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Archives - January 2003

January 31, 2003

HOT! New CDC report on human exposure to chemicals (available after 10 am EST) - Read Greens to Launch New Scare Campaign for background info.

"The Kids and Chemicals Scam" - “Public concern about environmental health threats to children has intensified in recent years and has caused scientists, politicians, regulators and public health officials to take notice.” (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"New chemicals policy will promote innovation, say environmental groups" - "A discussion paper by the WWF (world wildlife fund) and the European Environmental Bureau claims that the EU's new chemicals policy will promote innovation. The Commission is currently finalising draft legislation aiming to create a uniform system under which both existing and new chemicals have to be registered and assessed. The new legislation was triggered by increasing concerns over the safety of chemicals and the inability of the existing system to deal with them." (Cordis)

"What if a dirty bomb hit London?" - "It wouldn't take much for terrorists to wreak havoc in London - just a simple explosive and some industrial waste. Such is the gruesome reality of the dirty bomb." (BBC News Online)

Beyond unfounded panic? Not too much would really happen. Even for people within a few hundred yards of the initial release point, always providing they survive all other potential causes of mortality for the next 30 years or so, have (according to this alarmist modelling) only a 10%-15% chance of dying from a radiation incident-induced cancer. Obviously, for an unlucky few, that's not a good outcome but the only near-certain loss of human life-years would result from the initial blast and the inevitable panic-induced vehicular accidents and trampled pedestrians (crowd crushing). The major damage and disruption, however, comes not from radiation but from irresponsible and frankly ridiculous coverage like the featured Beeb article.

Not to be outdone: "Nuclear weapons and pollution linked to 65 million deaths" - "Pollution from nuclear energy and weapons programmes up to 1989 will account for 65 million deaths, according to a European scientific committee headed by an adviser to the British Government. Research published yesterday by the European Committee of Radiation Risk claims that previous figures massively underestimate the nuclear industry's impact on human life." (Independent)

And everyone who dies will probably be less than 200 years old too...

"Mobile Phone Exposure Causes Brain Damage in Rats" - "A study published today in the online edition of the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP) found for the first time that electromagnetic fields (EMFs) emitted by certain mobile phones damaged neurons in the brains of rats.

The researchers studied 12- to 26-week-old rats because their developmental age is comparable to that of human teenagers, who are some of the heaviest users of mobile phones. "The situation of the growing brain might deserve special concern," the study authors wrote, "since biological and maturational processes are particularly vulnerable. We cannot exclude that after some decades of often daily use, a whole generation of users may suffer negative effects as early as middle age." (EHP Online)

"Scientists blame media and fraud for fall in public trust" - "Concern over diminishing public trust in scientists' pronouncements has prompted Britain's premier scientific organisation to seek a more reliable way of telling people about breakthroughs in research. The Royal Society is establishing a group to analyse the coverage of a number of issues and the public reactions to them, in an attempt to minimise the "harm" it says can occur from "inaccurate and misleading communication of the results of scientific research, particularly when they have implications for human health." (Independent)

"Alchemy at the EPA: Sound science needs a seat at the governing table" - "Inconclusive science cannot be, in and of itself, a show stopper… I'm not saying that further research will always demonstrate the validity of a regulation. But uncertainty should not stop [legislative] action." This was the extraordinary position taken in the last Congress by Rep. Sherwood Boehlert, chairman of the House Science Committee.

If inconclusive scientific evidence can't provide a brake when the regulations themselves involve scientific issues, then what can? Indeed, Boehlert's views, if fully realized, could eventually precipitate a national public-health disaster, as an apparent willingness — shared by others in Congress — to ignore science in an attempt to regulate certain risks to human health is already siphoning essential resources from the truly legitimate public-health programs." (Mark I. Schwartz, NRO)

"World health body warns that mad cow still a risk" - "GENEVA - The World Health Organization (WHO) warned on Thursday that many countries, particularly in eastern Europe and southeast Asia, are at risk from mad cow disease, even though the worst appears over in Britain. Although most developed countries had adequate measures in place to fight the deadly infection in cattle, which has been linked to more than 100 human deaths, some other states had not woken up to the dangers, WHO said." (Reuters)

"Are growing portion sizes leading to expanding waistlines?" - "If you think food manufacturers are skimping on portion sizes, think again. According to a study published in the February issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, portion sizes of many popular restaurant and packaged foods have increased substantially during the past 20 years, especially when compared to their sizes when they were first introduced." (American Dietetic Association)

"Babies' mental delay tied to moms' vegan diet" - "NEW YORK - The breast-fed infants of two mothers who did not eat any animal products, including milk and eggs, developed brain abnormalities as a result of a vitamin-B12 deficiency, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported Thursday.

The primary sources of vitamin B12, which is essential for brain development, are animal products like meat, dairy products and eggs. Since the mothers ate little or no animal products, too little vitamin B12 was transmitted to their children through breast milk, according to the CDC's Dr. Maria Elena Jefferds." (Reuters Health)

"Italy may lose coastal areas to rising seas - study" - "ROME - Italy will protect Venice from the rising sea levels, but a new study said it must decide soon whether to build dikes in other threatened areas or surrender some 4,500 square kilometres of land to permanent flooding." (Reuters)

"Empty Promises" - "Everyone expects a certain amount of hokum in a State of the Union address. But for artful misdirection it's hard to top the three paragraphs in which President Bush promised to protect the environment while promoting energy independence. Set aside for the moment the meagerness of his menu, as well as the plain fact that he has spent the last two years rolling back laws and regulations that have long guarded the nation's air, water and public lands. The real tipoff to his intentions lies in the three proposals themselves. Whatever their long-term promise, none would do much good in the short term and some would actually do harm." (New York Times)

The Ol' Gray Lady's editorial writers apparently know far more than climate scientists, stating unequivocally: "... Clear Skies would do nothing to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, a big contributor to global warming."

"Three Attorneys General Plan to Sue EPA" - "PORTLAND, Maine - Attorneys general in three states announced Thursday that they plan to sue the Environmental Protection Agency to make it regulate carbon dioxide. The officials in Maine, Massachusetts and Connecticut argue that there is no longer any doubt that carbon dioxide emissions are responsible for global warming, and that failure to regulate carbon dioxide violates the Clean Air Act." (Associated Press)

"VIRTUAL CLIMATE ALERT January 29, 2003 Vol. 4, No. 3" - "Washington Post staff writer Rick Weiss plunges headlong into the climate change morass in his January 27th piece on the ecological benefits and shortcomings of corn-burning stoves even as he observes, "It’s the cynic’s Golden Rule that no good deed goes unpunished." (GES)

"Flood fear forces Thames Barrier rethink" - "THE Government plans to increase the height of the Thames Barrier, and is even considering building a new one, as a result of the increased threat of flooding because of global warming. It also plans to increase the height of the river walls along the length of the tidal banks to prevent the Thames from bursting. A £4 billion project by the Environment Agency, called Planning for Flood Risk Management in the Thames Estuary, is examining how to respond to rising sea levels and increasingly stormy weather that are thought to be caused by climate change." (The Times)

"Study: Warming worsened drought" - "Global warming probably made the recent drought in the USA worse than it otherwise would have been, say the authors of a study published today in the journal Science. It also could increase the risk for future severe droughts. The study is the latest in a number of reports linking severe weather problems — drought, monsoons and melting polar ice — to global warming, the gradual heating of Earth's atmosphere by the burning of fossil fuels. Federal climate scientists Martin Hoerling and Arun Kumar wrote the study." (USA Today)

"Bush admin seeks boost in '04 environment spending" - "WASHINGTON - President (George W.) Bush will use his fiscal 2004 budget proposal to press ahead with a plan to reduce air pollution from power plants by allowing companies to trade emissions credits, EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman said." (Reuters)

"US Senate bill aims to boost SUV fuel efficiency" - "WASHINGTON - Fuel efficiency standards for popular sport utility vehicles and light trucks would be gradually increased to match those currently required in passenger cars under legislation to be introduced in the US Senate yesterday." (Reuters)

"Bush to fund fusion energy machine" - "PRINCETON, New Jersey -- The Bush administration will join an international consortium that plans to build a $5 billion fusion machine to produce power, the U.S. energy secretary announced Thursday. The United States will be responsible for about 10 percent of the cost of the project, expected to begin construction in 2006. The other partners are China, Japan, the European Union, Russia and Canada." (CNN)

"US Energy Dept gives details on hydrogen car research" - "WASHINGTON - The Energy Department said this week that President George W. Bush's plan to spend $1.2 billion of government funds to help develop a hydrogen-fuel car won't all be new money." (Reuters)

"Fuel cell cars face high hurdles to reality" - "DETROIT - It's the holy grail of the auto industry: pollution-free power for cars and trucks, fueled by an abundant substance found around the world. After a decade of research, automakers still have a tough quest ahead of them." (Reuters)

"Court Reverses Ban on Dumping Coal Waste" - "NEW YORK - A federal appeals court overturned a lower-court ruling that blocked coal companies from sweeping rubble from mountaintop removal mining into streams, which could allow for more permits to bury Appalachian streams beneath huge valley fill-waste piles.

A three-judge panel on the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned U.S. District Judge Charles Haden II's ruling, which was issued last May. Judge Haden's ruling said that the federal Clean Water Act blocked the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from authorizing such valley fills." (Reuters)

"Globalization is narrowing the poverty gap" - "Paris, 27 January 2003 - Far from widening the gap between rich and poor, globalization has helped to bring about unprecedented improvements in the living conditions of many of the world's poorest people, ICC economic analysts report. An ICC paper quotes new research as showing that "contrary to popular belief, it is precisely during the recent period of increased globalization of the world economy that poverty rates and global income inequality have most diminished". (ICC)

"African Food Shortages Ending Everywhere Except in Zimbabwe" - "JOHANNESBURG, Jan. 30 — The United Nations says the number of hungry people is rising in Zimbabwe even as food shortages ease in other parts of southern Africa.

A huge food distribution program in this region, whose agriculture has been battered by drought and floods, has prevented mass starvation, the United Nations says. Bad weather has dampened hopes for a quick recovery in Mozambique, Swaziland and Lesotho, but officials predict good harvests in Malawi and Zambia in coming months. The World Food Program believes the worst is over for most countries and plans to start reducing its presence here in June.

Officials remain disheartened, however, by the worsening situation in Zimbabwe, where inadequate rainfall and poor government policies have left growing numbers hungry. The United Nations reported this month that the number of people in need of emergency food aid in Zimbabwe had jumped to 7.2 million in December, up from about 6.7 million in August. (New York Times)

"Today's Topic: Bio-Engineered Food Aid" - "The U.S. provides food aid to many countries and some have turned down genetically modified crops despite severe food shortages. It is not clear what the motivation for declining this aid is, but it may be that some of the grain is planted and could not be exported to European countries that ban the importation of these plants.

The U.S. Department of State released three short reports in December 2002 addressing food safety and environmental considerations for these crops. They emphasize that there are no known hazards associated with these crops. The reports can be found at http://www.state.gov/e/eb/rls/fs/15605pf.htm and http://www.state.gov/e/eb/rls/fs/15607pf.htm.

HERE'S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: It is impossible to prove a negative. That is, no study can prove a new food is completely safe. But we accept new foods all the time that are produced by traditional breeding, hybridization, and mutation. These methods rearrange thousands of genes instead of targeting a single gene with biotechnology. No one screamed about hazards when kiwi fruits were introduced into the U.S. or seedless watermelons were developed." (Nutrition News Focus)

"Doctors review GM crop advice" - "The British Medical Association is to review its report on genetically modified crops in light of new scientific evidence. Its original report, produced in 1999, raised concerns about the long term effect of GM foods on human health and urged a precautionary approach until more research had been carried out. The BMA's report came out when concerns about GM food were at their height. Since then the main piece of research that first raised the concerns has been discredited." (BBC News Online)

"US farmers to help win GM wheat acceptance" - "ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -US wheat farmers were moving to help Monsanto Co. overcome customer apprehension to the world's first genetically modified wheat, which is moving closer to regulatory approval both in the US and abroad." (Reuters)

January 30, 2003

"Junk food 'may lead to eating addiction'" - "Eating hamburgers, chips and fat-loaded junk foods could be addictive, scientists said yesterday. They think that high-calorie fried foods could trigger hormonal changes that make it difficult to control eating. Suggesting that putting on weight may involve more than simply a loss of self-control, the findings could help explain soaring obesity rates and the phenomenal success of fast-food outlets. The studies indicate that a single fast-food meal could contain a dose of fat and carbohydrate large enough to cause changes in brain structure usually associated with addiction to drugs." (The Daily Telegraph)

"Public 'distrusts official advice'" - "The British public is more likely to trust environmental or consumer groups over government advice on scientific issues, research has revealed." (BBC News Online)

"Scientists condemn alarmist official propaganda over bioterrorism" - "Fears of a terrorist attack using biological or chemical weapons are being overplayed, say senior scientists who believe that the resulting panic is potentially worse than the threat itself." (Independent)

"A Chemical (Over)Reaction" - "The wing of the environmental movement that is hostile to the use of synthetic chemicals will try out some new scare tactics this week. Instead of exaggerating risks associated with a single chemical - such as Alar, PCBs, or acrylamide in fried foods - the anti-chemical activists will now encourage a broader paranoia about the (unproven) effects of human exposure to lots of chemicals combined.

The effort is led by an umbrella group called CHE - the Collaborative on Health and the Environment. But it involves other activist organizations, such as the Environmental Working Group and the scare-fostering public relations firm Fenton Communications (the people behind recent inflammatory ads likening SUVs to support for terrorism and asking "What would Jesus drive?"). Together, they are issuing a report that makes sweeping and unsubstantiated claims that numerous illnesses - from learning disabilities to childhood leukemia - are caused by the population's exposure to synthetic chemicals." (Todd Seavey, TCS)

"New European Constitution May Erase Eco-Progress" - "BRUSSELS, Belgium, January 29, 2003 - Some of the European Union's greatest milestones in environmental policymaking could be at risk from attempts to draft a new constitution for the bloc, a major conference on environmental governance heard Tuesday. An official from the European Commission's Environment Directorate, Pascal Lefevre, told delegates that environment policy was "just not being discussed" in a convention charged with consolidating the EU treaty and its offshoots into a more comprehensible and public friendly document." (ENS)

"Run-off damages Australia Great Barrier Reef - study" - "SYDNEY - Chemical run-off from cattle grazing, sugarcane growing and urban development are polluting Australia's Great Barrier Reef, a scientific report into environmental degradation has found." (Reuters)

"U.S. to Seek Waiver on Weed Killer Harmful to Ozone Layer" - "The Bush administration is considering seeking scores of exemptions for industries that want to keep using an ozone-depleting pesticide that is to be banned by 2005 under an international treaty. Environmental campaigners say the result, should all the exemptions be granted, would be years of further delay in undoing damage to the ozone layer from decades of emissions of the pesticide, methyl bromide, and other similar compounds. Experts said that the exemptions from the ban would undermine the Montreal Protocol, a 15-year-old pact protecting the ozone layer and widely perceived as the most effective environmental treaty ever negotiated." (New York Times)

"Senate Panel Will Look at Science, Costs" - "WASHINGTON - More emphasis on science and costs will guide the Senate panel overseeing the environment, the new Republican chairman said Wednesday while outlining an agenda that includes re-examining laws on air quality and endangered species.

At his first meeting as chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Sen. James Inhofe (news, bio, voting record), R-Okla., held the possibility of "some form of compromise" over global warming and regulation of carbon dioxide emissions from industrial plants." (Associated Press)

"Ocean surface saltiness influences El Niño forecasts" - "NASA sponsored scientists have discovered by knowing the salt content of the ocean's surface, they may be able to improve the ability to predict El Nino events. Scientists, studying the western Pacific Ocean, find regional changes in the saltiness of surface ocean water correspond to changes in upper ocean heat content in the months preceding an El Nino event. Knowing the distribution of surface salinity may help predict events." (NASA/GSFC)

"Irving gives unqualified backing to Kyoto" - "FREDERICTON - Arthur Irving, one of Canada's wealthiest oil executives, says he supports the Kyoto accord on greenhouse gas emissions. Irving says he doesn't think the implementation of Kyoto will be bad for business." (CBC News)

"Harney presents stiff opposition to carbon tax" - "The extent of the divisions in Government over the introduction of a new carbon tax aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions are made clear by pre-Budget papers released yesterday. The proposal, championed by the Minister for the Environment and Local Government, Mr Cullen, is meeting particularly stiff opposition from the Tánaiste's Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, which fears it will damage competitiveness." (Irish Times)

"Clean air act reduces acid rain: UMaine research shows recovery in New England elusive" - "The federal Clean Air Act of 1990 appears to be successful in reducing two major types of air pollutants that contribute to acid rain, and signs of recovery are beginning to occur in lakes and streams in the Midwest and East, according to a report from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency." (University of Maine)

"Bush pushes energy plan, alternative - fueled cars" - "WASHINGTON - President George W. Bush this week urged Congress to pass a comprehensive energy plan to increase domestic energy supplies, and proposed funds to develop hydrogen-powered automobiles that would reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil." (Reuters)

"Carmakers and Environmentalists Differ Over Fuel Cell Proposal" - "DETROIT, Jan. 29 — President Bush's proposal to double federal spending on fuel cell research drew praise today from automakers and skepticism from environmentalists." (New York Times)

"Cheap coal a hurdle to China natgas growth - expert" - "NEW YORK - Development of natural gas in China could improve the environment and the economy but faces a hurdle from the nation's heaping supplies of cheap coal, an expert on Chinese energy said.

Coal burning in China, combined with the explosive growth of car demand of about three million vehicles per year, makes the nation a leading emitter of pollutants. China is the second largest emitter of amount of global CO2, but is the world's largest emitter of both soot and sulphur dioxide (SO2), a cause of acid rain, which damages 40 percent of Chinese land, according to IEA." (Reuters)

"German n-power CO2 savings equal road emissions - DAtF" - "FRANKFURT - Germany's nuclear industry lobby said this week the use of nuclear power saves 165 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions a year, equivalent to the total emissions from German road traffic." (Reuters)

"Cabinet asked to back nuclear fudge" - "Compromise plan infuriates green activists · Cap on electricity prices saddles lenders with generating plants" (The Guardian)

"German minister eyes boost to offshore windfarms" - "BERLIN - German Environment Minister Juergen Trittin said this week he planned to extend to 2010 from 2006 the deadline for building subsidised offshore windfarms as part of a reform of the country's green energy law." (Reuters)

"Zambia's GM food fear traced to UK" - "Doubts over the safety of genetically modified foods voiced by the British Medical Association were the main reason behind Zambia's decision to reject food aid in 2002, says a Zambian scientist who visited Europe this week. Famine still threatens 2.4 million people in Zambia today." (New Scientist)

"Fearing a Food Fight" - "There are times when the United States is right and Europe - especially what Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld calls "Old Europe" - is wrong." (James K. Glassman, TCS)

"Commercial production of GM crops expected by next year" - "GENETICALLY modified crops could be grown commercially in Britain next year, said one of the government’s advisers on biotechnology this week. Professor Philip Dale, speaking before a debate on GM crops in Edinburgh, said: "I have no doubt that GM crops will be vital to the future of European farming and my hope is that they will be grown commercially next year." He added: "But whatever we decide to do on this little island will have little effect on the rest of the world, which is developing GM rapidly for their own uses." (The Scotsman)

January 29, 2003

"WHO: South Korean TB Expert Selected To Replace Brundtland" - "Little-known tuberculosis expert Jong Wook Lee of South Korea was chosen today to replace Gro Harlem Brundtland as head of the World Health Organization when her term ends in July, narrowly winning the post over Joint U.N. Program on HIV/AIDS head Peter Piot by two votes. With solid backing from Asian representatives, including North Korea, Lee received 17 votes among the 32-member WHO executive committee today, although final approval is subject to a full vote of the 192-nation World Health Assembly in May." (UN Wire)

"Study Doubts Acrylamide in Food Causes Cancer" - "LONDON - Fried foods such as potato chips and French fries may contain a substance that can cause cancer in animals, but the levels do not appear high enough to increase the risk of the disease in humans, researchers said on Tuesday." (Reuters) | New Swedish study defuses acrylamide scare (just-food.com)

"The Question of Irradiated Beef in Lunchrooms" - "IRRADIATED beef may be coming soon to your local school cafeteria. The farm bill that was passed last May directs the Agriculture Department to buy irradiated beef for the federal school lunch program. It will be up to local school districts to decide if they want it. Americans have been reluctant to buy food that is irradiated, a process that uses electrons or gamma rays to kill harmful bacteria like salmonella and E. coli 0157:H7, which cause food poisoning. Some people fear, wrongly, that the food is radioactive. Others are concerned that the process hasn't been tested well. They may be correct." (Marian Burros, New York Times)

"Today's Topic: Kill All the Headline Writers" - "With apologies to Shakespeare, headline writers may be worse than lawyers. When newspaper headlines read: "White wine that can curb heart disease developed," we immediately searched for the source. Another headline was: "New white wine has red's health benefits." Okay! We're hooked! Let's see the study.

A French Chardonnay white wine was enriched in polyphenols, which have potent antioxidant activity. The study was done with rats given a chemical to destroy the insulin-producing cells of their pancreas and allowed to drink water or the new wine, with or without its alcohol content. There was a small but statistically significant benefit on antioxidant capacity in the blood of the diabetic rats. But no other parameter was improved, whether it was pancreatic function, liver function, or blood lipids. The study was published in the December 2002 Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

HERE'S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: The author of the study was quoted as suggesting a glass or two a day would reduce the oxidative stress suffered by people with diabetes. If your relatives have four legs and a tail but no pancreatic function, this white wine is what you need." (Nutrition News Focus)

"MERCURY: Advocates Urge U.S. Not To Block Treaty Talks" - "Mercury activists responded yesterday to an internal document they said shows U.S. officials plan to thwart future mercury treaty talks during a U.N. Environment Program Governing Council meeting in Nairobi next week. Citing a leaked document indicating a plan to "block any attempt to move forward" on a binding treaty and "strive to prevent specific references to a convention" in a resolution the council is expected to adopt in Nairobi, the activists urged the United States to fulfill an earlier pledge to remain open to such treaty talks." (UN Wire)

"Money can buy you happiness after all, study finds" - "So what is a marriage worth? After centuries of poets and novelists writing on the subject, two academics have come up with their own answer: 70 grand a year. To put a value on happiness, the two academics interviewed 10,000 people over the past decade and found it came at great expense. Professors Andrew Oswald and Andrew Clark of the University of Warwick School of Economics calculated the monetary worth of contentment and distress." (Independent)

Global warming/cooling according to Paul Epstein: "Why the global deep freeze" - "WHY IS IT SO FRIGID when the globe is warming? As an Arctic frost chills two-thirds the nation and kills hundreds in Bangladesh, some answers may come from changes in the Arctic itself.

