expressed by Mamavision at the loss of another young anoretic. She emotionally accounts the recent horrifying suicide of the leader of a Live Journal Pro-Anorexia site which was done live, minute-by-minute, on the internet and the reaction of the Pro-Ana site. Knowing Pro-Anas will deluge her with comments, she wrote: “My purpose is to educate. Educate parents, friends, and family on the rampant nature of the Pro-Anorexia community online.” (Junkfood Science)

"Investor Environmental Health Network Peddles Inaccurate Science" - "Warns – with no apparent scientific expertise – about risks of chemicals." (Trevor Butterworth, STATS)

"From the recommended reading file: Being well or being sold an alternative concept of well-being?" - "Dr. Nortin Hadler, M.D., professor of medicine and microbiology/immunology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and attending rheumatologist at the University of North Carolina Hospitals in Chapel Hill, has written a thought-provoking piece explaining the normal state of the human condition, with its regular aches and pains, rashes, colds and bothersome fatigue, insomnia and bowel irregularities that come and go. Ill-health, on the other hand are not these ordinary predicaments of life, they are extraordinary. He goes on to explain the theories and beliefs behind many modalities being sold to us in the name of health, even though they have failed to survive scientific scrutiny." (Junkfood Science)

"Aim for low world warming despite hardship-scientist" - "LONDON, Feb 19 - The world must aim to limit the temperature rise due to global warming to just two degrees Celsius (4 F) despite the near impossibility of achieving it, World Bank Chief Scientist Robert Watson said on Monday.

Scientists say that at atmospheric concentrations of 450 parts per million of carbon dioxide -- the main greenhouse gas from burning fossil fuels -- temperatures will rise by two degrees Celsius. At 550 ppm it will be three degrees or more.

Current levels are already over 400 ppm and rising at around two ppm per year." (Reuters)

No, levels aren't over 400 ppmv but ~380, having recovered ~65 ppmv over the last 50-odd years (doesn't Watson think anyone will look up the CDIAC numbers?).

A "target" of 550 ppmv represents the lowest scenario modeled by the IPCC, presumably along with their inflated lower scenario of an increase of ~1.5 K over a century -- Watson's not even close on any count.

And no, there isn't any possibility of a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide yielding a 3 K global temperature increase -- the world simply does not work as modeled:

"Principal Model Deficiencies" - "ModelE [2006] compares the atmospheric model climatology with observations. Model shortcomings include ~25% regional deficiency of summer stratus cloud cover off the west coast of the continents with resulting excessive absorption of solar radiation by as much as 50 W/m2, deficiency in absorbed solar radiation and net radiation over other tropical regions by typically 20 W/m2, sea level pressure too high by 4-8 hPa in the winter in the Arctic and 2-4 hPa too low in all seasons in the tropics, ~20% deficiency of rainfall over the Amazon basin, ~25% deficiency in summer cloud cover in the western United States and central Asia with a corresponding ~5°C excessive summer warmth in these regions. In addition to the inaccuracies in the simulated climatology, another shortcoming of the atmospheric model for climate change studies is the absence of a gravity wave representation, as noted above, which may affect the nature of interactions between the troposphere and stratosphere. The stratospheric variability is less than observed, as shown by analysis of the present 20-layer 4°x5° atmospheric model by J. Perlwitz [personal communication]. In a 50-year control run Perlwitz finds that the interannual variability of seasonal mean temperature in the stratosphere maximizes in the region of the subpolar jet streams at realistic values, but the model produces only six sudden stratospheric warmings (SSWs) in 50 years, compared with about one every two years in the real world. ..." (Climate simulations for 1880-2003 with GISS modelE, 4.5Mb .pdf)

Why do the media mindlessly regurgitate this rubbish when a simple attempt to validate any cited figure reveals them to be nonsense?

"A New Quote On Regional Climate Predictability" - "One of the conclusions on Climate Science is that there is no predictive skill in multi-decadal regional climate predictions. Evidence for such a conclusion, for example, have been summarized in a number of weblogs." (Climate Science)

NYT eager to drive the economy over a cliff, in order to achieve... absolutely nothing good: "Mr. Spitzer’s Chance on Warming" - "Given the concerns of the new Democratic Congress, as well as persuasive new scientific evidence of the dangers of climate change, Washington may finally be ready to address the problem of global warming. The chances of that would be better still if New York’s new governor, Eliot Spitzer, would commit himself and the state to a cause that needs all the friends it can get." (New York Times)

Wonderful timing too, given they are running a feature on how little value is derived from mathematical models of nature. Yet they still maintain faith in "climate model" prognostications with zero demonstrated competence for the purpose. Marvelous.

Fakery! (Number Watch)

"Authors Win Spooner Award" - "We are pleased to inform you that Rowman & Littlefield authors Dennis T. Avery and S. Fred Singer have been chosen as the April 2007 monthly recipients of the Lysander Spooner Awards for Advancing the Literature of Liberty for their book, Unstoppable Global Warming. Laissez Faire Books bestows the honor monthly to the most important contributions to the literature of liberty, followed by an annual award for the top book on liberty for the year." (CGFI)

"More Ice for Your Shasta" - "Warming means less ice. Simple. Intuitive. Untrue. An appealing poster child for the global warming crusade is starting to take some heat…" (WCR)

New Skeptic Site: "Global Warming Skeptics" - "Earth’s environment has become a hot button issue; so much so, that it has stumbled into the political arena. Yet, when the layers are peeled away on this issue, critical thinkers ask if the sky is really falling or is the media hyping the matter. Something is going on with Mother Earth’s climate; there is no doubt about that. Precisely what is going on is anyone’s guess and due to the planet’s dynamics, the reason can’t be pinned down to one primary cause. After all, it's been changing for 4.5 billion years." (GWS)

"Global-warming theory and the eugenics precedent" - "Global Warming" had a precursor in capturing the hearts and minds of the world. Michael Crichton, in his novel "State of Fear," brilliantly juxtaposes the world's current political embrace of "global warming" with the popular embrace of the "science" of eugenics a century ago. For nearly 50 years, from the late 1800s through the first half of the 20th century, there grew a common political acceptance by the world's thinkers, political leaders and media elite that the "science" of eugenics was settled science. There were a few lonely voices trying to be heard in the wilderness in opposition to this bogus science, but they were ridiculed or ignored.

Believers in eugenics argued that we could improve the human race by controlling reproduction. The most respected scientists from Harvard, Yale, Princeton and other bastions of intellectual rigor retreated to a complex on Long Island named Cold Spring Harbor. Their support came from the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Harriman fortune working with the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, State and other agencies." (John Linder, Washington Times)

"EPA Seeks Comment On US Greenhouse Gas Inventory" - "WASHINGTON - The Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday asked for public comment on a draft report that analyses the sources of US greenhouse gas emissions over a 15-year period that are linked to global warming." (Reuters)

"Is Al Gore About To Receive an Honorary Doctorate in Climatology?" - "Better get a trash receptacle handy just in case this turns your stomach: former Vice President Al Gore is rumored to be up for an honorary doctorate in climatology." (News Busters)

"An Inconvenient Chilling Effect" - "Al Gore plans a concert series while a screening of his "Inconvenient Truth" about global warming is canceled by an inconvenient blizzard. As skeptics get the cold shoulder, can Snoop Dogg save the planet?

On Feb. 14, the House Subcommittee on Energy and Air Quality had to cancel a 10 a.m. hearing on global warming because of a snow and ice storm that hit the nation's capital.

And in St. Louis, a scheduled showing of Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" was canceled by Maryville University because of the harsh winter weather hitting the Midwest.

Global warmers may or may not appreciate the irony, but they dismiss these events as irrelevant. In their parallel universe, if it's hot, it's due to global warming; if it's cold, it's due to global warming; if it's wet, if it's dry, well, you get the picture.

Certainly 9 or 10 feet of global warming in upstate New York isn't going to keep Gore from his Oscar." (IBD)

"Sean Hannity Exposes Al Gore’s Inconvenient Global Warming Hypocrisy" - "Many conservatives are familiar with a marvelous book by Peter Schweizer entitled “Do As I Say (Not As I Do): Profiles in Liberal Hypocrisy.” In it, Schweizer detailed how America’s top liberals are famous for not practicing what they preach. On Sunday’s “Hannity’s America,” the host demonstrated how the country’s leading global warming alarmist, Dr. Al Gore, is a perfect example of a liberal who doesn’t come close to following the lofty environmental ideals he demands of the rest of us (video available here)." (News Busters)

"The new-age faith of the hysterics" - "The good news is that we were supposed to all be dead by now, done in by SARS, AIDS or bird flu. The bad news is, now we can be cooked medium-rare by global warming.

Or not. The jury on global warming is still out -- the jurors are snowbound -- and this seriously frustrates the folks who imagined they had the jury well rigged. (Al Gore comes to mind.)" (Pruden on Politics, Washington Times)

More would-be exploiters of irrational fears: "International Group Sets Plan To Curb Global Warming" - "WASHINGTON - More than 100 corporate heads, international organizations and experts set out a plan on Tuesday to cut greenhouse gas emissions, calling on governments to act urgently against global warming." (Reuters)

"A Battle Over the Costs Of Global Warming" - "A British economist calls for urgent, sweeping action. Some Americans call him alarmist. Who is right?" (New York Times)

There are no known "costs" of "global warming" but there are plenty associated with global warming hysteria.

"A lighter look at global warming and other prophecies of doom"

"'As I was going to the fair,
I saw a man who wasn't there
He wasn't there again today,
Oh! how I wish he'd go away'.

So, approximately, goes the little ditty I learnt long, long ago. It seemed 'right' then. But now one sees the flaw in the logic. It took a while! It's a faulty premise leading to an illogical conclusion. Yet perhaps one can, in one's imagination, 'see things that aren't there'. If you really, really, want to believe someone or something you can. Just as some people believe in those that profess to talk to the dead, some folk hypnotize more easily than others, and some reckon there are UFOs. But why do they have to 'fly' and be 'objects'? It sells better - that's why.

That's how it is for global warming prophets of doom (for profits of doom?) like Al Gore, Greens, Prince Charles, the IPCC and sundry others. There is nothing to see, nothing tangible - but they reckon it's there. They can 'see' it. I can't. Their main prop, the 'hockey stick', indicating an upturn in 'global' temperature in the 20th century has, it seems, been proved wrong. But to hell with that, forget it. Mercilessly press on with the doom and gloom message. We're gonna die or at least drown." (John Clements, Canada Free Press)

"Plus Ça (Climate) Change" - "The Earth was warming before global warming was cool." (Pete du Pont, Opinion Journal)

"New winds on climate" - "With the release of the latest United Nations report on climate change, the time is appropriate to revisit what should be done about man-made global warming emissions. Reports are circulating that new U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will call an emergency climate summit later this year. This is a welcome development.

The most well known mechanism for addressing global climate change is the Kyoto Protocol, the international treaty overseen by the United Nations. The calls for an emergency summit strike as a tacit admission that, despite the treaty's good intentions, the present approach is incapable of realizing its goals." (Alan Oxley, Washington Times)

Oh... "River run-off threatens Great Barrier Reef" - "SYDNEY, Feb 21 - Satellite images of Australia's Great Barrier Reef show that sediment from river run-off is threatening the reef at a greater rate than previously realised, Australia's peak scientific body said on Wednesday.

The images, taken this month by NASA and U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration satellites, show sediment creating a hazy cloud over the reef, blocking sunlight and hindering photosynthesis, the process that keeps coral alive.

"The run-off from torrential rainfall goes into the Great Barrier Reef lagoon and straight into the ocean at speeds which were not thought to occur before we saw the images," said Arnold Dekker, from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)." (Reuters)

... the Great Barrier Reef  (GBR) is way older than the Holocene, has been coping with ice age and interglacials, too much/little land-borne nutrient influx with the varying rainfall regimes over millennia and couldn't care less whether "people realize" the speed with which sediment traverses the lagoon on its way to the Pacific, via the GBR -- regardless of newly acquired satellite pictures of age-old processes.

"A Europe Divided over Climate Policy" - "Earlier this month, the European Union announced ambitious environmental goals and current EU President Angela Merkel has made the issue of climate change a priority. But even as Germany forges ahead, many EU countries are lagging. EU environmental policy could suffer." (Der Spiegel)

Oh boy... "COOL AID: The National Carbon Test" - "Network Ten, in conjunction with Beyond Productions, today announced a world premiere television event which explores the issues of climate change. COOL AID: The National Carbon Test will air on Network Ten on Sunday, March 4 at 8.30pm and will consider the devastating effects that excess carbon has had on the planet and consider simple methods all Australians can implement to reduce greenhouse gases." (Press Release)

... "COOL AID" or Kool-Aid? Advice to Aussies, don't drink the Kool-Aid (search "Kool-Aid +Jonestown" if you don't get it).

"EU environment ministers meet to agree 20 percent cut in CO2 by 2020" - "BRUSSELS, Belgium: EU environment ministers met Tuesday to try to agree they should cut greenhouse gas emissions at least 20 percent by 2020, paving the way for Europe to seek deeper reductions from other industrialized nations. But the EU's 27 nations may be forced to delay a final decision - which all must agree - until a March summit of EU leaders because Poland and Hungary are so far not willing to vote for a deal making the target mandatory, an EU diplomat said under condition of anonymity because no decision has yet been taken." (AP)

Hopefully this is merely poor translation: "Russia, Kyoto Protocol And Climate Change" - "Two years have passed since the Kyoto Protocol (KP) went into force. A total of 150 nations have ratified this extraordinary international document. It embodies humankind's pragmatism, and is aimed at reducing the negative anthropogenic influence on the biosphere and the climate. Preparations for its implementation will be completed this year, and monitoring of compliance with KP commitments will start in 2008.

All industrialized countries have pledged themselves to reduce emissions by 5% on 1990 levels, and they will certainly do this. Europe, Canada, and Japan have launched large-scale preparations for the KP's implementation." (Viktor Danilov-Danilyan for RIA Novosti)

No, not all industrialized countries have so foolishly pledged and with but a couple exceptions those that have will go nowhere near doing so.

From CO2 Science this week:

Cosmoclimatology: A New Perspective on Global Warming: The anthropogenic-enhanced CO 2 -induced greenhouse effect encounters a formidable contender for the role of "major player" in 20th-century global warming ... and much, much more!

Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week:
This issue's Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week comes from Qipisarqo Lake, Southern Greenland. To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.

Subject Index Summary:
Health Effects (CO 2 - Plant Production of Health-Harming Substances): How does atmospheric CO 2 enrichment impact the production of health-harming substances in plants?

Plant Growth Data:
This week we add new results (blue background) of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO 2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature for: Giant Knotweed, Plantago Asiatica, Rice, and Sorghum.

Journal Reviews:
Solar Effects on Earth's Climate: A new review of the subject suggests the effects are both real and significant.

Meteorites and Climate Change: What's the connection between the two?

Seven Decades of Climate Change Over Northern Eurasia: How indicative are the data of what climate alarmists describe as "unprecedented" and "CO 2 -induced" global warming?

Reed Canary Grass: An Invader of Wetlands: Is its invasive tendency helped or hindered by atmospheric CO 2 enrichment?

Effects of Elevated CO 2 on Yields of Rice in China: Matching the timing and amounts of nitrogen applications to temporally-varying CO 2 -induced increases and decreases in rice nitrogen uptake capacity throughout the growing season can maximize the biological benefits of rising atmospheric CO 2 concentrations. (co2science.org)

"Oil Falls Over 2 Percent As Warm Weather Hits US" - "NEW YORK - Oil fell more than 2 percent on Tuesday as warm weather thawed top consumer the United States, cutting demand for heating fuel." (Reuters)

"US Nuclear Plants' Power Output 2nd Highest Ever" - "WASHINGTON - The US nuclear industry generated its second-highest amount of electricity ever last year, while also reaching record low production costs, the Nuclear Energy Institute said Tuesday." (Reuters)

"Skeptics Emerge on Technologies for Cleaner Coal" - "Power companies are planning to build about 150 coal plants in the next few years. Almost none of them will be built to capture carbon dioxide." (New York Times)

"From farm waste to fuel tanks" - "Using corncob waste as a starting material, researchers have created carbon briquettes with complex nanopores capable of storing natural gas at an unprecedented density of 180 times their own volume and at one seventh the pressure of conventional natural gas tanks. The breakthrough, announced today in Kansas City, Mo., is a significant step forward in the nationwide effort to fit more automobiles to run on methane, an abundant fuel that is domestically produced and cleaner burning than gasoline." (National Science Foundation)

"Japanese manufacturers look to cash in on solar power boom" - "With the global-warming documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" hot at the box office and a recent report by the U.N. laying the blame for climate change and rising sea levels at humanity's feet, renewable energy sources are getting a fresh look. In particular, the spotlight is falling on solar power, which is expected to gain ground in Europe thanks in large measure to government support." (Japan Times)

"PM refuses to be swayed by road pricing petition" - "Tony Blair will tell more than 1.6 million people who have signed an e-petition condemning his road pricing plans that the government still intends to go ahead with a series of pay-as-you-drive trials." (The Guardian)

"Wave farm points way ahead for Scotland" - "THE world's biggest wave-power farm is to be built off Scotland's coast, ushering in a revolution in green energy production, The Scotsman can reveal." (The Scotsman)

"Antifreeze-Like Blood Lets Frogs Freeze and Thaw With Winter's Whims" - "The freeze-thaw, freeze-thaw see-saw of this winter's temperatures may be a sign of global warming. But for now wood frogs are weathering the flux in style, according to an expert on the amphibians.

"They undergo freeze-thaw cycles all the time," said Kenneth Storey, a professor of biochemistry at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada.

Some animals migrate to warmer climes for the winter and others burrow deep underground to sleep until spring. Wood frogs instead seek cover under leaves near the surface, where they actually freeze and thaw with their surroundings.

In his lab, Storey has taken the frogs through multiple consecutive freeze-thaw cycles and found no adverse effects. In nature the frogs consistently go through freeze-thaw cycles, he said.

"We have false springs here all the time where it gets really warm and all the snow melts and then suddenly—bam—the wind comes from the north and it's back down to minus 10, minus 15 [degrees Celsius], and they're fine," he said." (National Geographic News)

"Hornets hit France and could reach Britain" - "Swarms of giant hornets renowned for their vicious stings and skill at massacring honeybees have settled in France. And there are now so many of the insects that entomologists fear it will just be a matter of time before they cross to Britain. Global warming has largely been blamed for the survival and spread of the Asian Hornet, Vespa velutina, which is thought to have arrived in France from the Far East in a consignment of Chinese pottery in late 2004." (London Telegraph)

"Massive flooding returns, but Mozambique prevents disaster" - "Flooding killed 700 in 2001, but has claimed fewer than 10 lives this year, thanks to extensive preparations." (The Christian Science Monitor)

Worrywarts Inc. eye-roller: "Report Blames Factory Farms for Bird Flu" - "BROOKLIN, Canada, Feb 20 - Factory farms are responsible for both the bird flu and emissions of greenhouse gases that now top those of cars and sport utility vehicles (SUVs), according to a report released Monday.

Sixty percent of global livestock production, including chicken and pig "confined animal feedlot operations" (CAFOs), now occur in the developing world. Unregulated zoning and subsidies that encourage these CAFOs or factory farms are moving closer to major urban areas in China, Bangladesh, India, and many countries in Africa, said the report, "Vital Signs 2007-2008" by the Worldwatch Institute.

Although there is no definitive scientific proof, those farms are very likely where avian or bird flu started and will continue to be responsible for new outbreaks, said the author of the report, Danielle Nierenberg, a Worldwatch research associate." (IPS)

"EU Ministers Fail To Agree On GMO Carnation Imports" - "BRUSSELS - European Union environment ministers failed to agree on Tuesday to authorise imports of carnations whose colour has been genetically modified, again revealing the bloc's deep divisions over biotech policy." (Reuters)

February 20, 2007

"Potential for malaria transmission higher than previously thought" - "Each year, malaria results in more than a million deaths. Controlling this disease involves understanding its transmission, and understanding its transmission means understanding its basic reproductive number, R0. For all infectious disease, R0 describes the most important aspects of transmission as it is the expected number of hosts that can trace their infection directly back to a single host after one disease generation. For vector-borne diseases, such as malaria, R0 is given by a classic formula. In a new study published in PLoS Biology, David Smith and colleagues demonstrate that estimates of R0 range from around one to over 3,000, providing much higher estimates than previously thought, with serious implications for the control of the disease." (Public Library of Science)

"In the World of Life-Saving Drugs, a Growing Epidemic of Deadly Fakes" - "Asia is seeing an “epidemic of counterfeits” of life-saving drugs, experts say, and the problem is spreading. Malaria medicines have been particularly hard hit; in a recent sampling in Southeast Asia, 53 percent of the antimalarials bought were fakes." (New York Times)

"Popular Science" - "I don't know how many times I have heard scientists and others complain about the state of science in popular culture. Apparently it is not properly respected or popular. Some science fiction authors have similar complaints. Gregory Bedford bemoan the growth of fantasy fiction and the apparent stagnation of hard science fiction , he sees this as a rejection of science and reason, a comfortable retreat into the past." (Ralph Buttigieg, Quantum Limit)

"Popular Science II" - "Many thanks to Ralph who took charge while I was gone. I was especially interested in his last article on the perception of science in the general public, and he aptly titled it “Popular Science”. (Dennis Chamberland, Quantum Limit)

"The Problems in Modeling Nature, With Its Unruly Natural Tendencies" - "When coastal engineers decide whether to dredge sand and pump it onto an eroded beach, they use mathematical models to predict how much sand they will need, when and where they must apply it, the rate it will move and how long the project will survive in the face of coastal storms and erosion.

Orrin H. Pilkey, a coastal geologist and emeritus professor at Duke, recommends another approach: just dredge up a lot of sand and dump it on the beach willy-nilly. This “kamikaze engineering” might not last very long, he says, but projects built according to models do not usually last very long either, and at least his approach would not lull anyone into false mathematical certitude.

Now Dr. Pilkey and his daughter Linda Pilkey-Jarvis, a geologist in the Washington State Department of Geology, have expanded this view into an overall attack on the use of computer programs to model nature. Nature is too complex, they say, and depends on too many processes that are poorly understood or little monitored — whether the process is the feedback effects of cloud cover on global warming or the movement of grains of sand on a beach.

Their book, “Useless Arithmetic: Why Environmental Scientists Can’t Predict the Future,” originated in a seminar Dr. Pilkey organized at Duke to look into the performance of mathematical models used in coastal geology." (New York Times)

Support JunkScience.com by purchasing this book via this link.

"Global warming pork and profits" - "The ink has barely dried on its new ethics policies, and already Congress is redefining ethics and pork to fit its global warming agenda.

We need to take a deep breath. Acknowledge that the Kyoto Protocol and proposed "climate protection" laws will not stabilize the climate, even if CO2 is to blame. And recognize that there are reasons more people now support climate "consensus" -- other than concern over climate disasters created by deficient computer models and Hollywood special effects.

In accusing ExxonMobil of giving "more than $19 million since the late 1990s" to public policy institutes that promote climate holocaust "denial," Senate Inquisitors Olympia Snowe and Jay Rockefeller slandered both the donor and recipients. Moreover, this is less than half of what Pew Charitable Trusts and allied foundations contributed to the Pew Center on Climate Change alone over the same period.

It's a pittance compared to what U.S. environmental groups spent propagating climate chaos scares. It amounts to 30 cents for every $1,000 the United States, European Union and United Nations spent since 1993 (some $80 billion in all) on global warming catastrophe research. And it ignores the fact Exxon's grants also supported malaria control, Third World economic development and other efforts." (Paul Driessen, Washington Times)

Wow! Kids respond to media bombardment: "Kids' environmental concerns" - "THE state of the environment is one of the most troubling issues concerning children today, according to a new national survey. More than 2000 children across Australia participated in the online study, which found a fear of friends and family dying topped the list of worries for young people. This was followed closely by their concern about the planet with global warming, trees being cut down and the drought featuring strongly." (Daily Telegraph)

Imagine that, just about can't have the TV on down-under without seeing bank commercials or "public service" spots on commercial and public free to air and subscription cable immersing viewers in emotional environmental blackmail and hysteria over... global warming, trees being cut down and the drought featuring strongly.

"Global warming threats exaggerated, says Cardinal Pell" - "Sydney, Feb 19, 2007 / 01:36 pm.- Cardinal George Pell is calling for caution regarding exaggerated claims of severe global warming and says he’s “deeply skeptical about man-made catastrophic global warming, but still open to further evidence.”

In his weekly Sunday Telegraph column, the cardinal-archbishop of Sydney said people have been “subjected to a lot of nonsense about climate disasters as some zealots have been painting extreme scenarios to frighten us.” (CNA)

"Top 10 'Global-Warming' Myths"  -"Compiled by Christopher Horner, author of "The Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming and Environmentalism" (Human Events)

'Bomb' Ehrlich & 'Ice-age' Schneider... "Scientists will discuss creating a culture of sustainability February 19 at AAAS" - "Addressing climate-change impacts is often more about ethics than economics, and universities have an especially important role to play in helping humans ensure the planet’s sustainability, according to Stanford University environmental researchers participating in a symposium on climate and public policy at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in San Francisco." (Stanford University)

... prognosticators extraordinaire ;)

Over a thousand years... "Climate change: scientists warn it may be too late to save the ice caps" - "A critical meltdown of ice sheets and severe sea level rise could be inevitable because of global warming, the world's scientists are preparing to warn their governments. New studies of Greenland and Antarctica have forced a UN expert panel to conclude there is a 50% chance that widespread ice sheet loss "may no longer be avoided" because of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Such melting would raise sea levels by four to six metres, the scientists say. It would cause "major changes in coastline and inundation of low-lying areas" and require "costly and challenging" efforts to move millions of people and infrastructure from vulnerable areas. The previous official line, issued in 2001, was that the chance of such an event was "not well known, but probably very low"." (The Guardian) | Leading Atmospheric Scientist: Earth Was Warmer and Seas Higher 125,000 Years Ago (News Busters)

... now there's an ambitious projection -- or maybe not, it's still only a max guess of a couple of feet per century (3-4 times recent historical but who's counting?).

"Jones and the Russian UHI" - "A couple of years ago, before I got involved in proxy studies, I was interested in the UHI question and wrote to Phil Jones to request the data used in Jones et al 1990, his study purporting to show the unimportance of urban warming. Jones said that it was on a diskette somewhere and too hard to find, Jones observing that the study had been superceded by other studies. (”Moved on” ?) Anyway, that was before I was wise to the ways of the Team and I didn’t pursue the matter. However, Jones et al 1990 continues to be relied upon; it’s cited in recent literature and in AR4. So I thought that it would be interesting to re-visit the matter. I still don’t know what sites were used, but something turned up anyway." (Steve McIntyre, Climate Audit)

"HadCRU3 versus GISS" - "I made a subset of HadCRU3 to cover the continental U.S. and compared it to the USHCN-2000 version." (Steve McIntyre, Climate Audit)

"Adjusting USHCN History" - "Although the USHCN version used in Hansen’s 1999 press release seems to be expunged from official U.S. government records, it was fortunately preserved by John Daly. Jerry Brennan sent me a link to a version preserved by John Daly yesterday, from which I was able to replicate the version in the 1999 press release, as shown below." (Steve McIntyre, Climate Audit)

"Last year warmest in China since 1951 - Xinhua" - "BEIJING, Feb 20 - Last year was the warmest since 1951 in China and since 1986 there have only been two winters where the weather was as cold as usual, the official Xinhua news agency said on Tuesday. Xinhua, citing unidentified experts at the national meteorological bureau, said that most parts of the country have recorded an obvious spike in annual temperatures since 1950, the year after Communist China was established." (Reuters)

"Comment on The Major Role Of Land Cover/Land Use Change Within The Global Climate System - Another Ignored Issue in the 2007 IPCC Statement For Policymakers" - "In answer to a question from a reporter on the importance of land cover/land use change within the climate system, I wrote the response below, which briefly overviews why this climate forcing is so important. The lack of including an emphasis on this issue in the IPCC Statement for Policymakers is disappointing and shows their continued neglect of critically important issues in climate variability and change." (Climate Science)

"CALL FOR GOVTS TO ACT ON OMISSION FROM LATEST IPCC SPM" (.pdf) - "It is beyond belief that a report can be published in the name of science which claims that CO2 rising levels cause rising temperatures while only reporting the presumed cause without the supposed historical consequences – ie temperature changes - which are also well documented in data in possession of the IPCC, such as from the internationally funded Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA) project." (Climate Science NZ)

"Price tags for fixing global warming" - "For economists, Sir Nicholas Stern's report is only a start for calculating the real cost of solutions – and of neglect." (The Christian Science Monitor)

Only if returning previously bio-sequestered carbon to the atmosphere from which it originally came turns out to be a cost at all, something which is no more likely than it being a net benefit.

"Study to forecast side effects of pollution policy" - "ANN ARBOR, Mich.---The University of Michigan is leading a four-university team in a large-scale project to develop software to help analysts craft greenhouse gas reduction policies in the transportation industry." (University of Michigan)

"Is US Near a Tipping Point on Global Warming?" - "WASHINGTON - US policy on global warming seems headed for a tipping point, with politicians, business leaders and economists joining environmentalists to call for new laws to limit greenhouse gases that spur climate change." (Reuters)

"Just what climate change needs... more hot air from pop stars" - "GOOD news on climate change. Al Gore, that environmental campaigner, self-styled president of the world and former lead singer of the Hanging Chads, is organising a series of carbon-neutral - and largely talent-neutral - pop concerts to highlight the dangers of allowing music stars to pump out hot air on issues of importance.

Environmentally concerned superstars and their huge entourages will jet around the world to a series of gigs to call for an end to everyone else jetting around the world to gigs. One concert will take place in Antarctica, no doubt headlined by Gordon Brown's faves, the Antarctic Monkeys. If that doesn't get the climate changing, then I don't know what will." (Scotland on Sunday)

"German Output May Plummet as World Warms - Study" - "BERLIN - German productivity could fall by 12 percent by 2100 as temperatures soar because of climate change while thousands more people will suffer heat-related deaths, a new study said on Monday." (Reuters)

The Week That Was February 17 , 2007 (SEPP)

Anti-meat brigade trying every trick: "Humans' beef with livestock: a warmer planet" - "American meat eaters are responsible for 1.5 more tons of carbon dioxide per person than vegetarians every year." (Brad Knickerbocker, The Christian Science Monitor)

"People won't part with money to stop climate change: poll" - "VANCOUVER -- British Columbians have bought into the reality of climate change like never before, but most wouldn't spend even $100 a year extra in taxes to help save the world, results of a poll conducted by Ipsos Reid show." (CanWest News Service)

Recycled scam: "Tour firm to make carbon offsetting mandatory" - "The specialist holiday company Holidaybreak is planning to make carbon offsetting against flights compulsory for all its customers and is calling on other major tour operators to follow its lead." (London Independent)

Another scam: "Australia: Household light bulbs get the flick" - "STANDARD household light bulbs will be phased out within three years, under a radical greenhouse emissions reduction plan to be unveiled by the Federal Government today. In what will be touted as a world first, the standard incandescent light bulb - a metal filament glowing white-hot in a vacuum, which wastes up to 95 per cent of the energy it uses - is about to become a thing of the past." (The Advertiser)

Brought to you by the makers of... compact fluorescent lights.

"Trust cashes in on the climate change bandwagon" - "Fund takes over top spot on back of environmental concern. Patrick Collinson reports." (The Guardian)

"Climate change sceptics find champions in SA" - "Cape Town - The Free Market Foundation (FMF), whose members include well-known names in South Africa's business landscape, has thrown its weight behind an organisation of climate change sceptics. It has also hit out at the British government's Stern report on climate change, which shifted global warming into the mainstream after it said last year that there was overwhelming scientific evidence for climate change and called for an urgent worldwide response to cut greenhouse gas emissions." (Business Report)

"Tory MP links action on climate change to suicide" - "OTTAWA -- Opposition MPs and environmentalists are baffled and outraged by warnings from a Conservatives MP that aggressive action to fight climate change and air pollution could lead to an increase in domestic violence and suicides." (CanWest News Service)

"PREVIEW - EU States Tussle over Climate Change Goals" - "BRUSSELS - European Union ministers will tussle over targets to fight climate change and boost renewable fuels in a meeting on Tuesday aimed at shaping the bloc's energy policy and its strategy to curb emissions from cars and planes." (Reuters)

"Idle talk of 'unbundling' highlights EU's energy dependency woes" - "The EU Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council met in Brussels Feb. 15, and the chief item on the agenda was the "unbundling" of power networks.

The idea is that in order to promote competitive practices in the power industry and reduce energy prices, energy companies that were formerly government monopolies should surrender control of their transmission networks. This would open the door to outside firms who could supply power from nontraditional sources (wind, biomass, solar, etc.), or to nontraditional locations (across borders to other EU countries).

But, as is often the case in EU affairs, the 27 ministers could not agree and the proposal was shelved. Instead, they passed responsibility for the matter to the European Commission, which must provide more information on the benefits of such a move at another meeting in March." (Japan Times)

"Finns radiating confidence" - "European correspondent Peter Wilson reports on Finland's prototype experience for Australian nuclear power generation." (The Australian)

"Sticker Shock" - "A California program to encourage hybrid cars has some unexpected consequences." (Opinion Journal)

"U.S. farm official sees African farmers benefiting from biofuels" - "NAIROBI: Growing demand for clean fuels distilled from plants will likely revolutionize agriculture in both rich and poor countries, a top U.S. agriculture official said Monday during a trade mission to East Africa.

Michael Yost, chief of the U.S. foreign agriculture service, said African and American farmers both stood to profit from the growing demand for grains that can be converted to ethanol or biodiesel, two clean burning substitutes for gasoline and normal diesel fuel.

"The advent of renewable energy is global," he said in an interview. "I think it could be the biggest paradigm shift we have seen in a long, long time in agriculture." (Associated Press)

"Australia: Experts baulk at scheme" - "PREMIER Peter Beattie's ambitious plan to divert water from rain-soaked north Queensland has been labelled an environmental danger and likened to failed overseas projects. Mr Beattie's plan to revive a 70-year-old scheme to divert northern rivers through western rivers and into the Murray-Darling system drew a mixed reaction ahead of a water summit in Canberra on Friday. Federal Water Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the project would be expensive but would be considered by the Commonwealth's new water taskforce." (Courier-Mail)

"Practice of farming reaches back farther than thought" - "Ancient people living in Panama were processing and eating domesticated species of plants like maize, manioc, and arrowroot at least as far back as 7,800 years ago – much earlier than previously thought – according to new research by a University of Calgary archaeologist.

One of the most hotly debated issues in the discipline of archaeology is how and why certain human societies switched from hunting and gathering to producing their own food through agriculture. Dr. Ruth Dickau, a post-doctoral researcher in the U of C's department of archaeology, has used a new technique called starch grain analysis to recover microscopic residues of plants directly off the stone tools that people were using in Panama 3,000 to 7,800 years ago." ()University of Calgary

"Organic food that is not as green as we think" - "Organic and locally-grown food may be no better for the environment than conventional produce, according to a Government-funded report.

Milk, tomatoes and chicken produced to organic standards can be more polluting than their intensively-farmed equivalents, said researchers from the Manchester Business School in a study for the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

The energy needed to grow organic tomatoes is 1.9 times that of conventional methods, the study found. Organic milk requires 80 per cent more land to produce than conventional milk and creates 20 per cent more carbon dioxide, it says. The use of manure to fertilise land can lead to acidification of soil and the pollution of water courses.

Organic chickens require 25 per cent more energy to rear and produce more carbon dioxide than conventional battery or barn hens, according to the report." (London Telegraph)

"Era of steady feed prices is over" - "HIGHER cereal prices are putting much-needed cash into the pockets of arable farmers, but the downside is that livestock producers are facing the prospect of an unprecedented increase in feed costs. This situation will be exacerbated by the burgeoning demand for maize and other cereals for biofuel production in the US, according to Billy Davidson, managing director of Davidson's Animal Feeds, a Lanarkshire-based company that supplies more than 3,000 livestock farmers in Scotland and the north of England. Davidson warns that farmers should steel themselves over the next six months for the most significant rises in the cost of feed for about 20 years." (The Scotsman)

"Fresh crops tainted by suspicion" - "Last year's E. coli outbreaks -- one traced to bagged spinach and two to lettuce -- have left a nation in a salad spinner of confusion. Americans have come to expect the food they eat won't make them sick. But unlike most edible items in the grocery store that have been cooked, baked, broiled, fried, or pasteurized to destroy harmful bacteria, fresh produce has no such "kill point," no moment on the assembly line when pathogens meet their doom. The very attribute that makes produce so attractive in color, taste and nutritional value -- its freshness -- also leaves it vulnerable to contamination." (Sacramento Bee)

"GM food and the harm of hysteria" - "EUROPEAN consumer panic and European Union (EU) regulations about genetically modified (GM) foods threaten millions of starving Africans, who need cheap and reliable crops. Greenpeace has just garnered a million signatures around Europe for a petition to the EU demanding labels for traces of GM organisms in food. This time last year, Zambia banned famine relief containing GM food. Uganda and Kenya are wavering and millions of people are starving in Africa right now. GM food may not solve malnutrition and starvation by itself, but it would make a huge difference." (Business Day)

"Uganda to introduce genetically engineered banana" - "Uganda could soon introduce genetically modified bananas after a successful genetically engineered sweet banana variety proved resistant to pests and diseases. The technology will improve the quality of banana, an important food and cash crop whose production has declined due to diseases, especially the banana wilt disease. Genetically engineered bananas will also contribute to food security and improve household incomes. Almost 24.5 per cent of Ugandan household’s income is contributed by bananas. Some 70 per cent of farmers grow them as a staple food as well as for brewing local liquor." (East African)

February 19, 2007

"DDT Did Not Harm Eagles" - "While it is wonderful that the bald eagle will be taken off the Endangered Species list, many media reports repeated the fiction that the ban on DDT use in the U.S. was a major factor in the species' recovery.

There is no scientific evidence that DDT had any negative impact on our national bird. To the contrary, DDT's elimination of disease-causing vermin helped virtually all bird populations, which is well documented by the National Audubon Society.

A brief history of the eagle population makes this clear. In 1941, before any DDT was used, 197 bald eagles were counted. In 1960, after 15 years of heavy DDT use, the count had risen to 891." (Jay Lehr, The Heartland Institute)

"Africans Urge Congress to Fulfill DDT Promise to Fight Malaria" - "Africa Fighting Malaria, a public policy organization dedicated to educating people about the scourge of malaria, submitted a letter on January 22 to U.S. Sens. Robert C. Byrd (D-WV) and Thad Cochran (R-MS), chairman and ranking member, respectively, of the Senate Appropriations Committee, requesting the approval of proposed 2007 funding for bilateral and multilateral malaria control programs for Africa, including the President's Malaria Initiative and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria. The letter was endorsed by more than 50 public policy groups." (AFM)

"Mathematical model predicts cholera outbreaks" - "ANN ARBOR, Mich.---A mathematical model of disease cycles developed at the University of Michigan shows promise for predicting cholera outbreaks.

Speaking in a symposium titled "New Vistas in the Mathematics of Ecology and Evolution" at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in San Francisco, theoretical ecologist Mercedes Pascual will discuss how models that she and coworkers have developed can aid short-term forecasting of infectious diseases, such as cholera, and inform decisions about vaccination and other disease-prevention strategies." (University of Michigan)

"Scientific literacy happens -- when students think for themselves" - "COLUMBUS, Ohio – Give college students less instruction and more freedom to think for themselves in laboratory classes, and the result may be a four-fold increase in their test scores." (Ohio State University)

"Seeing patterns where none exists" - "Researchers at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences in Toronto did a fun study using data from 10 million Ontario residents looking for associations between various health problems and....their astrological signs. And they actually found associations! In fact, each of the twelve astrological signs had at least two medical disorders associated with them." (Junkfood Science)

"You can't eat up the track without food" - "ONE of Australia's finest middle-distance runners, Lisa Corrigan, has revealed that her 2 1/2-year battle with an eating disorder almost ruined her career. Corrigan, who won the 1500m at the A Series on Saturday in a time that ranked her the third-fastest Australian woman of all time, thought being as lean as possible meant she would run faster. The reality was much more painful." (The Australian)

"Encouraging unhealthy weight loss attempts in girls" - "Concerns were recently raised here that an over-the-counter version of the prescription diet pill, Xenical, that was just approved, would make it even easier for teens and children to get it and be put at risk. New evidence from Australia shows such concerns are well-founded." (Junkfood Science)

Freddie's still at it: "Programmed for obesity: Early exposure to common chemicals can permanently alter metabolic system, researcher finds" - "COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Obesity is generally discussed in terms of caloric intake (how much a person eats) and energy output (how much a person exercises). However, according to a University of Missouri-Columbia scientist, environmental chemicals found in everyday plastics and pesticides also may influence obesity. Frederick vom Saal, professor of biological sciences in MU's College of Arts and Science, has found that when fetuses are exposed to these chemicals, the way their genes function may be altered to make them more prone to obesity and disease." (University of Missouri-Columbia)

"Worth the Weight" - "America is fighting a pitched battle with obesity, and obesity appears to be winning. According to the Trust for America's Health, the percentage of Americans who are overweight rose by 19 percentage points from 1976 to 2004, to 66% from 47% of adults. About half of these adults are technically "obese." This is a significant public-health problem, because excessive body weight has been linked to high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, arthritis, respiratory problems and so forth. The trend has entered the policy debate, and may become an issue in the presidential campaign: One Republican candidate, Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, advocates weight "report cards" for kids, and instituted them in his state while governor.

One's proper shape is generally measured with the Body Mass Index (BMI), which takes both weight and height into account. The basic formula for BMI is one's weight (in kilograms) divided by one's squared height (in meters). People with a BMI under 18.5 are "underweight"; 18.5-25 is "normal"; 25-30 is "overweight"; and beyond that is "obese." This standard might strike you as distressingly stringent when translated back into pounds and inches. For instance, a 6-foot-tall man who weighs more than 184 pounds is technically overweight.

But before this ruins your morning doughnut, there is a side to America's weightiness that, while not generally discussed, is worth considering: Moderately overweight people tend to be happier than lighter folks. Indeed, according to data from the University of Michigan and Indiana University's Center on Philanthropy, people in the overweight category in 2001 were 11% less likely than those in the normal range to say they felt inconsolable over the past month. They were also 18% less likely to have felt worthless, or to say that "everything was an effort." (Arthur C Brooks, Wall Street Journal)

"We're sold!" - "If its good health information we want, it turns out we’re better off not watching television. We all know to be skeptical of commercials but most of us aren’t, especially when it comes to health and drug advertisements. They get us almost every time." (Junkfood Science)

"Is all media marketing?" - "Yet another PBS program is revealed to have been funded by special interests. GlaxoSmithKline — the pharmaceutical giant that paid over $100 million for the U.S. rights to the prescription version of Orlistat and has undertaken an intense guerilla marketing campaign to convince Americans they need drugs to help them lose weight — has underwritten an April program for PBS called “Fat: What no one is telling you.” (Junkfood Science)

"Insight and acceptance coming" - "Opening minds and hearts and bringing rationality to a culture overwrought by weight angst can come from the most unexpected places. Vogue Magazine, long the fashion industry’s visible promoter of one idea of beauty and the thin body size-ideal is changing its ways. For only the third time in its 115-year history, an African American will be depicted on the cover. But the even bigger revolution with this cover is that it will show a lovely women with a natural, full-figure. She is more typical of most women who average 5-foot 4-inches and wear a size 14. Hopefully, an appreciation for the natural diversity among all women will soon follow." (Junkfood Science)

The sound of the jackboot is heard in the land (Number Watch)

Oh great! Another UN scam: "UN urged to adopt asteroid impact treaty" - "Moves are afoot in the astronaut community to hustle the UN into adopting a treaty which would set a deflection mission in motion if Earth was threatened by a large asteroid impact. A series of four meetings organised by the Association of Space Explorers (ASE) will seek to draw up a protocol which the UN can act upon when potentially Earthbound large objects are identified. The first is set for Strasbourg in May, and the invited group of space, engineering, legal and diplomatic luminaries will deliver its recommendations to the UN, which is following the discussions." (The Register)

"Warming towards a new Kyoto" - "The decision could not have come at a better time. On the day scientists said carbon dioxide levels had reached a new record high, world leaders have laid plans for a new global agreement on climate change to succeed the Kyoto protocol.

