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Archives - July 2001

July 31, 2001

"Gulf War vaccine row" - "A scientist claims she has found stronger evidence that a alleged ingredient of vaccines given to Gulf War troops may have made them ill. However, a UK defence minister has insisted that the ingredient, squalene, was never given to British personnel in vaccinations." (BBC Online)

"Life beyond Earth, say scientists" - "SCIENTISTS believe they have caught living extraterrestrial bugs on the edge of the atmosphere, it was disclosed today. If confirmed it will be the first unequivocal proof that life exists beyond Earth. The microbes, stuck together in clumps, resemble bacteria found on Earth, but the height at which they were found, and their distribution, indicates strongly that they were not swept up in air currents but fell from space, say the scientists." (Herald Sun)

"Police radiation fears dismissed" - "Fears a new police radio system could affect operators' brains have been dismissed by the government's radiation watchdog. Evidence that frequencies used by the system may alter brain tissue is "unclear", and potential health risks are "unlikely", a National Radiological Protection Board report says." (BBC Online)

"Top German Radiation Expert Warns on Cellphones" - "BERLIN - Germany's top radiation official said in an interview released on Monday that people, especially children, should minimize their use of mobile phones as a health precaution. "In general, cellphone calls should be kept as short as possible," Wolfram Koenig, head of the Radiation Protection Agency, told the Berliner Zeitung. "Parents should keep their children away from this technology as much as possible." In the interview scheduled for publication on Tuesday, he also advised car drivers to avoid using mobiles completely." (Reuters)

"Car Calls May Leave Brain Short-Handed" - "Scientists have bad news for people who think they can deftly drive a car while gabbing on a cell phone. The first study using magnetic resonance images of brain activity to compare what happens in people's heads when they do one complex task, as opposed to two tasks at a time, reveals a disquieting fact: the brain appears to have a finite amount of space for tasks requiring attention." (New York Times)

"Concern Over Pesticide Levels in European Foods" - "BRUSSELS, Belgium, July 30, 2001 - More than four percent of the fruit, vegetables and cereals tested by European Union member countries in 1999 had pesticide residues higher than legal maximum residue levels, the European Commission's Health and Consumer Protection Directorate announced on Friday. The report also applies to non-EU countries Norway and Iceland. The results are a "cause for concern," the directorate said, but "do not indicate a health risk." (ENS)

"Health ministers set to increase the dose of antibiotics in beef" - "Your plate of beef offal may soon give you more than just a decent dose of red meat. It may, legally, contain enough resistant bacteria to undermine life-saving antibiotic treatment. The nation's health ministers are scheduled to consider today allowing beef offal for human consumption to contain a residue of one modern antibiotic at levels near those used to treat human ailments." (Sydney Morning Herald)

Actually, the proposal is 2mg/Kg of beef - meaning consumers would need to be downing a few metric tons of beef over several days to approach "levels near those used to treat human ailments." If consumers are engulfing whole beef herds per month then I suggest they have far greater worries than AMR.

"Missile defence is hardly pie in the sky" - "Like most expert commentators, I haven't a clue what I'm talking about 90% of the time. Fortunately, it's usually pretty easy to fake it with a judiciously deployed metaphor. Here's Thomas L. Friedman, foreign affairs columnist of The New York Times and a weekly scoffer of the missile defence delusion, summing up his objections to the Bush Administration's plans: "It's good to have layers of defence, just as it's good to have belts and suspenders. But if you already have suspenders, it would be crazy to pay $100-billion for a belt of uncertain reliability -- especially if that belt makes it more likely your pants will fall down." (Mark Steyn, National Post)

"Bowing to the Polluters" - "The Bush administration isn't just hostile to federal regulations. It's contemptuous of them. Consider its recent moves on gun control and clean-air restrictions." (LA Times editorial)

"Lawmakers under pressure to lean green" - "WASHINGTON (July 30, 2001 8:58 a.m. EDT) - As the environment shapes up to be a key issue in next year's midterm election, lawmakers are coming under pressure to lean green when the House takes up President Bush's energy plan this week." (Scripps Howard News Service)

Mine's bigger'n yours? "EU threat over car emissions" - "The European Commission has warned eight countries that they are in breach of a law forcing them to provide car buyers with information about the fuel efficiency and environmental friendliness of vehicles. Environment commissioner Margot Wallstrom said that the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece and Belgium had failed to implement a 1999 directive, which came into effect at the beginning of this year. The law aims to give consumers detailed information on the fuel use and CO2 emissions of the new cars they buy." (BBC Online)

"Increased fuel economy may result in more traffic deaths" - "WASHINGTON (July 30, 2001 3:09 p.m. EDT) - Technologies are in place to significantly boost automobile fuel economy over the next 10 to 15 years, but not without compromising safety, a National Academy of Sciences report concludes." (AP)

"Genetically engineered tomato plant grows in salty water" - "A genetically engineered tomato plant that thrives in salty irrigation water and may hold the key to one of agriculture's greatest dilemmas has been developed by plant biologists at the University of California, Davis, and the University of Toronto.

As the first truly salt-tolerant crop, these tomatoes offer hope that other crops can also be genetically modified for planting in many areas of the world that have salty irrigation water and salt-damaged soils." (University of California - Davis)

"Scientists bring home the bacon in livestock pollution fight" - "Scientists have genetically modified (GM) pigs so that they excrete less phosphorus, thus easing one of the biggest pollution problems in livestock farming, the journal Nature Biotechnology reports today. The GM swine have had a gene added that causes their saliva glands to produce phytase, an enzyme that is needed to digest plant phosphorus but is naturally absent in porkers." (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

"Science vs. the U.N.'s Luddites" - "There is much to applaud about the view of agricultural biotechnology in the U.N.'s report, ``Making New Technologies Work for Human Development`` (``Politically Incorrect U.N.,`` Review & Outlook, July 12), but the rhetoric is hollow. The U.N.'s repeated insistence upon excessive, unscientific biotechnology regulation will slow agricultural research and development, promote environmental damage and bring famine and death to millions in developing countries." (Henry I. Miller, Wall Street Journal)

"NZ Govt. Report Seeks to Steer GMO Middle Ground" - "WELLINGTON - Genetic modification (GM) holds promise as a way of conquering disease and wiping out pests but it is risky and should be rigorously tested on a case-by-case basis, a New Zealand government inquiry recommended on Monday." (Reuters) [The Complete Report on New Zealand Royal Commission can be downloaded at: http://www.gmcommission.govt.nz/RCGM/index.html] | GM report straight down the middle (New Zealand Herald editorial) | Towards genetic engineering - with real caution | Delight and anger at GE report | Greens' fury at GE nod | Spuds that fight back (New Zealand Herald) | $1b GE harvest forecast (The Press)

As Professor C. S. Prakash points out: "A popular Chinese saying goes 'If you ride in the middle of the road, you get crushed by rickshaws on both sides.'"

"GM critics fear open slather after NZ decision" - "Australian genetic engineering opponents have slammed a New Zealand royal commission which backs the continued use of genetically modified products. GeneEthics director Dr Bob Phelps said the commission had failed New Zealand and would be open slather for the introduction of GM products into Australia." (AAP)

Hmm... "GEN" (GeneEthics/Gene Ethics Network) is listed as "a project of the Australian Conservation Foundation" and I've yet to meet anyone who claimed to know of any other member of the "network" than Phelps. ACF's employee makes a lot of noise but with whom does he "network?" Who are these people claimed to "fear" introduction of bioengineered crops into Australia?

"Public take stand in war over GM food" - "ON ONE side stand the GM protesters and their banners denouncing "Frankenstein" foods and their unknown dangers. On the other stand the advocates of GM foods - a collection of companies piloting the technology and supportive scientists and politicians. In the middle stand the consumers, battered by apparently conflicting advice and uncertain just where to turn for the truth." (The Scotsman)

"Seeds of doubt over GM crop experiments" - "HAVE you heard of the Agricultural and Environmental Biotechnology Commission (AEBC)? Probably not - which is strange because it was set up by Tony Blair last year as the primary agency to consult with the general public on the future of GM crops in Britain." (The Scotsman)

"Biotech Product Safety Information Available on the Web" - "The leading biotech company, Monsanto, announced Monday that is has begun posting product safety information for its current agricultural biotechnology products on the company’s Web page. The complete summaries are currently available through the "Transparency" link on the Monsanto Pledge Web site at http://www.monsanto.com/monsanto/about_us/monsanto_pledge" (AgWeb.com)

"Wind-power generation faces an ironic hurdle" - "Opposition has surfaced against moves to promote wind-power generation. The energy source, which produces only small amounts of greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming, has been regarded as a champion of clean energy. However, projects to build wind-power stations are being stalled across Japan by opponents who say they destroy the natural environment and create an eyesore." (Asahi Shimbun)

"Majority supports restricting use of cars to cut smog; New taxes for transit unpopular, poll finds" - "OTTAWA -- A majority of Canadians is so fed up with the growing urban-smog problem that they're willing to see car use restricted on poor-air-quality days, a new poll suggests.

However, to a separate question, just 37 per cent said they were willing to pay more taxes in order to improve public transportation. Opposition was heavy, with 61 per cent saying they opposed the idea, including 49 per cent who said they were "strongly opposed" to any additional taxes." (Globe and Mail)

The Week That Was July 28, 2001 brought to you by SEPP

"Bush Aide Backs Off on Timetable for Climate Plan" - "WASHINGTON -- National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, batting down expectations raised by Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, said Sunday that the Bush administration has not set a deadline for completing its policy for combating global warming." (LA Times)

"Experts see spending rise for clean air" - "Say Bonn talks salvaging Kyoto accord bolsters hopes for trading in carbon credits." (Globe and Mail)

"MP raises Kyoto protocol concerns" - "The Federal Government has again declined to say whether it will sign the Kyoto agreement on climate control." (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

"Is Georgia's future TOO HOT to handle?" - "If scientists are right about global warming, summers in Georgia are going to get even more steamy. One computer model of global warming projects that hot days in July are going to feel 15 degrees warmer by the end of the century, thanks to increased heat and humidity. And that's the more moderate projection. Another model projects that the July heat index --- how hot it feels, combining heat with humidity --- will increase by 25 degrees or more." (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

July 29-30, 2001

"Gulf of Mexico's dead zone grows" - "COCODRIE, Louisiana -- The Gulf of Mexico's dead zone, where there is too little oxygen to support sea life, covered a record 8,006 square miles (20,495 square kilometers) this year, university researchers said Thursday." (AP)

See Hypoxia Hype in the Gulf of Mexico (Michael Fumento)

Looming feeding frenzy? "Many workers not warned of beryllium's hazards, newspaper reports" - "CHICAGO (July 28, 2001 8:51 p.m. EDT) - Workers who handle the toxic metal beryllium are often unaware of the hazards of exposure to the metal, putting them at risk of an often fatal lung disease, a newspaper reported. Beryllium disease once was associated primarily with the defense industry, where the metal was used in nuclear weapons, but now is becoming increasingly common among workers in private and consumer industries, the Chicago Tribune has reported." (AP)

"A Bicycling Mystery: Head Injuries Piling Up" - "Millions of parents take it as an article of faith that putting a bicycle helmet on their children, or themselves, will help keep them out of harm's way. But new data on bicycle accidents raises questions about that. The number of head injuries has increased 10 percent since 1991, even as bicycle helmet use has risen sharply, according to figures compiled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. But given that ridership has declined over the same period, the rate of head injuries per active cyclist has increased 51 percent just as bicycle helmets have become widespread." (New York Times)

"Airlines to be sued over DVT deaths" - "A multi-million pound lawsuit against major airlines will be launched this week on behalf of British victims of 'economy class syndrome'. Lawyers acting for families who lost loved ones through deep vein thrombosis (DVT) believe they have an 'extremely strong' case for a massive compensation payout, The Observer can reveal. The breakthrough is the first time British solicitors have openly indicated the powerful aviation industry could be accountable for the deaths of scores of passengers from blood clots." (Observer)

The assault on wood fires has begun: "Govt announce plan to reduce Tasmania's smoke pollution" - "The Federal Government has announced a plan designed to dramatically reduce wood smoke pollution in northern Tasmania. The Government will spend $2 million on a scheme to replace old wood heaters with less polluting alternatives." (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

"Emissions test change challenged" - "It's a disaster waiting to happen," said emissions expert Doug Lawson, who co-authored a report on car inspections for the National Research Council. "You are going to have motorists spending tons of money to ostensibly clean the air, when in effect all they are doing is shutting their 'check engine' light off." (Bergen County Record)

"US panel to give automakers time on fuel economy" - "DETROIT - A report on possible increases to U.S. fuel economy standards due early next week has been revised to give automakers more time to improve fuel efficiency, a source familiar with the plans said last week. The report from a panel at the National Academy of Sciences is still expected to offer a range of possible increases for fuel economy standards, but avoid making a specific recommendation, the source said." (Reuters)

Caffeine hysteria: "Children's caffeine drink ban" - "HEALTH warnings will be placed on energy drinks such as Red Bull and their sales to children will be limited by restrictions similar to those on cigarettes, under a proposal before State and federal health ministers." ([Sydney] Sunday Telegraph)

See also A load of Red Bull (Emma Baxter)

"Attack of the bully bees" - "Africanized 'killer' bees are still making their way north, but experts doubt they'll ever reach Canada. What we do have to fear, though, is a hybridization process that might make all bees on the continent nastier and more aggressive." (Globe and Mail)

Seems odd doesn't it, some people are mad keen to reintroduce predators big enough to eat you and others are in a tizzy over the possibility of more aggressive bees.

Biotech news & views:

"Dust mite gene to the rescue" - "Singapore scientists have created a vaccine which could prevent millions of children from developing asthma - by using a gene from the dust mite. The tiny creatures are one of the most common causes of allergic reactions leading to asthma in children, said Associate Professor Chua Kaw Yan of the National University of Singapore." (Reuters)

"GM crops to get go ahead in NZ: report" - "The world's first royal commission on genetic modification (GM) of crops will give the go ahead to the controversial science in New Zealand, a report says." (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

"Group appeals to PM over GM wheat" - "OTTAWA - A coalition of farmers, citizens and grain industry groups will deliver a letter to Prime Minister Jean Chrétien asking him to halt the introduction of genetically modified wheat. The National Farmers Union, Greenpeace and the Canadian Wheat Board will all sign the letter, which is to be sent to Chrétien next week." (CBC)

"Blair faces split over GM foods" - "TONY Blair is under pressure to delay the commercial growing of genetically-modified crops until well after the next general election amid fears the government could suffer an electoral backlash over the threat of so-called "Frankenstein foods". Some ministers believe it will take at least a decade - and possibly 15 years - for the British public to be persuaded that GM products are safe to eat and pose no risk to the environment." (The Scotsman)

"EPA Rejects Biotech Corn as Human Food" - "The federal government's investigation into whether StarLink corn causes allergic reactions failed to establish that the genetically engineered corn was safe to eat, according to an expert panel convened by the Environmental Protection Agency. While the panel did not conclude the modified corn causes allergies, it said that months of study by federal agencies "do not eliminate the possibility of such a reaction." (Washington Post)

"Religious worries seen on biotechnology" - "Nearly six in 10 American Protestants oppose genetic engineering of food when it is described as moving genes between different species. Just more than half of Roman Catholics also worry about this human intervention in genetics, while Jews in the United States support the scientific innovation by 55 percent, according to a survey released Thursday." (Washington Times)

"What You're Not Told about Stem Cells" - "On July 24, researchers in Rostock, Germany, announced that two weeks before they had successfully transplanted stem cells into the heart of a man whom, they report, is now doing well. The cells came from the man's own marrow. No embryos were harmed in the making of this miracle. This is probably the first time you've heard about this experiment – and it will likely be the last." (Michael Fumento, National Post)

Still this stuff rumbles on - and we'll be treated to another round of climate hysteria come October...

Oh good grief! "Whale population devastated by warming" - "Global warming has caused an unexpected collapse in the numbers of the world's most hunted whale, top scientists believe. They think that a sharp contraction in sea ice in the Antarctic is the likeliest explanation behind new findings, which suggest that the number of minke whales in the surrounding seas has fallen by half in less than a decade." (Independent)

Over the period it has been monitored there has been a slight expansion in Antarctic sea ice area and scientists reporting to the IWC actually said recent minke surveys were "highly suspect" due to being taken at a later time of year when the whales had already moved on, thus missing the peak abundance with which they are being compared. How did The Indy manage to translate that to "Whale population devastated by warming..."?

"Leaders must fight for a cleaner planet" - "For the past century, the world's great powers have pursued better living conditions, fought against each other and worked frantically to develop technologies useful for fighting wars, all in total disregard of the environment. If this continues, the Earth's environment will become so contaminated that sooner or later the death knell will sound for the human race." (Japan Times)

"Bush Is Right To Cold-Shoulder Kyoto" - "Treaty would reduce American sovereignty, not global warming The controversy over America's refusal to ratify the Kyoto Protocol on global warming is about many things. One of them — probably the least significant — is global warming." (Zef Chafets, Daily News)

"Pronk forecasts U.S. to return to Kyoto Protocol" - "BONN - The head of a U.N. conference on climate change said Friday he feels certain the United States will rejoin negotiations in the future on the Kyoto Protocol on curbing global warming." (Kyodo)

"KYOTO WALLFLOWERS; Why it pays to be green" - "When President Bush dismissed the Kyoto climate change treaty as "fatally flawed," he meant to spare American companies from paying dearly to control pollution. But now that about 180 countries have pushed ahead with the pact without the United States, American businesses with overseas operations are wondering if they'd be better off at the dance than on the sidelines." (U.S.News)

"Climate Deal to Lighten Economic Cost of Kyoto" - "BONN, Germany - The fight against global warming is notoriously hard to price but experts say the compromise deal salvaging the Kyoto Protocol will considerably reduce the bill, albeit for a scaled down attack on the problem." (Reuters)

"Germany Has Mixed Record in Drive for Cleaner Air" - "BERLIN - Germany likes to portray itself as the world's environmental policeman -- wagging a green finger at the rest of the planet for failing to clean the dirty air over factories and power plants.

Boasting that it has cut its carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 18 percent in the last decade, Germany wants the world to be more German in the crusade to stop global warming by reducing the output of deadly greenhouse gases.

But a closer look at the record shows, at best, a mixed performance.

Emissions of lethal gases in the populous and heavily industrialized western three-quarters of Germany are actually up by just under one percent in the last decade.

It is only thanks to the massive collapse of industry in formerly communist eastern Germany that followed unification in 1990 that C02 output is down nationwide by 18 percent since then." (Reuters)

"All Quiet Down Below" - "The deep oceans below about 2,500 metres are cold, very cold, at an average temperature of 1.36°C. It gets that cold partly because there is no energy from the sun getting down there, but also because of `Thermohaline Circulation'. This is the tendency of near-freezing surface waters in the Arctic and Antarctic polar seas to become heavier than the warmer water below, and so sink to the bottom. This replenishes the cold conditions in the deep abyss. The largest proportion of abyssal cold water comes from surface sinkage off the Antarctic undersea shelves. (Sinking surface water in the Arctic pulls in warm water from the south - the Gulf Stream - which is so vital to European climate)." (Still Waiting For Greenhouse)

"Environmentalists oppose peat-fired ESB plants" - "Environmental groups have called for a "fundamental rethink" of the State's policy of building two new peat-fired electricity plants. Six environmental non-governmental organisations (NGOs) said peat-burning caused global warming, and the EU should refuse the State's request to surcharge consumers to pay for electricity generated from the burning of peat." (Irish Times)

"Talking about the weather is no longer so boring" - "Mediawise, the weather was once a boring sideshow, the particulars of which only farmers worried about. In the past 10 years, climate has been politicized.

As usual, the recent Group of Eight summit accomplished nothing except the production of a communique stating that it accomplished nothing. Much hot air (pardon the expression) was expelled over the Kyoto Protocol on carbon dioxide emissions, which are considered the chief culprit behind global warming. This issue has become so sensitive that in order to qualify for the right to discuss it, one must either possess a doctorate in meteorology or live on a South Sea island threatened with imminent inundation.

Whether or not you believe global warming is an empirically proven phenomenon, its status as an international economic factor gives every change in temperature, no matter how slight, political significance." (Japan Times)

"Emissions Treaty Softens Kyoto Targets; Environmentalists' Euphoria Over Global Pact Gives Way to Debate on Concessions" - "After reaching agreement on the details of the world's first treaty aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, environmental ministers hailed their achievement as a major breakthrough in the battle against global warming. But as environmental organizations begin to delve into the fine print of the deal reached by 178 countries in Bonn last week, the euphoria is giving way to a more sober assessment." (Washington Post)

"Environmentalists relieved Kyoto agreement not weakened" - "Environmentalists say they are relieved the Australian Government was not successful in its attempts to weaken the Kyoto protocol by removing key enforcement measures." Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

July 28, 2001

"The Unknown Epidemic" - "It may be that one in four Americans has a potentially fatal condition known as Syndrome X. Drugmakers hope to decode this metabolic malady-even as some experts say it doesn't exist at all." (Mary Ellen Egan, Forbes Magazine)

"Food Scares Agency" - "In recent months the UK has been trembling over food scares and concerns about modern agriculture - over antibiotics in poultry, dioxins in milk, and pet food sold off as chicken nuggets. And who could forget those old classics, like mad cow disease?" (Jan Bowman, Sp!ked)

"House Upholds Arsenic Standards" - "WASHINGTON - House Democrats succeeded Friday in blocking the Bush administration from weakening or delaying tough new standards on arsenic levels in drinking water announced in the final hours of the Clinton presidency." (AP)

"How Green Should Their Valley Be? Hudson River Cleanup Divides N.Y." - "FORT EDWARD, N.Y. -- Charlie Caruso, a lean and taciturn man of 69 years, does the family math: His dad and brother worked with PCBs at the General Electric plant here. They died of cancer in their fifties. His wife, too, worked with the toxic chemicals and died of a nerve disease." (Washington Post)

"spiked statistics" - "When dealing with statistics, you should bear three principles in mind:

  1. You cannot prove anything with statistics.
  2. Correlation does not mean causation.
  3. You cannot prove a negative." (Toby Andrew, Sp!ked)

"Obesity directly proportional to TV watching" - "BEIJING: The longer children watch television, the more weight they are expected to gain, according to a survey conducted recently by a Chinese hospital specialising in treating obesity.

During a random survey of 2,000 children, Aimin Hospital in the north China city of Tianjin, found that 31.2 per cent of the them who watch television for more than three hours everyday are excessively overweight for their age, and each additional hour was found to lead to a 1.8 per cent rise in the rate of obesity." (Times of India)

This week's most imaginative letter: "Obscenely expensive" - "When the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, told us to expect "imaginative ideas" emerging from the G8 summit in Genoa, did he seriously expect us to "imagine" that $1 to $2 billion can alleviate AIDS and tuberculosis in the third world, while 22 billion people die annually from diarrhoea alone? ..." (Letter in The Scotsman) [emphasis added]

Assuming, for the moment, that there are 1 billion fertile human females on the planet, and it's entirely possible that one-sixth of the population is a female of childbearing age, these fecund individuals must be averaging 22 live births per year just to keep up with diarrhoea mortality. A most prodigious effort.

"Radical Environmental Group Releases Video Encouraging People to Join" - "An environmental group that committed acts of vandalism and arson in its past has released a video designed to encourage people to join.

The Earth Liberation Front (ELF) is selling "Igniting the Revolution: An Introduction to the Earth Liberation Front" for $10 on its Web site. The video shows hillsides stripped of trees, burning buildings, and logos of corporations the group opposes while a narrator delivers an anti-capitalist message." (FoxNews.com)

"Comprehension tests" - "In the third in its series of summer fringe debates, on 19 July 2001, the UK Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) together with The Economist magazine debated the question: 'Science and the Public: who needs to understand whom?'" (Joe Kaplinsky, Sp!ked)

Biotech news & views:

"Hamilton joins in GM rallies" - "About 50 protesters turned out in Garden Place yesterday to mark the handover of the royal commission's report on genetic modification." (Waikato Times)

I'm still puzzling over the protest banner pictured in this one: "Practice Safe Food/ Use A/ Condiment"

All meals are "safe" if you like, put salt and pepper on them? And this has what to do with biotechnology? Most curious...

"Rat genes increase Vitamin C in plants" - "BLACKSBURG, Va., July 27, 2001 – Genes from the lowly rat may hold the key to increasing Vitamin C in the world’s food supply. Craig Nessler, head of plant physiology, pathology, and weed science at Virginia Tech, has found that by transferring certain rat genes into lettuce, he can turn on the plant’s latent Vitamin-C-producing pathway. In laboratory experiments using that process, he increased the level of Vitamin C in lettuce by 700 percent." (Virginia Tech)

"EPA Releases SAP Report on StarLink Corn" - "Friday, the EPA said an independent Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP) completed its assessment and has provided its final report to EPA. The evaluation has provided new recommendations and reaffirmed key conclusions previously reached by the panel.

In their findings, the SAP reaffirmed key conclusions from their previous report on StarLink, including that there is a "medium likelihood" that StarLink protein is a potential human allergen, and that there is sufficient evidence that there is a "low probability of allergenicity" in the exposed population based on levels of StarLink in the U.S. diet." (AgWeb.com)

"Gov't Blocks Use of Biotech Corn" - "WASHINGTON - The government won't allow trace amounts of the genetically altered StarLink corn in food, agreeing with scientific advisers who say the biotech crop has not been proven safe for human consumption." (AP)

"GE report likely to stir Greens" - "The Government faces a possible showdown with the Green Party next month after yesterday's report of the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification. The commission's four-volume report, which will be made public on Monday, is expected to give a cautious go-ahead to restricted use of genetic engineering in agriculture. The Greens, whose seven MPs hold the balance of power in Parliament, are strongly opposed to allowing any genetic modification outside the laboratory." | GM reaches its day of destiny (New Zealand Herald)

"Brazil: NGOs Challenge Production of Transgenic Soya" - "Environmental and consumer rights organisations protested Thursday in the Brazilian capital against the government's intent to authorise the commercial production of the genetically modified soya, RoundUp Ready, produced by the US- based transnational Monsanto.

The demonstration came in reaction to the announcement by Agriculture minister, Marcus Pratini Moraes, that the government on Monday will formalise the release of RoundUp Ready (RR) soya beans, which have been genetically manipulated to resist herbicides also produced by Monsanto.

Also on Monday, officials are to establish the norms for transgenic seed production, added the minister." (Inter Press Service)

"Brazil's battle over GMO unlikely to end this year" - "SAO PAULO, July 27 - Consumer and environmental groups in Brazil said the government's recent offensive to open the country to the sale of genetically modified foodstuffs (GMOs) would prove a long, hard fight.

For almost half a decade the government and biotechnology companies like U.S.-based Monsanto Co. have warred with environmental activist Greenpeace and local consumer groups IDEC and Procon in the local courts over the GMO status of Latin America's agricultural workhorse." (Reuters)

"Monsanto And USDA Report Similar Increases In Biotech Plantings" - "Monsanto estimates that its insect-resistant and Roundup Ready technologies were used on approximately 80 million acres in the United States during the 2001 growing season, an increase of 11 percent compared with 72 million acres in the previous year. Initial results indicate that acres planted with Roundup Ready crops (soybeans, corn and cotton) rose 17 percent compared with 2000 acres." (TKC)

"EU Rules on GMOs Lack Safeguards - Environmentalists" - "The European Commission's proposed regulations for tracing and labeling genetically modified (GMO) food and feed fall dangerously short of preventing their unauthorised release into the European Union (EU) market, environmentalists warned Thursday.

They were reacting to Commission proposals Wednesday to lift a 1998 moratorium on new approvals of GMO plant varieties while setting out what it called the "world's most stringent" rules on controlling and monitoring their release." (Inter Press Service)

"Secrecy surrounds GM wheat trials in P.E.I." - "CHARLOTTETOWN - The location of test plots for genetically modified wheat on Prince Edward Island has been kept so secret that even the provincial agriculture minister has been kept in the dark." (CBC)

Wrapping up the Bonn coverage...

Right - for all the wrong reasons: "Kyoto could even make things worse" - "As the chairman's gavel banged down on the table at the climate change negotiations in Bonn last Monday, cheers erupted around the hall. Some of the loudest cries came from the green groups, many of whom had waited 10 years for this moment.

"We did it!" delegates said to each other, shaking hands and grinning in disbelief. "We rescued the Kyoto protocol," beamed EU Environment Commissioner Margot Wallström. "Now we can go home and look our children in the eye." It was an emotional moment. Which makes it even more difficult to take a step back and admit that we were fooled.

Two days ago no one, the world's media included, wanted to poop the party by asking awkward questions. But the unpalatable fact is that the Kyoto protocol is now more riddled with holes than a piece of Swiss cheese. Not only will the so-called climate change treaty not do anything to cut greenhouse gas emission levels, it will allow them to climb above business-as-usual projections.

It's as if the Kyoto protocol never happened. And what's almost worse is that the green groups who originally pushed so hard for a meaningful treaty have been left defending an agreement which isn't worth the paper it is written on." (Guardian)

The media need to ask why 1990 is so special as a benchmark year for CO2 emissions. What was so different from say 1980, 1969, 1997 (when Kyoto was first signed), or even the conveniently stamped 2000?

The answer is that 1990 provides the EU maximum advantage due to subsequent closure of "dirty" (old and inefficient) former East German industry and conversion from coal-fired to North Sea oil- and gas-fired electrical generation. It has no Earth significance, only EU significance since that was the time their emissions peaked-out just prior to modernisation. Don't believe it? Just try getting them to agree to a benchmark period a decade either way, when they enjoy no such accidental advantage.

If CO2 emissions are purportedly such a hazard to the planet surely the EU would go for the lesser cap of 1980 emission levels, wouldn't they?

The Kyoto Protocol has always been, at best, a tool to make hideously inefficient European enterprises more competitive by acting as a brake, mainly on America and Japan, and, at worst, misanthropic nonsense. At no point has The Protocol contained potential to improve the environment or the lot of humanity - it's all pain for no gain.

"Playing Ostrich On Warming" - "When 178 nations adopted a historic pact on global warming this week, only the United States refused to go along.

The misguided U.S. position is particularly galling because America is the world's leading producer of carbon dioxide and other gases linked to global warming. With only 4 percent of the world's population, the United States emits about one-quarter of all greenhouse gases." (Hartford Courant Editorial)

One-quarter of all greenhouse gases? Same old media, um... confusion.

What they really refer to is America's contribution to estimated anthropogenic GHG emission (liberation), not including the water vapour that accounts for more than nine-tenths of the greenhouse effect. The global sum of anthropogenic GHG emission (liberation) is something under 4% of estimated global total GHG emission (liberation), not including water vapour. Biological activity in forests, seas and soils produce more than humanity by a ratio of about 2 dozen to 1, then there's volcanic activity, crust weathering... the complete sum is unknown.

The real situation then becomes: at most, America may be responsible for as much as one-fourth of 4% of 10% (thus 1/1000th) of the greenhouse effect that keeps our planet habitable.

One quarter used to equal two-hundred-and-fifty one-thousandths (250/1000) when I went to school. An error factor of 250 was considered significant then too. Wonder if the media will ever stop mindlessly parroting activist misinformation. Nah...

"Why it's easy being green (in Europe)" - "A MAN comes home and finds his wife in bed with another man. He runs to the dresser, pulls a gun from the top drawer and puts it to his head. The wife starts laughing. "Don't laugh," the man warns, "you're next."

Make the gun a toy pistol and the husband becomes the perfect metaphor for those Europeans who have been threatening to ratify the Kyoto global warming pact without the United States -- the toy gun is the part of the agreement they worked out in Bonn this week. Because the United States did not sign on, journalists dutifully reported that the United States was "isolated" from the other countries.

Bully for President Bush. His response to the Euros rightfully has been: Go ahead, make my day.

Add: When will the Brits or a second European country ratify Kyoto, instead of blaming Bush for not embracing it? Romania is the only country in Europe to ratify Kyoto. Romania is isolated." (Debra J. Saunders, San Francisco Chronicle)

"Basing policy on climate change requires a debate" - "BY JUMPING aboard the Kyoto pact, negotiators from 180 countries voted to poke a stick in Uncle Sam's eye. The treaty says far more about economic competition and a disregard for science than about the rational consideration of environmental issues.

The United States will come under pressure as the treaty moves forward. It should remain cautious and rational. The reality is that our climate is changing and will continue to change. If we lived in 1400, for example, Earth would begin a rapid cooling that would last a century.

We need to think rationally, not emotionally, about our future relative to the potential for climate change. Rational thinking, not agenda-driven, science-for-sale or politics-for-votes, should be the basis for developing policy concerning climate change.

As the former head of the Environmental Protection Agency, William Reilly, said, "We need to develop a new system for taking action on the environment that isn't based on responding to the evening news. What we have had in the United States is environmental agenda-setting by episodic panic." (Harrison H. Schmitt and Harold M. Koenig, Baltimore Sun)

"Positive Result in Bonn" - "Negotiation of the Kyoto Protocol, an instrument of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), has produced a decisive positive result." (Earthlife Africa)

"Bonn saves Kyoto climate treaty but efficacy of accord unsure" - "BONN, July 27 - A conference of 181 states this week agreed mechanisms aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions -- above all of carbon dioxide -- blamed for global warming, but the efficacy of the hard-won Bonn accord is uncertain." (AFP)

"Kyoto deal will hurt less than businesses believed" - "This week’s cobbled-together deal to save the beleaguered 1997 Kyoto climate change agreement is a good deal for Europe’s business community. The Bonn agreement saw the original Kyoto deal watered down considerably, which means EU businesses will be unlikely to face draconian new environmental laws in the short to medium term." (The Scotsman)

"Trittin Defends Agreement On Global Warming" - "BERLIN. Environment Minister Jürgen Trittin on Friday said Germany would take first steps next week towards ratifying the 1997 Kyoto Protocol to combat global warming. Mr. Trittin said he was convinced other states would follow suit so that the accord could become legally binding before the world environment summit in 2002." (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung)

"Talks on legal text of Kyoto pact rules face rough going" - "BONN - Working-level talks continued Thursday to compile a legal text on core elements of rules for implementing the 1997 Kyoto Protocol to curb global warming, but agreement is proving hard to reach, conference sources said.

The parties are wrangling over the text, with different interpretations of the agreement struck by environment ministers Monday and officially adopted Wednesday at the sixth session of the Conference of Parties (COP6) to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Compilation of the legal text by Friday, the final day of talks, is believed to be difficult and is expected to be carried over to COP7, the next round of the conference slated to start in Morocco in late October.

The accord on core elements of the Kyoto pact operational rules concerns four areas -- financial aid to developing countries, emissions trading and other flexible mechanisms to help countries achieve emission cuts, the use of forests to absorb carbon dioxide, and a compliance system.

Japanese government sources said Japan and Canada interpret the compliance system to achieve the reduction target of carbon dioxide emissions as not having binding power, while the European Union (EU) is insisting on a text to make it compulsory." (Kyodo)

"Australia's backflip has Kyoto in chaos" - "The Australian Government has backed away from its earlier agreement to international measures to combat global warming, throwing negotiations into chaos by seeking to remove penalties for breaches of the Kyoto protocol." (Sydney Morning Herald)

"Environmentalists claim Aust trying to weaken Kyoto Protocol" - "Environmentalists claim Australia is trying to destroy the Kyoto Protocol by attempting to remove all enforcement measures from the climate change agreement." (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

"Hill rejects claims Australia trying to weaken Kyoto protocol" - "Environment Minister Robert Hill today rejected claims by environmentalists that Australia was trying to weaken the revised Kyoto climate change agreement." (AAP)

"Lawmakers Begin Effort to Get U.S. to Fight Global Warming" - "WASHINGTON, July 26 — With the United States now alone in the world in opposing the treaty to combat global warming, some lawmakers are pressing for Congress to take the lead toward reducing emissions of so-called greenhouse gases, the issue on which the Bush administration has so far kept to the sidelines." (New York Times)

"U.S. Not Seeking New Global Warming Talks; Bush Unlikely to Offer Alternative to Pact of 178 Nations This Year, Whitman Says" - "Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Christine Todd Whitman said yesterday that the Bush administration has little interest in attempting to reopen international global warming talks any time soon and instead will focus on hemispheric and domestic measures to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

In the wake of an agreement by leading U.S. allies in Bonn this week on the details of a global warming treaty that the United States declined to support, Whitman said President Bush is unlikely to offer a substantive alternative when negotiators meet again late this year in Morocco.

Instead, she said, the administration will offer a detailed proposal later this year for reducing emissions other than carbon dioxide from U.S. power plants and factories, and will explore hemispheric plans with Canada and Mexico for reducing the levels of greenhouse gas emissions that scientists say contribute to the Earth's rising temperature." (Washington Post)

"Clarke 'appalled' at Bush's Kyoto rejection" - "Conservative leadership candidate Kenneth Clarke has criticised George W Bush for ditching the Kyoto climate change agreement." (Ananova)

"Saving the planet and prosperity" - "Make no mistake, those marathon negotiations in Bonn resulted in a modified Kyoto protocol that is still "fatally flawed," as President Bush aptly termed it.

The Bonn negotiators patted themselves on the back and the crowd jeered the U.S. for staying out of the talks. But, in the end, the only way the negotiators could walk out with an agreement was to produce a treaty that greatly scaled back its aspirations to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, let some of the largest nations off the hook and carried no threat of enforcement." (Chicago Tribune)

"Climate Conference Ends with Fine-Tuning" - "BONN, Germany - Delegates from about 180 countries came close but failed to complete modifications to the Kyoto Protocol on global warming Friday as a historic two-week meeting ended." (Reuters)

"Nature Has Answer to Global Warming in France" - "PARIS - While environment ministers have struggled to salvage the 1997 Kyoto accord on global warming, nature has found its own answer in France, Le Figaro newspaper reported on Friday. Abnormally abundant winter snows have boosted production of hydroelectric power, allowing France to cut emissions of harmful carbon dioxide from traditionally fueled power stations by eight million tons in the first half of the year." (Reuters)

"Japan took more than it gave on Kyoto" - "After nearly four drawn out days of intense talks in Bonn, 178 signatories to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change forged an accord on operating rules for the Kyoto Protocol. Although eight months tardy, the agreement -- which originally was to have been cemented at climate talks in The Hague in November -- increases the chances the protocol will be put into force on schedule by 2002." (Japan Times editorial)

"Incredible liteness of being" - "We have delivered probably the most comprehensive and difficult agreement in human history." So said Peter Hodgson, delegate to a meeting in Bonn, Germany, of a United Nations convention on global climate change. Well, probably not. The agreement reached in Bonn by nearly 180 nations on Monday does keep the Kyoto Protocol on global warming alive, but not quite in the same shape that its supporters had expected." (Journal Sentinel)

"U. S. Could Lose on Climate" - "BONN, Germany - With the United States opting out of the Kyoto climate treaty, American businesses may be left on the sidelines while the rest of the world plays a new game: pollution trading." (AP)

"Kyoto protocol good for Africa - or not?" - "Nairobi - Africa, global warming's main victim, stands to do well out of the Bonn deal on greenhouse gas emissions and its provisions for development aid and reforestation, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) said here on Friday.

By contrast, Climate Network Africa (CNA), a non-governmental aid agency based in Nairobi, described the deal as a "fiasco," in which "Africa has turned out to be the biggest loser." (Sapa-AFP)

July 27, 2001

"Fishy Tales About Frogs and Fanatical Global-Warmers" - "While global-warmers celebrate the signing of a new international agreement to control emissions of greenhouse gases, researchers are reporting that global warming is causing lovelorn frogs to croak earlier in the spring. The two events are symbolically related, believe it or not." (Steve Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"Jeffords, Whitman Spar On Pollution" - "WASHINGTON - Sen. James Jeffords, whose historic defection from the GOP delivered control of the Senate to Democrats, sparred with President Bush's top environmental regulatory officer Thursday over power plant pollution blamed for global warming.

Under senators' questioning, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Christie Whitman said the Bush administration may propose scrapping several Clean Air Act programs imposed on electrical utilities. The plan, she said, would eliminate the programs and put in their place a new system of mandatory emission-reduction targets for mercury, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, but not for carbon dioxide." (AP)

"Lieberman May Subpoena Bush Environmental Records" - "WASHINGTON - Democratic Sen. Joseph Lieberman said on Thursday he may decide as early as Friday whether to seek what would be the first congressional subpoenas against the Bush administration. Lieberman, chairman of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, said he wants to know whether there was any undue industry influence in the administration's decision to roll back environmental regulations." (Reuters)

"Tighter Controls Sought for New Ozone-Destroying Chemicals" - "MONTREAL/NAIROBI, July 25, 2001 - Experts and diplomats from the 178 countries that are Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer are meeting in Montreal to review options for further tightening the international regime for protecting the stratospheric ozone layer." (EarthVision)

"Ontario to ban CFC coolants in vehicles" - "But critics say the move is irrelevant since the chemical has almost vanished from use" (Globe and Mail)

"New finding may identify unknown agents of mad-cow disease" - "Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago, working with yeast, have made the startling finding that the presence of one prion protein can spark the formation of other unrelated prions similar to the protein thought to cause “mad cow” and other diseases of mammals and man." (University of Illinois at Chicago)

"BSE: the end of a mystery?" - "At last, scientists think they know why 'mad cow' disease began and why in the UK. Now they just have to prove it." (Independent)

"Study: W. Nile Virus Underreported" - "LONDON -- For every New Yorker diagnosed with encephalitis or meningitis from West Nile virus in the summer of 1999, there were probably 140 milder infections that went undetected, scientists have estimated." (AP)

"CDC says increased efforts needed to combat West Nile virus" - "ATLANTA - Federal officials urged health agencies Thursday to step up mosquito-control efforts and other measures to halt the spread of the dangerous West Nile virus, which is turning up in the Southeast. The virus, which has killed nine people in New York and New Jersey since 1999, appeared this month in a Florida man and in dead birds in Florida, Georgia and Virginia. Mosquitoes can carry the virus from birds to humans and other animals." (AP)

"The corporate road to precaution Hell" - "In time, the anti-pesticide forces may even run out of steam. But there's more to the Hudson pesticide case than dandelions, grubs and the aesthetics of grass. The court ruling that gave rise to the burgeoning lawn activism is now being viewed on all sides as a precedent-setting decision that has broad implications for business and environmental activists. Parts of the case could ultimately have an impact on everything from power plant expansions to pipeline construction and environmental assessments." (Terence Corcoran, National Post)

"Green judicial activism" - "The Supreme Court ruling on Hudson's pesticide bylaw went beyond defining municipal authority. It sewed a dandelion field of complexity and uncertainty that could imperil industrial projects and development. Who's to blame?" (Mark Bantey, National Post)

" A principle few could meet" - "Many corporate alarm bells will be ringing this fall when vacationing executives learn about the far-reaching implications of the recent Supreme Court of Canada pesticide decision.

Canadian environmentalists are celebrating. It's not just that the court affirmed that environmental protection is a fundamental value of Canadian society. It went further, to embrace a relatively new and little known international law concept, the "precautionary principle." The court used this principle to uphold a municipal bylaw restricting pesticide use, rejecting the challenge brought by landscaping companies in Hudson, Que." (David Estrin, National Post)

"Male infertility, pesticides linked: new study" - "LONDON - Researchers in France and Argentina have released a new study showing exposure to pesticides could contribute to male infertility." (CBC) | Press release (PDF) [contains link to full text article - also PDF]

"Arsenic victims get legal aid to sue scientists" - "Dying Bangladeshis have been granted legal aid to sue British scientists in London this autumn for failing to discover dangerous levels of arsenic during a survey of the country's drinking water supplies in the early 1990s." (Independent)

This week, 'cat dander good' "Kitten allergens counter dust mite exposure" - "Buy a kitten to protect the health of your child, advised a leading immunologist today. In fact, buy two. Children who grow up in a cat-owning household are less likely to develop the allergic responses that often lead to asthma, said Thomas Platts-Mills of the Asthma and Allergic Diseases Center at the University of Virginia." (BioMedNet News)

"Carnegie Mellon study provides conclusive evidence that cell phones distract drivers" - "PITTSBURGH-By studying images of the brain at work, Carnegie Mellon University scientists have concluded that we cannot converse on cell phones without distracting our brains from the task of driving.

In findings reported in the journal NeuroImage, a team led by Carnegie Mellon Psychology Professor Marcel Just discovered that attending to a conversation significantly distracts the brain from processing complex visual information." (Carnegie Mellon University)

Or, to put it another way, cell phones are no more distracting than conversing with a passenger.

"How not to encourage physical fitness" - "One out of two North American adults is now overweight. Fifteen per cent of Canadians and 23% of Americans have such a serious problem, they meet the medical definition of obesity. After crunching the numbers, researchers in last month's Public Health journal came to two startling conclusions about these figures. First, while smoking, excessive drinking and living in poverty are all associated with poor health, the link between obesity and poor health is even stronger. Second, the percentage of the American population that is obese exceeds the percentage that smokes, drinks heavily or lives in poverty." (Donna Laframboise, National Post)

"No Retreat on the Hudson" - "As President Bush's chief environmental officer, Christie Whitman has absorbed plenty of abuse for the administration's generally deplorable environmental record. Some of this criticism has been unfair, and in many cases she has taken the fall for policies dictated by others. But Mrs. Whitman will have only herself to blame if she chooses to scale back the Clinton administration's plan that would require General Electric to spend a half-billion dollars to begin the long-overdue task of cleaning the upper Hudson River of toxic chemicals known as PCB's." (New York Times)

"Huge land bill heads to House vote; $47 billion pits conservation vs. property rights groups" - " WASHINGTON, July 26 — A bill to spend $47 billion on land conservation across the country was a big step closer to passage Thursday, after a House committee resolved a split among Western Republicans and voted for the proposal. The bill would use money from federal offshore oil and gas leases to restore coastlines, protect wildlife and create urban parks." (MSNBC)

"Destruction of ocean abundance started long before industrial age, continues now, study says" - "WASHINGTON -- Humans started destroying the natural abundance of the seas thousands of years ago and tipped a delicate balance that left the environment more vulnerable to the excesses of the modern age, a study shows." (AP) | Overfishing sets the stage for other problems in marine ecosystems (University of Maine) | Excessive fishing prompted coastal ecosystems to collapse, but wise management now will help (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) | Scientists examine the seas our ancestors fished to better understand today's changing oceans (United States Geological Survey) | Scientists: Collapse of coastal ecosystems tied to past overfishing (University of Florida)

"Strapping the Information Age to the Back of a Tractor" - "Precision Farming Enterprises of Davis, Calif., approached farmer Ardean Anderson last year to attach a yield monitor and global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver to his bailer. The company then used the equipment to map his field. The resulting map displayed a low-yield area where the Royal City, Wash., farmer’s alfalfa field has a fertility problem. With more accurate information, Anderson can apply fertilizer to low-yield areas without being forced to apply it everywhere. The process shows the way to more efficient and cost-effective fertilizer application. Anderson’s story is a poster portrait for 21st century agriculture, where farmers will increasingly rely on precision farming to improve their bottom line and improve environmental health." (Bishop Grewell, TechCentralStation)

"The Biotech Protest That Wasn’t" - "Corncobs and monarchs might soon be headed for the unemployment line.

"15,000 Biotech Researchers, 5,000 Protesters Converge on San Diego." So declared an Associated Press wire story headline the day before the annual Biotechnology Industry Organization conference in San Diego began in late June. But an AP story after the conference had actually begun by referring to a mere "a handful of protestors."

These are the days of the so-called "Million Man March," the "Million Mom March," and the no doubt forthcoming "Million Manatee March." Numbers have taken on a special meaning and when it comes to protest rallies, you don't need Masters & Johnson to tell you that size does count.

By the time I got to the conference center the day after the meeting opened, I counted one corn cob wearing a pair of Birkenstock sandals and a couple of sad-looking guys in monarch butterfly costumes. There might have been a rutabaga or tomato off in the distance, but I couldn't be sure. Other media besides the AP commented on the smaller than expected crowd, which by the third day had disappeared completely." (Michael Fumento, National Review Online)

"Scientists map the complete genome of an important agricultural bacterium" - "An international research team has decoded the genome of an important microbe that provides an essential source of nitrogen for plants, people and other living organisms on Earth. Researchers say that the new genome map could provide the foundation for improving crop yields, while reducing the use of nitrogen-based fertilizers by farmers." (Stanford University)

"Growing the Future" - "There's a new front in China's internal battle over trade: genetically modified organisms. Ever since Beijing passed some anti-GMO regulations a few months back, farmers, manufacturers and government have been sparring over how the products should fit into China's future. But unlike Europe's activism, China's relationship to biotech will have real consequences for the country. As Huang Jikun, head of the Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy, explains, "I haven't seen anyone die of GM crops so far, but every year nearly 500 people in China die of pesticide poisoning used with traditional crops." (Wall Street Journal)

"Views on Genetic Modification of Food Influenced By Religious Beliefs, Not Just Science" - "WASHINGTON, July 26 -- Although the debate over genetic engineering of food and animals has focused mainly on relative benefits and risks, many Americans also have ethical or religious views that significantly affect the way they think about this new technology, according to a Zogby International poll released today by the Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology." (PRNewswire)

"AUSTRALIA: Non-GM crops not commanding price premiums - Cargill" - "SYDNEY - Conventionally produced crops were generally not commanding price premiums over genetically modified (GM) agricultural products, grain trading giant Cargill Inc said on Wednesday. The vast bulk of early GM varieties were also not scoring price premiums over conventional products, Ian Baker, business development manager of Cargill Australia Ltd told the New South Wales Farmers Association annual conference. "Australia has been able to derive little if any benefit from our non-GM status for canola over our major international competitor, Canada, where over 75 percent of their production is from varieties using biotechnology," he said." (Reuters)

"Interest high as GE study panel hands over report" - "The four-volume report on genetic engineering goes to the Government today as supporters and opponents of the technology gear up for a day of activity. After almost five months of deliberations, the chairman of the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification, Sir Thomas Eichelbaum, will hand the report to the Governor-General, Dame Silvia Cartwright, in Wellington. The report, which is 1500 pages long and cost about $5 million, is due to be publicly released after Monday's cabinet meeting." (New Zealand Herald)

"Farm group says GM acres way up in Ontario" - "Ontario farmers sharply increased their use of genetically modified seed this year, despite warnings by critics of consumer unease and market resistance. Agcare, a pro-biotech Ontario farm coalition that claims to be a coalition representing 45,000 cash crop and horticultural farmers in Ontario, said this year's corn, soybean and canola acreages all contain record amounts of GM seed." (Western Producer)

"Consumers ask Asia to adopt tough EU GMO rules" - "TOKYO - The European Union's new rules on food derived from genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are likely to spur Asian consumers to ask their governments for tougher safeguards against GMOs, analysts said yesterday." (Reuters)

"Insecticides Still Used Despite Biotech" - "AMES, Iowa, Jul 25, 2001 -- Iowa State University scientists say insecticide use still is widespread despite promises that biotech corn designed to repel the European corn borer would reduce pesticide levels. Environmentalists say the study challenges the assumptions made when these genetically engineered crops were approved." (United Press International via COMTEX)

"Industrial leaders vote in favour of GM crop varieties" - "The leaders of the world's eight leading industrialized nations, including four members of the European Union, have endorsed genetically modified varieties as an important tool in the fight against world hunger. Their endorsement, contained in the July 22 communiqué ending the annual G8 Summit in Genoa, Italy, was the second international boost for the biotechnology industry in a week. Earlier, the United Nations Development Program annual report offered a similar support." (Western Producer)

"Cutting regulation from the EPA" - "A persistent criticism of the Bush administration, according to polls, is that federal policies too often favor the interests of big business over those of consumers. These criticisms of "deregulatory" policies usually have been ill-founded, but last Thursday the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a regulation that is genuinely anti-consumer, anti-environment and anti-farmer. The only beneficiaries will be big agribusiness and the regulators themselves." (Henry Miller, Washington Times)

Warming / cooling / climate politics / climate science and hot air...

"Discussions may lead to unravelling key part of Kyoto agreement" - "Last minute technical discussions in Germany may lead to unravelling a key part of this week's agreement on the Kyoto protocol on global warming. Environmentalists say Australia, and other countries in what is known as the "umbrella group", are insisting in the final text that no treaty commitments should be legally binding." (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

"Nuclear Industry Faces Up To Kyoto Exclusion Setback" - "LONDON--The nuclear power industry has lost a major public relations battle - at least for now.

At the Kyoto Protocol climate change summit in Bonn, the nuclear industry had hoped to convince the gathered environment ministers to support the use of nuclear power as a tool to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, thus making the construction of new plants economically viable and encouraging the development of new markets to support investment in nuclear power.

But it failed." (Dow Jones)

"Bush Slapped Down" - "South Africans heaved a collective sigh of relief when the world community of 186 nations -- with the notable exception of the United States -- adopted the Kyoto protocol on climate change this week. Not only does the protocol promise to reduce pollution; if it had not been signed there would have been the very real possibility that ongoing negotiations would have bogged down the Earth Summit to be hosted in Johannesburg next year." (Mail & Guardian (Johannesburg))

"A clumsy weapon against climate change" - "If you're the sort of person who uses a hammer to install screws and a machete to chop vegetables, you'll love the latest idea for combating global warming: raising fuel-economy standards for new cars and trucks. Yes, it may advance the intended purpose--just not very precisely, not very safely and not very well." (Steve Chapman, Chicago Tribune)

"Bipartisan Senate Plan Seeks Reduced Carbon Emissions" - "WASHINGTON - A pair of U.S. senators on Thursday introduced legislation intended to ``jump start'' the nation's ability to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, the greenhouse gases blamed most for warming the globe.

Democrat Ron Wyden of Oregon and Republican Sam Brownback of Kansas said their legislation would redirect American attention to reducing greenhouse gases by promoting carbon sequestration, the process of absorbing carbon dioxide through forest and agriculture-based efforts." (Reuters)

"CO2 Emissions Trading Long Way Off Despite Kyoto" - "LONDON - Trading of greenhouse gas emissions may be the solution in the future to reduce industrial pollution, but specific trading rules have first to be adopted and recognized globally, experts say." (Reuters)

"Farming and forestry fear results of Kyoto" - "Farmers and forest owners fear the Kyoto Protocol, designed to slow global warming, will cost their industry thousands of jobs and millions of dollars. Predictions of wood processors moving to exotic plantations grown in low-cost economies such as Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia and competing with New Zealand, surfaced yesterday during investigations by the Otago Daily Times.

"Tanaka hints at ratifying Kyoto climate pact without U.S." - "HANOI - Japanese Foreign Minister Makiko Tanaka indicated Thursday that Japan may decide to ratify the 1997 Kyoto Protocol aimed at curbing global warming without U.S. participation, a Japanese official said." (Kyodo)

"Kyoto Deal Boosts Mkt-based Approach To Climate Change" - "BRUSSELS--Widespread agreement on the Kyoto Protocol at talks this week in Germany opens the door to a more market-based approach to combating climate change, but globally recognized rules governing emissions trading still need to be hammered out." (Dow Jones)

"Making money out of thin air" - "Reducing carbon dioxide emissions could itself become big business in the UK if it gains the upper hand in buying and selling of the greenhouse gas." (BBC Online)

"Weakness on Warming" - "IN LAST year's talks on implementing the Kyoto climate-change treaty, Europeans refused to compromise with the Clinton administration's negotiators. This time around the Bush administration virtually boycotted the talks, which spurred the Europeans to prove their flexibility with concessions to Japan, Canada and Australia. The tweak-America impulse in Europe has left the world with a deal on global warming that, while impressive, excludes the United States, which emits a quarter of the world's greenhouse gases. But European irresponsibility is rivaled by the attitude of the Bush administration." (Washington Post)

"Carbon sinks not a good option; Not enough forest cover for viability" - "Thailand will not benefit from carbon sinks as a mechanism to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the long run, says an academic specialising in energy policy.

Decharut Sukkumnoed, of Kasetsart University's faculty of economics, said carbon sinks did not represent a good option in the country's attempt to reduce greenhouse gases because it would lead to increasing conflict since much of the forests had been occupied by villagers." (Bangkok Post)

"Bush has done America no favor on global warming" - "Two days ago, 178 nations -- basically the entire world -- signed the Kyoto Treaty requiring industrialized nations to begin reducing the gases that cause pollution and global warming. The United States, the world's No. 1 polluter, did not sign." (San Diego Union-Tribune)

"As a political fudge Kyoto was not bad" - "AS POLITICAL fudges go, the deal struck on the Kyoto protocol was not bad and certainly better than a breakdown in talks.

Industrialised countries achieved their main aims. European nations got a binding agreement. Concessions were offered to countries, such as Japan, that would have found meeting their greenhouse gas emission reduction targets by 2008-12 extremely difficult. And although it was shamed, the US was permitted to walk away from the table." (Business Day, ZA)

"Editorial: Climate talks fall short of expectations" - "JUDGED by all the hyperbole, the Bonn agreement on climate change was a stunning success. The Kyoto protocol was saved at the 11th hour and most industrialised nations are now committed to an orderly reduction of greenhouse gases. Judged by the more important criteria of environmental integrity, however, the agreement failed.

The emission targets agreed to at Kyoto in 1997 have been softened to the point where their previously negligible impact all but disappears. Developing countries are still exempted from cutting their emissions, while the US, the world's largest polluter, is still refusing, with good reason, to come on board." (The Australian)

"Scientists call for development of ecological forecasting" - "DURHAM, N.C. -- A broad consortium of scientists has proposed a concerted effort by researchers and policymakers to develop the ability to forecast ecological change in areas ranging from small plots to the entire globe.