First, if you had any doubts, we are in an unusually deep cold spell, with snow and records falling across the South. Driving conditions are hazardous (and sometimes tragic) as pedestrians and the homeless face bitter winds and icy ''orthopedic weather.'' Ice dams are blocking Latvian ports, winds and storms are battering Europe, Portugal is freezing, Vietnam has lost one-third its rice crop, and the cold has caused close to 2,000 deaths in usually temperate South Asia.

As several scientists have warned, global warming will be full of surprises. Warming over the past half-century has already brought more erratic and extreme weather. Some climatologists are increasingly concerned about the stability of the climate system itself and the potential for abrupt shifts - to warmer or even much colder states. Can we make sense of the present cold snap?" (Boston Globe)

"Park studies find mostly harm in warming" - "Tuesday, January 28, 2003 - Rising temperatures will change Rocky Mountain National Park's landscape over the next century, melting alpine features and adding to the overpopulation of elk but lengthening the tourist season and perhaps boosting the local economy.

Climate change will be - at best - a double-edged sword for Colorado's signature national park and the Estes Valley, according to a series of new studies conducted by researchers at Colorado State University.

"The effects of climate change will likely be harmful to park ecosystems, though there may be some beneficial aspects to both the park and its gateway community," said lead scientist N. Thompson Hobbs of CSU's Natural Resource Ecology Lab." (Denver Post)

"Icecap 'sensitive' to greenhouse gas" - "Ominous" new research on global warming has indicated that even the Kyoto Protocol will not go far enough to avoid a climate disaster." (The Press, NZ)

"Cosmic Rays: Can They Influence Climate on Centennial and Millennial Time Scales?" - "Summary: This question is admirably addressed by three scientists who review what is known about the subject and outline fertile directions for future research. We briefly describe their overview of the field, present our interpretation of pertinent data, and join them in their call for more research to address a number of important related topics." (co2science.org)

Subject Index Summaries:

"Biodiversity (Weeds vs. Non-Weeds)" - "Summary: Some people have suggested that future increases in the air's CO2 content will increase weed problems in agricultural environments. However, after reviewing some of the recent relevant literature in this area, we conclude that a much different response is likely to occur." (co2science.org)

"Medieval Warm Period (Solar Influence)" - "Summary: Are variations in solar activity responsible for the millennial-scale oscillation of earth's climate that produced the Medieval Warm Period?" (co2science.org)

Current Journal Reviews:

"Has the "Unprecedented Warming" of the Last Century Had Any Effect on West Antarctic Ice Sheet Dynamics?" - "Summary: Climate alarmists have been telling us for years that it has. Climate skeptics have been telling us for years that it hasn't. Now, at last, there are data to decide the debate. And the winners are ......... Science 299: 99-102." (co2science.org)

"Temperature Histories of Remote Mountain Lakes in Europe" - "Summary: What do they tell us about 20th century warming? Journal of Paleolimnology 28: 161-179." (co2science.org)

"Hydrogen Hopes" - "Can the U.S. count on trendy renewable sources of energy like wind and solar power for its energy and especially its transportation needs? Some voices in politics and media seem to think so, but the reality isn't so clear cut." (Sallie Baliunas and Willie Soon, TCS)

"New discovery to help switch off disease" - "A landmark discovery could lead to a host of new drugs that may contribute to "switching-off" diseases such as cancer, osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis, and boost the immune system. A group of Melbourne scientists has been able to draw a three dimensional map of a protein believed to be involved in the development of several human diseases." (CSIRO)

"Epicyte to grow potential HIV treatment" - "San Diego-based Epicyte Pharmaceutical Inc. is working on a preventative treatment for HIV. But it isn't being concocted in a test tube. It's being cultivated in a stalk of corn.

As an early entrant in the emerging field of plant-derived pharmaceuticals, privately held Epicyte uses its proprietary plantibodies technology to develop human monoclonal antibodies. On Tuesday, the biopharmaceutical company said it is growing the first greenhouse plant lines to yield an antibody product that might potentially be used to prevent the transmission of HIV." (San Diego Daily Transcript)

"Genetics: why Prince Charles is so wrong" - "Genes work just like computer software, says this writer - which is why the luddites don't get it, but their children probably will" (Richard Dawkins, The Times)

"Hungry Zambians loot rejected GM food" - "An estimated Zambian 6000 villagers overpowered an armed policeman and looted food aid consisting largely of maize rejected by the government because it was genetically modified, police said on Tuesday. Southern Province Minister George Mpombo said 4 600 50-kilogram bags of GM and non-GM staple maize were stolen at the weekend in Sizanongwe, 300 kilometres from the capital. He said starving villagers overpowered the lone policeman after word went round that the maize was to be returned to Lusaka." (AFP)

January 28, 2003

A little Davos theatre: "Lobby group in Davos lawsuit threat" - "Friends of the Earth, an environmental campaigning organisation, is threatening to sue organisers of the World Economic Forum after a dispute over access highlighted a growing rift between business leaders and non-governmental organisations at this year's Davos gathering. The clash came when Tony Juniper, its British director and an authorised delegate, was barred from the conference because he was carrying 150 letters for corporate participants." (Financial Times) [Statement on the Incident Involving Tony Juniper, Vice-Chair of Friends of the Earth International (WEF)]

They're at it again: "Use of irradiation questioned in Brazil" - "Using the World Social Forum as a launching pad, consumer rights group Public Citizen has started a campaign in Brazil to draw attention to what it calls the “dangers associated with food Irradiation” in the country. Brazil currently has 11 irradiation facilities, more than any other country in the world, the reason for which Public Citizen claims is largely due to lax environmental laws, cheap labour and an influx of agribusiness because of climate and landmass. During a conference workshop on irradiation, a newly formed coalition of international activists declared a need for an awareness campaign “to educate people on the health effects of consuming a diet of irradiated food, the role of irradiation in trade, and the global effects that irradiation will have on family farmers”. (FoodProductionDaily.com)

"Hands-free cellphones just as bad for drivers: study" - "WASHINGTON - Drivers who use cellphones, including hands-free phones, suffer from a type of blindness, according to a new study. "Phone conversations impair driving performance by withdrawing attention from the visual scene (causing) 'inattention blindness,'" says the new study from the University of Utah." (CBC News)

The attack continues: "Beware The Science Charlatans" - "Science, more than other human endeavors, has a special vulnerability to distortion by charlatans. As old as diet fads and as new as cold fusion, these quacks gain a following because they purport to discover some great "truth" that others don't know. Eventually they are found out, but the deceit and confusion they sow can be dispelled only by a strong dose of reality.

The latest episode concerns a Danish statistician, Bjorn Lomborg, who packaged "The Skeptical Environmentalist: Measuring the Real State of the World" as a work of science. The book contends that environmentalists believe a false "litany of dire assumptions." (Peter Raven, The Hartford Courant)

"The improver of natural knowledge absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such. For him, scepticism is the highest of duties; blind faith the one unpardonable sin." --Thomas Huxley, 1860

So, are the perpetrators of an apparently orchestrated Lomborg vilification demonstrating scepticism or blind faith?

"Trick Question: A Liberal Hoax Turns Out to Be True" - "It's both right-wing and vast, but it's not a conspiracy. Actually, it's more of an anti-conspiracy. The subject is Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), closely related ailments (henceforth referred to in this article simply as ADHD). Rush Limbaugh declares it "may all be a hoax." Francis Fukuyama devotes much of one chapter in his latest book, Our Posthuman Future, to attacking Ritalin, the top-selling drug used to treat ADHD. Columnist Thomas Sowell writes, "The motto used to be: 'Boys will be boys.' Today, the motto seems to be: 'Boys will be medicated.'" And Phyllis Schlafly explains, "The old excuse of 'my dog ate my homework' has been replaced by 'I got an ADHD diagnosis.'" A March 2002 article in The Weekly Standard summed up the conservative line on ADHD with this rhetorical question: "Are we really prepared to redefine childhood as an ailment, and medicate it until it goes away?" (Michael Fumento, The New Republic)

"To be taken with a pinch of salt" - "Here we go again! The food fascists are back on the salt trail. A press release from a branch of the Nanny State that call itself the Food Commission was picked up by all the UK media. They harangue the processed food industry for failing sufficiently to reduce the salt content of their products. There is, of course, a maximum recommended level, based on no scientific evidence at all." (NumberWatch)

"More people are getting sick from eating fresh fruits" - "Salmonella, E. coli, shigellosis, hepatitis A, and Norwalk -- these food-borne diseases can produce symptoms that run from the mild to life-threatening. The young and old are particularly vulnerable and while consumption of beef and poultry have been the most common sources of such infections, fresh fruits and vegetables are being increasingly implicated in such outbreaks. So much so, that plant disease scientists are now taking a closer look at this issue." (American Phytopathological Society)

For those in a voting mood: "You Are Too Smart ..." - "... not to know that the Institute for Humane Studies (IHS) is sponsoring an on-line contest, pitting advertising ideas against one another in a sort of free-market “Star Search.” The only requirement is that the ads address the concept of freedom." (Center For Consumer Freedom)

"UN makes water point" - "The United Nations has hit on a novel way to depict the gravity of the world's growing water crisis. It is publishing a report on the quantity, quality and availability of global water supplies that relies on graphics rather than text to deliver its message. The report is supplemented by CD-Roms and other audio-visual material." (BBC News Online)

Hmm... reservoir evaporation up 50% a little over two decades from now? Supposedly from the catastrophic enhanced greenhouse warming you're all shivering through. But, if evaporation will supposedly increase by 50%, wouldn't that include from oceans too? And wouldn't that increase precipitation and enhance reservoir catchment?

Methinks that title should read "UN makes dodgy water claims."

"FEATURE - Shrinking Arctic ice to open shipping short-cuts" - "KIRKENES, Norway - The shrinking Arctic icecap may open a fabled passage for ships between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans within a decade, transforming an icy graveyard into a short-cut trade route." (Reuters)

"Earth a solution to air pollution? Scientists seriously consider injecting gases in ground" - "The plan to landfill air pollution might seem laughable. As a stopgap solution to global warming, scientists have proposed capturing several billion tons of carbon dioxide from the air and injecting it deep into the earth for long-term storage. No one knows whether vast amounts of the greenhouse gas would stay put 2 miles below ground. Nevertheless, an increasing number of experts--including some environmentalists--believe the idea isn't as harebrained as it might sound." (Chicago Tribune)

The laughable part is that some people actually believe we can "control" Earth's climate by tinkering with a few minor variables in an immensely complex, linked, non-linear, chaotic system.

"FEATURE - Americans 'keep on truckin' in their SUVs" - "DETROIT - Keep on truckin'! That advice, straight from Detroit and the 1970s hit by the late Motown singer Eddie Kendricks, sums up the way many Americans feel about the recent attacks on sport utility vehicles. In a land where bigger is usually perceived as better, Americans love SUVs and their high-perch "command" seating. They're not going to give them up, and there's no sign that environmentalists and anti-SUV activists will succeed in driving the gas-guzzlers into the junkyard of history anytime soon." (Reuters)

"German govt to rejig green power subsidies - paper" - "BERLIN - Germany plans changes to its extensive system of subsidies for renewable power sources, Tageszeitung newspaper reported on the weekend. In an advance copy of an article due to appear yesterday, the newspaper said that subsidies for wind farms at favourable coastal sites would be cut back, but that the deadline for operators of all offshore windmills to claim subsidies would be extended to 2010 from 2006." (Reuters)

"Don't make Europe gag" - "WASHINGTON The Bush administration recently announced that it is considering taking action against the European Union because of its ban on imports of genetically modified foods. It's a profoundly bad idea. As a former Reagan administration trade hawk, I take a back seat to no one in demanding the opening of foreign markets. But in this case and at this moment, Washington needs to look hard at its priorities." (Clyde Prestowitz IHT)

January 27, 2003

"The guns are in Britain despite gun control" - "LONDON - It is an article of our modern faith that for every social problem there must be appropriate and curative legislation waiting to be enacted. If only the laws were right, all problems would go away, and we should henceforth live in perfect peace and harmony.

When, therefore, a crazed gunman in Scotland massacred 15 children and their teacher at the junior school in Dunblane in 1996, the British government enacted gun control legislation in response to the natural public emotion and revulsion against this terrible act.

Well, the evidence concerning gun control is unequivocal and conclusive: It hasn't worked, just as its critics always said it wouldn't. The reason for this is obvious: law-abiding people don't use guns to commit crimes, while criminals are not likely to take any notice of licensing restrictions and regulations." (Theodore Dalrymple, National Post)

"The burning issue: Sydney would choke of smoke throughout winter, warn experts" - "Sydney risks being shrouded in smoke throughout winter if intensive hazard reduction burning is undertaken in the ring of forest surrounding the city, experts have warned.

The Premier, Bob Carr, was confronted at Queanbeyan at the weekend by National Party MP Peter Webb, demanding more hazard reduction burning.

But if hazard reduction burns were stepped up it would result in public health and environmental problems, according to the Environment Protection Authority and ecologists.

Also, the level of burning demanded by those opposed to national parks would require an army of firefighters and would mean that every clear, cold day - the worst times for pollution - would lead to a dense smoke haze descending on the city." (The Sydney Morning Herald)

Oh well, better apply the precautionary principle by logging intensively and extensively, then clearing any remaining brush - that be that safe course, wouldn't it?

"Carbon Monoxide Ruled to Be a Pollutant" - "Carbon monoxide is a pollutant and may, therefore, trigger a pollution exclusion in an insurance policy, the Pennsylvania Superior Court has ruled in a case of first impression. Basing its decision on its own court precedent and dictionary definitions, the three-judge panel in Matcon Diamond Inc. v. Penn National Insurance Co., led by Judge Maureen Lally-Green, found that carbon monoxide falls within the category of a "contaminant." (The Legal Intelligencer)

"Breast cancer amid affluence: High rate in Marin County appears tied to wealth, education" - "For the past decade, residents of Marin County have been wondering how such a pristine area could have the nation's highest rate of breast cancer. But amid a new wave of publicity and concern, scientists suspect the answer may be found in the people who live there." (San Francisco Chronicle)

"Study finds kids' risk higher in single-parent home" - "NEW YORK - Children who grow up in single-parent homes may be more vulnerable to mental and drug-related problems than those who live with both parents, a Swedish study released Thursday suggests. The large study, of nearly 1 million children and teens, found that those who lived with only one parent had higher risks of psychiatric illness, substance abuse and suicide attempts." (Reuters Health)

"MILK: WHO Scientist Greets Study On Negative Effects With Caution" - "A study published in today's New Zealand Medical Journal links the consumption of a common milk protein with increased rates of heart disease and childhood diabetes, but a World Health Organization scientist and others are calling for more research." (UN Wire)

"Gates Foundation Donates $200 Million" - "The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is giving $200 million to identify critical questions about the leading causes of death in developing countries and to create an international competition to entice scientists to solve them.

The aim is to save many of the millions of lives lost each year to malaria, tuberculosis, malnutrition and other pressing health problems, Mr. Gates said in announcing the grant yesterday at the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland. In speaking there, Mr. Gates, the founder of Microsoft, underscored the effects of poor health in stifling the economies of developing countries." (New York Times)

"Water shortages will leave world in dire straits" - "More than half of humanity will be living with water shortages, depleted fisheries and polluted coastlines within 50 years because of a worldwide water crisis, warns a United Nations report out Monday. Waste and inadequate management of water are the main culprits behind growing problems, particularly in poverty-ridden regions, says the study, the most comprehensive of its kind. The United Nations Environment Programme, working with more than 200 water resource experts worldwide, produced the report." (USA Today)

"For Environmentalists, Victories in the Courts: Groups Turn to Judicial System to Fight Efforts By Bush Administration to Relax Protections" - "With diminished political influence at the White House and on Capitol Hill, environmental groups increasingly and successfully are turning to the courts for help in blocking efforts to relax or scrap environmental protections." (Washington Post)

"Statement on the Incident Involving Tony Juniper, Vice-Chair of Friends of the Earth International" - "On Friday morning, 24 January, Swiss police refused to allow an associate of Tony Juniper, Vice-Chair of Friends of the Earth International, to bring a large, unidentified bag into the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting. The associate was not a registered participant in the Annual Meeting 2003 and police say he had already tried several times to enter the Davos Congress Centre without authorization. At the time, Mr Juniper, who is a registered participant in the Annual Meeting 2003, was not displaying the documents necessary to enter the Davos Congress Centre security zone either. The police asked the two men to show their documents. Mr Juniper refused. Instead, he pulled several letters addressed to world leaders from the bag and gave a speech denouncing the World Economic Forum and Swiss police to a television crew." (WEF)

"Too little attention is paid to the side effects of emission-limiting measures" - "With measures aimed at reducing the emission of pollutants such as ammonia, policy makers pay too little attention to the consequences for the emission of other substances. This is revealed in a computer model constructed by Corjan Brink from Wageningen University during his doctoral research. For example, the model shows that reducing the amount of ammonia emitted leads to an increase in the emission of nitrous oxide (laughing gas)." (Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research)

"A disaster waiting to happen again" - "The storm of January 31 1953 is described as the worst peacetime disaster in Britain. It killed 307 people and 30,000 were evacuated on the east coast - but that is only part of the story." (The Guardian)

"Canute's tidal warning finally sinks in" - "Britain sounds retreat after 2,000-year battle to wrest farmland from the sea" (The Guardian)

"Cold Comfort" - "Does a frigid January mean the threat of climate change is over? As the headline on the front of Wednesday's New York Daily News put it "Global Warming, Huh?" (Nick Schulz, TCS)

Today's letter: "America's Oil Reserves" - "To the Editor: Re "The Axis of Oil" (editorial, Jan. 21):

While the United States has only 3 percent of the world's proven oil reserves, it has potential to increase this reserve many-fold if drilling were not obstructed by environmental activists in the many areas of high-resource potential within United States-controlled lands. Likewise, America has huge natural gas reserves that cannot now be touched." (M. A. Kaufman, New York Times)

"Cold snap drives up US residual fuel demand" - "NEW YORK - A week of brutal cold and soaring natural gas prices have lit a fire under the usually sleepy residual fuel oil market, sending industrial users scrambling after the dirtier fuel. Demand for residual fuel, the heavy gunk left at the bottom of the barrel after the refining process, averaged 1.0 million barrels a day this past week, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported, a level not seen since October 2001." (Reuters)

"US wind power growth waned in 2002 - report" - "NEW YORK - Growth in harnessing U.S. wind power slowed in 2002, as investors hesitated when a federal wind tax credit expired temporarily for several months, an industry group said." (Reuters)

"Corn-Burning Benefits Hinge on How It's Grown" - "It's the cynic's Golden Rule that no good deed goes unpunished, and no group knows it better than those well-intentioned, ecologically oriented citizens who heat their homes with special corn-burning stoves instead of natural gas or oil. Their goal is to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming. But their approach has critics fuming.

"This is an example of how stupid society is," one irate energy analyst wrote recently on a Web site, echoing comments from many others after articles about corn burners appeared in several U.S. newspapers, including The Washington Post. "More gasoline was spent to grow the corn than the [energy] delivered to heat the houses," wrote Ken Bosley, of Sparks, Md.

In fact, corn cultivation in this country is, for the most part, an energy-consuming environmental disaster, said David Pimentel, a professor of ecology and agricultural science at Cornell University. "Corn is the number one cause of erosion or total soil loss in the United States," he said. "It uses more fertilizer than any other crop. It's the largest user of insecticides. And it's the largest user of herbicides." (Washington Post)

"Clones to cut cheese costs?: Protein-rich milk from modified cows could speed dairy processing" - "Protein-rich milk from cloned, genetically modified cows could cut cheese-making costs. Dairy manufacturers would need less milk to make cheddar firm and ice cream creamy. Two years old and living in New Zealand, the clones produce about 13 percent more milk protein than normal cows. They carry extra copies of the genes for two types of the protein casein, key for cheese and yoghurt manufacture." (NSU)

"Seeds of the future" - "The use of genetically modified crops is well established throughout the world. The environmental benefits are being realised in developed and developing countries alike, by both small- and large-scale farmers. Britain and Europe, however, will miss out on the benefits of GM technology if current legislation is not changed." (Brian Thomas, sp!ked)

January 24, 2003

"McDonald's Lawsuit Deep-Fried for Now" - "A federal judge dismissed this week the class action lawsuit filed on behalf of New York children claiming McDonald's food caused health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"Lawyers Run Marathons, Not Sprints" - " Lest we get too excited about yesterday’s dismissal of a patently absurd lawsuit filed against McDonald’s by a couple of overweight teens, it’s worth noting that the lawyers involved in suing restaurants for their clients’ poor judgment are taking the long view. The suit’s attorney of record, Samuel Hirsch, told Fox News that doing an end-zone dance under the golden arches would be “premature.” And French-fry antagonist John Banzhaf appeared on CNNfn to announce that he’s not going away quietly." (Center For Consumer Freedom)

"Agent Orange can cause leukemia, experts say" - "WASHINGTON - "Agent Orange," the chemical US forces used to strip Vietnamese and Cambodian jungles during the Vietnam war, can cause leukemia, US health advisers said on Thursday. A second look at the evidence supports the idea that people exposed to the chemical may have a higher risk of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), the Institute of Medicine panel said. But there is not enough information to say just how many veterans or herbicide workers may be affected. The panel, set up at the request of the Department of Veterans Affairs, reexamined six separate studies on the possible link between Agent Orange and CLL." (Reuters)

"Sick of pollution? Don't blame us, power plants say" - "The electric power industry has developed a new message at a key time: Emissions from power plants don't make people sick.

