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Archives - January 2005

January 31, 2005

"Drug Companies Fuelling Anti-DDT War" - "This is an interesting take on the situation, but probably without any substance. It is way more likely that environmentalists and rich country donors are stopping Uganda from using DDT." (AFM)

"One in 20 people ‘may have a mobile phone illness’" - "Up to 5% of the population may be suffering ill health as a result of radiation from mobile phones and masts, according to a group of Irish doctors fighting for official acceptance of the problem." (London Times)

Another moonbat: "Lawsuits can fight fat: Legal action is more effective than public education programs" - "It took lawyers and litigation to start the civil rights, environmental protection, disability rights and anti-smoking movements. Legislators wouldn't act until the lawsuits caused change and produced publicity that led to laws and other reforms. For example, lawsuits aimed at smoking did what Congress refused to do: slashed smoking rates and returned hundreds of billions of dollars to taxpayers." (John F. Banzhaf III, USA TODAY)

"Don't blame the burgers: ‘Fat' lawsuits won't fix obesity epidemic. Personal responsibility will" - "People who overeat used to be called gluttons. Now, they're victims. Two overweight Bronx, N.Y., teens who scarfed down McDonald's burgers and fries several times a week blame the company for their health problems. Their attorneys assert they are victims of corporate malfeasance because the chain deceives customers about its products." (USA TODAY)

"Scientists assess climate dangers" - "One of the most highly charged topics preoccupying the governments of the world is to be thrashed out at a UK conference starting on Tuesday. But Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change, a three-day meeting at the Met Office in Exeter, is mainly about the science. The participants, more than 200 in all, will try to agree how to define what is a danger level, and what it should be." (Alex Kirby, BBC News)

"Global warming: grim news expected from scientists' council of war" - "World experts gather next week for the biggest scientific assessment in four years of Earth's global warming crisis, and the conclusions they will reach are likely to be depressing." (Agence France-Presse)

"Climate Change Conference: 'Disaster for Mobility and Enterprise in 2005'" - "As social scientists gather in Exeter for a ‘Dangerous Climate Change’ conference between 01 and 03 February, the outcome appears to have been decided in advance with parallel claims for a climate disaster by 2026, unless taxes rise. Organised by the government, it seems likely that car drivers and capitalists will bear the brunt of any new “pay us more tax and we`ll control the climate” initiatives that arise." (ABD)

"FEATURE-Ancient beasts raise questions about climate change" - "By some estimates, sea levels have risen hundreds of feet since the last ice age 10,000 years ago -- and that event marked the end of a period of fairly rapid climate change that did not trigger large-scale extinctions. "If a mass extinction can be produced by a change in sea level or climate, the recent continental glaciation should have produced a beaut!," writes palaeontologist David M. Raup in his book, "Extinction: Bad Genes or Bad Luck?" Over a period of around 1.6 million years -- known as the Pleistocene epoch -- the planet underwent dramatic changes. "Sea level went up and down hundreds of metres, and temperature zones were compressed towards the equator," Raup writes. "The Pleistocene experienced some extinctions but nothing like the Big 5 (the five known mass extinctions) ... By the same token, there is no significant association between extinction and glaciation further back in time." (Reuters)

"Is Alaska really getting warmer?" - "Alaska's climate seems to be heating up fast, with eroding coastlines, melting glaciers, oozing permafrost and retreating sea ice. Some researchers argue that these changes can definitely be blamed on greenhouse gas emissions by people and their machines. Not so fast, says atmospheric scientist John Walsh, one of the country's leading investigators into climate change." (Anchorage Daily News)

"A Dishonest Broker?" - "The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which is supposed to act as the world's honest broker on global warming issues, is now hopelessly compromised. One prominent scientist resigned in protest at one of its lead authors associating himself with scientifically unsupported assertions. One of the world's most prominent economists judiciously terms the panel's handling of economic data as "at fault" and questions how representative of current economic thought the panel is. Most recently, IPCC Chairman Dr. Rajendra Pachauri publicly endorsed a particular policy agenda that contradicts the IPCC's role as "policy relevant but not policy prescriptive." Dr. Pachauri shows no sign of even considering this institutional conflict of interest. The IPCC clearly needs a new leader who is willing to tackle these problems, or what credibility it retains will disappear into the ether." (Iain Murray, TCS)

"Scotland: Rising sea levels threaten coastal properties" - "Rising sea levels are threatening up to 100,000 homes around Scotland’s coastline. Experts believe property values may plummet by up to 40%." (Edinburgh Scotsman)

"UK: National Trust abandons the battle against sea's power" - "For more than a century, it has been a by-word for the preservation of Britain's heritage into perpetuity. But now the National Trust has admitted large swaths of its coastal beauty spots must be surrendered to the sea. The Trust, Britain's largest private landowner maintaining more than 700 miles of coastline, has accepted that over the next century, global warming will cause conservation areas several hundred metres inland to be inundated because of rising sea levels." (Independent)

"Nuclear key to greenhouse" - "British Prime Minister Tony Blair believes global carbon emissions can be slashed without a substantial fall in living standards and at the World Economic Forum dedicated himself to achieving that goal. But as the forum proceeded it was clear that Blair would fail without nuclear power." (Sydney Australian)

"Editorial: 'Frankenfood' label finally losing ground" - "In the long and continuing struggle between superstition and science, the latter has been winning significant victories as signs grow that biotechnology is finally overcoming the “frankenfood” label used against it by Chicken Littles in the environmental anxiety industry." (Yuma Sun)

"NZ: Stopping the GE Trees in Rotorua" - "Sunday, January 30 - Four people were arrested today while attempting to decontaminate the field trial of Genetically modified trees, all in the Forest Research Institute, Rotorua." (Press Release: People's Moratorium Enforcement Agency)

"Bid to test GM maize in SA gets thumbs down" - "The government has turned down an application by multi-national Dow Agrosciences to test its genetically modified (GM) maize in South Africa. The anti-GM lobby group African Centre for Biosafety, which objected to the application, welcomed the decision, saying it was "outrageous" that a foreign company had tried to use SA as a "guinea pig" to test its products for release in Europe. The organisation said yesterday it had lodged an objection seven months ago with the Department of Agriculture. One of the reasons the application was turned down was because of the potential impact of the pest-resistant GM maize on non-target organisms." (The Cape Times)

January 30, 2005

"Wishes and horses for Africa: The lethal chasm between wind energy hype and reality" - “I would promote wind for power, not damming more rivers,” says actor Ed Begley, Jr. It’s low-cost, renewable, inexhaustible, eco-friendly and emits no greenhouse gases. If banks and energy companies financed wind energy projects, they’d help protect wildlife and habitats, “instead of hurting the Earth for oil,” intones the Rainforest Action Network. If America devoted a mere 1% of its land area to wind turbine farms, it could generate 20% of its electricity from wind, asserts the American Wind Energy Association. And if wishes were horses, beggars would ride. Sadly, equine mirages don’t make sound energy policy. They may generate good sound bites, political polemics and fund-raising appeals. But they don’t generate much electricity." (Paul Driessen, MichNews.com)

Here we go again: "Scientists serious about 'electricity sickness' claims" - "Some researchers believe a proportion of the population suffers ill health, with symptoms including fatigue, severe headaches and skin problems, because of exposure to electromagnetic fields. Other scientists say there is no evidence." (London Daily Telegraph)

"The 'truth' about tobacco smoke" - "Tobacco smoke is not as harmful as the Environmental Protection Agency or those anti-secondhand smoke commercials would have one believe." (Oak Ridge Oak Ridger)

"'Mad cow' disease found in goat" - "A French goat has tested positive for mad cow disease - the first animal in the world other than a cow to have bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE)." (BBC)

"UK: New law to trap animal extremists" - "Ministers will tomorrow outline new legislation that will make 'economic sabotage' a criminal offence. The new law, aimed at stopping animal extremists from attacking and terrorising suppliers of animal testing companies, follows 12 months of relentless, but highly effective, intimidation of small companies and individuals by activists. Lord Sainsbury, the science minister, will announce that it will become a criminal offence to harass, coerce or intimidate companies or individuals to try to get them to break commercial contracts. In future, 'investment terrorism' will become a crime subject to jail sentences." (The Observer)

"Environmental movement has lost its way" - "Scare tactics, disinformation go too far." (Patrick Moore, Miami Herald)

"Arctic ozone may drop to new low" - "The coming weeks could bring the most severe thinning of the ozone layer over northern Europe since records began." (BBC) | Unusual Arctic cold raises fears for ozone hole (NewScientist.com news service)

"Scientists studying wintry ice in summer clouds" - "Ice crystals that form at the top of big summertime clouds may help scientists predict next winter's snowstorm. By learning to classify the ice crystals in clouds, NASA scientists hope to contribute to improving weather and climate models, the complex computer programs used to show future atmospheric conditions." (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center--EOS Project Science Office)

"International science team measures Arctic's atmosphere" - "An international team of scientists embarked this week on a journey to improve modeling of global-scale air quality and climate change predictions by conducting high quality measurements of the Arctic region's atmosphere." (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center--EOS Project Science Office)

The world according to Lester: "Water shortages, global warming to hit grain supply" - "STOCKHOLM, Jan 27 - Water shortages and global warming will hit grain production and push up prices in the coming years, leading to unrest in countries unable to afford imports, the head of a leading think-tank said on Thursday. Shortages of water due to rising population, added to the effects of global warming, will hit wheat, rice and maize supply, pushing up prices and leaving poor countries with no means to meet growing demand for food. "Overpumping to supply the growing food needs of today almost guarantees a future reduction of food supply," said Lester Brown, head of the Washington based Earth Policy Institute." (Reuters)

"Prescott home plan will 'ruin environment'" - "A powerful parliamentary committee and a top Blairite think-tank have both found that the Deputy Prime Minister's £22bn housing plans will endanger the Government's bid to tackle global warming, increase the transport crisis and lead to water shortages." (London Independent)

"People Against People" - "In January, Greenpeace launched coordinated campaigns in Hong Kong and Thailand against power companies for causing global warming by generating electricity from coal. Greenpeace Hong Kong claimed global warming had killed 150,000 people. This is deeply misguided thinking. Nicola Mahncke, from Chung Hom Kok in Hong Kong hit the nail on the head in a letter to the Editor of the Sunday Morning Post, pointing out the money the anti-global warming treaty Kyoto Protocol would waste would be better spent "saving the lives of nearly 1 billion people who do not have access to clean water".

She might have added that electricity generated by coal saved millions in poor countries from early death from respiratory diseases caused by cooking with wood and coal." (Alan Oxley, TCS)

Oh boy, a course in "Building the New Climate Movement": "Rush Limbaugh, Michael Crichton, Fred Singer Nominated for First Annual Flat Earth Award" - "Yesterday, the creation of the first annual Flat Earth Award -- to be given to an individual who vehemently denies the scientific consensus about global warming -- was announced at Middlebury College at a conference on climate change titled "What Works? New Strategies for a Melting Planet."

The award was developed by three Middlebury College students in partnership with Eban Goodstein, founder and director of the Green House Network. The students, sophomores Minna Brown and Makely Lyon of Portland, Ore., and senior John Hanley of Scarsdale, N.Y., collaborated on the development of the prize as a part of their work for a course, "Building the New Climate Movement," taught by Middlebury College Assistant Professor of Economics Jonathan Isham." (YubaNet.com)

"Arctic Cooling" - "While most scientists agree that human activities are causing the world's climate to heat up, two Alaska scientists say that nature still has a big say in how much the Arctic heats up." (Arctic Science Journeys)

'Dangerous' global warming possible by 2026 - WWF" - "World temperatures could surge in just two decades to a threshold likely to trigger dangerous disruptions to the earth's climate, the WWF environmental group said on Sunday." (Reuters) | Climate change 'disaster by 2026' (BBC) | Global warming may kill off polar bears, seals, in 20 years: conservationists (Canadian Press)

A call to arms: "The Sunday Telegraph 3, The Observer 0, and please write to The Observer..." (EnviroSpin Watch)

Emeritus Professor Philip Stott calls for a response to The Observer's fatuous piece, written by Robin McKie (who else?). Don't you feel moved to express yourself?

"How we put the heat on nature" - "As the world's experts meet in Britain to discuss climate change, leading scientists warn that its effects could be unstoppable. Robin McKie reports." (The Observer)

Link correction, The Observer has made a bit of a mess of: http://www.scienceforum.net/pdfs/climate.pdf ("Read on" section)

"The danger is hot air, not global warming" - "To lift Africa from the ravages of poverty and Aids would to most world leaders seem a big enough topic to fill a single speech. But not Tony Blair. Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos last week, the Prime Minister moved swiftly between the subjects of Africa and climate change. "On both," he said, "there are differences which need to be reconciled. If they could be reconciled or at least moved forward, it would make a huge difference to the prospects of international unity, as well as to people's lives and our future survival." (Ross Clark, Telegraph)

"The lone Gaspe cedar" - "This is the second of our two-part series on the flawed science behind the famous "Hockey Stick" chart of historic global temperatures that forms the basis for claims that the world climate is in the midst of unprecedented warming. In yesterday's first installment, Dutch science journalist Marcel Crok outlined the story of two Canadians researchers, Stephen McIntyre and Ross McKitrick, who found serious flaws in the statistical methods used to construct the chart. The McIntyre/McKitrick critique of the chart, created by U.S. scientist Michael Mann, will be published in February by Geophysical Research Letters, the eminent scientific publication. In today's report, Crok explores the rest of the story of how the Canadian researchers uncovered the serious failures that cast the whole chart into doubt." (Marcel Crok, Financial Post) | Part 1: Breaking the Hockey Stick (Marcel Crok, Financial Post)

"A most quotable week..." (EnviroSpin Watch)

"Institute report predicts longer, hotter summers" - "The National Institute for Environmental Studies (NIES) has compiled a report on the possible impact of global warming on Japan, predicting that summer temperatures will rise by 4.2 C in the latter half of the century, and there will be 70 or more days a year with temperatures of at least 30 C. The institute, which tracks climate change in Japan, said cherry trees recently had blossomed three days earlier than the average, while the average temperature in Tokyo had risen by nearly 3 C over the past 100 years." (Yomiuri Shimbun)

Yes, Tokyo has gotten warmer over the last century: "Tokyo's 'heat island' keeps breezes at bay" - "Waterfront wall of high-rises insulates asphalt jungle from cooling effect." (Japan Times)

"Japan, Canada Should Link to EU on CO2" - "OSLO - Japan and Canada should link up to the European Union market for greenhouse gases as the best way to meet their pledges under a U.N. scheme for fighting global warming, a leading analyst said on Friday. Kristian Tangen, managing director of Oslo-based Point Carbon, said the EU model was the best blueprint for a global market under the 137-nation Kyoto protocol for curbing emissions of heat-trapping gases from cars, factories and power plants." (Reuters)

"U.K. Request Clouds Trading of Emissions" - "A controversial request by the United Kingdom government is threatening to derail the European Union's fledgling carbon-emissions trading system only weeks after its official launch, according to participants in the market." (Dow Jones)

"British business: environmental scapegoat or scaremonger?" - "Polluting industries and big business have put the government under pressure to lower "ambitious" emissions reduction targets, saying that they will damage the UK's economy. However, the Environmental Industries Commission (EIC) have accused the lobbying "environmental deregulationists" of trying to push the government into back-pedalling on their environmental protection policies, and has launched a counter-lobby campaign against them." (Edie News)

"EPA voluntary emission program's progress still a mystery" - "27 January 2005 - Here's the good news about U.S. EPA's Climate Leaders program: Twenty-eight companies have set goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 8 million metric tons a year -- the equivalent of taking 5 million cars off the road. But are the companies doing what they pledged? Nobody knows. Three years into the voluntary program, EPA has not published any results. Many of the largest emitters of carbon dioxide would not disclose CO2 data when contacted by Greenwire, and other companies conceded they have a long way to go to reach their goals". (Greenwire)

"Shell oil chief defects to the green lobby" - "THE outgoing chairman of Shell has announced he wants to take up a post with a climate-change charity when he quits the oil giant later this year, writes Jonathan Leake." (The Sunday Times)

Ohh... "Petrol pumps may get health warning" - 'PETROL pumps could soon be labelled with “health warnings” telling motorists that the fuel they are buying will contribute to climate change. This is one proposal being considered by government officials as part of the British effort to make drastic cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. The move comes as the government finalises arrangements for a science conference to be hosted by the Met Office at its headquarters in Exeter, starting on Tuesday." (The Sunday Times)

"UK: Labour plots new nuclear power plants" - "The Labour Party is planning to publish a White Paper that would pave the way for the construction of several new nuclear power stations if it emerges victorious from the forthcoming General Election. The Government is understood to have decided not to reveal its plans until after the election because it believes the issue could be a vote loser." (Telegraph)

"Jenny Jjul: We need clear thinking from our leaders not wind" - "Scotland has 25% of Europe’s wind, according to Alex Salmond, the leader of the Scottish Nationalist party. Salmond is big on wind. As is the Green party. Wind is classified as a renewable source of energy and, as such, meets the Greens’ criteria for reducing carbon emissions and stopping climate change in its tracks." (The Times)

"World Social Forum protests transgenic foods" - 'PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil - A hundred environmental groups, from Greenpeace to Brazil's Landless Peasant Movement, protested genetically modified foods outside Monsanto offices here." (AFP)

January 28, 2005

"Scientists Stonewall on Spurious Soda Scare" - "Harvard University researchers denied this week the charge that they omitted material information from a study they used to scare the public about soft drinks causing diabetes." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com

"An Environmentalist's View of DDT Usage" - "Sigh. Where to begin with this nonsensical tirade against DDT? The writer chooses to turn this into some sort of religious debate. He's on shaky ground though; wouldn't Jesus want children to be saved from malaria? Wouldn't Jesus also be interested in the truth, which seems to be remarkably scarce here?" (AFM)

"Lukyamuzi, Let Us Have an Intellectual Debate on DDT" - "Some sanity prevails in Uganda. MP Ken Lukyamuzi has campaigned against DDT on the basis of lies and misinformation ... we are delighted that the nonsense he spouts is being challenged." (AFM)

Letter of the moment: "Ideology vs. Health" - "Senate has dropped the ball in not taking tough stance against POPs Treaty, and is poised to allow international bureaucrats to dictate how we use chemicals." (Christopher C. Horner, The Washington Times)

"Review of banned pesticide stirs up safety concerns" - "The Canadian federal government may allow a controversial farm chemical back onto the market, but opinions are mixed about whether the move is a good idea." (CBC Canada)

"Evidence of green effrontery" - "GREEN lobbyists have always been good at getting their retaliation in first. A whiff of GM pollen, carbon dioxide or nuclear fuel, and the press releases come thick and fast." (Mark Henderson, The Times)

"Science sceptics meet on climate" - "A conference to question whether global warming will have a catastrophic effect is being held in London on 27 January. It is being organised by the Scientific Alliance, which says its purpose is to bring together scientists and others to discuss environmental challenges. One speaker is Richard Lindzen, who is professor of atmospheric science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology." (BBC)

Proving some people come away from meetings only with what they take into them: "Climate change impact disputed" - "Here is the truth about global warming: it is an anti-capitalist agenda, a Machiavellian political plot and a convenient rumour started by bungling Japanese pineapple farmers. It is a front for paranoia about immigration, an incitement to civil war, and the reason that the world's attention was distracted from the risk of a tsunami. And it hasn't killed as many people as Hitler or Stalin. Welcome to the UK's first dedicated meeting of climate change sceptics, where the consistent message is that global warming will not have a catastrophic effect, and if it does there is little the world can or should do about it." (David Adam, The Guardian)

"Apocalypse No" - "The conference was organised by The Scientific Alliance, an independent group of scientists, without taxpayer funding. It was a nostalgic treat, in these days of Government regulated research, to be among people who were driven by their dedication to science and truth." (Number Watch)

"Let science debate begin" - "For some time now this page has been publishing comment on The Hockey Stick, the central piece of scientific evidence for the United Nation's claim that the world is warmer now than at any time in the last 1,000 years. Today we begin a major two-part investigation that delves deeper into the foundations for what may well be the most important economic, scientific and business graphic in world history." (Terence Corcoran, Financial Post)

"Breaking the hockey stick" - "The famous graph that supposedly shows that recent temperatures are the highest in a thousand years has now been shown by careful analysis to have been based on faulty data." (Marcel Crok, Financial Post)

"UK works for climate adaptation" - "The British government says it is now working on a strategy to adapt to the effects of increasing climate change. Efforts have till now been focused on trying to avert the prospect through reducing emissions of the greenhouse gases scientists say are responsible. The environment department says it is committed to publish the adaptation strategy before the end of this year." (Alex Kirby, BBC)

"A Warming Climate" - "FOR THE PAST four years members of the Bush administration have cast doubt on the scientific community's consensus on climate change. But even if they don't like the science, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, one of their closest allies in Iraq and elsewhere, has given the administration another, more realpolitik, reason to rejoin the climate change debate: "If America wants the rest of the world to be part of the agenda it has set, it must be part of their agenda, too," the prime minister said this week." (The Washington Post)

And when their agenda is to make the US less competitive in the global economy?

"US responds coolly to Blair call for action on climate change" - "The US responded coolly yesterday to the call by Tony Blair, Britain's prime minister, for concerted international action on climate change. The administration's opposition to the UN-brokered Kyoto protocol on climate change requiring mandatory curbs on greenhouse gas emissions remained essentially unchanged, US officials said." (Financial Times)

"Pachauri Must Resign as Head of UN Climate Panel - Activism Compromises Scientific Objectivity" - "Washington, D.C., January 27, 2005—The Competitive Enterprise Institute today called on Dr. Rajendra K. Pachauri to resign as chairman of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on the grounds that his political activism fatally compromises his IPCC responsibilities. “Dr. Pachauri’s actions are those of a policy advocate, not an objective official,” said Iain Murray, Senior Fellow in International Policy. “The world can no longer rely on him for accurate and unbiased analysis.” (CEI)

"Hot models" - "THIS month saw the start of a period when climate change will be in the news a lot. On January 17th Chris Landsea, a hurricanes specialist, withdrew from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, accusing it of “having become politicised”. On January 25th a report by the International Climate Change Taskforce called for drastic actions to cut carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. On February 1st a conference on the subject will be held at Britain's Hadley climate centre. And on February 16th the Kyoto protocol comes into force. You have been warned." (The Economist)

I think that should read: "Crock models" because the more garbage shoveled in, the worse garbage they're getting out. After decades of "climate modeling" we've gone from a guesstimate range of 3 °C to one of more than 9 °C. Since earlier iterations could not "predict" (postdict?) past climate any better than a table of random numbers, having trebled the scatter of results suggests these are far worse than guesses.

"A fresh look at curbing greenhouse gases" - "With the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change officially going into force this month, the battle among countries to bring the protocol to life is now over. But there is a new challenge: stabilizing emissions beyond 2012, when the protocol expires." (Environmental Science & Technology)

"Canada Split Over Restrictions on Car Emissions" - "FREDERICTON, New Brunswick - The two Canadian ministers negotiating with car makers over cuts in emissions are split on what to do, with one favoring binding restrictions and the other saying he wants the talks to continue." (Reuters)

"Scientists study gases from cows" - "Air pollution regulators may have worried too much about the wrong end of the dairy cow. Researchers announced Wednesday that cow manure and murky waste lagoons probably contribute far less smog-making gas than previously suspected." (Fresno Bee)

"UK: The renewable energy industry is up in arms about swingeing new business taxes" - "The Government was accused of "sabotaging" Britain's renewable energy industry yesterday by introducing new business rates that could more than triple the taxes paid by some green power generators." (Telegraph)

"Food Porn" - "Whole Foods founder John Mackey built a retail powerhouse peddling food as sensual, succulent succor. His stores preach organic virtue and profit from culinary vice." (Forbes)

"Singer back, with new food for thought" - "Australia's best-known philosopher, Peter Singer, is back in Melbourne for his latest piece of ethical research, which is as close to the stomach as the mind. It is, simply, what we eat: where and how it is grown, whether it has been genetically modified, who grew it, how it has been traded. Given his controversial theories on veganism, euthanasia and animal rights, his new work - and the book that will follow - is sure to give readers food for thought." (The Age)

"U.N. Food Agency Recommends Guidelines on Environmental Impact of Biotech Foods" - "ROME -- A U.N. food agency called Thursday for thorough consultations and checks on the impact that genetically modified foods might produce on the environment, saying that monitoring was becoming more important as cultivation of biotech crops spread." (Associated Press)

"China’s wild card on transgenic tree front" - "With commercial plantings of genetically engineered poplar trees taking root in China, this could be where the grand experiment on the potential of controversial transgenic tree technology plays out, according to forestry researchers." (Environmental Science & Technology)

"Report says GE crops threaten growing organic farming industry" - "MONTPELIER, Vt. -- Contamination from genetically engineered crops threatens Vermont's growing organic farming industry, advocates said Thursday. The number of certified organic acres has more than doubled in the past five years, from 15,967 in 1999 to 35,826 in 2004, according to a report released Thursday by the Vermont Public Interest Research Group. The number of organic farmers has more than tripled from 90 in 1994 to 332 in 2004, the report said." (Associated Press)

January 27, 2005

Turning Children Against Business - There are dangers in teaching youngsters that capitalism is evil and that only activism can save us. (Steve Milloy, New York Sun)

Pelman v. McDonald's - Here's the appellate court decision that breathes new life into the lawsuit against McDonald's. The reason the plaintiffs succeeded on appeal is that the trial judge erred, according to the appellate court, in determining that the plaintiffs failed to draw an adequate causal connection between their consumption of McDonald's food and their alleged injuries. The appellate court felt that, under the particular New York law relied on by the plaintiffs, information related to causation is more appropriately the subject of pre-trial discovery and did not have to be alleged in the complaint.

"Nonsense for the Diet Season" - "New obesity/exercise study 'finds' smoking good for your health." (Sandy Szwarc, TCS)

"Study Tries to Link Obesity in Children With Food Marketing" - "Do SpongeBob SquarePants cereal and Scooby-Doo fruit snacks make kids fat? Amid a growing battle over how food and beverages are marketed to children, the question is surprisingly tough to answer. While it might seem obvious that bombarding kids with sales pitches for cartoon-character cereal and snacks contributes to the obesity epidemic among U.S. children, scientists say the hard evidence is thin." (The Wall Street Journal)

"Tsunamis help atolls to beat rising seas" - "New Zealand and Australian scientists predict a surprise reprieve for low coral atolls that many fear will disappear under rising oceans because of global warming. Auckland University geographers Paul Kench and Scott Nichol, and Australian professor Roger McLean have found that coral islets in the Maldives in the Indian Ocean built up in a way that kept them ahead of rising sea level in the past, and should be able to keep it up in the future." (New Zealand Herald)

"Study bolsters greenhouse effect theory, solves ice age mystery" - "Critics who dismiss the importance of greenhouse gases as a cause of climate change lost one piece of ammunition this week. In a new study, scientists found further evidence of the role that greenhouse gases have played in Earth's climate. Scientists report that a long-ago ice age occurred 10 million years earlier than once thought. The new date clears up an inconsistency that has dogged climate change research for years." (Ohio State University)

Hey lookit! "Alarm at new climate warning" - "Global temperatures could rise by as much as eleven degrees Celsius, according to one of the largest climate prediction projects ever run. This figure is twice the level that previous studies have suggested. The scientists behind the project, called climateprediction.net, say it shows there's no such thing as a safe level of carbon dioxide. The results of the study, which used PCs around the world to produce data, are published in the journal Nature." (Richard Black, BBC) | Soaring global warming 'can't be ruled out' (NewScientist.com news service) | Climate models: net gains (Nature)

Well blimey mate! Distributed computing project demonstrates that multiple machines running programs hard coded to guesstimate warming in response to increased atmospheric carbon dioxide do, in fact, guesstimate such warming! How do they do it?

But wait! There's more! So "alarming" is this discovery (according to Black) that they've decided there's "no such thing as a safe level of carbon dioxide" - the very stuff of life that feeds the plant life that supports our biosphere (stop exhaling, that man!). Well, now we know CO2 to be so dangerous, so directly causal, we can solve a few other little mysteries like anomalous warming around the Antarctic Peninsula - it must be all those blasted minke whales exhaling around there and causing the collapse of the Larsen B ice shelf! Perhaps we can trade greenhouse credits for whaling - that'll help save the planet.