The scientists say advances in science and technology could enable forecasts guiding policy to forewarn of invasions of exotic species and disease epidemics, protect the ecology of lakes, rivers and estuaries, and predict ecological impacts of global warming." (Duke University)

"Carrots and sticks to turn big business greener" - "LONDON, July 26 - Stricter environmental laws, flagged by last week's climate change conference, have companies scrambling to link investment strategies to making money from helping save the planet." (Reuters)

"We're getting warmer" - "Canada lacks a clear route to meeting its greenhouse-gas emissions targets, but we may be further along than we think, says environment reporter MARK MACKINNON" (Globe and Mail)

"Famous coral reefs damaged due to global warming will take a century to recover, says new research" - "AS world leaders continue to debate climate change, new research has revealed reefs damaged as a result of global warming in one of the world's most exclusive diving areas will take at least a century to recover. Huge swathes of the coral at Rangiroa in French Polynesia died during three months of exceptionally warm weather in 1998, when sea temperatures soared to an average of 32 degrees centigrade for the first time." (University of Newcastle upon Tyne)

"West may become dust bowl, scientist says" - "BALA, ONT. -- Global warming could make Lake Manitoba a dry hole and turn the Prairies into a dust bowl, says a foremost environmental scientist." (Globe and Mail)

"Disaster that struck the ancients" - "Ancient Apocalypse is a new BBC series that investigates the dramatic collapse of great civilisations. Here, the series producer Jessica Cecil relates the climate disaster that struck the Egyptian Old Kingdom." (BBC Online)

July 26, 2001

"In Malaria War, South Africa Turns To Pesticide Long Banned in the West" - "UBOMBO, South Africa -- Quiet and lonely, the isolation ward of Bethesda Hospital is living up to its name as Francois Delcourt begins his rounds. "A few cases of cholera. A few cases of malaria," he says. "None of them serious."

A year ago, a malaria epidemic was raging here, flooding the 30-bed ward with as many as 120 patients at a time. Racked with fever and chills, they lay shivering on almost every inch of floor space, even under the beds. There were "10, 20, 30 malaria cases a day," says Dr. Delcourt, a tropical-medicine specialist. "People were dying."

Now his caseload is so light that he can return to his nearby house during his days on call and lounge on the couch, smoking cigarillos and watching TV. What's made the difference? "DDT," he says." (Roger Thurlow, Wall Street Journal)

"Will Ockham's Razor Cut Mad-Cow Disease Down to Size?" - "Could mad-cow disease be caused not by prions, the misshapen proteins invented to account for mad-cow and diseases like it, but by a simple bacterium?

If proved true, this theory would undermine scientific research that has so far earned the supporters of the prion theory two Nobel Prizes for medicine. It would also call into question the rationale behind Europe's enormous purchase-for-destruction program for older cattle and the assumption that mad-cow disease can be passed to humans through the eating of infected meat or tissue." (Brian M. Carney, Wall Street Journal Europe)

"Naturally occurring asbestos plagues home owners, developers in California" - "GARDEN VALLEY, Calif. - Developers trying to swiftly construct new homes above San Francisco and in the Sierra Nevada foothills are finding a problem: naturally occurring asbestos. Veins of asbestos run through the green mineral serpentine, which is so common it is the state rock." (AP)

"Mercury levels in fish bring warning" - "In a far-reaching warning about mercury contamination, Massachusetts public health officials yesterday urged young women and children under age 12 to stop eating most fish from the state's lakes and streams as well as some types of seafood." (Boston Globe)

"Hudson PCB Cleanup May Include Less Dredging" - "ALBANY, July 24 — With a decision imminent on dredging PCB's from the upper Hudson River, the Bush administration is seriously considering a plan to do a fraction of the dredging that the Clinton administration proposed last year, Democratic elected officials and environmentalists said today." (New York Times)

"Dads' chemical exposure linked to kids' cancer" - "NEW YORK, Jul 25 - A man's on-the-job exposure to certain substances including lacquer thinner, turpentine, diesel fuel and wood dust may increase the chances that his child will develop a type of childhood cancer called neuroblastoma." (Reuters Health)

"Thalidomide returns as treatment for cancer" - "THALIDOMIDE, the morning sickness drug banned in the Sixties after thousands of children were born with disabilities, could be used to fight a form of blood cancer. In tests the drug successfully treated 14 out of 16 patients with multiple myeloma, a disease that kills 2,000 Britons a year." (Telegraph)

"Connecticut Ritalin law targets schools, not docs" - "NEW YORK, Jul 25 - To reduce the inappropriate medication of children with behavioral problems, a new Connecticut law takes aim at the schoolhouse.

The measure allows school medical staff to recommend that a child see a medical practitioner and with parents' consent, teachers may consult with a child's doctor. But it specifically forbids teachers, school psychologists and other school officials from recommending that a child be prescribed a psychotropic drug.

Connecticut is the first state in the nation to pass a law targeting the alleged practice by some school personnel of suggesting that an unruly student take methylphenidate, which is most commonly known as Ritalin." (Reuters Health)

"The bottom line on the obesity 'crisis'" - "Police were out with their tape measures this week to greet Hells Angels heading for a meeting in Kenora, Ont. Their intention was to demonstrate who was in charge by assessing whether handlebars were too high. But if Canada's public health nannies have their way, those tape measures may eventually go around bikers' waists." (Peter Foster, National Post)

"Anything that's fun tends to be hazardous to your health" - "This pearl of wisdom from the director of environmental toxicology at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS). The organization meets every year to propose additions to the official government list of suspected cancer-causing agents. This year, grilled meat joins cigarettes, asbestos, DDT, and arsenic. Grilled meat? Government nannies are concerned that charred, well-done steaks could harbor carcinogenic compounds, but the Detroit Free Press points out that it does not know just how great a risk exists, or how much meat you'd have to eat to be in danger of anything. American Council on Science and Health medical director Gilbert Ross doesn't like the whole idea of the NIEHS and its doomsday list. He told the Free Press: "What this list does is distract the public rather than educate the public in any reasonable way." (GuestChoice.com)

"Treating gum disease won't cut heart disease risk" - "NEW YORK, Jul 25 - Elimination of chronic dental infection does nothing to lower the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD), according to an analysis of data from a large national study. Periodontal, or gum, disease has been linked with heart disease, but some analyses have contradicted this association. There are currently no data to suggest that the increased risk of developing CHD associated with dental infection is reversible, Dr. P. P. Hujoel and colleagues of the University of Washington in Seattle report in the Journal of the American Dental Association for July." (Reuters Health)

"EPA must revise hazardous waste standard" - "WASHINGTON — A federal appeals court told the Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday that it must make its hazardous-waste emissions standards conform to federal law. The ruling was a partial victory for the Sierra Club, which filed suit against the latest standards. The ruling will force the EPA to base the standards on tougher criteria than the agency wants. But the practical effect of the ruling was to leave the EPA temporarily without existing standards governing hazardous-waste burning, at least until the agency can come up with standards that satisfy court requirements." (UPI)

"New class of antibiotics fights drug-resistant bacteria" - "Responding to a looming medical crisis posed by the spread of drug-resistant bacteria, researchers have discovered a new approach to designing antibiotics that could give doctors the upper hand in their battle against harmful germs." (AP)

"Environmental groups want farm money shifted to conservation programs" - "WASHINGTON -- Congress should shift half of all federal farm spending into conservation programs, away from payments that subsidize crop production, a coalition of environmental groups said Tuesday." (AP)

"Conservation Bill Benefits Coal Industry, Critics Say" - "WASHINGTON, July 24 — A $33.5 billion energy bill in the Republican- controlled House advertises the $3.3 billion in tax credits it includes for "clean-coal" technology as a means to promote conservation.

But critics say that is one way sponsors are misrepresenting their efforts to pass billions of dollars more in tax breaks and rule changes for energy producers than the White House has proposed. The clean-coal credits would not encourage consumers to use less electricity, and, they say, the proposed aid for producers in Republican energy bills would outstrip incentives for conservation." (New York Times)

"Young SPD Lawmakers Call for Eco-Tax Abolition" - "BERLIN. A group of up-and-coming Social Democratic Party (SPD) members of the German parliament called on Monday for the abolition of the unpopular environmental tax over the middle term, a move that risks antagonizing the SPD's junior coalition partner in the government, Alliance 90/The Greens." (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung)

"Placing private property rights at risk" - "... Well, the Republican-controlled House Resources Committee appears to have different plans. They scheduled a mark-up for today of the Conservation and Reinvestment Act, better described as the Land Grab Bill. The bill threatens taxpayers and landowners nationwide.

Currently, the billions of dollars received from federal offshore oil and gas leases go into the general treasury. Congress then disperses the money to different programs in the appropriations process. This process forces Congress to balance priorities by deciding whether one program is more deserving of limited federal funds than another.

This bill evades this competitive process by locking about $46 billion over 15 years into trust funds for environmental programs. The money will then be "off-budget," going straight to targeted environmental programs without Congress even catching a glimpse of it." (Allison Freeman and David W. Riggs, Washington Times)

"Russian still held despite Adobe plea" - "A Russian computer programmer is still being held in the United States, despite a change of heart by the company that wanted him arrested." (BBC Online)

"Have attacks on WTO now gone too far?" - "The world trade body was not set up to be a target of disgruntled groups of people, and it is time it was allowed to get on with its job." (Bangkok Post)

"FSA labels food industry misleading" - "The food industry was today expected to face calls for tough new standards on labelling after a report found shoppers were confused by words like "fresh" and "natural." (The Scotsman) | Shoppers 'misled' by food labels (BBC Online) | Food firms using misleading labels face £5,000 fines | Organic claims to be curbed (Telegraph) | Media Release | Report Summary | Full Report (PDF) (Food Standards Authority)

"Golden Rice; A Golden Chance for the Underdeveloped World" - "According to the United Nations, anywhere from 140 to 250 million preschool children don’t receive enough vitamin A. Improving vitamin A intake could reduce childhood deaths by as much as a third in highest-risk developing countries and eliminate half a million cases of blindness. Rice is a staple food for people in over a hundred countries but provides virtually no vitamin A. So scientists transferred into it two genes from the daffodil (thus giving the rice a gold color), plus one from a bacterium. By doing so they fortified the grain with beta-carotene, which the body breaks down into vitamin A. This is called golden rice." (Michael Fumento, American Outlook)

"French agency finds GMO traces in regular crops" - "PARIS - French food safety agency AFSSA said yesterday it had found traces of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in several conventional crops in France but played down health risks to consumers. GMOs can currently only be produced at experimental level in France and GMO-based crops cannot be grown commercially." (Reuters)

"EPA says biotech corn appears safe for monarch butterflies" - "ARLINGTON, Va. - Corn that is genetically engineered to make its own pesticide poses little risk to monarch butterflies, the Environmental Protection Agency said Tuesday after lab tests raised concerns. While there is a small chance that one in 100,000 monarch caterpillars could be affected by toxic corn pollen, research suggests even those larvae will mature into healthy butterflies, the agency reported." (AP)

"EU proposes labelling GM foods to improve consumer confidence" - "BRUSSELS - The European Commission has proposed labelling all genetically modified food, animal feed and derived products in an effort to improve their traceability and encourage consumer confidence, consumer safety commissioner David Byrne said. Under the proposals, the European food agency would take over the risk assessment of GM foodstuffs from member governments." (AFX)

"The right to know about genetically modified food" - ``I can choose … whether or not to buy food produced from a GMO.`` That is the choice I want to give consumers throughout Europe. When you don't know what you are buying, of course you may be concerned. Fear of the unknown is a most natural human reaction. I understand that perfectly. (David Byrne, European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection)

"UPDATE - EU presents tough rules on gene labels, tracing" - "BRUSSELS - The European Commission yesterday unveiled long-awaited new rules on the labelling and traceability of foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) aimed at restarting its stalled approvals process." (Reuters)

"US grain sector irked by Europe's GMO rules" - "CHICAGO - Captains of the U.S. grain industry yesterday lambasted Europe's rules on food derived from gene-modified crops, saying they were unworkable, smacked of a trade barrier and would lead to higher consumer prices." (Reuters)

"Biotech Corn Maker Expands Deal" - "RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. - The creator of a genetically modified corn that mistakenly ended up in the food supply will expand its agreement to compensate farmers. Growers who found their crop contaminated with the biotech product by cross-pollenation now are included in the agreement." (AP)

"Scientists Call For Better Use Of Bio-Tech In Farming" - "Scientists yesterday urged government officials to speed up the application of biological technologies in agriculture to effectively deal with challenges in the sector. The authorities should place more attention on making regulations and providing supervision in this endeavour in order to offset negative impacts brought on by the technologies." (AsiaPort News)

"Brazil set to approve GM soybeans next week" - "RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil - Brazil is likely next week to approve the marketing of genetically modified soybeans, the Agriculture Ministry said yesterday." (Reuters)

"Tasmanian GE moratorium to continue" - "The Tasmanian Government's moratorium on genetically engineered crops is set to continue for commercial plantings and field trials of food crops. Government yesterday adopted in full, the recommendations of a joint house committee inquiry into gene technology. The moratorium will be reviewed after two years." (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

"GE crops ban remains" - "THE State Government has sealed a two-year ban on genetically engineered commercial crops in Tasmania. Primary Industries, Water and Environment Minister David Llewellyn yesterday released the Government's GE policy, which adheres to two reports that urged caution on the technology. State Cabinet agreed with all recommendations of a joint parliamentary committee." (The Mercury)

"FEATURE: "Bio-Land" Austria on retreat in gene controversy" - "Vienna - Austrian hopes to become a main European biological food producer are being threatened by international firms inexorably spreading gene-altered seeds. Soon, environmentalists fear, the alien crops will be everywhere. Farmers will stare skywards and no longer know what the windswept pollen over their heads really is." (APA)

"Heart Patient Gets Stem Cell Injection" - "HAMBURG, Germany - A German man who was given a transplant of stem cells to repair his heart tissue after a heart attack is doing well 2 weeks after the procedure, doctors said. Stem cells from the man's bone marrow were injected directly into the tissue of his heart during a heart bypass operation, Professors Gustav Steinhoff and Mathias Freund at the Clinic of Cardiac Surgery in Rostock, North-East Germany, told Reuters Health." (Reuters Health)

Warming / cooling / climate politics / climate science and hot air...

"Environment Officials Meet Amid Kyoto Wrangling" - "BONN, Germany - This week's political deal to save the Kyoto accord on global warming was still not in its final form on Wednesday, as last-minute technical wrangling held up its formal adoption at a U.N. forum in Bonn." (Reuters)

"Kyoto Deal Approved After Last-Minute Scare" - "BONN, Germany - The Kyoto accord on global warming survived a last-minute scare on Wednesday after technical wrangles held up final United Nations (news - web sites) approval of a political compromise struck earlier this week to salvage the pact." (Reuters)

"Kyoto climate treaty formally signed" - "The landmark political deal aimed at stopping the greenhouse effect has been formally adopted by signatory countries after encountering last-minute demands from Russia. The Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change was adopted by a plenary session of senior officials, meeting in the wake of a marathon negotiation session by environment ministers." (Radio Australia)

"Next step is a framework for implementing Kyoto Protocol" - "The United States was not an active participant in discussing rules for administering the accord. It is ironic that, without U.S. participation, talks made considerable headway." (Asahi editorial)

"Revised Kyoto pact considered to be less rigid" - "BONN — The international climate agreement hammered out over the past three days to save the 1997 Kyoto Protocol will curb emissions of the greenhouse gases thought to cause global warming only slightly and may even permit increases, according to scientists and analysts." (Washington Times)

"An agreement about nothing?" - "Confusion abounds about the contents of the so-called Bonn Agreement to the Kyoto Protocol. And with good reason: The text is getting vaguer and more complex at the same time.

For example, the widely reported "softening" of language on non-compliance penalties to appease the Japanese, is nothing of the sort. The original language called for "reparation of damage to the environment" due to non-compliance, with the stipulation that payments be made to "repair damage to the environment". The Bonn Agreement now merely specifies that "the consequences of non-compliance shall provide for an incentive to ... comply." Since the "incentive to comply" is not defined, it is not clear that anything has actually changed.

In fact, it is sometimes reported that the Japanese got all penalties dropped. This is completely false; the penalties are punishing. If Canada fails to meet its 2008-2012 target, which is highly likely, it is prohibited from trading emission rights with other countries until its overage is made up by 130%, even if it has already paid for the credits." (David E. Wojick, National Post)

"Environmentalist Claim Global Bid to Reduce 'Greenhouse Gases' Instead Cuts Expectations" - "BONN -- After a good night's sleep and some sober contemplation, environmental activists Tuesday conceded the Kyoto Protocol adopted a day earlier falls far short of the lofty goals for fighting global warming contained in the original proposal." (LA Times)

"Editorial: Global warming; The costs of ceding leadership" - "George W. Bush's retorts that the Kyoto protocols were "fatally flawed" have turned out to be greatly exaggerated. After another long siege of corrective surgery, the world's best available method for slowing the pace of global warming has come through in good health, its ratification expected if not assured." (Star Tribune)

"Global Piffle" - "Monday, in Bonn, a "compromise" was reached between 178 countries on the so-called Kyoto Protocol - the proposed pact meant to protect against "global warming." (New York Post)

"Global warming: sue the US now" - "When all else fails, go to court. That could be the conclusion of exasperated poor countries as the rich world falls out over how to deal with climate change - and the biggest polluter, the United States, still refuses to play. If the negotiations in Bonn on the Kyoto protocol had been about forming an orchestra we would now have one viola player, a broken tuba and a half-written musical score." (Guardian)

"Hot spot" - "There is no perfect treaty, but that should not stop the U.S. from doing its part to reduce greenhouse gases" (Mercury News editorial)

"U.S. And the Kyoto Protocol" - "The United States of America as the world's leading producer of industrial pollutants ought to be in the vanguard of the crusade for environmental purity and the conservation of global resources for development. The fact that it is the largest economy and principal super power in a unipolar world give her a bigger responsibility in fostering a safer and healthier environment." (The Guardian (Lagos) editorial)

"Congress Moves to Follow on Kyoto" - "Environment: Lawmakers are caught off guard by other nations' decision to deal with problem of global warming without U.S. help. Effort to pass legislation to curb emissions is revived." (LA Times)

"Petro-Canada's CEO slams Kyoto protocol" - "CALGARY - Ron Brenneman, the chief executive of Petro-Canada, said yesterday this week's agreement to rescue the Kyoto protocol can't be effective without the participation of the United States. "The original one was flawed enough by not including countries like China and India, which account for a wide proportion of the growth in greenhouse gases, and if this one excludes the U.S., I don't see that it can be very effective at all," Mr. Brenneman said." (Claudia Cattaneo, Financial Post)

"The diluted Kyoto deal: Canada got huge breaks" - "It could have been worse.

Canadian business should count itself lucky that a compromise was reached Monday in Bonn on a watered-down version of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Though we're seeing a lot of hand-wringing among industry lobbyists over Canada's support of the new deal, the truth is our country got some huge breaks that should make it much less painful to reach our emissions targets under the agreement." (Globe and Mail)

"Kyoto's pig in a poke" - "Is everybody happy? We're supposed to be. The Liberal government just committed Canada to a salvage operation on the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on climate change. Supposedly, it was a "breakthrough," to quote Deputy Prime Minister Herb Gray, that'll allow the nations of the world to deal with the "problem" of global warming. The environmentalists, naturally, are rapturous, describing the deal as "historic." Perhaps, perhaps not. In any case, the question we'd like answered is: What's the cost?" (Ottawa Citizen)

"Protesters picket Exxon Mobil UK HQ over Kyoto" - "LONDON, July 24 - About 25 people picketed the headquarters of U.S. oil company Exxon Mobil's British operations on Tuesday in protest against the ``watered down'' Kyoto pact on climate change agreed by countries in Bonn." (Reuters)

"Environmentalists close Esso UK fuel terminal" - "LONDON, July 25 - Esso closed a fuel distribution centre in eastern England on Wednesday after environmentalists blockaded the plant in protest at global warming and U.S. opposition to the Kyoto protocol." (Reuters)

"Constitution: U.S. surrenders leadership role on global warming" - "Future historians looking to pinpoint the precise date when America's global leadership began to ebb may well point to July 23, 2001. That was the day the rest of the planet agreed to do something about global warming, despite the petulant absence of the United States, whose president had attempted to thwart their efforts." (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

"Maverick attack" - "The Bush administration had every reason to believe that the Bonn negotiations on the Kyoto protocol would be harmless. After all, Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi had proclaimed, "presently I do not have the intention of proceeding without the cooperation of the United States," after meeting with President Bush at Camp David earlier this month. And Mr. Bush had called the treaty "fatally flawed." (Washington Times editorial)

"No more compromises on Kyoto" - "The Kyoto Protocol, which was once pushed to the edge of collapse, has barely survived." (Japan Times editorial)

"INTERVIEW - Japan business body says hard to meet Kyoto target" - "TOKYO - Japanese industry is already so energy efficient that it will be difficult for Japan to reach the emission cut target set out in the Kyoto climate treaty, an official at Japan's largest business body said in an interview." (Reuters)

"U.S. Kyoto counterplan demanded" - "WASHINGTON Japan has asked the United States to swiftly come up with a specific counterproposal to the Kyoto Protocol on curbing global warming, Japanese Ambassador to the U.S. Shunji Yanai said Tuesday." (Kyodo)

"White House In No Hurry With Options to Kyoto Pact" - "The 178 countries that completed a treaty on Monday aimed at curbing global warming may have to wait a very long time before President Bush, who rejected the pact, puts any alternative on the table, some American officials say." (New York Times)

"Japan may ratify Kyoto pact: Kawaguchi" - "BONN Japan may ratify the Kyoto Protocol to reduce global warming even if the United States does not, Environment Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi indicated Monday." (Kyodo)

"Thanks to luck, alliances and concessions, Canada left Kyoto with more than expected" - "BONN -- Canadian negotiators have come away from intense international talks on the environment with more than they had hoped, and they are still blinking in surprise at their good fortune." (Globe and Mail)

"Not leading in Bonn" - "WITH THE EXCEPTION of the United States, the major nations of the world -- 178 of them -- this week agreed to the so-called Kyoto treaty. If it is ratified by enough of the major polluting nations, the treaty would commit the industrialized signers to reducing emissions linked to global warming." (Bergen County Record)

"Becoming a superpower wallflower" - "People are getting together all over the place, and we're not included. Monday in Bonn, Germany, 178 countries agreed on a protocol to cut emissions that many scientists think create global warming. The agreement, a watered-down version of the 1997 Kyoto accords, was accepted by countries from Sweden to Zimbabwe -- partly because, by recent projections, a possible 5 degree increase in the Earth's temperature could turn Sweden into Zimbabwe." (The Oregonian)

"President Bush stands determinedly alone" - "Despite international support for the details of the Kyoto accord negotiated last weekend in Bonn, the United States continues its stubborn, solitary opposition to the pollution-reduction pact." (Globe and Mail)

"Global warming: U.S. going it alone" - "While it may eventually become known as the means by which the world succeeds in reducing the concentration of greenhouse gases in the Earth's atmosphere, at the moment the new international global warming accord signed Monday in Bonn, Germany, stands for nothing so much as the Bush administration's preference — if not penchant — for unilateral action." (Honolulu Advertiser)

"Too little, too late for global warming" - "The phenomenon of climate change means the world is getting warmer. But world leaders were noticeably chilly to the Bush administration this week, after it refused to join 178 other nations in successful negotiations to reduce the greenhouse gases that cause the problem." (USA Today)

"Bush right to oppose treaty" - "President Bush, by standing against the Kyoto Protocol, stands by sound economics and, even more, by sound science. Faced with withering European criticism for rejecting the flawed protocol, Bush can find comfort in admissions by Clinton administration economists and in scientific reports." (Sallie Baliunas, USA Today)

"A global outsider" - "IF PLANET EARTH eventually escapes the worst effects of climate change, much of the credit should go to the Dutch environmental minister, Jan Pronk, who led 178 countries gathered in Bonn to agree Monday on a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The 178 do not, regrettably, include the United States, which emits 25 percent of all such gases, far more than any other single country." (Boston Globe)

This is a good one. When the ridiculous prophesies of global disaster due to human-enhanced greenhouse fail (as they inevitably will) that will not be because they were wrong but rather because a bunch of bureaucrats made some silly noises in Bonn - at least, so says The Globe.

"After the talk, time for action" - "WASHINGTON - Now that 178 nations have agreed a deal that commits industrialized nations to mandatory greenhouse gas reductions, environmentalists are determined to hold signatories to their word and to lead the United States back into the climate change fold." (Asia Times)

"Breath of Fresh Air" - "Suffolk County Executive Robert Gaffney yesterday signed into law a bill aimed at limiting greenhouse gas emissions locally, although critics questioned how much it would actually reduce the emissions. "We all recognize that statewide, national and international steps must be taken to address global warming,” Gaffney said at a news conference in Hauppauge. "We know that we can and should start right here at home.” (Newsday)

"State pollution official disagrees with Bush on Kyoto treaty" - "The New Hampshire air resources director representing state air pollution agencies at an international conference that passed the world's first global warming treaty disagrees with the Bush administration on the issue." (AP)

"Anderson hopes to get credit under climate deal for clean-energy exports" - "OTTAWA -- Canada is pushing to get credit for exports of clean energy such as electricity and natural gas under the Kyoto climate treaty, Environment Minister David Anderson said Tuesday." (CP)

"Hot air, cool heads on climate treaty" - "Sometimes international negotiations simply cannot be allowed to fail. The Kyoto Protocol on climate change is in that category. The industrial contribution to global warming may be a matter of dispute but that is not an argument for doing nothing. Today's state of knowledge argues rather for taking agreed precautions that will limit the increase of carbon emissions without imposing possibly needless restraints on the engines of global prosperity." (New Zealand Herald)

"Foresters slate carbon trading deal" - "The forestry industry and the Government are at loggerheads over the benefits of the Kyoto Protocol compromise reached this week. New Zealand was expected to be one of the big winners from the Kyoto deal on cutting greenhouse gas emissions because of the millions of dollars to be made from forests that absorb carbon from the atmosphere. But the Forest Industry Council said confidential research conducted for it by the Institute of Economic Research showed that New Zealand would lose money from the deal." (The Dominion)

"Beware the rising tide" - "SYDNEY - While the world's environmentalists assembled in Bonn this week for their annual ritual of blame-shifting for global warming, Teleke Lauti was trying to play King Canute on the porous Pacific island of Tuvalu." (Asia Times)

"UK water industry says climate change threat urgent" - "LONDON - Climate change will hit water and wastewater services first and most strongly, and preparations to combat the threat must start now, Britain's water industry body Water UK said yesterday." (Reuters)

"Klein's Kyoto warning hot air: Climate experts" - "EDMONTON -- Climate change experts were scratching their heads Tuesday over Premier Ralph Klein's warning that the Kyoto agreement could cost Alberta's economy "trillions of dollars."  Klein's remark followed Prime Minister Jean Chretien's announcement Monday that Ottawa may sign by next year the international deal to reduce global air pollution." (CP)

"CLAMS Studies Ocean and Atmosphere for NASA" - "NASA scientists are using a Virginia lighthouse, research aircraft and a satellite for a unique field study this summer. On the sea, in the sky, and from outer space, they are hoping for a better understanding of global climate change.

Led by NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., the Chesapeake Lighthouse and Aircraft Measurements for Satellites campaign, or CLAMS, started in early July. Scientists are using equipment mounted on the U.S. Coast Guard's Chesapeake lighthouse located about 15 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach, Va., instruments on six research airplanes and the orbiting Terra research satellite to enhance their knowledge of how the ocean affects the atmosphere." (NASA/LaRC release)

July 25, 2001

"The Fear of Acronyms" - "There is nothing more guaranteed to strike fear into hearts and minds of ordinary folk than a sinister, three letter acronym - a TLA. Familiar ones such as BSE and CJD came to represent all that is wrong with the food we eat, and also the increasing inability of scientists to allay our disproportionate fears. Greenpeace and other groups insisted that they were justified in routine vandalism directed at experimental trials of GMOs - the 'Frankenstein foods' produced by 'tinkering with nature'. And foot and mouth disease rapidly became FMD, compounding even further our anxieties and panics.

Today, however, the TLA seems to be losing some of its neurosis-inducing impact. We now require extended three letter acronyms (ETLAs) in order that newspapers and our champions of nutritional correctness can maintain the required frisson of unfounded anxiety. And so we witness the impeccably timed arrival of 3-MCPD - a moniker guaranteed to unsettle even the most sanguine observers of media hype." (Social Issues Research Centre)

"Don't Panic Button" - "An antidote to panics based on dodgy statistics and dubious arguments." (Sp!ked)

"NTP Plans to Look at Common Viruses, Radiation, Cooking by-Products for New Carcinogen Report" - "The National Toxicology Program announced today it plans to review three viruses, three forms of radiation, two substances formed in cooking, and a variety of industrial exposures for possible listing in the eleventh edition of the federal Report on Carcinogens, which will be published in 2004.

The NTP, which is headquartered at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, prepares such a report every two years. The report is mandated by Congress to help assure that substances or conditions that are likely to cause cancer are properly recognized by the public and regulatory agencies. Substances may be listed as "known" or as "reasonably anticipated" human carcinogens." (NIEHS release)

"Playground injuries more severe than motor vehicle accidents" - "Injuries due to falls from playground equipment result in a higher proportion of severe injuries than either bicycle or motor vehicle crashes, according to a new Children’s Hospital Medical Center of Cincinnati study of emergency department visits throughout the United States.

Injury prevention efforts targeting schools and 5- to 9-year-old children may have the greatest impact in reducing emergency visits for playground injuries, according to Kieran J. Phelan, M.D., the study’s lead author and a physician in the division of General and Community Pediatrics at Cincinnati Children’s." (Children’s Hospital Medical Center of Cincinnati)

Here we go again. Has it occurred to anyone that this obsessive drive to "prevent" all possible injury (and childhood enjoyment) could be a very significant factor in turning our kids into sedentary blimps?

"Hi-tech pollutant harming babies" - "Scientists in Sweden are becoming increasingly concerned about chemical pollutants that pose a serious risk to unborn babies. The chemicals, known as PBDEs, are a by-product of high tech industry." (BBC Online)

"Increase gasoline prices to deter guzzling SUVs" - "IF YOU own an SUV, you're probably rejoicing over the recent declines in gasoline prices. While the $60 tanks of gasoline may have disappeared for the moment, the hidden costs to public health remain.

Consider the child down the street who may be suffering from asthma or the families who live in the smog-ridden city neighborhoods on your commute to work. Then ask yourself: Do I really need a vehicle that can traverse streams and climb mountains?

More sport utility vehicles on the road mean greater gasoline consumption, which means more air pollution, which means more children at risk for asthma, higher cancer risks, more smog in our cities and an ever-warming planet. Low gas prices in recent years have tilted motor vehicle sales to favor gasoline consumption over conservation." (Baltimore Sun)

"A label in search of scientific basis" - "That's what the American Medical Association's Council on Scientific Affairs calls Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS), the latest alternative-health "syndrome." MCS supporters are the driving force behind such ludicrous ideas as perfume bans in restaurants and other public places. Now the supposed "victims" of this imagined malady have a standard-bearer in a Montana group called the Chemical Injury Information Network (CIIN). There's a web site, a newsletter ("Our Toxic Times"), and even a conference, scheduled to take place in Santa Fe next month." (GuestChoice.com)

"Action to tackle antibiotic resistance" - "An expert committee has been set up to advise the government on how tackle the growing problem of antibiotic resistance. The independent committee will be headed by Professor Richard Wise, who says it is the overuse of antibiotics that is at the route of the problem." (BBC Online)

"Antibodies raise hopes of prion disease cure" - "Antibodies which "cured" mouse cells of scrapie have raised hopes that the human form of mad-cow disease will one day be treatable. So far, 100 people have succumbed to variant Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease (vCJD). Thousands more could fall sick, warn epidemiologists, so a treatment is needed urgently. But pioneers of the latest breakthrough warn against false hope. "These are tissue culture cells, so we still have to find whether the same thing happens in animals, let alone in people," says Charles Weissmann, who led the research at the Medical Research Council's Prion Unit at St Mary's Hospital, London." (New Scientist)

"Jeffords To Hold Four-pollutant, Power Plant Emissions Hearing" - "Dredging up one of the most contentious environmental issues of the year, Sen. James Jeffords (I-Vt.) will hold a hearing Thursday to examine the public health and environmental impacts of power plant emissions. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Christie Whitman is among the witnesses expected to testify." (Power report)

"Planting the wrong tree increases air pollution" - "Air pollution can damage trees, but certain varieties of trees can emit air pollutants, creating ozone and fine particulate matter that make it hard to breathe." (ENN)

"Health Groups Cite Danger of Tiny Soot Particles, Call on EPA To Adopt Tough New Short-Term Standard" - "RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. -- The health threat from tiny soot particles is so grave that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency should adopt a tougher new short-term standard to protect public health while retaining the longer-term standard adopted in 1997, a coalition led by the American Lung Association testified today." (Gasbags America, a.k.a. American Lung Association)

"Loggers try to demonise environmental groups as 'terrorists'" - "Emboldened by their powerful new friends in the White House, some of America's most prominent lumber and mining companies have launched an offensive against grassroots environmental activists. They are trying to associate them with "terrorist" acts of sabotage and urging the government to strip them of tax-exempt charitable status." (Independent)

Funny, I thought it was the media that coined the term "eco-terrorist" to describe the perpetrators of vandalism and other antisocial acts while hiding under an allegedly green banner.

"Greens face £200m bill to block Hearst land plans" - "GREEN groups may have to pay £200 million to the newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst’s great-grandson Stephen to stop him building on the vast coastal ranch next to Hearst Castle.

In recent years, a series of developers have come along waving certificates that would unlock thousands of acres along the coast that were previously thought to be protected from development. Conservation groups desperate to preserve the open spaces have paid huge sums to landowners to give up their rights to develop the land. Conservationists consider this a form of blackmail.

[The Hearsts] have hired Bruce Babbitt, who was Secretary of the Interior under President Clinton. Mr Babbitt turned millions of acres of the American West into national monuments to the anger of ranchers. He insisted the Hearsts’ scheme is legitimate. “I would advise any client who is considering alternative uses to protect their rights,” he said." (The Times)

"Pipelines to save billions under rule limiting environmental sites" - "AUSTIN -- Pipeline operators will save billions of dollars under a rule negotiated with federal regulators that excludes hundreds of environmentally sensitive and historical sites from pollution protection. The Office of Pipeline Safety and the petroleum industry agreed on the regulation last year." (AP)

"Arctic Ecosystems Being Nibbled Away" - "The Arctic's fragile ecosystems are in danger because of many disturbances, ranging from petroleum development to ecotourism. According to new research, even small disturbances may permanently damage tundra. For example, the single pass of a heavy tank- like tracked vehicle can drain an Arctic meadow." (Cosmiverse.com)

"Warning on blood clots" - "WELLINGTON: Long-distance air travellers' risk of blood clots is much higher than believed, says the head of a major new New Zealand study into the condition. Doctor Rodney Hughes, of Auckland's Green Lane Hospital, said one study indicated that up to 10 per cent of high-risk travellers – those over 50, overweight or with health problems – risked developing deep-vein thrombosis, or blood clots, during long flights. Such clots can cause death." (The Advertiser)

"Computer scientists boycott US over digital copyright law" - "European computer scientists have been warned to avoid US conferences following the arrest of a Russian expert accused of breaking the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Some have decided to move computer security events outside the US in response.

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act prohibits anyone from promoting "any technology, product, service, device, component or part" that circumvents copy protection systems. This includes the software encryption designed to stop people making copies of music or video files. Scientists say that the Act means that just producing research on a copy protection system could land them in legal trouble.

The controversy flared up on 17 July with the arrest of Dmitry Sklyarov. He presented work at a major US computer conference, revealing weaknesses in Adobe's eBook format, a system for stopping unauthorised copying of electronic books. The next day, Sklyarov was arrested by the FBI for allegedly violating the DMCA." (New Scientist)

"Water to be released for parched Oregon farms" - "PORTLAND, Oregon -- Oregon farmers suffering through a devastating drought will get some federal irrigation water previously held back to protect endangered fish, Interior Secretary Gale Norton said Tuesday. A man-made lake in Klamath Falls, Oregon, has risen enough to allow the release of 24.4 billion gallons of water to alfalfa, hay and livestock farmers as early as Wednesday, she told reporters." (Reuters)

"Environmental Groups Call for Ban on Lagoons" - "Environmental groups calling for a ban on new “factory farm” lagoons are urging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to take action. The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Clean Water Network are highlighting their concerns in the new report “Cesspools of Shame: How Factory Farm Lagoons and Sprayfields Threaten Environmental and Public Health.” (AgWeb.com)

"Fish Stocking Can Cause Amphibian Disease: PSU Study" - "New research shows that hatchery-reared fish can spread a fungus implicated in the mass deaths of amphibian embryos in the Pacific Northwest. This is the first evidence that fish stocking can spread amphibian diseases. "Fish used in stocking programs could be important vectors for diseases responsible for amphibian losses," say Joseph Kiesecker of Penn State University in University Park and his colleagues in the August 2001 issue of the scientific journal Conservation Biology." (UniSci)

"A free country" - "ROMAN roads aside, the British countryside is not the creation of the state. It was made by private owners, from the peasant carving out a clearing in an ancient forest to the duke laying out his Georgian park. In the past few decades, however, rural property owners have had their rights progressively confiscated by the state to an extent that urban dwellers would never have tolerated." (Matt Ridley, Daily Telegraph)

"Vitamin B-12 deficiency is common among both vegetarian and nonvegetarian Asian Indians" - "A strict vegetarian diet is associated with vitamin B-12 deficiency. The Asian Indian population is largely vegetarian, but the extent of vitamin B-12 deficiency in India is not confined to strict vegetarians. Refsum et al. studied indicators of vitamin B-12 deficiency in a group of subjects from the state of Maharashtra in India, where nearly 40% of the general population adheres to a vegetarian diet. Sixty-nine percent of the study group had confirmed cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or a combination of the two. Vitamin B-12 deficiency was found in half of the subjects, and three-quarters of the subjects had metabolic indicators associated with subclinical vitamin B-12 deficiency. (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition)

"Watchdog cracks down on misleading claims in organic food ads" - "The advertising watchdog has issued a tough set of guidelines to companies producing and selling organic food after a string of false claims. The authority hopes to counter the behaviour of companies accused of misleading the public about the health and environmental benefits of organic produce and who have consistently failed to substantiate claims made in their advertising." (Independent)

"Pork modified to contain more polyunsaturated fat reduces total and LDL cholesterol in women" - "While saturated fat from animal products is a significant contributor to cardiovascular risk, consumers have not followed public health advice to reduce consumption of these foods. The typical American diet currently includes 33% of energy from fat, of which 13% is from saturated fatty acids (SFAs) from animal products, 13% from monounsaturated fatty acids, and 7% from polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). Stewart et al., in a study published in this month’s American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, investigated the effects on serum lipids of pork modified to contain higher amounts of PUFAs. When compared to a diet containing standard pork, the modified pork diet produced significant reductions in both total and LDL cholesterol." (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition)

"UK authors challenge theory on 'Black Death'" - "LONDON - A virus similar to the deadly Ebola virus might have caused the Black Death plague that ravaged Europe between 1347 and 1670, UK-based researchers say. Their findings, which challenge the established theory that a bacterium caused the plague, suggest that a similar outbreak could happen again with devastating consequences." (Reuters Health)

"Breakthrough in kidney research" - "Scientists have shown for the first time that cells in bone marrow are capable of turning into kidney cells. The breakthrough could lead to new ways to treat kidney damage caused by cancer and other diseases." (BBC Online)

"Scientists Are Starting to Add Letters to Life's Alphabet" - "SAN DIEGO, Calif. — Scientists are taking the first steps toward creating alternative life forms — organisms that use a genetic code different from the one used by all other creatures on earth. Such organisms, bacteria to start with, would have novel chemical units in their DNA and synthetic building blocks in their proteins. Scientists hope that such organisms can be used to study biochemical processes in new ways and to produce new medical or electronic materials that cannot now be made by living things." (New York Times)

"US now frowns on exclusive technology transfers. Who knew?" - "The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) released guidelines more than a year ago asking that universities resist granting exclusive licenses to biotech companies for research tools. Oddly enough, most scientists, technology transfer officers, and patent lawyers are still unaware of the document, and of its potential implications." (BioMedNet News)

"Immunologists split over links to industry" - "Supporters of financial ties between academics and industry overcame the misgivings of many scientists at a debate in Stockholm this evening and split the audience evenly with arguments extolling the virtues of commercial links." (BioMedNet News)

"New Web Site Offers Food Safety Information On Biotech Crops" - "The University of Nebraska has launched a new web site designed to help consumers and students understand agricultural biotechnology.

"There is much confusion about biotechnology," said Leon Higley, NU professor of entomology. "Our goal is to help people learn how to assess these new technologies. How do they know what is safe? What should their standards be? We want to help people sort through all of this information."

The site, at http://www.agbiosafety.unl.edu, contains lesson plans for teachers, basic biotechnology information for consumers, a frequently asked questions section, and a database of research information on all genetically engineered crops in North America." (University of Nebraska)

"EU to Unveil Controversial Labeling Rules" - "BRUSSELS - The European Commission is due to unveil long-awaited proposals for labeling foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) on Wednesday, part of a campaign to make the entire food chain more transparent." (Reuters)

"International Chamber publishes guide to biotech success" - "A guide for food companies researching innovating biotechnology products has been produced by the International Chamber of Commerce; the organisation wants to alert businesses to the potential pitfalls of bringing biotech foods to market. The ICC's Global Roadmap for Modern Biotechnology also advises government regulators on how to promote success in the sector. It focuses on the promotion of innovation, building consumer trust and health and environmental issues. Said an ICC statement: "This in-depth study articulates business and government views clearly and concisely and pinpoints areas of controversy as crucial decisions are taken."

*The document is available for free on the Internet at: http://www.iccwbo.org/home/environment/roadmap/roadmap.asp" (Just-food.com)

"Researchers Use Markers to Avoid Concerns Over Genetically Modified Food" - "Suppose you could develop new varieties of corn or wheat in six or seven years instead of 10 or 12 years. Suppose you could analyze soybean seedlings that are only a few days old, rather than waiting until the beans are ready to harvest, and could tell which plants would grow beans with lower fat content. Suppose when you crossed a high-yield variety of a cash crop with a drought-resistant wild cousin, you could transfer only the drought-resistance trait, leaving behind the weedlike traits in two plant generations instead of four or six. Suppose you could do all that now without modifying the genes of plants and arousing consumer wariness or unsettling export markets." (Knight Ridder/Tribune)

"Plant Biotech Takes A Pause; Plans to sell new transgenic cotton varieties to Indian farmers are put on hold" - "In an allusion to the potential of biotechnology (Bt) to transform Indian agriculture, it was the veteran politician Mohan Dharia who remarked that while it reflected India Today, BT represented Bharat Tomorrow. But it is not going to be smooth sailing. The Central Government has just postponed, for at least another year, the commercial use of BT cotton, a genetically engineered variety that increases yields and pest-tolerance significantly." (India Today)

Warming / cooling / climate politics / climate science and hot air...

Fanciful nonsense award goes to The Guardian: "After nine years of talks, a deal at last - but it's just a small step for mankind" - "It was, as an unshaven Michael Meacher pointed out in Bonn in the middle of Sunday night, a roller coaster ride. Reaching agreement on the Kyoto protocol has been one of the most arduous series of international negotiations ever recorded. Perhaps this is not surprising. Never before have so many world leaders reached an accord aimed so much at the benefit of the unborn and so little at the convenience of the living." (Guardian)

"Papers see Bonn as political win, environment loss" - "LONDON - European newspapers yesterday hailed the hard-fought compromise on the Kyoto climate accord as a political victory over the United States, but questioned how much environmental value the new deal would have." (Reuters)

"Kyoto Is Still Doomed" - "BONN -- A last-minute deal yesterday managed to avert another disaster for backers of the Kyoto Protocol. Last November, talks in The Hague collapsed over how to implement the treaty. Then, in March, President Bush, following the lead of the U.S. Senate, rejected Kyoto as "fatally flawed."

What saved the protocol yesterday in Bonn were concessions to Japan and other countries that had complained of the high cost of simply cutting greenhouse-gas emissions. These nations wanted to use forests and farmlands -- "sinks" that suck carbon dioxide out of the air -- as well as emissions trading to meet their treaty obligations. Of course, these were precisely the changes that Frank Loy, the Clinton administration's top negotiator, had asked for at The Hague. He got a pie in his face, both figuratively and literally, for his efforts. In Bonn, faced with failure, the Europeans caved." (James K. Glassman, Wall Street Journal)

"Pollution: the Kyoto compromise" - "The Kyoto Protocol is saved, but at the probable cost of a 10-year delay in effective action to combat global warming, reports CATHERINE FIELD." (New Zealand Herald)

"Assessing the Potential for Serious Global Warming" - "The 20 July 2001 issue of Science magazine contains three different items dealing with the subject of certainty – or, depending upon one’s point of view, uncertainty – relative to the topic of CO 2 -induced global warming (Allen et al., 2001; Reilly et al., 2001; Wigley and Raper, 2001).  None of the articles are anywhere near as provocative as the news stories generated in their wake.  The Wigley and Raper report, however, has been the source of much public discussion, leading to a false sense of certitude about the future state of earth’s climate.  Hence, we felt it would be instructive to review what these two climate scientists have done that evokes such strident reporting by the popular press, as well as what they have not done, which should have greatly tempered the sense of the dramatic with which their conclusions were reported." | Medieval Climate on the Kola Peninsula, Russia | Tropical Cyclone Frequency in the North Indian Ocean (co2science.org)

World Climate Report Volume 6, Number 22 (July 23, 2001) is available

"Concessions water down Kyoto accord, but environmentalists see important step" - "BONN, Germany The Kyoto Protocol to combat global warming emerged from crucial talks in Bonn with hefty concessions to some of the world's leading industrialized countries, but environmentalists weren't disheartened Tuesday. Activists said setting in motion a worldwide effort against climate change was in itself a landmark, and argued that the initiative could be strengthened over time." | Details of Bonn Agreement on Kyoto (AP)

"Protesters picket Exxon Mobil UK HQ over Kyoto" - "LONDON - About 25 people picketed the headquarters of U.S. oil company Exxon Mobil's British operations yesterday in protest against the "watered down" Kyoto pact on climate change agreed by countries in Bonn." (Reuters)

"The Bonn deal: Winners and losers" - "The Bonn climate agreement is a compromise, with winners and losers." (BBC Online)

"Pacific nations give cautious welcome to climate deal" - "SYDNEY - Pacific environmentalists gave cautious approval yesterday to a hard-fought compromise on the Kyoto accord that would force rich nations to cut greenhouse gas emissions." (Reuters)

"Canada's Kyoto policy chaos" - "You could draw a pretty solid line linking the street-level thuggery in Genoa to the sophisticated bureaucratic mob role that emerged in Bonn over the weekend. While protestors and demonstrators mounted their campaign against free-market globalization in Genoa, the political gang in Bonn rammed through their version of anti-market globalization, the Kyoto Protocol." (Terence Corcoran, National Post)

"Canada sees more trouble with EU over environment" - "OTTAWA - Canada said yesterday it might clash again with the European Union over how to cut greenhouse gas emissions as the two sides continued talks at a global conference on fleshing out a modified version of the Kyoto climate change protocol. Environment Minister David Anderson, speaking a day after delegates from around 200 nations hammered out a compromise deal on Kyoto in Bonn, told Reuters that Canada would now be pushing a "clean energy" scheme that EU states dislike." (Reuters)

"Joy, huge relief as deal rescues Kyoto accord" - "BONN - Environment ministers meeting in Germany reached a last-minute compromise deal last night to salvage the Kyoto accord on cutting the greenhouse gas emissions blamed for global warming. "It's a brilliant day for the environment. It's a huge leap to have achieved a result on this very complex international negotiation," British Environment Minister Michael Meacher said. "It's a huge relief." (New Zealand Herald)

"Obstacles to Kyoto Remain - Politics And People" - "BONN, Germany - Fresh from saving the planet, ministers from 180-odd governments roared away from Bonn's main conference hotel in fleets of powerful limousines, air conditioners humming against the muggy Rhineside heat. Contradictions between the habits of humanity and its ideals, not to mention serious political obstacles, remain a barrier to realizing the goals of the U.N. global warming pact, the Kyoto Protocol, which the ministers had salvaged on Monday." (Reuters)

"City thinks global, skips things local" - "Clearly, there was big news to be broken in Mayor Paul Schell's conference room yesterday. Cameramen streamed in, reporters took their seats and various officials stood against the wall wearing stiff smiles and dark suits. Just days after the Mayor's Youth Safety Task Force announced its ho-hum findings about what caused the Mardi Gras rioting in Pioneer Square — and ultimately, the death of Kristopher Kime — leaders had moved on to new business. But it wasn't about solving transportation issues or easing racial strife or finding a way to end homelessness. This was much ado about ... global warming." (Nicole Brodeur, Seattle Times)

"US risks long-term isolation with Kyoto stance" - "WASHINGTON - A breakthrough deal that saved the UN's Kyoto Protocol on climate change from oblivion has further isolated the United States, but is not likely to be enough to force Washington to abandon its opposition, experts said Tuesday." (AFP)

"Bush Blasted for 'Isolating' US on Global Warming" - "Two of the nation's major newspapers left no doubt Tuesday about where they stand on President Bush's decision to ditch the Kyoto Protocol, a treaty that seeks to curtail global warming by reducing "greenhouse gas" emissions. In noting that 178 nations have reached agreement on the climate treaty, the New York Times headline included the phrase, "U.S. Only Looks On." The Washington Post's lead story was titled, "U.S. Left Out of Warming Treaty." President Bush actually rejected the treaty in March, calling it "fatally flawed" and not in the best interests of the United States." (CNSNews.com)

"When it Comes to Kyoto, the U.S. is the "Rogue Nation" - "The rest of the world has decided to proceed with the Kyoto pact despite Washington's withdrawal. TIME.com's Tony Karon explains why that may be bad news for U.S. global leadership" (Time)

"Remarks to Resumed Sixth Conference of Parties (COP-6) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change" - "Paula J. Dobriansky, Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs)

"Powell: US Will Work on Emissions Cuts" - "TOKYO- Secretary of State Colin Powell (news - web sites) pledged Tuesday that the United States will work with other countries to overcome differences on how to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. Powell spoke to reporters in Tokyo after negotiators in Bonn, Germany, ignored U.S. objections and agreed to rules for trying to deal with the problem." (AP)

"Senators Slam Bush on Kyoto; Others Say Pact Flawed" - "WASHINGTON - Senate Democrats told a senior Bush administration official on Tuesday that the president's rejection of the Kyoto world climate change pact was ''deplorable,'' while at the same hearing a leading Republican said the Kyoto treaty itself was a sham." (Reuters)

"Officials Haggle Over Kyoto Accord Fine Print" - "BONN, Germany - Officials from some 180 nations haggled on Tuesday over the fine print of a deal to salvage the Kyoto accord -- agreed in principle -- which will force most rich nations to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Technical delays held up formal agreement of the compromise text, however. It was due to take place on Wednesday." (Reuters)

"Kyoto concessions too little say green groups" - "Australian environmental groups say concessions made to salvage the Kyoto protocol will only achieve 2 per cent greenhouse emission reductions. Most groups have welcomed the breakthrough in international negotiations but have expressed concern that Australia may still not ratify the protocol." (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

"Questions Remain Over Kyoto Protocol" - "BONN, Germany - With a deal finally reached on implementing the 4-year-old Kyoto Protocol to combat climate change, ministers and environmentalists are expressing relief. But much remains to be done before its rules become reality." (AP)

"New Kyoto, Same Old Problems" - "In an agreement that left the United States out, negotiators from 180 countries adopted rules to reduce "greenhouse gas" emissions under the world's first treaty on global warming, according to The Washington Post.

Negotiators at the world conference on climate change in Bonn clapped and cheered following an all-night bargaining session when Japan and the European Union struck a compromise resolving the final terms for implementing the 1997 Kyoto Protocol and clearing the way for the ratification process. The United States was alone among major nations opposing the rules.

In "Europe's Kyoto Scam," Senior Fellow Patrick J. Michaels writes, "Kyoto would help wreck the economic engine that drives America forward while Europe lags behind. The persistent and significant differences between American and European gross economic production and unemployment are not accidents. Europe's leaders know Kyoto would 'fix' that." (Cato Institute)

"Isolated on Global Warming" - "A wallflower at what might have been its own victory party, the United States could only watch yesterday as 178 countries agreed on a deal that salvages the 1997 Kyoto Protocol and commits the rest of the industrialized world to orderly, mandatory reductions in the gases that are believed responsible for the warming of the earth's atmosphere. The door was left open for the Bush administration to sign on at any time in the future. But that seems unlikely. President Bush has already called the treaty "fatally flawed," and nothing said yesterday by Paula Dobriansky, the under secretary of state who led an essentially irrelevant American delegation at the talks, suggested any change in Mr. Bush's thinking." (New York Times)

"Climate Agreement Leaves U.S. Out in the Cold" - "The agreement struck in Bonn yesterday by environmental leaders from Europe, Japan, Canada and Australia has left President Bush more isolated than ever on the issue of global warming, pitting him against invigorated opponents overseas and a Congress that has grown impatient with his go-alone approach." (Washington Post)

"International Nuclear Forum: Discrimination Toward Nuclear Electricity Jeopardizes Climate Goals" - "BONN, Germany--July 24, 2001--The deal to salvage the climate change talks in Bonn failed to support greenhouse gas-free nuclear energy projects in the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and Joint Implementation (JI). These two mechanisms will allow industrialized countries to achieve emissions reduction goals through project based investments in less developed countries." (BUSINESS WIRE)

"Minister says Kyoto poses risk to Alberta" - "The Kyoto agreement will deal a serious blow to Alberta's economy if Canada ratifies the version that 178 countries approved yesterday, says the province's environment minister." (Calgary Sun)

"Industry groups speak out over climate change agreement" - "Industry groups are urging the Federal Government not to make an international climate change agreement binding in Australian law." (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

"Australia welcomes Kyoto negotiations outcome" - "Australia's Prime Minister John Howard , says the outcome of the Kyoto climate change negotiations is pleasing for Australia, because of the concessions on carbon sinks." (Radio Australia)

"Nation aims for emission target" - "AUSTRALIA emerged from this week's talks on the Kyoto protocol with new concessions that make the nation's greenhouse targets easier to meet. But while the meeting in the German city of Bonn has shored up the protocol, its future is still uncertain, almost a decade since the treaty was first conceived at a summit in Rio de Janeiro." (Courier-Mail)

"US EPA's Whitman likes part of global warming treaty" - "WASHINGTON - The Bush administration's top environmental official said yesterday she was pleased the global climate accord reached this week in Germany without U.S. particpation allows countries to use their forests and farmland to soak up carbon dioxide emissions." (Reuters)

"Climate Deal Boosts Carbon Trading Market" - "The international program for fighting global warming looks alive and well after it was unexpectedly endorsed and relaunched by a meeting of nearly 180 countries in Bonn yesterday, reports the Wall Street Journal Europe. While the complex deal is light on some details and much less ambitious in its goals than environmentalists wanted, its immediate economic impact will be a boost worldwide for the creation of a potential $10 billion market in the trading of carbon dioxide and other so-called greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming." (WorldNews.com)

"Agreement makes carbon sinks reality" - "Overnight agreement on implementing the 1997 Kyoto treaty has been welcomed as good news for Australia's farmers and land managers, despite the fact that the United States and Japan haven't signed off on the deal." (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

"Forest fund encourages carbon trading" - "The move towards carbon trading has been given another push forward, with the launch of a new fund in Melbourne this morning, to encourage private investment in forest plantations." (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

"US company sets up native tree planting fund" - "The New South Wales Government has welcomed a $200 million native tree planting fund being set up by a US-based company in New South Wales, as a greenhouse gas offset." (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

"Oilpatch cautions against Kyoto" - "CALGARY - The Alberta government and the oil and gas industry are telling the federal government not to implement a deal to cut greenhouse gases." (CBC)

July 24, 2001

"Paul Ehrlich named Eminent Ecologist for 2001" - "Paul R. Ehrlich is the recipient of this year's Eminent Ecologist Award from the Ecological Society of America (ESA). The award is given annually to a senior ecologist for sustained and distinguished contributions to the science of ecology and biological sciences. This year's award will be presented during ESA's 86th annual meeting in Madison, Wis., on Aug. 9. Ehrlich, the Bing Professor of Population Studies at Stanford, was cited for "contributions that have revolutionized the thoughts of the scientific community about population biology, density dependence and coevolution." (Stanford University release)

If you're wrong enough for long enough...