After a two-day meeting in Washington, lawmakers from some 20 nations, including the US, agreed a long-term goal to stabilise concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

But their target range - 450-550 parts per million - was described as "catastrophic" by environmental groups, because the resulting temperature rise of 2-4C would be enough to melt the polar ice sheets and leave two billion more people without water." (The Herald)

No, empirical measure of climate sensitivity shows that the additional forcing of ~4 Watts per meter squared anticipated from a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide to 560 parts per million adds a mere 0.4 kelvin (0.7 °F) to global mean temperature -- not worth the fuss.

What is very good to see is that short-term Kyoto-style caps are abandonned. h/t Benny Peiser and the ever-excellent CCNet.

Funny, isn't it... "A helping hand for our national obsession" - "The notoriously dark art of forecasting the British weather is about to get much brighter – thanks to a groundbreaking new survey of the skies over Greenland. An international team of climate scientists led by the University of East Anglia will measure for the first time the influence of the atmosphere over Greenland and Iceland on the weather in Northern Europe." (University of East Anglia)

... we're always being told about models and their prognostications and here we are, having a first look at how the atmosphere over Greenland and Iceland affect Northern Europe's weather.

RINO McCain, you've done it again: "World 'at tipping point over global warming'" - "A leading contender for the Republican presidential nomination declared the debate on global warming "over" yesterday and said that the US would act to save the environment. Senator John McCain's speech at a summit on green policies indicated a crucial change in US political opinion towards climate change." (London Telegraph)

Doh! "More communication of climate change science won't spur problem solving, says CU researcher" - "The notion that more information about the science of human-caused climate change will spur effective problem solving by American society is just flat wrong, according to a University of Colorado at Boulder climate policy analyst." (University of Colorado at Boulder)

Most Americans smarter than the media... "Americans believe global warming is real, want action, but not as a priority" - "Most Americans believe global warming is real but a moderate and distant risk. While they strongly support policies like investing in renewable energy, higher fuel economy standards and international treaties, they strongly oppose carbon taxes on energy sources that put carbon dioxide into the atmosphere." (University of Oregon)

... and some CEOs... "Friends With Benefit Packages: Romance blossoms between big biz and enviros over a candlelit dinner"  -"The on-again-off-again flirtation between big business and the mainstream environmental movement seems to be progressing into a full-on steamy love affair -- and perhaps even a committed, long-term relationship.

On Tuesday morning, a handful of Fortune 500 execs joined Jonathan Lash, president of the environmental think tank World Resources Institute, to testify before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee in favor of a mandatory federal cap on greenhouse-gas emissions. "Voluntary efforts alone will not solve the [climate-change] problem," DuPont CEO Chad Holliday told the assembled senators. He added, "We see a whole suite of technologies to solve these problems, and we think the uncertainty of what regulations will do are holding companies back." (Amanda Griscom Little, Grist)

... no amount of "carbon capping" will knowingly or meaningfully adjust global mean temperature -- this is merely a green-mantled cash grab at your expense.

... and the AAAS too? "AAAS releases video and first board consensus statement on climate change" - "The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) today released a new video as well as the first consensus statement of its board of directors regarding global climate change during a free public town hall meeting in San Francisco, California." (AAAS)

"US Business Braces for Battle on Climate Laws" - "HOUSTON - Corporate America is already girding for what could be a multibillion-dollar battle over the distribution of emissions cuts if the United States imposes greenhouse gas legislation. After years of resistance, many top US companies are joining a growing chorus of groups calling for mandatory action on the heat-trapping gases following a Democratic sweep of congressional elections last year. But the devil is in the details of such proposals. Companies are preparing a lobbying frenzy to pin down how emission cuts would be spread across the economic sectors." (Reuters)

"Over 50s have the highest carbon footprint in the UK" - "Over 50s have the highest carbon footprint, yet are most concerned over climate change and are calling for stronger leadership from the Government to combat global warming, according to new research published today by the Stockholm Environment Institute at the University of York." (University of York)

"Surface temperature patterns in complex terrain: daily variations and long-term change in the central Sierra Nevada" - "An important new paper that further documents the difficulty of monitoring multi-decadal surface air temperature trends has been accepted." (Climate Science)

"Worldwide research network needed to really understand what is changing in the Arctic" - "COLUMBUS, Ohio – An Ohio State University geologist today outlined a new plan to oceanographers that would consolidate much of the world's studies on the Arctic region into a global observation network. "This is basically a plan to better understand how the Arctic is changing, but doing it in a new systematic, international and 'pan-Arctic' way," explained Berry Lyons, professor in the School of Earth Sciences and director of the Byrd Polar Research Center at Ohio State University." (Ohio State University)

Gee Tim... "Critics' 'conspiracy' perplexes Flannery" - "TIM Flannery has a look of naive bewilderment. Why oh why, he asks, is he suddenly such a target for derision, even character assassination, simply for speaking about the perils of climate change and need for urgent remedies?" (The Australian)

... maybe it's because you're a self-promoting fear-monger who tells the most awful pokies about climate?

"Changes in west coast marine ecosystems significant" - "SAN FRANCISCO – The California Current system has experienced significant changes during the past decade, resulting in dramatic variations in the ecosystem characterized by shifts in phytoplankton production, expanding hypoxic zones, and the collapse of marine food webs off the western coast of the United States. These changes, driven by new wind patterns, are consistent with predictive models of global climate change, scientists said this week at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

But the researchers stopped short of saying that climate change was the definitive cause." (Oregon State University)

Just as well, there's no way such an assertion can be supported.

"Predicting Fate of Glaciers Proves Slippery Task" - "Earlier this month, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) declined to extrapolate the recent accelerated loss of glacial ice far into the future (ScienceNOW, 2 February). Too poorly understood, the IPCC authors said. Overly cautious, some scientists responded in very public complaints (Science, 9 February, p. 754). The accelerated ice loss--apparently driven by global warming--could raise sea level much faster than the IPCC was predicting, they said. Yet almost immediately, new findings have emerged to support the IPCC's conservative stance." (Richard A. Kerr, ScienceNOW Daily News)

"Scientific consensus - except for those other scientists" - "Scientific consensus!" chants the mainstream media in America when it comes to global warming. Not so long ago, that would have been the end of the story for nearly everyone." (J.R. Dunn, American Thinker)

"Research Shines Some Light On Mysteries of Antarctica" - "When researchers think about the effects of global warming, and especially about how much ocean levels will rise along with temperatures, they inevitably turn their attention to Antarctica. Almost 90 percent of the planet's ice is frozen in the glaciers and ice sheets of the continent, so conditions there will in large part determine whether sea level rise will be manageable -- or catastrophic.

Unfortunately, Antarctica's climate has proven very difficult to understand or predict, and it has given off seemingly contradictory signals. Both temperatures and snowfall have remained relatively constant for the continent as a whole over the past 50 years, but the Antarctic Peninsula -- which reaches northward toward South America -- has been losing ice rapidly and is among the most quickly warming places on Earth." (Washington Post)

"US Climate Change Science Program provides key contributions to IPCC fourth assessment" - "Research conducted by scientists funded through the U.S. Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) has helped resolve key uncertainties about the causes of global climate change and has helped refine projected future changes in temperature and sea-level rise, as published in the Working Group I contribution to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report, the summary of which was issued on 2 February 2007." (NOAA Research)

"Book Available “Contributions of Agriculture to the State of Climate”" - "This book offer was announced this past evening at the Virtual Discussion Forum: Climate Impacts of Human-Induced Land Use." (Climate Science)

"The insides of clouds may be the key to climate change" - "ANN ARBOR, Mich.---As climate change scientists develop ever more sophisticated climate models to project an expected path of temperature change, it is becoming increasingly important to include the effects of aerosols on clouds, according to Joyce E. Penner, a leading atmospheric scientist at the University of Michigan.

That's because aerosols, fine particles such as smoke and dust that form droplets in clouds and change cloud thickness, affect how much sun is able to pass through the cloud to Earth, as well as the amount of moisture that's returned to Earth. Both moisture and sunlight play significant roles in climate change." (University of Michigan)

"Newspapers and Climate Change" - "Throughout 2007, newspaper editors, faced with a certain "inconvenient truth," will need to probe bedrock journalistic principles. Does the emerging global warming crisis pit the two hallmarks of accuracy and balance against each other?

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) -- a joint effort of the United Nations Environment Programme and the World Meteorological Organization -- has now released its much-awaited Fourth Assessment Report, based on the findings of thousands of the world's most respected climate scientists. As the most authoritative reference on global warming, our influence on it, and what it means for our future, these reports are at the core of our understanding of climate change.

Editors are in a sensitive position. On a science-driven issue with so much at stake, how do they ensure their coverage accurately and fairly represents the state of accepted scientific knowledge?" (Bud Ward, Editor & Publisher)

Firstly, read the damn things rather than mindlessly regurgitating the press releases! Even the bizarrely pre-released Summary for Policymakers actually says they're more confident there's less of a problem -- not that anyone getting their take from the MSM would know that.

"Blowing hot air" - "Propaganda campaigns often acquire a life of their own. Politicians who have hitched their wagons to the star of "global warming" cannot admit any doubts on their part, or permit any doubts by others from becoming part of a public debate. Neither can environmental crusaders, whose whole sense of themselves as saviors of the planet is at stake, as they try to stamp out any contrary views." (Thomas Sowell, Washington Times)

"Greenhouse Gases Hit New [contemporary] High, may be Asia Growth" - "OSLO - Greenhouse gases widely blamed for causing global warming have jumped to record highs in the atmosphere, apparently stoked by rising emissions from Asian industry, a researcher said on Friday." (Reuters)

No thanks! "New World Body May Help Cut CO2 Emissions, UN Told" - "UNITED NATIONS - A new international body could help in the fight against global warming but the need for action is too urgent to wait for one to be created, two leading economists and climate change experts said on Friday. Britain's Nicholas Stern and American Jeffrey Sachs both advocate urgent global action to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases that many scientists believe trap heat in the atmosphere with potentially catastrophic consequences." (Reuters)

Just for laughs: "Global Warming: The New Climate Almanac" - "The implications of climate change can be overwhelming. They touch every field, from science to economics to culture. Our New Climate Almanac 2007 breaks down the complexity with a concise miscellany of the latest ideas, facts and predictions." (Globe and Mail)

"US needs to plan for climate change-induced summer droughts" - "SAN FRANCISCO – The western United States has experienced increasing drought conditions in recent years – and conditions may worsen if global climate change models are accurate – yet the country is doing little to prepare for potential catastrophe, a group of scientists said today." (Oregon State University)

Since we know climate models have no more predictive skill than a table of random numbers there's not much here, is there?

"Better freshwater forecasts to aid drought-plagued west" - "Even at the best of times, the West's water supplies are fraught with political, economic and environmental wrangling. When devastating droughts occurred in the 1970s and the 2000s, farmers and fish alike suffered. Yet the ability to predict stream flows in the Western United States at seasonal lead times – months or longer – is scarcely better today than it was in the 1960s." (University of Washington)

"The Rain in Spain" - "What film dominated the Academy Awards in 1964 winning Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor in a Leading Role, Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Music, Best Scoring of Music, and Best Sound? The answer (that should be obvious from our title for this piece) is My Fair Lady starring Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison. Somehow, just mention the four words “The Rain in Spain” and everyone starts humming or whistling a very famous melody from that musical." (WCR)

"New evidence of the link between carbon dioxide emissions and climate change in boreal ecosystems" - "New research aimed at understanding the link between carbon dioxide emissions and climate change in boreal systems has found clear links between both Spring and Fall temperature changes and carbon uptake/loss. Dr Kevin Robert Gurney, assistant professor in the Earth & Atmospheric Science/Agronomy at Purdue University and Associate Director of the Purdue Climate Change Research Center, presented these results at the “Is a Warmer Arctic Adding Carbon Dioxide to the Atmosphere” session of American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in San Francisco, CA on December 17th." (Purdue University)

Probably should be titled "association but not causation..." because media generally can't tell the difference.

Chicken & egg... "From icehouse to hothouse: Melting ice and rising CO2 caused climate shift" - "ANN ARBOR, Mich.---Three hundred million years ago, Earth's climate shifted dramatically from icehouse to hothouse, with major environmental consequences. That shift was the result of both rising atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations and the melting of vast ice sheets, new research by University of Michigan paleoclimatologist Christopher Poulsen shows." (University of Michigan)

"Europe 'complacent' on climate change" - "European nations are not doing enough to fight climate change and should show more leadership before they criticise the US and Asia, the head of the UN Environment Program (UNEP) said on Saturday." (Reuters)

"Europe's Long Term Climate Target: A Critical Evaluation" - "Ed.- Richard Tol, a professor at Hamburg, Vrije and Carnegie Mellon Universities. has written an interesting paper forthcoming in the journal Energy Policy critiquing the scientific basis for Europe's temperature target for responding to global warming. Frequent readers of this blog will be familiar with discussions of the FCCC and "dangerous anthropogenic interference." Prof. Tol adds to the diversity of perspectives here at Prometheus and offers a challenging, rigorous critique. Richard was kind enough to summarize his recent paper for us, so please read on. RP" (Prometheus)

"Firms emit more carbon than they declare" - "Britain's impact on global warming is far greater than the Government believes, according to new research. Millions of tons of greenhouse gases produced by some of the country's biggest companies are not counted in emissions tallies, claims the charity Christian Aid." (Daily Telegraph)

"German Government Plans to Tax Cars on Emissions" - "BERLIN - Germany's government plans to tax cars based on emissions instead of engine size to help tackle climate change, Transport Minister Wolfgang Tiefensee said." (Reuters)

"Why it's harder than you think to pay for a carbon guilt trip" - "Stumping up to compensate for environmentally costly air travel is a complicated business. Patrick Collinson investigates." (The Guardian)

"Keith De Lacy: Coal hard facts should take heat off economic lifeblood" - "THE corporate world is used to a bit of gunslinging in an election year. And if you're in a politically incorrect industry such as coal, you can expect a bit more. But this year has certainly started off with a few more bullets than most. The extraordinary passion surrounding the issue of climate change and man's contribution to it is largely the reason. Sure, it is a debate we have to have. It's just a pity the debate has to be conducted in an election year when good sense and sober reflection is at a premium. How then should we respond to calls to close down the nation's coal industry?" (The Australian)

"Urban turbines struggle to turn a profit" - "Having spent £13,000 on installing a wind turbine at his home, John Large is disappointed at the return on his investment, which amounts to 9p a week. At this rate, it is calculated, it will take 2,768 years for the electricity generated by the turbine to pay for itself, by which time he will be past caring about global warming." (London Times)

"'Clean' energy dams may be dirty after all" - "Last month, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger announced a plan to borrow $4.5 billion to build two massive new reservoirs. He pitched them as a vital response to climate change. "With the impact that global warming will cause to our snowpacks," he said, "we need more infrastructure ... so the next generation of Californians is not faced with a shortage of this precious resource." But new research suggests the governor's water plan may instead aggravate climate change. In recent years, scientists have documented that dams and hydropower -- long considered a "clean" energy source -- may actually pump greenhouse gases into the atmosphere in surprising ways." (Sacramento Bee)

"U.S. power industry sees nuclear renaissance near" - "HOUSTON, Feb 16 - Growing agreement among U.S. utility leaders that global warming worries will lead to limits on carbon dioxide emissions bode well for a nuclear power revival, executives said at a conference this week." (Reuters)

"Go nuclear, save the planet" - "James Lovelock, father of the Gaia theory, says green opposition to atomic power, as seen in the High Court last week, is crazy" (Sunday Times)

"It's not easy being green: Ethanol production requires careful management for maximum environmental benefits" - "SAN FRANCISCO -- When it comes to ethanol, it's not easy being greener. Compared to gasoline, producing and using corn ethanol adds fewer greenhouse gases to the environment. But producing ethanol from corn grain requires careful management for the greatest environmental benefits." (Michigan State University)

"Cellulosic ethanol: Fuel of the future?" - "In his Jan. 23 State of the Union address, President George Bush outlined his plan to reduce the nation's dependency on foreign oil by requiring the production of 35 billion gallons a year of renewable and alternative fuels by 2017, roughly five times the current target set by Congress of 7.5 billion gallons by 2012.

Among the most promising alternatives are fuels derived from biological material. Currently, the main biofuel used in the United States is ethanol distilled from kernels of corn. There are about 140 corn ethanol refineries nationwide, which produce more than 5 billion gallons a year. But critics say that corn ethanol alone won't meet the president's goal of 35 billion gallons of alternative fuels in 10 years, because cultivating corn to use only its grain would take up too much land. According to the National Environmental Trust, producing 35 billion gallons of ethanol annually would require putting an additional 129,000 square miles of farmland-an area roughly the combined size of Kansas and Iowa-into corn production." (Stanford University)

"Computer scientists join in search for ivory-billed woodpecker" - "COLLEGE STATION — Computer scientists from Texas A&M University and the University of California, Berkeley, have installed a robot in the Cache River National Wildlife Refuge to help natural scientists from Cornell University's Laboratory of Ornithology and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission find the rare ivory-billed woodpecker." (Texas A&M University)

"Australia: Environmental groups warned about political activity" - "FIFTEEN environmental groups have been warned they could be stripped of their status as charities and be forced to pay taxes for engaging in political activity, amid claims the Howard Government wants to silence its critics. The warnings follow an Australian Taxation Office investigation into complaints that groups masquerading as charities are devoting their activities to campaigning against the Government." (The Australian)

"Dominic Lawson: Bernard Matthews, a heroic figure laid low by snobbery, hysteria and ignorance" - "If the NHS were able to achieve a similar standard of hygiene in its hospitals, we'd all be better off" (London Independent)

"Genome scan for familial autism finds two new genetic links" - "The first results from a scan of the world's largest collection of DNA samples from families affected by autism point to two new genetic links that may predispose people to the brain disorder. Nature Genetics reports the study's findings in its Feb. 18 online edition.

The five-year study was led by the Autism Genome Project, an international consortium involving scientists from 50 institutions in 19 countries. Founded in 2002 with funding from the nonprofit Autism Speaks and the National Institutes of Health, the group shared DNA samples, data and expertise in a coordinated effort to identify autism-susceptibility genes." (University of California - Los Angeles)

"Collecting personal data on you masquerades as a study?" - "According to an Associated Press story, Kaiser Permanent’s latest Research Program on Genes, Environment and Health dwarfs all such projects, but one in the UK: Kaiser launches study into genes, environmental disease." (Junkfood Science)

Looking in the wrong place: "ANALYSIS - Organic Food Booms as Consumers Seek Safety" - "NUREMBERG, Germany - Anne Faika's company operates 14 markets a week selling organic food in the German city of Hamburg, after starting in 1990 with one market." (Reuters)

"'Gene deleting' tool could lead to safer GM crops" - "Scientists from both China and the United States have devised a technique that could prevent the flow of transgenic genes into non-biotech crops — and might end the long-standing debate on terminator genes. The development could free poor farmers from dependence on companies that sell genetically modified (GM) seeds, suggest the researchers. The GM-gene-deletor system successfully removed transgenic genes from the seeds and pollen of GM tobacco." (SciDev.Net)

"Asia Seen as Next Focus of Agricultural Biotech Production" - "Washington -- The next decade of research in crops improved by biotechnology will include a major role for the rapidly increasing number of projects in Asia, according to the head of a leading agricultural research institute." (USINFO)

For the latest in conspiracies... "Suppressed report shows cancer link to GM potatoes" - "Campaigners against genetically modified crops in Britain last are calling for trials of GM potatoes this spring to be halted after releasing more evidence of links with cancers in laboratory rats. UK Greenpeace activists said the findings, obtained from Russian trials after an eight-year court battle with the biotech industry, vindicated research by Dr Arpad Pusztai, whose work was criticised by the Royal Society and the Netherlands State Institute for Quality Control." (London Independent)

February 16, 2007

"Unsustainable Environmentalism" - "Environmental activists use the term "sustainable development" to convey the notion that they're not merely knee-jerk anti-business zealots and that they are all in favor of eco-friendly economic development.

That term is put to the test in a new documentary entitled "Mine Your Own Business." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"Scare Science: When Facts Don't Matter" - "THE highly publicized recent death of retired New York City police officer and Ground Zero worker Cesar A. Borja has all but cemented yet another junk-science-fueled myth in the pantheon of health scares." (Steven Milloy, New York Post)

"Thai drug licensing policy fatal for HIV/AIDS sufferers" - "The Thai military government has recently decided to expropriate the patents of a series of drugs. Although these 'compulsory licenses' have been applauded by populist NGOs, this development poses a very grave risk to patient safety." (CFD)

"Heartstopping news" - "The Times UK reports that an 18-year old model was found dead this week by her Grandmother and believed to have suffered a heart attack, like her sister. Her sister had died from complications of anorexia just 6 months ago while modeling at a fashion show." (Junkfood Science)

"Fat Fighters: We Couldn't Make This Stuff Up" - "The obesity panic fueled by crazed food activists is now spreading across the ocean.

Today Marks & Spencer, one of Britain's largest grocery store chains, announced its plan to hire 1,500 food police to patrol supermarket aisles and lecture shoppers on the contents of their carts. Reminiscent of grade-school Hall Pass Monitors, these health food patrols will don official Healthy Eating Adviser badges while harassing customers about the fat, sugar, and salt levels of their purchases." (ConsumerFreedom.com)

"U.S. government officials weigh in on labeling “good” and “bad” foods" - "This past weekend, Spiked-online reported on the bad science behind the UK government’s Food Standards Agency in their labeling of certain foods as “healthy” foods and imposing advertising bans on foods they believe are “junk.” The healthfulness of foods, according to these government officials, is determined by their calories, salt, sugar and fat." (Junkfood Science)

"Who’s the biggest loser: A top commercial diet program or consumers?" - "A study on one of the largest commercial weight-loss programs was just published in the International Journal of Obesity but has been ignored by the press. Understandably, a major media campaign and flurry of press releases have not trumpeted its findings." (Junkfood Science)

"Risk-free childhood is the true betrayal" - "We accuse our children of being obese. So many are. What on earth do we expect? We drive them in cars or buses to and from school. Most of them never see the corner of a playing field. They are not allowed to play to the streets. In short, they have no incentive to set one foot in front of another.

At regular intervals, our governments unveil plans to revive school sport, which immediately plunge into sand. It is not the schools that are at fault - their land has been sold off; they have educational "targets" to meet. All they can do is follow negative guidelines on what children should not be allowed to eat or drink." (W F Deedes, London Telegraph)

"Superfoods: are they merely a fad?"  -"FROM blueberries and broccoli to tea and tomatoes, the widely-lauded "superfoods" are credited with a host of amazing powers - from helping us look younger to protecting us from deadly cancers and heart disease. But does the constant expansion of the list of must-eat items compromise the claims of food manufacturers that these should be an essential part of a healthy diet?" (The Scotsman)

"Several Science Errors (Or, At Best Cherrypicking) In the 2007 IPCC Statement For Policymakers" - "In even an overview of the section in the 2007 IPCC Statement For Policymakers on “Direct Observations of Recent Climate Change” there are errors, or at best selective information, in their findings. I am summarizing four on this weblog:" (Climate Science)

So, it's their fault: "Argonne National Laboratory plays key role in new climate simulations" - "The Model Coupling Toolkit created by the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory played a key role in the climate simulations used in preparing the new U.N. report "Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis." The report, a summary of which was issued February 2nd, issued by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, presents a comprehensive assessment of the world's knowledge about climate change and its potential impacts on society." (DOE/Argonne National Laboratory)

Given how bad "climate models" are in the prognostication stakes we'd expect them to keep a very low profile.

Ever more outrageous: "Warming to Spread Disease, Hunger in South Asia - WHO" - "NEW DELHI - Millions more South Asians will suffer from diseases like malaria and cholera, or go hungry due to global warming, but governments are not fully aware of the dangers, the World Health Organisation said on Thursday." (Reuters)

It'd be funny if it wasn't so serious. All this hysteria and hand-wringing over a few wild guesses based on very little.

  • Do we actually know the planet's temperature? No.
  • Do we know what temperature the planet 'should' be? Not really.
  • Are we certain of the magnitude of suspected warming? Nope.
  • Do we know why the northern hemisphere appears to be warming? No.
  • Do we know whether this apparent warming will continue? No again.
  • Do we know whether warming will be harmful on balance? This we can answer -- it's way better than cooling.
  • Can carbon dioxide drive catastrophic warming? No -- the temperature effect of increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide is logarithmic in nature (i.e., there's a diminishing return for each added unit) and most of the possible effect was "used up" when the Earth emerged from the most recent of the great glaciations -- there's trivial warming potential left from adding atmospheric carbon dioxide (one of the reasons Kyoto was always doomed to fail in its advertised aspirations).
  • Do observations basically support the enhanced greenhouse hypothesis? Gracious no! The super-cold, super-dry Antarctic should be the most enhanced greenhouse-sensitive region of the planet -- certainly it shows increased atmospheric carbon dioxide levels with this well-mixed trace gas tracking rest of the world levels within a couple of parts per million -- yet there is no discernable warming over the mainland, nor is there the anticipated increase in precipitation (warmer southern hemisphere should increase evaporation and atmospheric water vapor). This failure to respond to measured increases of more than 60 ppmv in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels (from about 310 to about 375 ppmv while people have been actively monitoring south polar regions) is a failure rending the flagship hypothesis as severely as that infamous iceberg did the Titanic. Although this is sufficient to declare the hypothesis broken, do over, there is really an absence of supporting evidence (failure of the atmosphere to warm faster than estimated near-surface trends, which it must for enhanced greenhouse to be causal, the failure of apparent trend to track measured trace gas trend or even agree on sign for sustained periods...).

The bottom line is that computer games generate scary and very imaginative scenarios while the world is doing just fine. Too silly for words.

"Antarctic temperatures disagree with climate model predictions" - "COLUMBUS , Ohio – A new report on climate over the world's southernmost continent shows that temperatures during the late 20th century did not climb as had been predicted by many global climate models.

This comes soon after the latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that strongly supports the conclusion that the Earth's climate as a whole is warming, largely due to human activity.

It also follows a similar finding from last summer by the same research group that showed no increase in precipitation over Antarctica in the last 50 years. Most models predict that both precipitation and temperature will increase over Antarctica with a warming of the planet." (Ohio State University)

Meanwhile, from the same university: "Antarctic warming to reduce animals at base of ecosystem, shift some penguin populations southward" - "COLUMBUS , Ohio – The warming most global climate models predict will do more harm than simply raise the sea levels that most observers fear. It will make drastic changes in fragile ecosystems throughout the world, especially in the Antarctic. A warming trend during the last few decades in the Antarctic Peninsula has already forced penguin populations to migrate south and perhaps diminished the abundance of krill that are at the base of the massive food chain at the bottom of the world." (Ohio State University)

Actually the Antarctic Peninsula isn't even in the Antarctic but rather protrudes north of the Antarctic Circle towards South America. Recent research has suggested the penguins were actually forced to migrate north to this region during the harsh conditions of the Little Ice Age and are now returning to traditional ranges. The Larsen B ice shelf of the same region that caused such consternation with break up a few years ago is thought to be only a few hundred years old, also dating only from the recent, unusually cold period (for the Holocene, at least).

"West Antarctica's subglacial plumbing system mapped from space" - "A network of rapidly filling and emptying lakes lies beneath at least two of West Antarctica's ice streams, new research suggests. The findings will be published online by the journal Science, at the Science Express website, on Thursday, 15 February. Science is the journal of AAAS, the nonprofit science society. More than 100 subglacial lakes have already been discovered, but the new ones are particularly interesting because they occur below fast-moving ice. Though it's too early to say exactly how this liquid water is affecting the rates of ice flow above, understanding the behavior of these fast-moving ice streams is essential for predicting how Antarctica may contribute to sea level rise." (American Association for the Advancement of Science)

Editing history... again? "USHCN Versions" - "According to the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC),, covered here, a new Beta version of the U.S. Historical Climatology Network will be released next year. They say that the new data set uses

“recent scientific advances that better address uncertainties in the instrumental record. Because different algorithms were used in making adjustments to the station data which comprise both data sets, there are small differences in annual average temperatures between the two data sets. These small differences in average temperatures result in minor changes in annual rankings for some years”.

One of these “minor changes” reverses the order of 1934 and 1999, with the relative change amounting to 0.45 deg F. And, in fact, the new changes are on top of some other puzzling changes which had already moved 1999 well up the league table." (Steve McIntyre, Climate Audit)

"Global warming is our friend" - "Early in World War II, George Orwell famously wrote, "As I write, highly civilized human beings are flying overhead, trying to kill me." The irony of that scene, I assume, accounts for the line's enduring fame.

Well let me try some irony on you, "As I write, freezing rain and wind-whipped snow are pelting my roof rendering me miserable, yet highly civilized human beings are trying to kill me." They actually oppose global warming. Despite the inclement weather, they remonstrate that global warming is an environmental evil, and from universities and media outlets they endeavor to silence anyone who departs from their orthodoxy." (R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr., Washington Times)

"Little creatures, big blooms" - "The San Francisco area is well-known for its beautiful waters. In fact, it is one of the most biologically productive areas in the United States’ waters.

But with global warming, says Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) grantee Vera Pospelova, those waters are going to change. Pospelova studies sedimentary records of dinoflagellates – small plankton creatures, eaten by fish, that depend on the sun for their survival. There are dozens of species of these creatures, but the ones that produce toxic blooms concern her the most.

“From my work in the area, I know there are at least two particular dinoflagellate species – an Alexandrium-type and Lingulodinium polyedrum – that are already in the coastal waters near San Francisco,” says Pospelova, an oceanographer at the University of Victoria. “No one can say for sure, but we think that as the waters get warmer, more of these blooms are going to occur. When they do, they will begin killing some of the fish species and poison the shellfish.” (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council)

"Global leaders reach climate deal" - "A meeting in Washington of global political leaders has reached a new agreement on tackling climate change. Delegates agreed that developing countries will have to face targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions as well as rich countries. The informal meeting also agreed that a global market should be formed to cap and trade carbon dioxide emissions." (BBC)

"Some global-warming skeptics stick to aggressive tactics" - "WASHINGTON: With Democrats controlling the environmental agenda in Congress, a panel of international scientists saying that there is a greater- than-90 percent chance that humans contribute to global warming and the former Vice President Al Gore calling climate change a moral issue, many besieged global-warming skeptics are starting to tone down their rhetoric.

Some, though, are sticking to aggressive tactics, even contending that they are gaining momentum.

And they have influential allies: They include some scientists, conservative pundits, a minority of Republicans in Congress and a sympathetic White House that has rejected attempts to force companies to curb carbon dioxide emissions — even though the vast majority of scientists say those emissions are heating up the planet." (Boston Globe)

These guys aren't just paid to lie to you -- they're paid big: "Flannery cashes in" - "AUSTRALIAN of the Year Tim Flannery is cashing in on his top gong while accusing industrial giants of running a smear campaign against him. The climate change crusader confirmed he was charging up to $US50,000 ($64,600) to deliver speeches to American corporations – making him Australia's all-time highest paid public speaker." (The Courier-Mail)

"Flannery flummery" - "TRUST Tim Flannery, Alarmist of the Year, to give us our daily laugh.

Leafing through yesterday's papers, I felt sure no story would beat the one filed from the blizzards of Washington: "House hearing on warming of the planet cancelled after ice storm."

But Flannery, fresh from backtracking on his call for an end to our coal exports, isn't famous for nothing." (Andrew Bolt, Herald Sun)

Along with the ketchup crowd bestowing quarter-million dollar "awards" to virtual world doom mongers this is still chicken feed -- think about the multi-billion dollar grant/funding/gift stream going into convincing you the world is not quite as hostilely cold as it was a scant few hundred years ago, that this somehow constitutes a disaster and it's your fault.

From Seth Boringtheme: "January Weather Hottest by Far" - "WASHINGTON -- It may be cold comfort during a frigid February, but last month was by far the hottest January ever." (Associated Press)

"Benny Peiser Handicaps Climate Politics" - "Benny Peiser kindly offered a number of comments on a recent thread in which we were less-than approving of the Bush Administration's trans-Atlantic diplomacy on climate change. In order to provide a range of perspectives on the current state of climate politics, which is very much in flux, we have asked Benny Peiser to expand on these comments and offer a perspective on climate politics, particularly U.S.-Europe relations. We welcome posting a range of other perspectives here as well, simply send them to me by email and we'll post them up. Here are Benny's comments:" (Prometheus)

"Doctors should measure the carbon footprint of their conference activities" - "Doctors must lead by example on climate change by reducing the carbon footprint of medical conferences, says an editorial in this week’s BMJ.

The threat to human health from climate change – through malnutrition, disease, and flooding – is substantial, and in some parts of the world, immediate. It is therefore ironic that doctors, for whom protecting is a primary responsibility, contribute to global warming through unnecessary attendances at international conferences, argue Professor Ian Roberts and Dr Fiona Godlee." (BMJ-British Medical Journal)

"Study Questions Prospects for Much Lower Emissions" - "WASHINGTON, Feb. 14 — As Democratic leaders in Congress prepare to put climate change legislation on the agenda, some in the utility industry are arguing that it will take decades of investments and innovation to get substantial reductions in their emissions of greenhouse gases.

Electric power companies, which emit about one-third of America’s global warming gases, could reduce their emissions to below the levels of 1990, but that would take about 20 years, no matter how much the utilities spend, according to a new industry study.

The report, prepared by the Electric Power Research Institute, a nonprofit consortium, is portrayed as highly optimistic by its authors, who will present the findings on Thursday at an energy conference in Houston." (New York Times)

"Global warming conference urges post-Kyoto plan by 2009" - "Washington - Lawmakers from 13 nations endorsed a statement Thursday pushing their governments to quickly develop a plan for reducing greenhouse gas emissions after an existing agreement ends in 2012. When G8 leaders gather in Germany in June they should agree on a framework to succeed the Kyoto Protocol, which aims to reduce emissions by 2012, legislators from the Group of Eight richest nations and five other countries said." (Deutsche Presse-Agentur)

Onya Andy! "Prince Andrew taking the piste" - "PRINCE Andrew landed in trouble last night after taking a private jet to go skiing on his way home from a conference on global warming." (The Sun)

"Canada vote reignites Kyoto row" - "Politicians in Canada's parliament have voted, by 161 votes to 113, in favour of a motion that would force the government to meet its Kyoto targets." (BBC)

"Canada Gov't Relents, Says Will Obey Pro-Kyoto Law" - "OTTAWA - Canada's government backed away from a legal confrontation on Thursday by promising to obey a law obliging it to lay out how Ottawa will meet targets for cuts in greenhouse gas emissions dictated by the Kyoto protocol." (Reuters)

"Big Oil Warns Biofuels Won't Meet US Energy Needs"  -"HOUSTON - Top executives in the US oil and electricity industries warned US lawmakers this week against relying solely on biofuels for energy security, calling instead for more domestic drilling, streamlined regulation, and access to foreign reserves." (Reuters)

"EU energy ministers can't agree on climate change target" - "PARIS: In a sign that even the fight against global warming may not be enough to unify fragmented European energy policies, EU energy ministers backed away Thursday from agreeing on a binding target for using renewable energy." (IHT)

"Government loses nuclear power case" - "The government today signalled its determination to press ahead with plans for new nuclear power stations, despite losing a high court battle with Greenpeace." (Guardian Unlimited)

"The judgment: 'The document contained no information of substance'" - "Mr Justice Sullivan quashed the government's decision to build a new generation of nuclear power stations as "unlawful" in a damning judgment which gives little scope for an appeal. The courts cannot interfere with government policy and there is nothing to stop ministers reaching the same conclusion again, but the judge ruled that the consultation exercise last year was "seriously flawed" and the process "manifestly inadequate and unfair". He said something had gone "clearly and radically wrong" with the report the government produced." (The Guardian)

"Now the fallout from high court nuclear reaction" - "Though yesterday's decision seemed to take ministers, Greenpeace - and the media - by surprise, the path to the high court ruling was littered with clues. For months, if not years, the government had been warned consistently by its own advisers, Labour backbenchers and scientists that the 2006 energy review looked like a charade, and that it had been set up solely to pave the way for a new generation of nuclear power stations, rather than to allow proper consultation." (The Guardian)

"German Govt Drafts Plan to Cut Power CO2 Emissions" - "BERLIN - The German environment ministry has drawn up a plan to force brown coal power plants to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions as part of an overall plan to cut emissions, according to a draft obtained by Reuters on Thursday." (Reuters)

"Germany Putting More Wind Into Energy" - "BERLIN - Germany is blowing more wind into energy with the setting up of new offshore facilities. Germany already has the world's largest installed capacity for wind energy." (IPS)

"Ethanol as Biofuel “Implausible” for U.S., New Study Says" - "Washington, DC, February 15, 2007— Ethanol is unlikely to have a significant impact on the market for oil the United States, and thus would not help reduce America’s dependence on petroleum. That’s the finding of a new study published by the Competitive Enterprise Institute: The Brazilian Sugarcane Ethanol Experience." (CEI)

"British Millers Worried by Impact of Biofuel Subsidy" - "LONDON - British millers are worried that government subsidies to promote biofuel intensifies competition between using grain for food or fuel and damages their industry." (Reuters)

"Australia: Green light on mine emissions" - "THE coal industry has won a landmark legal victory on global warming after Queensland's Land and Resources Tribunal dismissed attempts to force a new coalmine to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In an extraordinary decision handed down yesterday, tribunal chairman Greg Koppenol lashed out at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the Stern Review, which have in recent months generated huge concern worldwide about global warming. Mr Koppenol accused prominent ecologist and Australian Conservation Foundation president Ian Lowe of exaggerating the facts by a factor of 218 in his evidence to the tribunal." (The Australian)

"US: Slow Rescue for Famed River of Grass" - "TAMPA, Florida - Both the state of Florida and the U.S. federal government agree that the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Project (CERP), the largest wetlands restoration project in the world, is a critical endeavor that must be carried out." (IPS)

"Philippines Reviews GMO Rice Bid from Bayer" - "MANILA - The Philippines said on Thursday it was reviewing an application by a division of Bayer AG for the domestic sale of genetically modified (GMO) rice for food and animal feed." (Reuters)

"Effects of genetically engineered alfalfa cultivate a debate" - "SAN FRANCISCO — The government was premature in deregulating production of alfalfa that is genetically engineered to resist a weed-killing herbicide, a federal judge ruled Wednesday." (Elizabeth Weise, USA TODAY)

February 15, 2007

IRIN In-Depth -- Killer Number One: The fight against malaria (UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs)

"One billion poor suffer from neglected diseases: WHO" - "JAKARTA - One billion people in tropical countries are still suffering from debilitating and disfiguring diseases associated with poverty, but many remain untreated due to official neglect, health officials said on Wednesday.

Despite the existence of inexpensive and safe treatment, those who suffer from diseases such as leprosy, elephantiasis and yaws remain untreated due to a lack of resources and political will, said Jai Narain, South East Asia director of communicable diseases at the World Health Organization (WHO).

"These tropical diseases have been neglected by policy makers, by the research community and also by the international community," Nairan told a news conference at the start of an international meeting to tackle tropical diseases." (Reuters)

"Congressional Cures?" - "Two new bills before Congress are the culmination of years of drug company-bashing by a small number of activists. They will discourage drug development by making it more difficult and expensive and less profitable, at a time when an aging American population desperately needs new and improved medicines, and when pharmaceutical R&D is already ailing. Henry Miller explains what's at stake." (TCS Daily)

"Spinning study results — writers behind the scenes exposed" - "Clinical Psychology and Psychiatry has written a stunning post about the inordinate degree of influence that medical writers have on how study findings are written and presented — “perhaps more than the doctors who [are] running the study,” according to documents reviewed by Furious Seasons, a mental health journalist." (Junkfood Science)

"Coffee seen not to raise heart attack risk: study" - "NEW YORK - Drinking coffee does not appear increase the risk of heart attack, according to a study of older Swedish women, and it may even be protective. Seveal studies have examined ties between coffee consumption and risk of heart attack, but results have been mixed. Some studies have suggested a harmful effect of coffee consumption on the heart, whereas others have shown no link." (Reuters Health)

Hmm... "Consumers misled by food labels - report" - "Industry criticised over controversial new guidelines on fat, salt and sugar." (The Guardian)

... beyond telling people the kind of food a package contains the interest in what's on the label declines rapidly (most consumers don't give a rat's past "yummy" and "affordable"). What would be really misleading is the so-called "traffic light" system because there ain't no such thing as "good" foods or "bad" foods.

"Update: Miracle diet drug—more setbacks" - "Things aren’t looking good for the “miracle weight loss pill” being promoted by Sanofi-Aventis. As disclosed here at Junkfood Science, its safety and effectiveness shown in the research and clinical trials is considerably different from the heavily-marketed claims. In December, FDA made a surprising move and put Acomplia on a slow track to defer its decision for approval until June." (Junkfood Science)

"Scientists organize 'Amphibian Ark' to isolate threatened frogs from killer fungus" - "ATLANTA: The familiar melody of ribbits, croaks and chirps is disappearing as a mysterious killer fungus wipes out frog populations around the globe, a phenomenon likened to the extinction of dinosaurs. Scientists from around the world are meeting Thursday and Friday in Atlanta to organize a worldwide effort to stem the deaths by asking zoos, aquariums and botanical gardens to take in threatened frogs until the fungus can be stopped." (Associated Press)

Oh boy... "To cool Earth, just scrub the carbon" - "Billionaire Richard Branson recently announced a competition offering a $25 million prize for a plan to clean the air." (Eoin O'Carroll, The Christian Science Monitor)

... even if practical, do we actually want to take action to "cool the planet"? I don't. Despite the media's fervor we have no clear picture of what the globe's temperature is doing -- or why. Would we really be troubled if the tropics and temperate zones extended polewards? Hardly, and the tropics will be virtually unaffected by increased atmospheric carbon dioxide (beyond feeding bigger rainforests) because the tropical atmosphere is close enough to infrared-opaque anyway (mostly due to abundance of water vapor).

Activists have been somewhat miffed the IPCC's Summary for (by) Policymakers (AR4SPM) admits that the Antarctic is not behaving as global warming hand-wringers insist it must -- rather than heating dramatically as the most enhanced-greenhouse sensitive region on the planet, the Antarctic mainland is actually cooling and regionally the air is not transporting more moisture onto the continent as a warming atmosphere should, so no joy for warmers in virtually the entire southern hemisphere (maybe that should be "demi-global warming"?). While people have been paying attention southern hemisphere mid-troposphere temperatures have oscillated somewhat but gone, well, nowhere really. The northern hemisphere, meanwhile, shows a small step warming around the turn of the century -- neither hemisphere bears what has been called the "fingerprint" of enhanced greenhouse, which should be near-linear rather than a single trivial step warming in one hemisphere.

What a stupid game this "global warming" hysteria really is.