The industry's contentions could have implications for air quality across the USA. Federal officials are deciding whether to loosen rules that require plants to install better pollution filters. During the next few years, officials may also decide whether power plants will have to slash the amounts of pollution they emit." (USA Today)

"Advisory Panels Stacked, Scientists Warn" - "WASHINGTON, DC, January 23, 2003 - American scientists are growing increasingly worried that the Bush administration is manipulating scientific advisory committees in order to further its political agenda." (ENS)

"California Small Business Gets Enviro Rules Review" - "SACRAMENTO, California, January 23, 2003 - A little reported directive by Governor Gray Davis in his recent state of the state address has unleashed what may become a broad review of California's environmental regulations. Under a commitment to dig the state out of its fiscal mess by creating "jobs, more jobs, and even more jobs," Davis charged Sonya Blake, his small business advocate, with "rejecting all regulations that unfairly impact small business. I will also ask her to review existing regulations and identify changes that promote growth and new jobs," the governor said." (ENS)

"Let's now get serious about warming" - "DAVOS, Switzerland The dominant local issue in this Swiss ski resort is not the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum that starts this Thursday. It is the freakish weather - spring-like temperatures that extended into the first days of January, with no snow below 2,000 meters. Few people living in Europe's lower-lying ski resorts need any convincing that their economy is being seriously affected by climate change. But the economic and social impact of global warming extends well beyond the Alps." (IHT)

"Columbia research reveals that Gulf Stream is not responsible for mild winters in Europe" - "New research shows that the Gulf Stream has little effect on the contrast in winter temperatures between Europe and eastern North America, dispelling a long-held assumption. Instead, atmospheric circulation, augmented by the Rocky Mountains, plays a larger role, say Dr. Richard Seager of Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Dr. David Battisti of the University of Washington, and their colleagues.

Published in the Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, this new data suggests that atmospheric circulation is more important to understanding climate variability than is the ocean circulation." (The Earth Institute at Columbia University)

"Minister says Kyoto won't kill Canada oil projects" - "CALGARY, Alberta - Implementation of the Kyoto climate accord will not kill investment in Canada's burgeoning oil sands industry even though one project has been put on hold, the country's energy minister said." (Reuters)

"German 2002 wind power market up 22 pct" - "COPENHAGEN - The number of installed wind turbines in Germany, the world largest wind power market, rose 22 percent in 2002, German wind power association Bundesverband Windenergie (BWE) said on its website this week." (Reuters)

"Sea breezes could turn deserts green" - "LONDON - Coastal deserts could turn green thanks to a new project that combines wind power and sea water to make rain. A research team led by Stephen Salter of the University of Edinburgh is developing mobile wind-driven turbines, 40 metres (131 ft) in diameter, that spray vaporised sea water into the air, increasing humidity and, in turn, the likelihood of rain." (Reuters)

"Farm group says USDA put bad corn into feed chain" - "DES MOINES, Iowa - Iowa farmers and an environmental group yesterday charged the U.S. government with selling a problem supply of genetically engineered corn to a feed company despite complaints that the corn had caused hormonal problems in pigs." (Reuters)

January 23, 2003

"Judges dismisses obesity suit against McDonald's" - "In a major victory for the fast food industry, a federal judge Wednesday dismissed a widely watched suit in which McDonald's hamburgers and French fries were blamed for children's obesity." (FoxNews.com)

Click for the full text of the court's opinion (PDF file).

"SPECIAL REPORT: Judge Dismisses Frivolous McLawsuit" - "Opportunistic trial lawyer John Banzhaf admitted in Men’s Health magazine last summer that suing restaurants for their customers’ obesity would be a stretch. “The biggest problem,” he said, “is what lawyers call causation… it’s hard to tell what caused a heart attack. What percentage is obesity, versus other factors? And was McDonald’s 4 percent, versus 2 percent for Häagen-Dazs?” And just last week, Banzhaf spent a few seconds on the side of common sense when he told MSNBC’s Dan Abrams: “Everybody knows that, if you want to lose weight, you eat less, less calorie input, and more exercise. You don't have to learn that.” (Center For Consumer Freedom)

"Junk food diet brings scurvy to modern age" - "NEW YORK - A diet completely lacking in fruits and vegetables caused a young college student to develop a condition linked to a low intake of vitamin C, US researchers reported Tuesday. The young man developed scurvy even though he was eating plenty of calories and had no deficiencies in most other vitamins and minerals. Scurvy, a disease characterized by bleeding gums, loose teeth, muscle degeneration and weakness, was once the scourge of sailors, who found that sucking on a lime could keep the disease at bay. The student confessed to doctors that he ate no fruits and vegetables, consuming only a few types of foods--namely, cheese, crackers, soda, cookies, chocolate and water." (Reuters Health)

[France] "Five families file suit against four former agricultural ministers" - "PARIS - Five families of victims of a human malady linked to the so-called mad cow disease filed a lawsuit Wednesday against four former agriculture ministers for failing to ban products that proved a risk in transmitting the fatal illness. The families filed their suit against four ministers who served in the agriculture post between 1988 and 1996. The suit was filed before the special Court of Justice of the Republic which alone can try ministers for crimes in office." (Associated Press)

"Pseudo-Science and the Media: Problems and Lessons" - "Two recent articles in my hometown newspaper show how hard a time the media have understanding and explaining science." (Thomas R. DeGregori, ACSH)

"Something Is Rotten In the State of Denmark" - "COPENHAGEN -- I'm the author of "The Skeptical Environmentalist," a work that grapples hard with our pessimistic view of the environment. It's a serious book on a serious subject. But it has now been denounced by the Danish Committee for Scientific Dishonesty -- yes, such a body exists! -- in a manner reminiscent of medieval book-burnings. And many environmentalists have cheered from the side, world-wide. How did this happen and what are the consequences?" (Bjorn Lomborg, The Wall Street Journal)

"Bush Supporters Unhappy With Environmental Policy" - "WASHINGTON, DC, January 22, 2003 - A free market environmental think tank with close ties to the Bush administration is disappointed with the President's environmental policy, but not for reasons often cited by other environmental groups. The Political Economy Research Center (PERC) gives the Bush administration low marks because it has not aggressively moved forward with environmental policies that are based on free market principles." (ENS)

"Monsoon records show link with global climate" - "LONDON - Indian monsoons are a world away from cold spells in the North Atlantic but scientists said yesterday a long-term link exists between the two which is a key to understanding global climate. Researchers in India and the United States studied sediment samples from the Arabian Sea to build up a detailed record of the patterns of the Asian monsoon during the Holocene, a period of about 11,000 years from the end of the last glacial period to the present. Their record shows that weak summer monsoons coincided with cold spells thousands of miles away in the North Atlantic." (Reuters)

"The drowned world" - "Fifty years ago next week, eastern Britain was struck by a flood bigger than any in its history. More than 300 people died. Michael McCarthy speaks to one of the survivors about his experience that night and asks, could it happen again?" (Independent)

"Australia to release South Ocean robot probe" - "HOBART, Australia - Scientists will deploy 44 robotic floats in the roaring seas south of Australia over the next three years as part of a probe looking at future climate change, officials said yesterday. It will be the largest investment yet by Australian scientists in monitoring the engine room of global climate, the Southern Ocean's Antarctic circumpolar current, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) said in a statement." (Reuters)

"US Senate rejects delay of Bush pollution rules" - "WASHINGTON - The U.S. Senate Wednesday rejected a Democratic attempt to delay a Bush administration plan to relax costly air pollution rules that apply when utilities, refineries and other industrial plants are repaired or expanded." (Reuters)

"Nuclear power row divides cabinet" - "David King, the government's chief scientist, is to make a last-ditch attempt tomorrow to persuade a cabinet committee to support a new generation of nuclear power stations, despite opposition from ministers." (The Guardian)

"Canada's cloned bull left in regulatory limbo" - "WINNIPEG, Manitoba - Canada's first cloned bull, born more than two years ago, is alive and well on a stud farm near Montreal, but he has yet to continue his father's siring prowess as regulators struggle to revamp laws to keep up with rapid scientific advances." (Reuters)

"The Fear of Food" - "One by one, countries are coming out against crops with engineered genes. America is isolated" (Newsweek International)

"POLL - US farmers hesitant to grow "bio-pharm" crops" - "TAMPA, Fla - Nearly half of U.S. farmers surveyed said they were undecided or opposed to growing biotech crops engineered to produce drugs for ailments like diabetes, according to a Reuters poll released yesterday." (Reuters)

"Big increases seen in '03 US bio-corn, soy crops" - "WASHINGTON - American farmers are poised to boost plantings of biotech corn by nearly 10% this year amid growing US pressure on the European Union to lift a ban on imports of genetically modified crops, according to a Reuters survey released on Wednesday. The straw poll of 340 growers, conducted at the American Farm Bureau Federation's annual meeting, found US farmers want to plant more gene-spliced corn despite opposition from large customers such as the EU and Japan. Consumers in those countries have expressed concerns about long-term health and environmental impacts." (Reuters)

January 22, 2003

"Man With Few Trade Center Ties Traces His Asthma to 9/11" - "In the scientific borderland where environmental medicine, epidemiology and diagnosis intersect, cases like Glenn H. Abatemarco's are called outliers." (New York Times)

Hmm... there are other names for these claims too.

"Sifting out the chaff: WSU professor's newsletter explains what nutrition headlines mean to you" - "Drinking Booze Prevents Heart Attacks! Or that's what the headlines said this month. While America scurried for the liquor cabinet, David Klurfeld headed instead for the New England Journal of Medicine. He would read the source report, examine the data, analyze conclusions and write a three-paragraph summary of what the research REALLY meant." (Detroit Free Press)

"Drunken Logic" - "An editorial in yesterday’s Washington Post trumpets a “convincing link between a pattern of moderate drinking and health benefits” -- and then inexplicably urges public health officials to “stay silent until the research holds steady for a decade or two more.” (Center For Consumer Freedom)

"UNC study confirms that food portion sizes increased in U.S. over two decades" - "Between 1977 and 1996, portion sizes for key food groups grew markedly in the United States, not only at fast-food restaurants but also in homes and at conventional restaurants, a new study shows. The observation is one more indication of broad changes in the way Americans eat and another reason for the widespread, unhealthy rise in obesity among U.S. children and adults, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill researchers say." (UNC)

"Ban bumper food portions" - "The government should force food companies to reduce the size of bumper portions, says a British health expert. Making ice creams, chocolate bars and other processed foods 20% smaller could help stem the tide of heart disease, says Dr Malcolm Law. Extra-large packs and two-for-one offers tempt consumers, including children, into over-indulgence, he believes. A code of conduct between the government and the food industry would have "a large public health impact", he says." (BBC News Online)

He's got it all wrong, of course. All we need to do is make everything taste like health food and the majority of the population will go into near-immediate calorie deficit. As I remember it, anyone with a ~500 calorie per day deficit loses ~1 pound per week - not exactly rocket science. Anyone who wants to reduce need either increase their output or reduce their input (or both) to achieve a deficit (duh!).

"Soldiers to stagger jabs amid fears of Gulf War syndrome" - "MILITARY chiefs have ordered troops to leave a ten-day “window” between anthrax vaccination and other inoculations after fears that the cocktail of jabs needed for the Gulf could cause long-term harm. Rear-Admiral Ian Jenkins, the Surgeon-General, has said that no other inoculations should be given for five days leading up to and five days after an anthrax vaccination. The new directive is one of a range of measures designed to avoid the kind of illnesses that have plagued veterans from the 1991 conflict, even though the Ministry of Defence does not recognise so-called Gulf War syndrome as a separate condition." (The Times)

"Study highlights health dangers of pills being given to departing troops" - "A cocktail of chemicals given to protect Gulf war soldiers in 1991 - and which are being used in the current deployment plans - could explain veterans' complaints about sexual problems and infertility, according to a new American study." (The Guardian)

"The EPA's Lonely Moderate" - "It's awfully lonely being Christine Whitman. Love her or hate her, it's impossible not to feel a pang of sympathy for the former governor of New Jersey, now administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. She sits behind a desk in a vast, gloomy office, leader of an agency whose internal machinations -- let's face it -- few bother to understand, at the center of an environmental debate that has lately become ludicrously, almost hysterically, polarized. After two years in the job, she has, she says, her own way of determining whether she has taken the "right" stand in a regulatory debate: "If I'm getting equally blasted by both sides, I know I'm in the right place." (Anne Applebaum, The Washington Post)

"New E.U. states need to spend big on environment" - "BRUSSELS — The 10 countries set to join the European Union next year must spend between 80 billion and 110 billion euros (US$85 to 117 billion) to meet E.U. environmental norms, the bloc's top environment official said. The mostly impoverished, ex-communist countries need to spend the equivalent of between two and three percent of gross domestic product on such things as new sewage plants and waste incinerators, E.U. Environment Commissioner Margot Wallstrom said. "In most cases countries are below the 2 percent figure," Wallstrom told a news briefing after a meeting with the candidate countries' environment ministers. "They will have to raise private capital and go to the international financial institutions and so on," she added." (Reuters)

"Too many national parks: minister" - "A FEDERAL Government minister and a senior MP have attacked the states' policies on national parks, saying there are too many and they are not managed properly. The comments come in the wake of bushfires across the country and criticism of fire prevention methods in the parks. Forest and Conservation Minister Ian MacDonald today said national parks should not be created unless there were resources to manage them." (AAP)

"Private labs fake environmental tests, government finds" - "WASHINGTON — Private laboratories are increasingly being caught falsifying test results for water supplies, petroleum products, underground tanks, and soil, hampering the government's ability to ensure Americans are protected by environmental laws, investigators say. The fraud has caused millions of people to fill their cars with substandard gasoline that may have violated clean air standards, or to drink water not properly tested for safety, the officials said. In addition, officials making decisions at hazardous waste cleanup sites have relied on companies that fraudulently tested air, water and soil samples. "In recent years, what has come to our attention is that outside [non-government] labs are oftentimes in bed with the people who hired them, and conspired to commit environmental crime," said David Uhlmann, chief of the Justice Department's environmental crimes section." (Associated Press)

"Columbia Is Sharply Cutting Money for Biosphere Project" - "Columbia University plans to curtail sharply its financial support for Biosphere 2, the ambitious but troubled effort to simulate Earth's ecology under glass." (New York Times)

"'Radical' Activists Hide Behind Closed Doors" - "When we first wrote in December about Cal State Fresno’s upcoming “Radical Environmentalism” conference, we had no idea that public scrutiny would force the event’s participants to hide behind the University’s skirts." (Center For Consumer Freedom)

"A Snap So Cold Dogs Whine Going Out, and Birds Rush In" - "New York City has shivered through eight straight days of temperatures stubbornly stuck below freezing. This is not just any cold snap." (New York Times)

"This Winter, Even 'Normal' Is Cold Comfort" - "Below-freezing temperatures may not be unusually cold for this time of year — but they certainly feel that way." (New York Times)

"Kyoto Moves Within Reach As Russia Gives Protocol The Nod" - "Moscow - Russia plans to ratify the Kyoto Protocol soon, bringing the landmark "global warming" treaty significantly closer to reality. The announcement, made by Russian meteorological agency head Alexander Bedritsky, came after his talks with U.S. climate change negotiator Harlan Watson in Moscow. Russia's foreign ministry subsequently hailed "renewed dialogue" with the U.S. on the issues of climate change and environment protection. President Vladimir Putin said last September that Russia was "inclined" to approve the 1997 Kyoto Protocol and announced a plan to convene an international conference on climate change in Moscow next fall." (CNSNews.com)

"Newly Discovered Soluble Proteins in the Leaves of Sour Orange Trees: Do They Facilitate the Trees' Response to Atmospheric CO2 Enrichment?" - "Summary: Why do sour orange trees respond so positively to increases in the air's CO2 content? Some recently published papers by the editor-writers of CO2 Science Magazine suggest some tantalizing possibilities." (co2science.org)

"Subject Index Summaries: Glaciers (Europe)" - "Summary: In the face of global warming that climate alarmists call unprecedented over the past millennium, glaciers nearly everywhere should be in swift retreat. So what's the story out of Europe? Are the continent's glaciers "disappearing before our very eyes"?" (co2science.org)

"Subject Index Summaries: Water Stress x CO2 Effects on Plants (Woody Species)" - "Summary: Earth's trees and woody plants generally respond to atmospheric CO2 enrichment by exhibiting enhanced rates of photosynthesis and biomass production when well supplied with water. Does extra CO2 similarly help them when water is in short supply?" (co2science.org)

"Current Carbon Sequestration Commentary - Urban Trees: Their Long List of Virtues" - "Summary: Carbon-sequestering trees that are strategically planted to (1) reduce building heat loads in summer by providing shade or (2) reduce building cooling rates in winter by providing protection from wind - and which thereby further reduce the rate of rise of the air's CO2 content - have a host of additional virtues that recommend their introduction into urban environments, even if one does not believe in reducing atmospheric CO2 concentrations as a means of combating global warming." (co2science.org)

"Rapid Climate Changes" - "Summary: Dramatic warmings and coolings of incredible magnitude and swiftness are not strangers to earth's history; and climate alarmists often use this fact to raise concerns (i.e., scare people) about the ongoing rise in the air's CO2 content triggering one of these climate surprises. But are they justified in doing so? Physics Today 55(12): 32-38." (co2science.org)

"ENSO Variability Over the Past Millennium" - "Summary: An analysis of five climate indices sensitive to some aspect of the ENSO phenomenon reveals how it may have varied over the last 1000 years, during which time interval the earth experienced a significant cyclical variation in air temperature that produced both the Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age. Climatic Change 26: 317-342." (co2science.org)

"A New Temperature History from the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau" - "Summary: Another palaeoclimate study reveals additional evidence for the existence of the Little Ice Age and Medieval Warm Period in China, as well as for earlier similar cold and warm intervals of the Holocene. Chinese Science Bulletin 47: 1578-1584." (co2science.org)

"Can Atmospheric CO2 Enrichment Ameliorate SO2 Damage in Wheat?" - "Summary: As an aerial pollutant, SO2 can reduce the growth of many crops, while CO2, as an aerial fertilizer, can increase their growth. In this report, the authors reveal how wheat responds to both of them together. Can you guess the winning gas? Environmental Pollution 121: 189-197." (co2science.org)

"Does Elevated CO2 Promote Establishment of Woody Species in Grasslands?" - "Summary: Elevated CO2 often enhances plant water-use efficiency, which provides an impetus for species to germinate and grow in areas where they previously could not survive under ambient atmospheric CO2 concentrations due to limited soil moisture availability. A new study investigates this theory with respect to honey mesquite seedling survivorship in a Texas, USA, grassland. Plant Ecology 164: 85-94." (co2science.org)

"Golden Globes Glowing" - "HOLLYWOOD, Calif. - Several celebrities recently garnered attention by publicly deriding SUV's because they use more petroleum than downsized vehicles. Some stars have committed to their ideology by purchasing hybrid or other lighter, smaller and more fuel-efficient cars." (Sallie Baliunas, TCS)

"Fewer windmills needed for Mass. wind farm" - "BOSTON — A company with a controversial proposal to build the nation's first offshore wind farm said it won't need as many windmills as originally thought, allowing it move the project farther off the south shore of Cape Cod. Opponents of the project in Nantucket Sound said they will continue fighting construction. They said that even with fewer turbines, the project would be an eyesore and would interfere with navigation and the environment." (Associated Press)

"Swedes turn to support nuclear power as prices soar" - "STOCKHOLM - A majority of Swedes now favour keeping nuclear power plants going, or even building new ones as electricity prices in the Nordic region have hit record highs, a poll by independent pollster Sifo showed." (Reuters)

"Ministry to test method of producing hydrogen" - "The Environment Ministry will begin testing a method for mass-producing hydrogen without creating carbon dioxide to meet the fuel needs of hydrogen fuel cells, government officials said. "We'd like to come up with a technology that's sure to reduce carbon dioxide," the ministry official said. The ministry plans to produce hydrogen using electrolysis technology at an offshore wind-power generation facility next fiscal year. As a measure to tackle global warming, the government hopes to increase the number of fuel-cell vehicles to 50,000 by 2010, and to boost the level of power generated by fuel cells to 2.1 million kilowatts." (Yomiuri Shimbun)

"Famine, Again" - "REP. FRANK R. WOLF (R-Va.) just got back from Ethiopia and showed around his pictures from the field -- the blank eyes, the bloated bellies balancing on two sticks -- and people thought he was in a time warp. "Yes, this again" he's been telling his colleagues. Just as in 1984, the ribs are starting to show and the cupboards are on their last cup of grain, not just in Ethiopia but in much of southern Africa. But this is not merely a replay of the last famine. This time there is a cooperative government in Ethiopia, and everywhere else the aid workers have arrived in time. What is still needed is critical but manageable: Western governments and other donors must ensure that over the next few months the food pipeline stays open and runs smoothly." (The Washington Post)

"Southern Africa famine threat is 'exaggerated'" - "ENLES SINDOMBA, an impoverished mother of eight from Kabumbwe village in Zambia’s drought-stricken Southern Province, insists that her family has eaten nothing for four weeks. “It’s terrible,” she said. “There is no food in the village, and it hasn’t rained here for a month.”