"SWITZERLAND: Swiss cat's BSE illness could impact pet food industry" - "ZURICH, July 20 - A consumer scare and nervousness over litigation could wash over the multi-million dollar Swiss pet food industry after the first case of 'mad cat disease' was reported this week, industry analysts said on Friday. The Swiss veterinary office said on Tuesday that a six-year-old cat had to be put down after developing an illness related to mad cow disease, probably after eating infected cat food, or raw or insufficiently heated organs." (Reuters)

"Biotech Industry Faces Threat in Stem Cell Debate" - "NEW YORK - Any moves by the Bush administration to curb government funding of controversial stem cell research could have a chilling effect on the biotechnology industry as a whole, industry experts warn." (Reuters)

"Short on Facts; The false argument over embryonic-stem-cell research" - By Michael Fumento, senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, where he’s completing a book tentatively entitled: BioEvolution: How Biotechnology Is Changing Our World. (National Review)

"Half a million drivers using cellphones: U.S. study" - "WASHINGTON - An American agency has released the first estimates of how many drivers are on cellphones at any given time: three per cent. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says at least 500,000 drivers are talking on cellphones during the day. Rates nearly doubled during non-rush hour times." (CBC)

"Cellular Towers Get Static From Environmentalists" - "WASHINGTON -- In Baghdad, Fla., environmentalists hope to prevent construction of a cellphone tower in a wetland. On Maryland's Eastern Shore, they have targeted a tower slated to rise over the scenic Chesapeake Bay. And in Dog River, Ala., the groups have taken aim at one planned for an eco-sensitive floodplain." (Wall Street Journal)

"Mobile masts crackdown begins" - "Strict new regulations for mobile phone masts have come into force in Scotland. All ground-based masts must have planning permission and equipment on buildings will also be subject to controls. The new regulations mean that Scotland has stricter controls on where masts can be sited than anywhere else in the UK." (BBC Online)

"American Heart Association warns against estrogen supplements" - "DALLAS - Growing evidence that estrogen may cause harm in some patients has caused the influential American Heart Association to change course and recommend that women not be prescribed the supplements solely to prevent strokes and heart disease." (AP)

"A Growing Threat" - "Disease-causing microbes that have become resistant to drug therapy are an increasing public health problem. Tuberculosis, gonorrhea, malaria, and childhood ear infections are just a few of the diseases that have become hard to treat with antibiotic drugs. Part of the problem is that bacteria and other microorganisms that cause infections are remarkably resilient and can develop ways to survive drugs meant to kill or weaken them. This antibiotic resistance, also known as antimicrobial resistance or drug resistance, is due largely to the increasing use of antibiotics." (FDA)

"Unfit, too fat: a snapshot of folly" - "Obesity gets no respect. It is killing Canadians, and placing an increasingly crippling burden on our health-care system. Yet most of us, including government, do little more than shrug our fleshy shoulders." (Globe and Mail)

"New study finds health risks for those not quite overweight" - "A body weight widely considered a healthy target by federal officials may still carry considerable health risks, a new study by Harvard researchers shows. Since 1998, a body-mass index of 18.5 to 24.9 has been considered a healthy target. But according to the study, people in the higher range of healthy weight — those with a body-mass index of 22 to 24.9 (or about 130 to 145 pounds for someone 5 feet 5 inches tall, and 150 to 170 for someone 5 feet 10 inches tall) — still face significantly increased risks for a variety of illnesses, from diabetes to heart disease." (Sally Squires, Washington Post)

Really? Check out Junkman's comments in Fat-Free America? (FoxNews.com)

"NZ researchers study risks of air blood clots" - "Wellington - New Zealand researchers plan to question 1 000 travellers in the largest study yet to try to determine the risk of air passengers suffering blood clots. In the Otago University-funded study researchers will approach passengers at New Zealand airports for tests both before and after they travel, research project head Dr Rodney Hughes said on Monday." (Reuters)

"World Bank's eco-friendly approach falls flat" - "WASHINGTON - The World Bank has launched a new environmental strategy that's failing to appease its critics. The Bank says the initiative aims to further integrate environmental protection into its projects and programs. The lending agency's detractors welcome the effort, but say it will prove insufficient in correcting the negative impact of the Bank's private-sector loans." (Asia Times)

"Beach replenishment found to help revive species" - "NEPTUNE -- When a beach was replenished in southern Monmouth County, threatened species of plants and animals rebounded quickly -- including sea-beach amaranth, which had not been spotted in New Jersey since 1913. That's one of the findings in an Army Corps of Engineers report on the biological impact of sea replenishment at Monmouth Beach, Sea Girt, and Sea Bright. The report gives advocates of beach-building ammunition in a contentious fight over plans to restore more Monmouth County beaches." (AP)

"Investigators focusing on at least 3 ELF members in arson fires" - "PORTLAND, Ore. - Investigators are focusing on at least three members of the radical Earth Liberation Front as suspects in five environmentally linked arson fires that have caused $7.4 million in damage, police say." (AP)

"Row brews in organic movement" - "Top officials of the Bristol-based Soil Association and the Scottish Organic Producers’ Association (SOPA) are locked in an increasingly bitter row about how best to push the organic movement forward in Scotland." (The Scotsman)

"Opinion: at Last, A UN Report That May Help The Third World" - "CHURCHVILLE, Va.--A new UN report could persuade The New York Times and other major media into presenting balanced coverage of biotech crops. The United Nation's "Human Development Report 2001" sharply criticizes First World governments for pandering to affluent young dissidents instead of worrying about the real and urgent needs of the world's poor." (Dennis T. Avery, BridgeNews)

"Debate rooted in biotech trees" - "STEVENSON, Wash., July 23 - Activists who want to stop the release of genetically engineered trees protested outside the Skamania Lodge yesterday as scientists arrived in preparation for a meeting on forest biotechnology." (MSNBC)

"Seeds of Doubt" - "IN AN INCONSPICUOUS greenhouse in the Philippine countryside, one of the most significant experiments of the century is under way. Inside, the scientists wear head-to-toe coveralls as they move between aisles. Nothing escapes from the laboratory without rigorous cleaning, including the air. They themselves must wash before they emerge at the end of each shift.

The segregated space, in the jargon of the industry, is known as a "level-four containment" It is one of the most elaborately protected environments, fit for work on deadly viruses such as the fearsome Ebola. However, the object of these precautions is not a killer, but something that might improve the life of millions, or so its backers claim.

The lab's shelves are stacked with rice - samples of the world's most important staple food. What makes these plants (just a handful of many millions found at the International Rice Research Institute [IRRI]) so special is that they are transgenic. In this case, their genes have been carefully tweaked to enhance the grain's load of vitamin A, a vital component of the human diet which, if lacking, can cause blindness and death." (South China Morning Post)

"Monsanto Gives Farmers Seeds of Hope Vs. Billion-Dollar Bug Biotech Corn Could Save Millions in Pest" - "It's called the billion-dollar bug, the scourge of U.S. corn growers whose crops fall victim each year to a highly adaptive, brutally efficient pest.

But here at Monsanto's testing facility, a 480-acre farm in northwest Illinois, Diabrotrica virgifera virgifera LeConte, otherwise known as the Western corn rootworm beetle, appears to have met its match -- at least for now.

The St. Louis-based company is field testing a type of biotech corn that is resistant to the beetle. Federal regulators are reviewing the technology and, if all goes well, the product will hit the commercial markets in U.S. and Japan by next year, well ahead of the competition." (St Louis Post-Dispatch)

"Overwhelming majority of Canadians baffled by term GMO, poll suggests" - "GMO - say what? Opponents of genetically modified organisms in various foods in Canada would appear to have a huge education campaign ahead of them to get people to understand even just the term.

A whopping 78.4 per cent of respondents in a Leger Marketing poll said they didn`t know what GMO stood for despite increased media coverage of the topic in the last few years. The July 3-11 survey found that only 12.8 per cent of respondents knew its meaning.

Three per cent gave an answer that contained at least one of the three words, while 5.7 per cent gave a reply that had none of the words." (Vancouver Province)

"EU To Tolerate Slight GMO Contamination In Foodstuffs" - "The European Union will permit foodstuffs which contain minute levels of genetically-modified organisms to avoid strict new labeling and traceability requirements expected Wednesday.

According to a draft of the E.U. proposals for the traceability and labeling of genetically-modified organisms, novel foods and seeds, traces of GMOs ``no higher than 1%`` will be tolerated in foodstuffs. The exact amount has yet to be determined.

Producers of such foodstuffs must be able to show that the traces were ``technically unavoidable,`` and the material must have been approved in a third country for use in food." (Dow Jones Newswires) | EU Discusses Biotech Food Labeling (AP)

"GM food protesters dump crop at ministry" - "Environmental campaigners have dumped 50 large bags of GM maize outside the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Five protesters said they had uprooted half the crop of maize at a site in Preston Wynne, Herefordshire, run by biotechnology firm Aventis." (Ananova)

Here's the COP6 MkII part c (d?) stuff and the day's "Warming / Cooling / Drowning / Drying / Is too! / Is not! / Well maybe / What cause? / Who cares?" pieces:

"Russia climate forum idea welcomed by G8" - "BONN - Russia has won backing from the world's richest nations to hold a conference on climate change in 2003, but some officials feared the idea could delay efforts to save the Kyoto deal on global warming." (Reuters)

"U.S. Iced At Climate Talks" - "The United States stood on the sidelines Monday as 178 countries agreed on a plan to salvage the Kyoto Protocol on global warming — which the U.S. refuses to ratify or fund." (CBS)

"Global climate treaty moves ahead, without US" - "The United States watches as Europe and Japan shape a global climate treaty." (CSM)

"Little climate change; The EU and the US are hardly any closer after the Bonn talks" - "In a burst of hyperbole that must itself have warmed the atmosphere by several degrees, Michael Meacher insisted that the conclusion of the climate talks in Bonn yesterday had been “an historic day that everyone will remember” — a verdict that to those who backed the original Kyoto principles would surely appear excessive." (The Times)

Today's commercial opportunism: "Climate Change Changes Everything! The Body Shop Canada Launches Climate Change Campaign" - "TORONTO, July 23 - "Climate Change is an issue that profoundly affects every single person," says Vanessa Kennedy, Campaigns Manager, The Body Shop Canada. "By burning more fossil fuels than the Earth can handle, we are putting life as we know it in jeopardy. Violent weather. Health problems. Blistering heat and smog. Weakened industry. The time for talking is over; it's time we take action - start at The Body Shop." /CNW/

"UK hails new Kyoto deal" - "Tony Blair has hailed a last-minute deal to salvage the Kyoto agreement on global warming, though environmental campaigners have warned that the price of the deal is high." (BBC Online)

"Deal is a start, say European governments" - "THE Kyoto protocol aimed to achieve cuts in emissions of greenhouse gases by up to three per cent, far below the 60 per cent reduction that scientists say is needed to halt man-made climate change." (Telegraph)

"Seattle Announces Aggressive Policies to Combat Global Warming; Mayor, Councilmembers Critical of Federal Inaction" - "SEATTLE--July 23, 2001--Seattle Mayor Paul Schell and four members of the City Council today announced support for the Kyoto Protocol and called on other local governments to adopt policies to combat global warming." (BUSINESS WIRE)

"Negotiators Reach Deal on Climate Treaty" - "BONN, Germany, July 23 -- The world's nations, minus the United States, accepted treaty rules that for the first time would require industrialized countries to cut emissions of waste gases linked to global warming." (New York Times)

"A Global Leap on Warming" - "The countries gathered in Bonn to put finishing touches on the Kyoto Protocol on climate change made two ringing points: (1) that the environmental threat from greenhouse gases looms large enough to compel international action, and (2) that such action would move ahead whether Washington joined in or not." (CSM editorial)

"Blow for Bush as Kyoto Protocol is rescued -- at a cost" - "BONN, July 23 - The UN's Kyoto Protocol on global warming was hauled back from the brink on Monday, dealing a blow to US President George W. Bush but at the cost of big concessions that were regretted by environmentalists." | Main points from Kyoto Protocol deal (AFP)

"Compromise saves climate treaty" - "In an historic deal, 178 countries have agreed how to tackle climate change. The compromise reached after a day and a night of intensive talks in Bonn means the Kyoto Protocol, the global climate treaty, can soon enter into force." (BBC Online)

"Environmental bluster" - "POLITICIANS are fond of superlatives, but this time they really have surpassed themselves. Michael Meacher's summary was typical: the Bonn summit, he said, would be remembered for generations to come as a victory over "the single greatest threat to the survival of the human race".

It is worth standing back and looking at exactly what was at stake. The meeting was called to discuss how to implement the 1997 Kyoto agreement on cutting greenhouse gases. The target is to bring emissions to 5.2 per cent below 1990 levels by 2010. Even on the most optimistic projections, the effect of this would be to slow global warming by no more than four per cent over the next century: hardly the difference between suffocation and survival.

In any case, the science on which Kyoto is predicated remains unproved." (Daily Telegraph)

"Mild winters boost British bird revival" - "THERE is some good news for Britain’s birds at last. In the first year of the new millennium 14 of 15 common species whose population changed significantly since 1999 showed an increase in numbers instead of a decline." (The Times)

"'Watered down' Kyoto deal is hailed by world leaders but angers green groups" - "The world's leading industrialised countries agreed a set of rules to implement the Kyoto Protocol on climate change yesterday but were immediately accused of creating a "watered-down" version of the 1997 treaty." (Independent)

"How the Kyoto compromise was struck" - "THE deal that sealed agreement on the Kyoto climate change protocol was put in motion early on Sunday morning." (The Times)

"ANALYSIS - Climate deal to lighten economic cost of Kyoto" - "BONN, Germany - The fight against global warming is notoriously hard to cost, but experts said yesterday's compromise deal salvaging the Kyoto Protocol will considerably reduce the bill, albeit for a scaled down attack on the problem." (Reuters)

"Bonn Climate Deal May Not Bring Down Emissions" - "BONN, Germany - Backslapping and cheers greeted Monday's rescue of the Kyoto accord on fighting global warming but the pact, 10 years in the making, may not achieve its stated goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions this decade." (Reuters)

"NASA stakes out world leadership with new climate supercomputer" - "Questions about the effects of global warming will soon be a hallmark of the past. A new supercomputer at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is crunching climate data at warp speed. What used to take a year to calculate might be done in less than a day on the new machine." (ENN)

Great! Now, if only we new how to program it to simulate the global weather - the sum of which, over time, is climate.

"Experts Unearth Our Stormy Past" - "A frustrating fact of life for climate scientists and emergency planners is that the most severe hurricanes are so rare that it is almost impossible to discern any pattern. Only two Category 5 storms, the highest strength on the Saffir-Simpson scale of intensity, have hit American soil in modern times: Hurricane Camille, which plowed through Mississippi in 1969, and a storm that smashed through the Florida Keys in 1935. The only hope, then, of determining long-term risk is to look into the past. And that means looking down into the muck, either in marshes or in lakebeds near coastlines." (New York Times)

"Warmingearth.com Advances Temperature Theory, Suggests Kyoto Protocol Be 'Put On Hold'" - "ROSEMERE, Quebec, July 23 -- A new Web site, www.warmingearth.com , has been launched by a Canadian engineer to present evidence of his theory that the earth may actually be entering a 30-year cooling pattern, which if true, could revise thinking with regard to the Kyoto Protocol on global warming." (PRNewswire)

"ANALYSIS - Japan scores in Kyoto compromise play" - "BONN - Tokyo won latitude toward reaching targets for cutting pollution under rules agreed yesterday to bring into force the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on curbing global warming." (Reuters)

"Last-minute deal saves Kyoto plan" - "A last-minute compromise deal to salvage the Kyoto protocol on climate change was an exceptional outcome for Australia, the Federal Government said last night." (Canberra Times)

"Kyoto, R.I.P." - "The final communique from the G8 meeting in Genoa, Italy, states that the heads of state in attendance "firmly agree" on the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions but that "there is disagreement on the Kyoto protocol and its ratification." The second part represents a great understatement. The 1997 Kyoto agreement is dead. The fatal wound came last March, when George W. Bush, the U.S. President, declared he would not accept what he called "a plan that will harm [the U.S.] economy and hurt American workers." (National Post)

"EU delighted as Kyoto agreement sealed" - "In Bonn, Germany, an agreement has been reached on the United Nations' Kyoto Protocol on global warming, reviving the world's most ambitious environment pact after it was rejected by the United States." (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

"What they said at the Bonn climate conference" - "BONN, Germany - Here are some quotes from key players at the climate summit in Bonn where world governments clinched a historic deal yesterday to save the Kyoto protocol on cutting emissions of greenhouse gases." (Reuters)

"Protocol Gets CPR" - "Amid tears and hugs and kisses all round, the Bonn climate conference finally produced a diluted version of the protocol which Japan, Australia and Canada could wear. The price the European Union (EU) paid to get an agreement, any agreement, was full recognition for carbon `sinks' (forests and crops which eat up carbon), the main demand of the `Umbrella Group' including Australia and Canada. Another sticking point, that of penalties for target non-compliance, has also been watered down to accommodate the Umbrella Group. The protocol is now a mere shadow of the original. According to the BBC - "In its present form ... it is more of a symbol than a battlecry." ..." (John L Daly, Still Waiting For Greenhouse)

"Environmentalists praise Ottawa" - "OTTAWA -- The federal government won rare applause from environmentalists Monday after Canada helped rescue a global climate treaty abandoned by the United States." (CP)

"Deal reached after marathon climate talks" - "BONN - After marathon talks over the weekend ended on Monday morning, the Kyoto Accord is still alive. Only one country has said it will not move to ratify the agreement. That country is the United States." (CBC)

"Climate deal reached by offering 'flexibility'" - "After four years and countless hours of talks, the leading industrial nations - bar America - have a deal to make Kyoto work." (Independent)

"Environmentalists react to Kyoto Accord" - "OTTAWA - Calling it a victory for everyone and a "basis for hope", Canadian environmentalists reacted positively to the watered-down Kyoto Accord in Ottawa on Monday." (CBC)

"Chretien predicts ratification of Kyoto" - "OTTAWA -- Prime Minister Jean Chretien says he's confident Canada will be able to ratify the Kyoto protocol on climate change next year." (CP)

"Japan to pressure US on Kyoto" - "Japan has promised to do all it can to persuade the United States to join the international effort to tackle climate change." (BBC Online)

"Kyoto Compromise Still Not Good for U.S., World" - "WASHINGTON, D.C. — An 11th-hour compromise on how to address climate change reached among 178 countries in Bonn, Germany is a major defeat for global warming alarmists, the Competitive Enterprise Institute said today. It is largely a symbolic agreement designed to put pressure on the U.S. It will have no effect on global temperatures.

“Hypocrisy seems to be the national currency for international treaties these days,” said CEI president Fred Smith in response to the compromise. “The Bush administration has stood up against a lot of pressure from other countries trying to force us back into Kyoto, and hopefully he will continue to do so.” (Competitive Enterprise Institute)

"Work starts on Kyoto deal details" - "BONN, Germany -- Work to thrash out the fine print of a deal on cutting greenhouse gas emissions is to begin after the historic agreement reached on Monday." (CNN)

"Australia under renewed pressure to ratify Kyoto" - "The Australian government is under renewed pressure to ratify the Kyoto Protocol after a last minute agreement at the Bonn climate change talks." (AAP)

"A mixed response to Kyoto Protocol deal" - "A compromise to save the UN's landmark treaty on climate change has received a mixed response with caution from the European Union and environmentalists and a welcome from Japan." (Radio Australia)

July 23, 2001

Couldn't resist this one to start the week - Martian dust storm demonstrates enhanced greenhouse and nuclear winter: "Surface of Mars is hidden by massive dust storm" - "The surface of Mars was hidden from view yesterday by a blanket of dust whipped up by a giant storm seen at close quarters from a space probe for the first time.

The Mars Global Surveyor, which began mapping the planet's surface in detail two years ago, has been sending back images of a cataclysmic weather system enveloping the whole planet. The storm, one of several which sweep across Mars every year, has sent the temperature on the planet soaring by up to 30C.

Scientists, who in the 1970s used dust storm observations on Mars to project the catastrophic climate change that would follow a nuclear war on Earth, say it could offer an insight into global warming." (Independent)

Increased absorption of solar radiation in a "dirty" atmosphere is fine as far as it goes but check out their reasoning for the subsequent collapse of the global dust storms:

The growing intensity of the storm will eventually throw so much dust into the atmosphere that it will block the sun and cause Mars to cool dramatically, bringing the storm to an end.

Really? What happened to reduced energy potential resulting from thermal equalisation and the subsequent loss of wind speed, in turn allowing the dust to settle and the thin Martian atmosphere cooling as a result? Actually a very good demonstration that Earth, should it warm significantly, would suffer less extreme weather events and lower wind speeds than it currently does with such large temperature disparity between tropical and polar air masses.

Warmer planet = more benign weather is not exactly the message promulgated by the enhanced greenhouse panic-merchants but it is the demonstrated result on our near neighbour and it is the conclusion derived from evidence left of Earth's own significantly warmer past.

but if you want something to worry about: "TINY CRYSTALS PREDICT A HUGE VOLCANO IN WESTERN U.S." - "MADISON - Reading the geochemical fine print found in tiny crystals of the minerals zircon and quartz, scientists are forming a new picture of the life history - and a geologic timetable - of a type of volcano in the western United States capable of dramatically altering climate sometime within the next 100,000 years." (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

Hey lookit! Nachural plants contain kemicals: "Folk remedy stands up to science probe" - "British wild flowers and plants used for centuries in folk medicine have genuine medical properties, scientists at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, have found. The active ingredients of several herbal remedies have been isolated by Kew researchers systematically investigating the potential medicinal properties of the British flora. Plants such as common figwort, long used as a poultice to dress wounds and skin diseases, contain chemical compounds that really do stimulate wound healing, the scientists have discovered." (New Zealand Herald)

"Drinking tea is good for arteries, study shows" - "Drinking tea combats heart disease by improving the function of artery walls, research published today indicates. There finding adds weight to previous studies which have concluded that antioxidants, called flavonoids, contained in tea may help prevent cholesterol damaging arteries." (Independent)

"Milk eases stomach injuries" - "Special cow's milk, produced during the first days after giving birth, can be used to treat common stomach disorders. Scientists based in the Hammersmith Hospital, London and Leicester General Hospital, discovered that bovine colostrum can treat a number of gut complaints. They say the special milk could end up saving thousands of lives each year." (BBC Online)

"Plankton's place in the sun" - "Sunbathers could be slapping on plankton lotion after a discovery by marine scientists. Researchers at Plymouth were working out how the microscopic algae protected itself from the sun's ultra violet rays. Marine chemist Carole Llewellyn realised there could be a commercial spin-off for the natural sunscreen produced by the plants." (BBC Online)

"Experts: Kids worried about weight" - "CHICAGO: One comes home and announces her intention to diet because ``I'm getting fat!'' Another wishes she wore a smaller clothing size. And yet another declares herself ``ugly'' after studying fans wearing hip-huggers and midriff tops at a concert. Such moments are hardly surprising in a world that many say is obsessed with weight and looks. But these comments come from children — girls ages 6, 8 and 5." (AP)

A lot of the time, kids (and particularly their parents) should be concerned about their weight - far too many are the size of small pachyderms. Some of that fault may lie with the fear culture predominant these days (have to "protect kids" from everything - including the exercise they should get despite marginal injury risk from play equipment [that used to be in playgrounds but is rapidly being removed for fear of litigation]).

"Children's diet of violence 'toxic'" - "CHILDREN who regularly play computer games, watch morning cartoon programs or even television news bulletins are subjected to a "toxic environment" of violence, the outgoing convener of the Classification Review Board said yesterday.

On her last day as a member of the board, the national body that recommends classifications for films, home videos and computer games, Barbara Biggins fired a parting shot at the entertainment industry for providing children with access to dangerous levels of violence." (The Australian)

"Nations Reach Pact on Trade of Small Arms" - "UNITED NATIONS, July 21 -- Representatives of more than 140 nations reached agreement today on an unenforceable, voluntary pact to stem the illegal flow of millions of small arms to the world's conflict zones, averting a diplomatic collapse over the first international agreement on the illicit trade." (Washington Post)

"U.S. wins on guns despite foreign anger" - "NEW YORK -- The United Nations completed a landmark accord on international gun control yesterday, but only after U.S. negotiators won a series of concessions to protect the constitutional right of Americans to own arms." (Washington Times)

"Nation sliding toward US gun culture" - "AUSTRALIA will go down the path of gun-toting America unless the community speaks out against the gun lobby, the country's top police officer has warned. New Australian Federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty also called on the gun lobby to condemn the use of of handguns in violent crimes." ([Sydney] Daily Telegraph)

"A change in environmental policing; Bush plans to shift some EPA enforcement to states" - "July 22 — The Bush administration is advancing a plan to cut federal environmental enforcement operations and to shift resources to the states despite mounting evidence that many states are unable or unwilling to vigorously enforce federal environmental laws." (Washington Post)

"Oregon takes fight to eco-terrorists" - "PORTLAND, Ore. - In the battle against eco-terrorism, Oregon has become ground zero. From a press office in Portland, the Earth Liberation Front, considered a leading domestic terrorist group by the FBI, announces acts of arson and vandalism. Nearby are the offices of Oregon's legislators, who have taken the novel approach of using racketeering laws to confront eco-terrorists." (Boston Globe)

Myth reinforcement of the day I: "The greening of hate" - "This month we celebrate United Nations World Population Day, a day focused on the nexus of population, development, and the environment. It is time to make connections - that one in every 50 people in the world is an immigrant or refugee; an estimated 10 million to 25 million are displaced for environmental reasons; and global economic inequality is - like the global environment - getting worse." (Christopher Martinez, Boston Globe)

II: "To help environment we must curb growth" - "For three decades the federal government has increasingly sabotaged the American people's dreams for environmental quality. The tool: federal immigration policies that have encouraged massive population growth." (Roy Howard Beck, Boston Globe)

Left-wing? The Indy? Nah... "Andrew Gumbel: Is this the most dangerous man in the world?" - "The last time the wider world was quite this appalled by the actions and policy agenda of a new American president, international relations were buried deep in the Manichean logic of the Cold War, the postwar consensus on the welfare state was about to blow apart and market-driven greed, that defining characteristic of the Eighties, was well on its way to being considered good." (Independent)

"Study estimates environmental costs of energy output" - "BRUSSELS - The cost of producing electricity from coal or oil would double if costs such as damage to the environment and health were taken into account, according to the results of a study published last week." (Reuters)

"Cash not conscience is often energy bottom line" - "BONN, Germany - Manfred Dietz works as a mechanic in a building in Bonn topped by thousands of environmentally friendly solar panels. But he is little moved, he says, by expensive efforts to create green energy." (Reuters)

"UK energy minister calls for fuel poor initiatives" - "LONDON - UK's recently appointed Energy Minister Brian Wilson said last week he wanted more initiatives from energy companies to help reduce fuel poverty." (Reuters)

"Cause for dumping CAFE" - "This just in: Lawmakers in Washington, the city that gave us low-flow toilets, a mandatory drinking age and a national speed limit for our highways, want to mandate even higher fuel economy standards for cars and light trucks.

Now, such a proposal may sound good. After all, anything that can save a few bucks at the gas pump should be encouraged, right? And if it helps us pollute less and cut our dependence on foreign oil, so much the better.

What's not to like?

Plenty. Take a look under the hood, and you'll see why the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) program which mandates that cars average 27.5 miles per gallon and light trucks (pick-ups, minivans, SUVs) average 20.7 mpg should be abolished." (Charli Coon, Washington Times)

"Brazil soy winning higher premiums as GM-free" - "SAO PAULO - Brazilian soy product exports are winning higher premiums from France, Japan and other countries in search of grains that are free of genetic modification (GM), a spokesman at world grains trader Louis Dreyfus said last week." (Reuters)

"Brazil will label GM food, if sales ever legalized" - "SAO PAULO - Brazil will require all foods of 4 percent or more genetically modified material to carry a consumer label, should one day the domestic sale of GM goods be legalized, the Agriculture Ministry said last week." (Reuters)

"Plea to enforce GE ban" - "STATE Cabinet has been urged today to extend the state's commercial GE crop moratorium. Greens' Denison MHA Peg Putt said she was concerned Cabinet may not make a decision today. Her comments came despite Primary Industries, Water and Environment Minister David Llewellyn announcing on July 11 he would ask Cabinet to accept the recommendations of a Parliamentary report which recommended a two-year extension to Tasmania's GE commercial crop moratorium." (The Mercury)

Here's the COP6 MkII part c (d?) stuff and the day's "Warming / Cooling / Drowning / Drying / Is too! / Is not! / Well maybe / What cause? / Who cares?" pieces:

"Kyoto's last stand" - "Angry European leaders gathered in Bonn this week in an attempt to score political points by complaining about President Bush's refusal to reverse his stance on the moribund Kyoto Protocol on consumption – er – climate change.

It's easy to understand their anger, fueled as it is by a combination of production envy and cheap political posturing. Europeans protest that with four percent of the world population, the United States produces a quarter of the world's greenhouse gas. But they neglect to mention that the United States also accounts for one quarter of the global economy. It takes energy to keep this powerful engine chugging along." (Washington Times editorial)

Henry Payne's Bonn comment

"Time running out for Kyoto talks" - "BONN, Germany -- Talks on saving the Kyoto climate protocol which aims to reduce harmful carbon dioxide emissions look set to enter an unscheduled fifth day." (CNN)

"'Time running out' at climate talks" - "The UK has given a downbeat assessment of the prospects for the climate talks here." (BBC Online)

"Compromises to Kyoto surface at Bonn summit" - "Delegates yesterday remained steadfast that an agreement would be reached as talks near critical phase." (CSM)

"Concessions to US advance talks on Kyoto Protocol" - "BONN - Talks to rescue a treaty on combating global warming moved into their decisive phase yesterday after making major progress in drafting the final negotiating positions - including what appeared to be significant concessions to the United States." (AP)

"Doubts Grow on Saving Kyoto Climate Accord" - "BONN, Germany - Nations racing to salvage the Kyoto accord on global warming haggled over a compromise proposal on Sunday amid growing skepticism that a deal could be reached before ministers were to return home early on Monday." (Reuters)

"EU pushes for Kyoto compromise" - "The European Union is pushing hard for other countries to accept a final compromise paper aimed at breaking the deadlock at UN climate talks in Bonn." (BBC Online)

"Final push to save climate talks" - "The climate treaty talks here have gone into a late-night session to try to secure a compromise. The conference president, Dutch Environment Minister Jan Pronk, says he is convinced agreement is possible." (BBC Online)

"Bonn Climate Conference Laments Lack of Impetus From G-8 Summit" - "F.A.Z. BONN/GENOA. Talks aimed at resolving a dispute over ratification of the Kyoto Protocol on combating climate change went into overtime in Bonn on Sunday evening, amid warnings that the effort could collapse altogether if there was no compromise." (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung)

"Japan on the spot as climate talks go down to the wire" - "Bonn, Germany — Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi held the fate of the Kyoto global warming accord in his hands on Monday as Europe handed him an 11th-hour ultimatum to save the U.N. pact to curb greenhouse gases. "It's make or break in the next few hours," said Jan Pronk, the Dutch chairman of a meeting of U.N. environment ministers in Bonn after telling delegates that just one issue, on which Tokyo is hesitating, separated a successful compromise from failure." (Reuters)

"Japan, 3 nations mull new proposal at climate talks" - "BONN, July 22 - Japan is planning to table a new proposal with three other countries to the ongoing U.N. climate talks with regard to a binding compliance system for the 1997 Kyoto Protocol as it cannot accept provisions in the chairman's compromise proposal for a final accord, conference sources said Sunday." (Kyodo)

"Kyoto climate treaty at risk" - "THE Kyoto protocol was in the balance last night at the international climate conference in Bonn as the European Union accepted a compromise deal to save the treaty, but Canada, Japan and Australia demanded more concessions." (The Times)

"G-8 nations joust over climate pact; Bush holds line against accord on gas emissions" - "GENOA, Italy - As protests raged nearby, leaders of the world's largest industrial nations yesterday sparred over global warming, with President Bush refusing to budge from his opposition to the 1997 Kyoto climate pact despite increased pressure from Europe, Japan, and Canada." (Boston Globe)

"Leaders struggle with climate dispute" - "GENOA, Italy -- Closing out a protest-marred summit, President Bush and other world leaders failed Sunday to resolve sharp differences over global warming. But in a surprise announcement, President Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to new arms talks on offensive and defensive weapons." (AP)

"G8 at Odds on Climate; Bonn Deal in Doubt" - "GENOA - Group of Eight leaders admitted on Sunday to deep divisions over how to tackle global warming and Canada cast doubt on prospects for a quick deal to save the Kyoto climate change treaty." (Reuters)

"Greens protesters take to Kirribilli with sandbags" - "SYDNEY: Greens protesters sandbagged Prime Minister John Howard's residence at Kirribilli yesterday, demanding Australia ratify the United Nation's Kyoto Protocol." (Canberra Times)

"With G8 Divided, Battle on to Save Climate Pact" - "BONN, Germany - Last-ditch efforts were under way on Sunday to salvage the Kyoto U.N. climate accord at talks in Germany after leaders of the Group of Eight industrial powers ended with disagreement on how to curb global warming." (Reuters)

"One issue remains unresolved as global warming talks continue in Bonn" - "BONN, Germany - Negotiators working through the night Sunday resolved all but a solitary issue on the rules for carrying out the Kyoto global warming pact, and the conference chairman warned that the talks will fail unless the problem is settled.

Chairman Jan Pronk said he had won agreement from most of the 178 delegations to accept a draft agreement he submitted Saturday without changes - as long as no one else demanded revisions. But other countries - including Japan, Canada and Australia - raised objections and refused to go along with the draft without further talks.

Marathon talks smoothed over most of the outstanding problems, but Pronk summoned the delegates after midnight to say the issue of compliance - action to be taken against countries that fail to meet their obligations - had eluded agreement." (AP)

"UN climate talks remain deadlocked" - "Talks to complete the UN's Kyoto Protocol on global warming continued into Sunday night with no sign of any concessions from three hardline countries and reports of a split among developing countries.

Dutch Environment Minister Jan Pronk, who chairs the talks, said in a status report that a proposed compromise still had to overcome the objections of three countries, which delegates named as Australia, Canada and Japan." (AFP)

"Australia objects to new changes to Kyoto protocol" - "Negotiations at the UN climate talks in Germany are continuing this morning as delegates try to put together a book of rules and procedures for the Kyoto protocol on climate change. Australia, along with Canada and Japan, has reportedly objected to proposed finance provisions and clauses on making the climate agreement enforceable under international law." (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

"Australia set to lose CO2 debate" - "AUSTRALIA was poised to lose its battle to block the imposition of sanctions against countries that fail to meet their carbon dioxide emission reduction targets under the Kyoto treaty on climate change, as environmentalists in Germany hailed a draft agreement tabled last night as a basis for the long-awaited deal." (The Australian)

"Australia rejects climate change compromise" - "An international deal on climate change was on the brink of collapse yesterday after Australia and Japan rejected a breakthrough compromise package that would have let nations offset greenhouse gas emissions by claiming credits for carbon stored in vegetation and soil." (Sydney Morning Herald)

"Environment groups back compromise Kyoto deal" - "As ministers meet in Bonn to try to salvage the Kyoto accord, environmental groups have given their backing to a compromise proposal. The refusal by US President George Bush to ratify any treaty appears to have spurred the EU to accept several key demands by Australia, Japan and others." (Radio Australia)

"Talks hit last-minute snags, as hosts warn talks may fail for the second time" - "BONN, Germany Negotiators went into overtime Sunday trying to resolve the final problems on the Kyoto global warming agreement, with host Germany warning the holdouts the talks will fail if they refuse to compromise." (AP)

"G-8 leaders fail to find common ground on Kyoto pact" - "GENOA, July 22 - Leaders from the Group of Eight (G-8) major countries concluded their annual summit in Genoa, Italy, on Sunday after failing to find common ground on the 1997 Kyoto Protocol aimed at curbing global warming." (Kyodo)

"G8 Leaders Fail to Resolve Differences" - "GENOA, Italy - President Bush and other world leaders closed out a protest-marred summit Sunday, conceding that they were unable to resolve sharp differences between the United States and the rest of the nations over global warming, according to a draft of their final communiqué. The draft communiqué said all the countries firmly agree on the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But it said ``there is currently disagreement on the Kyoto Protocol and its ratification.'' (AP)

"Fudge is now the only way forward for Kyoto" - "The attempts to agree on combating the problems of global warming have been messy, at best. Above all, the refusal by President Bush to accept the Kyoto Protocol – agreed by the US in 1997 – scuppered all attempts at finding an early settlement. The idea that carbon dioxide emissions should be reduced by (a modest) 5 per cent by 2012 now seems hopelessly unrealistic." (Independent)

"U.S. Won't Commit to Climate Plan Timeline" - "GENOA, Italy - The United States said on Sunday that President Bush had made no commitment to proposing an alternative by the autumn to the Kyoto global warming treaty which it rejects.

The White House disputed a statement by Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien that the United States had promised to present a plan in time for the next round of talks on implementing the Kyoto treaty in Marrakesh, Morocco, in October." (Reuters)

"Allies Tell Bush They'll Act Alone on Climate Accord" - "GENOA, Italy, July 21 — As tens of thousands of demonstrators marched toward the center of this ancient city and occasionally clashed with the police, the United States' leading allies told President Bush today that they intended to move ahead and ratify the Kyoto Protocol on global warming by next year, even without American participation." (New York Times)

"Bonn: So just why can't these men agree to save the planet?" - "How a few months, and a new President of the United States, change everything. The countries of the European Union, including Britain, were bending over backwards in Bonn last night to make concessions that might keep afloat the Kyoto Protocol on climate change, which Mr Bush rejected for the United States in March." (Independent)

"Fearing waves will engulf the country, Tuvalu seeks shelter for its people" - "SYDNEY, Australia - The tiny Pacific island country of Tuvalu has asked New Zealand and Australia to provide shelter for its 11,000 people as rising sea levels threaten to engulf their homes. The Tuvaluan government hopes to resettle its entire population before the country's nine low-lying coral atolls become uninhabitable - which could be in just 50 years." (AP) | Tuvalu Sting (Still Waiting For Greenhouse)

July 21-22, 2001

"Degree pushes final frontier" - "Amateur astronomer Martin Griffiths has reached the frontiers of space from within the confines of a lecture theatre by becoming the UK's first graduate in science fiction." (BBC Online)

So what's new? Contemporary science fiction writers abound - see the purported "hazards" of pathetically weak "endocrine disrupters" (now known as "Hormonally Active Agents" [HAAs] because there is no demonstrated "disruption" of the human endocrine system); EMFs; particulates; ETS ("second hand smoke"); pesticides; immunization; chlorine; water fluoridation; biotechnology ... - for a classic example see below for today's collation on the alleged hazards of "enhanced greenhouse" and attempts to preclude "climate change" (in a coupled non-linear chaotic system!).

Looks more like degrees in "science fiction" come in breakfast cereal packs than having to be earned!

"Stossel Attacks Global Warming and Other Media Scares" - “Patrick Henry never said, ‘Give me absolute safety, or give me death,” ABC news commentator John Stossel told a packed Capitol Hill luncheon Wednesday hosted by Tech Central Station and The Heritage Foundation.

The myth-busting, free-market oriented science and consumer reporter attacked the trend in the media to highlight only the scary and the dangerous. “The press doesn’t do a good job. Here the market works against us; it is in our interest to scare you. More of you are going to watch 20/20 if I say, ‘Tonight: Apple’s will kill you,’ than if I say, ‘They are OK.’ So, we tend to scare people,” Stossel said.

He cited exaggerating dangers from such things as air crashes and toxic chemicals, compared with poverty, which overregulation can help create. And he pointed to media coverage of global warming.

“I had read the New York Times and the (Washington) Post and I had thought there was a consensus on that,” he said. “I was astounded to learn that you have this one petition signed by 2,000 scientists (claiming problems with global warming) and it got lots of publicity, and there was no publicity for the petition signed by 17,000 other scientists who said it was not.” (Duane D. Freese, TechCentralStation)

"Warm climate, cold missiles" - "Despite serious scientific disagreement about the extent, causes and impact of global warming, climate alarmists have a pat answer: It doesn't matter. We know enough. We need to stop living the way we do in the United States. "There will be deep uncertainty in the climatic future for a long time," one scientist told the New York Times. "But if you wait until it's diminished to some threshold that you assign and then learn that the problem is severe, it may be too late to do anything about it."

Fair enough. But have you ever noticed how quickly the tune changes when the issue is missile defense, rather than global warming? Then, it seems, we never can have enough evidence. Despite nine successful intercepts since 1999 (vs. two highly publicized flops), we're told missile defense won't work, so why waste the money?" (Edwin Feulner, Washington Times)

"Coming to Blows Over How Valid Science Really Is" - "Sometime in 1962, to paraphrase Virginia Woolf, the world changed. That year a physicist and historian of science, Thomas S. Kuhn, did for conceptions of science what Copernicus and Einstein did for astronomy and physics. He led a revolution, at least if one accepts the analysis in his book, "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions," which has sold over a million copies in 20 languages." (New York Times)

"Better safe than sorry?" - "In the second in its series of summer fringe debates, the UK Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Sciences and Manufactures (RSA) together with The Economist magazine hosted 'Better Safe Than Sorry?', an assessment of contemporary attitudes to risk and their relationship to science, on 12 July 2001.

On the panel were Professor John Adams (University College London) and Professor Philip Stott (School of Oriental and African Studies). To illustrate the topicality of the debate the chairman, Peter Cotgreave of Save British Science, pointed out that the word 'risk' had come up in parliament 13 times the previous day, in different contexts." (Joe Kaplinsky, Sp!ked)

Simple (primitive) is good? Not for longevity: "Tibetans live 31 years longer" - "BEIJING: The average life span of the people in Tibet has increased by 31 years to 67 over the past 50 years, latest results of the fifth national census showed. Local people have their average life span remarkably prolonged from 36 years, upon Tibet's "peaceful liberation" in 1951, to 67 years in 2000, according to statistics of the census, which was carried out late last year." (Times of India)

"Ashcroft's assault on gun laws" - "IN A SERIES of stealth measures and after private communication with the gun lobby, Attorney General John Ashcroft is quietly taking steps to erode the very gun laws he has sworn under oath to defend. All law-abiding Americans should be deeply concerned about Ashcroft's efforts to undermine the existing Brady Law's criminal background check system and dramatically reverse longstanding Justice Department measures to keep guns out of the hands of those who pose the greatest risk to safety and security. We urge the attorney general to reverse the course he is taking and to live up to the commitments he made during his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings." (Edward M. Kennedy and Charles E. Schumer, Boston Globe)

"CAFE's True Cost" - "If doomsday enviros have their way, America's love affair with the SUV may soon be over. A leaked draft report by the National Academy of Sciences is being used to lobby Congress to pass the first increase in gas-mileage requirements since 1984. Greenies have been waiting for years to get SUVs off the road and the global warming scare has provided them with the perfect vehicle. But raising fuel standards in the past has come at a price few want to talk about: Forcing cars to be lighter saves fuel but reduces safety. For the first time, the NAS report acknowledges that connection may have contributed to thousands of deaths in the 1980s." (Wall Street Journal)

"The Leaked Study on CAFE: Why It Doesn’t Justify Higher Fuel Economy Standards" - "This past Monday, the New York Times carried a front-page story on the National Academy of Sciences’ auto fuel-economy study. The study, on what is known as the CAFE program (for Corporate Average Fuel Economy), is expected to be released shortly. But a draft of its executive summary was reportedly leaked to the Times “by a person who wanted to make sure that the report received wide attention.” According to the news story, the report finds that CAFE can be increased with no adverse safety impact. Since the House Energy and Commerce Committee began deliberating CAFE this week, the leak was impeccably timed. Supporters of higher CAFE standards are already claiming that the report is yet another reason for Congress to make CAFE more stringent." (Sam Kazman, CEI)

"Animal tests up to 2.7m a year" - "The Government has admitted that the number of animal experiments has increased in spite of the protests which threatened to shut down some of Britain's laboratories. The row over animal testing is likely to be inflamed by the disclosure that 2.71 million procedures were performed on animals last year, a rise of 58,000 on the previous year." (Independent)

Hmm... just imagine how many animal tests will need to be performed if Euro-greens get their way over testing all compounds, regardless of whether they have been in innocuous use for decades or even centuries.

"Road safety campaign 'may backfire'" - "Government plans to teach school children about safe driving could actually result in an increase in deaths, warn scientists. They say teaching road skills in schools will lead to an increased number of children driving at an early stage and that this in turn could lead to more accidents." (BBC Online)

Yes, for heaven's sake don't teach kids safe driving - it'll wreck our statistics!

"The deadliest diet in the world" - "Millions of adults worldwide are suffering from a virulent strain of diabetes, which can cause obesity and even kill. Are Western foods to blame?" (Independent)

"Schizophrenia 'linked to lack of sun'" - "Some cases of schizophrenia may be caused by mothers being deprived of sunshine during pregnancy, an expert has suggested. It has been known for more than 80 years that there was a seasonal peak of cases in North America and Europe in March." (BBC Online)

"Powder sucks moisture out of thunderstorm" - "WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - In its latest test, a powder promoted as a potential way to weaken hurricanes sucked the moisture out of a thunderstorm Thursday. An airplane dropped $40,000 worth of the Dyn-O-Gel granules into a cloud 10 miles offshore. A television station's weather radar confirmed the cloud then lost moisture." (AP)

"Global summitry exposed" - "EVEN before the fortified fiery circus that is Genoa this weekend, global summitry was well past its sell-by date. The leaders of the Group of Eight major industrial countries and the ever-lengthening caravan of package tour rioters have surely come to deserve one another.

This weekend’s summit was ostensibly about progress towards a further liberalisation of world trade. Good idea, considering how trade growth is clattering down. Measures were discussed to tackle the global challenge of world poverty and the environment. Quite right, considering the world economy is slowing, not growing." (The Scotsman)

"Pinpointing Source Of Resistance In Spread Of Malaria" - "Researchers from the Harvard-Oxford Malaria Genome Diversity Project studying the genome sequence of the most lethal strain of malaria, Plasmodium falciparum, have linked the origin of the parasite to a single progenitor of more recent origin than previously thought. The findings could help explain how malaria spread throughout the human population over the past several thousand years and pinpoint the source of the variety of genetic mutations that makes P.falciparum resistant to anti-malarial drugs." (UniSci)

"Firm to manufacture ICGEB malaria vaccine" - "NEW DELHI: A candidate vaccine developed by the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB) here has got a major boost following a tie-up with a Hyderabad-based company to manufacture the vaccine. With the support of Malaria Vaccine Initiative (MVI) and Bharat Biotech International Limited, our goal of an effective vaccine for India and the world suddenly seems to be possible," Dr V S Chauhan, director ICGEB, said on Thursday." (Times of India)

"Vaccine history demands caution over malaria treatment" - "New malaria vaccines risk triggering a fatal form of the disease if they fail to switch off the immune system after it has cleared the malaria parasite from the body, warns a leading British parasitologist." (BioMedNet News)

"Children infected at 'measles parties'" - "Opponents of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine have set up a network of parents to help each other's children catch illnesses. They believe that by exposing the youngsters to the diseases they will build up their own resistance to the bugs. At least 500 sets of parents are said to be linked by the informal network - and each is ready to attend "measles parties" where families can meet those infected with the illnesses. However the government has warned parents against shunning the vaccination scheme." (BBC Online)

"New autism doubt on mercury in vaccines" - "AN OFFICIAL study used by the Department of Health to claim that there is no link between mercury used in National Health Service vaccines and autism in children is flawed, the author has admitted. The research, by the American government's Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has been repeatedly cited by the department and the Public Health Laboratory Service (PHLS) as evidence that mercury in vaccines is not a cause of autism. The fact that the research does not stand up to scrutiny will cause them acute embarrassment." (Sunday Times)

"Mutant staph foils new antibiotic" - "LONDON — A new type of antibiotic used to fight staph bacteria, introduced little more than a year ago, already has proved ineffective in at least one patient, scientists said in a report that the British journal Lancet rushed into publication." (Newsday)

"Antibiotics under the microscope" - "ANTIBIOTICS do not help if you are suffering from a virus – and most things we call colds, sniffles and flu are viruses. That is the message GPs are selling to patients in the wake of disturbing figures which show a massive over prescription of antibiotics in Australia." (Sunday Tasmanian)

"Scientist calls for testing of more Willamette fish" - "More Willamette River fish need to be tested for toxic chemicals because regulators lack enough information to gauge the health risks of eating fish from the polluted Portland harbor, a federal health official said Thursday.

John Crellin, a senior environmental epidemiologist with the Atlanta-based Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry said the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and harbor landowners should test several species of resident fish before undertaking a Superfund cleanup.

Without the additional data, health officials cannot determine whether fish are accumulating contaminants at levels that threaten human health and wildlife, Crellin said. "There's just not the kind of data we need to do a health assessment. We need more fish." (The Oregonian)

"Council cops blame on leap in Ross River" - "BRISBANE has been struck by a four-fold increase in mosquito-borne viruses this year. The explosion in Ross River Fever and Barmah Forest Virus cases has been traced to a major mozzie outbreak in the city over summer.

Queensland Health records show the number of Ross River cases in Brisbane and its surrounding shires has jumped from 107 to 508 in the past six months. The number of Barmah Forest infections also has increased from 23 to 97.

Brisbane City Council has blamed the jump on seasonal conditions, but Opposition councillors yesterday claimed the Labor administration's underspending on mosquito spraying was a major cause." (Courier-Mail)

"Good roads make good firefighting" - "The greatest fire-fighting problem today is wildfires: forest fires, brush fires and grass fires. These can be put out by an act of God: heavy rain. But people can only put them out by removing the fuel supply, allowing them to burn until they run out of fuel. This can work over a large area or a small one." (Seattle Times)

"Environment paying the price for energy" - "EDMONTON - Communities and environmental groups want a moratorium on the export of energy from Alberta saying it's ruining the environment and draining the province's lakes." (CBC)

"BP: a friend of the earth?" - "A fund holding shares in oil and pharmaceutical companies is unlikely to meet most people's definition of an environmentally or socially sound investment. So it's not surprising that FTSE4Good, new stock market indices intended to track the prices of socially responsible companies which include BP, Shell, GlaxoSmithKline and AstraZeneca, have attracted heavy criticism." (Observer)

"Charles backs future of organic farming" - "The Prince of Wales has endorsed organic farming as the way forward for the troubled agriculture industry. Prince Charles praised the "ground-breaking" work of the Organic Farming Centre in Aberystwyth, mid Wales, and called for more support for organic producers." (BBC Online)

'On yer Charlie! Let 'em eat cake eh? Spoken like a royal of the true Marie Antoinette school (where's those damn guillotines when you need 'em?).

"Exploiting a genetic advantage" - "After more than 18 years at the sharp end of international biotechnology research, Jilly Evans, PhD, has one heartfelt message for New Zealand: do not ban genetic engineering. "I want to be an advocate for the thoughtful use of genetics," says Evans.

Her global perspective is that the potential benefits of biotechnology are virtually limitless - and countries like the United States are already working them hard. With the right controls, she says, biotech can offer unheard-of advances in health care and commercial opportunities spinning off agriculture, horticulture and forestry." (New Zealand Herald)

"German surgeons transplant stem cells into heart" - "ROSTOCK, Germany: German surgeons have transplanted bone marrow stem cells into the heart of a victim of cardiac arrest in what they said was a world first. The procedure aimed to spur new tissue growth in the areas affected by the heart attack, which no other therapy developed thus far can accomplish, the University of Rostock in northern Germany said. Clinic director Gustav Steinhoff said it would take months before it could be determined whether the stem cells actually spur new tissue growth." (Times of India)

"Rethink on GM products urged" - "MIKE Calvert, chief executive of the Royal Agricultural Society of England, has called for a rethink on genetically modified crops and associated foods. Calvert, formerly director of Britain’s biggest farming operation, the Co-op, said this week that without access to the responsible use of science and technology the industry could be left "dead in the water." (The Scotsman)

"Group pickets Loblaws for not labelling genetically modified food" - "TORONTO - Grocery shopping will be a learning experience for Loblaws customers across Canada on Saturday when a lobby group pickets stores to raise awareness about genetically altered foods.

The Council of Canadians has planned pickets outside Loblaws stores in 21 cities between Vancouver, Toronto and Saint John, N.B., to educate consumers about genetically modified food and pressure the grocery conglomerate to support the labelling of products made with altered ingredients." (CP)

"Biotech splits firm's personality" - "It must be strange living the double life of a Monsanto official these days. The grouchy giant of public opinion has caused a shift in the company's corporate behaviour. The global backlash against agricultural biotechnology has seen Monsanto dumped by its corporate parent, some of its present products threatened and its future products under assault. It leaves company officials in the position of believing in, being inspired by and celebrating the company's biotech virility, while having to treat their products like a potentially toxic substance." (Western Producer)

"Concerns raised about GM wheat crops" - "REGINA - Some Canadian grain farmers and health activists have called on the federal government to prevent the introduction of genetically modified wheat. Several Canadian groups have written a letter to the prime minister with their request." (CBC)

"Commentary: Biotech Food Fears Unfounded; FDA Tests Show Genetically Altered Corn Hasn't Triggered Allergies" - "Opponents of biotech food have come up with another false alarm. The Food and Drug Administration says the people who claimed they suffered allergenic reactions to genetically engineered StarLink corn were wrong. None of their blood samples revealed antibodies to the Cry9c protein engineered into StarLink. It's yet another blow to the credibility of the anti-biotech activists, whose most effective biotech `fear factor' has been the possibility of allergies triggered by new crops or foods." (Dayton Daily News)

"Sask. axes GMO funding" - "Alternative crops will replace genetically modified ones as the research focus shifts at Saskatoon's Crop Development Centre over the next two years. The shift follows a review in January by Saskatchewan Agriculture's Agriculture Development Fund. It reviewed its five-year funding to CDC and adjusted its programs. Abdul Jalil, director of Saskatchewan Agriculture's research branch, said gene transformation is now less of a priority than the development of crops like herbs and spices." (Western Producer)

"Biotech In The Third World: A Hostage Of Eco-Propaganda" - "The United Nations' recent intervention in the great debate over genetically-modified foods has provided a welcome boost to the embattled advocates of the technology. Just a few weeks before the UN Development Program came out touting the benefits of GM crops for the developing world, biotech supporters had been pounding out the same message at an industry gathering in San Diego, California.

But where UN officials argued that Western-generated fears about biotech should not prevent the developing world from capitalizing on the technology, industry advocates say that this opposition has already put a crimp in research funding and closed borders to exported GMO products. Environmental groups like Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth, they charged, are standing in the way of scientific advances which could help meet the food needs of 1.3 billion people who live on less than one dollar a day." (AFP)

This week sees the Bonn iteration of climate hysteria, CoP6, MkII, part C (or whatever...). Inevitably there will be significant coverage of this non-event and a lot of items will end up here. In deference to those who recognise this as an irrelevant pain-in-the-butt, I'll try to keep climate crapola (and rational pieces) in a separate section at the end of the day's postings. Here's today's instalment: -- BH

"In Bonn, Victory for U.S. Resolve In a Climate Reeking of Deja Vu" - "BONN, Germany, July 21 – For those of us who attended part one of the COP-6 conference, held last November in the Hague, part two here in this former German capital is, as Yogi Berra put it, déjà vu all over again.

The difference this time is that the American delegation – half as large as it was in the Netherlands – isn’t negotiating. President Bush rejected the Kyoto Protocol as “fatally flawed” in March, and his representative here, Undersecretary of State Paula Dobriansky, has said, loud and clear, that the U.S. “will not ratify” the treaty and will not offer new proposals. By displaying clear resolve, the Americans have made a deep impression here – one highly beneficial to U.S. foreign policy and to the world economy as well." (James K. Glassman, TechCentralStation)

"World has 15 years to stop global warming" - "THE world has no more than 15 years to start cutting greenhouse gas emissions if it is to stand a chance of curbing global warming, one of the United Nations’ most senior climate scientists said yesterday." (The Times)

"EU 'rescue operation' for climate talks" - "In a frank admission of the difficulties confronting the climate talks here, the European Union environment commissioner says they are a rescue effort. The commissioner, Margot Wallstrom, said saving the climate treaty was the priority. Ministers from almost 180 governments have until 22 July to conclude a deal finalising the treaty, the Kyoto Protocol." (BBC Online)

"Compromise Still Eludes Global Warming Talks" - "BONN, Germany - The Kyoto accord on global warming hung in the balance on Saturday as many ministers at a meeting in Bonn said further talks in October would be needed to resolve remaining differences among the 185 nations." (Reuters)

"European delegates want Americans on board for climate-change treaty" - "BONN, Germany - With Washington maintaining it has no plans to rejoin the Kyoto Protocol, European delegates said Friday that any meaningful treaty on climate change can be effective only if the Americans come back on board." (AP)

"US threat to stymie Kyoto deal" - "The United States has warned nations negotiating to legally initiate the Kyoto Protocol on climate change that it will stymie the process if it thinks the deal could harm its interests. Signalling that the US may not continue sitting on the sidelines in Bonn, the Under-Secretary of State for Global Affairs, Paula Dobriansky, told the conference that the US did not intend to prevent others going ahead with the protocol, "as long as they do not harm legitimate US interests." (The [Melbourne] Age)

"Japan urges climate deal" - "Japanese officials have called for concessions to be made to the United States, which has rejected the Kyoto treaty on climate change. The Japanese - who are crucial to the success of Kyoto - have already begun to talk of it being premature to seek agreement at the current round of talks in Bonn." (BBC Online)

"Time Running Out for Global Warming Deal" - "BONN, Germany - Delegates at a conference seeking to save the troubled Kyoto Protocol said Saturday a conclusive deal looked increasingly unlikely, with new talks probably needed in the autumn to resolve differences." (Reuters)

"Greens fear new climate talks are more hot air" - "Across the road from the Maritim Hotel, where delegates are sweating it out in climate change negotiations, is a huge ball of ice with the continents of the world carved out in red. It was placed there by The World Wide Fund for Nature as a challenge to ministers arriving on Thursday for the make-or-break weekend talks to set the ground rules for ratifying the Kyoto protocol. So will the Earth melt before the politicians get their act together? It is going to be an even-way bet." (Sydney Morning Herald)

"Global warming talks put Bush under pressure" - "George Bush is becoming increasingly isolated this weekend in his attempt to kill the international negotiations to control potentially catastrophic global warming." (Independent)

"Degrees of Uncertainty in Climate Studies - One Study Says Surge in Global Warming Likely; Another Highlights Unknowns" - "As President Bush and other U.S. officials air their differences this week with European allies over global warming, a study released yesterday concludes there is a high probability the Earth's average temperature will rise between 4 and 7 degrees Fahrenheit over the coming century.