"The “First” Assessed Likely Range for Climate Sensitivity" - "One of the remarkable claims in the AR4 Summary for Policy-Makers was that they provided the first “ assessed likely range to be given for climate sensitivity”, which they reported as follows:

the global average surface warming following a doubling of carbon dioxide concentrations … is likely to be in the range 2 to 4.5°C with a best estimate of about 3°C, and is very unlikely to be less than 1.5°C. Values substantially higher than 4.5°C cannot be excluded, but agreement of models with observations is not as good for those values. Water vapour changes represent the largest feedback affecting climate sensitivity and are now better understood than in the TAR. Cloud feedbacks remain the largest source of uncertainty.

It seemed to me that I’d seen similar figures in the past, so I thought that I’d look back at prior assessments back to the 1979 NAS Report (Charney) and found some interesting results." (Steve McIntyre, Climate Audit)

"Ocean Albedo Changes Resulting From Variations In Solar Radiation - A Newly Recognized Climate Forcing and Feedback" - "There is an important new paper that identifies an ocean forcing and feedback associated with solar radiative fluxes. The paper is “Strong Relationship Between DMS and the Solar Radiation Dose over the Global Surface Ocean” by Sergio M. Vallina and Rafel Simó" (Climate Science)

"Senator lashes firms' global warming stand: BP America, PG&E Corp. chiefs are called climate change 'profiteers.'" - "The chiefs of two major West Coast energy companies -- BP America, which provides much of the Alaska oil that is refined on the West Coast, and PG&E Corp., parent of California's largest utility -- were accused of being global warming "profiteers" Tuesday because they are backing legislation to lower greenhouse gas emissions.

The accusation was delivered at a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing by the panel's senior Republican, Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe, who disputes widespread scientific consensus that emissions from the burning of oil and coal are causing the planet to warm.

"Some companies are coming together in an attempt to profit from government intervention where they have failed in the marketplace," Inhofe said. "They are climate profiteers. These companies will gain market share against their competitors while the economy flattens and jobs are sent to China." (Sacramento Bee)

"Christopher Horner Slams Al Gore and Global Warmingists on ‘Fox and Friends’" - "For those unfamiliar, Christopher Horner is undoubtedly a rising star on the conservative political landscape. A Senior Fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and the author of the new book “The Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming and Environmentalism,” he was a guest of the “Fox & Friends” crew Tuesday." (News Busters)

"Al Gore to Sound Off On Climate Change With Concert Event" - "Al Gore's next gig: concert promoter. Using popular music to bring attention to his pet issue of global climate change, the former vice president is planning a single-day series of concerts modeled after Live 8." (Washington Post)

"'Just-in-Case': How to Think About Uncertainty and Global Warming" - "What do we do if the global warming models are not pessimistic enough - if warming turns out worse than the IPCC and others predict? Arnold Kling offers a path forward for addressing the future and global warming." (TCS Daily)

"Hope for end of climate deadlock" - "Leading US politicians are meeting legislators from the EU, China, Japan and India to seek a breakthrough in the international climate deadlock. The meeting, organised by British-run parliamentarians' group Globe, is strongly supported by the UK Prime Minister Tony Blair. On Thursday, it will publish recommendations for a new world deal on climate change at the G8 summit. G8 leaders will be meeting in Germany this summer." (BBC)

"Proposed CO2 Emission Targets are Arbitrary and Too Severe" - "The European car industry cannot agree with the proposals made by the European Commission today on CO2 emissions from passenger cars. The proposals are unbalanced and damaging to the European economy in terms of wealth, employment and growth potential. The European vehicle manufacturers call on the EU Member States and the European Parliament to take the lead in the current debate and start a broad and fair discussion based on sound facts and figures." (DuMotori)

"Prime Minister an unlikely architect of a 'Kyoto II'"  -"You could hardly call Tony Blair an all-round environmentalist; during his decade in office he has had precious little to say on green issues that exercise many people, such as wildlife conservation, marine pollution, or recycling. But on the biggest issue - climate change - he has said plenty.

No one seems to know when or how Mr Blair realised that global warming was a key matter." (London Independent)

Actually Blair is the second British Prime Minister to ride the global warming farce to distract the punters and pretend to be a heavyweight in an issue of note -- the first was Milk-snatcher Thatcher.

Right... "Why the climate change debate doesn't matter anymore" - "Human activity may not be making as large a contribution to global warming as thought, according to a new theory that is bound to infuriate many scientists who believe there is now little doubt that mankind is the primary cause of climate change. However, business leaders would be wise not to let the on-going debate about the causes of global warming derail their initiatives to limit greenhouse gas emissions." (Green Business News)

... it doesn't matter that enhanced greenhouse is irrelevant, business should pay greenhouse extortion money anyway.

New skeptic site: Global Warming Hysteria (cooled) - "The claim that global warming is the result of human activity and not an entirely natural, cyclical phenomenon is the greatest deception of the 21st century so far - and a direct consequence of the politicization of modern science, environmentalism and the mainstream media." -- Peter C Glover, English writer on politics, the media & culture and site editor, Global Warming Hysteria (cooled).

"CLIMATE CHANGE: Brazil Has No National Policy" - "RIO DE JANEIRO - Brazil has no national strategy to fight pollution that contributes to global climate change, in spite of being part of the trio of developing countries, with China and India, that emit most greenhouse gases, experts and environmentalists complain." (IPS)

Flying thick & fast: "Senators tell global forum U.S. must lead on warming" - "WASHINGTON - Corporate moguls, policy experts and U.S. senators spoke with one voice about global warming on Wednesday, telling a world forum the United States must take a lead role in cutting greenhouse gases if it wants to encourage China and India to do the same.

At a Capitol Hill meeting that included representatives from the Group of Eight industrialized nations plus China, India, South Africa, Brazil and the European Union, Sen. John McCain put the case for action on climate change bluntly.

"The debate is over, my friends," the Arizona Republican said. "Now the question is what do we do? Do we act, do we care enough about the young people of the next generation to act seriously and meaningfully, or are we going to just continue this debate and this discussion?" (Reuters)

They don't say? "Climate Change's Cold Economics" - "With mandatory curbs on U.S. global-warming emissions looking increasingly likely in the next several years, industries are starting to argue over who will pay for the cleanup. One thing is clear: Whatever the cost, it will get passed along to consumers." (Wall Street Journal)

"US Offered Lucrative Lure Of Global Carbon Trading" - "Wall Street could become the world's center for lucrative markets in carbon trading, or be left behind if the US government ignores climate change, a senior British lawmaker said Tuesday. Ahead of a gathering of global lawmakers at the US Senate to debate action on global warming, legislators said the European Union's emissions trading scheme offered a model for the United States, China and India to follow." (AFP)

Meanwhile: "Carbon trading market going up in smoke" - "Two years ago tomorrow, the Kyoto Protocol for cutting greenhouse gases was born after an agonizing gestation, but there will be few birthday celebrations in the carbon market created by the United Nations pact.

As US states mull setting up their own market to trade in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, they are casting a worried eye on the almighty crash in the European Union's Emissions Trading System, the first and so far only significant market in carbon.

A year ago, CO2 was changing hands in the ETS at 30 euros (HK$304.30) a tonne, triple that at the market's launch in January 2005.

Today, a tonne of CO2 can be bought for little more than one euro." (AFP)

"New Zealand aims to be greenest country" - "The New Zealand Prime Minister, Helen Clark, has pledged that her small nation will be the first in the world to wipe out its contribution to climate change. Ms Clark, leader of a country that prides itself on its green image, set New Zealand the ambitious goal of becoming "carbon neutral" - reducing its net emissions of greenhouse gases to zero." (Independent)

The de facto Eighth State of Australia doesn't have any industry to speak of, it's basically a farm with significant timber stands, what does Clark think they are going to do -- fit their livestock with catalytic converters?

"NZ: Hands off our carbon credits!" - "The Gisborne economy will lose up to $2 billion from the Government’s planned confiscation of Kyoto carbon credits, the Kyoto Forestry Association (KFA) said yesterday.

Members of the KFA and other forestry industry organisations are expected to turn out in force in Gisborne today for the first of a series of meetings where government officials will consult on the Government’s controversial proposed climate change policy discussion paper.

"For the Gisborne region, with its 105,000 hectares of post-1990 forests, the losses are estimated at $1.3 billion to $2 billion — depending on the market value of the carbon credits in future years," KFA spokesman Roger Dickie said.

"Gisborne can’t afford to have $1.3 billion ripped out of its economy by the Government."

An advertisement placed in The Gisborne Herald by the KFA states "The carbon credit thieves are coming"." (Gisborne Herald)

"NZ: Torching Trees Raised In Carbon Credit Dispute" - "A forestry lobby group has raised the spectre of forest owners torching their trees to prove a point about property rights as the war of words over control of potentially valuable carbon credits escalated today.

Kyoto Forestry Association spokesman Roger Dickie issued a fierce statement accusing Climate Change Minister David Parker of using personal smears, and claiming the Government was confiscating forest owners’ carbon credits, which he says are a property right.

Forest owners created the credits by investing their own money in trees, and controlled whether the credits continued to exist, he said.

“Mr Parker needs to ask himself what would happen if forest owners exercised their legal right to take chainsaws or matches to their trees right now,” Mr Dickie said." (Newsroom)

"Canada: House votes to force Canada's Kyoto compliance" - "OTTAWA - Canada's House of Commons passed a bill on Wednesday designed to force the minority Conservative government to achieve the steep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions required by the Kyoto Protocol on climate change. It was the latest in a series of initiatives in Parliament to press the government to take tougher action to fight global warming but, unlike previous nonbinding motions, this would carry the force of law if it eventually passes all stages." (Reuters)

"The TierneyLab $0.00 Earth Challenge" - "Unlike Richard Branson, I can’t offer you $25 million for saving humanity from global warming. But think of the fame, the sheer glory, of posting your plan for the Lab’s readers." (New York Times)

"Climate change puts ski resorts on slippery slope" - "Traditional ski holidays could be a thing of the past in 25 years, with climate change bringing a dramatic decrease in snow cover at resorts in the Alps and the US, a report warned today. This year has already seen a dearth of snow in some destinations, and rising global temperatures are expected to further reduce snowfall and lead to an increase in extreme phenomena such as avalanches and landslides." (Guardian Unlimited)

"Tibetan shepherds welcome climate change" - "Global warming is melting the snows and glaciers — and the peasant farmers of the Tibetan plateau are delighted." (London Telegraph)

So this is what the global warming boogeyman has brought us to: "Coal debate generates high-dollar ad campaigns" - "A teddy-bear-clutching child kept safe from monsters by an electric night light and a coal-smudged face from a Dickensian nightmare of grime and death: These are the opposing emotional icons in the biggest environmental-business war in Texas history.

Once the province of mostly insiders, the politics of Texas power and pollution have moved suddenly into the living rooms of millions of Texans, who are being pummeled by high-dollar ads for and against a fleet of proposed coal-burning power plants." (Dallas Morning News)

"German government to hammer out 'carbon neutral' travel plan for ministers" - "BERLIN: Chancellor Angela Merkel plans to make travel by German ministers "carbon neutral" by compensating for carbon dioxide emissions, an official said Wednesday. Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel has been tasked with coming up with a plan to find ways to offset carbon dioxide emissions caused by ministers flying or driving for official duties, government spokesman Ulrich Wilhelm said. No details have yet been given by the government, but similar plans have awarded money to climate projects in developing countries." (Associated Press)

"Livingstone’s £8 zone heads west, but traffic jams are as bad as ever" - "Congestion in central London is almost as bad as it was before the daily charge was introduced four years ago, according to official figures.

Traffic delays have risen sharply in the past two years and will rise further next week when the zone doubles in size with a westwards extension into Kensington and Chelsea, Transport for London said.

The loss of most of the benefits of congestion charging is causing concern in other cities that have been considering whether to follow London’s lead.

Ken Livingstone, the Mayor of London, is so concerned by the rise in delays that he is planning to bring forward the introduction of a £25 daily charge for vehicles with high emissions from 2010 to June or July 2008. Almost a fifth of vehicles (18 per cent) that currently pay the £8 charge will be liable for the new top rate, which applies to cars in band G for road tax." (London Times)

"Power generator seeks nuclear allies" - "British Energy has invited potential partners to submit proposals to build a new generation of nuclear power stations on its sites. Bill Coley, chief executive of British Energy, said he had already had informal discussions and was now launching a formal consultation to find several joint venture partners." (London Telegraph)

"Conservatives lose latest Darwin battle in Kansas" - "TOPEKA, Kansas - The Kansas Board of Education on Tuesday threw out science standards deemed hostile to evolution, undoing the work of Christian conservatives in the ongoing battle over what to teach U.S. public school students about the origins of life.

The board in the central U.S. state voted 6-4 to replace them with teaching standards that mirror the mainstream in science education and eliminate criticisms of evolutionary theory.

"I'm glad we've taken this step. If we are going to have a well-educated populace, this is important," said board member Sue Gamble.

Similar efforts to weaken the teaching of evolution in public schools have occurred throughout the United States including Pennsylvania, Michigan, Kentucky and Georgia.

But Kansas has been in the forefront of the debate since 1999, when the board voted to sharply reduce the emphasis of evolution in science instruction. A public backlash ultimately led to a reversal of that revision.

The new standards, set to take effect immediately, replace those put in place in 2005 by a conservative majority of the board who challenged the validity of evolution and called it incompatible with religious doctrine." (Reuters)

"Food or Filth? The European Paradox" - "A major conclusion of "The Tolerance of Food Contamination in Europe" (download article) is that the European Union does not regulate food ingredients which, in the US, would be considered "filth." This seems at first to be an impossible conclusion, as it claims proof of a negative. Yet, that is the conclusion, and it's not because these regulations have not yet been found. Rather, it's because the European Union has specifically exempted such ingredients from regulation.

Even after reading the European legislation which exempts "extraneous matter, such as, for example, insect fragments, animal hair, etc." from regulation, it remains difficult to believe. It becomes more understandable, though hardly more palatable, when placed in the context of the trade issues involved. In short, Europe has lowered its food standards in order to lower trade barriers between member nations. Scarcely anything could make this more explicit than the Commission's declaration that trade disturbances based on the Precautionary Principle are problems which Europe must enact laws to prevent. Even so, there is something more explicit: the food regulation designed to address the 'problem of precaution' declares these contaminants are "not food," and therefore, not subject to restrictions on food." (Andrew Apel, CropGen)

"Whole Foods says no to cloned meat" - "AUSTIN, Texas, Feb. 14 -- One of the largest natural and organic grocery chains in the United States says it will not sell meat or milk from cloned animals or their offspring.

"Whole Foods believes any food derived from cloned animals and offspring should be required to be labeled as such to allow consumers to make informed decisions on the meat and milk that they buy," Margaret Wittenberg, vice president for communications and quality standards for chain, based in Austin, Texas, told the Austin American-Statesman.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a report in December saying meat and milk from cloned animals and their offspring are safe to eat and do not require extra labeling." (UPI)

February 14, 2007

"Judging Asbestos" - "Asbestos bankruptcies have become a favorite trial-lawyer scam in part because judges have been reluctant to police fraud in their own courts. So it's a milestone that two more federal judges have issued opinions exposing these shakedowns." (Wall Street Journal) | .pdf for those lacking access

"Wrath of the Regulators: The Burdens of Big Government" - "Last month, the National Research Council (NRC) — an affiliate of the National Academies of Sciences — rebuked the White House for trying to bring reason to regulatory policy. At issue is the recent Proposed Risk Assessment Bulletin, put out by the White House’s Office of Management and Budget.

The bulletin was designed to comply with the Federal Data Quality Act, which demands that OMB work to improve data used by federal agencies in regulatory proceedings. The bulletin focuses on improving scientific studies that agencies must perform before finalizing regulations that can reduce freedom and levy heavy costs on consumers. Certainly, the bulletin could have been improved; and the NRC could have provided constructive advice, as many other scientists and risk assessors did during the OMB comment process.

But the NRC’s objection is more fundamental. It reflects a larger policy trend — one that involves moving regulatory policy away from scientific, standard-based processes and toward mushy, precautionary-based regulation. This new philosophy essentially allows policymakers to regulate on a whim, because something “might” be dangerous to someone, somewhere." (Angela Logomasini, National Review Online)

"Limits on antibiotics go back to Congress" - "A years-long battle to end the widespread practice of adding antibiotics to animal feed is headed back to Congress.

Prominent doctor groups are backing bills, one of which was introduced Monday, that they say are necessary to keep antibiotics working effectively for humans. The American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and others point to a body of research indicating that overuse of antibiotics in animal feed has led to the development of hard-to-kill germs.

The result, they contend, is that doctors are running out of treatment options." (The Oregonian)

Oddly enough we've just had definitive research showing over-prescribing in people is causing resistance:

"Exposure to antibiotics linked to resistance"
- "LONDON - Exposure to common antibiotics used to treat respiratory infections can increase resistance to the drugs, Belgian scientists said on Friday. The emergence of bacteria that do not respond to antibiotics is a major health problem. Overuse of the drugs has been blamed for the development of so-called superbugs, which are resistant to the most powerful antibiotics. But trying to prove it has been difficult.

In a study that looked at the impact of the drugs on individuals, Professor Herman Goossens of University Hospital in Antwerp showed a single course of a drug can lead to a build-up in resistance. "Exposure to the antibiotics was the strongest variable and this was independently associated with resistance," said Goossens, a microbiologist. He and his team analyzed the use of macrolide antibiotics, widely used drugs in primary care to treat ear, throat and lung infections."

Doctors are always looking to place the blame elsewhere but prescription mills (and the consumers who demand them) seem to be the largest part of the problem.

 claims that dangerous pesticides threaten the health of flower-growers in Colombia may come between the two.

The latest scare takes aim at pesticides that keep Colombia's flowers bug-free. There is no evidence that proves that exposure to pesticides at trace levels cause any adverse health effects. (See our report Traces of Environmental Chemicals in the Human Body: Are They a Risk to Health?) Accidents leading to injury or other adverse health effects involving high doses of chemicals do happen from time to time, and every effort should be made to protect workers from this happening. However, no causal link between low-level exposure to pesticides and health outcomes, such as cancer, has been established." (Molly Lee, ACSH)

"Rumor versus facts" - "When statements are repeated often and everywhere, they become conventional wisdom. Yet, how often do we go to the source to learn if they are accurate?" (Junkfood Science)

"Concentrations of certain toxins in breast milk are low, study finds" - "COLUMBUS , Ohio – Nursing mothers worried about passing harmful chemicals to their infants through breast milk should be aware that the air inside their home may pose a greater health risk.

Researchers from Ohio State and Johns Hopkins universities measured the levels of harmful gases called "volatile organic compounds" (VOCs) in human milk and in the air inside the homes of three lactating mothers in inner-city Baltimore.

A nursing infant's exposure to VOCs from indoor air was 25- to 135-fold higher than what that infant ingested through breast milk. In fact, levels found in milk were far below the U.S. EPA's maximum contaminant levels for drinking water.

"I was worried that we were going to see a much larger contribution from milk, so I am tremendously relieved by these findings," said Timothy Buckley, the study's senior author and an associate professor of public health at Ohio State." (Ohio State University )

"When clever wording can lead us to jump to the wrong conclusions" - "A recent news story made it sound like a new study supported what everyone believes to be true: that skipping breakfast and eating fast food makes teens fat. It was written from a press release, as most news stories are, and both led with the headline: No breakfast and frequent fast food leads to extra pounds in aging teens

This is one of the most cleverly-worded journal articles I’ve seen in awhile and its findings weren’t anything like the impression we were left with. Yet once again, no reporter appears to have actually read the study to give us the straight scoop." (Junkfood Science)

"Forget bird flu: mad publicity disease is much more scary" - "Despite the hysteria, the mass cull in Suffolk had nothing to do with public safety and everything to do with industry interests." (Simon Jenkins, The Guardian)

The land of fruits and nuts: "Legislators want healthier menu: Bills push bans, disclosures in restaurants, schools, stores" - "Here's something to chew on: If several California lawmakers get their way, how you eat might be changed for good. Food made from cloned animals would be labeled. Menus would be filled with fat percentages, sodium contents and calorie counts. And trans fats would be banned. The bills, introduced in recent weeks, seek to promote healthier eating -- or at least better awareness of what's in food." (Sacramento Bee)

"The Harmful Side Effect We Never Hear About" - "Recently, beleaguered by congressional and other critics, the FDA has been pedaling as fast as it can to demonstrate its commitment to drug safety -- but without at all addressing a far more pervasive, more intransigent problem: unwise, unproductive, risk-averse regulation that itself has severe side effects. Henry Miller with the first of two articles on the present and future of the FDA." (Henry I. Miller, TCS Daily)

"Experts question theory on global warming" - "Believe it or not. There are only about a dozen scientists working on 9,575 glaciers in India under the aegis of the Geological Society of India. Is the available data enough to believe that the glaciers are retreating due to global warming?

Some experts have questioned the alarmists theory on global warming leading to shrinkage of Himalayan glaciers. VK Raina, a leading glaciologist and former ADG of GSI is one among them.

He feels that the research on Indian glaciers is negligible. Nothing but the remote sensing data forms the basis of these alarmists observations and not on the spot research.

Raina told the Hindustan Times that out of 9,575 glaciers in India, till date, research has been conducted only on about 50. Nearly 200 years data has shown that nothing abnormal has occurred in any of these glaciers." (Hindustan Times)

"Greenland Redux" - "Ah, nothing like global warming to stimulate a nice cool-headed exchange of views. Let me first address a recurring question from commenters on my post on the slowdown of melting in Greenland: No, Exxon Mobil did not pay me anything for it. And for the record, the above pictures of a glacier — one of the two in the Greenland report I described –came to me not from an oil company but from the Ian Howat, the lead author of the paper in the new Science." (John Tierney, New York Times)

"More Bad News about El Nino" - "World Climate Report has brought you many essays regarding articles in the scientific literature with results that challenge popular perceptions about global warming and El Niño. Don’t look now, but, predictably, this year’s El Niño has brought with it its share of climate change/impact associations. (We wonder what happened to that warm winter that El Niño was thought responsible for?)." (WCR)

"Comments By Herbert S. Saffir On Hurricane Katrina" - "Herbert S. Saffir is recognized internationally as one of the most outstanding experts on the relationship of property damage due to hurricanes. His expertise was used to create the well-known Saffir-Simpson scale of hurricane intensity. With his permission, I have reproduced a summary of his conclusions on the intensity of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans." (Climate Science)

Thursday: "The Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming" - "For decades, environmentalism has been the Left's best excuse for increasing government control over our actions. It's for Mother Earth! It's for the children! It's for the whales! But until now, the doomsday-scenario environmental scares haven't been large enough to justify the lifestyle restrictions they want to impose. Manipulation of “global warming,” however, is the ideal scare campaign for those who hate capitalism and love big government. Horner posits that the massive global warming hysteria reveals the full anti-American, anti-capitalist, and anti-human agenda of today's environmentalists. He reviews the ten top global warming myths, carefully examining the evidence to determine how much warming there really is and what is actually causing it. And, he argues, it’s time to stand up to the environmentalist industry and insist: human beings are not the enemy." (CEI)

Contemporary 'monkey wrenching': "Investors turn up heat over carbon emissions" - "One investor group has labeled 10 companies as 'laggards' in responding to climate change." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"On Behalf of Jeff Immelt and the Other Sane People at GE, I Say... [expletive deleted] you." - "Why is so GE afraid of a little transparency?

The publicly-traded Free Enterprise Action Fund wants GE shareholders to vote on a proposal to require GE management to explain why GE is lobbying in favor of economically-restrictive global warming regulations.

The Free Enterprise Action Fund also wants shareholders to vote on asking GE management to consider whether the global warming policies GE is publicly advocating would be good for GE's bottom line.

Reasonable request, right? Just a little transparency, and a little thinking things through. The proposal doesn't even ask GE to change its policy -- just to explain it.

GE's management doesn't think it is reasonable at all." (National Center)

"US diplomat attacks EU's 'goofy' emissions policy" - "Washington's top diplomat in Europe has launched a scathing attack on the EU's flagship climate change policy, describing its emissions trading system as "goofy". Boyden Gray, the US ambassador to the EU, also warned that the US would not be able to participate in a post-Kyoto Protocol international agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions unless India and China agreed to participate." (Irish Times)

Post-Kyoto Surprise: America's Quiet Efforts to Cut Greenhouse Gases Are Producing Results - Kurt Volker, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs, Remarks at the German Marshall Fund (U.S. State Department)

"B.C. takes on the Terminator, plans to drop greenhouse gas levels 33 per cent" - "VICTORIA - The B.C. government is planning to outrun the Terminator, announcing Tuesday what it calls an aggressive plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 33 per cent - and possibly making it greener than California. British Columbia's plans appear to go farther than those recently set by California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a former movie star known for action roles such as The Terminator." (Canadian Press)

IPCC EXPERT REVIEWER DR VINCENT GRAY CRITIQUES 2007 SPM  - "I will therefore confine these comments to the aspects of the '2007 Summary for Policymakers' which I find the most distasteful. They come under the headings of unreliable data, inadequate statistical treatment and gross exaggeration of model capacity." (Climate Science NZ)

"Hysteria blocks debate: Credible scientists have alternative views on climate" - "Winnipeg Sun readers -- responding to a weekend column I wrote on global warming -- want to hear more from scientists who have an alternative view to the climate-change hysteria that's gripped Canada's mainstream media. So I found a couple. I'll find more if you want. I was complaining in my piece that we hardly ever hear from scientists who don't accept the theory that humans are causing global warming. They're out there -- PhDs in earth science and meteorology who teach and do research at reputable universities -- who dispute claims by environmental groups that man-made greenhouse gases are causing the Earth to warm. But we rarely -- if ever -- hear from them." (Tom Brodbeck, Winnipeg Sun)

Everybody's got to get into the act... "Global Climate Change is Topic of NC State Symposium" - "In light of a recent report issued by many of the world’s top scientists concluding that global warming is a almost certainly a human-made problem that must be addressed immediately, North Carolina State University will host a symposium on global climate change from Monday, Feb. 26, to Wednesday, Feb. 28." (NCSU)

... well here's a pretty party: Keynote Address: Elizabeth Kolbert, staff writer, The New Yorker; Panel Discussion: Elizabeth Bast, International Policy Analyst, Friends of the Earth; Andrew Jorgenson, Department of Sociology, Washington State University; Chris Russill, Department of Rhetoric, University of Minnesota (if that's a teaching position it'd be popular with students at exam time wouldn't it -- guess they'd only need to return the paper blank since all the questions would be rhetorical); importantly, a concert and; David Archer, Department of Geophysical Sciences (flogging his book on how "... computer models can predict the intensity and effects of global warming over the next century" -- something with which we vehemently disagree).

Stern Review Strikes Out with Professional Economists - Criticism of Climate Change Report Mounts (CEI)

"Global Hot Air" - "The political left's favorite argument is that there is no argument. Their current crusade is to turn "global warming" into one of those things that supposedly no honest and decent person can disagree about, as they have already done with "diversity" and "open space."

The name of "science" is invoked by the left today, as it has been for more than two centuries. After all, Karl Marx's ideology was called "scientific socialism" in the 19th century. In the 18th century, Condorcet analogized his blueprint for a better society to engineering, and social engineering has been the agenda ever since.

Not all the advocates of "global warming" are on the left, of course. Crusades are not just for crusaders. There are always hangers-on who can turn the true believers' crusades into votes or money or at least notoriety.

Whether the globe really is warming is a question about facts -- and about where those facts are measured: on land, in the air or under the sea. There is no question that there is a "greenhouse" effect. Otherwise, half the planet would freeze every night when there is no sunlight falling on it." (Thomas Sowell, Human Events)

"Global Hot Air: Part II" - "Propaganda campaigns often acquire a life of their own. Politicians who have hitched their wagons to the star of "global warming" cannot admit any doubts on their part, or permit any doubts by others from becoming part of a public debate. Neither can environmental crusaders, whose whole sense of themselves as saviors of the planet is at stake, as they try to stamp out any views to the contrary." (Thomas Sowell, Townhall)

"Weathermen cool to global warming" - "One of the few turns to the serious came when Mr. Webster asked the panelists whether they considered global warming a real threat. (You might want to stop reading here if you’re a die-hard environmentalist or Al Gore fan.) None of the four felt global warming should be considered scientific fact.

Noting that reliable weather data has been collected for only about 100 years, Mr. Johnson said, “You tell me you’re going to predict climate change based on 100 years of data for a rock that’s 6 billion years old?” And citing a recent UN report in which more than 600 scientists said there’s a high likelihood that human behavior is negatively affecting the climate, Mr. Johnson said, “Consensus does not mean fact. … Don’t drink the Kool-Aid.”

Mr. Nolan said the Earth has periods where it heats up and when it cools, and it’s folly to look at short-term data to form long-term policy.

“I’m not sure which is more arrogant — to say we caused (global warming) or that we can fix it,” he said.

Mr. Webster observed that in his dealings with meteorologists nationwide, “about 95%” share his skepticism about global warming." (Crain's Cleveland Business)

Gotta love 'em... "Sea level rise could hit poor countries hard: study" - "WASHINGTON - Even a small rise in the world's sea levels, predicted as a result of global warming, could make environmental refugees of some 56 million people in developing countries, a World Bank economist said on Tuesday. If seas rise as little as 39 inches (1 meter) this century, as forecast in some scientific models, one-fourth of the heavily populated Nile Delta in Egypt would be underwater, said Susmita Dasgupta, author of a report on the impact of sea level rise on developing countries." (Reuters)

... "as little as 39 inches" they say -- that's one heck of a "little" rise. What we might call "contemporary" rates of sea level rise are 4-8 inches per century, so they're talking roughly 500-1,000 years worth of sea level rise in their glib little statement. Makes for a very slow motion migration of "refugees" over a few dozen generations... quick, sound the alarm!

The Week That Was February 10 , 2007 (SEPP)

"Blair bypasses Bush to build a consensus on climate change" - "Tony Blair is to devote himself to fighting global warming when he quits power this summer by promoting an American rethink on the Kyoto protocol. He discussed his plans for a post-Bush consensus with Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, who has made climate change a priority for her presidency of the G8 and the EU." (Reuters)

"Blair, Merkel say fight global warming" - "BERLIN - British Prime Minister Tony Blair and German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Tuesday the moment was right to come up with new measures to combat global warming and vowed that the world's industrialized countries would push strongly this year for new emissions goals. At a news conference after a meeting in Berlin, Merkel and Blair said they agreed to convene an international meeting on climate change in May to prepare for the Group of Eight summit in the north German resort of Heiligendamm June 6-8." (Associated Press)

"PM to focus final effort in power on climate change" - "Tony Blair last night staked his legacy on achieving a post-Kyoto climate change agreement, saying he would do 'as much as I can' in the few remaining months of his leadership to deal with what was a 'greater challenge' than solving the crisis in the Middle East." (The Guardian)

"Exxon Mobil CEO: Climate Policy Would be Prudent" - "HOUSTON - Exxon Mobil Corp. Chief Executive Rex Tillerson said Tuesday nations should work toward a global policy to fight climate change -- another sign the oil giant is softening its stance on global warming. "The risks to society and ecosystems from climate change could prove to be significant," Tillerson said. "It is prudent to develop and implement sensible strategies that address these risks while not reducing our ability to progress other global priorities, such as economic development, poverty eradication and public health," he said." (Reuters)

"Exxon Mobil CEO: Focus is on oil, gas" - "HOUSTON - Exxon Mobil Corp.'s CEO says the world's largest publicly traded petroleum company is not in any hurry to find alternatives to oil and gas. If anything, the company must scramble to keep up with rising global demand for fossil fuels.Chief Executive Rex Tillerson said Tuesday that the company is spending the bulk of its record profits on finding and producing new supplies of crude oil and natural gas. Moreover, Tillerson said Americans should recognize that biofuels and other renewables will continue to play a small, if growing, role in the global energy supply for years to come." (AP)

"Exxon Chief Cautions Against Rapid Action to Cut Carbon Emissions" - "HOUSTON, Feb. 13 — The chief executive of Exxon Mobil, Rex W. Tillerson, warned Tuesday that governments should not rush into policies that could damage the global economy in order to limit carbon emissions." (New York Times)

"Public perceptions bother Texas oil executives" - "Exxon chief, other CEOs, experts discuss congressional wish list." (Dallas Morning News)

Hmm... "2006 was Earth's fifth warmest year" - "Climatologists at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York City have found that 2006 was the fifth warmest year in the past century.

Other groups that study climate change also rank these years as among the warmest, though the exact rankings vary depending upon details of the analyses. Results differ especially in regions of sparse measurements, where scientists use alternative methods of estimating temperature change." (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center)

... GISTEMP extrapolates 1200Km, the equivalent of taking New York's temperature in "Hotlanta" (the affectionate appellation of Atlanta, Georgia). Funny how GISS is apparently more reticent about taking the Earth's temperature -- they never seem to include these caveats in their press releases.

More from the virtual world: "NASA study finds warmer future could bring droughts" - "NASA scientists may have discovered how a warmer climate in the future could increase droughts in certain parts of the world, including the southwest United States.

The researchers compared historical records of the climate impact of changes in the sun's output with model projections of how a warmer climate driven by greenhouse gases would change rainfall patterns. They found that a warmer future climate likely will produce droughts in the same areas as those observed in ancient times, but potentially with greater severity." (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center)

For all the value computer models are when it come to future climate state prognostication this piece could equally well be titled "NASA study finds warmer future could bring Easter Bunny"

"Madrid Temperature Could Top 50 Celsius by 2100" - "MADRID - Summer temperatures in Madrid could soar to 50 degrees Celsius (122 Fahrenheit) by the end of this century if global warming continues unchecked, an Environment Ministry report said on Tuesday." (Reuters)

In the obstructionist corner: "Polar bear, walrus protection sought" - "ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Two conservation groups sued the federal government Tuesday, claiming regulators are not doing enough to protect polar bears and walruses against the combined threat of energy exploration and global warming." (Associated Press)

"Global Warming and Pseudo-Science" - "The forces related to the current global warming debate swirl with political agendas, even on the international scale. As it has evolved global warming has become much more of a political issue than a scientific one. Global warming is badly muddled featuring the exaggerations of the media, Hollywood, and Al Gore.  Apparently, they would do anything for the environment except take a science course. As a result the media, Hollywood, and Al Gore have not done well in their “science” movies and articles." ( Michael R. Fox, Hawaii Reporter)

From CO2 Science this week:

Global Dimming and Brightening: How has the two-phased phenomenon impacted climate change science as practiced by the IPCC?

Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week:
This issue's Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week comes from Disko Bugt, West Greenland. To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.

Subject Index Summary:
Drought (North America - United States: Entire): What can a study of droughts of the United States reveal about the degree of 20th-century global warming and its possible causes?

Plant Growth Data:
This week we add new results (blue background) of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO 2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature for: Membraneous Felt Lichen, Rough Goose Neck Moss, Sorghum, and Wetland Communities.

Journal Reviews:
Is the Global Ocean's Thermohaline Circulation Decreasing?: Climate alarmists keep telling us it could decline precipitously in the face of significant global warming. So has it?

20th-Century Drying of the Sahel and Southern Africa: Was it due to rising concentrations of atmospheric greenhouse gases?

Antarctic Ablation Areas Assessed: What happened to them over the past quarter-century?

Refractory Organic Carbon in Boreal Soils: Is it increasing or decreasing? ... or staying about the same? And what are the ramifications of the answer?

Effect of Elevated CO 2 on Lodging in Rice: Does it increase it or decrease it? And what are the ramifications of the phenomenon for grain yield? (co2science.org)

"The Price Is Wrong: Why Our Roads Are So Clogged" - "This week the Bush administration asked Congress for $175 million for state and local governments to reduce traffic congestion, in addition to the $105 million earmarked last year. One of the White House's marquee projects is congestion pricing, or charging motorists a fee for using a particular roadway based on its traffic volume at any given minute." (Joseph Giglio, TCS Daily)

"IATA Says Shorten Air Routes to Cut Emissions" - "GENEVA - Governments could do more to help airlines cut harmful emissions by agreeing to shorten routes than by slapping "green taxes" on air travel, the head of airlines body IATA said on Tuesday." (Reuters)

"Car Rental Co. Pledges $50M for Trees" - "OMAHA, Neb. — During the Dust Bowl in the 1930s, Arbor Day organizers planted millions of trees to stop devastating soil erosion on the Great Plains. Now, the Nebraska-based National Arbor Day Foundation has turned its attention to global warming and is teaming up with a company whose lifeblood is putting cars and trucks on the road. Enterprise Rent-a-Car Co. has pledged $50 million over the next half century to help the foundation and the U.S. Forest Service plant 50 million trees to combat deforestation, driven most recently by devastating wildfires in the West." (Associated Press)

"The desert is dying" - "Researchers from University of Bergen have found that trees, which are a main resource for desert people and their flocks, are in significant decline in the hyper-arid Eastern Desert of Egypt. In places more than 50% of the mature trees have disappeared between 1965 and 2003, while almost no new trees have been recruited. Despite extreme aridity the main cause of tree mortality seems not to be climate, but commercial charcoal production. This indicates that the traditional and sustainable indigenous resource management, which desert people have developed through millennia, is changing." (Public Library of Science)

The result of intensive, high-productivity farming: "Forests lure moose to Massachusetts" - "As land was cleared for farms in the Northeast, moose and other wildlife fled. Now that the trees are back, the moose are, too." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"Patenting Life" - "YOU, or someone you love, may die because of a gene patent that should never have been granted in the first place. Sound far-fetched? Unfortunately, it’s only too real." (Michael Crichton, New York Times)

"First Recombinant DNA-Based Suture Approved" - "TUESDAY, Feb. 13 -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the TephaFlex absorbable suture, the first suture to use polymer material isolated from genetically modified bacteria. Recombinant DNA technology allows scientists to produce chemicals from modified bacteria that would be difficult or impossible to produce using standard industrial methods, the agency said." (HealthDay News)

"GM yeast variety has no effect on wine quality, reveal new trials" - " A new genetically modified yeast variety designed for use in wine production has been found to behave similarly to the parent commercial yeast strains during fermentation, according to its manufacturer First Venture Technologies.

The biotech firm yesterday announced that preliminary findings from a number of separate fermentation trials during the 2006 fall harvest were in line with the company's internal testing.

First Venture Technologies' propriety yeast claims to be able to reduce levels of the carcinogen ethyl carbamate, a compound that can naturally occur in fermented foods and beverages, such as wine, beer and bread. The firm says its yeast can reduce levels of the substance in red wine by up to 89 percent, and in bread by up to 54 percent." (Food Navigator)

February 13, 2007

"Dangers of disinformation" - "Too often, the media and campaigners misinterpret scientific research in order to drive their own political agendas. One such heavily promoted fallacy is that climate change will lead to a huge increase in malaria. According to Professor Paul Reiter, an expert in insect-borne diseases, there is no evidence that backs up such a claim." (Campaign for Fighting Diseases)

Nice: "Law Blog Email of the Day, By Gibson Dunn’s Larry Simms" - “On behalf of Jeff Immelt and other sane people at GE, I say, ‘f**k you.’” According to the Free Enterprise Action Fund, that’s how retired Gibson Dunn & Crutcher partner Larry Simms responded in an e-mail today to a press release it issued this morning. The fund announced that it had triumphed over GE on a global warming-related shareholder proposal. In a blast email to the media sent today, the fund said the email appears to have been sent from Simms’s Gibson Dunn e-mail address." (Law Blog)

"GE Loses Bid to Block Global Warming Shareholder Proposal; Free Enterprise Action Fund Calls On GE to Justify Lobbying for Global Warming Regulation" - "Washington DC, February 12, 2007 – Action Fund Management, investment advisor to the Free Enterprise Action Fund, announced today that the General Electric Company failed to block the FEAOX’s shareholder proposal calling on GE to justify lobbying for global warming regulation. On January 31, 2007, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission denied GE’s request to exclude from its proxy materials a proposal filed by the FEAOX requesting that GE report to shareholders on the scientific and economic analyses relevant to GE’s climate change policy." (Press Release)

"CEI Testimony Reveals Cartel’s Motives: CEI President to Testify on Climate Action Partnership" - "Washington, D.C., February 12, 2007—The president of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, Fred L. Smith, Jr., will testify tomorrow before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on the Climate Action Partnership’s plan and the effects it could have on America’s economy. The Partnership’s plan includes the regulatory capping and trading of greenhouse gas emissions, in an effort to combat global warming. Mr. Smith will focus on the fact that “cap and trade” is not market-based, but rather an “ugly combination of two of the greatest ills to affect the market economy over the past 200 years—cartelization and central planning.” (CEI) | Testimony before the United States Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works on the U.S. Climate Action Partnership Report by Fred L. Smith, Jr. (CEI)

An example of corporate sabotage: "Companies Pressed to Define Green Policies" - "Tracey C. Rembert, the coordinator of corporate governance and engagement for the Service Employees International Union, acknowledges that Wells Fargo is the country’s largest purchaser of renewable energy offsets and has specialists on staff studying all of the implications of climate change on its businesses.

Still, Ms. Rembert’s union has filed a shareholder’s resolution asking Wells Fargo to specify how it is addressing both the risks and market opportunities presented by global warming.

She wants to know if Wells Fargo is lending money to companies that could be forced into bankruptcy because of greenhouse gas regulations, if the bank is financing new technologies for alternate energy or if it is offering consulting services to clients on climate issues.

“We want them to rethink their business, and set themselves up to take strategic advantage of climate change,” Ms. Rembert said." (New York Times)

Talk about misinformed: "Where's the Tory action plan on climate?" - "Parliament is supposed to serve the people, not the opportunistic needs of governments. So rather than manoeuvring for an early election, the Harper government should first bring forward its climate change action plan as the critical policy for Canadians to judge in the next election.

Nicholas Stern, the former chief economist for the British government, has defined the content of a serious action plan for climate change in his stark December report for the British Treasury.

If we are to reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions and stabilize them at about 550 parts per million in the atmosphere by 2050 (vs. 430 ppm now and 280 ppm before the 19th century industrial revolution), then it is urgent that we start as soon as possible." (David Crane, Toronto Star)

Readers of this site are well aware and newcomers should be aware, Stern's 'report' has been almost universally panned by both economists and serious students of global climate -- pretty much a manual of what not to do really. Of greater concern is the mythical carbon dioxide level -- where did Crane get 430 ppmv? Current level is about 380 ppmv, making Crane two or three decades in front of the curve. Wonder if that means he will now view the situation as significantly less urgent?

Both Crane and The Star need to be a lot less cavalier with the facts, don't they do any checking? Appalling.

More Buncombe: "Stern warns Bush over global warming" - "Sir Nicholas Stern, senior advisor to the British government on the economic impact of climate change, will today warn the Bush administration that America must act now to confront global warming." (London Indepdent)

"Time to begin 'adapting' to climate change?" - "The World Bank is hiring experts in 'adaptation' to a warming world. Coastal planners are starting to take it into account." (The Christian Science Monitor)

Yes, the climate always changes and yes, adaptation is a sensible strategy. The current hysteria and extraordinary indoctrination campaign is becoming somewhat tedious though...