To be serious, for a moment, just how good are these computer games we call "climate models?" With a timely review of Uncertainty requirements in radiative forcing of climate (Schwartz, S.E., Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association 54: 1351-1359), co2science.org reminds us that modeled climate uncertainty has gone from a range of 1.5-4.5 °C, through the now more commonly cited 1.4-5.8 °C and here we have hysterical stories based on such definitive "prediction" as temperature increment from <2-11 °C. Twenty five years advance in modeling climate has "narrowed" our uncertainty range from 3 °C to a whopping >9 °C! A precision, incidentally, which is less than that exhibited by the number of candles on my wife's birthday cake.

On a positive note, the ridiculous emissions of our shrieking Jeremiads suggest that the great global warming scare has just about run its course. About time too!

"When will global warming reach a point of no return?" - "When the world warms so much that it causes irreversible damage to ecosystems. Ice sheets will be doomed to melt, species will become extinct and critical ocean currents will grind to a halt. At least, that's the idea." (The Guardian)

"The Warmest in 1000 Years? Revisiting the Hockey Stick" - "A science article that appears today in Geophysical Research Letters casts serious doubt on the oft-cited claim that global temperatures are warmer now than they have been anytime in the last 1,000 years." (Roy Spencer, TCS)

Uh-huh... "Oil firms fund campaign to deny climate change" - "Lobby groups funded by the US oil industry are targeting Britain in a bid to play down the threat of climate change and derail action to cut greenhouse gas emissions, leading scientists have warned. Bob May, president of the Royal Society, says a "a lobby of professional sceptics who opposed action to tackle climate change" is turning its attention to Britain because of its high profile in the debate. Writing in the Life section of today's Guardian, Prof May says the government's decision to make global warming a focus of its G8 presidency has made it a target. So has the high profile of its chief scientific adviser, David King, who described climate change as a bigger threat than terrorism." (The Guardian)

They probably should but Ron Oxburgh, the chairman of Shell's UK-listed holding company, appears to be working the other side of the street.

"Come on you cavaliers - let's enrage those puritans..." (EnviroSpin Watch)

Fight Global Warming: Turn on the A/C & Open the Windows (Diplomad)

"Blair asks for 'global consensus'" - "There is an "emerging consensus" on key issues such as climate change and poverty, UK Prime Minister Tony Blair has told the World Economic Forum." (BBC)

"Blair says U.S. must work with rest of world, Chirac calls for fight on poverty" - "British Prime Minister Tony Blair said Wednesday the United States must do more to address the concerns of the rest of the world if it expects support for its own policies, and he cited global warming as a prime example." (Associated Press)

"Blair bid for backing on climate" - "Tony Blair is seeking to win US backing for measures to tackle global warming, insisting they did not have to lead to "drastic" cuts in living standards." (BBC)

From the moonbat roost: "To save the planet, bring back Byers" - "The fight against global warming needs a champion in government." (The Guardian)

"Scientists Debate Climate Change Amid Stark Warnings" - "LONDON - World scientists gather next week to discuss the climate change crisis threatening the planet amid stark warnings that the time for talking is over and action is urgently needed. But far from making any recommendations for action to their political masters, the scientists from 30 countries will review the state of knowledge and try to define just what constitutes "dangerous" levels of climate warming." (Reuters)

See! They do have a bridge to sell ya! "Canada, Russia eye 'bridge' over melting ice cap" - "VANCOUVER - Global warming may augur future environmental misery for some, but it is good news for entrepreneurs poised to cash in on the melting polar ice cap to forge a new Canada-Russia trade route." (AFP)

"Climate Debate Threatens Republican Clean-Air Bill" - "WASHINGTON, Jan. 26 - The Congressional battle over how to reduce air pollution from power plants began anew on Wednesday with consideration of the approach most favored by the White House. But after three hours of testimony on that initiative, the Clear Skies Act of 2005, it was obvious that nothing had diminished the concerns that scuttled an earlier version of the legislation. Indeed, one co-sponsor conceded that without major compromises, the new bill was most likely doomed." (New York Times)

"Mississippi Extends Hospitality to Nuclear Power" - "PORT GIBSON, Miss., Jan. 20 - Facing the possibility that a utility company would try to build a new nuclear reactor here, the City of Port Gibson and surrounding Claiborne County moved swiftly last month to protect the interests of their residents. "We're willing to do whatever it takes to do to make this happen," said Amelda J. Arnold, the city's mayor. Last month, city aldermen voted unanimously to urge the Entergy Corporation, which already operates one reactor here, to build a second. The County Board of Supervisors did the same." (New York Times)

"Oil, Oil, Everywhere . . ." - "The price of oil remains high only because the cost of oil remains so low. We remain dependent on oil from the Mideast not because the planet is running out of buried hydrocarbons, but because extracting oil from the deserts of the Persian Gulf is so easy and cheap that it's risky to invest capital to extract somewhat more stubborn oil from far larger deposits in Alberta.

The market price of oil is indeed hovering up around $50-a-barrel on the spot market. But getting oil to the surface currently costs under $5 a barrel in Saudi Arabia, with the global average cost certainly under $15. And with technology already well in hand, the cost of sucking oil out of the planet we occupy simply will not rise above roughly $30 per barrel for the next 100 years at least." (Peter Huber and Mark Mills, The Wall Street Journal)

"China Using Environment Rules To Help Cool Economy" - "BEIJING - China has begun using environmental regulations to put the brakes on some projects and help cool its overheating economy, an environmental protection official was quoted as saying on Tuesday." (Reuters)

"Government tightens law on GM declaration" - "The Swiss government has decided to tighten the declaration of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in food to conform to European Union norms. The new legislation, which offers greater transparency with labelling, will allow consumers to see a clear difference between genetically modified and unmodified foods." (swissinfo)

January 26, 2005

"US ruling revives fears of obesity legislation" - "The spectre of anti-obesity litigation against the food industry returned on Tuesday night when a US appeals court ruled that McDonald's must face a suit by New York teenagers seeking billions of dollars for allegedly hiding the health risks of Chicken McNuggets. The plaintiffs, four teenage girls from the Bronx, are seeking to hold the world's biggest hamburger chain responsible for their obesity and health problems. They say McDonald's deceived customers about its products and failed to display nutritional information prominently enough." (Financial Times)

"U.S. Appeals Court Reinstates Frivolous Obesity Lawsuit Against McDonald's" - "WASHINGTON, Jan. 25 -- The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second District has overturned a judge's ruling, which dismissed a notorious 2002 lawsuit blaming McDonald's for the weight of a handful of its customers. The pared-down case will now return to the trial court judge. Trial lawyers, led by George Washington University law professor John Banzhaf, are planning a wave of lawsuits trying to turn food companies and restaurants into their next cash cow. Banzhaf plans "to sue them and sue them and sue them." Somewhere, he argues, "there is going to be a judge and a jury that will buy this, and once we get the first verdict ... it will open the floodgates." (PRNewswire)

"U.S. food firms, ad agencies form lobby-WSJ" - "NEW YORK, Jan 26 - U.S. food companies and advertising agencies have created a lobbying group to defend the right to advertise to children, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday. The group, the Alliance for American Advertising, is the most ambitious effort yet to deflect government regulation or other intervention in food advertising aimed at kids, which critics link to high rates of childhood obesity, the article said." (Reuters)

Groan... "Warning over chemicals in baby bottles" - "Professor Fred vom Saal claims the chemical Bisphenol A, used in the production of many clear plastic bottles, could be linked to a growth in the number of children diagnosed with behavioural disorders." (London Evening Standard)

Like a dog with a Frisbee, isn't he?

"Report assesses health implications of perchlorate ingestion" - "A new report by the National Academies' National Research Council on the health effects of perchlorate, a chemical that in high doses can decrease thyroid function in humans and that is present in many public drinking-water supplies, says daily ingestion of up to 0.0007 milligrams per kilogram of body weight can occur without adversely affecting the health of even the most sensitive populations." (The National Academies)

"EU food industry called to battle against obesity" - "BRUSSELS - Europe's food and drink industry will soon sit down with consumers, health workers and EU regulators to agree ways to tackle a rising trend of obesity, particularly in children, the EU's executive said on Tuesday." (Reuters)

"Study: Many Blacks Cite AIDS Conspiracy" - "More than 20 years after the AIDS epidemic arrived in the United States, a significant proportion of African Americans embrace the theory that government scientists created the disease to control or wipe out their communities, according to a study released today by Rand Corp. and Oregon State University." (Washington Post)

"Ireland Curbs 'American Disease' -- Personal-Injury Lawsuits" - "In Ireland, business owners have pushed through a series of legal reforms that are showing signs of reducing insurance premiums for consumers and business and cutting the number of personal-injury claims." (Wall Street Journal)

"Report Sheds Light on Changing Role of Regulation" - "The Bush administration's annual report on the costs and benefits of regulation can be read as a blueprint to an eight-year effort to substantially change the role of regulation in the federal government." (Washington Post)

"According to Report, River Erosion Lowering Water Levels on Lake Michigan, Lake Huron" - "TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — Lake Huron and Lake Michigan are losing vast amounts of water because of erosion from a decades-old dredging project, according to a new study. The lakes, connected geologically, saw levels drop when a commercial navigation channel was dug at the bottom of the St. Clair River in 1962, boosting the flow south toward Lake Erie. But, according to a report issued Monday, previously undetected erosion has made the channel more than 60 feet deep in some places - twice as deep as needed for shipping." (Associated Press)

"Learn lessons from tsunami disaster, environment conference told" - "A UN-backed conference on biodiversity was told here Monday that Asia's tsunami disaster was a brutal warning for humanity to tackle the world's worsening environmental crisis." (Agence France-Presse)

Not quite so "at one" with Gaia? "Arid Australian interior linked to landscape burning by ancient humans" - "Landscape burning by ancient hunters and gatherers may have triggered the failure of the annual Australian Monsoon some 12,000 years ago, resulting in the desertification of the country's interior that is evident today, according to a new study." (University of Colorado at Boulder)

"Global warming takes its toll on the world's highest mountain as Everest shrinks by 4ft" - "It got bigger only recently, but now it may be shrinking. What on earth is happening to Mount Everest? News reports from China yesterday said there was official concern that the top of the world's tallest mountain is getting lower ­ and melting glaciers caused by global warming may be to blame." (Independent)

"Cooled Down" - "The global-warming hype is running out of (greenhouse?) gas, as it very much deserves." (Steven F. Hayward, National Review)

"Blair and Brown to push G8 agenda" - "PM's keynote speech to highlight government's call for action on climate change and Africa" (The Guardian)

"Going beyond Bush" - "In hosting G8, the UK has its chance to affect climate change but should forget about influencing the US, argues Tom Burke" (The Guardian)

"UK: PM ignores calls to criticise Bush over global warming" - "Tony Blair will avoid outright criticism of President George Bush's record on climate change today in his keynote speech to business leaders at the world economic summit in Davos. The Prime Minister's refusal to attack the US President over White House policy has dismayed British campaigners and advisers who warned Mr Blair yesterday that delay in taking action risks bringing catastrophe to the world. At a breakfast seminar in Downing Street yesterday, lobbyists urged Mr Blair to be tougher." (Independent)

"Illarionov Ditches Davos Forum" - "In Davos, Illarionov planned to revisit the subject of Kyoto as a panelist. However, organizers did not schedule him for the particular panel discussion at which he wanted to speak. "A ban from participating in a discussion -- expressing a position shared by thousands of scientists and specialists in the field across the globe -- is nothing but the introduction of censorship," he said. Illarionov has repeatedly bashed the scientific and economic assumptions behind Kyoto, claiming the treaty will strangle growth by limiting industrial emissions believed to cause global warming." (The Moscow Times)

"Bad Science, Politics of Global Warming Lead to Resignation" - "Distinguished researcher Chris Landsea's resignation earlier this week from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is evidence that global warming has become politicized, according to scholars with the National Center for Policy Analysis's (NCPA) E-Team project. "I applaud Chris Landsea's principled stand," said S. Fred Singer, E-Team adjunct scholar and president of the Science and Environmental Project. This is yet another black mark against the IPCC, and serves as a warning against accepting their conclusions." (The Conservative Voice)

"Changes in the Arctic: Consequences for the World" - "Goddard -- Observations and computer models have long proven that the Arctic plays an important role in maintaining a stable climate on Earth. However, significant changes in the Arctic environment, especially those over the past decade, could lead to dramatic swings in weather and climate patterns across the rest of the globe, with potentially far-reaching consequences for ecosystems and human populations. Societies that have adapted to their current climates may be faced with highly disruptive changes over relatively short time periods." (Red Nova)

Arctic Warming Update

"Kyoto's benefits overstated, climate-change rebel says" - "Controversial Danish political scientist Bjorn Lomborg brought his anti-Kyoto Accord message to Vancouver Monday, saying that the global community should concentrate on issues like HIV/AIDS and malnutrition and worry less about global warming." (Vancouver Sun)

From CO2 Science Magazine this week:

"Coral Calcification Will Not be Reduced in a CO2-Enriched Warmer World" - "For half a decade the public has been told that rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations will lead to severe reductions in the calcification rates of coral reefs, which could ultimately result in their total demise. For half a decade the public has been told a blatant falsehood." (co2science.org)

Subject Index Summaries:
"Precipitation (Trends - Regional: North America, Canada and Mexico)" - "Do precipitation events become more extreme in response to rising temperatures, as climate alarmists claim they do?" (co2science.org)

"Ozone (Effects on Plants - Tree Species: Birch)" - "Ozone wages war on birch trees; but CO2 defends them." (co2science.org)

Plant Growth Data:
This week we add new results (blue background) of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature for: Black Pine, Honey Mesquite, Perennial Ryegrass and White Clover." (co2science.org)

Journal Reviews:
"The Fuzzy Predictions of State-of-the-Art Climate Models" - "Just how uncertain are they? ... and what are the implications for their use in helping to formulate energy policy?" (co2science.org)

"The 20th-Century Climate of Bulgaria" - "How well does its history reflect the "hindcasts" of the IPCC?" (co2science.org)

"Cold Winters vs. Warm Summers" - "Their Relative Impacts on Mortality in Japan: Which is deadlier? The stress of cold or the stress of heat?" (co2science.org)

"A Six-Year CO2 Enrichment Study of a Phosphorus-Poor and Water-Limited Grassland" - "Growing on a soil significantly deficient in both moisture and an essential plant nutrient, is it reasonable to expect a natural grassland to exhibit much of a growth response to atmospheric CO2 enrichment?" (co2science.org)

"Doubling Atmospheric Ozone and CO2 Concentrations" - "Effects on Silver Birch Tree Growth: Ozone hurts; CO2 helps. Which predominates?" (co2science.org)

"Climate change and the future of air travel" - "The investigation focuses on how aircraft can avoid creating vapour trails, also known as contrails. These spindly threads of condensation may not seem important but some persist for hours and behave in the same way as high altitude cirrus clouds, trapping warmth in the atmosphere and exacerbating global warming." (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council)

"Kazumoto Yamamoto: Environmental tax will sap competitive edge" - "If we proceed on the principle of coexistence between the economy and the environment, there is no way to sidestep the issue of nuclear power, despite the inevitable objections." (The Asahi Shimbun)

"America Is Not Facing an Unavoidable Energy Shortage" - "The year 2004 will be remembered as a year of high prices for gasoline and natural gas, and Americans are understandably worried about the cost of energy for 2005 and beyond. But the federal Energy Information Administration (EIA) recently released a preliminary version of its Annual Energy Outlook 2005, and it paints a surprisingly optimistic picture for the decades ahead." (Ben Lieberman, Human Events Online)

"Survey: Canadians suspicious of biotech foods" - "OTTAWA — The vast majority of Canadians remain deeply suspicious of biotech food even though they have been consuming it for years with no evidence of adverse health effects." (Canadian Press)

"Greenpeace intercepts shipload of transgenic soya" - "Protesters on a Greenpeace boat Tuesday boarded a freighter on the high seas sailing from Argentina to France in protest against genetically modified organisms, the environmental campaigner said here." (AFP)

"Italian parliament approves GM farming law" - "ROME, Jan 25 - Italy's parliament approved on Tuesday legislation the government said would pave the way for farmers to safely plant genetically modified crops, if they choose to do so. But biotechnology supporters complained the bill would essentially uphold a "medieval" moratorium based on backward ideas about genetically altered crops." (Reuters)

"Angolan GM Ban Takes Effect" - "LUANDA - Jan 25/05 -- An Angolan law banning the import and use of genetically modified (GM) foods has come into effect, sparking fears that donor contributions - already being scaled back - will be cut even further." (IRIN)

January 25, 2005

"Millions of Lives on the Line in Malaria Battle" - "The search for new cures for malaria is never ending." (New York Times)

True, and we should broadly reintroduce DDT to the third world battle against this defeatable killer while we seek new and better ways.

"America's War On 'Carcinogens'"
published by American Council on Science and Health

Wednesday, January 26, 2005
12:00 noon—Luncheon
1:00 p.m.—Panel Discussion

Featuring Michael B. Bracken, Ph.D., M.P.H., Susan Dwight Bliss Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health, Yale University; Michael Kamrin, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, Michigan State University, Consultant in Toxicology and Risk Analysis; Henry Miller, M.D., Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University; A. Alan Moghissi, Ph.D., President, Institute for Regulatory Science; Gilbert Ross, M.D., Medical Director, American Council on Science and Health; Kimberly M. Thompson, Sc.D., Associate Professor of Risk Analysis and Decision Science, Harvard Medical School, Creator and Director, Kids Risk Project, Harvard School of Public Health and Children's Hospital, Boston; Peter Van Doren, Editor, Regulation; and Elizabeth Whelan, Sc.D., M.P.H., M.S., President and Founder, American Council on Science and Health.

The Cato Institute
1000 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001

Watch the Event Live in RealVideo
Listen to the Event in RealAudio (Audio Only)

"Good News about America's Top Killers" - "Americans learned yesterday that cancer has surpassed heart disease as the leading killer of Americans under age eighty-five. So says Cancer Facts & Figures 2005 by the American Cancer Society. While this may at first seem to be a scary indication that the rate of death from cancer has been rising significantly (as many of today's headlines proclaiming cancer the new "leading killer" imply), the truth about recent trends should actually cause more comfort than alarm." (Rivka Weiser, ACSH)

"Up to 140,000 heart attacks linked to Vioxx" - "Up to 140,000 extra heart attacks may have been caused by the recently withdrawn drug Vioxx in the US since its launch in 1999, suggests a new study. And millions of people may have been exposed unnecessarily to the risk of heart attack by taking COX-2 inhibitor drugs, including Vioxx, when they did not need the medicines, according to a second study." (NewScientist.com news service)

Feeling left out: "World panel proposed for tackling impending extinction threat" - "PARIS : Scientists called for the creation of a top expert panel on species loss, aiming to give the planet's looming extinction crisis the same headline-making punch as global warming." (AFP)

"Earth's Thermostat Went Awry, and the Air Grew Thin" - "Like a chaotic pendulum, earth's climate swings, at uneven intervals, between warm and chilly ages lasting from thousands to millions of years. New research suggests that about 251 million years ago, one of those swings jolted the world so violently that oxygen became scarce, the planet's thermostat went awry and nearly all life fell into oblivion in the greatest of mass extinctions." (New York Times)

Weekly Whipple: "Climate: A peek at the next IPCC report" - "Boulder, CO, Jan. 24 -- The world of climate science is not renowned for self-deprecating humor, but Gerald Meehl, a senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, recently described progress made on the fourth assessment report for Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which is due out in 2007." (Dan Whipple, UPI)

"Antarctica, Warming, Looks Ever More Vulnerable" - "A continent is quickly changing. The questions are how and why." (New York Times)

Antarctic1903-2004.gif (34129 bytes) Antarctica, however, is not warming. While the enhanced greenhouse hypothesis insists the Antarctic should demonstrate the most dramatic response to rising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels due to its cold, dry atmosphere, the simple fact is the Antarctic is not cooperating.

South Polar air samples record atmospheric CO2 rising from 328 ppmv to 373 ppmv subsequent to the 1949-1974 temperature increase - almost 15% increase apparently without affecting Polar temperatures, while startling temperature changes of ~4 °C (+ve and -ve) are recorded in periods when we know atmospheric CO2 was increasing at a more leisurely rate.

A treasured hypothesis insists increasing atmospheric CO2 should lead to increasing temperature and the South Polar super-cold, super-dry air mass should respond dramatically. Well, we looked for the CO2 increment and it is obvious. We looked for the temperature increment and... what? Found it missing? There it was, gone?

We've already had the "you could see the warming if it wasn't being hidden by the cooling (which is being hidden by the warming)" thing - see "Stratospheric Cooling?" What is Big Warming going to come up with now - "Please Miss, the ozone hole ate my Antarctic warming"?

"What a load of crystal balls..." (EnviroSpin Watch)

"Climate crisis near 'in 10 years'" - "The world may have little more than a decade to avert catastrophic climate change, politicians and scientists say." (Alex Kirby, BBC)

You have to feel for doomsayers - one day they'll be right and they won't be able to say "Told ya!" Meanwhile, to Big Warming's chagrin, enhanced greenhouse is saving us: A test of the overdue-glaciation hypothesis

"World leaders still failing on major global challenges: report" - "GENEVA : World leaders have made no progress in keeping promises to tackle key global challenges such as poverty or climate change and need to engage the corporate world far more, a think tank set up by the World Economic Forum said." (AFP)

"Meeting the Climate Challenge?" - "Another day, another report on global warming and climate change. (Sigh). This one is called "Meeting the Climate Challenge" from the self-appointed International Climate Change Taskforce and has been organized by The Institute for Public Policy Research (UK), The Center for American Progress (USA) and The Australia Institute (guess). Amongst the panel members we have from the US Senator Olympia Snowe; from the UK Stephen Byers MP (this is the man who when Transport Secretary deliberately bankrupted the private railroad system to replace it with a state-run system which costs three times as much and performs worse) and Jonathan Porritt (Founder of Friends of the Earth and here proudly described as Vice-President of the Socialist Environment Resources Association); and, as Scientific Adviser, Dr Rajendra K Pachauri who is, as we know, chair of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change." (Tim Worstall, TCS)

"Panel urges U.S. to do more on climate 'time bomb'" - "OSLO, Jan 24 - An international panel of experts urged Washington on Monday to join other nations in a drive to avert the "ecological time bomb" of global warming." (Reuters)

"New climate force urged" - "The G8 group of nations should form a new global force, including Australia and key developing nations, to lead the fight against climate change post-Kyoto, a report recommends." (Melbourne Age)

"Australia: Govt defends approach to climate change" - "Environment Minister Ian Campbell defended Australia's efforts to tackle climate change despite a new international report calling for it to do more. A report by the International Climate Change Taskforce, which includes NSW Premier Bob Carr, calls on Australia and the United States to develop strategies on climate change similar to countries which signed up to the Kyoto protocol. The report urges Australia, which along with US has not signed the protocol, to work with the G8 group of nations to develop technology plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions." (AAP)

"Ottawa ponders billions more for Kyoto" - "After being battered mercilessly for lacking a Kyoto implementation plan, the Prime Minister's Office has drawn up a proposal that would completely meet Canada's target under the treaty, says a well-informed source." (Canadian Press)

"Blair to urge action on warming" - "Tony Blair to tell international business leaders that climate change must be at the top of their agenda to help their companies avert financial hardship." (The Guardian)

Some politicians float balloons about changing their nations' flags when they wish to misdirect attention, for whatever reason. Mr. Blair seems to be making a lot of noise about "global warming" doesn't he. It is doubtful that there can be much of the business population that feels artificially inflating the cost of critical input streams like energy is a good way to avert financial hardship.

"Report: Remove turbines in Altamont to save birds" - "A new study recommends removing up to 653 wind turbines in California's Altamont Pass and shutting down the remaining machines each winter and fall to reduce bird deaths." (Oakland Tribune)

"Monsanto has GM crop plans for seed firm" - "Monsanto yesterday paid $1.4bn (£745m) to buy a fruit and vegetable seed company and said it would look at the possibility of genetically modifying the produce. The company is known for its controversial innovations in genetic modifications for crops such as soya beans and corn. Genetically modified crops are flourishing in the US but have caused an outcry elsewhere. The deal will speed up Monsanto's move into the seed market and extend its reach further into Europe and Asia, where the company, Seminis, does a large part of its business." (The Guardian)

"RP bishop, Vatican outline advantages of biotechnology" - "A Catholic Church bishop said that modern science and technology can offer solutions if applied appropriately, and that the use of genetically modified organisms (GMO) in food is a human decision that must be examined under the Rule of Ethics.

Bishop Jesus Varela, bishop emeritus of Sorsogon, said, “There are some 800 million people all over the world who are suffering from hunger and malnutrition in varying degrees. Society’s moral responsibility to feed these teeming millions is inexorable, and food biotechnology offers a humane solution since it promises to improve significantly crop yield and increase resistance to pests and diseases,” the bishop said.

He said if GMOs can deliver on these promises, it can greatly help solve the global problem of hunger and malnutrition. “However, to keep within the bounds of our ethical framework, GMO must see that no harm is inflicted on human life and health, and that life and environment are not exposed to high risks beyond reasonable limits.” (TODAY @ abs-cbnNEWS.com)

January 24, 2005

"Fish Farming's Bounty Isn't Without Barbs" - "Observers agree that fish farming could transform the way Americans eat -- and, to some extent, work and live -- in the next two decades, but environmentalists warn that aquaculture facilities also threaten to cause ecological damage." (The Washington Post)

"Bloated Government" - "The EU has identified the newest social epidemic: obesity. And, judging from how it intends to combat the problem, with among other things a rash of measures aimed at curbing advertising of "junk food", we are to assume that the consumer is not responsible for his corpulence. Corporations are. Naturally, the problem also offers another opportunity to raise taxes." (Tomasz Teluk, TCS)

Uh... "Nations Ranked as Protectors of the Environment" - "WASHINGTON, Jan. 23 - Countries from Northern and Central Europe and South America dominated the top spots in the 2005 index of environmental sustainability, which ranks nations on their success at such tasks as maintaining or improving air and water quality, maximizing biodiversity and cooperating with other countries on environmental problems." (New York Times)

Eventually gets around to: "He also said a system that rated Russia, whose populated western regions have undergone extraordinary environmental degradation, as having greater environmental sustainability than the United States had inherent weaknesses." Right.

"March of the nutty professors" - "Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted. -- Albert Einstein" (Number Watch)

"Politics fuel climate spat - NCAR scientist a focus of dispute over global warming" - "It may seem like a simple spat among scientists. But an argument between a Florida hurricane researcher and a Boulder climate scientist illustrates how political the science of climate change has become." (The Daily Camera)

Cranking up the hysteria: "Countdown to global catastrophe" - "The global warming danger threshold for the world is clearly marked for the first time in an international report to be published tomorrow - and the bad news is, the world has nearly reached it already. The countdown to climate-change catastrophe is spelt out by a task force of senior politicians, business leaders and academics from around the world - and it is remarkably brief. In as little as 10 years, or even less, their report indicates, the point of no return with global warming may have been reached." (London Independent)

"It's Monday, January 24: 'We're doomed, I say. Doomed!'..." (EnviroSpin Watch)

Uh-oh... Big Warming's not gonna like this: "Greenhouse humans may have averted new Ice Age" - "Humans may have unwittingly saved themselves from a looming ice age by interfering with the Earth’s climate, according to a new study." (Edinburgh Scotsman)

Politically incorrect utterance of the day: Anthropologist Dr Benny Peiser, from Liverpool John Moores University, said: “If the research findings are correct, a radical change in the perception of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions will be required. Instead of driving us to the brink of environmental disaster, human intervention and technology progress will be seen as vital activities that have unintentionally delayed the onset of a catastrophic ice age.”