Another study published in Science, however, cautions that future emissions of greenhouse gases and their resulting environmental and economic consequences "are subject to large uncertainties." The study by scientists specializing in global change at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of North Carolina challenged the U.N. panel's forecast of rising temperatures over the coming century." (Washington Post)

"Tuvalu's global warming fear" - "As Western governments debate the fate of the Kyoto protocol, citizens of the tiny South Pacific nation of Tuvalu have asked Australia and New Zealand to provide them with shelter when their country becomes uninhabitable as a result of rising sea levels." (Independent)

See "Tuvalu Sting", "Flogging a Corpse" and "Rivers of Ice" by John L Daly (Still Waiting for Greenhouse)

"US Shares Kyoto Goals, But No G8 Deal on Pact" - "GENOA - The United States said on Saturday it shared the objectives of the Kyoto accord on global warming but wanted to keep its options open on how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, a Japanese official said. Italian and other G8 officials said, however, that the United States and Europe still remained far apart on how to tackle climate change, the subject of a slow-moving conference under way in Bonn, Germany." (Reuters)

"Compromise near at climate talks; Deal on forests bridges gap as pressure builds on Bush" - "BONN, Germany, July 22 — The chairman of negotiations aimed at salvaging the Kyoto climate accord announced a compromise late Saturday intended to break months of deadlock and said he expected the 15-page deal to be presented to the leaders of the Group of Eight industrial nations before they ended their summit Sunday in Italy. The breakthrough appeared to come after negotiators decided not to take a hard line against the United States, leaving what they hoped was enough room for a future administration to reverse President Bush’s opposition to the treaty." (MSNBC)

"Kyoto approaches 'moment of truth'" - "The head of the European Union delegation at the climate talks here says negotiations must soon end, because the moment of truth is approaching." (BBC Online)

"U.S. Sees Agreement on Need to Cut Greenhouse Gases" - "GENOA - The United States expects that leaders from Group of Eight nations will state the need to cut greenhouse gases in a joint summit communique to be issued on Sunday, a White House official said. "I would be surprised if we didn't" include a line in the final communique agreeing on the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, a senior administration official said. "Certainly that was the consensus," he said. "We are all in agreement on the need to reduce concentrations of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere. We are all agreed it's a serious issue, we are all agreed it's going to take a global effort to do so." (Reuters)

"Climate talks at risk over 'sinks'" - "A MAJOR disagreement over the role of forests and farmland in countering global warming threatened yesterday to derail negotiations to save the Kyoto protocol on climate change." (The Times)

"Trees at root of climate row" - "Differences over the role of trees in tackling global warming are emerging as the main obstacle to an agreement at the international climate talks in Bonn." (BBC Online)

"Forests cast shadow over climate talks" - "Canada has become the biggest impediment to agreement on the Kyoto Protocol to halt climate change, with the US having withdrawn from the talks. These resumed in Bonn on Thursday, with Canada demanding the right to meet its targets for greenhouse gas reductions partly through improved management of existing forests." (New Scientist)

"Schroeder eyeing Bonn accords as basis for broader agreements" - "GENOA, July 20 - German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder told Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi on Friday that the U.N. climate talks in Bonn should establish core international rules for fighting global warming as the basis for broader agreements on implementing the 1997 Kyoto Protocol." (Kyodo)

"Trittin to Seek Compromise with Japan on Climate Change" - "BONN. Germany's Environment Minister Jürgen Trittin said on Thursday that he was prepared to meet Japan halfway at the climate conference in Bonn in the interest of achieving a satisfactory overall result.

But Trittin, a member of Germany's environmentalist Green party, stressed at the same time that the credibility of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which commits industrialized nations to cutting emissions of greenhouse gases, should not be undermined." (Handelsblatt.com)

How does one "undermine" that which is not extant?

"Australia announces Kyoto proposal" - "Australia has suggested that developing nations provide a plan for minimising greenhouse gasses before they receive money from a special climate fund to be established under the proposed Kyoto Treaty on global warming." (Radio Australia)

"EU opposes Australia's greenhouse targets suggestion" - "Talks to breathe life into the faltering Kyoto Treaty on global warming are off to a slow start in Germany, where the European Union has expressed its opposition to a suggestion by Australia and others to change the manner in which countries can discount their forests against industrial pollution." (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

"Chirac presses Canada to accept French position on Kyoto climate treaty" - "GENOA, Italy - French President Jacques Chirac urged Canada's prime minister Friday to accept ratification of the Kyoto climate change accords without changes." (AP)

"Canada to ratify climate treaty" - "Hopes of a successful conclusion to the climate talks here have been boosted by Canada's declaration of support for the global warming treaty, which the United States has rejected. Canada's statement of "unequivocal" backing for the Kyoto Protocol distances its government from the Bush administration's position. But Canada is still pressing for significant practical concessions." (BBC Online)

The graphic on this piece suggests that the `peas were nice enough to include Australia in a rational nation trio (called "climate killers" by the `peas) but their rendition of our flag leaves a little to be desired - click here for a true reproduction. Regardless, thanks for including us in such illustrious company guys.

"Canada backs Kyoto protocol, Europeans seek rescue of global warming pact" - "BONN - Canada strongly backed a proposed treaty against global warming on Friday, dispelling any notion that its support depends on the United States and rejecting U.S. arguments that the pact is flawed.

"We do not believe the Kyoto Protocol is flawed, as the Americans have said," Deputy Prime Minister Herb Gray told a news conference shortly after arriving at the 178-country meeting to discuss the treaty's rules. "We certainly disagree with them on this. We will ratify the protocol without the United States." (AP)

"Canada's black eye" - "The world can't understand why we won't ratify Kyoto, says municipal leader JACK LAYTON. Neither can he." (Globe and Mail)

"Kyoto won't wreck economy: Gray" - "OTTAWA -- Deputy Prime Minister Herb Gray is rejecting the Alberta environment minister's claim that the Kyoto Protocol would destroy the Canadian economy, insisting that it would instead produce new efficiencies and opportunities." (CP)

"Halting global warming is cheapest option" - "Acting soon will cost less than letting the temperature rise - and delay will be catastrophic, UN expert says" (Guardian)

"Developing countries 'ignored' on climate" - "The head of the United Nations Environment Programme (Unep) says the climate talks in Bonn risk ignoring the people most affected by global warming. Dr Klaus Toepfer, Unep's director, said developing countries were not being heard as they needed to be." (BBC Online)

"Storm threat to US coastline grows" - "The Atlantic's "hurricane alley" is set to become far more dangerous over the next 40 years. An increased frequency of seriously destructive storms is generating new threats to the Caribbean and to America's Atlantic seaboard from Florida to New York, meteorologists said yesterday." (Guardian)

"Climate Talks Chair Sees Hope for Kyoto Deal" - "BONN, Germany - A deal to save the troubled Kyoto Protocol could be reached in the next few days, the chairman of crunch talks on the climate change treaty said early on Saturday as negotiations entered their penultimate day." (Reuters)

"Deal climate hazy at global-warming talks" - "BONN -- The 180-nation United Nations Climate Change Conference limped along Friday with little visible sign of progress on how to combat global warming, despite a Sunday deadline for an agreement." (Chicago Tribune)

"Climate Talks Head Offers Compromise, Eyes Deal" - "BONN, Germany - The chairman of crunch talks aimed at salvaging the Kyoto climate accord presented the 185 delegations late on Saturday with a compromise deal intended to break months of deadlock and said they were making progress." (Reuters)

"Global Warming Talks Progress" - "BONN, Germany - Talks to rescue a treaty on combatting global warming moved into their decisive phase Saturday after making major progress in drafting the final negotiating positions - including what appeared to be significant concessions to the United States." (AP)

"Old hurdle bedevils climate conference; Issue that tripped up the Hague talks is back again" - "A row about the use of "loopholes" in the Kyoto protocol which allow planting trees and managing existing forests to count towards the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions overshadowed the first day of ministerial negotiations in Bonn yesterday." (Guardian)

"Global Warming Divides World Leaders" - "GENOA, Italy - Under siege, President Bush and other world leaders defended global trade and economic policies that sparked a second day of searing protests. Their talks failed Saturday to bridge yawning divides over climate change policies." (AP)

"Kyoto meeting clears procedural hurdle" - "Efforts to rescue the United Nation's Kyoto Protocol on global warming have cleared a key procedural hurdle at a meeting in the German city of Bonn. Environment ministers have adopted a slim-line negotiating format, in which 35 countries will debate the big issues and then report back as necessary to the plenary session." (Radio Australia)

"Delegates push to save Kyoto agreement" - "BONN, Germany -- Delegates from 178 nations trying to salvage the Kyoto global warming treaty showed major progress Saturday, under pressure to reach a compromise deal to present to the summit of eight powerful countries meeting in Italy." (AP)

"Posturing over Kyoto" - "BONN -- Last November's knock-down, drag-out debates extended beyond the U.S. courts wrestling with the outcome of a U.S. presidential election. A continent away from last fall's electoral contest, and with the prospect of an anti-treaty president palpably in the air, a U.N. negotiating session on the "global warming treaty" ground to an equally acrimonious halt in The Hague. Global warming was one of few matters on which the election offered a stark contrast. Both outcomes would impact which ideology would dominate the world's largest consumer of energy – and thus greatest emitter of energy use emissions, or "greenhouse gases." Today the results of both contests meet face to face." (Chris Horner, Washington Times)

"Confusion over Kyoto at G-8 summit as little apparent headway made" - "GENOA, Italy - The world's most powerful leaders painted a confusing picture Saturday of the degree of compromise on the Kyoto protocol on global warming." (CP)

"Countries Look to Save Climate Pact" - "BONN, Germany - Some 180 nations launched a ``rescue operation'' for a treaty against global warming on Friday, redoubling efforts to salvage an accord they hope the United States will join." (AP)

"Japan Stuck in Middle on Kyoto" - "GENOA, Italy — If he follows Washington, he will anger European leaders and perhaps kill a treaty on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. If he goes with Europe, he will ruffle Japan's most powerful ally. What is Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to do? Wait, most likely." (AP)

"Japan Still Hopes U.S. Will Warm Toward Kyoto Pact" - "GENOA - Japan said on Saturday it was still intent on trying to persuade the United States to join the Kyoto accord on global warming when Group of Eight (G8) leaders discuss climate change at a summit in Genoa." (Reuters)

"U.S. Key To Kyoto" - "Though the United States has been clear it has no plans to rejoin the Kyoto Protocol, European delegates on Friday said any treaty that hopes to combat climate change can only be effective if the Americans come back on board." (CBS)

"Last-Ditch Effort on to Save Kyoto Climate Talks" - "BONN, Germany - A last-ditch effort got under way on Sunday to salvage negotiations on the Kyoto climate accord after the Dutch minister chairing United Nations talks in Bonn issued a draft compromise to break months of deadlock. President Bush told leaders of the Group of Eight industrial powers in Genoa on Saturday that the world's biggest polluter still had no intention of adopting the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which would force states to cut emissions of the industrial greenhouse gases blamed for global warming." (Reuters)

"Thailand expected to ratify Kyoto Protocol next year" - "Thailand is fully committed to keeping the Kyoto Protocol on climate change alive, a senior environmental official said as the difficult negotiation on the protocol started in Bonn." (Bangkok Post)

See the list of countries that have ratified the silly thing (current to May 2001, PDF file)

July 20, 2001

"Nobel, Schmobel; Who Died and Made Them Experts?" - "Democratic Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware pooh-poohed the recent successful missile defense test saying, "50 Nobel laureates and others have said this is not a real-world test." But the Nobel Laureates never said any such thing and, even if they did, their comments shouldn't carry any special weight." (Steve Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"Plants are not pesticides" - "A new U.S. EPA rule that says pest-resistant genetically modified plants should be regulated like pesticides is anti-consumer and anti-environment." (Henry I. Miller, National Post) | EPA Issues Rules for Regulating Crops (AP) | EPA: Plant-Incorporated Protectant Rules Affirmed By Administration; Comments Invited On Supplemental Notice And Report (U.S. Newswire)

"Look Out! The Precautionary Principle May Soon Be in a State Near You" - "In these times of jittery stock prices and almost daily announcements of new layoffs by high-tech firms, it would be easy to conclude that the biggest threat to American predominance in science and technology comes from the current economic slowdown.

Think again. What poses a far more lethal danger to America's technological prowess is a little-noticed doctrine that has already taken hold in Europe and now threatens to gain footing on these shores. That doctrine is the "precautionary principle," and if it isn't seen for what it is and stopped dead in its tracks, it will do irrevocable harm to the world's most scientifically advanced nation." (Bonner R. Cohen, TechCentralStation)

"US EPA seeks public comment for new arsenic standard" - "WASHINGTON - The US Environmental Protection Agency yesterday asked for public comment through Oct. 31 on a new arsenic-in-tap-water standard before it decides the issue early next year." (Reuters)

"Food firms 'fail hygiene tests'" - "More than a third of all restaurants and catering establishments in Scotland broke basic food hygiene rules last year, according to a report. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) said that of the 20,825 catering premises inspected by local authorities last year, 7,781 infringed hygiene laws." (BBC Online)

"Food irradiation OK, with controls" - "A controversial proposal to establish Australia's first food irradiation plant in southeast Queensland has moved a step closer. The Australian and New Zealand Food Authority has released a draft report, in which it says irradiation of some foods is safe under strict controls. A medical irradiation company, Steritech, has sought approval to treat a range of nuts and herbs, and build a new plant on the outskirts of Brisbane. While food irradiation is not banned in Australia, no approvals have been granted, and imports of irradiated foodstuffs are not permitted." (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

"Clot risks of newer pills confirmed" - "Scientists have confirmed that women taking so-called "third generation" contraceptive pills are more likely to get potentially-fatal blood clots. But experts stress women should not abandon their contraceptives and risk unwanted pregnancies, but seek medical advice and consider switching to another brand." (BBC Online)

"Scrapie agent may be behind "mad cow": UK report" - "LONDON, Jul 19 - UK research published on Thursday said that an entrenched sheep disease, scrapie, could have triggered "mad cow" disease, whose human form has killed more than 100 people, primarily in Britain. The government-sponsored study, led by Cambridge University scientist Gabriel Horn, concluded that meat and bone meal (MBM) infected with scrapie may have caused the UK's 1980s outbreak of mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE)." (Reuters)

This one reminds me of the old joke about mathematicians "proving" that all odd integers greater than 2 are prime numbers. It ran along the lines of "3 is prime, 5 is prime - looks good for induction - 7 is prime. Yep, proof by mathematical induction, all odd integers greater than 2 are prime."

In the case above, the U.K. has sheep, some of the sheep have scrapie, scrapie causes BSE.

Has any feeding experiment ever succeeded in transmitting BSE via the oral route? Certainly none published that I can find and I've never heard mention of any such demonstration. The above-mentioned "study" may have some merit, then again...

"Groups Say BSE Detection Program is Flawed" - "A consumer watchdog group says USDA’s program to detect bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) is “plagued with dramatic inconsistencies between states.” For the largest cattle-producing states, there is a 400- to 2,000-fold difference in testing rates for BSE between those with the highest and lowest rates, according to an analysis by Public Citizen and the Government Accountability Project (GAP)." (AgWeb.com)

"CJD risk from eye operations" - "There is a risk that vCJD could be transferred by surgical instruments used in eye operations, scientists have found. The risk could be greater than that posed by instruments used to remove the tonsils - which the Department of Health has recommended should only be used once and then thrown away." (BBC Online)

"Drug company sells public on social anxiety" - " About two years ago, newspaper, magazine and television news stories began popping up across the country about a little-known malady called social-anxiety disorder. Psychiatrists and patient advocates appeared on television shows and in articles explaining that the debilitating form of bashfulness was extremely widespread but easily treatable.

The stories and appearances were part of a campaign, coordinated by a New York public-relations agency, that included pitches to newspapers, radio and TV, and testimonials from advocates and doctors who said social anxiety was America's third-most-common mental disorder, with more than 10 million sufferers.

So successful was the campaign that according to a marketing newsletter, media accounts of social anxiety rose from 50 stories in 1997 and 1998 to more than 1 billion references in 1999 alone." (Washington Post)

"FLY FISHING ELBOW, STOOPER'S BACK, CASTER'S SHOULDER: ANGLERS SUFFER SAME MALADIES AS OTHER WEEKEND WARRIORS" - "COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho -- The sport of fly fishing conjures up images of a solitary angler, wading in a cool, pristine wilderness stream, using guile to entice an unsuspecting fish to bite on his hand-crafted fly. While that image may seem idyllic and serene, a new study by a Duke University Medical Center orthopedic surgeon reveals a more pedestrian truth -- this Zen-like experience with nature often leads to the same maladies experienced by much more competitive sportsmen such as golfers and tennis and baseball players." (Duke University)

"Calif. Selling Off Surplus Power" - "SAN FRANCISCO - Unseasonably cool weather has turned the California power crisis on its head, with recent energy shortages giving way to a glut that's prompted the state to sell excess power at a loss. In some cases, traders say, energy bought at an average of $138 per megawatt is being sold for as little as $1 per megawatt. State officials acknowledged selling excess power over the past week, but disputed the prices. They said the sales are a blip during a long, hot summer and blackouts are still possible if the mercury soars." (AP) | California's New Problem: Sudden Surplus of Energy (New York Times) | AN UNEXPECTEDLY COOL JULY FORCES UNLOADING OF UNNEEDED ELECTRICITY (Mercury News)

"California's Energy... Surplus?" - "Under the headline "California's New Problem: Sudden Surplus of Energy," The New York Times reports in its front page that after months of warnings about power shortages and forced blackouts, an unusually cool July and surprisingly effective conservation efforts have put California in a stunning position: It has so much electricity on its hands that it is selling its surplus into a glutted market.

In fact, state officials said today, after spending much of the winter and spring scrambling to line up new supplies of electricity at a cost of tens of billions of dollars, the agency that is in charge of buying power has actually been selling some back at a loss this week.

In "Just Say 'No' to the Energy Plan," Director of Natural Resources Studies Jerry Taylor predicted an energy glut for California. "Without the guidance of a 'comprehensive national energy strategy,' investors are currently pouring billions into the energy sector," Taylor wrote. "For instance, we're currently in the midst of a power-plant construction boom, with some 90,000 megawatts of new electricity capacity scheduled to come on line by 2002 and a staggering 150,000-200,000 megawatts by 2004. This will not only burst the electricity-price bubble but will probably produce an electricity glut in the near future." (Cato Institute)

"House kills bid to make agency pay NW farmers" - "WASHINGTON -- The House on Wednesday rejected a proposal to strip $200 million from the budget of a federal wildlife protection agency to pay damages to Klamath Basin farmers whose irrigation water was shut off.

The plan, offered by Rep. Wally Herger, R-Calif., failed to clear a procedural hurdle. But it sparked a floor debate over long-term solutions and the federal government's duty to farmers dependent on the Klamath water project.

Herger said he regarded his plan as a form of punishment for the National Marine Fisheries Service. The agency ruled in April that water in the basin should be stored to aid fish protected by the federal Endangered Species Act, rather than released for irrigation.

"Perhaps if we force them to share some of the pain, they would stop to consider the real consequences of reckless actions," said Herger, whose district includes Northern California farms served by the Klamath irrigation project." (The Oregonian)

"Pneumonia bug decoded" - "Streptococcus pneumoniae, the bug responsible for pneumonia, is the latest organism to have its complete genetic sequence decoded." (BBC Online)

"Australia probes costs, risks of growing GM crops" - "CANBERRA - Australia launched an investigation yesterday to find out if it could safely and economically grow genetically modified crops alongside traditional crops." (Reuters) | Study to examine GM food mixing (The Age)

"Playing God in the Shadows" - "NO SOONER HAD the urbane English lord chairing an international conference about tinkering with genes in food brought an end to the meeting in Bangkok last week, than environmentalists began holding court with journalists at the back of the hall. "It's just a show," said Jan van Aken, a cell biologist with Greenpeace International. "Is the world safer because we discussed biotechnology here? I don't think so." (South China Morning Post)

"Tree Alterations Hurt Environment" - "BURLINGTON, Jul 18, 2001 -- An activist organization has released a report outlining dangers potentially wrought by genetically modified trees, adding to the growing concern over the bio-impacts of such activities.

The Native Forest Network's report says biotech companies, governments, universities and timber interests are promoting dangerous alterations of trees that will boost profits but also unleash a myriad of unintended environmental repercussions.

The report, "From Native Forests to Franken-Trees, The Global Threat of Genetically Engineered Trees," outlines NFN's objections to genetic modifications." (United Press International via COMTEX)

This week sees the Bonn iteration of climate hysteria, CoP6, MkII, part C (or whatever...). Inevitably there will be significant coverage of this non-event and a lot of items will end up here. In deference to those who recognise this as an irrelevant pain-in-the-butt, I'll try to keep climate crapola (and rational pieces) in a separate section at the end of the day's postings. Here's today's instalment: -- BH

"Blind Faith in Climate Change Dogma Drives Kyoto Protocol" - "The United Nations panel on the environment is currently discussing world climatic changes in Bonn, but are its premisses appropriate?

Apocalyptic visions of the future are nothing new. For centuries, many of the world's leading thinkers have predicted imminent catastrophe unless we radically changed our ways. Although most of these forecasts were later proven false, such setbacks have never discouraged subsequent generations of alarmists.

Plato and Euripides can be forgiven for their worries that population growth would cause widespread famine.

We can also excuse Thomas Malthus who, in 1798, predicted disaster for humankind if we continued to expand.

However, the United Nations, and other modern day eco-catastrophisers, should know better than to continue to issue such grim climate forecasts. Recent events have shown that even late 20th century-predictions are already hopelessly out of date." (Mail & Guardian (Johannesburg))

"8 Months Later, Talks on Climate Treaty Restart, Now in Bonn" - "BONN, July 19 — Nearly eight months after formal talks over a proposed climate treaty fell apart in The Hague, negotiations resumed here today in nearly as tangled and troubled a state." (New York Times)

"Bonn Climate Meeting Is Crucial for U.S." - "BONN, Germany, July 19, 2001 – Delegates representing the 178 nations here at the big conference on global warming appear resigned , at last, to the fact that the United States is not going to change its position on the Kyoto Protocol. President Bush rejected the agreement in March, calling it “fatally flawed.” (James K. Glassman, TechCentralStation)

"The Heat is On - The UN Climate Summit in Bonn" - "Environment ministers from 180 countries are meeting in Bonn to try to rescue the climate talks on global warming from the brink of failure. There is a lot at stake: If they fail in Bonn, the Kyoto protocol will not be worth the paper it is written on. And perhaps more importantly, the political momentum that Kyoto set in motion will be lost." (Deutsche Welle)

"Beckett's Kyoto 'concern'" - "The UK's Environment Secretary Margaret Beckett has spoken of the "cautious mood" surrounding the prospects of getting the Kyoto protocol on global warming back on track. Speaking as 180 environment ministers from across the world begin meeting at a summit in Bonn, Mrs Beckett said there was "great concern" about Kyoto's future." (BBC Online)

"Pressure on Hill at climate meeting" - "Europe should accept more flexibility on climate change controls during this week's meeting in Germany, Environment Minister Robert Hill said yesterday. He said this was important for the success of the now shaky Kyoto agreement. But Australia was under pressure at the Bonn meeting, with organisers sceptical about Australia's presence and suspicious it might be there to undermine it." (Canberra Times)

"Rift over 'sinks' at climate talks" - "MAJOR differences became apparent at the climate talks in Bonn yesterday over proposals to allow countries to count the growing of trees and crops against their target for reducing emissions of greenhouse gases." (Telegraph)

"EU set for clash over climate" - "The European Union was on Thursday poised to clash with its main industrial partners at the talks on global warming over the role of forests in tackling climate change. Differences on the use of forests to absorb carbon from the atmosphere are set to dominate the agenda in Bonn, where ministers gathered on Thursday to begin three days of high-level talks on finalising the Kyoto protocol on climate change." (Financial Times)

"Clueless on Global Warming" - "For the second time in six weeks, President Bush, having rejected the Kyoto Protocol on climate change, is headed to Europe without a strategy on global warming, an issue of deep concern to America's allies. European leaders will try to use the forthcoming Group of Eight summit meeting of industrialized nations in Genoa to persuade Mr. Bush to relax his opposition to Kyoto. Meanwhile, environmental ministers from a wider array of countries will be making the same case to Paula Dobriansky, the assistant secretary of state representing the administration at climate change talks in Bonn. The Europeans should not get their hopes up. Mr. Bush described Kyoto last month as "fatally flawed" because it would damage the American economy, and he has not changed his mind." (New York Times editorial)

"Australia remains committed to Kyoto agreement: Hill" - "Australia has repeated its commitment to the Kyoto Treaty on global warming at a conference of ministers in Germany, saying that the current uncertainty over its future should not stop meaningful negotiations taking place." (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

"Hill keeps optimistic about Kyoto accord" - "The federal government remains hopeful of a breakthrough on the Kyoto Protocol on climate change by the end of the world talks in Bonn this weekend." (AAP)

"Australia backflips on Kyoto Protocol" - "AUSTRALIA has hardened its resistance to the Kyoto Protocol, prompting green groups to angrily question why Australian delegates have bothered turning up to climate change negotiations in Germany. Australia's "particularly climate-unfriendly behaviour" earned it the 'Fossil of the Day' award yesterday from international environment groups in Bonn." (The Australian)

"Catholic leaders berate Australia on Kyoto stance" - "SYDNEY - Australian Catholic leaders have added their voice to calls for Canberra to ratify the 1997 Kyoto pact, and urged the government to show solidarity with poor nations and island states that may suffer from climate change." (Reuters)

"Kyoto Climate Pact Flounders After U.S. Rejection" - "BONN, Germany - The fate of the world's first coordinated attempt to curb the pollution blamed for global warming hangs in the balance at talks in Germany following the United States rejection of the Kyoto accord." (Reuters)

"Countries Spar Over Global Warming" - "BONN, Germany — With the United States out of the picture, other nations were deeply divided Thursday on how to salvage a global warming treaty, with Europe resisting attempts led by Japan to introduce new loopholes. As high-level delegations launched four days of negotiations here, European nations were intent on showing they can bring the Kyoto accord into force even without the Americans — while the U.S. stance gave Japan greater leverage to seek a better deal." (AP)

"UPDATE - US negotiator in Bonn says won't ratify Kyoto" - "BONN, Germany - The United States' chief negotiator at UN climate talks in Bonn told delegates yesterday that Washington would not ratify the Kyoto accord on global warming, whatever the result of the meeting." (Reuters)

"Bid to Save Kyoto Climate Pact Despite Hostile U.S." - "BONN, Germany - Environment ministers fought to salvage the Kyoto accord Thursday in Bonn despite the unbending hostility of the United States, the world's biggest polluter, to the 1997 pact against global warming." (Reuters)

"U.S. to present alternative to Kyoto Protocol at COP7" - "ROME, July 19 - U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said Thursday that the United States is ready to propose an alternative to the 1997 global warming pact at a U.N. conference scheduled for October." (Kyodo)

"Fears for climate deal" - "The leader of the UK delegation to the climate talks here has admitted her fears that they may end in failure." (BBC Online)

"Japan PM seeks to defuse Kyoto pact "misunderstanding" - "GENOA - Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi sought yesterday to defuse criticism that Japan was dragging its feet on a global pact to curb environmentally destructive climate changes, saying his intention had been misunderstood." (Reuters)

"Koizumi says Japan committed to 2002 goal for Kyoto pact" - "TOKYO, July 19 - Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said Thursday that Japan is committed to the 2002 goal for putting into force the Kyoto Protocol on combating global warming." (Kyodo)

"Kyoto climate deal hopes grow" - "BONN, Germany -- Hopes are being expressed at a climate summit in Bonn that the Kyoto Protocol can be implemented without the U.S. on board." (CNN)

"Kyoto deal hopes fade" - "BONN, Germany -- Hopes of a deal being struck to salvage the Kyoto protocol at a climate summit in Bonn have been thrown into fresh turmoil." (CNN)

"Canada backs new climate proposal" - "OTTAWA -- Canada and three allies have put forward a new proposal they hope will break the impasse in climate negotiations under way in Bonn. The proposal, backed by Russia, Japan and Australia, would allow countries to individually negotiate credits for the contribution their forests make to the fight against climate change." (CP)

"Canada to reject Kyoto pact if no emission-reduction compromise - report" - "MONTREAL - The government will not ratify the 1997 Kyoto accord on global warming unless its gets favorable terms for reaching the deal's emission-reduction targets, the Globe and Mail reported, citing a senior government official." (AFX)

"Climate Talks Move Into High Gear" - "BONN, Germany - Deep divisions emerged at negotiations on how to rescue a global warming treaty as government ministers entered the talks Thursday, with European nations opposing a drive led by Japan to loosen carbon emissions controls." (AP)

"Japan May Bury Kyoto Treaty" - "Japan, Canada, and Australia are undermining talks on a treaty limiting emissions of "greenhouse gases" with new demands, environmental activists charged today, according to the Associated Press.

After the United States disappointed delegations by renouncing the 1997 Kyoto climate pact without offering an alternative, efforts to curb emissions that some say are heating up the atmosphere are running into further problems.

With the United States standing aside, Japan's role is crucial. The accord can only enter into force if backed by 55 countries, representing 55 percent of the industrialized world's emissions. If Japan pulls out, the second target can't be reached.

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

"U.S., Italy Pledge Joint Research on Climate Change" - "WASHINGTON, July 19 -- The following was released today by the White House:

Recognizing the need to draw on sound science and the power of technology to reduce the uncertainty associated with future global climate and environmental change, the United States and Italy have agreed to undertake joint research in several critical areas, including:

-- Atmospheric Studies Related to Climate;
-- Low Carbon Technologies;
-- Global and Regional Climate Modeling; and
-- Carbon Cycle Research." (U.S. Newswire)

"Hydro-electricity plan aims to tackle climate change" - "The British government is set to announce plans to boost hydro-electricity generation to help meet climate change targets. The plan will be announced on Friday by Brian Wilson in his first policy move since becoming energy minister." (Financial Times)

"FEATURE-Kyoto or not, U.S. group to trade greenhouse gases" - "NEW YORK, July 19 - As diplomats weigh the future of the ailing Kyoto global warming pact in Bonn through next week, a group of U.S.-based traders in the heartland aims to help cut greenhouse gas emissions by creating a market for the right to produce them." (Reuters)

"Carbon dioxide: An exhaustive look" - "When it comes to defining and measuring global warming, scientific and political agreement is hard to come by. Some scientists say the human use of fossil fuels is releasing too much carbon dioxide (C02) into the air, amplifying the "greenhouse effect" that is warming the earth, melting glacial ice, and causing more wildfires and wetter winters. Other scientists argue that the earth is in a normal, cyclical warming trend; that the temperature fluctuations we find now are well within the range of changes documented through core samples dating back several million years." (Christian Science Monitor)

"Hot, Hot, Hot; Scientists Bet on How Much the Globe Will Warm" - "July 19 — There's a 90 percent chance Earth's temperature will climb between 3 and 9 degrees this century, an international team of scientists reported today, for the first time placing odds on a steamy range of numbers released by the United Nations." (ABCNews.com) | Earth Likely to Warm 4-7 Degrees by 2100 (NCAR news release)

"Researchers have hot expectations" - "Scientists have narrowed down the likely increase in global temperatures this century - assuming nothing is done to curb the emission of greenhouse gases. They have refined the estimates produced by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and expect the rise to be between 1.7 and 4.9 degrees Celsius." (BBC Online)

"Global floods, droughts to increase" - "THE Earth is heading for more frequent cycles of flood and droughts, more severe storms, worsening poverty in the countries that are already the poorest, and mass migrations of man and animals. This grim picture was painted by scientists to the politicians deliberating over a treaty on climate change and negotiating on how to curtail the gases that contribute to global warming." (AP)

"Scientists: Monster hurricanes could hit U.S." - "MIAMI, Florida -- Weather researchers think the evidence is now clear: A major shift in the climate has taken place that has brought about an increase in major hurricanes. The period of heightened activity could last for decades, and unleash a catastrophic storm on the United States, according to meteorologists." (CNN)

"NOAA SCIENTISTS SAY ACTIVE HURRICANE ERA WILL CONTINUE" - "July 19, 2001 — NOAA Scientists say many of the hurricane seasons in the next two or three decades may be much more active than they were in the 1970s through early 1990s. And, they think they know why." (NOAA News)

"Kyoto SOS from Takuu islanders" - "A tiny, south Pacific group of islands is appealing via the internet to world leaders meeting in Bonn for help in their battle against the effects of global warming. Rising waters threaten the existence of the islanders of Takuu just east of Papua New Guinea." (BBC Online)

"Marine methane consumed by consortia of bacteria" - "University Park, Pa. – Methane consuming archaeobacteria and sulfate-reducing bacteria, acting together, are responsible for consuming most of the methane in the world's oceans, according to a team of microbiologists and geoscientists." (Penn State) | Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute release

July 19, 2001

"Don't worry: Climate changes naturally" - "Our climate is changing. It always has and always will. Let's not worry — or worse, panic — about it. Cooler heads and higher temperatures are better than the reverse." (Steve Milloy, USA Today)

"Let's clear the air over Kyoto - it's simply daft economics and dubious science" - "When Europe was told in March that President Bush had 'no interest' in implementing the Kyoto protocol, it went hysterical. It was worse than his predecessor not having had sex with 'that woman'. 'The Toxic Texan' had blasphemed against good liberal taste and was instantly transmogrified into what one German newspaper has called the 'Climate Killer'." (Philip Stott, The Times)

"School Pesticide Measure Is Attacked House GOP Vows to Kill Senate Provision for Parental Notice of Chemicals' Use " - "House Republicans vowed yesterday to eliminate a proposal, which the Senate added to President Bush's education bill, that would require school districts to regularly disclose to parents the use of pesticides on school grounds." (Washington Post)

Click for the Junkman's FoxNews.com column that sources say alerted and emboldened the House leadership.

"DDT is safe: just ask the professor who ate it for 40 years" - "THE World Health Organisation, Greenpeace, the World Wildlife Fund, the UN environmental programme and its development programme, USAID, and almost all the other international representatives of the great and the good now campaign against DDT." (Daily Telegraph)

"Homeowners urged to forsake perfect lawns; cut back on pesticides" - "TORONTO -- Front lawns as perfect as putting greens may be a thing of the past across Canada if environmentalists succeed in convincing homeowners and politicians to stop the use of pesticides on private property." (CP)

"Teflon lasts forever, study finds" - "NEW YORK -- Heating nonstick coatings such as the Teflon on pots and pans can generate a chemical compound that persists in the environment indefinitely, research has found.

There is no evidence that the compound, trifluoroacetate, poses any threat to human health, said study author Scott Mabury. But because of its longevity and some of the other chemicals his research saw Teflon and similar substances producing, Mabury recommended more research on the potential environmental effects.

"There's not lots to worry about, frankly," said Mabury, a professor of chemistry at the University of Toronto. "It's something that needs to be looked at." (AP) | Chemicals in frying pan a potential hazard to environment (University of Toronto release)

"Margarine, vegetable oil double risk of asthma: study" - "Children who eat large amounts of margarine and vegetable oil may double their risk of asthma, a study shows. In the biggest ever Australian study of asthma risk factors among preschoolers, researchers found a high prevalence of the disease, at around one in five. Dr Michelle Haby, researcher at the Centre for Community Child Health at Melbourne's Royal Children's Hospital, said it was the first time such an association had been shown between polyunsaturated fats and asthma." (AAP) | Polyunsaturated fats implicated in rise in asthma in pre-school children (BMJ release)

"Report Blasts Vehicle Emissions Checks" - "WASHINGTON - State vehicle emissions inspection programs are wasting much of their effort and should refocus on older, malfunctioning vehicles that produce most of the pollution. Current programs are only producing half the reduction in pollution that was expected, a National Research Council committee reported Wednesday. ``Inspection and maintenance programs should focus on repairing the worst polluting vehicles and verifying repairs, said Ralph J. Cicerone, chairman of the committee that wrote the report and chancellor at the University of California, Irvine." (AP)

"Drought of common sense" - "Imagine if one day the government cut off your water. You have no notice. You have no ready way to replace free-flowing H20. Your tap is dry. A faceless bureaucrat explains that someone is ahead of you on the water line. Don't grouse, you've had more than your fair share for years, you glut ton. Maybe next year, if it rains a lot, you can get some water." (Debra Saunders, Washington Times)

"Artificial marsh makes a mess" - "Just more than 10 years ago, the Huntington Beach Wetlands Conservancy constructed Talbert Marsh to provide habitat for local endangered species. While the marsh has lured several bird species back to the area, its completion coincided with the arrival of unwanted guests — fecal bacteria on neighboring Huntington Beach.

After the beach was closed in 1999 due to high levels of bacteria, Stanley Grant of the University of California at Irvine began digging around for the source of the germs. Unable to link the bacteria to sewage leaks or urban runoff, Grant turned to Talbert Marsh. There he found water contaminated with waste from marsh animals entering the ocean and washing up on the sand next door." (ENN)

"DVT study grounded by lack of cash" - "PLANS for a national research project into "economy-class syndrome" has been stalled by a lack of funds. A Queensland university today said the federal Government would not support the work on deep vein thrombosis (DVT)." (AAP)

"USDA Develops Healthier Soybean" - " A new soybean bred by Agricultural Research Service scientists for the Southeast fulfills two of the food industry's wishes for heart-healthy soy oil. The new soybean, named Satelite - has half the saturated fat of traditional varieties--specifically, the undesirable palmitic acid." (AgWeb.com)

"Doubts Cast on U.S. Effort for the Safety of Shellfish" - "The Food and Drug Administration collects so little information on the safety of shellfish that it cannot tell whether its efforts to improve inspections and reduce illnesses among people who eat them have yielded any significant results, according to a study to be released today." (New York Times)

"Fresh evidence backs broccoli as cancer fighter" - "WASHINGTON — Scientists have found fresh evidence that a chemical found in broccoli and other vegetables may cut the risk of cancer, a researcher said on Tuesday at a conference on nutrition and cancer." (Reuters)

"Health: Bid to Approve Modified Corn Assailed" - "WASHINGTON, Jul 17 - Hundreds of food products have been withdrawn from US stores since StarLink genetically modified corn was discovered in them. Now, to the consternation of critics, the company that manufactured the corn for animal feed is asking the government to approve it for human consumption. At consultations organised by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Tuesday, public health and environmental advocates said government regulators simply do not have enough information to act on the company's request." (IPS)

"Field trials continue as opposition to GM subsides" - "Biotechnology industry leaders remain confident the programme of field trials of genetically modified crops in Britain will continue to flourish this year in spite of attacks by anti-GM activists." (The Scotsman)

"Scientists try to build a better banana" - "After long service as a staple of breakfast cereal, a prop of slapstick comedies and a demonstration aid in sex-education classes, the humble banana is entering the world of big-stakes genetics research. An international team of scientists plans to announce their plans Thursday to map the genetic structure of the banana, hopefully within five years. The goal: to figure out how to invent, in effect, a superbanana -- specifically, one that can be grown with less environment-damaging pesticides." (San Francisco Chronicle)

"Agreement Reached On Protecting Plant Genetic Resources" - "A historic agreement to protect the world's plant genetic resources for food and agriculture was reached early in July at the end of a week-long extraordinary session of the FAO Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture in Rome. The Commission comprises 160 countries and the European Union. The accord was reached after a week of intense debate, which culminated a seven-year process of negotiations." (FAO Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture)

"NCGA Supports StarLink Tolerance Level of 20 Parts/Billion" - " At a hearing regarding StarLink corn Tuesday, the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) told the EPA it supports setting a food tolerance level of 20 parts per billion for the StarLink protein. Don Hutchens, executive director of the Nebraska Corn Board, who testified on behalf of the NCGA, said to the EPA Scientific Advisory Panel that despite corn growers efforts to keep StarLink out of the general corn supplies, it is likely the protein will show up in the foreseeable future." (AgWeb.com)

"Genetic Revolution Benefits Farming, Environment" - "Farmers always have been an optimistic, enterprising lot. They face a series of challenges scarcely imaginable only a few decades ago: cutthroat international competition, costly environmental regulations and, to top it off, a hostile consumer public that increasingly views all facets of farming as a grave threat to the environment." (Southeast Farm Press)

"University Of Illinois Scientists Assembling More Information On Biotechnology" - "Scientists are confronting public backlash against crops improved by biotechnology by trying to provide more information. That's one reason why University of Illinois dairy scientist Jimmy Clark launched a study last year to see what happens to animals after they eat genetically altered corn and soybeans. Clark and UI food scientist Bruce Chassy talked about that study and related biotechnology issues at a recent Institute of Food Technologists' meeting at New Orleans, one of the largest meetings in the world." (Knight Ridder)

This week sees the Bonn iteration of climate hysteria, CoP6, MkII, part C (or whatever...). Inevitably there will be significant coverage of this non-event and a lot of items will end up here. In deference to those who recognise this as an irrelevant pain-in-the-butt, I'll try to keep climate crapola (and rational pieces) in a separate section at the end of the day's postings. Here's today's instalment: -- BH

"Colorful crowds clamor outside climate talks" - "BONN, Germany — Inside the conference hall, diplomats from 178 nations did battle Wednesday over the future of the world's first treaty on global warming.

At previous global-warming talks, student protesters who side with environmental groups have had the meeting and the media spotlight to themselves. But at the 12-day talks that started here Monday, conservative U.S. college students turned out in force to support President Bush and his opposition to the treaty — and to give their Greenpeace counterparts some competition." (USA Today)

"American students take to the streets against global whining" - "POLITICIANS and officials arriving at the climate change conference in Bonn yesterday found their route lined with dozens of placard-waving protesters shouting their support for President Bush and his rejection of the Kyoto Protocol." (The Times)

"Student Protesters Raise Eyebrows Instead of Piercing Them: Support for the U.S. Position on Global Warming" - "BONN, GERMANY — Forty American college students took to the streets of Bonn, Germany this week to protest the U.N. Kyoto Protocol addressing the theory of man-made catastrophic global warming. That treaty is being further negotiated here this week amid U.S. calls to start over. Accompanied by a banging drum and costumed characters mocking environmental doomsayers, they drew a large crowd and even the attention of gathered media." (Competitive Enterprise Institute)

"Bush supporters stage protest at environment talks" - "Supporters of George W Bush are staging a demonstration outside the venue where ministers are having environment talks. The chanting group of about 50 young students waved placards at delegates attacking the Kyoto Protocol. They claim it is based on flawed science and will wreck the American economy if allowed to come into force." (Ananova)

"Bonn-fire of the inanities" - "It's always easy to know when a big international meeting on global warming is on the horizon, as gloom-and-doom stories mushroom onto the dailies and the airwaves. So, after reading the recent papers, it should be no surprise that this week saw the convening of a big United Nations meeting in Bonn to decide how to adopt the Kyoto Protocol on global warming.

By now everyone knows this miscarriage of science policy won't do a thing about global warming, while costing the United States about 3 percent of its gross domestic product per year. This stark reality serves as the basis for the Bush administration's rejection of it. And, without us, Kyoto almost certainly dies.

So, the climate terror machine is in hyper drive." (Patrick J. Michaels, Washington Times)

"Will Bonn’s Climate Talks Bid Farewell To Kyoto?" - "BONN, Germany -- Delegations from 180 nations began gathering Monday in this defunct European capital to mull over what now appears to be a dead treaty – the Kyoto Protocol on climate change." (James K. Glassman, TechCentralStation)

"The Greens must not be allowed to ruin our planet" - "AS talks on climate change get under way in Bonn this week, we should remember that it was the Greens, not George W Bush, who first derailed the Kyoto treaty. The danger is that the Greens may again damage the treaty that could not only prevent the world from catastrophic warming, but also do most to save the world's tropical forests." (Daily Telegraph)

"Chairman of climate conference tries to dispel gloom as talks move into high gear" - "BONN, Germany As political leaders move U.N. climate talks into high gear, the chairman of the conference says a deal can be reached to bring a global warming agreement into effect even without the United States on board." (AP)

"Globe awaits climate action, Japan tells US" - "BONN: Japan has urged the US to rethink its opposition to a treaty limiting emissions of greenhouse gases, saying much of the world is waiting for tough new standards to take effect." (AP)

"Washington's 'satellites' scupper Kyoto" - "LONDON -- "If nothing moves forward in Bonn then we will lose momentum and the process will sink," said Olivier Deleuze, the energy minister of Belgium, which holds the European Union's rotating presidency at the moment." (Japan Times)

"Chairman of global warming conference in Bonn senses desire for a deal" - "BONN, Germany - Talks on a treaty to combat global warming are inching forward and the pact may be rescued even though the United States has abandoned it, the head of the negotiations said Wednesday." (CP)

"Kyoto climate deal hopes grow" - "BONN, Germany -- Hopes are being expressed at a climate summit in Bonn that the Kyoto Protocol can be implemented without the U.S. on board." (CNN)

"Climate talks 'going backwards'" - "Talks in the German city of Bonn on salvaging the global climate treaty appear to be running into trouble. A third day of discussions by officials has brought little sign of any real progress before ministers arrive on Wednesday. Some countries want to reopen questions that were supposed to have been resolved months ago. (BBC Online)

"U.S. Climate Plan Not Likely by October Meeting" - "BONN, Germany - The United States is not likely to offer an alternative plan to the Kyoto global warming pact before a further round of U.N. climate talks in October, a senior U.S. official said on Wednesday during meetings in Bonn." (Reuters)

"Rescue talks for climate treaty" - "Environment ministers from 180 countries begin talks in the German city of Bonn on Thursday in an attempt to salvage the Kyoto treaty on global warming." (BBC Online)

"Australia under fire at global warming conference" - "Environmentalists have criticised Australia for seeking further concessions on its greenhouse emissions, as representatives of nearly 100 nations gather in the German city of Bonn to breathe life into the ailing Kyoto protocol to slow global warming. Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill says the Kyoto agreement is still the "only game in town" and he is seeking further concessions from European countries." (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

"Climate Talks Leave U.S., Europe at Odds" - "BONN, Germany - Europe and the United States were set on a collision course over global warming on Wednesday, as Europeans talked up the chances of saving the U.N. Kyoto accord and Americans stuck by their utter rejection of it." (Reuters)

"Hopes rise that Kyoto treaty may be ratified" - "AGREEMENT on the rules of the Kyoto treaty could be reached by the end of the weekend, enabling it to come into force next year, without America's backing, the chairman of the talks on global warming, Jan Pronk, said yesterday." (Telegraph)

"Canada threatens to reject Kyoto pact; Unfavourable terms on emission reduction may be stumbling block to climate deal" - "OTTAWA -- Canada will not ratify the 1997 Kyoto accord on global warming unless it gets favourable terms for reaching the deal's emission-reduction targets, a senior government official has suggested." (Globe and Mail)

"Activists accuse Canada of undermining climate talks" - "BONN -- Canada, Japan and Australia are undermining talks on a treaty limiting emissions of greenhouse gases with new demands, environmental activists charged Wednesday." (AP)

"Blair set for difficult talks over climate change" - "Tony Blair is set for a round of difficult discussions with George W Bush over the stalled world climate change initiative." (Ananova)

"EU concedes over forest absorption in climate talks" - "BONN, July 19 - The European Union (EU) on Wednesday submitted a proposal to the U.N. climate talks to make concessions on wider use of carbon dioxide (CO2) absorption by forests, as sought by Japan, Canada and Australia.

Differences over forest absorption -- so-called ''carbon sinks'' -- which industrialized countries can use to achieve their reduction targets under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol to combat global warming, were the main cause of the collapse of the previous session of the U.N. climate talks in The Hague last November.

The EU, which preferred severer conditions in calculating the amount of CO2 emissions to be offset by forest absorption, expanded the scope of carbon sinks it accepts in the proposal to a negotiating group as a compromise, Japanese officials said." (Kyodo)

"Kyoto agreement back on track" - "A changing political mood has raised the hope that the climate talks in Bonn will reach an agreement by Sunday that will enable governments to ratify the Kyoto protocol next year without the United States joining them." (Guardian)

"Mayors urge Bush to rethink Kyoto stance" - "The mayors of several world cities have written to George W Bush to urge him to support the Kyoto treaty on global warming." (Ananova)

"International Nuclear Forum-Climate Change: Company Executives State Case For Nuclear Power" - "BONN, Germany, Jul 18, 2001 -- International Nuclear Industry leaders from around the world have rallied to encourage negotiators at the UN climate change talks in Bonn to recognize the essential role that nuclear electricity plays in controlling greenhouse gas emissions." (BUSINESS WIRE)

"Vanishing Pacific island group appeals to be saved" - "SYDNEY - A tiny South Pacific group of atolls is appealing for help on the Internet to stop its 500 people vanishing into the ocean because of rising sea levels they blame on climate change." (Reuters)

"Australia refuses to throw lifeline to drowning Tuvalu" - "The tiny South Pacific nation of Tuvalu - which faces being submerged by rising sea levels - has pleaded with Australia to help resettle its 11,000 citizens, but it has been given short shrift." (Sydney Morning Herald)

"Global warming could lead to topsy-turvy weather systems" - "Within 100 years the world's weather could be turned on its head, covering the Sahara in thick forest and making the Amazon a barren desert, it has been claimed. The topsy-turvy forecast emerges from the latest studies into global warming which suggest that human activity could cause sudden and dramatic climate "flips". While the Amazon and Sahara swap environments, Europe could find itself in the grip of a mini ice-age, climate scientists meeting in Amsterdam last week were told." (Ananova)

"Climate change could explain rare spider" - "Climate change could be the reason why a rare spider usually associated with the Mediterranean has appeared in Cornwall." (Ananova)

"Climate change endangering atlantic blue whales" - "Wildlife campaigners say the main food source for Atlantic blue whales is under threat from the melting polar ice cap. The World Wide Fund for Nature says if the decline of krill continues, it will seriously affect the entire ecosystem of the Southern Ocean." (Ananova)

"CO2 Capture Project Receives $5 Million From DOE" - "WASHINGTON, July 18 -- The CO2 Capture Project (CCP), a consortium of nine energy companies, today announced it has entered into a $5 million cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to further efforts aimed at addressing a potential cause of climate change. The DOE awarded the funding for a proposal entitled, "CO2 Capture Project: An Integrated, Collaborative Technology Development Project for the Next Generation CO2 Separation, Capture and Geologic Sequestration." (CNW)

July 18, 2001

"Presentation of Dr. Ingo Potrykus July 21 in Providence" - "PROVIDENCE, RI, -- The American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) will present the ASPB Leadership in Science Public Service Award to Dr. Ingo Potrykus July 21, 2001 at the ASPB annual meeting in Providence.

The award recognizes Dr. Potrykus' outstanding contributions to science and humanity through his research. Dr. Potrykus' research contributes to food security in developing nations by developing and applying genetic engineering technology to crop plants such as rice, wheat, sorghum and cassava. Dr. Potrykus addresses problems difficult to solve with traditional techniques in the areas of plant disease and pest resistance, improved food quality, improved yield, improved exploitation of natural resources and improved biosafety." (American Society of Plant Biologists)

"Swiss cat comes down with mad cow disease" - "Bern - A Swiss cat has been diagnosed with the feline form of mad cow disease, thought to have been spread through infected pet food, in the first such case in the country, veterinary officials said on Tuesday. The six-year-old animal had been suffering serious problems with its nervous system and was put down, and was later diagnosed with feline spongiform encephalopathy (FSE), the cat-borne variety of mad cow disease. The pet was thought to have been infected by cat food containing either brain or spinal column from cattle contaminated with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), better known as mad cow disease." (Sapa-AFP)

How does anyone know this wasn't spontaneous FSE?

Given that no one was looking for it before, how do we know it's the first for the country?

If exposure to, and ingestion of "infected materials" is such a risk, why haven't slaughtermen shown higher incidence of vCJD by virtue of inhaled foreign matter and/or cross infection via tissue penetration of skin abrasions, sores, cuts... ?

"Contagious" prions might cause vCJD and, then again, they might not.

"The Myth of a Stolen Election" - "Readers of the New York Times were treated on Sunday to a massive report claiming that hundreds of overseas Florida ballots cast in violation of state law were nonetheless counted by election officials under pressure from representatives of George W. Bush. While even the Times stops short of claiming that inclusion of the "flawed" votes spelled the difference between victory and defeat for Mr. Bush, the report is clearly meant to provide ammunition for those who question the legitimacy of his victory and presidency.

What the story fails to report is that federal law required Florida to count these votes." (Bob Zelnick, Wall Street Journal)

"Connecticut law bars teachers from recommending Ritalin for students" - "HARTFORD, Conn. - When Sheila Matthews' son was in first grade, a school psychologist diagnosed him with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder and gave his parents information about Ritalin.

Matthews refused to put him on the drug. She believed the boy was energetic and outgoing but not disruptive, and she suspected the school system was trying to medicate him just to make it easier for the teachers.

Now the state of Connecticut has weighed in on the side of parents like Matthews with a first-in-the-nation law that reflects a growing backlash against what some see as overuse of Ritalin and other behavioral drugs." (AP)

"Study Severs Link Between Painkiller, Kidney Disease" - "CHICAGO - Contradicting decades of previous research, a study released on Tuesday concluded that moderate use of over-the-counter painkillers such as aspirin does not lead to an increased risk of kidney disease. In the largest study of its kind, researchers followed more than 11,000 healthy men for 14 years and found even individuals who took an average of 10 painkillers each week did not have a higher chance of developing kidney disease." (Reuters)

"Breast-feeding difficulties may lead to early weaning: study" - "Mothers who rely on dummies to pacify their babies in the first few months of life may be experiencing problems breastfeeding, a study says." (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

"Pacifiers Do Not Lead to Early Weaning - Study" - "CHICAGO - Parents need not fear that using a pacifier to soothe a fussing infant will lead to premature weaning from breast-feeding, though rocking the baby may have the same calming effect, researchers said on Tuesday." (Reuters)

"DVT victims launch suit" - "International airlines and air safety regulators may have to pay millions of dollars compensation to former passengers if three test cases for deep vein thrombosis succeed. But lawyers for the litigants have warned that it may be years before the courts rule on any claims." (The Age)

"BA silent over economy class syndrome lawsuit" - "British Airways has refused to comment after a passenger in Australia launched a legal suit against the company over so-called "economy class syndrome". In all, three passengers have launched legal suits against aviation officials and three international airlines alleging they failed to warn people about the dangers of deep vain thrombosis in what lawyers said was an unprecedented move." (Radio Australia)

"Ban mobiles when driving" - "The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) is renewing its calls for a ban on the use of mobile phones in cars. The society says it knows of at least 16 deaths on British roads in which mobiles were implicated. It wants the UK to follow the lead of the US state of New York where from December drivers will face being fined for driving and talking on a hand-held mobile at the same time." (BBC Online)

"Toronto considers pesticide ban" - "TORONTO - The City of Toronto is taking steps towards banning the use of pesticides on residential lawns. The board of health has endorsed a motion to phase out pesticide use for cosmetic purposes. Board chair Joe Mihevc says his colleagues were influenced by a recent Supreme Court decision upholding the right of a municipality to restrict the use of pesticides." (CBC)

"Fitness effects health more than weight, study shows" - "LONDON - Obese people who exercise have half the death rate of those who are thin but don't exercise, a leading expert said Tuesday.

However, some experts cautioned that reaching an appropriate weight is still advisable for preventing other complications of obesity that are not thought to be related to fitness, such as cancer, arthritis and infertility. The ideal is still trim and fit, they said." (AP)

"Authority paves way for irradiated foods" - "THE nation's food watchdog has backed Australia's first irradiated food proposal, paving the way for potential use of the controversial treatment at a plant at Narangba, just north of Brisbane. The draft recommendation, released for comment by the Australia New Zealand Food Authority yesterday, was condemned by local residents as opening the door to a dangerous new industry." (Courier-Mail)

"Eco-Farming Alone Is Not the Answer to the Failure of EU Agricultural Policy" - "In agriculture, it has been politics that has failed and not markets. For more than half a century, ever since the country's economy began to recover from its wartime defeat, Germany has based farm policies on the mistaken belief that market economics would be the ruin of farmers. Agriculture, it was believed, must be protected from markets. And so state interventionism was institutionalized." (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung)

"Alchemist's natural gas pipedream may come true" - "There have been many false dawns in realising the alchemist's dream of turning natural gas into petroleum products. However, spurred on by a combination of high oil prices, technical advances, and environmental regulations, the gas-to-liquids (GTL) industry looks likely at last to turn some of its pipedreams into projects." (Financial Times)

Henry Payne's comment on the great gas price conspiracy.

"Bush says G8 protesters 'no friends to the poor'" - "George W Bush has told protesters planning to disrupt the G8 summit in Genoa they are denying the poor the chance of prosperity. The US president has spoken as he prepared for a two-day visit to Britain which will come before he and Prime Minister Tony Blair attend the G8 summit, at which thousands of anti-globalisation protesters are expected to demonstrate." (Ananova)

"Editorial comment: The pressure on pressure groups" - "Undemocratic, unrepresentative, unaccountable, ill-informed and illegitimate. These criticisms are continually levied at international organisations, multinationals and governments by pressure groups. But if anyone deserves such criticism, it is some of these same pressure groups themselves.