"Inhofe Praises Czech President’s Courage in Confronting Global Warming Alarmism" - "Washington, D.C. – Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Environment & Public Works Committee, congratulated Czech President Vaclav Klaus for speaking out against the fears of man-made global warming. Klaus told a Czech newspaper on February 8, 2007 that fears of catastrophic man-made global warming were a "myth" and critiqued the UN IPCC process, calling it a "political body." Klaus also said other government leaders would speak out, but "political correctness strangles their voice." (EPW)

"Give global warming skeptics their say" - "Last week’s news coverage on the release of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was some of the worst journalism I’ve seen in a long time. It was due largely to a disease that inflicts journalists from time to time — an illness known as pack journalism. Pack journalism is kind of like a cancer that can grow rapidly throughout the industry, turning otherwise nosy, inquisitive and skeptical people — qualities any half-decent reporter should have — into obedient, vacuous soldiers of some political agenda. Like dogs, journalists sometimes behave differently in large packs, following each others behaviour with such wild abandon they forget some of the fundamentals of journalism." (Tom Brodbeck, Winnipeg Sun)

Brodbeck misunderstands, media are simply doing as advised by UK Left-tank IPPR in their "Warm Words" propaganda manual (.pdf, 32pp, 514Kb)

"Treating climate change as beyond argument

Much of the noise in the climate change discourse comes from argument and counter-argument, and it is our recommendation that, at least for popular communications, interested agencies now need to treat the argument as having been won. This means simply behaving as if climate change exists and is real, and that individual actions are effective. This must be done by stepping away from the ‘advocates debate’ described earlier, rather than by stating and re-stating these things as fact.

The ‘facts’ need to be treated as being so taken-for-granted that they need not be spoken. The certainty of the Government’s new climate-change slogan – ‘Together this generation will tackle climate change’ (Defra 2006) – gives an example of this approach. It constructs, rather than claims, its own factuality.

Where science is invoked, it now needs to be as ‘lay science’ – offering lay explanations for what is being treated as a simple established scientific fact, just as the earth’s rotation or the water cycle are considered.

Note that even IPPR place quotes around 'facts' when referring to 'climate change'.

"Marx Would Have Loved Kyoto" - "Canada's new leader is taking heat over an old letter saying Kyoto was a "socialist scheme" to redistribute wealth on a global scale. Was Karl Marx the first environmentalist?

Opponents of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who heads Canada's minority conservative government, have seized upon remarks he made in a 2002 fundraising letter to blast his leadership on the issue of climate change.

In that letter, Harper described the Kyoto Protocol as "a socialist scheme to suck money out of wealth-producing nations." He voiced his support for the "campaign to block the job-killing, economy-destroying Kyoto accord," an agreement he said was "based on tentative and contradictory scientific evidence about climate trends."

He was right on all counts." (IBD)

"Heinz-Kerry Money Went To Global Warming Advocate" - "Amid unfounded and frivolous charges that the Bush administration and the American Enterprise Institute are involved in pay for play science on Global Warming, it seems Theresa Heinz Kerry previously directed an unrestricted cash gift of up to a quarter million dollars to a nuclear scientist become climatologist, now leading the charge of doom-sayers on Global Warming. Additionally, one scientist recently quoted by the New York Times now appears to be disagreeing with his own extensive research and an exclusive preview of a soon to be published research paper from another Harvard scientist raises serious questions about a key item Global Warming proponents have recently enlisted in their cause." (News Busters)

Probably should read "... Another Global Warming Advocate" since Jim Hansen was also a recipient.

Really? "Study: Irrigation brings temperatures down... could help solve Global Warming in Valley" - "Using computer models, researchers from the UC Merced and Santa Cruz campuses determined that irrigation on farms causes summertime mean temperatures to drop. One professor says the study shows that converting Central Valley farmland to urban uses may result in "a much hotter Central Valley" in the future." (Bakersfield Online)

Actually Christy and Norris arrived at rather a different conclusion after actually studying real temperatures: Irrigation most likely to blame for Central California warming. (Irrigation-Induced Warming in Central California? .pdf)

Still discovering how much we don't know... "CO2 being pushed deep into the oceans" - "Atmospheric carbon dioxide is being pushed deeper into the oceans than previously thought, according to researchers. The findings mean the oceans may continue to absorb human emissions of the greenhouse gas more rapidly and for longer, they say, reducing their impact on global warming. But the research is bad news for the marine organisms that are already suffering from ocean acidification." (NewScientist.com news service)

... what really amazes us is that the inverted pyramid of "global warming" manages to remain perched upon it's apex, still piling fanciful assumption on wild guess.

What do we really know? Two things, basically: the Earth seems to have warmed slightly while people have been trying to take its temperature (the last few centuries) and; the atmosphere is now slightly less starved of the essential trace gas carbon dioxide because human action has recovered some that was originally lost to the biosphere, mainly through biological sequestration.

On these tiny trivia a mighty scare campaign is founded... amazing.

"Push for new climate treaty intensifies, hope seen" - "LONDON, Feb 12 - Intensive diplomatic efforts to agree the elements of a framework by the end of the year for a new global climate change treaty are starting to make headway, according to a European official close to the negotiations. The tone of the debate has changed in the United States and Australia -- key nations which rejected the Kyoto Protocol on curbing greenhouse gas emissions -- and German Chancellor Angela Merkel has made it a top target of her G8 presidency this year. British Prime Minister Tony Blair, with only months left in office and keen to find a positive legacy to offset the damage done by Iraq, is using his weight to help secure a deal." (Reuters)

"Time: On Global Warming, 'The Price of Inaction Will Be Enormous'" - "Magazine once again tries to tell readers that climate issue is settled." (Amy Menefee, Business & Media Institute)

"Weapons of Global Warming Destruction" - "Since 9/11, there has been an international debate concerning a battle of civilizations. After the attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C., many have categorized the war on terrorism as an epic struggle between East and West, a modern day Crusades if you will. In the few short weeks since the Democrats officially took over Congress, a different war has taken shape within our own borders, and has morphed into a potentially more important conflagration, at least for the time being." (News Busters)

"Canada Sets US$1.3-Billion Fund to Fight Warming" - "OTTAWA - Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, under pressure to do more on climate change, announced on Monday a C$1.5-billion (US$1.3 billion) fund to fight global warming and pollution." (Reuters)

"A Cool $25 Million for a Climate Backup Plan" - "On Friday, when Richard Branson offered a $25 million prize to anyone who figures out how to remove a billion tons of carbon dioxide per year from the atmosphere, Al Gore sat by his side and called it an “important and welcome” initiative. For once, Mr. Gore couldn’t be accused of hype." (John Tierney, New York Times)

"How Green Can One Get :The Virgin Airways Mitigation Prize" - "Flanked by Bill Clinton – yes, he of the Clinton Climate Initiative - Richard Branson, the president of Virgin Airways, last fall offered a $3 billion contribution to the mitigation of climate change, spread over ten years. Flanked by Al Gore – yes, he of inconvenient truths – Richard Branson now offers a $25 million prize for innovative technology capable of removing one billion tons of CO2 annually." (Climate Science)

:) "Extra Carbon Dioxide Causing Plant Attacks" - "The extra carbon dioxide from mankind's burning of fossil fuels has caused a new problem -- vegetation that is gobbling up the extra "plant food" and, in some cases, rapidly moving in where it is not wanted." (ecoEnquirer)

:) Dangerous Hot Air: The Truth About Global Warming - Generally speaking, there is a great deal of misunderstanding about how global warming really works. It's a highly complex and confusing phenomenon which the great unwashed like myself have a hard time dealing with. The problem is the common mistake of confusing the role of CO2 with that of the similar-sounding C.O. TUBE. Here's how it really works in a nutshell. (Terry Colon)

"Glaciers not on simple, upward trend of melting" - "Two of Greenland's largest glaciers shrank dramatically and dumped twice as much ice into the sea during a period of less than a year between 2004 and 2005. And then, less than two years later, they returned to near their previous rates of discharge.

The variability over such a short time, reported online Feb. 9 on Science magazine's Science Express, underlines the problem in assuming that glacial melting and sea level rise will necessarily occur at a steady upward trajectory, according to lead author Ian Howat, a post-doctoral researcher with the University of Washington's Applied Physics Laboratory and the University of Colorado's National Snow and Ice Data Center. The paper comes a year after a study in the journal Science revealed that discharge from Greenland's glaciers had doubled between 2000 and 2005, leading some scientists to speculate such changes were on a steady, upward climb.

"While the rates of shrinking of these two glaciers have stabilized, we don't know whether they will remain stable, grow or continue to collapse in the near future," Howat says. That's because the glaciers' shape changed greatly, becoming stretched and thinned." (University of Washington)

?!! "Cuts threaten work on climate change" - "Britain's world lead in climate change research is being put at risk by proposed government spending cuts - just as Tony Blair sets out on a mission to secure a new international climate treaty." (London Independent)

Britain leads in climate research? That's news to the rest of the world. It's true they do have the Tyndall Propaganda Centre -- that's something of a pace-setter in BS-proliferation...

"Burying emissions costly, inquiry told" - "EVERY coal-fired power station needs to be fitted with new technology to bury greenhouse gas emissions if dangerous levels of climate change are to be avoided, a parliamentary inquiry has been told.

Officials from the main group researching geosequestration - the capture and storage of emissions - told the inquiry yesterday that the new technology would be effective only if it was fitted to every power station by 2015.

But the Co-operative Research Centre for Greenhouse Gas Technologies warned that power companies would be likely to pass on the cost of the technology to consumers by raising electricity prices by 15 to 20 per cent. "Geosequestration will benefit the environment but there will be an increase in the cost of electricity," its submission says." (Sydney Morning Herald)

Carbonating the planet like some giant soda will not benefit the planet or people, it simply makes energy more expensive and denies the biosphere a small quantity of an essential trace gas.

Oh dear... "Australia to invest in greenhouse friendly fridges" - "CANBERRA - The Australian government will invest A$2 ($2.28) million in development of more greenhouse friendly chemicals for use in supermarket fridges. Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the money would go to the Natural Refrigerants Transition Board Ltd (NRTB) for a pilot scheme to trial natural refrigerant technologies in 150 supermarkets across Australia." (AAP)

Eye-roller of the moment: "It's like going to war: new carbon warning" - "AUSTRALIA needs a new "industrial revolution" to come up with an effective strategy against global warming, the Australian of the Year, Tim Flannery, will tell one of the country's largest unions this week. He will tell members of the Australian Workers Union that climate change has occurred so quickly the Government needs to think of it as like going to war." (Sydney Morning Herald)

"Alan Tudge: Greenhouse crusade rests on flawed logic" - "SHUT down our coal industry - our children's wellbeing is at stake! This is the message from Greens' leader Bob Brown, who argues that because burning coal emits large amounts of greenhouse gases, the coal industry should be shut down within a matter of years. Australian of the Year Tim Flannery has echoed Brown's position, while Labor's environment spokesman, Peter Garrett, has also singled out coal, effectively calling for the growth of the industry to be frozen." (The Australian)

"No Labor ban on new coalmines" - "LABOR has ruled out a blanket ban on new coal mines, despite environment spokesman Peter Garrett's warning that "automatic expansion of the coal industry is a thing of the past"." (The Australian)

"Germany Air Industry Embraces CO2 Trading - Paper" - "BERLIN - Germany's aviation industry has dropped its resistance to carbon dioxide emissions trading schemes and says it is ready to be included, the Sueddeutsche Zeitung daily reported on Monday." (Reuters)

"Britain tries to block European targets for renewable energy" - "Britain is trying to block new European rules that would set binding targets on renewable energy generation to tackle climate change, according to leaked papers." (The Guardian)

"Savings possible, but food prices could rise" - "SACRAMENTO – Long before global warming and $3-a-gallon prices at the pump, pioneering automaker Henry Ford designed the Model T to run on ethanol as well as gas. “All the world is waiting for a substitute for gasoline,” Ford told The Detroit News in 1916. “When that is gone, there will be no more gasoline and long before that time the price of gasoline will have risen to a point where it will be too expensive to burn as a motor fuel.” (Copley News Service)

"Blind Pedestrians Say Hybrids Pose Threat" - "The National Federation of the Blind says hybrid vehicles run so quietly that they pose a threat to people who can't see, and the group is calling on the auto industry to make the cars emit more noise." (Wall Street Journal)

"Researcher Cleared of Misconduct, but Case Is Still Murky" - "A professor who contends that nuclear fusion can be generated in a tabletop experiment has been cleared of research misconduct by Purdue University. But the refusal of university officials to answer any questions and their lack of detail in a statement released last week has left scientists to pore over the words like Kremlinologists, looking to divine meaning in what was said and what was not." (New York Times)

"Smithsonian grant to expand climate change research" - "WASHINGTON - The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute announced an $8 million grant Monday from HSBC Holdings to fund research on the effects of global climate change on forests in 17 countries. The funding will create a new Global Earth Observatory system by expanding the Smithsonian's Center for Tropical Forest Science in Panama, which is part of the Smithsonian's only bureau outside the U.S." (Associated Press)

"Smoking out the world's lungs" - "Getting into the rainforest in Kalimantan requires a bit of travel. A few kilometres by boat; another kilometre or so by hand-built rail-cart. As you move in under the canopy of trees, clouds of butterflies dart into the path, and the sounds of insects cluster in the air. But this is no virgin forest. This is a 10-year-old project to rehabilitate an area destroyed by logging." (BBC)

"Greenpeace locks down Kleenex headquarters - American company destroys Canada's magnificent Boreal Forest" - "TORONTO, Feb. 12 - Four Greenpeace activists have locked themselves down in the offices of Kleenex manufacturer Kimberly-Clark, demanding that the company stop destroying Canada's Boreal Forest. Others are broadcasting chainsaw noises and spreading woodchips in the corridors to further disrupt operations at the American company's Canadian headquarters." (CNW Telbec)

"Just how ‘charitable’ is Greenpeace?" - "Thomas Deichmann reports from Germany, where Greenpeace looks set to lose its charity status over its explicitly political campaigning." (Thomas Deichmann, sp!ked)

"Uganda: Malaria is a silent genocide we must curb" - "MALARIA has been around for so long that no one seems to mind its ravages. Malaria kills at least 320 Ugandans daily, mostly defenceless children below the age of five. It is the immediate cause of death in most of our HIV/AIDS patients." (New Vision)

"Scientists discover new compound that kills drug-resistant malaria" - "TORONTO, ONTARIO, MEDIA RELEASE--Researchers at the Toronto General Research Institute and Ontario Cancer Institute have discovered a synthetic compound that targets and kills malaria parasites, including a drug-resistant strain. Scientists at the Centre for Molecular Design and Preformulations, at Toronto General Hospital created a chemical compound in their laboratory that can bind itself to the malaria enzyme and prevent it from replicating. Their research paper entitled, A Potent, Covalent Inhibitor of ODCase with Antimalarial Activity, was published today in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry. However, clinical trials on humans are three to five years away." (CCNMatthews)

"Drug companies should not have a monopoly over clinical trial data" - "Data exclusivity—the granting of exclusive rights to commercial companies over clinical and preclinical trial data—could jeopardize efforts to create generic versions of life-saving medicines and harm public health, says Karin Timmermans of the World Health Organization (WHO) in an Essay in PLoS Medicine." (Public Library of Science)

On the other hand failure to do so acts as a disincentive for private enterprise injecting the massive amount of risk capital required for drug development, doing much greater harm to public health.

"Junkfood Science Special: Fears of foods, contaminants and modern life" - "Shinga at Breath Spa for Kids continued her investigation into the Allergy UK's promotion of food allergies and intolerance in the UK with an excellent post “On Wanting to Vent My Rage Following Sloppy Journalism: Food Allergy and Intolerance.” This is such an important issue that affects every aspect of health and well-being and I would like to expound upon it and add the American perspective." (Junkfood Science)

"Note from Dani" - "Last week’s articles on bariatric surgeries and what partients have gone through and are living with struck a chord with countless readers and healthcare professionals, many of whom wrote very moving letters of appreciation. Others wrote posts that took my breath away, such as this one and this one. It is heartwarming to know that the information may reach people who most need it and that they may be helped by it." (Junkfood Science)

"A menace to science" - "For years, 'Dr' Gillian McKeith has used her title to sell TV shows, diet books and herbal sex pills. Now the Advertising Standards Authority has stepped in. Yet the real problem is not what she calls herself, but the mumbo-jumbo she dresses up as scientific fact, says Ben Goldacre." (The Guardian)

"China predicts life expectancy will jump: report" - "BEIJING - The average life expectancy in China will jump 13 years to 85 years and all households will be lifted out of poverty by the middle of the century, Chinese academics forecast in a report issued in state media on Monday. The number of years a Chinese child spends in school will almost double to 14 years and an increasingly affluent population will spend a far smaller proportion of their income on food, the official China Daily said, citing a 20-volume report called an Outline for China's Sustainable Development." (Reuters)

"Cloning creates controversy" - "When the farming industry embraced artificial insemination during the 1940s, some critics argued that it would lead to animal abnormalities or destroy breeding businesses. Others proclaimed it tantamount to playing God.

Such objections have long since faded away, at least beyond the fringes, and the technology now is used to produce about three-quarters of all dairy cattle. To supporters of the Food and Drug Administration's preliminary approval of food from most clones and their offspring, a December announcement that sparked wide and vehement protests, the history of artificial insemination (AI) is telling.

"The information age changes the way that people can fan the flames of controversy," said James Murray, professor of animal science at UC Davis, who argues that extensive scientific research has shown no danger from cloned animals. "This is just AI with the Internet. It's a storm in a teapot." (Contra Costa Times)

"Roses are blue, violets are red: If you don't like GM food, try flowers instead" - "BEAUTIFUL flowers—like beautiful women—can separate the most sensible of men from their money. Those men invest in the reproductive organs of plants such as roses to signal, albeit coyly, analogous intentions of their own.

The result is a cut-flower industry in which roses alone are worth $10 billion a year. But that is peanuts compared with what happened in the past. In 17th century Holland, tulips (the fashionable flower du jour) grew so expensive that people exchanged them for houses. One bulb of the most sought-after variety, the flaming red-striped Semper Augustus, sold for twice the yearly income of a rich merchant." (The Economist)

"Researchers Developing New Science-Based Crops, Experts Say: Benefits of biotechnology especially could help developing countries" - "Washington -- Agricultural biotechnology research being conducted around the world is leading to the development of new crops that will help fight human diseases and increase productivity in cropland that is stressed due to such conditions as drought and poor soil. The research holds immense promise, especially for the developing world, according to several scientists interviewed by USINFO." (USINFO)

"Zimbabwe: Cotton Industry Urged to Invest in Biotechnology" - "THE cotton industry has been urged to complement Government efforts in funding research and development of biotechnology. Speaking when he officially opened a Zimbabwe National Cotton Association workshop last week, Science and Technology Deputy Minister Mr Patrick Zhuwawo said the industry should be at the forefront in promoting biotechnology. Industry should be the leaders of research and development in biotechnology," he said." (The Herald)

February 12, 2007

"The greatest myths of birth defects — Should unborn babies fear the environment?" - "One of the most heartbreaking situations is when a baby is born and something is wrong. The parents are in anguish as they search for a reason why and they so often blame themselves or fear they did something to cause their baby harm. Similarly, throughout the pregnancy, expectant parents worry for their unborn baby and fear so many things could cause their baby to be born with birth defects. Understanding the truth and the myths of birth defects is, perhaps, one of the greatest gifts we can give parents-to-be — both to help them know what they can do to help keep their baby safe and to lessen their stress by helping them understand when there is nothing plausible to worry about. Sound information can help to ensure that pregnancy and new parenthood is a time of joy." (Junkfood Science)

"Theft in Thailand" - "The crusade against drug patents was once fought in the halls of the World Trade Organization. No more. By seizing patents for HIV/AIDS treatments and heart disease, Thailand has asserted that governments have the right to take intellectual property whenever they please." (Wall Street Journal)

"Asian Patent Wars" - "The largest drug company in the world, Pfizer, has been in a bit of trouble lately. It recently announced it would fire 10,000 staff, close two factories and 5 research facilities. And the stock market has beaten up its share price. At issue is the paucity of new drugs coming on line. Poor management and bad luck may be in part to blame, with high-potential drugs failing at the last clinical hurdle. But some of the problem is the inability of Pfizer, and other innovator firms, to charge efficient prices for their drugs around the world.

To be sure, thanks to current threats to restrict free pricing from the new Democratic Congress there are substantial jitters in the industry. But perhaps even more worrying for the long term are the patent wars currently taking place in Asia. The future for efficient pricing may be weakening, not strengthening." (Roger Bate, TCS Daily)

"Exposure to antibiotics linked to resistance" - "LONDON - Exposure to common antibiotics used to treat respiratory infections can increase resistance to the drugs, Belgian scientists said on Friday. The emergence of bacteria that do not respond to antibiotics is a major health problem. Overuse of the drugs has been blamed for the development of so-called superbugs, which are resistant to the most powerful antibiotics. But trying to prove it has been difficult.

In a study that looked at the impact of the drugs on individuals, Professor Herman Goossens of University Hospital in Antwerp showed a single course of a drug can lead to a build-up in resistance. "Exposure to the antibiotics was the strongest variable and this was independently associated with resistance," said Goossens, a microbiologist. He and his team analyzed the use of macrolide antibiotics, widely used drugs in primary care to treat ear, throat and lung infections." (Reuters)

"Weekend food for thought: Mythology of health food and junk food" - "Everybody knows what is “junk food” and what is “healthy” food, right? The only sticky wicket is that what is popularly believed to be true doesn’t make any scientific sense." (Junkfood Science)

"The iNanny Alert" - "Here’s the bad news: not everybody is capable of multitasking on a city street. Some people, presumably sober, start weaving like pub-crawlers as they madly send text-messages from the crosswalk. Some turn glassy-eyed, their brains tuned to loud music or their vision narrowed to an empty space a few inches away.

Too many fail to see or hear that van coming around the corner or that wayward car, which turn out to be far more important to their health and welfare than whatever is on their electronic gizmos. So one New York politician has decided that the way to cut down on this obvious danger is to hand out fines of $100 or so for anyone crossing the street while in an electronics-induced fog." (New York Times)

From the 'too close to the truth' files: "Way of the world" - "Some experts claim the man has a bit of a cough, others fear a sniffle." (Craig Brown, London Telegraph)

Who'd a thought? "A Princeton Lab on ESP Plans to Close Its Doors" - "The lab made headlines around the world with its efforts to prove that thoughts can alter the course of events." (New York Times)

"UN forum makes limited progress on mercury emissions" - "A key UN environment meeting Friday agreed to launch partnerships between governments and industries to slash mercury emissions, officials said. Environmentalists have been pushing for a legal framework to cap emissions, but governments attending the UN Environment Programme's 24th governing council settled for partnerships, they said. "They agreed on an enhanced mercury programme, which will be focused on partnerships between government and industries to reduce emissions," UNEP spokesman Nick Nuttall told AFP." (AFP)

"EU aims to put environmental criminals behind bars" - "The European Commission on Friday called for stricter penalties against environmental crimes, seeking jail sentences of at least five years to be available across the EU for the worst offenders. Currently, member states individually define what constitutes a crime against the environment, but the European Union's executive arm considers that sanctions vary too much throughout the bloc and that many are too lax." (AFP)

"The green fervour: Is environmentalism the new religion?" - "In his new book Apollo’s Arrow, ambitiously subtitled The Science of Prediction and the Future of Everything, Vancouver-based author and mathematician David Orrell set out to explain why the mathematical models scientists use to predict the weather, the climate and the economy are not getting any better, just more refined in their uncertainty.

What he discovered, in trying to sketch the first principles of prophecy, was the religious nature of modern environmentalism.

This is not to say that fearing for the future of the planet is irrational in the way supernatural belief arguably is, just that — in its myths of the Fall and the Apocalypse, its saints and heretics, its iconography and tithing, its reliance on prophecy, even its schisms — the green movement now exhibits the same psychology of compliance as religion." (Joseph Brean, National Post)

Kermit was right... "It's not easy being green" - "Being a green consumer is hard work, according to new research funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). The study highlights a need for more practical help and incentives for green consumers, if we are to achieve a more sustainable society.

The University of Leeds-led study found that consumers who try to live a sustainable lifestyle have difficulty deciding which product to buy. "Consumers find that being green or ethical is a very hard, time consuming, and emotional experience," says Dr William Young. Apart from the usual issues such as price, reliability, and colour, they have the added complication of researching and weighing up all the environmental and ethical issues before purchasing a product, he explains." (Economic & Social Research Council)

... because it's strictly an artificial construct, one that is purely emotional and devoid of actual value. "Feel good" decisions do absolutely nothing for the world, they only line the pockets of scammers exploiting the gullible and the misinformed. If you really care about nature and the planet then you should concentrate on generating wealth because wealthy societies can afford to worry about aesthetics, the cosmetic puffery of "environmentalism," while the impoverished must devote all effort to food and shelter, viewing their environ through the necessary lens of immediate exploitation as food, fuel or shelter. Only when a society has met the needs of all its citizens and generated the necessary surplus can it make rational decisions along the lines of "that's a mine, that's a timber resource, that's to be leveled for housing and that patch is a set-aside ornament for wildlife/nature/park/recreation/looking at/just having because it sounds cool/[fill in any warm and fuzzy non-reason you like]...". Otherwise it's simply misanthropic bunny-hugging and there has to be something really wrong with those who value bugs or any critters above people.

The number 15 (Number Watch)

"Global cooling costs too much" - "Public policy is all about trade-offs. Economists understand this better than politicians because voters want to have their cake and eat it too, and politicians think whatever is popular must also be true.

Economists understand that if we put a chicken in every pot, it might cost us an aircraft carrier or a hospital. We can build a hospital, but it might come at the expense of a little patch of forest. We can protect a wetland, but that will make a new school more expensive.

You get it already. But in the history of trade-offs, never has there been a better one than trading a tiny amount of global warming for a massive amount of global prosperity. Earth got about 0.7 degrees Celsius warmer in the 20th century while it increased its GDP by 1,800 percent, by one estimate. How much of that 0.7 degrees can be laid at the feet of that 1,800 percent is unknowable, but let's stipulate that all of the warming was the result of our prosperity and that this warming is in fact indisputably bad (which is hardly obvious). That's still an amazing bargain. Life expectancies in the United States increased from about 47 years to about 77 years. Literacy, medicine, leisure and even, in many respects, the environment have improved mightily over the course of the 20th century, at least in the prosperous West." (Jonah Goldberg, Tribune Media services)

"The politics of global warming" - "Timothy Ball is no wishy-washy skeptic of global warming. The Canadian climatologist, who has a Ph.D. in climatology from the University of London and taught at the University of Winnipeg for 28 years, says that the widely propagated “fact” that humans are contributing to global warming is the “greatest deception in the history of science.”

Ball has made no friends among global warming alarmists by saying that global warming is caused by the sun, that global warming will be good for us and that the Kyoto Protocol “is a political solution to a nonexistent problem without scientific justification."

Needless to say, Ball strongly disagrees with the findings of the latest report from the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which on Feb. 2 concluded that it is “very likely” that global warming is the result of human activity." (Bill Steigerwald, Tribune-Review)

"An experiment that hints we are wrong on climate change" - "Nigel Calder, former editor of New Scientist, says the orthodoxy must be challenged." (Sunday Times) | ‘Blame cosmic rays not CO2 for warming up the planet’ (Lewis Smith, London Times)

"The Antarctic climate anomaly and galactic cosmic rays" (.pdf) - "It has been proposed that galactic cosmic rays may influence the Earth’s climate by affecting cloud formation. If changes in cloudiness play a part in climate change, their effect changes sign in Antarctica. Satellite data from the Earth Radiation Budget Experiment (ERBE) are here used to calculate the changes in surface temperatures at all latitudes, due to small percentage changes in cloudiness. The results match the observed contrasts in temperature changes, globally and in Antarctica. Evidently clouds do not just respond passively to climate changes but take an active part in the forcing, in accordance with changes in the solar magnetic field that vary the cosmic-ray flux." (Henrik Svensmark, Center for Sun Climate Research, Danish National Space Center)

"Cosmic rays blamed for global warming" - "Man-made climate change may be happening at a far slower rate than has been claimed, according to controversial new research. Scientists say that cosmic rays from outer space play a far greater role in changing the Earth's climate than global warming experts previously thought. In a book, to be published this week, they claim that fluctuations in the number of cosmic rays hitting the atmosphere directly alter the amount of cloud covering the planet. High levels of cloud cover blankets the Earth and reflects radiated heat from the Sun back out into space, causing the planet to cool. Henrik Svensmark, a weather scientist at the Danish National Space Centre who led the team behind the research, believes that the planet is experiencing a natural period of low cloud cover due to fewer cosmic rays entering the atmosphere. This, he says, is responsible for much of the global warming we are experiencing." (Sunday Telegraph)

Enviros want less love expressed, apparently: "Valentine bouquets 'are bad for the planet'" - "The Valentine's Day bouquet — the gift that every woman in Britain will be waiting for next week — has become the latest bête noire among environmental campaigners." (London Telegraph)

"Latest Government figures show that the flowers that make up the average bunch have flown 33,800 miles to reach Britain." What are they doing, adding the distance traveled for each individual bloom? Kampala to London is about 4,000 miles & one heck of a lot of blooms make the trip in the same plane. Sheesh!

"EU climate change efforts failing, says US envoy" - "Europe's carbon emissions trading system "simply isn't working", according to America's top diplomat to the EU, who has poured cold water on the idea that California might try to join a transatlantic scheme. In a defence of George Bush's record, C Boyden Gray, said the US was doing its share in tackling global warming and leading the world in developing technology to beat climate change." (London Independent)

"Congress tackles global warming" - "More than a dozen competing measures have been introduced in Congress on the issue of global warming -- some minor, such as creating incentives for biofuel research, and others more drastic, such as taxing automakers for selling gas-guzzling sport utility vehicles." (Christina Bellantoni, Washington Times)

"In Congress, Climate Talks Loom" - "WASHINGTON -- As he begins a series of hearings on climate change, the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee said he is open to considering caps on harmful carbon emissions and higher fuel-economy standards for autos.

... Starting tomorrow, Mr. Dingell's panel will convene twice-a-week hearings on climate change, with sessions expected to run through at least mid-April. The hearings will focus on the causes and consequences of climate change, as well as potential remedies. Former Vice President Al Gore, who has an Oscar-nominated movie, "An Inconvenient Truth," on global warming, will testify March 21.

A half-dozen different House committees have a claim on legislation addressing climate change, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi is moving to create a select panel that will cut across jurisdictions to focus public attention on the issue." (Wall Street Journal)

"Global-warming skeptics cite being 'treated like a pariah'" - "Scientists skeptical of climate-change theories say they are increasingly coming under attack -- treatment that may make other analysts less likely to present contrarian views about global warming." (Eric Pfeiffer, Washington Times)

"Dissent, Denial and the Holocaust" - "In a recent column Ellen Goodman says, "I would like to say we're at a point where global warming is impossible to deny. Let's just say that global warming deniers are now on a par with Holocaust deniers, though one denies the past and the other denies the present and future." See http://www.boston.com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2007/02/09/no_change_in_political_climate/

In so doing, she reveals that she doesn't comprehend the issues. More important, she trivializes the Holocaust." (Indur Goklany, The Commons)

"No facts, just emotion" - "Nothing corrupts intellectual power like the abuse of the language. Free speech becomes an endangered species when powerful words, misused, become shortcuts for specious argument and repetitious cliches trivialize noble ideas." (Suzanne Fields, Washington Times)

"Help Send the Media to Rehab" - "Our pathetic excuse for a national press corps wants the public to believe that the same organization that gave us the oil-for-food scandal can be trusted on its dire predictions of calamity from alleged man-made global warming. Sooner or later, journalists will be advising us to give homage to the earth spirit called Gaia in the U.N.'s Meditation Room so we can understand the rationale behind its latest climate change report. Unfortunately, as I have pointed out in a previous column, the science behind the latest report has not yet been released and may not even exist." (Cliff Kincaid, Accuracy in Media)

Letter of the moment: "Open and shut" - "Sir, I listened on Thursday to Melvin Bragg’s excellent programme on Karl Popper. Afterwards I heard of David Milliband’s remark that the scientific debate on global warming was now closed.

I am not sure if Popper would have laughed or raged — probably both. For him no scientific debate was ever closed, and he pointed out that the Newtonian “consensus” had lasted several centuries when Einstein came along and reopened the debate. Whether the “climate consensus” will last more than a few years before the debate needs to be reopened seems doubtful.

As I understand it, the climate modellers are using Newtonian mechanics to simulate a coupled nonlinear chaotic system. This raised questions as long ago as the early 1960s, and even the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s own Third Assessment seemed a little concerned. The debate is clearly not closed at all.

Popper was the author of The Open Society and its Enemies. He would surely have numbered among these enemies those who attack scientists who express doubts about the conventional view of global warming." (Tom Addiscott, London Times)

Uh-oh: "Blair sees climate change breakthrough as his grand finale" - "Tony Blair will hold a mini-summit with the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, in Berlin tomorrow amid growing optimism that he can crown his 10-year premiership with an international breakthrough on climate change in June." (The Guardian)

Hmm... "Blair has fixed on his legacy plan: Tony saves the world" - "Life after No 10 is to be devoted to lobbying for a new climate-change deal. Grandstanding? Maybe, but let's hope it works." (The Guardian)

... that's one of the most amazing things about the "global warming" farce -- every proposed action is highly detrimental to people, most severely the already impoverished and yet there's a cacophony of these exhortations to "save the world". The world is in no danger. People, however, are increasingly endangered by these wannabe "saviors".

"Weather anomalies strike the Andean region" - "A heat wave is causing a string of forest fires in Colombia, in the Andes glaciers are melting, in Bolivia rainfall is double the average and in the whole Andean region climatic anomalies are forcing drastic measures to contain further damage. Bolivia so far this year has recorded torrential rainfall and historic maximum temperatures as a direct consequence of El Niño phenomenon." (Mercopress)

El Niño? No, no, no -- they must mean "global warming" -- everyone knows that...

"Václav Klaus about the IPCC panel" - "Václav Klaus, the second president of the Czech Republic, is an avid tennis player. But today, he was a victim of a minor incident. Andy Roddick, owner of the fastest serve in the game today, hit Klaus' chest with a tennis ball. ;-) Although the bodyguards turned out to be useless in this situation, Klaus survived. This story hasn't prevented Klaus - who currently enjoys 82% approval rate - from deconstructing the IPCC climate panel of the United Nations. In an interview with "Hospodářské noviny", a Czech economics daily, Klaus answered a few questions (well, actually, the interview took place yesterday):" (The Reference Frame)

Um... no: "Untangling the global warming paradox" - "A strong economy is bad for the climate but allows space to deal with the problem." (The Guardian)

Climate is rarely benign and is best viewed as a hostile force. People's means of dealing with this hostile entity is through wealth and development so they have both warning of looming extreme events and the transport and infrastructure to get out of the way if needs must or at least suitably robust dwellings and service infrastructure to survive nature's inevitable assault relatively unscathed. There is no paradox -- a strong economy is people defensive, end of story.

Really? "Exxon Mobil has no more doubts on warming" - "Big Oil behemoth Exxon Mobil Corp. has dropped any pretense of questioning whether global warming is real. Now the company is seeking to position itself as an active player in efforts to lower greenhouse gases.

"The appropriate debate isn't on whether climate is changing, but rather should be on what we should be doing about it," Kenneth Cohen, Exxon's vice president of public affairs, told reporters on a conference call Thursday.

The call came less than a week after an international panel of hundreds of scientists said new research showed global warming was "unequivocal" and that human activity was primarily responsible for the most significant factor in temperature change — greenhouse gases." (Houston Chronicle) | Exxon Mobil Warming Up To Global Climate Issue (Washington Post)

Or is it just the VP of Public Affairs making appropriate noises?

There's hope! "Poll Finds That American High School Students Do Not Understand Climate Change Issues" - "HAMILTON, N.Y., Feb. 9 -- It's an inconvenient truth that would make Al Gore shudder: Despite an increasing emphasis at school and in the media on the causes and effects of global climate change, most American high school students don't adequately understand the issue, according to a national telephone survey of 900 students.

Even in a year when Gore's global-warming documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth," is nominated for an Oscar, the average high school student believes climate change has no consequences for them in their lifetime, according to the survey. The average high school student fails a quiz on the causes and consequences of climate change. Conducted by Hamilton College economist Julio Videras and his students in partnership with Zogby International, the national phone survey of 900, randomly selected high school students also indicates that home life influences students' "pro-environment" behavior much more strongly than school." (PRNewswire)

Students are apparently not so gullible after all. We arrive at this take by concluding that students "don't adequately understand the issue" equates to "don't agree with fanciful prognostications issued when confusing computer game output with actual data."

"G7 MEETING Steinbrueck says ministers fail to reach conclusion on climate change" - "ESSEN, Germany - German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck said G7 finance ministers and central bank governors were not able to agree a common stance on climate change and energy issues at their weekend meeting. 'We did not reach a clear conclusion,' Steinbrueck said at a news conference following the meeting. He said more preparatory work needs to be done on this subject before it will be addressed again by the G8 summit in June." (AFX)

So they're looking for... "Bill Clinton Visits The Faroes" - "Rumours are circulating that former US President Bill Clinton has accepted an invitation from the House of Industry to visit the Faroe Islands. The Faroe Islands Tourist Board were unable to confirm that a visit was about to take place but reported that Bill Clinton and the Swede Hans Blix, a former UN weapons inspector in Iraq, were apparently taking part in a conference at Nordic House in the Faroese capital of Tórshavn on 24 May." (Suite 101)

... WMD (Weather of Mass Destruction), according to our correspondent. h/t Dennis A.

"Vacuum cleaner for $25 million" - "Design a vacuum cleaner and Richard Branson will give you 25 million USD." (The Reference Frame)

:) "DHMO" - "Back in July of 2006, Dallas Mayor Laura Miller sent an urgent email to the mayors of DFW cities, asking them to support her crusade against TXU. In her letter she said that, among other things, these new plants would “spew 115 million tons of carbon dioxide” into the atmosphere, thus exacerbating the global warming problem.

I am opposed to Kyoto and all other efforts to reduce carbon dioxide because they are puny attempts to solve the problem of global warming. While carbon dioxide certainly traps heat in the atmosphere, its effect is miniscule compared to the Big Kahuna of greenhouse gases: Dihydrogen Monoxide (DHMO)." (Keller City Limits)

"Canada: Kyoto bill may force election" - "OTTAWA - A Liberal-sponsored bill that would legally require the Conservative government to abide by the Kyoto protocol's short-term targets will be debated for the final time in the House of Commons today, before going to a vote next week when it is all but guaranteed to pass. Constitutional experts say the implications of passing the bill could see Prime Minister Stephen Harper forced to choose between implementing measures to meet Kyoto targets he has called unrealistic or calling a general election." (John Ivison, National Post)

"Kyoto would kill economy, critics say" - "Critics say Canada has the capacity to meet the Kyoto Protocol targets it agreed to--but the cost would be a hobbled economy and millions of job losses." (Katie Rook, National Post)

"Kyoto would ruin economy, Baird warns" - "OTTAWA -- Canada would face economic collapse if the federal government pushed harder to meet its Kyoto targets, Environment Minister John Baird warned yesterday, suggesting the damage would be comparable to Russia's post-Communist fall." (Globe and Mail)

"Bay Street Week Ahead-Another Green Battle for Oil Patch" - "CALGARY, Alberta - The Canadian oil patch is circling the wagons again.

The ruts are well-worn, but the difference now is that the perceived offensive on the oil industry's financial health is from a supposedly friendly Conservative government with deep Western Canadian roots, not a Liberal crowd from the East.

The fear stems from Prime Minister Stephen Harper's minority government's new push to persuade skeptical voters, especially in Eastern Canada, that it cares about the dangers posed by greenhouse gas emissions and global warming." (Reuters)

Budget request time, again? "Australia: Grim toll in doomsday forecast" - "HEATWAVES that kill thousands, gigantic bushfires and regular 100-year storms are part of a frightening new climate change forecast for Australia. A leaked CSIRO report into the impact of global warming predicts a century of climatic horrors for the nation." (The Sunday Tasmanian)

"Australia's climate is changing: it always has" - "Tim Flannery has done it again. Recently given the status of Australian of the year for his scare mongering climate doomsday talk, he wrote this peace for The Age." (Gust of Hot Air)

Careful! "Australia: States see tax revenue in carbon trade" - "STATE governments are preparing to reap millions of dollars in duty from any carbon trading system as they work towards a national scheme designed to cut greenhouse emissions." (The Australian)

One of the most dangerous places in the world is between a politician and a bucketful of money.

"Australia: Industry needs shield from carbon market" - "Prime Minister John Howard said on Sunday he would not introduce a greenhouse emissions trading market if it made Australian industry less competitive. Mr Howard dismissed plans by the state governments to start a carbon market, saying a national market would have to be compatible with rest of the world. "I'm not going to adopt an emissions trading system in Australia that burdens our industries whilst allowing others that are less efficient and greater pollutants (sic) to get an unfair advantage," the prime minister told the Nine Network. A task force on emissions trading is scheduled to report to the prime minister in May." (AAP)

<chuckle> "Australia: Bob Brown's greenhouse policy" - "A GREENS demand that Australia's entire coal industry be shut down within three years yesterday rocked the growing campaign against harmful emissions. A coal ban would cost the nation $25 billion-a-year in export earnings, eliminate thousands of jobs, and switch off five NSW power stations. Prime Minister John Howard called the idea reckless and job destroying and Labor said it was absurd. But Greens Leader Bob Brown said it was necessary to reduce global climate change as Australia was the world's biggest coal exporter." (Daily Telegraph)

"Australia: Nervous Labor moves to reassure the coal industry" - "OPPOSITION frontbenchers yesterday insisted the future of the coal industry was safe, amid fears within the party that an aggressive stance on climate change could unsettle mining and power workers, becoming a potent election liability.

Still living with the political fallout of the disastrous timber policy pushed by former leader Mark Latham - which alienated blue-collar workers on the eve of the 2004 election - Labor yesterday rounded on Australian of the Year Tim Flannery as "irresponsible" for his plan to close the coal industry, calling it a recipe for massive job losses." (The Australian)

"Australia: Editorial: Warming threat stokes election" - "Labor's strengths on climate change will quickly swing to liabilities once their implications are understood." (The Australian)

"Australia: In election campaign, be alert for climate-change alarmists" - "THE MUCH-AWAITED face-off between Malcolm Turnbull and Peter Garrett - the two rising stars of Australian politics - took place on Thursday night on ABC TV and pundits called it a draw, despite differences in personal style. Nick Minchin thought Turnbull, 53, "walloped" Garrett, 54, with his intellect, while Richard Farmer favoured Garrett for his passion. Either way, the debate staked out the battleground for what is shaping up to be one of the federal election's most important issues - climate change." (Sydney Morning Herald)

"EU Hails German CO2 Decision, Coy on Permits" - "BRUSSELS - The European Commission praised Germany on Friday for showing leadership in the fight against climate change after Berlin decided not to challenge a tough EU cap on its carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in 2008-2012. Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas insisted the European Union executive had made no special deal with Berlin to win its acceptance of the reduced pollution limit. "What we shall do for Germany, we shall do for all the other countries. What we apply for other countries, we'll apply for Germany," Dimas told a news conference." (Reuters)

"MIT: Storing CO2 below ground may prevent polluting above" - "CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--A new analysis led by an MIT scientist describes a mechanism for capturing carbon dioxide emissions from a power plant and injecting the gas into the ground, where it would be trapped naturally as tiny bubbles and safely stored in briny porous rock.

This means that it may be possible for a power plant to be built in an appropriate location and have all its carbon dioxide emissions captured and injected underground throughout the life of the power plant, and then safely stored over centuries and even millennia. The carbon dioxide eventually will dissolve in the brine and a fraction will adhere to the rock in the form of minerals such as iron and magnesium carbonates." (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

"Greenhouse gas ocean burial can start Feb 10" - "OSLO - International rules allowing burial of greenhouse gases beneath the seabed enter into force on Saturday in what will be a step toward fighting global warming, if storage costs are cut and leaks can be averted.