But none of her family shows any ill-effects from such deprivation. Mrs Sindomba is still able to breast-feed her child. She concedes that when she says she has not eaten for a month, she really means that she has not eaten any maize. The family still have chickens, goats and a few cattle. They are hungry, but a long way from starvation." (Michael Dynes, The Times)

"Cloned Cats Aren't Necessarily Copies" - "COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) -- Rainbow the cat is a typical calico with splotches of brown, tan and gold on white. Cc, her clone, has a striped gray coat over white. Rainbow is reserved. Cc is curious and playful. Rainbow is chunky. Cc is sleek. Wayne Pacelle of the Humane Society might be inclined to say: I told you so. But then, so would cc's creators at Texas A&M University. Sure, you can clone your favorite cat. But the copy will not necessarily act or even look like the original." (New York Times)

"Science vs. Hysteria" - "MEXICO CITY -- In 2000, I served on a joint U.S.-European Union Biotechnology Consultative Forum -- appointed by President Clinton and Romano Prodi, president of the European Commission -- to look at the full range of issues that have polarized thinking about biotechnology, especially in food and agriculture, on both sides of the Atlantic." (Norman E. Borlaug, WSJ)

"New biotech corn a boon to farmers" - "When people first began talking about agricultural biotechnology, we heard about its potential to reduce the use of pesticides. The promise is about to arrive in a big way with the anticipated approval of corn that resists the devastating corn rootworm. Control of this pest represents the single largest use of conventional insecticides in U.S. agriculture. It appears that farmers could essentially eliminate use of that insecticide by planting the new biotech corn, which produces a protein that controls the pest." (Rocky Mountain News)

"Keeping the Tally-Man in Business" - "Fungal diseases are devastating banana crops in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, and some scientists are saying that the banana -- dietary staple for about 500 million people -- is threatened with possible extinction. According to The New Scientist, “some parts of Africa now face the equivalent of the Irish potato famine.” (Center For Consumer Freedom)

"GM could rescue bananas says expert" - "Canterbury scientists believe they can save bananas from extinction using the same genetic engineering techniques they used to create pest-resistant potatoes. Crop and Food, Lincoln, scientist Maqbool Ahmad, a banana expert, said GM could be used to develop a banana with resistance to black sigatoka disease, which experts predict could wipe out conventional bananas within 10 years. Crop and Food has already developed pest resistant potatoes and will apply to plant them all over New Zealand once a moratorium on release of genetically modified organisms expires in October." (New Zealand Herald)

January 21, 2003

"The environmental damage of war in Iraq" - "Online commentary: There has been much debate about Iraq - but not about the considerable environmental damage which a war would cause. Duncan McLaren and Ian Willmore of Friends of the Earth assess the evidence." (The Observer)

"Bush Record on Environment Called Dismal" - "WASHINGTON, DC, January 17, 2003 - The Bush administration undermined America's landmark environmental laws on almost a daily basis in 2001, two new reports suggest. The reports document more than 100 anti-environmental actions by the administration last year, and point to ongoing efforts to undermine existing protections and delay proposed new rules that could help the environment." (ENS)

"How Bush Gets His Way On The Environment" - "With the nation distracted by terrorism and the economy, the PRESIDENT has quietly maneuvered to challenge limits on drilling, mining, logging and power generation" (Time)

"Frog Fog" - "Is a widely used herbicide causing transgendered frogs?

Ever since a group of Minnesota middle school students found some deformed frogs while on a nature class field trip in 1995, environmental scientists have been intensively looking for the causes of both frog deformations and reported frog population declines in some areas of the world.

It's been a heated debate and some environmental activists have been pointing the finger at farm pesticides since day one." (Alex Avery, TCS)

"Albuquerque Case Pits Thirst Against Fish" - "ALBUQUERQUE, Jan. 16 — A three-inch-long endangered fish is standing between this city and its plans for a well-watered future. The fish, the silvery minnow, native to the Rio Grande, has been the subject of years of court battles. But now a federal appeals court is about to decide whether, to save the fish, Albuquerque must give up drinking water it has set aside behind a federal dam for the years ahead. The case poses the most direct confrontation yet between the Endangered Species Act, which ranks the protection of threatened animals and plants above human needs, and the water rights held by cities like Albuquerque in Western states where water is becoming increasingly scarce." (New York Times)

"Ministers' backing for animal tests" - "The UK Government agreed on Monday that fewer animals should die in British laboratories - but it indicated no change in the current licensing regime that would bring this about. The administration was giving its formal response to a controversial report published last year by an all party select committee of peers, which said greater effort should be made to reduce animal experimentation." (BBC News Online)

"Nanny says only she can make you sick with fear" - "I don’t think I will be sending off a saliva sample to the Great Smokies Diagnostic Laboratory, an American company marketing “health horoscopes” which claim to tell you at what age and of which disease you are genetically disposed to die.

My diary is already full enough of dreary appointments without having to enter “coronary” in it. But I can’t help sniggering at the chorus of disapproval emanating from the medical profession at Great Smokies’ enterprising little scheme. “This is dangerous. It is bad science and a bad idea,” says Dr Hugh Montgomery, of University College London. Worse, says Genewatch, a pressure group which campaigns against genetic testing: health horoscopes are a “cynical ploy” to profit from people’s fear of getting ill. The Human Genetics Commission will shortly deliver to the Government a report on the ethics of genetic testing and is expected to come down heavily against the likes of Great Smokies.

Yet our medical establishment doesn’t seem to care too much about exploiting our anxieties when it comes to pressing us to test our blood pressure and cholesterol levels and to have ourselves screened for various kinds of cancer." (Ross Clark, The Times)

"Are You Better Safe Than Sorry?" - "'Better safe than sorry.' This is the crux of the precautionary principle. The application of the principle manifests itself everywhere. There are crash barriers along the highway and handrails along the staircase." (Hans Labohm, TCS)

"Children pushed off swings by EU" - "PLAYGROUNDS are under threat from EU regulations which condemn most items of equipment that are more than five years old. The warning came after children in the Wiltshire village of Great Somerford were banned from playing on some swings on which there has been no recorded injury in 25 years of use." (The Times)

"The Lomborg Inquisition" - "Danish statistician Bjørn Lomborg first made world headlines back in 2001, with the publication of his book The Skeptical Environmentalist: Measuring the Real State of the World. In painstaking statistical detail, The Skeptical Environmentalist challenged widely accepted claims made by environmentalists about overpopulation, global warming, energy, deforestation, water shortages, species extinction and many other green concerns. Lomborg's work has been acclaimed by many. But the campaign to discredit Lomborg himself has gone unabated. From having pies thrown in his face by green campaigners at book launches, to having his arguments compared with Holocaust denial by science journalists Stuart Pimm and Jeff Harvey, in the respected scientific journal Nature, the cheapest of cheap shots has been used to silence the debate that The Skeptical Environmentalist provoked. Lomborg's work has been acclaimed by many. But the campaign to discredit Lomborg himself has gone unabated. From having pies thrown in his face by green campaigners at book launches, to having his arguments compared with Holocaust denial by science journalists Stuart Pimm and Jeff Harvey, in the respected scientific journal Nature, the cheapest of cheap shots has been used to silence the debate that The Skeptical Environmentalist provoked." (Helene Guldberg)

"New Report Crowds Out Overpopulation Hype" - "So is the Earth running out of room for both people and wildlife? Well ask your average environmentalist and, based on the notion that the world is suffering from overpopulation, they’ll tell you the answer is “Yes.” But a recent study from a respected pro-Green organization is taking issue with this strongly held tenet of eco-orthodoxy." (cfact.org)

"Scientists say it's more global-warming proof" - "WASHINGTON -- In what scientists say is yet another sign of global warming, 2002 sizzled into the record books as the second-hottest year worldwide.

Now nine of the 10 hottest years since record-keeping began in 1880 have occurred since 1990. The last six years each are among the eight warmest on record, according to the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C.

Last year's heat is "more evidence to suggest that the human influence is real; global warming is happening," said Kevin Trenberth, head of climate analysis for National Center for Atmospheric Research, a university consortium of climate scientists." (Detroit Free Press)

"The Triple Whammy" - "The last four years has seen the greenhouse industry in a state of frenzy exploiting one climate event after another (all the `warm' ones that is, the cooling ones like the recent northern freezes being hushed). We have had droughts, floods, bushfires in various parts of the world, and people would be forgiven for thinking that perhaps the `smoking gun' of global warming really had arrived. In each case the industry has seized upon each event either explicitly or implicitly as being caused by human agency, and using selective statistics to show each event was somehow unusual or unprecedented. And in all cases, the snake oil cure has been at hand - the Kyoto Protocol, that piece of paper which conned the European and Canadian governments, but not the U.S. or Australian.

So why has the climate been so active in the last four years? We can put it down to Nature, not man." (John Daly, Still Waiting For Greenhouse)

"Global warming may turn deadly route through ice into plain sailing" - "The perilous dream of a North-west Passage is likely to become a commercial and problematic reality." (The Guardian)

"The 400-year quest for a shortcut to the east" - "The search for the North-west Passage tantalised and tormented generations of European adventurers. For 400 years, teams of explorers sought the elusive sea route that would open up a lucrative new trade run to the east. Many died in the attempt." (The Guardian)

"Melting Ice, Winds of Change" - "The Northwest Passage is thawing, which carries major implications for shipping, the environment and the Inuit way of life." (Los Angeles Times)

"Long-lost records confirm rising sea level" - "The discovery of 160 year old records in the archives of the Royal Society, London, has given scientists further evidence that Australian sea levels are rising. Observations taken at Tasmania's Port Arthur convict settlement 160 years ago by an amateur meteorologist have been compared with data from a modern tide gauge. "There is a rate of sea level rise of about 1mm (~1/25th of 1 inch) a year, consistent with other Australian observations," says Dr David Pugh, from the UK's Southampton Oceanography Centre." (CSIRO)

"Reef coral might not revive: expert" - "Scientists are alarmed that extensive areas of coral show no signs of recovery 12 months after last summer's "bleaching", prompting warnings that very hot weather this summer might permanently destroy parts of the Great Barrier Reef." (The Melbourne Age)

"FACTBOX - Australia, ancient land scarred by bushfires" - "SYDNEY - Australia is an ancient land scarred by fire. An inferno this weekend in Canberra, the worst fires the capital city has seen with around 400 homes incinerated in under 24 hours and two householders killed, are as natural to the bush as are kangaroos and emus, or sun and rain." (Reuters)

"U.S. Is Pressuring Industries to Cut Greenhouse Gases" - "In an aggressive effort to show that President Bush's voluntary climate strategy can work, senior administration officials are traveling the country collecting written promises from industries to curb emissions of gases linked to global warming. White House officials, insisting on concrete commitments measured in tons of gases, have rejected written offers from some industry groups to take nonspecific actions, several industry officials said. The administration and industry leaders plan to unveil a broad array of pledges at the White House on Feb. 6." (New York Times)

"UK emissions market stays small as demand wanes" - "LONDON - The voluntary UK carbon emissions market has seen only six million pounds ($9.71 million) of trade since its start in April last year, industry sources said." (Reuters)

"France Considers Sequestering Carbon in Farmlands" - "PARIS, France, January 17, 2003 - French Environment Minister Roselyne Bachelot says that carbon sequestration in agricultural lands could be used as part of a national program to cut greenhouse gas emissions. The announcement followed release of an official report concluding that up to two percent of French carbon dioxide emissions could be stored underground, helping France meet its Kyoto Protocol commitment to maintain emissions below 1990 levels." (ENS)

"Spinning the Axles of Evil" - "Those who turn to performers for ethical guidance had their faith rattled again last week. Celebrities, it is alleged, can be hypocrites.

At issue was a television ad campaign orchestrated by the columnist Arianna Huffington that suggests that drivers of gas-guzzling sport utility vehicles are in cahoots with terrorists.

But in Hollywood, celebrities are lining up to demonstrate "their commitment to the environment" by buying fuel-saving cars like the Toyota Prius, according to a company news release, which said Leonardo DiCaprio and Larry David, the co-creator of "Seinfeld," have each bought two of Toyota's new hybrid gas-and-electric models." (New York Times)

So. Hollywood money has been expended on at least, um ... 4 fuel-saving hybrids (no mention of whether they are used for anything other than getting around "oversized Beverly Hills mansions") - obviously the SUV's death-knell.

"I Created a Monster" - "About a year ago, I was a regular on a Santa Monica radio program called "Left, Right and Center." Arianna Huffington, the protean author and TV personality, was, if you can believe it, the center of our trio. I was the right. Bob Scheer, Los Angeles Times columnist, was the left.

Arianna had gone through many changes, as we used to say in the 1960s." (James K. Glassman, TCS)

"Officials seek 5 percent use of wind power" - "Montgomery County leaders are proposing that the county government and other local agencies buy 5 percent of their power from wind farms, a renewable energy source that officials hope will reduce air pollution threatening the Washington area's transportation funding. The purchase of 26 million kilowatt hours per year from mountaintop windmills in West Virginia would be among the largest public usage of wind power in the nation by local governments, said County Council member George Leventhal." (AP)

"Belgian lawmakers agree to shut down nuclear plants" - "BRUSSELS - Belgium committed itself to a nuclear-free future last week, passing a law to shut down the country's seven nuclear reactors by 2025. The move is controversial because Belgium gets nearly 60 percent of its electricity from the reactors. The government will invest in solar, wind and other renewable energy resources as well as build more gas plants to compensate for the loss of nuclear power." (Reuters)

"INTERVIEW - Germany's nuclear exit a mistake - Vattenfall" - "FRANKFURT - Germany's move to ditch nuclear energy clashes with its commitment to cut greenhouse gases emissions and the need for a balance of energy sources, the head of Vattenfall Europe AG said." (Reuters)

"Europe Struggles to Control Power Plant Emissions" - "BRUSSELS, Belgium, January 20, 2003 - The European Commission has issued a key guidance to member governments of the European Union on achieving cuts in polluting emissions from pre-1987 boilers and power plants under the law governing large combustion plants. The new guidance document details how authorities should draft a national emission reduction plan if they prefer it as an alternative to fixed emission caps for the plants. More countries than originally thought have indicated interest in making use of a national emission reduction plan." (ENS)

"Norway to push energy-saving after price shocks" - "OSLO - Norway's government proposed last week to spend 50 million crowns ($7.32 million) in 2003 to support energy-saving measures by households which face sharply higher power bills this winter. The Oil and Energy Ministry said in a statement that the government wanted to support up to 20 percent of investments by households into equipment such as heat pumps, furnaces burning pellets of recycled sawdust or paper, or power-saving timers or thermostats." (Reuters)

"Polish president vetoes controversial biofuel bill" - "WARSAW - Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski vetoed a controversial biofuels bill last week after it had been harshly criticised by auto industry and consumers groups. The bill would impose a minimum level of so-called bio-components in all petrol sold in Poland that significantly exceed norms prevailing in member states of the European Union, which Poland is to join in May, 2004." (Reuters)

"Fungi iron-out asbestos pollution; Bioremediation might make fibre-contaminated soil safer" - "Fungi may help decontaminate asbestos-polluted soils," say Silvia Perotto and co-workers at the University of Torino. They have found a fungus that takes the toxic bite out of asbestos fibres.1 It might even be possible, they suggest, to transfer the organism's asbestos-attacking genes into other soil microbes." (NSU)

"Editorial: GE turns law into an ass" - "Scientists at state-owned AgResearch must be tearing their hair out in despair. As must the country's 3500 multiple sclerosis sufferers. Their hopes of a ground-breaking medical breakthrough are again threatened by a legal challenge. If such were not already the case, it is now apparent that anti-genetic modification lobby groups will use any means at their disposal to try to impose their will. In particular, statute books will be scoured for technical trip-wires. The merit and intent of the research are irrelevant. The anti-GM brigade will not be happy until this country has become a biotechnology backwater." (New Zealand Herald)

"Brazil to re-export or burn US GM corn cargo" - "SAO PAULO, Brazil - Brazil's Agriculture Ministry said last week a shipment of U.S. corn found to contain traces of banned genetically modified organisms will have to be burned, re-exported or used for paper production. Odilson Ribeiro, Director at the ministry's plant safety department, said the shipment of 7,400 tonnes of U.S. corn at the port of Itajai in Santa Catarina state tested positive for trace amounts of genetically modified material, which would preclude its use in animal or human foods or for planting." (Reuters)

January 17, 2003

"Greens to Launch New Scare Campaign" - "Get ready. The greens are set to terrorize us with yet another junk science-fueled campaign intended to advance their mindless anti-chemical agenda." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"Poisoning frogs: are people next?" - "Despite new findings by the University of California at Berkeley, which link the pesticide atrazine to sexual mutations in frogs, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is considering a three- to four-fold increase for atrazine standards in drinking water.

If passed, the acceptable level of atrazine could rise from three parts per billion (ppb) to as high as 12 ppb. This new level would be 120 times higher than the concentration that UC Berkeley developmental endocrinologist Tyrone B. Hayes has found to mutate frogs in the environment.

The raise was proposed last year and was based on findings that atrazine, once classified as a human carcinogen, is not as dangerous as previously thought. Nationally, atrazine is the second most common pesticide found in private and community wells and has been a popular, affordable chemical among farmers since the 1960s." (E/The Environmental Magazine)

"Government clamps down on emission of dangerous dioxins" - "One third of people in the UK are breathing in or eating more cancer-causing dioxins in their daily diet than the recommended maximum dose, so the government is clamping down on emissions to try to reduce the danger. Yesterday Michael Meacher, the environment minister, announced measures to cut by 10 times the quantity of dioxins that the 15 municipal and other incinerators will be allowed to emit from their chimneys." (The Guardian)

"Alarm over common toxin" - "The Norwegian Pollution Control Authority (SFT) claims that dangerous toxins similar to PCBs are leaking from common electrical items. Tests from garbage dumps, cod and mussels revealed widespread presence of the toxins in eastern Norway. SFT division leader Kari Holden said the toxins - brominated flame retardants (BFRs) - stem from junked electrical goods such as computers and TVs. The toxins have also been found in mussels and cod liver from the Oslo fjord." (Aftenposten)

"Scientists target microorganisms to break down toxic pesticide" - "A pesticide used all over the world is receiving attention more for methods being used to clean it up than for its use as chemical to control insects and mites. Researchers recently identified specific microorganisms which can breakdown the toxicity of endosulfan, a Category 1 pesticide with extremely high acute toxicity. The results of this study are published in the January/February issue of the Journal of Environmental Quality." (American Society of Agronomy)

"EU bans "cruel beauty" cosmetics tested on animals" - "STRASBOURG, France - The European Parliament passed a law this week which bans most testing of cosmetics on animals within the EU by 2009 and the sale of cosmetics which have been tested on animals anywhere. The law, a compromise reached with EU governments in November that requires the formality of approval by EU ministers, will allow three types of tests to continue until 2013 to allow time for alternatives to be developed.

The spotlight for animal welfare campaigners will now turn to EU plans to force chemicals companies to test thousands of chemicals for their health and environment impacts. Campaigners fear that the plan, due to be unveiled by the European Commission next month, might lead to millions of animals being killed in safety tests." (Reuters)

"Feds to Review Spotted Owl, Murrelet Protections" - "WASHINGTON, DC, January 16, 2003 - A proposed settlement announced this week between the timber industry and the federal government could overturn protections for northern spotted owls and marbled murrelets in the Pacific Northwest. Conservation groups, who have intervened in lawsuits challenging the protected status of the rare birds, say they were excluded from the settlement talks." (ENS)

"Edwards in budget move to stop EPA rules - sources" - "WASHINGTON - Sen. John Edwards, a Democratic presidential hopeful, is planning a legislative attempt to block a Bush administration plan to relax clean air rules for coal-fired power plants, congressional sources said." (Reuters)

"Shareholders act on global warming" - "Jan. 16 — A coalition of institutional shareholders Thursday announced a coordinated action seeking to force five of the nation’s biggest power companies to disclose their potential costs and financial liabilities stemming from emissions that contribute to global warming." (MSNBC)

"AES Drax asks ministers to regulate 'dirty' plants" - "The American owners of Britain's biggest power station, the coal-fired plant at Drax, yesterday pressed the government to impose tougher environmental regulations as a way out of the country's growing energy problems. AES Drax said the current energy market put the cleanest coal-fired plants at a competitive disadvantage, bringing a shift to cheaper but dirtier power stations - and putting at risk government targets for cutting greenhouse gases. Drax, near Selby, north Yorkshire, can provide 4,000MW of power or up to 8% of Britain's energy needs but has come close to bankruptcy because of the 40% slump in wholesale prices and the collapse of its biggest customer, TXU Europe, which took 60% of its output." (The Guardian)

"Ministry to test system for trading emissions" - "The Environment Ministry will start testing a system to trade greenhouse gas emissions among companies in April, according to ministry officials. Under the Kyoto Protocol, which was adopted in 1997, industrialized nations are required to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases by certain targeted amounts." (Yomiuri Shimbun)

"Tokyo eyes Russian emissions rights" - "To help Japan meet its internationally agreed commitment to cut global-warming gas emissions, the government will seek to obtain emission credits from Russia, government officials said. The two governments will soon enter into negotiations on the deal, which is based on the Japan-Russia Action Plan signed in Moscow last Friday by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The action plan calls for bilateral cooperation to cut emissions of greenhouse gases." (The Asahi Shimbun)

"McDonald's Denmark Opens World's First HFC-Free Restaurant" - "Vejle, Denmark (January 16, 2003) – McDonald’s Denmark today opened the world’s first HFC-free restaurant. The restaurant in Denmark is part of a new initiative to help reduce the potential effects of climate change on the environment. This McDonald’s is equipped with state-of-the-art refrigeration and ventilation systems using environmentally innovative refrigerants that do not contain freon, or HFCs (hydroflurocarbons). This pilot program is the first of its kind in the quick service restaurant industry." (CSRwire)

"Melting ice on East Coast threatens seals: report" - "ST. JOHN'S, NFLD. - For years, activists have argued Ottawa's approval of the harp seal hunt has doomed the sea mammal. But according to a new report, it's not only the culling season threatening the East Coast animals – it's also the melting ice. David Lavigne, the senior science adviser for the International Fund for Animal Welfare, has co-authored a study on shrinking ice with Duke University scientists." (CBC News)

"Nordic power found wanting in cold spell" - "Norwegian civil servants were yesterday told to turn down office heaters, leave corridors unlit and dim street lights as the country faced an unprecedented electricity crisis.

It seems an extraordinary development in the world's second richest industrial nation, whose wealth is based on huge oil and gas reserves and which is usually awash with cheap hydro-electric power.