"Top nations 'should pledge 25% renewables target'" - "The world's biggest industrialised nations should pledge to use renewable energy to meet a quarter of their electricity needs in the next 20 years, says a report published today. The report by the Institute for Public Policy Research, a Blairite think-tank close to Downing Street, comes only days before Tony Blair is due to deliver a speech on climate change at the World Economic Forum at Davos in Switzerland. Britain has made climate change a priority for its presidency of the Group of Eight most industrialised countries and the institute's thinking could influence the talks between world leaders in the UK later this year." (Financial Times)

"Carbon fund gets regulatory go-ahead" - "One of the first carbon funds allowing investors to gain access to the European market in trading carbon dioxide has received regulatory approval. The European Carbon Fund was approved by Luxembourg and will buy and manage carbon dioxide emission rights in the market that has grown out of the European Union's greenhouse gas emission trading scheme. This is designed to lower emissions from European industry in line with the UN-brokered Kyoto protocol on climate change." (Financial Times)

"Spain Rejigs CO2 Emission Plan in Favour of Coal" - "MADRID - Spain has given extra pollution rights to coal-fired power stations at the expense of cleaner gas-fired plants in its final plan to limit carbon dioxide emissions, the Industry Ministry said on Friday." (Reuters)

York apparently doesn't share Wails' concern over "carbon intensive" travel: "Flying prince faces censure for extravagance" - "Prince Andrew is to be censured by the National Audit Office, the public accountancy watchdog, for insisting on hiring helicopters for official visits instead of using cheaper alternatives such as scheduled rail services." (The Guardian)

"Hearings spark interest in possible P.E.I. ban on genetically modified crops" - "CHARLOTTETOWN - Hearings on whether Prince Edward Island should ban the use of genetically modified organisms in its agriculture industry has international experts on both sides of the debate digging in for a fight. Requests to participate are coming in from as far away as California, mainly from the well-organized anti-GMO lobby, which regards genetically engineered food and crops as "Frankenfood." (Canadian Press)

January 23, 2005

"Disaster talks agree action plan" - "A UN conference has adopted an action plan to reduce casualties and damage caused by natural disaster, following the recent Indian Ocean tsunami." (BBC)

"Did disaster forum achieve anything?" - "Shortly after the World Conference on Disaster Reduction ended Saturday in Kobe, U.N. Undersecretary General for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland declared the meeting "a success."

"The success is embodied in the plan of action, which is a document that can, for us, be the basis for a lot of concrete work in the decade that will follow," he said after the closing of the five-day conference.

But critics such as nongovernmental organizations and researchers complain that the framework for action for the coming decade, adopted in the intergovernmental segment of the conference, lacks reference to specific actions and numerical targets." (Sarah Suk, Kyodo News)

Uh-huh... "Reality check for radon" - "Because elevated radon levels are common in homes throughout the country, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency along with the Surgeon General recommend every home be tested for the invisible, odorless carcinogen." (Knight Ridder Newspapers)

Meanwhile the Japanese are rushing to radon spas - for their health benefits...

"E.P.A. Offers an Amnesty if Big Farms Are Monitored" - "WASHINGTON, Jan. 21 - The Environmental Protection Agency said on Friday that it would shield operators of large livestock operations from prosecution from air pollution violations if they participated in a new program to collect emissions data from their farms. The information gathered from the participants would be used to determine which of the thousands of factory farms, known as animal feeding operations or A.F.O.'s, violate the Clean Air Act or other environmental laws." (New York Times)

"Anti-bacterial additive widespread in U.S. waterways" - "Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health estimate that many rivers and streams in the United States contain a toxic antimicrobial chemical. Triclocarban, has been widely used for decades in hand soaps and other cleaning products, but rarely was monitored for or detected in the environment. The new findings suggest that triclocarban contamination is greatly underreported." (Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health)

"Europe finds you can be too careful" - "Emphasis on precautions fuels panic without proof" ( Star-Ledger)

"Musk fragrances may break down cells' defenses" - "NEW YORK - The synthetic musks that give a pleasing scent to perfumes and soaps enhance the effect of toxins on the cells of mussels -- raising the possibility, researchers say, that the same could be true in humans. Artificial musk fragrances, like other consumer-product chemicals, have been tested for safety and are not themselves toxic. However, the concern from the new findings is that the fragrances could help harmful substances gain entry into body cells, according to Dr. David Epel of Stanford University in California, senior author on the study." (Reuters Health)

"Cancer, Chemicals and History" - "Twenty of the biggest chemical companies in the United States have launched a campaign to discredit two historians who have studied the industry's efforts to conceal links between their products and cancer." (The Nation)

"Smoking may protect against Parkinson's" - "NEW YORK - A study in Swedish twins confirms that smoking is associated with a reduced risk of Parkinson's disease. "The association in part is explained by genetic influences," Dr. Nancy L. Pedersen from the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, told Reuters Health. "Hence, further attempts to study risk factors in general for Parkinson's disease should entertain the possibility that there are complex interactions between genetic mechanisms and putative risk factors." Pedersen and her colleagues investigated the previously reported link between smoking and a reduced risk for Parkinson's by analyzing data from the Swedish Twin Registry." (Reuters Health)

"Hurricane Scientist Leaves U.N. Team" - "A federal hurricane research scientist resigned last week from a United Nations-sponsored climate assessment team, saying the group's leader had politicized the process." (Washington Post)

"Reaping the Hurricane" - "Dr. Christopher Landsea, a scientist at the Hurricane Research Division of the U.S. Department of Commerce and one of the world's foremost experts on hurricanes, has publicly resigned from authorship of an upcoming United Nations report on climate change. Landsea charged that the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is "both being motivated by pre-conceived agendas and being scientifically unsound."

He has a point. The IPCC is more of a political body than a scientific authority. Its members are selected by their respective governments and approved by the UN Secretariat. This is not an unbiased, blind process." (Patrick J. Michaels, The American Spectator)

"Global warming approaching point of no return, warns leading climate expert" - "Global warning has already hit the danger point that international attempts to curb it are designed to avoid, according to the world's top climate watchdog." (London Independent)

"Green activists' deceptive 'science'" - "Green activists have given "environmentalism" a bad name. Tsunami waters had barely receded before Tony Juniper, spokesman for Friends of the Earth, told the press that the tragedy was "... consistent with climate-change predictions." Hogwash! Climate-change predictions are all over the yard and all are based on computer models. None is supported by the actual scientific record. What is known is that carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has increased by about 100 parts per million during the last century, some of which is likely to be the result of using fossil fuel." (Harry Lamb, WorldNetDaily.com)

"Kyoto is Ottawa's biggest litmus test" - "As Star science writer Peter Calamai clearly demonstrates in his feature in today's National Report, the Canadian government has been sleep-walking towards fulfilling the obligations it agreed to under the Kyoto accord on global warming — to reduce this country's emissions of greenhouse gases to 6 per cent below their 1990 levels during each of the five years from 2008 to 2012. With the trigger date for showing results only three years away, Ottawa has yet to even come up with a coherent plan." (Toronto Star)

"If one Kyoto plan not enough, how about four?" - "The federal government actually has four Kyoto plans, all ostensibly intended to reduce national emissions of carbon dioxide, methane and other greenhouse gases to 6 per cent below 1990 levels during the five years between 2008 and 2012." (Toronto Star)

"Strict car emission rules look likely" - "Washington is likely to join California and six other states in adopting tighter vehicle emissions standards, despite protests from auto dealers." (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

"Britain fiddles while the world warms" - "A POLL commissioned by the Nuclear Industry Association has found that slightly more people would now support the replacement of Britain’s ageing nuclear power stations with new ones than actively oppose it. Opposition appears to have halved from 60 to 30 per cent in three years.

This is hardly a ringing endorsement of a flawed technology but is remarkable when political discussion of energy policy issues is so petty, pusillanimous and parochial. The Government’s White Paper put global warming at the top of its agenda but put its faith in wind farms. Ministers did not plan for any nuclear stations but claimed to have an open mind, should nuclear power be needed at some point in the future. The White Paper just projected Britain as a good boy in backing the Kyoto treaty, which seeks to curb carbon emissions.

The drawbacks of wind farms are now becoming apparent. Like other energy sources, they carry an environmental cost. They also require back-up fossil fuel power stations and, even on optimistic projections, would merely replace nuclear power, leaving the three-quarters of electricity generated by fossil fuels virtually unchanged.

Sadly for members of the Nuclear Industry Association, the Government’s assault on global warming is only a gesture to appease green lobbyists. It is not meant to be taken seriously." (Graham Searjeant, The Times)

"The answer isn’t blowing in the wind" - "Despite the government’s energy initiatives, wind farms will not save the planet, writes David Bellamy." (The Sunday Times)

"Who stands to profit from wind farm revolution?" - "THE potential profits from wind farms in the UK have helped make it the most attractive location in the world to invest. Although generators are coy about how much money they can make once they are up and running - and the figures can vary hugely from project to project - government incentives in the race to meet targets to cut greenhouse gases can mean handsome returns for those who get through the planning system." (Scotland on Sunday)

"Taking a stand against monsters of the glen" - "‘My view is that if your backyard is worth fighting for then I will fight for it, regardless of what I am called’" (Scotland on Sunday)

"Outcry over creation of GM smallpox virus" - "Senior scientific advisers to the World Health Organisation have recommended the creation of a genetically modified version of the smallpox virus to counter any threat of a bioterrorist attack." (London Independent)

January 21, 2005

"U.N.: No 'Natural' Disasters?" - "The United Nations is trying to blame natural disasters on, of all things, people. President Bush, however, is standing in its way." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

Scientist resigns from UN global warming body saying IPCC has a pre-conceived agenda - "After some prolonged deliberation, I have decided to withdraw from participating in the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). I am withdrawing because I have come to view the part of the IPCC to which my expertise is relevant as having become politicized. In addition, when I have raised my concerns to the IPCC leadership, their response was simply to dismiss my concerns...

I personally cannot in good faith continue to contribute to a process that I view as both being motivated by pre-conceived agendas and being scientifically unsound. As the IPCC leadership has seen no wrong in Dr. Trenberth's actions and have retained him as a Lead Author for the AR4, I have decided to no longer participate in the IPCC AR4." (Chris Landsea, Open letter)

"Fighting Global Poverty" - "THE UNITED NATIONS has a history of proclaiming utopian goals, and the U.N. report delivered Monday under the leadership of Columbia University's Jeffrey D. Sachs could be viewed as part of this pattern. It is subtitled "A Practical Plan to Achieve the Millennium Development Goals." But many of these goals, adopted at a summit of heads of state in 2000, are themselves not practicable, despite significant recent progress." (Washington Post editorial)

"Next generation may be doomed to live in 'global Somalia'" - "An environmental collapse that would transform the world into a "global Somalia" could begin in 50 years if we fail to do anything about it, a world authority on the rise and fall of civilisations warned yesterday." (Independent)

"Agency is sued over pesticides mandate" - "Accusing state regulators of two decades of neglect, environmental watchdogs sued California for allegedly failing to enforce a law aimed at monitoring and reducing the amount of pesticide that pollutes the air." (Los Angeles Times)

"US companies get nervous about EU's REACH" - "If passed, the legislation will send European chemical manufacturers scrambling for safety and health data on chemicals that have been marketed for years; many experts predict that it will change the industry worldwide." (Environmental Science & Technology)

"Methyl bromide phaseout stymied" - "A number of trends are under way that may partially undermine the success of the Montreal Protocol, particularly surrounding the use of methyl bromide. Production and use of this ozone-depleting fumigant reached a low point in 2003 and is beginning to climb." (Chemical & Engineering News)

"EU to Start Taking Obesity Seriously" - "BRUSSELS, Belgium -- The European Union said Thursday it will bring the food and advertising industry together with health officials to contain the increasing problem of obesity in Europe, where one out of every four children is obese. As part of the policy, EU Health Commissioner Markos Kyprianou wants to keep junk food ads away from children." (Associated Press)

"UK: Minister talks tough on fast food for children" - "The public health minister Melanie Johnson last night began tightening the screws on fast food companies to end two-for-one burger promotions and incentives aimed at children. She accused them of sending "contradictory messages" in the battle against rising obesity levels. The government has already put the food industry on notice that manufacturers will be banned from advertising products that are high in fat, sugar and salt unless they put their own house in order." (The Guardian)

"Good news for threatened plants" - "Some of the world's most endangered plants have a firmer grasp on survival than anyone had suspected until now. A study by Botanic Gardens Conservation International says about 9,000 species which are threatened in the wild are in fact thriving in botanic gardens." (Alex Kirby, BBC)

"UK: New law against animal activists" - "The government is to rush through a measure to protect British companies from vociferous animal rights extremists, a new criminal offence relating to "economic sabotage". Ministers are expected to announce the measure, to be introduced as an amendment to the organised crime bill going through parliament, within weeks. The bill already gives the police extra powers to deal with harassment, but ministers believe such activism requires a more sophisticated response." (The Guardian)

"Global Warming May Have Caused Extinction -Study" - "WASHINGTON - Global warming and not a giant asteroid may have nearly wiped out life on Earth some 250 million years ago, an international team of scientists said on Thursday." (Reuters)

"UN Storm Brews Over Hurricane-Global Warming Link" - "NEW YORK - A U.S. government hurricane scientist has resigned from the United Nations (news - web sites)' science panel on climate change because, he said, a lead author in the group had too strongly linked global warming to hurricanes." (Reuters)

"Is wacky weather sign of climate change?" - "Every year has its weather extremes, but this winter's wackiness seems particularly pronounced, raising the question of whether these are random variations of nature or signals of human-induced climate change. The short answer? Scientists still don't have enough information." (Scripps Howard News Service)

"EU suing on delays in Kyoto plans" - "The European Union on Wednesday sued Italy, Belgium, Greece and Finland for failing to take steps to introduce a system enabling companies to trade greenhouse gas emissions under the Kyoto agreement on global warming.

The European Commission, the EU's executive arm, said the four states missed a Dec. 31, 2003, deadline to adopt plans for an EU initiative to start trading in carbon dioxide "credits." They now face legal action in the European Court of Justice." (The Associated Press, Bloomberg News via IHT)

"Martin foggy on Kyoto targets" - "Questions about Canada's resolve to crack down on big polluters hang over Prime Minister Paul Martin's head like the thick smog over Beijing, where he landed today to promote trade." (Toronto Star)

"Ottawa willing to impose emission limits: Dion" - "Ottawa — The federal government is threatening to impose new restrictions on vehicle emissions if auto makers don't voluntarily agree on a reduction plan by the time the Kyoto treaty on climate change comes into force Feb. 16. "We are in a blitz to have results," Environment Minister Stéphane Dion said in a telephone interview yesterday from California, where he has been in talks with officials from that state about their vehicle-emission regulations." (Globe and Mail)

"Italy should not dismiss nuclear power-Berlusconi" - "ROME, Jan 20 - Italy should not dismiss the idea of having its own nuclear power stations, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said on Thursday, indicating a possible move away from Italy's traditional anti-nuclear stance. Italians voted to close Italy's nuclear power plants in a 1987 referendum but it imports electricity from France where nuclear power is one of the main sources of energy. "The government is preparing a study to look at the future and giving the country energy reserves," Berlusconi said in a speech at the opening of a new electricity line." (Reuters)

"Biotech divide is a sign of the times" - "While India and China are stepping up their investment in biotechnology to solve problems of crop shortfalls and hunger, a radical French farmer is urging his country’s citizens to take to the streets to prevent the spread of biotech foods. The world remains divided over biotechnology, but this may be more indicative of the times than any problems with the science. In her book “Navigating the Badlands, Thriving in the Decade of Radical Transformation,” Mary O’Hara-Devereaux said, “Times of innovation are inherently messy . . . new technologies, the economy and society churn together to create an evolutionary leap in human identity.” Devereaux, a business futurist, believes the world is traveling across the Badlands, not the South Dakota Badlands, but a transitional phase in history that will take us to the Foothills of the Future by 2020." (Farm Week)

"DEROY MURDOCK: Biotechnology improves lives in Africa" - "NEW YORK - Frederic Bastiat, the 19th century French free-marketeer, urged politicians to meditate on both things that are seen and unseen. Something seen worldwide was last month's ferocious tsunami that killed 221,100 around the Indian Ocean, as well as the stunning delivery of relief that is helping survivors recover. Something seldom seen or heard, however, is the silent tsunami of starvation that besets Africa. Malnutrition and hunger-related diseases kill 2.2 million sub-Saharan Africans annually, by my rough estimate, a death toll 10 times greater than the waves of mass destruction that pulverized coastal south Asia and east Africa on Dec. 26.

The excellent news is that biotechnology is shining a bright ray of hope on today's grimness. Genetically improved seeds and advanced agricultural technology are boosting crop output on acres that crawled with parasites and viruses just a few years ago. These developments will keep improving lives in Africa (and throughout the Third World), so long as they are not squelched by irrationally fearful eco-hand-wringers." (Scripps Howard News Service)

January 20, 2005

"Africa's Malaria epidemic a 'silent tsunami': UN" - "Good for Jeffrey Sachs for highlighting malaria, but his solution of just more money for bednets and drugs will only go so far. Roll Back Malaria has been promoting bednets for years now and malaria cases have only gone up. We need a change in UN policy to fund what works and a change in poor country governments to support the institutions of a free society, that will generate growth and lift people out of poverty, and disease." (AFM)

"Six Tsunamis" - "Imagine that every year the world suffered from six or more tsunamis producing the horrific death toll recently experienced. That's how many people die every year from malaria alone, and the tsunami may contribute to even higher rates this year. That disaster has created new habitat suitable for the proliferation of malaria and other disease-carrying mosquitoes.

Public health officials can take steps to reduce the impact, one of which involves using the controversial pesticide DDT. Since the 1960s green activists pushed bans of the substance around the world based largely on false claims about its health affects. The result was a public health disaster -- contributing to skyrocketing malaria rates." (Angela Logomasini, TCS)

"Anti-malaria efforts 'need to be trebled'" - "Its all very well to treble anti-malaria efforts, but only if you are going to fund something worthwhile. In Southern Mozambique malaria cases are falling dramatically because of the indoor residual spraying activities. Unicef would do well to put down their bednets and fund an expansion of this programme to other areas." (AFM)

"How to combat malaria" - "The butcher's bill from the tsunami that hit Southeast Asia and East Africa last month is broaching the 200,000 mark. That number, as tragic as it is, could be increased by some magnitudes if something isn't done immediately to halt the onset of malaria, which has already been detected in Indonesia. Yet, inexplicably, the most effective way to combat malaria — spraying the insecticide DDT — is not being used by the world's leading aid organizations. Instead, we're giving those most at risk bed nets. Why? Because of baseless Western fears that DDT is more dangerous to humans than malaria, which causes 2 to 3 million deaths every year." (The Washington Times)

"It is a blunder to use DDT against malaria!" - "The blunder here is the Mr. Lukyamuzi's position, founded as it is on appalling ignorance, demagoguery, and outright lies. For example, there is no correlation between DDT and cancer of any type, nor has DDT been linked to blindness and "brain distress if persistently used." Malaria on the other hand does cause brain damage in many children who survive a bout with it. Mr. Lukyamuzi's grasp of the causes of malaria and the nature of malaria control are equally as negligible as his understanding of DDT.

Mr. Lukyamuzi whines that that he should not be blamed for protesting DDT. We agree; people should be allowed to express their opinion freely, but they should also be prepared to be attacked when their positions have no grounding in reality." (AFM)

"Government officials, environmentalists clash over DDT" - "Government officials and environmental activists in Uganda clashed over the proposed spraying of DDT yesterday, writes Gerald Tenywa." (Kampala Monitor)

"EU Executive Ready to Modify Chemical Testing Bill" - "BRUSSELS - The European Commission is ready to modify a disputed proposal to test and register thousands of chemicals, but not at the expense of public health and the environment, top EU officials said on Wednesday. The Commission proposal, REACH (Registration Evaluation and Authorization of Chemicals), has drawn fire from the industry amid concerns it would introduce new costs and red tape for firms without offering substantial benefits." (Reuters)

"Cancer Passes Heart Disease as Top Killer" - "For the first time, cancer has surpassed heart disease as the top killer of Americans younger than 85, health officials said." (Associated Press)

"U.S. food makers trim trans fats" - "The nation's food companies are stirring up new recipes for everything from Oreos to SpaghettiOs to get rid of trans fat, the artery-clogging ingredient that must be listed on food labels next year." (Associated Press)

"ASU researcher says we should better prepare for future calamities" - "The massive tsunami that hit Indian Ocean nations has left many wondering what could have caused such a disaster and if there is anything humans can do to control or mitigate future events. Some quickly suggested that an increase in the frequency of natural disasters like the tsunami were a harbinger of what we have in store due to the increase of Earth's greenhouse gases resulting from the burning of fossil fuels. Nothing could be further from the truth, said Daniel Sarewitz, a professor of science and society and director of the Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes at Arizona State University." (Arizona State University)

"US tries to remove climate change references in UN disaster talks" - "KOBE, Japan, Jan 19 - The United States, which opposes the Kyoto protocol on global warming, is trying to remove references to climate change in UN talks aimed at setting up a disaster early warning system, a US official said Wednesday. The US has voiced objections to "multiple" references to climate change in drafting documents for the global conference in Kobe, Japan on disaster reduction, said Mark Lagon, deputy assistant secretary in the State Department bureau of international organization affairs. He said the United States believed climate change was a "well-known" controversy and that there were "other venues" to discuss it. "Our desire is that this does not distract from this process," Lagon said. He said other countries including Australia and Iran had also "raised concerns" about references to climate change." (AFP) | Climate Change Debated at U.N. Meeting (Associated Press)

"Putting Some Heat on Bush - Scientist Inspires Anger, Awe for Challenges on Global Warming" - "In his worn navy windbreaker, 63-year-old climatologist James E. Hansen looks more like the Iowa farm native that he is than a rebel -- but he's both. Hansen, a lifelong government employee who heads NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, has inspired both anger and awe in the nation's scientific and political communities since publicly denouncing the Bush administration's policy on climate change last year." (Washington Post)

"State climate expert cool to idea of global warming" - "Global warming actually isn't an imminent threat, according to Oregon's state climatologist George Taylor." (News-Review)

"A Matter of Balance" - "A leading U.S. hurricane researcher at NOAA's Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory, Dr. Chris Landsea, has resigned from the United Nation's International Panel on Climate Change. The reason: To protest the personal leanings of an IPCC lead author on the subject of climate and hurricanes. That is no small matter. The IPCC is widely considered by the world's governments to be the most authoritative source for what we know about global warming. It periodically produces reports on the sate of the science of global warming, and is currently working on its Fourth Assessment Report." (Roy Spencer, TCS)

No, duh! "Canada: We're faking and fibbing on Kyoto" - "A case can be made, not a certain one but a strongly persuasive one, that Canada would have done a lot more good for the cause of global climate control by not signing the Kyoto treaty, which comes into effect in just four weeks. Having signed on (and having endlessly congratulated ourselves for doing more than those selfish, rapacious Americans), our government finds itself in the embarrassing position that there's quite obviously no way we can fulfill the Kyoto commitments we've taken on. The government can't admit this, of course. So it's going to spend most of the time to 2012 (when the target of a 5.2 per cent reduction in greenhouse gases is supposed to be met) by faking it, by cheating and by fibbing — to us and to others." (Richard Gwyn, Toronto Star)

"Canada: Minister admits Kyoto targets unrealistic" - "Natural Resources Minister John Efford says there is no way large industrial emitters can achieve the original target — a 55-megatonne cut in annual emissions from business-as-usual projections for 2010." (Canadian Press)

"Canada: Plan would let big polluters put money into research rather than cut emissions" - "OTTAWA - Large industrial polluters would be allowed to put money into research and development rather than cutting greenhouse emissions under one of the latest proposals for implementing the Kyoto climate treaty." (CP)

"Canada: Martin says many countries missing Kyoto targets but may catch up later" - "TOKYO - Prime Minister Paul Martin says many countries besides Canada are well behind in meeting the commitments of the Kyoto protocol on greenhouse gas emissions, but suggested they can still catch up by using the longest possible timelines provided in the accord." (CP)

"Paying to ease greenhouse gases -- and consciences" - "With the Kyoto Protocol set to go into effect in February, some Americans may be feeling left out — the United States withdrew from the international accord on climate change in 2001. But a new company, using a market-based system of carbon credits and debits not unlike Kyoto, allows drivers to pay to offset their cars' annual emission of greenhouse gases. Think of it as Kyoto for commuters." (LA Times)

"Experts in climate change study" - "UK and Japanese scientists will join forces at the British Embassy in Tokyo to formalise a collaboration that it is claimed will significantly advance the science of predicting climate change for the 21st century. The aim of this five year partnership is to combine the brainpower of top UK and Japanese climate science experts with cutting edge supercomputing technology in Japan. The UK is investing A£1.4 million in the initiative. Six scientists from the NCAS Centre for Global Atmospheric Modelling and the Met Office's Hadley Centre will be based in Japan where they will be given substantial access to the Japanese Earth Simulator supercomputer, one of the world's most powerful machines." (ickent)

"Forests cost-effective in global warming" - "WASHINGTON - The cost of using forests to remove greenhouse gases from the air could be about the same as cutting pollution with fuel switching or energy efficiency improvements, according to a new report from the Pew Centre on Global Climate Change." (Reuters) | PCGCC Press Release

"Arctic rivers discharge more freshwater into ocean, reflecting changes to hydrologic cycle" - "Far northern rivers are discharging increasing amounts of freshwater into the Arctic Ocean, due to intensified precipitation caused by global warming. This could change the distribution of water on Earth's surface, with important social and economic consequences. It could alter the balance of the climate system itself, particularly the Atlantic thermohaline circulation. This flow helps keep northern Europe at a temperate climate, whereas the same latitudes in North America are sparsely settled tundra or taiga." (American Geophysical Union)

"Breakthrough in climate research" - "A long standing puzzle that has haunted climate researchers looking at the fate of carbon stored in the world's soils, has now been resolved. The research suggests that climate warming may be occurring even faster than previously recognised." (University of Bristol)

Hmm... wonder if this is why increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide follows planetary warming, rather than the other way around.