The new rules will permit industrialists to capture heat-trapping gases from big emitters such as coal-fired power plants or steel mills and entomb them offshore -- slowing warming while allowing continued use of fossil fuels.

"Storage of carbon dioxide under the seabed will be allowed from February 10, 2007 under amendments to an international agreement governing the dumping of wastes at sea," the U.N.'s International Maritime Organization (IMO) said in a statement." (Reuters)

"Flying the cleanly skies?" - "Without a viable jet-fuel alternative, air travel in 30 years may be only for the wealthy." (The Christian Science Monitor)

But only if elitist Greens get their way.

"Oil industry finds hot rock resource" - "Major players in the oil sands, under political pressure to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, have quietly formed an industry-wide consortium to explore using heat in the Earth's crust as a clean alternative to natural gas.

The consortium, called GeoPower in the Oil Sands, or GeoPOS, plans to drill an appraisal well to assess the heat potential of granite rock that lies 500 metres below the Earth's surface. If the required heat levels are found, an "enhanced geothermal system" could be built that supplies the hot water needed for extracting oil from the tarry sands – a job typically performed through the burning of natural gas.

It could also deflate the nuclear industry's hope of building reactors in northern Alberta, an idea being pushed by the federal government and investigated by Husky Energy Inc. and France's Total SA." (Toronto Star)

"America goes to the top of renewable energy league" - "The United States has extended its lead as the most attractive location in which to invest in renewable energy projects. The country’s increasing desirability is directly linked to a conviction among investors that politicians are now firmly in support of renewable energy." (London Times)

"Finnish leader cool on N-power" - "NUCLEAR energy proponents around the world are looking to Finland as a role model for the industry in the 21st century, but the country's President arrives in Australia this week with a surprising degree of scepticism about nuclear power." (The Australian)

Crystal balls: "MIT experts foresee efficient ethanol production" - "CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--As the search for alternative fuel sources intensifies, more and more attention has been focused on ethanol-a fuel many see as desirable because it burns cleanly and can be produced from plants. In recent days, two MIT chemical engineering professors have weighed in on ethanol's potential -- Professor Gregory Stephanopoulos, in a Feb. 9 article for Science, and Assistant Professor Kristala Jones Prather, who testified during a Senate hearing on biofuels Feb. 1. Both professors expressed optimism that biofuels can become a significant part of the U.S. energy supply but said that much more research must be done before ethanol can reach its full potential." (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

"With biofuels, consider: Who suffers? Who benefits?" - "Biofuels, derived from everything from corn to French-fry grease, are being widely touted in corporate advertisements, news stories and recently in the president's State of the Union address as a silver-bullet solution to global warming, the savior of depressed rural economies and the key to reducing our dependence on foreign oil.

The apparent free lunch of crop-based fuel can't satisfy our energy appetite - and it will not be free, or environmentally sound. Dedicating all present U.S. corn and soybean production to biofuels would meet only 12 percent of our gasoline demand and 6 percent of diesel demand. On average, corn ethanol - the leading biofuels candidate in the United States - provides only a 13 percent reduction of greenhouse gases compared to gasoline. This advantage is lost if, as happens in South America, carbon-capturing forests are felled to make way for biofuel crops." (Des Moines Register)

"Dupont sees key GMO role in ethanol corn challenge" - "PUERTO VALLARTA, Mexico - New strains of genetically modified corn will play a key role in meeting soaring demand as U.S thirst for ethanol fuel cuts into supplies, a top seed company scientist said on Friday.

Dupont's Bill Niebur, the firm's vice president for genetics research and development, said demand for ethanol means the race is on to rapidly ramp up grain yields.

"We doubled average yields in North America in 41 years. We don't have that much time to make the next step," Niebur said at a gathering of grain exchanges, traders and consumers in Mexico. "The challenge for our plant breeders is to move that curve significantly faster." (Reuters)

"Biodiesel seeded by big crop yields" - "One of the big hurdles with the push toward ethanol and biodiesel is that U.S. farmers can't produce enough crops to actually make a dent in the oil needs of the country.

Put another way: If every acre of corn in the country were used for ethanol, it would replace only about 12 percent of our oil consumption.

Targeted Growth is working on that problem. And the Seattle company -- started by scientists at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center who decided to apply lessons from human biology to botany -- just secured $22.3 million to speed up research efforts. The investment follows a $10 million venture round last spring, with Chief Executive Tom Todaro saying that the company could have raised $60 million or more. Investors include AllianceBernstein and Capricorn Management, the investment firm of former eBay President Jeff Skoll.

"We had opportunities to raise substantially more than we chose to," Todaro said." (Seattle P-I)

A somewhat conflicted young man, we imagine: "Believing Scripture but Playing by Science’s Rules" - "KINGSTON, R.I. — There is nothing much unusual about the 197-page dissertation Marcus R. Ross submitted in December to complete his doctoral degree in geosciences here at the University of Rhode Island.

His subject was the abundance and spread of mosasaurs, marine reptiles that, as he wrote, vanished at the end of the Cretaceous era about 65 million years ago. The work is “impeccable,” said David E. Fastovsky, a paleontologist and professor of geosciences at the university who was Dr. Ross’s dissertation adviser. “He was working within a strictly scientific framework, a conventional scientific framework.”

But Dr. Ross is hardly a conventional paleontologist. He is a “young earth creationist” — he believes that the Bible is a literally true account of the creation of the universe, and that the earth is at most 10,000 years old." (New York Times)

"In Niger, Trees and Crops Turn Back the Desert" - "GUIDAN BAKOYE, Niger — In this dust-choked region, long seen as an increasingly barren wasteland decaying into desert, millions of trees are flourishing, thanks in part to poor farmers whose simple methods cost little or nothing at all. Better conservation and improved rainfall have led to at least 7.4 million newly tree-covered acres in Niger, researchers have found, achieved largely without relying on the large-scale planting of trees or other expensive methods often advocated by African politicians and aid groups for halting desertification, the process by which soil loses its fertility." (New York Times)

"Bush's farm bill outlines bold move" - "While environmentalists applaud some measures, farmers are concerned about financial curbs." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"Manipulating nature: Scientists query wildlife birth-control method" - "Professor Cooper also raises concerns that individuals that survive the vaccine may be more likely to carry infectious diseases with the potential to affect other animals." (University of New South Wales)

Mobilized Luddites: "NGO works to make villages free of GM crops" - "Amid agrarian unrest over special economic zones and crop losses, some NGOs are mobilising support to fight genetically modified crops. In Chitrakoot district in the backward and parched Bundelkhand area in Uttar Pradesh, where villages routinely empty due to migration, an NGO has persuaded 64 villages to pledge against growing GM crops." (Business Standard)

WEEKEND SPECIAL: February 10, 2007

WSJ's Sharon Begley should stick to health where at least she gets it less wrong.  - Once again Begley has ventured into climate alarmism with this piece (Friday, February 9, 2007, .pdf for those lacking access here). Once again, Begley has got it all wrong. (JunkScience.com)

"Glacier Advance and Retreat - Another Example Of The Complexity Of This Climate Metric" - "As discussed on Climate Science, when climate metrics are investigated in detail, the reality of the real world often conflicts with the pronouncements of the climate assessments. With respect to glaciers, this mismatch between reality and the assessments has been presented before (see and see). The weblog for today provides yet another example of the incomplete information that is being communicated to policymakers and others." (Climate Science)

"Shocking Facts about Sea Level Rise" - "One of the pillars of the global warming scare is that sea level is rising, the rise is accelerating due to ever higher global temperatures, and in the absence of some immediate policy to curb emissions of greenhouse gases, the sea level rise will inundate islands and coastlines throughout the world. Who could ever forget seeing the World Trade Center Memorial under water in Gore’s blockbuster movie? In addition, no fewer than 1.4 million websites are found if you search “Global Warming and Sea Level Rise.” Many would be shocked to find anyone daring to question accelerated sea level rise, and yet, as covered many times before in World Climate Report, the scientific literature is full of surprises when it comes to global warming and sea level rise. How many would believe that global sea level actually dropped for a period in the mid-to-late 1990s?" (WCR)

"Denying the Future" - "The Boston Globe's Ellen Goodman starts off a column about global warming on a loopy note:

On the day that the latest report on global warming was released, I went out and bought a light bulb. OK, an environmentally friendly, compact fluorescent light bulb.

Wow, Ellen, thanks for sharing! But a few paragraphs later she tries to make a serious point and ends up making a serious moral and intellectual error:

I would like to say we're at a point where global warming is impossible to deny. Let's just say that global warming deniers are now on a par with Holocaust deniers, though one denies the past and the other denies the present and future.

No, Ellen. Let's not "just say" it. Before we make a truly invidious comparison, let's think a bit, shall we?" (James Taranto, Opinion Journal)

"Climate change: what are the facts and where is the balance?" - "The IPPC's Summary for Policymakers of the Working Group 1 report (physical basis of climate change) was formally launched on 2nd February in Paris. There were few changes from the widely-leaked draft, but a number of figures were added, bringing the total document length to a still-slim 21 pages. Rarely can quite so much global media attention have been focussed on such a short report. There was blanket coverage on the launch day itself and over the weekend, but the topic now seems to have receded to the background once more. Is this because people now really feel the whole thing - science and policy -  is settled, or do editors think that their readers have simply lost interest?

Media balance seems, in most cases, to have been a case of having a comment from an environmentalist NGO alongside the official IPCC one. The quotes from Rajendra Pachauri, head of the IPCC, and Achim Steiner, director of the United Nations Environment Programme, were unequivocal, with no hint of uncertainty. In this country, David Miliband said 'The debate over the science of climate change is well and truly over. The window of opportunity to avoid dangerous climate change is closing more quickly than previously thought.' The only balance is seemingly provided by people who think the IPCC is being too conservative in its pronouncements.

It seems pretty certain that most people have heard the same messages so often that the (unproven) hypothesis of anthropogenic global warming is just something they now take for granted. This will surely be reinforced when DVDs of Al Gore's cleverly but inaptly named 'An Inconvenient Truth' are sent to all UK secondary schools. It is absolutely right that school pupils should have an opportunity to learn about climate change, but rather worrying that they will only hear one specific - albeit majority - point of view. The vogue in school science generally is for children to learn for themselves by doing experiments and looking at the evidence. In this case, they will be taught (via an overtly emotional film) the 'facts' of climate change without having to bother with the evidence. Given the environmental zeitgeist, this will be applauded rather than criticised.

The IPCC - to its discredit - will not be publishing the full chapter on which the summary is based until May, to allow the text to be edited to be fully in line with the summary. Granted that few people will read the complete text, but the principle of working backwards from the summary to define the final version is an indefensible and dangerous precedent to set.

The full draft has been available to reviewers for some time, and is a full and careful analysis of the evidence available to date. However, the summary writers and approvers (a limited group of scientists and anonymous officials from the member governments of the IPCC) have, inevitably, introduced a degree of spin in the statements they have chosen to highlight. Nevertheless, the SPM is actually a more moderate document than its predecessor from the Third Assessment Report. But the changes are only obvious to those who know both documents. For example, the now discredited 'hockey stick' curve has been omitted, with no comment or explanation.

And, of course, the messages from the summary are hyped up still further by the media. They look no further than the sound bites highlighting the apparent degree of certainty of the official messages. That is what gives David Miliband and others the creative freedom to say that things are 'even worse than we thought', a message which we have heard with great regularity over the past year.

Fortunately, there are cooler heads at work as well. Dr Ross McKitrick is the lead author of the Frazer Institute's Independent Summary for Policymakers, published on 5th February (available at http://www.fraserinstitute.ca/shared/readmore.asp?sNav=pb&id=886). Dr McKitrick and co-authors (and reviewers) have made an honest and useful attempt to summarise the full draft chapter as objectively as possible. Although it has, unfortunately, had little media attention, we hope that people representing all views will take the time to read it and pause for thought. (Scientific Alliance newsletter)

February 9, 2007

"Climate Bills Are Self-defeating" - "Will 2007 be the year that the U.S. signs up for global warming regulation? After looking at the five climate bills being considered so far in the 110th Congress, I'm not so sure it will be." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"Pelosi Backs Restrictions on Heat-Trapping Gases" - "The United States has to cut its greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2050, and mandatory restrictions are the only way to do it, Speaker Nancy Pelosi told the House Science and Technology Committee yesterday.

Ms. Pelosi added that even though she had once opposed using nuclear power to supply some energy needs, she now believed that it should be “on the table,” if the disposal of radioactive waste could be settled.

The speaker said she hoped that the House would consider bills on global warming by July 4." (New York Times)

"Congress eyes legislation to fight climate change" - "The Democrat-led US Congress signalled Thursday it would take a cue from the landmark UN report on global warming and draft legislation aimed at fighting climate change. "You have opened a window on our future. Looking through that window, we see a future in which global warming will reshape our planet and our society," House of Representatives speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a hearing with four scientists who contributed to the report, which was released in Paris last week. "We also see a future in which harsh consequences could be blunted by our prompt action," the Democrat leader said." (AFP)

Should be required reading: "HISTORY!! (Getting Back To What It Sort Of Used To Be) - A Guest Weblog by Reid A. Bryson, Ph.D. D.Sc. D.Engr."  -"I am pleased that Professor Reid A. Bryson of the University of Wisconsin has agreed to post the guest weblog below on Climate Science. He is a Global 500 Laureate Senior Scientist, and Center for Climatic Research and Emeritus Professor of Meteorology, of Geography, and of Environmental Studies." (Climate Science)

Pop-sci rag SciAm is off on their advocacy trip again... "Climate Change Verdict: Science Debate Ends, Solution Debate Begins" - "The IPCC summary for policymakers definitively proclaimed the globe to be warming as a result of human activity, now the science shifts to impacts and solutions." (SciAm)

... and gets it dead wrong, again. The science phase of understanding climate has barely begun and a century from now might see us still unable to make meaningful predictions of future climate states.

At least some journalists noticed: "Chicken Little and global warming" - "YOU KNOW that big United Nations report on global warming that appeared last week amid so much media sound and fury? Here's a flash: It wasn't the big, new United Nations report on global warming." (Jeff Jacoby, Boston Globe)

"Simple truth about warming" - "I know that most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it be such as would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives." -- Leo Tolstoy (1826-1910)

Clearly, Tolstoy -- the great Russian novelist -- wasn't writing about man-made global warming, since he predated this relatively recent hysteria. Nevertheless, the quote certainly applies to the global warming debate -- or should I say the climate change consensus?

The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) summary released last Friday inflates the language of doom even as it deflates its predictions of temperature and sea level increases from previous reports.

The IPCC Climate Change 2007 report predicts world temperatures will possibly rise 1.8C to 4C (3.25 to 7.2F) from 1990 levels to the year 2100 and that sea levels might rise 28 to 43 cm (11 to 17 inches).

Just six years ago, however, the picture looked much bleaker." (Licia Corbella, Calgary Sun)

"Don't Rush To Judgment on U.N.'s IPCC Global Warming Summary" - "A summary of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report (IPCC Report) was released on February 2, and many in the media and Congress are citing it as further evidence that global warming is a dire threat. The full report, with accompanying scientific assessment and detailed assumptions, will not be released for several months. However, caution is warranted in drawing policy conclusions based on this summary, as the full scientific debate over the IPCC report has not begun. And while the summary strongly emphasizes mankind's role in global warming, it has retreated on a number of important assertions from past reports." (Ben Lieberman, Heritage Foundation)

"Global Warming Smear" - "Mark Twain once complained that a lie can make it half way around the world before the truth gets its boots on. That's been the case of late in the climate change debate, as political and media activists attempt to stigmatize anyone who doesn't pay homage to their "scientific consensus." (Wall Street Journal) For those who really cannot access WSJ, here's the .pdf.

"Corrupting the curriculum" - "Why is it ‘brainwashing’ when faith schools teach values but ‘raising awareness’ when the state teaches the pieties of environmentalism?" (Frank Furedi, sp!ked)

"Your planet needs you!" - "Food rationing, Blitz spirit, the Doomsday Clock...everyone from Prince Charles to radical greens is talking about climate change as a warlike emergency." (Rob Lyons, sp!ked)

:) "The Temperature Also Rises" - "With the issuing of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report on February 2, waxing climactic about the climatic is the order of the day. The esteemed, government-funded scientists with no agenda who rendered the study inform us that man is almost certainly responsible for rising temperatures and, furthermore, that dramatic climate change is unstoppable. But, after seeing various luminaries sound the alarm, I think I can confidently say that, hell's bells, we're darn well gonna try anyway.

And it's about time. We've long known we were going to die unless we stopped spewing that plant-sustaining CO2 into the air. The thing is, though, my botanical sources tell me the plants are fearful that they'll die if they don't stop spewing that human-sustaining oxygen into the air. So our task is clear.

We must beat the plants." (Selwyn Duke, American Thinker)

"Greenland’s Glaciers Take a Breather" - "Greenland isn’t melting as fast as we feared. It was big news when the rate of melting suddenly doubled in 2004 as ice sheets began moving more quickly into the sea. That inspired predictions of the imminent demise of Greenland’s ice — and a catastrophic rise in sea level. But a paper published online this afternoon by Science reports that two of the largest glaciers have suddenly slowed, bringing the rate of melting last year down to near the previous rate. At one glacier, Kangerdlugssuaq, “average thinning over the glacier during the summer of 2006 declined to near zero, with some apparent thickening in areas on the main trunk.” (John Tierney, New York Times)

"Senators hear two sides on warming, polar bears" - "WASHINGTON — A Canadian scientist on Wednesday urged U.S. senators to be cautious about claims that polar bears are threatened by global warming, while an Alaskan colleague said he has no question that less ice off the state’s coastline is bad for the bears.

The Canadian scientist’s opinion drew a testy challenge from one senator and encouragement from another.

Lee Foote, an associate professor at the University of Alberta, said polar bear biology is too complex and, so far, too poorly studied to conclude that the bears will decline in the face of warmer temperatures.

“I liken this to trying to stack four bowling balls on top of each other, let them fall and make some predict which direction the top bowling ball will likely go,” Foote said. “It won’t be the same direction any two times.” (Kodiak Daily Mirror)

"Adapt for climate change, paper urges" - "The global-warming battle needs to be accompanied by better responses to normal climate variation, a CU scientist says." (Katy Human, Denver Post)

And they claim to miss this? "Snow falls - and much of Britain comes to a predictable standstill" - "A flurry of snow slowed down southern Britain yesterday and brought much of it grinding to a halt. It was hardly a Russian winter. There were no white-outs, blizzards or five-foot drifts. Three to four inches was a typical fall, the amount you can sweep off the top of your car with your gloved hand." (London Independent)

"Bad Research, Worse Reporting on Global Warming" - "In trying to prove that the Bush administration is throttling research into global warming, the Union of Concerned Scientists rolled out some breathtakingly bad science." (Real Clear Politics)

Dubious... "UN-Google Earth map climate change" - "NAIROBI, Kenya -- After letting computer users soar over Mount Kilimanjaro's melting snows and peer down on illegal logging in Asia, the U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP) is exploring how the latest technology can help it reach more people, an official said on Wednesday. It hopes to copy the success of a venture with Google Inc. that made an atlas of before-and-after satellite images of environmental change available to more than 100 million viewers through the interactive mapping program Google Earth." (Reuters)

... how much context information will be provided and by whom? Aerial views can be useful for comparison purposes -- if comparisons are like by like (you could make quite a visual for "global warming" by comparing an northern hemisphere regional shot taken say, April 1979 with one taken in July 1998 but it wouldn't really tell you than summer peaks in July -- similarly you could make a looming ice age scare out of a July/January comparison...). Managed very carefully it might be of value to a few people but otherwise it shakes out as a pure propaganda tool.

Oh boy... "Coal will be the new asbestos, says Flannery" - "IT is no longer socially acceptable for Australia to keep exporting coal knowing the damage it is doing, according to the scientist and Australian of the Year, Tim Flannery." (Sydney Morning Herald)

... Flannery exposed himself as a publicity-seeking misanthropic twit (and consequently become the darling of the humanity-loathing Left) back in his "future eater" days and has simply gotten worse since.

"Editorial: Keeping the message cool on climate" - "AUSTRALIAN of the Year Tim Flannery may prove to be John Howard's biggest environmental asset as climate-change politics reach boiling point. In a soft-touch interview on the ABC's Lateline on Wednesday, Professor Flannery called for Australia's coalmining industry to be shut and for the nation to be put on a war-footing to deal with global warming. Professor Flannery suggests ditching Australia's flirtation with a nuclear solution in favour of developing hot rock, or geothermal, technology. Professor Flannery's is a seductive pitch for the true-believers and climate-change doomsdayers. As such, it represents a political gift for the Prime Minister but dangerous waters for Kevin Rudd. Professor Flannery is the sharp end of the political wedge. The Government has already fine-tuned its climate-change message to promise job security for coal industry workers, mirroring its successful pitch to Tasmanian forest workers at the last federal election. For the Opposition Leader, the risk is that Professor Flannery's alarmist climate-change mantra will seduce Labor, dragging it too far from mainstream thinking and costing it electoral support." (The Australian)

"Warming to a post-green response, under US leadership" - "THE consensus of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that we are, indeed, facing destructive climate change, exacerbated by human activity, is bad news for all of us.

What's being overlooked is how bad it is for the green movement.

The emphasis must now be on coping. Not retreating, for example, to an Australia accommodating six to 12 million people, which Australian of the Year Tim Flannery proposes as our limit.

The fantasy fun part of being green is over. No more unctuous finger pointing ("Humans blamed for global warming," read a fatuous headline in a Sydney newspaper. Who is the beyond-human blame layer?). No more castigating America as the Great Polluter unless accompanied by recognition of it as also the Great Producer.

No more climate control protocols with a skimpily hidden agenda for transferring wealth from north to south and from First World to Third World." (Frank Devine, The Australian)

Twaddle... "How Cap-and-Trade Could Replace Foreign Aid" - "The Kyoto Protocol was a noble effort. The treaty wasn’t good enough to put the brakes on global warming, though, mainly because developing countries didn’t want to slow down their economic growth. But they stand to earn tens of billions of dollars thanks to climate change—and make foreign aid a thing of the past in the process." (Alex Evans, Foreign Policy)

... the Kyoto Protocol was always a nonsense -- nothing "noble" about that -- and no amount of "emissions control" can or will knowingly adjust the global thermostat.

"ANALYSIS - Japan Needs to buy More Credits to Honour Kyoto" - "TOKYO - A lack of clarity on what compliance with the Kyoto Protocol will cost Japanese industry could stretch business goodwill to help the country honour its targets under the global warming pact." (Reuters)

"What the world needs now is to reduce carbon emissions" - "In the US, states may lead the way in proposing tougher standards." (Daniel Schorr, The Christian Science Monitor)

No, "the world" is perfectly fine regardless of carbon emissions. What some people want to drive you to do is lower developed world living standards, basically because people are icky and nasty in the sight of nature worshippers.

"ANALYSIS - EU Climate Goals Support Long-Term Carbon Market" - "BRUSSELS - The European Union has ensured the longevity of a global carbon market with greenhouse gas reduction targets for 2020 and a commitment to emissions trade, but many open questions will affect its potential to grow." (Reuters)

"Canada will not participate in carbon market: environment minister" - "Canada will not introduce a carbon tax or participate in a foreign carbon market, Environment Minister John Baird told a parliamentary committee reviewing proposed clean-air measures Thursday.

"No carbon tax" would be introduced as part of Canada's efforts to cut greenhouse-gas emissions linked to global warming, Baird told the hearing.

"We're not interested in participating in carbon markets overseas," he said under questioning, suggesting also that Canada would "face economic collapse" if it tried to meet its Kyoto Protocol targets." (AFP)

No... "ANALYSIS - Kyoto Carbon Trade Seen Buying Planet 20 Years" - "LONDON - Carbon trading under the United Nations' Kyoto Protocol could provide a US$100 billion stop-gap to clean up coal-based developing country economies until the likes of China and India are ready to accept binding emissions caps." (Reuters)

... but it could seriously impede desperately needed development.

"ANALYSIS - China CDM Growth not Enough to Tackle Emission Rise" - "BEIJING - Beijing needs to clean up its power plants and start burying the carbon dioxide they pump out, as a booming trade in emissions cuts under Kyoto is dwarfed by a spiralling number of coal-burning stations, officials say." (Reuters)

Well duh... "ANALYSIS - Few Funds Yet for UN's New Africa Carbon Plan" - "NAIROBI - A host of plans could help Africa gain from booming investment in clean energy projects, but only modest funds have been committed to them by rich nations so far, officials said." (Reuters)

... governments are learning [slowly] not to fund kleptocrats.

Dot.bomb replay? "Carbon Funds Eye US Market, Risks too" - "LONDON - Carbon fever reached such a pitch in Britain this week that one investor issued a disclaimer against its soaring share price, but companies themselves now warn of risks lurking in this emerging market.

Reasons abound for surging interest in carbon markets -- a shift of power in the US Congress, ratcheting ambition to curb emissions in Europe, and around the world stronger evidence than ever on the global warming threat.

Carbon trading under the Kyoto Protocol, worth US$3 billion last year, allows rich countries to buy permits called carbon credits to emit greenhouse gases from poor nations, and is attracting investors eyeing fat margins." (Reuters)

Emission certificates are trading at roughly one-twentieth their value of a year ago -- if you're determined to throw your money away there's a fellow down the local pub trying to offload a bridge...

"Germany Wants Global Emissions Trading Scheme" - "BERLIN - Germany wants to institute a global emissions trading scheme and will float the idea for discussion during its presidency of the Group of Eight industrialised nations this year, an official said on Wednesday." (Reuters)

Oh... "Branson offers £10m to the person who can prevent the climate change crisis" - "Sir Richard Branson is raising his game as "saviour of the planet" by announcing a multimillion-pound prize for the best way of removing thousands of tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The prize - expected to be in the range of £10m - will go to the originator of the most convincing invention for actively absorbing and storing the principal man-made gas in the atmosphere responsible for global warming." (London Independent)

"Saviour of the planet - or a space-hopping hypocrite?" - "The latest "green" offering by Sir Richard Branson has much to commend it. If scientists can devise a sustainable and cheap way of capturing and storing the CO2 being pumped into the atmosphere, it could amount to a huge breakthrough in tackling climate change.

However, this initiative by Sir Richard has to be seen in the wider context of what else he is doing to encourage the profligate use of fossil fuel - such as generating a new market for space tourism where none yet exists. Almost everyone today uses airlines at some time to get from one place to another. But what is the use of a trip that takes you nowhere but 70 miles above ground - with the "space" bit of the ride lasting just a couple of minutes?" (London Independent)

More Buncombe: "Inuit accuse US of destroying their way of life with global warming" - "A delegation of Inuit is to travel to Washington DC to provide first-hand testimony of how global warming is destroying their way of life and to accuse the Bush administration of undermining their human rights." (Andrew Buncombe, London Independent)

"INTERVIEW - Biofuels Could Earn Carbon Credits Before 2012 -UN" - "LONDON - Biofuel production in developing countries including Brazil and Indonesia could soon earn carbon credits using lucrative north-south incentives, the new head of carbon trading at the UN's climate body said on Thursday." (Reuters)

"Germany Accepts EU CO2 Emissions Cap - Paper" - "BERLIN - Germany will accept a European Union cap on carbon dioxide emissions of 453.1 million tonnes per year to show its faith in the trading system, the country's environment minister was quoted as saying on Thursday." (Reuters)

"FACTBOX - Reaction to EU Proposals for Car CO2 Output" - "The European Commission proposed a strategy on Wednesday to curb carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from cars as a way to combat global warming. Here is how manufacturers, environmentalists and government officials saw the news:" (Reuters)

"CUBA: Versatile Sugar Provides Food, Fuel, Electricity" - "HAVANA - The Cuban government is making another effort to boost generation of electricity from sugarcane biomass to meet the high electricity demand of the sugar industry itself, and gradually increase its contribution to the national grid." (IPS)

"Ethanol Production Could Be Eco-Disaster, Brazil's Critics Say" - "In Brazil ethanol has become economically competitive with gasoline, and the country's biofuels program could serve as a world model for producing sustainable energy, officials say." (National Geographic News)

"Norway Sets Study of Thorium for Energy Production" - "OSLO - Norwegian energy authorities have commissioned a study on the prospects for exploiting Norway's relatively large reserves of thorium, a naturally occurring radioactive metal, in energy production." (Reuters)

"AIM Report: The Plan to Silence Conservatives" - "Note: AIM editor Cliff Kincaid covered a left-wing National Conference for Media Reform in Memphis, Tennessee, from January 12-14. His report on the event, "The Plan to Silence Conservatives," was posted on the AIM website and has ignited a national controversy, as a liberal Democrat scheme to use the power of the federal government to silence conservatives in the media has now been exposed. AIM is being called upon to lead national efforts to preserve freedom of speech in the U.S. and resist this authoritarian campaign to muzzle conservative media voices. What follows are major excerpts of Kincaid's original report:" (AIM)

"Malaria -- More than 4.3 million medicines tested thanks to calculation grids" - "The second phase of the Wisdom experiment, carried out as an international cooperation project involving IN2P3 /CNRS, was completed on January 31. Thanks to the association of several international calculation grids , including the European grid Egee , it was possible to analyze close to 80,000 potential medicines for the treatment of malaria per hour over the course of 10 weeks. Wisdom opened up new therapeutic possibilities for the treatment of this illness and also for the fight against other tropical diseases." (CNRS)

"DDT use encouraged by World Health Organization" - "WHO recently issued a statement promoting the use of DDT as an indoor insecticide in an effort to fight malaria - especially in African nations, where the mosquito-borne disease is a major killer.

The announcement comes more than three decades after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency banned the chemical because of health and environmental concerns.

"The scientific and programmatic evidence clearly supports this reassessment," said Dr. Anarfi Asamoa-Baah, in a WHO press release. Asamoa-Baah is the WHO assistant director-general for HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria." (Talequah Daily Press)

"Uganda to curb malaria in refugee camps by massive insecticide" - "KAMPALA, Feb 8, 2007 -- In a bid to fight the deadly malaria, indoor residual insecticide spraying is scheduled to begin in the refugee camps in the war-ravaged northern Uganda where malaria kills more people than any other part of the country.

Emmanuel Otala, the state minister for primary health care, was quoted by the Daily Monitor on Thursday saying all Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps in the Acholi sub-region have been selected for massive indoor residual insecticide spraying.

He said the exercise, which starts this month and will end in April, will prevent and control malaria in the IDP camps before people return to their home villages where health services may not be easily accessible." (Xinhua via COMTEX)

"Cruel and Misleading Advice on Epidurals" - "Pregnant women, harangued by a recent government campaign on breastfeeding and subject to endless worrisome news stories about how their activity and choices will affect those of their babies, have something new to worry about: A recent Australian study claims to have found an unusual side of effect of having an epidural – more trouble breast feeding.

Or did it? Dig into the data and there is surprisingly little evidence to support the theory that epidurals actually cause difficulty breastfeeding." (Rebecca Goldin, STATS)

"Why we never hear, why people don’t talk and why people don’t want to know... " - "Dr. Sydney Smith at Medpundit shares what her patients experience after bariatric surgeries, offering perceptive insights from a physician’s point of view. It’s remarkable because it’s information that few physicians dare to talk about." (Junkfood Science)

"Local heroes" - "Good science does get done in Africa, though it tends to go unnoticed." (The Economist)

"Monsanto film gets second life, but over fear of GMs or of censorship?" - "A French documentary on GMs watched by around 400,000 viewers on pay-TV when first screened has won more than a million new viewers on the net over the past 10 days, but it remains unclear whether fears over the environment or rumours of censorship are feeding the new interest." (AFP)

"Brazil to invest $5 billion in biotech research" - "BRASILIA - Brazil plans to invest 10 billion reais ($4.76 billion) over the next 10 years into biotechnology research involving renewable energy, agriculture and rain forest pharmaceuticals, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said on Thursday." (Reuters)

"The future is orange for hi-tech material made from carrots" - "Two scientists have created a hi-tech material made from carrots which could be used to make warships in the future. The material, known as Curran, has been developed by Fife-based inventors David Hepworth and Eric Whale and can be made into everything from fishing rods to car parts." (Press Association)

February 8, 2007

"Science abandoned for a diet" - "Once again, the FDA has foregone scientific evidence in approving a diet pill. Today, the FDA announced it had approved an over-the-counter version of Xenical (orlistat) for sale, making it the first prescription weight loss drug to be available without a prescription." (Junkfood Science)

"Children who sleep more weigh less" - "Children who sleep more tend to weigh less than children who sleep less, and they are less likely than their counterparts to be overweight five years later. That’s one of the major findings of a new study published in the January/February 2007 issue of the journal Child Development." (Society for Research in Child Development)

Doh! "Healthy food a hard sell for school canteens" - "SCHOOL canteens are struggling to break even after banning the sale of high-fat and pre-packaged foods in order to comply with state government guidelines on healthy eating.

A study backed by the Australian Research Council has found that many canteens could be forced to close unless federal and state governments provide extra funding to help carry through healthy eating guidelines.

Researcher Claire Drummond, who is undertaking a national study on canteen food services and healthy eating, said government schools that had introduced healthier foods were finding it difficult to make a profit by selling salads, baguettes and fruit." (The Australian)

"Heart Stents and FDA Blockage" - "Is it another medical breakthrough gone unexpectedly bad? The drug-eluting heart stent is under increased scrutiny because of a complication that was not apparent when it was first approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). FDA hastily convened an advisory panel last month to consider safety concerns about these stents, after some recent studies found a slight but unexpected risk of blood clots from them. The studies have sparked alarmist press reports and worry among many patients and doctors. Should FDA restrict their future use? Should patients with the stents actually have them removed?" (Jerome C. Arnett, Jr., TCS Daily)

"From Bird to Person" - "LONDON -- The "deadly" H5N1 avian flu is back on the front pages of newspapers and TV news shows. The British environment minister has pledged quick action to "eradicate" the disease from the U.K., and over 150,000 turkeys on one farm have been culled. "This is," someone said on the BBC's "Breakfast" show Monday, "a disease of birds, not humans." And so it is." (Peter D Zimmerman, Wall Street Journal)

"Getting an Unnatural Lift from Lavender" - "Sex-changing “natural” oil shows that we need to revise the way we think about chemicals." (Maia Szalavitz, STATS)

"Dover Meets Darwin: The battle over biology class." - "Breathtaking inanity." That's how U.S. District Court Judge John E. Jones III described the actions of the school board in Dover, a central Pennsylvania town (population 1,900), when it required students in the local high school to be made aware "of gaps in Darwin's theory of evolution."

The judge's ruling, handed down in December 2005, was the end-point of a long ordeal for Dover and its residents. A year before, several parents had sued the school board, claiming that such a requirement breached the wall between church and state. A long trial during the summer of 2005 brought a lot of attention to Dover and, more tellingly, to the theorists who oppose Darwinian teaching. In "Monkey Girl," Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Edward Humes tells the story." (Pamela R Winnick, Opinion Journal)

"Fundamentally Mistaken" - "Why Darwin Matters: The Case Against Intelligent Design. Michael Shermer. xxii + 199 pp. Times Books, 2006. $22.

Those of us who live outside the United States can only gawk in amazement: How is it possible that almost half the adult population there rejects evolution and believes in the account of creation found in the book of Genesis? How is it possible that one U.S. president (Ronald Reagan) could say that evolution is "only a theory" and another (George W. Bush) that schools should "teach the controversy"? There is no end of speculation about how this bizarre situation came about—theories range from the country's Puritan origins to an inherent anti-intellectualism—but I find none of it convincing." (James Robert Brown, American Scientist)

"Risk of extinction accelerated due to interacting human threats" - "The simultaneous effect of habitat fragmentation, overexploitation, and climate warming could accelerate the decline of populations and substantially increase their risk of extinction, a study published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B has warned.

Using experimental microcosm populations of rotifers (a type of zooplankton), the study found that individually each of these threats caused significant population declines. The study also found that the rate of declines was much accelerated when populations were exposed to more than one threat. These results indicate that multiple interacting threats are capable of causing rapid population extinction, and that all threats should be simultaneously reduced, if their synergies are to be avoided and if the current rate of species loss is to be reversed." (Dalhousie University)

:) "Revenge of the Animals" - "Increasing numbers of cases of animal-on-human attacks are sure signs that Mother Earth has finally tired of our incessant and disrespectful exploitation of the environment." (ecoEnquirer)

"The Origins of 20th-Century Progress" - "Creating the Twentieth Century: Technical Innovations of 1867-1914 and Their Lasting Impact. Vaclav Smil. x + 350 pp. Oxford University Press, 2005. $35.
Transforming the Twentieth Century: Technical Innovations and Their Consequences. Vaclav Smil. x + 358 pp. Oxford University Press, 2006. $45.

These two fascinating works are not a conventional synthesis of social and technological history, but instead emerge from the intersection of technical innovations, cultural geography, economic history and environmental studies. Author Vaclav Smil teaches in the Faculty of the Environment at the University of Manitoba and has written 23 books. The two under review, Creating the Twentieth Century and Transforming the Twentieth Century, make a single argument, stretching from 1867 to the present. Oxford University Press has configured them as companion volumes, with similar layouts and jacket designs. Both author and publisher declare, correctly, that each book can be enjoyed on its own, yet they deserve to be read together." (David E. Nye, American Scientist)

"I Want to Demand This Freedom for Future Generations" - "In April of 1963 the legendary physicist Richard Feynman gave a series of lectures at the University of Washington in Seattle. The subject of the talks was "the impact of science on man's ideas in other fields." These fields included religion, war and politics. The focus of Feynman's first lecture was "The Uncertainty of Science" and in it he had useful things to say about the nature of doubt." (Nick Schulz, TCS Daily)

Hmm... "White House issues rare letter defending record on warming" - "The White House Wednesday issued a rare open letter defending President George W. Bush's record on climate change, rejecting criticisms that he has only recently awakened to the problem of global warming. The White House letter rejected media reports following the recent release of a major UN report on climate change that it said perpetuate the claim that Bush's interest in the issue is new. "In fact, climate change has been a top priority since the president's first year in office," the letter said." (AFP)

... we'd be more impressed if the White House demonstrated genuine leadership and told people to stop being so silly and pay attention to real problems instead. We'd be really impressed if the White House said enough is enough we're not providing the majority of funding for this stupid scare campaign anymore.

"Political Correctness For State Climatologists In Order To Force These Positions To Embrace Global Warming As Summarized By The IPCC – A Chilling Development" - "There are currently two efforts underway to remove two State Climatologists from their positions because they do not parrot the summary conclusions of the new IPCC Report. These attempts are in Delaware (David Legates; see and see) and Oregon (George Taylor; see). This follows the recommendation by Heidi Cullen of the Weather Channel to retract the certification of broadcast weather forecasters who do not accept what she considers is the accepted scientific view of global warming (see)." (Climate Science)

"Al Gore Is a Greenhouse Gasbag" - "Penn professor Bob Giegengack has a few quibbles with the former VP on this whole global warming thing." (Philadelphia Magazine)

"From greenhouse to icehouse: New clues on ancient climate shift" - "Nearly 34 million years ago, a plunge in temperatures began to transform Antarctica, then a lush, green continent that for tens of millions of years had been bathed in warmth, into the icy wilderness more familiar to us today." (AFP)

Tell us again why warm is supposed to be a problem: "Study shows largest North America climate change in 65 million years" - "GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- The largest climate change in central North America since the age of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, a temperature drop of nearly 15 degrees Fahrenheit, is documented within the fossilized teeth of horses and other plant-eating mammals, a new study reveals." (University of Florida)

"Arctic cold wave in US dumps heavy snow in northeast" - "An Arctic cold wave gripping the central and northeastern United States is dumping heavy snow in New York and other states near the Great Lakes, the National Weather Service said Wednesday. "It's still pretty darn cold" in the mid-section of the country and the east, particularly in the northeast, Dennis Feltgen, an NWS meteorologist, told AFP. Temperatures are 10 to 20 degrees (Fahrenheit) below normal in the frigid front that moved in last week and was expected to last through the weekend, he said. The big chill is roaring in from "the Arctic door wide open," he said. Relief should come by early or mid-week next week when the air flows shift, bringing in warmer air from the Pacific. Temperatures this winter, though unseasonably cold, are "not record-breaking," he said." (AFP)

"Emergency relief for Sweden's starving reindeer" - "Sweden said Wednesday it would give its reindeer herders millions of euros (dollars) in emergency aid to help them feed their animals, which are starving because of thick ice that is preventing them from reaching the lichen they eat." (AFP)

"Climate hysteria" - "Journalists seem to believe that no new report is enough unless it predicts more terrifying calamities than ever before." (Björn Lomborg, The Guardian)

About as wrong as it gets: "CLIMATE CHANGE: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back" - "BERLIN - The causes of global warming have been established firmly by world scientists, and the solutions set out. The question now is, who will implement these solutions." (IPS)

No, climate is not yet well understood and no, there are no "solutions" -- probably not even a problem to "solve".

"A man-made morality tale" - "How the IPCC’s fairly sober summary of climate science has been spun to tell a story of Fate, Doom and human folly." (sp!ked)

"What the IPPC climate report is not" - "With all the breathless hoopla in the popular media about the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s fourth report on global warming, it’s worth taking a look at what the report is not." (Kennedy Maize, POWERblog)

"Should We Believe the Latest UN Climate Report?" - "The UN Climate Change panel is asserting—again—that humans are overheating the planet. Again, they have no evidence to support their claim—but they want the U.S. to cut its energy use by perhaps 80 percent just in case. Stabilizing greenhouse gases means no personal cars, no air-conditioning, no vacation travel. Nancy Pelosi says one-third of the Senate want this too." (Dennis T. Avery, Hudson Institute)

"Global warming to require more robust disaster monitoring" - "GENEVA - Global warming will require more robust monitoring of hurricanes, typhoons and other disasters, mirroring systems in place to watch for tsunamis, a top United Nations official said on Wednesday." (Reuters)

Hmm... "Understanding US Climate Politics" - "This graph from the 25 January 2007 issue of The Economist says a lot about the politics of energy policy in the United States. According to the article, "California's greenhouse-gas emissions per person are on a par with those of Denmark. Relative to the size of its economy, they are lower." (Prometheus)

... we usually cut social scientist Pielke Jr. considerable slack, in consideration for exemplary physical scientist Pielke Sr., if nothing else. Unfortunately he has made sweeping statements regarding the real world that can only be described as "only a social scientist..." -- certainly he does try (see below) and deserves points for that.

"Clarifying IPCC AR4 Statements on Sea Level Rise" - "The statements in the IPCC’s AR4 SPM released last week on sea level rise have led to some confusion and conflict over what exactly they said and how it compares to the 2001 IPCC TAR. The IPCC could have made it easier for all of us by presenting the data in a comparable manner. This post reflects my efforts to make sense of this situation. I hope that experts on the subject will weigh in on my initial thoughts.

I conclude that the IPCC has indeed lowered its top end estimates of sea level rise over the 21st century relative to 1990, in contrast to the conclusions at RealClimate which suggest that this has in fact not occurred. For details, please read on." (Prometheus)

"The IPCC Should Leave Science to Scientists" - "Of the countless flaws inherent to Pop Science, by far the most pernicious is that, contrary to accepted scientific method, the conclusion precedes any supporting research. Special interests whose agendas may be furthered by the junk premise then incite the media to amplify their positions and ignore both the science and protesting contrarian scientists. Nowhere is this abuse more prevalent and dangerous than in fields of environmental science.