The problems have been caused by the region's coldest start to the year for more than a decade and extremely low water levels in reservoirs feeding the hydro-electric plants that generate 50 per cent of the region's electricity. The reservoirs will not refill until snow and ice in the north thaws in spring." (Financial Times)

"Calif. Officials Miscalculate Emissions" - "LOS ANGELES - California air quality officials have underestimated vehicle emissions by almost a third and now are worried they won't be able to clean up the pollutants by 2010, the year mandated by federal law. Reduction measures are being taken across the state, but progress at easing the levels of ozone and haze, two of the most abundant pollutants, is slower than the officials had hoped." (AP)

"Modern Activism 101" - "Today’s “affluent activists” are “condemning the world’s poor to lives of squalor,” says Knight Ridder columnist Paul Driessen in Tuesday’s Biloxi (MS) Sun Herald. Driessen argues that modern activism’s focus on “corporate social responsibility” programs, so-called “sustainable development” policies, and the much-maligned “precautionary principle” are rooted in “socialist agendas.” (Center For Consumer Freedom)

"French actors destroy GM crops in support of Bove" - "PARIS - A group of French actors, scientists and politicians destroyed a field of genetically modified rapeseed Thursday in support of anti-globalization guru Jose Bove who was sentenced to a prison term in November for a similar action. Bove, a celebrity in France for his high-profile campaign against what he says is "junk food," has been sentenced to 14 months in jail for a 1999 attack on a field of GM rice at a research center near the southern city of Montpellier. Activist group Droits devant said the 32 demonstrators, including French actors Lambert Wilson and Anemone as well as green Presidential candidate Noel Mamere, had replaced young GM rapeseed plants with a conventional variety in a field in Mairy-sur-Marne, northeast of Paris." (Reuters)

"Protesters 'censor' GM crop benefits" - "PROTESTERS who destroy genetically modified crops are conducting a campaign of censorship designed to mislead the public, one of Britain’s leading agricultural scientists said yesterday. Vandalism of GM trials has nothing to do with environmentalism, but aims to suppress research into the ecological benefits of the technology, according to John Pidgeon, director of the Broom’s Barn Research Station in Suffolk." (The Times)

"Wildlife killed by conventional farming 'flourishes in GM fields'" - "One of the first experiments to test the impact of genetically modified crops on the environment has found that insects and farmland birds can flourish in GM fields that under conventional farming would be wildlife deserts. Scientists monitoring plots of GM sugar beet have recorded a significant increase in spiders, beetles and other insects that provide important food for the nestlings of skylarks, lapwings and partridges." (Independent)

"Colin Berry: There is a strong case for GM crops" - "From a lecture by the emeritus professor of pathology at Queen Mary's Hospital, given at the Scientific Alliance conference in London" (Independent)

January 16, 2003

The myth builds: "Lethal pollution linked to Offaly sawmill" - "The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has expressed concern following the discovery of lethal chromium VI pollution in a river, groundwater and wells in Co Offaly. The EPA has attributed the source of the chromium VI - a known carcinogenic used in industry and made infamous by the film Erin Brockovich - to a local sawmill." (The Irish Times)

"Pollution may explain testicle cancer" - "Norwegian men may now be developing testicle cancer due their mothers eating contaminated seafood during pregnancy. A new Swedish study indicates the carcinogenic effects of the toxin PCB can manifest themselves 30 years later. "It is very serious if it is correct that cancer has increased due to the environmental toxin PCB. We are still struggling with our old eco-sins," said Minister of the Environment Berge Brende told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK)." (Aftenposten)

"Scientists hone in on cause of amphibian deformities" - "A dramatic increase in deformed frogs and other amphibians is being caused by a range of environmental factors, all of which ultimately can be linked to human impacts on habitat, but the primary cause of many of the deformities is an epidemic of a key parasite." (OSU)

"Red alert over rare species" - "The well-known "Red List" that details which species are threatened with extinction is inaccurate, according to a new assessment. Californian researchers say that the list compiled by the World Conservation Union (IUCN) fails to reflect the true threat to species, by not taking full account of the threat posed by people." (New Scientist)

"Northern Exposure" - "Michael Jacobson, worrier-in-chief of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, is back on the acrylamide bandwagon. Jacobson told the Canadian Broadcasting Company’s Market Place show yesterday that acrylamide in French fries kills “several hundred people a year,” in Canada, “and tens of thousands of people over the life time of Canadians.” (Center For Consumer Freedom)

"Cenozoic climate: Out of the greenhouse" - "The widespread glaciation of Antarctica and the associated cooling 34 million years ago at the Eocene/Oligocene boundary is one of the most fundamental global climate events recorded. The trigger for this glaciation is generally assumed to be the opening of the Tasmanian Passage between Antarctica and Australia and the Drake Passage between Antarctica and South America. New simulations, using coupled general circulation and dynamic ice sheet models, suggest that though the opening up of Southern Ocean gateways would have caused marked cooling in southern latitudes, other factors must have been at work to cause the observed switch from a 'greenhouse' to an 'icehouse' climate. The main factor could have been the decline in atmospheric CO2 at the end of the Cenozoic." (Nature)

"Climate changes disrupt birds" - "Shifts in spring temperatures in central Europe may be having a significant effect on the ability of birds to breed successfully, say scientists. While the full impact of climate change is not yet clear, some birds whose populations rely on hatching two clutches of eggs a year may be hit hard." (BBC News Online)

"Russia Delays Global Warming Pact, May Wreck Deal" - "MOSCOW - Russia, vital to the U.N. Kyoto accord on global warming after the United States pulled out in 2001, is not ready to ratify it for economic reasons and this could cripple the pact, experts said Wednesday." (Reuters)

"Ridiculous Fiction" - "A committee of the Danish government has officially ruled that Bjorn Lomborg's commercial book The Skeptical Environmentalist is "systematically biased." Lomborg's book documents environmental improvements in areas of the world where major investments have been made. This view contradicts the cultural belief that the environment is getting uniformly worse.

Yet the remit of the committee excludes an assessment of facts that would determine "who is right in a contentious professional issue." (Sallie Baliunas)

"Group says US NW unlikely to see power shortages" - "SAN FRANCISCO - The Pacific Northwest, which gets the bulk of its power from hydroelectric plants, faces a dry winter but has little chance of power shortages this year due to an ailing economy and new power plants. That's the conclusion of the Northwest Power Planning Council, which said Tuesday that the chance of power shortages in the region was less than one percent in 2003 and no more than 6 percent by 2006." (Reuters)

"US auto regulator supports higher fuel economy" - "DEARBORN, Mich - The top U.S. government regulator of the automotive industry said this week he would support higher fuel economy standards beyond the 1.5-mile-per-gallon increase set to go into effect by 2007." (Reuters)

"Gas demand strength seen extending; Economist sees market up 2% after record rise in '02" - "WASHINGTON -- While demand for most petroleum products was stagnant in 2002, gasoline consumption notched its biggest jump in four years, the American Petroleum Institute reported Wednesday. And that thirst for gas is only likely to grow in 2003, according to Thorsten Fischer, an energy economist at Economy.com. Gasoline was the only major petroleum product to see demand growth last year, the API's monthly statistical report said. Demand, which is measured by deliveries, stood at 8.84 million barrels a day in 2002, up 2.7 percent from a year earlier." (CBS.MarketWatch.com)

"Growing human antibodies in algae" - "A group of scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have used algae to express an antibody that targets herpes virus. This antibody could potentially be an ingredient in an anti-herpes topical cream or other anti-herpes treatments, but more importantly the algae expression technology that the TSRI team used could facilitate production of any number of human antibodies and other proteins on a massive scale." (Scripps Research Institute)

"More Farm Fields Sprout Biotech Plants" - "SAN FRANCISCO - A record number of genetically modified crops were planted around the world last year - proving resistant not just to bugs and weeds but also to political and financial pressures. The bumper harvest comes amid a potential trade war between the United States and the European Union over the crops, the financial struggles of the companies that push the products and still-doubtful consumers. A report issued Wednesday by a group that promotes use of the technology in poor countries found that an estimated 6 million farmers in 16 countries planted genetically modified crops on 145 million acres last year, an increase of 15 million acres and three countries from the previous year." (Associated Press)

"Brazil hands China GMO soy draft to clear trade" - "RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil - Brazil this week delivered a revised draft certificate to China about Brazilian soybeans and genetically modified organisms (GMOs), which Brazilian officials say will clear the way for exports." (Reuters)

"Bush proposes to expand U.S. aid to Africa, press nations on food aid" - "WASHINGTON - President George W. Bush is proposing Wednesday to expand U.S. aid to Africa, and his administration is pressing anew for famine-stricken nations to accept genetically modified food from the United States." (Associated Press)

January 15, 2003

"Enjoying the smell of a new car 'is like glue-sniffing'" - "The distinctive smell inside a new car, often a source of satisfaction to owners, comes from the same form of pollution that causes sick building syndrome, a study shows.

New car smell could contain up to 35 times the health limit set for volatile organic chemicals in cars in Japan, making its enjoyment akin to glue-sniffing. The chemicals found included ethyl benzene, xylene, formaldehyde and toluene used in paints and adhesives." (The Daily Telegraph)

"German study: New moms should avoid fries, chips" - "NUREMBERG, Germany - Pregnant women and nursing mothers should sharply limit--or even cease--eating French fries, potato chips or other foods that contain the chemical acrylamide, according to study released Tuesday by German researchers." (Reuters Health)

"EU to unveil new chemicals rules in February" - "BRUSSELS - The European Commission will propose a radical overhaul of environmental regulations for chemicals in February following months of internal wrangling in the European Union's executive body. EU Environment Commissioner Margot Wallstrom said this week some details of the "extremely controversial" plan were still to be finalised, but her basic approach of ensuring all chemicals are tested for environmental and health impacts will remain." (Reuters)

"Dinosaurs experienced climate changes before K-T collision" - "Climate change had little to do with the demise of the dinosaurs, but the last million years before their extinction had a complex pattern of warming and cooling events that are important to our understanding of the end of their reign, according to geologists." (Penn State)

"New Players on Global Warming" - "Given the Bush administration's inert approach to global warming, the best hope for getting a start on the problem this year lies with the Senate. The prospect that something will actually happen there improved greatly this week with the introduction of a bipartisan bill bearing the signatures of two marquee sponsors, Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut and John McCain of Arizona.

The bill provides an economywide approach to cutting emissions of greenhouse gases, mainly carbon dioxide, that threaten to disrupt the earth's climate in environmentally destructive ways. It would require industrial sources to scale back emissions and would also establish a market-based system of emissions trading, modeled on the successful 1990 acid rain program, to encourage innovation and help polluting industries meet their targets at the lowest possible cost." (New York Times editorial)

"Weeds flourishing in climate of change" - "Global warming may not only be heating up the Earth, but making people sneeze. Lewis H. Ziska, a weed expert at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, says that ragweed and other noxious plants are thriving because of higher temperatures and more carbon dioxide in the air - conditions often associated with global warming." (Baltimore Sun)

"Anthropogenic CO2 Emissions May Reduce Tropospheric Ozone and Methane Concentrations, Providing Multiple Benefits to the Biosphere" - "Summary: A remarkable experiment conducted at Columbia University's Biosphere 2 Center near Oracle, Arizona has produced stunning results that demonstrate the virtue of allowing the ongoing rise in the air's CO2 content to continue its upward course." (co2science.org)

"Subject Index Summaries: Birds" - "Summary: Climate alarmists often contend that CO2-induced global warming will result in the extinction of a number of bird species. A brief review of some of the recent relevant literature, however, suggests a much more optimistic outcome." (co2science.org)

"The Urban CO2 Dome of Kuwait City, Kuwait" - "Summary: Several years of hourly atmospheric CO2 concentration measurements at a suburban site within the growing metropolitan area of Kuwait City are analyzed and compared with similar data obtained over the past few years at a suburban site within the growing metropolitan area of Phoenix, Arizona. Environmental Pollution 121: 301-305." (co2science.org)

"From Whence Comes Phoenix, Arizona's Urban CO2 Dome?" - "Summary: There are many sources of CO2 emissions to the atmosphere within the confines of any large city. Is there one that stands head and shoulders above all the rest? Data from Phoenix, Arizona point to a likely candidate. Environmental Pollution 116, Supplement 1: S45-S51." (co2science.org)

"Biodiversity Increases in Norwegian Mountains as the Region Recovers from the Global Chill of the Little Ice Age" - "Summary: And if we are going to preserve this increase in species richness, we are gong to have to stop trying to reduce the atmospheric burden of carbon dioxide. The Holocene 13: 1-6." (co2science.org)

"Tide may turn for UK Severn Estuary power scheme" - "LONDON - Britain should reconsider plans to build a huge tidal barrier across the Severn Estuary to generate renewable power as costs have fallen and it would cut greenhouse gas emissions, a report to the government said." (Reuters)

"The 'Destroy Detroit Project'" - "Are soccer moms guilty of funding international terrorism? Republican-commentator-turned-Naderite-fundamentalist Arianna Huffington seems to think so.

After exhausting almost every conceivable avenue to demonize the SUV and its driver, including enlisting Jesus as a spokesman and targeting dealerships and personal vehicles with vandalism, activists have now resorted to exploiting America's fears regarding terrorists to further their pet cause." (David Harsanyi, TCS)

"Regulator Reaffirms Focus on S.U.V.'s" - "DEARBORN, Mich., Jan. 14 — The Bush administration's chief traffic safety regulator reaffirmed today that regulating sport utility vehicles would be a top priority. Dr. Jeffrey Runge, the top administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, has said that studying the compatibility of S.U.V.'s and pickups with passenger cars in collisions is a chief focus of his agency, as well as coming up with an improved test to determine how prone vehicles are to rollovers." (New York Times)

"TrueNorth Energy suspends oil sands project" - "CALGARY - TrueNorth Energy said Tuesday it is suspending development of its $3 billion Fort Hills oil sands project in Alberta, citing tough markets and uncertainty over the costs of the Kyoto Protocol on greenhouse gases." (CBC News)

"Exxon Valdez oil still harmful, US studies say" - "ANCHORAGE, Alaska, Jan 14 - Small oil patches left from the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill are still releasing toxins that harm sea life, government scientists said on Tuesday. Studies by the National Marine Fisheries Service found toxins continuing to flow from lingering crude oil lodged in beaches long after the Exxon supertanker disgorged 11 million gallons (42 million liters) of its cargo, causing the worst tanker spill in U.S. waters." (Reuters)

"Greenpeace moves to thwart BE bailout" - "Greenpeace yesterday claimed to have delivered a fatal blow to government plans to restructure stricken nuclear operator British Energy in the private sector with legal advice the £650m bailout would fail to get EU approval. Its decision to publish the opinion of two leading competition lawyers is deliberately designed to sow uncertainty among bondholders and other investors who must approve the restructuring plan by February 14." (The Guardian)

"Gene Therapy Trials Halted" - "The Food and Drug Administration yesterday suspended 27 gene therapy trials involving several hundred patients after learning that a second child treated in France had developed a condition resembling leukemia.

The agency said it was not aware that any of the patients treated in the 27 American trials had suffered illnesses similar to that of the infants in France but was nevertheless taking precautions.

"We see no evidence that the subjects in these 27 trials are actually at risk," said Dr. Philip Noguchi, acting director of the agency's office of cellular, tissue and gene therapies." (New York Times)

"Group calls for stricter review of transgenic fish" - "WASHINGTON — New fish varieties genetically engineered in laboratories to grow faster and larger should be kept off the market until the federal Food and Drug Administration addresses their potential threat to wild species, a private research group said Tuesday.

The Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology questioned the adequacy of FDA regulations in assessing the risks of such transgenic fish escaping pens and taking over the habitat of nongenetically engineered varieties. "FDA needs to be able to answer these questions in a sort of open and transparent manner before these products hit the marketplace," said Michael Fernandez, the Pew group's science director." (Associated Press)

"GM crops 'will help wildlife'" - "Farmers who plant some genetically-modified (GM) crops could help endangered species to thrive, UK scientists believe. They say their work is the first to show there can be environmental benefits from GM strains. They argue that crops can be managed to produce ample weeds and insects for wildlife, without sacrificing yields." (BBC News Online)

"GM crops policy shuts door on industry" - "IT CAME from a genetically modified plant and is spreading across Europe like a rampant weed. It could soon be in your home and even in your pocket. It’s the euro, of course. The banknotes are made not of paper — too fragile — but of cotton and the best and strongest cottons are often the genetically modified varieties manufactured by American agrochemical firms." (The Times)

"U.S. should fight ban on biotech food" - "Maybe Europe is preparing to back off from a major mistake, but if it doesn't - if it continues to ban genetically modified foods processed in America - U.S. officials should start to do more than protest. After all, stupidity can kill, and this European stupidity probably has already." (Rocky Mountain News)

"For African nations, biotech corn carries seeds of hope, fear" - "NAIROBI, Kenya - In a Nairobi laboratory, protected by metal doors and an alarm system, African scientists are experimenting with imported genetically modified corn, hoping to create a food revolution on a continent besieged by hunger and malnutrition. But Africa's food revolution could be stillborn. In Zambia, even though 3 million of its people are starving, the government has flatly turned down corn aid from the United States because it comes from genetically modified plants. And elsewhere, critics charge that the Kenyan scientists could be creating an agricultural Frankenstein that would forever haunt Africans, despite the potential that genetically modified foods have for feeding a hungry continent." (Mercury News)

January 14, 2003

"Environment rules concern Pentagon" - "Jan. 13 — The Pentagon plans to ask Congress next month for relief from environmental regulations that protect endangered species and critical habitats on millions of acres of military training ranges across the country, saying those controls impede crucial exercises and combat readiness." (Washington Post)

"Lung Cancer Among Non-Smokers" - "A growing number of researchers are puzzled by increases in the number of cases of lung cancer among non-smokers. "Almost half the patients I've seen in the two months I've been here have been non-smokers. So I think there is something specific to this environment here," Dr. Wallace Akerley, pulmonary cancer specialist, said. Most researchers believe a collection of many triggers may be just catching up now with the non-smoking population." (KXAN-36 News)

"Ice tracker blasts off" - "A satellite that will track the changes in the major ice sheets covering the polar regions was launched on Sunday. ICESat (Ice Cloud and Land Elevation Satellite) was blasted into orbit on a Delta rocket from Vandenberg US Air Force Base on the central California coast. The spacecraft will give scientists the clearest picture yet of what is really happening in the Arctic and the Antarctic - whether the ice there is shrinking or growing and by how much, and the impact these changes might have on global sea levels." (BBC News Online)

"Facing extreme ice conditions, coast guard, NSF deploy second icebreaker to Antarctica" - "Extremely unusual ice conditions at McMurdo Station, the National Science Foundation's (NSF) logistics and science hub in Antarctica, will require two Coast Guard icebreakers to ensure that resupply and refueling ships can reach the station. Al Sutherland, ocean projects manager in NSF's Office of Polar Programs, said the ice extends almost three times farther out from the station than is usual." (NSF)

Today's chuckle: "New report shows global warming link to Australia’s worst drought" - "Sydney, Australia: A new scientific report released today by WWF and leading meteorologists shows that human-induced global warming was a key factor in the severity of the 2002 drought in Australia." (WWF)

"Mol says demand for gas at record high" - "Mol, the Hungarian oil and gas company, has announced that gas consumption hit a record 84m cubic metres on Sunday, and could well climb further to 85m cubic metres on Monday.

News of the unprecedented demand comes on the day when the Hungarian electricity sector experienced its first power cuts due to limitations in generation capacity for the first time since the late 1980s.

Energy sector professionals warned that if weather conditions did not improve then energy problems could become more acute, as Mol would probably request gas-fired power stations to turn to oil as a substitute fuel.

This however could prove problematic, as recent environmental regulations meant that generation from all but low-sulphur fuels would prove uneconomic for generating companies." (Financial Times)

"Nuclear power 'on the way out'" - "Building a new generation of nuclear power stations should be ruled out in the government's imminent energy white paper, the influential left of centre thinktank, the IPPR, will propose next week.

The energy white paper, likely in February, will be a turning point for the future of Britain's nuclear industry.

With most nuclear Magnox stations due to close by 2010, the trade and industry secretary, Patricia Hewitt, is studying the extent to which nuclear power is essential to protect the security of British energy supplies. She is leaning towards treating renewable sources, such as wind power, as an economic and reliable substitute." (The Guardian)

"Renewable energy plan looks to wind, seawater, fuel cells" - "The Environment Ministry will begin developing a system in the next year to extract hydrogen from seawater to power fuel cells in hopes of creating a fully renewable energy supply, ministry officials said. The ministry said it is looking forward to creating "energy that can really be renewable" if hydrogen can be produced using the natural energy of wind power. It is hoped the system will extract hydrogen from seawater through electrolysis using wind-generated electricity, the officials said. Construction of wind-power plants has become common in Europe and Japan in recent years, but a facility where hydrogen is extracted to power fuel cells "has no practical precedent, even worldwide," according to the ministry." (The Japan Times)

"Widely Used Crop Herbicide Is Losing Weed Resistance" - "The world's most widely grown genetically engineered crops — soybeans, cotton and corn developed to be impervious to a popular herbicide — are facing a new challenge to their continued long-term use. The herbicide, known as Roundup, is beginning to lose its effectiveness in controlling weeds." (New York Times)

January 13, 2003

"Let us spray" - "President Bush expects the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) - which aims to 'eliminate or reduce the release of POPs into the environment' - to be ratified by the Senate in the next few months. The only potential barrier is a lobbying effort to prevent the inclusion of the insecticide DDT in the Convention.

But those who want DDT struck off the Convention are unlikely to succeed. There are some powerful voices calling for the Convention to be ratified, including Christie Whitman of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and it looks set to go through. This will be a disaster - because DDT remains the most effective weapon in the fight against malaria in the third world." (Roger Bate and Richard Tren, sp!ked)

Again... "Mercury in baby vaccines is linked to autism" - "MERCURY, one of the most dangerous substances known to man, is being used in a series of infant vaccines - in spite of a warning from NHS advisers that its use as a cheap preservative "may be toxic" to babies aged under six months." (The Scotsman)

"Mobile phones blamed for sparrow deaths" - "The remarkable decline of the sparrow remains one of British wildlife's most enduring mysteries. Cats, lead-free fuel and even loft insulation have all been blamed for the disappearance of 10 million house sparrows. Now scientists seeking to unravel the cause of their disappearance have identified a new culprit: the mobile phone." (The Observer)

"Researchers tie worldwide biodiversity threats to growth in households" - "Scientists from Michigan State (MSU) and Stanford universities, in a fresh look at world population dynamics, have revealed evidence that increased numbers of households, even where populations are declining, are having a vast impact on the world's biodiversity and environment." (National Science Foundation)

"U.S. Plan Could Ease Limits on Wetlands Development" - "WASHINGTON, Jan. 10 — The Bush administration opened the way today for a redefinition of federal rules that could remove obstacles to development on millions of acres of isolated wetlands historically protected under the Clean Water Act.