"Environmentalists Fight Planned Gas Terminal in Mexico" - "MEXICO CITY — Greenpeace Mexico on Tuesday announced new efforts to block plans for a liquefied natural gas import terminal off of Mexico's Pacific coast near the U.S. border. U.S. energy giant ChevronTexaco Corp. already has the main federal approvals necessary for the proposed terminal off the coast of Tijuana near the Coronado Islands. Greenpeace and the Mexican Environmental Law Center announced at a news conference on Tuesday that they are seeking to nullify the Environment Department's authorization." (Associated Press)

"Norway Groups Resume Barents Oil / Gas Exploration" - "OSLO - Oil and gas exploration in the Norwegian sector of the Arctic Barents Sea resumes this week after a three-year ban with oil firms hungry for new finds and environmentalists opposing any drilling." (Reuters)

"Bush 'Clear Skies' proposal hinders power plant cleanups, official says" - "President Bush's push to revise the Clean Air Act sometimes has hindered enforcement of the existing law for cleaning up coal-fired power plants, the Justice Department's top environmental lawyer said Tuesday." (Associated Press)

"India now major player in transgenic crops" - " India has hit the big time in biotech (transgenic) crop coverage, making it with honours to the list of biotech mega countries (countries growing over 50,000 hectares or more of biotech crop), neck and neck with top-notchers USA, Argentina, Canada, Brazil, China, Paraguay and South Africa." (Economic Times)

"Indian scientists develop protein-rich potato" - "NEW DELHI: A genetically engineered, protein-enriched potato is being readied for commercial field-testing in India, scientists here said." (IANS)

"GM contamination found in 'health' foods" - "WITH most of the soya beans produced in the world now coming from Genetically Modified (GM) varieties, and soya such an ubiquitous ingredient in "healthy" foods, it was inevitable that someone would come a cropper. But few were prepared for findings at the University of Glamorgan in Wales that 10 out of 25 organic or health food products tested positive for traces of GM ingredients, even though eight of the positive samples had been labelled 'GM free' or 'organic'." (Irish Examiner)

"Hungary Bans Monsanto GMO Maize Seeds" - "BUDAPEST - Hungary, one of the biggest grain producers in the new EU, became the first country in eastern Europe to ban GMO maize when on Wednesday it outlawed the planting of Monsanto Co's MON 810 maize hybrid seeds." (Reuters)

January 19, 2005

"The food pyramid is crumbling, but will most Americans notice?" - "Uncle Sam would like you to finish your vegetables - 2-1/2 cups a day, along with two cups of fruit for an average 2,000-calorie-per-day diet. Bonus points if you walk briskly to the store to buy them. Think 90 minutes of exercise, five days a week, if weight loss is a goal." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"Crichton's State of Fear..." - "Many people can teach. Many people can tell great stories. But few people can teach by way of telling a great story. Dr. Michael Crichton, physician-turned-novelist-turned screenplay-writer is one of those few." ( Kenneth Green, TCS)

"...The State of Frogs" - "Author Michael Crichton has enraged environmentalists and left-leaning commentators with his new page turner, State of Fear. The novel cleverly exposes the semi-fictitious conspiracy to hoodwink the public into believing human activity is causing catastrophic global warming and the completely fictitious "scientific consensus" on this point." (Alex Avery, TCS) | Rachel Carson Syndrome: Jumping to Pesticide Conclusions in the Global Frog Crisis (.pdf) (Alex Avery, Hudson Institute)

"U.S. lawn-care industry fighting back against pesticide bans" - "Fearing that a Canadian movement to ban the use of pesticides on lawns will take root in the United States, the lawn-care industry has thrown down the gauntlet - literally." (Scripps Howard News Service)

"Earth to environmentalists ..." - "If I go to another environmental meeting where everyone talks about the good old days, I'm think I'm going to hurl. Does this sound extreme? Maybe, unless you're familiar with Canada's environmental movement. If you are, you probably have some idea of one of the more unfortunate trends among environmental activists — nostalgia. Or, more accurately, fond recall of an era that never was." ( David Israelson, Toronto Star)

"Deer eating away at forests nationwide" - "Population boom: 500,000 to 25 million in a decade" (The Associated Press)

"The idea is to protect the environment" - "In news from the Hoosier capital last week, Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels fired one Indiana Department of Environmental Management administrator and pressured six others into resigning. He traipsed over to the agency and told employees that their top priority should be to help business create new jobs. Which is sort of like telling the highway patrol that its new top priority should be to promote speeding." (David Hawpe, The Courier-Journal)

"Turning Tech Green in Europe" - "This year and next, two new EU environmental rules will cause manufacturers to change their ways -- and it could be quite costly." (Business Week)

"Global Warming Melts Winter Joy at Top Resort" - "GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany - Global warming is more than just a theory to Germany's most famous winter resort, where a worrisome shortage of snow in recent decades has forced the Alpine village to reinvent itself." (Reuters)

"NZ glacier is growing bigger every day" - "Wellington - While glaciers around the world are said to be shrinking because of global warning, the Franz Josef in New Zealand's Southern Alps is growing at a rate of about three metres a day, it was reported on Tuesday. Climate scientist Jim Salinger blamed the movement on continued cold and stormy weather throughout New Zealand's changeable summer which has caused a build-up of snow and ice at the head of the glacier, the Dominion Post reported. He said global warming had been blamed for the glacier, one of the main tourist attractions in the Westland National Park, retreating 550 metres between 1999 and 2003, but it had now reversed itself." (Sapa-dpa)

"City pollution affecting weather and its forecast" - "MUMBAI: Pollution has affected the movement of the monsoon and scientists are finding it difficult to predict its movement. Pointing to the smoggy Malabar Hill skyline from the TIFR lawns, space scientist Sanjay Limaye, who has been observing the monsoon in India, said the task of precisely forecasting monsoon has become tough because of pollution which has resulted in global warming. Global warming, according to him, has resulted in extreme weather conditions. "Everywhere you see a change in the weather pattern. In the Antarctica the ice was thicker than in previous years," said Limaye who is attached to the University of Wisconsin's space science and engineering centre." (Times of India)

"Small islands facing extinction urge action on global warming" - "PORT-LOUIS - Leaders of the world's smallest islands joined UN chief Kofi Annan in calling for action to curb the effects of climate change, with the Pacific atoll of Kiribati accusing polluting countries of waging "eco-terrorism." (AFP)

"CEI comments on proposed New Jersey CO2 rule" - "The proposed rule is a conceptual muddle. Logically, DEP cannot classify CO2 as an “air contaminant” unless it is prepared to apply the same designation to water vapor—the atmosphere’s main greenhouse gas. Presumably, DEP has no intention to “cap” steam from nuclear power plants, or evaporation from public green spaces, but it should be aware of the regulatory folly that its argument implicitly demands." (Competitive Enterprise Institute)

51st state looks to land of fruits and nuts: "Canada Considers Copying California's Greenhouse Gas Law" - "Canadian officials, who are considering regulations to reduce carbon dioxide exhaust from cars and trucks, are spending a few days this week getting a firsthand look at their primary inspiration: California." (LA Times)

"Ottawa chided on approach to Kyoto" - "Environmental groups accused the federal government Tuesday of letting industry “off the hook” on its Kyoto targets while encouraging citizens to cut their energy use." (Globe and Mail)

"UK: Blair's greenhouse gas policy 'scandalous'" - "Tony Blair's commitment to tackle climate change was questioned yesterday by opposition MPs who condemned his "scandalous" attempt to block an EU-wide target to cut greenhouse gas emissions." (London Independent)

"Germany Losing Out in Carbon Trading, Minister Says" - "The European Union's system to trade carbon-dioxide emissions puts German companies at a disadvantage in the first period of trading, from this year until 2007, Germany's economy minister said." (Bloomberg)

"Burying CO2 emissions would aid climate" - "Burying carbon dioxide produced by Australia's power stations would cut the long-term costs of reducing greenhouse emissions, a new report suggests. The study also found Australia is in a prime position to take advantage of the technology because of its high reliance on fossil fuels and an abundance of storage sites. Carbon capture and geological storage technologies, also known as geosequestration, are the focus of the new report by the federal government-funded economic researcher, the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARE)." (AAP)

From CO2 Science Magazine this week:

"The Major Impacts of Global Warming and Atmospheric CO2 Enrichment on Vegetation" - " What are they? ... and are they generally beneficial or detrimental to earth's plants?" (co2science.org)

Subject Index Summaries:
"Precipitation (Trends - Regional: North America, United States)" - " Has the post-Little Ice Age warming of the world led to more worrisome variability and/or extremes of precipitation, as climate alarmists would have us believe?" (co2science.org)

"Nutrients x CO2 Effects on Plants (General)" - " Does low soil fertility negate the ability of atmospheric CO2 enrichment to enhance the growth of plants, as climate-alarmists would like us to believe?" (co2science.org)

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

Journal Reviews:
"The Overdue-Glaciation Hypothesis" - " Is it possible that anthropogenic CO2 and CH4 emissions may have already staved off an ice age that would otherwise be bearing down upon us? ... and that we must continue emitting CO2 to the atmosphere to keep the incipient ice age at bay?" (co2science.org)

"A Paleo-Perspective on Western U.S. Droughts" - " How do the worst droughts of the 20th century - the latter two decades of which are claimed by climate alarmists to have been the warmest period of the past two millennia - compare with extreme droughts of prior centuries, when there was much less CO2 in the air and they claim it was also much colder?" (co2science.org)

"A 6700-Year Temperature History of Northern Quebec-Labrador, Canada" - " How well does it harmonize in its latter stages with the hockeystick temperature history of Mann et al.? ... and how well does it support the climate-alarmist contention that temperature becomes more variable when the climate warms?" (co2science.org)

"Decomposition of Leaf Litter of Paper Birch Trees in Ambient and CO2- and O3-Enriched Air" - " As the atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide and ozone continue to rise, what is their impact on the leaf litter decomposition rates of paper birch trees and the ultimate ability of such forest stands to sequester carbon in the soils upon which they grow?" (co2science.org)

"The Effect of Very High Atmospheric CO2 Concentrations on the Growth of Unicellular Green Algae" - "Are algae as responsive to atmospheric CO2 enrichment as higher plants are? And just how much CO2 can they tolerate?" (co2science.org)

"Airbus success will help drive global warming, says expert" - "PARIS - If the new Airbus A380 is the commercial success its European makers hope, the big loser -- apart from Boeing -- will be the environment, a French expert says. Airbus says its newborn giant will be far more fuel efficient than Boeing's 747, a jetliner whose basic design goes back 35 years, and thus by carrying more passengers farther per litre (gallon) of kerosene burned, it is doing the planet a favour. But French expert Jean-Marc Jancovici says that such calculations "fail to give the full picture" when it comes to carbon pollution. Jancovici, author of numerous books on climate change and who runs a well-regarded website (manicore.com) on global warming phenomenon, says that if Airbus' business plan is right, "the number of air passengers will triple in the next 20 years." (AFP)

"Hydrogen Cars Are Almost Here, But..." - " All carmakers are scrambling to harness H2R, a clean fuel, driven by long-term worries about oil supplies as well as environmental harm." (Business Week)

"The chips are down" - "Biomass power fuelled by crops, and supported by millions from the government, has largely failed in the UK. Can the latest attempt make it work?" (The Guardian)

"Green cars are losing steam" - " Despite the enthusiasm of some drivers, automakers are retreating from vehicles that run on natural gas or electricity. Automakers say there's little buyer demand for "alt-fuel" vehicles; environmentalists say car makers aren't trying hard enough to market them." (Associated Press)

"UK farmers' market 'complacency'" - "UK farmers' attempts to show consumers their food is sustainably produced may actually mislead them, experts say. The Sustainable Development Commission says the Little Red Tractor logo fails to set a standard that can lead farmers to improve their practices appreciably. The logo, used on food produced by UK farmers, is meant to reassure shoppers it is produced to very high standards. But the commission chairman, Jonathon Porritt, says many farmers are still complacent over winning buyers' trust." ( Alex Kirby, BBC) [em added]

Wonder if it was under advice of Pat Holden and fellow promoters of superstitiously produced food.

"GM beet 'can benefit environment'" - "Some genetically-modified crops can be managed in a way that is beneficial to wildlife, a UK research team believes. Their work, published by the Royal Society, says there is "conclusive evidence" of benefits to wildlife from GM sugar beet crops. They say their findings mean everyone involved in the debate about GM crops should rethink where they now stand. But anti-GM campaigners say the work changes nothing, and are still opposed to any use of the crops in the UK." (Alex Kirby, BBC)

Anti-biotech zealots will believe it anyway: "Enemy of the state" - "Ignacio Chapela was once the cream of the scientific core at Berkeley university, California. Now he is reviled. He tells John Vidal how US academic institutions are being 'bought' by biotechnology firms that are backed by the government." (The Guardian)

"Bangladesh 'endorses' GM rice" - "The Bangladesh Agriculture Ministry says it hopes to release a type of genetically modified rice to farmers if on-going research is successful. Authorities claim the new rice may help feed Bangladesh's growing population as well as tackle certain common ailments associated with malnutrition. The Agriculture Minister says the government does not object to GM technology, which may prove beneficial. Research into the crop is being carried out at the Rice Research Institute." (BBC)

January 18, 2005

"Report Faults Md. Ballistics Database" - "A Maryland law requiring state police to collect ballistics data on every handgun sold in the state is ineffective and expensive and should be repealed, according to a report by the Maryland State Police. Police have gathered information from more than 43,000 guns since the law was adopted in 2000, but the data have not significantly aided a single criminal investigation, according to the report. The study was compiled last year by the state police forensic sciences division and distributed to state legislators late last week." (Washington Post)

"Dispute Puts a Medical Journal Under Fire" - "A misleading article on "missing" Eli Lilly documents could give the usually methodical world of medical journals a black eye." (New York Times)

From the 'here we go again' files: "Child cancer 'link to pollution'" - "Exposure to environmental pollution while in the womb might increase a child's risk of cancer, a study suggests. Children born near emission "hotspots" were more likely to die of cancer before their 16th birthday than others. Although not conclusive, the author of the study in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health believes the threat is real. But cancer experts believe the research is heavily flawed and urge caution." (BBC)

"Dioxin found in German eggs" - "Germany has called for higher environmental standards on farms after free-range eggs were found to contain the cancer causing chemical dioxin." (BBC)

But they are organic.

Bad idea of the day: "L'Oreal, Revlon bow to Bay area pressure" - Two major cosmetics companies have agreed to eliminate chemicals suspected of causing cancer, birth defects and infertility from their products, including a common plasticizer in nail polish." (San Francisco Chronicle)

"Uncalculated risks in some pesticides, UCR study finds" - "Researchers at the University of California, Riverside have demonstrated that isomers – or the mirror-image structures – of some pesticides, although chemically identical, have very different biological and environmental impacts between the two sides. This may have significant implications for risk assessment and research and development directions of new products." (University of California - Riverside)

"Industry Urges Rethink of EU Draft Chemical Rules" - "BRUSSELS - Draft rules to carry out safety tests on 30,000 commonly used chemicals should be recast to focus on the most dangerous substances, the EU's business lobby UNICE said on Monday, drawing fire from green groups. UNICE said the sweeping European Commission proposal in its current form would harm the competitiveness of the chemical sector and downstream users of chemicals, placing an unfair burden on firms compared to international competitors." (Reuters)

"Fear of modern life makes shoppers splash out on bottled water" - "People buy the bottled version at prices up to 1,000 times higher than tap. The marketing of bottled water exploits our worries about health in the modern world." (London Independent)

"Please Pass the Cake" - "As incredible as it sounds, nutrition is no longer the priority for the government's Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The new guidelines put the entire nation on a diet and its key message is "eat less and exercise more to lose weight." This certainly isn't an unprecedented idea, but decades of following this advice has also shown it doesn't work. Tragically, the unsupportable and erroneous information about weight and nutrition in these new guidelines isn't just innocuous, but will likely have harmful consequences far beyond any good it might do, especially threatening our children and elderly." (Sandy Szwarc, TCS)

"Do environmental groups have death wish?" - "Authors of controversial essay interviewed about their thesis." (Grist)

Yes, but the death(s) they wish for are not their own.

"Anti-malaria efforts 'need to be trebled'" - "For many Mozambicans such as Fernando Martias, a Japanese donation last week of 25,000 durable Olyset mosquito nets to fight malaria is too little too late." (London Independent)

"After tsunami, poverty eradication must top global agenda: UN agency" - "UN International Fund for Agricultural Development describes the impact of the tsunami on Asian development and the resulting need to redouble efforts to reach the Millennium Development Goals. IFAD outlines formula for long-term relief of the tsunami survivors and other rural poor from extreme poverty: accessible financial institutions for saving and borrowing, usable technologies, control of land and water on which they rely for a living, and fair opportunities for selling their produce." (United Nations International Fund for Agricultural Development)

"Scientist resigns from IPCC over alleged politicization..." - Philip Stott relays news of Chris Landsea's withdrawal from IPCC's FAR (Fourth Assessment Report) because, in his own words: "... I personally cannot in good faith continue to contribute to a process that I view as both being motivated by pre-conceived agendas and being scientifically unsound." (EnviroSpin Watch)

"Stratospheric Cooling?" - "One of the more interesting "Sky Is Falling" postulations made in recent years has been the claim that the apparently cooling stratosphere is masking observation of anticipated warming in the troposphere. Quaintly, such claimants point to satellite MSU (Microwave Sounding Unit) stratosphere data suggesting such cooling to try to invalidate satellite MSU troposphere data, data which obstinately declines to demonstrate the trend Big Warming requires to maintain the scare and nurture the cash cow." (JunkScience.com)

"Global Warming Consensus?" - "The phrase “scientific consensus” suggests something approaching unanimous agreement among scientists. However even a rudimentary survey of scientific literature reveals there to be very little agreement on the subject of climate change. The unfortunate and inaccurate characterization of consensus is used as a rhetorical bludgeon of skeptics and is the basis of a push for industrialized nations to “do something” to reduce the atmosphere’s greenhouse gas concentration. Dr. Richard Lindzen of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology offered an explanation of the phenomenon during a recent National Press Club briefing “Climate Alarm — Where does it come from?”: " (GES)

"Life Imitates Fiction" - "Happy New Year along the climate change beat! On January 3, 2005 The Voice of America moved a story linking vulnerability to tsunamis and global warming using a quote from Naomi Oreskes, an associate professor of history at the University of California. “The tsunami that struck the Asia and Africa coastlines,” she says, “highlights the need to take action on global warming.” Why? Because so many people live in harm’s way. A massive inundation like the South Asian tsunami, on top of a rise in sea level due to global warming, only can make things worse, she surmises. “Nick Drake” lives! Here is real-life environmental demagoguery, someone willing to ride the climate change issue on the back of stark human tragedy." (GES)

"Americans are trying to discredit me, claims chief scientist" - " The Government's chief scientific adviser is being aggressively targeted by American lobbyists trying to discredit his view that man-made pollution is behind global warming." (London Independent) | Sir David King: interview (London Independent)

Really, Sir David, why would anyone undertake such a redundant activity after you've done such a thorough job yourself?

"Earth simulator will allow British experts to predict climate change" - " British researchers have built the biggest computer simulation model of climate change yet constructed." (London Independent)

"Canada: As economy revs up, Kyoto obligations mount" - OTTAWA -- Canada's rapidly growing energy-intensive economy could make it significantly more difficult for this country to meet its obligations under the controversial Kyoto accord, senior officials are warning Ottawa. They have alerted the Prime Minister's Office that the magnitude of the greenhouse-gas emissions cuts Canada must make under the treaty has already jumped 25 per cent because of rapid economic growth. This could mean a bigger political headache for Paul Martin, whose officials are scrambling to fulfill his promise to "honour Kyoto" but not overburden Canadian business. (Globe and Mail)

"Lower emissions targets not approved yet: Efford" - "CALGARY - Natural Resources Minister John Efford confirmed Monday that a leaked government document proposes easing emissions reduction requirements for large industrial polluters, but said the proposal has not yet been discussed by cabinet and might not become policy. "It's unfortunate before cabinet makes its final decisions that these documents get out in the general public," Efford said Monday while in Calgary to announce nearly $11 million in federal funding to promote technologies that inject carbon dioxide into the ground instead of releasing it into the air." (CP)

"UK: Blair Backtracking on Climate Change Pledges" - " The Government is secretly trying to backtrack on its commitment to take action on global warming, according to Greenpeace campaigners." ( Edinburgh Scotsman)

Oh boy... "Air Alert: Maryland Must Force Power Plants to Pollute Less" - "Late last year several protesters -- including a Maryland farmer and a rabbi -- temporarily blocked the entrance to Dickerson Generating Station in western Montgomery County. The coal-fired plant and three others like it in the region are owned by Atlanta-based Mirant Corp. Together, they burn more than 20,000 tons of coal a day to generate most of the area's electricity. The protesters' message was dramatic: If 700,000 Hummers were driven around the Beltway every day, they said, that would generate about the same amount of carbon dioxide as these power plants do. But Mirant refuses to reduce or "offset" its greenhouse gas emissions, even though researchers say that planetary warming could lead to a three-foot increase in sea levels in the next 100 years. For a state with 3,200 miles of tidal shoreline, that could mean disaster." (George Leventhal, The Washington Post)

Meanwhile... "Carbon dioxide prices crash as chaos hits emissions trading" - "The price of carbon dioxide has crashed after the first week of proper trading, as deepening uncertainty over the emission trading scheme prompted traders to sell their holdings. Prices ended the week almost 20 per cent down on the price on 1 January when the initiative was launched." (London Independent)

"UK: Councils fume over refuse fines" - "Councils that incinerate household rubbish are set to make millions of pounds at the expense of those that use recycling and composting." (London Guardian)

"Milk labeling divides dairy industry" - " A campaign launched this month by the Center for Global Food Issues (CGFI) warning consumers against claims made on milk cartons has received short shrift from the organic industry, reports Philippa Nuttall. The CGFI believes that, as its internet blog says Milk is Milk. In other words, statements that milk is hormone or pesticide free are false, Alex Avery, CGFI’s director of research and education, told FoodNavigatorUSA.com." (FoodNavigatorUSA.com)

"Skewed Ethics in Biotechnology" - "Anti-biotech campaigns perpetuate poverty, malnutrition and premature death." (Paul Driessen, ChronWatch)

"Drugs go au naturel" - "Report: Growing medicines inside plants rather than factories may be a $2.2B business by 2011." (Reuters)

"Well of ignorance" - "Government action or public enlightenment needed to raise use of beneficial biotech crops." (Omaha World-Herald)

"Better Harvest" - "To feed India's burgeoning population and effectively ensure long-term food and nutritional security, new policy initiatives are a must. India is challenged by declining per capita availability of arable land, low productivity levels, heavy production losses due to biotic (insects, pests, weeds etc) and abiotic (salinity, drought, flood etc) causes, heavy crop losses during storage and transportation and declining availability of water as an agricultural input. The way out of this dilemma is technology. Indian agriculture, therefore, must be dependent upon new technological inputs, in particular GM technology." (R K Sinha and Bhagirath Choudhary, Times of India)

"EU Food Safety Agency to Assess First GMO Crops" - "BRUSSELS - The EU's food safety agency should give its first risk analysis this year of live genetically modified (GMO) crops -- an issue that has split the bloc's membership down the middle." (Reuters)

January 17, 2005

"Insecticide Treated Nets, Best Protection Against Malaria" - "Oh really ... then how come malaria cases and deaths have risen by 12% since Roll Back Malaria started its ITN push? The scandal is that indoor residual spraying with insecticides is continuously sidelined by ITNs. Come on Exxon Mobil, take a leaf out of BHP Billiton's book and do something useful - fund malaria spraying programmes." (AFM)

"Wanted: New Weapons Against an Old Killer" - "Yes, we need new drugs for malaria patients ... but this piece is disparaging about 'low-tech' alternatives. Low-tech spraying of insecticides inside houses has led to one of the most dramatic reductions in malaria cases in southern Africa - and we all know that prevention is better (and cheaper) than cure." (AFM)

"The Next Asian Plague, Courtesy of the Environmentalists" - "After the tsunami hit southern Asia late last year, experts warned the next threat would be disease. Today, the Associated Press has reported the experts were right. “The combination of the tsunami and the rains are creating the largest single set of [mosquito] breeding sites that Indonesia has ever seen in its history,” said Richard Allan, director of the Mentor Initiative, a group that specializes in fighting malaria. When told the World Health Organization warned that disease could kill more people than the deadly tidal waves, he replied, “If anything, I think they are being conservative. Three-quarters of those [total] deaths could be from malaria.” Already seven cases of malaria have been reported in the Aceh province of Indonesia – and malaria season is just beginning.

This catastrophe could be averted. WHO could dramatically limit the number of malaria and dengue fever infections with a simple, economical, and effective treatment: spray DDT. Yet the world’s Green lobby would rather protest the use of a safe chemical than prevent further destruction to this ravaged area." (Ben Johnson, FrontPageMagazine.com)

"Reject Environmentalism, Not DDT" - "Unfortunately, survivors of December's tsunami are not yet safe from harm; they now face the threat of deadly diseases such as cholera and dysentery. But, as heavy rains create breeding conditions for disease-carrying mosquitoes, there is one threat they should not have to face: malaria. Though nearly eradicated decades ago, malaria has resurged with a vengeance and kills over a million people each year. But its horrific death toll is largely preventable. The most effective agent of mosquito control, the pesticide DDT, has been essentially discarded--discarded based not on scientific concerns about its safety, but on environmental dogma." (Keith Lockitch, The Conservative Voice)

"Fire fears could revive pesticides" - " Wildfires or pesticides — Oakland elected officials may soon be asked to choose between the lesser of two evils." (Oakland Tribune)

"One in 20 children suffers attention disorder" - "Five per cent of children in England and Wales have been officially diagnosed with the hyperactivity disorder ADHD ministers said this week." (London Independent)

Hyperactive? Just go to a park and climb a tree

"Dead movement walking?" - "Roiled by harsh internal criticism and confronting four more years of Bush, environmentalists face a dark night of the soul." (Salon)

"The Tsunami Exploiters" - "The tsunami the day after Christmas has so far killed more than 150,000 in South Asia and East Africa. It was a terrible tragedy to which the world is responding quickly and generously. But, in some quarters, the tsunami offers an irresistible opportunity for exploitation -- and not just by kidnappers of orphans to use as prostitutes. Unscrupulous activists, who have so far been unable to enact a scheme for mandatory reductions in energy under the Kyoto Protocol on climate change, are telling whoever will listen, "See, we told you so!" (James K. Glassman, TCS)

"Islands' climate fears acknowledged" - "PORT LOUIS - Small island nations won world recognition of their climate change fears on Friday but failed to persuade the international community to reinstate trade preferences to protect their fragile economies.' (Reuters)

Arctic1880-2004_5.gif (30718 bytes) "Our land is changing - soon yours will too" - "January 15 While global warming is affecting the entire planet, there is a scientific consensus that it is impacting the Arctic much faster." (The Guardian) | Bear facts point to global warming in arctic (John Vidal and Paul Brown, The Guardian)

Actually, following a decades-long cooling the Arctic has resumed recovery from the Little Ice Age at virtually identical rate as that of the 1880s through 1930s. The fastest and most dramatic warming occurred in the 1920s and 1930s and there has been no net warming since 1938. See also our Arctic Warming Update.

"U.S. faces global warming suit" - "NEW YORK - Green lobbyists and several U.S. cities hope a lawsuit against U.S. development agencies will force the government to act on global warming, even though President George W. Bush has long insisted there's no scientific proof linking human activity to warming. Environmental lawyers say the suit will be closely watched as lawsuits against utilities and the government tied to global warming increase. Last July, for example, eight U.S. states and New York City sued five U.S. power companies, accusing them of stoking climate change. "Any court that rules that global warming is a problem that needs to be addressed, just that headline, would be huge for the people trying to do something about global warming," said Pat Parenteau, a professor at Vermont Law School's Environmental Law Centre." (Reuters)

It might be a very good thing to put popularized 'global warming' on trial and bury this farce once and for all.

"Blair tried to ditch green policy" - "Tony Blair's international credibility on climate change was seriously damaged last night as it emerged that the government tried secretly to ditch key global warming targets. Leaked documents seen by The Observer reveal that the UK sought to remove targets that would reduce carbon dioxide emissions during high-level meetings to formulate Europe's climate policy.

The revelations, which have stunned climatologists, are contained in a leaked draft council text on Europe's long-term strategy. They show that senior government officials attempted to remove a commitment for massive cuts in greenhouse gases by 2050 from a European Union agreement." (The Observer)

"Connecticut: DEP issues ambitious pollution plan" - "After a year of planning and analysis the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection has issued an ambitious 55-point plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 75 percent over the next two decades. The "Connecticut Climate Change Action Plan" would affect almost every facet of daily life, from the cars and appliances people buy to the electricity they use, the foods they eat, and the materials from which homes are built." (Bristol Press)

"Canada: Debate swirls over Kyoto failures" - "Government looks to spend billions, offer incentives to reach targets." (Globe and Mail)

"UK: Next deluge, it's just where and when" - "Sudden downpours causing flash floods which have taken communities by surprise are becoming more common. But exactly where and when the next disaster will strike is unpredictable." (London Guardian)

"Temperatures rising in Alps, less snow" - "Temperatures in the French Alps have risen between one and three degrees Celsius (two and five degrees Fahrenheit) in the past 40 years and there has been less snow in recent years, a report by France's national weather service said on Friday." (Agence France-Presse)

"China promotes another boom: nuclear power" - "Current plans call for new reactors to be commissioned at a rate of nearly two a year between now and 2020, a pace that experts say is comparable to the peak of the United States' nuclear energy push in the 1970's." (New York Times)

"New era for biotech? Safer treatments could arise from gene-based tests" - "Angst about drug safety still shadows the market for biomedical firms, but biotechnology is starting to yield products that may open the door to a new era of safer medicine." (San Francisco Chronicle)

"Monsanto ”Seed Police” Scrutinise Farmers" - "BROOKLIN, Canada, Jan 14 - Agribusiness giant Monsanto has sued more than 100 U.S. farmers, and its "seed police" have investigated thousands of others, for what the company terms illegal use of its patented genetically engineered seeds, and activists charge is "corporate extortion." (IPS)

"Thailand Research Fund unveils GM pineapple" - "BANGKOK, Jan 14 – The Thailand Research Fund (TRF) today unveiled a new strain of genetically modified pineapple which could halve production costs, but stressed that stringent safety trials would be performed before the new strain was unleashed onto the general market." (TNA)

January 14, 2005

"No Beef Behind Red-Meat Cancer Scare" - "Eating a hamburger a day can increase your risk of colon cancer, according to a new study. Is it time to switch to chicken, fish or tofu ? Or is time to ask your congressman to check into whether the National Cancer Institute is spending its budget wisely?" (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"Malaria threat emerges as rains deluge tsunami stricken region in Indonesia" - "BANDA ACEH, Indonesia -- Health officials plan to go door to door and tent to tent with mosquito-killing spray guns beginning Friday to head off a looming threat that one expert says could kill 100,000 more people around the tsunami disaster zone: malaria.

The devastation and heavy rains are creating conditions for the largest area of mosquito breeding sites Indonesia has ever seen, said the head of the aid group anchoring the anti-malaria campaign on Sumatra island. The pools of salt water created by the Dec. 26 tsunami have been diluted by seasonal rains into a brackish water that mosquitoes love.