But a more ominous practice has arisen which empowers these special interests to adapt and summarize already compromised research to further fit the desired "consensus" before presenting it as fact to an eager media. This travesty of methodology is brought to you by the folks at the United Nations." (Marc Sheppard, American Thinker)

"Hurricane experts debate warming report: Whether carbon emissions affect storms is a hot topic" - "MIAMI - While a U.N. report last week left little doubt that scientists think humans are heating the planet, it did nothing to settle the question of whether they are partly responsible for more intense hurricanes. Nonetheless, weather experts said the report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change could help convince politicians, regulators and insurers that climate change is here to stay. The report warned that human activities are contributing to global warming and the result could be more heat waves, droughts and rising seas. But its conclusion on hurricanes was more vague." (Reuters)

CSM gets partial credit: "Key players react to the IPCC global warming report: A collection of statements from from around the world – including environmental advocates and oil companies." - "On February 2, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change finalized what it calls a "comprehensive and rigorous picture" of current knowledge of global warming. The report concluded that the fact of global warming is "unequivocal," that it is "very likely" caused by human activity, and that the Earth's average surface temperature will probably rise by 3.2 degrees F to 7.2 degrees F in this century, and could rise as much as 11.5 degrees F. A PDF summary of the report is available here." (The Christian Science Monitor)

Except that no one is yet reacting to the unavailable report, merely to the political summary, which CSM point to while giving the impression it's merely a summary of that which was released.

"Climate of undercooked legislation" - "It's not the climate scientists we need to worry about in this time of global warming. It's the politicians we should worry about -- the chefs who take the scientists' analyses, fillet them, sizzle them a while in the skillet, then serve them up to our wonder and applause. It is, ah, what politicians do with great issues: The tougher the issue to be dealt with, the showier the cooking techniques." (William Murchison, Washington Times)

"Britain helps citizens atone for emissions" - "LONDON - So you took that transatlantic flight, paid $20 to offset the greenhouse gases ejected by the plane, and reduced your carbon footprint. But did you really help save the planet? As the clamor over global warming gets ever louder, the practice of carbon offsetting – paying a third party to remove or otherwise offset an amount of carbon equivalent to the volume emitted – is now falling under close scrutiny." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"Scientific Integrity and Budget Cuts" - "I am watching the Senate Commerce Committee's hearing this morning on "Climate Change Research and Scientific Integrity." I note in this hearing a conflation of allegations of Bush Administration interference in science communication with research budgets for climate scientists. Both Rick Piltz's testimony and that of Rick Anthes emphasized science budgets. Seems to me that such claims are crassly opportunistic. Here are some actual climate science budget facts that should give some pause to such arguments:" (Prometheus)

"Its Energy Policy Not Climate Policy - A Survey by Senator Barbara Boxer" - "There is a very interesting and informative survey by Senator Barbara Boxer with the title “Help Set Our Global Warming Agenda” (Climate Science)

"Lifting the Taboo on Adaptation" - "Our article is online with Nature. A copy of the full text can also be found here in PDF. Comments welcomed. Pielke, Jr., R.A., Prins, G., Rayner, S. and Sarewitz, D., 2007. Lifting the taboo on adaptation. Nature, 7 February." (Prometheus)

Doh! "Billions lost in Kyoto carbon trade loophole" - "Billions of dollars are being wasted in the international carbon trading system owing to a loophole in the Kyoto protocol, according to a study to be published on Thursday in the journal Nature." (Financial Times)

"Australia: Emissions group missed the real issue" - "The Emissions Trading Task Group's issues paper, released yesterday, poses a series of questions about the nature of a domestic - and global - emissions trading scheme. The terms of reference given to the group were misplaced, since the overriding aim was to preserve Australia's competitive advantage created by its wealth of fossil fuels and uranium." (Sydney Morning Herald)

Well, yes they did kind of miss the point -- that carbon dioxide emissions are largely irrelevant. In the unlikely event there are no negative feedbacks (such as increased evapo-transpiration, increased oceanic DMS [dimethyl sulphide] emission, increased cloud albedo...) it's relatively easily to calculate roughly how much warming can be expected from increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide by using the natural log of CO2 in ppmv, like this: ln(380)-ln(280) yields ~0.3, so net warming (absent feedback) since c.1750 is about 0.3K or ~0.5 °F. in the same manner we can see that from current (~380 ppmv) to a doubling of pre-Industrial Revolution levels (560ppmv) gives us ln(560)-ln(380) = <0.4K (~0.7 °F) remaining. Doubling atmospheric carbon dioxide again (to 4 x pre-IR levels) would still only be ln(1120)-ln(560) = ~0.7K (~1.2 °F). Say we were to double current levels: ln(760)-ln(380) = (drum roll please...) ~0.7K (~1.2 °F). Big deal!

"Australia: Jobs will be safe, says Howard" - "JOHN Howard promised not to "sacrifice" the jobs of coalminers with knee-jerk environmental policies as he sharpened his attack on Labor's climate change policies. Signalling an election-year campaign to woo voters in coal-based electorates, the Prime Minister called for a "measured and sensible" approach to climate change." (The Australian) | PM widens gulf on carbon (The Australian)

"Green tax is a blunt instrument, says Treasury minister" - "John Healy, the financial secretary to the Treasury, admitted that the increase was 'not even the best tax instrument' as he was quizzed by MPs on the financial costs of tackling climate change." (The Guardian)

"Cold storage solution for global warming? University researchers suggest CO2 be frozen in underground reservoirs" - "Researchers from the University of Leicester and the British Geological Society (BGS) have proposed storing CO2 in huge underground reservoirs as a way of reducing emissions- and have even identified sites in Western Europe that would be suitable. Their research, published in the journal, Planet Earth, reveals that CO2 can be contained in cool geological aquifers or reservoirs, where it can remain harmlessly for many thousands of years." (University of Leicester)

"EU bows to car lobby on pollution limits" - "Europe has missed a vital chance to impose tough curbs on CO2 emissions from cars following fierce lobbying from the motor industry, environmental groups said yesterday. Despite overwhelming evidence presented by scientists this week about the scale of the threat posed by global warming, the European Commission is to opt today for a blueprint on emissions limits that avoids placing the maximum burden on car-makers." (London Independent)

"overwhelming evidence"... what evidence? Perhaps they mean the unsubstantiated assertions made in SPM4 last Friday but who would know -- as far as we are aware JunkScience.com is the only source of public access to even the second-order draft WGI contribution, the final draft is not widely distributed for general review and the actual "report" will not be available until May when the bureaucrats have finished doctoring it to suit the political SPM. That ain't "evidence" pal, or anything even close.

Red Ken rails again: "The end of the road" - "Ken Livingstone: The European Commission has done the right thing: after the IPCC report on climate change, the car industry can't go on dodging tougher rules on carbon emissions." (The Guardian)

"EU car CO2 fight only beginning" - "The unveiling of the European Commission's plan to cut CO2 emissions from cars opens a new phase of a lobbying war between the motor industry and environmentalists." (BBC)

"It's No Good Offering Fuel-Efficient Cars If Nobody Buys Them" - "The European Commission has watered down its proposed binding limits for CO2 emissions from cars. The car industry and the German government have led the resistance to the measures. But ultimately it will be the customers who decide whether gas guzzlers become a thing of the past." (Der Spiegel)

"Plenty of fuel on hand to keep US warm – for now" - "But prices of oil and natural gas are climbing as a cold snap and earlier cuts in OPEC production take their toll." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"Clean Diesel Fuel Has School Buses Out Sick With Cold" - "Some school districts are blaming a recent federal mandate to switch to a less-polluting diesel fuel for a spate of school-bus breakdowns that left thousands of kids stranded and shivering in the extreme cold this week.

On Monday, when temperatures dipped below zero in East Allen County, Ind., 36 of the county's 155 school buses started up fine but soon conked out because the new fuel, thickening in the cold, clogged fuel filters. That same day, 30 miles outside of Pittsburgh, Hempfield area schools had the same problem with 26 of their 80 buses. Districts in Kansas and New England reported similar problems.

"The problem doesn't lie with the individual schools," says Lynda Kuchler, transportation director for the East Allen County Schools. "The problem is with the fuel." (Wall Street Journal)

"Putting the Tort in Tortilla" - "For half a century, Western guilt made the lives of the poor even worse by propping up despots and corrupt bureaucracies through foreign aid. A new form of Western guilt, environmental fundamentalism, is making the lives of the poor even worse in Mexico after triggering a huge rise in the price of corn -- the chief component of the tortilla -- thanks to a government-induced increase in the demand for ethanol in the United States." (Alvaro Vargas Llosa, TCS Daily)

"Soft-cell approach cuts animal tests" - "The new in-vitro technique pioneered by Dr Amanda Hayes and her UNSW colleagues, Shahnaz Bakand and Chris Winder, directly exposes human cells to airborne toxicants and measures cytotoxic effects. The cells are grown on a porous polyester membrane inside a small diffusion chamber and then exposed to selected toxic air pollutants. After as little as one hour's exposure, they can study cell growth and metabolism, and a range of routine toxicological endpoints." (University of New South Wales)

Another feature on anti-biotechies' favorite thief: "Canadian farmer on global crusade against GM seeds" - "When Monsanto decided to take Canadian farmer Percy Schmeiser to court for using its seeds, the US biotech giant didn't know it was creating a folk hero for the anti-GM crop movement. Since losing a series of court battles with Monsanto, Schmeiser has been travelling the world on a crusade against genetically modified (GM) crops and patenting seeds, speaking to environment groups and public gatherings." (AFP)

"Greenpeace demands biotech food labels" - "ATHENS, Greece - Greenpeace activists, hauling a pink fridge full of mock tainted foods, staged a protest outside Greece's Agriculture Ministry to demand an expanded labeling system for genetically modified foods. The government said it agreed with the demand." (AP)

"A decade after Dolly, what will the cloners create next?" - "SHE was, in the words of her creator, "the most extraordinary creature ever born". Within hours of her unveiling, Dolly the sheep became a global superstar. She posed for magazines and became a cover girl.

She was hailed by the scientific community, who said her creators at the Roslin Institute, Ian Wilmut and Keith Campbell, had "broken the biological equivalent of the sound barrier". Through cloning, every one of us would be able to grow replacement organs, they said, and previously fatal inherited genetic diseases would become curable.

But Time magazine called Wilmut "Dr Frankenstein". Dolly was described as "a wolf in sheep's clothing", by sceptics who feared she was a harbinger for an era of human cloning." (The Herald)

"Horse genome assembled" - "BETHESDA, Md., Wed., Feb. 7, 2007 – The first draft of the horse genome sequence has been deposited in public databases and is freely available for use by biomedical and veterinary researchers around the globe, leaders of the international Horse Genome Sequencing Project announced today." (NIH/National Human Genome Research Institute)

February 7, 2007

Oh boy... "Cleaner Shopping Carts Are Bill’s Goal" - "Arkansas is poised to become to the first state in the nation to officially encourage groceries to offer sanitary wipes to their customers that use shopping carts." (New York Times)

... just can't wait for the suits to start over "chemical contamination" of shopping carts with all those nasty chemicals from... sanitary wipes.

"The danger from our 'cotton wool kids'" - "Teachers who refuse to let children take risks are undermining the economy, a former director general of the Confederation of British Industry says today." (London Telegraph)

"Rough and tumble" - "Sir Digby Jones, the former director-general of the CBI, has decreed that society's mollycoddling of children – and adults – is bad for the British economy. At last some common sense: without taking risks, you don't reap rewards." (London Telegraph)

"The sack race is off: we can't afford insurance" - "A children's sack race has been scrapped from a community-run sports day because of the cost of insuring competitors against injury. Organisers of the annual summer event which includes games and races were told the premium would double if less "safe" activities were involved. Insuring sports such as badminton and running costs around £600 a year, but the inclusion of sacks would push it over the £1,000 mark." (London Telegraph)

"The Telly Tubby Myth" - "Laments over the sad condition of today’s children fill the media and even some professional literature. Their proclamations appear to verify what is popularly believed about fat children: that they are fat, unhealthy couch potatoes and getting too little exercise because they’re spending hours plopped in front of the television and playing computer games. What we believe to be true can prevent us — even healthcare professionals who work with children — from looking at the evidence carefully and misguide us to support interventions that aren’t grounded in facts." (Junkfood Science)

"Aging population is causing major increase in the cancer burden warn experts" - "Between 2004 and 2006, the number of new cases of cancer diagnosed each year in Europe has increased by 300,000 according to new estimates published in a report in Annals of Oncology today (Wednesday 7 February). It is estimated that in 2006 there were 3.2 million new cases of cancer (up from 2.9 million in 2004) and 1.7 million deaths from the disease in the whole of Europe." (European Society for Medical Oncology)

So, not the logging after all? There's a surprise... "Sea Bird Tied to Logging Fight Dwindles" - "GRANTS PASS, Oregon -- The marbled murrelet, a threatened sea bird whose rare trait of nesting in old-growth forests made it a factor in logging battles in the U.S. Northwest, is also declining dramatically in Alaska and Canada, where most of the birds live, according to a U.S. government review.

... The first comprehensive look at population surveys in Alaska and British Columbia found an overall decline of about 70 percent over the last 25 years, dropping the estimated population to 270,000 birds in Alaska and 54,000 to 92,000 birds in British Columbia.

... ''Nobody was really expecting that kind of change,'' Piatt said from Port Townsend, Washington. ''Natural influences may be more important than human-caused,'' changes. Even areas like Alaska's Glacier Bay, where there has been no logging, saw dramatic declines, raising the likelihood that something larger was a major factor, he said." (AP)

Presumably everyone is happy now... "Deep freeze to continue" - "The extremely cold temperatures we experienced today will continue to at least Thursday, the weather people say. So bundle up. Extreme temperatures and snow squalls have delivered a one-two punch to much of southern Ontario and the northern United States, snarling traffic and leaving commuters shivering. The frigid weather, blamed on a cold Arctic air mass, is expected to last for the next week to 10 days." (Toronto Star) | North America bundles up as bitter winter cold bursts back (AFP)

"Global warming ethics, pork and profits: Global warming alarmism generates political and financial incentives" - "“Dominant media” editors and others frequently accuse climate disaster skeptics of working for organizations that received funding from corporations. The accusation is intended to squelch debate on the merits – by implying that any such writer or organization should not be trusted, as they have a financial stake in the issue – which believers in climate catastrophe scenarios supposedly do not have." (Paul Driessen, WEBCommentary)

Right but for the wrong reasons and with the wrong conclusion: "Reports on global warming lag behind the science" - "The newest UN-sponsored assessment left out research that suggests more dire climate change." (The Christian Science Monitor)

Not included in AR4 is the latest, best-available data on ocean heat content being provided by Project Argo (the autonomous drifting submersible floats profiling our oceans). Recent data shows an unanticipated and significant cooling of the oceans (NASA spun it as a "global warming speed bump" but a loss of heat from oceans covering ~70% of the globe is a loss of heat, i.e., a cooling) -- the rate of cooling is really quite astonishing, losing roughly one-fifth of the heat built up since c.1950 in about one-twentieth the time span. Obviously a change in sign of a trend has considerable ramifications for projected trends and assumptions which, in virtually any other field would call for a halt to prognostications made from now invalidated data, broad dissemination of the data update and discussion of whether a complete do-over is now warranted -- but not within the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, apparently. This information was available almost a year prior to the pending publication of the WGI contribution to AR4 (the supposed "scientific basis") and it most assuredly calls into question many of the trend assumptions made but the chances of it being included are roughly Buckley's and none. Kind of curious, isn't it, that earlier data from the same Argo collection (when trends were apparently positive) formed the basis of the NASA media release and Hansen promo entitled "Earth’s Energy Out of Balance: The Smoking Gun for Global Warming", supposedly definitive proof of the veracity of Hansen's computer game, becomes a mere "speed bump" when longer, more complete data is viewed from the same 'definitive' source. Any report which omits this heat loss by definition overstates net warming and warming trend -- i.e., it's wrong -- so why will it be released at all? Why not put it out to reviewers with the question: "does this alter your assumptions?" (as obviously it must).

No, no, no... "Climate Change, Yes - But How Fast?" - "TORONTO - The predictions in the new report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which says the planet's average temperatures could increase four degrees Celsius by 2100, are seen as solid forecasts by some scientists, while others say they fall short.

The IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report, running 1,600 pages and officially released in Paris Feb. 2, says the scientific data about global warming and humankind's responsibility are now overwhelming." (Tierramérica)

... "The IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report, running 1,600 pages" has most assuredly not been released but rather about a dozen pages of questionable text and flat wrong tables, along with some imaginative filler graphics -- not even close to the WGI contribution to AR4.

Even believers are skeptical: "Global Warming and Hot Air" - "You could be excused for thinking that we'll soon do something serious about global warming. Last Friday, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) -- an international group of scientists -- concluded that, to a 90 percent probability, human activity is warming the Earth. Earlier, Democratic congressional leaders made global warming legislation a top priority; and 10 big U.S. companies (including General Electric and DuPont) endorsed federal regulation. Strong action seems at hand.

Don't be fooled. The dirty secret about global warming is this: We have no solution. About 80 percent of the world's energy comes from fossil fuels (coal, oil, natural gas), the main sources of man-made greenhouse gases. Energy use sustains economic growth, which -- in all modern societies -- buttresses political and social stability. Until we can replace fossil fuels or find practical ways to capture their emissions, governments will not sanction the deep energy cuts that would truly affect global warming.

Considering this reality, you should treat the pious exhortations to "do something" with skepticism, disbelief or contempt. These pronouncements are (take your pick) naive, self-interested, misinformed, stupid or dishonest. Politicians mainly want to be seen as reducing global warming. Companies want to polish their images and exploit markets created by new environmental regulations. As for editorialists and pundits, there's no explanation except superficiality or herd behavior." (Robert J. Samuelson, Washington Post)

"What the U.N. Won't Tell You" - "Last Friday, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the United Nations group charged with assessing the state of the world's climate, unveiled the summary of its latest report. The IPCC Web site claims an impressive number of participants: 450 lead authors, 800 contributors and 2,500 expert reviewers (of which I was one). But it would be a mistake to assume all these experts endorse everything in summary, including its bottom-line assessment: "Most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations." Many disagree with the conclusion itself or the claimed level of certainty, but the fact is, we were never asked. Most participants worked only on small portions of the report, handed in final materials last summer and never ventured an opinion on claims made in the summary." (Ross McKitrick, Newsweek International)

"A prospectus for big government" - "Imagine you find out that a large corporation has produced its annual report before its audit is complete. Long before its outside accountants have signed off on revenues and expenses for the year, the company has issued its official annual statement claiming everything is rosy. Oh, and the report was written by the company's sales department rather than its finance office. Securities commissions would be all over them. Exchanges would stop trading their shares. Or how about a mining company that issued a prospectus claiming it had found a rich vein of ore even before the mineral samples had been tested? "Charlatans! Frauds! Crooks!," you'd scream. And you'd be right. So how come so many otherwise smart people are eager to swallow whole the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's global warming report when the scientific studies behind it will not be released until May at the earliest?" (Lorne Gunter, National Post)

"AEI responds to bizarre criticism" - "The Guardian and the leftist blogosphere - which unfortunately includes Cosmic Variance - have invented an incredibly painful campaign against the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). They deliberately confuse AEI and ExxonMobil and misinterpret everything about the award $10,000 that AEI offers for high-quality critical analyses of the IPCC report. Here is a very decent answer of the AEI president:" (The Reference Frame)

The Week That Was February 3, 2007 (SEPP)

Oh great -- another zealot: "New mission for Jorma Ollila: fighting climate change" - "Chairman of the Boards of Nokia and Shell Oil wants to spread warning of global warming." (Helsingin Sanomat)

"`War' on emissions hurting oil demand: CIBC" - "Governments around the world are "waging a war" on greenhouse gas emissions, resulting in the first decline in crude-oil consumption in more than two decades among countries of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, or OECD, according to CIBC World Markets." (Toronto Star)

And there we were thinking it was the mostly-mild winter experienced by the northern hemisphere that had suppressed demand for heating fuels...

"Globally, no rush to mend ways on climate change" - "ROME: Last Friday the world's leading climate scientists announced that global warming was "unequivocal" and predicted catastrophe if emissions caused by human activity were not curbed through swift political responses. Representatives of 113 nations endorsed the report's conclusions. But turning that unanimous support into political action is already running into intense resistance." (Elisabeth Rosenthal, IHT)

<chuckle> "Carbon trading clean up promised by EU" - "When the European Union launched its scheme to trade carbon emission rights to combat climate change, it probably did not envisage that it might eventually provide an incentive to pollute. But that is exactly what has happened. Just over two years into a scheme that was launched in 2005 as the first of its kind in the world, the price for a permit to emit one tonne of carbon dioxide has plummeted to a record low of just €1.50 ($1.94) a tonne – a fraction of the peak €30 level hit last April." (Financial Times)

"EU environment chief in fresh attack on Germany" - "EU environment commissioner Stavros Dimas has sharply criticised the German EU presidency's lack of interest in curbing climate change, saying Berlin is hampering international efforts to tackle the problem.

"A number of other countries are closer to their Kyoto [climate change] targets, for example Great Britain and Sweden. Then there are others who are hiding behind Germany," Mr Dimas said in an interview with German newspaper Bild am Sonntag on Sunday (4 February).

"Only once Germany puts all the nice speeches into practice will the others no longer be able to hide. If Germany blocks, the rest of Europe doesn't play along. And if Europe doesn't play along, neither does the rest of the world," he added, according to press reports." (EUobserver)

"Activists, Car Firms Unhappy with EU Emission Plans" - "BRUSSELS - Environmentalists and industry clashed on Tuesday over plans by the European Commission to set new limits on car emissions, which auto manufacturers called too costly and activists said were too lax." (Reuters)

Turf wars, already? "INTERVIEW - French Climate Plan May be Distraction - UN Official" - "OSLO - A French-led plan to create a stronger UN agency must not be allowed to sidetrack the world from the overriding goal of fighting global warming, the UN's top climate change official said on Tuesday." (Reuters)

"Pelosi Settles Battle Over Climate Panel" - "House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has agreed to a compromise that ends a three-week turf battle with one of her most powerful and senior committee chairmen over a special panel on climate change." (AP)

"Kyoto’s Future, Post-Nairobi and Going Forward in 2007:" (.pdf) - "How a post-2012 Kyoto pact is impeded not by U.S. Actions, but the failure of Europe and other Kyoto Parties to reduce emissions, and continued rejection of rationing by the vast majority of the world." (Christopher C. Horner, Center for Science and Public Policy)

"Brazil's Lula Blasts Rich Nations on Climate" - "RIO DE JANEIRO - Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva blamed wealthy countries for global warming on Tuesday and said they should stop telling Brazil what to do with the Amazon rainforest." (Reuters)

Right about the Amazon, at least.

"House passes Liberal Kyoto motion" - "OTTAWA - A motion to ensure Canada respects its international commitments to fight climate change, adopted Monday by the House of Commons, will be ignored by Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Liberal Leader Stephane Dion introduced the motion last week to embarrass the Conservatives who have rejected the international Kyoto treaty, which requires its member countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions below 1990 levels to fight the effects of global warming." (CanWest News Service)

"Canada Sees its Greenhouse Gas Emissions Soaring" - "OTTAWA - Canada's greenhouse gas emissions will continue to soar in the next few years, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said on Tuesday." (Reuters)

"Harper Says Balancing Environment, Jobs `Fundamental'" - "Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, trailing in opinion polls ahead of a possible election, said his government's greatest challenge is to ensure plans to combat climate change don't undermine the economy." (Bloomberg)

"China Says Global Warming in Hands of Wealthy Nations" - "BEIJING - Rich nations are responsible for greenhouse gases fuelling global warming, China said on Tuesday, urging them to cut emissions and deflecting questions about whether Beijing will accept limits." (Reuters)

Only too happy to lighten Western purses: "China Eyes Summer Launch for Carbon Credit Exchange" - "BEIJING - Beijing plans to launch a pilot exchange for carbon trade this summer to be ready to win a slice of the multi-billion dollar market by 2008 and capitalise on China's emergence as an hotspot for emissions-cutting projects." (Reuters)

"UN Doubts China Will Overtake US on Carbon by 2009" - "BEIJING - A forecast that China could be the world's top emitter of carbon dioxide by 2009 is based on old data and Beijing is unlikely to overtake the United States so soon, United Nations and Chinese officials said on Tuesday." (Reuters)

Hot air of the moment: "CCX to Develop Carbon Emission Credit Products" - "NEW YORK - The Chicago Climate Exchange Inc. (CCX) said Tuesday it had entered into an agreement to develop products with exchange traded fund distribution company XShares Advisors LLC." (Reuters)

"Firms told to cut CO2 or leave FTSE4good" - "Companies wanting to demonstrate corporate social responsibility by being a member of the FTSE4Good stock market index will be forced to show they are reducing their carbon emissions. About a quarter of the energy-intensive users in the FTSE4Good are heading for removal unless they change their ways, according to the index's organisers." (The Guardian)

"Beware of reckless regulation on climate change" - "Quite suddenly, almost everyone seems to agree that climate change is a serious problem. After decades of debate and denial, the many and various interested parties are rushing to respond. Everything that could conceivably mitigate global warming is applauded with little or no qualification.

I am worried about the consensus on climate change. I am concerned that the clamour for action will stifle debate about solutions. It is difficult nowadays to find a politician or business leader in the UK who will not champion the need for action. But it has become just as difficult to find anyone who is prepared to put a head above the parapet and challenge some of the crazier ideas that are being proposed." (Rick Haythornthwaite, Financial Times) | Better Regulation Commission warns: 'Don't let climate change become a victim of 'quick fix' policies'

"Stern assumptions 'implausible'" - "The Stern report into climate change is based on "implausible" economic and scientific assumptions, former Chancellor Lord Lawson has told MPs. Lord Lawson said the report was a "biased" attempt to please ministers rather than an "objective" study." (BBC)

"Media Promote Global Warming Fraud" - "When it comes to Iraq, our media have been preoccupied with the issue of whether there was adequate intelligence to justify the invasion and if policy-makers made up evidence before the war. But on the matter of global intervention to stop global warming, there seems to be no need for scientific evidence to justify what is shaping up as a global carbon tax of 35 cents a gallon of gas on the American people.

It's difficult to figure out which is the bigger fraud-the U.N. or our media." (Cliff Kincaid, AIM)

"Congressional Global Warming Poll: 95% of Democrats Buy It, 84% of GOP Don’t" - "You thought there was a political divide concerning the war, taxes, and abortion? Well, a newly released National Journal poll of members of Congress indicated just as strong a diametric view of whether anthropogenic global warming is real or not. Called a “Congressional Insiders Poll,” the study asked 10 Senate Democrats, 48 House Democrats, 10 Senate Republicans, and 45 House Republicans: “Do you think it’s been proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the Earth is warming because of man-made problems?” (News Busters)

Wonder why the percentage of believers are down a little since last April? Not that such small sampling really tells us anything (except perhaps that the question is badly framed).

More Buncombe: "Climate campaign issues 'wake-up call' to world leaders" - "George Bush, Vladimir Putin and Jacques Chirac are in bed, fast asleep. All around them the evidence of climate change is clear and pressing but nothing can rouse the world leaders from their slumber. "Global warming is here, but our leaders just won't wake up," says a voice. "Now you can sound the alarm. Go to avaaz.org to send your leader a wake-up call." (London Independent)

Art and artifice (Number Watch)

Gasp! "BBC fails on green promises" - "The BBC has failed to follow through on its promise to publish an environmental audit, despite pressure on the corporation to cut its carbon footprint." (MediaGuardian.co.uk)

"Fran O'Sullivan: Cooling the hot air debate" - "David Parker stops short of demonising his opposition as "climate change deniers". "Climate change sceptics" is the phrase Parker prefers to use in characterising those who take issue with the doomsday forecasts of the fourth assessment report by the United Nations Intergovernmental panel on Climate Change. The Climate Change Minister is on the right track here." (New Zealand Herald)

"Aircon is uncool" - "ANDREW Bolt writes: PSSST! Here's a little secret: I went down to The Age on Monday, and, boy, was it a relief. Outside the temperature was 32C. But inside the brown hulk, known unaffectionately as the Spencer St Soviet, the temperature was just 25C. It was bliss. But odd. In fact, I was so startled to find the place so cool that I took my thermometer to a second room. But, no, it was 25C there, too, with a refreshing breeze wafting out from some hidden vent. It was all so unbelievable that I propped my thermometer on a table and took some snaps of it with my camera phone, in case you'd think I was hallucinating. After all, hasn't The Age demanded we get rid of airconditioners? Haven't its writers called us vandals and sooks for using so much gas-belching power to cool ourselves, thus dooming our planet to global frying?" (Andrew Bolt, Herald Sun)

"Avoid panic policies on global warming" - "THE scientific debate over global warming won't end with the fourth assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. In Paris (where else?) on Friday, the IPCC released its summary for policymakers of the report. The full report will be publicly released in May." (The Australian)

"Should We Believe the Latest UN Climate Report?" - "The UN Climate Change panel is asserting - again - that humans are overheating the planet. Again, they have no evidence to support their claim - but they want the U.S. to cut its energy use by perhaps 80 percent just in case. Stabilizing greenhouse gases means no personal cars, no air-conditioning, no vacation travel. Nancy Pelosi says one-third of the Senate want this too. It’s a remarkably sweeping demand, given that the earth has warmed less than 1 degree C, over 150 years. This on a planet where the ice cores and seabed sediments tell us the climate has been either warming abruptly or cooling suddenly for the past million years." (CGFI)

From CO2 Science this week:

Key Feature of Negative Climate Feedback Phenomenon Confirmed: A new paper based on comprehensive real-world data establishes the validity of the central concept of a powerful negative climate feedback phenomenon.

Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week:
This issue's Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week comes from Amargosa Canyon, Death Valley, California, USA. To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.

Subject Index Summary:
Sea Level (Global Measurements): What do global sets of sea level data suggest about the nature of 20th-century global warming?

Plant Growth Data:
This week we add new results (blue background) of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO 2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature for: Alfalfa, Sorghum, Sunflower, and Wheat.

Journal Reviews:
Forty-Eight Years of Tropical Cyclone Activity Over China: How has it changed with the passage of time?

Climate and Forest Fires in Ontario, Canada: How are they related?

The Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age in the Indo-Pacific Warm Pool: How far can one travel from the North Atlantic Ocean and still find evidence of the Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age?

Climatic Change and Atopic Eczema: What moving from a subarctic/temperate climate to a sunny subtropical climate can do for children who suffer from the disease.

Climatic Effects on Oceanic DMS Producers: How does global warming affect one of the important negative feedback phenomena that modulate earth's climate? (co2sicence.org)

"Mining heat from the earth? New technology shows promise." - "New techniques could expand the capabilities of geothermal power, producing 10 percent of US electricity by 2050." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"PM attacked over delay to green energy scheme" - "TONY Blair was yesterday accused of recklessly delaying a "potentially planet-saving project" to build the world's first carbon capture power station in Scotland. The attack was launched by Alex Salmond, the SNP leader, after it was revealed that the oil giant BP will soon be forced to put the £500-million green energy scheme on hold because the government has still to decide whether to sanction financial support for the project." (The Scotsman)

"ANALYSIS - China May Swing to Net Coal Imports by Year End" - "HONG KONG - China, the world's top coal producer and consumer, may swing sooner than expected into a net importer of the fuel by the end of 2007, a move that will boost prices and step up competition among Asian energy importers." (Reuters)

"INTERVIEW - Australia Cattle King Sees Drought End, More Growth" - "SYDNEY - Australian Agricultural Co Ltd., the world's biggest cattle company with property holdings bigger than entire countries says it is positioned for a profit recovery this year after drought hit its 2006 earnings." (Reuters)

"FEATURE - Food Miles May be Green, but are They Fair?" - "LONDON - Supermarkets are scrambling to capture the millions of "green" pounds spent by increasingly environmentally aware shoppers." (Reuters)

Antis still at it: "Minister asked to reject GM animal feed" - "Genetic-modification researchers are pushing Food Safety Minister Annette King to reject a new designed corn they claim could be linked to cancer and other diseases. International seed company Monsanto wants approval for the new GM corn, called LY038, designed to be more nutritious feed for animals. The corn requires approval as feed because of the risk, considered slight by officials, of it inadvertently entering the human food supply." (New Zealand Herald)

"Keeping the Fruits of Research Close to Home in St. Louis" - "The city is establishing a biotech corridor to commercialize local science." (New York Times)

February 6, 2007

"March Madness for Malaria" - "A group of hedge-fund managers have teamed up to raise money and boost awareness of the disease through an online fund-raising tournament dubbed Madness Against Malaria." (AFM)

Grandma always said sunshine was good for you: "2 new studies back vitamin D for cancer prevention" - "Two new vitamin D studies using a sophisticated form of analysis called meta-analysis, in which data from multiple reports is combined, have revealed new prescriptions for possibly preventing up to half of the cases of breast cancer and two-thirds of the cases of colorectal cancer in the United States. The work was conducted by a core team of cancer prevention specialists at the Moores Cancer Center at University of California, San Diego (UCSD), and colleagues from both coasts." (University of California - San Diego)

Hmm... "Autism may not be the only childhood psychiatric disorder on the rise" - "The incidence of three childhood neuropsychiatric disorders, including autism, increased among Danish children between 1990 and 2004, according to a report in the February issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. The findings suggest that recent upward trends in reported autism diagnoses may be part of a broader pattern in childhood mental illness." (JAMA and Archives Journals)

... reporting certainly seems to be on the rise.

"Sedentary teens more likely to have higher blood pressure" - "Teenagers who spend a lot of time planted in front of the TV are more likely to have higher blood pressure, regardless of whether they are overweight. "This is the first research to show a direct and independent connection between TV watching and higher blood pressure among adolescents," said study leader Nicolas Stettler, M.D., M.S.C.E., a pediatric nutrition specialist at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia." (Children's Hospital of Philadelphia)

"Less TV doesn't boost exercise for kids: study" - "CHICAGO - Getting children to switch off the television does not guarantee they will exercise more, U.S. researchers said on Monday. A four-year study of more than 10,000 U.S. children aged 10 to 15 found no correlation between changes in the amount of time they spent in sedentary activities and time engaged in moderate to vigorous physical activity." (Reuters)

"Arkansas May Drop Schoolchildren Weigh - Ins" - "LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Arkansas -- the first state to send home obesity report cards to warn parents of overweight kids' health risks -- may ditch the plan or weaken it with the help of the new governor." (AP)

"Parents blind to their children's weight" - "Researchers with Deakin's Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition Research surveyed more than 1200 families to find out if parents had concerns about their children's weight and if they took any preventative action to avoid obesity in their children." (Research Australia)

"A virulent strain of self-loathing taking hold" - "With bird flu in Suffolk, the Health Secretary says that the Government is preparing “very, very seriously and thoroughly” for a pandemic. So are we all now at risk from avian influenza? The clue is in the title. “Bird flu” is a devastating disease of poultry. The outbreak among turkeys is a reminder of the threat it poses in the UK today — to people’s livelihoods rather than lives." (Mick Hume, London Times)

"Kibaki blames environmental woes on treaties" - "President Kibaki has decried the high number and complexity of international agreements governing environment, saying they had failed to reverse degradation. The environment is degenerating at an unpredictable speed, he said. The President also took issue with the high number of agencies on nature and called for a more integrated structure for environmental standard, scientific discussion, monitoring and assessment." (East African Standard)

Well, every bureaucrat seemingly wants to spawn new departments & NGOs, part of either or both legacy and empire building but these entities never die. What we really need is term limits for all this nonsense -- about 15 minutes ought to cover it.

"Britons Split over Price of Going Green" - "LONDON - Millions of Britons profess to have "green" credentials, but would rather pay environmental taxes than change their lives, a study shows. At the same time, consumers who are otherwise unresponsive to environmental issues are willing to go green -- but only if the price is right, according to separate research." (Reuters)

Hysteria without end: "Environmentalists demand curbs on mercury trade" - "NAIROBI - Industrialized nations should agree to binding rules to cut use of the toxic heavy metal mercury and speed up plans to curb exports to the developing world, environmental activists said on Monday. The United States and the European Union have substantially cut their use of mercury -- used in processes ranging from mining to electronics, plastics and chemicals manufacturing -- but other countries are using it more and more." (Reuters)

"Changes in amino acids in the 1918 influenza virus cut transmission" - "Modest changes in the 1918 flu virus's hemagglutinin receptor binding site—a molecular structure critical for the spread of infection—stopped viral transmission in ferrets, according to a new study conducted by researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The finding, published in the February 1 issue of Science, could have significant clinical implications in helping scientists develop ways to break the disease cycle and possibly help reduce the risk for a potential pandemic." (The Mount Sinai Hospital / Mount Sinai School of Medicine)

"World's oldest rocks show how Earth may have dodged frozen fate of Mars" - "Carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that has become a bane of modern society, may have saved Earth from freezing over early in the planet's history, according to the first detailed laboratory analysis of the world's oldest sedimentary rocks." (University of Colorado at Boulder)

"Inconvenient Kyoto Truths" - "Was life better when a sheet of ice a mile thick covered Chicago? Was it worse when Greenland was so warm that Vikings farmed there?" (George F. Will, Newsweek)

"Global Warming is not due to human contribution of Carbon Dioxide" - "Global Warming, as we think we know it, doesn't exist. And I am not the only one trying to make people open up their eyes and see the truth. But few listen, despite the fact that I was the first Canadian Ph.D. in Climatology and I have an extensive background in climatology, especially the reconstruction of past climates and the impact of climate change on human history and the human condition. “Few listen, even though I have a Ph.D, (Doctor of Science) from the University of London, England and was a climatology professor at the University of Winnipeg.” . For some reason (actually for many), the World is not listening. Here is why." (Timothy Ball, Canada Free Press)

Three inconvenient truths about climate sceptics (Number Watch)

"The Fraser Institute: Independent Summary Shows New UN Climate Change Report Refutes Alarmism and Reveals Major Uncertainties in the Science" - "LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--An independent review of the latest United Nations report on climate change shows that the scientific evidence about global warming remains uncertain and provides no basis for alarmism.

In 2006, independent research organization The Fraser Institute convened a panel of 10 internationally-recognized experts to read the UN International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) draft report and produce an Independent Summary for Policymakers. The result, released today and available at www.fraserinstitute.ca, is a detailed and thorough overview of the state of the science. This independent summary has been reviewed by more than 50 scientists around the world and their views on its balance and reliability are tabulated for readers.

"While a lot of effort goes into producing the large IPCC reports, its complex message is often obscured by its accompanying Summary for Policymakers. That summary report does not come from the scientific community. Instead it is developed through political negotiations by unnamed bureaucrats from various governments. Critics of past summaries point out they downplay and gloss over areas of uncertainty and data limitations," said Dr. Ross McKitrick, coordinator of the independent review and senior fellow with The Fraser Institute." (CCNMatthews)

"Melding Science and Diplomacy to Run a Global Climate Review" - "More than a few scientists think that Susan Solomon must be a glutton for punishment. Who in her right mind would want to detour from doing world-class atmospheric research at a laboratory tucked under the Rockies to be a co-leader of a years-long, largely administrative review by hundreds of experts from dozens of countries of existing studies on the atmosphere?" (New York Times) | On the Climate Change Beat, Doubt Gives Way to Certainty (William K Stevens, New York Times)

Circling the gravy train? "Warming 'no greenie conspiracy'" - "AUSTRALIAN climate experts have urged the federal Government not to reject as a "green conspiracy" scientific findings on climate change released last week." (The Australian)

Dr Nicholls, who was also involved in drafting the report's summary for policymakers, blamed climate-change sceptics for distracting scientists seeking solutions to the effects of greenhouse gases. "Stop spending so much of our time re-answering questions that were answered 15, 20 years ago so we can actually concentrate on really difficult scientific questions," he said. -- what utter horse apples! Never answered is why trivial CO2-driven warming should be expected to trigger unmitigated positive feedback when seasonal warming a full order of magnitude greater occurs every year without triggering any such self-sustaining feedback loops (it's called the northern hemisphere summer, in case you didn't know). Since that is the fundamental question of enhanced greenhouse upon which this whole inverted pyramid balances and yet it has never been addressed the claim these questions "were answered 15, 20 years ago" is an outrageous falsehood.

So, Dr Nicholls, why doesn't the roughly 10 kelvins observed atmospheric warming, with associated positive feedbacks of massively reduced northern snow and ice fields (reduced albedo), increased evaporation and increased atmospheric water vapor saturation point (water vapor enhancement allegedly requiring the 2.5 times magnification factor for CO2-driven warming) that occurs every January to July actually trigger the hypothetical self-sustaining warming and spill over into the southern hemisphere summer, precipitating the "runaway" water vapor-enhanced "global warming" of popular fear? Why does the Earth cool rapidly following El Niño events? Why don't you actually answer some of the critical questions instead of sprouting bombastic bullshit?

"Paul Dibb: No reason to live in climate of fear" - "OUR contemporary era is beset with existential threats, or at least that's what the politicians and much of our media would have you believe. First it was the terrorist events of 9/11 in the US, which allegedly changed the world forever so that terrorism now poses a greater threat to our existence than the former Soviet Union.

Now it is global warming that imperils the earth's ecosystems with collapse and threatens the very existence of the human race. In between, we've had allegations that the world is going to run out of oil and that the world's population growth is unsustainable.

As Owen Harries has observed, it is the parochialism of the present to believe that our contemporary situation confronts us with threats like no other and that our world is the most dangerous, the most unpredictable and the most complex in history.

In my view, the notion that today's future is more unpredictable than yesterday's is very much overdrawn. The habit of prophesying doom testifies less to intellectual lucidity than to abject pessimism." (The Australian)

"The February 2 2007 American Meteorological Society Statement on Climate Change" - "The American Society (AMS) released their Climate Change An Information Statement of the American Meteorological Society as adopted by AMS Council on 1 February 2007. The AMS has a long history of contribution to atmospheric science and climate, and I am proud to be a Member and a Fellow of the Society. However, I am very disappointed that the AMS is being used to advocate for a particular perspective of the role of human- and natural-climate variability and change at the exclusion of viewpoints that were ignored in the completion of the Statement." (Climate Science)

"Cooking the Books on Global Warming – or Overheating a Bad Survey?" - "As Oscar Wilde might have told the Bush administration, to interfere once in a scientist’s research is objectionable, but to interfere twice is a conspiracy. Yet coverage of a study charging political interference in climate research was marred by factual inaccuracies, misleading statements, or conclusions that were not warranted by the evidence." (S. Robert Lichter Ph.D, STATS)

Yep... "Cambodians ponder an unfamiliar concept: cold" - "Temperatures in the 40s spurred some people to don socks, sweaters, and even coats." (The Christian Science Monitor)

... their correspondent tried to hang this on "global warming" too.