Inviting public comment on the shaping of new rules, the administration said it was acting in response to a 2001 Supreme Court ruling that limited the scope of the Clean Water Act's jurisdiction over isolated wetlands. But in contrast to the Clinton administration, which interpreted that opinion very narrowly, the Bush administration signaled its willingness to consider a much broader approach that could ultimately remove from federal jurisdiction up to 20 percent of the country's wetlands." | Danger to the Wetlands (New York Times)

"US says Pacific arms tests use depleted uranium" - "SEATTLE - The U.S. Navy confirmed on Thursday it uses depleted uranium shells in arms tests off the Washington state coast but rejected criticism that the radioactive ammunition could harm people and the environment." (Reuters)

"Denmark's Ministry of Truth" - "In "1984," George Orwell's frightening novel set in a totalitarian state, the hero, Winston Smith, worked in "Recdep," the Records Department of the Ministry of Truth. His job was to correct "mistakes" in past newspaper articles." (James K. Glassman, TCS)

"Global Warming: All That Hot Air Must Be Having an Effect" - "Political antagonists of President Bush attacked what they described as his lack of sufficient action on global warming last week, but his administration held firm, saying cautious measures were best while the science surrounding climate change and the human factors contributing to it remained uncertain.

Still, many experts on the climate system say that the slow, subtle evolution of the language in the most influential reports reflects an incremental, but significant shift toward certainty — at least on the basic question: are people contributing to global warming?" (New York Times)

"Thaw in Greenland threatens new ice age" - "The snowfalls of the past week may be just a taster of what is to come, if the latest predictions from scientists are correct. The amount of ice melting from the surface of the Greenland ice sheet broke all known records last year, threatening a rapid rise in sea levels and a return of very cold winters to Britain because of a slowing down in the Gulf Stream." (The Guardian)

"Predictions fall foul of reality" - "Advocates of global warming last week insisted that the recent cold weather is just a blip that says nothing about long-term climate change. Instead, they pointed to the recent announcement that on a global scale 2002 was the second-hottest year ever recorded. Yet in recent weeks information has emerged that is sending an icy blast through the climate research establishment. It shows that the Earth is refusing to follow the script climatologists have written for it." (Sunday Telegraph)

"How weather brought down Mayan empire" - "Climate change is inevitable, unpredictable, and has been responsible for bringing down some of the world's greatest civilisations. Soon it may do the same to ours." (The Observer)

"Bid to reduce greenhouse gases 'is folly'" - "Plans to pump vast quantities of iron into oceans in a bid to reduce carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere could trigger a global ecological disaster, scientists warn. They say that a project backed by US businessmen and researchers to seed the seas with iron could lead to the uncontrollable spread of toxic algae and the release of gases that could damage Earth's fragile ozone layer." (The Observer)

"EPA unveils program to cut US truck, train emissions" - "WASHINGTON - The Environmental Protection Agency unveiled last week a voluntary program with leading multi-national corporations to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions they spew into the air that are linked to global warming. The program aims to cut by 2012 significant amounts of air pollution and heat-trapping emissions from ground freight carriers like trucks and locomotives." (Reuters)

"Researchers challenge ethanol's power to cut greenhouse gas" - "SCIENTIFIC studies have cast doubt on claims that blending petrol with the sugar by-product ethanol dramatically cuts harmful greenhouse gas emissions. The RACQ yesterday produced studies published by the CSIRO and Environment Australia which suggest there is little, if any, environmental benefit from running cars on unleaded petrol mixed with 10 per cent ethanol compared with standard unleaded fuel." (The Courier-Mail)

"Californian senators seek to limit Mexico utility emissions" - "WASHINGTON - California's two Democratic senators introduced legislation that would bar Mexican power plants from using the state's natural gas supplies unless the plants meet its strict air pollution standards." (Reuters)

"Swedish industry lobby warns of energy crunch" - "STOCKHOLM - Swedish industry will face a power deficit over the coming years that threatens to hamper economic growth and reduce the competitive edge of key sectors, an industry spokesman warned. Hakan Murby from SKGS, a lobby representing energy-intensive sectors such as the forest, metal and chemical industries, said an additional 25 terawatt hours (TWh) of power will be needed over the next decade to sustain growth. That capacity, he said, can only be met by expanding production of atomic power." (Reuters)

"UK confirms energy bill lacks decision on nukes" - "LONDON - Britain will avoid a decision on the future of its loss-making and controversial nuclear power industry in the draft law on energy policy due this year, according to Energy Minister Brian Wilson." (Reuters)

"Toxic gas windfall" - "The government is in danger of missing its tough targets for cutting greenhouse gases because it is allowing toxic methane gas to escape from more than 1,000 abandoned coal mines in the country, an expert warned yesterday. But it could help breathe new life into declining coalfield communities by treating the gas as a renewable source of energy and subsidising its use in hundreds of small power stations, he said." (The Guardian)

"Rewire for clean energy, Ofgem tells firms" - "Energy regulator Ofgem today issues an urgent plea to companies running Britain's local electricity networks to help "rewire" the country to cope with a planned surge of clean, green power. The government's targets of 10% of power sourced from renewables and 10,000 megwatts of combined heat and power by 2010, senior Ofgem officials say, mark a watershed in 50 years of generation. Historically, generators have provided power for the grid from large plants capable of supplying, in the typical coal-fired station, some 2,000MW of electricity for transmission at 400,000 volts. But the green energy targets, Ofgem says, require an extra 14,000MW of generation to be "embedded" in local networks, with another 8,000MW of renewables. Even large offshore wind farms generate little more than 2MW each." (The Guardian)

"Transgenic seed to preserve US cotton farms-report" - "NASHVILLE, Tennessee - Genetically modified cotton seeds helped U.S. cotton farmers to adopt practices to protect their land from wind and rain erosion, a report made available Friday said." (Reuters)

January 13, 2003

"Let us spray" - "President Bush expects the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) - which aims to 'eliminate or reduce the release of POPs into the environment' - to be ratified by the Senate in the next few months. The only potential barrier is a lobbying effort to prevent the inclusion of the insecticide DDT in the Convention.

But those who want DDT struck off the Convention are unlikely to succeed. There are some powerful voices calling for the Convention to be ratified, including Christie Whitman of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and it looks set to go through. This will be a disaster - because DDT remains the most effective weapon in the fight against malaria in the third world." (Roger Bate and Richard Tren, sp!ked)

Again... "Mercury in baby vaccines is linked to autism" - "MERCURY, one of the most dangerous substances known to man, is being used in a series of infant vaccines - in spite of a warning from NHS advisers that its use as a cheap preservative "may be toxic" to babies aged under six months." (The Scotsman)

"Mobile phones blamed for sparrow deaths" - "The remarkable decline of the sparrow remains one of British wildlife's most enduring mysteries. Cats, lead-free fuel and even loft insulation have all been blamed for the disappearance of 10 million house sparrows. Now scientists seeking to unravel the cause of their disappearance have identified a new culprit: the mobile phone." (The Observer)

"Researchers tie worldwide biodiversity threats to growth in households" - "Scientists from Michigan State (MSU) and Stanford universities, in a fresh look at world population dynamics, have revealed evidence that increased numbers of households, even where populations are declining, are having a vast impact on the world's biodiversity and environment." (National Science Foundation)

"U.S. Plan Could Ease Limits on Wetlands Development" - "WASHINGTON, Jan. 10 — The Bush administration opened the way today for a redefinition of federal rules that could remove obstacles to development on millions of acres of isolated wetlands historically protected under the Clean Water Act.

Inviting public comment on the shaping of new rules, the administration said it was acting in response to a 2001 Supreme Court ruling that limited the scope of the Clean Water Act's jurisdiction over isolated wetlands. But in contrast to the Clinton administration, which interpreted that opinion very narrowly, the Bush administration signaled its willingness to consider a much broader approach that could ultimately remove from federal jurisdiction up to 20 percent of the country's wetlands." | Danger to the Wetlands (New York Times)

"US says Pacific arms tests use depleted uranium" - "SEATTLE - The U.S. Navy confirmed on Thursday it uses depleted uranium shells in arms tests off the Washington state coast but rejected criticism that the radioactive ammunition could harm people and the environment." (Reuters)

"Denmark's Ministry of Truth" - "In "1984," George Orwell's frightening novel set in a totalitarian state, the hero, Winston Smith, worked in "Recdep," the Records Department of the Ministry of Truth. His job was to correct "mistakes" in past newspaper articles." (James K. Glassman, TCS)

"Global Warming: All That Hot Air Must Be Having an Effect" - "Political antagonists of President Bush attacked what they described as his lack of sufficient action on global warming last week, but his administration held firm, saying cautious measures were best while the science surrounding climate change and the human factors contributing to it remained uncertain.

Still, many experts on the climate system say that the slow, subtle evolution of the language in the most influential reports reflects an incremental, but significant shift toward certainty — at least on the basic question: are people contributing to global warming?" (New York Times)

"Thaw in Greenland threatens new ice age" - "The snowfalls of the past week may be just a taster of what is to come, if the latest predictions from scientists are correct. The amount of ice melting from the surface of the Greenland ice sheet broke all known records last year, threatening a rapid rise in sea levels and a return of very cold winters to Britain because of a slowing down in the Gulf Stream." (The Guardian)

"Predictions fall foul of reality" - "Advocates of global warming last week insisted that the recent cold weather is just a blip that says nothing about long-term climate change. Instead, they pointed to the recent announcement that on a global scale 2002 was the second-hottest year ever recorded. Yet in recent weeks information has emerged that is sending an icy blast through the climate research establishment. It shows that the Earth is refusing to follow the script climatologists have written for it." (Sunday Telegraph)

"How weather brought down Mayan empire" - "Climate change is inevitable, unpredictable, and has been responsible for bringing down some of the world's greatest civilisations. Soon it may do the same to ours." (The Observer)

"Bid to reduce greenhouse gases 'is folly'" - "Plans to pump vast quantities of iron into oceans in a bid to reduce carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere could trigger a global ecological disaster, scientists warn. They say that a project backed by US businessmen and researchers to seed the seas with iron could lead to the uncontrollable spread of toxic algae and the release of gases that could damage Earth's fragile ozone layer." (The Observer)

"EPA unveils program to cut US truck, train emissions" - "WASHINGTON - The Environmental Protection Agency unveiled last week a voluntary program with leading multi-national corporations to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions they spew into the air that are linked to global warming. The program aims to cut by 2012 significant amounts of air pollution and heat-trapping emissions from ground freight carriers like trucks and locomotives." (Reuters)

"Researchers challenge ethanol's power to cut greenhouse gas" - "SCIENTIFIC studies have cast doubt on claims that blending petrol with the sugar by-product ethanol dramatically cuts harmful greenhouse gas emissions. The RACQ yesterday produced studies published by the CSIRO and Environment Australia which suggest there is little, if any, environmental benefit from running cars on unleaded petrol mixed with 10 per cent ethanol compared with standard unleaded fuel." (The Courier-Mail)

"Californian senators seek to limit Mexico utility emissions" - "WASHINGTON - California's two Democratic senators introduced legislation that would bar Mexican power plants from using the state's natural gas supplies unless the plants meet its strict air pollution standards." (Reuters)

"Swedish industry lobby warns of energy crunch" - "STOCKHOLM - Swedish industry will face a power deficit over the coming years that threatens to hamper economic growth and reduce the competitive edge of key sectors, an industry spokesman warned. Hakan Murby from SKGS, a lobby representing energy-intensive sectors such as the forest, metal and chemical industries, said an additional 25 terawatt hours (TWh) of power will be needed over the next decade to sustain growth. That capacity, he said, can only be met by expanding production of atomic power." (Reuters)

"UK confirms energy bill lacks decision on nukes" - "LONDON - Britain will avoid a decision on the future of its loss-making and controversial nuclear power industry in the draft law on energy policy due this year, according to Energy Minister Brian Wilson." (Reuters)

"Toxic gas windfall" - "The government is in danger of missing its tough targets for cutting greenhouse gases because it is allowing toxic methane gas to escape from more than 1,000 abandoned coal mines in the country, an expert warned yesterday. But it could help breathe new life into declining coalfield communities by treating the gas as a renewable source of energy and subsidising its use in hundreds of small power stations, he said." (The Guardian)

"Rewire for clean energy, Ofgem tells firms" - "Energy regulator Ofgem today issues an urgent plea to companies running Britain's local electricity networks to help "rewire" the country to cope with a planned surge of clean, green power. The government's targets of 10% of power sourced from renewables and 10,000 megwatts of combined heat and power by 2010, senior Ofgem officials say, mark a watershed in 50 years of generation. Historically, generators have provided power for the grid from large plants capable of supplying, in the typical coal-fired station, some 2,000MW of electricity for transmission at 400,000 volts. But the green energy targets, Ofgem says, require an extra 14,000MW of generation to be "embedded" in local networks, with another 8,000MW of renewables. Even large offshore wind farms generate little more than 2MW each." (The Guardian)

"Transgenic seed to preserve US cotton farms-report" - "NASHVILLE, Tennessee - Genetically modified cotton seeds helped U.S. cotton farmers to adopt practices to protect their land from wind and rain erosion, a report made available Friday said." (Reuters)

January 10, 2003

"Beyond Belief" - "The global warming debate reheated this week when Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., announced a legislative proposal for nationwide limits on emissions of greenhouse gases blamed for global warming." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

World Climate Report Volume 8, Number 9, January 13, 2003 (GES)

"Texas Lifestyle Limits Transmission of Dengue Virus" - "Urban dengue is common in most countries of the Americas, but has been rare in the United States for more than half a century. In 1999 we investigated an outbreak of the disease that affected Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico, and Laredo, Texas, United States, contiguous cities that straddle the international border. The incidence of recent cases, indicated by immunoglobulin M antibody serosurvey, was higher in Nuevo Laredo, although the vector, Aedes aegypti, was more abundant in Laredo. Environmental factors that affect contact with mosquitoes, such as air-conditioning and human behavior, appear to account for this paradox. We conclude that the low prevalence of dengue in the United States is primarily due to economic, rather than climatic, factors." (Reiter P, Lathrop S, Bunning M, Biggerstaff B, Singer D, Tiwari T, et al. Texas lifestyle limits transmission of dengue virus. Emerg. Infect. Dis. Vol. 9, Number 1, Jan 8, 2003)

"VIRTUAL CLIMATE ALERT: January 8 , 2003 Vol. 4, No. 2" - "Life in Sub-Saharan Africa is tough. Yet despite what Michael Grunwald’s front-page, human-interest feature in the January 7 edition of The Washington Post attempts to lead readers to believe, Lesotho’s woes are not due to global warming. Grunwald’s tale of woe about miserable harvests in the South African kingdom since 2001 lists "egregious meteorological problems" – too much rain, too little rain, ill-timed rain, tornadoes, hail, and summertime frost – and without specificity attempts to tag climate change from an enhanced greenhouse effect as the root of the disaster." (GES)

"Sardines, anchovies go through cycles" - "WASHINGTON — The net of scientific research has pulled up a fishy surprise: Anchovies and sardines appear to take turns being plentiful across the Pacific Ocean. If the researchers are right, anchovies will be on the ascent for the next couple of decades, good news for lovers of Caesar salad, pizza, pasta and other foods that are often perked up with salty little fish. The research team reports in Friday's issue of the journal Science that for 25 years or so, the ocean waters tend to be a bit warmer than average, which is best for sardines to thrive. Then things cool somewhat and the scale tilts toward the little anchovy for about another quarter century." (Associated Press) | From sardines to anchovies and back in 50 years (Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute)

"Suncor doesn't see major impact from Kyoto on business growth" - "CALGARY - Suncor Energy Inc. said Thursday that the costs of the controversial Kyoto Protocol will not affect its growth plans as the company announced plans to spend more money in 2003. The Calgary company plans to spend $1.05 billion this year, most of it on its oil sands project. That's up from $900 million the company spent on capital expenditures last year." (CBC News)

"Oilsands emissions targeted: 'Perverse subsidies pose a real political problem,' MP says" - "Ottawa - The chairman of the House of Commons environment committee says Ottawa should end tax breaks for oilsands projects as part of a drive to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Liberal MP Charles Caccia says the coming federal budget, expected in February, should facilitate the objectives of the Kyoto protocol which Canada ratified last month. The protocol requires Canada to cut emissions of greenhouse gases, associated in large part with the production and use of fossil fuels. Oilsands projects are big emissions sources." (The Halifax Herald)

"Carbon tax to meet Kyoto to mean dearer fuel" - "The Minister for the Environment, Mr Cullen, has warned his Cabinet colleagues of the serious consequences for Ireland of failing to meet its obligations under the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change. The warning is contained in an aide-memoire prepared by the Minister after he found himself isolated at last month's EU environment council meeting over Ireland's failure to curb its rising greenhouse gas emissions. According to Mr Cullen, the cost of not complying with the target of capping the increase in Ireland's emissions at 13 per cent of their 1990 levels in the 2008-2012 period could cost €260 million a year over the five-year period. By 2000, however, emissions were already 24 per cent above 1990 levels and are set to rise to 37 per cent by 2012 unless measures proposed in the Government's National Climate Change Strategy are implemented in full." (Irish Times)

"Cold weather sparks Swedish nuclear debate" - "STOCKHOLM - Exceptionally cold winter weather which has strained power capacity and raised electricity bills in the Nordic region sparked a new discussion in Sweden this week on whether to close down a nuclear plant as planned." (Reuters)

"A breath of fresh air" - "Smoggy urban skylines would seem to pose more of a health threat than the air in a typical American home. But Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) studies of human exposure to air pollutants indicate that indoor levels of pollutants may be two to five times — and occasionally more than 100 times — higher than outdoor levels." (E/The Environmental Magazine)

"Rising demand likely to spur US oil imports" - "The US will have to increase its oil imports sharply in the next 25 years to meet rising domestic demand, according to a report released on Thursday. The US Department of Energy document said that depending on world oil prices, net US oil imports could account for as much as 65-70 per cent of total domestic demand by 2025, up from 55 per cent in 2001. The report, Annual Energy Outlook 2003, expects higher long-term oil prices because of rising world demand. It estimates that world oil prices could increase to $27 in real terms by 2025. Global oil demand is expected to increase from 76m barrels a day in 2001 to 123m barrels by 2025." (Financial Times)

"Lomborg Frenzy Takes Hold in Denmark" - "COPHENHAGEN, Denmark, January 9, 2003 - Controversy surrounding author Bjorn Lomborg continued to rage in Denmark today following Tuesday's ruling by an official scientific ethics panel that he had "perverted the scientific message" in his 2001 book "The Sceptical Environmentalist."

Lomborg contends in the book that claims made by environmentalists about global warming, energy, overpopulation, species loss, deforestation, water scarcity, and a host of other issues are exaggerations that are not supported by a proper analysis of environmental data." (ENS)

"Kangaroo Court Indicts Lomborg" (Various, AgBioView)

"Deepest Sympathy" - "It behoves all of us to spare a moment to think of the thousands of ordinary Danish Scientists in their moment of shame. It could happen anywhere, and almost certainly will. Environmental Science, like sociology a generation before, was invented by universities faced with a recruitment crisis. There were just insufficient numbers of candidates emerging from schools with the qualifications to practise real science, so universities jumped on the available bandwagon and started recruiting into a debased form of science that had less rigorous requirements. There are now academic empires built up around professors in the subject and, as the New Inquisition shows, they are able to wield a disproportionate and distorting degree of power. You might well argue that universities are returning to their mediaeval roots, when theology was regarded as the Queen of the Sciences, but the decline of real science and its common language of mathematics must still be a source of profound regret to traditionalists." (Number Watch)

"CFC Smugglers Jailed, Fined" - "WASHINGTON, DC, January 9, 2003 - A Connecticut businessman who made millions by illegally importing and selling ozone depleting chlorofluorocarbon gases has been sentenced to spend the next six and a half years in prison. Barry Himes, who has already forfeited a $3 million mansion, a BMW sedan and a three-carat diamond ring, was also ordered to pay $1.8 million in restitution." (ENS)

"Natural Pesticides" - "We were recently questioned about a statement in NNF that 99.99 percent of the pesticides we eat are natural. This has been known by scientists for many years, but some activists try to give the impression that man-made chemicals must be bad while natural ones must be good. Well, chemicals are chemicals. In fact, all of us are just big bags of chemicals held in by skin.