While the threat of cholera and dysentery outbreaks is diminishing by the day because clean water is increasingly getting to tsunami survivors, the danger of malaria and dengue fever epidemics is increasing, said Richard Allan, director of the Mentor Initiative, a public health group that fights malaria epidemics." (Associated Press)

"JAY AMBROSE: Because of tsunami, millions may be saved" - " A giant tsunami, as recent news has dramatically illustrated, can be a devastating enemy of mankind, but no more so than the tiny mosquito, an insect that visits men, women and children not just once in more than 100 years, but attacks them daily, depositing deadly pathogens in their blood. It's now too late to save the tens of thousands crushed or drowned by the mighty waves from the Indian Ocean in South Asia, but it is not too late to save millions in that area and elsewhere from such mosquito-borne diseases as malaria." (Scripps Howard News Service)

"Using DDT: Pro and Con" - "The New York Times publishes Richard Tren's response to Nicholas Kristof's DDT piece. NYT also publishes Paul Ehrlich's misguided and deeply misleading swipe against DDT. Ehrlich was wrong about population growth and about almost everything else since the 1960s - at least he's consistent." (AFM)

"Net failure sparks malaria fears" - "This is outrageous - How about a proper response from DFID and PSI along with all the other agencies that promote nets in malaria control at the expense of other interventions, such as indoor residual spraying with insecticides." (AFM)

"Curing diseases modern medicine has left behind" - "There is a way to find the right drugs for neglected tropical diseases, even if big drugs firms are not interested, argues Richard Hollingham" (New Scientist)

"Developing countries work around the 'technology divide'" - "Faced with the indifference of rich nations, developing countries are looking to each other for the technology they need, says Calestous Juma" (New Scientist)

"Child-Cellphone Warning Stirs Debate" - "A British health official's warning against use of cellphones by children under age 9 has sparked renewed debate about safety of mobile-communication devices." (Wall Street Journal)

"Dutch retailer pulls kids' handset on health fears" - "AMSTERDAM - A Dutch electronics retail chain this week withdrew a mobile phone aimed at children between the ages of four and eight after British scientists said earlier that children should be cautious using cell phones.

The BCC retail chain in early December launched "Foony", a brightly coloured handset with just a few buttons with which young children can call five pre-programmed numbers. "We've stopped selling them until it is clear what the health effects of mobile phones on children are," Peter Brussel, manager of BCC which has 37 shops in the Netherlands, said on Thursday.

The retail chain, which was the exclusive sales agent for the phone together with mobile operator Debitel, said it had sold 500 phones and that customers could bring their phone back to the shop and get a refund." (Reuters)

"PBDEs in dust and dryer lint" - "Young children in the most contaminated homes may be ingesting enough polybrominated diphenyl ethers, which are suspected to be endocrine disrupters, from dust to raise public health concerns." (Environmental Science & Technology)

"EPA Seeking Review on Potential Health Risks of Chemical Used in Teflon" - "WASHINGTON — A chemical used to make the nonstick substance Teflon is being considered by the Environmental Protection Agency as a potential health risk. The EPA on Wednesday said that exposure to even low levels of perfluorooctanoic acid and its salts, known as PFOA, or C-8, could pose "a potential risk of developmental and other adverse effects." Officials emphasized their draft risk assessment was not conclusive. "We've not offered any determinations of risks," said Charles Auer, director of EPA's Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics." (Associated Press)

"Global High Blood Pressure Rates Set to Soar: Study" - "LONDON - A third of the world's adult population -- more than one billion people -- will suffer from high blood pressure by 2025, scientists predicted on Friday. About a billion people around the globe were afflicted with high blood pressure or hypertension, the most important preventable risk factor for heart disease and stroke, in 2000. But in the next 20 years the number is expected to soar by about 60 percent and three-quarters of cases will be in developing countries." (Reuters)

"Fringe Therapies Need More Study, Advisers Report" - "The Institute of Medicine, one of the government's main scientific advisory bodies, laid out wide-ranging recommendations on "alternative medicine" in an effort to help Americans sort through the current mishmash of nontraditional therapies." (Wall Street Journal)

"Killer carbs?" - "Pity the embattled french fry. The low-carb revolution, spurred by best sellers like "The South Beach Diet," cast the poor potato as a villain. Then a Swedish study found that frying or baking starchy carbohydrates such as potatoes at high temperatures produces acrylamide, a white, odorless chemical said to cause cancer and reproductive problems in laboratory rats fed high doses. Killer carbs? Not so fast." (Knight Ridder)

"Ireland Leads EU Commission Hit List on Environment" - "BRUSSELS - Ireland leads a black-list of EU countries for its sheer number of environmental offences and will join six other governments to face trial before the bloc's top court, the European Commission said on Thursday." (Reuters)

"Methyl bromide phaseout drags" - "The widely used fumigant methyl bromide is proving difficult to phase out. During an international conference held in November, government officials agreed to allow some industrialized countries to carry on using MeBr for certain uses after 2005, the internationally agreed phase-out date for developed countries." (Environmental Science & Technology)

"Snow, Rain Make Dent in Western Drought" - "RENO, Nev. - For farmers and ranchers caught in the grip of the long and ruinous drought across the West, the heavy snow falling in the Sierra Nevada and other parts of the region is nothing short of white gold.

The Sierra Nevada has gotten more than 12 feet of snow over the past two weeks — the most in nearly a century — and Southern California and the Southwest have been drenched with some of the heaviest rains on record." (Associated Press)

"Tsunami Damage Gives Clues to Climate Peril" - "PORT LOUIS - Damage done by Asia's tsunami gives a clearer idea of the danger climate change poses to small islands, which fear rising seas will submerge them as the world warms, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said on Thursday." (Reuters) | Secretary-General's address to the high-level segment of the International Meeting for the 10-Year Review of the Barbados Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States (UN)

"Annan calls for 'decisive measures' on climate change" - "UN Secretary General Kofi Annan called Thursday for "decisive measures" to address climate change and said a global early warning system must be set up in the wake of last month's Asian tsunami disaster. "It is no longer so hard to imagine what might happen from the rising sea levels that the world's top scientists are telling us will accompany global warming," Annan told leaders at a UN conference on small islands here." (AFP)

"Small islands facing extinction urge action on global warming" - "PORT-LOUIS - Leaders of the world's smallest islands joined UN chief Kofi Annan in calling for action to curb the effects of climate change, with the Pacific atoll of Kiribati accusing polluting countries of waging "eco-terrorism." (AFP)

The moonbat speaks: "George Monbiot: 'Climate Change Is a Far Greater Threat To Human Well-Being Than Terrorism'" - "Landslides and flooding following days of heavy rain in California have left some 20 people dead in the state, including 10 in La Conchita following a devastating mudslide. We take a look at extreme weather and global warming with author and columnist George Monbiot. [includes rush transcript]" (Democracy Now!)

"Globally dim" - "There has never been such brilliant visual propaganda since Germany in the late 1930s. The final outcome? Estimates of global warming will have to be revised upwards." (Number Watch)

"Why the Sun seems to be 'dimming'" - "We are all seeing rather less of the Sun, according to scientists who have been looking at five decades of sunlight measurements. They have reached the disturbing conclusion that the amount of solar energy reaching the Earth's surface has been gradually falling. Paradoxically, the decline in sunlight may mean that global warming is a far greater threat to society than previously thought." (BBC)

"Developing regional solutions to global warming's challenge" - "The facts about global warming are becoming clear. We don't know everything about it, but we know it is happening. We know human activities, primarily burning fossil fuels, are very probably the dominant cause. We know it is likely to disrupt our economic and environmental systems if we don't change course. This is the judgment of one of the most exhaustively peer-reviewed scientific collaborations in history, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)." (William Ruckelshaus and K.C. Golden, Seattle Times)

Yes, it's that very same, never-mind-the-facts-ban-DDT-anyway Ruckleshaus. See what the IPCC's Third Assessment Report said about prediction of a specific future climate state here.

"It's time to stop dithering on Kyoto" - "A leaked federal document urging Ottawa to regulate reductions in greenhouse gases, because voluntary cutbacks aren't working, should light a fire under the Liberals to get them moving on Kyoto Protocol commitments. In the industrial sector, the report suggests companies be given a figure on emissions allowed per unit of production. It encourages them to make changes in technology or to buy credits from others to meet that standard. This, essentially, is the Kyoto model. In the long run, improved efficiency from new technology leads to higher profits and a leg up on competitors. For motor vehicles, the paper, Climate Change — Lessons Learned and Future Directions, suggests a mix of incentives and regulations." (Toronto Star)

"No Place for Kyoto in Asia" - "Britain is set to take up the G8 presidency this year and Kyoto Protocol advocate Tony Blair plans to make climate change one of his top agenda items. Writing in the Economist, the British prime minister has stated that the G8 should engage actively with developing nations to ensure that they meet their energy needs "sustainably." December's U.N. climate change conference also heard calls for developing nations such as China and India to somehow get on board with the Kyoto process. Would this mean that they should eventually sign up to Kyoto-style emissions caps, perhaps after the agreement expires in 2012?

Many developing nations would be wary of doing so. Emissions caps could seriously damage the high economic growth upon which their status of "developing" -- as opposed to just simply "impoverished" -- depends." (Greg Price, The Wall Street Journal)

"U.S. Coal-Fired Electricity Plants among North America's Largest Polluters, Study Says" - "MONTREAL — Power plants in the U.S. midwest and southeast spew a disproportionately large amount of continental air pollution, according to an environmental commission's study released this week." (Associated Press)

"Norway could build world's largest wind farm" - "A Norwegian energy project company wants to build the world's largest wind farm, more than eight times bigger than the current leader, off the Norwegian coast, the Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE) said on Thursday. Havgul, a company created by several private groups specifically for the giant wind farm project, has applied to build four wind parks in the North Sea off the coast of Moere and Romsdal in western Norway, according to NVE." (AFP)

"Chinese Company Plans Asia's Biggest Wind Farm, Report Says" - "BEIJING — A private company plans to build Asia's biggest wind farm in the sea south of Shanghai, setting up 100 turbines in shallow coastal waters, an industry group said Thursday." (Associated Press)

"Exports blamed for Amazon deforestation" - "New evidence that the rapid expansion of Brazil's export-fuelled agriculture sector is contributing to the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest is emerging from a study being finalised by a group of leading environmental organisations." (Financial Times)

"Monsanto Suing Farmers Over Piracy Issues" - "SAN FRANCISCO - Monsanto Co.'s "seed police" snared soy farmer Homan McFarling in 1999, and the company is demanding he pay it hundreds of thousands of dollars for alleged technology piracy. McFarling's sin? He saved seed from one harvest and replanted it the following season, a revered and ancient agricultural practice." (Associated Press)

McFarling is welcome to save any seed not covered by an agreement not to do so - an agreement he signed when he wanted to use Monsanto's seed.

"GE-Free proponents turn in record number of petitions for ballot measure" - "SANTA ROSA - To allow genetically engineered crops or not, that's the question that will face county voters sometime this spring. On Jan. 5 the GE-Free Sonoma County Campaign gave the Sonoma County Registrar of Voters its petitions to hold a special election on a 10-year ban on planting transgenic crops." (Sonoma West Times & News)

"Emerging nations embrace bio-crops" - "Developing countries have overtaken richer countries in their enthusiasm for genetically modified crops." (Financial Times)

"German law stops research project on GM potatoes with higher levels of an important carotenoid" - "A German research project aimed at producing genetically modified (GM) potatoes with higher levels of an important carotenoid will likely be cancelled before completion because of what the study's leader calls the German government's negative attitude toward GM crop research. Helmar Schubert, from the University of Karlsruhe's Institute of Food Process Engineering, told The Scientist the German research ministry has refused to provide additional funding needed to complete the 5-year project." (Ned Stafford, The Scientist)

January 13, 2005

"Angloa: Kwanza Sul: Malaria Main Cause Of Infant Death In 2004" - "Sumbe, 01/12 - A total of 8,008 children aged from zero to five years died of malaria last year in Kwanza-Sul province, says a balance report from the Department of Public Health and Control of Endemic Diseases, published today.

The information states that were diagnosed 86,263 kids with malaria in 2004, meaning a diminution of 17 cases of death as compared to the year 2003.

Besides malaria, other causes of death are acute diarrhoea (20,210 cases and 241 deaths) and respiratory diseases (63 deaths and 7,843 cases diagnosed)." (Angola Press)

"MMR and Autism: Dr. Michael Fitzpatrick Examines the Scare" - "Seeing a previously healthy baby begin to withdraw, lose language skills, and become averse to physical or social attention is a nightmare for any parent. A diagnosis of autism can then lead parents down a long road of feeling guilty, trying frustratingly unsuccessful treatments, and searching for an answer to their questions about the cause of their child's disorder. But when parents turn their quest for answers into a blind-faith crusade against public health initiatives, they may actually end up hurting more than they help." (Lynnea Mills, ACSH)

"Researchers Find Pond Scum Toxin that May Kill Bald Eagles" - "LOCATION — Two researchers at the Hollings Marine Laboratory on James Island have made what could be a groundbreaking discovery in the search for a mysterious killer of bald eagles.

Four years into their work at the Fort Johnson facility, researchers Susan Wilde and Sarah Habrun said they think a previously unknown form of pond scum carries a toxin that's killed some 100 of the majestic national symbols in the Southeast, including half the nesting population in the Thurmond Reservoir on the South Carolina-Georgia border." (The Post and Courier)

"U.S. Diet Guide Puts Emphasis on Weight Loss" - "WASHINGTON Jan. 12 - The federal government issued new dietary guidelines for Americans on Wednesday, and for the first time since the recommendations were introduced in 1980, they emphasize weight loss as well as healthy eating and cardiovascular health. The guidelines, which follow several years of reports that Americans are fatter than ever, recommend eating many more fruits and vegetables, more low-fat milk, more whole grains and increasing exercise to as much as an hour and a half a day. But some critics question whether they will make any difference in an increasingly fat America." (New York Times)

"Alarming ignorance of cancer risk" - "There is an alarming ignorance about cancer and how to reduce the risk of the disease, a survey has suggested." (BBC)

"Here we go, here we go, here we go again, again" (Number Watch)

"Greens ready to block crater study" - "A study of the crater left by the meteorite which many believe caused the extinction of the dinosaurs 65m years ago is being opposed by activists who fear it could prove fatal to marine life. The month-long study off the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico involves researchers from Cambridge University and Imperial College London, and US and Mexican universities.

Greenpeace and other environmentalist groups have vowed to stop the "killer boat" going to work." (The Guardian)

"EU Executive Slams France Over Environmental Law" - "BRUSSELS - France came under fire from the European Commission on Wednesday for failing to heed rulings from Europe's top court in six cases on environmental law." (Reuters)

"Controversial dam clears hurdle" - "Families affected by the 180m Barra Grande dam in Brazil drop their protest, angering environmentalists." (BBC)

From the moonbat roost: "Oil Extraction Stresses Earth, Contributing to Earthquakes and Tsunamis" - "At 80 to 100 million barrels a day being extracted from the earth, and some extraction procedures entailing the infusion of cold water, these factors cannot be ignored as far as influencing earth curst stresses." (sic) (PureEnergySystems)

"U.S. West Coast Storms May Have Started in Asia" - "SAN DIEGO - Don't blame El Nino for the deadly storms that have scourged the U.S. West Coast since New Year's Day. The real cause could be an Asian-born weather pattern called the Madden-Julian Oscillation.

First identified in the late 1970s, the Madden-Julian Oscillation, or MJO for short, typically begins in the Indian Ocean with a wide area of clouds and rain, meteorologist Ed O'Lenic said on Wednesday." (Reuters)

"Enough of this 'global warming' hysteria" - "I’M GREY enough to remember the hurricane that hit Glasgow back in January 1968. Winds of over 100mph slammed into the west of Scotland, damaging 250,000 houses and killing 20 people. I awoke in Drumchapel to find a whole side of the local primary school ripped off like tin foil and chimneys littering the street. Frankly, it was all very exciting.

The memory came back to me on Wednesday morning, as I walked round the outside of my house to check if any slates had been ripped off during Tuesday night’s gale - none, thankfully. Sadly, people were killed in this latest storm, but still it was not on a par with the 1968 event.

Which makes me highly suspicious of the fashionable view that extreme weather events are getting more numerous, or are worse than they used to be. Rather, it is a case of Mother Nature’s random (if savage) temper being recruited by some politically-motivated NGOs and some naive eco-warriors, to dramatise their ideological view that free-market, consumer economies are somehow evil." (George Kerevan, The Scotsman)

"Violent flood unlikely to be repeated for centuries" - "The violent flood that hit Boscastle last August was so rare it is unlikely to be repeated for centuries, an Environment Agency report said yesterday. The likelihood of a repeat deluge of similar proportions in the devastated Cornish village was one in 400. These preliminary findings, from an ongoing study into the flood, pave the way for a rebuilding programme. Applications to rebuild houses and shops will "in most cases" not be opposed on flood-risk grounds, but the agency warned that it would "strongly oppose" building proposals that would increase flood risk." (Independent)

"Warm Weather Leaves Skiers High and Dry" - "The German ski industry has hit a bump this year, as record warm temperatures for January melted snow at the country's many lower-lying resorts." (Deutsche Welle)

Buried in this report please find some actual information: "Moscow Melts in Record Warm Spell" - "Moscow is enjoying the warmest January in recorded history, and the weather is expected to continue to look more like April for the next few days as balmy Atlantic winds sweep across European Russia and keep temperatures comfortably above freezing. "These have been the warmest first 10 days of January since the beginning of weather monitoring in the country in 1879," Tatyana Pozdnyakova of the Moscow weather bureau said Wednesday. "Usually air temperatures begin rising above zero after March 27. This temperature is characteristic of the first days of April." The average temperature from Jan. 1 to Jan. 10 was 0.5 degrees Celsius, while the normal temperature would be minus 8.5 degrees, Pozdnyakova said." (The Moscow Times)

We'll all be ru'ned! "Fossil Fuel Curbs May Speed Global Warming: Scientists" - "LONDON - Cutting down on fossil fuel pollution could accelerate global warming and help turn parts of Europe into desert by 2100, according to research to be aired on British television on Thursday. "Global Dimming," a BBC Horizon documentary, will describe research suggesting fossil fuel by-products like sulfur dioxide particles reflect the sun's rays, "dimming" temperatures and almost canceling out the greenhouse effect.

The researchers say cutting down on the burning of coal and oil, one of the main goals of international environmental agreements, will drastically heat rather than cool climate." (Reuters)

"Bush looks to promote nuclear power" - "President Bush says the nation needs advanced nuclear-power plants, calling them a clean, "renewable" energy source for the future. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal on Monday, Bush said he looks forward to working with Congress on an energy bill that includes incentives for the nuclear-power industry. "It [nuclear power] certainly answers a lot of our issues. It certainly answers the environmental issue," he said." (John J. Fialka, Wall Street Journal)

"Patrick Moore to Address March 1-3 ForestLeadership Conference in Toronto" - "Montreal, January 12, 2005 – Renowned as the “sensible environmentalist,” Greenpeace co-founder, author and public speaker Dr. Patrick Moore will be the special guest speaker for the dinner and awards ceremony of the 2005 ForestLeadership Conference set for Toronto March 1-3, 2005." (Press Release)

"Farmers' markets? No thanks. That's sheer snobbery" - "One of the oldest maxims in business is that scarcity sells. ("Buy now while stocks last!") It is just another expression of the law of supply and demand. So you have to hand it to those guys at the weekend farmers' markets that have become popular in the US, the UK and beyond. They may look like simple country folk trying to earn a few honest pennies from their back-breaking labour in the fields, but they need few lessons in how to separate urbanites from their money." (Financial Times)

"Making the Desert Bloom" - "There is big news from the Middle East that is unusual in several ways: It's positive, involves a scientific advance, and comes from a developing country. Researchers at Cairo's Agricultural Genetic Engineering Research Institute have shown that by transferring a single gene from barley to wheat, the plants can tolerate less watering for a longer period of time before their leaves wilt. This new, drought-resistant variety requires only one-eighth as much irrigation as conventional wheat, and actually can be cultivated with rainfall alone in some desert areas. It could literally make the desert bloom." (Gregory Conko and Henry I. Miller, EnviroWire)

"World GMO Crop Area Rises by 20 Pct in 2004" - "BRUSSELS - World plantings of biotech crops jumped by 20 percent last year and should grow massively by the end of the decade as more Third World farmers opt for the technology, an industry lobby group said on Wednesday." (Reuters)

"Biotech Crop Harvest Comes Amid Discord" - "SAN FRANCISCO - Farmers around the globe planting genetically engineered crops enjoyed another bumper harvest last year even as political and financial pressure mounted from skeptical consumers in Europe and pockets of the United States, an industry-supported group said Wednesday.

Eight million farmers in 17 countries grew engineered crops on 200 million acres last year, a 20 percent increase over the 167 million acres in 2003, according to a report released by the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications. The report was paid for by two philanthropic groups, including the Rockefeller Foundation." (AP)

January 12, 2005

Scare of the Week: Does Meat-eating increase colon cancer risk?: Cancer Meatheads - "Eating a hamburger a day can increase your risk of colon cancer according to a new study. Is it time to switch to chicken, fish or tofu ? Or is time to ask your Congressperson to check into whether the National Cancer Institute is spending its budget wisely? " (Steve Milloy, JunkScience.com) | Long-term high consumption of red and processed meat linked with increased risk for colon cancer (JAMA and Archives Journals Website)

"Ratty test rationale" - "Public health specialists are becoming increasingly outspoken in arguing that animal cancer tests are ineffective in predicting human cancer risk." (Elizabeth Whelan, The Washington Times)

"Likelihood of a large vCJD epidemic remains small claim researchers" - "The likelihood of a large number of future cases of vCJD remains small claim researchers from Imperial College London." (Imperial College London)

Silliness reigns supreme: "McDonald's Takes Steps on Its Antibiotics Promise" - "THE McDonald's Corporation has taken the first steps to fulfill its 2003 promise to reduce the levels of antibiotics in the millions and millions of pounds of chicken, pork and beef that it sells. All of the chicken suppliers with whom the company has a direct relationship have already eliminated the use of human antibiotics as growth promoters in the chickens." (New York Times)

McDonald's move has nothing to do with public health and everything to do with appeasing anti-meat activists under the guise of "corporate social responsibility."

For more on so-called "corporate social responsibility," check out CSRwatch.com.

"Study finds no reduction in breast cancer risk with consumption of vegetables and fruits" - "Contrary to findings in previous studies, new research that includes a large group of women found no link between eating fruits and vegetables and a subsequent decreased risk for breast cancer, according to a study in the January 12 JAMA." (JAMA and Archives Journals Website)

"Child warning over mobile phones" - "Parents should ensure their children use mobile phones only when absolutely necessary because of the potential health risks, an expert is warning. The latest study by Sir William Stewart says there is still no proof mobile phones are unsafe, but warns precautionary steps should be taken." (BBC)

"Rocket Fuel, as Seen by Science and by Greens" - "Perchlorate is a chemical in rocket fuel that can leach into the ground and find its way into water supplies, but there is no evidence it is harmful to humans in small amounts. Indeed, the National Academy of Sciences released a report this week suggesting that 20 parts per billion perchlorate in drinking water is safe (and the Department of Defense makes a case for 200 parts per billion) -- but the anti-chemical activists at the Natural Resources Defense Council and Environmental Working Group want the permissible amount reduced to 1 part per billion or less, and the Environmental Protection Agency, which will ultimately determine the regulatory restrictions on perchlorate, is leaning toward adopting NRDC and EWG's recommendation." (Todd Seavey, ACSH)

"New EU project promotes safer farming practices and healthier food" - "Following on the success of the RUMEN-UP project, which looked into safe plant alternatives to antibiotics in animal feed for ruminants, the European Commission is now funding the REPLACE project to move the research agenda forward by extending the study to poultry, pigs and fish." (Cordis News, EU)

"Poverty, disease and the environment the real challenge for the world" - "The 2005 edition of the State of the World by the Washington-based research organisation, Worldwatch Institute calls poverty, disease and environmental degradation the true “axis of evil.” (EthicalCorp.com)

Worrywarts Inc. still haven't got it... poverty makes people vulnerable to disease and leads to environmental degradation.

"We still need witches to burn, hang and drown..." - "The human capacity for self-delusion is surely only matched by a deep desire for self- and 'other'-flagellation - "Mea culpa! We're all doomed!" The extraordinary attempts to implicate human sinfulness in the cause of the Indian Ocean tsunami, not to mention the recent storms in Europe, know no bounds - they range from sinful drunken policemen in Indonesia via a wrathful God and a Satanic Dubya to big oil! It all goes to show, yet again, that Bruno Latour was right: "We have never been modern". It is not sufficient to acknowledge the simple and down-to-earth truth that we live on an intrinsically restless physical planet, both atmospherically and geologically. We still need witches to burn, hang and drown." (EnviroSpin Watch)

"Consensus, Truisms and Straw Men" - "In a recent op-ed published in the Washington Post, science historian Naomi Oreskes, elaborating on her essay for Science magazine, argued that the nation's leaders were ignoring a unanimous agreement in the scientific literature that man is responsible for global warming and that something must therefore be done about it. Yet an examination of the form the much-touted scientific consensus actually takes reveals that it does not mandate policy choices. Moreover, the charge that people are denying what Orsekes defines as the consensus appears to be a straw man. It is therefore worth asking what the point is of this argument, which is growing increasingly popular." (Iain Murray, TCS)

"Saharan dust affects thunderstorm behavior in Florida" - "Scientists have discovered that these tiny particles of dust from the Saharan desert can affect thunderstorms in Florida in various ways. Dust affects the size of a thunderstorm's "anvil" or top, the strength and number of warm updrafts (rising air), and the amount of rain that builds up and falls from the "heat generated" or convective thunderstorms." (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center--EOS Project Science Office)

"Watching Earth's climate change in the classroom" - "NASA and other organizations use NASA's global climate computer model (GCM) to see how Earth's climate is changing. A GCM calculates many things, such as how much sunlight is reflected and absorbed by Earth's atmosphere, the temperature of the air and oceans, the distribution of clouds, rainfall, and snow, and what may happen to the polar ice caps in the future." (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center--EOS Project Science Office)

"Scientists warn small islands of climate's disastrous impacts" - "Rising sea levels combined with other extreme climatic events such as more frequent and powerful hurricanes and new patterns of cyclones have already caused major damage in many small island developing states (SIDS), and the worst seems yet to come." (Xinhua)

"Disaster takes heat off global warming threat" - "Port Louis, Mauritius: The tsunami has pushed a disaster early-warning system to the top of the agenda at a meeting of the world's small islands, potentially crowding out concerns about climate change and trade, some delegates say." (Reuters)

How disappointing for activists - people worrying about real-world problems - how rude!