Over the past decade there has been an explosion in the number of non-governmental organisations. They are hugely diverse in character and they operate increasingly on the international stage. Governments, companies and international organisations have sought their support and some have gained thereby. Their influence is examined in a series of articles starting in Friday's newspaper in the run-up to the Group of Eight summit in Genoa." (Financial Times)

Weigh anchor! "GENOA: Greenpeace activists tie themselves to tanker" - "Two Greenpeace activists tied themselves to the anchor of an oil tanker west of Genoa on Tuesday in a protest against the Group of Eight (G8) summit starting here at week's end, police said." (AFP)

"Bush May Delay Environment Cleanup" - "WASHINGTON - The Bush administration wants to put on hold and re-examine a Clinton-era program spelling out federally required state cleanup plans for thousands of lakes and rivers around the nation, two administration officials said Monday.

The broad cleanup plans issued last year were intended to reduce storm water and agriculture runoff polluting about 21,000 lakes, ponds, streams and rivers across the country.

A National Academy of Sciences panel said last month the Clinton administration had put the program into place without enough evidence to assure the right bodies of water were being targeted." (AP)

"UN Shocks Neo-Luddites!" - "A new report concludes that biotech is the best hope for many of the world's poorest." (Ronald Bailey, Reason)

"NFPA to EPA: Tests to Detect StarLink Gene Adequate" - "In testimony delivered at a public meeting held by the Environmental Protection Agency's Science Advisory Panel, the National Food Processors Association (NFPA) told the panel that a test for detecting Cry9C protein in processed foods made from StarLink corn “meets scientific criteria as an accurate and reproducible detection method.”

“The availability of a suitable method for measuring Cry9C protein in processed food is expected to be a major issue in EPA's decision on whether or not to grant a tolerance for trace amounts of Cry9C in food products,” noted Dr. Rhona Applebaum, NFPA's Executive Vice President of Scientific and Regulatory Affairs. “NFPA has led industry efforts to develop a testing method that is accurate and reproducible.” (AgWeb.com)

"EPA: Little bio-corn in food supply now" - "WASHINGTON -- The chances of consumers eating an unapproved variety of biotech corn are substantially less than the government thought last fall after the grain was discovered in food products, the Environmental Protection Agency says." (AP)

"Million-dollar clone is all bull" - "SCIENTISTS have made a minor miracle from a bull's ear. Victorian scientists yesterday unveiled the world's first successful clone of a top dairy bull. A week old, Rameses II has exactly the same DNA make-up as his father Rameses, who is worth up to $1 million a year to the dairy industry." (Herald Sun)

"Health organisation demands better labelling of GM foods" - "Australia's peak public health watchdog is calling for greater testing and labelling of genetically modified (GM) foods. The Public Health Association of Australia claims most consumers do not realise they are already eating genetically engineered foods." (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

"How has Thai papaya secured immunity?" - "Genetically modified crops are essential for the developing world, according to a leading plant pathologist in the US. "I definitely feel that technology should be transferred to developing countries," concluded Dennis Gonsalves, professor of plant pathology at New York State Agricultural Experiment Station, Cornell University. "It is too bad, in my opinion, that lots of developed countries (especially Europe) are so much against this technology," he told BioMedNet News today." (BioMedNet News)

This week sees the Bonn iteration of climate hysteria, CoP6, MkII, part C (or whatever...). Inevitably there will be significant coverage of this non-event and a lot of items will end up here. In deference to those who recognise this as an irrelevant pain-in-the-butt, I'll try to keep climate crapola (and rational pieces) in a separate section at the end of the day's postings. Here's today's instalment: -- BH

"The Art of Swallowing Camels Just Got a Whole Lot Harder" - "In our Editorial of 27 June 2001 – The Art of Swallowing Camels – we reported on a number of what Crowley and Berner (2001) refer to as "notable disagreements" between inferred trends in near-surface air temperature and CO2 concentration over Phanerozoic time.  These disagreements led them to "reevaluate the validity of the assumed CO2-climate link," as they put it; but the damning evidence did not lead them to renounce that controversial hypothesis.  In fact, Crowley and Berner somehow concluded that the very real and obvious problems raised by the disagreements should not be allowed to "cloud interpretations of future anthropogenic greenhouse gas projections," which is the humongous CO2-induced global warming camel they and so many others are trying so desperately to make us swallow.

In and of itself, Crowley and Berner’s conclusion makes no sense at all; and there is now additional evidence that makes that massive meal even more objectionable, giving us ample reason to say a loud "No thanks!" to the unpalatable economic pottage the IPCC politicos have been trying to shove down our throats ever since their unfortunate rise to bureaucratic power among the nations of the earth." | Climate Variability in the Penultimate Interglacial | Previous Interglacial Sea Surface Temperatures Off the Western Coast of North America | Coral Bleaching and Climate Change (co2science.org)

"Air pollution helps fight global warming" - "COLLEGE STATION -- Sure, air pollution is bad, but new research indicates that a limited amount of aerosol pollutants in the air could partially counteract global warming, at least on a local scale.

Texas A&M University atmospheric sciences professor Don Collins has received grants from NASA and the National Science Foundation (NSF) to design instruments to measure the impacts of aerosol pollution on climate.

"Aerosols are man-made chemical particles that accumulate in our atmosphere," said Collins, who teaches and conducts research in the College of Geosciences' Department of Atmospheric Sciences. "Aerosols are the primary cause of the haze over a city on a polluted day. Certain aerosol particles can absorb sunlight, while others scatter or reflect light. Increased concentrations of particles can also modify clouds, which causes more energy to be reflected back into space." (Texas A&M University)

"Will U.S. warm to climate treaty talks?" - "The latest round of U.N.-sponsored global warming talks takes place over the next two weeks in Bonn. It is the first such conference since President Bush abandoned the Kyoto treaty." (CNN)

"US Delegation Casting Long Shadow Over Climate Talks" - "AMSTERDAM--The United States says it wants no part of the Kyoto agreement on global warming, but it is nonetheless casting a long shadow over the negotiations resuming this week at the U.N climate conference in Bonn, Germany. Even though Washington already has rejected the outcome, American diplomats have made it clear they will protect U.S. interests as delegates from some 180 countries haggle over the complex details of an accord." (AP)

"Lieberman says Bush has made U.S. a climate ``renegade''" - "WASHINGTON - U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman said on Tuesday President Bush has made the country a kind of ``renegade'' nation by his rejection of the Kyoto climate change treaty. The Connecticut Democrat made the comment during a conference call with reporters to promote bipartisan climate change legislation to be unveiled on Wednesday before his Senate Governmental Affairs Committee." (Reuters)

"The Rising Tide Of Pollution" - "It is now nearly a decade since the former US Vice President, Mr Al Gore, correctly identified climate change as the most serious environmental threat facing humanity. Were Mr Gore in possession of the White House today, the US might at least be acting to try to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions, instead of disowning the only international instrument which offers any hope - the 1997 Kyoto Protocol." (Irish Times)

"No progress in Kyoto climate talks" - "Negotiators have ended a second day of talks on reviving the Kyoto climate protocol without visible progress as the rift between the European Union and the United States remained as wide as ever. The mood was darkened by hardline statements from the two protagonists while Japan still hoped to convince the United States to support the treaty." (Radio Australia)

"Kyoto Protocol's woes leave Russia in foul mood" - "MOSCOW - Russia, a leading polluter, is reluctant to share the cost of global efforts aimed at combatting greenhouse emissions, which cause climate change. Alexander Bedritsky, head of the country's Meteorological agency Rosgidromet, says Russia is "categorically against" sharing the financial obligations which emerged in the wake of the US withdrawal from the Kyoto Protocol in March. " (Asia Times)

"'Umbrella' countries at odds with Europe at global warming talks" - "Australia, Japan and Canada are seeking more leeway in fulfilling anti-pollution targets, putting them at odds with European countries in the latest talks on a pact against global warming." (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

"Gray to push for climate treaty" - "OTTAWA -- Canada will push hard to achieve a global climate treaty without the United States, says Deputy Prime Minister Herb Gray. Gray's comments as he prepared to attend a climate conference in Bonn this week, differentiate Canada's position from allies such as Australia, which has said it will not ratify the Kyoto Protocol unless the United States does so." (CP)

"Time for a Kyoto successor" - "Delegates from 180 countries have gathered this week in Bonn, Germany, to salvage what they can of the Kyoto Protocol on global warming, and European leaders say they will pitch the treaty one more time to President Bush when they get together Friday for a meeting of the Group of Eight leading industrial nations in Genoa, Italy.

Bush, who correctly believes the treaty is fatally flawed, announced last week a series of initiatives designed to address global warming and ease the concerns of U.S. allies that the administration is not taking this very real issue seriously." (Journal Sentinel)

"Japan at Centre Stage Amid Transatlantic Climate Feud" - "BONN, Germany - European leaders sought Japan's support at world climate talks Tuesday to try to salvage the Kyoto global warming pact despite U.S. rejection. Japanese Environment Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi, whose delegation sought to play down pessimistic comments by their prime minister, was to meet her Dutch counterpart Jan Pronk, a European source said. Pronk is chairing the U.N.-sponsored talks in Bonn that follow a failed meeting at The Hague in November." (Reuters)

"German Says Kyoto Deal Can Be Saved" - "BONN, Germany - The Kyoto agreement on global warming can be salvaged with a compromise to keep the Japanese on board, Germany's environment minister said in an interview published Tuesday." (AP)

"Race is on to ensure Tokyo adheres to Kyoto pact" - "TOKYO - The race is on to find ways to make sticking to the Kyoto protocol on climate change politically palatable for Japan, whose support is vital to keep the accord alive in global talks that begin this week." (Asia Times)

"Japan Rallies Behind Climate Pact Despite Bush" - "BONN, Germany - Japan bolstered European hopes for a pact against global warming on Tuesday when it ruled out a delay in putting the U.N. Kyoto climate accord into effect -- even if the United States fails to drop its objections to it." (Reuters)

"Japan hints at ratifying Kyoto without the US" - "Japan gave its strongest hint yet yesterday that it would join other countries in ratifying the Kyoto Protocol on climate change without the United States, the country that drew international outrage earlier this year by withdrawing its support for the treaty." (Independent)

"Japan to do all it can in Bonn climate confab, Fukuda says" - "TOKYO, July 17 - Japan will continue doing its best to reach an accord over the Kyoto Protocol on global warming at a key climate conference being held in Germany, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda said Tuesday" (Kyodo)

"Hope for global climate treaty 'hanging by a thread' as Japan wavers" - "Bonn, Germany --- Japan is holding up efforts to fight global warming by wavering on a U.N. treaty the United States already has abandoned, environmental groups charged Monday, as some 180 countries resumed talks on salvaging the pact." (AP)

"Consensus on Kyoto pact to be elusive at summit" - "With the United States and Europe sharply divided over the Kyoto Protocol on curbing global warming, the Group of Eight leaders face a tough task coordinating views on the thorny issue as they meet Friday for a three-day summit in Genoa, Italy." (Japan Times)

"Japan offers Kyoto hope" - "BONN, Germany -- BONN, Germany -- European attempts to shore up the Kyoto deal to fight global warming have received Japanese support." (CNN)

"U.S. in Firing Line at Bonn Climate Talks" - "BONN, Germany - The United States, the world's biggest greenhouse gas polluter, looked isolated as U.N. talks on global warming went into a third day Wednesday in the former West German capital, Bonn." (Reuters)

"Japan, Canada Urge Emissions Leeway" - "BONN, Germany - Japan and Canada are pressing demands for more leeway in meeting anti-pollution targets under a global warming pact, putting them at odds with European countries in the latest talks, diplomats said Tuesday." (AP)

"Bush, Koizumi torched over climate change" - "WASHINGTON - Visiting lawmakers expressed exasperation with the US administration's stance on global warming on Monday and urged Japan to break ranks with Washington. The visit to Washington by parliamentarians from Japan, South Africa and Europe came on the first day of UN talks in Bonn, Germany, to save the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on climate change." (Asia Times)

"Countries urged to back Kyoto accord" - "BONN - Environmentalists are urging the world to push ahead with the Kyoto accord even without the United States as talks aimed at saving the accord continued Tuesday." (CBC)

"Calgary prof melts mystery" - "CALGARY -- A University of Calgary professor has melted a millennia-old mystery behind the end of the ice age. In a paper published last week in the international journal Science, Dr. Shawn Marshall of the department of geography, along with scientists from Oregon, Manitoba, and B.C. universities, suggests freshwater from melting glaciers triggered climate "flip-flops" ending the ice age 15,000 years ago.

The study describes further notions that climate is capable of sudden and disastrous changes, and warrants a closer look into the global warming effect, said Marshall. "There's been a lot of evidence that's come forth that demands a bit of humility and respect for what the climate system is capable of," said Marshall, adding the sudden fluctuations, as much as 9C in a 20-year span, "created a lot of havoc" on Earth.

"There's a message -- the climate system is really complicated ... The more we look, the more unpredictable it seems, the more surprises we find." (Calgary Sun)

"High Tide; U.S. Agencies Make Plans to Manage Rising Sea Level" - "July 17 — As U.N. negotiations resume to try and curb the warming of the planet, some Americans are already preparing for a corresponding rise in sea level that is projected to submerge significant portions of the U.S. coastline." (ABCNews.com)

"El Niño wrecked ancient corals in Polynesian reef: study" - "A British researcher says the 1997-98 El Niño effect destroyed 800-year-old corals in one of the world's most exclusive diving areas, in a sign of the devastating effects of global warming." (Radio Australia)

July 17, 2001

Just when you thought you'd seen it all... "Canberra fart research could enrich the nation" - "BRISBANE: Scientists believe Australian research into the amount of bacteria carried in flatulence could lead to long-term economic benefits. Canberra microbiologist Luke Tennent has proved farts are germy as well as smelly and loud by analysing the bacterial growth on a petri dish blasted by an eight-year-old boy." (Canberra Times)

As an Aussie, allow me assure readers this is definitely not mainstream Down Under research (in fact, we've a tendency to shake our heads and say "only in America" but obviously that's out in future). -- BH

Today's thin numbers: "Childhood cancer less common in twins" - "NEW YORK, Jul 16 - For reasons that are not clear, twins are less likely than other kids to develop cancer in childhood, the results of a new study suggest. ... By the end of 1995, 15 twins had developed cancer, Murphy's team reports in a recent issue of the British Journal of Cancer. Based on the overall rate of childhood cancer in the general population, the researchers would have expected to see about 19 cases of cancer among this group." (Reuters Health)

"Asthma program for inner city students hits snag" - "CHICAGO, Jul 16 - School-based asthma education programs may not succeed in cash-strapped inner-city public schools, according to the results of a preliminary study in Birmingham, Alabama. University of Alabama researchers launched a school-based asthma education program in an effort to reduce the disease's grip in a state where 81% of teachers reported having a child with asthma in class and 61% of school nurses said uncontrolled asthma was a big problem in their schools.

However, when all the results were tallied, no effect was seen. "In the major outcome measures of school absences, grades, emergency room visits and hospitalizations, we were unable to document any effect of the asthma education program," the researcher reported." (Reuters Health)

"Vieques health risks questioned" - "A series of studies this year cast doubt on charges that the Navy's practice bombing on Vieques island causes health problems for residents." (Rowan Scarborough, Washington Times)

"Power Lines, Wiring Pose Health Risks" - "SACRAMENTO, California, July 16, 2001 - Added risk of miscarriage, childhood leukemia, brain cancer and greater incidence of suicide are some of the health risks associated with exposure to electric and magnetic fields such as those that radiate from power lines, according to a California health department review." (ENS)

"Air defence concerns a threat to UK wind power" - "LONDON - Concerns over national security could blow off course Britain's plans to boost the use of green energy by building hundreds of offshore wind turbines. Energy industry sources say the Ministry of Defence (MOD) has signalled it will object to plans for several key offshore wind projects on the grounds that towering turbines would foul up air-defence radar systems and get in the way of low flying jets. Wind turbines show up on radar screens because they produce static electricity." (Reuters)

"French prosecutor orders Chernobyl sickness probe" - "PARIS - The Paris public prosecutor's office ordered an investigation yesterday into whether French citizens fell sick because of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster, judicial sources said." (Reuters)

"Cellphone companies agree to radiation standard" - "HELSINKI - The world's leading cellphone makers have announced a deal to publish radiation levels emitted by their products. Cellphone makers Nokia of Finland, Motorola of the U.S. and Ericsson of Sweden have agreed with a European standards organization on a way to measure radiation absorption." (CBC)

"Passengers sue airlines for millions" - "AUSTRALIA'S peak air safety body and at least three airlines are facing multimillion-dollar lawsuits for not warning passengers about deep vein thrombosis. Law firm Slater & Gordon yesterday served papers on the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, Qantas, British Airways and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines alleging they had breached their duty of care to protect the safety of airline passengers." (Courier-Mail)

"CASA refuses to comment on DVT writs" - "The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) is refusing to directly comment on the prospect of up to three legal test cases about deep vein thrombosis (DVT). CASA, and airlines Qantas, British Airways and KLM, are being sued for failing to warn passengers of the dangers of the condition." (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

This week, cats bad: "Study upholds link between cats and kids' asthma" - "NEW YORK, Jul 16 - Being around a pet cat can make babies vulnerable to kitty-induced allergies and asthma later on, researchers in Sweden report. Their findings add to a body of conflicting evidence on whether being raised with a cat sensitizes young children to the animals.

While the majority of research in this area has found early exposure to cats to be an allergy risk, some recent studies have suggested the opposite--namely, that exposure helps infants develop a tolerance to cat allergens, thereby protecting them from allergies and asthma." (Reuters Health)

"Doctors, officials meet over workplace injuries; critics call forum a 'sham'" - "ARLINGTON, Va. - Carpal tunnel syndrome and other injuries thought caused by repetitive motion often aren't work-related and can be triggered by psychological factors, doctors for opponents of government regulation said at a hearing Monday." (AP)

"A Marker for Mad Cow Disease May Be Found in Urine" - "In a discovery that is capturing the attention of experts on mad cow disease, an Israeli scientist has reported finding a unique substance in the urine of people and animals afflicted with various forms of the malady.

The substance — a small, never-before- seen protein molecule — may be a clear marker for mad cow disease and related ailments, a group of illnesses called prion diseases. Its presence in urine could lead to a simple test for mad cow disease and its human form, called variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. The only definitive test now is a brain biopsy, which is rarely done; most cases are verified only after death." (New York Times)

"Study shows stroke risk increases with early surgery" - "Patients who undergo coronary bypass surgery shortly after suffering severe chest pain or a heart attack face a heightened risk of stroke, according to researchers." (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

"Natural anti-fat pill hope" - "A NATURAL slimming drug could be on the way, thanks to world-first Melbourne research revealing how the brain controls calories. Scientists at the Howard Florey Institute have identified six brain chemicals linked to food intake and metabolism. Principal research fellow Brian Oldfield said the findings would hopefully lead to new drugs to treat overweight and obesity. "The research in this area is feverish and it is promoted by the concept of the billion-dollar drug," Dr Oldfield said." (Herald Sun)

Says it all really - "natural" billion-dollar drug.

"Latest figures show half of all Australians are overweight" - "Latest figures show 56 per cent of adult Australians are overweight and 19 per cent of those are obese. The research, commissioned by the Healthy Weight Task Force shows 57 per cent of adult Victorians are battling with their weight." (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

"Vancouver bans leaf blowers" - "VANCOUVER - Vancouver has become the first city in Canada to ban gas-powered leaf blowers. A full ban takes effect 2004. The city's council passed the resolution last week after being subjected to the high-pitched drone and gasoline smell of a blower at a budget meeting." (CBC)

"Benefits of modern agriculture" - "CHURCHVILLE, Va.--Every farmer who's ever complained about modern agriculture being trashed by the media should get a tape of ABC reporter John Stossel's recent television special "Tampering with Nature."

Stossel spent an hour of national network time laying out the politically incorrect truth on high-yield farming, biotech crops and global warming. He kicked off the show by saying, "Being at one with nature means running around naked and hungry, maybe killing a rabbit with a rock...and dying young." He noted that the Indians in Washington's Potomac Valley lived an average of 21 years.

"We never had it so good because we are tampering with nature," Stossel added. "Millions of us are not starving to death only because we tamper with the land reshaping it, bringing water to it, putting chemical fertilizer on it." (Dennis T. Avery of the Hudson Institute, Knight Ridder/Tribune)

"Natural restoration promised if humans embrace technology" - "Amsterdam - Planet Earth is on the verge of a "great restoration" of nature - or it will be, provided humanity takes the right tack in the coming decades, claimed a leading environmental scientist today at a major conference here on global change that saw an outpouring of optimism from technologists about their ability to solve the world's problems.

"Since the middle of the 20th century, humans have begun to reverse the pattern they followed for millennia of extending further into nature to meet needs for food and materials," said Jesse Ausubel, director of the Program for the Human Environment at The Rockefeller University in New York." (BioMedNet News)

"Warning on use of bees in GE trials" - "TASMANIA'S beekeepers have been urged to steer clear of genetic engineering crop trials to allay fears of GE-tainted honey. The Tasmanian Beekeepers Association said it had moved to warn members against using their bees for the common practice of "pollinating" at GE trial sites." (The Mercury)

"Regulating GMOs: Is the system broken?" - "Consumers on both sides of the Atlantic are wary of genetically modified (GM) foods, so much so that the promise of food biotechnology is threatened, said consumer advocates and UK scientists at a meeting on current issues in food biotechnology this week. At the same meeting, US Industry representatives and US regulators said current regulations in the US are adequate and that consumers are comfortable with the appearance of GM food in their grocery stores." (BioMedNet News)

"Got Cloned Milk?; Company Ready to Sell Milk of Cloned Cows But Is the Public Ready to Buy?" - "CHICAGO, July 16 — It seems like science fiction, but it's already a reality: milk from cloned cows, and it's coming to a grocery store near you. Unless the federal government decides to intervene. An experimental dairy farm in Wisconsin is producing some of the world's first milk from a herd of 21 cloned cows, 17 of them from the same original animal, all genetically identical." (ABCNews.com)

"Thais and Other Traders Have No Choice But to Comply" - "The European Commission's plan to require extensive labelling of food, including genetically-modified products, might be troublesome but Thai exporters must comply with the measures, according to the commission's food-law expert.

The plan is evolving under a White Paper on Food Safety, which will establish the European Food Authority and the General Principles of Food Law next year.

Patrick Deboyser, head of the Food Law and Biotechnology Unit of the EC's Health and Consumer Protection Directorate-General, said the authority would make public details of scientific assessments of aspects of the food supply chain from primary production to sale to the consumer. The origin of all food ingredients must be traceable." (Bangkok Post)

Just to get us in the right self-flagellating mood for the following section: "Sydney's eco-vandals" - "AUSTRALIANS – in particular those who live in Sydney – are among the world's top mass consumers and waste creators. So say statistics released yesterday showing the carrying capacity of this nation of 19 million people rapidly reaching breaking point. A landmark report by the Australian Bureau of Statistics reveals that Australia now ranks fourth in the world in its ability to wreak ecological destruction to maintain a high standard of living. Only Iceland, New Zealand and the US have worse records." ([Sydney] Daily Telegraph)

This week sees the Bonn iteration of climate hysteria, CoP6, MkII, part C (or whatever...). Inevitably there will be significant coverage of this non-event and a lot of items will end up here. In deference to those who recognise this as an irrelevant pain-in-the-butt, I'll try to keep climate crapola in a separate section at the end of the day's postings. Here's today's instalment: -- BH

"Beware the Coming Ice Age; Why not? It's about as likely as global warming" (Some people report trouble with the above link - if it happens to you, try this alternate link.) - "IT'S ASTOUNDING how quickly myths transmogrify into "truths." Tune in your TV to the weather forecast. There, you're likely to learn that global warming is to blame for the unusual wet-weather spell lately. Or the dry spell or the cold snap or the heat wave. News reports cite global warming as a fact directly attributable to increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide. Teachers get religious about it, instead of instructing their charges on how always to subject hypothesis to scepticism. Given all this, it's time again to remind ourselves of the facts. Yes, the earth has warmed up in the last 100 years. But not by terribly much. And no, we don't know why." (Far Eastern Economic Review editorial)

"Pressure for Kyoto treaty changes to placate US" - "Environment ministers, senior officials and diplomats from more than 160 countries are flying into Bonn today for an intensive round of negotiations aimed at salvaging the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change." (Irish Times)

"Japan to seek wider forest-absorption role" - "BONN, July 17 - Japan plans to submit a new proposal Tuesday to the ongoing U.N. climate talks in Bonn to seek a wider role for forest absorption in achieving greenhouse gas emission targets under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, Japanese officials said Monday. The new plan will be jointly submitted by Japan, Canada and Australia in a bid to help them achieve their targets more easily, the officials said." (Kyodo)

"Our energy usage triples" - "AUSTRALIA has become one of the planet's most rapacious energy consumers, tripling its consumption in the past 20 years. Our insatiable thirst for oil, gas and fossil fuels puts us in the same league as the US and Canada, a report reveals." (Herald Sun)

"Australians devouring energy" - "Each Australian burns the equivalent of six tonnes of oil a year to meet energy demands that are higher than ever before, a snapshot of our environment has found. Official figures show per capita energy consumption increased 24 per cent between 1977-78 and 1997-98. But as greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise and vital climate change talks on the Kyoto protocol begin in Germany, only 9 per cent of Australians see the environment as their key social concern." (The Age)

"Australia far exceeding Kyoto emission targets" - "CANBERRA - Australian greenhouse gas emissions increased 17 percent from 1990 to 1998, far exceeding its Kyoto protocol commitment to increase emissions by only eight percent, government statistics showed yesterday." (Reuters)

"Green issues low on list of priorities" - "Australians are becoming less green, using more resources and producing greater waste than people in most other countries. They rank the environment as only their fifth most important social concern, according to the Bureau of Statistics' first report on the relationship between the economy and the environment." (Sydney Morning Herald)

"CLIMATE CHANGE IN ATLANTIC LARGER THAN PREVIOUSLY THOUGHT" - "A NASA satellite confirms that overturning in the North Atlantic Ocean - a process where surface water sinks and deep water rises due to varying water densities - speeds up and slows down by 20 to 30 percent over 12 to 14 year cycles. Scientists previously believed that a change of this magnitude would take hundreds of years, rather than close to a decade." (NASA/GSFC)

"Disagreeing on the Environmental Implications" - "Until now, German Economics Minister Werner Müller, a political independent, was not known for his expertise in climate matters, and he has yet to make an emphatic statement on the issue. Environment Minister Jürgen Trittin, on the other hand, feels called upon to "save" the climate by virtue of his office and as a member of the pro-environmentalist party Alliance 90_The Greens.

Yet the economics minister has become a moderately important and interesting player in the political chess game surrounding the climate issue. Mr. Müller is, so to speak, the George W. Bush of the German cabinet: the climate policy villain." (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung)

"Greenhouse melts Alaska's tribal ways" - "As climate talks get under way in Bonn today, some Americans are ruing the warming their president chooses to ignore." (Guardian)

"Japanese lawmaker raises fist at U.S. withdrawal from treaty" - "WASHINGTON, July 16 - A visiting Japanese opposition lawmaker on Monday issued a strong condemnation of the United States' withdrawal from the Kyoto Protocol, the environmental treaty aiming to temper global warming through limits on greenhouse gas emissions." (Kyodo)

"Roundup: No Breakthrough Expected at Climate Change Talks in Bonn" - "Representatives from some 180 countries will meet here from July 16-27 to resume the sixth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP6) to the United Nations Framework Convention of Climate Change to seek ratification of the Kyoto Protocol." (People's Daily)

"Hong Kong frets about jobs, not pollution" - "HONG KONG - The biggest concern facing Hong Kong residents appears to be the threat of unemployment, according to a survey published yesterday. Some 73 percent out of 1,000 people surveyed said the potential for a recession and unemployment was the most serious issue facing the territory while only eight percent put environmental issues on their urgent list, marketing firm Taylor Nelson Sofres Hong Kong Ltd said in a statement." (Reuters)

"Frustrated Europeans Set to Battle U.S. on Climate" - "ESCHWEILER, Germany, July 13 — This used to be a gritty and dirty little town, surrounded by coal mines and factories and overshadowed by a power plant that spewed soot everywhere. But as representatives from more than 170 nations meet in Bonn Monday to begin last-ditch talks to save a treaty to combat global warming, this town provides one tiny slice of the anger and bewilderment that people across Europe now feel toward the United States, whose opposition has all but scuttled the accord." (New York Times)

"Europe's Struggle to Salvage Kyoto" - "Government officials from around the world are trying to salvage an agreement to stop global warming. The two-week climate change conference that begins in Bonn today could be the last chance to save the Kyoto protocol. That agreement obliges governments to lower their greenhouse gas emissions. But the United States and Japan have already made it clear they won't sign it. For its part, Europe feels it can't just go it alone." (Radio Netherlands)

"Japan to be squeezed at climate conference" - "The two-week conference on global warming that begins today in Bonn will shine the spotlight on a nation not accustomed to the international hot seat: Japan." (Washington Times)

"Japan, U.S. targets at climate conference" - "BONN, Germany, July 16 -- Japan came under heavy attack Monday from non-governmental organizations -- and the United States was expected to receive a similar treatment -- as informal consultations among the members of the sixth Conference of Parties to the Kyoto Global Warming Pact began." (UPI)

"Environmental groups blast Japan over Kyoto hesitation" - "BONN, Germany - Japan is holding up efforts to fight global warming by wavering on a U.N. treaty the United States has already abandoned, environmental groups said Monday, as some 180 countries resumed talks on salvaging the pact. European nations have pledged to push ahead with the so-called Kyoto protocol without the United States, saying Washington could join later. But if Japan pulls out, the effort could collapse for good." (AP)

"Japan douses hope of agreement on greenhouse gases" - "Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said today his government would not decide until late October whether or not to ratify the Kyoto climate treaty despite lack of US participation." (Sydney Morning Herald)

"Greenhouse gas talks open under a cloud" - "BONN, GERMANY - Canada's environment minister says there's little chance talks getting under way on Monday will make much headway toward their goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions." (CBC)

"Mexico pledges to ratify Kyoto Protocol, press U.S." - "MEXICO CITY, July 15 - Mexico will ratify the Kyoto Protocol aimed at curbing global warming, the Mexican government announced Sunday, a day before the start of the climate-change talks in Bonn." (Kyodo)

"Climate Talks Start But Hopes of Deal Fade" - "BONN - Talks opened in Germany on Monday to try to salvage the international Kyoto agreement, which many scientists say may be the last chance to save the planet from the destructive impact of global warming." (Reuters)

"Climate Talks Battle on Amid Transatlantic Feud" - "BONN, Germany - Environment officials from some 180 countries will press on with seeking agreement on slowing global warming on Tuesday, despite differences among the industrial powers that could wreck the U.N.'s Kyoto accord." (Reuters)

"Climate talks resume with push to save Kyoto pact; Focus in Bonn: Keep Japan from following U.S. lead" - "BONN, Germany, July 16 — Officials from around the world started two weeks of talks Monday aimed at salvaging the Kyoto climate treaty after the United States withdrew its support. Some officials believed Japan was key to moving forward with emissions reductions, while others planned to pressure President Bush and U.S. officials to reconsider. For his part, Bush maintained that Kyoto was fatally flawed." (MSNBC)

"European leaders planning to urge Bush to back Kyoto pact on global warming" - "Brussels, Belgium --- European leaders plan to appeal to President Bush this week for greater cooperation in dealing with global warming by emphasizing the depth of dismay across their continent with U.S. policy and the dangers of a serious estrangement in transatlantic relations." (AccessAtlanta.com)

"Bush Rejects 'Methodology' of Kyoto Treaty" - "WASHINGTON - President Bush on Monday rejected the methods spelled out by the Kyoto accord to curb global warming, but said he looked forward to discussing the problem with allies ``over time.''

Asked whether he expected criticism over Washington's rejection of the treaty when he travels to Britain this week, Bush replied, ``From whom? Editorial page writers? Oh, perhaps ... But ... I have made my positions clear.'' (Reuters)

"Debate moves past whether it's happening to what, if anything, should be done about it" - "Glaciers are receding. Oceans are rising. Alaska is thawing. As officials from nearly 180 nations start to gather today in Bonn, Germany, to confront the vexing problem of global warming, the issue is no longer whether it is real, but what should be done about it." (USA Today)

"Environmental groups say Japan is holding UN global-warming pact hostage" - "BONN, Germany - Japan is holding up efforts to fight global warming by wavering on a UN treaty the United States has already abandoned, environmental groups charged Monday, as some 180 countries, including Canada, resumed talks on salvaging the pact." (AP)

"Crowded skies impact air quality" - "Jet emissions get scant focus in U.S., but issue on U.N. agenda for climate talks" (MSNBC)

"Kyoto would boost Europe and Japan economies - reports" - "Europe and Japan would benefit economically and gain a market share in new technologies if they adopted the Kyoto Protocol on climate change, according to two new reports." (Ananova)

July 16, 2001

"Extra Fat With That? The Fat That Is Not on Food Labels" - The fat police are trying to scare Americans about trans-fats in food. Check out the Junkman's appearance today on Good Morning America.

For more on the junk science of the trans fats scare, check out the Junkman's Chicago Sun-Times column, FDA Label Rule Lacks Scientific Basis" and "Fear of Margarine: The Trans Fat Myth," a more detailed analysis.

"Sticking to His Guns" - "The Bush Justice Department was bound to view gun issues in a different light than its predecessor. Attorney General John Ashcroft is a life member of the National Rifle Association and a longtime opponent of gun control.

In his confirmation hearings, however, Mr. Ashcroft assured senators - and the nation - that he'd vigorously enforce existing gun laws. And he has largely lived up to that promise, boosting manpower devoted to gun-law enforcement.

At the same time, the attorney general has not tried to hide his ardently pro-gun rights philosophy." (Christian Science Monitor editorial)

"Cellphone use just the tip of the iceberg of driver distractions" - "DETROIT -- As cities and states are passing laws banning handheld cellphone use while driving, a new study shows they rank low on the list of accident-causing driver distractions." (Detroit News)

"Jack Kelly: The nature of eco-nuts; Good news about the environment scares some folks" - "An almost unheard-of thing happened June 29: A news special on the environment got higher ratings than "Who Wants to be a Millionaire."

That John Stossel's report on "Tampering With Nature" bested the popular quiz show is due less to a sudden outbreak of taste on the part of the viewing public than to the fact that eco-nazis tend also to be morons.

The Environmental Working Group inadvertently hyped the Stossel show by very noisily demanding that ABC remove from it a couple of minutes of footage of Stossel asking elementary school pupils in California what they were being taught about the environment." (Post-Gazette)

"Wonderful world" - "'A lot of people really, really hate me," says Bjorn Lomborg. It's easy to understand why. The Danish statistician has gone to infinite pains to show that most people's cherished beliefs about the lamentable state of the Earth are bunk." (Sunday Times)

Here's a good one: "Adults miss out on whole grain benefits" - "Nine out of ten adults in the UK fail to eat the recommended three servings of whole grain per day. And one out in three fails to eat whole grain on a daily basis. The research, based on interviews with 1,035 people and presented at the Nutrition Society's Summer Meeting, means that significant numbers of people are missing out on a range of beneficial nutrients contained in whole grain foods. These include antioxidants, vitamins, complex carbohydrates and phytochemicals. Campaigners from Whole Grain for Health (WGFH) claim that if people regularly ate the recommended amount of whole grain food it could save almost 24,000 lives each year in the UK." (BBC Online)

As I recall, anti-particulate campaigners only claimed about 4,000 U.K. lives "saved" annually by virtually eliminating motor vehicle use. This lot claim 6 times as many "saved" by whole grain. Maybe we should give the cars whole fuel and save even more.

"AMA calls for reduction in fast food advertising" - "The Australian Medical Association (AMA) is calling on governments and advertising regulators to limit the promotion of fast food to children. The call comes as the AMA launches Family Doctor Week, with an emphasis on child obesity. AMA president Dr Kerryn Phelps says there has been a dramatic rise in the number of children classified as overweight or obese, from 3 per cent in the 1960s to 20 per cent today." (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

"Salt Saga" - "In response to an article about a low salt diet and high blood pressure that appeared in the January 4, 2001 edition of the New England Journal of Medicine, four letters to the editor were printed in the May 31, 2001 issue. The original study found that combining a diet high in fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products with a low sodium plan was more effective than either one alone.

The letter writers each pointed out potential weaknesses in the study by suggesting: 1) restriction of sodium can be hazardous in many people, 2) the only group to derive a statistically significant benefit was black women, 3) the effects of the diet were mainly on systolic pressure and diastolic pressure is considered more important, and 4) the study lasted only 90 days and other experiments have found less effect as time passed.

HERE'S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: The reply from the study authors was not particularly convincing, particularly when they started out by implicitly blaming the food industry for not making enough low-sodium foods. This exchange illustrates the serious differences in thought by scientific experts on a subject that the public has been told repeatedly is crystal clear." (Nutrition News Focus)

"Doctors stumble on infection clue to sciatica cure" - "DOCTORS believe that half of all cases of the excruciating back pain known as sciatica could be caused by an infection which is easily cured by antibiotics. Specialists in Birmingham have found slow-growing bacteria of the kind that normally lives on the surface of the skin in spinal tissue from nearly 50 per cent of patients with sciatica." (Telegraph)

"TWO NEW STUDIES LOOK AT ROLE OF PERSONALITY AND WORK DEMANDS IN HEALTH AND SAFETY ON THE JOB" - "Differences In Work Injury Among Male And Female Firefighters Examined; Link Found Between Industrial Noise And Increased Worker's Blood Pressure." (Journal of Occupational Health Psychology)

"ANALYSIS - Summit protesters - rebels with or without a cause?" - "STOCKHOLM - No summit these days is complete without hordes of protesters roaring at ranks of riot police. They brandish banners of Che Guevara and Chairman Mao, from Greenpeace to the black flags of anarchy. Depending on who you ask, the travelling circus of anti-globalisation is a rabble without a cause or the fresh new face of democracy.

Either way, the pitched battles that have made cities like Seattle and Gothenburg synonymous with mayhem and destruction pose a riddle for summit organisers like the G8 group of rich nations, who meet in the Italian port city of Genoa next week.

Faith in dialogue is fading, leaving two options: tougher security or more remote summit locations." (Reuters)

"Animal rights protesters to target Shell" - "Shell is set to become the latest target for an animal rights group trying to shut down a pharmaceutical testing firm. Organisers of protests against Huntingdon Life Sciences, which is based in Cambridgeshire, say they are launching a national campaign against Shell because it is a customer of HLS." (Ananova)

"Environmental Impact of Ethanol Fuels Debate" - "WASHINGTON - Supporters of ethanol like to describe it as a cleaner-burning fuel additive that helps keep the air clearer, but critics say its environmental drawbacks may outweigh some of the benefits. While ethanol made from corn gives a boost to the incomes of American farmers, the alternative fuel poses complex trade-offs for U.S. oil refiners, environmental groups and federal regulators trying to find cleaner gasoline to curb pollution." (Reuters)

"US and Canada block fuel plan" - "The US and Canada are blocking measures to be presented at the Group of Eight Summit in Genoa designed to boost renewable energy supplies around the world. The proposals have been developed by a taskforce, established at the G8 summit in Okinawa last year and composed of government and industry representatives. The taskforce proposes that the G8 industrialised countries phase out subsidies for fossil fuels and nuclear energy while increasing credits for research and development of renewable energy." (Financial Times)

"Cheney defends energy policy" - "Led by Vice-President Dick Cheney, Republican officials will on Monday scatter across the US to defend the administration's energy programme against charges that it relies too heavily on new fossil fuel and nuclear energy development." (Financial Times)

"Liposuction fat holds potential to grow new organs" - "Scientists may at last have found a use for the much-maligned beer gut. They have discovered that cells in the type of fat routinely extracted by liposuction from the bodies of people wanting to lose weight could be used to grow new tissue and organs. The kind of fat taken from obese men and women during the increasingly popular weight-reducing procedure contains stem cells, the essential raw material for scientists working in the burgeoning area of tissue engineering, they say." (Independent)

"Modifying Genes: Hardier Vines or Sour Grapes?" - "Some of the world's most tradition-minded manufacturers are confronting one of its most modern technologies: Genetic engineering is coming to the wine business. Scientists are working on genetically modified grapevines that are resistant to disease, and genetically altered yeast to improve fermentation." (New York Times)

"US grain system said incompatible with EU rules" - "WASHINGTON - The United States has a remarkable system for handling grain exports, but it is not suited for expected new European Union "traceability" rules on genetically modified crops, an European Commission official said on Friday." (Reuters)

"GM crops ban right for now" - "Bangkok provided a stage for the worldwide controversy over genetically modified organisms (GMOs) this last week. The city was the site of a conference hosted by the Office of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) on biotechnology, while anti-GMO activist groups protested and held workshops outside." (Bangkok Post)

"Stop trials call to GM farmer" - "Campaigners against genetically-modified crops are to hold a rally on the only remaining GM trials farm in Wales. The protesters will call on farmer John Cottle to plough up a field of GM crops at his farm in Sealand, Flintshire." (BBC Online)

This week sees the Bonn iteration of climate hysteria, CoP6, MkII, part C (or whatever...). Inevitably there will be significant coverage of this non-event and a lot of items will end up here. In deference to those who recognise this as an irrelevant pain-in-the-butt, I'll try to keep climate crapola in a separate section at the end of the day's postings. Here's today's instalment: -- BH

"Bon Bonn Comment" - "The Kyoto Protocol on climate change is a 'command-and-control' approach that simply will not work, scientifically, economically, or politically. At best, it might, but only might, reduce temperatures by around 0.07 - 0.2 degrees Celsius; the cost will be in billions/trillions of dollars; at the heart of the agreement is the great black hole of carbon trading credits, especially to Russia and the Ukraine; and, very few governments around the world will ever deliver it politically. Moreover, the science remains primitive with regard to our understanding of complex climate change, the most inscrutable of coupled non-linear chaotic systems. European theological adherence to Kyoto must not be allowed to block the development of more sensible and workable solutions to energy use, growth, and development. In the end, Kyoto could damage us all, but especially the poor." (Professor Philip Stott, Professor of Biogeography in the University of London)

"COVER: Global Warming; Meteorologist Lindzen Tells Bush 'Kyoto Would Be to Do Nothing at Great Expense'" - "NEW YORK, July 15 -- With the Kyoto plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions effectively dead, attention is turning to meteorologist Richard Lindzen perhaps the most well-respected voice of dissent against the environmentalist view of global warming. Lindzen, called to the White House to talk to President George W. Bush after he turned his back on Kyoto, told Bush that even if doomsday forecasts were to be believed, ``Kyoto would be to do nothing at great expense,'' Newsweek reports in the July 23 Asia edition (on newsstands overseas Monday, July 16, and available at http://www.Newsweek.MSNBC.com)." (PRNewswire)

"Wigley's Surface Record" (Still Waiting For Greenhouse)

"Scientists Grapple With Global Warming" - "AMSTERDAM, Netherlands - Ever since global warming became an issue, scientists have been grappling with a blizzard of new data, feeding them into computer models, trying to frame the planet's present course and to project its future. New facts - and new questions - will be at hand for politicians and policy-makers gathering Monday in Bonn, Germany, for a new round of negotiations on controlling the greenhouse gases blamed for the gradual warming of the Earth." (AP)

"President will fly into Kyoto row with Blair" - "TONY BLAIR will tell George W Bush during his first official visit to Britain this week that the United Kingdom will make far greater cuts in greenhouse gas emissions than under the Kyoto treaty on the environment which America has abandoned. Far from trying to paper over the cracks of the disagreement between Britain and America about environmental protection, Blair's government is to up the ante the day before Bush arrives in London on Wednesday." (Sunday Times)

Um... wasn't George III the last British Sovereign of The Americas? Perhaps Tony thinks Elizabeth II reigns across the Atlantic still - someone should tell him about taxation without representation, tea-parties Boston-style, and American's determination of their own best interest.

Tony's going to pressure George? "W" must be quaking!

"Rising temperatures to take worst toll on defenceless Africa" - "Johannesburg - Global warming may take its gravest toll on Africa, the world's poorest continent that lacks the resources to tackle the challenges posed by the possible environmental effect of rising temperatures." (Reuters)

"Global warming could widen rich-poor gap" - "AMSTERDAM, Netherlands -- Large-scale changes in the world's climate likely will widen the gap between the richest and poorest nations -- potentially crippling food production in parts of Africa, South Asia and South America, according to the first worldwide assessment of food production and climate change." (Los Angeles Times)

"Amid global-warming debate, Alaskans' landscape shifts" - "SHISHMAREF, Alaska — As world leaders debate the possibility of global warming and its uncertain threat, the reality of climate change has closed in on this small Eskimo village on the Chukchi Sea — to be precise, on a rusty fuel-tank farm holding 80,000 gallons of gasoline and stove oil." (Seattle Times)

"Japan to reject proposal for climate funds at Bonn talks" - "BONN, July 15 - Japan will reject a proposal for funds aimed at helping developing countries fight global warming during U.N. talks on climate change due to start Monday in Bonn, a move that could put the Kyoto Protocol in jeopardy, Japanese government sources said Sunday. The move is expected to anger developing countries, which have demanded monetary aid from industrial countries on the grounds that they are to blame for global warming." (Kyodo)

"Canada gloomy about prospects for environment talks" - "OTTAWA, Canada -- Canada, one of the world's worst polluters per capita, says there is no chance of reaching a comprehensive deal at talks in Bonn this week on salvaging the troubled Kyoto climate change protocol, which the United States abandoned in March." (Reuters)

"Kyoto's Climate Change" - "An atmosphere of gloom hangs over talks starting today in Germany to fill in the details of the Kyoto Protocol, aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions. (See story) It needn't be that way." (Christian Science Monitor editorial)

"Global-warming treaty: last gasp?" - "It's the most ambitious environmental treaty ever written. But can it be salvaged - or should it be - without the US as a partner?" (Christian Science Monitor)

"Kyoto treaty becomes a numbers game without the US" - "AMSTERDAM - The fate of the ailing Kyoto global warming treaty stands on a knife-edge, its future in the hands of three states - Japan, Canada and Russia - following the US pullout earlier this year." (Reuters)

"EU fears Bush out to stymie Bonn talks on global warming" - "Berlin -- As another round of difficult negotiations on combating global warming begins tomorrow in Bonn, Germany, European officials are accusing the Bush administration of trying to sabotage the talks." (San Francisco Chronicle)

"Bush feels heat on global warming" - "President George Bush has announced a multi-million-dollar package of studies and initiatives aimed at reducing the emissions of gasses blamed for changes in the climate. But White House officials say that will go to talks in Germany with no alternative to the Kyoto protocol that President Bush withdrew from earlier this year." (BBC Online)

"Bush cuts 'green' aid to Third World" - "President George W Bush is undermining attempts by Third World countries to develop renewable sources of energy and fight global warming, The Independent on Sunday can reveal. He is planning to slash US aid to help them combat climate change, and is watering down a personal initiative by Tony Blair for the world's richest countries to promote solar, wind and other clean energy in developing nations." (Independent)

"Pitting Yankee Ingenuity Against Global Warming" - "AMSTERDAM -- Like life itself, the continuing debate over global warming has one thing at its center--carbon." (LA Times)

"New talks aim to salvage some of Kyoto pact" - "Tempers and tensions will be exposed at meeting in Bonn." (MSNBC)

"Decision time for Koizumi" - " WASHINGTON - The international spotlight is on Japan as negotiators from more than 100 countries prepare to hammer out the details of the Kyoto Protocol on climate change next week in Bonn, Germany." (Asia Times)

"FOCUS: Japan desperate to save face at climate talks" - "TOKYO, July 14 - Japan will desperately try to avoid the disgrace of dealing the final blow to the imperiled 1997 Kyoto Protocol on curbing global warming at the upcoming U.N. climate talks in Bonn, Germany, by maintaining an ambiguous stance." (Kyodo)

"Japan PM Casts Doubt on Kyoto Agreement" - "TOKYO — Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi on Sunday said opposition by the United States would prevent an agreement at an upcoming global conference on steps to reduce environmentally dangerous emissions — but vowed to push ahead for a compromise." (AP)

"Japan gloomy on Kyoto talks" - "Japan's Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has said talks to save the Kyoto climate change treaty, due to open on Monday in Bonn, are unlikely to reach agreement." (BBC Online)

"Kyoto Protocol to fail at COP6: Koizumi" - "Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said Sunday he thinks there will be no accord reached on the Kyoto Protocol on combating global warming at a key U.N. climate conference opening in Germany on Monday." (Japan Times)

"Koizumi forecasts stalemate in Bonn over Kyoto treaty" - "Lingering hopes of an agreement on global warming were dashed yesterday when the Japanese Prime Minister predicted that an international conference opening in Bonn today would fail to rescue the threatened Kyoto Protocol." (Independent)

"Pact on greenhouse gases 'set to collapse'" - "SENIOR European politicians are predicting the collapse of the United Nations conference aimed at saving the Kyoto climate change agreement only hours before the talks are due to open in Bonn today." (The Times)

"Storm clouds over climate talks" - "Only the professional optimists are predicting complete success for this week's resumed climate talks, which get under way on Monday in the German city of Bonn. The realists speak of wide differences still to be overcome, but hope to salvage something. The pessimists expect the end of the Kyoto Protocol, the global climate treaty, and a descent into environmental anarchy. The one point all agree on is that time to turn talk into action is short." (BBC Online)

"Kyoto pact needs last-minute reprieve" - "PARIS - The United Nations' landmark accord on global warming, the Kyoto Protocol, looks set to be put on ice at talks in Bonn this week, fuelling worries about the lengthening delay in tackling climate change as scientific evidence about the peril mounts." (New Zealand)

"Saving Kyoto From Doom" - "BRUSSELS. President George W. Bush's decision to abandon the Kyoto Protocol has plunged international efforts to combat climate change into crisis." (Margot Wallstrom, European Commissioner for the Environment)

"The heat is on for a solution in Bonn" - "As crucial climate change talks open on Monday, we examine the high cost of inaction." (Guardian)

"Hopes Fade for Climate Deal As Bonn Talks Start" - "BONN, Germany - Talks that some portray as a last chance to save much of the planet from drowning get under way in Germany on Monday with little hope left that they can salvage an international deal to combat global warming." (Reuters)

"FACTBOX - Science on global warming behind Kyoto pact" - "AMSTERDAM - United Nations' talks on the Kyoto Protocol on climate change are set to resume in Bonn next week. The talks, which focus on cutting carbon dioxide emissions from industrialised states to help slow global warming, will take place largely in the political arena. But they are driven by the science behind global warming and the uncertain predictions about the changes that may follow. Following are some key climate change questions." (Reuters)

July 14-15, 2001

"Second-hand smoke can triple risk; Workers in bars and restaurants most vulnerable to lung cancer, Canadian study says" - "People who are routinely exposed to a lot of second-hand smoke, such as workers in bars and restaurants, can see their risk of lung cancer triple, a new study says. The Canadian study provides some of the most compelling scientific evidence yet for a total ban on workplace smoking, including bars and restaurants." (Globe and Mail)

Really? According to the abstract of this study of 71 women with lung cancer:

Although more years of and more intense residential passive smoke exposure tended to be associated with higher risk estimates, no clear dose-response relationship was evident.

Somehow, we seem to have made a leap from statistically insignificant association and no clear dose-response relationship to "... risk of lung cancer triple, a new study says." Fascinating.

"Science Group Applauds New Food Safety Nomination" - "July 10, 2001. New York, NY. The American Council on Science and Health (ACSH), applauded President George W. Bush for nominating Dr. Elsa Murano for the office of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA'S) Undersecretary for Food Safety.

Dr. Murano is the director of the Center for Food Safety at Texas A&M University. Her research on food safety has included studies of a variety of disease-causing organisms, including E. coli O157: H7. She is a recognized expert on the use of irradiation to improve the safety of foods, and has edited and authored books on that topic." (ACSH)

"Food Safety and Irradiation: Protecting the Public from Foodborne Infections" - "Early in the 20th century, when food safety was a major concern to the public, two technologies, milk pasteurization and retort canning, were developed, promoted, and, virtually canonized as prevention measures against foodborne diseases. Fear of contracting typhoid fever from watered milk and outbreaks of botulism from commercially canned products are now part of the distant past, controlled by these food industry processes in many countries. Nonetheless, at the beginning of the 21st century, foodborne disease remains a major threat to public health, as new pathogens and products have emerged. Many of these threats can be controlled by applying new technologies, when we as a society are willing to use them." (Robert V. Tauxe, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA)

"Gender-bending chemicals: facts and fiction" - "The supposed dangers posed by chemicals in household products make great headlines. But is there anything more to these dangers than that?" (Bill Durodié, Sp!ked)

"It's official - Prozac is the new weapon in the battle against the bulge" - "The antidepressant Prozac may have another role: helping obese people to lose weight when diet and exercise fail. Evidence for its usefulness in weight loss, even in people who are not depressed, is included in a new edition of Therapeutic Guidelines, in which Australian doctors assess world scientific literature to make recommendations about treatments." (Sydney Morning Herald)

"Safe as houses?" - "Just when you thought it was safe to go back inside, a report produced by the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health (RSPH) reveals that people living in houses with attached garages are living on borrowed time." (Austin Williams, Sp!ked)

"Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy and Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease" - "To the Editor: The article by Brown et al. (1) contains the statement "it appears likely that changes in the rendering process that had taken place around 1980 allowed the etiologic agent in infected carcasses to survive." If that is the case, why not revert to the rendering methods used before 1980? That measure would seem more cost-effective than trade embargoes and mass killing of cattle. Meal made from meat and bone was used as a livestock feed additive in many countries without the apparent disastrous effect seen in the United Kingdom. Did the rendering methods remain unchanged in these other countries? ..." (EID letter from Hans Riemann, Department of Population Health and Reproduction, University of California, Davis)

"Caffeine, slow fetal growth not linked in study" - "NEW YORK, Jul 13 - A new study provides evidence that a pregnant woman can consume moderate amounts of caffeine without impairing her baby's development. The findings add to a conflicting body of research into the effects of caffeine on the developing fetus. While some studies suggest that caffeine may increase the risk of having a low birth weight baby, preterm delivery, fetal growth retardation and miscarriage, other research has failed to confirm these associations. (Reuters Health)

"Half of baby deaths result of extra bedding: U.S. study" - "WASHINGTON - A safety agency in the United States has released a new study indicating nearly half of children who have died in playpens suffocated from soft bedding." (CBC)

"Study confirms link between left-handed and IBD" - "NEW YORK, Jul 13 - British researchers report that left-handed people are twice as likely to suffer from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) as right-handed people. "The study suggests a link between IBD and left-handedness which may be genetic and/or environmental in origin," according to Dr. D. L. Morris, of the Royal Free and University College Hospital Medical School in London, and colleagues." (Reuters Health)

"Doctors warn against anti-aging panaceas" - "NEW YORK, Jul 13 - A group of experts on aging has issued a report questioning the validity and safety of "anti-aging medicine." "There are no valid intrinsic measures of aging," Dr. Robert N. Butler, head of the International Longevity Center-USA (ILC-USA), said at a press briefing here. "Claims that you hear of slowing or reversing aging cannot be proven." Butler served as the first director of the National Institute on Aging, and is a professor of geriatrics and adult development at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York." (Reuters Health)

"Study Contradicts Theory Suicide Is 'Contagious'" - "ATLANTA - Knowing or hearing about someone who has committed suicide may reduce, not increase as previously thought, the chances that you will try to kill yourself, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Friday." (Reuters)

"Scientists gather seeking ways to stop insects from transmitting disease; Cleveland Vector Encounter is July 14-15" - "CLEVELAND -- The 6th annual Cleveland Vector Encounter will be held at Case Western Reserve University on July 14 and 15. This meeting gathers scientists from around the country and abroad who work with insects that transmit disease. The encounter is organized by Marcelo Jacobs-Lorena, who is a professor of genetics at CWRU.

The study of disease vectors has come of age in the last few years and has been making tremendous advances. Malaria, a mosquito-transmitted disease, kills about 2 million people (mostly children) every year, about the same number of people that are killed annually by AIDS or tuberculosis. Equally important but much less appreciated is the fact that malaria incidence and mortality have remained steady, implying that little progress is being made in the fight of this disease." (CWRU)

"Makah Get More Whaling Rights in 2nd Environmental Assessment" - "WASHINGTON, DC, July 13, 2001 - The Makah Indian Tribe of Washington State will get broader scope for their controversial whale hunt under a new Environmental Assessment released today by the National Marine Fisheries Service, an agency of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)." (ENS)

"Norton Rejects Call to Have Panel Review Water Cutoff" - "WASHINGTON, July 13 — In a blow to farmers along the Oregon- California border, Interior Secretary Gale A. Norton refused to accept a petition today that sought reversal of a decision that has shut off irrigation water to about 200,000 acres of farmland.

The petition requested that the government convene its Endangered Species Committee to consider whether the plight of about 1,400 farmers merited waiving provisions of federal law. The provisions have required the Bureau of Reclamation to allot all of its water in the area to protection of endangered fish." (New York Times)

"The price of pikeminnow just went up" - "They used to be called northern squawfish and are now known as northern pikeminnow, but whatever you call them, these fish are destructive. They consume baby salmon along the Columbia River from The Dalles Dam in Oregon to the Pacific Ocean.

Northern pikeminnow are notorious because they have voracious appetites for juvenile salmon and do not discriminate among species of fish, including endangered species. Several species of salmon in the Columbia River Basin are listed as endangered or threatened." (ENN)

Actually, it's the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) having to foot the bill for this emotional attachment to a few fish - probably as a defensive measure to avoid losing their hydroelectric dams. Ultimately, all power consumers are being subjected to this extortion wrought by misanthropists masquerading as "environmentalists."

Both the fish and the so-called environmentalists are overpriced.