Taking a scare campaign too far: "Brazil coffee at risk from global warming - study" - "RIO DE JANEIRO, Feb 5 - Brazil, one of the world's largest agricultural producers, risks a sharp cut in coffee and other major crops over the next 50 to 100 years due to global warming, researchers said on Monday. A 3-degree Celsius (5.4 Fahrenheit) rise in temperature would result in a 60 percent reduction in the arabica coffee area in Brazil, the world's biggest producer of the beverage." (Reuters)

"Global warming: time bomb causing irreparable damage to Earth" - "Scientists seem to be very good at making up numerous stories about climate doomsday that is just around the corner. Ten years ago scientists told the public that the world’s oil reserves would be pumped dry in two decades. Ten years gone yet there is plenty of oil around. Astronomers regularly report on asteroids and meteorites ostensibly bound to hit the planet. However, deadly celestial intruders fly past Earth despite the gloomy predictions. The 2004 movie The Day After Tomorrow by Roland Emmerich can be credited for having drawn lots of attention to the issue of global warming. Is global warming really going to happen on the day after tomorrow? Perhaps we are no longer able to tell real threats from the imaginary ones." (Pravda.ru)

But wait, it's even worse! "Climate Change Only One Symptom Of A Stressed Planet Earth -- The IGBP reports that "the Earth is now in the midst of its sixth great extinction event." - "In releasing its latest comprehensive report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) focuses an important spotlight on the current state of the Earth's climate. Climate change is just one of the many symptoms exhibited by a planet under pressure from human activities. "Global environmental change, which includes climate change, threatens to irreversibly alter our planet," says Kevin Noone, Executive Director of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP)." (SPX)

'Club of Rome' recycled: "UNEP report calls for responsible economics to save environment" - "Governments should adopt responsible economics to help save the environment from the costs of rapid globalisation, a United Nations report said on Tuesday. The UN Environmental Programme (UNEP) said rapid globalisation -- which is seen as contributing to the emission of greenhouse gases -- had an impact on the world's finite natural resources and, if unchecked, could eventually exercabate poverty and conflicts over scarce raw materials." (AFP)

"Climate Dead Horse" - "Fossil fuels are to blame, world scientists conclude, blare the headlines on USA Today. It’s obviously a slow news week, the Iran nukes fail to spark into flame, the Hillary/Biden candidacy is a non-starter, the plunging value of dollar on world markets is ignored (again), and oil prices are falling (again). So why not fan the flames one more time on the global warming hysteria dead horse? This strident moan from government scientists for greater funding and wider powers is deafening, and it obscures the science." (George Giles, Lew Rockwell)

Trolling for dollars: "China to research global warming" - "BEIJING — China will spend more to research global warming but lacks the money and technology to significantly reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that are worsening the problem, a government official said Tuesday." (Associated Press)

"Arctic Lessons from the Last Interglacial (Polar bears survived)" - "In recent years, much has been made of the warming in the northern high latitude region of Earth over the last two decades of the 20th century. Data on glacial and sea ice recession and frightening computer simulations of rising sea levels underscore the doom and gloom of the warmth in the Arctic. On top of this, global climate models are predicting that this region will continue to be a “hotspot” of greatest warming during the 21st century. And, in an effort to drive the impact of all of this home (because who would otherwise really care if the coldest places on earth warmed up a bit), a small, but vocal band of climate alarmists have attempted to convince us that as a result of Arctic warming, everyone’s favorite bear (with the exception of perhaps Teddy and/or Yogi), ursus maritimus—the polar bear—will be pushed to extinction." (WCR)

"Polar Science From the Deep--Part II" - "Changes are afoot beneath the icy waters around Antarctica--on eight feet, to be exact. With the help of waters warmed by climate change, the king crab, which has not set claw in the shallow Antarctic waters in 15 million years, may be returning." (ScienceNOW Daily News)

They were looking for king crabs and they... found one -- well there's a four-alarm crisis.

"Legal Hot Air" - "The U.N.'s latest global warming report is being spun as a wake-up call. But whether or not you agree on the need for urgent action, it ought to be obvious that the absolute last branch of government that should set climate policy is the courts. As usual, California Attorney General Jerry Brown has his own ideas." (Wall Street Journal)

"No Getting Around Emissions Caps, Experts Say" - "BROOKLIN, Canada - With the stark realisation that global warming is transforming our world, there will be crazy new era of "greenwashing", desperate "geo-engineering" schemes, "grandfathering" of newly-built coal power plants and carbon-credit "profiteering", environmentalists warn." (IPS)

"Germany Under Fire for Climate Change Hypocrisy" - "The new UN report on climate change has increased pressure on governments around the world to act on global warming. However the German government is being criticized for resisting EU moves to reduce car emissions." (Der Spiegel)

"Australia Softens Stand on Carbon Trading" - "CANBERRA - Australia's conservative government softened its long-held opposition to carbon trading on Monday, prompting business to warn the move could cost jobs and shift emissions offshore to China or Indonesia." (Reuters)

"Be Responsible, UN Climate Panel Head Urges India" - "NEW DELHI - As one of the world's top polluters and a country likely to be severely hit by global warming, India needs to develop a clear policy on climate change, the head of a UN panel said on Monday." (Reuters)

The most responsible thing India can do is tell the UN climate-wallahs to bugger off. India has an economy to build and genuine problems to address.

Dopey... "CHINA: Prosperity or Pollution?" - "BEIJING - Following the release of an authoritative United Nations report that unequivocally links human activities with climate change, the rulers of the world's most populous country are faced with the quandary of balancing prosperity against pollution." (IPS)

...with increasing prosperity comes a reduction in pollution. Regarding carbon dioxide, who cares, it has a small and diminishing effect on the global temperature but supports virtually the entire biosphere.

Oops, wrong photo op: "Farmer's beef with drought debate" - "LABOR leader Kevin Rudd donned his RM Williams boots yesterday for a tour of a drought-ravaged property, but found a farmer who didn't believe in a link between the current drought and climate change. During a tour of the Glengalla property in southern NSW yesterday, Angus beef farmers Willo and Joy Cameron confessed they believed the drought debate was being hijacked by the climate change lobby." (The Australian)

"Environment Ministers Meet After Climate Warning" - "NAIROBI - Environment ministers began meeting in Kenya on Monday to study whether booming global trade can be modified to help save the planet, days after the toughest warning yet that mankind is to blame for global warming." (Reuters)

Wonder how much better off the environment would be without all these environment ministers constantly jetting off to exotic locations on their perpetual party circuit.

"Global Warming to Hit Poor Worst, Says UN's Ban" - "NAIROBI - The world's poor, who are the least responsible for global warming, will suffer the most from climate change, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told environment ministers from around the world on Monday." (Reuters)

If so then all the more reason we must not hamper economic development and global commerce so they can afford to protect themselves from hostile nature, red in tooth and claw.

"EU to spread burden of proposed car emission cuts" - "BRUSSELS, Feb 5 - The European Commission will propose carmakers should be required to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from new cars to an average of 130 grams per kilometre by 2012, a European Union source said on Monday. The Commission would target an overall cut in car emissions to 120 grams per km by 2012 from current levels of roughly 161 grams per km, but that goal would be achieved through biofuel use and other technology in addition to improved standards from carmakers themselves, the source said." (Reuters)

"Porsche Rails at Emissions Caps That Favor Ghosn's Smaller Cars" - "Porsche AG is under threat from the drive to combat global warming, Chief Executive Officer Wendelin Wiedeking says. Wiedeking has joined with other German luxury-car makers to protest a mandatory European Union cap on carbon-dioxide emissions that he says favors companies such as Renault SA and Fiat SpA that produce smaller vehicles. ``This is a business war in Europe,'' Wiedeking, 54, told shareholders at Stuttgart's Porsche Arena on Jan. 26. ``It's the French and Italians up against the Germans.'' (Bloomberg)

"Climate change could play havoc with oil prices" - "Climate change, by disrupting current weather patterns, could play ever greater havoc with the zig zags in oil prices, such as the price plunge seen in early January, market analysts say." (AFP)

"Premier says Alberta won‘t slow oilsands production to reduce emissions" - "EDMONTON - Premier Ed Stelmach warned Monday of “dire economic consequences‘‘ if Alberta were ever forced to slow oilsands development to curb emissions that cause global warming." (CP)

"Researchers hit Southern Calif. streets in search of pollution" - "Researchers in a specially equipped truck will hit area roadways this week measuring pollution levels to better determine what kind of air people breathe in sprawling Southern California. Scientists from the California Air Resources Board will begin sampling air quality, examining exhaust from cars, trucks and other sources, on Tuesday. They'll cruise freeways and streets in a modified electric Toyota RAV-4 equipped with $450,000 worth of sophisticated air monitors and a wind sensor protruding from the roof." (Associated Press)

They really couldn't find something useful to do with these funds?

"Chavez sets 'green' agenda" - "Plans to use oil money to develop solar, wind energy, but critics call it rhetoric." (AP)

"Brisbane bans cars for no scientific reason" - "Brisbane is contemplating banning cars from the city in an attempt to combat climate change. A $50,000 report also suggested that

cyclones, floods and bushfires could become the norm if the city does not convert to solar energy and boost public transport usage.

Well we've already proven that cyclones have not been increasing in Australia, but what about floods?" (Gust of Hot Air)

"CHILE: Home-Grown Biofuels - Big-Time?" - "SANTIAGO - The government of President Michelle Bachelet seems determined to develop the biofuels industry in order to diversify Chile's energy sources, in spite of doubts that have arisen about their desirability." (IPS)

"BRAZIL: Biodiversity Goes to Market" - "RIO DE JANEIRO - Biodiversity, like the proverbial prophet, is not without honour save in its own country: it tends to be valued more highly abroad than at home. Brazil is now trying to become an exception to the rule by commercialising its native species on a large scale." (IPS)

"John Block Reports from Washington" - "Transcript of radio broadcast from Washington...

The St. Louis Post Dispatch quotes a mother buying milk. Here’s what she has to say: “I’m not sure what it is, but I think it’s bad.” So, what is so bad? Milk from cows that receive a supplement called bST that increases their milk production. It was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1993. We’ve already been drinking the milk for 13 years with no ill effects. The milk from a cow that is given the supplement is identical to the milk from a cow that does not receive the supplement. It is indistinguishable. The cow just gives more milk." (CGFI)

"Help poor families: Stop deceptive milk labeling" - "A bag of fresh apples costs a lot more than a bag of cheese puffs. And guess what most kids prefer? Feeding your children healthful meals has never been easy, especially if you're barely making ends meet. Junk food is cheap, easy to serve and all too tempting for children. But good parents forge ahead, choosing nutritious alternatives, even when they cost more. It's good for the kids, so parents make the sacrifice. That's why it's particularly galling when companies try to take advantage of these well-meaning parents, fooling them into wasting their hard-earned money on false promises of "healthier" or "more nutritious" foods." (Des Moines Register)

"Consumer Group Urges Attention to Existing Rules on rBST Milk Labels" - "WASHINGTON, DC — The nation’s oldest consumer group is urging the federal government to get involved in the current controversy surrounding milk labels, saying the practice of unqualified “hormone-free” labels can confuse consumers and may lead them to make purchasing decisions based on incomplete information." (National Consumers League)

"EU May Reconsider Labels for "Biotech" Meat, Eggs" - "BRUSSELS - Europe's food safety chief promised on Monday to look into altering the EU's strict rules on labelling foods like meat and eggs deriving from animals that have eaten genetically modified (GMO) feed." (Reuters)

"Hungary Says Hopeful it can Keep its GMO Ban" - "BUDAPEST - Hungary's government sees a good chance that an upcoming meeting of European Union environment ministers will allow it to maintain its ban on genetically modified crops, the Environment Ministry said on Monday." (Reuters)

"Biotech cotton offers protection against pest" - "Americans are distrustful when scientists begin tinkering with the food supply by altering crops or cloning animals. But the practice of planting biotech crops is widespread in Arizona and elsewhere. Arizona's main foray into biotech agriculture is the use of a modified cottonseed designed to wipe out a pest that some say once endangered the state's cotton crop. The genetically modified seed, known as Bt Cotton, has improved cotton yields and nearly eradicated the pink bollworm." (Arizona Republic)

February 5, 2007

The damage fear-mongers do: "Uganda: Police Stops CP Rally" - "BUSINESS came to a near standstill at Nakasero Market on Friday as the Police stopped Conservative Party boss Ken Lukyamuzi from holding a rally protesting the use of DDT.

As his party members were being arrested, Lukyamuzi rushed to another street close to the market and addressed a gathering. "I am here to ask you not let any person to come into your houses to spray DDT. You are not insects to be sprayed with chemicals," he said to ululations. "You should not associate with DDT because it will affect the fruits and vegetables you sell." (New Vision)

"And now the bad news: The collapse of a big trial of an idea to stop the spread of HIV" - "FOR the second time in as many months, an AIDS-related clinical trial in Africa has been halted in its tracks by the organiser. But there the similarities between the two cases end. In December, the reason that a trial of circumcision as a protection against catching HIV, the virus that causes the disease, was ended, was that is was palpably succeeding. It was therefore unreasonable to withhold treatment from the uncircumcised control group. In the case of a microbicide called cellulose sulphate it was that the trial was failing. Not only were the people receiving the treatment still getting infected, it looked as though they might be becoming more, rather than less susceptible." (Economist.com)

"Vaccine: The Controversial Story of Medicine's Greatest Lifesaver" - "Arthur Allen recounts the tumultuous story of vaccines, from discovery to doubt." (New York Times)

"Critical thinking about health information - A challenge for professionals and consumers" - "Does your doctor often have the same take on things as the news? Perhaps it’s because a surprising amount of continuing medical education for doctors is written by the same people who bring us the news." (Junkfood Science)

"Distrusting the source" - "Sadly, some may never be able to benefit from the best available science and health information because they can’t bring themselves to move past the belief that the source of information is what matters." (Junkfood Science)

Addiction? "Phone addiction ruinous" - "AUSTRALIANS are ruining relationships, running up huge debts, even putting themselves in danger because of their addiction to their mobile phones. A survey by the Queensland University of Technology shows one in five people reported behaviour that pointed to phone addiction. More worrying was how much some had become a slave to their mobile phones, researcher Diana James said." (AAP)

"When scares become deadly - weighing the actual risks of dying of obesity" - "The claims have been repeated so often that many people believe them to be true. But are they? Fat people, especially women, have been told that their obesity will kill them and that bariatric surgery is their best option to save their lives. They’re assured, even by our most trusted health organizations, that the risks of bariatric surgery are far less than the risks from extreme obesity." (Junkfood Science)

"From the recommended reading file: Effects of anti-obesity messages on children" - "The Timesonline just published a thought-provoking article on the unhealthy effects that obesity and “healthy” eating messages are having on young people. Good intentions are not always well-founded or helpful." (Junkfood Science)

"Young eating disorder sufferers silenced" - "The vast majority of young people with eating disorders suffer in silence, believing they cannot confide in anyone about their condition, according to a new study." (London Telegraph)

"Are kids really eating that badly?" - "Generations of parents have wished their kids ate better but stories of the horrible diets of today’s children are gross exaggerations." (Junkfood Science)

“Just lose weight!” - "A sensational medical story in the news this week was mostly seen as a curiosity, a lurid anomaly. The true significance of this story was missed both by mainstream media and healthcare professionals." (Junkfood Science)

"Shunning midday sun may not boost a child's weight" - "NEW YORK - Parents can protect their children from harmful ultraviolet radiation by encouraging them to stay inside during midday, without increasing their odds of becoming overweight from reduced activity, a new study from Australia suggests." (Reuters Health)

What the study actually showed was that children who play in the cooler morning and late afternoon periods don't exercise less than those playing outside in the heat of the day[!].

"Skipping: the latest cure for Britain's obese children" - "Schoolchildren are being taught how to skip in the latest attempt to tackle childhood obesity. More than 100 education authorities across the country have drafted in skipping instructors to encourage pupils to get fit." (London Independent)

"Seattle soda maker ends the sweet talk, opts for sugar" - "Peter van Stolk has an abiding enthusiasm for all things Jones Soda. As the Seattle company's founder and CEO, he revels in weird flavors like turkey and gravy, soda names like "Bohemian Raspberry" and the funky, black-and-white label pictures that come from customers. Lately, he's stoked about the decision to use pure cane sugar in Jones drinks rather than high-fructose corn syrup. But all is not sweet in van Stolk's world." (Seattle Times)

"A Study of Memory Looks at Fact and Fiction" - "New research may advance a longstanding debate about whether the brain can block access to painful memories, like betrayals and childhood sexual abuse, and suddenly release them later on." (New York Times)

"Britain hit by killer bird flu" - "The most virulent strain of killer avian flu was last night confirmed to have struck one of Britain’s biggest poultry producers." (Sunday Times)

"We must not panic" - "While an epidemic of H5N1 would be devastating for poultry farmers, an outbreak of panic would be even worse. We must ensure that common sense prevails." (London Telegraph)

What they really don't need is a repeat of Defra and the deadly 'puter models wreaking havoc on farmers and their livestock (remember the appalling foot & mouth affair where a few nitwits & their dodgy computer programs did more damage to British farming than any conceivable agro-terror attack ever could?).

Oh well, it's natural, so it must be good then: "Bird flu: it's here to stay" - "The deadliest strain of bird flu is believed to be present in the wild bird population and is the likeliest cause of Britain's biggest outbreak, scientists said yesterday. H5N1 has been widely thought to have infected birds in mainland Europe but its emergence in Suffolk at the weekend has forced experts to admit that it may have crossed the North Sea. If so, scientists say the country is likely to have to live for years with the prospect of more outbreaks of the disease, which it is feared could one day combine with human flu and mutate into a strain that could cause a pandemic." (London Telegraph)

Free range not such a 'healthy' option, eh? "Bring birds indoors, farmers told" - "Poultry owners living within the restriction zone set up following the outbreak of HN51 avian flu have been told to bring their birds inside." (Press Association)

"UN bird flu chief warns world to expect spike in bird flu outbreaks" - "The world should expect more bird flu outbreaks in the coming winter months, the U.N. official coordinating the global fight against the virus warned Sunday after Britain recorded its first case of the H5N1 strain on a commercial farm." (Associated Press)

"Environmentalists' misguided cause harms populations" - "I recently watched a documentary released last year called "Mine Your Own Business," which challenges some of the unjustified stereotypes of the mining industry by environmental groups. The film portrays the life of Gheorghe Lucian, an unemployed man from Romania whose goal is to work at a gold mine. Development of the mine has been blocked by foreign environmental groups.

The main focus of the groups' opposition is that the mine will ruin the pristine landscape of the area and lower the quality of life for the locals. In reality, the rivers are already heavily polluted, the locals are extremely poor - they would love to have the chance at a decent job in an area where unemployment averages 70 percent." (Robert Bosch, Courier Press)

"Yellowstone Proposal Sets Greater Snowmobile Access" - "YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. — The latest installment in the long-running debate over the use of snowmobiles in Yellowstone National Park is a proposal to allow as many as 720 to enter each day, nearly three times as many as permitted in the last several years. The plan, which could be adopted by the end of the year, has drawn fire from environmentalists and praise from snowmobile advocates and some businesses in the communities around the park." (New York Times)

"The semantics of climate change" - "Is it so difficult to curb the growth of greenhouse gases because scientists and politicians are speaking a different language? Given the contempt in which the great mass of journalists hold politicians - probably matched only by the contempt in which the great mass of the public hold journalists - it takes something special from a politician nowadays to shock a news conference." (Richard Black, BBC)

Well, politicians, journalists and some climate researchers have certainly gotten up to some antics lately, that's for sure!

"Global warming: Deceiving us for our own good" - "In 1987, officials at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control were deeply frustrated over AIDS funding and awareness efforts. The general public appeared to have concluded AIDS was not that big a deal. To counter this apathy, the CDC chose to mount a vast PR campaign to intentionally deceive Americans into thinking everyone everywhere was at dire risk of contracting HIV, not just those in certain high-risk groups.

As The Wall Street Journal documented in a 1996 expose, the federal health officials who made this decision knew full well that the chances of HIV transmission during heterosexual intercourse were tiny to infinitesimal. They knew that the factors that had made AIDS a heterosexual epidemic in Africa -- such as the prevalence of chancroid, a sexually transmitted disease that left open wounds on the genitals and facilitated HIV's spread -- weren't found in the U.S.

But the CDC bosses just didn't care. The ends -- drawing attention to AIDS -- justified the means -- deceiving everyone about the risk.

With every passing day, the global warming debate reminds of this bit of history, with the media and all too many scientists in the CDC role." (Chris Reed, Union Tribune)

And he always seems surprised: "More Bias And Inaccurate News Reporting In The Media - This Time By Jim Erickson Of The Rocky Mountain News" - "In today’s Rocky Mountain News, there is an article by Jim Erickson entitled “Western droughts could become norm, say climate scientists“.

This article conflicts with my telephone interview yesterday where I emphasized that I did not want to be misquoted again by him. He labels me with the politically value-laden term “holdout”, as shown in the excerpt below. However, he consciously chose to ignore what I emphasized in my telephone call with him that I 100% agree with the findings of the multi-authored, reviewed 2005 National Research Council Report where it is reported that we do not adequately understand the role of all of the important climate forcings on global and regional climate variability and change:" (Climate Science)

"Antarctic and Sea Level" - "The SPM contains an embarrassing typographical error in connection with an issue identified as a hot-button issue: the contribution of Antarctic ice sheets to sea level rise. It also failed to report WG1 model results on Antarctic contributions to lowering sea levels in the 21st century. The actual WG1 Report stated that all studies projected a negative contribution of the Antarctic to sea level in a warming 21st century due to increased precipitation:

all studies for the 21st century find that Antarctic SMB (surface mass balance) changes contribute negatively to sea level, owing to increasing accumulation [10.6]

Instead of reporting this, the SPM included a table showing a substantial contribution from Antarctic ice sheets from 1961-2003, saying:

[Models] include the full effects of changes in ice sheet flow, because a basis in published literature is lacking. The projections include a contribution due to increased ice flow from Greenland and Antarctica at the rates observed for 1993-2003, but these flow rates could increase or decrease in the future. For example, if this contribution were to grow linearly with global average temperature change, the upper ranges of sea level rise for SRES scenarios shown in Table SPM-2 would increase by 0.1 m to 0.2 m. Larger values cannot be excluded, but understanding of these effects is too limited to assess their likelihood or provide a best estimate or an upper bound for sea level rise. {10.6}

What happened to the negative contributions in the WG1 Report itself?" (Steve McIntyre, Climate Audit)

Sound advice: "The IPCC report is out, let the misrepresentation begin" - "The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report is out today, and I was shocked to discover that it is already being misreported. It was being misreported before, but that was just leaks. You can lie with leaks. They are easily selective. Now the misreportage is being done with the [report actually] out, so I have a piece of advice for everyone. Just read the thing. It isn't that complicated. Read it for yourself because every time I read a news article about it I notice some new crock of hooey." (Pure Pedantry)

We couldn't agree more -- read the darn SPM4 and then preferably compare it with the underlying second-order draft, what's appearing in the papers and news reports has precious little to do with the research from which it is allegedly drawn.

Shame to see the Old Gray Lady decline into such a Clueless Crone: "At Humanity’s Doorstep" - "Should Congress require any further reason to move aggressively to limit greenhouse gas emissions, it need only read Friday’s report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the world’s authoritative voice on global warming." (New York Times)

It's only the political summary...

Even The Economist is fooled: "Heating up: A gloomy UN-backed report is published" - "THE fourth assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), published in Paris on Friday February 2nd, is important, unsurprising and will probably be uncontroversial. It is important because the IPCC is the body set up under the auspices of the United Nations so that governments should have an agreed view of the science on which to base policy. It is unsurprising because, while some of the figures differ from those in the third assessment report published in 2001, the changes are minimal and its broad conclusion, that something serious is happening and man is in part responsible, remains the same (though the authors now say that man is “very likely” responsible, rather than just “likely”). It will probably be uncontroversial because the few remaining climate-change sceptics prepared to speak out against the consensus argue not so much about the climate science as about its consequences. Those arguments will take place mostly around the IPCC’s two follow-up reports, to be published later this year, on the impact of climate change and on what to do about it." (Economist.com)

"Climate of Opinion" - "Last week's headlines about the United Nation's latest report on global warming were typically breathless, predicting doom and human damnation like the most fervent religious evangelical. Yet the real news in the fourth assessment from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) may be how far it is backpedaling on some key issues. Beware claims that the science of global warming is settled.

The document that caused such a stir was only a short policy report, a summary of the full scientific report due in May. Written mainly by policymakers (not scientists) who have a stake in the issue, the summary was long on dire predictions. The press reported the bullet points, noting that this latest summary pronounced with more than "90% confidence" that humans have been the main drivers of warming since the 1950s, and that higher temperatures and rising sea levels would result.

More pertinent is the underlying scientific report. And according to people who have seen that draft, it contains startling revisions of previous U.N. predictions. For example, the Center for Science and Public Policy has just released an illuminating analysis written by Lord Christopher Monckton, a one-time adviser to Margaret Thatcher who has become a voice of sanity on global warming." (Wall Street Journal)

"Not So Dire After All" - "This morning the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its Fourth Assessment Report, but just in the form of a 12-page Summary for Policymakers. The report itself, about 1,600 pages, will be available only in May. The IPCC explains it needs time to adjust the scientific report to make it consistent with its summary. The summary actually is a semipolitical document negotiated by delegates from 150 governments. Evidently, the IPCC, which prides itself on being strictly scientific and policy-neutral, wants to make its report politically correct. This raises legitimate doubts about the scientific credibility of the IPCC's conclusions. The cleansing of the report — and the attendant delay in publication — is also feeding wild speculation about climate catastrophes, with many leaks to compliant newspapers." (S. Fred Singer, New York Sun)

Rightly: "White House rejects mandatory CO2 caps" - "WASHINGTON - Despite a strongly worded global warming report from the world's top climate scientists, the Bush administration expressed continued opposition Friday to mandatory reductions in heat-trapping "greenhouse" gases." (Associated Press)

"Canada does not See Greenhouse Gas Cuts Soon" - "OTTAWA - It is unlikely that Canada will be able to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at all in the next few years, let alone achieve the major cuts needed to meet its Kyoto targets, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said on Friday." (Reuters)

"ANALYSIS - Defying Mark Twain, World Seeks to Fix Weather" - "OSLO - "Everybody talks about the weather but nobody does anything about it," according to a complaint widely attributed to Mark Twain." (Reuters)

Mainly because we can't do anything but talk about it (save perhaps act foolishly).

"Loose Ends -- IPCC and Hurricanes" - "Just a few loose ends that may be of interest to those following this issue:" (Prometheus)

"Mirko Bagaric: Warming isn't our biggest worry -- On a scale of human misery, poverty is a bigger threat than climate change" - "HOW worried do you reckon people in developing nations -- who are dying from hunger and other causes at the rate of 30,000 a day -- are about global warming? It seems like a stupid question because the answer is so obvious. But the answer is all important. It demonstrates why the supposed No.1 ethical concern of our generation (global warming) is in the main misguided self-interest dressed up as a moral crusade." (The Australian)

"Save the planet - from doctors" - "In my memories of growing up in Aberdeen in the 1950s, the winter countryside was always shrouded in snow. And now? It is not just that we have had the warmest January for 90 years, but the peak recorded temperature (60F) was in Aberdeenshire! It used to be Easter before the banks of the River Dee were carpeted with flowering daffodils. This year they will be a lot earlier.

Several recent articles in the journals, on calculating the "carbon footprint" left by the medical profession, are highly instructive in the light of last week's IPCC report on climate change. Doctors are cardinal offenders, mainly because of the curious ritual of the international conference. Thousands of participants convene at some attractive venue to spend a couple of boring days listening to scientific presentations that, if of any merit, would soon be published anyhow." (James LeFanu, Sunday Telegraph)

"Inhofe Calls UN IPCC Summary For Policymakers ‘Corruption of Science’" - "Washington, DC – Sen. James Inhofe, (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Environment & Public Works Committee, today commented on the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Summary for Policymakers. "This is a political document, not a scientific report, and it is a shining example of the corruption of science for political gain. The media has failed to report that the IPCC Summary for Policymakers was not approved by scientists but by UN political delegates and bureaucrats," Senator Inhofe said. The IPCC is only releasing the Summary for Policymakers today, not the actual scientific report which is not due out until May 2007." (EPW)

Uh-huh... "Insurers add voices to climate debate" - "The bleak findings of yesterday's report by the United Nations that human activity is altering the climate came as little surprise to the insurance industry, which each year pays billions of dollars for natural disasters. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts severe heat waves, droughts, storms and floods resulting from an expected rise of 3ºC in average global temperatures by 2100." (Financial Times)

... always looking to offload risk onto the public purse: "Insurers Welcome UN Climate Panel Report" - "LONDON - Insurers, which pay out billions of dollars each year on natural disasters, welcomed the publication on Friday of a hard-hitting warning by the UN climate panel that human activities are heating the planet." (Reuters)

Chumming the waters: "Global Warming Report may Trigger Lawsuits - Lawyers" - "PARIS - A UN report saying global warming is man-made could trigger more lawsuits against big industrial emitters despite vast hurdles in pinning down blame for floods, droughts or rising seas, lawyers said on Friday." (Reuters)

"Editorial: Look before leaping in climate decisions -- Cool heads are needed in response to warming scenarios" - "THE real news from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's latest report, issued last Friday in Paris, is not its bleak but familiar forecasts of rising sea levels, hotter temperatures and inevitable climate change. The big story is the higher level of implied scientific certainty -- first that global warming is unequivocally happening, and second that humans are, in the panel's view, highly likely to be causing most of it. This means the debate will be pushed increasingly out of the laboratory and into the political arena. The trouble is, the mad rush to claim to have the answers -- and political advantage in a federal election year in Australia -- brings a danger the nation will be saddled with bad policies that pander to an increasingly fearful electorate and damage its economic future." (The Australian)

Cute bear shot: "Science Panel Calls Global Warming ‘Unequivocal’" - "PARIS, Feb. 2 — In a grim and powerful assessment of the future of the planet, the leading international network of climate scientists has concluded for the first time that global warming is “unequivocal” and that human activity is the main driver, “very likely” causing most of the rise in temperatures since 1950." (New York Times)

"Iceland fears bears that go with the floe" - "The oceans may be warming and air temperatures rising, but in recent days Iceland has bucked the global climate trend. Thick pack ice, the like of which has not been seen for decades, stretched into the western fjords as temperatures plummeted and a bitter wind blew in from Greenland. The ice has proved a headache for fishermen, who have been unable to put to sea, but it is what comes with pack ice that has caused most concern: polar bears. People living around the fjord of Dyrafjördur, which last week was almost filled with the ice, were keeping an eye on the sea, conscious that the bears live on the pack ice that covers much of the Arctic ocean." (Sunday Telegraph)

"What's so hot about fickle science?" - "From the "Environmental News Network": "Science Is Solid on Climate Change, Congress Told." "The science is solid," says Louise Frechette, deputy secretary-general of the United Nations. "The science is solid," says Sen. Dianne Feinstein. "The science is really solid," says TV meteorologist Heidi Cullen. "The science is very solid." And at that point, on "Larry King Live" last week, Richard Lindzen, professor of atmospheric science at MIT, remarked: "Heidi says the science is solid and I can't criticize her because she never says what science she's talking about."

Indeed. If the science is so solid, maybe they could drag it out to the Arctic for the poor polar bears to live on now that the ice is melting faster than a coed's heart at an Al Gore lecture.

Alas, the science isn't so solid. In the '70s, it was predicting a new ice age. Then it switched to global warming. Now it prefers "climate change." If it's hot, that's a sign of "climate change." If it's cold, that's a sign of "climate change." If it's 53 with sunny periods and light showers, you need to grab an overnight bag and get outta there right now because "climate change" is accelerating out of control." (Mark Steyn, Sun-Times)

We agree... "We cannot let the Kyoto debacle happen again" - "The government's chief scientific adviser calls for genuine international action on climate change." (David King, The Observer)

... the world must never be stampeded by such nonsense ever again. Repudiate Kyoto immediately and turn attention to genuine problems.

"World urged to act on definitive report" - "Only urgent international action to cut emissions can prevent climate-related catastrophe, scientists warned on Friday. Achim Steiner, director-general of the United Nations Environment Programme, said: “The word unequivocal [applied to the evidence that human activity was causing climate change] is the key message in this report. We’re looking for an unequivocal commitment [to emissions reduction] from policymakers, business leaders and civic society leaders.” For businesses or governments to continue to resist taking action on emissions was “irresponsible”." (Financial Times)

"EU says Germany stifling progress on climate change" - "BERLIN - Germany's lack of progress in cutting greenhouse gas emissions is holding back international efforts to combat global warming, the European Union's Environment Commissioner was quoted as saying on Sunday." (Reuters)

"Global warming: What's the big deal?" - "Are they really concerned about a rise of globally averaged surface temperatures of only 1 degree Fahrenheit from 1901 to 2005? Are we missing something here? What's a couple of degrees of gradually increasing temperature, shared among friends? Over time, it's going to be like we all moved a little farther south, right? So who couldn't do with a little warmer winter, or longer spring? What exactly is the problem? Why are we being asked to care so much? To be honest about this, well, as Rhett Butler might have put it to Scarlett O'Hara: "Frankly, my dear, I don't see this as having any significant effect on me." (John D. Cox, Sacramento Bee)

In a lot of respects Cox is right, there is no such place as "globally averaged" and no guarantee that global average temperature is a metric of any value at all.

"Does this feel like global warming?" - "With the city in the grip of a blustery deep freeze, it can seem hard to believe that average temperatures have indeed been rising locally." (Toronto Star)

"Asking the right questions about climate change" - "Adherents to the hypothesis of human-caused climate catastrophe were given a free ride from a public relations perspective in 2006. Despite the truly apocalyptic visions of Al Gore, David Suzuki and the Sierra Club, doomsters were rarely challenged to back up their claims with hard science. Everything from sea level rise to droughts, melting ice caps and drowning polar bears were blamed on global warming brought on by man's carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Alternative climate science viewpoints were carefully screened out of government pronouncements and few in the public seemed to even notice. Oprah Winfrey summed up society's general naiveté about climate change when she concluded her December 5th interview of Gore, gushing, "Thank you for being our Noah!"

However exciting such an approach may be, it is time for Canadians to get real. Climate change is not a religion, or at least it shouldn't be -- it is science and like all science is subject to questioning and constant revision based on what scientists actually discover. And what is being discovered is taking us further away from any sort of consensus that human-produced CO2 is a major cause of global climate change." (Tom Harris, Natural Resources Stewardship Project & Dr. Ian Clark, Canada Free Press)

Hello? "No more excuses" - "What is perhaps most depressing about the IPCC's report is the future effects it outlines as inevitable." (The Guardian)

Future climate never has been editable, dopey buggers...

"NBC is on a mission -- from Gore." - "NBC announced its allegiance to Al Gore's stop-global-warming mission on this morning's "Today." With Tom Costello narrating, Today first ran a glowing piece on Timberland shoe company, famous for its boots, which has announced that, you guessed it, it's on a "mission" to become "carbon neutral." To achieve that, it will among other things be using wind farms and solar panels to power its factories. Costello emphasized an expert's opinion that "it's up to each one of us to cut our own carbon emissions." (Mark Finkelstein, News Busters)

When scammers come out to play: "Swedish exec has plan to defeat climate change" - "STOCKHOLM, Sweden -- As world leaders search for ways to curb the emission of greenhouse gases, Lars G. Josefsson says he has already found the solution. The chief executive of Swedish energy company Vattenfall AB has launched what many see as the most ambitious plan yet for how industries can curb climate change -- a detailed program for a global carbon-trading scheme that would cap greenhouse emissions and allow companies to trade emissions permits with one another." (Associated Press)

Warning: never get between a politician and a potential bucketful of money.

"NZ: Peter Berg: Crown carbon grab sets forests alight" - "The Government has strongly defended the land-use climate change policies it announced before Christmas. Forestry Minister Jim Anderton has compared the development of a former pine plantation near Taupo for dairy farming to the destruction of tropical rain forest in the Amazon Basin. He possibly forgot that much of this is the work of the government's company, Landcorp. And that former Climate Change Minister Pete Hodgson said farming was a better use for this land. Now, Climate Change Minister David Parker says forest owners are hysterical and never had a right to the carbon credits generated by their trees." (New Zealand Herald)

"Getting warmer ..." - "Stephen Harper's environmental conversion continues as he recognizes the `enormous' threat of global warming. But emission cuts? Not so fast." (Toronto Star)

Another UN opportunity for embezzlement, corruption and paid holidays in exotic locations? "Chirac leads calls for new UN body to save the environment" - "More than 40 countries are backing calls for an international organisation to police governments that fail to act against climate change. It would also fight threats such as global warming, water shortages and the loss of species." (London Independent)

"The greening of business" - "We can expect to see politicians generating plenty of emissions as they jet off to discuss a successor to the Kyoto protocol." (Sunday Times)

"EU commissioner urges Germany to lead way on global warming" - "European Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas has urged Germany to take the lead in curbing global warming, saying Berlin must be aware of its responsibility as a role model. Dimas told the Bild am Sonntag newspaper, in an interview to be published on Sunday, that Germany must "be aware of its responsibility and its position as a role model in the fight against climate change." (AFP)

"The other 'green' in global warming" - "The up-tick in global warming propaganda in recent days is to set the stage for the release of the Fourth Assessment Report from the International Panel on Climate Change. Surprise, surprise, the report will say the sky is falling – faster and faster. For people who have watched this process since the beginning, this report, at least the executive summary of the report, is mostly hogwash, wordsmithed by policy wonks and media specialists to scare the gas out of the economy." (Henry Lamb, WND)

Fair question: "A New, Improved Arctic?" - "Would a warmer Arctic be an improvement? That notion sounds sacrilegious to many environmentalists because it seems to be an attempt to rationalize humanity’s pollution of the atmosphere. But suppose that humans weren’t warming the globe with their carbon dioxide. Suppose we’d found a way to erase our carbon footprint and weren’t influencing the climate, but then we learned that, due to a combination of natural causes, the Arctic was warming up and would become as balmy as it was when trees covered Siberia.

And suppose that we knew of a way to stop this warming trend by deflecting a little of the sun’s radiation with some clever bit of technology (reflectors in space, say, or aerosols in the atmosphere). Would you use this technology to keep the Arctic frozen? Or let nature take its course?" (John Tierney, New York Times blog)

"Japan to embrace CO2 storage in seabed" - "The Environment Ministry plans to promote projects to confine factory-emitted carbon dioxide in layers of porous rock more than 1,000 meters below the ocean floor to help fight global warming." (Kyodo News)

"EXCLUSIVE-China preparing national plan for climate change" - "BEIJING, Feb 5 - China is preparing its first plan to battle wrenching climate change, a senior policy adviser said, stressing rising alarm about global warming in a nation where economic growth has gone untethered." (Reuters)

But over the weekend: "China media downplays UN climate change report" - "China's state-run media Saturday played down fresh warnings on climate change issued by a UN scientific panel, with centrally-controlled television news ignoring the issue altogether. China Central Television in its Friday night and Saturday news broadcasts failed to mention the report by the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) that called for international action to slow down global warming." (AFP)

Stupid response #... "West Australia: Emission tax to hit mining sector" - "A CARBON tax of up to $25 a tonne is being considered by the West Australian Government in a move that would cost the resource-rich state's alumina industry more than $200 million a year. The tax – which would be the most significant response by any state government to the threat of climate change – is among a raft of measures flagged in a report released today by a special taskforce set up to examine ways of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by West Australian electricity generators." (news.com.au)

Speculation alert: "Australia: PM softens stance on carbon tax" - "PRIME Minister John Howard appears to be softening his opposition to putting a price on carbon emissions, saying market mechanisms, including carbon pricing, will be integral to any long-term response to climate change." (news.com.au)

Right... "Britain urged to embrace petrol alternative ethanol" - "Brazil’s Finance Minister has urged Britain to embrace ethanol, the petrol alternative made from sugar, as his nation attempts to use its growing agricultural might to power cars worldwide." (London Times)

... meanwhile: "Petrobras announces 2 billion dollars in Argentina over 5 years" - "Brazilian state-run oil company Petrobras’s Argentine unit Petrobras Energía SA “plans to invest more than two billion dollars over the next five years in Argentina” and start this year exploring oil on Argentina’s territorial sea, Petrobras Energía new Director General Carlos Fontes said." (Mercopress)

So much for believing the political pap promoted by the IPCC: "Stocks: Managers buying up agriculture equities" - "LONDON: Schroders and DWS Investments are buying up shares of U.S. seed processors, Chinese dairy farms and Brazilian sugar mills, confident that the five-year rally in commodities is not over." (Bloomberg News)

Don't seem too worried about "global warming" and the alleged decimation of agriculture, do they.

"Bush Plays Traffic Cop in Budget Request" - "WASHINGTON -- With much of his domestic agenda stalled by Congress, President Bush is embracing a new cause he is hoping will cross party lines and leave him with an end-of-term accomplishment: easing rush-hour traffic.

In his annual budget blueprint to be unveiled today, Mr. Bush intends to showcase a highway "congestion initiative," according to White House documents, with grants for state and local governments to experiment with anti-jam strategies.

In a surprise that could foreshadow how Mr. Bush might reach out to Democrats -- and disappoint conservatives -- for the rest of his term, the centerpiece of the traffic plan involves an initiative that some critics say amounts to a tax, a plan depicted by administration officials as "congestion pricing." The administration will award $130 million in grants starting this spring to help cities and states build electronic toll systems that would charge drivers fees for traveling in and out of big cities during peak traffic times. The money also could go to other congestion strategies such as expanded telecommuting, but administration officials make it clear they think congestion pricing is the most powerful tool they have. The White House will seek an additional $175 million for congestion initiatives in next year's budget.