"EU Warned Against Pursuing Its Climate Change Agenda" - "The chairman of the US Senate's environment committee, Senator James Inhofe, warned the EU against pursuing its climate change agenda—stalled to date in the international negotiating process—through backdoor means such as the World Trade Organization." (Christopher C. Horner, EU Reporter)

"Europeans Wonder: Snow, Where'd You Go?" - "VIENNA, Austria - Bears in Slovakia are awakening early from hibernation. So are barmaids in Bavaria, unseasonably busy in outdoor beer gardens. Bushes are blooming in Austria, and skiers at snowless Bosnian resorts are chilling out in hotel pools." (The Associated Press)

"Russians Wonder What's Happened to 'General Winter'" - "MOSCOW - As snow and ice melt away into puddles of dirty water months earlier than usual, Russians are asking what's happened to their once-dreaded winter. Scientists said the mild temperatures, which may be linked to global warming, were close to record highs for a Russian winter -- infamous for its ferocity and credited with frustrating invaders from Napoleon to Hitler." (Reuters)

From CO2 Science Magazine this week:

"Recent Arctic Temperatures: Unusual or Nothing Special?" - "We've heard a lot in recent months about the dramatic warming of the Arctic over the past couple of decades and all the problems it has caused.  But have the temperatures there really been as unusual (high or unprecedented) as is typically claimed by the world's climate alarmists?" (co2science.org)

Subject Index Summaries:
"Precipitation (Trends - Regional: Europe)" - "Have rainfall amounts and intensities become more extreme and variable with the supposedly unprecedented CO 2 -induced warming of the 20th century, as climate alarmists claim they have?  Studies from Europe weigh in on the issue." (co2science.org)

"Nutrients x CO 2 Effects on Plants (Nitrogen - General)" - "Do less-than-optimal supplies of soil nitrogen limit plant growth responses to atmospheric CO 2 enrichment?" (co2science.org)

Plant Growth Data:
"This week we add new results (blue background) of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO 2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature for: Norway Spruce, Perennial Ryegrass, Sea Plantain and White Poplar." (co2science.org)

Journal Reviews:
"20th-Century Surface-Air and Atlantic Core-Water Temperatures of the Arctic Ocean" - "Do they provide any evidence of recent "unprecedented" CO 2 -induced global warming?" (co2science.org)

"Oyster Shells Reveal Climatic History of U.S. Atlantic Coast" - "How does the result compare with the IPCC-endorsed "hockeystick" temperature record of Mann et al.?" (co2science.org)

"Effects of Elevated CO 2 on Phytoplankton Productivity" - "Little attention has been focused on the impact that the ongoing rise in the air's CO 2 content may have on the primary production of aquatic ecosystems.  The findings of an intriguing new study call this neglect into question." (co2science.org)

"The Impact of Elevated CO 2 on the Resistance of Pencilflower to Anthracnose Disease" - "As the air's CO 2 content continues to rise, will this important pasture legume of Australia become more or less susceptible to the devastation that is caused by periodic outbreaks of anthracnose disease?" (co2science.org)

"Atmospheric CO 2 and Syrian Wheat Production" - "How will the production of durum wheat under both irrigated and dryland conditions in Syria be impacted by the ongoing rise in the air's CO 2 content, which will continue unimpeded for decades, if not longer, in spite of all the efforts of all the world's climate alarmists to reduce it?" (co2science.org)

"Tougher Kyoto rules urged" - "Ottawa must consider regulating a reduction in the amount of harmful greenhouse gases that spew from automobiles and big industries because the voluntary approach is not working, federal documents warn.

"With current policy and programs, Canada is still going to be significantly off the Kyoto target," says a document called Climate Change -- Lessons Learned and Future Directions that was obtained by The Globe and Mail

The "voluntary approach and limited incentives [are] not sufficient to drive substantive change," says the document, dated Jan. 5 and marked "Draft -- Secret." So policy makers "need more consideration of regulation and taxation to drive behavioural change and technology deployment and uptake." (Globe and Mail)

 "Huge CO2 emission cuts proposed" - "The government is to propose a massive reduction in carbon dioxide emissions in advanced nations to levels one-fourth of those in 2002 by 2050, government sources said Tuesday." (Yomiuri Shimbun)

"Professor Claims Hydrogen Economy Will Actually Hurt Environment" - "Hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles - touted as the silver bullet of "global warming" and other eco-disasters - would actually lead to greater emissions of carbon dioxide and pollutants because of inefficiencies in the processes currently available to produce hydrogen and use it in the U.S. vehicle fleet. That's according to San Jose State University's Donald Anthrop, professor emeritus of environmental studies at the university and author of more than 60 papers and articles on energy and water resources." (Hart Publishing)

"Much Heat and Deep Split Over a Cape Cod Wind Farm" - "CONCORD, Mass., Jan. 11 - After four formal hearings, one so packed with passionate speakers that it had to be reconvened for a second time on Tuesday afternoon, the public has just about had its say on a proposal to install a giant wind farm in offshore waters south of Cape Cod. But consensus appears to be as far away as ever, with advocates and opponents deeply divided on the project and the vast majority still ambivalent." (New York Times)

"Ill wind blows in green power debate" - "DAVID Bellamy yesterday condemned plans to increase the number of windfarms across Scotland, as a pressure group warned that the number of turbines could exceed 6000 if planning applications are approved. The botanist and broadcaster, who is patron of Views of Scotland, the renewable energy group, said the windfarm proposals were a potential blot on the landscape and would come at great cost to the taxpayer." (The Herald)

"Tomatoes Have Genes?" - "As members of a primarily urban society, most Americans have very little or no contact with the sources or methods of producing their foods. Their understandable ignorance has the unfortunate consequence of leaving them vulnerable to misinformation about food and nutrition. Nowhere is this vulnerability more obvious than with respect to genetic engineering, usually misnamed genetic modification." (Ruth Kava, ACSH)

January 11, 2005

Tsunami Myth of the Day: "Countdown with Keith Olbderman for Jan. 7" - "... the Internet is full of speculation that not the U.S. government, but rather big oil might have been the, quote unquote, 'cause,' triggering the disaster during its searches for new oil fields under the Indian Ocean. " (MSNBC)

Click for the myth-busting excerpt from the MSNBC program -- an interview with a geophysicist from the U.S. Geological Service.

"Taiwan doing its part to eradicate malaria" - "Taiwan is doing its stuff for malaria control - it is helping to use insecticides in Sao Tome and Principe to control mosquitoes. It is high time that the WHO admits Taiwan as a member as that nation seems to have a better grasp of malaria control than the bureaucrats in Geneva." (AFM)

"'No Black and White Answers'?" - "The top official of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria drew a sharp distinction last week between his organization's policy on AIDS drugs and the policy of the United States, his largest source of funds.

In an interview with TechCentralStation Wednesday, Richard Feachem, executive director of the Global Fund, said that recent de-listings of questionable Indian-made medicines that had earlier been "pre-qualified" by the World Health Organization were "obviously a setback to the global effort" to fight AIDS.

But he said he stood by his policy of allowing distribution of AIDS drugs given a green light by the WHO -- even if they are not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or an equivalent regulatory agency in a developed country.

The WHO list is maintained by a tiny staff with no facilities for testing, and the WHO does not warrant safety or effectiveness. Drugs that do not meet even these standards are now floating all over Africa, with no means of recall." (James K. Glassman, TCS)

"Science Panel Issues Report on Exposure to Pollutant" - "WASHINGTON, Jan. 10 - In an eagerly awaited report on perchlorate, one of the most controversial unregulated toxic pollutants in the country's drinking water and food supplies, the National Academy of Sciences said Monday that people would be safe if exposed to daily doses 20 times those under consideration by the Environmental Protection Agency." (New York Times)

A serving of spinach can be far more "dangerous" than a "serving" of perchlorate!

"U.S. Tried to Suppress Pollutant Study, Group Says" - "WASHINGTON - A new report from the National Academy of Sciences raises by 20 times the amount of rocket fuel pollution in drinking water considered "safe," but environmentalists on Monday accused the government of influencing the report's findings." (Reuters)

"Patient Safety Research: Creating Crisis" - "The November 11, 2004 issue of New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) celebrated the fifth anniversary of the release by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the monograph To Err is Human. The NEJM editorial by Drew Altman, Ph.D. (Kaiser Family Foundation), Carolyn Clancy, M.D. (U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality), and Robert Blendon, Sc.D. (Harvard School of Public Health) repeated the old assertion of a patient safety crisis in which 44,000 to 98,000 patients died in American hospitals each year due to preventable medical errors." (John Dale Dunn, ACSH)

"Cancer risk seen in 'Green Earth' dry cleaning" - "Green Earth dry cleaning is a process billed as a nontoxic alternative to traditional cleaning methods. But preliminary studies suggest the silicone-based solvent used in the process causes cancer in rats and may also be toxic to the liver." (National Public Radio)

"Food Fantasies" - "Imagine Willy Wonka attracting kids with golden tickets to his vegetable farm with the prize being a lifetime supply of carrots. Or first years aboard the Hogwarts Express buying broccoli to get famous witches and wizards cards. Or young children playing the game of Spinichland.

Hard to do that? Well, it's the dream of Michael Jacobson and Margo G. Wootan of the Center for Science in the Public Interest. Last week, they issued their proposed "voluntary" guidelines for marketing to kids -- voluntary in the sense that they don't see lawmakers or regulators taking up the issue very soon, but do hope trial lawyers will become involved quickly." (Duane D. Freese, TCS)

"The Colo(u)r of Food Fear" - "In an attempt to protect its citizens, the United Kingdom is reviewing proposals to implement its own color-coded alert system evocative of the one in place in the United States.

This may prompt cynicism in Americans who are skeptical about the effectiveness of our own color-coded security alert system. They may, however, be comforted by the knowledge that the UK's system would create warnings that are targeted to much more specific areas than our system. You see, the UK's proposed alert system has nothing to do with international terrorists. Rather it will relate to food, providing a color-coded indicator specifically calculated for each item in grocery stores. Additionally, it would differ in another fundamental way -- by indicating the healthfulness of foods, as opposed to levels of security threats." (Rivka Weiser, ACSH)

"'Creeping Tsunami' of Sea Level Rise" - "Last month’s tsunami disaster in the Western Pacific and Indian oceans is a stark reminder of the vulnerability of small island developing states (SIDS) to natural and man-made disasters. President of Counterpart International, a Washington-based development organisation, Mr. Lelei LeLaulu, said small island states are constantly facing the "creeping tsunami" of sea level rise. This "creeping tsunami", he said, is man-made by carbon emissions produced from fossil fuels which produce global climate change and rising sea levels." (Counterpart)

"James K. Glassman: Tsunami offers an irresistible opportunity for exploitation" - "The tsunami the day after Christmas has so far killed more than 150,000 in South Asia and East Africa.

It was a terrible tragedy to which the world is responding quickly and generously. But, in some quarters, the tsunami offers an irresistible opportunity for exploitation — and not just by kidnappers of orphans to use as prostitutes.

Unscrupulous activists, who have so far been unable to enact a scheme for mandatory reductions in energy under the Kyoto Protocol on climate change, are telling whoever will listen, "See, we told you so!" (Scripps Howard News Service)

"Queen's discovery sheds new light on ancient temperatures" - "A new discovery by a team of Queen's University scientists suggests that ancient earth was much colder than previously thought – a discovery that has broad implications for those studying the earth's climate." (Queen's University)

"Drought's growing reach: NCAR study points to global warming as key factor" - "The percentage of Earth's land area stricken by serious drought has more than doubled since the 1970s, according to a new analysis by scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). Rising global temperatures appear to be a major factor." (National Center for Atmospheric Research/University Corporation for Atmospheric Research)

Weekly Whipple: "Climate: The Arctic goes bush" - "Boulder, CO, Jan. 10 -- The Arctic may be undergoing a transition in its vegetation thanks to global warming. That is the conclusion of a paper in the January issue of the journal Bioscience. "The abundance of Arctic shrubs is again increasing, apparently driven by a warming climate," the authors said. "It is possible we are witnessing the forerunner of another major transition in arctic vegetation." (Dan Whipple, UPI)

"Blair told to go green on public services" - "Tony Blair's environment adviser has claimed that modernising the public sector will best be achieved by tackling climate change." (ePolitix)

"UK: Freak Weather Intensifies Climate Change Debate" - "The devastating floods and gale force winds that swept parts of Britain and killed at least three people have intensified the global warming debate." (PA News)

"UK: Save Energy Or Face More Storms, Group Warns" - "Britain can brace itself for more severe storms if energy-saving measures are not introduced soon, it was warned today." (PA News)

"World: Is The Freak Weather Random Or A Dangerous Pattern?" - "What is happening to the weather? It's supposed to be deep midwinter in the northern hemisphere, but much of Central Europe is basking in spring temperatures. Meanwhile, fierce storms have caused havoc in Northern Europe from Ireland, across Scandinavia, through Belarus and on to Russia. Parts of Kazakhstan are overwhelmed with snow, and further afield, California is struggling against snow and flash floods. South Africa has flooding amid a drought -- and it's even been snowing in the parched deserts of the United Arab Emirates." (Radio Free Europe)

"10-mile Thames flood barrier plan" - "Plans to build a 10-mile barrier along the Thames to protect London from flooding are being considered. The embankment, from Sheerness in Kent to Southend in Essex, would contain gates to allow water to flow in and out of the Thames estuary. Climate change experts say the existing Thames barrier, built in the 1970s, may not be able to cope with rising tides." (BBC)

"Time to be adult about ‘global warming’..." - "It is time to be adult about climate. Cutting ‘greenhouse gas’ emissions will not halt climate change. The Kyoto protocol and 'climate control' are no bases for sensible policy-making. During the next few months we are going to be assaulted by a massive media and government propaganda machine to make us all bow to the Great God of 'Global Warming'. We must stand our ground with dignity and with thoughtful and courteous argument. We must weather the storm." (EnviroSpin Watch)

"Facing Biotech Foods Without the Fear Factor" - "Almost everywhere food is sold these days, you are likely to find products claiming to contain no genetically modified substances. But unless you are buying wild mushrooms, game, berries or fish, that statement is untrue." (New York Times)

"GM foods 'as safe as plant-derived,' finds EU group" - "Brussels addresses the issue of consumer cynicism and fear of agricultural biotechnology in European citizens, setting up a thematic network on the safety risk assessment of genetically modified food crops, the Entransfood project, in order to stimulate the debate." (Nutra Ingredients)

January 10, 2005

World Wildlife Fund, Greenpeace Reverse Gear on DDT: Tens of Millions Die for Nothing? The World Wildlife Fund and Greenpeace apparently have reversed their long-standing opposition to the use of DDT to fight malaria. In his column in the New York Times (Jan. 8), Nicholas Kristof quotes spokesmen from WWF and Greenpeace as supporting the use of DDT in anti-malarial programs:

  • "I called the World Wildlife Fund, thinking I would get a fight. But Richard Liroff, its expert on toxins, said he could accept the use of DDT when necessary in anti-malaria programs. 'South Africa was right to use DDT,' he said. 'If the alternatives to DDT aren't working, as they weren't in South Africa, geez, you've got to use it. In South Africa it prevented tens of thousands of malaria cases and saved lots of lives.'"
  • "At Greenpeace, Rick Hind noted reasons to be wary of DDT, but added: 'If there's nothing else and it's going to save lives, we're all for it. Nobody's dogmatic about it.'"
DDT was banned by the U.S. -- and for practical purposes by the rest of the world -- in 1972 following an intense lobbying campaign by the Environmental Defense Fund. Tens of millions of people -- mostly pregnant women and children -- have died from malaria during the last 30 years. Many, if not most, of these deaths may have been avoided had DDT been more widely used.

The WWF nevertheless maintains on its web site that "DDT should be phased out and ultimately banned." Greenpeace has long called for banning DDT, and has been a leading advocate of the POPs Treaty, which would make DDT more difficult to use in anti-malaria programs, if not operate as a de facto ban.

It might be easy for some to dismiss the past 43 years of eco-hysteria over DDT with a simple "Nevermind..." -- a la Saturday Night Live's Emily Litella -- except for the blood of millions of people dripping from the hands of the WWF, Greenpeace, Rachel Carson, Environmental Defense Fund and other junk science-fueled opponents of DDT.

I suppose it's possible that WWF's Richard Liroff and Greenpeace's Rick Hind were misquoted by Kristof or that they don't really mean what they say. But if they really stand-by use of DDT in anti-malarial programs, JunkScience.com calls on the World Wildlife Fund and Greenpeace to apply their multi-million dollar budgets toward ensuring that not another death occurs that could have been prevented by DDT.

Check out "100 Things You Should Know About DDT" to find out how millions died for nothing.

"It's Time to Spray DDT" - "Excellent oped by Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times. He is wrong about the bald eagle though, it was endangered in 1921, 25 years before DDT was ever used - but he is dead right about DDT and malaria control. Lets hope USAID finally sit up and pay attention." (AFM)

"To Prevent Malaria: Oddly Enough, Political Will Needed" - "As we have learned in the past 10 days, one of the biggest concerns facing both the victims of last month’s tsunami and the aid workers helping them is the outbreak of waterborne diseases. The worst of these is malaria, all but eliminated in the West, but still a plague in the Third World. The disease claims between one million and two million lives annually." (The Winchester Star)

"Committing malpractice on the world's poor" - "The tsunami that struck Asia and Somalia left unprecedented, unfathomable death and destruction in its wake. It was a shocking reminder that, for all its beauty and bounties, Mother Nature still periodically unleashes awesome powers that threaten our lives, even our very civilization -- and expose the shocking vulnerability of our Earth's poorest communities.

Equally unprecedented is the life-giving aid that continues to flow to these battered regions. It reflects the best that humans are capable of -- and the vital importance of modern technology, medicine, communication and transportation.

This monumental natural disaster has seized our attention. But it must not distract us from other calamities that continue to kill millions in destitute countries around the world, and keep their communities impoverished." (Paul Driessen, Enter Stage Right)

"The Other Tsunamis" - "The great tsunami that washed across Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, India and other Indian Ocean nations has left in its wake more than 150,000 dead and several million homeless.

No one should begrudge the aid going to the survivors. This natural disaster is one of the worst in the last half century, behind only the 1970 cyclone in Bangladesh that took 300,000 lives and the 1976 earthquake in China that killed 255,000.

But some are pointing out, as tragedies go, it pales in comparison to the annual deaths -- mostly in developing and Third World nations -- from infectious and parasitic diseases." (Duane D. Freese, TCS)

"Eco echoes: a bad case for arrested development" - "Environmental groups last week gave new meaning to the old slogan "reuse and recycle." In the aftermath of the tsunami disaster, many were spotted trying to capitalize on the headlines to call attention to their old saws on climate change.

The controversy was catalyzed by a series of quotes such as one from a Greenpeace spokesman, who said an increase in "so-called natural disasters [was] no more natural than a plastic Christmas tree."

Similar talk has been heard from other eco groups, though they always clarify that they don't mean the earthquake in the Indian Ocean was caused by global warming, er, exactly. The message instead is worse: Poor countries are unwise to aspire to join the industrialized world, and their "natural" disasters are a comeuppance for buying into the desirability of economic progress." (Collin Levey, Seattle Times)

Utterly incredible: "Tsunami reverts beaches to natural state" - "PATONG BEACH, Thailand -- Many believe the tsunami that devastated this tourist hotspot and killed thousands had one positive side: By washing away rampant development, it returned the beaches to nature." (Associated Press)

"Tsunami of the Absurd" - "Last Monday, the Voice of America broadcast a story linking tsunamis and global warming. Naomi Oreskes, an associate professor of History at the University of California, said the tsunami that slammed the Asian and African coastlines underscores the need to take action on global warming.

The argument runs, many people live in the path of potential tsunamis. If global warming were to lift the sea level, coastal peoples would be more vulnerable to massive future inundations.

This was environmental demagoguery at its most vile. Riding your issue on the backs of 130,000 dead people goes beyond the pale, even for the global warming crowd." (Patrick J. Michaels, Cato Institute)

"Aid for vulnerable islands declines" - "UN conference hears how small states are struggling with rising seas, pollution and cuts in foreign assistance." (The Guardian)

"Rising seas threaten islands, cities and coasts" - "OSLO - It sounds insignificant alongside the Indian Ocean tsunami, yet an almost imperceptible annual rise in the world's oceans may pose a huge threat to ports, coasts and islands by 2100.

Leaders of 37 small island states meet in Mauritius from January 10-14 to discuss an early warning system to protect against tsunamis and a creeping rise in ocean levels, blamed widely global warming.

Rising sea levels, now about two mm (0.08 inch) a year, could swamp low-lying countries like Tuvalu in the Pacific or the Maldives in the Indian Ocean if temperatures keep rising." (Reuters)

"New perspectives for the future of the Maldives" - "Abstract: Novel prospects for the Maldives do not include a condemnation to future flooding. The people of the Maldives have, in the past, survived a higher sea level of about 50–60 cm. The present trend lack signs of a sea level rise. On the contrary, there is firm morphological evidence of a significant sea level fall in the last 30 years. This sea level fall is likely to be the effect of increased evaporation and an intensification of the NE-monsoon over the central Indian Ocean." (Nils-Axel Morner, Michael Tooley, Goran Possnert, 2004; Global and Planetary Change 40: 177–182.)

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

Uh-huh... "BTL: Rising Ocean Levels Tied to Global Warming May Have Exacerbated Tidal Waves' Destructive Power" - "Interview with Ross Gelbspan, journalist and author, conducted by Between the Lines' Scott Harris" (TIMC)

"Honey, it's cold outside" - "Ever hear of Paul Reiter?

Probably not.

How about Nils-Axel Morner?

I doubt it. (And, no, he didn't play right wing for the Swedish National Hockey Team.)

What about Madhav Khandekar? Or William Keatinge? Perhaps Ragnar Arnason? Martin Agerup? Maybe Indur Goklany?

Nope, nope, nope, nope and nope, I'll bet.

Please allow me to introduce you to this fine cadre of scholars. For they likely will be thinking man's best defense against a global warming lobby that's attempting to steamroll a gullible world into believing its quite large body of junk science and, that accomplished, dive into its pockets for "the public good." (Colin McNickle, Tribune-Review)

"Reef Madness" - "Now that Russia has ratified the Kyoto Protocol, Australia is the only industrialized country besides the United States to reject the U.N.-sponsored climate treaty. However, a report commissioned by Australian affiliates of World Wildlife Fund and Greenpeace denies that Australia has any choice in the matter." (Marlo Lewis, TCS)

The Week That Was Jan. 8, 2005 (SEPP)

"Writer Crichton Questions Global Warming Fears" - "Talk of the Nation, January 7, 2005· In his new book State of Fear, writer Michael Crichton blends fact with fiction in a critical look at the science of global warming. The premise asks whether concerns about climate change are overblown. We speak with Crichton about his book and about the politics of the global warming debate." (NPR)

“An Update on the Science of Climate Change” PDF (Senator James M. Inhofe, Chairman, Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, January 4, 2005)

"NASA funded scientists to present findings at Annual AMS Meeting" - "NASA and NASA - funded scientists will present findings from their latest research at the 2005 annual meeting of the American Meteorological Society (AMS). The meeting will take place Jan. 9 through 13 at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, Calif. The theme of this year's meeting is "Building the Earth Information System" and the role that science can play in decision-making for society." (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center--EOS Project Science Office)

"Carbon trading grows into new year" - "Volume rises as price falls in first week of EU trading scheme." (News @ Nature)

"Caving in on global warming" - "As a great public service, someone should send a copy of Michael Crichton's new book "State of Fear" to the chief executive officer of every Fortune 500 company in America. Mr. Crichton is not a scientist, but he understands science and how to separate out fact from fiction.

His book undresses the environmental alarmists for a lack of evidence to support their apocalyptic claims of global warming and does so with impressive documentation.

"State of Fear" has become a best-seller precisely at the time business leaders across the nation are capitulating to an environmentalist global warming agenda that could severely cripple the U.S. economy and cost hundreds of thousands of jobs — to say nothing of denting corporate profits." (Stephen Moore, The Washington Times)

"UK carbon output revision threatens trading scheme" - "The EU's carbon dioxide emissions trading scheme (ETS), the world's first market-based plan for cutting greenhouse gases, is in danger of being stillborn because of threatened legal action by Britain, Germany and other countries against the European commission." (The Guardian)

"Coal pollutes the West's skies" - "Nearly two dozen coal-fired power plants may be built or expanded in the interior West, with several of them sending their electricity to California but air-mailing their pollution to Colorado. Even as the skies get cleaner elsewhere in the country, they're getting dirtier in parts of the Rocky Mountains and Southwest, and increased coal use is part of the problem." (Denver Post editorial)

"Talk is green, but money's still on gas guzzlers" - "General Motors Corp., which sells the gas-gobbling Hummer, urges Americans to "Get Green" on a special website and is producing advertising campaigns trumpeting hydrogen fuel and gas-electric hybrid vehicles.

Ford Motor Co., with the poorest average fuel economy of any major automaker, markets its new hybrid sport utility vehicle in Mother Jones and other politically left magazines and has planted energy-saving grass on the roof of its newest truck plant.

After years of pushing power and performance, the US auto industry has begun to view conservation as a marketable quality. But automakers are stepping cautiously, and so far the green marketing is far outpacing the manufacturing of energy-efficient vehicles.

Environmental activists say they are encouraged, if not yet convinced. "The carmakers are definitely talking the environmental line a lot more," said Jennifer Krill of the Rainforest Action Network in San Francisco. While such marketing is "a sign of optimism," she said, "we still don't see the environmental products coming off the assembly line." (The Washington Post)

"Where Nelson Triumphed, a Battle Rages Over Windmills" - "CAPE TRAFALGAR, Spain - Near this blustery headland where Admiral Nelson won his great naval victory over the French two centuries ago, a new battle of Trafalgar is brewing." (New York Times)

He's ba-ack: Number of the Month January 2005 (Number Watch)

"Who protects whom?" - "The government will allow you to risk your life by sky-diving, mountain climbing or any number of other dangerous activities.

It won't allow you to risk your life to avoid arthritis pain by taking Vioxx.

There's no principle behind such differences in government policy. No one has to show some particular medication is more dangerous than some particular recreation in order to get the medication banned while the recreational activity is allowed to go on.

Businesses that conduct dangerous recreational activities aren't being denounced for "corporate greed" by making money at the risk of other people's lives. Such charges are flung around regularly about pharmaceutical companies -- and are taken seriously in the media." (Thomas Sowell, The Record)

"We have so much health information, but how much freedom to use it?" - "We rely on the expertise of health professionals not only to cure us when we are sick but to keep us healthy when we are well. But in a world dominated by health messages for every aspect of human life and the emergence of the internet, are these professionals becoming too absolutist in their advice? Dr Iain Robbe, a clinical senior lecturer and honorary consultant in public health medicine, argues such an approach could see the erosion of the high esteem the public has for medicine." (Madeleine Brindley, Western Mail)

"Pesticides may cause prostate cancer, say government advisers" - "Government cancer advisers have for the first time said pesticides, particularly weedkillers, might cause prostate cancer and want better monitoring of their use, the Guardian has learned. There must be more information on occupational exposure of farmers and farmworkers to agricultural chemicals, said the committee on carcinogenicity in a statement that has encouraged environmental campaigners." (The Guardian)

"Toxic Breast Milk?" - "When we nurse our babies, we feed them not only the fats, sugars and proteins that fire their immune systems, metabolisms and cerebral synapses. We also feed them, albeit in minuscule amounts, paint thinners, dry-cleaning fluids, wood preservatives, toilet deodorizers, cosmetic additives, gasoline byproducts, rocket fuel, termite poisons, fungicides and flame retardants." (New York Times)

"Sick of work? Maybe your building's to blame" - "We all know that our jobs can make us sick. But what if the actual building where we work is what's making us sick?" (Salt Lake Tribune)

"Biotech crop foes turn in petitions" - "A well-organized campaign in Sonoma County emerged this week with more than 45,000 signatures in support of a 10-year moratorium on biotech crops. The ballot measure - billed by backers as more moderate than similar attempts elsewhere - shows that opponents of genetic engineering weren't scared away by November election losses in Butte and San Luis Obispo counties." (Sacramento Bee)

"Europe wriggles free from Monsanto's GM takeover, for now" - "Environment Ministers have temporarily blocked the genetically modified oilseed rape from Europe produced by American biotech giant Monsanto following a vote." (Edie)

January 7, 2005

"President Could Help Tsunami Victims With Stroke of Pen" - "The Bush administration undertook some of its own disaster recovery last week by increasing U.S. aid to tsunami victims from $15 million to $350 million. But much more could, and should, be done for the health and economic development of the tsunami victims and of other developing nations' populations." (Steve Milloy, FoxNews.com)

Enviros maintain tsunami-global warming linked: The British newspaper The Independent apparently erred in linking global warming-related quotes from Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth spokesmen with the recent tsunamis. Enviros, nevertheless, keep trying to make such a linkage. Here are some examples:

  • The Gloucestershire Echo reported (Dec. 30) that former Friends of the Earth director Jonathon Porritt “has warned that disasters such as the Indian Ocean tsunami could become more common. Mr. Porritt said climate change meant vulnerable communities living in coastal areas would suffer the impact of rising sea levels and increased storms.”
  • Sir David King -- a British climate hysteric who has lectured for Greenpeace and who has called global warming “more serious even than the threat of terrorism” -- reportedly said on BBC Radio that “What is happening in the Indian Ocean underlines the importance of the Earth's system to our ability to live safely. And what we are talking about in terms of climate change is something that is really driven by our own use of fossil fuels, so this is something we can manage.”
  • The Western Daily Press (UK) reported (Jan. 1) in a tsunami-related article, "And a spokesman for Friends of the Earth said: "Hundreds of thousands of homes across England and Wales are already at risk from flooding, and many more are going to be under threat as a result of global warming.

"Cashing in on a tsunami" - "Confronted with natural catastrophes, people ask why. In biblical times they often blamed a god angry with human transgressions. Now some environmental groups are providing a convenient target to blame for causing or contributing to the tsunami disaster: global warming, and by inference the United States and developing countries.