"Down with trees" - "They're so fashionable, it's sickening: these days, everyone who's anyone is a tree enthusiast. But are our foliated friends all they're cracked up to be? Michael Bywater issues a counterblast against the tree-luvvies." (Independent)

"Huge Genetic Variation Found in Human Beings" - "WASHINGTON - The notion of a uniform genetic blueprint for human beings took a tumble on Thursday, as the most detailed examination yet of variations in the genetic makeup of people detected unexpectedly large individual differences." (Reuters)

"Virus fear puts paid to hopes of pig cell use" - "A plan to transplant pig cells into people suffering from diabetes has been knocked back for a second time. Director-General of Health Dr Karen Poutasi yesterday declined an application from a South Auckland company to start clinical trials transplanting insulin-producing pancreas cells from pigs into humans. Dr Poutasi said regulatory agencies throughout the world had concerns about the transmission of retroviruses through the transplanting of live pig tissue into humans." (New Zealand Herald)

"Eight arrests at GM crop protest" - "Eight people were arrested and one injured during a protest against Wales's only remaining GM crop trial. Approximately 40 protesters broke into the field and began ripping up the crop of GM fodder maize." (BBC Online)

"GM food" - "On December 7, a quiet revolution will take place on Australia's supermarket shelves, when foods containing genetically modified product will need to be labelled. Food companies have been preparing for months, many changing the source of the ingredients to avoid GM labels." (The Age)

"Monsanto plans genetically modified wheat in five years" - "FREDERICTON - Modified wheat is coming, whether Canadian farmers want it or not, says an executive of international food giant Monsanto. Bob Ingratta, Monsanto vice-president of regulatory affairs, told a national conference of seed producers in Fredericton on Thursday the company hopes to have genetically modified wheat to sell in five years." (CBC)

"The UN’s Human Development Report - Let Them Eat More" - "The anti-globalisation brigade likes to tout two big objections to new technology’s role in promoting growth. The first is that the richer you are, the more access you have to technological innovation; information technology, in other words, reinforces the “digital divide” between rich and poor. The second is that unwelcome western innovations–such as genetically modified food–are shoved on people in poor countries, who gain no benefit from them. The United Nations’ annual Human Development Report this year tackles these objections head-on. By looking at the relationship between technology and growth, its authors come to a convincing conclusion: poor people need more innovation and access to technology, not less." (The Economist)

"Turf Wars - ECO-Terrorists Threaten Biotech Companies -Making New Types of Grass Through Genetics" - SOUTH KINGSTOWN - Albert Kausch fears unseen predators. The marauders, emotionally driven and with no regard for the law, could easily set Kausch's biotechnology start-up back seven months with one quick strike. Venture capitalists? No, eco-terrorists." (Providence Journal)

"Global Community To Sequence Banana Genome" - "Scientists from 11 countries will announce a collaboration to sequence the banana genome. In a conference to be held from July 17-19 at the US National Science Foundation in Arlington, Virginia, the group will discuss ways of using new genetic data to grow bananas that are able to resist pests and diseases.

"Cultivated bananas lack the genetic diversity needed to fight off disease," said Emile Frison, director of the International Network for the Improvement of Banana and Plantain. Because ancient farmers chose to plant seedless bananas, those bananas have been at "an evolutionary standstill for thousands of years." (Earth Times)

"Roundup: Like It or Not, GM Food Safety Sets to Become Big Topic " - "It does look like a real chaos when hundreds of participants from 58 countries and regions around the world tried to build a consensus despite their polarized views on the Genetic Modified (GM) food and dozens of anti-GM food activists dumped imported GM fruits into garbage boxes during their protest outside the meeting venue.

Local news papers were also filled up with front-page articles which contradicted to each other on the pros and cons of developing GM food.

But out of all the mess, one thing is clear: whether you like it or not, the GM food issue is getting more and more attention because it is or it will be so important to everyone's life." (People's Daily)

"Gene genie bottled again" - "When the Union ministry of environment and forests recently ordered fresh trials of Bt Cotton for another year, both detractors and proponents of genetically modified (GM) crops heaved a sigh of relief. The government has sought large scale multi-location trials of Bt Cotton, which has been genetically modified by insertion of a gene from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (hence Bt) which provides protection from the deadly pest Bollworm by producing a naturally occurring toxin." (Times of India)

This week sees the Bonn iteration of climate hysteria , CoP6, MkII, part C (or whatever...). Inevitably there will be significant coverage of this non-event and a lot of items will end up here. In deference to those who recognise this as an irrelevant pain-in-the-butt, I'll try to keep climate crapola in a separate section at the end of the day's postings. Herewith the first collation: -- BH

"Under the Weather: Climate, Ecosystems, and Infectious Disease" - "The observation that a change in weather can lead to the appearance of epidemic disease has been appreciated since the dawn of medical science. In modern times, our increasing abilities to detect and predict climate variations such as El Niño, coupled with mounting evidence for global warming, have fueled a growing interest in understanding the impact of climate on the transmission of infectious disease agents. Studying these linkages between climate and disease may yield insights into the factors that drive the emergence and seasonal or interannual variations in contemporary epidemic diseases and possibly into the potential future impacts of long-term climate change." (Committee on Climate, Ecosystems, Infectious Disease, and Human Health, National Research Council, Washington, DC, USA)

Today's "we're all gonna fry/drown/dehydrate/freeze/broil and something icky will happen" piece: "Fire burn and cauldron bubble, climate change will cause us trouble" - "Amsterdam - From the fringes of the Arctic to the savannas of tropical Africa and the Amazon rainforests, fire is set to rip through landscapes, destroying biodiversity and accelerating global warming over the coming decades. Researchers painting this scenario at a major conference here on global change today emphasised their point by warning that climate change is not a linear phenomenon and could push the Earth beyond a critical threshold." (Fred Pearce, BMN News)

II "Maldivians keep eye on climate change, sea levels" - "MALE, July 13 - Is paradise drowning? That is what officials in the tropical resort nation of the Maldives are worried about." (Reuters)

III "Heading for global disaster, fast" - "INCREASED flooding, landslides and storm damage. Warnings of dire ecological catastrophe are increasingly being voiced as concerns over climate change grow. Less familiar in Britain are predictions of increased deaths from heat-stroke and failures of traditional agricultural systems through droughts." (The Scotsman)

IV "RMS Holds Scientific Workshop On Climate Change and Windstorm Risk in Europe" - "LONDON - On 28th June 2001, Risk Management Solutions (RMS) hosted 19 technical specialists from principal reinsurers, insurers and intermediaries across Europe and Bermuda to explore evidence of increased severe windstorm activity across Western Europe." (BUSINESS WIRE)

V "UN report says planet heading for disaster" - "THE planet is warming at twice the rate previously predicted and much of the blame lies with human activity, the world’s leading scientists have concluded." (The Scotsman)

again "Climate change speeds up, says U.N." - "LONDON, England -- Global warming is happening at nearly twice the rate predicted just six years ago, a U.N. report says." | but Experts dismiss climate report (CNN)

meanwhile "Sizzling sun makes cloudy days" - "The United States becomes cloudier during cyclical periods of heightened solar activity, possibly because the increased radiation heats the upper atmosphere and nudges the jet stream northward enough to change regional weather, researchers said this week.

Their study, which investigates a link between weather and the composition of the stratosphere, could help scientists identify large-scale mechanisms that influence climate.

The jet stream, a belt of powerful wind that gusts from west to east in the troposphere, the lowest atmospheric layer, exerts a major influence in directing storm fronts across North America. Jet stream fluctuations can determine which locations soak up sun and which soak up rain." (CNN)

The Week That Was July 14, 2001 brought to you by SEPP

"Global warming: an economic hypothesis" - "The news in March 2001 that President George W Bush had decided to pull out of the Kyoto protocols on global warming, earned him not only the wrath of environmentalists around the world, but the scorn of much of the US establishment. (James Harkin, Sp!ked)

"No Kyoto alternative yet for U.S.?" - "WASHINGTON -- The United States, which angered Europe with a March decision to pull out of the Kyoto pact on climate change, will have no alternative strategy to offer at international talks in Germany next week." (Reuters)

"President, With a Variety of Steps, Addresses Climate Change" - "WASHINGTON, July 13 — President Bush today promoted a number of studies and other measures intended to address the impact of greenhouse gases, including a $120 million NASA research project to examine more thoroughly the relationship between them and climate changes." (New York Times) | Statement By The President on Climate Change Policy (U.S. Newswire)

"U.S. Won't Have New Plan for Global Warming Talks" - "The Bush administration, which angered European allies four months ago by disavowing an international global warming pact calling for mandatory reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, will not offer an alternative approach when talks resume in Germany next week, according to officials." (Washington Post)

"Bush unveils action plan to fight global warming" - "WASHINGTON, June 13, Kyodo - President George W. Bush on Friday unveiled a set of measures to fight global warming, his first response on what approach the United States will take in place of an 1997 international climate change treaty." (Kyodo)

"Bush Tackles Global Warming" - "WASHINGTON — Under attack for rejecting a climate change treaty, President Bush on Friday announced a series of multimillion-dollar studies and initiatives aimed at reducing the impact of heat-trapping gases on the globe" (AP)

"Commerce Secretary Evans Announces Interagency Climate Change Efforts" - "WASHINGTON, July 13 -- U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Don Evans today announced a variety of efforts aimed at improving interagency coordination and identifying high-priority science to address climate change." (PRNewswire)

"U.S. Opposes Plan for Financing of Clean Energy Over Fossil Fuel" - "WASHINGTON, July 13 — The Bush administration plans to oppose an international drive to phase out fossil fuel subsidies and increase financing for nonpolluting energy sources worldwide, administration officials said today.

The proposals are contained in a report commissioned by the Group of 8 industrial nations, which will hold its annual summit meeting in Genoa, Italy, next week. The proposals would commit rich nations to help one billion people around the world get their power from renewable energy sources, like wind, water and the sun." (New York Times)

"U.S. studies separate climate-control plan with Latin America" - "WASHINGTON, July 12 - The U.S. government is studying a proposal to work with Latin American countries on technological development and research to curb global warming, amid criticism from Europe over its recent withdrawal from a U.N. climate-change treaty, according to several U.S. government sources." (Kyodo)

"U.S. business looks beyond the Kyoto 'quagmire'" - "WASHINGTON, July 13 - For some time, a large part of the U.S. business community has wanted to move the debate about climate change politics beyond the issue of whether or not the Kyoto Protocol is a good thing." (Reuters)

"Environment minister bows out of climate talks, deputy PM to take his place" - "OTTAWA -- Environment Minister David Anderson will not attend the UN climate change conference that opens in Bonn on Monday. Anderson will be replaced by Deputy Prime Minister Herb Gray. Morgan denied there has been any shift in the Canadian position going into the Bonn talks. In recent interviews Anderson has blamed the European Union for the impasse which led the United States to pull out of the Kyoto treaty earlier this year. He has suggested there is little hope of any breakthrough in Bonn, since the United States is still reviewing its position on the climate issue." (CP)

"Annan Warns Climate Meeting: Earth at Risk" - "BERLIN - United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan made an impassioned plea on Friday for nations to use a global climate meeting in Bonn next week to stick to a commitment to cut emissions of gases blamed for global warming." (Reuters)

"Kofi Annan Presses Japan to Back Kyoto" - "BERLIN — U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Germany's chancellor pressed Japan on Friday to ratify the Kyoto treaty, arguing that it has a ``special responsibility'' as the country where the global warming accord was born. The 4-year-old agreement faces an important test at talks in Bonn, Germany, next week. The position of Japan, the world's second-largest economy, has become pivotal to its survival." (AP)

"Japan's Dilemma: Adopt or Abandon Climate Treaty?" - "TOKYO -- An old joke has it that Japanese diplomats always look left and right before they look ahead. In a nation where consensus is paramount and groups provide comfort and protection, taking a controversial stance on international affairs doesn't come naturally. In recent weeks, however, Japan has found itself under growing pressure to do just that." (LA Times)

"Tokyo ready to support climate deal without US; Environment minister flies to Washington to pull Bush on board" - "Japan will make a last effort today to coax the US back into talks on global warming, but it has made it clear that it will not abandon the Kyoto protocol on reducing greenhouse gases even if it cannot regain the support of its main ally." (Guardian)

"Japan fails to persuade U.S. to reverse global warming policy" - "WASHINGTON, July 13 - Japan failed Friday to persuade the United States to reverse its decision to withdraw from a 1997 international treaty aimed at fighting global warming, dashing hopes for an accord at a U.N. conference opening next week on the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol." (Kyodo)

"Japan mulls plan to reach climate accord at COP7 or later" - "TOKYO, July 13 - Japan plans to submit a proposal to the upcoming U.N. climate talks in Bonn to reach an agreement at the next climate meeting slated for the fall or later, the government's policy outlines showed Thursday." (Kyodo)

"Panel members urge gov't to implement Kyoto Protocol in 2002" - "TOKYO, July 13 - Several members of a government panel on the environment asked the government Friday to clearly tell the Japanese public and the world that it will make its best efforts to make the Kyoto Protocol on curbing global warming come into force as early as 2002, as previously planned." (Kyodo)

"No accord likely on Kyoto Protocol at Genoa summit" - "TOKYO, July 13, Kyodo - Leaders of the Group of Eight (G-8) major powers are unlikely to reach any substantial agreement at their coming meeting on the 1997 Kyoto Protocol aimed at curbing global warming, Japanese officials said Friday." (Kyodo)

July 13, 2001

"Fat-Free America?" - "Picture yourself with no body fat. That's what Harvard Medical School researchers recommend for your health in the July 9 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine

The researchers' new study reports that even a few extra pounds of bodyweight raises the risk of chronic diseases like diabetes, gallstones, hypertension, heart disease, and stroke. But don't start crash dieting yet.

The researchers' fat heads and research budgets are in desperate need of liposuction." (Steve Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"More US kids at risk for obesity-related illness" - "NEW YORK, Jul 12 - As American youngsters continue to pack on the pounds they can expect to confront a range of diseases and medical complications that used to be largely confined to adults, an expert with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Thursday." (Reuters Health)

"DDT link to premature births" - "Women exposed to DDT, the insecticide effective in controlling malaria, are more likely to have premature births. American scientists found that the insecticide increases the risk of pregnant women having their babies before 37 weeks of gestation." (BBC Online) | Scientists Say DDT Increases Risk of Early Birth (Reuters) | An epidemic may have gone unnoticed--DDT use in US linked to premature births in the 1960's (NIH/National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences)

A study in this week's Lancet [DDT and preterm babies (Lancet)] associates maternal serum concentration of  the DDT metabolite DDE with premature birth and small-for-gestational-age  babies. Here some of the key weaknesses of this study:

  • Poor study design/cherry-picked data. The researchers started with 44,000 children born to poor, urban mothers who enrolled for prenatal care at university hospitals between 1959 to 1966. Out of these 44,000 births, the researchers selected a non-random sample of 2,380 births. Half of the 2,380 children studied were selected because they had birth defects and developmental problems. There's more going on with these births than simply pre-term birth and small size.
  • Biased data. The children selected are more likely to be born prematurely or small simply because of their mothers' socio-economic status.
  • Statistics, not science. The study is statistical in nature. The researchers do not show scientifically that DDE caused the reported effects.
  • Inconsistent results. Serum DDE was statistically associated with pre-term births for girls, but not boys, and for black infants, but not white infants. Serum DDE was statistically associated with small size for black infants, but not white infants. No credible explanation exists for these differences.
  • Confounding factors not scientifically examined. Important risk factors for pre-term birth and small size were omitted, including diet, alcohol consumption and drug use. Even factors like smoking were not scientifically eliminated. The researchers merely have tried to wave a statistical wand over the issue of confounding risk factors.

What makes this study truly outrageous is the researchers' recommendation that pest control with DDT should be reassessed in light of these findings. Of the more than 2 million people that die every year from malaria, the vast majority are children. Even if the researchers conclusions were valid -- which I dispute entirely -- they apparently would prefer dead children to early births or small births.

"Just one more thing" - "Ken Smith died July 3 at the age of 44, having achieved an astonishing and rare distinction: He never lost a friend. Even though he earned his keep in the grim and contentious world of punditry, Ken developed a knack honed through dozens of controversies and thousands of heat-seeking editorials for expressing his opinions without venting his spleen." (Tony Snow, Washington Times) [Relevant letters]

"People are too safe for their own good" - "We are constantly forced to make decisions about risks. Whether to choose to drive a motorcycle, for example, or a giant sport-utility vehicle.

We don't make those decisions alone: Society imposes sometimes-controversial regimens to mitigate risks. Underlying the controversies about various products or activities is a fundamental question: How should regulators, acting as society's surrogate, approach risk in the absence of complete certainty about the likelihood of potential harm?" (Henry I. Miller and Gregory Conko, Detroit News)

"Passing Lane" - "Left-wing attacks help boost John Stossel's and Brit Hume's audiences." (WSJ)

"Politically Incorrect U.N." - "We read that Bill Gates and his foundation are keen on stepping up the war against malaria, that perennial scourge of less developed nations. We applaud him, and wish the Gates Foundation the best of luck. The mosquito-borne disease still claims a million lives each year, mostly children and pregnant women. We hope as well that the Gates Foundation will show as much courage as the United Nations did this week in denouncing the technophobia that still stops the fruits of the First World from reaching the Third World.

Yes, of all things, the U.N. has blown the whistle on the nutty fears over genetically modified foods, saying that the developing world can ill afford such self-indulgent hysteria." (Wall Street Journal)

"Gene linked to heart disease risk" - "Scientists have discovered a gene which increases smokers' risk of developing coronary heart disease by up to four times. Around a quarter of the population carries one or more copies of the key gene variant. But researchers say genetic tests to warn who is at risk will not be commercially available until further studies have confirmed their findings. Smokers are known to have an increased risk of developing heart disease, because smoking increases the risk of blood clots and blocked arteries. But this study may explain why some smokers get heart disease while others get lung cancer or bronchial problems. And heart health experts say they hope the information will help motivate smokers to stop." (BBC Online)

"Fat From Margarine Worse Than Butter - Dutch Study" - "WASHINGTON - The type of fat in margarine and vegetable oil reduces the function of blood vessels and drives down levels of good cholesterol more than saturated fats such as those found in butter and meat, according to a study published on Thursday.

Researchers from the Netherlands sought to determine whether different diets play a role in the blood vessels' ability to dilate or expand. This function is impaired in patients with cardiovascular disease. They gave diets high in trans fatty acids such as those in margarine to one group of subjects and diets high in saturated fats such as those found in animal products and coconut and palm oil to other subjects. They found that the ability of the blood vessels to dilate was nearly a third lower in people who ate the diet high in trans fatty acids compared those on the saturated fat diet. In addition, blood levels of high-density lipoproteins (HDL) -- the so-called good cholesterol -- were about one-fifth lower in the trans fatty acids group compared to the saturated fat group. (Reuters)

"Cherry tree leaves to blame for mysterious foal deaths in Kentucky" - "LEXINGTON, Ky. - Hundreds of foals and fetuses in Kentucky thoroughbred country died from cyanide poisoning this spring after somehow ingesting cherry tree leaves, which naturally contain the deadly poison, scientists have discovered." (AP)

"Stay healthy with the toilet 'doctor'" - "A company in Cheshire is designing a futuristic toilet which can monitor human waste and spot health problems. At the first sign of a medical condition, the Versatile Interactive Pan (VIP) would contact a GP via the internet. The VIP concept has been produced by the bathroom manufacturers Twyford. With a voice-activated seat, automatic flush and the ability to detect health problems, the company says it is a "major breakthrough" in toilet technology." (BBC Online)

Oh what the hell, I'll say it - they're flushed with, um... success.

"USDA Seeks Nominations for National Organic Standards Board" - "The U.S. Department of Agriculture invites nominations to fill upcoming vacancies on the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) for 5-year terms beginning in January 2002.

The NOSB is a 15-member board responsible for developing and recommending to the U.S. ag secretary a proposed National List of Approved and Prohibited substances. The NOSB also advises the secretary on all other aspects of the National Organic Program.

Nominations are being sought for the positions of organic producer, organic handler, consumer/public interest, environmentalist and scientist (in the fields of toxicology, ecology, or biochemistry)." (AgWeb.com)

"H Pylori tests not always useful for diagnosing ulcers" - "Routine testing for H pylori infection in patients consulting their general practitioner with indigestion (dyspepsia) does not aid the diagnosis of peptic ulcers, concludes a study from the Netherlands in this week's BMJ." (BMJ Volume 323, pp 71-75)

"Yellow fever vaccine fears" - "Concern has been raised over the safety of the vaccine for the deadly disease yellow fever following several deaths. Scientists say research must be carried out to try to understand why some people are highly sensitive to the vaccine. But they warn that the vaccination programme should be continued unless it becomes clear that considerable numbers are at risk." (BBC Online)

"Cannabis users 'five times more prone to violence'" - "Young men who regularly take cannabis are five times more likely to be violent than those who avoid the drug, a study has suggested. Research showed users of the "chill out" drug were more prone to violence than youths who drank too much alcohol." (Independent)

"U.S. Firms Reject European Tax Breaks for Green Products" - "BRUSSELS, Belgium, July 11, 2001 - American firms operating in Europe have rejected a key element of European Commission proposals for an integrated product policy. In a new position paper, the EU Committee of the American Chamber of Commerce says a plan to introduce lower sales tax rates on ecolabelled products is "backward looking and innovation stifling." (ENS)

"US lawmaker pulls plan to raise fuel standards" - "WASHINGTON - Efforts on Capitol Hill to boost US fuel vehicle standards were put on hold yesterday, as Democratic Rep. Edward Markey of Massachusetts pulled his plan to raise significantly the mileage of passenger cars, sport utility vehicles and other light trucks." (Reuters)

"Senate panel cuts Yucca mountain waste site funds" - "WASHINGTON - A Senate panel yesterday passed a $25 billion bill for energy programs that slashes funds for a nuclear waste dump in Nevada while it boosts resources to tend the nation's nuclear arsenal and reclaim sites contaminated in its development." (Reuters)

"GREATER SOLAR ACTIVITY MAY BRING U.S. MORE GRAY DAYS" - "NASA-funded Earth Science researchers have discovered that during periods of increased solar activity much of the United States becomes cloudier, possibly because the jet stream in the troposphere moves northward causing changes to regional climate patterns.

The new study supports earlier findings by suggesting there is a relationship between increased cloud cover over the United States and the solar maximum, the most intense stage of activity on the Sun.

Previous studies have shown that during the solar maximum, the jet stream in the Northern Hemisphere moves northward. The jet stream guides storms and plays an important role in cloudiness, precipitation and storm formation in the United States." (NASA/GSFC)

"Study clouds data; Scientists use research to understand climate change" - "HAMPTON - Global warming predictions need some adjusting if new NASA research holds true. Bruce Wielicki and David Young are working with the Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System project. ... For example, during El Nino in 1997, researchers saw large losses of heat in the tropics. But computer models had predicted no significant heat loss. That kind of misinformation could prompt unnecessary rules or no rules where some are needed, Young said. "The government doesn't want to impose regulations on the populace if there isn't going to be that big of a change in climate," Young said. The problem with current models comes when looking out over the next 100 years or so. While predictions are fairly accurate if skies are clear, adding clouds can produce problems." (Daily Press)

"Charting climate change" - "It is a fact that the earth's climate has varied over the centuries - there have been ice ages, and times when the earth was much hotter than it is now. Such changes had dramatic effects, radically altering the climates of entire continents. But the changes happening now are occurring at far greater rates than in the past. Global sea levels are rising, polar ice caps have got smaller, and snow and permafrost on mountain ranges is melting." says Julian Siddle, BBC Online.

"Scientists: Future Climate Change Could Be Sudden" - "AMSTERDAM - Future changes in the earth's climate may happen suddenly, triggered by man-made factors such as smokestacks and exhaust pipes, scientists said on Thursday." (Reuters)

"Global warming 'worse than feared'" - "Immediate action is needed to protect the Earth from dramatic climate change, a top United Nations scientist has warned. Dr Robert Watson was speaking as an influential UN body formally published its third assessment on climate change. The report says global temperatures are rising nearly twice as fast as previously thought." (BBC Online)

"Experts dismiss climate report" - "LONDON, England -- A new report which paints a pessimistic future for the world's climate has been dismissed as "scaremongering" by some experts." (CNN)

"Earth Losing Its Natural Archives" - "AMSTERDAM, Netherlands - With glaciers, coral, and old-growth trees swiftly disappearing, scientists warned Thursday that the Earth is losing the vast historical archives stored within them. These natural records are invaluable in tracing long term climatic changes, and sometimes reveal a graphic picture of human drama, researchers said in a series of papers and remarks at an international conference of scientists on global warming." (AP)

"The heat's on Australia" - "CANBERRA - The Australian government is under pressure to ratify the Kyoto Protocol on climate change and has asked the opposition to state its opinion on the issue." (Asia Times)

"Fiscal Effects of Warming Studied" - "WASHINGTON - Adopting a new version of the climate treaty that the Bush administration rejected as harmful to the U.S. economy would save the nation more than $50 billion annually in energy-related costs by 2010 as well as slow global warming, a study for an environmental group says." (AP)

Methinks the WWF should stick to "saving" big-eyed fur-bearing critters - at least they know a little bit about that.

"Bonn chance for the Kyoto protocol" - "BRIAN FALLOW reports that the international deal to cut greenhouse gases could be salvaged without US participation, but the outlook is not good." (New Zealand Herald)

"Kyoto treaty becomes a numbers game without the US" - "AMSTERDAM - The fate of the ailing Kyoto global warming treaty stands on a knife-edge, its future in the hands of three states - Japan, Canada and Russia - following the US pullout earlier this year." (Reuters) | FACTBOX - What is the Kyoto protocol? | FACTBOX - Where do the countries stand on Kyoto? | CHRONOLOGY - The fight against global warming | Kyoto pact faces death or stay of execution in Bonn (Reuters)

"It's OK to oppose Kyoto - just fix the tax code" - "Despite the stalemate over global warming, the round of climate-change negotiations that begins Monday in Bonn, Germany, actually provides President Bush an opening. He can maintain his opposition to the Kyoto Protocol. But at the same time, he can embrace a solution the Europeans already support - one that addresses both global climate change and America's domestic energy problems." says Alexandra Deane Thornton in The Christian Science Monitor.

"David Anderson: George W. Bush's Puppet 'He is an embarrassment': Greenpeace" - "OTTAWA, July 12 - Greenpeace Canada today demanded Environment Minister David Anderson come clean on his agenda for the pivotal climate change meeting next week in Bonn. Media reports today indicate Anderson has told Canadians one thing, but done another overseas." (CNW)

"Maldives calls for US support on global warming" - "MALE - The resort island nation of the Maldives, threatened by the fallout from global warming, appealed to the United States on Wednesday to follow the European Union in backing the Kyoto pact on climate change." (Reuters)

"EU wants Bush promise not to block climate talks" - "BERLIN - Belgium, holder of the European Union's rotating presidency, said yesterday it would seek assurances from US President George W. Bush that he will not try to block next week's international talks in Bonn to salvage the Kyoto pact on climate change." (Reuters)

"INTERVIEW - EU's Wallstrom fears US may wreck climate talks" - "BRUSSELS - The European Union's top environment official said on Wednesday she feared the United States was trying to wreck next week's international negotiations to salvage the Kyoto pact on climate change." (Reuters)

"New Zealand Gets Wind of Greenhouse Gas Breakthrough" - "WELLINGTON - While the world attempts to choke greenhouse gases spewing from exhaust pipes and smokestacks, an even more earthly battle is under way in New Zealand -- how to tame cattle and sheep guts. Belching and flatulent livestock are the biggest single contributor to New Zealand's greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for 44 percent of its temperature-raising gases, compared to less than 10 percent in most developed countries." (Reuters)

New Zealanders eh? Seems they just can't stop molesting their sheep.

"Global warming may increase Norwegian food production" - "Norwegian food production may increase if the change in climate continues, an international report concludes. For the first time, research data from all over the world has been compiled to make it possible to look into the collective effects of global warming on world food production." (Norway Post)

"Climate change will hit New Zealand hard, says report" - "New Zealanders will face more floods and droughts – and subtropical diseases - if predictions in a report on climate change released today come true. ‘Climate Change Impacts on New Zealand’ - based on scientific studies published here and overseas - said temperatures in New Zealand would rise significantly in the next 100 years." (New Zealand Herald)

"Some good in climate warming" - "The experts say climate change is not all bad news - at least in the short term. Their report, Climate Change Impacts on New Zealand, was released yesterday to update the last Government-led assessment in 1990." (New Zealand Herald)

"NYU researchers have transformed a virus into a better cancer killer" - "NEW YORK, - Scientists have found a way to greatly rev up the cancer-killing ability of a genetically engineered virus, a finding that may eventually lead to more potent anti-cancer therapies that capitalize on the ability of viruses to reproduce in the body.

NYU School of Medicine researchers report in a new study that they have isolated a new version of a herpesvirus that kills cancer cells but spares normal tissue. In animal studies, the new version dramatically reduced the size of human prostate cancer tumors grown in mice. Moreover, it completely eradicated the tumor mass in some of the animals, and it appears not to harm normal tissue." (New York University Medical Center and School of Medicine)

"China Announces Seawater Irrigation of GM Crops" - "Scientists used biotechnology technique called ''pollen tube method.'' Mangrove may be the salt-tolerant donor plant." (Planet Rice)

"Anti-GM forces guilty of 'scientific apartheid'" - "Bangkok - Hundreds of lives are being saved thanks to commercial production of genetically modified (GM) crops, claimed a leading Chinese plant biotechnologist today at the major UN conference here on food safety. "In China, 400 to 500 people die every year from pesticide use," Jikun Huang told delegates at the meeting, New Biotechnology Food and Crops: Science, Safety and Society. But the toll is dropping as more farmers switch to GM crops and reduce the volume of pesticides they use, noted Huang, founding director of the Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy (CCAP) in Beijing, and part of the Chinese Academy of Sciences." (BioMedNet News)

"Brand New Weapons In Fight Against Malnutrition" - "After years of studious silence, the United Nations Development Programme has finally recommended genetically modified foods to fight famine and malnutrition. The twin calamities threaten millions Third World lives." (The Nation)

"UN agency backs GM food crops" - "Grassroots groups angered by conclusion that the poor and the hungry will benefit." (Guardian)

"China Forges Ahead With Biotech Research Despite Safety Fears" - "China, already the first Asian nation to grow a genetically modified crop on a commercial scale, has made biotechnology a major research priority, a leading agriculture policy expert said Wednesday.

Huang Jikun, director of the Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy, told an international conference in the Thai capital that China had 700,000 hectares of transgenic cotton under production. The strain has been genetically modified to produce a toxin which deters cotton pests and reduces the need for harmful pesticides." (AFP)

"China develops moth-free rice" - "BEIJING: Chinese scientists claimed to have successfully developed two species of genetically modified (GM) rice, a report said today. The new species, developed by scientists at the Hangzhou-based Zhejiang University, can kill moths that eat the leaves and stalks of the plant, Xinhua news agency reported. Rice moths, a major agricultural pest in China, destroys upto 24 million acres of rice crops each year, the report said. Chinese farmers had been relying on traditional chemical pesticides for moth control at a higher cost, also leading to environmental pollution and harmful pesticide residues." (Times of India)

"Tasmania wants to be GM-free apple of world's eye" - "Tasmania is set to extend its ban on genetically modified crops for at least another two years, and wants to eventually declare itself permanently GM-free. The Government believes there is no advantage to Tasmanian farmers growing the current range of GM crops, and strong benefit to the island's export image in rejecting them." (Sydney Morning Herald)

"Farmers urged to grab GE benefits" - "A DAIRY expert yesterday urged Tasmania's farmers to embrace genetic engineering. Less than 24 hours after the state extended its GE ban for two years, a statewide dairy conference was told the new technology was the key to the future." (The Mercury)

July 12, 2001

"No Altered Corn Found in Allergy Samples" - "Virtually all the food samples collected from consumers who complained of allergic reactions to StarLink corn did not contain the genetically modified corn at all, government tests have found. The results could further allay concerns that StarLink had caused the reactions." (New York Times)

"CANADA: Scientists claim abuses in drugs approval system for animals destined for food chain" - "Six Canadian scientists have blown the whistle on the process by which drugs are approved for use in animals destined for human consumption, and have aired their concerns in a letter to Canadian health minister Allan Rock. The scientists, who work for the bureau of veterinary drugs, claim that they have been denied the chance for professional promotion because they refuse to ignore safety risks and approve the use of drugs they consider potentially dangerous. (just-food.com)

"Four Oregon families sue 12 drug companies over mercury in vaccines" - "BEAVERTON, Ore. - Four Oregon families filed a lawsuit Wednesday against 12 companies that make drugs or distribute them, claiming their children were harmed by mercury contained in vaccines." (AP)

"Toxic Playgrounds"  - "If there's one thing wood knows how to do, it's rot. Expose lumber to the elements, and within as few as five years, sun, rain, termites and fungus can reduce it to pulp. That's why builders were so enthusiastic in the 1970s when the lumber industry introduced pressure-treated boards--ordinary planks and posts injected with an extraordinary preservative known as CCA that can extend the life of wood fivefold, eliminating repairs and saving millions of trees annually. What got less attention at the time is the fact that CCA stands for chromated copper arsenate--a form of arsenic. And that's turned out to be a problem." (Time)

"Scientists pore over faeces" - "Researchers are trying to help reduce food poisoning deaths by analysing human and animal waste. They believe their results could have implications for the future of organic farming. A two-year study has been launched to analyse how long bacteria, like the potentially deadly E.coli 0157, survives in human and animal waste recycled for fertilisers." (BBC Online)

"Organic Pesticide Flunks the Rat Tests" - "Those annoying neighbors who are always bragging about their "toxic-free" organic food will have to come up with a new brag. One of the most widely used organic pesticides, pyrethrum, has been declared a "likely human carcinogen" by a scientific advisory committee of the Environmental Protection Agency.

The scientific panel reached this conclusion two years ago, after pyrethrum caused excess tumors in rats and mice, but the decision was never announced to the public. It has only now come to light because of a lawsuit.

Another organic-approved pesticide, rotenone, was recently proven to cause the symptoms of Parkinson's disease when administered to rats.

Does this mean none of our food is safe, including organic?

On the contrary, it means all of America's food is safer than you dared to hope. For almost thirty years, organic farmers and the environmental movement have lied about the dangers from man-made pesticides, based on a foolish set of government high-dose rat tests that are guaranteed to create the illusion of food risks." (Dennis T. Avery and Alex Avery, American Spectator)

"Long-lasting pollutant found in fertilizer, fish" - "NEW YORK, Jul 11 - Biosolids, the treated sewage sludge that is spread on cropland as a fertilizer, contain "high concentrations of an environmentally persistent class of organic pollutants" called brominated diphenyl ethers (BDEs), study results indicate. And the researchers report that they found BDEs in 87% of fish sampled from Virginia waters, with one fish close to setting a world record for contaminant levels.

"This finding indicates that significant environmental release of these pollutants is occurring in the United States and that humans may be exposed to them through their diet," according to Dr. Robert C. Hale and colleagues from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science in Gloucester Point." (Reuters Health)

"Bush Wants EPA to Have Cabinet Status" - "WASHINGTON - President Bush, who has been criticized by environmental groups for a string of decisions, supports legislation that would elevate the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency to Cabinet status, the White House said on Wednesday." (Reuters)

"Senate Backs Ban on Drilling in National Monuments" - "WASHINGTON - The Senate on Wednesday joined the House of Representatives in voting to prevent new oil drilling on millions of acres protected as national monuments, showing Congress' skepticism about White House calls for an all-out effort to boost energy production." (Reuters) | Senate Votes to Bar Mining, Drilling (AP)

"Levin's oil scapegoat search runs dry" - "Deborah Stabenow is going to protect us from drilling in the Great Lakes. Carl Levin is going to protect us from the high gasoline prices charged by those evil oil companies.

Hello? Does anybody see a disconnect here?

Both Michigan Sens. Stabenow and Levin are intelligent folks, and surely they understand that by limiting the supply of oil, they, not the oil companies, will bear the responsibility for higher oil prices. But like good liberals, they are content to foster the illusion that there are magic-bullet solutions that don't require trade-offs. Less drilling, in other words, but lower prices for gasoline. And if not, then somebody else must be at fault." (Thomas Bray, Detroit News)

"Do as I say, not as I do" - "WASHINGTON -- Americans claim to be upset about high energy prices, but you wouldn't know after watching Congress vote to ban drilling off the Gulf of Mexico and in the Great Lakes. Legislators seem equally opposed to oil exploration in the Alaska Natural Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), even though environmental groups permit energy production on their own lands.

The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that ANWR likely holds about 20.7 billion and conceivably as much as 31.5 billion barrels of oil, as well as four trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Production would help substitute for the diminishing flow from Alaska's Prudhoe Bay, now half its peak in 1982." (Doug Bandow, Japan Times)

"Send in the clouds" - "During the summer of 1976, a dozen years before climate change burst on the scene as a hot-button issue, climate scientist Bruce Wielicki saw the future, and it was in clouds. A grad student at the time, Dr. Wielicki was summering at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution on Cape Cod, taking part in a 12-week brainstorming session on climate.

"That was 25 years ago," he says, "and we still haven't figured clouds out." (Christian Science Moniotor)

"El Niño's newly discovered cousin" - "Move over, El Niño. Using coral from a tiny Pacific atoll, researchers have discovered a new tropical ocean temperature swing with worldwide implications, from droughts in Brazil to monsoons in India.

The finding suggests that temperature swings in the Pacific with time scales longer than El Niño affect regional climates. The existence of such cycles could potentially improve scientists' ability to make long-range climate forecasts with far more confidence than they do today.

The new research shows that over the past 112 years, surface-water temperatures in the tropical Pacific have fluctuated every 12 to 13 years. This cycle correlates closely to similar cycles previously documented in the Atlantic and Indian oceans and may, in fact, cause them. "This provides convincing evidence that these three ocean basins are linked on time scales beyond El Niño, which is intriguing," says Kim Cobb, lead author of the new study from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography here at the University of California, San Diego." (Christian Science Monitor)

"FEATURE/Tillinghast - Towers Perrin Hurricane Study Refutes Claims That Global Warming Caused Increased Catastrophic Hurricane Damages; Study Puts Hurricane Damages in 1990s in Proper Context" - "NEW YORK--July 11, 2001-- A comprehensive study, which analyzes insured hurricane damages from all hurricanes that affected the continental U.S. in the 20th century, refutes some analysts' claims that global warming has caused increases in catastrophic hurricane damages. Tillinghast - Towers Perrin today announced the results of the first-ever published study of insured hurricane damages for the entire 20th century." (BUSINESS WIRE FEATURES)

"Myths and Meteorology" - "Like the Clinton administration before it, the Bush administration supports international efforts to curb global warming. Yet the evidence indicates that the earth is not overheating." (Gary Benoit, New American)

"Experts blow hot and cold" - "Maize, sunflowers and grapes in the Chilterns, or icebergs off the coast?

It is hardly a secret that many Britons think the country could do with a little global warming. With every grey Bank Holiday, with every Wimbledon washout, it becomes more and more tempting to look forward to the Mediterranean climate that scientists have predicted several decades hence.

Click on their computer models and the infamous British drizzle gives way to a summer worthy of the name a century from now. As temperatures rise by between 1.4C and 5.8C, sunflowers replace rape in the fields of the Home Counties; neat vineyards give the Chilterns the look of Tuscan hillsides; and Brighton and Torquay usurp Cannes and St Tropez as Europe’s most stylish resorts.

Listen to a different set of researchers, however, and a bleaker picture emerges. In their model Britain in 2100 looks more like Labrador than Liguria. Changes to the circulation of the Gulf Stream bring a big freeze, with average temperatures falling by as much as 10C even as they rise elsewhere.

It is hard to find a better illustration of the uncertainties that surround predictions of climate change than the next century’s prognosis for the British Isles." (The London Times)

"Little known about climate change" - "Wellington: A survey has shown few New Zealanders are aware of the significance of climate change, although they want to know more about it, the Government said yesterday.

Energy Minister Pete Hodgson, who is in charge of a ministerial group on climate change, said it was a challenge for the Government to make sure people had the information they needed to "get involved" in finding the best response.

He said he would shortly release a report about the impact of climate change on New Zealand." (Otago Daily Times)

"Global Warming Holds Wide Ranging Impacts For NZ - Report" - "New Zealanders can expect to feel the effect of wide-ranging impacts from climate change over the next 100 years, according to a new report released today. The report called Climate Change Impacts on New Zealand, based on reports and scientific studies published internationally and in New Zealand, updates the last government-led assessment produced in 1990. It says New Zealand temperatures are likely to rise significantly by 2100, affecting health, agriculture, native ecosystems, sea levels and the urban environment." (NewsRoom)

"Giant icebergs likely for NZ in global warming" - "Giant icebergs from Antarctica were once common in New Zealand waters and because of climate change they could return. Scientists from the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (Niwa) have discovered that over the past 200,000 years icebergs repeatedly moved into New Zealand waters.

"There are records in the literature from sailing ships around New Zealand seeing these things," said Niwa oceanographer Dr Lionel Carter. "They described them as large white mountains. I guess they would have been very impressive." He said past iceberg invasions that flowed in pulses from Antarctica were indirect responses to ocean and climate changes and provided insights into what might happen to Antarctica under global warming.

In 100 years, it is thought that Earth will look like it did during warm periods over the past 200,000 years. "There were certain periods within that 200,000 years when Earth was two, three, four degrees warmer, which is what they are projecting for global warming in the next two centuries. "We are concentrating on that period to see how Earth behaved during those very warm periods as a sort of example of what will happen in the future." (New Zealand Herald)

Today's hysterical collection from The Independent: Global warming much worse than predicted, say scientists | How the world is threatened by massive change | Industrial pollution cause of climate instablility | The warning signs | Effect of pollution will last for generations | Two years, and 1,057 scientists 637 authors

"Pronk criticizes Japan for wavering on climate treaty" - "AMSTERDAM, July 10, - The head of a U.N. conference on climate change criticized Japan on Tuesday for wavering over the Kyoto treaty to curb emissions of global warming gases, saying the Japanese position is jeopardizing global climate policy." (Kyodo)

"Japan far off global warming target, ministry says" - "Greenhouse gas production is 6.8% above 1990 levels, despite a Kyoto goal of 6% below that year's level. The Environment Ministry painted a grim picture Tuesday of Japan's efforts to reduce emissions linked to global warming." (Asahi Shimbun) | Greenhouse emissions back on the rise; Nation's Kyoto goal would require 12.8% cut (Japan Times) | Greenhouse gas emissions hit 1.3 bil. tons, report says (Yomiuri Shimbun)

"Prescott on climate change mission" - "Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott will visit Japan as efforts are stepped up to rescue the Kyoto Protocol on climate change." (ITN)

"Canadian Greenhouse Gas Emissions Up Again in 1999" - "OTTAWA - Canada said on Wednesday its output of greenhouse gases in 1999 was 15 percent higher than in 1990 but insisted it could still meet its tough target for emission cuts under the Kyoto climate change protocol." (Reuters)

"Australia has no new plan for Kyoto: Hill" - "Australia did not have a new agreement in mind to replace the Kyoto Protocol on climate change but would continue to try to resolve world differences on the issue, the federal government said." (AAP)

"Registration Now Open for Alberta GHG Emissions Trading Simulation" - "CALGARY, July 11 - Climate Change Central invites Canadian organizations to register for western Canada's first greenhouse gas emissions trading simulation, September 5 and 6, 2001. The simulation will provide participants with hands-on experience in a virtual trading environment and, more importantly, allow greater understanding of how potential future emissions trading markets might operate." (CNW)

A virtual fix for a virtual problem? Sounds right to me.

"Thai help needed to save climate pact, say activists; Save agreement first, then make changes to tackle concerns" - "Activists yesterday called for the Thai government to join forces with its Asean counterparts in saving the Kyoto Protocol at international climate talks starting next week in Bonn.

Greenpeace and WWF Thailand said Thailand, like many developing countries, was vulnerable to the impact of climate change, including reduction in farm production yields, higher sea levels, and coral bleaching." (Bangkok Post)

"Following Is Full Text of Testimony Delivered Today by PSEG Power President Frank Cassidy at U.S. Senate Hearing on Technology and Policy Options to Address Climate Change" - "Remarks on Behalf of Clean Energy Group Before Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Technology Call for Mandatory CO2 Controls as Part of Integrated, Four-Pollutant Emissions Reduction Program for Electric Power Industry" (PRNewswire)

"Mid-Continent O&G Association Chief Blasts Global Warming, as Seen in Energy Houston Magazine" - "HOUSTON--July 11, 2001--The theory that man-made carbon dioxide emissions are causing a global warming trend and the Kyoto Treaty are serious threats to the U.S. economy and the energy industry worldwide, says the chairman of Oklahoma's Mid-Continent Oil & Gas Association. His views are available at www.worldenergysource.com." (BUSINESS WIRE)

"$14 toll in city's drive against cars" - "The British capital yesterday announced it would charge motorists £5 ($14) every time they entered the city, and at least 20 local government areas are considering similar measures to stop cars and trucks eating up their cities. The new toll, starting in 2003, is part of a series of initiatives being introduced by Mr Ken Livingstone, the former left-wing Labour MP who last year became London's first popularly elected mayor." (Sydney Morning Herald)

"Exxon global warming boycott gets new push" - "LONDON, July 11 - Green protestors widened their boycott campaign against Exxon Mobil on Wednesday and although analysts said retail sales showed no sign of suffering they warned there might be some damage longer term to the oil giant's famous brand." (Reuters)

"Environmentalists Call For Boycott Against ExxonMobil" - "KUALA LUMPUR, July 11 -- Local environmentalists on Wednesday joined the international call for a boycott of giant petroleum producer ExxonMobil to send a message to the United States and the oil industry to take climatic issues, human rights abuses and environmental sustainability seriously." (Bernama)

"Wise Foods says no trace of StarLink in chip tests" - "WASHINGTON - Wise Foods Inc., an East Coast maker of snack foods, said on Wednesday it found no StarLink genetically-altered corn in tests of its white corn tortilla chips." (Reuters)

"Morinaga recalls potato snack over GM concerns" - "TOKYO - Japanese food maker Morinaga and Co said on Wednesday it was voluntarily recalling a snack product after it was found to contain traces of unapproved gene-spliced potatoes. Morinaga, a major Japanese confectioner, said in a statement that voluntary tests conducted on a potato snack called "Pote-Long", made by production subsidiary Morinaga Snack Co Ltd, had found evidence of unapproved genetically modified (GM) potatoes in snacks produced in April this year." (Reuters)

"Scientists told to share findings; Academics 'should disclose funding'" - "Scientists at the international conference on biotechnology yesterday called on colleagues to be more open with the public about information on genetically modified organisms as well as their funding sources." (Bangkok Post)

"Public Attitudes Towards Agricultural Biotechnology In Developing Countries" - "A Comparison Between Mexico And The Philippines" | CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL REPORT (PDF) (Center for International Development (Harvard University))

"The Blessings of Biotechnology" - "The latest annual report presented by United Nations Development programme once again highlights the painful contrast between the world's richest and poorest nations. But this year, the UNDP also goes out on a limb, asking countries in the West to rethink their rejection of genetically modified crops and other aspect of what is termed the biotechnology revolution." (Radio Netherlands)

"UNDP Report: Making New Technologies Work For Human Development" - "Technology networks are transforming the traditional map of development, expanding people's horizons and creating the potential to realize in a decade progress that required generations in the past. Download the complete Human Development Report in one big file (3.3MB) or by chapter." | CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL REPORT (United Nations Development Programme)

"Row over "gene-maize" widely planted in Austria" - "Vienna - A row blew up in Austria on Tuesday about the wide-spread sale and planting of various types of genetically-altered maize. Health Minister Herbert Haupt ordered the firm of Pioneer to recall genetically altered maize seeds sold to farmers. Those who had already planted it should be "informed". On Tuesday, Haupt appealed on radio for his decree to be carried out in the next few days. The plants would blossom any day, he said. Haupt denied he had hesitated for weeks or even months before taking action." (APA)

"Boost to ban on GE crops" - "A PARLIAMENTARY report recommending a two-year extension to Tasmania's GE crop moratorium has been welcomed by almost every major stakeholder. While no genetically engineered commercial crops would be allowed in Tasmania until at least 2003, controlled trials of poppies and food would go ahead under the recommendations." (The Mercury)

"GM trials in October" - "THE first genetically modified crop trials in South Australia this year will be planted in the South-East in October. Aventis BioScience general manager Dr Max Cowie yesterday revealed plans to run up to 12 canola trials." (The Advertiser)

July 11, 2001

"Look what we're spoon-feeding kids" - "While watching John Stossel's ABC News special, Tampering With Nature, I felt like a citizen of those not-so-long-ago ``captive nations'' who learned the truth of what was going on not from their own leaders and the controlled media, but from the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe.

In one hour recently, Stossel exposed the propaganda and one-dimensional perspective about the environment and biotechnology that has caused millions of schoolchildren to repeat the information they've been spoon-fed in a way that would delight a teacher in a communist classroom." (Cal Thomas, Miami Herald)

"Playing games at the EPA" - "What doesn't Carol Browner want us to know about her zealously activist reign at the Environmental Protection Agency?" (Michelle Malkin, Washington Times)

"D.C. Looking To Ban Talk-And-Drive" - "Talking on the cell phone while driving could become illegal in the District of Columbia, according to WJLA-TV. A D.C. Council committee is holding a hearing today to discuss a proposal that would prohibit drivers from using hand-held cell phones except in emergencies. Violators would face a $100 fine. The bill would also require police to keep statistics on how many accidents are caused by drivers using cell phones. The possible ban comes a little more than week after New York became the first state to sign a law prohibiting use of hand-held cell phones while driving. More than 30 other states are considering similar prohibitions.

In "Beware of the Cellular Keystone Cops," Adam Thierer says that if preventing distraction is the goal, "it would make more sense for policymakers to ban eating Big Macs and listening to Britney Spears in our cars than it would to ban cell phone use." He goes on to say, "Imposing burdensome restrictions...is unnecessary and may actually cost lives by having the unintended consequence of discouraging drivers from carrying a cell phone in their car."

In the Regulation magazine article, "Should You Be Allowed To Use Your Cell Phone While Driving?" regulatory scholars Robert W. Hahn, Paul C. Tetlock and Jason K. Burnett show that the present danger posed by cell phone use while driving does not warrant intervention by government.

Thierer's television interviews on this issue and other cell phone regulation resources are available at http://www.cato.org/special/cellphone." (Cato Institute)

"Florida's black voter turnout grossly overstated" - "Widely quoted assertions that black voters cast 15 percent of Florida's ballots in the 2000 presidential election are wrong far beyond any acceptable margin of error, The Washington Times has learned." (Frank J. Murray, Washington Times)

"Experts warn against superbugs in Canadian hospitals" - "TORONTO - A new report has raised the alarm about antibiotic-resistant infections in Canada. The report says cases of resistance increased sevenfold from 1995 to 1999." (CBC)

"Herbal remedies complicate surgery, healing: U.S. report" - "CHICAGO - Researchers at the University of Chicago say people who take herbal remedies and undergo surgery are more prone to suffer from excessive bleeding and other complications." (CBC)

"Warning labels go on arsenic-treated wood" - "This summer, consumers can expect to find new safety handling information for using wood pressure-treated with chromated copper arsenicals (CCA), a wood preservative that contains arsenic. Arsenic is a known human carcinogen. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in coordination with the the American Wood Preservers Institute, is putting an expanded consumer information program in place on a priority basis. By early fall, it will include labeling on all pieces of CCA-treated lumber and in-store displays warning about the arsenic content of the wood." (Environmental News Network)

"FDA samples contain nothing dangerous" - "Eight shark-fin samples collected for mercury testing by the Food and Drug Administration last week did not contain dangerous levels of the substance. The FDA sent the samples, collected from restaurants and shops in Chinatown, to the Medical Science Department's food division. Department head Pakdee Pothisiri said none of the samples, comprising four dried and four ready-to-cook shark fins, were found with more than 0.5 milligrams of mercury per kilogramme of shark fin, the acceptable limit.

Among the ready-to-cook samples, one was found with 0.012 milligrams of mercury per kilogramme of shark fin. Mercury levels of 0.137- 0.284 milligrams were found in the dried samples. Judging by the level of mercury found in one ready-to-cook sample, Dr Pakdee said someone could safely eat 3.58kg of shark fin a day." (Bangkok Post)

"World land database charts a troubling course" - "AMSTERDAM -- Over the past 300 years, in an ever-accelerating process, humans have reshaped the terrestrial surface of the Earth. In doing so, humanity has scripted a scenario of global environmental change with impacts that promise to be at least as severe as global climate change, scientists reported here today, July 11." (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

"CSIRO joins the rat-race; 11 JULY IS WORLD POPULATION DAY" - "Worldwide, 360 000 new humans are born each day. But for every human baby born, there are ten baby rats born.

In rice-growing areas, each rat can eat around 1.5kg of rice a month. As CSIRO's Grant Singleton says, with rice being the daily staple for around 3 billion people, competition between rats and people is fierce.

"While the human population is increasing, the area devoted to growing crops is not," says Dr Singleton. "Around the globe, a huge research effort is devoted to finding ways to grow more rice on less land." (CSIRO release)

"The population dud" - "Today marks World Population Day, a day in which anxious activists will attempt to defuse the population bomb by blathering all over it. Maybe this has worked. They've been at it for 30-plus years, and the population bomb has not exploded into catastrophic plagues and global famines as predicted. Rather, demographic trends demonstrate that there is little chance it will do so in the near (or distant) future." (Washington Times editorial)

"Wind farm plans scrapped" - "Controversial plans for a £30m wind farm development on Denbigh Moors have been scrapped after rare birds were found on the site." (BBC Online)

"Bush Energy Plan Could Increase Air Pollution" - "WASHINGTON, DC, July 10, 2001 - The Bush administration's energy plan would boost levels of dangerous air pollutants at a time when respiratory diseases such as asthma are at an all time high across the nation, environmental and public health groups charge." (ENS)

"Clean Air Act gets public review; Issue is how to apply it to power plants, oil refineries" - "CINCINNATI, July 10 — Environmentalists, energy industry executives and the public are getting a chance to tell the government how they think the Clean Air Act should be applied to power plants and oil refineries. The Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday began gathering comments at a hearing in Cincinnati — a process to be followed in three other cities later this month." (MSNBC)

"Hey, CO2! What Have You Done for Me Lately?" - "From its pre-industrial level of 150 years ago (approximately 275 ppm), the air’s CO2 concentration has risen to nearly 375 ppm today. What has this extra 100 ppm of CO2 done for world agriculture?" | Carbon Sequestration in the Coterminous United States | Carbon Sequestration by Chinese Forests | Soil Erosion Rates in the Upper Mississippi River Valley | Jet Contrails Lead to Increased High-Level Cloudiness Over Alaska (co2science.org)

"Frozen secrets in the ice cap" - "Scientists brave a forlorn wasteland in Greenland to pry data from ancient snowflakes about how fast the Earth's temperature could change. The warm spell might be over." (Joseph frey, National Post)

"Arctic Oscillation causes climate change" - "Climate change linked to the emission of heat-trapping greenhouse gases may not be the only cause of recent warmer winters in the Northern Hemisphere. A little known climate pattern called the Arctic Oscillation has been linked to warming winters by new research conducted at Colorado State University." (Environmental News Network)

"UK 'hiding scale of climate threat'" - "A campaign group says the UK Government is failing to warn people what tackling climate change will really mean. The New Economics Foundation (NEF) says the sort of action needed will be far more drastic than most people realise. It says the country could become ungovernable when ordinary Britons realise what is at stake." (BBC Online)

"The thorny issue of forests" - "ONE of the most important sticking points at the climate change talks held in The Hague last year was the role that forests, farms and scrubland might play in the solution. These “carbon sinks” — so called because they absorb carbon dioxide (CO) from the atmosphere — are widely held to offer a way of balancing industrial emissions of the greenhouse gas. A forest makes an excellent carbon sink. As CO is vital for photosynthesis of trees and all other green vegetation, tonnes of this greenhouse gas can be taken from the air and stored in a form in which it cannot contribute to global warming." (The Times)

"Climate change 'will hit the hungry'" - "The warming climate will mean the world's poorest countries could lose up to a quarter of their food production, scientists say." (BBC Online)

"EU not ready to accept 2-year delay in Kyoto timetable" - "TOKYO, July 10, - The European Union (EU) is not prepared to accept a two-year postponement of the target date for the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol, as proposed by the chairman of U.N. climate talks, an EU delegate said Tuesday." (Kyodo)

"EU to increase pressure on Japan to back Kyoto Protocol" - "The European Union is expected to increase pressure on Japan to support the Kyoto Protocol in a desperate bid to salvage the pact on global warming." (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

"Greenhouse gas emissions in Japan up 2.1% in FY 1999" - "TOKYO, July 10, - Total greenhouse gas emissions in Japan came to 1.3 billion tons in fiscal 1999, up 2.1% from the previous year for the first increase in three years, government officials said Tuesday." (Kyodo) | Japan pumping out growing levels of greenhouse gases (Sapa-AFP)

"Tokyo does diplomatic soft-shoe on Kyoto pact" - "TOKYO - Japan continues to send a series of mixed signals on its position on ratifying the Kyoto Protocol on climate change, an international agreement whose survival now heavily depends on Tokyo." (Asia Times)

"Fear of carbon dioxide stalls ocean experiment" - "The test would gauge how the sea absorbs a common greenhouse gas." (Honolulu Star-Bulletin)

"Rich nations 'could be sued' by climate victims" - "States like Bangladesh that are the victims of climate change have a good case in law for suing polluters like the United States for billions of dollars, a law professor will tell a London conference today." (Guardian)

"What to spend, how to spend it?" - "The Kyoto treaty signals the first attempt by world leaders to make policy for generations who will not even be born for decades to come. But making environmental policy for the future is a nightmare of equations made up almost entirely of “x”s. If policymakers can’t agree on what is happening to the environment now, and what is likely to happen to it in the future, how can they agree on what to do about it, or how much they should pay?" (The Times)

"Sen. McCain Urges Bush to Act Now on Climate Change" - "WASHINGTON - Saying delay is unacceptable, two leading U.S. senators on Tuesday called for the Bush administration to help Congress write legislation to reduce carbon dioxide emissions blamed by most scientists for speeding global warming." (Reuters)

"Jeffords to Tackle Global Warming" - "WASHINGTON — Vermont Sen. James Jeffords named global warming as his first priority when he formally became chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on Tuesday." (AP)

"Dobriansky Will Lead U.S. Delegation to Climate Talks" - "WASHINGTON, DC, July 10, 2001 - The United States delegation to the climate change negotiations in Germany later this month will be led by Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs, Dr. Paula Dobriansky, the State Department announced today." (ENS)

"College Students To Protest Kyoto Treaty" - "WASHINGTON, July 10 -- Thirty-five American college students arrive in Washington July 11 for two days of training in the latest scientific research in climate change before heading to the streets of Bonn, Germany, to protest the "Kyoto" U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The group will be the first major conservative protest of a U.N. environmental convention." (U.S. Newswire)

"Kyoto treaty is 'dead' after Australia joins the boycott" - "European efforts to salvage the Kyoto treaty on global warming suffered a possibly fatal blow yesterday when the Australian government said it would not sign up to any agreement that did not include the United States." (Independent)

"Without U.S., Kyoto Pact Future Bleak" - "Opposition from the United States, and ambiguity from Japan, threaten to turn a groundbreaking agreement on global warming into "a dead letter," the chairman of the international climate conference warned Tuesday." (CBC)

"U.N. Chief Says G8 Summit Crucial to Kyoto Talks" - "BRUSSELS - The United Nations' top environment official said Tuesday a summit of G8 leaders would have a crucial influence on next week's talks aimed at salvaging the Kyoto protocol on climate change." (Reuters)

"Britain urges support for Kyoto and GMO debate" - "Britain's Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott yesterday called on Thailand to ratify the Kyoto Protocol on climate change and urged activists to join open debate on biotechnology in food." (Bangkok Post)

"Debate rages over method of testing qualities of food; Biotechnology could put an end to famine" - "The debate on genetically modified organisms was rehashed on the first day of the international conference on biotechnology organised by Britain and the OECD." (Bangkok Post)

"Groups rally against genetic engineering" - "Grassroot activists, consumers and environmental groups rallied against genetic engineering yesterday outside an international conference on biotechnology in Bangkok. "Genetic engineering will make it possible for the biotech industry to control food production," grassroots leader Wirapol Sopha told the gathering." (Bangkok Post)

"Activists to boycott GM conference; OECD blasted for organising forum" - "Environmental groups have decided to boycott an international conference on biotechnology organised by Britain and the OECD, branding the event an attempt by rich countries to dominate the Third World.