Beyond automobile traffic, the administration will also introduce legislation soon that could seek to impose a form of "congestion pricing" on airline travel, likely through user fees on airlines. The idea is to spread flights more evenly." (Wall Street Journal)

Conned: "Stickerless drivers stuck" - "To prevent clogged lanes, the state is not issuing any more permits allowing hybrid car owners to drive solo in carpool lanes." (LA Times)

"PERU: Amazonian Communities Fight New Oil Wells" - "WASHINGTON - Conservation groups are warning international investors that a Peruvian government offer to explore for oil in pristine Amazon land is fraught with risks, lacks community support and violates international laws protecting indigenous communities." (IPS)

"China begins filling its strategic oil reserves" - "China's first strategic oil reserve base station has begun to be filled in Ningbo, Zhejiang province, according to reports from the country’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC). This is the latest step in China’s efforts to ensure a strategic oil reserve." (Mercopress)

Hmm... "Australia: Nuclear challenge to climate crisis" - "PRIME Minister John Howard has used a UN report on global warming to argue that Australia should switch to nuclear power." (Sunday Mail)

... of all the reasons we could use to support nuclear energy, "climate crisis" simply wouldn't get a run...

but: "Environmental Guru Lovelock Urges Expansion of Nuclear Energy" - "James Lovelock is attracting attention again with his provocative ideas. The former hero of the environmental movement has called for an end to "green romanticism." The only way to delay climate catastrophe, says the environmental guru, is through the massive expansion of nuclear energy." (Der Spiegel)

"Researchers find substantial wind resource off Mid-Atlantic coast" - "The wind resource off the Mid-Atlantic coast could supply the energy needs of nine states from Massachusetts to North Carolina, plus the District of Columbia--with enough left over to support a 50 percent increase in future energy demand--according to a study by researchers at the University of Delaware and Stanford University." (University of Delaware)

"Helping to slake thirst for ethanol - Growing demand spurs plans for new California plant" - "The nation's burgeoning thirst for ethanol is having an impact on the Central Coast, where Santa Maria-based American Ethanol hopes to break ground this summer on a production plant twice the size of anything yet in operation in California." (Sacramento Bee)

"USDA Tells Ranchers Non-Corn Ethanol a Priority" - "NASHVILLE, Tenn., - US Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns assured US cattle producers on Friday that the government will work hard to encourage other ways of making ethanol to give them relief from high corn prices." (Reuters)

"BRAZIL: Clean Water - Hold the Salt" - "RIO DE JANEIRO - Thousands of people in Brazil's semi-arid Northeast are slaking their thirst thanks to a technology that is little used in Latin America: the reverse-osmosis membrane, which desalinises and purifies water. A filter designed by Brazilian experts should be ready in two years." (IPS)

"Ancient genes used to produce salt-tolerant wheat" - "Two recently discovered genes from an ancient wheat variety have led to a major advance in breeding new salt-tolerant varieties." (CSIRO Australia)

Eek! Whole Foods flogs engineered monsters! Well, designer fruit, at least: "Designer Fruit: Make Way for Apriums and Pluots -- Much of the Fruit at Markets Has Been Designed or Completely Invented" - "Feb. 4, 2007 — If you've paid attention to what you buy at the grocery store, you may have noticed that fruit has changed. Where once there were dependable McIntosh apples, red plums, and yellow peaches, now the fruit displays are arranged with such exotics as the Gala Apple, Pinto Peach, Pluot and Nectaplum. At Whole Foods in Los Angeles, fruit buyer Jeff Biddle says, "We have a Dapple Dandy Pluot, We have a Cherokee Purple Tomato. We have a Mango Nectarine." A peach is no longer just a peach. Much of the fruit today, like their strange names, (see pluot, by clicking here) is designed or outright invented. Hybrid fruit in the United States alone is a $100 million business." (ABCNEWS.com)

"GMOs: EU problem child" - "GMOs are still dividing the EU, both in Brussels and across the member states, according to commentators and MEPs writing in the latest issue of the Parliament Magazine." (The Parliament)

"Oleic-acid-rich sunflowers give trans-fat alternative - study" - "Oil from genetically modified sunflowers has increased stability against oxidation, giving them a longer shelf life, as well as having an improved health profile, suggests new research." (Food Navigator)

"Critics of GM crops are selfish people" - "Industry calls him voice of the global biotech crop industry. Some even refer to him as the bookkeeper and for good reasons. Each year, Clive James, chairman of the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA), undertakes the daunting task of preparing an exhaustive report on the adoption of biotech crops around the world. “More important than this is to share knowledge with the society on the benefits of adopting this modern agricultural technology,” says the founder of ISAAA that facilitates the acquisition and transfer of agricultural biotech applications from the developed countries, for the benefit of resource-poor farmers in the developing world. Earlier, he was deputy director general at the Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) in Mexico, where he worked with Norman Borlaug, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate. “The big opportunity is round the corner and India needs to simplify its regulatory mechanism in order to reap the benefits of modern biotech,” he informs Sudhir Chowdhary." (Financial Express)

WEEKEND EXTRA: February 3, 2007

"Political Science" - "I confess I was afflicted by a profound world-weariness following the release yesterday of the latest gloomy machinations from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The U.N.'s global-warming caravanserai, founded in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Program, had this time pitched camp in Paris, in order to issue the "Summary for Policy Makers" relating to Working Group One of its "Fourth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2007." This is the group that focuses on "The Physical Science Basis" of climate change, and its summary was greeted with the usual razzmatazz, the Eiffel Tower's 20,000 flashing bulbs being symbolically blacked out on the evening before. Further IPCC reports are due this year, one in April from Working Group Two, on the impacts of, and adaptation to, climate change, and another in May, from Working Group Three on climate-change mitigation.

But it is the science summary that always gives rise to the jamboree -- with journalists, politicians and eager environmentalists desperate to claim that this particular report is the last word on climate change, that it represents a true consensus, that the world is doomed, and that we must recant our fossil-fuel ways. Moreover, as in 2001 with the Third Assessment Report, Friday's release was preceded by speculative leaks, the political shenanigans and spinning beginning even before the final text had been haggled over and agreed upon.

Unfortunately, the IPCC represents science by supercommittee, as rule 10 of its procedures states: "In taking decisions, and approving, adopting and accepting reports, the Panel, its Working Groups and any Task Forces shall use all best endeavors to reach consensus." I bet Galileo would have had a rough time with that." (Philip Stott, Wall Street Journal) | For those lacking access we have a .pdf copy here.

LATE FRIDAY UPDATE: we're getting a lot of traffic from people wanting to be told what's wrong with the newly released IPCC SPM4 and indeed it may eventually be necessary for us to do a line by line pointing out its flaws and inconsistencies but we want readers to do some of their own research first. We provided the second-order draft, linked above specifically so everyone can go to the source and check it out for themselves (despite activist slurs it is not our function to tell you what to think).

Not sure how to go about it or think it's too big a project? Here, just follow these steps & repeat the process, at least until you think you have enough information to form a conclusion:

Pose a question, e.g.: Does the Summary for Policymakers reflect the draft report? (which might be too big a bite at once) or choose a statement from the report like: "Since the Third Assessment Report (TAR), new observations and related modelling of greenhouse gases, solar activity, land surface properties and some aspects of aerosols have led to improvements in the quantitative estimates of radiative forcing." {2.3, 6.4, 7.3} <== note they tell you where they are drawing their inspiration so go to the file corresponding to the chapter number (2.x, 6.x...) scroll down to the section indicated by the number after the period (x.3, x.4...) and start reading -- if you feel the statement is supported by their referenced items such as the following:

There are no updates to the RF [Radiative Forcing] calculation to report. The simple formulae for RF of the LLGHG quoted in Ramaswamy et al. (2001) are still valid. These formulae are based on global RF calculations where clouds, stratospheric adjustment and solar absorption were included and give a RF of 3.7 W m–2 for a doubling in the CO2 concentration. A recent comparison of detailed line-by-line models and GCM radiation schemes found that clear sky instantaneous RF agreed very well (better than 10%) among the 5 line-by-line models investigated, using the same single atmospheric background vertical profile (Collins et al., 2006). The GCM radiation schemes were less accurate, with ~20% errors in the CO2 RF (Collins et al., 2006 and Chapter 10). Nevertheless, the current set of Atmosphere and Ocean GCMs (AOGCMs) used in Chapter 10 of this report found values for RF, for a doubling of CO2 that ranged between 3.5 and 4.2 W m–2, in reasonable agreement with the TAR RF value of 3.7 W m–2 (see Chapter 10 and Forster and Taylor, 2006). -- 2.3

In conclusion, the explanation of glacial-interglacial CO2 variations remains a difficult attribution problem. It appears likely that a range of mechanisms have acted in concert (Köhler et al., in press). The challenge is not only to explain the amplitude of glacial-interglacial CO2 variations, but also the complex temporal evolution of atmospheric CO2 in a way that is consistent with the underlying changes in climate. -- 6.4

then give them a tick and move on to the next item, if not, mark them wrong and move on.

There, not too hard to do, is it?

If you really can't face doing it yourself and must see some comparison the Center For Science and Public Policy is hosting Monckton's response here, Luboš Motl (The Reference Frame) has comments here and Climate Audit has on open discussion here.

"The real deal? Against the grain: Some scientists deny global warming exists" - "Astrophysicist Nir Shariv, one of Israel's top young scientists, describes the logic that led him -- and most everyone else -- to conclude that SUVs, coal plants and other things man-made cause global warming.

Step One Scientists for decades have postulated that increases in carbon dioxide and other gases could lead to a greenhouse effect.

Step Two As if on cue, the temperature rose over the course of the 20th century while greenhouse gases proliferated due to human activities.

Step Three No other mechanism explains the warming. Without another candidate, greenhouses gases necessarily became the cause.

Dr. Shariv, a prolific researcher who has made a name for himself assessing the movements of two-billion-year-old meteorites, no longer accepts this logic, or subscribes to these views. He has recanted: "Like many others, I was personally sure that CO2 is the bad culprit in the story of global warming. But after carefully digging into the evidence, I realized that things are far more complicated than the story sold to us by many climate scientists or the stories regurgitated by the media.

"In fact, there is much more than meets the eye." (Lawrence Solomon, National Post)

The series:
Statistics needed -- The Deniers Part I
Warming is real -- and has benefits -- The Deniers Part II
The hurricane expert who stood up to UN junk science -- The Deniers Part III
Polar scientists on thin ice -- The Deniers Part IV

The original denier: into the cold -- The Deniers Part V
The sun moves climate change -- The Deniers Part VI
Will the sun cool us? -- The Deniers Part VII
The limits of predictability -- The Deniers Part VIII
Look to Mars for the truth on global warming -- The Deniers Part IX
Limited role for C02 -- the Deniers Part X

"Blatant Cherry Picking By Stefan Rahmstorf And Colleagues In Science Magazine" - "There is an article today in Science Express by Stefan Rahmstorf, Anny Cazenave, John A. Church, James E. Hansen, Ralph F. Keeling, David E. Parker,Richard C. Somerville entitled “Recent Climate Observations Compared to Projections” which is remarkably blatant about its cherry picking of papers to support their view and in ignoring peer reviewed papers that do not." (Climate Science)

Better than Western media? "China media downplays UN climate change report" - "China's state-run media Saturday played down fresh warnings on climate change issued by a UN scientific panel, with centrally-controlled television news ignoring the issue altogether. China Central Television in its Friday night and Saturday news broadcasts failed to mention the report by the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) that called for international action to slow down global warming." (AFP)

In the West media still don't seem to have any clue that the AR4SPM released Friday is not the IPCC Working Group I Contribution to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis and in fact bears only passing resemblance to its draft form. Despite all the hoopla the underlying documentation suggests the IPCC is quietly backing away from prior hysterical prognostications (notably reducing extreme warming scenarios, sea level rise, Antarctic effect...) -- bet that isn't the impression you got from Western media reports.

"Follow Up: IPCC and Hurricanes" - "The IPCC report is out (PDF) and here is what it says about hurricanes (tropical cyclones). Kudos to the scientists involved. Despite the pressures, on tropical cyclones they figured out a way to maintain consistency with the actual balance of opinion(s) in the community of relevant experts." (Prometheus)

"Kyoto Hypocrisies" - "The president's annual State of the Union speech is guaranteed to disappoint. Even in far less troubled times, rare is the speech that doesn't infuriate large segments of both his base and the opposition." (Christopher C. Horner, The Washington Times)

February 2, 2007

"Climate Change's Carnival Atmosphere" - "The global warming carnival hits its full stride this week in preparation for the release of the long-awaited and much-hyped United Nations report on global warming. It's unfortunate for the climateers that this week's climate science doesn't live up to all the hoopla." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"Climate Report Won't Signal Policy Change" - "PARIS-- It was a U.S. government scientist who helped push through the strong language in the upcoming international report on global warming. But that doesn't signal a change in President Bush's policy about greenhouse gas emissions." (AP)

Climate change: is the science really settled? - Today, the IPCC releases its latest report on the science of climate change. At least, that's what the headlines will say. In fact, this is the first stage of a staggered publication of the organisation's Fourth Assessment Report (FAR), which supersedes the third report, published in 2001. But this first tranche is not, as might be expected, the full weighty document, in which all available evidence is evaluated and carefully summarised. Instead this is the so-called Summary for Policymakers (SPM), a short (only 14 pages in draft) summary of the key points. This is the text which nearly everyone will be quoting from over the coming months and years.

Not only is it an unusual step to publish the summary of a document which has not yet been finalised and released into the public domain, but the summary itself is not necessarily quite what it seems. Rather than simply being an attempt to summarise the main points from the much longer report, the SPM is a political document, agreed line by line by the governments of the countries which are members of the IPCC. Only the release of the complete chapter will enable those with sufficient staying power and understanding of the science to compare this with today's document, but the experience from the Third Assessment report was that there were clear messages coming from the SPM which did not necessarily represent a balanced view of the science. In other words, there was spin.

Interestingly, after a ramping up of concerns as the previous three assessment reports were published, the TAR tones down some of the more extreme projections which have been headlined in the past. The report seems set to say that, if carbon dioxide levels reach (and are constrained to) 550ppm (effectively a doubling of the reported pre-industrial average of 280ppm) the ultimate average temperature rise is likely to be 2-4.5 degrees C, which is a narrower range with a reduced upper limit. By the last decade of the century, projected temperature rise is in the range 1.7-4 degrees C compared with the 1980s, for a range of emissions scenarios. Sea level rise is projected as 28 to 43 centimetres over the century, with two-thirds of that being due to thermal expansion. These figures are lower than previously suggested.

However, the headline news will not be these projections or the fact that they have been moderated, but the fact that the IPCC now says that anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions are 'very likely' to be the primary driver of recent climate change. 'Very likely' is defined as between 90 and 95% certain. But this 'certainty', which will be used constantly to discredit any dissenters, is based on the unproven assumption that the climate scientists and modellers have such a good understanding of natural climate processes that additional greenhouse gas emissions are the only possible cause of rising temperatures in recent years.

At present, we regard the link as a plausible but unproven hypothesis. While modellers claim to be able to reproduce the very variable trends of the twentieth century (by including allowances for aerosols, for example), this smacks of tinkering to get the right answer rather than a way of improving the realism and reliability of the models. Only time will tell whether the projections are anywhere near right but, in the meantime, we should remember that there has been no upward temperature trend in the last eight years.

We are quite prepared to have our scepticism proved wrong if new and convincing evidence emerges. We could be wrong. It will be progress indeed when the IPCC and scientific establishment says the same.

We are pleased to say that the Frazer Institute, a Canadian think tank, will be launching its own Independent Summary for Policymakers in London on 5th February. We hope that this will help to foster debate. (Scientific Alliance)

"MIT Climate Scientist Calls Fears of Global Warming 'Silly' - Equates Concerns to ‘Little Kids’ Attempting to 'Scare Each Other'" - "MIT’s Richard Lindzen called fears of manmade global warming ‘silly" and debated PBS’s Bill Nye "The Science Guy" and the controversial Weather Channel host Heidi Cullen on last night’s Larry King Live. At one point, CNN host Larry King cautioned Nye against making a bet with Lindzen over who was correct about the science of global warming.

"[Lindzen's] from M.I.T. he knows what he's talking about," King warned Nye.

Lindzen mocked fears of global warming by comparing them to children’s imaginations. "I think it's mainly just like little kids locking themselves in dark closets to see how much they can scare each other and themselves," Lindzen said.

Lindzen, a past UN IPCC contributor, also explained how only a dozen scientists were involved in writing the 2001(Third Assessment Report) IPCC media hyped Summary For Policymakers that purported to speak for thousands of scientists." (EPW) | Full CNN transcript Here

"First they came for the skeptics…" - "So the IPCC report that’s going to be released on Friday isn’t gloomy enough, eh? It will find less projected temperature rise and less predicted sea level rise than it did in 2001. Good news, no? Not even close." (Iain Murray, Open Market)

Naomi still doesn't understand: "The Long Consensus On Climate Change" - "With the release of the new report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change tomorrow, the fourth since the organization's founding in 1988, many will be looking for what's new. How have estimates of sea-level rise changed? How soon will we achieve a doubling of carbon dioxide levels?" (Naomi Oreskes, Washington Post)

It isn't the report Naomi, just the political summary. Doesn't anyone pay attention to what's actually happening?

That's funny... "Satellite Data Vital To UN Climate Findings" - "The most authoritative report on climate change to date will be released tomorrow in Paris, France, and is expected to warn of rising global sea levels and temperatures. Earth observation from space plays an invaluable role in helping scientists advance our understanding of climate change and capability to model its evolution." (ESA)

... mid-troposphere satellite data don't support claims of AGW (remember this is where warming should occur at about 1.3 times the rate at surface if enhanced greenhouse is the cause, something clearly not occurring). If satellite data is so vital why spend so much time and effort trying to discredit it rather than using it to realize enhanced greenhouse really isn't a problem after all?

"Research team uses satellite to track Earth's water" - "For the first time, scientists have used a spaceborne instrument to track the origin and movements of water vapor throughout Earth's atmosphere, providing a new perspective on the dominant role Earth's water cycle plays in weather and climate." (University of Colorado at Boulder)

Lies, damned lies and Lib-Dems (Number Watch)

"Warming to a religion" - "SCARIER than global warming is that even -- even? -- our top academics exaggerate so wildly about it. No, I'm not talking again about Tim Flannery, our Australian of the Year, but of his former friend and colleague, Mike Archer. Read on, to see again how recklessly even our men of science now feed you hype." (Andrew Bolt, Herald Sun)

Propaganda at its worst: "UK: All pupils to be given lessons in climate change" - "Children will learn about the dangers faced by the environment - and what they can do about it." (London Independent)

Hmm... dubious: "Warming Linked to Stronger Hurricanes" - "PARIS - Global warming has made stronger hurricanes, including those in the Atlantic such as Katrina, an authoritative panel on climate change has concluded for the first time, participants in the deliberations said Thursday." (Associated Press)

IPCC on Hurricanes (Prometheus)

Well duh! "You're wasteful hypocrites on being green, Paxman accuses BBC bosses" - "Jeremy Paxman has accused the BBC of corporate hypocrisy by decrying the negative impact of climate change while contributing actively to the problem." (London Times)

Oh dear... "Climate of fear in sinking country" - "When Iman Ali Gain first heard about climate change a couple of years ago, he thought that it was a joke. How could the habits of people in the West affect him, a 65-year-old shrimp farmer in southwestern Bangladesh? He still has no concept of the science behind global warming, which will be outlined in a United Nations report today. But he does not need the 2,500 experts of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to prove that his world is under threat. Climate change here is a day-to-day reality that scientists say could make 17 million Bangladeshis homeless by 2030. Over three decades Mr Gain has seen the waters around his mud house in the coastal region of Munshiganj, where silt-laden rivers meet the sea, rise 3m (10ft). He has been battered by increasingly violent floods, tornadoes and cyclones, and tasted the salt seeping relentlessly into his drinking water." (London Times)

... it is [just] plausible that sea levels have risen about 3 feet since c.1500 but most assuredly not since WWII (actual rise during Iman Ali Gain's lifetime is estimated at almost exactly 4 inches -- the same rate as has been ongoing since the end of the last great glaciation).

Twaddle: "Seas Rising Faster than U.N. Predicts - Study" - "PARIS - Sea levels are rising faster than predicted amid global warming, a group of scientists said on Thursday in a challenge to the U.N.'s climate panel which is set to issue a report toning down the threat of rising oceans." (Reuters)

This is a short-term cherry-picked period by Hansen & Co. to piggy-back more publicity from the IPCC circus event - recent examination of a century's worth of records indicate the rise actually slowed in the second half of the 20th Century. At least Science and the authors (Stefan Rahmstorf, Anny Cazenave, John A. Church, James E. Hansen, Ralph F. Keeling, David E. Parker, Richard C. J. Somerville) admit their "study" provides nothing from which conclusions can be drawn.

Gosh... "Scientists offered cash to dispute climate study" - "Scientists and economists have been offered $10,000 each by a lobby group funded by one of the world's largest oil companies to undermine a major climate change report due to be published today.

Letters sent by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), an ExxonMobil-funded thinktank with close links to the Bush administration, offered the payments for articles that emphasise the shortcomings of a report from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Travel expenses and additional payments were also offered." (The Guardian)

... being a skeptic doesn't pay very well, does it. Consider the $30 billion the US alone has paid into the coffers of AGW promoters since the IPCC Third Assessment Report. Heck, Hansen picked up a cool quarter-million in ketchup trust funds in one scare-mongering hit.

"They Call This Science?" - "Rep. Henry Waxman's House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform "took on the Bush administration's handling of climate change science" in a Tuesday hearing, the New York Times reports:" (James Taranto, Opinion Journal)

The Difference Between Global Warming And Climate Change (Climate Science)

A Personal Call For Modesty, Integrity, and Balance by Hendrik Tennekes (Climate Science)

Correction To Misstatement On My Views On Climate In A USA Today Article Entitled “Fossil fuels are to blame, world scientists conclude” (Climate Science)

A Climatologically Significant Aerosol Longwave Indirect Effect In The Arctic (Climate Science)

Good luck... "Winners and losers of global warming" - "Investors around the world are rejigging their portfolios to take advantage of climate change. Green investing is no longer a new phenomenon, but this is something different. This is not designed to spur companies into protecting the environment – this is a growing field of research and investment advice that attempts to peer into the future and determine who will win and who will lose as a result of global warming." (Toronto Star)

... there's an equal chance of the world cooling as warming.

Uh... "Cool Water Surges Could Affect Fish Stocks - Report" - "PARIS - Surges of cool waters from the depths of the Atlantic Ocean became stronger off Morocco in the 20th century, apparently because of global warming that could affect fish stocks, a study showed on Thursday." (Reuters)

... cold water upwellings are generally associated with improved conditions for fish and fisheries.

"NZ: Kauri help build picture of El Nino variations" - "Scientists who took samples from New Zealand kauri say they show five of the 10 strongest El Nino events in the past 400 years have been since 1982. A team led by Dr Anthony Fowler at the University of Auckland has built up the world's longest record of El Nino activity from tree rings - a continuous picture of the past 3722 years. The El Nino Southern Oscillation (Enso) - changes in sea surface temperatures and atmospheric pressure across the Pacific Ocean linked to droughts, flood, and cyclones - has been compared to the heartbeat of climate systems.

... Initial analysis of the most recent four centuries of kauri rings showed a 50 to 80-year Enso cycle, which has repeated seven times since 1580. If the pattern persisted, the active El Nino period of the past few decades would be the latest such peak and a subsequent easing of activity was plausible, Dr Fowler said." (NZPA)

"Researchers predict future of federal climate change policy" - "DURHAM, N.H. – The future of federal climate change policy is likely to include a host of strategies such as a national cap on carbon dioxide emissions, mandatory standards on renewable energy, mandatory efficiency standards on vehicles and products, and a national carbon dioxide cap-and-trade scheme, according to new research conducted by the University of New Hampshire." (University of New Hampshire)

All of which would be a mistake.

"France Tells U.S. to Sign Climate Pacts or Face Tax" - "President Jacques Chirac of France said Europe could impose a carbon tax on imports from nations that do not participate in the Kyoto climate protocol." (New York Times)

Well, there goes their wine sales again...

The BBC says the French are dim - "The lights of Paris dimmed for five minutes on Thursday in a nationwide "lights out" campaign, aimed at raising public awareness over global warming. The Eiffel Tower, lit by 20,000 bulbs, also went dark at 1955 (1855 GMT). During the switch-off, the power grid operator RTE observed a fall of 800 megawatts, representing just over 1% of France's total consumption." (BBC)

"French Switch-off has Little Impact on Power Grid" - "PARIS - A call by French green groups for the country to switch off lights for five minutes on Thursday to raise public awareness of global warming had a "limited impact" on the power grid, operator RTE said." (Reuters)

"China Warns of Disasters from Warming Tibet Plateau" - "BEIJING - Chinese scientists have warned that rising temperatures on the Qinghai-Tibet plateau will melt glaciers, dry up major Chinese rivers and trigger more droughts, sandstorms and desertification, state media reported on Thursday." (Reuters)

"Delaware global warming skeptic stands pat: State climatologist on opposite side of governor in court case" - "Delaware's state climatologist has found himself in the middle of a political squall after taking skeptical stands on global warming and climate change -- in one case directly contradicting the state's own policy." (News Journal)

"California Seeks to Resolve Carmaker Pollution Lawsuit" - "SAN FRANCISCO - New California Attorney General Jerry Brown said Thursday he sent a letter to the chiefs of six major automakers to resolve a greenhouse gas damage suit started by his predecessor last September." (Reuters)

Easy, just apologize to the carmakers and forget the whole thing.

"UK: Airlines turn litigious over extra duty" - "Gordon Brown faces legal challenges from airlines and tour operators over a controversial doubling of air passenger duty that comes in today." (The Guardian)

"UK: Travellers Pay New "Green" Airline Tax" - "LONDON - Passengers leaving British airports were having to pay a higher rate of air tax from Thursday or risk being barred from their flights." (Reuters)

PC pap: "Wal-Mart boss says he will press suppliers in race to go green" - "The chief executive of the world's biggest retailer yesterday stepped up the pace in the race to be green with a series of initiatives to cut its own giant carbon footprint - and those of its suppliers, customers and staff." (The Guardian)

"Mexicans protest as tortilla crisis hurts Calderon" - "MEXICO CITY - Tens of thousands of demonstrators marched through Mexico's capital on Wednesday night to protest a surge in tortilla prices that has put President Felipe Calderon under intense pressure. Soaring U.S. demand for ethanol has sent corn prices to their highest level in a decade, pulling up prices of Mexico's national food staple." (Reuters)

"Traveling in the right direction -- lessening our impact on the environment" - "As concern about climate change increasingly focuses on the environmental damage caused by travel, new research shows that there are huge variations in the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that individuals' travel patterns are responsible for." (Economic & Social Research Council)

"BP gives green fuel research 500 million dollars" - "British oil giant BP announced Thursday an award of 500 million dollars for "Big Science" research into green energy. BP will fund an Energy Biosciences Institute (EBI) with a mandate to "perform ground-breaking research aimed at the production of new and cleaner energy" with an initial focus on biofuels for cars and trucks. EBI research will be conducted at the University of California, Berkeley and its affiliated Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) and at the University of Illinois." (AFP)

"DNR and PSC Release Clean Coal Report" - "MADISON – Today the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) released a report that says a new clean coal technology, integrated gasification combined-cycle (IGCC), holds promise as part of Wisconsin’s next generation of baseload power plants." (WisBusiness)

"Reformed US malaria program garners critics' approval" - "It's been almost two years since the US Congress, spurred by reports that the country's malaria aid programs were hemorrhaging money, took the responsible agency to task for poor accounting and outsize payments to consultants. The administration seems to have got the message." (AFM)

"Critical thinking about health information - A challenge for professionals and consumers" - "Does your doctor often have the same take on things as the news? Perhaps it’s because a surprising amount of continuing medical education for doctors is written by the same people who bring us the news." (Junkfood Science)

"European Safety Review: No Risk from Bisphenol A Exposure" - "Expert scientific panel critical of many low-dose experiments cited by activists, San Francisco, for ban on chemical. Current exposure guidelines safe." (Trevor Butterworth, STATS)

"Study reveals Aussies' social obsession with mobile phones" - "The average Australian spends one hour on his or her mobile phone every day, according to the preliminary results of a national survey released by the Queensland University of Technology." (Queensland University of Technology)

"Standardized house dust aids health researchers" - "Chemists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have created a standardized form of common house dust to support environmental scientists studying our everyday exposure to a catalog of potentially hazardous chemicals." (National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST))

"Scientists see DNA get 'sunburned' for the first time" - "COLUMBUS , Ohio -- For the first time, scientists have observed DNA being damaged by ultraviolet (UV) light. Ohio State University chemists and their colleagues in Germany used a special technique to watch strands of DNA in the laboratory sustain damage in real time." (Ohio State University)

"Bald eagle flies out of peril: Removal from endangered list likely, thanks in part to lawsuit" - "The bald eagle, America's signature bird, is likely to be removed from the endangered species list within two weeks, after one of the most successful conservation efforts in history. But the delisting itself isn't the result of direct action by environmentalists. The eagle is about to leave the federal nest because of a lawsuit by the conservative, Sacramento-based Pacific Legal Foundation, a nonprofit law firm that has waged war against environmental regulation." (Sacramento Bee)

"Commercialization of Bt cotton seen" - "The commercialization in three years of the genetically-modified Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) cotton marks the revival of the local cotton industry that largely depends on import for its sustenance." (Manila Bulletin)

"Contamination affects rice planting decisions in 2007" - "STONEVILLE -- Rice producers will need to consider other variety options this year after losing the popular variety Cheniere to contamination. “The discovery in August of Liberty Link Rice 601 contamination in U.S. commercial long-grain rice supplies will significantly affect variety selection for Mississippi rice producers in 2007,” said Tim Walker, assistant agronomist at Mississippi State University’s Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville. Liberty Link 601 is a genetically modified trait in rice that provides resistance to the Liberty Link herbicide. Lucrative markets, such as the European Union, will not purchase rice with this trait." (Delta Research and Extension Center)

February 1, 2007

"From Sheffield to Singapore, international Grid battles malaria" - "Malaria kills more than one million people each year, most of them young children living in Africa. Now physicists in the UK have shared their computers with biologists from countries including France and Korea in an effort to combat the disease. Using an international computing Grid spanning 27 countries, scientists on the WISDOM project analysed an average of 80,000 possible drug compounds against malaria every hour. In total, the challenge processed over 140 million compounds, with a UK physics Grid providing nearly half of the computing hours used." (Particle Physics & Astronomy Research Council)

"Reduced Efficacy of Insecticide-treated Nets and Indoor Residual Spraying for Malaria Control in Pyrethroid Resistance Area, Benin" - "The pyrethroid knockdown resistance gene (kdr) has become widespread in Anopheles gambiae in West Africa. Pyrethroid resistance in An. gambiae appears to threaten the future of ITN and IRS in Benin." (AFM)

"Angola: Health Ministry Receives One Million Dollar to Fight Malaria" - "The US foundation Exxon Mobil handed over on Tuesday, here, USD 1.000.000 to the Angolan Health Ministry." (AFM)

"How Activist Groups Run The News" - "Throughout January, Americans were warned about the risks of chemicals in common products. But was this a case of public interest journalism or lousy reporting?" (Trevor Butterworth, STATS)

"Marriott Eliminates Trans Fats, Is Largest Hotelier to Join Ban" - "In a move affecting the cooking of more than 6 million pounds of french fries a year, Marriott International is eliminating frying oil containing trans fats from its more than 2,300 hotels throughout the United States and Canada." (Washington Post)

"UK: Supermarkets banish harmful fats" - "Artery clogging trans-fats will have been phased out of almost all supermarket own-brand food within weeks, Britain's major retailers said yesterday." (London Telegraph)

"The Bogus 'Science' of Secondhand Smoke" - "Smoking cigarettes is a clear health risk, as most everyone knows. But lately, people have begun to worry about the health risks of secondhand smoke. Some policymakers and activists are even claiming that the government should crack down on secondhand smoke exposure, given what "the science" indicates about such exposure." (Gio Batta Gori, Washington Post)

"Virus may be the cause of mad cow" - "Mad cow disease and other related brain disorders may be caused by a virus and not the weird, misshapen proteins, known as prions, that scientists think are responsible, according to a study released Monday." (Sun-Sentinel)

"Leeches ferry infection among newts" - "Parasite-carrying bloodsucking leeches may be delivering a one-two punch to newts, according to biologists, who say the discovery may provide clues to disease outbreaks in amphibians." (Penn State)

"UA tree-ring lab studies climate changes" - "Just a few stories below the stadium where raucous fans cheer on the Wildcat football team, UA scientists are hard at work in the world's largest and oldest tree-ring research laboratory, chipping away at problems like global warming and cancer." (Arizona Wildcat)

Clueless media... "A clearer global climate forecast" - "A report coming Friday will offer the strongest consensus yet on how the Earth will change." (The Christian Science Monitor

... what's being officially released Friday is the political Summary for Policymakers and not the Working Group I Contribution to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis -- different thing entirely.

"Slow going on global warming report, delegates to Paris meeting say" - "PARIS - Scientists and government officials are falling far behind in their attempts to come up with an authoritative report on global warming _ but not because of major disagreements among more than 100 nations and dozens of scientists. The problem is wrangling over the wording and nuances of general language, three delegates told The Associated Press on Wednesday, the third day of their meeting in Paris. All governments involved must agree on the language of the 12-15 page summary." (Associated Press)

"SPM4 Preview: The Hockey Stick Lives" - "Andrew Weaver in an article here says of the SPM: “This isn’t a smoking gun; climate is a batallion of intergalactic smoking missiles.” Wow. Even better than Space Invaders. There was a big front page preview of the SPM in the Toronto Globe and Mail today here all of which is worth reading, but for now I draw your attention to the 2nd paragraph of the article:" (Steve McIntyre, Climate Audit)

"Media Covering Up UN Global Warming Report’s Political Agenda, Senator Inhofe Charges" - "The final document of the new United Nations global warming Summary for Policymakers, due out this Friday, was not approved by scientists but by political delegates, Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.) revealed today during a contentious debate with CNN anchor Miles O’Brien." (EPW)

In a word: nonsense! "Global Warming Rise Of Over 4C If Atmospheric Carbon Doubles" - "Earth's surface temperature could rise by 4.5 C (8.1 F) if carbon dioxide levels double over pre-industrial levels, but higher warming cannot be ruled out, according to a draft report under debate by the UN's top climate experts here Tuesday. The draft -- being discussed line by line at the four-day meeting of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) -- grimly states that the evidence for man-made influence on the climate system is now stronger than ever." (AFP)

The 3 kelvins warming from a doubling from pre-IR levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide hypothesis relies on unmitigated positive feedback mechanisms which apparently do not exist. We know this to be true because the world shows us every year:

  • loss of snow/ice field albedo doesn't do it -- the northern hemisphere summer already sees a thaw and loss of albedo much greater than the total loss of summer remnant portions can do (only a few percent of this effect persists during summer)
  • increase in atmospheric water vapor doesn't do it -- the northern hemisphere lower troposphere warms roughly 10 kelvins January to July so it certainly facilitates increased evaporation and elevated saturation point
  • the atmosphere already contains far more greenhouse gases than "required" to trigger "runaway" greenhouse -- in the absence of water vapor pre-IR levels of CO2 could absorb 3 times more IR than they do, same applies to water vapor and clouds, without "competition" for available infrared radiation the atmosphere could still absorb as much Earth-emitted infrared as it currently does (this has been true since long before people had any effect)

and yet this warming effect collapses every year. Why? Why doesn't the northern warming spread between the hemispheres with the southern summer instead of cooling as it does? And why, if 10 kelvins cannot trigger self-sustaining warming, would the less than 1 kelvin warming really available from a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide do what 10 kelvins does not? The world's physical response is there for us all to see, why must we run from an imaginary problem? Too silly for words!

"Warmer winters mean longer infections" - "WELSH researchers have revealed the latest side-effect of global warming - the never-ending cold. Scientists at Cardiff University's Common Cold Centre have warned that climate change may lead to a breed of cold viruses that the human body is simply unable to shake off." (Western Mail)

"Global Warming Skeptics Contest Al Gore’s Logic on ‘Hannity and Colmes’" - "As global warmingists breathlessly await a new report from the United Nations about the imminent doom of our planet, and Democrats convene highly publicized panels in Congress to discuss how only they can save the world, two well-known skeptics were guests on “Hannity and Colmes” Tuesday. What ensued could only be improved upon if the discussion was to be required viewing all over the country – especially in public schools – as a rebuttal to Al Gore’s schlockumentary “An Inconvenient Truth.” (Noel Sheppard, NewsBusters)

"Climate change doom reports don't stack up" - "LONDON - Behind the picture of a serious climate change threat, painted in a U.N. report to be published on Friday, just how fast mankind can act remains unsure. "There are so many reports," said Fatih Birol, chief economist at the International Energy Agency and author of one of the biggest, the IEA's 596-page World Energy Outlook 2006. "Some are much more in-depth, some have a different focus. The thing is how much they link with reality." (Reuters)

"GMA’s Alarmist Nightmare: ‘Will Billions Die From Global Warming?’" - "Good Morning America" weatherman Sam Champion has accomplished the impressive feat of turning the morning show’s meteorology segment into an opinion piece. On Tuesday, he approvingly reported on a new study that blames humans for the effects of global warming. During a follow-up piece on Wednesday’s edition, ABC included one of the most alarming graphics to grace American television screens:" (Scott Whitlock, News Busters)

Inevitable, we suppose: "Punxutawney Phil Predicts Global Warming" - "Punxsutawney Phil may be smarter than we've given him credit for. In addition to checking out his shadow to forecast the end of winter, this old groundhog has been ahead of the curve in predicting global warming." (Newswise)

"Good News for the Planet = Bad News for Climate Alarmists" - "Washington, D.C., January 31, 2007—Advance details of the United Nations’ latest report on global warming are already sending mixed signals to scientific observers around the world. While the study is expected to predict climate impacts significantly less dramatic than previous reports, some long time alarmists have begun to attack the report itself as flawed and bureaucratically timid." (CEI)

"Waxman's Kyoto Strategy" - "On Tuesday, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, under the leadership of Rep. Henry Waxman (D., Calif.), held a hearing on “Political Interference with Science: Global Warming.” Three of the four witnesses contended that the Bush administration is muzzling federal scientists and suppressing or distorting their research on climate change. This was music to the ears of Chairman Waxman and committee Democrats." (Marlo Lewis, Jr., National Review Online)

"Nets Jump to Hype Democratic Hearings on 'Silencing' of Global Warming Science" - "The broadcast network evening newscasts on Tuesday, especially NBC and ABC, jumped to hype a House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform hearing meant to publicize a report from two far-left groups about how the Bush administration supposedly suppressed science about the dire threat of global warming -- as if that view isn't already getting plenty of play in the mainstream media." (NewsBusters)

Refocusing the incentives... could work: "A method for achieving honest climate predictions" - "I’ve written (repeatedly) that the “projections” in the IPCC’s Third Assessment Report are pseudoscientific nonsense. I haven’t seen the Fourth Assessment Report, but I’m so confident (or would that be depressed?) that they will be nonsense too, that I propose a better way. The fundamental problem is that the IPCC has no incentive to tell the truth in its projections. But they do have an incentive to lie...to exaggerate the amount of warming that’s likely to occur. So that’s what they do...they lie. I propose the following solution:" (Mark Bahner, Random Thoughts)

"Embattled Harper says he now accepts need for climate-change action" - "OTTAWA -- Prime Minister Stephen Harper, under fire for past comments questioning climate change, says he believes in the urgency of combatting global warming." (Canadian Press)

"UK: January second hottest on record" - "This January will be the second hottest on record for the UK, forecasters said today." (The Guardian)

"Climate data fit for recycling" - "THE State Government's green credentials were under scrutiny yesterday after it was caught out recycling 2004 data on climate change and was forced to admit its own agencies were too slow to make water savings." (Sydney Morning Herald)

"Global warming: Fact, fiction, or we're not sure?" - "Earth currently is experiencing a warming trend, but there is scientific evidence that human activities have little to do with it." (James Shott, Spero News)

Oh... "Apocalypse never? Science could yet save the day" - "Giant mirrors in space that deflect the sun's heat, carbon 'scrubbers' that clean up the atmosphere - where governments have failed to tackle global warming, science could yet save the day, says Steve Connor." (London Independent)

... we're far more worried about the, um... helpful souls trying to "save" us from "global warming" than we are about some trivial and almost complete enhanced greenhouse warming.

Video from the Canadian CBC "Mercer Report" -- The "Exhabler", doing your part for a greener world.

"European Heat Wave 2003: A Global Perspective" - "Although the event occurred over three years ago, the summer heat wave of 2003 is still prominently featured in every popular presentation of the global warming issue. A web search of “Europe Heat Wave 2003” produces nearly 950,000 sites to choose from, and if you take that plunge, you will see estimates of 35,000 deaths directly attributed to that heat wave, although that number varies considerably from one site to the next. Although the number of deaths may vary, virtually every one of the sites mentions global warming as an underlying contributor, and statements like “even more extreme weather events lie ahead” are commonplace in the thousands of essays on the topic. Not surprisingly, many of these thousands of heat wave articles end with something like “the world must cut the carbon dioxide emissions that contribute to global warming.” (WCR)

"The New Yorker's Global Warming Fib" - "It’s always fun to spot an embarrassing mistake in the haughty New Yorker. But it’s extra enjoyable when the error is made by Elizabeth Kolbert, the liberal-left magazine’s official publicity agent for the Global Warming Apocalypse." (Bill Steigerwald, FrontPageMagazine.com)

Herd panic: "Climate change" - "Climate change is no longer a fringe issue; even investment bankers are worried about it. Lehman Brothers and UBS both published bumper reports on the subject on Wednesday. This sudden burst of activity illustrates a central point of the Lehman report: the progress of climate change may be slow and hard to quantify but the impact on business can be sharp and sudden. Already, some houses on low-lying land have become uninsurable and unsellable owing to the increased risk of flooding." (Financial Times)

"US Companies Lag on Climate Risk Disclosure" - "NEW YORK - Corporate America lags the largest global companies in disclosing climate change risks to investors, a report showed on Wednesday. Only 47 percent of the largest US companies listed in the S&P 500 fully answered a survey on climate risks sent to the companies last year by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), according to the study. That compared with 72 percent of FT 500, which lists the largest global companies, that responded fully to CDP." (Reuters)

And shareholders should find out which companies responded and kick the boards' collective butts for wasting shareholder-owned time, effort and finance responding to the CDP. The only correct response is to drop these nonsense surveys into the circular file.

"Senators grill automakers on increasing fuel economy" - "WASHINGTON -- U.S. senators sharply questioned executives from General Motors Corp., Honda Motor Co. and other companies Tuesday about the need for higher fuel economy standards for cars and trucks, with some suggesting that an increase would improve the fortunes of Detroit's automakers." (Detroit Free Press)

"Some cool to hot term, 'carbon neutral'" - "PARIS - It's a trend that counts Leonardo DiCaprio, London cabs and Al Gore among its followers: Making life "carbon neutral" through tree-planting and other environmentally friendly efforts to curb emissions of heat-trapping carbon dioxide. The theme is a hot one as scientists in Paris this week prepare to issue a major report on global warming - but critics say the movement is counterproductive, even a scam." (Associated Press)

"UK: Emissions targets hit by rise in air traffic" - "The benefits of persuading householders to save energy in the campaign against climate change are being wiped out by increased air traffic, government figures reveal." (London Independent)

"UK: Government admits 'pollution' target unrealistic" - "The UK will struggle to hit its 2010 target for reducing carbon emissions, the environment secretary said today." (Guardian Unlimited)

What they really mean is carbon dioxide...

"ANALYSIS - EU too Confident on Carbon Capture, Germans Say" - "FRANKFURT - German energy bosses and government officials question European Commission calls for mandatory use of carbon capture when burning coal after 2020, saying Brussels is too confident about the technology's future." (Reuters)

"Norway Minister in hot Water for Emissions Pledge" - "OSLO - Norwegian Environment Minister Helen Bjoernoy found herself on the defensive on Wednesday after she pledged ambitious cuts in Norway's emissions of greenhouse gasses without consulting her government colleagues." (Reuters)

"UK Says its CO2 Emissions Flat in 2005" - "LONDON - UK emissions of the main greenhouse gas carbon dioxide were flat in 2005 as a drop from households was offset by rises from energy production and road transport, the Department of the Environment said on Wednesday." (Reuters)

No? Duh! "Polar Bears Put Alaska Oil Development on Thin Ice" - "ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Until now, the Alaskan oil industry and polar bears have coexisted peacefully, but proposals by the US government to list polar bears as endangered by global warming have cast a shadow on oil development on Alaska's North Slope." (Reuters)

That's one of the primary reasons enviro-nutters keep launching these suits.

"ANALYSIS - Nuclear Power Faces Stormy Seas Threat" - "LONDON - Dozens of nuclear power reactors around the world could be threatened by rising sea levels and violent storms unless power companies spend millions on defending them from the effects of climate change." (Reuters)

"Vision of cheap power is trumping environment" - "If the world wasn't in the grip of high energy prices and panic over global warming, there would probably be a lot more debate over Hydro-Quebec's new project to expand the Eastmain 1 powerhouse and divert the Rupert River. After all, the course of one of Quebec's most majestic rivers will be altered over hundreds of kilometres, with potentially far-reaching consequences on the environment and on Cree communities in northern Quebec. But after eight years of planning, environmental review and negotiation with Cree leaders, it all came down to one eye-catching number. Five cents a kilowatt-hour." (The Gazette)

"Who'd have thought there'd be a shortage of coal mining skills" - "A COMPANY aiming to open five coal mines in South Wales warned yesterday that the region could soon run out of skilled miners and colliery technicians." (Western Mail)

"Day of the wolf - but its evil image could stop it saving the Highlands" - "Study says reintroduction of predator could solve deer population problem." (The Guardian)

"Debunking the Nanotech Myths" - "Public attitides toward nanotechnology are currently pretty neutral. It's up to government and the media to provide realistic assessments of risks and rewards" (Steven C. Currall, Business Week)