The famous and highly-respected scientist Bruce Ames wrote in 1990 that plants produce toxins to protect themselves against fungi, insects, and animal predators. Tens of thousands of these natural pesticides have been discovered, and Americans on average eat about 1.5 grams of natural pesticides per day. < http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/abstract/87/19/7777 >

Likewise, the American Council on Science and Health has published a holiday dinner menu showing how many natural carcinogens are found in foods many of us love. < http://www.acsh.org/publications/booklets/menu02.html >

HERE'S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: This story is not meant to scare you away from foods that naturally contain potentially toxic chemicals. Remember that the dose makes the poison. Also remember that natural is not a synonym for safe; cocaine, arsenic and petroleum are all natural but you probably don't want to eat any of them. Many of the "carcinogenic" chemicals in food are being studied for their anti-cancer effects. Most of the toxins we eat are naturally found in plants, but the more fruits and vegetables you eat, the healthier you will be." (Nutrition News Focus)

"Environmentalists protest Dell's use of prison labor to recycle computers" - "LAS VEGAS (January 9, 2003 6:21 p.m. EST) - Environmentalists dressed in prison uniforms circled a collection of dusty computers outside the Consumer Electronics Show on Thursday to protest Dell Computer's use of inmates to recycle computers." (Associated Press)

"EPA adopts new approach to water quality" - "WASHINGTON (January 9, 2003 7:38 p.m. EST) - The Environmental Protection Agency is clearing the way for states to create trading programs that will allow industrial facilities and wastewater treatment plants to buy and sell each other's pollution. The trading programs will rely on economic incentives to meet federal water quality standards, EPA officials say, possibly saving the public hundreds of millions of dollars in water cleanup costs." (Associated Press)

"US trade war threat as Europe bars GM crops" - "The US last night threatened to take the EU to court over the refusal of Brussels to import genetically modified crops, in what would be a dramatic deterioration in increasingly bitter trade relations between the two blocks. Robert Zoellick, the US trade representative, yesterday launched a ferocious attack on officials in Europe, describing their views on genetically modified food as "Luddite". He said the consensus was growing among the Bush administration that the European Union should be hauled before the World Trade Organisation." (The Guardian)

January 9, 2003

"F.D.A. Orders Warning on All Estrogen Labels" - "The Food and Drug Administration announced yesterday that all companies making drugs that contain estrogen or estrogen and progestin for menopausal women must include a boxed warning on labels stating that the drugs may slightly increase the risk of heart attacks, strokes, blood clots and breast cancer." (New York Times)

"Debate Erupts Over Testing Pesticides on Humans" - "WASHINGTON, Jan. 8 — Pesticide makers sparred with health and environmental advocates here today over a contentious subject, whether the Environmental Protection Agency should accept figures from studies in which researchers have had people drink pesticides or other chemicals to determine toxicity." (New York Times)

"Chemicals used to protect soldiers in 1991 Gulf War can damage testes, animal studies show" - "A combination of chemicals given to protect Gulf War soldiers against deadly diseases and nerve gas may have inadvertently damaged their testes and sperm production, according to animal experiments at Duke University Medical Center." (Duke University Medical Center)

What a relief! "EARTH LIKELY SPARED FROM ONE FORM OF COSMIC DOOM" - "We have one less thing to worry about. While the cosmic debris from a nearby massive star explosion, called a supernova, could destroy the Earth's protective ozone layer and cause mass extinction, such an explosion would have to be much closer than previously thought, new calculations show." (NASA/GSFC)

"INTERVIEW - New environment head to call politicians' bluff" - "LONDON - Tony Juniper is a man on a mission - to force politicians to stop just talking about saving the environment and start actually doing it. "We are calling the bluff of the politicians who have adopted environmentalists' clothes," Juniper, the new executive director of the England, Wales and Northern Ireland branch of Friends of the Earth, told Reuters in an interview." (Reuters)

Says Worrywarts Inc.: "One generation to save world, report warns" - "The human race has only one or perhaps two generations to rescue itself, according to the 2003 State of the World report by the Washington-based Worldwatch Institute. The longer that no remedial action is taken, the greater the degree of misery and biological impoverishment that humankind must be prepared to accept, the institute says in its 20th annual report." (The Guardian)

"Anti-green author dishonest, says scientific panel" - "Bjorn Lomborg - the director of Denmark's Environmental Assessment Institute and a leading would-be debunker of mainstream scientific opinion on issues like global warming and overuse of natural resources - has been found guilty by a Danish government committee of "scientific dishonesty." (The Guardian)

"A Smear Continues" - "When Bjorn Lomborg's book The Skeptical Environmentalist was published a little over a year ago it caused an immediate sensation in the United States and Europe for its unconventionally optimistic take on environmental matters. At the time, I asked Ronald Bailey, the author and editor of two books on the environment and the foremost expert in the United States on the intersection of science policy and political controversy, what he thought of the book. "Lomborg doesn't have a clue what's about to happen to him," Bailey said. "I feel sorry for him." Bailey was right." (Nick Schulz, TCS)

"Something Rotten in Denmark" - "Shakespeare's play `Hamlet' contains the famous line "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark". He could have been writing about today because the Danish science establishment have just disgraced themselves and the rest of environmental science by employing a Star Chamber type inquisition against one lone book by a Danish professor." (John Daly, Still Waiting For Greenhouse)

"Landfill sites 'leaking ozone-depleting gases'" - "Scientists say landfill waste dumps may be responsible for unexpected levels of a banned ozone-depleting chemical in the atmosphere over Europe. Measurements conducted from aircraft in 2000 found far more methyl chloroform (MCF) at altitudes of about four kilometres than had been predicted. Previously it was thought that European emissions of the substance had fallen to nearly zero since the mid-1990s." (Ananova)

"Natural atmospheric scrubber not in decline, study finds" - "LOS ANGELES — A natural chemical that scrubs pollution from the sky is more abundant than previously believed, leading scientists to wonder if they have been underestimating the atmosphere's ability to cleanse itself. A new study by European scientists shows levels of the chemical, hydroxyl, are probably steady or even on the rise. Details appear Thursday in the journal Nature." (Associated Press)

"CLIMATE CHANGE: Commentator Calls For Action By Insurers" - "Insurers should stop seeking to deny global warming-related coverage and instead lobby for legislation to protect the environment and rate companies they insure according to their environmental records, according to a commentary in yesterday's International Herald Tribune." (UN Wire)

"But in Britain, there's no obvious sign of global warming ..." - "London was blanketed under more snow than it has seen for 11 years yesterday and the weather got the better of one of the country's largest shopping centres. Freezing conditions enveloped the country yesterday although forecasters predict the extreme weather will ease today and tomorrow." (Independent)

"Tap U.S. Innovation to Ease Global Warming" - "Global warming is a serious threat. There is overwhelming evidence that increasing amounts of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are heating up the Earth's climate and that inaction could be disastrous." (Joseph I. Lieberman and John McCain, Los Angeles Times)

"McCain and Lieberman Offer Bill to Require Cuts in Gases" - "Senators John McCain and Joseph I. Lieberman joined forces on Wednesday to challenge the Bush administration on global warming." (New York Times)

"Shame on McCain" - "Kyoto Joe gets the Republican from Arizona to do his bidding" (Marlo Lewis, TCS)

"Energy taxes of the rich and famous" - "ASPEN, COLO. – Aspen, Colo., is a place of spectacular scenery - the striped peaks of the nearby Maroon Bells have become a nature- calendar cliché - and spectacular wealth. On weekends "in season," private jets descend upon the Aspen airport like flies on honey, and movie stars and multimillionaires are a dime a dozen on Aspen's world-class ski slopes. But, as locals like to point out, there's more to this historic Western town than its "Glitter Gulch" reputation. Pitkin County, which includes Aspen, also has a social conscience - and is now using it to convert the exceptional luxuries enjoyed by part-time residents into a one-of-a-kind stand against global warming." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"Pataki Backs Wind and Solar Power" - "In a brief, low-key passage in his annual address to the Legislature, Gov. George E. Pataki electrified green-energy supporters and environmentalists." (New York Times)

"Exxon sues Greenpeace over Luxembourg protest" - "BRUSSELS, Jan 8 - Oil giant Exxon Mobil is suing environmental group Greenpeace over a protest last year in Luxembourg, in which activists chained to petrol pumps brought business to a standstill, Greenpeace said on Wednesday. The company said it wanted compensation after 600 campaigners shut down all its 28 Esso petrol stations in the country for 14 hours last October, accusing Exxon of lobbying Washington to pullout of the Kyoto Protocol on climate change." (Reuters)

"Opinion: Eco-Warriors Take Protest Too Far" - "Ad campaigns might be a clever play on the administration's drug ads, but the actions taken by radical environmental groups like the ELF certainly are not cute. They are criminal and deserve more attention than the hullabaloo created by Arianna Huffington, who should be as vocal about eco-terrorists as she claims to be about terrorists "funded" by oil profits." (Jennifer Hickey, Insight)

"A GE urban myth that has grown to become a 'fact'" - "Rather than taking the opportunity to present balanced arguments on the sustainable future of our primary industries and the relative merits of genetic modification versus conventional technology, the Sustainability Council has resorted to reiterating the rhetoric of other anti-GM organisations. This is well-illustrated by Sam Neill's Dialogue article. He presents a series of half-truths and innuendo to develop an argument of GM's unacceptable risk to the environment and human health. Of particular concern was his reference to the Crop and Food Institute's research of toad genes in potatoes at Lincoln." (Tony Conner, New Zealand Herald)

"Scientists find first active 'jumping genes' in rice" - "University of Georgia researchers studying rice genomes under a National Science Foundation Plant Genome Research Program award have identified the species' first active DNA transposons, or "jumping genes." (NSF)

"UGA researcher comments on her team's discovery of the first 'jumping genes' in rice" - "University of Georgia researchers studying rice genomes, under a National Science Foundation Plant Genome award, have identified the species' first active DNA transposons or "jumping genes." Dr. Susan Wessler, who headed the research team that published the findings in the journal Nature, made several statements regarding the discovery." (University of Georgia)

"U.S. gives Africa the choice of GE food or famine" - "In Zambia and Zimbabwe, Southern Africa, 13 million people are facing life-threatening famine. Yet both countries refused genetically engineered (GE) grain from the United States. All 540,000 tons of it! According to the World Food Program, the distributors of the food, this is the first time in 40 years that a country has turned them down.

Meanwhile, here in the U.S., 60-70 percent of the foods stocked in our supermarkets contain GE ingredients and we don’t even blink. Do our brothers and sisters in Africa know something that U.S. media and biotech companies aren’t telling us about GE foods?

The fact is, genetic engineering could wipe out the genetic diversity of the planet and shift small farming as we know it into the hands of a handful of corporations. These biotech companies aim to patent and own every useful plant and seed on Earth." (Malaika Edwards, San Francisco Bay View)

"India to consider U.S. groups' plea on soy-corn" - "NEW DELHI - India will consider an appeal by aid groups to allow a planned shipment of soy blended with corn which had been rejected because it was unclear if it had been genetically modified, officials said." (Reuters)

"Brazil hopeful of China GMO decision, traders not" - "SHANGHAI - Brazil said yesterday it is hopeful that Beijing will decide soon its soybeans meet Chinese rules on bio-engineered food imports, but traders were not as optimistic." (Reuters)

January 8, 2003

"Binge Responsibly: Are five drinks always too much?" - "The latest report on "binge drinking" confirms something that careful readers of such studies already knew: One man's dinner party is another man's binge—especially if the other man has a degree in public health." (Jacob Sullum, Reason)

"Jackbooted Teetotalers: 'Don't Drink in the Bar'" - "Talk about shooting fish in a barrel! Officers in “SWAT-like garb” are now bursting into Northern Virginia bars in search of intoxicated patrons. Anyone registering over 0.08 percent Blood Alcohol Concentration -- the legal limit for driving -- is subject to arrest." (Center For Consumer Freedom)

"Being drunk 'a trick of the mind'" - "The feeling of being drunk is partly in the mind, say psychologists. A person's memory is impaired if they believe they are drinking alcohol even when it is really water, a study has found." (BBC News Online)

"WHO: Medical Journal Launches Coverage Of Race To Succeed Brundtland" - "The British medical journal The Lancet has begun special coverage on the election of the successor to World Health Organization Director General Gro Harlem Brundtland, saying "few would dispute" Brundtland's "indelible mark" on global health and adding that her work is still very much in progress and requires "a strong and capable successor."  The Lancet's coverage of the issue will continue over the next few months." (UN Wire)

"CHILD MORTALITY: Editorial Blasts Weak Political Will To Avert Deaths" - "Despite a drop in child mortality rates worldwide, rates in developing nations are on the rise or holding steady and international efforts to reverse the trend remain unfocused, according to an editorial in the current issue of The Lancet." (UN Wire)

"SPECIAL REPORT: PETA's 'Original Recipe' Never Changes" - “People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals,” says U.S. News & World Report, “is putting KFC in the fryer.” PETA already has a history of cowing other fast-food restaurant chains into submission." (Center For Consumer Freedom)

"Danish panel says controversial book not scientific" - "COPENHAGEN, Denmark — A Danish panel of scientists said Tuesday that a controversial book challenging the sacred cows of the environmental movement was not a scientific publication." (Associated Press) | Environment and Science: Danes Rebuke a 'Skeptic' (New York Times)

"Maurice Strong: capitalist, environmentalist with taste for world diplomacy" - "OTTAWA -- Maurice Strong, the Canadian dispatched this week as a special United Nations envoy to assess the humanitarian situation in North Korea, has come a long way from a poor boyhood in rural Manitoba. Strong, 73, a special adviser to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, has been drawn to the world body since he took a job there as a teenage security guard in 1947." (CP)

Hmm... 1st head of the UN environment program, secretary general of the 1992 Earth summit in Rio de Janeiro and holder of some other very weird ideas, having apparently uttered: "Isn't the only hope for the planet that industrialised civilisations collapse? Isn't it our responsibility to bring that about?" (Source: The Environmentalists' Little Green Book, U.S. chamber of Commerce, 2000. ISBN 0-615-11628-0)

"Bizarre Weather Ravages Africans' Crops: Some See Link To Worldwide Warming Trend" - "Many scientists say that Ntaote, along with nearly 40 million other Africans at risk of starvation, may be among the first human victims of global climate change. The scientists are wary of attributing any specific weather event to general warming trends, and they are careful to note that the causes of the famine stalking the continent include not only erratic weather but war, intractable poverty, corrupt governance and the AIDS epidemic. And while the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has concluded that human beings are contributing to global warming, the scientists do not try to blame the industrialized world's greenhouse gas emissions for the developing world's complex problems.

Still, climate experts say the "extreme weather events" that have plagued countries like Lesotho in recent years are remarkably consistent with predictions for a warmer world." (Washington Post)

"Polar bear headed for extinction, says University of Alberta scientist" - "Unless the pace of global warming is abated, polar bears could disappear within 100 years, says a University of Alberta expert in Arctic ecosystems." (University of Alberta)

Why, did they evolve since the Holocene Maximum or something?

"Fight Ahead on Emissions; McCain, Lieberman Plan Push for Greenhouse Gas Limits" - "Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Conn.) will unveil a plan this week to require all U.S. power plants and industries to reduce their emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, setting the stage for a conflict with the Bush administration and the new chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee." (Washington Post)

"US must put Middle East, poverty and global warming on agenda, says Blair" - "Tony Blair warned President George Bush yesterday that the United States must listen to the concerns of the rest of the world and throw its weight behind efforts to tackle the Middle East crisis, global warming and poverty." (Independent)

"Bing to fund Stones show in protest over global warming" - "The Californian film producer Steve Bing, better known as the father of Liz Hurley's baby, is to bankroll a Rolling Stones benefit concert on behalf of an American environmental action group." (Independent)

"Methane Madness" - "Summary: The authors of a new study say the atmospheric methane growth rate "fluctuates in an unpredictable fashion," making it impossible to produce realistic projections of future atmospheric methane concentrations. A careful consideration of their data and polemics, however, suggests this conclusion is based more on blind faith and/or politics than on science." (co2science.org)

"Subject Index Summaries: Snow" - "Summary: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) claims that snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere declines as the climate warms. Real-world data, however, suggest otherwise." (co2science.org)

"Trees in the City: A New Role for the "Ultimate Urban Multitaskers" - "Summary: Compared to their country cousins, urban trees comprise but a small portion of the planet's global forest. What they lack in numbers, however, they make up in special services and enhanced robustness, which virtues make them real "pros" at slowing the rate of rise of the air's CO2 content." (co2science.org)

"Antarctic Icebergs" - "Summary: Have their numbers been increasing in response to global warming? EOS, Transactions, American Geophysical Union 83: 469, 474." (co2science.org)

"A 4000-Year Record of Climate Change in Southern Alberta, Canada" - "Summary: From the depths of Pine Lake, the sediments speak; and, oh what a story they tell us! Quaternary Research 49: 96-101." (co2science.org)

"Fifty Years of Pan Evaporation and Solar Radiation Data: What Do They Tell Us About Climate Change?" - "Summary: They tell us there are major deficiencies in our current understanding of basic meteorological phenomena and/or the temperature history of the earth. Science 298: 1410-1411." (co2science.org)

"TV Ads Say S.U.V. Owners Support Terrorists" - "WASHINGTON, Jan. 7 — Ratcheting up the debate over sport utility vehicles, new television commercials suggest that people who buy the vehicles are supporting terrorists. The commercials are so provocative that some television stations are refusing to run them. Patterned after the commercials that try to discourage drug use by suggesting that profits from illegal drugs go to terrorists, the new commercials say that money for gas needed for S.U.V.'s goes to terrorists." (New York Times)

"Report: Indonesia planning to build nuclear power station by 2015" - "JAKARTA, Indonesia - Indonesia could build its first nuclear power station by 2015 to meet the energy needs of its growing population, the research and technology minister was quoted as saying Tuesday. "We have to develop nuclear power," said M. Hatta Rajasa, state news agency Antara reported. "We have the ability to do so." Rajasa's ambitious plan comes at a time of serious security and economic problems for the the world's most populous Muslim nation." (AP)

"Government's green agency invests millions in companies that pollute" - "The Government's environment watchdog has been investing tens of millions of pounds in oil companies and firms which have been sharply criticised for their records on green issues. The Environment Agency, which is in charge of flood protection, has invested £64m in oil firms which have been condemned for contributing to flooding by causing climate change. Last year the agency's pension fund invested £46m in BP Amoco – its largest holding – and £18m in Shell. Both firms have been fined large sums by the agency for polluting water with petrol or oil products." (Independent)

"Nippon Oil To Start 1 Year Tests On Fuel Cells For Homes" - "TOKYO - Nippon Oil Corp. said Wednesday it will begin "monitoring tests" on its liquefied petroleum gas-based fuel cell for onsite heating and power cogeneration system for household users later this month." (Dow Jones)

"Next-generation solar cells could put power stations in space" - "Scientists at Rochester Institute of Technology are developing the next generation of solar cells, advancing the technology that could put a solar power system into earth's orbit. The National Science Foundation recently awarded a $200,000 grant to RIT's NanoPower Research Laboratory to develop nanomaterials in support of NASA's space solar power program." (Rochester Institute of Technology)

"Monsanto Puts GM Wheat Before Regulators" - "WINNIPEG, Manitoba - Monsanto Co.. has asked Canadian and U.S. regulators to attest to the safety of its genetically modified wheat, moving another step closer toward commercializing the grain, company officials said on Tuesday. But government approval will not necessarily lead to a commercial launch of the wheat, engineered to withstand Monsanto's popular glyphosate-based Roundup herbicide, spokesman Trish Jordan said. "We could easily have regulatory approval but still not be ready to go forward," Jordan said." (Reuters)

January 7, 2003

Editorial cartoon of the day

"The Temperance Movement Is Back" - "Last week's New Year's celebrations brought out the predictable party-poopers in the medical fraternity. Of particular interest was a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association by researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It attempted to measure the extent of binge drinking - defined as five or more drinks in one session - between 1993 and 2001. It concluded that binge drinking had indeed increased, with the average drinker going from six such episodes a year in '93 to seven in '01. There was much furrowing of brows at this news." (Iain Murray, TCS)

"Two global pollutants work to offset each other, according to Colorado study" - "University of Colorado at Boulder researchers have found, ironically, that two pollutants -- carbon dioxide and hydrocarbons emitted from agricultural forest trees -- offset each other somewhat in mitigating air quality problems." (University of Colorado at Boulder)

CO2 ain't a pollutant.

"European Forests Thriving in High Ozone Areas" - "Growing fears that pollution is damaging European forests beyond repair may have been ungrounded, according to research showing that wooded areas are actually thriving." (Deutsche Welle)

"Team aims to crack Antarctic ice secrets" - "The Pine Island Glacier, one of the biggest on Antarctica, may be on the verge of slipping into the sea far faster than anyone previously thought, according to the preliminary results of a survey mission to the White Continent." (BBC News Online)

"Climate Scientists Taste El Nino on South Pole Trek" - "WASHINGTON - U.S. scientists studying Antarctic ice for clues to Earth's climate patterns said on Monday they ran afoul of one of its most infamous weather patterns during the first U.S. overland trek to the South Pole in 41 years. Paul Mayewski, the team's lead scientist, told reporters via telephone from the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station that the El Nino effect dumped more snow on the West Antarctic than his team had seen in four years of study." (Reuters)

Hmm... "global warming" (70% planet surface is ocean) is supposed to cause polar meltdown and flood the planet. El Niño (surface warming of the central Pacific) demonstrably causes increased Antarctic precipitation. Increased precipitation on the Antarctic and Greenland ice shields would slow the rise in mean sea level that has been occurring since the beginning of the Holocene (current interglacial).