Witoon Lianchamroon, director of BioThai, a biological diversity advocate, said the event was a tactic used by rich countries to force poor countries to accept genetically modified products." (Bangkok Post)

"Leading Rice Scientist Says Biotechnology Vital For Developing World" - "One of the world's top rice experts said Tuesday that biotechnology is a critical weapon in the developing world's battle against hunger and malnutrition.

Gurdev Khush of the Manila-based International Rice Research Institute defended genetically modified (GM) crops at a Bangkok conference sponsored by the OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development). "We have to use all the tools at our disposal to develop new plant varieties," he told the audience of some 200 scientists and industry leaders.

Khush said biotechnology could be used to develop plant varieties that would boost yields and nutrition, and transform the lives of the world's poor." (AFP)

"UNDP go-ahead to GM foods dismays opponents" - "NEW DELHI: Genetically-modified organisms may be controversial but they have got a cautious, yet decided, nod in the United Nations Development Programme's Human Development Report 2001, much to the dismay of GMO opponents." (Times of India)

"Oxfam and Greenpeace Criticize UNDP Report for Pro-Biotech Bias" - "OTTAWA/TORONTO/MANILA, July 10 - The UN's 2001 Human Development Report "Making New Technologies Work For Human Development" presents as facts the unsubstantiated promises of the biotech industry, said the development and environmental groups Oxfam Canada and Greenpeace today." (CNW)

"UN official urges rich nations not to block life-saving modified crops" - "MEXICO CITY, July 10 - A top UN official on Tuesday urged rich nations not to block the development of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) which he said could save the lives of millions who would otherwise die of starvation." (AFP)

"Political Furore Increasing Risks Of Biotech Foods: OECD Conference" - "The political furore surrounding genetically modified foods has hampered scientific work and resulted in lax regulation, experts told a conference debating the safety of the technology Tuesday.

Legitimate scientific concerns about the environmental effects of transgenic crops have often been ignored due to fears investors or consumers will be scared away, said Philip Regal of the University of Minnesota. "I have questions about whether the scientific community has prepared for this era" of genetically modified crops, he told the conference, sponsored by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development." (AFP)

"Biotechnology Global Update (June 2001)"


  • GEAC Acknowledges Bt Cotton Effectiveness
  • Indian American Is US Senior Director Of Biotech And Trade
  • Australia 'Losing Biotech Race' To Smaller Countries
  • Arabidopsis - The Fruit Fly Of The Plant Kingdom
  • 'FAO Should Help Increase Biotech R&D In Developing Countries'
  • Forthcoming Event
  • Roundup Ready Soyabeans Approved For Consumption In Thailand
  • Taiwan To Increase Biotech Funding
  • Belgium Plans EU Biotech Food Push
  • Australians Now Prepared To Eat GM Food: Survey
  • Canadian Study Proves Conclusively That 'Monarch Butterflies Not At Risk From Biotech Corn'
  • Better Food Not Dangerous Food
  • Farming Will Cause More Damage Than Global Warming

July 10, 2001

"Gun Control U.N.-Style" - "The United Nations opens a first-of-its-kind special session in New York today geared toward reining in the international black market in small weapons, according Fox News. Even before it began, the conference was drawing heated protest from American gun enthusiasts, who believe that the conference poses a threat to U.S. citizens' right to bear arms.

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

The Cato Handbook for Congress recommends that the United States withhold all payments to the United Nations until it undergoes a comprehensive audit and eliminate all programs and agencies that do not meet stringent criteria in terms of mission, organization, and performance." (Cato Institute)

"Many 'too optimistic about health'" - "Many people mistakenly assume that they will be healthy in old age, a survey has found. The research, by MORI, found that more than two-thirds of people expect to be fit and healthy in old age. However, the statistics do not bear that optimistic view out. Data from the General Household Survey found that two-thirds of people over 75 had a long-standing illness, and half said they were prevented from leading a full and active life." (BBC Online)

"Occupation may raise risk of chronic bronchitis" - "NEW YORK, Jul 09 - Young adults exposed to vapors, gas, dust or fumes on the job may be at risk of developing chronic bronchitis. And those who smoke further increase their risk, according to a report published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. Bronchitis--or inflammation and congestion of the linings of the airways of the lungs--often results in weeks of persistent cough for those afflicted.

In the study, an international team of researchers evaluated the lung health and job exposure to various lung irritants in more than 13,000 men and women aged 20 to 44 living in 14 different countries. Among study participants who did not have asthma, chronic bronchitis was present in 1% to 3% of those who had never smoked or had quit smoking, while 5% to 9% of those who smoked had chronic bronchitis. (Reuters Health)

"NAACP president says organization plans to sue lead paint industry" - "NEW ORLEANS - NAACP president Kweisi Mfume said Sunday that the civil-rights organization is preparing to sue the lead paint industry in an effort to hold it accountable for health problems linked to lead in paint.

Mfume, who unveiled the planned lawsuit Sunday, said more details would be released later this week during the 92nd annual convention of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People." (AP)

"Junk food ads 'targeted at children'" - "Advertisers of junk food are selectively targeting children and damaging their immediate and future health, say researchers." (BBC Online)

"Recipe review finds missing spice link: Vegetable 'immune systems' offer better protection against food spoilage, compared to meat" - "ITHACA, N.Y. -- When Cornell University biologists claimed, in 1998, that the traditional use of spices has a function other than making food taste good -- namely to help protect against more and more dangerous forms of foodborne microbes -- one thing was missing from their antimicrobial hypothesis. Now, the Cornell researchers have stirred in that missing ingredient, showing why vegetable-based recipes in 36 countries around the world are less spicy than meat-based dishes in the same societies.

"Without spoiling your lunch, let's just say that the cells of dead plants continue to be better protected against bacteria and fungi than are the cells of dead animals, whose immune systems cease to function at time of death," says researcher Paul W. Sherman. "Meat-based recipes that were developed over the centuries in hot climates need all the help they can get from antimicrobial spices, whereas foodborne pathogens are less of a problem in plant-based foods. Indeed, meat products are more often associated with outbreaks of foodborne illness than vegetables, especially in hot climates." (Cornell University)

"PETA Coaches Kids on 'Religious' Objections to Dissection" - "A militant animal rights group is encouraging children to raise religious objections when asked to dissect animals in school, even if the dissection of animals may not be against their formal religious tradition." (CNSNews.com)

"Staph bacteria can swap genes, study finds" - "WASHINGTON - A study shows that the bacteria that cause serious and sometimes fatal staph infections have the ability to exchange genes with relatives in order to adapt to new environments and cause even greater medical mischief.

Researchers using a new technology to analyze the gene structure of bacteria found that Staphylococcus aureus can easily exchange genes with other bacteria strains and can acquire resistance to antibiotics within a very short time." (AP)

"SUVs Responsible for DC Area Pollution Increase" - "The Department of Transportation says SUVs cluttering DC area roadways will likely push the region over pollution limits and force the delay some road-building projects.

The city's Council of Governments says the number of sport utility vehicles has risen more rapidly than expected, increasing the amount of pollution sent into the air. The Washington region set its own limit on vehicle emissions as part of its plan to meet a federal deadline for cutting ozone pollution by 2005.

Once the exhaust projections exceed the self-imposed limit, transportation planners may not start road projects until the projections fall to acceptable levels." (ABC 7 WJLA-TV)

"Energy Commission Expands California’s Crisis" - "WASHINGTON, D.C. — After only a few weeks of expanded price caps, what was once the California energy crisis is already spreading to neighboring states. Despite the warnings of numerous economists, energy analysts, and the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) last month saddled the 11 western states with price caps on wholesale electricity, restrictions that are now spreading shortages across the West.

Facing increased summer demand and uncertainty over what prices producers would be allowed to charge, Nevada experienced rolling blackouts of its own last week, in addition to a "Stage 2" alert for California over the Fourth of July holiday." (Competitive Enterprise Institute)

"Price limits backfire, but the wave goes on" - "PALO ALTO, Calif. - "Federal price limits backfire," headlined the San Francisco Chronicle this week as rolling brownouts cratered their way through the Golden State. You wouldn't know it from the fountains flowing freely in front of the hotels and the glitter of the cities. California is in both hard drought and energy squeeze, so how come the bulbs still burn brightly all night and the water is bubbling like an everlasting brook?

Because California is a place that would rather see salmon slurry through the Bonneville dams than face reality, is the only conclusion possible." (Seattle Times editorial)

"Spinning on ANWR" - "All the spin that's fit to print." Perhaps that should be the new motto of The New York Times. Certainly it would be more accurate, especially considering the recent front page story on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), a willed propaganda triumph of such magnitude that it would probably have brought tears to the eyes of Leni Riefenstahl." (Washington Times)

Pots & kettles? "Bush derided by Robert Redford over environmental policy" - "Robert Redford says George W Bush is "totally clueless" about the environment. The actor has urged other countries to keep up pressure on the US to limit atmospheric pollution." (Ananova)

"Bush 'playing Russian roulette with climate'" - "Human rights campaigner Bianca Jagger has accused George W Bush of playing "Russian roulette" with the planet." (Ananova)

World Climate Report Volume 6, number 21 has been posted

"Climate Expert: Any Kyoto Deal Better Than None" - "GENEVA - A senior U.N. scientist on Monday urged the world's rich states to strike a deal over the Kyoto treaty on curbing global warming even if it meant softening targets to accommodate Washington." (Reuters)

"KYOTO CAN’T HELP, BUT IT COULD HURT!!" - "President George W. Bush is taking heat for his stand on the Kyoto Protocol. I am a climate scientist and I am concerned – not about the U.S. not ratifying the Kyoto Protocol, but about the missing facts in the discussion.

Nearly all of the physical climate scientists I know agree that minor limiting of carbon dioxide by the Kyoto Protocol will not stop the climate changes caused by the observed increase in carbon dioxide. And, I caution you not to believe the non-fact that CO2 is poisonous to our planet. Plants, forests, and crops all love the stuff. Carbon dioxide makes forests grow. If we limit CO2 too much, we will harm our agriculture." (Dr. James J. O’Brien, Professor of Meteorology and Oceanography at Florida State University and the State of Florida Climatologist)

"So thank heavens for George W. Bush" - "If he hadn't come along, the rest of us might have had to look into our souls and ask why we had done so little to heed the dire warnings of respected scientists about global warming. We might have had to question the cosy rhetoric of our own politicians and big business, writes Martha Cornwall. Or worse still, we might have actually had to change our own behaviour.

It is much easier to criticise the “Toxic Texan” than to leave your car at home. Since America is responsible for a quarter of the world’s carbon emissions — the gases that cause global warming — it is a convenient target for our self-righteous indignation. We love to hate America. And this smug, parochial, oil-loving President draws our fire in a way the affable Clinton never did.

Yet Bush may prove to be one of the few politicians who is not a hypocrite on global warming." (The Times)

Having produced a reasonably sensible item, The Times rather blew it with this fanciful piece: Time Line

"Australia, Japan Back Away from Kyoto Climate Protocol" - "TOKYO, Japan, July 9, 2001 - A high level delegation from the European Union has failed to win unequivocal Japanese and Australian support for ratification of the Kyoto Protocol without U.S. involvement. From July 16 to 27 in Bonn, Germany, some 180 countries will attempt to finalize rules for implementing the Kyoto Protocol, an international agreement to limit the emission by industrialized nations of six greenhouse gases linked to global warming." (ENS)

"Australia to keep options open on Kyoto" - "Federal cabinet yesterday agreed on the negotiating position Australia will take at crucial international climate talks later this month, maintaining that the Kyoto protocol should not be ratified without the United States.

Cabinet agreed that Australia should be a "constructive" participant at the talks to be held in Bonn, Germany, on July16 and to build support at the meeting for a longer term international effort that includes the US and developing countries." (The Age)

"Warming Shrinks Peruvian Glaciers; Retreat of Andean Snow Caps Threatens Future for Valleys" - "HUARAZ, Peru -- A natural rhythm has dictated life in this high-mountain valley for centuries. ... But now, hundreds of snow-tipped glaciers are retreating, and scientists say it is the direct result of a warming climate. The glaciers survive only where the air is cold enough to preserve ice, and the altitudes where this happens are climbing steadily." (Washington Post)

Gasp! You mean we're not still in the Little Ice Age? What'll they figure out next?

"EU Urges Japan to Ratify Kyoto Treaty" - "TOKYO - Japanese officials pledged to help the European Union try to persuade the Bush administration to embrace the Kyoto Protocol to combat global warming, but stopped short of saying Japan would ratify the 1997 agreement if the United States does not." (AP)

"Japan Tells EU It Wants U.S. in Kyoto Pact" - "TOKYO - Japan said on Monday it would do its best to bring the United States back to the Kyoto climate change pact, but gave no sign that it was ready to yield to European pressure to ratify the accord without Washington." (Reuters)

"Climate group says Kyoto must proceed without US" - "LONDON - Leading European climate change experts yesterday urged the world to forge ahead with the Kyoto agreement even without the participation of the United States, the world's biggest polluter." (Reuters)

"Japan deals blow to Kyoto treaty" - "The prospect of a deal to salvage the Kyoto Protocol on climate change suffered another blow yesterday when Japan said it was not willing to conclude an agreement unless the United States came back on board." (Independent)

"EU says Kyoto deal might not be possible at Bonn" - "BRUSSELS - Governments meeting next week to salvage the Kyoto climate change protocol might not be able to finalise a complete deal due to U.S. opposition, a European Commission spokeswoman said yesterday." (Reuters)

"EU shows hypocrisy on climate policy" - "... Before Americans start feeling guilty about admitting that we can't meet our Kyoto emissions target without crippling our economy, we should ask the EU representatives: "Can you?" The answer is "no." Myriad analyses from around the world conclude that since EU members do not have in place legislation to sharply curb energy use, achieving compliance with the protocol is very unlikely. Projected emissions are expected to be an average of 17 percent above the EU's Kyoto target." (Margo Thorning, Detroit News)

"Soybeans tested in carbon dioxide-rich environment of the future" - "Researchers at the University of Illinois in Champaign are raising soybeans in the kind of atmospheric conditions forecast for the year 2050. By 2050, carbon dioxide levels are expected to be about 1.5 times greater than the current 370 parts per million, while daytime ozone levels during the growing season could peak on average at 80 parts per billion - now 60 parts per billion." (ENN)

"Opportunities beyond the farm" - "One billion people in the world do not get enough to eat. Most of them are subsistence farmers. How to help them?

At a conference held last week by the Washington Council on International Trade, the responses from the environmental and social-work activists revealed an ignorance of the historic links between work and food.

Their program for subsistence farmers who eke out a life on less than a dollar a day is to help them be better subsistence farmers. Extend poor people tiny loans and give them "appropriate" technology. One environmentalist said the fundamental cure for poverty was to "improve the status of women."

None of these is a bad thing. All may make marginal improvements to a hardscrabble life. But the lesson of our own history, and that of every other country where people eat well, is that big improvements in human life come when people have opportunities in addition to farming.

America overcame hunger with the mechanical harvester, the grain elevator, the railroad, steamship and telegraph, all of which allowed subsistence farmers in Kansas to become cash farmers and sell their wheat to England." (Seattle Times editorial)

"Seeds of Opportunity - The Role of Biotechnology in Agriculture Conference" - "Available Now - Conference Highlights On-line. Speaker transcripts and video highlights from the Seeds of Opportunity conference are now available online. Click here to review the papers presented and witness the key speeches and Q&A sessions from this popular and successful conference." (Media Wave Group)

"Conference 5 (Hunger): Can Agricultural Biotechnology Help To Reduce Hunger And Increase Food Security In Developing Countries?" - "Summary Document (Short Version) - Conference 5. Click here for long version" (FAO Electronic Forum on Biotechnology in Food and Agriculture)

"Italy Bans GM Soy Milk, Remains Ambiguous on Organics" - "Italy has banned artificial milk with GM soy. A decree was passed by the Industry Ministry and will go into effect on its publication in the Official Gazette in the coming days. Italy passed the decree as a precautionary measure and as a follow-up to its 1999 ban on the use of GMOs in baby food.

Meanwhile, Italy is now offering consumers real-time check on labelling of food sold as organic. Consumers can use Internet Sites www.bioagricert.org and www.trasparente-ceck.com to seek more information." (just-food.com)

"Golden Rice: What Role Could It Play in Alleviation of Vitamin A Deficiency?" - "Vitamin A Deficiency (VAD) is an important nutritional problem in the developing world (World Bank, 1993). Vitamin A’s primary physiologic role is in vision and maintenance of the general health of the eye, with a myriad of secondary roles, such as maintenance of the immune system. Supplementation or increased consumption of carotenoids in deficient populations has been found to substantially reduce morbidity and mortality for children (Sommer, 1997). VAD is prevalent among the poor in Asia, because their diets are dependent on rice, which does not contain Vitamin A precursors (FAO, 1993).

Golden Rice (GR) was developed to provide a new, alternative intervention to combat VAD by genetically engineering rice to contain beta-carotene (the vitamin A precursor found in plants) in the endosperm of the grain (Toenniessen, 2000). GR’s genetic engineering heritage has inspired conflicting opinions concerning its possible effectiveness and desirability. Critics have argued that the resources devoted to GR development could be better used to support traditional interventions. Proponents have argued that GR represents an important complementary intervention that could succeed in reaching more of those at risk for VAD." (Richard Robertson(UIUC), Laurian Unnevehr (UIUC) and David Dawe (IRRI))

"U.N. to wealthy anti-biotech fearmongers: Get over it!" - "A new report from the United Nations says that the world's richest nations must get over their fear of genetically improved foods if they want to eradicate poverty in the Third World. The prolonged debate over food safety minutiae, says the 265-page Human Development Report 2001, "mostly ignores the concerns of the developing world." The New York Times says that this new report "draws a comparison to successful Western-led efforts to ban the use of the industrial pesticide DDT worldwide, which has allowed a resurgent population of mosquitoes to devastate tropical countries with several virulent strains of malaria." Mark Malloch Brown, administrator of the United Nations Development Program, acknowledged that the world has to move away from what he calls "an anti-technology bias" in order to keep growing populations fed. Today's Washington Post column by Sebastian Mallaby notes that anti-technology nannies like Greenpeace promote "murderous nonsense… No test has suggested that genetically engineered crops harm human health. On the other hand, a lack of plentiful cheap food harms human health enormously." Noting opposition from misguided politicians like Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), Mallaby reminds readers that the green revolution "cut the malnutrition rate from 40 percent to 23 percent. What the green revolution began, the gene revolution can continue." (GuestChoice.com)

"GM papaya study looks for virus-resistant fruit; First research into local fruit variety" - "Mahidol University researchers are working on genetic engineering of papaya, the first involving a local fruit variety. Two other trials of genetically modified papaya have been conducted by the Agriculture Department and Kasetsart University, but involved only foreign varieties. All three studies focus on producing papaya that is resistant to the papaya ringspot virus, or PRSV." (Bangkok Post)

July 8-9, 2001

"Asthma linked to being overweight in US study" - "A link found between asthma and being overweight could mean that adults who get rid of the fat might also ease their asthma, researchers say. But their study was not able to determine if the added weight caused the asthma, or if asthma resulted in the weight gain." (Australian Broadcasting Corp.) [Reuters coverage]

"Fish farms turn salmon into fatty food; How farming turned lean salmon into a high-fat food" - "FARMED salmon - widely marketed as among the leanest and healthiest of fish - have been shown to be fattier than wild fish. Some have 20% fat, more than four times the amount in their natural, wild counterparts." (Sunday Times)

"The dirty dozen" - "Bachelors have yet another reason not to meet the day sunny-side up. In fact, consumers everywhere ought to be fried by the FDA's recent Humpty-Dumpty-like determination that eggs are desperately dangerous. So dangerous, in fact, that the cartons they are sold in will soon have consumer warnings affixed to them." (Washington Times Editorial)

"Mean Cuisine" - "Gone is the Joy of Cooking. Today's celebrity chefs are serving up a menu of global doom and politically twisted snobbery. (Greg Critser, Washington Monthly)

"Tube air 'a danger to very young and elderly'" - "Alarming levels of air pollution on London Underground mean that very young children, the elderly and those with lung and heart diseases should avoid using the network, a health expert has warned.

Vulnerable people are risking their health by breathing in air that is up to 73 times dirtier than the recommended limit for air pollution above ground, Professor Nick Priest of Middlesex University has found. Even healthy individuals may be increasing their susceptibility to illness." (Independent)

"Why a jog could be as bad as smoking" - "SYDNEY'S air is so polluted that joggers and cyclists are doing as much damage to their lungs as people who smoke, a leading academic has claimed. University of Sydney professor of infectious diseases Ray Kearney said pollution-monitoring devices were outdated and could not detect the cancer-causing super-fine particles produced by new-generation car engines. "The person jogging around or even just going to work in that sort of pollution is almost like a chain smoker," Prof Kearney said. "The carcinogens going into the lungs are almost equivalent of what a smoker would be getting." ([Sydney] Sunday Telegraph)

"Chronic bronchitis affects young" - "Many young people suffer from chronic bronchitis, research has found. It has been thought that the respiratory disorder only affected elderly people. But a major survey of almost 18,000 people aged 20 to 44 at 35 centres in 16 countries has shown just the opposite. The researchers found that the disease affects up to 10% of adults under the age of 45.

Young smokers were particularly at risk, and men were more affected than women.

Chronic bronchitis often gives rise to bouts of heavy bacterial infection, and can eventually lead to very serious problems with the respiratory system. However, the factors which trigger the development of the disease are not fully understood." (BBC Online)

"Scientists ponder economy class syndrome vulnerability" - "European scientists claim to have shed light on why some people are more vulnerable than others to "economy class syndrome", the risk of developing potentially fatal blood clots on long-haul flights. Genetic susceptibility to excessive clotting of this kind, called thrombophilia, is known to occur among 1 to 2 per cent of the population." (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

"Outlaw mobile phone use at the wheel, says the AA" - "Laws that would make it illegal to use mobile phones while driving will be demanded next week. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (Rospa) will write to Stephen Byers, the Cabinet Minister responsible for transport, asking for legislation to stop drivers talking while at the wheel. The Automobile Association also wants tighter controls." (Observer)

"Ban imports or risk mad cow disease: expert" - "Australia should immediately ban imports of cattle, beef and beef products from countries at risk of developing cases of mad cow disease, including Asia, a University of New England academic has warned." (Sydney Morning Herald)

"As California Thirsts, Once-Scorned Dams Make Comeback" - "LAKE SHASTA, Calif. — At a photo opportunity three years ago, the Clinton administration's interior secretary, Bruce Babbitt, took a sledge hammer to the soon-to-be-dismantled McPherrin Dam in California's Central Valley and declared that the era of great dam building in the West was over. Environmentalists had long argued that many dams did more harm than good, and after years of battling, the government agreed." (New York Times)

"Ecology movement now getting religion" - "WASHINGTON - A growing number of environmentalists are invoking religious teachings to support their cause, creating a new branch of the conservation movement that some faith-based activists have dubbed Creation Care." (Boston Globe)

Here's a news flash for the The Globe: "Ecology" has always been a matter of "faith" and has certainly never borne any comparison with science or fact.

"Sustainability isn't simple" - "Twenty-seven wind turbines set to produce "green" electricity for 4,300 homes have been stopped dead by a law to protect endangered species. Who said sustainability was simple?" (Seattle Times editorial)

"The Green Embrace of Lead-Acid" - "Some greens are quietly delighted that California's electric grid can no longer be trusted. Now, at last, people will take a good look at off-grid alternatives--solar, wind or fuel cells. How envious your neighbors must be, if you already have a solar panel on your roof. How virtuous you are to harness the pristine sun, while they still patronize the grubby burners of coal. Just don't mention the 300 pounds of lead-sulfuric acid batteries in the basement. Or the backup generator in your garage that burns three times as much fuel as a central power station does to make the same amount of electricity.

Lots of businesses and homeowners sensibly embrace this "distributed generation" because it provides backup power, however green (or otherwise) it may be. But far too many misty-eyed greens love it only for what it isn't--the hated utility. Get past the mist, and distributed generation doesn't end up green at all--not with the technologies that practical people buy today." (Peter Huber, Forbes Magazine)

"Insurers get tough over flooding" - "THE insurability of two million homes could be put at risk because of the effects of global warming over the next five years. This is because insurers are likely to take an increasingly tough line on homeowners who are living in flood prone areas." (The Scotsman)

Insurers wish to boost profits by offloading risk to the public purse? Now there's a surprise for you.

"Echo of Orwell" - "George Orwell in his dark futuristic novel `1984' portrayed a society in which the past was routinely altered to serve the political vagaries of the present.

The greenhouse industry has now resorted to altering the past in a bid to portray the present as alarming. They began in 1998 with the notorious `Hockey Stick', altering the climatic history of the last 1,000 years to suit today's warming scenario. Now, they are at it again.

Researchers from Lawrence Livermore Labs, including Benjamin (`Chapter 8') Santer, have now used their model (yes, another model) to suggest that temperatures earlier in the 20th century were cooler than we think, - thus implying our present is warmer than we think.

`Change the past to serve the politics of the present'.

George Orwell would turn in his grave at the cynical way in which his vision is being brought to reality by the huge greenhouse industry." (John L Daly, Still Waiting For Greenhouse)

"Carbon sinks 'little help to climate'" - "Scientists say relying on trees and vegetation to absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) will do little to tackle global warming. They say the amount of carbon these "sinks" can store is far less than the quantities emitted by burning fossil fuels. Some countries want to use sinks extensively to meet their commitments under the Kyoto Protocol on climate change. But the scientists say there is really no alternative to actual emission cuts. In a report published by the UK's science academy, the Royal Society, they say sinks cannot be a long-term substitute for emissions cuts." (BBC Online) | Carbon sinks are 'a short-term fix' | Kyoto: Why Care? | Even as the ink dried on the Kyoto protocol ... (The Times)

Gosh! A "study" like this released in the run-up to CoP6 MkII pt B? Now there's another surprise from the command and control freaks.

"Europe mounts final crusade for Kyoto" - "PARIS - THE European Union (EU) next week will launch a desperate final defence of the Kyoto Protocol, focusing its campaign on a Japan reluctant to push ahead with the climate treaty without the US. The arm-twisting begins on Monday with a visit to Tokyo by the European Union's 'troika', a high-powered delegation comprising Belgium and Sweden as the present and previous holders of the EU presidency, and the European Commission." (Economic Times)

"Japan PM resists pressures, sees time for Kyoto" - "TOKYO - A day before a European delegation arrives to press Tokyo to ratify the Kyoto global warming pact even without the United States, Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi stressed on Sunday no decision need be made in haste." (Reuters)

"Britain flexible on amending Kyoto pact: sources" - "A senior British government official has told Japan that Britain is ready to consider revising the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on curbing global warming, signaling support for Tokyo's efforts to bring the United States back into the pact, diplomatic sources said Saturday." (Japan Times)

"Belgian minister says Kyoto pact changes possible" - "TOKYO - Belgian Environment Minister Magda Aelvoet said she did not rule out the possibility of revising the Kyoto pact on global warming to try to bring the United States back on board, a Japanese business daily reported." (Reuters)

"NZ, Aussie split on Kyoto" - "Energy Minister Pete Hodgson says New Zealand will continue to strive for limits on greenhouse gas emissions, despite a backdown by Australia. Mr Hodgson was responding to weekend reports that Australia will now not ratify the Kyoto Protocol, which requires developed countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2008-2012." (New Zealand Herald)

"Zhu urges help in climate change" - "Premier Zhu Rongji yesterday called on developed countries to provide concrete help to developing countries in dealing with climate change.

Zhu made the remarks when meeting with visiting British Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott. Prescott is in Beijing to consult with Chinese officials concerning climate change, with a particular emphasis on issues related to the resumed discussions of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, which will be held this month." (China Daily)

"The Week That Was July 7, 2001 brought to you by SEPP" has been posted

"Dispute over number of human genes" - "Two rival teams that cracked the human genome may have underestimated the number of human genes, according to a new computer analysis. Scientists in the United States claim humans are built from 66,000 genes, nearly twice as many as the current consensus." (BBC Online)

Letter of the moment: "The GM way to help mankind" - "I MUST live in a different world from John Humphrys (Comment, last week). According to him some of the most distinguished scientists prophesy doom and destruction from GM crops.

However, the world's leading scientists from the academies of sciences in Brazil, China, India and Mexico as well as America and the Royal Society, London, did band together to issue a joint document to contradict ill-informed, incorrect and usually ideologically motivated suppositions about GM crops. ..." (Professor Anthony Trewavas, Sunday Times)

"Move to Curb Biotech Crops Ignores Poor, U.N. Finds" - "UNITED NATIONS, July 6 — Opposition in richer countries to genetically modified crops may set back the ability of the poorest nations to feed growing populations, according to a new United Nations survey.

A movement against these crops, genetically changed for various reasons — including higher yield, more nutritional value and pest or disease control — is strongest among Western Europeans and to some extent Americans.

"The current debate in Europe and the United States over genetically modified crops mostly ignores the concerns and needs of the developing world," according to the survey, the Human Development Report 2001. It is published by the United Nations Development Program and will be released on Tuesday in Mexico City." (New York Times) | Report: Progress Needs Technology (AP)

July 7, 2001

"Science Fictions" - "When it comes to the Seven Deadly Sins, art and theology agree: Pride corrupts more than money. This comes to mind in the wake of a new Web site launched by the Center for Science in the Public Interest "to safeguard science and the public welfare from the corruptive effects of industry's influence." Called "Integrity in Science," it lists scientists and organizations that have taken corporate dollars.

Leave aside that even with huge increases, corporate funding of scientific research accounts for only 9% of all university research. Or that such funding plays a critical role in transforming laboratory discoveries into hope for real people; indeed, at the just-ended Bio2001 conference in San Diego, people suffering from diseases ranging from hepatitis C to AIDS attested to how biotech was literally saving their lives. In sharp contrast, the campaign against corporate funding operates more from fear than science -- and assumes that money is the only corrupting influence here." (Wall Street Journal)

"Another fishy Green campaign" - "Responding to the uncertainties of global warming in the wake of the Kyoto rejection, the Bush administration has called for more research to resolve the scientific ambiguities. This reasoning presents a classic dilemma in science policy: Supporters of more science insist that a premature rush to judgment leads to errant policies, wasting our resources and our manoeuvring time, while environmental advocates warn that dithering in hopes of one more study can paralyze us in the face of genuine danger.

But last week we saw a compelling example of the need for careful science: A critical endangered species assumption was shattered by additional research." (David Murray, National Post)

"Aussies urged to increase starch intake" - "The CSIRO is urging Australians to eat more starch in response to increasing evidence that starchy foods may offer the best form of dietary protection against bowel cancer. Australia has one of the highest rates of bowel cancer in the world and the CSIRO is trying to engineer new cereal products to help combat the disease.

About 4,000 Australians die every year from bowel cancer and until now the message has been to eat more fibre. However it has recently been determined that populations in Japan, China and Africa, where diets are low in fibre but high in starch, have the lowest rates of bowel cancer." (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

"Doctors attack MMR refuseniks" - "Doctors have launched a stinging attack on parents who refuse to have their children immunised with the triple MMR vaccine. Some parents are campaigning for the right to give their children separate single vaccines for measles, mumps and rubella amid lingering fears about the safety of the combined vaccine. But representatives at the British Medical Association's annual conference in Bournemouth overwhelmingly rejected a motion calling for single vaccines to be made available. They warned that parents who did not get their children vaccinated were threatening the health of other children." (BBC Online)

"Government warns about health risks associated with comfrey" - "WASHINGTON - The manufacturers of dietary supplements have been warned by the government that comfrey, an herb used in some of their products, is known to cause liver damage." (AP)

"'No child labour' label on chocolate: U.S. proposal" - "WASHINGTON - The American government is proposing new labelling for chocolate that would indicate whether it was made with child labour. New York Representative Eliot Engel sponsored the legislation which has passed first-round approval in the House of Representatives. "We want to ensure that when people of this country eat chocolate, they are not eating chocolate that was processed by child slavery," says Engel, a Democrat. Under his proposal, the Food and Drug Administration would develop a voluntary "no child labour" label that makers would put on foods containing chocolate or cocoa." (CBC)

Uh-huh... presumably, since everything is apparently to be viewed through Western lenses, we will also be providing schooling for all children to a minimum leaving age; income support for their parents to enable them to survive with their children's wages; minimum wage support; minimum housing and; ... hell, while we're about it, why not universal health care and the right to vote in U.S. elections too.

Environment getting worse? Not exactly: "Once-dirty waterways 'now wildlife havens'" - "Britain's waterways - once branded the dirtiest in the world - are now an important haven for wildlife and tourist attraction, according to a leading campaign group.

Someone who had fallen into the Thames during the 1970s would have had to be rushed to hospital to have their stomach pumped, Alan Woods, chief executive of Going for Green.

Mr Woods told the launch of the environmental group's Water Theme Month at London's Lambeth Pier: "Now it is one of the cleanest urban estuaries in the world and this picture is being repeated all over the country." (Ananova)

"Virus pyre dioxins 'not in food'" - "Cancer-causing chemicals produced by foot-and-mouth pyres do not appear to be in the food chain, tests have shown. There were fears that dioxins released when slaughtered animals were burned may have found their way into food sources. Dioxins are widespread in nature [true] , but at high levels they have been linked to cancer and to retarded sexual development [true only in rodents virtually drowning in doses orders of magnitude beyond humans' lifetime environmental exposure] ." (BBC Online) [insertions]

"Renewable power moves 'tentative'" - "The government is taking only tentative steps to introducing renewable energy sources in the UK, and will miss by a substantial margin its targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the head of the Sustainable Development Commission warned on Thursday. Jonathon Porritt, the commission chairman, cited a three-year study by Forum for the Future, an environmental charity of which he is a director." (Financial Times)

"UK Green Party plans Esso forecourt picket" - "LONDON, July 6 - Britain's Green Party said on Friday that its members will stage a nationwide picket of Exxon Mobil's Esso brand petrol stations in mid-July in protest at the company's stance on global warming." (Reuters)

"Its a shame that the Kyoto Protocol is no more" - "US President George Bush stunned the world when he rejected the Kyoto Protocol, that addresses the issue of reducing the greenhouse gases that cause global warming. More surprising is one of Bush’s conditions that developing countries such as India should also join the effort to reduce emissions. This violates the basic premise of the previously ratified convention called “framework convention on climate change”, at Rio in 1992. The FCCC expected the US along with other developed countries to take the lead in reducing emissions while developing countries were not required to reduce them immediately." (Economic Times)

"European Parliament Acts Against U.S. Climate Stance" - "STRASBOURG, France, July 6, 2001 - In its last session before the summer break, the European Parliament passed a resolution to limit the advantage the United States might gain by not ratifying the Kyoto climate protocol.

The assembly declared itself "severely disappointed" by the "unilateral and non-cooperative" position taken by the United States on the Kyoto Protocol which limits the emission of six greenhouse gases linked to global warming by industrialized countries.

Insisting that the protocol remains the "only effective instrument for combating climate change," the parliament called for the European Union to launch "initiatives" under the World Trade Organization preventing countries that do not ratify the protocol from gaining competitive advantages, especially in the energy products sector." (ENS)

"Europe Sees the Heavy Hand of U.S. Over Climate Treaty" - "WASHINGTON--Last month, when President Bush showed up in Sweden to explain his reasons for dropping out of a global agreement on climate change, he promised European leaders that he would not interfere with their efforts to carry out the accord.

But some European diplomats now say the administration appears to be backing away from that promise and creating obstacles for countries still committed to ratifying the 1997 Kyoto treaty on global warming." (LA Times)

"Kyoto = Kick the United States" - "The anti-Bush brigade in the United States and abroad has coalesced around the Kyoto Protocol, thinking it is a neat hammer with which to hit our president. They are bragging that his strong stand against this fraudulent treaty is the principal factor in his slight drop in the polls, which the media were glad to feature as front-page news.

Here are some of the groups, all of which enjoy wide access to the media, that are riding the Kyoto bandwagon for their own purposes." (Phyllis Schlafly, Copley News Service)

"Climate Change Linked to UK Floods and Drought" - "LONDON, United Kingdom, July 5, 2001 - The UK Environment Agency warned today that climate change, along with the extremes in weather that it brings, is causing serious problems." (ENS)

"Study: Global warming may spread insect" - "VERO BEACH -- One of the effects of global warming could be the spread of the disease-carrying Asian tiger mosquito, a new study warns." (AP)

"Rutgers-Led Researchers Discover New Plant-Like Bacteria That Appear To Be Significant Component Of Ocean's Carbon Cycle" - "NEW BRUNSWICK/PISCATAWAY – In a discovery that adds a new component to the ocean's carbon cycle -- a major contributor to the earth's carbon cycle on which all life depends -- a team of scientists led by Rutgers Professor Zbigniew S. Kolber has discovered that strange, plant-like bacteria capable of a certain type of photosynthesis are far more numerous in the ocean than previously thought." (Science Daily)

"Koizumi walking fine line between U.S., EU on Kyoto" - "PARIS-Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has been trying to find a role for Tokyo in the dispute between Washington and Europe over the Kyoto Protocol on global warming. But his efforts during his trip to the United States, Britain and France to build a bridge across the Atlantic have put Japan in a more difficult position on the touchy issue of curbing greenhouse gas emissions." (Asahi Shimbun)

"UN in dark over Japan's bid to revise Kyoto deal" - "GENEVA, July 5: The United Nations has not been informed of any Japanese plan to revise the Kyoto Protocol on global warming in trying to get the United States to observe it, a UN official on climate change said here on Thursday." (Dawn.com)

"Push on with Kyoto pact: Kawaguchi" - "Environment Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi warned Thursday that target years outlined in the Kyoto Protocol should not be altered and that action is needed to save the climate change accord and stave off foreign criticism, ministry officials said." (Japan Times)

"Hill fails to give Australia's Kyoto Protocol stance to EU delegates" - "There has been no joy for a European Union delegation which has met the Federal Environment Minister, Robert Hill, to discuss Australia's position on the Kyoto Protocol." (Australian Broadcasting Corp.) | Australia and EU at loggerheads over global warming (Radio Australia) | Kyoto debate heats up as Hill meet EU reps (AAP) | Australia 'unconvinced' on Kyoto (BBC Online) | Europeans fail to turn Kyoto stand (The Age) | EU Fears for Climate Deal After Australia Talks (AP) | Australia refuses to sign international treaty on environment (AP)

"Back And Forth over Kyoto Protocol"  - "Japanese Environment Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi will visit the United States next week for talks to try to reach common ground on the Kyoto treaty on global warming, according to Reuters.

Meanwhile, Australia remains firm in its decision not to sign the Kyoto Protocol, despite attempts by visiting European Union delegates to persuade it otherwise, the Associated Press reports. Environment Minister Robert Hill said the government is committed to an effective international process in curbing greenhouse gases and one that is fair to all parties. Australia continues to back the U.S. position on the treaty, Hill said.

In testimony before Congress, Senior Fellow in Environmental Studies Patrick Michaels explained why the Kyoto Protocol is "a useless appendage to an irrelevant treaty." And in "Europe's Kyoto Scam," Michaels argues that "If we implement Kyoto as our European friends want, it would cost us about 3 percent of GDP per year. And for what? According to climate models (whose veracity is another subject), if every Kyoto signatory lived up to the Protocol, the net amount of warming prevented in the next 50 years would be 0.13ºF, an amount too small to measure." (Cato Institute)

"Bush Want to Cut Global Warming Aid" - "WASHINGTON - President Bush, after faulting the Kyoto climate treaty for excluding developing nations from its requirements, wants to cut U.S. aid for helping Third World countries combat global warming." (AP)

"Florida Animal Rights Group Focuses on Hogs" - "An animal rights group has asked Florida's Supreme Court to decide whether a proposed constitutional amendment protecting gestating sows should go before Florida voters next year. Floridians for Humane Farms (FHF), a Pompano Beach-based organization, wants the state constitution to protect pigs. The group says confinement crates cause great harm." (AgWeb.com)

"A pig in a poke" - "Florida's Supreme Court was asked yesterday to authorize a voter referendum that would extend human rights to pregnant hogs. The legal action (and accompanying petition/signature drive) was officially initiated by a group calling itself Floridians for Humane Farms; if the petition drive is successful, Florida voters will be asked in November 2002 to extend human rights to farm animals.

So what is "Floridians for Humane Farms"? And who's behind it? Closer examination reveals that the organization is not some benign, grass-roots, neighborhood leafleting group, but a well-heeled Political Action Committee (PAC) registered in Florida. The chairperson of this group is Pam Huizenga Van Hart, daughter of Blockbuster Video and Miami Dolphins magnate H. Wayne Huizenga. The PAC's largest individual contributions have come from Nanci S. Alexander ($50,000 so far), whose husband owns the Houston Rockets NBA franchise. Institutional sponsors include Farm Sanctuary (with $110,000 in donations last September alone), Animal Rights International, The Humane Society of the United States, Compassion in World Farming, and The Fund for Animals.

Floridians for Humane Farms operates the web site called BanCruelFarms.org, where you can read about how "animals used for food are forced to endure inhumane living environments, and they are not adequately protected under existing [Florida] laws." The Florida Sun-Sentinel noted in March, though, that very few hog farmers in Florida would be affected, since almost none use the so-called "gestation crates" to hold pregnant sows anyway. "This amendment," said the Sun-Sentinel, "may be a solution in search of a problem." (link unavailable) Pat Cockrell, director of agriculture policy for the Florida Farm Bureau, agrees, saying that Florida is only being targeted "because of its relatively easy petition process."

The campaign's web site, by the way, is co-sponsored by Gene Bauston and Jeffrey Armour Nelson. Bauston runs Farm Sanctuary, an organization based in New York and California, not Florida; Nelson is the heir to the Armour meatpacking fortune who now makes a living trashing the meat industry from his "VegSource" web site." (GuestChoice.com)

The National Anxiety Center's "Warning Signs" July 9, 2001 ~ Vol. 3, No. 28 has been posted.

"UN to Set Modified Food Guidelines" - "GENEVA - The top U.N. food standards body agreed Friday to draw up global guidelines to ensure the safety of genetically modified food on supermarket shelves.

The 165 member states of the Codex Alimentarius Commission agreed that foods containing genetically modified organisms should be tested, in particular for their potential to cause allergic reactions - and should be labeled if they do. They were unable to agree whether labels saying food has been modified should be mandatory." (AP) | World Guideline for Pre-Market GM Testing Agreed (Reuters)

"Overseas aid programme attacked in GM crops row" - "Britain's overseas aid programme in India was under attack last night by MPs, development groups, academics and local organisations after it emerged that millions are being spent backing a plan which could force 20m of the world's poorest people off the land to make way for US-style industrial agriculture and GM crops." | 'This is the path to disaster' (Guardian)

July 6, 2001

"Audubon's Fly-by-Night Pesticide Campaign" - "The Audubon Society once again is scaring the public about pesticides. Almost 30 years after its successful — but untruthful — campaign against the insecticide DDT, the Audubon Society is targeting lawn chemicals used to control grubs, fungus and weeds." (Steve Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"Science Group States Dry-Cleaning Chemical Poses No Health Threat to Consumers" - "New York, NY. July 2001. In a new report released today, the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) concluded that the dry-cleaning fluid perchloroethylene (also called perc or PCE) is not hazardous to humans at typical levels of use." (ACSH)

"Virus pyre dioxins 'not in food'" - "Cancer-causing chemicals produced by foot-and-mouth pyres do not appear to be in the food chain, tests have shown." (BBC Online)

"Scientists Stub Out Cannabis As Wonderdrug" - "LONDON - Cannabis is no better than codeine at controlling pain and a series of undesirable side effects means it has no place at present in mainstream medicine, scientists said on Friday." (Reuters)

"Study results exaggerated, says Birasak; Soup safe to eat, despite mercury" - "A conservation group has exaggerated the results of a study on mercury contamination in shark fins, the head of the Thailand Institute of Scientific and Technological Research said yesterday." (Bangkok Post)

"Olive oil taken off shelf in cancer scare" - "Madrid: This country's love of olive oil took a battering this week when the Government ordered that 10 per cent of stocks be removed from shops and kitchens because of a cancer scare. It was acting on the discovery that some cheap de orujo olive oil contained potentially dangerous levels of the carcinogen benzopirene." (Sydney Morning Herald)

"Triple jab fears dismissed" - "DOCTORS dismissed fears about the safety of the measles, mumps and rubella triple vaccine and voted against bringing back the single dose-versions banned by the Government two years ago." (The Times)

"We were right to fear Norton" - "GALE NORTON MADE a pretty good case during Senate confirmation hearings on her nomination as interior secretary that way too many scare stories had been told about her. Give her a chance, she said, and she'd prove herself a reasonable person seeking the middle ground. Half a year later, the scare stories are looking mighty like foretokens." (says Geneva Overholser, Boston Globe)

"Two die in fish dismemberment" - "Two Papua New Guinea fishermen have bled to death after having their penises bitten off by pirahna-like river fish." (The Age)

"Chill wind for Iceland" - "SHARES in the food retailer Iceland fell 8.8 per cent, wiping £53 million from its value, after it said recovery may take three to four years and refused to rule out a cash call on shareholders next year. The group, which said it has been given a year to restructure its £504 million debt by its 20 banks, revealed greater than expected losses of £121.4 million for the 15 months to March.

It also said sales across the group had continued to fall by 3.1 per cent in the 13 weeks to 30 June, compared with the same period last year, although the decline had slowed to be down 1.3 per cent in the last six weeks." (The Scotsman)

Yeah, going 'organic' worked good...

"The great organic con trick" - "As the Co-op thumbs its nose at the EU over undersized organic peaches, our correspondent argues that foods hyped as “natural” to a credulous public are no better for us, damage the environment and may pose a serious health risk." (The Times)

"Global health nannies still call mad cow disease "an epidemic" - "Gro Harlem Brundtland, director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO), is pushing hard for international control over food safety. The "Codex Alimentarius" Commission, a joint group of WHO and United Nations pencil-pushers, is meeting this week in Geneva, and Brundtland told them that a globalized food supply demands globally enforceable food-safety rules. Of course, mad cow disease is the most oft-quoted reason for an international body like the U.N. to play the part of global food cop, even though no confirmed cases have been found in North America. Even in the epicenter of the mad-cow problem, experts now suggest there is no massive, hidden epidemic in Europe.

Someone should tell the World Health Organization. Its spokesman David Heymann told CBS News on Tuesday that mad cow disease "is an epidemic already." At a time when the agency is both whipping up mad-cow fear and proffering its own bureaucratic solutions, it is useful to remember that, in politics, there are no coincidences." (GuestChoice.com)

"New theory could mean viable tests for BSE and CJD" - "GENETIC parasites that infest the cow and human genetic code may be responsible for BSE and variant CJD, according to a theory published yesterday. It runs counter to current thinking about the causes of the spongiform diseases and was unveiled by Dr Toby Gibson, a British researcher at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg, Germany, in the journal Genome Biology." (Telegraph)

"vCJD test 'could hit blood donations'" - "Stocks in the UK's blood banks could drop by 50% when a test for the human form of mad cow disease is introduced, experts fear. Scientists are close to completing studies on a test that would screen donors and indicate how many people are carrying vCJD. The tests, which BBC2's Newsnight said could be available within months, come amid fears of a mass epidemic breaking out after the disease's incubation period." (BBC Online)

"Cell phone industry faces legal tests" - "Gibb Brower, a 41-year-old, self-employed landscaper in San Diego, used a cell phone to help run his business from the road or on job sites for four years. He says his cell phones - an analog Motorola flip phone and a digital Sony - caused the growth of two tumors and a surrounding cancer field on the right side of his head where he held the phone." (IDG)

"Military base antennae 'would kill children'" - "An MP has told the Cypriot parliament the construction of "satanic antennae" on a British military base in Cyprus would kill children." (Ananova)

Busby, again... "Scientist raises new radiation fear" - "A scientist has warned that radioactive materials being released in Britain are many times more dangerous than previously believed." (BBC Online)

"EU's Palacio says phasing out N-power irresponsible" - "BRUSSELS - EU Energy Commissioner Loyola de Palacio offered her strongest support for nuclear power to date yesterday by saying that countries phasing it out were irresponsible." (Reuters)

"Wind farm operators bugged by power shortage" - "CALGARY -- Efforts to produce environmentally friendly wind power are running into an unexpected obstacle: dead bugs. Insect guts make a mess of car windshields, but when splattered on the blades of high-tech windmills they can cut power output by up to half, a study published today in the journal Nature says." (Globe and Mail)

"Warmer Sweden Linked with Tick-Born Encephalitis" - "LONDON - Milder weather in Sweden in recent years, possibly linked to global warming, has led to a sharp rise in the number of cases of tick-borne encephalitis, or inflammation of the brain, scientists said on Friday." (Reuters)

"Drought and floods 'may become a way of life'" - "TOWNS swamped by floods just months ago could suffer deluges each winter and droughts each summer, the Environment Agency says.

A spokesman said parts of the South-East could see a regular pattern of floods every winter and droughts every summer because of extreme weather patterns. She said: "Climate change is believed to be the cause of these seemingly contradictory circumstances and the agency is gravely concerned that flooding will once again cause devastation this winter." (Telegraph)

"Push on with Kyoto pact: Kawaguchi" - "Environment Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi warned Thursday that target years outlined in the Kyoto Protocol should not be altered and that action is needed to save the climate change accord and stave off foreign criticism, ministry officials said." (Japan Times)

"EU won't alter view on Kyoto, Chirac says" - "PARIS The European Union will not change its position toward the Kyoto Protocol despite the U.S. rejection of the pact, French President Jacques Chirac told Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi on Wednesday." (Kyodo)

"Germany confident of deal with Japan on climate" - "BERLIN - German Environment Minister Juergen Trittin said yesterday he was confident of reaching a deal with Japan to ensure a climate conference in Bonn later this month implements the Kyoto treaty on global warming." (Reuters)

"Japan says October is deadline for Kyoto treaty" - "TOKYO - Japanese Environment Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi said yesterday that a comprehensive accord on rules of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol must be reached by October to keep the global pact alive, Kyodo news agency reported." (Reuters)

"Compromise sketched for Kyoto Protocol as talks loom" - "THE HAGUE, July 5 - A compromise plan aimed at saving the UN's Kyoto Protocol emerged Thursday after the climate-change treaty was abandoned by the United States and then ran into wavering support from Japan. The deal sketched by Dutch Environment Minister Jan Pronk would postpone a key Kyoto deadline, with the effect of slashing the immediate bill for reducing output of "greenhouse" gases blamed for global warming." (AFP)

"EU delegates to call on Australian Govt to commit to Kyoto Protocol" - "A European delegation is due to meet the Australian Government today to try to persuade it to ratify the Kyoto Protocol on climate change. Australia has been claiming the protocol is dead, with the decision by the United States to abandon it." | Think-tank reviews Australia's approach to Kyoto Protocol (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

"Australia Refuses to Come Clean on Kyoto Position" - "CANBERRA - Australia refused to be pinned down on Thursday on whether it would ratify the Kyoto global warming pact without U.S. involvement as a European Union (EU) delegation arrived to lobby for support.

Kyoto's future rests with a handful of nations like Japan, Australia and Canada who have become ambivalent about ratifying the treaty to cut greenhouse gases since the United States, the top carbon dioxide producer, withdrew over its economic impact." (Reuters)

"Koizumi pursues U.S. on Kyoto" - "PARIS-Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said Tuesday he will aggressively continue his efforts to bring the United States back into the Kyoto Protocol on global warming." (Asahi Shimbun)

"Environmental groups slam Bush in radio advert campaign" - "WASHINGTON - Environmental groups worried about U.S. efforts to stall a final Kyoto global warming treaty, yesterday began running radio advertisements challenging the Bush administration's opposition to the climate change negotiations." (Reuters)

"UN Climate Expert Urges Kyoto Deal Even Without U.S." - "GENEVA - The United Nations top climate expert urged industrial states on Thursday to ratify the Kyoto treaty on global warming despite U.S. objections to the pact.

An international accord capping the production of greenhouse gases must eventually include the United States but this did not rule out starting without it, said Michael Zammit Cutajar, the Executive Secretary of the Secretariat of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change." (Reuters)

Japan Playing for Time on Kyoto Climate Pact - "TOKYO - Japan looks set to play for time when a European Union delegation arrives next week to try to persuade Tokyo to ratify the Kyoto global warming pact even if Washington refuses to go along." (Reuters)

"Nature may resist rising atmospheric CO2" - "Predictions of major rises in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2 ) are based on models that fail to take into account the moderating influences of the world’s oceans, Dr David Barnes from the Australian Institute of Marine Science told several hundred of his peers today.

Speaking at the joint conference of the Australian Marine Science Association and the New Zealand Marine Science Society, Dr Barnes said many scientists had underestimated nature’s capacity to buffer changes such as global warming." (Australian Institute of Marine Science [AIMS])

"Positive winds keeping Arctic winters at bay" - "MILD winters in Britain over the past two decades have been caused by natural variations in a climate system known as the Arctic Oscillation, rather than by global warming, according to a new scientific study." (The Times)

"Climate pattern moderated northern winters of 1990s" - "WASHINGTON - New evidence suggests the Arctic Oscillation climate pattern has been helping to prevent freezing temperatures from extending as far south as they once did. The Arctic Oscillation is a climate pattern defined by winds blowing counterclockwise around the Arctic at about 55 degrees north latitude – about even with Moscow or Belfast, Northern Ireland. The Arctic Oscillation is also called the North Atlantic Oscillation or the annular mode. "Public perceptions that winters are becoming less wintry appear to be as much or more due to the change in the Arctic Oscillation as to global warming," said atmospheric science Prof. David Thompson, of Colorado State University." (CBC)

"Campaign to begin against GM goods; Designed to counter upcoming meeting on biotechnology" - "Thai and international activists will join forces with consumer protection groups and farmer organisations to launch a campaign against genetically modified products next week.