The argument goes roughly like this. Greenhouse gases, largely from the U.S. and industrialized nations, have fueled a global warming trend that is melting the ice caps and contributing to a rise in sea levels that might have caused or aggravated the South Asia disaster.

This is worse than a hoax. It's an insult to the victims and the survivors of the tsunami and to the millions of compassionate people trying to bring relief and figure out how to prevent a similar disaster." (Chicago Tribune editorial)

"Killer Tsunami's 'Global Warming' Link Branded 'Rubbish'" - "Attempts by a wide array of environmentalists and scientists to link the recent Asian earthquake and tsunami to human-caused "global warming" are "abject rubbish," according to another expert in the field from the University of Virginia. "If one wants to make the argument that alterations in weather patterns have an effect on the stresses of the earth's tectonic plates, which are far beneath the ocean, one is ignoring virtually every physical aspect of the ocean," said Patrick J. Michaels, an environmental sciences professor at the University of Virginia." (CNSNews.com)

"'Beware tsunamis and climate': UN" - "A leading UN official says the world must guard against natural catastrophes such as the Indian ocean tsunami, and the threat of climate change as well. Dr Klaus Toepfer, director of the UN Environment Programme, said the tsunami and changing climate were not linked." (Alex Kirby, BBC News)

"Do Drug Companies Kill Poor People?" - "How for-profit medicine helps even the poorest" (Ronald Bailey, Reason)

"Flame retardants in dust" - 'Household dust may be one of the most significant sources of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) for humans. The researchers caution that small children may be particularly susceptible to household dust inhalation because of their propensity to mouth hands and toys." (Environmental Science & Technology)

"State urges ban on group of fire-retardants" - "A family of fire-retardant chemicals should be banned amid growing concerns that it is toxic, particularly to fetuses and infants, according to Washington state officials." (Seattle Times)

"Olestra as Treatment for Dioxin: Flushing One Feared Chemical with Another" - "Scientists may have some hope to offer newly elected Ukrainian president Viktor Yushchenko in his efforts to combat his reported recent dioxin poisoning. It's not a freshly discovered wonder drug. It's not an all-natural diet of organic fresh fruits and vegetables. Indeed, Yushchenko's relief may come in the form of potato chips.

A study published this month by researchers at the University of Cincinnati and the University of Western Australia demonstrates the ability of olestra, the calorie-free fat replacement used in such products as Fat-free Pringles, to speed the process of eliminating dioxin and similar chemicals from animals' bodies." (Lynnea Mills, ACSH)

"Shaw: Facts, not fear are needed for the environment" - "Too often, environmental teaching takes the form of fearful and gloomy messages, presented to children as early as kindergarten or even preschool. It's a disturbing trend with potentially devastating ramifications. In 1994, Nancy Bray Cardozo, writing in Audubon magazine, shared her uneasiness about children's environmental education. Her 6-year-old daughter had received a hand-me-down bed from an aunt, and she was about to sleep in it for the first time. Cardozo noticed that something was bothering her daughter, and she asked what it was. The little girl told her, "They killed trees to make my bed." The gloom and anxiety often overshadow the facts. Students become alarmed about toxic waste, acid rain, deforestation and global warming, without ever learning basic scientific facts about these complex issues." (Jane S. Shaw, Athens Banner-Herald)

"Asia pumps out more mercury than previously thought" - "Airborne concentrations of mercury traveling westward from Asia are double previous best estimates, according to the first direct measurements of these emissions, collected last summer on the island of Okinawa by a team of U.S. and Japanese scientists." (Environmental Science & Technology)

"UK: Council makes recycling compulsory" - "Residents in a London borough are to become the first in the UK to face a £1,000 fine if they fail to recycle household waste. Barnet council has agreed that a pilot scheme, which made household recycling compulsory, should now be extended to cover all 113,000 households in the Conservative-controlled borough. Residents will be expected to place glass bottles, jars, tins, cans, paper and magazines in their free household recycling boxes. Council recycling assistants will monitor whether the boxes are being used appropriately." (The Guardian)

"Scientists study ocean to understand global cooling" - "In the current issue of Nature, URI Graduate School of Oceanography (GSO) visiting scientist Helen Coxall describes how the deepening of the CCD in the Pacific Ocean correlated to global cooling approximately 34 million years ago, when the first significant permanent ice sheets appeared on Antarctica." (University of Rhode Island)

"LIVE CHAT: David Henderson" - "Prof. David Henderson of Westminster Business School in the United Kingdom will join us at 2pm ET on Friday, Jan. 7 to discuss his analysis of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's emissions projections and the role of the "corporate social responsibility movement" in the global warming debate.  You can send in your questions early to chat@globalwarming.org." (globalwarming.org)

"Climate Change and Over Fishing Among Key Issues for the Pacific Islands" - "London/Nairobi, 6 January 2005 – Global warming and the over exploitation of coastal fish stocks are among the biggest environmental threats to the health and wealth of the Pacific islands according to reports released today by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)." (UNEP News Release)

"Water Shortages and Global Warming Risks for Indian Ocean Islands" - "Nairobi/London, 6 January 2005 – Freshwater shortages and global warming are among the top concerns threatening the health and wealth of the small islands of the Atlantic and Indian oceans, according to reports released today by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)." (UNEP News Release)

"European trading in carbon-emission permits begins" - "Most power stations are surrounded by coal tips or pipes carrying gas. But round the plant that powers the Swedish town of Enköping, some 70 kilometres west of Stockholm, there is willow coppice stretching as far as the eye can see. Enköping is probably the only town in Europe that is powered by biofuels." (New Scientist)

"Britain May Sue EU Commission Over CO2 Plan" - "BRUSSELS - Britain has threatened to take the European Commission to court if it does not back the UK's watered down plan to curb industrial carbon dioxide emissions, a source close to the matter said late on Wednesday. Britain changed its plan, which had already been approved by the European Union executive, in October after complaints from companies that it was too tough and did not take into account rises expected in greenhouse gas emissions." (Reuters)

"Touted 'Green Power' running out of steam" - "Despite spending millions to promote its clean-energy effort, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has lost nearly 75 percent of the program's participants -- many of them phantom, nonpaying customers. Today, fewer than 2 percent of the DWP's customers are signed up for the Green Power Program, and the number is declining, although millions of dollars was spent to market it, using the controversial contracts with the public relations firms of Fleishman-Hillard and the Lee Andrews Group. Since it was launched in 1999, the program has been the subject of glowing national press coverage -- and stinging internal audits, which found that the conservation effort included more than $4.8 million in marketing costs." (Los Angeles Daily News)

"France Needs New Power Plants, Grid Warns Again" - "PARIS - France needs to build new power stations by the end of the decade or risk blackouts as demand rises, French grid operator RTE said on Thursday, repeating a warning made two years ago. No new large power plants have been built since 1993 in France, despite rising consumption. France is Europe's top power producer and exporter due to a surplus in capacity, thanks to its 58 nuclear reactors." (Reuters)

"New Report Debunks Misconceptions About Biotech Crop Research in Poor Countries" - "Our study debunks many misconceptions about biotech crop research," said Joel Cohen, IFPRI senior research fellow and author of the article. "Many people assume that large multinational corporations control the global development of genetically modified foods, but the reality is that poor countries have their own vibrant programs of public biotech research. Often this research draws upon indigenous plant varieties to cultivate improved crops for local use by small-scale farmers." (U.S. Newswire)

"Down in the forest, something stirs" - "IN SEPTEMBER 2004, a group of scientists from around the world announced that they had deciphered yet another genome. By and large, the world shrugged and ignored them. The organism in question was neither cuddly and furry, nor edible, nor dangerous, so no one cared. It was, in fact, the black cottonwood, a species of poplar tree, and its was the first arboreal genome to be unravelled. But perhaps the world should have paid attention, because unravelling a genome is a step towards tinkering with it. And that, in the end, could lead to genetically modified forests." (The Economist)

"EU project publishes conclusions and recommendations on GM foods" - "While the US, Canada and Argentina have planted millions of hectares of genetically modified (GM) crops, the EU only has 58,000 hectares of insect protected GM maize in Spain. One reason for this difference is the lack of European societal acceptance of agricultural biotechnology. To address this issue, the European Commission funded a thematic network on the safety assessment of genetically modified food crops, the ENTRANSFOOD project, in order to stimulate the debate. Funded under the Fifth Framework Programme (FP5), ENTRANSFOOD sought to identify prerequisites for introducing agricultural biotechnology products in a way that is largely acceptable to European society." (Cordis News)

January 6, 2005

"The Right Kind of Aid" - "As more aid pours in for the unfortunate victims of the Asian tsunami, there has been much hand-wringing that nations, notably the Untied States, have not done enough. But while the highly paid UN staff whips up, and the media avidly reports, big government aid competition, what is far less well monitored is whether the money is being well spent. If history is any guide, the short run aid, especially from the private sector, will probably be relatively well spent, but the [longer] term aid, especially from governments, will prop up failing systems and allow domestic funding for healthcare and social security to be diverted into arms purchases.

Lord Peter Bauer pointed out half a century ago that much of the so-called aid to developing countries was being used by recipient governments to subjugate their own people. Yet after five decades of failed aid, donor governments keep on undermining the very development they are attempting to promote." (Roger Bate, TCS)

"The Coalition of the Can Do" - "The pleasures of UN bashing pale in comparison to the facts on the soggy ground left by the tsunami. What matters, and has mattered from the day the waves hit, is the capacity to make decisions and implement them. UN and EU apologists attribute their lame efforts relative to the Americans, Australians, New Zealanders and nations in the region, to a lack of resources, distance, lack of cash and absence of ongoing involvement in the region." (Jay Currie, TCS)

"May they rot in hell..." (EnviroSpin Watch)

"Don't blame global warming" - "A colleague warned me that environmental activists would move quickly to blame the Asian tsunami on global warming. I didn't have long to wait." (Dennis Avery, The Tribune-Review)

Oh boy... "The cause of Tsunami is earth’s melting of permafrost in artic circle due to global warming: Indian Scientists – many more global landslides and earthquakes possible" - "According to some Indian scientists, the melting of permafrost has far reaching effects on earth’s crust. The tectonic plates are susceptible to forces on different parts of the world including the Artic and Antarctic regions. The new theory says if the crust of the earth is imbalanced due to tremendous effect of global warming and melting of permafrost." (India Daily)

"Subduction zone, shallow depth make lethal mix in earthquake that triggered Asian tsunami" - "Subduction zones, where two plates collide with each other, produce the most powerful earthquakes because they have long continuous fault lines. By contrast, California's San Andreas Fault, which separates two plates that are sliding past each other, is broken into segments that diminish the magnitude of its earthquakes." (Lehigh University)

Sigh... "Slide into disaster is man-made" - "Welcome to the future. Low-lying islands, from the Maldives to the Nicobar Islands, are half-drowned. More than 140,000 people are dead. The number of environmental refugees could run into the millions. No, this isn't just a news report from the end of 2004. It's the story of the 21st century, as predicted by the world's most distinguished climatologists. Welcome to the era of Weather of Mass Destruction." (Independent)

"Tsunami: Tragedy as a Teacher" - "Tragedies are great teachers, but unfortunately too many people draw the wrong lessons from them. Not too long ago, major tragedies were interpreted as some form of divine retribution for our sins. Now, geology (plate tectonics and volcanology), meteorology, other sciences offer hope for preventative and ameliorative actions.

A tragedy of the magnitude of the Indian Ocean tsunami brings out the best and the worst in the twenty-four-hour TV news cycle, the Internet, and massive print coverage. There is now room for interviews with experts on every aspect of the issue -- its causes, likely short- and long-term consequences, and the most effective means of delivering assistance. With the seemingly wall-to-wall coverage, we will inevitably hear from those who, like the doomsday theologians of earlier times, blame human action and modern life in general for the calamity or the magnitude of its impact. Had we only heeded the warnings of the environmental ideologues and other prophets of doom, tragedies of this magnitude could have been avoided, they say. One true believer went so far as deny the tsunami tragedy was a "natural" disaster and likened it to a "plastic Christmas tree." (Thomas R. DeGregori, ACSH)

"Disasters waiting to happen" - "The tsunami may have been an act of nature, but further environmental catastrophes caused by humans will be much worse, says Jared Diamond." (The Guardian)

The disasters waiting to happen are poverty and lack of development because "nature" is not, has never been and will never be anything but a hostile force.

"Wake of the Flood, a Plan for Action?" - "Now that the bottles have been cleared away, now that the symptoms of aspirin poisoning that always seem to accompany my New Year's Day have receded, now is the time to take stock and look forward at the year ahead. The earthquake, tsunami, horrendous devastation and the variedly muddled (UN), effective (US Military and others) and hugely charitable (individuals everywhere, governments less so) reactions to it have been well covered here and elsewhere.

So too has the point that while it is true that the proximate cause of the deaths was that tsunami, the ultimate cause was the poverty of those over whom it washed. Richer countries, richer people, would have been better warned, would not have been living in shacks on beaches, would have a more robust society and civil emergency system to aid them in recovery when it did so. This is now a commonplace of the debate." (Tim Worstall, TCS)

"Avoiding a Catastrophe Of Human Error" - "Here's the sober truth. Hurricanes, brutal cold fronts and heat waves, ice storms and tornadoes, cycles of flood and drought, and earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are not unforeseeable interruptions of normality. Rather, these extremes are the way that the planet we live on does its business." (William H. Hooke, The Washington Post)

"Tibet has warmer winters since 1990s" - "Meteorologists in southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region have found that the region has experienced more warm winters since the 1990s, indicating a trend of temperature rise in the region." (Xinhua News Agency)

"In melting Arctic, warming is now" - "Arctic-dwelling Inuit have a word for their crazy weather - Uggianaqtuq. Pronounce it "oog-gi-a-nak-took." It means "to behave unexpectedly."

Scientists who consult Inuit for their take on climate change consider that an apt description. The Arctic, they say, is undergoing profound ecological change. It's become the poster child for global warming. Not only are average air temperatures rising, ice sheets thinning, and permafrost melting, the whole complex interconnected network of arctic life and its environment are changing in ways not reflected in the geological record or Inuit lore. This no longer is a forecast of what might happen in future decades. It is happening right now." (Robert C. Cowen, The Christian Science Monitor)

There's been no net Arctic warming since 1938. Alternate trend representations here, here and here.

"Pooh-poohing global warming off base" - "In October I attended my class reunion at University High School in Urbana, Ill., where George Will and I were students eons ago. Hanging in the hallway was an article about him. Although I've often disagreed with his viewpoint as expressed in his writing, Will's pieces are usually thought provoking, for they display the critical thinking, based on solid information, that Uni High emphasized.

Will's Dec. 23 column on climate change, therefore, came as a major disappointment ("Political broadside as entertainment")." (Marcia B. Baker, Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

Uh... Marcia? The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) doesn't make "predictions" - they present "storylines" and the summary for policymakers much-hyped by the media isn't even seen by contributing scientists prior to release, much less reviewed.

That loss of ice from tropical glaciers thing? That doesn't seem to be associated with local temperature change but rather with reduced precipitation (parenthetically, something that the enhanced greenhouse hypothesis suggests should increase due to additional evaporation). In global terms, Braithwaite, who reviewed and analyzed mass balance measurements of 246 glaciers from around the world that were made between 1946 and 1995, writes in "Glacier mass balance: the first 50 years of international monitoring" (Progress in Physical Geography 26: 76-95) that "there are several regions with highly negative mass balances in agreement with a public perception of 'the glaciers are melting,' but there are also regions with positive balances." Within Europe, for example, he notes that "Alpine glaciers are generally shrinking, Scandinavian glaciers are growing, and glaciers in the Caucasus are close to equilibrium for 1980-95." And when results for the whole world are combined for this most recent period of time, Braithwaite notes "there is no obvious common or global trend of increasing glacier melt in recent years."

In fact, most "signs of rapid climate change" are modeled and not empirically measured although there has certainly been a detectable warming in the super-cold Siberian winter air mass (just who might be troubled by not attaining -60 °C is unclear). There is some dispute over alleged warming trends with Global Historical Climatology Network data indicating no net Arctic warming for more than six decades despite this being the period of greatest increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gases by far (see links under previous item and note particularly the split trend - had the pre-WWII trend continued the fabled Northwest Passage would likely be a reality).

Actually, there is considerable doubt regarding the last 25 years' global temperature trend with radiosonde balloon measures indicating no trend in the 1,000mtr - 10,000mtr altitude band (where enhanced greenhouse effect should be obvious), satellite-mounted MSUs suggesting a nominal rise (about three-fourths of one degree C per century) and near-surface temperature amalgams suggesting perhaps triple that. See Trends: Radiosonde Balloon; Microwave Sounding Unit and four major datasets compared. (Data sources where not noted on graphics: Radiosonde "balloon" 850-300 mb [approx 1,000mtr-10,000mtr] from J. K. Angell, NOAA Air Resources Laboratory, September 2004 and MSU from Global Hydrology and Climate Center, University of Alabama - Huntsville, USA.)

In reality Marcia, it seems solid information needed to, um... pooh-pooh George's pooh-poohing, as you put it, is in remarkably short supply.

"Conservative GOP Senator Again Blasts Enviromentalist Fearmongers" - "As I said on the Senate floor on July 28, 2003, "much of the debate over global warming is predicated on fear, rather than science." I called the threat of catastrophic global warming the "greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people," a statement that, to put it mildly, was not viewed kindly by environmental extremists and their elitist organizations. I also pointed out, in a lengthy committee report, that those same environmental extremists exploit the issue for fundraising purposes, raking in millions of dollars, even using federal taxpayer dollars to finance their campaigns." (Sen. James Inhofe, Human Events Online)

"2004 tenth hottest year on record" - "A TWO-week hot spell in February, which set new temperature records, contributed to 2004 being ranked the tenth hottest year on record in Australia. The Bureau of Meteorology's Annual Australian Climate Summary released today said preliminary data showed the country's annual mean temperature was 0.45C Celsius above the 1961-1990 long-term average, making 2004 the tenth warmest year since 1910." (AAP)

And if we were pushing a cooling scare it'd be the 85th coldest, right?

"Icebergs in New Zealand waters for first time in 57 years" - "WELLINGTON : New Zealanders complaining about unseasonal summer rain in recent weeks have received proof of changing climatic conditions after icebergs were sighted in local waters for the first time since 1948.

NIWA scientist Lionel Carter said 15 icebergs, some up to three kilometres wide, have been recorded. "In 30 years of working for NIWA, this is the first time I have recorded sightings of icebergs in New Zealand waters," Carter said. Previous reportings were in the 1890s, early 1920s, 1930s and in 1948. In 1931 icebergs were seen as far north as near Dunedin in the South Island." (AFP)

But wait! You guessed it! "He said it was too soon to blame this flotilla of ice on global warming, although the coincidence of large collapses of the Antarctic ice shelves with a rapidly changing climate could not be dismissed."

"ENERGY: French Plan Contradicts Europe's Anti-Nuclear Trend" - "PARIS - The French government plans to earmark 150 billion dollars over the next 30 years for nuclear power plants, including the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), despite experts' warnings on technological and environmental problems." (Tierramérica)

"Tooth study ties Oyster Creek nuclear plant to cancer in kids" - "Based on 31 baby teeth collected this year with money from a state grant, the Radiation and Public Health Project - also known as the Tooth Fairy Project - found a possible link between child cancer rates and proximity to the Oyster Creek nuclear power plant in Ocean County, NJ." (Bergen County Record)

Here's what you need to know - and full points to Bob Ivry for opening his article with: "It's a controversial study ridiculed as "junk science." It's got a silly nickname and a lead researcher who admits it's too early to draw significant conclusions."

"No time to waste in the fight against malaria" - "Not long ago, an experimental malaria vaccine made newspaper headlines. Over six months, it more than halved serious episodes of malaria in 2,000 children in rural Mozambique. The only trouble is that it will take at least 10 years to come to market.

Fortunately, there are new, effective drugs already available that could start to loosen malaria's stranglehold on many impoverished countries. With a modest global investment, these drugs could be mobilised today.

Malaria is one of the world's greatest threats to life and human performance. Each year, it kills more than 1m people, mainly children in sub-Saharan Africa, and triggers some 500m debilitating attacks in people of all ages throughout the tropics. The toll in lost productivity is a big contributor to Africa's poor economic performance." (Kenneth Arrow, Financial Times)

And with even more modest investment DDT could be deployed with great efficacy.

Still the misanthropists' shameful disinformation kills: "Mengo Officials Resist DDT Use in Buganda" - "Mengo officials have opposed the application of Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) in Buganda, in a fight against malaria. The Kingdom's spokesman and Minister for Cabinet Affairs, Mr Peter Mayiga, told The Monitor yesterday that Buganda was against the use of DDT in Uganda because of its negative effects. "DDT has been proved dangerous, why do we go for it? We agree malaria is a problem, but let us try other means," Mayiga said. The kingdom's Minister for Agriculture, Mr Lukulwase Nsamba, said DDT is poisonous to every biological creature and asked the Baganda not to use it." (The Monitor (Kampala))

"Pollutants feared to suppress male characteristics: Scientist" - "Pollutants such as DDT and dioxins are feared to have caused sex ratio alterations in Italy and Russia through suppression of male characteristics, a US scientist said." (New Kerala)

If we were so sensitive to endocrine disruption there'd be no such thing as a bearded 'tofurkey' gobbler as phytoestrogens from soy exhibit significantly greater activity (by in-vitro assay) than the cited "pollutants" and are vastly more prolific than environmental exposure to traces of allegedly troublesome compounds.

"Soaps and cosmetics are dangerous for health!" - "A new study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives has revealed that non-toxic synthetic musks, which are widely used as fragrances in a variety of products, may pose a hidden threat to human health by enhancing the effect of compounds that are toxic." (Asian News International)

"911 Is a Joke... or Is It? Let's Find Out" - "A major new report by National Academies of Science concludes that there is not enough empirical data to determine whether gun control enhances public safety, or whether gun ownership deters crime. The report calls for further data-gathering on firearms injuries. We suggest that gathering a type of related data is equally critical: how often 911 calls result in the interruption of a crime.

The issue is central to the gun debate. The anti-gun lobbies, while sometimes conceding that people can be allowed to have sporting guns, vehemently opposes gun ownership for personal protection. The lobbies insist that crime victims should rely on 911 instead. For a disarmed victim, the police response to 911 can literally be a matter of life or death. If the data show that 911 won't save your life when you're attacked by a criminal, then it would be difficult for government to claim the moral authority to disarm victims." (David Kopel, TCS)

"“Mad Cow”: Is the Media Milking an Overblown Threat?" - "The recent confirmation of a new case of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE)—popularly known as “Mad Cow” disease—in Canada has led for calls to close the border once more to Canadian beef imports. Beef import restrictions are often justified by the assertion that BSE-infected cattle pose an unacceptable risk to human health, because of the alleged link between BSE and the fatal, incurable human brain disease variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD). However, a fair review of the evidence from Britain and France indicates that the threat to human health from BSE in the United States is minimal." (Iain Murray, CEI)

"Asthma is on the rise but remains a mystery" - "Asthma, as common as it is — and it's way common, and getting more so — is still a mystery in many ways." (Seattle Times)

"Genetically modified foods can increase yields, but are they safe?" - "Farmers today can raise corn with a built-in pesticide, soybeans that thrive when sprayed with weed killer and squash that resist viruses. Some say they're biotechnological wonders. Critics call them "Frankenfoods." Should you worry if your food is swimming in the gene pool?" (Deseret Morning News)

"Pew's parallel universe" - "The "new biotechnology," or gene-splicing, applied to agriculture and food production is here to stay. More than 80 percent of processed foods on supermarket shelves soft drinks, preserves, mayonnaise, salad dressings include ingredients from gene-spliced plants, and Americans have safely consumed more than a trillion servings of these foods. But opposition continues to genetically improving plants by use of these precise and predictable techniques, largely due to a drumbeat of misrepresentations by antibiotechnology activists." (Henry I. Miller, The Washington Times)

January 5, 2005

Embarrassing Quote of the Day: Evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins stepped out of his field of expertise and into global warming orthodoxy in a recent letter to the editor of the UK newspaper, The Guardian (Jan. 1). The letter titled "Gods and Monsters" reads as follows:

It is true that science cannot offer the consolations that your correspondents attribute to prayer, and I am sorry if I seemed a callous ayatollah or a doorstepping bogeyman (Letters, December 31). It is psychologically possible to derive comfort from sincere belief in a nonexistent illusion, but - silly me - I thought believers might be disillusioned with an omnipotent being who had just drowned 125,000 innocent people (or an omniscient one who failed to warn them). Of course, if you can derive comfort from such a monster, I would not wish to deprive you.

My naive guess was that believers might be feeling more inclined to curse their god than pray to him, and maybe there's some dark comfort in that. But I was trying, however insensitively, to offer a gentler and more constructive alternative. You don't have to be a believer. Maybe there's nobody there to curse. Maybe we are on our own, in a world where plate tectonic and other natural forces occasionally cause appalling catastrophes.

Science cannot (yet) prevent earthquakes, but science could have provided just enough warning of the Boxing Day tsunami to save most of the victims and spare the bereaved. Even worse lowland floodings of the future are threatened by global warming, which is preventable by human action, guided by science. And if the comforts afforded by outstretched human arms, warm human words and heartbroken human generosity seem puny against the agony, they at least have the advantage of existing in the real world.

Richard Dawkins

Contrary to the his assertion (highlighted, above) about future lowland floodings being worse than the recent Asian tsunamis, even if sea levels were to rise (and it's not clear that they are) and cause lowland flooding, such flooding would be gradual (inches over years versus meters over minutes), giving local populations plenty of time to adapt. Gradual lowland flooding is nothing like a sudden tsunami. Perhaps Dawkins needs to question the religion that is global warming hysteria?

"Malaria no longer major threat in KZN" - "THE tourism industry in KwaZulu-Natal continues to lose out on visitors - and consequently revenue - due to the perception that malaria is still a major threat to tourists in the northern parts of the province. This is despite the fact that there has been an 80% drop in the number of cases over the past few years. Africa Fighting Malaria (AFM), a non-profit health advocacy group, said the perception among travellers was that KZN was a risky destination because of its former reputation of being a hot-spot for malaria. The organisation's Richard Tren said this view needs to change, because it is no longer the case. He said it is mainly due to an ultra-cautious culture among tourists from abroad." (The Witness)

"Tobacco smoke dulls child brains" - "Children exposed to passive smoking are likely to do worse at school than their peers, research suggests. Exposure to even low levels of tobacco smoke in the home was linked to lower test results for reading and maths. The greater the exposure, the worse the decline was, the US Children's Environmental Health Center team found among nearly 4,400 children." (BBC)

Oh boy... smoking is associated with lower socio-economic status, poorer nutrition, inadequate home heating/cooling... in other words cotinine could be a marker of many things including dietary preference, any number of which might affect concentration and performance.

"Diet and Lose Weight? Scientists Say 'Prove It!'" - "A new study finds little evidence that commercial weight-loss programs help people drop excess pounds." (New York Times)

"Study finds that adherence to diet, not type of diet, more important factor for losing weight" - "A comparison of four popular diet plans finds that the key to losing weight may not be which diet plan a person picks, but sticking with the plan that is chosen, according to a study in the January 5 issue of JAMA. The study also found that popular diets can be effective for modest weight loss and reducing several cardiac risk factors, but overall adherence rates were low." (JAMA and Archives Journals Website)

"Olestra seen as antidote to toxins" - "Take two Fat-Free Pringles and call me in the morning. That medical advice may sound kooky, but chances are it could help newly elected Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko, according to a University of Cincinnati researcher." (Cincinnati Post)

"Sierra Club Seeks to Stop Las Vegas Freeway Widening on Pollution Grounds" - "LAS VEGAS — In a case with broad national implications, the Sierra Club wants to stop the widening of a freeway in fast-growing Las Vegas until the government proves the health of people living nearby won't be harmed by the automobile exhaust." (Associated Press)

Uh-huh... "Munich Re Expects World Weather Damage to Rise `Exponentially'" - "Jan. 4 -- Munich Re, the world's largest reinsurer, expects damage from natural disasters to rise ``exponentially'' in the coming years, triggered by human-driven climate changes such as global warming.