"Global warming is making butterflies upwardly mobile" - "BUTTERFLIES in Britain are reacting to global warming not only by moving northwards, but also uphill. Global warming has meant northern species, which prefer a cooler climate, being forced to seek habitats further north and at higher altitudes. With the southern boundaries of butterfly ranges also moving north, experts believe that extinctions are inevitable. Butterfly Conservation, a charity, says already threatened species such as the large heath, which is predicted to decline in numbers by almost 80%, have already moved, on average, more than 41yds uphill." (Glasgow Herald)

"Warm-Up for Climate Debate" - "TO ALL APPEARANCES, the debate on climate change -- or rather the debate about how to react to it -- has ground to an unproductive halt. After walking away from the Kyoto Protocol, the Bush administration promised new initiatives. To date, these mostly consist of calls for voluntary limits on industrial emissions of greenhouse gases and some investment in new research (in the hope that technological breakthroughs will solve the problem). Environmentalists denounce these efforts as derisory and at the same time waste their breath urging the administration to return to Kyoto. When last given the chance, the Senate voted 95 to 0 against the treaty, which would seem to indicate broad, albeit unacknowledged, bipartisan support for the president's decision." (Washington Post editorial)

"Editorial: Holes in Kyoto" - "Natural Resources Minister Herb Dhaliwal has a firm grasp of the scope of efforts that will be required for Canada to meet its Kyoto commitments. "There is a question of equity," he said last week.  "You can't let one major industry off the hook and ask other industries to pay their fair share." We couldn't agree more. The only way we're going to significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions is for every household and every business to do its bit. Unfortunately, what Dhaliwal was referring to in making this "all-for-one-and-one-for-all" generalization about fairness was Ottawa's decision to exempt Ontario's auto assembly industry from the list of industries that will have to meet federally mandated emissions targets." (Toronto Star)

"Ex-Envoy Says Kyoto Could Spark Canadian Legal Fiasco" - "Former Canadian Ambassador to the United States Allan Gotlieb said in comments cited in Saturday's National Post that Canada's ratification of the Kyoto Protocol to reduce greenhouse gases could possibly violate constitutional convention and long-standing federal practice, as the decision was made without first consulting the Canadian provinces.  Gotlieb said the government could face constitutional challenge by the provinces if the accord goes into effect, and international lawsuits if it withdraws from the treaty, the National Post reports." (UN Wire)

"What's cookin'?: Environmentally friendly and energy-efficient, solar ovens are carving out a niche in the Japanese kitchen" - "With no carbon dioxide emissions to contribute to global warming-and no caked-on residues to scrape off-solar ovens, which use only the sun's rays to cook food, offer the ``cleanest'' path from kitchen to dining table. For the growing number of people willing to forgo the ease of conventional cooking methods using gas and electricity, such benefits outweigh the slight inconveniences of the extra time and effort required." (The Asahi Shimbun)

"Florida Manatees Face Power Plant Threat" - "GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Florida's endangered manatees could be further threatened if the state's aging coastal power plants are closed, eliminating the heated water discharges that the lumbering mammals use for warmth in the winter, scientists said. Manatees are vulnerable to the cold found in some parts of the state because they need water temperatures of at least 68 degrees to survive. The marine mammals spend the winter near natural springs, where temperatures often hover around 70 degrees, or power plants located near rivers or bays." (AP)

"Wind Farm Plan Draws Criticism" - "NORFOLK, Va. - Proposals to build windmills off the Atlantic coast are meeting with resistance from environmentalists who might be expected to support an alternative, "clean" energy source. Offshore wind farms exist in Europe but not in the United States. A company planning windmills off Virginia, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts and Delaware says the farms would provide energy without emitting greenhouse gases that pollute the air. Environmental and wildlife groups argue, however, that the projects represent an offshore land grab of public property for private use. They also contend the farms will mar the natural beauty of the coastline, interfere with fishing, diminish property values, hurt recreation and tourism, and may prove harmful to migratory birds." (AP)

"FDA Policies for Gene-Altered Foods Faulted in Report" - "Excessive levels of harmful compounds could show up in genetically engineered foods because the government has failed to put strong safeguards in place to catch them, a consumer group says in a report scheduled for release today." (Washington Post)

"China may buy more US soy on Brazil GMO concerns" - "HONG KONG - China may have to buy more U.S. soybeans for the first quarter as Brazil is facing difficulty clearing the country's rules on genetically-modified (GM) crops, traders and industry officials said yesterday. An Agriculture Ministry official said it had issued certificates to allow soy imports from Argentina, but it had not done so yet for similar purchases from Brazil." (Reuters)

"EU Mins Agree Tough GMO Labeling, Traceability Rules" - "BRUSSELS - The European Union could open the door to new genetically modified foods after E.U. environment ministers late Monday agreed tough new labeling and traceability rules for food and livestock feed derived from genetically modified organisms. Under the new rules, shippers must provide a list of all the GMOs present in the food at its point of departure. Even if a grain shipment from the U.S. to Europe unloads some cargo en route, the original list of GMOs would remain unchanged." (Dow Jones)

January 6, 2003

"Study: 9/11 dust not a health threat" - "NEW YORK -- Scientists say the thick layer of irritating dust that blanketed lower Manhattan after the September 11 terrorist attacks probably will not cause alarming increases in cancer, emphysema and other serious long-term health problems.

An analysis found that most of the potentially toxic dust particles collected in the week after the attacks were too large to lodge deep in people's lungs. Only 1 percent of the dust samples was composed of finer particles, researchers said.

In addition, the chemical composition of the dust appears less toxic than originally feared." (AP)

"Study to Follow 200,000 Exposed to Trade Center Ash" - "New York City and federal health officials are working out the final details of what they say would be the largest study of its kind ever undertaken — a far-reaching health registry to follow as many as 200,000 people exposed to ash and dust from the destruction of the World Trade Center." (New York Times)

"Cancer clusters or pure chance?" - "Rayon Park residents blame toxic waste in their water for sickening them. For more than 15 years, the Chesterfield County residents have complained that pollution from the Defense Supply Center Richmond, a nearby military depot, caused cancer and other ills." (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

"Virus linked to obesity discovered - The Times of India" - "WASHINGTON: A virus, called AD36, could be the reason behind the rising number of obese people these days, claims a US researcher. Nikhil Dhurundbar, of Wayne State University, Michigan, who has conducted blood tests on both US and British volunteers, is said to have found significantly higher levels of the virus among obese people, reports The Guardian."

"New pesticide legislation a step in the right direction: WWF" - "OTTAWA - Environmentalists and pesticide manufacturers both say they like Canada's updated pesticide legislation. The Pest Control Products Act was introduced in late December, marking the first time Canada's pesticide legislation has been changed since 1969. Under the new law, pesticides must be re-evaluated after 15 years on the market. The legislation attempts to better protect Canadians from land, food and water-borne pesticides." (CBC News)

"Guardian Unlimited | The Guardian | McCartney attacks wildlife group for backing animal tests" - "Sir Paul McCartney has protested to WWF, the wildlife organisation, about its active support for chemical tests that cause the death of thousands of animals. The row is over the testing of chemicals in everyday use which are accumulating in human body fat and suspected of being endocrine disrupters, which mimic human and animal hormones causing sex changes, deformities and possibly cancer."

"Animal Fans' Secret Recipe Is to Boycott Restaurant" - "WASHINGTON, Jan. 5 — People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the animal welfare group, begins a global boycott on Monday of KFC to seek an improvement in the lives and deaths of 700 million chickens who become the chain's fried meals every year.

The group plans to pass out bumper stickers and fliers on Monday in Louisville, Ky., Toronto, London and Bombay to start a campaign pressing the chain to change how chickens are raised in large factory farms in the United States and around the world. Among the suggestions are to improve the diets of breeder hens and to gas chickens to sleep before they are slaughtered.

This is not the group's first campaign to improve chickens' lives — it has won concessions from McDonald's, Burger King and Wendy's. But it is the group's first effort to focus on restaurants worldwide and it comes when fast-food restaurants are under pressure on several fronts." (New York Times)

"E.L.F. says it burned SUVs" - "People who claim affiliation with the radical environmental group Earth Liberation Front say they torched four vehicles at a Girard car dealership." (Erie Times-News)

"Can the Courts Save Wilderness?" - "Environmentalists have had so little to cheer about in the last two years that any victory is worth noting. In recent weeks they have prevailed in two important court cases that represent potentially major setbacks to the Bush administration's aggressive efforts to open up big chunks of the West to development by the oil, gas, mining and timber industries. Nobody is under the illusion that two adverse rulings are going to change the administration's fundamental bias toward commercial exploitation. But it's reassuring to know that there are still a few judges left who care about the niceties of environmental law and the needs of nature." (New York Times editorial)

"Tinkering with clouds" - "Researchers say evolving technologies could allow manipulation of major weather patterns. But should humans tamper?" (The Christian Science Monitor)

"Builders face huge 'flood tax' to meet cost of climate change" - "Property developers face a multi-million pound 'flood tax' to counter the spiralling costs of climate change. A government report has recommended that housebuilders who target flood plains for development should have to pay a one-off fee to construct coastal and river defence systems." (The Observer)

We know they're floodplains because they've been flooding for millennia but the reason for possible (inevitable) future flooding of said floodplains is global warming. Right...

"Whatever's happened to the weather?" - "Europe is increasingly prone to floods but scientists cannot agree on why our weather is wetter and warmer, reports Mark Townsend." (The Observer)

"Climate change hurts cod stocks: researchers" - "HALIFAX - While most researchers largely blamed overfishing for the collapse of the Atlantic cod fishery 10 years ago, some believe climate change has also contributed to the decline in stocks. Fish respond directly to fluctuations in temperature, says Ken Drinkwater, an oceanographer with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO). Although North Atlantic Cod are cold-water fish, a drop in water temperature can hinder both growth and reproduction rates, according to Drinkwater. Parts of the Atlantic Ocean have cooled by as much as a degree in the past 30 years, he says. "It had an effect on growth rates." (CBC News)

"Antarctica's ice sheet melting naturally" - "The West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) has been melting naturally and releasing water to the ocean for the last 10,000 years. Research published in the journal Science suggests that the last Ice Age never really came to end in that part of the world. If the melting continues at its current rate then the WAIS could disappear in 7,000 years, possibly raising worldwide sea levels by five metres." (BBC News Online)

"Hundreds of Species Pressured by Global Warming" - "STANFORD, California, January 2, 2003 - Hundreds of plant and animal species around the world are feeling the impacts of global warming, although the most dramatic effects may not be felt for decades, according to new research from a Stanford University team. They predict that a rapid temperature rise, together with other environmental pressures, "could easily disrupt the connectedness among species" and lead to numerous extinctions." (ENS) | Global Warming Found to Displace Species (New York Times) | Effects of global warming already being felt on plants and animals worldwide (Stanford University)

"Study employs backyard scientists to document global warming impact" - "The flora and fauna are sending signals about the impact of global warming – a message that is being heard in backyards around the world. A study in the Jan. 2 edition of Nature synthesized data from 143 scientific papers to examine whether a signal, or "fingerprint," of climate change can be found in how animals and plants have reacted to increasing temperatures." (MSU)

"VIRTUAL CLIMATE ALERT: January 3 , 2003 Vol. 4, No. 1" - "Beginning 2003 with high marks for diligence, science reporters nationwide jumped on this New Year’s bulletin: Plants and animals respond to changes in climate. On both coasts (the Los Angeles Times and The New York Times) and from many points in between, two articles in Nature magazine’s first edition of the year received prominent play. According to the assembled researchers, changes in the distribution of species characteristics are consistent with warming. That species are adaptable to change in their environment is not news. What’s shocking, however, is how tiny the reported response appears to be." (GES)

"Temperatures Are Likely to Go From Warm to Warmer" - "Climate experts say global temperatures in 2003 could match or beat the modern record set in 1998, when temperatures were raised sharply by El Niño, a periodic disturbance of Pacific Ocean currents that warms the atmosphere. El Niño that year was the strongest ever measured. A new one is brewing in the Pacific but is expected to remain relatively weak, experts say. Still, they say, a persistent underlying warming trend could be enough to push temperatures to record highs." (New York Times)

"Hot or Not?" - "Was 2002 one of the hottest years in history? After all, pronouncements of record warmth for 2002 were made since the beginning of 2002." (Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas, TCS)

The world according to Ben Santer: "Scientists discover global warming linked to increase in tropopause height over past two decades" - "Researchers at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have discovered another fingerprint of human effects on global climate. Recent research has shown that increases in the height of the tropopause over the past two decades are directly linked to ozone depletion and increased greenhouse gases." (DOE/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory)

"Amazon wildfires contribute to carbon problem" - "More trees are dying following forest fires in the Amazon than was previously thought according to new research from the University of East Anglia (UEA). Trees that initially appear to survive fires, such as those caused by El Niño, are in fact dying two to three years later, increasing carbon emissions and causing further loss of Amazonian vegetation." (Blackwell Publishing Ltd.)

"Demise of "The CLAW" Greatly Exaggerated" - "Summary: The authors of a recently published study say their results sound the death knell of an important negative climate feedback phenomenon involving oceanic phytoplankton, atmospheric sulphur and cloud albedo - affectionately known as the CLAW hypothesis - that helps keep a lid on global warming. In so contending, however, they generalize their results far beyond the bounds of what is reasonable, as other contemporary studies clearly demonstrate." (co2science.org)

"Centennial-Scale Climate Cycles (Solar Influence)" - "Summary: Warming such as that experienced over the past century and a half has happened again and again with great regularity throughout the Holocene, all without any help from man. So why do we need to blame ourselves now? Let's credit the sun." (co2science.org)

"Winter-Spring Precipitation History of Chihuahua, Mexico" - "Summary: Does Chihuahua's winter-spring precipitation history of the past century - when climate alarmists claim that anthropogenic CO2 emissions produced unprecedented warming that should have led to greater extremes of both droughts and floods - look much different from the winter-spring precipitation history of the two and a half centuries that preceded it? Climate Research 22: 237-244." (co2science.org)

"More European Mountain-Lake Temperature Histories" - "Summary: What can they tell us about the state of the world's climate today? Journal of Paleolimnology 28: 7-23." (co2science.org)

"Debunking Modern Climate Myths" - "Summary: It's not really all that difficult a chore, as is amply illustrated by a recent review of a host of fabulous fictions that have been foisted upon the world by wrong-headed climate alarmists." (co2science.org)

"Millennial-Scale Climate Cycles (Solar Influence)" - "Summary: Are variations in solar activity responsible for the millennial-scale oscillation of earth's climate that produced the Little Ice Age and the smaller centennial-scale climatic oscillations embedded within that coldest period of the past millennium?" (co2science.org)

"The Bright Side of Soil Erosion" - "Summary: Soil erosion has long been looked upon as something to be prevented at almost all costs. Now, however, new research reveals that - in moderate amounts, at least - this nemesis of the past may have a significant redeeming quality." (co2science.org)

"Impacts of Warming on Respiratory and Cardiovascular Deaths" - "Summary: Will the warming of the globe that is predicted to result from anthropogenic CO2 emissions end up killing people right and left? Climate alarmists would have you believe so, but in promulgating that philosophy, they propagate a massive falsehood. Environmental Health Perspectives 110: 859-863." (co2science.org)

"Do Changes in the Sun's Brightness Affect Earth's Climate?" - "Summary: This comprehensive look at several different measures of variable solar activity spanning all or parts of the past two millennia suggests that they do. EOS, Transactions, American Geophysical Union 83: 481, 489-490." (co2science.org)

"The Holocene Climate of the Antarctic Peninsula" - "Summary: What can it tell us about the state of the world today? Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 185: 235-254." (co2science.org)

"Ignoring the provinces is not Canada's way" - "Amidst all the controversy surrounding the environmental and economic implications of the Kyoto Protocol, little attention has been paid to the legal ramifications. The federal government has gone ahead and ratified a treaty that it may not be able to implement. Since it has not asserted that Parliament has all the necessary legislative powers to implement Kyoto, the federal government has made an international commitment without any assurance that it will be able to fulfil its obligations. If Canada fails to perform its international obligations, it could undermine its credibility on the international stage and it could be exposed to unspecified damages under international law. Furthermore, by ratifying the Kyoto Protocol without first consulting with and obtaining the support from the provinces, the federal government has departed from a long-standing practice, so consistent in nature and fundamental to the Canadian Constitution that it may be considered a constitutional convention, or arguably, an unwritten constitutional rule." (National Post)

"Automakers exempted from Kyoto requirements" - "OTTAWA - Canadian automakers have been exempted from meeting Kyoto requirements in their car plants. The car makers were originally listed among large greenhouse gas emitters. But when final drafts of the Kyoto plan were released, the auto sector was left off the list." (CBC News)

"Detroit resurrects gas-thirsty sports cars" - "DETROIT - Brushing aside pleas for better fuel economy, Detroit's two largest automakers will add some excitement to their lineups this year by selling "gas guzzler" sports cars whose high fuel consumption requires buyers to pay federal taxes of up to $7,700. Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Corp. will resurrect two of their legendary V8 engine sports cars from the 1960s in an attempt to win back customers from Japanese and European automakers. With the launch this year of the Ford GT and GM's Pontiac GTO, combined with the long-running Dodge Viper from the Chrysler arm of DaimlerChrysler AG, each of the traditional U.S. Big Three will sell a "gas guzzler" for the first time in a decade." (Reuters)

Doh! "More clean energy in the wind" - "... Mr Harding concedes that, at present, "green" power such as Pacific Hydro produces in its wind farms costs more than energy that coal or gas-fired stations generate. "But they don't pay for the carbon dioxide they pour into the atmosphere," he says. "About 100 million tonnes of carbon dioxide are pumped into the air over Victoria. "The market value of that is about $20 a tonne. If the generating companies had to meet that cost, the price of coal-generated power would be considerably higher." (The Melbourne Age)

If generating companies had to meet imaginary additional costs, electricity would be dearer... And if everyone paid for the aerial fertilisation of food crops, fibre, lumber, ornamentals, ... - with CO2 long-since sequestered by biological activity and now returned to the atmosphere (from whence it came) by fossil fuel usage - fossil fuel-generated electricity would likely be a lot cheaper, although the other commodities would be dearer. Regardless of how you slice it, trying to pretend that fossil fuel-generated power is dearer than it really is doesn't make "renewables" any less expensive or any more useful/reliable than they really are.

"Nine States Challenge Clean Air Changes in Court" - "WASHINGTON, DC, January 2, 2003 - A set of new federal rules for the modification of industrial plants that ease requirements for the addition of modern air pollution controls is being challenged in court by nine northeastern states." (ENS)

"Bush Administration Planning to Extend Cuts of Diesel Emissions" - "WASHINGTON, Dec. 30 — In an effort to reduce a dangerous source of air pollution, the Bush administration is devising rules that would sharply cut diesel pollutants from construction vehicles, certain farming and mining equipment and other off-road vehicles. Environmental groups are hopeful that the standards, which may not take full effect for almost a decade, will continue the administration's stance against health hazards caused by diesel engines." (New York Times)

"FEATURE - Australia considers one-km tall power tower" - "MELBOURNE - The world's tallest man-made structure could soon be towering over the Australian outback as part of a plan to capitalise on the global push for greater use of renewable energy." (Reuters)

"Save The Seeds" - "Among all the scientific disciplines, one arguably has the greatest potential for providing human benefit on a global scale. Hundreds of millions of people in urban and rural areas in the poorest countries suffer from chronic hunger. Meanwhile, the world's great monocultures of staple grains -- rice, wheat and corn -- are at risk from novel pathogens, arising from sudden genetic alteration or from delivery by an agroterrorist." (Donald Kennedy, The Washington Post)

?!! "UK: Fairtrade mark extended to UK produce" - "Organic food produced in the UK could soon carry the Fairtrade mark, which was originally designed to ensure a better deal for third world producers. A one-year pilot project, launched by the UK Soil Association and the Fairtrade Foundation, has been developed to increase the range of organic products that can carry the Fairtrade mark." (just-food.com) | British farmers to get Fairtrade cover (The Guardian)

"ZAMBIA: Traditional Foods in Abundance to Feed 3m Starving People" - "LUSAKA, Jan 2 - ''We have traditional foods in abundance. I do not know why there is this maize mania when some of our provinces do not even grow maize, traditionally,'' says Mundia Sikaatana, Zambia's minister of agriculture.

Sikatana says there is an unhealthy focus on maize as the only ''food'' in Zambia, which causes consumers to believe they will starve when it is in short supply.

But, a World Food Programme (WFP) official, who declined to be named, says the people of southern Africa ask donors to give them maize, their staple diet. ''It is a common feature in sub-Saharan Africa and we have not been told, otherwise,'' he says." (IPS)

"The Promise of Therapeutic Cloning" - "What many scientists want to do is therapeutic cloning, which would create replacement cells for sick people, cells that their bodies would not reject." (Gina Kolata, New York Times)

"Euro notes are genetically modified, scientists reveal" - "SCEPTICS who derided the euro as an artificial currency have been right all along: its banknotes are printed on genetically modified cotton. Though the European Union has some of the toughest GM regulations in the world, it has ignored the transgenic fibres in its own currency. The engineered banknotes are not even labelled." (The Times)

"Predicting the movement of genes" - "In a study published in the December issue of Ecological Applications, Charity Cummings (University of Kansas), Helen Alexander (University of Kansas), Allison Snow (Ohio State University), Loren Riesenberg (University of Indiana) and colleagues tracked the movement of three specific alleles, or genes, in wild and domesticated sunflowers to determine how often and to what extent these plant populations will hybridize and pass specific genes on to the next generation." (Ecological Society of America)

"Sam Neill: In the field of GE food we're being sold a pup" - "This time of the year is normally reserved for optimism, but if you can detect the telltale tick of an ominous countdown, you are not alone. The Government has signalled its clear intention to lift the moratorium on the release of genetically modified organisms in October, come rain or shine.

Many people are alarmed by this. However, the Prime Minister has briskly labelled them "Luddites", somewhat unkindly, so we march forward to a scientific brave new world, like it or not.

The Government has been persuaded to sell us a dog. A rather ugly five-legged dog at that. And on close inspection it looks like the dog might be sporting a toad's rear end." (New Zealand Herald)

[Actor Sam Neill is a member of the Sustainability Council]

"GM report 'was not buried'" - "The UK Government has denied trying to bury a report into genetically modified crop cross-contamination. The study, released on Christmas Eve, found evidence of GM crops contaminating plants in neighbouring fields. Anti-GM campaigners have seized on the report, claiming it proves there is no commercial future for bio-engineered foods in the UK." (BBC News Online)

"GM protesters accused of increasing contamination" - "Protesters against genetically modified crops who "trashed" fields of oilseed rape grown in Oxfordshire have been blamed by government researchers for far higher than expected contamination hotspots in nearby conventional fields." (The Guardian)

"Planting Hope" - "CHARLES ARNTZEN is trying to produce vaccines you can eat. If he succeeds, disease prevention could spread to the poorest corners of Africa." (Forbes Magazine)

"Call for science-based biotech policy" - "NEW DELHI: India should frame a biotechnology policy which is "science-based, transparent and timely" and avoid delays in giving approval for introduction of biotech products in the country, a US expert said on Monday." (Economic Times)

"GM potato 'could improve child health'" - "A protein-rich genetically modified potato could help combat malnutrition in India, scientists say. Its developers say the "protato" could help tackle nutrition problems amongst the country's poorest children. They say it could play an important part in the Indian government's 15 year health improvement plan to provide clean water, better food and vaccines." (BBC News Online)

"Japan's StarLink corn find could hurt US sales" - "TOKYO - U.S. corn sales to Japan, the world's biggest importer of the grain, could suffer after traces of the banned StarLink biotech variety were found in a cargo from the United States last week, a major Japanese grain importer said yesterday." (Reuters)

January 3, 2003

"Federal Nannies Go on New Year's Binge" - "If you woke up on New Year's Day with a hangover, you must have missed the federal government's not-so-subtle effort to shame you into more moderate celebration. The feds hope to compel moderation in the future" (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)