The campaign is a response to an international conference on biotechnology, scheduled for July 10-12 and organised by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)." (Bangkok Post)

"FDA probes plant that made chips with StarLink corn" - "WASHINGTON - Federal regulators said yesterday they were investigating a plant that produced white corn tortilla chips to determine how the snack food was contaminated with traces of genetically altered StarLink corn, a variety that triggered a massive food recall last autumn." (Reuters)

"Frito-Lay says no StarLink in white corn chips" - "CHICAGO - Snack-food giant Frito-Lay Inc. said Yesterday it was confident its white corn products did not carry traces of StarLink yellow corn after reports the genetically modified variety was found in white corn chips." (Reuters)

July 5, 2001

"Milk acid could help prevent breast cancer" - "A national food conference has been told that a component of milk and animal fat could aid in the prevention of breast cancer. Conjugated Linoleic Acid, or CLA, is found in the stomach of ruminant animals such as cows and to a lesser extent in beef and lamb fat. Dr Peter Parodi, of the Dairy Research Corporation, says studies with animals have also shown that CLA may reduce prostate cancer tumours, improve clogged arteries and have a positive effect on allergies, the immune system and non-insulin dependent diabetes. But Dr Parodi has told a conference in Adelaide the most exciting development is CLA's role in the prevention of breast cancer in older women." (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

"STUDY: New dosing technique more effective against fatal bacteria" - "CHICAGO - A government study of children suggests higher-dose, short-term use of antibiotics may help reduce the spread of drug-resistant bacteria that cause ear infections, pneumonia and meningitis.

Streptococcus pneumoniae infections kill approximately 1 million children under age 5 worldwide each year. But resistant strains have become a growing problem blamed in part on the overuse of antibiotics. The standard treatment is 10 days of penicillin-type antibiotics, but recent research has shown that higher doses used for just five days work just as well.

The new study found that this approach is also more effective at knocking out antibiotic-resistant bacteria. This approach may represent "a low-cost, feasible intervention to limit spread of resistance," the researchers aid." (AP)

"Children don't know CFCs from ABCs" - "A survey claims that only 3% of British primary schoolchildren know what global warming is. It puts the blame on parents and teachers. The poll says that only one in five adults and half of teachers know about the link between CFCs and the ozone layer. Almost half of all parents who took part in the survey said they felt no responsibility to teach their children about green issues." (Ananova)

The depressing news is that so many have been indoctrinated sufficiently to believe the green myths.

"Ford Money Drives Environmental Partnership" - "Are the Greens getting in bed with the greenbacks -- or is it the other way around? Ford Motor Co. has given $25 million to Conservation International to establish the Center for Environmental Leadership in Business, which opened recently at CI's offices on M Street." (Washington Post)

"EPA rule for Yucca Mountain faces two lawsuits" - "The state of Nevada Nuclear Projects Agency and a coalition of national and Nevada-based environmental and public interest groups filed separate lawsuits June 27, challenging the new radiation protection standards for the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository." (ENN)

"Drop That Phone" - "New York recently became the first state to prohibit people from using hand-held mobile phones while driving. "This is going to save lives, I’m sure," said New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

It’s not clear how he can be sure. As The New York Times reported, the new law instructs state traffic officials "to analyze the causes of accidents over the next four years to determine if cell phones do cause accidents." This seems to be a case of legislate first, ask questions later." (Jacob Sullum, Reason)

"Treated wood products to get arsenic warning labels" - "WASHINGTON - Consumers this fall will begin seeing warning labels about the 22 percent arsenic found in a wood preservative used in nearly all the treated lumber in the United States." (AP)

"AAP recommends phase-out of mercury thermometers" - "NEW YORK, Jul 03 - Individuals may be unable to reduce their exposure to mercury in the air, but they can reduce their risk of illness and their child's risk of illness by removing mercury-containing thermometers from their homes, according to a report issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics' (AAP) Committee on Environmental Health. The committee also urged physicians to phase out their mercury-containing thermometers and other medical devices." (Reuters Health)

"Cancer warning over HRT drug" - "A drug used as hormone replacement therapy may actually encourage the growth of some kinds of ovarian cancer. Laboratory tests on cancer cells found that Raloxifene, a commonly-prescribed drug in the UK, stimulated growth in those sensitive to the effects of the female hormone oestrogen." (BBC Online)

"Government ineptness on Vieques" - "NOT LONG AGO, Vieques was a small, pretty island in the Caribbean that the US Navy has been quietly bombing for 60 years. Now, thanks to an indecisive decision by President Bush, a pigheaded performance by Navy brass, and brutish behavior by Navy police - many of them strip-search specialists - Vieques has become world famous.

It is a rallying point for advocates of civil rights, human rights, and the environment. It has become a flashpoint between right and left. It has activated members of two prominent political dynasties, the Cuomos and the Kennedys, and it could be an issue in the New York governor's race." (Boston Globe)

"'Alarming' drug use to control kids' behaviour" - "SYDNEY: Children as young as two were being prescribed drugs to control what was often simply age-appropriate behaviour, an inquiry was told yesterday. Early-childhood consultant Karen Behrens, from SDN Children's Services Inc, told a NSW parliamentary committee that the increasing use of psychotropic drugs such as Ritalin in children was alarming. Anecdotal evidence suggested that anti-depressants, tranquillisers, stimulants, sedatives and hypnotics also were being widely prescribed for Australian children, she said." (Canberra Times)

"Low-fat margarine ads rapped" - "Two brands of low-fat margarine are unlikely to deliver the health benefits promised in advertisements, according to the Advertising Standards Authority. Its rulings against Flora pro-activ and Benecol were made after the products' two manufacturers lodged tit-for-tat complaints about each other's promotional claims of reducing cholesterol." (BBC Online)

"New Findings Likely to Prompt More Study of Cancer Drug" - "Researchers in Seattle reported on Tuesday that a breast cancer drug, tamoxifen, may have an unexpected effect on the development of subsequent cancers.

But their study was sharply questioned by Dr. Sandra M. Swain of the National Cancer Institute in an editorial accompanying their paper, published today in The Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Dr. Swain said that the study's design was weak, that it based its conclusions on the experiences of just 20 patients and that its findings were not supported by other studies.

Tamoxifen, a drug that counteracts the hormone estrogen, has been shown to reduce the death rate in women who had breast cancer by as much as 34 percent. Studies also showed that if women who had breast cancer take the drug for five years, their chance of developing cancer in the other breast is reduced by as much as 47 percent." (Gina Kolata, New York Times)

"Putin to allow nuclear fuel imports; Plan is to make money by storing, than reprocessing waste" - "MOSCOW, July 3 — Russia’s top nuclear official said Tuesday that President Vladimir Putin will soon sign a bill permitting nuclear fuel imports, a move environmentalists say would turn Russia into the world’s nuclear dump." (Reuters)

"Speed mercury removal, Ford urged; But company says it won’t do it as part of tire recall" - "July 3 — State attorneys from around the country are asking Ford Motor Co. to replace light switches containing mercury during the current recall of defective tires. But Ford said that while it will continue to phase out the mercury switches it has no plans to comply with the request by attorneys general." (AP)

"Public warned against soup delicacy until further notice; Samples to be tested for mercury levels" - "The Health Ministry has warned the public not to consume shark fin until its safety can be confirmed. Suraphong Suebwonglee, the deputy health minister, said samples of the product sold in the market will be collected for testing levels of mercury contamination. The results are expected to be known in two weeks. The ministry's move follows WildAid's findings which show that shark fin soup sold in the country contains dangerous levels of mercury." (Bangkok Post)

"EU leaders to lobby govt on Kyoto" - "The federal government will face intense lobbying from European and green leaders to commit to ratifying the Kyoto Protocol climate change treaty, with EU officials due in Australia this week." (AAP)

"EU opposes amendments to key parts of Kyoto pact" - "BRUSSELS Margot Wallstrom, the European Union's environment chief, emphasized Monday that key elements of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on global warming should not be changed, signaling the EU's determination to oppose Japan's attempts to revise the pact in order to get the United States back on board." (Kyodo)

"News Analysis: Japan's Ambiguity on Global Warming" - "TOKYO, July 3 — Anyone interested in clearly understanding Japan's position on the Kyoto Protocol on global warming would search in vain through Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's statements over the last several days, during his first official overseas trip.

Mr. Koizumi's extraordinary popularity at home was built in part from his straight-shooter style — which differs significantly from that of recent predecessors, who were more often given to endless hedging. But from Washington to London to Paris, sometimes on the same day and within the same city, his position on what is probably the most ambitious international environmental agreement seemed to shift by the hour or the audience." (New York Times)

"Japan's Koizumi under pressure to stick to Kyoto Protocol" - "PARIS, July 3 - Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi came under pressure to stick to the Kyoto climate change treaty as his French counterpart stressed the importance of remaining committed to the accord on Tuesday." (AFP)

"It's Bush against the planet" - "IF YOU GO BY the news coverage, President George W. Bush all but killed the 1997 Kyoto global warming treaty Saturday, even though all the good green- friendly people on Earth really, really wanted the treaty to become law. The final blow came when Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi announced that Japan would not go ahead with Kyoto if the United States did not." (Debra J. Saunders, San Francisco Chronicle)

"Carbon Dioxide and Global Environmental Change: The Proper Roles of Reason and Religion in Developing Policies Related to Anthropogenic CO2 Emissions" - "At their June 2001 General Meeting, the assembled body of U.S. Catholic bishops gave their stamp of approval to a document entitled Global Climate Change: A Plea for Dialogue, Prudence, and the Common Good, which was released to the world on 15 June 2001 via its publication by the United States Catholic Conference, Inc., Washington, DC.  In preparing this "Statement of the U.S. Catholic Bishops," the prelates did the world an important service by injecting a much-needed moral dimension into the sometimes acrimonious debate that rages over what should be done – or not done – about the ongoing rise in the air’s CO2 content.  This religious perspective deserves to be carefully considered by people of all faiths, which we do here, as we respond to the bishops’ "plea for dialogue, prudence, and the common good." | Tropospheric Ozone and Climate Forcing | Rainfall Trends in East Asia | Precipitation and Streamflow Variability in Northeastern Mongolia  (co2science.org)

"Bush administration to spend $25 mln on global warming projects" - "WASHINGTON - The Bush administration said yesterday it would spend nearly $25 million to help fund eight projects to study methods for capturing and safely storing carbon gases blamed for global warming. The projects involve an approach known as carbon sequestration, which removes gases from the exhaust of electric power plants or from the atmosphere and stores them in forests and underground geological formations." (Reuters)

"Climate change puts food production at risk" - "Forty of the world’s poorest nations are likely to suffer food production losses of more than 20% over the coming decades due to global warming, predicts a new report to be released at a conference on global change in Amsterdam next week." (International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme)

"Rely on Human Ingenuity for Addressing Climate Challenge" - "English economist Thomas Malthus gazed ahead to the 19th Century and forecast that the golden age for mankind would languish, and that future generations would grind out only a life of grueling subsistence.

But Malthus erred: he ignored the great variable in the equation of progress – the ability of humans in freedom to adapt and innovate.

That lesson is worth remembering in deciphering the recent news coverage of the National Academy of Sciences report to the Bush administration on human-made global warming." (Sallie Baliunas, Tech Central Station)

"Body Shop joins Esso boycott over Kyoto" - "The Body Shop has said it will become the first company to publicly back a boycott of Esso service stations in protest at its parent company's support for the US withdrawal from the Kyoto climate change pact. Esso is the European brand of ExxonMobil.

Body Shop says its fleet of lorries will not fill up at Esso garages. It is urging its 2,500 British staff to do the same and will publicise the boycott in all its 229 British stores. Since its launch two months ago the campaign has drawn support from members of the European Parliament. Pop star Annie Lennox and actor Ralph Fiennes have also been vocal supporters." (Reuters)

"The threat of green fascism" - "Humans love horror stories, which is why R.L. Stine is a best-selling author. So I am not surprised by the popularity of horror stories being invented about genetically modified (GM) foods and cotton." (Times of India)

"Engineered Corn Found In White Tortilla Chips" - "StarLink corn, the genetically modified yellow variety whose presence in food products last fall resulted in widespread recalls, has been found for the first time in a white corn product. The discovery underscores the food industry's difficulties in keeping modified and conventional crops apart." (Washington Post)

"Eating GM food is safe: expert" - "There is no evidence to suggest that eating genetically modified foods is harmful to human health, a Melbourne University biotechnology professor said last night." (The Age)

"FDA decides GM food must be labelled; Focus on corn and soybean initially" - "Food products containing more than 3-5% of genetically modified corn or soybean will be required to have labels, the Food and Drug Administration said yesterday. Speaking after a meeting to draft a ministerial announcement on GM food products, FDA secretary-general Vichai Chokewiwat said only two products would be covered in the initial stage.

The FDA had to make sure it had the capacity to test all products made from the two substances. There were thousands of products made from genetically modified corn and soybean, Dr Vichai said. The committee also decided that only final products ready for consumers should be tested for GM content before they are labelled." (Bangkok Post)

"We're way behind in biotechnology" - "The contrast is as ironic as it is stark. Singapore, a state as devoid of agricultural research expertise as it is of farm animals, is spending lavishly to become a world leader in biotechnology. New Zealand, a leader in agricultural research as befits a country with far more farm animals than humans, is stalled. Biotechnology is on hold while the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification deliberates. If, as some insist, genetic engineering is the third technological revolution, after the steam engine and the computer, New Zealand is falling well off the pace in a race it should relish." (New Zealand Herald)

"GMOs: French regional govt to subsidize buying non-GM soymeal" - "Paris, July 3 - The government of the Aquitaine region in southwest France is launching a 4-million-franc plan to help cattle farmers buy local non-genetically modified soymeal for feed, a spokeswoman said Tuesday. The council estimated the farmers pay 800 francs per tonne more to buy local soymeal than they would pay for imported soymeal, and the aid would cover half of that additional cost." (BridgeNews)

July 4, 2001

Happy 4th of July!

July 3, 2001

"Keeping schoolchildren green around the ears" - "John Stossel, the only openly right-of-center reporter on any of the three major networks has a long history of making lefty and environmental groups kick-the-cat angry.

He recently set them off again when, for his latest ABC News Special, Mr. Stossel asked a bunch of schoolchildren on camera what they think about various environmental issues.

The special aired June 29 but without the conversation with the children. An organization called the Environmental Working Group, helped persuade the kids' parents to rescind their permission to use the footage.

Apparently, it was fine to talk to the kids when it was assumed a conventional liberal reporter interviewed them. It was only after they learned that Mr. Stossel was the host that the parents, with ample encouragement from the EWG, wigged out." (Jonah Goldberg, Washington Times)

"FOR STOSSEL, NO SUCH THING AS BAD PUBLICITY" - "John Stossel, the in-your-face muckraker who's been both lauded and lambasted for confronting political and social issues, says the most important thing is that people are watching his TV specials. "I just try to be fair," Stossel told The Post. "Everybody has critics, but at least they're watching."

Stossel, 54, well-known for his outdated mustache and libertarian reports, has been no stranger to controversy - and this week was no exception. His most recent ABC special, "Tampering with Nature," a report on environmentalism, scored a bonanza Friday night with a 6.2 rating, second only in the time period to "Law and Order." The ratings victory comes days after a group of California parents alleged they were duped into allowing their kids to be interviewed by Stossel and that he manipulated the youngsters into giving answers that supported his viewpoint." (New York Post) | ABC's Stossel Replaces Interviews (AP) | According to EWG "An anonymous whistleblower warned the Environmental Working Group that Stossel was set to 'use the footage to trash what kids are now being taught about environmental issues.'"

Wonder if John will be sending Euugh a "Thank you" note for all the free publicity and doing so much to make his point.

"Statistical chicanery" - ""Every year since 1950, the number of American children gunned down has doubled." Did you know that? It is just as well if you did not, because it is not true.

It takes no research to prove that it is not true. If there had been just two children in America gunned down in 1950, then doubling that number every year would have meant that, by 1980, there would have been one billion American children gunned down more than four times the total population of the United States at that time." (Thomas Sowell, Washington Times)

"Balancing the Equation of Science and Politics" - "Good science is supposed to be based on facts, not politics. Dr. John H. Marburger III, the director of Brookhaven National Laboratory, was apparently betting that politics indeed posed no barrier to solid science after the White House announced last week that he was being nominated to be presidential science adviser, a post that has been vacant since President Bush took office.

Unlike any presidential science adviser in recent memory, Dr. Marburger immediately made his party affiliation known — when, in answer to a reporter's question, he declared himself a lifelong Democrat. Considering that Dr. Marburger would be joining a Republican administration as one of Mr. Bush's senior advisers, the declaration has raised new questions about what role science will play in the administration." (New York Times)

"Cannabis a driving danger for five hours, new research shows" - "BRISBANE: Cannabis users should not drive for five hours after smoking the drug, a researcher said yesterday. Douglas Tutt, director of health promotion for the NSW Central Coast, urged cannabis users not to smoke and drive, after a study of fatal accidents.

The research revealed drivers aged under 45 years killed in car crashes were just as likely to be affected by cannabis as alcohol. Past studies which measured only the lingering metabolites of THC had led to claims cannabis was "safer" for driving than alcohol. However, new research to be published soon indicated that although cannabis-affected motorists drove more slowly, they were more easily distracted, tended to "weave", and spent 400 per cent more time out of their lanes than non-intoxicated drivers. (Canberra Times)

"Starch plays key role in cancer prevention" - "CSIRO scientists now think a type of starch — which for decades has been considered next to useless — may be more important than fibre in protecting against bowel cancer. "We are now discovering that resistant starch, which has long-been considered "empty calories", has an important role to play in bowel health," senior CSIRO scientist David Topping says.

Its importance was realised once scientists discovered not all starch is digested in the small intestine. Resistant starch, the significant amount which escapes into the large bowel, is now known to be a key protector against bowel cancer. "This kind of starch has the potential to become even more important than dietary fibre," Dr Topping says." (CSIRO release)

"Caution urged in research with angiogenesis therapy" - "DALLAS, – Using gene therapy to spur new blood vessel growth and improve blood flow is a promising treatment for clogged arteries leading to the heart or legs. However, the technique, called angiogenesis, should be pursued with caution, researchers write in a “Current Perspective” article in today’s Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association." (AHA)

"Toxin Slows Colorectal Cancer Growth - Study" - "WASHINGTON - Colorectal cancer cells attract a bacterial toxin that could help slow the growth of the disease in humans, scientists said on Monday. Researchers at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia have found a protein marker, called GCC, that is only expressed on the surface of colorectal cancer cells inside the body. The marker allows scientists to monitor whether a primary tumor has spread, or metastasized, to other areas of the body." (Reuters)

"Cutting the risk of coronary disease - start before birth says UK doctor" - "Lausanne, Switzerland: Modest improvements in foetal and infant growth would lead to substantial falls in disease rates in later life, an international conference in reproductive medicine heard today (Monday 2 July).

Professor David Barker told the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology that prevention of conditions such as coronary heart disease, stroke, non-insulin dependent diabetes and high blood pressure might ultimately depend on changing the body composition and diets of young women and preventing imbalances between pre and postnatal growth in children." (European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology)

"Greece confirms first case of mad cow disease" - "ATHENS, Greece -- Greece confirmed its first case of mad cow disease on Monday at a slaughterhouse in a northern town, agriculture and company officials said. The case was detected in a 5-year-old milk cow at the slaughterhouse in Sidirokastro, said Tassos Kalogerakis, president of the meat processing plant." (AP)

"CJD diagnostic test 'ready in a year'" - "Researchers in Israel claim to have developed a simple diagnostic test for variant Creutzfeldt Jakob disease (vCJD), the human form of BSE. They say their method can reliably distinguish between urine samples from healthy humans and samples preserved from people who died of vCJD." (BBC Online)

"U.S., Vietnam discuss possible Agent Orange research" - "HANOI, Vietnam (July 2, 2001 9:08 p.m. EDT) - American and Vietnamese officials met Monday to talk about ways the former enemies can conduct joint health and environmental research on the wartime defoliant Agent Orange.

The talks are the second in a series between the two governments over research into the possible effects of the millions of gallons of herbicide - primarily Agent Orange - sprayed by U.S. planes to destroy jungle cover for enemy troops during the Vietnam War." (AP)

Check out The National Anxiety Center's "Warning Signs" for more on chemicals and health.

Pronounced "tedious" ? "TDS - a new syndrome hitting men's reproductive health says Danish fertility expert" - "Lausanne, Switzerland: Doctors and scientists are almost certainly missing evidence that adverse environmental factors may be responsible for a worrying increase in a range of problems in male reproductive health, according to a leading Danish fertility expert.

Professor Neils Skakkebaek told the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology annual meeting at Lausanne today (Monday 2 July) that rising testicular cancer incidence, poor semen quality, high frequency of undescended testicles and hypospadias (an abnormality of the penis) may all, in fact, be symptoms of a single underlying entity which he has now named TDS - Testicular Dysgenesis Syndrome." (European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology)

"Greenpeace: Waste Burning Hurts Sexual Development" - "BANGKOK - Environmental activist group Greenpeace on Monday urged the Thai government to act swiftly against incineration of waste, which its said would have a severe impact on the sexual development of children." (Reuters)

"Years of exercise research short on healthy conclusions" - "WASHINGTON (July 1, 2001 2:25 p.m. EDT) - A 300-page report summarizing decades of research on exercise is showing scientists just how little they know about the health benefits of working out.

Consensus statements published by the American College of Sports Medicine establishes that people who exercise improve their health. But researchers often can't tell how much health-improvement payoff will result from a given amount of work, or even if a workout will make a difference at all." (AP)

"Family stress a factor in asthma" - "A new study, believed to be the first of its kind, has established an important link between the quality of life of children with asthma and the level of stress in their family environment. The study, conducted by a team of researchers from Adelaide University and the Women's & Children's Hospital in Adelaide, Australia, shows that the family environment can influence the way children feel about their asthma." (Adelaide University)

"Food Allergies: When Food Becomes the Enemy" - "Imagine what it would be like if eating a peanut butter sandwich or some shrimp, or drinking a tall glass of milk left you vomiting, gasping for breath, and furiously scratching a fresh crop of hives. For some people with food allergies, that's reality.

A food allergy, or hypersensitivity, is an abnormal response to a food triggered by the immune system. While many people often have gas, bloating or another unpleasant reaction to something they eat, this is not an allergic response. Such a reaction is thought to not involve the immune system and is called "food intolerance."

Only about 1.5 percent of adults and up to 6 percent of children younger than 3 years in the United States--about 4 million people--have a true food allergy, according to researchers who have examined the prevalence of food allergies. (FDA Consumer Magazine, July-Aug)

"As people’s taste for exotic foods increases, so too does health risk" - "CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Food-borne pathogens long considered rare on North American plates are an emerging problem, and restaurant and home chefs should be more diligent about washing their fresh produce, University of Illinois food scientists say. Such is the message gleaned from follow-up work on a Shigella-infected bean salad that sickened customers at a Chicago restaurant in 1999.

"Recent nationwide outbreaks in 1998, particularly in California, and in 1999 in Chicago suggest that Shigella may be an emerging pathogen in the United States," said Meredith E. Agle, a doctoral student in food microbiology. "With the globalization of food and more people having more exotic tastes, we believe pathogens will be showing up more regularly from developing countries where poor sanitation and water quality make the shipment of bacteria-free produce very difficult." (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

"Nannies go hog-wild over livestock antibiotics" - "A Boston Globe editorial today [July 2] joins the American Medical Association in a call for reduced antibiotic use in hogs, poultry, and beef cattle. U.S. Rep. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) has even introduced legislation that would specifically fund efforts to curtail farmers' access to some antibiotics. Predictably, the nanny culture (led by the Center for Science in the Public Interest) is excited about the opportunity to control yet another link of the food chain.

The Globe editorial offers two pieces of supporting evidence for its position. The first is a single quote about plunging humanity "back into medicine's Dark Ages," from an activist physician with the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP). This group has received over $2 million of foundation funds in recent years, much of it earmarked for campaigns to block or otherwise disable advances in modern agriculture. IATP also heavily promotes "organically produced" meats, using threats of global disease and other scare tactics.

The only other evidence the Globe offers is a USDA report released in May, which attempted to assess the financial costs of antibiotics and other veterinary costs in livestock. When Associated Press writer Philip Brasher first reported on this story (May 15), he wrote: "Hog farmers lose money by feeding growth-promoting antibiotics to pigs, because the extra production holds down pork prices, a government study says." In a May 18 correction, however, the AP conceded that Brasher had misread the report: "The Associated Press on May 15 erroneously quoted a Department of Agriculture study as saying that hog farmers lose money by feeding growth-promoting antibiotics to pigs…The AP erroneously reported the study as saying that producers who used the antibiotics collectively lost $45.5 million. Instead, the $45.5 million is how much those producers would have lost had they not been allowed to use the drugs, according to the study"." (GuestChoice.com)

"More sexual partners may increase risk of prostate cancer" - "CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Men should already know that sex with multiple partners, especially unprotected sex, can increase their risk of contracting HIV and various venereal diseases. They also can add that it may raise their odds of getting prostate cancer in middle age, according to a study published in a recent issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology." (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

"Just How Pure Does Organic Have To Be?" - "New federal U.S. food regulations are sparking debate over how much genetic tinkering will be permitted on produce labeled "organic." Regulations going into effect this year rule out any genetically modified crops getting a label of organic purity.

But does that mean only the ancient varieties of corn and potatoes that the Indians cultivated before Austrian monk Gregor Mendel published his experiments on genetic modification of peas in 1866? Can man-manipulated seeds pass muster as "organic" produce?

Brian Baker of the Organic Materials Review Institute, a nonprofit group working with the federal government to list acceptable ingredients for new organic lines, was cited as telling the Institute of Food Technologists convention in New Orleans this week that no decision has been made on where to draw the line, adding, "When we say no GMOs (genetically modified organisms), how far back do we peel the onion to when there's no more onion anymore?" (Redding.com)

"Cadmium clean up for Australian agriculture" - "Australian growers are taking a lead in producing food commodities with a minimum of cadmium contamination, according to CSIRO's Dr Mike McLaughlin. Dr McLaughlin is National Cadmium Coordinator for the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Resource Management (SCARM). "We have long recognised cadmium contamination as a potential threat to 'clean' agricultural systems," says Dr McLaughlin. "The National Cadmium Minimisation Strategy has now been in place for a year, and has achieved national regulations and standards for cadmium in fertilisers, as well as best management practices to minimise cadmium accumulation in crops." (CSIRO release)

"German Companies Facing Ecological Economic Crisis" - "FRANKFURT. In Germany, one of the most environmentally aware societies on Earth, doing business, ecological-style, is now no longer all that it was once cracked up to be.

Just take the fate of a Frankfurt bank that wanted to make a difference -- the Eco Bank. As part of its opening ceremony in May 1988, it organized a block party, a first indication of just how different this financial institution was. Instead of a discreet affair in a posh hotel with exclusive guests, the bash included employees, customers and neighbors. Officials from the state's central bank in suits and ties sat shoulder to shoulder with green environmental activists in overalls and Birkenstock sandals, listening to blaring rock music and feeling sorry for the new bank's staff members, who continually had to pose for photographers -- sometimes with sunflowers, sometimes without.

But that was then, this is now: On Saturday, the representatives of the Eco Bank's remaining 24,000 shareholders agreed to hand the business over to the BAG Bankaktiengesellschaft Hamm, a liquidating institute run by the Association of German Cooperative Banks. At the same time, the Eco Bank is to return its license." (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung)

"FEATURE-Germany struggles to turn dirt into cash" - "FRANKFURT, July 3 - Germany may be the European heavyweight champion of climate protection, boxing clever with big emission reduction goals, but its energy industry is throwing limp punches at the latest environmental challenge. The industry is hesitating over government aims to present by September a model for carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions trading -- buying and selling the right to pollute -- in line with European Union plans to launch a member state-wide scheme in 2005. ``German industry is not yet ready to test tradable emissions certificates in the framework of a realistic effort,'' said the Environment Ministry's Franzjosef Schafhausen, who heads the federal emissions trading working group." (Reuters)

"Japan may seek revision of Kyoto Protocol to encourage U.S. acceptance" - "TOKYO - Two days after Japan's prime minister backed off of criticism of Washington's stance on global warming, a top government spokesman said Monday that Tokyo may seek to revise the Kyoto Protocol in order to regain U.S. support for the treaty." (AP)

"Blair seeks Kyoto 'consensus'" - "The UK and Japan have reaffirmed their commitment to seek "maximum consensus" in tackling global warming after talks on the Kyoto treaty in Downing Street." (BBC Online)

"US 'must re-engage in Kyoto'" - "The Japanese and British prime ministers have agreed to seek a way to bring back the United States into the Kyoto treaty on global warming." (BBC Online)

"Japan worried on climate treaty" - "The Kyoto Protocol, the global climate treaty, is facing a battle for survival. Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi says "it is still too early to leave the United States behind," despite the US refusal to sign up to Kyoto." (BBC Online)

"The Devil Is in the Details" - "In 1922, Dr. Lewis Fry Richardson, a British physicist with a penchant for grand ideas, described how to forecast the behavior of the atmosphere.

He had details wrong but the basic concept right: a suite of equations that, when applied to measurements of heat, cloudiness, humidity and the like, could project how those factors would change over time.

There was one grand problem. To predict weather 24 hours in advance, he said, 64,000 people with adding machines would have to work nonstop — for 24 hours.

Dr. Richardson pined for a day "in the dim future" when it might be possible to calculate conditions faster than they evolved.

That dim future is now. But while much has changed, much remains the same.

Supercomputers have answered Dr. Richardson's plea. Weeklong weather forecasts are generally reliable. But long-term climate predictions are still limited by the range of processes that affect the earth's atmosphere, from the chemistry of the microscopic particles that form cloud droplets to the decades-long stirrings of the seas." (New York Times)

"Pioneering experiments testing effects of greenhouse gases on crops" - "CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Portions of 40 acres of University of Illinois farmland this summer are sprouting soybeans grown in the presence of carbon dioxide levels forecast for the year 2050. Next summer, elevated levels of ozone will join the mix in a first-of-its-kind experiment called SoyFACE.

"When you consider the importance of the Midwest in terms of global food security, it is important to do this research here," said Stephen P. Long, a photosynthesis expert and the Robert Emerson Professor of Plant Biology at the UI. "Up to now, experiments related to global warming on many crops have been done in locations on the periphery of major food production areas." (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

"High Level Of Air-Purifying Agent Found At South Pole" - "More than 15 years after the discovery of an ozone hole in the stratosphere over the Antarctic, the remote continent is yielding another atmospheric surprise.

A team of scientists led by the Georgia Institute of Technology has found a surprisingly high level of an air-purifying oxidizing agent in the near-surface atmosphere over the South Pole. The finding has implications for interpreting historical global climate records stored in Antarctic ice cores.

The summertime 24-hour average value of the atmospheric oxidant known as the hydroxyl (OH) radical is higher than that recorded at the equator. The researchers will report their findings this fall in the journal Geophysical Research Letters." (Unisci)

"Investigation of Human Health Effects Associated with Potential Exposure to Genetically Modified Corn" (CDC's Cry9C report)

"Farmers Plant 18% More Land" - "U.S. farmers, resuming their stampede into crop biotechnology, used genetically modified seed to plant 82.3 million acres this spring, 18% more than last year, according to a government survey. The size of the jump is surprising to Wall Street analysts and even to crop biotech firms. The debate over the safety of insect-resistant and herbicide-tolerant soybean, corn and cotton plants was widely expected to discourage a lot of farmers from greatly expanding their use of seeds containing a transplanted gene or two." (Wall Street Journal)

"Farmers cotton on to new crops" - "BANGALORE - As the world debates the safety of genetically modified crops, India's southern state of Karnataka is anxious to reap the advantages of new technology and thus wants quick approval for the agrochemical giant Monsanto's Bt cotton. Indeed, the Kartanaka government reacted with strong criticism last week after green activists forced India's federal Ministry of Environment and Forests to defer by a year a decision on the commercial planting of Monsanto's Bollgard variety of Bt cotton." (Asia Times)

"Study Shows Altered Cotton Aids Farmers, Environment" - "Insect-resistant cotton not only benefits farmers’ bottom line, but the genetically enhanced cotton also reduces the amount of insecticide released into the environment. According to a summary report produced by Dr. Roger Leonard of Louisiana State University and Dr. Ronald Smith of Auburn University, when farmers plant insect-resistant cotton, fewer natural resources are used to make and transport chemical insecticides." (AgWeb.com)

July 2, 2001

"Tumours phone link" - "LONDON: Mobile phone users have more than double the normal risk of getting a tumour on the side of the head where they hold their handsets, a study shows. Those who have used mobile phones for more than 10 years are 2.6 times more likely to develop tumours and 3.5 times more likely to develop benign tumours on the nerve connecting the ear to the brain, researchers say." ([Sydney] Sunday Telegraph)

"Fire crews grounded over phone mast row" - "Fire officers in Suffolk are refusing to use their drill tower because of fears the mobile phone masts on top are a health risk. The 18 firefighters at Sudbury Fire Station would normally use the 60ft tower every Thursday to practice their life-saving skills. But the fire crews said they are not prepared to climb the training tower while the aerials are there." (BBC Online)

"Urine test could show true infection rate of mad cow disease" - "Scientists may soon have an idea of the true infection rate of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), the fatal human variant of mad cow disease, after research carried out by an Israeli team. The research suggests that a simple urine test could show up either mad cow disease or its human equivalent after similar tests were carried out on hamsters." (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

"Alarm over high schoolers' depression" - "ONE in 20 Australian high school students suffer from clinical depression, according to a study calling for an overhaul of school counselling services." (Courier-Mail)

"Children active '10 minutes a day'" - "MANY children are fully active for just 10 minutes a day, according to research using motion detectors. The research, conducted for the first time in Australia by Deakin University, found youngsters preferred low-energy play, choosing TV or computer games over chasing. Around 200 children were fitted with a matchbox-sized "accelerometer", a type of a motion detector, which recorded their every move from waking to bed for a week." ([Sydney] Sunday Telegraph)

"Public Citizen goes to court over food irradiation" - "Public Citizen and the Center for Food Safety (CFS) have filed a false advertising complaint with the FTC against SureBeam Corporation, over what the activist groups call a misleading choice of words. SureBeam has been advertising its food irradiation process on internet sites related to the meat industry, and promoting its service using the term "electronic pasteurization" instead of "irradiation." This is what has Nader's disciples (and now CFS' Andrew Kimbrell) up in arms. Public Citizen knows very well that words can frighten people, and the last thing they want is Americans understanding that food irradiation saves lives by stopping the spread of disease. Why else would they have opposed the USDA approval of labels reading "irradiated for safety?"

For the record, the entry for "pasteurization" at www.dictionary.com includes "The act or process of destroying most microorganisms in certain foods, such as fish or clam meat, by irradiating them with gamma rays or other radiation to prevent spoilage." And regardless of what you call it, food irradiation (especially of fresh meat) is an important weapon in the fight against food-borne illnesses. The US Department of Agriculture, World Health Organization, and American Dietetic Association are on record saying that irradiated beef is not only safe, but a potential lifesaver as well." (GuestChoice.com)

"Tesco sells ordinary pork as organic" - "MEAT from animals that have spent a quarter of their lives on conventional farms is being sold as "organic" by Britain's most profitable supermarket chain. Tesco, which announced record profits this year of more than £1 billion, has teamed up with a business-minded group of east German farmers to enable meat from pigs born in ordinary piggeries to be packaged and sold as organic. Although a change in European law has made this legal, the tactic has outraged farmers in Britain, where animals must be born and bred in organic conditions to earn the label." (Sunday Times)

"Co-op bans 20 pesticides from its foods" - "Supermarket group Co-op is to ban the use of more than 20 common pesticides used in food production. The group said it had decided to prohibit the chemicals, which include gender-bending "hormone disrupters" and organophosphates from the nerve gas family, after listening to customers' concerns. A survey it commissioned earlier this year found that more than 70% of 1,000 people surveyed were worried about the use of pesticides." (Ananova)

"Parents warned on 'natural' jabs" - "THOUSANDS of parents are turning to homeopathic vaccines rather than conventional ones to protect children against killer diseases. The oral vaccines, based on diluted saliva or tissue from affected individuals, are used with remedies intended to boost the immune system.

The trend is condemned by the Public Health Laboratory Service (PHLS), which is engaged in a drive to convince people that vaccines such as the one for measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) are safe. The British Homeopathic Association also opposes non-conventional vaccines.

Last week it was revealed that uptake of MMR is at its lowest since a scare began over possible links to autism and the bowel condition Crohn's disease. Only 86.4% of children are being vaccinated, with pockets of much lower take-up." (Sunday Times)

"Fines to stop town choking to death" - "THE people of Armidale in northern NSW are choking on their own smoke with the council now fining residents who put too much pollution through their chimneys." (Sydney Daily Telegraph)

"S.U.V.'s, Golf, Even Peas Join Eco-Vandals' Hit List" - "SEATTLE, June 30 — The fire at Joe Romania Chevrolet in Eugene, Ore., started just before 2:45 one morning in the spring. Nearly 30 Chevrolet Suburbans and Tahoes were destroyed in the blaze, the second time in nine months that vehicles in the dealership's sport-utility lot had been set afire.

The fire at Ray A. Schoppert Logging Inc., in Eagle Creek, Ore., also occurred between 2 and 3 a.m. This one, on June 1, near the site of a disputed timber sale in a federal forest, burned three logging trucks.

Sometime in the night of June 10, someone broke into a research farm owned by Seminis Inc., near Twin Falls, Idaho, and ripped out hundreds of genetically altered pea plants.

These incidents share more than the fact that none has resulted in an arrest. All three appear to be part of what federal authorities describe as a growing pattern of eco-sabotage, or vandalism, that its anonymous perpetrators claim to have carried out in defense of the environment." (New York Times)

"Global health alarmingly poor" - "Sunday, July 01, 2001 - The world is shrinking. For more than 25 years, as a Colorado congressman and senator, as an undersecretary at the State Department and now as president of the United Nations Foundation, I have seen the continents figuratively grow closer together and nations more interdependent. What takes place in one community can and often does produce ripple effects half a world away. Unfortunately, the unintended consequences of economic globalization seriously threaten our environment and - by extension - all of us." (Timothy E. Wirth, Denver Post)

"Global Warming May Threaten 'Living Fossils'" - "SODWANA BAY, South Africa - They've outlived the dinosaurs and a whole lot more, but global warming may yet kill off the coelacanth. Scientists fear the coelacanth -- a "living fossil" fish that has been swimming the seas for an astonishing 400 million years -- will be threatened if changes in ocean temperatures lead to the destruction of life-nurturing coral reef systems." (Reuters)

"GLOBAL WARMING; Computer models are just sleight of hand" - "Let me explain why I grind my teeth hard enough to generate sparks whenever someone -- invariably a person with something to sell -- speaks sonorously of "what science now knows about global warming." (Spider Robinson, Globe and Mail)

"Carbon Dioxide Emissions Jump 2.7% in the U.S." - "WASHINGTON--Carbon dioxide emissions, a major contributor to global warming, jumped nearly 3% in the United States last year while declining in other industrialized nations, according to preliminary estimates released Friday. The new figures, compiled by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, show that the United States released 1,558 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere in 2000, up 41 million tons from 1999. It was the biggest U.S. increase in years." (LA Times)

"Greenhouse gas emissions soar in defiant US" - "America, the world's biggest producer of greenhouse gases, is polluting the planet on a greater scale than ever before." (Observer)

"EU delays discussion of climate emissions plan" - "AMSTERDAM - The European Commission has postponed expected discussions of a draft law to compel a wide range of industries to take part in emissions trading, it said on Friday." (Reuters)

"US heartened by Japanese support on Kyoto" - "Japan's support for the US rejection of the Kyoto global warming treaty, apparently ensures the pact will not take effect, Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham said today." (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

"Koizumi Won't Pursue Kyoto Without U.S." - "SMITHSBURG, Md., June 30 -- Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi told President Bush at a summit at Camp David today that he will not implement the Kyoto global warming treaty without U.S. participation, effectively killing the accord." (Washington Post)

"Britain should welcome a man who holds the key to a richer, greener future" - "Tony Blair meets his match today, with the visit to London of the Japanese Prime Minister, Junichiro Koizumi. Mr Koizumi is a politician who has out-Blaired our Prime Minister by receiving a pop star's adulation at home for a programme of radical change which so far consists only of brilliantly reasonable-sounding rhetoric.

... What was also impressive about Mr Koizumi's visit to Washington on Saturday was his diplomatic skill in finessing the issue of the Kyoto Protocol on global warming – a treaty in which Japan's national pride is at stake, as the host of the meeting four years ago where world leaders signed the agreement which the US has now repudiated. Like Mr Blair, Mr Koizumi is pursuing the non-confrontational tactic of suckering Mr Bush into accepting that something must be done about climate change in the hope of reopening the Kyoto process. That is surely the approach most likely to succeed." | Blair pressed over role in Kyoto treaty (Independent)

"Cloud cover eases crisis" - "Sunday, July 01, 2001 - Things have been tough lately for the proponents of the global warming theory. It's not just that President Bush rejected the Kyoto global warming accord, the Clinton-era treaty that mandated drastic cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.

Science has not exactly been kind, either. It seems that not a month goes by without another scientific study casting serious doubts that man-made carbon-dioxide emissions will lead to catastrophic global warming in coming decades." (John Carlisle, Denver Post)

"Blair's new man backs N-plants" - "The new Energy Minister, Brian Wilson, has given the strongest signal yet that the Government will support building more UK nuclear power stations.

Wilson, whose appointment last week to head Tony Blair's energy policy review provoked controversy because of his pro-nuclear stance, said proposals to put new plants on current nuclear sites would make 'a lot of sense'.

The lives of some existing plants could be extended beyond their scheduled closing dates, subject to agreement by the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate, he added." (Observer)

"Russia moves closer to spent nuclear fuel imports" - "MOSCOW - Plans to open Russia to imports of spent nuclear fuel got the go-ahead from the upper house of parliament on Friday, paving the way for President Vladimir Putin to enact the bill criticised by environmentalists." (Reuters)

"Energy Blather: Sorting Out Myths From Reality" - "With energy headlines dominating the news, we are again hearing the same tired, unidimensional arguments by advocates on each side of the many related issues. Some of this misinformation is disingenuous and self-serving (the politicians and special interests), some of it is naive (the environmentalists), and some of it is just plain uninformed (the general public)." (Paul Weinberger, Hartford Courant)

"Company threatens to sue over pesticides disclosure" - "A chemicals company is threatening legal action against the Government to prevent ministers disclosing details of pesticides being used in controversial GM crop trials." (Independent)

"Survey finds more accept GM food" - "There is an Australian trend towards greater acceptance of genetically modified foods with some important qualifications, a leading figure in the debate said yesterday. On the eve of his speech at the Australian Institute for Food Science and Technology conference in Adelaide, the manager of public awareness at Biotechnology Australia, Craig Cormick, said a survey had found that people were becoming more sophisticated in their attitudes. Fewer were taking up positions of either direct opposition or unconditional support." (Canberra Times)

"The GM crop gamble could mean famine, not feast" - "In the 19th century only the most adventurous made the trek across the Wild West to southern California. You might end up as rich as Croesus or you might end up with your scalp dangling from the belt of an unfriendly native. It was the right place for the Biotechnology Association to hold its annual conference this past week. This is the ultimate high-risk industry - for the companies involved and for every man, woman and child on this earth." (John Humphys, Sunday Times)

"GM produce is in disguise, say US suppliers" - "A leading US food-producing group says a "significant proportion" of supposedly GM-free imports to the UK could contain genetically altered crops.

Gene Grabowski, the vice president of the Grocery Manufacturers of America (GMA) told the world's largest convention of the biotechnology industry, that GM foods are now so well mingled into the world's exports that Europe could no longer expect many of the imported foods to be completely non-GM." (Independent)

"Biotech Soybeans Plant Seed of Risky Revolution" - "CHESTERFIELD, Mo.--For nine years, two dozen genetic engineers struggled to create a simple soybean that would stand up to a killer herbicide." (Los Angeles Times)

"University in talks with GM food firm" - "Monsanto, the controversial firm that is the world's leading producer of genetically modified crops, has held meetings with a British university over potential support for its research on GM food." (Independent)

July 1, 2001

"Former EPA administrator accused of deleting computer files" - "WASHINGTON - The same day that a judge ordered her agency to preserve records, then-Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Carol Browner asked a technician to delete her computer files, according to testimony in a case seeking contempt penalties against Browning and her former department." (AP)

"Landowners Given New Rights on Environmental Curbs" - "The Supreme Court yesterday granted new protections to landowners who maintain that environmental regulations diminish the value of their property, ruling that government can be required to compensate them for interfering with their ability to develop the land.

The ruling concerned cases in which property owners buy land knowing that it is subject to environmental or zoning limits -- such as restrictions on developing wetlands or fragile beaches. In a splintered decision that involved shifting majorities on different aspects of the case, five justices said even when such limits are already in place, they can amount to a "taking" from the new owner and require compensation by the government." (Washington Post)

"No Gulf War Syndrome Found in British Veterans" - "LONDON - Tests on a group of British Gulf War veterans have failed to turn up any trace of Gulf War Syndrome, the Ministry of Defense said in a statement on Friday. Of the 1,000 veterans who were seen by the Ministry's medical assessment program between February 1997 and February 1998, only 20 percent were unwell, reporting psychiatric complaints and post-traumatic stress disorder.

They were the second group of British veterans of the 1991 conflict to have been tested by the Ministry for the mystery sickness. "The lack of evidence of a unique 'Gulf War Syndrome' is in line with previous research findings," Veterans' Minister Dr. Lewis Moonie said." (Reuters)

"Immunization rates don't affect allergy prevalence" - "NEW YORK Jun 29 - Despite suggestions to the contrary, increased immunization for tuberculosis, diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DTP) and measles is not linked to a higher rate of allergy-related disease in childhood, according to a multinational research team.

The new findings contradict a theory known as the "hygiene hypothesis," which says that the drop in childhood infections due to vaccinations and better hygiene is linked to an increase in allergy-related illnesses, such as asthma." (Reuters Health)

"Administration wants to shorten record-keeping time on gun purchases" - "WASHINGTON – Attorney General John Ashcroft announced steps to improve an instant background check system designed to keep guns out of criminals' hands, but angered gun control advocates by proposing strict limits for keeping records on gun purchases.

Ashcroft said the government should keep records on people who tried to purchase firearms for no more than one business day instead of the 180 days now allowed by federal regulation.

The records are kept temporarily so that the FBI, which does the checks, can go back and look for fraudulent transactions or mistaken approvals.

Gun owner groups say keeping the records is an invasion of privacy; gun control advocates say more time for auditing is necessary to ensure that guns are not be sold to criminals." (AP)

"Kmart pulling ammunition from shelves in wake of protests from gun-control advocates" - "DETROIT – At Kmart stores across the country, shoppers perusing the aisles for diapers, garden hoses and microwave popcorn can also find ammunition designed for everything from pellet guns to handguns. But some of those shelves soon will be empty as Kmart phases out the sale of handgun ammunition over the next three months." (AP)

"Detoxify your home" - "In recent years people have become increasingly aware of the threat of environmental pollution on a global scale, much of which is caused by chemicals, but there are far fewer who are aware of the pollution that also exists within our homes. These odorless and colorless poisons have become a part of our lives for the last 30-40 years and are released from cleansing products, but more insidiously from synthetic materials used in the home, and the pesticides that exist in many foods. Allergies and other illnesses are becoming everyday problems as this exposure takes its toll on our bodies.

The worthy campaigns to save home energy costs have backfired on themselves and stopped our houses from being able to breathe out all the toxins that we are bringing in." (Philippine Star)

"Nicotine makes new blood vessels grow: study" - "NEW YORK, Jun 29 - In findings that suggest a new theory on how smoking causes disease--and raise concerns about long-term use of nicotine replacement therapy--California scientists have discovered that nicotine can trigger the growth of new blood vessels. This process, called angiogenesis, has been implicated in the spread of cancer and the build-up of plaque in heart arteries.

In experiments with human cells and mice, researchers at Stanford University found that nicotine prompted new blood vessel formation--a process believed to help tumors and artery-clogging plaques thrive and grow. They report the findings in the July issue of the journal Nature Medicine." (Reuters Health)

"Cull workers struck by rare fever" - "Workers helping with the foot-and-mouth cull have been affected by a potentially-dangerous infection. Thousands more are now to be screened for signs of the infection, called Q fever." (BBC Online)

"Panel tells FDA to ban more blood due to 'mad cow'" -"WASHINGTON, Jun 29 - People that have spent five years or more in Europe from 1980 to the present may soon be banned from donating blood in the US due to the theoretical risk of mad cow disease.

A panel of expert advisors to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) voted 10 to 7 on Thursday to endorse a proposal that would expand the agency's current policy of deferring donors that spent six months or more in the United Kingdom to include the entire European continent." (Reuters Health)

"E.coli fields warning" - "People are being warned not to camp in fields recently used by animals because of fears they could contract E.coli O157. A group of experts, established to cut the number of E.coli cases, is to recommend that children especially should not use farm fields until several weeks after animals have left." (BBC Online)

Today's Clapp-trapp: "Statement Of Philip E. Clapp, President, National Environmental Trust On New EIA Global Warming Data" - "WASHINGTON, June 29 -- The following is a statement by Phillip Clapp, president of National Environmental Trust, on the new EIA global warming data:

The huge increase in US global warming pollution shows just how ineffective voluntary emissions reductions programs are. We have had a raft of voluntary programs in place since the time of President Bush's father, and US emissions are continuing to skyrocket.

At the same time, Britain's emissions reached a 10-year low because they did what President Bush has refused to do: England cleaned up its dirty, coal-fired power plants and converted them to cleaner natural gas. China has cut its emissions back to 1992 levels by investing heavily in energy efficiency.

The President is turning the US into an environmental rogue nation. Other nations from Europe to China are aggressively cutting back their global warming pollution, but the Bush Administration is going in the opposite direction, pushing an energy plan that will increase US emissions by 35%." (U.S. Newswire)

Dear Phil,
                "Milk Snatcher" Thatcher promoted the "global warming" illusion as an artifice to break the power of the U.K. coal unions, manipulate the market for the then new North Sea oil and gas fields and garner public support for an expanded nuclear industry (needed for the U.K.'s nuclear weapons program) - the resultant reduction in CO2 liberation has been largely coincidental and irrelevant. You might find Richard Courtney's essay on the topic Global Warming: How It All Began informative (an oldie but a goodie).

During the same period, the reunification of Germany, with the subsequent closure of old and hideously inefficient East German heavy industry has seen significant, and largely accidental, reduction in European emissions.

These two events in E.U. member states form the underlying reason for the E.U.'s desperation to have 1990 as the determinant baseline year for CO2 emission standards since they begin with a massive (accidental) advantage, further accentuated through the "EU Bubble" (allowing all member states to share the accidental good fortune and ensuring all conform to the official scare) - there is no other reason for the arbitrary choice of 1990 as a "standard." This also explains why the E.U. is so inflexible regarding "reduction mechanisms" since the sole purpose of the exercise is to garner trade and manufacturing advantage over the vastly more efficient U.S. and other competitor countries. If you don't believe it just try having the baseline year moved a decade either way (1980 or 2000) and you'll find the E.U. will not play - so much for their great "concern" about the alleged "global warming disaster."

That China's generation efficiency is improving is perfectly true, given another decade of their modernisation program and they'll be roughly as efficient as is the U.S. now. China's modernisation is of course funded by increasing wealth generation and expanding trade, which would be devastated by any attempted implementation of the Kyoto Protocol.

As for "other nations" cutting back CO2 emissions, even verdant New Zealand has increased its output by more than 20% over the period.

In short Phil, your President is defending the world and the environment from a wannabe rogue superstate called the E.U. and you are continuing to spout male bovine excreta.


The Week That Was June 30, 2001 brought to you by SEPP

"Disasters will outstrip aid effort as world heats up" - "Rich states could be sued as voluntary assistance falters, Red Cross says: International aid will not be able to keep up with the impact of global warming, the Red Cross said yesterday, after reporting a sharp increase in the late 1990s in the number of weather-induced disasters.

In its annual World Disasters Report the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies says that floods, storms, landslides and droughts, which numbered about 200 a year before 1996, rose sharply and steadily to 392 in 2000." (Guardian)

"The climate is changing" - "When President Bush withdrew his support for Kyoto, I feared the momentum was irretrievably lost. But the rest of the world has reaffirmed their clear support for it. After preparatory climatic change discussions with 110 countries, I am optimistic. However, the barriers to a more sustainable world and a greener Britain remain formidable. Kyoto still has to be ratified." ([U.K. environment minister] Michael Meacher)

"Climate treaty gulf yawns wide" - "Crisis talks aimed at saving the Kyoto Protocol on climate change have ended with little progress to report. The informal talks were supposed to clear the way for a deal on the protocol's working at a conference in Germany in July." (BBC Online)

"Key parties remain distant amid global warming talks" - "The latest efforts to resuscitate the United Nation's (UN) Kyoto Protocol on global warming have exposed big differences between the rival parties, and reignited charges that the United States is seeking to sabotage the treaty." (Australian Broadcasting Corp.) | Climate talks expose deep rifts among states (Reuters)

"Koizumi to Back Kyoto Accord in Meeting With Bush" - "President Bush had hoped to use a summit at Camp David today to persuade Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to temper his opposition to Bush's renunciation of the Kyoto global warming accord, but Koizumi dashed that idea before leaving Tokyo." (Washington Post)

"Japan May Propose Kyoto Pact Revisions to U.S. -Paper" - "TOKYO - Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi will present to President Bush a draft of possible revisions to the Kyoto treaty on global warming when they meet on Saturday, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun said.

The revisions that Koizumi will propose would extend the target date for emissions reductions by several years from the current 2010, lower the reduction rate, and set back the base year to 2000 from 1990, the Nikkei said." (Reuters)

"EPA Chief Seeks NAFTA Warming Talks" - "MEXICO CITY - EPA Administrator Christie Whitman proposed holding talks with Mexico and Canada on greenhouse gas emissions, following criticism of U.S. rejection of the Kyoto accords on the same issue." (AP)

"Research on extreme environments in Gulf of Mexico web-cast in July; results could lead to new information on global warming" - "Life in the Gulf of Mexico is anything but calm. Hurricanes and tropical storms can clog shipping lanes and slam into populated shore areas, of course, but even more interesting things are happening deep beneath the surface. "Cold vents" of oil and gas seep from the ocean floor, methane hydrates form around gas vents and iridescent blue holes called brine pools freckle the sea floor.

Little is known about microbial processes in these environments, but a team of researchers, led by scientists at the University of Georgia and Georgia Tech, will travel to the Gulf in July and take a tiny submersible to the ocean bottom to learn more about processes that could have a major impact on such issues as the health of the seas and global warming." (University of Georgia release)

"In Slap at Bush, House Votes to Bar Oil Drilling in Great Lakes" - "WASHINGTON, June 28 — In another slap at President Bush's energy and environment policies, the House of Representatives voted today to prohibit drilling for oil and gas in the Great Lakes. The president has not taken a specific stand on exploration in the Great Lakes, but his energy policy is based on increasing domestic oil and gas production." (New York Times)

"Anti-Biotech Activists Are Faced With Fading Public Interest And A Clean Environmental Bill Of Health For Genetically Modified Crop" - "While the genetically modified crop war is being waged with intensity elsewhere in the world, the front in Britain has been relatively quiet in the past few months. This is surprising, considering that Britain has just has a general election. The greatest challenge for the anti-biotech activists is the government's science-based policy and the election seemed an ideal ambush opportunity.

With this policy still intact and the three-year program of farm scale trials well into its second year, the activists are faced with fading public interest and a clean environmental bill of health for genetically modified crops. (Knight Ridder/Tribune)

Seeds Of Opportunity Webcast Available Online

The "Seeds of Opportunity" conference brought together leading international figures in agricultural biotechnology in order to demystify this technology and to discuss its potential advantages and disadvantages.

Conference Sponsors included:

  • U.S. Embassy, London
  • School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London
  • Queen Mary, University of London
  • Royal Agricultural College
Speakers include Norman Borlaug, George McGovern, Lord Haskins, Sir Robert May, Sir Crispin Tickell and others.

Click here for transcripts and webcasts.

For more information about the conference, Click here. (Seeds of Opportunity)

"At Bio 2001, It's Scientists 1, Protesters 0" - "For weeks leading up to the 2001 Biotechnology Industry Organization convention, rumors swirled that the San Diego event would be overrun by greens bearing gripes about the ethics of genetic engineering. But on June 24, opening day of this lollapalooza of the biotech world, reports of impending mayhem proved to be greatly exaggerated.

Only about 750 protesters -- half the amount who protested at last year's convention in Boston -- bothered to show up. By Day 2, the protesters' population dwindled to about 70. They huddled in a small park across the street from the San Diego Convention Center, peacefully handing out flyers and happy to debate anyone passing by who was interested in the merits of biotechnology. The thousands of policemen recruited to shield BIO 2001 attendees from rowdy protesters looked bored as they gathered in small groups to chat, stretch, and yawn.

It was one more sign that, in the race to develop better medicines, foods, and technologies, the scientists seem to be outrunning the ethicists. This week's convention attracted a record 750 companies and 12,000 attendees to discuss topics ranging from coming advances resulting from mapping the human genome to how rice can be genetically modified to feed more people and prevent malnutrition in underdeveloped countries." (Business Week Online)

"THAILAND: Govt likely to label 3% GMO food imports" - "BANGKOK, June 29 - Thailand is likely to introduce rules soon requiring all imports of food containing more than three percent of genetically modified organism (GMO) products to be labelled, officials said on Friday. Thailand's Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is due to consider the rules next week, FDA officials said. "The FDA is scheduled to meet on July 3 to consider what appropriate proportion of GMO in food needs to be labelled," Chanin Charoenpong, the FDA's expert on food standards, told Reuters." (Reuters)

"Indonesian island to become biotech lab" - "JAKARTA: An Indonesian official has got the green light from the government to turn one of the archipelago's 13,000 islands into a giant regional biotech lab, a report said on Friday.

The chosen island is Galang, a 300-square-kilometer almost-deserted island near Singapore which served as a camp for Vietnamese boat people during the 1970s, the Jakarta Post quoted Batam Development Authority chief Ismeth Abdullah as saying." (Times of India)