``We're seeing, and this is also shown by the models, that climatic changes will speed up, and that damages will probably not rise just linearly but exponentially,'' Peter Hoeppe, Munich Re's head of Geo Risks Research, said in an interview. Weather-related disasters will probably occur with greater frequency and intensity, prompting customers to boost insurance coverage, he said." (Bloomberg)

"Global Warming vs. Tsunamis? Tsunamis Win" - "After the horrific loss of life in the Indian Ocean region from the record earthquake and resulting tsunami last week, I was struck by the immensity of what had happened. While scientists continue to argue over whether we can even measure mankind's influence on weather or climate in the face of naturally occurring hurricanes, tornadoes, heat waves, cold waves, blizzards, and floods, Mother Nature shows us that she still rules the day." (Roy Spencer, TCS)

"The Geologic Record and Climate Change" - "The following remarks were delivered at the Risk: Regulation and Reality Conference by Dr. Tim Patterson, Professor of Geology at Carleton University. The conference was co-hosted by Tech Central Station and was held on October 7, 2004 in Toronto, ON." (Tim Patterson, TCS)

"Witches and Weather" - "Editor's note: The following remarks were delivered at the Risk: Regulation and Reality Conference by Dr. Sallie Baliunas, PhD, enviro-sci host of Tech Central Station. The conference was co-hosted by Tech Central Station and was held on October 7, 2004 in Toronto, ON." (Sallie Baliunas, TCS)

From CO2 Science Magazine this week:

"The Impact of Variable Solar Activity on Earth's Climate" - "Is there a defensible "back-door" approach to establishing its existence and magnitude?" (co2science.org)

Subject Index Summaries:
"Precipitation (Trends - Regional: Asia)" - "Have rainfall amounts and intensities become more extreme and variable with the supposedly unprecedented CO 2 -induced warming of the 20th century, as climate alarmists claim they have?  Studies from Asia weigh in on the issue." (co2science.org)

"Growth Response to CO 2 with Other Variables (Non-Ozone Air Pollutants)" - "For reasonably equivalent increases in atmospheric CO 2 and non-ozone air pollutant concentrations, are plants typically harmed or helped?" (co2science.org)

Plant Growth Data:
"This week we add new results (blue background) of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO 2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature for: Black Poplar, European Beech, Loblolly Pine and Japanese Larch." (co2science.org)

Journal Reviews:
"A Half-Century History of Tornado-Days in Missouri, USA" - "How has this measure of severe weather conditions responded to what climate alarmists describe as the "unprecedented warming of the globe" over the final decades of the 20th century?" (co2science.org)

"Five Hundred Years of Extreme Floods in Central Europe" - "Do real-world data reveal a 20th-century increase in these devastating hydrologic events in response to earth's recovery from the global chill of the Little Ice Age, as climate models suggest they should and as climate alarmists claim they actually do?" (co2science.org)

"The Medieval Warm Period in Panama" - "We add yet another exhibit to our growing body of evidence for the truly worldwide impact of this multi-century warm period, the existence of which continues to be denied by the world's climate alarmists due to its occurring at a time when the atmosphere's CO 2 concentration was approximately 100 ppm less than it is today." (co2science.org)

"CO 2 Effects on Biogenic Volatile Organic Compound Releases from Onions" - "What are they?  And what are their implications?" (co2science.org)

"Five Years of Shoot and Root Responses of a Nutrient-Poor Semi-Natural Grassland to Atmospheric CO 2 Enrichment" - "Both above- and below-ground growth were stimulated by elevated CO 2 concentrations, but the need to find nutrients to support the extra biomass production led to a long-term change in plant biomass partitioning from above- to below-ground." (co2science.org)

"CO 2 trading targets too generous, say environmentalists" - "The European Union is at the centre of a new row between governments, industry and environmental campaigners over its ambitious new CO 2 emissions trading scheme, which came into effect on January 1. It is designed to help the 25 members meet their commitment to an 8% cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2012 under the Kyoto protocol." (The Guardian)

Environmentalists don't really have a problem with CO2 (what tree hugger could object to plant food?) but rather with energy and humanity's use thereof. Misanthropist quotes are abundant in the movement, here's a few from The Environmentalists' Little Green Book, U.S. Chamber of Commerce (ISBN:0-615-11628-0):

  • "Giving society cheap, abundant energy would be the equivalent of giving an idiot child a machine gun." -- Paul "Population Bomb" Ehrlich.
  • "Complex technology of any sort is an assault on human dignity. It would be little short of disastrous for us to discover the source of clean, cheap, abundant energy, because of what we might do with it." -- Amory Lovins, Rocky Mountain Institute.
  • "Isn't the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn't our responsibility to bring that about?" -- Maurice Strong, Secretary General of the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development (the so-called Earth Summit) held in Rio de Janeiro.
  • "We've already had too much economic growth in the US. Economic growth in rich countries like ours is the disease, not the cure." -- Ehrlich again.
  • "The planet is about to break out with fever, indeed it may already have, and we [human beings] are the disease. We should be at war with ourselves and our lifestyles." -- Thomas Lovejoy, assistant secretary to the Smithsonian Institution.
  • "The only real good technology is no technology at all. Technology is taxation without representation, imposed by our elitist species (man) upon the rest of the natural world." -- John Shuttleworth, FoE manual writer.
  • "The only hope for the world is to make sure there is not another United States. We can't let other countries have the same number of cars, the amount of industrialization, we have in the U.S.. We have to stop these Third World countries right where they are." -- Michael Oppenheimer, senior scientist for the Environmental Defense Fund.
  • "People are the cause of all the problems; we have too many of them; we need to get rid of some of them, and this (ban of DDT) is as good a way as any." Charles Wurster, Environmental Defense Fund.
  • "Man is always and everywhere a blight on the landscape." -- John Muir, founder of the Sierra Club.
  • "The world has a cancer, and the cancer is man." Alan Gregg, former longtime official of the Rockefeller Foundation.

They don't like people and they are quite prepared to use any excuse to inhibit enabling technology, chemicals and affordable energy. Why are we pursuing a course set by people haters?

"Japan to revise CO2 emission goal to 0.4% rise from 2% cut" - "The government plans to revise Japan's target for carbon dioxide emissions from energy uses to a 0.4 percent increase in fiscal 2010 over the fiscal 1990 level from the current target of a 2.0 percent cut under a new action program to be adopted in March for the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, government sources said Monday." (Kyodo)

"Wind turbines taking toll on birds of prey" - "ALTAMONT PASS, Calif. — The big turbines that stretch for miles along these rolling, grassy hills have churned out clean, renewable electricity for two decades in one of the nation's first big wind-power projects. But for just as long, massive fiberglass blades on the more than 4,000 windmills have been chopping up tens of thousands of birds that fly into them, including golden eagles, red-tailed hawks, burrowing owls and other raptors." (USA TODAY)

"How airlines can fight climate change" - "During the 20th century, technological progress and market economics combined to deliver an unprecedented standard of living for many of us across the globe. The challenge facing us in the 21st century is to ensure that these benefits can be shared more widely and sustained without serious damage to the environment. This is reflected in the priorities that Tony Blair has set for the UK's presidencies of the Group of Eight industrialised nations and the European Union this year - climate change and Africa." (Financial Times)

"From field to medicine chest" - "Think of fields as factories. Rice and barley could yield wonder drugs, transformed from dinner table staples to medical miracles by laboratory gene tinkering." (Kansas City Star)

"Philippines: Critic doubts safety of ‘Bt’ corn to chicken" - "KORONADAL CITY—Critics of the controversial Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) corn in South Cotabato cast doubts on the study of a scientist from the University of the Philippines-Los Baños (UPLB) that the transgenic crop is safe for chickens. This as Eliezer Billanes, chairman of the South Cotabato Movement Against Genetically Modified Organisms, on Monday afternoon urged the government to check the broiler chickens in the market for possible Bt protein contamination." (ABS-CBN News)

January 4, 2005

"Tsunami 'theologies'..." - "Having spent a most valuable morning as a panellist on a 'phone-in discussion for the excellent BBC Asian Network focusing on the complex 'theologies' of the Indian Ocean tsunami disaster, I appreciate the thoughtful analysis and comments of Melanie Phillips in her latest Daily Mail article: 'Religion in the face of catastrophe' (The Daily Mail, January 3):" (EnviroSpin Watch)

"On tsunami's shore" - "In the heyday of musical comedy, they had "catalog songs" — great long laundry lists of examples that all go to prove the same point — that "You're The Top" or "These Foolish Things Remind Me Of You." That's the way it is with the world's opinion formers these days. Whatever happens anywhere on the planet all goes to prove the same central point — the iniquity of America." (Mark Steyn, The Washington Times)

Meanwhile, Peta is concerned about the predations of Jimmy: "Jimmy Carter Urged to Give Fish a Chance" - "ATLANTA - A prominent US-based animal rights group urged former President Jimmy Carter on Monday to give up fishing on the grounds that the activity was inconsistent the Nobel peace laureate's humanitarian efforts." (Reuters)

"Government 'has given in to EU ban on health food supplements'" - "Ministers were accused of hypocrisy yesterday over an EU directive which could force health shops to stop selling a number of remedies and food supplements used by cancer sufferers and obese people." (London Independent)

"Environmentalists fight company's right to use gas" - "HCFC-142b is a gas that is known to cause a depletion in the earth's ozone layer. Federal law calls for it to be banned in five years." (Associated Press)

"More on EPA and Air Pollution: Junk Science and Legal Precedents" - "In a previous piece, Dr. Dunn criticized the science behind some pivotal air pollution studies. In this follow-up, he looks at some of the legal consequences of that bad science." (John Dale Dunn, ACSH)

"Where’s the Party?" - "Preliminary data indicate 2004 likely will register as the fourth-warmest year in the world’s surface temperature record. Yet despite all the gloom-and-doom scenarios, we haven’t experienced an all-time record-setter since the big El Niño back in 1998. Our planet may be warming, but not at a torrid clip." (GES)

Big Warming is unhappy: "Climate Measures Bad Investments? Hardly" - "Bjørn Lomborg received a lot of media attention in the wake of his book The Skeptical Environmentalist. While it was praised highly by The Economist, reviews in scientific journals such as Nature, Science, and Scientific American were harsh. Now once more Lomborg has managed to generate headlines. With support from the Danish government and The Economist, among others, he and his institute (The Environmental Assessment Institute) have gathered eight prominent economists to rank measures for helping developing countries. The project, called the Copenhagen Consensus, has also been highly criticized in Nature." (GreenBiz)

"Save the world: ignore the ecogeeks" - "After Björn Lomborg dared to question the science of global warming he faced death threats. Today the Danish doubter is convinced he is winning the argument, he tells Giles Whittell." (The Times)

"When Nations' Decisions Cause or Intensify Environmental Damage In Ways that Hurt Humans, Is There An International Legal Remedy?" - In mid-December 2004, the Inuit -- a group of about 150,000 seal-hunting peoples in Canada and Alaska -- announced that they plan to seek an important ruling from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. They will ask the Commission to rule that the United States, by contributing substantially to global warming, is threatening their very existence. As part of their campaign, the Inuit will invite the Washington D.C.-based Commission to visit the Arctic Circle to see the devastation being caused by global warming.

In particular, the Inuit will allege that Washington is violating their human rights by repudiating the Kyoto Protocol, and refusing to cut U.S. carbon dioxide emissions, which make up fully 25% of the world's total. The Kyoto Protocol - which will take effect in February, and has been accepted by most industrialized nations -- is the first international agreement to reduce greenhouse gases, and is an addendum to an earlier convention on climate change. The United States refuses to comply with the Protocol because it complains that it will hurt the economy and that it unfairly exempts large developing countries.

In this column, I will place the Inuit's claims in context - explaining how they fit into the Inter-American human rights system. I will also explore a few of the possible spin-offs of the Inuit's campaign. Finally, I will describe how the legal framework underpinning the Inuit's arguments might have implications for thinking about the recent tragic disasters in South Asia. (Noah S. Leavitt, FindLaw.com)

[Noah Leavitt, an attorney and author, writes frequently on international law issues. He is a member of the Legal Support Network of the Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign.]

Imaginative but ultimately futile. Imagine, for a moment, that atmospheric carbon dioxide actually did drive global temperature and that we could proportionately attribute human and natural emissions (assuming all 'bad' responses are due to ~4% human emissions and none due to the ~96% natural ones) - whose emissions are actually culpable? The U.S.? Better rethink that because the continental U.S. is a net carbon sink (absorbs more carbon dioxide than it emits) [Abstract].

"Adviser Pays the Price for Criticising Putin" - "Russian President Vladimir Putin has cut back on the duties of a top economic adviser who has been outspoken critic of Kremlin policies. Andrei Illarionov, who last week said the Kremlin was trying to muzzle voices of dissent and civil society in Russia and would eventually spark mass protests, was stripped of his responsibilities as Russia’s envoy to the Group of 8 industrial nations, the Kremlin said." (PA News)

"Global Warming Activists as Villains for a Change: A Review of Michael Crichton's 'State of Fear'" - "Michael Crichton -- Michael Crichton, M.D., to be precise -- is of course well known for his techno-thrillers The Andromeda Strain and Jurassic Park, plus more than a dozen other novels and non-fiction works. State of Fear (HarperCollins, 603 pages, $27.95) is a little different. While constructed as a novel, it is also a guide to environmental issues and their advocates, principally the problem of climate change. It carries a message about global warming and will certainly have an important impact on the ongoing policy debate." (S. Fred Singer, ACSH)

Weakly Whipple: "Climate: The debate is changing" - "Boulder, CO, Jan. 3 -- The global warming debate will shift in the United States in 2005 because evidence that the phenomenon is real has reached a crescendo. The catalyst for the shift is not some esoteric discovery by an atmospheric scientist, but a fairly simple paper by a history professor, Naomi Oreskes of the University of California, San Diego." (Dan Whipple, UPI)

Now Oreskes is a global warming expert: "Global Warming Expert Says Tsunami Shows Vulnerability To Rising Sea Levels" - "A professor at the University of California says the tsunami that struck Asia and Africa highlights how many people live along the world’s coastlines. What’s more, she says, it highlights the need to take action on global warming, which could affect sea levels. Naomi Oreskes is an associate professor of history and director of the program in science studies at the University of California. She recently wrote an op-ed piece for the Washington Post newspaper entitled: “Undeniable Global Warming.” From San Diego, she spoke to English to Africa reporter Joe De Capua about global warming." (VOA)

"Winter biological processes may help spread shrubs in the Arctic" - "A variety of evidence now suggests that subsurface winter biological processes contribute to a positive feedback mechanism that is leading to the expansion of shrubs in the Arctic, with potentially important implications for the global carbon budget." (American Institute of Biological Sciences)

Uh-huh... "Animals, entire forests could migrate" - "NEW REPORT: Climate change will push wildlife northward and upward." (Anchorage Daily News) | Wildlife Society Report (.pdf)

"Melting ice may create shipping shortcut" - "An international consortium of scientists has concluded that the polar ice cap is melting at such an alarming rate that cargo ships could begin using the Arctic Ocean as a shortcut between Asia, Europe and the East Coast within decades." (Seattle Times)

"Researchers Alarmed by Bat Deaths From Wind Turbines" - "The bat deaths, which have baffled researchers, pose a problem for an industry that sells itself as an environmentally friendly alternative to conventional power plants. Wind proponents already have had to battle complaints about bird deaths from the blades and about unsightly turbines marring pristine views." (Washington Post)

"Drilling to Start in Arctic Reaches" - "Hammerfest, in Norway well above the Arctic Circle, stands on what could soon become Europe's most important new energy frontier. After years of frustrations and disappointments the energy industry is once again getting excited about the Barents Sea." (Los Angeles Times)

"Chinese Project Pits Environmentalists Against Development Plans" - "BEIJING, Jan. 2 - A major dam project suspended last year by Prime Minister Wen Jiabao is now the focus of a bureaucratic fight between pro-development advocates pushing to restart the project and environmentalists who want public hearings and further research. The conflict highlights the growing tension between the need for environmental protection here in one of the world's most polluted countries and China's insatiable hunger for new energy sources to fuel its booming economy." (New York Times)

"GM cows to up cheese yield" - "03/01/2005 - Increasing cheese yields is a key preoccupation for cheese makers the world over. Targeting this concern, scientists in New Zealand have created cows genetically modified to produce high-protein milk for the cheese industry." (FoodNavigator.com)

January 3, 2005

"Remember, Asia’s old stealthy killers claim more victims than any catastrophe" - "Calls for costly tsunami warning systems are misguided when so many are dying of everyday diseases, says Bjorn Lomborg." (The Times)

Both true and false - everyday disease must be addressed but much of the needed data for an Indian Ocean tsunami warning system is already gathered, making the system feasible and relatively inexpensive. See also: Bjorn is wrong (for once), the real answer from Burma (Myanmar), and 'failed' states... (EnviroSpin Watch)

"Disasters don't kill people: poverty does" - "The most telling remark about last week's tsunamis was made by a man who was in Scandinavia when the wave struck. In response to the reported deaths of 1,500 of his countrymen, Goran Persson, the Swedish Prime Minister, declared: "It is probably the worst [disaster] of our time and will impact on everyday Swedish life for a long time to come."

In other words, in a country of fearsome winter storms, and where roads and railway lines are affected by ice and snow for many months of the year, the worst disaster to strike its people in living memory has occurred in a string of holiday destinations 8,000 miles away in the tropics. The point is that it isn't natural disasters which kill people, so much as poverty which prevents them protecting themselves." (Daily Telegraph)

"Crying `wolf' over tsunamis" - "As soon as we heard news of the dreadful Indian Ocean tsunami that killed many tens of thousands we wondered if some environmental zealot would try to blame the catastrophe on global warming. Our fears have been realized in Britain, but we truly hope environmental groups in our country will not try to use this totally unrelated disaster to advance one of their favorite causes." (Boston Herald editorial)

"Myths Run Wild in Blog Tsunami Debate" - "As the horror of the South Asian tsunami spread and people gathered online to discuss the disaster on sites known as Web logs, or blogs, those of a political bent naturally turned the discussion to their favorite topics.

To some in the blogosphere, it simply had to be the government's fault.

On Democratic Underground, a blog for open discussion and an online gathering place for people who hate the Bush administration, a participant asked, "Since we know that the atmosphere has become contaminated by all the atomic testing, space stuff, electronic stuff, earth pollutants, etc., is it logical to wonder if: Perhaps the 'bones' of our earth where this earthquake spawned have also been affected?" (New York Times)

"'Catastrophe': Apocalypse When?"- "AN asteroid colliding with the earth could cause the extinction of our species. Is this a risk worth worrying about? More important, is it a risk worth doing something about? Richard A. Posner, a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, who produces more books in his leisure hours than most authors do working full time, thinks it is.

We should also, he argues, be doing more about other improbable catastrophes. Global warming could cause the melting of icecaps, releasing huge amounts of methane that accelerate further warming, forming a cloud layer so dense as to block out heat from the sun and cause us to go into a deep freeze." (New York Times)

"The Future of Calamity" -"IN seven hours last week, great ocean waves scoured shores from Thailand to Somalia, exacting a terrible price in wealth and human lives. But unimaginable as it may seem, future catastrophes may be far grimmer. Many more such disasters - from earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, to floods, mudslides and droughts - are likely to devastate countries already hard hit by poverty and political turmoil.

The world has already seen a sharp increase in such "natural" disasters - from about 100 per year in the early 1960's to as many as 500 per year by the early 2000's, said Daniel Sarewitz, a professor of science and society at Arizona State University. But it is not that earthquakes and tsunamis and other such calamities have become stronger or more frequent. What has changed is where people live and how they live there, say many experts who study the physics of such events or the human responses to their aftermath." (New York Times)

"Stopping the flu pandemic" - "During the winter of 1918-19, only months after the end of World War I, much of the world was ravaged again, this time by the "Spanish flu" that killed an estimated 40 million to 50 million people. Normal societal functions, including commerce, education and government services, were virtually shut down in many places." (Henry I. Miller and David Longtin, The Washington Times)

"EPA Takes Pest Killer Diazinon Off the Shelves" - "Beginning today, consumers can no longer buy one of the most popular lawn and garden insecticides of all time. Retailers in the United States are prohibited from selling diazinon, a highly effective killer of a variety of yard pests such as ants and grub worms. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency phased out residential use of the chemical, which can damage the nervous system, after determining that it poses a human health risk, particularly to children." (Los Angeles Times)

"No, job stress doesn't raise breast cancer risk" - "NEW YORK - While stress has been linked to a woman's risk of developing breast cancer, having an overly stressful job does not appear to do so, new study findings show. Overall, women who rated the amount of stress they faced at work as "severe" were no more likely to develop breast cancer than women who said they dealt with "minimal" stress at work." (Reuters Health)

"Breast implants 'no risk to life'" - "Having reconstructive surgery does not reduce the life expectancy of women with breast cancer, research suggests. In fact women who had breast implants after a mastectomy had a lower risk of dying from cancer, the study involving 5,000 patients over 12 years found." (BBC)

New year, old nonsense: "Can a divided world tackle global warming in 2005?" - "Polar bears could be extinct by the end of this century, scientists predict, if nothing is done to halt global climate change. Already, the Arctic ice sheet is half the thickness of 30 years ago and 10 per cent less extensive, according to the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, the work of more than 250 scientists over four years. They blame global warming, caused by the burning of fossil fuels, and warn of consequences all over the world if ice covering solid ground melts and sea levels rise.

Warnings such as these and fears that the heat waves, floods and hurricanes of last year could have been early consequences of global warming have prompted Tony Blair, the British prime minister, to make tackling climate change a priority for world leaders in the coming year." (Financial Times)

"Minister warms to climate task" - "FEDERAL Environment Minister Ian Campbell has made a resolution to win over sceptics who still dismiss the case for climate change as "crap". He said he would confront the sceptics with "unassailable stories" of global warming, from the sudden collapse of an Antarctic ice shelf to a 12 per cent decline in Perth's rainfall over 25 years." (The Australian)

Fortunately, business leaders are far more aware of the real world than environment ministers.

Media seem to be demonstrating their ideology with book reviews - not difficult to pick Big Warming's influence in some of the following:

"Consensus: Red flag in science" - "For page after page, the report by the Governor's Advisory Group on Global Warming is a model of reason and common sense. Then, without meaning to, it raises a red flag of warning.

"Several thousand of the earth's scientists," it says at one point, "agree that global warming caused by greenhouse gas pollution from human activities represents a profoundly serious threat to human civilization and to even the most robust and insulated natural ecosystems. Their comments are echoed in the Draft Scientific Consensus Statement on the Likely Impact of Climate Change on the Pacific Northwest prepared by scientists at Oregon and Washington universities in the fall of 2004."

The red flag is the reference to thousands of scientists and "consensus."

The factual truth of anything never depends on how many people agree with it." (Albany Democrat-Herald)

"A right-winger attacks global warming" - "Michael Crichton's new novel, "State of Fear," not only unfairly bashes the global environmental movement but represents yet another example of how multinational corporations and their political allies are invading the popular culture to advance fanatic and lunatic right-wing ideas and agendas." (Tribune-Review)

"Interview: Jasper Gerard meets Michael Crichton" - "Global warming? Now that really is fiction." (The Times)

"Fiction review: 'State of Fear' by Michael Crichton" - "The odious villains in Michael Crichton's new thriller, the folks (as President Bush might put it) who kill, maim and terrorize, aren't members of al-Qaida or any other jihadi movement. They aren't Bondian bad guys like Goldfinger, Dr. No or Scaramanga. They aren't drug lords or gang members or associates of Tony Soprano's.

No, the evil ones in "State of Fear" are tree-hugging environmentalists, believers in global warming, proponents of the Kyoto Protocol. Their surveillance operatives drive politically correct, hybrid Priuses; their hit men use an exotic, poisonous Australian octopus as their weapon of choice. Their unwitting (and sometimes, witting) allies are -- natch! -- the liberal media, trial lawyers, Hollywood celebrities, mainstream environmental groups (such as the Sierra Club and the Audubon Society) and other blue-state apparatchiks.

This might all be very amusing as a "Saturday Night Live" sketch, but Crichton doesn't seem to have amusement on his mind. This thriller comes equipped with footnotes, charts, an authorial manifesto and two appendixes ("Why Politicized Science Is Dangerous" and "Sources of Data for Graphs")." (New York Times)

"Crichton and the fear factor" - "Michael Crichton is known for his eye-boggling thrillers. But has he gone too far with his latest? Patrick Barkham reports." (The Guardian)

"Fear and fear mongering" - "WHEN ASKED Monday if climate change -- global warming -- was behind the deadly Asian tsunami, the United Nation's Jan Egeland -- he of "stingy" aid fame -- said no, the tsunami was a "geologically caused" disaster. "A tsunami like this is caused by an earthquake that has nothing to do with climate change, " he explained.

Minutes later, however, Egeland did suggest a possible connection between global warming and the disaster. He had heard that one-third of the Maldives islands disappeared momentarily underwater, he said, adding that "actually climate change means oceans (are) growing, (so) certainly tsunamis will have an ever greater effect." (San Francisco Chronicle)

The Week That Was Jan. 1, 2005 (SEPP)

"CO2 trading threatens to suffocate UK industry" - "MANUFACTURERS will face extra costs of £1.8 billion from the soaring price of energy this year, with £600 million of that due to the latest anti-pollution initiative — emissions trading — which came into force at the weekend." (The Times)

"Carbon trading is accounting minefield" - "Thousands of companies are facing an accounting headache as a result of the European Union's carbon emissions trading scheme, which came into force yesterday." (Daily Telegraph)

"Some countries see a lot of manure in Kyoto treaty" - "SANTIAGO, Chile - Pig manure in Chile will keep neon lights glowing on Tokyo's Ginza in years to come. It is a grand north-south trade-off to slow global warming: You reduce your ''greenhouse gas'' emissions so I don't have to cut back on mine." (The Associated Press)

Ha! Most of us recognize The Protocol as a lot of manure.

"Emissions position may cost U.S. jobs, conservationists say" - "When some U.S. political leaders fight against laws that would cut greenhouse gases, they say new regulations would cost jobs and hurt the economy." (Duluth News Tribune)

"Calls Grow to Tax Airlines for Pollution" - "In Germany, airlines enjoy generous government tax breaks while rail companies pay environmental and fuel taxes, even though they pollute less. The paradox has environmentalists and rail officials upset." (Deutsche Welle)

"Taking a peak: Concern over world's oil supply fuels discussion over alternatives, technology" - "Enjoy the ride up ``Hubbert's peak.'' The descent might not be so fun. After a 34 percent spike in the price of crude oil this past year, many industry experts and economists are wondering whether something larger was at play during 2004 - such as the early signs of the ``Hubbert's peak'' theory coming true." (Boston Herald)

"Saudi Oil Reserves Could Increase by 77%" - "RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, Dec. 26 -- Saudi Arabia's oil reserves, the world's largest, could increase by almost 77 percent to top 461 billion barrels in a few years, the nation's oil minister said Sunday." (Associated Press)

"Ill wind blows in turbine debate" - "As developers plan to build a record 1,300 wind turbines this year -- including 116 in Maryland -- anti-turbine groups have caught the attention of public officials in New Jersey, West Virginia, Virginia and elsewhere, and some are proposing moratoriums on the booming wind industry." (Baltimore Sun)

"Anger as plans for 15,000 wind turbines are revealed" - "UP TO 15,000 wind farm turbines may be built across Scotland — five times more than was previously thought, an official report has revealed. The study by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), the national environment agency, has exposed the full scale of planned wind farm developments, provoking outrage among environmental campaigners." (The Times)

Uh-huh... "Time for radical challenge to grotesque global food industry" - "Diet for a Dead Planet – How the Food Industry is Killing Us, Christopher D Cook, The New Press, £14.99" (Herald & Times)

"India should yield to GM rice" - "The International Year of Rice is drawing to a close. But rice continues to be ‘life’ for the Asians, in general, and Indians, in particular. Asia cultivates 137 million hectare of rice, of which India has a lion’s share of 45 million hectare. Rice contributes to 15 per cent annual GDP of India and provides 43 per cent calorie requirement for more than 70 per cent of Indians. India’s population is expected to be 1.2 billion by 2012 and it will have to produce a whopping 120 million tonne of rice to meet the burgeoning demand. Major constraints to rice production that India will face are land, water, labour and other inputs such as fertilisers, pesticides and insecticides, and even high quality germplasm." (Navhind Times)

"Biotech spreads despite stiff European barriers" - "Ironically, EU nations lead world in field trials" (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)